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The Deal Breaker


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#1 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 06 August 2017 - 07:40 AM

10 years into my first experience with Linux, I am still convinced that the major reason it has such a low desktop user share is because it is so hard for the average naive computer jockey to get a working Linux system.
Probably 95% of computer users (PC and Mac) don't give the O/S a second thought - you go to Walmart or Staples and buy the thing and it's ready to go. There are a few manufacturers who pre-build Linux systems but they are not readily available unless you do some online research. The majors like Dell and HP make expensive developer models mostly. And if you live in Canada forget it.
So you have to install yourself - download and burn an ISO or make a flashdrive. Then you fiddle with the BIOS, run the install and after that you are at the same point you were when you came home from Walmart. You still haven't learned about updates and software management the Linux way.
We may think these activites are trivial - and they are after 50 or so installs. But by then you'd be a power user in any O/S. It just won't happen with Joe or Jill Sixpack.
The minor deal breakers like wifi and printer drivers have largely been overcome in today's Linux - and the manufacturers are still hot for Android. But the fact you have to be a minor geek to get the mainstream version of Linux set up remains a deal breaker for way too many users.
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#2 OFFLINE   securitybreach

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Posted 06 August 2017 - 09:09 AM

Yeah but the same people would have a problem installing and setting up Windows. Even with Windows 10, you still have to know how to download and install drivers (way more than you would with linux). Heck I have a windows 10 partition with an Unknown device that I cannot figure out what it is and I installed all the drivers listed from the HP site. The problem with desktop linux is that it does not come preinstalled on enough machines. The average person nowadays is fine with just a browser and an office suite (most do not even need this).
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#3 OFFLINE   goretsky

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Posted 06 August 2017 - 10:04 AM

Hello,

Another issue, although less of one these days, was the lack of support for whatever $KILLER_APP the person wanted to run, which was only available on Windows.  Or Mac.  These days, a lot less of an issue, though, since so many programs are web-based.

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#4 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 06 August 2017 - 10:16 AM

Agreed not many would be able to install and set up Windows either - but they don't have to.
My wife just took my Arch Linux laptop along on a family visit. It works just great for her web surfing and email - but she didn't have to worry about installation. That is the deal breaker that Windows users don't worry about unless they are building a machine or reinstalling after a crash.

Still a few apps I can't run in Linux - like Quick Tax and Adobe Digital editions - and of course some games. It's getting better though. Not nearly the deal breaker that installation is.
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#5 OFFLINE   securitybreach

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Posted 06 August 2017 - 10:34 AM

Luckily Steam is taking care of the gaming support issue. There are over a thousand games available for linux including big titles:  http://www.pcworld.c...linux-home.html
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"Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating? It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself. Progress in our world will be progress toward more pain." -George Orwell, 1984

#6 OFFLINE   saturnian

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Posted 07 August 2017 - 02:12 AM

View Postsecuritybreach, on 06 August 2017 - 09:09 AM, said:

The problem with desktop linux is that it does not come preinstalled on enough machines. The average person nowadays is fine with just a browser and an office suite (most do not even need this).

My intro to Linux came on an inexpensive notebook, preinstalled with Linspire. Linspire wasn't the greatest distro, but it was Debian-based, and I played around with that notebook for about a year before I attempted my first Linux installation.

I didn't learn as much that first year as I would have learned if I had struggled through getting Linux installed and set up on my own. But at the time, I still had my Windows computer, and that first year gave me a nice opportunty to compare the two operating systems. One of the things that impressed me most was how little system maintenance I had to do for my Linspire notebook compared to what I had to do for the Windows PC. The Linspire notebook was a huge factor in my Linux "conversion."

I don't see anything like those Linspire computers out there these days. I mean, I got mine from Walmart; now they sell Android tablets and Chromebooks. If I was starting out with Linux right now, I'd probably play around with a Chromebook first, like I did with that Linspire notebook.

What I'd like to see is a situation where you could walk into a BestBuy or Walmart or something and pick up an inexpensive computer, maybe $300 or less, that came preinstalled with a very basic Debian system. Leave it up to the user to learn what to do with it, and even advertise the do-it-yourself angle.

They'd be Linux-compatible computers, with the system already set up to work with the hardware, but just the default Debian Stable otherwise. ("Give Linux the right environment to run in." I read something like that a long time ago, and it turned out to be an important thing. You've gotta deal with the hardware.)

