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Author Topic: Face it folks, Linux is insignificant  (Read 6073 times)
uelsk8s
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Vectorian
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« Reply #15 on: November 06, 2007, 06:39:24 am »

I average 1 convert a week of exactly this type of computer user. after I "fix" there computer they are amazed at the speed from the same hardware and once I have the icons of the programs they use setup they dont need anything else.
Why would you be more cautious turning them loose on linux?
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tomh38
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« Reply #16 on: November 06, 2007, 07:21:05 am »

I've been amazed over the years at what people can do to bj0rk their systems without even really trying.  I used to work with a woman who used to like to play around with various fonts.  One day she decided that she wanted to look at the fonts more easily, so she moved (didn't copy, moved) the fonts folder to the desktop.  Instant unbootable system (I think this was Windows 98 ...).  I imagine you can guess who had to fix it.

I don't install Linux for people unless they have an idea of what it is, that it won't run most of the programs they're used to (and I usually discourage the use of Wine for things that have Linux equivalents) ... you get the idea.  Live CDs are great for this kind of thing.
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"I'm doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones." - Linus Torvalds, April 1991
Freston
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« Reply #17 on: November 06, 2007, 08:35:05 am »

Quote from: uelsk8s
Why would you be more cautious turning them loose on linux?
So you have good experience? That is good to hear. I'm on a grand total of 2 converts (one of which has a dual boot), and ~4 interested in a demo. Handing the latter a LiveCD has not done anything, it seems they are waiting for my witty personal presentation  Grin

The trouble starts when my protégés start adding to the install; outside the scope of the repo Shocked
You know, you can train a monkey to compile from source. But once you start explaining it to someone all they hear is 'Freston knows how to do it'. It's not the first time I'm greeted with the words "I've downloaded something, can you install it?" *sigh* I may be a geek, but I'd rather be greeted differently (and with that, I don't mean "my package fails to build, can you find out if I have the right verion of gcc?" or anything that combines the words 'broken' and 'dependency')

I guess the reason I wake up screaming is that I suspect someone I 'helped' with his/her computer will call me up casually some day and ask:"I've bought this webcam, can you plug it in" Shocked I dunno how to do that either. You know, nobody calls me up and ask how to build a ftp server. Or how to edit .Xmodmap. Or change a bootscript.

Quote from: tomh38
I've been amazed over the years at what people can do to bj0rk their systems without even really trying.  I used to work with a woman who used to like to play around with various fonts.  One day she decided that she wanted to look at the fonts more easily, so she moved (didn't copy, moved) the fonts folder to the desktop.  Instant unbootable system (I think this was Windows 98 ...).  I imagine you can guess who had to fix it.
True story: A friend of mine deleted everything off his computer that wasn't  a user file or obviously related to an application he used. He was right though... who needs the system files of a ! *nix OS. (I don't know the exact scope of the damage he'd done, by the time I learned of this the system was unusable.)
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uelsk8s
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« Reply #18 on: November 06, 2007, 09:19:16 am »

most of the users I move to linux dont ever change anything on a computer.
they just click on the programs (Browser mostly).
In fact most of them I dont even give the root password to.
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GrannyGeek
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« Reply #19 on: November 06, 2007, 05:59:48 pm »

At this time there is a lot of buzz over inexpensive computers running--Linux! Examples: the Acer eee ultralight laptop computer ($399) and the Everex gPC desktop, being sold at Walmart for $199 not including monitor. The Linux these computers are running is customized to be easy for children and new users.

These computers have been getting favorable reviews in the online computer press. And these reviews always mention how easy they are to use--as if this is something new for Linux. As we know, you can make Linux as easy as you want if you're setting up a computer for, say, children or your proverbial grandmother (that one always gets to me<g>). The computers are geared to Web access, e-mail, IMing, listening to music, looking at photos, doing word processing with OOo--the things ordinary users do and that Linux can do very easily and very well.

