This is a reaction to the Article “The Paradox of Choice” by Adam Scheinberg: I’ve held the position that choice is a paradox since my early childhood, and that it is not necessarily a good thing. Remove choice of religion and think of all the wars throughout history that might not have existed.I use this as just an example of how having a choice can cause conflict. How many times in your life have you had stress over what vehicle, appliance, or house to purchase? Yes, this may seem like an extreme way of thinking, but that’s because we have all been programmed to think that choice is a good thing.
Now let’s look at Microsoft Windows and the various distributions of Linux. If you want to use a Microsoft operating system your choices are Windows XP Home or Windows XP Professional – basically the same. I am intentionally leaving out server applications to keep it simple. Now let’s ask the same question of Linux vendors. You have an array of Linux flavors to choose from. Redhat, SUSE, Mandrake, Debian, FreeBSD and about 100 plus others to pick from. Any of the Linux distros would make a fine choice and have much to offer, which is a good thing or is it?
These choices can breed FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) and the fact that they’re all just a little bit different brings on more uncertainty. Your question now becomes “will this flavor of Linux work with my hardware?” or visa-versa. The real choice here is do you want you hardware to work or not? I’ll assume you do. The choice of which distro to use has now been dictated to you by your choice of hardware. Is that choice? This is a choice you should not have to face and the possibility of this choice must be removed. In order for Linux to succeed hardware must work.
A decision has to be made now by the top Linux maintainers to do what is in the best interest of Linux as a whole. Not what’s in the best interest of a particular company or individual. Yes. You now run into the challenge of who will make these decisions for us. Democrats, Republicans, Redhat? Surely not. I’m not putting down Redhat. They made some tough choices over the last couple of years. Choices that I believe propelled Linux forward. By stopping the desktop division and specializing in the enterprise market building their niche and coming back to the desktop. Meanwhile making sure that all their code was still open. Redhat’s stock at time rose above that of Microsoft’s and put the word Linux on executives’ lips.
The top creators of Linux must take charge if closing some options were to make Linux more unified is that not a step in the right direction? I’m not talking about limiting applications but a consistent way to install packages across all of distributions available would be nice. It would also benefit to have all packages work on all distros. Instead of having a Redhat and SUSE version of the same program. Most of these changes wouldn’t affect end users anyway. I know you can get the source and compile your own programs, but say the words “source code” to someone and they may start to think Linux is not for them. By all working together in unison and not branching out doesn’t that make you stronger and more powerful? Didn’t the lack of unity kill Unix? By having one standard system, developers would have more time to work on new ideas to further along the migration of Linux.
I realize that this sounds like I want a monopoly for Linux like Microsoft has and that choice is what open-source and Linux are all about. However this would still let you have the choice of what distro you wanted to use. This would be a major advantage for the business community. If a company used brand A Linux and need to switch to brand B Linux changing over would be seamless. Large companies like Novell or Redhat may depend somewhat on vendor lockin, but is that good for Linux or for the company?
Microsoft as we all know is closed source, well, actually, airtight source. Bill says jump and the reply is “how high?”. Undeniably, Microsoft is the undisputed king of the desktop industry. But how did they get that way? By eliminating choice in a negative way, by tying the hands of competitors in legal wrangling. Wasn’t it Microsoft that was supposed to be “helping” Big Blue develop OS/2? Wasn’t it Master Bill who effectively put IBM on hold, put OS/2 on the back burner while Microsoft developers worked on their own OS secretly? Microsoft is the biggest, but are they the best? Certainly not.
It is now time for Linux to rise, unify, and eliminate choice is a positive way. The LSB2 project is a great start to unification of Linux. It is impossible to eliminate all choice. “If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice” (From the song Freewill by Rush.) What the leaders must do is make their choices based on what is good for the Linux community in the long term. The truth is, if you eliminate some choices and dictate others so that Linux can be more united, Linux can only grow and prosper.
OK, what do we really want? How about a working, easy to manage, secure, free as in freedom, operating system for the world to use. If that was available what would would you choose?
If you would like to see your thoughts or experiences with technology published, please consider writing an article for OSNews.
I don’t usually gawk, but this article did it. Nice job at that. Not the article, though.
“Remove choice of religion and think of all the wars throughout history that might not have existed.”
You don’t truly think the wars are because of religion, do you? It’s all about greed, and religion is just one of the many excuses.
i choose windows for my every day primary use. i gave up on macs after 19 years of using them as my primary machines.
i have fiddled with linux off and on since the mid 90s and i choose to not use it as my primary machine. i choose to leave it on an older machine that i tinker with.
so your “Certainly not” is a certainly is! for me.
other than on the internet, i dont know have a single friend, family member, or business that i am affiliated with that has chosen linux. fewer and fewer use macs, though there are some left.
nearly everyone i know chooses windows.
I think that the paradox is in choice itself. Too much choice and wars break out. Too little choice and wars break out. Is there such a thing as just enough choice?
All hardware that works with the Linux kernel, works with all Linux distros that use that kernel. Why is the article addressing the problem of FUD and yet continuing to spread it?
Just because you don’t know how to configure your OS to make your hardware work doesn’t mean that no one can. It just means that you aren’t good enough for your *choice* in an Operating System. There is nothing wrong with that.
There really are people in this world that are too careless with security for Windows XP. They should probably use a Mac. There are people who are careful with security, but cannot be bothered with driver configuration. They should use Windows XP, the built-in firewall and Firefox or Windows Update.
“I think that the paradox is in choice itself. Too much choice and wars break out. Too little choice and wars break out. Is there such a thing as just enough choice? ”
maybe its not the quantity but the quality of choices that makes the difrerence.
You are totally misinformed about the religious wars. As the previous poster stated it’s all about greed and hunger for power.
Also, if you look at history, the wars fought in the name of religion tried to take the choice of religion away. The wars were caused by men who thought that they had the right to choose what everybody else believed.
i believe having choices is great. the more the merrier.
when redhat moved to fedora core i chose to drop them in favor of suse.
The wars were caused by men who thought that they had the right to choose what everybody else believed.
…and also the right to force others to follow what they believed.
The first question I want to ask is how the kernel developers are supposed to choose a packaging system? There simply are no Linux maintainers as you call them, “only” kernel maintainers.
The only thing that could happen would be the big distribution agreeing on some kind of base that had to be present in every distribution, but frankly I don’t see that happening and I don’t really think it is necessary.
I’m convinced that when Linux becomes more widely adopted on the desktop (and I’m sure it will be) there will just be a few huge players left standing. And in fact, that is probably to a large degree already the situation if you want to employ Linux on the desktop in a corporate environment so I don’t really see the problem you are describing.
Finally, I really think that choice is a good thing and one of the greatest strengths of Linux. There are of course a lot of distributions, but people with little Linux experience are exposed to only very few of them when they choose what distro to use. On the other hand there are a lot of distributions tailored to special needs and that is a good thing.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for limiting choice on the distro level if the distribution is targeting “Joe User”. For example, I’ve been using Ubuntu now for a few days and I think they are headed in the right direction. A core install that give you everything most people will probably ever need, but also the ability to chose from the whole debian repository if you need to and are so inclined.
But that is something fundamentaly differnt from what the article is proposing.
and choice of government, and a host of choices and pretty soon you have Saddam’s Iraq, Stalin’s Russia, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, Kim’s North Korea. Oh yeah, that’s just the direction we should be heading in….
It’s ALL about choice, because if it’s not, then there’s no point. I didn’t choose Windows on the first two pcs I bought. I wasn’t given a choice of operating systems pre-installed like I should be entitled to.
If everybody is so committed to unify Linux and such just do it!
I’m still waiting…
“Remove choice of religion and think of all the wars throughout history that might not have existed.
choices can breed FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) and the fact that they’re all just a little bit different brings on more uncertainty.
