I’ve only been using GNU/Linux since 2001, so I won’t say that I’m by any means an expert yet, as most of those that are reading this, probably have been using Linux much longer than I have. However, I still have high hopes for the Linux scene. The purpose of this article is to voice my personal opinion on what I feel is keeping GNU/Linux from taking over the mainstream operating system market. My intentions aren’t to “badtalk” the open source kernel+apps, but rather give constructive criticsm on what I personally feel it could be done better.Introduction
Why is it, though, that Linux hasn’t yet taken over the mainstream market? There are quite a few completely free downloadable distro’s, so why aren’t more people giving it a shot? In my view, several things need to be improved before Linux can take over the market. Ease of use, usability and 3rd party software support are among those that I feel should be improved upon.
The Competition, out of date?
To the best of my recollection, Windows XP was released in 2001. Predictably, that’s what the majority of PC users use these days and what I’ve used myself during the brief period when I was taking Linux classes at a local community college out of shear curiosity. Windows XP is now obsolete, it’s old now. The successor? None, yet. At least not until when late 2005 or 2006 rolls around and with it, Windows Longhorn.
But what about those that don’t want to wait that long for up to date software and the newest technologies? The answer to quite a few is Linux. However, when most “casual users” think of Linux, they either think about geeks with bottle glasses and plaid shirts, or something that is completely unknown, and to some, scary. There are those though, that welcome Linux with open arms, some of them being your everyday web surfer or chatter, and others that get their kicks out of recompiling kernels or playing with Midnight Commander.
Ease Of Use
Usability is one of those features in Linux that actually is improving almost every day. When I first learned Linux, my distro of choice didn’t even have a “Computer” icon in Gnome. (That didn’t roll out until Gnome 2.6, unless you made one yourself). However, I had to learn how to navigate to the /mnt folder and throw a few mount commands at the terminal in order to view files on a CD or hard disk. It’s definitely looking up, but there are some things that still should be improved.
If I had to pick one thing to improve above all others, I’d have to say software installation. No, I am not talking about installing the actual OS (we have Anaconda and many others for that) but rather installing and upgrading software applications.
For example, in order to install KDE 3.4 RC1 on my system, I found some APT repositories and downloaded away, and it worked. However, a new user to Linux (fresh from Windows) is accustomed to double-clicking a setup icon, clicking “next” four or five times followed by “Finish”. That won’t work here. The last time I tried to explain Apt to an avid Windows user, I got a blank stare.
But why shouldn’t Linux work the same way? Upgrading KDE made my system download somewhere around 30 packages. Meanwhile, XFCE, another up and coming desktop solution, recently released an installer and shocked the Linux world. I was so happy, that I logged on to KDE’s bug report wizard, and under wishlist, and said that basically it would be nice if KDE does this too. And how wonderful that would be, right? Nope, I was told in so many words that a KDE installer will never happen, and to wait for my vendor to upgrade. I was also hinted toward using Konstruct.
To me, “Wait for your vendor” is a Linux remark that should get thrown in the trash. The way I see it, without installers, I strongly believe that Linux will never amount to anything in the mainstream market. In addition, I don’t want to wait 3-6 months to have the newest software whenever my “vendor” releases a new revision. When Microsoft releases its newest Directx, you don’t have to wait until the next version of Windows to utilize it, you are free to download and install it right away. I do understand that KDE has the konstruct builder, and Gnome has Garnome, but both require the command line, neither have ever worked for me, and both still need dependencies. (An ideal “installer” is without a commandline). When I say “Installer” I mean something that you click on, choose components, and have a progress bar, because that’s what the typical Windows user absolutely needs to feel at home. At the end of the day, requiring a new user to find the command line is right when Linux has failed for that user.
That leads right into the next subject I feel important, which is usability. A good case study is at work, they have just installed a brand new “Internet Cafe” in the lunch room which is based on Knoppix. They basically installed the cd onto the hard drives of the PC’s, but in a way that the hard drives are read only and they start over every time they are rebooted. This is a great way of doing it, actually, but they forgot to include Macromedia’s flash player in the image.
Since I am the only “Linux guy” of my department, it’s my duty to install the flashplayer for everyone, since I am the only one there that knows how. I fire up the command line, download the Gunzip package, throw a few commands in the terminal, and flash is ready to go. (A brand new Linux user couldn’t do that!) I even caught someone downloading the Windows flash installer (somehow) clicking on it repeatedly, and then they ask “Why isn’t this working?” Like I said before, I feel that the very moment Linux requires you to fire up Konsole, is right when Linux has failed. In this case, it’s not Linux’s fault, Macromedia made the installer, but you get my point.
Linspire came up with the idea of “Click n Run” which is a step in the right direction. However, Synaptic is the best you can get with most other distro’s. My point is that this is exactly what we need – more Click n Run’s and Synaptics. I feel this is what developers should focus on this year, but instead, perhaps installers that are alot like Click n Run or Synaptic, with easier features. Another possibly is making downloadable installers with apt-like capabilities built right in, to automatically resolve dependencies. That could work very well.
Third Party Support
I think it’s really good that more and more non-Linux developers are jumping onto the Linux bandwagon, but we could always use more. As it stands now, it’s already known that the majority of new pc game releases are usually made exclusively for Windows. Perhaps some developers are too scared to program for Linux? At any rate, there are more technologies available now then there were in the past. For example, I find Cedega is relatively good for Windows games, but Windows games will always run better in their native environment, no matter how good the program made to convert them. As great as Cedega and Wine are in general, they don’t fix the immediate problem, that being the industry leaders in this market, or any market, don’t program for Linux. If that were changed, I am sure that would give Linux the boost it needs to be pushed forward.
I don’t necessarily apologize for making so many comparisons to Windows. Microsofts’ flagship operating system stands as the most used today, and that is more than likely because it’s easy to use. As the top dog in the industry, making comparisons to it is inevitable. Windows or not, I’m sure we all want our PC’s user friendly no matter what the hardware or OS.
If any of you readers have an idea on how Linux will work better, don’t keep it to yourself! Post it at your local bugzilla or developer’s website, because no one will know your ideas unless you make them known. The strength of Linux will always be the people that use it, and in numbers, so use your power to convince those in power to make things better. If you don’t, it may never happen and I cannot stress enough how important it is.
If any developers are reading this, let’s come up with some installers, user friendly applications, and nullify the dependence most distributions have on the terminal.
If you would like to see your thoughts or experiences with technology published, please consider writing an article for OSNews.
LinuxIsSexy has a point about the user’s ability to actually use a computer. Microsoft Windows allowed the user to do just about anything. Kind of like a parent allowing their children to run amok. Internet Explorer produced bad HTML coders because IE allowed mistakes to render. Users were able to delete system files because Win98 didn’t stop them. With WinXP, the system is getting more disciplined but users are having to retrain themselves. It does take some training to use a computer. Users should be trained in the basic operations of using a computer. This training is useful in all OSes.
It is like learning new speaking languages, for the most part, all languages have nouns and verbs. Learning new languages helps you know your native language better.
