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DoctorMO
March 11th, 2008, 09:35 PM
I want to get you all to read this and give me your very deepest thoughts since this is to my mind the number one issue: support.

From my experence in getting normal people to use Ubuntu if you put aside any issues to do with software availability or hardware problems which are really a subset of this issue then we are left with support. It's the confidence that a user has in having someone to hand when something goes wrong.

We don't have that for most people, there is no one that any random person near me could ask for help if their ubuntu computer died and this is a problem.

It is _not_ a problem for most of the people on the ubuntu forums, these people are go-getters, some are hard core geeks and nerds, others just know how help themselves and don't pander to the fear of not knowing or being unable to learn how to do it themselves.

For other people, those normal people who are less confident, scared or just uninterested in supporting themselves there needs to be something, anything which they _know_ is available to them to fix their computer.

For windows users they have a mass of people (geeks), tech shops, professional repair people and a whole ecosystem of people who know the system. For Macs, they can take the damn thing back to the Apple store (which were created in order to offer a support structure)

So how do we, the ubuntu community provide random unknown and non-paying members of public support for our favourite operating system? A great start is the LoCo teams which are set up around the world to promote ubuntu, we should also be looking at formalising how to support the people that we convince to use ubuntu. My team (ubuntu-us-ma) is trying to develop a piece of software which will help with remote support via ssh reverse tunneling. LoCo teams also need to work with local computer stores to get staff trained or at least interested, even start businesses to support ubuntu if there is enough of a market.

For people outside of LoCos, general geeks around the world I call on you to do 2 things:

Drop windows and refuse to support it, even if it's for your family or your friends. You _must_ dismantle your support of windows if we are to convince people to use ubuntu.
Support ubuntu, go out of your way to help people who want to use ubuntu, this might involve handing out cards with your email address or it may involve joining a LoCo support team.

If we don't start supporting ubuntu on the ground, we can develop the best software on the planet and it won't go any ware; What we need is to give the public the confidence to use ubuntu.

Mazza558
March 11th, 2008, 09:41 PM
If users want proper support, Canonical can supply that.

DoctorMO
March 11th, 2008, 09:44 PM
If users want proper support, Canonical can supply that.

Canonical is not able or equipt to provide support for 1 billion people all over the world. Your being ignorant if you think canonical can provide a magical structure which everyone can subscribe to.

Not only that but most of the windows support structure is local, Ubuntu support is in the Isle of Man, why would anyone want that as their first port of call when there's a problem?

Besides I don't think Canonical are focusing on providing ubuntu support to normal people, for the central node in any structure they shouldn't depend everyone on them.

Mazza558
March 11th, 2008, 09:49 PM
Canonical is not able or equipt to provide support for 1 billion people all over the world. Your being ignorant if you think canonical can provide a magical structure which everyone can subscribe to.

Not only that but most of the windows support structure is local, Ubuntu support is in the Isle of Man, why would anyone want that as their first port of call when there's a problem?

Besides I don't think Canonical are focusing on providing ubuntu support to normal people, for the central node in any structure they shouldn't depend everyone on them.

So you mean there's no one local to talk to if you have a problem, and Ubuntu Forums are inadequate? I don't know what you expect for such a nonprofit movement.

I'd argue that Ubuntu has amazing support considering its nature and overall popularity. You need to consider the fact that normal users will not set up Ubuntu themselves, and it's usually a tech-savvy friend who sorts things out and acts as the person to talk to. If a user is savvy enough to burn an iso and install Ubuntu, I think they know how to use a forum. Ubuntu as a whole is best spread through word-of-mouth, and users need to realise that there's no need to turn to a store to get support.

DoctorMO
March 11th, 2008, 10:13 PM
I'd argue that Ubuntu has amazing support considering its nature and overall popularity. You need to consider the fact that normal users will not set up Ubuntu themselves, and it's usually a tech-savvy friend who sorts things out and acts as the person to talk to. If a user is savvy enough to burn an iso and install Ubuntu, I think they know how to use a forum. Ubuntu as a whole is best spread through word-of-mouth, and users need to realise that there's no need to turn to a store to get support.

Exactly, but we can't call ubuntu "Linux for human beings with geek friends"

There is no need to give your life for supporting ubuntu; but LoCos do need organising for support otherwise their impact will always be curtailed.

beansdad
March 11th, 2008, 10:51 PM
I agree with DoctorMo - my first experience with computers (too long ago to mention!) had me depending on myself and a lot of naughty words and frustration. I kept plugging away - masochist? Then I started using you-know-who's stuff and tried a helpline or two. I seemed to know more than they did? So I was on my own again.

