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....
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...
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)
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)
(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.."