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Ask Slashdot: How Would You Fix the Linux Desktop?

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the solid-color-rectangles dept.

Programming 1154

itwbennett writes "Slashdot readers are familiar with the Torvalds/de Icaza slugfest over 'the lack of development in Linux desktop initiatives.' The problem with the Linux desktop boils down to this: We need more applications, and that means making it easier for developers to build them, says Brian Proffitt. 'It's easy to point at solutions like the Linux Standard Base, but that dog won't hunt, possibly because it's not in the commercial vendors' interests to create true cross-distro compatibility. United Linux or a similar consortium probably won't work, for the same reasons,' says Proffitt. So, we put it to the Slashdot community: How would you fix the Linux desktop?"

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Add Support for Visual Studio (0, Troll)

Price of Goodnes (2725191) | about 2 years ago | (#41263319)

Seriously, you need to work to either 1) get Visual Studio working and fully supported in Linux or 2) develop as good IDE as Visual Studio. For that matter the whole Linux API needs work. It's simple and elegant under Windows and Mac OS X, but not under Linux.

Btw, if you need a great programming IDE, then download Visual Studio 2012 [microsoft.com] . It's just released now and it's free! MAKE SOMETHING SIMILAR!

Re:Add Support for Visual Studio (0)

Nadaka (224565) | about 2 years ago | (#41263417)

I actually prefer eclipse to visual studio. VS could be a lot better than they are if they did a few minor tweaks.

Re:Add Support for Visual Studio (-1, Offtopic)

unkwntech (2633263) | about 2 years ago | (#41263615)

To further you point, Eclipse is not something I want to spend my day in. I'm tied to windows only because of Visual Studio, I'm doing all of my development (.Net and PHP) in it.

Re:Add Support for Visual Studio (-1, Offtopic)

Jeng (926980) | about 2 years ago | (#41263809)

And to further the discussion that was your very first post, and probably your last post.

Why even use accounts? Why not post this stuff as AC? As an AC there is plausible deny-ability, you could be a long term lurker, there would be no way to track how long you have been a member of the community.

When you use an account all someone has to do is look at your posting history and say "Yep, nother fucking shill."

Re:Add Support for Visual Studio (0)

unkwntech (2633263) | about 2 years ago | (#41263909)

When you use an account all someone has to do is look at your posting history and say "Yep, nother fucking shill."

I'll start and end with, because I don't much care what someone on slashdot thinks of me.

Re:Add Support for Visual Studio (0, Offtopic)

Jeng (926980) | about 2 years ago | (#41263649)

So the question comes up

Is this person a shill? Paid by an astroturfing company.

Or

Is this person a paid troll? Paid by /. to generate views.

Or

Is this person just a troll?

Re:Add Support for Visual Studio (0, Offtopic)

Aighearach (97333) | about 2 years ago | (#41263851)

I for one don't need more apps or to have my desktop "fixed." Unless by fixed they mean stable, unchanging.

Re:Add Support for Visual Studio (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263687)

KDevelop is great.

Re:Add Support for Visual Studio (2)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 2 years ago | (#41263761)

Goat bollocks.

Visual Studio is OK. XCode is better, but nonetheless, tooling is not the main focus for the stated problem. Eclipse and others (Anjuta, KDevelop, Kommodo, emacs, etc.) do just fine.

When you talk about "the whole Linux API" you refer to something that not only doesn't exist in the context referenced, it is also nonsense. The user-space application APIs work. There are so many working one's from which to choose!

If anybody - such as yourself - comes forward with authoritative pronouncements, then misunderstands kernel API and userspace, followed by the laughable assertion of a "simple and elegant" Win32 API? Hah!

As they say, "Pull the other one, it has bells on it."

Re:Add Support for Visual Studio (5, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 2 years ago | (#41263871)

Eclipse and others (Anjuta, KDevelop, Kommodo, emacs, etc.) do just fine.

That's frankly the biggest load of crap I've heard all day. You're comparing a professional development tools to Anjuta and KDevelop? For fuck's sake.

The attitude that these half-baked, ancient development tools are as slick as what MS and Apple are offering sums up the problem with the Linux desktop: a steadfast refusal to stay competitive and serious delusion about why the Linux desktop hasn't caught on.

It's not broken. (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#41263347)

I've been using Linux on my desktop for 13 years now. It works just fine for me.

Re:It's not broken. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263421)

You're part of the problem.

If you want to help spread the Linux base, such an attitude doesn't help.

If you don't care, then please continue as you are.

Re:It's not broken. (5, Interesting)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 2 years ago | (#41263599)

You're part of the problem.

If you want to help spread the Linux base, such an attitude doesn't help.

If you don't care, then please continue as you are.

A satisfied user doesn't help "spread the Linux base"? Why not, I ask seriously?

Re:It's not broken. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263773)

It depends on the attitude. A satisfied user who doesn't acknowledge there may be problems preventing wide-spread adaptation is a road block.

