Linked by Ernesto Garbarino on Tue 27th Jul 2004 06:17 UTC
Linux First of all, we should agree on what the definition of "ready for the desktop" stands for. For some of us it refers to a graphical user interface in which applications have icons and can be launched in an intuitive manner without the need of complex commands. Even a Commodore 64 running Geos could be "ready for the desktop" by this definition, but the fact is that when we read "ready for the desktop" we understand "ready to replace Microsoft Windows".
Order by: Score:
Suggestions for Linux
by Anatte on Tue 27th Jul 2004 06:24 UTC

Linux urgently needs the following:

- More distro standards
- More compatibility between versions of kernels and libs
- Low-level graphics in the kernel, like GDI
- Unified control panel for system settings
- Unified registry for hardcore hackers, instead of text config files
- Drive letters -- D: is much easier than /mnt/cdrom, or /dev/cdrom, or /dev/hdc, or whatever your distro has
- Unified desktop -- take the best parts from KDE and GNOME and combine into one

v *sigh*
by Daniël on Tue 27th Jul 2004 06:35 UTC
v Get Ready, Get set; Go;
by BrazenRegent on Tue 27th Jul 2004 06:35 UTC
Why Linux isn't ready
by Anonymous on Tue 27th Jul 2004 06:38 UTC

a) It's a serverOS
b) Because every 2 days we keep seeing articles not code about the issue

v Oh no
by Erasmus on Tue 27th Jul 2004 06:39 UTC
Distro's should take care of this
by ChaosX2 on Tue 27th Jul 2004 06:42 UTC

Linux in general should do none of these. The Distro's themselves should do it. That way everyone is happy. Joe user buys his linux distro with full support while geeks and techies get thier Linux distro. Everyone is happy and development continues.

v who cares
by anonymous2 on Tue 27th Jul 2004 06:43 UTC
wtf?
by Basti on Tue 27th Jul 2004 06:44 UTC

sorry, but the article is crap. the greatest thing about gnu/linux is the fact that there is a bunch of apps so that i/the user can choose the application that is the best for my/his needs. gnu/linux is not windows and it will never be AND THATS GREAT. if you want to have an os that is just like windows, has the apps that windows has and has drive letters like windows has (btw mountpoints are one of the best things out there in the unix world): USE WINDOWS! i mean why do you want gnue/linux to be an os like windows if you have windows installed on every fucking pc you buy? im sure you have a copy of winxp, so nobody forces you to use gnu/linux, bsd or any os.

to Anatte: most of the things (mountpoints, config files) you itemized are great features of unix and if you dont like them www.microsoft.de.

Why Gnu/Linux ready for desktop:
by Gnu/Linux Debain user on Tue 27th Jul 2004 06:45 UTC

I use it as desktop.
My all family (that don't know what is linux or operating system) use it.

@ChaosX2
by Erasmus on Tue 27th Jul 2004 06:46 UTC

Nicely put. Each distro should limit the amount of software that the low-end user can select at setup. In a way that is already happening with the rise of GUI-driven installers.

On the subject of inter-compatibilty, there really should be some sort of standard for some of the filetypes and device drivers.

Perspective
by Anonymous on Tue 27th Jul 2004 06:50 UTC

Here's a question: is Windows 95 ready for the desktop? How does Win95 compare to one of the desktop Linux distros nowadays in terms of the categories given for desktop computers?

ready or not depending on your taste
by bahamot on Tue 27th Jul 2004 06:53 UTC

well actually it's just a matter of your taste, as Basti said above ;)
oh and btw, if you don't like it, either you:
- don't use it.
- contribute, start coding, made a change, made patches, don't just shout out loud!

v Shame, shame, shame!
by doggedblues on Tue 27th Jul 2004 06:56 UTC
v ERROR IN TITLE
by Dario on Tue 27th Jul 2004 06:57 UTC
Drive letters are evil
by Kobold on Tue 27th Jul 2004 06:57 UTC

Drive letters are good now? I think you never encountered a situation when adding a new drive into the system caused drive letters shift, temporarily breaking all the software that cared about absolute paths to stuff on the affected logical drives. This is not going to happen with /mnt/something approach. Drive letters is the antiquated DOS times hack that needs to die.

@bahamot
by Erasmus on Tue 27th Jul 2004 06:57 UTC

It's nice to see that someone still knows the spirit of Linux. In the end it all boils down to choice, but as in my previous post, limit the amount of choice that new users have. For some obscure reason they seem to cope better when choice is limited.

v I am tired and incoherent.
by Jim on Tue 27th Jul 2004 06:59 UTC
trolling article
by Tarmo hyvärinen on Tue 27th Jul 2004 07:00 UTC

Trolling article, something that shouldn't have published at all. I guess it's trolling back- time. First of all Windows is not ready for desktop. It is unstable, vurnelable, not safe, and does not have integration. Whaat? You heard right. No integration. Windows apps are very mostly from different vendors and have no integration together whatsover. Just compare to KDE and talk then about integration.

and Yes, there should be only one desktop! Goddamned, you gotta go tell immediatly to Blackbox for Windows developers to stop development!! There Can Be Only One! There's countless number of shell replacements/desktops for Windows (more than for Linux/BSD/OpenSource os'es [unix-alikes]). You should go kill those developers. Now! There cannot exist more than one desktop for Windows!

KDE has superior integration between apps over XP, way way way better. So much better I cannot even find correct words to describe it.

And Windows is not ready for desktop as long as it has 100000000 security holes, worser code than I write, unstable and so on. Ironically though, Google is suffering now because of _WINDOWS_ machines, because those have more holes than in emmental cheese.

There's something for you to think about. Windows is not ready, never been. Unix-systems are.

v Re: Erasmus
by Jim on Tue 27th Jul 2004 07:01 UTC
The author is a megalomaniac.
by drynwhyl on Tue 27th Jul 2004 07:02 UTC

When all summed up, His _only_ concern seems to be how to overthrow MS Windows from the top position.

Rather funny that the most important advice by most of these "what linux needs" apologists seems to be to cut 90% of the choice Free Softweare offers off.

Free Software systems arent a single company, single lookalike and single design integrated product. You just cant meld "choice" and "no choice tight integration" together, Free Software is just to free for such corporate like design orders.

> Standard folders such as "My Documents"must be provided

LOL.

And, additionally, I hate it when he uses "we" to describe his own preferences all the time. A "we" could be maybe fit in a "developers developers developers" speech of a CEO, but its misplaced in a free software world, in a especially free _evolving_ free software world. You just cant yoke free developers to do "the one right thing" unless you pay them to do so.

There are enough Linux based companies, Distribution developers, whou could do right so. Pay someone to "integrate", "uify" and whatever to just have a perfect sollution. But the author seems not to be ok with this, his proposal is to _forbid_ any other developer or distributor to do _anything else_, and such a attitude is just sick in my view.

His problems could be mostly solved if he concentrates on for example SuSE or Fedora, and just leave the other distributions alone. But he has a fundamental problem with diversity (anything more than he as a "Linux CEO" would permit), so his article is practically worthless for me.

Linux may not be ideal as a desktop for my grandparents, but i highly doubt they were the target audience of the devs. For me it has been a perfect desktop since i started to use it exclusively a few years ago.

consistency
by Evert on Tue 27th Jul 2004 07:02 UTC

A well written article that points out many problems. me has argued his point convincingly. I'm totally in favor of Linux / OSS, but if you want a general desktop ready linux os, you want to have consistency.

RE: Suggestions for Linux
by Wolf on Tue 27th Jul 2004 07:03 UTC

I agree with most of what you said Anatte except the two below:

- Unified registry for hardcore hackers, instead of text config files
- Drive letters -- D: is much easier than /mnt/cdrom, or /dev/cdrom, or /dev/hdc, or whatever your distro has

Registry is a pain in the a$$ to manage. It is much better to have configuration text files, but i wish Linux becomes more organized to store configuration files in a more organized way. For example, for each app, store config in etc/<app name>/<version> etc. This way, it will be damn easy to manage your config.

Drive letters - EVIL EVIL go away. You can have only 26. Programming using drive letters is a pain. I hate that in windows there is no root from where i can enumerate everything. Its good the linux doesn't have drive letter and i pray to god, they never do.

v trolling article
by Tarmo hyvärinen on Tue 27th Jul 2004 07:04 UTC
v Re: Tarmo hyvärinen
by Jim on Tue 27th Jul 2004 07:05 UTC
v offtopic
by Tarmo hyvärinen on Tue 27th Jul 2004 07:06 UTC
v Let us join hands and sing
by Jim on Tue 27th Jul 2004 07:08 UTC
I don't know how many times it has to be said.
by Gent on Tue 27th Jul 2004 07:11 UTC

The slowness of X has little if nothing to do with it's network transparency. Locally X will use Unix Domain Sockets. These sockets are local to the system only and are very fast, they are purposely put in place as a means of process communication and thus are used as one by the X Server so that it's clients may access it.

Theoretically (although I do realize sometimes things change and do affect the ability for binary compatibility) you should have no issues with binary compatibility until major version numbers change. At least this is supposed to be the model which is in place. I've tried a number of binary applications in the past, for example, realplayer 8, which work just the same across many kernel versions. Let's also note that this isn't a problem in windows because you only get what kernel microsoft gives you -- and they make it a point to keep in parts to make things backwards compatible, this accounts for much of the bloat. Although, even microsoft has broken this in many stages. I can recall a number of applications that are not "suited" for Windows XP, and will not run on Windows XP but will run fine on Windows 9x.

One of the first things I tend to do with a Windows desktop system (if I happen to have to deal with one) is change it's desktop 100%. I either try to find a decent replacement shell or hack it until it's not recognizable. The reasoning for this is simple... the desktop itself does not dictate ease of use. Apple and Windows have slightly similar but still differing "desktops" yet I've had no problems using Macs if need be -- and there are a number of other PC users who don't have such issues either. If by desktop you mean the varying amount of applications which are included in these so called "desktops" -- these are applications which are often times non-existent with Windows to begin with. For example, Gnome's GAIM vs. KDE's Kopete, you can argue that MSN messenger comes with windows, but that is not an all out solution for IM needs unless you use only MSN. The problem isn't that we need a unified desktop, the problem is getting distros to cut the number of options available (which other commenters have already said). Gnome has shown on many levels (I can't speak for KDE as I don't use it) that application integration can be done at a desktop level and that a centralized configuration DB (so to speak) can exist and be useful. The trick is simply for users to settle on one environment and for that environment to be perfected.

With all that said. When Gnome and/or KDE are fully capable (which I would argue they both already are), when X is given better support from graphics hardware venders for complete drivers with full 2D and 3D acceleration, and when people who write articles like this are willing to see the true problems and help fix them, THEN Linux will be ready for the desktop.

Given these things it mostly lies in the hands of the rest of the computer industry, not Linux developers hands. X.org needs support from venders -- the software is already on it's way to having more advanced extensions that people won't be seeing in Windows until Longhorn. Thus only Hardware remains. And as I've already said, it's easily arguable that Gnome/KDE are ready. As far as the theories of binary distribution, it's simply a matter of software companies being able to keep up with OSS development. The fact is, the only time you're losing binary compatibility is if an API at some level kernel or library is changed, which once again, usually isn't until major version changes, otherwise it may be done prior, but only with good reason; it should be the responsibility of binary software vendors to keep their products up to date with the recent changes in whatever APIs their using.

Linux's greatest strength is its greatest weakness
by Calroth on Tue 27th Jul 2004 07:12 UTC

Linux's greatest strength is its greatest weakness. It is, anybody can contribute to it and make decisions and take it where they want it to.

It's a strength because it empowers the user. That's what free software is all about.

It's a weakness because products need strong guidance. Certain parts of a Linux system do (e.g. the kernel). But other parts don't. You will never unify GNOME and KDE, because there are too many people who disagree with it, and nobody to put their foot down and say "It will be so". The same with kernel-level graphics - too many people like X Windows. The same with binary compatibility...

For an example of a product with strong guidance and cohesiveness, look at Mac OS X.

Nicely put
by Jalle on Tue 27th Jul 2004 07:13 UTC

I agree with some of the stuff the author wrote, but not all.
I (and many with me, apparently) hate the concept of drive letters, and I hope they burn in hell when MS finally abandon them!
The "My Documents" folder is dreadful, and I hate that one just as much as the drive letters! Don't tell me where to put my documents, I want my home directory, and this is where I put all the stuff I want.
If you think my parents/grandparents/other relatives/neighbors/other friends would manage to keep their computers running without having me (or someone as nerdy as me) around to call when things go wrong... be it Windows or KDE, they won't manage! =o)
Some of the other statements point out some nice stuff though. But maybe, just maybe, Linux is supposed to be the toy and joy of all the hobby hackers out there?
But I too would like to give my anarchy spirit a boost by seeing more than a few million people switch to Linux!

Sigh
by Tobbe303 on Tue 27th Jul 2004 07:14 UTC

This is a bit off topic but I'm so tired of seeing the "Hey, you can't COMPLAIN if you can't submit PATCHES to FIX the problem!" ("We're just seeing articles about the problems - not code!")

What kind of desktop environment would we have on the different operating systems out there today if they were all made by coders?

Ah yes, they'd be very, very ugly and horrifying and unusable to just about everyone who's not a coder since it seems that people who get ninja-coding-skills almost always get crap-ass-design/color/interface-skills.

("What do you mean? Red text on green background works very, very well! It does!").

Please let people criticize the various software out there, software isn't written by coders for coders, it's written by coders for users, including other coders.

This will happen soon, IHMO.
by clausi on Tue 27th Jul 2004 07:17 UTC

Nice article. I'm sure most of these things will happen as a result of more Linux employments in businesses. It looks like the number of distributions that companies take seriously into consideration is already down on 3 or 4.

Depending on ones personal point of view, think Novell, RedHat, and maybe Debian or Sun. Since America is still the biggest software market in the western world, an agreement on a certain set of standarts will rule the rest.

And unlike a private hacker who can abandon his project one day to the other, they will stay commited to their users.

Uh-huh
by Sam on Tue 27th Jul 2004 07:18 UTC

So you want to turn GNU/Linux into Windows. You're welcome to make your own distribution, alltho I think it won't be very popular.
[rant]
BTW, all that talk about what Linux is (the kernel) and you don't mention GNU? You talk about libraries, applications, configuration files and *still* call all those things *Linux* ? You made it pretty clear that Linux is only the kernel, so why whine about *Linux* not being ready for "desktop"? XFree86 and GNOME/KDE/whateverDE and whateverAPP is not *Linux*. Most of them run/are included in *BSD/commercialUnix[XYZ] too. Why not whine about those systems instead/as well?
[/rant]

Re: Linux's greatest strength is its greatest weakness
by Jim on Tue 27th Jul 2004 07:24 UTC

Thank you for making the only point that was worth my time to read, and you are correct. Linux is its own worst enemy for that reason.

For as often as people seem to cover this topic, rarely do they seem to ever be able to put a finger on the real issues.

Because there is no central control, the biggest challenges that face Linux today will still be around 8 and 10 years from now.

v Hey Jimbo
by doggedblues on Tue 27th Jul 2004 07:28 UTC
Same procedure as every year
by Jan on Tue 27th Jul 2004 07:33 UTC

Every month or so we hear about the desktop readiness of Linux. But what is the desktop? Some people only surf the internet, write e-mail and some letters, others use it as an environment for graphics or programming. This is a wide range. Every user requires another desktop. My brother plays games, so he´s stuck with windows, my parents use Linux, because everything they want to do is there. And they don´t mind if an apllication starts a little bit faster or slower. 1 or 2 seconds faster on startup means nothing to them, they wouldn´t even notice. But a programmer or a 3D-artist would mind. So Linux would be ready for some people when others won´t even think about it.

Sure, there is a lot to do, but even in 10 years there will be much to do. I bet you will never catch a single day in Linux history where developers and users say it is "finished".

Good article.
by Shane on Tue 27th Jul 2004 07:37 UTC

A very coherent article. Some good points in there. Maybe some of the linux fanboys could stop for a momment and actually read the article carefully and see beyond the title that seems to rile them so much. There are some good points to ponder. Don't throw out the whole article out of hand.

The "Foundation Operating System" looks like what the BSD's do, and they have benefited from it by gaining consistency. The "Program Files" folder idea can easily be standardized once you have the FOS (then you would know what is part of the base operating system, and what is external to it. A useful distinction). FreeBSD installs programs in different directories depending on whether the programs are GUI or command line. Makes sense if you consider that there are two major ways of using the system: as a server or as a desktop. If the community standardizes on the above, one would be able to use any distro in the same way from the command line. However, I doubt that this will ever happen. Politics will probably be a major stumbling block.

Binary longevity is a very good argument.

I'm not a big fan of having only one DE, but I can see the author's point.

Overall a thought-provoking article.

RE: Drive letters are evil
by HoBa on Tue 27th Jul 2004 07:39 UTC

Yes, even MS will drop drive letters with future windows version (AFAIK with longhorn)

not "ready because...
by PdC on Tue 27th Jul 2004 07:41 UTC


- because there is no default strategy.
- because video drivers arent that willing to cooperate.
- because you need staples, elastic band and ducktape and glue to put all things together so it will look complete from a far distance.
- because there are so many frameworks; xul, qt, gtk, motif. a programmer shouldnt have to worry about that too much, but now he must make sure it works under all kinds of x and wm implementations. so openoffice or mozilla use theirs own and it takes precious memory for only that application.
- because posix is outdated. modern system components have much more functions and capabilities than posix can handle.
- because you need to recompilethe kernel again and again for adding hardware support/drivers.
- because linux is highly experimental, as is mswindows; but postponing/delaying release dates for software may look as if it is without errors.

apps apps apps!
by mabhatter on Tue 27th Jul 2004 07:42 UTC

The real problem with linux distros right now are applications and integration! All of the programatic things are there...often better than MS windows, but they don't play TOGETHER!

I've been a spoiled Knoppix fan for about a year and a half now, so I decided to revisit Suse so I could pimp it for work...bad move! The basics just take too much work out of the box. sure it's all there, but what "just works" in a hobby distro like Knoppix is like pulling teeth in Suse. more than that, there's little option for "just downloading" something off the net without spending an hour trackign dependancies & compiling. That's the joy-killer of the whole thing. Right now it your way or the Highway...you either go it your own with Debian or Gentoo, or you "take it and like it" with the boxed installs. Debian can be just what you want latest and greatest, but you almost always have to do minor programming to get it working...Suse will be fairly stable and trouble free out of the box but don't expect to download new stuff without loosing all your support.

Reality lies in the middle. Most important linux "apps" are CLI anyway [apache, samba, drivers, etc] so desktop isn't really an issue, that leaves the handful of "core" apps like openoffice.org, mozilla, konquer, and gimp that are tied too much to one gadget set and don't play nice between apps to deal with. Choice is a key part of linux, I'd never advocate taking that away, but we need to simplify the combinations to prevent needing three gadget sets, Desktop environments, etc. There needs to be more effort in stabilizing popular linux...United Linux was a nice try, but nobody non-comercial accepted it, just like few commercial distros support apt-get properly.

The success of OSS is directly tied to being able to solve this problem. Creating a world of software components that are forward/backward compatible, as well as interchangable & interoperable with other OSS & comercial packages. It's not an easy problem, but it's several orders of maginatude tougher problem than any commercial software company has to solve!

Looking at it backwards
by Bruno the Arrogant on Tue 27th Jul 2004 07:47 UTC

Actually, I'd say Linux is already spectacularly successful on the desktop.

To compare Linux to Windows is to compare it to the exceptional case, not the typical case. How does the install base of Linux compare with, say, OS X, or Solaris, or VMS, or BeOS or Commodore 64? You're talking about an installed base in the millions (and growing rapidly), plus it has an extremely rich repertoire of applications. No other Unix-like OS has enjoyed anything close to the success Linux has had.

Perhaps Linux will eventually have an presence comparable to Windows. Perhaps not. It doesn't really matter as long as it has a dynamic community of users and a vital ecosystem supporting it. It doesn't have to be the most popular OS in the world to be useful and successful.

@mabhatter
by doggedblues on Tue 27th Jul 2004 07:48 UTC

Mandrake is what you are looking for. Easiest distribution to install with the largest software repository besides Debian.

Download Mandrake 10 and install it.

Then after installation, do a search for easy urpmi on google and add the plf and contrib repositories. You will have so much software in your hands, you will not know what to do with it and everything works out of the box.

The only thing you will need to do is:

urpmi libdvdcss

urpmi mplayer-gui

Put an empty CD-R in the drive and K3b starts. Put a DVD and Totem begins playing.

To update the system do:

urpmi.update -a

And then:

urpmi --upate auto-select

The only thing that isn't upgraded automatically is the kernel, which is good. To update your kernel:

urpmi --update kernel

Mandrake 10 *Official* is fast, very customizable and incredibly stable and it installs in less than 20 minutes. I guarantee that you will love it.

Ps: By the way, get yourself the Noia icons for KDE from the plf repository above. You will like those.

v Why bother ?
by Marauder1 on Tue 27th Jul 2004 07:50 UTC
The choice is already there
by hanul@gmx.de on Tue 27th Jul 2004 07:51 UTC

Why are so many people unhappy with the way Linux is delivered? There are so many choices, there is so much freedom. We already have to very capable operating systems for the desktop: Windows XP and MacOS X. Many application vendors struggle to get their applications compatible with both operating systems and most do not even think about Mac versions. If you want compatability with nearly everything, buy Windows, if you want a relatively secure, UNIX-based desktop, buy Mac. And do not think, a "unified" Linux distribution will be free (as in beer).

Why change Linux into a Windows clone? The suggestions from all "Linux should be ready for the desktop" articles are in the end nothing more than stripped down Linux distributions without choice. That is not a new option for the desktop. The way we have Linux NOW is the new option.

Why push down Linux on users, who are "happy" with the systems, because they do what the users want? I think, these articles point to something: the authors want to win a war. The Linux underdog should win the fight against the Windows bully. But this is not a teenage drama, but a technology quest. And the way we have it now is the new and better way.

Re: Good article (@shane)
by drynwhyl on Tue 27th Jul 2004 07:52 UTC

If the community standardizes on the above, one would be able to use any distro in the same way from the command line.

A Community can only standardize on something _everybody_ agrees with. You cant force anyone to standardize on something if the only goal is to act complete and integrated towards businesses. There will always be some distro that does things differently, and you cant stop or you cant want to stop that.

However, I doubt that this will ever happen. Politics will probably be a major stumbling block.

Forcing standards on free evolving software, that would be politics, not developing freely, and as you like. Many people would like to see linux as a single "product" they could compete with other systems. But it just isnt. A single distribution might be, but you cant stop the rest from doing something else.

