When the technology community considers Linux, we know what sets it apart from the competition. But if you were to ask the average consumer, few could give you a legitimate answer other than maybe it doesn’t cost anything. (However there will always be those that look in vain for the free beer everyone keeps talking about.) Editorial contributor Doug Dingus offered the following opinion piece to osViews which proposes some interesting ideas to help differentiate Linux to consumers by way of hardware rather than just software.
Where is my “Made for Linux” computer system?
Submitted by Kelly McNeill 2003-12-30 Linux 54 Comments
on a properly pre-setup box:
your grandmother will not have to fear:
porn links getting bookmarked
porn links in your context menus
bad html/java script
evil html/java script
you won’t have to purchase an endless list of 3rd party apps to lock down and secure your box.
look at one of the most basic problems…antivirus
you have to buy it, install it, keep it up to date, disable quite often or a boat load of packages will belly up, and even then, when a virus hits, it usually spreads so quickly that it’s days later when an applicable update is released.
i know joe average. i’ve worked with joe average.
joe averages are getting their collective asses kicked on windows platforms.
it’s easy for them to use, and sooooo completely easy for them to completely destroy their xp installation.
last person i helped was an accountant, about 7 hours ago.
29 icons in the tray
ad-aware found 679 items
spybot found 122 after ad-aware cleaned
her windows update couldn’t even reach the net at first her system was so jacked.
her antivirus would automatically disable itself.
she had sobig, nachi and klez.
outlook was completely corrupted. and the machine behaved very strangely…i suspected something devious, but i had no software that was picking it up.
i salvaged her data files, and wiped the machine.
i wish i could say this was a rare instance. in fact i make my living by helping people put their systems back together, and i spend time training them….to use best practices that we all in here take for granted.
switch em to mozilla/firebird. uninstall outlook express. when only system in household – disable server service and workstation service.
etc etc etc.
for someone who just needs a web browser, email, an office suite, and an mp3/video player.
linux is poised to be ready.
a lot of people have stupid-simple requirements, yet they find the effort to upkeep their xp systems just not feasible, so they let it go to hell.
and then they have to call someone like me in.
Clearly the value proposition Apple brings to the marketplace goes beyond simple price and feature comparisons. The question on my mind, is how much of that can apply to the growing Linux marketplace?
It doesn’t, really. People say that a Unix-friendly desktop is possible and point to OSX as an example. But OSX didn’t get to where it is by coming with 3 desktop enviroments, 11 window managers, 5 office suites, 40 command shells, 300 console email clients, 5,000 emacs clones, etc. I believe the thing that puts OSX above Linux is that it is so consistant throughout. Linux has that consistency too, but only at the DE level.
I have been running Linux for long enough now to wonder if the ability to run W.I.N.E.’s win32 API is even necessary anymore?
Take it from a hardcore Windows user – it’s still very necessary. Not necessarily for the ‘bread and butter’ apps, which Linux handles pretty well, but there are a lot of genres of applications that Linux does not cover well, if at all.
I”ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I think the one thing Linux needs more than anything is to come up with a standard for package management so that you can package a program up a certain way and be able to use any package manager that supports the standard. That way, instead of having to rely on package repositories (many of which are not always current), a developer can simply package his app and offer it for download, and you can install it in any distro you want. If there’s one thing I love about Windows, it’s knowing I can always get the latest version of an app the day it’s released, install it, and know it’s going to work 99% of the time.
You said it!:) Windows can be a pain generally, but hey, without it you would loooze your job, and not just you, and entire industry would go down…
Hurray for Linux!
when they can’t blame M$ for very thing
It doesn’t, really. People say that a Unix-friendly desktop is possible and point to OSX as an example. But OSX didn’t get to where it is by coming with 3 desktop enviroments, 11 window managers, 5 office suites, 40 command shells, 300 console email clients, 5,000 emacs clones, etc. I believe the thing that puts OSX above Linux is that it is so consistant throughout. Linux has that consistency too, but only at the DE level.
Huh? Did you fall asleep in 1999 and just wake up. Things on the Linux desktop have changed radically in the past year. Yea, there are a ton of text editors, web browsers, file managers – but the major distros only ship what is integrated in with the desktop environment of choice.
I recently dragged my girlfriend to a computer shop. She pointed at a computer and said ‘can we have one that looks like that?’ What was she pointing at? A Mac, of course. Those pretty cases really do make a difference when people are choosing a box to put on their desk. Produce a ‘Linux Computer’ that has a really distinctive, beautiful box, screen, keyboard, and you’ve got a winner.
“but the major distros only ship what is integrated in with the desktop environment of choice”
Uh, that’s not entirely true. No, actually, that’s not true at all from what I’ve seen. Check out Red Hat, Fedora, Slackware, Debian. They all include so much duplicated functionality that your claim is bogus a dozen time over (per distro!).
When Fedora (for example) gets down to one CD for a “personal desktop” installation, then we can talk.
Huh? Did you fall asleep in 1999 and just wake up. Things on the Linux desktop have changed radically in the past year. Yea, there are a ton of text editors, web browsers, file managers – but the major distros only ship what is integrated in with the desktop environment of choice.Even then, the desktop environments themselves often have duplicated functionality. Look at KDE: it has KWrite, Kate, and KEdit, which seem to, aside from some very minor differences, all be the same thing.
