Linked by Eugenia Loli on Fri 7th Dec 2007 06:34 UTC
Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu "Many people are looking to Ubuntu to be something that it is not: A mass market ready operating system designed to work with the same level of compatibility as Microsoft Windows. Where people get confused is in believing that if Ubuntu, king of the Linux distros, is not able to take the marketplace by storm, then something must be broken with desktop Linux. In this article, I'll explain what it will take to dethrone the mighty Ubuntu and gain a market share so large that it will eclipse anything seen by Ubuntu to date." More here.
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Linux on the Desktop
by Clinton on Fri 7th Dec 2007 07:34 UTC
Clinton
Member since:
2005-07-05

We can write shloads of articles about why Ubuntu (or Linux in general) is or isn't ready for the desktop, but it doesn't do any good. Linux won't be "ready for the desktop" until it is a Windows clone, complete with C:, Windows application support, and comes on their Dell Platitude.

Why?

Because Average People don't want to learn how to use a computer. They just want to run programs, and they happen to be familiar with Windows and Windows programs.

I think if Linux were to outshine OS X (which is the most user-friendly OS out there) people would still stick with Windows, because that's what they know.

Linux desktop readiness is highly subjective. I've used Linux as a desktop system since 1994. To me, it has been ready since the first release of Slackware came out.

Reply Score: 10

RE: Linux on the Desktop
by Jack Burton on Fri 7th Dec 2007 07:58 in reply to "Linux on the Desktop"
Jack Burton Member since:
2005-07-06

"Linux desktop readiness is highly subjective"

Indeed. Just like Windows readiness is. In reality, the only reason people seem to think linux isn't ready for the desktop is that it's different from windows. And since many people are just used to windows, they fear what's different.

If you take a person who never used a computer, it doesnt' make any difference if you install Windows XP or Ubuntu on his machine. Except that he won't probably get hundreds of spyware/malware while surfing the internet if you choose the latter option.

Reply Parent Score: 19

RE[2]: Linux on the Desktop
by raver31 on Fri 7th Dec 2007 09:41 in reply to "RE: Linux on the Desktop"
raver31 Member since:
2005-07-06

Except that he won't probably get hundreds of spyware/malware while surfing the internet if you choose the latter option

sorry, he actually WILL still get the hundreds of spyware/malware while surfing...They just will not run.

The difference is that the selfish spyware/malware authors only make their applications compatible with Windows. The rotters, they should Linux versions of their goodies so we can all enjoy them.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Linux on the Desktop
by unoengborg on Wed 12th Dec 2007 19:43 in reply to "RE: Linux on the Desktop"
unoengborg Member since:
2005-07-06

If you take a person who never used a computer, it doesnt' make any difference if you install Windows XP or Ubuntu on his machine

Yes, and this is basically the problem. The user who installs Windows will have access to more software in niche areas, e.g. accounting, tax calculation, CAD,...

He will also have a much better chance that that el cheepo piece of hardware he picked up at his gas station will work without any problems.

It may be true that there are more programs available for Linux, and that Linux have a broader hardware support, but that doesn't matter when the user still have to check on the internet if a certain hardware will work or not, or he can't find sofware that covers his special needs it doesn't matter how many mp3 players there are for Linux.

This network effect makes Windows a winner if everthing else is alike. To win Linux must be significantly better or easier to use. When that happens, it will get a large enough network of its own.

Today people are quite satisfied with windows XP, even Microsoft suffers from this by having very slow sales of Vista. So, another way for Linux to win over windows would be to create or solve new needs of the user.

Linux is ready for the consumer Desktop and have been that for a long time, the problem is that the consumer is not ready for Linux.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Linux on the Desktop
by Xaero_Vincent on Fri 7th Dec 2007 08:05 in reply to "Linux on the Desktop"
Xaero_Vincent Member since:
2006-08-18

I think the main problem with Linux is software. It has very few apps to claim exclusive ownership.

Windows has access to nearly all of the software available to the Linux platform in addition to the big name commercial apps.

Can Linux claim the same? Wine works well with some apps but not all. The only sure way is through virtualization, which is the same as just running Windows but as a second class citizen and vnc or terminal server. None of the latter solutions offer anything for 3D apps (as in gaming or 3d modeling)without spending big bucks.

Linux needs more developers and exclusive/killer apps that cannot so easily be ported to Windows. In the mean time it needs flawless interopability with the vast selection of commercial apps on Windows.

