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578 comments

How about being honest about it? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23452246)

You could just say that "Linux will never be ready for the desktop" and be done with it.
It's a lot more honest than simply giving up because 'it's in the eye of the beholder'.

Wankers.

Top marks for interesting point (0, Offtopic)

Toreo asesino (951231) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452532)

0 points for delivery.

-10 points for nullifying point by alienating the entire /. crowd with last addition.

All in all, a fairly typical AC comment! Good to see no moulds are being broken today on /.

Re:How about being honest about it? (0, Troll)

temcat (873475) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452554)

Fuck You.

Linux satisfies all my home desktop needs for quite some time. Work is another matter, and I can safely admit that we won't have MS Office, Trados, Reason or Photoshop, or other popular specialized GUI software (dealing flawlessly with de-facto standard formats) on Linux anytime soon. But this only proves the assertion about the eye of the beholder.

DOS (5, Insightful)

bondsbw (888959) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452256)

Was DOS ready for the desktop? By many definitions, people would say no, but that's exactly what started Microsoft's dominance of the OS market.

Re:DOS (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23452322)

That depends if you think "desktop" means a computer that sits on a desk or a point and click GUI windowing system.

In either case, Linux is a kernel and has been ready for the desktop for ever. When people say "Linux isn't ready for the desktop", they actually mean distros don't pander to computer illiterates; the fallacy being the assumption that this is a bad thing.

I now have to disable the unwanted bloat of most modern "desktop" features.

Re:DOS (3, Insightful)

aurispector (530273) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452468)

This is a key issue and I think it's been glossed over for too long. Although I agree that most desktop features are crap, linux just cant be mainstream until someone puts out a distro that DOES cater to the illiterates. We already have dozens of distros specifically designed for programmers and super users. Let's face it, most computer users are essentially computer illiterates - they're users, not programmers and they have no interest or reason to learn more than a few basic tasks.

Before anyone says "but ubuntu already does this", the problem is that currently you have no choice but to learn the CLI in order to accomplish anything but basic user tasks. This forces every office (or family) to have at least one go-to person that understands the OS thoroughly (or at least better than everyone else). Think about the huge investment in time and money that has already been spent understanding windows. Switching to a new OS means retraining costs for tech support. Hence linux needs a distro that's both idiot-proof for the basic user AND easy to learn/configure for admins without requiring CLI. This isn't the 1980's. Sure the CLI gives you extreme flexibility, etc., but most people just don't need this.

The other major issue is that switching to linux also means giving up the guaranteed compatibility with commercially available software. My guess is that this is more of an obstacle than any other reason.

Re:DOS (4, Insightful)

JamesTRexx (675890) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452496)

That's not just Ubuntu or any other *nix OS, anything but the basic task, including troubleshooting has to be done in the CLI on Windows too.
Blaming use of the CLI is just a moot point.

Re:DOS (4, Insightful)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452756)

I second that. If I need to get any serious work done in Windows, cmd.exe is indespensible. Just like BSD, Linux, and OS X you can use it without ever seeing a command prompt, but that will limit you severely. I guess the reason this gets overlooked so much is because most Windows users really don't know how to use Windows anymore than they know how to use Linux -- What they do know is how to use certain GUI frontends to certain apps. I know some MS users can be very defensive about this, and will even insist that what makes their choice "superior" is that no CLI knowledge is required, but that is just not true. Without knowledge of the CLI one can be just as "stranded" in Windows (or even on OS X on rare occasion) as in Linux.

Also it says a lot that reinstalling rather than fixing Windows is generally regarded as an acceptable practice. Because reinstalling Windows doesn't (usually) require a CLI :).

Re:DOS (3, Insightful)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452582)

The CLI is more important than the GUI. Think about it: if you've ever dreamed of just talking to the computer like in the movies, the natural approach is to figure out improvements in CLI so that we can "chat" to the OS with high levels of abstraction.

The GUI is just a stopgap, and a dead end in the long run.

Re:DOS (4, Insightful)

JonathanBoyd (644397) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452730)

Speaking to a computer is a horrendously inefficient means of doing a lot of tasks, some of them quite common, Anything involving the creation or editing of graphics, selecting of text, choosing a link to follow, etc. is almost always quicker and easier to do with a GUI than speech. Speech also gets in the way when there are other people about who don't want disturbed i.e. a lot of work places and is draining on the throat after a while. Don't assume computer evolution is going to follow the movies. Though even in Star Trek they're still using a GUI quite a bit.

Re:DOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23452766)

I very much doubt that, even if voice interaction becomes the way to input commands similar to a CLI, simply the best way to display the output is with a UI. To take it back to basics, its simply easier to look at a graph than it is to look at a chart of numbers that was used to represent the graph. The faster you can convey information the faster the tasks at hand can be accomplished.

Re:DOS (1, Insightful)

Aranykai (1053846) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452332)

Better question: Was Vista ready for the desktop?

I have my parents running Ubuntu. They do everything they need to, and they like it cause "it just works", something that windows has never done for them.

Re:DOS (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452696)

I think you've touched on the real issue there. Popular Linux builds have themselves been ready for the desktop for years. What is still missing from Linux that Vista has is applications that are ready for typical end users. As long as Linux geeks continue to believe that OpenOffice is as good as Microsoft Office, the GIMP is as good as Photoshop, etc., and as long as Linux doesn't have things like games and business admin software of the same level as those available on Windows, it doesn't matter how funky your window manager effects are. Real people don't use an OS because of its window manager, they use it because it hosts applications they want.

Preaching to the choir (1, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452764)

I have my parents running Ubuntu.

This line - or something very much like it - is woven into every Linux "conversion" story posted on Slashdot.

Meanwhile, a billion users worldwide somehow manage to run Windows without the free technical support of a resident geek.

Re:DOS (2, Insightful)

Kijori (897770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452376)

"Ready for the desktop", though, is a phrase whose meaning changes as peoples' understanding of a desktop changes. People don't expect their desktop to behave like DOS anymore.

Re:DOS (3, Interesting)

Annoid (1160621) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452620)

Microsoft's dominance of the market happened for one reason, and one reason only. Apple was STUPID.

They were first to market, and had, what at the time was probably the clearly better product.

However, They also wanted to be greedy, and would not license out in order to keep the price high.

Does anyone remember the introduction of video tape recording to the U.S. market in the 70's? Sony (Betamax) vs JVC (VHS).
Sony had the technically superior tape format. Better picture, better sound. But, they also wanted to be greedy, and would not license out in order to keep the price high. JVC, with the inferior product, did license out, so there was price competition on that side. Guess who won that war? This is actually a no-brainer. The US market will kill you for greed, every time.

