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the proverbial Average Joe

Posted by notKlaatu , 25 February 2009 · 145 views

...has been found.My friend "sooka" and I have almost identical computers; I have a black macbook and she has a black macbook. When sitting in front of it there is no distinguishable difference (viewing the back of the screen on mine would reveal a whole host of linux and FSF stickers, but from front view they are the same).Sooka regularly sits down in front of my computer, thinking it's hers, and starts using it to check her gmail and facebook accounts, etc, and I thought for a few weeks that it was kind of cool that she was so open to using Linux.Then I realized that for two weeks straight, she never even realized she was using my computer and not her own. Yes, hers runs MacOS X. Yes, mine runs only Fedora 10 + KDE 4.2 ...and yet, she never noticed the difference.Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the proverbial average Joe User has been found, and he is a she, and she is named sooka. Firefox on Linux and Firefox on MacOS X are apparently similar enough (although to me they look completely different) that she never noticed that on my computer there is a blue kicker at the bottom of the screen and on hers there is a fancy-looking dock at the bottom. It was only after she tried to watch a youtube video on mine (I keep flash off my system, thank you) and I mentioned that I didn't like Flash, that she realized she had been using my computer quite frequently for the past two weeks. And now she knows to look up in the upper-left corner of the screen to see if there is an apple logo or not. That is the one indicator for her as to which computer she is using.Is she oblivious? No. Sooka holds a bachelors degree and is a writer and has a vocabulary that has me scrambling for contextual hints to decipher what she's saying. This girl is S.M.A.R.T. But outside of a web browser (she's a longtime internet junkie), the concept of an operating system and things like that...well, it just isn't something she thinks about. So.....my guinea pig has finally been found. This is that mythical average user I have been looking for. And amazingly, she does FINE on Fedora 10. Granted, she doesn't do MUCH on my computer, but when I tell her to go to Firefox, she knows to click on the task manager button with the firefox logo on it to bring it to the front (she's also a Windows user so the task manager concept is not as foreign to her as it was to me when I started with KDE), and she seems to be able to navigate her way around the system well enough. Word is something I have yet to convince her to try on either Mac or Windows; she seems convinced that Word is only Word when run on Windows. And no, Word 2007 or 09 or whatever the latest one is, doesn't count. It has to be the previous version (whatever that one was) or it just isn't Word. Um, whatever. But overall, I told her to just pretend like Linux was windows, and I think that solved a lot of usability questions for her; the Right-Click habit took over and everything became obvious. Now for me, the idea of Right-Clicking is STILL something I'm trying to get used to, but for her it is a familiar old tradition. So, Fedora 10 and KDE 4.2 appear to be winners for Average User, and Firefox...once again....as always....F T WIn fact, cross platform free software FTW. Get them hooked on the app in OS X or Windoze and then do a fast switch of OS's, and they will be using Linux in no time.




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