back to article US woman says Ubuntu can't access internet

An American woman has told a TV station in Madison, Wisconsin that something called Ubuntu prevented her from joining online classes at her local technical college. According to WKOW TV, Abbie Schubert recently ordered a Dell laptop, expecting "your classic bread-and-butter computer." But when she unboxed the $1,100 machine …


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  1. Julian


    I provide support to lots of females who are just as feckless as this with Windows installed! One in particular has less difficulty with Linux. Not to say that all females are feckless, of course. I expect there are lots of men just as feckless, I certainly spoke with one just the other day.

    The biggest problems with Linux are unfamiliarity and printer support. Many of the Linux tasks are actually easier than Windows, updating in particular, and Linux is not bothered with all the security issues.

  2. Christopher E. Stith

    Woman and TV station both obviously quite clueless - film at 11

    I even tried to contact them, but they insist on having a "home phone number" and a "wireless email address". I haven't had a home phone in years, and having been an Internet professional for more than a decade I can't see how a "wireless email address" is any different from an "email address". If I want to access any of my email on a wireless device, I just do so.

    If someone's going to order a computer with Ubuntu installed, I don't see why they should expect it to come with anything other than Ubuntu. Love the penguin. Don't shill for Microsoft in the media.

  3. Rich

    50% of people are more stupid than average

    I haven't heard of anyone who wasn't quite smart already using Linux. So it's unsurprising she couldn't hack it.

  4. Neoc
    Thumb Down

    I don't get this woman.

    She *chose* to stay with Linux even though she wanted Windows, and now she complains.

    And let me just add that although I am not particularly well versed in Linux, I have 3 fully Ubuntu install (two Eee and a mail/web server), 3 fully Windows XP machine and a Dell Ubuntu/Vista (ack) dual-boot lapburner.

    In each case the Installer:

    1) Installed OpenOffice when it installed Ubuntu - had she simply double-clicked on the Word file, they would have opened.

    2) Immediately found my internet connection and self-configured to use it. I didn't have to lift a finger (except later when I went to assign a static IP to the connection).

    They must breed for dumb in that part of the country. She wouldn't even have had to worry about drivers as Dell would have installed them already.

  5. Eddy Ito
    Thumb Down

    It's just real hard!

    As they say, "quitters never win." What they don't say is lazy sacks looking for any excuse to be lazy will usually find one. Maybe someone can invent an alert bracelet with a button that calls for help; "I'm failing and can't get online." It is people like this that give stupid a bad name.

  6. Steven Raith
    Thumb Down

    Not an Ubuntu problem..'s a Dell Support problem. If her ISP required windows for her modem, then they should have replaced the machine, helped her fix it, or rebuilt it with Windows as required.

    But then, anyone who has dealt with Dell Consumer Support will know that the chances of getting anything useful out of their script monkeys on First Line will know that would never happen.

    *shudders at the thought of calling Dell without a corporate account*

    Steven R

  7. James O'Brien
    Paris Hilton



    'Nuff said

    /technical she aint if she doesnt know what the differences between Ubuntu and Windows are

  8. Losheda

    Why get ubuntu if you have no knowledge of what it is?

    1. She purchased the system with ubuntu without knowing what ubuntu was.

    2. She was told she could get windows for it but then changed her mind based on the opinion of a tech support person even though it went against her experience of using the system up to that point

    If she had researched what ubuntu was she would have known it was free and could have downloaded it at a later date, the tech support person could also have told her, then this whole incident would have been avoided. Support personnel are most likely encouraged to stop people switching back to windows because of the costs of getting windows to the end user.

    Dell needs to add a guide on what ubuntu is and isn't and make it available on their website and on the first boot of the system.

  9. hikaricore
    Thumb Down


    You wrote your article almost as badly as they did.

    That said she's a retard.

  10. Charles Elwood

    The dog ate my homework too.

    Where does the fail here end? I guess it's fortunate she didn't use ebay and end up buying a picture of a laptop.

    Mine's the one with mini-9 crammed into the pocket.

  11. DrewHew

    This idiot...

    ...shouldn't be allowed on campus in the first place!

    I understand that not all indivduals are technologically savvy, but I find common sense (which, alas, isn't very common anyway) and logic can take you a far way.

    So you've got this Ubuntu thingy on, like, your computer (OMG!). And like, if you're at the tertiary level of learning, a little reading online should tell you what is this Ubuntu (I hope everyone gets the fact that my insertions of 'like' and 'OMG' are aimed at mimicry). You're attending a technical college, so a quick visit to the computer faculty should also help with getting an appropriate Office Suite installed and some explanations as to how to browse the interwebs, and complete other basic (but important) tasks.

    Just thinking logically about the situation, and taking some simple steps to find solutions could have made life much easier.

    Being close-minded is the reason you're not in college, NOT Ubuntu!

  12. Simon
    Paris Hilton

    Linux = fail

    It's still pretty much as bad as it was 10 years ago, all well and fine until one tiny thing goes wrong and then only an expert can hack through it to fix it. Can't get online ? Just chmod your .confs and add some random lines of code into some other confs and check your man pages. Or something.

    Windows? Right click > repair connection would be typical of the effort involved in fixing it.

    Paris, because she gets flamed as much as I'm about to be.

  13. Dave
    Thumb Down

    US Woman Unable to Operate Modern Technology

    Overheard screaming "Stupid computer!" while performing percussive maintenance on laptop.

    There ya go, fixed that for you.


  14. Dylan Bright

    Technical College

    She was studying to be a Windows Admin.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    It's called

    natural selection.

  16. Dylan Bright

    Technical College?

    I guess she was studying to be a Windows Admin.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Just a guess

    This would be her "first year" at that technical college? From the sounds of it no one bothered showing her how to access those documents under openoffice, which if I'm not mistaken comes with ububtu. Then I'd guess the first people to try to help her were the x-box ms nerds who, instead of actually helping, told her how stupid she was for not using windows and this is her punishment. Most technical schools have to go out of their way to NOT be MS centric, which very much includes their support staff. If it isn't windows, they ignore you and call you names behind your back to their nerdy friends :P (Techs out there who respect their knowledge, and how much work it took to gain it, not included of course)

    You can lead a person to what used to be considered a supercomputer, but you can't expect them to be able to play with it right away. Unless children are being bred to be born with computers in their hands, and if they are then I really am out of touch :P And there is still a whole population of people who consider themselves computer savvy when they are really just MS Word/MS Excel/MS Outlook savvy, or they may have successfully installed windows on their own by following the directions and being lucky enough to have nothing go wrong, which then makes them windows experts :P

    Yes, I accept my country is full of idiots that will cry and whine over nothing instead of educating themselves, and are full of people who's only skill at helping is to tell someone what they did wrong (even if their own presumptions are just that). One has to hope that its just the few who are loud and are just not thinking before shouting, than it being an epidemic, becuase sometimes it's hard to tell ;P

    I love some people, they can be so cute when they're stupid, like raking fingernails on a chalk board.

  18. hikaricore

    She could be in the running for a Darwin Award.

    If somehow she managed to die while trying to remove Ubuntu from her computer.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Silly me but

    She still could have bought acopy of Windows for $99 and installed it or had it installed at a local shop. That's only 10% extra on the price of the laptop. If she found a competent shop she could even have had it set up for dual boot.

    I don't know which is more frightening. Cancelling school over a minor PC problem or the writer who failed to point out the technical (and support failure issues).

  20. Anonymous Coward


    So you just right-click and 'repair' in Windows, huh? And about 14% of the time it actually fixes the problem!

    Really, Linux isn't that hard... you may have to search online for some answers if you don't know how to do something, but hopefully that's a skill that anyone at the 5th grade level or above possesses. How can you say it's as bad as it was 10 years ago... that's like saying Windows is as bad as it was 10 years ago. With modern Linux distros (like Ubuntu) pretty much everything just works.

    Seriously though, are you just in a trolling mood to post a comment like that?

  21. GF
    Thumb Down

    She is an insult to womankind...

    Abbie Schubert needs to just stay away from computers. She should have just returned the computer for a refund and just go to college for a liberal arts degree. Use the computers at school if needed.

    She just lacked common sense on how to manage what she purchased, like buying a car and taking it back to the dealer if it was a lemon. This is not what I expect from a woman who should manage her money...

  22. kain preacher


    You guys are alot kinder than I expected

  23. Trix

    Sexism = fail

    So, Julian, "I provide support to lots of females who are just as feckless as this with Windows installed! "

    I work in an organisation that has a 70%+ male staff, and let me tell you, they're just as moronic, Windows or no Windows. And resent being told how to fix their cockups by a *woman*. The poor widdums, it must be hard for them to be so emasculated by someone who knows what she's doing when they don't.

  24. Christopher Martin
    Gates Halo

    If Windows is so worthwhile and easy to use...

    ... then couldn't she have bought and installed it within the span of a few hours? Actually, since she's so used to Windows, she probably already owns a license for it installed on her previous box.

  25. Keith Smith
    IT Angle

    Windows = Fail

    It's still pretty much as bad as it was 10 years ago, all well and fine until one tiny thing goes wrong and then only an expert can hack through it to fix it. Can't get online ? Just hit start run, and type regedit in the window,

    Search for HKEY/CurrentUser/.../X@#%^Dadeaf!$%&12356i434 and Modify . . .

    Ubuntu, just plug and unplug the network cable.

    Umm, Be real. That right-click repair sh*t _might_ work, I've never been that lucky, My experience is the driver is hammered, or some update screwed something or some arcane firewall setting is preventing, or you have a virus.

    When your system is hammered you need a guru, I don't care what OS you are running. Better yet I have had more problems with overzealous A/V software on windows than I've ever had with this ubuntu machine. This is not an indictment of windows but a simple acknowledgment that *all* computers have problems that need an "expert" from time to time. Mac is probably the most reliable , turn-key and guru-free.

  26. Shadowslayer
    Thumb Down


    So sounds like shes not the type to be going to tech school to just get the piece of paper because she already knows whats up. shes a noob going to a tech school to become some leet haxor like the commercials say. Its a good thing she did drop out as her lack of knowledge about basic things like OS compatibilities would have done her in.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Windows Mista

    You all call this woman stupid (maybe she is)...but the average person still knows bugger all about computers. I've worked in the IT industry for 20 years, yet my brother couldnt tell me the difference between a hard drive or ram (heck, clicking the Start Button was hard enough... where's the Stop button he asks??? :-| )

    All this article does is highlight to me why linux will never topple windows on the desktop. Readers of the Reg are slightly more educated in IT than the average person you know. Well, some of them.

  28. Moss Icely Spaceport

    Find the box it came in

    1. Pick up the shiny laptop

    2 .Place it in the box it came from

    3. Return to sender or sell on eBay

    4. $$$

    Too silly to use a computer.

    Too silly to attend college*.

    * although, and from experience this is not normally a problem if I go by the 'educated' idiots I work with.

  29. Geoffrey W

    You smug gits

    I know you were all born with a complete knowledge of how to compile your own versions of Linux and edit config files before your eyes even opened and they slapped your wrinkled arses for the first time but is she really stupid just because she doesnt know something that you do?

    GAH! You smug bastards.

  30. MaxSmart

    Jeez, guys...

    When I first read this story's headline, I thought this was going to be another "Linyos Torovaldos" article, but after reading the story I feel very sorry for the woman.

    There is way more technology out there than computers and IT. As a "technical college" student, Ms. Schubert may be taking anything from Certified Nurse Assistant to Optometry. She would need "a computer" to function in almost any curriculum. She laid down $1100 for "a computer," not understanding the nuances and hoping for the best.

    She missed the mark, but that's no reason to be mean, or to assume that she is stupid. As technologists, we have created an extremely complicated maze of twisty passages, all seemingly alike. No matter who's fault it was, this person got boned.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    my god how stupid can this woman be

    if you go onto dell and purchase a computer then you purchase it with the operating system that you want. You make the choice and they install the operating system you requested.

    She looked at the $$$$ and saw that she could save some dough by putting Ubuntu on and didn't even take the time to think about what she was doing. Then she whines.

    Bet her mom used to whop her with the stupid stick every evening before bed!

  32. Terkanil

    Coming from an Ex-Dell Support

    While its been around 18 months since I left Dell Tech Support (just as they were beginning to ship systems with Linux), we weren't "Script monkeys". Well, not all of us anyhow. I followed the script about as far as saying hello and goodbye. Beyond that, I went off the "support script" whenever I could. Part of the reason I spent most of my time there as a higher tier rep (apparently they promote you to higher tiers for commonly thinking outside the box.. was front line for all of a week).

    Even at my site though, I'll admit, it was a bit of a hit or miss. One person, while A+ certified, may strictly follow the script and think little else beyond what the internal knowledge base tells you to do. The next on the other head goes so far off the script, or even finds one that is partially relative and then goes off on his/her own to fix it that the problem is resolved either quicker, or in a better fashion (such as fixing a wireless problem in 2 min that took most of the floot an hour >_<).

    As for the choice of Ubuntu vs Linux, its a learning process. Yes, learning. But hey, isn't that what you go to college for? To learn? Doesn't the school have some sort of wireless, and if so, that surprisingly enough should be accessible under (wait for it!) Linux due to this funny thing called (OMG!) standards? As to the Verizon, can't say much to it myself, however, utlizing the previously noted 5th grader skills to do a little hunting online should reveal what I'm missing to get even connected to that in fairly clicky-clicky terms (Prolly some typing in there, guess that means I'm learning typing skills too?).

    And Microsoft Office.. Well, OpenOffice solves that problem, but if you really absolutely must have MS Office, there are ways to install it through mostly clicky options as I recall.

    Linux has changed a lot in the last ten years. While I admit to still spending most of my time working through a shell, that's just how I learned it. Linux has become much easier. Yes, it was a lot of work to sometimes get things working, and while you can still do it the old fashioned way, there are GUI options that can do the same tasks (Scary, no?)

    But what do I know, I still consider myself a bit of a Novice to Linux, even after working with it in desktops and server environments for 12 years.

  33. Stephen Bungay

    Failed by many, supported by none....

    Simon, not gonna flame ya... just gonna make a few points.

    From the sounds of it, the woman in this article probably would not know what to right click on in order to get to the network connection 'Repair' option in Windows. There are a few failings here;

    1. Dell tech support. "Dell told her not to" (replace her computer), that "Ubuntu was great, college students loved it". This is not helping the customer.

    2. ISPs (Verizon) packaging CD ROMS to 'help' customers get on the Internet. Invariably these are CD ROMS loaded with crap that no one actually needs to use to access their Internet account.

    3. The University for not providing information to help their students. She obviously thinks that she NEEDS MS Word to take her course, I don't think she came to this conclusion on her own, it was probably stated in the University Literature.

    A lack of general knowledge and the ability to think is something I see every day. Colleges and Universities that give 'computer courses' when really they are courses in Word, Excel, Powerpoint or Outlook. A 'Technical' school should certainly have been able to provide aid.

  34. Martin Silver badge

    Do I smell bovine output?

    What's the name of the PR company that got caught astroturfing windows?

    Last time I tried to order a Dell with Linux you had to select a single model on the business site and even then you had to find the hidden key in the secret passage and enter the name of Micheal Dells dog to order it.

  35. Pete "oranges" B.

    I don't get it.

    What's so hard about Linux systems? On all the modern iterations I've used, you type stuff and they do it. The manuals are even built in!

    I mean, the CLI can't possibly be more complicated and incomprehensible than all the visual metaphors in used in Windows, with its layers of hidden menus and dialogs.

  36. no one


    This crap has got to stop. It's an external modem, and it does not actually require a Windows program to use. I know, PPTP means you can tell people 'One computer per modem, sorry.' and have them believe you, but no one with half a clue believes it.

    Dell, if your Ubuntu install isn't pre-loaded with a pretty PPTP GUI, fix that now and teach your techs to recognize typical Verizon shenanigans.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Technical College...

    Some have alluded to it, but none have said it:

    She's attending a TECHNICAL COLLEGE.

    If she can't figure out how to open a word doc, has never heard of openoffice, and doesn't understand that the Verizon crapware CD doesn't actually do anything useful - perhaps she should be considering a change of career? Maybe a towel holder for a bathroom in a high-priced restaurant?

    Anyone who's attending a technical college - of any sort - ought to understand that the platform is fairly moot these days. Windows can do what Linux can do what Mac can do.

  38. Anonymous Coward

    Average American

    I am ashamed to be an American when people like this live under the same flag. It is outrageous that anyone would even think of attending college without knowing some computer basics (like: a lot of the business world uses Windows for their drones).

    And honestly, why didn't she go to the campus bookstore and ask someone what kind of computer to get? Hell, she probably could've gotten a decent discount on her laptop, or a shiny new copy of Windows, even. I graduated from high school only a couple years ago; and they had computer proficiency requirements (MS Office Suite, basic typing skills) for graduation (Oklahoma). And I thought _I_ lived in a state full of backwards idiots.

    What cruel twist of fate allowed the thought of attending college to even come within a small rural town of this quarter-wit? People like this make a mockery of our already failing education system. Her eggs should be quarantined to prevent further contamination of whatever cesspool she plopped out of.

  39. john

    And she lives in a suburb of the University of Wisconsin

    The young lady has excellent tech/vocation school options in Madison (she's in a suburb) as well as the University of Wisconsin. Why would she want to take online classes from Milwaukee, a city about 150 km away? The MATC online questionnaire to see if you should take online classes would have weeded her out if she bothered to take it, and answered honestly.

    Now that the tv station has gotten her operational problems removed, it would be interesting to have a followup story on how she did with it this spring semester.

  40. Shingo Tamai
    Paris Hilton

    Bla bla bla windows vs linux.

    In capitals, just to be clear:


    Not to mention the college papers stored in the RECYCLEBIN destroyed by clicking YES on the "Are you sure you want to delete "untitled.doc" (actually end_of_the_semester_dissertation.doc) ?" dialog.

    Paris because she was troubled in college too...

  41. This post has been deleted by its author

  42. al

    I'm sure she cant do an integration..

    ...on square root of tan(x) either.

    Anyone with a working knowledge of math knows that tan(x) needs to be substituted and any simple attempt to break it into cosine or sine wouldn't work. One must be soooooo dumb to not think of it themselves.

  43. Anton Ivanov

    Re: @Simon

    For a cellular modem connection - about 0% of the time. In any of them. If it stops working you have to dive into the guts of the cell modem connection manager which is third party and _NOT_ subject to such windows niceties. Considering that a lot of them are written cross-platform to support Windows & Mac nowdays you should be expecting guess what - config files. Text ones. No registry.

    Fix by "repair connection"... Bwahahaha

  44. Charles Manning

    "The internet"!= the internet

    To most people out there is no difference between their computer and the rest of the computers on the internet. They just plug in the cable and suddenly their computer becomes more capable.

    Similarly, there are a bunch of people that can't tell the different between the internet and IE. In fact on my vanilla Windows XP PC I notice that the menu says "Internet" next to the button to launch IE. If Microsoft calls IE the internet, then not having IE == not having the internet.

    As we know many sites won't run on anything other than IE + ActiveX etc. Ubuntu will struggle to deliver that.

  45. John Bailey

    Inadvertent user

    Not the best way to get introduced to Linux I'll admit. But essentially, someone with no idea what they were buying bought the wrong thing. what a surprise.

    How she managed to buy an Ubuntu Dell by mistake is also quite impressive. And do American ISPs really demand a Windows disk to use their service? Or is it that she just had some cheap ass ISP provided USB modem or something instead of a router.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Simon & AC03:16

    I'm with you, Simon. Linux is for elitist geeks, and isn't designed with the average user in mind, which is why Windows is far, far more popular. There are more Vista installations than Ubuntu.

    Let me see now...

    ...My network connectivity is jaffed, so our AC there says go online to find the correct Ubuntu fixes.... er... Epic Fail, I'd say.


  47. jai

    2 semesters?

    surely it was just an opportune excuse for bunking off 2 semesters of college - that's 5 months is it? (not sure how long the terms are over there)

    how can it take 5 months to realise that the operating system really isn't working for you and that you need to switch to (shudder) windows?

  48. Kevin

    @Anonymous Coward Posted Thursday 15th January 2009 03:16 GMT

    "How can you say it's as bad as it was 10 years ago... that's like saying Windows is as bad as it was 10 years ago. "

    Actually after the <sarcasm>JOY</sarcasm> of using Vista I would say windows is probably worst off right now than it was 10 years ago.

    I'm guessing she probably was using a verizon cell phone with a dongle for her internet connection that has no Linux drivers readily available. Or had one of those stupid gateways that comes with a usually unneeded windows only CD and has no alternate instructions.

    And maybe the school's web page is made to work only on <sarcasm> the Internet standards</sarcasm> of IE6 seeing it is a technical school and its probably the most they teach.


    I don't think I have ever seen repair connection work once in all my years working on windows PC's

    Also remember this is coming from the same state that had a 34 yo enrolled in high school as a 15yo and didn't question her age... HEY maybe there the same person ;)

  49. David Harper

    Re Linux = fail

    "It's still pretty much as bad as it was 10 years ago"

    And Vista has been *such* an improvement over XP :-)

  50. Tom Peach

    Dell's fault

    A lot of you are missing the point, this isn't about Ubuntu being crap it's about a lady being sold a laptop that wasn't fit for purpose.

    She erroneously selected a laptop preinstalled with Ubuntu, possibly because it was cheapest on the Dell site and got a shock when it turned up. Dell did OSS no favours by telling her it'll be fine, aside from the ISP setup CD she may have needed Windows (activeX whatever) for her online course, in which case Ubuntu won't work for her.

    I wish everybody would realise that most people don't care if their computer runs Gentoo , OSX, Windows or BSD, they just want to put the disk in their ISP gave them and connect to the internet and read their emails. People don't care about Open Office etc, they are not interested.

    Ubuntu is great, recommend it whenever it really will benefit people, keep the positive feedback coming and watch it gain market share. If you have any doubt don't force it on people, let them run windows to avoid nonsense articles like this.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We could make our OS'es easier to use too...

    Unsurprisingly, not one comment so far about "ease of use" (irrespective of the operating system concerned).

