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CBC Recommends Linux To Average User 270

Posted by Zonk
from the penguins-to-the-masses dept.
rustalot42684 writes "The CBC [Canadian Broadcasting Corporation] has posted an article on its website promoting the use of Ubuntu Linux to the 'average computer user'. 'With the exception of gaming, which is limited, almost all of the average person's basic computing needs are well looked after with this package. I've used the last three versions of Ubuntu on my main portable web-surfing computer for years just to avoid viruses and spyware (as the vast majority of these nasty programs are written for Windows), and I have yet to be disappointed.' The author seems to have made some sweeping generalizations about the development of GNU/Linux, but that aside, will mainstream media coverage help more people switch?"
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CBC Recommends Linux To Average User

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  • by Goalie_Ca (584234) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @12:27AM (#18467961)
    The CBC has been pretty good about open standards and open source. I, along with over 70k other people, download the 1 hour free podcasts showcasing canada's independant music. These podcasts come in OGG format too! Recently they started a second podcast and a track of the day feature. The french canadian (bap.fm) also has an hour of free music per week mostly showcasing montreal area and french canadian music.

    The CBC has been very responsive to complaints, comments, etc. Check it out at http://radio3.cbc.ca/podcasting/podcastplaylist.as px [radio3.cbc.ca]
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by smallpaul (65919)
      I don't know how you can say all that without mentioning that the standard streaming format for the CBC is Windows Media [www.cbc.ca]. As far as show downloads: I can find no rhyme or reason. Some shows are in RealAudio, some in Windows Media, some in MP3. Every show maintains their own archives HTML page, sometimes well and sometimes poorly. There obviously is no overarching strategy when it comes to digital distribution which is a sad state of affairs in 2007.
  • Budget (Score:5, Funny)

    by spammeister (586331) <fantasmoofrcc@@@hotmail...com> on Saturday March 24, 2007 @12:30AM (#18467979)
    Since CBC has a budget the same as most of it's viewership yearly income (yea rly), no wonder it reccomends Linux as a viable alternative to Window$.
  • by greenguy (162630) <estebandido@NosPAm.gmail.com> on Saturday March 24, 2007 @12:38AM (#18468031) Homepage Journal
    There are an awful lot of people out there who only know what they get from the mass media. This article, and others like it, will serve to raise Linux from "Mysterious and Scary" to "Mysterious, but Substantially Less Scary."

    My year of Linux on the desktop was 2002, but I've also had a lot frustrations along the way... including with the upgrade to my Ubuntu upgrade today. I eventually solved it by using vim to comment out lines 543 and 544 (not lines 541 and 542, like it said in the Ubuntu Forums) of /usr/bin/pycentral. This is not something I want to have to explain to my mom, my girlfriend, or my neighbor -- nor do I want to do it for them.

    I had a sad realization today, reading an earlier Slashdot post. To beat Windows (much less Mac OS) on the desktop of people who are not early adopters, Linux does not have to be as good -- as I believe it is, on balance. Rather, it has to be better, and conspicuously better.

    For some people, this will mean games. For others, multimedia. For still others, CAD, or other occupation-specific apps. But for everyone, it means "When I want to do _______, it better work on the first try."
    • by bl8n8r (649187)
      Linux has already beaten Windows and Mac on price alone (free) as well as merit and marketing. If one-tenth of the marketing hype put into either of the aforementioned were put into Ubuntu (for instance) Linux would be that much farther ahead. There is a large population of windows users that are fed up but have no idea there is any other option. Most of that population could care less about anything more than solitare as well. It's too bad your Ubuntu upgrade didn't go perfectly. Most things with comp
      • by greenguy (162630)
        You seem to be missing the point that I don't need to be convinced. I was convinced five years ago, and was making inquiries three years before that. I have put up with a LOT of frustration to install and use Linux.