The linux environment is a good learning tool. It helps you think about what you are doing and how you are going to do it. Gives you structure and discipline which carries over to any OS. Plus, if the system is set up right, there is less chance of screwing the system up because you have less privilages.
If you are mostly interested in having a Unix like Operating System just by a Mac with OSX on it. You can run almost every app you can run on linux. You can also run commercial software such as MS Office and Photoshop without emulations or hacks. I know it may cost more, and you may prefere a machine with hardware IRQs, but it really is something to consider.
Just take it under consideration without burning me at the stake!
Your argument fails here:
MythTV-> Trouble with PVR card
Your argument fails here:
You had a hardware issue, which is difficult on all OS’s. Including Windows. I remember back in the day, I spent $100 on a Radeon 3200 card, PCI my options were limited. I got it home, and not too many weeks later wanted to play Quake3. Guess what… ATI didn’t support OpenGL for that card. I was using Windows 98. Still didn’t work on XP.
Hardware issues aren’t friendly on any OS to anyone.
Now, I defy you to explain to me how WMP is easier to use than things like totem and kaffeine. And I defy you to tell me how Notepad/Wordpad is simpler (and not in a feature sense) than Gedit/KWrite. I’m dead curious to hear how IE is an easier browser to use than Firefox (I have heard the multi-session argued, and it’s a good argument, but not for Aunties). Shoot, look at the options pane for IE, then check it out for Epiphany. You tell me what’s simpler!
Now, I’m sure MythTV is harder to setup than Windows Media Edition (is that the right name?), but really what does your PVR have to do with desktop linux?!
I guess it would be kinda useless to point out that the purpose of free software is to make good software under ethical liscences, and has nothing to do with microsoft, the general public, taking over the world, vanquishing bill gates, or anything of the kind.
Linux is a free environment built by geek collaberation. It is geared towards people who are technologists, not joe sixpack who can barely spell his own name.
Here’s what none of you Linux zealots will ever understand: I should never, ever, have to use a command line to do something. This is 2005, not 1985 or 1995. I should not of had to edit my xorg.conf file because Ubuntu fucked up and did not put my monitor’s HorzSync and VertRefresh in it.
Linux is NOT ready for the desktop. End of story. Forget about it.
Why is the command line considered anathema? The command line is the most powerful and expressive interface on Unix and Unix-like operating systems.
Soon folks will start demanding that kids should never have to learn Mathematics in College. Oh, because it’s so tasking.
These are the same arguments we’ve heard for years. I’ve used the recent Ubuntu distros etc, and they’re great for computer users with limited needs (web browsing, light word processing). I’d say most computer users don’t care about Linux because it’s something new…Geeky people forget that there are plenty of computer users who DON’T WANT TO LEARN anything new and who are afraid to mess with their computer’s mysterious inner workings.
I love using Linux, but it’s a really scary thing to someone who doesn’t know how to work with computers….Think for a minute about what you would do if someone offered you a free engine for your car that would double your gas mileage while giving you better performance….All you would have to do is personally rip out your car’s engine and drop in the replacement….I’d take it in an instant, especially if I have a buddy who’s a mechanic. What if they offered you a free engine that would work ALMOST AS WELL as your car’s current engine, but you’d have rip out the stock engine and install the new one yourself? Would you accept the new engine and look forward to a weekend of tinkering? I think not.
I know car analogies are a bit worn out, but the issues here are similar. Linux is loved by tinkerers who enjoy messing with their computer to learn new things. However that same tinkering is scary to someone with very little computer knowledge. Unless there is some overwhelming reason, why should they make the switch? Especially considering that for $200 or less they can probably get their Windows PC fixed up whenever it breaks down.
Linux is great there is no doubt but it is just not as easy to say get around to what you want to do and configure right away.
That is because it was made to be a unix clone, and people who use UNIX know how to use a computer.
Windows is very intuitive for a lot of people.
first of all, there is no such thing as intuition, intuition is another word for “educated guess”. an “intuitive interface” is more or less a buzzword without any real meaning beyond “familiar”.
windows is only familiar if you have never used anything else. when i learned windows, i found it frustrating, illogical, inconsistent, and at times totally ass-backwards.
Like installers and uninstallers…theres just a few clicks and it does everything for you. Sure cruft is left behind but I dunno if it is the problem with Windows or the installing application itself because i have had many installers that clean out the darn registry and so you will find nothing of the program associated with the OS anymore.
The registry is a horrible implementation, to the point where it is totally unusable by the vast majority of their users. Windows installers are god awful from a usability point of view (99% of a windows installer ui is either redundant or just unnessicary), and from a technology point of view they are nothing to write home about. Modern linux package management systems by contrast, blow anything else out of the water if you have a modicum of intelligence. But if we are talking from a complexity perspective, mac manages to accomplish the exact same thing as a windows a hell of alot more elegantly.
XP has games, Linux does not.
I bought my computer to do work, not waste time.
XP looks better to a lot of people and Linux does not. I am sorry but GNOME is for nerds. At work I use Gnome and some kind of windowmanager, sawfish or something…absolutely appalling. KDE is decent I like it.
are you serious? windows looks like a teletubby puked all over the desktop. while im not a fan of the default gnome theme, the kde default is quite a bit more pleasing, as it is aimed at people who no longer play with duplo blocks. on the gnome side, clearlooks is one of the most attractive themes i have ever used, and have been hoping for someone to do a windows port(i dont know if that is the right term for a theme. maybe windows version?) for ages now.
Lets see setting up XP from scratch is painless even for a noob.
which is why of course, the vast majority of the population will bring their computer into a repair shop when something goes wrong.
Not Linux…edit this config file…download that library, apt get this apt get that…too much work.
please keep in mind, linux is made for people who are willing to sacrifice easy for powerful.
If you want a mainstream user whos knowledge about computers is that it is a cool box, runs on electricty and is smart and does what I tell it to, M$ pwns Linux in that regard.
yes it does, ms making desktop operating systems and unix being geared towards perfessional workstations and servers. find someone who seriously used/uses be, amiga, or mac and ask them if they think windows is better.
Command line command line command line…GET RID OF IT. Everyone hates it except people who are comfortable with it and even they spent hours and hours of trying to figure stuff out…and nerds who love it cause it is quite powerful when you get used to it.
linux is written by nerds for nerds. the commandline provides an abstract method to solve problems that are unsolvable in a graphical fashion. of course, i use my computer to write software, if someone uses a computer to play games, i would imagine that they would find a cli quite daunting.
You have to realize most people are not smart and they dont want to spend more thant 5 min on their computer other than to check their mail, do some internet shopping and so on.
by contrast, people who use unix ARE smart, tend to live on their computer, and have a deep love for technology.
Not worry about performance or antyhing. In that case, I think XP has done a great job to cater everything from the hardcore user to the simpleton who just thinks that booting a computer means kicking it.
i dont know anyone i would consider a technologist that uses windows. i dont know anyone i would consider a hacker who uses windows.
