Linked by Eugenia Loli on Sat 22nd Jul 2006 21:15 UTC
Linux Toby Richards wrote an opinion article for NewsForge, claiming that for him, Linux won't get mainstream until Evolution - or another capable Outlook-like client - gets optimized and offers 100% compatibility with Exchange. In the comments section of Newsforge readers offered more reasons as to why Linux is not mainstream, offering a view on their needs. My take: While for my personal, home usage of Linux my needs are different, I agree with Toby that companies won't switch their desktops if full Exchange compatibility isn't reached and if Evolution stops being the memory beast it currently is.
Thread beginning with comment 145679
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
My take
by pandronic on Mon 24th Jul 2006 07:58 UTC
pandronic
Member since:
2006-05-18

a. No more command line - everything should be possible via the GUI
b. No more weird directoris - system/, software/, users/ (gobolinux hierarchy looks nice - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GoboLinux ) instead of usr,lib,mnt,root,etc,var,proc,tmp,WTF
c. Unify GTK, QT - all interfaces should look and act the same
d. Easy installation of software - click, next, next, finished (PBI looks great)
e. Easy installation of drivers - no more recompilation of kernel. Just use binary drivers!
g. Major distributions should be binary compatible (software and drivers) - so that the major players don't have to jump trought hoops to port their applications
f. Improve boot times - I don't want to wait two minutes and look at a pretty picture or text scrolling
h. Improve mounting - I want to read my fat32, ntfs partitions, I want to use my usb stick or digital camera, I want to read my CDs or use my floppy disks. Sometimes I can do some of these, why not all of them, all the time without editing obscure text files?
i. Improve networking - make it obvious to the user. I barely managed to write to a windows share and I gave up before getting networking to work properly
j. Include MP3 playback and some basic codecs by default
k. Stop bundling tens of useless applications with the default install

Edited 2006-07-24 08:06

Reply Score: 3

RE: My take
by elsewhere on Mon 24th Jul 2006 18:00 in reply to "My take"
elsewhere Member since:
2005-07-13

a. No more command line - everything should be possible via the GUI

Try Suse, it has the most comprehensive desktop environment and with Yast there is virtually no need to use a CLI in daily use.

b. No more weird directoris - system/, software/, users/ (gobolinux hierarchy looks nice - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GoboLinux ) instead of usr,lib,mnt,root,etc,var,proc,tmp,WTF

System directories are meaningless to the average user. How many Windows non-power users actually surf through Program Files or System32? The linux hierarchy has deep roots, changing it for the sake of changing it is silly. Besides, what do system/ software/ or users/ mean to non-English speaking users? Better to stick with universally incomprehensible rather than culturally biased. ;)

c. Unify GTK, QT - all interfaces should look and act the same

KDE does this with qtgtk, comes standard in most KDE-based distributions. The Portland project is taking this a step further.

How well do Microsoft and Apple do at keeping a consistent interface for their own applications? My gf runs Office, Notes, Safari, IE and iTunes on her powerbook, none of them look and act the same interface wise. Would be pretty damned boring if they all looked the same anyways.

Design and usability are related concepts, but not synonymous.

d. Easy installation of software - click, next, next, finished (PBI looks great)

This argument gets tired. Download third-party software for linux from companies like Adobe, Google, Mozilla, Opera, Real, Sun, OpenOffice etc. and they all install via installation wrapper scripts. Doesn't matter what distro you're using because they bundle the required libraries. You can install from the command line, or if you insist on clicking you can do so as well, as long as you set the execute flag (sorry, security doesn't take a backseat to convenience).

Want it even easier? Use Klik in KDE. Click a link in Konqueror, install an app. Sandboxed to prevent interference with other applications, dependencies downloaded with them. Run multiple versions or even alpha/beta code for testing, without interfering with core installs. It's even easier and more robust than Windows install method, more along the lines of OS X.

The problem with these methods is that they invariably nullify one of the biggest advantages of linux, centralized package management and shared libraries. Package management ensures package consistency and simplifies updates/patching. A security flaw detected in a png library? Click, install updated library, all of your applications depending on that library are secured.

Under the old-school method for Windows or self-installing linux packages, you need to ensure that the various software vendors are providing updates and patches to the libraries they use, even if they're using identical libraries.

Are package managers perfect? Of course not. But the advantages of a properly managed package system are significant. Depends on your priorities.

e. Easy installation of drivers - no more recompilation of kernel. Just use binary drivers!

Well that's a loaded statement. Anyways, the kernel doesn't need to be re-compiled for driver updates, generally just the driver or driver-wrapper does. Most of the mainstream distros take care of that anyways when you download an updated kernel patch, you'll get the appropriate driver modules as well. This is another linux argument that's getting long in the tooth. Certainly there are still issues with driver support in linux, but it's ridiculous to make it seem like an agonizing ordeal for the millions of users that seem to get by just fine.

g. Major distributions should be binary compatible (software and drivers) - so that the major players don't have to jump trought hoops to port their applications

Not sure exactly what you're getting at here. The LSB desktop standard exists to define minimum software versions and packages distros require to maintain baseline compatibility. Once again the too many distros! argument is getting a bit stale, it's no complex matter for application vendors to provide applications for linux.

Once they can be motivated to actually produce them, anyways.

f. Improve boot times - I don't want to wait two minutes and look at a pretty picture or text scrolling

Wow, you are getting very nitpicky now. People don't complain about having to stare at a non-responsive Windows desktop after logging in and waiting for the services to finish loading, which is the primary reason Windows appears to load that much faster.

Can boot speed be improved? Absolutely, there are some projects under way to address that. But it's hardly an obstacle to desktop adoption.

h. Improve mounting - I want to read my fat32, ntfs partitions, I want to use my usb stick or digital camera, I want to read my CDs or use my floppy disks. Sometimes I can do some of these, why not all of them, all the time without editing obscure text files?

This is up to the distros. Some of them do it well, some of them don't.

Some of them are concerned with security or user error issues with automatically mounting non-linux partitions. Again, few linux distros will use wide open default settings for the sake of covenience, sometimes the user does have to do a little work here. It's a balance each distro packager determines for themselves, but at the end of the day, it might be frustrating initially but it's hardly an epic dealbreaker. One change to your obscure text file and the problem goes away forever.

Most desktops will autodetect pluggable media though, that's kind of stale argument once again.

i. Improve networking - make it obvious to the user. I barely managed to write to a windows share and I gave up before getting networking to work properly

Are you intentionally looking for problems now? Modern desktops, particularly KDE, make it very easy to mount remote shares. They even use a similar interface to Windows.

j. Include MP3 playback and some basic codecs by default

That will require people to start paying for their distributions rather than downloading them for free, there are license fees involved.

MS and Apple can afford to pay those fees, they're generating a little more profit on OS sales than your average distro is.

k. Stop bundling tens of useless applications with the default install

Start doing minimal installs and select what you want. Default installs by nature have to appeal to the widest array of users, so often err on the side of caution.

Besides, unwanted applications are easily removed. Can you say the same thing about the incumbent?

Linux isn't Windows, it's not supposed to be Windows. Certain things simply have to be done differently. It's no different with OS X. People don't buy a Mac and then return it the other day because it doesn't work like Windows. They take the time to figure out how to do things differently so that they can use it effectively.

If people are expecting to be able to install a linux CD and have an instant Windows replacement, anyone would be disappointed. If they're looking for an alternative and are willing to learn how to use it effectively, they won't be. And if they're not willing to learn, well, why switch in the first place? Sometimes Windows is simply a better choice for people depending on their requirements, nothing wrong with that.

Reply Parent Score: 1