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He's a Mac, He's a PC, But We're Linux! 508

davidmwilliams writes "Earlier this year the Linux Foundation launched a competition for budding writers, film makers and just general Linux enthusiasts to make their own grassroots advertisement to compete with Apple's highly-successful 'I'm a Mac' series of adverts. The winner has now been announced."
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He's a Mac, He's a PC, But We're Linux!

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  • I watched a few of these videos and I'm going to admit that it's very tough to push an operating system in less than a minute. So that leaves you in the very department you don't want to be in--marketing.

    I will congratulate Linux and the winning contestant on achieving what Apple did and Microsoft tried to. And that is simplify Linux down to an idea easy to grasp with no actual numbers or ideas surrounding it. Like the Mac ads, it's just "cool" to be a Mac. I like that they imply that to be Linux is to enjoy freedom but it's no more convincing to me than the Mac ads. I'm a Linux fanatic but I'm realistic.

    I don't think Linux needs this kind of advertising. I would prefer the software to speak for itself--warts and all. I hope all the participants had fun and I also hope that this doesn't make an easy target for anti-Linux folks. The winning ad sidesteps some of Linux's difficult aspects (usability, third party support, etc.) and promotes its trump card. Linux is freedom.
  • Marketing fail (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DinDaddy ( 1168147 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @10:16AM (#27570057)

    While that is a nicely produced ad, if its purpose is to promote linux use to the general public, it completely fails.

    Nothing about it will grab their attention.

  • by Swizec ( 978239 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @10:18AM (#27570085) Homepage
    That's because linux is a product. Want Hollywood to mention your product? Pay!

    This is why Penny said two weeks ago "Diet Oke" instead of "Diet Coke", Coca Cola didn't pay for product placement.
  • by daid303 ( 843777 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @10:21AM (#27570149)
    It looks more like those microsoft ads, where they show white drawings on top of real life video.
  • by Vorpix ( 60341 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @10:22AM (#27570161)

    what exactly is the winning video parodying? did you even bother to watch it [] before you came here to complain?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @10:37AM (#27570359)

    Someone said that this was marketing fail and I completely agree. To some random consumer who has never heard of Linux, this commercial wouldn't give them ANY idea as to what it actually is or why they would need it.

    It looks more like a commercial for a mouse pointer. _NOTHING_ in the commercial indicates that Linux is an operating system.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @10:41AM (#27570417)

    Linux is freedom.

    GNU/Linux is Stallman's idea of freedom.

  • by Svartalf ( 2997 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @10:47AM (#27570521) Homepage

    The problem is that it's hard to pin down the advantages in a manner that people will "get it".

    I don't know how many times I've shown (honestly so and in a way the people were just gobsmacked...) those advantages- and people will still use XP or Vista, because they "like" it, never mind that they're always bitching about all the problems they actually HAVE with the stuff and never once twig onto the fact that it really doesn't have to be that way and you don't have the crap going on in the large on Linux. And this doesn't even get into the people with the mindset that something as good as what Linux has become could ever be "free" or that handing copies out to people could be anything but illegal.

    Spelling out "advantages" isn't going to get you there right at the moment.

  • by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @10:50AM (#27570551)

    I'm glad they went with an ad that didn't scream "Me too!" Out of necessity, Linux already copies Microsoft which copied Macintosh which copied Xerox in terms of GUIness and perhaps other programs. But it didn't need to do the same with commercials: copying Microsoft copying Apple.

    The only thing bad is that unless you already know what linux is, the commercial doesn't exactly inform you, even visually, albeit a single cartoonishly animated mouse cursor. It might leave common people scratching their heads.

  • Re:IBM Linux ad (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Archon-X ( 264195 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @10:51AM (#27570565)

    Not surprising that a budget can produce results.

    I'm not sure where to start on the 'winning advertisement'.

    For a start: the quality of presentation and graphics is poor.
    The medium is visual, but the visuals serve no purpose: we'd know just as much (or just as little, as the case may be) with audio only.
    The copy is generica: we're talking about freedom and liberty. Is it an airline? Is it a panty liner?

    The voice for the audio is a poor choice. It's not the accent that's the problem, it's just not an engaging voice or manner of speaking.

    Unfortunately, this whole this has the feel like it was produced by someone's kid.
    Want to be taken seriously? Drop some cash, get a proper advertisement, or the ramshackle image is here to stay.

