Linked by David Adams on Mon 24th Aug 2009 09:21 UTC
Linux A reader asks: Why is Linux still not as user friendly as the two other main OSes with all the people developing for Linux? Is it because it is mainly developed by geeks? My initial feeling when reading this question was that it was kind of a throwaway, kind of a slam in disguise as a genuine question. But the more I thought about it, the more intrigued I felt. There truly are a large amount of resources being dedicated to the development of Linux and its operating system halo (DEs, drivers, apps, etc). Some of these resources are from large companies (IBM, Red Hat, Novell). Why isn't Linux more user-friendly? Is this an inherent limitation with open source software?
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Linux is friendly, but...
by r_a_trip on Mon 24th Aug 2009 11:20 UTC
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I don't think that the average Linux distro anno 2009 is user unfriendly anymore. The biggest problem facing new users is not the way Linux works. It's the way they think it should work.

Linux newbies (I once was one of them) try to assail Linux with Windows expectations and when that doesn't work, Linux sucks. It's true that you have to factor in stuff you don't need to do on Windows. With Linux you need to make sure the hardware you are going to buy has an in-kernel driver. You have to make sure that software runs on your distro. You have to trust the package manager and stop trying to find installers. You have to let go all those programs that don't have a Linux port. But if you do accept these different ways, Linux works hassle free.

The problems arise when you try to get that almost supported hadware to work. Or when you don't want to give up that piece of Windows software and start mucking about with Wine and derivatives. Or when you can't find that deb or rpm for a package and you get cocky and despite lacking the depth, delve in to the ./configure, make, make install magic.

Linux is easy when you don't leave the ordinairy path. When you decide not to heed that advice, you probably are going to find yourself deep in the woods. That might be the biggest problem with Linux, nothing in Linux puts up roadblocks if you try to get into trouble. Linux willingly gives you rope when you want to hang yourself.

Users with a pretty good sense of their capabilities don't have to fear Linux. It doesn't simply go poof when you use it in a normal way. It's when you are inexperienced and try to hack on stuff that isn't ready yet, where things go ugly. Especially when you also expect that hacking to work flawlessly.

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