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Netbook Return Rates Much Higher For Linux Than Windows 663

Posted by Soulskill
from the old-dogs-new-tricks-etc. dept.
ivoras writes "An interview with MSI's director of US Sales, Andy Tung, contains this interesting snippet: "We have done a lot of studies on the return rates and haven't really talked about it much until now. Our internal research has shown that the return of netbooks is higher than regular notebooks, but the main cause of that is Linux. People would love to pay $299 or $399 but they don't know what they get until they open the box. They start playing around with Linux and start realizing that it's not what they are used to. They don't want to spend time to learn it so they bring it back to the store. The return rate is at least four times higher for Linux netbooks than Windows XP netbooks.'"
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Netbook Return Rates Much Higher For Linux Than Windows

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  • by Gewalt (1200451) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @09:22AM (#25263191)

    Seriously, put some videos on there that explain how to do common tasks. Tasks that are better on linux than on windows. (Like finding/installing cool toys/software/games). Make the videos right there on the desktop. Once consumers find out they can do the things they want, and easily, they will like it.

  • by Simon (S2) (600188) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @09:40AM (#25263277) Homepage

    I remember my first Mac had a 1,44" Floppy with a very cool tutorial app that illustraded the most important steps you had to do in order to get started: click to open an app, how drag&drop works, where the apps are located, how to save a document and how to open one. I was 15 years old, and I remember I very much enjoyed the little tutorial app, it was funny and helped me getting started quickly. I agree with you here: put a quick (max 15min) comic style tutorial app on the desktop, and people will have a different view on the whole thing, and like it more.

  • Re:Of course! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geekmux (1040042) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @09:46AM (#25263323)

    Of course the return rate is higher! Linux is NOT READY FOR THE DESKTOP! You can't buy off-the-shelf software for it at Best Buy and it's hard to use. People buy things based on the price tag without doing their research first. Most of the time, they can't even get their microwave oven to stop flashing 12:00. What makes you think they're going to want to read an extremely lengthy linux user manual?

    Last time I checked, Apple hardware wasn't running Windows. Yet, they've managed to take a *nix/BSD-derived OS and make it VERY simple and intuitive to use.

    If [insert netbook vendor here] Executive staff can't seem to find the value in hiring a COMPETENT *nix admin to create a decent functional disk image worthy of being a Microsoft replacement, or at least as easy to use as OS X for the end user, then I feel NO pity for them.

    Bottom line is *nix IS ready for the desktop, and Apple has PROVEN that. Other distros have made a large enough impact to make it to Best Buy shelves as well. Make it intuitive enough, and you don't need a 300-page user manual to figure it out.

    And ENOUGH with the flashing 12:00 analogy already! Cripes, even my 8-year old knows how to set the damn time on the microwave. Todays generation of 30 and 40-somethings grew UP with tech, and the younger generation can't live without it.

  • by meist3r (1061628) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @09:46AM (#25263327)
    Lol what? Ever seen a noob windows user sitting in front of a computer? Windows is far more confusing than Linux especially since you learn a lot of stuff working on Linux while with Windows you're just doing stuff that other people tell you. No learning curve beyond "how to keep that shit from crashing". At least in Linux the error messages MEAN something. I've corrected multiple problems already just by reading the errors in the shell and then reacting to it. Even a noob can understand that "missing library blabla" means "I need to install library blabla". Windows tells me "Wow, we fucked up, here's where. Since we can't tell you what we did this information is useless so just pass it on to us so we can pretend to actually know what went wrong.". The problem here is simply that Windows has been established in larger circles for longer, people grow up around Windows machines and then take that as the only feasible OS effectively conditioning themselves to a certain manufacturer. Same goes for Apple users, grow up in a Mac house, use a couple of Macs until you're in your mid-twenties and everything else will look like the devil to you. I know people that can't even properly type on a PC keyboard because of that. These are the kind of people that buy cars according to the button layout they're used to and color regardless of specs and mileage.