My own opinion is that the gPC computer is not as big a bargain as it seems because it doesn't come with a monitor, so right off the bat you'd better add in $100 or more for a usable system (they're not intended for people with a garageful of old computer parts). And its specs are pretty minimal. Walmart sells a very similar model with Vista Home Basic for $299 that comes with a 17" CRT monitor, a card reader, and a DVD writer, not just a DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo drive. Due to the added hardware, the Windows PC is a better value than the gPC. As for the Acer eee, its chief "value" is its 2-pound weight. Ultralight laptops usually cost much more. For very close to $399 you can buy a traditional laptop with much better specs, but it'll weigh more. I'd love to have a little ultralight laptop, but I wouldn't buy an Acer eee until it has some sort of track record. If it's cheap because it's CHEAP, it's no bargain if it falls apart the day the warranty runs out.

Whether they're good values or not, the low prices of these computers have the potential to appeal to the low end of the market and introduce the masses to a Linux-powered system. If people find that they do well those everyday jobs average users want to do and they are easy to use, this may be the breakthrough into the mainstream that has so far eluded desktop Linux. Our window of opportunity may be small, however. The Acer eee is supposed to be available with Windows XP by the end of the year.

I am following this with great interest. I don't think desktop Linux has ever had such an opportunity to break into the mainstream. Walmart is test marketing the gPC at 600 stores....
--GrannyGeek
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BlueMage
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« Reply #20 on: November 06, 2007, 06:30:19 pm »

400USD for a bloody laptop ... my Lord, that is cheap even if the specs are crap.

... Do I want a Wii or do I want to try out an ultralight laptop... ah, choices, choices.
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Acer Laptop:  Vector 5.8 SOHO Final & Windows XP Professional & USB (still alive!)
Compaq POS (almost dead): Vector 5.9 Light Beta 5
Quad-core BEAST: Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit & Vector 5.9 64-bit beta-2
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GrannyGeek
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« Reply #21 on: November 06, 2007, 07:42:12 pm »

Every week at US big-box stores (large computer and electronics retailers), you can find laptops for under $500. And I just checked newegg.com and they're selling a Lenovo Celeron M 520 with 15" XGA 1024x768 screen, 80 gig hard drive, 512 megs RAM, Dual-layer DVD burner, LAN, WLAN (b/g), Cardbus slot, Vista Home Basic, etc.,etc. for $450. It weighs 6.4 pounds.

The Acer eee at $400 has a 7" 800x480 screen, Intel Mobile processor, 512 megs DDR2, no hard drive but a 4-gig solid-state disk, LAN and WLAN (b/g), MMC/SD card slot, 40 built-in apps on a custom Linux OS. The keyboard is said to be uncomfortably small. The eee weighs under 2 lbs.

There is quite a difference in specs, but which one is a better buy would depend on what you wanted to do with it. The eee is a very attractive choice if you carry a laptop around for traveling or to hot spots or maybe to classes.

I think I'd prefer a PDA with wireless. It can do the Web and e-mail, play music, view pictures, play movies, and do word processing and spreadsheets, just for a beginning. Plus it weighs a few ounces and fits in my purse. My current PDA can do all those things except connect to the Internet because it doesn't have wireless.
--GrannyGeek
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Registered Linux User #397786

Happily running VL 7 Gold on  a Sempron LE-1300 desktop (2.3 GHz), 4 G RAM,  GeForce 6150 SE onboard graphics and on an HP Pavilion dv7 i7, 6 gigs, Intel 2nd Generation Integrated Graphics Controller
BlueMage
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« Reply #22 on: November 07, 2007, 03:43:47 am »

To be honest, I'd likely be getting the Acer eee for the same reason I'd be getting the Wii - for the fun of it Sad  My PDA (which I don't use too often now due to battery issues) doesn't have wireless, but it does have GPS.

Uncomfortably small though ... that could be the deal-killer - I have large hands, yet they fit my current Acer perfectly.
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Acer Laptop:  Vector 5.8 SOHO Final & Windows XP Professional & USB (still alive!)
Compaq POS (almost dead): Vector 5.9 Light Beta 5
Quad-core BEAST: Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit & Vector 5.9 64-bit beta-2
Old 500MHz media box:  Vector 5.8 SOHO Final (dead)
701 EeePC:  Puppeee (based on Puppy 4.01)
Freston
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« Reply #23 on: November 07, 2007, 03:45:13 am »

Very interesting points. There _is_ a window of opportunity.... one should think (IMHO that is).

