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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Let's see
by neticspace on Mon 24th Aug 2009 10:28 UTC
Member since:

(Note: My post might anger some people. I apologize in advance.)

I had a similar intensive discussion with my computer tech buddy. We all agreed on one thing: operating systems with Unix or Unix-like architecture are more suitable for workstation/server and industrial embedded equipment applications than ordinary home desktop application.

Methinks the next user-friendly open source OSes will not have a Unix(-like) architecture. But Linux and BSD indeed have contributed many stuffs by enriching a firm foundation of open source movement and projects. That's for sure.

Linux and BSD are perhaps the indirect motivators of open sourcing more mainstream Unix systems or similar Unix-like ones in the future; enriching possibly brand new generation of Unix(-like)-inspired operating systems when new computer technologies will arrive.

I currently have a mixed feeling of today's open source home desktop because it's good that those projects grow firmly and steadily, but the fact that Linux or BSD are rather better for workstations/servers.

Edited 2009-08-24 10:32 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: Let's see
by Flatland_Spider on Mon 24th Aug 2009 14:36 in reply to "Let's see"
Flatland_Spider Member since:

Oddly enough, what you're talking about is BeOS. Unix inspired and very consistent.

Moving on...
A couple of points:
1) The people funding Linux/*BSDs are funding developments in the server, workstation, and embedded spaces, so yes they are better in those areas. If someone made desktop utilization a priority you would see an improvement. For example, Apple has taken a bunch of open source technologies and made a very polished OS.

2) Hardware manufacturers don't necessarily play ball with the FOSS community or they release wonky implementations of confusing standards. There are two great examples, ACPI in laptops is notorious for being wonky, incomplete, or both, and Broadcom's blind hatred of FOSS OSes. Once laptop manufacturers get their product running with Windows, they're happy. It takes a lot of time to document hardware, so most companies don't. (Broadcom doesn't see the profit in helping out FOSS OSes, or they just do it for fun. I'm not sure which.) The amount of stuff that does works with Linux or BSD really is a superhuman accomplishment.

3) X11 was designed for remote dumb terminals. X windows gets the job done, but it could be better designed for single user desktop use. It also has a lot of momentum, so it's not going away anytime soon. Finally, the kernels themselves have deficiencies, like the DRI situation in FreeBSD, that other kernels, such as NT, don't have, which goes back to point number 1.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Let's see
by neticspace on Mon 24th Aug 2009 21:29 in reply to "RE: Let's see"
neticspace Member since:

Oddly enough, what you're talking about is BeOS. Unix inspired and very consistent.

BeOS was more of a POSIX-supporting operating system with a command line tool. BeOS and Haiku are not really Unix-inspired per se; more like POSIX-respected.

From a Haiku development member: BeOS was only "unix-like" in that it shipped with a bash shell and a full complement of commandline utilities. It also sported a relatively good POSIX compliance layer (Haiku is much better even)... but these do not make "UNIX", and that's where the similarity to UNIX pretty much ends.

Edited 2009-08-24 21:30 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2