5 Reasons your parents should NOT use Linux

This is a devils advocate post in response to my original post:

5 Reasons your parents should use Linux

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.

  1. Applications
  2. 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.

  3. Look and Feel
  4. 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?

  5. Usability
  6. 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.

  7. Support
  8. 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.

  9. Learning Curve
  10. 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.

6 thoughts on “5 Reasons your parents should NOT use Linux

  1. >Applications

    Sometimes can’t be helped. But there is usually a solution for almost any need. And you have the same issue with Windows. Lots of stuff that worked in Windows 95 didn’t work in XP/2000, and lots of stuff that run in those does not work in Vista.

    -1 Linux
    -.5 Windows

    >Look and Feel

    Every version of Windows changes its look and feel 100x more between versions than going to Linux.

    -1 for Windows
    +1 for Linux

    You lose

    >Support

    SSH/remote X. Learn it. Its far easier to provide remove support of a Linux system over the internet than a windows system.

    +1 Linux
    -1 Windows
    You loose.

    >Usability

    Most people can’t even install software in the first place.

    +0 Wash

    >Learning Curve

    Most people have the same learning curve with Windows, so there is no difference.

    +0 Its a wash

  2. Thanks, that nicely balances your previous article!

    Which reasons, pro or contra, apply depends wholly on what type of person your parents are. Mine for example belong to the group which has technophobia and shriek in panic when they find anything has changed on their desktop. I have tried to befriend them with a Linux-desktop but even if it looked simpler, it still looked _different_ from what they were used to. So, I guess for them it’s Windows 2000 forever, to my regret.

  3. >Applications

    >Sometimes can’t be helped. But there is usually a solution for almost any need. And you >have the same issue with Windows. Lots of stuff that worked in Windows 95 didn’t >work in XP/2000, and lots of stuff that run in those does not work in Vista.

    XP has been out for 6+ years. That’s a hell of a lot of win32 software. Also, a *lot* of win95 software still works on XP.

    >Look and Feel

    >Every version of Windows changes its look and feel 100x more between versions than >going to Linux.

    You’re joking, right?

    >Support

    VNC server is availiable for windows.

    >Usability

    >Most people can’t even install software in the first place.

    It’s much easier to pop a cdrom in and have the autorun.inf launch setup.exe than to do a chmod 777 configure
    ./configure
    make install
    and deal with missing dependencies

    >Learning Curve

    >Most people have the same learning curve with Windows, so there is no difference.

    LOL. Most people are comfortable with Windows, and don’t want to learn something new.

  4. This is an argument that is, today, baseless and unfounded. The only people making these kind of claims are those who haven’t used Linux or are MS die hards. I’ve said before that the only people who have trouble with Linux are the Windows Power users. Check out this interview -

    http://www.linuxjournal.com/article.php?sid=6562

    (Yes, I did it but the grandmother is real and the comments are genuine.

  5. Joe,

    I agree that the argument is mostly unfounded in todays technological world. As you can see from my original post titled “5 Reasons your parents should use Linux”, my original stand, which I still stand by, is that setting up Mom, Dad, Grandma, or Grandpa on a Linux desktop is ideal and can save a lot of headaches. I simply wanted to present the other side of the ball in this posting.

    Great article on LJ by the way. I’m a bit shocked it was done in 2003. I wonder how different an interview today would be from a Grandmother using a distribution as easy and straight forward as Ubuntu.

  6. Just set my parents on debian-etch only about 3 weeks ago.

    result: some additional effort to find good alternatives for apps i do not use, and some fight with an huawei modem.

    initial effort was higher than with windows – but they have tons of applications now and are happy. no difference to windows in terms of usability once you know the names of your applications.

    Advantage for me:
    - no need to fix viruses every few months
    - secure remote access (i trust in) to service them.
    - less effort (longtime)

    Advantages for them:
    - surf the interent without bad feeling
    - apps, apps and more apps
    - faster than windows xp

    Disadvantages for me:
    -can help them remotely – and they know that ;-)
    -uncle wants linux too
    -i had effort to learn

    Disadvatages for parents:
    -had to learn new names for outlook, msn-messenger …
    -a few wmf videos show artifacts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>