Usability of Ubuntu for non-programmers


I have tried using Ubuntu a number of times over the years - but always end up giving up. Again I tried to install Lubuntu on an old laptop (was vista) and a dual boot long term support Ubuntu on a newer sony vaio (win 8). Neither work. Solutions to the problems require ‘trial’ of code that someone suggests, which sometimes works but usually does not.
This is the same issue I faced in the past. I do not want to spend days on end buried in code in order to make it work. (this also had the effect in the past that many updates reverted to what didn’t work) Is there a stable, usable option that does not take ages and does not require coding ability/understanding?

I love the idea and philosophy of Ubuntu, but in my experience it simply does not work. Looking for solutions is painful and slow, and so is trialing them. Unfortunately I keep pouring my hard earned cash into microsoft and suffering with their issues.

If anyone has ideas or guidance as to how the above can be different - I am keen to hear.

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When you say “code” it sounds like you’re talking about applying workarounds you’ve found in forums and elsewhere on the web. Is that correct?

While that’s a common experience it’s not the experience we want users to have. If you’ve got a problem then it should be fixed permanently, in the next Ubuntu release, ideally.

So if you encounter any issues at all, please always ensure those issues have bug reports. The best way to file a bug without resorting to “code” of any sort is to go to:
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Although we do prefer people file bugs by running ‘ubuntu-bug <component-name>:slight_smile:

Yes, typing fixes into command prompt. but also sometimes altering files, and sometimes going into places to modify things that seems like programming to me. Many of the issues do not generate bug reports, things like no WiFi, Flash ‘installed’ but not, printers not working/supported, display vanishing or going weird in certain programmes, some programmes won’t run, etc.
Present issues - Flash not working on old machine (lubuntu), no WiFi on newer machine (not issues on windows). Even to define the ‘bug’ seems to require dos type commands.

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We aim for you to not need to know or type any commands. And you don’t need to, at least initially, if you report problems here:

I personally suggest that you don’t follow the lead of others. Don’t Google for solutions that you know may end up being too technical. Yes we know people on forums often are too technical and fail to remember to get their solutions included in the next release, leading to years of repeated Googling for everyone else. The right answer is for you to log bugs about the problems you encounter using the above link.

If it’s not really severe enough a problem to be a “bug” then you can talk with people here, or ask questions on:

OK, will try to find time to work through this. Quite confusing though, seems to define a bug as a crash rather than just something not working, and gives a lot of procedure including command line and file editing in order to be able to report.
With both the problems currently to be worked out, I still have no idea where to start or how to define what is wrong without substantially more reading of posts and ‘programmer level’ work.
I can see why so few people in the west use Ubuntu, most people I know would take one look at the instructions on that link and never look at Ubuntu again.
I guess if I make an effort via these channels the situation may improve.

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I’m not sure where you’re getting that information. It sounds wrong.

Just go to:
and write a description of your problem (one bug per problem) using whatever words you’re comfortable with.

You shouldn’t need to be “reading of posts and ‘programmer level’ work”. Just go to the above link.

OK the link takes me here

will try to figure out how to get there - do I now need a third account? (have already created 2 to get this far)

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We’re actually talking about this in already.

@vanvugt, one key element of the other discussion is to send new bug-reporters to the Support ( venues for help with their first time. We all remember that our first bug was not easy, eh?

@pip-hotter, your experience is unusual. I have installed Ubuntu on a dozen laptops from a variety of manufacturers over the past decade, and nearly all have worked flawlessly out-of-the-box.

I gently suggest you try a support forum first before jumping into bug reporting. Maybe the problems you had were bugs…but maybe not.

New users sometimes give themselves unnecessary headaches. There are many ways to wander off the easy, marked path, especially if they were highly skilled on a different OS.

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have searched all relevant areas with relevant terms (by my nube assessment) before starting this discussion. The flash seems a common issue, but no ‘simple’ fix that worked. The WiFi seems I am the first, but maybe not, as it is quite terminal these days as far as connecting to the outside world.

Some years ago when I last used Ubuntu, I had a high spec (then) desktop that lacked required resources for smooth video editing. After working through issue after issue I was able to do far more than would ever have been possible on a windows platform, but lack of hardware support meant I could not print or install a TV card. So, when video editing was ended, Ubuntu (and that machine) not touched again.

I do not have the time I did then, nor do I want ‘specialist’ use. I have simply downloaded the stable long term support version and tried to use/install. Part of the reason for engaging here is that Ubuntu should be wiping out other options, but seems obvious to me why it is not. I would love to recommend and help install for others, but need to be confident it will work, completely.

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have been trying to get to the specified site, keep getting re-directed - it is not possible for me to get there.

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@vanvugt, Last shot before I resign to continuing with microsoft

What has been suggested is complex or does not work. I can not get to where you direct me, and where It takes me requires what you say is not required.

@ian-weisser, I have asked around as I have been in contact with people these last couple of weeks, and am amazed just how many people have tried ubuntu. Although the details vary, the basic theme is that my experience is totally normal, and the reason that no one I have spoken to (bar one who is certified on windows and lynix server OS) is now using ubuntu.

Is there a way, without multiple hours of research or going into detailed command line diagnostics or programming, to move towards either / both of these laptops working with Ubuntu?


We won’t know until you detail your exact problem on one of these places. Once you’ve done that, link it here, @vanvugt (or someone else) can give you the one line command to get a bug reported describing your problem so that it just works if someone fixes it.

Alternatively, run the command ubuntu-bug and follow the wizard that pops up to report a bug :slight_smile:

You’re right, it should just work, but it doesn’t. To help us ensure that it works in the future, you’ll need to report a bug (which means you’ll probably need to go to a support forum first (linked above) to identify where the bug is) :slight_smile: