When I called him back, he thanked me for my quick response and said that he was new to Linux and wasn't sure if he'd installed the game right. He then said, "This machine is going to used for... well, I'm a Microsoft employee and my group is doing a usability study on Linux."
As it turned out, he had unpacked the tarball (I had to explain what a tarball was) on the CD by double-clicking its package icon in gmc and then double-clicking the install icon that came up. He had absolutely no idea where the game had been installed, and didn't know how to search for it.
At this point I pointed out to him that CivCTP came with a graphical install script, conveniently labeled "install" and placed in the same directory as the tarball. And in fact, in that same directory was a text file labeled "README" that explained how to run the install program.
I had him pull up a terminal window and run `sh install` (since he had a 4.5 GB drive containing only a fresh install of RH6, he wasn't too concerned with finding his previous installation just yet), and as the graphical install smoothly copied the files into their proper place, we chatted amiably.
Me: "So what kind of system are you using for this?"
Him: "It's a... [pause to read label on the case] HP Vectra."
Me: "Umm, what processor does it use?"
Him: "It's a Pentium III, uh... 450 MHz?"
Me: "Yes, PIIIs do come in 450 MHz."
Eventually, the installation finished. I encouraged him to grab the patch from our website, and he thanked me and hung up.
Ordinarily, I am very respectful to newbies. I don't even laugh at them behind their backs--especially if they have been looking through man pages and reference books trying to figure things out. This time I almost peed my pants.
Then the big question dawned on me:
What does it mean when Big Bill gives brand new P-III 450's running Linux to game-playing newbies who don't read reference books, manuals, How-To's or README's for a usability study?
Can you say "viable desktop environment?"
Note from RM: Yes, we verified the story. All parties are real.