Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Why the world isn't ready for Linux

Filed under
Just talk

this isn't one of those Linux Bashing posts, i'm converted, and happily use Linux both at work and home, this is a post which is explaining why i feel the world isn't ready for linux..

In order to buy a car, you have to take a test to learn how to drive it.. Why is this? Because, put quite simply, if you sit behind the wheel of a car, without taking a test, there is a high probability, you are going to kill someone, or yourself.

However, if you buy a fridge, you don't have to take a test to use one, because although the probability of killing someone is still there, its nowhere near as high as if you were in a car.

The point i'm trying to convey here, is both are consumer items, however with the item which is more technically involved, you need to learn how to use it before you're allowed to own one.

Personally i'd put a PC, up at the same level as a car. A PC, is a technical item, which, for some strange reason people feel is a consumer item much like a fridge. and as such don't have a clue how to use one..

Think about this.. no really, think about it..

Spam - People complain about spam, however it still exists today, because there are people out there who will willingly see how much it costs to extend thier manhood, or belive the Nigerian (I cite this example http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,453125,00.html?sPage=fnc/scitech/cybersecurity)

the reason why spammers persist in sending out this stuff to our mail boxes, is because there are enough people out there, who actually justify doing this. Its simple business really, if there is money to be made, then the business continues, if there is not, then the business goes belly up. if no one replied to any spam mail for the next 12 months, i guarantee it would stop. why bother doing something there is no money involved in? Spam is just the electronic equivalent of those people who hand out flyers in the mall, you take one, and drop it on the floor 100 meters later, the flyers have been all handed out at the end of the day, so it must be a good form of advertising?

Then there is how people react to spam, I used to manage an ISP Support Desk, and we filtered out a HUGE quantity of spam, before it got to people mail boxes, however we missed the odd few. the number of people who made official complaints because they got over 3 spam messages in their inbox a day was amazing. One such customer threatened to take us to court over this. on the grounds that we calaimed to filter 99% of spam for him. he said he never signed up for anything online, so there was no way he was getting any spam into his mail box. So i turned off his spam filtering for 24hrs.

He got over 32,000 spam mails in 24hrs.. why? because he was signing up for mail accounts, porn accounts, newsletters, websites every day, and pointing them to this mail account..

His reaction, oh, i didn't realise this would generate spam....

Viruses

In many jobs over the years i've seen first hand the dameage a well placed virus can do, and yet today, i am still amazed that people are under the impression a virus will never get them. or have Norton or McAfee installed, but never updated it.. and its set to minimum settings... despite being told daily, by a popup, please update your antivirus

their reaction, oh, i didn't realise i needed to do this...

Backups

My current company involves working with hard disk encryption, and on a daily basis, we are contacted by people who use our software, these are not just "end users" these are IT Consultants, people being paid a very large amount of money to maintain the IT system of thier employer, many of which are happy to put their accreditations on thier email.. you know, MCSE, CCNA just to let you know they are special.. and have the paperwork to show they can read a book, yet would consider doing a sector level encryption of their CEOs laptop without taking a backup, manage to lock themselves out of the newly encrypted device because they didn't note down the password, or because the 3 year old Pc, is so fragmented, the disk encryption can't complete, and has rendered the disk useless due to the 20% bad sectors, and conflicting partially installed alternative, spyware covered freebie encryption they got from a trade show. Yet it shocks them to consider making a backup.

Rule 1, installing new software, make a backup, if you ask a room of 100 computer users Do you make a backup?

their reaction, oh, i didn't realise i needed to do this...

(this happened last week)

Support Desks

The average user, as we have seen sofar, is a bit baffled by this technology, despite it being around for the last 25+ years in out homes, and despite it being an integral part of our day to day lives, of over 25% of a century, people still claim, to not know, and not realise, these are the same people, who we find ringing up support help desks, with statements like..

"I've just installed Microsoft and..."

"I've downloaded the Internet and..."

"I can't download the Internet and..."

