Linked by David Howe on Mon 12th Jan 2004 18:55 UTC
Linux This is a commentary. From a Linux user who does tech support for Windows users and works in the real world of a corporate Windows network environment. 2004 has been touted by many as the year of the Linux desktop. Indeed with the backing of IBM, Sun and now Novell, the business world looks like getting a serious Linux desktop contender. But has Linux on the desktop really got what it takes?
Order by: Score:
v james, my shotgun please
by Christian Schaller on Mon 12th Jan 2004 19:07 UTC
v re: james, my shotgun please
by hmmm on Mon 12th Jan 2004 19:09 UTC
Ease of Installation > OS & Software
by Nymous on Mon 12th Jan 2004 19:13 UTC

Not only should the OS be easily installable ... but a unified software (packages and updates) installer -- which is distro agnostic -- would be great for newcomers.

Something akin to autopackage perhaps ...

ahh...
by Josh on Mon 12th Jan 2004 19:23 UTC

In a sense I agree with this article. Those are the steps that need to be taken in order for Linux to be widely adopted. However, I do wish it to happen. Sorry to say this but I dont want a ton of Joe Idiots running and breaking things on their own and blaming the os, or dumbing down the standards so to speak. I say leave Windows to Joe Six pack. I loathe the guy. I for one like choice, and as such Im not a fan of uniformed looks. If Gnome wants to be Gnome let them be Gnome, if KDE wants to be KDE let them be KDE. Each offers their differences. Though it really doesnt mattter. Some distros we see are already aimed at Joe User Like Xandros and Lindows. But then again we see idiocy in its fullest when people using lindows disregard creating a root password. As far as installation goes its not a valid need, since the ones aimed at Joe User have come a long way in making it easy, especially since most are derived from Debian whose installer lets say requires an active brain. As far as stablity goes, Linux is highly stable in the right enviornment and the right use. If people starting doing wrong things its bound to crash and burn, and of course they will blame the os much like they did with Microsoft. As for software goes, yes I agree we really dont have a popular software list with the likes of Adobe and Macromedia. I have to agree with that. However, they would come in the form of Proprietary apps, and they would only come after there is one GUI which is not going to happen any time soon. If one wants these they should use Wine and Crossover Office/plugins . In fact Xandros Pro comes with those, so again Its not an issue if Joe User versions of linux include it. Anyways, Ive been ranting for sometime but so help me if every distro becomes Joe Six Pack Aimed im moving to something like Open BSD, though I doubt that. Slackwares still the same, Gentoo still the same, Debian is still the same.

Unified software Installer Now!
by Ricardo on Mon 12th Jan 2004 19:23 UTC

Nymous, I agree 100%.
Time to stop the insanity of depency hell etc.

Linux is almost there...
by Paul D on Mon 12th Jan 2004 19:26 UTC

The funny thing about Linux is that in general, it seems perfect for the desktop; even superior to Windows.

The problem is that no one seems to get the minor details right, and those details kill an otherwise worthy contender.

I am a case in point. As a graphic designer, I've been trying to move my systems over to Linux. I chose Suse 9.0 for my desktop PC because of its much-lauded installation tools and ease of use.

With the easiest installation procedure I've ever seen, Suse installed perfectly and detected all my hardware correctly. I've even managed to get my Adobe applicatoins working with Crossover Office. But it's the little things that Suse gets wrong that could blow it for me.

1. CD-writing, which is supposed to work out of the box with K3B, simply doesn't work.
2. Neither boot loader works properly on my system, requiring me to boot up with the Suse disc each time.
3. Even though non-Latin text is supposed to work out of the box (it even has multi-lingual installers), it doesn't. I need to be able to view and edit Japanese, and it's impossible with my Suse installation.
4. My KDE bar sometimes uses the wrong icon for links (the default gear), and changing it requires changing to root and changing permissions on some obscure files.
5. Fonts I install are not correctly recognized by most programs.

Everyone's needs will vary, but I suspect everyone installing Linux for the first time is going to have an experience similar to mine; some crucial details simply don't work, no matter how slick everything else is. What's more, Suse's "support", which is included when you purchase the boxed set, is laughable. For every single support request I've put in, they've sent replies (about a week later) saying they wouldn't help me, and that I should buy a more expensive support package. This is all for features that should work as advertised out of the box.

Even Windows 98 could do all these things fine! I'm at a loss right now as to whether I should waste several more weeks doing all my computer setup again with another distribution, or what.

Is Linux ready for the desktop? It should be. But only when they start fixing the details and not assuming that their half-hearted attempt is "good enough".

Paul D.

Is linux ready for the desktop?
by 2k3 on Mon 12th Jan 2004 19:27 UTC

No, Linux is not even ready for the desktops of IT professionals. Linux will probably never be a mainstream OS. People will go where the software is, and the software will always be where the money is. Even in a best case scenario Linux won't even come near the desktop in at least 7 or 8 years, and even then as only a niche player.

Not the right reasons...
by Hugo Leisink on Mon 12th Jan 2004 19:28 UTC

* "...the end result is that today's Linux desktop can look and feel like a dog's breakfast."
- Dog's what? My KDE desktop just looks fine to me.

* "...however the addition of software to a Linux system is often more problematic when compared to a Windows environment."
- With apt-get on my Debian server and emerge on my Gentoo desktop, it's even more easier to install software than in Windows.

* "Yes Windows crashes, but then so do Linux boxes."
- in theorie maybe. Never seen a Linux box crash. Really! (Using it for 8 years now)

* "...such as Lindows and root passwords..."
- That's why people who know Linux don't use Lindows.

* "...does not involve a complete re-education."
- Those users learned to use Windows. So what's wrong with learning to use Linux?

I agree with the author that Linux is not ready yet for the desktop, specially for the not-so-very experienced computer user. But there are other reasons for that. (Hardware support is indeed one of them.)

Windows' benefits overvalued
by blunte on Mon 12th Jan 2004 19:32 UTC

The Windows (mostly UI) benefits the author describes are indeed points where Windows is better than Linux on the desktop.

However, Windows apps from 4-5 years ago were nowhere near as good as they are now. Linux apps tend to be on par with the Windows apps from years past.

But what's important to note is that true users will accept what they are given, particularly if shown how to use the software. I see Windows users every day who live with very much less than ideal software (oil and gas industry), and they don't seem to realize that from a UI perspective, the software is rotten.

Linux on the desktop will not fail PRIMARILY because of the points he mentions. If compared side by side to Windows, it will not have as good a look and feel. But it still can succeed, and it is still more than usable.

Heck, millions of Americans drive General Motors cars, and there are few intelligent people who could argue that GM cars are superior to Honda, Toyota, and Mazda (or some German brands). That's not to say Linux is like GM by any means ;)

The single factor that will dictate whether Linux will survive on the desktop is if it will run the software people need, perhaps through emulation, port, or even alternative feature-matching software.

Some Good / Some Bad
by Eric on Mon 12th Jan 2004 19:32 UTC

I think the article makes some good points. I agree with the installation problems with Linux. I use debian and I have been very happy with the ease of getting new packages but what is also nice is that besides some applications such as a financial software or games, most Linux distros come with everything a user needs which makes the installation issue moot. Of course there are exceptions to this but it is still an important detail IMHO.

The killer is the hardware side of things. Having a cd to put in to install drivers for a digital camera, mp3 player, etc. is really the biggest issue to be faced. For myself I got a pocket pc for Christmas. I wish I could use it with mozilla mail and/or evolution (I use mozilla mail at work) so I could just use Linux but it just isn't possible now. This is similar to issues with not having photoshop/macromedia apps as well for Linux (bluefish, gimp, etc. are getting closer everyday thankfully). I think the commercial support will be the key and I do believe it will come but I also think that things must become more standard (ie packages, repositories, filesystem, libs, etc.). Just my two cents ;)

Mainstream
by element on Mon 12th Jan 2004 19:32 UTC

If Linux wants to get mainstream, Linux needs companies like Adobe, Macromedia, ... to make native Linux software. Only then will the smaller companies follow. Windows is easier to use why? For example, you get a Windows CD with your digital camera and it even says on the box: "Supports Windows 98, 98 SE, 2000 and XP". Linux will be ready when the box says "Supports Windows 98, 98 SE, 2000, XP and also supports Linux.
Then and only then will Joe User use Linux.

business breakthrough
by Jan Rigter on Mon 12th Jan 2004 19:33 UTC

I agree with the author that the average home use is still better off wit ha computer running Windows. However, I do not agree with him on the subject of the company pc.

I think he forgot one crucial point here: most business users do not maintain/configure their own computer. They just use it for a limited amount of well defined tasks. Maintenance and configuration are done by certified professionals.
It is quite possible to create a desktop for the average company user, one that feels comfortable and is easy to use. The latest attempt of Sun is a good example. Also, KDE has a lot of tools - such as KIOSK - to produce a reliable and comfortable desktop, regardless which OS you migrate from.

Linux has reached a level where it is actually very interesting for companies to adopt as their main pc OS. Good quality Office suites that will do more than you will ever need are now actually available.
There is a cost involved for switching. Training and rewriting software do cost money. Ever tried to upgrade Windows from an old version? Based on current licensing policies you will have to get used to that because the average company will have to do so more often than in the past. Linux is a serious option for a company looking to save real money, and not just in hardware that won't have to be replaced every time you pop in a new cd.

That's why I think 2004 will be a big year for Linux.
Widespread business acceptance of the OS would give Linux the installed base it needs for the next step. That next step would be to convince hardware manufacturers for example to include drivers for Linux by default, rather than as an afterthought. It would convince software manufacturers that there is actually a world out there for them to sell their products, games or not.

Yes, I do think Linux has a bright future.

Cheers,
Jan

Re: Unified software Installer Now!
by 2k3 on Mon 12th Jan 2004 19:34 UTC

Time to stop the insanity of depency hell etc.

what if I told you that dependency hell can never be stopped, and Linux will never see commercial software partly due to the inibility to distribute and support applications for it. And that hardware support will always be more difficult than any other system. What if I said the UI will always be slow and second rate? Would you still think it is going to take over the world?

No Compelling Reason To Switch.
by Mike on Mon 12th Jan 2004 19:35 UTC

It doesn't matter how easy to use gnu/gnome/kde/linux is. OSX is way sexier and "consistant" than XP and yet people aren't running to that. And don't pretend it's the price: an eMac is about the same price as a crappy eMachine or low end Dell.


If a string of closed-source (so they can't be ported to windows) 3D games came out for gnulinux/BSD that were really innovative and were a lot of fun, and (for the hell of it) free as in 'free beer', it would do a lot more for the proliferation of linux/OSS than anything currently being done.

I'm all for open source software, it really can promote speedy development, but people aren't going to use linux just because it's free. In the US, most people using windows got it OEM, or pirated, so for most people Windows is free.

Until there are user-focused things that people can ONLY do using linux/bsd, people won't be compelled to switch.

I work in the REAL world
by Chris on Mon 12th Jan 2004 19:35 UTC

Not in a business situation with Windows networking etc. I work with real customers, many using Windows for the first time. Yes, this is a small retail store in which customers expect some support from the local store, i.e. me. This means I hear a lot of questions about Windows. So here are the things Windows does that I get sick of explaining:
1.) Installations are not forever. If you can deal with Microsoft cutting the support you pay for with the purchase of the OS you must also deal with the fact that the registry will become oversized and or corrupt after a period of time. The lastability of NT systems is pretty good, most people get a few years out of one. But most people use Windows 98, and with a 6 month - 1 year lastability for most people this is not enough. These people are real people, they pay to have Windows reinstalled. At my store, this is an $80 charge. They blame me for Windows failing, I am sick of hearing it. Fix it Bill.
2.) It doesn't come with a Word processor. Explaining that they have to purchase Microsoft Office for more than they paid for the OS is hard to do. Or Word for a little less than the OS. People seem to think basic functionality should come with their computer, they're wrong according to Bill. Fix it Bill, I'm sick of the complaints.
3.) Anti-virus. Windows has virus problems, great, why doesn't it come with an anti-virus program? Because this would put Norton and Mcafee in a bad way right? Well too bad, I get sick of hearing about this one too.
4.) Windows update. SP2 fixes this, but there should be transparent, by default, updates to Windows on a networked machine. Because most users don't understand the need for it. I dislike explaining how I am selling them a shoddy product that requires security patches. I understand some, but the list is too long. Also, Windows update should work as a tree updating system. So I don't have to run it multiple times to get done. It's called dependencies Bill, it's an easy concept; even RPM solved it (apt.freshrpms.net).
5.) CD-burning software. This is probably for legal reasons, but Windows should move mp3's to wavs and burn them to a CD for the user.
6.) Pop-up blocking. Fixed in SP2. Seriously, I can't believe how they haven't implemented this yet. Move to the new millenium guys.
7.) "ok, click here than here then here then there." Do you know how hard it is to describe a dialogue over the phone to someone who doesn't know what a tab is? Command-line administration is a must. People can spell, they can't describe graphics though. Telephone tech support, no graphics please! GUI admin only is a step back in ease of use. I spent an hour telling someone how to reinstall drivers the other day.

Windows does some things really well. But it has some serious issues, and real people have real problems with the issues. It's the novice users who don't mind. Linux is a beginner/advanced OS (or distributions for both are available). Linux' problem is device support: Not enough devices' support it.
I'd say OS X rules the roost for a easy to use OS, but I don't use it alot so I may get corrected.

Re: Paul D.
by blunte on Mon 12th Jan 2004 19:38 UTC

At least one of the major CG movie shops uses Linux exclusively. I think a few others do to, to some degree.

The problems you describe, I've not encountered. However, I'm not a graphic artist. I will say that I've installed many versions of many distros, and very rarely did I have any boot loader problems, CD burning problems, or desktop misbehaviors (as with your gear icons you mentioned).

Also keep in mind that Linux on the Corporate Desktop implies that systems will be installed, configured, and supported by staff that understand, or have access to people who understand the myriad details of Linux desktop system management.

Unified distro
by Skywatcher on Mon 12th Jan 2004 19:39 UTC

I think some of the greater distro's should...... how will i say this...... combine forces and create a distro which has all the good (say not perfect) elements... for example, crossover office which people need too run some of the windows applications they can't let go... a clean system for updating... and as said before a stable desktop environment, maybe Xpde ( www.xpde.com ), so that people have the feeling they are working with something familiar.. i think a distro also must have the possibility to install and play games, for that they can use winex from transgaming ( www.transgaming.com ). Make it stable and you've got a perfect linux system. Then do some positive merchandising because people need to know what linux is and for what u can use it...

Cheers...

Yes
by J on Mon 12th Jan 2004 19:41 UTC

Yes, if they (the linux community) makes it easy (and pretty) to use as OS X. Actually if apple got some b@lls and were willing to forego their hardware they could easily have OS X on Intel. Though this move would cripple their company - they make most of their money off of hardware, not software.

Anyways, Linux does not have to worry about this, it can run on most hardware available, some time (and money) needs to be having a nice desktop env like OS X. I'm sure people here will say what is wrong with Gnome, KDE, XFCE, etc., however, those desktop environments (in my opinion [and probably the opinion of average joe]) are not as unified as the OSX Apple Desktop.

The other thing Linux needs to do is make installation of their OS easier - yes this means dumbing it down for people, grandma does not want to know how DHCP or PPP work, she just wants to get on the internet and so do 95% of the other non-CS computer users in the world.

Digital Cameras
by Paul D on Mon 12th Jan 2004 19:42 UTC

Despite my above complaints about Linux, I am impressed with some of its USB support. My wife plugged her brand new Canon A70 into my laptop (Mandrake) - even though the package warns that you need to install the CD in Windows for it to work - and Mandrake immediately found it, mounted it, and let us download images from the camera.

Anyway, even for Windows, getting cameras to work can be such a hassle that I usually use a CompactFlash card reader instead.

Paul D.

LINUX
by Tyrone Miles on Mon 12th Jan 2004 19:59 UTC

I think the only real thing killing Linux right now is getting Windows apps on Linux. If that happens Linux will really grow. If it doesn't happen Linux on the desktop outside of office use will falter.

Lindows and Xandros are both very good for home use. Both use KDE, both built on Debian, both simple to install, both useing APT for software installing and updating (Which really helps get over the dependancy heck we all hate)

But where are the Apps? Codeweavers is ok but it crashes much more running Windows apps on Linux then those same apps on Windows.

The problem here is not that companies like Adobe can't make money to port their apps to Linux (Being that most of those apps work on Mac OSX anyway) but they have license deals with MS that they don't want to mess up. Most of these companies know that if they deal with Linux companies MS will stop giving them deals.

So they wait, hoping Linux will get bigger and on the radar more and then they can finally have the clout to move to Linux.