Most people who post on message boards seem to have an over inflated idea of what an average home user does. I am constantly hearing things like “photoshop is necessary for grandma to use a pc”.
I have a large family and am the only computer literate one, so I spend a large amount of time dealing with clueless people. The majority of them have no idea how to use the things. As in clicking on the email button is an adventure. They do not get it and are afraid of it. For most of them the computer is just something they have because they think they should. They probably use it once a week or so. They do not understand spyware. They do not have they slightest idea what that message talking about certificates and gators is about. They just click ok and go with the flow in a similar fashion to how they would nod and say “uh-huh” if they were attending a physics lecture. As a result their boxes become loaded with spyware, adware, crapware, you name it.
What I have found is that taking away their ability to install software is the best thing for them usability wise. They don’t need to do it and it keeps the junk out. If they want new software they call me. They would call me for this before since they only know what they want to do, but don’t know what software can do it. This has cut my per relative support calls from 1 “help, my pc has gone crazy” every six months to 1 “I want to do this” ever 2 years.
This article raises an interesting point. A well put together linux box might be exactly what they need. Email and browsing the web are more than what they use. A company selling a well branded linux box running something like a simplified gnome desktop would probably do very well for this market. It would not have to be a powerful box, so an xbox level of hardware sold for an xbox level price would be sufficient. If it is cheap, works, and is well advertised I can see my relatives eating it up.
I know this sounds sort of like the appliance pcs of the dot com area, but I think this idea is different in a few key ways:
1. Those things had terrible advertising.
2. They had bad user interfaces.
3. They had bad browsers.
4.They were sold for stupid prices. eg $799.99.
A side thought: If the ps3 came with a built in simple linux based gui it could clean up on the low end.
[/i]When Fedora (for example) gets down to one CD for a “personal desktop” installation, then we can talk.[/i]
That is all I ever wanted, with GNOME as default.
Also keeping it slim as possible
– Don’t install postfix or sendmail by default (people who know what they are and need them, know how to get them).
– KDE, apt or yum it, or have it on the second CD.
So many yet another distro’s why not have a slim GNOME based one based on Fedora (I only say the last because I am very used with Redhat stuff now).
Instead of GNOME, have a slim KDE distro that compiles out of KDEBASE somethings. If someone needs them they can apt or yum them.
Oh geez, I am offtopic.
I say to IBM, Toshiba, Acer, HP/Compaq, etc, give me a Linux laptop, with 100% hardware support and features.
I am assuming they will sell well with the Linux geeks. The linux geek will say to him/herself, “hmm what should my next purchase be a laptop with the OS I love, that I can take with me wherever or another tower for my 12 PC server farm.”
Nah I will just get another tower PC and install Linux with distcc on it. Gentoo all the way
Sorry to double post, but I figured if the text was somewhat formatted it would be easier to read….
I read the article and agree in general with some of the sentiments the author expressed. I know that I for one would greatly appreciate being able to just by a computer and know that all of its hardware was *really* *fully* supported under Linux. The problem I see here is that there is still no appreciable amount of open hardware, ie. hardware where the design specifications, engineering documentation and driver source are open. This is the problem. When apple produces a macintosh computer their propietary system interlinks very well with the propietary policies of the hardware manufactures which design devices for the macintosh.
Microsoft and Apple have access to the source, just as Dell, HP and IBM. For them its “open”-ie. for propietary parties which are prepared to pay the liscensing fees they have access to anything they need to assure proper integration. It is trully fascinating there have actually been renegade groups of employees at many major hardware manufacturers who desperately wanted to use their companies hardware with Linux, and even they have been stallwarted across the board with very few exceptions. Such groups exist at Toshiba, HP-which has now half-legitimized their existence with a grain of support, Intel, Creative Labs and IBM. Take Creative Labs and HP as prime examples: both have released Linux drivers for some subste of the companies hardware portfolio. Yet these drivers, initiated at the behest of employess of said companies are still totally lacking compared to those drivers produced for the Microsoft world. Need I mention ATI and Nvidia here ?
The situation is slowly beginning to change, but only slowly. In all likelihood the countries which are now producing most of the hardware exports in the world(China- and the “tiger” economies of souteast asia) will have completely transitioned to open source software ecosystems within the next 5 years. China has already endorsed Linux much more so than probably any other single country-and it produces more consumer electronic goods than probably all of europe combined.
I tend to believe that once open source software becomes the norm in the countries which are actually manufacturing the devices that we use in our computers that we will have a much better chance at getting open design specifications, engineering documentation and source. Of course a dimension which I have not mentioned yet is that of trully “open hardware” which means patent-free technology, which China is now pursuing and which will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in the technology policies of most of the world within the next 20-50 years.
Patent-free CPU’s already exist, which means any country in the world with the technical capicity to manufacture CPU’s can potentially produce their own CPU’s completely severing ties with the likes of Intel, IBM and AMD. In all likelihood any new contenders in the GPU world are going to start with good Linux support-ie. open docs/drivers, due to wellspring of demand for such based on open-source policy initiatives in the governments of many nations.
