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Both my parents are 60+.

My mom is perfectly fine using Ubuntu on my old x61 for email, browsing, and YouTube. To be fair she could probably replace it with a tablet if it weren't for the fact that she visits a lot of flash sites (Chinese TV streaming sites).

Likewise my dad is on another Ubuntu machine at home. His work needs access to some software / printers that can't be run via Wine so he's stuck with Windows there.

I tried to convert my 25 year old brother as well, but he switched back to Windows after a month. Despite being the youngest, he hated learning a new system and preferred Windows.




My mom 50+, No technical knowledge, uses ubuntu for email, youtube, and general browsing, and occasionally makes presentations.

My colleagues at work, Programmers, aren't able to get out of Windows, even though they are just writing python. They would rather stick with the pain of having to use git in a crappy console, and suffer loads of pain when shell-ing into ec2 linux boxes, Than learn a new UI and file-system


That's what drives me craziest about programming in windows, the freak'n console is awful


That's what I never got about Windows and especially Windows devs. How can you get anything done with all that clicking and no unix tools?


You know it is possible to use windows without a mouse? I make a living cutting .net code in Visual Studio sans toolbars/designer windows, we're not all as inept as this thread makes us out to be. Not sure if you're being sarcastic or not, but many unix tools have been ported to windows.


Well the whole point is that it is a pain to use them. There needs to be no difference between actual developers trying to use the system, but I stick to GUIs on windows (I run Win at home, Mac at work and deploy to GUI-less Ubuntu) because the other tools simply suck on that platform.

The available console or ssh apps are horrible compared to the same apps or linux or mac; and the unix tools have sort-of-been-ported, and I can use them through, say, cygwin but they're not 'nicely working' as they should be. I mean, it's simpler to just ssh to an ubuntu instance than get&use the same tools directly on your machine.


That wasn't GPs point though, "all that clicking and no unix tools" seems like FUD.

I dunno, I must have a different usage pattern to a lot of people here, but I've used tools such as git/ruby/node/telnet/etc across Windows(conEmu + bash)/Linux/OSX and don't really have a strong preference for any OS in this regard. I get that there are differences, and maybe I'm just lucky and haven't seemed to hit these issues that make Windows so horrible for a lot of devs.


IDEs and Stockholm syndrome.


IDE's rock. Eclipse anyway, it runs wherever I need it, runs finr with ssh -X. Eclipse gives me the same solid user experience on Windows and any Linux I've ever tried it on. I can't remember arcane keystroke combinations and the refactoring in Eclipse can't be beat. How about Navigating to the Implementation for a method? Eclipse makes this easy. This isn't Stockholm syndrome it's programmer nirvana.


You can't remember arcane keystroke combinations and yet you like Eclipse? While I admit it's no emacs in the keystroke department, it is very inconsistent with pretty much every other UI tool out there in terms of keystrokes.

Powerful tool, but the "we'll go our own way despite commonly accepted UI standards" has always made me a little crazy.


Haha yep


Vmware + linux + unity mode. Vmware Workstation has always been very seamless with things like copy/paste between the guest and host. Havent used Virtualbox for a few years but I'm sure thats ok too.


...what do you accomplish with all this? I was forced to use Windows at work once so I had a Linux Virtualbox to do specific tasks, but it's not at all an ideal setup. I'm not sure what the advantage is over just using Linux as your host OS.


All I'm saying is that if you have to use a winbox for work (because of corporate/it policy), then getting nix tools via WMVware and Unity Mode is quite a good experience.


VirtualBox running linux server, share folders with Windows host, PuTTY


I don't know, for me Far Manager for Windows seems way more useful than Midnight Manager for Linux.


Cross-compilers[1]. Treat Windows as a strange embedded platform and target it from Linux.

[1] https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/MinGW


To be fair, this is how people with tiling window managers feel about the rest. It's just another step further.


PowerShell


Powershell, Powershell, Powershell! Seriously, people, if you have to use a windows system, put some time into learning Powershell.