  • by danaris ( 525051 ) <> on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @10:52AM (#27570577) Homepage

    I will congratulate Linux and the winning contestant on achieving what Apple did and Microsoft tried to. And that is simplify Linux down to an idea easy to grasp with no actual numbers or ideas surrounding it. Like the Mac ads, it's just "cool" to be a Mac. I like that they imply that to be Linux is to enjoy freedom but it's no more convincing to me than the Mac ads. I'm a Linux fanatic but I'm realistic.

    But, see, there's a big, big problem with the winning ad.

    Unless you already know what Linux is, which many, many people do not, it is utterly meaningless.

    I know it has become popular to make ads that don't really explain what they're for in recent times, but that only works if the brand they're advertising is already recognizable, at least among their target demographic. But The Great Unwashed Masses don't even know what Linux is yet. Knowing that "it's freedom" tells them nothing, and the cute little animated graphics don't give any indication that it's even something to do with a computer—yeah, the graphics themselves are sometimes clearly computer-related, but these days, what isn't?

    When Linux is already as recognizable a name as Mac, iPod, Coke, or Nike, and everyone knows that "it's just another alternative to Mac or Windows," then we can make ads like this to push the "freedom" aspect of it.

    But until then, this ad doesn't tell a non-geek anything...except that Linux is pretentious.

    Dan Aris

  • Re:I'm Linux... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Greg_D ( 138979 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @10:56AM (#27570627)

    Are you kidding? Tech support = Gollum.

  • by Dripdry ( 1062282 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @11:15AM (#27570947) Journal
    The ad brings up the idea that Linux is about freedom. Does Linux follow through on that promise?

    I started using Ubuntu in December (hand in my geek card, I know). I tried once before with Mandrake about 5 years ago and it was too much work (honestly) for a hobby OS.

    How free are people under Linux? I understand that it's about freedom of information, but when I think about the other possibilities that I might want to have in terms of User Interface manipulation (like the ad seems to suggest) I begin to wonder. Is there an easy (non-code, maybe even scripting) way to change the look of the UI? Is the UI as easy, fun, and colorful as the ad seems to suggest? These may seem like dumb questions to some, but if Linux wants market share they need to build a brand and follow through on that brand promise.

    About freedom and intuition in applications: When trying to play a DVD on my girlfriend's brand new Ubuntu build it was necessary to download 3 different media applications (settled on VLC, but even that had a fatal bug sometimes) and sift for a while through google just to install the correct libs. I understand that the DVD format isn't free, but getting everything to work correctly was a bit of a chore. THAT is not freedom. THAT is frustration to a new user. If I hadn't been there I know she would have ditched the OS and gone back to Windows. She even picked up an "Ubuntu for Dummies" book (which did not fully describe getting a DVD to play) so she's by no means lazy about learning Linux.
    She doesn't use the computer for too much but shouldn't the bare basics work immediately?

    "Basics" are different for everyone (Aha! Another chance to have Linux be about freedom!) so shouldn't there be an option to walk people through what tasks they might use the computer for, then show them to the new user and make it enjoyably interactive to CHOOSE those programs, with an option somewhere to try out and learn other programs?

    It's about freedom AND communicating that freedom effectively, and I feel the Linux community would benefit greatly from taking the time to concentrate on that aspect. If Linux (whatever flavor) is really about freedom, then that gift of freedom from developers comes with responsibility. That is a responsibility to coherently express how and what the OS can do.

    If there really are a lot of people taking Linux notebooks/netbooks/desktops back, don't you think they at least *tried* tinkering with the OS? To me that says that the initial impression Linux gives may not be a helpful one.

    If Linux is trying to get new users, shouldn't the focus be on effectively presenting the OS to new users?

    In short, the ad seems cool, but Linux should get that ad out there and they should find a way to follow through on what effectively seems to be Linux's biggest shortcoming.
  • by daeley ( 126313 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @11:16AM (#27570961) Homepage

    why should i switch if there is ZERO incentive for me to use linux [...]

    the thought of giving more money to redmond makes me want to puke

    Well, it sounds like you have greater than zero incentive to me. Perhaps there are other reasons you will discover.

  • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @11:17AM (#27570969) Homepage

    But until then, this ad doesn't tell a non-geek anything...except that Linux is pretentious.

