Linked by Martin Girard on Tue 12th Sep 2006 13:57 UTC
Linux You must remember the period where various electronic devices, from phones to radios, were available in transparent cases. You may have found them utterly cool. Yet the simple fact that you can't find these things on the shelves anymore (except for do-it-yourself PC cases) means the crowd doesn't find them nearly that cool. While you may not see the link yet, this is exactly why the Linux desktop will never be popular.
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nice
by deanlinkous on Tue 12th Sep 2006 14:17 UTC
deanlinkous
Member since:
2006-06-19

Great Read! Not sure I entirely agree but great read and may be exactly right on the money.

So our goal now is to turn Joe Clueless into Joe Geek and then he will naturally adopt linux because his brain will be rewired to enjoy the geeky side of life....

Works for me - on to world domination!

Reply Score: 5

RE: nice
by Meanwhile on Tue 12th Sep 2006 17:05 UTC in reply to "nice"
Meanwhile Member since:
2005-09-03

"So our goal now is to turn Joe Clueless into Joe Geek and then he will naturally adopt linux because his brain will be rewired to enjoy the geeky side of life...."

I think turning Joe Clueless into Masochist Joe puts it better...

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: nice
by deanlinkous on Tue 12th Sep 2006 17:19 UTC in reply to "RE: nice"
deanlinkous Member since:
2006-06-19

:)
for some things, in some cases, with certain hardware, you are right...

I think somewhat advanced users are the ones with the greatest problems using linux. Those that use the computer and software to do somewhat advanced things yet do not know enough to get their hands dirty to make something work.

Clueless user that just wants to browse would likely be well served with linux. I personally am well served by linux. My sister-in-law who knows how to click the 'auto movie maker' button and has software that pops up and walks here thru getting the pics from her camera and auto adjusting everything and burning to a VCD, yet would freak out at the thought of having to edit a text file, or be lost at a dependency issue, or have no clue what version something is on her computer - well she would probably not be served by linux very well. She likes the all in one, player, ripper, adjuster, burner, fixer, do hicky thingy. She has no undertanding of saving a file in one format, coverting it to another to and opening it in something else and so forth. If she cannot click on it and the correct application pop up for what she wants to do then she is lost.

So who knows....wait and see I guess.

Reply Score: 2

RE: nice
by nzMM on Tue 12th Sep 2006 20:49 UTC in reply to "nice"
nzMM Member since:
2006-06-22

Not a great read, a load of bollocks.

We already have DE's like KDE and GNOME working towards makeing things just work, which abstract away from the complexities of the commandline. So is this article omitting reality? Sure there is still some effort to get the opensource equivalents up to the standards of windows and macos, but there is a process in motion and its merely a matter of time, quickened by increasing exposure and popularity?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: nice
by jqp123 on Wed 13th Sep 2006 13:59 UTC in reply to "nice"
jqp123 Member since:
2006-09-13

An OK read. Unfortunately, the author makes one critical mistake that is somewhat characteristic of Linux "evangelists". He assumes that technical skill is synonymous with intellectual superiority.

Just because Joe user lacks the time or motivation to explore and learn all the joyous and wonderful technical intracicies of Linux does not necessarily imply a lack of ability. It may simply mean that Joe user has other priorities.

Reply Score: 1

What Absolute Rubbish
by charlieg on Tue 12th Sep 2006 14:20 UTC
charlieg
Member since:
2005-07-25

"In order to make the Linux desktop appealing to the average Joe, technology enthusiasts would have to betray their core values to such extends that it would be the operating system's undoing."

You have an OS with geek roots, yes. But this is hidden by increasingly smooth and uninterfering desktop software (e.g. Gnome) that makes using a computer a pleasure for novice users. Geeks can then just sub in their own geek land software (e.g. Fluxbox, Englightenment) and people are happy. We are constantly seeing software components developed for Linux/BSD/*nix that just work (e.g. HAL, GStreamer, XOrg) and are handled by the distribution. Combined with increasingly ergonomic applications (e.g. Totem, Banshee, Tomboy, Evince) and using your computer to do the basics is easy.

All the complicated stuff is handled by the distribution - Grandma doesn't need to know what the software is, just as long as she can see "Media Player", click on it, and play a movie or insert a DVD and watch it all happen for her. And on my machine, she can.

Have you installed Ubuntu or Fedora recently? Or even Linspire or Freespire?

The only failing of Linux so far is marketing. It needs to be preinstalled; it needs to be spoon fed to the public. The only reason it is not taking off like it could is because it requires manual intervention to use it.

This article is 100% flamebait and displays a total ignorance of the open source software movement.

Reply Score: 5

RE: What Absolute Rubbish
by RMSe17 on Tue 12th Sep 2006 15:01 UTC in reply to "What Absolute Rubbish"
RMSe17 Member since:
2006-03-06

I do not think things are that good yet. For example, last distro that I installed (and I forget which one it was, Ubuntu or SUSE 10.1) would not "out-of-the-box" play an mp3. I dont think I got a .wmv to play either.

The reason I don't remember which distro it was is because I didn't really care for that, I was testing other things, I just tried it to see if everything would work.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: What Absolute Rubbish
by Knuckles on Tue 12th Sep 2006 15:06 UTC in reply to "RE: What Absolute Rubbish"
Knuckles Member since:
2005-06-29

I don't want to flame, but COME ON!! This has been discussed hundreds of time, distros choose not to include mp3 and wmv and other multimedia support because it may be illegal (because of licensing and/or software patents in some countries).

But is that all you have to say? Because if it is, congrats to all opensource developers, they seem to have it all together, if all you can find to complain is that.

Reply Score: 5

RE: What Absolute Rubbish
by Duffman on Tue 12th Sep 2006 15:42 UTC in reply to "What Absolute Rubbish"
Duffman Member since:
2005-11-23

This article is 100% flamebait and displays a total ignorance of the open source software movement.

No this article is only showing us that you are a Linux zealot, unable to get the facts.

I never read a so interesting (and neutral) article on OSNews.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: What Absolute Rubbish
by slight on Tue 12th Sep 2006 16:08 UTC in reply to "RE: What Absolute Rubbish"
slight Member since:
2006-09-10

I have to agree with him I'm afraid. Once a modern Linux like Ubuntu is installed and configured (that includes setting up MP3, WMV and Flash) grandma can use it, and it's actually simpler than Windows.

I installed Ubuntu for my girlfriend. The only thing she ever asks for support on is OpenOffice because she's used to Office. She's perfectly happy with Gnome, Firefox, Gaim and Thunderbird, and she is *not* a power user.

Sorry but the article is just plain wrong, most of the development going into the UI of the major 'commercial' or 'desktop' distros (Gnome) is being done by major companies to human interface guidelines, not by random geeks.

Reply Score: 5

RE: What Absolute Rubbish
by DoctorPepper on Tue 12th Sep 2006 15:48 UTC in reply to "What Absolute Rubbish"
DoctorPepper Member since:
2005-07-12

Not quite rubbish.

There are different levels of technical capability. I have two elderly acquaintances, one that had never used a computer in his life. He is currently using Fedora (I forget which "core"), and has been for over three years now (he moved to Fedora from Red Hat). He has never used Windows, and doesn't miss it.

My second friend has worked around computers for a long time (longer than perhaps anyone on this site), all the way back to punch cards. I got her first personal computer for her, an HP Pavilion running Windows 98, back in 2002. I recently upgraded that computer to a bottom of the line Dell running Windows XP. While she has learned quite a bit in the four or so years she has used personal computers, I still get called over to help with (what I would consider) simple things. There is absolutely no way this lady could run Linux without being on the phone with me on an almost daily basis, no matter which distro she used.

Moral of my little story is some people are very capable of using Linux today. Some are not. The best thing would be to help those that can, and let the rest stay with what they are used to. I'd rather pass-up someone that shouldn't be running Linux, than to have the entire Linux community suffere a black eye because of me pushing them to use it.

Reply Score: 5

RE: What Absolute Rubbish
by arctic on Wed 13th Sep 2006 17:13 UTC in reply to "What Absolute Rubbish"
arctic Member since:
2006-04-19

"You have an OS with geek roots, yes."

One thing people tend to forget is that ALL operating systems have geek roots. Ever seen a non-geek coding a line of a program? Ever seen a non-geek even thinking about becoming a progammer? I haven't. ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: What Absolute Rubbish
by Bonus on Wed 13th Sep 2006 18:12 UTC in reply to "RE: What Absolute Rubbish"
Bonus Member since:
2005-12-23

I think there is a difference between a geek and a nerd. A nerd just does his job and builds a product. A geek is more of a hobbiest. So sometimes Linux can become unweildly becase of all the versions and the main repositories trying to handle everyhthing.
I like how, in Windows, my config files are in the actual folders of the program. Also I have to re-download sourceccode in Linux as it's already installed in the repository most likely and I dont want to work in Super User mode. When I do that it's hard to reinstall it. Granted with Windows you have to install sourcecode dependencies manually but that's not a big deal to me.

Edited 2006-09-13 18:15

Reply Score: 1

Another one bites the dust...
by sect2k on Tue 12th Sep 2006 14:21 UTC
sect2k
Member since:
2006-01-17

Yet another articles on OSNews without any real value.
Sure some points in there are valid, but have little to do with "Desktop" Linux.

Sure tech users are different from your avreage Joe, but claming that is why they use windows is outright dumb.

One thing I would like to know is when, if ever, did the author use linux on the desktop? After reading the article I doubt he ever did.

Please, please, please, don't post news articles just for the sake of posting news articles, it brings the value of the whole site down.

Edited 2006-09-12 14:23

Reply Score: 3

Baloney
by ozonehole on Tue 12th Sep 2006 14:22 UTC
ozonehole
Member since:
2006-01-07

While I see the author's point, I think his theory is baloney. The reason why most people use Windows is because it comes pre-installed on their computer. If desktop Linux was pre-installed, most people would use it. Back in the old days, our computers came with MS-DOS pre-installed, and everyone (except Mac users, that is) used it despite the arcane interface. Be-OS had a nice easy-to-understand interface that was better than what Windows offered at the time, but hardly anyone used it because it didn't come pre-installed. Similarly, OS2 failed because it wasn't pre-installed.


Really, I'm not out to destroy Microsoft. That will just be a completely unintentional side effect.
- Linus Torvalds.

Edited 2006-09-12 14:25

Reply Score: 5

RE: Baloney
by cwdrake on Tue 12th Sep 2006 14:36 UTC in reply to "Baloney"
cwdrake Member since:
2005-08-09

"If desktop Linux was pre-installed, most people would use it."

I have to disagree. I think most users would avoid the Linux computer and find a computer with Windows pre-installed and buy that. Pre-installing with Linux will NOT bring the masses over to Linux.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Baloney
by sbenitezb on Tue 12th Sep 2006 14:40 UTC in reply to "RE: Baloney"
sbenitezb Member since:
2005-07-22

"I have to disagree. I think most users would avoid the Linux computer and find a computer with Windows pre-installed and buy that. Pre-installing with Linux will NOT bring the masses over to Linux."

Most people think Windows is the PC, so if you bring in an almost like Windows desktop they will use it, and if the can use it without trouble then why should they change it?

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Baloney
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 12th Sep 2006 14:46 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Baloney"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Most people think Windows is the PC, so if you bring in an almost like Windows desktop they will use it, and if the can use it without trouble then why should they change it?

Until they see that they can't videochat woth other MSN users, until the see that the app that got sent to them by cousin Vinnie don't work, until they see the documents they get from other students and teachers render incorrectly, etc. etc.

Getting Linux on the desktop isn't as easy as it seems. It's a great system, and definitely 'ready' for normal people, but as long as there's a Windows monoculture, and everyone else is using Windows and Windows-based files, giving Linux to normal people is impossible. No matter how good the system is.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Baloney
by charlieg on Tue 12th Sep 2006 15:09 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Baloney"
charlieg Member since:
2005-07-25

I know hardly anybody who uses video chat let alone MSN video chat. And there is plenty of good software for video conferencing like Ekiga that works with NetMeeting and other main protocols:

www.gnomemeeting.org

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Baloney
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 12th Sep 2006 15:12 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Baloney"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

I know hardly anybody who uses video chat let alone MSN video chat. And there is plenty of good software for video conferencing like Ekiga that works with NetMeeting and other main protocols:

Welcome to Europe, where MSN has the biggest marketshare of the IM market. MSN on Linux is understandably miles behind the official client, and that just plain SUCKS. When the girl I met at the pub last night wants to do some advanced MSN stuff, Kopete/GAIM/aMSN just don't cut it.

As for Ekiga, get real. It is good, but besides three men and a cow, who really uses it?

Edited 2006-09-12 15:13

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Baloney
by sbenitezb on Tue 12th Sep 2006 16:04 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Baloney"
sbenitezb Member since:
2005-07-22

"When the girl I met at the pub last night wants to do some advanced MSN stuff, Kopete/GAIM/aMSN just don't cut it. "

I would rather go for real sex or "live" contact with others. If you want to chat with other people, normal chat clients do that, I mean, "chat". If you want to send them jumpy frogs and stupid animations, then either you are braindamaged or have nothing to do. I would prefer a real meeting in a bar/pub, real talk, and real frogs.

Reply Score: 5

RE[6]: Baloney
by slight on Tue 12th Sep 2006 16:32 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Baloney"
slight Member since:
2006-09-10

Funny that, I live in Europe too, and yes most people on my contact list are on MSN. Personally I prefer Jabber but each to their own.

Anyway my point is that I have 63 people in my contact list on MSN, the vast majority of whom are non-technical, and do you know how many times someone has tried to start a video chat with me? None, not once, never happened.

Know how many times I've heard someone say they use the video in MSN? Not once until I read these posts.

Reply Score: 4

RE[7]: Baloney
by CrLf on Tue 12th Sep 2006 17:57 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Baloney"
CrLf Member since:
2006-01-03

"and do you know how many times someone has tried to start a video chat with me? None, not once, never happened."

Do you have a webcam? Are you using some alternative client?

The MS "official" client shows an icon informing that the other party has a webcam. If your contacts don't see that icon, they won't bother trying to start a video chat with you.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Baloney
by devurandom on Tue 12th Sep 2006 18:13 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Baloney"
devurandom Member since:
2005-07-06

Odd. I just videochatted with a girl using aMSN 0.95 on Gentoo Linux yesterday ;) . It has pretty good webcam support.

Reply Score: 3

RE[7]: Baloney
by jziegler on Wed 13th Sep 2006 10:23 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Baloney"
jziegler Member since:
2005-07-14

Thom? When did you move to Jupiter's moon? ;)

Last I checked (seconds ago), I still live in Europe. I did whole my life. I don't have an MSN account. None of my friends do. Less than half of them are geeks, rest would be those "average Joes". And Janes.

And I have Ekiga running. Best soft-phone for SIP I found. Until I move and get my Linksys "hard"-phone.

MSN might be popular in .nl. I have no idea. ICQ and Jabber (and webchats) lead the way in .sk and .cz. AFAIK GaduGadu is most popular in .pl and virtually unkown elsewhere.

As an editor of this site, you should be well above the discussed issues to not make such broad generalizations.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Baloney
by markjensen on Tue 12th Sep 2006 15:34 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Baloney"
markjensen Member since:
2005-07-26

Until they see that they can't videochat woth other MSN users, until the see that the app that got sent to them by cousin Vinnie don't work, until they see the documents they get from other students and teachers render incorrectly, etc. etc.

Video chat? I didn't use that much as a Windows user, so no loss there for me. I have heard that Mercury and/or aMSN work for MSN video chat, but I have no experience with that.

