The Four Different Types of Linux Users


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Shayla
In the three years I have been using Linux as my primary operating system I've taken note that in general there are four different types of Linux users. Each one fits a distinct niche and it is possible to change from one type into another over time.

The Computer User:

This is a person that feels no emotional ties to FOSS/Linux. The computer is a tool to get the job done and they use Linux because it is the best tool for the job they are trying to accomplish. If Windows or OSX was better suited for the task, then they would be using that instead. They may have no idea of what FOSS or Linux is, they just know their computer works when they need it to. Odds are Linux was installed on their system by friend or relative who is a Linux Advocate or FOSS Extremist who was tried of fixing issues that kept popping up on Windows.

The Dual Booter:

Typically someone who has some computer savvy about them. Odds are they decided to give Linux a try because they just caught an interesting article about a shiny new distro release on Digg or because they know a Linux Advocate who recommended it. They might make a forum post or two to try and solve an issue they are having, but odds are if the distro doesn't "just work" they will start going on about how Linux "isn't ready for the average user" or "will never make it as a desktop operating system". If their Linux install does work, they still keep Windows around because they are a "gamer" or because they need to use a piece of Windows software that does not have a decent FOSS/Linux alternative as of yet.

Linux Advocate:

Someone who uses Linux because they feel it is a superior or more stable operating environment. Typically this is someone who knows their way around the computer a bit and isn't afraid to post on a forum asking a question or get their hands dirty with a bit of terminal code to get their system up and running. While they love the power of FOSS they realize at the same time that the entire world does not work in this manner (although it would be great if it did). They are typically willing to use restricted codecs and closed source video drivers to get the performance and functionality they need out of their system. While it is not uncommon for them to recommend Linux to their family and friends, most times they will even help them get it setup, they realize that some people are happy with Windows and they acknowledge this.

FOSS Extremist:

They use Linux not only because it is fast and stable, but because it is FOSS. They view software that is closed source as something evil that must be conquered or changed for the good of man kind. The know the ins and outs of their system - most times for an FOSS Extremist the GUI is optional. If their hardware does not work right "out of the box" on their favorite distro they are willing to spend hours pouring over manuals and help pages to get it working. They almost constantly preach about the evils of Windows and Apple and take every chance they get to convert those they know to Linux or and FOSS operating system.

So Linux users on Neowin,which one are you?Do you think the author of this article covered most Linux users here?

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TDT

Dual-Booter. :)

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SaLiVa

I use Ubuntu on my laptop only. I use it because its free, fast, and performs better than Windows on limited resources. The more programs I have on the system, the performance (to me) feels the same. Whereby on a Windows system, the more programs I have on it, the more HDD space I use on it, the slower and more unreliable it becomes.

I use Windows on my main desktop.

I'd put myself in the "Computer User" section, even though I did not ask for any help in installing it. I don't advertise Ubuntu to other people, and don't see any reason to.

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brentaal

Nope, it leaves out the average annoying Ubuntuforums member who thinks he reached enlightenment by installing Ubuntu and has to preach it to everyone and their grandma.

Not sure which kind I am. I love Linux and I'd love it if I could ditch Windows but Windows 7 has worked perfectly for me. I still have either dual boot or a VM of Linux at all times.

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DJD

Linux Advocate here!

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kaffra

i like to Virtually test out some distros occasionally, just to see whats new.

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DoDonpachi

Dual Booter here, I play about with Linux to learn new things :)

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Colin-uk

I would say im a dual booter but the article makes that particular type sound a bit less savvy than i am.

I also know my way around a terminal arent arent afraid to get my hands dirty writing conf files :p

so i guess im inbetween.

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Andre S.

Not a Linux user, at all. I've played with Ubuntu but it's not a very fun game.

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+Frank B.

Former dual-booter who nowadays confines Linux to VMs here.

I used to think that Linux has a chance to gain significant market share as desktop OS. Not anymore. I've heard the '20xx is the year of Linux on the desktop!' chant too often and become too disillusioned after looking at the various distributions.