        That doesn't matter. What matters is that others will not put up with a lot of frustration. As much as they hate "computers" (read: Windows), they won't try something new, because either they've memorized what to do when things go wrong (Cntl+Alt+Del) or they have someone to go to that has a nomi
    • For some people, this will mean games. For others, multimedia. For still others, CAD, or other occupation-specific apps. But for everyone, it means "When I want to do _______, it better work on the first try."
      What really annoys me is that most of the above isnt Linux's fault at all.
      There is nothing we can do about it.
    • by cgenman (325138)
      I had a sad realization today, reading an earlier Slashdot post. To beat Windows (much less Mac OS) on the desktop of people who are not early adopters, Linux does not have to be as good -- as I believe it is, on balance. Rather, it has to be better, and conspicuously better.

      The theory in games is not that you have to be conspicuously better, but that you have to do ONE THING which the other systems do not do. That it isn't the cumulative value of all of the little upgrades, but one significant bit of func
    • I had a sad realization today, reading an earlier Slashdot post. To beat Windows (much less Mac OS) on the desktop of people who are not early adopters, Linux does not have to be as good -- as I believe it is, on balance. Rather, it has to be better, and conspicuously better.

      Don't be sad. Look at it from a corporation's point of view.

      #1. FREE!!!!!
      #1a. No more money spent tracking licenses
      #1b. No more time spent tracking licenses
      #1c. No more threats of "license compliance audits".

      #2. The package system means

    • You are correct, it has to be conspicuously better. If it isn't then there is no compelling reason as seen in the eyes of the average user to even entertain a switch.

      Well, maybe now that the world knows that Linux is really a cute girl it will change.
    • If we can show that Linux is far more secure and just as easy to use as Windows, we'll be ready to explode onto the consumer market. We'1l also need to keep up-to-date with good open-source alteratives to the most important apps.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by isorox (205688)
      But for everyone, it means "When I want to do _______, it better work on the first try."

      Which is exactly why I use linux
    • This is not something I want to have to explain to my mom, my girlfriend, or my neighbor -- nor do I want to do it for them.
      The sad realization is that this isn't a problem. It's no worse than trying to explain to them how to kill all the spyware on their computer, or how to diagnose the system when it gets bloated beyond use. What is sad is the every operating system has problems. No one is exempt. That's the nature of such complex beasts.
  • by value_added (719364) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @12:53AM (#18468103)
    The CBC [Canadian Broadcasting Corporation] has posted an article on its website promoting the use of Ubuntu Linux to the 'average computer user'.

    No, David Conabree, a regular reviewer of new high-tech gear and longtime computer user has written a favorable story on Ubuntu that's been published on the cbc.ca website.

    I'm a big fan of cbc.ca and most things Canadian (except for the beer, of course), but I doubt they have an official position of open source software, or are otherwise in the habit of recommending a particular Linux distro to their readers.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by g4sy (694060)

      I'm a big fan of cbc.ca and most things Canadian (except for the beer, of course)


      Shouldn't that read.... actually just the beer? Like the old joke goes... How is American beer like sex in a canoe? It's f^H^H^H^Hing close to water.
    • I doubt they [CBC] have an official position of open source software, or are otherwise in the habit of recommending a particular Linux distro to their readers.

      Nah, might as well dismiss it as another crackpot letter to the editor, right? Wrong. The guy is a regular contributor with other articles, like this one [www.cbc.ca] to his name. So, yes, the author and the institution have issued an opinion. There will be more like that too.

      If you listen to the BBC, you won't be using Vista anytime soon. [slashdot.org] As M$ jumps

    • by Hannah E. Davis (870669) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @03:18AM (#18468711) Journal
      I don't know if they have an official position on it, but you may find this interesting: they have instructions for Linux/Unix users on http://www.cbc.ca/listen/ [www.cbc.ca] (the site for listening to CBC Radio online), and they specifically mention testing it with Gentoo and FreeBSD. They also have a couple of audio streams (the EST versions of CBC Radio One and Two) in Ogg Vorbis and seem to be encouraging people to try the format.
  • by Daishiman (698845) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @01:00AM (#18468149)

    What is this fascination with saying that the problem lies in making Linux friendlier to "the average user"?