Linux as a unique "product" would have this problem of chaotic diversity, but as linux (free software) _isnt_ a single integrated product, but a diverse developng community, you cant count this as a problem. They dont have a problem, but a choice. Everybody who cant make a choice for himself, should pay companies to make this choice for him, and deliver a product.

good article
by Dimble on Tue 27th Jul 2004 07:55 UTC

i particularly liked the binary-longevity argument. [/SUSE9.1 n00b]

Linux Ready? But of Course!
by Peter Besenbruch on Tue 27th Jul 2004 07:56 UTC

My daughter has a friend over visiting. She wondered why all that text scrolled by when the system booted. I pointed out that if something went wrong, you could capture that and see what was happening.

I subscribe to a few lists; I suspect most of us do. A lot of advice involves looking at this start-up text. Perhaps some poor soul writes that KDE or Gnome won't run. One won't start, but the other one will. For me, IceWM is my fall back if something happens and I need to get work done.

Some comments on Anatte:

Based on my comments above, I vote against low level graphics in the kernel. After using Linux for a while, I like being able to use alternate desktop environments. I also like a powerful console.

I'm not sure what "distro standards" are. Perhaps it would be nice if a Suse RPM would run on a Mandrake system, but I don't give RPM based systems much attention, as I run a Debian based one. That centralized repository is a marvel. And if you want to install "outside" software, so far software like Open Office, Mozilla, Textmaker, Turboprint, and Vuescan have installed effortlessly.

I haven't heard of any negative interactions between the kernel and key libraries. Libraries do change, and make old software incompatible. Perhaps the best example I can think of is Word Perfect, which cannot run on a modern Linux system. My distro, Libranet, lets you install the old libraries along side the new if you need them. I should add that a repository based system tends to minimize these problems.

Most Linux users don't like the Registry as Microsoft has enabled it. Complaints about the registry range from excessive fragility, to being too complex. Having done my share of chasing viruses and spyware, to "uninstalling" software that refused to do so, I can say I am heartily sick of the registry. It's too easy for programs to hide in there. When I think of the Registry, I think of Cool Web Search.

As for drive letters, they work. The Linux way makes sense too. Anatte doesn't seem to know the difference between "/dev/cdrom" and "/mnt/cdrom," but I'm sure he or she will learn eventually.

As for the "unified desktop," sure, I agree, as long as it looks and acts like KDE. ;)

Comments on the article:

I think it would be nice if Linux had a multimedia encyclopedia, but it doesn't. Newer encyclopedias for Windows tend not to run under Windows 95 any more. Encyclopedias that ran under 95 and 98, sometimes bork under 2000. Games are even more of a problem, with incompatibilities between versions of Windows, and Direct X. Backward compatibility is nice, but never perfect, regardless of operating system.

When it comes to desktop performance, I live in a somewhat different reality from the author of the article. Windows 98 is fast on modern hardware; 2000 somewhat nimble, and XP slower, but acceptable on faster equipment. When I first ran KDE under Suse 7.3, it was slow. KDE speeded up considerably with version 3.1, and got faster still with 3.2. People report early versions of 3.3 are faster still. I like the trend. As I said before, combining KDE and Gnome is fine, as long as the result is KDE. ;)

Finally, I would encourage the author to take a look at Debian's package management. The Debian system is by far the easiest to maintain, easier than Windows, and far easier than RPM based systems. While it may be clear on a Mac, file locations on Windows are anything but. With Debian (and if memory serves, on an RPM system) the package manager tells you where the files are. I love the clarity and openness of such a system.

v Re: The choice is already there
by drynwhyl on Tue 27th Jul 2004 08:04 UTC
What a "Desktop" means today
by Lorenzo on Tue 27th Jul 2004 08:06 UTC

I think that the main problem is one of semantics: what's the meaning of "Desktop"?
For many Linux users,a desktop is something like Gnome/KDE, extremely configurable, sitting on top of a totally configurable underlying environment made up of small bits interoperating; when they say Desktop they say "Unix interpretation of a Desktop concept".
But the vast majority believes a desktop to be Windows, thus, a system that hides technical aspects and tries (apparently, I agree) to make *everything* simple for the user.
Joe user can see that "I plug in the camera, it works".
I want to install software, I double click, and a new section shows up in the Programs taskbar; I want to burn a Cd, I simply do it, no need to know "permissions"...
Windows hides almost everything; the result is that things *work*; when they don't, then you'd better get ready for serious trouble though.
In Linux, things aren't hidden, thus, still today, to accomplish even easy tasks you need thorough knowledge of the underlying system; if something breaks, at least one knows or can figure out what it is.
This is what all the apologists try to defend: predictability, configurability, sheer power in the hands of "geeks".

Well, I, and billions people are no geeks; we want our work to be done easily; Linux is a terrific instrument, and it *can* get easy as Windows *with* the underlying power of Linux.
Why loads of technical heads do complain and cry about "Leave it as it is", or "It's a server os"?

Then, I think that the "dream" OS you are describing is MacOS ;)

Using a Unix-kernel (Darwin, based on BSD), having completely rewritten the windowing server, and having written GUIs for every command line tools (ping, lookup, etc).

------------

"Every time you provide an option, you're asking the user to make a decision.

Asking the user to make a decision isn't in itself a bad thing. Freedom of choice can be wonderful. People love to order espresso-based beverages at Starbucks because they get to make so many choices. Grande-half-caf-skim-mocha-Valencia-with-whip. Extra hot!

The problem comes when you ask them to make a choice that they don't care about."

http://www.joelonsoftware.com/uibook/chapters/fog0000000059.html

Logic
by dumbkiwi on Tue 27th Jul 2004 08:14 UTC

I haven't read the other comments on this article, so I don't know if anyone else has picked this up, but the logic of this argument is laughable. Here it is.

Define term: Ready for the Desktop == Identical to Windows.

Linux is not identical Windows.

Therefore, Linux is not ready for the Desktop.

A logically sound argument. However, the premise is so questionable it is laughable. There is absolutely no analysis of the premise. If I can prove that there is an operating system that is not identical to Windows, but most people would consider it ready for the desktop, do I win the argument? Cos if that's the case I've got 3 letters for you: OSX.

This is the worst article that I have read on osnews (sorry Eugenia, but this is just appauling). The only redeeming feature of this article is its comic value.

Matt

Really good
by Bud on Tue 27th Jul 2004 08:15 UTC

This one made my day.I can work now:
[...]but X is much more of a Mask for the command line based Linux distribution than Windows 95 for MS-DOS

well written, though I disagree with many of the points
by Mephisto on Tue 27th Jul 2004 08:16 UTC

Well point in fact I disagree with almost all of them, but it is an opinion peice and every on is entitled thier opinion. I do agree that Linux is not ready as a generic desktop, though in a controlled corporate environ it is closer than for a random user. But why does Linux need to match Windows features to be a usable desktop? Bad argument there.

1. First getPixel() call is not more expensive. This is a tired variation of the X is slow because it's a network protocol. I would expect an experienced programmer to know better thatn that BS. What sits on top of X may or may not be efficient, but the raw display protocol is no inefficient.

2. What kind of LCD do you have that won't run a 80x25 text console? I have never even heard of that problem, much less experienced it. Also let me get this straight. You are saying that it is harder to get to the command line in Linux than Windows? Can you name a single Linux Desktop that does not have a term program in it's menu?

3. Sun's Java will install on almost any Linux distro without complaint. I would say any, but there might be one or two out there that will have problems.

4, While I agree that it is annoying Oracle/DB2 and some other apps only deploy on certain Distros, why would you put an Oracle server on a desktop?

5. Foundation Operating system: Choose a distro and don't go to things that are not compiled for it. This is no different from using Windows and using only software compiled for it. For the binary longevity point go with RHEL or Tao Linux then, which has a long lifecyle. Linux gives you a lot of choices and many of them are not compatible, but you are not forced to use the variety of apps. Choose you set of apps and be done with it.

I could go on but I go to leave. Like I said well written article I just don't agree with your "solutions" or for that matter where the problem lies.

I do have a question though...
by Bud on Tue 27th Jul 2004 08:19 UTC

Is Slackware Linux an operating system?I am just curious,don't kick me,seriously.For MacOS,and MSWin, I understand,but I thought Slack,MDK,SUSE are just distibutions.

Re: What a "Desktop" means today
by drynwhyl on Tue 27th Jul 2004 08:19 UTC

Why loads of technical heads do complain and cry about "Leave it as it is", or "It's a server os"?

Because not a few of the "linux mass desktop" apologists would change funcamental concepts and behaviour of the current Free systems, just to win Joe User over from windows. Or because many of them dont want to pay for windows, although they like windows better then the current free systems.

It is a similar reflex when someone is about to force you to use windows or a linux based windows clone, as you would observe when somebody would force windows on a hardcore unix geek.

Oh no
by Fred on Tue 27th Jul 2004 08:20 UTC

Not another one!

Editors, please put a stop on all these selfproclaimed experts, all spewing out the same old, same old. We're technically capable people, this kind of repetition and rehashing of the same points over and over again is more likely to bore us than to make us see whatever point these articles are trying to make.

On a side note, I think I'll drop yet another "news" site off my daily reading list. There used to be a time when OSNews was reporting on news from the OS community. Interresting artcicles are few and far between nowadays, the editors seem to have been lost in application software, and (sponsored?) product announcements. Do I care about the Beta if SQL Server 2005 being out? Maybe, but I have other sources to learn about it! Stick to the topic, people!

Wait...
by Bud on Tue 27th Jul 2004 08:21 UTC

This is the worst article that I have read on osnews (sorry Eugenia, but this is just appauling). The only redeeming feature of this article is its comic value.

reading the article once more,I begin to think that was intended to be comic.

RE:Logic
by Lorenzo on Tue 27th Jul 2004 08:22 UTC

Sorry, but I think that the "Ready for the Desktop == Identical to Windows." *is* true.
If you're playing logic, How many MacOSX users do exist?
Then go a bit further: How many Windows users do exist? (it doesn't matter wether they chose it, it was imposed by the company they work for, or they simply believe there's no alternative: they are simply into a paradigm).
Then, for the *huge* majority, Windows==Desktop is true, almost a tautology.

This is the *reality*, laughable or not, it's not laughing it's gonna get changed.
And, as a consequence, Linux is not ready for the Desktop *still* is true, because Linux is not ready for the Desktop people are expecting.
People is important, not the OS.

And, regarding OSX, well, don't even mention it before me, or you'll make me cry... didn't have enough buck to buy a Mac laptop (and I was drooling for a PBook so much...) :-)

Re: What a "Desktop" means today
by drynwhyl on Tue 27th Jul 2004 08:22 UTC

It is a similar reflex when someone is about to force you to use windows or a linux based windows clone, as you would observe when somebody would force windows on a hardcore unix geek.

I meant, it is the same as you would observe when you would force unix on a average windows user.

Not a bad article. Just ill-informed here and there (1)
by dpi on Tue 27th Jul 2004 08:28 UTC

Remember it is an opinion and opinions differ. Facts don't.

First of all, i'd like to comment that debunking generalizions to make the term less general is a good thing. You do this with the popular definition of "Linux" and the popular definition of "Linux is not ready for the desktop".

First of all, we should agree on what the definition of "ready for the desktop" stands for. For some of us it refers to a graphical user interface in which applications have icons and can be launched in an intuitive manner without the need of complex commands. Even a Commodore 64 running Geos could be "ready for the desktop" by this definition, but the fact is that when we read "ready for the desktop" we understand "ready to replace Microsoft Windows".

That's your fact, not everyones. IOW: it doesn't count for everyone. More important, it depends on who is administrating the system(s), what are the aims, what should the users be able to do, compatibility, how much time is available, etc. Such factors are important for people to decide wether they find a certain Linux distribution ready for the desktop, or not. As Digital UNIX user, you might know how the various Unices were Good Enough in commercial environments even though they had DEs like CDE or WMs like 4DWM. It is because they did and do the job.

Your whole opinion _seems_ to be armed majorly at home users. However, Oracle not running on the home user desktop called Lindows is not a big deal, is it? You see, if you want to state an opinion like this, you need to make a decision which you asserted partly earlier: "not ready for _who_ and for _what_purpose_?"

[..] Unified DE's [..]

I (partly) agree, and there are projects existing which are trying to create compatibility between all the DE's. So far, lots of DE's and WM's are adopting these standards including the 2 major DE players KDE and GNOME. The project is called Freedesktop.org and you could have named it as counter-argument as it is important.

I don't agree on your car anology, because when you have a drivers license the way a car works differs still. No car is exactly the very same, and you'll need to adopt to the car.

Also, in a corporate environment (where most commercial Linux distributions aim at) you'll just get one DE and the user will never meet the other one. Unless you decide to chose for another one. In such case, again, uniformity could be important between apps and toolkits. For example toolkits should -imo- have themes which make them look like the other toolkit, or like the theme which is used so that they're less distinguishable from a non-standard DE app. There are currently 2 standard DE's in the prof. Linux distribution world: KDE and GNOME. Because of this there won't be one TK and one DE and this is no great problem when the user is shown only one option. (Wether that option is the best option is, as you put it, a whole different OT discussion.)

Bundling the latest toolkit library even statically compiled is not a necessarily a bad thing.

The _applications_, yes. This happens with commercial QT software already frequently. I agree a static build, besides one or various dynamic ones and/or source is not necessarily a Bad Thing, but when the more beautiful approach is a suitable one that one should be recommended.

The Linux desktop must get low-level graphic integration as soon as possible. There are some projects on the matter but half of the developers consider it not worth the price.

Which projects? Why not name them?

"Mainstream applications" or "Applications should not be ported to MS Windows"

There is some software available which only runs on Linux or Linux/x86 and is proprietary. However, software which is open source, can easily be ran on different architectures. Some developers don't like this, see http://www.fefe.de/nowindows/ (fefe.de also hosts some Linux-only software). There is nothing much we can do about this, except using proprietary software and/or using a restrictive license which limits other people's freedom.

The price vs quality && freedom points which are pro Linux (leave them up to your imagination) still stand though. IMO, more proprietary applications from the various proprietary worlds are the key.

Choice
by Cody on Tue 27th Jul 2004 08:29 UTC

Everyone, we need to just sit back, and relax. The "power-user" can have his Slackware. The thing that make Linux great, is that it is always changing. In 5 years, there will be a clear winner in the desktop linux market, and this will not be an issue anymore. But Linux is never going to be Windows, because it is not Windows. Just like Mac OS is never going to be Windows. Each have there own strength and weaknesses. It is like VI vs Emacs or Threaded Replies vs No Threads. No clear winner. No reason to argure. Chill.

This article is 110% wrong and trolling.
by Anonymous on Tue 27th Jul 2004 08:29 UTC

I say this as someone who knows Linux and Windows thougrougly from the inside out. First of all Windows isn't ready by the standards of trolling in the article. I will now debunk his trolling piece by piece, and you will KNOW that euginia only posted this did it for the ad revenue and that she didn't have any real news to post.

First of all Winodws binary compatiblity is bad. I have tried to run someo of my old Windows 98 software on XP and it either crashes, get a "operating system not supported" message, despite fiddling around with "compatibility" modes, its much easier to support.

ELF is very standardized, and you can even run Linux applications on BSD. Just plonk the old libararies in, they are version numbered. I have ran Linux applications from around 1995 on my 2004 Debian workstation.

He claims that most hardware support is written by people in their free time. Big give away that he is trolling here. This is not 1991 anymore, big corporations such as IBM, Nvidia, Intel and more are contributing drivers to Linux. You only need to look at the kernel changelogs to see that.

KDE and GNOME are both good desktop environments and are good both stand alone. Freedesktop.org standards have bent over backwards to standardize them, to the point where I can drag and drop a file from Konqueror into nautilus!

As for configuration files, they have been standardized by KDE and GNOME. Even as a programmer, you don't even touch them, you use the intuitive APIs. Older legacy UNIX file formats have been frozen and are well editable by long standardized by tools. Tools like YaST, Mandrake Control Center and others make sure you NEVER have to play with config files.

XFree86 is NOT slow, this has been done to death and the ghost even got killed. I'm not even going to touch that troll.

Again, KDE and GNOME are standardized. Since Crossover office was released you CAN run stuff like Cubase and Photosop under Linux, even Disney uses it. If it is good enough for them, its good enough for you.

If this guy had chosen Linspire (Formally known as Lindows), Xandros, Mandrake or even Debian installed via Knoppix he would of never written this troll. EUGEINA PLEASE STOP POSTING OBVIOUS FLAMEBAIT! PLEASE POST SOMETHING ORIGINAL.

If this was posted back in 1999, it would have a point, but this IS A TOTAL TROLL BASED ON IGNORANCE AND MISCONCEPTIONS.

http://www.xandros.com/products/home/desktopoc/dsk_oc_intro.html

Get the free copy of Xandros Open Circulation edition, you will soon see why this guy is trolling.

Not a bad article. Just ill-informed here and there (2)
by dpi on Tue 27th Jul 2004 08:29 UTC

We want to develop for the big public not just for other freaks like us.

No, that's not what everyone wants or aims at, as i asserted earlier.

a) A Foundation Operating System

People who prefer this might prefer One Distribution or a BSD better. But ehm, what you are ehm wishing for is impossible with things like ehm.. Vi, Vim, Joe, Emacs, Nano and Bash, Ksh, Tcsh and more of those things people don't really have one best preference of. It is the nature of choice and providing choice when different philosophies and architectures are provided. I don't see that going away any time soon, but my observation is most new users prefer Bash and Nano -- at least when they begin.

Breaking binaries is a bad thing and it's hard to find an excuse to justify it.

It isn't a bad thing by definition. Quality improvement is a Good Thing, and some of your proposals are most definitely going to break compatibility. If it is your opinion that it is good for the cause, then it is in the end when everything is weighted a good thing (but not perfect).

This is mostly up to distributors but when not all agree we got that catch 22 with the Oracle problem you stated earlier: that software for distribution X doesn't work for doesn't work for distribution Y.

We see this very same problem in society itself: when fundements in an hierarchy overcome a huge (but according to the rulers, a needed one) then the status quo changes as well. While at first time, negative implications are clearly shown the decision-makers believe it is ultimately a Good Thing for the Greater Cause. Examples: Company fires a huge percentage of people in an attempt to become profitable again. USA invades Iraq to turn a dictatorship in a democracy, but many people live in danger or in a dangerous environment and many people die. War in general is an example of this. The industrial revolution is one. The migration from MS Windows to MacOSX or a Linux distribution is one. And there are so many, many more examples.

Ofcourse methods exist to make the change less painful but they differ per problem. Maybe the changes which happen could have made better use of the tranquilizers. But i don't know any in depth example or logic on this applied on the subject we discuss.

Drivers should be properly register in a given category (graphics, disc, etc). [...]

I agree! Project Utopia (UDEV/HAL/DBUS) tries to achieve this. Check out Robert Love's project! It'll probably be part of GNOME 2.8 and also 2.7 DRs. You could have included this as counter-example. Regarding NVidia and ABI's, see my previos paragraph.

I don't know whether it should be KDE, Gnome or something else, but it must be only one. [...]

See above. Regarding the survival of struggest: that has become better since there are only 2 major players currently: GNOME and KDE. This was worse in the years before these existed.

As for copnfiguration: consistency is in /etc. But except similar syntax here and there that's where it ends. A GUI/CLI application could convert such syntax to XML or whatever, and then convert that to CLI, Ncurses or GUI with some TK. The application adopts itself according to the config file. Such examples are basically raising user-friendliness as much as a dialog: "What shell do you want (if you can't decide, we recommend Bash."

Applications should be packaged using a standard installer based on some sort of user-friendly script system.

I agree such is a good _alternative_ for less tech savant people. Autopackage tries to solve this problem, among other projects like Zero-install. You could have pointed these out as counter-example.

Finally i disagree partly with your end-conclusion but that's irrelevant. Regarding my subject, i said ill-informed because you did not appeared to know my counter-examples while they are (IMO) relatively known, relevant to the subject and interesting. They're even discussed on this website! Leaving that aside, i think you put up quite a nice ball. I hope you'll polish it more here and there especially on some facts i stated and i hope it'll be more read after that has been done. Some URLs to various projects or interesting related documents would also make this opinion better IMO.

@Lorenzo
by dumbkiwi on Tue 27th Jul 2004 08:34 UTC

You just proved my point. You think OSX is ready for the desktop, as does anyone who sees it. Therefore, the premise is flawed, and the argument fails.

The article does not resort to popularity as the measure of readiness, as he probably sees the flaw in that analysis. The argument that he ran is that readiness is a function of features (albeit an identical feature set to Windows), not a function of popularity. What is the point of analysing readiness based on popularity? It takes you nowhere. Windows is popular, therefore it's ready. Linux is not popular, therefore it's not ready. Have we learnt anything? No.

C: versus /mnt
by dpi on Tue 27th Jul 2004 08:37 UTC

"- Drive letters -- D: is much easier than /mnt/cdrom, or /dev/cdrom, or /dev/hdc, or whatever your distro has"

I disagree -- D: says nothing about the device itself while. Under the UNIX approach the device and mountpoint OTOH are descriptive themselves. When i use some GUI application like Statbar or My Computer to show how full what devices are it might say: C: is a harddisk (by symbol) and it is 10 GB big with 5 GB being used while D: is a harddisk (by symbol) which is 20 GB big and 5 GB being used. The symbol tells the user something here, while on UNIX it is the mountpoint, the device, and the symbol in the DE/WM. What if that symbol wasn't there? I as clueless person wouldn't know E: is the CDROM of 650 MB. I actually thought that was my harddrive and no symbol told me otherwise. The UNIX way also allows more configurability and more versatility. From a uniformity point of view the Windows approach is not the holy grail either except that A:, B:, C: and D: (A drive, B drive, Harddisk and CDROM) are mostly uniform. But this is not by definition and is a lil' bit configurable.

again and again ...
by Anonymous on Tue 27th Jul 2004 08:41 UTC

1996 : Linux is just suitable for students.
1998 : Linux is just suitable for students & providers
2000 : Linux is just suitable for students, providers and corporatate servers.
2003 : Linux is just suitable for students, providers, corporate servers & custom workstations.

It will happen, that you like it or not !


@ PdC
by dpi on Tue 27th Jul 2004 08:50 UTC

"- because you need to recompilethe kernel again and again for adding hardware support/drivers."

You could just upgrade to a newer, precompiled and modular kernel. In 2.6, you can just recompile and load a module, or load a module. Stuff like Hotplug does the latter automagically, but Project Utopia will make it more flawless. as for ATI/NVidia and similar proprietary modules: catch-22, eh?

lol
by lol on Tue 27th Jul 2004 08:53 UTC

NALIRFTDA

Not Another Linux Isn't Ready For The Desktop Article

v Why Linux isn't ready for the desktop...
by Anonymous on Tue 27th Jul 2004 08:58 UTC
it cheered me up !
by raver31 on Tue 27th Jul 2004 08:58 UTC

This article, and the countless others exactly like it, all cheer me up no end.
See, the thing is, that all these articles are written by people who love Windows and look towards Linux as a replacement. They can never get things to work the way the are used to and never look for the remidies........