Running apps emailed to you? I don't know if it is a good idea to run email attachments, but unless you are a software developer, this likely isn't a big item. Wine has worked for me for what little I need from "Windows only" apps. Most of these are likely basic little apps and utilities, not Photoshop or MS Office apps Vinnie is sending? Right?

Document incompatbility? I haven't had that in the nearly 4 years of 100% Linux. People send me Word and Excel files. I open them. Life is good.

You are making it sound like Linux is unusable as a desktop system. It is not. It is OK to have needs that are not met by a Linux system (for example, perhaps you and your cousin Vinnie are developers for a Windows app, so you require a Windows system to develop and test).

But it is not "impossible" for a normal person to use.

Reply Score: 4

RE[5]: Baloney
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 12th Sep 2006 15:42 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Baloney"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Document incompatbility? I haven't had that in the nearly 4 years of 100% Linux. People send me Word and Excel files. I open them. Life is good.

Yes, you open them. I am talking about little differences. For instance, when you have a document with a frontpage (title, name, studentnumber, course info, etc) after which, on the 2nd page, the actual report starts, you position the first header carefully to align with the top of page 2 (assuming there's no need for an index page). You do this in Word.

Then open it in Writer. Big chance, esp. with a bit more complicated documents, that all this alignment is now fcuked up. And this is just one example.

Another exmaple is how Writer does not seem to properly support commenting and teacher changes/remarks. Until things like this are resolved, no chance in hell I'll be able to depend on OOo. I need to be 100% sure that whatever reports/articles I write, they appear 100% correctly on other people's Word installations.

You are making it sound like Linux is unusable as a desktop system.

Don't talk nonsense. I literally said: "It's a great system, and definitely 'ready' for normal people, but as long as there's a Windows monoculture, and everyone else is using Windows and Windows-based files, giving Linux to normal people is impossible. No matter how good the system is."

Edited 2006-09-12 15:43

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Baloney
by markjensen on Tue 12th Sep 2006 15:51 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Baloney"
markjensen Member since:
2005-07-26

Thom,

Your complaint about OO.o vs. MSO is just that. It has bollocks to do with Linux. Here is a solution for this in Linux: CrossOver Office. Run MSOffice. Done.

And it is exactly that last line that I was talking about: "giving Linux to normal people is impossible". Surely you don't mean that it is truly impossible for a normal person to use Linux. Do you?

Reply Score: 3

RE[7]: Baloney
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 12th Sep 2006 15:56 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Baloney"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Your complaint about OO.o vs. MSO is just that. It has bollocks to do with Linux. Here is a solution for this in Linux: CrossOver Office. Run MSOffice. Done.

Crossover Office fails to install Office 200/XP/2003 for me. Tried various different versions, on various different systems. I once did get it to work, but it was so horribly slow and unreliable it just did not make any sense at all.

If the best answer you have to serious file compatibility problems preventing people like me from switching to Linux full time (because I do use Linux, quite happily, actually), is Wine...

Surely you don't mean that it is truly impossible for a normal person to use Linux. Do you?

En masse? Yes, en masse it is impossible.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Baloney
by h3rman on Tue 12th Sep 2006 15:56 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Baloney"
h3rman Member since:
2006-08-09

>> Don't talk nonsense. I literally said: "It's a great system, and definitely 'ready' for normal people, but as long as there's a Windows monoculture, and everyone else is using Windows and Windows-based files, giving Linux to normal people is impossible. No matter how good the system is." <<

Please don't say something is impossible .

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Baloney
by Adam S on Tue 12th Sep 2006 15:58 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Baloney"
Adam S Member since:
2005-04-01

Have you ever used Excel or Word professionally? I have been using Microsoft Office in actual business since 1996. Excel and Word have problems with formatting from machine to machine ALL THE TIME. If you're concerned about specific formatting, you should use PDFs, 'cause Office just don't cut it. Now that Word (as of 2003) defaults to this new "reading layout" when oipening files, that goes double.

As far as this "good enough" vs. "it must be perfect" mentality goes, I know that you and Eugenia claim to be usability experts, but formatting and usability are simply not the problem. I watch my users all the time, how the interact with the system. They would learn to use the alternatives in no time. But they need the *function*.

I work with what I see in the real world. In the real world, the formatting is DEFINITELY good enough, and not the problem. The problem, at least with Office compatiblity, is spreadsheet omnipresence. People use linked spreadsheets and use tons of macros and VBA scripts in the files. And these don't work reliably. And that's a showstopper.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Baloney
by galvanash on Tue 12th Sep 2006 17:31 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Baloney"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

Yes, you open them. I am talking about little differences. For instance, when you have a document with a frontpage (title, name, studentnumber, course info, etc) after which, on the 2nd page, the actual report starts, you position the first header carefully to align with the top of page 2 (assuming there's no need for an index page). You do this in Word.

Then open it in Writer. Big chance, esp. with a bit more complicated documents, that all this alignment is now fcuked up. And this is just one example.


Sorry, but this type of misundertstanding of how to use a word processor is _why_ there are so many percieved issues with document portability... The reason that what you described causes an issue is because you shouldnt be doing it AT ALL. That is what page breaks are for... Page breaks are your friend, use them.

ps. Just fyi, that document you spent all that time on getting the vertical alignment just right wont only not display properly on Open Office, but there is a very good chance it wont display properly on MS Word either if the user has a different printer or is using different margins than you do...

Reply Score: 5

RE[6]: Baloney
by devurandom on Tue 12th Sep 2006 18:16 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Baloney"
devurandom Member since:
2005-07-06

I write and format scientific papers in OO Writer (I'd love to use LaTeX, but my advisor cannot but use Word).

I send and receive arbitrarily complex .doc files without a hitch. Really. My Windows-only collegues don't perceive I'm on Linux, nor my OO.org perceives their files were done on Windows.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Baloney
by aent on Tue 12th Sep 2006 16:29 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Baloney"
aent Member since:
2006-01-25

But don't you and at least other people say that Apple is growing, since its so much better then Windows? It has the same exact problems as Linux. If I send a Windows program to run on a Mac, it won't work. You can't even connect to MSN on iChat, the default app on macs, whereas on Linux the default app (gaim or kopete) CAN connect to MSN in addition to AIM and Jabber. I stand to say that if giving Linux to people is impossible no matter how good the system is, then giving Macs to the people is also impossible, and therefore Apple is bound to fail (as they don't even have the server market). If Linux has no chance of succeeding for this reason, Apple is dead meat.

Reply Score: 5

RE[5]: Baloney
by hobgoblin on Wed 13th Sep 2006 11:08 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Baloney"
hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

i do belive there is a downloadable msn messenger version for mac. got a friend that uses a ibook, and i have seen him active on msn using said ibook...

btw, isnt ichat jabber? im guessing that you could aim it at a non-apple jabber server. and some of those have "bridges" for accessing msn, aim and yahoo.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Baloney
by aent on Wed 13th Sep 2006 14:40 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Baloney"
aent Member since:
2006-01-25

None of those methods allow for webcam support, which is what Thom mentioned as a reason that Linux (and thus Mac OS X) can't succeed, and in addition, the official client for OS X isn't included with the OS, which still makes the situation with Macs worse then Linux for people trying to connect ot MSN.

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: Baloney
by DeadFishMan on Wed 13th Sep 2006 15:40 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Baloney"
DeadFishMan Member since:
2006-01-09

None of those methods allow for webcam support, which is what Thom mentioned as a reason that Linux (and thus Mac OS X) can't succeed, and in addition, the official client for OS X isn't included with the OS, which still makes the situation with Macs worse then Linux for people trying to connect ot MSN.

Well, but aMSN does have webcam support working. I donīt like it that much, but my wife loves it precisely because it has everything that MSN has except those stupid winks and Iīm yet to hear she complaining of that. She uses the webcam to chat with her friends and relatives all the time. The only thing that she doesnīt like about it is that, being mostly a TCL/TK GUI app, it doesnīt have AA fonts but she prefers it over anything else anyway.

I havenīt tried Mercury but I heard that it has webcam support for both MSN and Yahoo protocols. Also Gaim-VV (that multimedia powered version of Gaim :-)) might work there too but since I donīt use Gaim, I canīt tell for sure. I also heard that Kopete - which is my personal favorite - has a somewhat experimental support for webcam built-in on its last releases but I havenīt tried yet.

Unfortunately, the Linux version of Skype didnīt catch up yet to its Windows counterpart on that front but probably they will make it work pretty soon.

And anybody who is serious about using a webcam would be using a proper videoconference application anyway like Ekiga, which uses good compression and codecs in order to provide a smoother experience and not a instant messenger, that keeps stuttering the audio and skipping frames on the video all the time.

So Linux sounds pretty covered on that front if you ask me. People still complaining just donīt know where to look for or just didnīt bother to start looking for it.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Baloney
by Sphinx on Wed 13th Sep 2006 00:33 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Baloney"
Sphinx Member since:
2005-07-09

There are brand new users every day who think you're talking about a cable news channel.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Baloney
by cwdrake on Tue 12th Sep 2006 14:56 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Baloney"
cwdrake Member since:
2005-08-09

Regardless of how easy it may be to use, they will not even buy the Linux computer if they can't install ALL of the off-the-shelf software they see in the store. When most users hear that even one piece of mainstream software will not work, they will not even bother with the Linux computer and will just buy the computer with Windows instead.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Baloney
by twenex on Tue 12th Sep 2006 16:29 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Baloney"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

Who buys software in a store anymore?

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Baloney
by cwdrake on Tue 12th Sep 2006 16:44 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Baloney"
cwdrake Member since:
2005-08-09

doesn't matter. As soon as a "normal" user gets wind of something that might not work, they won't even bother to try Linux. Why should they?

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Baloney
by twenex on Tue 12th Sep 2006 17:25 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Baloney"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

If your argument were sound, people would not use Macs. Yet, clearly, many do. And many of those who do are less technically adept (or so the story goes) than the average Windows user.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Baloney
by historyb on Tue 12th Sep 2006 14:58 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Baloney"
historyb Member since:
2005-07-06

Most people think Windows is the PC, so if you bring in an almost like Windows desktop they will use it, and if the can use it without trouble then why should they change it?

I have to agree here, I tutor and teach intro to Computers and one question I ask is "what kind of Computer do you have?" the answer most of the time is Windows XP.

It does amaze me, people will get some knowledge to learn about their car, house, etc but when it comes to computers they become petrified with stupidity.

But I will say give people a preinstalled Linux and they'll use it.

As far as the article popycock I say. Apprently the poster never has seen the new distros that are user friendly like PCLinuxOS

Edited 2006-09-12 15:01

Reply Score: 5

Amazes me too
by KenJackson on Tue 12th Sep 2006 19:07 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Baloney"
KenJackson Member since:
2005-07-18

It does amaze me, people will get some knowledge to learn about their car, house, etc but when it comes to computers they become petrified with stupidity.

This is very true and thoroughly frustrating on a wide range of technical topics. It's most frustrating to me when I talk to someone who can competently talk using 5-syllable names for drugs, body parts and diseases, but refuses to try understand the difference between voltage and current.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Baloney
by collywolly on Tue 12th Sep 2006 16:36 UTC in reply to "RE: Baloney"
collywolly Member since:
2006-06-19

I dunno. I am hoping that the PS3 will change that. It is supposed to have some version of Linux preinstalled is it not. I suppose it will come down to how much they cripple it with proprieatry nonsese.

If on the other hand they put something equivalent to Ubuntu / Suse / Mandriva on it with a host of useful apps (and enable repositories for easy software installation), a whole load of people who wouldn't normally see Linux may realise that it is more than ready for the Desktop.

Anyway, it will be an interesting one to watch.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Baloney
by Bonus on Tue 12th Sep 2006 15:26 UTC in reply to "Baloney"
Bonus Member since:
2005-12-23

That's not entirely true. The poprietory market favors closed source software and Windows is closed. When there are comprerable tools for deigning games that are open source then people will start using Linux. Just having a raw engine or a half baked Blender doesnt cut it. Blender has recently caught up although you do need more generic NON-GEEK-FANBOY things like keymapping, not just strict ergonomics. Bey0ond just the idealistic way to do things into the generic.
Also preinstalling and marketing are part of it as well to get mnore people involved to do these things
It's basically Linux people getting off their asses and creating these tools, not a fear of technology.

You have to replace the market manually.

Edited 2006-09-12 15:34

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Baloney
by anonymousbrowser on Tue 12th Sep 2006 16:12 UTC in reply to "RE: Baloney"
anonymousbrowser Member since:
2006-04-28

Ah, that's the problem, every potential Linux user out there really needed to design games using some simplistic drag and drop idiot oriented interface, this is what we've been missing all this time!

Oh, btw, WTF?!!!?!

What the hell have blender and the availability of mythical game design tools got to do with Businesses using Linux desktop to run their Office and productivity suites? Even if games were the most important consideration, you DO NOT need to design a game entirely on a Linux machine for it to possible to port that game to the platform, if it were so all of the Nintendo DS titles would have been designed and coded on said platform!

Reply Score: 4

RE: Baloney
by Saquatch666 on Wed 13th Sep 2006 07:34 UTC in reply to "Baloney"
Saquatch666 Member since:
2006-01-02

While I agree with the statement regarding OEM pre-installed OS's,lack of apps and codecs was/is a crippling factor in BeOS as well,Joe Blow can't go on Java and Flash gaming sites and casinos,play the latest game CD's chat on Yahoo with web cams and all the bells and whistles you get in Windoze,watch a lot of proprietary windoze and Real media types.... on and on.
I still use BeOS on a daily basis(I'm in BeOS right now) because it gets the job done WAY faster and easier(I also run Linux for the better USB support for my periphreals,and the afore mentioned Flash/Java support),but I fall into the category mentioned in the article,a person that see his computer as a tool.Although I do use it as an entertainment device,my idea of entertainment may differ somewhat from the mainstream,for instance I'm vastly entertained by trying out new OS's
IMO other than the lack of spyware and viruses(which is my main reason)I see little or no advantage performance-wise in running Linux(with a full blown desktop environment like KDE or Gnome)over WinXP.Lately there have been several OEM Linux boxes offered by Walmart,TigerDirect and other vendors but none seem to catch on for the reasons I mentioned,Joe Blow doesn't want something that runs just as slow as his WinBox,that does half as much with an unfamiliar and confusing interface.
Actually,in my mind I think Open Source developers should be leaving Linux like rats from a burning ship and Joining up with BeOS-like open source projects like Syllable and Haiku,these OS's with thier snappy performance and consistant streamlined UI's wouild be much better alternatives to Windoze on the desktop with proper hardware/software/media support!!

Reply Score: 1

Well written
by Sphinx on Tue 12th Sep 2006 14:22 UTC
Sphinx
Member since:
2005-07-09

A little myopic but a good read. There's more than a few distros aimed at the n00b market that are getting simpler and easier all the time thanks to udev etc. etc. The situation described is not a permaneant condition.

Reply Score: 5

Instead of generalising
by alcibiades on Tue 12th Sep 2006 14:24 UTC
alcibiades
Member since:
2005-10-12

It would be nice to see instead an account of what exactly is wrong with (say) PCBSD, Desktop BSD, Suse SLED, Ubuntu, PCLinux.

Any one of which, not to mention Mandriva, seems to be usable by ordinary people without looking under the hood...

Or no more than you have to under Windows or OSX.

