Dell has delivered a dose of reality for both Microsoft and the Linux community on the subject of netbooks. Speaking at OpenSource World, a Dell executive deflated Microsoft's enthusiasm for making a case out of the number of Linux netbooks returned by unhappy customers. Todd Finch, Dell senior product marketing manager, said …
One advert might do it
The biggest blocker to mainstream acceptance is that most people have never heard of Linux, never mind the fact that they are choosing Windows instead. Before the Mac entered the public perception in a big way, most people just assumed that Windows was part of the hardware, a built-in, a given, with no choice. Truth be told, most people still think that, such is the pervasive status quo.
If someone could stump up enough cash to get one or two prime-time US advertising slots at a time when an awful lot of people are watching and with imagination do something that captures the public attention, that might be a good start. It doesn't have to get a big philosophical message across, just get noticed by a lot of people. Get people talking. "What is this Ubuntu thing?" (Yes , why Ubuntu? - just pick a brand that people can latch onto for goodness sake)
Mr Shuttleworth - I'm looking at you :D
I was holding off....
But Microsoft's statements in this article pissed me off enough I just bought a mini10 with Ubuntu while reading this. Unfortunately, the model which can be upgraded to Ubuntu cost me $400 instead of the $300 in the article.
That still pisses me off. Windows costs more, but they charge more for Linux.
they're both right .
On my desktop opensuse, skype has voice, but no video , on my xp machine, same problem,
on my aspire one, (opensuse) video, but no sound (playback problems).
We recently installed xubuntu on some work pc's in the canteen, and there were many complaints. (silverlight sites not available, etc) ...we changed back, still complaints (firefox/flash not available ... no pdf support ...etc) .
You can't please the people all of the time with one solution... so dont bother trying ...
Let people buy/ dl their own solutions. Just make sure they have a rough idea of compatability.
The rest is caveat eptor.
Huge segment of home users use one app
And that App. is IE, or in rare cases FireFox if there is an extension that meets there needs
And there needs are quite light, some web mail, BBC iplayer, shopping sites, youtube & myface covers 99.99% of them
The most widely run app outside a browser is iTunes, which I believe runs into problems under wine
The linux community needs to get on to Apple to supply a linux friendly version, after all OSX is just FreeBSD under the hood
Failing that the EU ought to kick apple's arse over the whole itunes/ipod lock-in
(These people bring their virus infected m/c round, and a quick look at the 30G HDD shows a few meg of pictures all taken with a fuzzy lens Nokia )
I've given up trying to get people to consider Linux. I got sick of all the bleating about how this isn't like ms-this and office-that isn't working. Linux can remain the domain of the skilled, smart and hobbyists.
Linux needs a better tagline anyhow. "Linux - just smart people"
I handed my Asus EEE 701 to my missus
It has Easypeasy Ubuntu Netbook remix as the OS. I asked her to open the web browser, she clicked on the Internet and then the Firefox icon, I then asked her to open Open Office writer and she managed that no hassle either.
As the printer was already set up (Edimax print server with a Epson printer) that would take care of a lot of her non-gaming needs, she uses Thunderbird on XP anyway for her own laptop.
The desktop paradigm of what you are used to can be a hard one to get past, but the commodity style interface of something like NBR or the original Asus easy interface is a decent fit for some of these small machines
I bought my mother a netbook for Christmas.
Being an evil tight fisted son it had Linux on it.
After the initial "Oh, that looks different", I showed were things were, put some nice "shortcuts" onto the desktop for her to use, like openoffice, firefox, and away she went.
Had a bit of fun getting the printer working, but that's just the printer manufacturer being lazy and poviding sh*te drivers. I'm sure M$ pay them to do that!
Almost everything she does is web/email based, so the OS makes no difference. In fact she likes openoffice as it opens all the new word format attachments she gets sent by friends who have a newer version than she had on her old windows pc. (I didn't mention I could put openoffice on the old pc!).
Don't use the 'L' word
@shock_wave: I've converted hundreds of people over the past few years as an Ubuntu community leader in the field. And it goes without saying that you do not get anywhere by making your explanation complex.
