Linked by Howard Fosdick on Mon 24th Jun 2013 03:00 UTC
Linux I volunteer as tech support for a small organization. For years we relied on Ubuntu on our desktops, but the users didn't like it when Ubuntu switched to the Unity interface. This article tells about our search for a replacement and why we decided on Xfce running atop Linux Mint.
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RE[4]: I'm in the minority but
by Laurence on Mon 24th Jun 2013 08:00 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: I'm in the minority but"
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Too true, however most Linux distributions have problems with some of the most basic things. With OS X and Windows, say for wi-fi, it's simple. Install the driver if necessary, connect. With Linux, you may have to tinker with the wi-fi drivers just to make them work and this is not user-friendly, nor should it be necessary.

The very fact you even have to install drivers in Windows is still unnecessary tinkering. You don't need to do so with Linux - drivers are shipped with the ISOs.

But I do agree that when wifi doesn't work out of the box in Linux, then it's a complete pig to get it working. And sadly that can leave many users helpless and with a bitter taste in their mouth ;)

Thankfully I think the instances where users have to do so are quite rare in comparison to the number of times wifi drivers work out of the box (or at least that's been my anecdotal evidence - I'm willing to concede that I've been lucky in that regard). and the one time I did have to play around with ndiswrapper was because Asus annoyingly rebranded my laptop wireless chipset - so the hardware was reporting the wifi chip as being some bespoke thingymebob when in fact it was a bog standard Atheros chip. In those instances I don't think Linux stands a chance (though I'm not trying to blame every driver problem on the OEMs nor dismiss that there's room for improvement. Just commenting on my own experiences).

It's even worse when an update breaks the working drivers you've already set up, and this is far more common in Linux land than in Windows or OS X.

That depends on the distro. With bleeding edge distros like Arch, then that's a real possibility (again, I've been quite lucky in that regard despite being an Arch user - but I'm not blind to the possibility). But with distros like Debian, CentOS and Suse, that shouldn't be an issue.

What really annoys me is how frequently Ubuntu breaks. That's completely unacceptable given the target audience and it's market presence (and one of the reasons I don't have high opinions of Canonical)

I wish it weren't so, but it is and until this is resolved you will never be able to consider any distribution to be user-friendly. Power user-friendly, certainly, but never for your average user unless they've got a techie friend to maintain it for them.

There's a different things there: operational user friendliness, ease of install and longevity. Some Linux distros are definitely user friendly from a day to day basis. But I do agree that they can be tougher to install. However that's a tough one given that hardware is built for Windows and ships with Windows pre-installed. I don't think Linux could ever compete until it's shipped pre-installed like Windows is. And lastly, the longevity. While you do raise some excellent points about the issues of Linux, I don't think Windows is any better (case in point: it's standard practice for Windows users to do regular reformats and reinstalls).

I honestly do think the biggest issue that faces Linux is the lack of support with OEMs. And that's the same reason why Android (and to a lesser degree, ChromeOS, webOS, etc) have proven popular: because it's shipped preinstalled so the hardware support is a given. It's also why OS X works so well despite UNIX traditionally being more finicky with hardware than Linux is.

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