    It's not that they don't want to learn, they learned the wrong stuff and now can't/don't wanna adapt because they're lazy. So I blame the people for not learning "technology" but learning "Microsoft technology" which is kinda sad.
  • by xzvf (924443) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @09:47AM (#25263331)
    People don't want to be trained. They want to be sold. The problem with Linux on the consumer desktop is nobody is selling it to them. Apple marketing makes a different machine cool and worth investing the time to learn. Maybe treating the netbook like a web/mail appliance instead of a small computer would help manufacturers do a better job of satisfying the customer. What are some stats from other netbook makers?
  • by Lumpy (12016) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @09:47AM (#25263337) Homepage

    MSI's install of linux is a piece of garbage. They barely made it run and it's junk. now they are bitching that their half assed work causes returns?

    How come the ASUS eee flys off shelves where it's available and people that own them that are not techies love them in their linux install?

    Oh wait, ASUS did not half ass the linux install. Ahhhh.

    It must be linux's fault then.

    The story headline needs to be changed... "MSI does crappy work again and bitches about it shifting blame to XXX."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05, 2008 @09:48AM (#25263341)

    All in all, it's amazing how few returns there are for linux - note how the representative says that the return rate is four times higher. Unless the machines are failing all over, and they aren't or we'd be hearing about it, the return rates are at worst a few per cent of all machines sold. More likely the actual rates are less than a per cent.

    If even one per cent of Windows customers return the machine, that means that the Linux return rate is four per cent. In other words, 3 per cent of customers decide that Linux is a defect they weren't told about, and 1 per cent return it for other reasons, and 96 per cent are more or less happy with the product. That's a success in my book.

    Of course, some of the 96 per cent will replace Linux with a pirated Windows install, or get a friend to do it, but even that won't change the conclusion much. It makes sense since most people are happy with web surfing, email, a music player and basic office stuff. Linux provides all that in a usable package.

  • by moreati (119629) <alex@moreati.org.uk> on Sunday October 05, 2008 @09:50AM (#25263353) Homepage

    I wonder what it would cost someone like Microsoft to have MSI spike the competition.

    It would cost much less than allowing MSI do it in the normal course of their business. I know conspiracies are more entertaining than blaming human laziness, but trying to blame poor Linux/MSI integration on Microsoft takes the biscuit. Consider:

    • MSI are traditionally a hardware OEM, having close to zero customer-experience experience.
    • MSI were chasing ASUS, time to market would have been a big priority
    • Netbooks are sold cheap, so they're designed on a tight budget.
  • by Chaos Incarnate (772793) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @09:51AM (#25263359) Homepage
    The OS may be no more difficult to learn (for everyday use; if you're a power user, though, XP -> Vista is still easier than XP -> Ubuntu), but then you also have the added learning curve of replacing every single application except possibly Firefox, if they weren't using IE before.
  • by Joe Jay Bee (1151309) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <aeshtuosbj>> on Sunday October 05, 2008 @09:51AM (#25263365)

    So basically, it's not a Microsoft conspiracy to distort the market as the GP suggested, more that applications that people want to run don't work on Linux? This is hardly news; for the average user, they want Office, Photoshop and Windows Live Messenger, not OpenOffice, GIMP and Pidgin (the last one of which can easily be viewed as some kind of cruel joke by someone spoilt by the niceties and features of the official MSN client...)

  • by gzipped_tar (1151931) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @09:52AM (#25263369) Journal

    rather than blaming the users who "don't want to spend time to learn it". Customers buy your product because they need it, but few would learn it the hard way without well-organized, easy-to-follow documentation. Invest in supporting and documenting your own product and users will be happier, not angrier.

  • by dUb (21971) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @09:52AM (#25263371) Homepage

    If we compare overall return rate we could notice that Windows computers are more often returned than Linux computers.
    Reason might be that people do not know what they get with Windows laptop. They get under-power hardware with software which actually requires more power.

  • Re:More to this.. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05, 2008 @09:57AM (#25263405)

    The Asus eee 900 series which came in both linux and windows flavors, has an 8.9" screen, the newer 1000 series, which also comes in both flavors, has a 10.0" screen. Having attempted Ubuntu use on the desktop a couple of times a few releases ago, I opted for the windows 1000H. Unfortunately, as a nursing student, I need a box that will do it all, and do it right now. Including run all of my nursing software. Sure, I could probably set up some sort of VM to run Windows on it, and I'm sure if I looked hard enough I might be able to find some nifty program that would emulate the Palm OS giving me access to a lot of nursing freeware.

