Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 18th Oct 2010 21:54 UTC
Linux Well, it's been a while since we've opened this particular jar (box is not historically accurate) owned by Pandora. Desktop Linux... Yes, that ever elusive readiness of the desktop that is Linux-powered. Some story on ComputerWorld argues that the desktop Linux dream is dead, and apparently, the story is causing some stir on the web. Well, paint me pink and call me a lightbulb, but of course desktop Linux is dead. However - who gives a flying monkey? Linux is being used by more people than ever!
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It's not the fault of Linux...
by cmost on Mon 18th Oct 2010 23:01 UTC
cmost
Member since:
2006-07-16

The reason Linux has not taken desktop computing by storm has little to do with simplicity/ease of use/security/etc. of Linux. The reason is actually simple: Microsoft. It might come as a surprise to many that, like a drug dealer, Microsoft has made sure over the years that youngsters (students) start their computing experience with Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office by making attractive licensing deals with academia in which Windows and Office are given to schools (teachers and students) at deep discounts compared to retail costs. Similar licensing deals are made with big corporations to ensure that exposure to Microsoft products continues into the workplace. Other companies such as Adobe have taken a similar tact with their flagship software. The end result is that most people know Microsoft Windows and Office and have little interest in learning something new, even if it's better. People do prefer the devil they know. This cycle continues unbroken today. Unless something is done to remedy the licensing situation, then Microsoft and its like will continue to dominate the desktop with proprietary software solutions and alternatives, even if they're free, will not make a dent.

Reply Score: 8

jpobst Member since:
2006-09-26

A lot of it comes down to Windows just isn't that expensive. Very few people pay full price for it, whether they get it through academics, preloaded on their computer, through volume discounts, or pirate it.

For Linux to make any sort of inroads, it has to be perceived as not just on par with Windows or a little better. It has to be dramatically better and well marketed so that people know what it is and seek out computers that have it. (a la Mac)

And just to clarify, it has to be dramatically better in ways mainstream users care about, which does not include that they can get the source code for it.

Reply Parent Score: 7

dvhh Member since:
2006-03-20

Yes,the key strategy is being the default OS on the computer and try as much as not dicking the user (poulsbo graphic chipset has seriuously hurt the image of linux on netbook ),

Reply Parent Score: 3

_Nine_ Member since:
2010-10-13

A lot of it comes down to Windows just isn't that expensive. Very few people pay full price for it, whether they get it through academics, preloaded on their computer, through volume discounts, or pirate it.

For Linux to make any sort of inroads, it has to be perceived as not just on par with Windows or a little better. It has to be dramatically better and well marketed so that people know what it is and seek out computers that have it. (a la Mac)

And just to clarify, it has to be dramatically better in ways mainstream users care about, which does not include that they can get the source code for it.


This really is the key. Being "as good as" something isn't a value proposition, yet it's the constant state that Linux finds itself in on the desktop front. Since app development and hardware development focus first on Windows and, to a lesser extent on Mac, the Linux community is often playing catch-up in an effort to maintain parity.

To get noticed, Linux has to innovate in appreciable ways to users. I'm not saying that it doesn't innovate, but it's innovations simply aren't revolutionary enough to warrant mainstream attention and, subsequently, migration from the status quo. Furthermore, it doesn't have a good vehicle for delivering its innovations. Apple has the Mac hardware to deliver the Mac OS and the iPhone/iPad to deliver the iOS. How well would Apple be doing if it was purely a software company and relied on people upgrading their PCs to run Mac OS or iOS? It's the Apple hardware and overall experience from unboxing to using that attract people to Apple products.

I agree that getting Linux on the desktop really doesn't matter as long as it's being actively used, I think there's a problem with counting Android and other Linux variants as Linux. For one, they don't really espouse the virtues of the Linux philosophy. Android OEMs basically use the open parts to create proprietary products. Having a wide-open marketplace and being able to install any app you want on your phone aren't really the Linux definition of open. Secondly, these Linux variants aren't portable. Just look at all the fragmentation among devices and Android versions. Furthermore, application compatibility issues abound. Each new Android phone really is a new branch on the Android evolutionary tree. Android, PS3, etc. really are good examples of successful implementations or uses cases of Linux, but calling Android phone users or PS3 players as "Linux users" might be a stretch...

Reply Parent Score: 2

nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

What about the popularity of Macs on college campuses?

Reply Parent Score: 2

sithlord2 Member since:
2009-04-02

The end result is that most people know Microsoft Windows and Office and have little interest in learning something new, even if it's better.


The problem is that geeks have another definition of "better" compared to ordinary computer users. We talk about the enhanced security of Linux, but what does an enduser see? He sees an OS that requires him to learn a new Office software package, which offers no advantage over MS Office. A music producer sees an OS with a terrible sound system, and totally unsuitable for serious production. A graphics artist misses his photoshop, and no, The Gimp is not a replacement until it runs every photoshop-plugin. A gamer sees a total mess of 3D frameworks and drivers...

Do I have to go on?

But but ... It's free??!! Guess what, people are willing to spend money on something that works...

Don't get me wrong, I run Linux on a few servers and they do the job just fine. But when I'm messing with music I'm using my Mac. When I wanna do some gaming, I boot up my Windows laptop.

Reply Parent Score: 7

macinnisrr Member since:
2009-11-12

I'm a music producer and graphic designer, and I use linux everyday. Specifically http://dream.dickmacinnis.com>Dream

Reply Parent Score: 5

Mellin Member since:
2005-07-06

here in sweden you can't get a pre built pc without windows

Reply Parent Score: 3