Linked by David Adams on Mon 24th Aug 2009 09:21 UTC
Linux A reader asks: Why is Linux still not as user friendly as the two other main OSes with all the people developing for Linux? Is it because it is mainly developed by geeks? My initial feeling when reading this question was that it was kind of a throwaway, kind of a slam in disguise as a genuine question. But the more I thought about it, the more intrigued I felt. There truly are a large amount of resources being dedicated to the development of Linux and its operating system halo (DEs, drivers, apps, etc). Some of these resources are from large companies (IBM, Red Hat, Novell). Why isn't Linux more user-friendly? Is this an inherent limitation with open source software?
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Is Linux un-user friendly?
by Laurence on Mon 24th Aug 2009 10:16 UTC
Member since:

I don't think so.

My misses (who is completely non-technical) runs Linux on 2 out of 3 of her laptops:
* Xandros on her EeePC (she loves it because it's quick loading and very simple to use for her basic internet needs (web surfing, skype, msn, etc)
* Xubuntu + compiz (she used to have Vista laoded but after I loaded Xubuntu, she finds her laptop runs now quicker, is more user friendly and looks "prettier" than before)
* XP (this is a works laptop so she doesn't have a say about the software loaded.

Now I admit that the misses wouldn't have been able to load Linux on either of those machines herself, however she wouldn't have been able to load XP either - so we realyl are talking about someone who just knows the bare basics.

Plus, the fact that I've not given her any lessons in Linux yet already finds Xubuntu more user friendly than Vista says a hell of a lot.

So I think the biggest problem facing Linux is:
1/ it's myth that Linux is an elitest's OS of choice and thus isn't designed for "ordinary" folk.
2/ lack of applications (true, some commertial apps don't exist. But for *most* PC usage, there's usually a FOSS application.
3/ lack of end-user support. (people like to be reasured that there's other people who can help with their "stupid" questions. While there's plenty of mates of mates, or friend's kids, etc, who can help with Windows queries, there's not much visable / tactile support for Linux out there)
4/ the fact that it doesn't come pre-installed (a lot of people struggle with installing Windows, so they're not about to go installing a whole other OS they have no experience with)
5/ lack of uniformity. (do users opt for KDE3, KDE4, GNOME, XFCE, *buntu, Redhat, OpenSuse.....etc. While I personally love the vast array of choice Linux offers - there's no denying that it confuses many who are not so clued up and/or those who don't have the time/inclination to learn about which distro/DE is best for them)

So, to summarise:
Linux has it's faults, but no OS is bug-free.
Linux just needs "critical mass" amongst the comptuer-illiterate. By that, I mean there's not currently the demand from end users to push OEMs to pre-install Linux to the degree that end users need to get exposed to Linux to push Linux (the catch 22 situation).

Reply Score: 10

v RE: Is Linux un-user friendly?
by rockwell on Mon 24th Aug 2009 13:34 in reply to "Is Linux un-user friendly?"
Laurence Member since:

So, to summarize: You make your wife use three laptops, when one powerful laptop running Windows 7 RC1 would do everything she needs. Gotta love waste.

I don't make her do anything.

She had a Vista laptop originally. then she went back to uni so wanted something portable to carry to lessons (hense buying the EeePC) and then got the 3rd laptop as part of her job.

Also, we're not married (yet).

I think the saying about assumptions is very relevent here ("assumptions make an ass out of you, me and uptions")

Reply Parent Score: 3