[lug] Relatives using linux (was Re: Recommendations For Older Hardware?)

Davide Del Vento davide.del.vento at gmail.com
Thu Aug 5 15:03:00 MDT 2010

> I haven't tried Inkscape.. I'll check into it.  Visio is one of those
> products that got things right from the beginning and for some reason
> nobody else has been able to match it.

I haven't used Visio a lot, so I might know only a very limited set of
its features, but I've used Inkscape a lot and I think it's a great
software. Some things are not done in the way I'd call intuitive, but
it has all the features I wanted and they work just fine (but I needed
to RTFM).

> For your relatives using Linux, do they have issues with
> hardware/config?

IMHO the hw/config is the big "plus" that made Ubuntu popular in the
first place (now they are concentrating on other issues to become
mainstream): they included as much (proprietary) drivers in the distro
and all the configs just worked out of the box!!
I think they even talked with some vendors to have their license
changed in a way to allow re-distribution, or made some kind of
agreements to enable forwarding from Ubuntu repositories.
The biggest driver issue that I've seen in Ubuntu was a wireless card
for a laptop whose driver wasn't included in the DVD, but had to be
downloaded, so I needed to use a wired network. I vocally reported it
as a serious bug (which I think it was, for a "just works" perspective
- how can you download something if you are offline?), but I think
most users would be able to figure it out themselves that there is a
"wired" option if the wireless temporarily doesn't work and the
message was pretty clear from the beginning (it said something like
"you need to download the proprietary driver to use the wireless

On a different but related issue (how linux is relative-friendly),
something that they like a lot is the software repository. Think
Apple's app-store without the strings attached. On windows or macs,
they were always struggling on how to find, install and keep
up-to-date their software. Lot of googling and not an authoritative
source on what's good and what's bad. On Ubuntu (well, all linux
distros nowadays, but they don't know), there is a one-stop-shop for
finding good, trusted and spyware-free application, guaranteed by the
vendor/community (that doesn't mean 100% safe, but at least more eyes
and skill than your own judgment alone, especially for small
non-famous things). Once you find the app you want, installing is just
a click (automatic download, including dependencies). If you don't
like them, uninstalling is a piece of cake. Good luck with that on
windows! No wonder for the iOS apple copied the model we invented in
The apps (not only the OS) get security updates automatically, without
you doing anything but saying "yes" (and updates don't keep you from
shutting the machine off as they do on Windows Vista, with the scary
"don't turn the machine off now, or the machine will break" - how
about that on a laptop running out of battery?)
So, all in all, my relatives are VERY, VERY happy with linux. Happier
than they were with windows (they switched during the Vista flop,
which helped that feeling, I suppose). Until they get that apps that's
missing on Linux, of course, when they are not happy anymore. This
still happens, but less so nowadays that most apps are browser-based.


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