Many years later, Apple made the same mistake. They wanted to be greedy, and their greed cost them their chance to become the dominant player. I actually like their OS, as it's based on BSD unix. But at this point in the game, they aren't going to ever be more than a niche market player. Interestingly enough, you still see Beta tapes in use too, in video production houses where quality matters more than price. Again, a niche market.

Re:DOS (1)

Nossie (753694) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452792)

I agree with your point, but why do you believe Apple will *never* become the dominant player?

Apples sales are up what 53%? Microsoft (at least their investors) would love that ratio. If MS suddenly doesnt starting generating more return on investments they'll take their money somewhere more risky. Microsoft seems to be a big lumbering Sun or dare I say it SCO? right now without the litigation.

Microsoft to the masses is becoming renowned for spyware, malware and other grey area software... don't think I'm trolling with that remark, it may not be reality but that's who joe public is starting to perceive it. They are also trying too hard to be everything, whether its in productivity, operating systems, games and/or advertising.

TBH if Windows 7 isn't a run-away success like XP was then I could see MS falling slowly down the slope of irrelativity

For now, games are moving over to consoles in droves... why is it we need Windows again? Games, Office and Adobe.

To put it bluntly, Microsoft is in deep shit right now and they know it (hence all the branching out) now I'm not going to say Microsoft will disappear over night, they wont... but MS is not the powerhouse it used to be.

I'm no MS lover anymore... as can probably be assumed from my post. But when that whole anti-trust thing came up I was really hoping it would be split up into separate entities and forced to compete with each other.. Office, consoles/games and OS. At the time I thought that would be the most brutal damage you could do to the monolithic monster (especially considering out of everything else those three are their only real money making cashcows)

However, I think MS is floundering - the MS/yahoo deal showed that... I'm really not sure what the longterm future is for MS but for shareholders and the corporations better being I'm wondering it they would have performed better split up!

Re:DOS (1)

Maureen Base (933868) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452800)

Apple's only advantage is that it only works with a predetermined hardware set. If Apple started supporting any homebaked system out there, they would lose.

Re:DOS (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452672)

Shit man, are you comparing the current state of Linux...to... DOS?... (knows you werent)

My current usability ranking:

1. Windows
2. Linux
3. ?????
4. MacOS

Where ????? includes anything from BSD/Unix/OS2/Solaris/etc and even DOS, and probably most scientific calculators aswell... as far as im concerned, if Windows is 100%, then Linux is at about 98%... and its mostly just the installation of software that keeps it from matching Windows... once the whole automated dependancy checking (et al) has been figured out and incorporated into the main Distro's... Linux could almost take Windows overnight...and by the time thats resolved, it probably will since most of the major software people bitch about not being on Linux, is actively trying to make Linux versions...

Re:DOS (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452712)

Was DOS ready for the desktop?

You could have asked whether CP/M [wikipedia.org] was ready for the desktop:

However, CP/M's concept of separate user areas for files on the same disk was never ported to MS-DOS. Since MS-DOS had access to more memory (as few IBM PCs were sold with less than 64 KB of memory, while CP/M had to run in 16 KB if necessary), more commands were built in to the command-line user interface logic, making MS-DOS somewhat faster and easier to use on floppy-based computers.

There has never been any great mystery behind Microsoft's success on the desktop:

Its focus had always been on the non-technical end user.

The balance between what he wants and what he can afford. The core hardware requirements will be midline at introduction and priced at entry level a year or so later:

Lenovo 3000 Notebook PC [tigerdirect.com]
Vista Premium, 14" Wide Screen Display, DVD Burner, Intel Dual Core, 2 GB RAM, 250 GB HDD, Integrated Webcam, WiFi, Firewire, etc., etc.
$650 after mail-in rebate.

"Ready for my mom's desktop." (3, Insightful)

Manip (656104) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452260)

I'd like to coin the term "Ready for my mom's desktop." Meaning after a few hours training she can use the platform without too much hassle.

That's where Linux really drops the ball still and OS X/Windows still dominate.

The UIs are extremely poorly designed on Linux and worse still they're often inconsistent with half a dozen ways to do the same operation.

And don't even get me started on the continued use of the terminal for /any/ normal user operations.

Linux isn't a consumer desktop, in fact it isn't even making very much ground in that area. That being said it is still an awesome server and geek toy.

Re:"Ready for my mom's desktop." (5, Interesting)

soccerisgod (585710) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452288)

I don't think that's true at all. I have installed Ubuntu on a number of computers belonging to friends and family, and everybody (they're all pretty much computer-illiterates) agrees that it's easier to use and more intuitive than Windows. Take the "start" menu: you have an "Applications" menu and the last entry therein is "install/remove". Could it be any simpler?

IMHO the beauty of Linux and all the software for it is that you can pick what you need and ignore the rest. If you want to do stuff the hard way, you can. If you just want to use a computer, use something like Ubuntu. Linux has the potential to serve all needs, and by now the modern Linux distros are doing a fine job at it.

Re:"Ready for my mom's desktop." (4, Insightful)

antirelic (1030688) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452702)

I agree that Linux is, and has been ready for the desktop for quiet some time now. Not trying to be too much of a fanboy (because I'm not, I prefer the Fedora distro line) of Ubuntu, but man, Ubuntu is what people have always dreamed a computer being like. For example: If I need a peace of software, I go to that Ubuntu software management application, find the category of different applications, browse through, click, and its installed (all the downloading and installation happens behind the scenes).

The only downfall is still the fact that most commercial software (read as: games, MS Office, and Itunes) do not run on Linux natively. So the question about Linux being ready for the desktop is a misnomer. Linux is and has been desktop ready, it is just a question of when will application developers develop popular applications for Linux.

Re:"Ready for my mom's desktop." (4, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452298)

Seeing as my mum and stepmum already use Ubuntu quite happily (and aren't phoning up every 10 minutes complaining that something is broken/they've got a virus) it seems Linux is already at that stage.

Re:"Ready for my mom's desktop." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23452372)

Parent's post is similar to thousands of posts here and in other /. threads. "My is using Ubuntu,...., No complaints".
If this is true, then why arent more than 5% of users on Linux? http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_os.asp [w3schools.com]

Re:"Ready for my mom's desktop." (3, Funny)

Keyper7 (1160079) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452474)

I completely agree!

Furthermore, if Britney Spears' music sucks, how come she hit the top of the charts so many times, huh, HUH? [1]

Take THAT, you geek smartasses!

[1] I'm talking about the beggining of her career, obviously.

