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Thread: What drives people away from Linux?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012

    What drives people away from Linux?

    I'm doing a paper on what drives people away from Ubuntu and Linux in general. To be more specific, I'm interested in the initial reaction of frustration or even fear when they try it for the first time. Most of us have seen that reaction and I want to know people's thoughts on what causes it.

    What are your thoughts?

    Things I would find useful:
    • Story's about you introducing someone to Linux for the first time? (Specifically their reactions.)
    • Your first experience using Linux and what you found frustrating.
    • Normal tasks that you couldn't do when you switched to Linux. (Your solutions)

    Things that are not useful:
    • Rants
    • Talking about why your OS is better. (This argument always turns into an endless string of rants and never results in anything useful.)

    Any input you can give would be very helpful.

    P.S. This is my first post on the forum. If this post is in the wrong place just let me know and I'll move it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    London, England
    Ubuntu Development Release

    Re: What drives people away from Linux?

    I was not driven away from Linux. I researched Linux by reading computer journals. I followed the advice to identify the hardware that was supported in Linux before I purchased my components. Ubuntu was recommended by computer journalists as being for the non-computer literate user. I did not expect Linux to be a very cheap copy a Microsoft operating system.

    The big hold back is the inability to buy machines with Linux pre-installed. Ordinary users make decisions according to design and usability. They care little for the label on the software. Does it look good? Does it work? Can I use it to do what I want to do? Are not these the questions that buyers of commodities are asking when they make purchases?

    The big problem for Linux distributions is inertia. People stick with what they are used to. They will use whatever operating system is installed on the machine. People do not choose the operating system. It comes as part of the machine. Why learn something new? It is called Microsoft lock-in and now Apple lock-in.

    As for normal tasks - every operating system worth its name will be able to do all so called normal tasks. It is the user that doesn't know how to do things. And that applies to every operating system.

    Well, I have written enough of your paper. It seems to me that you are starting from a biased view point and I doubt if you will find any insight into people's purchasing decisions.

    Last edited by grahammechanical; April 29th, 2013 at 09:54 PM.
    It is a machine. It is more stupid than we are. It will not stop us from doing stupid things.
    Ubuntu user #33,200. Linux user #530,530

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009

    Re: What drives people away from Linux?

    A friend of mine tried it, didn't follow through:
    - his printer wasn't found (linux-incompatible network printer)
    - some specific software he uses at work doesn't run on linux
    - he didn't like the availabe office tools (he' s one of the few that actually uses some advanced MS Office features, and if you've invested time to figure out how stuff works, you don't change tools easily

    I think the fact that people mostly use windows at work poses a problem. Most people are either ignorant or indifferent (and rightly so, in the end a pc is just a tool to get the work done), so why should they learn a second way to work with computers? The arrival of android may change that. It shows that hardware and software don't necessarily come together and that there are alternatives.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Ilkeston Derbys. England
    Gutsy Gibbon Testing

    Re: What drives people away from Linux?

    An older friend(I'm 65) has windows 7 on his desktop and he got a laptop with windows 8 on it. He was totally mystified and he asked my was awful, no start menu on the desktop and even shutting down you need to keep moving the mouse to get shutdown options. I duel booted with Kubuntu and the first thing he said "that's a lot easier". I think windows users expect to see a traditional start menu, one reason I never recommend Unity.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Across The Pond
    Xubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus

    Re: What drives people away from Linux?

    For myself, it was fear; fear of my own lack of knowledge. But, I was so sick and tired of Windows that I was willing to give it a try. I found a Red Hat For Dummies book at a thrift shop, complete with an installation CD. I was afraid to try it on my own computer, so I got an old computer from a friend who just bought new. It was exciting and scary at the same time, but I knew I could learn it if I put my mind to it.

    That old computer died shortly thereafter, so I started researching Linux distributions. Ubuntu appealed because it was geared for the common computer user. I painfully managed to install it with a dual boot for Windows, which I never used.

    I think the biggest problem for me (and one that almost made me stick with Windows when I bought my newest computer), is that any time I need technical support say, from the company I bought my computer from, or my service provider, or for new hardware; tech support can't/won't help me. As soon as they hear "Linux," they interrupt me with "we don't support Linux." That's frustrating for a non-technical user like me. What they want to do is pass me off to specialized support for $$$, with no guarantee they can solve my problem. The forums are what has saved me time and time again. I don't know what I would do without the folks here, who are so willing to help.