Re:It's not broken. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263881)

There's no problem. For many a rock is exactly what they need. For many linux is exactly what they need. For many, windows or mac is what they need. Everything has a function.

For me personally, linux is far more functional than Windows in my day to day as a web developer. The only thing I pay yearly licensing for is VMWare so that I can run multiple servers and testing environments.

Linux doesn't need to change to be useful to many people. As people get more bathed in technology from birth, the barrier to entry is going to decrease. We're already seeing that. Distributions like Ubuntu you can almost completely avoid the command line and have an app-store like experience- this lowers the barrier even more. We're there right now. This is the time.

If your concern is foisting Linux on people who are fine with the tools they're using, that's a different problem. You have to overcome in that case. People will come to linux when the price is wrong for other things and when their needs relative to their dollars aren't met.

Don't push linux. you're no better than the assholes that parade around foisting their religion on you. Linux is a tool and it is a religion. It will be found by people who seek it, and every day more and more people are doing that. Linux isn't a foreign term to almost anyone who has an android phone or reads the news. People are less and less afraid of it as they know more and as it looks more like what they know.

Give it time.

Re:It's not broken. (1)

Aighearach (97333) | about 2 years ago | (#41263921)

That's completely stupid, why would users need to "spread the... base?" How does that benefit me as a user? It doesn't. It is so upside down. You say if it makes me happy it can't make me happy. To make me happy it has to make other people happy, so they will want to be like me. But no. I care about me. If some other OS works better for people not already choosing linux... good for them!

Re:It's not broken. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263447)

as usual, you can not put yourself as evidence that something works (for others)

unless you agree wearing high heels is great. It works just fine for me.

Re:It's not broken. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263653)

In that case, those of us for which it works will need a few clues as to what is broken before we can offer help to fix it.

Re:It's not broken. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263469)

Get rid of Unity

Re:It's not broken. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263509)

Agreed. Using it for about 12 years on my desktops / laptops. Maybe several years ago I could think of things to fix but these days the question "How would you fix the Linux desktop" just seems absurd. The question implies that the desktop is broken.

Considering on Ubuntu 12.04 right now I have 6 different desktop environments, some which I prefer over others, but none of them being even remotely "broken"... the only thing I can think to fix on my Linux desktop is when I fire up Windows 7 in a Virtual Machine.

Re:It's not broken. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263553)

and this is the real problem.
the linux users don't want the other users to enter their community.
they want their user experience as it is, being not user friendly and based entirely on command line use.

i used ms-dos from version 5, almost 10 years.
i can use linux if i really want, but a descent user interface and no cryptic errors in an operating system is something that can save time and give a better experience.

Re:It's not broken. (2)

Nadaka (224565) | about 2 years ago | (#41263843)

Why would I want a downward moving "descent" user interface?

Re:It's not broken. (4, Insightful)

CodeheadUK (2717911) | about 2 years ago | (#41263563)

That's nice, but you're not the target of this question.

It's the learning curve that puts most people off. If you can get the average user through the first few weeks with minimal problems, you'll set them on the path to become a beardy 13 year Linux veteran just like you.

However, most people's experience of Linux is a troublesome couple of days trying to get some obscure bit of hardware working properly followed by a full on feet-eating system meltdown due to excessive fiddling in the wrong places. People (right or wrong) have short attention spans and things need to 'just work' or they'll go elsewhere.

Re:It's not broken. (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 2 years ago | (#41263801)

It's the learning curve that puts most people off.

You mean a UI barely distinguishable from the XP they've been using for a decade?

However, most people's experience of Linux is a troublesome couple of days trying to get some obscure bit of hardware working properly followed by a full on feet-eating system meltdown due to excessive fiddling in the wrong places.

Weird. My desktop Linux systems just work... at least as well as the Windows ones ever did.

My experience of Windows 7 is spending a troublesome couple of days trying to get my laptop to boot after I installed a larger hard drive and reinstalled Windows which then failed because 'some stupid service is not running', which eventually turned out to be because it couldn't install on a larger hard drive unless you uninstalled some weird and unnecessary Intel driver that it wanted to install for me. With a learning curve like that, why would anyone want to run Windows?

Re:It's not broken. (2)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 2 years ago | (#41263873)

With a learning curve like that, why would anyone want to run Windows?

Because most users don't install Windows themselves?

Re:It's not broken. (0, Flamebait)

Price of Goodnes (2725191) | about 2 years ago | (#41263569)

Then why doesn't it have users or tools like Visual Studio?

But it will be (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263613)

Agreed. But distros and Gnome devs are hard at work breaking it, as anyone using Gnome 2 to get things done can tell you.

