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Why Linux Can't 'Sell' On the Desktop

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the everybody-knows-tuxes-are-expensive dept.

Linux 1091

New submitter VoyagerRadio writes "Recently I found myself struggling with a question I should easily have been able to answer: Why would anyone want to use Linux as their everyday desktop (or laptop) operating system? It's a fair question, and asked often of Linux, but I'm finding it to be a question I can no longer answer with the conviction necessary to 'sell' the platform. In fact, I kind of feel like a car salesman who realizes he no longer believes in the product he's been pitching. It's not that I don't find Linux worthy; I simply don't understand how it's ever going to succeed on the desktop with voluntary marketing efforts. What do Linux users need to do to replicate the marketing efforts of Apple and Microsoft and other corporate operating system vendors? To me, it seems you don't sell Linux at all because there isn't supposed to be one dominant distribution that stands out from the rest. Without a specific product to put on the shelf to sell, what in the world do you focus your efforts on selling? An idea?"

cancel ×

1091 comments

first post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424851)

frst post

heh (5, Interesting)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424855)

What do Linux users need to do to replicate the marketing efforts of Apple and Microsoft and other corporate operating system vendors?
 
Spend millions of dollars on advertising and even more in subsidies to hardware manufacturers (or like Apple make your own hardware.) But I have no idea why anyone would want to do that. Though I confess, I don't really care if Linux gets the kind of broad use that Windows has or even OSX. I used to worry about it, because I had a fear that if not enough people used Linux it might go away. But now Linux is so incredibly successful on the server and phone that I'm not worried about that any more.
 
I really hate Apple - their whole approach but more and more I find myself telling people, "Hey, if you can afford it try out Apple." It seems to work well for normals. They appear to have less issues than the normals running Windows. Frankly, I don't get it, but then again - I don't care. I just want people to be able to do what they want so they can leave me alone so I can focus on doing what I want - which means using Linux. I'm glad I'm not dependent on winning over people that are willing pay extra for devices that are locked down physically and ideologically. (Nobody needs to get their panties in a bunch defending Apple to me. I've heard all the reason people like their stuff. It's not that I don't understand - I just don't agree. I find their products to be aesthetically pleasing as long as I don't actually have to use them.)
 
And of course MS had to break the law to get the install numbers they had. I'm not willing to go that route either for Linux.

Re:heh (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424907)

I think we have done it completely wrong for a long time. Asking people to please use a platform is counter productive. Telling them they can't have it could be a better solution.

Re:heh (5, Funny)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425001)

That's funny. I need to start quickly shutting off the monitors on my desk whenever someone walks into my office.

Them: What'cha doin?
Me: Nothing. Nothing at all.
Them: Why'd you turn off your computer?
Me: Well, actually I just turned off.. Never mind. Well I use this special operating system, I'm not even supposed to talk about it.
Them: Operating System?
Me: The software it runs, like Windows or Mac
Them: Really? Who made it secret?
Me: It's just an unspoken rule. It's rather expensive and very limited in who is allowed to use it.
Them: Wow. What would it take for me to get it?

Re:heh (4, Interesting)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425103)

So, the first run of Linux adoption is don't talk about Linux adoption? ;-)

Re:heh (4, Funny)

IceNinjaNine (2026774) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425133)

The first rule of Linux is that you do not talk about Linux.

The second rule of Linux is that YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT LINUX.

... two geeks walking past each other in the hallway with a knowing nod and a calluses on their fingers from their Happy Hacking keyboards...

Re:heh (3, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424953)

What do Linux users need to do to replicate the marketing efforts of Apple and Microsoft and other corporate operating system vendors? Spend millions of dollars on advertising and even more in subsidies to hardware manufacturers (or like Apple make your own hardware.)

Don't forget the smear campaigns and FUD about other operating systems, threats to sue end users over patent infringement, etc.

Re:heh (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424961)

I agree. Also, I don't think I would want Linux distro's to go through the changes it would require to make it feasible for every end user, it would ruin it's niche. I have seen this happen to Ubuntu the last few changes, and it's a step in the wrong direction IMHO.

Re:heh (1, Insightful)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425007)

I'm glad I'm not dependent on winning over people that are willing pay extra for devices that are locked down physically and ideologically

unfortunately this applies to Linux more than any other OS. Which graphics card drivers do you use? If you don't care and use the proprietary ones from the card maker, fine. If you get all panty-bunched about they have to be open, then you're just as bad as Apple is with their locked-down-only stuff.

Re:heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39425091)

marketing of MS and APPL is to push their OS -- pre installed due to agreements between hardware manufacturers en MS/APPL. I guess everybody in the chain is making a buck in it.
market dominance enhances market dominance -- with MS and APPL in more recent years Linux as a very good alternative doesn't come into peoples mind when buying a personal computer. they just want a computer, nothing else. lawful refund of the unused OS fails, people stick around where they are.
Freedom as in FOSS is no isue for regular PC buyers. they just want one that works out of the box

marketing of Linux is about Freedom of Choice. this seems to be only relevant for who is interested in it.
low start and maintenance costs and stability recently are relevant, eg when governments restructure IT and have to keep their budgets small.

when more and more governments, schools, hospitals start using Linux the user-on-the-job wil become experienced with the beauty of Linux. they see how it works and maybe consider it for themselves. in the early days workers 'borrowed' MS software to use at home, that too made Redmond big. when workers discover that this is possible with Linux and without legal or financial charges, persuasion to switch is emerging.

it is just a matter of time until the better solution wil spread out...

Re:heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39425109)

If it was pre-installed on new laptops and seemlessly auto ran a VM for applications (e.g. Games, Viso, project) that have no real substitute then people would just use it.
Perhaps create a bunch of make my Linux machine like this one (e.g. Office desktop, gaming VM, web server, or give me everything...)
Also repos like rpmfusion need to turned on as standard, perhaps some sort of paypal/yum appstore with a flawless sytem woud be good.
Auto install stuff like the missing plugin options like codecs rather than ask pointless questions (less options is the Apple way and is really popular, too many options is just intimidating, and most likely buggy, but make sure there is a way geeks can still set the options)
Better dependency checks when kernel is updated and kernel modules need recompiling (e.g. AMD/NVIDwhy proprietors drivers, why does it have to _always_ break)
Faster close window for the 3rd time kills the process (e.g. xorg leads both KDE and Gnome frequent lock up due to shared resources)
Qt vs GTK+ debarckle, just choose one and stick with it. Stuff like that.

Re:heh (1)

kevleyski (1416845) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425203)

If it was pre-installed on new laptops and seemlessly auto ran a VM for applications (e.g. Games, Viso, project) that have no real substitute then people would just use it. Perhaps create a bunch of make my Linux machine like this one (e.g. Office desktop, gaming VM, web server, or give me everything...) Also repos like rpmfusion need to turned on as standard, perhaps some sort of paypal/yum appstore with a flawless sytem woud be good. Auto install stuff like the missing plugin options like codecs rather than ask pointless questions (less options is the Apple way and is really popular, too many options is just intimidating, and most likely buggy, but make sure there is a way geeks can still set the options) Better dependency checks when kernel is updated and kernel modules need recompiling (e.g. AMD/NVIDIA, why does it have to _always_ break on minor updates, stop changing the headers guys) Faster close window for the 3rd time kills the process (e.g. xorg leads both KDE and Gnome frequent lock up due to shared resources) Qt vs GTK+ debarckle, just choose one and stick with it. Stuff like that.

