[Wiltshire] Supporting Linux

John Larkworthy john_larkworthy at yahoo.co.uk
Sun Apr 12 15:05:11 UTC 2009

I have been trying to get my head round the whole Open Source v Closed Source issues. I obviously want people to use open source but it seems closed source is better for at least one reason:- High Street support.

I have been talking to my life partner and she has pointed out that people go to major retailers where some sales person tells them that the solution to their problem - daughter needs a word processor is in a box on the shelf for a price. They pay the price take the box home and try to install the software. It kind of works but things are not right. They phone the shop. Get the standard answer - "Bring it in and we will fix it".
So more money changes hands - they scrape the drive of everything - oh sorry you didn't have it backed up sir" - and reinstall from scratch, returning an apparently working computer with no user data stored.

The key to the above it the fact that the shop is a large fixed point that people know sells computers and software. The shop offers a repair service. If it doesn't work they will sell their time to repair it.

None of this is available to the guy in the street trying to use say Ubuntu. 

Does anyone know if PC World can support an Ubuntu installation?

The mailing list, IRC channel or google are all of limited value to the computer illiterate. The technically challenging part is getting it initially set up and after that it should just run. Most technophobics rely on the computer arriving with an operating system working and expect to add programs that 'just work' their fear is that they will 'just not work' and require some technical voodoo that they don't know. 
Can we offer a team who will visit people needing our technical voodoo?
I don't think we can avoid the email the mailing list but how would we respond if someone posted the following on the list:

They live in Highworth and have decided that the old computer they have running Windows ME might be OK with Linux so have tried installing PCLinuxOS but can't get the screen resolution sorted. They particularly need word processing - their daughter is going to use it for school work.
Could they ask for someone to visit and help them through the installation of the OS and OpenOffice.org?



More information about the Wiltshire mailing list