Hi, i recently convinced my wife to switch to using linux because her computer's hardware is aging and she doesnt want to buy a new computer.

What struck me as difficult to sell her on the idea of using linux was that even a distro like ubuntu would be difficult to install and use. So I convinced her to give it a try and sure enough, the installation was PAINSTAKINGLY difficult.

Here is the list of problems I encountered

1) Hang during boot while loading floppy controllers. (Solved by reseting the BIOS to defaults)

2) Secondary partition which contained files cannot be mounted. The drive is NTFS and I wanted to copy out the files before formatting to ext3. The reason it cant mount is because the partition was "dirty". I had to go to the terminal and force mount to clear the "dirty" bit. Why the heck doesnt the GUI give an option to force mount, is beyond my understanding. To ask my non computer literate wife to mount on the command line is ludicrous. (Solved by force mounting)

3) CD-Writer would not recognise empty discs. The computer has an ATAPI CD-ROM on hdc and an ATAPI CD-WRITER on hdd. After checking dmesg, i found that the if there is no disc in hdc while booting, ubuntu would not recognise hdd. After alot of tweaks to modules.conf, fstab , etc etc . I still could not get it to work. Finally , I moved the CD-WRITER to hdc and removed the CD-ROM. The problem is how can anyone expect a sane person to configure modules, fstab just to get a freaking CD-WRITER to work. (Solved by removing CD-ROM).

The root of my problems is that if the person using the ubuntu isnt a software engineer, i dont see any hope of them using it rationally. (I am a software engineer, but my wife is a salesperson). Finally , after 2 weeks of using ubuntu, she finally relented and asked if we could buy a notebook with at least windows XP or Vista because now the printer is broken and we dont know how to fix it.

There is simply no excuse in requesting the user to edit files on the disk just to install a driver or configure some hardware settings on their new ubuntu installation. There is no excuse in typing cryptic commands just to find out if the CD-WRITER is recognised by cdrecord -scanbus. I was especially disappointed when I clicked the hardware test program and didnt even test the CD-ROM or CD-WRITER.

I am not trying to berate ubuntu. I use ubuntu on some of my computers in the office. The difference is that my entire office is made up of software engineers which dont mind editing files and typing long complicated commands. Plain jane users dont have a clue on what to do.