Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 18th May 2009 19:06 UTC
Linux We all know them. We all hate them. They are generally overdone, completely biased, or so vague they border on the edge of pointlessness (or toppled over said edge). Yes, I'm talking about those "Is Linux ready for the desktop" articles. Still, this one is different.
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I don't understand the 'premise' part. Of course Adobe aren't going to open up the source for Photoshop. But that doesn't stop them selling a Linux version. ATI drivers are closed, as is Enemy Territory Quake Wars, yet I use both on Ubuntu.

I agree that audio is bad. PulseAudio is the best hope, but it's not particularly easy to configure.

Is a single unified API necessary? Use the API you like and mark it as a dependency so the package manager can handle it.

My personal experience of fonts in Linux is mixed. There are no decent font configuration tools, but I have managed to get a decent setup that I see no problems with. But I'm not in pre-press or graphic design, so..

"Many distros' repositories do not contain all available open source software. User should never be bothered with using ./configure && make && make installer" ...ok, here I must say 'WTF?'. Where in Windows can you set up any repositories? For the most part, Ubuntu lets you point and click to install software without having to worry about dependencies. And sometimes you want to ./configure && make. I just recompiled Amarok 1.4.10 on Jaunty, enabling support for MP4 tag editing while reducing the binary size by omitting things I don't want, like visualizations, aRts and iPod support. Can iTunes do that?

"It should be possible to configure everything via GUI which is still not a case for too many situations and operations." Honestly, who hasn't had to go into the windows registry at some point? Or manually register a DLL? Point taken though - but Linux is really getting better at this.

"Few software titles" ...I completely agree. This is not the fault of Linux, but the likes of AutoDesk, Adobe, Apple etc. The cost of supporting another platform is high, and wouldn't pay off with a small user base. When the linux market share increases they'll just have to change with the times.

"..inability to run familiar Windows software." Can Windows run Mac software? What this argument boils down to is "It's not Windows."

"A lot of WinPrinters do not have any Linux support". So far I haven't had problems printing to any printer from Linux. At all. As with software, it costs manufacturers to support additional systems.

"No games. Full stop." ...bollocks. Every Quake game from 2 to Enemy Territory Quake Wars, Doom 3, several versions of Unreal Tournament, Neverwinter Nights, EVE. It's by no means a long list, but they prove that it's possible. Again, blame the developers.

"Incomplete or unstable drivers for some hardware" But let's take the Creative Zen for example. It has HORRIBLE drivers/software on Windows, whereas on Linux I added 2 lines to a file and installed libmtp8, and I can use it in Amarok. The Logitech MX Desktop is a similar story - horrible on Windows, simple on Linux.

"It's impossible to watch Blue-Ray movies". No it isn't. The studios make it difficult (but not impossible) to get 'fair use' out of your blu-ray.

OpenOffice 3.1 (with a few intelligent setting changes) starts in about 6 seconds in Jaunty. (Bog standard hardware). And by enabling preload you can shave that down further.

"Questionable services for Desktop installations" applies to Windows too, which uses a kitchen sink approach for services in order to dumb things down for the user.

"Social engineering" is the main cause of security holes on any operating system.

"Enterprise level problems", "No software policies" and "No standard way of software distribution." My job is to manage thousands of Linux desktops, pretty much by myself. A substantial team handles a similar sized Windows PC estate. I can wake all Linux PCs up at night, deploy updates and then shut them down using a 5 year old management system that we wrote inhouse using free open-source technology. The Windows guys constantly hog the network up during the day because their SMS system can't do that, even though Microsoft have been promising these features for years. "That's in the next version. Give us a few hundred grand please."

For SOME desktops, Linux isn't just 'an alternative', but it's 'an ideal'. For other situations Linux is dreadful. My wife is a graphic designer, and it's a complete no-no for her. I play music (hobby) and it took me a week to collect the know-how to get my M-Audio Keystation 61 to work at all. Horses for courses.

Edited 2009-05-20 18:00 UTC

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