About the use of linux for normal people August 19, 2014Posted by tumaix in planetkde-tomazcanabrava.
I was trying to write this blog post for quite a long time, and it become so, so big that I’ll have to split it in three posts, It is like a ‘people of kde’ but different, the focus is not to show someone that works for KDE, but someone that tried to use KDE to work – being it a non-tech person. Since I spend most of my days helping people that is struggling with Free Software to pass the hate feeling, I feel that I have lots of things to say being that I’m activelly maintaining over 5 laptops from different friends that lives on different states.
I also like to study humans, this very strange animal that has so many different ways of expressing himself that it’s so, so hard to get it right.
First case of study:
Cléo Martins, Professional Chef, Vegan and “Wanted to try linux because she liked the concept”, That’s a bold move.
Cléo is a Chef, and as such she knows how to cook and it’s not a technological person at all. She prefer being in the wild and plant her own organic food, cook, taste and be awesome. She’s also presenting a online course on vegan food. All of a sudden she removed windows from all computers from her school and switched to Ubuntu because someone over the internet told her that it was the best linux that there where and it will ever be, than this person vanished – A lovely thing to do if you need somebody to hold hands for a bit while you understand the system that you are using.
Cléo had a *huge* amount of problems on her linux install, tried a few people over the internet, some came to help, some send her a few snippets of code to paste on the terminal and that was making her insanely crazy. “Everyone tells me to do something differently” she cried.
The problems on her computers, and the fix:
- Bad Translations on LibreOffice
- The correct locale was not being set on the system /etc/locale , but it was being set on gnome-settings.
- Printer was printing black and white when she wanted colored output.
- Buggy drivers from HPLIP, if I converted her files to PDF and printed, things worked, but not from LibreOffice
- Strange Warnings regarding memory on the disk
- The dude that installed Ubuntu for her used a 6gbs partition for root and it was full, impossible to update without learning about the unix file systems and creating a link in /var/cache/apt to the other, big partition.
- Laptop seems to “die” after a few minutes of idle
- laptop was on, brigthness was set to minimum, and even if you moved the mouse it wouldn’t get brigther, you needed to unlock the screen and *then* move the mouse, but remember that the screen was pitch black
- Email on Thunderbird was *much* more slow than on windows
- Her account was configured only for online mode
So finally she reached me, I’v went to her house and tried to fix all problems that I could, some I couldn’t because of lack of knowledge on Unity / Ubuntu, I’v asked her if she was willing to try another thing, installed and configured KDE correctly, removed the Unity and Gnome stuff that was there and she was much happier, but still hating Linux – “It seems to me that all of those linux guys are just kids playing with computers, those things should work and they don’t and when they do it’s because you spend a lot of time configuring stuff on my computer to make they work”, I couldn’t disagree. It’s sad, It’s the truth: We like to configure our linux boxes but the overall user wants just to use computers and it should work reliably.
Today Cléo changed her distribution be cause all of the help that she could got on ubuntu only made her computer worse, and is using the same as I use, for I know that I’ll have the time when she needs to help her – I’v spend almost a day configuring it for her so she wouldn’t need to worry about repositories, packages and whattanot. Gave her a brief introduction on what she could touch that will not break the system and what she couldn’t, and she’s now a Linux user, not happy one yet because the HPLIP is still giving her headaches. Overall, not a very good experience on her, but we can do so much better in the future.