    Obviously a personal computer isn't a "single function" machine - unlike a television or a microwave or a washing machine (which, aside from some parameter setting, are ultimately just switch on, switch off machines), a computer can host multiple applications. This means it'll never be quite as simple as the most ardent imbeciles among us would like.

    However, pretty much every operating system I have ever seen could do a whole lot more on the ease of use front....which is just as well, as it gives us techies the opportunity to be smugly condescending to those poor peons who don't know how to use [insert OS of choice here].

    Of course, techies can be cretins too - anyone who engages in "my OS is better than your OS" religious flamewars, for example :)

  52. Anonymous Coward

    Linux makes your knob drop off.

    A mate of mine - he installed Linux, right - and a couple of days later his knob dropped right off.

    He called Dell to complain, but they just didn't want to know.

    This is what they don't tell you on their so-called "web site".

    True story - be warned.

  53. Alfazed

    Ubuntu - Dell - American wankers

    I get so fed up reading comments from geeks with a working Linux machine, who reckon it's the only Operating System worth having and that it is easy to use and never crashes or gets any other problems.

    Wankers is what I say.

    Yes the woman in the article is a bit lame, so are many PC users, but so are you Linux commentards. Really !

    I have been pissing in the wind with Linuxes like Ubuntu for several years now, ever hoping that this distro will do the biz on Microsoft, and I can finally leave all the shite behind, but no. It still doesn't cut it in many instances.

    Including failing to recognise an NVidia graphics card so the screen resolution during the install wouldn't resize to something other than 800x600, so I couldn't read the dialogue boxes to complete the partitioning ! On that one machine.

    No Linux distro will dual boot on my work horse 'cos it has External SATA and can't find the installed Grub once the installation is completed. PS don't go to the forums !

    And another Ubuntu dual booting machine hosed the whole machine during a failed update using the package management tool supplied, Synaptic.

    Also please be aware that if setting up a dual boot, and you choose import stuff from the Windows partition to use when you're in Ubuntu, you CAN hose your Windows system from inside Ubuntu, without any fucking warning.

    So there Linux breath !

    PS I have a BSc in Information Systems and have been pissing in the wind with personal computers since before 1995. And I don't see things getting better, rather the reverse. And just to stick the boot in to Open Source apps generally. Updating Firefox and Seamonkey on another Windows XP machine, two weeks ago, destroyed all the Bookmarks and stored passwords. Plus yesterdays use of Mozilla Backup on my work machine has wiped all the stored passwords in both Firefox and Seamonkey.

    They all stink of American hype.

    Happy shopping - Alfazed.

  54. Anonymous Coward

    Seriously folks...

    ... the woman had a "moment" while traversing the - quite frightening for many - wilderness of buying consumer technology. I have known quite competent technical people - whose decades of experience have been with esoteric programing languages on prehistoric architectures - go into a blank spasm when trying to buy a PC and that is when the only options on hand were PC or Mac. Similarly I have seen young "ubergeeks" choke on their shandy trying to get their head around archaic but robust, capable - and therefore eminently appropriate - 8 bit control systems.

    For the majority of people that - sadly for El Reg's revenue streams - do not surf this site, a computer is a computer, office is office, and what happens inside the box is a problem for the place that sold the thing. Not entirely different to most people's (including, no doubt, many Reg readers in this case) view of cars, lawnmowers, sewing machines, microwaves, typewriters, vending machines and so on and so forth.

    I wouldn't even go so far as to blame Dell. You go into Ikea without knowing "the system" and you are likely to come out with something entirely unexpected and unassemblable - or meatballs. Likewise an unseasoned traveler to planet Dell can quite easily come out the other end with a box full of mystery and woe. I once came out with a complimentary printer. If you are at all familiar with Dell's low end ink jet printer range you will know what a terrible thing that is. Pray for meatballs.

    The only crime here is the media beat up giving unnecessary oxygen to one person's panic attack and, probably not entirely accidentally, throwing that person to the wolves. A sensible voice would have probably counseled the woman to let it go and try to find some redress with Dell - perhaps with the assistance of her local consumer advocate. If she is genuine then she would probably be far better off, and if she is some crank after tv time she would be denied the privilege.

    As for the local wolfpack, you are all very smart and your arguments are indisputable. Your personal choice of operating system is flawlessly correct and, as you have always suspected, it makes you irresistibly attractive to the opposite sex. Go get 'em, tiger!

    Anonymous Coward because that is what I am.

  55. Paul

    And no one thinks....

    That the guy on the phones at Dell who she talked to was also an idiot?? What kind of arguement is "yeah, loads of students use Linux", whomever she talked to shouldn't have even *thought* about convincing her to keep Linux.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    100% FUD

    So we're back to FUD?

  57. Nick Askew
    IT Angle

    Dumb users or dumb IT Folk?

    Not so long ago I'd probably have thought this was a Linux problem, user problem, or a combination of both. However I've just helped my parents upgrade their computer and they have been thrown by a move from one windows version to another. It made me realise that not everyone is comfortable with concepts like an operating system and what it means to have a computer with a different operating system.

    A lot (if not all) of the comments on here come from people in the IT industry and so phrases like "Operating System" do do phase us. However we seem to be generally blind to the plight of the non techie and that is a failing of our industry as much as, if not more than, any failing on the part of a user of our products.

    In an ideal world the sales man at Dell would have quizzed her at length about her intentions but he is on commission and does not have the time. Her course supervisor might have advised her of minimum requirements of a machine needed to follow the course work, actually I suspect these probably exist and that Ubuntu and OO meet those standards. Her ISP might even have provided drivers for her hardware, I find it strange that there is some restriction actually but perhaps she has a USB modem or something similar.

  58. Martin Owens

    How Hard

    Does anyone realise how HARD it is to buy an ubuntu machine from Dell, without actually search for it specifically and then wading through pages of "Are you sure you REALLY want ubuntu? Go here for windows, no really, windows is what you need and Dell Recommends Windows Vista, so go here and save yourself before it's too late!"

    Next week, someone got a HP "too high class to be called Ubuntu" MI machine and complains because it broke when they tried to add the detergent and the couldn't see where to put the laundry anyway.

  59. Anonymous Coward

    public bool loserCheck($OS_you_use)

    Haha what you say now Linux freetards??!?! It just can't compete - only virgins and people who cry about computers like Linux.

  60. sammi

    I just made a gormless, grizzling noise at work at 8am

    Though it reminds me of Virgin Media telling me that 'the internet doesn't work on linux' when I requested that they stop bloody throttling me.

  61. Steve

    People are stupid

    People don't normally check what engine is running a car when buying a new one - for most people if it's the right colour and size and within budget it's a winner.

    Same applies for computers. She probably picked a machine that had the spec's she wanted and was asked for either the Vista or Ubuntu model. I'm assuming the Linux box was a few £ cheaper...

    Powered it on, everything looks different. Can't do a couple of things. Tries to open Device Manager and can't. Read a post about getting the 3G dongle to work on Ubuntu and realised she needs to modify 3 config files, use NDISWRAPPER and thought "balls to this".

    Linux - works well for the noob when one of us pre-configures it and they only want to do emails and IM. Anything else requires a Linux admin.

    2009 year of Linux on the desktop? Don't make me laugh (again)

  62. Anonymous Coward

    @Dylan Bright

    You're taking the piss out of her technological illiteracy by posting the same "joke" twice in 12 minutes?


  63. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    @simon @AC silly me but


    No flame, just a little fact: I have NEVER needed to run anything other than YAST or YUM on the 3 openSUSE machines I administer. I have had HORRENDOUS problems installing Windows (NT/2000/XP) on the same machines that work out of the box with OpenSUSE (9,x, 10.0,10.2, 10.3 and 11.1). My wife used a linux account on our home machine when windows was up the creek again (Symantecs fault this time for not having proper uninstall). She had no problems, except when connecting to her work webmail site, which (being an MS-shop) had all sorts of javascript errors. Installing IE under wine solved that. Defaulting Openoffice to write Word format solved the remainder.

    @AC silly me but

    Ever tried installing windows on a machine from scratch? Windows 2000 refused to boot at some stage, not because I had installed my Adaptec 2940UW SCSI controller (that worked fine), but when I had the gall to attach an obscure device called a Quantum Viking II 9GB hard drive to it (the hard drive from my old PC, with a Windows 3.1 image on it, so 2000 might have been offended). I checked whether there was a boot order problem, there wasn't. Linux booted fine, but W2000 borked. This was a real shame as 9GB of storage was not to be sneezed at then (main disk was 20 GB). XP is a lot better in this respect, but I still get angry at the way it insists on stuffing up the boot loader EVERY time.

  64. mike

    open office

    open office would work just as well as word in fact better. as to the collage needing it on word that is because there on a winblows network. so all she has to do is save in open office microsoft word format. long live the penquin.

    PS not a ubuntu problem.

  65. Alan Johnson

    Do not criticise the women for lack of technical knowledge

    I do not think the women shoudl be criticised for her lack of knowledge of computers. She should be criticised for giving up so easily.

    The guy who thinks that it is easier on windows because of 'repair connection' is mad. It only works if whatever the problem was has gone away. That almost always means opening a DOS shell typing on the command line to figure out what the problem is (exactly the same commands as on the linux command line!), resolving the problem and then clicking on the repair button.

    The only real difference is that the command line is worse on windows.

  66. This post has been deleted by its author

  67. John Latham

    Whilst I enjoyed my time with Ubuntu....

    ....I just had to let it go.

    I hate Windows with a passion. So many things about it make me ashamed to be a software engineer.

    However, having spent a few months with Ubuntu on my Thinkpad, I've reverted back to XP.

    I could live with running a few Windows-only apps under VMWare and Wine. Sure, they ran a bit slower, but what price freedom?. I could even live with some Windows apps only running on a spare Windows machine in the corner.

    But day to day, the basic Ubuntu experience was just too frustrating. Skype and Flash were always fighting for control of the sound systems. Flash crashed frequently inside Firefox. Power management never seemed to work as well as on XP. Switching between different sets of displays was awkward, and often required a restart.

    In the end, I got tired of these simple things not working right. Of course this could all be fixed if the video card manufacturers sorted out their drivers, and application software developers (e.g. Skype, Adobe) treated Linux with the same respect they do Windows, and, and...

    But now I can do almost everything I could on Ubuntu with XP+Cygwin. I'm sad to admit it, but for me the whole experience (on XP at least) is less painful and more productive.

  68. max allan


    If Windows can't fix it, like in about 99% of the situations where I've ever seen problems you've got no other help. At least someone who understands what's going on in Linux can get a meaningful error message or status out of it, rather than windows which may as well just blow a raspberry at you as print any of it's "your system has a configuration problem" "OK" error messages.

    No it's not flipping well OK that something went wrong, and it's even less OK that you can't tell me what went wrong so I can fix it.

    That said I have been disappointed with Ubuntu 8.10 and it's network applet. The network applet only actually permanently changes your network config if you go hack some config files. (unless you want the default DHCP option!) This is the sort of idiot problem that turns people off Linux. If the GUI tool doesn't do everything it needs to do for "what it says on the tin" to happen then it's worse than worthless, it's deliberately misleading people. I don't care if the config files that it needs to edit belong to some other area of the system, either go ahead and edit them anyway OR pop up a warning box "This tool won't be effective unless you manually do..."

    I just switched to OpenSolaris instead and haven't found any such glaring cockups yet.

    Anyway, back on topic of idiot American, I expect she bought laptop with ubuntu because ubuntu was cheaper than vista.

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "you may have to search online for some answers if you don't know how to do something,"

    Except that her problem was she couldn't get online... ;-)

    Not a *nix specific problem though - I have an old PC with a NIC which my XP install disc doesn't recognise and about once every 18 months when I put in a bigger HD and reinstall, I never remember. "OK, install done, fly, little one, go get your patches & updates. What? Including a working driver for the NIC? Ah. Now, it it going to be quicker to search for that copy of the driver I downloaded last time, or put the old hard drive back in and download it again?"

    Posted anonymously to save my blushes at work. Where I do IT support...

  70. Gulfie
    Thumb Down

    @Simon, Linux = fail

    Actually, my experience of supporting XP and Vista is that right-click/repair connection does not solve the problem on a fairly frequent basis. More likely, there are more people around with the neccesary tech know-how to fix a Windows cock-up than a Linux one. Both are equally hard to solve if you have no knowledge, there are simply more people around with Windows knowledge.

    And when it comes to stripping off unwanted software I'd far rather do it on a Linux box and know I've not left any poisoned DLLs around because of Windows' scatter-gun approach to file installation.

    Ubuntu is about the best of the Linux distros for consumption by the general public. If anything I'd say this woman was **too stupid** or **too lazy** to get to grips with the computer and in all probability this has saved her from an epic fail at the college. Inbreeding, meh.

  71. Tom Wood

    Complete registration form in black ballpoint

    Woman goes to Staples, buys blue fountain pen. College says she needs to write in black ballpoint. Woman goes back to Staples and complains that her blue fountain pen is not a black ballpoint. Staples agree that it's not, and say they would exchange the blue fountain pen for a black ballpoint, but sales assistant points out that blue fountain pen is much nicer than black ballpoint, and still allows completion of everyday tasks such as "writing" and "doodling". Woman decides to keep the blue fountain pen after all.

    Then complains that Staples made her unable to register for her college course for two semesters because her blue pen isn't black?! Who's fault is that?

  72. Paul Murphy

    >Seriously though, are you just in a trolling mood to post a comment like that?

    Yeah - don't feed the troll.

    Not as bad as the teacher who took the students' linux disks away and claimed that no operating system was free. Still, going on the fact that people are told that 'if it looks too good to be true then it probably is' and should be avoided it's not too surprising that people don't believe in linux (if they have heard of it).

    I agree with the comment re natural selection - it's probably for the best that the lady in question doesn't end up with a technical qualification.


  73. Fruitloop

    Consensus ad idem

    Clearly a case of miss selling by Dell, she thought buying a computer would give her a machine with Windows on it to do her college work which she didn't get. Also the support muppet told her that "it was compatible with everything I needed" which was not true.

    Some harsh comments here as not everyone is (or should have to be) technical.

  74. Andus McCoatover

    At college???

    Didn't she think to ask her classmates/tutor for help? Really simple, I didn't use the "Windows setup disk" which came with my DNA internet account. OK, I'm moderately tech-savvy and used pppoeconf, but one of the students could've done it for her in 2 minutes. Then, it just works!

    -"Why didn't you use your initiative?" "Because no-one told me to!"

  75. calagan
    Gates Horns

    Useless Windows-only bloatware CD

    It's very common to see Internet connection kits bundled with a CD that lead you to believe you have to install some useless Windows-only application to be able to use your modem, whereas, the Web Interface is more than sufficient.

    Verizon should provide noob-proof documentation to set up your connection using a browser without having to install this probably unsecure bloatware.

    I wouldn't be surprised if this whole article was in fact a PR stunt by M$ to prevent other PC manufacturer from following Dell's excellent move toward non Windows OS.

  76. Anonymous Coward

    For everyone about to flame Simon...

    Sorry chaps, but he's right. It doesn't matter how many times you claim Linux is ready for the big time, or repeat stories of your 101 year old granny using Ubuntu (and there's inevitably one of those every single time there's a story about Linux), it's just not as easy to use as Windows, and when something goes wrong it can be an absolute pain in the arse. I don't hate Linux or anything and I'd be quite happy to see a decent OS topple Windows, but that's just a fact. Sadly a lot of Linux fans suffer from this problem where they can't quite understand why delving into command lines and changing system files would be a problem, believing instead that it's just the user that is stupid.

    Windows is, most of the time, an absolute no-brainer, but more importantly every mainstream software package out there will run. Don't forget that even novice users have almost certainly had some previous computer experience, and that experience is 99% certain to have been with Windows and Office.

  77. Anonymous Coward

    @ AC 03:16

    You mean MS released a new Windows version in the last 10 years?

    Mine's the asbestos one.

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    On most laptops, Linux gets you online straight out of the box. 10yrs ago, that would have been impossible.

    I would bet real money that Ubuntu comes with some Office-a-like package installed. The Woman's ISP should have reassured her that the installer thy gave her wasn't necessary. Dell could have pointed out the word-processor.

    My girlfriend who yawns at the mention of computers is perfectly happy to switch between Linux, XP or Win7, barely registering the differences.

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    i actually understand!

    you have to remember that the reg readership is quite technical. some people have no concept of an operation system, they just want a computer.

    A lot of it is how you are used to a pc, if you learn to write documents by rote, and the first thing on the course is 'start up word', having a pc without word means you cant write any documents!

    as for the internet, some crappy isp's do still give out usb modems instead of routers, the driver cd that comes with these will not work on ubuntu, so she wouldn't be able to get on the net.

    Honestly, after dealing with my dad and his pc, i can easily see how getting a pc with ubuntu would be completely unsuitable for some people, but then not being able to use it is one thing, and going on tv telling everyone it's crap because you have no concept of how to use a pc is something else

  80. TerryG

    We may all laugh...

    but the thing is that's the target audience for Linux if it's ever going to make the breakthrough into the mass market desktop. While it's probably safe to assume every-one reading The Reg knows a thing or two about computers and thinks Ubuntu is the dogs danglies, the average clueless punter still seems to struggle with the basics. These are the sort of people you see in Currys and PC World with a glazed expression on their faces as some spotty faced kid runs off his learned-by-rote spiel full of nice technical buzz words. These people believe what they're told by sales assistants, buy the nice shiny box, take it home, spend 2 hours plugging it in, then expect the internet to appear by magic even if they haven't switched their broadband on.

    It's one area were MS has bent over backwards to make things as idiot-proof as possible, much to the annoyance of techies who don't need that sort of hand-holding, but it's worked for them and allowed them to dominate the market. Something Linux in general still has to grasp.

  81. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC 03:16

    'Linux isn't that hard... you may have to search online for some answers if you don't know how to do something'

    Bit hard to do if one of the problems you are having is being UNABLE TO GET ONLINE.

    'Most technical schools have to go out of their way to NOT be MS centric, which very much includes their support staff. If it isn't windows, they ignore you and call you names behind your back to their nerdy friends'

    Bit of a contradictory argument don't you think. They try to not be MS centric but ignore you if you don't use windows? I think you will find, at least in the UK that it tends to be the University students who try to push linux on everything as they tend to forget not everyone is studying computer science. That wouldn't be a problem if they actually knew what they were doing but they treat important systems as an ongoing project. Anybody who has been on the end of trying to process UCAS applications will tell you just how buggy, unstable and awful to use that is.

  82. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    She's NOT an idiot

    I hate Windows - I think it's a joke of an operating system.

    BUT this woman is not an idiot. Unless you are reasonably techie, you have NO IDEA what Linux is, despite what the Linux people may tell you, or wish to think. Anyone posting on the Reg WILL know what Linux is because we're all geeky enough to know, but that doesn't make this woman an idiot.

    Firstly, she may well not have noticed the Ubuntu thing when she ordered it, or may not have thought anything of it - "Ubuntu" doesn't easily translate to "an operating system that's NOT Windows and won't run Word"!

    And if you don't know what it is and you phone up the supplier later (who you trust to know these things) and they say "don't worry - it's just like Windows, only better" then how the hell are you supposed to know otherwise? The person at Dell should have asked her what she wanted to run on it, and then he might have found she needed Word etc. If it's anyone's fault,. it's Dell's.

  83. phil
    Paris Hilton

    Idiocy filter

    News at 10, completely clueless person prevented from accessing the internet, world protected.

    In other news, clueless person has now installed windows and is currently joining a botnet near you...

    Paris because its ok if she's clueless...

  84. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Re Linux=fail

    I agree with Simon. Not only is Linux is too technical for most people when you ask for aadvice on a forum, say, its written in some weird language that looks a bit like English but makes no sense to most people. Agreed Windows is pretty pants too. This is at the heart of the problem with PCs, most people actually don't want a PC they want something that does Internet and Word / Excel plus runs games their mates send and plays media. That GM blokes commects acomapring computers with cars some time ago was pretty spot on (IIRC)

    Anonymous cos I'm feeling fragile

    Paris. Why not

  85. Mark C
    Paris Hilton

    Shame on you

    This could be a mature woman that has little or no experience on a PC and just wants to get back into education - an admirable cause in my book. The fact that it called a Technical College is irrelevant as she may be doing a course in the humanities.

    So she's not aware that PCs can have Windows/Linux/Mac OS. This is not surprising as there are still many people that do not use computers very often and Linux is barely mainstream, if at all.

    It just goes to show how narrow-minded so called 'educated' people are.

    Paris..she wouldn't know one Linux distro from another either.

  86. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm looking forward to the day

    that I'm no longer surprised by just how stupid people are capable of being

  87. Martin Lyne


    Schools + proprietary software as a requirement = fail.

  88. Neal

    Lets be fair here

    Although she is plainly making very ignorant dumb choices and expecting decisions to be made for her, if she had no internet access she was problably very limited in options to find out more.

    How many people here, apart from linux geeks would be able to fix a Ubuntu internet access problem without having another machine to google the fix on ?

  89. EdwardP

    Silver lining.

    Oh so what if some American bint went on some half baked excuse of a TV station to whinge about an unutterably boring problem of her own making.

    What I do like, is that when she complained to the Dell employee, rather than jumping at the chance to flog a Windows license, they advised her to stick with it.

    Good on Dell, keep pushing Ubuntu. Raise the bar for all of us.

  90. Anonymous Coward


    Its only the same as it was 10 years ago if you haven't downloaded a new CD since then !

  91. Anonymous Coward


    "Really, Linux isn't that hard... you may have to search online for some answers if you don't know how to do something"

    That assumes that you can get online in the first place, which she says she couldn't. Maybe she couldn't figure out how to connect using her wireless adapter?

    Linux still requires more effort to use than Windows. Microsoft pay a lot of money to people to design every aspect of Windows, from the UI to the user documentation to the underlying code itself. Linux relies mostly on unpaid volunteers to do this work. The documentation in it is varied, and a lot of it wouldn't be understood by your typical user. The UI is also different to Windows, which scares a lot of normal users as they just want what they're used to.