We will see! I hope people will have the guts to go for it. I mean is Open Office can be ported to 10 different OS's, how hard can it be to move Macromedia products to Linux. I bet most of the companies have done it already (Including MS) just to see if it work or to have it on hand for when the time is right.

dead wrong
by Anonymous on Mon 12th Jan 2004 20:07 UTC

2003 was the year of linux. I switched my parents over around thanksgiving when their computer started mysteriously rebooting every time they printed.

Now it's impossible for anyone less computer-literate to switch. The year of linux came and went, sorry you missed it.

no
by jefro on Mon 12th Jan 2004 20:07 UTC

If Grandma can't use it then it isn't ready.

re: I work in the real world
by PainKilleR on Mon 12th Jan 2004 20:12 UTC

Not in a business situation with Windows networking etc. I work with real customers, many using Windows for the first time. Yes, this is a small retail store in which customers expect some support from the local store, i.e. me. This means I hear a lot of questions about Windows. So here are the things Windows does that I get sick of explaining:
1.) Installations are not forever. If you can deal with Microsoft cutting the support you pay for with the purchase of the OS you must also deal with the fact that the registry will become oversized and or corrupt after a period of time. The lastability of NT systems is pretty good, most people get a few years out of one. But most people use Windows 98, and with a 6 month - 1 year lastability for most people this is not enough. These people are real people, they pay to have Windows reinstalled. At my store, this is an $80 charge. They blame me for Windows failing, I am sick of hearing it. Fix it Bill.


Bill's company did fix it, Win98 is nearing end-of-life. Stop selling crap and move to XP already. You said yourself NT systems are better, and XP is an NT OS. They no longer sell licenses for Win98 to retailers and OEMs, only to system builders (and that stops in March), so why are you still selling it to customers? Hell, even paid support from MS stops in 4 days.

2.) It doesn't come with a Word processor. Explaining that they have to purchase Microsoft Office for more than they paid for the OS is hard to do. Or Word for a little less than the OS. People seem to think basic functionality should come with their computer, they're wrong according to Bill. Fix it Bill, I'm sick of the complaints.

They can use Wordpad, or start pre-installing OpenOffice.org if it's such a problem. Hell, you could even charge them for it if you wanted to.

As for bundling things in general, especially things that Microsoft previously sold (and MS sold Word before they sold Windows), this is the sort of thing that MS got in trouble over in the first place.

3.) Anti-virus. Windows has virus problems, great, why doesn't it come with an anti-virus program? Because this would put Norton and Mcafee in a bad way right? Well too bad, I get sick of hearing about this one too.

Make sure to tell the DoJ that before complaining to Microsoft... There are free antivirus programs available for Windows, too.

4.) Windows update. SP2 fixes this, but there should be transparent, by default, updates to Windows on a networked machine. Because most users don't understand the need for it. I dislike explaining how I am selling them a shoddy product that requires security patches. I understand some, but the list is too long. Also, Windows update should work as a tree updating system. So I don't have to run it multiple times to get done. It's called dependencies Bill, it's an easy concept; even RPM solved it (apt.freshrpms.net).

Why not sell the machines with SP2 installed, then? Beyond that, I do agree that it would be helpful if Windows Update downloaded the patches all at once and updated them in the proper order rather than requiring you to download certain patches independantly and reboot before downloading the remainder of the patches.

5.) CD-burning software. This is probably for legal reasons, but Windows should move mp3's to wavs and burn them to a CD for the user.

WindowsXP with Windows Media Player 9 already does this, as far as I know (though I've never done it myself because I don't like the sound quality of MP3s enough to do the conversion for the few players I have that can't handle MP3s natively).

6.) Pop-up blocking. Fixed in SP2. Seriously, I can't believe how they haven't implemented this yet. Move to the new millenium guys.

Install a browser that does it and set it to default, or install the google toolbar. I usually do both on every system I setup.

7.) "ok, click here than here then here then there." Do you know how hard it is to describe a dialogue over the phone to someone who doesn't know what a tab is? Command-line administration is a must. People can spell, they can't describe graphics though. Telephone tech support, no graphics please! GUI admin only is a step back in ease of use. I spent an hour telling someone how to reinstall drivers the other day.

Maybe I'm just lucky, but I can usually manage phone tech support with the people that I do have to deal with on the phone. I've certainly had my share of long phone calls (upwards of 4 hours), but those were often either OS reinstalls or troubleshooting hardware I didn't have on hand. Most driver installations are fairly straightforward, but in the end it depends on who supplied the driver.

Windows does some things really well. But it has some serious issues, and real people have real problems with the issues. It's the novice users who don't mind. Linux is a beginner/advanced OS (or distributions for both are available). Linux' problem is device support: Not enough devices' support it.

I think I agree on this (if I understand what you're saying). I've been able to teach new users to use just about any OS that is even moderately suited to end-users. I've certainly trained people on harder systems than a current Linux distro with KDE or Gnome. New users are the ones that really do not care what the OS is, they just want to know how to do certain things without it getting overly complicated, and they want someone to be able to fix it when they have a problem. When I recently setup a computer for my girlfriend's father, I set it up with WinXP simply because I know I'll have a box with it installed at least until Longhorn has gone retail, which makes it easier for me to support over the phone if needed. On top of that, I bought him the O'Reilly pocket reference to XP, which I feel is not only a fairly strong and deep reference for the OS and the applications and tools that ship with it, but also starts out with enough of the basics for even the newest users to get along. I've yet to find a book I'd feel as comfortable handing to a new user for Linux, but I wouldn't be surprised if O'Reilly published one (either now or in the near future). In the meantime, my girlfriend is interested in knowing how to build a computer, so I'm planning my purchases for a <a href="http://www.mythtv.org/">MythTV box, which will, of course, run Linux, and while I'm at it she may learn a bit about Linux and some applications other than those commonly used on Windows.

RE: Dead Wrong
by Tyrone Miles on Mon 12th Jan 2004 20:14 UTC

Well my mother, grandmother, brother, roommate, me and my girlfriend all use Lindows 4 - 4.5 and all are happy.

(Extra happy when some Windows bug or worm comes out and I tell them not to worry about their PC's because the worm is not for Linux and I have locked down your machines pretty tight using Firestarter)

I mean there are 100's of versions of Linux, it all depends on which version you use, not every version is going to work, and because one version doesn't work for you doesn't mean LINUX doesn't work.

I mean Linux is just over 10 years old. Hummmmm, how well did windows work when it was 10 years old? That would be 1993 when windows 3.1 was out and NT 3.51 was out. LOL! Come on.. LOL! Dos was working better then Windows then.

RE: Unified software Installer Now! By Ricardo
by Edward on Mon 12th Jan 2004 20:16 UTC

We've had this for some time, it's called apt-get.

Plus, commercial software seems to have little problem dealing with dependancies (when the developers actually build for the platform, and don't do silly things like building against the development version of libs).

Windows looks more consistent? bullshit!
by reduz on Mon 12th Jan 2004 20:21 UTC

Windows systems may not have the same eye-candy as OSX, they still have a uniform look and feel. Unfortunately, an historical precedent has given rise to a diverse and at times competing window environment for Linux, the end result is that today's Linux desktop can look and feel like a dog's breakfast.

http://www.reduz.com.ar/windowsxp_look.png

WHERE is your consistent look, huh?
Look even the WINDOW FRAMES are different!

so, where is windows more consistent in the look?

-toolkits? no.. in gnome/kde you can make them look very similar using themes (of course things like toolbars and file dialogs still differ..), but windows has similar problems with shortcuts, toolbars, and all kind of widgets.

-Then, app layout? not that either, even if KDE and Gnome HIGs are different, every windows app has it's very own layout.

I'm afraid to tell you that in this point (at least), you are wrong.


Incentive
by Mike on Mon 12th Jan 2004 20:23 UTC

I use linux exclusively, but I'm not fooling myself into thinking "when it's good enough, the people will come".

OSX is living proof that they won't come.

People aren't looking for the best OS, or the most consistant, or the most secure/stable/easy/etc.

In fact, linux just needs to be "good enough" good enough that people won't get fed up and decide it isn't worth the effort.

What will move people to linux is exclusive apps and exclusive (and even better if they are free $$$) games.

The problem is open source. As long as the source is available, it's just a matter of time until linux loses it's exclusive apps because they get ported to windows.

I love open source, but it's hurting the proliferation of linux as much as it's helping it.

RE: Dead Wrong
by Hassan on Mon 12th Jan 2004 20:26 UTC

I mean Linux is just over 10 years old. Hummmmm, how well did windows work when it was 10 years old? That would be 1993 when windows 3.1 was out and NT 3.51 was out. LOL! Come on.. LOL! Dos was working better then Windows then.

NT was born in 1991(NT 3.1, the first version, was released in Aug 1993), so 10 years for NT is 2001, that makes it XP, quit a good OS for a 10 years old OS.

Why Linux Sucks
by Sergio on Mon 12th Jan 2004 20:27 UTC

First of all, people calling the average user an idiot is himself/herself an idiot. I have tons of average user friends and I don't want anybody to call them an idiot. Computers are not very intuitive yet I think, even though we try to make it as intuitive as possible.

Here are more important issues. The linux libraries are not stable yet. They change a lot and break things. You have to recompile your programs for it, etc...

Second people on the linux expect you to have open source software. That's just a dream that will never be true for many number of software applications. Many so called open source advocates are pure idiots, they often bark the wrong tree, jump up and down like crazy, shout etc.. for no meaningful reason.

The real work is done by a handful of engineers and programmers. Most of these guys do not get help from thousands of programmers around the world. Developing a good application is extremely hard, and open source model doesn't not work for complex GUI programs. I like KDE a lot, but the programs do not function properly, lots of bugs, you just can't do any useful thing there.

I have seen only few open source applications that offer real competitive advantage over the commercial applications. Apache is one of them, Firebird (mozilla) is the second one. There may be others on the niche markets, but these are the ones that come to my mind when I think of serious, respectable open source applications. Apache doesn't have a GUI and it is a server program really. Firebird on the other hand is a gift from Netscape (and maybe AOL).

There aren't many companies that stand by the open source application. There is no credibility. Nobody will use Linux because an idiot on say Slashdot think that Microsoft sucks or that Linux is superior. Microsoft may suck or not, but Linux is not superior at all. People will figure this out sooner or later when they actually start to use open source.

Solving these problems require engineering force, it is that simple. Many people who are against these facts are mostly kiddies trying to make fun of few statements on others' comments. Not many number of people are constructive in this regard, so as I said the fate of Linux is not in the hands of the open source "idiots" but they are in the hands of the engineers and programmers who are willing to commit their time to these applications.

Mac Attack
by kit on Mon 12th Jan 2004 20:33 UTC

Here's that damn "Macs use expensive hardware" slogan again. Last time I checked, perfectly servicable G4 eMacs start at $799 (which includes the monitor, of course), and an iMac -- with an LCD screen -- bases out at $1299. That's competitive.

Upper-end Macs (let's just talk about the G5 for the moment) are pro gear that should be compared to high-end Pentiums, Opterons, and Xeons. At that point, the Macs start to look downright frugal. And they hold their retail value like nothing else: three-year-old dual 500 MHz G4s are still fetching almost a thousand bucks on eBay.

Desktop Linux is up against two monopolies
by Gil Bates on Mon 12th Jan 2004 20:34 UTC

Windows and Office. I have a very difficult time believing that Linux will ever make serious inroads into the general corporate desktop because of the truly vast number of Excel, Word and Access files with embedded VBA macros (and database front-ends written in VBA) that companies rely on to get their work done every day. The corporate world is essentially locked-in by MS Office (OpenOffice is not compatible with VBA, which makes it pretty-much useless for the typical north-american/european office worker).

For certain specialized niche roles like manufacturing workstations and the like Linux may get somewhere, but on corporate desktops there is just no way. A senior IBM executive has recently challenged the entire company to move to Linux on the desktop before the end of this year as a gesture to prove to potential customers that Linux can do the job (see the story at osViews.com). I predict that this will not even come close to actually happening in reality.

Linux' only chance for serious desktop growth is in new technology markets where Windows and Office are not yet completely pervasive (the developing nations) and various organizations that wish to make a political/religious statement against Microsoft despite whatever pain it will cost them.

Re: Windows looks more consistent? bullshit!
by Sagres on Mon 12th Jan 2004 20:46 UTC

http://www.reduz.com.ar/windowsxp_look.png
WHERE is your consistent look, huh?
Look even the WINDOW FRAMES are different!


Of course you could customize your windows xp look too, i that to my [url=http://clientes.netvisao.pt/fagona/other/mydesktop.jpg]desktop[/url].

Linux is ready yes and no...
by Ronald on Mon 12th Jan 2004 20:48 UTC

It's ready for servers.

It's ready for light-weight Business duties like vertical apps and OO.o.

If you don't mind editing .conf .rc files, VI and the Console then you can get a powerful desktop.

It's not ready for home uses (do people really need complicated at home?). Most home users still don't understand the concept of folders.

Linux as a long way to get to Mac OS X levels of usability. And it won't be ready for 2004 and neither 2005.

The problem with Linux is the users
by Ray on Mon 12th Jan 2004 20:49 UTC

The mindsets of many of the linux users I know or read comments from is what will keep Linux from the desktop. We need applications, mainstream applications from the big players such as adobe.

In order to attract the big name application developers, they need to make money. Most of the time a suggestion is made to "buy" something Linux, the Linux users all scream that it should be free and they will never pay for anything.

This is a big problem.

RE: I work in the real world
by Gil Bates on Mon 12th Jan 2004 20:50 UTC

The days of Windows innate inadequacies (no patches, sucky IE, no firewall, no anti-virus, etc.) are fast coming to an end. PC vendors are just starting to sell Windows XP with piles of excellent freeware enhancements (like MyIE2) pre-loaded on every box they ship. Take a look at this...

http://www.go-l.com/winxp4l/winxp4l/index.htm

This company ships a radically customized and enhanced version of Windows XP on every machine they sell.

re: Mac Attack
by PainKilleR on Mon 12th Jan 2004 20:51 UTC

Here's that damn "Macs use expensive hardware" slogan again. Last time I checked, perfectly servicable G4 eMacs start at $799 (which includes the monitor, of course), and an iMac -- with an LCD screen -- bases out at $1299. That's competitive.

You can get a 2.4GHz P4 w/ 17" CRT from Dell for $599 (499 after mail-in rebate) right now. Alternatively, there's a 2.4GHz 14.1" laptop for $799 (699 after mail-in rebate; and for the record, I normally agree that Mac laptops are at least competetively priced). You might get near the Mac prices if you try to match feature-for-feature, which is an interesting exercise, but overall it comes down to what the user wants, and I really think a Mac would be more cost-effective for many users if you had a little more flexibility in what you could or could not include (though, granted, it's more expensive to be more flexible).

Upper-end Macs (let's just talk about the G5 for the moment) are pro gear that should be compared to high-end Pentiums, Opterons, and Xeons. At that point, the Macs start to look downright frugal. And they hold their retail value like nothing else: three-year-old dual 500 MHz G4s are still fetching almost a thousand bucks on eBay.

On the other hand, Opterons and Xeons are definitely not usually marketed to the same space that the high-end G5s are usually marketed towards. A 3GHz P4 can be had for less than $1500 depending on what you want in a system, and high-end AMD chips can be had for less in most cases.

In the last year PC prices have dropped significantly with less than a 1GHz increase in clock speeds (I bought a 2GHz P4 about 18 months ago and it wasn't the top speed CPU then, either). A little over a year ago you couldn't buy a 2.4GHz CPU for $599, never mind a complete computer with the CPU in it. This is where the Mac side of the house tends to have problems, as the speeds generally don't increase as quickly, and as you said yourself, the prices don't drop as quickly, either. Good for the person selling the computer, bad for the person buying the computer.

Linux vs windows
by Rll on Mon 12th Jan 2004 20:53 UTC

IMO Linux is easier to use than windows
couse of


* the ease of update

run swaret, it'll upgrade your system, no reboot, no "This component must be installed separetly etc..."

* the ease of installation

download and type installpkg [a-to-z]*[z-to-a].[abc]
[u] in windows world u'd have to setup.exe -> next [x5] but if i want to install 100 apps?
[/u]

* stability
i system is running for several days now [updated to 2.6.1]
[u] i never saw a BSOD in Linux[/u]
* the bundled apps (or choice)
no need to install a compiler, word procesor, thing like mozilla etc..., firewall

sure there are some cons in Linux, but it works for me

Attitude
by Sahil on Mon 12th Jan 2004 20:59 UTC

> She may have problems with viruses and she might have security concerns about the internet, but mostly she wants to be able to do her homework and now she wants to hook up her new camera and print some pictures.

