Ubuntu: Harder to Use, or Just Harder to Spell?

At first glance, it’s easy to be taken in by Jeff Hoogland’s recent post entitled “Why Ubuntu Is Harder Than Windows.”

“I use Ubuntu on all my personal computers and I even recommend it to friends,” Hoogland began. “I am starting to think maybe I shouldn’t though, because it is obvious: Ubuntu is harder to use than Windows.”

It doesn’t take long, however, for the sarcasm to shine through.

‘The Feature-Rich Wordpad’

On the topic of default software, for instance: “Windows offers a fantastic default software install,” Hoogland writes. “Need to write a paper? No worries, Windows has the feature-rich Wordpad. Want to surf the Net? Internet Explorer has always provided a safe Web-browsing experience.”

Ubuntu’s default software, by contrast, is “somewhat disappointing,” he asserts. “It has a full-featured word processor, spreadsheet editor and presentation creator. I know most people don’t use Facebook or Twitter, but just in case you do Ubuntu includes Gwibber, a software that fully integrates your social networking with your desktop.

“For Web browsing, Ubuntu only has Firefox, and if you want to instant message, Ubuntu’s Empathy only supports Facebook, AIM, yahoo, MSN, IRC … ,” he adds.

‘They Aren’t Really Giving It a Chance’

So it goes with Hoogland’s point-by-point discussion of software installation, hardware additions, system upkeep and — Linux Girl’s favorite — OS updates.

The real point, of course, is that “Ubuntu/Linux really is not any harder to use than Windows is these days,” Hoogland writes. “In fact, in many respects it is simply different (in a good way) than what a Windows user is used to.

“I am tired of hearing from people who try to use Ubuntu for all of two seconds that it is ‘too hard’ to use, because obviously they aren’t really giving it a chance,” he concludes.

‘Any Fool Could See’

Now, for many FOSS aficionados, the post serves as a bright spot of comic relief in a world otherwise dominated by all-too-real, anti-Linux FUD.

” Hahha,” wrote one anonymous reader in the comments on Hoogland’s blog, for example. “One of the most hilarious article on Ubuntu ever.”

Some were even inspired to continue in the same sarcastic vein: “Ubuntu; why would anyone want to use that?” wrote another anonymous commenter. “Any fool could see that Windows is the best choice. Expensive, proprietary and restrictive is always better than free as in freedom.”

‘These Are Not True’

As is usually the case in the Linux blogosophere, however, unanimous conclusions were few and far between.

To wit: “I don’t think you are being objective,” charged fearu before counterarguing each of Hoogland’s points. “I’m sure there are some good reasons to use linux, but these are not true.”

Bloggers on Lxer and the Ubuntu forums got fired up on the topic as well, so Linux Girl had no choice but to take to the streets for more insight.

‘I Laughed Until It Hurt’

“Sarcasm Extraordinaire! I laughed until it hurt when I read that article,” blogger and educator Robert Pogson enthused. “It is so true that GNU/Linux is far easier for beginners to learn.”

It may seem difficult “for people who have drunk the Koolaid, because they have to unlearn the bad habits M$ encouraged them to learn,” he explained. Yet “I have five-year-olds doing just fine with GNU/Linux. They teach each other if the grown-ups don’t know how to play their games.

“Anyone who wants to give GNU/Linux a try can pick up the basics in minutes and learn the rest as they need it,” Pogson added. “That’s how the old folks learned that other OS over a decade or more, and it keeps changing.”

‘Ohhhh What a Lie’

Then again, “while I know the Ubuntu post is supposed to be sarcasm, allow me as the ‘resident windows greybeard’ to stick a stake into many of these ‘points,’ which I consider bordering on FUD,” Slashdot blogger hairyfeet began.

Regarding software installs, for instance, “if I need a program that works enough like Quickbooks my dad won’t have a learning curve from hell, how will he find it in Ubuntu?” hairyfeet asked. “Few choices and most simply aren’t very good.”

On adding hardware, “BWA HA HA HA HA … oh, they thought that is a selling point for Linux?” hairyfeet exclaimed. “Dang, let me dry my eyes. Sure Linux supports more stuff you’ll find dumpster diving, but new hardware — the kind actually sold in stores? Forget it.”

As for system upkeep and updating, “ohhhh what a lie,” he said. “With a good AV, Windows can run for years without a bit o’ trouble.”

In short, “Linux does have selling points, but these ain’t them,” hairyfeet concluded. “Linux is BY hackers and FOR hackers, and I’m willing to eat an Ubuntu CD if Linux ever gets past 3 percent on the desktop, because it just ain’t happening.”

‘Harder on the Eyes’

Slashdot blogger Barbara Hudson, who goes by “Tom” on the site, saw it differently.

“Ten ways Ubuntu is harder than Windows,” she began:

  • 10: “It’s harder on the eyes — please, please, fire your ‘professional designers’ and get someone who isn’t color-blind. People keep saying ‘linux is gay’; Ubuntu needs to come at least a bit out of the closet. Look what it did for Apple.”
  • 9: “It’s harder to install because Windows already takes up the whole hard drive.”
  • 8: “I got Windows for free with my computer. I’d have to download Ubuntu and burn a DVD — and then install it – that’s a lot of work.”
  • 7: “Ubuntu won’t run my games.”
  • 6: “Ubuntu won’t run my spyware. I *like* my comic cursors, you insensitive clod!”
  • 5: “Windows is easier to spell. My spell checker red-lines Ubuntu (even in linux).”
  • 4: “When I tell people ‘I have Ubuntu’ they think I have a disease. When I then explain that it’s my computer that has Ubuntu, they say it wouldn’t have happened if I was running an updated antivirus.”
  • 3: “Apparently Windows is easy to pirate, but you can’t pirate Ubuntu.”
  • 2: “If I use Ubuntu, I don’t have to upgrade my hardware as often. Windows justifies my having the latest and greatest, and 8 gajillion bytes of ram.”
  • 1: “Oh, you just voided your warranty!”


  • 0: “What’s Ubuntu?”

1 Comment

  • I kid you not. When I told the Geek Squad at Best Buy not to bother with their "configuration" of this Dell computer, they responded, "Why not? It is a free service and we include a 30 free trial of anti virus software. You will need that before you connect to the internet."

    I said, "Well, you see, I ain’t even going to boot into Windows. I am going to open the DVD Rom drive with a paper clip, insert a Linux install dvd, set the bios to boot from DVD on the first boot and install Linux."

    They were with me until I said, "Install Linux" Then, I kid you not, I actually saw a BSOD in their eyes! LOL.

Leave a Comment

Please sign in to post or reply to a comment. New users create a free account.

LinuxInsider Channels