    You all have to stop thinking like a savvy IT pro and start thinking like the person who has to call tech support to ask why their PC isn't turning on when the wall socket is turned off.

    That said, with regards to Word, I don't know why she didn't just try to open the file anyway, since OpenOffice should be installed by default, as people have already said. Maybe she just tried to install Office and didn't have a Word file to try with it?

  92. Matthew Morrison
    Thumb Down

    I'm disappointed in you lot

    Oh wow, so someone who is blatantly not incredibly PC-savvy got confused by the differences in operating systems. And this makes her an idiot? The level of vitriol here just makes me sad for her and for all of us.

  93. Stew Wilson


    If you claim to ever have seen Right-click->Repair work, then you're a liar. It only prolongs the torment by making lusers think that there's a one-click solution.

    Then again, you're either a liar about Linux, or you've not looked at it at all in the last 10 years.

  94. AC

    ubuntu is fail

    I used it for a month or two after a hdd failure and figured I'd give it a whirl.

    it was crap, want it to interface with your hardware? Sure no problem just edit files manually, compile this, install that add on, stand on your head, do the macarena and you might get limited functionality.

    want that very same piece of hardware to interface with windpwns? sure, turn on machine with hardware installed, click on "next" and then click on "finish", functionality now at 100% (and that's under vista!)

    I have no doubt that ubuntu is useful if you want to do incredibly technical things with it, but for general use every day normal computing its a giant pile of horse manure. You fanbois go back to sitting in ur darkened server rooms and cheese snacks.

  95. Richard Cartledge

    Stupid Sasafras

    Giving UBUNTU to someone who is a noob but who is also used to Windows is a recipe for disaster. I found out the hard way.

  96. JohnG

    Users are not experts

    A substantial proportion of computer and Internet users have no interest in the technology involved. They just want to be able to write letters and other documents, browse the web and send emails. It is very similar to the majority of car owners - they have no interest in what is under the bonnet, they want to be able to drive from A to B. This is true of nearly all the sysadmins and programmers I know - they drive cars without any interest in the mechanics. If linux is to take a chunk of Microsoft's position, the "you're too stupid to own a computer" attitude has to go.

    Much of the problem is that computer hardware is relatively inexpensive and the after sales support provided by manufacturers tends to reflect this. However, if Dell decided to sell systems with Ubuntu, they should have anticipated issues like "I can't load Word" and "I can't get the Internet" and have been ready with answers (like "Openoffice writer can be used instead of Word").

  97. John Bayly
    Thumb Down

    @Simon (Sometimes trolls need to be fed)

    As far as I'm aware, repair connection is basically an ipconfig /renew (or possibly an ipconfig /release followed by /renew)

    I'm pretty certain that it doesn't modify or change permissions on any configuration files.

    To be honest, the last time I edited a text file in Ubuntu was to change the grub menu order, not something many Windows users would ever do.

    Regarding the article, I can't believe people still only have a broadband modem rather than routers (or that the have to use the shitty software that the ISP provides).

    And two words, Open Office, we use it on our Windows machines, and several Uni's I know of use it. Saves & opens Office docs (inc Office 2007). It also renders old Word docs better than current versions of Word. The only thing I miss sometimes are the Macros, though this woman wouldn't ever use them.

  98. Thomas


    Windows Repair fixes all your problems!

    Unless you happen to be dealing with a wireless network, Vista and a Belkin N Router, in which case contact the person who administrates your network.

    Maybe they should have that as a new system error message for Windows 7 "Well, I made a half-assed attempt to fix your network but after switching the adaptor on and off I'm out of ideas. Over to you."

  99. Anonymous Coward

    Callsic response

    Internet not workign, connection down?

    " you may have to search online for some answers if you don't know how to do something, but hopefully that's a skill that anyone at the 5th grade level or above possesses"

    And anyone woth their salt realises that if your internet connection is down and you only have one pc......

    Don't worry I had this eternal loop with a modem manufacturer 10 years ago...

    My modem doesn't work....

    Down load the updated drivers from...

    My Modem doesn't work.

    yes download the drivers from...


    Yes download the...Ohhhh. We'll send the drivers in the post....

    And yes I've used Unbuntu. Ok, but not for me....Some nice features but many others just to rough around the edges...

  100. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Whilst the article his badly researched, and more than likely inaccurate, it does raise a good point. Do any of you ever think of the consequences of "choosing" open source for someone else, or of evangelising it at people? You are, in essence doing the same thing as MS in that you're trying to take advantage of non-technical people in order to push your agenda.

    A professional in a trusted capacity told her she'd be OK with Ubuntu, and not knowing any better, she believed them and stuck with it. Based on threads like this, they probably said something like "Even retards can use Ubuntu, you aren't retarded are you?"

    Technical support should be neutral.

    Oh, and to all the retards who keep saying "She should have used google to find out how to do it"

    How on EARTH do you use google to troubleshoot "I can't get on the internet"?

    Most ISP's don't even support the Mac, let alone linux.

  101. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    get over it

    some people don't understand computers and don't want to understand them.

    it all makes work for the working man.

  102. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    @"Linux = fail"

    "It's still pretty much as bad as it was 10 years ago, all well and fine until one tiny thing goes wrong and then only an expert can hack through it to fix it."

    Windows has been like that for longer than Linux has, and often still is, especially with Vista.

  103. tom

    Ubuntu is EASY!

    Possibly easier than windows even. I gave my mother-in-law a laptop for christmas with Ubuntu installed and she loves it. Finds it loads easier to use than windows and much harder to break. This girl just didn't want to go to college.

  104. Liam Johnson


    >>Windows? Right click > repair connection

    And that has worked how often for you? The one time you tried it? You were just lucky. If it was a “real problem” (TM) then Windows would have done what it always does.

    1. Your net work connection is not working.*

    2. Would you like to repair the problem?

    3. Click repair.

    4. goto1.

    Good luck.

    *I don’t have the graphics for the smiley dogs and paperclips, but you get the idea.

  105. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Online help

    "you may have to search online for some answers if you don't know how to do something, but hopefully that's a skill that anyone at the 5th grade level or above possesses. "

    That's a classic piece of advice for someone who's problem is that they can't get online. I recently had the same brain-dead response from BT.

    Ubuntu's real problem is that there's no manual. Windows has the same problem but vastly more people have used it and think they already know how to do x, y, or z with "a computer".

    Which is why, after releasing a turkey like Vista (or ME, or for that matter Windows 1, 2, or 3.0), Microsoft can just walk away and start on Windows 7 safe in the knowledge that there's nothing anyone can do to compete with them - the public's expectaions of computers is so low that they'll buy any old crap so long as it's familiar.

  106. Ferry Boat

    Who put the dog on my desk?

    She wants to do a college course. Good for her. The computer is just a tool to be used in the process of doing the course. She is a typical person. She doesn't really know how the computer should do it, she just knows that it should do it. She needs a computer and she needs it to just work. I suspect she'd have similar issues with Windows or whatever OS. That's not part of the problem. The problem is setting up a PC needs some knowledge. She needs support either from Dell or a friend.

  107. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Linux isn't that hard

    But it's still hard enough for a good share of the population to not find their way around it.

    Now that we are hopefully done with tearing the remains of the victim to shreds and pounding said shreds below ground, might we reflect on the true portent of the article ?

    Perhaps, just maybe, there might be a slight percentage of chance that Linux aficionados (ie geeks) are much too accustomed to their brainchild to actually spot the hurdles the non-initiated (ie lusers) need to overcome ? And if said non-initiated is also not computer proficient, said hurdles can seem like mountains, apparently.

    "Pretty much everything just works" - except when it doesn't. And whether or not the victim was brain-dead, a moron, or just clueless (still not a crime), it does seem difficult to apply for help online if no online connection is available.

    I think this story should be a lesson to all would-be users of any flavor of Linux : try if you will, but for Pete's sake don't tell anybody unless you succeed. Because if you fail, not only will you have wasted your time (at best), but you will also be keelhauled by all those Linux geeks who cannot bear the thought that their beloved Penguin is not the most friendly, cuddly, easy-to-use perfect product in the Universe.

    In the end, when you don't have a clue and you're on your own, Linux is not your friend.

    But neither is Windows, for that matter. I suspect other OSes have the same issue, but I haven't tried any other, so I won't jump to conclusions.

  108. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Oh dear. What do you do when that fails? I know! Turnitoffandonagain and hope! If that doesn't work, blame someone/thing else.

    Seriously, this kind of proves that linux on the desktop isn't ready yet, not because it's rubbish (it isn't), rather the public at large are still too stupid. However, this woman does sound really dumb.

    Nice balanced reporting El Reg...

  109. Patrick O'Reilly

    Jam on Top

    She doesn't need a computer, she need a brain! or at least half an hour with the helpful neighbourhood geek.

    Good to see Dell tech support bigging up Ubuntu.

    But maybe we should ask ourselves, is a Linux desktop ready for the great unwashed just yet?

  110. Anonymous Coward

    Re: Linux = fail

    I agree. Years ago a manager in a public service here in Brazil asked me whether they could substitute Windows for Linux in some of her department machines in order to save license costs. I decided to say "I don't know" just to avoid being involved, knowing that she would call me 76 times an hour for the next twenty five years if I gave any kind of advice.

    Well, she did it and called just once more to ask whether I knew how to "make Autocad work on Linux".

    See? Linux does not run the programs people use more (word, photoshop, solitaire) and the free, open, possibly communist, virus-ridden, inefficient alternative versions (oo, gimp, solitaire) are too confusing for most users, therefore FAIL.

  111. Tim

    Typical Dell "save"

    I guess she didnt want linux (at the risk of being attacked, not everybody hates Windows), but the firstline support probably got a commision for making sure she didnt send it back. Shame she is too feckless to think for herself, as some of the above point out. Just go into college with the notebook and show them the issues. Also, get onto the ISP or just buy a gateway which works.

    I know lots of people who would have the exact same response as this woman, and they probably make up 75% of the populace. Some people think "the crazy frog" is cleverest thing ever invented.

  112. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    What has she done wrong?

    I can't see that she's done anything wrong here.

    She's obviously not technically orientated, she' got the user friendly version of unix.

    She's tried to connect to the internet and install applications to allow her to work, and the system has failed her. I've had networking issues with Ubuntu and you have to do some searching to figure it out which is well above joe users capability, and exceptonally difficult if you have no internet access to use to search for a solouton to th problem of connecting to the internet.

    As for installing the Windows software, it's not her fault that she does not understand the difference. This is 2009 it should at least explain the problem to her and explain the differences. I'm not saying that problem is all in Linux/Ubuntu's camp, but it should not be the users problem. I believe this concept is known as ubiquitous computing?

  113. Patrick O'Reilly


    I bet you it was her WEP key or something stupid like that!

  114. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    That's one less blog, one less twitter feed.

    More! More!

  115. Robert Ramsay

    @Silly me but

    I'm pretty sure that if her technical skills don't run to finding out anything about the comp she just bought, she's unlikely to have the initiative to go out and buy a copy of Windows.

  116. Anonymous Coward

    Nice Going Steve Ballmer

    Keep up the FUD with your media plants, your still getting creamed on mobile, HPC, embedded and the serious (not toy) server market.

    Anyhow she's probably the sort of bimbo that puts petrol in a diesel car.

    What's she studying for by the way, MCSE ?

    Windows - Broken by design, because we forgot to put the walls in

  117. n

    ubuntu at fault??

    Buying from dell usually your first 2 complaints are:

    1. What the hell is all this pre-installed dellware crap doing on my new desktop?

    2. Phone support = fail

    Must have been a nasty Ubuntu what did it and ran away...???

  118. Anonymous Coward

    For the rest of her life ...

    Every time a perspective employer puts her name into Google, "Abbie Schubert" will result in a list of web pages demonstrating that she is a moron.

    Next applicant please.

  119. andy


    It's hard not to roll your eyes to this story, particularly the bit about Microsoft Word. And the idea of cancelling study and blaming Ubuntu is a little sad, but I can understand someone who isn't tech-savvy freaking out about it.

    Has anyone seen the Dell website? There is [usually] a page of warning about choosing a system with Ubuntu Installed.

    I can think of five places other than Dell offhand she could have looked for help with Ubuntu, including googling "Verizon Ubuntu" or "Word Ubuntu". Why is she worried about voiding the warranty by installing Windows if she _can't get it to do what she needs it for_?

    I hope the Linux community and internet community in general gives her a break though.

  120. Hollerith

    The computer made me do it

    I've heard a lot of ripe excuses for not doing something, but failing to get to grips with a computer is a pretty good one. A woman looking for an excuse to fail. 'Oh no, my shoelace broke -- now I have to cancel a whole year's worth of higher education!'


  121. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is why Linux will never reach the desktop - attitude of users

    The problem with Linux and most Linux 'fans' is that they take the attitude (as seen in these comments) that if you cannot use the system it is the fault of the user. An operating system should not need the user to understand how it works. You should not need to search the web or 'fix' it yourself.

    She rang a support line and it should have been clear to the dell helpdesk guy that she had little technical knowledge and wanted to use windows applications. He should not have told her that Ubuntu was better for her. Whilst it could be argued that it is a 'better' operating system, it was not suitable for this particular user.

    I simply cannot believe that the vast majority of posters here seem to expect her to have the knowledge and ability to sort out the problems. She may have been planning on going to college, but there is nothing to say that she already has these skills.

    As an example, if someone was buying a car for travelling to work who had only driven automatics and had never used a manual gearbox, would you recommend a manual gearbox as it is 'better'. probably not.

    As you can see this is yet another PC user that will never use linux again, and will probably say the same to her friends.

  122. Fluffykins Silver badge

    @Christopher E. Stith

    The station website registration doesn't *_insist_* on either a home phone number or a wireless email address!

    There are fields for these items in the online registration, but these are both optional.

    Doesn't make them any less stupid, though.

  123. Richard Kay
    Thumb Down

    Would Vista have been any easier ?

    Well, despite her dad writing this comment using Ubuntu/Firefox, my daughter started university last September and had very similar problems with her University site which wasn't very well set up for her Vista laptop. But she had enough persistence to get the site support people to fix their web application after going round in circles for a couple of days so that it would work with Vista.

    I suspect the lady who couldn't get her Ubuntu laptop to work or accept advice from her college concerning how to get it to work wasn't attending, and this was her excuse.

  124. Stephen Usher

    A little harsh.

    You lot are being a little harsh. If you know nothing about the subject then it's easy to fall into pitfalls.

    (1) She couldn't get her ISP connection to work.

    Seeing as she is obviously totally non-technical she would have to rely upon her ISPs automatic set-up program, which would only work under Windows.

    Setting this up under Linux is simple IFF you know about TCP/IP networking, for anyone else it's gobbledygook, especially if it's PPP. (Would you like CHAP or PAP with your order, Sir?) That's if her ISP's modem is actually supported under Linux.

    Sometimes technical people forget how complex and problematic "simple" tasks are and how much background knowledge is required.

    (2) She was only following orders.

    When she gets a Microsoft Word document, unsurprisingly she thinks that the only way to use it is with Microsoft Word. Remember, in her world, she's been told this and no other option exists.

    Maybe double-clicking on the file would have opened it, but a great deal of the time this is not how non-computer literate people operate. Instead, they will open the program and then hope that they can find the file. After all in real life you'd not tap on a tin to get the tin opener to magically appear to open the tin, you'd go and get the tin opener first and then use the tool on the tin.

    As for the anonymous coward who suggested that "Really, Linux isn't that hard... you may have to search online for some answers if you don't know how to do something". Well, firstly she had no net connection and secondly how would she know what to look for or even how to decode the technical information if she had?

  125. David Haworth
    Jobs Horns

    Ubuntu can't access the internet?

    That's odd, seems to work for me.

    Fact is, the windows PCs on my home network can't access the internet. But that's deliberate - best malware protection money can buy :-)

  126. Mike Norrish

    Let's just hold on a minute...

    Most of the posts I'm seeing here are of the "nurrr..... idiot!" nature. I don't think that's particularly fair to the poor woman. We forget sometimes that we- the technically-clued- are a minority, not a majority. Us calling her an idiot is like her calling us the same for not understanding football, or whatever else the mundanes are into these days.

    MOST people- not just the stupid ones- think that PC = Windows. sad but true. If she ordered an Ubuntu laptop, it probably wasn't with the understanding that it had a different OS on it. She, like most people, probably doesn't even know what an OS is, and just thought that "Ubuntu" was another program like Word or Excel that the machine came with.

    You're not helping the cause by being a bunch of cruel elitists. When this sort of thing happens we need to educate- not mock. The mocking, incidentally, is why we're not really getting anywhere- "Having trouble with Ubuntu? Visit our forums, and a bunch of guys will laugh at you!"

    Nice one, guys.

  127. David

    Hmm ... I bet she lights her farts with matches !

    So, first signs of a stupid uncaring person is to buy from Dell.

    Clearly the first requirement, even for an idiot, is to have windows available if you want to study at technical college (idiot farm) to be a window cleaner. Windows are unsuitable to do rocket science because they break too easily ! Although, being full of holes to start with, windows might be useful to a Swiss cheese maker !!

    On a serious note, Ubuntu is better than windows XP. It has a nice desktop and user interface which takes only a few minutes to become familiar enough with to run most things. It comes with some first-class software applications and the net is full of more, most of which are free !! Open Office can open Word docs and can save docs out in Word format, so where is the problem ?

    Ah !! ~Yes !! Not everyone is of the minimum intellectual fitness to attend college, or to be allowed to use matches !!

  128. Jessica Werkz

    I don't believe some of these comments...

    She had just bought a Dell PC and expected it to be a regular PC, with Windows, which just works as she expects (which ain't gonna be very good as it's Windows) but she ends up with Ubuntu (who sold her that) and fails to run that very well because she doesn't understand it.

    So what. Why should she spend the next 3 months learning how to use Ubuntu and all its little foibles, work arounds and avoid lord knows how many flaky bits of functionality that exist in the darn thing. What do you want her to do, start amending source code and recompiling stuff.

    Gimmee a break, she just wants a PC that works and doesn't deserve to be vilified by a bunch of logic-chopping Linux zealots.

  129. Joe K
    Black Helicopters

    Anyone else?

    I smell a lawsuit coming.

    "Dell cost me my college course, my qualifications, and so my entire career. Give me money!"

  130. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    This old chestnut

    Dell shouldn't make it easy to select a Linux OS without explaining exactly what that means. Those in the know will go out of their way to select it.

    The women, like the majority of people, just wanted a computer that "works" and where everything looks like every other computer they've used.

    The people on this thread with the superiority complexes show the exact reason why Linux has never been successful. Having an air of, "well only intelligent people with 733t skillz should use Linux", means that no-one will use it except fan-boys and hobbyists.

    Disclaimer: I've used various Linux distros over the last 14 years. I still haven't found one I really like to use as a personal OS and as I develop applications for Windows, none of them can meet my requirements for a work OS. Windows continues to improve. XP SP2 was a great OS. Vista, despite popular opinion, is an incredibly stable OS - it just took a year for all the drivers to become available and their bugs to be fixed. Windows 7 looks very promising.

  131. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Re Julian

    "and Linux is not bothered with all the security issues."

    I'm glad you don't support anybody I know. All operating systems will have security issues (as will most appliactions), some have been discovered and fixed, some are still waiting to be found.

    I use all 3 major flavors personal computer OS's (AppleOS, Linux based and MS) and all of them have the be patched for security flaws.

  132. Mark

    Weird, huh?

    When something doesn't work under windows, it's the thing's fault.

    When it doesn't work under linux, it's linux's fault.

    I can understand "non-internet" internet service providers (like AOL's walled garden internet, if they still do it that way) wouldn't work with Linux, because the "internet" isn't being accessed, a propriatory closed software package is being run.

    I understand that some usb ADSL products, rather than using the free-to-implement USB ethernet standard, write their own protocol and this is, again, not compatible with non-supported OS's (including Windows). It's *stupid* because all you have are costs (to make, update and support the program that talks the protocol), but I understand some still do so.

    But if your connection is via an ethernet port and it IS an Internet Service Provider, then it will work with Linux.

    Now, this barnpot's ISP may well say they don't support it. We know how to deal with that, don't we? "OK, I'll dual boot back into windows. waiting..... OK, it's still broken".

  133. Alan Brookland

    Harsh comments!

    It seems rather harsh to judge this woman as an idiot just because she doesn't understand the difference between Linux and Windows. I'd suggest that the majority of people if not selected from a poll on the internet wouldn't either. To many, computer = windows as that's all they've ever used.

    Yes, Linux can do most things better but it's still not going to be able to cope with you putting in Windows software and 'just working' which is what she was expecting to happen. Not everyone is comfortable with computers - they are still a scary alien thing where hitting the wrong key will break the internet. That doesn't make them idiots.

    Ok, she was trying to learn more about how they work from a course which was probably very application-centric and was based on Windows. That seems like the best place to start to me for using applications so why not. Once you've gained in confidence then you can start exploring options like Linux, but why make life more complicated initially. If someone wanted to learn to drive in an automatic are they an idiot for not demanding a manual?

    I'd put the blame on the Dell technical support person personally. She phoned them to ask for a replacement and was told by the 'technical authority' that she didn't need one as what she had was better. In her case, it clearly wasn't.

    (Oh, and you're all n00bs coz OS X is the only l33t OS anyway :-P )

  134. steogede


    Okay, I'll bite, let's feed the troll.

    >> Windows? Right click > repair connection would be typical of the effort involved in fixing it.

    Clearly you know as much about Windows as you know about Linux - judging from your comment, is about as much the average pre-schooler. You've clearly never come across such wonderful user friendly tools such as 'netsh', or any number of other arcane command line tools which are sometimes necessary to get a *Windows* machine working properly.

    Anyway, back on topic. All I can say, is thank Shuttleworth she never bought a Windows machine, no doubt she would have broke it with in half an hour and been straight on the 'net to install malware ridden pc-recovery tool - problably would have handed over her card details to boot and would probably now be sitting Gitmo after being framed by terrorists who stole her identity. (BTW, please note the lack of joke alert icon)

  135. Nick Pettefar

    System Alert!