Linux? doesn't exist, it's a fairy tale parents tell their kids to scare them into becoming rock musicians.
Ubuntu, that's the new awesome upgrade for your computer that can't get viruses and has office for free. Caveat that it doesn't run windows software and on the advocate and to make sure all usages are met and hardware supported.
I've had a total of 3 people go back to windows, and those were people who missed Ubuntu later on. So shock_wave, what ever your doing, your not approaching it right, or the right people. No one wants to convert a banker or a musician, and I won't try. not all friends and family are a useful target and you should think further afield.
amen to that!!!
I don't support Windows on my own time anymore, its too much of a head ache.
"Linux - Just Smart people."
I like it. O_o
Re: Huge segment of home users use one app
Totally agree about IE and iTunes. If Apple release iTunes for Linux (I don't see why they haven't) and enough people show off Firefox, then no one at all would return a Linux netbook (unless it was crippled by something like Xandros).
I thought Linux's tag line was
'In a world with out walls, who needs Windows'
Dell could help
by sorting out their damn website. On dell.com.my you can opt for a Mini 10v with Ubuntu, but then when it comes to configuring it the only options for OS are XP Home or Fistya. And of course XP Home means no memory upgrade.
@VoodooTrucker, on dell.co.uk, the Mini is £50 cheaper with Ubuntu than with XP/Fistya
to put it plainly... sucked...
Computers in 2004 were too slow to run it well and they designed the machine down to the minimum and as a result the java desktop became a major bottleneck...
the primary reason you don't see many Linux boxes in the shops is because the vast majority of magazines have adverts which are part paid for by Microsoft with what are called "market development funds"... which have the primary intent of subsidizing those box makers who toe the Microsoft line... the more points they score, the more funds they get... and selling Linux boxes reduces the score...
Re: What ever!
I've given up trying to sort out Windows. I got sick of applications not working for no discernable reason, for performance sucking so badly its untrue. Windows can remain the domain of the great unwashed, it's not for me.
Linux does need a better tagline and I like "Linux - just smart people" but Windows needs a more honest one: "Windows -- do you feel lucky today?"
Dell don't sell XPS M1330 in the UK anymore
I tried to buy linux Dell XPS M1330 laptops for my business on monday - they're not on the dell.co.uk/ubuntu website anymore so I got in contact with Dell. The contact centre guy said he "would try and email me back" and asked if I was sure I didn't want Windows Vista - so far no response.
If anyone from Dell UK is reading; please add a comment on how we buy the 15N and XPS M1330 Ubuntu laptops. My business bought 1525N and XPS M1330N laptops a few years ago and they are fabulous.
I'm sure you'd sell more if they were actually on the website!
If someone was sold/bought a Linux computer thinking it was a Windows one and could do what Windows does (run games, connect to almost any printer, drive multiple screens easily, run well on Intel graphics chipsets etc) then that is either the customers fault for lack of research or the salesperson's fault for misleading.
Either way - it's not the fault of any particular Linux distro.
Linux does do some things way better than Windows (security being a biggie), but it is also a shoddy lash-up in other areas. Unfortunately it is these shoddy lash-ups that the person on the street hits and gets aggravated by. Unfortunately these are seen as "non-essential" by Linux geeks and so do not get addressed (configuring multiple screens in X is but one example). They may be *technically* non-essential, but they are vital to the PR war that must be fought if Linux is to have any hope against the might of MS.
When my current PC gets to long in the tooth, I intend to hit it with the Linux stick and run XP under virtualisation.... just hope I can persuade X to treat the TV and LCD screens in the way I want and not according to it's crappy, non-configurable default order!
nb: It's "Pidgin", not "Pigeon" and it is w-a-y better than that MSN/Messenger bollox!
Linux on Dell? Good luck finding it on the higher-end hardware!
I recently bought a Dell laptop but there was no Ubuntu option available for the hardware I wanted. I've ended up paying extra for a Windows I'll never use*.