    That doesn't alleviate the fact that I need this machine as my primary laptop, its why I purchased it, so I can sit at a coffee shop for 4 hours at a whack and not worry about someone hopped up on chai pulling my laptop to the floor as he fumbles over the power cord. That and not having to lug around even more poundage than whats already in my backpack. Which means, again, that it needs to work, and work *now*, not work after I run into a problem and spend 3-4 hours scrolling through the Ubuntu forums or logging into the Ubuntu IRC channel and trying 4-17 various solutions that 'should probably work'.

    Don't get me wrong, the guys on the forums and IRC do their best to be helpful, but the simple fact of the matter is, in the time it takes me to find and implement a solution in Ubuntu, I could reinstall windows from scratch (if I had to) and be done with it.

    I find Linux a wonderful desktop for my mother in law who uses her machine for email, surfing and solitaire and has never installed another program in her entire life, doesn't need wireless capability, and doesn't run anything 3D.
    In a nutshell, Linux is great for people who don't mind tinkering while they are trying to get work done, but for the rest of us? Well......sorry guys...

  • by Fred_A (10934) <fred@@@fredshome...org> on Sunday October 05, 2008 @10:03AM (#25263437) Homepage

    I've heard this story a lot from seasoned users (being one myself, although I never got around to buying a preinstalled machine). Apparently the first Dell laptops with Ubuntu had the same kind of problems. Likewise a number of laptop sellers advertise as being Linux friendly but I often see small print along the lines of "this and that peripheral (most often the webcam) won't work if you pick Linux as the OS".

    What is it with those people ? They pick their hardware, can't they at least pick some that's supported ? It's not as if it was difficult to find Linux supported components. It's even more irritating when you find out that users familiar with the system report that it was an easy fix.

    I sometimes wonder if there isn't a clause in one of their OEM contracts stipulating that "if you supply another OS, it has to be crappy".

  • by Zerth (26112) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @10:13AM (#25263509)

    Since you are posting as AC, I'm guessing "a few people" is longhand for "I"

  • by meist3r (1061628) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @10:17AM (#25263537)
    The thing is, Windows was ubiquitous because it was installed on all "regular" machines. It was the cheapest way to get to know an operating system because it was already there. Now recently Linux has improved user experience significantly and now it's the most affordable thing there is. Unless you buy a new computer every time MS finishes a product cycle you'll have to fork over some extra cash to get the latest Windows (or pirate it with all the known side effects). Linux on the other hand is free today, not only as in beer but as in speech as well.

    I think the faster people realize that you only need the latest hardware for gaming and high-end processing the faster Linux will continue to grow. Regular users ask themselves why they should spend 500 bucks on a new OS or even more on a new computer when they could install a free OS that does most things equally well. I personally used free Linux distros to give some old machines a new purpose and would have never done that (or would have been capable of doing so) if I had to buy a Microsoft license for each. After all there's no use in trying to sell Vista to someone who still uses his offline Windows 98 SE machine to type recipes or something.

    We see more and more people who are interested in tinkering with their systems, develop small apps and do all kinds of weird stuff to the OS. Microsoft and Apple both generously avoid that by locking everything down and so the only real alternative for people who want to dive into the internals of an OS will have to use an open OS sooner or later. After all, there's no www.windows-kernel.org.
  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @10:22AM (#25263557)
    The problem is, you then get into the "one device for every app". Such things become later abused by hardware and software makers to the point that you can only have "one device for every app". Think of it this way, if they marketed a netbook as only useful for checking e-mail, they might as well leave out all the games, heck, why not take out the entire package manager! Then we get to the point where the OS is not usable as a computer but it becomes a one or two application device. Now, us geeks are of course going to quickly change the OS and have a good computer, but what about Joe Sixpack who looks at a netbook and thinks its just $400 to check e-mail and surf the web, something that his $250 iPod Touch can already do, so they ignore it. And so when Joe Sixpack ignores it, and when businessmen ignore it because it doesn't run Windows out of the box, nor have more applications installed on it than their smartphone, there's little market left over except for the /. crowd which isn't enough to have multiple competing brands and lower prices.
  • by HangingChad (677530) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @10:30AM (#25263617) Homepage

    If I hadn't been able to install Ubuntu Netbook Remix, I would have returned the machines myself.

