Linked by Adam S on Wed 30th Apr 2003 07:26 UTC
Linux Lately, we've all read a lot of articles about desktop Linux - so many that it's getting hard to tell them apart. One says "Why Linux Sucks," the next "My Success With Linux." Even Michael Robertson of Lindows.com joined the fun with his "Why Desktop Linux Sucks, Today." But very few people have proposed anything radical, and I believe that's what's needed to take GNU/Linux to the next level.
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reply to John on Windows
by jbolden1517 on Wed 30th Apr 2003 01:42 UTC

The article starts with the premise that a great distro has to give people what they'd expect from Windows. Of course. Duh. That's where we live, the critical-mass.

I agree with you this is Adam's assumption and the usual one on OSNews as well. I'm not sure its true however. I don't know that systems built for the computer ignorant are the future. In terms of computer ignorance its been the assumption for decades that computers would have to become as easy to use as telephones or televisions. In reality however during the last 20 years telephones and televisions have become considerably harder to use. Meanwhile the population has become vastly more computer literate than it was.

Take typing: 20 years ago most office workers did not know how to type. Today some basic typing skills are assumed from educated person. Another example is the distinction between writing and typesetting. 20 years ago this was poorly understood and wordprocessors operated in terms of pages. Today they operate almost completely in terms of streams of text, people now write a text stream which will only bind to a position on the page as part of the typesetting (usually seconds prior to printing) processes. Both are major conceptual shift in the broad populations.

Another conceptual shift has been that people now understand the distinction between application and applications specific binary data (i.e. a .doc file vs. word.exe). 20-30 years ago this was a very complicated notion to explain to people and was considered very techy.

It may be that computer knowledge becomes a human skill like reading or driving which take a great deal of time and effort to acquite and even more time to achieve profeciency.

I don't know that the "The critical-mass" is really as bas as people say. What people (especially on OSNews) seem to mean are

a) American / 1st world
b) computer ignorant and proud of it
c) not terribly well educated in general (i.e. HS-college)

Look at the 3rd world and you have vastly more information workers who are:

a) have more time for training since the hire / layoff rules of America don't apply
b) have staff with more education and intellegence
c) Are mote intellegent and more educated
d) Are embarrased by lack of knowledge and usually seek to address these failings

I could see Linux doing quite well as the desktop / corporate OS in the 3rd world. If Linux ends up winnign the desktop wars in Peru, India, China, Russia... that's huge progress for this decade. The US corporate culture is Microsoft's home turf and most important battefield. Linux's key advantages (freedom, configurability / scriptability, cost) don't nearly as much impact here and Microsoft's (genericity, standardization, ease of training) are more imporant. I would expect the US corporate desktop market to be the very last dominos to fall not one of the first.