Linked by Massimo Sandal on Thu 7th Jul 2005 20:14 UTC
Linux Recently in a post on my blog I argued that, despite many claims to the contrary, GNU/Linux is almost ready for the desktop. In particular, I argued that GNU/Linux is already a very good and easy desktop if people just take the time to learn its very basic differences with Windows before actually using it. Note: Don't forget to rate this article!
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Linux on the Desktop
by Mystilleef on Thu 7th Jul 2005 20:43 UTC
Mystilleef
Member since:
2005-06-29

When we get a billion dollar per year marketing team, we'll be on the desktop map. I think the free desktop environments are doing a bloody fine job just based on grass root marketing.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Linux on the Desktop
by Anonymous on Fri 8th Jul 2005 00:47 UTC in reply to "Linux on the Desktop"
Anonymous Member since:
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i agree dood... no one knows what linux is.. stand on a street corner and ask people.. they think its a cold remedy.. or a new sleeping pill..

Reply Score: 0

RE: Linux on the Desktop
by matatk on Sun 10th Jul 2005 13:36 UTC in reply to "Linux on the Desktop"
matatk Member since:
2005-07-06

Very good article, well thought out IMO.

Yes, this is true about marketing -- but what about teh new Ubuntu foundation, or the rumoured partnership between Mandriva and Progeny? They have the clout to make it happen.

It'd be very, very cool if they did (especially if it used PowerPC chips ;-)).

Well, fingers crossed that someone associated with one of those three companies read this -- I expect they may have...

Reply Score: 1

RE: Linux on the Desktop
by eMagius on Thu 7th Jul 2005 20:55 UTC
eMagius
Member since:
2005-07-06

It's all in the marketting. Mozilla Firefox didn't take off because it was a better browser -- Opera is clearly the victor no matter what your technical/usability criteria, and even Mozilla Suite and K-Meleon clobber Firefox pretty much across the board -- but because it had a massive amount of hype behind it.

GNU/Linux has this hype as well, but it's fragmented. If there were a single distribution that was always mentioned, I'm certain the mindshare and marketshare of GNU/Linux would cover the "Firefox Target".

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Linux on the Desktop
by Anonymous on Thu 7th Jul 2005 20:57 UTC in reply to "RE: Linux on the Desktop"
Anonymous Member since:
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You mean like Ubuntu?

Reply Score: 0

RE[2]: Linux on the Desktop
by Anonymous on Thu 7th Jul 2005 21:07 UTC in reply to "RE: Linux on the Desktop"
Anonymous Member since:
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In your opinion, perhaps Opera, the Mozilla Suite, and K-Meleon are better than Firefox, but not in my opinion. I used the Mozilla Suite, and although it is nice it is not comparable to Firefox due to their differing design philosophies. Same goes for Opera. I don't know much about K-Meleon, but given its relative obsurity, I doubt it is technically more superior than Firefox.

Hype plays a part in it, yes, but to attribute Firefox's success based solely on marketting is dishonest.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Linux on the Desktop
by Knuckles on Thu 7th Jul 2005 22:32 UTC in reply to "RE: Linux on the Desktop"
Knuckles Member since:
2005-06-29

I disagree. I like firefox the best. I started browsing with IE 3.02, and used IE 4 beta, IE 4, IE 5, IE 5.5, IE 6, NS 4.77, NS 6, Opera (don't remember which version), and others.

But, when I was NOT using IE, I always kept it around, and always had it configured has the default browser.

When I got my hands on firebird 0.5, whithin 2 days I had it as my default browser. Why? For me, it was perfect. And it still is (but Konqueror is seriously catching up).

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Linux on the Desktop
by Dark Leth on Fri 8th Jul 2005 00:35 UTC in reply to "RE: Linux on the Desktop"
Dark Leth Member since:
2005-07-06

This is very true. If we could get a very good PAC-like group going that could target the consumer-end of the line, picking one specific distro to concentrate on, we could surely increase the adoption rate.

Linux has the capabilities, if exploited, to be the next desktop. I see a good marketing campaign, in our capitalist society, as being one of the largest pushes we need to make to speed up that development.

Adjacent to that needs to be moves to either standardise GNU/Linux or implement a easy-to-understand guide explaining the GUI, and, gradually, command-line of that specific distribution.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Linux on the Desktop
by Lumbergh on Fri 8th Jul 2005 01:20 UTC in reply to "RE: Linux on the Desktop"
Lumbergh Member since:
2005-06-29

GNU/Linux has this hype as well, but it's fragmented. If there were a single distribution that was always mentioned, I'm certain the mindshare and marketshare of GNU/Linux would cover the "Firefox Target".

Too many distros have always hampered linux adoption. They've all got their strengths and weaknesses, but at the end of the day its just too hard to target for ISVs.

Linux is pretty unique among operating systems in that it has distros. Even the BSDs tend to handle the entire software stack from the kernel until the desktop.

What's funny is that there are plenty of linux users that could care less about market share. It's usually the newbies that are fixated on it.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Linux on the Desktop
by StephenBeDoper on Fri 8th Jul 2005 02:01 UTC in reply to "RE: Linux on the Desktop"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

Mozilla Firefox didn't take off because it was a better browser -- Opera is clearly the victor no matter what your technical/usability criteria, and even Mozilla Suite and K-Meleon clobber Firefox pretty much across the board -- but because it had a massive amount of hype behind it.

I disagree there. While I like Opera and used it quite heavily from about 2.2x to 6, it's usability for typical computer users is not on par with Firefox. It certainly wins hands down when it comes to power user usability (the one key keyboard shortcuts are great), some of it's behaviours are a bit on the non-intuitive side and the sheer number of features/options would probbly confuse your typical IE refugee.

I mostly switched from Opera to Firefox about 2 years ago, although I still use it when I need to do a lot of browsing for long periods of time (E.g., online research). Firefox definitely is, in many ways, a distillation and simplification of the best ideas from Opera and the full-blown Mozilla.

Compared to Opera, I can't tune Firefox as finely to my preferences, but it takes a lot less tweaking to get it to a state that I'm happy with. And I was finding that, with each new release of Opera, it was taking *more* tweaking to configure it to my liking. Compared to the Mozilla suite browser, I find Firefox much leaner (fewer superfluous features) and it simplifies many tasks that are needlessly difficult/opaque in Mozilla. Just compare the prefs window for Firefox and Mozilla - I think it's pretty easy to see which had more attention to usability detail go into its design.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Linux on the Desktop
by Celerate on Fri 8th Jul 2005 04:35 UTC in reply to "RE: Linux on the Desktop"
Celerate Member since:
2005-06-29

Here's my take on why having just one distribution is a bad idea.

Right now we have two major desktop environments paired with toolkits duking it out for dominance, KDE has a lot more users than Gnome at the moment, but over all GTK probably has near the same mind share as Qt because of the other GTK centred desktop environments. Some companies want to be able to write commercial software with the least expensive toolkit, which would be GTK, but because its inconsistent with Qt, and KDE has so many users, they are afraid that at least half the Linux users won't accept their software as well as they would if it was consistent with their desktop environment. In searching for a solution to this, the companies decide to make all the toolkits in Linux a little more compatible; however, all of a sudden one of those tookits changes its button ordering and all of a sudden those companies have a new problem. Some, if not most of the people using KDE and Qt are very irritated that their GTK and Qt apps look almost identical because of a common theme, but every time they try to click yes or ok on a dialog they end up clicking no or cancel because the program was using GTK and a quick superficial glance at the dialog couldn't distinguish between the two toolkits before the user's hand had finished moving. Finally frustrated with this, the companies decide they are going to try and force Linux users to accept the toolkit the company has standardized on, and thus begins covert moves by each company to force their favourite toolkit on all the Linux users. All of a sudden in some distributions, Qt apps are being replaced and applications that were neutral are sporting Gnome like icons and tweaks. In other distributions GTK applications are disappearing, some barely hang on while replacement Qt applications are made. Finally we reach the present where people from every camp are just a little paranoid and the rivalries only increase. What would have happened if there was only one distribution? Would KDE users have been forced to give up their favourite desktop environment for Gnome, or maybe Gnome users would have been forced to switch to KDE?

Can you see what I'm getting at? With only one distribution in existance it would be so easy for companies and individuals to dictate to the user what they will use, and many unhappy people would go back to using Windows or Mac OS because one of the most important things about Linux, choice, would be gone. What I have told you isn't a fictional scenario, it's what I've seen happening since I first learned about Linux and started using it. I don't know about you, but I like KDE and I wouldn't want to have to give it up, nor would I want to force a Gnome user to give up his or her favourite desktop environment. The only way some people felt they could protect their right to chose was to create forks of distributions, and unfortunately some people have gotten a little out of hand with that; however, as time progresses, the unecessary distributions will be absorbed, will merge, or will die off.

Reply Score: 1

Good thoughts
by Smartpatrol on Thu 7th Jul 2005 20:56 UTC
Smartpatrol
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2005-07-06

Very good idea with a lot of thought put into it. I doubt you could get anyone to agree on Gnome vs KDE or which Distro to use. How about platform? intel x86?, Strongarm? ,PPC? it would have to provide more bang for the buck then the Mini perhaps Sempron based 64-bit linux?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Good thoughts
by Anonymous on Thu 7th Jul 2005 20:57 UTC in reply to "Good thoughts"
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X86_64 is a must! Games and multimedia codecs my friend!

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Good thoughts
by thryllkill on Fri 8th Jul 2005 14:33 UTC in reply to "RE: Good thoughts"
thryllkill Member since:
2005-07-08

What codecs? MPlayer is your anti-codec friend.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Good thoughts
by Anonymous on Thu 7th Jul 2005 22:33 UTC in reply to "Good thoughts"
Anonymous Member since:
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Very good idea with a lot of thought put into it. I doubt you could get anyone to agree on Gnome vs KDE or which Distro to use. How about platform? intel x86?, Strongarm? ,PPC? it would have to provide more bang for the buck then the Mini perhaps Sempron based 64-bit linux?

The Sempronn is a 32-bit only CPU. There are two versions of the Sempron, one based on the K7 (AthlonXP) core, and the other based on the K8 (Athlon64) core. The K8-based Sempron has all the 64-bit hardware disabled.

Reply Score: 0

RE[2]: Good thoughts
by Anonymous on Thu 7th Jul 2005 22:44 UTC in reply to "RE: Good thoughts"
Anonymous Member since:
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Not true anymore... At least from today. Check today's press realeases from AMD.

Reply Score: 0

RE[2]: Good thoughts
by moorewierdos on Thu 7th Jul 2005 22:52 UTC in reply to "RE: Good thoughts"
moorewierdos Member since:
2005-07-06

I might be wrong but i think AMD just released 64-bit semprons in the past few days.

Reply Score: 1

weak foundation
by rightWingNutJob on Thu 7th Jul 2005 21:01 UTC
rightWingNutJob
Member since:
2005-07-07

The author builds his entire article on some information that he cooked up about who Firefox users are and what they want. Anecdotal evidence doesn't cut it in the buisness world, my friend.

Reply Score: 5

RE: weak foundation
by dagw on Fri 8th Jul 2005 10:20 UTC in reply to "weak foundation"
dagw Member since:
2005-07-06

Anecdotal evidence doesn't cut it in the buisness world, my friend.

I did at the companies I worked at. I've seem teams ripped of one project and put on another for no better reason than that the boss 'knew' that 'everybody' would need this new idea of his. Or an entire company built around a tech demo that few people said was "kind of neat". admittedly both of these companies did very badly, but hey.

Reply Score: 1

some replies
by devurandom on Thu 7th Jul 2005 21:09 UTC
devurandom
Member since:
2005-07-06

smartpatrol: Your concerns are right, expecially about the eternal GNOME vs KDE debate. I'm personally all for KDE, but I think there wouldn't be that a big difference.

As for the platform, I agree with anonymous: x86_64 would be the best start. Powerful, well known foundations, promising. And with x86_32 compatibility. PPC and ARM are probably even better architectures, but there's less support. Even worse, you would lose things like Crossover Office or Cedega (run only on x86 platforms).

rightwingnutjob: You're technically right. It would be nice to see a serious marketing study to see if my thoughts are true ;)

Reply Score: 2

I agree
by Clinton on Thu 7th Jul 2005 21:10 UTC
Clinton
Member since:
2005-07-05

I think Linux is already a great desktop. I think the reason people don't switch to it in droves boils down to familiarity. Therefore, when companies start adopting Linux and forcing their people to use it at work, people will start using it at home too. Windows isn't superior to Linux in any way, but it is what people are familiar with.

You don't have to look any further than DOS vs. MacOS or Amiga to see that I'm right. Back in the 80s DOS was ugly, had poor memory management, and was difficult to use and configure. Mac and Amiga machines were easy to use, were beautiful (especially the Amigas), and were easy to configure; yet DOS machines won out in the home market mainly because DOS was what people used at work and it was what they were familiar with.

When people are forced by their employers to become familiar with Linux, they'll start switching at home too. Once that happens, the Adobe's of the world will jump on board and that will be that. At least that's my opinion.

Reply Score: 5

RE: I agree
by Anonymous on Fri 8th Jul 2005 04:02 UTC in reply to "I agree"
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Very true Clinton!
BTW there was also something called Atari ST - the midi machine - technically not as advanced as the Amiga, but with a professionaly usable screen resolution - even better than on most Macs at the time.

Reply Score: 0

RE: I agree
by Anonymous on Fri 8th Jul 2005 11:36 UTC in reply to "I agree"
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Don't forget that back then DOS also came pre´nstalled with most IBM computers, that's why people used it at work: no re´nstalling to do.

Reply Score: 0

RE: I agree
by thryllkill on Fri 8th Jul 2005 14:38 UTC in reply to "I agree"
thryllkill Member since:
2005-07-08

I am tired of people saying Linux is "almost" ready for the desktop. Linux has been a usable desktop for a long time. Back a few years my girlfriend was pretty much computer illiterate, and yet it did not take me much time at all to get her up and running with no problems on a SuSe 6.1 machine.

I agree with you completly, it all comes down to familiarity, not usability or how "slick" it looks.

Reply Score: 1

alpha99
by Anonymous on Thu 7th Jul 2005 21:15 UTC
Anonymous
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The actual printer support is not a bed of roses.
Some companies have tried this (preinstalled Linux) but only the server vendors are happy with this.

Reply Score: 1

RE: alpha99
by Anonymous on Tue 12th Jul 2005 17:31 UTC in reply to "alpha99"
Anonymous Member since:
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Oh? Looked at walmart.com lately?

Reply Score: 0

Gnu/Linux is NOT ready for desktops
by Tanner on Thu 7th Jul 2005 21:16 UTC
Tanner
Member since:
2005-07-06

In my opinion, Gnu Linux is getting the worst time in his history. Many people started to think about the cluttering, the bad written code, the mess in the latest kernels...

