Saturday, December 22, 2007

Why not for Linux?

When I saw the link to the professional learning board toolbar in Vicky's links, I decided to give it a try. But then I saw the system requirements: Windows 2000/XP/Vista. I downloaded it anyway because it is a Firefox add-on. Had to work on PCLinux, right? And it did. More or less, anyway. The "jobs" button gave me a blank screen that wouldn't go away, but the rest of it was OK. I uninstalled it right away because I could see it had nothing of interest to me.

So why put system requirements if they aren't requirements? Why not say, "This will work on almost any machine. You may have improved functionality on some, but the basics will work for anyone." If the assumption is that everyone uses Windows, why put the requirements there at all?

My husband told me the other day that he isn't interested in helping people with Windows problems anymore. If you have a Linux problem, he'll be there to help in a heartbeat. I thought that was a bit extreme, but I am starting to understand.

As more and more people use Linux of one variety or another, we shouldn't be made to feel like second-class citizens. We have to stand up for ourselves. So from now on, if you tell me I need Windows to use your product, I won't even give it a try. Usually it will work, I know, but that isn't the issue. It is a stand I am willing to take.

Guess I am becoming a crotchety old woman!

1 comment:

kozmcrae said...

I had the same problem with my bank. Their site was Mac OS or Windows only. I was able to spoof it by using Konqueror's browser identification feature. It worked for about a year, then they changed something and I couldn't get it to work no matter what. I finally tried the User Agent Switcher plugin in Firefox and that did work although it's not nearly as sophisticated and easy to use as Konqueror's. I get pretty steamed when commercial sites that we can't avoid using insist on particular operating systems on an Internet that's supposed to be OS neutral.