Re:"Ready for my mom's desktop." (1)

temcat (873475) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452570)

You really cannot tell how many people are using Linux. Each Linux distro sale or download can result in dozens of installations.

Re:"Ready for my mom's desktop." (1)

damburger (981828) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452760)

Because you mongloid the question is not 'are the majority of people using it' it is 'CAN the majority of people use it' and the answer is clearly yes.

My brother and daughter have no problem (1)

Peter Simpson (112887) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452302)

Neither is particularly geeky, and both of them use Ubuntu Linux for day-to-day email and web browsing. They both say they think it's faster and more dependable than WinXP.

Linux doesn't suck any worse than Windows.

Re:"Ready for my mom's desktop." (2, Interesting)

Whitemice (139408) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452304)

I'd like to coin the term "Ready for my mom's desktop." Meaning after a few hours training she can use the platform without too much hassle.
I don't think this is true at all. It is the generic desktop that LINUX is currently most suited to; as vertical apps are generally not available.

The UIs are extremely poorly designed on Linux and worse still they're often inconsistent with half a dozen ways to do the same operation.
Are you using KDE? Because GNOME has a very detail HIG that is ruthlessly enforced - enough to spark the occasional war on the mailing lists. GNOME is a very clean and consistent interface. Via the control panel an end-user can adjust anything they need with items organized in a very orderly fashion.

And don't even get me started on the continued use of the terminal for /any/ normal user operations.
It isn't required for any normal operation.

Re:"Ready for my mom's desktop." (3, Informative)

Joe Jay Bee (1151309) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452362)

It isn't required for any normal operation.

It is sometimes required for some operations, usually fixing things or setting a couple things up.

In general though, the command line is very rarely used on Ubuntu, which is a good thing; if you tell a normal Windows user they'd have to use the DOS prompt to accomplish something, their eyes would glaze over.

(In fairness, Apple are no better for hiding options in the command line and requiring the use of the defaults command to set them, but at least these aren't very very basic things...)

Re:"Ready for my mom's desktop." (1)

McDutchie (151611) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452594)

(In fairness, Apple are no better for hiding options in the command line and requiring the use of the defaults command to set them, but at least these aren't very very basic things...)

I had to use two terminal commands [macosxhints.com] to turn off Tiger's "Safe Sleep" feature that makes it take about a minute for my computer to fall asleep while it dumps my 2 GB of RAM onto the hard drive. I sleep and wake my MacBook frequently so I'm not at risk of losing RAM contents, so I'm better off without this feature. I think this is a pretty basic configuration option.

Re:"Ready for my mom's desktop." (2, Interesting)

Whitemice (139408) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452634)

In general though, the command line is very rarely used on Ubuntu, which is a good thing;
Or on openSUSE, or any of the mainstream distributions.

if you tell a normal Windows user they'd have to use the DOS prompt to accomplish something, their eyes would glaze over.
But you do need to go to the command line on Windows to do things. "ipconfig /release" and "ipconfig /renew" being the best and most common example, but there are others. Being in charge of 200+ Win32 desktops and laptops I here the help desk steer Win32 people to the command line fairly frequently, often because the GUI is too difficult or just can't be trusted.

Re:"Ready for my mom's desktop." (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452704)

> It is sometimes required for some operations

That simply isn't good enough.

This is the sort of vagueness that some would use to declare that the Linux GUI's is "unready".

Re:"Ready for my mom's desktop." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23452508)

Consistency in KDE tends to be enforced programatically. Much of the Gnome HIG (and virtually all of the Apple HIG) covers stuff that's automatically handled for you by KDE's core libraries, or by Qt.

Of course, anything not handled by the framework tends to be less consistent than on Gnome.

Re:"Ready for my mom's desktop." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23452310)

We've a word for that : "Intuitive". Why make up a 5 word phrase when we have a perfectly good way to describe what you are talking about?

Re:"Ready for my mom's desktop." (1)

SomeKDEUser (1243392) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452318)

Ready for the desktop could never have been a "point", it is a process by which at some point in reality betting a randomly chosen user will in fact find the interface friendly (that was some time ago), and in perception, when people start believing in desktop-linux in majority.

The perception part is the hardest to win. But also, it might not even be desirable: linux, as all free software, thrives when it attracts contributors. This involves attracting users, but not only. If your project is only good at catering for users, it will eventually die.

If your software only attracts developers, it might well live forever. So there is a class of users that bring nothing to free software: "linux ready for the desktop" objectively must be considered by specifically ignoring those users with no talent, literary, artistic or technical, because they are only a drain on resources.

Re:"Ready for my mom's desktop." (1)

sayfawa (1099071) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452366)

If your project is only good at catering for users, it will eventually die.

If your software only attracts developers, it might well live forever. So there is a class of users that bring nothing to free software: "linux ready for the desktop" objectively must be considered by specifically ignoring those users with no talent, literary, artistic or technical, because they are only a drain on resources.


Heh, how long until someone claims that it's this kind of arrogance that keeps normal people from using Linux? Man, I get tired of that one. Anyway. I agree with you, with the exception that those users who don't or can't develop might still donate money.

Re:"Ready for my mom's desktop." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23452540)

You should read your own comment! "normal people" is very condescending.

Re:"Ready for my mom's desktop." (4, Interesting)

The New Andy (873493) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452328)

The UIs are extremely poorly designed on Linux and worse still they're often inconsistent with half a dozen ways to do the same operation.
I seem to remember one of the hints in the Microsoft Accessibility Guidelines was that the more ways to do a single operation, the more accessible it is. I don't use windows, so I can't check now, but I'm pretty sure I can think of 4 ways to move a file, 5 ways to change screen resolution and 4 ways to shut down the computer. I don't think this is a bad thing.

Re:"Ready for my mom's desktop." (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23452550)

I'd like to coin the term "Ready for my mom's desktop." Meaning after a few hours training she can use the platform without too much hassle.
My parents recently bought a PC with Vista on it, and hated it. They have one 'specialized' windows app that they need to run, and it doesn't run under Vista.

So I installed Slackware on it. Their custom app runs just perfectly under WINE. They use it to surf, email, etc.

My mother is 67 years old. Maybe your mom's just to stupid to learn something new.

Re:"Ready for my mom's desktop." (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452682)

> And don't even get me started on the continued use of the terminal for /any/ normal user operations. ...and what "normal user operations" were you thinking of?

It's time to put away the empty rhetoric because people are beginning to not buy it any more.

If you want to declare Linux un-ready, you will have to come up with some actual reasons.

Regurgitating some advocacy trolls talking points doesn't cut it anymore.