It is now time for Linux to rise, unify, and eliminate choice…
And you wonder why the general public often views GNU people as communists! Hey, while we’re at it, let’s just remove ALL choice. From now on, you’ll use whatever computer system “they” tell you to. You’ll go to whatever school is chosen for you. You’ll become what you’re told to become (for the common good, of course). You’ll sire/bear children when told. You will rise and fall by someone else’s will.
I mean, GOD FORBID we ask someone to make a decision that could bring with it a little uncertainty! Life would be so much more comfortable if I just had someone to make all these choices for me.
I know this isn’t what you were trying to say — but this is how you come off. I garuentee you if you were to even try to “rise, unify, and eliminate choice”, I — and people like me — would rise, unify and do whatever we could to return the right to excercise free will (and YES, that sometimes means making HARD decisions — least of which what OS you use) to the people.
Bad time to switch from MacOS. OS 9 is garbage, but OS X is a dream.
I switched the opposite way, along with an increasing number of people in my university. OS X lets us do all our Unix work while giving us the glory that is Aqua.
Windows cannot begin to compare in its features, unless you are counting the only “feature” where it surpasses OS X by far: its number of viruses, spyware and other junk.
To the article poster:
(1) FreeBSD is *not* a Linux distribution.
(2) Although I agree that there are just way too many distributions, and that creates uncertainty in potential new Linux users, you must be careful in how you reduce “choice.” With a not too recent example, remember the hoopla about spatial Nautilus (which I happen to think it’s the most idiotic thing the Gnome team could have done, specially galling because they claim it is a *new* concept.) What set off the stream of complaints was not they made this mode the default; what really ticked people off is that in their infinite wisdom, they did not provide a visible way to change it back to explorer mode, and people resented having the spatial choice imposed on them.
…choice is a good thing. Linux is a kernel in case you didn’t know, whatever else comes with it is up to the company/person/group to decide when they distribute their “flavor”. FreeBSD is a linux distro? Since when?
I like seeing distros aimed at workstations, servers, firewalls, embedded applications, home users and so on, it is better than an OS that tries to be a one size fits all solution that works so-so. Or is this about standards? Who can tell, your “article” jumps about. Arguing for standards is one thing, what your going on about is….?
I’d like to see how exactly these “top Linux maintainers” or “top creators of Linux” (whoever they may be) will dictate terms to everyone involved. Linux is a kernel, did I mention that?
apparently freebsd is just another linux and is another name for linux.
I wasn’t aware FreeBSD is Linux!!! At least that’s how he puts it in that context! Anybody else got the same impression?
Both articles regarding choice are moot. They consider choice to be a parameter that can be varied externally. In a free system, the choices available to a person are a function of the system itself, not some externally imposed parameter. So arguing about whether “more choice” is better than “less choice” is useless. When people are free to do as they please, in this case to program as they please, the choices available in the system will be determined by the desires of the people, and cannot be controlled.
If you live in a free society, choices are all around you. If I want to eat lunch today, I’ve got a dozen places to choose from, and that’s just within walking distance. People are free to set up restaurants, people are free to go to the ones they want, and the amount of choice available is a function of the two desires, and there is nothing you can do to control it.
The fundamental component of war, freedom, communism, democracy, or whatever is Human Beings. Religion is not the cause of people being good or evil. Governments are not he cause of people being good or evil. Everyone makes the _choice_ themselves. Trying to eliminate ‘evil’ always ends up in evil acts, because you can’t make that choice for others.
Microsoft, Linux, whatever: It is liberty, not ‘choice’. We have the liberty, and the type of thinking that this article encourages has led to eliminations before. Religous, Ethnic, <insert atrocity here>.
Moreover: Why should there be such uniformity in the Linux world? Do you suppose that there is a lot that Windows has failed to capture by means of forcing a system down people throats? We need diveristy, and openness. We need standards. TCP/IP is a good example. It is an adhered to standard for everyones benefit. If people would treat each other with the same respect that one IP stack treats another, then the world would be a better place.
“I didn’t choose Windows on the first two pcs I bought. I wasn’t given a choice of operating systems pre-installed like I should be entitled to.”
very sad indeed. you had no option to find a vendor that sold pcs with beos, linux, mac os, unix, dos, without an os…. whatever based on whenever you bought those two pcs?
i guess the author of this article was writing for you, cause even when you have a choice you didnt even know it.
someone had to “give” you the choice….meaning someone “took” it away.
hows it feel to be a victim?
I think that there is a vast iceberg of abstraction, and the whole argument is where you want the waterline, and how mobile it should be. Mostly you want a tiny berg, with most detail hidden. Now and then you want to get at the vast underbelly. Good systems let you maneuver deftly.
Some comments here made me remeber of “The Patriots” (a.k.a. La Li Lu Le Lo)
— Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
>>Remove choice of religion and think
>>of all the wars throughout history that
>>might not have existed.
On the contrary, the wars were caused by people who wanted to eliminate choice. Freedom of (choice of) religion is what’s eliminating those wars. The world is complex,and choice is inevitable. Deal with it.
One thing that needs fewer choices is in underlying APIs such as for audio and graphics. Fundamentally, sound and graphics APIs all accomplish the same thing. They present audio and visual data to the user. The option between OSS, ALSA, eSound, gnome-audio, SDL, and whatever other APIs are available just to make my speaker generate noise needs to be done away with. A single low-level architecture with higher-level drop-in plugins would be a thing to behold.
I think what is being missed is scope i think what the author is primarily concerned with is choice within the Linux realm not between windows, linux, BSD etc.. It is a valid argument i feel choice is killing linux and holding it back in a bad way mainly becasue of distro fanboyism where personal distro choice comes before technical merit. This becomes extremely important in business where there is mass confusion when it comes to using linux in the enterprise which is where linux will succeed or fail.
This is the funniest comment about compliance I ever heard
Having HIG is a good thing, as it gives important guidelines for applications that lack UI design.
But that should not prevent you to experiment and use alternatives that you discovered in a usability test or believe are superior for your specific task.
Why Linux is superior? Because there are an ecosystem of applications and code: the best is used. If it is proven wrong by other implementation, than is replaced. A company would never create alternative implementations to things that (more or less) work. They are bound to suffer from old design problems.
We should let it happen with the UI and desktops as well. There is room for KDE and GNOME. In fact, they draw experiences from each other, create a dispute, and improve using each other designs.
KDE/Qt improved using SUN acessibility work for GNOME. GNOME adopted KDE like MIME system, notifications, icon themes. DBUS was designed after DCOP/KParts proved to be much better than corba/bonobo. Now KDE is putting a lot of work in usability, following GNOME efforts.
Competition is good.
The Oracle: Candy?
Neo: D’you already know if I’m going to take it?
The Oracle: Wouldn’t be much of an Oracle if I didn’t.
Neo: But if you already know, how can I make a choice?
The Oracle: Because you didn’t come here to make the choice, you’ve already made it. You’re here to try to understand why you made it. I thought you’d have figured that out by now.
Why settle your choices on Linux, Windows and MacOSX? You know what, I think we should use the UNOS, the United Nations Operating System. It should be the most inexpensive and powerful OS that we can build. *grin*
You’re right on one point, though. We don’t have many choices, as we must follow the common rules. Maybe we should keep on restricting those choices. One TV channel is too much already. Maybe we should be allowed to visit one website every day. Which would it be? 🙂
I got thinking on similar lines to the two articles the other day when walking round the supermarket with my daughter. We needed some more toothpaste. Went to the toiletries ailse. There were easily 60+ make/models of toothpaste, many with further variations on size & dispensition methods. I must of spent 5 minutes deciding which one to purchase (all that choice and they still didn’t have “the one I got last time”). In the end my 2 1/2 year old daughter choose for me. Don’t even get me started on the time my wife asked me to get some shampoo & conditioner.
The thing is, to me all these variations do exactly the same thing (stop teeth falling out, clean hair, etc – try telling that to my wife:). If I were to read the ingredients list for each one, I’d reckon on next to zero difference. Hell, on shampoos you can compare the ingredients list to shower gel (even washing up liquid) and get an close match.
So, to my point. Too much choice can curtail *certain* freedoms – specifically the freedom to make timley & informed descisions.
