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12 reasons why windows is better than linux for non-techies.

January 6th, 2009 | by admin |


Nowadays ubuntu and other linux distros are becoming very popular.Lots of peoples has quit the use of windows and started using linux but here the question is that how easy linux is as compare to windows for home or office users (Non-techies).It is quite easy to install and configure for the techie peoples but when we talk about the people whose jobs are not related to computer or they just use computer for Listening music,Watching movies,Office work or email.

I have listed some reasons why windows is better than linux for non-techies based on my experience and the questions asked to me about linux by non-techies.

1) Which distro to use.

As all of us know linux has got tons of distro and this is the first confusing point for non-techies that which distro is best for them.

2) Where to get linux.

Linux is not much popular as windows so it is also possible that you won’t find linux CDs on all shops.

3) How to install Linux.

Although linux is not very difficult to install and distro like ubuntu has also provided Wubi install by using which you can easily install ubuntu with linux on NTFS parition.But it is still difficult to install linux for Non-techies.Partitions concept of linux is little difficult for them.

4) Configuring desktops and settings.

Desktop,network,control panel and screen saver all the setting is little different as compare to windows so in the first look most of the non-techies get confused on how to configure their desktop.

5) Installing Software.

This is the most confusing and difficult thing for non-techie because software installation is totally different in linux as compare to windows.We have to install from sources rather than just running a setup files.

6) Installing drivers.

Although linux has some driver so some of your devices will work plug and play but it will be real headache for non-techies to install drivers of devices which is not available in linux.

7) Playing music files.

Most of the peoples have songs or other music files in MP3,WMA or any other format and the thing is that linux by default doesn’t have codecs installed for playing these type of media files.You can also check my post How to play mp3 and other multimedia files in ubuntu

8) Playing games.

Not all the games are available for linux as if some games like counter strike are available for linux the difficult point is again the installation of game.

9) Softwares availability.

Almost all of the latest softwares are available for windows but not all of them are available for linux.This is also tricky point for non-techies for find the alternatives of the software which are not available in linux.

10) Difficult to get help.

Non-techies prefer to ask from others rather than searching on google as it is little easy for them to understand and if they ask for help from their family members or colleagues very few will be able to help them but if we talk about windows most of the peoples are familar with most of the windows features.

11) Partitioning

I also mention in reason 1 that partition table of linux is little confusing as compare to windows then partitions of linux looks like.



and if we have a look at windows partitions it looks like.




You can see which one is easier.

12) Requires research.

Linux requires little more research as compare to windows and non-techies don’t have time or they don’t wanna research on linux as this is not the part of their job so they prefers windows.

I have tried to posted as much reasons as currently i have in my mind if i have missed any reason please write in comments.

Also check out my Post : 40 Cool Linux Wallpapers

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    63 Responses to “12 reasons why windows is better than linux for non-techies.”

  1. By fred on Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

    Most non techies don’t install their own windows and don’t install their own software, they get the local unpaid techie/nerd to do it or it comes with the computer.

    If they did, they’d find Linux easier to install. Windows is a time-consuming pain to install.

    Most non-techies don’t partition.

    Most non-techies ask for help from people – meaning that windows or linux, someone else fixes any issues (of which there are less in Linux).

    Ditto for installing drivers, codecs for music on windows or linux.

    My conclusion is that most points don’t count for non-techies, as they are non-techies – therefore not conducive to doing most of the tasks that allow them to use their computer at non-techie level in the first place.

  2. By Pauk on Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

    Good list, I see where you are coming from but it seems like most of these reasons are also reasons not to use windows. For instance, installation, you have the same partitions choice and other tech things for installing windows. So you pretty much have to know what you are doing for both, or buy it from a store with the OS already on it.I think more people should use linux, but not before they are ready to. So they can take their time and when they see it on a dell or in Bestbuy (which it is) then they get it. But it needs to be a choice they make. Usually people with low tech knowledge have friends or family to take care of that stuff anyway. Games and fear are the only reason to pick windows over linux as far as I see it. But games will never port until people switch and gamers won’t switch til the games are ported. So that is likely to stay the same for a long time. for the partitioning, C: might seem easier at first…but put that C: drive in another computer and now it is D: or is it E:???? I think calling a drive by where it is connected makes more sense and is easier. IMHO But that is opinion and if the person is a non-techie then they won’t be switching drives around. in which case in linux they won’t know about /dev/hda1, it will just be home. LInux is held back from MS only hardware, but that is so few devices now. Now if only the codec holders would let linux or ubuntu use the codecs legally.

  3. By smcj on Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

    I’m not really sure if you are right with that list:

    1. Distributions have different ideals and targets they want to accomplish: some are built to be small, some to include as much software as possible; some to be run as a firewall, some to be run as a server, some to be run on the desktop.

    It isn’t that hard to figure out what you want. Most of them are free (as in beer), but some provide guarantied support times or a printed handbook in exchange for a fee.

    Comparing that to the Microsoft eco-system: We have 7 Vista versions and at least 2 versions of Windows XP still around (And these are just the desktop part of the MS Windows OS). Except the price, there aren’t major differences beside that cheaper editions have missing features. I would call that confusing.

    2. I wouldn’t go into a shop to get a Linux distribution, that’s just too complicated. If I have a good internet connection I download it from the web or if I haven’t I, I would just request a free CD (e. g. from Ubuntu) to be sent to my home. That’s actually much cheaper than using a car and driving to a shop even if the shop owner gives me a Windows version for free, because [Free retail Ubuntu CD inside a nice package] + [Ubuntu Stickers] + [No shipping charges] = 0$.

    3. Installing an OS is never easy, although installing a desktop Linux distribution is certainly easier than installing Windows.

    But most of the time people buy computers with an OS preinstalled. Most of the companies give you a choice which operating system you prefer, so just choose the right one.

    But a really nice thing about Linux is that you can exchange the software under it and it still boots and runs, so you don’t have to reinstall that often if you don’t want.
    When I got my new computer, I just put my old harddrive into the new machine (different motherboard, different GPU brand, different CPU brand) and everything worked. On the same computer I tried 2 weeks getting Windows to run, before I just reinstalled it.

    4. Different cars, different handling. Different houses, different interior. Different books, different endings. Things are sometimes different. I can’t see Linux’ fault here …

    5. Software managemant is probably the thing distributions are most proud of.

    The way to handle installing, updating, upgrading, downgrading, deinstalling from one centralized GUI is far superior to every other OS out there.

    6. A very easy and nice way to find out if your hardware is supported is using Live CDs. Many distributions’ CDs can just load the operating system into the memory, so you have a full Linux system running from your CD to try out. If you don’t like it, you just take out the CD and nothing is changed on your computer. If hardware is not supported the most hassle-free thing is to wait a few months and install a more current operating system.

    On the other side, the driver situation is pretty good: USB sticks for instance are available after a fraction of a second. Windows takes sometimes more then 10 seconds trying to find the right driver. Another example are printers: You can plug in most models and the Linux distribution confirms that it has recognized your printer brand and the model and asks if you want to print a test page. Wireless support has been pretty bad a year ago, but at the moment even less Linux-friendly hardware producers release code or specifications on time.

    7. Some media formats have been impacted by software patents in the United States, so these are not included by default on the CD. If you live in a freer or more technology-friendly country, this shouldn’t be a problem for you. If it can’t play something, it informs you of the situation, opens the software management and lets you install the needed software packages for playback.

    8. The availability of games was always disturbing on Linux, except from some high-profile titles like Doom, Quake, Unreal Tournament, America’s Army, Prey and X3 the situation wasn’t that good, although some Windows-only games like CounterStrike, Elder Scrolls, Call of Duty 2/4, World of Warcraft, Guildwars, EVE Online, Command and Conquer, Fallout and may more can be run pretty flawlessly on Linux. The situation has improved a lot, it might be interesting how that Steam client for Linux works out…

    9. It’s always a question why you change to Linux:
    If you want a nice browser, a decent email app, an instant messaging program with support for many protocols like IRC, AIM, ICQ, MSN, Jabber, MySpace, Yahoo, a easy to use app for image editing and many more programs just a checkbox away, then a Linux distribution is something for you. Get a pre-installed box and have a secure, fast and reliable system which doesn’t get on your nerves. never bother with Windows again.