Gamer often left behind even though hardware and software capable... support for DirectX or a DirectX to OpenGL

Re:heh (4, Interesting)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425149)

It's much much much more simple than that. Be usable, have a massive pile of good applications.

Why not (4, Insightful)

dokc (1562391) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424859)

Why would anyone want to use Linux as their everyday desktop (or laptop) operating system?

Why not? It simply works, I can do whatever I want.

Re:Why not (5, Interesting)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424899)

Why would anyone want to use Linux as their everyday desktop (or laptop) operating system?

Why not? It simply works, I can do whatever I want.

And you can do that without having to buy (or steal) 50 expensive software packages to get the complete functionality you expect of a desktop or laptop workstation.

I only keep a Windows box around so I can play commercial games. For me, it's just a glorified game console.

Re:Why not (1)

dokc (1562391) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424985)

I only keep a Windows box around so I can play commercial games. For me, it's just a glorified game console.

I don't play commercial games anymore. The only reason why I have one virtual machine with Windows is to use Tax software and if I need something to scan (stupid cheap scanners)

Re:Why not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424955)

"It simply works" -> no, it does not. It works great, but it is not "grandma simple". The iPad and some android tablets are. The Apple marketing mantra "for the rest of us" just does not apply to Linux (yet?). But the vast majority of people tend to be Grandma, more than "concerned user"

1 - "I want to do some stuff, but I want something so simple a 5 year old or my grandma can use"
2 - "I can do whatever I want"
choose one

Apple has chosen 1 a long time ago, so has Microsoft recently.
Linux is for people who chose 2, and there are a really really tiny minority

Re:Why not (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39425003)

"It simply works" -> no, it does not. It works great, but it is not "grandma simple".

Bollocks.

The iPad is "grandma simple" in the same way as the VCR is "grandma simple". I.e. as long as granny only does what she's allowed and the system doesn't have any problems or errors.

"Apple has chosen 1 a long time ago"

NO. Apple has chosen "I will TELL you what you will do, therefore it will be easy to do".

Re:Why not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39425065)

Apple has chosen "I will TELL you what you will do, therefore it will be easy to do".

Yes, that is the answer they provided for the grandma problem. That may not be to your liking, but it solves the issue efficiently.

Re:Why not (4, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425161)

Simple for Slashdoters != Simple for everyone

Most Slashdoters belong to a extremely small minority of the market for computers, tablets and smartphones.

I'm not saying Linux is too hard for most people to use, but the perception that Linux is "for geeks" is a serious obstacle. Letting the masses know that "Linux is preferred by geeks rather than Linux is only for geeks" would be a great first step.

Re:Why not (1)

dokc (1562391) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425015)

no, it does not. It works great, but it is not "grandma simple".

For me is important to be "me simple".

Re:Why not (4, Interesting)

dskoll (99328) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425115)

My 80-yr-old mother uses Linux. It was not "grandma simple" to install and set up (I did that for her), but she certainly has no trouble using it.

Re:Why not (2)

Darfeld (1147131) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425147)

That's simply not true.

Ubuntu, to name the most obvious distribution, make linux grandma simple. As much as a windows at least.

As for iPad/Android/whatever, if your grandma isn't able to work things out with Windows/Linux/OSX, she probably won't be able to figure that out too.

If people are afraid of technology, they will stay away from complex devices, no matter how "easy to use" they are. If they aren't they can handle Windows or Linux, as long as they don't mess with edgy stuff. Windows has an advantage here, because most people, even some "technology afraid people" have been forced to do stuff with it, have learned the basics and are at least familiar with it. Apple has for him that it's smart things for smart people. Well that's what "they" say anyway. Linux has a rep of being complex and difficult to understand. It's true, as much as Windows or OSX, and it's irrelevant for most user. It's even simpler : to install a software, you launch the app Store and search for it then click install button. To launch a software, you click it's icon in the menu, pretty much like windows anyway. most users don't need to know more. (And grandma certainly doesn't)

Re:Why not (1)

olehenning (1090423) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424973)

That's not really the question posed though. He's asking whether or not a massive increase in market share would be possible without the marketing efforts of Microsoft and Apple. He even stated "It's not that I don't find Linux worthy ...." And it's a fair point. I don't see GNU/Linux "making it" in the desktop marketplace for a while. Most people aren't willing to go out of their way to try something different if they get what they want quickly and easily just by using their wallets.

Re:Why not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424981)

This might be true. For me, however, the experience is that Linux is more troublesome than Windows (7). As much as I'd like to use Linux mainly, it's just been more comfortable running Windows as the main OS and a minimal Linux for coding/working in a virtual machine. It might be possible to configure Linux, such that it works, but for me it unfortunatley has never been "it just works".

Re:Why not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39425057)

but for me [Linux] unfortunatley has never been "it just works".

As opposed to MS Windows, where apparently in order to enter Unicode char codes I need to create a registry key AND REBOOT?

Really? How is that "ready for the desktop"?

Whereas in Linux I pressed Ctrl-Shift-U, typed the Unicode char and went straight to the IDNised website. I then e-mailed the URL to my work account and clicked on it in Outlook.

Re:Why not (2)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425093)

Most people do not have such needs and as such that is not a problem for them. And generally "ready for desktop" is quantified by what most people need.

Re:Why not (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39425217)

It doesn't sound like you've done very many bare metal, clean installs of both OS's in various situations when you make a comment like that. I've found different Linux distros much easier to get a complete, working OS with a full desktop environment than with Windows. Less hassle with device drivers, and running Microsoft Update on a clean install can take hours (even using a time saving utility like AutoPatcher). For some advance video cards and a lot of external devices like all-in-one printers Windows has a edge because manufacturers tend to ignore the Linux platform but there's no question in my mind that just doing a basic clean install is easier with Linux than with Windows. Even if you have a separate working PC already at your disposal, just try ignoring it as a test and do a couple of Windows clean installs on a couple of different boxes -- on at least one of the two you'll run into a problem with you try to get online to find missing device drivers when one of them is the NIC.

Re:Why not (3, Insightful)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424995)

I think that's probably one of the biggest problems. A lot of people a use to doing what they're told, not what they want. When confronted with too much choice a lot of people just curl up into little balls and cry. Figuratively speaking of course.

Re:Why not (1, Troll)

Mojo66 (1131579) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425139)

Why not? It simply works, I can do whatever I want.

That's not my experience. First off, I'm a UNIX sysadmin. I'm running Ubuntu 10.04 on a low-power Atom box at home. Recently I wanted to quickly burn some data on a DVD. But all programs I tried either produced a coaster or crashed. The problem was that the /tmp partition couldn't hold the intermediate image file that every program created. So we have like 20 GUI frontends to the cdwrite framework, but every single one produces an intermediate image, during my quick search I couldn't find a single one that burns data on the fly. I had to copy the data over the network to my iMac.

And that is the proble with Linux. While Apple and Microsoft ship their OSes with a set of working apps that cover most of the average user's needs, Linux distros come with a gazillion number of "My first app" quality software that does one particular thing better than all the other apps but fails in 90% of the rest.

What's needed is a concerted effort to develop a set of feature-complete apps that cover the basic functionality, and not waste resources into yet another mp3 player. It's nice to be able to choose between Gnome and KDE etc. but the average user prefers one set of feature-complete apps over choosing between a dozen varieties of the same functionality that all lack features.

previous info, repeated (4, Insightful)

pbjones (315127) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424875)

ask not what OS is for you, ask what your OS can do. After the shine wears off it's about what you use a computer for. I play 1 on-line game, read the news, and catch up with a few people on FB. And I have have a diffrent machine for eMail. If Linux does what you want, use it, you don't have to sell it to anyone.

