Linux & Psychology.

  • Are there any psychologists here? Maybe social scientists? Even philosophers?

    I've just come back to my pc from my kitchen, where i was making a cup of tea [green]. As i waited for the kettle to boil, my mind wandered. It pondered [hey, i just went along for the ride with it] a minor triviality that has been intriguing me for a couple of years. It is... Is there a character / personality "type" who uses Linux? Obvious corollary: is there a "type" who will steadfastly, even defiantly, refuse to countenance even trying Linux?

    Personal case in point. Around 2006 i first heard of the word "Linux" from a friend, but i had no idea what it was, other than something to do with computers [ie, i assumed it was a specific program; it never occurred to me that it was actually a rich vibrant exciting multiversal liberated diverse entire operating system (& kernel, for any purists reading), not least because back then i had not grasped even the concept of there being alternative OS' to MSWindows (a very Matrix-esque ignorance of mine, i recognised in hindsight)]. With the waxes & wanes of my life after that, it was not until 2013, & yet one more BSoD with data corruption/loss that i finally spat the dummy & decided to find out if there really was another OS possibility beyond my known MS narrowverse [all this time i still eschewed Mac, as my feeble mind could not grasp how to use a mouse with only one button, teehee (& furthermore "my dog, if these guys have forgotten about the other buttons, what else have they forgotten to include in their OS?")... so i wanted an OS that was "fully buttoned", ha!]. Anyway, moving on to the salient point, 2013 Q4 & 2014 H1 were revelatory for me, & by mid-year i'd abandoned MS, enthusiastically, for the Linux multiverse.

    As seems to happen with some people, my enthusiasm prompted me to begin intermittent evangelism of Linux to my dear old Dad, & my Uni-student son, both of whom also to varying degrees have an interest in technical stuff, but were MSWin users who still did not know of blue pills vs red pills. Well, well, well... abject failures on my part. Neither showed then, nor shows now, even a modicum of interest in exploring, trying, playing, discovering anything re Linux. Though expressed differently, in essence both were saying to me that Windows is good enough for them & they don't see a need to bother looking for/at something else.

    Dad additionally said that he's too old now to learn complicated new stuff [i dispute this on a couple of fronts, but no matter]. Conversely my dear son hasn't really offered any justification that i recall, which given that last year he had to do innumerable reinstallations of Win10 & then all s/w due to multiple OS failures, i find a bit astonishing [however in his defence, i acknowledge that (a) given his heavy Uni load, the time it would take for him to surmount the Linux newbie learning curve & ensure all his critical pgms work in Linux or have good alternatives, might be unwise just now; (b) outside of Uni he's recently distracted by certain life-trivia like falling in love & thence recently moving in together to a newish apartment with his GF (ie, Linux Schminux!)].

    Anyway, the kettle's bubbling away, & i've thought of Dad & Son per above, which contemplation then broadened to people in general. I reflected on the sometimes passionate opinions expressed by some Win users in these very fora, & in other online fora, who seem to determinedly if not maybe even defiantly defend Richmond against any & all uncouth would-be invaders. As i'm pouring the now-boiled water into my cup, i wondered... what is it that causes some people to be intellectually curious & motivated to try something new [to them] like Linux, whereas other people simply refuse to countenance even bothering to look?

    Ideas pls?

  • Moderator

    @Steffie I don't think it's a personality type, per se. Had my wife been introduced to Linux before windows, she'd probably be an ardent adherent to this day. And secondary to that, I might be as well. But Windows rolled into our lives naturally, ver. 3.1, simply as a result of what PCs were easiest for us to access, and here we still are. My wife was madly typing DOS commands all day every day back in the 80's in order to execute massive bookkeeping tasks, and had a windows-like mouse-driven Linux interface intruded into that scenario back then, both she (and subsequently I) would still be both typing in console and navigating a Linux-based GUI apace. But the problem is, we've forgotten how to memorize and type commands with speed, that foreign language has faded from our collective consciousnesses, and neither of us still has the energy or time necessary to re-learn it and adopt systems which are used by, literally, no one we know. I have become more technically proficient in Windows than the average bear, able to solve my own and my family's problems in it, and lack either the time or mental energy necessary to overcome the (small though they are these days) hurdles necessary to adopt something new - something which, again, none of the people with whom I do business use.

