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Why Linux Has Failed on the Desktop

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the just-maybe-games-are-involved dept.


SlinkySausage writes "Linux is burdened with 'enterprise crap' that makes it run poorly on desktop PCs, says kernel developer Con Kolivas. Kolivas recently walked away from years of work on the kernel in despair. APCmag.com has a lengthy interview with Kolivas, who explains what he sees is wrong with Linux from a performance perspective and how Microsoft has succeeded in crushing innovation in personal computers."

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Don't think so (4, Insightful)

jasonmicron (807603) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970097)

how Microsoft has succeeded in crushing innovation in personal computers.

I found that rather funny. Blaming Microsoft for your own lack of creativity and ingenuity.

Besides, Steve Jobs would very much disagree.

Re:Don't think so (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19970171)

Besides, Steve Jobs would very much disagree.

Yeah, Jobs hasn't let Microsoft stop him from stealing Sony's ideas at all!

Re:Don't think so (4, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970219)

Creativity is very rarly an out of the blue thing, It is about looking at many alternatives trying to take what you like about them and make it your own, with perhaps somthing extra to get them to work correcly together.

Having many Different OS's and Computers around we would be much better off seeing what works what doesn't why it does and how to improve on it. Back in the 80s If I were asked how would a Desktop System look in 2007 I would have given a much different answer (In my mind a 2007 desktop would look more like Plan 9 and less like windows) But during the 80s the Only GUI i had experinece with was Gem Desktop and I didn't particully care for it. I expected graphics in 2007 to be a bit better then they are now, But the OS in my mind would have frames not windows.

Re:Don't think so (1)

rve (4436) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970519)

Steve Jobs would very much disagree.

Are you sure? Apple isn't slowly moving away from the whole desktop business and focusing more and more on gadgets?

Re:Don't think so (4, Insightful)

ImaLamer (260199) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970531)

The whole thing is dead wrong. All that enterprise crap is what keeps the platform solid and almost crash free.

Sure, some extra code may slow things down, but since Linux, Windows and even MacOS now, is all based on server kernels (linux's own, VMS/WNT for anything newer than Windows 2000, *BSD) they don't crash too much. YOU may have problems with XP or 2000, but you shouldn't be. I've had an XP install going for more than four years, Windows 2000 running for months. (If you can't do this, you should not be using it, nuff said)

Code doesn't care how many employees you have. Maybe this guy belongs at Ubuntu, where things are moving towards the 'desktop'. Just ask my new Ubuntu installation on my laptop - it's running like a desktop just fine. I just finished 5 hours of World of Warcraft on it!

Correction: Why Linux has failed on YOUR desktop (4, Insightful)

halivar (535827) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970099)

Some of us find it quite up to the task. The choice of desktop OS is up the consumer, and their individual needs. Some people need Windows, some people need Mac. Some of us need Linux because Windows and Mac have failed on OUR desktops.

Re:Correction: Why Linux has failed on YOUR deskto (4, Informative)

slickwillie (34689) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970301)

It's been working fine on my desktop since Slackware '96.

Re:Correction: Why Linux has failed on YOUR deskto (0, Troll)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970305)

Thank christ someone showed up to point out this grevious error.

Obviously we all here at Slashdot thought that Linux had failed across all desktops everywhere and had you not taken pains to point out that it was still working on some of them no one here would have even bothered to press the Power button, assuming instead that their computers would not even POST due to Linux being installed on the hard drive.

Thank you for the service you have provided us here today.

Re:Correction: Why Linux has failed on YOUR deskto (1)

shelterpaw (959576) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970339)

Could you give some examples?

I'm not challenging your thinking, but I'd like to know exactly what Linux offers that Windows and Mac failed to offer. Is it simply that it's open source and that's the killer feature for you? Please elaborate on your strong but very broad statement.

Re:Correction: Why Linux has failed on YOUR deskto (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19970541)

I'm not the GP, but for me:
The window managers of Windows and Mac are unusable. For one the fact that the active window is the one in the front. Why have windows at all if the only way to use them is by having things side by side. No focus follows mouse on Mac. No middle-click paste. And so on.

Re:Correction: Why Linux has failed on YOUR deskto (2, Informative)

mhall119 (1035984) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970567)

For me:

Virtual Desktops
Bash (not sure what shells OS X comes with)
Beagle (no sure how spotlight compares)
Beryl (ok, not really a need, but a definite want)

Re:Correction: Why Linux has failed on YOUR deskto (4, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970453)

Wow you really didn't bother to read the link did you.
The author was speaking about how poorly Linux performed ON the desktop. Thinks like audio skipping and the desktop feeling slow. He was talking about how the Kernel was so slanted to big iron and the server market that it has ignored desktop performance. The was also talking about how hard it is to create benchmarks that show interactive responsiveness.
He also talked about how hard it is for "normal" users to communicate problems to Kernel developers.

What he is talking about is how Linux has failed to perform as well as a desktop as it does a server.

What most people have failed to notice or care about is this is a person that actually tried to fix problems by writing code! He was a truly working under the FOSS ideal and has given up.

Too bad so many people are dismissing what he has to say.

one word (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19970107)


It hasn't (3, Informative)

jshriverWVU (810740) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970125)

Been using it as a desktop since 96, and have several friends who've been using it as a desktop for more than 5 years. Even my girlfriend uses it as a desktop now, and had only 1 day to "convert" to the usage, and she's not that computer savvy.

Now it's all in the marketing and politics, but on the software side it's there.

Performance, not ease of use (2, Informative)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970235)

let's just nip this little tangent in the bud, shall we? he's saying the Linux kernel is so bloated with enterprise level crap, and is so optimized for the server role, that it performs poorly on the desktop.