    You've moved the mouse: do you want to recompile the kernel? Yes/Reboot

  136. Richard Lloyd

    Buying Ubuntu machines is actually quite hard on Dell's site

    Looking at the Dell US site, it's actually quite tricky to buy Ubuntu laptops. Despite the fact it clearly should be, it's *not* a simple radio button option next to Vista when you go to Customise one of their mainstream laptops. In fact, the Ubuntu laptops are in a completely different, well-hidden section of the Dell site called "Open Source PCs" (a tiny link down the bottom left column on the laptop index page). You're taken to a section with different model names, different hardware specs and different prices (all deliberate by Dell to make price comparisons with Windows laptops very difficult).

    So either she consciously chose to buy a non-Windows OS (i.e. hard to do it by mistake) or, more likely, she uses a bargain/offers Web site or mailing list that gave an exact URL to the no doubt slightly cheaper Dell Ubuntu laptop. BTW, one thing Dell should make more clear is that when you're in the Customise section of the laptop and hit the "Operating System" section, it should say "note that Ubuntu is not fully compatible with Windows and some Windows applications may not run, especially games.". If you did click on "Open Source PCs", there is some sort of blurb about it not being Windows, but it's not as explicit as my suggestion.

  137. joe K
    Gates Halo

    Freedom to choose

    What is it about IT folk. People have the right to like or dislike whatever software they please. I installed Ubuntu a couple of years ago on my little brother's behest, but two days later realised the only reason I was using it was that I had been curious, nothing more. Two days is how long that installation lasted on my machine, and two days later it was back to XP. For all XP's ( and Window's) supposed flaws, it does all I asked it to do. I went through university using XP both at home and on campus, using it for browsing, multimedia, word processing and technical computing ( Matlab, SPICE, AHDL, Verilog etc...) and it did all I asked it to. I still use XP, and unless Ubuntu can do any of the things I use Windows for well enough to compensate for the lack of familiarity with it I wouldn't be bothered to install it again.

  138. tony
    Thumb Down


    Perhaps if schools taught windows and Linux (like they have to with other subjects, a range of all religions etc) then maybe the world would understand MS don't own the world.

  139. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Kain Preacher

    We're not kind, it's just the really harsh and amusing comments get moderated out by the El reg Reich.

    Honestly, I don't know why I bother.

  140. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @simon - Re: Linux = fail

    You forgot one important details with fixing windows when it goes wrong and thats the need to completely re-install the OS and lose all your personal documents.

    I've lost count of the number of relatives who have come to me with this problem.

  141. Anonymous Coward

    Elitist bastards

    So she's going to a technical college- quite probably for a non-computing-specific course- but should know that there's such a thing as an Operating System and that there are different ones? WTF? If she was going to do blacksmithery 101 or Automotive Engineering or something like that she'd need a computer to type up the reports- and they'd specify MS Word as it's the de facto standard. Doesn't mean she should spend 8 hours a day on El Reg because "it's computers and they're the be-all-and-end-all of tech".

    Someone probably suggested she chose the Linux option- or she noticed that it was cheaper.

    To all those suggesting online help for someone without internet access, your internet priviledges are hereby revoked.

    Much as you'd like it, the majority of the general populace knows exactly feck all about Linux. Or computers or operating systems. The closest they get is complaining about Vista. As shown nicely by the source article, which is a fecking travesty. They'll be quoting "how to tell if your son is a computer hacker" next...

    This being America, Canonical could probably sue WKOK for suggesting that their implementation of the OS couldn't access the internet.

  142. Anonymous Coward

    Re Linux = Fail

    I do wish people would actually try something before sounding off how bad it is. And then getting their facts completely wrong.

    I recently installed Ubuntu on a laptop that had had its disk replaced and all was well. Well, almost, the wireless network didn't work. That was mostly because the laptop in question didn't have built-in wireless so I plugged in a netgear wireless card I happened to have lying around ... the little lights flashed and then ubuntu asked me what the pass phrase for the access point was.

    That's all. I didn't do anything else. Installation was totally painless, shortly after connecting the wireless card, the OS informed me it had loads of updates it wanted to install, I let it install them.

    What's interesting about the original "linux = fail" is that it suggests editing a .conf file to fix the network. Odd. Neither Ubuntu or Fedora store interesting network stuff in .conf files (there are .conf files that might relate to odd networking problems, but the most likely candidate is totally empty these days).

    Really, those "linux = fail" folks should try installing Ubuntu on something before they start whinging. Don't pick the oldest, crappiest piece of hardware you can find, pick something realistic. If the hardware is even vaguely recent (this laptop was, I think, five or six years old) then you stand a very good chance of everything working without even lifting a finger, let alone hitting google.

    Although my boss would be very disappointed in me if this wasn't the case, I have considerably less trouble with drivers and hardware on any of my Linux boxes than I do on my rapidly dwindling Windows boxes. Box. All but one are virtual now -- I've given up on Windows for anything other than iTunes and Premiere.

  143. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: @Kain Preacher

    I've let pretty much everything through on this thread, actually. Slightly surprised at the general lack of "LOL stupit bitch" attitude.

    Sorry, is that harsh of me? I exaggerate. But anyway, well done for not unleashing the beast quite so much on this as expected.

  144. Anonymous Coward

    She should have bought a Mac book!

    I'll get my coat...

  145. /dev/me
    Gates Halo

    And I thought...

    ...everybody knew you can't get online with Ubuntu. I mean, it doesn't have Internet Explorer ;-)

    St. Balmer: protector of the innocent, the ignorant and the gullible.

  146. Joe Montana

    What about Dell support?

    So she couldn't get on the Internet, most likely because she was trying to follow instructions designed for windows...I know plenty of people using verizon supplied connections with linux or mac and it's usually a simple case of plugging the router in and letting it DHCP... If not, Dell support could have helped her at least to find an ISP that do provide an ethernet port and DHCP.

    It seems she tried to load the verizon supplied cd, now i wouldn't ever install isp supplied crap even on a windows machine. If you can't connect at all without the supplied crapware, it's time to find a better isp. Most isps use standard dhcp, ppp, or whatever protocol which will already be supported out of the box on any os these days.

    As for trying to install msword, had she just tried to open documents she would have found that openoffice was already installed and probably wouldnt have noticed any difference... failing that, she could again have called dell support who should have been able to explain this to her.

    The problem here seems to be an inability to think for herself, and no understanding of what ubuntu is (despite obviously choosing it when she bought the machine because the ubuntu machines arent heavily pushed at dell).. she blindly followed instructions for windows, when she should have known she didnt have windows and either followed linux instructions (if any were supplied) or called dell for support.

    Ofcourse this all seems extremely suspect, what are the odds that microsoft are behind this story somehow, another way of spreading disinformation to turn people away from linux.

  147. Anonymous Coward

    Missing the point

    I think a lot of posters are missing the point here; Abbie Schubert is obviously non-technical and probably not very well educated. It doesn't sound like she's ever done anything other than use an MS Windows based computer, so being faced withe anything else, regardless of how good it is, is beyond her current technical capabilities. There are a lot of adults out there without the skills that I'd expect from Reg readers, taking the piss out of them isn't very helpful to anyone.

    The real problem here is that the support person at Dell persuaded her, against her earlier experience, to continue with Ubuntu; far better to return the computer and replace it with a Windows based system that meets her expectations.

    As for $99 being 10% of the price of a netbook like the Dell Mini 9 (AC @ 03:03), WTF?!

  148. Anonymous Coward

    Amusing... any detrimental comments regarding any OS degenerate rapidly in to childish name calling and flame wars. "My OS is better than yours, THPBBT!"

    There only appear to be 2 things here that are noteworthy:

    1: Someone attending a technical college does not know the difference between OS's when purchasing a computer. This really doesn't bode well for proficiency in their chosen career.

    2: That a TV station decided it was a worthwhile news story. Someone can't use a computer - well whoop de do! I've never spoken to hundreds of people like this each week, thank you so much for enlightening me that such people truly do exist! I thought they were a myth!

    Get a grip people! AC as I left my nomex suit at home today.

  149. Anonymous Coward

    Hang on a minute

    Typical tabloid press bait and switch - headline says Ubuntu 'can't access internet' but real issue is that lady needs to run MS Word as part of a College course and I suspect Verizon has some form of setup CD that configures a Windows system.

    So she is correct - Ubuntu prevented her doing these things, by not being Windows.

    Sounds to me like she was mis-sold a machine by a Linux evangelist, compounded by whoever convinced her to stay with Ubuntu when she called for support - they should have simply sold her a copy of XP and Office.

    No doubt someone will chirp in about Crossover office, WINE or some such - just remember 'normal' people do not possess years of maintenance grade knowledge about computers. Would you sell a kit car to someone who just wanted to go to the shops on the weekend? I'm not dissing Ubuntu, but if you need a machine that specifically runs Word and other Windows apps in a familiar environment then simply install Windows.

  150. Rob Crawford

    Oh Dear

    Seems to me that there is too much <insert favoured OS> is better than <insert disliked OS>

    Lets see comparing buying a PC with buying a car.

    I hate to say this but people tend to know if they are heading for a petrol, Diesel, LPG or Electric powered vehicle, that was a pretty poor comparason.

    It is not wasy to buy an Ubuntu machine from Dell, try it, you have to ignore all the windows machines, and ignore the "this machine dosn't have MS Windows" warnings.

    If you want to run MS Office the it does actually tell you that you require Windows on the packaging, as (I'm pretty sure) will the specs for her internet connection.

    Sadly it was her who ignored all the requirements that the machine should meet, when it comes down to it if you don't know what you are doing then "ask somebody who does know"

    Before condemning the Dell helpdesk too much I wonder if she was able to tell them what the issues where or wether she ust said "It dosn't say Windows when I start up"

    I'm no fan of Dell TS, but for the most part they have been OK (and their engineers which have attended site have been excellent for the most part)

  151. The BigYin
    Thumb Down

    Trying to get an Ubuntu system from Dell...

    ...takes effort. You have explicitly hunt down the low-spec crap the fob off (or did the last time I looked).

    @simon - Windows is not as easy as that. To fix my connection at home I've had to hack the registry (and it's still not 100%, although I strongly suspect McAfee). Sometimes computers are just a bitch. And I further bet that you have not looked at any recent Linux distro, I am a Windows user and I have at least been mucking about with Ubuntu 8.10.

    But then, unlike this woman, I at least know "Linux != Windows".

  152. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Course requirements...

    I got through an entire software engineering degree without owning my own

    computer, doesn't the college provide machines in the library or labs?

    I blame the religious geek in Dell tech support, all these ostards are becoming

    a nuisance.

  153. Syren Baran
    Thumb Up


    Wasnt able to use Linux and dropped out of technical college. Excactly what should be expected.

  154. Apocalypse Later

    Evolution is against them

    Intelligence is just not in a women's job description. If you thought about childbirth, would you do it? Women apparently have a powerful instinctual desire to have children, to the point that they undergo much pain and hardship and even risk their own lives to do it, but even so, in western cultures where women have many other life choices, the birthrate tumbles. Men can be smart, educated, and free, and still be motivated to do their bit for reproduction, but the smarter women get, and the more liberated, the less inclined they will be to do their much more onerous part.

    Evolution has not missed this fact, and is even now differentiating the sexes.

  155. Jamie Kitson


    I cannot log on to the Nationwide site using linux. Stupid linux.

  156. Big Bear

    Help me! Drowning in Apple levels of smugness!

    This highlights perfectly well the problem with Linux – most people who can help are extremely smug about it. I have tried various flavours of it on various machines and the new ones do work fairly simply and easily but when you run into a problem you end up wading through pages of forums filled with gurus who castigate you for not knowing a simple sudo this and get that and turning around three times at midnight looking at a westerly full moon will solve the problem! Compare this with Windoze where most numpties in the world have a fleeting idea of what the problem might be because they will have inevitably used it in the office and had to call helpdesk at least once to have them walk through testing the LAN connection and so on, and if not, know at least one mate who might have a better idea of it and might help out at a pinch… Even online help is simpler for both MS and Apple – go to site, pick product, go to help, search. Compared with – go to site for a particular distro, work out which release is installed, work out what interface you have, get a list of all the hardware present, then trawl through the gazillion arguments telling you to install someone else’s favourite distro! Now I agree that this particular method has helped me learn far more about Linux but without assured support and reliability I really just play with it on a sandpit machine that I can wipe and rebuild with no important data or apps on it.

    I do agree that this lady doesn’t sound the most clued up, but to me the main indicator is when she let Dell talk her into keeping a machine she knew wasn’t suitable for her – plus why weren’t they more helpful in terms of talking her through the difference from Windows to Linux to at least get her started on her way? And for everyone who commentated that there are plenty of online help, please RTFA as she was having trouble connecting to this fabled repository of knowledge called the internet!! As for the comment on Technical Colleges, ever think that maybe other things in the world can be technical outside of IT? I know a “technician” who can’t find his way through Linux either, but I sure as hell can’t emulate his use of lasers for fiddling with genetic material at sub cellular level!!

    Get a life people and realise that unlike most of us here, not everyone cares about the OS and how much “better” one apparently is to another!!

  157. Jon Wilson

    A computer is a means to an end

    ...and believe it or not, sometimes that end is not directly computer-related. You daft buggers who are taking a cheap shot would not expect to get the piss ripped out of you for not knowing how to use an opthalmoscope or a set of vernier calipers, so why the hell should everybody be as knowledgeable as you about computers?

    I write software for a living, so it's no surprise that I know one end of emacs from the other, but that shouldn't mean that I expect everybody else to. For a lot of the normal people I know, I'd consider any knowledge they had of skeleton mode or dabbrevs to be a bit freaky :->

    Computers should be like cars. You should hope to get good advice from the dealer (which she didn't get), good service from the garage (again, I doubt she did) and after that, it should get you from A to B. Sure, there are people who like tinker with the suspension settings or Barry up their Mum's Saxo with carbon-fiber effect sticky-backed plastic, but most people simply want an effing car, preferably one that just works.

  158. Joe Montana


    -- quote

    Sorry chaps, but he's right. It doesn't matter how many times you claim Linux is ready for the big time, or repeat stories of your 101 year old granny using Ubuntu (and there's inevitably one of those every single time there's a story about Linux), it's just not as easy to use as Windows, and when something goes wrong it can be an absolute pain in the arse. I don't hate Linux or anything and I'd be quite happy to see a decent OS topple Windows, but that's just a fact. Sadly a lot of Linux fans suffer from this problem where they can't quite understand why delving into command lines and changing system files would be a problem, believing instead that it's just the user that is stupid.


    This is simply not the case at all...

    Windows is familiar to more people, and therefore "easier" for them to use because they are already familiar with it, and even then their familiarity is only on the surface level.

    For someone who has never used a computer before, Linux (distributions like ubuntu) actually is easier. You don't have the hassle of keeping antivirus and such up to date, you get everything you're likely to need installed out of the box etc etc...

    All of the people i have introduced linux to who had no preconceptions about what they think a computer should run got on better with it... One or two people hated it, and were given windows instead, only to find that they hated that more.

    And the average user has absolutely no need for the command line... That is a common and ridiculous myth...

    Pretty much everything an average user will ever need to do can be accomplished through the gui on windows osx and linux...

    Many things can also be accomplished through the commandline, especially on linux and osx, but in all cases the commandline is optional and there for those who want it and know how to use it.

    When you ask for help from someone technically competent they will usually try to do something in the most efficient or easiest to explain manner. Explaining a commandline is much easier than describing the elements of a gui, as it works more like a conversation and so long as the person can read and write you can use them to proxy your commands and their output back and forth. It's also easier to convey in textual form, as the command line itself is textual, trying to convey gui instructions graphically can be harder as colours, font sizes or icon positions could have changed.

    The commandline, especially on linux and osx is often a far more efficient way of getting a job done if you know how to do it...

    So, when you get help from a geek he will use the most efficient method to explain (commandline) the most efficient way of doing something (commandline).. Doesn't mean that's the only way, just that it's the best way for the geek to help you.

    They are less likely to recommend a commandline based method on windows, as the commandline interface itself is far less powerful and therefore less likely to either do what you need at all, or do it in an efficient manner.

  159. Craig

    Shame on you

    This woman isn't the idiot. The real idiot is the nephew/brother/friend who told her to buy a computer with Ubuntu linux installed on it. You don't make that sort of mistake when purchasing a computer unless you're being instructed to deliberately avoid MS Windows. The same idiot who obviously abandoned her computing needs once she made the purchase, at the very least whoever told her to buy a system with Ubuntu preinstalled could have provided a beginner session for her and helped set up the basics...

    As for every single one of you who scorn this woman, shame on you. Years ago I was described as an arrogant condescending twat. Years ago I was just like the majority of you, but thankfully not as extreme as those of you who saw this as an opportunity to ridicule someone simply because she does not have the product knowledge that we do. Years ago I did not make a point of publicly voicing my opinions of others' incompetence; instead I chose to help them where possible. I couldn't help being condescending, so I kept my mouth shut unless I was asked a question.

  160. Matt


    Is it just me or could it be that the Dell worked fine but she somehow managed to plug the modem cable into the ethernet port of vice versa.. I mean who uses 56K modems now a days anyway.

  161. Chris Hawkins


    The problem here is nothing to do with IT/computing/Operating Systems.

    Many people buy diesel cars without realising it and then freak when the engine has to be cleaned because they've filled it with 95 octane petrol (gas, to the uninitiated over the pond!)

    The teaching of comprehension and common sense by the education system is a thing of the past in the Western World.

    Consequently, if one doesn't even know how to begin to ask about things you know nothing about, what can one expect!

    One Answer - a civilisation of Paris's, Lindsay's and Dubya's!

    Up the Penguins!

  162. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apologies to AC @ 03:03

    Sorry, I didn't realise she'd managed to buy a standard notebook with Ubuntu from Dell. Dumb luck or what? I'd assumed the only way to get Ubuntu from Dell was with a Mini 9. DOH!

  163. Arclight


    Because, of course, openoffice displays everything exactly the same as windows office. Openoffice is great little tool, and does everything the MS opposition, but not every file created in one or the other will look exactly the same as it does in its opposite number

  164. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some people have a life...

    ...rather than being concerned about the technical detail.

    The person needed to get something done and was let down by the technology and those that sell and support it. Simple.

    It is possible to be intelligent and not be an IT expert. That person had more interesting/important things to think about rather than the intricacies of their computer.

  165. Jonas Taylor

    Why didn't she just buy a copy of Windows??

    I don't get it. She could have just bought a copy of Windows and installed it on her system, or got someone else to. That way it wouldn't have been a wasted purchase and she wouldn't have had to drop out of college (though one has to question how long she would have lasted anyway). So the question is why did she throw away her dreams instead of spending $100 on a copy of Windows?

    Sympathy = Zero

  166. Uisge Dorch

    Awards for stupidity ?

    As well as a Darwin award for the terminally dead, could we not have a similar award for the terminally stupid. The US version could be "Trailer Park Genius" and the UK version might be "Sink Estate Einstein" - no such award necessary for Europeans or Asians... they don't possess the required levels of stupidity and ineptitude.

  167. Znort666

    Insert title here...

    Wouldn't class myself as a genius when it comes to PC's but I installed Ubuntu and XP as dual boot. I have found some problems and had to go online to get help (luckily I could boot into Win), but even if i hadn't had dual boot, i'm certain I know at least 500 people with access to the internet and could have gone to theirs to get help.

    Someone pointed out that common sense and logic had evaded her, I agree totally.

    As for fixing network connections, my partner has Vista and the wireless kept dropping off for no reason, try as I could all i could do was repqir and hope it worked. Eventually had to wire it to router. However , managed without a problem to change wired to wireless on Ubuntu (feisty fawn) and the sort out when I changed security to WPA-PSK, just by looking online.

    Some people should just not be allowed near computers, believe me I know a few, but to blame Ubuntu for stopping you going onto web and dropping out of college is absolutley astounding...has the world become a windows botnet???

  168. dreadful scathe

    Its not Dells fault

    She bought the wrong thing and turned down Dells offer of a change. Their futher advice that ubuntu could do what she needed it to was correct, how is Dell support supposed to know just how limited her knowledge is? Well done Dell is all I can say.

    I don't think badly of this woman but I imagine that if she bought a car that took Diesel fuel rather than Petrol , we would be seeing a similar news story about her "not being able to drive to college due to her filling up her car with "regular gas" and it not working anymore".*

    She really should have looked into using someone elses computer, or a library computer, or calling an engineer to get it to work like you would with a car, or your plumbing or, well, anything else. The "giving up" is entirely her fault.

    *yes i know it was online and she wasnt driving, its an example ;)

  169. Mark

    re: Sexism = fail

    Yup, idiocy has no gender bias.

    Mind you, "being a dick" is a state of mind, not a listing of parts. Women are as bad as men. Which is a downer for both the men and the women, really.

  170. Haku
    Paris Hilton

    The mighty dollar

    I bet $1 (I have a $1 note kicking around somewhere) that the woman in question chose the Ubuntu option because it was cheaper than the Windows option, and now she got caught out she's blaming everyone else but herself.

  171. Niall Campbell
    Paris Hilton

    Schools and Proprietary software.

    My son is doing a HNC at our local Further Education College in the North West of England. Like me, he prefers to use a mac and Open Office.

    But lo and behold, he has had to purchase that bloated pile of poo called MS Office to submit his work. The college will NOT accept Open Office docs saved in Word format. it has to be in Word. How backwards. No doubt, they saved themselves a fortune with free MS licences.

    When the educators know no better, what chance the general public? I have no other axe to grind, I just wish our public services realised that a significant number of their users (not a majority) do not use Windows.

    Even Paris knows that it takes all sorts to make a ......

  172. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "'s a Dell Support problem. If her ISP required windows for her modem, then they should have replaced the machine, helped her fix it, or rebuilt it with Windows as required"

    Nope, she got the computer without windows, meaning she has not paid for the licence so tehy can;t just "install" windows, if she didn not pay for support then they don't have to provide.

    Simple fact is people expect windows, if you are reading this than chances are that you need to understand that this women is a better example of the AVERAGE consumer than you are!

