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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Ok, besides the fact that everyone is used to X and every distro, every flavor of *nix has an implementation, what is the problem with starting out with a clean slate? X has code that dates back to a time when c compilers probably didn't support passing structs as arguments by value, among other things, which contributes to the brain dead way Xlib handles windows and displays.

Seriously, would you like to tell me that the documentation for X is good, that X provides a clean interface to the coder for working with windows and displays? I think you are just comfortable with it.

Again, why would a clean slate be a bad thing? A linux-based os meant primarily as a desktop does not need X's feature set. Wouldn't it be nicer to have something smaller, better documented, more sanely designed, and again, something that has less impact on the end user's system resources?

I'm sure you're quite intelligent, and know what you're talking about when it comes to a discussion of the relative merits of (my apologies for my terse reply yesterday, I had just woken up and was cranky- no excuse for being a jerk though). I'm not saying X has to die. X isn't going to die anytime soon. I just want to know why a new windowing system designed without 20+ years of legacy hanging from it's neck is a bad thing? --Provided it supplied the features that were needed to supply a modern end user experience, and achieved the goals of being developer, end user, and system friendly, which I argue that X really isn't.

So maybe I'm guilty of blankly stating a preference for a clean slate design over X without listing all the reasons that this would be a good idea. I'll admit that you are probably in a better position than I am to intelligently discuss the relative merits and shortfalls of I still ask, what is the problem with a new system that achieves the goals I expressed? OS X certainly provides a nicer end user experience than FreeBSD running X. Why would a linux-based solution (Chrome OS) with a new, proprietary windowing system be such a bad thing?

Edited 2009-08-25 19:53 UTC

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