Edited 2006-09-12 14:25

Reply Score: 4

RE: Instead of generalising
by Ronald Vos on Tue 12th Sep 2006 21:27 UTC in reply to "Instead of generalising"
Ronald Vos Member since:
2005-07-06

It would be nice to see instead an account of what exactly is wrong with (say) PCBSD, Desktop BSD, Suse SLED, Ubuntu, PCLinux.

Well I can fill in some of those, if I may.

-PCBSD/Desktop BSD: don't boot on 2 of my systems. Weird error-messages, not sure what is wrong. Will try a later version.
-Ubuntu: there have been *TWO* instances of system-breaking bugs when upgrading. The Xorg one recently, and dist-upgradeing older Ubuntu versions does the same thing. The Xorg one is fixed, the latter isn't, neither one gave a warning to users, nor an easy way to fix for the non-hardcore geeks.
-Xubuntu: It installs from a live-cd, which is nice, but the installer is dog-slow and unresponsive since it's continually loading from CD. It for some reason also didn't bother asking me what to do with bootloaders, or I missed something. Either way, it was apparently not that Linux-noob-friendly (aka me), since I couldn't get it to boot. I gave up since I didn't want to wait to install it a third time to see if I forgot some option somewhere.
-Suse SLED: it's not mature. The installer is atrocious (constantly recalculating everything) and could definitely be done better. The Gnome desktop SLED comes with is unresponsive on my P3-500 with 512MB and supposedly supported Nvidia card, occasionally even locking up for minutes if I want to use too many apps at once.
It's also the first Linux that auto-detected my wireless card correctly(!!!, Xubuntu failed as well). However, I couldn't manage to configure my atmel-based card. Possibly because the instructions the card came with are focused on Windows/Mac and the SLED configuration utility used different names and had more options for some elements. Possibly because I need to recompile the kernel with the wireless module; I was unable to ascertain this however, being internetless and unable to google for instructions, and not being able to find an obvious way to inspect the used kernel from within the GUI.

Now PCLinux/Mandriva I haven't tested.

Now if you ask me, the problem is that Linux on the desktop isn't mature yet. Every app in Linux seems to originate as a commandline application, and not all of them have GUI-equivalents in almost all of the distros. Sometimes the GUI equivalent is a neutered version missing options. A lot of distro's require users to drop to the commandline at some point, for example SLED when it didn't provide me an option in the menu to check kernel modules.
Another example of immaturity: all those installers that aren't finished, have lingering bugs, and then get rewritten from the ground up instead of fixed or re-used (I'm looking at SLED again).

Then you have the problem the Linux kernel isn't optimised for the desktop but for the server, and on older machines with KDE/Gnome/Enlightenment that IS noticeable.

And finally, the complete lack of standards. A company won't give instructions for installing a device/driver/software. Because: how? For which distro? Each one has different methods. And the way to install drivers in Linux is completely user unfriendly for apparently ideological reasons either way.

For the moment I've given up on Linux on the desktop. Perhaps I'll try again in 3 years. My hope is on PCBSD to provide what Linux promised 3 years ago.

Reply Score: 4

Disagree.
by Adam S on Tue 12th Sep 2006 14:27 UTC
Adam S
Member since:
2005-04-01

While I happen to like articles like this that present a theorem which challenges me to decide what I believe, I happen to disagree with this article, for many of the reasons already stated in the comments.

The fact is, Linux is already extremely usable and there are many people counting on it succeeding on the desktop, namely Novell. As as Windows unveils a very expensive and resource hungry Vista system, Linux WILL gain steam. I suspect it will take between 10 and 20 years before the empire is truly toppled, but it will happen.

The only things truly keeping people on Windows are its pervasiveness and its familiarity.

Edit: grammar fix... whoops.

Edited 2006-09-12 14:27

Reply Score: 1

What a silly article
by ralph on Tue 12th Sep 2006 14:27 UTC
ralph
Member since:
2005-07-10

All software is at its core implemented and designed by geeks. This is a non-argument.

Despite this, it might have some merit if indeed the overwhelming majority of desktop linux projects would not care about "normal users".

However, looking at distributions like for example Ubuntu or something like Linspire, looking at the Gnome project, the KDE project, openusability, better desktop, etc., the very assertion the author tries to base his argument on is simply a lie.

Likewise his sorry excuse of an argument about games is incredibly moronic. That there aren't as many games for Linux as there are for Windows has got nothing, not even the slightest thing to do with geeks, but simply with market share. Games are developed to reach the widest audience possible and this of course means developing for Windows, not for a niche player like Linux.

Really, a truely moronic and childish article. It's a shame that a diatribe like this gets posted on OSNews.

Reply Score: 4

You seem confused
by Vanders on Tue 12th Sep 2006 14:27 UTC
Vanders
Member since:
2005-07-06

The author starts to talk about Linux, then changes into "Open Source" about half way through the article. Which is it? The last paragraph:

"Get real: the Linux desktop has been designed and implemented by technology enthusiasts, for technology enthusiasts. If they were to seriously try to make it appealing to the masses, the effort would collapse halfway because they would be dismayed by the result. My take is that things are just fine the way they are, and the Linux desktop for Dummies an utopia."

How do you explain projects such as Syllable, Haiku or (to a lesser extent, as it is not Open Source) SkyOS? Geeks are not incapable of understanding and appreciating some of the issues you point out.

Reply Score: 4

appealing to the masses
by dillond on Tue 12th Sep 2006 14:29 UTC
dillond
Member since:
2006-09-08

"If they were to seriously try to make it appealing to the masses, the effort would collapse halfway because they would be dismayed by the result."

Maybe this is where Novell will be useful. They pay people to do the boring bits, and when you are getting paid it doesn't matter so much if you think the work sucks. I would also like to think that the system will always be tweakable anyway.

Reply Score: 2

h3rman
Member since:
2006-08-09

My own dad, who dislikes having to do complicating stuff on his PC, actually thinks Xandros is easier to use than Windows. I think the author has never heard of the phenomenon "Linux Distribution" or something.

What we have is merely an article trying to drag people in one of those Linux desktop discussions again. The vague, pseudo-philosophical nonsense the author bases his statements on (comparing Linux to a transparent body designer's phone), utterly denies the fact that any distro can choose to eliminate choice, confusion, and any need whatsoever for the user to ever have to see a terminal window in his/her life .

So Xandros, Linspire, Kubuntu, all of that can never "take off" simply because Slackware, Gentoo, or Linux From Scratch still exist ?
That makes no sense at all.

Reply Score: 5

Bonus Member since:
2005-12-23

"My own dad, who dislikes having to do complicating stuff on his PC, actually thinks Xandros is easier to use than Windows. I think the author has never heard of the phenomenon "Linux Distribution" or something. "

Also what about ReactOS? Basically it's FREEDOS wrapped with a neat UI. If people prefer Windows it doesnt mean it can't open up under Shared Source. What about MS' codeplex site too?

Also I think putting code under more restrictive open source licenses like Mozilla does help with consistency sometimes.

Reply Score: 1

anonymousbrowser Member since:
2006-04-28

Ok, the simple response to your comment would be a rather large chunk of WTF?!

ReactOS has absolutely no relation to FreeDOS, none at all, it's an attempt to clone the NT4 kernel, it ain't DOS based.

Shared source is not the same as Open Source, it's what MS want people to believe so that they can shrug off the whole FOSS arguement with a quick "Oh, well we do that too"

Microsoft's codeplex is just their version of SF, using only microsoft technologies and somehow failing to provide a fraction of the services Sf.net manages to.

Talking about Mozilla using more restrictive licenses seems a little confused, you do know that Mozilla is tri-licensed under the GPL and two less restrictive licenses, the MPL and LGPL? More restrictive than what exactly?

Reply Score: 5

Geek is Sheek
by Guppetto on Tue 12th Sep 2006 14:38 UTC
Guppetto
Member since:
2005-07-06

Linux will become mainstream, because it is rapidly becomming a business buzzword for the anti-windows campaign that seems to be garnering some momentum for some reason.

However, while Linux can easily be dumbed down and implemented as a replacement for XP/Vista or OS X, I'd ask everyone why exactly they'd want Linux to become a dominant desktop OS. If it actually did start canibolizing market share, all you'd really have to look forward to is a rash of Virus writers, con artist, and technological uninformed crybabies telling you what needs to change about it. Sure you'd get more windows only apps ported, but i think we all underestimated how hard some people work to give Windows a bad name. Do you really want to see all that dedication focused on Linux. Trust me when I say that no OS can stand up to all that didicated effort.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Geek is Sheek
by aent on Tue 12th Sep 2006 16:02 UTC in reply to "Geek is Sheek"
aent Member since:
2006-01-25

If it actually did start canibolizing market share, all you'd really have to look forward to is a rash of Virus writers, con artist, and technological uninformed crybabies telling you what needs to change about it

Well for the first item (virus writers), I don't think that would be a real issue. Remember, Linux patches security issues usually within a day or two, there are no monthly patch policies or anything, so when there is an issue, you'll see a patch VERY fast. Also, remember that Linux can also have people working on the other side (and in fact, does) to perform security audits. There also are proactive security features being implemented in Linux, like Mandatory Access Control that RHEL3 has and AppArmor that Novell has. I believe stuff like that will prevent viruses. And as long as programs are distributed in packages, spyware can easily be completely removed by removing the package that installed it, and that will remove it entirely. There is no way for the package to install hidden files that run on startup. The OS definitely can and WILL stand up to that effort and do a whole lot more. There is a lot of incentives for people to patch security holes fast as they usually cause millions in damage. Viruses will be dead.

Reply Score: 1

...
by atollena on Tue 12th Sep 2006 14:39 UTC
atollena
Member since:
2006-06-27

What geek would want to use—or develop—such a boring phone?

Bill Gates.

Reply Score: 1

What about BSD/UNIX?
by _DoubleThink_ on Tue 12th Sep 2006 14:39 UTC
_DoubleThink_
Member since:
2006-02-15

Interesting article. I prefer BSD/UNIX systems to Linux because of the following reasons:
- excellent documention
- UNIX is elegant and simple
- consistency
- predictability

I agree with the author that Linux doesn't share these goals.

Therefore, as a side effect, this article also shows some differences between the GNU/Linux and BSD/UNIX philosophies.

But I still would not go as far to think a typical Windows user would automatically like UNIX, because (similar to Linux) Windows also doesn't share most of the above goals.

Hmm... looks like I'm becoming a zealot myself... ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE: What about BSD/UNIX?
by anonymousbrowser on Tue 12th Sep 2006 15:47 UTC in reply to "What about BSD/UNIX?"
anonymousbrowser Member since:
2006-04-28

So you're lumping all of the BSD variants together with all of the commercial Unix solutuions??! I have a feeling that there would be more variation between Irix, HPUX, AIX, OpenBSD, PCBSD and Solaris than you generally find between most modern linux distributions.

And yes, you most certainly do sounds like a Zealot. Is it simply that you prefer BSD/Unix because its a less popular platform and therefore you sound more l33t?

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: What about BSD/UNIX?
by orfanum on Tue 12th Sep 2006 19:13 UTC in reply to "RE: What about BSD/UNIX?"
orfanum Member since:
2006-06-02

I personally have only used DesktopBSD (briefly) and PCBSD. From my own experience, I would say that compared to Linux these *BSDs are more predictable and have better documentation (in relation to what actually happens when you follow it). I am a simple hobbyist so I won't pretend to know what l33t means. I to date have preferred my my *BSD experiences compared to my (multifarious) Linux ones simply because they have been more pleasurable and rewarding, very probably for the above reasons.

Reply Score: 1

Why OSNews won't stop
by @@__@@ on Tue 12th Sep 2006 14:48 UTC
@@__@@
Member since:
2005-07-29

publishing stupid articles...

Reply Score: 2

RE: Why OSNews won't stop
by ronaldst on Tue 12th Sep 2006 16:07 UTC in reply to "Why OSNews won't stop"
ronaldst Member since:
2005-06-29

Why people like the above poster won't stop complaing (because (s)he was offended) instead of just skipping the amentioned article?

Reply Score: 3

Article mistaken
by Al Dente on Tue 12th Sep 2006 14:48 UTC
Al Dente
Member since:
2006-09-12

I have to wonder if the author ever used or saw MacOS. MacOS is built upon BSD which is even geekier than Linux. If you look under the hood of Windows there is lot going on there as well but most of this is shielded from the user; there is no technical reason why the same couldn't be done with Linux.

No doubt the beginner Linux distros could use a bit of polish but the main thing keeping Linux from making a larger impact on the desktop is lack of marketing.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Article mistaken
by Ronald Vos on Tue 12th Sep 2006 21:05 UTC in reply to "Article mistaken"
Ronald Vos Member since:
2005-07-06

MacOS is built upon BSD which is even geekier than Linux.<snip> ..there is no technical reason why the same couldn't be done with Linux.

Mac OS X is built by marketing-oriented people who have extensive usability labs, and their whole existence rests on the premise of making computers everyone could use.

Linux is built by the technical and the geeks.

In theory there's no reason Linux couldn't be turned into a sleek desktop, practically speaking however, the author has a point, at least thusfar. I admit SLED is getting closer however.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Article mistaken
by netpython on Wed 13th Sep 2006 09:14 UTC in reply to "RE: Article mistaken"
netpython Member since:
2005-07-06

Linux is built by the technical and the geeks.

So only linux developers are technical?

My take:All developers are geeks and technical.How could they enjoy their profession otherwise?

Edited 2006-09-13 09:14

Reply Score: 2

abraxas
Member since:
2005-07-07

I almost stopped reading after the author started comparing Linux to transparent cases, because it is an utterly rediculous comparison. I did stop reading after the next paragraph though. I guess the author doesn't know that Redhat and Novell are selling Linux commercially and that they pay people to improve Linux. All technology starts with "geeks" and the market turns "geeky" technology into products. With Linux I think we can have the best of both worlds. Its open source nature allows us to not only have a prodcut based on it but also a compatible "hobby" OS for us "geeks" to play around with and improve. The best thing about that is that improvements on the "hobby" side of things and improvements on the commercial side of things can be shared. I guess I don't see the problem with the way Linux is developed, I just see an impressive solution.

Reply Score: 5

Applications
by patches13 on Tue 12th Sep 2006 14:55 UTC
patches13
Member since:
2006-09-12

Applicatons are the only thing that prevent Linux from becoming more mainstream on the desktop. I've been playing around with Linux since Corel Linux 1.0.. It's come a long way since then and it improves almost daily. I'm no geek by any means and if I spend the time searching the web and configuring my system I can get linux to do anything windows can do and more. But how many other people are going to do that? how many others are going to confgure there media player so they can play WMV files or ACC files. Nobody really wants to play Half-Life under WINE. Yes it needs to be pre-installed, but don't put the cart before the horse.. Wait to pre-install it until theres a distro that can work seamlessly with all the windows users out there right off the first boot.. Without having to spend hours or research and system configuring to get things to play nice with each other..

Reply Score: 2

RE: Applications
by Derek on Tue 12th Sep 2006 15:25 UTC in reply to "Applications"
Derek Member since:
2005-07-06

Applications are a problem.

There is just to many programs people have been using for years that do not run on Linux.

They usually dont care if there is a open source program that is similar.

They want "that" program because they are used to it and it works fine for them. It may even help them make a living.
Many people have said they will not switch to any other OS because of this.

I use Linux daily but I think they need to get more apps ported, either closed or open to get more people on Linux.