This is even more frustrating when the decision is about something mundane, like toothpaste, mobile phone contract/plans, a text editor, what application I’m going to use to write a letter, what OS that application is going to run on.
Consequently, I’m going to turn IT Strategy over to my daughter. I’m quite sure that the products will meet my needs, and she only ever chooses one of anything. Her decision making process is quick, consistent and informed. Simply put – if it has a picture of a Pooh cartoon character on it, thats the one we buy.
PS – Pooh Bear toothpaste tastes terrible.
That having 60+ types of toothpaste thing. Just how does that benefit mankind?
Hundreds of people spending dozens of man years on designing something ever so slightly different to the last, to meet a need that has already been met perfectly adequetly either by you own previous products or another manufacturer.
Must be a better use of their time?
If we don’t have choice, we don’t have liberty because liberty creates choice when added with a variety of highly complex different beings in a society. And without liberty life is utterly pointless. So if a lack of choice is ultimately good, a lack of people will probably follow the same logic. If no choices, then why offer the choice to procreate?
Obviously, liberty isn’t about the best, it’s about nothing more than itself. That’s why it’s been often called an inalienable right.
I didn’t read very far I admit, but I was horribly offended by his assertion that religion causes war. If he had studied history, he obviously has not, he would realize that religion has been used as a tool of men who bring war to fruition, but religion does not cause it and it’s but one tool of many.
If you don’t want choice with linux, then just use RedHat/Fedora. It’s pretty much a defacto standard for those who just want an easy move from windows/solaris/unix X/etc. And quit bugging the rest of us tinkerers who like to play around with different dists, package our own, and make endless slight variations on knoppix.
It is short sighted to assume that computer users have the same problems to solve. Computer users are as diverse as the human race and the elements within nature. And so are their problems.
The reason I use a computer is very different from the reason my mother uses one. How I use a computer is also quite different from how she, my mother, does. In a computing utopia, the tools my mother uses to solve her problems will vary drastically from the tools I use to tackle mine. Hence, their needs to be a diversity in tools to satisfy the multifaceted nature of our needs.
People advocating no choice, one distribution, one application and so on, are selfish, self-centered and extremely short sighted. More often than not, they are seeing things from their own perspective, rather than accepting the diversity of our problem space.
Linux remains one of the free computing tools that enables entities customize solutions for their problem spaces. Yet people inadvertently seek to destroy the very essence that makes Linux, free and open-source software powerful. Which is the fact that I am free to choose between KDE and GNOME knowing fully well that one size never fits all.
If it weren’t for diversity, the human race would have been extinct centuries ago. Lets learn to take a cue from nature. Asking whether or not choice is good or bad, is a like asking whether or not freedom is healthy. Time and again fields of human knowledge show that choice and diversity is essential for evolution to occur. If there is no choice, consequently, there will be no diversity, and therefore, little to no (r)evolutionary change.
There is a reason why Linux, free and open source software advance faster than their proprietary cousins. I leave that as an exercise for your intellectual capacities.
That’s because in our society dental health is very important and people are willing to pay a lot more than dental products are worth (See: price of Crest White Strips). So there’s a large pot of money floating into a pretty low cost market. Discovery doesn’t happen everyday, but America thinks it does; so marketing makes it appear it happens daily and everyone is happy. There’s an innefficiency, but neither is the physical world (Forget the gentlemens name, but it is impossible to reach 100% efficiency, it’s a law of thermo-dynamics, but then again <- only high school physics).
I don’t know if I can take any more of this whining… Sure, the point is valid but there’s nothing to do about it (unless you’re a Marc Shuttleworth and can hire the entire industry :-). Does the author suggest that enforcable communism is the solution? Heck, even that couldn’t force people to gather around a single solution.
FreeBSD is not a Linux distribution.
I think we’ll be seeing more and more of this “choice is bad” because people are often scared by choice. They’ve been stuck with Windows or MacOS for so long that the large availability of free software just scares them. Now that *nix is becoming developed enough that it works with a lot of devices and lets you do a lot of things, sometimes a lot more than any commercial provider, more of these people are coming out. These people have no problem (or at least voice no concern) when choosing between the thousands of brands at a grocery store or clothing store.. because they are use to it.
Let me welcome the OSnews contributors and editors to the world of software choice. Maybe in a few months or a year your fear will settle and you’ll just notice you can use what you want to get your work done, like many of us already do. Hell, you can still use Windows or MacOS even.. just quietly let the rest of us get our work done freely and in the way we want to get it done. Nobody really cares about your opinion because your opinion doesn’t get their work done. Thanks!
I don’t think the mainstream public will ever accept handcrafted beers as long as there is this overwhelming choice of brands on the market. Pete’s, Anchor, Sierra Nevada, Redhook, Pyramid, Deschutes, Sam Adams, etc. There’s just too many! I can’t deal with it! My brain hurts! I have to stick with Micr^H^H^H^HBudweiser!
These frequent articles about choice are always about consumer choice. The reason linux on the desktop isn’t taking off is because of there is no standard desktop. Freedesktop.org is working on some interop issues, but things would have been so much better if there was one dominant desktop and a bunch of anklebiters, instead of two dominant desktops and a bunch of anklebiters.
Just think if we had two dominant, incompatible linux-like kernels, or we didn’t even have X11 as a standard…things would be worse than they are today.
Also, there’s too much duplication of effort.
Who cares if there’s 8 million text editors available to the desktop user. It’s not about them. It’s about the developers.
de Icaza once wrote that he used to send patches to the KDE folks but started Gnome because of licensing issues. IMO, we’d be better off if there was just one dominant desktop, but maybe freedesktop.org can rectify some of the issues.
If there’d be one dominant desktop, soon there would be a dominant fork. If not, i would be disappointed.
It’s a mistake to think that if only KDE would exist, all Gnome developers would be hacking on KDE. Maybe some would, but you just might find a lot of them on projects like Enlightenment or GNUStep. Or yet another linux desktop.
As you can be a perfect human being without religeon in whatever flavour you can perfectly do well without Linux and
other *BSD successors.
Personally i like to explore the os i’m working with.
You can do that on windows as well as om MacOSX or Linux,
Solaris,*BSD,*VMS etc.Sometimes the solution for a paticular
problem isn’t so obvious at hand, that’s why many computer enthusiasts have 2,3 or more Operating Systems and computers, so do i.
For a lot of people the day goes by without knowing
Linux exists.They browse the Internet and they don’t
realy give a shit about what OS they are working with.
As long as it does whatever it has to do, and they can
I’m glad there’s OSS, if it where only for the reason: as long as you have a PC you will allways have the opportunity to learn everything what you otherwise couldn’t have learnt if you didn’t have the proper amount of money for eg XP and Office,visual studio.whatever.
I dare to say if we didn’t have propietary systems we wouldn’t have to “steal” sometimes.Open Source isn’t so
bad after all.
I think the greatest achievement of UserLinux was to provide a meeting point for all the ‘choice is bad’,’debian needs better marketing’,’debian needs to become enterprise-ready’ people, where they could work on their world domination plans without disturbing anyone else. Thanks, Bruce!
It’s a mistake to think that if only KDE would exist, all Gnome developers would be hacking on KDE. Maybe some would, but you just might find a lot of them on projects like Enlightenment or GNUStep. Or yet another linux desktop.
Yeah, but all of these other ones would be ankle-biters, like XFCE, GNUStep, and Enlightenment are today. At least some developers would know that there is a standard that they can target…especially in the commercial world.
By your reasoning, there should be a large fork of the linux kernel. Are you disappointed that there isn’t?
The development of new and old open-source projects occur in parallel. And the return of the developer may not be money. So how are you going to make the open-source developer do something that he doesn’t want, without paying him?
Need I say more?
The author didn’t take the time to do enough research.
How stupid do you have to be to say that FreeBSD is a linux distro? The BSD kernel is far from Linux, thank god.