Why do you need to sell it to people? (5, Insightful)

lattyware (934246) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424879)

Really, why? If you can't think of a good reason for someone to use it - it's probably not for them. I've been a Linux desktop user for ages, and I'd find Windows horrible to go back to now, but I get that it's not the same for everyone.

Look, I'm not saying you shouldn't let people know Linux exists and show them how it could help them, but don't get obsessive about it.

Re:Why do you need to sell it to people? (4, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424937)

Really, why? If you can't think of a good reason for someone to use it - it's probably not for them. I've been a Linux desktop user for ages, and I'd find Windows horrible to go back to now, but I get that it's not the same for everyone.

Look, I'm not saying you shouldn't let people know Linux exists and show them how it could help them, but don't get obsessive about it.

Yeah, I'm always amused at the notion that we "should" market Linux. So long as there are enough participants to support a well-rounded free software environment, Linux will have its niche.

It's not competing with OSes sold for other niches.

Also, its purpose is to let geeks do stuff they want to do, not to saturate the consumer market or pump up someone's stock portfolio.

There's no reason for its creators, users, or proponents to do anything other than what they've always done.

'cause it's better (1, Insightful)

rastos1 (601318) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424885)

Why would anyone want to use Linux as their everyday desktop (or laptop) operating system?

In no particular order:

  • no viruses
  • no forced upgrades
  • better functionality (stuff like kioslaves, etc ...)
  • customization
  • price
  • the system does what I tell it to do. Not more, not less, and not what some DRM/*AA/SW vendors wants.
  • less demanding on HW

Re:'cause it's better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424943)

no viruses

I find this disagreeable. There are viruses for Linux, but they are much fewer and far between than Windows/Mac ones, because they are more popular as targets, as they can effect a higher percentage of people. Also, Linux viruses rely on the user making dumb decisions(ie. Running a program from an untrusted source), but isn't this the same for Windows/Mac computers? I don't think a Windows computer that was sitting around doing nothing would get any viruses.

Nope, fewer viruses because Linux is harder (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39425177)

Nope, fewer viruses because Linux is harder to infect. There are as many or more Linux desktops than Mac ones, and if market share were correlated with virus loads, then Apache would be the most virus laden product in the world, as opposed to Windows with that "honour".

"I don't think a Windows computer that was sitting around doing nothing would get any viruses."

As long as you don't connect it to the internet, aye.

But you can STILL get a drive-by virus even with the latest, most secure, most up-to-date Windows OS. You don't have to do anything other than connect to the internet.

PS why would you buy an OS, tout "all the things you do with it" then let it sit around doing nothing? Would it not be cheaper and easier not to buy the computer at all?

Re:Nope, fewer viruses because Linux is harder (3, Insightful)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425243)

There are as many or more Linux desktops than Mac ones

I really doubt that.

then Apache would be the most virus laden product in the world, as opposed to Windows with that "honour".

You're comparing apples and oranges; Apache is a web server, Windows is an OS. Compare Linux to Windows and Apache to IIS.

But you can STILL get a drive-by virus even with the latest, most secure, most up-to-date Windows OS. You don't have to do anything other than connect to the internet.

Don't try to spread lies, that hasn't been true for a good while now. That was true with XP, yes, not now. And heck, even with XP that was no longer true after SP2 which enabled firewall by default.

Re:'cause it's better (4, Insightful)

metacell (523607) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425201)

No, it's not the same. Until Windows Vista, the vast majority of users were logged in on accounts with full Administrator priveleges on their local computers. That made it much easier for small security loopholes to escalate into big security loopholes when a user ran a program or visited a web site they shouldn't have. Even on Windows Vista, users tended to turn off the security features because they were badly designed and too cumbersome. And remember that the decade-old Windows XP is still the most widely used Microsoft OS (unless it's been overtaken in the last year).

Also, until around the turn of the millenium, Microsoft didn't believe in the Internet. It may sound ludicrous today, but Microsoft claimed the Internet's popularity wouldn't last, and instead pushed their own proprietary online service, Microsoft Network, which, back then, was similar to America Online. Microsoft products were adapted to a LAN environment, not an Internet environment, so their security was seriously lagging behind, and it took many years for them to catch up.

Internet Explorer has also historically had much more security problems than the most popular browsers on competing operating systems (Safari, Firefox, Chrome, etc).

Saying that Windows OSes get more viruses because they're more widely used is only part of the answer.

Re:'cause it's better (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425021)

One of the biggest issues is that many people have software and/or hardware that do not work under Linux. Like e.g. it totally sucks for gaming, MTP-support is still hit-and-miss, and with smartphones getting ever more popular there's plenty of software to run, none of which works under Linux --atleast I am not aware of any vendor shipping Linux-software--, and as I said, hardware may not work at all, works slowly, or is missing features.

Not going to happen. Windows is "good enough" (5, Insightful)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424891)

I don't think the answer here is about Linux, I think it's about Windows. Simply put, there isn't enough "wrong" with Windows these days.

There was, I felt, a moment where Linux had a chance to make a breakthrough onto the mainstream desktop. It was around the point where Windows ME was failing horribly and Windows 2000 had yet to get much public acceptance. At that point, there was a lot wrong with Windows. The technology underpinning 95/98/ME was creaking horribly. It's hard to believe now, but if you were a heavy PC user (particularly a gamer) back then, your Win98 machine would need daily reboots just to maintain basic performance and stability. Over on 2000, until it got a service pack or two, there were horrible compatibility issues with many applications, particularly those that required directx.

And then the moment passed. Windows 2000 got patched up and then Windows XP went on, after a rocky start, to become a stable, pleasant to use OS. Even the debacle of the Vista launch couldn't undermine the general dominance of Windows - because the major competition to Vista was coming from XP, not from Linux.

If you want to unseat the dominant market player, you have to not just be better than them, but be a lot better. It's not just that you have to have a few killer features; you have to be able to at least match the dominant player in every other significant respect as well. Linux is nowhere near that kind of position in respect of Windows these days (take gaming support as a case in point, but there are plenty of other examples).

Re:Not going to happen. Windows is "good enough" (5, Interesting)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424957)

It will be interesting to see how Win 8 fares. I agree that Windows is not horrific for normal desktop usage at home. Windows 7 has progressed to be close enough to my Linux/KDE setup that I actually don't mind it too much, especially with power shell. But the changes in 8 are rather significant. I've been running the preview in a VM on my Fedora box and there are some huge changes. I think MS may continue pushing more customers to Apple with it. I don't see it being much of a boon for Linux because Linux just isn't on most people's radar.

Re:Not going to happen. Windows is "good enough" (3, Informative)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425011)

I think the problem for MS's competitors is that, as we saw with the Vista launch, even if MS get something badly wrong, they've got a market dominance safety margin because a) their older OSes are still out there and usable, barring some kind of actual kill-switch and b) the competition needs, in many key areas, a few years to catch up to them even if MS stands still.

Agree that Apple rather than Linux is the more dangerous competitor for MS, particularly if Apple starts to take gaming more seriously in a post-Jobs world. Don't underestimate how many people's OS choice is driven by the games that they and/or their kids play. And it's in gaming support that MS is currently many years ahead of the competition (gaming on Linux appears to have made little substantive progress over the last decade).