Reply Score: 3

WHY?
by jwelling on Tue 12th Sep 2006 14:57 UTC
jwelling
Member since:
2006-09-12

OK, can anyone tell me why every pointless article on the topic of desktop linux qualfies as news. No one cares, it doesn't provide us with any useful info. Both /. and osnews post these articles over and over and over and over again for years. And they're all the same.

Now, if an article said something like, "Desktop Linux takes 25% market share from WinXP", that's news worthy. Other than that, please stop. The people using this site are most likely running desktop linux, and know what it's status is. We don't need or want to see these articles.

Reply Score: 5

And yet...
by wirespot on Tue 12th Sep 2006 15:03 UTC
wirespot
Member since:
2006-06-21

Everybody's giving themselves and their Grandma as an example, but we're geeks and we set up Grandma's computer ourselves. How relevant are we? Aren't most of our non-geek friends still using Windows? Why is that? Some of them don't get Windows preinstalled, they actively pursue it and install it regardless. Short of demonstrating that Microsoft has somehow brainwashed them, there's something else to it as well. Hype, ok. Marketing, ok. But there's gotta be some elements of dislike towards Linux. And some of them are real, no matter how much us geeks don't like it: poor hardware support due to companies not disclosing drivers, poor gaming support due to Windows being pushed as the main gaming OS, big software vendors who still refuse to support Linux. It's a complex issue, this article may be part of it, doesn't mean it should be dismissed as outright wrong.

Reply Score: 4

RE: And yet...
by historyb on Tue 12th Sep 2006 16:51 UTC in reply to "And yet..."
historyb Member since:
2005-07-06

Another big thing is lack of marketing. I know and read and interact with Linux on the net and in my tech job, however I can scarely find any person that's not in some tech related field who knows about Linux.

Linux adoption will come in time, slowly but one day will be on OSNews singing the praises of someother OS because Linux is domient.

Reply Score: 1

RE: And yet...
by Coxy on Tue 12th Sep 2006 19:52 UTC in reply to "And yet..."
Coxy Member since:
2006-07-01

Well said, if OS news is to be believed there's a whole army of grannies around the world deploying linux and using the command line to build programmes from source.

The only Grandmothers I've ever known have trouble reading TeleText on an 28" television screen... I don't think they could ever use a computer.

Reply Score: 1

Wiring alright!
by Almindor on Tue 12th Sep 2006 15:05 UTC
Almindor
Member since:
2006-01-16

"My point is that the brain of these people is wired very differently from the brain of the average Joe."

I wonder, what is your major malfunction Martin?

1. There's NO "average joe". Everyone has an expertese more or less, be it stuff like children care or high level IT, it doesn't matter. There's no "joe average".

2. If you wanted to say "not exactly experts in the IT industry" yes, these people don't know what the difference between Linux and Windows is, and they honestly don't give a damn. My mom uses Linux, and if I didn't explain it to her she'd think she's in Windows because it's so similar lately.

3. Ubuntu, Mandriva, Suse and others are hell not "transparent". They are open but even I, and I'm a programmer, don't see shit in it. Because I'm not a kernel dev and I'm not interrested in the boring and tedious work of working directly with hardware...
The fact that a system is open doesn't say shit about what the users see. There's no "fancy parts". Normal distroes have "normal covers" and "fancy addons" as optional stuff. Btw, I also have my desktop extremely tidy, my menus as empty as can be. I dislike choice when I already made one...

4. That brings us to "choice is bad". Well we had many philosophers like you saying this crap so let's keep it short. If you provide the standard user with sane default app for one use, they will be happy. See why ubuntu is so popular yet? The only problem here which is true is that if user A has program X for writing stuff, and user B has program Y for writing stuff they won't be able to help themselves with it.. which is a problem.

5. Games. You're right here, but this is an issue of game makers and MOST IMPORTANTLY the FRIGGIN DISTRIBUTORS who steal money from everyone and do shit. Except for marketing ofcourse.. But it has nothing to do with Linux itself or the fact that it's an open system. Oh and I play alot of games myself too. I play as much as I can in linux (UT, ET, Tremulous, NWN) and via Cedega but if I can't I boot to windows and use that.

So .. perhaps I'm Joe Average? Funny because I sit infront of this LCD many hours debugging code and writing opensource stuff. But I also play games, keep my stuff simple, hate it when I have to edit xorg.conf to get the friggin mouse working and dislike it if some media player can't play specific WMV while other can and I don't have the other right now as default..

But tell you what. None of what you wrote makes sense.

I'd actualy bet you went angry because you're frustrated something didn't work exactly right for you in linux... perhaps try using something else than C++..

Reply Score: 5

Nice Logic!
by coolmcgrrr on Tue 12th Sep 2006 15:12 UTC
coolmcgrrr
Member since:
2006-09-12

"Linux is an operating system that was designed and implemented from the ground-up by geeks and nerds—let them be "technology enthusiasts" if you think it sounds better or less offensive. My point is that the brain of these people is wired very differently from the brain of the average Joe."

Hehe who designed Windows?

im not going to use an operating system written by Average Joe.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Nice Logic!
by pwjazz on Tue 12th Sep 2006 16:10 UTC in reply to "Nice Logic!"
pwjazz Member since:
2006-07-29

Both the article and your response miss the point.

Yes, if a coder builds an application based on his or her own tastes, that's bad. The article's author probably believes (assumes?) that this is the case for most Linux applications.

And yes, coders are the only people who can code an application (by definition).

The key point is that development organizations who care about making applications that will benefit Average Joe engage in a discipline called Usability Analysis/Design (or something like that). That's why we end up with projects like:

http://developer.gnome.org/projects/gup/
http://www.betterdesktop.org/wiki/index.php?title=Main

I think that these guys still have quite a ways to go, but it's encouraging that these projects exist and developers should do what they can to understand this work and use what they can from it.

*rant* This discussion is an example of how some people (often developers like myself) forget that successful software projects involve a lot of different types of people, not just coders. Projects that forget this often lead to sub-standard product, and unfortunately I think that the nature of open-source is such that it is primarily coder-driven. This probably explains the author's observations which, while inadequately documented, ring true for many of us. *end rant*

Reply Score: 5

About this article
by whitespiral on Tue 12th Sep 2006 15:22 UTC
whitespiral
Member since:
2005-08-04

Oh please...

Don't blame the product, blame the sales team!

Think about Christianism: They spread out across the globe when Paul arrived to the scene, because he was a great salesman. If you're using Linux, and you can't convincingly explain why Linux is better than Windows, don't even try. Find somebody who is good with words, and let him do it for you.

One thing is to say that not all distros are ready for the average Joe, which is true, and other to say that Linux isn't ready for that average Joe, which is completely untrue.

And never forget that Linux isn't out there fighting for world domination. It exists only to be a viable option for those who are fed up with a software vendor with lack of common sense.

Reply Score: 5

Poor article
by 2fargone on Tue 12th Sep 2006 15:34 UTC
2fargone
Member since:
2006-02-20

I was writing a long response to this, but it's not worth it. Suffice it to say, there isn't a way to rate articles poorly so I'm leaving a comment to say this article was an opinion piece with obvious holes, limited opinion, and a deficit of facts.

BTW: The phone/Linux comparison was one of the worst I have ever heard. Apples and oranges.

And yes, I like Linux, don't run it atm, but I like it.

Reply Score: 2

More reasons
by JamesTRexx on Tue 12th Sep 2006 15:37 UTC
JamesTRexx
Member since:
2005-11-06

I see his point of view, but think it's rather outdated looking at the latest Linux and BSD based distros geared towards easy desktop use.

I see other more valid reasons why the average Joe doesn't use *nix;
-it doesn't come pre-installed on most pc's and laptops, so Joe already has an OS
-newer versions of Windows were easy to pirate, so Joe got a copy from the Joe next door if he wanted to upgrade (let's see if Vista changes that)
-the pc at work has Windows on it, so Joe only know how to use that and never got into contact with another OS

The question is actually, do us *nix users want Joe to use our OS? Look at the amount of "stupid" questions asked regarding use of Windows and ask yourself if you want to answer RTFM day in, day out.

Reply Score: 3

Market reality
by Bonus on Tue 12th Sep 2006 15:45 UTC
Bonus
Member since:
2005-12-23

The market doesnt care what is boxed and shipped. In the end is what the public perfers. Do they like Linux or not. i think it is achievable if you look at Apple that uses a POSIX based system.

To me it's if people prefer DOS or UNIX. I am still debating that myself but keep leaning toward UNIX.

Windows uses a registry which cleans things up and has all of the dev files in the main directory where Linux throws them all over in a protecetd system envirnment which I dont like much though.

Edited 2006-09-12 15:55

Reply Score: 1

RE: Market reality
by anonymousbrowser on Tue 12th Sep 2006 16:04 UTC in reply to "Market reality"
anonymousbrowser Member since:
2006-04-28

Again with the WTF!!?!!

You feel that the registry cleans things up? What dev files? windows doesn't come with any development capabilites at all. In Linux the file system is well structured and makes a reasonable amount of sense, especially if you have a package management system tracking the location of all installed files, they're hardly thrown all over.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Market reality
by CrLf on Tue 12th Sep 2006 18:03 UTC in reply to "RE: Market reality"
CrLf Member since:
2006-01-03

"windows doesn't come with any development capabilites at all."

Actually, that's not true. The .NET runtime comes with, at least, the C# and VB.NET compilers (search for "csc.exe").

Reply Score: 1

RE: Market reality
by twenex on Tue 12th Sep 2006 16:39 UTC in reply to "Market reality"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

The Windows Registry "cleans things up" in the same way that the Exxon Valdez cleaned up large parts of Alaskan wildlife. Linux stores system-wide configuration in /etc, and sometimes in /usr/X11R6, with user-customised configuration in files *named after the app* in their home directory.

If Linux were more like Windows, but still used plain text files for configuration, some of the system wide stuff would be in users' home directories, some of the user-specific stuff would be in /etc, and most of both would be in /opt/$APPLICATION/$SM_NON-STNDRD_APP-SPCFC_DIR. Worse, whilst a computer if need be can easily convert a text file to a binary format, how many humans do you know who can easily convert an undocumented binary format to a text file?

If Linux were more like Windows and it used a Registry, administrators would constantly bitch about how difficult it was to fix, and how just about every application installation, configuration change, or foul-up would need a reboot and/or reinstallation. All else being equal, Linux would have got exactly NOWHERE on the desktop, and server administrators would look at it and say "Look! Now you can have all the disadvantages of Unix, with all the disadvantages of Windows!"

Edited 2006-09-12 16:44

Reply Score: 3

Interesting but
by dukeinlondon on Tue 12th Sep 2006 15:51 UTC
dukeinlondon
Member since:
2005-07-06

Most people that spend a bit of time on my computer don't even really notice it's linux. The case is certainly not transparent to them. They play games (I don't get what they like in frozen bubble), surf the web, watch youtube videos and watch movies, browse through photo albums in digikam and the box is also server for 2 squeezeboxes.

But that, they would never notice. That on SUSE 10.1 and I compiled NOTHING. I just go on kde-apps and install what I like with smart(gui), if available.

And the problem of choice is being resolved. Everyone who don't want to make a choice just pick Ubuntu. So what's missing are OEMs and marketing budget.

But the lack of it doesn't bother me in the slightest.

Reply Score: 3

You're absolutely right
by mike_a on Tue 12th Sep 2006 15:51 UTC
mike_a
Member since:
2005-07-06

I've been thinking this for some time now and indeed I don't think Linux belongs on the Desktop of the average Joe. I don't care about articles like "Why Linux isn't getting on on the Desktop" because I simply don't care. Linux is Linux and it's very construction - transparent - makes it so special. Maybe someday the Linux desktop will get on, but not as developed by the community, because the community cares about the transparency and would never make it opaque.

Reply Score: 1

You miss the point..
by timothy.crosley on Tue 12th Sep 2006 15:53 UTC
timothy.crosley
Member since:
2006-06-15

I understand were you are coming from, but you miss the point of Linux and open source. It is not about a bunch of nerds ( or technical enthusiest ;) ) making software to solve there own personal problems. It's about a community of individuals working together to make something great. And more and more of those individuals aren't nerds at all.

Personally I have spent years studying c++, java, and design patterens. But am more artsy then technical, right now I am working on:

a search tool for kde: http://www.kde-apps.org/content/show.php?content=39656

as well as a contact manager:
http://www.kde-apps.org/content/show.php?content=32771
and an icon set to match my personal taste:
http://www.kde-look.org/content/show.php?content=29782

The point in showing you these is that you will notice my applications are as simple as possible. And not becuase I am denial about my "techy roots". But becuase I like making software this way. And more and more people in the community do, thus ubuntu's thriving community.

As far as your other issue of arguing, I believe there is no need. Ive had friends come to me and say "Hey I have xyz problem". I tell them that problem will be fixed under linux give them NLD10, and they thank me many times. Theres no need to argue when you have a good product. Just show somone how that product will help them reach there goals and thell switch.

Edited 2006-09-12 15:54

Reply Score: 2

complete bull
by invisiblekid on Tue 12th Sep 2006 15:57 UTC
invisiblekid
Member since:
2006-09-12

i dont know how to say what hasnt been said but i think the author is a complete idiot. Ive recommended ubuntu (and believe me, im not a total fan of it, its just easier for less computer literate people) to quite a few people who have very little computer knowledge. Every one of them has had very good success with it and i havent heard a complaint.

Reply Score: 1

cyber_rigger
Member since:
2006-04-06

.



http://lxer.com/module/forums/t/23168/



.

Edited 2006-09-12 16:04

Reply Score: 1

Let's face it
by BrickCaster on Tue 12th Sep 2006 15:59 UTC
BrickCaster
Member since:
2006-03-20

I couldn't agree more.
Non-geeks want a computer for basic functionalities, they want easy to find assistance, they steer clear of the technological niches, the techno-babble and techno-philosophies. What they trust is wide-spread buzzwords, even if as tired as "intuitive", "convivial", "multimedia" and "connected".

Of course a geek-enthousiast can be a powerful prescriptor, but that exactly proves the author's thesis: people don't want choice, what they want is ease of use by means of the most accessible assistance.
So the geek doesn't "free" people, he only enslaves himself.

Edited 2006-09-12 16:08

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: What about BSD/UNIX?
by _DoubleThink_ on Tue 12th Sep 2006 16:20 UTC
_DoubleThink_
Member since:
2006-02-15

So you're lumping all of the BSD variants together with all of the commercial Unix solutuions??! I have a feeling that there would be more variation between Irix, HPUX, AIX, OpenBSD, PCBSD and Solaris than you generally find between most modern linux distributions.

What I meant with my comment is the original design philosophy of UNIX, which stands for elegance, simplicity, consistency and predictabilty (OK, not necessarily documentation, but the BSDs all do care about it).

These are not the original goals of Linux and I'm pretty sure Linus Torvalds would agree (i.e., do you remember his comments about the KDE & Gnome? He's not a fan of simplicity...).

Of course, some Linux distros try to give the user the impression of some of these goals, but under the hood, I would argue that Linux is more for guys who like to tweak things. They love to break it, so they can fix it ;)

And yes, you most certainly do sounds like a Zealot. Is it simply that you prefer BSD/Unix because its a less popular platform and therefore you sound more l33t?