Yes XP is quite configurable. There are many tools available for people to use to tweak it and they are all graphical and point and click.
the average standard of quality for windows software is total and complete garbage. the people who download graphical point and click “tweak” programs tend to be the kind who think that what they do makes them “pro”. and yes, windows is a fantastic platform for script kiddies.
No using the keyboard to type in arcane commands and so on. Pipe this pipe that add this switch that flag NO ONE WANTS THAT.
correction: noone YOU KNOW wants that.
Even you nuts who love this command line stuff, if there was a graphical way a very nice and intuitive way to do it, and I think OS X has achieved a lot in that regard, would you not use that way? And if you say no then you are lying.
someone who knows vim can do things in five keystrokes that would take five minutes for an experienced word user to accomplish. someone who knows bash can do things that are (currently) *impossible* to do in any graphical environment.
here is an excerpt from a recent email conversation with bruce tognazzi, one of the top guys in the field of interface design:
“The ideal interface
1) eliminates unnecessary complexity,
2) offers a visual, straightforward path to all necessary functionality, and
3)offers higher-speed, more abstract methods to produce results in the
most efficient way possible.
Mac does the first two; VIM does the last.
Windows does 2 only.”
Windows just is so much more natural IMO to use than Linux is.
a “natural” interface is another buzzword bandied around by people who have no clue what they are talking about. there is nothing natural about using a computer, there is only a natural way of using something you have experience using.
Well guess what EVERYONE except those skinny dudes who look like they just slept in a trash can, who dont shower, have no social skills, play tux racer and tetris, and sit in front of a computer all day prgoramming loved Linux. And boy in the CS department you find a lot of those kinds of people.
those are the people who go on to be the innovators in the field, and also the ones who write linux, AND are the target audience for linux.
Everyone I know used Windows, did their programming assignments…
and THOSE are the codemonkeys you find in any shop. they have little talent, no creativity, and if they are lucky, find a job where they can put together the “duplo” blocks that the real geeks write for them.
Look Linux is good for mission critical apps….oh look my XP right out of the box is almost as good.
hackers want control over their system. windows does not provide that, linux does. 12 year old gamers dont care about the level of control they have over their system, they just want half-life to run without hassle. linux does not provide this, windows does.
You cannot say really that it is easier to program in Linux than in XP. Oh you bring up command line and commands like grep and piping and so on…
if you think that grep is why people like coding on linux, you will need alot of education to even understand an explination of what makes linux a great environment.
It has to do with games because yes dont lie, you linux geeks (converted from Windows) miss gaming and dont tell me Tux based games are better than HL2, Far Cry, FIA GTR and so on.
the common folks should stay the hell away from linux. the common folks should stay away from computers in particular, and technology in general, at least until interface design has improved enough to accomidate them. apple was close, but they took a huge step back with osx. linux is going in the other direction, with a focus on doing powerful things easily. common folks should be using macs, not windows. windows is the os for white collar office drones, and 12 year old gamers.
and no, i do not miss windows games. at times, i do miss snes games, so i fire up my emulator. i have found modern games (with a handful of exceptions) are garbage, and dont hold a candle to the older stuff. but then again, i believe photorealistic graphics make a game less enjoyable, as the more iconic imagry of older games leverage your imagination to fill in the blanks. the only person i have ever seen fully understand this is will wright, and his games are one of those exceptions i mentioned.
While your points are valid haha inyour opinion…lets see who is selling more and making more money. I have used Linux my friend and hate every moment of it. Why you may ask? Because it is not easy to learn. Just because someone knows technology or loves technology does not mean that the person should be living in the days of a command driven interface. And just because you dont like to play games to relax does not mean the multi billion dollar industry which runs cause of games is wrong. To each is own. I use XP because to me it is better than Linux and to the millions of users out there. Linux will never be ready for mainstream. Hey if you are happy with it go right ahead I dont have a problem with that.
“i dont know anyone i would consider a technologist that uses windows. i dont know anyone i would consider a hacker who uses windows.”
haha well you must not know a lot of people then. Lets talk about the definition of a technologist. A technologist is not a person who is good at programming. A technologist is a person who knows what to use to get their job done ASAP. I use XP to get my job done ASAP cause frankly I dont want to take a step backwards and deal with mundane crap to get my machine doing what I want to do. I just dload, click and boom it works!! Then I use that and get my job done. I highly doubt that is possible in Linux.
“which is why of course, the vast majority of the population will bring their computer into a repair shop when something goes wrong. ”
Well I dont know who takes his/her computer to a shop to get XP fixed lol. The quality of people you know must be err questionable. Never went to a shop to fix my computer, fixed it on my own, built my comp on my own and so did all my friends and acquaintainces. Sure it does not constitute all the populace, but still never heard of taking XP to the shop to get it fixed. You could be making that up. But lets talk about Linux. When it doesnt work, haha people reinstall XP!! LOL. So many people I know tried Linux and gave up. They have it in a partition on their hdd never to be touched again unless they have to do an assignment or a project where the ancient professor requires it to be done completely in Linux.
Look I am not dissing Linux other than the fact that to become mainstream accepted it needs to do a few things differently. What you are talking about in your post is merely pointing out what IN YOUR opinion is wrong with XP. I know that XP has a lot of weaknesses. I know OS X would be my choice of platform. Unfortunately I dont have the means as of yet cause I have other priorities for spending my money. But to tell me that Linux is awesome for a user who does not want to become a technologist whatever that means in your definition, or a hacker, whatever that means in your opinion, then you are kidding yourself. Linux is powerful but to use it you have to bend over and grab your ass backwards. Not easy to harness the power it theoretically has. OS X is another matter. While it is kind of slow and kind of heavy, given decent enough hardware it is the shizz!! It is THE implementation of any *NIX OS.
All I am trying to say is XP with all of its so called limitations…can get the job done…but Linux with all of its advantages cant get the job done…why? Cause people dont like it. Plain and simple. The numbers speak for themselves. OS X > Linux > XP but in popularity and simpleness XP > OS X > Linux. Sorry man those are the things I have seen and experienced. Dont take it personally cause it seems like you did. I did not mean to offend you unless you are one with very little self esteem with the my OS is bigger than yours complex. Chill.
Analogies are anecdotes relating similar concepts or ideologies together. The development of free software projects, like the Linux kernel and its desktop applications, is unlike what the proprietary corporations like Microsoft or Apple practice.
What folks like you fail to understand is that Linux evolves in ways you and I have minimal control over. Just the same way we have little control over how the world operates. When you come to osnews whining about how Linux is not Windows or OS X, you do nothing but raise your blood pressure.
Furthermore, I don’t know what planet you live on, but it is common knowledge here on planet earth that software is bloody complex and confusing. Technology never arose to SIMPLIFY things. Technology exists to solve problems in efficient, effective and less error-prone ways.
Intellectuals figured humans were vulnerable to errors, fatigue, stress and environmental factors which could dramatically alter our productivity. Therefore, technologies were invented to complement our abilities while at the same time prevent us from our weaknesses.
