Would on-boarding help new users?

I often hear from people that would otherwise be willing to switch to Linux from Windows or MacOS that they just don’t have the time to learn something like this. I can completely understand this as many people are busy with work, kids, family, and day to day life.

Something that I noticed a lot of programs offer (even apps) is an on-boarding overlay that walks you through what to do and how to set things up. I have never seen Linux do this and I am thinking it could help people really grasp it and learn it without having to invest hours of time trying to figure things out.

Once you understand the basics, Linux is not difficult, especially with the right distro installed.

Do you think doing something like this in the future could benefit new users? I am not sure if anyone on the development side every considered it but I think it might be worth trying. You can take an already established distribution like Ubuntu and just make a beginner installation option that helps walk you through things.

Linux does have basic welcome screens on all their distros that act as a guide but what you are referring to is more a less like a “hand-holding” experience. I mean to me, the reason this hasn’t been done is likely down to the fact that Linux in and of itself is not hard to learn. It is just different enough to confuse someone with basic computer knowledge and only ever using Windows their whole life.

I guess it could be useful for some people but it would be such a small percentage that it probably isn’t worth developing.

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I am pretty much a noob and as much as I would likely benefit from having some assistance like this, I feel like I would end up being annoyed by it. I think most stuff can be searched easily or just ask for help on a place like this. That is just me though!


It is hard to change to but it is not hard to learn. At least at the most basic levels i.e. browsing online and using mainstream apps/programs that are supported. I would love to switch my parents over to Linux seeing as BOTH of them have gotten issues with viruses on Windows but they are the polar opposite of tech savvy. My mother only just learned how to copy/paste. :expressionless:

SO when Gnome 3 originally came out the idea was to copy Windows as much as possible to shorten the learning curve. It didn’t work. I usually recommend Linux Mint for those that are “technically impaired” But if they don’t wanna learn then I don’t make them. What’s that old saying, you can lead a woman to knowledge but you can’t make them think, or something like that. Maybe it had to do with horses… hmm anyway just my 2 cents.

The issue is linux involves a lot of terminal use to do some things in which for new users, the experience is not as intuitive; they don’t know what commands they can use, what status error 1 means or even the shortcuts which make it cumbersome to use.

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I know this is an older post, but I wanted to add my two cents.

Being a noob myself, I have run into quite a few situations where I would have liked to have someone answer my questions and still would like some guidance. On-boarding help would be great to have, and even when I know how to get around the system, I know that I will have those occasional questions that I can’t seem to find the answer to.

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There’s no post too old here as long as it’s not already being discussed. We want that if users find a thread, it’s useful. So as long as you are adding to the discussion, that’s great! In that light, here’s what I can add…

Ubuntu and Pop!_OS present welcome screens and guided tours for new users. These guides help users set up their system, connect online, and introduce key features and settings. Similarly, elementary OS has a very user-friendly initial setup that guides new users through the system.

While not as common as in other distros, such onboarding efforts are indeed part of some Linux distributions. I may be missing some distros that do this, but I can only speak to those I’ve used.

Also, check out Linux for Seniors - it’s not just for seniors :slightly_smiling_face:.

I believe that the Cinnamon version of Linux Mint is an ideal choice, particularly for those not technically inclined and especially transitioning from Windows to Linux for the first time.

It’s worth noting that non-technical users tend to spend more time using applications on the operating system than the operating system itself. Assuming that most popular applications have an official Linux version, there’s no reason why these users can’t adapt to Linux.

For instance, when my mother visited me on vacation, I gave her a Raspberry Pi with peripherals because I didn’t have an extra computer at that time. Even though it was her first time running Linux, she was able to perform all of her daily tasks without asking me any questions.

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The Gen Z that believes in quick things would find Linux rather a time waster and unnecessarily difficult the way it is. An overlay could accommodate them and make Linux more approachable for that set of people.

On the other hand, an overlay could impede independent learning which Linux, the way it is emphasises. In the absence of an overlay, vibrant Linux communities like this one would do some good to the onboarding process.

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I think that this is the point that Elementary OS shines bright. It has a dedicated app called “Onboarding” which takes you by the hand as you try to setup. You don’t get to face complex menus too because it was designed to be extreme minimalist. It is user friendly enough for new entrants into Linux.

What you say is pratically hard especially if you are working for consecutive years with Windows or Mac OS then instead of dual boot you may start with VMWare Ubuntu or flash the system to Ubuntu and spend hours learning it while time is money.