Linux usability (was Re: [Nottingham] Response on awareness day)

Michael Simms michael at
Thu Nov 3 17:41:12 GMT 2005

On Thu, 2005-11-03 at 17:12 +0000, Matthew Walster wrote:
> On Thursday 03 November 2005 16:35, Michael Simms wrote:
> > I have to say my experience with that is completely different. I set up
> > a linux box for my mother and brother and sister (13 and 14 at the
> > time), and they were fine with it, no problems using it. I did take a
> > while setting things up, but not a prohibitive amount of time.
> You were there to help set-up though - that's the problem. With minimal 
> assistance, most can use Linux, and use it well. With no assistance, I think 
> most will fall at the first hurdle.

I agree, but I dont think its any different than PC world setting up the
XP machine they sell. I think these days, cos this was a few years ago
now, nicely laid out distros like fedora or linspire (like them or hate
them they are the best presented for non-techies), could be as easy
almost out of the box. However Ive not tested this with any newbies
recently {:-)

> > And suffice to say, my mother is NO computer expert, but she used it all
> > the time quite easilly.
> Which says something - maybe what is needed is a course at the local 
> college/community centre or something to show people how to use computers, 
> and have Linux machines there.

This is something we discussed doing a while ago, minimal interest so we
dropped the idea.

> Maybe I'm thinking the wrong way though - no-one is going to turn up to learn 
> how to use Linux, they want to learn how to use a computer, maybe teaching 
> Linux would be a disadvantage for those people - as they're probably only 
> going to come into contact with Windows for the next 2-3 years.

Agreed, although you would be surprised where linux is popping up. I
think that that is what will get Linux into the desktop more and more -
companies using it for their desktops to escape the microsoft tax, and
then when people buy their home computer, they want what it is they use
at work. 
Michael Simms - CEO, Tux Games

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