There are some aspects that will never be clear for the average user: driver installation is a pain,for example the graphics drivers need kernel recompilation, with modules to plug in in order to achieve hardware acceleration... Packages are managed trought many different package-managers, with different systems and formats.

Desktop environments are heavy, based on old X11 client server architecture (?!? on a desktop system!!!), often they are only a patchwork..

In conclusion, people discovered that unixes arent for desktop usage.

Many discovered alternatives like BeOS who "died" (commercially) years ago, but also discovered that THOSE were the REAL desktop OSes. And the interest in those Oses is increasing day after day.

IMHO, obviously. Feel free to think that Linux is ready for the desktop.

Reply Score: 5

Mediocre Sarcasm Man Member since:
2005-07-06

driver installation is a pain,for example the graphics drivers need kernel recompilation, with modules to plug in in order to achieve hardware acceleration.

Ok, I'm still pretty new to Linux, but I'm fairly sure you only need to recompile if you wan't the drivers compiled into the kernel (or if you need to add support for modules).

Desktop environments are heavy, based on old X11 client server architecture (?!? on a desktop system!!!), often they are only a patchwork.

Ok, the above could be attributed to ignorance or an honest mistake (or I could be wrong), but now you just look like a troll.

Reply Score: 1

Anonymous Member since:
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Ahem... anyone who uses the word "recompile", in reference to someone saying that something isn't user-friendly for mainstream users, isn't even close to beginning to comprehend the concept of user-friendly...

Reply Score: 0

niran Member since:
2005-07-06

There are some aspects that will never be clear for the average user: driver installation is a pain,for example the graphics drivers need kernel recompilation, with modules to plug in in order to achieve hardware acceleration...

That just means you're using the wrong distro. On Ubuntu, you install a package to get the Nvidia or ATI drivers. That's not even necessary unless the user needs 3D acceleration, which most users don't.

Packages are managed trought many different package-managers, with different systems and formats.

End users are only exposed to one package management system: the one their distro uses. They're pretty easy to use, and put almost any software the users could want at their fingertips.

Desktop environments are heavy, based on old X11 client server architecture (?!? on a desktop system!!!), often they are only a patchwork..

X11 doesn't make the desktop environments heavy. There are plenty of lightweight desktops out there, but even the large ones are at least on par with Windows.

Many discovered alternatives like BeOS who "died" (commercially) years ago, but also discovered that THOSE were the REAL desktop OSes. And the interest in those Oses is increasing day after day.

So this whole time you were trying to poke holes in Linux usage on the desktop and you present BeOS as an alternative? Where are you going to find the drivers you complain about for BeOS? Even if you're trying to promote an operating system you like, you should be a bit realistic when evaluating others.

Reply Score: 5

Anonymous Member since:
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Couldn't agree more.
Sadly , this is something that linux people never accept.

at least mac os X is coming.

Reply Score: 1

ma_d Member since:
2005-06-29

Ok, let's start with error # 1:
"graphics drivers need kernel recompilation"
That's incorrect in so many ways. You never need to recompile your kernel to build modules for it; thanks to the nice modules system in Linux (I believe BSDs lacks this for what Lumbergh would call "political reasons.").
If you meant to say that modules/drivers had to be recompiled for each kernel; then you are correct. This is that wonderful ABI that Lumbergh incessantly raves about. There are reasonable workarounds to this, Nvidia does it by writing a wrapper that you compile each time: The compilation takes something like 5 seconds on a 1.5 Athlon: It's not a lot of code; and graphics drivers are immensely more complex then all other PC device drivers.

"Desktop environments are heavy, based on old X11 client server architecture (?!? on a desktop system!!!), often they are only a patchwork.. "
A lot of people believe X11 is heavy. In fact, they thought so over a decade ago when R6 was released. Of course, we all thought Windows 3.1 was pretty big at the time too. X11 does have a lot more usefulness than most people will use on a desktop; but that doesn't necessarily make it truly slower. I'm guessing you would argue that Java is stupid on the desktop, along with Python, .Net, VB6, etc etc etc.


"In conclusion, people discovered that unixes arent for desktop usage."
Except that historically that's what they were for. VMS was for servers with it's excellent process protection, amazing security, and complete stability. Unix was for the desktop with it's small almost polymorphic utilities, great IPC for rapid expansion of the utilities, security for multi-terminal systems, and etc.
It seems almost frightening to realize that Unix ended up being seen as a server operating system and as a bad desktop system.

Would you care to provide some actual "for instances?" Or are you just going to carelessly slander other people's carefully crafted (ok, not always so carefully crafted) code?

Reply Score: 1

Ravnos Member since:
2005-07-06

That's incorrect in so many ways. You never need to recompile your kernel to build modules for it; thanks to the nice modules system in Linux (I believe BSDs lacks this for what Lumbergh would call "political reasons.").

OpenBSD lacks loadable modules. FreeBSD's had them for a long, long time now. Not sure about NetBSD, but I'd guess that they do, too.

Yea, I'd happily pay for most of that stuff too. However, I wouldn't pay for it while giving up my favorite environment and switching to something I don't really like: I don't think I'd much like Linspire; I know I don't like Mandrake; and I don't like XandrOS. Course, I'm picky.

On the upside, buying a machine like the proposed TuxMini would mean you're getting hardware that's known to be compatible with Linux, so unlike picking up a machine from one of the larger OEMs you can be fairly certain that when you remove the pre-installed OS (whatever that may be) you won't have too much problem putting the distro of your choice on it. And if they're a half decent company, they'll probably contribute to the community, too.

Reply Score: 1

linux on the desktop
by jtrapp on Thu 7th Jul 2005 21:21 UTC
jtrapp
Member since:
2005-07-06

The author obviously put a lot of thought into the article, and I won't quibble the small stuff where I see differently.
Currently if you go to Fry's and purchase a pre-built linux box, it is crap. They build them in the $250 to $400 range, they cut corners at every opportunity. No firewire, no DVD ROM, usually not even a CDRW--often with a 3rd class distro installed; and this leaves out the integrated graphics and 2nd class CPU. This is too bad because this might be the purchaser's only experience with Linux, obviously not the way to engender closeness.
A $750 box which overcomes the above and comes preinstalled with a quality distro and the various software parts that a typical user might need (both OSS and the necassary proprietary codecs and plugins) would do much to expand the audience.
I think the target audience for such a box would be new computer users and people who have become disenchanted with MS. A new computer user would find Xandros easier to use than Windows.

Reply Score: 1

Linux versus Windows on the Desktop
by Anonymous on Thu 7th Jul 2005 21:38 UTC
Anonymous
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Ok, take out a paper and pencil. First, make a list of different types of computer users (specifically stay away from technical users since a Unix developer will need a Unix platform and Windows developer will ofcourse need a Windows platform.) Now, make a list of all the different applications/hardware each group would mostly likely use, regardless of price of the software. Now consider that Windows is free for the vast majority of users and then compare the the two lists and see which platform is better for that particular user. Now also consider that Firefox, OpenOffice, GAIM, and a whole host of other applications run just as well on Windows. This is why Windows on desktop makes sense.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Linux versus Windows on the Desktop
by Anonymous on Thu 7th Jul 2005 21:50 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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Since when is Windows free?

Also, you might want to consider the various problems that plague Windows users such as viruses and spyware on one side and the thousands of free quality software packages of the Linux world on the other side.

I've been a really fanatic Windows user myself until I lost a bet and tried Linux. Now I wouldn't touch a Windows machine anymore and my entire family is using Linux now.

Reply Score: 2

Nice article
by Latem on Thu 7th Jul 2005 21:56 UTC
Latem
Member since:
2005-07-06

Well thought out, and mostly objective article. I liked it. I agree with your description of the first time user, and what happens; and how this is percieved somehow as the fault of Linux. Different does not mean difficult. People are just too lazy to get informed when trying something new, and often give up too easily.

With regards to static linking, I really dislike static linking, mostly for technical reasons. Overall, it is very bad for security, and maintainability of software. However providing static linking could be a last resort, for those that may find themselves in a "dependancy hell" situation. Although I think today this is rare.

Some are saying there should be one main distro, or something. Linux, and OSS is all about choice. Different distro's have different purpoces and target audiences. I wouldn't give someone who is in no way big computer user, an Arch or Gentoo CD, and say "there you go", and expect him/her to find it easy to install, and get it all set up. Once that's done it should be easy enough to use. But getting there with those distro's is not easy for an average compouter user. Those distro's are not meant for the average user after all. I know some may disagree with me here, but just read their philosophies. However, Mandriva or SuSE, or other distros are created to be easy to use, and they are.

Overall, nice, objective article.

Reply Score: 2

Boring Article
by Anonymous on Thu 7th Jul 2005 21:58 UTC
Anonymous
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The same old stuff from the FOSS crowd. Linux is not a panacea.

Linux has a chance against windows when: I don't have to compile code to get wireless working (ala ndiswrapper), I can trust power management, desktop responsiveness REALLY improves and applications have a more consistent look & feel (gnome vs kde).

Reply Score: 1

RE: Boring Article
by Latem on Thu 7th Jul 2005 22:13 UTC in reply to "Boring Article"
Latem Member since:
2005-07-06

I don't have to compile code to get wireless working (ala ndiswrapper)

Most recent versions of major distors (SuSE, Mandriva, and I think Linspire and Xandros) work fine with wireless for many people. If it does not, it's not the fault of the Linux community, but rather the fault of the hardware maker for maybe reasons such as, not supporting Linux, not conforming to standards, or tightly guarding information regarding the device operation. Usually it's a mix of the three. Many people somehow blame the Linux community for this.

I can trust power management

This is pretty much the same issue as above.

desktop responsiveness REALLY improves

I am not sure what you are talking about here. I have used Mandriva, Red Hat, Fedora, Kubuntu, and Gentoo, on a few different hardware setups, and always found Linux responciveness to be very good. The Linux scheduler is better than Windows'. You will rarely get a Linux box stall after opening or closing an application like it happens so often on Windows, even on modern hardware. I think there were some technical comparison on this done some time ago, but I have lost the link. Sorry.

applications have a more consistent look & feel (gnome vs kde)

There is a GTK, or a KDE application to pretty much suit all your needs. There are equivalents in both worlds, so it is pretty easy to make a unified desktop. Even more, there is that Gnome library or program display engine thing that makes GTK applications look like Qt. I think it's called gtk-qt theme engine, or something similar. Sorry I can't remember the name I use pretty much 100% KDE, and even a few GTK apps I do prefer, doesn't bother me. But I do know this thing exists. If someone knows the name please post the exact name.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Boring Article
by Hugo on Fri 8th Jul 2005 06:11 UTC in reply to "RE: Boring Article"
Hugo Member since:
2005-07-06

"I am not sure what you are talking about here. I have used Mandriva, Red Hat, Fedora, Kubuntu, and Gentoo, on a few different hardware setups, and always found Linux responciveness to be very good. The Linux scheduler is better than Windows'. You will rarely get a Linux box stall after opening or closing an application like it happens so often on Windows, even on modern hardware."

1) There isn't really anything worse than linux responsiveness, everithing else i've tried is better (windows, beos, amiga etc), well perhaps better then win9x and win3.x but that not really a compliment.
2) the scheduler isn't the culprit, and it's not realy any better or worse than the NT kernel scheduler [ http://www.schrankmonster.de/PermaLink,guid,b543be1b-068a-4161-8e83... ]
3) Most of the Blame goes to xfree86/xorg, it's a single threaded, monolithic, outdated and over-patched monstrosity and will be for some time until Keith Packard's new server x11 is ready.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Boring Article
by devurandom on Thu 7th Jul 2005 22:35 UTC in reply to "Boring Article"
devurandom Member since:
2005-07-06

Linux is not a panacea.

It isn't. But it is the best free alternative we have.

About your rant about drivers, that's why I pushed the idea of the TuxMini as a way to put Linux on the desktop. With a consistent, Mac-like hardware platform (both on the coolness sense and most importantly on the uniformity sense), and an officially supported hardware list, the driver thing would be a non-issue.

About the look-n-feel consistence, I don't see it as a real problem, at least for the target I think it's good for Linux. We must stop to think to make Linux available to everyone. We must first make Linux firmly established on the desktops of most people that can use it as it is, and that would have added value by using it as it is. Once we have enlarged user base that much, driver and application support will easily follow. Only later we can begin to focus on other market niches.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Boring Article
by Anonymous on Fri 8th Jul 2005 06:40 UTC in reply to "RE: Boring Article"
Anonymous Member since:
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IMHO the article is not boring at all and probably represent a way to Linus Torvald's "world domination" project ;-) The problems I'm seeing here are:
1. Most hardware vendors sell Windows preinstalled boxes. Because of that they are affraid of loosing good OEM relationship with M$, by selling TuxMini
2. Except Europe (Thanks God!) most of the world is under the jurisdiction of software patent stupidity, and thus on that parts of the world selling some free but patented algoritms based (like mp3 and dvd playing) software is at least a dangeros business (As a Mandrake user the first time after an installation, or upgrade is to add the PLF sources to the urpmi database)
If some hardware vendor would take that way I would suggest to start that program in Europe. Actualy there are already som small companies who do that but they are shipping some quite ancient distributions, with poor support for their own boxes, many time creating the impression in the end user's mind "Linux is not ready for desktop"

A happy European Mandriva + PLF user

Reply Score: 0

Linux is far from ready on the desktop
by gullevek on Thu 7th Jul 2005 21:58 UTC
gullevek
Member since:
2005-07-07

On the first glance, it looks like Linux is ready for the Deskopt. But if you work daily with it you find so many small things, where I just say: A normal user can't handle this.

Let's take a very simple thing: Put in a DVD into a Mac or a Windows Box. Both begin to play the DVD without any problem. Do this on a Linux Box, and you have to very lucky to find a distribution, which has this set up without any user interfearance.

Other thing is the patchwork of interfaces. As long as you stick with either only Gnome aps in Gnome or only KDE aps in KDE you are fine. But just use Firefox in KDE, and suddenly you have a different save dialog. Take Mac, all applications which use the Mac User interface, Cocoa or Carbon, both have on style of Save Dialog.

Another point is international Language Input. This works extremly well in Mac, probably the best on all three OS. You have the ability to input any kind of language into a document, plus you can even type in characters not on your keyboard _Very_ easy.
eg, I can input german umlauts, even thought I have a japanese keyboard, and I don't kneed cryptic ASCII code. In Linux you have for each widget set a different input, there is no standard, each konsole, each screen, each application might not be able to view japanese, or non-japanese characters, etc. In Japan, the Backslash is the Yen Symbol, this works perfectly in Mac and Windows, but in Linux its a 50:50 chance, if you type in a "Backslash" or a Yen Symbol. Depending on the apps widget set.