My webserver gets about 700 requests a month for exciting things such as '/scripts/nsisslog.dll' and '/MSADC/root.exe?/c+dir'. That's an iPlanet on Solaris btw ;) . My desktop gets 5 requests to ports 17300, 27374 amongst others (I forget) per hour. Not to mention the steady plink plink of of lone stray probe ICMP echo requests.

All from zombie machines whose admins (clueless lusers) like the mythical 'Jane' have 'security concerns' with gaping port 139 or whatever. Their attitude is akin to going to a beach or the Himalayas and leaving behind heaps of trash - hey, they had a good time, damn the environment. What utter cowdung!

You're actually advocating the use of an OS that is so fundamentally fscked up it isn't funny. Yes, it *does* get some things right in spite of this but that's no excuse for its brokenness and shoddy QA.

Couple that with the numerous commercial Unix vendors who couldn't get together on a consistent, sane, non-ugly looking graphical environment in the 90's, and you have a recipe for disaster.

BOFH would love novice users of Linux
by Ressev on Mon 12th Jan 2004 21:03 UTC

Linux is complicated in a way that pleases those comfortable with computers (those who program and otherwise know how a computer works without being afraid of reformating their hard-drives). A corporate changeover to Linux would be more successful than individual changeover from the simple standpoint that a few people who know how to manage Linux would handle hundreds to thousands of desktops installs and profiles. Since more companies want to limit what users can do on a PC, Linux can, in many ways, be beneficial here.

The serious drawback, as pointed out earlier, is application side. Financial companies in particular use VB code to manage routine tasks in Excel and Access. I do not know where OpenOffice is with regards to Macros, but without being able to easily convert from VB to whatever OO would use would put a big damper on acceptability. Getting the financial institutions - especially accountants would be a great boon for Linux.

On the other hand, the majority of PC users rely on ease-of-use. They rely on not knowing how an Operating System works beyond a few odds and ends. For someone who could care less about which OS they use beyond ease of use and "will my favorite program run on it", the computer novice will shy away from Linux.

The psychological warfare is where Linux also has to win out: getting over people's fears of change and unfamiliarity. I need to get back to work now, I have some Macros to write for Excel.

RE: Linux vs windows
by Rll on Mon 12th Jan 2004 21:06 UTC

Thats My system , not i system

and

And I remembered that i had seen a BSOD in linux aka kernel panic! ;)


When i installed linux on an Athlon box with via kt133 mother board with geforce 2 mx and installed nvidia drivers and switched agp to 4x

Re: Re: Windows looks more consistent? bullshit!
by reduz on Mon 12th Jan 2004 21:08 UTC


Of course you could customize your windows xp look too, i that to my [url=http://clientes.netvisao.pt/fagona/other/mydesktop.jpg]desktop[/url].


So what? This doesnt avoid the legacy apps to look different than those which use the XP toolkit.

the only way is to get XP to look ALL exactly like win95.

v RE: I work in the real world
by Tyrone Miles on Mon 12th Jan 2004 21:10 UTC
re: conclusion
by SimplyBored on Mon 12th Jan 2004 21:20 UTC

"Linux has great potential as a desktop computer with some definite advantages over Windows but until Linux matches some of the key features of the Windows desktop then any mass adoptions are likely to limited to specifically targeted niche markets and newly evolving ones."

Darn, I wonder if the writer of this article has been asleep for the last few years because really this article has nothing new to say. Same old story and a really boring conclusion.

I think the author draws the wrong conclusion because of inconsistent criteria. The question is "can Linux make it in the mainstream", so the first obvious task is to decide what is "the mainstream". Well I would suggest as we are talking about a desktop OS then the ability to be used as the main desktop OS in a corporate setting would qualify as the mainstream . As many corporations are already using it and with SUN and IBM supporting it the way they appear to be the answer is clearly yes it CAN make it, but will it? Well lets look at the requirements.

Uniformity of appearance - Linux can look how it needs to look, not an issue. Windows XP looks nothing like 2000, the entire menu is different by default, some items cannot be changed back to the old style at all. Application menus have changed. There is a serious lack of consistency to Windows appearance.

Consistent behavior - Linux's behavior is as consistent as any OS. Even so the behavior of either is consistent enough for anyone. This is not an issue

Ease of use – No serious argument can be made that Windows is easier to use than Linux. Both have point and click, menu driven GUI which anyone can use with equal ease. Applications ease of use are determined by the application design itself which has nothing to do with the OS so is not an issue here. For example Adobe will be able to code as easily for Linux as for windows and there will be no difference in their applications if they don't want there to be.

Ease of installation – An argument can easily be made that Linux is much easier to install than Windows. Users don't install Operating Systems anyway, Tech Support does. Not and issue.

Reliability – Give me a break.

Working support for a very large company, supporting more than 15,000 users, I think I am qualified to say that the users don't care what OS they are using. They simply want to get their emails without someone having to show them where the menu option they used Friday has gone since the update of outlook over the weekend to the latest version. They want to have the word processor application work without freezing and having to call Tech Support so they can end task on winword.exe for the 10th time this month or share their database with their colleague who is using an older version of the database program which is no longer compatible with their new version. Consistency is obviously not a strong point of the worlds "favorite" software company but really is not a problem for Linux.

Linux clearly can and will make, Windows did with much less going for it.

v Same shit, different day
by Fred on Mon 12th Jan 2004 21:36 UTC
Ready for Whose Desktop?
by Anonymous on Mon 12th Jan 2004 21:51 UTC

I am not sure by what people mean by "Is Linux ready for the desktop?"

If they mean: "Can Linux achieve widespread consumer adoption in mature, MS-saturated markets (U.S.) through millions individual consumers choosing to purchase and install it or to purchase computers with it pre-installed?", I think the answer is "No", but I think that is true for any OS (even a hypothetical OSX for x86). MS Windows, at OEM pre-installed prices, is priced below the perceived hassle cost level for most consumers in such markets. The same is true, to a lesser extent, of the "lite" version of the MS office products (and availability of OO, AbiWord, etc. on Windows enables the semi-informed moderate users to avoid these costs).

If they mean: "Can a non-enthusiast install a recent Linux distro and use it productively to perform day-to-day computing activities such as Internet use (browsing, e-mail, news and IM), moderate office tasks (writing personal and business letters, preparation of spreadsheets in connection with personal financial matters, viewing and editing documents from work), amatuer multimedia activities (digital cameras, image manipulation, scanners, CDs and DVD playback and burning, digital music) and a wide variety of games (not necessarily the big name ones), such that he would not always be yearning for Windows?", I think the answer is "Yes". The installs of recent distros are no worse (and likely better) than a Windows install, the packages that come with a distro are generally sufficient for ones needs and packages of other software are readily available on-line for the major (top 5 or so) distros. Hardware compatibility is not the issue it was a few years back -- my USB-connected digital camera and scanner are automatically recongnized by my Linux distro with no additional software or adjustments required; on Windows, I would need to use the CDs they came with to install drivers and software (and the software is really ugly and bloated junk). I will admit that getting hardware acceleration of graphics cards to work is something that requires a little knowledge/confidence.

If they mean "Can a business or institutional environment operate adequately with a Linux-only environment?", I definitely think the answer is "Yes". I think most office workers could operate adequately with the following (and the boss could hand out CDs containing the entire set, as well as Windows versions of many of the applications, at no additional cost):

1. Browser: Mozilla Browser/Firebird or Konquerer (these are already better than IE).

2. Email: Mozilla Email/Thunderbird, Evolution or KMail (now if only IBM would show its Linux support by releasing a Linux-native version of Lotus Notes or whatever their Notes successor is called).

3. Office: OpenOffice, AbiWord (less ambitious than OO Writer but coming along nicely)/Gnumeric/Dia or KOffice (of course, MS Office document format compatibility for interchange/collaboration with external parties is an issue, but the gap is being closed)

4. Pdf Viewer (both X11, Gnome and KDE have them (also, you can get Acrobat for Linux; OO can save to Pdfs, for external distribution of documents)

5. Environment for In-House applications: JVM, Python or Perl support (w/ libraries for Tk/Tcl, Gtk or Qt GUIs)

My take
by RoyBatty on Mon 12th Jan 2004 21:52 UTC

As a couple other people pointed out is there really a incentive for most people to switch? The answer is no. If MS had just kept on upgrading the Windows 95/98 codebase and windows was crashing left and right then maybe people would be giving alternative oss a second glance. But now XP/2000 is out there and it's pretty stable. Actually, I've got XP Pro and Slackware 9.1 on my new Sager notebook and the wireless driver will completely lockup my Slackware system on a regular basis. I don't blame that on linux, because its not open source(it's a wrapper you compile around a closed binary, ala Nvidia), but you can say the same thing about vendors that write crappy windows drivers.

RE: Fred
You're exactly right, we've been hearing this for years and 2004 will come and go and windows will still have the vast majority of the desktop marketshare

@Mac people
I just got a new notebook with a P4 3.0 ghz w/HT, 1 gig of dual port 400 ram, built in wireless and ethernet, ATI Radeon 9600 Mobile Pro graphics card, 15 UXGA screen running at 1600x1200, etc... I paid $2k even for this. Is there a mac notebook that will give me that price-performance?

More of my take
by RoyBatty on Mon 12th Jan 2004 21:58 UTC

KDE and Gnome are fine desktops. They're similiar enough to windows where I'm sure most people can navigate around them without too much problem, but there's still not as many apps and most PC OEMs aren't giving users options of having linux pre-installed.

Reply to article
by Luke McCarthy on Mon 12th Jan 2004 21:58 UTC

What are these "mod cons" that make a Windows desktop?...
* OS transparency


Hahahahahahahahaha...ahgaha.ahjsdbghja..... Windows transparent? I've seem rocks more transparent than Windows.

IMHO:

One common misconception is that there should be a unified package management among GNU/Linux Distros. At first it seems like a good idea, have one package and install it on any Distro you happen to use. It seem's to be great especially for Joe User. But once the wonderful unified package were installed, the advantages over different packages for different distros would end. In fact, the trouble with package management would simply be moved from pre-installation (huh, what package is the right one for my distro?) to post-installation (it was installed so simple but why doesn't it work?).

GNU/Linux Distros from different vendors are differen't operating systems. Red Hat isn't Mandrake, Mandrake isn't Debian, Debian isn't SuSE, etc. It doesn't do any good to ignore this fact. It starts right at the core: No vendor uses Vanilla Linux from kernel.org. These kernels all have (different) patches applied to it, the Distros kernel hackers do alter things, etc. pp. Then different compilers get used which too could have been altered with (different) patches. Aside from different patches applied and additional development done at the kernel, it could very well be that the version of the kernel used is a totally differen't one.

This repeats at every level of the operating system. Sure, these Distros all have GNOME and KDE with nice Themes. But they all patch the sources, again may use differen't versions etc.

All these Distros have different configuration tools, aside from those delivered with KDE and GNOME which usually are only useful when configureing your desktops look and feel.

You know the list of differences could be easily bigger than the whole article above. It's not enough for a unified package management that things with all those differences have the same projects as roots and the same names. Yes, there are packages that work or do even work very well when used on another Distro than that they were packaged for, but this is not and will not be true for all packages.


Most "solutions" that get suggested during discussions about "how Linux should be" to be easy for Joe User (sadly) take the same attempt: eliminate choices. A unified package management, a unified look and feel, only one toolkit for GUIs, only one desktop environment, etc. No difference, no choice. It's (mostly) as simple as that.

Although it would be nice from a ordinary home users perspective, to not have all these choices (which undoubtedly add complexity) it's not going to work.


I believe that for example GNOME and KDE shouldn't be crippled and uglified in an attempt to sell them as one DE to the user. Instead differences in look and feel and function should be accepted and cleanly worked out. It would make Linux Desktop way more easier to use when DnD would be compatible between GTK+, QT, etc. Additionally GNU/Linux distributors should stop trying to make the Desktop _appear_ as easy as Windows. They are differen't! A KDE/GNOME desktop will never be as easy as a Windows desktop. But a KDE/GNOME desktop could be as easy as a KDE/GNOME desktop.

What I'm trying to say is that instead of trying to imitate parts (specifically the easyness) of other operating systems the vendors should allow GNU/Linux to have it's own identity (and easyness). Take a vanilla KDE and develop apps for system configuration and administration that make users believe they were part of KDE. Just like they were developed by the KDE project. Developing these configuration/administration applications with an eye on differing from another vendors KDE is silly. Let KDE look and feel like vanilla KDE on every distro; distro vendors could then concentrate and compete on delivering the best _implementation_ instead of the (seemingly) best _alteration_. Of course they could use GNOME instead of KDE or implement both of them.



OMG, I didn't want to write a book. I'll stop here, I think what I'm trying to say is relatively clear.

Regards, David

P.S. I'm not saying that windows shouldn't be imitated because it's UI were bad or something. It's simply point that neither GNOME nor KDE actually is the windows UI. By imitating it you gain nothing but comments proving that the original is better.

Problem of Linux
by slash on Mon 12th Jan 2004 22:17 UTC

The problem of Linux is that it is based solely on technical achievements. Developers have no problem switching the graphic engine, sound engine, memory manager, virtual memory, default packages, X manager, or anything else in the operating system. Backwards compatability is at most a second thought. What this means is that it is a completely moving target. You cannot have this kind of moving target and have people build products for it. For example, Return to Castle Wolfenstein currently works great on certain distributions of Linux. It doesn't work out of the box on some distributions since they use different sound engines. However, in 4 years, I will be surprised if it is even playable on any distribution. By then, not only will Linux have a completely incompatible sound system, but X might also be completely changed too.

RE: Slash
by RoyBatty on Mon 12th Jan 2004 22:21 UTC

Good point. The moving target is a major problem. My wireless driver has versions compiled for Redhat or Suse and 2.95 or 3.2 GCC. This is just a nightmare for vendors.

Until an alternative OS supports commonly-used business applications, it isn't going to be considered for the corporate desktop.

Period.

Tools like Mozilla/Firebird and OpenOffice are a good start, and those address a good general business need, but some businesses require more specialized software that is only available on one or two platforms (Windows and sometimes the MacOS). For example, both of my previous employers used UTS and T27 terminal emulation software that was only available for Windows, and both also had specialized disagramming packages (Visio add-ons) that I've not seen equivalents for in the Linux world (things like dia are a good beginning, but they don't run third-party Visio extensions).

For home users, Linux isn't going to be all that appealing outside of its current boundaries until it supports a large selection of popular games!!

I can't tell you how many people I know who would switch to it if it supported this or that title. It's doing well in the FPS (First-Person Shooter) area, but other areas have almost no representation!

It isn't about the desktop, the "ease of installation", or the consistency of Windows. It's a lot more basic than that. If a platform won't run the software people want to use, people won't want to use that platform...

"Consistent behavior - Linux's behavior is as consistent as any OS. Even so the behavior of either is consistent enough for anyone. This is not an issue"

Speak for yourself. I find it a pain in the ass not being able to copy and paste anything but plain text between many Linux apps. That's a problem I've never encountered in Windows or Mac OS. Keyboard shortcuts, menu layout, drag and drop behaviour, file dialogs and online help are also much more consistent in Windows and Mac OS apps IME.

"Ease of installation – An argument can easily be made that Linux is much easier to install than Windows. Users don't install Operating Systems anyway, Tech Support does. Not and issue."

That's true if you only consider corporate desktops. If Linux is going to become a mainstream home desktop OS then easy installation and configuration is important. IMO that means easy to use graphical tools for everything, no more reading man pages and editing config files to get things working.

RE: Problem of Linux
by I'm not telling on Mon 12th Jan 2004 22:41 UTC

For example, Alpha Centari doesn't run on Windows XP. Four years ago it ran just fine on Win 98. Should I therefore conclude that Windows is not ready for prime time because it doesn't support my favorite game? Games are notorious for using any platform specific trick to gain performance. DirectX is also a moving target.

If I give you my 1990 era dissertation in MS Word, do you think you can read it on Windows? (Sadly, the answer is no.) If I open the LaTex version on Linux, it works just fine. (And Linux didn't even exist when I wrote it!) I think that the ability to read old text and data is more important than the ability to run games. Open standards really are important.

Until the developers stop the shotgun distro approach and unify under a single banner. And we all know how likely that will be, considering the levels of arrogance and zealot-ism in the Linux community.

Easy program installation
by John Blink on Mon 12th Jan 2004 23:24 UTC

For those who like Fedora. Read this. I think you can get it working on SUSE too. I hope this eventually becomes the default for future Fedora versions.

http://episteme.arstechnica.com/eve/ubb.x?a=tpc&s=50009562&f=965091...