* Most simple grep and sed commands are entirely do-able. Bit more verbose syntax, but that comes with a hell of a lot of easy-to-access power

* It's all about objects, rather than plain text. This can often be a pain, but Import-Csv and Export-Csv are utter LOVE. Adding additional new properties could be easier, but it is an option and can be used to great effect

* It's basically .Net for the command line, and you can get to all the power locked away in the .Net libraries

* No installation required on modern windows machines. Assuming your network admins are not overly restrictive, you get a proper shell without having to install cygwin


I can get used to the verbosity, but the archaic block editing copy/paste makes Powershell painful to use for anything more than the basics. Copying multiline text in Powershell first requires pasting it into an intermediary text editor and fixing up the new lines. And since the commands are so verbose, more often than not a command will span multiple lines.


You should switch to using ConEmu[0] as a terminal. Completely fixes the rectangular copy blocks. Just set it up to launch PowerShell as your default shell.

[0] http://code.google.com/p/conemu-maximus5/


Indeed, Powershell is awesome.

But Cygwin is also usefull ;)


Cygwin :)


When future arrived we just did not miss it. GUIs are more natural, it's much better then learning each tools crappy mini console DSL.


> When future arrived we just did not miss it.

This might hold water were it not for the fact that pretty much all console unix tool users started off on Windows or Mac.

> GUIs are more natural, it's much better then learning each tools crappy mini console DSL.

Yes, GUIs are more natural. But for most of us, the time spent learning how to use common unix tools pays for itself very quickly by increasing productivity: it's an investment.


GUIs are more natural people who are not software developers.


I recommend installing Console 2: http://sourceforge.net/projects/console/

And msysgit (https://code.google.com/p/msysgit/downloads/list?q=full+inst...) which includes the "git bash" shell. It's got almost all the basic unix tools installed by default.


I moved to consoleZ: https://github.com/cbucher/console

Its a fork of console2.

+ Adds Splitting Tabs into views

Console2 development seems to have slowed down.


I moved to ConEmu: https://code.google.com/p/conemu-maximus5/ from Console2 at work. I find that to be even more feature rich than Terminator for Linux which I use at home.


If you're forced to use Windows and need a terminal, I recommend running Cygwin's xterm with a rootless (i.e. no "root" background window, so windows share a desktop) X server. It's a lot better than running Cygwin's bash in cmd.exe.


I did this for a while, but mintty is good enough now and comes in Cygwin's standard packages.


It's been a while since I've used Cygwin (using Linux Mint for everything except gaming and music editing now), so I hadn't even heard of mintty. I'll check it out if I find a need for a good console in Windows again.


rxvt is also a good choice.


Among the first things I wanted to find when I bought and paid for (yes) Windows NT ... over 15 years ago now. I'd heard it was all multi-user and powerful like Unix.

The terminal _sucked_. It was the same crappy DOS box I'd seen since, well, DOS days and Win3.1.

That lead me on an exploration of MKS, UWIN, Cygwin, and finally, Red Hat, over the course of a few months. And I realized Linux Didn't Suck.

Another few months and I wiped NT off my hardrives and repartitioned with RH. Never looked back.


It's both the shell and the terminal software that's awful.

Conemu comes pretty close to solving the terminal software problem, and there are alternatie shells, e.g. Powershell or bash from cygwin.


the windows console sucks, but there are a couple of tools that keep you from throwing your workstation out of the window:

readline completion à la bash: http://code.google.com/p/clink/

nice console emulator with tabs: http://code.google.com/p/conemu-maximus5/

gnu tools on windows without cygwin: https://github.com/bmatzelle/gow/wiki

not perfect, but actually usable...


shameless plug http://bliker.github.io/cmder/ Not really that bad


A couple of items to consider. Does Linux support ALL the applications the programmers need to interact with other people in the company? The answer is "no" in my workplace.

Our company has a lot of legacy VBA code that would need to be replaced. Don't get me wrong, I think it would be smart to replace this. I hated the way VBA changed on every release and broke my code base. The last straw was when I needed to access spreadsheets that used 3rd party VBA modules that were locked. I ported my whole back-end data analysis/report generation code base to Open Source R/Sweave/LaTeX. But I'm just one user and did it myself as a spare time activity.

I still think Visual Studio is a pretty nice development environment for C++. I'm trying to get up to speed with Eclipse. I do prefer Open Source. Now that our corporate budget is REALLY tight, that is a big help. Guess the IT folks think it would cost more to switch than pay the annual tribute to Redmond


Yeah, same here dude. My mom couldn't distinguish between Windows and Ubuntu and also has not seen any difference between Word and OpenOffice, except that she couldn't find the bulk letter function. She kept using it for years, luckily the most important thing to her, "The Browser" didn't change at all. Luckily Firefox is the same experience on every OS.