    Sounds like a solid start to me. What more do they need to know? Does the ad feature nerds? Then they'll go find a pretentious nerd who will tell them more than they ever wanted to hear about Linux. Perfect.

  • Re:Wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by plague3106 ( 71849 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @11:21AM (#27571023)

    Heh... typical of Linux though. Copying Mac or Windows, but years later, and not quite as good.

  • Re:I'm Linux... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by plague3106 ( 71849 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @11:24AM (#27571071)

    It's amazing that before you can offer real, valid criticisms of Linx, you need to qualify it with "but I really love it!"

  • Re:Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Svippy ( 876087 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @11:29AM (#27571151) Homepage

    Yeah, just like workspaces, man, totally rip off of Mac OS X's Spaces feature, and Windows' not yet existing equivalent!

  • by OolimPhon ( 1120895 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @11:32AM (#27571223)

    I understand that the DVD format isn't free, but getting everything to work correctly was a bit of a chore. THAT is not freedom. THAT is frustration to a new user.

    That's nothing to do with linux, in a technical sense. That's an artifically-imposed legal restriction caused by entertainment monopolies who have no idea how to use technology. Don't like it? Write your congresscritter.

  • Re:I'm Linux... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Thinboy00 ( 1190815 ) <thinboy00@gmail. ... m minus math_god> on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @11:37AM (#27571299) Journal

    What about Ubuntu's community support?

  • by starfishsystems ( 834319 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @11:39AM (#27571339) Homepage
    It's okay if you're happy enough where you are. It sounds like you're used to a certain level of pain. Everyone's experience is unique.

    For me, the math happens to run the other way. Here at work I'm forced to use Windows. I've been doing systems work for more than thirty years now, but fortunately it's almost never involved Microsoft products. The kinds of work I do have been in areas where Microsoft doesn't go, so it hasn't even been an option. When I switch to Windows it's endless irritation. Slow performance most of all, but everything, just everything is a little bit below par. My Linux systems are running on older hardware, never a problem, and easily eight or ten times more responsive.

    So stay with Windows if you think it's faster and does what you need. After all, it's a free choice. Nobody is forcing you.
  • Re:I'm Linux... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GodWasAnAlien ( 206300 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @11:41AM (#27571383)

    It is worth noting that each item relates to interfaces to proprietary hardware and/or proprietary media.

    This is the weak point of open source for obvious reasons.

    If standards and specifications are open, then an implementation can be implemented with N man hours of work.
    However if reverse engineering is required, then N*10 - N*100 man hours is required, depending on how much effort was put into obscuring the hardware/software interface.

    This is basically a struggle between Computer Science, where we build from the work of our peers and Computer Scientology, where only those who pay great sums of money get access to the secret information.

  • by ringmaster_j ( 760218 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @11:42AM (#27571399)

    "Gnash is not ready for prime time and last I checked, didn't currently work with youtube. Supposedly swfdec does, if you compile the latest build..."

    ...and that's why "freedom" hasn't caught on with the general public.

  • by russotto ( 537200 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @11:44AM (#27571427) Journal

    Trying to respond to the Mac vs. PC ads is playing right into Apple's ad agency's hands. All doing that does is remind people of their ad. And if you do it badly (like MS did... of course I didn't RTFA so I haven't seen the Linux entrant) it makes you look really bad in comparison. Find another angle.

  • by pseudonomous ( 1389971 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @11:52AM (#27571577)

    I disagree, I think that if I didn't now what linux was, and I saw this commercial enough times, I'd be curious enough to go online and try and find out. And it builds "word recognition" if somebody sees a netbook / phone with Linux OS later, kind of like that "intel inside" flash at the end of OEM commercials, tells you nothing about what an "intel" is, but builds name recognition for the consumer and just might make somebody who knows nothing buy an intel based computer instead of an amd machine.

    Of course, there's still a few problems with that approach:

    1) You've still got to fork out the cash to get people exposed to the ad repeatedly, I don't think the Linux Foundation has enough dough.

    2) First google result for linux is "linux online", which is an OK source for some info, but not a real visually appealing website

    Anyway, we'll see what happens, I think most likely the advertising will not change the status quo significantly.

  • by Dripdry ( 1062282 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @11:53AM (#27571585) Journal

    If there are window managers and fun UIs then that's great!