    But if you need specific applications like Photoshop, DirectX10 which are only available on the Windows platform … then your out of luck. You might find different solutions or rely on the vendor to provide a Linux solution.

    10. The amount of people knowing Linux is steadily increasing, so you might have a chance finding a colleague which can help you.
    One advantage of Linux are the many chats with friendly and experienced users which will walk you through your problem or question, regardless of the time. You can ask there at 3 p.m. and still there are people online who could know the solution.

    Have you ever tried phoning a colleague at that time?

    11. The File System Hierarchy really looks confusing the first time.

    The Windows system is based on harddrives. Normally, every “Drive Letter” is a hard drive (or a partition on it).

    Because you can put single directories or whole trees of directories on remote file systems (on the internet, the LAN or other hard drives and many things more) a Linux system is not based on these assumptions making it much more flexible than the “Drive Letter” approach. But if you don’t care what your file system looks like, you don’t have to.

    13. If you want to learn how things work you can read many well-written resources either on the internet or locally. Almost every piece of software provides a manual which informs you of interesting, different or more advantaged ways to do your work.
    But if you don’t care, you don’t have to.

  4. By Richard Chapman on Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

    “Reasons” 1 – 8, 10,11 & 12 Are covered because most newbies will get their Linux preinstalled when they buy their computer. As for “reason” 9, there is actually more software available for Linux than there is for Windows. That doesn’t mean that everyone will find their favorite game. There are some very fine games for Linux. People don’t have to make a lot of sacrifice to switch to Linux, just a little. Their reward will be a stable system that doesn’t change over time and is very malware resistant. It doesn’t require CPU cycle sapping software to surf the Internet safely.

  5. By Bablo on Jan 7, 2009 | Reply

    @ fred

    I can agree with your point that linux can be installed at the time of buying the PC but do u think that for installing any software,games or drivers non-techie will call the technician and they will have to pay to technician.If we have a look at windows you can understand how easy is the installation of softwares and games it is just one click setup files.

  6. By ari on Jan 7, 2009 | Reply

    hehe… if windows were so easy to use, how come I got daily call from my sister (who is non-techie) asking how to accomplished something??
    I think the problem is more about which one do you custom to.. for the partitioning thing for instance.. most modern distro doesn’t require you to understand the naming and structure at all .. and after the installation is finished, you won’t even notice that there’s a partition cause everything is mounted on a directory.. unlike windows where we need to move between drives, thus requiring users to be partition aware :D

  7. By Ian on Jan 7, 2009 | Reply

    I have yet to install a driver on Linux but in windows you have to do it with virtually every piece of hardware you add, even for USB keys.
    That list was a piece of misinformed naive nonsense. the only thing in that list worthwhile is running Windows games. As someone has already mentioned, its a list that proves non-techies should not use windows either.
    Issues downloading software on Linux??? eh??? its a one stop shop rather than a multitude of websites to visit and once yu selected to install, there are no more prompts unlike windows where you click until you get RSI. there is so much wrong with this list i’m not going to say anymore, its a waste of time

  8. By rene on Jan 7, 2009 | Reply

    a non-techi wouldn’t care about what you listed! with M$ you have to pay for support. With Linux support is free! M$ should be better than Linux since you have to pay for the OS, acct software, photo so, games, and all the driver should work on window since they are built for wundow! My printer and scanner does not work with Vista! It should, it’s a M$ product! Strang!

  9. By Smitty on Jan 7, 2009 | Reply

    Most of your ‘reasons’ are based upon fallacious assumptions (as expressed by other comments), and therefore completely incorrect. Please do better next time. Grade: C-

  10. By Caleb Cushing ( xenoterracide ) on Jan 7, 2009 | Reply

    I should ignore this as flame bait… but…

    1. Buy from a Manufacturer (dell, hp, etc)
    2. see 1
    3. see 1
    4. use defaults which are nice enough, and tweak as you have time
    5. 50% credit this is different, but you you don’t have to install from sources 99.9% of the time. (unless you use a source based distro, and see 1 doesn’t offer those). plus 90% of what people need is already installed by see 1. or use a 1 click installer.
    6. see 1, and be a little careful on choices of peripherals.
    7. see 1. or use a 1 click installer.
    8. learn how to make your webpage not use smiley’s for 8’s and I’ll give you this one 100%. wine, crossover and cedega just require too much work, imho. I keep windows on 1 box just for games when I feel like it.
    9. … you said it… alternatives, where’s my linux software in windows? a lot of what I use isn’t ported there, or requires as much emulation as wine.
    10. see 1, forums, irc, lug’s, lot’s of places to find people to talk to for help
    11. yes I suppose it does… so does mac… it all depends on what you want to do.

  11. By Richard on Jan 7, 2009 | Reply

    I respectfully disagree with all your points except the games issues, I will not take the time or space to refute all your points, but in general most of them have to do with familiarity of Windows, not whether you are a techie. Case in point configuring your desktop is just as easy , if not easier, in Linux than Windows. The fact it is different does not make it more techie.

  12. By Caleb Cushing ( xenoterracide ) on Jan 7, 2009 | Reply

    whoops… rewrite 11 as 12… actuall 11 is see 1, users don’t partition, and partitioning is way easier in linux because you don’t have to know what drive things are on, there is no multiple root, everything is under / and most things will be in $HOME for users or on /media (maybe /mnt) for removable stuff

  13. By Adrian Baker on Jan 7, 2009 | Reply

    What a stupid list. You clearly haven’t a clue about Linux OR Windows. Why write such rubbish?
    You won’t find Linux in shops? Well you do in my local newsagents – attached to Linux magazines, and what about downloading your own free copy?
    As for installing software being difficult – have you ever used Linux recently? You choose what you want in Synaptic or other package manager, and then click apply…. thats it!
    As for drivers, did you last use Linux in 2000 or something?
    You really don’t have a clue about computers and should not write such rubbish.

  14. By toff on Jan 7, 2009 | Reply

    very funny article !

  15. By ejohnson on Jan 7, 2009 | Reply

    Most linux distros have an “add/remove” selection in the menu and you simply put a check next to the software you want and click “Apply” and you are done. Couldn’t be easier than that.
    Wine does a good job of running some windows programs and is getting better.
    The wireless and videos drivers situation has gotten a lot better in the last year or so and I’ve been able to plug in several different printers via USB and they ‘just work’.
    If I had read this list 3 or 4 years ago I might have agreed with most of it – but not now.

  16. By Doug Swain on Jan 7, 2009 | Reply

    I think your strongest point is #12 by far. Things that require extra effort is something that a common user is not looking for. I feel it’s comparable to the idea that the computer is a tool and not the project itself. Since Windows is such a commonality today, people know how it works and get used to the motions and patterns they need to do to accomplish a task. The other factor is that even if they don’t know, there are many resources that will know exactly what to do. If it requires effort that’s going to detract from the actual goal, then it’s not worth the effort (for a standard end user). It’s probably just a matter of why fix something when it already works for many.

    In turn, this makes most of your other points valid. All the things you mention require possible research, familiarity and noticing the patterns of a different environment; All things that most users don’t have.