In my opinion Linux is nice, if you have tons of time (pupil, student) or you have enough experience and know how to circumvent problems. I use Linux at work, but I have a Mac box next to me, because there are often things, where I need a normal OS. I even have a XP box which I use via Remote Desktop, because at an Office you can't live without an MS Office, etc.

At home you might not have these kind of issues, but still I think you have way less issues with a Mac or a Windows (even with all the Spyware problems). Because just "no spyware" doesn't make an OS work.

Reply Score: 4

Anonymous Member since:
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My windows desktop doesn't match.

Firefox by default doesn't look like the XP Luna theme.

ArcInfo doesn't match either.

Opera? You can make it match if you select the right option.

I fail to see where this desktop "integrated look" is a stumbling block.

I can have a far more unifom appearing linux desktop than Windows with minimal effort.

Besides, KDE and Gnome don't run at the same time last I checked.

Firefox is themeable if it's really that big an issue. I theme it for consistency and because I don't like the default skin.

Office? I have OpenOffice, tetex for documents, and MS Office both thanks to CrossOver.

My point is, none of these are the real stumbling block. It is exactly correct to say that very few computers come with Linux installed on them. Most Windows users I know can't reinstall Windows should they need too. How do you expect them to install Linux, especially given that people are so afraid of "breaking" the computer.

The only thing I really lack are applications like ESRI ArcInfo, big ticket items of that sort that lack Linux support. Then my life could be Windows free.

Reply Score: 0

Anonymous Member since:
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If you have the Gnome and KDE libraries installed you can run both type of applications. You don't need both environments running at the same time.

Besides that I wholeheartedly agree with your comment. GAIM, and Firefox don't really match my windows desktop but its really a non issue.

Does anyone running windows ever run a java app that doesn't have the native UI enabled?

Reply Score: 0

gullevek Member since:
2005-07-07

But, both Opera & Firefox use the same sound system, input system, copy system, etc.

In KDE, KDE apps use the KDE framework, Gnome apps the Gnome framework, GTK apps the GTK framework, etc etc

do you see where I am going? KDE uses Arts, Gnome uses something else, mozilla doesn't know what it wants to use, because there are so many ways.

KDE normaly uses kinput2, gtk uses, for me, ja-input, etc etc etc.

Linux is just spread out into 100 directions every direction doing the same and no solution in sight.

Reply Score: 1

Latem Member since:
2005-07-06

Let's take a very simple thing: Put in a DVD into a Mac or a Windows Box. Both begin to play the DVD without any problem. Do this on a Linux Box, and you have to very lucky to find a distribution, which has this set up without any user interfearance.

Have you tried this on Linux? Install Mandriva. Put in a DVD movie. Watch mplayer or totem automatically start playing the movie.

Other thing is the patchwork of interfaces. As long as you stick with either only Gnome aps in Gnome or only KDE aps in KDE you are fine. But just use Firefox in KDE, and suddenly you have a different save dialog. Take Mac, all applications which use the Mac User interface, Cocoa or Carbon, both have on style of Save Dialog.

This is a somewhat common issue pople bring up. However, it effect different users differently, so it's hard to judge the "validity" of it. It is really a matter of personal preferences. If a user feels strongly about having a unified and consistent desktop, then sticking to just KDE or GTK applications is not that difficult. Usually there is an app that does what you need in both worlds. Even OOo and Firefox are themed and packaged pretty well with most major distro's that they will look similar to the default desktop. Also, as in my previous post, there is a gtk-qt theme engine thingy that makes GTK apps look like Qt.

I cannot comment on the internationalization, since I do not have experience with this topic. You may be completely correct there.

At home you might not have these kind of issues, but still I think you have way less issues with a Mac or a Windows (even with all the Spyware problems). Because just "no spyware" doesn't make an OS work.

Actually the spyware issue is a major problem. I installed Linux on my non-computer-knowledgable friends' computers exactly because of this. I don't want to spend an hour a week fixing my dad's, girlfriend's or some other person's computer, fixing viruses and spyware. Please don't tell me it's easy to keep a Windows box clean, because it is not. I could just give them Linux, and invest a little time to teach them how to use it, and they'll never bother me again. It also certeinly costs less than a Mac. Macs are nice, I'll be objective and honost. I just personally hate Apple because they made a one button completely spherical mouse for ideological reasons, and to be cool. It sucked. :|

Reply Score: 5

Finalzone Member since:
2005-07-06

Let's take a very simple thing: Put in a DVD into a Mac or a Windows Box. Both begin to play the DVD without any problem. Do this on a Linux Box, and you have to very lucky to find a distribution, which has this set up without any user interfearance.
Some Linux distros such as Mepis provide DVD support. Other like Fedora does not due to patents issues and their philosophies to be 100% FOSS. However, third parties repositories provide the tool to install them. False problem. Both Apple and Microsoft paid license of using DVD supports and Windows box are mostly installed by vendors and you need to install drivers to enable DVD plays of movies.

Reply Score: 2

Finalzone Member since:
2005-07-06

When you say Linux, which distribution did you use?

Reply Score: 1

gullevek Member since:
2005-07-07

in timeline:
- suse (~ v4 or so)
- redhat (5.2, 6.2, 7)
- mandrake (6, 7)
- gentoo (~ 8 months at work, horrible time, horrible time)
- debian (~ 1 year, best right now)

Reply Score: 1

thabrain Member since:
2005-06-29

Let's take a very simple thing: Put in a DVD into a Mac or a Windows Box. Both begin to play the DVD without any problem. Do this on a Linux Box, and you have to very lucky to find a distribution, which has this set up without any user interfearance.

Reading the article again might provide some insight here. One of the things Massimo mentioned was that Windows comes preinstalled on most consumer PC's. WinDVD, PowerDVD, or another 3rd party is also installed, giving the user the proper codec to auto-run DVD movies.

So Windows is no better about DVD support than Linux is.

Other thing is the patchwork of interfaces. As long as you stick with either only Gnome aps in Gnome or only KDE aps in KDE you are fine. But just use Firefox in KDE, and suddenly you have a different save dialog. Take Mac, all applications which use the Mac User interface, Cocoa or Carbon, both have on style of Save Dialog.


MacOS uses one DE; Linux has choices of using several, which is why your interfaces mix. The GTK-QT engine has narrowed the gap on the differences.

Reply Score: 2

calc Member since:
2005-07-06

Windows will not play DVD's out of the box, for the same reason that nearly no Linux distribution does, patent licensing costs. It seems some people don't realize that Windows does not have the codec for DVDs either. However, when you install a DVD player app (or if it comes preinstalled on your system) they normally come with a directshow plugin that allows other apps to play DVDs such as Windows Media Player. The equivalent on Linux is to just install the libdvdcss library which will make most Linux multimedia applications automatically play DVDs as well since they dlopen() the library if it exists to avoid having to be recompiled against it.

I don't have enough experience to comment on MacOS but Windows doesn't have a uniform look and feel either. Some of the most commonly used apps on Windows for example Winamp, iTunes, Norton Systemworks, Office 2003, etc don't follow the standard windows look and feel. You can also run a Windows 16bit app (ie win 3.1) in Windows XP and it looks different too.

Reply Score: 2

rindmann Member since:
2005-07-06

"In my opinion Linux is nice, if you have tons of time (pupil, student) [...]"

I'm currently a student and I certainly don't have tons of time. The contrary is the case, I've never had as little time as I have right now. But this is exactly where Linux actually helps me. Once the box is set up properly (I'm currently running Debian and the new installer is really easy to master in my opinion) it doesn't take much effort to keep the system running.

Of course you have to update but this works quite well with apt-get. It even updates ALL the programs installed. That kind of functionality doesn't come with windows and that is an important point I think. Even installing new programs is much faster and more convenient than on windows, you don't have to go through a lot of installation dialogs or reboot the machine everytime you want to install a piece of software.

I don't know if I had more available if I were using windows but from my experience that seems pretty unlikely.

Reply Score: 1

Anonymous Member since:
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Put a DVD in a Windows box and you will find you have to buy or download a DVD player, unless some came pre-installed on your particular PC. Where's the difference?

About characters not on the keyboard, if you use Gnome the character map applet (and other similar tools) work much better than their Windows counterparts, as far as I know (and I earn a living by doing translations...), easier and quicker.

I don't know about OSX, but I find MDV+Gnome (can't say about other combinations, but I'd say the distribution doesn't matter that much as long as it has a package manager and a good installer) much more easy to use than Windows.

Reply Score: 0

A teacher told me:
by Anonymous on Thu 7th Jul 2005 22:18 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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linux it's not free, it costs work (not money).

It can be difficult to fix some thing at first but when fixed never breaks again (without your intervention).

if you want a easy start linux, it will cost money.

Reply Score: 1

Free Beer isn't Free
by Anonymous on Thu 7th Jul 2005 22:30 UTC in reply to "A teacher told me:"
Anonymous Member since:
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If you have to walk over to the keg and pour it yourself?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Free Beer isn't Free
by Anonymous on Thu 7th Jul 2005 23:49 UTC in reply to "Free Beer isn't Free"
Anonymous Member since:
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If it's a choice between that and the St. Pauly's girl serving me, I think I'd probably skip free in this case.

Reply Score: 0

RE: A teacher told me:
by Anonymous on Fri 8th Jul 2005 04:26 UTC in reply to "A teacher told me:"
Anonymous Member since:
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What you cite above is exactly why companies should dump windows and move to linux if possible. Get a system stable and it doesn't need to be touched.

Users are locked out of installing software themselves.

If they want it installed the administrator can do it remotely at their desk while performing other tasks simultaneously.

All of this with tools where the only outlay is in hardware costs and clock time for their workers. No funds need be thrown away on commodity software which has zero ability to generate revenue.

Reply Score: 0

RE: A teacher told you wrong
by Anonymous on Tue 12th Jul 2005 04:06 UTC in reply to "A teacher told me:"
Anonymous Member since:
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OK that's it. Mepis is beter than Xandros amd Mandrivia put together. Yes that may be just my opinion but these are the facts.

It can easily install from live knoppix like CD in 20 minutes (compleately to hard drive and 35 minutes for a dual boot with Windows.)

In that 20 minutes Mepis is MUCH farther along than XP pro installed with sp2 and "updated".

So WHERE is the work/time problem?

Sure, I don't like the Mepis theme so I spend 5 more minutes quickly going through the "Control Center" and I make it look any way I wish. Like XP or like OSX or better than both. I've done it.

The only "work" you'll need to do is enjoy programs you didn't have before because there are so many then installed. Unless you mean the point a click to thousands of other great debian packages now easily available online. Then there's the pleaure of no viri or spy-ware.

Is that the "work" you're talking about because on MOST system Mepis deos all. From compleate automatic hardware setup to playing Quicktime movie trailers in the Firefox. Are you counting the movie watching as work?

Reply Score: 0

Lumbergh
Member since:
2005-06-29

Actually, its the driver that has to be recompiled for every kernel version, but your point still stands. No stable kernel ABI will always make drivers a pain on linux. And that's a political decision by Linus and company.

X11 really isn't the problem, but heavyweight toolkits and desktops that are just as resource demanding as XP.

But I always thought the key was for someone to pull an Apple. And that is to take a snapshot of the kernel and redo the userspace into something more manageable.

Something that is missing on people that read osnews is that most people just don't care about linux politics, and if given a choice would rather just stay what with they know, with what most applications are written for, and what everybody else they know uses.

In any case, the Firefox analogy is flawed. It's just a browser that can be downloaded. Around 4 megs on windows. It's not near the leap that going to an alternative OS is.

Reply Score: 2

devurandom Member since:
2005-07-06

the Firefox analogy is flawed. It's just a browser that can be downloaded. Around 4 megs on windows. It's not near the leap that going to an alternative OS is.

I think I didn't explain well what I think. I don't think switching to Linux is like switching to Firefox: if it would be the case, it would be already be nr.2 operating system with a good 10% of desktops.

What I mean is that Firefox (1)is an example that's not impossible to switch users to free software and (2) it natively targeted a class of users that is an example of the native target the Linux desktop should consider now. Of course Linux adoption is much more complex than Firefox adoption. I didn't mean Firefox as an analogy, I mean it as a light that's enlighting our path.

Reply Score: 1

rm6990 Member since:
2005-07-04

The driver ABI is not the only problem. How are you going to force all distros to ship with the same version of GCC? I was reading the Nvidia README (having some problems with my FX 5200, only getting 1500 FPS in glxgears...which I find odd cause America's Army works perfectly using the same configuration) and they listed problem upon problem upon problem that you could possibly have if you compile the driver and the kernel with 2 different versions of gcc.

That is why you would use a distro like Ubuntu. Go to Synaptic, type search : nvidia, install nvidia-glx, change one line in a config file (and remove two others for best performance, but i dont think it really matters). Reboot (you dont have to, but most newbies are used to windows and reboot for driver installs, i know i used to).

Reply Score: 1

Semprons became 64-bit recently
by r_a_trip on Thu 7th Jul 2005 22:53 UTC
r_a_trip
Member since:
2005-07-06

The K8-based Sempron has all the 64-bit hardware disabled.

This is not true anymore.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/07/07/amd_64bit_sempron/

Reply Score: 1

Why not the Sony Playstation3
by Anonymous on Thu 7th Jul 2005 22:54 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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Don't bother with the Mac mini rip off. Supply a distribution on the Playstation3.

Now before someone posts, the Cell is not designed for that type of work. My question is how much slower will Firefox, Thunderbird and office applications be using a Cell?

Reply Score: 0

The 'Firefox Target' And The TuxMini
by ponytail on Thu 7th Jul 2005 22:59 UTC
ponytail
Member since:
2005-06-30

I found this to be a well written and well thought out article, it is time for a decent low cost machine that comes with a distribution preinstalled. The first distro I played with was caldera open linux. It was primitive and something for a hobbyist to play around with. By comparision installing and using a distribution such as Fedora Core or Xandros or Mandriva is just as easy as installing windows. The three examples run fairly easily "out of the box" so to speak, and my kids can use it for all of the same tasks and games just as easily as they do in Windows.

Reply Score: 1

Bravo Lumbergh
by Anonymous on Thu 7th Jul 2005 23:28 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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"Something that is missing on people that read osnews is that most people just don't care about linux politics".

That'a exactly right. This was really driven home to me when I helped a technically rather adept friend who had decided to switch from Windows to Linux.

It's true: DVD playback is, strictly speaking, incompatible with a 100% FOSS solution. It's no fault of Linux---just the consequence of patent-encumbered formats and standards. Ditto for video playback, be it Windows Media or QuickTime. Ditto for NTFS write support, Truetype bytecodes, ACPI suspend and hibernate, wireless connectivity. Not to mention interoperability with Office (we're getting there, but it's still a bit rough around the edges) and other closed file formats.