    And that's another thing. I first graduated to daily PC use in a Windows environment at the place where I worked (Win3.1 at that time, 1996). The evolution of my skills and "computer intelligence" have naturally followed the same direction and run in the same well-worn channels as that OS ever since. My wife's even moreso. In fact, although she was the family vanguard into the world of PCs, she has long ago lost the patience to figure things out and solve problems in the OS. She insists everything has to "just work" and she has, consciously at least, forgotten everything she ever knew about MS DOS.

    Now I, a problem-solver, curious-person, lifelong learner and language-curious person by nature, am willing, at least in the most superficial fashion, to install and use the most Windows-like Linux I have found to date, Mint 18, and I use it for testing purposes and to rescue obsolete hardware. But my daily driver remains Windows. And as it it not a project-in-itself for me, but rather a mere tool, I also want it to "just work." I don't want to type things in console, remember command formats, debug unique problems for this or that OS that even other Linux OSes don't suffer, read Linux Fora that, for all I can fathom, are written mostly in Greek and peopled almost exclusively by members who've no patience (but even contempt and scorn) for my ignorance concerning what they are saying and advising, assuming all the while that I entered the space with a basic grounding in Linux and that I naturally must understand the terminology and methods, if I'm not a complete idiot.

    Now if I literally had nothing else to do, I would make myself expert in Linux - just because I still find it a bit intriguing. But I not only have else to do - I have more else to do than I CAN do, and so I don't. Because, you see, Linux would not be a tool for me. It would, at least initially, be a project. And I've no room in my life for additional projects. Every new project I take on (such as repairing flood damage around this house) displaces/curtails other necessary projects that I would otherwise be doing instead.

    Not long ago, I desperately needed to repair something in Windows 10 - I THINK it was the actual ability of a new SSD I had installed after cloning an older HDD to boot. I had to work exclusively in console-style commands. Had I been familiar with the procedures and the language, and an error-free typist, it was a procedure that should have consumed six or seven minutes. I was determined and driven, and committed to not losing my investment in my machine, my data and my new drive, and It only took me five hours. But I did it. This is how Linux, to some degree, looks to me. This kind of work keeping the machine in working order and not losing my work or my data, on a daily or weekly basis.

    Perhaps that helps throw some light on that question. It's perhaps not so much psychological as situational for many persons.

  • @Ayespy Ta for the time & effort you put into that. It was interesting.

    "It's perhaps not so much psychological as situational for many persons" ... i suspect that is not only a fair but probably also accurate summation... of why more people don't actually use Linux, but not [i humbly suggest] of some people's almost aggressive mindset of not even being curious. That's not applicable to you; on your own words you admitted curiosity, but that all your "other stuff" obstructs you. So, with that said, you're not one of the hypothetical "types" i was contemplating. Having a curiosity but not the wherewithal to investigate something new, is entirely sensible in my mind. Conversely having no curiosity in the first place, irrespective of temporal wherewithal, is the characteristic which really intrigues me.

    That said, i'd just like to respectfully contradict something you touched on a few times, above. It's an old myth, when applied to many contemporary Nix distros & Desktop Environments, that it's "terminal or nothing" in Linux. Yes it's true that in terminal / console / command-line-interface a knowledgeable exponent [not me] can do phenomenal things. However, modern DEs including KDE, Xfce, MATE bring a very Windows-ish look & feel [if that's what is wanted] to Nix, & with these many users can perform grandly without ever needing to alternate GUI with CLI. That you can leverage your operability with CLI as well as GUI is one thing, but in no way is to imply that these GUIs provide anything but a simply remarkable suite of easy aesthetic point & click power to users who want it that way.

    So, i do remain intrigued.


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