OK, I had a Linux CD ready and never even booted into Windows, but if the only laptop they ship with Ubuntu is the crappy netbook, it's not exactly a commitment to open-source, is it?
* Yes I've heard that technically I could send the Windows disks back for a refund, but I've also heard that pigs might fly.
Dell don't sell XPS M1330 in the UK anymore #
I was asked recently by two elderly female friends to help them purchase a Ubuntu laptop each, not netbooks because they wanted large displays. One had actually previously asked for this in a large London department store, but as one might expect, got nowhere.
I was surprised that Dell no longer offered this type, and had a brief discussion with Dell sales.
However, Linux Emporium were just the job, and made two quick sales.
Better linuxes, but poorer high street availability?
I bought one of the original linux Acer Aspire Ones with from PC World. Getting a linux version was easy, but Linpus on the Acer was horrible. Even as a linux fanboi I just couldn't get on with it. Ubuntu NBR was a massive improvement.
I couldn't find any linux netbooks on the PC World website this morning. Anyone know which, if any, high street retailers offer linux netbooks? Seems a shame if just as we have better linuxes for netbooks, they vanish from the shops.
I have to agree that one of the main issues with Linux is the perception that it's only for ubernerds. My missus' old dell was running XP home at a glacial pace. I was also thinking that her ex-hole may have installed some mal/spy ware upon his departure, so wiped it and installed ubuntu.
After a week, she was retouching some photos, creating an album for publication and she looked up at me, smiling sweetly, and asked "Why doesn't everyone use this?"
Now that's a tough question...
Horses and Courses
Linux is lovely on the original Asus. Point and click web and mail - check. Want to do some light typing - check. Add the solid state drive so you can merrily chuck it around plus the tiny size and you've got the perfect holiday computer. Had trouble getting one from the shops though, I even got told "It doesn't run Windows, are you sure you want one" (Dixons). And yes, one of the reasons I wanted one is because the OS was perfect for my requirements.
Back at work: Need to have compatible docs, spreadsheets, etc, both internally and externally. That'll be MS Office - like it or not it's the corporate world's standard - so Windows XP in our case (could be OSX). Need to run a raft of Adobe software - same again.
At home: As above but adding games to the list, that'll be Vista (has run perfectly for two years, thanks for asking).
Commuting - iPod Touch
I reckon that's a pretty average setup for those of us who don't give a shit what OS we're using as long as we can work and play using the damn things.
Linux - hmm.
@Martin Owens - spot on. Linux itself (with all its squabbling communities and in-joke command names) is not something the typical user wants to see. Microsoft didn't sell Windows 3 / 95 / 98 on the grounds that it had DOS underneath it.
A working distribution like Ubuntu is something people can see and use and understand.
A normal human being is not going to sit around whilst you explain how you have to re-compile the compiler so you can compile the web browser before you can try to install it. The open-source community is big enough to go mainstream, but what it does need is a nice big injection of outside reality.
Power Management/Battery Life
I dual boot a netbook - XP and eeebuntu and XP really wins on one major thing - better battery life. As such I am using XP more than eeebuntu and am wondering why I bother having eeebuntu installed.....
I have a friends daughters pink AA1 - it comes with Linpus, which to a non-techie person should be fine.
She hasn't used it at all because it isn't XP so I have been asked to install XP on it. It is a SSD version so runs horribly with XP, so have now been asked to put Linpus back on, presumably so it can be RMA'd.
I have switched a few people on to Linux but the majority just want "what they know" and that is a difficult thing to change. With netbooks running Linux there is some familiarity out there but we will have to keep chiping away.
I'm a fanboy but understand that for most it is second nature to double click an app to install it (although I like OSX's drag and drop installation) or to plug in a webcam and be prompted for a driver disk and for that disk just to work. They're never going to cope with dmesg, make, modprobe etc. although things are sooo much better than years ago when you'd just have to make do without, perhaps it's the move to broadband so Linux isn't make or break on not supporting a modem.
Paris, 'cos she has a penguin fetish.