    It would be interesting to dig deeper into the return numbers and find out if it was problems with Linux in general or the specific OS installed on the returned devices. I believe the Linux in general issues can be addressed, but the device specific OS issues will be more difficult.

    As long as every netbook manufacturer is determined to roll their own flavor, then Linux will continue to be plagued with dilution by fragmentation in the marketplace. Instead of the Windows way and the Linux way, there's the Windows way and 20 different Linux ways.

  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Sunday October 05, 2008 @10:35AM (#25263669)

    Many users have no qualms about blowing away desktop PC and reinstalling. The same cannot be said for laptops.

    Desktops are typically pieced together from standard hardware components. Mouse, Keyboard, Monitor, x86-based chipset. All these things are supported out of the box for Windows (and Linux). Even in the worst case scenario, the user would still have the VGA graphics and a mouse and keyboard for input.

    But laptops are put together using all sorts of specialized hardware. Touch panel input. Scrolling zone on the touch panel. LCD backlight drivers. Specialized keyboards. Built-in wifi. Assuming that the Windows (or Linux) disk comes with the correct drivers pre-packaged is dangerous. You may be left with a laptop in which half the hardware is not working because it didn't get the correct drivers installed during setup.

    It's safer to assume that the restore CD contains the correct drivers and simply backup from that. It also means having to go through and uninstall all the crap bundled in there. But even that is difficult to do since you never know if the bundled program is something critical (like audio or DVD).

    Add to this that you may be swapping out the OS for something almost completely foreign, and you have set your users up for severe disappointment and given them nowhere to turn unless you provide them exactly what they want up front. They don't have any option except to return the laptop if they are not satisfied with it.

  • by Haeleth (414428) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @10:41AM (#25263717) Journal

    Back in the '80s and early '90s, people coped perfectly well with competing computers and operating systems. Sure, an Amiga was a bit different from an Atari, which was a bit different from a PC, which was a bit different from a Mac, which was a bit different from an Archimedes... but so what? People coped, just like they cope with the way every washing machine or DVD player today has a different interface. When you started using computers, you became computer literate, just like everyone's more or less washing-machine-literate and DVD-player-literate. And once you're literate in a technology, you can learn to use any form of it relatively easily.

    What the Windows monoculture has done is to destroy computer literacy among most users. Now, instead of learning to use a computer, people are trained to use Microsoft Windows. Instead of learning about launching applications and using word processors, they're trained to click on the big button at the bottom left of the screen that says "start", then to click where it says "Microsoft Word". And so as soon as that button turns into a picture of a foot at the top left of the screen, and the icon they're looking for says "Word Processor", they're left bewildered and uncomfortable.

    Of course, this has now bitten Microsoft too: it's one reason why Vista and Office 2007 are so unpopular. (Semantics nazis: does that count as irony?)

  • by the_womble (580291) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @10:59AM (#25263911) Homepage Journal
    Unless these things have a really high return rate, it seems that most people are quite happy with Linux, and a few did not realise that PCs came with anything other than Windows and return them. So an apparently fairly poor Linux install keeps most people happy - which says something for the level of expectations Windows has set.

    It is probably "power users" who are returning these. Not people who just want their web browser to work and write letters with the word processor and little else.

    Not geeks who would know what they want in terms of OSes.

    People who know Windows, and MS Office well, but do not actually understand at an abstract level that can be re-applied to other OSes and apps. From people with a memorised sequence of muse clicks for hundreds of tasks, to people who write apps in VBA and Excel.

  • Mod parent up! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by clang_jangle (975789) * on Sunday October 05, 2008 @11:04AM (#25263971) Journal
    While he lacks eloquence and tact, he tells the truth. In fact, I just spent two days helping a neighbor prepare her soon-to-be-published manuscript in OO.org, after her windows machine died. Initially I loaned her a laptop with Ubuntu on it, showed her how to start OO.org, and told her to call me if she had any trouble. This poor woman ( a typical non-tech user) was nearly in tears over not being able to find how to change text fonts and autoformat settings. And in OO.org, those settings are RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF YOUR FACE. They're not labeled in Hindi or anything...