"I've just bought this Microsoft computer and..."

"I would have mailed you byt couldn't find your email address, however have rung the number on your internet contact page"

(Sorry i've just had a customer say this 2 seconds ago.. out email address is 1 line about our phone number, in larger, bolder text.. and under our phone number on our contact page is a Contact form)

yes, these are your consumer support desk callers, people who can read a Jamie Oliver cook book and produce a whole Christmas spread from following the instructions, but not the manual for installing Microsoft Office, and would like the person on the end of the phone to read them the manual, because its too complicated.

I'm not sure if any of you have ever done this, I have, several times, and the process is a case of reading the manual for the customer, who always ends the call with a "Oh, it wasn't that hard, always better to be sure..." Well thanks for that, i've just spent 20 minutes reading on your behalf, because you couldn't be bothered...

Or there is another favourite, where you advise a customer he needs to get a 3rd party product to solve his issue, something we don't support.. in this example, its BartPE.. and I always get asked "where do i find out about that?" i would so like to be un PC and reply, "I'm not sure sir? Google maybe? Just a guess..."

Is all this getting to a point?

Well it is, I'm not just bashing the average user for the sake of it, these are extreme cases, and i'm aware, that documentation (for those users who are able to use Google and can read) isn't great, and GUI's are not Perfect, however i feel that there is a more underlying reason why people don't use Linux in Droves.. Its because the comfort zone isn't there for them, the kid next door who knows about these things.. its all just a little too complex for them..

I'm a firm believer, that in order to own a PC, you should have to take lessons, and a test, to get a licence, there seem to be plenty of people willing to do this to drive to work, if you don't, then your PC experience, should be limited, as it would do if your driving a car, to a 50cc Moped of an experience. And i think i'm not the only one, as this is what the "Cloud computing" experience is serving up.. limit the places it can go wrong on the users hardware, and you reduce the numphtys,.

On every forum i read, there are more and more Ex Windows users, trying to make the experience richer in Linux, by making it just like the OS they ditched, telling Linux users how much easier it is on XP or Vista.. how this stuff just works better..

Well i ask you one simple question...

If Windows is so much easier to use, why does every company who uses it need a support desk? (read cost center)

Rant over..

(Last call, "Excuse me sir,I'm calling as the IT Manager for (Read large 10,000+ user company), how do i find out who your Partners are, i'm looking on your webpage, and there don't seem to be any links" my answer "Try clicking on the link at the top labelled PARTNER sir.."

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Sadly I am starting to agree...

My tech job runs the gamut from network installations, to server setups and deployments, to help desk calls, and a lot more. I get some pretty boneheaded questions at times, and I keep a blog to write some HowTos and the occasional rant.

Recently I posted this entry
> http://gnuski.blogspot.com/2008/12/jkdefrag-howto-free-software-amazing.html
and a few days later I was at my parents' place running a JkDefrag on one of their Windows systems. My dad said it looked like he should do that on his other computer and also at his office, so I wrote down the blog address for him.

He was utterly confused and said he couldn't follow it. Then he said that he didn't see the picture which aims to clarify it. Then he said he saw the picture but didn't click to make it readable. Eventually he said he didn't read the post at all, but watched as I opened the command prompt and said he would have been lost. Lost following four steps of instructions.

I don't want to do other people's computer work for them. I want them to learn what I am doing, experiment* some, and learn on their own. Take some computing responsibility. He said, "If you have a ____ question, ask your mom. If you have a ___ question, ask me. So, I ask you about computing questions." No, you are asking me to DO your computing.

I agree, lets force some certification as a requirement to owning or using a computer. The security issues involved should demand as much from our population.

*experimentation, unfortunately, often just makes life worse on a Windows machines, and therefor scares people away from trying at all.

Huh?

Sadly, I don't thing either one of you is joking.

At best, you're unbelievably naive, at worst, you're elitist snobs.

Computers are tools - they WORK FOR US - we don't work for them.

