OSNews reader Chris Odum writes: “I have set up something that I call “The Linux Experiment Page“, which is an attempt to try and determine once and for all whether or not Linux is truly ready for the desktop.” Our Take: My vote would go on both Gentoo and Lycoris. Both not exactly ready, but especially Lycoris, close enough, as revealed on our recent review.
Linux Ready for the Desktop?
Submitted by Chris Odum 2002-03-25 Linux 24 Comments
I scanned through his site, thinking at first that it might be an interesting study to participate in. Instead it appears that Chris is just looking for experienced Linux users to save him the time and hasle of doing his homework.
Rather than spending his time going through FAQ’s, How-To’s, and forums, he’s looking for the Linux community to just tell him “Oh yeah, you need this to do that, and you should use program xxxxx to replace this”.
Come on… For all the work he’s put into his site itself (Not that it’s a standout site by far, but there’s a lotta typing going on!), he could have spent the time reading and probably have a working system by now.
Additionally, I love how he points out that he’s a “Windows Power User”, but then tells us how he needs his Acer 2x CD burner supported. Wow… I don’t know if Linux is up to handling such Power Users hardware yet.
I’m actually very surprised to see this as a front page item for OSNews… Since I’ve been following the site, I thought it was much more professional than this “I’m a Linux newbie and need help” type of crap.
Well, you can run MS Office using WINE (at least I can), but Hancom Office 2.0 or StarOffice are preferable.
Evolution is a perfect replacement which looks almost exactly like Outlook but is more secure.
There are several really good front ends (both applications and web based) for MySQL and PostgreSQL. These are what I use. However, there are several small quick and dirty database option out there. Two comercial Access-like databases are Adabase-D and Paradox. All of the databasese listed here are better than Access in my opinion, but you can run Access using WINE if you want to.
Here again, FrontPage can be run using WINE, but I prefer Bluefish personally. However, it’s not WYSIWYG so you might want to stick with FrontPage.
I can find all this information on the web, so I would never pay someone for it. What I mean is I don’t run anything like this so I can’t comment here.
Visual SlickEdit is better both on Windows and Linux. Vim is good, as is kedit, nedit and a bunch of other ones.
Xine and MPlayer are two DVD players I have used. There are several others available.
Everybuddy will do this. It’s what I use. Several other free IMs under Linux will do this too.
I don’t use this or any other proxy servers to kill adds, etc. I use the Opera browser which I have set up to kill pop-up windows. However, there are are several junkbusting proxies that will do this.
Real Player, Quicktime, Windows Media:
The Codeweaver plugin plays all these formats on Linux. It plays Quicktime better than it does on Windows; at least it hasn’t hung on me like it does in Windows.
Well, there’s the clone X11amp, but XMMS is superior to both of those. It is faster than WinAMP and plays Ogg Vorbis files as well as MP3 and others.
Yes, you can access all your favorite MP3s from Linux as well.
Well, you can run mIRC using WINE, but there are a billion IRC clients for Linux. I personally use XChat.
CD Burning Software:
Tons available for Linux, I prefer XCDRoast.
Again, I don’t pay for what I can get for free from http://www.m-w.com. Can’t help you here.
Sylpheed (or one of a thousand others, you pick).
So, you like the free porn huh? Several binary harvesting programs are available for Linux (such as UBH).
GIMP is better that PSP and Photoshop in my opinion, of course I know how to write perl and python scripts for it so those who don’t may not agree.
Don’t know and don’t care. I do know that a search for Math programs will return enough software packages for you on Freshmeat to keep you busy for a few years though.
I prefer Opera, Konqueror and Galleon, but to each his own.
A good choice is you like that sort of thing.
Graphical FTP software is available, but i prefect nftp.
Pretty much standard now days.
A thousand that are better than Windows Calculator.
You can use defrag, but you don’t need to.
GUI tar program:
GUITar maybe? I find tar xvzf <filename> less complicated than using a GUI.