None of these issues are, technically, any indication of the inferiority, or "desktop non-readiness", of Linux. They are a consequence of the current legal environment, as well as standard practice in the industry [i.e. it's neither legal nor illegal to keep file formats proprietary, but customers did not compplain about it in the past, so why bother opening them up now if all this would do is encourage competition?]

HOWEVER, the end-user does not make such fine distinctions. S/he cannot use his/her wireless card, suspend-to-RAM does not work, DVDs do not play out of the box, CNN videos don't work, Word docs come up funny in OOo, etc. Who's to blame?

What's worse, there would be temporary solutions to many of these problems. How about licensing those codecs (as Linspire did)? How about paying Apple royalties for Truetype native rendering? If you think this would be expensive, check out Microsoft's pages on Cleartype licensing for an example. We are talking $10 max per retail box.

I for one would be extremely happy to pay extra, if that meant that my laptop was going to work just as well under Linux as under WinXP. I use Linux in part because of the freedom, but largely because I am more comfortable with the underlying OS and technology.

M

Reply Score: 3

RE: Bravo Lumbergh
by ma_d on Fri 8th Jul 2005 01:33 UTC in reply to "Bravo Lumbergh"
ma_d Member since:
2005-06-29

Yea, I'd happily pay for most of that stuff too. However, I wouldn't pay for it while giving up my favorite environment and switching to something I don't really like: I don't think I'd much like Linspire; I know I don't like Mandrake; and I don't like XandrOS. Course, I'm picky.

I'm not sure how much most people care about some of these things. I'll go down through them:
1.) DVD's: Players are $40; a working player is $100 or so.
2.) Windows Codecs: A lot of people hardly watch anything on their computer. The people who end up needing the most codecs are generally watching things that are let's say not public affairs. I'm not implying that people who need Windows codecs are perverts; I'm saying that there's a fairly small set of commonly used codecs and then a cluster-**** of oddballs. Most professionials aren't going to distribute the oddballs.
Of course, there's always Aunt Tillie with her digital camcorder. And she needs a PC, because Sony saved $100 by not putting a dvd recorder on the camcorder and they got to line-item 85 features that 85 people will use! (exaggeration)
3.) Word compatibility: This is a business issue more than anything else. Seriously! How many people exchange word documents for fun!
4.) Truetype fonts: There's a group of people who loathe them. Seriously. About a week ago I read in Joel Spolsky's book where he was complaining about anti-aliasing; the example he showed looks just like the default aliasing on Windows (which looks really pretty, but does edge on fuzzy). Then he went on to say totally unaliased fonts are better and I started wondering what was going on between his ears.


I think one of the worst new problems is this, and this is bigger than DVD support: iTunes.
And people wonder why I don't like Apple.

Reply Score: 1

Still need applications
by Anonymous on Thu 7th Jul 2005 23:43 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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Okay TuxMini 400 dollars.

Get browsers, office, IM, file clients. ho hum.

Mac Mini 499 Dollars.

Unix Based so it's secure. Check

iMovieHD, iDVD, iChat, GarageBand, Safari, Quicken, Marble Blast Gold, iPhoto, iCal, and iTunes.


You could say the extra 99 dollars is for that stuff but lets take a desktop Linux that is trying to come close. Linspire.


Linspire has, Browswer Suite (Email, Newsgroup), Ltunes, Lphoto, Gaim and it mostly works with itself.


So you got a mp3 player. Great! It might be Lsongs capable but you have no music service to speak of other than Linspire's music service which lacks any commercial labels worth mentioning.

On a Mac I have a iPod and it all works and I have a great Music system to use also.

Camera's. Works on Mac great. Works on Lphoto also but not as great.


And yes you really cannot compare to Windoze because they dont include any of this stuff.

Reply Score: 2

...I agree.
by Esaltato on Thu 7th Jul 2005 23:49 UTC
Esaltato
Member since:
2005-07-07

I think this is a quite good though, and I'm happy to see it coming from an Italian:)
...about it not being good for the big biz: I think that a lot of big business ideas come from much adversed ideas; a bit of innovation often makes up for marketing lack; marketing is really needed for some things, but for innovation you don't need marketing, you need balls.
I think that the writer's got some points in imagining such a machine; in particular I think that the enthusiasm he puts in describing the coolness of the box is very much needed by PC makers and wanted by the public. GOD, have you seen what kind of junk they put on the market (aesthetic-wise)? The Macs are almost the only machines looking pretty, PC makers can only come up with Borg-like things with lights and transparent windows showing your hardware. Bleah! My thought is that if an hardware maker (a quite BIG hardware maker, since if you want to make this right you need big money, because good engineering is not for free, and you need good engineering to make it really mini but to really work hassle-free too, even reusing existing components) gets the half of that enthusiasm, a really promising machine would come out. Since I think that FOSS is ready for prime time too (to all the people asking about good desktop integration - simple DVD playing and stuff, I say it can be done - just see what the astronaut is doing with his African creation), it's just a matter of time before someone -not too much influenced by the MS corp.- does this.
What, there's no such a pc maker? Mhh, we have a prob...

...anyway someone do it and I'll buy one. Really.

Reply Score: 1

you cna build it!!
by Anonymous on Fri 8th Jul 2005 00:44 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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i run ubuntu on this..29$ case with powersource.. athlon 900(dinosaur) on an asus a7s-vm mobo..integrated audio and video... ancient ctx 15" monitor 10 yr old keyboard(pick one up new at a garge sale for $5) generic optical mouse.. system has 512 meg of sdram.... a $7 floppy a $15 cdrom and oh.. i splurged for a liteon cdrw.. the system is now like 3 yrs old.. installed ubuntu.. and didnt need to do one single solitary driver add-on ..recompile or file reconfig.. The problem is this.. I knew what linux was and wanted it.. I work in restaurants.. and i know people who game.. hoarde pr0n the gamut of joe sixpack computer users. when i say i run linux.. i have only had one person in 10 yrs of restaurant work acknowledge that they even knew what it was. Turns out he runs gentoo and is a game dev..looking for work.. When linux gets a billion dollar pr campaign working.. it will become ready.. not before.

Reply Score: 1

Great article
by Anonymous on Fri 8th Jul 2005 00:58 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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I liked reading that.

Reply Score: 0

this article...
by hobgoblin on Fri 8th Jul 2005 01:01 UTC
hobgoblin
Member since:
2005-07-06

states just about the same that i have been thinking and saying for the last year or so.

preinstall it, ship it and people will use it. if they are first-time computer users that is. if say they have some obscure windows software they plan to use the computer for, sorry. and mainstream games, i dont think so (alltho wine and that offshot may help somewhat).

but for mail, im, web and some basic office work its perfect.

Reply Score: 1

Who drives the PC market?
by Anonymous on Fri 8th Jul 2005 01:03 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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The main problem's i see with Linux actually taking on Window's for the desktop are that most PC sales and (components) are driven by hardware enthusiast's and gamer's.

Most people buying a PC for the first time will probably keep that same PC around for 3yrs or so - without upgrading a CPU, or Motherboard etc ... or switching OS's.

The user's that are constantly upgrading and buying component's are gamer's and hardware freaks - and they are what drives the NEW PC sales and after market components - not Mom & Dad that buy a new PC once every 5yrs.

Unfortunantly detection of the cutting edge hardware and gaming are 2 things that Linux stinks at - throw in terrible sound issues, no DVD playback, and you have an OS that is clearly not ready for anything but a work environment. (IMO)

Reply Score: 1

Hold on
by ma_d on Fri 8th Jul 2005 01:09 UTC
ma_d
Member since:
2005-06-29

The author starts out with this great argument about how Linux could very well fill a portion of the firefox niche; and I agree with that: It'd miss most of the gamers, but it could certainly get a lot of other firefox users. He describes these users as being able to perform technical tasks like installing Windows and partitioning disks.
So then why do they need Linux preinstalled? They're capable of installing it: I've known people who've done it (I usually end up helping). I would have continued from that point and argued that Linux needs a better social network: People encouraging their friends to adopt it and then helping them. To a large extent we have this, but it's not exactly happening at the pace one would dream of.

Anyway, I think one of the biggest obstacles is slowly being overcome; and that is desktop linux in the workplace. There it just works for you, because some IT guy named Jeff makes it do that; just like he does for Windows. And you have no choice but to try it. Then at some point you go and buy a PC; you ask the salesman: "We have Linux machines at work, do you sell Linux machines?"

Anyway, just in case:
sed -e 's/Linux/GNU/Linux/g'

Reply Score: 1

Anonymous
Member since:
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Anyone notice that a day or two ago Linspire announced that their Linspire 5.0 O.S. is being preinstalled on Systemax machines sold through TigerDirect? These machines are user configurable and thus, for the first time, can be made into a reasonably powerful desktop for not much money.

This is a big step forward for Linux. I know that Linspire often does not get a lot of respect on these pages, but they are doing more to advance the Linux consumer desktop cause than almost anyone else.

Sometimes it DOES come down to marketing, distribution, etc. ...... DR

Reply Score: 0

ma_d Member since:
2005-06-29

Wow that's a great find. I hadn't heard this. They're still fairly limited, but if the system is stable it doesn't look like a bad buy.
I'd want to help any friends buy one of these though, because it looks like they try and shove off a 250W power supply on you if you don't opt for the 350. But the prices seem to be ok.

I do think it's pretty pathetic to limit people to 512MB of RAM on the celeron system.

Reply Score: 1

v YALINRFD.. it's start to be really anoying
by djame on Fri 8th Jul 2005 01:34 UTC
RE[2]: Linux on the Desktop
by Anonymous on Fri 8th Jul 2005 01:43 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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"Linux garenteed to make you sleep in less time than it takes to say "windows"!

Reply Score: 0

Missed window of opportunity
by Lumbergh on Fri 8th Jul 2005 01:50 UTC
Lumbergh
Member since:
2005-06-29

XFree was ported to Linux in '92 and it took 10+ years to get the desktops in a usable state. Unix has traditionally been used for workstations and servers so there was never a great motivating factor a long time. A window manager and a bunch of xterms is good enough.

If something great would have come out in the '97, '98 time frame then maybe things would be different. As it stands now, XP is stable and many of those that want Unix on the desktop use OSX.

Reply Score: 3

Linux is far from the desktop
by Anonymous on Fri 8th Jul 2005 02:14 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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Linux is truly FAR from the normal users desktop. The audience on this site cannot possibly stand in the stead of those who use most of the computers in the country. We, the unwashed masses, simply want our computers to work. I agree that windows has its share of problems, but it is very easy to find an "expert", in Linux not so. I have tried Xandros, it is almost there. DVD should work out of the box, regardless of which program is responsible. Palm sync should be easy, it is not. Without those, Linux is a sometimes fun diversion, not a serious contender. Unfortunately.

Reply Score: 0

RE: Linux is far from the desktop
by ma_d on Fri 8th Jul 2005 02:18 UTC in reply to "Linux is far from the desktop"
ma_d Member since:
2005-06-29

Define normal.

I think someone else already explained that issues like DVD's are legal and not technical (thank the lawyers); (and they call us political!).

Reply Score: 1

Linux isn't windows
by Anonymous on Fri 8th Jul 2005 02:19 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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I think some of you are offbase about why Linux isn't ready for the desktop, the truth is it can be used just fine for the desktop, but you have to make sure people understand it isn't windows. My mother for instance, has a computer, the os doesn't matter at all, she just cares that when her sister sends her some stupid email with smiley faces and music it plays in her browser. Or those office classes she took in school will apply to copy of office she has on home computer. If you make sure people understand this box isn't going to do exactly what your windows box will do, and quit trying to convince everyone that this isn't true, then Linux may get some acceptance, else false hopes are only going to give a negative image. I believe that is the big issue with Linux on the desktop, people are expecting alternative to windows, vs. a useable viable desktop. This is something linux will never be, concentrate more on what you can't do on linux, and decide if it is something you can deal with.

Reply Score: 0

Anonymous
Member since:
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I am sorry to say it, but Linux is not even close to be ready for the desktop of your average computer user, and especially not "mom & dad/grandma & grandpa"; why?

1) Lack of Microsoft Office:
Sorry to say it, but OpenOffice, for all it's goodness being open source and all that just is NOT even close to being on par with Microsoft Office.

2) Adobe Photoshop, etc.
Again, without the Adobe suite of Applications available (I am yet to find a decent Open source competitor, and I try..Sorry, The GIMP is not nearly as good as Photoshop), Linux becomes not ready for the desktop

3) Installation of Software. Sorry, for REGULAR USERS it is far too difficult, I haven't used Linux in a while now (I prefer any of the BSD's), but I do remember things breaking all over the place because some package required version 1.3.8 of some library and didn't work with version 1.3.9 and some other package I installed required 1.3.9 and didn't work with 1.3.8. I see this behavior in the BSD's as well, thus making teh BSD's also not ready for the desktop.

4) GUI:
Once again, Linux/BSD is found wanting. The GUI's are not HORRIBLE, but, on the other hand, they still do not compare to Windows or Macintosh GUI's. Recently I popped a Ubuntu Linux Live CD in my parents iMac, the thing booted up just fine and ran, and was (for an experienced user) fairly easy to use. My parents on the other hand who are in their 60's didn't have a clue what to do. They could not figure out where programs were, how to install new software, etc, and IMO Ubuntu is one of the BETTER installs of Linux. Again, My parents know how to install software with no help on their iMac (MacOS X btw) and they can do it on Windows as well. This makes Linux less than appealing.

5) Upgrade/repair:
Again, you can find a "Windows Expert" in just about any town across the USA (and I am only speaking of the USA here, but it is probably the same everywhere), that can fix your broken Windows box. You can usually find a Mac Expert as well in most towns or the surrounding area.

Where are Mom & Dad or your good buddy "Fred" that doesn't know jack take their Linux box for repair? Certainly most of the local computer shops are not going to work on a Linux box as they are not staffed with people that are "Linux Experts", therefore again Linux is not ready for teh desktop.

6) Software in general:
TurboTax, Tax Cut, 90% of commercial software with no Linux equivalent. Where is our good friend "Fred" going to purchase software?

"Oh surely he will just download it because it is open source and free (as in price and beer), not likely. Fred wants to go to the store and buy the program he is familiar with, he doesn't want to learn a new program that probably doesn't have all the features of his old program on Windows.

What about databases? MySQL and PostGRESQL? Sorry, they are not going to cut it, I am yet to find anything as intuitive as Filemaker to use. What about applciations like Microsoft Money? Quicken, Quickbooks, etc.? Sorry, equivalents just do not exist on Linux.

