Sat Apr 5 17:36:33 UTC 2008
Ned Slider <nedslider at f2s.com>

John wrote:

> The catch here is feeding the new user little by little. Ease them into
> it and they will never know it
> I am not saying turn CentOS into a Windows Clone. Yes, I agree educating
> the user to the linux way of doing things

Some good feedback John.

I'm thinking the choice of distro is key for the first time user. They 
need as much stuff to just work as possible so limiting the amount of 
tasks they need to initially perform to get the box running 
satisfactorily. Distros that have a strict interpretation of open 
source/GPL and don't include 3rd party proprietary drivers, plugins, 
applications etc probably aren't the easiest for new users. I believe 
there are distros out there that either include these by default or aim 
to make it very easy for users to add/enable them. Maybe one of these 
types of distros would be more suitable than CentOS, and allow new users 
a more shallow learning curve. Then, when they are a little more 
comfortable with their new OS they can think about migrating to a more 
"mature" distro such as CentOS.

I often say to new users that learning Linux is like learning to speak a 
new language. Just because you are fluent in English, doesn't mean you 
will be able to pick up a novel written in French/German/Spanish and 
immediately read and/or understand it. The same is true here - those 10+ 
years of experience you have using Windows counts for nothing and 
doesn't entitle you to pick up a Linux CD and be able to use it - the 
learning curve is steep. I think people's expectations are unrealistic 
if they think they can throw in a Linux CD and expect to achieve 
everything they were able to do in Windows in a weekend.

TBH, Windows is no different - you show me an average home user that's 
never used Windows before who could configure a network or printer. Just 
because PCs are sold as consumer items, doesn't make it so. If you went 
out and bought a new car, would you expect to be able to drive it home 
if you'd never had a driving lesson? I could go on with the analogies 
but I suspect I'm preaching to the converted and you understand the point :)