Being a zealot was meant as a joke. Actually, I also have a Linux server running, and I even have a small Windows partition installed on my desktop PC. And no, it's not for pretending to be l33t, I prefer BSD/UNIX philosophy for the reasons I mentioned above.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: What about BSD/UNIX?
by anonymousbrowser on Tue 12th Sep 2006 16:48 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: What about BSD/UNIX?"
anonymousbrowser Member since:
2006-04-28

What exactly is the BSD/Unix philosophy? it's not as well outlined as the GNU philosophy, AFAICT the principal idea behind BSD is that anyone can take the code and do whatever they like with it and have no obligation to give anything back. Weren't there viable BSD licensed operating systems long before linux had evolved very far beyone a hobby? Why didn't these operating systems gain momentum and command a worldwide community and an enourmous amount of commercial interest? What was the key difference? Oh yeah, the GPL.

Your version of "The Original Design Philosophy of Unix "isn't something you can really expect all of the different factions of BSD to follow, no one's there to enforce those ideals, the programmers can apply whatever philosophy they wish.

Linux, on the other hand, is far more centrally developed, leaving behind GNU for a moment to concentrate on the Linux kernel, quality, efficiency and progress are a pretty important part of the dev philosophy here, Linux isn't forking all over the place and diverging further from its initial starting point in the way that the BSDs and Unices are, therefore your desire for consistency and predictabilty is actually better satisfied by the Linux kernel than the many different and varied BSD/unix kernels.

Linux development is largely driven by the enterprise thesedays, companies with considerable investments in the success of linux are putting time money and effort into making it do what they need it to do in order to make returns on their investments, the key goal is no longer to score points in an arguement about kernel models.

sorry, that's a rather disjointed rant but you should get the idea.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: What about BSD/UNIX?
by mjpackard on Tue 12th Sep 2006 17:20 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: What about BSD/UNIX?"
mjpackard Member since:
2006-03-29

Why is it that people claim GPL is the sole reason Linux took off and BSD didn't. It's not. I will stand at the top of my soap box and say one reason and one reason only took off Linux and that's PRESS. Somehow, mostly due to a company that pushed Linux very early on Linux got some press. Then this grew to Buzzword. And once something makes it to Buzzword then managers know it and can banty it around to make them look smart. Finally other managers need to follow suit (think pointy haired boss in Dilbert).

Now how many distros are there with Linux? Will over 100. Ok the kernel is the same, or is it. Distro Y user kernel v ... distro Z uses another kenel. So even here we don't match up. Then user space is all over the place. Some use apache v ... and mysql v ... others use the same apache but different mysql, and the list goes on. I will give you there are only a few commercial distros, but they do vary on how to admin them.

Linux is centrally organized. Almost, sure the kernel is. But not the operating system, except how distros are organized. Some are committees, some or corporations some are individuals, some are well who knows. Most BSDs are driven by boards. Seems central to me.

Finally, your point about linux development is driven by enterprise just confirms my first paragraph.

This is a little less disjoint rant.

Here's my concluding rant. Why does linux zealots and GPL zealots need to bash BSD, or consider BSD less of a beast?

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: What about BSD/UNIX?
by deanlinkous on Tue 12th Sep 2006 17:31 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: What about BSD/UNIX?"
deanlinkous Member since:
2006-06-19

Why is it that people claim GPL is the sole reason Linux took off and BSD didn't. It's not. I will stand at the top of my soap box and say one reason and one reason only took off Linux and that's PRESS.

I would say the fact that the unix lawsuit showed a lot of developers that the BSD license meant working hard and watching a company then claim it as their own and proceed to sue you over it. The GPL on the other hand makes sure that THAT will never happen. So yea I would say the GPL was crucial (at least somewhat) to making linux popular with devels which meant it advanced quickly and snowballed from there....

maybe?

Reply Score: 5

RE[5]: What about BSD/UNIX?
by anonymousbrowser on Tue 12th Sep 2006 18:58 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: What about BSD/UNIX?"
anonymousbrowser Member since:
2006-04-28

It's very simple, if the linux kernel had been BSD licensed then at the first sign of an increased popularity everyone would have descended on the code base and started developing their own proprietary version, the BSD license gives people the opportunity to leech, it doesn't help secure continued access to software as it develops.

Ok, so you are happy to agree that Linux kernel development, and lets face it that's the important bit in this line of ranting, is centralised and well organised. Now, even if all of the separate BSD dsitributions are all governed by boards in a centralised manner they are all still quite separate forks of the original BSD kernel, there is very little common ground. Oh, and guess what, they all provide varying userspace arrangments, configuration methods, package managers, desktop environments, etc.

My point about linux's development being driven by enterprise is that this is a fairly recent occurence(there have long been linux companies but they're evolved recently), IBM, Sun, Novell, everyone's taking an interest now, i'm not suggesting that this has been the driving force from the beginning.

Reply Score: 1

Ookaze
Member since:
2005-11-14

There's an onslaught of articles like this lately, it's amazing, sometimes 3 articles a day.
Now, why the premise of this post is stupid ?
Let's see why we need more market share for Linux desktop :
- More drivers for Linux : not related AT ALL to the user being geek or not
- More apps for Linux : not related AT ALL to the user being geek or not

Actually, these two items are desirable for geeks and other user alike.
So the premise of this article is entirely wrong, so all the article is wrong, and even stupid.
For one thing, the author should stop thinking every one using Linux is like him, and he should learn also, that Linux is used by lots of people that are just regular users.
Or is he trying to tell me that people are wired to love getting viruses and malware, to love bothering the local geek for him to repair their Windows, to love paying for support ?

I'll add that I switched my users from Mandriva to Ubuntu lately, and to my surprise, they all asked me : "Is this the new desktop ?", I said "Yes, you don't like it", and they answered "Live it like that, it's perfect !". If you know the default empty Ubuntu desktop, you will understand.
Actually, given the author stupid premises, a Gnome desktop is far better than anything from MS.

Edited 2006-09-12 16:32

Reply Score: 5

UI Complexity?
by Shane on Tue 12th Sep 2006 16:34 UTC
Shane
Member since:
2005-07-06

1) This UI argument is rendered irrelevant by Vista. Have you looked at Vista's UI lately? Gnome is refreshingly minimalist and consistent by comparison. It's even occured to me that it might actually be easier for me to migrate a non-techie from Windows XP to something like SLED than to migrate them from XP to Vista.

2) It doesn't make sense to say that the nix* crowd will make the UI more complex because they like to tinker. These people have the command line for that. Gnome is proof that open source can produce a consistent, easy and focused interface.

Reply Score: 1

Great Article
by pedromperez on Tue 12th Sep 2006 16:36 UTC
pedromperez
Member since:
2006-04-17

Excellent view of how the avarage person sees linux, and how the linux comunity sometimes don't understand that too many choices, too may tweaking may lead to an OS only for the technical gifted and not for EVERYONE.
I agree with the author, Linux will never be popular, at least if they don't change the prespective and the view of the hole project.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Great Article
by unapersson on Tue 12th Sep 2006 18:16 UTC in reply to "Great Article"
unapersson Member since:
2005-07-19

"Excellent view of how the avarage person sees linux, and how the linux comunity sometimes don't understand that too many choices, too may tweaking may lead to an OS only for the technical gifted and not for EVERYONE. "

The problem with this is its an opinion from the past. There are distros now that are willing to make these choices for their users and present them with sensible defaults. So you don't wind up with sixteen terminal emulators in your menu anymore.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Great Article
by ma_d on Tue 12th Sep 2006 20:44 UTC in reply to "RE: Great Article"
ma_d Member since:
2005-06-29

They're just mad because their complaints are consistently behind the reality ;) .

Reply Score: 1

I couldn't agree more
by Joe User on Tue 12th Sep 2006 16:41 UTC
Joe User
Member since:
2005-06-29

I have said this for years now. I don't try to introduce Linux to people anymore. Not worth it, I'm loosing my time, and people get mad at me.

Reply Score: 2

If not Geeks, then who?
by Penguiniator on Tue 12th Sep 2006 16:48 UTC
Penguiniator
Member since:
2006-09-12

Okay, if I accept the premise that only geeks would use an operating system designed and written by geeks, then it must follow that Microsoft Windows was designed and written by people who do not fit this description, since it is used by so many people who, themselves, obviously do not fit this description.

So, if Windows was not designed and implemented by such people, then who did?

Hmm... Wait a minute... Maybe he's on to something here. After all, what self-respecting geek would come up with a "design" like Microsoft's and then push it on the entire world?

But seriously, the premise of the article is flawed... interesting, but flawed.

Reply Score: 2

General response
by AndyJ on Tue 12th Sep 2006 16:49 UTC
AndyJ
Member since:
2005-06-30

I ALMOST wasn't going to post a comment to this article. But, in the end, I just HAD to.

Most of the criticism being aimed at Linux can be summed up in one word: packaging. Many newer Linux distributions address this problem to a more or less successful degree, and given time that will improve further.

Another criticism seems to hinge on the fact that Linux uptake is currently not greater and that PCs do not come with Linux pre-installed. Just as a less technical user will not go so far as to uninstall Windows to install Linux, the converse is also true. Very few of these people would uninstall Linux if it came pre-installed to put Windows in its place.

Next, the idea of Linux having been created by geeks is laughable. Who else would have the ability to write an operating system? If Microsoft wasn't a case of a company founded on "geekdom", I don't know what would be. It certainly did not begin as a slick commercial organisation with high quality marketing. Bill Gates (and his team) was a geek in the right place at the right time.

Next criticism appears to consider the lack of gaming on Linux. The author of the article presumes a little too much with the statement "most people use their desktop computer for chatting...and playing games". I suspect this is based on a guess rather than statistical data. Of the items in this list, only gaming depends to any meaningful extent on Windows. And surely if Linux had enjoyed the same lifespan and installed base as Windows does, there would have been similar levels of game development for Linux. One may conclude that games developers will focus their attention on Linux if they see a market developing. I can remember a time when there was very little game software available on the PC, most were for Ataris and Amigas at that time or even C64s, Spectrums and so on. Markets change and so does software availability. And it can change quickly.

Comparison of Apple with PC/Windows is somewhat irrelevant in this context, but relative success of the latter can be attributed to the fact that Apple held on to it's designs whereas the original IBM PC design was put out to the market and cloning encouraged. This led to price competitiveness and put the PC within reach of the consumer in a way which the Apple machines were not. Apple appears to have preferred to develop a loyal base of niche market customers. So this is again an argument about marketing strategy and not about the underlying technology.

In conclusion I find sadly little to commend this article and the arguments it purports to make. Whether or not desktop Linux will ever "take off" and whether or not I (or anyone else) "want it to" are completely unconnected questions. It seems that many readers accord a certain level of respect to this article. I, however, am not one of them. I find it to be devoid of merit in terms of the evidence presented and the conclusions drawn.

Reply Score: 4

Good article
by situation on Tue 12th Sep 2006 16:53 UTC
situation
Member since:
2006-01-10

A little condescending at points, but it sums up the issue between Linux and the common person.
I tend to think that a "simple" face can be shown to the mob, while the myriad distro choices and alternative wms don't need to be introduced or explained to the common user. Let us geeks keep tweaking away at them.
Which is why I think Ubuntu is doing a good job (so far). Although I'm not a personal fan (mainly because what the average user likes about it, I don't like), I do think it's good for Linux in general. The fact that it opens up the possibility of someone trying Linux is a great thing. And of course if they want to dig in more, there are thousands of man pages, hundreds of distros, and dozens of wms and des.

Reply Score: 1

UNIX System Administration books...
by twenex on Tue 12th Sep 2006 16:56 UTC
twenex
Member since:
2006-04-21

...are full of tales about how the administrators have to shepherd users. Especially the old ones, when UNIX didn't even have the benefit of GNOME and KDE. And so, no doubt, are Windows administration books. So Joe User has, clearly, been using UNIX for a long time.

I've worked in places where, given the right apps, the users would be no worse off running Linux than Windows, and if they were running some UNIX (including Windows), a few of the admins might not go so grey or so baldy so early. In one place I worked the ****ing Windows 98 machines used to lose the settings for the ONE network drive people used every quarter of an hour *on a regular basis*, and NONE of the general staff would have been capable of fixing it.

The moral of the story is: No OS yet written is suitable for "Joe User," if Joe User

(a) is a dolt who is unwilling (and perhaps unable) to learn, or just lets his fear of computers get the better of him;

(b) has to do everything himself, from OS installation to application configuration to system repair.

Reply Score: 3

twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

Hmm, "(including Windows)"? I think that should have been "(including Linux)"

Reply Score: 1

Re: UI Complexity?
by Shane on Tue 12th Sep 2006 16:57 UTC
Shane
Member since:
2005-07-06

Following up my own post. It's wrong to assume that the developers of something like Gnome would put their geek motivations to the fore while working on the project. The people working on Gnome have the same motivations a Microsoft dev would. They have "clients" (the end user) and "bosses" (whoever they happen to be working for - IBM, Novel, Red Hat, etc.). The prominent linux desktop efforts are very much commercially driven these days. It's not just about a hacker working away in the bedroom.

Reply Score: 2

well
by deanlinkous on Tue 12th Sep 2006 17:03 UTC
deanlinkous
Member since:
2006-06-19

I still think the article may have a valid point. I DO think that Linux can be a good choice for a new user but only if his needs are basic. My mom uses it but could easily use anything as long as it has a web browser sine that is all she really does on the computer. But a somewhat more advanced user will probably never be happy with linux uuntil they become a REAL advanced user.I personally think I like having a powerful OS and if it is never made 100% easy that would be fine with me. Now if they can manage mostly easy and still powerful that would also work.

That being said, this issue may be a moot point in two years, five years or then again it may very well still hold true in that time also.

One hurdle to mass adoption (pre-installed or not) is drivers and hardware support. No I am NOT blaming linux, well maybe a little. XYZ hardware works with the 2.6.14 kernel but is buggy in the 2.6.16 and totally broke in 2.6.18 yet fixed again in 2.6.24. Of course sometimes it is just the hardware detection not setting things right, othertime it is a buggy driver, othertimes it was blacklisted for some reason and so forth. Either way, moving target supportted hardware is a problematic issue.

Of course if it is preinstalled and the user doesn't upgrade the OS or buy new hardware it may alleviate this problem.

Either way I personally do not really care...I still use linux and probably always will unless we get the HURD and it is v3 and RMS-approved. ;)

Reply Score: 1

Why filter, please.
by sbergman27 on Tue 12th Sep 2006 17:13 UTC
sbergman27
Member since:
2005-07-24

I would like to have an OSNews "Why" filter for stories.

I'm actually kinda serious about this. Think about it. Have you *ever* read a story with a title that begins with the word "Why" that was really worth reading?

I can't remember a time. Forget fancy heuristics. Simple is beautiful, *and* likely effective.

Reply Score: 2

Completely Wrong
by ma_d on Tue 12th Sep 2006 17:34 UTC
ma_d
Member since:
2005-06-29

The writer doesn't seem to know a single software developer. Seeing as how he's a C++ developer, I can understand why he doesn't get that leaky abstractions are ugly.

We don't like systems which expose their insides, and there workings. Most of us don't like feature creep either (although we certainly don't mind logical features).
We have a word for systems which expose their internals to the users: Leaky abstraction.

It's an ugly word because it's an ugly concept, a disliked concept. An unhelpful concept.



The author then merges Linux, with everything that runs on it (most POSIX compatible software): This seems quite silly given the variety of developers, geographical locations, purposes, types of users, and etc involved in this "merge." Get a Gnome and KDE developer to agree on something, then tell me you can get Joe new-to-python to agree with Joe kernel-whiz.

You simply can't do this. However, it's obvious that by "linux" he means the desktop software written with it in mind: Gnome, KDE, and applications written to run inside them.
If he'd ever used Gnome he'd know better than to say these people are too attached to remove features... Can you say Sawfish->Metacity?