    "You don't have the hassle of keeping antivirus and such up to date, you get everything you're likely to need installed out of the box etc etc..." <--- you do need to keep AV/kernal/firewall up to date, Linux does have viruses out there you know !

  173. The Fuzzy Wotnot


    Lots of people saying she isn't stupid and computers aren't her thing!

    You saw in the ad it had Ubuntu ( Windows-like O/S ) and you saw Windows. Well like anything else, would you not say to yourself, "Oh, why are there two types of Windows? What is the difference? Oh my gosh, I must ask some people or have a read in the library or ask in the local geek store for some opinions?". No you saw it was cheaper and you didn't think another thought! It was cheaper for a reason! You get nothing for nothing in this life, "Why was it cheaper?", you should have asked!

    OK, well as registered geek bloke I know next to sweet FA about cars, football, putting in loft insulation and mixing a martini! Listen love, you know what I do when I have to deal with these things? I do two things that I was taught at a very young age, "ASK FOR HELP" and "READ UP ON IT".

    Last year we, at home, decided we hated the kitchen, wanted to rip it out, quotes of £8k to £15k to put one in. I have never done any DIY other than put up a shelf or two, I spent 4 months reading up about how to buy the units, the tools I needed to do the plumbing and rewire the sockets, drill large holes, rip up floors. I then spent two weeks fitting the damn thing, total cost down to £3.5k and exactly what I wanted the way I wanted it.

    Novel idea in this day and age I know but "I TOOK TIME TO LEARN HOW TO DO SOMETHING ON MY OWN!". When I got stuck, I went to several DIY stores and I asked everyone I could find what i should do about XYZ, looked up stuff online. I was so proud that I stepped outside my field of knowledge and learnt how to do something on my own for the first time since I learnt to walk probably! ( Plus the missus was over the moon that her geek husband was not a complete plank anymore, many points scored that fortnight! )

    Jeez, some people just do not want to make an effort, some people are so feckless they think everyone else does their thinking for them so they no longer have to.

  174. Mark
    IT Angle


    "but the thing is that's the target audience for Linux if it's ever going to make the breakthrough into the mass market desktop."

    Linux isn't "trying" to get a breakthrough into mass market desktop.

    It doesn't have to.

    It is and will remain free. Even if only 5 people use it.

    And windows wouldn't have worked for her either. Yet windows is still maintaining its breakthrough on the mass market desktop, so it's hardly a requirement to make it, is it.

  175. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Of course it sounds like if she'd just phoned the ISP she wouldn't have had a problem, is it not a bit odd to call a tv station to complain about something without even contacting the relevant tech support?

  176. Rich Harding

    Attitude Adjustment

    @AC: "You all call this woman stupid (maybe she is)...but the average person still knows bugger all about computers."

    Well, if they want to use one then they should f**king well learn! I don't know if she's stupid or not (although it seems fairly likely) but she damn well sure hasn't got the nous to enquire and seek out answers for herself, which means she will never, in common with the vast majority of other people, get the most that she could out of using a computer; or anything else for that matter.

    Whilst I'm used to doing interface design - and don't think I'm too crappy at it whilst claiming no gold medals - there is a point at which "Helping make things intuitive for the user" has reached its limit and the only way users are going to learn more and get the full benefit of a piece of software is if they are prepared to read, experiment and find things out for themselves. I'll try and help anyone with stuff, from computers to life problems, once; maybe twice; but at the point it becomes obvious they're not prepared to help themselves then sod it, they're on their own. And that's the way it should be. Otherwise we're just encouraging the development of a race of morons.

  177. James

    Is everyone missing the point?

    She tried to stick with Linux but it wasn't for her. She's no different from the 99% of humanity who really don't give a flying fuck what their OS is, as long as they get to check emails and save Word documents.

    Linux is clearly not ready for the desktop.

    And for the AC @ 03:16, just re-read what you wrote:

    "So you just right-click and 'repair' in Windows, huh? And about 14% of the time it actually fixes the problem!

    Really, Linux isn't that hard... you may have to search online for some answers if you don't know how to do something"

    How can you go online if your internet connection isn't working??? This women isn't the only idiot around here

  178. Mark
    IT Angle

    re: Let's just hold on a minute...

    Yes, lets.

    This is a plant. Look at it:

    1) Bought a Dell with Ubuntu. Hard enough to do even if you know what the feck Ubuntu IS. Something rotten in the state of Denmark...

    2) Contacted Dell support. Yeah, and God popped over and helped too.

    3) (the big one), Dell saying "Nah, you don't want to put windows on it, you want to keep linux on". COME ON!!! Now we're in cloud cuckoo land. When would Dell EVER do that???

    4) FIVE MONTHS LATER: "It doesn't work! Ubuntu did it!!!!"

    It's a plant. It's so horrendously unlikely to happen it can't be true. Not even on a planet full of fools.

  179. Anonymous Coward

    Missing the point

    "Her Verizon internet wouldn't load. She couldn't install Microsoft Word" - this is making an excellent case for a layer of abstraction i.e. the OS should be irrelevant; if she likes MS Word then she should be able to use it regardless of the underlying OS.

    At the end of the day its the data and the application that allows manipulation of that data that matters not the underlying OS. All the Windows vs Linux vs UNIX vs any other OS arguments are just rubbish that whose only purpose is to take time away from real development.

  180. Mark
    IT Angle

    re: Freedom to choose

    And how well did it go getting a reactivation code from MS when you reinstalled XP?

  181. Apocalypse Later

    Why I don't use Ubuntu

    I have it, got it for free (they will actually post you a disk! That's what I call free!) and installed it and tried it out. It's nice. I even started to learn Perl.

    Ubuntu comes with everything you need except the ability to run Windows programs, such as:

    the drivers to work my satellite broadband card

    the proprietary software to connect to my satellite ISP

    the drivers and interface to work my mobile network dongle

    the program and drivers to work my USB digital television tuner

    the clients to play online poker at any of my poker sites

    De Blob (Windows version given away recently, Wii costs 20 quid)

    Age of Empires II (bought at a charity shop for 25 pence)

    Silverfall (bought on sale for 2 quid)

    any number of other windows games obtained cheaply or free

    any number of other windows games obtained at considerable cost

    all my favourite audio and video editors, grabbers, and burners

    If I could get conventional broadband here, the first three of these these issues would go away, and I might then use the Ubuntu box just as a gateway to the internet. That would be cool.

  182. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What is really going on here

    I wonder how much Microsoft paid her to try and generate negative publicity for Linux.

  183. Naich

    No one reads comments this far down

    But I'll say it anyway. Linux is far easier to fix than Windows is. Why? Because with Linux you get very descriptive error messages that you plug into Google, find other people who had the same problem and see what they did to fix it. I hate fixing problems with Windows because you have so little information to go on.

  184. John Werner

    Re: Linux=Fail

    > Windows? Right click > repair connection would be typical of the effort involved in fixing it.

    I'm still fighting with Vista on my daughter's new laptop, the "Repair Connection" still can't find my non-broadcast, secured, wireless access point. I had Ubuntu 8.10 online within 5 minutes of finishing the install, and most of that was the time it took to put the MAC address into the router's permitted list.

    - John

  185. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Click to fix... Ha Ha Hahahahahahahaha

    @Simon & AC 03:16

    "So you just right-click and 'repair' in Windows, huh? And about 14% of the time it actually fixes the problem!"

    WOW, 14% of the time!!!!! I've only got it to work...... let's see..... mumble mumble ..... carry the 1.... mumble mumble...... divide by the number of times it worked, Oops divide by ZERO error

    What pisses me off though is the "Contact your network administrator" part of the message, and before anybody’s reminds me, ipconfig did not work either, its reach for the big red switch time again.

    Seriously though, who is the bigger idiot, the 'merkin who bought the PC with the wrong OS, or the support idiot who said Ubuntu was cool, must have been 5 o'clock when she rang the DELL support desk, sorry.... I ment to say must have been 5 o'clock when she got through to the DELL support desk

    Paris, 'cos she dosen't mind being FINGERed

    or having her files TOUCHed

    or GREPed

    I’ll bet she’s a fan of open orifice as well

  186. edwardecl

    Why would Windows be any different

    Linux really isn't that bad, and setting up basic networks is easier than Windows, as many others have said Ubuntu configures networks for you. The only real trouble you get is if the hardware is not 100% supported, but being this was packaged with a Dell computer I doubt that was an issue.

    She probably had wireless modem/router with an SSID and was too lazy to figure it out in which case windows would not be any different .If it was a wired connection she was probably not intellegent enough to work out it wasn't plugged in or her modem was not configured properly. Again not a linux problem. If it was some tpye of unsupported USB modem then she should have researched this and found an alternative one that does work, it's not hard it just requires a little effort.

    I blame all these arrogant software developers/hardware makers that choose not to support Linux, thats the real problem here. Hell some of them even stop supporting Windows for example I had a wireless network card that worked on XP fine but on vista its own software does not function and there are no vista software/drivers so are stuck using XP drivers with the very broken Windows Zero Conf which does not allow you to use the features properly.

    And I have a avermedia tv card that works flawlessly on Linux/XP but does not work on Vista, some companies just irratate me.

  187. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows not ready for the desktop?

    I could put a windows machine down in front of any number of people I know and they'd have the same reaction - how do I connect to the Internet? Why won't it let me use Word (remember that for 90% of users "Windows" and "Office" are the exact same thing; if Office isn't installed then as far as they're concerned their Windows install is broken). Does that make Windows not ready for the desktop? Hardly. There's lots of other reasons it's not ready for the desktop but that's another story.

  188. Jon Wilson

    @Chris Hawkins

    "One Answer - a civilisation of Paris's, Lindsay's and Dubya's!"

    Paris's, Lindsay's and Dubya's what? I presume those apostophes were posessive?*

    *Or should that be "apostrophe's"?

  189. Colin Millar

    Network managers

    XP and Ubuntu (8.04) are as bad as each other for this. Ubuntu Network Manager keeps losing settings and needed to be reset every startup with my belkin dongle (using ndiswrapper). Fix (permanent) - install wicd - works every time - why can't they just stick in a bit that works instead of the miserable failure that is Network Manager. (Maybe they have done this in 8.10?)

    XP repair should be

    1) release

    2) cleararpcache

    3) renew

    But instead it appears to do 1,3, 2, phonehome so if 2 is the problem - tough luck cos it will never run that bit. Fix - pull out dongle (or disable), cmd netsh interface ip delete arpcache, push in dongle (or enable). Better still

    open notepad

    copy and paste

    ipconfig release

    netsh interface ip delete arpcache

    ipconfig renew

    Save to desktop as repair.bat. Right click>open whenever required. Haven't experienced the arpcache problem in ubuntu (yet).

    No permanent fix for windows that I have found yet - probably would work by disabling automatic connection and running a batch file at startup to clear the cache and then connect

    Still not working ? Switch off router, wait a minute, switch on router.

    So you can get a permanent fix for Ubuntu without going near a terminal but with Windows you only get a temporary fix which requires the use of a command line.

    Oh - and all this after you have checked that your router hasn't simply dropped the connection and neither Ubuntu nor Windows is going to tell you that even though it would be a simple thing to check if you were getting as far as your router and letting you know.

    Neither xp nor ubuntu come out of this looking good but it's only the windows os that requires a command line fix.

  190. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    re: Sexism = fail

    >Yup, idiocy has no gender bias.

    Of course. It just occurs rather often in expressed opinion that stupid blokes are stupid *and* male, and stupid women are stupid *because* they're female. Again, not much of it in this thread, though, so my inner feminazi is powered down. For now.

  191. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: What is really going on here

    Ha! It took a while but eventually the conspiracy theory came galloping threadwards.

    How long before someone mentions Hitler and we can all go home?

  192. Anonymous Coward

    Best homework/exam dodge excuse ever

    It certainly beats the dog ate it. I'd have believed it though if she had said Windows Home Server ate my homework.

    The sad thing is it shows just how ingorant the general public are, anyone who knows windows well enough (subjective threshold there) should be able to get around Ubuntu reasonably OK

  193. Andus McCoatover

    You folks have given me an idea!

    <serious_mode />

    I'm unemployed, live in Finland.

    There's quite a few immigrants (like myself) living here, some on the breadline. They need a PC to find work, get e-mail, chat to their loved ones back home. They don't wanna play sodding wargames, most are here as refugees to *escape* from a fuc*king war, FFS. Somalia, anyone?

    In my city, we've a place for us to meet other foreigners, share info, chat about experiences, etc, (Toppelius) and one I statement hear regularly is "I can't get my 'puter doing what I need/I don't know how to use it". Usually, it's not upto Viagra er, I mean Vista standards - they're "hand-me-downs" from well-meaning friends. No chance, and they can't afford MS S/W, as it's a month's food bill.

    So, instead of griping and bitching, I've decided to plonk an advert. in the above mentioned place, that I'll try to get 'em up-n-running. For free.

    They get Ubuntu. Internet's about €10/month, affordable. In some apartment blocks, it's included in the rent.

    So...are you up for it at your local community centre, or whatever you call it? Doesn't matter which country you live in, I'm sure you can find similar.

    IT professionals? Great, but an action like this looks good on a CV....

    Then we can stop pissing at trolls and DO something.

    GAME ON!

  194. wobbly1
    Jobs Horns

    something called windows

    stops me using my hardware at full speed. and keeps letting these nasty worm things in. I've missed my youth and middle age through constantly being forced to re-install it...

  195. Mark

    @Sarah Bee

    I would like to point out I haven't said that, so why you put it in a post in reply to mine remains a mystery.

  196. Edward Miles


    ...more people like this. How else am I to earn my beer money if all users are actually able to fix there own computers??

    This is really a none story. Is it really that slow of a news day? "Clueless computer user clueless about computers - more on this story later..."

    I like to evangelise Ubuntu as much as the next penguin-lover, but this is not a question of superior or inferior operating system, it's a case of massivly inferior tech support. Had there been someone knowledgeable around she could have achieved what she needed on any system. As it was, with no help, she was destined to failure, whether linux, windows or OS/2! (*Shudder*)

  197. Charles


    Telling someone to go online to solve your problem sounds reasonable...until you realize the problem at hand is that the online doesn't work. Then it becomes a Catch-22.

    As for the need to use Word specifically, it could be a Word course, designed specifically for the program. It may delve into macro programming and other technical aspects specific to Word (though OO has similar functions, they are handled differently so would be useless for such a course).

  198. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward



  199. Schultz

    boyfriend is to blame

    nuff said.

  200. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Is there really a discussion on who is to blame in this?

    Aside from the obvious facts that Ubuntu is open source and a person can find anything they ever need, including Windows XP, Vista, whatever as an application they can download while still using Ubuntu as their main operating system, I agree with the point a few before me made. She was looking for ANYTHING else to blame but herself for being lazy and dropping out of 2 quarters of school. Too bad she picked something that people actually know about.

    I can't imagine, even in a city that breeds minds like this, that their college does not have a computer lab or a coffee shop or an internet cafe or even a FRIEND for the occasional paper she'll have at this school.

    Been a Windows user forever, 2 weeks old into using Ubuntu and I'm sickened by this article.

  201. Ramon Casha

    Not surprising

    There's a good reason why troubleshooting guides always start with "make sure your computer is plugged in and switched on".

  202. Mark

    "You saw in the ad it had Ubuntu"

    What ad????

  203. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: @Sarah Bee

    Well, firstly, I was agreeing with you (see, if you look closely), and secondly, your comment made me think of that. Lower yer weapons.

  204. Mark


    "Because, of course, openoffice displays everything exactly the same as windows office. "

    And you think Windows Office does????

    Boy, your meds are too strong.

  205. Tom

    That's okay. Obama has a plan

    for the government to create a job where she can be gainfully employed. Marx, Mussolini, and of course Hitler would be so proud!

    You're welcome Sarah!

  206. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: 191 comments?

    Yep. It's quite a few. I have been very, very busy.

  207. Paul


    The story is:

    Woman gets sent wrong item by Dells/Her error.

    Woman tryes to sort this out with Dell.

    Person in call center tryes to stop this as this is what they do.

    You post it on El Reg so people can go "look. What a looser. She dosen't know how to use a Linex PC. Haha."

    So? Can you strip down and re-build your cars engine? I bet half of you couldent even chainge the oil. Loosers.

  208. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Niall Campbell

    As I work in education I would just like to point out a couple of things wrong with your statement:

    'the college will NOT accept Open Office docs saved in Word format. it has to be in Word.'

    No it doesn't. As long as it can be opened in word then it is fine, even plain .txt and it is the exam board setting the criteria for submission not the college. If you were told you HAD to buy word someone was either lying to you or didn't understand the submission criteria.

    'No doubt, they saved themselves a fortune with free MS licences'

    Hate to burst your bubble but we don't get anything for free from MS. Heavily discounted admittedly but we still have to pay for every installed copy via our campus agreement. We tell them how many copies we are running, they tell us the bill for the agreement.

    I just wish our public services realised that a significant number of their users (not a majority) do not use Windows.

    I think you will find that the number when viewed in terms of the whole population is not 'significant'. If you look at installed user base in mathematical terms the total number of desktop linux users would be classed as a statistical anomaly and safe to ignore. We run linux in some I.T. areas for teaching purposes, but the number of students who sign up to learn linux are very small indeed. Mostly we struggle to find the minimum number of 5 students to take it. Less than 5 and the class is canceled. Why should we waste resources making facilities like that available to every curriculum area? Would that be a good use of your tax money? Instead we have introduced the basics of linux into our mainstream classes. All I.T. / computing students are required to do some work on a non-MS OS. What they do after being exposed to the Windows alternatives is entirely up to them, but like I said we struggle to fill the dedicated linux courses.

    The Apple Macs are a bit more popular, but only with our media students and some of our music students and we all know just how worthwhile a media studies degree is, don't we.

  209. Chris Hawkins

    @Chris Hawkins


    Jon Wilson - well done!

    Caught me out!

    However, there are lots of contributors here who are possessive about Paris! :)))))

  210. Andus McCoatover

    @ Edward Miles

    You'll never earn your beer money when you can't tell the difference between "there and their".

    Mind you, most Senior Managers consider it to be a qualification, as evidenced by their e-mails.... So it can be seen as "Career-Enhancement"

    Didn't realise dyls. - dixle. - d...? (whatever) was an avdangate to one's jbo.

  211. Reallydo Wannaknow

    Internet access requires Windows? Ask AT&T

    Here in the Great Midwest [Amurika] ... one of the biggest ISPs is none other than that peerless defender of personal information, AT&T. AT&T offers DSL service; they provide the modem, and an install CD. They say on their web site that THEY DO NOT SUPPORT LINUX, only WIndows and Mac. Configuring the modem can in fact be done with a Linux computer, and once it's correctly configured, any computer, with any OS, can be online ...

    HOWEVER ...

    To confirm the account, and create the username/password associated with it, the user CANNOT use Firefox. Not in Windows, not in Mac, not in Linux. So unless Dell's Ubuntu computers are shipped with multiple compatible web browsers (have tested workaround with Konqueror, but no others) already installed, then if this poor woman has a similar DSL setup, then, guess what? She has to have Internet Explorer to get to the Internet!

  212. Doug Glass

    The Common Man, er Woman

    Well let's see. The Linux community has been hollerin' fer years their style OS is fit for the masses. I rectum that jus ain't necessarily so huh? Of course it's not Linux's fault, nooooooooo, it's the woman's fault for being so backward and possessing such poor computer skills and not paying attention to what she was orderin'. Of course Ubuntu is a "human" OS so maybe she jus ain't fully human herself or somthin'.

    The Lord must love the common person, 'cause, well, there's a world full of 'em and it just ain't gettin' no better.

    I know the Linux community will fuss and fume and just have all sorts of comments that this is an isolated case an generalizations aren't invalid. Standby little Penguin, your personal devil is here. And little fellow, its number is not 666, it's 7.

  213. bass daddy
    Gates Horns


    210 replies and counting.

    Is that a record?

    Bill Gates? Just because he's a tit

  214. Law

    tried reading em all... gave up...

    but imho - they should really rebrand dell-ubuntu machines as Dell Expert or something maybe people wouldn't buy them who didn't have the intelligence to at least know what ubuntu is.... never mind use it... I just don't get why she couldn't just go buy a copy of Windows to install (it's cheaper than a new PC!!)..... if she took her "faulty" machine to something like PC World *spits* then they would charge her, but install it for her... so she wouldn't even need to worry... if she can insert a disk for Office, she can do it for Vista *spits*.... the disc box is normally sat right next to the M$ Office in these places!!

    And to end this - Simon, consider yourself flamed sir... anybody who knows about computers knows the problem of sacrificing your evening every now and then to "help" a friend sort out something on their Windows machine, be that it not booting, not accepting a device, porn turning up in popups, failed update/wont connect to internets! .... you get my drift.... and osx/ubuntu/most operating systems also have nice easy gui's now to manage your wifi connection, you don't actually NEED to go through config files.... but you could if you needed too.... just like windows... sort of.... perhaps if you installed a copy you would see... or not having it bottom right going to be too taxing on your fragile ickle mind??

  215. Chris Matchett

    Dell fail

    Dell forgot that she didn't really want Ubuntu or Windows. She wanted internet and Microsoft Word.

  216. Simon Westerby

    "repair connection"...

    performs the same sort of repair as when i use a lump hammer to "repair" any deffective hardware I have..

  217. Sam


    "So? Can you strip down and re-build your cars engine? I bet half of you couldent even chainge the oil. Loosers."

    "Couldn't, change, and losers", you loser.

    What a complete hoon.

  218. webdude
    Gates Horns

    Maybe she needs to ...

    remove her head from her ass?

    Prior to enrolling in school; remove head from ass.

    Prior to buying a computer; remove head from ass.

    Prior to doing anything; remove head from ass.

    Now where in the hell are we going to find a surgeon to do the job?

  219. Rich Harding

    Re: @Paul

    "So? Can you strip down and re-build your cars engine?"

