“Just install Linux on it” is the “just change the engine of your car” of tech.
Not everyone is a mechanic, not everyone wants to be a mechanic, and, if we want a world where freedom is the norm, we must stop expecting everyone to become a mechanic.
Note: this is not because these people are too dumb to be mechanics. It’s because they’re brain surgeons and space-shuttle pilots and they have three kids and they care for a loved one and they don’t have time to also be a mechanic.
We are not going to compete with the mainstream car industry by promoting engine replacements. We are going to compete with the mainstream car industry by building better cars that are safer and more sustainable. But those cars aren’t going to grow on trees. We must fund the organisations that will create them from the commons for the common good.
@aral Definitely this. We also also need to adopt a more "congratulator, not hater" attitude in the free software community. If somebody is making small steps towards free software, we shouldn't roll our eyes at the fact that not *every* part of their setup is fully free.
@aral I disagree. We're not going to compete with the car industry with other cars. That's still just the car industry being in competition among themselves. The type of drive-train/motor is irrelevant to that.
What we really need is less individual transport using cars and subsequently less cars. Most cars are used by 1.2 persons when in use and most of the time they just occupy public space. That public space must be reclaimed for humas.
Transportation must be public/shared.
@aral obvious problems of the car analogy aside, I think the difficulty of improving on the state of a new laptop regarding privacy (e.g. by installing Linux) has reduced a lot over the last years, more like "get new tyres" at the moment. But the default state has worsened rather than improved, and I agree that improving the default state is what needs to happen.
@aral Unfortunately, in order to compete with the status quo, you'll first need to create some awareness and demand. Right now, PCs with preinstalled Linux are either Chromebooks (pretty infested) or cost significantly more than regular old laptops. They need to move from the "artisanal organic" price category to a point where you don't pay extra and "I heard somewhere these are good" is enough to get someone over the threshold.
Just a couple of quick remarks :)
Competition with proprietary software in terms of quality, security and convenience is not an important goal for free software in general. I think that this misconception leads to a lot of frustration.
And installing a mainstream GNU/Linux distribution is not a technical task. You don't need to study in order to do this.
@vk How did I get it so wrong? Is there somewhere I can go to read up on all this?
If you want to install a distro, there are many ones, and everybody has their favorite. Mine is debian, but there are a few pages to read (https://www.debian.org/releases/stable/amd64/)
This one has less pages to read and many users too. I started with this one. https://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop
I very much doubt the "not a technical part" but. If I hand a USB stick with "any mainstream Linux" to my dad (75), he'll plug it in and nothing will happen. Why? Because my dad does not know about boot order, boot loaders, BIOS, efi, or any of that. If he should by some miracle manage to get the stick to boot, how do you expect he'll get past the partition screen without losing all his data?
The answer is: he's not. He does not even know what a partition is.
@ck @aral The comparison was unfair to mechanics, because these people study to do their jobs. Now, I don't know your dad, but he may have relatives (😉) who know how to boot the USB stick. Then, the "mainstream linux" will boot and he will be able to try without installing it.
The partition screen will come well later, and there will be an option to partition automatically.
And don't assume that you are so much more intelligent than your dad 😁
I guess I'm missing your point completely unless it's "you don't need your stuff to simply work for you as long as you have someone to fix it for you", for which I can't even phrase a response...
I also tend to avoid quantifying peoples inteligence, I thinks the differences are marginal at best in comparison.
That is, unless you are trying to be condescending of course
It's more like driving stick instead of automatic, honestly.
@aral or bycicle powered planes
Install Linux on it is a perfectly reasonable answer when people can't easily use their current tech. "I want my car to compete in the Baha 1000" Well, you ain't doing it with that engine or that suspension.
Sure daily drivers such as Camry or Civic work at being daily drivers, but if they want to take it off-road or compete in F1...
The tech is not the main problem anymore. Large part is just older people's rejection of new/different things. Inertia.
My parents (in their 80ies) happily run Linux because I installed it and they never "learned" Windows before.
My kids (primary school) run Linux. I also put it on their and a couple of friends' schools-notebooks. They boot into Linux for school tasks because the Linux apps are easier and more capable. Irritates the teachers big time tho.
But try to get a 40 year old non-techie, who spent decades getting used to and work around Win idiosyncrasies, to switch? No way.
1. Get Linux into schools. That is an extremely hard and unfair political fight against GAM.
2. Get Linux into
administration, publc service, etc. Same political fight.
3. Make GAM surveillance based business model illegal. So that free ( beer) cloud services tied to prop. surveillance tech becomes unprofitable.
Summary: Forget the tech, it's politics, baby.
@aral This speaks volumes to me, considering I've been trying to use Linux since the year 2000, failing miserably as I am a mere Humanities person. Now, however, I am using dual-boot Ubuntu Budgie and Windows and will slowly master.
@aral However, the brain surgeon could be interested in having Linux installed and go to a mechanic, who does it for them. Or they buy a device, which comes pre-installed with it.
But here is the fact: They are not interested. And this has obviously multiple issues, and they are hardly a problem of Linux itself.
So our actual problem is not the Linux installation. This is just a technical act. It is meaningless. What matters, is to spark interest
@rugk > the brain surgeon could be interested in having Linux installed and go to a mechanic, who does it for them. Or they buy a device, which comes pre-installed with it.
Those two options are worlds apart. Again, no one goes to a mechanic to install an electric engine in their gas guzzler, they buy an electric car.
So the first option is the problem, the second is the solution. We need to stop conflating the problem with the solution. And we need to stop victim blaming. People do care.
