This is a devils advocate post in response to my original post:
Though my original post intended to explain 5 reasons you should switch your parents to Linux, this post will address what many people have commented on in the past few days. 5 reasons why you should NOT switch your parents to Linux. I still stand by my original post in that I feel Mom and Dad running Linux is a better alternative if all they simply do on the computer is everyday tasks such as browse websites, e-mail, word processing, etc. If there are restrictions that tie someone to using Windows, theres no need to switch your parents to Linux.
- Look and Feel
- Learning Curve
Lets face it, there are some parents that insist on using certain applications that are strictly made for Windows and just do not function properly in Wine. Some parents do not want alternatives to Windows applications, they want the same application Uncle Joe uses to manage his bank accounts regardless of the cost.
There are a good majority of parents out there that will look at the Gnome, KDE, or any other desktop GUI and not accept the “change” of it being different than Windows. It’s a sad but true statement to say that some people just can’t stand change. Sure, there are themes available that can make the desktop window manager look like a Windows desktop, but really, is it worth it?
What happens when Dad goes to Wal-Mart and buys this cool computer game he saw on sale? He’s not going to be able to simply pop in the CD and install it. The usability of Linux definitely has its restrictions. The biggest one being that Linux is still not completely mainstream enough for you to tell your Dad that if he buys a computer application or game to check the back of the box and ensure that it works on Linux. Even if you did tell him to do that, 98% of the time the boxed product will likely not support Linux.
If you’re not living at home with your parents there may be some things that are just too complex or difficult to support or troubleshoot over the phone. Mom and Dad can’t simply call the neighbor over to help fix their desktop issue because chances are when he gets there he’ll look at the GUI and become confused.
Many parents are content with the fact that they had to adapt to this whole new age of technology as it is. There are some of us out there that just can’t convince their parents that this “Linux” operating system is worth re-learning everything they have come to know on Windows.
Changing your parents from Windows to Linux can have its advantages, but when you have to explain to Mom that she can’t use this application, and Dad can’t use that application, they might not accept the idea. Your parents should NOT use Linux if they have applications that tie them to Windows, can’t agree to accept changing to alternative Linux applications, and are not willing to relearn a few things.