    Now, this neighbor is actually quite an intelligent and insightful person, but as I've witnessed before, give her a computer and she transforms into a complete moron. Yet she uses one daily! I suspect the great majority of users are like that; they learned once, long ago, how to do something on windows and now they are done learning. If they can't see the same icons and menus in the same places they simply give up, complaining bitterly that it's the computer's fault. They may be perfectly reasonable and intelligent people away from the computer, but while using one they are, for all intents and purposes, completely fucking stupid. It's frustrating.
    So no, I'm not a bit surprised that lots of people return Linux netbooks. I see how they are.
  • by MBGMorden (803437) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @11:20AM (#25264095)

    Caveat emptor. Just because Windows programs will not install on the machine, that does not mean it is a valid reason to return the machine. If they are stupid enough to buy the machine on the cheap without doing their research properly then they should live with the consequences.

    But your average user isn't going to do heavy research on these things, nor should they have to. You do it because you're a computer enthusiast. Heck you might do so on every item you purchase, but most people don't. They'll do heavy research on something they're passionate about and everything else they just want to work.

    Aside from that, you can image that if Best Buy is more than willing to take back the machine that doesn't behave how you expected it, when Anonymous Coward's Electronics Emporium snaps back "Caveat Emptor!", guess where they're going to be buying the rest of their stuff from now on?

  • by Bender_ (179208) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @11:22AM (#25264113) Journal

    There is an obvious flaw in your assertion: The people who don't cope with linux today are the 95% of the population that did not own a computer at all in the 80ies and early 90ies.

    Computers are not targetted at professionals and enthusiasts anymore.

  • by Narishma (822073) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @11:25AM (#25264141)
    It's also included in every Windows version since (at least until XP, I don't remember if Vista has it but I would be surprised if not). It's even launched the first time you start Windows.
  • by reallocate (142797) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @11:25AM (#25264145)

    Yes, I read the article. Yes, I know that they're looking at Ubuntu. Regardless of what it looks like, Ubuntu is still Linux. People who can't find the Word icon will still be unhappy.

    No, saving a little money is not enough reason for most Windows users to switch.

    Look, I'm not bashing Linux. I used it for a decade. But it is naive to expect people to willingly throw away their investment in Windows (time and money) simply to learn an OS that allows them to keep on doing the same things.

    If someone is happy using, say, Word and Photoshop, what's attractive in hearing that Linux can't run Word and Photoshop but they can do pretty much the same things with Openoffice and Gimp, once they take the time to learn how to use them? Why should they do that when they can keep on using Word and Photoshop?

    Like I said, i used Linux for ten years. I switched to Apple a few years ago because I wanted wireless to work. Now, I need to buy new hardware. I could easily save a few bucks and run Linux on something. But, why should I? I like Apple software, I'm accustomed to using it. Everything I did in Linux I can do on a Mac, often with greater ease and reliability. Why should I care if Linux allows me to do the same things once I learn how to use it and a bunch of new programs? Where's the incentive? There are tens of millions of Windows users thinking the same thing.

  • by Miseph (979059) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @11:46AM (#25264315) Journal

    "FPSes:

            * Nexuiz
            * OpenArena
            * Tremulous
            * Warsow
            * Sauerbraten
            * Alien Arena"

    Dude... have you actually played any of those? I applaud the efforst of those teams, and I admit that many of them have potential, but they aren't even on par with a lot of the 3rd party hl (let alone hl2) mods in terms of graphics and playability... and that bar is pretty damned low.

    That said, I agree that the Linux gaming scene isn't all doom and gloom, Battle for Wesnoth in particular is a great game and one of my favorites on any platform, but the FPS offerings are definitely on the weak side.

    Of course, one can always just run Steam via Wine. Source is unstable, but DoD runs like a champ.

  • by jalefkowit (101585) <jasonNO@SPAMjasonlefkowitz.net> on Sunday October 05, 2008 @11:54AM (#25264399) Homepage

    There's a business model here that no company seems to catch.

    1. sell a cheap computer with adequate software. Asus fails, their repository is ridiculous.
    2. sell media at reasonable prices. I'd never pay $15 for a movie, and renting DVDs is a hassle. I'd be ready to pay $1 or $2 to download a 700MB mpeg, why don't the media companies want to sell it to me?
    3. Profit!