She was against every subtle change, so putting another OS on her machine was hard. She even resisted to use a much faster Computer, because she likes when things "just work" and really doesn't care what the name of the system is or about the specs of the system, as long as things can be done the "usual way" and she doesn't need to wait 5min. for things to happen. Her old computer was a 1GHZ, this one has 3.2GHZ and for her it's the same. To be honest, things aren't really getting faster for an average PC user, except when you install an SSD.


About git in a crappy console on windows - I feel their pain - you might want to suggest your colleagues http://sourcetreeapp.com/ an awesome and free windows git client. Just saying :D.


> I tried to convert my 25 year old brother as well, but he switched back to Windows after a month. Despite being the youngest, he hated learning a new system and preferred Windows.

I've found this myself. My Grandfather loves Windows 8, my mother absolutely hates it. My Grandfather loves his new Android phone, my mum hates Android and refuses to use anything other than her iPhone.

Younger people may be more "tech-savvy", but at least anecdotally for myself they are the ones who hate change the most. Perhaps it's because the older crowd have fewer preconceptions about how things are "supposed" to work?


"Despite being the youngest, he hated learning a new system and preferred Windows" which does not mean he was wrong, he just made his choice.


I agree, just FYI. That was a quote, not something I said.


Perhaps your sample of younger people are just short of time and have the applications they want working in the way they want?

In defence of 'younger people' generally I hand my X60 Thinkpad running Debian Wheezy with the default Gnome 3 desktop around sometimes in class. It does not take them long to work out how to access Firefox and a maths video on YouTube after suggesting they press the windows key. They generally find the trackpoint harder to deal with than the actual interface so I take a USB mouse in with me.


My grandfather just concluded a NZD$40mm business deal while I was in NZ visiting him. If anyone's short of time, it's him! :)


Your brother is 25 and has shit to do. I'm sure that once he's old and retired he'll be glad to have learning a new system to take up his time.


I wanted to voice my concurrence with the sentiment ensconced in the rudeness you are probably being downvoted for: I am in my twenties, generally operate from the perspective of one who thinks he "has shit to do" (in fact I use that very phrase frequently to characterize my obligations and commitments), and don't see myself having time to learn a new tool, method, or technique every time I have a need to express myself, whether professionally or personally. I don't believe this attitude is uncommon and is probably worth taking into consideration by those who would persuade people like your brother and me to use new things. Such as node.js.


Were you trying to be anything other than condescending?


Node.js is just JS running on server. I would rather invest in learning some strong functional language. The more different high-level _paradigms_ you learn in your twenties - the better.


it's a strategy that Ubuntu should use, i think... that "killer app" strategy.


The killer app is gvim and ctags.


25 and no time to learn something new? You're doing life wrong.


I'm 28 and since I was 20 I have been saying there is never enough time! I'm an electrical engineer, I also write software for everything from PLC's, microcontrollers through to applications for Windows and linux (and if I feel the need on mobile platforms) I am currently in China for the next 2 months, working 75+ hours a week... There is no time... Saying that I still seem to be able to dabble in learning new things and keeping up to date on the things I already do. In my twenties so far I have studied and worked a hell of a lot, I didn't do it wrong as I have enjoyed myself all the way. I am one of few people who can say they love their job and I am extremely happy with my life. While I have no time, I still seem to make time for the things I find important. That is learning and playing with new systems. If someone doesn't find that interesting they would be wasting their time by doing it. If you are happy with how you work, what you know and the tools you use, awesome! Don't let other people tell you that you are behind the times or computer illiterate because you don't use their system or even understand it. But please don't be one of those people who hate the tools they use or the life they lead and don't make the effort to change and learn.


You're right, why don't I have a paper published in every possible field of academic inquiry?

Seriously, just because you had too much free time doesn't mean I do. I appreciate your nonsensical condescension.


You took that idea to the logical extreme, dude. Nobody is saying that if you have even a little free time, you should be a polymath. But if you don't have time to learn a little something new (especially something that relates to the career field you plan to spend the rest of your life in), you either find the time, or you'll find your career stagnating before you know it.