To quote Devo:
“Freedom of choice, is what you got. Freedom from choice, is what you want.” “Then if you got it, you don’t want it, seems to bee the rule of thumb.”
Yes the reference of FreeBSD being a linux Distro was a gross oversight. Move on. I apologize.
So, to my point. Too much choice can curtail *certain* freedoms – specifically the freedom to make timley & informed descisions.
The only freedom a consumer has is to choose freely among all available choices. This freedom is complete — it is the freest state possible.
That having 60+ types of toothpaste thing. Just how does that benefit mankind?
People have the freedom to do things that do not benefit mankind. This includes having the freedom to try to benefit themselves by capturing a piece of the lucrative toothpaste market.
” And the return of the developer may not be money. So how are you going to make the open-source developer do something that he doesn’t want, without paying him?”
perhaps that’s why it will be a long time before we see a desktop as good as OS X on Linux, or as good a RAD code environment like Delphi has been all these years.
programmers there were probably forced to do some tasks they hated, but guess what, not only did these tasks need to be done, i bet after a week or so these developers began to enjoy the work, and realized there was something to it, and needed that push at the start to get them going.
“… but things would have been so much better if there was one dominant desktop and a bunch of anklebiters, instead of two dominant desktops and a bunch of anklebiters.”
totally agree. some things it’s good to have one standard to shoot at. Looking back, one mistake was gnome starting up because they didn’t like the QT licensing – big mistake. The bigger mistake was made by the KDE people back then. They used QT instead of writing from scratch because they felt they had to get KDE developed as quickly as possible to match MS and Apple. Guess what, they had enormously more time than they thought, and should have started from scratch and saved us from this mishmash, which is still fomenting flame wars 6-7 years later – what a joke.
and we do need to discuss the mess getting applications to install across all the different Linux distros. i remember reading the flips The Kompany went through to distribute their software so it ran on the main distros. a mindboggling mess.
“”If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice” (From the song Freewill by Rush.)”
Ah, it’s reassuring to know that education in the history of philosophy is alive and well…
weird, your upset about it being called “fedora core” instead of “red hat linux”
So, the only reason you used it was because the name? The same product only upgraded and better just couldn’t be used?
It’s a simple concept really. It is why people follow religions, which tell you how to behave and what to do. It is why there are governments and laws, which tell you how to behave and what to do. I have come to the inexorable conclusion that the average person has niether the desire, ambition or accountability to make even the simplest decisions in regards to day to day life, much less the “big” problems of civilization itself.
The vast majority of people are sheep, ready to go whichever way they are told by those they percieve as smarter… or simply whoever gets out in front with the biggest sign first. We have freedom, we are taught that in school. Every sheep may vote for a shepherd.
How does this work in terms of Operating Systems? The simple fact is the end user doesn’t want to be troubled with making decisions. They use Windows because 100% of the machines at best-buy, office max, Circuit City or Staples come with it pre-installed. While yes, some stores (Wallmart with Lindows and CompUSA selling MAC’s) offer alternatives, the average no-nothing nube is going to see the other stores not offering them, and their reaction is “Well, if the others aren’t carrying it, it must not be good.” Not “Those other stores suck for not carrying it.”
People do not want choices of OS, for the simple fact they do not even understand what an OS is. These are the same people who call Monitors the computer, the system case a CPU, and don’t understand why their MAC won’t power on with the keyboard not installed. You try to correct them they get offended and will never ask for help again. They want a toaster, something that will plug into the wall and work with everything right out of the box, something WinXP seems to be light years ahead of the alternatives on.
Does it have security and stability issues? Yes. Does the average user understand exactly what that means? Of course not! Do they care? Does it do what they need it to do?
In fact, I am increasingly of the opinion that people LIKE having Microsoft on top, if for no other reason than to have someone to blame their woes upon; Much like a president. Repeatedly I hear people (on both sides of the arguement over the past two decades) blaming things like abortions, gun control or any of a half dozen other “issues” on the sitting president – Things that have absolutely nothing to do with his job or the powers of the office. Never forget, the “Issues” are a means for politicians to distract you with minutia so you don’t notice them pulling down your pants and bending you over the table, and a means for a handful of radicals to dick with other peoples lives when it is really none of their business.
Yet people are still willing to give away their freedoms in a heartbeat for a little security (Those who seek safety at the cost of liberty, deserve neither liberty nor safety – Ben Franklin), often masking said loss of liberty under the term “Choice” by way of voting. Microsoft ended up on top by not offering people a choice, shepherding them into a single OS that does most everything they want with little interaction, and you know what? The masses all voiced a loyal “Baaaaaaaaaaa!”.
Is it the best at every task? No. Is it the cheapest to use/implement? No. Is it the most reliable? No.
But it in the sum of its parts it is the closest thing to a toaster available to the public. Cheaper than a Mac, easier to use than Linux, and finding someone who doesn’t know how to use it or cannot learn to do so is quite difficult.
Bottom line, people do not want the responsability of choosing on any level, and go to great means every day to avoid having to decide anything. If they did Religions and governments would fall worldwide.
Wow, that was almost lucid for me…
I’m on a new laptop, forgot to mark that was me.
I agree completely. This is now what I was implying but I agree.
“perhaps that’s why it will be a long time before we see a desktop as good as OS X on Linux, or as good a RAD code environment like Delphi has been all these years.”
Nope, you are not going to see another Delphi. With managed code, that dream seems even farther away. But there will be VB-like development environments. And if you are willing to invest a dime, I’m sure you can grab a couple of such environments for half as much as you would have paid for Delphi.
“programmers there were probably forced to do some tasks they hated, but guess what, not only did these tasks need to be done, i bet after a week or so these developers began to enjoy the work, and realized there was something to it, and needed that push at the start to get them going.”
Now imagine those same programmers being fired or replaced. Imagine how much they could still do for Delphi if they were allowed to. 🙂 Open-source allows that; you can work a life-time on a project of yours.
And you can think of open-source as “free third party components for Delphi.” The only drawback is that you can’t hide and compile the code in a single binary as you would have done with Delphi. Blame managed code for that.
This whole article is flame bait!
Yeah, I’m with you on that one – BUT that’s just the price you pay for the free market capitalist model that supports all our software/hardware/TV channel addictions
Without wanting to start a flame war (please read that bit again everyone) I think some posters on this thread misunderstand what the author is trying to get at.
As I see it (ignoring “nit picking”) the author wasn’t trying to deny choice but I believe trying to point out a flaw in the current Linux distro/install situation that far too many of us “geeks” just DON’T GET – and that is that Joe Average wants his computer to offer him the same level of choice and useability that his TV/Automobile does.
I am a total “newbie” to the *nix/KDE/Gnome world (I am a professional graphics/pre-press user with 15+ years of Mac and Windows experience) and recently decided to install FreeBSD + KDE on an older Intel box. Now I’ve said this before and been flamed BUT – the install wasn’t easy, got it working in the end (though the SoundBlaster still don’t work) and I currently have no idea how to update from the KDE 3.1 installed by the distro to the KDE 3.2 on a separate CD!
(BTW *sensible* comments for a “GUI literate” but CLI/*nix newbie appreciated – geek posts such as just type cd/rec/kde/comp/d -now are unhelpful I’m afraid) Oh yes, I can’t seem to get KDE to recognise the CD driive even though FreeBSD used it to compile KDE…
But that JUST ISN’T GOOD ENOUGH. I love my Macs and regardless of what I think of Redmond’s offering have to admit that to Joe Average they present NO HURDLES – just press install and (unless you know better) let them get on with it… Regardless of my opinion regarding Windows it still presents a better “works out of the box” experience than various distros seem to – if my reading of numerous *nix related boards are anything to go by! (YES my experience is very limited regarding distros but we are talking JOE AVERAGE here… If it took me 2 whole evenings and 4-5 attempts to get a working install, I think Mr User would have reached for his Windows CD well before I got the result I wanted)
Don’t let your skill with the tools you use blind you to the computer illiteracy of the general user – most can’t even tell Word from Windows or the ‘net from IE…
Well put! I feel most posters just don’t get it, but at least this poster does. It’s not about people disliking choice alltogether, it’s about disliking choice when choice becomes too much of a burden, maybe because of too much similarity between options, or lack of knowledge to make such decisions.