    That is the only reason I keep Windows on a partition of my hard drive, in case I need tech support for any of those things. Other than that, I would never change from Linux. I might try a different distro, but I'll stick with Linux forever.
    "Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects." Will Rogers

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2012

    Re: What drives people away from Linux?

    Here's a little story:

    An odd exaggerating Windows person at a hacker (as in someone who likes to code) community saw my Arch lappy with i3 on it, and went, "Gee, you must take a long time to resize all those windows so perfectly."
    As you would know, i3 is a tiling window manager, so I oubviously did not resize all of those windows myself. I had a terminal, w3m, nvlc, and thunar running.
    I laughed and said, "No, you see here, this is not Windows."
    He said, "What??? That's not one of those pretty Macs though!"
    Awestruck by the fact that he had not heard of Linux or Unix I replied, "It's Arch Linux."
    Naturally, he looked up Arch Linux on his W7 lappy and clicked on the first link, taking him to the Arch home page. He took a few moments to read the description, and said, "Open-source! Like, my computer could break if someone didn't code right?"
    This was facepalm time.
    I dully replied that things were tested before released, and this was one of the more bleeding-edge distros.
    Once more, he went to his lappy, searching what a linux distro was. He clicked on the Wikipedia page, and instantly went to the diagram of Linux distros. His eyes went WIDE.
    At this time, his curiousity kicked in. He asked me how to get it.
    TIP: Always carry an Ubuntu disc to any computer-related community things, it comes in handy.
    I showed him where he could get the .iso files and then popped in the disc to show him what it looked like. He tried it for a while and he said, "Not bad."
    I then showed him how to use the applications and then showed him some wiki pages that helped. He learned how to use it very quickly, and decided to burn the .iso himself later, as it was getting very late. He took the disc out and gave it to me, and then he left. The next time I saw him, he was using Ubuntu.
    CrunchBang Linux
    Plz no tpe lik dis or no anser!!
    The search tool can be found in the upper right corner of your screen, please use it to your advantage, especially before asking questions.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2013

    Re: What drives people away from Linux?

    Recently I was trying to convert a friend to Linux and it was going really well. Until he brought his girlfriend of almost a decade into the conversation and we discovered that her previous boyfriend had switched all their computers to Linux about 10 years ago.

    It clearly wasn't a happy memory for her and since Linux now smelled of "previous boyfriend" to him, I didn't even bother with any "oh but Linux has changed since then" type arguments. I just gathered up my various DVDs, USBs and "All your friends do Linux" propaganda leaflets, made my excuses (not strictly necessary by that time) and left.

    The truth is that the computing world is now dominated by a new super race of human beings who are simultaneously skilled graphic designers and expert programmers developing complex corporate web apps and services in Java. For this elite, who are apparently 99% of all PC users these days, Eclipse and Inkscape just don't cut it.

    GNU/Linux's fringe/niche status is attractive for those attracted by fringes and niches but a turn-off to those who aren't. Free is also interpreted by some as having no value i.e. if you're not charging for it, it's because you don't believe it can sell.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: What drives people away from Linux?

    The only thing that stops me using Linux 100% is the lack of a high-quality video NLE, and related software.
    Please mark your thread as solved if you get a satisfactory solution to your problem.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Re: What drives people away from Linux?

    People don't want change. I tried to introduce Ubuntu at home, but eventhough both mom's and dad's windows laptops are sluggy as hell, they are used to the windows interface, windows explorer and MS office.

    They are not interested in change. They are not interested in doing something in a better way, since they already know a way (doesn't matter if it's wrong). Applies to anything around computers though.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail

    Re: What drives people away from Linux?

    Habit. That's the biggest problem. When you are used to something so much, you expect the other thing to behave in the same way. And when that doesn't happen, you think that the second thing is not good enough.
    Next in the line would be money. If something costs, it must be professional, and if something is free, it must be amateur, and therefore worse then the paying thing.
    And then, after people overcome that, comes the hardware and software support problems.

    IMO that's the 3 main reasons - Habit, "Worth" and Support.

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