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A few million new Linux Desktop users.

Hi, new forums user here - I'm a semi-techie UX/product/platform kinda person, with a question for the community:

An enormous chunk of home users still have XP. (A third, maybe?) And huge numbers of those - plumbers, hairdressers etc etc - do little more than browse. (Some of them do simple MS-Office use too, say.) On standalone PCs. Many millions, with tragically simple PC use.

XP support dies in April (after which All Your Bank Accounts Are Belong To Us). At some point, then or over the next few years, most of those XP users will upgrade.

The shops will tell them "new hardware, plus Windows8" - expensive, foreign to learn, plus the major hassles of data transfer.

Perhaps a more appealing alternative would be an "XP-upgrade" Linux distro, specifically designed for these simple XP users, that just works, out of the box -

- partitions your drive (Gparted?) and makes it dual-boot (grub?) so your XP is still there if you need it, and you don't need new hardware

- installs a lightweight Linux with XP-like UI (so it's pretty familiar to use, secure, and in all probability faster) - with an "XP users Readme" on the desktop

- brings your bookmarks over, and sets LibreOffice to point to your old XP drive/docs by default

- fails gracefully, leaving the PC as before, if for any reason it can't do a complete job.

It would then just do the absolute minimum in software updates to keep a version that's working, secure, and supported (LTS-based). So, hopefully, that'd be 5 years (say) before the issue of a potential reinstall even occurred.

Let's take it as read that learning an XP-like Linux is no more difficult for them than having to learn Win8. Probably far less difficult. (Sure, *we* can quickly hack Win8 to use more old-fashioned menus and desktop, but normal users overwhelmingly can't or won't.)

So - couldn't someone put together a Linux distro that tries to do the above for these novice XP users?

If so, this might be a unique chance for a few million non-techie people to become users of yours, over the next couple of years. (Not just users - evangelists too, many of them.)

(ISTM.)

cheers, Nick

Comments

  • Here's the problem I see. There has been a lot of attempts to do something like that but Linux is Windows and if you expect a Linux system to behave like a Windows system and treat it like one, it will most probably let you down and you'll probably ruin it. On the other hand, there are a lot of Linux distros out there that are beginner friendly like Ubuntu, Mint, Linux Lite (which came out of this community by Valtam and is supported here). It is going to be a learning curve for the move in either direction, if people are willing to move to Windows 8, they should be as much willing to move to Linux if given the chance, the support and the knowledge. People haven't heard about Linux, all they know are mostly rumors and I think the only thing that it needs is debunking the rumors.

    That is my own view on it, but I might be wrong.
  • NickH302NickH302 Registered
    Armageddon wrote:
    Here's the problem I see. There has been a lot of attempts to do something like that but Linux is Windows and if you expect a Linux system to behave like a Windows system and treat it like one, it will most probably let you down and you'll probably ruin it. On the other hand, there are a lot of Linux distros out there that are beginner friendly like Ubuntu, Mint, Linux Lite (which came out of this community by Valtam and is supported here). It is going to be a learning curve for the move in either direction, if people are willing to move to Windows 8, they should be as much willing to move to Linux if given the chance, the support and the knowledge. People haven't heard about Linux, all they know are mostly rumors and I think the only thing that it needs is debunking the rumors.

    That is my own view on it, but I might be wrong.

    Thankyou very much for the reply, and I understand entirely - I know there is a learning curve, but (for one of the XP-UI-like Linuxes) it is surely at least as easy to learn as Win8, probably a lot easier - and then, a lot cheaper (no new hardware), and a lot more convenient (dual-boot with your old XP) etc.

    I'm not really asking about how close an XP-like Linux would feel. Let's agree it's fine, compared to moving to Win8. So, my question is, can someone make a distro, aimed at the several million users I mentioned, that "does it all" as I suggested?
  • What I'm trying to say is that a lot of distributions are already aimed at the beginner users, I gave you some examples.
  • Teddy5090Teddy5090 Registered
    I agree with Armageddon. XP support does die in April of next year, and my own dad still uses XP on his old Compaq Presario Laptop from 2005 with 512 MB of RAM and 80 GB Hard Drive. It is a reliable machine, but he uses another newer HP Laptop to get online with Windows 7 so his old one he only uses to keep track of finances with Microsoft Works with no internet.