I can add more reasons, but that is enough for now. As much as I would like Linux (well, I would prefer a BSD) to succeed on the desktop. Linux is flat out, plain and simle, NOT READY for normal users.

Reply Score: 0

Anonymous Member since:
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Here is something else I thought of while I was getting ready to go out for the night.

Users should NEVER have to touch the terminal (command-line). Yet another reason Linux is not ready for the desktop. Find me some GOOD point and click GUI tools for things like Samba (which a user shouldn't have to know what it is, just that it makes it so that they can share files, Apache (e.g. Turn on Personal Web Server), etc.

Reply Score: 0

archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Find me some GOOD point and click GUI tools for things like Samba (which a user shouldn't have to know what it is, just that it makes it so that they can share files, Apache (e.g. Turn on Personal Web Server), etc.

Actually, there's three of them just for Samba: Webmin, SWAT and the Kcontrol Samba module.

About Apache...not only does this have nothing to do with the Desktop, but - as you probably already know - Apache is the #1 web server app out there.

As far as MS Office and Quicken are concerned, these run easily with Crossover Office. The best of both world.

If your parents don't know how to install programs in Linux using tools such as URPMI and Synaptic, it's because no one showed them. I'm certain they didn't know how to do it in Windows and Mac OSX before someone showed it to them, either.

Finally, speaking as someone who uses Photoshop daily, I can say that the GIMP is a very good replacement for it, except if you do print work (even then, you can save in PSD format so the two programs can work together).

Linux is ready for a LOT of desktops. That's the simple truth.

Reply Score: 2

rm6990 Member since:
2005-07-04

1) Lack of Microsoft Office:
Sorry to say it, but OpenOffice, for all it's goodness being open source and all that just is NOT even close to being on par with Microsoft Office.


While OpenOffice may be unfamiliar, people pick it up quickly. Very very very few normal, non-technical users use the extra features of MS Office anyways. You are thinking from a tech savvy user's point of view. I have switched my Mom, Aunt and Uncle, Grandparents and some friends to OpenOffice and they don't seem to mind the differences. In-fact, they are such light users that they don't even notice the difference.

2) Adobe Photoshop, etc.
Again, without the Adobe suite of Applications available (I am yet to find a decent Open source competitor, and I try..Sorry, The GIMP is not nearly as good as Photoshop), Linux becomes not ready for the desktop


OK, you are way off base here. I used to sell computers. People want to go into a store, buy all of the basic programs with their computer, and go home. They generally grab MS Office at the time of their purchase. I would ask about Adobe Photoshop, tell them the features, they would look impressed, I would show them the pricetag, and they would turn around and try to find a cheaper program. Not one single person in the whole 6 months I worked there purchased Photoshop with a new PC. They generally use those shitty programs that come with their new scanner (and if you think they compare to the GIMP, you are way off-base, IMHO). Photoshop was one of our lowest selling pieces of software. In-fact, out of the 15 or so people whos computers I fix for them, not a single one has Photoshop installed. (some have that cheap demo that does nothing, but that is it)

3) Installation of Software. Sorry, for REGULAR USERS it is far too difficult, I haven't used Linux in a while now (I prefer any of the BSD's), but I do remember things breaking all over the place because some package required version 1.3.8 of some library and didn't work with version 1.3.9 and some other package I installed required 1.3.9 and didn't work with 1.3.8. I see this behavior in the BSD's as well, thus making teh BSD's also not ready for the desktop.

Yes, grabbing software off a webpage is generally hard for a new user. However, my mom and my grandpa are both regular users and they find Synaptic perfectly adequate. They don't have advanced needs that require software outside of Ubuntu's main repos.

Once again, Linux/BSD is found wanting. The GUI's are not HORRIBLE, but, on the other hand, they still do not compare to Windows or Macintosh GUI's. Recently I popped a Ubuntu Linux Live CD in my parents iMac, the thing booted up just fine and ran, and was (for an experienced user) fairly easy to use. My parents on the other hand who are in their 60's didn't have a clue what to do. They could not figure out where programs were, how to install new software, etc, and IMO Ubuntu is one of the BETTER installs of Linux. Again, My parents know how to install software with no help on their iMac (MacOS X btw) and they can do it on Windows as well. This makes Linux less than appealing.

Well duh. If they've never used it before. My mom uses Gnome as her DE, she has played with the Mac's at the store and hates Aqua. She even asked me if you could install Gnome on them (she was thinking of getting one). It all boils down to what the user is used to. I betcha if I stuck a person who has used Gnome for 2 years and never touched a computer before then in her life in front of a Mac, they would be confused as hell. My mom uses Windows and Linux (linux mainly) and the Mac confuses her, so she is living proof.

5) Upgrade/repair:
Again, you can find a "Windows Expert" in just about any town across the USA (and I am only speaking of the USA here, but it is probably the same everywhere), that can fix your broken Windows box. You can usually find a Mac Expert as well in most towns or the surrounding area.

Where are Mom & Dad or your good buddy "Fred" that doesn't know jack take their Linux box for repair? Certainly most of the local computer shops are not going to work on a Linux box as they are not staffed with people that are "Linux Experts", therefore again Linux is not ready for teh desktop.


I agree with you fully on this point. Mom and grandpa don't think asking for help on IRC is very productive. I will give you that one. But with me, they don;t have much of a problem.

6) Software in general:
TurboTax, Tax Cut, 90% of commercial software with no Linux equivalent. Where is our good friend "Fred" going to purchase software?


http://www.intuit.ca/store/en/product/ProductListing.jsp?location=4...

Please point out the Mac version of Quicktax available please? I'm not going to bother looking up other pages, my Aunt asked a Mac dealer about tax software and he said Virtual PC, a copy of Windows and the Windows version of the product were the way to go. Either that or use a quicktax for the web, which is accessible through Linux anyways.

What about databases? MySQL and PostGRESQL? Sorry, they are not going to cut it, I am yet to find anything as intuitive as Filemaker to use. What about applciations like Microsoft Money? Quicken, Quickbooks, etc.? Sorry, equivalents just do not exist on Linux.

Shit, now I have to clean up. The thought of any of my less than tech savvy family or any of my friends who's computers I fix using a database made me wet myself.

Reply Score: 3

Anonymous Member since:
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Open Office: I have this installed on my machine at work, and I use it daily, still I cannot do nearly as much as quick as I can in Microsoft Office. I think OpenOffice has a lot of potential, but it is not there yet IMO.

I will give you the Photoshop argument ;) because you are right, most people do use the shitty software that comes with their scanner. I have spent so long in the advertising industry, that anything less than photoshop doesn't make sense to me, that was biased big-time ;)

I haven't used Ubuntu *too* much, because well..I mostly use NetBSD for my un*x needs, and I admittedly have not actually installed it on anything, just used the live CD, but anything that would suggest a non-GUI installer that a regular user could pop into the CD-ROM drive, is a definite disadvantage of Linux/*BSD. Yes, time will bring familiarity, but creating a graphical installer (download file, 2x click and it installs) that works like they do on the 2 most mainstream desktop machines (Windows and Mac) is definitely needed.

Again I will give you the familiarity factor on the desktop GUI, but as someone else mentioned they are not the most intuitive GUI's out there, not even close. They are getting better though. The big thing that I see a need for is a usability study so that the developers can see what non-technical users want and need.

Funny you mentioned QuickTax, I had never heard of it, but I see that you are looking at a Canadian website. If you take a look at [url]http://www.shop.intuit.com/commerce/catalog/category.jhtml?priority...] (The U.S. site) you will see that they make their US product for both Mac and Windows. I would say that worst case scenario, I would put VirtualPC on my Canadian Mac and then just install the Windows version since it appears that Intuit Canada does not make a Mac version of their Tax Software.

Funny stuff regarding databases (to me) because my dad is definitely less than tech savvy and he created a nice database to catalog his model cars in Filemaker Pro. Didn't take him very long with no help from me (other than giving him the software).

I guess that while I was indeed off on a few things, the best I can say is everyone's experience will be different, and everyone's opinion will be different. I just don't feel that any of the free un*xes are at this point ready for the desktop until they can equal the "ease of use" of Windows or the Mac.

Reply Score: 0

hoginhaze Member since:
2005-07-06

I used to sell computers. People want to go into a store, buy all of the basic programs with their computer, and go home. They generally grab MS Office at the time of their purchase. I would ask about Adobe Photoshop, tell them the features, they would look impressed, I would show them the pricetag, and they would turn around and try to find a cheaper program.

Adobe Photoshop is professional-grade software. That's why it has high price tag. Regular people hardly need all its features. However, professionals who work with images (advertising, journalism, etc) need it and gladly pay that price. BTW, you didnĺt offer for Joe User AutoCAD or Quark XPress, did you?

Reply Score: 1

unoengborg Member since:
2005-07-06

1) Lack of Microsoft Office:
Sorry to say it, but OpenOffice, for all it's goodness being open source and all that just is NOT even close to being on par with Microsoft Office.


You are right. They are not even close. However I don't think MS-Office is the better tool. Just compare how things like styles are handled, and you will see that OOo gives you much better control. Look at bullet lists and such you see that OOo is much closer to more professional tools like FrameMaker than MSO. Not to mention the autocomplete feature as you type. After using that for a while there is no way I would be going back, and if that wasn't enough compare sizes of the documents produced. Even though large hard drives is common these days, small documents are nice when transporting them on USB memory stick.


2) Adobe Photoshop, etc.
Again, without the Adobe suite of Applications available (I am yet to find a decent Open source competitor, and I try..Sorry, The GIMP is not nearly as good as Photoshop), Linux becomes not ready for the desktop


True if the end result, is to end up in a book or some other printed media, then GIMP is not good enough as it lacks the Pantone stuff for legal reasons.

However most of us don't edit pictures for a book. Typically people do things for the web, their color printer, and for that the Gimp is perfectly have all the features needed. I would be surprised if an average office worker could handle more than 10% of whats in the Gimp (or in Photoshop for that matter).

The fact that you give photoshop as an example of a cumbersome area for most users tells me that your knowledge of this being a problem is anecdotal. I would have agreed a lot more if you compared Inkscape to Adobe illustrator. In this area FOSS is much more behind even though inkscape seam to get better with the speed of light.


5) Upgrade/repair:
Again, you can find a "Windows Expert" in just about any town across the USA (and I am only speaking of the USA here, but it is probably the same everywhere), that can fix your broken Windows box. You can usually find a Mac Expert as well in most towns or the surrounding area.


I can't speak for the US, but at least here in Europe this is not a problem. Anybody with some unix background will feel quite at home in Linux. Most people that have got some computer related education at university level will have been exposed to unix.
In fact, an easy way to get support would be to put up a note at your local university and you will get some student to help you almost for free.



6) Software in general:
TurboTax, Tax Cut, 90% of commercial software with no Linux equivalent. Where is our good friend "Fred" going to purchase software?


I'm not familliar with the software in question, but I assume that they are some kind of personal tax planning tools. I have never used such tools, nor do I know anybody that do. My guess is that this will not be any major hurdle in Linux way to the desktop. If you talk about tools for business use, there are plenty of alternatives e.g from Oracle. If you want something partly FOSS you could go for compierre.

As for databases. They are serverside applications not desktop applications. If you run OOo you get an Acceslike userinterface to whatever database you like, the only conditon is that it talks ODBC or JDBC. Most databases do. If MySQL, Postgresql or Firebird isn't good enough for you, Oracle and DB2 runs on Linux just as they do on Windows or some IBM mainfraime in the basement. In most cases however Postgresql or Firebird will be more than enough. If you want more options on the GUI side there are Recall from the Kompany that nowdays are free software.

Reply Score: 2

No webcam, no show
by Rodrigo on Fri 8th Jul 2005 05:21 UTC
Rodrigo
Member since:
2005-07-06

As long as Linux doesn't have a program like MSN/Yahoo IM with plug'n'play, seamless webcam support, there's no amount of talk that will convince my non-geek friends to move to Linux.

Reply Score: 2

valid reasoning
by netpython on Fri 8th Jul 2005 06:16 UTC
netpython
Member since:
2005-07-06

Find me some GOOD point and click GUI tools for things like Samba

Yast,Webmin,to name a few.

(which a user shouldn't have to know what it is

If they don't know what it is,than what's the use?



Users should NEVER have to touch the terminal (command-line).

They don't have to.All depends on the flavor you want to install.All *distros* have a possible end-state on the desktop in common,i mean your desired slick GUI.All that differs is the steps that have to be taken.SuSE 9.3 is ready after initial install and doesn't require anything on the CLI.

Eg:it's possible to have the same desired desktop wether the distro is SuSE,Debian,Gentoo or LFS.


just that it makes it so that they can share files

The're numerous of ways to share files between two nodes.But i think a personal webserver isn't the right way for newcomers regardless on which OS the server is installed.

I agree with the author of the article when you consider the average target audience he described.In that context most Linux *flavors* are more than ready for the desktop.While some have a little more rough edges than others.

Reply Score: 1

rx182
Member since:
2005-07-08

Being a professional developer, I have to deal with many platforms everyday for my work. I used all kind of operating systems already and this is what I have to say about Linux when it comes to desktop.

Linux isn't that bad for desktop usage. Actually, with a little bit of patience, you can tweak it enough to actually use it on a daily basis.

But Linux is far from perfect. Its biggest problem is in fact its biggest strength. All Linux desktops are built on a large collection of librairies (gtk, qt, all their dependencies, ect.) The problem is that most of these librairies are built on top of many other librairies, and as if it wasn't enough, most of the desktop applications use a ton of these librairies.

For the developers, it's a Good Thing. It saves you time because you can re-use alot of good work and spend more time on real things. But at the same time, it creates a highly layered system for the user. For the user, it's a Bad Thing. It makes it really hard for them to address issues (Is it a problem with the application? Is it a problem with Gnome? Is it a problem with GTK? Is it a problem with some other libraries?) They are always confused when they encounter a problem.

Most commercial operating sytems meant for desktop usage aren't affected by this problem. Windows and MacOS both offer a flat API and everything is built on top of it. While I'm not a Mac expert, I know alot more about Windows.

It's really easy (for the average user) to make the difference between the OS and the applications under Windows/MacOS. When they encounter a problem, most of the time they know where it comes from.

Under Linux, it's a bit harder. There's so much things that you never know where to look first. For the average user, it's hard to accept.

And as if it wasn't enought (again), there're still speed issues. Ironically, these speed issues are somewhat related to the above problem. Layered systems aren't as efficient as "almost flat" systems. Each layer is overhead.

I know this is really subjective but I suggest you to do the test yourself, because I did it several times and I always get the same results.