For instance: look at the DE’s in Linux. Why do you have to make a choice between KDE and Gnome? Most people don’t realize that they are almost exactly the same: the obvious differences many would point out don’t matter for the majority of users. Look at it this way: they are both toasters which look a little different and act a little different, but they both toast bread.
On a different note: I’m not convinced that choice is a bad thing for Linux in its current form. Too much choice has its charms as well.
Exactly what I was trying to get at – but you got in while I was composing my own (probably less coherent) post..
Average users want TVs/Toasters/Fridges… “I want my MTV… Money for nothing and the chicks for free…”
Does Linux (supply your own definition) want to be installed on an increasingly large number of desktops or not?
That is the question the authors of these articles about the “Paradox of Choice” are asking.
The follow-up question (they assume the answer to the first question is ‘Yes’) is “how do they do that”?
The very broad answer is “don’t offer over 100 distributions, offer a lot less than that”.
Why? Because those considering a switch from Microsoft, will wonder at the glittering fragmentation that is Linux. If Linux is an alternative, how many alternatives to that alternative do you need? What’s wrong with a few? Why in excess of 100?
The point of the articles is that if Linux wants to sell itself, it needs to remove the confusion of its choices. This does not mean that choice is wrong. If you want choice before predominance, choose choice. If you want predominance above all else, simplify.
Open Source offers a sound method for development, which, rightly, pays no attention to the commercial and marketing realities of the world. Why should it? But if what you develop happens to be good and useful, the question will arise, at least in some minds, how do we sell this?
Linux must decide now if it wants to be sold, and, if so, how?
Choice is a layered approach.
I think what many people are getting to is the choice available at the distribution point: the point at which something is sold/given to the end user.
Quite simply, these distributions aren’t making the choices they need to make. Behind the distro itself, there can and should most certainly be as much choice as possible. Distros themselves, should also allow those with skill to change their distribution (read modify, customize, install new, remove software).
Everyone loves car analogies, so here’s another another one. When you install a current distro, its not like getting a car. You have to go through the process of customizing your car first. This of course is done without much help. You can either accept that you’re going to have 4 cd players in your car by default and have to switch between them while in your car, or you have to sit there and customize your car first. Of course customization means choosing everything from the cd player to the enginer, to the kind of spark plugs you use.
Windows is kind of similar in that there is a certain amount of customization you do at install. But for the most part, the default package is good enough. In a sense, the Windows distribution (the only distribution using the Windows backend ) makes sensible choices.
With windows. you can by all means add stuff to it later, but its enough to get your car going. It might not even come with a GPS system install (read proper word processor). The Redhat car might ahve the GPS system available by default…but back to square one of customization we go.
I keep hearing folks refer to the general public as if they were dumb animals that are incapable of making a decision. Yes, I know people like that and some of them have diplomas (Ph.D.’s and M.D.’s etc.). However, the majority are not like dumb animals.
Programmers, in particular, keep forgetting that the hugh majority of mankind have other interests than computers. Some would be totally lost in a hardware store with all of the available choices (eg. nails, screws, etc). Especially if they have little interest in learning all about home repairs.
When I buy a car I am buying proprietary equipment whose parts do not fit on cars from other manufacturers. I do have a choice as to which brand of car I might want. I might even want a say in what special extras are offered. However, my main interest is that the car must fill my needs and fit my pocketbook. I have zero interest in customizing it or repairing it. I am not even interested in changing the oil. I will let others do that for me. It is impossible for me to be all things since there are only 24 hours in each day.
Now, that does not mean that I am stupid. My car and my computer are just another modern tool. If it does what I want and the software is out there that will do the jobs I want to do then I am a happy camper.
The choice of an operating system is roughly down to about 3 (*nix, OS X, and Windows) but there are other very minor players if one wants to delve into what is available.
The saving grace in “choice” is that the computer buyer must depend upon a knowledgeable salesman or friend to help them through the process. Unfortunately, most computer sales staff only know/learn one OS and that is usually Windows. Even if Linux or OS X is offered they will downplay their importance (I have lots of experience in witnessing this behavior). Linux and OS X lose. I am aware of this because I like to haunt computer stores and play mind games with the sales staff.
So, people that want “choice” in their computer purchases will also have to develop enough knowledge to pick through all of the choices. This is not the route followed by the overwhelmingly large majority of buyers. Again, that is not due to the buyer being dumb or stupid.
Like a car, I want a reasonable amount of reliability and the software to do my work. This requires me to select from the available OS’s and hardware. If I am like my clients you would have to convince me that I do not have to expend large amounts of energy and time keeping the system going and adding new software. Or worse yet, paying the local computer guru everytime the system hiccups.
You know what a babe does when he first sees the light of the world? He cries…
The open-source doctors should get accustomed to that, I guess.
I agree, even if inadvertantly my posts seem to imply otherwise
I do not mean to denigrate the inteligence of anyone by the term “average user” etc. I know many lawyers, doctors, teachers and other professionals who are still just “average users” i.e. Their intellectual functions are deployed elsewhere – they don’t have the time or inclination to treat their computer (of whatever flavour) as more than a “better mousetrap”. My livelihood depends on my understanding of the machine/software I use and those it interfaces with – I wrestle with Word, Publisher, CorelDraw, Illustrator, QuarkXpress, InDesign, Photoshop etc. daily – in fact I think I can claim to be damn good at what I do… But ask me how to do something in Access, or some 3D package and I’m stuffed, not because I’m stoopid but because I don’t know diddly about what they do… or how to go about drawing out their power. To be honest I can just about deal with the flat file index that is Apple/Claris Works “Database” as long as I think carefully.
We can all know either “everything about nothing or nothing about everything…”
“weird, your upset about it being called “fedora core” instead of “red hat linux”
So, the only reason you used it was because the name? The same product only upgraded and better just couldn’t be used?
dont jump to conclusions and toss out such absurd ideas.
one, i could care less about the name.
two, i am not upset by the change in name.
three, i did not stop using red hat because they changed names.
four, red hat is still red hat.
five, fedora core is a different product and is released and supported in a totally different way versus older versions of red hat, or current versions as well.
six, fedora core is not the same thing as red hat only upgraded and better.
seven, red hat is still red hat and with its new scheme, to get the same level of support you pay substantially more today than you did prior to their release of the community supported fedora core.
eight, i moved to suse linux as my test bed and learning tool when i saw the changes red hat made to its base linux distro.
i would suggest you read up on the history or red hat, their previous pricing plans, how they used to distribute free versions of their distro, and the changes they underwent when moved to the fedora core release system.
“f you live in a free society, choices are all around you. If I want to eat lunch today, I’ve got a dozen places to choose from, and that’s just within walking distance. People are free to set up restaurants, people are free to go to the ones they want, and the amount of choice available is a function of the two desires, and there is nothing you can do to control it.”
but if you drive a car it’s either automatic or stick shift, and if you know how to drive, you can get into any car and drive. Capisci?
Choice isn’t needed when you have one good solution that is clearly better than the rest!
Need a webserver? Use Apache!
Need a compiler? Use gcc!
Need an image manipulation program? Use the GIMP!
Need a X-Server? Use XOrg!
A printing system? Use CUPS!
CD burning? Use cdrecord!
MP3 encoder? LAME!
MPEG4 encoder? XviD!
We have a winner, “twit of the month” has been awarded. Yes it’s afermative this guy did not do any research into history of wars, what constitutes freedom (or choice for that matter). Oh and lets not forget OpenSource is bout people doing things because they want to and others might find what they do useful or something they can build on.
… so I’ll just hit one of the highlights. It wasn’t “choice” of different religions that caused all the wars. It was various peoples’ attempts to make sure nobody else chose the “wrong” religion (hint: since no single religion has a strict majority, they’re _all_ wrong according to most people) that caused the wars. Attempting to eliminate the choices of others did the damage, not the choices themselves.