Re:It hasn't (2, Insightful)

pete.com (741064) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970343)

... and here I thought there were more than several people and one girlfriend using desktop computers; shows what I know!

The fact that you have a girlfriend makes your opinion suspect anyway.

Re:It hasn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19970513)

so true. for awhile my aunt was living with us, and, shes no idiot but shes not tech savvy at all.
my mom had an old dell in the closet with a fragged installation of ME, so i decided to throw 2k on it.
2k refused to fully load into the setup program, it would lock the install on loading drivers, so i figured instead of wasting the time to create the boot floppys (which, btw, gets around that particular lock about 90% of the time. anyone know why?) i would just install freebsd.

set her up with kde or gnome, an email client, and firefox, and she never had a single problem or even question for me.

i was amazed how well the conversion worked that i wanted to redo our entire home network but i could see disaster lingering down the road.
what about when they buy some software and it doesnt work on their computer? sure, i could tell them from the get go that would be the case, but then in their mind, why have a computer if you cant put anything on it? wine? pfft. that isnt anywhere near the point where you could buy any application off the shelf and expect it to install without a single hicup. hell, a good bit of software /made for windows/ doesnt install on windows right without a hicup.

what about when something breaks? im one of those paranoid security freaks that locked the bsd boxes down hard. no outside logins, ipstealth / divert (this was 4.11). i couldnt, myself, remotely log in to fix something if it were to break, so, could you imagine talking someone through troubleshooting a *nix problem? no fun.

Re:It hasn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19970593)

My Dad uses (GNU/)Linux now at 70; it was a quick transition after I recommended it (and helped him
when he needed it); now we both use it pretty much exclusively.

(GNU/)Linux desktop success story number two.

Re:It hasn't (0, Offtopic)

diamondsw (685967) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970599)

No, it most certainly is not there. Anecdote time! Due to a hardware limitation (and don't pretend most systems don't have one goofy one or another), my new gigabit NIC would only function in slots 1-4 of my system, but not in slots 5 or 6 (something to do with the different PCI controller for each set of slots). So, I moved my video card down there (yes, it's a PCI-only server, no AGP). Next boot, my uber-friendly Ubuntu couldn't locate the video card and X11 wouldn't start.

Not only that, but it made no attempt to locate the card, autodetect stuff, etc - it just hung at a bizarre character-based "window" telling me to edit my xorg.conf. Mind you, I can do it - if I have a shell prompt, which it did not give me. Furthermore, I can edit some things, but coming up with the new PCI address of the card - why the HELL am I having to do this?

Is this a "common" activity? No. But when you add up all of the little things a user might do (upgrade the video card, move things about - essentially "touch" anything) that can completely BREAK the system, well, it's horseshit that you can convert normal people to Linux without you there as permanent on-call support.

Applications (4, Insightful)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970127)

The answer is simple: Application support. That's why desktop linux has failed. Nevermind the rest of the chatter; I can tell you that had I had the applications needed, I would have switched two organizations over to linux desktops by now, possibly more.

And it's not a problem of performance; It's a question of politics. We have to convince enough software vendors to start coding in a cross-platform language/way.

Re:Applications (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970321)

The answer is simple: Application support.
I believe it is a small but important subset of Apps that supports the MS lock-in: Outlook/Exchange/Blackberry. Outlook does not work well with Exchange replacements (it can work with the aid of a plug-in, but there are all kinds of limitations).

Re:Applications (5, Insightful)

nyctopterus (717502) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970455)

... and Photoshop, Illustrator, and video editing apps. There is a hell of a lot of media software that people need that you just can't get on Linux (either natively of a replacement). I want to switch (from OS X), but I just can't. For example, what do I replace After Effects with?

Re:Applications (1)

PurPaBOO (604533) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970471)

Photoshop, Flash, Scenarist ...

Re:Applications (2, Insightful)

shelterpaw (959576) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970511)

That may be true for the Business environment, but your not accounting for the multimedia environment. I can't use Linux as a main desktop machine because it just doesn't have powerful enough applications. Some are great, but they're not up to snuff with products from Adobe and others. Though you can do more with some linux applications, they tend to be a hodge podge of apps, even iLife is a better suite of applications. iLife applications work together so effortlessly and I've tried a slew of applications on Linux which can't touch it. Then take into account professional music apps. Their are some for Linux, but there's is just not enough support.

At least in the business environment, I can live with OpenOffice.

Re:Applications (1)

catbutt (469582) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970359)

It seems that first the linux people need to embrace the concept of cross platform development. Most linux developers I know don't want to build their stuff to run on all platforms, so it should be no surprise that vendors don't want to bother with developing cross platform either, and will simply target the platform that reaches the most uses.

If the cross platform toolkits were the easiest way to build apps, and those apps were every bit as good as ones developed targeting a single platform, things would change.

Re:Applications (1)

ookabooka (731013) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970423)

Coding in a corss-platform manner adds to costs; why would a company spend the time re-writing portions of their code or teaching their programmers to learn a new cross-platform library when it will only gain them 1% market share? What Linux supporters should do is encourage the use of java, Mono compatible .NET, etc. Microsoft is pushing .NET and Sun is pushing Java, Linux users should hop on the bandwagon and help out as well as it helps them too. There will still be compatibility issues like the windows registry or filesystem structure, device interfacing, etc, but it'd be nice if companies that pushed out products had less work to do to port it to Linux.

Some programs don't even need any alterations and will run quite well on Linux even though they weren't designed with that in mind. That, my friend, is the holy grail to getting Linux on the desktop.

Re:Applications (0, Flamebait)

kcbanner (929309) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970491)

RTFA! The article is about the kernel not the support for apps. Next time please read the article.

Re:Applications (3, Insightful)

slackmaster2000 (820067) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970501)


There are lots of applications out there, but perhaps too many. So many applications have everything but that one critical feature that an organization has come to rely on. "But it's open source and you can implement it yourself!" True, but that costs real money too. Quite a bit actually.

And then there are the vertical applications that we can't move away from because we've got years and years worth of data stuck in the swamp. Yes, we could migrate but at what cost? Business doesn't care about operating systems or information philosophy, it cares about getting the job done to make money. It would take a considerable cost advantage to move an organization of medium size or larger from a Windows environment to a Linux environment.

I spent years on and off trying to figure out how to move my company to Linux both on the desktop and the server. It's just too much, even still. Our business is manufacturing Widgets, and we get along just fine in our Windows world. If we were starting over from scratch today with the 5 or so employees we had when I first started a decade ago, I would make different choices. I despise 3/4 of Microsoft server products, and I hate the cost of MS Office.

Enterprises want enterprise crap. (4, Interesting)

Agent Green (231202) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970141)

And that enterprise crap in Linux saves companies an incredible shitload of money. Enterprise users also have the muscle to keep their systems up to date. The back-office stuff is the more important arena to win, IMHO.

Desktop users are fickle ... and that's why Linux has failed on the desktop. However, Ubuntu has made incredible progress on this front.

Re:Enterprises want enterprise crap. (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970215)

Yeah, I agree- there are billions of dollars spent yearly on unneccessary proprietary software. Here free software can impact the Real World and save businesses real money. And think of how desktop adoption will skyrocket once peoples "computer training" field on their CV starts saying linux instead of windows because all their previous employers used it and they're more comfortable in linux than windows..

Re:Enterprises want enterprise crap. (2, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970371)

Note too that much of the work being done in open source these days comes from companies like IBM, Redhat, and Novell, not from Joe Q. Randomhacker. These companies see the server market as the largest, most profitable Linux market. That's where their throwing their development dollars. Hey, here's an idea: why not make desktop distribution without all that enterprise crap in the kernel?

Re:Enterprises want enterprise crap. (1)

roster238 (969495) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970577)

Face it, the "enterprise crap" that you see as a waste of money is needed by IT Managers to adequately maintain the enterprise. The desktops of a 3000 user company requires a level of management that Linux can't provide and Linux developers don't want to provide because they see it as "enterprise crap" rather than management tools.

Good night, sweet prince. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19970163)

http://adurah.com/img/ [adurah.com]

American actor and comedian Kel Mitchell was found dead on Tuesday in his home in Chicago, Illinois. It will be weeks until toxicology reports result are available, so a determination of suicide has not been concluded yet.

Most famous for his role in Kenan & Kel which ran from 1996 to 2000, totaling 61 episodes. He starred alongside his good friend Kenan Thompson. He began his acting career when he was 13, and at 17 became well-known as an original cast member on Nickelodeon's All That from 1995 to 1999, before he and co-star Kenan Thompson then starred in Kenan & Kel. Mitchell also starred in a 1997 major motion picture, titled Good Burger, which is the movie version of one of his and Thompson's sketches from All That, and is widely regarded as a cult classic. Kel Mitchell's character in Kenan & Kel made him famous for antics and persona. The duo also appeared together in Sister Sister. In 2006, Mitchell played a one-time spokesmodel for KFC, constantly using the phrase "____ a little". Kel Mitchell also made an appearance in the 2004 Kanye West music video 'all falls down' as the luggage collector at the beginning of the video. In 2007 Kel started appearing on BET's 'Take The Cake'.

Mitchell was apparently home alone when he took his own life, and was found on Tuesday by a maid.

Too much choice and yet none at all (3, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970169)

One of the strengths of Linux is also its biggest weakness. If someone has a computer and for some strange reason needs to install an OS, which Linux distro do they choose? I've run Linux for years and I still can't name all the available distros. I doubt ANYONE can.

Another problem is the MS dominance over the OS market. It's hard to buy a computer without Windows and even harder to purchase one with Linux preinstalled. Your average computer user is not going to purchase a computer that won't run (because of no OS) and even if they did, when they go to the store pick up an OS, all they see is Windows.

Linux users need to stick to a Distro that works, is easy, is well known, and comes as an option to be preinstalled on computers from the majority of manufacturers, even if it is along side Windows or as a bootable DVD thrown into the box.

Re:Too much choice and yet none at all (0, Offtopic)

lilomar (1072448) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970319)

I'm sorry, you must have posted on the wrong topic. here [slashdot.org] you go.

Seriously, didn't we just have this conversation?

Re:Too much choice and yet none at all (4, Funny)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970335)

I've run Linux for years and I still can't name all the available distros. I doubt ANYONE can.

      I can't name them, either. But I also can't name all the available versions of Windows. So what?

Re:Too much choice and yet none at all (2, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970613)

I've run Linux for years and I still can't name all the available distros. I doubt ANYONE can.

I can't name them, either. But I also can't name all the available versions of Windows. So what?
Let's see how I do:
XP Home, Server, and Enterprise
Server 2k3
Vista Home, Professional, and Ultimate.

Let's see how I did by comparing to this [wikipedia.org] Wiki page. I missed:
Windows Vista Starter
Windows Vista Enterprise
and the Windows 2k3 server editions. There are six, which I lumped into one.

Of course, I skipped the embedded. Also, many of those are Enterprise editions of 2003 that you probably won't find people confusing them for a desktop OS (well, they might until the see the price tag!). Also, I skipped older versions of Windows since they can no longer be purchased. They would include Windows 1-3, NT4 and Windows 2k.

I'd copy and paste the Linux list from Distrowatch, but they only list top 100.