Re:Not going to happen. Windows is "good enough" (3, Interesting)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424967)

don't worry, Ballmer won't let you down. Metro is coming.

Question is: Why *should* it happen? (3, Insightful)

F69631 (2421974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425027)

It's important that we have a free (both meanings of the word) alternative for an operating system for those who want it. However, as long as the existence of that alternative is relatively safe it just comes down to competition. You need to invest something (money, time, etc.) to a system and you gain something from it (be it the knowledge that your system is "free", more stability or the UI and applications you prefer) and if most people say that they'd rather go with Windows... why is that "wrong"?

I guess you can make the point "They might not say that if they KNEW more about Linux" but at that point you are no longer asking "How to increase Linux market share" but rather "How to educate people about Linux so we get more competition" which should be approached with an entirely different mindset. I find it difficult to even think "We should boycott MS because it's EVIL"... Maybe it still is so, but there are so many even more horrible corporations around that I feel a bit apathetic about that.

Summa summarum... If you know that someone would benefit from Linux, it should be easy to sell. If you don't know, why should you even try to?

Re:Not going to happen. Windows is "good enough" (3, Informative)

ratboy666 (104074) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425095)

Actually, I think you have that backwards. Windows 95/98/ME were trying to compete with Linux. Microsoft used illegal means to compete -- fair competition would have resulted in OS/2 and Linux on top.

Finally, in 2001, Windows XP achieved some parity with Linux and OS/2.

OS/2 has gone away; Linux hasn't. But, even today, Windows 7 is no particular match for Linux. Does Windows run on Z-series mainframes? Sparc? Anything other than x86? Big-endian? Embedded? With how much compatibility?

The Linux kernel is remarkably successful. What is amazing is that even with all the illegal efforts at exploiting a monopoly, and actual engineering efforts that have been put into Windows 7, that Linux is even considered competitive.

Z-series mainframe as a desktop? (4, Insightful)

F69631 (2421974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425241)

OS/2 has gone away; Linux hasn't. But, even today, Windows 7 is no particular match for Linux. Does Windows run on Z-series mainframes? Sparc? Anything other than x86? Big-endian? Embedded? With how much compatibility?

The discussion is about desktops so pretty much none of that is relevant... Or maybe there is relevance that you didn't elaborate enough and I'm just not getting? I don't think that anyone here denies that Linux is superior to Windows in that kind of specialized systems but that's just not important in this context.

Looks bad from neck deep in the malware swamp (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425187)

It's not good enough by a long way, it's just better it was last year. Many people probably even had less frustration with their Microsoft systems ten years ago.

Wrong Approach (3, Interesting)

Penguinshit (591885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424895)

You don't sell Linux as a product: You sell it as an idea.

The idea is that you can do anything you want with it.

Re:Wrong Approach (3, Insightful)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425037)

General populace is not interested in ideas. That's the whole crux of the thing; they want something concrete, they do not care about the ideas behind the product as long as they can feel they got what they wanted.

Re:Wrong Approach (1)

Penguinshit (591885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425179)

That's exactly what I mean. "What do you want?" I chose Linux because I could do what I wanted.

Re:Wrong Approach (2, Insightful)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425251)

I chose Windows because Linux couldn't do what I wanted.

Dear god this blog post is terrible (5, Funny)

Idimmu Xul (204345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424905)

It's a Livejournal period drama featuring Teamspeak, Gnomies and Google+ hangouts; a total mashup of the entire Internet.

It name drops, it backlinks, it links images with contribution, it bolds, "quotes", paraphrases and italics. There's even a google advert.

It just doesn't say anything at all. Which is quite impressive considering how long it is.

If only it was compressed down to 140 characters, might have been less painful to read.

Re:Dear god this blog post is terrible (1)

Voogen (2600143) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425043)

That's just the LockerGnome style, it seems to me that they see themselves as a bit of a tightly knit community and it is common for them to name drop members of that community as though the whole of humanity should know who "superstar" Stacy Pharis is... Superstar? Why? Who is he? Also, from what I hear they will do more of these "personal" stories. To me it seems rather pointless. Some dude who we don't know anything about has some doubts about the OS he is using and discusses this with "superstar" Stacy Pharis who in the community is a relatively well known Linux sceptic.

Re:Dear god this blog post is terrible (1)

Idimmu Xul (204345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425107)

When I saw the word LockerGnome I was like 'wow, Gnome developers criticising Linux on the desktop', i didn't realise it was more a community circle jerk :o

Love it but wouldn't recommend it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424913)

Do i really want to be held responsible by my friends and family everytime some sloppy update breaks their system? Hell no.

Nor do i want to be held responsible for the sham that is community support. (When you post a well thought out question complete with technical info, logs, etc., and you wait 3 weeks for someone to acknowledge the problem even exists.)

Nor do i want to be one of those asses that get people to install linux and then give them shit for not buying linux-ready peripherals.

It works... (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424915)

It works, is robust and zero maintenance.

Just marketing? (0)

Racemaniac (1099281) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424917)

How about you start with a product that everyone can use?

Linux is a great hobby project for computer enthousiast. You can change anything, and can get just about every possible thing you can imagine to work. But it takes time, looking around on forums, trial and error, etc...

I've tried linux a few times in the past, and for just basic desktop usage it was fine (still not perfect though, when my pc was having troubles, and i temporarily booted from a ubuntu livecd, it took my mother a whole 15 minutes to get stuck in firefox while browsing, and in all honesty i didn't know enough to get out of it in a nice way euther. I just did ctrl-alt-backspace and logged in again and went back to firefox).

But everything extra, things i can easily do on my windows, just always have to be hard on linux it seems... When my pc was new, and i had the latest and greatest nvidia graphics card. There were no driver binaries, and after lots of trying and reading forums, i still didn''t manage to compile it and get it to run on my ubuntu -_- (yeah, this was two years ago, but lets be honest, it'll still be the same shit now).

You can market it all you want, as long as people who actually try it notice that it's just not polished for your average user, they'll quit, and will share it with their friends, and that'll undo whatever great marketing you did...

Linux is a great product, it's just not aimed at desktop users. Not sure why people so desperately want to target that audience... And if you really want to target them, start by making the product usable by those people without an IT'er who has to be reachable all the time to help them...

It doesn't 'sell'... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424919)

Not everyone wants to spend their pc time being an 'admin'. And most of the *nix come off that way.

That attitude comes out to end users who don't give a damm about the politics, details and legalities of the software world. They just want their pc to work.

And mostly mac and windows does that. Mostly.

Hardly ever see another os having people bicker over various versions, flavors and forks.

It's Unity, stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424921)

I used to proudly recommend Ubuntu for the desktop. Now I run Gnome 3, but can't suggest that non-default mess as a solution for noobs.

Marketing is not the problem (5, Insightful)

dejanc (1528235) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424927)

I make my living on Linux I spend and for the last 12 years I've been using it on desktop. I am very happy with Linux - I spend better part of my day in Linux consoles on various servers. However, 6 months ago I switched to Mac OS X for my desktop needs and I'm not going back. Why?

Firstly, now I have a sane desktop environment which doesn't change often. It took some time to adjust to it's workflow, but with 27'' screen it wasn't that hard (just keep everything open).

Secondly, I get access to all applications I need - ranging from Adobe products to MS Office to various ingenious applications from independent developers. I can still access all console utilities that I had under linux, so nothing is lost but a lot is gained.