Manufacturing may now be a trully global phenomena, where a motheroard contains IC’s produced in the 50 different nations-but the patents on these technologies lie almost exclusively in North America, Europe, and Japan/Korea. The manufacturing economies throughout south America, the Indian subcontinent and south/southeast Asia are still enlsaved in the IP system dictated by “first world” countries. This situation will change, for it is in the last instance an issue of economic empowerment and economic autonomy.
In this context I fully expect to see patent-free hardware custom made for Linux within the next 5-10 years. People may think my position is extreme- but the only part of the design of the original IBM pc which was patented was the BIOS- the moment Compaq working with Phoenix were able to overcome this was the moment IBM’s monopoly on PC’s was broken. If it were not for the “open design” of PC motherboards the modern PC simply would not exist. What I am describing here is nothing other than the next level in this process, ie. that the TTL components of which the motherboards consist themselves being “open designs”.
At this moment there is still too little of this what I am describing, currently I am forced to purchase my hardware from the “lesser of evils” in order to get bareable levels of supported functionality. My HP drivers for my printer/scanner/copier make use of 20% of the functionality of the printer. My SBLive drivers gives me some 50% lowquality support of the cards capabilities. My Nvidia GPU drivers prevent real advancement in XFree technology- due to our artificial dependency upon Nvidia that they might on a which decide to support such further developments. My Toshiba laptop has no current and probably never will have any support for its undocumented ACPI system which renders the PCMCIA/Firewire utterly useless-and the power management is non-existent. I myself will be thankfull when my computers have no brand-name components to speak of and where when I open the box I find incredible amounts of open documentation and driver support.
I donwloaded the 1 CD Lorma Linux 4 yesterday; It is supposed to suit students’ needs by default… you may want to check it out as it is Red Hat-based. (I didn’t try it yet)
“I have been running Linux for long enough now to wonder if the ability to run W.I.N.E.’s win32 API is even necessary anymore?
Take it from a hardcore Windows user – it’s still very necessary. Not necessarily for the ‘bread and butter’ apps, which Linux handles pretty well, but there are a lot of genres of applications that Linux does not cover well, if at all.”
Does AutoCAD work correctly under WINE?
OEone Homebase seems to be what most of you are thinking about. I believe they are planning a computer, the AIO 17, but I may be wrong.
Well SuSE has been there since V8.2 with a DVD! What more do you need except to switch distribution to SuSE if you need one cd or dvd install.
How true what you say about the average computer user. I have also seen many horror stories of people’s laptop or desktop, full of crap……games and games and data and operating system all mixed up on one drive and one partition. I have wasted a lot of hours sorting those messes out.
Ease of use. Yeah give the user ease of use and generally the mess I describe above is what you have with the current desktop champion O/S.
Give me Linux anyday of the week. If I cannot yet do something with Linux that I could do with Windows – well Rome was not built in a day, I will try find other ways within what Linux provides to do the job.
An example:- I have not enough experience to get the PCMCIA hard disk working in the pc-card slots of my laptop. In fact I gave up.
However, the card works perfectly with my laptop via a USB card reader, so that is the <other> way I use to solve that problem.
So I feel that some at least of the rants about Linux are unfair, as the newbies who make up most of the rants are too used to their previous O/S.
Yeah, but have you seen the packaging? They CDs are scratched before you even begin by the card packaging they use. I’ve had two versions of SUSE corrupted because of this. It’s only the CDs that pack up though, the DVD still works somehow …
you’ve hit the nail …..
One step ahead of you. I never keep new CD’s in their original packing. Mine go into a CD holder with soft sleeves that you can find anywhere very cheaply.
So no scratched and unuseable CD’s in this house at least.
Any hardware that follows open standards are “made for Linux”. The problem is that manufacturers in the consumer market cut every corner that they can, and therefore, they only test to make sure their product works reasonably well on Microsoft Windows and/or (sometimes) Macs. Cutting corners often breaks the standards they are supposedly following, and therefore, often bombs on other systems where the drivers expect well behaved and standards conforming hardware. The glut of USB devices flooding the consumer pc market is a prime example. The vast majority of the small form-factor usb devices may claim to follow USB2 and USB-IF specs, but very often they do not and you end up with various weirdness as a result when trying to access them as per published open specs. The cheaper the gadget, the less likely they are to conform to published specs.
There are a rare few vendors that try hard to conform to published specifications for designing hardware. There are still others that openly support alternative OSes with their hardware and drivers. But until groups like the USB standards group, SATA group, etc start requiring specification conformance testing before using trademarked names, similar to OpenGL, SPARC, and Unix conformance testing, nothing will change for the better.
Otherwise, save your pennies and purchase a traditional “big-iron” workstation with Linux pre-installed with a corporate support contract on the side.
There are linux box integrators out there. HP business desktop line are certified to run Mandrake. You can get one pre-loaded with Win-2k, (stay away from Win-XP) then get whatever linux version and try it. You’ll need a USR controller based modem for dial-up. Los Alamos Computer is a linux specialist, you pay a premium price, but get a good system.
MS-Win is over time taking over more and more hardware function in software (3D,audio,dial-up modem) which reduces total system cost. The PC makers charge a premium for Win-XP-pro so they may have a profit incentive to push that over linux, that’s my guess. How is linux going to compete with that? The answer is they can’t. HDTV sets or PC workalikes by 2006 might all be running MS-Win. That and the interactive services (gaming,gambling) surrounding that look to be a future revenue generator for MS IMO.