It's not innovative (2)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 2 years ago | (#41263641)

How about trying something that other people are not really doing? Let's get radial menus (there was one WM that had this, but I forget the name) instead of continuing to cling to inefficient linear menus. Let's find a way to make arbitrary compositions of GUI applications, the way we can arbitrarily compose applications in our terminal (KDE3 was a step towards this, but we could have done a whole lot more).

In other words, let's take a risk and try being innovative. What is the point of copying Apple? Let's do something that Apple will want to copy.

Re:It's not innovative (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263867)

If for you inovating is radial menus that are very hard to read then....
Im not saying inovation is bad, but it must make sence, and it must me doable by the techonology/hardware available... so ideas welcome code heven more.

Re:It's not broken. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263667)

That's great! Now, how do we fix it for everyone else too?

Re:It's not broken. (5, Informative)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | about 2 years ago | (#41263737)

And that right there is the problem.

Works on My Machine. [codinghorror.com]

There are so many different configurations for computers and new and emerging tech, and the testing and documentation so spotty, that you've got to run through dozens of websites to get your computer to work. It took me a YEAR to get support for an Elan touchpad. Someone else decided that the ath9k driver should fill with a random number after sleep or hibernation. What the fuck is wrong with that person? Oh sure, I could fix it by bringing up a window, rmmod / modprobe ath9k, but that was seriously every time I closed the lid.

Other problems were solved with one of the following:
"LOL get a new computer."
"It's not a problem with this part, it's a problem with THIS part. Report it to them."
"Sorry, my part is perfect, so you must be a crazy person. You could try this patch though."

YOU ASSHOLE I JUST WANT TO CHECK FACEBOOK NOT RECOMPILE A FUCKING OS.

And I'm not a slouch here, the post where you figure out how to add my particular computer to the specific commands to allow Fn functionality was mine. (Someone else did the heavy lifting, I put the last pieces together.)

So what would you do to fix it? The easiest thing to do would be check the hardware during the install process or as part of the Live CD. "This touchpad is giving a weird answer to the magic knock, support may be limited."

Then actually allow for easy tweaks to the UI. How do you change the login screen? What about sounds? Your average user wants to be able to do this. It's a motherfucking nightmare to do this in the Super-Friendly distro.

If you have to get anyone anywhere to press CTRL-ALT-T to install a repository, then you've fucked it up. End of story.

Re:It's not broken. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263825)

That's just because you're ok with the limitation, incompatibilities and general wonkyness
Gnome, k-Desktop Enlightenment FVWM,XFCE.

Until there is a concensus and Linux has 1 desktop , 1 Operating system , it will always be relegated to a niche audiance.

Until we can say ALL Linux software runs on 1 desktop, 1 distribution. It;s just not going to work for the common desktop user

Re:It's not broken. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263883)

I've been using Linux on my desktop for 13 years now. It works just fine for me.

Yes it is. There is somewhere between little and nothing that linux can do that windows and os x already do, and those are probably already on the computer you bought.

Its hard for most people to install and use, unless they're already familiar with it. Of course, such familiarity generally sprouts from an actual business or personal need. Most people don't swap operating systems just because, or for any FOSS attachments or technical interest.

So what is it that a windows or mac user would find lacking that would result in installing linux in the first place? Pretty much nothing.

You guys will all argue the various merits of bits of technology and politics, but the fact remains that linux is a solution in search of a problem, for 99.9% of desktop users.

Knife the Baby (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263367)

I would shut linux down and give the money back to its shareholders.

Simple (2)

Stumbles (602007) | about 2 years ago | (#41263369)

Put Linus in charge of everything.

Have a single decider create a single standard (1)

presidenteloco (659168) | about 2 years ago | (#41263465)

Someone who understands things like "less is more", "restriction leads to freedom", "one shall rule them all", and "human factors design matters".

Fix the Kernel (5, Interesting)

steevven1 (1045978) | about 2 years ago | (#41263371)

Fix all the drivers for basic stuff like WiFi and graphics cards FIRST. I'd rather have a desktop with little bugs and more basic features than a laptop with only partially-functioning WiFi and reduced battery life due to a poor graphics driver (as I do now).

Re:Fix the Kernel (0)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#41263453)

"a laptop with only partially-functioning WiFi and reduced battery life due to a poor graphics driver (as I do now)."
then why are you using it?

Re:Fix the Kernel (1)

kiehlster (844523) | about 2 years ago | (#41263709)

I'm with you on drivers. I retired my windows desktop two years ago and decided that maybe this month I'd throw Linux on it, but the ATI graphics card I have results in a frozen/extremely slow/error-throwing X11 system. The card is in a cross-over line where the same chip can be found in AGP and PCIe, and X11 decides to use PCIe instead. I'd like to see some kind of driver decisioning module that will take a catalog of known hardware and pick a driver out that's absolutely known to work for that hardware, and if none can be found then ask the user before guessing. I'm wondering how many users we've lost because of driver issues that resulted in a dead-after-install system.

