[Haifux] W2L + Installation party?

Adir Abraham adir at hamakor.org.il
Wed Sep 17 20:48:04 MSD 2008

On 9/17/08, Ohad Lutzky <ohad at lutzky.net> wrote:

> Consider the climate: Linux is often touted as easy-to-install and
> easy-to-use.

By whom? By someone who says so in the forums? And what is "Linux" for that

Someone who heard this would not understand why he needs to carry his
> cumbersome computer to an event to get this done for him, or take specific
> time out of his day to come in with his laptop.

Yes, that's the spirit of the day. You have to arrive, and you either do
that for the lectures, or the installation which should take no more than 30
minutes. Those who will arrive with a computer actually need us. Later, at
home, they might waste much more time, or they will give up on trying.

He is told he can do this at his own leisure - and this is what he prefers.

He is told so by whom?

Furthermore, he wouldn't want to install a yet-unknown (especially to his
> neighbours' kid) operating system if he didn't know he could "handle" it
> himself.

That's one of the reasons why an installation party is needed, and the
"support", afterwards, although the best distribution for the beginners is
not only the one that makes you feel comfortable, but also gives you less
"headache" afterwards. It sounds absurd, but we want to be able to give him
as little help as possible. When he starts checking his distribution, he
will ask the right questions and not because part of his hardware was not
operative. The best way to show that something works is to let them see that
it's working on their own machine. The installation itself is part of the
support, but ofcourse not the only one.

Figuring out the downloading & installing part on his own is very useful to
> gain this confidence (i.e. "if I'm going to use this, I better be able to
> install it myself, I don't want those guys to do it for me and when I get
> home I'll be lost without their assistance"). This occurs no matter how much
> you assure the people that "we'll install it in such a way that you can use
> it forever and ever by yourself without our help".

You assume that they will do it by themselves. In this case they can also
search for any information in the Internet and not to arrive to lectures
(they can listen to good lectures that are relevant for them). You actually
say why SiL is not needed, because it's so easy... at worst we will upload
the papers and let them read it and deal with it. If you understand the
difference between a lecture and lecture notes, you should also understand
the difference between giving instructions and helping someone doing it on
his own computer. You don't understand the audience. It's something new for
them (usually), and the things that look easy and trivial to you, might not
look so for them. In addition to that, I am talking about a general
audience, not only about the Technion (although it's true for Technion
students as well).

This creates a situation in which everyone would want to install Linux in
> their own time, meaning they'd need any initial support at a different time.
> For this reason, I send new installers to this mailing list if they have any
> problems, hoping that they might bring their computer into the next Haifux
> meeting so someone could help them. An organized event might raise
> awareness, but installations would happen afterwards, at home.

You are talking about some ideal that doesn't exist.

I think Orr said it best - what we need is SiL lectures, and lots of them.
> We can use the W2L advertisements to promote some SiL lectures, perhaps in
> higher density (and perhaps about topic which are more attractive to new
> users) around the W2L date.

If that was true (for beginners) - we shouldn't have needed a Linux club.
All we would need was an FTP server to upload lecture notes. If Linux is so
easy for everyone, we don't need to do anything physical for beginners, and
if it was so familiar, nobody would need us. But this is not the truth. The
truth is that we need to help them to get into it in a better way. I believe
that we miss a lot of people who want to know but they are just afraid, or
not familiar, and the _result_ is googling everything, without necessarily
getting the right kickoff they need.

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