Re:"Ready for my mom's desktop." (1)

BadHaggis (1179673) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452774)

The OLPC interface isn't even ready for my mom's desktop. She is on of the 20% in the U.S. who has never used email, and thinks remote controls are too confusing.

Totally True (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23452268)

Been running Linux for 3 years. My main machine uses Debian most of the time with Xfce and my mother has no problems using it (well, after teaching her of course). Yeah, she might not be able to handle any problems, but my dad can't handle most Windows problems on his computers and gets me in to fix those too. Guess which machines have less problems.

1995 was the linux "Year of the Desktop" ;-) (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23452278)

1995 was the linux "Year of the Desktop" for me. This phrase is different for each person, just as windows is. Some people have yet to use windows, so it still isn't MS windoze "Year of the Desktop" for them either. Get over it. It is the "Year of the Desktop" for linux whenever YOU start to use it more than anything else. Stop following the sheep, for Pete's sake...

Re:1995 was the linux "Year of the Desktop" ;-) (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452732)

1995 was the linux "Year of the Desktop" for me. This phrase is different for each person, just as windows is.
Then you've missed the point- the phrase refers to Linux making a breakthrough in the traditional desktop market, both in terms of general usability for the typical "desktop" user and also (as a result) in terms of numbers of actual desktop Linux users.

If you think that's a pointless discussion, or if you just don't care about Linux's market share in that segment, that's your choice, of course. But this question is distinct from a Slashdot-poll style question asking when individuals started using desktop Linux.

The Truth in "Ready For the Desktop" (3, Insightful)

sleeping123 (1109587) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452286)

Linux has always interested me. I've been a computer nerd since I was born, and first tried to install Linux when I was somewhere around ten years old. Well, we've seen a decade pass since then, and there's a lot of truth in this statement. I stuck with windows so long because of the inaccessibility of installing and putting together a distro the way you wanted. Now, more than ever, we are seeing a trend toward usability, starting from when you first boot the kernel. I personally love this phrase because every advertising campaign needs a slogan and with all the usability-centric distributions out there (case-in-point, Ubuntu), we've come a long way and we are finally ready for the average users' desktop.

Re:The Truth in "Ready For the Desktop" (1)

Whitemice (139408) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452326)

... with windows so long because of the inaccessibility of installing and putting together a distro the way you wanted. ...
Of course the "desktop user" has no interest at all in "putting together a distro".

I provided LINUX desktops to user in various places starting years ago... they worked and people were productive.

When did Word Perfect first become available for LINUX? Mid 90s...? I don't recall. But LINUX has been serviceable as a desktop since then.

Oh dear... (4, Funny)

FoolsGold (1139759) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452296)

If this story doesn't garner at LEAST 1000 comments, then Slashdot isn't ready for the Internet.

Re:Oh dear... (1)

rastass (618778) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452426)

Oh... it will get over 1000 comments ;) I use Linux regularly "on the desktop", and IMHO it's all there and working nicely - EXCEPT 64 bit Flash. I use 32 bit Ubuntu on my old laptop and it works better out of the box than the *genuine* xp32 cd installer does. What pisses me off is when I try to get 64 bit going on any modern desktop, the only thing that consistently doesn't go is Flash. As unimportant as Flash is in reality, it's still needed due to the sheer amount of this shite out there. And until it works I'm not going to install Linux on any n00b relatives PC. Fix it Adobe. Or release the source and let us fix it - as you won't.

Re:Oh dear... (2, Informative)

besalope (1186101) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452652)

It's not just x64 Linux that has issues with flash. x64 Windows XP/Vista can't do it either (provided you're using IE x64 or even Firefox--Minefield x64). This is neither Microsoft nor the Linux community's fault, rather that of Adobe for being completely lazy and worthless.

Ready for the desktop? (1, Insightful)

code601 (862671) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452300)

My definition of ready for the desktop would be the ability to install any application I choose without having to know that the terminal exists.

Re:Ready for the desktop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23452344)

And what's your definition of "any application"?

Re:Ready for the desktop? (5, Funny)

Horatio_Hellpop (926706) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452394)

//And what's your definition of "any application"?// Probably an application. Like, any of them.

Re:Ready for the desktop? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23452560)

Including xterm?

Re:Ready for the desktop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23452762)

csh

Re:Ready for the desktop? (2, Informative)

Keyper7 (1160079) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452408)

In Ubuntu, this ability is called Synaptic.

And for third-party applications, if the third-party only wants to provide a non-compiled .tar.gz or a .sh, it's not really Ubuntu's fault, is it?

Re:Ready for the desktop? (2, Insightful)

adrianbaugh (696007) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452446)

Exactly. You can find Ubuntu packages for the vast majority of applications (and likewise for SuSE, Fedora etc.) Certainly you'll be able to find at least one application to do whatever you want to do (though it may not be your obscure pet application of choice).

The fact that there's some weird little application used by about 5 people (including the maintainer...) that Ubuntu can't be bothered to package doesn't mean that Linux isn't ready for the desktop.

Re:Ready for the desktop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23452642)

Yep, you're right........I went to softpedia and tried installing a number of the applications on my Mac OSX but they didn't work, therefore OSX is not ready for the desktop

From TFA (4, Funny)

Undead NDR (1252916) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452306)

The fact is, there are just as many people out there who have difficulty using Windows as there are who have trouble using Linux.

Well, I really hope that isn't the case, given the respective market share.

Re:From TFA (2, Insightful)

tech10171968 (955149) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452482)

Well, I really hope that isn't the case, given the respective market share.
Sorry to inform you of this, but this really is the case; otherwise there wouldn't be a need for a "Geek Squad". In my experience a lot of the users who deride linux for its "lack of usability" are the very same folks I see constantly tripping over themselves in a Windows enviroment (it's also amusing to see how they totally miss the irony). This just tells me, for example, that one could hypothetically create a 100% "Plug and Play" OS, everything working out of the box, no need for dropping into a CLI (like DOS or a *Nix shell), and users will still have the same complaints only because "it's not like Windows". Window's marketshare has nothing to do with any sort of superiority; it's just that people feel more comfortable sticking with the devil they know.

Re:From TFA (1)

Undead NDR (1252916) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452548)

Window's marketshare has nothing to do with any sort of superiority;

That's for sure, you're preaching to the choir there. But I suggest you re-read the quote from TFA very carefully.

Re:From TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23452612)

Microsoft invented it's own "geek squad", which is nothing more than a clique of people who can say they know how to fix shit that the rest of us can't. It's called the IT industry right now. You pay a bunch of money to get into the club, and suffer if you actually KNOW about computers aside from how Windows works.