  17. By Gullit on Jan 7, 2009 | Reply

    of course it’s an ironic article, isn’t it ? :]

  18. By WindowsUser on Jan 7, 2009 | Reply

    1) This point either goes with 12) where you find out which pre-packaged set of software [so-called distribution] you need or simply goes away because you find Linux pre-installed [on a growing number of desktop, laptop and netbook computers] and without the silly limitation of enabling only 1GB of RAM like end-of-life Windows XP now does [yes, I did my research]

    2) Due to the Open Source licensing it cannot be “sold” but it can nevertheless be obtained from various places without being called “pirate” when this happens. I’m sure that your local Linux Users Group will be very happy to provide you with a copy or you can download it by yourself and follow the instructions to create a CD ready to install. If you can read a recipe, you can use Linux

    3) [I’ll answer to the partitioning bit later] If you ever installed Windows you’ll know that Linux asks the exact same type of questions and modern distributions really only require a couple of clicks to begin using them – heck, even simply boot a LiveCD [many distributions have the double option] and off you go “look ma, no hands” but I agree that if it was pre-installed then you don’t even have to worry about anything

    4) This is the only point that I have to concede: user interfaces are what you “see” and “operate with” on a “computer”. This is no different than learning to drive a car which has the headlight controls in a different place [ever tried an Opel ?], get used to it

    5) Like the point above, how you use and operate a software (and the interface of an OS is “software”) depends on your existing experience, and you’ve probably had too many crashes

    6) The community will take care of your drivers, no need to worry there, just buy products that are known to work with Linux [and I don’t have to tell you to read the whole Hardware Compatibility List that exists for all flavours of Windows…]

    7) Load your music on a portable (mp3) player and forget about it… you can even connect it to your car or home stereo this way

    8) Same as above, games for computers are disappearing fast anyway, so do yourself a favour and get a console to do the job/game with the right tool

    9) You can’t pretend a writer to be famous only after one book, give him/her the chance to write a trilogy and you’ll see some rings, ante this to 7books and you might see some wizardry ala Harry Potter

    10) Same as the previous, wait until it becomes a bestseller before you make any judgement like that… I guess it’s called the “new-kid-on-the-block” syndrome that you might have heard of…

    11) I agree with other answers that you don’t know much about computers: the way that you refer to a file in the system is actually more intuitive in Linux where, for instance, you open /My/Documents/file.nomatterwhatextension instead of C:\Documents and Settings\Predefined User\My Documents\whtthksfile.adt
    When talking about “real” partitions like /dev/sda1, my cousin’s Windows XP always boots off something called multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOS [check your boot.ini to verify this]
    In any case, any modern Linux setup now asks the same question that a Windows one does [but again I guess that you never had to install Windows on a blank hard disk] but you also find some nifty options to “auto-partition” or “use empty space on existing partition” – try that with Windows !

    12) True, just see how much you’ve learned with this entry posted by mistake…

  19. By Jens Staal on Jan 7, 2009 | Reply

    Actually I think a factor very seldomly factored in to the linux adoption rate is the “local nerd” factor. Basically all computer support for private homes is done by the “local nerd”.

    Considering that Linux is first adopted by the more tech-savvy… we might actually be heading towards a situation where the “local windows nerd” is a dying breed. Linux is already around 1% desktop usage. How large fraction of the population consists of “local nerds”?
    My hypothesis is that when the “local windows nerd” population is depleted – a massive migration will occur towards linux on the desktop among non-techies.

    I can just give myself as an example – the last year I have basically responded to any computer support inquiry (mostly windows crashing, being slow etc) by installing Linux MINT (32bit) as dual boot (I am personally an opensuse 64-bit user, but I have heard that mint should be user friendly so I give that to them and point out the package manager and install wine, vlc and a few other programs I am sure they will use) on their computers and asked them to contact me again if there is anything that they want to get help with.

    Strangely enough, I have never had a request for support after that and when I get home to them I see them happily klicking away in their fancy MINT environment. I suspect that they never choose the XP option in GRUB ever…

  20. By Jason on Jan 7, 2009 | Reply

    @Windows user -You said, “It can’t be sold,” but you’re misunderstanding the licensing. The requirement is that the software always be freely available. You most certainly can sell it as well.

  21. By Bablo on Jan 7, 2009 | Reply

    After reading all of your comments i have noticed that most of the peoples are saying that.Beginners don’t need to install linux they will get it pre installed but i don’t think that all the PCs come with linux already installed and what to do if their computer gets crash in future and they need to reinstall the linux.
    I do agree with all of you that linux is much better as compare to windows because it is open source,lots of softwares available,free support and protection against viruses but just talk in general term think yourself that what is much easier for home users windows or linux and if linux is more easier and none of the point given in post by me are not valid then why huge number of home users are using windows.
    Let me clear one more point suppose we need to install a software in windows and a software in linux.In windows we have downloaded an .exe files and in linux we have downloaded source files now just compare both of them which is easier to install and if my friends calls me and ask me about how to install the software in windows i will tell him just double click the installation files and press next next and you are done and if somebody asks me how to install software in ubuntu.So now i am gonna tell him how to install software in linux.
    First of all go to the repository file edit it and then enter the URL of the software you wanna install and then run sudo command.
    Now lets see which is more easier a double or software installation in linux and the method i mentioned above is installing software via sudo command this becomes more complex when we only have the source of software available.

  22. By chattnos on Jan 7, 2009 | Reply

    Working Backwards
    12. You honesty believe this? Try giving a windows machine to someone who never has had a computer. Even someone who knows something about computers will have to dig on the net if they get a random dll error like I did recently. Ever had to recover a compromised windows machine?

    11. You have more than one hard drive and one of them is giving you an error in the log. which one is C: D: & E.
    Yeah thats alot easier!

    10. As other point out that depends on the users and their social group. Most window users will be clueless when hit by malware.

    9. Not all windows software is equal.
    A lot of it is just crap. We do have some issues mostly financial software. But that is getting better all the time as adoption increases. But still most of the needs of the average user can be filled with Ubuntu very easy. The windows monoculture has really hurt all users. When multiple OS’s where common ports to many systems were also common. Years of Windows anticompetative practices have changed that. BTW Where can you find free educational software for windows that rival edubuntu?

    8. I’ll give you that. It is caused by Windows monoculture. Odd too since I hear alot of Game development is done under unix.
    Rememember US army game tho? Couldn’t be run under windows at the time so it was released on a linux live cd.

    7.point taken but it no more dificult than say getting warez via a torrent under windows. Many clueless window types can pull that off. Or you buy a commercial distro like Xandros or get a dell with ubuntu. Problem fixed. BTW how do you winders guys like saving your DVDs to hard drives? Your welcome.

    6. Drivers? I’ve not had a problem with this. I actually had situations where linux support is better than windows.
    Remember logical block addressing? I still run into hardware the linux kernel supports better than windows. Sometimes those win drivers are hard to track down.

    5.”We have to install from sources rather than just running a setup files.” Have you used linux recently? Package management is great in either red hat land or debian.
    Though sometimes it is nice to have the source option and OS that comes with real programming tools installed when have too.
    How would that set you back if you had to code something for windows?

    4. “Desktop,network,control panel and screen saver all the setting is little different as compare to windows so in the first look most of the non-techies get confused on how to configure their desktop.”
    Just look under the appropriate menu in Ubuntu. Not much different. BTW windows keeps moving this stuff with each release. I know alot windows gurus who curse MS for that.

    “Although linux is not very difficult to install and distro like ubuntu has also provided Wubi install by using which you can easily install ubuntu with linux on NTFS parition.But it is still difficult to install linux for Non-techies.Partitions concept of linux is little difficult for them.”

    Once upon a time DOS and windows users had 3 partitions. First was the OS. Second was apps. Third was data. Tried and true back up and recorvery system. Not our fault the windows world regressed and lost that technique.

    2.This comes and goes but as the windows monoculture dies off you will see more choice. Dell & Walmart have sold linux.

    1. To some extent there something to this but then again choice is good. Do you really like having some OS company tell you how it must be? If so I hear Microsoft is pushing metered computing as the next big thing.

  23. By Matt on Jan 7, 2009 | Reply

    Realistically, a non techie has no idea either way what he/she is looking at. I have been in the business for a long time, end-users that have been using windows for 10 years still do not know the first thing about the OS or what they can or cannot do. I find these points to be moot due to the fact. Same thing for Mac its “so easy” and people switch and have no idea how to do anything any more than they do in Windows. They will either ask around or pay someone to show them something or to fix a problem.