BUT

At least they are looking to Linux. So deep down, they are not totally happy with Windows for some reason or other.

The point is that they are looking and giving it a try.. It will not be long before we get them to the darkside.

BTW doggedblues - I agree totally with you on Mandrake 10, I tried that and finally have plucked up the balls to remove XP from my dual boot set up. Nice one Mandrakesoft.

Why I disagree with this article
by dmd on Tue 27th Jul 2004 09:03 UTC

Mandrake is desktop ready. It's easier to install than windows, fast and comes with packages that are tailored to the use you're going to give it. Mandrake is not alone in this. I don't believe that it's necessary to cull window managers down to one "winner". Similarly, I do not believe it is necessary to rid the community of its wealth of applications.

I believe there is one thing holding back an explosion in linux usage, and the author was absolutely right in identifying it: X. X is a slow, buggy piece of crap. If (when?) x gets replaced, I feel confident that these kinds of articles will gradually disappear in favor of pro-linux rants

Oh, I get it now
by Fred on Tue 27th Jul 2004 09:10 UTC

I started computer programming in 1990. I have programmed in BASIC, C, Perl in the past and I'm currently specialized in Java technologies. I have used many operating systems including AmigsOS, Digital Unix, Slackware Linux and MS-Windows.

Oooh, no wonder he makes the points he trying to make. Slackware user. 'nuff said.</flamebait>

Not to burst your clueless bubble my friend, but most linux developers are capable engineers with jobs. Not anarchist students with too much free time on their hands.

@Ernesto
by Bas on Tue 27th Jul 2004 09:22 UTC

>If Linux continues to be driven by students who believe in freedom of
>choice and anarchy rather than in standards, with companies fighting to
>become the de facto standard alongside proposing their own
>proprietary systems we will never get there.

Where? You do not understand Linux. It is this freedom where you talk about that makes it possible to do as you please with Linux.
The is no path or goal to conquer the desktop, the only path or goal is being able to compute with freedom and as you wish.
Please stop these nonsense articles with people who think what needs to be done without even knowing what Linux stands for.
Linux is like a river, a stream, the more you try and control it the more it will loose it nature.

Re: it cheered me up !
by drynwhyl on Tue 27th Jul 2004 09:24 UTC

At least they are looking to Linux. So deep down, they are not totally happy with Windows for some reason or other.

I would say the reason Nr. 1 is because they dont want to pay for Windows and for windows software. With Linux Distributions, if at all, they only pay the packagers, and get a OS and Gigabytes of quality software for free.

If they were happy with Linux as a alternative, they wouldn be so embittered by unsuccwessfully trying to reorient the way and the direction Free Software is being developed. They still want to use something windows like, and be treated as paying customers, and at the same time, dont want to pay a dime for all the the software they get.

I know a number of users and businesses using Linux on the desktop, including a retiree nurse who got sick of viruses under MSWindows and a kiosk business. These are an existence proof that the article is simply wrong. I've been using Linux on the desktop for years, though admittedly I'm a power user.

Most of the points in the article are dubious and out of date. Just use a recent Linux distribution such as SuSE 9.1, Mandrake 10 or Redhat Fedora. Use the default install and use generic PCI, USB or SCSI hardware. You'll find it all works as well as MSWindows. Often much cheaper and more flexible depending on the application. A full function office suite, full GUI configuration, camera, scanner, web browser, rich text email, multimedia and basic games software all included and generally as easy to use as their MSWindows counterparts.

Indeed
by Anonymous on Tue 27th Jul 2004 09:38 UTC

Linux is not ready for the desktop but Windows isn't either!
The same problems plague the 2 OSes: drivers do not always work or play nice with each other: I have trouble setting up accelerated 3d in both systems, on the same machine. WHen I get it right, an upgrade or service pack usually wrecks it and I have to start over.
Windows is a bit better than Linux though. Try to make Java3d work with an NVidia card and you'll see. It will work, but you'll get your hands dirty. I used to enjoy putting my hands into the grease. I had the time. Now with a family and an income that depends on my productivity, these days are over, sadly.
I have a Mac too. I do not experience such a waste of time with it.
I know, it's because Apple controls the software *and* hardware.
It arguably costs more. But the time not wasted makes up for it.

Desktop ready
by Daan on Tue 27th Jul 2004 09:40 UTC

Well, I have also done a little test to check what operating systems are ready for the desktop, and I wanted to write an article about it. Yet I can reveal a little already: SuSE 9.1 Personal is slightly more ready for the desktop than Windows 2000 or XP. On a scale of 1 to 10, Windows gets a score of 6.8 while SuSE gets a 7.0. And that does not even consider price!

So, it just depends on how you count.

Config files
by Anonymous on Tue 27th Jul 2004 09:47 UTC

Well, one thing he is right about is the config files. They are horrible, and an XML based standard should be developped. Hackers will still be able to hack away in vim, but X-apps will be better at representing and editing them graphically using standard API's.

Brilliant article
by Radoslaw Sokol on Tue 27th Jul 2004 09:48 UTC

The text is brilliant. While it may be inaccurate in some points, it shows the right direction for the open-source community. And to all those who do not agree with the thesis presented: article writers are supposed to write what they think, and not what you want to hear. Please remember that while you have right to comment every editorial, writers must have the right to publish their text, too.

In fact, this article just clearly presents my ideas for the future Linux-based operating system (these are just some of them):
- application binary compatibility between different versions of Linux kernel and accompanying system libraries, so that I could distribute a binary-only application for just "Linux", and not every single Linux-distribution out there,
- driver binary compatibility, so that hardware companies could publish closed-source drivers working with Linux kernel 2.6, 2.8, 3.0 and so on (sometimes this compatiblity may break, but not on every minor or major kernel revision),
- kernel-integrated device-independent graphics device interface which would limit composing on-screen or on-paper graphics to calling a software interrupt, with no overhead of process context switching or passing data through a local Unix socket,
- one low-level (C-based?) toolkit API for every GUI toolkit, so that I could run GTK+ application on a KDE system using Qt libraries and vice versa; it would end these desktop environment wars,
- system-wide binary configuration data interface (a'la GConf or Windows Registry) which would replace system/user configuration files and would be accessible for every driver, kernel module, application and desktop environment.

you did it again
by GURKANSTEP on Tue 27th Jul 2004 09:50 UTC

you mentioned KDE and GNOME but forgot GNUstep!
http://www.linuks.mine.nu/gnustep/

Registry, drive letters
by de Selby on Tue 27th Jul 2004 09:58 UTC

I'm just one more voting for "Low-level graphics in the kernel", "Unified registry for hardcore hackers, instead of text config files", and "Drive letters" being bad things.

There may be some debate about kernel graphics because it's a performance vs reliability issue, but a registry and drive letters are just bad without question.

Anon @ speed.planet.nl - "XML based standard should be developped. Hackers will still be able to hack away in vim, but X-apps will be better at representing and editing them graphically using standard API's."

Standards are a great idea for config files and API's to use them are another great idea, but making them XML is unnecessary. People seem to force XML into everything it kind-of-almost-maybe is good for. I think in this situation, it offers no advantage.

Aight, I have a couple of questions.
by Mystilleef on Tue 27th Jul 2004 10:06 UTC

1). Who says Linux needs to replace Windows?

2). Who says Linux needs to be perfect to replace Windows?

3). Why must Linux replicate Windows?

4). What make you think unifying Linux will replace Windows?

5). Why is it your goal for Linux to replace Windows?

6). Why do think people need to know your "opinion."

7). Why do think I should agree with your definition of "desktop readiness?"

8). Do you really think free and open source developers, as well as sincere contributors, have nightmares about Windows, or even give a rat arse about it?

9). Is Windows really a threat to Linux, or is the other way round?

10).Do you think your opinion article changes anything?

Replace?
by Man-At-Arms on Tue 27th Jul 2004 10:10 UTC

Well, for one, Microsoft Windows can't replace my Linux installs either.

Re: I don't know how many times it has to be said.
by Futt Bucker on Tue 27th Jul 2004 10:12 UTC

I think what the author meant was that he prefered to have gnome or kde ontop of something like dri (low level is what he said) instead of xfree, and if you think about it he's right. It's been years and xfree still doesn't cut it for desktop use: weird latencies, uses too much much ram, redraws, slow like hell when apps make use of transparencies (like flash on your web browser), half the times i install linux i get a "no screens found" and have to fix it myself, i mean, think about it, how the f*ck are noobs going to fix that? on windows it just works, even if it's 800x600@60hz. How can an os be ready for desktop if it can't even make use of a plug n' play monitor?

hmmm
by hyper on Tue 27th Jul 2004 10:15 UTC

tuxracer v gatesracer....

the diffence is honesty... gatesracer has hidden most things like mixing 16bit apps with 32bit apps or

The old install procedure for nt and exchange... hmmm
install win nt install sp3 then install video drivers then install newer sp ... install exchange 5.5 then exchange sp then reinstall nt sp then update windows via windows update if you get problems reinstall nt sp... erm...

ms have same problems as linux....

go compute...

Innovate don't emulate.
by Rod Shuffler on Tue 27th Jul 2004 10:16 UTC

Linux is ready for the desktop. Linux is ready for business.

Windows XP is not ready for business. What can a business accomplish with Wordpad or MovieMaker?!

Business is about TCO, about the bottom line. The sands will shift.

Remeber when NT4 usurped IRIX and SunOS to some extent cos it was cheaper?

Well well ...

Those who ignore the pasta are doomed to reheat it.

Desktop use is about "Personal Computing" when taken out of context from business use.

Linux is not ready
by Uno Engborg on Tue 27th Jul 2004 10:17 UTC

The main reasons are:

Adobe - I'm thinking of Illustrator, Indesign, and to some extent Photoshop (gimp doesn't have Pantone colors due to patent issues) and their video editing software.

Macromedia - Dreamweaver,

Autodesk - There are lots and lots of AutoCAD drawings and appliations out there.

Cross platform calendaring software. The shift to Linux is going to be a gradual one in most companies. This means that it is not enough to have good tools for Linux, they must be cross platform, so that people that still runs windows can join in.

Notably Microsoft is missing from this list. The GUI is allready much better than what Microsoft can offer and the distance to MacOS-X is shortening rapidly.

The article is also right that the GUI and the CLI tools are badly integrated. But that would be even more true for MacOS-X and nobody seam to have a problem with that, so this is evidently not a major obstacle.

The auther thinks that there need to be only one GUI environment. I disagree. What is needed is shared config files. If I say that buttons should be green in KDE they should be green in Gnome applications as well without any further configuration. Programmers use lots of GUI toolkits in the windows world, and applications still look well integrated there is no reason this could not be done in Linux. Let the programmer decide on how he want to program, and the user decide how he want it too look.


Last there is a way to get a command prompt that works the same at least on all Linux distros I have come across so far. Press ctrl-alt-F1 to get a console, then go back with ctrl-alt-F7

Well, It is on my desktop
by Lars on Tue 27th Jul 2004 10:23 UTC

Well,
It is on my desktop, has been there for years, and my only
problem is that there is, to day, more choice and software, than I can cope with.
So I have decided to slowdown and think hard about what I realy need.

I fell in lowe with InfoSelect in 91 or 92.
Anybody "out there" who understans me and could help.
InfoSelect is my only reason to boot MS once in a while.

Moderated already!
by Mystilleef on Tue 27th Jul 2004 10:29 UTC

Ugh...that's the problem with Linux. Too many people have too many opinions about how too many things should work. Forget about opinions. Forget about theories. Lets start tackling problems and stop talking.

Heck we can't call all the opinions on the comment section here to agree with your opinion article, talk little of a whole Linux community of millions of people from different cultures, professions, races, etc to agree on a single standard.

This is reality. Only a few days ago GNOME was forked because some people didn't agree with the "standards" it set. Do you think we live in Lala land where everyone agrees on the one true/righteous way? And if there is no competition, how can there be innovation?

Its not all about the apps
by Oelph on Tue 27th Jul 2004 10:30 UTC

I see many comments, here and elsewhere, which compare Linux to Windows on the basis of the applications that are included as standard with each OS. Why?

When Microsoft try to include applications by default they are slated because they are percieved as forcing users down one road or creating a monopoly.

When Linux does it it is seen as normal. Yes you get a lot more choice by default with most distributions, but that can be a bad thing too. It seems far too many comparisons are being drawn regarding Linux+Apps versus Microsoft minus Apps.

ready or not...
by ammoQ on Tue 27th Jul 2004 10:45 UTC

About 15 years ago, there were computers like the Amiga and the Atari ST which were by far more user friendly than the PC was then. They were even cheaper. Home users loved them. Anyway, they lost. Was it because the PC was more flexible? Did people like a standardized system built by competing producers?
Whatever the reason was, I think it can happen to Windows, too. Photoshop and Dreamweaver is not the reason why so many people use Windows. Until maybe 7-10 years ago, most creative work was done on Macs, but it was not like the Mac dominating the computer industry.

v Sigh
by Richard S on Tue 27th Jul 2004 10:51 UTC
I KNOW!
by kosta on Tue 27th Jul 2004 10:55 UTC

I use winxp. And SuSE.
winxp - cause is faster, smarter, easyer and I HAVE ALLSOFTWARE I NEED FOR MY WORK, PLEASURE and FUN!
SuSE - cause LINUXES have future, and everyone needs to know them, but this will be reasonable after 3 years. Then MAYBE linux will be a good decision.

The exact contrary
by Antonio Ferraro on Tue 27th Jul 2004 10:56 UTC

I do not see the issue of creating a standard as a political one. I see it from an internal corporate point of view. Linux gives me the flexibility and the freedom that I will never have with proprietary OSs.
In a situation where having too much choice is a problem, make sure to have someone, capable of deciding and applying the choices. Let them decide which distribution (and when to upgrade), which kernel and what applications is best fitted to their users. When you are not capable to drive or you are afraid of the consequences, just grab a cab (and stick to M$ Windows). Concerning the poor-level desktop integration, you contraddict yourself. Didn't you say one paragraph above that the user just wants to point and click something? I agree X is painfully slow, but on today's PCs that is less noticeable and less relevant for the end user. As for the window managers, I dislike both KDE and gnome... ...better stop here...

This article makes some good points, but a lot of it kind of bafled me, but then I read "About the author" and it all made sense. Slackware Linux!

I'm not going to go bashing on Slackware, I'm sure it's a mighty fine distro for some, but I think we can all agree that if you're going to write an article about linux being or not being ready for the desktop, you should use some other distro than Slackware.

@ ammoQ
by dpi on Tue 27th Jul 2004 11:02 UTC

"Dreamweaver is not the reason why so many people use Windows. Until maybe 7-10 years ago, most creative work was done on Macs, but it was not like the Mac dominating the computer industry."

Uhm, no. You forgot the Unices (IRIX is a nice mention), AmigaOS and RiscOS. SGI and later Apple were dominating the design industry. Now that is x86 with Windows / Linux and Mac and on niche services SGI. The other players are so small that they are not to be noticed. And 7-10 years ago was the age SGI's workstation and big iron was still very prosperous. That wasn't stopped until ~4 years ago.

You'll have to analyze why Windows/x86 won the desktop war in the middle & end 90's, why the niche players got nearly killed, and how Windows/x86 can lose the next war to make a (IMO!) relevant contribution. I can do all but the most hard one, the latter.... difference between SGI, Apple, commodore versus Microsoft is that Microsoft has tons of cash, LOTS of marketshare, LOTS of profit, and NOT one or only a few markets. Apple and SGI reinvented themselves. Apple via NEXT, SGI via HPC / x86-64. Microsoft could just create another cash cow without reinventing themselves, using terror tactics to protect itself, or kick one entire market away and still be profitable, or reinvent itself without being in danger. Now that's POWER.

Great article!
by Ano Nymous on Tue 27th Jul 2004 11:03 UTC

This article pretty much summed up what I think of the issue. Except the complaining about X.

Everyone who complains about X being slow etc. and that it should be replaced by something else don't really know anything about it. The design is just fine, the implementation is a different thing. And that is rapidly changing (x.org, cairo etc.).

How many of you bashing this article and the author's views actually do linux programming for living? My guess would be not a single one. I would also guess that you are not too old either or then you just have absolutely NO understanding of business.

Let's take an imaginary example: Photoshop. Adobe decides it wants to port Photoshop to linux. How would they do it? Which distribution would they target and which GUI toolkit/DE? As you bashers most likely do NOT understand, software development is NOT cheap so it would NOT be possible to target many distributions or DEs, only ONE. But which one? No one has the answer to that and the end result is that Photoshop will NOT be ported. Just imagine how much it would cost in time and money to test the product for many different DEs..

IF there was a standard base system and DE to target it would be possible and feasible to do the porting, it would be possible to run the software on all or at least most computers running linux.

I have used and programmed on/for linux professionally for years. When I first tried linux I found it really cool and interesting to poke around and try things. But after some time it gets really boring and annoying that you HAVE to do that. I really DON'T want to play around, I want to get my WORK DONE.

KDE and Gnome have come a long way but are still just too painful for me to use. I still use WindowMaker and mostly xterm. And as before, I'm placing my bet on GNUStep ;)

Lol
by Thom Holwerda on Tue 27th Jul 2004 11:15 UTC

The amount of senseless comments here really answers the "is linux ready for the desktop?" question ;)

But, in the end, it all comes down to your own preference. I'm using BeOS as my main desktop OS, but I won't force it down other people's throat. I think that's the thing that bothers me most: there is a group of Linux fanatics that almost force me to use Linux instead of Windows. I really don't get this; the Linux/OSS community say it's all about choice, yet they force others to use Linux. If you don't use Linux, then you're stupid. Where's the choice in that?

Where are we going, if someone gets flamed, yelled at, ridicueled, only becasue he doesn't share your affection for a platform, in this case Linux?

I disagree a few things
by Andrew Luecke on Tue 27th Jul 2004 11:18 UTC

Firstly, forking projects has shown to accellerate Linux development. Xorg-X11 is the perfect example.

If it wasn't for Xfree forking into 2 different projects, Linux wouldn't get translucencies or any new effects until 10 years after longhorn. You cannot have competition with only 1 library.

Its normally the small guys who force the bigger guys to work hard

Thats one reason why I am thankful of the Enlightenment project.. Thanks to E17, that will force GTK and QT to improve more rapidly, while if there was only 1 type of library, linux would barely evolve (we'd still be at 3.11 level).


Also, about 'It is very rude to ask for a "brand new kernel" just to be able to install the operating system.' The reason that upgrading the kernel is a good thing, is because people want new features. One thing that needs to be done though, is a standardised packaging system that lets you pretty much put drivers on a disk and load them during install if the kernel has no driver. My project, Driver on Demand was designed to encourage a move towards that direction..


'Breaking binaries is a bad thing and it's hard to find an excuse to justify it.' Your right, but once again, the linux development cycle is a lot faster. Windows has their own binary compatibility problems, just since their development cycle is different, and they control all the products people use, they can wrap all the updates into the Service packs, and make all their products work in later ones, so they can put in extra effort to making sure MS office works in every copy.

Thats also a bad thing though.. One thing you'll notice these days is that Windows is becoming bloated because of all in the sake of ancient compatibility.. I also haven't seen any binary compatibilities before either, except in VMware, and Wine, and problems with those are to be expected anyway..


Auzy
http://driverondemand.sf.net
http://one.logicnoc.com/~auzy/index.php (The first search engine designed solely for finding linux drivers.. Still under development)

Why wasn't a package management system mentioned?
by johnleemk on Tue 27th Jul 2004 11:31 UTC

IMO, that's the biggest problem with Linux not being ready for the desktop - no proper package management system. The only other problem mentioned I've ran into is the lack of unification between GNOME and KDE. Honestly, until we get a proper GUI that works, Linux won't be ready for the desktop. Opening a shell and running RPM/apt-get isn't what the ordinary user wants. The ordinary user wants a GUI. Fix that and standardise GNOME/KDE, and Linux will almost be certainly ready for the desktop.

RE:The author is a megalomaniac.
by Uno Engborg on Tue 27th Jul 2004 11:31 UTC


When all summed up, His _only_ concern seems to be how to overthrow MS Windows from the top position.


This is actually important. Not because Microsoft is evil, but because its large market share creates a situation where people equate Windows with an operation system. Everything that doesn't look like the windows of today will be considered bad. Nobody will even try it. This means that good ideas may not get the foothold they deserve. Actually this is a problem even to Microsoft. If the y make major changes in their upcoming Longhorn, people will not like it.


Rather funny that the most important advice by most of these "what Linux needs" apologists seems to be to cut 90% of the choice Free Software offers off.


As long as it is free software there is always a choice.
But the choice between KDE, Gnome and other desktops is a choice that actually limits your further choices. Once you have made it applications from some of the other desktops will look foreign and feel inconsistent. That's why we need one standard. That standard doesn't need to say how things should look on your desktop, but rather what should be configurable and how. That way we could apply a Gnome skin on Wednesday and KDE skin on Monday and yet something else for the rest of the week. We could chose applications from both Gnome and KDE and still have a consistent looking desktop. This would create a potential for a much richer work environment.
[/i]



Standard folders such as "My Documents"must be provided

This is an extremely good idea. It would be much better to have a "My Documents" icon on your desktop than the currently so common "Home". The problem with the home directory as base for your documents is that it contains lots of configuration files that the user doesn't need to see, other than through a configuration GUI. Some applications have a tendency to put things in the home directory without making the user aware of it. This means that the user might be surprised finding them there if he opens his home folder. And as he has no recollection of creating them he may even delete them if they doesn't seam to be of interest to him.

Having a folder called "My Documents" that only contains stuff that the user himself actually put there would greatly improve usability. It also is closer to the desktop metaphor. How many have your real home on your physical desktop, not many I hope. Having a folder with your documents on your physical desktop would be much more common.

Some of this could be achieved by having a more strict organization of users home directory e.g. by introducing a /home/username/etc/ structure but there are probably too many legacy applications that would break this. Even if this could be solved having "Home" as a desktop icon still have problems as it breaks the logical structure. E.g. when you see your home directory icon on your desktop, you double/click it open and go one step up in the directory structure. If the user trusted the spatial arrangement of the icons the user would be led to believe that he was in /home/username/Desktop, but instead he is in /home/username.
and in that folder he finds his Desktop. Not very logical.

The "My Document" naming has another advantage. The its naming comes from something that relates to everyday life, while the "Home" folder relates to the world of computer operating systems.



oh yes,
by hidden coward on Tue 27th Jul 2004 11:33 UTC

that's a great article!
I specialy love the idea of drive letters.
But may be it's not enough to make it a good desktop OS. I guess that we may provide a registry base and also high support for vba. We may also remove this crap that is multi-user environment.
It would be great!
Please, hurt me! HURRRTTTT MEEEE !!!
LOL

May be some people may forget there windows experience before speaking or trying to bring that in the linux world.
Please, make linux make his own way before trying to bring it to the desktop at any price. We have seen what happened when it went out on light five years ago : windows people went to linux for the hype, and this is no help for it. I guess people should try by themselves without preasure (hype, or whatever else).
Please let linux live by itself and its comunity.

