Woman Blames Dell and Ubuntu For Missing Online School Classes

by on January 15, 2009 · 27 comments· LAST UPDATED January 15, 2009

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Another clueless woman has claimed that Dell computer and Ubuntu Linux have kept her from going back to school via online classes. According to a story - a woman bought a Dell computer and realized she ordered it with the Ubuntu Operating System rather than MS-Windows. She tried to change OS to Windows but Dell refused. Her Verizon High-Speed Internet CD won't load, so she can't access the internet. She also can't install Microsoft Word, which she says is a requirement for MATC's online classes. As a result, with no internet and no Microsoft Word, Schubert dropped out of MATC's fall and spring semesters. The full story is here including followup.

Now, I've no idea about Verizon's modem and DSL connection but most A/DSL provider modem (router) comes with an Ethernet port. There is no need to use wizard or CD based installer. Other software such as MS-Word can be replaced with OO (I submitted all my school work using OO office writer and no one even noticed the difference... ). Further both Verizon and MATC ready to help:

Verizon says it will dispatch a technician to try to assist her accessing the internet without using the Windows-only installation disk.

MATC also says it promises to accept any of Schubert's papers or class documents using whatever software she has installed.

So what is the problem here?

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

1 splogger January 15, 2009 at 6:16 pm

just a habit

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2 Duane January 15, 2009 at 6:40 pm

What is the problem? I think it’s rather simple – she is lazy. She is looking for excuses, and Ubuntu just happened to be there. If her computer came with Windows she would have made the excuse that it didn’t come with MS Office installed, so she couldn’t do he school work; if it had MS Office and Windows then she would have found another excuse. If she truly wanted to go to school, she would have found a way to make things work, instead she found a slight bump and turned it into the Swiss Alps (then told the press).

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3 Mike January 15, 2009 at 6:42 pm

The problem?

Self-entitled morons have access to lawyers.

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4 Derrick January 15, 2009 at 10:46 pm

You can’t challenge some people over certain things like –
Politics
Religion
The Great Pumpkin
and Operating Systems

Such people know what they know and that’s that. Try to stretch their imagination and they get all bent out of shape.

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5 George Kharmujai January 16, 2009 at 8:31 am

I feel that people are so used with Windows.. I myself started with Redhat 9 7years back and now moved to Debian running as server machine and Ubuntu on my laptop. I think, if Linux would have come before Windows did, i am sure Windows will be a tough OS to use.. But all in all, who would want to use Windows anyway..paying so much and getting stuck with only the basic features. I wish more people will see that using Windows is just another way of showing that “you dont want to learn anything new”

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6 Andrea Ratto January 16, 2009 at 9:10 am

There are people who think they must be looked after and don’t take responsibility for their own actions.
Also most of them are really cheap: you bought the wrong laptop/operating system? Go buy a new one and don’t repeat your mistake, or buy (ask?) for help.
Complaining it’s easier than admitting errors, and in this case the complaint is wrong too: blame the school, Microsoft or other vendors or the regulations for not establishing any standard and locking people in their formats.

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7 machiner January 16, 2009 at 10:46 am

This is pathetic. The FUD is pathetic, the ignorance is more pathetic, and the print space these retards get, as well as those that discuss any such similar plights, are the most pathetic still.

The only issue here is the rampant pandering to vocal retards. Sorry about my vulgarities but I, for one, do no such pandering.

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8 anon January 16, 2009 at 11:34 am

lol!! Its increible! How a person can do that? I think that really guilty in that case was the ignorance and the will to save money. Surelly she odered with ubuntu because the PC was cheaper (if the order is done is normal that dell reyect her wishes)… and she dont take care of that until the pc arrived home. Once the pc was in home The ignorance start working and the lazy side of this person were activated, she start finding excuses to dont do the clases and this In my opinion is the WORSE part. Because if she ask to a informatic, or an advanced user, maybe say her to install Openoffice and tell her that the network conection were autoconfigured when the cable were plugged.

Linux is the way to touch freedom.
Ubuntu or debian help us at fist steeps, Gentoo help us inproving and Suse becomes our works (sys admin) easy.

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9 Ronald Fischer January 16, 2009 at 11:42 am

Although being a happy user of Linux (Suse in my case) and Mac OSX, and thanking my God every day that he spared me from using Windoze at home, you make several assumptions in your blog which, I’m sorry to say, are pretty arrogant in my opinion. For example you assume that every one knows that

- There exist other ways of setting up an internet in addition to the instructions you get with (in this case) the material from the school;

- There exist other word processing programs in the World besides Word;

- There exist other operating systems besides Windows (or, that there actually exists something like an operating systems; I know more than one computer user who has no idea what is the difference between “Word”, “Windows” and “Explorer”, and happily surf the web every day without knowing what a “browser” is.