The process of creating software that actually works is mind boggling and complex. The complexity is further heightened when disparate contributors from across the globe, many of whom have never spoken to each other, work in an organized, albeit chaotic, manner to write software. Linux and the free software development model is a software engineering feat. Any computer scientist worth his salt will tell you it’s a miracle it actually works.
Ahh I loved that codemonkey comment haha. Brilliant. What assumptions on your part my friend. That is great. Hehe. Its alright. Made me laugh out loud. What little you know it seems.
An ideal interface is all that you said yes and so far XP does that for me and so does OS X. You really must be one of those people who are NOT the codemonkeys as you mentioned lol and are one of the true innovators in computer science haha. And thos innovators are the guys that M$ has working for them coming up with software you seem to hate.
Boy you are close minded. And yes lets talk about games, the domain of XP. Man if you liked pong you can go ahead and enjoy it. You can stay back in the old and enjoy yourself and that is fine. I enjoy complexity, have you tried playing FIA -GTR? Give it a shot before you try to say anything more. Your ignorance and utter disregard for what people like and enjoy is astounding. Just because no one likes what you do does not mean you are right. It is about choices. I am not saying anything bad about the games you like. It is about preference. But once again you are kind of taking it personally. If there were more people like you well I guess people like John Carmack, and Tim Sweeney and many countless others would not be around to deliver and demonstrate what human intelligence and imagination can do.
So, for Linux to become mainstream, it needs to be Windows. They might as well just stop developing Linux then.
While your points are valid haha inyour opinion…lets see who is selling more and making more money. I have used Linux my friend and hate every moment of it. Why you may ask? Because it is not easy to learn. Just because someone knows technology or loves technology does not mean that the person should be living in the days of a command driven interface.
No, but anyone who knows and loves operating systems will not say that noone wants the command line.
And just because you dont like to play games to relax does not mean the multi billion dollar industry which runs cause of games is wrong.
No it doesnt, and I never said that. What I said was “I bought my computer to do work, not waste time.”
To each is own. I use XP because to me it is better than Linux and to the millions of users out there. Linux will never be ready for mainstream. Hey if you are happy with it go right ahead I dont have a problem with that.
The “mainstream” also chooses to elevate hacks like britany spears or keanu reeves to stardom. I do not consider the opinion of the general population, ESPECIALLY the american general population to be an indication of quality.
haha well you must not know a lot of people then. Lets talk about the definition of a technologist. A technologist is not a person who is good at programming. A technologist is a person who knows what to use to get their job done ASAP.
I was using the word to mean someone who truley loves technology.
I use XP to get my job done ASAP cause frankly I dont want to take a step backwards and deal with mundane crap to get my machine doing what I want to do. I just dload, click and boom it works!! Then I use that and get my job done. I highly doubt that is possible in Linux.
It takes me about 10x as long to set up a windows machine. No drivers work, requiring me to trawl the vendor websites looking for a download for each and every piece of hardware. Setting up a workable development environment is a fiasco. I toggle almost every setting that xp pro shipped with as default.
by contrast, ubuntu installs with everything working out of the box. the install takes about 20 mins, after which i go into synaptic and queue up 95% of the software i will ever need, and go to bed. Configuration? There are a few things here and there, but for the most part sane defaults are used, and what few changes I do make, I will make as I run accross them.
Well I dont know who takes his/her computer to a shop to get XP fixed lol. The quality of people you know must be err questionable. Never went to a shop to fix my computer, fixed it on my own, built my comp on my own and so did all my friends and acquaintainces.
the only people i know who use windows at home are family and non-technical friends.
Sure it does not constitute all the populace, but still never heard of taking XP to the shop to get it fixed. You could be making that up.
take it to a shop, have a guy make a house call, or phone up dell. or bug a computer literate friend. those are the options available to the common man.
But lets talk about Linux. When it doesnt work, haha people reinstall XP!! LOL. So many people I know tried Linux and gave up. They have it in a partition on their hdd never to be touched again unless they have to do an assignment or a project where the ancient professor requires it to be done completely in Linux.
And that my friends, is why CS degrees mean nothing nowadays.
Look I am not dissing Linux other than the fact that to become mainstream accepted it needs to do a few things differently. What you are talking about in your post is merely pointing out what IN YOUR opinion is wrong with XP. I know that XP has a lot of weaknesses.
you asked to be flamed, i obliged. 😉
I know OS X would be my choice of platform. Unfortunately I dont have the means as of yet cause I have other priorities for spending my money.
I am currently saving for a 15″ powerbook myself.
But to tell me that Linux is awesome for a user who does not want to become a technologist whatever that means in your definition, or a hacker, whatever that means in your opinion, then you are kidding yourself.
Perhaps you will understand what I mean by a hacker os after reading that. I have said many times, both here and elsewhere, that the only reason that ex-windows users switch over is dishonest evangelism by an overly zealous user base. You are completely correct, the average person does not have the desire, or (in most cases) the capacity to learn UNIX.
Linux is powerful but to use it you have to bend over and grab your ass backwards. Not easy to harness the power it theoretically has. OS X is another matter. While it is kind of slow and kind of heavy, given decent enough hardware it is the shizz!! It is THE implementation of any *NIX OS.
OSX is (currently) lightyears beyond its competition in interface design. It is designed around the way people work, which is something universal to all computer users. Personally, I cant productively use a computer without a proper command line any more. OSX has one of the best. My mom on the other hand, couldnt be bothered with such things, and wants something that is easy to learn and use. OSX has that too.
All I am trying to say is XP with all of its so called limitations…can get the job done…but Linux with all of its advantages cant get the job done…why?
That statement has two assumptions, that the job is something that can be accomplished on XP (Which only really supports one platform. There is a BIG world outside of x86), and that the user is a Windows user.
Cause people dont like it. Plain and simple. The numbers speak for themselves. OS X > Linux > XP but in popularity and simpleness XP > OS X > Linux.
Those numbers mean nothing. Marketshare figures are derived from computer vendors, and involve alot of extrapolation and guess work. Not only that, but the average lifespan of an x86 box is 2 years, which is one of the shortest (ppc boxes average at a 4 year lifespan). Then we take into account that companies buy computers by the thousands, and will go for the cheapest, not the best solution. And finally, the american public tends to buy garbage more often then quality, and marketshare is massively influenced by how slick your marketing division is.
Sorry man those are the things I have seen and experienced. Dont take it personally cause it seems like you did. I did not mean to offend you unless you are one with very little self esteem with the my OS is bigger than yours complex. Chill.
I flamed for two reasons, I was bored, and you asked for it (literally). To be perfectly honest, the only operating system I have ever loved is mac os7, and the only os i have ever hated is windows (pretty much the whole 9x series). I gripe alot about windows because of a million little things I am forced to put up with every day at work. To be honest, nt 5 was the first version that the only complaints i have left are ui related, and even those are greatly deminished from previous versions.
I’m sorry, but this is just bullshit. I am presuming that the people who are saying this have no experience of actually getting new users to use it, because my experience is vastly different.
All my family uses linux. All in different houses, all with different levels of experience with computers, but none of whom I would describe as proficient, or even competent on windows.
The key to making it non-threatening and non-scary is setting things up right, and sitting with them for 10 minutes while they find the apps that they want to use commonly.
Once they find the apps that suit them, they don’t ask questions on how to use them, because the interfaces are familiar enough to them that they know where the menus are, that the open file option will be in the file menu, and that to configure the application, they need to use the “settings” menu. The key is finding suitable applications. But this is no different to windows. There are multiple applications in all desktop oriented task areas on linux, and there is always one that is at least adequate to the task. There are also alot that are outstanding and surpass any windows equivalents (digikam, k3b, kimdaba, liquid weather (sorry a little self promotion there) come to mind).
Software installation is not an issue. They just don’t do it. I set them up with a desktop, and they’re happy with it. Why change? My sister ran a Mandrake desktop happily for 2 years without any changes to it. I finally upgraded her a couple of weeks ago. If they need to do something new, they ask me what application they should be using, I ssh into the box, and it’s installed. This no different to when they were using windows, apart from the fact that it’s easier for me to install stuff, and cheaper for them to run. It’s just they don’t make $150 mistakes in buying some piece of crap software that does a whole lot of things they don’t want, and not many things that they do.
So, in my view, the key to increasing the desktop linux install base is not sitting behind a keyboard, and spouting about which particular windows feature linux developers need to implement to come up with a perfect clone of windows, it’s people who know and enjoy using linux getting out there, and showing their friends and families why they’d be better off using linux, and actually installing it. It’s amazing how quickly people are convinced, when they can actually see and touch something that is tangible. So when someone moans to you about their latest windows problem, go round there with a live cd, and show them what the alternatives are. Take some time, and give them a go with it. BUT make sure that you evaluate what they use their computer for, and make sure that there is adequate software available on linux. Generally there is, you just need to look for it. But don’t waste time on forums like this arguing the toss. Get out there, and show people. Linux is ready enough, it’s apathy that is holding it back on the desktop.
Personally, I feel chasing the mythical “average home desktop” user is a lost cause, and that that market is ultimately best left to MS and Apple. To begin with, there’s no money in it, which explains why no company has taken the initiative to create a distribution tailored to that purpose. Secondly, the home market is simply too tough to go after without a significant profit motive, which doesn’t currently and probably never will materialize. The are some billion-odd little programs and utilities which home users just expect to work, and no matter how good Wine gets, it’ll never run everything. Likewise with hardware, Linux will simply never work flawlessly with every webcam, scanner, modem, printer, and random doo-dad. Windows accomplishes this not because of MS’s capabilities, but because the entire industry creates that hardware specifically to run on Windows. Linux will only work perfectly with random hardware when the industry starts to consider Linux compatibility as equally important to Windows compatibility.
The corporate/enterprise desktop market is another story altogether. In this space Linux is already very well suited for many applications, and almost all of the comlaints of the sort aired here do not apply. Most importantly, with certain very specific exception, users have absolutley nop business installing any applications at all on their company workstation. I’ll never understand the argument that the typical windows installer is easier than synaptic, but in this circumstance it’s largely irrelevant.
Unlike the home market, there’s a very effective solution for the huge installed base of windows apps in corporate environments: RDP and ICA (Win Terminal Server and Citrix). There is already a trend toward delivering applications by RDP and ICA to full Windows desktops, as it has very definite advantages from both a management and TCO perspective. Linux will piggy-back this phenomenon, as RDP and ICA work just as well on a Linux desktop as they do on a Windows desktop, but at a fraction of the cost. Linux is also much better suited to being deployed on true thin clients than Windows is.
Using a Linux based thin client solution (eg., LTSP or PXES), FreeNX or NoMachine, and group policy configuration stored in LDAP, it is possible to have a highly customized desktop, including task oriented menus tailored to a class of users particular workflow, which seamlessly mixes applications from Windows with native Linux apps.
So, for the forseeable future anyhow, I say leave the Grandmas to MS and Apple. There are greener pastures in the corporate space.
Used linux for quite a long time, started in the .9x kernel….
Anyway, here is my take…
When I was much younger (HS/College), I had plenty of time, and not much money. Linux was great and I had time and inclination to mess with it learning the nuts and bolts….
Now, I tend to have more money than time. (Not that I have alot of money, but just even less time.) I really don’t have the time or inclination to mess with the details anymore.
I have work that needs to be done and I need to maximize my time getting that done, not tinkering with some dependency. My time is worth money, more than enough to offset the cost of some other solution.
Windows was eating up to much time keeping things clean. Linux ate up to much time getting everything to work right. So, I went and bought a Mac…higher initial cash outlay, but the increase in productivity has resulted more time doing non-computer stuff, which is well worth the trade-off.
The OS is really much less important than the applications. That is what we use to get stuff done, be it work or pleasure. Why would I want to spend all that time learning the intricacies of this OS or that? In the end it is pretty useless knowledge if it doesn’t free me up to spend more time doing the things that I want to be doing. (Golf in this case.)
A couple other things…..
1. “The Desktop” refers to being ready for the masses. That is obviously not the target market for Linux at this point, so why even argue if it’s ready?
2. OSS developers create stuff for themselves, release it, and then scoff at requests for usability. They say “This was something I made to use myself and out of the goodness of my heart am making it available to you. You should thank me, it’s free.” Then they turn around and advocate how it is ready for general use, as they think it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread…oh yeah…it’s free….Free crap is still crap.
This doesn’t mean that all OSS is crap, but alot of it is. Yeah, it mostly compiles, usually runs, does part of what you want it to….
So, on topic, for Linux to “take over the market” or even “increase share”, it just needs to be able to run the apps that people need with minimal administration. The masses don’t want to “learn” the OS, we want to run the Apps and get on with life.
There is only one problem with your argument, if you “get hit by a truck” who becomes the sysadmin for your family?
haha, i did exactly the same, switched from a linux ppc box to a osx dual g5, expensive but really worth the money.
making linux ready for the desktop is really simple, just take your grandma (or any other n00b) and ask her to install linux. write down any problems she has and fix them. you’ll be surprised of the problems that come up.
remember to fix the software, not the user!!
This subject has been talked about more than any other, IMHO. Enough already, who cares if the general public want or don’t want to use linux. There are enough competant people using it now and more are coming along every day. I for one dont care if joe public likes or dislikes let alone uses linux.
Oh if you love the command line so much, then why don’t you do everything in Linux using commands? Get rid of your KDE or GNOME. Use lynx to browse the internet, use the command line to burn CDs, and use the command line for everything then.
No UI for you as the USER needs to learn how to do things in their OS, external and internal.
Kelson has posted the best comment thus far.
I can not agree more.