Yeah, that is very true – but given enough time and global acceptance Linux will follow suit.
The only real defense Linux has (to my knowledge) is it’s inherent resistance to many of the things you mention in it’s design.
I don’t understand how Linux works on too grand a scale, but I do know that if it ever starts taking serious marketshare from Microsoft (15%+), that people will find a way to do the same sorts of things on a linux machine that they do on a windows one. When that happens, it’s not going to be pretty, because frankly, people like me wont know how to fix it. I’ve been through the mill on M$ computers, I know all the cleanup programs and antivirus programs and can nail something down manually if I have to. But in Linux, as far as I know, there are no antivirus programs, spyware removers, or what have you – and when the wave comes I wont have much of a clue where to start until someone posts a how-to on the net.
Nothing against Linux – I love it! But more and more I’m seeing it looked at as a utopia from viruses and spyware and think to myself ‘what stops a program you’re installing from slipping something else in with it?’, be it a vulnerability or spyware software? One must realize that at least a good 80% of the reason microsoft gets hit so badly with viruses and spyware crap is because it has 95% of the market. Basically everyone and their brother has a copy of windows on their PC’s, so where better to target for an attack. As Linux grows that will start to change.
It’s all growing pains though – and I’m gung ho for Linux. It IS ready for some people, and I don’t think it’ll be too many more years before it is ready for absolutely _everyone_ (I’m including the time it’ll take to gain broader support from software designers and hardware manufactuers, in addition to improving the OS itself.).
I can’t wait. There’s a few problems out on the horizons – but I can’t help but think how great it would be to have the philosophy behind Linux in a dominant operating system.
Heh – the whole monopoly thing would go out the window:P
It would be good if Linux was mainstream, then all the script kiddies would use it and write viruses and spyware fot it. Joe user would fuck up his installation all the time and not know waht he was doing. Best of all I wouldn’t have to listen to people whine about Windows problems that aren’t really Windows problems the qoute “System Error! problem exists between user and keyboard, please replace user” comes to mind(note: the quote might not be eaxct but you get the idea).
Has anyone checked out Tadpole notebooks? (www.tadpolecomputer.com)
They have a Linux notebook running the JDS and it looks great. I ordered one and I am going to do a review on it.
I enjoyed reading your post: like I enjoyed reading of the first page (peredovitsa) of newspaper “Pravda” published by the Soviet Ministry of Truth.
But the fact is, all that are examples of applications coded by software developers. If you are saying that it is hard for software developers to produce applicaitons and HTML pages for Linux desktop computers- then you are right, my friend: that would make Linux more secure.
Please, also don’t start an old song about ‘Linux worm kills only the user, not the box.’ Let me recommend you run scientific test: start your grandma’s computer, login as a regular user, run rm -r /, and select yes every time it asks to delete a file or a fodler. See how useful your system will remain after.
Dingus’ ideas are a small step in the right direction. Some thoguhts:
1: Choosing between Umpteen open source applications isn’t as difficult as it is annoying. Many applications — open source or proprietary — enable a user to do the same thing in essentially the same way. The “freedom” to choose between several programs perceived as practically identical provides no extra value to the user.
From a user’s perspective, little innovation is evident among the applications arena, whether that user is running Windows, Linux, or OS X. (A dropdown menu is a dropdown menu is a dropdown menu.) The “choice” valued by many in the open source world isn’t necessarily a real choice for mainstream users.
2: Dingus correctly notes that Apple’s control of both its hardware and software platforms allows it to bring an enhanced product to market. However, could a dispersed community of obstreperously independent open source developers emulate this model?
(Comments that Apple’s success rests on the “the Mac is pretty” notion are fundamentally misplaced. Apple’s operating systems and applications have always provided a more coherent, more controlled, and more consistent user experience than other platforms. In other words, it isn’t so much that the MAc is “pretty”, but, for example, that the “file open”, “file close”, and “file save” commands are identical across applications.)
3: Many of the elements of Linux that its enthusiasts find so attractive are simply not important to mainstream users. Mainstream users will not be driven by ideology or personal angst about Microsoft’s control of the PC industry. They won’t have a reason to learn about Linux or their computer beyond identifying the easiest way to accomplish their objectives. They won’t be impressed by the availability of thousands of open source applications that are often poorly documented and that, equally aften, apparently target the interests of of a narrow community of users that is perceived to be young, male, and geeky.
4: The evidence of how mainstream users actually use software is all around us. Anyone interested in marketing to that community simply needs to pay attention to it and accept it.
login as a regular user, run rm -r /, and select yes every time it asks to delete a file or a fodler. See how useful your system will remain after.
Well, if the system is well-configured, she’ll be able to delete the contents of her own user folder, and that’s it (the rest of the system being read-only for users).
Programs like Mandrake Draksec, which make sure that changed permissions are reverted to Security Level defaults (which can be set to various levels, from low to high to paranoid) make the whole system even more secure.
Now, try that in Windows – especially if you have Administrative rights by default, as is often the case – and you’ll trash your system.
But not in Linux.