Also, stop being offended by every comment that doesn't agree with yours. fit2rule's comment could be considered a bit presuming, but it is neither nonsensical nor condescending. On the other hand, your comment is both of those things.


Oh, p'shaw! 20-something, and you're already complaining about not having enough time on your hands? Lets talk about it again when you hit 40 and have gained a little real wisdom ..


Agreed, it's always about three components: being healthy, being social and doing your main job/studies. If you suddenly have a lot of free time, then probably one of those three is missing.


Funny, I find that I like having a bit of time here and there to think -- not running around "being social," not spending time on assigned work. I wind up doing those three things better after some time to sort things out in my head.

Of course, I could be doing things wrong. Who wouldn't want to have every waking hour consumed by other people?


You should keep an eye on Mozilla's Shumway (https://github.com/mozilla/shumway). I recently installed it as an add-on to the firefox browser on my Android Tablet (Galaxy Tab 2 7) and have had luck with a few flash sites.


Why would you need to do that? Android tablets run flash?


Adobe has officially stopped supporting flash on Android. The last version you can still install flash on is 4.0, and while you can still sideload the apks in higher versions they get extremely buggy (as they do on my Galaxy Tab).


My reason of interest? Many things on the internet still rely on Flash, but Adobe has historically showed that they are not capable of delivering secure software, based on the number of exploits in Flash, Reader, etc.


My dad's 60+ as well. I've had him use Ubuntu on an older laptop when his newer one was broken (several times now). He only uses music players & browsers (he uses stock trading websites, so needs java & flash plugins). He says he likes it but always goes back to Windows when he can.


Just a suggestion: next time try Xubuntu with one bottom panel. Sufficiently close to XP/Win7 interface for ingrained responses.

You could be very cheeky and set the RedmondXP theme in XFCE4 just as a joke.


My parents are both 50+. My Dad's a Sales guy and my mom is a high school teacher in a primarily non-English, government school. They use Ubuntu for all their tasks. Mostly includes Browsing(YouTube, Epapers), talking to my sister in the States (Hangouts), Media (music, photos and videos) and LibreOffice. The stuff they discover sometimes amazes me, all along I've been believing this would be too hard for them.


Similar experience.

Mom is 55. Very non technical person, she learned how to send text messages a month ago.

Nevertheless, my dad set up the computer in their house with Ubuntu two years ago and she's been using it for email and web browsing ever since.


Nobody has mentions the UI. I know Ubuntu has come a long way but Windows' UI is much, much nicer. It may sound silly but I think it's a valid reason for some. The same reason why one would buy an iPhone over another less expensive (or non-apple) phone, you pay for looks (it may not be the only reason of course but it is part of it). People like nice-looking stuff, and older folks seem to care (or notice) less these things, especially if they're not technologically inclined.


Bullshit. That's just your own very subjective opinion of UI preferences.

I personally really don't care at all for the ridiculous glassy look of Aero in Windows 7; it's ugly to me.

I think the biggest problem with Linux is that many people plainly prefer what they're used to. Additionally, if you're a so called Windows "power user" you have vested more knowledge in the Windows ecosystem - specialized knowledge that is useless in the Linux world. An older person doesn't have this specialized knowledge, computers are all the same to them. THAT'S why it's easier for them to switch. They're used to being n00bs and knowing little about the OS they're using. It really doesn't matter which OS it is.


>Bullshit. That's just your own very subjective opinion of UI preferences. >I personally [...]

You're rather rude there. I don't agree with what you said and I can say the same thing about your statement. I know plenty of people my age with Linux experience that don't use it as their primary OS precisely because of the UI. And no, they don't want to waste time on config files with a WM, they did that when they were 16-18. And BTW, I was talking about Windows 8, not 7.


I'm sorry I came across as rude. Your blanket statement about Windows and iPhone being prettier presented personal bias as fact, which annoyed me, so I called you on it.

Yes, you may not agree when I say Windows (7) looks butt ugly -- and that was my point. It's all quite subjective.

Linux has a big advantage, though, in that you can quite easily switch between different Desktop Environments and/or Window Managers. Configuring the look and feel of your desktop is just a lot easier. And config-file time wasting is entirely optional, I promise.