Plus maybe include a Debian installation DVD or flash drive for if/when the user messes things up. Don't even offer much in the way of "official" support, just have user forums and point to the Debian wiki.

Call it The RTFM Computer. Lol. :hysterical:  I kill myself sometimes.

That's something that would have appealed to me, and it would have given me a nice start in Linux, I'm sure. Just the basics to work with, but eliminating the hardware hurdle. I'd even buy one now, if there was a deal like that out there.

#7 OFFLINE   abarbarian

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Posted 07 August 2017 - 05:25 AM

I recon folk are living in the past a tad when it comes to talking about linux and how difficult it is to match up to hardware.

I have an old Dell 32 bit pc and MX-15/16 works straight out of the box on it. Put the same MX-16 on a usb stick and it works straight out of the box on my new Skylake UEFI pc. My old AMD set up which is nine years old ran several different linux distros straight out of the box. I have put Knoppix on a usb for my niece to use on a laptop about six years ago and it worked straight out of the box for her. I have put Mint on a very old 32 bit laptop for a friend and once again it worked straight out of the box, the only minor fiddle was starting the wi-fi, that was four years ago so the wi-fi might work straight away with todays Mint.

So where is this mythical hardware that does not run on linux ?

The only real problem I have had with linux not playing nicely with hardware was with a add-on sound card, but I managed to make it work. Funnily enough the same sound card had problems with Windows 7 eventually, so Windows has hardware problems too.

An yes there are some problems with AMD graphics cards not having full functionality and the odd card having a driver problem but generally you can get the cards to work well enough for daily use.

No one seems to mention that with Windows some of the kit you bought for 98 or XP or even 7 no longer works as you upgrade to the next wonderful almost perfect version of Windows. Or the fact that that same hardware if it worked on a linux distro in 2000 will in all probability still work today in a modern distro.

An no one has ever taken up my challenge, issued at least four times in the last eight years, to do a install comparison between Windows and linux. The challenge is simple. Ask a user or couple of users who are at least able to install a program on Windows to take the challenge. They do not need to be a geek or command line guru, just an ordinary everyday user who is comfortable with surfing and using some basic programs.
Take a pc that is known to work with both linux and Windows.Take say Windows 7 and MX-16 and put the install .iso on a stick or disc and install to the pc and bring up to date the os's. Then add in a, office suite,video player,music player,torrent program,Steam or a suitably chosen list of programmes that the ordinary normal type of user would need.

Then see how long it takes to accomplish the task with both os's. No trickery no hidden gremlins just kit that works well with both os's. Which user do you think will take the shortest time and be a happy bunny surfing away ?
Now that is the sort of information that would be very useful to see flooding the net. If the truth was spread about linux and a lot of the fud spread about Windows was shown to be fud then you might see a greater uptake of the linux os.

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#8 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 07 August 2017 - 07:22 AM

I agree with much of the commentary here and certainly it's very easy to install Linux - arguably easier than Windows. But we are not average folks here. Speaking personally I have close to 50 years experience with computers, 35 with microprocessors, more than 25 with x86 based PCs. Making a USB ISO won't bother me.
It would help if such gadgets as MintBox were widely available - in Walmart and Amazon.
If you manage to choose the right distro everything should work out of the box with most hardware. MX-16 is a gem when it comes to compatibility. It easily handled a Broadcom wifi chip and an AMD APU in my daughter's old laptop.
Debian is a bear though. I had trouble installing Debian on a Thinkpad T430 - which is otherwise about as Linux friendly a machine as you can get - all Intel, all the way. Debian doesn't provide the Intel wifi firmware out of the box so I needed a wire install and then add the right stuff to the sources list and install it.
Maybe this whole thing is moot now with Chromebooks and Android filling the niche for a Windows alternative you can buy at reasonable prices.
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#9 OFFLINE   abarbarian

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 07:36 AM

View Postraymac46, on 07 August 2017 - 07:22 AM, said:


It would help if such gadgets as MintBox were widely available - in Walmart and Amazon.
If you manage to choose the right distro everything should work out of the box with most hardware. MX-16 is a gem when it comes to compatibility. It easily handled a Broadcom wifi chip and an AMD APU in my daughter's old laptop.