  24. By owain on Jan 7, 2009 | Reply

    I agree with this some what. Your points are not exactly true, but it is what is perceived by non techies when they use linux.
    Linux is quite different from Windows, and even though Linux has come along way in the last five years in terms of usability, it is still a fair way behind windows.
    I think distributions should offer a welcome screen, with videos and tutorials, and some more pop up hints ( all of which could be disabled! ).
    This would help first time users HEAPS!

  25. By rene on Jan 7, 2009 | Reply

    Hey Babaluu,
    Reason there’s a huge number of windows users. Microsoft forces the OS down your throat. They pay the big companies to use their OS. They have the money to advertise. People are used to windows, but that does not make it a better OS. Linux does not advertise! It’s by word of mouth and it’s getting M$ scared that they bought Suse-Linux. When was the last time you used Linxu Babaluuu? Linux has a feature called ‘Synaptic Package Manager’. Search for you software, check it and hit apply and the best part is (drum role………..) it’s free!!!! If you did choose to use the command line, that is also very easy. “sudo apt-get cache search somesoftware and sudo apt-get install somesoftware. This is the same command over and over! If windows software is so easy to install why did your retarded friend call you on how to install and .exe file? BABALUUUUU!

  26. By TripleII on Jan 7, 2009 | Reply

    This makes no sense. The non technical get their computer pre-configured. They would do the same with Linux. That makes #1,2,3 moot. Explicitly, no non-geek is going to install an OS.
    #4 – Harder? It is no harder than learning the “Vista” way coming from XP.
    #5 – Have you used Linux? I have, 11 years now. I have not installed from source since probably 2000. The integrated one stop package manager. This is actually an achillies heel of Windows, users have to scour the net to find the “free” (and sometimes malware infected versions) software they need to get a useful computer. Have you seen a stock install of Linux?
    #6 – ?? Have you tried it? From bluetooth to iPods, honestly, in 50+ newbie installs to friends and family, the things that don’t just work are quickly sliding to oblivion.
    #7 – Tied to #1,#2,#3, pre-installed Linux, all work fine.
    #8 – Given
    #9 – Tell me, games aside, what is missing for the general user.
    #10 – No way. From Linuxquestion, JustLinux to Google, support is easy. Good luck with your vendor. Remove-Reboot-Reinstall repeat, take it to Geek Squad.
    #11 – Use a modern version, all are aliased. On Mandriva, Storage Media links to all disks/devices listed by file size. No /dev/sdb, etc.
    #12 – Not true. See #1,#2, #3. You are mixing malformed Apples with Malware vulnerable pears.

    Seriously, email me above, send me your laptop, I will OEM it and if you can’t give it to anyone who is completely technophobic (you set up the SSID only) and it doesn’t work, I’ll completely apologize. Try the Acer Aspire One with Linux, if you can turn it on, you can’t fail to use it. Windows can’t touch that particular experience at all. It’s the OEM.

  27. By not really a techie on Jan 7, 2009 | Reply

    Jesus, what a list of rubbish. And even after having read the comments you are still showing the world your narrowminded lack of knowledge. Well, I have to admit that at least you do have some courage. Where I come from we have a saying that it is better to keep your mouth shut and let everyone believe that you are stupid, than to open it and prove them right. :)
    You are making a very silly assumption that a non-techie has good knowledge of windows. This can be true, of course, but then you are actually talking about a “windows-user” non-techie. If you don’t want to compare apples with oranges you at least have to compare the “windows-user” non-techie with a “linux-user” non-techie. Then you will see that most of your points are just about what you have learned before and what your are familiar with. Nothing else. Starting up with something new always has a learning curve, both ways.
    Ok, and now I’ll eat my own dog-food… and open my mouth.. :)

    1) Which distro to use.
    “As all of us know linux has got tons of distro and this is the first confusing point for non-techies that which distro is best for them.”

    Eh, confusing? Sure, no vendor is “ordering” you to use one special version or distro. You always have a choice, depending on your needs, and that can be tough for some people. But, you can go for one of the mainstream ones and you know you’ll be good. As for windows.. let’s see… what is better for me. Windows XP Home or Pro, Basic, Premium, Small Business, or maybe ‘light’ version if I live in the right country. Or should I go for one of the many Vista versions. And since I want to share some of my stuff with a few others, even over the network, maybe I need one of the Server flavours, perhaps with an “R2” behind its name. And I really want to use my machine simultaneously with my grandma, my daughters and the occasional house-guests that use to drop by. And this thing called CAL’s, how does that really work. And should I go for the HP “distro” or the Dell one, or for one of the smaller vendors round the corner. Or can I take the HP distro which came with the laptop I bought last year and install it on my brand new Dell machine..
    I guess you’ll have to do your homework anyway, whatever “distro” you are choosing. Windows or linux.

    2) Where to get linux.
    “Linux is not much popular as windows so it is also possible that you won’t find linux CDs on all shops.”

    Well, if you really need to go to a shop to get your software (what an ancient distribution method that is..) you can try this. Ask them, for the price of a Windows Vista Premium box edition, if they would be so kind to download a mainstream linux-distro for you and burn it to a cd. I think you would be in for a small surprise about the availability :-) Of course you can do this all by yourself for free and even buy an additional computer instead, but.. if you really insist…

    3) How to install Linux.
    “Although linux is not very difficult to install and distro like ubuntu has also provided Wubi install by using which you can easily install ubuntu with linux on NTFS parition.But it is still difficult to install linux for Non-techies.Partitions concept of linux is little difficult for them.”

    Yeah, so when did you see a windows-non-techie install windows themselves..? At least you CAN install linux on a windows partition. Have you tried to install your Dell distro recovery-cd with windows on your ext3 partition.. or another ntfs partition for that matter..

    4) Configuring desktops and settings.
    “Desktop,network,control panel and screen saver all the setting is little different as compare to windows so in the first look most of the non-techies get confused on how to configure their desktop.”

    The “windows-user” non-techie would probably need a few minutes to figure out what happened to the “Start” button that suddenly got this other strange graphic on it. My 7-year completely-new-to-anything daughter just started clicking and browsing through the menu’s. She didn’t even get confused when right-clicking on the desktop showed a context menu with more or less the same options you would expect from a windows-distro.

    5) Installing Software.
    “This is the most confusing and difficult thing for non-techie because software installation is totally different in linux as compare to windows.We have to install from sources rather than just running a setup files.”

    This is really an example of when you better had kept your mouth shut… Installing linux programs from sources is more like compiling your own windows programs from raw assembly code. It can be done, but only the real techies do that. Normal users click the “start” button to find the “Add/remove programs” menu choice, find the programs they want, mark a checkbox and click on “Apply” or “Install”. No need to hunt the internet or walking down to the nearest shop to find what you want. Of course, you CAN do that if you really insist. Installing a .rpm or .deb package is nothing worse than right-clicking it and choosing.. “Install”.. And yes of course, you CAN get the sources and write the three commands needed to compile and install, if you really insist..

    6) Installing drivers.
    “Although linux has some driver so some of your devices will work plug and play but it will be real headache for non-techies to install drivers of devices which is not available in linux.”

    Hehe, have you tried to install drivers of devices which is not availible in windows… Sure, if the vendor provide you with the drivers it will be easy to install. In windows as well as linux. I have tried myself. My experience is that most linux-distros recognise far more hardware out-of-the-box than any flavour of windows. Like with other products it is wise to do your homewore BEFORE you purchase anything. I guess you would not be too surprised if that wonderful machine you bought from the united states did not fit in european outlets, would you… or maybe you would call GM a lousy car-manufacturer because your diesel-engine does not run on 95-octane gasoline..