Oh, and there are very few Web pages I cannot visit with Linux – especially not when using Konqueror’s Browser Identity feature, which fools web sites into thinking that I’m using IE. What I don’t get, however, are web sites that can give remote users access to my machine, like you’ll get with certain versions of IE…I guess that’s a “feature” I can do without.
If you want a computer for your regular computer illiterate user, you have OS X and XP. Why must Linux be mainstream? Why must Linux be “dumified”? Why must my grandma use Linux? What’s wrong with grandma using OS X or Windows XP, that were designed for her?
If you want a pretty computer, get a Mac. If you couldn’t be bothered, use Windows. If you are a power user who wants a customized system, you have *nix.
I don’t understand where this madness that Linux has to look like OS X but be as ubiquitous as Windows stems from. We need to get something straight. Linux will never appeal to a user who doesn’t know what he or she is doing.
I don’t care how much refined, polished and sexy you want Linux to look or be, you would never extract the power and benefit of Linux if you don’t know what a terminal emulator is and how to use it. Any experienced Unix user will agree with me.
Why are some people hell bent on turning Linux into OS X or Windows? Why not just let Linux evolve into its own unique entity? All of sudden every other person thinks my grandmother is interested in Linux, but won’t use it because it doesn’t look like OS X and it doesn’t come preinstalled like Windows. Duh!
All of a sudden making people more ignorant is good software design and computing practices, while making people understand what they are doing and why, is considered arcane, backward and everything attributed to Linux.
I don’t understand why habbits that encourage computer illiteracy are condoned. I hope Linux never becomes Mac OS X, Windows, BeOS, or whatever. I hope it continues to be different while at the same time learning from the technical mistakes of its predecessors. In fact, that is why Linux has been so successful. It is different and it is not mainstream.
I’m I the only one who gets offended by the “lets make Linux my other favorite OS even though I have no idea how” articles? Or don’t I just get it? I mean I see real issues in Linux like lack of well integrated development tools, less focus on stability and completeness and more focus or endless experimentation and fun, poor documentation, commercial interests in Linux not investing as much in Linux as they are exploiting, etc.
Yet, someone is complaining because his grandmother cannot yet use Linux. Uhmm…her bad!
Please disregard any postings by Archie Steel whose IP begin with “209.234.”
He’s a name-stealing troll who obviously fears my debating skills, and who’d rather try to attack my credibility by making anti-Linux posts under my name.
If you need segmentation faults, kernel panics and no software use Linux.
Gee, I use Linux but rarely get segmentation faults (though I have Internet Explorer crashing all the time on my Win2K box at work), I’ve never had a kernel panic (though I’ve had a BSOD with Win2000 once) and I’ve got tons of software installed on my Linux system, including Windows software.
Oh, and to stay on-topic: my non-technical, non-geek girlfriend uses Linux without giving it a thought, as long as I explained to her that the “K” menu was the same as the “Start” menu, and that “Kmail” was the equivalent of “Outlook Express.”
Now go away, you silly troll.
It still baffles me Sony hasn’t done it yet: making a pretty Linux distro for their own hardware. But then again, Sony always misses a lot of changes of products they wanted to invent: the Gameboy and iPod for example (by their own words).
Does AutoCAD work correctly under WINE?
So long as you use words like “illiterate”, “dummified”, and “ignorant” to describe people who don’t use Linux, you will accomplish little but to solidify Linux as an ideological cult.
You appear to believe that power and capability necessarily mean difficult and obtuse. (See your phrases “made to understand”, “a user who doesn’t understand”.)
Power and capability do not require use of the command line. Someone who can accomplish the tasks they need to do — using a command line or a GUI — is as computer literate as they need to be.
Remember, whether you type “rm *.*” or click on an icon labelled “Trash”, you are manipulating symbolic commands. Your computer no more understands the symbols you type at a command line than it understands a Trash icon.
Like many others who are themselves ignornat of how normal people use computers, you use the tired ‘Mac is “pretty”‘ insult. Although there is absolutely no reason why anyone should use programs that look like they were designed by amateurs, being “pretty” has nothing to do with capability, ease of use, and enhancing and leveraging a user’s existing skills.
Increasing the usefulness of Linux among the mainstream will not lessen its power. (As in OS X, no one is going to take away your favorite non-gui tools.) But, certainly, even a committed command line user can understand the value of consistent design discipline across applications (What would you do if “rm” worked one way in an xterm and another way in a Gnome terminal?); more professional and mature visual appearance; easier hardware installation, etc,>
“Does AutoCAD work correctly under WINE?
Thanks for the link. I followed it and found here
that it works, but not well. The display is corrupted. That would be useless for professional work.
AutoCAD is important because it is an industry standard and used throughout architecture and building, as well as for mechanical engineering. All these users will stick with Windows.
No. It is the major stumbling block for me as I have to use AutoCad to make a living.
It works very slow under Win4Lin and you lose the mouse resolution if you move too fast.
After several e-mails to AutoDesk they have stated that they have no plans to port it to Linux.
Just call me “Stuck in a MS World”.
Too many of the readers of this site suffer from mass delusion: the delusion that the computer is more than an ornament and a general tool around the house. While for you and me it may be the center of the room, or the main source of entertainment, for most, the computer is an appliance, much like a toaster. Making it “pretty” IS a big deal.
