I recently ran across this bit of copy from Dell (Europe) in which they try to explain why you may, or may not want Windows or Linux on your computer. I wanted to touch on a few of these, namely the argument that you may not want to learn new programs. The average user would be no more “lost” in Open Office than they are in Microsoft Office. Same goes for Thunderbird, or Evolution as compared to Windows Mail (formerly Outlook Express), or Outlook. It has been my experience that what is familiar is the icon. If people know which icon to click on, they shouldn’t have any problems using “new programs”. To wit: I installed Open Office a few years ago on the machines at a dental practice in lieu of the much more expensive Microsoft Office Suite. Once I showed folks what icon to click, they were, in fact, good to go. I have never in over 4 years had a support call as a result of this installation – but I get them regularly from other clients regarding Office issues.
The “You are new to using computers” so you should pick Windows is another charm that I felt particular disdain for. Being new to computer use is precisely the BEST time to start using Linux. The new user has no preconceptions about what the experience should be like. The learning curve is, dare I say, the same for either system (no data to support this – just a hunch). I hear that once you try Linux, you never go back!
On the Ubuntu side, we are told that this would be a good choice if you are interested in Open Source programming. If I am not, I don’t know what Open Source programming is. On the other hand, the Windows side doesn’t say that Windows is a good fit if you are interested in proprietary programming – Dell really missed the opportunity to up-sell the latest .net developer environment!
Lastly, the screen shot of Windows shows the Control Panel – very serious stuff! While the Ubuntu screenshot shows the game folder. Some how this denotes that one can’t do much “real” computing on the Ubuntu system.
I’m not a hater, or a fanboy but it really seems to me that Dell dropped the ball in this “comparison”. It’s just another illustration that the products a company marks up for profit get bias treatment.
So, there’s my 2 cents. What’s yours?