Finally, I get a better software selection than I had with any distribution I tried. The foundation is solid, I don't have to worry kernel upgrade will break binary graphic drivers (which I also get from e.g. Debian Stable), but I can keep Firefox, Virtualbox, etc. up-to-date with a click of a button (which I would get from a rolling release distribution).

Simply put: Linux is great, and there are many excellent distributions out there. But until they settle on a DE (including broken DE's like early versions of Gnome 3 or KDE 4 is just not acceptable) and until Adobe, Microsoft et al. start selling their software for Linux, many people will simply not be satisfied with Linux desktop - which has very little to do with Linux itself.

It doesn't have to (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424931)

Really.. First, stop bothering about selling. Seeing the world only from the eyes of a marketeer puts the focus on the wrong things, stuff i'd almost tend to call 'fake'. We see enough fake already. I'm glad that `linux` focuses on quality, and is not driven by the force of sales but by the force of functionality.

Secondly, if you look at it's major competitor on the desktop - it's a player that's doing every effort to drive the serious user away from it, Linux doesn't have to sell itself - Redmond will. Noobification, putting a price tag on everything, vendor lock in, just to mention a few. It scared me off in the long run, it scared others away, and it will scare average joe away, just it may take a while. 'Windows' is no longer a product worth to pay a price for, to get 'ease of use' back in return. It's a monkey on your back, nagging the customer into a way of operating the computer that's anything but user friendly.

games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424939)

for the dual boots out there:
ask yourself why do you still use windows?
personally i still use them for gaming, there's no other reason to use windows, i can do everything i want in linux, for free, but i cant play games.

bring some serious game titles to linux and people will follow, it's common sense.

Re:games (2)

satuon (1822492) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425113)

I need a Windows partition to be able to use HDMI to play movies on my TV. On Linux there's a loud whistling noise every 10 seconds, and I can't get smooth playback of 1080p videos even though I have core i3. On Windows 1080p videos play flawlessly and audio is OK.

Re:games (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425223)

for the dual boots out there: ask yourself why do you still use windows? personally i still use them for gaming, there's no other reason to use windows, i can do everything i want in linux, for free, but i cant play games.

bring some serious game titles to linux and people will follow, it's common sense.

Ordinance Survey get a map [ordnancesu...sure.co.uk]

Have to learn to walk before you can run (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424941)

How about making it work with graphics cards that use VGA cables? From four stories ago [slashdot.org] :

There's still a problem with Llano VGA in Linux 3.3 ... (as) a workaround, you can use a HDMI/DVI connection instead of VGA.

Linux still isn't trouble-free (5, Interesting)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424947)

The biggest problem is, IMHO, inertia. In order for Linux to beat the others it has to be clearly superior

And of course, Linux is still far from being trouble-free. I've been a Linux user since the mid-90s (although for a period I mainly used FreeBSD) but switched over to an iMac as my main workstation a few years ago. Was this because I couldn't get Linux to run right? No. Was it because Linux was "too hard"? No. Was is because of marketing? No. It was because it was UNIX and a turnkey solution. I know it's a tired phrase but it just works. I no longer fear software updates (apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade used to terrify me, had a few incidents where it ate its own package database or simply uninstalled necessary packages (like my X server) for no particular reason) and it stays out of my way.

Now, obviously this isn't for everyone. I still have Linux desktops at home, they're just not my main workstation because I still can't quite shake that feeling of "well, it's stable now but it took two days of configuring and god knows what'll happen next time I update some software"...

What about Ubuntu? Well, it's sometimes more user-friendly than Debian but it also breaks in new and exciting ways (for example, for the longest time I couldn't get it to accept the idea of an interface having a static IPv4 address and a dynamic IPv6 address using the GUI tools, and editing config files somehow broke the GUI tools so they would constantly assume that I had no internet connectivity at all).

Seriously? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424951)

Did you really have to post this?

Macs just work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424977)

I installed on my kids new laptop. I also have a Mac, which my family uses more because it just works. There are a lot of little issue, which makes my Linux install annoying e.g. it does not have a driver for our Canon Printer. Which Linux to choose? Linux community should set a minimum Desktop needs (Servers are different story). I constantly finding minor things, I need to install/debug on the Linux box for common things to work.

Platform doesn't matter (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424979)

Two words - Microsoft Office.

You're not really asking the right question.... the operating platform (whether Linux, BSD, Windows, OSX, ReactOS, VMS or wutever) is largely irrelevant in comparison to what you can actually do with it. You may as well compare the colors and grips of different screwdriver handles. What matters to the screwdriver buyer/user is "will it work with my existing screws, and will it work well for my future screwdrivering needs?".

There's a significant majority of pre-existing screws that are Microsoft Office shaped, and in order to work with not only your own screws, but other people's screws too, you will want to guarantee compatibility, so you get the tool that fits the standard.

The Office file formats in their various guises, have been around for long enough to ensure that storing things in other formats is a royal PITA now and for the future.

Beyond the basics of document editing and saving, non-MS-Office applications have just enough compatibility issues to be a PITA, and non-technical users rightly or wrongly still want those 80% of the features to be available. Just in case.

Why do you think MS lobbied so hard against the non-MS document standard? Office is the product that keeps them in business. Windows? W7 is just W2000 with bells and whistles. It's the information storage, retrieval, and management tool that controls the desktop.

Funny.. (0)

Simon Rowe (1206316) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424987)

Recently I found myself struggling with a question I should easily have been able to answer: Why would anyone want to use Windows as their everyday desktop (or laptop) operating system?

Not again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424989)

Can we please just move on?

Hard to sell what is free? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424997)

I've used Linux as my primary OS for 10 years now and wouldn't consider going back. The things 'people' want in a desktop/laptop PC (YMMV): Stability, reliability, security and speed. But there's another, less tangible aspect. When you're ahead of the curve (or even a little to the left); you're cool. You get that innate smugness when someone proclaims their new Windows x/OS y machine ePeen score that you're just a little bit more awesome than them.

Collaboration and openness; it's the future. First software, then government & enterprise.

The Right Tool for the Right Job (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424999)

I sell desktop computers and laptops with Windows becaise it's the right tool for that job and it works.

I sell servers with Windows Server and Linux because they are the right tools for that job, where Linux fits that's what I sell, if my customer needs Active Directory, DNS and Mail I sell them Windows Server and Exchange Server.

I sell iPad's for tablet computing because it just works how people expect it to work, my corporate clients use their iPads to remote desktop to their office PC's - never had any complaints.

I sell Apple Mac's where people are doing DTP/Graphics work because that is the environment they are used to.

I advise people to either get an iPhone or an Android device dependent on what they need it for.

Everything integrates seamlessly at the network level because I make it work that way.

I would never sell or install Linux as a desktop operating system, it's about 10 years behind Microsoft and Apple in that regard.

If I was to put Linux on a desktop PC it would run XFCE, XFCE is way ahead of all the other Linux GUI's because it presents a familiar environment, Unity, KDE and GNOME took a huge step backwards a couple of years ago and I could never ever implement either of those in a corporate environment - too confusing for "Joe User".

Windows 8... hmmm... even though it's only preview I'm already getting support calls asking how to use it and how to "fix the desktop corruption - all the icons are really big and the screen keeps flickering when I press the explorer button", wondering if I should send the bill to Microsoft, Metro is like Marmite, 90% of people hate it, 10% love it...

Easy (1)

ratboy666 (104074) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425005)

The OS is a commodity. Shouldn't be a "premium" item, in my opinion. Now, let's go over some of the benefits Linux brings to the table.

