A Story of PCLinuxOS Advocacy

by s0l1dsnak3123

First of all, I'd love to congratulate Texstar and his gang on their amazing distro. It beats most commercial distros by quite a large distance. I have tried many distros, including simply Mepis, openSUSE, Ubuntu, Kubuntu, and BackTrack, and I can easily say that this one is the best.

Second, I'd like to thank you for this magazine, as it has helped me understand many things about Linux. Linux is a complicated beast, and I am proud to say that this magazine has helped me straighten things out.

I am a 3rd year student at my high school, and I recently had a solo-talk (basically a presentation) on Linux in front of the class. Many people came up with different things, ranging from Elvis Presley to Tom Crean. I chose Linus Torvalds (in part an excuse to advertise PCLOS and Linux in general to my class). I used a Power Point presentation with built-in videos of various functions and (of course) the fanciest bells and whistles that Linux currently enjoys (Beryl, for example). After I showed all of these videos, I showed a diagram I had made of all the different parts of the desktop, noting the transparency and handy features that other, more popular operating systems lack. I showed how easy it was to change window managers and presented some facts and figures on Linux's reliability, and 'customizability'.

My fellow pupils watched in awe at Beryl's beautiful effects. They stared on at the customizations. However, I held one main factor to the end. In fact, a pupil asked me before I got to say it... the price. When I told them it was free, they didn't believe me. When my English teacher asked what was the catch, and I said simply that there wasn't one, nobody believed me still. When I told them about the GPL, they didn't understand what was in it for the programmers, GFX designers, etc. I told them that the main reason is because they want people to use it, modify it, pass it on, freely, without any restrictions whatsoever, and the only way for that to happen would be for it to be free. By this time people wanted to know where to get "it", so I told everybody the addresses for Distrowatch and PCLOS.

People now wanted to know how to burn the disk, but I had prepared for this question. I gave out copies of PCLOS TR3 which everyone in my class took home with glee. I also gave them instructions on how to start up the disk and install. My class has 20 pupils, 19 of which own a computer. A couple of weeks ago, I asked how many people had tried out PCLOS and 18 out of the 19 raised their hand. I asked how many people used it weekly and I am proud to say that only 1 person put his hand down. That means out of 19 people who have computers in my class, 17 use PCLOS weekly. Is that success or what? I was thrilled to see my English teacher ask how to install PCLOS over his Windows XP install. I think Linux will be a big hit in years to come.

A lot of my friends hated Windows Vista so much they reverted back to XP. Remember, they aren't 'technical' per se, so they didn't know about the performance problems, security problems, etc. While there is a want for an alternative, the Linux community has a chance to go mainstream. First things first though: we need to get rid of the jargon and make Linux more friendly. When I say friendly, I do not mean so that the average newbie will understand. We must remember that the newbie knew how to search Google. He/she also knew how to post on a forum. Many people I know don't even know what a forum is. I also know many people who just use their OS for Runescape.

Linux must stay powerful, but become a more beginner-friendly OS. Take the command line, for example. It is necessary in Linux, but when was the last time the average user used the command line? Probably never. Programs have the GUI built in. Compilers? I doubt the average user knows how to compile a program. Some barely manage installing a program in Windows with the installers such as msi and NSIS. If the Linux community went through something as drastic as this, it would mean a hell of a lot of work... but I believe it would be worth it in the long run.

Just my £0.02,
John AKA s0l1dsnak3123