View Full Version : Linux for da fam....

July 2nd, 2006, 11:24 PM
I was a windows user since '95 and a few years ago I started playing with the various live distros available for Linux. I really wanted into Linux because it's so insanely cross-platform (found on pc's, routers, pda's, pmps, servers, etc...) and I was really getting sick of how behind-the-iron-curtains windows had become as it's complexity grew.

With the release of Breezy I made the jump to Linux as a primary desktop and to learn as much about Linux in general as possible (I often visit gentoo wiki's and forums to figure out more discrete configurations). Because I maintain both my computer and that of my wife, I switched her primary desktop to Ubuntu as well.
Shes uses the PC far less than I to begin with, and primarily uses it to access the web, email and light photo editing and instant messaging. We both had been using OSS under windows such as Firefox, Thunderbird, etc., so for the most part the switch seemed like it would not be to drastic for her. We talked about it and she seemed willing to give it a try.

It's been a few months and we are still using Ubuntu. My wifes major annoyances with Linux are that she sometimes misses her windows Yahoo IM client over GAIM, or even Ekiga for video/voice. What she likes are the easily resizable thumbnail icons in Nautilus and that apps like Firefox and Thunderbird work the same way as (if not better than) in windows.

Administering linux machines, though a little more involved, is far more rewarding than such with windows. I can see everything that is updated and I feel more secure not being a party to the great number of windows virii. I can chat with the authors of various apps on IRC and there is a great deal of help available online. I like the idea that my router runs linux and many things work the same way. Dodgy hardware support is my biggest gripe, but I point to the HW manufacturers who seem to resist provide basic information to OSS developers to support their products.

One nice thing about Ubuntu though, is that it makes linux more accessible to folks like me and my wife and forces us to think about what OSS really means, people having control over their own machines and software, helping each other, and creating communities. For our two kids, who have not yet begun using the computer, they will grow up familiar with linux and the communities that embrace it.

I'm not sure how women view linux or Ubuntu as oppossed to men, and I think that generalizations are not beneficial to the community. I do, however, feel that from childhood many girls are discouraged, or at least not encouraged to learn technical skills such as computing and the like because there is the belief that men are 'naturally' more inclined. I think the point of the Ubuntu Women group is to dispell such beliefs and provide a space where women who are breaking free of the woman-as-non-technical paradigm can find support from both men and women. For learning to occur, often times a "safe-space" needs to be created where those who lack confidence for whatever reason don't have to fear "looking stupid" or that their situation is hopeless because of race, gender, orientation, economic status or whatever. I think the Ubuntu as an software community tries harder than most to embrace this idea by tackling the issue of accessability and support head on.