Reason Linux is not ready for the desktop!
by Ty Miles on Tue 27th Jul 2004 11:33 UTC

Because people have not given it a chance. Tired of people acting like MS Windows became "Good for the desktop" over night.

I can remember people saying the same things about the car companies Kia and Hyundai. They make junk, they will NEVER compete with the cars from Japan etc. And yes at first they did make junk, but now look, by offering lower prices and warrenties that cover the life of the car they built a loyal base and made enough money to now be able to build MUCH better cars. Now we see Hyundai starting to sell cars at Honda numbers and people who would have never thought to buy one now running out to get one.

Give it some TIME! Help it grow by not being cheap and BUYING a copy of Linux and or Linux services and stop whining.

No company will ever be like Microsoft in our life times. No Linux company will ever have 50 Billion in the bank to spend on development. Yet the fact that Billy Boy, the richest man on earth spends more time talking about Linux then his own products tells you something!

2 sec.
by Jan M on Tue 27th Jul 2004 11:35 UTC

> Even OpenOffice opens in less than two seconds (On an AMD 2500+ PC). [under WinXP]

so what? The same here under Linux (IBM T41p, Pentium-M 1700):
first time: 6 sec.
second and following times: 2 sec.

X & KDE-3.2 does feel as snappy as WinXP btw. even on a PIII-500MHz

to all of them
by my name on Tue 27th Jul 2004 11:36 UTC

To all future "what Linux needs"-article authors:

- Stop speaking for all people, you don't and you can't.
- Stop making a fool of yourself by submitting yet another lame article.
- Stop using Linux. The only person who is clearly not ready for the Linux desktop yet, is the author of an article like this one.

Please, No More
by Jason Lotito on Tue 27th Jul 2004 11:39 UTC

I read these articles every week (either for or against Linux on the desktop), and it gets aggrivating. These are articles written by people who really don't have a clue. OSNews, I subscribed to your site, not because of these articles. Just because it's long doesn't mean it should be accepted.

Frankly, the constant barrage of "Linux is ready/not ready" is getting senseless. I do not care that this person believes that Linux is not ready. He is nobody. I will look to my own personal experiences as to why Linux is ready or not.

I don't mind articles on people who made the switch, and their real experiences with a certain Distro, or more hopefully more business related switching experiences, but frankly, these soap box "I know all" articles are getting annoying.

As a subscriber, I was told that my opinion would be weighed just a tad bit more. Please, take this into account. These types of articles server no one, and only make for flamewars.

@ Ano Nymous
by Jason Lotito on Tue 27th Jul 2004 11:45 UTC

"As you bashers most likely do NOT understand, software development is NOT cheap so it would NOT be possible to target many distributions or DEs, only ONE. But which one? No one has the answer to that and the end result is that Photoshop will NOT be ported. Just imagine how much it would cost in time and money to test the product for many different DEs.."

Not much money, in fact. It's not difficult creating a cross-distro application on Linux, and Adobe wouldn't have a problem doing it. If the company has the ability to write for multiple versions of Windows, and multiple version of Mac, it wouldn't be difficult to develop something that can run on multiple distro's.

because
by linuxISNOTreadyYETforXyears on Tue 27th Jul 2004 11:46 UTC

hell after recompliing kernel module for ati 3d driver i still got no 3d!!!

nvidia is way better.

linux does suck just like windows.

mac os x doesnt suck. apple proprietary SUCKS!!!

all OSes SUCK!!!

does windows even qualify
by dizz on Tue 27th Jul 2004 11:48 UTC

"By "ready for the desktop" we refer to a system that can be used by someone without the help of a geek-relative or a specialized magazine." heck windows dosent qualify for this.

i cant stop counting the times that i haveto help neigbhours with windows. or how many times we get paid at the computer shop to fix things.

RE:The author is a megalomaniac.
by Ty Miles on Tue 27th Jul 2004 11:50 UTC

One last thing. Instead of forcing Linux to be like Windows, how about the novel idea of teaching people Linux??? Wow, interesting.

The funny thing reading here is most of the things being said about Linux are the same in the Mac OS X. There are no silly drive letters that can confuse people!

Funny how people can just pick up a Mac and after a few days can get it to work for them even if they have NEVER used one. A well put together version of Linux like Linspire, Lycoris or Xandros can be figured out by a user if pre-installed. All you have to do is show some basics to them.

I have written on here several times that I use Xandros as my everyday business desktop, Evolution as my email client on exchange and Star Office as my office suite. And also that my Mother, Grandmother, Sister, brother, roommate and girlfriend are all using Linspire and are very pleased and BRAG to their friends when they hear that their friends got spyware, a virus a worm or their machine got flagged because the spyware was sending out spam without them even knowing.

Instead of always picking on the negitive or over blowing the positive, see if YOU can find a task that Linux does well. My brother LOVES KB3 for CD Burning because it works EVERY time. Unlike Roxio and even sometimes Nero that tend to slow down or lock up your machine if you are doing anything fancy when you try to use it, my mother loves Gaim and Mozilla as does my Girlfriend. I tried to get my girl to use Win4lin so she could use the Windows versions of Yahoo, AIM and MSN messengers. She laughed at me. Gaim works great and does everything I need she told me.

Most of the things mentioned on here are things power users notice not Joe Schmoe.

Re: dizz
by Darius on Tue 27th Jul 2004 11:51 UTC

"By "ready for the desktop" we refer to a system that can be used by someone without the help of a geek-relative or a specialized magazine." heck windows dosent qualify for this.

You are exactly right, my friend. The only thing that makes Windows any more 'ready' for the desktop than Linux is that there is an army of people out there who know it. If it wasn't for me, many of my friends and family would have thrown their computers out the window by now. Windows is a horrible mess to anyone who doesn't 'know computers' - probably more intuitive than Linux, but then again ... that isn't really saying much ;)

gotta disagree
by sean on Tue 27th Jul 2004 11:56 UTC

Sorry. Didn't even make it past the intro before having to stop and comment. Nor have I read any other comments, so I hope I'm not just restating what someone else has pointed out.

but the fact is that when we read "ready for the desktop" we understand "ready to replace Microsoft Windows"

Your just plain wrong here. This is NOT a fact; its still your opinion and you failed to recognize it as such. The fact is, not eveybody judges "ready for the desktop" by the same criteria. For instance when I think of "ready for the desktop", I look no further than my own needs and make a judment solely on that basis. I'm not looking for my wife's desktop, my mother's, my best friend's.
I suspect that's how Linux evangelists evaluate "readiness", but scarecly would I say "most people". For me, and likely people like me, Windows was never ready for the desktop. From my point of view, its ships incomplete; not ready for use. Only through additional purchases will the MS OS be made ready for any use at all. This is unacceptable. So when I evaluate "readiness" on the desktop, replacing Windows isn't even a factor.

Just my thought. Take it or leave it for what its worth.

RE:This article is 110% wrong and trolling.
by Uno Engborg on Tue 27th Jul 2004 11:59 UTC


KDE and GNOME are both good desktop environments and are good both stand alone. Freedesktop.org standards have bent over backwards to standardize them, to the point where I can drag and drop a file from Konqueror into nautilus!


This is really not too much to ask. If that is possible it means that the drag & drop mechanism works, and that it doesn't matter what toolkit your application is written in. This increases the choice of the user.

Now if they only could unite on how to handle the Trash. If a user throws something in the Trash in one environment it should be in the Trash in the other enviromnent as well, and when the trach is emptied it should notify all applications that need to know about this regardless of toolkit.



No one has mentioned the obvious....
by munchomatic on Tue 27th Jul 2004 12:00 UTC

I mean really... PEOPLE WHO DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT COMPUTERS CAN'T USE WINDOWS EITHER. How many times have you been called because: 'my internet doesn't work' 'I can't print' 'my screen went blank' and on and on and on.

Sorry, but just being consistent with your interface and being able to click things does not mean the user has any understanding of what they are doing, or can discover how to do something they have not done before. The average computer-illiterate person needs just as much help with windows as they would with linux.

Some distributons have desktops than are even easier than Windows. The point is that there is just one Windows Desktop. Even if Lindows may be easier than Windows if your geek-relative is a Gnome-geek he might not know how to help you. This is why I mentioned that if you trained someone with Lindows, this knowledge wouldn't be of help if the student switches for example to Fedora running Gnome.

community
by jethr0 on Tue 27th Jul 2004 12:11 UTC

this kind of article is exactle the opposite of what RMS is propagating! RMS states that it is far less important to have some great software but of much more value to have a great community that help each other and create together.
the goal to diminish the difference between users and developers (as it has been for many years) is IMHO quite an important thing and for much both objectives together are hundred times more important than substituing linux for windows.
personally i don't believe that a majority of OSS developers have any ambition to replace windows with linux and that this whole "ready for the desktop" discussion is led by such whining persons as the articles author.
of course he is more than right in most of his points, but GNU/Linux IS NOT ABOUT BINARY COMPATIBILITY and having backward compatibility (to a degree) in windows has brought us exactly the mess that is windows today! having the guts to change bad design decisions is what should make software great, not sticking to your past mistakes.
apart from that the Linux Standard Base LSB and other project are working on binary compatibility.

surely it would be nice to have everything run anywhere, but that is not the most important thing! it IS important to have a community and just replacing windows with commercial (and proprietary) linux solutions is not going to help anyone!

jethr0

problem..
by Bas on Tue 27th Jul 2004 12:11 UTC


Problem here is the comparison.

Windows minded people are comparing Windows to Linux and say he! Linux is not ready because it has no C: drive?? huh??
Is like saying Windows is not ready for the server because it is only usable in GUI mode....mmmmmm.
Play with Linux try and learn it and you might like it or not but the only underlines you are not ready for Linux.

You could also argue that Apples are not a fruit because they are not Orange.


"This is why I mentioned that if you trained someone with Lindows, this knowledge wouldn't be of help if the student switches for example to Fedora running Gnome."

Hummm people switch from home using Windows to school using Mac. And sometimes from Home using Windows XP to the Cyber Cafe using Windows 2000 to school using Mac OS 8.5 to their friends house using Mac OS X.

Guess what people still seem to manage. I think people should be given a LITTLE more credit for their ability to learn.

There are not too many people who have used Gnome and have never used KDE. Most people even though they have liked one or the other tried both before picking one. On top of that most people install both KDE and Gnome when using Fedora or other versions (Unless they don't have the space or just don't like KDE or Gnome)

@Jason Lotito
by Ano Nymous on Tue 27th Jul 2004 12:19 UTC

Where I work time is money.. more time spent means more money spent. And testing is very time consuming even if some of it can be automated.

Supporting different versions of Windows or Mac touches one of the points the author makes. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Windows backwards compatible? I don't know about Mac, but Linux (distributions, kernels, libraries) is NOT bakcwards compatible. It is NOT guaranteed.

Maybe you have more experience with this than me. I have mostly worked on software for a very strictly defined platform. Even that is a lot of work when you take into consideration the different versions of libraries which may or may not be backwards compatible.

From my experience I can tell you that knowing exactly what your target platform is, developing and testing on it is a LOT easier, faster and cheaper.


And for all of you who say standards are not needed and the author should not be speaking for YOU.. why do YOU think he means YOU when he says WE? If I say we went to movies last night does that mean YOU were there with us? No. Also, why do you wish to limit the freedom of others to create and follow standards if they so wish? Just because YOU don't agree doesn't give you any right to deny it from others, or does it? I'd really like YOU to explain your reasoning..

Standards are for people who wish to follow them. You are free to NOT follow them. Just write your own non-standard software and quit your whining.

Blah
by Anonymous on Tue 27th Jul 2004 12:24 UTC

I agree that Linux needs more unification before it will be more accepted, but through which means? Linux doesn't need a standard desktop window manager and interface imposed by regulation. It needs someone to develop a solution so compelling that users and developers flock to it. Leave those other choices to those who do not want to migrate in that direction. The problem is the development community for Linux does not have a group of developers right now with sufficient vision and foresight to make this happen. At least, not that I have seen.

Hmmm..
by ringheims auto on Tue 27th Jul 2004 12:27 UTC

The author hasn't really considered the openness of Linux and its apps, he just talks of cases where commercial software would run on Linux. Today this is hard, cause you can't make packages for all distros on your own. Also its rare to find packages for other CPU's like PowerPC.
As long as all programs/tools are open source this is _not_ a problem. Have been using urpmi alot myself, wich in many cases make apps easier to install then on any other OS.
Commercial software for Linux might work, but in most cases people make them OSS, also so they can fit with other Unix'es. This is a good idea, since everyone wouldn't need to run the same OS, or have the same hardware, but could use the same apps. Apple has clearly got this idea. Have recently tried OSX myself and it is so cuuute, easy to use for non-geeks, and has got several Linux/Unix-apps. I would want this if I couldn't handle Linux, but luckily I CAN ,} !

...in fact most of them were born on Linux and have been ported to Windows; Mozilla and OpenOffice, just to name a few. Most of these applications run much slower on Linux.

What?! Me too I run several MS-also apps in Linux, on a slower machine than yours, and I find this to be totally wrong. Have an Win XP-box at work wich I run Mozilla and Openoffice on, and this is like entering sirup-modus on approx same specs. In fact most people using Win lift their eyebrowses when I show them the speed of my Gnome-desktop vs Windows. I can't really understand the talk about Linux' GUI lacking, apart from probably being slow on older machines, cause on this machine I must say it must be about twice the speed of Windows. Of course it would be nice with a smaller version of X without network, but it is important to think beyond Windows, especially nowadays when the net is becoming more mainstream. It is good to have this possibility.

Linux is probably ready for the most inexperienced users, who'll only start apps and use them as they are. Like in corporations or schools. Semi-experienced, like people wanting to get into computers, might find Linux a bit hard in the beginning. It's also that you have to learn Linux, like everything else. Oh, my first week with Win98, how I struggled! Now I can set it up in an hour, cause I know it. Had been using the Amiga before that, and the transition from that to Windows(98) was much harder than the recent move from Win2k to Linux. Btw Win2k installation sucks compared to Mandrake's, haven't tried XP...

It's simple!
by kaplan on Tue 27th Jul 2004 12:27 UTC

Linux is not ready for the desktop because the suitability of Linux for the desktop is under discussion.

If Linux was ready for the desktop, there would be no discussion.

Noone discusses if XP are ready for the desktop, while one can discuss for months (as we do around here) if Linux is or is not ready.

Hence, there are still things to settle.

For some people, of course, it doesn't matter. The would be happy with Amiga Workbench or QNX on their desktop, and they sure are happy with Linux. But those people (all three of them) don't matter. Corporate users FORCED BY THEIR EMPLOYEES to use Linux or their desktop also don't matter. Heck, their employees would even force them to suck their **cks if that could save them some bucks.

re: ATI + 3D
by Jan M on Tue 27th Jul 2004 12:27 UTC

> hell after recompliing kernel module for ati 3d driver i still got no 3d!!!

maybe you forgot to use fglrxconfig (/opt/ati/bin/fglrxconfig) to set up the driver.

hint: backup your XF86Config before

RE: Ano Nymous
by Ty Miles on Tue 27th Jul 2004 12:32 UTC

Actually if you pick a version of Linux (Like Red Hat for instance) Backwards compatibility will not be a problem anymore then with Windows. If backwards compatibility were such a big problem then companies like Red Hat would not be able to make any money.

I work for the US government in an office with 300 developers and testers who write the financial software for several Gov agencies using Windows 2000. Everyone (But me) uses Windows 2000 and yet something as simple as a patch can set them back for months.

I make the standard image to be rolled out to users and we still have not certified SP4 because it breaks a bunch of applications written in VB6 and .Net. And those Windows apps have been written on Windows 2000 for Windows 2000.

I think backwards compatibility is a real misnomer.

News to me
by riffraff on Tue 27th Jul 2004 12:37 UTC

If, as the article states, "ready for the desktop" really means "ready to replace Windows," and given the author's contention that Linux cannot do that, then I wonder what I've been using, lo, these last six years. And for years before that with AmigaOS. I've NEVER run Windows on my home machine. All these "not ready" articles are simply Windows users tilting at windmills. They've seen the incredible adoption rate of Linux and BSD, and I guess that somehow makes them feel insecure. I don't understand that; it's not like they can't co-exist. Yet they seem to feel the need to go out of their way to dissuade others from using anything but Windows. "Linux is not ready for the desktop," they drone, yet many of us seem to be doing just fine, thank you. Entire cities are ramping up, or are already using Linux on untold numbers of desktops. They must be entirely clueless, huh?

No, it will take a lot more than this weak FUD to slow the juggernaut that is Linux.

RE: It's simple!
by Ty Miles on Tue 27th Jul 2004 12:39 UTC

"Noone discusses if XP are ready for the desktop, while one can discuss for months (as we do around here) if Linux is or is not ready."

No one discusses if XP is ready for the desktop because most peoples time talking about Windows is spent talking about all the Worms, spyware, viruses, hacks and other nasty things that happen when using Windows.

When OSX first came out I didn't hear people talking about if it was ready for the desktop yet it wasn't. OSX was not backwards compatable with OS 9 but that blew over quick. OSX was missing a bunch of stuff it has now yet people ran out to get it.

Come on.

Not ready
by LiNkCr on Tue 27th Jul 2004 12:45 UTC


Windows XP isn't ready for my desktop yet ...

@ Kaplan -- Argumentum ad populum
by dpi on Tue 27th Jul 2004 12:48 UTC

"Linux is not ready for the desktop because the suitability of Linux for the desktop is under discussion.

If Linux was ready for the desktop, there would be no discussion.

Noone discusses if XP are ready for the desktop, while one can discuss for months (as we do around here) if Linux is or is not ready.

Hence, there are still things to settle."

Yes and where smoke is, is fire. If one would post 10 of such stories about Windows, then Windows is not ready just because discussions arise. Ofcourse it would sound ridiculous because 95% of the people use Windows as desktop which implies it is ready while the small percentages of Linux and MacOSX tell us otherwise. Meanwhile, many people [even GNOME/KDE people] argue 4DWM and CDE aren't "desktop-ready" while they have and still do serve as a desktop to get work done instead if playing Quake6 or Doom9.

A more accurate take is the fact people are using an OS for their desktop implies it is ready for them. For what they want to use it for, it works just fine. Various factors still blur this for example dual-boots, zealotry, unavailable alternatives, not their own choice, followers etc or just to say "non-rational decisisions".

OS Wars
by FredS on Tue 27th Jul 2004 12:59 UTC

If you want to see GNU Linux take a lot of business away from MS (and this is what people mean when they ask is it ready for the desktop)then there are certain things that need to be done. The article attempts to address these issues.

GNU Linux offers advantages in security, stability and cost. To compete fully it needs to improve in areas such as ease-of-use, look-and-feel and the quality of the software available. And to compete effectively against a company that controls 90% of the desktop OS market, it needs a strong and unified approach. The article attempts to make this point.

I think it is inevitable that one or two distros will come to the fore. Suse looks well-placed to do so. It will be interesting to see what happens to Mandrake, Fedora, Xandros and Sun's Java Desktop. All other distros will be for hobbyists.

I agree that there is no place for both Gnome and KDE. Probably they will be merged into one.

Once GNU Linux is focussed and clear in its opposition to MS, its strengths will give it a chance of being "ready for the desktop". If it remains fragmented, it will, no matter how good, stand no chance.






@Ty Miles
by Ano Nymous on Tue 27th Jul 2004 12:59 UTC

Well, is RH9 backwards compatible with RH6.2 for example? Is RH9 backwards compatible with Debian 2? Is it compatible at all or to which degree?

There is no clearly defined set of software (kernel, libraries etc) for which to develop. That IS a problem from a commercial software point of view as well as OSS.

With OSS backwards compatibility is not necessarily a problem since you can always compile the software for the new libraries etc. that you happen to have installed on you box. But not everyone knows how to do it.

The problem is that if I write software on RH9 there are no guarantees that it will run on other distros or even other versions of RH. Really, there aren't. Recompiling and patching are NOT an option for commercial software or for "average user".

Standards
by Ernesto Garbarino on Tue 27th Jul 2004 13:02 UTC

I never meant that there should be any kind of regulation or imposition. I neither said that if one dekstop becomes the standard, the others must go away. Standards are defined usually by most of the professionals that work in in the industry of a given subject in some sort of democratic way through forum or consortiums. Standards also evolve, change and die. The ANSI C Language is for example a standard, you are free to link or even use in-line assembly code, but if you "choose" to comply with standard ANSI C you are expected to have a portable program that works with any ANSI C-compliant compiler. The point of my article is that it is convient for most of us (not everyone) to have such standard at a "distro" level. This doesn't prevent the use of the Linux kernel or the GNU software in general for other propourses without regard of the standard. There are C compilers that are not ANSI-C compliant for a number of reasons, and they are just fine, but lack of standards as a policy is also a form of dictatorship. Standards don't necessarily prevent competition, a good example is J2EE. I'm sorry if someone felt that I was trying to degrade her/his distribution of choice or the way in which he/she uses Linux. My distribution of choice (Slackware) is in fact far away than the "ideal" system: Mandrake or Suse are obviously closer. The definition of "ready for the desktop" I gave is the popular definition, and not the "right" or "wrong" definition, that's a fact, not a matter of opinion. What's the first thing that a magazine does when it wants to test whether Linux is ready for the desktop? A MS-Office vs Open Office debate. In this sense I guess that the current Linux desktops are in a very good position. Even if I have used Windows for many comparisons I never said that Linux must be like Windows in order to be ready for the desktop. We should also learn from the Windows mistakes, this is why I pointed that driver management is not quite good in Windows, and Linux has the change to implement it in a much clever way. A nice person pointed in this forum pointed me to "Project Utopia" that takes this concept in mind.

Enough is enough. This site was by far a hell of a lot more palatable without the troll sessions that now infect it like Slashdot. Why the focus on the same ol same ol opinionated writings day after day? Stick to what this site's title stipulates, news. Nothing more and nothing less. You are going to start loosing some of us OSNews old timers who are sick of the mud slinging.

Desktop Enviroments
by Rick James on Tue 27th Jul 2004 13:17 UTC

What kind of desktop environment would we have on the different operating systems out there today if they were all made by coders?
>
>

Environments that would actually be *USEFUL* for once?

OSS's Future
by Rick James on Tue 27th Jul 2004 13:27 UTC

The success of OSS is directly tied to being able to solve this problem. Creating a world of software components that are forward/backward compatible, as well as interchangable & interoperable with other OSS & comercial packages. It's not an easy problem, but it's several orders of maginatude tougher problem than any commercial software company has to solve!
>
>

You sir are an total idiot. OSS has been around for over 30 years. It'll be around long after you are dead and chucked into your grave along with the sofware you are using.

The success or failure of OSS is *NOT* directly tied to being able to solve this or any other problem morons like you can come up with.