Don't blame the users - blame the software makers for creating tools that DON'T WORK. Linux (when compared to Windows or Mac) easily wins the race to the bottom of the barrel.

UI, usability, consistency, etc just plan sucks - it's what happens when you design/program by committee with NO oversight, no management (or inept management) and no leadership (or vision).

Instead of asking users what they need/want - they TELL users what they're going to get (and they should be happy with it dammit - or feel free to code your own).

So leave the users (i.e. the CLIENTS) out of the equation - if computers suck - it's definately NOT their fault.

vonskippy, re read the post,

vonskippy, re read the post, then, think about what you have written. At no point in my post have i said windows/mac or Linux are the best. the point i am making is, you can spend millions on user interface, usability, and documentation, its not the computers which are at issue here.

Lets use your anaology, a computer is a tool... I agree, i use 5 different OS's to complete different tasks..

So is a hammer..

If a man hits his finger with the hammer, is that because the instructions are bad? Thousands of people use hammers and don't hit there fingers... OK, he made a mistake, a week later he does it again.. OK, this must mean that the user interface for the hammer has been designed wrong, or maybe the instructions are incorrect? or maybe, just maybe, the person hasn't actually read the hammer instructions, and just picked it up, uses it, and keeps hitting his fingers.. So following your analogy, of the interface and tool being poorly implemented, we should look at redesigning the hammer, putting in safeguards, stopping the user from banging the hammer for the potential that one user may hurt themselves, maybe we should look at removing, or at least covering the hard part of the hammer in soft foam, so it doesn't hurt anyone elses thumb, who chose to pick up the original hammer, and not learn how to use it properly.

But what happens then? in an effort to make the hammer so safe, and easy to use, we have actually rendered the hammer unusuable, because someone piped up in a meeting "its the interface, not tue users.. its a tool.."

Spin this round to Windows, XP, a fairly solid platform, many users, using it fine, but a few people were having problems, so the Redmond think tank, redesigned the interface, for the few, and low and behold, what do we have.. Vista.. "Are you sure you want to do that?" Now, you'll state, "you can turn this feature off", that may be so, but in order to "Turn off the improvement" i have to read the manual, surely, by your analogy, thats poor interface design? So Microsoft, have created an OS, which has been globally panned, and not just by Fanboys of other Operating systems.. you may quote me the figures of installed copies of Vista. Well automatically loading an OS onto a PC, before it sells, does not constitute choice. It demonstrates a monopoly. and misused power.

So, lets try and redesign a tool, which has been used successfully for quarter of a centry, by many people, all over the globe, successfully, because consumer users, cannot be bothered to use google to search for the answer to the problem, or RTFM.

People are naive to say, that the problem with computers is interface design, and perhaps misguided to state that "the interface design is wrong" in todays society, its unfortunately the user who is at fault.

You see, i don't say computer suck, i read the manual, and can use the tool for that reason.

You call me an elitist? That maybe so, however, as as active forum member, and a person who has spent over 20 years helping people with computer issues, i see patterns, i provide assistance, i guide users to the right location, for a job, so i'm allowed to make these observations, as i'm best placed to do so. I myself am not without fault, as a recent Mac convert, i had the mis fortune of not knowing my IP Address. I could not find the location for displaying this. amazingly, by typing "OSX show IP address" into google, i was able to find where to find this. much in the same way i would type "find pictures of cute cats dressed up in clothes" to find this on a daily basis was i so required to. I didn't need to phone Apples helpline.. As i'm able to read and follow instructions.

At Christmas, i cooked a roast Ham, i've never cooked in my life, i hate cooking, it turned out ok, because i followed the instructions, i didn't need to ring Gorden Ramsey for help.

Don't get me wrong, this is not only an IT issue, having taught in schools for a few years, i honestly belive common sense, is no longer that common, and the dumbed down education system, setup, to ensure as many students pass a test, rather than education, has a lot to do with this. We are more worried about teaching children how to pass an exam, than the virtues of common sense, following instructions, and general values of society. and then wonder why the youth of today are so incapable. I've hired graduates who are very well qualified, far more than me, in IT, who are in capable of doing the basiscs with a computer.

