Linked by Eugenia Loli on Wed 23rd Jan 2008 22:07 UTC
Linux With Linux on the desktop going from a slow crawl to verging on an explosion, many have toiled with the question: How do we make this happen faster? A well-known Austin-based Linux Advocate thinks he has the answer.
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"Does it have visual appeal?

To some it does, to some it don't. Personally I find both Windows and OSX visually unappealing.

Well, I think it's pretty clear that Apple creates products with a great visual and emotional appeal. Why fool ourselves? Maybe it's nothing for you, but overall they're doing quite well.

"But it also has a cost: you must learn how to use it and you risk wasting time on it in case you don't like it (let's just ignore missing software and hardware support)

So, in other words, it's exactly the same as any other change in your life?

And what's your point? Do you change everything in life just because you can? It must be worth the effort, of course. That's where I see the problem.

"Seriously, from a user-experience point of view, Linux doesn't add any value to my life and work (maybe you like exploring geeky stuff, but many people don't).

You != everyone. It's quite possible Linux does nothing for you but that doesn't mean it does nothing for everyone.

If you're a network admin or programmer it might be better for you. But seriously, what does Linux do better than Windows for the general public (who doesn't have "computers" on their list of hobbies or as their main profession) if you take into account that the most important Linux apps are available for Windows? Put up two computers with exactly the same applications, but one with Windows and one with Linux. Now tell me which one is better as a desktop machine. If we pretend that all hardware is fully supported (and hibernation works, ...) then Linux is probably no worse. But it's not better, either, and that's exactly the problem. It's too similar to Windows to have any appeal (except for geek appeal ;) apart from cost saving.

"Bringing *computer* open-source and *computer* freedom and *computer* choice to the masses? Who cares about that apart from a few geeks?

While most probably don't care about the first two they do care about choice.

If you have the choice between "easy to use application X" and "difficult to use application Y" then people will be happy about choice, indeed. But how often is the decision so easy? Nobody wants difficult choice. Ever tried to find "the best" USB HDD? Or "the best" laptop for $1500? Somebody once commented here that he wouldn't even wish his worst enemy to have that burden. Choice can be annoying when there is no clear winner for you.

"Do something that really makes a difference!

Agreed. OSS and Linux is already making a difference though, perhaps not on the radar of the masses but that's not the same as not making a difference.

Great, but I was specifically talking about all this "the year of Linux" and "is Linux ready for the desktop?" whining (i.e. being on-topic). If you don't care whether Linux becomes successful on the desktop then please save our time and just say so directly.

"Get rid of the folders and files concept and use semantic technologies [2]

That's exactly what some OSS and Linux projects are doing. You might have noticed the "Mandriva" logo on the Nepomuk site.

I linked to Nepomuk exactly because I want more attention for its sub-projects (Nepomuk-KDE, etc.), so more OSS developers start thinking about new interaction concepts and making them real, so the choice between "Windows" and "Linux" becomes an easier and clearer one.

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