When I ask Microsoft Windows users to try out Ubuntu should I be telling them that using Ubuntu is socially harder than using Windows? Sure Ubuntu is awesome technically, very easy to use and much better than windows, plus it’s FOSS, moral, science and all. But none of that helps the social barriers.
So I am more aware now that I’m not only pushing a technology but also perhaps a fight. Something that many users just don’t want to have to deal with. Some new users are enthused, well armed and well prepared to go into fight for their ecosystem and we welcome these new early adopters.
But Microsoft windows is normal and using anything else isn’t normal. We have a long way to go before Ubuntu is more recognised as a good technology, well made and not just used by social misfits and people who want to use obscure products to look cool.
Even if you just think about the technical aspects there is just a barrier from service providers, shops and the media.
One of the really nice things about Ubuntu is that it’s managed to improve (slightly) this by replacing the Linux brand in a lot of people’s minds1. More people seem to know about Ubuntu and FOSS by extension because of the work we do to be welcoming and accommodating to new users. But are we doing enough? What more could we do to reduce some of the social stigma of using none Microsoft products?
1 I’ve come to see Linux as an ingredient, like flour. You can’t sell flour to a person wanting to buy cakes.