Edited 2007-12-07 08:09

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Linux on the Desktop
by Clinton on Fri 7th Dec 2007 08:58 in reply to "RE: Linux on the Desktop"
Clinton Member since:
2005-07-05

Linux has killer apps, but they aren't things most Windows users want to use. For me, BASH is a killer app and Windows lack of it is one of the biggest reasons I don't use Windows (Cygwin tries to compensate, but it really isn't ideal).

Also, Open Source software isn't about locking programs in to one platform like Microsoft does; which is what has made Linux a better platform than Windows is. Open Source is about freedom and giving the user the ability to make a program work how he/she wants it to work and on their preferred platform.

I don't think Windows users appreciate the huge benefit they have reaped from Open Source ideals and efforts.

Finally, I don't hear Linux users talking about whether or not Linux is ready for the desktop. We all know it is because we've used it as a desktop for years. It's the people who are sick of Windows and want a replacement that keep bringing the issue up.

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE[3]: Linux on the Desktop
by merde on Fri 7th Dec 2007 20:17 in reply to "RE: Linux on the Desktop"
merde Member since:
2007-04-05

But it's not a problem. If you get used to THE SAME software on both platforms, it would be easier to switch to Linux exclusively. Thunderbird, Firefox, OpenOffice, Gimp - I use it every day on both platforms and that suits me just fine.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Linux on the Desktop
by wirespot on Sat 8th Dec 2007 06:25 in reply to "RE: Linux on the Desktop"
wirespot Member since:
2006-06-21

The only sure way is through virtualization, which is the same as just running Windows but as a second class citizen and vnc or terminal server. None of the latter solutions offer anything for 3D apps (as in gaming or 3d modeling)without spending big bucks.


"Big bucks"? Where did you get that? You can get VMWare or Cedega for very reasonable prices. They have a lot of 3D features and drivers. And you will get them at some point in Wine and QEMU, for free. But work advances slowly because there's a lot of reverse engineering to do.

And I don't think you're really up to how good virtualization and emulation has become these days. Kernel support has made it so Windows XP running under QEMU on Linux is undetectable from it running natively, in terms of speed and features. I no longer boot Windows unless I want to play a game that won't run otherwise. For everything else I run "qemu -hda /dev/hda7 -kernel-kqemu" and up pops the Windows XP installation in a window on my Linux desktop. Complete with USB devices, sound, file sharing between the virtual machine and the real machine, and of course networking. Yes, the actual Windows installation, on a different partition, not a virtual image.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Linux on the Desktop
by walterbyrd on Sat 8th Dec 2007 14:24 in reply to "RE: Linux on the Desktop"
walterbyrd Member since:
2005-12-31

Linux needs more developers and exclusive/killer apps that cannot so easily be ported to Windows.

But doesn't that conflict with the open source philosophy? Practically all the popular applications for Linux are F/OSS. And being f/oss means they can be fairly easily ported to Windows.

This situation makes it virtually impossible for Linux to ever catch up to windows in terms of applications.

As far as I can see, the only thing that could change the situation is browser based apps.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Linux on the Desktop
by torbenm on Fri 7th Dec 2007 09:44 in reply to "Linux on the Desktop"
torbenm Member since:
2007-04-23

What is it that makes people think Windows is oh-so-easy for Joe Average to use? I find Windows difficult to navigate and it is almost impossible to figure out what to do when something doesn't work.

I'm not saying Linux is any better here. I'm sure most Linux users can figure out how to fix problems, but that is because most Linux users are experienced computer users or even have an IT education.

So I agree with the article that what is needed is something that works out of the box and where installing new hardware (a printer, a camera, etc.) is just a matter of plugging it in and following a few simple instructions -- nothing like editing a config file, just clicking a few choices or making sure the computer is on the Internet, so drivers etc. can be automatically downloaded and installed.

Running new software should, ideally, not even require am installation step: Just download it and it is ready for running -- or if you have it on a CD, you should should be able to run it directly from the CD without copying it to the hard drive. My old 1980's home computer could do it, so why not modern computers?

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Linux on the Desktop
by Dekkard on Fri 7th Dec 2007 14:06 in reply to "RE: Linux on the Desktop"
Dekkard Member since:
2006-01-07

Nice comment. I would like to add,, I am a somewhat experienced Ubuntu user.. since warty. I have no IT education. I am currently running Gutsy on a hand me down Dhell with an 800 mhz p111. I have done zero configuration from the command line, and have not had to manually edit one config file. My 13 yr old uses this box for her homework, email, and (gag) Myspace. My wife uses it to do all her email, browsing and work correspondence. When we game, we either use an ancient PS2, or a GameCube. As far as I am concerned Ubuntu is utterly desktop ready. (BTW.. because this thing is so old..they use XFCE4, I use Wmaker)

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE: Linux on the Desktop
by Joe User on Fri 7th Dec 2007 11:10 in reply to "Linux on the Desktop"
Joe User Member since:
2005-06-29

Amen to that. If it weren't true, everybody would be using OS X. People are like mentally tied to Windows.

