Linked by Mike Martin on Mon 14th Jul 2003 17:42 UTC
Linux After reading yet another "why Linux is not ready for the desktop" article/discussion, I decided that, as someone who uses Linux exclusively at home, its about time I wrote my response to the attitudes expressed. I have been using Linux since January 1999 (Red Hat 5.2 off of a cover disc).
Permalink for comment
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
Linux ease of use
by JK on Mon 14th Jul 2003 20:03 UTC

Most of the reasons why I dislike using Linux aren't really ease of use issues that would effect most users. Really it's amazing how easy to install and use Linux distributions like Mandrake have become. Most things can be done from the GUI and software installation with URPMI isn't any worse than in Windows. Most of the features that still require config file editing tend to be less commonly used features that most people don't require.

I think for a lot of "average users" Linux is perfectly usable and the available applications are more than adequate. Things that drive me mad like the inconsistent UI and poor support for multiple monitors aren't a problem for someone who just uses the computer to type a few letters and access the internet.

The only big problem I can see with Linux on the home desktop is how easily it's damaged by the PC being turned off without being shutdown properly. I find that a lot of inexperienced users (especially kids) just press the power button rather than shutting down correctly, especially when the system has become unresponsive. A lot of users don't even know how to use the Windows task manager and the situation is worse in Linux, often crashes will make X unresponsive so apps have to be killed from the CLI. How many normal users are going to know how to open a console, find the PID of a crashed application and use the kill -9 command?

When I was a Linux newbie I assumed that the system needed to be restarted when X was totally unresponsive, that's how I killed my first Linux installation. About 90% of the Linux crashes I've experienced have damaged the system, which is something I don't think many home users would be able to deal with. If nothing else Windows is an OS that can survive constant crashes incorrect restarts without any serious problems.