Re:Too much choice and yet none at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19970355)

That distro may be Ubuntu. It works, it's easy, well known and now you can purchase a Dell computer with ubuntu preinstalled and soon more other manufacturers will offer ubuntu linux on their boxes.

Re:Too much choice and yet none at all (2, Interesting)

Doctor Crumb (737936) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970551)

Your average computer user doesn't go to the store to pick up windows; windows comes on the computer they just bought, and they don't know that they have any other options. The problem is not the number of distros; the problem is the lack of distros pre-installed on OEM computers.

Plus, if you're not happy with a particular distro, you can try another one, for free, and with a minimum of effort. I've gone through 3 or 4 over the years before sticking with Kubuntu.

Escalation.. (0)

Zarhan (415465) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970191)

So, I've had enough. I'm out of here forever. I want to leave before I get so disgruntled that I end up using windows. - Con on LKML.

How soon we'll be seeing him as a Windows 7 advocate?-)

Anyway, I guess he's been really bitter lately, going from anger from Linus not accepting his patches to escalating to the point where the entire Linux is a spawn of the devil and should be cut up and left out to dry. Sounds more like a runaway rant, really...And I guess it's good to vent all that anger, but credibility is taking a bit of a hit.

(Yeah, thanks for the SD scheduler - I've been using Con's patches for 2-3 years now and been very happy with'em. I guess I'll switch to mainline kernel when 2.6.23 hits).

Oh ye, it's the performance, duh (2, Insightful)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970193)

Right, blame it all on the kernel performance, as if the average user could even notice, say, a 10% difference in any kind of speed.

Nothing to do with a monopoly.

Nothing to do with existing applications that WINE can't handle.

Just kernel speed. He's a freakin' genius, this boy is.

Re:Oh ye, it's the performance, duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19970547)

Just kernel speed. He's a freakin' genius, this boy is.
A lot more of a genius than you are.

Con Kolivas has done some brilliant stuff to improve interactivity for GUI and other desktop applications. If you think Linux interactivity on the desktop is as good as it should be, you're delusional. And if you think CK's work is about some abstract "kernel speed", you have no idea what his patchset does.

Only thing I miss ... (1)

jshriverWVU (810740) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970211)

Photoshop, everything else I need is available under the GPL just an apt-get away.

Re:Only thing I miss ... (1)

Limbo Socrates (923585) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970425)

...under the what is a what?

Having to understand "GPL" and "apt-get" = FAIL.

Re:Only thing I miss ... (1)

aerthling (796790) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970589)

I know how you feel.. simple acronyms and software titles are beyond me too.

No excuse (1)

overshoot (39700) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970557)

Photoshop, everything else I need is available under the GPL just an apt-get away.
And, thanks to (believe it or not) Hollywierd, Photoshop runs nicely under WINE.

Re:No excuse (1)

jshriverWVU (810740) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970643)

Really? does it run under vanilla wine, or does it require some proprietary version like the one used for games (forget that is called).

Not failed, niche (1, Insightful)

athloi (1075845) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970223)

Microsoft designs software like GM builds cars: for the average person, which is defined by having average needs. For checking email, web surfing, and using Quicken, Windows is the better product. For those with either far broader needs, or much more specialized ones, there's Linux or FreeBSD. However, Kolivas makes a good point: Linux has not adapted to the desktop paradigm and so alienates many potential users with its somewhat doctrinaire requirement that they learn entirely new ways of doing common tasks.

Re:Not failed, niche (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970351)

Also, people want something that they are familiar with and can use without much training. Linux has a slightly steeper learning curve than Windows 2K or XP: which users probably already use at home. Despite all the rhetoric, Linux is not for all people.

Also, from a business standpoint, is adopting new IT ideas for the sake of adopting new IT ideas a good practice? I think all 500 of the Fortune 500 would respond with a resounding "No".

Re:Not failed, niche (3, Insightful)

Hideaki (1115733) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970353)

I disagree. If all I wanted to do with my PC is surf the web, check email, chat with friend and use office apps like the "average" computer user does, I'd switch to linux in a heart beat, in fact, I did for a while. But the one thing that keeps me bound to this monopoly that is Windows is gaming, which goes back to application availability. I don't think what the article is saying is true at all. I ran linux for months and didn't notice any of this "slow speed" in fact, it ran faster than windows, if anything. Even for games running through Wine.

Re:Not failed, niche (1)

ericrost (1049312) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970607)

Sorry, but I have to take issue with this. My fiance, who I switched to Gentoo (my mistake) then ubuntu (fixing my mistake) was sick and tired of Quicken borking its own files. We had transactions in one register that were undeletable that it inserted and weren't in other registers.

We constantly had to guess at budgeting (in our BUDGETING software) because it couldn't keep its own DB staight.

As for checking email, browsing the web, etc. The apps on Linux are on par or better (firefox runs better in linux imho) than Windows.

So no, for an average use case that you specifically mentioned, linux with Gnucash, Firefox, and Evolution fills MY needs MUCH better. (as in it actually works the way it advertises, doesn't fuck things up just for fun, and I don't have to "upgrade", or at least pay to upgrade, every year to get a yet worse version of the same crappy buggy shit).

Re:Not failed, niche (1)

nyctopterus (717502) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970633)

It has nothing to do with ease of use or speed. If you think about it, how many people have tried Linux, and gone back to Windows because it was slow/difficult to use? I'm guessing pretty close to zero in market terms. No, people never try it. The key is apps. Can't run iTunes - oh dear. No Photoshop either? Err um... I think I'll stick with Windows/OS X. It's not clear that Linux does anything extra for the desktop user at all. And that's why it's not krushing the proprietary kompetition.