    Er, yeah, I for one could probably still manage that - just give me the tools. In fact the first serious thing I ever did with a vehicle was replace an engine (by myself - I access to a hoist and a ramp) and soon after I became quite adept at stripping rebuilding bike engines; usually in a bathroom! And no, as with computers, I've not had one minute's formal training in vehicle mechanics either. I read up, I considered my actions before proceeding and when in doubt I found someone to ask.

    The way some of the comments here read, one would think their posters are actively advocating refusing to think and learn for oneself. Some also appear to think particular skills immutable when, in reality, it's attitude and approach, not some innate aptitude, that determines one's success (or otherwise) across a huge range of skills.

  220. Jeff Wojciechowski


    I attended MATC - in Milwaukee, not Madison, AND I used Ubuntu, with great success I might add. Ubuntu even has this great note taking program built in.

    However, I was taking CCNA classes not their Microsoft Office class which I called "Intro to turning your computer on" because it was so ridiculously simple. I was able to access the web wirelessly and wired while in class so there is no problem at all accessing the internet. Some people are just a waste of a good computer.

  221. Richard Porter
    Paris Hilton

    50% of people are more stupid than average

    Not necessarily. 50% of people are more stupid than median, but if some people are very, very stupid then fewer that 50% could be below average (mean) stupidity.

  222. Daniel Palmer

    Ubuntu doesnt have network-manager?

    Maybe they missed it out when they mass rsync'd muhahahaha joking!

    Anyhow... @all the "I cant do linux" people;

    Shouldn't you be looking for a different site to read? honestly, you're reading an "IT" related site and telling your "peers" you can't grasp the fairly simple concepts and methodologies that would allow you to operate pretty much any recent UNIX-ish operating system[1].

    [1] A term used by people "in the know" to describe "the thing that puts icons on me screen" when it actually doesn't mean that all, again, if you don't understand computers why the hell are you reading an "IT" site.. sigh

  223. Mark

    @Doug Glass

    Linux IS fit for the masses. As much as Windows is, anyway.

    What you have to learn in purchase investigation for Linux compatibility, you save in not having to be scared to click on something or administrate your OS with Windows.




    The difference is that Linux doesn't make guesses for you, so you are safe from yourself. Windows makes guesses all the time and this is exploited by botnets/virii and so on but because Windows makes guesses all the time, it doesn't let you make a decision for yourself.

    So when Windows guesses wrong or its guesses hose your machine, you have to do all the work in one big honking trouble package that linux avoided by letting you do the work over time.

  224. Anonymous Coward

    This article was simnply misleading in how it was written.

    You can't expect someone who is a basic user not a power user to be able to figure out how to configure EVDO with Ubuntu. However, the way the article reads Internet doesn't work with Ubuntu at all. The truth is somewhere in between. Yes, driver support for Linux and support from vendors is lacking. However, that doesn't make Linux an non-viable platform for many users.

    This lady obviously had no one that could help her with this. If someone set up her EVDO card and installed/told her about OpenOffice and how it works with Word documents she most likely would have been all set.

    Well that is unless she needed Shockwave or Flash 10 to access the schools online learning website. Then she'd need to run Wine with Firefox and plugins to get it to work.

    Oh, wait a minute, Linux snobs, and yes I use and love Linux - It is not really ready for all Joe home users yet. Unless she had one of us Uber geeks around, Ubuntu didn't meet her needs.

    Does that make her a complete idiot. No, it does not -her interests lie elsewhere.

    Does it also follow that Ubuntu is useless to all average users - no neither does that track because it all depends on what you are going to use it for. GROCK?

    The article is simply poorly written fluff to stear people away from Linux while not passing along any useful information.

  225. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo


    So all you linux fanbois out there - if you want to see linux on the desktop you will be seeing a lot more of these type issues. Deal with them nicely and linux will grow. Be an asshole and it will only drive these users into the arms of Gates, Ballmer, and Co.

    Sort of reminds me of that old saying "you can catch more flies with sugar than you can with vinegar."

    O BTW I run slackware because it just works, but I'm not a fanboi. I pick the right tools for the task and sometimes its Linux, sometimes not.

  226. A J Stiles
    Gates Horns

    MS must be getting desperate

    My first reaction: Microsoft must be getting *really* desperate, if this is the sort of thing to which they have to resort!

    After reading the comments I can only say: Bad attitudes all around.

    The customer made a deliberate decision to buy a computer with Linux pre-installed, despite dire warnings about what she might be letting herself in for; when her actions came back to bite her, she blamed everyone but herself. (Ask a knowledgeable friend? Go online using someone else's PC and get help?) The ISP and the college (falsely) assumed that everyone would be using Windows. And Dell Technical Support offered the wrong kind of reassurance.

    If you think Windows is "easier", that's probably only because you're already familiar with Windows and familiarity breeds contempt. Who hasn't turned on the windscreen wipers in a borrowed car when trying to signal, or not been able to get into reverse because it's in a different place? Us experienced Linux users don't notice stuff that isn't obvious to a n00b, *precisely because* we're experienced; just the same as Windows users probably don't notice stuff that isn't obvious to a n00b. I've lost count of the times I've clicked on an icon in Windows -- which I don't use very often -- and sat there patiently waiting while nothing happened ..... because in Windows, you have to *double*-click an icon to launch an application. No idea why.

    The reason why brand-new hardware is often poorly supported under Linux is that the manufacturers won't release details of how to support it (and Microsoft might even be refusing to certify drivers for manufacturers who dare help other OSs). A bunch of dedicated hackers have to get a sample of the hardware (at their own expense) and then figure it out for themselves by trial and error. It's rather like trying to learn to speak French by hitch-hiking to Paris and then just hanging around various shops, listening to what people order and seeing what they get given. Which is not ideal; but honestly, what else can you do if The Authorities are making a concerted effort to stop you from learning French?

    And the command line is not going to eat you. Really, it isn't. I honestly don't know where this irrational fear comes from.

  227. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shows Ubuntu has some way to go before being widely accessible

    I'm a web designer and I've been working with computers daily for about 15 years. I use computers extensively as a tool, but I'm not very interested in how they work and any computer system that wants to get a significant share of the market needs to be accessible to people who aren't basically geeks.

    I like the idea of leaving the Windows environment and having heard that Ubuntu was aimed at making Linux "easy to use", I thought "here's my chance" and went about installing it on my PC.

    Installing Ubuntu was a breeze, but the computer then failed to recognise my wireless network. So I search for help. Sure enough, the only advice I could find involved incomprehensible (to the majority of people) command line instructions. Now, while I'm no sys admin type, I'm certainly a lot more computer literate than most people. If I'm struggling to get Ubuntu up and running then clearly it's nowhere near simple enough for the vast majority of computer users.

    If Ubuntu wants to be a system written by geeks and for geeks, then fine. If it wants to be more widely used than that though it's got a long way to go, and this story reflects that.

    Instead of mocking the woman in this story, the Ubuntu community should be concerning themselves with making the system usable enough to prevent it re-occurring.

  228. Anonymous Coward

    RE: All the yes I could fix my engine

    Could you, really? How about repairing your TV? Your fridge freezer? Central heating? Shower? how about your mains electrical supply? your toilet?

    The fact is no one can know everything about everything which is why people have jobs in the first place. I know about X and will trade you my knowledge for yours about Y, only I don't really need Y and so money was invented.

    End users should not HAVE to learn how their PC works, it should just do what they want it to do. If there are problems then they can call someone in to fix it who does know how it works.

    Oh, and congrats to The Fuzzy Wotnot who after reading up managed to install his kitchen for 3.5k and in the process invalidated his house contents and buildings insurance by doing his own rewiring. Just like your boiler must be fitted by a corgi registered engineer, your electrics can only be re-wired by a qualified person. Feel free to change face plates etc, but more than that and they will refuse to insure you. If you fail to tell them and something happens, the investigator will ask to see the documentation proving you had a qualified installer. Without that certificate they won't pay you a penny, and that my friend is going to cost you a whole lot more than if you had put your hand in your pocket to employ someone who has trained specifically to do that exact job.

  229. Apocalypse Later


    "So? Can you strip down and re-build your cars engine?"

    Yes I can, and also used to weld up the holes in the floor. I also fix the plumbing, central heating, and electrical wiring in my home (but wouldn't want to install a whole system from scratch). None of these things are impossible for a reasonably bright person who takes the time to learn. I can milk a cow too, by hand or machine, and make hay, by hand or machine. I can spin wool and knit, bake bread, make cheese and brew beer.

    But the only time I have ever made 300 quid a day was by showing other people how to use a computer.

  230. webdude
    Paris Hilton

    Network Manager?

    Ubuntu > System > Administation > Network Tools

    That was difficult, I have to go lay down now. I am exhausted.

  231. Anonymous Coward

    This is almost as bad as the old story

    About the lady who called tech support because she couldnt get her recipes onto her PC. Supposedly she was stuffing the recipe cards into the floppy drive or the air vents in the case.....

  232. Mark

    If MS is so great, why this?

    Surely, if MS Windows is "easy to use", it would be easy to have a system that doesn't have this problem.

    3.5million users can't all be doing it wrong.

  233. SiliconSlick

    Help, I've been Tuttled...

    Probably just as well... there's always the risk that the school's web site might have been taken over by that CentOS virus.[*]


  234. Niall Campbell
    IT Angle

    @ AC @ myself

    That may be the case in your educational establishment but the Windows, MS Word scenario is a fact in the one I'm talking about.

    When confronted with an Open Office doc, they would not accept it. They also have a habit of saying you can access work online but it then you discover it is Powerpoint. Open Office does not do Powerpoint yet, thus forcing you into purchasing (or heaven forbid downloading an illegal copy of Office) to enable him to do his work!!

    I have to agree though about what use is Media studys> ie as much use as a pork chop in a synagogue or even the eponymous fart in a wind tunnel.

    By the way, I work in a profession where you NEVER publish an untruth, whether in print or online.

  235. Christopher E. Stith

    OS is part of the specs

    Don't say she checked the specs and bought it with Ubuntu instead of Windows. The OS is the most important spec a prebuilt, preloaded computer has. Dell makes it very clear that Ubuntu is not Windows and that most people want Windows. Then, when she calls to say she wants Windows, she lets some PFY convince her she wants Ubuntu even though she can't use it.

    I don't think she's stupid because she can't use Ubuntu. Lots of people who haven't been exposed to it experience a learning curve. I think she's stupid because she went out of her way -- twice -- to be the owner of something she doesn't know how to use and then blames it on everyone else.

    My biggest complaint with the situation isn't the woman who bought the computer at all. It's the reporter and news editor at the TV station not at all researching the woman's issue. Sure, they could help her get Windows if she's more comfortable with it. They could help her get accustomed with Ubuntu. What they shouldn't do is call Dell on the carpet for shady business practices and question the quality of Ubuntu when they know nothing about the topic. They might want to talk to Dell about the poor customer service of that one PFY, but it was the customer's decision to accept his reasoning.

    Oh, she can't use what she bought? Help her return it. Maybe buy her a Windows license and find someone to install it for her for public goodwill. Don't attack what you don't understand. For investigative journalism, they didn't do very damn much investigation of the situation. Now, I have a consumer complaint about the poor quality of reporting at WKOW TV in Wisconsin...

  236. Huw Davies

    @All car analogies

    Yes, using a computer should be like driving a car - In the fact that you're not allowed on the road/highway without a license or an instructor. Pass your test first.

    Yes, fixing a computer should be like fixing a car - If you don't know what you're doing, call a bloody mechanic. The salesman is not much help in these instances.

  237. Rob Beard


    Hopefully if she still has this notebook, someone from her local LUG will offer some assistance in helping her get to grips with Ubuntu. Maybe though if she wasn't happy with her purchase she should have just returned it for a Windows based notebook. (Cue lots of jokes about getting an Ubuntu refund ;-)


  238. Daniel B.

    Re: Linux = fail

    Hm... may I introduce you to my good ole HP Pavilion Laptop. Windows has some weird driver error with my Intel M830 graphics card, which causes the damn thing to have a 10% probability of rebooting whenever I try to watch a video. No such problem on Linux.

    And for clueless women ... I had one use my PC, who insisted on me to turn off ZoneAlarm as she couldn't use IE. I went to the PC ... and found one of those "Security Alert" popups saying that IEXPLORE.exe was trying to access the internet. Click "Allow" ... and it works.

    Some people can't be arsed to learn simple stuff. Be it Linux or Windows.

  239. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Linux = fail

    >And for clueless women ... I had one use my PC

    Congratulations! You made my radar.

  240. Anonymous Coward

    Story has been updated

    Guess there isn't much else going on in the world so people want to talk about the article.


    Tens of thousands of people have read and commented on this story, making it one of the most-read stories in the history of WKOWTV.COM. 27 News reporter Dan Cassuto will file an update on 27 News at 5:00 on Thursday. We'll review viewer comments, explain why this story is making some viewers so angry, and explore how quickly it's spreading around the internet."

    "...27 News contacted Dell, but the company has not responded to us yet.

    However, we think we've helped her get back to school.

    Verizon says it will dispatch a technician to try to assist her accessing the internet without using the Windows-only installation disk. Verizon says its high-speed internet does indeed support Ubuntu, but some advanced features and installation disks clearly don't work with Linux.

    MATC also says it promises to accept any of Schubert's papers or class documents using whatever software she has installed.

    Schubert's computer came with Open Office, a word processing software package that is compatible with Microsoft Word. She says she wasn't aware it was compatible. MATC promised to show her how to save documents in compatible formats so she could enroll in online courses again."

    Now if only we could get the other problems in the world solved ...

  241. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    MATC = Madison Area Technical College

    FWIW, the source article never says Milwaukee. If you're in Madison MATC = *Madison* Area Technical College.

  242. Another Anonymous Coward

    From an "average thickie" perspective...

    The main thing that absolutely infuriates me about the entire linux community is the assumption that open-source versions of commercial software are in fact, superior. With openoffice, I would agree, use it all the time.. others are not so good though.

    I tried running ubuntu last year, and asked a few questions on a forum that was apparently supposed to offer help to anyone new to linux.. sounds great, right? All huggles and help and open-source love?

    Problem 1 - Hardware glitch. Didn't need to ask for help on this one, the online instructions were very clear. Ubuntu, the operating system is excellent to use, brilliant compared to Vista.

    Problem 2 - Flash doesn't work online. Now, this might not seem very important, but I happen to like watching a few online vids and playing the odd stupid game. When I enquired about why it wasn't seen as important, I got a big rant about how Flash was only used to spam pointless adverts on the net and that it was a closed adobe piece of bloatware yadda yadda...

    Problem 3 - Photoshop doesn't work. No, not even in WINE, unless you want to use a seriously outdated version with no support for the batch image processing scripts and plug-ins that I like to use.

    The answer "use GIMP, blah blah Adobe sucks, GIMP is better".

    Okay, fair enough... time to try out the GIMP. There are some serious design flaws in that piece of software. The inabilty to select brush width from a sliding menu is utterly insane, yes, I could go into the brush menu and create a new custom brush, but that's just obtuse. The lack of being able to have a seperate brush size at the same time for a brush and eraser is terrible, too.

    I relayed my concerns to the GIMP community and was advised "it's just different to photoshop, but it's actually better once you get used to it". More fobbing off rather than admitting an area where their work needs to be improved.

    I reinstalled Vista shortly afterwards. Sorry open-source community, but you need to be a lot less patronising and blindly "our stuff is better, lalala not listening" if you want your hard work to go mainstream, and seriously work on program compatibility.

    It really was a shame, since Ubuntu was genuinely much better than Windows to use, and the GIMP even has better support for my wacom tablet than photoshop does, with a variety of extra things that can be customized to the level of pen pressure.

    Software compatability is the #1 problem. People don't "use" OS's, they use programs. The OS is simply the thing that is there to make the programs work, and right now, Linux does not do that.

  243. Anonymous Coward

    Proof yet again

    That some people are just to stupid for words. So this person bought a dell without actually looking at any of the specs and got something she didn't expect. Oh gee I wonder by happened you witless asshat. It's like going into the store and picking up the first loaf of bread you see and then complaining to the store and the baker that it's wheat and not white, then going further to complain that since it's wheat you couldn't possibly make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with it.

    Then there is the other side of the equation which is. This person is going to a technical college?? I hope she isn't studying anything computer related because if she is I predict a very hard road ahead of her being so technically myopic and unable to actually pay attention to what the hell she is doing.

    To summarize: ROFLCopters batman.

    Mine is the one with "reading is fundamental" across the back.

  244. Julian

    @ Trix Sexism = fail

    Sorry, but I did qualify my statement. It just so happens that nearly all the assistance I offer is to females who are frequently not very good with computers.

    No offense intended!

  245. sup com


    >>And for clueless women ... I had one use my PC

    >Congratulations! You made my radar.


    LOL at those who take offence that women with computers can be equally as stupid as men

  246. Paul
    Thumb Up

    240 and counting...

    240 posts, if only she'd slagged off Apple as well she might have got the record.....

  247. Sooty

    @Niall Campbell

    your comments fall over slightly as there isn't a requirement to actually own a computer of any type to participate in a school/college/degree course.

    If you must submit work in word format, and you don't have word, then you produce it on the college computers, that's what they are provided for. There is no forcing you to buy (or otherwise obtain) windows or office at all. Being able to do work at home, instead of in a computer lab/cluster, is simply a convenience. Even if you have to do something as prosaic as using a pen and paper and then type it up later!

  248. Anonymous Coward


    So who's fault is it?

    Her fault, for not knowing anything about Ubuntu?

    Dell's fault, for letting her have Ubuntu?

    Microsoft's fault, for creating software that doesn't work on Ubuntu?

    Ubuntu's fault, for not being compatible with Word?

    She can't be expected to know about Ubuntu, so it's not her fault. Dell sell computers, if someone buys the wrong thing, it's not their fault either. Microsoft make Windows, they don't want people to have Ubuntu, fair enough. Ubuntu... perhaps should support more applications.


  249. Doug Glass

    @ Mark

    Oh yeah, right. I tell you what, when usage numbers of all Linux distros combined becomes equal to, or greater than, Windows usage, I'll agree with you. But up until that point, all you have is opinion and bluster.

    It's the numbers dude, it's the numbers. And hard as you and others might try, Linux is a distant "also ran" at this point. It might be the greatest thing since sliced bread, but as long as all you have is words in the air and no hard usage figures to prove your position you have nothing.

    <end of thread>

  250. SouthernBelle

    "I wanted to get back to school..."

    My ass.

    So perhaps this lady is in some dead end job that she hates and wants to make more money so she signs up for some career changing course at the local tech college that she saw advertised on TV or some such. She thinks, 'Oh, I'll take some online classes in my spare time and in next to no time I'll have a better job and more money and everything I ever wanted! And my boobs will get bigger too!"

    Then she realizes that she's actually going to have to - God forbid - get online and, like, study and do homework, which might cut into her drinking time or whatever. But instead of womaning up and admitting that she can't hack it, she puts the blame elsewhere. That she happened to get a computer with a non-Windows operating system was a convenient excuse. If she had gotten a computer with Vista it would have been 'I couldn't figure out how to press the 'ok' button when it asked me something' or some such. If the school had provided her with a computer and come to her house to set it up, she *still* would have found fault with something that prevented her from taking classes.

    Speaking as someone who's going back to school to get another degree, it's hard. It takes sacrifices. If you expect someone to hand it to you, you will fail. Yes, she can't attend an online class without a computer, but presumably this college has a computer lab that is available for her to use by virtue of her paying them money. Or, failing that, the local library should have computers with internet access available for the one time fee of the thirty seconds it takes to fill out a form for a library card. She could even, if she were so inclined, attend either of these facilities in her pajamas. They might look at her funny, but they wouldn't kick her out. The fact that she had an issue with her personal computer is no excuse for not being able to attend class.

    With people like this bimbo, who seem to expect to have it handed to her on a platter, it's no wonder that this country is going to the dogs. It's even worse that she was given the opportunity to air her so called 'grievances' in a public forum. Whoever at the TV station that was responsible for this farce should be publicly spanked and the video put on YouTube as a warning to others. (I respect El Reg enough to assume that they only reproduced the story to give us a laugh. And, you know, OS holy war bait.)

    This woman is neither an idiot nor a 'poor woman' because she's technically incompetent. I know plenty of people who barely have the technical ability to turn on their computer, and yet they manage to muddle through because they know where to go for help when they need it and they have the tenacity to stick with the people helping them until they get a solution for their problem. Honestly, I'm half tempted to ask where the IT angle is for this story because if you scrape off the Dell/Ubuntu frosting, underneath is just a lazy twit cake with a self-serving lawsuit-setup filling. Can we please move on to the more serious business of what Paris Hilton is doing these days?

    @Sarah Bee Re: What is really going on here

    I think you just did.

  251. Mike Moyle

    A few comments...

    Some (all) of these may have been covered -- I didn't feel like wading through the nigh-endless iterations of "linux roolz", "linux sux", "stupid 'murricanz", to see if there was actually any information posted, so...

    1 - To all of the "she should have just gone online and..." posters: Did you actually read the part about her not being able to run her ISP's install disk...? ...Hello-o-o-o-o...! (Yes, many public libraries have internet connections, but if you DON'T KNOW WHAT TO LOOK FOR, it's hardly useful, is it?)

    2 - A Technical College is NOT a university and may not even be particularly "technical" in the sense that you're thinking of it. They often fall into a gray area between two-year junior/community colleges and full-service state universities. A friend of mine teaches at a technical college in a rural area which has degree courses in farm management, animal husbandry (keep it clean, you...!), veterinary science, etc. So, yeah, a lot of their incoming students aren't of "technical" mindsets.

    3 - "'I'm extremely frustrated,' Schubert said. 'I wanted to get back to school, but I needed a computer to be able to do that.'" ...Stay-at-home-Mom who wants to get back into school now that the kids are in school...? Guess what: THESE are exactly the people that Linux needs to attract if it is ever to get out of being a Geeky, niche OS. If you really want Linux and OSS to conquer the world, you need to make it simple and intuitive enough that, when you demo its advantages at the local library or senior center YOU DON'T HAVE TO USE ANY WORDS THAT YOUR AUDIENCE DOESN'T ALREADY KNOW. If your presentation uses any words that start with "config" or "driver", you WILL lose them to Windows™ (or possibly Mac OS -- but, even then, if they've only been exposed to Windows, it can be a bit uphill).

