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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Perception is key
by uteck on Mon 24th Aug 2009 13:10 UTC
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I think the big stumbling block on Linux usablity can be highlighted with Firefox's use of GTK.

When someone tries to change the way Firefox opens a file, they are presented with a view of the file system and they need to provide the full path to the app they want to use. So the user needs to know that Adobe Reader is called acroread and is stored in /usr/bin. That is inexcusable behavior.

Conversely using Konqueror you are presented with the application menu and just have to pick the app you want to use. That is intuitive behavior that users can understand.

It is the little things like this that turn peoples' perceptions, not adding new hardware or configuring dual monitors. Having a menu item called "Add/Remove Software" that calls a terminal window with "apt-get _" pretyped for you is not usable, but that is the level of the behaviors we have.

I really don't have an idea of how to fix it other then avoiding app that use GTK, but hopefully someone else has a solution.

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