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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by 3rdalbum on Mon 24th Aug 2009 10:41 UTC
Member since:

Linux is user-friendly, but IT IS NOT WINDOWS.

Newbs automatically try to do things in Linux the same way they did in Windows, which of course doesn't work. Then they look online for a HOWTO, which might be outdated or written for Gentoo (or written for headless servers), and it involves use of the terminal.

Case in point: Samba. There's always people asking how to set up file sharing in Ubuntu. Even the Ubuntu documentation goes through opening up smb.conf and making manual edits, but in reality all that's needed is for you to right-click the folder you want to share, go to Properties, click the "Sharing" tab and fill in the details. Easy. But people seem to think it's hard to set up Samba even when you run Gnome.

Maybe it's because newbs get told that Linux is hard, so they don't bother trying the easy way? It's like when they ask "How do I set up my HP printer on Ubuntu" - they're expecting that it requires them to compile a driver from source code. They're not expecting it to be as easy as "Press the 'on' button and you're ready to print". I've even seen newbies download the HPLIP source code and ask how to install it, without even trying plug 'n' play!

Reply Score: 11

RE: Hilarious
by agnosticnixie on Mon 24th Aug 2009 12:40 in reply to "Hilarious"
agnosticnixie Member since:

That, a million times that.
Hell, I picked up my friend's mac and I was daunted at first because even if I was using an interface with a few elements of similarity (kde 3 with the menubar on top) it still wasn't the same, and then when I started digging I stumbled through the mix of BSD and Apple utilities making up its userland. Then I got a mac for my laptop and whenever my brother (who has only used windows to any extent and could probably deal with the professional side of it even on winserver where I get lost in windows) looks at it "why do you keep complicating your life" - same reaction as he has with my linux "desktop" box.

Most of linux' userfriendliness for my completely computer dumb grandparents didn't come from it being unfamiliar, it came from the fact that they struggled to get used to Windows and that was already new to them - there's no such thing as a friendly computer to them. I doubt anything is inherently userfriendly - we jsut get used to it.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Hilarious - similar for me
by jabbotts on Mon 24th Aug 2009 18:24 in reply to "RE: Hilarious"
jabbotts Member since:

I spent a while trying to figure out how to install downloaded software on an osX machine before double clicking the .img and copying the contained icon to the applications folder. It was too simple where I was expecting some kind of more complicated install wizard. Nothing but a slight speed bump the firs time though, once you get it.. your all set.

Reply Parent Score: 2