And Linux doesn’t have to be “dumb-ified” to be usable. Are people actually suggesting that open-source software should only cater to the tech-savvy? How exclusive can they be? There should be Linux distros available for all crowds: a tech crowd, a newbie crowd, a power user crowd, even a “never touched a computer before” crowd.
Until Linux pros get off their high horse and understand that the project has reached the size where it needs to be “marketed” to get that last push, we ain’t never gonna see no more. That’s why it’s important that IBM and Dell and HP stand behind this, because they understand that.
You can’t get hardware manufacturer buy-in without users, you can’t get users without ease of use, you can’t get ease of use without getting more people to test it, etc etc etc. Perhaps before alienating types of users based on what YOU think is unimportant, you should think of the greater good.
Linux is here precisely because of the way anyone can take a little piece of it and improve it or redo it. Just what happened in the PC hardware market.
Reducing choice in Linux would be a BIG mistake. It’s precisely the impression of choice that drives people to buy Windows PCs rather than Apples. The only thing they can’t choose is the OS. Minor concession. After that, hardware, software comes in all shapes and colors and they rightly get the impression that if they investigate, they’ll be able to make the best choice of new hardware and software for themselves.
There is a lot of complaints about the number of similar applications for the same function in the linux world but, first, it is the same in the windows and Mac world, just that cost makes you choose one and stick with it ! Second, progress sometimes requires a rupture : Deciding a year ago that there were enough CD burning apps would have barred k3b, the best so far, but an evolution of none of the existing similar apps.
third: no one is the same. Even Xandros, Lindows and the like offer very little choice at first, but you can then install everything afterwards so….
The only thing that could MAYBE be an improvement is if the main distros decided in common which kernel is the production kernel. That would make device drivers installable as files (without recompile I mean) and would be a pretty good guarantee of compatibility of applications. But anyway, with faster machines available all the time, I think source based distros are the way to go in the long run. The NVidia driver is showing the way in that respect.
just as an addendum to my first post, I just wanted to say that I don’t think linux is a silver bullet.
Somebody objected to my grandmother example. I didn’t mean that we should dumb down linux. I just meant that in some cases, there seems to be an opportunity to help those who have the simplest of computing needs. Simple needs like just internet and email.
I’ve setup friends who are computer illiterate, for the most part, with Debian. I’ve put 3 icons on their KDE desktop, and showed them how to shutdown and startup. The 3 icons are Mozilla, Evolution and “folder” that contains links to all the games on their system. (ltris, tuxracer, etc)
that’s all they needed. they were delighted. their systems show no signs of sluggishness.
Now on the other hand, I’ve worked with an architects office. And as someone mentioned, AutoCAD/Plotting isn’t quite ready for linux. (Though I’m piqued by the wine links). Anyway, I’ve setup FreeBSD servers. Everyone kept their XP workstations.
It’s just about trying to make it work. It being a solution to the problem and/or requirement.
I don’t always use linux, I’m typing this from my XP laptop, because I enjoy Command & Conquer Zero Hour.
Just “attempt” to use the range of tools to your advantage. Sometimes it’s windows. Sometimes it’s linux. Sometimes it’s a Mac.(don’t think i’ve forgot mac, i’m mac proficient too. and i’ve never hesitated to tell newbies, who want to make dvd videos, to “go get a mac”)
It still baffles me Sony hasn’t done it yet: making a pretty Linux distro for their own hardware.
Actually, Sony did put out a Linux distro for the PS2.
There are also persistent rumors that the PS3 will run on Linux Embedded. After all, Sony is part of the CELF (Consumer Electronics Linux Forum) and a rival to Microsoft – or should I say the rival – in the future “Integrated Living Room.”
Fake Archie Steel
Gee, now the troll has changed IP addresses. Don’t you have anything better to do with your time? I mean, this is rather pointless: anyone who comes to this site regularly knows that I am pro-Linux. Posting using my nickname only makes you look foolish and actually supports my point of view (a sensible Windows advocate wouldn’t resort to such tactics).
Anyway, for your information there is no noticeable performance hit when using WINE, at least not on this Athlon 900, when using MS Office, Photoshop, Quicken. There is presently a small performance hit when playing Counter-Strike (has to do with Valve’s Steam support not being up to par yet), but Max Payne, WarCraft 3 and others run flawlessly. Stop spreading your lies, it’s bad for your Karma. You’re bound to be reincarnated into a monkey if you keep this up.
Too bad about AutoCAD…I guess that’d be an interesting venture for a competitor, to provide a cross-platform solution that was compatible with its file formats, and could use its plug-ins. Oh well, one can always dream. Perhaps in the future AutoCAD on Windows will become a niche market for MS, while the rest of the world marches on with *nix! 🙂
>>”Linux is here precisely because of the way anyone can take a little piece of it and improve it or redo it.”
Wrong on two counts: 1) Linux exists because Linus Torvalds wrote a kernel based on Unix that married well with a large collection of existing GNU software. 2) It is a fallacy that “anyone” can “improve…or redo” Linux. Only developers with professional skills can improve or add to the Linux codebase. Only creative and talented developers can code innovative applications. The fact that the path of Linux has, to date, been primarily controlled by developers to meet their own needs accounts for its lack of mainstream acceptance.
>>”Reducing choice in Linux would be a BIG mistake.”
