Yay, thanks for a great post knitter!
though I have some doubts about it working, at least considering my experience in promoting free software here were I live. I feel some of the texts in the from page are way too "marketing" oriented, some don't really reflect the reality I see when introducing GNU Linux to a non tech user.
I share your skepticism, and I don't imagine the project getting a zillion requests
It would however be cool if we had any at all and if they got the help they wanted and the desired end result on their
side. Personally I find it peculiar that "install-parties" have been around for long among "geeks" but that the community hasn't made (or has but failed and kept silent about it) the connection between those and interacting with the public. I've had the idea for quite a while and figured it was worth trying, if nothing else to learn why it is hard to succeed with it.
I feel some of the texts in the from page are way too "marketing" oriented, some don't really reflect the reality I see when introducing GNU Linux to a non tech user. Most users don't really like GNU Linux on first contact
I agree. I have had a hard time deciding if it should be more blunt and neutral. I usually take the neutral approach, but then I figured that I seldom see that being done on other sites that promote x, no matter if it would be Win or OSX.
I think you are correct that the text doesn't reflect reality and that users are negative to first contact. On the other hand, I don't think that is an issue due to Linux itself: There is little rational
reason to be negative about first contact with for example a Gnome2 or KDE based distro as all "computer basics" you already know still apply. People's main frustraton, I think, seems to come from the inability to quickly navigate in the system and to not know what tool does what + where to setup x y z. New programs to get familiar with, new places/menus and to a smaller extent also new or slightly different functions. That all adds up and makes a person easily "frustrated" since he/she is often impatient. Impatience stems from the reason why a user sits in front of the computer in the first place: That is not to spend time on learning and battling a new system. It is to get a task done. Valuable time is lost when having to "defeat" the system just to complete a simple task
I can use myself and my experience with OS X on my Airbook (or AirBrick as we've dubbed it in channel due to me frakking up and bricking it twice, but that's my own fault or maybe it's actually apples for not putting the EFI on a separate chip instead of having it on the normal HD as a separate partition...
) Having used only Linux for at least the most recent 5 years, even at my previous work as I killed the win install and put pingo on that as well, I felt like a sitting duck in OS X. It us strange since I probably have way above "above average software knowledge" - I've been using computers ever since the C64:era and got my intro to programming in QBasic on an Amiga 500 at home, for which I bought an external HD of 50 mb that was as huge as my arm and costed about 200 Euro. The same goes for me sitting in Windows since I haven't really been using any version of it past Win XP (and my fav. Win was Win2k I think, with XP as runner-up). So if I get frustrated and impatient, I have full understanding for the average joe being the same.
That is where we come into the pictures with a guided tour. I think it matters a lot, or at least I hope it could matter if properly given. To sit down with a person and give him/her a quick demo of how everyday tasks are done and where all the good stuff is, and then have that person ask prepared questions to you about whatever should make the difference and help remove much of the frustration later on and also plant a seed that will put the user in a more "explorative mode", which in return will lessen the frustration somewhat when getting stuck later on.
In general you are correct though. Whatever is new requires
something of people, and that something makes them uneasy. For these reasons I think it is maybe ok for it to sound marketing like and that it could perhaps be justified(?). I think I want people to believe it is easy and worth a try, in order to overcome their "oh noes, I have to work a little to enjoy x... hence I won't even try"-thoughts. I want to sell a positive image and awaken their urge to try out something new and fresh. I don't think I will do that by being super honest or too technical due to what everyday marketing language and lies has already done with people's mentality. I also don't believe it should be marketed as something defunct or inferior, or as a semi-decent system, because if it was marketed that way the marketing would fail. The greatest hinder here is the users conformity
. For it to be converted into action we need to sell heaven
That said, I think much of what is there is incomplete and has to be explained in greater detail and more realistic terms for those visitors that want the full picture and are more tech savvy. Hopefully that will give as a simple marketing and optimistic front, while also balancing that up with details from reality for the ones that want to have them. Look at it this way: index is there only to quickly sell and catch interest. Nothing else. All the explaining will be done in detail on other places on the site, and linked to from there.
and there are not that many equivalent software programs if you consider that something is equivalent if it allows you to do the exact same thing as the application you were used to using
I agree, to an extent, but I'm also not sure what to make of it when put in relation to the average joe's user case scenario: I think I use my computer for way more stuff than the average user, yet I have never needed another system in 5 years. How can that be if Linux software is really limiting me?
