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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immiraja
Member since:
2008-05-07

Linux is a Kernel. It is hidden from the users. It need not be user friendly.

I assume you are talking about X windows not being user friendly.

I have read the post, you are talking about the other 2 major OS, I assume you are talking about MS Windows and Apple. So you are comparing Linux with Windows and Apple.

User friendlyness is subjective. Let me ask you, how many clicks (least possible means) do you take to copy & paste a text in windows. select text, right click, move the mouse to copy, click the mouse on copy, move the cursor to the desired location (couple of clicks here), right click for the pop up menu, move to paste and click on the paste.

Under X it is simple, select the text, place the cursor on the desired location (couple of clicks here) and then click both left and right button together.

So do you see that X does much efficiently the same task with little effort from you compared to windows.

There are many more such features were X does beat Windows. To me X is more user friendly then windows.

If you are taking about the nice looks, color, special effects then I agree X may not be that efficient. I have a laptop with 2 GB Ram and I can't even open MS word as quickly as I can under Wine / Linux. I have to close all the special effects under Aero. So tell me what is the use of all these special effects if a user can't use them (so windows is not user friendly again.)

I have been using open source OS since 1992. I can say that open source OS distributor have done a great jobs.

Reply Score: 1

sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

Can we stop with the "X windows user friendliness" language? X is no more user friendly than GDI is user friendly. Your graphics layer contributes not very much to the overall user experience and zero to friendliness.

OS X isn't a friendlier system because it does not use X. Not using X allowed them to take certain eye candy shortcuts and (arguably) provided a way to quicker way to get a smooth (and thus pleasing) graphical experience. None of this affects applications to any significant degree.

If friendliness is the subject, X does not enter the picture. End of story.

Replies about mode switching, flicker, crash recovery and such can go to hell and die. Just because X doesn't handle these things well right now doesn't mean it can't and wont in the future. These things also contribute little to the user experience and are typically not what users complain (or care) about.

Reply Parent Score: 2

vivainio Member since:
2008-12-26


User friendlyness is subjective. Let me ask you, how many clicks (least possible means) do you take to copy & paste a text in windows.


Using CUA keys:

- Select area to copy
- Ctrl+C
- Select target
- Ctrl+V

If you have an app with editable text area, that's 0-1 clicks optimum.

Everything else feels very error prone and clumsy to me. Especially the X 3-button copy-paste, which never worked ok - back in the day we had 2 button mice we had to press both buttons simultaneously, and now we have to press down scroll wheel. Sucks. Luckily this is rarely needed anymore, and as far as I'm concerned it should go the way of focus-follows-mouse...

In summary, I don't think this is a benefit of X, and not something we should make much noise about ;-).

Reply Parent Score: 2

ichi Member since:
2007-03-06


Using CUA keys:

- Select area to copy
- Ctrl+C
- Select target
- Ctrl+V


Unless you need to copy to/from the cmd, obviously, although that's not a GDI problem, it's just that the cmd app sucks.

Reply Parent Score: 2

abraxas Member since:
2005-07-07

Everything else feels very error prone and clumsy to me. Especially the X 3-button copy-paste, which never worked ok


It has always worked for me. Some of us have a three button mouse you know.

Luckily this is rarely needed anymore, and as far as I'm concerned it should go the way of focus-follows-mouse...


You don't really need the third button in Linux anymore but if focus-follows-mouse is removed I'll be pissed. Click-to-focus is the most annoying "feature" of Windows to me. I don't always want to raise a window just to type in it.

Reply Parent Score: 2