Now I've discovered Ubuntu I've switched over almost completely with considerable help from this forum in particular. This has got me almost to the stage that took a decade or so before in less than 2 yrs!!

The forums and the contributors are absolutely brilliant, but to a total non-tech it's not as easy as having someone talk you through a problem or when the system won't work at all and you can't get online.

I don't think a helpline would be the answer - someone's got to pay for it somehow. What if the better able users were to volunteer to act as mentors to newbies and allow them to make telephone contact to try to sort problems? This is probably asking too much as I've seen posts by disillusioned people who have got a bit nasty and you don't want that sort having your phone number.

Worth considering though. What does anyone else think?:idea:

beansdad
March 11th, 2008, 10:54 PM
Sorry, also meant to say that it would be good to get businesses on board as they are the big supporters of the opposition. I'm continually telling my customers (mostly small businesses) why I've changed to Ubuntu. Called chinese water torture I believe!:)

CaptainCabinet
March 11th, 2008, 11:07 PM
So you mean there's no one local to talk to if you have a problem, and Ubuntu Forums are inadequate? I don't know what you expect for such a nonprofit movement.

I'd argue that Ubuntu has amazing support considering its nature and overall popularity. You need to consider the fact that normal users will not set up Ubuntu themselves, and it's usually a tech-savvy friend who sorts things out and acts as the person to talk to. If a user is savvy enough to burn an iso and install Ubuntu, I think they know how to use a forum. Ubuntu as a whole is best spread through word-of-mouth, and users need to realise that there's no need to turn to a store to get support.

I agree. Linux is all about the community. What the OP is asking of a group of volunteers is way too much I think.

patrickaupperle
March 11th, 2008, 11:12 PM
My team (ubuntu-us-ma) is trying to develop a piece of software which will help with remote support

You could use the built in desktop sharing program. VNC I think it is. I'm in Windows now or I'd check.

SunnyRabbiera
March 11th, 2008, 11:17 PM
the thing is that linux support has always been a freelance kind of deal done by a community.
I feel commercial support in its traditional sense is getting stupid, most of it is automated these days.
Hey I offer support where I feel i can give it, or at least give people some minor starting tips.

Bölvağur
March 11th, 2008, 11:36 PM
Drop windows and refuse to support it, even if it's for your family or your friends. You _must_ dismantle your support of windows if we are to convince people to use ubuntu.

If you would be able to "convert" everyone that would not be a problem in the first place, so Canonical wouldn't have to do anything radical imo. Btw ubuntuforums would be massive :D

There are 2 things that bother me in the OP;

First it is the first character in _must and then secondly its the last character in must_

You MUST stop using this _stupid_ sign. Capitals are clear indicator and look better in a sentence.

klange
March 12th, 2008, 12:04 AM
You MUST stop using this _stupid_ sign. Capitals are clear indicator and look better in a sentence.

Underscores are the non-formatted-text way of saying underline. It's for non-rich email, IRC, etc. /'s are for italics and *'s are for bold as well.

macogw
March 12th, 2008, 04:44 AM
If you would be able to "convert" everyone that would not be a problem in the first place, so Canonical wouldn't have to do anything radical imo. Btw ubuntuforums would be massive :D

There are 2 things that bother me in the OP;

First it is the first character in _must and then secondly its the last character in must_

You MUST stop using this _stupid_ sign. Capitals are clear indicator and look better in a sentence.

Capitals are SHOUTING...and shouting just sounds angry and mean.

I'm with MO. My friends know they can give me a call if they need help. My sister says she's going back to Windows when she goes away to school because she won't be guaranteed to have a person nearby she can just grab to help her with Ubuntu, but finding any random person to help with Windows is really easy.

DouglasAWh
March 12th, 2008, 05:04 AM
I'm with MO. My friends know they can give me a call if they need help. My sister says she's going back to Windows when she goes away to school because she won't be guaranteed to have a person nearby she can just grab to help her with Ubuntu, but finding any random person to help with Windows is really easy.

This is precisely the problem (which I think macogw gets that).