To be honest I am also not the average user myself and I spend more time on researching software and learning software than the average user would. Due to ideological reasons and love for copyleft I'm also way more forgiving when it comes to software on Linux. Those factors are admittedly huge and makes me less usable as a measurement in the discussion. Agree on that.
However, I do not see the rationale in comparing two softwares on a detailed level where they are exact replicas of each other. I don't think that is what you are suggesting either, yet I still want to make it clear that for me a software should be considered equal if it can perform the same functions
as whatever it is compared with. Not necessarily using the same tools or workflow, nor even finding the expected tools in the same menu positions or with same icons etc.
Take photoshop and the average joe's need of it. Does the average joe need Adobe PS? No, 99% of the average users have no use whatsoever of 99% of PS's functionality. What they use PS for is totally trivial, if they use it at all. This all translates to that GIMP is, from a functionality perspective of the average user, equivalent to Adobe PS.
For a professional that has been using Adobe's Suite all his/her life GIMP wouldn't be. While most
stuff can be done in GIMP one way or the other (cause honestly, it is a very potent piece of software if you learn it, just as you have to do with PS or whatever the other alternatives are) GIMP is still not totally on par with PS, even if it is getting there super-slowly.
I think that we have nothing to lose from being realistic and see it from both of these perspectives - the functional one for the average joe, and the professional one. While most visitors of pingofy will not be professionals and professionals also tend to now swap system if that means they have to swap workflow and re-learn/lose years of knowledge and time invested in a suite like Adobes, I'm not sure I am out of line when I suggest - to the average user - that Linux does indeed have equivalent software. Expressed differently: Name one thing casual people do in their osx/win that they can't do in Linux.
Whatever is named we should inform about on the site. It should also clearly be stated that the system change would have all these implications and that, depending on what type of professional you are and what workflow you use and what you have tied up your files to, it might not always be a good idea to migrate to Linux.
Average user doesn't understand the freedom in free software since they have never had any problems with the proprietary software, they also don't have insomnias caused by using proprietary software so there is little peace of mind for them to achieve
lol... well written. Agree 100%. It's a pitty one of the main arguments for using Linux at all is also the least appreciated or understood by the masses. Yet, I still think it should be mentioned somewhere, even though focusing blindly on it will miss the point because of the reasons you suggest.
Good remark about the peace of mind. Fixed, I hope.
I would also remove the subtle (or not so subtle) references to Apple, Microsoft and the Apple/Mac Store. It will be hard to move Apple users away from it's products and the all references make me feel that I'm reading a text created by some Linux zealot, which is only good to drive people away from the project.
Sadly people today act like the "app store" is something new. Mainly because it is, for them.
That the concept of repos has been around since the stone age in Pingo-land doesn't make it easier for us to explain to the user what a repo is, especially in such a condensed text. Hence I use a term they're all familiar with. I also thin it's a correct one as it functions the identical way as the app store, at least from the users perspective - a central place that lets you check out and install software, without having to run around the net and download separate files, e.g. as for Win (up until now when even MS realised, 2011, that maybe it isn't a bad idea to have a repo after all..) If you can offer a terminology that is as hipp-sounding and as easy for people to understand I'd be happy to strike "app store".
Rest of references taken away from intro page. I'm not sure I agree with you that they were offensive or signs of a zealot (although I probably am guilty as charged ; ) as they said nothing negative at all about any other system. You are probably right though that it would do more damage than good.
In other places on the site we will have to refer to other systems for the sake of clarity and understanding and/or comparison. Please shout again if it is done in a bad way, so it can be corrected.