    7) Playing music files.
    “Most of the peoples have songs or other music files in MP3,WMA or any other format and the thing is that lin ux by default doesn’t have codecs installed for playing these type of media files.You can also check my post How to play mp3 and other multimedia files in ubuntu”

    A bare windows install cannot play much either. If you are not talking about a bare windows install you are probably not talking about a bare linux install either. Many linux distros play all this things right out of the box. I would recommend Linux Mint, or Pardus, or … Beside of that, my latest linux distro just asked me if it wanted to install the necessary codecs the first time I tried to play a file with such a proprietary format. I said “Yes” and it did. Really difficult..
    I also read your article about how to play mp3 and other multimedia files in ubuntu. My only comment on that is that you can also read a newspaper by spelling each letter out loudly to form a word.. if you insist..

    Playing games.
    “Not all the games are available for linux as if some games like counter strike are available for linux the difficult point is again the installation of game.”

    My XP machine could not play the games from my Wii-console even if they came on a CD, so I guess this goes for windows as well. So far, game vendors have not been too keen on making games for linux. That might change.. or not. So, here as well you should do your homework before purchasing. Personally, I would not even want to use my computer for games. I would buy an Xbox or a PlayStation or something similar.

    9) Softwares availability.
    “Almost all of the latest softwares are available for windows but not all of them are available for linux.This is also tricky point for non-techies for find the alternatives of the software which are not available in linux.”

    Most of the latest linux-software is not available for windows, but they are all available for linux. So what are you trying to say here? It would probably make more sense if you rephrased this to: “almost all of the latest Microsoft software are available for windows..etc.” A huge and steadily increasing number of ‘independent’ software vendors developing for the windows platform are also porting their software to linux, so this is a rapidly disappearing phenomenon. Most of the more popular open-source programs originally developed for linux are also being ported to windows. Great, hé.. Try to open your eyes and look beyond the “Microsoft” line of products. It is often not as bad as you want it to be..

    10) Difficult to get help.
    “Non-techies prefer to ask from others rather than searching on google as it is little easy for them to understand and if they ask for help from their family members or colleagues very few will be able to help them but if we talk about windows most of the peoples are familar with most of the windows features.”

    If windows were such an easy thing everybody is familiar with, how come there is such an industry making billions on supporting it? What help do you expect from family members and colleagues? Are they all suddenly “techies” then? My experience is that the “helpdesk” calls from family and colleagues quickly disappear as soon as I migrate someone’s computer from windows to linux. Of course, at first there is a learning curve. New things are always new things. This is the same if it is a new mobile phone or a new car or a new operating system. After that there are no more strange pop-ups, no unexpected reboots, no out-of-nothing-slowing-down, .. no helpdesk calls…

    11) Partitioning
    “I also mention in reason 1 that partition table of linux is little confusing as compare to windows then partitions of linux looks like.
    and if we have a look at windows partitions it looks like.
    You can see which one is easier.”

    Well, try to ask one of your “techie” friends or colleagues if they can teach you how windows name their partitions under the hood. Or take a quick look in boot.ini. If you had a c: d: and e: drive the latter two would probably not even be used by a non-techie windows user. He would probably not even know that they existed. A linux system put all these partitions into the same tree. Maybe you would not know they existed, but they would still be used. By the way, just earlier today I installed Kubuntu 8.10 on my boss’s private laptop. He used to have a Vista/Ubuntu 7.10 dual boot, but recently he had to reinstall vista which of course, fucked everything up. Strangely enough he, as a very non-techie, still had managed to reinstall ubuntu as well, but wanted me to take a look if everything was ok. I had a Kubuntu CD at hand and offered to upgrade. After Kubuntu was installed the vista partition mounted itself as “VistaOS”. Really strange and difficult, wasn’t it.. :)

    12) Requires research.
    “Linux requires little more research as compare to windows and non-techies don’t have time or they don’t wanna research on linux as this is not the part of their job so they prefers windows.”

    If you want to start using something new, most of the time it cost a little more “research” than staying with what you are familiar with. Change hurts no matter what. If you are not used to windows you don’t need any more research starting with linux.

  28. By admin on Jan 7, 2009 | Reply

    @ not really a techie

    Let me first clarify one thing i don’t wanna show anything world nor i wanna prove myself 100% correct.I have just given the reasons which i have experienced with many of my friends and relatives.But i really need to admit one thing here that the meaning of non-techie is a windows user here.
    You must have one question in mind that why i have supposed a windows users non-techie the reason is that windows is the most popular OS all arround the world and most of the peoples(non-techies) are using it and you cannot deny with this fact that windows is much easier to use as compare to linux and i think most of the peoples who are commenting have some knowledge of linux and i also think that most of my points are valid for windows users and i do admit that meaning of non-techie was a windows user here.

  29. By Nick Van Fossen on Jan 7, 2009 | Reply

    Your list is ridiculous

    1) Which distro to use:
    The one that came preinstalled (IE get a computer with Linux pre-installed, which are available now from most manufacturers and is the most popular OS on netbooks now)

    2) Where to get linux:
    You already have it if you followed #1

    3) How to install Linux:
    Again, just follow #1, just like how non-techies got Windows in the first place

    4) Configuring desktops and settings:
    How much configuration do non-techies need? Its all in easy to follow menus just like Windows… plus, what does a non-techie need to change so bad?

    5) Installing Software:
    You don’t install software on Linux from sources unless you get sucked into a wormhole and are transported back to 1996. Have you even used Linux? You just make a few clicks in your package manager, and nearly any app you want it automagically installed. Beats the hell out of driving down to Best Buy.

    6) Installing drivers:
    Again, see #1… all the drivers will be preinstalled, and your external devices will almost certainly be already a part of the generic kernel. IE you don’t need to do a thing, compared to going to every manufacturer of every piece of hardware in your box like you do with Windows (and good luck if Windows doesn’t have your NIC driver included!)

    7) Playing music files:
    Even your supposed instructions you link to are ridiculous here… In Ubuntu for example, just double click on the file and Ubuntu asks you if you want it to automatically download the codec for you. You make a couple clicks and enjoy the music.

    8) Playing games:
    Ahh, you finally have one… but if you want to play a Windows only game, then what the hell are you doing installing Linux? Also, Windows isn’t very good at playing Linux only games either by the way.

    9) Softwares Availability:
    If you need Windows only software, then again don’t try installing Linux. At the same time, if you use a few open source programs, they generally come out for Linux first.

    10) Difficult to Get Help:
    Just find out if any family members or friends are familiar with Linux. They aren’t as hard to find as back in 1996.

    11) Partitioning:
    Non-techies don’t partition disks….. ever….. under ANY circumstance….. That’s like saying someone practicing for their driving test shouldn’t try driving a Ford because their engines are harder to swap out than a Honda.

    12) Requires research:
    They seemed to research how to use Windows fine didn’t they? How much research do you really need to open a web browser anyway?

    Please stop spreading FUD

  30. By fukawi2 on Jan 7, 2009 | Reply

    Wow. What a pile of uninformed dribble.

    To highlight just one point: Install from source? Nearly all distributions, and certainly all the mainstream distributions use repositories and package managers these days.

    Basically, the motivation behind your writing comes down to your point of view that “linux is different, therefore it’s bad”.

    Very poor article.

  31. By ari on Jan 8, 2009 | Reply

    @admin.. the point from all of the comments is that easy or not easy depends on which one you are more common with.. windows on most desktop PC has nothing to do with it being more easy.. windows on most dekstop PC because most desktop PC are pre-installed with windows.. and why it is pre-installed with windows is because of economic reasons.. I’ve been a linux user for 11 years now.. and just last week I tried to help my sister installed Vista on her laptop.. and guess what .. I screw up at those partitioning things..

  32. By JJ on Jan 8, 2009 | Reply

    I’ve given this example on a few sites now:

    My wife is not a computer user. She is an internet user. Her requirements (like a lot of non-techies) are to use e-mail, IM and a web browser. She also needs to be able to read all those .doc, .ppt, .mp3 etc. files that her friends send to her. To enable her to do this she uses a computer.