    Like the article says, Ubuntu covers very well the needs of the "average user". He needs basic tasks done, and Ubuntu does that well. Will he/she have issues along the way? Of course, in the same way that Windows does, which is the very same reason that you need to go to the average user's house every to months to clean up all the crapware that's installed in their machine and install codecs. After all, VLC and Firefox didn't appear on their desktops all by themselves now, did they?

    No, the obstacle for Linux now lies in the odious "power user": the person that has developed a relatively good skill set for using Windows but is too stubborn to port it to another operating system, be it Linux, OS X, or whatever. This is, interestingly, a group of users for which many of us have contempt: they can achieve complex tasks but only because or rote learning and memorized steps. They will get that pretty Windows theme or know all the shortcuts to the one application the use frequently, but god forbid they have to use something else and they're lost all over again. They're the people that have command line phobia and yet will have no issues with editing registry files, difference being that the CLI is immensely useful and the Registry is the spawn of Satan.

    Addendum: Gamers are not regular users. Regular users don't spend $250+ on a video card to play $60 games. CAD and design app users are not regular users either: they're domain specialists in whatever their application is, and industrial CAD solutions do exist for Linux and Unix. Ask 3d animation shops that used to be IRIX shops what they're using now.

    • by value_added (719364) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @01:40AM (#18468305)
      No, the obstacle for Linux now lies in the odious "power user": the person that has developed a relatively good skill set for using Windows but is too stubborn to port it to another operating system, be it Linux, OS X, or whatever.

      Interesting take on the subject. The greatest impediment to change of any sort is inertia, and while I doubt making a switch to Linux, etc. is any different, the category you describe is no doubt the most vocal.

      This is, interestingly, a group of users for which many of us have contempt: they can achieve complex tasks but only because or rote learning and memorized steps. They will get that pretty Windows theme or know all the shortcuts to the one application the use frequently, but god forbid they have to use something else and they're lost all over again. They're the people that have command line phobia and yet will have no issues with editing registry files, difference being that the CLI is immensely useful and the Registry is the spawn of Satan.

      It occurred to me many moons ago that the sum total of knowledge one obtains using Windows systems (both as a "power user" (ridiculous word) and/or as a typical sysadmin) is a giant convoluted collection of trivia that spans registry edits, workarounds for things that don't work or work badly, memorisation of GUI layout du jour, and various methods of reinstalling borked systems, the value of which erodes as time goes by. Put another way, unless you're a programmer regularly shelling out for an MSDN subscription, you probably know squat. And to paraphrase the poetry of Donald Rumsfeld, you probably don't know that you don't know.

      By comparison, anyone, novice users included, who embarked on learning the basics of shell scripting, gained familiarity with a handful of standard programs, and learned how to use a text editor would find his or her skills just as relevant and valuable today as they did when DOS was commonplace. And chances are they would learned even more as time went on.
      • by hobo sapiens (893427) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @02:03AM (#18468363) Journal

        the sum total of knowledge one obtains using Windows systems (both as a "power user" (ridiculous word) and/or as a typical sysadmin) is a giant convoluted collection of trivia that spans registry edits, workarounds for things that don't work or work badly, memorisation of GUI layout du jour, and various methods of reinstalling borked systems, the value of which erodes as time goes by.

        That pretty much nails it. Just the other day I was trying to figure out why my PC was running slow after getting a new audigy sound card. Well, come to find out, the "driver software" also included about ten other "helper" programs that I didn't even need, some things were even for devices my particular sound card does not have. Of course these weren't in the places you'd expect (like services.msc or startup dirs). Some of these startup programs weren't even in msconfig. Noooo, instead they were in some CurrentVersion registry key, RunOnce I think it was. Insane. I remove them, and all is well. Why am I telling you this?

        Because it's just as you said: just another piece of trivia to add to the heap. These registry edits, which I just found online, probably won't apply to Vista. Heck, I'd have never known where to look had I not stumbled across this info. There is no systematic approach one can take to fixing problems on Windows. I definitely feel like all the knowledge I have accumulated from fixing my PC as well as everyone else's (which I do successfully all the time) is just that...a heap of disconnected facts.

