Submit A Tip Alternative Tip Form

Watch A Users First Time with Ubuntu

Tech blogger Chris Prillo’s Dad has become a viral celebrity after his toe-curling ‘first experience’ with Windows 8 garnered hundreds-of-thousands of views almost over night.

Capitalising upon this, and perhaps in the interest of fairness, Chris has sat his Dad Joe down in front of, and filmed his first take on, OS X and Ubuntu 11.10.

How did he get on? Well, he doesn’t explore an awful lot of Ubuntu (despite the length of the video). Joe spends a large amount of time expressing confusion over “work sheets” (workspaces) and trying to open applications. He does discover, rather quickly I might add, how to ‘reveal’ the Launcher and find application menus when needed – two parts of the Unity desktop oft described as being ‘difficult for users to find’.

Despite the move to a giant button on the Launcher it takes Joe 23 minutes to discover the Dash.

A few choice quotes: –

  • “I’ve never even heard of Linux.”
  • “I like having the thing down the side.” [The Unity Launcher]
  • “I don’t like it when everything disappears”. Like these menus… ” [App Menus]
  • “I’m not sure how to close these things.” [Applications]

There are a number of issues that, it has to be said, are impeding his experience.

First, he’s been given Ubuntu running under ‘Parallels’ – a virtualisation tool for Macs. In general Parallels and Ubuntu (once Parallel Tools have been installed) work very well together, but the presence of the ‘Parallels Shared Folder’ on the desktop and endless-appearing Apple Bar confuses him no-end throughout.

Secondly he’s running Unity 2D. Although not a drawback of itself, I find that Unity 3D, with its various animations and visual cues (for example with slowly fading menus), is a much easier beast to tame first than the austere trappings of Unity 2D.

That said the video a fascinating, if at times frustrating, watch. 24 minutes later you’ll be wondering if we adapt to design flaws inherent in Ubuntu simply because we’re willing to.

Thanks to Marco