Linux Hasn't Failed on My Desktop (0, Redundant)

sleekware (1109351) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970241)

Linux hasn't failed on my desktop. I use Fluxbox, and can access any program I need by right clicking the desktop. Easy as hell! I have my grandmother using WindowMaker and I set up four buttons for her - Word processor, Email, Web Browsesr, and Instant Messenger. It is simpler and easier to use than MS Windows by far!

what an unprofessional whiner (-1, Troll)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970245)

"Someone rewrote my scheduler in Linux [slashdot.org] so now I am leaving and posting that Linux sucks on Slashdot wa wa wa.."

Hi Con! I know you read Slashdot by the way, this one was for you!

Re:what an unprofessional whiner (0, Troll)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970605)

Ahh! He has mod points! It burns! It burns!

2008 not the year of Desktop Linux? (0, Flamebait)

pete.com (741064) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970249)

Just a few short months ago, this very site proclaimed this was "The Year." Now a sad reality is creeping in ..... this isn't the year either. We've been let down again.

Linux on the Desktop? (1, Insightful)

RedHat Rocky (94208) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970251)

I find it hard to get any work done with just a kernel.

Oh, perhaps what the poster is really talking about is Linux distributions. Ah! In that case, Ubuntu has made major major progress and I would say is "mother" ready. I, in fact, have my family of four and my parents doing their daily computing on Ubuntu.

Failed on the Desktop? Hardly.

Again??? (3, Insightful)

Pedrito (94783) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970269)

Everyone has a take on it. Haven't we had this discussion a hundred times on Slashdot?

My personal opinion, after having used Linux quite a bit, is simply that Linux isn't ready for the desktop. While many apps have easy to install packages, a lot of apps don't. Particularly smaller, single-developer shareware kind of apps. Many of these require getting source and compiling, something my mother or grandmother won't be able to do.

Speaking of my mother and grandmother, the other thing they already find confusing enough is the Windows directory layout. Linux is FAR more complicated in that department. They'd find organizing their documents much more difficult.

Finally, frankly, I don't find the UIs all that intuitive to use. I've used Gnome and KDE. I prefer KDE, but I have issues with both. It took me a while to figure out how to drag and drop gzip compressed files from KDE. I can't even remember how it works off the top of my head, I'd have to go do it again. But it definitely wasn't as intuitive as drag and drop from say WinZip to a folder in Windows.

The fact is, Linux just isn't ready for the desktop. Don't get me wrong, huge strides have been made over the past few years in usability and I suspect it'll get there eventually, but it's not there.

Another issue is the community, which in many places is hostile to newbies. I've been insulted on more Linux support forums for asking question than I've ever been on Windows support forums. There are places to get good support for Linux, but there are a lot of really hostile ones too. Windows may have some hostile ones, but I just run into it far less frequently.

This is just my personal opinion, based on my experiences with it. Other people may have had different experiences. I still love Linux for certain things and I run a Linux box as a file server, firewall, database server and for video editing. I'd never trust connecting a Windows box directly to the internet, but I've always trusted Linux for that. But as a desktop environment, it just doesn't work for me.

Re:Again??? (1)

AlHunt (982887) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970361)

>>Everyone has a take on it. Haven't we had this discussion a hundred times on Slashdot?

Gee, if I had mod points, I'd give you "+5, Master of Understatement". This is a daily debate, occasionally spilling into a full fledged flamewar.

Directory layout (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970449)

...is not that complicated

/ Base of entire system "My Computer" /usr User programs "Program Files" /etc configuration Registry /bin (sbin) Important programs "Windows" /lib Libraries "Windows dlls" /tmp Temporary files \tmp /home/me your files "My Documents" /var data

(OK so there are more directories on some systems, but this gets the important ones explained in 2 minutes)

Re:Again??? (1)

Misagon (1135) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970461)

Many of these require getting source and compiling, something my mother or grandmother won't be able to do.
... And it is not like the package managers out there are any easier to use either.

Re:Again??? (1)

Stormx2 (1003260) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970583)

Yeah, linux is complex. Things like directory structure are mind-boggling to beginners, but with any luck (and the huge strides you mentioned) beginners won't see anything outside their home directory.

My personal opinion, after having used Linux quite a bit, is simply that Linux isn't ready for the desktop. While many apps have easy to install packages, a lot of apps don't. Particularly smaller, single-developer shareware kind of apps. Many of these require getting source and compiling, something my mother or grandmother won't be able to do.
Uhg, again, it depends on usage. I suspect your grandparents might have an email account, and order some products online. The bleeding-edge version of gcc won't be entirely necessary for this kind of use.

Finally, frankly, I don't find the UIs all that intuitive to use. I've used Gnome and KDE. I prefer KDE, but I have issues with both. It took me a while to figure out how to drag and drop gzip compressed files from KDE. I can't even remember how it works off the top of my head, I'd have to go do it again. But it definitely wasn't as intuitive as drag and drop from say WinZip to a folder in Windows.
I know you're just giving an example here, but in my experience this is a lot easier under linux than windows. Right click > Extract Here does it for me. You can also use file-roller, which is a bunch more intuitive than Winzip. Creating archives is super too. Select the files, right click > Create Archive. You can choose from a bunch of compression algorithms too... :)

Another issue is the community, which in many places is hostile to newbies. I've been insulted on more Linux support forums for asking question than I've ever been on Windows support forums. There are places to get good support for Linux, but there are a lot of really hostile ones too. Windows may have some hostile ones, but I just run into it far less frequently.
I'm frequently in #ubuntu on freenode, and that channel is one of the most patient and anti-elitist channels I idle in. You're right though, it varies a lot. Basic question-asking skills sidestep the whole "will-i-get-flamed" thoughts.

