This is a translation of a French proverb: “un Tiens vaut mieux que deux Tu l’auras”. It means that what you already have is better than what you may get—even if you may get more—because you already have it.
Strangely, it also is one of the problems with GNU/Linux systems.
The great dangers of the unknown
What you may get with a GNU/Linux system
GNU/Linux systems (xBSD too, but it’s less known) are usually perceived as having:
- better stability,
- better security,
- more customization,
- less software costs,
- razor edge experimental stuff,
- whatever you can come up with.
What do you have to lose?
Based on the problems users had with installing/migrating/tinkering with/customizing systems such as Windows 9x/NT, here is a list:
- trashed computer,
- hours spent reinstalling a stubbornly non-booting system,
- lost data,
- the need to go back to the previous system anyway,
- no way to do what one used to do “before” any more,
- the need to learn a new system,
- no one can help you if you have a problem: your technically-inclined grandson or neighbour haven’t even heard of “Linux”.
For you experienced Bash or Xfree gurus, these seem unfounded and a bit silly... Yet, it’s one of the biggest problems one may face when confronted with installing a free system...
In my previous post, I mentioned my friend’s attempt of installing Ubuntu on his laptop. Why did he even try?
- He’s not afraid of taking a risk (he’s in the army, as a voluntary soldier in the field).
- He has an educated tech to call for help (me).
- He took some precautions and read the manual before going forward (meaning he backed up his data on an external drive).
- He created a dual-boot system.
- He really wanted to try the 3D experience provided by Xgl/Compiz.
Now, who do you know would go forward with a jump into the unknown if they didn’t qualify for all those reasons?
One way to convince people to try FOSS is to prove to them that if done correctly, it would be safe, they’d get a secure, fast and cool looking system, they won’t be left dry in case of problems, it would upgrade itself gracefully, and never lose their data—meaning that they’d still be able to open their files.
Is it a lie? No.
Are those arguments known by the public?
Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?