    I'd pay for a *system* that solves this specific need, give me entertainment during my daily bus ride.

    Such a system does exist: the iPod/iPhone and the iTunes store.

  • by visualight (468005) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @11:58AM (#25264439) Homepage

    When I got hired to convert a small company from Windows to Linux ( and train the staff ) I spent some time one on one with each person, selling them on things like yakuake ( I chose KDE ). But the most important thing I did was convince them that wrt to ui and set up, "if you can imagine and articulate it, I can probably show you how to set it up that way".

    This was really hard to do because people who use Windows aren't used to thinking that way. But eventually I had everyone coming to me with ideas on how to make 'their' workspace more useful. And they were happy to be using Linux because they liked it, not because their company was saving money.

    PS. This experience is the main reason I think Gnome's 'simple/consistent' approach is the wrong one.

  • by peragrin (659227) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @11:59AM (#25264449)

    that is more true than many realize. in my humble opinion 90% of users are nothing more than monkeys clicking keys in order to get the desired result. The same applies to cars. all they truly know is that you put a funny smelling liquid into it, turn a key, and wiggle the steering wheel around while pressing buttons on the floor to make it go and stop. It isn't complicated to understand the thing is they don't want to know.

    it is the difference between memorizing a method and understanding the concept. you can set me down in front of any computer and I can learn the ins and outs of it in hours, (longer with more command line options). After a while some people stop learning, and everything after that point is a struggle.

  • by santiagodraco (1254708) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @12:13PM (#25264597)

    So they returned it because they expected Windows but got Linux and not because it was difficult to learn for them? I think not, read the interview.

    Oh, they should blame the install, which was poor? Exactly how?

    Oh, power users are the cause...the ones that probably have hacked copies of Windows waiting around to install over Linux (as you say, that's what they wanted...)

    I think you are simply trying to divert the fact that Linux is not some kind of magical operating system that every user should embrace as the panacea to Windows. That's not the case and everyone knows it.

    Right now the ONLY logical reasons to move to a Linux based PC is 1) cost and 2) boot time when run in minimalist mode. Otherwise an XP machine is far better for the availability of apps and consistency of experience.

  • by Kickersny.com (913902) <kickers AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday October 05, 2008 @12:23PM (#25264671) Homepage

    That message only shows up when you try to run something from the command line. Like this:


    user@user-desktop:~$ R
    The program 'R' is currently not installed. You can install it by typing:
    sudo apt-get install r-base-core
    bash: R: command not found
    user@user-desktop:~$

    How do you propose a user run something from the GUI that hasn't been installed?

  • by modernbob (558981) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @12:24PM (#25264673) Homepage
    Well, here is the thing. I think most people understand that a computer has become an appliance. It's a machine to gather information, publish information, and a simple communications tool. Most people have come to know windows because it's loaded on every factory made box everywhere. I think that people want to spend time doing the things they do on a computer and not to learn about the machine or software they are using. It's all about being productive. *nix is a vastly more powerful OS in the hands of someone who knows what to do with it. The vast majority of people going to Wal-Mart to buy a computer don't care about this. The only way to make this customer happy is to emulate what they do know (outlook express, IE, Menu's, Office). If you can't do this 80% of the people buying your machine are going to be some what unhappy. Will some people learn a new way to do things, yes. However, even after they learn this still might not be enough as these are the same people who will likely become frustrated and have someone load windows back on their machine. If equipment manufacturers want to move away from windows they will need to provide a distro that looks and feels like windows and I haven't seen any distro that has accomplished this.
  • by c6gunner (950153) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @12:28PM (#25264717)

    You're just being ridiculous now. I'm surprised you didn't write:

    "Type it?? On What? HUH?? How many average Windows uses know what a keyboard is?"

    Get over yourself. Just because someone isn't a computer guru, that doesn't mean they're retarded. If they don't know what a terminal window is, they'll either figure it out on their own or they'll ask someone. Either way, it's not friggin' rocket science.

  • by wvmarle (1070040) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @12:41PM (#25264837)

    rant about update problems removed.

    Why the hell the manufacturers don't just use Ubuntu[...]

