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#1 Dr. Z2A

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Posted 10 January 2009 - 11:08 PM

So I have a little computer repair business and I've noticed that a lot of the time when people ask me what was wrong with their computer after I fix it, a little voice in the back of my head shouts "YOU HAVE WINDOWS!!!". I've really wished I could just set up my client's with Ubuntu, and now I'm thinking I should turn that into a reality. Has anyone heard of a business (big or small) successfully marketing Linux installation and/or dual boot set ups to the average person, or done it themselves? I think at this point with Ubuntu in the shape that it is, many average people could handle Linux. I'm not thinking about preaching it, but I'm thinking I should start presenting it as an option to people.

Do you guys think this is a good idea? Any advice from anyone who has tried this or heard of someone trying it before would be welcome :)

#2 isolationx

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Posted 10 January 2009 - 11:38 PM

So I have a little computer repair business and I've noticed that a lot of the time when people ask me what was wrong with their computer after I fix it, a little voice in the back of my head shouts "YOU HAVE WINDOWS!!!". I've really wished I could just set up my client's with Ubuntu, and now I'm thinking I should turn that into a reality. Has anyone heard of a business (big or small) successfully marketing Linux installation and/or dual boot set ups to the average person, or done it themselves? I think at this point with Ubuntu in the shape that it is, many average people could handle Linux. I'm not thinking about preaching it, but I'm thinking I should start presenting it as an option to people.

Do you guys think this is a good idea? Any advice from anyone who has tried this or heard of someone trying it before would be welcome :)


I think this is a great idea, at least giving them the option to switch over to Linux. I believe that the free part will win a lot of people over in the end. I tried this with my wife, and she seems to like it. Ubuntu to me seems very user friendly, and WINE makes it easy to install strange programs that they might want (Ex: like Borland dBASE 6.0.). Of course, if someone did switch over you would have a lot of explaining to do. Which in the long run would probably give you more service calls and the like.

#3 Seal

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 12:02 AM

Well, you'd be trading problems. The users with average knowledge wouldn't be able to use any of the software they buy in stores anymore, nor have techs of average competency install hardware for them. That's not even mentionning the software/hardware that they have in their system already. Thing is, if you start pushing it, and the customers are displeased because some shitty Hallmark Card creation software won't install (because its for Windows), it'll look bad on you. "Well it worked on Windows," they'll say. Nah, I wouldn't push Linux on the average computer user.

It is good for people whose configurations won't change - older folk who aren't interested in using their computer for anything other than word processing, web surfing, emailing. My mom had an easier time with Xubuntu than she did with Windows - up until my step-dad wanted to make her computer connect to the network wirelessly. The adapter they had wouldn't work of course, as there is no Linux support for it. They didn't want to buy a new one, so he insisted I install Windows over the machine. I did, with much hesitation - I was tired of cleaning that machine clean of viruses my mom kept downloading.

Edited by Seal, 11 January 2009 - 12:25 AM.


#4 Dr. Z2A

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 12:34 AM

Yeah, I'm thinking I'd mostly do dual boots. That way if they end up not liking it for some reason or need to run a windows program, they can just boot into windows and I don't get a bunch of calls to put windows back on their computer.

I've also been looking for a good article to link to or put on my website that explains Linux a bit and will help client's decide whether linux would be good for them to switch to, telling them things like if they just use the computer for email and office applications and such then the stability of it would be a huge plus for instance, but at the same time not leading them to believe its good for everything, so saying straight up things like that linux isn't very good for games or that they shouldn't switch if they are very dependent on a specific windows program. Does anyone know of an article on the net thats like this? I figure if I can't find anything like what I'm talking about I can just write one, but I'd prefer not to reinvent the wheel if its already out there.

#5 duper

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 02:00 AM

Many years ago, I experienced somewhat of a custom service disaster by embarking upon what you've described here. Although Linux wasn't officially supported by the ISP I was working for at the time, I decided to use one of our faithful subscribers as a guinea pig for a couple of reasons; his hard drive had crashed and he wasn't so enthusiastic about paying the extra $100 or whatever it was to purchase a copy of Windows 95 (he was running Windows 3.1 prior to the data loss.) So I figured hey why not try putting this guy on Linux. In hindsight, he probably had no idea what this Linux thing was I kept talking about. He just kept nodding tumultuously as if to say "Just fix my fucking computer." Now that I think about it, I don't even think he could fathom the fact that his data was gone forever. So anyway, I installed RedHat on his 486SX or whatever the hell it was and tried showing him how to use X11--Bad idea! He returned a few times to ask me questions about how this or that worked in Linux, but eventually it dawned on him that Windows was gone forever and he left the last time pretty pissed off. :aholesign: (me)