    As I don’t really want to spend a lot of time “supporting” her I installed GNU/Linux. A bit like an OEM install if you like. It to approx 30 mins to install (sleep/hibernate/wpa-wireless all worked without any “tweaking”). For that last year she has used the system, installed updates and even avoided getting a virus without _any_ “support”.

    How may non-techie windows users can you say the same for?

  33. By admin on Jan 8, 2009 | Reply

    @ JJ
    Thats really a good example but mate do u think that installing windows or configuring windows is difficult than linux windows also takes almost 30 minutes to install and most of the (non-techie) who are using windows easily do lots of things in windows from installing softwares to updating windows.
    Another thing i wanna say to all readers who are criticizing about the post well I didn’t mean to say linux is bad for non-techies.I just posted the reasons i have noticed.You can also notice the same things what you need to do is to just install linux and then give it to non-techie(Windows user)than you will notice that most of my points are valid.

  34. By rich on Jan 8, 2009 | Reply

    Isn’t it the job of the IT department to configure things to make them usable for non-tech users? Two choices: dumb down Linux or make Windows users smart enough so they can use Linux, In the former, everybody loses and in the latter, everybody wins.

  35. By rich on Jan 8, 2009 | Reply

    How many Windows users does it take to install a light bulb? Three. One to put it in place, one to hold it in place and one to turn it But first, they have to pay royalties to Microsoft.

  36. By JJ on Jan 8, 2009 | Reply


    My wife did try Vista as it came pre-installed on her new system. She is a long time custom Linux user and I transfered her “3 buttons” (Email, IM, Internet) to Vista. :-)

    As far as I can tell it worked fine but she found it was ‘to in your face’.

    I’m trying to pointing out that as of 2009, most of the reasons for a non-techie user to favor Windows over Linux are not what they were when I first installed Red Hat 5.2 many years ago. It took me 3 weeks (part time) to get a black screen with a cursor. I was recently asked if I could re-install XP on a friends laptop (non-OEM) so I have a good idea of the issues involved. They are the same for both/all OS’s. Using a non-OEM install media that does not have the drivers required by the system is a pain. Same as when I install BSD, OpenSolaris etc.

    These sort of articles are very good at allowing these points to be highlighted and should not be used to flame the writer. Just because someone is not aware of all the issues (is it your profession?) does not give those who have a more rounded view permission to deride the writer.

  37. By G Fernandes on Jan 8, 2009 | Reply

    All of the reasons are actually red-herrings. You’re fighting straw-men here and spreading FUD. Here’s why:

    1) Which distro to use.

    Ask a friend who uses it – or, if you have no friend who loves GNU/Linux, buy a Dell with GNU/Linux pre-installed. Or a Netbook with GNU/Linux pre-installed.

    2) Where to get linux.

    See (1) above.

    3) How to install Linux.

    See (1) above.

    4) Configuring desktops and settings.

    What’s this all about? Configuring is no more different than Windows or a Mac. A little looking around and googling is all you need. Many of your so-called non-techies have exactly the same problems configuring Windows.

    5) Installing Software.

    See (1) above. If (1) is followed, this is actually a gazillion times easier than on Windows or the Mac.

    6) Installing drivers.

    See (5).

    7) Playing music files.

    See (5).

    8) Playing games.

    Why don’t you buy an XBox or PS3 or Nintendo Wii? Don’t tell me you play games on your computer! Perhaps you also watch TV and DVDs on your computer?

    9) Softwares availability.

    See (5).

    10) Difficult to get help.

    See (1).

    11) Partitioning

    See (1).

    12) Requires research.

    Doing almost anything in todays complex world requires a little research. This is about the most lame reason ever.

  38. By Tom on Jan 8, 2009 | Reply

    All Windows users become experts. They learn to constantly upgrade their antivirus software. They learn to defrag and scandisk. They learn to spend money on software. They learn to become consumers, rather than members of a community.

    Learning how easy Linux is can be very rewarding, and fun! Try it first, then write an article.

  39. By smcj on Jan 8, 2009 | Reply

    @ admin:

    If you install Windows, you have a bare operating system.

    If you install a deskop Linux distribution, you have all software available to get almost every job done, without installing additional software. The computer is usable out of box after a Linux install.

    You can’t say that about Windows.

    Please inform yourself a bit. Your points are abolutely outdated.
    These things might have been true in 1999, but not today.

    Installing software in Windows? WTH? Just give a decent Linux package manager.

    I can really only point to these videos from a Windows user, if you don’t want to do the research yourself:

    (Mhh bad quality, original video doesn’t seem to be online anymore …)

  40. By admin on Jan 8, 2009 | Reply

    I have learnt many things from your comments and i have also noticed that most of that peoples saying that the author is lack of knowledge about linux.Well let me clarify one thing here i m not a linux specialist nor i provide linux support.I personally use linux and prefer linux over windows and the reasons i have given are the actuall examples of what happened with me at the beginning when i started using redhat linux.Even when i installed linux on some of my friend’s PCs who are windows users the response of them was not good and all the reasons i have given are the questions asked by them and they can easily do all of these things in windows.
    One more thing i have noticed that most of your are saying that the meaning of non-techie should be a window’s user so i do admit that the meaning of non-techie was a windows users and why i have supposed the windows user as a non-techie because most of the home users have windows in their PCs.
    Another thing i wanna say to all of you that most of the readers here are coming from linuxtoday so they are using linux and also familiar with linux thats why all of you are thinking that the reasons i have given are not correct.

  41. By TripleII on Jan 8, 2009 | Reply

    “the actuall examples of what happened with me at the beginning when i started using redhat linux.”

    It was true back in Redhat days (before Fedora). I think they key here, what most are saying, you don’t give a newbie a live CD and say “good luck” any more than you could give a newbie a blank PC, Windows disks and say “good luck”. It is all in the OEM.

    “Even when i installed linux on some of my friend’s PCs who are windows users the response of them was not good”

    Now, not to slam you, but maybe you weren’t quite OEMing it good enough. If you look at any OEMed Windows machine, the driver frustrations are all worked out, MIME types are configured, all the codecs are installed, it is, when new, a “just works” proposition (however, it also comes with crapware, but I digress).

    I will say it again, it is the OEM. Non geeks don’t install OSes, they don’t install drivers, they don’t know a MIME type from a partition, the computer is set up so that the insert a DVD, it plays, they stick in an iPod, a music manager shows up, etc. All of that is OEM work.

    As one who OEMs (Mandriva) for my friends and family, refusing to support Windows anymore, once OEMed, it is truly a great experience, and the good thing is, it is a “:just works” proposition one year down the road, 2 years down the road, etc. It is not prone to just breaking.


  42. By steve on Jan 8, 2009 | Reply

    Why do you still hang on to your false assumptions even after everyone above has completly blown them out of the water???

    I have installed Linux on my wife and sister’s pc’s neither of them had ever used Linux before and they knew exatly how to login and open a web browser, check e’mail, do spreadsheets and wordprocessing.. Nither of them had ever installed windows before. So in my experiance I disagree with everything you have said..

  43. By admin on Jan 9, 2009 | Reply

    @ steve
    Steve i m not hanging on with my statements i have also mentioned that i have learned lots of thing from all of your’s comments.Actually the reasons provided are not my own thinking these are problems faced by many of my friends so i thought to write them on my blog and i think blog is a place where everybody has right to say whatever he faces or think so i did the same job and you also have right to put your feelings in comments.

  44. By Bernie on Jan 9, 2009 | Reply

    Several people have adressed your points quite well (TripleII most succinctly).

    Aside from a relative dearth of new, popular games written to run on Linux (and Wine/Cedega/etc are good for running Windows games on Linux),

    your criticisms basically boil down to noticing that Windows is not Linux. Or in other words, Linux is not a Windows clone. In my experience, new computer users have no trouble learning to use Linux — it is certain kinds of “experienced” or “expert” Windows users who have excessive difficulties and frustrations learning Linux, because they don’t appreciate how much their perceptions and expectations are shaped by what is already familiar to them. As far back as 2002 non-techie 12-year olds were successfully installing newbie-friendly distros (Note: RedHat is an Enterprise and Server oriented distribution — but kids who were prepared to read install-guides were able to do this too).

