[Wolves] Promoting Linux

s parkes wolves at mailman.lug.org.uk
Fri May 9 11:31:00 2003

>From: Matthew Revell <matthew@understated.co.uk>
>Reply-To: wolves@mailman.lug.org.uk
>To: wolves@mailman.lug.org.uk
>Subject: [Wolves] Promoting Linux
>Date: 09 May 2003 10:49:10 +0100
>Hello everyone,
>Okay, here are my thoughts on promoting Linux within Wolverhampton.
new blood, new ideas, I like this guy ;-)

>First, I think it's important to get straight why we should promote
>Linux. If our hobby was stamp collecting, would be hoping to promote it?
>Not really. Linux, tho', as we all know, is more than a hobby. The
>dominance of one provider in any market is harmful. Usually, the state
>gets involved and helps to even things out. Of course, tho', the federal
>US government hasn't evened things out in the operating system market
>and it looks like the EU will, eventually, bow to similar (i.e.
>financial) pressure. If you're interested in US governments taken bungs
>from corporations, read Michael Moore's Stupid White Men.
plus Michaels other great books and dvd's, anything by naomi klien, noam 
chomsky, george monbiot, etc.  until you all get a clue :-) funny how the 
last time the conversation went this way was after a session listening to 
RATM and today is no different.

>So, my view is that Microsoft must be stopped. No, I'm not a raving Bill
>Gates hater, who is on a one man mission to rid the world of Windows
>etc. I am, tho', someone who believes firmly in innovation and
>competition. I also know that Microsoft's stranglehold on the PC desktop
>is at best an anachronism and, at worst, the beginning of a quasi-Big
>Brother situation (see Palladium etc).
thought we had another anti MS (sorry M$) type sneek in for a second.

>Apart from hoping to open people to a Microsoft alternative, is Linux
>worth promoting in itself? We're not going to get very far if we promote
>Linux just 'cause we like it. I'm sure at one stage or another, you've
>each argued with a fundamentalist of some kind; remember the school
>playground Spectrum v C64 or, later on, ST v Amiga, debates? We're not
>going to help Linux if we take on the aura of a Mormon of Jehovah's
>Witness who's on your doorstep and trying to explain: a) just why it was
>only Joseph Smith who could read those special tablets from God or b)
>how all those predictions of Christ's second coming were, well, wrong.
They where the printing plates for a science fiction story being printed at 
the printers he worked at.  The Church of the later day saints is based on a 
work of science fiction which puts them one higher on the strange quirks of 
religion than sceintology becuase that was only started by a writer of 
sci-fi ;-)

oh and it's the spectrum in case you where wondering ;-)

>To me, Linux is worth promoting - aside from being a MS alternative -
>1) It's open
>2) It's largely free
>3) It's a version of the proven Unix architecture
>3b) It's stable

couple of mods to the above section

1) It's /largely/ open
2) It's largely free
unless you use debian then it's totally open and totally free ;-)

3) It's theolgically based on the proven Unix architecture (but contains no 
unix code unless you are IBM)

>If we're going to promote Linux, then we need to build on that list and
>give a good explanation of each benefit. We also need to understand the
>disadvantages of the average Linux system:
>1) Plug and play, what's that?
a myth, plug and play was generated by marketing men and just adds to the 
confusion when users are really consumers and not true users.  One reason 
for promoting the LUG is to get people who are put off by FUD like this to 
ask questions on the list.  I think you have hit the nail on the head here.  
We can attract linux users to the LUG but have difficulty attracting the man 
(or women) on the street to linux because of the FUD we adhere to.

>2) Why is that programme called XCrupleFFT77.9.-1XC and not just Funky
normally becuase the lead coder is a twat, a twelve year old, leet or all of 
the above.  This is something that needs to be addressed to the whole of the 
developer community.  unfortunatly linux development is a clique and unfunny 
in jokes abound.

>3) GNOME, KDE, eh? I just wanna look at naked ladies.
Don't we all, but choice is one of the biggest selling points we have lets 
not forget that.

>4) Hmm, so where's the uninstall option?

rm -R *

the above is an example of an in joke, see above.

>5) Er, I just installed something, where did it go? Oh,
>/usr/bin/opt/xwz/, yes, that makes sense now that I've read The Unix
>File System Paradigm by Anthony Geek.
as you correctly pointed out one of the usp's for linux is the fact that it 
follows the unix style.  When the file system standards are followed it 
makes a lot more sense than the windows way of hiding half the install from 
the user.  We need to educate not alienate here so as long as organisations 
like this lug exist to explain issues like this and point users in the right 
direction such problems will reduce in the long term.

>These are minor problems and with a little help, most people could get
>used to them and Linux is getting easier to use month by month. However,
>they're something we need to be aware of when promoting Linux and we
>need to ask: is Linux right to be promoted to the average user? We might
>like it but is it right for everyone? I reckon the answer is a qualified
I don't think linux is currently the right choice for everyone but I have no 
doubts that in 5/10/15 (delete with hindsight) years linux (or a project 
following linux) will provide a comprehensive solution.  Until linux passes 
the mom test with everybodies mom it is difficult to see how it can provide 
a solution for everyone.  The majority of windows users are running with 
corrupt filesystems, running several unneeded tsr programs, have no 
understanding of why their computer slows down every couple of months.  They 
either pay someone to fix it, reinstall windows or purchase a new computer.  
Go to a computer fair and just see the amounts of clueless new(ish)bies 
purchasing new hardware to improve problems caused by poor software 
maintainance.  Give these people linux and we would suffer a backlash.  lets 
take them on one at a time, educating as we move along.  The revolution is 
happening but their is no panacia.

>I'll leave it there for now. I'd be really interested to hear your
>thoughts on all of this. Personally, I think Linux is a good alternative
>for the desktop. It'll do what the average person needs but I think that
>the myriad of options that Linux presents could be a problem. Also, I
>feel that the second anything goes wrong, the average user will be
>stuck. (Perhaps we could set up the Wolves LUG Linux Line and charge
>people for support :) )
again you take me back to another time, I can get us an IVR plateform 
(running linux ;-) and a premium rate line ;-)

Matt, very interesting mail I can see this one running for a while.


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