The article seems to be based more on his "feeling" of the community than the reality of the situation.

He is, unfortunately, right about choice though. People don't like it. Unfortunately he's also never used Ubuntu: Without tweaking, it doesn't offer much in the way of choice. They do exactly what everyone said to do for years: Pick one, for each type of software.
Unfortunately, now that someone did that the new complaint is "delete the other one, from the face of the earth."

Um, no. That wouldn't mean throwing away our technical dreams, it'd be throwing away the freedom of every developer, and through this, throwing away the reason anyone works on code for no charge (or, to be cliche, for Free).

Reply Score: 2

brainwashed
by TDavis on Tue 12th Sep 2006 17:43 UTC
TDavis
Member since:
2006-06-10

You guys objecting to "internals exposed" are brainwashed. Security means less freedom for programmers. (turning off interrupts, for example, or accessing I/O ports)

Reply Score: 1

Same with Apple OSX
by JoeBuck on Tue 12th Sep 2006 17:54 UTC
JoeBuck
Member since:
2006-01-11

Apple's OS is built on top of FreeBSD, which is, of course, built by a bunch of geeks and nerds, of the type that consider the Linux developers insufficiently purist.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Same with Apple OSX
by anonymousbrowser on Tue 12th Sep 2006 19:03 UTC in reply to "Same with Apple OSX"
anonymousbrowser Member since:
2006-04-28

It's not though, that's just the userspace and some bits and pieces, Apple's OS is built on top of the, Mach microkernel.

Reply Score: 1

Re:
by aGNUstic on Tue 12th Sep 2006 18:28 UTC
aGNUstic
Member since:
2005-07-28

Somewhere, in the not-too-distant future, the last Wind-ow user shuts down his Vist- and says, "Man I remember the day when this operating system ruled the world!"

Will the last OSNews reader please turn out the light when they leave.

Reply Score: 2

Average users?
by Quag7 on Tue 12th Sep 2006 18:30 UTC
Quag7
Member since:
2005-07-28

I think a lot of people have been awfully free with broad proclamations about "average users." I am apparently supposed to accept as obvious fact the wildly varying, mutually contradictory claims about what the "average user" wants or needs, or how he or she thinks.

But if I synthesize everything I've ever read about what the "average user" wants, and see where they *tend* to overlap:

(*) The average user is a complete and total numbskull - we are talking massive DNA damage - who doesn't understand anything about computers and cannot in most cases count to ten. The average user can communicate only in grunts.

(*) The average user is illiterate and unable to read, and it is unreasonable to ask them to do so to use their computers. Ever. Also, the F1 key is just way too far off of the keyboard, so it's doubly unreasonable to expect users to hit it to read the help system. It could take a quest of Lord of the Rings proportions just to reach that key, and then the strange language with its mysterious right-clicks and pull-down menus (!?) are bound to confuse even the brightest among this simian class.

(*) Things should be designed primarily for these users. Developers should slavishly serve the needs of complete knuckle-dragging morons. No other segment matters because, this is the "average user."

(*) There should be no learning curve to use a computer. Infants who are unable to independently hold their heads upright should be able to dash off a nice webpage upon encountering a computer for the first time in their life.

(*) Power users, scientists, academics, and "geeks" are completely and totally irrelevant to OS design and should be completely ignored when you're designing an OS for the masses. In fact, they should be chopped up and used for food, Soylent Green style.

---

Alright, then we have:

(*) The average user is obsessed with eye-candy.

(*) The average user doesn't care about eye-candy. He just wants to *get work done*.

(*) People who just want to *get work done* are metaphysically superior to those who do other things with their systems - a Master Race of sorts, and...

(*) Gamers are the most important sector of the computer market, who must be pandered to at all costs.

(*) Gamers are completely unimportant. What counts is the Enterprise, where everyone hates OSes which look good, and prefer ugly, workmanlike interfaces. CDE from about 6 years ago seems to be about all anyone in business can tolerate.

(*) Users are obsessed with the cost of their operating system and aren't going to put up with MS's breadhead crap any longer.

(*) Users don't care about the cost of their OS because they get it pre-installed on their systems.

(*) Users aren't going to put up with massive amounts of change! They're not a bunch of nerds who have time or desire to learn all sorts of new stuff.

(*) Users aren't going to put up with STAGNATION. When they see their next door neighbor running a shiny new OS, they're going to insist on it too. That's why Linux never succeeds. Three words: TEXT BASED INSTALLERS.

(*) Your average user wants web pages with lots of Flash and graphics and animation because they expect that kind of stuff, being all Bruckheimered into oblivion - bludgeoned in fact, by pop culture.

(*) Average users HATE flash and graphics and animation and stuff on web pages because they are part of the beknighted Nietzschean Ubermensch class of people who just WANT TO GET WORK DONE.

I would like to call, therefore, for an immediate halt to any claims about the "average user" until it can be determined that:

(a) such a thing exists.
(b) such a thing can be quantified.
(c) such a things wants can be objectively determined.

Otherwise, what I see, is a whole lot of people Just Making Crap Up.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Average users?
by kernelpanicked on Tue 12th Sep 2006 19:00 UTC in reply to "Average users?"
kernelpanicked Member since:
2006-02-01

+1 funniest comment I've read in a while...and damn true too

Reply Score: 1

RE: Average users?
by JeffS on Tue 12th Sep 2006 19:36 UTC in reply to "Average users?"
JeffS Member since:
2005-07-12

Best post I've seen on OSNews in a long, long time.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Average users?
by deanlinkous on Tue 12th Sep 2006 19:42 UTC in reply to "Average users?"
deanlinkous Member since:
2006-06-19

Well I hate to agree with Jeff(mutiple personality)S but in this case I agree with him and KernelPanicked that your post should be the post of ages because that was excellent. It should be on plaques and t-shirts and so forth.

+1 for me too

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Average users?
by JeffS on Tue 12th Sep 2006 22:24 UTC in reply to "RE: Average users?"
JeffS Member since:
2005-07-12

"Jeff(mutiple personality)S

Multiple personalities? Moi?

Just because I like newbie oriented distros like Freespire, as well as geek oriented distros like Slack?
;-)

Reply Score: 1

RE: Average users?
by ma_d on Tue 12th Sep 2006 20:53 UTC in reply to "Average users?"
ma_d Member since:
2005-06-29

Brilliant. Everyone shut up now ;) .

Unless you're congradulating Quag7 on rendering this discussion moot.

Reply Score: 2

WE are not average Joes
by chrishaney on Tue 12th Sep 2006 18:36 UTC
chrishaney
Member since:
2005-11-15

Most readers of OSNews are not average Joes. We do not understand the way they think. Neither does the article author.

Why not do a survey of averages readers to get their thoughts? Oh yeah... because they don't care. Windows works good enough for them.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: What about BSD/UNIX?
by _DoubleThink_ on Tue 12th Sep 2006 18:39 UTC
_DoubleThink_
Member since:
2006-02-15

What exactly is the BSD/Unix philosophy? it's not as well outlined as the GNU philosophy, AFAICT the principal idea behind BSD is that anyone can take the code and do whatever they like with it and have no obligation to give anything back.

I was not talking about licenses at all. I was talking about design philosophies.

Your version of "The Original Design Philosophy of Unix "isn't something you can really expect all of the different factions of BSD to follow, no one's there to enforce those ideals, the programmers can apply whatever philosophy they wish.

Yes, they all have different design goals, but they all share the goals I listed.

Linux, on the other hand, is far more centrally developed, leaving behind GNU for a moment to concentrate on the Linux kernel, quality, efficiency and progress are a pretty important part of the dev philosophy here, Linux isn't forking all over the place and diverging further from its initial starting point in the way that the BSDs and Unices are, therefore your desire for consistency and predictabilty is actually better satisfied by the Linux kernel than the many different and varied BSD/unix kernels.

Configuring and compiling a Linux kernel looks quite insane to me. I suppose you will say "it's quite easy" or something similar, but from my prior BSD experience, I wouldn't even think about this kind of "tweaking". The same goes for playing with modules from different sources. This isn't at all about simplicity and predictability. The Linux-way is much more about tinkering than the traditional UNIX way of doing things. Of course, this is a little bit oversimplyfied.

It's also just my personal preference, nothing more. Reading this article about desktop linux simply reminded me about these things. Linus Torvalds was right when he pointed out that Gnome doesn't reflect the Linux mentality. Linux is more about playing with a lot of knobs and options (and no, I'm not a Gnome user nor a KDE user).

Reply Score: 1

I disagree...
by tomcat on Tue 12th Sep 2006 18:45 UTC
tomcat
Member since:
2006-01-06

Linux can be made more user-friendly without crippling its most useful functions. Ubuntu and Linspire are good examples. But I would argue that the point is really moot. I think it's admirable that people really want to promote Linux as an alternative OS. But it has a lot of things going against it...

1. First Mover Advantage - Microsoft has a huge entrenched base and is difficult to dislodge.

2. User Apathy - People don't buy operating systems. They buy packaged computers with OSes already installed. Unless and until Dell, IBM, and all of the major vendors promote and sell Linux desktop machines, consumers just won't care. And manufacturers have no incentive to make them care, as long as they're already selling a product that people buy.

3. Driver Support - Following on the heels of user apathy is lack of driver support. Yes, Linux and OSX support a wide variety of hardware, but not nearly as much hardware as Windows. Hardware OEMs/IHVs just don't make enough money on Linux and Apple currently to justify spending as many resources on Linux as they do on Windows. Can you blame them? If you were in their business, would you rather target 500 million Windows desktops -- or perhaps 15 million Macs or perhaps 8 million Linux boxes?

4. Software Availability - Sure, there's a bunch of free software available for 'nix, but the availability for Windows dwarfs these platforms. Games? Not many. Financial software? Not much. Not to mention the mountain of data that people have already accumulated on their Windows PCs. Who's going to pay to convert all of that data? Can it even BE converted? Some of the apps aren't even being sold anymore. This is a serious platform lock. People aren't inclined to upgrade all of their software and data investments simply because they can.

5. Training - It costs money for companies to retrain their employees and, despite the protestations that "it looks like Windows" and "even an idiot could run this", the TCO for running alternate platforms matches or exceeds Windows, based on my experience, so this begs the question: Why bother?

6. Cost - The initial purchase price of a desktop OS simply isn't a significant factor in its success or failure. Particularly since the cost of an OS is often incorporated into the cost of a new PC -- so, to many users, it appears to be "free", anyway.

Reply Score: 2

Article is generally right
by valnar on Tue 12th Sep 2006 18:51 UTC
valnar
Member since:
2006-01-17

I think the Linux zealots aren't thinking clearly. I don't know a single non-technical Windows user that would be happy with any Linux distro. 'Not only for applications, but also complexity.

Windows is basically a "plugin" architecture. You buy a Windows program, and it will work. Easy to install, easy to uninstall. Yes, yes, it may leave some reisidual files after you get rid of an app, but no more than Linux. It's also easy to add new devices and drivers. There is no compling of a kernel. Try asking a novice to do that. And don't get me started on wireless. WPA and PEAP are impossible (not hard, IMPOSSIBLE) for a non-technical user to figure out on Linux. Yep, I'll stand behind that. Impossible.

I'm stealing this analogy from elsewhere, but Linux is pretty much a pile of legos. Different distros present you with different legos built in a certain way. For the average Joe, there certainly *IS* too much choice. Why should he know or care about the differences between Gnome, KDE or XFCE? Why doesn't cut-&-paste work between all his apps? Why can I just go to a web site that requires Shockwave, Flash or Java and have it install automatically? Why, why, why?! Yah yah, the developers are primarily to blame, so before any Linux gurus tackle Mr. Joe, they need to tackle the vendors.

I have at least a dozen Windows programs that I use all the time and they don't work well under Linux. I use Windows 90% of the time myself, but I also know Linux. I just know its' limitations.... and Windows limitations.

Reply Score: 4

v RE: Article is generally right
by Ookaze on Tue 12th Sep 2006 21:47 UTC in reply to "Article is generally right"
RE: Article is generally right
by anda_skoa on Wed 13th Sep 2006 00:23 UTC in reply to "Article is generally right"
anda_skoa Member since:
2005-07-07

. WPA and PEAP are impossible (not hard, IMPOSSIBLE) for a non-technical user to figure out on Linux. Yep, I'll stand behind that. Impossible

My only comparison is Windows XP and it is definitely more difficult there. On XP the passphrase entry field is some kind of password field and only displays stars, the entry field on Linux/KDE can be switched to show the input.

And if entering a passphrase into a popup asking for it on the first connect is too diffcult for users, they will nor get WPA working on any system unless there is a PKI infrastructure available on the network.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Article is generally right
by bogomipz on Wed 13th Sep 2006 14:39 UTC in reply to "Article is generally right"
bogomipz Member since:
2005-07-11

Windows is basically a "plugin" architecture. You buy a Windows program, and it will work. Easy to install, easy to uninstall.

Excuse my ignorance, but I find it *easier* to install sofware in my favourite Linux distro than on Windows. With one simple command, I get the software downloaded from the net and properly installed, not to mention the ability to search available software titles. On Windows, uninstalling doesn't really work, plus the computer gets slowed down after a few months of use. Especially if you tried out alot of programs that you later removed.

It's also easy to add new devices and drivers.

Eh, no. With Windows you need to seek out the manurfacturer's homepage to find the latest drivers for all of your hardware, install them manually, reboot left and right, and do the same again whenever you *suspect* you might need to upgrade a driver. On Linux you don't have to stand this crap because the drivers for all mainstream, supported hardware is there out of the box. And like all other software, the kernel is automatically upgraded whenever you decide the system should check for new versions of everything installed.

Don't get me wrong. If you like your OS, fine, I'm happy for you. But installing/uninstalling/upgrading of drivers and apps is one GNU/Linux's advantages over Windows in my eyes. It's mostly because the responsibility to package software is not left to third party vendors. Applications are packaged by distribution maintainers in a homogenous way, drivers are part of a single code tree found at kernel.org. The reason why things can be organized in this way is that the source is open and free to redistribute.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Article is generally right
by Legend on Wed 13th Sep 2006 16:40 UTC in reply to "RE: Article is generally right"
Legend Member since:
2006-07-27

Yes, just updating everything can be a good and simple thing. However, praying that software XYZ gets added to a repository is not good.

A method that would allow to update everything (or only as much as needed) with one command that allows the third party vendors to distribute the applications themselves would be superior.

Reply Score: 1

DigitalAxis
Member since:
2005-08-28

It looks like the top three things Linux is missing are:
* DVD/MP3/WMA/M4A(/Blu-Ray?/HD-DVD) out of the box
* Microsoft Office
* Photoshop

A close fourth would be the nebulous category of "don't ever have to configure any hardware using the command line"

The whole "is Linux ready for the desktop" argument is pointless, really, because not everyone's at the same level of computer skills. There are six types of computer users:

#1. The person who's never used a computer before. (ie, Grandma) Has no preconcieved attachment to the Windows way of doing things, so if you can just show them which button they need to click to see webpages, or write an email, they're good. Linux is ready for this kind of user with rather general needs.

#2. The casual user who uses a computer for a bunch of things and talks to friends, watches movies, visits popular websites, checks out this cool new thing their friend found... Obviously if the program their friend sends them doesn't run, or the document looks kinda funny, or the DVD doesn't play without some form of Nerd Magic, or MSN video messaging doesn't work, or there's no blue E on the desktop they'll get frustrated and quit. Linux is not ready for most of them yet. Various distros are better at this than others; Linspire for instance can get DVD playback easily without scripts that download illegal software, etc...
This is apparently the average user Linux is currently trying to cater to.