Now I was being a bit conservative in how I expressed my opinion, not to pull anyones leg but because I have had this vague idea (I have lots of vague ideas). Please don't pin me down on anything, as I have no concrete actions planned as of yet. But I have been thinking. I run a small business (part time) that gets funded by a form of government subsidiary. Regulations change, and I know my contract will not get renewed. Now I have been lucky, the last round of contracting I got a contract all the way up to the mid of 2009. But after that, I'll be out of business. I may be able to stall until the end of 2009. But that's a 'delay of execution' as the expression goes. So I'm looking for a plan B.

One of my plans is this:
To go back to the OP, Linux may be insignificant in terms of market share. What is lacking in the wonderful world of Linux is a physical place to buy Linux powered machines. There is a big audience who only trust computers bought in a store. And those people don't get any exposure to Linux, ever.

People want laptops. And with good right. You don't need to dedicate a corner of the living room to your computer. A desktop takes up space. A laptop you throw in a drawer when you're not using it. You can sit on the couch with a laptop. But a laptop is more expensive.
Now the latest and greatest OS of a well known software house needs a machine on steroids to run properly. Whereas what most people do on a machine could easily be done on lesser specs. Heck, most people don't even _need_ all the functionality of OOo. Lighter programs suffice for many purposes.

So, if someone would be able to buy cheap low powered laptops without OS, and configure them properly with a befitting Linux distro, and if that someone opened up a store in a location that gets lots of traffic, making it very easy and inviting to walk in and look around and play with the machines... you catch my drift. I smell market.

There is actually quite a lot of people who don't have a computer, who know nothing about computers, who really don't want a computer, but who feel that one of these days they cannot do without one. One of the things keeping them from buying a computer is fear, the other is money. I think if you can provide these people with a cheap laptop that is easy to operate, they just might be persuaded.

Now there are many difficulties to be overcome. And I don't think I'll be able to tackle them all, especially on my own. Sure, I can write a business plan. I know a suitable location. The political wind in my country is blowing in the right direction. But can I get funding? Can I get suppliers to deliver low end (and high end, 'cuz there is market there as well) hardware without OS? Will I be able to deliver the service required? Can I navigate the legal issues? Will I be able to make a living _and_ have a life (working <50 hrs/week).

I dunno. Probably not. It would be good if what I described above existed though. And I don't think anyone else is trying...

Food for thought, to me anyway. And hence my question... would something go dramatically wrong when inexperienced users operate a properly configured Linux box?
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tomh38
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« Reply #24 on: November 07, 2007, 06:25:37 am »

Freston:  To answer your final question:  Would something go dramatically wrong when inexperienced users operate a properly configured Linux box?  My answer is ... I don't think any more so than with Windows.  But, when something does go wrong, people want tech support.  They want if from the person from whom they bought the computer.  Despite the Best Buy television commercials, the Dork Squad can't fix anything and everything.  Would you be able to provide tech support for the machines that you sell?

Concerning laptops ... there are still people like me who prefer a desktop computer, with a nice big keyboard and no worrying about the battery or having to send the thing back to the manufacturer when something goes wrong with the hardware.  I know that the market is moving towards mobile devices in general, but there might be a bigger market for desktop machines than you're thinking.  Then again, if we're talking about some time in 2010, things could be a lot different by then.
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"I'm doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones." - Linus Torvalds, April 1991
nubcnubdo
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Posts: 675


« Reply #25 on: November 07, 2007, 07:20:26 am »

small computers
http://www.vectorlinux.com/forum2/index.php?topic=3000.0


amazing
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnsz8Uc3enE
« Last Edit: November 07, 2007, 08:01:59 am by nubcnubdo » Logged
Freston
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« Reply #26 on: November 07, 2007, 08:24:33 am »

tomh38:
Thanks for your reply  Grin

Tech support is IMO a bigger issue even than funding. Even with hardware failure left aside, I expect the target audience to be more dependent than average on support. Without a good detailed plan on this, the  plan as a whole is set to self-destruct. Customer trust and satisfaction are very important in this line of business. And, different from vendors of other OS's, I don't have the luxury to say: "A billion other people are using this OS, and they are _not_ complaining". Roll Eyes