Agreed, but... (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 2 years ago | (#41263815)

  1. A solid kernel with a worthless UI is worthless
  2. The drivers work well enough in most cases; I do not have the problems you have (but my laptop is a bit older).
  3. We have repeatedly asking hardware companies to release the specifications for their hardware, and so far we have gotten little from them. All we want to know is what a driver for the hardware should do, and then we can write it ourselves; they can issue proprietary drivers all they want, and we can even agree to specifically tell people that our drivers are not supported and come with no warranty whatsoever.

Also, some developer writing oodles of Python code is not going to write drivers. The kernel people is doing a bang-up job; it is not perfect, but it is good. The UI people are not doing a bang-up job, and in fact, they seem to be doing worse and worse with each passing year, trying harder and hard to copy Apple and Microsoft. We do not need copies, we need innovations -- not just new ways to display grids and linear menus, but new approaches entirely.

Re:Fix the Kernel (2)

Narcocide (102829) | about 2 years ago | (#41263829)

Yea actually this is the crux of it really. Nothing about *any* of the popular desktop environments in Linux make them completely useless. What *will* definitely turn away 99% of first-time linux users is not being able to succesfully complete the install, or not being able to successfully even RUN the desktop, and this is always ultimately a driver problem.

Android (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263379)

By adopting the Android desktop.

Re:Android (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 2 years ago | (#41263831)

By adopting the Android desktop.

Good one. Someone mod them funny.

Re:Android (2)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | about 2 years ago | (#41263915)

Actually, I'm for that. I think a solid Android-like desktop would be darn near ideal.

For the average user? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263411)

Remove the terminal and bash from the distros and make it hard to install them. :)
Would force the developers to make stuff more GUI-friendly which the average user wants to use.

Blast off and nuke it from orbit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263419)

It's the only way to be sure.

Steam (5, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#41263423)

will fix the desktop.

Re:Steam (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263625)

+1 funny.

Re:Steam (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263645)

Don't count on it. While I like seeing Steam spread itself to other platforms, I have found their support for the OSX monoculture to be poor at best. While they may make some device based on Linux that is a good running console I wouldn't count on them to work with the large selection of Linux differences on the desktop. While I can understand going for the low hanging fruit, putting the least amount of effort into your product just so you can claim that it works on other platforms isn't going to be great when you're the end user.
 
And if Steam does make a distribution to mirror their console offerings I expect a lot of complaints from the users that Steam doesn't concern themselves with the general purpose computing portion of the distro. They're going to focus on what they need out of it and everyone else (ie. developers for non-Steam Linux software) will just have to adopt or die.

Wrong question: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263457)

how would you fix the Linux user?

Minor suggestions (2)

jmcbain (1233044) | about 2 years ago | (#41263481)

Here's how to fix the Linux desktop:

  • Make it polished and reliable like Mac OS X.
  • Enforce a single GUI environment like Mac OS X.
  • Have it run real productivity applications (e.g. MS Office, Adobe Photoshop, Mathworks Matlab) like Mac OS X.
  • Make it certified under Single Unix Specification [wikipedia.org] like Mac OS X.
  • Make it support smooth trackpad gestures like Mac OS X.

Those are just some minor suggestions.

Re:Minor suggestions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263571)

"Enforce a single GUI environment like Mac OS X"

If you like OS X that's fine but for the love of God do not turn Linux into OS X.

Freedom=Choice

Re:Minor suggestions (1, Interesting)

iBod (534920) | about 2 years ago | (#41263897)

Hmmm. So reading between the lines here (and I'm just wildly guessing) I think you are saying that the Linux desktop should be OS X.

I use OS X every single working day and although it is pretty good and pretty much gets out of my way, it is not ideal in many respects. Finder, for example, is a pile of steaming junk, but I live with it, rather than installing some 3rd-party solution - because if I did, I'd soon become dependent on it and would be lost if I had to use a Mac that wasn't mine (which I do often).

The OS X desktop also has many usability and consitency issue. The fact you can only resize a window by dragging the bottom-righthand corner is just one example. It's just lame. When I use Windows for a while (and I have to) then it just annoys the fuck out of me when I get back to OS X that I have to locate and reach the bottom-right corner to resize the window - this should have been fixed YEARS ago.

As far as Linux desktops go, KDE and Gnome are not brilliant, and not as good as the Windows/OS X experience, but they are certainly more than usable.

Blaming the desktop software for Linux not being able to run MS Office or Photoshop is just plain silly.

why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263485)

what is fundamentally wrong with the desktop? and what would "the fix" result in?

With a Hammer, of course! (2)

realsilly (186931) | about 2 years ago | (#41263487)

What, that's not the right answer?

Its an easy process (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263493)

1. Uninstall Linux
2. Install Windows 8 RTM
3. Metroize your life!

Re:Its an easy process (1)

CodeheadUK (2717911) | about 2 years ago | (#41263633)

Braaaaaaaaaains!

Move all drivers to UEFI (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263503)

There is absolutely no need for any OS to have drivers. Move them to UEFI and expose standard APIs that are completely OS independent.

Better is not good enough. (5, Interesting)

edit (92578) | about 2 years ago | (#41263505)

The Linux desktop is far better than Windows used to be.
But we already know ways to make every desktop, including OS X, far better than what we have today.
The Humane Interface by Jef Raskin gives good ways to start:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Humane_Interface

Commercial not necessary for Linux Desktop Success (3, Insightful)

rtkluttz (244325) | about 2 years ago | (#41263515)

I don't see why anyone would want it. I would rather lag behind with open source application support and have security knowing that my apps are not working against me. I want to know that my softwares motives are my motives. So much commercial software now is about artificial limits and openly working against the owner of the PC. Either to sell functionality piecemill or because they are under the thumb of some watchdog like the RIAA or MPAA. I'm not a programmer, but I would hazard a guess that 50% of the coding done in todays software is to LIMIT you in some way, not to enable you to do all you can do even/and especially if it wasn't planned for by the author of the software.

hide the CLI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263521)

Make it so I NEVER have to touch the CLI to do anything on the OS. Install drivers, games, applications, tweak the GUI, configure system settings, etc. I'm not saying get rid of it, I'm saying make it so I don't HAVE to in order to do any of those those things.

Re:hide the CLI (0)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#41263725)

Make it so I NEVER have to touch the CLI to do anything on the OS. Install drivers, games, applications, tweak the GUI, configure system settings, etc. I'm not saying get rid of it, I'm saying make it so I don't HAVE to in order to do any of those those things.

Don't modern distributions already do that? I don't think I've ever *had* to use the CLI to configure my Ubuntu system, though I sometimes fall back to the CLI to do some things because I find it more convenient.

I'd rather that Linux went in the other direction -- keep the CLI and write GUI wrappers around it, but don't even make it so you *have* to use the GUI to configure something.

Better Ruby Support (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263523)

If all of the stuff to do Ruby 1.9 and ruby-gtk+ apps was loaded up and ready to go on all Linux distros, then application development on Linux would be really easy.

There's no such thing as "the linux desktop" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263529)

There are only options and configurations. Each linux desktop user pretty much has their own desktop environment given that it is infinitely more configurable than windows or OSX. The "problem" with the desktop is the same "problem" with linux itself: It's not user-friendly. The high learning curve and amount of options can be overwhelming.

One main unified desktop? (5, Interesting)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#41263535)

I know I'll get flamed for this since it goes against the Linux philosophy, but how about getting rid of competing Gnome and KDE (and now Unity) desktops and agree on one standard desktop with a single API for everyone to write to. And maintain backwards compatibility for the API so an application written for GnoKDE 2.0 still still run unaltered on GnoKDE 3.0.

I know that having multiple desktops gives users choice, but there are many talented developers on the KDE, Gnome and Unity teams, and it seems like they could make a much more polished and usable product if they worked together instead of coming out with separate products. Oh, and stop pushing out alpha releases (I'm talking about you, Ubuntu/Unity) as the default desktop and telling users that it's for their own good.

But hey, don't trust me, I use Xfce since it does everything I need in a desktop.

Re:One main unified desktop? (1)

jcr (53032) | about 2 years ago | (#41263647)

agree on one standard desktop with a single API for everyone to write to.

Precisely.

-jcr

Re:One main unified desktop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263919)

Ubuntu was poised to become the de-facto "one true Linux distribution" and then they shot themselves in the foot with Unity.

I fixed the Unix desktop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263575)

by buying a Mac.

Nothing is wrong with Linux, just what supports it (1)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | about 2 years ago | (#41263577)

I really like using linux for day to day things, or would like to more, if the things (read: games) I want to play were supported better on it. Maybe with Steam taking an interest in it we'll see that shift in the years to come, but for now I dual boot it with Windows.

5 or 10 years ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263581)

I had a list of what should me better on the Linux Desktop.
Now, I don't see nothing.... maybe more games in store...
Wine get every MS shit working on Linux.
Must of the Third Partie developer have a Linux version ... or a Linux/GPL project do it better like Gimp/Photoshop duo
Better color management
More Photo oriented software

No one buys a computer to use an OS (4, Interesting)

treadmarks (2528414) | about 2 years ago | (#41263593)

Normal people don't care about the OS, the "desktop environment," the openness of the kernel or its ABI stability. They don't even know what those things mean. People don't use computers for the sake of computers, only nerds do that. People use computers because they do things like write documents or fix vacation photos. If Facebook only worked with Linux, then everyone would use Linux. Writing some killer app and only ever releasing it on Linux is the only way a programmer can get people to switch. Otherwise your best bet is a businessman like Steve Jobs to come along. Look at all the people using iOS. Do you think people are buying iPhones because OMG iOS!!! No.