    It’s not an issue of being a “techie” (I’m not one). It’s an issue of mental flexibility. Also, experience with more than *one* other operating system is a big help. But Windows-users who unconsciously believe that “the Windows way” is the only way, will create many unnecessary difficulties for themselves.

    But if Linux truely is so much harder than Windows, and so unsatisfactory, why is it that the vast majority of Linux-users started as Windows-users? Why would they not only switch, but find Linux so much more satisfactory than Windows, and become active proponents of Linux ?

  45. By shalb on Jan 17, 2009 | Reply

    I think an important reason why Linux is not for non-techies is because non-techies expect to sit down in front of a computer and for the computer to work exactly as how they are used to having it work. They don’t want to customize it. They don’t want a more powerful system. They don’t want a “better” system per say. They want something they can use immediately.
    Think of it this way, you’ve driven automatic cars all your life and suddenly you’re given a car with manual transmission. It’s not that difficult to learn manual, but you still need to learn it and practice to drive it if you’ve never learned before. You can’t just sit into the car, start the engine with a turn of a key or press of a button and then press gas to go. Windows, for non-techies, is the automatic car whereas Linux is the manual. Non-techies aren’t fond of learning how to use Linux much like how people who are fine with automatic aren’t fond of learning how to drive manual. It’s more work than they have to do in order to use a computer.

  46. By academo on Jan 19, 2009 | Reply

    Jajajajaja! Really really funny! xD

    “10) Difficult to get help.”


  47. By Antton on Jan 27, 2009 | Reply

    I reinstalled last summer first Xp and then Ubuntu Hardy Heron. And i must say that Ubuntu was actually easier and simplier to install than Xp. Two weeks after installation Xp started to collapse even though there was Norton antivirus + firewall ON it doesn’t help at all.

    At the same time Ubuntu works week after week better. Package manager (Synaptic) was just splendid. There were some bugs especially with some videos, firefox and with Pidgin, but interesting thing was that at the end of summer (august) Hardy became very stabile after being before just “quite stabile”. In that one august evening i had to make reboot after Firefox or Pidgin operation – but that was my last reboot because failure by some application.

    Now Ubuntu Hardy Heron is my main OS Linux-distro. I’ve no idea what to do with crap Xp-partition. Last week a reduced some 40 Gib of it and make another Linux-partition by GParted. I gave chmod 777 to that partition (/media/disk) and i’ll use it as storage of my Ubuntu work-files.

    Ubuntu Hardy Heron has been great. And most important – it’s more and more stabile after every updating. I’m very happy Linux-user now.

    BTW do you know any Linux-user who has problems with viruses and/or worms? I don’t know. But most of my friends who are using Windows are sick and tired of their crap OS’s. That’s the fact.

  48. By Eric on Jan 31, 2009 | Reply

    I apologize for the length of this post, but I wanted to cover the article as fairly as possible. I feel room exists for clarity and concision, but I did want to get done quickly.

    In my extensive experience with both platform management and tech support, this article is sided in a way suggesting that, perhaps, someone worried too much about switching to Linux.

    My best points are these, many partially or wholly repeated above:

    When it comes to the non-techie, usually it’s some techie friend that will set things up. This negates 1-3, 6, 7 and 11.

    Assuming a non-techie would make the attempt alone, however, I would also consider these points:

    The distro chosen would probably be based on popular recommendation (often, wherever the non-techie heard about Linux from first.

    The site for that distro would have the, “where,” already mentioned, as well as warnings and recommendations.

    Live discs avoid install, and when NTFS is involved in dual booting, most sites encourage paying for a manager to shrink the Windows partition first. After that, A non-techie would likely just create the root partition there, or, in some distros, select the “dual boot default install.” If there isn’t a dual boot, then everything is even easier for a non-techie, as many default option will allow them to whizz through, in some cases, with only 3-5 questions needing to be answered.In my extensive experience with both platform management and tech support, this article is sided in a way suggesting that, perhaps, someone worried too much about switching to Linux.

    The most recommended new user distros will have ready means of obtaining highly select drivers (e.g. binary only and/or rarely used hardware, i.e. Nvidia cards or Panasonic multi-screen). A significant increase in manufacturers are now consistently supporting Linux as platform of choice as more large and medium sized business are increasing their use of Linux and vendors are offering the OS as an option on private systems. Getting drivers can often be done by going to a vendor’s website or calling their support number (hardware services support calls are often toll-free, an additional plus).

    Proprietary media codecs are readily accessible in the aforementioned popular-for-newbies distros. Music, video, media players, network conferencing and even using syncing your ipod is available in these distributions (more when I cover 5).

    Regarding partitions, this is almost a bizarre approach, as you use the system resource reference for Linux and common interface for Windows. Linux partitions are comparable to Windows. Windows does, in fact, have its own system resource reference for partitions and devices, just like Linux, though, I no longer remember the full path, but compare what happens when you remove the common interface C:\:
    \Windows\Desktop\My Documents
    There is no bizarre E on Linux, it all appears under the root file (/), so, while in the example, /home is a separate partition from /, it does not, as it would in Windows, appear as if it were another device. I would say this is far easier to manage.

    Now, covering some of the oddball comparisons in 4, 5, 8 and 9, I would say, to some extent, these seem to ignore what makes a conversion likely if not easier.

    Gnome and KDE are not Windows, and while Gnome will not readily pretend to be Windows, KDE can be made to feel like it is just another generation of Windows. Gnome’s difference get people used to the idea that things will be somewhat unlike Windows, and they will adapt to that sooner; while KDE is willing to feel as much like one version of Windows as any two: compare the 9x series, to XP to Vista; KDE would fit right in regarding subtle similarities.

    Installing Software is awesome in Linux for new users (I hear this a lot from many). The moment they open Synaptic and find out that software, tons of it, is just waiting for the user to find and install them (simply by double-clicking the app and clicking on apply), they are amazed. When it comes to independent 3rd party vendors, even for games (things you buy at the store), going to the site will often inform a user if the binary part if available for their game, while finding alternative to software is only knowing the type of software you want, such as “Desktop Publication” or “Movie Editing.” When all else fails, Crossover Office and Transgaming will come up in many an Internet search.

    Finally, regarding 10 and 12, these seem detached from the experience of considering Linux altogether. The newbie-friendly distributions tend to have forums, which they strongly advertise to assist people, many with additionally help that ensures if no one answers a question within a certain time frame, a staffer will assist with any problems. Regarding Windows features familiarity, most of these are standard interface design, from how to access many setting from within a particular type of application to useful keystrokes. Believe it or not, many of these in Windows came originally from Unix/Linux/X-windowing-system.

    The only really valid point here focuses on store bought software, “Windows 98 or better” may result in much confusion ^_- ! Seriously though, many vendors still do not put much interest in Linux unless they are already catering to business interests; however, those that cater to OS X are a toolkit and an SDK away from being able to do a port, so, those that do programme for Mac OS X users have a shorter path to catering to Linux users. While I mention CrossOver and Transgaming, these would not be readily sought until asking for help in a forum or using search engine.

  49. By Rizwan Rafique on Feb 5, 2009 | Reply

    Most of the points here are mostly myths or views of someone who doesn’t try or is afraid to try something. A more detailed response from me is available here:

  50. By Paul on Mar 11, 2009 | Reply

    I wish some of you idiots would learn how to type, your English is terrible, for christ sake learn how to spell in English, there is such a thing call “Spell Checker” or perhaps some of you are to ignorant, yeah you probably are.

  51. By camiel on May 12, 2009 | Reply

    getting linux is more easy than windows, as you can just order it free of charce from Also installing linux is much more easy as installing windows. I dit both in a dualboot, the ubuntu setup was the clearest and the fastest. Also wich distro to use is clearly explained on the ubuntu web-site. Drivers in linux are very easy to download and install and almost all drivers you need are there. you’re right about the games though.

