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View Full Version : Do you think ubuntu needs a tutorial or guide for new users?



madjr
September 27th, 2011, 07:12 PM
Ubuntu has a learning curve, that can take weeks if you have no one, so to ease the curve for those that dont have their own geeks

new users or people purchasing a machine with ubuntu for the first time, should not need their geek friend next to them to show them how to use it... A guide/tutorial should be the first thing they see or spot easily.

If you think the same, then add yourself (or subscribe) to this bug report:

https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/unity/+bug/860501


And in a more rare case the following link shows what happens when an user cant find any type of offline help nor does ubuntu include any kind of tool to diagnose the problems (specially something as important as networking issues):
http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2011/08/ubuntu-college-girl-dropping-out-laptop/

but if ubuntu gains marketshare, cases like that will be very common, not rare.

I may not use Windows, but i cant argue that it now has very good diagnostic tools, help, guides, tutorials, wizards, etc.
When things are not working it has a way to advise the user quickly, it offers visible help everywhere, Ubuntu on the other hand does not even offer basic help in a way that a new user will stumble with it fast...

LowSky
September 27th, 2011, 09:20 PM
Waste of space on a 700MB disk to have "fake help."
These tools fail often and confuse users even more, especially in the case of Windows.
My $0.02

nrundy
September 27th, 2011, 09:47 PM
People that want a guide will seek out a tutorial when they start using ubuntu. I did when I first started.

This is a good FREE start: http://www.ubuntupocketguide.com/index_main.html

madjr
September 27th, 2011, 09:57 PM
hmm, i notice people who reply usually dont read the OP, nor the bug report link/descriptions, just the titles...

madjr
September 29th, 2011, 12:01 PM
Waste of space on a 700MB disk to have "fake help."
These tools fail often and confuse users even more, especially in the case of Windows.
My $0.02

FYI ubuntu desktop guide is already included. I dont think most people even know is there...

ninjaaron
September 29th, 2011, 12:35 PM
No, I don't think Ubuntu needs more "beginner's guides" than it already has. The offline documentation was vastly improved in 11.04, and it can't be made much simpler. The only extra thing to possibly consider would be adding a help button to the dock in the default install, but I doubt most users would even require this. But, I've yet to show Unity to anyone who did not instinctively figure out all that they needed to access the help documentation within a few minutes.

There are also good guides linked on the site where you download Ubuntu, and the slideshow you see during the installation explains where to get help. If you open up firefox, the custom home-site had direct links to online documentation about Ubuntu.

In short, this already exists. The only people worried about this are people who already know how to use Ubuntu and therefore have never bothered to notice how easily the documentation can be found.

As for "the girl who didn't want Ubuntu," that was four years ago, and her problem wasn't with the UI. It was with her missunderstanding of her school's policy regarding MS Word. No amount of Ubuntu documentation would have fixed her issue. Despite how it was reported, the problem had nothing to do with Ubuntu or it's documentation.

She actually lives close to where I grew up. I have a lot of friends from highschool who went to MATC. It's a great tech-school. Never met her personally. I wouldn't know what to say to someone who publically humiliates themself in that way anyway.

Copper Bezel
September 29th, 2011, 12:50 PM
This bug affects me whenever I drop into a support forum. A quick tour popup on first run would be ideal. Whether anyone would take the time to read it is another issue.

Edit: It may seem obvious to most of us that if a user encounters a problem, he or she should be able to find the solution with little effort through a Google search. However, this is simply not the first recourse for a large number of users, and new users are also unlikely to know the terminology to put together a coherent search string for their problems. I agree with madjr that the people most in need of these resources are the least likely to take advantage of them.

grahammechanical
September 29th, 2011, 01:42 PM
@madjr

I agree with you. I think that the 11.04 help utility is very well done but who knows it is there? A lot of work has been put into that document and it is wasted effort if a new user does not know it exists.

I can see why the icon was removed from the top panel but it should have been replaced by a lens in the launcher. After all, when a new user feels competent enough not to need quick access to help they can always remove the lens from the Launcher. Provided of course that they have read the help documentation on how to remove a lens from the Launcher.

I also think that the Ubuntu installed Firefox bookmarks should include a direct link to this forum and the Askubuntu site instead of the Ubuntu wiki which fails miserably to provide easy access to official documentation.

Regards.

vasa1
September 29th, 2011, 01:52 PM
...
I may not use Windows, but i cant argue that it now has very good diagnostic tools, help, guides, tutorials, wizards, etc.
When things are not working it has a way to advise the user quickly, it offers visible help everywhere, Ubuntu on the other hand does not even offer basic help in a way that a new user will stumble with it fast...

