UPDATE: Thousands of viewer comments, phone calls about Ubuntu computer story - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Thousands of viewer comments, phone calls about Ubuntu computer story




MADISON (WKOW) -- Our original story on Tuesday was only trying to help.

A young woman from McFarland called the 27 News Troubleshooter after she says she accidentally ordered a laptop with Ubuntu, instead of Windows.

As a result, she says she canceled her online courses at Madison Area Technical College because she couldn't get her Verizon internet to work or install Microsoft Word.

27 News helped her resolve those problems.

However, the story didn't stop there.

Ubuntu is an operating system that contains Linux.   It's free and part of what's called open source software.  Ubuntu also, clearly, has an extremely passionate fan base.

The original story on our website, www.wkowtv.com, received more than 120,000 page visits on Thursday.  To put that in perspective, our main page got about 15,000 hits.

Ubuntu fans read our story and linked to it on Linux fan message boards and other technology blogs.  By Thursday morning, several major technology websites featured WKOW's article on their front pages.

That's also when the comments - many of them angry, rude, and hateful - started pouring in.

Some Ubuntu users accused 27 News of "unscrupulous reporting," hitting a "new low for local news," and writing an "atrocious article."

Many Ubuntu users also wrote very personal attacks about the young lady who was having trouble using the operating system.  They called her "lazy," "a dumb girl," and "not worthy of a college degree."

The young woman also contacted 27 News to report she's being harassed on her Facebook account by Ubuntu users.

This story has gotten so much attention, computer experts are calling us.

"They're mad because it puts Ubuntu in a bad light," said Adam Wiesenfarth, a technology consultant at UW-Madison.

Wiesenfarth said Ubuntu has many good points and is considered stable, but he also stressed it's not for everyone.

"If you're not a computer tinkerer, and you're not willing to do research and digging, it may not be for you."

Meanwhile, Dell contacted 27 News to say its representatives would contact the young woman to help her deal with her computer situation.

Send comments to dcassuto@wkowtv.com.

READ THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE: http://www.wkowtv.com/Global/story.asp?S=9667184&nav=menu1362_8_6


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