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qdave

Havent tried linux since i was forced to use it in university :p

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The Teej

Hmm, I'd say I'm actually a bit of 3 - The computer user, the dual booter and the Linux advocate. I'm not actually running Linux at all though, although that's because I literally don't have the space to install it and am waiting to do a bit of hardware upgrading before I get Ubuntu on my system. I use Windows because it's there and it does the job I want it too - although I do favour some parts of it over Linux (and visa versa), but I'd say I also come under the dual booter category as I've only properly recently come to like Linux thanks to some big time press when Ubuntu 9 was released and really loved running it live off the CD, but I wouldn't say I start whining then Linux isn't ready for the mainstream etc when a little thing breaks, it's a hobbyist OS and things are always going to run into a few complications (hell, even the same happens on Windows occasionally). Besides, I actually love getting down and dirty with the terminal and other really deep-down technical issues just to get an issue fixed - it's a PITA when it happens but when it's fixed I definitely feel a sense of pride that I got it sorted, hence why I'm also part of the Linux advocate category.

There's absolutely no way, ever, that I'll ever be a FOSS extremist :p Not my style at all!

I'd say Linux will eventually get a larger majority share, but that's only because people in general will get more tech savvy over time (I'm talking in decades, not years) and Linux will eventually get a bit easier to use thanks to movements from Android and Ubuntu which make the OS more refined for the general user, and hardware partners like HP, Dell, Canon, etc which start to ship Linux drivers day and date, or at the latest at a delayed time, with Windows and OSX drivers.

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thealexweb

I probably go under the Dual-Booter category.

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James7

I do believe FLOSS is a ethically/morally better way of doing software, in a "promoting the social good" and "democratizing" sort of way. I don't like the use of the word "extremist" there. It's not a good label--it's like calling someone who supports helping the homeless or teaching people to read an "extremist".

You can think the idea of FLOSS is good and fall into any of those categories, even the "computer user", as I support some such people and they think its good.

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MarkusDarkus

What about me? The windows user who uses linux servers.

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Hawk999

Linux Advocate here.

I feel no need to convince anyone. When people are curious I can tell them why I use Linux.

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Jhaedee

How about an unwitting/forced user? I.e someone who bought a netbook because it looked cool and is currently running some netbook specific flavour of linux without realising what linux even is.

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AdamLC

Dual booter here :laugh:

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SharpGreen

I don't really think I fit into any of those 4. I like Linux. Run it full time on my laptop and for a time did so on my desktop, but I will always think Windows is better :p Not trying to start stuff here but thats just what I think. I have converted a friend of mine to using Linux but only because windows ran slowly on his laptop. My opinion on web browsers works here as well, I use whatever is available. If Linux is available I use that, if just windows is available then Windows it is. I really haven't a preference. Just whatever is available and works.

Also the FOSS Extremists make me embarrassed to even say I use stuff that is free and open source. So I'm definitely not one of them.

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hekkyUK

Yet another Dual Booter here :shiftyninja:

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Negi

I do believe FLOSS is a ethically/morally better way of doing software, in a "promoting the social good" and "democratizing" sort of way. I don't like the use of the word "extremist" there. It's not a good label--it's like calling someone who supports helping the homeless or teaching people to read an "extremist".

You can think the idea of FLOSS is good and fall into any of those categories, even the "computer user", as I support some such people and they think its good.

There's a reason a bad label is used to describe those people. When you advocate the use of inferior software simply for the sake of supporting a vague ideology, it's not a good thing.

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Stetson

I don't really fit the Dual Booter description, but I do use all three major OSes. I use OSX on my Macbook, it's nice on a portable system and gets a nice amount of battery life but it's also a unix system which is handy for the programming and server work I do.

I use Windows 7 on my desktop for Office and games, and occasionally boot into Ubuntu for work that's better done in a unix environment.

I use Google Chrome across all three OSes so switching back and forth isn't that big of a deal anyway.

My dad is pretty close to the Computer User description, he uses linux on my recommendation, but he recognizes the security benefits of not having to worry about opening the wrong email attachment. OSX probably has a few too many bells and whistles for him to feel comfortable, he just uses his laptop for web browsing and email so simple is better.

Neither of us use linux because it's FLOSS.

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ajua

I would put myself between Computer User and Dual-booter. I know very much about computers but I'm one those that think that Linux distros haven't reach that much touted "isn't ready yet"...However, as time passes by, more distros are working to "get ready" for the average user.

There's a reason a bad label is used to describe those people. When you advocate the use of inferior software simply for the sake of supporting a vague ideology, it's not a good thing.

I couldn't agree more with you. There is Open Source software that is superior to Closed Source. Forcing/Recommending it's a good thing in many ways, but many times I 've seen inferior (compared to their closed alternatives) open source software being touted as superior just because it is free and open source.

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shockz

I'm in between Dual Booter and Linux Advocate.

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Tews

Linux Advocate atm ...

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