A simple note from Linux that the driver wouldn't download off of the manufacturer's web site (and a suggestion to go there yourself and seek it) would go a long way toward fixing this perception, but currently that note simply isn't there
So big deal, send a bug report to Red Hat or whoever. And you might as well attach a patch with it.
I understand that this can be a significant usability issue, but it's got a ridiculously trivial technical fix, so I don't see why you seem to be discussing it as if it was some tricky and deeply ingrained problem.
So should all Linux distros.
No, sorry, completely disagree here. The reason why I use Debian on my firewall it's because it lacks stuff like this that I don't need, which allows me to install it into a CompactFlash card. Red Hat, SuSE, Mandrake, sure. But keep this stuff the hell away from my Gentoo and Debian installs!
Currently, there's a button when you change resolutions in Windows that says "Is this setting working?" If the user doesn't click the confirmation, the system reverts to the previous choice after fifteen seconds. X doesn't do that confirmation, so it's possible to set a bad mode and render the system unusable without manual editing of config files.
Yes it does. It exists in KDE 3.4.2 at least. In fact, I tried it a moment ago, and it works exactly as expected, 15 seconds timeout included. It uses the XRANDR extension, I believe, but it's not like they need to know about that, as it's usable from a very windows-like config dialog.
Getting folks to move to Linux, at least in the near term, must occur because they want to, which is a much harder sell.
No, I believe that most of them will be eventually forced to switch. Your Mary Mo is exactly the kind of person that will never switch unless she's forced to. Technical superiority alone won't be enough.
Perhaps she'll switch because that's what she now uses at work. Perhaps by peer pressure. Perhaps because she bought a new computer with it installed. Or maybe because the local geek got tired of Windows and said he's not going to support Windows
My mother types documents in KWord for instance. Why? Because I lost my MS Office CD ages ago (wasn't legal anyway), refuse to pirate it now that I don't need to (having found a job), refuse to buy it because I don't need it (learned LaTeX), and she won't buy it since she uses it very infrequently so it's not worth it. It's not terribly nice? Yeah, perhaps. But KWord works well enough, so she doesn't seem to hurry to exchange $400 for a little bit more ease of use.
This is exactly the kind of thing that will make somebody switch, IMO. A choice between $400 for something used maybe once or twice for month, and something that might be a bit less convenient, but is maintained by somebody else and doesn't cost a cent.
Remember, she's got Windows installed already. You're going to need to give her something more, in her perception, else why would she bother?
And again, you missed it completely. That stuff needs to be there. Clearly, your Mary Mo isn't going to switch due to a confusing list of features. So what might make her switch? A system that works better, due to loads of tech she never heard about. I'd say that the image you paint of her implies that the only way she'll switch is seeing something better on a friend's computer, and a package manager is part of that. She doesn't need to know what it is, or see it being used. But a computer kept in order with the help of a package manager gives a better impression. The package manager is just an example anyway, just one thing that makes Linux more usable than Windows. A lack of a DLL hell also creates a nice impression, even to somebody who doesn't know what's that. Enough things like those, and it'll look a lot nicer in comparison.
All that is a moot point however. IMO it doesn't even make sense to concentrate on this kind of user. Even if she had the desire to switch she'd never have the technical skills required. No, she'll switch when she gets a new computer with it, or when a knowledgeable person does it for her.
The kind of user you describe will never be able to switch automatically. Even given a Linux installer that could somehow install a Linux distribution completely automatically, it'd never be able to deal fully with issues like people saving documents in C:\. Unless Linux turns into an identical clone of Windows, any migration will always need to be assisted, even if it's by a tech in a computer shop.
<@chani> I *cannot* remember names. but I did memorize 214 digits of pi once.
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