Just make your computer dual boot and install a good distribution like Debian on a partition and Windows on another partition then install Firefox on both OS. Use each setup for an hour. You will quickly realize that the GUI is much snappier under Windows (it's on MacOS too) than under Linux, and that the page rendering is much more efficient under Windows as well. Why? Again I don't know. Why the rendering engine is faster under Windows? Why is the GUI not so snappy under Linux? Is it related to the desktop environnment/windows manager? Some librairies? I guess it would take me too much time investigating it all.

This is why I said Linux was a bit over-rated for desktop usage. When you put it next to Windows and MacOS, it hardly makes its way.

But again, it's not that bad after all. And anyway, Linux is always getting better I guess. Maybe some day...

Reply Score: 4

rm6990 Member since:
2005-07-04

Just make your computer dual boot and install a good distribution like Debian on a partition and Windows on another partition then install Firefox on both OS. Use each setup for an hour. You will quickly realize that the GUI is much snappier under Windows (it's on MacOS too) than under Linux, and that the page rendering is much more efficient under Windows as well. Why? Again I don't know. Why the rendering engine is faster under Windows? Why is the GUI not so snappy under Linux? Is it related to the desktop environnment/windows manager? Some librairies? I guess it would take me too much time investigating it all.

Yeah, on your computer maybe. Give my Ex-Girlfriends computer a shot though. It is so chock-full of viruses that it takes forever for programs to launch. And don't say you don't get viruses, if you know how to dual-boot, you almost always know how to avoid viruses. Trust me, my ex doesnt know how to avoid viruses, nor does she know how to dual-boot.

Reply Score: 0

netpython Member since:
2005-07-06

Linux isn't that bad for desktop usage. Actually, with a little bit of patience, you can tweak it enough to actually use it on a daily basis.

Not necessary to tweak anything with todays modern mainstream Linux distro's.Especially when you have capable hardware.While fortunately we don't like all the same desktop you can alter it's looks and feels according to your desires.I rather wouldn't think of that as tweaking but more the usual configuration like on any OS.

But Linux is far from perfect.

No OS is perfect.And i think it never will while it has to address so many expectations at the same time.

The problem is that most of these librairies are built on top of many other librairies, and as if it wasn't enough, most of the desktop applications use a ton of these librairies.

And?

For the user, it's a Bad Thing. It makes it really hard for them to address issues (Is it a problem with the application? Is it a problem with Gnome? Is it a problem with GTK? Is it a problem with some other libraries?) They are always confused when they encounter a problem.

Not if you have done your work allright as a so called developer.


It's really easy (for the average user) to make the difference between the OS and the applications under Windows/MacOS. When they encounter a problem, most of the time they know where it comes from

It all depends on how exeptions are handled and the way information is given back about what could be one of the potential problems.

Many times i have experienced cryptic mesages given by windows.

Example:Situation:
You installed a Symantec antivirus program, or another application that installs a kernel driver, under Windows NT/2000/XP/2003 32-bit. After the installation, the computer unexpectedly restarts or encounters a blue screen with a STOP message similar to:

STOP 0x0000007f (0x00000008, 0x00000000, 0x00000000, 0x00000000)
UNEXPECTED_KERNEL_MODE_TRAP

Now hat does "Blue screen with "STOP 0x0000007f" error on Windows NT/2000/XP/2003" say to your average user?

Under Linux, it's a bit harder. There's so much things that you never know where to look first. For the average user, it's hard to accept.

First thing to look is if there're any updates avaible.Unlike windows,most Linux distributions also *upgrade* instead of solely patching holes.Secondly you can look on the homepage of the package maintainer if there're similar cases.You can use google,mailing-lists,etc.You could preferrably fill-in a bug report instead of sending a windows error-message back to wherever it goes and guessing at best what's in it.

And as if it wasn't enought (again), there're still speed issues. Ironically, these speed issues are somewhat related to the above problem. Layered systems aren't as efficient as "almost flat" systems. Each layer is overhead.

Sorry,maybe you are a (windows) developer or just has never had the right equipment.I'm running SuSe 9.3 om a
1 GB AMD64 3000+ raid0 dual SATA.I didn't have problems on my previous Athlon XP2500+ 1GB DDR either.Runs as fast as XP (faster,when native x86_64),and still after whatever lenght of time.

A freshly installed windows XP with no updates and only the necesaary motherbord+graphics card drivers is fast.As soon as all the updates and your apps are installed it runs slower eatch other day you use the machine.

Why is the GUI not so snappy under Linux? Is it related to the desktop environnment/windows manager? Some librairies? I guess it would take me too much time investigating it all.

Depends on wether you have a nvidia chipset based graphics card and installed the accelerated Linux driver or not.Depends on the distro you installed.

This is why I said Linux was a bit over-rated for desktop usage. When you put it next to Windows and MacOS, it hardly makes its way.

I think Linux is under-rated especially when you put it next to windows.These days recources are becoming scarce.People are beginning to open their eyes.And see all the equivalent (office) applications being developed for Linux and they come all free to use and are constantly being developed and improved.

Would be nice (less expensive) for a lot of people when they could buy a bare system or a PC with an professionally installed Linux (mabybe with a rescue CD?).All the extra costs of office-suits,burn software,anti-spyware,anti-virus,defragment programs,the OS itself can be put to work in to better/faster hardware or peripherals or just saved.

Reply Score: 1

ma_d Member since:
2005-06-29

As a developer whose developed for multiple platforms you really should know what's making one platform "snappier" than another. The fact that you don't makes me wonder if you have ever developed for anything but Windows.

Mac is snappy because it's rendering everything in the graphics card; and as someone whose used Mac a bit I can tell you this: It's not that snappy on slower hardware. It still performs flawlessly, and you never have to wait noticeably (under 7 tenths of a second), but you can definitely tell the difference.

My understanding is that, aside from Microsoft developers reputation for efficient code, Windows graphics are so snappy because large chunks of the graphics server is sitting in system space instead of user space.

I don't think I've ever heard a user say that how snappy the interface is determines its usability. The first time they waste 2 minutes while a Window control locks up under the application they'll instantly trade snappy for user control.

Reply Score: 1

Linux Desktop for my Dad? No way!
by noocyte on Fri 8th Jul 2005 09:52 UTC
noocyte
Member since:
2005-07-06

I'll let this one be short one; My dad expects stuff to work! He hated the VCR because he had to manually set the time (Daylight savings)... He doesn't want to learn Linux/Windows/Whatever, he wants to use the darn thing! he wants to surf the web, view pictures, burn them on a cd, listen to music etc. etc.
And quite frankly, that isn't always a smooth ride in Windows XP, but it is WAY better than any Linux I've tried.

Now somebody is gonna come along and tell me that all these things are doable in any up-to-date Linux distro; well of course they are! Only problem is; it doesn't work out-of-the-box for 99% of the users. (as WinXP does).

And short note on installing programs: Most people don't have a clue what programs are called. They get a CD from PC Magazine or whatever and try to install them. When it doesn't work (because the OS is Linux and not Windows) they don't get it. They say the CD is broken or their computer is broken... ;)

Reply Score: 1

devurandom Member since:
2005-07-06

Read the Fine Article, please. I don't say Linux is OK for your dad if he has troubles with a VCR. I say Linux is OK for people that already have some basic familiarity with technology.

Reply Score: 1

$400
by ankitmalik on Fri 8th Jul 2005 10:01 UTC
ankitmalik
Member since:
2005-07-06

$400...I am relieved to read this price. Wherever I have heard people talk about Linux installed computers- it is mostly cheap $200 and stuff...and so it has come with the notion that Linux is for *cheapos*...And these $200 PCs dont have any frills too which you need to buy like printer, DVD Drive and stuff and then you need to make sure the brand you buy will run efficiently on linux.....

Reply Score: 1

ready for the desktop
by Anonymous on Fri 8th Jul 2005 10:55 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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Related linux being ready on Desktop. I can honestly say, things that hasn't happened in the last 5 years almost happened in 1 year for linux. So much progress in just one year. I have tried linux for more than several times and it only lasted a week to reformat and it as a partition back to MS Windows. I have installed Ubuntu Hoary about a month already, and it is still there happily. I love using it, and except few things I have started seriously to consider completely migrating to Ubuntu. It is just that property drivers issue makes me hesitate.Its like passing the oceans and drawning in a small lake. Linux succeeds to intall, and detect almost any hardware over my x1000 compaq hardware, however my philips cam is not functioning on linux. And also that aMSN messanger and phone4lin fails to work together. I mean sure they are not crucial,however don't you people like to voice chat and see your friend on webcam? And since philips webcam drivers has been stopped and seperated from the kernel, cause of property issue(didnt get what the problem actually) and lacking of voice chat and webcam support over gaim or any messanger(or proper support) over linux, its becoming a bit short on the fun part. But I know these are really small issues and so soon those will be over too.

One more issue, don't know what propert driver means, but most people begun to use laptops,and most graphic cards are either ATI or NVDIA, and just saying property and not letting original drivers provided by the producers into kernel is somehow not so appealing. And I guess you would agree, for someone new to linux, its a total mess to insall ATI or NVDIA driver him/herself.I was worried before not having Photoshop,freehand over linux,but now after a month i have discovered scripus,skopodi,and now I know there are also nice toold avaible on the linux world. If they would resolve those issues, linux would stand stronger against other Desktop oriented OS's like OSX,Windows etc...I love Ubuntu,Gnome combination, and looking forward to see Ubuntu Breezer, I am sure it will be incredible.

Have a nice weekend all

Reply Score: 0

RE: ready for the desktop
by rm6990 on Fri 8th Jul 2005 11:19 UTC in reply to "ready for the desktop"
rm6990 Member since:
2005-07-04

What they mean is that the drivers are proprietary. The entire Linux kernel is released under the General Public License. Nvidia and ATI refuse to release their drivers under this license. Therefore, the drivers can't be placed directly into the kernel.

Installing the nvidia drivers in ubuntu hoary is a snap.

apt-get install nvidia-glx

change driver "nv" to driver "nvidia" in /etc/X11/xorg.conf

Restart X. All done.

Reply Score: 1

Anonymous
Member since:
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>>"...if people just take the time to learn..."

Most people who come to Linux rom Windows would phrase that as "why is this so hard to figure out?"

For someone to take the time to learn Linux, they must already be motivated by something other than the Linux desktop. That is, they must derive some reward from it that compensates for the learning curvee. Typically, that motivation comes from an ideological desire to avoid Microsoft. That, however, only applies to a very small percentage of users.

Absent millions spent on advertising and filling the shelves of the big box stores with shrink-wrapped Linux selling for $19.95, the only road available seems to be to make the Linux desktop so different and so much better that anyone can appreciate the difference in 5 minutes. Aiming to be as good as Windows takes you nowhere.

Reply Score: 0

devurandom Member since:
2005-07-06

Most people who come to Linux from Windows would phrase that as "why is this so hard to figure out?"

Not really. It is simply about telling them the basic differences (what is /home? It is the partition where you keep your stuff separated from system stuff. what is a package manager? It's a wizard to install free software from an Internet based repository to your system, you just click on the software you need on the list, give an administrator password and it installs it for you). They need simple concepts, not cryptic man pages.

they must already be motivated by something other than the Linux desktop. That is, they must derive some reward from it that compensates for the learning curvee.

I think I talked about them in the article.

make the Linux desktop so different and so much better that anyone can appreciate the difference in 5 minutes. Aiming to be as good as Windows takes you nowhere.

True. I think we're already here.

Reply Score: 1

GNU/Linux needs better support
by nanolucifer on Fri 8th Jul 2005 11:11 UTC
nanolucifer
Member since:
2005-07-08

The one major factor holding back wide acceptance of GNU/Linux is the support for the OS as well as the apps that run on the OS. Once people know that they can get their problems fixed by talking to a real person over the phone, they will have much more confidence in the OS.

The hardware vendor who OEM's a customized distro of GNU/Linux should provide customer support at par with the kind given by MSFT. That in my opinion is the biggest advantage that MSFT has over GNU/Linux-OpenSource community. I mean, they have nice articles and a huge KB about known issues, how to fix them, workarounds etc.

As regards some replies about X-Windows, it is makes much more sense than having your graphics code in the kernel. What it lacks is good management API infrastructure, which you have in Windows.

Reply Score: 1

RE: GNU/Linux needs better support
by rm6990 on Fri 8th Jul 2005 11:23 UTC in reply to "GNU/Linux needs better support"
rm6990 Member since:
2005-07-04

That is not the only issue. As I said a bunch of comments up, in order for the kernel to have a stable abi, every distro would have to use the same version of gcc. If Nvidia let's say released their drivers precompiled with GCC 3.2, then a distro using 3.4 might not work with the driver. Nvidia notes this problem numerous times in their documentation.

Reply Score: 1

RE:Linux NOWHERE NEAR ready for the desktop..
by Budd on Fri 8th Jul 2005 11:23 UTC
Budd
Member since:
2005-07-08

1) Lack of Microsoft Office:
Sorry to say it, but OpenOffice, for all it's goodness being open source and all that just is NOT even close to being on par with Microsoft Office.


Obviously average user doesn't even heard about any Office suite.Or maybe they did but only because they got Word preinstalled.Which they don't use.You are WAY off base.Troll.

2) Adobe Photoshop, etc.
Again, without the Adobe suite of Applications available (I am yet to find a decent Open source competitor, and I try..Sorry, The GIMP is not nearly as good as Photoshop), Linux becomes not ready for the desktop


Average user will most probably find him/her self overhelmed starting Adobe Photoshop. And probably etc. (sic)

3) Installation of Software. Sorry, for REGULAR USERS it is far too difficult, I haven't used Linux in a while now (I prefer any of the BSD's), but I do remember things breaking all over the place because some package required version 1.3.8 of some library and didn't work with version 1.3.9 and some other package I installed required 1.3.9 and didn't work with 1.3.8. I see this behavior in the BSD's as well, thus making teh BSD's also not ready for the desktop.

Regular users do not install software.They are,as you pointed out, users.

4) GUI:
Once again, Linux/BSD is found wanting. The GUI's are not HORRIBLE, but, on the other hand, they still do not compare to Windows or Macintosh GUI's. Recently I popped a Ubuntu Linux Live CD in my parents iMac, the thing booted up just fine and ran, and was (for an experienced user) fairly easy to use. My parents on the other hand who are in their 60's didn't have a clue what to do. They could not figure out where programs were, how to install new software, etc, and IMO Ubuntu is one of the BETTER installs of Linux. Again, My parents know how to install software with no help on their iMac (MacOS X btw) and they can do it on Windows as well. This makes Linux less than appealing.


