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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Perception is key
by uteck on Mon 24th Aug 2009 13:10 UTC
uteck
Member since:
2006-07-16

I think the big stumbling block on Linux usablity can be highlighted with Firefox's use of GTK.

When someone tries to change the way Firefox opens a file, they are presented with a view of the file system and they need to provide the full path to the app they want to use. So the user needs to know that Adobe Reader is called acroread and is stored in /usr/bin. That is inexcusable behavior.

Conversely using Konqueror you are presented with the application menu and just have to pick the app you want to use. That is intuitive behavior that users can understand.

It is the little things like this that turn peoples' perceptions, not adding new hardware or configuring dual monitors. Having a menu item called "Add/Remove Software" that calls a terminal window with "apt-get _" pretyped for you is not usable, but that is the level of the behaviors we have.

I really don't have an idea of how to fix it other then avoiding app that use GTK, but hopefully someone else has a solution.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Perception is key
by Flatland_Spider on Mon 24th Aug 2009 13:54 in reply to "Perception is key"
Flatland_Spider Member since:
2006-09-01

I just checked Firefox in Fedora11/Gnome, and it gave me a listing of applications to select. The only time Nautilus appears is when I select the "Use other..." option.

What DE are you running? Firefox integrates with Gnome much better, due to Gconf, then other DEs.

You should move to Fedora, so you can use the wonderful Yumex tool. ;)

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Perception is key
by steogede2 on Mon 24th Aug 2009 14:25 in reply to "RE: Perception is key"
steogede2 Member since:
2007-08-17


What DE are you running? Firefox integrates with Gnome much better, due to Gconf, then other DEs.


THAN!

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Perception is key
by uteck on Mon 24th Aug 2009 14:25 in reply to "RE: Perception is key"
uteck Member since:
2006-07-16

We use KDE at work for various reasons on RedHat 4. Upgrading to Fedora is out of the question since management wants official support, and there is no budget to purchase licenses for 5.

So it sounds like Firefox needs Gnome to work properly on Linux, which explains why the users find it a pain to use. I guess this underscores the problems with usability in Linux. We need to use FF, but it does not work easily with our desktop, and retraining people to use Gnome is out of the question. Too bad Konqueror does not work better on the sites users have to access.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Perception is key
by vivainio on Mon 24th Aug 2009 14:15 in reply to "Perception is key"
vivainio Member since:
2008-12-26

I think the big stumbling block on Linux usablity can be highlighted with Firefox's use of GTK.


Yeah, Firefox's lousy desktop integration (mostly bad handling of downloaded files, painfully so with KDE) sticks out like a sore thumb, and because that's what you use the most, it keeps nagging at you all the time.

Best solution would probably be to remove the download manager from Linux version of firefox altogether, and let an external program sort things out.

Reply Parent Score: 2