I may not be the only one to feel this way, but personally, I don’t think linux *needs* to be The Desktop OS for Everybody and Your Grandma. Furthermore, Linux doesn’t even need to be Ready for The Desktop.
I use linux as my only OS; I don’t *have* windows, I don’t use windows. Everything I do, from graphic design to programming, to gaming (now and then) I do comfortably and happily under linux. So is linux Ready for The Desktop? Well, for me it is.
But, I also recognize that it was a pain in the butt to get my machine to that point. Hell, my laptop was console-only for this last weekend while I compiled & installed kde3 rc3.
I say run what you want to run, and accept the responsibility of doing so. Any “power” windows user knows how to modify the registry. Any “power” mac user knows whatever dirty magical things mac users need to know. Any “power” linux user knows what he or she needs to know, though addmitedly it’s probably more arcane and perhaps even more profane than the above.
All it comes down to is that we use what we want, and as such we *learn* how to do so.
Well, I’ll stop ranting
“Rather than spending his time going through FAQ’s, How-To’s, and forums, he’s looking for the Linux community to just tell him “Oh yeah, you need this to do that, and you should use program xxxxx to replace this”.”
Actually, you’re part right. Yes I’m doing what you say, but not because of why you think. Actually, I don’t need much help getting a distro up and running and could’ve done so by now. The reason why I am doing this the way I am doing it is because this experiment is being done for the people who are convinced that Linux can replace Windows on ANY desktop and do everything that Windows can do, but better. And for these people, I especially want to use the things that THEY recommend. This way, my hope is that if it turns out that the experiment fails, I won’t get email from a thousand different people saying that my experiment was worthless because I used the wrong programs are the wrong distribution for my requirements. If it wasn’t for this, I would have just started the experiment and skipped this step entirely.
“Additionally, I love how he points out that he’s a “Windows Power User”, but then tells us how he needs his Acer 2x CD burner supported. Wow… I don’t know if Linux is up to handling such Power Users hardware yet.”
If you had read a little more carefully, you would have noticed that the PC with the Acer 2x is a spare machine (and about 4 years old). I just need the Acer to work so that I could test whatever CD burning software is recommended.
My main machine has a QPS 24x CD/RW and a DVD-RAM drive in it.
One last thing to note: The replies I’ve gotten so far have mostly been to inquire whether I actually plan to approach this objectively, and the answer is yes!! I am not going to try and find negative things to say if I don’t have any negative experiences. I will be honest and say that I think ultimately the experiment will fail, but I honestly don’t know enough about Linux to positively say that it can’t do what I’m about to try and make it do.
So please don’t blow this off because you think I’m going to slam Linux every chance I get during the experiment – it’s not going to be that way at all!
I tried Linux on the desktop a lot of times (say, at least a dozen), but it just doesn’t cut it for me.<P>
Last time I tried I installed Debian/Woody on my iBook, tinkering with it for a couple of weeks. After lots of tweaking I finally figured that xft with subpixel rendering looks a lot better than Quartz rendered fonts IMSO. Yet, I erased the Debian partition in favor of a Darwin/OS X hybrid.
On my x86 box, I had lots of Linux flavors: Corel, RedHat, SuSE, Mandrake and still there are two Debian partitions on it I haven’t booted into in months. Why so? I don’t have any reason to do so. No, I’m not a Windroid, or a Machead not at all. But Windows and MacOS get their jobs done and there’s a few essential programs that there are no Linux substitutes for: Poser, Dreamweaver, Logic or Samplitude come to mind. Maybe I’ll buy C4D soon. Other than that, Linux doesn’t offer anything interesting I wouldn’t have already: I have XFree86 and fink on OS X, cygwin on Windows. Both are stable multiuser systems and are not more bloated than a comparably featured KDE installation (where for some reason I could never get used to KDE’s UI). What do I do when I get tired of all the work and want to get fun back into computing? Anything but Linux. I earn my money writing software, so I have more than my share of editing text files and tweaking here and fiddling there in order to get things running. No, as much of a techhead I am, I want my computers to be as easy to use as possible with as few hassle as possible. I boot BeOS.