<rant>My personal opinion is no amount of volunteer effort is going to make this happen. Until I, who will soon have a master's degree in Information Science and have IT work experience, can set up dual monitors in Linux without wanting to impale 5-year-olds (ok, maybe a little harsh), it's just not going to work. Hell, why don't we get me setting up dual monitors just ONCE. Now, granted, I'm sure if I could devote all sorts of time to figure it out, I could do it, but M$ and their cronies in the hardware business make things like this WAY to easy. Perhaps if hardware vendors would put "Linux-certified" or something on their hardware like they do for Windoze we wouldn't have this problem. I think ubuntu is great for installing software through repositories and has lots of other great features and it's all the computers in my apartment, but for the average person it is just too much work for things that are so simple in Windoze. Now, the reverse is true too. I think ubuntu has windows when it comes to some digital cameras and printers...and OMG, performance on Bloatdoze is a joke. BUT, I just want dual monitors. I mean, seriously, that's all I want. Can you make that happen AMD? When I buy a new video card, put a *.deb on a CD and let me install the damn thing and when it's done, boom, it just works. Our wrath and energy need not be spent on converting the masses to an OS that is just going to frustrate the hell out of them, what we need to do is fix the problems that are frustrating the hell out of them. It's a vicious cycle since the hardware people don't want to cater to a minority, but Dell did it. AMD is getting there with opening up the driver specs, but just today I fired up a new ubuntu install with an ATI card and sure enough, dual monitors doesn't work. </rant>

Vadi
March 12th, 2008, 05:09 AM
Sorry but, yes Canonical can provide commercial support for everybody.

Agree with the drop windows though. Unless you really enjoy helping people with that ;)

IsawSp4rks
March 12th, 2008, 05:32 AM
This is precisely the problem (which I think macogw gets that).

<rant>My personal opinion is no amount of volunteer effort is going to make this happen. Until I, who will soon have a master's degree in Information Science and have IT work experience, can set up dual monitors in Linux without wanting to impale 5-year-olds (ok, maybe a little harsh), it's just not going to work. </rant>

I'm a linux noob (only been using it since late January) and I've managed to configure Gutsy on two different machines (one laptop with ATI and the other a self assembled desktop with Intel GMA 950) with relative ease. I also set up HHa5 on an Nvidia 8600GTS machine with TV and a 19" CRT at the same time - yes the HH install has has some minor issues but it's an alpha so that's expected. I've no IT degree either.

What you're complaining about is a driver issue and not something that Canonical nor Microsoft would have to be responsible for. IHVs write and support their own drivers and even when MS compiles their own drivers (based on IHV supplied source) they only support the simplest of installs. Try calling MS regarding dual monitor or TV out and they'll happily redirect you to call the IHV or OEM manufacturer who actually makes or installs your VGA card/chipset.

You to want something to be simple in GNU/Linux when you're doing something complicated (ie more than the average user would) and somehow you expect that to be simple for you.

DouglasAWh
March 12th, 2008, 06:07 AM
several ends users that know nothing about computers do dual monitors where I work in either Windows or OS X enviroments. I don't think it's that uncommon. It's certainly much easier in Windows/OS X than Linux...it just figures out the number of monitors and you set the resolutions easy. widescreen monitors are the same thing, though I successfully handled that earlier today. And please don't tell me that widescreen monitors are complicated and normal people don't have them. They do.

I explicitly state it's AMD's problem, so I think you're beating a dead horse or either I wasn't clear. My point was not that Canonical is bad, my point is that hardware manufacturers don't support Linux like the need to for it to be a mass OS. Apple gets away with everything working because they don't allow their OS to be installed on other stuff.

You can nitpick the details all you want, but my point is, if we, as a community, are going to make a driving force for change, I don't think converting people is the way to go. We need to convert manufacturers and software developers. Adobe needs to make Photoshop for Linux, etc. I'm all for GIMP as the next person and I personally don't use Photoshop, but until those things start happening, converting people is going to be difficult to impossible. People always say "well, I need Windows for something". People don't want to learn a new photo editing software. If it doesn't have Photoshop they aren't going to use it. I'm not making an argument for not using Linux I'm just stating the ridiculous arguments they have.

And then, there's another issue...

Last week, gave a presentation on desktop Linux AT A SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT COMPANY and I literally had someone say, "So, you're using something other than Windows? I didn't know such a thing existed." I've got no suggestions on educating those people, but I still think that the base and people on the fence would be a lot happier if external support for Linux was greater. Though all three of my computers run Ubuntu, I'd be happy if there were Photoshop *.rpms just so I could tell people it exists on Linux. Once those people on the fence come over, it might not be too long before the fence doesn't exist...

aysiu
March 12th, 2008, 07:11 AM
Drop windows and refuse to support it, even if it's for your family or your friends. You _must_ dismantle your support of windows if we are to convince people to use ubuntu. I won't take this approach for several reasons I've outlined in this thread: Do you help people with their Windows problems? (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=450454)

DoctorMO
March 13th, 2008, 05:52 AM
This thread is going off on a few tangents.

