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8. If you don't like it, you can change it
This point is another strange concept for new users, but one it's important for them to understand. Unlike Windows and Mac, if you don't like a Linux desktop, you can change it. Of course, swapping desktops is probably something a new user will not do lightly. But knowing that changing is an option can help new users understand how much flexibility they have. Besides, working with a desktop you don't like can be frustrating.
I prefer to demonstrate the types of desktops available and let them choose. Usually, they will go with what they're somewhat familiar with — KDE (pictured) is a good choice for most people — but on occasion a new user will go with something completely different just for the experience.
Image credit: kde.org
9. Not all hardware is created equal
New users need to understand that not every piece of shiny new hardware will actually function properly with the Linux operating system. This is far less of the issue it once was, but for some pieces of hardware — such as multi-function printers, some wireless cards, and laptop displays — the problems still persist.
For those pieces of hardware, solving the problem often merely requires downloading proprietary drivers. But on other occasions it may involve switching to a different distribution altogether. Nevertheless, Linux has come a long way in this area and continues to expand and improve.
Image credit: Bill Ruhsam/Flickr
10. Google is your friend
The single most important thing you can do for yourself and your new users is to ensure that they understand just how helpful Google can be. When there is a problem or an aspect of Linux they don't understand, they should know that someone else has probably documented this issue, and helpful information is just a search away.
Show new users how to make the most of a Google search to avoid their being inundated with worthless results. In the end, they might come to you with fewer requests, and even more important — they'll be learning in the process.
Easing the transition
People fear change, but change doesn't have to be avoided. With just a little preparation on your part, the new Linux user will have a positive experience. Do you have any other important lessons that you always make a point of passing on to new users?
This story originally appeared as 10 things you must teach new Linux users on TechRepublic.
Image credit: Daniel F Pigatto/Flickr