#3. The power user who uses a computer for a lot of very specific things and has very specific requirements. Linux is not ready for most of these people, because they know the Windows way almost forwards and backwards but would get lost if they can't rely on the location or format of registries, system files, or the general aesthetic of the system... With help and assistance they MIGHT be able to use Linux, but the transition from something they're extremely comfortable with to something that behaves very differently is very uncomfortable.

#4. The same goes for people who may otherwise fit into category 2, 3 or 5, but need to exchange complex documents in proprietary formats, play games, or actually need the functions of Photoshop that The Gimp doesn't have. The people in the latter position are sometimes the ones who WOULD use Linux if they didn't have to use certain systems. Crossover Office and Wine may not be able to solve all their problems, especially if networking/integration is a problem. Linux is not ready for these people, at least not as the only OS.

#5. The more advanced* power user who can understand OSes to the point where they can find their way around even if they aren't in a Windows environment any more. Linux (or other OS, for that matter) is ready for them, because they can understand how things work more generically and troubleshoot for themselves.
*Probably this is nothing more than a Windows user who's managed to also get comfortable with Linux. (Such as, me)

#6. Linux developer types. They know enough about Linux to write and debug code for complex programs... the people who write code for the kernel, etc etc. Obviously Linux is ready for them, possibly even a hobby OS they write themselves. You get the idea.

This isn't really a progression. Some people may always be type #1; and that's fine. Some people may stay at type #3 and never go through the trying process of getting used to a different environment. Who cares.

In case you're wondering, I'd consider myself a #4/#5. While I can troubleshoot problems (or documents my friends send me) and am generally comfortable with the command line, I dual boot Windows because I follow the demoscene (www.scene.org) and have to use Powerpoint to make scientific presentations (OpenOffice.Org Impress is too freeze-prone and takes up too much memory for me to really consider it an alternative... yet. Then there's my unresolved issue of Linux with projectors)
Ironically, I also HAVE to use Linux for some things, because there are a LOT of scientific programs only available for UNIX.

EDIT: Added the part about gamers and average user, and I noticed several people seem to have already posted their own similar lists above. Ok, well, accept my little myopic vision for what it is.

Edited 2006-09-12 20:05

Reply Score: 2

ma_d Member since:
2005-06-29

Of those types, these are the ones that talk the most:
5->3->2->6->4.
Where 5 never shuts up and 4 doesn't have an account on any bulletin board sites, nor do they have a blog.

Reply Score: 1

Ookaze Member since:
2005-11-14

Linux doesn't miss any of the things you cited.
Perhaps you meant consumer oriented distros, and even then, your things are all wrong.
Linux OS can already have DVD/MP3/... out of the box you know ?
It would just be foolish to do that because of legal problems. So we need this legal nonsense to disappear : software patents and the like.
"Don't ever have to configure any hardware using the command line" is a plain stupid thing to ask for. Why should you not be able to configure your hardware from the command line ? Oh I know : because you can't do that in Windows.
You know what ? While writing that, I'm controlling my MythTV box which is far away in the living room, thank god I have the command line, or I would have to break the experience of my wife using it right now.
You'd rather have this great thing disappear, just to look less dumb because that's one thing you just can't do on Windows and that makes you mad ?

Your types of computer users and their capabilities are all wrong anyway :
#1 never used a computer before : Linux is ready for them

#2 casual Windows user with MSN and nerd magic for activating DVD playback (apparently, clicking on a checkbox in an app like EasyUbuntu is nerd magic to you ... yes, you look very dumb to me). Hey, you just described the users I migrated to Linux : Linux is ready for them.

#3 Power Windows user. The people that know how to get around lots of Windows bugs and quirks without understanding what's going on, that tells you things like : "of course you have to set your refresh rate to 60 Hz for your LCD at random reboot times". People that got burned by every program that does the same thing (like antivirus) and will tell you "of course, what you bought is sh*t, XXX is the best". BTW, the same people complain about choice on Linux, and then complain when there is only one program for a specific task on Linux. The ones that tell you "of course, you need the pack XYZ to play all your videos, the one you took is bad. Then add part of this other one, then edit the registry, ..." (it never works for all videos of course, I've yet to find a Windows setup able to play all the video types I have).
Of course, Linux is not ready for these people. These people lose lots of time tinkering with Windows in the hope they will acquire any knowledge (which comes down to nil when the next Windows is out) or because they like to tinker. I know pretty well, I was one of them, with the selective amnesia specific to these users and all. Fortunately for me, I got tired of nothing working or staying right before I got fed up to tinker, or I would not have discovered Linux early enough, and would have lost my time on Windows. OTOH everything I learned on Linux I use every time.
You can tinker on Linux too, and learn in the process, but you don't have all the pirated software right there (full of malware) on Linux, the things that won't give you any knowledge. You will notice these people are rich, very rich : they have Photoshop ! AutoCAD ! the uber version of Office ! Very expensive 3D packages ! Very expensive music packages ! Tons of games, some they play 10 minutes and then complain they are sh*t, without ever complaining about the price they paid for them, or even looking for a refund !

#4 Hell, these people need to exchange complex documents in proprietary formats at home, as of course, all their friends are rich too, and have everyone of the apps I cited above, and love to receive complex docs in proprietary formats. All that while playing games all the time. I forgot, they're also professional artists and use functions in Photoshop that Gimp does not have. And I thought geniuses like Kitano where rare ! Of course, Linux will never be ready for these people.
But I must say I'm always laughing when I work with these people, especially when they try to show me they know anything about computers. Which is very sad, as some are programmers, or database engineers, I mean, they should know at least a little about computers.

#5 Of course, Linux is ready for these people ... But notice they are even more advanced than the geniuses noted before. Wow, I actually have a superior mind. Actually, my wife too, and I just thought she was computer illiterate. Beware, as if OLPC succeeds, the third world will spew an overwhelming number of geniuses.

#6 ...

Reply Score: 1

DigitalAxis Member since:
2005-08-28

Perhaps you meant consumer oriented distros, and even then, your things are all wrong.
Linux OS can already have DVD/MP3/... out of the box you know ?
It would just be foolish to do that because of legal problems. So we need this legal nonsense to disappear : software patents and the like.

Oh, I know about EasyUbuntu and Automatix (and Linspire, who sell legal DVD playing software)... but it seems like lack of out-of-the-box support is a major problem. It baffles me, but I get the impression that if everything doesn't work 100% perfectly just out of the box, they'll go back to Windows... where they'd have an even harder time installing PowerDVD than by checking a box in Automatix, except that Dell probably did that for them.

"Don't ever have to configure any hardware using the command line" is a plain stupid thing to ask for. Why should you not be able to configure your hardware from the command line ? Oh I know : because you can't do that in Windows.
Oops, I should have been clearer. I meant that you shouldn't be REQUIRED to configure things on the command line, not that I wanted to take it away.
What I meant to say was that I read a lot of complaints here about "you really expect newbies to compile a new kernel with support for their wifi driver?"- which shouldn't, and isn't necessary with modern distributions. The problem is with the exotic, new, or hard-to-reverse-engineer hardware that needs some custom configuration... which will likely be done from the command line because it's so much more powerful. THAT is what seems to be a top target. I NEVER meant to imply I wanted to take the command line away. I just get the impression that making it a REQUIREMENT is a problem.

#2 casual Windows user with MSN and nerd magic for activating DVD playback (apparently, clicking on a checkbox in an app like EasyUbuntu is nerd magic to you ... yes, you look very dumb to me). Hey, you just described the users I migrated to Linux : Linux is ready for them.

Oops.

I... kinda forgot about getting assistance from a local Linux user when I made up my list.
I made up the list assuming "Linux ready for the desktop" meant a person would basically have a CD, and be able to find everything for themselves, figure out how to open Word Documents in OpenOffice, how to get Flash/Quicktime/ASF working so they can see the latest on Ebaumsworld... without That Computer Guy (ie, you or me) to tell them where to FIND EasyUbuntu (besides, if PowerDVD came preinstalled on Windows, that's NO clicks; they might not even realize they need special software).

Which in retrospect is stupid; many people get horribly lost using Windows, so the only advantage Windows has is that it comes preinstalled nowadays. (and everyone around them uses it, but that's... help!)
And of course, at this stage NOBODY is going to just discover Linux without someone showing them, or at the very least knowing where the distribution's website with downloads and forums is. I was basically assuming you'd install it for Grandma, anyway.
I admit it, I was wrong.

I imagined #2 as a the person who expects to be able to download some cute kitten animation (that their friends sent them) that sits on their desktop, or check out some IE-only website, without having to say "Oh, this doesn't work for me, I'm using Linux" (or more likely, "Why doesn't this work, you stupid computer!").

Obviously, this depends a lot on how many of their friends use Windows-only stuff, and what they're actually doing with their computer.


Of course, Linux is not ready for these people. These people lose lots of time tinkering with Windows in the hope they will acquire any knowledge (which comes down to nil when the next Windows is out) or because they like to tinker....
Fortunately for me, I got tired of nothing working or staying right before I got fed up to tinker, or I would not have discovered Linux early enough, and would have lost my time on Windows. OTOH everything I learned on Linux I use every time.
Yeah, I was going in that direction too, until a friend of mine interested me in tinkering with Linux. I know more useful ways around the system in Linux than I ever did in Windows now. Which is not much in either case...


#5 Of course, Linux is ready for these people ... But notice they are even more advanced than the geniuses noted before. Wow, I actually have a superior mind. Actually, my wife too, and I just thought she was computer illiterate.
Well, she's got you to help her if/when things go a bit awry (see above).

You're right anyway, my descriptions of #4 and #5 are a bit screwed up. #4 is not really a category, it's just people who are locked into proprietary software. Basically, I meant to say that #4 was people that WOULD (or claim they would) switch except they NEED some software that only works on Windows, and #5 are people who either have no such need, or found a Linux alternative that's good enough. Linux is essentially ready for either of them.


Beware, as if OLPC succeeds, the third world will spew an overwhelming number of geniuses.
Indeed, it could be very exciting in a few years.

Edited 2006-09-13 00:27

Reply Score: 1

Coolness Factors...
by Lousewort on Tue 12th Sep 2006 20:23 UTC
Lousewort
Member since:
2006-09-12

I believe the author has the right analogy, but misses the point entirely; Yes, Linux is like that cell phone with the transparent cover- but that other OS used to be exactly like that when it was still cool. Unfortunately the producers have taken to making the cover as opaque as possible- not to improve the coolness factor, but to prevent people from seeing the absolute garbage they put inside.

The tired old "ready for the dektop" argument has long since ceased to hold water. The only remaining issue is who's desktop it is ready for. The quality of most desktop environments for Linux (or for that matter BSD etc) already far exceeds anything MS produced five years ago with the release of XP.

Quality of applications? well, that's another discussion entirely.

Reply Score: 3

IMHO only 50% true
by palandir on Tue 12th Sep 2006 20:35 UTC
palandir
Member since:
2006-09-12

Well-written article overall, but brings up no new ideas.

I know that Linux will become a popular desktop system in the near future. Yes, Linux was originally built from geeks for geeks, so to speak, but everything has changed/evolved. You have a choice today. You can set up your Linux system very transparently and technically, so that it scares away all average users, but you can also set it up to look and feel nearly the same as MacOS X or Windows, so that it hides all complexity, you never have to use the command line (except maybe when following some instructions for troubleshooting. But that's still much better than messing with the evil and cluttered Windows registry) etc..

In my experience, people with no experience in computers at all are perfectly fine with a Linux distribution like Ubuntu, Fedora or SuSE.
The only people complaining are those coming from Windows, because they want it to be exactly like Windows (just somehow better/less flawed), because they are so damn used to it and blame everything else for not being 100% like their familiar system.

But even for these people there is hope, because the "user friendly" software on Linux is evolving constantly, and quite rapidly. In a few years, we will have distributions so easy to use and so familiar looking that no one will say that again. The only reason to maybe keep the Windows partition then will probably be games (because MS will never port DirectX for Linux) and very specific older applications with no alternative. Nothing else.
But even then, the geeks and nerds can still use their system in a way they like, because there is so much choice/flexibility.

The perfect proof that it's possible to combine Unix with "idiot" friendliness is Mac OS X. And some Linux distributions can and will become like this too. Some are almost there, IMHO. And this is a huge difference compared to the Linux desktop in, say, the late 90's.
Give it another ~5 years and there will be a huge difference again compared to today.

Also, many of the common "myths" or "complaints" on Linux are simply not up to date anymore (if they even have been). Take a look at this link for example: http://www.kroah.com/log/linux/ols_2006_keynote.html

Reply Score: 1

Think, Why Mac didn't take off?
by rakamaka on Tue 12th Sep 2006 21:05 UTC
rakamaka
Member since:
2005-08-12

before considering linux will ever be on desktop, because of non-user friendly, command line configs, silly excuse of blaming HW vendors etc etc
pause and think, why the most user friendly system 'Mac' comes preinstalled, 100% GUI, 100% HW compatible(of course), easier to install apps than even windows, DIDN'T GAIN MORE THAN 5% MARKETSHARE?

There must be something else Bill Gates might have done. he didn't gain marketshare as lottery or jackpot. there are sustained efforts from MS to have MOST USER FRIENDLY OS for 90% of population.
It is not monopoly or arm twisting from MS, it is something else...
I am still searching that 'something else' with my XP/debian/PCLOS machine....

Edited 2006-09-12 21:06

Reply Score: 1

RE: Think, Why Mac didn't take off?
by ma_d on Tue 12th Sep 2006 22:44 UTC in reply to "Think, Why Mac didn't take off?"
ma_d Member since:
2005-06-29

You did a great job of showing how user friendly isn't the determining factor because Windows hasn't historically been the most user friendly only to deny that and say it has.

If Windows is the most user friendly then maybe that's the determining factor?

Or maybe there's something overriding that.

In the beginning Microsoft got its start by having the workable system for the pc clone: Instead of writing your own system, you paid this little company "Microsoft" for their CM/S clone. And since these computers were cheap, and because many companies started building them, people bought into Microsoft: It was really the only continuing group that hadn't given away the IP in this setup.

So, I submit that the original item which gained Microsoft its marketshare was a combination of pricing, and them playing the right cards with software licensing. Who'd have thought you could undermine IBM with only software licenses as your capital?


After the initial grab, the first 5 years. After that it's backwards compatibility. It's making sure that people can run Lotus 1-2-3 in the year 1993 when you're shipping NT, then they trust by buying into NT that in the year 2000 they'll still be able to run whatever program they write now.
And in that respect Microsoft has also made nice with ISV's. In fact, some of the most interesting software to come out of Microsoft is for developers:
COM
Visual Studio
.Net

By spoiling ISV's they've kept them on their platform. Who cares if it's not portable when it's half, or more, of the market and it's so much more cost efficient! Computers are cheap, people will buy a new one to run a moderately expensive piece of software (> $200).

Sure, developers will tell you Linux is a nice platform to dev for: And it is, I'll second them all. But it's not nearly as exciting. Technologies take quite a bit of time to gain popularity, users actually care what language you wrote something in (which is just lose lose really), and the target platform isn't a singular term. It's not like it's ten times harder, it's more like you're ten times less catered to.


So, in conclusion.
Step 1, use pricing and IBM's mistake to gain a foothold.
Step 2, "DEVELOPERS, DEVELOPERS, DEVELOPERS."