Decade of Linux on the Desktop (1)

essence (812715) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452320)

I like to think of 2005 to 2015 as the decade of Linux on the desktop. It's really only the last few years that linux has become usable by grandma, so long as grandma has the right hardware. I'm hopeful that the next 7 years will see much improvement for linux. By 2015, Linux will be on par with/ superior to other OS's on the desktop.

Always Ready != Not Being (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23452340)

If you are always READY TO use Linux as desktop, you are never using Linux AS your desktop. Like Google is always ready to pay you 1 million :D

From the first half-dozen comments I see here... (4, Interesting)

Keyper7 (1160079) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452370)

...one can already notice that the article has a point. Each one has a different definition of what "ready for the desktop" means and none of them is completely right or completely wrong.

For more evidence, check the Ubuntu forums: there's no real consistency in comments about the readniess of Ubuntu for the mainstream: some computer illiterates say it's ready, some don't. Some geeks say it's ready, some don't.

Ready for the laptop! (1)

drolli (522659) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452374)

Ubuntu is ok already, but parts of my experience are still somewhat inconsistent.

Re:Ready for the laptop! (2, Funny)

adrianbaugh (696007) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452454)

Yeah, I have that too. Large parts of my experience are still pretty inconsistent, particularly most of the drunken times at university.

Not sure what it has to do with linux being ready though... ;-)

I don't want linux ready for the desktop (2, Interesting)

kipman725 (1248126) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452400)

If ready for the desktop means GUI everything and consistant style (read intigrated everything) you can count me out. The fastest to use programs use keyboard shortcuts for all common tasks, this is initialy slower than a gui but eventualy multiple times faster. I prefer a fast CLI, with the gui only used for software that benifits from it.

Had its chance in 2001-2007 (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23452418)

Look at the facts. Writing desktops is not easy. It took Microsoft 7 years to make vista, and it still has problems being accepted as a successor to XP. And XP itself was critisized as being too colorful and kiddy when it was launched. Micrrosoft also messed up ME and arguably 98. This is microsoft with their multi billion dollar budgets.

Linux has its chance between 2001-2007 to catch up to XP, but GNOME messed up with its file manager, KDE messed up by feature creep. Also note that Firefox was only launched in 2004, IE6 had three years of 95% marketshare while linux users were in the extreme minority. Ubuntu was only launched in 2004 as well.

Now linux had its chance and it is being forgotten by all but the most hardcore nerds. Even OLPC is getting Windows now. Just accept the failure, and work on other projects.

Re:Had its chance in 2001-2007 (1)

badpazzword (991691) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452588)

Is this the linux version of the "OMG netfoobar confirms: *BSD is dead LOL get over it"?

Because if you strolled through the Ubuntu boards you'd see a different story.

Re:Had its chance in 2001-2007 (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452784)

Now linux had its chance and it is being forgotten by all but the most hardcore nerds. Even OLPC is getting Windows now. Just accept the failure, and work on other projects.
I'd say the fact that OLPC and Eee PC went with Linux first and that MS released a cut-price version of XP in response (their *old* OS that they *were* trying to phase out) was an indication that you were incorrect.

Of course MS were going to fight back, and I'm not too surprised that OLPC is now running XP (though I'll admit to being disappointed).

Personally, I'm not convinced that Joe Public will ever be that bothered (or necessarily know) that he's running Linux on such-and-such a device- he may just use it without giving it a great amount of thought. And the question is whether there'll be a consistent interface (which *is* the OS in a lot of ways to most people); but they'll still be running Linux in such cases.

Windows' ease of use vastly overstated (5, Insightful)

cptnapalm (120276) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452422)

If Windows is so easy to use for the computer illiterate, why have I spent untold hours fixing other peoples Windows machines, teaching people how to double click on icons, teaching people not to double click on anything which is not an icon, teaching people how to connect to a wireless hotspot, etc etc etc?

Who do you think the "No, I will not fix your computer." t-shirts were inspired by? Mac users? Linux users?

Re:Windows' ease of use vastly overstated (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452526)

Computer users.

!ready for the desktop (5, Insightful)

Toreo asesino (951231) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452432)

The way I see it, it's ready for YOUR desktop when it can run all YOUR apps seamlessly and without a problem.

My girlfriend for instance, just browses the net, plays mp3's, checks her emails and occasionally writes documents, prints them, and occasionally uses Skype. Linux is ready for HER desktop.

Me on the other hand, I'm a .Net dev, play lot's of PC games, work with doc & docx files every day, and actually like iTunes (for the iPod). Linux is not ready for my desktop, nor is it likely to be any time soon.

To say "Linux is ready for THE desktop" is quite frankly very short-sighted.

Re:!ready for the desktop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23452640)

You're spell cheque soft where's knot reddy for the desktop.

Well done Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23452456)

A classic is Linux ready for the desktop flamewar! Despite many old memes and trolls have moved on, Slashdot is showing some of its original allure that attracted me to trolling this site back in 2001!

In 2001 Linux had, Kernal 2.4, KDE 2.2 and Gnome 1.4, and distros included Mandrake 8, SuSE 7, RedHat 7 and Ubuntu was never even thought of. Antialiased Fonts were not implemented, no support for winmodems, mozilla was still 0.x and XP had just been released.

The Question Should Be: (4, Insightful)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452458)

Is Linux ready for the average windows user?

Ready for the desktop directly translates to: (0, Troll)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452460)

Can play all the latest games and has support from the commercial software industry. Which Linux is not.

Why?

Well. For one thing, Hardware makers do not want to code drivers for Linux because they are terrified their precious trade secrets will be reverse engineered, Game makers are not wanting to produce games for Linux because they are terrified that their oh so important copy protection schemes will be cracked. On and on the list goes.

Most Linux OSes are designed in a consistent manner from an OS point of view. If the commercial software industry really WANTED to produce applications for Linux, they would. They don't for a myriad of religious, ideological, and shareholder lawsuit reasons and will fight until the bitter end to see that Linux does become something the masses want to adopt.

Re:Ready for the desktop directly translates to: (1)

DeathCarrot (1133225) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452602)

Well. For one thing, Hardware makers do not want to code drivers for Linux because they are terrified their precious trade secrets will be reverse engineered, Game makers are not wanting to produce games for Linux because they are terrified that their oh so important copy protection schemes will be cracked. On and on the list goes.
Maybe I'm confused, but are you saying reverse engineering binary executables and libraries is somehow easier if they're compiled for Linux?