No one is talking about reducing choice. Just the opposite, in fact. Adding increased capabilities, ease of use, and ability to enhance a user’s level of skill increases the option Linux offers. If you want to open a terminal and use a line editor, you’ll still be able to do that. But, don’t let your ability to make that choice limit others’ abilities to make their own choices.
>>”It’s precisely the impression of choice that drives people to buy Windows PCs rather than Apples.”
I don’t think so. People buy Windows PC’s because, for almost everyone, Windows PC’s are the only PC’s available to them. Discountin g a few bottomfeeder efforts, there are no Linux computers on the retail market. While Apple hasw done good job of marketing and opening Apple stores, their market share remains in the small single digits.
People buy PC’s like they buy any other expensive appliance: on price.
On another note, it’s worth pointing out the misconception that Linux offers more power and more capability because of its command line tools. Any diehard non-gui shell-using addict can find a happy home on OS X, where can open a fullscreen shell and never, ever, see the GUI. He will need to put up with the GUI in Windows, but a full slate of free GNU tools is wideley available, and high-quality commercial Unix tools are available from folks like MKS.
Well, my new year resolution is sell Adobe software (Pagemager 7/Acrobat 5) and stick with SuSE 8.2 for the moment and Linux completely.
…is that it will run on just about any hardware. If you can develop a legacy-free cheap PC, noone needs to care what processor it runs, etc. It could be PowerPC for a graphics workstation, or an ARM for a simple email station. You can compete with Wintel on price and Apple on performance. With some work, you could even compete with Apple on usability.
Sun should port JDS to PowerPC or AMD 64 for a performance advantage. They can support new hardware MUCH faster than MS can. In the future, I don’t think everyone will have the same processor inside, and that is where Linux has the advantage.
Again, a disclaimer: any Archie Steel posting that doesn’t come from an address ending with “mc.videotron.ca” is a fake (like any anti-Linux, pro-MS one, for that matter). Accept no substitutes.
Mods, please mod down the previous post and this one as well.
This is becoming tiresome. If this keeps up, I’ll change my nick yet again (or perhaps just use Anonymous, which can’t be stolen).
Indeed, you can use it to make yourself look like a fool as much as you want. But what’s the point? You’re not going to convince anyone to use Windows instead of Linux that way.
Seriously, don’t you have anything better to do with your time?
One more thing – as the one and only Archie Steel, I’ve already got that nick on Slashdot, quite some time ago. Here, you may want to check out what you, as A.S., have been writing over the past few years.
I imagine you also have an account on Slashdot and try to get “f1r57 p057 5U40RZ” as much as you can…
Trolling over there is getting really overboard. Check this -1 Thread – if you dare:
You need some serious medical attention, the kind only a ‘trained’ medical professional can provide. Please, do NOT fear the men in white suits, they are there to assist you to your new home a Mental Institution…
Anyways, since when did you own a patent on that name? I don’t think so punk, now run a long to crying towell. This is my name and I am registered on ALL the other sites with it now. Have a nice life,
First, you can’t patent a name. You can’t really copyright it either, except in a limited fictional context.
No one here needs medical attention, but obviously you crave for attention. You sound like a frustrated teenager. You must be really at loss for arguments to resort to such childish behavior. I’m guessing you’re 12 or 13. Please grow up.
You’re welcome to use the name on other sites if you want. However, there is something that also binds me to that name, something that even with all your adolescent posturing you won’t be able to steal: Archie Steel is a perfect anagram for my true name.
Actually, I just tried the link I gave to my Slashdot page, and for some reason it doesn’t lead to the correct page (it leads to “archie” instead of “Archie Steel”.
Try looking up user 539670 instead! 🙂
The really funny thing is to see the amount effort you’re putting into trying to tick me off, when really I’m just toying with you. I couldn’t care less that you registered with it on “all the other web sites” or not. It’s not my real name, just an anagram of it.
(Actually, it’s also the name of a fictional character in a book I’m writing, so who cares what you use it for – you’ll only give me additional publicity.)
It doesn’t link because URLs cannot have spaces. You know, those standards things Linux users always crow about.
Thanks for the info. Sorry you had to be a witness to this puerile exchange. I’ll just ignore the fake Archie from now on. In the end, it’s not the name you use that counts, but the words you write.
1/ Do you think Linus wrote all that himself ? When I say anyone, I am obviously not talking about my daughter. I mean you don’t need to work for a perticular company to work on the kernel or any open source software for that matter. If you have the skills, then you can. If your patch are being ignored, then you can fork
2/ I don’t see how making linux easier is not currently happening currently. There is a distro for ANY level of ability, from “linux from scratch” to Xandros/lycoris/Lindows
3/ For a start, Apple doesn’t let u choose a really cheap machine. Any barebones Apple anywhere ? Any £300 office machines anywhere ?
And there is less software of any kind (especially for home users) for Apple. Being able to find a PC anywhere and not a Mac also adds to the lesser lock-in impression. I personally own a powerbook which is great but the choice of x86 laptops is 1000 times bigger, from the 2pounds mobile feathers, to the home desktop replacement with hardly any battery life. Had there been 20 linux laptops to choose from in Europe, I wouldn’t own a powerbook. I only found about 4 available only in the US.