The reason that there are so many religions/distros/flavors of ice cream/etc. is that fundamentally, people do not agree on what the best one of those things is. What’s more, they will _never_ agree, because the “best” choice depends heavily upon 1) who you are, and 2) what you are trying to accomplish. I’m yet to meet two people for who those things are the same – different people have different “best” choices. period.
Yes, the world would be better _for_you_ if everybody was restricted to _your_ favorite choices of things, but that kind of makes the world suck for the other 5,999,999 of us.
The pain caused by having to decide some complicated issue is _always_ outweighed by the pain of not being able to make the choice you want.
I realize that its a terrible burden to occasionally have to use you brain to make judgements about things. Yes, it is easier if someone else just tells you what to do. Then you can just do it without any fear, uncertainty or doubt. The trouble is “someone else” always has _their_ best interests at heart, not yours.
Fear, uncertainty and doubt are part of life. The proper responses to them are understanding, investigation and rational judgement. If you feel that making choices is too hard for you, try just picking somthing at random. It’s just as easy as letting some person/group/government decide for you, and has the added benifit of occasionaly picking something that’s right for you (if rarely).
I accept all comments good or bad. I place value in the opinions of others, however I’m not into name calling and twit makes me mad. Before you criticize me. Learn how to spell.
Ahm, Pete… mp3 or ogg? ^_^
And I like k3b! 😉
“Remove choice of religion and think of all the wars throughout history that might not have existed.”
Religion is an excuse for war. There are human failings that hide behind religon to get their way. Now, lets pretend that there was one religion or one OS. Here is an analogy from biology. What happens if there is several forest filled with only 1 kind of tree. Now picture that a disease stricks, what happens to the trees. They all fall ill to that disease. Now the forest that has diversity, what happens, the disease wont wipe out the entire forest. Now is extinction (monoculture) or diversity (survival) a bad thing?
“If you want to use a Microsoft operating system your choices are Windows XP Home or Windows XP Professional – basically the same. ”
I also guess that Windows 2000 doesnt count. There are more choices out there. What about the old pc that is handed down and you have windows 98, ME, NT or 95. Now you have excluded the server line ups. Just like linux, you have desktop and servers. Now the server lineups still have NT, 2000 server (3 flavos at least), 2003 server (several flavors). Now we also cannot forget about OS X. There is another choice for desktop and sever. XP and Home are not the same, there are tons of differences with security access to the file system and so forth. If your looking for a similar environment or the same way to install aps, then yes your are correct.
“Any of the Linux distros would make a fine choice and have much to offer, which is a good thing or is it?”
Each distro caters to a different aspect of utility, what ever the utility may be. Commercial software (OS), like or not, has catered to desktop and sever with various choices in each. One size does not fit all. Imagine going to a store and buying a suit. Well, one size fits all. If your 5’8″ to 6’2″, yes, one size can fit all. Now what happens if your 6’7″, one size does not fit all.
No, various Linux distro’s cater to a certain market. Some to sever, some to desktop (various desktops), some exclusive to security and so on.
“These choices can breed FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) and the fact that they’re all just a little bit different brings on more uncertainty. ”
Fear is bread by competetion to aquire market share, as is uncertainty and doubt. Market share is based on greed, the need to expand, acquire and grow. Yes, I am a capitalist, and greed can be partially a good thing; however, to an extreme is counter productive. As corporations grow in size, middle management gets larger, red tape grows. Innovation ceases to be produced due to various internal and external forces. One source of anything is a bad thing. Would you invest all your money in one stock? Or would you diversify in a mutal fund? How about bonds? Real Estate? Statistics and common sense show that diversity can hedge odds and place grow/survial in your favor. The options/stock market constantly show this fact.
“In order for Linux to succeed hardware must work.”
I have had more hardware work under Linux and BSD than under commercial software. This PC that I sit in front off is currently dual booting. The commercial half recognizes my ATA controller as ATA66 however under Linux/BSD, it is ATA100. Would you like to guess which is correct? My hardware always functions better under opensource software. Burning CD’s. The fastest I have hit under commercial OS, is about 12x, but under the opensource world, I have burned at 40x. Only if the commercial world worked as well as the opensource world, in addition to charging a reasonable price. Just because one company controls the majority of the desktop market gives them no right to charge 400 dollars for an office suite.
“The top creators of Linux must take charge if closing some options were to make Linux more unified is that not a step in the right direction? I’m not talking about limiting applications but a consistent way to install packages across all of distributions available would be nice. ”
As you have mentioned, LSB2. Its a work in progress. 10 plus years in Linux vs almost 30 years in the commercial desktop OS. As you might have guessed, my comparisons are based on Open Source Linux/*BSD vs MS. Microsoft has been in business since 1976, and I have been using them since 80/81. Linux/*BSD have made great progress in only 10+ years vs 30 plus years of MS. Be patient, all in due time.
“Just because one company controls the majority of the desktop market gives them no right to charge 400 dollars for an office suite.”
so who gives the right to charge what they will for the product they develop, market, press, ship, store, insure, sell, and support, etc?
some government agency?
or is it what an open and free market is willing to pay?
and i assume you are intentionally inflating the price to make ms look as bad as possible:
here is ms office 2003 basic edition for $99:
if you dont like the price, download open office, buy works, buy sun star office, buy corel office….pick from hundreds of choices.
fact is ms can sell office for such high prices because there is a huge demand and people are willing to pay the price for compatability with what everyone else uses….and everyone is already trained on the programs contained in the suite.
but choice remains and those last few things i mention are what sway the majority of buyers.
Hmmm, I know religion isn’t the main topic…but since you brought it up.
I am a Christian and I have recently studied church history at a theological college.
Heaps of religious people including Christians have certainly started wars and fueled hatred in the name of God. Pity the Christians didn’t just follow the example of the founder, Jesus who sacrificed himself.
However, I don’t think you have thought your opinion through very well. It is a paradox.
The premise (that there should be no choice of religion) is itself a religious viewpoint. So hypothetically, if you managed to enforce it, then you would no longer be free to choose that religious viewpoint (and consequently could no longer enforce it).
Or perhaps the universe would just implode…or something.
Furthermore, have you thought how far you would go to enforce it? Would you fight a war?
You people make me laugh. Half of you miss read the whole point of the article and just went off on your typical “he insulted linux” rants. The fact is linux is not the end all be all of the computing world. I’m not a MS slave, of a MAC lover, I’m a computer user. I’ve read articles on this site for years now and the responses have become predictable. If the article critizes the linux community in any way, even valid ones like this article, every nut job linux zealot comes out of the wood work and bashes the cr*p out of the article. Never thinking that the author might have a point.
I believe the point the author wanted to get across is that if Linux wants to become a true alternative to the Windows desktop, it needs to standardize on some basic underlying components. Examples, a simple unified installation system for software. Cut and Paste that works in any program not just k* or g*.
Having a dozen solutions to a problem is great for simplier applications such as text editing, but for core system functions choice needs to be kept to a minimum. I know the spirit of OSS is to allow developers to do what they want. The thing is the community around Linux and OSS is tring to legitimize the platform. In order to do this you can’t have hordes of people blindly attacking anything, at some point there needs to be unification.
The bottom line is that as a community, Linux users need to grow up. They are part of the world they were rebeling against, and they need to start showing their maturaty. If linux wants to become the Windows killer it needs to reconize that non-tech users have different needs, abilities, and focus then the weekend hacker. The system needs to “just work”. As long as the community keeps bitting the hands that offer the “wake up” calls, like this article and so many others, it is never going to grow (in the desktop area).
I’m sure this is going to rub people the wrong way and my appologies but I believe that this community has to realize it isn’t just personal pleasure anymore. The desktop will never be taken if you people don’t realize that. If you don’t care about taking the desktop fine, then you need to stay out of these conversations. If you do care about LoD (Linux on Desktops) then you may need to wake up to the fact that it isn’t just a hobby.
