How Teenagers View PCLinuxOS

by Lee H. Courington (lee2010)

In high school, I was the "computer guy". If there was a problem, I could fix it. I was also known for my use of something not many people had heard of: Linux. People were asking me all about it, and I would tell them it’s free. They would not believe me, so I rolled my eyes and went about my business. This summer, as a joke, I asked my close friend if he would install PCLinuxOS on his laptop. To my surprise, he said, "What do I have to do?", so I told him everything and he was up and running in under an hour. My girlfriend saw that, and let me install and set everything up for her. Again, in less than an hour, she was a Linux user. Before I had my current computer, I had an old HP Omnibook 6100 that served me well. But when I received a newer laptop, my 13 year old brother got my hand me down laptop. I reinstalled PCLinuxOS E17 so he would be happy. Everyone I have mentioned above views PCLinuxOS in a very different way. Let's see what each person's views are.

Three PCLinuxOS Teens (from left): friend Michael, girlfriend Dara, and Lee. Not pictured: younger brother Cody.

My girlfriend views Linux the same way she does Windows. To her, it’s just an operating system. She looked at the desktop after I installed it, and said "why does your desktop look so different than mine?" So I had to explain about how Linux has no rules about what a "desktop" should be. She liked it, so I showed her how to customize everything. She was acting like a kid in a candy store. It’s all she uses. Maybe she doesn’t add a lot of crazy apps, but she uses it everyday. The only time I was told about a problem was when she texted me saying that her computer was being "slower than Windows." So, I called her and told her how to change it on to performance mode. I haven’t received one complaint from her since.

My younger brother views Linux as something that is shiny, and with all the desktop effects, who could blame him? But he wanted something that worked. So on a laptop with 512 MB RAM and a 16 MB video card, what do I do? I put PCLinuxOS LXDE on it! It runs like a top. When he came to me asking why he didn’t have cool desktop effects like me, I started to explain about the video cards and OpenGL, etc. But he didn’t understand any of what I was telling him. So then I installed task-enlightenment from Synaptic and he went crazy! He had gadgets on his desktop, and had crazy cool themes. What more could a 13 year old boy ask for? He views his laptop as something he can show off to his friends, and brags about how his brother fixed an old laptop to run better and faster than all of his new laptops.

My very good friend viewed Linux as something that only geeks used. So when he let me talk him into installing it, I was very surprised. But he called me once he burned the cd, and I talked him through shrinking his Vista partition so he could install PCLinuxOS right beside it. He didn’t know you could boot two different operating systems! So after the install was over, he didn’t customize it much. Hey, he spends most of his time online anyway. His question after installation was "how do I install Google Chrome?" So, I launched Synaptic and I installed Chromium. He was satisfied. I showed him around, told him about Pidgin and Choqok. His other passion is games, and after looking through Synaptic, he asked me where "the good games" are. So next download was djl, and he has been smiling ever since.

Lastly I come to myself. I view Linux as pretty much all of the above. The only difference between me and them is the fact that I have been using Linux for many years and I want to know it from the inside out. I am not afraid of the command line at all. Sometimes, I actually like it more. For me, KDE4 is a complete desktop and I treat it as such. I know what I need to install to get my computer to work efficiently. I view my laptop as something I can use to show people that there are always alternatives to Windows and OSX. Linux is a puzzle to me, and it's missing a piece. I am still learning Linux everyday. I hope to grow old, log into the forums and be able to help anyone who needs it.

The fact of the matter is that teenagers view computers differently than adults. We grew up with Google, flash games, Microsoft Word, and computers in general. So that’s what we want: a computer that works without much of a hassle. PCLinuxOS does all of that and more. PCLinuxOS appeals to all types of people, and with all the different flavors, what can go wrong? If you know anyone that even shows a hint of interest, point them in the direction of a Live CD so they can try it out. Tell them all about the cool things it does. Don’t go into the "it’s better than OSX and Windows because…" rant. Just tell them the good things about PCLinuxOS, and it will all work out in the end.