You people Act like MS Developers are brainless creatures. MS is coming out with MONA which is a advance command line tool thats coming out with LongHorn, I see it in action and its more powerful than Unix.
goto channel9.msdn.com and look for it in videos
btw I’m not a MS lover, I’m installing SUSE Linux as we speak.
I hate it when Companys copycat Windows like, Lindows,Linspire. it makes the OS corny and the click and run is just a marketing tool because the User has to pay a subscription for it.
Linux Heads should get together and develope a standard Programming Apps for Linux.
Who cares. I’m dead. It’s just an operating system – they’ll cope. That’s part of my point. Stop putting up stupid theoretical arguments that make no sense in the real world.
They know Linux has been around for years now and it doesn’t even reach 1% of the market. Linux zealots are desperate because Linux hasn’t evolved and it is still very primitive. Just good for developpers, and sysadmins. That’s life, live with it, or learn from the big corps: Apple and Microsoft. If they have flagship products and you don’t, get a life.
It hasn’t evolve because all the Companies are making the same product and not innovating Linux. One thing they could do is make a installer package a standard for all Linux’s. The reason that Windows became is that because the Gaming Industry looked for Windows as a standard with there DirectX.
If everyone followed the same guidelines Linux Apps will be able to run on any platform.
Also there should be a “Linux Developer” for all linux languages.
Id would like to know why Linux wants to become mainstream.Money?
The day Linux goes mainstream and is for money is the day I leave it.
[quote]They know Linux has been around for years now and it doesn’t even reach 1% of the market. Linux zealots are desperate because Linux hasn’t evolved and it is still very primitive. Just good for developpers, and sysadmins. That’s life, live with it, or learn from the big corps: Apple and Microsoft. If they have flagship products and you don’t, get a life.[/quote]
You are misinformed or truly have no clue…if you did,you could not have come up with this poor assesment of Linux users…zealots whatever you prefer to call us.
I for one can give two poops about market shares and percentages of the users.Thats not what linux is about…not in my eyes.There arent many linux distros that are for sale but the ones that are…to me…are no different then microshits money makeing distro.
Lol…not hardley….maybe red hat suse and the other crap ass bigwigs who are looking to get rich and charge an arm and a leg to corporations.
Linux evolves everyday…more than you know.to say it hasnt evolved shows your ignorance.
Its isnt just good for admins and developers…..also showing your true ignorance brightly here with that comment.
I’ve realized over the past year or so that Linux is, in a lot of ways, an operating system used mostly by ‘radicals’ and those who simply reject the status quo. Think about the Linux community:
1. eggheads who love the complexity of device drivers, configuration files, and recompiling the kernel
2. extremists who think all software should be free
3. those who hate Microsoft and would rather have anything but.
How many times have you read some online forum and heard some guy talking about how if people aren’t savvy enough to compile the kernel, they shouldn’t be running Linux in the first place? What about articles from Richard Stallman ranting about free software and ‘GNU/Linux’? What about all the replies to newbie questions which simply tell the user to RTFM. What about the posts attacking various vendors for not releasing open source drivers (even though in some cases they’ve released a perfectly fine binary only driver)? These are all attitudes that will keep Linux from catching on in the mainstream.
When most people buy an operating system, they’re not casting a vote for some group’s policical agenda. They’re not railing against having to actually pay for something. People buy an operating system so they can use their computers and run programs to get work done. End of story. They don’t want to be software gurus and compile the kernel. They don’t want to endlessly chase down dependencies just to install the latest version of KDE. They use their computer as a tool to get work done.
Since I’m in group 3 above, for years I’ve hoped Linux would begin to take desktop market share from Microsoft. Because of all of the resistance to change in the Linux community and the denial that there is anything at all wrong with Linux, I now know that this really isn’t going to happen. My hopes are now on Google.
Probably the greatest hurdle Linux would have to jump to become mainstream is… becoming Windows.
Linux isn’t meant to be mainstream. It’s for people who know what they’re doing. It will continue to be for people who know what they’re doing, because that’s what the Linux community really wants. If you want Linux-like performance and Windows-like usability, buy a Mac. OS X is built off of BSD, which works like linux, but has Mac GUI’s on top of it.
Plus, I like my non-user friendly computer. It keeps other people from messing with my stuff, since they don’t know how to log on.
All those complaining about Linux copying Windows – where do you think things like “Show Desktop” came from? How about tab complete in file dialogs? Where do you think the concept of Dock-Apps in Longhorn was seen first? How about themes? Sudden interest in the command line? Didn’t Microsoft promise to ditch it not long ago? At the technical level notice how Microsoft are ditching the registry and implementing editable, commentable, emailable and version controllable text based config files more and more.
Talking about development environments – I’ve not developed in Vi or Emacs since the 90s. I now use Eclipse which is innovating faster than Visual Studio. Visual Studio is busy copying feature of Eclipse.
Installers – I use Aptitude which is a front end to Apt. It works great! It even has a progress bar for that poster above who demands that an installer must have one 🙂 Unlike “Add and Remove Programs” it allows me to see what dependant programs I’d have to remove because I’ve told it to remove Library X. I don’t tend to do that though as it will automatically remove Library X when the last program that needs it is removed or upgraded to a later version. Linux has had side by side deployment of library (DLL) versions for years.
Windows installers have been happy in the confortable world where everyone is an administrator and noone is too worried about security. Expect that to change now security is becoming a big factor in software buying decisions. Expect Windows installers to become harder to use as the user is suddenly either presented with security questions or given a system that defaults to services off and has to have them enabled.
There is perhaps a holy grail of installers – that mananage dependencies like Apt and are as easy as Windows, but manage security as well.
As for market share and “Why is Linux doing so bad”. Linux is at least equal to Windows in the server space. That places “UNIX like systems” well ahead of Windows. Apache slaughters IIS for web serving, even though IIS is bundled for free with Windows Server – how odd.
Windows on the desktop is here because of momentum originaly caused by illegal marketing practices. It was in the right place at the right time (back in the 80s) and used dodgy techniques to take advantage of that. Now it has vendor lockin and habit. I don’t think anyone can seriously claim that Windows is truly User Friendly. If it was, there’d be no reason to buy the next one – and people wouldn’t be spending so much of their time fixing parents, neighbours and parents’ neighbours computers all the time.
manray: “Oh if you love the command line so much, then why don’t you do everything in Linux using commands? Get rid of your KDE or GNOME. Use lynx to browse the internet, use the command line to burn CDs, and use the command line for everything then.
No UI for you as the USER needs to learn how to do things in their OS, external and internal.”
As a Linux user, I use a combination of graphic user and command line interface applications. It’s a matter of which application accomplishes the task at hand efficiently.
There are several tasks where one is an order of magnitude more productive using a command line applications as opposed to a graphic user applications. I gravitate a lot towards command line applications because they tend to be simple, focused and task-driven.
Unfortunately, like GUIs the majority of them are horribly designed, have an inconsistent interface and are marred by too many options. However, this is a crisis in software development and it is not exclusive to command line applications.
