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Linux.com: When Will Mom Use Linux?

Dec 30, 2000, 12:00 (14 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jason Tackaberry)

"There's no doubt about it. I'm a power Linux user. I love to live on the bleeding edge, installing development kernels minutes after they are released or hacking the source code of my favorite application because I want something to work differently, or writing shell scripts to have my computer speak to me when new mail arrives, announcing the sender and subject. This is the power that Linux offers me. Still, despite all that power and flexibility, Linux fails me in so many ways. And sometimes, in my moments of weakness, I begin to lose faith in my favorite operating system."

"Two years ago I was bold and naive enough to assert that my mother would be able to switch to Linux by now. And if Linux were ready for her, I think there's a pretty good possibility that she would do just that. You see, she, like so many other people with years of experience being an end user, despises Windows. Once a month she routinely sends a 10-page essay on her latest Windows escapade, which frequently ends with something like "and after 45 minutes on the phone with Compaq tech support, they had me reinstall Windows and the problem seems to have gone away." She always jokes about being an old dog that can't learn new tricks, but given a feasible alternative to Windows, I think she'd jump."

"Unfortunately, there is no feasible alternative, at least for her. My mother, who is by no means technical but is also not completely computer-phobic, likes to try new software. I wouldn't have any idea how to explain how to install new software in Linux to a person whose command line experience involves little more than cd and dir from her DOS days -- which, I might add, is still significantly more than many average users possess today. The best case scenario would be to download the RPM (since I would recommend she use RedHat, or some other RPM-based distribution), double click on it in the file manager, and have it install without a hitch."

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