The biggest blocker to mainstream acceptance of Linux is that anyone who was ever going to listen to the Linux fans has already tried Linux, found out its shortcomings, given up on it, and told all their friends. I had 2 such episodes with different versions of Ubuntu when I really gave it a good try, A wasted weekend getting my wireless modem configured is apparently not a unique experience, neither is leaving my Dell PC switched on overnight to find it crashed the next morning most of the time. The worst thing that the Linux people can do is repeat this mantra that linux is better than Windows, because when they do come out with something genuinely superior no-one will believe them.
Perhaps if Dell where to start "Recommending Ubuntu" on it's PCs instead of Windows Vista, people would buy more of them? It's very difficult (IMO) to find any reference to Linux or Ubuntu on the Dell website...
@John30: "I put XP on it"
"I have been asked to install XP on it"
Did they get to pay you for it? The price of an OEM CD and a couple of hours of time? Say £100 or more?
If folk start to realise that the most expensive piece of a low end computer is Windows, then either folk will look for alternatives, or the price of Windows will come down.
Oh hang on. The price of Windows XP to Netbook manufacturers already did come down, a lot :)
Linux must be doing something right.
I like Ubuntu but...
... it just doesn't tick all the boxes on my AAO 150.
I have wasted quite literally days of time trying to get full screen BBC iPlayer to work above about 2 FPS. 'Cos that's what my netbook does mostly when the missus is watching one of 'her programmes'.
Windows 7 RC installed from USB in 30 mins - Everything worked out of the box. Even got fancy glass effects. iPlayer smooth as an android's bottom.
Look, who actually cares what O/S the mooks use, anyway?
As any nerd knoe, Linux is a far better experience eventually, but it still requires a little bit of undre-teh-hud-knowlij to make it work just so. And many users rely on proprietary stuff to keep them working - I am talking to Flash and MP3 codecs, in particular.
What I don't understand is why the community want Linux to blow up. Sure, Windows sucks, but why do Linux geeks actually care? Who would support it, if it did? All of us geeks would suddenly find all our spare time taken up looking after our mates' computers... we do enough of that, already! At least with the current situation you can blame other peoples' computer fails on their shitty O/S and walk away from it.
Where does that leave the community? As ever, plugging away, gradually eating market share. Awareness will come, but it has to build organically. As more people use open source (and they are, gradually), more people will be available to support it. We shouldn't pump scarce resources into advertising campaigns for a mass market product when the support infrastructure isn't available.
Having said that, my father now runs Ubuntu on his old desktop. After a few lessons, he is perfectly capable of browsing the web and updating his Creative Zen playlists and he certainly appreciates the processor cycles freed from the dread beast Norton AV.
It's not just in the UK that Dell don't sell Ubuntu on laptops
The US currently only offers Ubuntu on netbooks, albeit four models compared to the measly one available over here. Did Finch think that an audience of geeks wouldn't check to see what was on offer?
I've tried converting my sister to using Linux. She's a self-confessed noob who struggles with Windows. She can use it but she asks legitimate questions, e.g. she asked once about whether she can trust something that she has randomly downloaded from a random website. She seemed impressed when I explained that Linux has a repository where you can be confident you're not downloading anything that's infected.
But she hasn't made the switch to using Linux, because it's just too God-damned geeky for her to use when she's sat at the airport or in Starbucks, etc... Her friend, however, has just bought a Macbook..... didn't know the slightest thing about it but she was bowled over by how nice and shiny it looks. The Macbook itself and OS X both look trendy, so now my sister is considering getting one.
She is aware now and admits that Linux has advantages over Windows, but won't use it cause it's too geeky and she's no Ugly Betty.
I was disappointed that I'd failed to convert her to the way of the penguin, but at least if she converts to using OS X it's one less Microsoft user, so it's not all bad news.
"Who'd a thunk it?"
To quote Mr Hicks, MS is full of it, again!
