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.

Here is what it means: If you don't accept the premise, you are a childish nerd. But if you do accept the premise, Linux has to provide certain things to succeed, e.g.
- a unified, easy method for installing proprietary 3rd party software coming on CDs/DVDs
- a much more stable API

Heck! Even OSS that is not in a repo is in many cases impossible to install, not to mention drivers that are not in the Kernel or are only available in a newer Kernel.

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

There is no such thing as "the package manager"! There are quite a few. And just telling the package manager to resolve and download certain Frameworks does not mean they CAN be resolved. You are still in a testing hell, as a 3rd party developer. And what are you writing on your package as system requirements?

"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?

Does it matter? If a user does not find a software in the repositories, he will be lost. Note my comments above about the premise part.

"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.

You keep ignoring the hard facts, that Linux still, in 2009, lacks some fundamental abilities for installing 3rd party software. Man, even the guys who do support Linux, like Ryan C. Gordon (e.g. UT 2004), are constantly saying that something has to change. Read for example:

Though old, they are still true! Which should make you think how serios some people are taking the importance of this.

"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.

Same story: Blame the Linux developers for not providing the necessary infrastructure.

Just look at Apples App Store: Though initially targeting a relatively small and new platform, developers are going cracy over it. The infrastructure is just great.

"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.

OMG... You calles adding "2 lines to a file and installed libmtp8" simple? You must be a comedian ;-)

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.

Question: Why didn't the distrubution maker made those "few intelligent setting changes"???

"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."

Isn't waking up and installing possible with things like Intel's vPro, too? And tell us about the "standard way of software distribution" in Linux. I can't find one, it's absolutely distibution specific.

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.

See? And for the desktops where Linux is 'an ideal' in your opinion, aren't there maybe even better solutions like Sun Ray thin client <-> Server architecture?

Edited 2009-05-21 11:03 UTC

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