To insist that all interfaces have to be graphical is totally repugnant. In fact, only few problem domains are legitimately solved by graphic user interfaces. This is because graphic user interfaces are extreemly inefficient, less expressive and complex.
I am not proposing that the command line be used for everything, but I am equally not deluded into thinking the GUI is the panacea to all our computing problems.
A good desktop environment should all users to leverage both interface seemlessly to solve their computing problems. Linux desktop environments do just that today. There is absolutely nothing inherently evil about command line applications except they are poorly designed. I’d argue GUIs are inherently more evil.
On an semi-unrelated note here in Lithuania where I just happen to live around 50% of computers sold have linux preinstalled. This is for two reasons:
a) Few people can afford windows;
b) The government has a tax relief programme for those people that buy computers, but the computer has to come with a legal copy of an OS.
So I suppose half of Lithuanians are linux geeks. Well that or they take the computer home and pop a pirated copy of WIN XP into the computer. So much for bundled software=)
Oh really? Then they aren’t really “using” Linux at all are they? They use the computer like they use a toaster. If any member of your family has a problem, they wait until you fix it. My argument is not stupid or theoretical, unless you consider support staffs (regardless of OS) unnecessary. From your post “Software installation is not an issue. They just don’t do it. I set them up with a desktop, and they’re happy with it. Why change?” So what did they learn about using and configuring Linux, nothing. We set up a Sun Ray for a guy to read web mail, so does this make him a Solaris user?
My argument stands, you are the helpdesk for your family. I seriously doubt whether they will be running around installing Linux on their friends machines because they will not know how to! If they were learning how to patch their own machines, change settings on their own it would be different. They are not, they simply wait for you to do it for them.
I totally agree with this comment here : http://www.osnews.com/comment.php?news_id=10282&offset=105&rows=120…
But, those are NOT the persons that linux needs to target to get a decent market share on the desktop market. The persons that linux targets use it already to a good deal – and that is a minority in contrast to the persons that use a computer more like a toaster, as in a different post it was said.
If you think for the rest (the-non nerds, hackers, geeks, etc.) is Windows … then the amount of market share owned by Windows and Linux is good as it is today. If you think Linux desevers more share, then Linux needs to target the casual user as well, but pin-pointing what to do is not done in 5 minutes.
Could you say something new, please? What the article says is what everyone has been saying, so you better get to the programming instead.
I feel that you’re write saying there are still a lot of improvements to make in Linux before you can really see it take advantage over Windows.
My point of view is slightly different from you however. I’m not really a fresh new user of Linux, but I still keep my eye having the point of view of a basic computer user. This leads me to say that what Linux lacks, is simply to be less “technical” than it is still nowadays.
When you use Windows, you are not very often asked by the system questions requiring any technical knowledge. If you have any Linux distro installed on your computer, you still need to know what kind of module or application you need to download, each time you want to add a new hardware or software. You need to know what kind of CPU you have, what kind of distro you have, and so on… The ease of use of Windows is a great part of its flows. But it is a great part of its success, because it gives the accessibility everyone needs.
I’m not sure that Linux will ever overcome Windows on the Home Computer market, because it is made by very technical people, who forget and cannot think about people who have problems when using a remote command that have more than 10 buttons. However, these people succeed in using Windows or Mac OS X (I’ve seen it, yes, for sure !).
When I’ll find a Linux Distro that answers to those needs, which is for example tell the user that it has detected modifications on the system and asking him to confirm this (just in case he made a mistake…), and then this distro would make everything on its own to have the new hardware run, then I will try to have a serious look. When I’ll find a Linux distro that can install every software I need, just telling it what is the name of the software I want, and it finds it on the internet on its own (something like Synaptics but with more choice of software, and less details on the technical modules of each software), then I’ll have a really very serious look.
Perhaps somebody plans to do such a Distro. But at the moment, I don’t see any of the well known distros that seem to aim at this target, in the short future at least.
But I’m probably asking too much…
> Why is it, though, that Linux hasn’t yet taken over the mainstream market?
Hardware compatibility, software compatibility with a large number of applications, OEM lockin, lack of familiarity…
> There are quite a few completely free downloadable distro’s, so why aren’t more people giving it a shot?
Most people have absolutely NO interest in installing an OS.
> In my view, several things need to be improved before Linux can take over the market. Ease of use, usability and 3rd party software support are among those that I feel should be improved upon.
Ease of use has gotten to be pretty good; it’s imperfect, and some applications still suck, and better configuration tools would be a bonus, but for either very casual or moderately technical users, it’s fine. The usability is also good.
There are tens of thousands of “3rd party applications”; while some niches are missing, and others could be improved on, the lack of “3rd party” (whatever that’s supposed to mean in the context of linux… most applications are neither developed by the Linux kernel developers, nor by the distribution packagers) apps is not a significant problem; the lack of apps to fill some niches is.
Installers are a lousy idea; they’re a lot more work than good package management is. I’m now annoyed every time I need to use an installer.
What’s -really- needed is a good, graphical package installer, and to have less than half a dozen (ideally, not more than perhaps 2 or 3; or 1, but that seems unlikely…) package management standards which can work in a cross-distribution way. RPMs have splintered to an annoying degree. Both debian-style .deb packages and ebuilds are nice; personally, I’d pick ebuilds if I were to come up with a standard, or something similar, as they’re quite easy to create (and can be used to install binary packages; they’re usually used for source-based ones, but some binary packages are also packaged using them.)
> For example, in order to install KDE 3.4 RC1 on my system, I found some APT repositories and downloaded away, and it worked. However, a new user to Linux (fresh from Windows) is accustomed to double-clicking a setup icon, clicking “next” four or five times followed by “Finish”. That won’t work here. The last time I tried to explain Apt to an avid Windows user, I got a blank stare.
There are several points to be made here. One, coherently made above, is that new users probably shouldn’t be updating to release candidates for major parts of their system (and to most people, a desktop manager is major).
Secondly, not all new users come from Windows.
Third, how did you try to explain apt? If you start telling most Windows users about command line utilities, yes, they will look at you like you’ve grown another head. However, there’s absolutely no reason not to use graphical package management front-ends.
> But why shouldn’t Linux work the same way?
Because it’s a nightmare for several people: vendors who want to support multiple types of Unix/multiple distributions of Linux, and those who want to install software on a lot of systems. It’s a minor inconvenience for home users, who have to do a lot of clicks when one would often suffice.
> Upgrading KDE made my system download somewhere around 30 packages.
Would you rather use 30 5-click installers?
> Meanwhile, XFCE, another up and coming desktop solution, recently released an installer and shocked the Linux world. I was so happy, that I logged on to KDE’s bug report wizard, and under wishlist, and said that basically it would be nice if KDE does this too. And how wonderful that would be, right? Nope, I was told in so many words that a KDE installer will never happen, and to wait for my vendor to upgrade. I was also hinted toward using Konstruct.