Every user that uses anything other than Windows, is a loss for MS. The PC is now well bedded in the public conscience, people are talking about alternatives. Some of my family, dyed in the Windows users, have asked me about this "lynix" thing. People are very, very slowly starting to think about what that grey box in the study can do for them, is Windows all there is? They may never move, they may not really be that interested in changing, people are talking and talk is dangerous to MS's bottom line. The most important thing is fight the FUD, with clear, concise, sensible examples. No good banging on about OSS, show them Compiz at work on the 3 year old machine that they thought would have to be dumped, for a bigger faster one. Show them you can still browse, you can still get your email, pay your bills and you will make that machine last another 18 months.
Don't give that crap about games OK? You want games, buy a console. I wouldn't expect to play games on my DVD player, not everyone wants to play Crysis! A lot of people quite frankly, couldn't care less, providing they have some naff card game or a Sudoku clone, to kill five minutes at lunchtime. Windows is losing games, the piracy thing and the rise in cheap-as-chips consoles is killing serious PC gaming, 5 years and it will almost dead. Look at the sales companies like Reflexive and BigFish achieve for £15 caual games, millions of units shifted, 'cos the demands on hardware or so low.
MS are not worried yet, but they are not happy that this thing, that's....*shudder* FR...FRE....FR...*shudder*, they can't even say the word. Yes it's FREE and it's not going anywhere soon, well patents allowing of course!
@Mike Panero, your choices are, they're, their and there.
The biggest blocker of mainstream linux
that i have found, is that it is not geared towads teh average user, maybe thats just my windows conditioning, but i expect to be able to download something from the net and run an installer. Yes the repositories are good, but they don't hold everything.
Linux is good for the very basic users, ie pc setup for them and they just run office, and firefox etc. Its also very good for the really technical people who like delving into the guts of it.
What it seems to lack is a middle ground, people who know what drivers are and are happy to upgrade install them every so often, but expect an installer. People who are happy tweaking settings, but expect checkboxes and sliders rather than a text config file. You still need to either learn masses of detail about it, or just be happy using the standard applications.
I run openSUSE 11.1 on my Aspire One too, and while I don't generally have sound problems, I recently had some USB problems. All seems to have settled down now, but the problem seemed to centre on pciehp. You don't mention which version you are using.
I know that there were quite a few patches I had to put on following initial installation, most of them culled from an article on setting up an Eee PC and mostly to do with trying to keep power consumption down, which it does and also speeds things up by minimising the use of the main drive. It certainly might be worth a quick run through the openSUSE wiki for the article.
@AC - Re: Repositories, drivers etc
Drivers tend to be built into the kernel and just work or are not present. Installing drivers is not really done in the linux world, outside of some specialist things, like nVidia cards. Which is exactly the same on windows, gamers and other 3d geeks constantly downloading and reinstalling nVidia stuff to make sure they're getting that extra 0.5 fps...
You say you want to be able to "just download stuff from the net and run an installer".
IF the software maker supplies the software as an rpm or deb file. No problem. That said, I have never needed to go outside the repositories on debian, it has soemthing like 25,000 pieces of software that can do pretty much anything you ever thought of.
I know, coming from the windows world you feel the need to search the web, download something untrusted with a trojan in it and let it loose on your machine, this is a habit to get out of with linux.
Oh dearie me!
"....Linux netbooks should ship with Firefox......."
Calling Opera spokesdroids! Your spittle-flecked outrage at this potential outbreak of blatant anticompetitive practice is required.
I think all of us agree that Ubuntu is the leading distro, rightly or not.
Reason is it works so munch more easily for the non-uber-hacker or those with only a little spare interest / time.
However for the completely non-hacker and those with even less time (which is the mass market or friends families etc that we are thinking about, I strongly recommend Linux Mint: Based on Ubuntu but has all of those tricky codecs etc preinstalled so that it just works! - as well as some nice additional touches (open terminal as root *here* anyone?)
It's also crucially not in a geeky brown and looks really good, making XP and even Vista look pretty sick - Yes Pretty is a Feature and It certainly is not an Ugly Betty!
Linux Mint 7 'Gloria' was released about a month ago, based on ubuntu 9.04 - with which it shares repositories
Leave your slackwares, puppies, fedoras, suse etc to the the real enthusiasts - their time will come when the ice has been broken (frosted windows anyone?)