Lets not forget the goal is to give people the confidence to use ubuntu no matter where they are or how able they are to support themselves.

If we are as confident about the stability of ubuntu once it has been installed and set up correctly then volunteers should never really hear a peep out of anyone. Although I agree that a business is the best form for support to take, there is such a gap for good local computer support at the moment and I'm surprised more people aren't looking into it.


You could use the built in desktop sharing program. VNC I think it is. I'm in Windows now or I'd check.

Doesn't really do the job, you need something that can tunnel through any number of routers, proxes and various other interesting networking setups without asking anything of the user. The solution is to run ssh tunnelling and pass vnc through it if you need gui control.


I won't take this approach for several reasons I've outlined in this thread: Do you help people with their Windows problems?

An interesting thread, you can get windows help out of me, it's not as good as someone who actually uses it but you will also get a diatribe about how much I pity the dilemma of being forced to use windows, these people have no choice though.

drascus
March 14th, 2008, 03:42 AM
OK so Canonical can offer support for the average user. It is at the price of 250 US dollars a year. Which I must admit is not bad considering that I pay nothing a year accept what I donate here and there. Being part of the MA team I think its great that we are developing a support tool that's great I don't know how I missed that but OK. Doctormo has a good point that Canonical probably wouldn't be able to handle the load if everyone with an Ubuntu computer decided to sign up for support today. They would catch up I am sure but not instantly. Its like Richard Stallman says "Anyone can master the source code and begin offering support." So yeah I don't see a problem in offering support if we wish. I also think that the average user probably doesn't really know that they can get support through Canonical and being able to go down to there local nerdsquad to get things resolved is a great idea. I mean if someone took there computer down there now and were told that they couldn't get help it would be pretty annoying. They might conclude that "no support I can't do this." I also agree that we the ones giving support should just say forget giving support for Windows. Which isn't hard for me as a free software advocate I don't care to touch a Windows machine if it can be helped. As it is I usually tell people I can fix there computer by installing Ubuntu on it lol. So if it could be put together I would love to be part of a campaign to offer more local support for Ubuntu.

souneedalink
March 14th, 2008, 05:42 AM
Exactly, but we can't call ubuntu "Linux for human beings with geek friends"

No that is more like what we call windows.

Linux on the other hand has a bazillion forums, mailing lists, howtos, and docs that ARE support and LUGS doing installfests are still great ideas.

Sounds like you assume that everyone would want to run linux? I find few people that want to bother with linux because they have a OS that came with the system and it does everything they can figure out how to do and probably much more that they will never bother with.

Heck, what kind of computer fix-it business would exist if a computer never got a virus, spyware, popups, too many startup programs, corrupted registry, UAC crap, thingy wont do the thing, aint working right, etc.... I can't make money on a OS that doesn't break.
;)

DoctorMO
March 14th, 2008, 08:12 AM
Linux on the other hand has a bazillion forums, mailing lists, howtos, and docs that ARE support and LUGS doing installfests are still great ideas.

If you know they exist, if the user has the presense of mind to search online and decipher what can for some be several levels of computer speak. The mainstream base is not really staying away from linux because of a lack of online materials or a lack of user groups. It's a lack of confidence in the people who they know around them to help.


Sounds like you assume that everyone would want to run linux? I find few people that want to bother with linux because they have a OS that came with the system and it does everything they can figure out how to do and probably much more that they will never bother with.

Lots of people want to be free from the ridiculous windows ecosystem; lots of people would love to have access to free software just so they don't have to spend so much money on software; There is hardly any lay person I know who would turn down ubuntu once they know what it can do so long as they know I'm around to help them fix it.


Heck, what kind of computer fix-it business would exist if a computer never got a virus, spyware, popups, too many startup programs, corrupted registry, UAC crap, thingy wont do the thing, aint working right, etc.... I can't make money on a OS that doesn't break.

Just because a company doesn't get a lot of business doesn't mean it's not viable. The quality of the business is what is useful, what kind of quality are you offering if your computer is just going to break next year? No, experts in the field who can support computers in homes professionally and seriously should replace the untrained and minimum wage staff that have been set up as so called computer experts by the likes of PC World and Best Buy.

souneedalink
March 14th, 2008, 04:03 PM
The mainstream base is not really staying away from linux because of a lack of online materials or a lack of user groups. It's a lack of confidence in the people who they know around them to help.

