Thursday, August 13, 2009

Why Nobody Uses Linux

I use Ubuntu Linux, just like the pretty girl in the picture apparently does. And if I didn't, I'd at least try it out, because, hey, look at the pretty girl. Anyways, I remember reading a tech news article somewhere that claimed netbooks with Linux pre-installed were being returned at a rate of 4% more than others. Now, there were no real numbers in the article proving this, and the guy admitted that he didn't know the return rates for M$ products, but still, there really are a lot of people who try Linux and soon switch back to Windows.

Why? Well, there is the lazy factor, of course. Though many Linux distros are very similar in appearance and functionality to Windows, they are not built to be windows clones. They are different for a reason- because they are better. But many people who just want a computer to surf the net, take an online class, and send a few emails, do not wish to be bothered with learning something new. Another issue is the fact that many of their favorite apps will not run on Linux, or they will but the user does not know how to install them, or does not realize that there are good alternatives to Windows programs.

But in my experience, one of the main obstacles to the spread of Linux popularity is the Linux users themselves. Now, I'm patient, and I despise Microsoft enough that I am willing to put forth substantial effort in avoiding their software. So to me, it's not a huge deal. But I remember plenty of times over the last three years since switching to Ubuntu, when I had to hit the forums or Launchpad and seek help with a problem. And I have found that the majority of users who offer 'help' on these forums, are not really being helpful at all. Sure, they give the correct answer, but in the wrong way. Most of them fancy themselves to be 1337 h@XX0rz, and insist on trying to force people to use the command line as a panacea for all their technical issues.

Look, people today- especially Windows users- don't want to bother with a command line. Remember the saying, 'just point and click'? Well, that's what people want. Hell, I'm quite knowledgable when it comes to computers and Linux, and I'd rather not use the command line unless I absolutely have to. Ubuntu, along with many other Linux distros, has a pleasing, intuitive GUI that nobody EVER recommends on the forums. If a user wants to know how to browse their hard drive, you will hear the 'helpful' Linux geek tell them, "Oh it's simple. Just open your terminal, type 'sudo nautilus', and the file browser will open!" Umm, no, that's not the simple way to do it. These noobs should be told, "Oh it's simple. Just click 'Places' on the top panel, then click 'Computer', and your file browser will open!" See the difference? See how easy two clicks are compared with a click and the typing of two words? People don't want to type unless they are chatting, emailing, or writing a novel. I certainly don't want to have to type to open the equivalent of 'My Computer'.

Now, I personally could care less whether more people use Linux. I actually enjoy the fact that not many do. It ensures the OS will remain watertight secure, since there is little profit in finding ways to hack and virus an OS that nobody uses. Also, I feel that a massive popularity gain would open the OS up to the corporate whores who would descend like vultures to try and find a way to profit off of the open source OS. But I still feel that those who are wanting to use Linux, whether to escape the clutches of Microsoft- which charges huge sums of money for every upgrade and application, accesses and uses your personal information without your permission in ways that and for reasons which are still not fully known, and deliberately leaves big, gaping holes in their system so that third parties can install adware- or simply because they want to try something new, should be able to get the help they actually need without some punk trying to make things more difficult for them.

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