Alligators in sewers, lucky escapes from hook-handed serial killers and the unpalatable notion that we all eat 8 spiders a year whilst snoozing: all are Urban myths.

Until recently I assumed that the well-known story of a girl from Wisconsin USA, whose inadvertent purchase of a Dell laptop running Ubuntu 7.10 saw her dropping out of her online college classes, was like all of the example above: a load of hot-air.

Turns out it actually happened.

The local new-station, WKOW TV, were overwhelmed by the intense and passionate response to the item, so a follow up report on Abbie Schubert’s situation was soon run. I was expecting to hear that Dell had sent her a Windows disc and all was solved.

But not quite.

Instead, Dell, her internet provider Verizon, and the college to which she was enrolled, MATC, all help her to stick with Ubuntu.

Sadly the follow up piece also touches upon the agressive and defensive response targeted towards both Abbie and the news-station from the Linux community.

It’s easy to “blame” the user in a situation like this for not paying attention when ordering and/or not having enough gusto to figure out problems faced. But I think it’s more telling to note that all of her troubles stem from 3rd parties rather than Ubuntu itself – a fact glossed over in both of the reports.

It wasn’t Ubuntu that was incompatible in this situation but rather the companies providing the services.

I can’t help but wonder how she’s doing now and whether she’s still using Ubuntu.

Maybe i’ll try and find out after I check the drains outside for alligators…

Thanks to K. Hendrik

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