Linux, a second class system?

I have seen a influx lately of people who use Ubuntu or have talked about their plans to use it. Whenever I hear this I will ask them why they want to use Ubuntu so I can know what people’s motives actually are for using Ubuntu. Often the response i hear is not a response I particularity like.  It is usually to the effect of “well my windows system is getting a little old so I think I’ll breathe new life into my old laptop with Linux. Linux to them is the thing that makes their old windows laptop last a few more years. though this is true what I find happening is people will after these couple years are up, buy a new laptop and do the same cycle all over again; use Windows until their system gets a little sluggish or breaks then install Linux on to it. My friends, I do not see this as always good for Linux and the community behind it. The user who install Linux on their system to breathe new life into it is going to get new life but not realize that Linux is great for more then just that.

I am going to assume that the average person reading this loves Linux and Ubuntu Linux just as much as me and would install it on every system they own. However the problem with this is I am not sure the average user currently of Ubuntu is just that. They install Ubuntu on there older systems because they might just not want to take the time to fix a windows issue, or whatever issue they have and think “I’ll install Linux, It will fix my problems.” Well, yes it will fix your temporary problem. however if all you are doing is using Ubuntu as a workaround or medicine for your Windows problem only to go back to Windows when you have the first jump to do so, you are not understanding what the point of Ubuntu is and what is does.

This problem can often be attributed to people being used to using the applications windows uses and not what Ubuntu provides.They would rather use those and possibly then only use Ubuntu till they can go back and use the other “mainstream” apps. they see Ubuntu and all its un-known aps and though they use it, they do not know much about them. Libre or open office is a great example. people will use that for many reasons. and one is because of the cost factor. what a great reason. but if your mindset is going to be that i use OpenOffice because it is free and therefor you think MS Office is better and jump at the chance to get a free un-used serial code from a friend you are not grasping they point of the software you were using.

This is not really their fault however. Perhaps it is just public opinion or something of the like. Though we all know Ubuntu is not a second class operating system, the rest of the world does not. We need to continue and find ways to get Ubuntu to think this and prove it is the best system around. The real Questions we need to be asking this is how can we shape and reform public opinion of a product through different avenues. These users need to continue to be told that Ubuntu is the system they need.


31 thoughts on “Linux, a second class system?

  1. If some users treat Windows and Ubuntu as essentially interchangeable, though with a preference to Windows, it seems like a wild success for Ubuntu. We have achieved an important milestone – time to break out a bottle and have a toast!

    Remember a few years ago when we longed for Windows users to consider Linux an alternative at all?

  2. Dear Author,

    Please stop referring Ubuntu as “The Image of Linux”. Linux has many faces, Ubuntu is just a Debian-Clone and nothing more. So this entire article just renders itself wrong by naming all wrong. You dont call all cars “Mercedes” either dont you? its just a Brand, not the Car itself – Please treat Ubuntu as a Brand and not as Linux as it.

    (PS: Linux is also just a kernel. The actual “right” way to call it is GNU/Linux since everything you see and use within a “Linux” is GNU, NOT Linux.)

    Best Regards
    just a GNU/Linux Developer

    • I for one would surely consider it the “Image of Linux”. It is the image of linux amongst the general non-techie community. Earlier it was RedHat which was considered the Image of Linux. I used to get statements like “Didn’t RedHat buy Linux?”.

      Right now if you ask anyone which Linux they installed, it is Ubuntu. BTW Ubuntu is much more than just a Debian clone. You knowledge is severely limited.

  3. I am well aware of what Linux is. I am well aware it is not “the image of Linux” however this is a Ubuntu related blog and such wording might have occurred. for the sake of this post Ubuntu being a Linux based operating system. it is stall Linux or even GNU Linux just with other pieces on top. Some however not always being GNU.

      • A newbie will be OK for that argument, but absolutely, Linux allow the user to erase his $HOME data, so the sécurity is basically the same: Downloading a “script” which contains “rm -rf /home/mihamina” and executing it will drive to personnal data loss. And personnal data is the most important set of data in a personnal computer.

  4. Ubuntu provides almost nothing. The F/OSS community provides nearly everything. Although I (actively) discourage people from using your favourite distribution I very much agree with your sentiment.

    I have seen a few times where by using open source software to work around proprietary bullshit people have fully jumped ship from Microsoft/Apple on seeing how great it is over here. So it’s not completely doom and gloom in my experience 🙂

  5. I built a desktop to put linux (kubuntu) on it for the family to use. I specifically didn’t want to go back to windows (even though it was ME that I actually personally used) because every time I imagine using windows seven i still see that ugly terminal in my head and i cringe. I use a mac with a beautifull terminal and valve gave us steam but i realized how much more expencive this solution was and realized that instead of Buying a $600+ computer, i could build one for 200 and not pay Microsoft for cruddy software.