    After reading a book about Linux, tuning a system for someone, and walking her through it, why did I have to post on a technology discussion website to find out about it?

    While I can appreciate picking apart my post, I feel like the spirit of it is being lost.

    The average user (whatever that means) needs convenience with something like an OS. Otherwise they won't use it. I work with something similar to computers: Finance. It's REALLY complicated stuff. If you don't present it in the right fashion then you will not be listened to or you will scare the crap out of people. As an analytic I struggle daily with this lesson. Same goes for computers!

    Linux is trying to get new users. We need to give them more convenience with intuitive freedom to customize. If it leads to the ability to learn more and not need the convenience, then great! I'm all for it! I would use it too!

    Having to poke around all over the internet to find what should be fairly readily available options seems to be self-defeating for Linux as a whole. Maybe I'm just using the wrong flavor of Linux? That's another issue entirely.

  • Re:Wow (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @11:55AM (#27571653)

    I honestly hope this is just a troll attempt, and you're not really that much of an utter and complete idiot.

  • by businessnerd ( 1009815 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @12:00PM (#27571717)

    A lot of people have been posting this. The ad doesn't tell you what Linux actually is, just that it's gives you freedom. But that's OK. That's actually what makes it a good ad. It focuses on a single concept. The problem is not the ad itself, it's those that are focusing on a single ad and not thinking about a wider marketing campaign. Unless the product is very self explanatory, you don't introduce something new with a single ad, you serve up multiple ads, possibly with an overall theme, each one highlighting something different about the product. To be simple, look at Apple's ads. Note that I use the plural form of ad. Each one talks about one thing. "Ease of use" is one ad. "No viruses" is another ad. "Interoperabilty" is another. They don't do this all in one ad, its impossible. Some of the entries tried to do this and it failed miserably. You only have thirty seconds to get your point across. Say too much and no one will get it.

    So this is only the beginning of a campaign. It's the initial buzz creator. It gets people asking the questiong "what is this linux thing?". Some will go look it up, but they don't have to, because your next ads are coming out that go deeper. They use the same overall style, but instead of talking about freedom, they talk about security, or reliability, or open standards, or whatever. There's a lot of reasons Linux is great, but you have to pick only one reason per ad.

  • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Deagol ( 323173 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @12:12PM (#27571941) Homepage

    And yet... Linux and the thousands of other open source projects that make a usable desktop remain Free, while the others do not.

    Even if I concede that open source clones of proprietary software are often inferior (which is certainly not a given), I'm ok with that given the benefits. If you *need* pivot tables in Excel or the bazillion features in Photoshop, then spend the money for your single license, possbily DRM'ed, binary-only product that can only be installed and run on a single OS a single hardware platform. More power to you! Isn't choice wonderful?

    I, along with many others, choose cost-free software that affords us the freedom to copy it indefinitely, install it on whatever OS/hardware we have, and tweak and fiddle with it without fear of DMCA violations or SPA audits.

    Your snide "not quite as good" remark totally ignores the benefits beyond technical features.

  • Am I really the only person who's noticed that Microsoft completely failed to understand what the Apple ads were presenting? Apple had two actors who were *actually portraying* the computer/operating systems in question. All of Microsoft's ads seem to think that "I'm a PC" is just shorthand for "I'm a Windows (l)user."

    Or is it the general public that's too stupid to understand the difference, and Microsoft is making hay off of that?

  • by Scroatzilla ( 672804 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @12:29PM (#27572201) Homepage Journal

    I think the entire ad leading up to announcing the name "Linux" presented familiar icons and controls of computing in general: mouse cursor, resizing, screen manipulation. This sets up a familiar environment.

    Then it shows the "Linux" name, which you could only conclude has something to do with a graphically familiar computing environment.

  • Re:Wow (Score:2, Insightful)

    by joaosantos ( 1519241 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @12:35PM (#27572329) Homepage
    Novell did it. Novell is just one of the several corporations that profits from Linux, and it isn't "Linux".
  • Why is it that every time someone posts a "linux not ready for desktop" comment, at least one person has to pipe up that they're using linux exclusively on the desktop?

    That's about as helpful as saying, "Well, the bug doesn't happen on my machine."

