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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Member since:

This has been brought up and discussed many times. I wont go in to it again right now, but here are the highlights:

* Believe it or not it's like that for a good reason.
* Some room for improvement exists, but there's little gain to be had for the minor improvements we might actually agree on.
* The kind of user who cares into which directory the installer put his files ought to take the time to learn why it is the way it is and why that's a good thing. Everyone else doesn't care anyway.

That is what it boils down to. You cannot 'reorganize' without losing something many of us cannot afford to lose. You shouldn't ship radically different FS layouts for different people (no server version vs desktop version please!)

Any specific suggestions you have for improvements would be welcome, but please understand that it is a large effort to change things like this and if you cannot convince people that there's a major gain to be had they wont do it for you. That said, you are welcome to do this yourself and make your own distribution.

Or, try GoboLinux.

Reply Parent Score: 2

dragossh Member since:

* Believe it or not it's like that for a good reason.
* Some room for improvement exists, but there's little gain to be had for the minor improvements we might actually agree on.

Meanwhile, I unzip an app on Haiku and move it into /boot/apps.

And maybe I want to delete some preferences... there they are: /home/config/settings

Believe it or not, making the filesystem easier to understand (even if it's a change from /bin to /apps) makes the user to want to understand the system. Part due to it's simplicity. Of course when you have 30 directories the user will get scared and will want to close the window.

Reply Parent Score: 1

sorpigal Member since:

I did not say that there was no advantage to other filesystem layouts. I said that the existing layout isn't purely sadistic. It is like that for a good reason and any attempt to change it will necessarily have to take in to account the advantages of the current system, throwing out as few as possible.

Most people wanting to 'fix' *nix directory structures do not understand them and so throw the baby out with the bathwater. Their proposals fail to gain acceptance and they are left wondering why.

I am all for a revised FSH, but you can't simply throw it all away because it's ugly or because you found something else that worked for you, once.

To reply to a specific point regarding /bin/ -> /apps/. This may seem like a good idea, but most apps are not in and should not be in /bin/ (thus not in /apps/). So, you see, it is never that simple. You could simply rename all bin dirs to apps or system-apps, which is fine by me. But, as I said, there is only a small gain in comprehension if you do this and there is massive work involved in converting existing software (and people) over to use it. The gains are thus not great enough and people don't do it.

Not that you couldn't. I encourage you to start your own distro and do just this, and other things if you think they're improvements. Maybe it will catch on (but I doubt it).

Reply Parent Score: 3