As for the religon comments, again you missed the point. If there wasn’t a choice in religon then the “one person choosing” would have to make that choice, thus the war wouldn’t happen. Taking away choice is as much a choice as allowing it to be in the first place.
Atilla. Pope Gregory IX. Hitler. Stalin. Pol Pot. Edi Amin. Slobodan Milosevic. Sadam Husein. Osama bin Laden.
The writer would find a long list of supporters of his theory, people who are willing to give away their choices to leaders who are eager to take them away.
Wars and mass murders are not the work of philosopers. They are the work of madmen!
So, stagger forth we shall, we 21st Century cavemen.
Both articles regarding choice are moot. They consider choice to be a parameter that can be varied externally. […] When people are free to do as they please, in this case to program as they please, the choices available in the system will be determined by the desires of the people, and cannot be controlled.
Given complete information, you’re right. Information, however, is seldomly complete for users or consumers. Thus public available information is the parameter to restrict choice.
Linux’ problem is the information available about it. There’s a whole bunch if marketing literature how consumers limit the available information to be able to make decisions. The supplier concentration in certain markets is a result of the restriction of available information.
Since computers and operating systems are too complicated for the average user to judge in its whole, people restrict their choice to a few criteria: “Does the screenshot look good? Can it open my old Word documents? Does AOL work with it? Must I bother with my hardware to make it work?”
The distinction between RedHat, Susem, debian, and others is just too much for people. Thus they ask about “Linux” which — as we all know — is nothing useful for them.
Google is Linux’ most awful foe concerning this.
You know, there are lots of Linux distros after you. Give Xandros, Linspire or Suse a try.
But comparing Windows to Linux is not going anywhere. They are very distinct technologies. With Windows, you can drive your car. With Linux, you can build your car, and later drive it; or, you may choose to drive a car (distro pre-configured and easy enough).
With Windows, you are going to drive a Ford, as everyone else.
Now, you want to drive a F1, you probably don’t even fit in it.
The author offends all religions with his blatant ignorance,then complains about “name calling”. Hypocrite.
You mean like the kernel:
Or the basic toolkit:
Or do you mean the X server:
Or maybe you mean the defacto gui toolkit:
GTK2 (QT is not defacto, due to licensing issues, but it’s commonly used)
Or maybe the association that works to unify desktop workings:
Oh I know, you mean how I can freely cut and paste to and from kde applications to gnome apps to any gtk+ or gtk2 app, or to Java apps? Does anyone know if X11 lib applications work here too?
Perhaps you are referring to the defacto standard install format?:
Source: ./configure, make, make install, make clean
Or are you looking for a standard language? Well there isn’t one, as every developer (OSS, closed, Indian, American, Canadian, European, Russian, or Afghanian) will tell you: There shouldn’t be one language. But if you want a standard, it’s machine code, and it’s a per-machine standard .
About the biggest difference between the functionality of your windows desktop and my gnome desktop is that you can copy any object windows recognizes (including images) and I can only copy text (except in apps that hangle copying images themselves: see GIMP). Well, that and all the wonderful little things I have like virtual desktops (with a usable pager), shading windows, icon based taskbars, moddable themes without hacking dlls, and more choice of environment than I have managed to use yet (only been a KDE/Gnome/fluxbox/Xfce4/Enlightenment user so far). And in every single one, I copied and pasted freely .
Go ahead, do a middle click paste if ya can .
Anymore comments from the peanut gallery?
> The bottom line is that as a community, Linux users need
> to grow up.
No-one is disputing that standardization is important. Even Gentoo users see the advantage of the LSB and other freedesktop standards. Although Gentoo doesn’t strictly follow the LSB, it doesn’t deliberately try to break compatibility with it.
But, I think you’ve missed what others have been trying to say. In any mature and healthy industry, there is choice. Take a walk through any supermarket. You’ll find:
* over 20 types of cereal
* over 10 types of teas
* over 30 types of meats
* over 15 types of candy bars
It’s not only food. Go to any electronics store:
* over 15 types of stereos
* over 20 types of MP3 players
* over 10 types of cameras
* over 100 types of cell phones
You can also walk to any car store too and see at least as much diversity. Let’s not even mention the fashion industry….
And when the PC world was healthy, there were at least 5 types of DOS.
Diversity inevitably causes problems, but as the above consumer market examples indicate, people are perfectly able to adapt and even savoir the diversity.
Not at all. Ever read Orwell’s 1984 (Reality TV stinks)? Victory Gin, victory cigarrettes, Victory Way Of Life. Sure less choice is good?
60+ toothpaste tubes? Adapt. If you can’t choose with objectivity, try instinct, if you can’t decide by instinct, look at your pocket, estimate a price interval and choose randomly. If you don’t like it, well, next time discard it from your random choice.
Or let someone else decide for you and risk the pooh-bear taste.
I do not know if I am using the best OS, but I certainly consider it, and know even the best OS cannot be the best in everything. And if you don’t think so, well, that’s your choice, and I accept that.
(my favorite OS is not a linux distro. It is FreeBSD. And it is the BEST (wahahahah)).
By your reasoning, there should be a large fork of the linux kernel. Are you disappointed that there isn’t?
Not at all. Remember, it’s about choice and even on that level, there’s choice. I can turn to FreeBSD, for example.
Too much choice does can prevent someone from taking any action at all. This can be a problem, so the choices should be simple, or suggested options.
Yes restricting to 1 religion might avoid conflict, but lack of choice can also cause problems.
I advocate freedom, and free choice. However having ‘experts’ research and recommend options works quite well.
People read movie/car/tire/camera/appliance/book reviews to decide, and this seems to work just fine.
It’s great to have the freedom of choice. Democracy is such a messy thing. Isn’t it. I love it.
Sometimes an operating system is just an operating system.
That adventurer/philosopher Calvin has his own solution to this dilemma.
Sorry but I think you missed my point. Those examples would be like text editors, image programs, file managers, even desktops. I’m not against multiples of these programs what I’m saying, and I think the author meant, was that the delevery (read setup programs) and system level programs need to be more focused to a single style. They don’t have to be striped to a single app but should have a common base that anyone using one can understand and use another ie the same commandline arguments. These “behind the scenes” apps that users don’t have to deal with on other systems, don’t want to learn, or are afraid of their seemingly complex nature need to be (and i hate to say it) dumbed down for average users.
OK, the peanut gallery has a rebuttal.
linux kernel and GNU toolchain are prime examples of where lack of choice is the best choice. I don’t see how this is relevant to what I said.
Xorg if used by all distros is also a non-argument. Though the underlying Xserver isn’t an issue since any XServer is usable in its place.
GTK2. It’s nice that this is the “defacto” toolkit but that hasn’t stopped people from using others. QT, FLTK, GTK and others are still used by developers. Choice of widget set again isn’t the problem, the lack of a unified API into the system and the developer having the power in choosing it is. There is no reason to limit the number of toolkits, what is needed is a way to make it a user choice not a developers. And the idea of then use only gtk apps isn’t acceptable.
freedesktop.org is a great start.
freely cut and paste: You shoot this down with your own argument. “Does anyone know if X11 lib applications work here too?” This is the point I was making. It’s great that gnome, kde and java have decided that users might actually want to copy and paste between programs that they didn’t take the time to make sure were written for the same platform. But now that they have realized this shouldn’t it move to a lower level so *any* application can do this if need be *without* the need of gnome or kde? And your point about only text is also a glaring indication that you completely missed my point and are responding out of reflex.
“defacto” install format? um.. hello? how do I respond to this? I don’t want to personally attack you, I just can’t even fathum how this is relevant. You are not seeing the problem from the proper perspective. The average desktop user isn’t, EVER, going to learn to install from source. This is a Fact (with a capital “F”) that proponents of LoD need to accept. In no way does the article say to remove this from the linux experiance. This is exactly the attitude I was talking about. You need to see it from a less advanced users perspective. How would you like it if your car came in a giant box with a pile of tools and said “have fun”. No instructions, or just tech speak language instructions only.
standard language. Now you’re getting silly. Where in my post or the article does it even mention language? This just show futher proof you are responding exactly as I’d expect from a Zealot. If you want to get picky there is a standard language. English. Your interface might be able to display in any language but I bet the code is in english. The “standard” language of the source code. Don’t be taking this out of context, I am not talking about user interaction level I know there isn’t a standard language but this comment is so stupid I had to say something.
