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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Same old article, different title
by abraxas on Mon 24th Aug 2009 13:35 UTC
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Getting new hardware or software to work in Linux can be easy, or it can be hard

This isn't any different than Windows. Most software is easy to install but software installation fails enough on Windows to make it a pain in the ass just as often, if not more often, than Linux. It all depends on the software. Hardware is even more of a problem on OSX. Linux supports much more hardware than OSX, or even Windows. Hardware configuration on Windows can be more of a pain in the ass also.

And the methods that you might use to make something new work in Linux are varied, and in some cases, quite a drawn-out process. You might need to install frameworks or libraries, and in each case there might be more than one way to do each thing, with no clear indication of which method would be best or why.

An example of this would be helpful. Exactly what are you talking about? Hardware? Software? Both? It sounds like you're just repeating yourself to fill up space.

The hardware you might want to use might not be supported, or might only be supported by way of complicated hacks.

You're repeating your complaints again.

If you want to make a configuration, there may or may not be a user-friendly graphical config tool, and if there is one, it might not work the way it should, depending on other factors.

Again this is something not limited to Linux. Some applications in Windows require that you use the registry to change configuration options.

This is pretty much a re-hash of every "Linux isn't ready for the desktop" article ever written and it's just as bad as the rest of them. Linux has its sore spots for sure just as other operating systems do but this article doesn't even begin to make any valid points about the lack of Linux uptake or the apparent "un-friendliness" of the operating system.

I think the issues Linux faces have little to do with points made in the article. The number one problem is application familiarity. Linux has a ton of good applications but people are comfortable with their brand name apps and are reluctant to give them up even if the alternative is better. The same goes for Linux itself. It's a good system but there is little compelling the average user to switch.

The biggest software issue with a standard Linux distro itself is X. I'm not going to go on an anti-X rant because it works quite well on my system with Intel graphics. The real problem right now is growing pains. All of the issues people have had with X in the past have been addressed or are being addressed. Right now X is in limbo between old APIs and new ones. From most of the discussions I have seen on the net lately it seems most people, especially critics, are completely unaware of this.

The only other actual software issue that might be identified as a problem is sound. Again this works perfectly on my system but I don't use pulseaudio and 90% of sound complaints that I have heard can be directly attributed to pulseaudio. This is another case where the software is still being actively developed. From what I have heard pulseaudio is in a much better state than the last time I tried to use it but I don't have any real personal experience to back that up.

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