Why We Need To STOP Listening To The Linux Users For How To Deal With New Users

 I have been a Linux user for a little over two years. Sometime between May and December of 2018, I installed Fedora Linux. I am still a fairly new user, and I talk to new Linux users all the time. Now, I want to speak up for them, as the community makes wildly broken and idiotic claims for new users. This is going against all fronts, and for good reason. I want to address several common misconceptions about new users that are commonly spread by people who don't know what the new user needs.

"The new user doesn't care about theming, just as long as it works"

I hear this one used to usually defend Snaps, and it is a false claim. Users do absolutely care about the look of their GUIs, including new users. One of the common things I see with converts who came from either Mac or Windows was that one of the main promises that really made them switch was the theming. While it is usually optional, theming and keeping said theming consistent is important to the every day user.

"The average new user will only really need to browse the web"

You aren't just wrong, you're stupid if you believe this. The fact of the matter is while web browsing is important to many users, there is a lot they need to do outside of the browser. Let's ignore developers who switch to Linux, and think of a person who does office or creative work. They will need easy access and understanding of new tools. While many new users will only need a web browser, that's not the case for the massive majority of users. Desktop apps are alive and well, and web apps are only good if it can replace their current experience with one just as good if not better. Sorry but this one is easily thrown out of the window. 

"New users don't care how their software is packaged"

Another issue I hear to defend Snaps. The problem? Well it is also false, but not in the way you might think. When working with new users, they love and adore RPM, and DEB get's the complaint of the installation sometimes doesn't work when it should. Guess the one and only package system that I actually had people quit Linux on? Snaps. Snaps are slower, bloated, and the users do not want them, at least the several I work with, many even fit the "really only needs a web browser" idea I debunked earlier. So this one needs to stop being shared, it is 100% false information.

"New users will not want to learn or use the CLI"

This is a half-truth. If you said "New users don't want to LEARN the CLI AT FIRST" then you would be 100% correct. New users first start worrying about the terminal, but once they get the hang of it, they feel comfortable using it when they need to. Otherwise, no. We don't need to make a GUI for everything. Will we need an app store GUI? Absolutely, but not because the CLI is bad. We need one because all other major platforms have one. The users can use the CLI when they need to though, so saying we need to GUI-ify everything is somewhat false.

"Fragmentation will confuse new users"

This is by far the most incorrect claim I ever did see. I was on the BigDaddyLinux Live Show not too long ago. However, just to make it clear, this claim if quarter-way true. It is managing the fragmented software, not at all about the number of things it is fragmented into. This claim usually is used for the idea that "Linux is too fragmented" which from a new user standpoint no. New users usually stick to the distro they get recommended, but managing the differences is the issue.


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