  252. ron owens

    wtf, rtfm

    ive used ubuntu for two or so years no exclusively and if you cant figure out that oppen office is 100% compatible with ms office., you are a moron and dont deserve higher education. setting up pppoe for your dsl connection, I can only ask why she didn't google it. it works ive seen it. dropping out of two semesters tells me she was looking for an excuse to drop out.. The effort required to resolve her issues was minimal. Absolutely no sympathy from this college student, just a sense of security knowing that means more financial aid for the rest of us, and one less lazy idiot taking up a seat in a college classroom(online or not). I say good ridance and shw will not be missed by either ubuntu or the fine institie from which shee dropped out.

  253. This post has been deleted by its author

  254. ron owens

    Linux for dumb college girls = ubuntu

    Im a pc tech for an isp, one of my first calls ever was for this dumb college girl who had completely boched her dell with windos(big suprize). it woudn't do anything. feeling sorry for her i put ubuntu 8.04 on it cuz i had it in a cd case on me, setup her printer, showed her where everything was and i never heard another word, she got online checked her classes and exported a doc to word format all before i left. i would have put xp on it be she did not have the disks and i didn'ty have one with a valid license.

    anyway i move that the story be stricken from the front page of the register and in its place a link to this thread, I move to petition.

  255. John B

    ..and then install a printer.

    I've got a dual boot XP/Ubuntu system. I've got an Epson ALC1100 printer. To install it under XP, I get the driver off Epson, double click the .exe, and it's in.

    For Ubuntu: Open a terminal and cd to the directory where you saved the filter package.

    Extract the Package:

    tar xvfz Epson-ALC1100-filter-1.0.tar.gz

    cd Epson-ALC1100-filter-1.0

    Install the filter :



    sudo make install

    Restart CUPS and install the printer :

    sudo /etc/init.d/cupsys restart

    lpadmin -p alc1100 -E -v usb:/dev/usb/lp0 -m Epson-AL-C1100-fm3.ppd

    That isn't clever.

  256. Mark
    Paris Hilton


    Uh, OpenOffice DOES do Powerpoint.

    If you're thinking OO.o is just writer, then MS Office doesn't do Powerpoint either (you can't use Word).

    And Sarah, while you still don't have a male dumbass icon, you will continue to get women dipsticks used as the representation of ANY dumbass.

  257. andy

    What a bunch of pricks...

    Christ, I can't believe how many truly venomous c*nts there are on here.

    Turn your lights on, stop building the latest kernel from source (or whatever it is you linux geeks do during your circle jerks) and spend some time in the real world. Some people can build skyscrapers, fly a plane or cook a 5 course meal for 500 people, you would probably fail spectacularly at any of these (and i'm sure in a lot of cases leaving the house or talking to people)

    Windows is far from perfect but a huge majority of the time for your average user (email/internet/word) it works just fine and when it doesn't there a many more people available to help you out.

    Linux is not ready for mainstream.. FACT.. and it's going to take a lot more than arrogant scorn from a few saddos to change that...

    I'm out

  258. Andrew

    Stupid is what Stupid Does

    Everyone has pretty much covered this but I just want to add my 2-cents.

    Ubuntu (or most Linux Distros) can run pretty much any 'office' app one would need. The great thing is, they are often included in the distro, have a link, or simply easily downloaded fore $FREE$ online.

    As far as getting her Internet to work with Linux, I can't see how there would be a problem. If she's using a cable or DSL modem, she would either be using USB or Ethernet to connect to her modem. I'm sure Ubuntu has cable modem support through USB and if not, the Ethernet connection would have worked even easier. If it was DSL, still no problem and you can usually web-into your DSL modem and change settings if needed.

    Someone mentioned that if she'd simply contacted the campus PC support group, she would have had some great support from at least someone who though it was great she was trying to use Linux. 1 less person to help with viruses.

    DELL is a big problem. Sometimes they have a nice computer for sale but little support. I don't now if it's more frustrating for a tech savy person to talk to their support or someone who knows nothing. I think it is GREAT that Linux is available pre-installed on DELL computers. Many people get their PCs from DELL and having that option can help suport the Linux community and spread the Penguine Love!

  259. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE@ AC @ myself

    The person insisting on the use of powerpoint should be shot and that application should be confined to the depths of hell. In your case regarding the compulsory purchase of office, the college should not put you in that position.

    We do our best to accomodate everyone. We have a number of virtual xp desktops on esx server with a connection broker that provides access through ssl. Our students can access the college and work on an xp desktop via a secure windows or java client and have access to the most commonly used apps including office. No extra costs for the parents or student and no licensing issues for us as the software remains on our campus. That way everybody is happy including those who run linux or have a Mac at home.

    Maybe you should request a similar facility from your sons college, you never know they might listen.

  260. SouthernBelle

    @Niall Campbell

    "Open Office does not do Powerpoint yet..."

    From "Of course, you are free to use your old Microsoft PowerPoint presentations, or save your work in PowerPoint format for sending to people who are still locked into Microsoft products."

    If you insist on making bold claims about never printing an untruth, you might benefit from indulging in a little bit of fact checking before you go about making claims about products you don't seem to know anything about.

  261. Alan Barnard

    This woman has my sympathy.

    She is young and I am past my best-before date. But apart from this, I would have just as much trouble changing my operating system. Before someone calls me a Linux geek, let me say that, since I installed Ubuntu, I have forgotten just about everything I once knew about Linux.

    Suppose I had to buy a Windows computer. It would come with Vista, which I have never used (unless I got one with the obsolete XP). I have never had to go through the dreaded authentication process (my present computer is built from hand-me-downs from my children - I gather MS does not like this as my hardware keeps changing). I have no idea about anti-virus and anti-spyware. I did once manage to remove a copy of Norton malware from an XP machine but I doubt if I could do it again (that age thing).

    I know that it is dangerous to visit certain Internet sites with IE and I must never accept sweets from strangers who send me e-mails - but I think that I am getting too old to change my ways.

    What would I do if I went to a W3-compliant site and I only had IE? How do I read (and edit) my ISO-standard word processed documents? If I was a bit younger, I suppose I could learn these things. De-fragging, cleaning registries, my head hurts.

  262. J
    Paris Hilton

    Too many comments... so I'll add one more.

    Can't read them all, but suspect someone has said this:

    When I saw the headline, I thought it would be a story about some online college page demanding that you use IE or Silverlight or whatever.

    Something stinks here, and it isn't the software... See, to get a Dell with Ubuntu, you have to spend quite some effort. Last time I checked (I haven't), Dells with Ubuntu were not being sold in regular brick-n-mortar stores. So she must have bought it from Dell's website.

    1. Go to "Home & Home Office" page (so far, no problem).

    2. Then go *all the way down* the page to the very last option "Open-Source PCs". After ignoring "Windows Vista", "Windows XP" and "Windows Vista 64-bit". Click on "Open-Source PCs" anyway even if you have no clue what that means (her case).

    3. Then comes a nice page with a banner saying "Ubuntu, keeps getting better!" in big letters. Then some explanatory text, including a large "Not sure Open Source is for You?" and a warning that you're not getting Windows in these computers; click *here* to get one with Windows. Are you sure? OK.

    4. Already an Open Source Fan? Then choose between FreeDOS and Ubuntu (small text blurbs explaining each).

    How can someone just notice that they are getting this Ubuntu thing when they turn on the computer at home?

    Being uninformed is one thing.

    But it appears stupidity is the most parsimonious explanation here, really.

    Or better yet, this is all BS.

    Re: connecting... Well, I don't have Verizon, I have Comcast. And they use DHCP. And for BOTH Windows and Linux (any distro I've tried so far, which is 3 or 4) all you need to do is plug the cable modem in and turn on the computer. No need to install the crapware that comes in some CD. At least that's my experience with my computer (self installed OSs), but it's hard to see why the Dell would behave any different (supposing the drivers are installed correctly, which they should).

  263. Anonymous Coward

    why so serious?

    So she's entering a technical school to try to learn. Then it figures there's a lot she doesn't really know and it appears has not gotten any basics wrapped up before she started into this endeavour. Should she have gotten better help and preparation from someone before ordering the PC and trying to use it? Most likely. Hard to believe so many people are down on her about this when; guess what...we all started out somewhere and didn't know squat. Give her a break.

  264. Anonymous Coward

    Regarding 'download driver for modem'

    "She can't download the drivers. She CANT GET ON THE NET"

    No... she can't connect to her WIRELESS with a Verizon connection. She CAN get on the University's Ethernet, so give us all a break.

  265. Anonymous Coward

    Troubleshooters @ WKOW-TV

    WKOW claims to troubleshoot problems for viewers. A claim that appears to have little basis in reality. The woman's problems were that her Verizon install disk for Windows wouldn't work in Ubuntu. Then there's the non-issue of lacking Word since MATC is willing to accept her homework no matter what program she uses to compose it.

    Had WKOW wanted to actually solve her problem, they could have put her in contact with MADLUG, the local Linux user's group. Is there any doubt the LUG would have been more than willing to configure her Verizon internet connection and give her some Ubuntu tutorials in return for free publicity?

    Instead, WKOW went for the FUD angle and blamed everyone in sight rather than trying to fix anything. Hardly surprising considering the level of talent to be found at a typical small market TV station in the US.

    WKOW had the opportunity to solve this woman's problems. Instead they chose to make her, and themselves, laughingstocks in the tubes of "teh internets".

  266. Anonymous Coward

    What should have happened

    1. The Dell rep should have asked her what she wanted the computer for.

    2. The woman should have looked at this link.

  267. kain preacher

    @ Ms Bee

    Oh what I meant was I expected the first 50 post to say she is stupid

    and that even a a brain dead comatose retard could use Linux.

    Yeah glad to see not to many post by misogynist bastards that

    couldn't get hooker with a $100 bill sticking out of their crotch .

    If you referred to her as a bimbo / twat/ a word I cant used here or used her gender

    for being stupid I'm talking about you..

    Cleaned up per request. Cheers

  268. Anonymous Coward

    I am reminded...

    ...of that Greek (or Roman, or Welsh) fable of the water beetle that tended the river reeds. He loved the river reeds and understood their nature and therefore their true beauty and he would tell everyone who would pass how beautiful the river reeds were but no-one would listen because he was just a water beetle and they were just river reeds. Occasionally someone would tell him about the other beautiful things around the river but this would only drive him into a fury of frustration and indignation

    "The only beauty is in the river reeds!" he would yell, but they would often say "Beautiful, too, are the willow trees and the shiny river stones. Not to mention -" only to be interrupted by the little water beetle shrieking "Screw you, you are stupid!". Then they would just walk off to some other part of the river where occasional sounds of polite conversation and interchange of ideas could be heard. Glasses would clink. Sometimes laughter would ripple across the river and make the reeds stir in a wholly unpleasant way.

    Eventually, though, the little water beetle understood. It wasn't just about his little part of the river. Upstream and downstream and in the surrounding fields and beyond, there was a great big world of amazing diversity all around him. And that world was entirely peopled by morons, women, and Americans. Then he got eaten by a trout - lonely, friendless, unloved, and having never been loved up by a proper girl that was really there and not only there when he closed his eyes really tight and thought of field hockey.

  269. Anonymous Coward

    Re: Troubleshooters @ WKOW-TV

    They actually have tried to help ...


    Tens of thousands of people have read and commented on this story, making it one of the most-read stories in the history of WKOWTV.COM. 27 News reporter Dan Cassuto will file an update on 27 News at 5:00 on Thursday. We'll review viewer comments, explain why this story is making some viewers so angry, and explore how quickly it's spreading around the internet."

    "...27 News contacted Dell, but the company has not responded to us yet.

    However, we think we've helped her get back to school.

    Verizon says it will dispatch a technician to try to assist her accessing the internet without using the Windows-only installation disk. Verizon says its high-speed internet does indeed support Ubuntu, but some advanced features and installation disks clearly don't work with Linux.

    MATC also says it promises to accept any of Schubert's papers or class documents using whatever software she has installed.

    Schubert's computer came with Open Office, a word processing software package that is compatible with Microsoft Word. She says she wasn't aware it was compatible. MATC promised to show her how to save documents in compatible formats so she could enroll in online courses again."

  270. Mike Gravgaard


    I've got a question; how did he order the computer from Dell?

    If she ordered over the internet, she had access to the internet before the Dell arrived (i.e before getting a computer) and could have possibly looked on Ubuntu forums or researched the problems via the internet. Dell seem to advise again Ubuntu with "It's not Windows", etc (when I looked at buying a Ubuntu laptop, it seemed a bit of an uphilll battle to get one on their website).

    To be honest, I love using Ubuntu (I use Ubuntu Studio) and would recommend it but some people just can't grasp it - I have tried converting some people but only proper technical people (frustrated Windows techies) seem interested in taking the challenge. A lot of people see Windows as a "safety blanket" when in reality it isn't so different and seem to be scared of change. Windows can also be a problem with drivers - when it doesn't include a driver for the onboard graphics, NIC, etc (It might be good idea if Microsoft updated the Windows install CD with drivers by default every 6 months or so but then again they wouldn't do this for free).

    It sounds as though she possibly gave up trying to get her modem working under Ubuntu. If she has little computer experience, she might have asked friends which may have either known little or had no idea (most people know a techie or a friend of a techie, etc but if this option isn't available then she may have just given up - they may have never used Ubuntu and could be just as clueless). She possibly phoned Dell thinking that they could talk her through it but she possibly couldn't explain the problem to the techie and the techie assumed she wanted to change to Windows just cause she wasn't use to it.

    I think this problem is possibly a lack of computer experience on her part coupled with bad/unhelpful Dell customer support.

    It would be an good idea if Dell talked to ISPs to find out which modems they give to their end users, Dell could then package their Ubuntu builds with these modules as standard (even discussing this with the Ubuntu developers they could possibly get these added to the released Ubuntu build). They could maybe even include documentation and support for the ISPs when the computer is being ordered.

    I remember I had problems with Ubuntu 7.04 on a Tyan Tiger 230 (dual P3, VIA based motherboard) where it would crash for no reason on startup. The problem appeared to be a VIA driver issue but I gave up and stayed with 6.10 until 7.10 came out (7.10 resolved the problem - I could be assed to change as I used this machine as a overkill NAS/second machine and it had all my RAID arrays on it).

    I'm trying to make a balanced arguement - whilst Windows is a pain (I hate having to reinstall WIndows every 6 months because something caused the registry to grow to an enourmous size and thus memory useage seems to go through the roof). Ubuntu cannot always be a great bundle of joy either though in my opinion - Ubuntu is a better system but then it depends what you want out of a system.

    I personally think all hardware should be supported by the manufactures on every system or they should package it with what systems it won't work either or should list only the systems it is supported on.


  271. Jordan
    IT Angle

    Technical Collage you say?

    So It Looks like she is studying computing at a Technical Collage. I Presume the person is over 18, If She is studying computing at a Tech Collage, how the hell can you not know what a Operating System is.

    Secondly When buying the bloody PC If its your typical "Bread and Butter" Computer it would have windows stickers all over it and you are told about the operating system if it is not Windows when purchasing =/

    Thirdly Ubuntu is a perfectly good operating system and has alternatives to Microsoft Word, Not all computers come with windows stuff on them =/

    Sorry for any mistakes i may have made but im only young =)

  272. Cleggy

    No licence no problem

    Sorry, you're at collage. DO YOU WANT TO LEARN OR NOT?

  273. Rob Crawford

    @ac who posted @ 16:06

    Let's be honest of you want to use a Linux distribution it helps to actually helps if you are computer literate.

    Sadly very few web designers are computer literate most are like secratarys, sub editors or cad tech they simply use the applications they are provided with. Some understand how to make the best use of a particular browser. Some even understand what is happening on their web servers.

    But very few have any more knowledge than the average home user, unfortunitly even programmers are heading in the same direction :(

  274. Phil
    Thumb Up


    Best article in a long time - gratz El Reg!

    Lady... I doubt you'll read this comment, seeing how your Verizon Inter doesn't net...

    But you should thank Dell, and thank Ubuntu. They just saved you a lot of money you could have wasted trying to pass technical classes. FAIL!

  275. Petrea Mitchell

    An update

    It appears the main lesson learned, from the reporter's point of view, is that Ubuntu is used by jerks.

  276. Dave Morris

    Ignorance is bliss, but knowledge is empowering

    So many of the comments before me have lambasted other commenters using a comparison to some other technical field, such as internal combustion engines, home repair, etc. Most are in the form of "do you know anything about X?"

    First, to these people I say, yes, why yes I do know about the workings of my car, I know how to frame a house, install insulation, wire it up, plumb it, etc. Do I do these things on a regular basis? No, I don't; they are not my job. Do I do them for myself? Yes, sometimes, though I do have to weigh the costs and benefits.

    This lady is obviously ignorant. Stupid? Not certain, but seems probable. I have little sympathy for people who learn of their ignorance and still choose to do nothing about it. In my area we have recently had an influx of Burmese refugees, along with past influxes of various African refugess. Most of these people know nothing of western life when they get here. One of the Burmese ladies was afraid of an egg beater because of it's lethal-looking mechanical nature (ROTM will never happen if she has any say, I'd guess). Many of the Africans were illiterate or nearly so in their native language, much less English or Spanish (I'm in the US, so English is pretty important for everyday life, barring that Spanish makes a good fallback in my area). The Burmese, nearly every one, know how to read English, but cannot even pronounce a single word of it when they arrive - they learn from teachers who do not know how to speak the language. I could go on, but I'm sure you've all got the plot by now: life is difficult for them.

    (New paragraph for those who got bored) And yet, nearly all of these refugees can pick up not only the basic skills they need to live (how to ride a bus, where and how to shop, how to operate egg-beaters), whatever skills are required for their new job (many of them slaughter chickens), but also sideline skills, such as how to operate a computer, at least well enough to have a harem of online girlfriends, how to do basic repairs on a car, etc.

    If they can do all that, why can't this woman learn how to plug her Ethernet cable in (Verizon provides DSL, and having used it, I know that to get it running with Ubuntu you have to plug it in, and plug the Ethernet cable into the machine)? If she NEEDS MS Word (as in she is taking a class in MS Word, and therefore cannot actually use OpenOffice), then there are a variety of solutions; she could/should have explained to the Dell rep that she has to use MS Word, because the class is on that particular program. If she wanted to be even less ignorant, she could have done a bit of research - wine (which has Ubuntu packages) will install and run MS Office 2007 (which, if it is a class about Word, or Office, would be what is required) without a hitch. If she wanted a slightly different approach, she could have installed the free version of VirtualBox or VMWare and acquired a copy of Windows to install there (though this seems unlikely, since it implies she actually wants to learn something about one or both OSes).

    This lady is just *trying* to remain ignorant, (since it is a blissful state), which means that she is trying not to learn - not the correct mental state for advanced schooling.

  277. Dave Morris

    re: sexism = fail - Sarah Bee

    > Of course. It just occurs rather often in expressed opinion that stupid blokes are stupid *and*

    > male, and stupid women are stupid *because* they're female. Again, not much of it in this

    > thread, though, so my inner feminazi is powered down. For now.

    However, sometimes men are stupid BECAUSE they are men, and Women are stupid BECAUSE they are women.

    In your above statement, you seem to imply that only men make this, or similar statements, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Women constantly says stuff like "men are so dumb," sometimes shortened to just "Men!" Usually referring to some particular area of interest, often with a human interrelational or emotional context. In fact, though women usually say these types of things to each other, I'd say that I have heard this at least an order of magnitude more often than I heard similar things from men.

    Is this wrong? Probably not, it certainly doesn't activate my inner masculnazi (or maybe andronazi; it certainly sounds much better).

    There are mental differences between men and women. They may be due to nature or nurture, or some combination thereof, but the fact remains that there are differences. In some cases these differences make it so that members of a given sex are predominantly disadvantaged when it comes to understanding a given subject.

    Of course (men, women, other) are sometimes stupid and (male, female, other); feel free to combine any one from first collection with any one from second collection as may apply for a given case, as any similarity between the first choice and second is purely coincidental to the fact that they are idiots.

  278. mhewitson

    What a lot of crap

    I thought Dell sold online - so she must have had a way to access the net?

    AND its really, really hard to buy a linx based Dell on their site.

    AFAIK the 'repair netqwork; does the equivalent of a dhclient <iface> i.e it drops your connection and gets a new DHCP lease. You could of course unplug and it would do tthe same.

    Im quite happy with my Ubuntu install (Originally 4.10 - and seen every update since with no issues - how many windows systems can say that! ) But I now ~DualBot Vista and 8.10 as I got a new PC. Both run like a Dream - Vista is much much slower with file based tasks though.

    She had plenty ways to get help and never pursued them - if I spent tha much on a laptop I sure as hell would. Its her own fault if she gets flamed here.

  279. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Nothing to do with OSs and computers

    This is just a story about someone who seems incapable of taking responsibility for their own actions or decisions.

    Gene pool, shallow end.

  280. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Somewhere out in Linux-land ...

    Somewhere out in Linux-land there's a wikipedia-page missing (at last count) 252 editors keen to address the details but not the subject.

    Young woman not good with computers.

    Dell employ freetard-weenies on Helpdesk.

    Media short of stories.

    Ursine preferred defecation environment unchanged. Pope's religion persistently RC. IT website read by IT types. Paris more fun at night.

  281. Mr Floppy
    Paris Hilton

    Publicity stunt

    "The young woman also contacted 27 News to report she's being harassed on her Facebook account by Ubuntu users."

    So she's technical enough to use facebook then.

    This such a non-news story but it certainly did the job for the TV stations publicity. They've worked out how to troll then.

    What makes this particular case any more special than others who may have the same problem?

    They certainly did their job. Even made me post when I should have just given a rats-arse to the whole story.

  282. Philip Machanick

    This is the real news story

    Clueless student can't make Ubuntu system work and drops out. How is that news?

    Clues student buys Windows machine, nothing works, and drops out. That's news.