1 - POSIX. If you want to develop for POSIX, Linux supports this out of the box.

2 - Mature, peer-reviewed and stable.

3 - No cost. But, support is available, for free or paid. Since Linux is peer-reviewed and is GPL, support can be very high quality.

4 - Best alternate driver support, due to support by Vendors (IBM, Acer, Oracle, etc.). The Vendor support leads to people writing drivers due to demand. Driver are ALSO peer-reviewed, leading to higher quality.

5 - Number one platform for clusters and super-computing. Leads to best support for algorithmic GPU use. Easiest platform to use for applications in this space.

6 - Considered standard platform for virtualization base. As a result, Cloud Computing based primarily on Linux.

Now, if a "desktop user" doesn't need or desire Linux, or prefers Windows, my opinion is that she should not be forced into it. If the user CHOOSES a platform, she will make an effort to use that platform.

So, don't try to sell the use of Linux. Indeed, Linux as an OS doesn't really need these efforts (it will be no worse off than it is now).

Whats a desktop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39425013)

Linux is ubiquitous, desktop, laptop, tablet, tv pvr, embedded and dev boards even down to $12 picture frames. For those with an interest its filling every niche and for those without they don't need to know. Replicate the marketing efforts only if its been shown to be successful (rather than just having been made in auspicous times) and if you have the same goals.

Amateur sales people should focus on fights worth fighting. Access to the ubiquitous linux systems which get locked in ever more creative ways contrary to licensing. That's a concern. mswindows is successful because its ubiquitous and everyone must/has learnt it, but access to it is ubiquitous as well. If the presence of the ubiquitous linux is invisable to all but those weilding JTAG debuggers and hotair rework stations there might be a problem, not of adoption but of mindshare.

Why people like OSX and Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39425019)

In my opinion, there is a simple reason why Linux isn't succeeding. It's the same reason some people like apple products over microsoft (I personally don't like apple but I'm not the average person, and if you are reading this then neither are you!).

Apple products are slightly easier to use. They typically take marginally less time to figure out. For the average person this is huge. Just like a business will seemingly waste tons of money on something that is slightly easier (to save time), people will spend money on an item that is slightly easier to save time. Advanced features don't mean dick, and the majority of people wan't the easiest way to hit play on their playlist, and if it takes 1/3rd the time on an apple machine then they will pay much more for it.

I don't like this fact, but after being an electronics store manager, I came to realize this. Apple is to windows as windows is to Linux - > increasingly difficult. Not but much, but enough to make people want the marginally easier product.

Who says they dont? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39425023)

If we take that smartphone and tablet market is growing... and Android is the dominating OS in that market (even if Iphones or Ipads sell more as harware), then maybe Linux (as Android) IS selling.
I think the biggest mistake is to asume (I read it sometime ago) that Windows or OSX have a price, since most ppl get it for "free" either because it comes with the hardware (for ppl that doesnt understand much about computers) or because they know where to get it (for the common computer user).
I ve used Windows, Linux (Mandriva, Fedora, Ubuntu, etc) and now OSX. At the end, its about what you need the system for. Games? Go to Windows. Sound or Video edition (go to Windows too... professional editors know this market is moving away from OSX).
The question is: Whats Linux good for?
Developing? Not a really big market and not sure if its even a Linux mayority.

I feel like Linux (in desktop) is and ideal about open "software" that not very much people care about, and not much people can really feel, as different.

In the Android. vs. OS fight, the open quality is there, and unless you jailbreak your iPhone, you ll notice the difference. And in this case, jailbreaking is for the "computer-wise guy", while Android user get the features as they come.

Why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39425039)

Make dual booting easier and the question will be "Why not?" instead of "Why?".

Needs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39425053)

Two words: Netflix, Steam.

(nearly) Full time Linux user here... (1)

s0litaire (1205168) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425063)

Ok so I'm in the UK using Ubuntu only my Laptop and XBMC on my Desktop.

One of the big problems for me is Legal media viewing,

I'd love to use Netflix/Lovefilm but it's Windows/Mac only.
I'd love to watch the Blu-Ray disks I've received (either via comp wins or presents from others) without breaking the law, but I can't since they won't licence the required key's to Linux based players. (I know their are "work arounds" for playback but I've never gotten them to work reliably...)

I've actually bought a US Amazon prime account in the past so i can access their streaming movie service.

It's so annoying, here I am, willing to actually PAY for content! (i know! it's a shock!!) but i can't. So I have to resort to not so legal means to view movies which I have physicality in my collection. Or go to the trouble of keeping an Windows install upto date just for watching movies (Which, to me, is more trouble than it's worth)...

Binary compatibility (1)

paugq (443696) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425075)

Desktop Linux will be a reality when people have a reason to choose Linux over Mac and Windows.

Let's assume all the eye-candy, hardware support, etc is there.

There is also a lot of good applications, yet people want more. Desktop Linux needs closed source shareware, freeware, etc applications. Not because there is no open source alternative but because people want to have 10,000 applications to choose from instead of 10. Also, by having shareware on Linux, those microISVs will be promoting Linux amongst their customers, which will in turn make Linux more popular.

So what do we not have shareware, freeware and other closed-source applications on Linux? Because of binary compatibility. When an ISV wants to release an application for Linux, he has to test with a gazillion Linux distributions, do all kind of tricks and ship his own version of every dependency down to glibc (it's a nightmare even with Listaller [wikipedia.org] !), explain how the average Joe -who knows nothing about root, package managers, etc- can install it on Linux, etc Just not worth it.

Can we solve that? Sure we can. Canonical started by offering the "partner" closed-source repository but it's not exactly successful. There are very few closed-source applications there. What we need is a single appstore for all the distributions. Intel AppUp looks like a good start but again it's not popular. It will never be unless we solve the binary compatibility issues.

Please do not answer with "but closed source does away with my freedom", etc. 99% of the people do not care. Even slashdotters. Android Market, the Apple AppStore, the Kindle, etc show even most of those who boast about software freedom are carrying a Kindle and an iPhone, which are the epitome of closed-sourceness.

There's nothing to "Sell" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39425081)

First, most people don't know the difference between the OS and the apps they use. They just buy a computer that will run the apps they think they need, and for most people the safest way to go is Windows. It has by far the biggest ecosystem of known apps. For the average Joe to be willing to use Linux, they either have to have very basic needs in a computer, or they need to be willing to invest the time to find out if a Linux machine can meet their needs. Most people don't care that much.

Personally, I think Linux adoption is going to be a very organic thing, and that takes time. But it's also a very powerful way to grow. Windows may have the big name commercial products today, but Linux has a huge, extremely dedicated underground of supporters that span the globe. Eventually, there will come a day that Linux becomes mainstream. It may not happen in our lifetimes, but it is inevitable.

All major OSes are pretty well usable (5, Informative)

roothog (635998) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425083)

I have two offices, each with a different desktop (WinXP on one, OS X Lion on the other), two MacBooks (Lion on one, Leopard on the other), and a home Linux system (Ubuntu/KDE). I find all systems to be fairly usable, and for the most part, I don't really care which one I'm using. I just want to be able to use the computer, so trying to push one type of system over another seems pretty pointless if they're all ultimately usable. The differences among the systems end up being pretty minor:

Linux:
- Easy connectivity to remote systems/servers.
- Easy to find, install, and uninstall software via apt-get, with reasonable assurance that the centralized repositories aren't hosting malware.
- I never think about licenses, everything is free [beer].