Easy Networking (2)

jeff8j (2646163) | about 2 years ago | (#41263603)

I have been using linux ubuntu/gentoo/redhat/centos for years as my main os. Heres one thing I always see with entry level users they cant simple connect their network drive and access it easily. My parents have a network drive for all their photos and of course they can find it on the network but cant have it mount at boot without scripting/editing and once its connected they mainly use firefox so attachements and downloads cant save from firefox to the network drive if you simply connect to it, it has to be properly mounted. This isnt a issue for me but for them they dont know how and want to know how to just in case.

Re:Easy Networking (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#41263929)

Have you tried pyNeighborhood(GTK) or SMB4K(QT)

Applications for professional usage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263607)

Good UIs, professional applications, UNIVERSITY ones too, I used Linux for around 6 years as desktop but when I came to university it was just impossible to continue (mechatronic engineer), I have to use many tools for electronics, physics, etc... that are just not available on Linux.

Besides that I think Linux is very mature for desktop, at least talking about the suc*y distros but friendly (Fedora, OpenSUSE, Ubuntu(F*CK UNITY), etc). Linux actually got the best music player (amaroK), great IM's (Kopete for example). ... Yeah, I'm a KDEfag.

Not trying to flame or troll... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263635)

But I'd give up and buy a Mac. I can run most of the open source software and still have the commercially supported software titles.

If I were to fix linux on the desktop, it would have to center on a single distribution and get commercial support behind it. That will never happen because Microsoft will use their influence to thwart any efforts. Maybe instead of linux on the desktop we should focus on linux running in "the cloud" that we can connect to using any distro of linux, a Mac, iPad, Android device, or even Windows. It cuts down on the hardware support if you're only targeting a vm platform. Not great for gaming on linux, but that's what consoles are for.

Focus and Polish! (5, Interesting)

Wattos (2268108) | about 2 years ago | (#41263637)

I love my linux world. The only part which I would appreciate is more polish in the software. Most software has a great set of features but it seems that all these suites are always missing the last 5% of development (e.g. making the application feel very polished).

To me it seems that the only way we can fix the desktop is to throw money at it. The last 5% of development work is usually boring (finding and fixing all the corner cases, etc...). I think that the only true consumer ready desktop right now is Ubuntu (yes, with the Unity interface). It has become a very polished and stable package with a lot of focus (maybe a bit too much?) on the right things. Don't get me wrong, I am a huge KDE fan (I contributed code), but to me it seems that it is missing the last 5% of development work (e.g. Kwin crashes occasionally, the panel wont stick to the top and will sometimes be in the center of the screen, Kwin seems to be slower than compiz...).

Canonical has the resources to provide a really solid desktop experience (and it already does) for most average users. For the rest of us, there is still Arch, Mint, Fedora, etc which allows for more customization. The problem is, that most people want their machine to just "work" and not tinker with the OS to just get it perfect.

Good job Canonical!

Windows 8 (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263655)

I would trick Microsoft into releasing Windows 8.
Linux Desktop gets more competitive overnight.

Not asking a very good question (3, Interesting)

Bookwyrm (3535) | about 2 years ago | (#41263663)

It is not "We need more applications" -- that is easy enough.

Getting people to create hundreds of (cr)applications for Linux is trivial and is not a solution and may in part be one aspect of the problem.

A somewhat more accurate strawman would be "We need more *good* or *compelling* applications" -- that's challenging. Still only a part of the answer, but closer. It requires answering "What does 'good' or 'compelling' mean in this context?", etc.

Quality, not quantity (3, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | about 2 years ago | (#41263671)

The one thing Linux does not need is more applications - how many DVD rippers or MP3 players does one desktop O/S need (BTW, the answer is: just 1. But it needs to work intuitively, simply and flawlessly - not attributes Linux apps are known for).

What Linux needs is professionally designed and written apps. Ones that preserve a "look", a common and familiar set of controls and deep, deep integration. It would also be nice if there was documentation, starting with an idiot's guide and going all the way up to "this is how to modify the automated test suite" (and to actually HAVE an automated test, and acceptance suite).

However, we'll never get to that level while the distributions are reliant on hobbyists writing code because they like to, then tossing it over "the wall" and calling it a Linux application. That's what distinguishes Linux and the apps it comes distributed with from commercial operating systems and the apps people are willing (and, admitttedly, have to) pay for. The old excuse of: hey, don't complain, it's free! is no help whatsoever when the time-cost of getting some downloaded junk to work is far higher than the price of a piece of commercial quality software.

M666 DESKTOP, LINUX, ANTI-PERSONNEL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263675)

Equip it with a gun turret to neutralize anyone who starts blathering about linux on the desktop.

You've had well over a decade to get used to the idea that it works just fine for some people (including me), and that changing it for the other 90% just pisses us off, and doesn't actually make them adopt it. Find some other thriving ecosystem to "help" them "succeed" on the desktop; you cunts have outstayed your welcome here.