Reply Parent Score: 0

RE[2]: Linux on the Desktop
by google_ninja on Sat 8th Dec 2007 01:27 in reply to "RE: Linux on the Desktop"
google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

People aren't mentally tied to windows, they just don't want to learn more then they have to. If they have to use windows at work, they want the same thing for home because they already know it.

This is why any difference from windows is considered bad by most people, because being forced to learn something new is not what they want to sign up for. OSX is vastly more appropriate for most home users, but they will never go for it because it involves new ideas.

Reply Parent Score: 4

kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Linux desktop readiness is highly subjective.


Maybe whether something is ready, doesn't actually matter. Instead of a jihad against another group, just use what works for you. You like Linux, then install it. You like Mac OS X then go out and buy a Mac, like Windows then go with the status quo.

I don't why there are certain people who think that they must promote their operating system, and some how, in some way gain something out of promoting it. If people are genuinely interested in Linux, they would investigate it. People are interested in alternatives, look at the growth in Mac sales, for instance.

In the case of Linux, instead of looking for the simplistic reasons for why it hasn't taken off; how about asking the tough questions. Simply whining about OEM vendors not bending over isn't going to change things.

Apple learned the hard way, but once they addressed the deficiencies in their product line up sales started to take off. The same thing will occur once the 'linux vendors' start to address long standing issues rather than spending time looking for others to blame.

Reply Parent Score: 3

aitvo Member since:
2006-09-03

"Instead of a jihad against another group, just use what works for you. You like Linux, then install it. You like Mac OS X then go out and buy a Mac, like Windows then go with the status quo. "

Exactly. I've found that for myself Ubuntu and a virtualized XP are the best bang for the buck. Others may find another combo like MacOS and say virtual {insert linux flavor here}.

It's all about choices. Ubuntu has increased the desktop choices by 1/3 (Windows, Mac, Linux) where the other distributions havent. Maybe some day they will, but today not so much.

"n the case of Linux, instead of looking for the simplistic reasons for why it hasn't taken off; how about asking the tough questions."

I disagree that it hasn't taken off. Sure it's only on a handful of vendor machines, but that doesn't mean by any stretch that it's not popular. I know many many people that have chosen it based on word of mouth alone.

Reply Parent Score: 1

v RE: Linux on the Desktop
by asdx24 on Sat 8th Dec 2007 02:45 in reply to "Linux on the Desktop"
RE: Linux on the Desktop
by wirespot on Sat 8th Dec 2007 06:03 in reply to "Linux on the Desktop"
wirespot Member since:
2006-06-21

Because Average People don't want to learn how to use a computer. They just want to run programs, and they happen to be familiar with Windows and Windows programs.


By this logic, we should've never moved out of the caves. They were good enough, we just wanted to keep out of the rain, and we were familiar with them. No need for modern houses, right?

Well I say the hell with those Average People you speak of. They're sheep. I don't see why they should be given any choice in the matter. If they don't care what they're using then they should leave the decision to those who care and actually try to imagine new things, and meekly follow them.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Linux on the Desktop
by DeadFishMan on Sat 8th Dec 2007 15:50 in reply to "RE: Linux on the Desktop"
DeadFishMan Member since:
2006-01-09

Well I say the hell with those Average People you speak of. They're sheep. I don't see why they should be given any choice in the matter. If they don't care what they're using then they should leave the decision to those who care and actually try to imagine new things, and meekly follow them.

Hell, yeah! Sometimes I want to scream this out loud to some people in this site. All this excessive focus on the "average user" sometimes feels like we're constantly awarding mediocrity. Well said!

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE: Linux on the Desktop
by Robocoastie on Sat 8th Dec 2007 16:42 in reply to "Linux on the Desktop"
Robocoastie Member since:
2005-09-15

You're absolutely correct. I say let those who wish to be ignorant continue to pay the piper (msft). But the rest of us have to keep a close eye on the piper that he doesn't get government even more convinced to pass more laws which shores up his monopoly making it more illegal just for us to use our own machines.

Reply Parent Score: 1