@aral Well… yeah, certainly the easier solution. But I guess these are the limits of this metaphor.
Because switching an OS system is relatively easy. Actually people kinda do, when they upgrade from Win7 to Win10. – You could not that easily upgrade the engine of your car.
So the real upgrade path is Win7 -> Linux. And major Linux distros do offer Exe-"Installers" for Windows that you can use to burn a DVD/USB. So while it may be hard for the average user, a "mechanic" can easily do it.
This right here. The underlying OS is not the issue, it is the fact that people get locked into ecosystems and once there don't see a path out. You can switch back and forth between Windows and MacOS easily enough because most programs are made for either one. Linux doesn't have that luxury because why would you make a program for a free competitor?
Office applications on Linux won't happen anytime soon, for the same reason Apple won't release iMessages on other platforms.
@rugk It depends, and I'd try / suggest another route: Make people sensible for reasons why to use FLOSS software, not necessarily just Linux. And enable them to do so as much as possible. If you're in example supposed to work with CAD or a lot of planning software, Linux is no meaningful option but you still could use a lot of FLOSS on top of your current platform. That already would help in some cases. 😉
In any case, I think the end of update support of Windows 7 in 2020 can be a chance to bring people to Linux.
I mean many people still use Windows 7…
Due to the lack of a real cross-distro discussion platform I've written up some ideas here, now:
@aral You dont need a mechanic or special skills to install GNU/Linux. It has been said many times that grandma level of awareness is enough to use/install GNU/Linux. Its the people who require special software, they are the ones facing difficulties making sure their windows partitions stay intact. 😒
1/2: I think the problem is three-fold:
1. Linux isn't delightful to use like other OSs are. But projects like Elementary OS are working to fix that using #ethicaldesign which is awesome. I can honestly say that anyone can use Elementary.
2. The problem isn't that Linux is hard to install, it's that it's really hard to boot from a USB stick. That's why people need techs like myself to get past that part at the very least.
3. Linux needs to be on more PCs by default.....
@aral 2/2 ... and people need to be aware that these options exist. This is probably the hardest part because there's no budget driving it's promotion. This could be funded from the commons but until that happens, we need to be making people aware of these alternatives as best we can and help people move there if they want to.
@aral Fun fact which I discovered this year: In Romania, most PCs for private customers are sold with Linux preinstalled. Which Linux you ask? Nobody cares because the customer will just install Windows themselves. It's cheaper that way and easy enough for most.
I agree you shouldn't have to ask consumers to fix their devices themselves, but switching OS can be way easier than changing engines on a car
@aral this was maybe true a few years ago, but compared to windows 10, ubuntu is easier to install, use, and just overall less frustrating even for the non-computer-people
I agree with the spirit of this, but I think a lot of linux distros are getting to the point that they are just as easy to use as windows. Specifically linux seems to really have the edge with older hardware because microsoft and apple seem incapable of not bolting on more and more stuff.
The problem is drivers and hardware but if more companies treated linux seriously like dell does then I don't think linux is just a tinkerers toy at this point. Its a viable alternative.
I use manjaro and I was shocked at how easy it was to install off a flash drive. Granted I have a thinkpad so it the drivers are probably more likely to work well then some other obscure consumer model but I don't see why a future where companies sell a small selection of high quality linux laptops can't seriously challenge apple or microsoft for usability.
Maybe not quiitttte yet, but it feels like that point is very close.
In a world that wasn't overrun by near monopolies I think linux would never have a chance to match the usability of a product created by a large software company. However the fact is a lot of the design decisions microsoft makes (maybe apple too, I dont know cus I dont use their products much) are either hostile to users or just completely divorced from the actual effect upon them because it really doesn't matter to them. You have to buy their computers no matter what.
@aral absolutely. I’ve been using Linux on various servers and pi’s for years but I still don’t feel comfortable enough to use it as my main OS
@aral this argument is the “control my life but give me freedom” argument. You want me to develop and design a computer for you that does 99% of the things but also do it for free and never once exploit your ignorance? It doesn’t work like that. People who can’t work on or understand their car get ripped off by mechanics all day. If you cannot be assed to master computers, don’t be shocked when Microsoft stuffs a digit in you.
Linux is the shade tree mechanic OS.
@retro64XYZ Right. So let me get this straight: unless you have a lab in your own home, you deserve to get food poisoning (didn’t you test those eggs for listeria? What are you, an idiot?)
No one deserves to be exploited. No one deserves to be ripped off. No one deserves to be violated.
No one is asking you to design anything for free. We design things for ourselves, for the way we want to be treated & for the world we want to live in. Go stand in the corner and think about what you just said.
From my experience with Linux the problem is with everything but Linux.
It' because software vendors join in only half heartedly. nVidia anyone?
New PLAN kit? Sorry, no Linux. Foto book app for grandma, sorry.
There are thousands of Windows based niche apps people use day in day out. Everyone got at least one, no?
Totally not the fault of Linux and somehow you can make it work. But that requires the mechanic...who will find, compile (!) and present a clunky 10 year old UI 😀
@aral just change the engine of your car to one that runs linux
@aral good thing there's plenty of techies, that will happily change that engine for you. :)
I see what you are getting at, but in all fairness the skills required compare better to fixing a flat bike tire
@aral Glad you say this now. Sometimes it looks as if there are two separate worlds, techs and non-techs. The techs are becoming extremely powerful. Two 'classes' too: spying people and spied-upon people.
We cannot expect everyone to be technical, yet I expect politicians and leaders to be more competent in this. They should have more knowledge so they can stand up to the big companies.
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