Sunday, November 29, 2009

My first take on Ubuntu - NOT ready for Grandma

This is a follow-up to an earlier posting of mine on the potential of using netbooks in K-12 education. I decided that I needed to see for myself what the potential is of using a netbook running the Ubuntu operating system, so I bought one this last summer. Here is my take on things:

In my past 6 months or so of experience as an Ubuntu "newbie" with a Dell Mini 9 netbook running Ubuntu 8.0.4, I find that it is an OS that I would definitely NOT recommend for use in any enterprise. Too many problems that I encounter with daily usage (like not being able to click the OK button on a print dialog window because it runs off the bottom of the screen, or not being able to configure a VPN because of inconsistencies in the operating system) are either unresolvable or require the entry of obscure commands in terminal mode. Most require me to delve through discussion board entries written by Linux aficionados in language that is incomprehensible to ordinary users.

If it ain't "ready for Grandma" (or very close to it), it isn't ready for the average enterprise.

On my next netbook, I will likely go with Windows 7. I have no ideological love nor hate of any particular vendor or approach (open-source vs. proprietary). I (and any enterprise the I work with in the future, particular educational enterprises) simply need something that works and that offers the potential for ordinary users to handle, on their own, most of the computer problems that arise in daily usage. While neither the Apple OS nor any version of Windows fully provides for this need (there are always daily usage issues that seem to require resolution by the 'geek squad'), they seem to come a lot closer than Ubuntu in its present state.

1 comment:

  1. Netbooks with Linux are not very user friendly. I am confident you will enjoy Windows 7 on your netbook. I purchased a Dell Mini9 months ago and installed my Windows 7 Beta preview. I was impressed with how smoothly and quickly it all ran, even the aero worked flawlessly.

    If you need VPN, then Windows 7 on a netbook will work for you, albeit it can be slow. I use a VPN to access my office computer while in class. Not as fast as my laptop, but it works!