Guilty Until Proven Innocent: Windows Genuine Advantage and Why Now is a Crucial Time for Ubuntu to Become More User Friendly.
I became aware of Ubuntu about a year ago, probably in the same way many come to know about the operating system: the word “free.” That's right: Ubuntu is an open-source operating system that is available to customers 100% free.
If I remember correctly, I typed “free operating system” into Google because I was looking for something to help me overcome the trouble I was then having with Windows. And I didn't want to turn around and buy a new copy of Windows XP at the exorbitant price that consumers must always pay. You see, like thousands of other computer users, I had lost the disk that came with my computer when I bought it. I needed to do a fresh install and unless I had an original Windows disk, there was no way I could. So I started doing research, wondering, praying, seeking a solution to my dilemma. That's when Ubuntu came up at the top of the Google search list. So I followed the link and landed on the Ubuntu website and I couldn't believe my eyes: not only was Ubuntu available free of charge, but the company would actually send me free copies in the mail, with free shipping. Ubuntu ships anywhere and everywhere. Obviously I ordered.
The product arrived a couple of weeks later. I hadn't given it too much thought when I ordered the software—I actually thought it was a gimmick—so I was surprised when Ubuntu arrived and there weren't any strings attached. I just received ten CDs containing the OS, for me to use and freely distribute. So how was my first Ubuntu experience? It was alright—it went well enough for me to follow the development of the product and download and try new versions of Ubuntu as they came out, since version 5.10. all the way to most recent 6.10 version. For the most part, I have enjoyed the experience, but, there are always some snags on the way.
Now I know I'm going to be chastised for saying this, so I might as well get it out in the open: Ubuntu needs to be more user-friendly. Although the operating system has a beautiful interface, and is quite easy to use—even for those who have never tried, or even seen Linux before—it is still really difficult to get things up-and-running in Ubuntu when there is a glitch. Yes, I acknowledge that Ubuntu has accomplished great strides as far as a Linux distribution is concerned, but there are still a few items that prevent this great open-source operating system from really being able to become mainstream. When I mention this, I am referring specifically to Ubunu's wireless hardware detection, particularly for Windows users, which is Ubuntu's main target audience. Right now when an Ubuntu user hits a roadblock when setting up and configuring wireless hardware, there is really nowhere to turn, no easy knowledge to access—including the Ubuntu Wiki—especially when the information must be accessed on the internet . The only work-around is to be a Linux superuser, or expert, which is something the average computer user is not. In reality there is no easily accessible, easily understandable knowledge-base. This fact prompts me to think that there must be an easier way. Why can't someone write a program that automatically detects wireless hardware and configures Ubuntu to see the hardware, and use the hardware? Other operating systems have plug-and-play—including those that are Linux-based. So it's not inconceivable that Ubuntu should too. This dilemma prevents me from becoming a full-fledged, devoted Ubuntu user. I have tried the Automatrix wireless setup program which is supposed to solve this problem but even it was flawed and gave me numerous scripting errors and no added solution. Without internet access, Ubuntu is useless to me.