KDE is a very multi-platform system. It’s used under NetBSD, OpenBSD, FreeBSD, Linux, Solaris, and others. A Linux installer is a non-priority; doubly so as they have existing tools like Konstruct which fulfill similar purposes. Also, even if they had an installer, they might not package non-release software using it. For most users, “wait for your vendor to upgrade” is, in fact, a reasonable stance; those who are able to upgrade by themselves can ignore it, and those who aren’t will benefit from the hand-holding.
> To me, “Wait for your vendor” is a Linux remark that should get thrown in the trash.
It’s not a Linux remark, specifically. It’s a KDE remark, which provides software, which -happens- to run on Linux, as well as -many- other platforms, and which has a limited amount of developers, many of whom are volunteers. The remarks of KDE users/developers are in no ways indicitive of those of individual Linux vendors.
> In addition, I don’t want to wait 3-6 months to have the newest software whenever my “vendor” releases a new revision.
Several distributions don’t work that way. I personally use Gentoo; new versions of major software is usually packaged within days, if not hours, of release, as are things like KDE release candidates. There’s no one standard amount of time between releases; distributions such as Gentoo and, to an extent, Debian really are more of a continuous upgrade path, to the extent that the user wants them to be; no upgrades, or all upgrades are both easy, but more flexibility is available.
> At the end of the day, requiring a new user to find the command line is right when Linux has failed for that user.
Agreed, for desktop users.
> I think it’s really good that more and more non-Linux developers are jumping onto the Linux bandwagon, but we could always use more. As it stands now, it’s already known that the majority of new pc game releases are usually made exclusively for Windows. Perhaps some developers are too scared to program for Linux?
It’s less a matter of fear than the combination of rapidly changing APIs, poor documentation, mixed binary compatability, highly heterogeneous environment, and small marketshare.
> As great as Cedega and Wine are in general, they don’t fix the immediate problem, that being the industry leaders in this market, or any market, don’t program for Linux.
In the gaming market, there are some Linux ports, as well as some Linux-only games, and games developed to be portable.
In some markets, a lot of development is Linux-based; embedded systems and programming language research come to mind.
> I don’t necessarily apologize for making so many comparisons to Windows.
It’s fine to compare systems.
> Microsofts’ flagship operating system stands as the most used today,
> and that is more than likely because it’s easy to use.
No. It really is -not- easy to use. Take someone, ideally over 40, but younger will also work, and put them in front of a Windows PC, if they’ve never used computers before. It’s really not intuitive, and things you take for granted, like mouse skills, take a while to develop. MacOS is easier to use than Windows is. Why Windows has the marketshare it does is a combination of luck, marketing, timing, illegal use of monopoly power, and other factors. Its ease of use is more or less acceptable, but not exemplary.
> As the top dog in the industry, making comparisons to it is inevitable. Windows or not, I’m sure we all want our PC’s user friendly no matter what the hardware or OS.
> If any developers are reading this, let’s come up with some installers, user friendly applications, and nullify the dependence most distributions have on the terminal.
I’m a (very minor) developer. I disagree strongly on installers; I agree entirely on user-friendly applications. Fortunately, work in that area is being done, and there are ever-increasing numbers; KDE, k3b, and abiword come to mind.
Decent article; the major problem with it was the confusion over the terms “Linux” and “vendor”. Linux (the OS, rather than the kernel) doesn’t have the kind of centralization that Microsoft or Apple provide. Release schedules, among other things, vary widely, and there is no central entity to request changes from.
When I’ll find a Linux Distro that answers to those needs, which is for example tell the user that it has detected modifications on the system and asking him to confirm this (just in case he made a mistake…), and then this distro would make everything on its own to have the new hardware run, then I will try to have a serious look. When I’ll find a Linux distro that can install every software I need, just telling it what is the name of the software I want, and it finds it on the internet on its own (something like Synaptics but with more choice of software, and less details on the technical modules of each software), then I’ll have a really very serious look.
I take it that you currently doesn’t use a computer or that you are very uncomfortable with your current system. Not even MacOS-X fully fills your specification of a good OS, and windows does it to an even lesser extent. In fact Linux is a lot closer to that spec than windows.
I don’t get why linux has to be windows? One thing we like about linux is we can feel superior about using a harder system. I think there is too much evangelising going on. I like being anonomous and hidden from viruses and spyware.
You are absolutely right on all counts. People who are stuck thinking in the Linux box won’t agree with you, and their OS will continue to be passed up by normal computer users.
Because nowadays, every time I read a piece about what Linux needs or what Linux lacks (Linux meaning “distributions of Linux” actually), they fall in one of these categories :
– The solution is already there
– The solution is better than the ones on other OSes
– It is actually not a Linux problem
– The problem and solutions are already known and in the work
Why is it always like that ?
Because most of those articles come from people who are clueless, or do not use Linux daily, or actually trying to spread FUD.
Worse, some are beginners, they know it, they say it, and then, they are trying to give lessons to more experienced people !!
Each time I read talkbacks from MS shills, clueless people, jealous people, … (they are pretty easy to spot, you see right away they do not, or never used Linux seriously, even when they claim they did), I truely feel I’m a genius (I’m not, but given I can do everything in Linux, even use the command line, I must be a superior being).
What I do not understand, is why (mostly Windows) users downplay their intelligence so much. Do they have no shame of being so stupid ?
I say that, because the coup-de-grâce is that my wife, which is computer illiterate (an accountant though, she knows Excel) use Linux everyday without any problem. Worse, she does more thing than she could ever do in Windows (burn CDs, P2P) : even I am truely amazed !
BTW, I use Linux daily since January 2001, when I switched completely from Windows. I know Linux since 1999.
Linux distros already have a superior solution to Windows installers in package managers. There are also the old Loki installer which is very powerful : I installed Privateer remake on my Linux box, faster and simpler than any Windows game installer. Try it !
I fully endorse your view that linux needs to have one good installer so that people need not go in for precious bandwidth once a software is released. Moreover in a thirdworld country like india, where internet for a home user is luxury and where bandwidth comes at a price an installer which is distro independent with a graphical interface and the one that can skim over dependency hell would be what the doctor had ordered. Autopackage (www.autopackage.org)is an ideal solution for this problem. This packaging format will help solve precious bandwidth since it packs in all dependencies and is distro independent. This is helpful to public because computer magazines neednot bother about what flovour of package. Only thing is that auto package needs ratification of linux distros and ISV’s
Linux is already making its way into schools, the only thing I dont use it for is Samba file sharing because of the limited ACL abilities as compared to NTFS permissions.
If I could give a slew of different users and or groups different permissions to a file share those would be gone as well.
“Too many distros, too many configurations. Nobody wants to deal with that mess.”
Nvidia seems to do it just fine, the problem is most commercial software devs literally suck, they are lazy and just want to do enough to keep thier jobs. I have seen it in windows and linux.
“At the end of the day, requiring a new user to find the command line is right when Linux has failed for that user.”
Not so, a distro could make it fun with a nice looking transparent term like eterm.
They just have to keep it simple like emerge in gentoo but binary and with better autoconfig support similar to anaconda in RH.
ROFL: we cold even make this version the “home?” version