It would certainly be nice to see dedicated Penguins running around store floors. Things are getting a bit better and over here the European Community is trying hard to break the monopoly of Redmond It is a hard fight though with Microsoft having such financial clout both for offering discounts and bribes.
There are well established penguin communities where it would be hard for City Councils to present a case for reverting to expensive Microsoft options. Even the UK Gov is starting to adopt open source and once penny drops that they can have decent reliable software for free that they can control then Microsoft and Apple will be a footnotes in history. :pirate:
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#10 OFFLINE   securitybreach

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 08:10 AM

View Postabarbarian, on 09 August 2017 - 07:36 AM, said:

then Microsoft and Apple will be a footnotes in history. :pirate:

We can only hope... B)
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#11 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 09:39 AM

It's been a long while since I've worked in a multinational conglomerate but I remember how difficult it was to introduce any sort of change into the standard workflow in the early 2000s at least. We used obsolete versions of Office just to keep everyone in the world on the same page. Everything was totally locked down and you had to build a business case to introduce any new application to the business.
We ran NT4 for years after everyone else moved on to Windows 2000. In fact Unilever skipped Win 2000 completely and eventually got on XP Pro. I assume they are using Windows 7 by now.
Maybe it's easier to introduce change today with Cloud computing, remote deployment and virtual desktops. I don't know.
But if you find it hard to do a simple Windows upgrade, God help you if you try to introduce  Linux to a big company that's used Windows for 25 years.
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#12 OFFLINE   securitybreach

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 11:57 AM

View Postraymac46, on 09 August 2017 - 09:39 AM, said:

It's been a long while since I've worked in a multinational conglomerate but I remember how difficult it was to introduce any sort of change into the standard workflow in the early 2000s at least. We used obsolete versions of Office just to keep everyone in the world on the same page. Everything was totally locked down and you had to build a business case to introduce any new application to the business.
We ran NT4 for years after everyone else moved on to Windows 2000. In fact Unilever skipped Win 2000 completely and eventually got on XP Pro. I assume they are using Windows 7 by now.
Maybe it's easier to introduce change today with Cloud computing, remote deployment and virtual desktops. I don't know.
But if you find it hard to do a simple Windows upgrade, God help you if you try to introduce  Linux to a big company that's used Windows for 25 years.

Well I work for Shell Oil and we are deploying windows 10 to all the new assets (laptops) and even though it is completely different from Windows 7, most people have no problem with the change. We are also on Office 365 now as well and it was a bit of a transition to get users comfortable with not using PSTs anymore (due to Outlook Online).

Honestly I do not think it would take long for people to get used to using Linux if Shell were to switch over. The applications would be the problem, especially with the technical users who use specialized software but most of those people are running the stuff on the blades anyway so it wouldn't matter that much really.
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#13 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 07:34 PM

Well you have to remember I was working at a time when we didn't have the Cloud technologies you have now. It wasn't so much fear of change as the need to be able to read the same document on PCs in Canada US Netherlands India etc without the problem of one place being unable to read say .docx. It's a whole other ballgame if your office suite is Cloud based.
Is everybody using Windows 10 or do you have a mixture of 10 and 7? Back in my Unilever days they had a standard O/S for everyone in the world so we were always downgrading when we got a new computer. A different world back then.
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#14 OFFLINE   securitybreach

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 07:52 PM

View Postraymac46, on 09 August 2017 - 07:34 PM, said:

Well you have to remember I was working at a time when we didn't have the Cloud technologies you have now. It wasn't so much fear of change as the need to be able to read the same document on PCs in Canada US Netherlands India etc without the problem of one place being unable to read say .docx. It's a whole other ballgame if your office suite is Cloud based.
Is everybody using Windows 10 or do you have a mixture of 10 and 7? Back in my Unilever days they had a standard O/S for everyone in the world so we were always downgrading when we got a new computer. A different world back then.

Well the only people running 7 are people who have not had their asset refreshed. Basically machines are under warranty for 3 years so the machines get replaced every 3 years. If a machine is out of warranty, then it cannot be fixed by us. The ones that are older than that, go to a disposal company which do whatever with them. Some do get donated once in a while but usually just palletised.

We are only deploying windows 10 machines to users except if they are a technical user and that is only because not all of the applications they use are "window's 10 ready". By technical user, I mean like the wells engineers, geologists, etc. The ones who do modeling and such. They get the more beefed up laptop workstations.