        While I am somewhat green with the linux CLI (but typing this post on my ubuntu box, so I use linux), I have noticed that things are a bit more consistent on the Linux side. I think the one thing that make Windows easier, though, in spite of itself, is that somewhere someone has had a similar problem and fixed it. I have not had the same success with googling linux problems.
        • by mackyrae (999347)
          Try Google Linux [google.com] and of course the Ubuntuforums. And yes, things are more consistent on the Linux side. There's only one thing I can think of that seems really disconnected when it happens. When your hard drive is full, you get bounced back out every time you try to log in.
  • by moore.dustin (942289) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @01:16AM (#18468209) Homepage
    Ok so he says Linux is legit if you are not a gamer. The same pretty much goes for OS X. My question is, is anyone going to be able to even challenge Windows as the computer gaming platform. Personally, I cannot see it happening within a few years. At that time, the next gen consoles will be coming out soon. The next gen consoles probably finally close the gap between console and computer. To me, that means Linux and/or OS X will not be developed for unless some uniformity can be presented in how games are designed for the platforms
    • by linguizic (806996)
      I'm not a big gamer, or I should say, I'm not as big a gamer as I used to be. But all the games that I play are available for OSX. Even if they weren't I can't fathom the thought of using windows. Just yesterday I helped a friend download some wav files from her portable voice recorder on to her windows laptop. I felt like I was fighting the OS the entire time and I actually found it exhausting.
  • by TihSon (1065170) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @02:20AM (#18468423) Homepage

    As a Canadian Linux user and advocate, I have handed out more than my share of Ubuntu and Kubuntu disks. To outline the problem that Linux is having in terms of actual adoption in Canada, the following story says it all.

    A few days ago two studies were being discussed on both the CBC and CTV. The first study wanted to learn how many Canadians actually believed global warming was a reality. The numbers were high, and generally speaking believers numbered somewhere around the 70% mark. The second study wanted to learn how many people in Canada where prepared to do anything at all to help prevent global warming from actually happening. If memory serves, it was found that almost nobody ... effectively 0% ... would actually do anything themselves to help reduce the effects of global warming.

    So, the studies show Canada to be a nation composed of a great many ardent believers in global warming, but believers who will do nothing themselves to prevent it. If you study our politics you would know that our actions in the last decade or so regarding Kyoto would certainly support that assessment. Simply put, we take great self-righteous pride in our ability to talk the talk, but anyone who pays attention soon learns that in the end we are completely incapable of walking the walk.

    ... back to Ubuntu ...

    I have given out dozens of disks, and each person really, really wanted to try it. Successful installs to date? You guessed it ... Zero. Not one person was willing to spend two seconds learning even the most basic information about the beige box under their desk. In talking to people over the years I have learned that the idea that they would 'change' their computer to be about the same intellectually as asking them the grow an extra limb.

    So I keep talking to people, and I show them my nifty looking Linux systems, and I convert the occasional rookie Windows sysadmin who hasn't yet had a chance to be burned by the Redmond flame, but average home users? I am becoming more and more convinced that unless Virii and such get so bad they destroy the Windows platform completely, Linux will only make major double digit inroads into the 'average user' base when hardware comes with some flavour of Linux pre-installed...

    ...or a whole shitload of non-programmer advocates like myself do it for them free, in our spare time.

    --

    Just curious, would it be correct to call a Windows rookie a Wookie? :-)

    • learn how many people in Canada where prepared to do anything at all to help prevent global warming from actually happening. If memory serves, it was found that almost nobody ... effectively 0% ... would actually do anything themselves to help reduce the effects of global warming.

      And this surprises you? Hey, I used to live in Canada. Canadians are looking forward to global warming. Heck, if they'd done that survey in winter, they'd probably get a negative percentage. This is Canada you're talking about,
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Sj0 (472011)
        And even there it's pretty warm! Look to Winnipeg, then look up -- Waaaaay up, and you'll see me, praying on my pillow every night for global warming to bring summer in faster.