    What I actually want to say is that also “non-techies” can easily switch to linux. When I first intalled linux I didn’t even know the difference between processors an cpu’s.



  52. By ubunturxx on May 19, 2009 | Reply

    getting a linux is almost like downloading a file from the internet,pretty simple really,and to install one is also an easy task just look at ubuntu installer and u’ll get my point in opinion its even easier than installing windows….installing programs is hard??????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!thats pretty dumb it is almost one click ..done, and there exist installers like windows such as .deb files……and one more thing getting help is widely available and the linux community is really welcoming i just get amazed when i look at the ubuntu forums ……and one more thing i used to have a window and it sucks!!!!!!!!

  53. By Stan on Jul 24, 2009 | Reply

    Now I am not going to say your points are not valid – they are, but you are completely wrong in the WHY. Let me explain:

    All of your points come from the view of the windows user. Because things are different in linux does not mean they are more difficult or complicated. Your are used to the things they are, because windows has been dominant in the desktop market for the last 20 years.

    Let me put it this way, I will now go over your points one by one from the point of view of a linux user, who has never seen windows:

    1) Which distro to use. If linux has been at least half successful as windows in the beginning, it would be a commong sense for users to have a choice of distros.

    On the other hand, talking about XP. What is the difference between pro and home versions, when I can switch from one another by just editing SINGLE registry key. Why did I overpay $50 ????

    2)Where to get linux?
    Well windows is popular, but for some reason, I have to lift my lazy ass and go to the store to get one…. I cannot download one on internet. Just enter “download linux” in google, and you will have hundreds of legal links to do so. Try same with windows… so how is more convenient to buy cd/dvd with OS from shop ??? especially in the age of internet.

    3) Again…. what ? Linux installation takes 50% less clicks than windows. And apparently windows partitioning is easier than in linux install ???
    By default all major distributions offer auto partitioning.

    Installing linux on ntfs is pure Windows user point of view.

    4) From the point of view of long windows user – Yes. But put a person who has never seen windows, and you will see that Gnome and Kde interfaces are not less user friendly than explorer or windows control panel.

    5) Different way – yes. Install from sources – no.
    And tell me how can a windows Add/Remove program can be called a software manager ? Can I select 5 applications to delete at a time ? Can I browse through thousands of applications available to me and install the ones i want at a click of a button ? Why in hell do I need to restart each time ? Are all windows applications using same install mechanism ? Why not all of them uninstall cleanly ?

    Again an extreme example of Windows user behavior and not a non-tech savy person.

    6) Yes agree on this. But this is only because linux is not popular, and hardware manufactures are not interested in implementing linux drivers. Same can be sad for Mac OS. Try installing a pci modem or a raid controller in mac. or right.. you can’t. Mac is working with extremely limited hardware base.

    7) Playing music, games.Lack of support of games is due to, as I mentioned above, popularity issues.

    Music is a yes and no. Depending on the distribution. Linux Mint will play all these files out of the box.

    9) Again, a shame to say, a point of view of a Windows long user. And not just a non tech savy person. I guarantee you, if you have a person that has never heard names such as “winrar, Internet Explorer” but knows these: archive manager and browser, they will have no problem finding those.

    Then there is a real question of easiness. In order to install an archive manager software on Windows, first I need to understand what it i need, which archives it need to support, google it in order to learn what are the choices and prices, buy it, download and finally install.
    In linux all that is done using packet manager.

    10) maybe.
    11)Again point of view of long windows User.
    Let me walk you through from nix user over windows partitioning:

    I have C: and D: drives. Ok. where is my windows installation, it’s in C:\Windows and in C:\Program files and in C\Documents and parts in C: root folder and in C:\temp. OMG it’s a mess before I started using it. And wait a second my root folder is Desktop, which has C-> Docs and settings, which has Desktop, which has C-> Docs and settings ………. it a damn recursive file system. (You started to talk about file systems when mention the location of hard drives partitions locations on the linux FS)

    12) Requires research.
    ONLY if the person was a long windows user.

    Now, I would not have written all that, if the name of your article was “12 reasons why windows is better than linux for long windows users” or “12 ways why it is hard to switch from windows to linux”.

    Take two aboriginals from Amazon river, who has never seen a cellphone in their lives, and put one of them in front of Windows and Linux, and watch who will be the first to install apps and browse internet.



  54. By Jeff Wright on Aug 1, 2009 | Reply

    Doug Swain @ Jan 7, 2009
    “Things that require extra effort is something that a common user is not looking for. I feel it’s comparable to the idea that the computer is a tool and not the project itself”

    I think this is the most plain and accurate summation of the underlying problem people have with technology in general and switching to Linux from another OS in this context specifically.

    The computer *is* a tool and as such it should simply assist me in accelerating the task i set out to complete. It should do its utmost not slow me down, put me through hoops or force me to go about achieving the primary objective in a zig-zag route.

    Naturally, new things take a bit getting used to but a tool should be designed to minimize the number of steps required to use its functions and adhere to natural conventions in its problem space.

    The best tool for any given problem is that with the best trade-offs between the following often opposing forces:
    * Obviousness (being intuitive to use, no learning needed, builds on previous experience / mimics natural phenomena)
    * Effort (require the least amount of interaction to complete the task)
    * Performance (require the least amount of wall clock time to achieve the objective)

    E.g. If I need to fasten a board to a wall such that it sits sturdy and can later be removed, I would use screws and a driver. The best screwdriver (tool) for the job is one which allows me to as quickly as possible fasten a number of screws. A good tool candidate would be a pre-fitted, power drill with a pre-charged battery, where all I need to do to complete my objective is to unwrap the drill, push a button and hold it against the screws in turn.

    Worse alternatives would be a drill which I’d need to assemble first, a drill with some piece I needed to “tweak” (exchange) before I could start using it or a non-powered screw driver (the latter would be simpler to use but take me longer to actually get the screws fastened).

    Translated back to the computer domain; The applications are everything (they are the real tools) and the OS shouldn’t matter one iota. The OS should be as transparent as air and as obvious as breathing it. It should just be there to support applications, the tools which in turn are there solely to support the achievement of people’s real-world objectives.

  55. By Piercing on Aug 2, 2009 | Reply

    Great article . Will definitely apply it to my blog

  56. By pahnin on Jun 22, 2010 | Reply

    using linux mint can solve most of the above problms
    it is bit similar to windows
    like . .
    it provides desktop computer icon
    and mp3 codecs are pre installed

  57. By j. elderty on Jul 7, 2011 | Reply

    When it concerns marketshare, the most and especially the one the athor is using, are flaw. Most survey at this point look at the prime operating system. Which means that dual boot computers are counted as Windows.
    Surveys that do take into consideration that dual boot exist, show close to 10% marketshare for Linux. Quite a difference.

    the most important reason why Windows can maintain its position, is vendor lock in. Every pc these days is always sold with Win pre installed.
    As a user you cannot buy a clean pc, only at very specialized shops, were the average customer never gets by.
    Secondly, requesting to remove Win from a PC at the shop, is always denied. it is an all in one package. Same goes for Apple.

    Linux has no such market entry. Inspite of various efforts in the EU, Microsoft knows to maintain its vendor lock in position. Which btw disturbs the free market. The influence of MS to maintain this , is obvious large.

    however, things are changing. In spite of many threats, the EU limited the free ride of IE on computers. Now every new pc must allow a variety of browsers. And guess what: Immediate the market share of FF, Opera, Safari and Chrome started to rise rapidly. In the EU FF is already bigger then IE.

    so what needs to be done is to give the customer a free choice upon purchase. Win-Lin or apple on it systems. considering the price difference, it is more then to be expected that Win will then loose a large part of its marketshare.

    so the author conclusion that Win prevails due to its user friendlyness is not based on facts, but only on its own predisposition

  58. By Mark Kenneth on Sep 24, 2011 | Reply

    Can you help me answer this question

    How Operating Systems Software differ from other software?

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