As i'm picking holes in your post, you talk aout linux interface inconsistencies, and state that its interface is less "superior" to the Mac OSX and Windows interface?

Interesting, as Windows and OSX come with 1 interface each, and linux, provides a user with a choice.. one choice is apparently so good, that Microsoft themselves have actually visually emulated it..

http://blogs.zdnet.com/hardware/?p=3228

as we are still here, i'm going to go back to my car analogy, i used in the post..

For a long time after the car was introduced into onto roads, you didn't need a licence to drive one. It wasn't until people were taught to use them correctly, that this number was reduced...

Please, wake up and smell the coffee, its over here in the real world, with real users..

More in Tux Machines

Leftovers: OSS and Sharing

  • 4 tips for teaching kids how to build electronics
    Kids are naturally curious about how things work, and with a new trend in hardware companies creating open source hardware products, it's a great time to teach kids about electronics. But modern technology can seem too complex to even begin to understand. So where do you start?
  • Oil companies joining open source world by sharing data [Ed: No, oil companies, sharing data is open data and not open source. More openwashing, like greenwashing]
    The oil and gas industry has long collected huge volumes of data, but it hasn’t always known quite what to do with it all. Often, the terabytes aren’t even stored on computer systems that readily talk to each other. Industry insiders are used to it, said Michael Jones, senior director of strategy at the oil and gas software maker Landmark. But it’s not OK, he said. So, about a year ago, Jones and some of his oil industry colleagues set about to fix it. This week, at Landmark’s Innovation Forum & Expo at the Westin hotel in northwest Houston, the company unveiled the beginnings of a collaborative its members called groundbreaking. In a move to drive technology further, faster — and, perhaps, take a bigger piece of the burgeoning big-data market — Landmark is pushing its main computing platform into the cloud, for all to use.
  • Interactive, open source visualizations of nocturnal bird migrations in near real-time
    New flow visualizations using data from weather radar networks depict nocturnal bird migrations, according to a study published August 24, 2016 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Judy Shamoun-Baranes from University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and colleagues.
  • Go! Speed Racer Go!
    I finally reached a point where I could start running the go version of sm-photo-tool. I finished the option validation for the list command. While I was testing it I noticed how much faster the Go version felt. Here are the python vs Go versions of the commands.
  • Semantic Interoperability for European Public Services will be presented at the SEMANTiCS 2016 conference
    The revision of the European Interoperability Framework and the importance of data and information standardisation for promoting semantic interoperability for European Public Services will be presented by Dr. Vassilios Peristeras, DG Informatics, ISA unit at the SEMANTiCS 2016 conference which takes place in Leipzig on September 13th and 14th 2016. The title of the presentation is “Promoting Semantic Interoperability for European Public Services: the European Commission ISA2 Programme” (slideset to appear here soon).

Linux at 25: How Linux changed the world

I walked into an apartment in Boston on a sunny day in June 1995. It was small and bohemian, with the normal detritus a pair of young men would scatter here and there. On the kitchen table was a 15-inch CRT display married to a fat, coverless PC case sitting on its side, network cables streaking back to a hub in the living room. The screen displayed a mess of data, the contents of some logfile, and sitting at the bottom was a Bash root prompt decorated in red and blue, the cursor blinking lazily. I was no stranger to Unix, having spent plenty of time on commercial Unix systems like OSF/1, HP-UX, SunOS, and the newly christened Sun Solaris. But this was different. Read more