Regarding GUI,Windows is taking the last place in ANY review. OS X / Gnome / KDE are FAR ahead Windows

5) Upgrade/repair:
Again, you can find a "Windows Expert" in just about any town across the USA (and I am only speaking of the USA here, but it is probably the same everywhere), that can fix your broken Windows box. You can usually find a Mac Expert as well in most towns or the surrounding area.


Yes,the same expert will say in 99.99% cases that you must reinstall your system. But we are talking about regular users,remember?


6) Software in general:
TurboTax, Tax Cut, 90% of commercial software with no Linux equivalent. Where is our good friend "Fred" going to purchase software?


There are free alternatives , I am too lazy to look for now.Yet,as a regular user my mom,or my sister whatever ,never found the need to use such programs.They rely on their tax advisor which charges 50 bucks / year per application.


What about databases? MySQL and PostGRESQL? Sorry, they are not going to cut it, I am yet to find anything as intuitive as Filemaker to use. What about applciations like Microsoft Money? Quicken, Quickbooks, etc.? Sorry, equivalents just do not exist on Linux.

Oh,yes they do! Way better for regular users than any other commercial counterparts (Oracle,Sybase,DB2,MSSQL Server - in fact a bad copy of Sybase).And I am not talking about price here. I am talking features.


You are just another troll.

Reply Score: 0

Anonymous Member since:
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Hey, "Budd", this isn't Slashdot, we don't need illiterate posts bandying the word 'troll' over and over.

1) Everyone I knows uses Word, most use Excel, many use Powerpoint and even Access. The idea that "no one has heard of Office" (to clean up your syntax considerably) is ridiculous.

2) Virtually everyone can install software on a Windows or Mac box. Buy a new game at the store and stick the CD in the drive. 99 percent of the time it works fine. Most PC or Mac owners have done this with little problem.

3) So you base your opinions of user interfaces on other people's reviews? Get an opinion of your own.

4) I help my ex-wife and others with their PCs on occasion. I have never reinstalled the OS, that is rarely necessary (although many people who are pretending to be experts do this in lieu of actual problem solving abilities).

5) The tax software was just an example. Geez, there are tens of thousands of PC apps, thousands for the Mac. Linux is very nice but the software library just can't match. Grandma doesn't want to "search the web for an alternative", she wants to go to Best Buy and get something off the shelf she has heard of and has been recommended to her.

Reply Score: 0

ma_d Member since:
2005-06-29

Real Name: Flo Epuras (user 1348)

I think you can forgive some bad english on his part...

I totally agree with you on number 4 there. Sometimes the best way to fix things is a reinstall (I had a box that was "pwned" and running someone's ftp server; a clean wipe of the disk was the only thing that'd convince me that was all gone without a trace). But most people aren't sitting as out in the public as that machine was (University machine).


Number 5 is totally wrong. Grandma actually wants the software to just be there for her; going to Best Buy is a method she has grown comfortable with only through experience.

Reply Score: 1

Linux ready for the desktop..
by Anonymous on Fri 8th Jul 2005 11:38 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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Its been ready for the desktop for years. Once people stop looking to M$ as the "defacto Standard" which are basically Standards that have been churned through the MS Machine ( i/e ADS = LDAP + Kerb + DNS)Then the tables will turn.
Another turning point is when places like Dell and Gateway start bundling Linux with systems as part of the package. I think the average Joe will start to take the OS serioulsly.
-nX

Reply Score: 0

Re: Anonymous
by Anonymous on Fri 8th Jul 2005 12:08 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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"Another turning point is when places like Dell and Gateway start bundling Linux with systems as part of the package. I think the average Joe will start to take the OS serioulsly."

In that light, this is interesting:
http://www.linspire.com/linspire_letter_archives.php?id=3

(I'm not affiliated with Linspire in any way. It' just an interesting article, that's all!)

Reply Score: 0

RE: Re: Anonymous
by Anonymous on Fri 8th Jul 2005 19:53 UTC in reply to "Re: Anonymous "
Anonymous Member since:
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Thanks for the the link!
-nX

Reply Score: 0

RE: Linux Desktop for my Dad? No way!
by Budd on Fri 8th Jul 2005 13:01 UTC
Budd
Member since:
2005-07-08

Now somebody is gonna come along and tell me that all these things are doable in any up-to-date Linux distro; well of course they are! Only problem is; it doesn't work out-of-the-box for 99% of the users. (as WinXP does).

How the heck is working for XP out of the box??? I have never seen a fresh XP installation THAT JUST WORKS on ANY darn box for the tasks you just enumerated in your useless contribution to this board.
Surf web? sure do , in 5 minutes you're prone to spywares.DVD play? No way Jose,go download some codecs.Music a la iPod etc? and the list can be extended.Office? Not at all,but that's not such a big point since we are speaking about regular users. Email? sure see outlook express same rules applies as for IE.Printing photos? yes,sure,first you must install the printer and very probably you must look for a driver.
I am so fed up with these kind of comments. I use XP/2003 at least 60% of my computer time,rest is splitted between my Slack box and my miniMac. I like all of them and I am 100% sure Linux is VERY READY for the desktop TODAY. Not tomorrow.Even with the lack of support from the vendors is as ready as any windows/mac OS. Accept that. Nobody forces you to use it.Nobody force your dad to use it,just accept that there are alternatives.And sometimes better ones. Freakin' trolls

Reply Score: 1

@devurandom
by Anonymous on Fri 8th Jul 2005 14:02 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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I don't agree. When you say "It is simply about telling them the basic differences", you are making two unwarranted assumptions:

1) That they have any interest in listening to you; no mtter how easy something might really be to explain, someone who sees no reason to use it has no reason to listen and learn.

2) That they've already decided to use Linux or are, in fact, already using it.

Explaining "/home" or package managers also assumes that someone has an understanding of directory structures, partitions, and software installation. Again, in my experience that's an unwarranted expectation. Many people use computers for years without knowing about directories or installing new software. Those are precisely the types of thing that a good modern consumer-oriented OS should hide from the user.

Understand, I like Linux, but I'm not a typical computer user, and I rather suspect neither are you. People I've known who have tried Linux did so because they are geeky and curious, because they didn't need to pay for it, because they want or need to run Unix, or they think commercial software is immoral. None of them dropped Windows because the Linux desktop was compelling. They had other reasons to try Linux and found the Linux desktop to be acceptable. In other words, not bad enough to drive them away, but not good enough to attract them by itself.

I think that's a fair statement: The Linux desktop is currently acceptable to users who come to Linux for other reasons, but, by itself, the Linux desktop is not, yet, attracting many users.

Reply Score: 0

RE: @devurandom
by ma_d on Fri 8th Jul 2005 14:32 UTC in reply to "@devurandom"
ma_d Member since:
2005-06-29

Are they interested?
Why in the world would you ever be explaining things to someone if they aren't interested? You realize that there is a large group of people interested in trying something that's:
a.) Not from Microsoft.
b.) Not from Apple.
This article started with the premise that GNU/Linux could do a good job of filling part of the firefox niche. They were interested in a different browser; they're obviously interested in new things. You act like people are trying to grab them by the collar and drag them to something else: That only happens after spending 8 hours fighting spyware removal tools because this user is talented at installing spyware.

Explaining /home?
That's so rediculously simple that any user should grow to appreciate it. Listen to my explanation:
All your files are under a single structure, /. That's like c:, except that all your drives are in there. But don't worry about where all your flash drives are yet, here's the most important thing: All of your files are under /home/user. You shouldn't ever have to look in another directory unless you explicitly saved it onto a external disk! You don't have much reason to ever leave home actually!
See? It sounds simple when you explain it as it is. The hardest thing is understanding /; and if that's too hard XandrOS gives them c's and f's ;) .

Explain package managers?
Want a program? Open this program here (syaptic, CLR, or something similar) and you can browse and try to find what you need by category. When you find it, click here and here; then wait a few minutes and look for it in your menu's!

These things should be hidden?
Pish-posh, that attitude is the reason so many users are completely dependant on an IT staff. They're told: You don't have to know anything to use your computer; we'll be your brain. Then they get home and suddenly installing software from a cd before plugging a device in is considered highly technical and complex: Even though that's what the instruction manual said; reading really pays off sometimes!
This is another nice thing to tell people who have interest in Linux actually: Linux, the software, community, and documentation (instruction manuals) isn't going to talk down to you as if it were somehow better than you. Things aren't going to be hidden from you because we assume you're too stupid: No, we know you aren't and we know you can learn something about how that box under the desk functions.

So in response. If you want a managed desktop that's smarter than you: Use Windows, and have devurandom as your admin. If you want to be treated as an equal who is given not only information but some responsibility; use Linux. I know it sounds difficult, and it is at first: Remember algebra class? Would you give up knowing algebra now?

Reply Score: 1

wasted
by Anonymous on Fri 8th Jul 2005 15:20 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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People have to think of all the absolutely wasted time spent "learning" windows. This means, registry, control panel, rebooting, netwerking, rebooting, getting that pesky driver to work, reboot, more registry edits to clean hosed stuff, reformatting every 6 months because registry/dll's/whatever gets screwed up... Countless hours and hours and just to use windows. Now enter Linux, you will have to learn (unix commands, etc), and a 'different' way of doing things. To me I'll gladly do that as the knowledge can transfer (to Mac, Solaris, HPUX, etc). So any OS takes time/learning, it's just that windows was very specific and annoying, with relatively nothing out of it. Back in 99 when I switched to mac/linux off of dozer, my computing life got much simpler, and I spent less futzing with my computers.

Reply Score: 0

Open Office .org
by Anonymous on Fri 8th Jul 2005 16:16 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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Due to a small budget and licensing restrictions, I use OpenOffice.org 1.0.3 (havent updated yet.) on a PENTIUM 233mmx with 96MB of ram on a WINDOWS 95 laboratory computer.

The computer is attached to a piece of test equipment, and the software isn't likely to be updated anytime soon (intranet only, no internet connection.) Though it takes something like 3-5minutes to load up, once it's running, Open Office runs very well for typing documents such as test packs, especially for entering test data. Creating graphing charts takes a little while to plot (maybe 5 seconds vs instantly on a more modern machine,) but has save the company from a re-occuring license and hardware and OS upgrade.

I am an occasional linux user, a big fan of Knoppix specifically. I use wine to support my older games that no longer work in windows xp. I doubt I'll buy cedega because it doesn't run full speed for modern games, and there's no way I'm going to pay $300 for a video card and have it run at 75% speed.

I have switched my father to Firefox & OpenOffice, and he is a frequent user of foreign languages, specifically spanish and portuguese. Using foreign symbols is not a big deal for him, once I wrote down the steps he needed to follow.

I was not able to switch him to Thunderbird. He did not like it in comparison to Outlook Express--don't ask me why.

Linux will begin to make more sense as a desktop suite for everyday users when everyday users begin to actually see it. Marketing is key. When you begin to see REDHAT in movies, or the Wall Street Journal, or Time Magazine, or other popular media outlets, even TV commercials, then it will begin to catch on. IT WORKED FOR FIREFOX.

Include a free CD with the wallstreet journal or time magazine, instead of with "SUPER LINUX USER" magazine. Let people try it out for themselves and people will begin to switch to Linux.

Advertise at large computer shows by giving a free distro to everyone at the door. Companies like Novell should do this as it costs barely anything, spreads the word about them, gets everyday business users familiar with their product, like secretaries, clerks, etc. Once corporations find that retraining would cost very little, switching becomes very easy.

Reply Score: 0

Sure linux is easy...
by Anonymous on Fri 8th Jul 2005 16:46 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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If you have all the software you will ever need already installed.. if not software installation and unistallation is a tangled web of package managers, dependencies and hard work.. Sorry but setup.exe is pretty nice compared to most Linux installs.. after trying 10 different distros I found that Fedora was the easiest only cause most software is released as a RPM.. After 10 distro installs, and a month and a half of trying I assure you I put the time in to learn how to install software.. Even learned to compile and install..

Other then that some of the sys configs are pretty messed up from distro to distro (unintuitive, or just near impossible). Sad thing is I used to work on Solaris and BSD about 10 years ago so I had at least some base understanding.. I would couldn't imagine how hard it would be for the average windows user..

After a few months of working with linux here is my list of problems.
Software installation is to hard, packages are out dated easily and the online repositories don't have the latest versions.
Out of the box the gui looks like a cruder version of Windows (sad as that may be).. After a great deal of work I was able to get some nicer and easier to use themes going..
Driver support is flaky from distro to distro.. nearly every distro I used missed drivers for one of my pieces of hardware.. but they all were different..
Large amounts of the software available have cryptic hard to understand and remember names, their UI's range from perfect to horrible.. (while OSx and Windows GUIs tend to look generally all the same [good for Win, great for OSX], but there are always exceptions)


If Linux took cues from OSx (amazing interface, easy installation and removal of software) I would be on it 100% of the time.. Oh well at least OSX is coming to Intel, I just move to that when it gets here...

Reply Score: 0

RE: Sure linux is easy...
by Finalzone on Fri 8th Jul 2005 17:44 UTC in reply to "Sure linux is easy... "
Finalzone Member since:
2005-07-06

Driver support is flaky from distro to distro.. nearly every distro I used missed drivers for one of my pieces of hardware.. but they all were different..
The same applies for any OS including Windows and OSX.


If Linux took cues from OSx (amazing interface, easy installation and removal of software) I would be on it 100% of the time.. Oh well at least OSX is coming to Intel, I just move to that when it gets here...
Nothing stops you to customize a Linux distro of your choice to mimic OSX Look. Take a look at this gallery
http://www.fedoraforum.org/gallery/browseimages.php?do=browseimages...

Reply Score: 1

you all never learn
by raver31 on Fri 8th Jul 2005 19:41 UTC
raver31
Member since:
2005-07-06

it is not that linux is not ready for the desktop, it it that YOU are not ready for linux.

Linux is perfect on MY desktop.

Reply Score: 1

the gimp.
by Anonymous on Fri 8th Jul 2005 20:06 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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the gimp is VERY close to photo shop.

its only missing the history brush, actions pallete, and color management. the history brush isn't such a big deal. if you know what you are doing with the clone tool and have a wacom tablet its easy to get the results you want. the last 2 make it harder for photographers and printers. High volume photographers need actions. it makes it easy to remove dead pixels, and get things ready. really really fast. on hundreds of pictures. they can start it and go take more pictures. and color management is needed for anyone in professional printing.

but so far thats all i have noticed missing from the gimp.

Reply Score: 1

linux and desktop.
by Anonymous on Fri 8th Jul 2005 20:22 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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in my experience, linux is easy enough for desktop usage.

what i think is missing is this.

1 easily updatable drivers. i have been using linux for 3 months or so, and i still have not figured out how to update my videodrivers. The opensource ones ubuntu came with work well enough, and have 3d. So i haven't been motivated enough to try installing ati's drivers.

