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Re: [gNewSense-users] Promoting gNewSense to GNU/Linux newbies

From: Guy Johnston
Subject: Re: [gNewSense-users] Promoting gNewSense to GNU/Linux newbies
Date: Wed, 17 Jan 2007 00:37:56 +0000
User-agent: Thunderbird (X11/20070103)

I think that's a really good idea. I think the website is the only real
problem for newcomers, except maybe the name (though that's not too bad
a problem because we'll want to just tell them it's GNU/Linux, not
confuse them with a particular distribution name).

I think pointing newcomers to free software to Ubuntu is a bad idea,
because they'll become confused by hearing about 'open source software'
a whole OS called Linux, and complaints that Skype is hard to install on
it. I think the best plan is to show people gNewSense on your own
computer and explain that you use it because of the freedom it gives
you, and to explain the basics of free software (possibly plus showing
them one or two of the more basic articles on before pointing
them to anything like Ubuntu. I also think is
a really good site for newcomers, though the compromise with the naming
of GNU/Linux causes some friction.

I haven't had a lot of hardware problems when trying gNewSense. The only
proprietary software I run on Ubuntu is binary firmware used by a (not
very good) driver for a Zydas wireless card, which I had to compile
myself anyway. I tried the proprietary ATI driver at one point, but it
didn't work very well, and 3D acceleration isn't needed for normal
desktop use.

I'm personally planning to install gNewSense (dual booted to start with)
on my parents' computer in the new future, though they probably won't
bother with the effort to switch until their copy of Windows XP starts
messing up a lot.

Michael Fötsch wrote:
> Hi all,
> On January 6, Brian Brazil wrote, in a thread titled "The name":
>> For some reason I doubt many newcomers will be using this distro
>> [gNewSense]
> I don't think it has to be this way. Up to now, I used to hand out
> Ubuntu CDs to anyone who asked me for an alternative to Windows (and
> sometimes even to those who didn't ask ;-). I wouldn't hesitate to do
> the same with gNewSense.
> But maybe I'd also tell them to go to for support, because
> is still in need of (at least) some polish. Just to give
> you an example, when was promoted as an alternative to
> Windows Vista at, someone commented saying (I'll
> paraphrase), "you call this an alternative to Windows? I visited the web
> site and it says I need 35GB disk space for gNewSense." (A
> misinterpretation of the Builder discussion, of course.)
> This shows that the web site is not accessible to (potential) GNU/Linux
> newbies yet, although gNewSense itself has real potential, being
> user-friendly and offering practical advantages, and at the same time
> having "plenty of freedom talk too" (as RMS said in an essay).
> And I'd like to contribute in order to change this.
> I'm thinking about having material to showcase gNewSense's capabilities
> (many people wrongly assume that it's as ugly as the web site; my
> apologies to the designer of the site! :-); to rebut GNU/Linux myths; to
> offer help with switching from Windows or the Mac; to provide pointers
> to the free software philosophy; etc.
> But before I start writing material, I'd like to hear your opinions:
>  * Do you think the time would be well spent?
>  * How should we go about this, technically?
>  * Who'd like to help me?
>  * Any opinions welcome
> Kind Regards,
> M.F.
> _______________________________________________
> gNewSense-users mailing list
> address@hidden

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