Fact is that quite a few people can use all that technology without knowing what is behind. If we assume that one *has* to know this, and that it is *easy* to do, we are indeed in the arrogant position of someone having knowledge and from this deducing that everyone else has the same knowledge.

The real problem is not that lady, it is the people who sell the equipment, and are really only interested in the term “selling”. A friend of mine, equally computer-illiterate, sometime ago bought for her home ISDN because this “would speed up her computer and phone”. Nobody told her that you need equipment to use ISDN instead of the good old phone lines, in order to use it. We can’t expect this knowledge from consumers. It is the duty of the specialists to care about this.

So when the Dell representatives said that “Ubuntu is much better”, his information was correct, but incomplete. He should – just to give an example – have also explained all the consequences, including maybe the fact that if she has not much experience with Windows and expects needing help from her friends if something fails, she should better ask first if her friends also know enough about Linux to be able to help.

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10 lakshmi narayana January 16, 2009 at 11:50 am

if she search in net, she can get lot of information about confituration and troubleshoot. may be she addicted to windows.

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11 Doug January 16, 2009 at 12:01 pm

I support my mother’s computer long distance so of course she runs Linux. She also has DSL courtesy of Verizon. Last year she had to have that Verizon modem replaced and I had an opportunity to experience this issue, but from 400 miles away. Verizon puts what they call “security” on their modems nowadays. You need to put the Verizon CD in your Windows computer after hooking up to your modem. Plugging a Linux computer into a Verizon modem and expecting it to work is futile. Of course, the fix is easy. Browse to http://192.168.1.1/verizon/redirect.htm ( I think you have to put you computer in the correct subnet manually too). Login admin, password “password” no quotes
Disable verizon security and you should be able to access the internet with no problem. The Verizon modem is not just a modem like your cable modem, but a router too, for example you can do port forwarding from there. Don’t expect Verizon support to know anything about Linux, I had to be rather forceful to get the necessary information out of them, and it took them a while to find it too. Linux, as you know, is the top of the line and can do just about anything, but it’s not for students who don’t know enough to order the correct computer configuration they want from Dell. Putting a Linux computer on that person’s desk without a soul to talk to who knows anything about our favorite operating system is an impossible situation. Hardware vendors like Verizon need to get on board before Linux takes off.

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12 Jacob Roecker January 16, 2009 at 12:03 pm

Wow! This story just seems to be everywhere. It aired on Tuesday this week and just exploded from there. You can watch the original video here:

http://www.wkowtv.com/Global/story.asp?S=9667184&nav=menu1362_2

It’s quite an interesting story. It’s one of those things where the reporters didn’t quite know what they were getting into. Ubuntu has a good history of being secure, safe, and usable. All of that seemed to be ignored by the young woman, more than likely because of ignorance. I don’t think she knew enough to ask the right questions or even where to start fixing her problems.

I did the same thing the first time I tried Ubuntu. Once I learned “how” to ask questions I was good to go. There’s a lot of people willing to help in this community.

Well folks, Ubuntu users gave this lady a bit of backlash. That doesn’t do us a whole lot of good when the news does a follow-up story talking about the “harassment” she’s received on facebook, and in general.

The follow up story is here: http://www.wkowtv.com/Global/story.asp?S=9682258&nav=menu1362_2 It’s neat to watch.

Our comments as a community are very important. Since I’m trying to put together http://whyubuntu.com as a PR site for the OS it’s very difficult to think that when people google us, they’re going to find this article. Our comments should have remained civil. Although quite a few of the posts I read were accurate estimations of the situation, they weren’t very kind.

I left a very civil post on the news’ website, that’s worth repeating here:

This is an extremely sensitive issue. Ubuntu users take great pride in their use of the free OS. It is functional, free, and very capable. It, like Windows takes some getting used to. My 7 year old uses it, my 3 year old uses it. Computers are not something that is learned by genetics and it takes no more skills to use Ubuntu than it does to have learned how to use Windows.

I do hope that the staff at the station take another look at what can be done because of the free operating system. Ironically this is an ABC affiliate, and the ABC affiliate in Lawton OK just ran a very positive story on Ubuntu being used to help kids learn in schools.

http://trailbrain.com/reprise/?p=91 or
http://www.kswo.com/Global/story.asp?S=9675283

Indiana’s school system realized that by switching to linux they would save more than $100,000 a year in liscencing fees.
see http://www.techlearning.com/article/8088

Ubuntu isn’t the enemy here, nor is the young lady’s ignorance. The fault lies with skepticism. Ubuntu is new and takes some getting used to. It runs differently, and in the end she’ll be using Ubuntu at college. She’ll probably like it too.