I had good intentions but I made a bad decision. Now granted, Linux was much more immature back then, but still. The only way I could see this working nowadays is if they had a hypervisor (not WINE) running a Windows guest, and even then, what's the point if they can just run it natively? I don't see why they shouldn't have the option to run Linux or dual-boot if they're familiar with it and they want to, but from experience I wouldn't recommend allowing your over-zealous fanboyishness to advocate it when the typical end-user doesn't know or care. -_-

#6 Ohm

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 02:24 AM

Linux just confuses people and people don't like things that confuse them. More or less, the only people interested in Linux are the ones who already know what it is and have the know-how or curiosity to go about it themselves.

I know what you're thinking. Install Ubuntu, Gnome is more or less like Windows as far as the interface goes, and they get Firefox, Thunderbird, Pidgin, etc. Same difference, right? Not really. As soon as they want to do anything other than get on the web or check their email, they're sunk. If you're talking about average computer users, you're talking about people who don't even know what and OS really is. Trying to tell them whatever program won't work or will only work with "wine" won't be much help. Like it or not, people will need Windows in order to function.

So I have a little computer repair business and I've noticed that a lot of the time when people ask me what was wrong with their computer after I fix it, a little voice in the back of my head shouts "YOU HAVE WINDOWS!!!".


Seriously, stow the attitude. If you're making money fixing Windows, do you really want to put people on Linux? If it's as ideal as you're hoping, they won't be calling back any time soon. You should be loving the fact that Windows breaks down all the time. It's not your fault, yet it gives you business. Microsoft is putting money in your pocket. Be happy, make lots of money and watch your savings grow.

#7 WhatChout

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 09:34 AM

Computers just confuse people and people don't like things that confuse them. More or less, the only people interested in computers are the ones who already know what they are and have the know-how or curiosity to go about them themselves.
(sorry for ripping you off Ohm)
It's not even that Windows is easier to use. It's just that ubiquitous, and that's what makes it seem easier to use. People can't really differ between what's easy and what's something that they already know, so they feel uncomfortable even with something that would over time become more comfortable.

#8 phr34kc0der

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 12:29 PM

In an ideal world that would be a perfect idea. Unfortuanlty it's not an ideal word and people just like things to work regardless of the alternatives. I would make an effort to inform my customers of Linux rather than just installing it for them. If you work in a repair shop and sell computers then you could sell some with Linux on slightly cheaper saying "Linux is free, so i dont need to buy a licence".

If you have a customer who is interested in computers you could suggest Linux but make it clear that it is different. Less virus threats but also less software. The same for people who seem to be bringing in their machines because they keep getting bogged down with malware and only use it for myspace/facebook and email. Let them know, but you need to really stress the fact that it is different. Maybe show them first.

Show them OSS alternatives for popular programs (like OOo, gimp etc) and maybe they'll get used to the idea that not all free software is free because it's bad

#9 R4p1d

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 02:07 AM

This is a very bad idea, this would only be nice if Linux was Computer-Illiterate-User-Friendly.

#10 rocky

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 10:43 PM

I think that the problem with Windows lies not with the operating system entirely but rather with how the average person uses a computer and one would find that if those same uniformed users were to use a different operating system, I would venture to bet that many of the same problems/complaints would arise. I hope I'm not being redundant by saying this: most people view computers as a black box that just merely works or if it doesn't it's for some inexplicable reason, which I think largely lies with the GUI metaphor that obfuscates what is going on behind the scenes. But just as in the world outside of computers most people wish to remain ignorant of what is really happening behind the scenes. Not to imply that there aren't Windows users, or Mac OS users, or whatever OS users who aren't wizards and really do know their operating systems inside out. It only happens that Windows is the de facto operating system for the majority of computer users so there are bound to be more users who are passive consumers who use Windows. Also Linux is marketed, if that's even the correct word, strangely to say the least. There is no killer app outside of the operating system, or kernel, which to the average user is null because most users just want their shit to work and they aren't thinking of the OS. I think that most people want what works and they want something that they paid for, especially in a society as driven by consumerism as the one we have. Open source software is a diverse labor of love, also driven by financial gain too, with some wonderful creations by some truly ingenious people however unless you're the type of person willing to deal with change and the occasional hiccup you'll probably be pretty bummed on Linux and again I think it most has to do with users rather than entirely with operating systems. Anyway I hope that this post is keeping on topic. I really like this forum.




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