HOW-TO better support newbies

I think this is a m0st needed how-to. Recently I had a good discusion about the same ol things about paying for support vs. ‘if you pay you loose’ mentality some Linux users have.

I have been there but as I have matured the ideas I am actually changing my mind based primarily on experience, second on the pragmatic view that I havent actually got any figures from the other side.

Ok so here is the thing, gratis linux vs payed linux for newbies but techies and for non-techies.

Obviously two completely different users category.

So here is the first myth:

– If a windows user can’t get it, a computer newbie will be completely clueless?
I am not saying that I disagree, what I am saying is that how many people have tried that? Most people rely on the mac as an easy PC for any user level. Yet I have seen many Mac classes to tell you they are as clueless as Windows and they have almost the same learning curve except the common things like no virus etc.

My counter theory is this: Windows users are actually harder to learn linux than newbies. Why?
Because newbies start small and get a discovery process where they find out new things to do.

A windows user on the countrary already have an agenda on what he is used to do and find that he has to learn too much to do it.
So teaching linux to a newbie is faster and easier than teaching a windows user.

Another common credo of linux users helping newbies: Assume that the newbie is just as broke as you — linux after all is free right?

More and more people seem to fail converting their partners because they think everything in linux is free, from the education to the distribution and support.

To a degree is true, but what they don’t tell you is that there is a price for all this — TIME. Usually newbies will buy a linux book, they will take classes if they were that widely available, and I think they will also pay third companies for support.

Linux users who already invest many many hours seem to not be aware of it and expect newbies to make the jorney ‘their way’.
I am sorry but is just sad seen many people being ‘desilusonated’ wtih linux because they just couldn’t make the journey. And if you actually take the time to study the process, guess what it is painful.

Third is that Linux users aren’t aware or dont want to listen that companies don’t like linux. And not only that but encourage that sentiment by paying them. The problem of hardware for linux is something that should be change once and for all. The only way to do it is by buying Linux-hardware.
Is true it exist.

Linux is in a point where developers have written drivers for incompatible hardware. Again users tend to forget all the million of hours invested to get to this point and asume that you dont have to worry about it. The problem is that companies also dont worry about it and keep making incompatible hardware.

Many windows users are told to get a new computer with the new verstion of windows pre-installed. Why? Because end-users don’t have time to learn how to install, yet they seem to have the dollars to upgrade.

Yeah experience windows users can afford to install it — if they upgrade their hardware. But yet on the linux camp they tend to be very resiliant to the idea of getting a Linux-PC.

So do I have a point? Well I do? Do newbies MUST take the same road we took? Are we slowing down the linux growth from our ol’ school ideas?

And a more important question, are we supporting linux companies?

I think as linux mature we need to matur with this questioning and at least try alternatives to our view.

Most of the linux growth will eventually come from non-techies — is the only way to REALLY grow.

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