Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Birthday Party

  • Dec 20 / 2011
  • 12
technology

Birthday Party

There was a party at my house this evening and besides the warm/fuzzy familial stuff, two people were introduced to GNU/Linux. One wanted to check FaceBook and the other wanted to know more. All I had to do was boot the machine for the first and write URIs for Distrowatch and Debian GNU/Linux for the other. A few questions were asked and answered to get the ball rolling. It was a good end to the evening.

Clearly, those who claim ordinary folk are not ready for GNU/Linux or GNU/Linux is not ready for ordinary folk are out to lunch. Neither party, although they don’t ever remember hearing of GNU/Linux had any difficulty grasping the concept of free software that is Free Software. Sharing is something people understand. It’s a GUI folks. The first person had only to point and click, read and type, more or less the same as they usually do. The second person understood that the world can make its own software without help from M$ and the world could share software freely.

UPDATE
An unintended consequence of the party was that a visitor left a child seat in the back of my car and when they did so, they left the light on discharging the battery overnight. A couple of minutes on the welding machine fixed that… I set it on the lowest range, 30A DC, and made contact with the ground clamp and a welding rod. About two minutes allowed the engine to start. Darn hybrids have such small auxiliary batteries…

12 Comments

  1. Kozmcrae

    “But if you need a quick pave over, Mr. Oe’s hide-away is just the ticket.”

    “Ignorance is bliss, it would seem.”

    Well said.

  2. Clarence Moon

    But if you need a quick pave over, Mr. Oe’s hide-away is just the ticket.

  3. oldman

    “Want a fix of a Windows PC, sorry I don’t know anything past XP”

    Ignorance is bliss, it would seem.

  4. Clarence Moon

    “Dew drop in!” says Mr. Oe, the proud propietor of what must be the most highly rated FLOSS-house/crash-pad of them all. Wether you need a quick fix, a pave-over, or just want to have a place for an extended stay, Mr. Oe has the porch light on for ye.

    Aren’t anecdotes fun? :-)

  5. oe

    Guests, from near and far, at our house have no problem sitting down at any of the 8-9 odd machines lying around the house and using them to figure out places to eat, watch videos, video chat, print maps. Few of them (all the non-technical ones) seem to notice that it is not Crapple or M$ (all puppy or Ubuntu GNU/Linux); they just go to Firefox, Skype, GoogleChat, 3-D shooting game or whatever they need in the Gnome menu and go to it. I get some comments from time-to-time remarking how some of the battered old boxes seem to run so well. Longer term guests seem to like the thin-client-in-reverse, a 15-20Watt box on 24-7 that can serve up movies, books, music, allows torrenting, and through the magic of bash and ssh scrubs workstations for data file backup with no user futzing. One of those HP Windows Home Servers will eat 10X the amount of juice to run 24-7; no thank you. A lot of LiveCD’s go out the door and boxes come by for a Pave-Over. Want a fix of a Windows PC, sorry I don’t know anything past XP – I keep a list of local computer repair shops with their numbers for those requests

  6. Dr Loser

    Best wishes to whoever’s birthday it was, and I hope that the two new users of GNU/Linux have an enjoyable experience.

    Let’s see which one comes first, shall we? The BiannualForcedDeathMarch(TM) or the next birthday?

  7. JairJy

    ” Internet usage does not measure
    the usage of GNU/Linux . Many
    machines are not being counted
    that way…”
    Of curse this applies to Windows too. There must be a lot of PCs on houses, schools and offices that uses Windows and aren’t connected to the Internet.

  8. Robert Pogson

    Internet usage does not measure the usage of GNU/Linux. Many machines are not being counted that way: thin clients, NATed machines, foreign languages etc. There is no way that 1% is correct. Usage counted other ways was much larger years ago and GNU/Linux has been growing ever since.

    Price/functionality means price matters. I would argue also that GNU/Linux works much better: slowing down and malware…

    You can buy a GNU/Linux PC for less. Unfortunately, most OEMs ship GNU/Linux on low-end machines but you can always get no OS and install.

    Dell’s reputation is not that great. They used to put out stuff that was plug-compatible with ATX but was not electrically compatible at the PSU. I would take standard whitebox stuff over that any day. A lot of schools use Dell stuff but the prices were not very good IMHO. I could always build an ATX box cheaper.

    Here are some web stats quite different from Net Applications: Chitika (online advertising) says GNU/Linux is at 3% and growing quickly. They have that other OS at 77%. They are obviously USA-centric as they have Apple at 10%, far above Apple’s production figures.

  9. Clarence Moon

    “That has succeeded in putting GNU/Linux on 1-10% of PCs”

    Said another way, it is equally true that word of mouth has failed to put GNU/Linux on more than 1% of PC as measured by internet usage sites. Attitude has a lot to do with which way you want to look at it.

    As to its functionality, I would certainly agree with you that it is totally functional for almost everone’s actual needs. But it is on the wrong side of the fence, since Windows is just as totally functional for almost everyone’s needs. Hence there is no pressure to make a change from one to another. You frequently talk of how people or OEMs have seen the light, yet nothing seems to change down at the local mart. Certainly nothing has change to effect the equality that you claim.

    I am university-taught electrical engineer (by education anyway) and I have installed various distribtions of Linux in order to satisfy my curiosity about it on a number of occasions over the past 15 years or so. I will attest to the fact that it works just fine, but I still have no reason to use it permanently.

    I get a Windows OS every time that I buy a new computer. I could buy a computer with Linux, say from System76, but I would pay more for it than a new Dell with the same CPU, memory, storage, and video capability. Plus I get Dell’s reputation along with it. Why would I buy from some cheesy outfit and pay more to get some warmed-over whitebox?

  10. Robert Pogson

    Clarence Moon wrote, “However, it seems more significant to note that the conversation would not be held at all unless some eager advocate were there to present the Linux case. How often is that ever going to be the case?”

    That’s the thing that has helped me keep this blog running for 5 years in spite of naysayers. One of the important channels for GNU/Linux has been word-of-mouth/person to person. That has succeeded in putting GNU/Linux on 1-10% of PCs (depending on sources). Even governmental deployments have stemmed from enthusiasts bending the ears of leaders. Definitely in schools GNU/Linux would be nowhere if IT specialists and computer teachers had not shown leadership.

    One party agreed that GNU/Linux was definitely functional. That’s a victory. Several other parties witnessed that in the close and friendly environment of my dining room. That’s a few victories. This party is a youngish (~50 ) woman who works in real estate. Local real estate salespeople used to require proprietary apps but now have a web interface for key databases. GNU/Linux works for them. As with many small business people interoperability and cost are important. She was using a netbook liberated from XP, wirelessly.

    The other party sought more information hence the URIs. He’s a self-taught technical sort of guy who builds furniture, repairs his home and automobile and has used that other OS as an office manager (personnel mostly). He is aware of the cost of IT and has seen PCs die by failure of that other OS. His mind is fertile ground for FLOSS.

  11. Clarence Moon

    It is certainly possible to take away from this anecdote the notion that FLOSS is not hard to grasp as a concept. I would not argue with that.

    However, it seems more significant to note that the conversation would not be held at all unless some eager advocate were there to present the Linux case. How often is that ever going to be the case?

    Secondly, did either of these party goers commit to the idea of replacing their Windows installation with some version of Linx?

Leave a comment