, saying a user to forget all about virus, trojans and the like is promoting user illiteracy on security and we should help users understand what security is and what it isn't instead of giving users a false hope. There are virus in GNU Linux, there are trojans in GNU Linux and giving this false security feeling generally promotes other insecure practices like clicking all sort of links and forgetting about "social engineering". In GNU Linux you need the same security concerns that you should have in Windows or OS X, only the tools help you more than those in Windows (OS X has the same tools as GNU Linux, for most cases).
Ah. Finally! I'm happy you wrote that: I have had the very same concern time and time again within the Linux community, at least the more publicly oriented parts of it. I'm just waiting for the day to come when Linux is popular enough to become a more interesting target on the desktop side for virusmakers. Then suddenly the anti-virus argument will be gone with the wind and people will notice that there is just like one(?) anti-virus program around that's open, in development and almost decent.
You're right of course. And still, what is written isn't really false - odds are minamal compared, still and for the foreseeable future, that an average user running linux will get a virus. I believe you are right that we should take the responsibility and foster a better understanding about the issue: I'll link that section to a more extensive page dedicated to the subject. You're free to contribute to that if you feel like it. It's hard writing geekstuff in a way that isn't boring and that remains understandable to the average user...
Naturally, I know the average user will pay some computer store for maintenance and won't install Windows by himself, but that computer store gives the user some security that you're not offering, either payed or free. The general idea seems to be that a non tech user needs help because he doesn't have the skill set to install GNU Linux and someone will do it for free
Interesting points. As for safety and commercial services, there is nothing hindering people from paying for those and buying them from a company or whoever that sells that kind of support and happens to be part of the pingofy-team.
What I want to avoid is creating yet another all-around-site, that starts with installing linux for people but ends up with answering all kinds of questions that are already better answered in any already existing linux community. We can't, nor should we, compete with Ubuntu forums for example.
What is off-putting for users is having to do an install at all, and even more so to a system you haven't ever used before. Later in, even if you succeed there is nobody that shows you the basics. I think we can fix that. It is also something not offered anywhere else, to my knowledge.
The rest of the community is there already after those initial steps. It can do what it already does: Answer questions, help with troubleshooting etc. If somebody of us wants
to do that for free we can. If not we can offer it as paid services. In either case, I think it would be up to the individual and client to settle on such matters.
but in some places you are expecting that same non tech user to have made many tech task, e.g: "Also bid farewell to the tedious system re-installations", a non tech user has no idea about those re-installs, he does non of them
Yes, true. The user is however aware of them and that he/she was forced to contact somebody to do them, waste time on them, fiddle with backups and later on setup the whole system as it was before, installing programs, configuring, creating bookmarks, shortcuts etc etc. In general, no matter if you do the install yourself or if somebody does it for you, you'd want to avoid it. Else you're correct that a user that does them him/herself will usually not need us (and that's a good thing, I don't want to be needed ; )
Like mentioning an online community to non tech users is useless as they don't know what a community is if it's not Facebook.
Would it be better if it said forum / chat channels / wikis etc?
The FAQ should mention what exactly the group does and what it doesn't, e.g.: do you provide support after installation, do you drive to peoples home, can I trust you with my computer. It should also say who are the group members and where they are located, so that I don't request something that is not available in my area of residence.
Yups, will be. Info will be shown in proper places. There will be some kind of agreement & extensive info that people have to check-box before/when contacting us and giving us the details about their system.
About home visits: I'm unsure and uneasy with them for several reasons. At the same time it is hard to work on a computer installation in a public place since one needs some gear and preferably internet access. Should we leave that one up to the pingofier? That way different people can make different offers. Same goes for training, 24/7 and other commercial services.
Group members will be presented nicely on dedicated page, ordered in country-categories. Location and area of coverage will be beneath persons name.
I'll put you on the list once the site is up and running and you have had a chance to review it's "final" text and looks. Would be nice with proper intro of yourself then and maybe a pic if you're ok with it. Think people like that stuff, knowing that we can be trusted and aren't just some obscure nicknames, teenagers on geek steroids...