View Full Version : Thoughts on 'converting' customers to Linux

07-11-2010, 01:23 PM
I was reading this (http://www.technibble.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18128)thread today and it got me thinking about the issue of computer technicians 'converting' customers to Linux.

Just wondering what people think of this idea. On the surface it seems appealing because of the low cost of the os (nil), its inherent resistance to malware, and its ability to run quickly on low-end hardware.

It seems to me there's more complexity though; despite its appeal to technically-minded people, it has some limitations that could present a lot of difficulty for end-users with a low geek-quotient.

We are in an industry thats basically a solutions-game. Our success (or failure) is generally measured by how effectively we solve problems presented by customers (and whether the solution itself creates new problems). There are no doubt situations where a recommendation of Linux is appropriate, but is there sometimes an element of evangelical zeal in the practice of 'conversion' by computer repair technicians which creates more problems than it solves?

There seems to be increasing enthusiasm for supporting people to change to open-source OS's. Perhaps its an opportune time to pros and cons. Personally, Id be very interested to hear experiences from those who have been down this road.

Has anyone made a Linux recommendation, and found it to be a workable solution for a customer? or not?

07-11-2010, 01:27 PM
Not trying to kill this thread but it has been discussed here quite a few times already.

07-11-2010, 04:15 PM
I find linux on the desktop to be a PIA myself particularly if anything goes wrong. It doesn't run half the apps I like. I can't troubleshoot it properly. I find the linux forums to be nerdy and unhelpful compared to Windows ones. I tried to use it for my netbook for a while and went back to XP.

I don't believe the vast majority of customers want it or particularly need it. They don't pay for Windows anyway since they are usually using the one they got with their machine. Most people love Office, Itunes and various other Windows apps. Plenty clients I know run very specific apps to their industry or hobby that only come in Windows.

If it really is super stable and virus proof then that doesn't actually help us and so I don't even particularly want most people using it.

07-11-2010, 05:11 PM
I'm a programmer. I code for Linux servers and I don't care for Linux as a desktop. There's no way I could recommend it to a customer unless they want to do something that using Windows for would be overkill.

I've recommended it a few times to customers but it almost never works out. The only exception being a college girl who strictly wanted something for surfing and running Open Office (yes, she requested Open Office rather than MS Office). Aside from helping her with a printer issue one time it has been a perfect fit.

I've always wanted to try it with a computer-illiterate Grandma type who isn't used to how things are "supposed" to work. As long as they just want the interwebs and the electronic mail thingy I think they could be quite happy with Linux.

07-11-2010, 06:55 PM
If you feel confident you can support Linux for your customers I say more power to you. I have done this numerous times but only if I feel the user can grasp the concept. Most of my family members are using it, including my mother and mother-in-law, who are both in their 60's. Linux Mint is my favorite disto for new users.

Smooth Gecko
07-25-2010, 02:44 AM
Myself, I was jumping up and down about it in 2000. I had started with it some years before and was certain the new millennium would be all go for Linux.
Nothing happened.
I use it myself, wouldn't go back now.
Love being able to hook infected client machines up to anything I want :)
I have had similar experiences when putting others onto it, the older clients that are just getting into it have no problem starting with Linux. Experienced users that need to "unlearn" first will be problematic.

07-25-2010, 04:49 AM
Recomending Linux especially Ubuntu would'nt be a bad idea because its prety easy to use FOR CUSTOMERS WHO CAN NOT AFFORD to buy a new OS. And u need customers if u install a free OS then how will you sell your services or products? and am preety sure if someone is able to move to Linix they wouldent bother coming to you for services they need.

Sorry if i said anything mean...

07-29-2010, 01:36 AM
I request Linux Ubuntu disk every few months and keep them in my tech area if someone comes in with an interest I hand them out. I don't recommend it because I never really used it myself. I tried but being that I'm a gamer it never could really work for me, plus my system was built bloody edge high end for its time and when I tried Ubuntu there was almost no driver for my hardware on the user forums so I gave up.

07-30-2010, 11:21 AM
The problem with any and all releases of Linux has always been a lack of attention to simplified user experience. The reason MAC is doing so well with the average user is because they found a way to dumb down the operating system to a level that is easier to work with than Windows. Most non-technical folks would be very unsatisfied with a Linux solution - which explains why so many Linux systems that were once being sold through major computer outlets have been discontinued.