Also, without any proof at all, I'd say that most people moving to Ubuntu, other than chronic distro hoppers, will be coming from a Windows environment. A help file that constantly draws parallels to Windows (when possible) would be useful. I know that purists may not like the idea but ...

ninjaaron
September 29th, 2011, 02:25 PM
I came to windows from OSX, and I was very irritated by how much the documentation referred to "how it works on Windows," (I assure you that it already does this all the time).

Admittedly, I've never heard of anyone else switching to Linux from OSX, so I am probably a special case in that regard.

It should also be noted that Ubuntu is currently being targetted at "early adopters" to reach the "200,000,000 users in 6 years" goal. Most of these folks will not go through a tutorial anyway, and will try to find documentation when problems arise. The only ways to make the help more obvious, aside from possibly adding a link in the launcher, will make it more annoying, obtrusive, and bloated in the long run.

Have you ever heard any new user complaining that they couldn't find the help documentation? I really think this is an imaginary problem.

madjr
September 29th, 2011, 05:52 PM
As for "the girl who didn't want Ubuntu," that was four years ago, and her problem wasn't with the UI. It was with her missunderstanding of her school's policy regarding MS Word. No amount of Ubuntu documentation would have fixed her issue. Despite how it was reported, the problem had nothing to do with Ubuntu or it's documentation.

She actually lives close to where I grew up. I have a lot of friends from highschool who went to MATC. It's a great tech-school. Never met her personally. I wouldn't know what to say to someone who publically humiliates themself in that way anyway.

her MAIN problem was related to not be able to get online with ubuntu.

Ubuntu, unlike windows, has no diagnostic tools whatsoever specially for something as important as Networking.

No online connection = no help in ubuntu (one thing lead to the other), we expect people to always get online and that's not true.

she also called Dell support but they were no help, nor they wanted to exchange their computer for a windows one, so then she saw this tv station helping people so she contacted them.

Her issue could had been fixed without windows, if she could had gotten any good help.

So yes, it may had been years ago, but the situation still prevails. Ubuntu still lacks diagnostic tools, still lacks good OFFLINE help. The small guide that it has is not easy to find, etc...

Ubuntu still feels like this cheap OS (yes, as cheap as an OS you would get bundled on some Chinese device). You can see from the videos that they mentioned it without any sort of respect (that's the first impression you get: a generic, alien, limited, half-baked, beta OS).

like i said above: "if ubuntu gains marketshare, cases like that will be very common, not rare"

So targeting just advance users will not make linux more user friendly.

nor are we going to get back OEM support with that mentality. For example, One of the "excuses" for Dell to drop us was: "Ubuntu was too complex for casual PC users"...

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1590064


and by complex they mean: No offline help, no tutorials to ease up the learning curve, no auto diagnostic tools, need to upgrade entire OS to update a few apps (https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/software-center/+bug/578045), Many times upgrades fail, computer becomes unusable and need to reinstall entire OS (which a casual user like that girl will never do)

so, the first step towards a solution is to admit there's a problem, not keep denying it.

sure there were many other reasons, but sadly with the way we are thinking i cant argue dells excuse for dropping ubuntu computers untill we fix all the above, or maybe what we really want is to keep ubuntu as a hobby OS for geeks..

Copper Bezel
September 29th, 2011, 07:07 PM
Have you ever heard any new user complaining that they couldn't find the help documentation?
No, they complain that Ubuntu stopped appearing when they push the start button on the header. That they didn't read the documentation is an (I think natural) inference. = )

el_koraco
September 29th, 2011, 07:16 PM
No, I don't think Ubuntu needs more "beginner's guides" than it already has..

Thank you! It needs normal documentation, that's what it needs.

ninjaaron
September 29th, 2011, 07:35 PM
her MAIN problem was related to not be able to get online with ubuntu.

Ubuntu, unlike windows, has no diagnostic tools whatsoever specially for something as important as Networking.