Oh and we deploy a customized enterprise edition of Windows so there is no downgrading. They come from HP with an image on them but its older so we install the new image and run all the updates, encrypt, etc. before we deploy them.
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"Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating? It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself. Progress in our world will be progress toward more pain." -George Orwell, 1984

#15 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 08:12 PM

Totally different IT world today. I never had a laptop in my working career. Usually I got a hand-me-down desktop from some management hotshot at head office who got a laptop. Networks were basically local to the factory or office complex where you worked.
All Ethernet - no wifi. The laptop guys had to connect with a docking station. I guess they could do some local work at home. No smartphones for workers - you couldn't get company email outside your office.
We did some project collaboration work with Lotus Notes - we had a specific interface called Inoplan within the Notes environment. You didn't get access to the Internet unless you had a business need - such as ordering office supplies or doing technical research.

Edited by raymac46, 09 August 2017 - 08:13 PM.

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#16 OFFLINE   securitybreach

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 08:28 PM

Well everyone has docking stations with at least 2 monitors but everybody is on wireless except some of the technical users who move lots of data.
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#17 OFFLINE   securitybreach

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 08:33 PM

The standard laptops come with 8gb of ram, an i5 and an 200gb SSD. The technical machines have 32gb of ram, an i7, a 700gb sata drive and a 200gb SSD for the installation.

These are the current models of the new machines:

Technical users get a HP ZBook 15 with 2x 27" IPS monitors connected to a dock with peripherals

Standard users get a HP Elitebook 840 with 2x 24" IPS monitors connected to a slimdock with peripherals
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"Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating? It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself. Progress in our world will be progress toward more pain." -George Orwell, 1984

#18 OFFLINE   Cluttermagnet

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 03:11 AM

Quote

10 years into my first experience with Linux, I am still convinced that the major reason
it has such a low desktop user share is because it is so hard for the average naive
computer jockey to get a working Linux system.

Yep...


For me, the hardest part is often just 'unlocking' a device that has been set up with
Windows installed. Case in point- Betty and I just got another Lenovo T420 used-
because they are cheap and we are already familiar with them. I'll start a new
thread because I want to ask you guys for help on the new T420, but for me the
hardest thing was just having to go through the BIOS and play with it until it no
longer balked at booting into a live DVD session of Linux Mint 18. (Mate). It choked
on the disk the first time through (even though I had the boot order reasonably OK)
and it ejected the disk and tried to sneak into familiar old Win 7. I stabbed at the
Power button... It took changing an item in the BIOS under Security/Memory
Protection
to DISABLED to get it to boot into Mint. It *still* won't let me launch
gParted for some reason. Never seen that behavior before in a computer. Usually
the operator is the boss- methinks perhaps not so much right now...

Oh- and I typed this on the new laptop, so we did get at least this far...

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Edited by Cluttermagnet, 13 August 2017 - 03:19 AM.

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#19 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 07:34 AM

Clutter
I have a Thinkpad 430 which shouldn't be *all* that different. I installed Debian on it from a USB stick. I have pretty much given up on DVDs any more. All I did was keep tapping F12 till the boot order menu showed up and then booted from the USB. Didn't do anything with Setup.
Mind you I have a legacy BIOS with no secure boot, but I don't see why you would have UEFI/Secure Boot on an old 420.

Edited by raymac46, 13 August 2017 - 07:37 AM.

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#20 OFFLINE   Cluttermagnet

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 12:28 PM

Hmmm- Well, it certainly mentions UEFI a couple of times as you go through the BIOS
options... In all, it wasn't that hard to figure out that one item to change, then I was able
to get a live DVD session running. And since, then, I changed out the little 2.5in 5400
rpm WD HDD and have a Drevo 128G SSD in there. It's a screamer, both reads and writes
north of 500M I think... I went on to install Linux Mint 18 Sara with Mate desktop and
that's where I am posting from now.

Once I had my own SSD in there, I had no trouble at all launching gParted from a
live DVD session...

Yeah, I figure your 430 and my two 420's are probably similar. I'm hoping to get the
benefit of your experience as I go through this 'new' one setting things up. Maybe I'll
start a new thread because I probably need to ask several questions about my T420's.
Near as I can tell, UEFI is *not* getting in the way.

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Edited by Cluttermagnet, 13 August 2017 - 12:36 PM.

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#21 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 07:23 PM

UEFI will not get in the way with Linux Mint if you disable secure boot which you have apparently done.
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