[sclug] Cheap'n'nasty Tesco Linux machines

Phillip Chandler phillip.chandler at ntlworld.com
Fri Mar 14 20:24:13 UTC 2008

Unfortunately I believe your trying to sell Linux for the sake of it.
Texstar of PCLinuxOS fame & Klaus Knopper (of knoppix) both state "Dont
sell my distro, I dont care if people use it or not, Sell linux not the
distro". And in the same respect selling someone linux when Windows will
do, is a bit pointless, especially from the point of view that people
have to re-learn, when most people dont want to know, all they wanna
know is that their computer boots up and does what they want. Only the
gamer or young wnat powerfull PC's with plenty of bling.

Plus you have the issues of whether their peripherals are going to be
compatable. Im going to stab in the dark here, and ask if the people you
mention here are savvy enough to "Get their hands dirty" with the linux
terminal, maybe have to use Ndiswrapper for wireless etc. If people arnt
technically minded, they more-than-likely wont want to know about linux,
because Im pretty sure that they will have to (at some stage) get their
hands dirty, and most average PC users wants windows, because it works
out of the box, ie BIG hardware support, multimedia DVD playback etc.

The fun Ive had having to add repos to then download codecs etc because
of copyright. To get linux upto the same standard as windows, meaning
having the same sort of stuff so the user can do the same on linux as
they did in windows, but using linux alternatives. Im going to put mu
neck on the block here and say that no one can install linux and NOT
have to open a terminal and start learning the command line, regardless
of how little or how much. My experience of linux is that if a user
doesnt want to learn then better stay with windows.
Linux isnt a windows replacement, its an alternative. The best way to
describe windows and linux is to say they are both cars, the windows car
works out of the showroom,and everything is installed as easy as turning
on the ignition, the user doesnt even have to go anywhere near the
engine, as everything is done behind the scenes without the driver
having to know what exactly is going on.

The linux driver is someone who is more than happy to open the bonnet
and get their hands covered in crap and learn how to do oil changes,
spark plugs etc, because their car doesnt do certain stuff
automatically, you have to do it yourself. Im hoping this bad analogy is
sort of making the point. 

I believe that the major problem is ignorance. People are sold a PC with
all the hype, the manual never gets read, people hear they have macaffee
but it doesnt sink in that they only have 6 months of updates, and that
after that they have to buy another subby. People need to be educated
that one of the biggest threats to a pc's security is the end user. You
can have the best firewall, anti this and anti that, but if someone
doesnt understand the basics of whats out there in the form of scams,
and downloads an infected file, they can bypass all their nice security,
install and infect. So the security software isnt worth the CD it came
on. So basically Im of the thinking that windows is perfectly adequate
for the job, just educate the end user.

What your doing for recycling is fantastic, but even better would be to
buy an upgrade PC and take the hdd from the old machine and install into
the new machine if the end user wants to stay with linux. If people want
to try linux then by all means sell linux, but the best solution would
to first try a Live CD / DVD to see if they like it, or even if the
distro picks up their hardware.

On Fri, 2008-03-14 at 19:08 +0000, M.Blackmore wrote:
> On Fri, 2008-03-14 at 17:52 +0000, Alex Butcher wrote:
> > 
> > Bear in mind the support issues!
> In that they are on their own ... the village has a strong waste
> action/environmental group as does the historical wychwood area, and one
> of the things I'm trying to get people to do is look beyond the
> wastebin, recycling and packaging towards things like electronic waste,
> which is hugely more impactive upon the environment. Now, a lot of
> people are muttering about upgrading old computers, some of this will be
> a waste for them - just a change to linux will do fine if we can
> persuade them to shift and bluntly most of this lot don't need any MS
> Office software for any particular compatibility reason like people
> sending them documents. Others really do have old kit that modern
> linuxii are getting a bit grumpy on and would appreciate something a bit
> more snappy - I don't think we're going to sell damn small linux to this
> lot.
> So a bulk purchase of refurbished computers is a form of recycling, and
> freecycle experience has demonstrated that stuff down in the 400mhz/4gb
> disk size range is snapped up by people looking for computers, a lot of
> whom are on benefits level incomes and anything will be a blessing (I
> just make sure they can't connect to the internet with Windows but load
> up a modern low resource linux for them when I remainder old kit onto
> freecycle as win9x can't be secured etc.).
> Ordering up a pallet or two of nice kit might fly around here if I get a
> list together - at a meeting inagurating a local environmental website
> project a lot of the participants were talking about the "need" to
> upgrade and it was making me and the couple of other computer nerds
> about the place think upon issues a bit as the danger is that they will
> just go down to PCWorld and buy whatever crap is being done there.
> > 
> > Not individually coded, but XP does require activation. I really don't
> > think
> > that a COA is sufficient to run anything other that the original OEM
> > install
> > of Windows.
> This was what I was wondering about - the activation and what number
> needed typing in, off the CD/CD cover or off the serial number on the
> side of the box?
> For me a warez would do as I'd only be using it for some kids games, off
> the internet by strict order - other people might have to (though I
> wonder about the "might have to") be legit and how would one go about
> giving them something that could be activated. If the original box had a
> preinstalled windows and there is a licence number written on the side
> why wouldn't that work for activation??

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