  6. I live in a country that is known for software piracy. I sometimes feel that Microsoft willingly does not try curb it. No one in a developing country likes to pay for software, so if you are getting a software for free, its always great. Kids get used to easily available pirated Microsoft products. Rampant corruption and Privatised education has enabled Microsoft to influence most universities. As a result, most computer science engineers go on to become .net developers. Due to easy access to pirated Microsoft products, people find any other OS alien and rarely dare to switch. Even the Macs sold here are dual booted with pirated versions of Windows 7. Due to all these, most companies are forced to use Microsoft products as their employees understand it better. The price of Office Professional is equivalent to a junior developer’s monthly salary. If not for privacy, Ubuntu would have had a better run in India.

  7. – Ubuntu is just a brand
    – I’m in Madagascar, 4th world country and MS product piracy is a national sport. That drives to a suspicous number of .Net developpers, indeed.
    – I use Ubuntu and it made much in the integration of new hardware: Debian is a dead project in term of marketing. The common Wifi drivers wouldn’t have been supported if there were no Ubuntu. I dont agree saying Ubuntu “did nothing more”.

  8. A big reason ubuntu will not be adopted by many end users is because it lacks netflix and bluray support. But especially netflix.

  9. Hi,
    I also find many people telling, that thy want to try Linux. However, it is the same situation as with people, telling you all the the time that we should meet, but never find the time.

    I have seen people with the need to reinstall their Windows-PC because of viruses and bought a new PC (with Windows of course), because they couldn’t find the original Windows CDs any more.

    Usually after a first short look where they notice, that it is not Windows, they see a whole lot of hours needed to get familiar and they are not willing to invest that time

  10. “Well if that incredible performance boost is what it does for your tired old Windows laptop, just imagine what it would do on your spanking new Windows 8 box!”

  11. @ Mihamina Rakotomandimby

    “… Linux allow the user to erase his $HOME data, so the sécurity is basically the same: Downloading a “script” which contains “rm -rf /home/mihamina” …”

    Such a script will not work unless the user runs sudo. They would have to provide their password. However, your comment does bring to light a problem which all systems are vulnerable to: Social engineering.

  12. It is true that Linux, as an operating system for personal computers, is superior to Windows in just about every respect. But Linux has not gained wide spread popularity among PC users.

    One of the major obstacles hindering wide adoption of Linux is the fact that it does not have, or rely on, a centralized advertising machine. Microsoft has spent millions upon millions of marketing dollars to push and promote Windows. This has embedded the Microsoft Windows brand in the subconscious mind of ALL consumers. Additionally, Microsoft has engaged in unscrupulous business practices to promote its products.

    Linux, on the other hand is not a product that was intended to be marketed. It is an operating system that is developed and sustained by a global community of computer scientists, programmers, and fans.

    So let’s not fault the newbie that misunderstands Ubuntu or other Linux variants. In lieu of corporate marketing, Linux relies on the community to educate and advance the adoption of this superior technology on the desktop.

  13. Any operating system from any vendor that is not pre-installed at time of purchase is automatically a second class operating system for that device. Doesn’t matter what the technical quality is. Doesn’t matter what the popularity of it is in the technical-savvy subculture. If you have to install the operating system yourself, its second-class.

    Most people,even technically savvy people. are not going to change the operating system on the device they purchase inside the expected service lifetime of the device unless they feel a compelling reason to do it. Once its clear the device has reached its anticipated end of life, people become more willing to experiment. If they break it at that point, there’s nothing left to lose really. This is the pragmatic approach to electronics ownership for many people. Trust your device vendor, rely on the warranty, don’t screw with the device..pragmatic advice to give any non-technical consumer making a purchasing decision.

    Thus linux is and has been a first class operating system on server hardware from a variety of established vendors for many years now.

    Thus linux was a first class operating system at the dawn of the netbook with millions of linux pre-installed EEE PC models were sold in that first year of netbook availability. Those devices came pre-installed with Xandros and no other operating system choice. But it was eclipsed by Windows 7 for the later part of the netbook craze. Now the netbook is effectively dead and is being replaced by the tablet form factor. here again “linux” is a first class citizen as many tablets come pre-installed with Android which is running a linux based kernel.