A good operating system
by Scorched Earth on Mon 12th Jan 2004 23:37 UTC

Articles and more articles have stated that Linux is or is not ready for the desktop. Even more articles have stated what is needed for Linux to be ready for the desktop.

The reality is that Linux and software made for it make a very good operating system. It might not be everyone's cup of tea but for some it works.

Is having an operating system based on Linux neccessary for the desktop? What can Linux do that MacOS and Windows can't? Why should there be three or four desktop operating systems?

The last question should be answered by those who want Linux to have one desktop environment and one package installer.

I like using Linux, Windows and FreeBSD but I hope the future of computing doesn't need arguments about which operating system is best in order to survive.

I would also like to think that having a big beige box for a computer will soon be in the past.

The discussion should be how to use the computer and not what the computer is using.

As ready as anything
by Will on Mon 12th Jan 2004 23:59 UTC

Linux is as ready for the desktop, any desktop, as any other.

Does it have the refinement of Windows? Nope, but that doesn't mean it's not ready.

Is it as pretty or integrated as OS X? Nope, but that doesn't mean it's not ready.

Can it run every concievable application or piece of hardware? Nope, but that doesn't stop OS X users, and some say they pay more for the privledge.

Some might say Linux is "behind the curve", and others will counter "Which curve?".

For business owners who would rather have a system that helps their operations work efficiently rather than being able to install every CD that goes on sale for $4.99 and CompUSA, Linux is perfectly viable.

For home users that would go to an Apple store, were they willing and able to go to and support a local "Linux" store, they'd have similar out of box experiences over a wide variety of tasks. This store would carry preconfigured machines, supported hardware, and support to get it all working. Just like an Apple store. Just like a Windows store.

Are there things that the PC with Windows can only do? Of course, same as the Mac, same as Linux.

It would be nice if there was more consumer oriented software for the Linux platform (Things like Print Shop, not high end, not low end, just Mom end software). But, of course, you need consumers first.

Windows CAN do a lot of things, but not all people NEED it to do all of those things. They need it to do what they need it to do. And for many, Linux can do that.

Not again
by Chris on Tue 13th Jan 2004 00:20 UTC

Okay, I'll get modded down but here it goes...

How many of these Linux is/not ready for the desktop/mainstream/joe user articles do we have to endure?

Illogical Error
by root on Tue 13th Jan 2004 00:28 UTC

If the authors theories were correct, Mac OS X will be the dominant desktop operating system today. In reality, it is not. Linux might never become the a mainstream operating system. And even if it does, I'm confident it will be by accident.

Let's examine each factor the author considers vital for Linux' mainstream acceptance and dominance.

Uniformitiy in Appearance -- The two major Linux desktop operating systems are GNOME and KDE. Contrary to the authors misconceptions, both desktops, and applications developed for them, have a more uniform appearance than anything you'll observe on Windows or even Mac OS X. Yet the Linux desktop might still never become mainstream.

Consistent behaviour – Even the author acknowledges that windows isn't a consistent platform, usability wise. Contrast that with GNOME, for example, where all GNOME applications act and feel the same. All GNOME applications share the same common keybindings. All GNOME applications after a crash will permit the user to force quit the application via a dialog box. All GNOME application share and use the same icons, the same widgets, the same menu, the same toolbar, the same theme to mention but a few. Again GNOME is the most consistent desktop environment I've used, yet it isn't dominant and might never become mainstream.

Ease of use -- Anyone who can use windows can use GNOME. It is more difficult for a Windows user to use Mac OS X than it is for the same user to use GNOME or KDE, at least from my observation. Yet, the Linux desktop isn't mainstream and might never be dominant.

Ease of installation -- It takes far more user intervention and steps to install a software package on Windows, than it does on a mordern Linux desktop. An illustration is in place. On Windows, to install OpenOffice.org I need to do the following.

1 Launch a web browser
2 Surf to OpenOffice.org's website
3 Download OpenOffice.org's compresser installation directory
4 Uncompress the OpenOffice.org's compressed installation directory
5 Search for the setup executable
6 Click on the setup executable to launch it
7 Follow the setup instructions, many of which are 7 steps or more long.
8 Exit the setup phase.

On a mordern Linux desktop I'll need to do the following:

1 Launch a terminal emulator
2 Input the following command – install OpenOffice.org (Syntax may vary based on your distribution)
3 Close the terminal emulator

Need I say more.

Reliability -- No brainer, Linux is more reliable than Windows is. What's further interesting is how you contradict yourself. You make it sound as if the Linux server and the Linux desktop are two different versions of Linux when it fact they are one and the same. Relaibility? Do you know how much the Sobig virus caused the world economy? As it stands today, Linux is even more reliable as both a desktop and server operating system than Windows is, yet it still is not the dominant desktop operating system and might never garner mainstream support.

OS Transperancy -- No other desktop operating system is as transperant as the free Unices, Linux inclusive. For every generic task you can do on Windows or Mac OS X, you can do the same task on a Linux desktop OS. The keyword is “generic”.

Isn't it about time we should get past the stereotypes associated with Linux and focus on advocating freedom, choice and open standards. When users begin to appreciate and understand the tenets of open and free software; when users begin to see the benefits of free and open standards; when users pressure their vendors, both hardware and software, to support open techniques and fair competition; when users refrain for patronizing proprietary and closed standards; when users want control and transperancy, then Linux will become mainstream.

Until then, Linux will continue to be stereotyped as the difficult to use, difficult to install, inconsistent, opaque, user-unfriendly operating system designed by geeks for geeks. It's unfortunate, but it's true, and this article proves just that.

heh...
by robert andersson on Tue 13th Jan 2004 00:31 UTC

so what was the criteria? mainstream use? the most mainstream os out there , realistically speaking, is win98 ergo the zeitgeist, is linux the KERNEL on par with it, no; IS fedora core / mandrake / suse ready for public consumption? yes, on supported hardware.

Quicken and quickbooks works under wine more or less the same performance as under 98; spcss works fine under wine, the company are porting it over to the linux distributions by way of QT.

We have a variety of goverment institutions mass-deploying various distributions into their OS ecosystem, It would seem that it is indeed ready for them.

The apps are coming, not very fast, but they are; The only thing left is for the critics to comply with the times and start trying to forget their "bias" and start evaluating the myriad of OS's on equal terms.

I grew up with computers being something of a technology thing, I enjoy all OS's, pros and cons aside, i know my way around the big irons, i enjoy the challenge of dissassembling the firmware on cellphones, writing demos with EVAS, playing icewind dale on winxp, being smug about the tool 'SMS' compared to the unix counterparts...

so shoot me, i prefer open interoperability not market tie in..

Christian Schaller: here's your shotgun Sir!

Mainstream?
by Mark on Tue 13th Jan 2004 00:47 UTC

Mainstream is Britney Spears, McDonalds, Windows.

Mainstream is mediocrity.

Who wants Linux to be mainstream?

silly blanket statements
by xandros user on Tue 13th Jan 2004 00:49 UTC

you can't make such a blanket statement and say that linux is not ready for the desktop.

it's ready for my desktop. it's ready for quite a few of my freinds desktops.

it's perfectly ready for anyone that can identify their needs and find out what alternatives are available.

Most home users do what? Play some games? Type some basic letters? Surf the web and use email? Name me a distro that can't do those things?

I use xandros desktop 2, and coupled with codeweavers crossover office and plugin, I have an internet experience just as rish as any windows user. Plus, I can run MS Office and send work home for after hours catching up or whatever...and we are heavily dependant on excel and silly macros. we pay some guy to do nothing but come up with new "geewhiz" features on our spreadsheets. he makes them look like webpages and everybody thinks he's a friggin genius. he thinks he's a friggin genius even....anyway, the point is, I can get all my work done, I can surf and email, and I can play games like solitiare, spider solititaire, frozen bubble, tetris, sokoban, etc that keep me perfectly happy. my wife is happy enopugh too.

so tell me again how it's not ready for the "desktop"?

it's different yes, but I spect no greater effort learning linux than I did learning windows.

in a corporate environment you have an IT department to set stuff up for you. once it's set up, explain to me how an average user couldn't use their desktop? cut and paste? once they get used to middle mouse button cut/pasting they'll probably never go back to the old way. i actually wish windows could implement some of linux's great features like that. different yes, but not up to par...I don't think so.

gonna have to agree
by thesimplefix on Tue 13th Jan 2004 01:02 UTC

I agree with this article -- it's the small things that will break the Linux experience for most end users.
ie:

Mandrake 9.2: The playlist is xmms does not show (some how the bkground colour, and fgcolour are the same)

Knotes: I _love_ this program (this is my big desktop tool discovery of 2003), but the 'notes' often move location, and have to be resized

Fedora Core 1: Change the default login screen -- now it won't change back

Fedora Core 1: damn if I can get the macromedia flash plugin installed on mozilla or konquer

k3b -- had issues with it: I'm not asking for the quality of Nero, but at least easy cd creator

Mandrake 9.2: Live update changed all my pref. back to default

Kdict: type the word 'dogs' you get nothing. Type the word 'dog' and you get the definition

galeon: I like the features, love the 'tabbed browsing' over that in Mozilla, but it is not compatible as mozilla (doesn't render pages correctly.

konqueror: _great_ file manager, but as a browser -- it lacks in rendering.

Mozilla: Love it all *but* I have two issues:
i. Java support is a bit buggy still (ie: try using Sun's iPlanet web software)
ii. www.nvidia.com menues got recently fixed, but what about the menues at www.atitech.com ?

KDE: I hate the volume control for the system tray -- Gnome, did it right!

OpenOffice.org: try open a M$ Excel or Word file with form objects -- they don't appear right, and some don't function correctly. I don't care if the macros work, but I should be able to place a 'check' in a 'check box'





Ya know...
by Ressev on Tue 13th Jan 2004 01:09 UTC

I wonder how many debates of a similar nature there were when people first started using PCs for homeuse in the 80's. Like a few others have said before: why debate this -AGAIN!?

Linux will prove itself ready for desktop when it is on the desktop - surprise! It's on the desktop even in people's homes. At this point, it's all a popularity contest. Windows got to where it is today by being savy and good enough. Linux can be good enough and is. People will get used to is and, with the help of companies adopting it and more press about it, it will gain in popularity - especially when there is another 2 years for Longhorn and Linux looks a lot cheaper.

Who knows... lets watch and have some pop-corn.

possible
by Anonymous on Tue 13th Jan 2004 01:11 UTC

It can happne

Re: knotes
by WorknMan on Tue 13th Jan 2004 01:19 UTC

Knotes: I _love_ this program (this is my big desktop tool discovery of 2003), but the 'notes' often move location, and have to be resized

If you like Knotes, check out Keynote:
http://www.tranglos.com/free/index.html

It is a Windows app, but it is open source, and I'm pretty sure you can get it run under Wine with a little bit of love. It starts in Crossover 2.1 (Xandros 2) but has serious issues with the default settings (it's unusable).

This just goes to show you that for every good (desktop) app in Linux, there's usually a better one in Windows ;)

I buy stuff . . . . . do you ?
by ZenArcade on Tue 13th Jan 2004 01:22 UTC

When you move out of your family´s safe and warm house, a good percentage of your time will be used to provide an income. so that you can buy a house, buy a car, buy food. maybe even create a family.

For the rest of the time . . . how much of it will you spend on making free software ? Go through the cycles of drawing up the app, writing pseudo-code, coding, debugging, test it . . test it and the test it again.

I use OSX, i have recently purchased Final Cut Express 2.0 and iLife04. It costed med some 400$. And what do I get ? excellent software. userfriendly and very intelligent.

I cannot imagine people will change to linux before there are some truly great apps out there. applications that stands out for themselves, not just some emergency solutions.

free software is probably great if your needs are moderate. But I seriously cannot understand why any developers should spend time, money and effort creating something to the linux platform, and then give it away for free.

When linux-users start to purchase applications, good programs will come. and then Joe Blog will at least considerate it.

This ought to twist your cap!
by NixerX on Tue 13th Jan 2004 01:38 UTC

I've used linux as my Desktop of choice for years ( about 7 ). im an Old timer I guess. I don't want linux to become so easy that "anyone" can use it. Actually, If it gets any easier than suse, mandrake, or Fedora ill puke! You want Linus to spoon feed you too?
Stupifying Linux would be a sincere injustice to those of us who have spent so much time getting to know and love what was once a hobbist OS. it would also deprive those future CompSci Gurus of there full greatness.
I like the geeky freedom of it all. As for you who are in "dependency hell" RTFM before installing the package.
I know this'll urk a few ppl..but get over it. It was meant to be honest..if you cant take that go back to Redmond!
-N

OSX vs, Windows consistency
by jojo on Tue 13th Jan 2004 01:40 UTC

"Some people will suggest that in fact Windows doesn't do very well in this department compared with say OSX"

I would argue the most guilty party in making OSX inconsistent is Apple. Brushed metal, esp. in the Finder, and wood paneling, WTF? And isn't there different brushed metals?

RE: Mainstream
by Marshall on Tue 13th Jan 2004 01:42 UTC

I agree to a point.

I got me a WIFI card the other day and it said brought it because it proudly said Linux on the box and had a cute li'l Tux there too.

I got it home however to find Linux support meant 'RedHat 7 and 8' support. It also means only 2.4 series kernels until Fedora Core 2 arrives. So I have no 2.6 support and only offical support for RedHat (which I don't have run).

The support guy was sympathetic and I have the source code to write my own 2.6 driver should I feel adventurous but should I have to and shouldn't Linux support mean all distros not just one particular one?

Still, this is better than no support at all. Baby steps.

gee
by burntash on Tue 13th Jan 2004 02:04 UTC

thanks for restating the same points that have been made by every other linux ready for the desktop article. "the hardware isnt supported!" "we need a unified package manager!" blah blah blah. sometimes people install linux and it works like a dream, others install and have nightmares. same with windows. some people it works great, others it is terrible.

While Linux may be some way off from the desktop, Linux is very much alive in devices where the user do not care at all about what OS they are running. Examples are file/print servers, network devices, set-top boxes, etc. For device manufacturers, Linux provides a great opportunity for managing smart devices - especially where there are potential inter-connectivity (actually thanks to Samba).

So we will probably see more Linux implementation in smart devices in the future - photocopiers, printers, fax machine, PABX switch, television, radio, air-conditioners, door-access locks, vacuum cleaners, gameboxes, pda, phones, video player. China, Taiwan, Korea, and Japan (some of the big producers of electronics) have already set up an industry pact on open source technologies - and I do not think that they are looking at selling shrink-wrap Linux OS packages.

By the end of 2004, we will even probably see some of the Linux distro companies turning around to become 'OS Embedding Service Providers'. By the end of 2005, we will probably have more Linux installations in our homes and offices, without us actually realising it.

I have Win XP Home on my notebook, but I run the Mozilla browser and the OpenOffice.org suite. I have Caldera Linux (!) on the office file / print server for the past 5 years (thanks to a friend who fixed up Samba to work). Last week, when a new Dell server arrived at our office, it booted with BIOS and the Linux kernel as the default. All of them fits their intended purpose. At this point of time I will not venture onto Linux on the desktop yet - but it is good to know that Linux is around somewhere to make life a little easier.

RE: This ought to twist your cap!
by cheezwog on Tue 13th Jan 2004 02:28 UTC

Hehe! For me, that's the point of distros. Some people want ease of use above everything else, and some people want the total control and predictable behaviour that the automation of certain aspects of Linux tends to take away.

You are welcome to stay with LFS, Gentoo etc.. I am happy with Fedora, but for me, Lindows is going a little too far. ;)

Biggest disappointment
by ChocolateCheeseCake on Tue 13th Jan 2004 03:05 UTC

The biggest disappointment for Linux is that for all its strengths, the lack of commercial application is what will hold it back. The GUI is a none issue and as one person pointed out, users have put up with the inconsistancies with the Windows UI, I am sure they could handle QT/GTK inconsistancies which are minor compared to the crap one has to put up with Windows on a regular basis.

If you've ever talked to a user, the first thing they ask, when you explain linux is, can I get zyx application on there. That is what they ask. They don't ask if there is UI inconsistancies or whether it is an RPM/APTbased system.

What the user is interested in is applications. What I would like to see is greater contributions to wine by Windows and *NIX programmers. The fact is, if these commercial application companies see that users are CHOOSING to use THEIR product via wine on Linux, and if there is a significant number, the company might decide to create native version or better yet, work WITH wine to make it so transparent that the end user doesn't even know that they're running a non-native application.

