Ubuntu fails the Granny Test

Ubuntu fails the Granny Test

Serdar Yegulalp performs an exhaustive analysis of two desktop operating systems — Ubuntu and Windows Vista — which eventually led to his findings that Ubuntu still fails the “Granny Test”.

… Ubuntu works best at handling ordinary day-to-day applications that don’t require a particular operating system to work well, whereas Vista is more polished, and contains a number of convenient features that most of us can’t live without. In short, although getting close, Ubuntu doesn’t yet pass what Serdar calls “the Granny test,” of being easy enough to use to pass muster with the general population.


After installing Ubuntu on my desktop PC and toying with it for a week, I still find myself booting back to Windows not only because all of the apps that I use only runs on XP but because all of the newer hardwares that I plug into the system just basically works with it without me lifting a single finger (or something close to that).

But there’s at least as much about Ubuntu that I find disheartening or frustrating. There are still too many places where you have to drop to a command line and type in a fairly unintuitive set of commands to get something done, or edit a config file, or — worst of all — download and compile source code. For a beginner, this last is the kiss of death, because if compiling code fails, a beginner will almost certainly have no idea what to do next.

Maybe someday, after a few more major versions, Ubuntu will get there and finally pass that Granny test.

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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17 Responses

  1. BrianB says:


    I haven’t been able to load google in my laptop for two days. I can go to google news but only through a direct link: I can’t do it by typing news.google.com, but I can go there through my slim stat link at the back end of my blog (e.g http://www.google.com/news?q=zune&sourceid=navclient-ff&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1B2RNFA_enPH209PH209) From there I can go to google images, google video, froogle and others except google web search. This could be a spyware or globe broadband. Most reasonable suspect is spyware or adware, but I have Windows Protector, Spybot and Symantec corporate edition, which I update every day. And if it’s a spyware that blocks google or reroutes it or what not then why isn’t this news?

    Can anyone help?

  2. Ronda says:

    Hardware vendors are a pain. Most of them only support Windows for now.

    When I decided to switch to Linux (Ubuntu), I made sure I researched and bought hardware that is Linux compatible (Intel/Nvidia/etc). I’m very happy now as everything I use works perfectly fine (even Beryl does). I will never turn back to Windows again. You should try it.

  3. Kates says:

    But it passed the Wifey Test. At least that’s how it is in our house.

  4. jhay says:

    We’re doing fine with Ubuntu at home since last year. :D

  5. jangelo says:

    No OS X comparison?

  6. koolitz says:

    grabe naman…ubuntu vs vista? mismatch yata hehe…

    lalaban ang ubuntu kung sa pentium 3 patatakbuhin na 256 lang memory haha

  7. Jaypee says:

    It also passed the Wifey test at home. I installed it on my laptop that only has 256 MB of RAM and since then, my wife hasn’t complained about long boot times and page loading on Firefox that was a pain when I was running Windows XP. :D

  8. jun says:

    does it pass the techie test?

    question 2: All hardware being equal, if a computer store sells pre-installed/pre-configured box for Vista and Ubuntu, for the average college student (productivity, media, internet, web, photo, utilities and basic apps) – who would be the winner?

  9. Jason says:

    Ubuntu passed the $$$ test. :p

  10. Berlin says:

    It failed the ‘non-geek’ test as well. Wifey and granny both had geeks helping them out. I installed Ubuntu on my T21 where I had my XP. It’s too darn slow and I can’t figure out how to connect to my wireless router.

    a non-geek take on Vista.

  11. Youngmaze says:

    Hi!!! mukha naman maganda ang ubuntu pero mismatch kapag ubuntu versus vista…!!! vista versus os x :D

  12. Berlin says:

    Ubuntu’s GUI is more intuitive than OSX. plus everyone’s saying that Ubuntu is better than XP or Vista, so why not compare the two.

  13. koolitz says:

    @jun – mananalo dyan ang Vista…kasi namulat tayo na windows ang gamit.

    anywayz…parang cellphone lang yan eh kung saan ka masaya na brand doon ka basta ang importante nakakatext at tawag ka ;)

  14. Alba says:

    Xp doesn’t recognize my old SiS6236 vga card. But ubuntu does. Vista is no better.

  15. VeRTiTO says:

    And last night, I met Vista blue screen with one officemate I have, trying to install a nwely bought webcam on Vista. Blue screen apparently appeared along the process and ofcourse, Vista failed to install this brand new webcam named Genius designed to work for windows. What more, the webcam works with XP on a separate laptop.

    I still have a totally windows-free desktop.

  16. prax says:

    Windows? what is that… :)

  17. alxhndz says:

    este post es viejo pero me dio mucha curiosidad, a estas alturas les recomiendo probar ubuntu nuevamente y darse cuanta de las cientos de mejoras que ha obtenido han pasado por muchas actualizaciones y acerca de siete ultimas versiones… mucho soporte para hardware y una interface completamente intuitiva la suite de ofimática, nada que envidiarle al MS Office… aplicaciones para el internet en fin UN SISTEMA OPERATIVO COMPLETO!

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