Re:Again??? (1)

lilomar (1072448) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970637)

At the risk of starting a "My distro is better than your distro!" flame war, I just wondered, have you tried Ubuntu?

It has everything you say you would like in Linux. You rarely have to compile from source. Never, if you aren't looking for the kind of things only someone who knows how to compile from source would be looking for. Your choice of desktops. (I seem to recall, at least in GNOME that unzipping is as easy as right-click > extract-here). And this is the kicker, a really friendly community. I have gotten help many times on the forums and never once heard the phrase RTFM. I also spent the night before Feisty Fawn was released staying up and posting in a thread created just to have fun psyching out about the update (of course this fanboism was completely unwarranted, but it's always fun just to kick back and geek-out once in a while).

So I would suggest you give it a try. After all, it's Linux, the worst that happens is you decide you don't like it and wipe the partition. The only thing wasted is the CD you installed it on. =^)

Failed? (1)

AlHunt (982887) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970271)

I can't get to the story (slashdotted?), but who used the word "failed" besides the submitter? Does that mean that in any industry, everyone except the largest player is a failure? Even if desktop Linux never breaks out of it's niche (nerd/geek market), by no means is it a "failure". Yes, yes - I know, not all desktop Linus users are nerds or geeks, but for the most part, they are.

Desktop Responsiveness (4, Informative)

Compholio (770966) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970279)

The article really focuses on how quickly the desktop responds to user operations. I haven't personally found this to be a problem on the 2.6 kernels; however, to say that work is not being done in this area is unfair. Kernel Trap has had several articles on people working on CPU schedulers to address this problem, recently the Completely Fair Scheduler was merged to potentially solve this problem: http://kerneltrap.org/node/11773 [kerneltrap.org] .

Re:Desktop Responsiveness (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19970515)

recently the Completely Fair Scheduler was merged

That _might_ be one of the reasons he's pissed off, you know ...

Re:Desktop Responsiveness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19970609)

I never hear anyone complaining about CPU scheduling.
But disk IO's been a huge problem for amd64 for nearly a year.
http://linux.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=247219&c id=19797955 [slashdot.org]

kernel modules? (1)

MalHavoc (590724) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970281)

Isn't the whole point of building a modular kernel to prevent desktop Linux from being burdened by "enterprise crap"? If you don't need it, the kernel shouldn't load it. And you can always build a static kernel with just what you need, anyway.

Fragmentation! (1)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970283)

I think that the answe could be: too many projects all around the Linux kernel .
This can leads to a fragmentation in the resource (both human and economic) allocation to projects.
This in turn can lead to slow advance in technologies, loose of focus in development.
Three to five desktops, none working perfectly.
More than one hundred distributions, three to five browsers, three office suites ... they all do the same things with minor changes in the meat and a lot of graphics work to differentiate.
The ability to choose is important. But hings should work a little bit better before multiplying choices. IMHO.

Failed??? (1)

jlebrech (810586) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970289)

It hasn't failed on MY desktop!!

Desktop Linux Failed? (2, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970297)

When did that happen? I keep convincing people to try out linux (or at least OSS on their MS Windows boxes), and quite a few make the switch. The people I see sticking with Windows are the gamers (which might explain MS's drive to push the Xbox360).

Wrong problem (4, Interesting)

pubjames (468013) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970303)

Linux on the desktop has been gradually improving, and is now at a point when it is probably pretty much equal to Windows. It may even surpass it in the medium term.

But how good it is isn't really the issue. The fact is, Microsoft has an incredible lock-in, and it is going to take many years to chip away at that. But Firefox has demonstrated that it is possible to win market share from Microsoft. The two essential ingredients are persistence and time. If Microsoft continue to stumble - as they have with Vista - then Linux on the desktop will happen more quickly.

Throwing his toys out of the pram (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970317)

He's raised some valid points, and his contributions to Linux development are great, but I think he's suffering from ego overload here. Often with patch submission, it seems that timing is everything, and it appears Ingo just did the right thing at the right time.

He's correctly pointed out that lkml is a scary place, but it has to be. Ideas have to be fought for and tested. The solution probably is to have a "polite" lkml (lkml-users?) where people who are intimidated by the real thing get to express their views. This would allow the developers to get a feel for how their efforts are percieved by everyone. Even if this list got loads of AOL "Me too" responses, it would be valuable.

Kolivas means "boiled wheat" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19970341)

Koliva (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koliva) is some kind of boiled wheat used for religious purposes. I did not exactly understand what is its religious meaning (do they believe is transubstantieted in the "Body of Christ" or something different). One thing is clear: they do eat it

Is Kolivas Greek or Russian? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19970481)

Kolivas sounds vaguely Greek to me, but my roommate thinks it is a Russian word. Is the guy Greek or Russian?

Not all Orthodox Churces use Koliva (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19970641)

The Greeks and the Slavs (Russian, Serbian, Bulgarian) use it. However only part of Romanian peolpe use it. Romanian people from Transylvania (Orthodox and Greek Catholic as well) use some special bread (Colaci) instead. Koliva is only used in Eastern and Southern Romania, not in Transylvania.
Koliva IS NOT used in the liturgy for transubstantiation. It is just eaten at burials and requiems.

What's really needed (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19970347)

What's fucking really needed:
- Linux fucking Desktop Edition
- Linux fucking Server Edition

With ONE fucking desktop/GUI, ONE fucking package installer and ONE fucking set of standard applications. People don't fucking want choices they just want their fucking computer to fucking work.

The above post was brought to you by Gordon fucking Ramsay.

Oblig. Star Trek (1, Offtopic)

Critical Facilities (850111) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970363)

..oh wait.