    There is a learning curve for Linux and people here in the United States hate to try something they are unfamiliar with. For Example, Diesel cars here in the U.S. are almost non-existent, but Gasoline (Petrol in British English) Cars are everywhere. Diesels Cars don't sell very well here, because of that simple fact. Linux is that type of thing to the U.S. It is a very sad fact. Fortunately, since Android is popular, that will help get Linux in the hands of the average Joe's computers. Most people when they buy computers, they just use simply what came with it (obviously Windows) and don't mind what they use, they just want it to work.
    Theodore Thorpe,
    Member of the Cup Of Linux, Linux Distro Community & Linux Lite Forums.
    OS: Manjaro XFCE 64-Bit & Linux Lite 64-Bit
  • That's not what I said, I said they needed more exposure. For example, they need to understand that all the technologies that are brought to windows come from Linux, like the glossy looks in windows 7 or the market place in windows 8 (package managers). They need to learn the truth rather than their misconceptions about it. They need to be exposed to see how easy it is. I installed Linux Mint KDE for a friend of mine a week ago and after around 10 minutes, he was like "how did I not know about this years ago, it's awesome and way better and easier than windows". All he needed was exposure. He needed to try it for himself, first hand, as is.
  • darry1966darry1966 Registered
    Armageddon wrote:
    That's not what I said, I said they needed more exposure. For example, they need to understand that all the technologies that are brought to windows come from Linux, like the glossy looks in windows 7 or the market place in windows 8 (package managers). They need to learn the truth rather than their misconceptions about it. They need to be exposed to see how easy it is. I installed Linux Mint KDE for a friend of mine a week ago and after around 10 minutes, he was like "how did I not know about this years ago, it's awesome and way better and easier than windows". All he needed was exposure. He needed to try it for himself, first hand, as is.

    Yes one of the Ubuntu offshoots could be the answer to this may be Zorin or how about Point Linux based on Debian I feel that these seem to be Noobie friendly.

    LXDE and XFCE are very good for ex Win users also so a distro aimed at this market with those desktops sounds right and yes good old Mint.
    NickH302 wrote:
    Hi, new forums user here - I'm a semi-techie UX/product/platform kinda person, with a question for the community:

    An enormous chunk of home users still have XP. (A third, maybe?) And huge numbers of those - plumbers, hairdressers etc etc - do little more than browse. (Some of them do simple MS-Office use too, say.) On standalone PCs. Many millions, with tragically simple PC use.

    XP support dies in April (after which All Your Bank Accounts Are Belong To Us). At some point, then or over the next few years, most of those XP users will upgrade.

    The shops will tell them "new hardware, plus Windows8" - expensive, foreign to learn, plus the major hassles of data transfer.

    Perhaps a more appealing alternative would be an "XP-upgrade" Linux distro, specifically designed for these simple XP users, that just works, out of the box -

    - partitions your drive (Gparted?) and makes it dual-boot (grub?) so your XP is still there if you need it, and you don't need new hardware

    - installs a lightweight Linux with XP-like UI (so it's pretty familiar to use, secure, and in all probability faster) - with an "XP users Readme" on the desktop

    - brings your bookmarks over, and sets LibreOffice to point to your old XP drive/docs by default

    - fails gracefully, leaving the PC as before, if for any reason it can't do a complete job.

    It would then just do the absolute minimum in software updates to keep a version that's working, secure, and supported (LTS-based). So, hopefully, that'd be 5 years (say) before the issue of a potential reinstall even occurred.

    Let's take it as read that learning an XP-like Linux is no more difficult for them than having to learn Win8. Probably far less difficult. (Sure, *we* can quickly hack Win8 to use more old-fashioned menus and desktop, but normal users overwhelmingly can't or won't.)

    So - couldn't someone put together a Linux distro that tries to do the above for these novice XP users?

    If so, this might be a unique chance for a few million non-techie people to become users of yours, over the next couple of years. (Not just users - evangelists too, many of them.)

    (ISTM.)

    cheers, Nick


    By the way Welcome to the LDC.
  • NickH302NickH302 Registered
    Armageddon wrote:
    What I'm trying to say is that a lot of distributions are already aimed at the beginner users, I gave you some examples.

    Indeed, and thankyou, but do any of them try to install dual-boot on an XP machine, out of the box, and point LibreOffice at your old docs, and bring over your bookmarks, and provide a readme on the desktop for XP users, and update for vital security updates only, and survive 5 years without reinstalls ever being an issue?

    In other words, do they "just work", with no further input or effort or questions, for XP users with zero tech ability?

    And if not, would it be so hard to do?

    Here's the market:
    - Hairdressers, plumbers etc who basically just use the web (email, amazon, ebay, facebook, bank...) - a couple of million people, minimum
    - Hairdressers, plumbers etc as above, but who also do some seriously basic MS-Office work - a couple of million more, minimum

    Just for them, that's all -- 4-6 million, say, who'll be facing leaving XP at some point over the next few years.

    Is there anything technically preventing such a distro, and maybe a few million new users?
  • The problem isn't making a distro... as Armageddon said, there's several out there that can already work for this purpose. Heck, Cinnamon for Mint looks so much like the XP desktop, they'd probably feel right at home once they got the differences explained to them.

    As a point of reference, I've got my mother running on Ubuntu currently. I gave her a tutorial and explained a few differences and installed the programs that are close to the ones she was familiar with (LibreOffice instead of MS Office, for example). She's been on Ubuntu now for three years with nary a problem.

    The problem is a) No mater what distro you use, it WILL have differences from Windows, which WILL confuse the user-base you are explicitly attempting to target (if nothing else, they'll have a fit of apoplexy when it doesn't ship with an antivirus or defrag program)... and b) They aren't aware that Linux does offer user-friendly options.

    The solution to both of those problems lies in education, probably as a part of advertising. Unfortunately, there really isn't the funding for an ad campaign that would reach all of these individuals currently using XP.
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