On the other hand, support will probably be the main source of income in a business like this. Will I be able to provide it? Not now, not on my own, and not without a good and detailed assessment of what the audience needs, what is serviceable, and how to yield proper benefits (<= Not really sure about the usage of 'yield')

Sure! I can set up a desktop or laptop in a nice and sensible configuration. And if nobody does anything to it that is outside the scope of what it was set up for, all will be alright. And helping someone set up a new mail account can be done digitally, if need be. So the audience that is not really demanding on a machine will be alright; browser/email/solitaire/word_processor type of users.
What else have you? More demanding users with webcams and VoIP. Frontpage, anyone? Seriously... is there a good alternative? Nvu maybe, but it doesn't automagically include javascript. Would I need to be able to provide an alternative? How about all the beautiful Peripherals like winprinters that pose a financial benefit to the buyer over a proper hardware driven printer that does work out of the box?

Maybe introducing the wonderfully complicated world of Service Level Agreements is something to consider (plan pending). But I fear it may still be more weight than I can carry.

nubcnubdo
Yeah... good links. You kept me busy for a long time ;-) There are quite a lot of them small boxes out there. Attractive. I knew some of them, saw some new ones, and found many more following my nose. Via had some interesting ones (a laptop among them), although they didn't list a price :-(

But, as mentioned above, many if not all are headless. Which means that unless someone already has a monitor, the price falls out a lot higher (may double in some cases). Also, the thin clients among them may not be a preferable solution in many cases. The support deals on the other hand, as far I could tell where not at all bad. Power consumption is also an issue these small devices address. 5~6 watts in some cases, but that is not counting the monitor. Still... impressive.

----

Well, as I said. What I think is lacking in the world of Linux is a good amount of exposure to the people. A place where you can see Linux, work with Linux, check it out without fear of ruining your system. I've had this plan I was thinking about, to change this and make a living. What is wise? Maybe wisdom is staying silent about your silly plans (default)... Maybe wisdom is speaking out and doing something innovative; filling a perceived hole in the market. But, as far is it's now... tech support is wanting wisdom. And I'll be needing a business partner. Hmmm. At least I've got something to break my head over, keeps ya sharp :-D
« Last Edit: November 07, 2007, 08:26:24 am by Freston » Logged
exeterdad
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« Reply #27 on: November 07, 2007, 08:27:28 am »

Quote
Can I get suppliers to deliver low end (and high end, 'cuz there is market there as well) hardware without OS?

Buying power is going to be your biggest enemy.  You have to promise these suppliers volume to get prices low enough to be able to compete and grab the attention of the customers.  Undecided
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lagagnon
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WWW
« Reply #28 on: November 07, 2007, 12:37:37 pm »

Concerning laptops ... there are still people like me who prefer a desktop computer, with a nice big keyboard and no worrying about the battery or having to send the thing back to the manufacturer when something goes wrong with the hardware. 

I agree wholeheartedly - laptops are highly overrated unless portability is a must. We dissuade our clients from laptop purchases unless portability tops the needs list because laptops are:
1) more expensive for the same computing power
2) more prone to breakdowns and much less reliable
3) not upgradeable except for RAM and hard drive
4) much more expensive to repair and usually require shipment to the manufacturer
5) more prone to theft
6) less ergonomic for long periods at the keyboard

Just my humble opinions as always  Wink
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"As people become more intelligent they care less for preachers and more for teachers". Robert G. Ingersoll
tomh38
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« Reply #29 on: November 07, 2007, 12:52:45 pm »

lagagnon:
Holy sh ... shucks!  I thought I was the last person on Earth who preferred a desktop computer, and here you make a list with all my reasons and a few more.  Of course when it comes to mobility laptops are a must if that's what the person needs.  For me, even if I needed the mobility for work (I don't - fortunately I can leave my work at work) I would still want a desktop machine at home.

Part of it for me is that I've been building (assembling, whatever) my own machines since the mid-late 90s, and I love it.  You can't do that with a laptop.  And if you put the box together yourself, you know know exactly what's in it (e.g. you don't skimp on the power supply), and you can do your own quality control.

Just my .002 of a barrel of oil.
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"I'm doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones." - Linus Torvalds, April 1991
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