I wouldn't fix anything (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 2 years ago | (#41263681)

I have everything I need in LInux now. Openoffice (or libre office is you prefer) is mature enough to handle all my word processing / spreadsheet / presentation needs. GIMP and Inkscape do all my graphics. Flash finally works (and even better might finally go away).

The times I need Windows are so rare as to be almost unimportant. It has been so long since I booted windows I might need to do a password recovery next time just to log in to my own system.

Install OSX (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263707)

Problem solved.

Package (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263711)

If it's about packaging for each disto: create some generic format that defines the dependencies.
Feed it to the package manager, once done install to /opt/ -> Done.

The hardest part will be agreeing on what format these deps are in.

Also LSB is no option: it drags it more dependencies then it needs!

Red Hat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263717)

If Red Hat relaunched a consumer distro and put substantial resources behind it, it would immediately be in the top two. With a couple innovative features, they could easily be #1.

Users, developers, and OEMs would notice.

Audio (5, Insightful)

Issarlk (1429361) | about 2 years ago | (#41263741)

Fix the damn audio and stop shoving a new sound daemon/system down our throat every year.

Nothing wrong with it, Android is working fine (1)

rastoboy29 (807168) | about 2 years ago | (#41263751)

Android (or more likely some variant) on the desktop in a big way ftw by 2020.

My view (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263771)

How would I fix it?

Simple - there needs to be a baseline version, a common version accessible to everyone and used as a foundation. Applications are easier to develop for Apple and Windows because the architecture there is relatively static, Linux/Unix actively invites almost anyone to come in and customize the software, change how it works.

If someone says "I want to use linux" there has to be a single version people can point to and say "here, this is a good starting point", and it needs to be relatable. Not versions whose descriptions are relatively obscure notes about computer functions that might as well be in Klingon for the average user. Something well documented, user friendly.

I think this is what is also killing the android phones - too many versions, not enough standards. You need a standard for drivers and applications or everything has to be a custom job. Reduce the linux stereotype of "I don't know why this isn't working on your machine, it works fine on mine" when that could very well be because the two machines have other fundamental differences.

Basically - get organized.

The issue may not be e.g. user interface... (1)

thrill12 (711899) | about 2 years ago | (#41263791)

...but apps, apps, apps: imagine wanting to do something like video processing, where there are tons of good tools for Windows there are only a handful for Linux and most of them well... do not meet expectations. I am using a Linux desktop for several years now, and I am very happy with it, but there are times I need to run Wine or VMWare just to do certain stuff in a way that is more simple and more productive than if I had to do the same on my Ubuntu installation.
It can be improved, but I think it will not be only a question of looking at the community (although that is my biggest wish: community driven FOSS software for all our needs), but also at the large corporations providing software for e.g. Windows. Once competition comes in from that side (large corporations), I think there will be more community projects taking up the same quality level of software, simply because the demand is there at that point. Now the demand somehow is not big enough to raise the quality level of the community driven software to the level that is seen on Windows, where it pertains to these apps for things like video editing (and perhaps also the same for games, but Steam could change all that nicely).
Office, web, mail: already covered by Linux very well, as well as a decent UI (although people may disagree). Now it's ready for the next level.

What, exactly, is broken? (5, Insightful)

pstorry (47673) | about 2 years ago | (#41263819)

The problem here is the assumption that something is broken.

Generally, the Linux desktop is fine. There is a choice of UIs, sure - and recent developments in KDE then Gnome haven't helped much. Big changes made people say it was broken - but over time, it seems to settle down.

And with the competition (Apple and Microsoft) also making changes to their desktops, Linux is hardly unique here. We seem to be in a time of change, where people have been challenging the old paradigms. Apple are being the most conservative, Microsoft the most radical, Linux is somewhere in between.

Hardware support? Not necessarily a desktop job, but I'll address is anyway. Linux can't do jack here without more support from manufacturers. When I installed Windows 7 on a (then) new Sandy Bridge motherboard, it found NOTHING. It literally booted into a low res desktop with no sound or network. Only the large collection of driver CDs saved the machine - Windows had nothing to do with it.
Support of Windows from the manufacturers was the key factor.

So let's not bitch about Linux's support of hardware - let's get it right, and bitch about hardware manufacturer's support of Linux.

Apps? We've got plenty, and are getting more. Some commercial apps (Corel Aftershot Pro, Sublime Text 2, VMware are ones I personally use) support Linux as well as Mac/Windows. It gets better every month, when it used to get better every year.

And I guess that's my key message. "You've never had it so good". You may not feel that way, but Linux is on a roll right now, and the question is not whether or not it becomes a 'usable second option'. It's already usable.

The question is whether or not it becomes a SUPPORTED second option - by OEMs, hardware manufacturers, and software companies.