Use Linux because your not happy with what you’ve got now, not because people tell you too.
those people are just called “different”
I think that “Desktop Linux” should be a general consideration, not a custom tailored response to this one person’s very specific demands. I support almost 7000 military, government, and contractor users and one guarantee is that everyone’s desktop is different and everyones needs are different. This gentleman is obviously a power user and the results of his research mean exactly nothing to me (and shouldn’t to you either) as they aren’t remotely indicative of the standard user – MS Access, Grokster, mIRC, VBScripting apps?! C’mon!
Some will have luck with Linux, others won’t. Some will be thrilled with the beauty of Mandrake, some will feel that anything less than Slackware is candy. Desktop Linux is not here yet, attempts to prove otherwise are futile. However, there are distributions out there doing a lot to further the Linux OS, and my feeling is that eventually, when they’re through with it, it will be a very usable desktop OS.
Measuring the OS, and furthermore, a SINGLE distribution, against one person’s (a CB programmer, at that!) stringent requirements is simply no measure of Linux.
Step off soapbox…now.
In such a short amount of time, I already have all of the information I need to get started. I will be updating the page again tomorrow (should be finished by late tomorrow morning), so if you’re at all curious, I would recommend checking back at my site, as it should be most interesting
You have 8 years experience of Windows and expect to be as productive in a few weeks with a new OS? Hmm.. the results should be interesting. Yeah, some Linux people can be overzealous and annoying, but please stop the name calling – it really makes you sound no better.
X isn’t that slow – KDE and Gnome definitely are, maybe try IceWM which looks and works the same, but has a decent speed. And with modern distros, you can run Gnome & KDE apps in any window manager – that problem went years ago.
Explorer, it kicks the lama’s ass of any Linux filemanager. Maybe the Xandros Linux filemanager could score better (former Corel’s). X is slow, Linux filemanagers are slow, unstable and eat all the resources they can find, specially Nautillus (bloated champion, what a sucker). Lame IceWM is just a paleolithic piece of window managing crap, it doesn’t count.
Irfanview, I find nothing close in Linux to this great simple graphics viewer.
MIrc, Linux does have something similar, but I rather use MIrc (this case is more subtle to taste).
Flashget, better than the few download managers I’ve seen in Linux.
F-Prot Antivirus, ok this one is not so much needed in Linux, nowadays…
The CADs, I use a Becker Data CAD. Name the Linux CADs.
Not a single delete recovery app in Linux. Lie, I know of an horrible amateurish CLI hack for extf2.
Disassemblers and debuggers, DataRescue IDA Pro disassembler and Numega Softice rulez.
Antialiased fonts rendering is a disaster in Linux so far.
Watch out your copy&paste in Linux, it doesn’t always work.
Linux major GUIs (GNOME and KDE) are disgusting.
Linux sucks too much, but hey it’s free.
I’ve finally found a Linux Distro I can suffer – Icepack Linux 2.0. Could never get on with Mandrake.
hey everyone… Can we just leave Linux on the server where it belongs? If you want to run it on the Desktop, for yourself, or train your friends and family to use it on the Desktop, fine. Cool. Great.
Frankly, there are no studies needed to prove that Linux is NOT ready to be a Windows or MacOS replacement on the average human being’s desktop PC. The info is there in plain view. It’s been there for years.
>been there for years.
some people were blind(ed) for years
Sorry to say, but I think linux might be ready indeed, BUT, on the other hand, I have a feeling that not only is MS threatening to dump XP, they’re seriously considering moving out of the desktop world (well, not ‘out’ in a litteral sence).
I’ve been at a couple of .NET seminars, and if you hear the MS people talk, you really get the impression that they’re going to move to a different plan.. they’ve made enough money from the desktop market, they will conquer (well, try to) the other OS-es by implementing their .NET on top of the other platforms, like linux, MacOS etc..
Run linux on your desktop, fine.. but you’ll still have to use MS stuff to really get to work..