  • by raddan ( 519638 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @12:43PM (#27572459)
    I'm not crazy about the ad, either, but to play devil's advocate, this ad [] didn't exactly tell you what it was advertising either. On many levels, that ad should have been a flop (no information about the product, decidedly intellectual metaphor, etc) But you left the ad knowing that you wanted to know more. I think that's the approach the Linux folks are trying here.

    In my opinion, that approach is fine, but this ad doesn't really make me want to find out more. Maybe they need to hire Ridley Scott.
  • Re:Wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sbeckstead ( 555647 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @12:46PM (#27572495) Homepage Journal
    Ok, but I'm not a driveling whiny developer enthusiast that needs to have the bazillion levels of freedom that you need to hack the bejeezus out of your computer. I'm a burger flipper, a tire guy, a mechanic, a professional, or a housewife and I just want the stuff to work. I don't want to have to make a stupid decision about which distribution I should download and I don't want to have to answer nine billion technical questions just to get it installed. Something I have never gotten from Linux. I want to have that feeling that there is a company that I can blame, I need to have the feeling that there is a group of people that may benefit from my purchase, and who can be called upon to support that product. I want a product not a cool concept (Apple delivers both). Grow up, Linux is as good or better technically than anything being sold but it isn't a product. It will never be a product as long as it is distributed by and has as many distributions as geeks writing it. Ubuntu is coming the closest to being a product and it's goals are commendable but it is not a mainstream desktop PRODUCT and never will be.

    Just because it's free doesn't mean it is going to be good and just because it costs a lot of money doesn't mean that it's evil. The answer is in between those extremes just like everything else in life.
    I'l probably get modded a 0 flame bait for this but it's still a valid statement!
  • Ts. Maybe you are just totally uninformed? ffmpeg supports flv just fine. And it comes preinstalled with every desktop distribution. The only thing missing, is the small Firefox script, that transforms flv playback into a mplayer (or vlc) playback window. (pretty simple. I have done it for many sites myself). And so could every preinstaller.

    But in reality (hellooo, yeah. reality. that world out there!), this all is completely and totally irrelevant.
    Everybody just has flash preinstalled from his bought computer (noobs), or installs it himself (non-noobs). Same as with the nvidia-drivers. Same as with any program they want to have.
    It's nice, that you can change the OS, and nobody can enforce anything. But those who care about openness, and those who are noobs, are two completely separate groups. So in reality, all your made-up problems about Joe and Jane Sixpack-Soccermom wanting open software are non-existant. They are completely shielded and unaware that that discussion even exists.

  • Re:Wow (Score:2, Insightful)

    by EonBlueTooL ( 974478 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @12:49PM (#27572559)
    What a horrible commercial. It doesn't remotely state what linux is. All it says is linux is freedom. I do not feel un-free, so why do I need to find out what linux is? All this commercial is, is linux elitist masturbation, it does nothing for anyone who doesn't already know what linux is, and doesn't really do anything for windows users.
  • Re:Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cream wobbly ( 1102689 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @12:53PM (#27572599)

    ...while your kind of "freedom to tweak" response completely ignores the usability problems that Linux suffers.

    Why am I being offered Gnome and KDE? What's the difference? Why can I not play DVDs? Okay, got that solved via a quick trip to the command line. What's the app called for playing MP3s and ripping CDs? Alright everyone, which one of the dozen is going to work best? Why does XBMC crash every time I try to play a DVD? Why doesn't Songbird play movies like the application it's trying to copy? Okay, I'll use VLC for movies. Where did VLC's fullscreen UI disappear off to? Why did I get a text-only "login:" prompt after booting? Okay, reinstall. Why did I not make notes?

    Contrast with Windows: Where are my drivers? Okay, installed. Why is it running so slow? Why does it take 15 minutes to shutdown?

    Contrast with Mac OS X: Where are my games?

    And on "enterprise" distros, where versions are locked for years while patches are backported, you suffer dependency hell, which forces you to run older versions of software until you can make the business case to upgrade the OS and all the commercial apps. This is particularly bad on workstations like RHEL4.

    The problem is least noticeable with servers, because the software stays pretty stable with relatively old requirements. But that's not what we're talking about now, is it?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @12:54PM (#27572617)

    Or they could, Oh, I don't know, be saying something different.

    Shocking I know. The only possible answer is that Microsoft f*cked up and misunderstood something.

