[CS-FSLUG] Why You Might Be Using Linux in 2009

Ed Hurst ehurst at soulkiln.org
Mon Dec 29 07:05:16 CST 2008

Jon Glass wrote:

> Could you define "regular users" for me? I'm having a hard time
> visualizing what one would look like. I don't consider myself
> irregular or odd or strange or even "hobbyist"... [snip]

I'm part of a computer ministry. Granted, many of my clients are 
seniors. Still, a good number are quite savvy users. Plenty of them 
would still be running Win95/98 if they could. But their computer is 
just a tool, and they only have one. It does a few things, but they 
hardly spend time on it the way I do. They couldn't comprehend the need 
for having two in their home, except to have one as a game system for 
their younger grandchildren. All of them say they won't do with a 
computer if they can afford it, but none of them use it as a hobby.

The ones who know about Linux say "no" for the very reason of the 
rolling release. They understand security updates, they understand 
improvements in certain applications, but they do not understand 
replacing the OS before the computer wears out. That is, they replaced 
Win9x only because MS no longer supports it, it bogs down in malware, or 
the hardware broke down. Most of them still don't like it, because they 
got used to the ways of old Windows. When I mention single-source 
software, they think that's just fine. They'd love to quite having to 
buy it separately. This from several dozen folks, some from different 
cultural backgrounds. They do not install their OS; they use it.

I also work with my brother in his commercial computer business. He's a 
small-timer. He's learning Linux, uses it to replace the firmware in 
some electronic hardware. He won't use it on his own system because he 
does this for a living, and doesn't like the frequent upgrade cycles, 
either. He figures three years is too frequent, as does all his 
commercial clients. He wants to buy a server, install the OS, and not 
have to re-install for as long as the hardware lasts. He already does 
that too often with Windows, every version of which eats itself. But he 
installs the same version that came with the hardware, as most of 
clients expect for their systems.

If you install your own operating system, you are a hobbyist or a 
professional or maybe just nerd/geek. Regular users don't mind poking 
around a bit, but only if they get some guidance, because they *use* 
computers as a tool in their lives. They don't have time to learn what 
you and I take for granted. I can't blame them for not wanting to know, 
because they have better things to do, and it's not just watching TV.

Ed Hurst
Associate Editor, Open for Business: http://ofb.biz/
Applied Bible - http://soulkiln.org/
Kiln of the Soul - http://soulkiln.blogspot.com/

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