Wine will also allow FreeBSD users to run Windows applications and not miss out of the pontential number of converts from the Windows world. Wine unfortunately still is properly ported and lacks all the features. There is a feature missing regarding the CDROM and a few other features that are system dependent.

If Windows 98 compatibility can be reached, atleast then it will run most peoples games and applications. If people can still use Office 97/2000/XP on it then they'll decide that rather than upgrading to Windows XP, they'll upgrade to Linux and run it under wine.

However, like most suggestions, this will fall on deaf ears. Instead of OSS developers looking at what will cater best to the needs of the end users, they add pointless features that add nothing but confusion and bugs, worse still, they end up with spagetti code which makes any new coders as confused as a baby in a topless bar.

Well
by Wally on Tue 13th Jan 2004 03:07 UTC

If Linux had some sort of standard like you know where things clicked and installed.

re: Wel
by robert andersson on Tue 13th Jan 2004 03:11 UTC

Wally seriosly, try it out and learn what you talk about before you spout off...

Got it in one
by HappyGod on Tue 13th Jan 2004 03:22 UTC

With response to Hugo's assertation that his KDE desktop "looks just fine". It may to you, but it just isn't cutting the mustard when you put it up against OSX (and shortly Longhorn) or even XP. And anyhow, 3D coolness aside, the start menu in KDE/GNOME is APPALLING! It looks circa Win95, but worse! Plus, the control panel in Linux can only be described as way out of control.

The other OS's are starting to use 3D cards in the interface and are leaving Linux behind. This is also true of the new file system about to be introduced in Longhorn. Combine that with a robust software distribution system (Windows Installer) and Linux does not come into contention.

More and more, Windows and Macs are becoming media centres. An area in which Linux lags badly.

If Linux will ever compete with Windows it must not just be as good, it must be better. People will not change unless they are presented with a compelling reason to do so.

Linux for "newbies"
by AnonaMoose on Tue 13th Jan 2004 03:34 UTC

Howdy

Why is it such a bad thing if we improve the usability in linux distros ?
There have been a few comments about people wanting it geeky with CLI for alot of things and an over all geeky/painfull feel about it but i ask why ?
If you don`t like it then don`t use it, CLI is great if you like that but i personally don`t so i just try to ignore it as often as i can (not often enough though)
Current linux distros remind me of windows 98 in alot of ways such as the GUI seems to rely on an underlying CLI or pipes to Bash etc, this is kind of klunky and prone to just using the CLI when it stuffs up.
But my point is why not improve Distros, i`d love something thats easy to use but keeps the flexibility that we have now (eg CLI etc)
All the points raised in this article are very valid and i hope that this year we can get a few of them addressed.

Users not all the same
by G. Walsh on Tue 13th Jan 2004 03:39 UTC

This article makes a presumtion that many such Windows vs. Linux articles take -- that all users are the same and therefore all need or want the same thing or have the same requirements. Corporate office staff are different than corporate technical users. They are different than home users who only want to do email and web browsing. They are different than home users who want to play the latest games, etc, etc. The fact is, many people are using Linux on the desktop and are happy with it. Others have found it wanting. The fact that it doesn't meet everybody's needs does not mean that it is not suitable for the desktop. If everyone was satisfied with Windows, Linux would not have been developed to the degree that it has, and Apple computers would have gone out of business a long time ago. I believe that we are seeing the end of the one-size-fits-all computer. As computers continue to get smaller and cheaper, we are seeing more and more specialized computers with different OS's and capabilities. Many of these will be running Linux, others will not. The fact remains, though, that many companies aroung the world, as well as the more technically oriented home users, are running Linux on the desktop, and the numbers are increasing. The either/or dichotomy is a straw man argument. There are as many different requirements for the computer as there are users. We don't see these kind of arguments with other commodities. Nobody argues that there should be only one model of motor vehicle or one model of home stereo system. Why should there be only one computer OS or desktop for everyone?

time or will?
by tetsuo on Tue 13th Jan 2004 03:40 UTC

when will linux get rid of dependency issue?

when will linux get real hardware support from vendor?

when will commercial software arrive on linux?
e.g. apple quicktime, adobe, macromedia...
in the first place, why would these companies do that? i dont see any benefits for them.

with multi distro, multi packagement management, kde + gnome desktops. How are commercial software companies goin to port their software? is it goin to be qt, gtk or other toolkits?

for some existing software in linux, im not goin to state them as 'half baked' apps but i do encounter issue here and there not found on other os.

i use linux for years. looking back learning some many stuffs just to make an os works doesnt seem very cool to me.

just some thought.

re: time or will.
by Josh on Tue 13th Jan 2004 03:50 UTC

" when will linux get rid of dependency issue?

when will linux get real hardware support from vendor?

when will commercial software arrive on linux?
e.g. apple quicktime, adobe, macromedia...
in the first place, why would these companies do that? i dont see any benefits for them.

with multi distro, multi packagement management, kde + gnome desktops. How are commercial software companies goin to port their software? is it goin to be qt, gtk or other toolkits?

for some existing software in linux, im not goin to state them as 'half baked' apps but i do encounter issue here and there not found on other os.

i use linux for years. looking back learning some many stuffs just to make an os works doesnt seem very cool to me.

just some thought.
"

1) there is not way to get rid of dependency hell. In fact it exists in every os. Its called libraries and I have some problems with some programs on windows with it. Besides, Its obviously for example that if one wanted KDE they would need KDE Libs. Generally Major Vendors play nice and tell you what libraries are needed

2) Whenever Hardware People play nice. Newer Hardware actually is pretty well supported by linux, and what would you know about hardware support. MS only works on x86. Ive seem some distros with 10+ different HardWare Types supported

3) Probably not for awhile. They want to be lame. However its called VMWare, Crossover and Wine :-p. Which pretty much solves any minor windows problem. FGor corporations though it would be better to develop their own software in house for linux or use linux stuff like OOo or StarOffice.

4) Thats for the companies to decided. However, look at Mozilla. Its on Windows, Apple, runs on BSD, and KDE and Gnome. And thats free software! Its simply the companies fault for being lamers not wanted to port it. They have the money.

5) I would hardly Called KDE and Gnome half baked. Though yes it still has awhile to go :-p. However, it beats Windows "half-baked" command line ;-)

6) Not learning the inerds of an os dont turn you on, thats fine lol. It doesnt with most people. However, with distros Ive pointed out like Xandros, you really dont have to... However if you do know the innerds I think that makes you supier to lets say Joe User.

Desktop User
by Chris on Tue 13th Jan 2004 04:08 UTC

An average desktop user does not use advanced applications, so why are we pretending that high power commercial apps are the killall for linux?
I break it up into a couple kinds of application users. There are the broad needs:
1.) web browsing
2.) Cheesey graphics manipulation
3.) E-mail
4.) Note taking/Word documents
5.) Some filler games
6.) Instant Messaging
7.) Multimedia players/viewers

And then there are special needs apps:
1.) Photoshop
2.) Powerful IDE's
3.) Video editing
Along those lines Linux tends to be weak, although it offers some awesome IDE's. But Gimp does not replace photoshop for all users, and I'm not sure what there is for video editing. But this is a niche market, and is NOT the desktop.

A typical desktop user is your mother. She wants to e-mail, manage some pictures off her digital camera and she wants to instant message with her relatives across country. She doesn't care about photoshop, videogames, Microsoft Word. She wants basic functionality and she doesn't want to know what administration means. Linux does this, because I can setup a system and not give her the root password; then I don't worry she will break the system. IF she does though, I can tell her what to type.

Hardware support is incredible in Linux. Windows doesn't run on Alpha, MIPS, Sparc, PPC. Windows doesn't support any hardware for those processors following those architectures.
It's just the cheap x86 market that supports Windows.

Integration before conversion
by Brian on Tue 13th Jan 2004 04:09 UTC

My major concern with Linux on the desktop is it's lack of open-source tools used to integrate with Windows. Microsoft products are undeniably the majority... It seems (at first, if nothing else) "playing nice" with Windows/Microsoft products, it would be a good introduction. I can't complain entirely, as Open Office 1.1 is *wonderful*, not to mention some of the great Samba apps (LinNeighborhood is a god-send). I'm speaking more of the "enterprise" use. I work in IT, on a 1000 user Windows/Exchange network with (likely) the only Linux box. Integration into the domain/checking email via Exchange with freely available software (try telling the purchasing department you need to buy software for your free OS) is a pain in the @$$. Coupled with some "killer apps" such as Lindows upcoming Nvu (www.nvu.com) release, new versions of Gimp (1.3, yay!), and total lack of native Macromedia/Adobe editing tools and a seemingly shortage of video editing tools...Linux has a ways to go. It'll be exciting to see what open source developers come up with as Linux does start to take some of the desktop market.

Fingers...sore...stop...typing now.

RE: Biggest disappointment
by O on Tue 13th Jan 2004 04:18 UTC

Yes I agree, joe buys WinXP because he needs it for launching his beloved apps:MSOffice, IE, Games (real ones not freeware stuff). As long as theese apps only exists for Win theres little point to switch, he doesnt give a crap about UI and command line, for him the OS is just a SW launching platform.
As for the Wine stuff, I think this has its risks, if MS doesnt like it they can probably put some special code into the next DX API or Office code and the happy Wine days will be over...
Linux ultimately needs some real games and PRO-level apps (OO is slowly getting there..), but unfortunately I doubt that will be possible intill the community grows up and realises that some standardisation is needed; KDE-Gnome compat; common package standards; and get rid of the hated dependancy hell for gods sake!
Most users can get by these issues today by using multiple distros and switching between KDE-Gnome, which isnt a nice solution at all for us that like to stay with what we like for a while.
Besides the current life length of distros is rediculus; Ive had mdk 9.0 for 8 months now and its already getting hard to find updated releases of SW for it, meanwhile Win95 users can happily install the latest games on their 8 year old OS. Am I supposed to reinstall a new distro every 12 MONTHS??!
Very hobby OS style, but I like it for some strange reason...

RE:O (IP: ---.bredband.comhem.se) - Posted on 2004-01-13 04:18:00
by ChocolateCheeseCake on Tue 13th Jan 2004 04:40 UTC

Yes I agree, joe buys WinXP because he needs it for launching his beloved apps:MSOffice, IE, Games (real ones not freeware stuff). As long as theese apps only exists for Win theres little point to switch, he doesnt give a crap about UI and command line, for him the OS is just a SW launching platform.

True. Most users can move from Office to OpenOffice.org no problems, however, no one, I mean, NO ONE is going to honestly claim that they're going to use an operating system without the ability to buy the games and applications they want.


<i?As for the Wine stuff, I think this has its risks, if MS doesnt like it they can probably put some special code into the next DX API or Office code and the happy Wine days will be over...[/i]

That is why I suggested that win98 compatibility is "good enough", if wine can then handle any updated DLLS that are added then everything should be alright. Most games now are still catered for Windows 98 and DirectX 8.1 as the lowest common denominator. Contra to the typical speal, there have only been a small number of games moved to DX9, and the DX8. 1 bought by consumers at $50 aren't the latest but they're cheap, they do what they want and work with their slow computer.

Linux ultimately needs some real games and PRO-level apps (OO is slowly getting there..), but unfortunately I doubt that will be possible intill the community grows up and realises that some standardisation is needed; KDE-Gnome compat; common package standards; and get rid of the hated dependancy hell for gods sake!

Agreed. Even if they give up and simply said, "we'll use SYSV packaging", atleast then there would be a standard. IMHO, SUN should completely overhaul Linux so that it is exactly like Solaris in the way packages are handled, init scripts are run. Basically a Solaris duplicate but using OSS parts. It would bring the Solaris consistancy with the OSS hardware compatibility.

Most users can get by these issues today by using multiple distros and switching between KDE-Gnome, which isnt a nice solution at all for us that like to stay with what we like for a while.

True, however, most users I talk to, I suggest them stick with GNOME. Not because it is better but because there is a lack of bells and whiltles thus isulating them from any harm.

[i]Besides the current life length of distros is rediculus; Ive had mdk 9.0 for 8 months now and its already getting hard to find updated releases of SW for it, meanwhile Win95 users can happily install the latest games on their 8 year old OS. Am I supposed to reinstall a new distro every 12 MONTHS??! Very hobby OS style, but I like it for some strange reason...<?i>

I have no problems with the release cycle, what I do have a problem with is the amount of packages. 10 text editors is one example. Make a distro, have gedit and vi. Thats it. Why does a person need any more? you've got the UNIX zealots catered for via vi and the GUI newbies with gedit. Why is slimming down a distro seen as such a chore?

Applications
by dumbkiwi on Tue 13th Jan 2004 04:49 UTC

To be honest, I have more quality applications now on linux than I ever did on windows. Why? Because:

1. They are free. When you've got little money, no matter how many applications sit on a shelf in a shop somewhere, they are absolutely no use to you sitting on that shelf.

2. Freeware on Windows AFAI recall was not a patch on open source developed software for linux - haven't used windows at home for four years, so things may have changed.

3. Those applications that are worth paying for, I pay for. I don't have to purchase basic functionality at the os level, which leaves what little money I have available for software to spend on those applications I value.

I have used linux on the desktop for four years. All I do is the basic stuff of email, web, watching videos, listening to music, editing videos, digital camera stuff, wordprocessing, p2p, IM etc. The applications are there, and meet all my needs, and often exceed them.

The issue in terms of a mass movement to linux is not whether there are applications for home use available - they're there, and they're good enough. It certainly isn't the crap that the original article referred to. It is simply inertia, and mind share.

Give someone a reason to change operating system, and tell them about linux, and more often than not they'll move. But you can't convince someone to fix something they don't think is broken.

Matt

RE: RE
by Mark Potochnik on Tue 13th Jan 2004 05:03 UTC

> Speak for yourself. I find it a pain in the ass not being
>able to copy and paste anything but plain text between many
>Linux apps.

I can and have!

> Time to stop the insanity of depency hell etc.

Hmmm... debian apt-get, Mandrake urpmi, Lindows click 'n run, Gentoo emerge.....

>2003 was the year of linux. I switched my parents over
>around thanksgiving

Yes, and I converted my non geek friend, Kenny... No problems...

>If you don't mind editing .conf .rc files, VI and the
>Console then you can get a powerful desktop.

I never did and I do have a powerful desktop.... And I don't have to hack any registery....

>On the other hand, the majority of PC users rely on
>ease-of-use

And script kiddies that can crash millions of Windows Computers easily!

>Lindows is going a little too far. ;)

It is slowly becoming a fine distro. Times change...

> If Linux had some sort of standard like you know where
>things clicked and installed.

I click 'n run with mandrake and Lindows will do it too...

>"the hardware isnt supported!"

Manuf. Problem

>"we need a unified package manager!"

No, just get a distro with a good supported installer, see above

> 1.) web browsing

Huh, mu browsing expierence is better in Linux than in Win...

>2.) Cheesey graphics manipulation

Plenty of those progams...

3.) E-mail

Done, works great...

4.) Note taking/Word documents

Open Office. I read them all...

>5.) Some filler games

Lots of them... Except NASCAR... :-(

>6.) Instant Messaging

Plenty of those programs...

7.) Multimedia players/viewers

Plenty of them...



>And then there are special needs apps:
>1.) Photoshop

>Runs under codeweavers..., and Gimp is FREE!
>2.) Powerful IDE's

Works great..

> 3.) Video editing

Im attending a Linux video editing demo tomorrow....

>Along those lines Linux tends to be weak, although it
>offers some awesome IDE's.


Now why aren't you switching. Fear is a great problem. Why be afraid? Geeze, people can switch wives/husbands easier than switching OSes...

MarkP


RE: Ready?
by B. Smith on Tue 13th Jan 2004 05:04 UTC

Same old. Same old.

Engineers and programmers do not understand how non-technical users think. Engineers and programmers will never understand how non-technical users think.

It isn't a question of whether Linux is ready or not, the issue is convincing people that Linux is worth looking at, and then convincing them that it is a better deal than MS Windows.

Example, a 72 year old grandmother I know could never cope with a computer She had never used a computer in her life, and had never heard of Windows. I tried setting her up with Win95, then Win98, then WinME. Nothing. I installed Lycoris and adjusted the icons to maximum size so she could see them, set Mozilla to start up with several tabs to some web sites convering her favorites subjects like gardening, and WHAM. She uses it every day now and frequently remarks that she likes it better than "any of those others".

But how many people care enough to try it out?

Sales, marketing, grabbing public attention. That is what will move things along. And the only two companies that are even trying seriously to accomplish this are RedHat and Lindows. Everyone else seems to be adopting a "if you build it they will come" attitude. They won't come. Why should they? Even if your product is better, how are they supposed to know that?

You gotta SELL it.

