February 20th, 2002

krazy kat

You could see this one coming a mile away.

One of the university's great experiments this term has been to teach a nightschool course on Linux. This is kind of neat -- it's not like I need it, but I often happen to be hanging around the computer lab when it's on, so I kind-of listen in.

There's only a dozen or so people taking it, and they're all pretty sharp. Other then the fact that the teacher has an odd way of going about things, it's progressing fairly well.

The problem comes, of course, with the fact that they needed to install Linux on all the computers in this one lab (dual-booting with Windows). Now, most people here are Windows-born-raised-and-bred. I'm talking about the 99.9% of the student population NOT taking this course. They wouldn't know Linux if Tux came to life and commenced to dine on their collective asses.

This Windows-centric mentality, combined with the fact that the computers here are not the greatest, means what? It means that any time this great unwashed mass is confronted with a hung program, or a hung operating system, or something that just isn't working, or something they don't recognize (such as the KDE logon screen, perchance?), the automatic reaction is to reach for the power button.

Yep. The power button. Which works a lot better on Windows running FAT than Linux running Ext2fs. There are 32 computers in the lab, all of which all had Linux installed about a week ago. I'd estimate that less than 5 still have a working Linux installation.

Like I said, you could see this one coming a mile away.
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