The Windows 8 UI is the most annoying thing I have ever dealt with -- and I am not alone in making that statement, even people I know who frequently use Windows have said so. Microsoft took a UI designed for touchscreens and tried to make it work on desktops and laptops; it is not even that great of a touchscreen UI.

I find it ironic that you talk about wasting time on config files. My experience in Windows is that doing anything beyond the 10 tasks Microsoft determined to be common results in hours of clicking through menus, configuration dialogs, and in some cases dealing with the registry editor. Trying to troubleshoot a problem is a nightmare. Trying to set up something unusual is beyond a nightmare.


Please don't try and pass off your personal preferences as fact. Beauty is just a matter of preference.

Personally I've never cared for Microsoft's design. XP always looked chunky and gaudy to me - I hated it. Aero looks unfinished compared to Compiz (but part of that might be down to the fact that Linux has been doing desktop compositing for years before Windows finally caught up). And Windows 8 just looks like Microsoft forgot the last 2 decades of OS design and reverted back to the 320x200 days of square windows, square widgets, etc.

So I'm happy you find Microsoft's design to be your particular eye candy, but don't patronise us by arguing that this preference is fact.


I think you're confusing aesthetics with usability/experience.


No I'm not. The former commenter was on about aethetics because he was talking about people being drawn to pretty things. However I don't think Windows has better usability / experience either. If it did, I wouldn't be running Linux as my primary desktop. But again, usability is partly down to personal preference / workflow as well.


Wow, you really don't understand what tiles and metro design are about? Have you considered the power fonts have? Have you thought of making content a first class citizen in GUI?


I'm talking purely about aethetics. I couldn't give a toss about what ever excuses you have for the massive usability fail of Metro (and it is seriously lacking as a desktop user interface) in a discussion about personal preferences with design aesthetics. But who cares about a level headed discussion when people like you can instead post condisending fanboy BS...


One word: Cinnamon

It's what Ubuntu should be, its what Windows 8 should be! it's classic and yet functional and customizable, both my parents laptops are using it as UI and I hear no complaints.


I have to refute that statement in regards of Windows 8 on desktop. The amount of confusion in that UI, even for me, is a handful.

If we ignore the metro side of things, I agree with you however.


>If we ignore the metro side of things

Yes, absolutely. My start screen is an empty, blue wall with a large tile taking me to the desktop. Despite the start screen I like everything else about the system.


That's a shame, the start screen is very useful place to organize shortcuts to your most often used tasks. I use oblytile to generate custom shortcuts and I have (organized by location / purpose) 12 shortcuts to start a ssh/rdp session to a remote server. It also has shortcuts to spotify/outlook/xencenter/vsphere and gmail.


But that is just your Start menu expanded to take the whole screen... Were you removing all the items from Start menu on older versions of Windows as well?


The new one has a setting that boots to desktop, if that helps any.


yea--just too much. Same with Bing. Sometimes I want to see a blank screen--especially if I'm not quite awake.


My Dad has been begging me to install Ubuntu on his MacBook Air. I think it's time I did.


It has been my experience that running Linux natively on Apple hardware is a huge pain.


My experience runs 100% opposite to yours: I got a new Macbook Pro, installed Ubuntu on it, and have been running it just fine alongside OSX for months now, with no issues. In fact its running so well that I no longer need my Linux workstation PC, which I .. might .. just turn into a Steambox..


Anecdote: I've been running Debian Stable on a Macbook Air I bought in 2011 since then, it's been great (and doubly great since Wheezy, the support is basically 100%).


Not anymore. It's flawless for myself (iMac from late 2011, MacBook Air from 2009).


but why? if you paid for Apple hardware, OS X is ten times nicer than ubuntu.


Ubuntu's not the only choice, though.

Apple has a hard time matching the speed and flexibility of a lightweight GNU/Linux distro (presumably because OS X's focus on polish, integration and aesthetics means they want to tip the scale of compromises back in that direction, and that's fine). Some of us don't mind not having drop shadows and pervasive "cloud" integration if it means we can have full control over our own computers :)


That's a matter of opinion.


OS X has better support for its own hardware, like the trackpad. How can that be a matter of opinion?


That OS X has support for it's own hardware is fact. That OS X is better than Ubuntu is opinion.

It's also worth mentioning that Ubuntu has perfect support for the current Macbook Pro and Macbook Air, so I don't know what point you're even making by saying that OS X has hardware support for Macs.