APC linkwhoring (2, Interesting)

Might E. Mouse (907610) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970365)

Jesus - there's NO chance of reading this story. This is the THIRD story in a row with a link to APCmag.com. Their servers have no chance to survive, and we have no chance to read the content :(

I'll tell you why (1)

Eddie_Buzz (410962) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970373)

I just wrote a blog post http://www.theteabag.co.uk/ [theteabag.co.uk] discussing my unhappiness with the current Debian stock kernel and the NVidia drivers which longer compile against it. We need to stop alienating the vendors who only wish to supply us with useful tools to get the job done, and yes, their code is proprietary, but ultimately, its the users who are made to suffer.

I mean, I couldn't get my dad to compile his own kernel, hell, I have enough trouble getting him to boil a kettle. So what is his answer when I tell him that either he pays for a new graphics card or uses an older kernel, or changes his distribution. I understand that choice is the beauty of the open source movement, but he is used to using a particular distro, and besides why should he have to?

Just my £0.02

Slashdotted already (1)

slickwillie (34689) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970377)

I wonder what the site is running?

Re:Slashdotted already (1)

slickwillie (34689) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970487)

Netcraft reports apcmag.com runs Linux. Must be all that desktop crap that slows it down.

There is a "Powered by Sun" box on the front page. When I clicked it my browser (SeaMonkey) died.

Failed? What counts as failed? (2, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970381)

What is "Linux" for that matter?

If by "failed" you mean "failed to achieve X market share", I should think the answer is obvious: normal people don't give a flying fuck what kernel their operating system uses. And since their computers come with Windows preinstalled, they are not going to swap operating systems to get a better kernel -- or a better license. Even MacOS wouldn't be where it is, if it was developed and sold as a purely OS product, instead of being bundled with Apple computers.

On the server end, people are concerned about capacity, performance, and licensing restrictions, so it's a different ball game.

People have only two problems with the Linux kernel, and neither of them is due to the existence of enterprise features: (1) the USB doodad they just bought doesn't work automatically and (2) the specific application doesn't support any version of Linux. As to why this is so, it all comes back to the fact they don't care what kernel they have and they already have Windows, so people in the business of catering to them don't bother to do anything to fix these problems. If they did, user apathy means it wouldn't make a big difference in Linux desktop adoption.

In the end, this is a situation that only Microsoft can change, and that by screwing up. Maybe they have with Vista, but I think not. Vista will be like the old 640K DOS memory limit. Industry (other than MS) will move heaven and earth to accomodate it, should it become the status quo, which given user indifference will probably happen.

you FaIl It (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19970401)

of the founders of by the politicker5 its corpse turn3d minutes now while up my toys. I'm

linux failed because.. (1, Insightful)

Bizzeh (851225) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970407)

this isnt a flame, or a troll, this is the truth, which you can go to any non-fanboy site, and find out for your self.

GUI in linux is slow... face it.. its true...
GUI in linux is klunky...
GUI in linux isnt centralised around 1 goal.. you have several parties all throwing in their 2 pence.
GUI in linux isnt intuitive. (it is more so than it was, but still not enough).

Linux as a kernel is slower than NT and BSD as kernels.
Linux, untill recently, was terrible at scheduling.
Linux is still terrible at threading.

all these combined together, mean for a bad experiance that your average joe user (nobody on slashdot can relate to average joe, since if you read slashdot, you are not average joe), which will leave them frustrated and anoyed that they cant use the system they paid alot of money for.

Re:linux failed because.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19970581)

I was a Fedora linuxand still use it until BSD and /or opensolaris
get full Flash-9 and realplay support and all little bugs are worked out
. I think that may be as soon as a year. I dual boot with PC-BSD and
Nexenta solaris.

  I agree with your Linux is SLOW and feels like a big jeep when doing even
moderate multitasking. I also believe it has unresolved essential issues
like alsa on the ac'97 protocol which have not been resolved even after many
years. I don't care if it's intel's fault for not opening up specs.
  It is a hack built upon hacks but now is more or less capable of anything
XP can do expect active X crap.

    The latest PC-BSD(1.4) is finally snappy and just feels faster and more responisve
than linux.

It's obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19970411)

Every time I've tried to start using Linux I've always ran into all sorts of problems, even with Ubuntu.
Install, okay... cool... this works, looks nice, don't have to worry about Xwindows/ Gnome BS. Okay, now to try to install NVIDIA driver through the auto-update (very nice), uh huh. Restarting... Uh oh Xwindows has crashed... fuck. Now I have two options: spend all of my free time for the next month trying to figure out the problem using the command line (ugh... I don't even know where to start, would it be /usr/bin/lib/etc/fuck or /bin/lib/X11/shit, should I use vi or emacs, what is it ctrl+z or ctrl+x because there is no tab menu like any rational person would use ...) or I can buy windows and have it all work perfectly... hmm I'll take Windows! Sorry people, Linux is a hobbyist OS and is going to remain so until the support becomes really robust, I don't know why people are working on stuff like Compiz/Beryl when there are soooo many support issues.

Typing on a Linux desktop (5, Interesting)

spaceyhackerlady (462530) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970427)

I'm typing this on a Linux desktop. It's a pretty hefty system (dual-core, 2.8 GHz, 4 GB RAM), but it earns its living, I assure you. It's Slackware, with a custom kernel. As I've mentioned before, my view is that the distro kernel is solely there for bootstrapping the system until you can build a custom kernel to match your hardware and your needs. It's open source. We can do that, you know.

My biggest frustration with Linux is the notion that Linux systems must emulate Windows to be acceptable (e.g. Mono), and that the Unix interface is a priori incomprehensible, for no other reason than that it doesn't look and feel like Windows. I like the concept of lightweight desktop-oriented distros like Puppy, but do not like they way they so desperately emulate Windows. Right down to the icons.