    It seems you give the answer yourself already:

    the intelligent optimisation that Acer etc, put into it

    Laptop manufacturer optimises software to work better with their hardware. Then of course it's not compatible anymore with whatever distro it was based on originally. And you will have to start waiting for said laptop manufacturer to update their complete distro before you can update your system.

    You can't have it all, unless you require the laptop manufacturer to submit all their changes to the original distribution - not sure whether that's so great an idea, as you end up with a lot of software that is useful for only one piece of hardware, and we're not talking about just device drivers for sure. So very tough to keep it all separate.

  • by jedidiah (1196) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @12:44PM (#25264869) Homepage

    Or, it's the case of people having other, more interesting things to spend their time learning.
    I used to be a computer geek, but now stuff like OS' bore the living shit out of me.

    Yes. and the end result of this anti-intellectualism is an inability
    to back up your own data or keep your computer safe from malware.

    In some misguided rush to avoid being a "computer geek" you can't even
    use the "appliance" beyond its most rudimentary features (even in Windows).

    Nevermind "the difficulty of Linux", drones like you can't even be bothered
    to fully utilize Windows. The go whining to the local Windows or Linux guru
    to be bailed out or coddled.

  • by CronoCloud (590650) <cronocloudauron AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday October 05, 2008 @12:50PM (#25264921)

    You should start a sourceforge project for your tutorial thingy. Seriously. It's folks like you who really are making Linux easier and more enjoyable to use for the next less geeky set of Linux users. Kudos to you.

  • by kripkenstein (913150) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @12:53PM (#25264957) Homepage
    When you buy a netbook with installed Linux, all of your complaints here are not relevant. Yes, Linux has a way to go yet with regards to installing on random hardware, but the article was not talking about random hardware installations, but pre-installed netbooks.

    So there must be some other reason for the higher rate of returns. In any case, as others mentioned, the higher rate is meaningless without absolute numbers. 40% return (vs. 10% for Windows) would be horrendous; 4% return (vs. 1% for Windows) would be not great, but not that bad either.
  • by Burz (138833) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @01:02PM (#25265037) Journal

    It has little to do with the OS merely being 'different' than Mac or Windows, otherwise all these smartphones running everything from Symbian to custom Linux-based stacks would suffer the same returns problem (and for the most part, they don't).

    Installing and updating software applications is a royal beeotch.

    With a Windows setup (horrible warts and all), you just download and install your software packages as on a desktop PC.

    But with Linux-based stuff, since you're not dealing with a well-defined platform, you will almost never encounter a neatly-packaged application that will install with a few clicks. So you are stuck with outdated/missing apps in the distros repository, or wrestling with downloaded rpms and debs and their dependency nightmares.

    The lack of a well-defined desktop platform and the adherence to software repository culture that inserts itself between the user and the app developers are to blame here.

    It doesn't have to be this way in FOSS. As it happens though the politics of defining a platform that ISVs can target directly just aren't there yet.

  • by Hal_Porter (817932) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @01:11PM (#25265121)

    that is more true than many realize. in my humble opinion 90% of users are nothing more than monkeys clicking keys in order to get the desired result. The same applies to cars. all they truly know is that you put a funny smelling liquid into it, turn a key, and wiggle the steering wheel around while pressing buttons on the floor to make it go and stop. It isn't complicated to understand the thing is they don't want to know.

    it is the difference between memorizing a method and understanding the concept. you can set me down in front of any computer and I can learn the ins and outs of it in hours, (longer with more command line options). After a while some people stop learning, and everything after that point is a struggle.

    It always strikes me as ironic that the more elitist comments here have the worst spelling and grammar.

  • by Draek (916851) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @01:26PM (#25265265)

    Then please refrain from using a computer.

    You know the first thing I did when I first got a digital camera? I learned photography. Not just "how to turn the camera on", but aperture, shutter speeds, exposure, rules of composition, etc. Yeah, I "could" have let the camera handle most of that stuff, but I know that unless I know what's it doing on the background even on the Auto modes, I have no right to expect something other than shitty results.

    I simply can't understand why people don't do the same with computers... I mean, do you go to a guitar store, buy a $600 guitar, and then return it the next day because you didn't sound like Jimi Hendrix? I seriously hope not.