What in hell? \0_o/

Re:Ready for the desktop directly translates to: (1)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452718)

Even if I can't directly reverse engineer the hard coded executable, stack traces, and Kernel documentation will allow a determined cracker to find some flaw in the copy protection scheme. There's just too many resources at the Linux developer's fingertips.

Ugh (1)

PhotoGuy (189467) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452486)

This reeks of "if you can't meet a requirement, change some definitions" approach. "I did not have 'sex' with that woman." "It all depends upon what your definition of is is." Or like the Bill Gates deposition.

It's pretty clear what "ready for the desktop" means. It means for the typical consumer. Linux has clearly been ready for the desktop for geeks since its first stable release; we know the ins and outs, the quirks, the configuration, so it's was ready for the desktop for a certain group of people.

The phrase clearly means the masses, the typical consumer, your grandma. With Ubuntu's great hardware support, flash, and Java, I think it's almost there, if not there. The fact you're seeing EEE PC's, Wal-Mart PC's, and other consumer electronic entries into the field, shows that it's starting to take root.

Changing the definition or throwing out the term "ready for the desktop" because we took longer to get here than we should have, doesn't reflect well on the Linux community or its confidence in the consumer market at all...

my mom (2)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452490)

my mother happens to be a 74 year old great grandmother, she uses Slackware-12.1 and loves it (especially the kdegames package). of course i admin it and what i noticed is i have to do less work with Linux on her desktop as i did when it was running windows, i run the the same thing so i know when i need to drive across town and install an update that when i get an update then i just copy the update to a usb memory stick and take it to her house...

i think people that are clueless about performing tasks on computers are equally clueless on Linux as they are on windows (it is not the OS so much as their refusal to apply themselves to learn and remember the methods used to perform a given task)

GUI is ready, hw (2, Informative)

Coopjust (872796) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452510)

I'd have to fully agree with the author's opinion. Like an earlier poster, however, I've had several people (including 70+ yr olds) to the Ubuntu GUI. When compared to Vista or XP, they agreed it was easier.

Linux faces a few problems that are slowing widespread adoption:
-Hardware support. This becomes less of a problem everyday. Dell supplies Linux drivers for every component of my 2 year old budget (less than $1000 USD) laptop, and as a result, Ubuntu compatibility is amazing.
-Program support. This is currently the Achilles heel of Linux- many people are trained on Outlook, Photoshop,etc. GIMP isn't as elegant to use, and while Evolution is much more intuitive in a lot of ways, some people just don't want to switch.
-Protocol support. Sorry, but I haven't found a reliable or consistent way to import DOCX/XLSX/etc. files into Openoffice. And Evolution flat out refuses to work with my Exchange server (with the same settings as the Windows partition on the same PC). Sure, I can use IMAP personally and always save as DOC. But every day it's more frequent to get those new Office 2007 files from others, and my work email isn't really a choice for me. If I have to constantly bootup into my Windows partition, Linux is more difficult to use.

I'm really excited about the progress that desktop Linux has made and will make. Wireless support has gone from poor to amazing within the past 3 years, and other hardware support has gotten better too. Repositories have grown, programs have become more stable, distros have become easier (easier than Windows!) to setup and maintain...in a lot of ways, Linux IS "ready for the desktop". The community has a few big issues to tackle before more people adopt it, however.

Re:GUI is ready (cutoff subject title) (1)

Coopjust (872796) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452524)

And, for reasons unknown, Slashdot decided to cutoff my title. Sorry. "GUI is ready, HW support is better, still probs."

Re:GUI is ready, hw (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452646)

I have the opposite problem from you. Evolution (and Entourage) will quite happily talk to my Exchange Server at work, but Outlook flat out refuses to do so.

When will Windows be ready for the desktop? (4, Interesting)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452520)

I am so sick and tired of the when will "Linux be Ready" crap. Linux is far more than ready.

The real issue is the Microsoft monopoly. If Microsoft's monopoly did not distort the computer industry, ISVs and big applications would already be supporting Linux in a big way. Boards and shareholders are cowards, if there is no financial incentive to do it, it won't happen. As long as Windows is preinstalled on over 80% of new desktops, no one would be able compete no matter how good their OS is.

Speaking as a long term Linux user, I laugh at Windows. It is almost useless at its core. It doesn't do anything. It doesn't work well at all. It is a confusing mess of incompatible technologies. The "control panel" is a joke. Its networking ability basic at best.

A kununtu/Ubunto/RHEL desktop is easier to navigate and use. A basic Linux install has so many more features and capabilities. I am *always* saying to Windows users, "let me do it, its easy on Linux."

Supporting Linux is easier too. Ask any "non-moron" internal support person. In my company remote Windows support is a mess of 3rd party utilities. The guys prefer Linux because they can use ssh and don't even have to rely on the user.

The *only* advantage Windows has in the market place is its monopoly position that is being illegally maintained by Microsoft. Basically making it a financially losing proposition for ISVs to support Linux.

For anyone who doubts that Linux is "ready for the desktop." I dare you to install Kubuntu, OpenOffice, Firefox, and all. And honestly try it for a month.

The real question. (3, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452536)

Is Linux ready for a majority position on the desktop. The answer is no and Ill expect it always will be. Because I don't see the desktop being the dominate platform for much longer. As smart phones are getting smarter, replacing many of the most commonly used desktop uses and as the price of powerful hardware is rapidly dropping I am seeing a world where we have more appliances then desktops. The key for Microsoft dominance in the desktop for the past decade has moved from 3rd party software variety to the fact that people need 100% office compatibility. (Even office for the Mac offers 99.999% compatability... not good enough) Open office offers 99% compatibility meaning normally 3 day a year you will need office, to view a document. Now if Microsoft looses it office share or there are complete solutions to share the files Microsoft will go down as well as the desktop. And we will move back towards appliance applications, for personal use. Granted they will be more like under powered desktops but using todays terms for $200.00 you will get a system that is roughly the power of a first generation core solo, a small k unupgradable box with Wi-Fi a keyboard with just office like applications. Games will be relegated to the console. All the appliances will have internet connections so most 3rd party apps will be web based. Yes slashdot will scoff and be overall displeased by this but this direction would seem to make the most sense. As it would be more economical, people will not feel the need to upgrade every 3 years. Closed Source Developers would like it as it can reduce piracy of their software. Desktops will not Die, just as the Mainframe didn't die but the desktops would be more for people like the stereotypical slashdot user who uses more of the PC power then the rest of the population. Nothing says these appliance apps will not run on the desktops.

Yes, let's look to the post-PC future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23452648)

I wish I had an account with karma to mod you up.