I think you misunderstand the command line power. It is not so much the command line for the end user that is powerful (although it is) but the underlying shell(s) . It has provided for ages a reliable, simple and standard way to glue various utilities together. Command line for the end user is a shortcut in some cases, a pain in other cases.
Desktop focused distros wrap all that in a nice and hopefully usable windows which is the way to go (that’s why I use most of the time).
Anyway, I think the thing that can be best compared with Linux is the PC hardware market. A hard drive is a hard drive. A memory chip is a memory chip. A CD rom drive is a CDRom drive. Would you give the each market to only one manufacturer just because they provide the same functionality and that would make it simpler to understand ?
It is the diversity of stakeholders that gives the best chance of a breakthrough. The only thing that need to be protected is maximum compatibility/interoperability between the various part.
1. I know Torvalds has help with the kernel. I also know that you did not qualify your original statement about the ability of anyone to alter Linux to meet their needs. That’s important, because it is a widely trumpted point about Linux. However, the availability of source is irrelevant to users. Users who need something Linux can’t provide have two choices: 1) Try to persuade, or employ, a developer to write the code; 2) Move to another platform.
2. As you say, a variety of Linux distributions are available. However, you asserted that making Linux easier to use reduces its power and capability. That is incorrect.
3. I’m not certain what your point is about Apple? Apple has no responsibility or obligation to offer you a choice of anything. They are free to make, price, and market any product they wish. As a consumer, you are free to buy or not to buy a Mac. If a consumer opts to pay twice as much for a Mac have for a barebones PC, then that is his decision.
4. Precious little original and innovative software is available for any platform. Almost all categories of desktop applications were created in the 1980’s during the initial PC boom.
5. I understand quite well about shells. IN your original statement, you appeared to be asserting that everyone should use a shell and that GUI interfaces produce conputer illiteracy.
Why do PCs only come with one hard drive? There are many benefits to having two hard drives. The second hard drive could hold all of the user’s data. This could also simplify backing up the data because you could Right Click on “My Data” folder and select Back-Up. A dialog box would ask for you to insert a blank CD or DVD into the drive. The back-up program would also tell you how many CDs or DVDs you would need. Computer hobbiest have been using two hard drives to seperate their data for years.
More use of standard file formats. Some people complain that Linux suffers from too much choice in software. I think the problem is not enough support for standard file formats. If KWrite, OpenOffice Writer, MS Word, emacs and others used a standard format, then I would just have to pick the program I liked. The confusion is when each application uses its own format and you forget which application you created your data with. This makes people want only one choice so they do not have to know what format their data is in.
Desktop Environments should help but not get in the way. A partial list of the common operations a user does with their data is create, save, edit, copy, delete, watch, listen, sort, encrypt, and hopefully back up. Now check in the menus for these operations in the file managers of the common Desktop Environments. In KDE, Konqueror does not have a way to sort a folder unless you change the sort order in the View menu. It seems to me it might be useful to put a sort button in the toolbar or provide a option in the Right Click menu. Getting to the common tasks should only take a click or two.
Desktop Environments sometimes use long windy Wizards to accomplish task. Make the Wizards simple and informative. No need to impress people with aristry.
There is no need to dumb-down the computer experience, just make doing common tasks simple and advanced tasks accessible.
I just stumbled on this discussion while surfing. I authored the piece and would like to clarify a few things based on feedback from osviews.
I believe there exists a vacuum in the low end market that a “Made for Linux” computer would fill nicely. People buy $600 e-machines loaded with XP right now. In fact, they are buying a lot of them. These folks then go buy, or pirate, the other software bits they need to flesh out their computer system. This takes time and effort. Once they are done, they still deal with all the ad-ware, viruses and such that come with ownership of your typical win32 box.
If folks will pay this amount of money, and continue to be willing to do a bunch more work, then I say they would pay for a machine that is complete and ready to go for a large number of everyday tasks.
Think of it as the lower end Apple type machine.
As for hardware, I was thinking about custom. Take all the things that can be done on Linux today and cross index that with a list of supported hardware to establish the base specs for the machine. Custom means no real BIOS, just come code to put the hardware into a known state, and some other code that directly reads Linux native filesystems and bootloaders.
The idea of the two would be to take a snapshot of OSS today, put some polish on it, and sell it to folks as a complete solution. Instead of marketing the power and choice, let them know all the things they can do out of the box with no hassles. Most people do not upgrade much at all, so don’t bother them with it.
As for dumbing down Linux, this project changes nothing. All of us in the know continue to do what we have always done; namely, compute exactly the way we want to. If I had the money or position to do this, I could –no questions asked. Would that affect any of you? No, but it would introduce Linux to a bunch of people who could benefit from it who cannot do that today.
I believe in the OSS process. In fact, it I believe it is a necessary thing. The fruits that result from our freedom to compute and the ability to exercise it result in practical applications others can use –if they are empowered to.
Finally, such a box could come with services that help users upgrade to the next edition (bring in your machine and we will move/clone your environment to it), or get new software as it becomes available. (Think click ‘n run)
Users who master the machine can always get a PC, join our little OSS club and go from there. This is not about dumbing down Linux, only packaging it in the best way possible.
This idea has been eating at me for a while, so I thought I would express it to see what others think. Thanks for reading it, I value your comments!