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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Fair enough. I could tell that I shouldn't argue with you halfway into this, because you are obviously more knowledgable than I am in this area, and I'll just make myself look more and more stupid if I persist.

When I talked about a clean slate design, I was thinking along the lines of leaving GTK and QT, and every other toolkit, behind forever. Not for linux, just for Chrome OS. If Chrome OS is just another distro, big deal. If it's going to be a whole new system that uses the linux kernel and the GNU userland, that could be very interesting. If they manage to get a deal with a hardware vendor, I think it places them in a position to gain users in a way that linux never has and never will. Again, I'm not suggesting that the linux world follow suit, but what is so wrong about a new system that may actually provide a better end user experience? (and no, I am not blaming X for providing a "bad" end user experience)

You mentioned Be. Exactly. Also MorphOS and AmigaOS 4.x come to mind. All three of those systems boot to a usable desktop in like 10 seconds, look good, and have small memory footprints. I find systems that behave like that very compelling. I'm sure that I am not the only person who would find such an operating system attractive. Can we do that with X? I don't know. It just seems like my linux and FreeBSD systems in 1996 were a hell of a lot spunkier than any Ubuntu distro I've tried in the last couple of years, and that was on much slower hardware.

Edited 2009-08-25 21:41 UTC

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