Is that all there is? We have an open-source OS here, with open source applications. If we don't like how they work, we can roll our own. Mindlessly aping whatever Microsoft are dumping in to Vista this week is dumb.

What next, DRM?


Oh, quite wrong!!! (Performance? HAH!!) (1, Redundant)

borgheron (172546) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970429)

Linux didn't fail on the desktop because of bad performance.. no no... it failed because of the lack of a consistent interface. One app is done using one kit, and another is done using a different kit. All with a different set of interface guidelines. We have dozens of window managers and hundreds of different looks and thousands of people who are too convinced that their way is the right way.

I have a very close friend who says that she doesn't know if she has a Mac or a PC, she just wants it to work. That's it. Nothing against her, she's one of the sweetest people I know, but that is the kind of person the desktop plays to. The community suffers from a consistent overestimation of their users. They forget to consider that many users are not interested in the technology... they just want it to work and look pretty... that's it.

Oh and, by the way, this doesn't just apply to Linux, but it will happen with any free software/open source operating system out there.

Full Disclosure: I am the Chief maintainer of GNUstep... so I'm guilty of this too. So sue me...

Choice can, sometimes, be a really bad thing. :)


Coral Cache (2, Informative)

Frankie70 (803801) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970475)

Here [nyud.net]

I wish (1)

neostrife (1126659) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970505)

"Normal" people need pretty GUI interfaces that are intuitive. I really really want to raise my sickle/crescent and bring free software to everyone - but that isn't going to happen. I convinced a cheapskate friend of mine that didn't want to buy windows to use ubuntu - and to ditch Office 2007. Ubuntu is about as close as it comes to being doughy end-user friendly, but he when he wanted to set up two monitors with his ATI card, a process that would normally have taken him 2-3 GUI clicks, I had to come and help him - turns out ATI doesn't make a GUI interface for ubuntu - and had to manually edit source files and change settings in terminal. As long as terminal is required, look forward to Windows 7.

Weird? (1)

HappySmileMan (1088123) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970507)

If Linux is too full of "Enterprise Crap" to be used on a desktop, why does it run so much faster and crash so much less than Windows XP on my Desktop?

Re:Weird? (0, Flamebait)

Bizzeh (851225) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970545)

isnt it weird that the linux fanboys claim that xp crashes alot, and the xp fanboys never say anything about linux because they couldnt care less..

allow me to say something as a BSD user... linux crashed for me far more than xp did, and xp only ever crashed once, and that was my fault, but since BSD is by far the most powerfull OS of the 3... this is where i lie for now.

It has not failed on my desktop (1)

ruewan (952328) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970517)

I actually prefer my Ubuntu desktop to windows. The only problem I have is support for mainstream software. If I could get Itunes and Photoshop for Linux all would be right with the world

Does this guy know what he's talking about? (2, Insightful)

dlenmn (145080) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970539)

From TFA:

Although I'd never learnt how to program, looking at the code it eventually started making sense.

I was left pointing out to people what I thought the problem was from looking at that particular code. After ranting and raving and saying what I thought the problem was, I figured I'd just start tinkering myself and try and tune the thing myself.
It could be that he was a natural and had great intuition, or it could be that he had no idea what he was really doing. Does anyone know? Were his patches any good? I'd have some doubts if some dude with no programming experience came along and started claiming that everything was wrong with the kernel but he knew how to save it...

yea! lets all go back to Windows 3.11 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19970571)

It didn't have any enterprise crap in it and everybody was using it in the enterprise and at home.

Simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19970575)

It needs an exact clone of Vista's Solitaire... just when I had convinced the parents there would be a solitaire on linux that was just as fine, fucking MS had to go and add sound effects..

Exchange, bitches! (5, Insightful)

LibertineR (591918) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970611)

Competing OS are not keeping Linux off the desktop in big numbers, EXCHANGE is, period.

Anyone familiar with how Microsoft locks in customers will tell you the same thing.

We have reached a point where neither the desktop OS or the Server OS doesnt matter as much as the apps they run. Exchange is the one app that is almost a must-have. Anyone can list all the non-proprietary stuff that runs 80% of Exchange functionality, or 50%, but does it better, and so on and so on.

Give it up, and start building something that takes Exchange on directly, feature for feature, with better recovery, and message pushing to handheld devices.

Or, maybe just shutup? This has been obvious for years. Microsoft keeps improving Exchange, Enterprises keep buying it, and everything else that goes with it.

Linux cannot exist on its own with a bunch of 50-to-80% solutions, expecting to fill the gap by the temporary pleasure of giving Microsoft the finger from time to time.

Either compete or change the game. Only Google and Apple seem to get this.

And can we stop asking this question over and over again?

Linux is about choices, some people can't choose (1)

xgr3gx (1068984) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970619)

One of the greatest things about Linux is you can pick whatever software you want.
You can have a fancy eye-candy 3D Gnome or KDE destop, or a light and airy one like Flux or XFCE
You can have vim, or a full blown IDE.
You can use ext3, Reiser, etc....
You see where I'm going.
Many people don't know what they need, b/c they are used to what Windows gives them/forces them to use.
That is one reason Linux has trouble branching out from the geek market.
Distros like Ubuntu and Redhat/Fedorda have done a great job of providing both choice, and
the base set of programs for general use.
The geeks can still install whatever they want, but the lay persons don't need to decide on choice they don't know about/care about/understand.

Too Enterprise? (1)

phrostie (121428) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970627)

Too Enterprise?
if that is the best complaint they can come up with, Linux must really be doing good.

what a cute little troll.
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