B. Smith

Catch all
by Chris on Tue 13th Jan 2004 05:12 UTC

It'll be ready when people use it at work. This is how Windows and Mac break off, you notice a lot of Mac users are teachers; cause they use it at work. Most people started on Windows at work too.
Just seems to be a trend.

But you make a good point, Linux needs marketing. We need somebody to lie and say it's perfect like M$ does for Windows and Apple does for OS X.

"This is not and should not be a drama, most of the time for people with Windows and some of the time for Apple users, this type of scenario IS NOT difficult. Jane checks that her new camera is compatible with Windows XP and when she opens the box there is a shiny new cd to help her out."

Most of the time with Windows but only some of the time for Apple? Who are you kidding? Have you ever even used OSX? If you buy a camera that is compatible, which is probably all of them, you can forget the CD. Just plug the damn thing in, iPhoto (or whatever you selected as the default) launches and you DL the pics to your machine. Want to print? Plug in a printer and, voila, it shows up in Print Center where you can configure it if it has various options that are usually recognized anyway, and you print. I defy you to just plug anything into a Windows computer and have it just work without hassling with CD's or floppies or DLing drivers from the Net or twiddling with resources.

You cannot do this with Windows. I just built a server for the office to run XP Pro and some Bankruptcy Software on. AMD XP 2400+ chip and a Shuttle AK32VN motherboard. The MB has onboard LAN. XP could not recognize it. I had to use the included CD, run the installer twice, and reboot several times before it worked. No explanation. Cost of XP Pro upgrade: $199.00.

Know what the funny thing is? I built the same machine a week before to use as a home file server and I stuck FreeBSD 5.1 on there as the OS. FreeBSD recognized and correctly configured the onboard LAN. No need to resort to CD's or drivers or any other junk. Cost of FreeBSD: free!

This is why I don't use stinking Windows. It is too much of a hassle to do anything with it. I am not familiar with recent Linux distros so I don't know if they suck worse than Windows or not, but I can tell you that OSX or FreeBSD are heads and shoulders above Windows in power, stability, and ease of use, although I don't use FreeBSD as a desktop OS except insofar as Darwin is based on FreeBSD. I use it for a server.

New concepts?
by Chris on Tue 13th Jan 2004 05:46 UTC

<rant>

Maybe Linux developers need to start thinking: "Ok, we've got about 100+ distros floating around, what about building on some new concepts?" ie Storage or some sort of database filesystem so that Linux can have a reasonable competitor to WinFS in Longhorn?

Maybe Sourceforge and other developer sites need to look at the existing projects on their servers and say "Sorry, we've already got a bazillion other IM clients, go help one of them and use your ideas there instead of starting from scratch."

</rantoff>

Chris

@HappyGod
by A nun, he moos on Tue 13th Jan 2004 05:49 UTC

You're trolling, right?

With response to Hugo's assertation that his KDE desktop "looks just fine". It may to you, but it just isn't cutting the mustard when you put it up against OSX (and shortly Longhorn) or even XP.

My Desktop looks better than XP, and as good as OS X:

http://archie.homelinux.net:8080/images/user/kde_shot1.jpg
http://archie.homelinux.net:8080/images/user/kde_shot1_lores.jpg

(Warning: 1600x1200 desktop. There are lo-res versions if you are in 1024x768, since I don't think IE does in-browser image resizing like Konqueror does...)

Ultimately it's a question of taste, and configurability (something at which KDE excels). But KDE's got the eye candy.

As for "Longhorn", it's a bit early to blow into it for victory, isn't it? Let's all wait until it's out.

And anyhow, 3D coolness aside, the start menu in KDE/GNOME is APPALLING! It looks circa Win95, but worse!

Really? I think it's just fine:

http://archie.homelinux.net:8080/images/user/kde_shot2.jpg
http://archie.homelinux.net:8080/images/user/kde_shot2_lores.jpg

Plus, the control panel in Linux can only be described as way out of control.

Ever tried KDE Mission Control?

http://archie.homelinux.net:8080/images/user/kde_shot4.jpg

The UI in KDE is very good in general. I particularly like the File Dialog:

http://archie.homelinux.net:8080/images/user/kde_shot3.jpg
http://archie.homelinux.net:8080/images/user/kde_shot3_lores.jpg

The other OS's are starting to use 3D cards in the interface and are leaving Linux behind.

http://wwws.sun.com/software/products/screenshot.html?img=/software...
http://freedesktop.org/~keithp/screenshots/

This is also true of the new file system about to be introduced in Longhorn.

http://www.gnome.org/~seth/storage/

Combine that with a robust software distribution system (Windows Installer) and Linux does not come into contention.

http://autopackage.org/gallery.html
http://www.lindows.com/lindows_products_screenshots.php?clicknrun=y...
http://www.xandros.net/images/screenshots/xn_ss.png

More and more, Windows and Macs are becoming media centres. An area in which Linux lags badly.

http://www.osnews.com/story.php?news_id=2161
http://interact-tv.com/index.php

You're trolling, right?

P.S.
by A nun, he moos on Tue 13th Jan 2004 05:53 UTC

Note that some of the french localisation on the screenshots I provided is screwed. That's because I'm running KDE 3.2beta2 and localisation is usually a late concern (i.e. critical bugs get fixed first). In official KDE release the localisation is top notch.

...
by Anonymous on Tue 13th Jan 2004 05:59 UTC
Indeed
by A nun, he moos on Tue 13th Jan 2004 06:05 UTC

Very nice. This is what I like about KDE desktops: they can look amazing, or they can look like crap. Your choice. Of course, one user's user crap is another user's gold; to each his own, that's the beauty of it. I don't have to submit to the look set out for me by MS UI designers (yes, I know that you can customize your XP desktop, but I shouldn't have to get 3rd-party software to do this...).

Oops! That's a GNOME desktop!
by A nun, he moos on Tue 13th Jan 2004 06:06 UTC

Doesn't matter, KDE and Gnome are both fine desktops. The healthy competition between the two has actually pushed them both towards excellence.

This is also a benefit of choice and competition: better quality.

"You cannot do this with Windows. I just built a server for the office to run XP Pro and some Bankruptcy Software on. AMD XP 2400+ chip and a Shuttle AK32VN motherboard. The MB has onboard LAN. XP could not recognize it. I had to use the included CD, run the installer twice, and reboot several times before it worked. No explanation. Cost of XP Pro upgrade: $199.00"

You DO realize that WinXP is now 3yrs old? How were they supposed to have drivers included in it for a chipset that wasnt invented yet at that time??
You CAN plug digicameras into XP to and they will probably be recognized as USB memory, just like OSX. CDs are simply needed for stuff that requires current drivers.

Re:Incentive
by mikesum32 on Tue 13th Jan 2004 07:13 UTC

Linux can make it. It still has problems. Like installation of hardware and applications.

Don't say to just go get the rpms for the drivers or an app.

Rpms don't move around well between different rpm based distros, unless they are built for yours.

Source isn't helpful in the least. I shouldn't have to be a
a doctor of CS to install something.

Don't ever tell me to just do a configure, make and a make install; it is rarely that simple.

Of course if you pay for a distro you are much better off.

I think I might try again soon. Also linux needs more video processing applications and power user utilities that are GUI driven, with options for the (ack) command line.


OS X is worth switching to too.

The reason I don't are two fold.

1. Price

They must be smoking something if they think I'll pay $ 1800 US for a the bottom g5.

I can get a bottom of the line p4 from Dell for about $ 600, and 500 after the mail im rebate. It has a P4 at 2.40ghz with 533MHz fsb.

Don't tell me to get an imac (w/g4) for double the price. I don't want an emac with only a 1 ghz g4 and 133 mhz fsb/sdram for $ 200 - 300 more.


2. Hardware

I'm already ingrained with x86. Apple could still keep it's OS on hardware it approves if it moves over to x86. This is not unlike the Lindows/Lycorys approved harware at wlamart.com

Walmart or Dell could sell them, it would offer an immediate price drop due to the fact that the hardware would be so universal even if the OS could only run on those machines.

Maybe even as a dual boot option with windows (ack!)


The big reason people don't switch is hands on experience and availability.

I think the Circuit City had an old imac a while ago. Now they have all windows xp.

I saw my cousin's PowerBook and it was nice. A great GUI and overall experience. It felt like whole piece designed to work together.

Linux feels like a bunch of chocoalate and gummy bears got melted together by the heat in my car.

Linux vs. OS X vs. XP
by AJ on Tue 13th Jan 2004 07:44 UTC

I work with three of the major desktop OS environments, i.e. Linux, XP, and Mac.

In my opinion Linux has the stability, but not the same level of consistant feel and ease of use of XP or Mac that would entice an "average" user to make it their default OS. There are a few minor exceptions including Lindows and Lycoris, but overall as a platform it still has some ways to go and the various distributions will need to become a bit more evolved and consistant. Otherwise I think it is a platform that can offer the most potential for x86 hardware.

OS X is the closest I've seen to an ideal system. There is more consistancy in its UI design than any of the other platforms, and due to its *nix core its stability is one of the best. As to the various comments of higher hardware costs vs. x86 platform; considering the intelligent design and overall reliabilty of Mac systems, plus the included apps that would require additional purchase or labor to setup in the other platforms, I still consider Macs to be the best value.

As for XP, it's amazing that after 10+ years of evolution, Microsoft's core OS is finally getting to the point where it can be considered stable. As it stands today the out-of the-box default installation of XP includes multitudes of open holes and services that are unnecessary for the average user and rob the system of performance. A little time spent disabling useless services will easily drop the base memory footprint to less than 65 megs and also provides for noticably increased stability. But it's unfair and should be unnecessary for the average user to have to go through those steps. as well, there are still too many issues with viruses and trojan apps. And at what point will Microsoft learn not to allow applications to NOT litter it's system directories? Currently it has the most backward methology for application installations ever devised - any operating system that allows overwriting of critical files and/or dumping files all over the OS's directories is NOT going to be a stable system. So overall it appears to be a ways off before it can be considered a robust system.
Which brings me back to the Mac OS as an example of the right direction. Not only does it have the most consistant feel throughout its desktop environment, but since the hardware and OS are from the same company, compatibility with its hardware platform is obviously assured. And for the average home user that wants to plug in a camera or audio player, it is extremely easy and reliable for daily use. In addition, it has the most intuitive and straight forward application installation process of the three systems. In general, all the application files are included in one "bundle" and installing programs usually involves dragging the icon or folder to a desired location. And for removal the reverse only requires that the user simply drag the icon or folder to the trash bin.

Of course each OS has its strengths. If game playing is the primary goal, then XP is the only real choice. If a user wants all out customizable interface and a plethora of application options, Linux has that covered. But if daily productivity and ease of use is of paramount importance to the user, then Mac's OS gets my nod. Now here's the kicker - considering that OS X is based on a *nix core that shares many design features with Linux, (but with a very unique and efficient UI), Linux will need to learn a few of those same tricks before it can be considered a close competitor to the other systems as a viable desktop OS.

List
by Don Cox on Tue 13th Jan 2004 08:28 UTC

The author claims that Windows is strong on these points:

* Uniformity of appearance
* Consistent behavior
* Ease of use
* Ease of installation
* Reliability
* OS transparency

From my experience of Windows, I would rate it low on "Ease of Use" and "Reliability", and extremely low on "OS transparency".

IMO uniformity of appearance is not a high priority. I prefer that each program should be designed with the best GUI for the task it does. A paint program and a word processor should not look the same.

(I am not a regular Linux user.)

Re: B Smith
by Bharat on Tue 13th Jan 2004 09:00 UTC

You hit the nail on the head. Elsewhere in the kde forums Rayiner (How come he hasn't posted in this thread?) was saying the same thing, though in a different context ;) ). Perception of a product and not the product itself matters. Prime example: Win95.

choice...choice everywhere.
by Alko on Tue 13th Jan 2004 11:15 UTC

Linux will definitely make it on the mainstream desktop, once we can lose all the extra baggage coming from all the choices.

Yes, all programs should look the same. You should not have the choice of which toolkit or widget-set etc. etc. to use when making a program. Nor should you be able to choose desktop system (the person in support need to be able to support a consistent os, not something which can be tweaked or customized to infinity).

The major problem is that code in OSS is never dropped! We need to realize that we are too proud and have to much time on our hands when we start forks and side projects to open source projects, and don't kill projects that are not successful (just because some people prefer a flavour of $project doesnt mean it wouldn't be better to limit the diversity and let people have consistency, but not choice).

Sure, the GPL is brilliant when it comes to creativity and development, unfortunately the products created contain such a wild array of choices that the average user doesn't know what to do with it.

FM
by Anonymous on Tue 13th Jan 2004 11:55 UTC

Mainstream like Britney Spears, MTV, and all that? Here's hoping not.

re: Mark Potochnik
by JK on Tue 13th Jan 2004 12:08 UTC

>> Speak for yourself. I find it a pain in the ass not being
>>able to copy and paste anything but plain text between many
>>Linux apps.

>I can and have!

How? This is a very common complaint and I've never seen a solution. Try copying a selection of an image in GIMP and paste it into OpenOffice, or paste some cells from Gnumetric into KWord. IME it just doesn't work.

>>"the hardware isnt supported!"

>Manuf. Problem

Not good enough. You can't expect people to replace expensive hardware just to run a different OS. Poor hardware support may not be the fault of Linux, but that doesn't mean that it isn't a Linux problem.

To run Linux with a usable dual-headed display setup, I'd have to replace my Radeon graphics card with a Nvidia card. And thanks to the primitive dual-headed display support in Linux, it still wouldn't work as well as it does in Windows.

>>4.) Note taking/Word documents

>Open Office. I read them all...

I've tried opening a variety of MS Word documents in OpenOffice, hardly any opened correctly. Virtually any fairly complex Word document with images, tables, diagrams etc. has problems. Some order forms created in Word were so mangled by OpenOffice that it would be quicker to start from scratch than fix them. If you need to work on MS Office documents then 80%-90% compatability just isn't enough, especially if you need to e-mail documents to other people.

I know you can run MS Office on Linux, but there are stability and performance problems IME. It also adds extra cost and if you're just going to be running Windows apps, why bother running Linux?

>Now why aren't you switching.

Because Windows still has a lot of advantages over Linux and personally I find working in Windows far more productive.

A Linux Desktop Scenario
by Raja Iskandar Shah on Tue 13th Jan 2004 12:11 UTC

There is a company in Malaysia that is selling desktops with a localised version of Linux and OSS. Their biggest customer group has been the rural population - where this is their first ownership of a computer.

They have simplified the interface - so that it is very easy for users to use a computer. Remember the old Win 3.1 program group icons/sub-windows ? Well, their interface is similar - and it is easy for first time users.

Looking at it, Linux on the desktop has made a difference to make life easier. I think at the end of the day this is more important than whether Linux on the desktop is mainstream or not.

another fud piece
by garbage on Tue 13th Jan 2004 13:00 UTC

Are these fud pieces planted here on OS news just so M$ apologists can all congratulate themelves again?

Whoops that'l be censored too!

Linux problems
by Mark Sopel on Tue 13th Jan 2004 13:25 UTC

I'm no Linux guru by any means, but I've been successfully running Linux on my desktop at home for over 10 months, and loving it because I've realized that I don't need Microsoft. This makes me feel great !!!

In the beginning of the transition to Linux (from Windows) you may run into some problems - it's likely to have a Linux guru in your back pocket (or a friend that's quite good at it.) Most the times any problems can be found on the internet, or easily and quickly be fixed by editing a system file somewhere on the system. But where you ask - that's why it's nice to have someone knowledgeable in Linux to quickly advise you when you encounter a problem - and you probably will !!!!

The thing about Linux that I found is that YOU are the administrator. Instantly you therefore have a whole realm of commands at your disposal that weren't even thought about in Windows. You can do so much more in Linux as far as "tweaks" - such that it has a bad case of option-ightous.

Once you start to understand a little bit better of how it works and what it's about, then you get much better at it. Then again, there are some people who just don't want to know !!! For those people, I hope someday we will achieve a simple solution - until then Linux is not ready for those type of people - unless they have a friend that will act as their administrator in their Linux box.

distrubuted management
by RNC on Tue 13th Jan 2004 13:32 UTC

Besides arguing around the desktop, application packaging etc. you have to look at how easy it is to manage the environment in a company. There is no equivalent to the SMS-ActiveDesktop-GroupPolicy combo in linux AFAIK.

Whilst its somewhat cheesy in that policy files use shared filesystem rather than ActiveDirectory, Microsofts system does the job. Many third party applications lever the installer infrastructure also (which integrates with SMS & AD.) Its relatively straighforward to provide central managment for 1000's of desktops using this.