If that is the case then I am surprised they arent staying away from windows too. Unless the blind leading the blind inspires confidence. No actually they stay away because they dont care about another OS. They already have one. It came on their system. I have explained/spoken about linux to many many people, even had a instructor ask me to give a presentation on it in business class. Nobody was interested unless it could do everything windows could do and more.


Lots of people want to be free from the ridiculous windows ecosystem; lots of people would love to have access to free software just so they don't have to spend so much money on software; There is hardly any lay person I know who would turn down ubuntu once they know what it can do so long as they know I'm around to help them fix it.
uh okay.




Just because a company doesn't get a lot of business doesn't mean it's not viable. The quality of the business is what is useful, what kind of quality are you offering if your computer is just going to break next year? No, experts in the field who can support computers in homes professionally and seriously should replace the untrained and minimum wage staff that have been set up as so called computer experts by the likes of PC World and Best Buy.
people break their systems...people want to spend money...it is the perfect business and the more easily broke the system is the more easily broke the person is paying to have it fixed

People only focus on the negative, not the positive. Most peoples response - sure XYZ may be free (cost) but it doesnt do such and such or it doesnt run the three programs I actually have figure out how to use a little bit.

aysiu
March 14th, 2008, 04:52 PM
People are always suspicious of what's new, especially if it seems to be used by only a handful of people (instead of by "everybody"). In order for that new thing to break ground, it has to be superior to the old thing in almost every way--it cannot appear to have flaws. People don't care if the old thing has flaws; it's the "devil" they know.

DoctorMO
March 14th, 2008, 11:40 PM
Unless the blind leading the blind inspires confidence

What a coincidence, this is how these things work.


People are always suspicious of what's new, especially if it seems to be used by only a handful of people (instead of by "everybody"). In order for that new thing to break ground, it has to be superior to the old thing in almost every way--it cannot appear to have flaws. People don't care if the old thing has flaws; it's the "devil" they know.

Yes I've seen that too, lots of people who are scared of using anything that everybody else isn't already. Again this is a social problem, not everyone is using windows. it's headoledgy.

Support would help with that though.

drascus
March 14th, 2008, 11:54 PM
Heck, what kind of computer fix-it business would exist if a computer never got a virus, spyware, popups, too many startup programs, corrupted registry, UAC crap, thingy wont do the thing, aint working right, etc.... I can't make money on a OS that doesn't break.

I disagree with this. There are plenty of people who can't figure out how to get certain aspects of there systems up and running. I haven't figured out how to enable my webcam yet. If I knew I could reliably take this thing down the street and pay 30 bucks or so to get it working I would. I also have had experiences where I have broken things and although I have been able to fix them it was after quite a bit of work. If I could have just taken it to the shop and have 'em fix it in a jiffy I would have. I probably would have gone to this service 3 or four times.

aysiu
March 14th, 2008, 11:56 PM
Most companies will pay for official tech support, even if they think the product they're buying is reliable. It's insurance--just in case. I don't know anyone in charge of a technology budget who says, "Hey, they don't offer support. They must have one extremely reliable product, then. That'll save us money."

DouglasAWh
March 15th, 2008, 05:08 AM
Most companies will pay for official tech support, even if they think the product they're buying is reliable. It's insurance--just in case. I don't know anyone in charge of a technology budget who says, "Hey, they don't offer support. They must have one extremely reliable product, then. That'll save us money."

We seem to be moving away from concrete steps to change things. Let's just assume for the time being that we aren't actually presenting Linux as the only FOSS alternative, though I don't know anyone running BSD, Solaris or ReactOS on their desktop or laptop. How do we get people to change?

I suggested going after the hardware companies. OP suggested stopping to support Windoze. I'd also suggest targeting schools. If kids use it at school, they'll be comfortable with it at home and we all know that the 7 year old in the house is often the geek of the house.

I think one of the problems is many Linux users don't care about spreading Linux. Linux works for them and that's all they care about. Or maybe they fought the good fight and gave up. I don't much care if random dude down the street pays $400 to M$ for an OS, but I don't want my friends and especially not my government wasting money on this stuff. Again, my focus is not on the individual as the original OP seems to be focused on. What the government does though will cause headlines and people will read those headlines...and M$ will fight the government and if M$ FUD machine doesn't get it right, they'll be creating the very headlines Linux needs to grow.

So, I still think hardware companies and government (including public schools K through college) are the best places to target. My understanding is there is legislation in Oregon promoting FOSS in discussion right now.