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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Comment by moleskine
by moleskine on Mon 24th Aug 2009 21:08 UTC
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Why do folks always think there is something wrong with Linux? It's capable of improvement sure, but name me something that isn't (aside from banoffee-flavoured ice-cream).

Is it because desktop Linux has only a small market share? It is always going to have a small market share on the conventional desktop, I suspect. The entire produce supply chain in Western economies is based on the idea that something has a price. If something does not have a price, it isn't supplied and therefore it is up to the user to get hold of it.

This alone will ensure that Linux retains a small share of the market. In addition, Linux has always been for people who want it and who are prepared to make the effort to learn it. Most folks aren't, which is fine, and sensibly choose Windows or Mac - and pay for it all the way down the line. That supply line, incidentally, is just as keen on pay-for as are Microsoft or Apple. Without it, tens of hundreds of thousands would soon lose their jobs.

If Google wade into desktop Linux then it will be for the sole benefit of Google and its stock-holders. That's what monster corporations do. There may be some spin-offs come trickle down but no guarantee the results will be useful or desirable outside of whatever magic wand Google has in mind to grease the delivery of adverts and streaming media right into their sorry your desktop.

I guess it's just as important to ask where the desktop OS as we've come to know it is really going and whether the way we use computers and smart devices generally is going to change the game in the coming couple of decades. Linux may turn out to do brilliantly in a new world, for example, even if it is very different from the Gnome/KDE desktop Linux so many folks like to moan about today.

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