  • by Heather D (1279828) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @01:33PM (#25265347)

    Or, it's the case of people having other, more interesting things to spend their time learning. I used to be a computer geek, but now stuff like OS' bore the living shit out of me. I have -zero- interest in dicking around with a computer any more than I have to. I have a lot more interesting things to do ,like running my business, fixing up my house, studying art, whatever. I wouldn't bother with Linux because to me, it's a complete and total waste of my time.

    Hm, this is one of the reasons why I don't do free tech support anymore. Yes people are free to choose what they learn, but if they choose not to learn basic concepts they become a burden to others. I have absolutely no problem with charging them money to support this behavior as this sort of thing is the root of all kinds of trouble that could otherwise be easily avoided.

    Regardless of what OS you use you still need to know something about it. Well, either that or you pay someone to fix your stuff regularly, or maybe you just replace the thing whenever the trojans cause it to become an anchor. Frankly, the fact that MS markets to people who think this way probably does more to damage their software's rep than the fact that so much of it is buggy.

    Take the bail-out for instance. Like that old saying implies it may not have been corruption so much as the side effect of having too many 'post-turtles' in the wrong places.

  • Right now the ONLY logical reasons to move to a Linux based PC is 1) cost and 2) boot time when run in minimalist mode. Otherwise an XP machine is far better for the availability of apps and consistency of experience.

    Oh, and software that gets faster with time (see KDE 4 vs. KDE 3). And better hardware support (dead serious). And a nicer desktop (got anything to compare to Compiz yet?). And a smaller footprint (I'm using less than half of the 1GB of RAM on the Eee PC I'm typing this on right now). And a software library that makes Windows look niche (I'll put apt-get against VersionTracker any day of the week). And a more consistent interface (see: those screenshots of 20 different widget toolkits on a single Windows screen).

    Yeah, besides being a better, faster, cheaper, prettier system with better 3rd-party support, I don't see much point in using Linux over XP. Oh, and double that for Vista.

  • by Martin Blank (154261) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @01:47PM (#25265491) Journal

    Users tend to be fearful of command lines. They're afraid of mistakes that will wreck something badly.

  • by wshwe (687657) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @02:04PM (#25265649)

    Yet another sign that Linux is unsuitable for the mass market.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05, 2008 @02:19PM (#25265763)

    I used to be a computer geek

    No, obviously not. You're a wannabe, which is why you're reading slashdot and whining about things you can't understand. QED, you were never a "computer geek". If you're going to lie, you should start with a believable story, ok?

  • by shimage (954282) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @03:01PM (#25266107)
    Let's be honest here, though. If all you want is an appliance, Linux isn't any more difficult than Windows. Realistically—and I say this as someone who uses both Windows and Linux—it isn't even that different. Unless, as people above have mentioned, someone has rote memorized how to do (a large number of) specific tasks, the differences aren't worth mentioning. Linux isn't harder than Windows, and it's only different if you're doing "complicated" things (where I've defined "complicated" as things that differ in Windows and Linux ... ). People looking for an appliance—which, I thought, was the point of a netbook—shouldn't notice much of a difference.
  • by innocent_white_lamb (151825) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @07:33PM (#25268007)

    The poster mentioned "fixing up [his] house" as an alternate activity with more value. How many "computer geeks" out there who fault people who don't know basic computer operations, don't know how to sweat copper pipe, or replace a light fixture and so don't have the skills to maintain their home?
     
    Your leaking pipes and worn-out light switch don't affect or inconvenience anyone other than you. Fix them at your leisure or not at all; nobody else will bother you about it.
     
    If your computer is part of a botnet spewing spam across the Internet, it's a different class of problem entirely -- it affects thousands of people other than you. In fact, you may not even notice it happening....
     
    I submit that the second is a much larger issue and more important problem than the first.

  • Yeah sure. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jotaeleemeese (303437) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @08:17PM (#25268315) Homepage Journal

    Like if Windows was that good.

    Inertia is the word you need.

    People prefer to continue in the current state of suffering rather than to try something new that may or may not be better.

  • Four times what? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by WhatDoIKnow (962719) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @09:07PM (#25268661)
    Four times higher? That could mean 4 in a thousand are returned instead of 1 in a thousand. Doesn't really mean much without knowing the absolute percentages.

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