And the signs are getting more positive as time goes on.

Re:What, exactly, is broken? (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 2 years ago | (#41263895)

The problem here is the assumption that something is broken.

Gnome 3 and Unity are broken.

Other than that, I can't think of much else. Except the Gnome developers seem to have added new bugs to every release of Gnome 2 in the year or so before they ditched it. My Ubuntu 11.x system has a ton of bugs which don't affect Gnome 2 on CentOS 5.

Desktop schmesktop... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263827)

Look, if you want as united desktop, use Windows or Mac. The beauty of OSS is that you can choose. If you don't like the desktop you are using, try another one, etc. until you find one you like. If you don't like any of them, you are probably so anal retentive that you couldn't write on that would please you. Shutup already....

Get some -real- UX experts (3, Interesting)

neminem (561346) | about 2 years ago | (#41263853)

By which I mean, instead of the sort projects have now, that say "I am a ux expert, and I like [insert totally unintuitive feature in the name of "prettiness", or "looking like [Apple|chrome|a phone|whatever]", so that is what it has to look like"... instead the real kind, that goes and does useability tests with a wide range of its potential userbase, and then designs based on that.

Once you have a great product that people actually want to use (and yes, I know Linux is technically the kernel, not its window/file managers/etc., but the UI is what people actually -see-), more people might actually want to use it (I am aware that this is a tautological statement, but shut up.) More people using it = more desire for programs = more better. At least assuming some of those application developers also go the route of doing proper useability testing.

Powershell (1, Interesting)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#41263855)

Not strictly (well, at all) GUI related, but I'd love to see something more like Windows Powershell [wikipedia.org] in Linux.

I love the Linux pipeline and being able to pipe text streams between tools is very powerful, but the more I get into Windows Powershell, the more I like it. The ability to pass objects through the pipeline and operate on those objects can be much more powerful than processing text streams.

Just don't use Unity, it works fine (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263857)

Try XFCE

Improve video drivers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263885)

Improve the open source video drivers for nvidia and ati so that they are at least as fast/stable as windows drivers. This would make gaming on linux much more possible.

Easy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263891)

If you want to compete with a Windows OS, you need to look and feel similar. None of the current Linux desktops even work like a Windows OS. LinuxMint is the only one I have found that comes close.

People are not going to switch if:

1. They cant get the apps they can for Windows
2. The desktop is completely unfamiliar and works totally different than Windows.

The second issue listed applies to Windows 8 as well im afraid. M$ is shooting themselves in the foot and bringing the same issue Linux desktops have into their own house.

You DON'T completely change a Windows users desktop experience just because you THINK they will like it better. The head of M$'s desktop team should have been fired when he first thought up the metro UI.

Stop killing off the good traits linux offers (1)

booboojs (2725195) | about 2 years ago | (#41263901)

Redmond has gone absolutely insane in attempting to push Metro on their user base for the sake of innovation and gaining tablet market share. I don't understand how so many Linux devs are following in their footsteps i.e. Unity, Gnome Shell. My primary Linux desktop will never be a tablet and I refuse to allow anyone to turn it into one. I used to tolerate instances where the Gnome devs removed configuration options and features from Gnome 2 siting simplicity because most things just worked. Gnome Shell is an absolute disaster mainly because if I am simply unable to configure it to work for me. My hat is off to the developers from Linux Mint (Cinnamon) and the Mate devs for working to correct this.

Finish GNUstep (3, Informative)

WillAdams (45638) | about 2 years ago | (#41263911)

I can still recall when it was described as being the graphical environment for GNU software.... lost a lot of interest when that went away.

William

Sound and graphics need to work out of the box (2)

bhspencer (2523290) | about 2 years ago | (#41263917)

I have been installing linux on the desktop for the last 12 years and some things are just as broken now as they were then. For example: I have never, and I mean never, in the last 12 years had the mic work after initial install of any distribution on a laptop. This wan't such a big deal 10 years ago but these days it is a deal breaker. I should never have to edit my xorg.conf file in order to get my desktop working properly. The number of times I have updated a Linux OS and it broke what ever graphics driver I had installed and I am dumped at a command prompt on reboot. The graphical desktop needs to always work.

Unify (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41263933)

To make Linux successful on the desktop:

- make sure there actually is a product to be called Linux. don't fragment over several "distributions" but create a single product that everyone agrees is Linux.
- establish support for the released installable versions that lasts at least 5, but better 10, years.
- establish some binary compatability and stability, so that application developers can distribute binary applications and have them work OK for several years.
- standardize on a single desktop environment for all end-user systems. individuals can opt to install and use another desktop, but they should not expect support from application vendors.
- stop abusing/blackguarding developers and vendors who decide to release only binary code and no technical documentation or source code. it is their decision, respect it.
- develop a unified system management (settings, software installation, etc) for desktop systems in a company network.

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