BTW I like that motto thing "Linux - Just Smart people.", but I think just maybe I can suggest a better version. How about "Linux - The Smarter Option!"
My Linux blocker...
...I use Windows XP/IE at work 12 hours a day 5 days a week. Why use another OS/Browser at home on my desktop/netbook. It also works the other way, as new staff are likely to know XP from home use and other jobs.
Ive been a IT decision maker for many SMEs in my time. In my next company I will seriously consider Opensource desktops and hosted services. The more staff use Linux/OpenOffice the better chance it has of going main stream.
Many ex-Directors who have come to me recently asking how the go about cheap IT in their start-ups. I suggest (one IT hater ex-MD even suggested it!) OpenOffice or even go 100% opensource but the later comes with a warning that they may need to pay for some good IT Support. That puts them off. I'm too expensive!
I'm still waiting for:
* Linux to appear alongside Vista on every page
* Linux based dells to be cheaper than the same spec XP
* Linux dells to have the same sort of 'value added' tools for data backup, configuration, and internet connection that they bundle with winjows ones.
By BOBSta Posted Thursday 13th August 2009 11:02 GMT
Perhaps if Dell where to start "Recommending Ubuntu" on it's PCs instead of Windows Vista, people would buy more of them? It's very difficult (IMO) to find any reference to Linux or Ubuntu on the Dell website..."
Microsoft pay Dell to recommend Vista... they don't get the OEM Vista price reduced, but they get market development funds which is Microsoft's way of getting round the fact that they have to make Vista OEM available to all OEMs at the same price... the more points you "score" by doing things Microsoft wants like hiding your Linux versions so you can't find them via the main website, the more money you get... If your volume is small, you get less funds... so the big boys effectively get a better "discount" on the deal because they get more market development funds because of their sheer volume.
Gateway also faulted another provision of the new licensing agreement, which requires PC makers to pay a Windows royalty on every PC shipped, even if it didn't include Windows. To top it off, to qualify for market development funds, PC makers have to put a Microsoft OS on every PC. As a result, trying to sell non-Windows PCs, or even PCs without software, is a financial loser for computer makers.
"In other words, Gateway must comply with this provision in order to receive any market development funds," Fama said. The discount is substantial: $10 per copy of Windows.
"Since that $10 discount would apply to each copy of Windows XP that Gateway distributes during 2003, it would not be commercially practical to consider compliance...as optional," Fama testified.
So Microsoft was right?
Returns for "technical" reasons are about the same for Windows and Linux netbooks, but linux Netbooks also have a bunch of "it's not Windows" returns? Given the market share imbalance, I'd expect that second category of return to be pretty substantial.
I recently "upgraded" my eeePC 900a to eeebuntu NBR, only to find that I could no longer listen to RealAudio clips on the BBC and RTE websites, something that worked "out of the box" with the original build. I'm debating whether to waste a couple of hours figuring out how to make that work, or just installing the WIndows 7 beta on it instead, if I can get that to run from an SD card.
Battery life & power consumption
The situation is improving: for example, as of 2.6.30, the Linux kernel supports the EeePC "super hybrid engine", and Debian and Ubuntu users will (eventually) be able to have this switched into underclocked mode automatically when running on battery, and back out when back on mains power. (The necessary userland bits for this are already in the eeepc-acpi-scripts git repository.)
Need a "sticker" on the computer
Much like vehicles. Itemized list of things included AND their prices. When everyone sees that "windows" costs around $100 or so, and then "office" costs another increment, it might change the landscape. Until then, I don't see a change.
Of course I'd like to see one of those "I'm a PC" ads finish with the customer saying "I'm going to wipe windows off of this and install Linux" (like that would happen).
@So Microsoft was right?
