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).
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My 2c
by Paul Eggleton on Tue 15th Jul 2003 06:52 UTC

I use Linux with KDE on the desktop almost full-time at home. I am a developer, and I fully admit to using (and even liking) the command prompt. Sure, there are a few things that are a bit difficult at this point without going there, but things are improving. For most everyday things, I use the GUI, and prefer to do so.

Case in point, I was recently helping out at a Linux Installfest (an event where people who want to try Linux take their PCs in and have Linux installed for them). We were installing Mandrake 9.1, and the guy whose PC I was setting up was really impressed at how easy everything was (he had only used Linux previously in 1995, when the console was the way everything had to be done). The truth is we got the whole OS installed, including apps, etc. and I didn't have to go to a console to do anything, until it came time to set up his Winmodem (post-installation) that is (the winmodem drivers are in active development at the moment). So not everything is perfect, but it's not as bad as some might have you believe. In particular, notions such as "X is slow because it works over networks" and "you have to compile from source to install anything on Linux" should not even be entertained, because they are out of date, or (as in the case of the X myth) flat out wrong. Of course, it goes both ways - there are Linux people out there who claim that Windows XP crashes all the time, but a lot of people find it to be quite stable.

Those who say Linux is never going to be easy or complete enough are pretty short sighted - simply because if you have been following the leaps and bounds made by Linux and open-source software over the last year alone, you can't fail to notice how fast the pace of development is. The genuine complaints people have are getting less and less major. "Linux doesn't support my video card!" has changed to "I can't change my refresh rate in Linux without rebooting" (restarting X, in truth). Chances are if you find a bug or a limitation, it's being worked on, and more and more developers are working on open-source software as time progresses.

There seems to be an opinion held by some that Linux and open source is bad because it its diversity, and should unify and everything should be the same. I'm sorry, but it's not going to happen any time soon - developers are people too and they all have their opinions on how things should be done (not to mention that there are only so many hours in the day!). Find the distribution/application where things are done the right way for you, and use it. Give feedback to the developers in the form of constructive criticism and proper bug reports, and if that doesn't work, vote with your feet.

Regarding games under Linux: sure, it's not an out-of-box experience, but there are ways to do it. Some native Linux ports, Wine or WineX, Win4Lin, or just plain old dual boot (which is what I'm doing, for games only that is).

In closing, if you find Linux isn't ready for your desktop, wait a bit and try again in a few months. But it's ready for a lot of people right now.