If someone can point me at a relatively well productionised distributed management (user rights, permissions; application distrubution ...) I would be well pleased.

Another Point of view
by Anonymous on Tue 13th Jan 2004 14:38 UTC

I am looking forward to the day that it will not matter what OS or platform that you are using you will be able to use an application of your choice. I am not talking about giving in to only one OS or only one platform. I am talking about hardware developers and software developers that are developing for John Q Public, developing for the needs of the Public. I believe that we can and should have a variety of OS vendors providing OSs with the underlying Kernel being of the same breed and we still can have our Eye Candy in a variety of flavors. But that the applications that are being developed should be able to be complied to run on any of them including MS. And With this I am getting at the fact that we should be able to write a Document on any of the Platforms or OS and be able to take it to the others. I have been working with Computers and software since the 1970s and the biggest complaints that I receive is that I can not share my files with a friend that uses a different computer or OS. Instead of spending a fortune trying to but the other out of business, try speeding the money to work together for the betterment of the world.

characteristics
by ogre on Tue 13th Jan 2004 15:04 UTC

The article lists six desktop characteristics where the author apparently believes Windows is better than Linux. My two desktop systems here at work are Windows XP Pro and SuSE 8.2 on "identical" hardware. I find Linux to be clearly more reliable and easier to use than Windows, and overall better in each of the other four ways as well.

Re the camera example, again our experience differs. The wife got a new digital camera for Christmas. We couldn't get it working with any flavor of Windows at home (XP/2K/98se). I brought it to work, no go with XP Pro either. Figured "why not", tried it with the SuSE box. Worked. No special config, no "load driver disk", just plugged it in and it worked. Result, this weekend we converted our home systems to SuSE 9 (with one as dual-boot XP for "just in case").

TROLLS!
by Chris on Tue 13th Jan 2004 15:17 UTC

"Linux can make it. It still has problems. Like installation of hardware and applications.

Don't say to just go get the rpms for the drivers or an app.

Rpms don't move around well between different rpm based distros, unless they are built for yours.

Source isn't helpful in the least. I shouldn't have to be a
a doctor of CS to install something.

Don't ever tell me to just do a configure, make and a make install; it is rarely that simple. "
Do you people even use Linux, or have you looked into a decent distribution:
Installing on several distro's:
Arch :: pacman -Sy packagename
Debian :: apt-get install packagename
RedHat/Suse w/apt :: apt-get install packagename
Yellowdog :: yum
MDK :: HAS A GUI FOR IT
Lindows :: HAS A GUI FOR IT
gentoo :: emerge packagename


As for source being hard. ./configure && make && make install. It works 9/10 times, and that 1 is when you don't have all the dependencies. Dependencies exist in the Windows world too though, it's often referred to as dll hell. The Windows Installer is quite weak, a unproperly configured MSI package will install an uninstallable program.
RPM's are different for different distro's because they are setup different. There is no way around this. You simply have to provide the rpm's for your distro, or users will have to avoid version upgrades for the whole system. But Windows doesn't ever upgrade correctly either, so I don't see the difference there.

opinions...
by keath on Tue 13th Jan 2004 15:19 UTC

Mac users have long argued that the more refined interface, and easier driver configuration of their OS was worth the extra cost, for them. The author of this article is now trying to make the same argument in regards to a Windows/Linux comparison.

As a long time Mac user I can tell you, it's not gonna work. If you are satisfied that the extra cost is worth it for you, fine; but don't make predictions about what the rest of the world is willing to settle for.

RE: Incentive Mikesum32
by Mike on Tue 13th Jan 2004 16:44 UTC

You missed the whole point of my post. I'm saying it doesn't matter how good linux is. OSX has been at least sexier than XP for like 3 years. The point is there's no reason for the average or even above-average user to ditch windows for linux. Even if Linux was sexier/easier to use, what consumer software does linux provide that windows doesn't?

Linux needs some closed-source games that are really innovative and fun and free. Open-source is taking away the incentive to switch because everything good that comes out eventually gets ported to windows.

Re: New concepts?
by Anonymous on Tue 13th Jan 2004 18:11 UTC

><rant>
>
>Maybe Linux developers need to start thinking: "Ok, we've >got about 100+ distros floating around, what about building >on some new concepts?" ie Storage or some sort of database >filesystem so that Linux can have a reasonable competitor >to WinFS in Longhorn?

Hmmm... I could say you might've been hiding under a rock for about a decade... there are a LOT of research material and applications of new theories in Linux and other open source software. Reiser4 is one (how about a pluggable filesystem in Win9x?) or XFS (i don't see how the WinFS layering to NTFS can beat this one in terms of scalability to house very LARGE files - multimedia files which WinFS aims to index in the first place?), an ultra-scalable O(1) scheduler present in Linux and making its way in other open source operating systems, Beuwolf clustering, etc.... Maybe you'd need to check out recent postings and research material more often than you check out marketing propaganda.

There's more incentive for people to contribute research using a free operating environment as you can start work right away and create a working proof of concept. Hey, you have the code to do it anyway. That's how Unix evolved. That's how TCP/IP evolved. A freely available environment coupled with people with enough knowhow is all it takes to implement new concepts.

What has NT technology given us? Aside from a C2-compliant config that requires you to un-network your NT-network server and a fine-grained ACL implementation, integration of the brain-dead Win32 API which negates the original cross-platform goal of the NT kernel? How about integrating graphics routines into the kernel, which makes the whole soup unstable and insecure, if otherwise bloated, in the name of graphical efficiency? How about the apps intended for NT --> a kernel-based HTTP server that runs CGI too - which allows for malformed CGI requests to be executed with machine privileges? And now with WinFS - an indexing addition to NTFS which makes it much easier for you to index your files, while making it also simple for a malicious user to sift your own files as well?

MS doesn't have too much of revolutionary ideas if you're looking for any - they do have sometimes, but what they have a lot more is a lot of marketing legwork more than a real deliverable that doesn't give too much headaches or unacceptable demands.

KDE sux!
by Magallanes on Tue 13th Jan 2004 19:21 UTC

KDE and gnome are truly slow and buggy. Even my win2k in a even slow PC is more fast rather linux (with a latest drivers video).

And of course, when you learn to configure in deep linux, the gui is good for nothing, becuase the linux configuration is almost 100% to touch some ascii text and it SUX!.
For example, Apache configuration have a gui interface BUT it take only 1% of the complete configuration, the rest must be made using a text editor!!! (they don't known that we lived in 2004 and not in the 80'?). In opposite, IIS you can configure in a complete gui interface!.

RE: TROLLS!
by DavidJ on Tue 13th Jan 2004 19:32 UTC

>Debian :: apt-get install packagename
>RedHat/Suse w/apt :: apt-get install packagename

At least on Debian there's synaptic, a GUI for package management. The version in Sarge now uses GTK2 and got deuglified.

Re: Linux is almost there.....
by Linuxgeekintraining on Tue 13th Jan 2004 20:14 UTC

> 1. CD-writing, which is supposed to work out of the box with > K3B, simply doesn't work.

K3B is a little hard to get working, and has to be configured properly before you can use it. I personally use Gnome Toaster whenever I need to burn a CD.

> 2. Neither boot loader works properly on my system,
> requiring me to boot up with the Suse disc each time.

It sounds like you told it to install to root instead of your MBR on your hard drive. Most systems simply don't work with either Grub or Lilo unless they are installed in the Master Boot Record AKA the MBR.

OSX
by O on Tue 13th Jan 2004 20:58 UTC

I have to say that as an XP user (and linux too) I am spoiled compared to the Mac users:
I bought XP back in 2001, have got countless patches and software upgrades + new stuff like moviemaker since then (messenger, mediaplayer..). All theese full-featured software I got for free.
If you consider the actual milage you get from a MS OS and the free updates and software you can get through winupdate and compare that to the cost of 3-5 linux distros (XP has been alive and kickin since 2001 and will be good through at least 2005), or OSX + the price of its (3?) upgrades (yes apple makes you pay for them, not the patches but the bigger upgrades)+ the price for the iApps (apple will soon start charging for them too!) and XP will actually look rather cheap.
Dont get me wrong OSX seems like a nice OS, Its just that apple are so good at making their customers pay through the nose for stuff the rest of the world takes for granted.

Nice article
by Ravager on Tue 13th Jan 2004 23:05 UTC

Being a expert user with both systems, I have to agree with the author.

Some of the other issues that I believe are stopping linux from ever being a serious contender in the average pc is.

Security on Linux systems need to be overhauled

Users that work in large firms like to have the same stuff at home as they use at work. ie windows, word etc.

No company offers a really good support model for large corperations.

Something akin to group policy needs to be introduced with a good central managment system

And last but not least is it cost a lot more to employ linux techs due to the complexity of supporting the product.

linux is not mainstream because companies will not support linux. for the only reason of fear. if there were more essential hardware / software support for linux, it would blast microsoft away quite fast. I use it as my full desktop and almost never use XP. Linux is quite functional and on mine, i have a unified package manager (rpm) that also updates, installs, and removes software. and when it comes to installing software, I just type in the name and it locates and installs, how great is that? not only that its tested and it works no problems ! at least in my experience...oddly enough, linux has been a MUCH BETTER desktop OS for me than a server OS by far! i know that seems odd but its the truth in my case.

Linux would be alot better if people would stop treating linux as non-existant, if it had more support via 3rd Party, it would be alot better, i think the Tux penguin and a little "Linux Supported" sticker on Printers and Digital Cameras would be a nice thing to see. someday i hope this is a reality...

People will always say that linux is not as good as windows becuase either A: close minded or B: dont spend enough time to try and expand their minds with a better OS.

my approach to Linux has always been to treat it in the manner of thinking like "thats how you do it", not "Well windows did it this way". doing so results in an unsatisfactory experience.

Mandrake 9.2 has been a great OS for me, and it was the ONLY Desktop OS i have been TRULY and FULLY Productive, even more so than XP.

RE: HappyGod
by Abraxas on Wed 14th Jan 2004 01:02 UTC

More and more, Windows and Macs are becoming media centres.

I agree but at some point they will not be computers anymore but appliances. When it gets to that point (which doesn't seem far off) what is the point anymore? Their functions will narrow and leave Linux for people truly interested in computers. I don't see the downside and I don't think most other Linux users would either. Personally I don't care who uses it as long as no one is stopping me from using it.

Responses
by A nun, he moos on Wed 14th Jan 2004 02:28 UTC

Magallanes
For example, Apache configuration have a gui interface BUT it take only
1% of the complete configuration,


Er...ever heard of Webmin?

http://www.webmin.com/screens/apache.gif

There's also a project called Comanche:

http://www.unc.edu/~jwatt/inls183/10comanche7.png

Of course, the troll is moot, as Apache is not a desktop application, but a
server one. Server admins are usually not afraid to edit text files. In any
case, there are three times more Apache servers than IIS servers in service
- that should be an indication that, in this particular instance, a GUI
does not a successful Web Server make...

For common desktop configuration there are GUI tools for practically
everything. The only reason I still use the Command Line to configure my
Linux system is that sometimes it's faster - otherwise, I could go GUI all
the way.

In other words, you're spreading the same old FUD.

Ravager

I seriously doubt that you are an "expert" on using Linux when you repeat
the same tired lines that anti-Linux advocates use.

Security on Linux systems need to be overhauled

Really? In what respect? Don't you think security in Windows needs some
working on as well? *cough* Blaster *cough*

Users that work in large firms like to have the same stuff at home as
they use at work. ie windows, word etc.


I have Word on my Linux PC. What's the big deal?

At least, your comment seems to indicate that as people start to use Linux
at work, they'll start using it at home as well. That's good news.

Something akin to group policy needs to be introduced with a good
central managment system


Group policies have always been part of Unix (and, by extension, Linux).
Again, I call BS on the "expert" claim.

If you specifically mean ACLs, there has been support for them on Linux for
a while now:

http://www.linuxgazette.com/issue57/tag/7.html

And last but not least is it cost a lot more to employ linux techs due
to the complexity of supporting the product.


It's true Unix admins in general cost more than Windows admins, but on the
other hand each of them can handle more machines at once, so costs tend to
balance out (and even tip in Linux's favor). So this is not a valid
argument. In any case, this article is about the Linux desktop - comments
on the cost of Linux admins are quite off-topic, don't you think?

Ta!

Plain and Simple
by Rob Wright on Wed 14th Jan 2004 05:14 UTC

Until Linux becomes as friendly to the user as it is to the system it will never compete in the Windows world. Reason is, lack of full software support.

Does Adobe make all their software available for Linux? How many of the latest and greated Games are available as Linux versions? How about Macromedia's Flash and other of their products? I could run down a HUGE list of applicatoins that are on the MUST have list of ones out every day. None of them are Linux Versions and there is no real sign of that changing.

Linux needs to be self updating like Windows. Shouldn't have to have a Desktop user complie a kernel file or figure it out in the least. Hardware compatibility is the single worst part of Linux as a lot of the drivers made by 3rd parties that are good, cost money above what they already paid for the hardware itself. That doesn't sway others to by the Linux OS unfortunately. The hardware makers need to provide Linux Drivers for their products as well as the software companies need to do the same.

In short, it's purely a support issue. Linux can be just as easy to use in it's many GUI's, but the total lack of any MAJOR hardware and software support for the popular companies is what is holding it back.

If they could make Linux where it could run a windows program without windows needing to be on the system with it? Then that would be the biggest step in making it a viable Desktop System for everyone. Then the next giant step is to stay on top of the Hardware industry. Or at least get them to where they'll gladly develope and provide drivers for all their products.

One thing I would more than love, is to see Linux become the next Desktop mainstay in the PC world. I love linux and would MUCH rather have it on my system than windows. But till the programs I depend on for my own developement and entertainment are available or run on it with no issues? I'm afraid Windows wins hands down.

@Rob Wright
by A nun, he moos on Wed 14th Jan 2004 05:38 UTC

How many of the latest and greated Games are available as Linux versions?

Meh. Most good games nowadays come out on consoles. Buying a computer to play games isn't a necessity anymore. If you really like First-Person Shooters, which are more fun on computers, then you can always get a good selection of them (including the upcoming Doom3) as this is a genre that is over-represented in Linux.

Seriously, as a gamer and a game designer, I find I've got all I need with my PS2, Xbox and GBA.

Shouldn't have to have a Desktop user complie a kernel file or figure it out in the least.

Doesn't have to. It took me two years before I tried recompiling the kernel. Even then I didn't need to, I only did because I was curious and wanted to know more.

If they could make Linux where it could run a windows program without windows needing to be on the system with it?

You can. It's called Crossover Office. It doesn't require a copy of Windows.

but the total lack of any MAJOR hardware

Would you care to elaborate? The list of hardware that doesn't run on Linux has shrunk a lot, and keeps on shrinking. Linux is fast closing the gap.

I love linux

Yeah, a lot of people are saying this, then they spout off a long list of problems with Linux that are no longer valid. Either they haven't tried Linux in a while, or they're trolling.

"Ease of use"
by Nordbo on Wed 14th Jan 2004 11:53 UTC

I think there is a misconception. There is a difference between a system being easy to use, and a system that everyone knows how to use. As the author himself said, everyone knows how Windows is used. But what happens if you sit a person down in front of a Windows box, who has never used a computer before. Will he be able to use the system easily? This is the intuitive part of "Ease of use". The other part of it has to do with uniformity in multiple contexts.

Just because you know how to do something, doesn't mean that it's easy to use (what some people call user friendly).

singing from one hymn sheet
by StuRReaL on Wed 14th Jan 2004 12:05 UTC

As my title says singing from one hymn sheet, currently linux distros aren't, and I think its a big problem. Linux is great cause you have all that software, lots of software for doing the same jobs.

However software installation and dependency is the real issues, RPM's are horrific, Debian and Gentoo have the right idea they more or less have is sorted, but source compiling takes ages and not everyone has that long to wait.

Configuration: This is one of the little things, not all of us care for editing config files or go off searching for them, this is another place windows and macOSX scores u can config virtually everything in a single place.

My next one is a real irritation, firstly I like gentoo as its rubbish free and allows me to install what i want and nothing else, but why is the supermount patch not included in the main kernel development by www.kernel.org, as i said its the little things i want to be able to hit eject on my removable devices and the disc pops out like in windows and macOSX, i know distros like suse, redhat and mandrake have them but it really should be in all of them.

