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Linux is easy!

Linux is easier to use than most people think.

From: Tracy R Reed 
To: SPROVENCHER@TIAC.NET
Cc: kplug-list@ultraviolet.org
Bcc: 
Subject: What choice?
Reply-To: 

You DO have a choice!

at: 

http://www.zdnet.com/anchordesk/talkback/talkback_146646.html

Sam Provenchar asks "What real choice has anyone got?"

I just got back from my weeklong vacation to Indiana visiting family I hadn't
seen in years, including my mother and two brothers. I brought them a belated
Christmas present: a computer. This computer runs only Linux. And with
KDE, Netscape, and Star Office, they are quite happy with it.

My 8 year old little brother now writes letters, sends me email, cruises the
web, and joins me on IRC. All with very minimal instruction. They've never
really used a computer before. I gave them an Apple IIc a few years ago which
sat around unused. Not surprising. They've seen the web at a friends house.
That's the extent of their computer experience.

Linux has proven to be easier to use than Windows and has more than enough
good software to do everything they need. They don't have to worry about
accidentally breaking anything or crashing the computer because it's just not
possible. Unlike my friends mother whose entire hard drive got trashed by some
lame windows application two nights ago rendering her computer useless. She is
going to have to pay someone to reinstall. (It's my friends mom, but I don't
do Windows! Helping her reinstall would be like cocking the gun once more and
patching her shoe.) Using Windows is like being logged in as root ALL THE
TIME! That's insanity, in my opinion.

If this computer breaks and they are running Windows, I am stuck with the hell
that is troubleshooting a GUI environment over the phone. I'll pass on that,
thank you very much. If somethign goes wrong with Linux, I just telnet into it
over the net and fix it. Graphical application not working properly? I just
display it to my PC here in San Diego and see it for myself.  The dancing
paperclip won't help me.

My family doesn't have much money and I'm not exactly rich either. If we had
to pay for the Windows equivalents of all of the software they have on that
computer, they would not have a computer today.  When you are in the
supermarket and see that bag of chips with the yellow strip across the top of
the bag that says "25% more FREE!" do you really believe you are getting free
chips? Of course not. Then why would anyone believe that Windows isn't adding
significantly to the price of that PC?

Linux has proven itself to me beyond any doubt. It is better than MS on the
server and it is better than MS on the desktop. I've used it at home for 5
years. Over the last 3 years I've used it in mission critical business
applications. Over the last 2 years I've used it in mission critical financial
applications where very large amounts of money were at stake. I work for a
payroll company. And now I have installed it on common users desktops (my
brother in San Antonio, my mother and family in Indiana, my girlfriend in San
Diego, numerous friends in other places...) and it is yet to fail me. Thanks
to things like KDE, Kppp, Netscape, Star Office, the ease of use is obvious to
the new Linux user when they sit down in front of that desktop for the first
time.

Note that I don't recommend any of these people install and configure Linux
themselves. Just like I don't recommend they install and configure Windows
themselves. My mom can NOT install Windows. I couldn't just ship her a blank
PC and a Windows98 CD. That requires way too much knowledge of PC hardware and
software. Knowledge that most of us take for granted. Installation issues are
a moot point because until something major changes in the software world (and
there's nothing indicating that MS is going to instigate this change)
operating system software installation is going to be best left to
professionals.

Linux is what puts food on my table, peace in my mind, and fun back
into my computer.

--
Tracy Reed	http://www.ultraviolet.org
"There are no significant bugs in our released software that any
significant number of users want fixed." - Bill Gates in an interview with
Focus magazine, Oct 23, 1995.
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