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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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-> 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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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...

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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?

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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...

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> 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?

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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?

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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.

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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)

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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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