I do like linux but at the moment it won't be replacing my windows install as the software and hardware support isn't at the level I need. I'm a heavy Maya and photoshop user, maya won't install due to the dependancys of RPMS and Gimp does but not quite cut it compared to PS. But I am a big liker of bluefish ;) its sort of like having dreamweaver without the bulk.

v already mainstream
by bob on Wed 14th Jan 2004 12:25 UTC
A short tale to world domination.
by Andrea on Wed 14th Jan 2004 13:32 UTC

Once upon a time.... An OS that was created by some crazy developers, and used by more crazy developers. It was studied by some CS students. These students gets older and graduated and were employed by big companys.
One day, there was a need for a secondary server, because there was a need for an internal webserver. One of these students remembered the free OS and installed it.
These worked so well that some time after it was used on the main webserver, and the mail server, and every other suitable server.
Then came the hard times. Everyone was searching a way to expand the company, but pay only some pennys for every new desktop. Then the CS student put one, and then two, and then three new of these new desktops on the free OS on the company, using the most cheap hardware and of course the free software.
These worked so well, without virus, with easy, universal connection to the servers, a beautiful thin client that he beginning to ask: how about converting the old desktops? These will end the headhaches of every new virus, and different versions of software.
He worked very hard: many pieces of these old hardware doesn't have proper drivers, many old apps can't work on the new OS, people doesn't like to use something new and cheaper. But, one by one, it converts almost all company. There was of course some resistent parts: the human resources guy, who has all his information in an old app in an old PC, the graphical designers, and the manager, who wanted a fashionable WinXP v5.0 installed on his new fashionable laptop.
One day, one of the employees needed to do some computer use in his home. He doesn't like to use the PC for games that uses his teen son: it was a constant war on time to use, and after, there was always configuration or virus problems or something that was broken. So he decided to go and buy one of these cheap PCs with the free OS who he is used to use at work.
... (it will be continued)

At the end of the day, you have:
1- Only one new desktop PC with the new WinXP v5.0 (the one of the manager)
2- At least, four new desktops on the free OS. And one of them in a house.
3- A non reported number of old PC converted to the free OS.

RE: Can Linux Make It Mainstream?
by Sid Boyce on Wed 14th Jan 2004 13:49 UTC

Most people are supposed to know Windows and are happy to install their programs without problems is the impression given, that's not my experience nor friends'. Most people put up with Windows and based on their horrific experiences, I'm surprised that many of them use a computer at all. If you know a fair number of Windows users, you know a fair number of people who pester you to have a cratered machine working again as quite unprovoked all sorts of nasties can and do happen, like the call I got one evening from a friend saying Windows had crashed and his daughter had lost all of her school project. OK, I said, I shall try to get over there tomorrow evening, he then said that her project was due in the following morning - 45 minutes drive across town, ages rebuilding Windows and installing drivers, at midnight, 5 hours later, I was on the road back home. If that is easy, then I don't appreciate easy.
This isn't an isolated happening and these days, I try not to initiate any conversation with Windows users about the subject of computers out of great fear of sinking loads of my time free in that morass --- As one friend said to a lady who told him she had a problem on Windows XP -- "Yes, you have a problem" as he made a swift getaway.
A colleague borrowed my SuSE 8.2 disks and installed it on his wife's PC, some 6 months ago, she loves it " NO MORE CRASHES, NO MORE LOST WORK and she can get on with her camera work and other stuff she needs", related to me by my colleague who was seeing Linux for the first time as he installed it, he's no Unix guru either and the only call I've had on it has been a THANK YOU for loaning the CD's.
Remember Dr. Jeckyll and Mr Hyde -- a typical Windows user(s), "I have no problems with Windows, it's fine" says Dr. Jeckyll, "I lost a document I'd been working on for a couple of hours. "The bloody thing locked up" etc. etc. said Mr. Hyde.

I agree, but ...
by NeoSadist on Wed 14th Jan 2004 15:24 UTC

I agree with the comments: Linux should become more standardized, and it has to "catch up" with Windows if it wants to compete on the same market.
But I don't want to see individuality disappear for Linux distributions. Let Mandrake, Lindows, SuSE and Lycorise compete with Windows, if that's what they want to do. I'd prefer to make my own decision based on trying out various distributions.
As to the "unified" look, KDE and Gnome can create this: the user picks the desktop they want.
As to file systems, yes I think that the init stuff (systemV / init.d) should become more standardized, more like how Slackware runs theirs. But if the distro includes some GUI app to change stuff, what more is there? I don't find much difference really, since most the newbie-oriented (or desktop distros) have a centralized control area. SuSE has Yast2, Mandrake has their control center, etc etc.
This is the beauty of Linux to me: try the distributions out for free, and the one you like you can help support. Also, I can pick a different distribution per computer, based on its role. Slackware for the Samba server on my LAN for backing up stuff. Smoothwall for my firewall/router machine. Knoppix for my wife's computer, which has to be Windows 2000 for her desktop publishing and webpage design in Adobe. Mandrake for my personal computer (because I don't want to have to spend time to do normal things). I can support all the distros independantly through paypal.
I say Linux should just be itself -- no need to compete with windows honestly. Those who want freedom from Microsoft can use Linux if they choose. If not, they don't have to. I'm for freedom of choice in this matter.

Linux is ready for some desktops
by Jack Carroll on Wed 14th Jan 2004 15:55 UTC

The author is entirely correct about one important class of users. Linux on the desktop is ready for a wide class of other users, though. I've been using it that way since 1996. I use the command line by preference because it's a much faster user interface than mouse mazes; also, I was proficient with the shell before GUIs were invented. I refuse to install Gnome or KDE for the same reason I refuse to install Windows -- or even learn to install the latter. They bog my hardware down, slow me down, impose extra learning curves, and add no capability.
One thing that would go far to make Linux a much better desktop, IMO, is straightening out the tangled mess that is font installation. It needs to become possible to install a font once, and have it automatically become accessible to X, the printing system, and all applications. I understand this is being worked on energetically.

drama
by Anonymous on Wed 14th Jan 2004 16:14 UTC

No, she doesn't rely on windows when she plugs in the camera, she relies on the fact that Windows is the target for all hardware manufacturers because they are an illegal monopoly.

If linux had the same install base you can bet your ass that camera manufacturers would make sure their hardware worked out of the box. When you buy windows you're not buying a polished product so much as PREVENTING INNOVATION by supporting an illegal monopoly.

Missing the point?
by Alihahd on Wed 14th Jan 2004 17:15 UTC

It's been a while, but I used to do 2nd/3rd line Windows support. Most of the users I supported ran Windows at home BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT WE RAN AT THE OFFICE! They wanted to be able to take work home with them, and hence they wanted to run the same software we ran.

That logic's going to drive a reasonably large portion of the home market, and games will make up the bulk of the rest of it. That means the only part of the home market to worry about is the gamers. For everyone else, concentrate on the office.

Now, a question. It seems hardly a week goes by without some big (1000+ employees) company or other announcing they are migrating/have migrated to Linux. What I'd like to know is, what percentage of their employees have/intend to migrate too?

I ran a GNU/Linux-based Cyber cafe over the last year and can readily refute this author's main points. I felt much the same as him when we first started, but quickly learned it wasn't true.

In fact, we originally presumed we'd have to give our GNU/Linux systems a Windows-like theme. But, due to laziness, we started with a standard KDE theme and noboyd--not a one person had any trouble using it... even though they had never seen it before. Try that with a Mac! MacOS X looses most people, in contrast. The responses we got from anonymous surveys were consistently positive about the user interfaces and general usability.

Main problems we had:

(1) Mozilla was virtually impossible to stabilize. We finally settled on the firebird version, which had acceptible crash rates. But any time Mozilla crashes (and it did, frequently), it freezes up an entire user account and has to be remotely killed with a kill -9. Sometimes, though rarely, it would rapidly respawn processess and we'd have to run a script to auto-kill all processes under the user name.

(2) People responded interestingly to OpenOffice: perhaps about 30% of people who sat down to it just freaked when you looked at it and asked, "Don't you have Word?" But those who gave it a try, found it easy to use and seldom had any compatibility errors. But we did have problems with fonts and we had to make the default save types for Microsoft products. People would freak when they discovered the fonts looked different on Windows or Macintosh computers. And, prior to OpenOffice 1.1, the spaces in some fonts were not noticeable... That was a major problem. Eventually, we provided Microsoft Office.... But people have been MUCH happier with OpenOffice 1.1's improvements.

(3) Applicaitons were generally not a problem accept for a few... People wanted photoshop and did not want to take the time to learn the Gimp. SPSS statistical ananlysis software was also required. And the GNU/Linux-based instant messengers were never quite on par with the Windows and Mac equivelants. Other than these, however, people really seemed to enjoy exploring the games and other programs available. I saw them using all kinds of applications. They played everything with enthusiasm from Chess and Frozen Bubble to bzFlag, Pacmanarena, and TuxRacer....and Freecraft. They played with KStars and every little scientific toy, graphics applications, QCAD, etc. etc.. And did calculations on KSpread.

If you ask me what's lacking for GNU/Linux success on the Desktop, I would break the question into two parts: The Consumer Desktop and the Business Desktop. For consumers, they need games. For businesses, they need fully manageable solutions. But for both to take off like wildfire, they simply and only need one major PC retailer to aggressively sell pre-installed systems at physical stores everywhere. That's all. It has it's plenty of worthy selling points--most notably, all you get with it in terms of software.

Matthew

Does Linux really need to be mainstream?
by s_PeePs on Wed 14th Jan 2004 18:14 UTC

I'm sure that commercial vendors are going to create distros that push Linux in that direction. I'm also certain that some of the problems that result from people forced to install Linux on computers maunfactured for WIndows will resolve themselves as the software gets smarter, and Hardware vendors get more savvy.

(Example: Most of my problems as a beginner revolve around trying to run Debian on a computer with a soundcard that the stable version of Debian, with its older 2.2.20 kernel doesn't support. So I struggle to supplement Debian with other distros with newer kernels. I run Red Hat for streaming media and Slackware for music and video. It's all very cumbersome... but one of these days, I'm going to get a new computer, or Debian is going to get a new kernel... and that's when it's all going to come together. Debian has a great classic look, a smorgasboard of desktop environments, and, as has been noted here by others, a huge library of software, whose ease of installation rivals or exceeds Microsoft. )

But unless you've got stock in Red Hat, does it matter if Linux becomes "mainstream"? The important thing is that Linux does exist, and that we aren't at the mercy of the megalomaniacs of Redmond. The idea that Linux for the desktop is unteneble is nonsense. Hoever, as a desktop for the layman, Windows has an edge--an expensive one, not only in terms or money, but in terms of rights and empowerment-- but with a viable competitor, Microsoft will be forced to give its customers value and rights they otherwise would have surely withheld. We're already seeing signs of that with the restoration of support for Windows 98. Microsoft may want to crush us, but we don't need to crush them. We don't need to live in a world that is all Linux. We don't need to think like Microsoft.

We need only to remain uncrushable to break the Microsoft monopoly-- and guess what? We did it. It's over. From now on, we're all going to live in a world where there is a choice. Whether you run Linux or Windows, this is good news indeed.

Linux on the desktop
by Jeff on Wed 14th Jan 2004 23:43 UTC

Ok,
I don't know what versions of Linux you are using and how old, but I have Linux on all my PC's and Laptops, even coexsisting with my Windows XP work laptop. When I installed the new version of Xandros 2 on my work laptop it understood that I had a Windows XP on the drive and allowed me to create a partition by just telling it what size I wanted. Try that with Windows!
It also understood that I had a laptop and docking bay and configured all hardware acordingly. Oh and by the way I didn't need the silver disk from the manufacturer.
It found my PCMCIA wireless card and configured that for me when I took it home to my wireless network. With no magic manufactures disk.
I also installed it on my desktop at home and have had no problems with any software or hardware. It understood that I had a CD burner and a seperate DVD drive and configured both to work by just inserting a DVD or blank CD, Again with no magic disk required.
I also installed Suse 9 on another of my desktops and had the same experience. When I installed a blank CD it automaticaly pops up to ask what type of file I need to burn. When I insert a DVD it starts playing with the default application or one of my choosing. When I installed a TV card magically the Suse install started and installed the files needed over the internet without intervention from me. One click later I was watching TV on my PC.
Oh and by the way if I for some reason need to use a Windows Office or Macromedia application it will install the CrossOver Office for me and simulate the needed Windows reboot, without Linux rebooting. Oh and if the application misbehaves it only will cause problems for that application not the whole desktop.
So I would say that Linux is very close to being desktop ready?


RE: A nun, he moos
by HappyGod on Thu 15th Jan 2004 00:11 UTC

I know it's probably a bit late to be replying to this thread but anyhow, gotta say something...

As always (and like most Linux diehards) you have completely missed the point. The point is not that linux can do these things, but more what you have to do to make them happen.

Linux doesn't do all the things you mentioned out of the box, and if you've got 7 hours to recompile your kernel, and endlessly drop down to the terminal, and trawl through countless text files, and are prepared to enter an app dependency cycle you may never emerge from, and download half a dozen apps to make the thing look good, then yeah, Linux can do it! And please, do not compare "Click n Pray" to Windows Installer, it's not even in the same ballpark. And BTW, can I run Moxi or Telly MC800 on my good old Athlon 1600? ... No.

Windows and Macs can do it out of the box. End of story.

And no, I'm not trolling.

@HappyGod
by A nun, he moos on Thu 15th Jan 2004 05:24 UTC

Again, you show that your knowledge of Linux is hopelessly outdated. It is no longer necessary to recompile your kernel - I compiled the kernel for the first time after using Linux for two years.

It is also untrue that one has to "drop down" to the terminal, there are GUI tools to configure the system.

With modern installers, dependency hell is a thing of the past: I haven't had a single dependency problem in months!

Half a dozen apps to make things look good? Hardly. The screenshots I showed were all from a typical Mandrake install.

As for Click'n'Run, which I've tried once, you're right when you say it's not in the same ballpark as Windows Installer - it's much better!

Telly is a set-top box, but there are plenty of DVR programs for Linux that you can install on your Athlon...like Freevo:

http://freevo.sourceforge.net/screenshots.html

Oh, and neither Windows nor OS X can act as a PVR/DVR out of the box. You do have to buy additional software.

As for "normal" Multimedia, Mplayer for Linux plays more file types than any media player for Windows, and the quality is perfect. In fact, it plays QuickTime movies better than Apple's own player on x86 hardware (and starts up about three times as fast, too!).

Now, tell me. Can you change the language of your Windows installation, or do you have to buy another copy? You might not care, but I live and work in a multilingual environment. Oh, and how is bi-di text support coming?

Hey, I heard that you can finally support more than one simultaneous session on a Windows box...funny, I've been doing that for three years, using old Pentiums as client computers for roommates.

Care to bet on when the next Windows worm will slow the Internet down to a crawl and cause millions and millions of dollars in damages. Trustworthy computing indeed!

So, like most Windows diehards, you just don't know what you're talking about. Try out a modern distro before spewing your FUD.

(FYI I'm not a Linux diehard - I use both OSes daily, which I'm sure is more than you can say.)

Another DVR/PVR program for Linux
by A nun, he moos on Thu 15th Jan 2004 05:36 UTC

MythTV - I don't know this one as much but I've heard some good things about it.

http://www.mythtv.org/modules.php?name=MythFeatures

If I can agree that Linux needs improvements before mass adoption, GNU/Linux is in an enough advanced stage to be massively tested. Knoppix 3.3 CD-ROM is the ideal solution to test Linux in a few minutes even if your computer is on Windows because it uses only you RAM memory and doesn't write anything to your hard disk. You must boot on the CD (any modern PC can do that by default or should be set in the bios) and a few minutes after decompression of the useful tools into your RAM (shorter time if you have 256Mb or more memory) you can access to your network and googling. Openoffice (Word, Excel, PowerPoint clones) are usable. Gaim lets you use MSN messenger. MP3 files can be listen etc. By clicking on icons of your desktop you can "mount" your hard disk readonly and test your .doc or .xls files. Typing smb:/// on the explorer (an URL like http://) you can access your network at work or at home if you have one.
Knoppix is only useful for testing.
If you want to test a mailing tool and even better than Outlook you should use Evolution which is unfortunately not on this "LiveCD". But Ximian Evolution is present on other LiveCDs and in particular on PCLinuxOS. You can stop your computer while on Knoppix or PCLinuxOS at any time, it won't hurt your computer because everything is on memory nothing on hard disk. To get these two LiveCD, google for Knoppix or PCLinuxOS and download the ISO files (about 700MB) and burn them as "ISO" files with your CD burner. You will be impressed by the progress made by the GNU/Linux community in the recent years. I made about 50 copies of Knoppix (with a nice CD cover) as a Christmas gift and about 5 copies of PCLinuxOS (doesn't work with French keyboard unfortunately).

Are u?
by Anonymous on Fri 16th Jan 2004 17:23 UTC

What are you man? An MCSE? Transparency in windows? duh.