OS X:
- Easy connectivity to remote systems/servers.
- UNIX with a pretty GUI (though KDE is pretty nice nowadays).
- Many applications have easy installs/uninstalls, just drag the folder into /Applications or from there to the trash. (Though having to remember which applications uninstall with a drag to the trash and which need to run an uninstaller is annoying).

Windows:
- Usable as long as I can stay away from the start menu (which I find cumbersome).
- Needs a real command line that lets me ssh & scp. Having to use a GUI program to scp annoys me.
- No customizability. For example, I can't figure out how to have the clock on the taskbar also list today's date.
- Installing software via downloads of .exe's from random websites is worrisome.

Because it sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39425089)

It won't gain any traction because it sucks. Seriously. I've installed it dozens of times on different computers, and there's something that always fails or acts squirrely. What was it, like two or three years ago before most distributions would finally recognize the goddamn wireless card and not make me go to some bizzarre Italian website to download a bunch of shit and compile it? The best part is the way there never seems to be a driver for at least one of your devices. "No problem," say the fanbois, because Linux is Open! It's great! All you have to do is figure out which of the approximately 127,492 internet forums related to Linux drivers is the right one, then post a message in there complaining about not having a driver, then kick back and wait for 8 months until someone with a name like Songeyong Jooeypop writes one and even includes a helpful reamde.txt file that explains how to install it with great instructions like, "Please to always be remembering file to put in directory of correctness and also to edit pomptly the configure file with is in the bin subdirectory of the other main. Happiness first!"

Windows sucks, but by god at least it's not like pulling teeth to get it to work, and when it doesn't I have an actual company I can go yell at on the phone.

Re:Because it sucks (1)

dskoll (99328) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425143)

I have an actual company I can go yell at on the phone.

Oh? Please tell. I'd love to hear stories of how you yelled at Microsoft over the phone and actually got anywhere.

But..every place.. (1)

SQLz (564901) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425125)

Every place I've ever worked uses Linux almost exclusively on the desktop. (OSX sprinkled in).

Linux is inferior, and has always been so (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39425135)

That's pretty obvious to me and to everyone. It seems it's not so obvious to everyone on this thread. marketing? wrong approach? breaking the law? give me a break for god's sake. Linux is broken because:
a) it's made by amateurs (multiple projects for the same purpose, low quality applications, ego problems, "cancers" destroy projects etc)
b) it's made by clueless geeks. You know what Steve Jobs had? that he was almost part of the cattle, while being pretty clever and thus understood them- well he had other traits, many of them undesirable but I'm talking about what's relevant here. The geeks that make Linux will never get it. They'll think people want what they want, or at least they won't give a shit.
c) it's not innovative. It's always trying to copy others. It's trying to have its office, its photoshop, its whatever. But you can't get the talent to even do that properly without money. All these copycat apps are very clearly inferior.
d) if you're going to argue about how good the OS is itself, STFU. It doesn't matter to the user in the slightest. All that matters is the graphic shell and the applications, and these suck. I open a console window to configure anything, that's how crippled the graphical settings are. And the look and feel, being a copy of other systems, always felt somewhat tacky.
e) the only thing that matters about the OS and kernel (which don't matter at all to the user, see how Apple switched hardware architecture and to a unix-like system) is the drivers. And you don't have drivers in Linux for half your stuff. In fact it's a goddamn nuisance to have to recompile the damn kernel every time because there's always some piece of hardware that forces you to, if you want it to work. Many drivers are even the result of reverse-engineering, so they can be quite glitchy.

Conclusion: if you ever thought Linux was ready for the desktop, you were self-delusional, further proof is that Linux has always been slowly improving, if you notice now that you can no longer defend it you were fooling yourself from the beginning.

Linux is great for servers: cheap, powerful, stuff works. It's a clusterfuck for a desktop and it has always been like that.

Linux Does sell on the Desktop (1)

pogson (856666) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425153)

The premise of TFA is wrong. GNU/LInux does sell on the desktop and soon Android/Linux will as well. Many OEMs sell GNU/Linux and many retailers do as well, just not all of them. It's different in various parts of the world. In Germany you can go into shops with lots of shelf-space reserved for GNU/Linux and the share, according to NetApplications is 1.84%. In USA there are few shops that sell GNU/Linux and the share is reported to be 2.13%, not significantly different because it's business usage that NetApplications measure. Mountain View, California shows 80% because that's what Google uses. see this German site and compare it with Dell, who have hundreds of stores in China selling GNU/Linux http://www.notebooksbilliger.de/notebooks/notebooks+ohne+windows [notebooksbilliger.de] (That's Notebooks without Windows, according to Google Translate)

Because most people don't care.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39425167)

..and that's not a slam on most people. They just don't. Their computer came with Windows (or OS X) installed, and they know what's going on with it by now. It's possible that they switched between the two at some point, but largely people stick with what they know. It's also the reason that XP is still on tons of computers 10 years after it was released, and after two additional Windows versions.

Ubuntu and Mint are doing a good job of helping people enter into Linux with less fears, which is awesome. I've had Linux on my desktop for 3 years, and have rarely looked back and have never considered another option for my main OS. My parents get on the computer and use it with no problems, my sister can do most anything she wants without asking, and the roommate has seen me on it and as thinking of adding Ubuntu to his setup.

I do daily work on Ubuntu (albeit without Unity, that thing isn't useful for most office work) at my job: there are a few things I can do better on Windows (a professional quality audio editor would be nice), but it's increasingly less every year.

And The Answer Is... (2)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425171)

what in the world do you focus your efforts on selling? An idea?

"Linux. The Desktop Teenage Alien Ninja Turtles use. Torrent It This Summer, Or No Pizza For You."

I wouldn't pay much attention (1)

Voogen (2600143) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425173)

Largely the LockerGnome editorial stance from the top is against Linux, and also anti Windows. Some of the writers might be Linux and Windows users, but over and over in Chris Pirillo's videos he seems compelled to take little swipes at both Linux and to a lesser extent Windows. As far as I can see there's nothing to report here. Don't take this as me being a LockerGnome or Chris Pirillo hater. I read LockerGnome and find some of the stories useful. A couple of the writers know their stuff, and even Pirillo himself despite the clown image he cultivates knows his stuff, if you've ever heard him talking about website usability this is clear.

For Pete's Sake, Stop (1)

adosch (1397357) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425181)

WTF does this show up on /. at least once a week? As entertaining-yet-lame as the Linux vs Windows vs Apple vs Foo flamewar debates can be, can we 'stop' making this drivel a headline /. news story already?

This is an easy question to answer (4, Informative)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425183)

This is an easy question to answer:
          I can't go to the store and buy software for it.
          I can't play ANY games on it that aren't total crap or 10yrs old
          It's hard to use for most people. (editing text files in emacs is not easy for most people)
          The linux support community are a bunch of assholes. Try and post a question in a linux forum asking how to do something, you get treated like an idiot.
          Even if you had someone to support you, the entire appearance, function and utility of it differs widely from distro to distro... even from release to release. Win7 may be a lot different than Win95... but not nearly as different as 2 Ubuntu distros that are less than 5yrs apart. So even a linux pro can be lost unless you drop to command line, and even then they may be confused unless you're using the same distro... not to mention that its virtually impossible to support a novice, over the phone, while they're entering console commands.

None of this is new... it's the same problem that linux has always had.