        Anyway, I'm done with the whole Global Warming thing on my end. The whole phenomenon is turning into a way for would-be ascetics to peddle misery when there are solutions which don't require living in a cave. For example, both the Pulp and Paper industry and the lumber industry are moving to burning the waste wood from their processes
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by donaldm (919619)
      Until Linux is commonplace in the Government sector which would cause private enterprise to follow, then and only then will the home user start to adopt Linux. I cannot see this happening anytime soon in the USA, but correct me if I am wrong here since I would love to be proved wrong on this.

      Currently Governments in countries like Europe, Asia and China are seriously looking at adopting Linux for a variety of reasons and this is starting the acceptable adoption of Linux, but it will be many years unless cer
  • by Phoinix (666047) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @03:03AM (#18468633)
    In countries where you are allowed a limited amount of download/upload per month/pay, using Linux can be a pain in the neck. Downloading the updates may consume your monthly broad-band account in a day or two. Lebanon is one example.

    Many third world countries has download & upload limitaions on their broadband with no choice of a free unlimited option.
  • Why do I get the feeling that primarily among the "sweeping generalisations" of the article was a complete lack of mention of the FSF? *gasp!*

    It's times like these that I begin to realise that at least some of the rather passionate vitriol that I feel towards Stallman himself is misplaced. Most of it more rightfully belongs to his followers; I can honestly say that I've seen Scientologists who were more objective than some of the members of Stallman's cult that I've come across. I've also never really bee
  • Yeah, off topic, I know. But seriously, can we consolidate the "Yes" and "No" tag to one simple, "Yes/No". Every time I see one the other is nearby... stalking and waiting to pounce.

    Back on topic, Does anyone seriously have any idea on how to get developers on OpenGL/Linux? I'm crying here at so many missed opportunities to get games on Linux! Are we so ingrained to DirectX that nobody is willing to change directions? Would Linux people pay money for games published in Linux or are there those that t
  • by Eric Damron (553630) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @05:58AM (#18469221)
    Linux's day is coming. Live CDs will be a big help. It's one thing to just pop a CD in and boot without risk and quite another to do a complete install that wipes out your personal data. Live CDs will allow average people to take a look at Linux without risk. Most will like what they see.

    Microsoft fans will be quick to point out that gaming isn't there and some will even try the ol' "Plug and Play doesn't work" card.

    For gaming it is true that there hasn't been a large enough adoption of Linux for most companies to make the investment. As Linux continues to be adopted I suspect that more companies will feel that there is a market to be tapped.

    The "Plug and Play doesn't work" card is a farce. The vast majority of hardware works right out of the box. Most of the time I find it easier to get hardware working with Linux than with Windows. With Windows I always spend a lot of extra time loading drivers that came on separate media (If I can find them). More and more manufacturers are including Linux drivers and as the popularity of Linux grows it just gets better.

    So for Windows fans: You may not like Linux but Linux's time is coming. So if you don't want to join the party fine but stop trying to throw a turd in our punchbowl.
  • Great however, (Score:3, Insightful)

    by loconet (415875) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @12:10PM (#18471031) Homepage
    The article does a decent job at introducing Linux and letting unaware people know that there is an alternative. However, it seemed to me that Linux was painted a little too much like a "hobby OS", light on functionality and not as powerful as commercial OS's. The whole "Linus Torvalds and a growing group of volunteers eventually did the highly improbable..." may show Linux as someone's project and nothing more serious, specially for people who are not aware of how Open/Free Software works. I would have liked to see reference to companies such as Google, IBM, HP, etc investing in Linux in terms of using it for their own purposes as well as pitching-in with the development. It may have put things into perspective and show how serious Linux really is in the technology world today.
  • Uh, Canadians (Score:3, Informative)

    by johansalk (818687) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @03:09PM (#18472467)
    Pinko commies.

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