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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Dumb article
by fukudasan on Tue 19th Oct 2010 02:36 UTC
fukudasan
Member since:
2006-06-04

Here we go again, another "Linux is dead, Linux won't make it on the desktop" pile of crap . . . this is arguing the wrong point, surely? A computer is merely a complicated tool, nowadays enabled for a wide range of tasks. My Linux machines allow me to do everything I want much more comfortably than any recent version of Windows (example: try using the latest versions of Office on the latest versions of Windows, in Korean, with the Ribbon! Nightmarish!!!) and faster, too.

But we are missing the point in this discussion. People use Windows in preference to other platforms because of a combination of ignorance (that there are other viable options), conditioning (early educational encounters plus (probably) consistently misleading advertising), application familiarity and fear (of having to go through a learning curve again if moving platforms means they have to use new software to achieve the same tasks, plus, of course, fear of ridicule from friends and associates, always a killer for anything on a social level).

The understanding that something like a word processor should function the same irrespective of platform if there are standard key bindings or whatever is something that the educational process does not impart in people. Another thread here recently made the point that although MS Office was highly prevalent on desktops, in practice it has many features that only power users need. This is quite correct. Back in England, on my old Win98SE/95 machines, I usually used a version of ClarisWorks 1.0 for Windows and it was perfect. It was also free because it was out of date and newer versions had supplanted it; it came on the front of a magazine and the fact that it was not 100% functional was irrelevant because I never needed all the features. So the products are oversold in the first place. And you couldn't tell the difference in printed materials, either.

And the paradox is that a good (i.e. "successful" rather than "approaching perfection") app or platform is one which appeals to peoples' laziness more than anything else. Linux has this, I can just switch on and not worry about things like malware or Trojans, but Linux is not the popular choice even though it should be more prevalent now. Windows appeals to peoples' laziness (ease of use) but has always failed miserably in security terms - which is why I gave up on it completely. But it comes pre-installed; that's the secret. Most potential users are not sophisticated or experienced enough to undertake things like installation (ask Doc Pain, he'll tell you what people do in Germany after they unpack their shiny new Windows PC - throw away the installation disks because they think they'll never need them!).

We could add to this that people become inextricably tied-in to Windows because of third-party apps, for example, I purchased a 3G smartphone here in Korea recently, the CYON LU-9000. The software (downloaded) is designed for Windows. It works okay, but you suddenly discover that the external memory you bought for it (MicroSD card) mysteriously cannot be read by XP . . . put it in the slot on the laptop using Mandriva and it works like a charm, no problems loading or deleting files. But Mandriva can do nothing with the phone itself. Neither platform seems to service the same device fully, ergo both must be considered inadequate, surely? The fact is that neither is better than the others, they all have as many fallacies as advantages and only really become useful if you adapt to them - and accept that if one is unable to do something important, you need access to both. Adapting to a situation like that makes you a much better computer user in general terms because you learn more about systems and software - as a Joe User, like myself - and therefore more versatile. A good carpenter does not go to work with just one size of chisel or one type of saw, he needs many tools and knows how to use them.

If I have understood the article correctly, what the author is really saying is this: Linux users (others should surely be mentioned in the same breath? BSD? MacOS? Any more???) have ideology. Ideology is bad because people who have it will reject the lame products that we offer, which will only run on one platform. We want them to use only that platform so they have no choice but to buy our products. So we must diss it and diss it until it dies a natural death and we can point to it and say: "See! Told you so!" Only a misinformed, misled and unsophisticated (read: lazy) consumer base would put up with such a situation. That's the bottom line.

The other points the author makes are (a) lack of content and (b) inability of "content providers" to make inroads:

[quote]"I share the hope with everyone that free and open-source software will rise to meet the requirements of content delivery," says longtime Linux developer Jeff Whatcott, senior vice president of marketing for Brightcove, a company that specializes in online video streaming. "But that's not happening."[/quote]

This is telling us the truth: "Content providers" don't like Linux because it's difficult to "monetize". So they get third parties to write disaparging online articles about it. Do I really care if Flash doesn't work on 64-bit Mandriva? I'll go to web sites that don't need it, or view it with XP virtualised. Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger!

Do you wonder why I don't waste my time at sites like PC World? When a company employee of any kind feels it's acceptable to say something like: "DVD playback and video streaming from premium sites such as Netflix are now fundamental capabilities that any computer should have." - I vote with my feet, and my wallet!

Reply Score: 7

RE: Dumb article
by fukudasan on Wed 20th Oct 2010 13:39 in reply to "Dumb article"
fukudasan Member since:
2006-06-04

I forgot to mention . . . it makes me retch, too. ^_^

Edited 2010-10-20 13:40 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1