    And more broadly, linux is clearly a first class operating system in the post-desktop mobile device market. Nooks, kindles… they run “linux” and in fact if you look hard enough pretty much all the alternative OSes that you can install yourself for those devices are also linux. For Nooks and Kindles linux is first and second class simultaneously.


  14. I have been a Linux user, educator, preacher and programmer for eons. My desktops and laptops run Linux, mostly Ubuntu and PCLOS. Recently I purchased a AMD fusion powered ASUS EeePC netbook. It came with Win7 starter. Even though HDMI worked on it as promised with low CPU usage playing HD movies thanks to h/w acceleration support in Windows, the system generally crawled even with all updates, all effects off, minimal background programs running like anti-virus etc. the system would be slow with lags and delays during surfing, writing letters etc. The netbook has the dual core C50 1GHz CPU with 2GB RAM. I contemplated returning the netbook but before that I wanted to give it a second chance and decided to install Ubuntu Natty even though I was wary of warranty or return issues. After smooth install via USB stick, the system booted, I installed all the updates and now the netbook is a keeper. I have figured out how to enable h/w acceleration with it so now I can give my presentations in HD as well. This is but one example where Linux comes in real handy.

  15. Dear Neckbeards,

    Stop ruining GNU/Linux with your dumb squabbles about Debian versus Ubuntu or your favorite distro. We’re all in together and you assholes are not helping.

    There’s nothing worse than some jerk being a jerk and stopping people from experiencing the joy of opensource.

    Jerks are ruining our community and causing many more sensitive people to leave, this leaves us with JERKS. Stop being a jerk. Think before you say something and remember Open Source is a community effort. There might only be a few real devs at the top but we shouldn’t poison our own pool.

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  17. I have to agree about the centralized advertising machine. How’s this for an image: The computer screen shows a cool desktop with the launcher on the side. Windows open with fancy effects. You can switch between desktops with fancy effects. Have the desktop look as close to a Windows desktop as possible (aside from the launcher on the side of the screen). Dazzle the viewer, and then put up something that essentially says “How much does this cost? FREE download and install from or request it from your favorite computer manufacturer.”

    I’ve seen some Youtube videos about Ubuntu, that would knock people’s socks off (if they aired on tv). The idea is there–just not in the right medium. The perfect times for this would be from about November 1 to January 30 (or if someone wanted to spend the money, during the Super Bowl). If we could get some computer manufacturers to agree to a trial run of Ubuntu-based computers, a list of them could be added to the commercial.

    Have a great day:)

  18. Good grief!

    Were finally gettin people interested and you want them to pinky swear they wont go back.

    I have no problems putting dual boots on Windows machines because I trust that the newbs I install it on (PCLinuxOS-KDE is my newbie distro since 2007 but Kubuntu, Puppy and mandria too) will like it.
    If they dont, c’est la vie.

    Both my parents have 2nd hand computers that kept its Windows partition.
    My dad cant remember when he used it last when it wasnt by accident.
    My mom doesnt even know Windows since she learned computers on Linux.
    I get where youre coming from but getting Linux on a computer is half the battle, its up to the OS (and the person setting up the newbie) to do the rest.
    If it doenst, then you live with it. Not everyone has to like waht you like.
    (Gnome? Bleurrrrrk!!!)

    Lets be honest fanboi, the distro makes very little difference to the user.
    The desktop is the choice that is the most important one and one many fanbois can not often allow a user to make.
    If you want the user to be comfortable then his Linux has to be HIS. It has to be the look, feel and paradigms that HE feels confortable with.
    The only way to do that is giving them a choice.
    Give the newbie a look at 2-3 desktops and see which one they prefer.
    Can you do that? Not many people can.
    Because ‘their’ distro is the bestestest in the world and to betray the one they ‘love’ by letting a potential user go to another Linux distro is unthinkable.
    If you want people to use Linux and be happy with it, you have to let go of your ego and do whats right for the user, even if it means ‘betrayal’,


    >Any operating system from any vendor that is not pre-installed at time of >purchase is automatically a second class operating system for that device.

    I know two peolpe who bought Toshiba and Acer laptops last month and the Windows wasnt installed. It took over an hour to be able to use the damn thing.
    I havent bought a new computer since Win98 (I build mine) and have always bought 2nd laptops (still running at Thinkpad T21) so I presume that its the new thing now.
    I think the Windows files were on the HD and then you had to install it but NEITHER of the two laptops came with the Win cd (both were bought in big stores, all legit)

    The box stores wanted to charge these people 100$ to install the OS that was already on the computer.
    AND no cd’s WHEN you have to reinstall everything (and you will)

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