    Oops, I have it backwards. It's the rare event that's news.

  283. Anonymous Coward

    Online course requirements

    There has been a lot of "she should have ask for the minimum requirements" comments

    so here i will post them:

    Operating System

    * Windows 95+ or

    * Mac OS 8


    * PC: Pentium 200, 64 MB RAM, SoundBlaster or compatible sound card and speakers, monitor capable of 16-bit color, 4x CD-ROM

    * Mac: 150 MHz CPU, PowerPC or better, 64 MB RAM, speakers, CD-ROM drive, monitor capable of " thousands of colors" or better


    * 36.8K

    Web Browser

    * Internet Explorer 5.01 or 5.5

    * (Mac) Netscape Communicator 4.76 not 6.x

    * (PC) Netscape Communicator 4.76 or 4.77 not 6.x

    * AOL 5.0 or 6.0

    Other Software may be required. Check with your instructor

    * Adobe Photoshop

    * Microsoft Excell

    * Word 6.0 or 97

    * Acrobat Reader

    * Text editor (a word processor or Notepad/SimpleText)

    * Sound player program (often comes with the sound card for your computer)

    * Connection to Internet and e-mail capabilities

    Last Modified: January 30, 2007

    I think my cell phone has better specs than the crap needed to take classes there

    I could have given her a "project computer" for free that would have been at least 3x better than what is stated as a requirement

    Seriously its not a computer Issue

    its a I dont want to go look up the answer problem

    Which im sorry to tell you as a college student all you do is research and write papers. if she doesnt know how to do basic research and where to go to find answers or a basic problem solving technique she is not cut out for college

    Would this have been pick up as news if it would have been College student uses Internet explorer catches a virus and has to drop out of college???

    Probably not

  284. A J Stiles

    @ John B

    So you had to type a few commands in a terminal window to make something work ..... Big deal.

    Look, you open the terminal window. You read what you're supposed to type. You type exactly what it says with no deviations (unless it specifically tells you to deviate e.g. "replace 'fred' with your own login name"). And it just works.

    Wha exactly is the problem? You don't have to understand it, you just have to type it exactly as it's presented. Someone else has already done the "understanding" bit for you.

  285. elderlybloke
    Paris Hilton

    A long time ago,in a Country far away

    I used to do sums in Surveying and Civil Engineering using Log tables and a Slide Rule.

    I think that theFemale in this story would have had a hard job with those things as well.

    Had to know where to put the decimal point. (Now don't be rude about this).

    I do think Ubuntu is wonderful, my old worn out mind managed to download 8.04 and upgrade to 8.10.

    Setting up my settings for the ISP was easy as the provider gave nice easy instructions.

    Why even my mother could have done it.(Or is it Granny that is supposed to find it easy?

    My icon shows I love women!

  286. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    andy doesn't know what "fact!" means

    Although maybe if you spell it FACT! it means "I said it and it's true and you aren't going to tell me any different".

    You frigging moron, andy.

  287. Mark
    IT Angle

    "...and just install the printer"

    Wel, buy a printer that works with Ubuntu (just like you'd be hosed, no, MORE hosed, if you bought a printer with no windows driver). E.g. the routine for installing the drivers for the HP MFD printer:

    1) Open Configure your computer

    2) Click on Printers

    3) Enter root password

    4) Select HP from dropdown box

    5) Fin

    No need to hunt for the driver disk, it's on the installation of the OS, not to be lost.

    Now, go find a printer that has no Windows driver disk for your version of Windows (e.g. a printer with no Win98 driver) and install it on Windows 98.

    It works under windows, but not if it's windows 98...

    configure/make/make install doesn't work!

    You now have a nice avant-guard table centrepiece. Enjoy.

  288. Mark
    IT Angle

    @Doug Glass

    Well, lets look at what versions of Linux there are:

    Red Hat





    These are the only ones where you will have to do something different to get it administrated. You have distros with GNOME or KDE or Other Only. Gentoo expects you to use source code all the time and Debian has apt.

    A Red Hat RPM will work on any RPM based system with GNOME (including Mandrake/SuSE) as long as you have space for GNOME libraries too.

    Debian uses apt and will work with Ubuntu et al too


    Now, there are things on Vista that you CANNOT GET on XP, so there's two. The Home Basic and Starter editions are not interchangable and miss out on lots of things by the more expensive version (and cannot be upgraded without buying the upgrade license), that makes it four.

    You need at least Premium or Workstation to get a small network going or to use a multi=processor box. So that's another two.

    Ultimate to use more than 4 CPUs. Another two.

    HPC is another two (Linux versions are HPC, support and aid configuring are payment options)

    Cluster edition another two (Linux is already cluster ready, same as HPC).

    So that's 4+2+2+2+2=12 versions.

    Then there's Win2K, 2K3, 98SE, 95, though 95 is now probably down at the noise level, then again, probably no more than DSL and the other REALLY TINY Linux distributions. In workstation and server guises for the NT line, too.

    About 20 versions.

  289. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Publicity stunt

    She may be able to use Facebook (which surely a lot of people who can't figure Ubuntu can), but she can't - or didn't think to - make her profile unsearchable.

  290. Mark
    IT Angle

    re: From an "average thickie" perspective...

    Well, you don't consider being free to use as being a benefit, maybe that's why you don't consider Open Source better than the closed source.

    GIMP vs PS. Now if you want to edit photos and it's NOT YOUR ENTIRE JOB, what could you do with £700 that using GIMP would leave in your pocket? Is that not a LOT more useful than the cack-handed single document interface of PS? The need to BUY *more* plug-ins to get work done? The fact that out of the 1% of things you CAN'T do in GIMP there's 3% you can't do in PS but can in GIMP unless you pay more? And 1% that you can do in GIMP and can't in PS?

    But you don't see any value in money, do you. And how the heck could we expect you to value freedom too?

  291. Anonymous Coward

    Ubuntu is great

    This is what always happen in our life. People don't want to be bothered by new things. I have been using ubuntu since gutsy gibbon, and now intrepid ibex. Good OS, even I'm waiting the upcoming version which will use ext4 filesystem.

    Please, do not blame others and start to see it clearly. We have to learn new things even everyday.

    I love ubuntu.

    -Tjie Siong

    Jakarta, Indonesia

  292. Lionel Baden

    in before the close

    And wow 291 Posts

    Im just gonna sit here and laugh at the woman

    But i hate it when people try to sell you something cause they thinks its the best thing since sliced bread

    Yeas Linux may be good, but not for everybody

    oh and mac is bad for everybody !! ;)

  293. Suburban Inmate

    I just tried Ubuntu 8.10 AMD64

    Fucking great steaming turd heap. I would have looked for an alternative, but I had work to do, so I stuck XP on again.

    1. Installer would not default to a safe screen resolution and refresh rate. Tried the text based install, but had the same problem upon booting to GUI. Tried editing xorg.conf, or whatever its called, from windows (so that I could browse the help forums) but to no avail.

    Somehow, after having failed so many times, it just happened to boot from the live CD into a working GUI, just by chance.

    2. Installing to nForce RAID 0. 30-odd nerve-racking steps (correcting a typo along the way!) and a manual grub installation later, it's up and running. Well, apart from a few devices...

    3. Webcam just about sorta worked a bit having found custom homebrew drivers. Would I install homebrew hardware drivers from an obscure source on XP? Would I fsck! Kept crashing anyway.

    4. Soundblaster XFi. Apparently it should work, having installed the creative labs driver. No such luck after several hours. Seemed to work just fine with the BackTrack live CD. Seemed like it should have made noise, according to all the mixer stuff (after a few more hours and a dozen more steps of fiddling), but no luck.

    5. Software support was also a little patchy, and what there was, was generally a bit pants. Apps "greying out" and all that.

    6. The Sun was coming up. Caffiene no longer having any effect. Still no sound, or decent torrent client.

    7. Gave up.

    I'm not laying blame anywhere in particular, and I'm certainly not blaming Linux in general, but think what that would have been like for someone who wasn't a technician, or even just your Average Joe MCSE? Remember that Ubuntu is the current darling of the "come on everybody give Lunux a go!" collective.

    XP: It's not the best, but it Just Works(tm). Mostly, which is good enough.

    The flameproof one that Just Fits(tm) me.

  294. Kieron McCann

    Well Done El Reg

    You guys must have been waiting to kick of the new year with a good old fashioned vicious fanboy flame war. Only 16 days in to the year and mission accomplished!

    This is going to be a good year!

    PS: Any Linux fanboy who thinks that Linux is ever going to make it in the big time probably believes that the moon landing was faked, 911 was a CIA plot and Elvis is flipping burgers in Argentina

  295. Anonymous Coward

    Just to tie a bow around all of this...

    I think what everyone is trying to say is that this whole sad series of events can be likened to the rise of national socialism in nineteen thirties Germany and the subsequent state rejection of commonly held democratic and egalitarian principals.

    With these words, I summon Godwin and beseech him to strike down this thread with his fiery sword of rhetorical determinism. All praise to Godwin.

  296. Steve

    Making a purchase with your eyes closed!!!

    The only person at blame here is Abbie Schubert. She clearly didn't have an understanding of what she was purchasing, but nonetheless pressed the buy now button. I myself had to remortgage my property 6 months ago. Not having an understanding, I thought it best to seek advice in order to get the best product to suit my requirement.

    I clearly would be in the gutter, if I had used the Abbie Schubert purchasing model (close your eyes, put your fingers in your ears and randomly head butt the keyboard)

    My advice, is to seek advice!!!

  297. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IT has its share of dunderheads

    This young person is no different to many (perhaps the majority) who are victims of the modern computer-obsessed education system. She's probably been educated to think that there is nothing other than Windows. She might not have been very smart in the way she handled this, but don't be so damned smug and nasty. The IT world is as bad as religion for obfuscation and zealotry.

    I've found the IT industry to be largely devoid of people with the elementary analytical science and maths skills that are often needed to do their job properly. This is whitewashed over by so-called "skills" in clicking icons and writing bullshit.

    (IT consultant - PhD Physics, 25+ years Unix and other macho operating systems, deep and dirty programmer, hardware hacker and all-round smart arse - but I get paid very well for it. Put that flame gun back in your pre-pubescent pants)

  298. A

    'The internet' doesn't work on Windows either

    '"The internet"' is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file.

  299. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    I just tried Ubuntu 8.10 AMD64

    Try with Vista.

    find out your SoundXFi doesn't work.

  300. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    "Linux may be good, but not for everybody"

    And the same with Windows.

    Why do people like you ALWAYS LEAVE THAT OUT????

  301. Danny

    Just adding this

    To try and get the comments over 300! Must be some kind of record for El Reg

  302. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    MS trolls so ignorant

    "Any Linux fanboy who thinks that Linux is ever going to make it in the big time probably believes that the moon landing was faked, 911 was a CIA plot and Elvis is flipping burgers in Argentina"

    Nope. Wrong.

  303. A J Stiles

    @ various

    Mark: Photoshop is free-as-in-£0 as long as you know where to go. And Adobe aren't complaining. If some Fred-in-the-Shed learns to use a pirate copy of Photoshop (which is hardly a loss for Adobe, since he'd never have bought it at the full price; without the option of piracy, he'd have bought a legitimate copy of a cheaper alternative product instead), and then subsequently gets a job involving editing graphics, he's naturally going to want his employers to buy Photoshop. If Fred-in-the-Shed pays for some cheapo photo editor and then subsequently gets a job involving editing graphics, then he might be able to convince the company that what he's used to already is good enough for them and 1/10 the price of Adobe Photoshop. And *that* is a lost sale for Adobe.

    @ Suburban Inmate:

    Do not ever use a RAID controller (unless it's True Hadware RAID: the sort that plugs into an expansion slot, has space for a memory module, costs more than your motherboard and shows up as a single drive) as a RAID controller under Linux! This invariably requires the use of a proprietary, binary-only driver. Instead, use it as a normal interface for separate disks and use Linux's own native software RAID. Although all the hard work is done in userspace, this often runs *faster* than the proprietary, binary-only drivers in kernel space.

    And as for homebrew drivers, I feel a couple of orders of magnitude more confident doing it when I have the Source Code available. Yes it's a pain and sometimes I feel like I'm just too old to be mucking about with this stuff, but there's nothing to beat the buzz from getting a piece of hardware to work against the will of the manufacturers and Microsoft. (See also my earlier posting about a strange way of learning French.)

  304. John
    Paris Hilton

    To dumb to study.

    Although we can all make fun of the girl for not knowing what Ubuntu is, and her ridiculous excuse for missing TWO terms at college (i'm guessing this is like Uni right?) the truth is that some Tech Support guy had this girl on the phone - and yet he recommended Ubuntu to her!

    He would have know immediatly that she didn't know the difference between an ethernet cable and a power cable. So why did they think she could handle a whole new OS?

    Ubuntu is by no means a difficult operating system to master.. but it's a bit crule dumping this girl in at the deep end. Everyone i know who has Ubutnu has dual-booted at first.

    I suppose buying a new car at a dealership is a nice comparison:

    Salesman - "So you want a new car?"

    Girl - "Yes, i have a fair bit of money.. what would you recommend?"

    Salesman - "Well, the best car we sell right now is this TVR Tuscan. It's fast, it's lightweight, and it's different. Only problem is when it breaks your ****ed"

    Girl - "Okay, err, do i have to change gears? I'm used to an automatic Nissan Micra"

    Salesman - "Hah! Nissan Micra? You make me laugh! I laugh at you're insufficent knowledge in all things car related! Here love, get yourself strapped in this bad boy and you'll have a great time."

    Two days later..

    Girl - "I drove into a tree, and my life is ruined."

    Salesman + Anonomous Reg users in harmony "Hah! Women! They're so f**king stupid! I'm going to make a blog on why women are so ****ing stupid!"

  305. Andus McCoatover
    Thumb Up

    Erm..Cleggy, and others...

    <Sorry, you're at collage. DO YOU WANT TO LEARN OR NOT?>

    What do you want to learn "collage" for? You like cutting up newspapers?

    Maybe you should go back to skule.

  306. Bill Scott

    There's one born every minute!

    I feel sorry for this woman and I suggest that before she uses her computer it would be a good idea to learns something about it. After all you don't buy a car without learning to drive one!

  307. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Awwwwwwww Poor Little Polly Pee Her Panties.

    Yessssssssssssssssssssss A big Collective Sigh...


    Poor thing.

  308. TaZMAn

    Did Anyone?.........

    Did anyone go to Dell's site and try to order a computer with Ubuntu on it?

    I just did. In both the laptop and desktop categories.

    You have to actually click on the Ubuntu radio button in the Operating System section in the left sidebar.

    Only one laptop model was displayed under the Home and Small business section. That was the Inspiron 9 and started at $299. Full blown was $874.

    The desktop in the Home and Small Office section was a Inspiron 530N.

    I choose the 1 year tech support with DVD video tutorial, Intel Quad Core, 4 Gigs of Ram, dual DVD drives, 750 Gig hard drive and 19" monitor for a total of $1358.

    If I would have selected the basics with the dual core CPU the price was $783.

    So I'd like to know how she came to choose Ubuntu by accident because you must pick it out of the list.

    And if she got a laptop it wasn't at the price she said.

    However there were numerous failures starting with her and her purchase option all the way through Dell and the college, finally ending with this story and the comments.

    Failure on some of the people's comments here to recognize a) She was a total computer newbie and/or b) People have had Windows rammed down their throat so long that it is all they know how to use or think it is the only OS that can be used.

    And many of the so called professionals whom you would think could help, won't help because it's not a Windows system or using a Windows application.

    Narrow-mindedness and a set of blinders runs rampant on both the user and the tech side.

    And then it is magnified and distorted by the media in the hopes it will increase ratings.

    I'm not saying she was right and she should have done more to get the help she needed. Seems it was too hard to ask the college for help, although they may have blown her off because it wasn't Windows, but it sure was easy for her to run to the newspaper.

    Personally, I have ditched Windows many months ago in favor of Linux. I had been using Linux on and off since Red Hat 7 so Linux wasn't new to me.

    Even so it still took a few weeks of getting used to how things worked.

    Asking a complete newbie to understand how it works and use it out of the box is unthinkable!

    And finally to the 'She's Stupid' comments?

    Naive? Maybe?

    News Hog? Possible.

    Being called stupid for not knowing how to use Ubuntu? Nope!

    If you think she is, how about you being tossed in front of a Cisco router while the rest of the techs stand around laughing at you and calling you stupid.

    It's all about education. Teaching people about Linux and how to use it.

    Ridiculing people isn't the answer and only gives the community a black eye for being mean and smug.

    Glad to see she is getting the help she needs.

  309. Mark


    "the truth is that some Tech Support guy had this girl on the phone - and yet he recommended Ubuntu to her!"

    Which is so unlikely from Dell that it must be a plant.

    We don't have the transcript of the conversation and without that, we only have her word and the lack of word from Dell on it (who are a BIG MS customer and already in some trouble with them for daring to have *any* non-MS option).

    We don't know what the woman said either, so she may have complained about it not being windows and the Dell operative said "don't worry, it's a good OS and lots of people do use it". Which would not be the operative's fault. After all, Dell would have to pay something to get it exchanged to Windows or get bollocked for grasping.

  310. Dylan Fahey

    I wish I was there when she had a problem

    It's too bad no one in Madison would help her out when she had a problem. My daughter is going to community college and it pretty much required IE and MS Office for her to pass her courses. It's a shame, I showed her how to use OpenOffice, but the college has some classes that she could not do without MS Office. And the online college system had some activeX crap that would only work with IE, instead of the common Firefox.

    As a 'learning' college student, my daughter just didn't have the time to do the OpenOffice workarounds to get her courses done on time (she is just not a techy person).

    Not only that, when she showed Open Office to her instructors, they never heard of it, and thought it was blasphemy to have a 'free' office client.

    Linux is still fighting an uphill battle in the rural areas of the USA, as those places are still just now getting broadband and getting off the AOL (America On Line = ISP). addiction. (for the country hicks, they believe that AOL was the Internet and that you could use other browsers instead of the horrid bastardized AOL IE browser). I use to teach some very basic Internet courses back in the early 90's, where I would have to start the course with, "this is a mouse, this is a keyboard...". What you see on TV about America (the big cities) is a facade. The real America is still a backwoods collage of morons (like Madison).

  311. Big Bear

    @Mike Gravgaard Posted Thursday 15th January 2009 21:35 GMT

    "I'm trying to make a balanced arguement - whilst Windows is a pain (I hate having to reinstall WIndows every 6 months because something caused the registry to grow to an enourmous size and thus memory useage seems to go through the roof)."


    Stop downloading so much pr0n from them there dodgy websites!!!

  312. Anonymous Coward

    This woman may in fact be in a persistent vegetative state.

    >An American woman has told a TV station in Madison, Wisconsin that something called Ubuntu prevented >her from joining online classes at her local technical college.

    >According to WKOW TV, Abbie Schubert recently ordered a Dell laptop, expecting "your classic >bread->and-butter computer." But when she unboxed the $1,100 machine that arrived, she didn't find >bread and butter. She found Ubuntu.

    The word Ubuntu probably scared her like the word Obama scares a white supremacist.

    >WKOW TV called Ubuntu "an operating system for your computer similar to Windows that runs off the >Linux system."

    Whoever said TV news reports anything in a factual light?

    >"It's been a mess," Schubert said. "I regret ordering the computer."

    Translation: "I'm a moron, I really couldn't fathom Windows either"

    >She had never heard of Ubuntu. So she called Dell. Dell said there was still time to replace her Ubuntu. >Then Dell told her not to. "The person I was talking to said Ubuntu was great, college students loved it, it >was compatible with everything I needed," she explained.

    Dell and Best Buy are doing a bang up job, offering internet appliances with Ubuntu pre-loaded. I'm surprised they took this long to catch on! The Dell rep is right on too. I think Abbie would have trouble turning a Mac on :|

    >So she kept Ubuntu, then decided that Ubuntu doesn't always work like Windows. Her Verizon internet >wouldn't load. She couldn't install Microsoft Word. And she said without Word and the internet, she >couldn't take online classes at Madison Area Technical College.

    Here's where I say Bullshit. Ok, I'll take that using a front-end loader, such as AOL, C-plussed for Windoze, won't work with any Linux, save running it under a Windoze emu thus defeating the purpose. Yes, she could not INSTALL Word. The Dell rep undoubtedly explained to her that she a) needed to ditch Verizon with it's proprietary Windoze interface in favour of a generic ppp dial-up or Comcast style cable connection, which Ubuntu detects automagically and configurifies and b) she would need to make sure Open Office or AbiWord was installed with the appropriate version MS Word filters and, Voila!

    >So she dropped out of the college's fall and spring semesters.

    Again, showing her IQ is roughly that of a rutabaga. I volunteer at Next Step Recycling and even the dippiest hippie can learn in less than 3 hours enough technology to do what poor Abbie couldn't do even if the wizard handed her HIS brain.

    >Then Dell said it was too late for bread and butter.

    After 30 days of Abbie, I'd be likely to commit Hari Kari.

    >"I'm extremely frustrated," Schubert said. "I wanted to get back to school, but I needed a computer to be >able to do that."

    No! What she needs is a Geek to install and configure EVERYTHING for her and an aide to hover over her and catch her errors. She's either one of the dumbest persons alive or she's a plant for Microsoft.

    >Yes, that's fall and spring semesters. At Madison Area Technical College. ®

    Abbie? Head down to MATC's Quad and check the bulletin board for "rent-a-geek", spend $150 to LEARN what you need about your own limitations and how incredible it is that you could purchase Word and sign up for classes yet could not get the simplest distro on the planet to fly. Oh, and by the way? I see ads every Sunday for internet appliances coming bundled with Ubuntu for under $500. I say Dell burned your ass too, identifying you as an idiot the moment you dialed them.

    This woman may in fact be in a persistent vegetative state.

    Technical College May not be as Technical as Advertised.

  313. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    thread death

    Hello folks - this thread's made it past the 300 comments post and I'm closing it after this batch is done. Is it a record? I can't be arsed to check. But it's quite a lot, yes.

This topic is closed for new posts.

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