Linked by David Adams on Fri 18th Jun 2010 19:17 UTC
Linux Linux Magazine has a profile of Daniel Fore and the Elementary project. Elementary is a Linux distro that's committed to a clean and simple user experience, but it's more than a distro - it's actually a multi-pronged effort to make improvements to the user experience for a whole ecosystem of components, including icons, a GTK theme, Midori improvements, Nautilus, and even Firefox. The work that elementary is doing isn't limited to their own distro, and some of their work is available in current, and perhaps future, Ubuntu releases. The results are really striking, and I think it's probably the handsomest Linux UI I've ever seen.
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Moochman
Member since:
2005-07-06

Yes it's true that Linux is easier to use than it's ever been before. But the very simple reason it's not ready for mass consumption is that it more or less *requires* the CLI and/or editing config files by hand in order to get anything done that's remotely advanced.

Another large-ish factor is that package managers have certain disadvantages from a consumer standpoint. App versions are months behind the newest releases, and installing new versions of anything risks breaking something else. Plus for the few applications that do offer direct-install binaries, you risk not being able to uninstall those apps easily, since the package manager either gets confused or ignores them completely. I'm not saying package managers should be scrapped, I'm saying that direct-install binaries such as Zero Install should be should be treated by distros and developers as first-class citizens. Distros should include Zero Install by default and application project pages had should have big fat links to Zero Install binaries of the newest versions. This would also increase usage and beta testing of small-time apps that distros would otherwise not support and compiler-phobic end users would never try out.

...But still, the CLI is by far the biggest reason why Linux has not "gone mainstream".

Reply Score: 6

tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

Yes it's true that Linux is easier to use than it's ever been before. But the very simple reason it's not ready for mass consumption is that it more or less *requires* the CLI and/or editing config files by hand in order to get anything done that's remotely advanced.

Huh? There are numerous Linux distros in which one never needs to see a terminal, unlike the remedies required for OSX problems: http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13727_7-20007737-263.html
I'm guessing that the average Mac chimp is going to have trouble with these terminal commands.


Another large-ish factor ... App versions are months behind the newest releases,...

Huh? Try Arch, Sidux and Gentoo (just to name a few).


... and installing new versions of anything risks breaking something else.

Perhaps you are confusing Linux with OSX. Here are just a few choice Apple upgrading problems that have popped up in the last two days:

Safari completely unresponsive after update: http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=2466613&tstart=0
Photos lost upgrading library to Ap3: http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=2465322&tstart=15
Latest SL update seems to screwed up Aperture: http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=2464161&tstart=30
Problems after upgrade to 4.03 creating events from address book: http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=2465245&tstart=15
Can't Install Quicktime [upgrading hasn't worked since April 11, 2010]: http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa;jsessionid=84756CA46355044...
Mac OS X: Issues with OS X10.6.4 [since upgrading]: http://forums.cnet.com/5208-6126_102-0.html?threadID=398175&tag=for...

Those posts came from a quick scan of the forums of only a few Apple programs. These threads barely scratch the surface of Apple upgrading problems.

I thought everything with Apple "just works!"

Please go to the forums of any major Linux distro and find this many upgrading problems existing in such a short span of time.


Plus for the few applications that do offer direct-install binaries, you risk not being able to uninstall those apps easily, since the package manager either gets confused or ignores them completely.

Of course, Windows and OSX programs are always fully uninstalled when commanded. /s

Furthermore, it is always amazing when someone tries to characterize Linux in a certain way. There are hundreds of different distros, many of which do unique and incredible things. For instance, how does the above notion on problems with Linux independent package uninstall apply to distros such as Gobolinux, where each package and library sits in its own directory?

Another thing, it is rarely necessary to install a more recent, independent binary that is not in the repos, especially with Arch, Sidux, Gentoo, etc. Such distros keep packages fairly recent, and they certainly update the packages more often than most OSX and Windows programs.


...But still, the CLI is by far the biggest reason why Linux has not "gone mainstream".

Not sure on what such a notion is based.

My 84 year old mother installed Mepis by herself, and she doesn't know how to use the CLI, and she has never had to use the CLI.

Edited 2010-06-19 07:37 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

m1cro Member since:
2006-12-22

So pointing out problems in OS X somehow makes Linux better? Yeah... right.

Reply Parent Score: 2

silix Member since:
2006-03-01

Of course, Windows and OSX programs are always fully uninstalled when commanded. /s

pointing at other OS's flaws doesnt solve yours
Windows and OSX are not perfect, of course, but those two OS's are the ones the majority of users actually use despite minor annoyances like this, because they have all the applications already (users want to use applications, not the OS itself) while linux has got OpenOffice and some other horizontal applications (though there's web browsers aplenty) but when it comes to specialized professional grade vertical applications, there's very few to none of them available ( and even in those cases, for specific - sometimes outdated, versions of specific distributions )
other Os's can live with this minor annoyance because they have at least one barrier to entry less than, say, linux

Furthermore, it is always amazing when someone tries to characterize Linux in a certain way. There are hundreds of different distros, many of which do unique and incredible things.

this is the crux of the problem
the vast majority of people would rather settle with something that *works*, has as many features that they need, as possible, and possibly stable API's (so that third party developers can give them the *applications* they need), than be willing to choose among hundreds of different distros (incompatible with each other) just to get one unique or incredible feature but sacrificing on fundamental requirements such as overall functionality and stability

also, development wise, consolidating a platform in a certain application field, and adapting it to operate in other fields are not mutually exclusive things (in fact, they're orthogonal aspects)
and certainly it shouldn't need different distributions to refine feature richness and suitability in the same application field (namely, the desktop), since such refinement may well happen upstream and all distributions benefit from it equally - but this would make all desktop distributions (mutually compatible) clones of each other, diminishing any competitive advantage one may have against the others, so it's not in the distributions' interest to make that happen (although it would be in the users' interest)

For instance, how does the above notion on problems with Linux independent package uninstall apply to distros such as Gobolinux, where each package and library sits in its own directory?