The future of appliances and datacenters will still need developers. The critical goal for Linux and OSS in general needs to be maintaining developer interest to always be relevant in these product spaces. Free systems need free software and the ability to modify things.

We need to be "ready for the workstation" and "ready for the grass-roots developer". A hazard for free software is if all commodity-grade, affordable platforms become locked down appliances and we cannot reach out to budget-conscious students and developers.

It's still slow and ugly :-) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23452542)

Linux has come a long way but it is not time to congratulate yourselves yet. There is still work to be done before you can claim to have clearly better alternative to Windows and OSX.

1. Make it BOOT FASTER.
2. Make it REACT TO USER INPUT FASTER. Ubuntu practically has wait cursor as default cursor.
3. Stop pretending to be graphical designers and get help from someone who really knows how to do it. Both KDE and Gnome look like crap out of the box and most themes are not much better.
3. Stop internal bickering and just make everything work together so that users never need to know things like differences between rmp and deb.

I know there probably is a Linux distribution that boots in 1 ms by not loading any drivers and another distribution that reacts user input in -2 ms if run on cluster of 300 Playstation 3s, but that is completely meaningless for desktop use.

Windows has numbers on its side and OS X has religious following, so it's not enough for Linux to be ready for desktop, you have to make it look and behave far better than competition.

p.s. I do like how easy it is to install common programs in Ubuntu. That's one area where Linux has surpassed competition.

I Hate These Threads (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452544)

I hate these threads. Y'know why? Because they're futile, and almost always degenerate into a flame war. I agree with the poster. We really need to move beyond "ready for the desktop". The real question is, whether it's ready for you. The trick with deciding whether or not to use Linux is to try it. If your computer has trouble with it (closed or non-standard hardware), or if there is some program you just have to have, then don't use it, and take the live CD out of the drive. This whole discussion was pointless to begin with.

Are there gui apps ready for it yet? (2, Informative)

shdowhawk (940841) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452568)

Before anyone starts pestering me on this, I want to mention that I've been using *nix based systems for a long while now. I'm a software engineer, and I worked at a linux based ISP for two years on top of it. I've installed countless distro's and eventually stopped using them all (mostly for gaming reasons). The one problem I have every time I go back to loading up gentoo (still my fav) is lack of applications I like.

Example: Trillian [ceruleanstudios.com] for windows / Adium [adiumx.com] for mac (click on Xtras, top right of screen). They're pretty looking, they're functional and have lots of addons. Linux has gaim (which I love actually, but it's the point of the matter. I don't have the option to switch from "clean and basic interface" to "fun with extras").

I'm a web developer, and my favorite database program to date was for Mac (Yoursql [ludit.it] .. or look at this image [minds.nuim.ie] ). It's small, it's light, and it does 99% of what I need (which is just quick look ups and checking data). In this case, I LIKE not having 20 ways to do the same thing with an interface with a billion options. And no, don't tell me to use phpMyAdmin, or to use the command line, that's the easiest way to DETER someone from using linux. Yes I CAN use the command line (all my queries are written from scratch, I dislike those gui query builders).

Next is editors. Simple fixes here and there, I use Vi(m). But for my Php/xml/html/javascript/css, I want to see a program that just does web languages. For Windows and Mac there are TONS of them. For linux, there are a few, and most are either bloated to hell (eclipse, since it handles ALL programming languages for the most part) or just unstable with practically no features (line numbers? good color switching between php/html/css? tabs for multiple windows?). Given Bluefish [openoffice.nl] is good stuff, but programs like this (IMHO) are few and far between.

Mac, I believe has it down the best. There are many programs, and (which is also the problem IMHO) many of them are not meant to do EVERYTHING. In the end though, you have a bunch of options(programs) to choose from, and they're really well built for what they need to do (lots of planning to put only what is generally NEEDED, while spending time to make sure the DESIGNS look good and are simple. The whole "i don't like it because it took too many mouse clicks" mentality that mac users have), instead of one or two programs that are meant to try and do everything =/. As much as I hate to admit it, eye candy is a major player. It's sad because Desktop wise, linux is AMAZING at it Linux vs Vista [youtube.com] (I'm not trying to bash Vista here, i'm just making a point).

While I mentioned web development based things, I'm sure this is generally true for most people in most aspects of computing (I've had a lot of friends mention this about various things). I believe that biggest problem is the idea that "a program should do everything" mentality. When we build some more basic programs that are quick, clean and easy to use for any and all purposes (even basic text editors), then I believe that many more people will start to use linux because they won't be so lost from needing to search all over the internet for "a program to do X" (ubuntu / gentoo / suse all that those threads in their forums, the stuff really isn't that easy to find...) or overwhelmed by seeing the 500 options when they just wanted to write a few notes to themselves. Ubuntu was a great step at simplifying and getting people curious to install, now we just need to add more "stuff" to keep people here! The "Ready for Desktop" can be thrown out as it IS ready for desktop. Now we just need to work on the "Simple and Easy to Use" .. which will eventually lead to the new,shiny,never-been-heard "Year of the Linux Desktop"

When developers can make money... (4, Insightful)

cyclocommuter (762131) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452600)

... writing software for it (Linux Desktop) then it might be ready. Or when when smallish companies which bankroll software figure out a way on how to make money of it. I am not talking Office software here but tax preparation and other small business software for Accounting, Billing, Inventory, etc. It may also help if a small company can hire developers that can develop desktop software on it in true RAD fashion without the need for these developers to know how to do it in C ala Linus.

Also when users of these software (outlined above) are confident that nothing will break after 6 months when it is time for them to upgrade to the latest build of Ubuntu or Simply Mepis, Mandriva, or whatever desktop distro it is they are using, then it is ready for the desktop.

Sorry Guys, It's Definitely NOT Ready (2, Insightful)

Hercules Peanut (540188) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452618)

No, I'm not trolling, I trying to clear the misconception. Linux just isn't ready.

Recently I built a new PC. That puts me in the above average user (not above avg /.) category immediately. I've used DOS, Windows everything, Mac OS everything and even Solaris, This time I tried Mint. It installed beautifully. It was easier and quicker to install than Windows.

Unfortunately, my mainstream Nvidia card did not have drivers and the pkg installer for Mint didn't work. Now what do I do. Well, I had to get out of X. Care to tell me how to do that in Mint? Someone had too. It's a multistep process requiring strange keyboard combinations using function keys. Then I had to run the installer. Double-clicking is intuitive these days "sh" isn't.

