Linux For Beginners

At least monthly I run across an article about the best distros for beginners.

All of these writers miss an important point. Without the help of a user familiar with Linux, none of the distros come preinstalled on a computer. All of these articles are targeted toward the few users who are willing to venture into Linux land and have some nominal computer experience. These articles do not target the 80% bell curve user.

The 80% bell curve user is not going to install an operating system.

The 80% bell curve user never reads such articles.

I have been installing operating systems since the early MS-DOS days. Preinstalled operating systems were uncommon until the Windows XP revolution. Before then the common practice was self-installation, much the same as is found today with Linux based systems.

Installing MS-DOS or Windows was no different than installing Linux. The trick was and is not buying or using esoteric hardware. As common as self-installation was in that era, few people did so. Just too hard.

Another presumption by authors of these articles is a reliance on the command line.

If preinstalled distros were common, which then would be best for beginners?

Without sweat equity to help users avoid the terminal, none of them. The 80% bell curve user is not going to use a terminal.

Windows has its quirks and warts, but one significant design feature is most users are not expected to use a terminal. The desktop experience and expectations are point-and-click.

Posted: Category: Usability Tagged: General, Terminal

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