Mum is in her 60s and I installed debian for her some years ago when I replaced her Win2k machine that I got second hand for her.

She has been mostly happy, I found running printers to be less fun than it could be and the linux photo management apps aren't always that great. Recently gave her a thinkpad with Mint and she is still happy.


I'm actually considering buying a tablet for an elderly relative, an iPad would have been ideal were is not for the fact that it cannot stream flash, they watch news clips and things and so that is a deal breaker... so Android it is!


Your mother wants access to her content. Same with my partner Ruth. She is happily using CentOS (with the Stella repositories for multimedia) on an X61s with Ultrabase for surfing and watching videos and DVDs. It gets the job done, and I had the Thinkpad around anyway when her iBook stopped working.

Does your brother need access to specialised software (e.g. having to hand in College/University work in some Windows specific system or using business applications)?


if you have a paper to write or something, some younger people i've seen, they've really gotten accustomed to Word and Powerpoint.

If you're not an expert on the one program you need that's only on Windows, I think you can get comfortable quickly with Linux without missing anything.


As much as I cringe to say this, you can get into a pretty decent groove with Word as far as footnotes/endnotes go. I remember in College hating the knowledge that I was using Word but being able to fly through citations pretty quickly without losing my train of thought as I wrote.


is it because you got used to using Word or because you found Word better? I'm pretty dependent on Photoshop and Illustrator. Most likely because I've used them for so long. I get really frustrated using GIMP. I figure that's the frustration most people feel when they switch to Linux... that one program that you're so productive and "automatic" in is no longer the same.


It must be getting used to it; I tried to use Word recently and ended up so frustrated that I almost switched to writing a layout script and making a pdf via Ruby. But other people use Word just fine so it must not be as shit as I think it is.


(La)TeX is a half-decent language to write layout scripts in. That's mostly because of the good libraries available. (The language itself sucks a bit. It was never really meant for general computation, and it shows.)


Having done several years of college using LaTeX religiously, I can safely say it isn't a replacement for Word. I found my documents were immaculate, but I wasted a lot of time on relatively simple things (getting the pt's right, margin's, title pages, etc..)


Meh, but once you have them right in one document, reproducing that ‘right’ layout is really easy. I also doubt that I’d spend less time in Word to set up a simple letter template than I did in LaTeX to do the same, and now my letters take roughly 2 minutes to write (including typing in addresses and such).


I use LaTeX at work, but usually through Org-mode. I usually give other people around me who are not LaTeX users PDF but if they insist on having something editable I either give them a plain text or whatever they want through ODT export through Org-mode. I don't have to touch MS Word it can happen all on Linux...


lyx makes does a good job wrapping latex for casual use.


This is really interesting. I would love to see if there is anything about this generation of people not liking technology changes.


It is an interesting phenomena, but it's pretty easy to explain: the barrier for an older person is "using a computer". The barrier for a younger person is "using linux". The older person doesn't know or care about the operating system - they are going to use the computer (or not) for very specific things. The younger person, who is probably more of a power user, is going to be more "enmeshed" with the details of the OS, and find it harder to give up certain things.

Heck, the last time Windows was my main OS was in 2007 or so, and I still think in terms of "Alt-Tab" with the Command button replacing Alt (since I'm in OSX). (And the never-disappearing menu bar, and the inability to tab between windows, and the fact that the maximize button is broken, still bugs me).


It's funny; ten years ago the explanation was exactly the opposite. "Maybe young people can pick up Linux, but there's no way my grandma could ever figure it out." I'm inclined to believe that both are post hoc rationalizations of a phenomenon whose true cause is entirely unrelated.


Because ten years ago you had to partition your HDD with fdisk and configure WiFi network by editing /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf.

I'm pretty sure none of the nontechnical users mentioned here would be willing to do that.

Ubuntu moved lots of configuration to the GUI, making it easily discoverable and usable for people who don't already know where to look for things. Ubuntu may be sucky, buggy and inflexible, but it's much easier to use than old-style GNU/Linux.


The change wasn't moving configuration to the GUI - the main thing was making most of the configuration unneccessary.

End users don't want easy HDD partitioning and easy WiFi configuration - they want to avoid them altogether, and have everything work out of the box.