I recently "upgraded" my ThinkpadT60 to Windows7 Release Candidate, only to find that I could no longer Connect To The Internet, something that worked "out of the box" with the XP Pro, Ubuntu-live, PCLinuxOS-live, FreeBSD-live, PendriveLinux, PuppyLinux. I'm debating whether to waste a couple of hours figuring out how to make that work, or just installing the Ubuntu 9.04 on it instead, if I can get that to run from an SD card, no stuff the SD card although I am sure it will work.
So I am now dual booting XP and Ubuntu. At least Fenestra7 was useful in partitioning my drive, something that Linux distros have been capable of with nice, simple to use even for newbies, GUI applications for years.
More "Straw Man" arguments from the misinformed
"A normal human being is not going to sit around whilst you explain how you have to re-compile the compiler so you can compile the web browser before you can try to install it."
I've been using Linux for years and years and I can't even remember the last time I had to compile a desktop program.
Intelligent people can see right though the "straw man" stuff. These things diminish the message you are trying to get across because we now must regard everything you say with suspicion.
@Ray0x6, I care what people run, insofar as
a) The place I work at sells computers. And windows users end up returning/bitching about them much more than everyone else; they did when we installed it, and they do now that we sell them a CD and let them install it themselves. All too often it won't even last the 1 week we warrantee for.
b) People (not work-related, but friends & relatives) will want me to fix it and be all shocked when I'm like "No, I don't do Windows", and it pains me when they deal with what by my standards is a completely broken system, just because reinstalling and patching windows is such a long and drawn out process. (It *IS* drawn out... Ubuntu, you install, you click the update manager *once* and it gets all the updates.. not some updates, reboot, more updates, reboot, updates for the updates, reboot as Windows likes to do from a fresh install.) Or they want to know how I make my computer so awesome; they love mplayer, but are all shocked there's no full equivalent for windows to mythtv, gnome, etc.
Just to strike a balance, I've had the exact opposite experience you had. I converted 20 to Ubuntu (8.04 I think) and all but 2-3 of them wanted Windows XP back. And when they got it, they were quite satisfied.
shock_wave has the perfect solution; let them choose for themselves. Uniformed or not, ignorant or not, they have the right to choose. And currently the choosing is leaving Linux a very distant also-ran. For whatever reason, Windows IS king. Whether you like it or not Windows IS king. And until the Linux community gets organized, creates a common product and begins a successful marketing campaign, Windows IS going to remain king.
On the subject of Jobs proping up Microsoft.
After Office2007, the wife was annoyed enough at Microsoft to give Linux a serious look after all these years and was perfectly willing to use it at home until she got her iPhone. Ironically enough, lack of support for an Apple product is what keeps Windows running in this household.
Jobs has 2 serious fad consumer devices but to use them you are essentially forced into choosing between Windows and MacOS to do so. Inevitably, most people use the OS that can run on the HW they have lying around.
Between printers, scanners, still cameras, video cameras, non-apple PMPs, wifi cards and video capture devices the Apple products are the only ones not just indifferent to Linux but actively hostile to it.
Modern Linux has gotten rather spiffy otherwise. I don't even have the temptation to run MacOS anymore despite the fact that I have 3 Macs (MythTV).
Down with Kings!
It shouldn't really matter who is "King".
Any healthy market allows those with different requirements and sensibilities to be accommodated effectively without anyone getting the impression they have been forced into something they would never want. The nature of computing tends to make that a difficult prospect. Although it helps if governments don't just blindly go along helping perpetuate some choice strangling monopoly.
The difference between a market leader and monopoly is that you can ignore a market leader.
If I can use the technology that suits me, the crowd can subject themselves to MS-DOS again for all I care.
Windows IS going to remain king!
And now a word from our sponsor, Billy the door-man Gates, "Um, arr, um, arr, arr, um!" (applause & hooplas from the audience).
Thank you Billy for promoting the new King of OSs, Ubuntu. Oh sorry, you didn't mean to, well it worked anyway. Apologies for my pathetic skit.
Dear Doug Glass, get a life. Windoze may be big now but the message is starting to get through. It may take a while but things are happening & Windoze may not always be the King unless you're referring to the King of Pop or the true King, both of whom are now dead. This can happen to Windoze too mate.