Ubuntu: No Demand or No Availability?

I had a rather enjoyable bike ride today, three hours of Boston drivers petrified of the guy who knows how to cycle in a city. When I was on my was home I noticed a computer shop I haven’t previously seen.

So as is customary for an Ubuntu Advocate and LoCo member, I went in to say hi and see what kind of situation the shop was in regarding Ubuntu. Sometimes you’ll find shops who are Microsoft certified partners, they think of Ubuntu as “just another Linux that’s too hard” and other times you’d be surprised by the positive and welcoming attitude that being in the Ubuntu community you’ll get in a computer shop.

This place was more on the negative side, not bought and paid, but certainly one track. I had a very interesting discussion and I pressed the availability of the Ubuntu training we run at the South End Technology Center to get anyone interested familiar and experienced and I tried to explain how Ubuntu was really Linux for normal people, not for geeks or technical users, but for the kinds of customers he has.

The counter argument was that no one wants Ubuntu, no one has ever asked for it and they will only stock things that people ask for. It’s not that no one has never heard of it before, it’s just that Windows must be so much better because no one ever seems to want anything different.

So you’d be forgiven for thinking as we do in the Ubuntu Community that one of the biggest challenges is trying to get the word out. Advertising on no budget with no real outside support. Perhaps all his customers have heard of Ubuntu from a friend, but somehow I doubt it. At least one assistant there had at least tried it, although he found it slow running it in a VMWare session under windows Vista, so I gave some advice with running it via wubi or installing it natively.

I left on good terms and I gave them as many details as I could to come down and see what Ubuntu is actually about, the technology, the ease of use and even why it has so many volunteers. Hopefully we can offer all the correct information to these kinds of places so they can really take advantage of the awesome technology that we’re building here, I’d like to see more places asking for CDs and sending people our way to get advanced technical training and community relations.

Hopefully they’ll take me up on my offer.