Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 14th May 2012 22:49 UTC
Windows For weeks - if not months - I've been trying to come up with a way to succinctly and accurately explain why, exactly, Windows 8 rubs me the wrong way, usability-wise. I think I finally got it.
Thread beginning with comment 518416
To view parent comment, click here.
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
RE[7]: um
by Dave_K on Wed 16th May 2012 15:51 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: um"
Dave_K
Member since:
2005-11-16

I don't understand your point here? You are suggesting that the command line is still needed right? but then you go on to give an example where the broblem was a geeky one - upgrading the OS. As a geek myself, I have NEVER come across any "normal" users that upgrade their OSs, have you? Usually they just ask someone like you or me to do it, right?


Potential Linux users aren't necessarily going to have someone who'll do everything for them. I don't know anyone who could help me with my Linux problems, but pretty much everyone knows a Windows user able to install, upgrade and configure the OS. Even if there isn't anyone who'll sort it out for free, they can always take their PC to a local computer shop if it's running Windows.

I'm a pretty experienced computer user, but as more of a GUI fan than a CLI junkie I often still find using Linux a real challenge. I think I must have spent at least 50 hours trying to install and configure Linux on my Thinkpad, and I still haven't got it 100% working. At the moment I'm struggling with a kernel module dependency problem that's stopping me from using a particular configuration utility.

I've never managed to get Linux running properly on any system without at least a good few hours of research and tweaking. There are still lots of things accomplishable with a few mouse clicks in Windows that require the CLI and config file editing in Linux.

My point is that Linux's "ease of use" is a very thin veneer over a complex OS. Even "normal" users can be exposed to its complexity if they haven't got their own personal sysadmin on hand. People often struggle with Windows, despite easy to follow GUI based help to guide them through screenshot by screenshot. They aren't going to have much luck with a typical Linux howto, where a much higher level of knowledge is assumed, and use of the CLI is essental.

I might be wrong, but even if Windows 8 is hated I can't imagine large numbers of normal people moving to Linux.

Reply Parent Score: 0

RE[8]: um
by Alfman on Wed 16th May 2012 16:52 in reply to "RE[7]: um"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Dave_K,

I agree with all your points.

When linux works out of the box, which it often does, it is great even for amateur users. But any time there are driver or configuration problems it can degenerate into a hopelessly complex nightmare due bewildering array of howtos, config files, lack of GUI tools. For example, the X11 stuff is so much more complex than it should be that I curse any time I have to make adjustments to it.

However I don't think it's fair to compare a windows system that was pre-built and pre-debugged at the factory against a linux system that was installed at home and you are the first to test it on your combination of hardware. Of course the pre-built windows system should just work, but then a pre-built linux system should too. Linux is held to a much higher expectation because it's expected to run out of the box on arbitrary hardware. Somestimes it falls short of that higher expectation (forcing users to fix things themselves at the command line), but this would happen far less often if linux were installed / supported by the vendors.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[9]: um
by Dave_K on Wed 16th May 2012 18:45 in reply to "RE[8]: um"
Dave_K Member since:
2005-11-16

However I don't think it's fair to compare a windows system that was pre-built and pre-debugged at the factory against a linux system that was installed at home and you are the first to test it on your combination of hardware.


You're right that it's not a fair comparison, but it is the real world situation, and it isn't going to change any time soon. The hypothetical people who'd consider switching to Linux due to Metro would be faced with installing the OS themselves. Even if they were buying a new system, Linux isn't an option from most PC retailers.

Personally I've always built my own PCs and installed the OS myself. Installing Windows has consistently been an easy and problem free experience, but even after checking my hardware on a Linux compatibility database beforehand, I've still struggled to get Linux running smoothly.

Of course that still isn't a fair comparison, not with hardware manufacturers designing their products for Windows. But pointing out who's to blame doesn't change how complex and user hostile Linux can be.

Reply Parent Score: 0