  • Re:Wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by causality ( 777677 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @01:09PM (#27572879)

    >Your snide "not quite as good" remark totally ignores the benefits beyond technical features. As does 95% of the general public. Might want to rethink your line of argument there, sport.

    Because for him to enjoy the freedom of Free Software, the majority must first agree with him? You know that's faulty, don't you?

  • by cptnapalm ( 120276 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @01:16PM (#27573015)

    "If there really are a lot of people taking Linux notebooks/netbooks/desktops back, don't you think they at least *tried* tinkering with the OS?"

    Honestly, no, I don't. Have no fear, though, I'm not here to flame :)

    The opinion that I've formulated over the last several years is that most people don't want a computer. They want appliances. The Mac does this the best. Windows is mediocre at it, succeeding mostly because IBM was the "must have" 30 years ago. (My opinion on Windows usability comes from the ludicrous number of times I've had to help Windows people do Windows things on their Windows computers with versions of Windows I've never seen before).

    Linux and the BSDs, I think, are for those people that do want to own a computer. Not to say that some stuff should not just be click and go and almost all of it is, these days. What they offer, primarily, is the freedom to tinker. This is of interest to only those who want to play. The average user won't install Linux at all because they are not aware that operating systems exist.

    With regards to the different user interfaces available, many of them are radically different. A lot of them are strictly for people who like their interfaces as text-y as possible. Others, like Window Maker, are quite different from what almost everyone is accustomed to, but easy enough once you know how to use it. Ubuntu's default, GNOME, as well as KDE are probably about as user friendly as it gets on the free Unixes.

  • Re:Wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nigel Stepp ( 446 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @01:20PM (#27573091) Homepage

    Advertisements don't need to inform. Pay attention to the next few car commercials you see and notice how facts about the car are pretty light.

  • by steveha ( 103154 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @01:30PM (#27573261) Homepage

    When trying to play a DVD on my girlfriend's brand new Ubuntu build it was necessary to download 3 different media applications (settled on VLC, but even that had a fatal bug sometimes) and sift for a while through google just to install the correct libs.

    Or, you could have done it the Windows way: buy proprietary DVD-playing software, install that, done. []

    Click on "Software" and there it is: PowerDVD.

    She doesn't use the computer for too much but shouldn't the bare basics work immediately?

    I don't think Windows XP comes with a DVD player pre-installed by default. If you buy a new Compaq or Dell or something it probably does have a DVD player, but nobody seems to be selling Ubuntu pre-installed with PowerDVD. Yet.

    If Linux is trying to get new users, shouldn't the focus be on effectively presenting the OS to new users?

    Who do you mean by "Linux" here? The Ubuntu guys are doing one thing, the Fedora guys are doing something else, etc.

    But here's what a new Ubuntu user should be reading: []

    I found Ubuntu Guide through Google. There are resources out there.

    Yes, the world of Linux, even Ubuntu Linux, is not yet a shiny gleaming perfect place. But I know several people who are far less geeky than me, and they are perfectly happy using Ubuntu. The best thing is for a geek to set everything up, and then the user can just use the system.

    I always tell people: "There will be problems. There are always problems. But, with Linux, they are different problems than you get in Windows... and I like Linux's problems better. The problems in Windows tend to be things like 'My machine has spyware now and it stopped working!' The problems in Linux tend to be 'I don't know how to get it to do what I want', but once you solve the Linux problems they tend to stay solved."

    That's not a tidy message you could have Jerry Seinfeld deliver in a few seconds; I guess that's why I'm not in marketing.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @01:50PM (#27573645)

    The desktop hasn't been ready for Linux.

    That is changing.

  • Re:Wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Golddess ( 1361003 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @01:58PM (#27573813)
    If you'd read the post that mweather was replying to, you'd know that mweather was referring to Windows.

    (Is this some kind of new low for /. where we don't even bother to read a post's parent post in order to gain the proper context of what someone said, or am I just new here?)
  • Re:Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dragonslicer ( 991472 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @02:27PM (#27574313)

    Contrast with Windows: Where are my drivers? Okay, installed.

    I think you left out a few steps, like "What's the manufacturer's web site? Okay, where is their downloads page? Okay, what's the exact model number? Okay, what version of Windows am I using?"

  • by Svartalf ( 2997 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @03:14PM (#27575123) Homepage

    You know, maybe that's just it. Maybe there is nothing in linux that people actually want.