I don’t think MS will pull that one off. And I don’t believe they really hope to, either. MS will stick to the desktop market like maggots to rotten meat. Ugh..
Anyway, MS tried to do this with corporate servers, and yes, made inroads but no, they don’t dominate that segment, far from what MS achieved on desktops. There are a lot of UNIX solutions for the top performing servers, they are the majority of the highrange. NT made NO inroads in what is today the mainframe customer, even though I remember clearly that MS declared the mainframe defunct, at the time of NT 3.5 server.
And in the midrange, there still are Unix, Linux and even NetWare servers – which customers proved to be much more loyal than MS would like to.
NT is most popular in the SOHO and small server markets, and even there does NOT dominate like it does on desktops.
With .NET it will be even harder to achieve any kind of domination that would dictate the client side, because the competition is already out. The Liberty Alliance will make sure that people are not locked in in any proprietary solution, LIberty Alliance is very big already.
But of course, the browser. Yes, I am sure someone will point that out, even though I feel that is a battle that MS thinks they won already. We’ll see: AOL is strongly hinting at using Moz as the browser, and with any luck, it will also be bundled by OEMs.
Interesting times ahead, but far from certain for the Giant of Redmond.
Just in case anyone cares, The Experiment page has been updated
It all depends on what you want, what you need and how much you know.
There are people for whom even an ancient C64 is an adequate desktop machine.
There are other people for whom OSX is NOT an adequate desktop.
Many other people for whom it is.
Lots of other people still use Amigas very happily.
I know a few that still use CP/M boxes and are fine with it.
Others get by with an SGI box and seem to survive.
In the end, especially in the office, it really boils down to what you NEED.
Which is why I have both a Unix box (HP/UX – our standard here, sadly) for my Unix stuff and a PC (W2K and XP for testing) for my other stuff.
Some things only work in windows. I’m not talking generic apps here, but stuff specifically in use by my company. You NEED to use windows for that.
A lot of work needs to be done on the desktop part of Linux (or, indeed, most Unix flavors period). OpenStep and OSX are the two main deviations from the rule. Lunux WILL get there one day.
(dons asbestos suit) My personal beef with Linux is that it’s too immature a codebase even for server apps. I’ve been a professional Unix admin for many years and I’m painfully aware of its shortcomings. I mean come on, they still can’t decide on the scheduler and the VM after all this time…
I have to completely agree with your comments. Bravo.
Linux is as ready for the common user as a 1975 F150 is for the Daytona 500!
I’ve had a version of Linux running on some piece of hardware since the 0.99pl10 kernel was the latest on the block. I’m going to run it on my PS2, I have a SPARC running Solaris in my bedroom, I use OpenBSD, and BeOS, and Macs, and even MS Windows variants (dabbled with OS/2 in the past as well). Guess what, they all share the same network, access common storage in various forms, and together allow me to get a boatload of work done from my “console”. Yes, I use CygWin32 under Windows and remote X to other systems as well as using OpenSSH, etc…
I don’t give a flying rat’s buttocks about which OS anyone chooses to evangelize. I tend to collect them. Each has its merits and its faults. Stability and security are just as important on the “desktop” of any DSL or cable-“modem” totin’ person as they were in the server room 5 years ago. Things change; paradigms shift; but one thing remains the same…inane people leap at any chance to flame, belittle, or otherwise repress the thoughts or feelings of anyone who doesn’t share their world view.
If you want to learn something new, install, play around, break it, fix it, and learn how to make it work — then work better. If you rely on what you currently have to perform necessary tasks, then multi-boot (my prior personal record was 7 OS’s on the same system — spread over 4 HDDs).
*-wars (e.g. OS-wars, editor-wars, et. al.) are lame! Use vi, use emacs, dabble with 900 window managers for X, find what you like. If you have the time and talent, combine the best of several worlds and contribute something better to the rest of us schmoes…
It all depends on what you want, what you need and how much you know.
exactly! Actually I’m very happy with my RISC PC with StrongARM RevK 200MHz processor..
I just want to say I think you’ve said it the best. I 100% agree.