After all, if she uses windows she’ll be shelling out money for anti-virus software that will slow her machine down considerably. She’ll have to deal with some Dell pre-installed useless software. She’ll have to defrag her hard drive, update each program individually, and pay for her office software. So she might have a headache at the beginning, but in the long run her “accident” may turn out to be a smarter choice.

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13 Dave January 16, 2009 at 1:10 pm

She couldnt find the next next next button cos thats how computers work! isnt it? Where is the button that says start!
God help her if the fuse goes, it’ll be wrapped up in its box and sent back to Dell.
I think networking (wireless) would be confusing for a bam bam Windowz user in a nix environment but the office part should not even be mentioned , if it was installed it would have opened an existing word doc anyway. Maybe the should give her the disk because she will be calling support everyday. Where is Internet explorer, why cant i find Outlook, ive had this pc for 3 months and it hasnt give me one virus warning – should it be out of date by now. I havnt had to download and buy a single application for it! Give her the disk Dell

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14 K4RL0S January 16, 2009 at 2:38 pm

The excuses people make to not do things they hate.

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15 Colin January 17, 2009 at 9:05 am

Warning this blog has become unfriendly to any protocol unit that is fluent in Human.

Firstly in the womans defense and the learning institutions GREATEST shame. I have found that not only do some courses expect document to be in word format. They actually require Word. TAFE in Australia was requiring one old pensioner (who I installed ubuntu + OO for) that she know the alt+ctrl +f9 shortcut key for the memo document type! Hence in order to complete her assignments and pass the course she had to have word!

Lets hang any college, uni, tafe or other institution that supports this ludicrous text editor.

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16 Dean Mapa January 19, 2009 at 1:40 am

One fine summer day, I opened my newspaper to the the tech section and was drawn to an article about Ubuntu. After reading the article, I dropped the newspaper, went to the Ubuntu web site and then to other web sites discussing Ubuntu in particular and Linux in general. Within two hours I downloaded Ubuntu 8.04, burned it into a CD and replaced my laptop’s Windows XP.

It was a leap of faith. I had heard of Linux but always thought it was a system reserved for Geeks. It helped a bit that I was sick and tired of the XP’s slowdowns and the constant battles with viruses, spyware, adware and the like. But I never heard of Ubuntu until that newspaper article.

It was profound. I said good-bye to Microsoft forever and never looked back. I didn’t have reason to. Here is, I believe, a far superior OS. Sure I had to learn OO, Gimp, and some of the other FREE software that came in the Ubuntu package, but the adventure was exhilarating.

Switching to Ubuntu was one of those decisions I really feel good about.

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17 Harish January 19, 2009 at 2:43 am

The problem here is that she was just plain ignorant and lazy to even browse what needs to be done to activate her internet. Well if she had no idea about in the first place then she should have taken more care while ordering the Laptop with exact configuration!

Why blame Dell for her own stupidity!

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18 K H January 19, 2009 at 8:14 pm

This young woman’s experience isn’t unexpected since Windows is all the overwhelming majority of users have ever known. But I also must say that help may have been there had she asked — most colleges have Linux users in their student body these days, and even though officially only Windows is supported by online courses and student access systems in almost every case, that doesn’t mean you can’t use another operating system.

Her Internet service could have been set up, even with Verizon, without using an install CD, and Open Office will open and save files in MS Word format. Practically any online business you can do with Windows can be done with Linux, and although there are still exceptions, they are very few in number.

To anyone who says you “still have to have Windows,” I left Windows permanently three years ago, and not only use Linux for general Web surfing, email, and some online gaming, but also online HD video, ordering from online merchants, paying utility bills, refilling prescriptions, and for online banking/brokerage services. I always see “our pages are designed for viewing with Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher,” but they generally render/work fine on Firefox.

If I had been there when the young woman first found out she was in strange territory, I would have helped her set up her system, and would like to think that’s what any other Linux user would have done. All the flaming she got was totally uncalled for, and any Linux users who did it ought to be ashamed of themselves.

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19 rotyyu January 20, 2009 at 3:46 am

Poor girl……..

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20 Colanth January 21, 2009 at 6:15 pm

The problem? That just anyone is permitted to purchase a computer, then blame someone else for their own lack of knowledge. You can’t legally drive a little motorscooter without proving that you’re competent to operate one, but you can buy a computer, then sue someone for something, even if the suit itself proves that you’d need another hundred clues to be clueless about computers.

Maybe What the World Needs Now is a computer operator’s license.

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21 Diabolic Preacher January 24, 2009 at 2:14 am

Its a sad sad situation really but instead of blaming anyone I have suggestions for Dell. Its a good thing they have started being one of the first big companies to sell Linux boxes, but here’s the thing. Its not just the installation of the OS or the 100% hardware compatibility (which is also not always achievable yet) that is the only obstacle in a user’s path to effective system utilization. Dell should understand that situations like these are an opportunity for Dell to cash on tailoring machines to users’ needs and nothing helps customize the full experience like Linux can. It has ‘choices’ written all over it. They can certainly have a master distro from which they can create custom setups for various target groups. Requiring a word processor for graduation studies is not something totally unheard of.
You might say the advantage of less price to the customer goes, but here’s the thing. people would be willing to pay to get something worth the price and Linux with good service from Dell, would definitely be worth the price.

