Good question! If you told me 2 years ago I would be here blogging on the Planet about Ubuntu and open source software I would have laughed at you.
I came across Ubuntu’s community rather serendipitously (woo – what a mouthful of a word).
Let’s hurl back in time about 6 years – I was a relatively happy Windows user pounding away on my computer till one day – CRASH! It broke and I did what pretty much all gfs do, get their bfs to fix it. Recently in a conversation with some other friends there was talk about Open Source OS becoming more user friendly, easier to use and more reliable. During the ‘repairs’ I asked him what he thought about Linux based OS. My bf scoffed at the idea. Saying to me I would never be able to use that its way beyond my technical capabilities. You don’t need that, look I’m going to give your Windows system and you will be very happy with that – no need to change.
Doesn’t this sound all to familiar…Yes! I was in the same position as the lady in my last post (Do You Know a Closet Ubuntu User?)
6 years ago, I was dragged away and I accepted it.
So what happened? Well, after few years my bf and I split and I was still using Windows but as we all know that can’t last forever without a problem occurring. So one day it happened again – CRASH!
Now, I wasn’t on good or even speaking terms with my ex. So I was on my own. I clearly remember that day when my system died. I was so PO’d! I was ranting and raving quite loudly in my room, with explicits, blaming my ex for this unreliable Windows software that he had installed on my computer. In hindsight, blaming the ex for my software problems wasn’t logical and probably it was other external issues that I was angry about but in the heat of the moment it made sense to blame him. I had a serious problem now too because Windows Vista and just been released and I had tried it on some friends PC. I hated it with a passion and vocally expressed that I would never get on Vista.
Yikes! Let’s look at my options.
1) Ask another guy friend to help me install XP but then I run into the problem of ‘being in his pocket’
2) Break down and install Vista and endure a year of mockery and torture from friends
3) Find an Alternate OS
I knew so little about option 3. I didn’t even know what Ubuntu was at that time. All I knew was that there were Linux based OS out there on the net. A Google search brought me to the Ubuntu website. The software look amazingly complete and professional. The screen shots and the ‘sell’ blew me away. I thought the worse that could happen is that it wouldn’t work.
I followed the instructions to make a USB boot disc for my netbook. I plugged it in and clicked Try Me! I messed around with it for not more than 30mins. It worked it and seemed to do everything I needed it to do. So I did the unthinkable – I hit install and wiped my hard disk.
I won’t lie, I was worried and scared. However, after it was all complete it worked perfectly. I now know – I was one of the lucky ones.
One month later, I started to have a huge list of questions. Googling It and scouring endless contradicting answers on the forums just wasn’t helping me find the ‘right’ answers. I was beginning to get frustrated and thought to myself maybe…just maybe, I’ll be able to find one other person using Ubuntu. I searched Ubuntu Vancouver and found the community, which I am a part of now. I was so surprised I never thought such a thing could exist.
Only now, can I look back and see that there were a few key factors that caused me to change.
1) If it wasn’t for a ‘major’ crisis I really didn’t see a need to change.
2) I was fed up with the unreliability of proprietary software. If I could get free software that worked half as well for what I had originally shelled out money for then what is there to complain about.
3) I was forced to become ‘literate’ and independent in learning how to manage my computer.
I think if these 3 things did not exist and did not converge at that moment in time I honestly wouldn’t be here.
What has Ubuntu done for me?
Most importantly it has built up my literacy, independence and confidence in computing. I don’t have a technical background and I consider myself an average user so for me to gain this from Ubuntu – that is AMAZING!
Of recent something very interesting has started to happen. I have been telling my gfs about Ubuntu and inviting them to our Ubuntu Vancouver LoCo socials. Some have started asking me to teach them so that they can become more independent and confident in using their computer.
Whenever I write or create something I don’t just create it for the sake of it. In my mind, I am always thinking about a specific friend or family member and I create the solution for them.
I started this blog because I really wanted to focus on the female market especially those that would be classified an average user – like me. In up coming posts, I will be doing narrowly focused learning sessions based on the questions my gfs are asking. I hope these posts/sessions will show them if I can do it they can too!
Fabulous things are coming…