The success or failure of OSS depends upon the premise that people are willing to work together to achive their various goals, and as long as that premise holds true OSS has a very
bright future.

RE: Why do people keep writing these stupid artic
by Anonymous on Tue 27th Jul 2004 13:32 UTC

"It should be pretty clear by now that pretty much *NOBODY* is actually paying any attention to these articles."

If no one is paying attention then why are there 130+ comments here on this article.

I suggest that the majority of Linux users don't want Linux to be "ready for desktop". That would mean that a majority of people using PC's might actually use Linux and then these "OS learners" wouldn't feel so special and elite.

v ......
by Bas on Tue 27th Jul 2004 13:39 UTC
dependencies problems? not really
by Anonymous on Tue 27th Jul 2004 13:50 UTC

I use Gentoo. I don't have any dependency problems here.. I just type: emerge whatever and after compiling is there. True it is longer approach that "just" downloading & installing but hey, I have fast, stable and modern system, without problems with missing libraries, broken modules, etc... everything just works perfect.
Oh there was a new version of KDE released yesterday? Great, "emerge kde" - few hours later I have the latest KDE (or whatever app) installed and running. How long do you have to wait till your favourite distro release it?

@Ano Nymous
by Sam on Tue 27th Jul 2004 13:51 UTC

Gee, I wonder how I can grab a binary package/installer of Mozilla, OpenOffice.org or even Quake3 and have them running perfectly on any Linux distro? Maybe you could learn something from them? ;-)

@Rick James
by rockwell on Tue 27th Jul 2004 13:51 UTC

//It should be pretty clear by now that pretty much *NOBODY* is actually paying any attention to these articles//

Yes, yes, I see your point -- especially with the evidence of *136 POSTS* (so far) about this article.

You're right. Nobody cares.

Spoof of part 1
by UglyMike on Tue 27th Jul 2004 14:06 UTC

Tongue firmly in cheek. (Hey, I know it's full of holes but so wasthe original article...)

We know what "ready for the desktop" means, but what is Windows?

A trademark. Repeat after me, a trademark. No, it's not ME an neither XP. Those are just variations of the day that use the specific "Windows" trademark. But they are flavors of Windows, aren't they?. No, they are products that use specific kernels brought in from the outside (QDOS, VMS,...). This means that an application compiled with one kernel in mind may not work with another one unless oodles of old crap is also installed on the 'new' "Windows"-branded OS. For example, at the moment some "Windows" OSes use the XP moniker while others the 2003 one. An application targeting XP is thus not necessarily compatible with 2003 even though we read the word "Windows" in both products. However, Microsoft is so nice as to compile and re-pack all old APIs and technology proven to be unsafe to use (hide extensions, execute from a mail client,...) for each and every implementations.

The truth is that we don't have Oracle or Java for "Windows" but for some "certified" "Windows" distributions like NT, 2000, 2003, in essence, "different Windows contenders". So, at the end of the day, a "Windows application" is never source code that you expect to compile on your "Windows" OS, and the "Windows" moniker alone is not granted to make it compile even if you HAVE the source code. Then, the host will probably need VERY expensive "Windows" utilities. It's not uncommon to find out that the Visual C compiler used to program the 'source code' calls functionality that your version of Visual C doesn't happen to have. (Of course, asolution isonly a couple of hundred bucks away) When we refer to a "Windows" application, we refer to a program that we expect to run in any kind of "Windows" flavour using a 'lowest common denominator" version of "Windows" OS. If I have a CD-ROM Encyclopedia for Windows I expect to run it without problems on Windows 95, 98, ME, XP, 2000, etc. Anything more complex and I'm up shit creek without a paddle.

Windows 3.1, Windows 9x, Active Desktop, whatever

The point here is not which one is better. There are countless articles on the matter, the problem is that we have so many of them. Please, let's not talk about personal taste and bug-ridden virus vectors. Let's talk instead of incongruity, incompatibility and development effort. Should car drivers choose whether the gas pedal must be at the left or the right?. No, they may want different colors or seats. We expect to apply the lessons we have learned when we have obtained a driver's license in all cars (say, an Z4 beemer I learned to drive with in Kent and a Renault Espace in centre of Paris: exactly the same experience!!). Could we say the same about Windows?. Are our private lessons on Windows 95 to be of help to our parents when they receive their new computer running XP or Longhorn (if they live that long...)?. If an old relative calls you from a long distance telling you that he runs Windows 98 and that he can't get into the Internet, can you give him instructions as clear as "Go buy a new PC, you old fuck!" No, because a Linux desktop is often a leftover from work that is unusable with the latest version of "Window" OSes.

There are struggling efforts to integrate these diverse desktops. It's a good start, but if we intend to make the whole world's computing environment work the same way, why should we have umpteen graphical APIs? There should be one "official" desktop for the end-user. The remaining toolkits don't need to die, they can be used for academic or hobby purposes

RE:It's simple!
by DIZZ on Tue 27th Jul 2004 14:06 UTC

well it allredy hs ben discussed that xp isnt ready for the desktop. so tat would mean that it isnt.

great logic

By Ano Nymous
by Ty Miles on Tue 27th Jul 2004 14:07 UTC

"Well, is RH9 backwards compatible with RH6.2 for example? Is RH9 backwards compatible with Debian 2? Is it compatible at all or to which degree?"

LOL! Is Windows XP backwards compatible with Windows 3.11 I mean come on. How far do you want to go back. That is part of the problem with Windows now because to be backward compatible they keep in code from the Win 95 days. That is why you see a lot of viruses and worms affect a range of Windows versions.

RH9 being backwards compat with Debian is like asking if OSX is backwards compat with FreeBSD. Yes there is some free BSD in OSX but they are 2 different OS's. Remember with Linux that it's only the kernel that is similar across distros. How they add applications, toolsets etc on top of that is the choice of each company.

You say: "With OSS backwards compatibility is not necessarily a problem since you can always compile the software for the new libraries etc. that you happen to have installed on you box. But not everyone knows how to do it." But who would have to know how to do it? The application developer should know how to do it! The regular user would not need to know that! So who is the backwards compat issue affecting. Also a lot of times you can roll back libraries and things of that nature. You can have an installer like APT or in linspire their click and run does that.

@rockwell
by drynwhyl on Tue 27th Jul 2004 14:07 UTC

"Yes, yes, I see your point -- especially with the evidence of *136 POSTS* (so far) about this article. You're right. Nobody cares."

Nobody wants to let his provocation uncommented, but at the same times doesnt care for his actual arguments, because they are so ivory-tower.

@Sam
by Ano Nymous on Tue 27th Jul 2004 14:14 UTC

Really? Are they statically linked or how do they work?

Don't they also happen to use their own widgets / GUI toolkit?

Wouldn't it be kind of stupid to have all the software use their own toolkits and libraries?

Breaking binary compatibility, eh?
by Grant on Tue 27th Jul 2004 14:15 UTC

So, breaking binary compatibility isn't a problem on Windows? Please tell me, then, why are there _many_ games (an application type that Windows is famous for) written to use DirectX 6 that simply will not function with DX7 or higher? If DX<6 is installed, the game(s) complains that a "newer" DX is needed. If DX>6 is installed, the game(s) complains that a "newer" DX is needed. Why, why WHY?

At least I haven't had that problem with OpenGL games on Linux. If a 3d compatible card is installed and the X drivers are configured (which isn't hard, so long as you READ THE READMEs), the game runs. Sure it's a different matter if we're talking about SDL or any of the other APIs, but again they're not hard to install at all.

And talking about being hard to install or not, have you noticed that many of the newer "Newbie Friendly" distros around (even the commercial ones) are based on a Debian system? Considering Debian is reputed to be a hard-to-use system, wouldn't that make it corporate madness to base a product on it? The reason is that once it is setup (which the Install will do for the user automagically), Debian systems are an absolute doddle to keep maintained and install/remove new software. Perfect for a "desktop" system.

And one last thing: I do object to the insination that Linux isn't suitable for someone's grandparents or non-tech-savvy relatives, and that they would need assistance in doing anything under Linux. Even bloody Windows isn't suitable for the non-initiated. How can anyone say that Windows is intuitive? Using a computer is not intuitive it is a learned activity. Only very primal thing like fear are intuitive, everything else is learned. Be clear on the meaning of the word before using it.

@drynwhyl
by rockwell on Tue 27th Jul 2004 14:16 UTC

//Nobody wants to let his provocation uncommented, but at the same times doesnt care for his actual arguments, because they are so ivory-tower.//

Right. Hence, they *do* care. Hence, the OP is full of it.

C'mon, I know they teach logic in Deutschland ...

ready for desktop
by iges on Tue 27th Jul 2004 14:20 UTC

"By "ready for the desktop" we refer to a system that can be used by someone without the help of a geek-relative or a specialized magazine"

I really doubt that there is a os that can be installed by a total computer newbie without any education first - not even Windows versions falls into this cateqory... thats why preinstalled pc-s are sold in the first place.

Need standards.
by Dark_Knight on Tue 27th Jul 2004 14:21 UTC

I don't know why some Linux users get upset when even another Linux user points out current issues with Linux that need improvement? The author makes some valid points. If it wasn't an issue then when most of us install our particular Linux distribution we would not need to spend a day learning how to properly configure our system to have things such as codec support and 3D drivers. To be ready for the desktop a user should be able to install the OS with little effort and be ready to use at log-in.

STANDARDS:

Novell released YaST to offer a standard for other distributions. Problem is not all distributions are RPM based. Having two lines (Debian based and RPM based) is some what slowing Linux migration on the desktop. Solution though is fairly simple and that is developers such as those that are creating software like auto-package are working towards being able to convert any compiled package to your distribution allowing you to easily install software. This type of unified installer is what all Linux distributions need to be more attractive and user friendly.

Even though some people are complaining I'm happy that Novell is seriously working with SuSE Linux AG to make a unified desktop model for their next release. Having to many choices can be over whelming to some users and can even be considered bloat when packaging the OS for distribution. We seriously don't need to have more than one multi-chat messenger come with a Linux distribution. Maybe if developers focused on one then we would all have VOIP and Webcam support by now for MSN Hotmail and Yahoo users instead of hearing excuses of "it's coming soon" for the past year.

Video codec support is something that concerns a lot of Linux users. This has been the main complaint on most Linux forums. Having a Linux distributor such as Novell basically say they won't offer popular codecs because they don't know whether or not it's legal to do so is B.S. If commercial Linux distributors such as Linspire can offer this with out being sued then so can others. Hopefully when Novell and Red Hat include Real Player 10 with it's universal codec support in future distributions they won't cripple it for end users. Having a consumer purchase an OS only to find out he/she cannot play basically any video is nonesense and down right misleading. Hopefully Linux developers are listening.

Compatibility with Windows applications is another issue. Several distributions do include the free version of Wine. This is nice but seriously it's not easy to use. Either improve the free Wine to have a user friendly GUI or commercial distributors should consider including CrossOver Office and Cedega (WineX) in their Linux distributions. Linux distributions would then be more attractive to both businesses and home consumers.

RE: Breaking binary compatibility, eh?
by Ty Miles on Tue 27th Jul 2004 14:22 UTC

RIGHT!!

I have said on here a million times that I have put at least 20 people on Linspire and only a couple have come back to ask me for help. Most of the help questions were not with Linspire but problems with using and older version of Crossover Office I installed so they could use Office. But once I showed them Star Office those questions ended.

No Linux distro is perfect but there are lots of useable distros. And if (Like Dell and IBM and Gateway do with Windows) You have it configured to do the basics for the user the user out the box the user will be able to use it. And they will learn more complex things over time.

@Ty Miles
by Ano Nymous on Tue 27th Jul 2004 14:35 UTC

If I recall correctly, when RH6.2 shipped the current version of Windows was 95 or was it 98? So as I see it, it is not the same as XP <--> 3.11. I don't personally care much about backwards compatibility, but from a business point of view it IS important. You think Microsoft does it for fun?

RH and Debian use the same kernel, the same libraries etc. But they use different versions, they have different directory structures, they have stuff the other one doesn't have etc. Again, as I see it, it is not the same as OSX <--> FreeBSD. OSX <--> Darwin comparison would be closer.

True, the software developer should be able to take care of the library etc. compatibility and that is exactly the point! It is NOT possible! The library versions on the user's system could be anything, s/he might not have certain libraries installed etc. There is NO standard which defines what WILL BE on the user's system and the developer CAN NOT know it. Supporting ALL possibilities IS practically NOT possible. From a business point of view it makes absolutely NO sense since it would be VERY expensive.

That is why there has to be a standard for these things if we want Linux to have a chance against Microsoft or if we want commercial software to be ported to Linux.

Great Article
by themadtux on Tue 27th Jul 2004 14:39 UTC

Great points and very correct in your statements. As much as everyone wants to scream freedom of choice and crap; if you want new users who aren't geeks things need to be simplified. I know all the zealots will scream that I'm a "suite" and that I'm just trying to push Microsft's cause, blah blah blah. I'm not. I use Linux one box is running SuSE the other is running Onebase and I thuroughly enjoy it, and yes I do have a Windows box. I'd love to see Linux on the desktop, but in reality it still has some growing up to do and alittle more standardization. Period.

Plug and Play VS. Reality.
by Rick James on Tue 27th Jul 2004 14:47 UTC

I think what the author meant was that he prefered to have gnome or kde ontop of something like dri (low level is what he said) instead of xfree, and if you think about it he's right. It's been years and xfree still doesn't cut it for desktop use: weird latencies, uses too much much ram, redraws, slow like hell when apps make use of transparencies (like flash on your web browser), half the times i install linux i get a "no screens found" and have to fix it myself, i mean, think about it, how the f*ck are noobs going to fix that? on windows it just works, even if it's 800x600@60hz. How can an os be ready for desktop if it can't even make use of a plug n' play monitor?
>
>
Let me tell you a story about Plug 'n' Play monitors. I bought one to replace a old monitor that died. Still am using it for that matter. But I had to configure the settings for it by hand for both Windows and Linux because niether could figure out how to configure it using Plug 'n' Play for the higher res. modes it offered.

Why? Because the monitor didn't have a Plug 'n' Play
vendor name. Both Windows and Linux couldn't figure out
what company made the freaking monitor.

Here's the Plug 'n' Play information for the monitor:

Monitor Information --------------------------------------------------
Monitor Name Unknown (5539/777)
Monitor Type 17"
Viewable Image 15.7"/40 cm
Serial Number 493
Date of Manufacture 43. week of year 2002
Max. Horizontal Size 32 cm
Max. Vertical Size 24 cm
Display Type RGB Color
Voltage Level 0.700V/0.300V (1.000V p-p)
Input Signal Type Analog
Gamma Factor 1.27
DPMS Support Standby, Suspend, Active OFF

*********************************************************
So don't run around claiming that Plug 'n' Play is all that people like you claim it is because it's not.

It's *VERY* hardware dependant.



RE: Why do people keep writing these stupid articles
by James on Tue 27th Jul 2004 14:47 UTC

--QUOTE--
I suggest that the majority of Linux users don't want Linux to be "ready for desktop". That would mean that a majority of people using PC's might actually use Linux and then these "OS learners" wouldn't feel so special and elite.
--END QUOTE--

What? Are you quite insane? Linux IS ready for the desktop already. Why do people always say that it isn't when it blatently is!

--SHOUT--
LINUX IS NOT A DROP IN REPLACEMENT FOR ANY VERSION OF WINDOWS AND IT NEVER SHOULD OR WILL BE! THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT IT IS NOT READY FOR DESKTOP USAGE! IT MEANS THAT IS ISN'T WINDOWS! GET USED TO IT!
--END SHOUT--

I second that
by Andrew on Tue 27th Jul 2004 14:50 UTC

I've been using linux on my system along with windows for a very long time. I think that the guy made very valid points. The problem with the config files and overbloated graphical desktops is a serious issue. I understand the matter of choise but that should be given during installation. I don't really see the need for 3 different text editors 5 different image viewers. Secondly, Gnome and kde are getting faster but as much as the linux kernel is superior to windows the graphical system lags like working on an old 266 p2, and i have P3 600 with scsi hd and an FX vcard.

RE: Article
by Anonymous on Tue 27th Jul 2004 15:02 UTC

So you want Linux to become Windows... How interesting...

The only idea of integrating the GDI in the kernel makes me laugh and shows clearly you have no single clue about system programming.
This was a major mistake from MS stabiliy and security-wise, and the speed bonus they gained from it was marginal. X11 IS fast, and KDE is NOT X11, get your facts straight. When X11 dies for some reason (be it a bug or a DoS), that's it, just launch it again. When your kernel GDI dies, the system dies with it. This kind of integration is utterly stupid. MS wanted IE to be fast so they integrated bits of it in their kernel. Result : Huge security problems, and a browser that's not even able to compete with Firefox as far as speed (an anything else btw) is concerned...
Giving letters to drives is stupid too. How is D: more informative than /mnt/cdrom or /media/cdrom ? You've got to be a special mind...
In the same fashion, nobody in the OSS community gives a fuck about binary compatibility, and the reason why it is so is because the source is availble and source compatibility is nearly always granted (at the cost of minor tweaks at worst). Why should the whole system carry the burden of binary compatibility when it is useless ?
The only solution MS found to this was to write a DOS/win9x emulator for WinXP that works half the time. It's not something anybody wants to write for Linux, but if you really do, feel free implement it.

Good Article
by Anonymous on Tue 27th Jul 2004 15:05 UTC

I thought the article was pretty good bringing up the various issues with Linux on the desktop. I hate when the Linux people tell me that I must switch to Linux when it doesn't offer me any different functionality than Windows. The sotware I do run on Linux I can use on Windows so there isn't much incentive to switch. I use Gaim, Firefox, Thunderbird, and Xchat. All available for both platforms.

However my main gripe with Linux on the desktop is that of sound/multimedia. I can't play more than one sound at a time. Just the other day I was in Linux playing some Enigma while having Gaim open, soon as I closed Enigma I hear about 12 ding sounds from Gaim all playing in a row. Yes I'm aware of Esound but I think its pretty shoddy.

Also I don't want to install 5 different sets of libraries just to get programs working. I install Gnome and its libs, because the programs I run are based on it. I don't want to install KDE libs just for one program, or ClanLIB, or some of the others.

most already exist.
by Jonas lihnell on Tue 27th Jul 2004 15:09 UTC

Id say most of this already exist, however not well implemented. the biggest practical issues such as gtk/qt and x/xorg should get solved through y-windows and that should unificate much more than only that.

and using source/based distribution methods based upon autmake/autoconf also make it possible to maintain binaries.

for companies who wants to keep their secrects: encrypt the source and add scripts to do the building on your own.

and indeed, a unified place to put links to all newly instaled programs would be good.

@Anonymous (IP: ---.w193-251.abo.wanadoo.fr)
by Shane on Tue 27th Jul 2004 15:09 UTC

The only idea of integrating the GDI in the kernel makes me laugh and shows clearly you have no single clue about system programming.

He never said that. You're too much in a hurry to brush the author off as clueless. He's made some very pertinent points.

RE: Great Article
by drynwhyl on Tue 27th Jul 2004 15:10 UTC

As much as everyone wants to scream freedom of choice and crap; if you want new users who aren't geeks things need to be simplified.


The problem with the article is, the author just assumes _everybody_ just wants to service "Joe Schmock" for free. But, I bet that this is not the case, at least not for the majority of current Linux users/developers.

It may be for some companies like SuSE, but all they do is, roughly, package prewritten software as best they can. But as the software isnt and wont probbably be written for joe schmock in the first place in the near future, they of course cant compete with Windows/Apple who invest billions to make their systems usable for everyone (and of course, they charge for that.)

As long as the actual developers dont care for Joe Sixpack, the distro packagers cant do much better as they do now. And I highly doubt that free software devs will ever spend countless additional hours without payment just to make sure computer illiterate users will be able to use their software with ease.

All these are additional services you would have to pay for, and theres no point in building a additional "computer for computer illiterates" when there are are already Windows and Macs. They are not only easy enough for Joe Sixpack, but easier than Linux ever could be without strict design and framework decisions, what should be impossible with entirely free software.

@Rick James
by Rick James on Tue 27th Jul 2004 15:13 UTC

//It should be pretty clear by now that pretty much *NOBODY* is actually paying any attention to these articles//

Yes, yes, I see your point -- especially with the evidence of *136 POSTS* (so far) about this article.

You're right. Nobody cares.
>
>

Actually read the comments. 99% of them has nothing to with the article itself, but rather it's the basic ignorant attitude of the author of the "article" itself that's setting people off.

RE:Good Article
by Anonymous on Tue 27th Jul 2004 15:14 UTC

"
However my main gripe with Linux on the desktop is that of sound/multimedia. I can't play more than one sound at a time."


Thats really wierd. I hear that alot but I just tried playing a Shoutcast audio stream in XMMS and a trailer in totem and they work fine.

This is an intergted VIA AC'97 / SUSE 9.1 Pro

*sees 159 comments, skips 'em all*
by Luke McCarthy on Tue 27th Jul 2004 15:33 UTC

Why "Why Linux is/isn't ready for 'The Desktop'" articles are pointless. Leave poor old Unix to die, please, he didn't know it would come to this! He didn't want to live past the '80s! "Now that I lost my house, Number 12 PDP Street, DEC town, what should I do???"

And poor Mr. Sixpack! Deep down, he feels so troubled that he doesn't understand these machines. But it hardly helps that the User Illusion stabs him in the back at any opportunity. Old Joe doesn't really want to 'get his work done', he'd rather play Pong. Or drink beer. I'll join him.

But don't forget or battered friend 'The Desktop', or Brian as he is known by his companions Sheila 'The Mainframe' and Alfred 'The Minicomputer'. How hard the likes of Microsoft and GNU geeks have fought for his attention. Brian loves fishing, Chinese puzzles and Indiana Jones films, he's sick and tired of Windows and Icons and Menus and Pointers.

I'll get my coat.

It depends on what you're familiar with
by JGWK on Tue 27th Jul 2004 15:37 UTC

When my wife got introdused to a PC, she used GNOME. She got familiar with this desktop. We have a 16 year old in the house who insist to use Windows. My wife have tried Windows on this machine a couple of times, and she hates it. She thinks it confusing, a complete mess!! So my conlusion is it depends on what you are most familiar with. And what's this bullshit about X is not integrated?? That's an advantage!! I run two virtual X-servers on our PC. One for my wife, and one for myself. We never have to log out, just beacuse the other one must use the computer. I just press alt+ctr+Fx, and we switch the servers. I'm not familiar with WinXP, but I doubt this is possible with that OS. And Gnome/KDE isn't enaugh mature yet?? That must be a joke.

RE: standards
by Anonymous on Tue 27th Jul 2004 15:43 UTC

"We seriously don't need to have more than one multi-chat messenger come with a Linux distribution. Maybe if developers focused on one then we would all have VOIP and Webcam support by now for MSN Hotmail and Yahoo users instead of hearing excuses of "it's coming soon" for the past year."
-----------------
The problem is nobody would be able to agree on anything with regard to how the program should be designed or what features should be included. That is the bane of open source. Lack of direction.

RE: It depends on what you're familiar with
by Anonymous on Tue 27th Jul 2004 15:49 UTC

"When my wife got introdused to a PC, she used GNOME. She got familiar with this desktop. We have a 16 year old in the house who insist to use Windows. My wife have tried Windows on this machine a couple of times, and she hates it. She thinks it confusing, a complete mess!!

Have her try and download and install an application some day and see how it goes on her Gnome desktop vs a Windows desktop vs a Mac OSX desktop. Any OS can be made easy to use if you have an expert set it up well enough. You can throw a menu system on DOS and make it easy enough for a 3 year old to use. But that's not really the point. The problem is the actual setup process, the difficulty of maintainance and installing new applications, etc.

RE: James
by Ronald Crain on Tue 27th Jul 2004 15:57 UTC

You must be an American. We Americans assume that when someone doesn't comprehend what we have said it is because they are deaf. So we shout the message.

Have you considered the possibility that most folks are polite and tend to ignore the rants. So, the solution is to shout louder. I do not think so.

The responder who said that we tend to use things that we have invested time and money in and do not really want to change got it right. Yes, it is based on ignorance but it is normal behavior.

So, whatever OS/computer we have learned the best tends to be the one we like best. I like English as a language over the other languages I have used (German, French, and Spanish). English has more of my time and energy invested in it. However, it would be arrogance and ignorance to proclaim it as the best language.

If Linux for the desktop is a reality then it should be showing up in the numbers (market share and installed base). If that pace is too slow then maybe a good positive message has not yet reached the masses.

In the meantime let's all lighten up, please.

Binary longevity
by Fangorn on Tue 27th Jul 2004 16:00 UTC

We, Linux users and free software supporters, really dont give a fuck about what the author calls "Binary longevity".

With a free software, free as free speech not as free beer :-) , you'll always be able to compile it for a new version of your distro, or even for your new OS that is POSIX compliant. So why to keep a binary compatibility if we already have a source compatibility ?

On the other hand, saying that X is slower that GDI is a myth, I have Xorg on my fedora system with NVidia drivers on it, and it just rocks so fine on my Athlon 1800+, Furthermore, with the latest gnome installed, I use a half of the amount of memory that Windows needs in the sames conditions.

Keep your Windows, keep your viruses and trojans, but, please verify your information before posting them. It's quit disturbing to read that X uses the tcp/ip stack to draw a pixel on the local display system, it's completely wrong.

RE: Andrew
by OoSync on Tue 27th Jul 2004 16:04 UTC

I don't really see the need for 3 different text editors 5 different image viewers.

Why does my computer have 5 different image veiwers?
1.) Gimp -- in case I feel like playing around.
2.) GQView -- in case I feel like viewing collections of images, such as camera photos.
3.) ImageMagick -- in case I want to quickly view a single photo or do a really quick conversion or correction (say changing interlacing on a jpeg image) to single photos. Can be used from simple scripts.
4.) FireFox/web browser -- hard to view online images without them.
5.) xfig -- modify simple figures that I use in reports and papers.
6.) xPdf/gPdf -- view PDF files, sometimes I like the good looks of gPdf.
7.) gv -- view PS files.

So, that's at least 7 and they each fulfill specific and pretty well-defined roles. I use each daily (except maybe xfig). You know what, I feel completely naked on a system that doesn't have at least half of these applications (or equivalents).

Ie. I don't think Linux should try to emulate Windows in areas like drive naming (C: vs. /dev/hda) or directory structure. IMO, /home/user is just as simple and understandable as a 'My Documents' folder. Windows' latest attempts to integrate users and permissions are not at all enviable. Linux is currently much better at protecting the core system from clueless users. The 'Program Files' issue is more debatable, but I still say let those clueless users understand they will need a 'root password' in order to install programs system-wide.

Also, I don't see what's wrong with having X run on top of a very solid command-line system. Graphical config utilities (preferably by developers connected with the major desktops) should be used to insulate users from the command-line. The 'user-friendly' distros can simply channel the user more quickly and automatically toward these graphical utils than other distros.

"ready to replace Microsoft Windows".
by BigChris on Tue 27th Jul 2004 16:05 UTC

The author states, "...but the fact is that when we read "ready for the desktop" we understand "ready to replace Microsoft Windows"."

I have to ask -- why should Linux have to replace Microsoft Windows to be considered ready for the "desktop"?

Linux is Linux, Windows is Windows, so make your choice and be happy you have a choice. If you don't like that choice, get a Mac -- the other choice.

Ready for the desktop is not about one "replacing" the other, it's about having the choice to do it one way or do it the other or even using both or one if it does and not the other if it doesn't.

Why not just use the best of both worlds and stop worrying about which is or which isn't 'cause they both are and they both aren't, depending on which criteria you choose to pit one against the other with. I'm surprised more people are not concentrating their efforts on virtual PC programs that allow one to use both at the same time.

The state of mankind is that we have traditionally used what ever is in our environment to survive and make our lives easier, so if you have them both, use them both. That's not so difficult to do -- is it?

I'm not going to use a hacksaw to cut down a tree or a chainsaw to cut down a steel fence post. But if the tree has grown up right next to the steel fence post, I'm going to use the hacksaw to get rid of the fence post and then switch to the chainsaw to get rid of the tree. I'm going to use the appropriate tool. Figure out what you need to do and then get the right tool for the job. We all have a choice.

re Linux on the desktop
by Anonymous on Tue 27th Jul 2004 16:06 UTC

Personally I hope Linux will never look & feel like Microsoft Windows. Just looking at Windows XP interface for retards is terrible ? There is not much logic in the Microsoft GUI, and it is just a joke comaperd with Mac OS X.

Linux is ready for the desktop. I am using it and I love it, and I am drop & drag Mac Zealot scared stiff by any command line tool. Linux is fine and good enough for the average non tech person. Even DTP on Linux is now an option with Scribus. Web browsing, email and office tasks on Linux is just a joy.

Is Microsoft Windows readt for the desktop ? No it is not, as it cannot be used as it is designed to be used, -> as an online Desktop OS. Microsoft Windows is far too dangerous to be used as an online OS - out of the box. It needs Win-doctors and Win-nurses every day, 365.

@Anonymous (IP: ---.sip.sdf.bellsouth.net)
by raver31 on Tue 27th Jul 2004 16:10 UTC

But that's not really the point. The problem is the actual setup process, the difficulty of maintainance and installing new applications, etc.




Stop spreading shite... setup of linux is WAY more simple than windows.... maintainance is a gift, and there is no problems when installing new applications

People here always say windows has far more software available for it... also untrue. I think they must all be looking in pc world, or even download.com..

And a message to everyone here ;

STFU.. Linux is more than ready for MY desktop, I really do not give 2 fiddlers fucks what you all use on YOUR desktop, just leave me with my choice and I will leave you with yours.

Windows isn't ready for the desktop.
by ccchips on Tue 27th Jul 2004 16:18 UTC

It certainly isn't ready for the Internet, because the Internet is full of thieves, cheaters, liars, frauds, and confidence artists who hire people to help them spread their filth, and the people who wrote Windows had "no idea" such things could happen.

So if Linux isn't ready for the desktop, Windows is a whole lot less ready.

That Windows has more applications that are suitable for the desktop--of this there can be no doubt. However, I'm loth to suggest anyone use them if the user's credit cards, passwords, and personal information are constantly being stolen, manipulated, and otherwise abused. I certainly will not.

It's as if you people are arguing over whether a convicted felon's environment, which is constantly being used to trample the rights of people everywhere, is better than an environment created by people who are trying to (1) get ecactly what they want out of their computers, and (2) are trying to make sure those computers are at least somewhat safe from the criminals who have taken over the Internet.

I think you people ought to re-focus your attention on issues which are more important than whether one or another platform is "ready for the desktop."

@Rick James (IP: 207.96.9.---)
by Anonymous on Tue 27th Jul 2004 16:21 UTC

God, I wish you and all people stupidly blaring the same tune about "X taking too much memory" would find out facts before you open your mouth.

If check top my x reports using almost 64MB. That's with 32MB mem on the grapics card included!

So here I sit and have the entire KDE loaded + amarok, konqureror and some other apps loaded and my system *uses* 108MB. As a contrast I have a laptop on wich Windows XP uses 100MB before I even have started any applications beoyond the mandantory firewall..

To words: Get lost.

Good enough for me
by José on Tue 27th Jul 2004 16:22 UTC

Linux is good enough for my desktop. If other people want to be locked by a single vendor, fall victim to viruses, worms, trojans, spyware, whateva, and prefer that to adapt to a new environment, fine, that is their choice. Just don't pester me saying "Linux isn't ready for desktop"; to me, it is more than ready, it is just perfect.

Re: raver31 and ccchips
by Darius on Tue 27th Jul 2004 16:25 UTC

and there is no problems when installing new applications

I think people who make this claim are sticking entirely to what their distro provides and doing it strictly 'by the numbers' .. I should pick out a list of 20-30 apps at random and have zealots try to install the latest stable (non-beta) versions in their respective distros, and see who does it with the least amount of headaches.

That Windows has more applications that are suitable for the desktop--of this there can be no doubt. However, I'm loth to suggest anyone use them if the user's credit cards, passwords, and personal information are constantly being stolen, manipulated, and otherwise abused. I certainly will not.

Of course, you do realize that applications are everything don't you? This kind of argument reminds me of someone who might say "Hey, you have a car, but you drive it in an insecure neighborhood where your car might get jacked. Why don't you come to my neighborhood where this sort of thing doesn't happen? Oh, by the way .. there are no roads here, so you can't drive ..."

For me, installing new applications is as easy as launching Synaptic and clicking on the name of the application I'd like to have installed on my system.

The other way is to type : apt-get install foobillard on the powerful console, to have foobillard installed.

re:in general
by anon on Tue 27th Jul 2004 16:26 UTC

>> Shame on OSNEWS for posting this filth. <<

It's of little consequence - the elements that make up "desktop Linux" will keep on improving incrementally regardless of the title tatle from the sidelines.... we're aware of the "shortcomings", so are the developers - to the contrary - the rate of improvement and payoff seems to be increasing - thanks to the developers, the work's appreciated ;)

Re: @Anonymous (IP: ---.sip.sdf.bellsouth.net)
by Anonymous on Tue 27th Jul 2004 16:27 UTC

Stop spreading shite... setup of linux is WAY more simple than windows.... maintainance is a gift, and there is no problems when installing new applications

People here always say windows has far more software available for it... also untrue. I think they must all be looking in pc world, or even download.com..

And a message to everyone here ;

STFU.. Linux is more than ready for MY desktop, I really do not give 2 fiddlers fucks what you all use on YOUR desktop, just leave me with my choice and I will leave you with yours.


If you really cared as little as you claimed, then you wouldn't have bothered to come up with such a defensive post, or even read the article for that matter.

And you are being blind-sighted with regards to the ease of application installs. If it were really that easy, then there wouldn't be so much effort by Linux developers to make improvements. Step back and throw a common person in front of a Linux desktop. Have them pick a random Linux application on the Internet and have them install it. Then tell them to download a Mac OSX or Windows app and install them on their respective computers. While we're at it, have them uninstall the application. The users defending each of their platforms is not capable of claiming the ease of use of the operating system because their point of reference is totally wrong.
And for everyone who thinks I am defending Windows or OSX, think again. I think every OS out there has a large amount of shortcomings. I am just making comparisons.

For me, installing new applications is as easy as launching Synaptic and clicking on the name of the application I'd like to have installed on my system.

The other way is to type : apt-get install foobillard on the powerful console, to have foobillard installed.


So what do you do when the app you're looking for is not listed or is several versions out of date?

Re: Suggestions for Linux
by Henry G on Tue 27th Jul 2004 16:39 UTC

Just my feelings for some of the comments of Annate

Linux urgently needs the following:

> - More distro standards

I personally don't know what you mean by this. You can build a distro, I can build a distro. Now if you are talking about Linux, then you got the LSB.

> - More compatibility between versions of kernels and libs

are they badly incompatible then? could you cite examples please.

> - Low-level graphics in the kernel, like GDI

What is wrong with cross-platform libraries?

> - Unified control panel for system settings

KDE & Gnome has that: Control Center.

> - Unified registry for hardcore hackers, instead of text config files

NO WAY. Registry is what kills Windows.

> - Drive letters -- D: is much easier than /mnt/cdrom, or /dev/cdrom, or /dev/hdc, or whatever your distro has

Build your distro and map it. GoboLinux does that.
Freedom, see?

> - Unified desktop -- take the best parts from KDE and GNOME and combine into one

Why? Again nothing stopping you or anyone of building a new Window Manager with such "best parts"

Seems you've been very conditioned by MS-Windows:
Control Panel, Registry, Drive Letters and worse of all DirectX.

Linux which is based on sturdy Unix principles shouldn't downgrade to fit the needs of Windowphiles. But it gives you the freedom to create a wrapper around it - to the point where you can't tell the difference.

In short, leave Linux alone - it's evolving very well; hope the whims of the masses doesn't degrade a pretty powerful and flexible OS as it stands.

Perhaps the article should be why WindowManagers are not ready for the Desktop? Mind you, after discovering Linux + the various WM - I wouldn't go back to Windows ever. Perfectly fine and ready for me as it is.

What I think.
by Nicholas James on Tue 27th Jul 2004 16:42 UTC

Distros need

- More distro standards (please)
- More compatibility between versions of kernels and libs
- More apps. to come with an "click this" executable to install

- Dependecy issues fixed
- 1 control panel across distroa(ok maybe not needed)
- A gui option to setup anything in the control panel

This might help the linux world to, if all you linux geeks would stop saying go back to windows when a person can't figure something out.

me do things by the number ?
by raver31 on Tue 27th Jul 2004 16:43 UTC

nah - nver have done, never will. If I find an app I like the description of, then I download it and install it. I am using Mandrake 10, and if there is a manny version I will download the RPM for that, if not I will look for another RPM version, failing that then a TGZ. They all install without problems....

Well I lied...

I bought a Lexmark printer, went to the site for drivers, checked them... Redhat 9 only, which used a old lib file. The RPM files in the package installed ok in manny, but the install script itself would not run. I emailed Lexmark and they replied back that I should UPGRADE my operating system to Windows 2000 or Windows XP. Funny, but the printer was promptly sold on.

I never said that linux has NO installation faults.. I personally have had none.

And I never reply defensively here.. I take all posts with a pinch of salt, and I have a weird sense of humour that never gets insulted, but likes to take the piss out of others =:>

v No Desktop
by peter on Tue 27th Jul 2004 16:49 UTC
Answer to Darius
by Fangorn on Tue 27th Jul 2004 16:53 UTC

>> So what do you do when the app you're looking for is not listed or is several versions out of date?

I try by myself to find an apt repository, if I fail, I ask a friend or there is thousands and thousands Linux Forums where people are just happy to help me, that's the main advantage of the free software users community, you'are never alone.

Re: What I think.
by Henry G on Tue 27th Jul 2004 17:04 UTC

Distros need

> - More distro standards (please)

What do you mean?? You mean Debian stuff running on Slack is that it? Compile from source code. It's only 3 lines.

Still having trouble? Go to http://www.linuxquestions.org/

>- More compatibility between versions of kernels and libs

Games are usually 2.2+ compatible.
Apps 2.4+ compatible. Period.

> - More apps. to come with an "click this" executable to install

Get yourself Linspire then.

>- Dependecy issues fixed

It's getting there. Also have patience.
When I can't get some app to work (among the other 50'000 that does) - I just leave it. Try again next week, then next month. And one day voila - issue solved.

"Oh but see, Windows is not like that!" - you say.

I am dying to get Mono/MonoDevelop running. Can't .. ah well. Tough.
I was dying to get Eclipse running - great got it working last week.
I couldn't get PovRay modeller working and one day I could.
The system sometimes fetch that obscure dependancy and surprise something extra works.
But unlike Windows I see my system getting better, faster and fuller; and not the other way round.
Rather not have an app running because of some dependancy issue, than complete system corruption.

> - 1 control panel across distroa(ok maybe not needed)

you said it.

>- A gui option to setup anything in the control panel

It's there you may have to download more modules that is all.

>This might help the linux world to,

this will help YOU not Linux

> if all you linux geeks would stop saying go back to windows when a person can't figure something out.

(You got many willing people to help you out - Like LinuxQuestions.org - it is you got the wrong attitude)

I agree with this Article 100%
by Andre Da Costa on Tue 27th Jul 2004 17:04 UTC

The only way Linux can ever become a real player in the OS game is to start imitating some of the attributes of Windows and the Mac OS.

Easy setup of the OS and programs, standard graphical user interface, no more than 2 to 3 distributions available, no office suites included and it comes on only 1 CD.

My Grandma runs Linux already
by Aldo on Tue 27th Jul 2004 17:04 UTC

My Grandma runs Linux and she is actually very happy. She actually got upset when she could not found any "blue chip" company selling computers with linux preloaded...she mentioned to me: "Ah my son, this is why windows is so popular...because people do not have options"

My grandma's computer has dual-boot SuSE Linux 9.1 + Fedora Core 2...she still finds Gentoo and Debian a little complex for her ;-)

I do not know...I do believe in my gandma's wisdom :-)

Plain to see.
by Bill Sykes on Tue 27th Jul 2004 17:18 UTC

I think it is plain to see by now that the author of the article was very observant in this article. He also seems to have hit a raw nerve with some people.

thought the article was pretty good bringing up the various issues with Linux on the desktop. I hate when the Linux people tell me that I must switch to Linux when it doesn't offer me any different functionality than Windows. The sotware I do run on Linux I can use on Windows so there isn't much incentive to switch. I use Gaim, Firefox, Thunderbird, and Xchat. All available for both platforms.

If it weren't for the (I need this application...) issue, I'd have my wife off Windows by now, and we'd be reasonably sure that she wasn't winding up with:

spyware
viruses the AV people haven't detected yet
malware
a nice SPAM relay

and all the other stuff that "Joe Public" shouldn't have to spend an arm and a leg to protect against, because the underlying operating system he's using is like a piece of swiss-cheese when it comes to security.

In the "Microsoft PC World", it's always been about pretty pictures and easy-going, at the expense of underlying reliability, stability, and security.

If I go out to buy a desk, I expect it to stand up to abuse. Maybe it'll be pretty and presentable in the bargain, but it still has to stand up to abuse, and the drawers shouldn't stick, and the handles shouldn't fall off.

A leader.
by Thom Holwerda on Tue 27th Jul 2004 17:48 UTC

What Linux needs?

A leader. Not a kernel leader, a KDE leader, a Gnome leader, a whatever leader.

One leader, with a vision of where Linux should and shouldn't go. Not the tens of thousands individual "leaders" Linux has now.

Bill Gates was/is a leader. Steve Jobs is a leader. You can't "organize" something that has no leadership. For exmaple, in countries where there is a weak government, things go wrong.

I know I'll get flamed. But hey, I'm used to it by now ;)

El Desktopo
by Luke McCarthy on Tue 27th Jul 2004 17:51 UTC

I hope it will go away, this desktop. I hope the computer goes away as well. And I'll go away as well, to the BEACH!!!

AGREED!

A Leader
by Fangorn on Tue 27th Jul 2004 17:58 UTC

I recommend you to read the Eric Raymond's book called "The Cathedral and the Bazaar"
available online here : http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/cathedral-bazaar...

GNU/Linux doesn't need dictatorshit à la Bill Gates. It's another way of thinking, engeneering and producing.

Why bother!
by er81 on Tue 27th Jul 2004 17:59 UTC

I'll be honest, I didn't even bother to read the article. Just by reading the title I know exactly what kind of crap it's about. Such authors attempt to make Linux seem inferior to Windows. Here's something that seems to go unnoticed, LINUX IS NOT WINDOWS, and LINUX IS NOT MACOS X, Linux IS, well, simply Linux. It seems like one of these useless articles crops up weekly. Come on! I read OSNews because I want to know the latest in OS development. I though that's what this was all about? I'm sick of all this Windows vs. Linux crap. Like many have said before and have been ignored, use what you like, and let me (and other Linux users) use what I (we) like. Has anyone considered the fact that it takes time to code apps? On top of that, many of the opensource developers have other day jobs. They code because they love to, not because they have to. But they do have families, and other things to do. Stop bitching and start coding.

@ Thom Holwerda
by dpi on Tue 27th Jul 2004 18:00 UTC

Not sure if that's a troll or just ill-informed? What knowledge or experience do you have with consensus, and what makes you think that a hierarchy on a scale like this is actually practical? Don't you see there are actually leaders on several fields? Because of this, a hierarchy as you propose is just not feasable. The distributors are in the drivers seat and what you propose damages the authority of their drivers seat for one.

Anyway, frankly i'd rather see you use that BeOS of you and leave your stupid comments aside instead of using Linux and stating dumb opinions like this one (here's your flame, enjoy it).

@ EG nice demo's btw ;) i especially liked your sid. Kudo's! Are you included in HVSC already?

v Linux is N.O.T ready yet!
by Anonymous on Tue 27th Jul 2004 18:04 UTC
RE: PdC
by Abraxas on Tue 27th Jul 2004 18:06 UTC


- because there is no default strategy.


What does that mean? That is a vague and meaningless statement.

- because video drivers arent that willing to cooperate.

Nvidia drivers work fine for me. They're easy to install also.

- because you need staples, elastic band and ducktape and glue to put all things together so it will look complete from a far distance.

Please explain this. All I have to do is install KDE and it looks much more complete and consistent than your average Windows desktop.

- because there are so many frameworks; xul, qt, gtk, motif. a programmer shouldnt have to worry about that too much, but now he must make sure it works under all kinds of x and wm implementations. so openoffice or mozilla use theirs own and it takes precious memory for only that application.

What are you talking about? X is a protocol. Most programmers don't have to worry about it at all. They program their interfaces with a toolkit that they choose. The WM just manages windows. Programmers do not need to think about them most of the time. Do I have to mention that MS Office and MS MediaPlayer use their own toolkits? It doesn't seem to be a problem in Windows.

- because posix is outdated. modern system components have much more functions and capabilities than posix can handle.

This is another vague statement. It has no value at all. Explain how "modern system components have much more functions and capabilities than posix can handle". After all POSIX has been updated time and again. I'm sure even if your statement had any truth to it at all, it could be updated to include these "modern system components"

- because you need to recompilethe kernel again and again for adding hardware support/drivers.

No you don't. You can just recompile modules and install them. You do not need to recompile the kernel.

- because linux is highly experimental, as is mswindows; but postponing/delaying release dates for software may look as if it is without errors.

What? What does that mean? What is without errors?

replace?
by blk on Tue 27th Jul 2004 18:13 UTC

linux will NEVER replace windows, because it is:
1. Too stable, no more crashes...you'll all be missing that
2. Open Source, what if suddenly you understand why things are the way they are
3. Compatibility, linux does not support troyan-horses or any other kind of viruses and buggy programmes.
4. Too fast, what if you can't get a coffe anymore while your PC is working
5. You don't need restarts for every little installed prog...you're gonna have too much spare time
6...tons of other things

see, windows will and can never be replaced!

Wow, it's really amazing how defensive people get when you criticize their choice of operating system.

I read the article; I don't think the author is trolling or attacking Linux. He's putting forth suggestions on what the Linux community can do to get Linux ready for the desktop.

His suggestions are right on the money. Why? Because most of them have been done and it has resulted in a "Desktop Ready" OS. In a just a few years. Case in point: MacOS X

Nobody disputes that MacOS X is "Ready for the Desktop". Compare his suggestions to what Apple has actually done:

* *NIX kernel: Darwin
* Dump X11 in favor of fast display engine: Quartz
* XML Config files: XML Preference files
* Binary longevity: Application Bundles
* Standard driver system: IOKit
* Standardized location for programs: /usr/bin for CLI /Applications for GUI
* Standard installers: Drag-n-Drop, Installer.app
* and many more examples

In short, Apple has managed to solve most of the issues associated with putting UNIX on the desktop, that are facing Linux today. So why aren't developers paying attention and borrowing the good ideas? There's even a project out there with the same goals: GNUStep. Why aren't they getting any help?

The real answer to why Linux isn't ready for the desktop is displayed in the comments about this article: We can't along well enough to produce something cohesive.

Most of the comments here all seem to be one of these:

* "Linux isn't Windows and never will be!"
True, but (as much as I personally hate it) Windows is an example of a successful user-friendly system. Emulate the good ideas. Ignore the bad.

* "Linux works for me! I don't know what everyone else's problem is"
Good for you. Now, how about helping out the people who aren't as savvy as you?

* "If you don't like it, fix it yourself!"
Fixing it requires first identifying what needs to be fixed, i.e. criticism. Apparently that's not to be tolerated.

* "We!? Linux is not a company! You don't speak for the rest of us!"

* "How dare you limit choice!"
Heaven forbid somebody suggest we band together and decide on standards and best practices. How come these people aren't screaming that you don't have a choice of protocols when surfing the web? Where's the choice? You mean I can only use HTTP?

* "Windows itself isn't ready for the desktop! It Sucks!"
Is this supposed to be an argument against making Linux better? Yes it sucks, but it's apparently easy enough to use that everyone seems to tolerate it.

* "Linux doesn't have a problem with [insert problem here]!"
That's it. Just keep telling yourself that.

* "Who cares whether it's ready for the desktop!"
The people who want Linux to be successful enough that companies take notice and start writing more applications for it.

Rather than stciking our fingers in our ears and yelling at the top of our lungs whenever an article like this comes around, why don't we actually take the advice to heart and do something about it?

Oh that's right. ego.

RE: dpi
by Thom Holwerda on Tue 27th Jul 2004 18:15 UTC

Not sure if that's a troll or just ill-informed? What knowledge or experience do you have with consensus, and what makes you think that a hierarchy on a scale like this is actually practical? Don't you see there are actually leaders on several fields? Because of this, a hierarchy as you propose is just not feasable. The distributors are in the drivers seat and what you propose damages the authority of their drivers seat for one.

Anyway, frankly i'd rather see you use that BeOS of you and leave your stupid comments aside instead of using Linux and stating dumb opinions like this one (here's your flame, enjoy it).


Well, yeah, I'd indeed rather use my BeOS, that's for sure ;)

But anyway, dude, SkyOS for isntance, has achieved a lot in the past year, and why? It don't have a massive amount of dev's, close to no resources, and still it achieved stuff in one year that took desktop Linux years and uears.

Why?

Besides that Robert is a very good coder, he is also a leader. He makes choices, and stands by them. In the OSS world, on the contrary, all options are pursued. This results in more software, and more ways of doing stuff, but hey, also less overall quality.

There are a lot of examples of OSS that does work. The Linux kernel, OpenOffice.org, and various server-related projects. Why do they succeed? Because, in essence, they maintain a corporate structure.

But, bring oon the flames dude, stick your head in the sand! Ignore critisizm! Shut up the people who don't agree with you! Buy eaplugs! That will really help Linux and OSS, I'm sure of it.

RE: WJB
by Thom Holwerda on Tue 27th Jul 2004 18:18 UTC

Amen to that, dude.

pretty much completely agree
by J on Tue 27th Jul 2004 18:25 UTC

I have used various Linux distributions as a desktops for 8 or 9 years now . I personally don't want a Windows-a-like OS, repleat with the security holes etc, but I do agree with most of the comments the author makes about the current short comings of Linux on the desktop.

As a normal user I find it increasingly hard to understand why in order for me to get an application to run properly/integrate with my existing desktop installation, I need to go to distribution provider to find one that they've packaged * - ask yourself: would the same thing be thought a good idea in the Windows world?

Meanwhile as someone who's deeply involved in producing commercial software targetted at desktops on (currently) various flavours of Windows, Solaris and HP-UX, I can tell you that the cost to develop, support and test Linux software versus Size of market place, is not very favourable to linux, with predictable impact in terms of availability and quality.

On the desktop what we've got at the moment suits people at either end of the experience scale, i.e. experts, who know how to make it work and are prepared to tinker, or those at the other end of the scale who rely on an experts to do it all for them. Whilst this situation continues, Linux, and it's various distributions, are unfortunately never going to be in the same desktop league as either Mac or Windows.



* Usually, if it's available, it's either old and out of date **, or bleeding edge and possibly broken

** not their fault, as given the amount of software a distro packages, it's pretty much impossible for a conventional distro to stay current.

Wrong, wrong, wrong
by Jose on Tue 27th Jul 2004 18:34 UTC

The Linux Desktop is not about "Replacing Windows." The Linux Desktop is about getting folks an affordable option to Windows/MAC. Is Linux ready for the Desktop?

Were I an avid Gamer, I would say NO! Not even WineX lets you play all of the games an avid gamer would want to. So for Gamers, it is not ready.

Is it ready for the common Joe/Jane, that wants to surf, read/answer emails, play Videos at Yahoo, etc? Yes, it is. It has been ready for awhile.

Is it ready for the Corporate Desktop? Here the answer is Maybe. Many companies rely on software that is only available for Windows or a MAC. Where I work, Linux could replace Windows on over half the desks in the company (about 9500 of the 15000 desks). It would be a real money saver, however the MS FUD has deafened the Corporate ears to Linux. So Linux (as viewed by the powers to be) is not ready for our corporate desktops.

I also disagree that you would only need one DE/WM. Man, do some research! There are plenty of distros out there that focus solely on ONE DE! Look at Xandros and Mepis. You get KDE and wait, just KDE! Others, like Vector Linux (a fine distro in its own right), offer KDE as the primary DE and IceWM for lower power PC/back up purposes.

By just going to http://www.distrowatch.com/ the author could have seen that many, if not all of his gripes are already addressed in many distros.

The one point he made that I am at lost at is the interface between the command line and the GUI. Maybe it's because I don't play with my setting a lot. But if I change my X settings using a commandline, the GUI tools pick it up, as they do for printers, adding users (to Linux and Samba), configuring Samba settings, etc.

Perhaps someone can enlighten me as to what interface he is talking about? I am sure the problem exists since he did mention it, but where?

Why was my post moderated away ?
by Anonymous on Tue 27th Jul 2004 18:46 UTC

I did just expect this. My listing: -
http://www.osnews.com/moderation.php?news_id=7813
- of new July 2004 Microsoft Windows viruses & worms was moderated down and away. I have had this feeling for a long time, i.e. it is no longer accepted to tell the truth about the Microsoft Windows operating system. The stakes are too high.

All I did was to list new Windows viruses & worms for July 2004. I know this list is a shocking reading but never the less, it is the truth. Since most news media is no longer bothering telling the public audience what platforms are not affected by viruses & worms I felt this "short" list might shed some light on the matter "why Windows is not ready for the desktop user".

industry standards...
by M^2_77 on Tue 27th Jul 2004 18:48 UTC

imho,what the author had in mind is a "bureaucratic" or "politic" sort of definition for "desktop" ...
of course your linux is ready for the desktop (otherwise you'd not have installed it and wouldnt be using it to surf/write/etc... ), but since today IT is an infrastructure element, there's not only the limited extent of one's desk to be considered, the landscape is potentially MUCH vaster.

one reply gave a good argument: standards exist for those who are willing to follow them
following one standard would mean turning what is somewhere still perceived as a hobby/hacker software, into an entity with an industrial reputation, worth of the attention of the major SW houses: but i suspect it's not even what linux users want... correct me if im wrong, but where's the point in contaminating a free OS with a dirty, proprietary application?
on the other hand, people who are willing to pay (invest) 1000's $/€ for a professional, closed, SW are (imho) most likely to be willing to pay for an already well tested and widespread, proprietary platform , too...it'd be the proof that MS position as OS provider (i'm not considering browsers and mail apps ) is well deserved

PS: after seeing enlightenment i wonder why it's not proposed as the reference desktop ...

Question
by Filch on Tue 27th Jul 2004 18:49 UTC

Millions of people using it, but Linux is still not ready for the desktop. It's because articles like this get posted that this is the laughingstock at Slashdot where a majority of the locals use Linux full time. So the question is, how many millions of people need to be using Linux before OSnews.com regulars decide it's ready for the desktop?

I LOVE articles like this!
by Anonymous on Tue 27th Jul 2004 19:02 UTC

I must admit, I love articles like this that bring the angry defenders out of the woodwork. Don't misunderstand me, my joy has nothing to do with content or the responses such an article invokes, but rather the hoot and howls of laughter I get from picking out gems like the following:

engeneering
you'are
it is you got the wrong attitude
not the other way round
gandma's wisdom
nah - nver have done
comaperd
there is no problems
beoyond
on wich
software isnt and wont probbably
intergted
My wife have tried Windows
introdused
emmental
vurnelable
becayse
apllication
developng
peice
funcamental
Interresting

This is just a quick and rather small sampling of what gives me pleasure when reading the posts to an article like this. Sick, I know! Someone should seriously contemplate writing an article that investigates whether the slaughter of grammar and spelling increases proportionately to the anger level such an article invokes in its readers! In the meantime, I'll look forward to the next "Linux isn't Ready.... blah blah blah" article for the sheer comedy it provides during a long day at work.

BSD
by Sverre on Tue 27th Jul 2004 19:02 UTC

"I dont like Linux because of X, so I use BSD" - OK! Spartiepant ;)

windows desktop...
by M^2_77 on Tue 27th Jul 2004 19:03 UTC

just one thing i've recollected a moment ago: on windows too, one could use a different "desktop"... essentially a different window manager /decorator / theme handler, in the case alternatives such as Stardock's products are chosen..
or one can install Litestep or Retrostep ... there's only the need to change one line "GUI= xxxxxxxx" in a config file, to point to the executable of the actual shell (in win, the gui is called shell)

the ability to change the window manager is often overlooked by windows users, especially since XP added support for interface theming ... but anyway it can be noticed , that changing the WM doesnt change the toolkit and library set for the whole OS, these remain MFC, Common Controls, GDI

looking at Enlightnment, it implements its own library for low level drawing (eCore-Evas) which is directly HW accelerated, ( potentially even more than the GDI itself, because of the use of openGL..support to X applications is given by local emulation only when needed),
but it seems the graphic part of QT and gtk toolkits could be ported on top of the enlightenment library as they already are to port linux applications on windows, or am i mistaken?

Re: I LOVE articles like this!
by Luke McCarthy on Tue 27th Jul 2004 19:08 UTC

This is just a quick and rather small sampling of what gives me pleasure when reading the posts to an article like this. Sick, I know!

You have made my day. Thankyou.

Actually...
by Luke McCarthy on Tue 27th Jul 2004 19:13 UTC

You could make a drinking game out of it!

* Misspelling, 1 sip
* Grammatical error, 2 sips
* Complaint about X Windows, 4 sips
* Complaint about Windows viruses, 4 sips

...and so on. Now all we need is a live comment feed, and we're all set!

X windows is a sack of
by eric on Tue 27th Jul 2004 19:14 UTC

X windows is a networked driver system.

Windows is NOT.

Windows drivers use kernel messaging (fast as hell).

Linux and all old unixes do NOT. (slow as hell)

I agree with this article 100%

Linux is a server os like the 'old' days of unix.

Look at the creator of 'unix' bell labs. They have dropped unix and are now going with PLAN 9.

Linux to me is always 2 steps behind the mainstream.

It's ok but not leading edge.

@Thom
by Bas on Tue 27th Jul 2004 19:14 UTC


You really do amaze me with your comments once and a while.
If you are so happy with BeOS and/or SkyOS stick do that and do
not go trolling around here. You do understand Linux.
Let me refresh: Linux is a kernel and its got a leader his name is
Linux Torvalds. This kernel is free and gets used by a lot of companies and organisations that use it to build either a complete distro that they sell or make a custom system that they use like google does. For this reason it is impossible to have one leader, there are dozen. You could always write the leader of Lindows, Xandros, Mandrake, RedHat, Suse etc. So is it clear now??

@Thom
by Bas on Tue 27th Jul 2004 19:19 UTC


>You do understand Linux.
Should of course be: You do not understand ;)

Re: I LOVE articles like this!
by Henry G on Tue 27th Jul 2004 19:22 UTC

Look! Look! I can spot many grammatical/spelling mistakes - I am sooOOoo clever.

.. Get yourself a job in proof-writing, Oh pedantic h0.

To all
by Bas on Tue 27th Jul 2004 19:22 UTC


Wich Linux?, Wich distro?, wich X window, wich desktop? wich DE?
Linux is a KERNEL!! not more or less. The rest is build around it by individuel companies and orgs. It is that simple...

Linux not ready for MY desktop.
by Anonymous on Tue 27th Jul 2004 19:34 UTC

I personally do not feel Linux is ready for my desktop, or the typical home user desktop. I have tried several flavors and versions of the Linux OS, beginning with RedHat 5.x. It's been exciting watching the progression of the OS and I believe one day it will definitely start winning the desktop war. However there are a few things holding it back. It's not the different desktops (Gnome and KDE should remain seperate), it's not a lack of drive letters (A:, C:, D:), or distro standards, and it's not fear of using a command line interface. From a GUI perspective, I think most Linux desktops are a work of art. And all the selection of opensource software is absolutely wonderful. But I think what continues to be a major stumbling block for many home users are hardware compatibility issues. One thing every computer user has grown to EXPECT from Windows is that hardware will automatically be detected and drivers installed with minimal hassle (i.e., PNP). Linux does this okay but does not do this exceptionally well either. I still experience and hear about painful Linux experiences because of video card issues...sound card issues....wireless network card issues...and the list goes on. In a corporate environment the user does not have to worry about these issues because the OS is already installed and configured. In that environment, Linux may very well be ready for the desktop. But for a majority of home users (obviously because Linux has roughly 2% of the desktop market) Linux is not ready for the desktop.

v @Henry G
by Luke McCarthy on Tue 27th Jul 2004 19:49 UTC
re: Perspective
by MoronPeeCeeUsr on Tue 27th Jul 2004 19:51 UTC

Here's a question: is Windows 95 ready for the desktop? How does Win95 compare to one of the desktop Linux distros nowadays in terms of the categories given for desktop computers?

Nope Win95 is not ready, not anymore. That was about 10 years ago.

If thats what Linux is aspiring for, a level at which win95 was then I'd say its a good 10 years behind.

do you use linux on the desktop? i do, its ready for me, and it has been for the last three years. you dont? its not ready for you then. maybe one day it will be, maybe one day it wont, or maybe you will become ready if it.

regardless, this never ending stream of articles can be boiled down to this, certain people out there, from the looks of it predominantly tech news site contributers, have problems running linux still. is this fact worthy of 200 comments? IMHO, not really...

Right on the money
by TenaciousOne on Tue 27th Jul 2004 20:15 UTC

I totally agree with the Author.

Also, what testing methodology does Linux use? Can you trust an OS that doesn't under go intense quality control?

@ Thom Holwerda
by dpi on Tue 27th Jul 2004 20:22 UTC

"But anyway, dude, SkyOS for isntance, has achieved a lot in the past year, and why? It don't have a massive amount of dev's, close to no resources, and still it achieved stuff in one year that took desktop Linux years and uears."

Like, what? Does it run OpenLDAP? EDirectory? MySQL? Oracle? Apache? Decent firewall? No, it isn't suitable as server, it is suitable as single user OS. And what is the "Linux desktop" if SkyOS developers port FLOSS programs to SkyOS? The ported software would fall under the central authority of this "Linux" leader you wish for (which on regards of the kernel itself, does exist). With what are comparing anyway? What Linux distributions? How the f*ck do you think one leader scales up to all these projects? SkyOS is next to insignifact in terms of size when compared to all the thousands of FLOSS programs sometimes lousely described by some as "the Linux comminity" (even though the software is ported to tons of other OSes). You're talking about TOTAL different hierarchies in terms of size, structure, history of succeedings, commercial back-up, shared knowledge and many other aspects.

"There are a lot of examples of OSS that does work. [...] Because, in essence, they maintain a corporate structure."

You admit the hierarchies work! Yes you want one leader ABOVE these working hierarchies! Doh.

Regarding desktop, there _are_ people who are working on standards and compatibility, damnit. I have pointed these out: Project Utopia and Freedesktop.org. The latter is a *huge* effort and it *works* without one benovelant dictator.

You still haven't proven why a benovelant dictator hierarchy style works better than a democratic chosen core group (not one leader) or consensus.

"But, bring oon the flames dude, stick your head in the sand! Ignore critisizm! Shut up the people who don't agree with you! Buy eaplugs! That will really help Linux and OSS, I'm sure of it."

You ignored my point regarding the scalability. I don't think posts like yours actually contribute because they're plain ignorant. I've already replied to the article itself and agreed there are problems. Some problems are beeing worked on. I have agreed with problems in the past and i will agree with the problems in the future although the problems are mostly for the home user desktop market. In contrast to "Linux", BeOS or SkyOS have NO market in any business environment at all and they'll never have any, or have any significant one. They're research / academia projects.

Re: Plug and Play VS. Reality
by o6nH on Tue 27th Jul 2004 20:29 UTC

Why? Because the monitor didn't have a Plug 'n' Play
vendor name. Both Windows and Linux couldn't figure out
what company made the freaking monitor.


the vendor name doesn't matter because the edid (that's the info struct you get from the PnP monitor) contains the timings supported by the monitor.
why xfree86 doesn't use this properly is beyond me, i've seen it bork time after time even after running
xf86setup, later i found out that xf86setup doesn't even work with xfree86 4.3. nice...
For me that "no screens found" error represents just how xfree86 is outdated.

I do agree that Linux is not ready for mainstream use but this guy has it all wrong. For starters:

In the discussion about how KDE and Gnome compete with each other he mentions his car analogy, about how all cars have the same basic interface. Hello? Have you ever driven a manual transmission? It is quite different from an automatic. In fact if you learn on an automatic is very difficult to learn the manual, much harder than any difference between KDE and Gnome.

Maybe we should have a standard desktop and many distros have tried to establish that (Gnome on Red Hat, KDE on Mandrake), its just that Linux's current user base has resisted being tied to one desktop.

Another note, Windows doesn't exactly have a standard interface either. The utilities to change system preferences are different if you move from Win 3.1 to 98 to 2000 to XP. The solution? When you call up Tech support they ask you which you are using and base the response on the answer. The same could be done with Linux.

As far as his whining about speed, that will vary from one system to another. I find that Linux works much faster than Windows 2000 on my dual boot computer. Besides, with the speed of modern computers, one OS being a tenth of a percent faster than the other isn't really going to matter.

v @why was my post modded away?
by Anonymous on Tue 27th Jul 2004 20:32 UTC
RE: Bas, dpi
by Thom Holwerda on Tue 27th Jul 2004 20:38 UTC

@ Bas

You really do amaze me with your comments once and a while.
If you are so happy with BeOS and/or SkyOS stick do that and do
not go trolling around here. You do not understand Linux.
Let me refresh: Linux is a kernel and its got a leader his name is
Linux Torvalds. This kernel is free and gets used by a lot of companies and organisations that use it to build either a complete distro that they sell or make a custom system that they use like google does. For this reason it is impossible to have one leader, there are dozen. You could always write the leader of Lindows, Xandros, Mandrake, RedHat, Suse etc. So is it clear now??


Did I say it was possible to have one leader? Please point me to that comment, I'd like to know where I said that. What I mean is: Linux needs one leader. I never said it was possible.

@ dpi
You still haven't proven why a benovelant dictator hierarchy style works better than a democratic chosen core group (not one leader) or consensus.

1. SkyOS' rapid development;
2. Microsofts dominance on the desktop market;
3a. Apple's 'dominance' (too big a word, I guess, but you get my point) on the graphic design market;
3b. Apple's dominance in the portable MP3/electronic music store industry.

All 'companies' led by one man.

Democratic chosen core group? You really don't have a clue do you? Please point me to the place where the elections are held for the kernel group on the Linux kernel. Dude, they are asked/appointed, not elected! Where did you get that crazy idea?

v @blk
by Anonymous on Tue 27th Jul 2004 20:46 UTC
@ Thom Holwerda
by dpi on Tue 27th Jul 2004 21:12 UTC

Did I say it was possible to have one leader? Please point me to that comment, I'd like to know where I said that. What I mean is: Linux needs one leader. I never said it was possible.

Ehm, if A is needed while A is impossible, you try the alternatives B and C. What you propose is simply not realistic as i have pointed out 2 times now with intriguing questions which you evaded, failed to answer. Because there is no answer which supports your argument.

1. SkyOS' rapid development;
2. Microsofts dominance on the desktop market;
3a. Apple's 'dominance' (too big a word, I guess, but you get my point) on the graphic design market;
3b. Apple's dominance in the portable MP3/electronic music store industry.

All 'companies' led by one man.


(Yeah and Google uses software not led by one men.

You have still not proven why consensus doesn't work. Studies have proofed it is scalable in hierarchies up to 150 individuals under the best circumstances; hence it'll be less in most hierarchies.)

SkyOS "rapid"? As i stated insignificant plus porting software is quite easy. The home user desktop is simply no big market. These people will mostly download and burn an ISO rather than buying it. They don't want professional, payed support, they'll ask a friend or the neighbor youth to fix the casual problem puting them a lil' bit of EUR eventually, but no contract of support or professional pay rates at all. Because it ain't worth it. The money lies in the corporate environments. These people cannot afford to use warez (yeah, some do...) hence the price vs quality argument is more fair, too. RedHat knows this, hence Fedora. Novell knows this, hence they chose Linux as their base to target corporate environment. Not Joe Desktopuser.

Market share says nothing about quality at all, and it is even more _laughable_ next to your SkyOS argument who don't have any significant market share at all!

As for companies, no. They're not by definition led by one person. They're owned by stockholders and the board of directors to which the executes have responsibility to. That's not a real dictatorship. You do think there is no consensus there? This is normal in NL too, those are called BV and NV. What you mean is VoF or eenmanszaak (which Apple, Google, Microsoft, Philips, Novell etc are all not equal to VoF / eenmanszaak).

Not to say examples 2, 3 are not succesful. However, many consensus-based or democratic core group chosen hierarchies _are_ succesful and that goes beyond things like FLOSS. I work as volunteer for a NGO in my free time, and i believe we are succesful in our efforts.

Democratic chosen core group? You really don't have a clue do you? Please point me to the place where the elections are held for the kernel group on the Linux kernel. Dude, they are asked/appointed, not elected! Where did you get that crazy idea?

How about i wasn't refering to the Linux kernel here, but rather to the way Debian, GNOME, NetBSD and FreeBSD work?

I feel i'm wasting my time with you. Later.

Re: @ blk
by dpi on Tue 27th Jul 2004 21:20 UTC

"3. Linux is virus-proof, eh? Hmmm. Really? Hmmm. http://www.viruslibrary.com/virusinfo/Linux.htm Next?"

Worm != virus, despite many people including AV vendors claiming otherwise. But yes, ELF infecting viruses are reality.

See also for example the ELF virus writing howto: http://www.lwfug.org/~abartoli/virus-writing-HOWTO/_html/

What if
by Filch on Tue 27th Jul 2004 22:19 UTC

People simply said, "I don't like Linux, it's not my cup of tea" instead of "It's not ready for the desktop, nobody should use it."?

re:Linux
by Winton Renson on Tue 27th Jul 2004 22:23 UTC

I also feel that Linux* is not ready for the desktop. (*Mandrake. It is all I have tried)

My experience with Mandrake:

1. The installation procedure was very easy, for the most part. I didn't understand the need for two partitions, and at one point I was prompted to choose a drive or partition to place Lilo on. The "dev/" stuff was very confusing to me. I can accept that this may simply be 'different' than what I'm used to, but in Windows and BeOS, I can at least identify my drives and partitions because drive capacaity and free space are displayed to me. I don't remember seeing this information in the Mandrake installer.

2. The first thing I noticed was that my monitor's refresh rate was set too low, and it was giving me a headache. I looked around Mandarke and Google for an hour, and I never found a way to change it.

3. I tried to install a piece of software. To do this, I had to open a command line window and type in several lines of non-intuitive text. Then an error message told me that I needed to install 250+ development packages or libraries or something.

4. It was very slow compared to Windows XP on the same machine. After an hour of usage, opening a simple command line window would cause seven seconds of hourglass animation.

5. I wasn't overwhelmed by its visual aesthetic. The fonts didn't seem to be rendered correctly.


Here is a quote from this very forum thread:

-------------------
"> hell after recompliing kernel module for ati 3d driver i still got no 3d!!!

maybe you forgot to use fglrxconfig (/opt/ati/bin/fglrxconfig) to set up the driver."
-------------------

On any "desktop" OS, I never want to have to compile anything, or "fglrxconfig" anything. I also never want to have to "$$$-.._][-CliPcLoPP_z7656%$AweSomEE" anything.

Having to type such inane things into a command line window is not conducive with being "ready for the desktop".

I'd honestly like Linux (or some set of apps on a kernel, whatever definition of an OS is appropriate) to "get there" regarding normal desktop usability, as I enjoy choice.

I do think it is almost there. I just wish it was faster, and I wish the above issues were no longer present.

And thank God it isn't
by Chris on Tue 27th Jul 2004 22:55 UTC

I don't want people like you using it. In fact, stay off linux, let's keep it pure. Intelligent users only please ;) . Of course, most people will read that and realize I am kidding (mostly), but for those of you unable to grasp humor: It was a joke calm down!

He made a point about Linux just being a kernel and how specific products were just that. Then he went on to complain about KDE and Gnome, and argument debunked if he uses a specific distro that standardizes on one of the two. In fact, boot into RH and try Gnome and then KDE. Tell me about how different they feel; I doubt you notice much difference except that KDE's menu has more stuff in it.

I'll put up the first vote to never standardize on things like DE's. Is Linux not ready for the desktop? Or is the desktop user not ready for Linux? Maybe we should quit trying to conform to the average Joe, and make the average Joe conform to Linux; after all, that's how the real world works anyway.

One of the best things to happen to Linux....
by Chris on Wed 28th Jul 2004 01:54 UTC

...in my own opinion, of course, is the emergence of standards. For instance, although it may not be possible now, in a year or two, you might find that the only difference between GNOME and KDE is the toolkit! I'm no developer, that's just an example.

Similarly, if all config files used the same syntax or what have you, it wouldn't matter if you like a GUI tool or you prefer to edit by hand. Again, example.

What I hope to see from any distribution currently available and from any others that might be popping up in the near future, is adherence to standards. Autonomous package management (ie same package will install on any distribution) is a bonus in my book. My personal opinion is that if it's not available for your distribution, try to make it available, maybe do it yourself or let packagers know - don't say "Ah, someone else will tell them."

Disclaimer: Haven't read all of these comments.

Cheers,
Chris

RE:pretty much completely agree
by Uno Engborg on Wed 28th Jul 2004 02:14 UTC

As a normal user I find it increasingly hard to understand why in order for me to get an application to run properly/integrate with my existing desktop installation, I need to go to distribution provider to find one that they've packaged * - ask yourself: would the same thing be thought a good idea in the Windows world?



Well, it is almost the same in the windows world. As soon as some application gets reasonably successful or better than what Microsoft can offer, Microsoft will buy it and and package it for you. The list of such applications are long just think Stacker, MS-SQL Server,...

The article is about how to make Linux like Windows with no choice.
I've used Linux exclusively as a Desktop OS since late 2000. I have several companies using Windows, Linux and Mac Desktops. The users are not computer geeks, just average users.
As for non-techies: My parents use Linux, with no problems - and no worms, viruses or spyware. My best friend uses Linux. My kids use Linux. My wife is finishing up her doctorate work, running Linux.
Linux is great as a Desktop OS. Mandrake 10 is fast, and there is no lag when using X. If you want super fast, compile Gentoo. Speed is an issue when running a 266mhz machine, but a >1Ghz machine with 512Mb ram is fast enough for Desktop use in any OS.

Completely missing the obvious
by Kevin on Wed 28th Jul 2004 03:18 UTC

If XP didn't come pre-installed, pre-configured and take over 1/8 of your hard drive with a restore version, because you will need it, there is no hope whatsoever that it would be ready for the desktop. Every pundit known to man compares apples to chairs. I just finished my 32nd, yes, my 32nd convertion from Windows to linux for a friend of mine. When I OEM it, it is 9 times as easy as windows, simply because everything, from browsers to word processors to printer setup to scanners to digital cameras to photo software to photo albums to burning software to music players to CD players to internet set up to email are all INCLUDED. I refuse to support Windows for anyone, it is Linux or nothing. My Mom, 70+ years on Linux for over 3 years now, no problems and I get ZERO technical calls. Similar for all the others. Once a modem went bad, I told them the one to buy, not the one the store hawks, they plugged it in. Know what, they had to do NOTHING. NOTHING and dialup worked with ZERO changes.

When computers ship blank, and a hapless user is given an XP CD or 3 and told install it yourself, then you can compare the two. Anything else is just flapping your gums. I know, personal experience ranging from clueless (but nice), to technical, 32 converts and counting. My distro of choice for newbies, Mandrake 10.0 Official. For the slightly more literate, Suse 9.0.

Total number of Linux re-installs due to slowdowns, trojans and virus's, ZERO. Number of times I re-installed before my zero tolerance policy, too many to count. But yet, Windows is desktop ready. LOL.

Kevin

@Winton Renson
by rain on Wed 28th Jul 2004 05:34 UTC

Pretty much my experience of linux on the desktop as well.
However, if linux comes pre-installed and pre-configured on a box there aren't that many issues anymore. As long as the user doesn't change much that is.
I wouldn't expect the avarage user to understand why the filemanager suddenly stops working when he updates gnome like it did for me. In fact, even I had to spend a lot of time finding the cause of the problem. (couldn't find it with google)
But as long as you restrict the user to just installing software off the CD then it should work nicely, however such restrictions aren't acceptable in a home environment.
In a corporate environment however, linux would do very well.

I use linux as a web development OS, and it works very well for that, it's easy to install and configure. For that purpose I prefer it over Windows any day.
But for regular desktop use, BeOS is still the king of the hill in my world. The simplicity and ease of use hasn't been matched by any other OS to date.

@Thom
by Bas on Wed 28th Jul 2004 07:05 UTC



You are becoming a SkyOS zealot, the first i guess so good for you ;)
SkyOS is nowhere near Linux or BSD and has no market at all therefore its not to say if its a good OS system and/or formule. We will see.
If you want to compare a Gnu/Linux distro to SkyOS you better take Xandros or LInSpire and you will see how far SkyOS is behind.

I understand that you like windows and/or SkyOS and that you would like to see that Linux would become that or sort of but you must keep in mind the whole porpose of Linux was that i could NOT be controlled or led by ONE man/woman.
Its ok for you to stick your head in the sand and ignore the nature of Linux what made it come this far.

Drive letters
by John on Wed 28th Jul 2004 08:18 UTC

Windows XP/200x actually does have a good disk management!!!

Under Administrative Tools | Computer Management | Storage | Disk Management one can either 'Assign the following drive letter' to a formated partition or 'Mount (it) in the following empty NTFS folder'.

One can change every drive letter or mount assignment, except for the system partition (it stays the drive letter that was picked during installation)

I you remove a disk or add a disk or just change it from primary to secondary or to RAID controller - the drive letters (and 'mountage' for that matter) stay the same.

I coudn't say the same for our beloved Leanux.

Note: I'm nevere gonna switch to a non-ClearType desktop.

taste, choice and fork
by frits on Wed 28th Jul 2004 09:04 UTC

The point here is not which one is better. There are countless articles on the matter, the problem is that we have two of them. Please, let's not talk about personal taste and freedom of choice.

Why not? Why not talk about taste and the freedom of choice. Why not talk about the freedom to fork? Without all that, Linux would have never become what it is today. Take it away, and you'll see Linux evolution stagnating right away.

Don't like it? Raid your savings account, buy an Apple. There's your standardized unix platform. (Assuming OS X is ready foryour desktop.)

RE: Bas
by Thom Holwerda on Wed 28th Jul 2004 10:05 UTC

You are becoming a SkyOS zealot, the first i guess so good for you ;)
SkyOS is nowhere near Linux or BSD and has no market at all therefore its not to say if its a good OS system and/or formule. We will see.
If you want to compare a Gnu/Linux distro to SkyOS you better take Xandros or LInSpire and you will see how far SkyOS is behind.

I understand that you like windows and/or SkyOS and that you would like to see that Linux would become that or sort of but you must keep in mind the whole porpose of Linux was that i could NOT be controlled or led by ONE man/woman.
Its ok for you to stick your head in the sand and ignore the nature of Linux what made it come this far.


Me? A SkyOS zealot? Yeah right, guess you didn't read my 4 pages on SkyOS on OSNews the other day. I critized the project openly. But instead of me being pushed out, ignored, yelled at by Robert, Kelly Rush and other die-hards in the SkyOS community, they praised me for being open, honest and, in some cases, even blunt. Zealotry is when you blindly support an OS. I don't blindly support SkyOS. No one inside the SkyOS community does so. Drop by on #skyos once in a while, or read our forums, critizism and sceptizism all over the place. Critizism is something the elitist part of the Linux community don't want. Reminds me of something...

Anyway, of course I understand the nature of Linux, and I like the fact that it's open and for the most part freely available. I'm even a great fan of it; used Mandrake as my main OS for quite some time (still follow the dev closely, and if you payed attention, I always try to submit interesting news from the MDK newsletter to OSNews). I've used every version of Mandrake since 8.0 (including snapshots/betas/RCs).

It are the people like you that stopped me from using Linux. People that say they support choice, but in fact force Linux and OSS down everyone else's throat.

If I compare the Desktop Linux from now with that of two years earlier, I don't see any development. Easthetically it improved, speed-wise it improved, but did usability improve (for the end user)? No it didn't.

RE:taste, choice and fork
by Uno Engborg on Wed 28th Jul 2004 10:36 UTC

Don't like it? Raid your savings account, buy an Apple. There's your standardized unix platform. (Assuming OS X is ready foryour desktop.)


Don't assume too much. Mac OS X is a nice desktop indeed, but its not better than e.g. Fedora with respect to usability. Especially if you run Gnome. In many cases Apple have fallen into the trap of sometimes making things beautiful at the expense of usability.

To reach all configurability that is available in OS X you need to go to the command line just like in Linux/Gnome.
I think the reason OS X is considered more desktop ready than e.g. Fedora is more in the user state of mind than in actual technichal features. The Mac user usually accepts the limits of the GUI while the Linux user doesn't. If the normal MacUser started to fiddle around in the terminal window, the press would be full of stories on how MacOS is not ready.

Mac OS have a slight advantage though, there are more apps that would appeeal to the home user. The question is, does that little difference make it desktop ready.

Simply FUD
by Judland on Wed 28th Jul 2004 13:09 UTC

My household has been using Linux as our desktop OS for over two years now. I have a computer background and my wife doesn't. Even so, Linux provides for both of us, what we need for our day-to-day computing activities.

....And better yet, we haven't been bothered with all the problems that go along with using a MS-Windows desktop.

From our point of view, it's Microsoft who's not ready for the desktop.

@ Thom Holwerda
by dpi on Wed 28th Jul 2004 13:27 UTC

"Critizism is something the elitist part of the Linux community don't want. Reminds me of something..."

Haha. Man oh man. Follow any mailinglist or blog like Slashdot. In any grassroot organisation (self-)criticism is _needed_. Vital. It is a core element of consensus while it is often less taken into account in more strict hierarchies.

However, some criticism has to be taken with a grain of salt because some people simply don't have a clue what they're talking about. This while there is no constructive criticism; it is not in depth, leaves out factors of reality, the user does not contribute time nor money nor resources.

"If I compare the Desktop Linux from now with that of two years earlier, I don't see any development. Easthetically it improved, speed-wise it improved, but did usability improve (for the end user)? No it didn't."

Your opinion, not mine. For me, XFce4 is a major improvement which helps me majorly to introduce new users to Linux. Mozilla Forefox as well. And several interesting projects have started, or evolved.

Usability for the HOME END user could be better indeed and if you ask me it has improved for example with the new XFce4 of with Firefox. I have posted criticism on the usability aspect which i see mostly a problem where no payed, prof. admin is available (home / end user, not most corporate levels), with details and implementations, i have done that before, and i'll do it again. Continued, i have much respect for people like Keith Packard and Robert Love who are up to a change (i'm also very glad i've been able to see their implementations IRL at FOSDEM 2004).

As such as it is, you seem to be a constructive contributor for SkyOS. I hope you're aware that you're not one for the home / end Linux desktop. Talking here doesn't change much if anything at all. At least, that's my NSHO.

Some lame points
by Prem Kurian Philip on Wed 28th Jul 2004 13:50 UTC

Though I do agree with many of the points in the article, I notice glaring lack of understanding of certain aspects of Linux as well as the general progress already made towards addressing some of these issues.

For instance, KDE and GNOME being two seperate "desktops" doesn't really cause too many problems that cannot be resolved quite easily by the distributions. For instance, newer version s of Redhat's Linux includes the Bluecurve UI (ok, ok, I know some of you don't like it) which tries to integrate the two desktops and does a pretty decent job of it - not perfect, but it is still progress.

So as long as the distributions can figure out how to keep the positioning of the icons, handle issues such as installation of applications and their icons and startup links etc.. standard in the system no matter which desktop - kde/gnome is being used, then the user will really not mind.. perhaps the user will actually enjoy having these two desktops installed.

The primary irritants in Linux, as I see it,are the driver installations, application installations and overall system configuration.. which are still quite complicated and very non-intuitive. If these are also fixed, Linux will be quite usable.

Thats my 2 cents

For some great software development - http://www.songbirdtech.com

Packaging
by Chris on Wed 28th Jul 2004 14:43 UTC

So....I've got a question for you repo haters. What other install system is there in Windows other than .msi?
Oh wait, you mean Windows has a package manager too; and it's not compatible with anyone else's package manager? Oh wait, you mean many programs are distributed differently for 9x and NT series systems? Why that's horrible, it's almost as confusing as autoconf/automake (which will get any package working from source on any linux system, as long as the deps were installed properly).
Geee, so what this guy above (myself) is saying is that there already is a standard install system, and there has been for a long time? He failed to mention that there is even a standard set of install instructions. Yea, those ones that say it at the top "these are the standard instructions".
Well boy, doesn't that just debunk this "let's ruin linux by making it all the same and chase all the techies/geek/intelligent individuals off to BSD so that average Joe can feel like he's still using Windows" talk.

Not the Linux I know
by Christian on Wed 28th Jul 2004 15:31 UTC

This article and most of the comments that I could bare to read do not describe the Linux desktop that I know. From what I can tell by reading the comments is that there is a learning curve from migrating from the Windows way to the Linux way. I use and support Windows NT, 2000, and XP at work, so I have a great understanding of both systems. One argument that I have is that any modern Linux desktop is greatly superior to at least Windows NT, if not the later generation. If you don't believe me then you must have never installed or tried setting up drivers for NT on a desktop or a laptop. I constantly see inconsistencies with the GUI and broken applications.

The Linux desktop is moving at a very rapid pace. I have seen it change 10 times over. And it keeps getting better every day. I like having a choice of my desktop. I run Gnome 2.7 (development) on my Gentoo machine at home. I have used KDE but I like the elegance and consistency of Gnome much better. I do, However, respect people that prefer KDE. I use Fluxbox on my old Dell laptop at work that isn't fast enough to handle Gnome or KDE, and the laptop runs like a champ. For applications, there is hardly a windows application that I miss on my Linux machines. Dreamweaver is nice, but HTML is dead and I just code CSS, PHP, and HTML by hand in bluefish. The only thing that I truly miss are the number of games on the other platform. For this I bought a Playstation2.

Linux is ready for the desktop right now! That is why you have so many developing countries installing it instead of Windows. Linux is not ready nor may never be ready for people unwilling to break their old windows habits.

Desktop Linux
by DSR on Wed 28th Jul 2004 17:30 UTC

I am not a programmer or computer scientist, but a teacher in educational psychology, and I have used GNU/Linux with XFCE as my primary desktop and OS for several years. It's really been no problem at all. Some 'learning' has to occur, but that ends in time.

When do we know that Linux is "ready for the desktop?"

It depends for whom and for what
by Martin on Wed 28th Jul 2004 22:02 UTC

My wife has given up on Linux, my daughters have not. I have not, either. I use Xandros and Win 2000 in a dual boot system. Xandros to work with Internet and Win 2000 for everything else. I think that Xandros applications crash a little more than Windows and they are much slower (on the same machine), but I don't care as long as I can work safely from viruses, worms etc. The firewall took some time to set up and it is not user friendly for dial-up connections.

Before I got to Xandros I tried Suse. It was useless.

I am an everyday user (internet, e-mails, letters, spreadsheets) and application developer who wants the things get done.

From my limited experience, I dare say that many Desktop Linux applications are just as bloated and unreliable as Windows applications. Maybe they all suffer from the same problem: complexity due to featuritis and unsafe languages (C/C++). I like OCAML (combined with Fortran for numerical speed). But as I said - it depends for whom and for what.

Anyway, I am very glad that we have the new Linux world because it gives us more choices and teaches Microsoft to behave - it IS competitive already. Thanks to all the wonderful Linux hackers who created this new world.

Martin

v Fuck-you
by Tiago on Thu 29th Jul 2004 12:45 UTC
i cant wait till linux is just like windows!
by spazdaq on Thu 5th Aug 2004 19:52 UTC

idiot.
you missed the bus entirely. now go get hit by it.

RE: Suggestions for Linux
by w2CUrious on Thu 5th Aug 2004 20:37 UTC

Sorry but I think you got it all wrong.
I like suggestions on how to improve Linux but not on how to change Linux from Linux to MS-Windows.
The problem is people compare Linux to often with MS-Windows. A lot of Linux desktop initiatives look a lot like existing MS-Windows features because we think people want what they are used to on Windows... My Documents, taskbars etc. etc. Wrong.
If we want to compete and be leading (and not following) in the desktop market we have to build a better desktop and not copy a desktop... this is going on to much.
That's worse but don't make it even worser with suggestions like control panels, registries and drive letters.
We (linux users) have our own problems (challenges!) and do not need the MS problems too.
People and companies must be begging to use and build apps for these Linux desktops (based on the same standards !)

Almost all of the complaints in this article caused by the fragmented nature of Linux distributions. If this same article had been written by someone using FreeBSD, it would have been reduced to "Why do we need both KDE and Gnome?"

i disagree
by Stephen Roller on Thu 5th Aug 2004 22:03 UTC

If you want all that shit to happen, fork the kernel, fork your favorite distro, and do it yourself. All you want is Windows with a different name.

Linux has always been about choice. You can't break that. That and doing things yourself. So hack away. I'm sure you'll find plenty of followers who won't be willing to contribute a thing--just bitch that they don't like anything else.

very true
by David Reitter on Thu 5th Aug 2004 23:22 UTC

thanks for this article. While some UI solutions may be different from Windows, they should be attempted. And right now, I agree, Linux is not ready for the desktop.

The worst is the perspective of the developer community: they expect me to learn a new configuration file format or command line arguments for each new application. Before I can install it, I have to install X,Y,Z dependencies, one of which gives me trouble compiling. Talking about integration: well, there isn't even a single working clipboard-standard (copy&paste) available. X11 does it's thing with some inconvenient (but standardized) mouse clicks and for text only. KDE and GNOME do their thing. Can't copy and paste reliably, can't drag and drop -- all these things I can do in OS X.

Well, there is much more. But everytime I bring it up, I get told, I'm a 'troll', writing 'flamebait'.

PS.: I am an IT professional and geek. But I have better things to do with my time than to figure out how to configure my machine.

Ummmm...
by Rick Sheridan on Fri 6th Aug 2004 05:03 UTC

I agree with the premise "when we read "ready for the desktop" we understand "ready to replace Microsoft Windows", after all that is essentially what the argument that is posed. I fully understand why Windows is the "standard", but I have never understood why so many users and "IT professionals put up with it. I also understand why so many users cannot get comfortable with many Linux distributions, but as users gain more knowledge many will find perfectly usable "Desktop" distributions like 'Linspire', 'Mandrake', 'PCLinuxOS', etc. Those who argue the point are usually comparing a free download to the commercial MS products.

Geeks and IT types will happily use their choice of a Linux or BSD distribuiton, or any other "alternative" OS they like, and assemble the desktop of their choice (those who use a GUI).

All users who purchase a supported OS and commercial software have all the usability they could want without the horrors of Windows. Linux is definitely ready for the desktop. The issues come down to marketing and distributing.