No online connection = no help in ubuntu (one thing lead to the other), we expect people to always get online and that's not true.She did have network problems, but the reason she dropped out of school was MS Word. She could have gotten on another network. I adopeted Ubuntu a few months after this story broke. I had network problems. I got on another computer and found the answer (Madwifi drivers weren't enabled by default at the time, so I had to download the deb and install it manually).


she also called Dell support but they were no help, nor they wanted to exchange their computer for a windows one, so then she saw this tv station helping people so she contacted them.lol. That TV station doesn't help anyone with tech support. They report the news. They are the local news channel, and they thought her story was ridiculous enough to go be reported. My brother and I had a huge laugh about this when it broke. The headline was "Girl drops out of college because of Linux." It was awesome.:D


Her issue could had been fixed without windows, if she could had gotten any good help.Her issue was fixed without windows. After the story came out, she go several things. One was a ****-load of hate mail for making Ubuntu look bad (wtf? amiright?), and the other was free tech-support from some from the Madison LoCo team and help from MATC with using OpenOffice to fulfill the course requirements. She kept Ubuntu and was enrolled the next semester. I WAS THERE.


So yes, it may had been years ago, but the situation still prevails. Ubuntu still lacks diagnostic tools, still lacks good OFFLINE help. The small guide that it has is not easy to find, etc...Have you even looked at the offline help? It's much more extensive than it was several years back, and even then, I was able to get all of my issues worked out by following it's directions. I agree that the launcher could be more conspicuous, but it is not especially difficult to find, and the content is excellent, especially since 11.04.


Ubuntu still feels like this cheap OS (yes, as cheap as an OS you would get bundled on some Chinese device). You can see from the videos that they mentioned it without any sort of respect (that's the first impression you get: a generic, alien, limited, half-baked, beta OS).That's rather subjective. I don't feel that way, but there is no point arguing about this.


like i said above: "if ubuntu gains marketshare, cases like that will be very common, not rare"

So targeting just advance users will not make linux more user friendly. No, that is correct. Targeting advanced users will not make Linux more user-friendly. Getting advanced users providing feedback on Ubuntu will make it an overall better OS, which will eventually make it more user-friendly, however. Early adopters and tech-savey users are the kinds of people you want in your core community. Other people aren't going to help you build a stronger platform.

If we can get the tech user-base, the rest will eventually follow. We won't get everyone with a single marketing strategy, so we need something that will attract the people who will help the platform grow at this point. If Ubuntu is as cheap and half-baked as you say, getting more advanced users is one of the better ways to fix this. "Casual users" tend to have less interest in contributing.


nor are we going to get back OEM support with that mentality. For example, One of the "excuses" for Dell to drop us was: "Ubuntu was too complex for casual PC users"... That was several years ago. Several OEMs do provide Ubuntu now. Asus has several netbooks which they sell with Ubuntu, and the word on the street is that Dell may come back around.


http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1590064


[quote]and by complex they mean: No offline help, no tutorials to ease up the learning curve, no auto diagnostic tools, need to upgrade entire OS to update a few apps (https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/software-center/+bug/578045), Many times upgrades fail, computer becomes unusable and need to reinstall entire OS (which a casual user like that girl will never do) there are tutorials and offline documentation. A diagnostic app would be nice, but I wasn't aware that this was the topic under discussion.


so, the first step towards a solution is to admit there's a problem, not keep denying it.Ubuntu has plenty of real problems. The offline documentation is not part of the problem. I've never heard anyone complain about Ubuntu's offline docs. A diagnostic tool, as you say, would be nice. Sounds like you have your work cut out for you, if you want to make yourself useful.

ninjaaron
September 29th, 2011, 07:46 PM
Thank you! It needs normal documentation, that's what it needs.

Yeah, seriously. The basic docs for getting internet up, setting up email are fine. What Ubuntu really needs are active users who will update the wiki for advanced tasks like setting up raid partitions, fixing hardware-specific bugs, and documentation on developers tools. In short, they need the Arch wiki, except for Ubuntu.

On Arch, you can actually download the entire wiki as a package that gets periodically updated. This would be great on Ubuntu if the wiki wasn't some kind of useless crufted-up man-hole.

Part of the reason I've switched away from Ubuntu as my primary distro is the difficulty in finding out how to do complex administrative tasks, which is much easier on distros with a more technical user-base.

Once I get done mucking around with these other distros and have learned to use Linux like a man, I should really settle back down with Ubuntu and help out getting the wiki into usable order. It's such a peice of ****.

ninjaaron
September 29th, 2011, 08:01 PM
No, they complain that Ubuntu stopped appearing when they push the start button on the header. That they didn't read the documentation is an (I think natural) inference. = )

You can't force people to read the docs. That's not a bug. If someone finds the forum before the docs, what's the big deal?

lisati
September 29th, 2011, 08:23 PM
My $0.02: People don't always know to use the "Press F1 for help" feature that has been available with some software since the 1980s or possibly longer. It's nice when it works and the text that gets called up is relevant, but the quality of "help" can vary. I've wasted more time than I care to remember trying to figure things out by pushing F1.