close the windows and open the doors

I'd been thinking about Ubuntu's destiny long before PC Authority's Top 10 disappointing technologies or the positive statements on Ubuntu's strong sense of self. But both articles relate to my thoughts on the destiny of Ubuntu, or Linux generally.

The public wants an OS that is familiar and easy-to-use. But right now only geeks use Ubuntu. How do we fix that? It needs to be accessible no matter where they go. What do I mean by that? That they can sit down to it in a FedEx-Kinko's, a public library, or a hotel computer room. That their friends have it. That their grandmas use it. It has to happen gradually of course, but it needs a little PR to get it started. I don't really like the idea of billboards and TV ads, but maybe that'd do the trick.

My vote is to donate a whole bunch of computers to public libraries, set up free classes, and hand out CDs. And make really nice, pretty posters for said classes. Have sessions to help people install Ubuntu on their own computers. Although the install easy enough that generally competent people shouldn't need hand-holding, sometimes they just need a date and time in order to actually sit down and do it.

This idea came about while teaching a senior citizens general computer use class. I wanted so badly to teach them how to use Ubuntu--they could totally do it. But when they'd go elsewhere and see nothing like it, it was like teaching them to fish for Salmon. In a river. In the fall. ...because Salmon wouldn't be there for a while because they only go upstream for spring/summer. They'd only have guppies in the river. Maybe some frogs. And they couldn't learn to fish for multiples species of fish because they're old. So they'd starve.

Anyway, Ubuntu needs more love. It also needs better applications for some things, but people are working on that. Like Yorba, for instance. And other places too. With time, with time.

They have online communities for people who care about this stuff. Maybe I should break down and join one. Get Involved!

No comments: