Linked by Massimo Sandal on Thu 7th Jul 2005 20:14 UTC
Linux Recently in a post on my blog I argued that, despite many claims to the contrary, GNU/Linux is almost ready for the desktop. In particular, I argued that GNU/Linux is already a very good and easy desktop if people just take the time to learn its very basic differences with Windows before actually using it. Note: Don't forget to rate this article!
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1) Lack of Microsoft Office:
Sorry to say it, but OpenOffice, for all it's goodness being open source and all that just is NOT even close to being on par with Microsoft Office.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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