Monday, March 06, 2006

Learning new tricks

Today I saw this comment from someone looking for advice on Linux tools:

The more Win like the GUI the better for Linux noobies like me.

My response is: If you are already used to Win GUIs you are a noobie no more.

Moving from one OS to another implies relearning and adapting. It's harder to teach an old dog new tricks.

The same happens when switching applications on the same OS. The more knowledgeable you are about a tool, the more complains you will have about a new one. Many people were still using WordPerfect for DOS long after there were Windows tools available, just because they already knew all the cryptic WP key combinations.

Even user friendliness is on the eye of the beholder. Some people find GUIs less user friendly than command line because GUIs rarely allow automation for repetitive tasks.

What is true is that the more tools and ways-of-thinking you learn, the easier will be to learn something different if nothing else just because you will be already conditioned to accept change.


Ed Jason said...

nice blog _ I have decided to do a blog as a wiki after trying many options . . .

word perfect is available for Linux somewhere . . . would anyone use it? [shrug] Non standard command programs always become defunct. Why? Bobody needs to learn a generic program. I am not gonna learn how to use a WP. Come to that I am not gonna learn to use more than one of each type of program and they are gonna all be open source

Anonymous said...

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Karl said...

Regarding being conditioned to accept change, I'd like to share this, (and vent!)
I recently switched a friend to Linux, from XP, and Back again. After their e-mail in box in XP was totaled by a virus, they decided to try the Linux distro Puppy Linux, which I had just used as a rescue CD to clean the virus. Things went badly. I got the basics up and running, but little problems like the time zone not being saved on reboot, and the printer not printing in color, and the spell checker not having the dictionary installed caused frustration. Linux got blamed for things not it's fault too, like the mail server being down in the morning. Her comment was that Linux just doesn't work like it's suppose to. Even though each little problem was solvable, I was the only resource, and the frustration got directed at me. I finally gave up and set the e-mail back up in xp, and took my Linux disk home. Now it's Bill Gates fault.

If a giant marketing campain was launched for Linux, convincing people that they had to have it, then they might weather the setup and learning curve, but the motivation isn't there. Maybe that's good, since the few % linux users will continue to enjoy freedom from viruses.

I won't suggest to anybody that they switch to Linux again. Unless it's their own idea, and they really want to learn, I'll just quietly keep it to myself. --Karl

Raul Suarez said...


The intention of the post was to show that once a user decided to switch, they should have the mindset for change.

You bring up another interesting missconception: "Windows Just works", well, it does if it comes preinstalled, so for most users that preception is true just because highly technical people made sure that all the drivers and configurations were in place. If you want to do it yourself it is a bigger pain than Linux.