Corporate Space (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39425185)

Linux is running into the same problem that Android will face if it makes a dash for the desktop. There is already a viable platform that performs the duties and is widely accepted by the business community as a standard. You don't have to like Windows to recognize it's adoption as a corporate standard and while Linux might be the best OS ever created, it's still going to require corporate IT folks to first accept it and second learn how to use it and third to teach their users how to use it. If it gets into the corporate space, then migration to the personal space will be simple.

API (1)

should_be_linear (779431) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425191)

Each successful platform must have single API that pretty much covers everything that you might want to create on that platform. From threading, devices (USB), 2D, 3D, sound, input to web rendering, notifications, etc., well documented and organized. Thats what Android is doing, and what Ubuntu (and other distros) is NOT doing. Therefore, difference in acceptance of both products is huge, albeit both are basically Linux kernel with several modules on top of it. All apps on Android follow same basic "ideas" on how to write app, install app, launch app and switch between apps, all of that in easy way. Ubuntu does not have "writing app" covered at comparable level, installing and running is solved well for free apps only. Bottom line is: Ubuntu needs simplification and unification, removing 90% of "Linux applications" from current repository and adding new "Ubuntu applications" following Ubuntu API instead.

Now I don't know what to recommend too (1)

pepeperes (731972) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425199)

I for one had that one product that I used (still do, though looking for a change) and recommended to many people, and even setup it for them if they asked. It was called Ubuntu (yes, the african word that stands for I don't have time to fiddle with Debian anymore). But not anymore, since their inspiration died with the BIG Unity fiasco. And Gnome 3 seems to have helped them in destroying an established, well know and easy to use, intuitive desktop (after all the years it took us to get there!).

So right now, for me, yes, I wouldnt know what to recommend to the ppl I used to recommend Ubuntu. OpenSuse? No way I'm going to mess around with rpms again. Ever. Mint? Tried it, and didnt like it, it's an unfinished product in the sense that Ubuntu 10.04 was a "finished" product. Found many minor desktop and setup annoyances with it. So yes, I'm one of those who have gone silent.

some reasons (5, Informative)

e**(i pi)-1 (462311) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425215)

I use linux as my main work platform since 15 years. Here are a few reasons why I still use a mac. Here are the tools, I use regularly where I did not find analogues.
  • dead simple and robust video editing with quicktime pro (copy paste) which is able to read and export in essentially any format
  • screen recording which allows to archive any video which is visible on the screen.
  • pages, to quickly make a flyer, syllabus which looks great.
  • garage band which just works and does not need to be learned because one can just plug into the epiano and work.
  • PDF manipulation: preview is a fantastic tool to rearrange, copy paste pages in PDF files. Nothing like this exists. I use Adobe professional to reduce the size of PDF files (especially from scanned books). Most of the time the space reduction is a factor of 10.
  • Scanning: with a Fujitsu scanner, I can get a digital version of a book (cut the spine and throw it into the scanner, push one button). The result is a perfectly OCRd PDF file. No hassels, no time waste. Nothing like this seems to exist on linux.
  • presentation software. The simplicity and robustness of keynote is fantastic, especially if you want to play embedded videos.
  • digitizing DVD's. With handbreak, it is trivial to get a nice video file from a DVD. Throw in the DVD, push a button and wait.
  • Backup. I even use time machine to backup some linux directories. Sync them over to the mac, where things are archived nicely.
  • hardware: since a couple of years it is virtually impossible to get reasonably prized displays. The imac has 2560x1440. Almost all monitors one can buy now have only ridiculous 1920x1080. Even the ipad has with 2048x1536 pixels twice as many. Also the macbook air is unmatched.

Why do I use linux then?

  • Have complete control about the machine
  • Have a second leg just in case.
  • Not to be dependent on a vendor, who might just one day decide to discontinue with operating systems because it is not profitable. (I do not believe that to happen with the Mac, but I had been burned several times in my life, like with Next). This is not going to happen to me again.
  • Have a fast machine. Lag and delays (even fractions of seconds) drive me nuts. Linux allows me to customize my machine so that this never ever happens. Its like going with a racing car. I use a minimal windows manager (blackbox) and disable anything which is not needed, and also regularly buy a decent new CPU. On the mac, especially with "versions", things can become frustrating. open a document for a moment, then close preview, delete the document, then open preview. The program tries to find the old document and blocks the machine. An operating system never should slow down the user.
  • Fun. I like to tune things but do not like to do too much sysadmin. Typically, I do not have to do anything once things are running.

Attraction vs. Promotion (3, Insightful)

Lorien_the_first_one (1178397) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425219)

I use Linux because I find it very attractive. Sure, there are problems I encounter but I'm committed to working through them. That's how I learn how computers work and I have learned more about how computers work with Linux than I ever have with Windows. I simply cannot imagine myself going back to jail with Windows or Mac. For me, Linux is the Swiss Army Knife of computing. Anything I want to do, I can do it with Linux faster than I can with Mac or Windows.

For those who want to use Windows or Mac? They're not attracted to Linux for their own reasons so I let them be. They're paying for the subsidy I got on my computer, which has a Windows license. Since they're spending their own money, they have a right to their choice and I support that. I even offer support to fix their computer when they need help, for a reasonable fee. But if they want to convert to Linux with a little boost to get them started, I do that for free.

When i got my last computer, I imaged the hard drive, and put the image away (making Windows installation CDs is very slow compared to a quick image of the drive). Then I proceeded to install the distribution of my choice and I've been happy ever since. I've been on Linux exclusively at home for almost 5 years and I have no plans to go back to Windows, nor do I see a need to sell Linux. If people want what I have, I help them get it. If not, they always have Windows or Mac to use. It's their choice.

I would prefer the use of Linux to grow by attraction rather than promotion.

Windows is pre-installed on every PC (1)

Mojo66 (1131579) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425227)

Something I haven't read in the comments so far is the fact that M$ is allowed to more or less force PC vendors to ship new machines with Windows. What would politicians say if Daimler-Benz demands every new car on this planet ships with a Mercedes engine?

To break a monopoly, either some political changes must happen, or a competing product covers a niché feature that the monopolist product lacks. On servers, the niché is the pricing. But desktop Windows doesn't seem to lack something that is big enough of a niché so that a competitor could live in it.

My conclusion is that as long as every PC ships with Windows pre-installed we'll never see real competition in the desktop OS market.

RMS said it best (5, Insightful)

brad-x (566807) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425253)

In a recent interview with an Iranian Linux publication, RMS had this to say about the very issue addressed here - it's an opinion I share.

"LR: What's the best way to advocate Free Software? Some Free Software users engage in technical debates with Microsoft and Apple fans, trying to convince them GNU/Linux is more powerful. Another group focus on philosophical and cultural aspects of Free Software and try to make people care about their freedom. Which of the two mentioned approaches are more effective?

RMS: They are both "effective" but they lead to different results.

If you convince people that some free software is technically superior, they might run some free software, but they will remain ready to use nonfree software in the areas where that is technically superior. They will continue to judge an important question based on superficial issues. This is just a partial success.

However, if you convince people that they deserve freedom, they will start rejecting nonfree software whether it is technically inferior or technically superior, because they will see that free software is ethically superior. They will understand the important question and judge it right. This is a full, deep success.

Another weakness of technical arguments is that nontechnical people probably won't care about them at all. But they can understand ethical arguments. Ethical arguments are the only way we can convince nontechnical people to become free software supporters.

I figure that users can judge for themselves whether program A is more convenient than program B. So I don't try to convince them about that sort of question, except when someone has preconceptions about free software and has not tried it. I focus on talking about freedom. "

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