Linux Kernel News and Microsoft Breaks PowerShell

  • Coherent Accelerators, FPGAs, and PLD Microconference Accepted into 2016 Linux Plumbers Conference
    It has been more than a decade since CPU core clock frequencies stopped doubling every 18 months, which has shifted the search for performance from the "hardware free lunch" to concurrency and, more recently, hardware accelerators. Beyond accelerating computational offload, field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) and programmable logic devices (PLDs) have long been used in the embedded space to provide ways to offload I/O or to implement timing-sensitive algorithms as close as possible to the pin.
  • Linux's brilliant career, in pictures
    Aug. 25 marks the 25th anniversary of Linux, the free and open source operating system that's used around the globe in smarphones, tablets, desktop PCs, servers, supercomputers, and more. Though its beginnings were humble, Linux has become the world’s largest and most pervasive open source software project in history. How did it get here? Read on for a look at some of the notable events along the way.
  • Quarter Century of Innovation – aka Happy Birthday Linux!
    Happy birthday Linux. You’ve defined how we should be using and adoption technology. You’ve disrupted and continue to disrupt, industries all over the place. You’ve helped define what it means to share ideas openly and freely. You’ve shown what happens when we collaborate and work together. Free and Open Source is a win-win for all and Linux is the Gold Standard of that.
  • Microsoft Open Source Czar Takes Spotlight at LinuxCon [Ed: Microsoft paid for this]
  • Windows Update borks PowerShell – Microsoft won't fix it for a week
    You'd be forgiven for thinking Microsoft is actively trying to stop people using Windows 10 Anniversary Edition. A patch this week broke one of the key features of the OS: PowerShell.

Android Leftovers

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 unveiled in China, priced at $135
    Xiaomi took the wraps off their latest smartphone offering, the Redmi Note 4, earlier today, and as is expected from the budget-friendly Redmi series, the device offers a premium look, specifications, and features, and more importantly, an ultra-affordable price tag. The Redmi Note 4 retains the premium full metal unibody construction that was introduced with its predecessor, but now comes with a brushed metal finish and chamfered edges that looks and feels even better. The design language is quite similar as well, with the Redmi Note 4 also coming with a fingerprint scanner on the back. Under the hood, the Redmi Note 4 comes with a 5.5-inch Full HD display that is covered with a 2.5D curved glass panel. The phone is powered by a MediaTek Helio X20 processor, that is backed by the Mali-T880MP4 GPU and 2 GB or 3 GB of RAM. 16 GB or 64 GB are the on-board storage options available, which also dictates how much RAM you get, and you also get expandable storage via microSD card to cover all your needs. Keeping everything running is a huge 4,100 mAh battery.
  • New study finds iPhones fail far more often than Android phones
    Apple customers are generally a shockingly loyal bunch. The company’s high repeat customer rate can be attributed to a combination of factors that concern iPhones themselves as well as Apple’s industry-leading customer service. Dealing with Apple’s customer care department has always been a pleasure compared to dealing with rival companies, and iPhones themselves have historically been very reliable, offering a consistently smooth user experience that people love.
  • Relax, Spire can now connect to Android phones
    Spire, the wearable that promises to help you with healthy breathing and mindfulness, was previously only available for iOS devices. But that should change with an update rolling out now.
  • Android 7.0 Nougat: Small changes that make a big difference in UX
    The seventh iteration of Android (Nougat) has finally been released by the mighty Google. If you happen to be the owner of a Nexus device, you might see this update very soon. Everyone else...you know the drill. So after an extended period of waiting for the update to trickle through your carrier and onto your device, what can you expect to happen to your Android device once its center has become a creamier shade of Nougat?
  • Two Nokia Android smartphones show up in benchmark
    Nokia is definitely coming out with a few Android smartphones later this year, but today's Nokia has little in common with the company that ruled the mobile phone industry for years. For starters, the devices that will be released this year, or the next, will be made by a third-party company. Nokia won't be manufacturing phones anymore and most likely it won't manage the way they are sold through retailers and authorized resellers.
  • Proxima bae, Instagram scams, Android goes full crypto: ICYMI
  • PayPal adds proper Nexus Imprint fingerprint login support on Android
  • Google Duo has been downloaded 5 million times on Android since its release