As for the final paragraph. That kinda sums up exactly what the article was trying to explain. You, being an advanced user I assume, have found ways around the limitations of the system. While all nice and good for you we again have to remember the focus here. Average user, which you are NOT, are not going to try this. They will use muscle memory and try copy&paste as they always have, find it doesn’t work in all applications and conclude, logically to them, that Linux on the Desktop just isn’t ready for them.
Again, you both miss the basic argument of my post and the article. It’s not a case of limiting choice to those who CHOOSE to find it. It’s to make a basic system that people who don’t want to CHOOSE more then “I want to try linux” can use. This means not dropping dozens of programs on their desktop and saying find one you like. The approch I think would work best is (unforunatly) following MS’s lead (in this respect only) by installing just the minimal basics, with the option for some slightly more advanced programs, but not too many. Then, clearly visible from the default interface, have a document that outlines and explains that the default installed programs are NOT the only ones in existance, this is where MS looses it and snages people. This doc could be a web link to a clean, organized, dumbed down for the little people, repository of programs with simple explainations and clear information about differences between them. And no freshmeat and sourceforge are not applicable.
The thing that the linux community needs to remember is that when articles discuss “average users” they are not talking about your average linux user. They are talking about your mother, your sister, your neighbor, or your friend down the street that uses his computer for music and gaming or that guy at the office who can’t understand why the printer wont print when there is no paper. These users don’t know what a compiler is, let alone how to use it. This distinction needs to be burned into the minds of all this shoot from the hip linux zealots that can’t take constructive criticism. Believe it or not most people writing these articles want linux to excel as much as anyone. The community needs to embrase this criticism and learn from it. This only applies if expanding into the desktop market is something you want to happen. if it isn’t then CHOOSE to stay out of the conversation since it doesn’t concern you.
“Neither Linux or BSD were created to be a ‘Windows Killer'”
True, but they sure are taking on that stance.
“They were created by and for people who wanted a Unix enviroment on their home PC.”
Again true, but the community and many companies are now trying to push it onto desktops of people who don’t want a Unix environment.
“This means that the “Desktop Enviroment” for these OS won’t reflect what a Windows or Mac user like you will sit down and whine about all day long.”
But the push onto desktops does want this.
I will agree that my comments you quoted were harsh and propbably a bit over the top. I guess the mistake I made here is that it might not be the whole community, but a fraction of it and companies that want to explore the desktop. I appologize for my remarks.
ps I don’t use windows or mac
Anonymous (IP: —.FMARION.EDU):
I was ready to start my own rant, but your last post made up for your previous ones.
Linux and many open source projects did not start as a “windows killer” or some other agenda. They usually started to “scratch an itch” of the programmer.
As you said in the last post, some people may be pushing Linux et al onto the desktop, but I believe that those people are the commercial vendors/distros. Don’t lump the ‘community’ into one group. Just like any group of people, the Linux community has all types.
That’s why I think ALL of these articles about desktop Linux or choice to be rather amusing and pointless. The impression I have gotten from most DE programmers is that they are trying to make the best system they can, and if people like it great, if not great – find something else that works for you.
I know “Joe Sixpack” thinks a Linux distro IS Linux – desktop environment and all the individual programs included. But hopefully people who visit this site know that is not correct. Choices should be made by the distros according to their intended audience. That is why there will always be so many distos, and I really don’t think it is a bad thing.
Back to the choices and these articles: I am all for standards (fileformats, etc.) that allow me to choose from multiple programs to find the one I like. If all wordprocessors used the same fileformat, we could choose the tool we liked knowing that our files would still work.
When I started my present job, the corporate choice of wordprocessor was WordPerfect on DOS (yes, I’m dating myself). When corporate changed to Word/Windows, it wasn’t a training issue that caused problems (we DIDN’T receive training – on ANY package), it was using the older files on the new software that caused pain.
So, yes, I would like STANDARDS in desktop linux and OSS desktops, but I want CHOICE in which OS/desktop/programs to use.
you don’t get it
when you want a cup of tea, you take your Lipton (my favourite, insert yours) stuffed in this little pack hanging on a thread – without water it’s only a smell of tea. but when put into the hot water containing billions of chaotically moving molecules, in few minutes the tea is everywhere in the cup ;P
so the only thing we need is patience – let anybody do with Linux kernel what he wants, even if this freedom of choice looks very chaotic and non-uniform – make DVD players capable of playing any format, try to rule the corporate bussines, cash Joe User for his last penny or reach nirvana with something that even a gentoo guru cannot install
just a few moments and this “Brownian movement” will bring Linux-based sollutions everywhere, reaching from Singing-Dancing Barbie, throug Desktop PC to Laser cannons control.
The freedom of choice is our biggest weapon. If you are a newbie, you take something like Mandrake, Suse, Lindows – because you don’t know there are others and that’s good. If you are a power user, you know and take Slack or Gentoo or anything you desire (bored? make your own distro). You can have always something that suits your needs. And that’s it!
Greetings from Slovakia, EU
to prevent confusion:
“you don’t get it” means “the Autor doesn’t get it”
Best comment on this whole thread. Thanks
“Now let’s look at Microsoft Windows and the various distributions of Linux. If you want to use a Microsoft operating system your choices are Windows XP Home or Windows XP Professional – basically the same. I am intentionally leaving out server applications to keep it simple.”
but yet you talk about linux distros that are meant as servers and not for desktops
“Perhaps you are referring to the defacto standard install format?: Source: ./configure, make, make install, make clean”
If that was actually usable for the majority of people; nobody would have bothered to create packaging systems like RPM. I’ve tried to install from source a few times and I’ve never had it just work.
“Well, that and all the wonderful little things I have like virtual desktops (with a usable pager), shading windows, icon based taskbars, moddable themes without hacking dlls,”
You can add all that to Windows with 3rd party utilities (some of them opensource).
I certainly wouldn’t be happy using my Windows system without a custom taskbar created with Stardock’s ObjectBar. I use WinRoll to add ‘always on top’, window shading, transparent windows and minimising to the tray. I use Ultramon to improve dual headed display support, I haven’t found any equivalent in Linux; the dual headed display support for my ATI graphics card was painfully basic.
I don’t bother with virtual desktops, but there are a great many available for Windows. I care more about function than form so I haven’t bothered with themes, but there’s plenty of Windows theme software around. There are alternative file managers, application launchers, mouse gesture utilities, etc. There are also user interface utilities that would be impossible in Linux, such as anything that integrates into dialog boxes. For example: http://www.shelltoys.com/access_folders/
I get plenty of choice in Windows, but none of the user interface disadvantages that Linux users suffer. I’m not limited to plain text cut/copy/paste between many apps, all the apps I use have nice consistent dialogs, menu systems, keyboard shortcuts, etc. I never have any significant trouble installing software or configuring anything. I can use mainstream apps without having to struggle to get them working in Wine. That means no worries about being able to open other people’s documents correctly. OpenOffice is a decent app but it totally mangled some complex Word documents I opened in it, that isn’t what I need if I’ve got a deadline.
With Windows I can use my PC to get a job done and still have time for entertainment. Using Linux half of my time was spent reading FAQs and HowTos, trying to get basic stuff like internet connection sharing and Samba shares working on my home network. I tried Suse and Mandrake but they both had annoying problems that required a lot of research to fix, while for me Windows just works.
Maybe in 5 or 10 years time Linux will have some standards and all the user experience problems will be fixed. But until then it’s not going to compete with Windows and Mac OS as an easy to use OS for non geeks.
Have I got this straight? That kind of the idea of the article?