Not really. There were several consumer-friendly Linux distributions at that time that automated dual-boot and provided GUIs for configuration, including Mandrake/Mandriva, Lindows/Linspire, etc., and WPA didn't really exist.


You're right. I'm sure it's no dumb luck Microsoft and Apple try to get their products into classrooms. Getting those young minds used to their designs and specific ways of doing things, setting them as lifetime customers. Who here doesn't have a handful of things they like simply because they have a childhood fondness of them?


-> the barrier for an older person is "using a computer". The barrier for a younger person is "using linux".

Interesting, I never thought this way.


In OSX you tab between apps with Command-Tab, you tab between windows (within an app) with Command-`


I'm aware of this, thanks. But it's a distinction that isn't in windows.


Since mountain lion added full screen mode I haven't had a single window maximized, what I do use though is bettertouchtool with window snapping enabled. It's pretty much windows 7's snapping feature that allows you to drag a window to the side to snap to that half of the screen, works really well.


My brother has become proficient at using Windows, so his switching costs are higher. He didn't want to learn the Linux equivalent of task manager, adding startup applications, updating / installing software. Also he's in finance so 99% of his work is spent in Excel.

By comparison my parents are rudimentary users of technology, and thus their switching costs are low. As long as there is Firefox / Chrome they're ok. Some Chinese sites still depend on ActiveX but they've been replaced with Flash for the most part.


This is the real reason. Excel. There is simply no replacement for it.

If there was, the usage of Linux would double within days.


There are better things than Excel, Gnumeric for example.

The main issue is that there is no drop in replacement for Excel. There are spreadsheets that do calculations, statistics, scripts, etc... better, but there aren't any that can perfectly replicate Excel and perfectly read XLSX files right now...


Are you sure Gnumeric is better than Excel?

Excel is really stupid fast. There are old stories of the Excel team at Microsoft being the most performance-obsessed group around. Excel really is a very great product. Can you demonstrate equivalent performance with Gnumeric?


Haven't seen any benchmarks, but tests have proven that Gnumeric is more accurate, and it certainly has more functions (especially for statistics). It's also extensible with Python (and I've seen plugins for other languages), which IMO is preferable to VBA. Python of course also has some pretty good statistic and scientific computing libraries, which are quite performant...

If you're really performance obsessed, a spreadsheet isn't really the best solution anyway...


> If you're really performance obsessed, a spreadsheet isn't really the best solution anyway...

I agree with this, but tell that to the millions of non-programmers the world over (including almost exclusive use in the finance sector) who use spreadsheets for, well, programming.

I have heard it's not unusual for huge spreadsheets that take upwards of 15 minutes just to regenerate all the calculations and VBA macros it contains. Yes, this is horrible, but it's absolutely ubiquitous and so performance does matter. VBA support also matters for backwards compatibility with these monolithic, battle-tested behemoth spreadsheets. Python support is a great extra, but drop-in VBA support is the feature Gnumeric needs to find widespread use.

I can't fathom what you mean by "more accurate". Accuracy is binary. Are you saying Excel is inaccurate?


I don't use excel in professional level so I don't know much about it. Is there a vast difference between MS Excel and Linux (OSS) equivalent, or something like Google docs?


My mother recently had me adjust the Gantt chart she created in Excel. She works for KPMG as an accountant.

There's a large difference, unfortunately, but it's the edge cases that the difference lies in. Some professions rely on those edge cases exclusively however.


Definitively. Especially if you work in finance there are many products that integrate with Excel (i.e. Bloomberg apps), modules, pre-created formulas, books teaching financial "programming" with Excel etc.. Then I don't know if macros/programming in Calc can be seen as equivalent to VBA (and relevant integrations) in Excel.

BUT, having said that,I think there are tons of users that could use Calc for their basic calculations (I worked in a couple of banks and I think probably just 5-10% of users used it as "powerusers" and I suspect less than half of them used functions/code that have no equivalent in Calc)


severely so. Again, it's not about the technical merits and demerits - but I would daresay its around the VBS + XLSX compatibility issue.

In fact, my personal opinion is that Libreoffice should abandon PPT and Word - both with adequate online equivalents - and go all out only on Excel.

There is simply no equivalent for Excel on Linux or Mac.

Photoshop + Excel on Linux would be it's killer applications.




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