Its good the lady did not get stuck with the n-series notebook (which i asked for). It comes with FreeDOS and which could only show 2gb of your disk, even if its like 120gb in size. :)

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22 Rob January 25, 2009 at 12:23 am

It is a shame, but there is some validity to what happened to this person, and it is not entirely an issue of PEBKAC. According to the article, the woman was not trying to connect via Verizon DSL, but rather through a Verizon EV-DO modem card, like the VZW PC5750 or VZW AirCard 595. Although many of these EV-DO modem cards can be used with Linux, every one that I have encountered so far had to be set up on a Windows-based PC to enable the account. Once enabled, most of these cards can then be installed in a Linux-based machine, will be recognized (almost certainly under the latest Ubuntu), and will connect.

As to the other part of the problem, schools do require specific applications for some courses, and this may have been one. Although Open Office dot org will suffice as a replacement for M$ Word in many cases, it is not an exact drop-in, and documents rendered in Open Office sometimes appear differently when subsequently opened in Word. With access to a full set of MS True Type fonts (not a freebie unless you’re into piracy) and a fair knowledge of word processors, this usually isn’t a problem, but there are some Word macros that cannot be duplicated in OOo. Again though, if the instructor specifies MS Word, Open Office may not be an acceptable substitute.

A lot of Linux users are geeks, and as such, we’re into all the techie sort of stuff. There’s a new breed being introduced to Linux these days, and they just want to get things done with their computer. Without these new people, Linux will end up like other great operating systems in history that didn’t grow a sufficient user base to remain viable. If we shun these people away with snide comments and such, in the end, we will only be hurting ourselves!

Posted via #!CrunchBang Linux v.8.10.01

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23 Ronald Fischer January 26, 2009 at 1:00 pm

What I am missing a bit in this discussion is a focus on the sellers of computers – the vendors and the shop markets. If I look at the advirtisements, selling a computer seems to be not much different from selling a washing detergent or a DVD player: It is advertised by showing the releative merits on the product, and it is assumed that the user knows what to do with it. If I user asks, the typical response is the same like with any other electronic product: “It is easy to use”.

It is probably a safe bet that everyone reading this blog can be considered “computer literate” more or less. Now I ask everyone to think for him/herself how much of the lifespan was spent to know how to handle a washing detergent, a DVD player and a computer. I bet that the latter one measures in days, if not weeks.

And now imagine the situation of a user being at the “washing detergent” level, having seen others using a computer, and one day want to use the computer too. The fair advice would be to tell this person: “Lucky you, nowadays you can learn how to use a computer well, after just, maybe, thirty or fourty hours of initial learning, while half a century ago, you had to be an engineer”. But this is not what the advirtisements say, nor what the majority of the shop clerks (at least not the one I know) tell their customers. So it is natural if first-time users just want to open the box, read a three line introduction to connect a few cables, and then want to “go on using it”. Of course this won’t work – but the computer makers don’t care; they already had made their business.

When someone without any experience approaches me for recommendations about what computer to use (which happens sometimes), I often recommend a Mac (sorry to all Ubuntu addicts; although I enjoy Linux a lot, I have the impression that a Mac is even easier to get running), and I advice to plan a dozen hours or more just for getting to know the basics of such a beast.

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24 fusebox January 26, 2009 at 8:53 pm

Her problem is her pea sized brain & watermelon sized ego.Its really outright pathetic!!I remember reading this article on Google News too last week and really didnt understand why in first place this Lazy Moron was given the valuable Print Space.One of the comments was really right,she just needs lame excuses to avoid going to school or complete her classes.In a way its good for Ubuntu, she didnt try to explore it any further without any effort.God know what would have happened then!She would have then started denouncing its stability,look and Linux as a whole..She should stick with Windows in my opinion…Linux is not for morons like her..Its for those who are willing to put in a little effort in the beginning for a lifetime of great OS experience and taste the wonders of OpenSource.

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25 M.S. Babaei March 25, 2009 at 10:50 pm

This is the only way women prefers.
When they can’t do something right, found the others guilty! :D

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26 Cheap Used Dell Computer July 13, 2009 at 8:12 am

Buying the cheapest crap available, you should refer to Dell and get what do you want.

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27 Olivier November 27, 2009 at 9:04 pm

Everybody blame the woman, but why Dell didn’t want to change the OS ?

@lakshmi narayana : you’re very funny… if she doesn’t have Internet, how would she search for informations ?

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