Reply Score: 2

How presumptuous of you
by nedwardwoodward on Tue 12th Sep 2006 21:55 UTC
nedwardwoodward
Member since:
2006-09-12

Why did you not make your point - Why Desktop Linux Will Not Take off, and Why You Don't Want It to.

sounds like sour grapes to me. go ahead and tell me why I should be forced to spend about $200 for the privilege of continuing to do what i do now, instead of poping a free cd in the drive and doing what i do now. which version of linux is the linux chairman going to refuse to support?

just a rehash of the same old same old. here's my point - windows is old, linux is young. who would expect a child to be more mature, more powerfull, welthier than a middle-aged man. what happens when the child becomes middle-aged, and the old man gets tired and complains about not being able to do what he used to?

So your point is what? because linux desktop is not perfect now, I don't ever want it to be?

Windows will not just go away. I use windows now because I have old applications that only run on windows, but i am well aware of open source replacements that will be better. I've used bete versions and i can't wait to start using it. unfortunatly as usual with open source it's not quite there, and I'm not about to start editing or hacking
anything to make it perfect. But when it's ready, so am I.

and by the way, Linux desktop is taking off. in poorer countries where money is the most important issue, not convenience.

so go ahead and put your stagnant vision of the future out for all to see. linux is young, energetic and the momentum will not be stopped.

Reply Score: 1

Yet another poorly argued article on osnews
by iphitus on Wed 13th Sep 2006 07:41 UTC
iphitus
Member since:
2006-03-27

There's a reason why you don't find this sort of thing - inflammatory crap - on any reputable news site.

Linux itself was not designed entirely by 'enthusiasts'. It was written by enthusiasts initially, as a replacement for minix, and is unix like, in that it takes a lot of it's design and concepts from unix.

Nowadays, many of the design decisions are increasingly influenced heavily by larger companies such as IBM or Novell.

As for being palattable to the end user, and covering everything up, go grab yourself Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop, it's a free download - it's the updates you have to pay for. I've yet to need to open a command line or 'look inside' it once, despite it being my first instinct to operate from the command line.

James

Reply Score: 1

Not the reasons
by Lambda on Wed 13th Sep 2006 07:43 UTC
Lambda
Member since:
2006-07-28

If there's one dominant reason why desktop linux will never take off is because there is no the linux desktop operating system. It's really that simple.

Reply Score: 2

It is already problem ...
by Legend on Wed 13th Sep 2006 08:04 UTC
Legend
Member since:
2006-07-27

It is a problem if Joe already needs to test a number of distributions to find one that fits him. Really testing a distro isn't done in one day and I'm sure he doesn't want to spend a lot of time just testing.

Probably he could find a good distro for him with the first one he downloads - but that is more luck then usual.

Reply Score: 2

linux
by happycamper on Wed 13th Sep 2006 08:26 UTC
happycamper
Member since:
2006-01-01

Why would an avearge user want a computer for in the first place? to play video games, spent hours watching youtube,send emails, ebay,etc windows do all of that.so, what does linux have that would make the avarage user to start thinking about making a switch to linux?

Reply Score: 4

RE: linux
by netpython on Wed 13th Sep 2006 09:06 UTC in reply to "linux"
netpython Member since:
2005-07-06

what does linux have that would make the avarage user to start thinking about making a switch to linux?

-Superior networking (apps)
-More apps ready to use after initiall OS install
-Modularity
-Better TV card support
-A misbehaving app most likely doesn't take the whole system down.

The prime isn't that users can't switch.They just need a proper introduction.About the pros and cons.I bet most users end up at least with a dual boot configuration.

Edited 2006-09-13 09:08

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: linux
by Legend on Wed 13th Sep 2006 09:56 UTC in reply to "RE: linux"
Legend Member since:
2006-07-27

"Superior networking" and "Modularity" is exactly what Joe doesn't care at all about. Like explained in the article.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: linux
by chavv on Wed 13th Sep 2006 10:37 UTC in reply to "RE: linux"
chavv Member since:
2005-07-06

don't forget the negatives:
-Superior networking (apps) (so many apps what should I do woth them?)
-More apps ready to use after initiall OS install (same... where is MSOffice? Can i open my Excel file with macroses?)
-Modularity (so, what)
- are there linux-games in the nearest game-store?

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: linux
by netpython on Wed 13th Sep 2006 12:57 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: linux"
netpython Member since:
2005-07-06

are there linux-games in the nearest game-store?

All true, a coin had two sides,you just flipped it :-)

Reply Score: 1

Invisible Linux interface
by Rich3800 on Wed 13th Sep 2006 10:58 UTC
Rich3800
Member since:
2006-09-13

I have read that Linux will disappear. I agree. With speech recognition, the future of Linux is already here. Think about Star Trek. Gone would be the complexity of navigating through menus. A voice request would be all that is needed.

Reply Score: 1

Complexity and featurefullness
by Rich3800 on Wed 13th Sep 2006 11:11 UTC
Rich3800
Member since:
2006-09-13

Let's assume that the author is right in his article, saying that the average Joe is repelled by complexity. What we need to do, as geek developers is to make this complexity invisible. Since a lot of this complexity comes out through the user interface, let's make the user interface invisible. Speech recognition would be a lot like the command line: a direct link to the operating system commands and software (of course, depending on user permissions).

Reply Score: 1

RE: Complexity and featurefullness
by Legend on Wed 13th Sep 2006 12:53 UTC in reply to "Complexity and featurefullness"
Legend Member since:
2006-07-27

And if you would have read the article carefully, you would know that this is exactly what would be considered boring at least by some geeks.

And as Linux should be fun for geeks (at least when it was started), what you describe would be the opposite of what Linux is aimed at (mostly).

Yes, I know there are Distros that try to be user friendly. But how do you polish a base completely away that isn't aimed too much at that goal?

Reply Score: 1

Ubunti
by fredthelinuxguy on Wed 13th Sep 2006 16:45 UTC
fredthelinuxguy
Member since:
2006-09-13

Salut Martin,

Je peux comprendre ton opinion. Cependant Ubuntu est vraiment pour l'Average Joe. Mark Shuttleworth a compris le message.

Salut!

Reply Score: 1

RE: Ubunti
by Bonus on Wed 13th Sep 2006 17:10 UTC in reply to "Ubunti"
Bonus Member since:
2005-12-23

Well Mark does a good job. Really it's a matter of personal chioce; but Linux is still messy. Sure you have to do reboots with MS and it's too closed but that's the sacrafice with basic products that work most of the time. It's good to have Linux as an undercurrent to the market as it's pushing software to be open source.

Reply Score: 2

Now wait a minute!!!
by Edward on Wed 13th Sep 2006 17:50 UTC
Edward
Member since:
2005-09-17

I like learning, but I also like my OS to be simple, stable & secure. The article acts like windows users are mindless idiots. In order to be attractive to them, the interface needs to be dumbed down to the average automated bank teller's level. What is that about? Why is linux so sacred, we can have our desktop distro & you can have a CLI only distro. There is no reason to "dumb down" . We just would like a better install system, like how PC-BSD has .pbi files. It is so amazing what you geeks can do, but I don't understand how to make a user-friendly OS.

Edited 2006-09-13 18:10

Reply Score: 1

Load of crap
by Bonus on Wed 13th Sep 2006 18:35 UTC
Bonus
Member since:
2005-12-23

"Another issue that makes the open-source world irreconcilable with the crowd is the issue of choice."

This is nothing short of an anti open-source fist pumping article OSNews.

If the author loves MS so much and doesn't care about open source in the mainstream then at least ask them to put Windows under their most resrictive open source license. This article shouldn't have been posted here as it's redundant. The benefits of open source to mainstream have already been discussed. To cast open source as only fit for geeks who want to gawk is stupid.

If people dont like Linux it's because they dont like Linux not because they don't care about the sourcecocde as the author stated

I understand if the author doesn't like Linux but since when does the GPL or Linux have total ownership of open source software? Open source software has existed since the beginning but stopped being used around 1984.

The GPL is one of the first 'movement'
orientated licenses of sourcecode but certainly not the first or best. It's too liberal for certain high end apps like Apache and BSD etc. It's about 60 percent of the open source market. It doesnt allow too much in the way of more extreme privacy of code distribution techniques.

People want to be able to see the source code for safety and ethical reasons. Most people in my community want to know what's going on underneath the hood of what they oewn and have in their homes although they might not ever look at the source code themselves they want the interopability and stabilty that open source offers.

Edited 2006-09-13 18:36

Reply Score: 1

RE: Load of crap
by Aussie_Bear on Wed 13th Sep 2006 23:19 UTC in reply to "Load of crap"
Aussie_Bear Member since:
2006-01-12

This is nothing short of an anti open-source fist pumping article OSNews.

You've pretty much explained why I hardly visit this site anymore. Ever since Thom took over from Eugenia, its been heading in that general direction. (Apple and Microsoft related articles appear more often than in the past...It used to be more pro-opensource, as I used to visit this site for opensource related happenings). Now I visit Tuxmachines and MadPenguin.

The other site that's starting to annoy me, is OSWeekly. They have nothing of useful info, except columns and columns of opinionated nonsense. The site lacks any useful material. (For some reason, other Linux news sites continually link articles to it). But it looks like its pretty much an opinion based website.

Its a shame that sites nowadays need to delibrately stir trouble and contraversy to attract attention and boost some ad dollars.

Opinion articles like these are the reason why I don't read blogs, opinions, columns and editorials anymore. They're full of nonsense that offer no real useful info you can use. (Like a guide or HOW-TO of some sort). Just some strangers rantings about something.

I can actually think of a number of things I can do, to productively use my time. (than waste it on editorials and such).

Reply Score: 1

not anymore
by ponkarthik on Thu 14th Sep 2006 00:10 UTC
ponkarthik
Member since:
2006-09-14

Interesting points. True to an extent. Not anymore. With commercial interests it is more and more becoming mainstream.

With great emphasis on eye candy ( take xgl/compiz for example - I am surprised that so many so called 'geeks' or 'nerds' are involved) nowadays, your arguments are out of the window(s).

Reply Score: 1

Sorry, but you missed several points here
by davpsiq on Thu 14th Sep 2006 18:48 UTC
davpsiq
Member since:
2006-09-14

Of course, I'd like to have Linux remain open to tweaking etc.--but I recognize that, as you said, Joe Blow wants simple. However, you seem to have missed out on the fact that, where there's a marketplace, there's a way. There's no reason why someone couldn't stick a Joe Blow interface on top of Linux; Mac OSX already does that to some degree to its Unix core. It looks like some Linux distros are heading in that direction anyway, with the equivalent of a "pop the hood" button for those who really want it.

Anyway, Microsoft's paranoia about "piracy", and the resulting lawsuits plus even more customer unfriendliness, are going to cause ever more people to look for alternatives, and that makes Linux look ever more attractive. Certainly, the price is right! Already, I've seen Linux desktops come a long way in the last three years, to where they're not much more complicated than Windows to install. Besides, I like having my own choices, not the choices that some faceless corporation wants to foist on me. (Have you seen the annoying instant messages that you get when Windows XP is first installed and working on the net???)

Another point is that you're only addressing Joe Blow and his living room, yet assuming that he still wants a general-purpose computer in it. Sorry, but Joe Blow-friendly devices that use Linux as the software base are already giving Microsoft a run for the money, and Joe Blow himself doesn't really care about what's inside as long as it works.

As for the other big marketplace (which you completely missed), the corporate desktop, Microsoft may have become its own worst enemy. There is a point at which the features now available on Linux for free, plus Microsoft's own bad attitude, begin to overcome corporate inertia. Moreover, the availability of OpenOffice definitely does count in this marketplace. It still has some rough edges, but I would now consider it very competitive on features with MS Office. Moreover, OpenOffice doesn't try to steer you into Microsoft's agenda--er, "services". I've used both, so I know what I'm talking about here!

Reply Score: 1

This website is not a personal blog
by sp1tf1re on Fri 15th Sep 2006 11:53 UTC
sp1tf1re
Member since:
2006-09-15

This article was more like some opinionated blog entry belonging on a personal site. Venting doesn't no make good journalism, especially when the author is confused, makes no real case and cites no examples.

Desktop linux won't take off? Desktop linux has already taken off. It works, it's popular, it's now in a growth stage (but far from maturity).

Last time I checked all Desktop Linux distros still had a terminal available, and yes there's still pure linux under the hood for anyone who wants to muck around in it compile their own hacked kernel or whatever. If a person is interested in learning: then it's all there for them.

Some people have no interest in finding out how things work, of course, they just want to use it for something productive, or for recreation and that's all. They should be allowed to of course. Purists would want to force these people learn what's under the hood, these people might then respond with a shrug or a 'whatever' and go use someone elses product.

(I think technocrat elitists find that repugnant because it threatens the power of their sacred knowledge) ;)

So there's no rational reason why desktop linux is a bad thing. To get linux out there, it's necessary (although repulsive to technology elitists) to suck it up and let the "average joes" get at it.

So the author is categorically wrong on the assertions in the article title.

As for the assertion that 'average joe' finds learning repulsive, that's a misconception of what people really think. Well from the bottom of the learning curve, staring up the slope at learning unix/linux, average
joe is thinking "looks like a bunch of unecessary crap".

Reply Score: 1

blackoutknight
Member since:
2006-09-19

Ok. The assertion here is that low-tech users don't have the "capacity" to appreciate the real-world value of Linux on the desktop. In its most raw form, I do agree that the value of a desktop running the latest Linux variant will most likely be lost on many end-users. BUT, the same can be said of most OS's out there. Take WinXP. It has obviously been around some time, but many users (I deal with on a daily basis) "still" find it frustrating and difficult to use.

Think about it. Looking to Windows Vista, you're getting an even "greater" set of end-user confusion points, not less. Vista is actually more KDE-like and OS X-like than either of those two OSs on their own. More logical, maybe. Less confusing? No. Remember, end-users operate on emotion, not logic.

The Linux desktop under the Ubuntu or better yet, Fedore Core 5 for example, is a sound "beginning" approach to providing users with a simplified experience (GNOME), albeit with a high degree of flexibility maintintained just under the hood (what've got against hot rods!!! I see more and more "old folks" running around in their Dodge Chargers every day!)

Looking at OS X, in many ways it offers a simplified and "balanced" approach to user interface design, flexibility, and work-flow performance potential, BUT end-users "still" complain about complexity!!! That is , of course, until "they" get down to needing the OS for "real" day-to-day tasks. When that happens they seem to "take the time" to learn enough basics to get their jobs done without too much bloodshed. Sure some users are dumb-as-rocks when it comes to virtually "anything" beyond their favorite TV show, pet political issue, or favorite color...

Linux is obviously different and rightly so. It's not necessarily "better" for all users nor all tasks, but it "can" be valuable to many end-users, tech-oriented or otherwise. The fact that Linux comes in so many flavors obviously keep marketing types up at night, but creators of well crafted, "user-nice", function specific versions will have a better go of it because they can offer something of value to both high tech and low tech users alike...from the same code base no less!

The sad fact is that while users and naysayers are out crying over complexity issues, the reality is that the problem is more the result of an unncessarily (and foolishly) "dummied-down" society than it is the problem of supposedly nightmarishly incomprehensible OSs. To coin an old phrase, "We've come a long way baby!" Folks figure out their cell phones, hair dryers and their new car stereos specifically "because" they have a vested interest in "learning a little"...

Just give users custom tailored Linux, OS X or Vista solutions, tweaked and "dummied" in the rought spots, along with Web access, email and a word processor and they'll be happy (?) to the degress that can be expected...regardless.

Reply Score: 1