    Actually, there is stuff in Linux people want- it's just that they can't see the forest for the trees.

  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @04:27PM (#27576455) Homepage

    ...because it's an obvious fallacy and any obvious fallacy should be challenged.

    If you let a lie go unchallenged then people get the idea that the lie is true.

  • by aussersterne ( 212916 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @07:19PM (#27579493) Homepage

    I want an operating system that does what I tell it to and offers tools for facilitating this such that each new task does not require a new application.

    That is Linux/UNIX.

    Point: Operating systems don't want anything. That's anthropomorphism. People want things. Linux users don't want other Linux users. Linux users want Linux. That's why it looks like it does after Linux users built it. They built what they want. And it serves them well.

    Somewhere this "Linux wants users" meme got blown out of all realistic proportion. Red Hat may want users, or Ubuntu, but again, those are people: CEOs, employees, marketers, etc., and they want users because they want revenue.

    But Linux? Linux doesn't want anything. And Linux users? Linux users want Linux. That's why they're LINUX USERS.

  • by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @11:36AM (#27586781) Journal

    That's how to do it? Nowhere did I find something about restricted-extras.

    I so feel your pain. I stopped using Windows about 10 years ago, I just couldn't bare it anymore. I observed many of the same issues as you have mentioned over the years. Graphics cards, this or that hardware dvd's, flash on 64 bit, wine for games, yes problems I eventually solved, but not without effort on my part. I have installed Linux for friends, Fedora which I use was a disaster for them - Ubuntu much better. Personally I am trying to identify, understand and resolve issues such as these. I think the key word is 'Usability', and in that respect Ubuntu does represent the apex of usability for the small cross section of people I have introduced to Linux. In my experience I'm happy to say improvement's have been identifiable once resolved. Sure, not all the way but incrementally better and if it wasn't noticeable, I would have gone back to windows too. Release early, release often is a good thing.

    You and I know Linux is better, but unless we express that to a new user effectively they won't care.

    I know this doesn't help you now, but like your business, for the users at this stage of Linux's lifecycle understanding their requirements is what I have found drives satisfaction. It's not easy to get right, and requires attention to detail. I don't care about what *I* miss out on - but I a pay lot of attention to what you and others say about their experiences because I want to learn about what works and what I have to pay attention to.

    You are right, users don't care, and condescending motherhood statements just don't cut it. Even expressing to users that linux is better doesn't help. A users reaction when they use a Lunix distribution should be 'wow, this is solid, oh yeah, I can see how I do x task' they must know it's better. You have nailed it with DVD's, but flash on 64bit and wine compatibility layer for windows programs are also big issues. The Linux community has it work cut out for it especially when the other guy is in a position to undermine those efforts (understandable that they are trying to maintain their market share) so all we can do is stick to our strengths and build on those. Acceptance will not be easy, so sharing the kind of experiences you have pointed out are vital to building that acceptance. Sharing them is perhaps the most powerful thing you can do because that is how, in time, they get fixed.

    In business speak we can refer to it as 'overcoming objections', the open source community is still learning which one's are important.

    An OS should allow people freedom.

    You know our community rambles on about freedom all the time and it is an important point. But the point is missed on users who actually want *comfort*. That's why in some respect it's ok for Linux distributions to *copy* what Linux and OS-X does, because they are the basics that make people feel comfortable when they use a computer. Freedom is the *luxury* that most users cannot afford. The pressures of day to day life means 'I have to do this on the computer now and it has to work'. Most geeks have two or three or more computers - most people have one and it *has* to work as expected.

    There are some catch 22 situations out there but I do think that, slowly, the ability to deliver those 'comfort' levels has become easier. Linux is not as comfortable as Windows or OS-X but because the software has it's *own* freedom, it's closing the gap.

    Sorry if I sound belligerent (I don't mean to), but I'm in a business that is JUST like what Linux is going through.

    The flipside of course is that whether or not Linux is taken up en-mass is completely irrelevant. Indeed the longer it stays in the background the longer early adopters will be able to glean the benefit that the populace cannot. Cheap second hand PC's, the microsoft gravy train are all a product of the

"Well, it don't make the sun shine, but at least it don't deepen the shit." -- Straiter Empy, in _Riddley_Walker_ by Russell Hoban