Well now my video card works but I can't map any drives and my computer is constantly flooding the network with queries (how embarrassing). Our IT department is wanting to know what I was doing. I don't know. I manage to figure out the circuitous route to accessing shared drives on the network but when I doubleclick on the openoffice document on one of those network drives, I see the open office splash screen but it never opens the document. I learn that there is more to do than just "get to" the shared drives.

I finally gave up, formatted the drive and installed Windows. I'm not a hacker or even an overclocker anymore. I'm an administrator now and the final straw was when I realized that work was piling up on me while I fiddled with my OS. Playing with linux was cool but when it all boiled down to it, I had work to do and just wanted to get my job done.

I know, that's just one distro but how does anyone know which distro is right? I tried another whose name I cannot remember. It was worse. Sure, if I had a linux guy around I could have had him set it up for me but that's the point. You need a linux guy and until that changes, it's just not ready IMHO.

Yes, it is my humble opinion but I seem to recall that Red Hat shares it. [slashdot.org] I'm glad to see linux. I'm glad it's getting better. It's a great thing for the computer industry and will only get better as long as we don't delude ourselves into believing it is something that it is not. At least not yet.

P.S.
For all of you who have "set up a machine" for their parents and it "works just fine", I submit that requiring an expert to set up a system for an end user is the very definition of "not ready". In today's world that end user (even Mom) might need to change something, install something new, access something different and then things require an expert to "ssh in to fix things".

Re:Sorry Guys, It's Definitely NOT Ready (3, Interesting)

shish (588640) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452776)

For all of you who have "set up a machine" for their parents and it "works just fine", I submit that requiring an expert to set up a system for an end user is the very definition of "not ready".

By that defenition, Windows isn't ready either :-|

In today's world that end user (even Mom) might need to change something, install something new, access something different

My parents have found changing settings and installing programs easier on linux (Ubuntu) than Windows :-P

Re:Sorry Guys, It's Definitely NOT Ready (1)

neuromanc3r (1119631) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452790)

For all of you who have "set up a machine" for their parents and it "works just fine", I submit that requiring an expert to set up a system for an end user is the very definition of "not ready".
And how exactly is that different from Windows? I'm definitely not a Linux fanboi, but Windows is not ready to be set up by my parents (without my help) either.

UI is an interesting problem (2, Insightful)

Josh Booth (588074) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452662)

My girlfriend's dad just got her a Mac, and for the first day I found that I had a vicious Mac envy. But on the second day of using it, I am ready to go back to my three year Dell with Kubuntu. The explanation is simple: Mac OS X looks great and is intuitive, but doesn't fit my workflow well. This is pretty much the same reasoning Linus has against GNOME--the stuff he wants to do is not trivially possible.

In most ways, GNU+Linux is ready for the desktop: it has almost all of the required applications, they provide the requisite features, and they work. These are the requirements for 80% of the people who use a computer: they just want something that works and are willing to learn, but just once. As long as you don't change anything, they are fine. These people would adapt to a KDE, GNOME, Mac OS X, Windows, or Sugar desktop equally well, for that matter. And the main reason is that they feel they have far too many other things that are important in their lives to worry about how efficient they are on their computer, regardless of how many hours of their life they could reclaim by investing another hour learning a new interface.

But those 20% of users who are power users are the ones who are worried about whether Linux is ready for the desktop. Once you didn't /need/ to do anything from the commandline, Linux was ready. But for those power users, they typically have some efficiency axe to grind (myself included). Linus complained that GNOME didn't let him map some mouse key to some obscure function (among others). Mac weenies demand that everything looks as though it works out of the box the first time, even though it really doesn't. Windows junkies want to be able to download some spyware-laden utility to magically give them 2 fps more on Quake or make the desktop do something goofy. I just want an orthogonal interface--is that too much to ask? Needless to say, these people will never be appeased.

It seems to me that one day, we will be able to combine all of these concepts programmatically, and the result would be a really wonderful piece of software. But that has got to be at least 20 years away.

Either way, GNU+Linux is ready for the desktop for most people, but the cost of retraining 80% of the computer-using population is high. That is why I thought it was great to install Linux by default on these tiny laptops, because it is extremely appropriate to use Linux over Windows XP to take advantage of the low power and storage, and people are willing to learn a new piece of hardware. But Micro$oft is quickly killing that idea with XP on the new EEE PCs. Oh well.

Which version is ready? (1)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452706)

If I was to say Linux is ready for the mass desktop market, I would say, sure, the 32 bit version probably is. The 64 bit version certainly is not. For the average Windows user, it would be impossibly difficult to install the 32/64bit kludge to get the 32bit Flash / 32bit Java* (for websites), and 32bit Skype running with ease on a 64bit setup.

When I finally started to seriously use Linux after playing around on-off for years, I had a new 64 bit machine which I setup to dual boot with Windows XP. While I now use Linux most of the time, Linux still cannot do ANALOGUE video capture properly and video editing is problematic and not refined as some Windows packages. The webcam support, while not the fault of Linux, is still bad. Usenet readers are bad, in Linux they all seem to assume you're constantly on-line 24/7, and most don't save locally what you post. And on KDE, compiz uses far more system resources then Beryl (they never did seem to merge the best bits of Beryl back to Compiz).

Some packages like Skype are light-years behind in development compared to the Windows versions.

* There is a 64 bit version of Java that does work with Firefox, but has may problem sites where it just refuses to run.

What do you really need to be "ready"? (2, Insightful)

sircastor (1051070) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452742)

Interpreting "Ready for the Desktop" to mean "ready for an average computer user" is something that probably never happen for Linux... In fact, It won't happen for Mac OS X either. Years and years ago when I used to be a crazed Defender of the Apple Faith, I would scratch my head at Windows. It did things weird (to me), and after logically thinking it out, those things were often unnecessarily complicated. But when a windows user would need to know how to do something on a Mac, the method would always be bizarre to them. Even though the Mac way made more sense logically, and it was more intuitive, they had been taught to work a different way. People don't like change. They don't like learning new ways of doing old things (in general), especially if they are our Moms, Dads Grandparents, or Anyone else who doesn't work with technology regularly. So there are only two ways that Linux will be "ready for the desktop", or ready for the regular Joe-schmoe: 1) Linux behaves like windows 2) Windows becomes so uncommon that the interface and it's idiosyncrasies become non-standard I don't see either of those things happening in the near future.

Something else I thought of. (1)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 6 years ago | (#23452772)

The Windows economy seems to be able to "hurt" the Linux economy but not vice versa. One of the things Linux needs to be able to do is defeat its enemies. Defeating its enemies is something it isn't doing very well and I for one would love to take the offensive position and really do some damage to Microsoft AND Apple.
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