2 easy to use fast user switching. you can configure gdm to start 2 sessions, and that's what i have done. but it makes me a bit mad because 3d only works on the first opened gdm session. it would be easier if you could start a new session from the locked screensaver. OR if you just ctrl-alt-f8 it would be nice if it just opened up a new gdm session automatically.

3 easy to configure/use input devices, mice and wacom tablets etc. i have a mouse and a wacom tablet. i was able to get it configured, after a few weeks. it takes alot of reading and searching for documentation. i was able to get the wacom tablet configured. but i think input devices are things that you should just be able to plug in, and it will start working immediately.

Reply Score: 1

@ Ma_d
by Anonymous on Fri 8th Jul 2005 20:41 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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>>Why in the world would you ever be explaining things to someone if they aren't interested?

I was responding to a comment that seemed to assert that explaining something would generate interest. My point is obvious: Lack of interest in Linux means no audience for the explanation.

>>You realize that there is a large group of people interested in trying something that's:
a.) Not from Microsoft.
b.) Not from Apple.

Yes, as I said, much of the Linux audience is drawn from people who are averse to commercial software for ideological or allegedly moral reasons.

>>You act like people are trying to grab them by the collar and drag them to something else:

How so? I simply said that people need a reason to use something before they have a reason to listen to an explanation. I was responding to a comment that seemed to have it the other way around.

>>Explaining /home?
That's so rediculously simple that any user should grow to appreciate it.

Why "should" they? Saying people "should" do something is not at all the same as getting a clue about what people will actually do. (In my own experience trying to explain directory structure to neophyte users, they just don't see why they should care. What they want to know is how to save their files and how to find them later. They do that within an application, using the applications menu system. Most of them are unable to locate a saved file without using the application that created it, and, additionally, see no reason why they'd ever want to do that.)

>>Explain package managers?

And, they are liable to ask you how that is any different than going to a web site and clicking on a link. You'd better be there when they run up against their first failed dependency, too. (The Linux world seems to be populated by a lot of people who use their computer primarily to install and remove new software. Hence, the market for package managers. This does not reflect how everyone else behaves.)

>>These things should be hidden?
Pish-posh, that attitude is the reason so many users are completely dependant on an IT staff.

My comments are intended to address the home user, not the institutional user. Home users will learn, or not learn, what they wish. Institutional users are using computers and software owned and managed by someone else.


>>Linux, the software, community, and documentation (instruction manuals) isn't going to talk down to you...

It's my impression that a good many members of the Linux community consider it to be the exclusive province of developers and have no time or interest in users, and say so on a regular basis.

>>Would you give up knowing algebra now?

I haven't used algebra since algebra class.

My point remains the same, and your assertions don't really address it: The Linux desktop is good enough not to put off someone attracted to Linux for other reasons, but it is not yet good enough to be the primary reason users switch their OS.

Reply Score: 0

RE: @ Ma_d
by ma_d on Fri 8th Jul 2005 23:11 UTC in reply to "@ Ma_d"
ma_d Member since:
2005-06-29

That's nothing more than marketing: Another nicety of the poor (financially) OSS community; they can't afford to blast you with tv ads like say GEICO. They can't afford to call you daily like say Citi. They can't afford strange ads that I can never quite remember, like say Microsoft. Remember that Firefox ad in, I think, Time? That was a big deal; how sad huh?
Getting people excited about an alternative always has been a question of marketing; and that's not just advertising but it's sales and word of mouth as well. And that's in every field! And I think the article to some extent addresses this problem by comparing this to firefox: Which was heavily marketed via word of mouth. Since firefox is so easy to try, a lot of people said "ok I'll try it." Obviously repartitioning their disk is a bit more inconvenient!

You talked about how people couldn't find their documents. You seem to think it's no big deal that people don't know where they put things because they don't understand the system they're using; I think that's a very big deal! Geez, remember Sasser? Imagine if everyone had been keeping up with updates because they all understood their computers at that basic level! I believe the fix for Sasser was released a couple days before the worm was started; so many infected computers and so much money could have been saved by keeping up with updates.
Like I said. It's time to stop talking down to users; they're intelligent people who happen to not work in a computer field. They're perfectly capable of understanding a heirarchial structure (especially if you avoid the word heirarchial); they're perfectly capable of understanding that they need to run updates; they're literate so they can read directions. I don't think this is in anyway a problem of ability; it's sometimes a problem of fear but usually a problem of laziness.

Reply Score: 1

Invading the Desktop by Stealth
by Anonymous on Fri 8th Jul 2005 22:42 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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I played around with Linux many years ago. I set up a dual booting system and remember having to set up partitions and dick around with settings all over. Hell, I think I had windows95, OS/2 and Linux bootable. Well, I stuck with Windows, out of what I considered to be a necessity.

I am hearing things have improved with Linux, so I think to myself "why don't I give it a try?". It might just stick this time, and now there are a vast array of more impressive apps than there were then to play with and they're free. Maybe I don't have to give MS any more money.

Then I think to myself. Ok, what do I need to do? I'm not a Linux junkie, all these apps have weird names....Arrgh, information overload. I really don't care enough, to learn all this stuff straight away but might be bothered if I see it useful to me. But not all at once, I want to learn it at my own pace and not have it forced upon me from the outset.

I also obviously have a lot of windows software, I don't want to lose, and I want to keep Windows for special tasks if I have to. I have invested in numerous tools, Games and I want to keep Windows as a backup if I can't get what I want on Linux.

Then, I think, well, "Ok, how much of my hard disk do I want to give it?" And then the whole thing comes down to, I really can't be bothered, this is too hard. What if I get it wrong and need the HD space. What if I don't use it often enough and it's not worth all the space I lost to the partition.

I played with one of those autobooting knoppix CDs but I quickly thought, there's no sense of permanancy there, oh and "how do I install this on HD again?" By then I'd quickly mislaid the CD anyway.

So the solution to my hesitancy is if I could install Linux to a directory on my windows partition, then I wouldn't have to think about all this dual boot rubbish. Perhaps I could have an Icon in windows that will reboot into Linux and vice versa. If a distro did this, then PC Vendors could add Linux as a value add very easily. Just pop in the CD and wait a little while it installs or have Linux all there with Windows on the same partition to be ghosted(?). Most new HDs are huge and most users don't use much of the space so Linux taking up a Gig or two isn't going to make a big difference. I don't lose all the space of the partition and if I don't like it I just erase the Linux directory. This lowers the risk for me substantially, and lowers my investment in getting it to work. Can Linux already be installed in a directory? I think I had a Linux once that could many many years ago. I want my Linux like that.

Another thing that would really impress me is if Linux, on my command, could go online and update drivers automatically for my hardware, do whatever kind of recompilation it has to, (which sounds scary even to me), maybe even install new versions of Linux and other software I nominate automatically. Sort of like Windows Update does automatically. You'd need a big driver and hardware profile database somewhere on the internet to do this. Does Linux have this? So maybe if something is not compatable today it might be in the future without me having to hunt around to make sure.

Another thing that prevents me from moving to Linux is not so much the UIs(Which might be fun to learn) but navigating all the apps and figuring out what everything does. Oh, yeah, I should learn you say, but then you know what, "F U I don't wanna have to right now". I just want an Icon that says "Word Processor" and an Icon that says "Web Browser" and another that says "File Manager". I really want generic terms and if I want anything special, well, then I'll bother to learn the name, but right off the bat, a newbie wouldn't know what Open Office is or even Firefox and doesn't care either. You have to remember that a new DE is going to be a scary proposition for most people and to a certain extent me too.

Most machines are pre-installed with Windows and there is no way to prevent that. Indeed it is already paid for via the OEM license, but there is no reason I can't have Linux on there too very easily as a value add for free. Of course there would have to be the expressed understanding that the PC Vendor is not responsible for Linux hardware compatability down the line.

The other thing to realise that Windows is what creates the need for new hardware. It's almost like Windows becomes deliberately slow when it comes time to upgrade hardware. Longhorn is all about creating the requirement for new hardware to be purchased. Linux doesn't have this problem, and so it may never be a motivation for the majority of people to upgrade their PCs and perhaps the manufacturers themselves would actually perfer Linux not be installed so that the hardware becomes redundant faster, requiring an upgrade.

I think enabling PC Vendors to piggy back Linux installs on Windows machines simply(on the same partition) would lower the investment of time one needs to get into Linux and delivers all the apps that one could possible need free of cost and with no risk to the customer. You don't need a Tuxmini. You just need PC Vendors to add Linux as a value-add for the customer. "Hey, have some free software running on Linux, but you still have windows, so there's no need to worry."

It would be an invasion by stealth.

You shouldn't castigate anyone, even the more technical savvy users like myself, for not being bothered to use Linux, when they are perfectly happy with what they have and really don't feel the need to learn anything new. Give them a way to fall into it by accident and you may find they become excited by the prospect.

Another thing that I think one would find useful is some sort of Linux presentation video that would highlight the differences between accomplishing something on Windows and accomplishing the same thing through Linux, stating all the advantages that Linux has over windows as well as how to navigate whatever desktop GUI they are using. Perhaps this could have a Lesson menu showing them how to go about their tasks in Linux. I think Windows has this. Perhaps we could make this learning Linux system open source. Easy things first and the more complex things later. Yeah, just bung that on during the install too and have it accessible from the Linux desktop when they boot up for the first time, so that perhaps Linux would become an easy sell and they will not be too frightened off to stick with it.

Ok. Going back to my happy place now.
BigBentheAussie.
"WHAT, I NEED TO LOG IN NOW!!!" ahfergitaboudit

Reply Score: 0

RE: Invading the Desktop by Stealth
by ma_d on Fri 8th Jul 2005 23:23 UTC in reply to "Invading the Desktop by Stealth"
ma_d Member since:
2005-06-29

Most of the drivers for Linux exist in Linux. Sound confusing? Linux is a kernel which comes with a massive distribution of drivers. Very few distributions build nearly all of them: Some of them are just so specialized. Usually the driver people need is on their system, but it has been built as a module to save on memory (no one wants a 64MB kernel); and they of course don't know the name of the module (and module names truly are cryptic).

Anyway, most "easy" distributions come with a KDE or Gnome setup that helps you find programs by their purpose. So, if you want an editor you might look in accessories. If you want a video player you might look in Sound&Video. Most people should be able to navigate that. Once you find apps you like you start to associate names with them, that's just a natural usage pattern: Who'd know Nero was a cd burning application without some experience with it? Would they think:
Nero, that's a Roman emperor who burnt Christians. Burn, that's a word people sometimes use for heating dye on a cd-r. Cd-r, that stands for Compact Disc Recordable: Oh this is a cd creation program! Kinda like k3b, except that there's probably no way to go from k3b to cd burning!

The only way to do what you're talking about is VMware or something similar. There are things like cygwin and there was a gnu/win (but it's being updated now supposedly): Those can be a nice introduction to free software on your windows system. KDE has also talked about a Windows port.

The last part actually isn't a bad idea. There are also things like application equivalency tables for Windows/Linux.

Reply Score: 1

sounds kind of like the "Lini pc"
by Anonymous on Fri 8th Jul 2005 23:04 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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RE[2]: Invading the Desktop by Stealth
by Anonymous on Sat 9th Jul 2005 00:19 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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another idea is to port a complete DE to windows, i.e. KDE, with all its applications, like a program that install on top of windows, full screen... and every program has messages like "Run best on LINUX/*BSD"

Reply Score: 0

Linux IS ready for the desktop
by dukeinlondon on Sat 9th Jul 2005 00:50 UTC
dukeinlondon
Member since:
2005-07-06

Distro makers are not ! All the tools are there, the package management, menu management, common Gnome and KDE conventions and interoperability, single kernel, compiler and glibc,alsa for sound, much better nvidia and ati drivers, some webcam drivers, wifi drivers,opengl support and more.

But distros keep the confusion going, picking different versions of the core packages, not discussing what kernel they should ALL use, what third party app developpers API they should ALL provide, not setting up a common hardware certification program (if the kernel doesn't support it, none of them support it right ?), in short not creating an eco system in the same way that the kernel, apache, perl, python, Mozilla even amarok (for heaven's sake !) all do !

Get the distro to PRACTICALLY agree on a single base and Linux will suddenly be ready for the desktop. Hardware and software vendors won't have to wonder (wondering is a cost) which distro, which kernel, which gcc, which alsa, which package manager etc.... to support. They would just have to read the realease notes for the next 24 months and get going.

See that happening ? Not me. It sickens me but I'll go and buy Tiger. Sickens me not because it's not good but because I'd prefer a free standard to a control freak borrne OS. And NO, I won't return to XP.

Reply Score: 2

Tux Mini
by Anonymous on Tue 12th Jul 2005 00:12 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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Is someone developing a TuxMini yet ?

This is something that should be done ...

If Mac did it with BSD and MacMini's

and somehow Windows users can now use Fedora

Im sure it can be done with a TuxMini and
its own version of Linux ..

Reply Score: 0

Firefox is no suprise
by Anonymous on Tue 12th Jul 2005 02:16 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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Firefox isn't something that open source can readily take as a confidence boost. Despite all the press, a huge percentage of that codebase was designed and written by 400 engineers working at Netscape, for pay. Even now, major contributors consist of ex-Netscape people who left AOL to work at mozilla.org, also for pay.

I know, I was one of them.

Reply Score: 0

Education Matters!!!
by Anonymous on Tue 12th Jul 2005 05:58 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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Although this article was too much idealistic, it was one of the best articles I've read regarding the progress of linux.

I would like to also mention that the "Firefox users" idea was very clever, since they are going to be the generation to work on. If they are taught how to USE linux, they can expand it for the next generation--which in my opinion can make Linux a major OS.

About education: I am a "Firefox user" myself and have tried using linux as my main OS. However, the biggest problem that I had was the education. Most books that I tried referring to just started off with too much useless basic stuff. They didn't help me with, for example, how to install new applications... instead they taught me what the ls command means in shell.

If Linux focuses more--not completely of course--on the "Firefox users's" education on useful stuff, it is going to be the best for Linux.

Reply Score: 0

SymphonyOS
by Anonymous on Tue 12th Jul 2005 21:20 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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This distro http://www.symphonyos.com seems completely on the right track. Possibly the perfect OS for the "TuxMini" if and when both are ready.

Reply Score: 0

idiots all of you are idiots
by Anonymous on Thu 14th Jul 2005 03:36 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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ok lets say something is growing by 10 every day...the first day it will double, 100% growth. then after that it will only grow by 50% then on the third day only grow by 25% and so on....so in other words firefox is growing at the same rate it always has ...it is called liniar growth you idiots....and liniar growth can over power negative growth (ie IE's growth patern ;) ) just as well as exponetial growth...only it will take longer.

Reply Score: 0