GoboLinux does away with package management and dependency hell - but it's known for suffering from "symlink hell" otoh
simplifying the directory structure and putting some common sense in it (third party applications each in its own directory isn't "the windows way", it's just logical) is all fine and dandy, but it clashes with a plethora of unix userland sw developed with unix paths in mind (or, often times, hardcoded)

My 84 year old mother installed Mepis by herself, and she doesn't know how to use the CLI, and she has never had to use the CLI.

... so when you'll give her a new webcam for christmas, she'll be able to install it herself with just a few mouse clicks (setup-> next->next->finish), or she'll rather have to open the cli and type some obscure commands (or worse yet, wait for you to come and setup it for her) ?

Reply Parent Score: 4

nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26


Huh? There are numerous Linux distros in which one never needs to see a terminal, unlike the remedies required for OSX problems: http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13727_7-20007737-263.html
I'm guessing that the average Mac chimp is going to have trouble with these terminal commands.


Mac chimp? You have to insulting and disingenuous?

Funny the last picture of a Linux developer's conference I saw sure contained a lot of Macbooks.

So why don't you name some of these distros that don't require using a CLI? Ubuntu (Linux for humans) not only requires a CLI at times but in fact dumped some people to the command line after a system update broke working video drivers. The OSX example you provided was just a case of a user being unable to delete files. That user was still able to use the system and get online to find help.

But maybe you think it is ok to expect users to do this for a printer install:

hey I just got my psc 1610 working for both scanning and printing (yay me!)...
first I did

sudo apt-get install hplip gtklp xpp hpijs python-qt3-doc libqt3-mt-mysql hplip-ppds

I don't know if you need all those packages they were all reccomended or suggested and I hate going back and adding things later... then I went to system->administration->printing > printer> add printer and in step 2 I selected psc 1600 from 'HP (HPLIP)' in the manufacturer drop down menu (as opposed to just 'HP' which did make a difference for me ) this got the printing part working.

Then xsane told me it didn't find any scanning devices so I installed a package called libsane-extras from synaptic and tried xsane again and it worked.

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=151981

Reply Parent Score: 2

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Yes it's true that Linux is easier to use than it's ever been before. But the very simple reason it's not ready for mass consumption is that it more or less *requires* the CLI and/or editing config files by hand in order to get anything done that's remotely advanced.

Don't know. I used to think that way, but some months ago, I decided that I would totally stop using CLI and use a GUI for advanced operation whenever it's available. Since I did that, after some distro testing times, when I use CLI now, it is always on my own free will (CLI is better for batch operation, it's just a fact).

The issue is more with all those amateurish tutorials written by CLI freaks, where you *always* have to get the CLI out, even when it's totally unnecessary.

Another large-ish factor is that package managers have certain disadvantages from a consumer standpoint. App versions are months behind the newest releases, and installing new versions of anything risks breaking something else. Plus for the few applications that do offer direct-install binaries, you risk not being able to uninstall those apps easily, since the package manager either gets confused or ignores them completely. I'm not saying package managers should be scrapped, I'm saying that direct-install binaries such as Zero Install should be should be treated by distros and developers as first-class citizens. Distros should include Zero Install by default and application project pages had should have big fat links to Zero Install binaries of the newest versions. This would also increase usage and beta testing of small-time apps that distros would otherwise not support and compiler-phobic end users would never try out.

Why use a new API when the existing one is sufficiently efficient ? People just have to make DEB and RPM packages. Installing a Deb on ubuntu is as simple as double-clicking on it then pressing install and entering root password, and as far as I know, installing an RPM in Suse isn't much more difficult...

Edited 2010-06-19 09:27 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Don't know. I used to think that way, but some months ago, I decided that I would totally stop using CLI and use a GUI for advanced operation whenever it's available. Since I did that, after some distro testing times, when I use CLI now, it is always on my own free will (CLI is better for batch operation, it's just a fact).

I too use CLI for a lot of different things but mostly because I just find it faster to do things like that, it's not because the GUI tools are lacking in any way. Atleast with Mandriva I _could_ perfectly fine do everything with GUI tools, there has been no case whatsoever yet that required me to drop down to CLI because GUI tools didn't have the features needed.

As such I find the notion of Linux requiring one to use CLI completely erroneous, if not even pure willful spreading of FUD. It just ain't true anymore and haven't been that for several years now.

Reply Parent Score: 3

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

But the very simple reason it's not ready for mass consumption is that it more or less *requires* the CLI and/or editing config files by hand in order to get anything done that's remotely advanced.


Wow, wonder when this nonsese is going to go away? I'm guessing never as long as there are morons around.
If you need to do "advanced" stuff having to use the CLI instead of wading thru registry keys and ini files is not a big deal. Also, mass-consumption is the opposite of needing to do advanced stuff. The mass-consumer is not (at least not immediately) interested in the advanced stuff, they just need something that meats a common denominator and works.

Reply Parent Score: 2