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Linux *Won't* Fail on the Desktop?

CmdrTaco posted more than 12 years ago | from the rubbing-against-the-grain dept.

Linux 861

HanzoSan sent in a story claiming that Linux will Succeed on the desktop, and not just the server market where it already has had much success. I think that the latest version of KDE has demonstrated that it can compete, but with the increasing dependance on file formats that have no support on Linux, it's going to be awfully difficult. That said, Linux has been my desktop for many moons, and I don't plan on changing it (Maybe If Apple released TiBook's with 3 mouse buttons I'd at least have an option ;)

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fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3051398)

first pr0st!

Re:fp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3051443)

Totally agree about the tibook being weak with the buttons.. I wish apple would get off the *we have really stupid users* kick, because I dig their hardware.. Minus the silly one-button, this-is-too-complicated-for-my-little-brain, mouse..

(I am far to hyped on coffee this morning, and really ',' happy.)

Well, what's the DESKTOP killer app? (1, Funny)

mekkab (133181) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051405)

Give 'em a reason.
What do people need? Currently, they need compatibility with Microsoft products (and they don't even have that between releases of microsoft products!)

But if they can get all their old data and still keep chugging, that's an incentive.

But other than that, What is being offered? (I mean ASIDE from reliability! Does it come in a cute titanium frame?)

Re:Well, what's the DESKTOP killer app? (3, Insightful)

fallacy (302261) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051475)

"But other than that, What is being offered? "

The opportunity to not be tied to endless EULAs, support contracts, pricey upgrades. To create an environment how *you* want it, not how someone else thinks you want it.

I'd rather be incompatible between versions *for free* thank you.

Re:Well, what's the DESKTOP killer app? (2, Insightful)

silicon_synapse (145470) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051573)

But most people just don't care. They're perfectly happy to be running Office 97 on Windows 98 with a picture of their grandkid as the wallpaper. Sure it crashes once in a while, but that's normal (in their point of view), right? If they switch OSs, they have to relearn the most fundamental ideas about how they use their system. Why should they bother?

Extra! Extra! Read all about it [] ! Slashdot editors censor dissenters [] .

Re:Well, what's the DESKTOP killer app? (2, Insightful)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051571)

That's why one of the settlement conditions offered by the 9 holdout states is so important: MS would be compelled to auction off licenses to develop Office for other OS's.

If IBM, Sun, maybe Corel or Redhat were to bid on it, MS couldn't complain that it got a raw deal (although they will anyway), and Office will be ported to Linux.

As a bonus, it will be pried open so that maybe MS will have some incentive to fix it. I'd switch OS's just to get the pagination to work!

Re:Well, what's the DESKTOP killer app? (4, Funny)

TheReverand (95620) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051586)

I thought everyone knew... The killer app is here [] !

Re:Well, what's the DESKTOP killer app? (3, Interesting)

sharkey (16670) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051620)

What do people need?

Porn. Get the various streaming media formats supported on Linux. Get the various video formats supported. Get the various "features" of broken web-browsers supported in Linux browsers. Once all the features of porn sites are easily accessible using Linux, then success will come.

Hi! Slashdot sux0rz cox0rz! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3051408)

  • 2002. Slashdot publishes 1,000,000th rumor passed off as actual story. The story generates 480 comments, 263 of which agree with the article, and 107 of which point out it's a rumor and are modded down as redundant. The remaining comments are all "first posts."
  • 2002. CmdrTaco married.
  • 2002. Slashdot parent corporation VA Research^W Linux^W Software stock worth 35 cents. Rumors that AOL, Microsoft, or even Jimmy the hobo who lives under the Longfellow Bridge may buy it.
  • 2003. VA Software bought by Microsoft for a cup of coffee and a donut. All Microsoft-critical articles mysteriously disappear from Slashdot. Bill Gates as Borg logo replaced with Bill Gates as God.
  • 2004. CmdrTaco loses virginity.
  • 2004. The WIPO Troll returns again, showering Slashdot in 45,000 copies of the same post: "Lick my crotch hairs." Slashdot, despite running on 18 redundant IIS/8.0 servers, buckles under the load. The term "Slashdotted" is replaced with "WIPO-Trolled."
  • 2004. Slashdot officially shut down. Millions of screaming, unwashed geeks invade Redmond campus and lynch Bill Gates.
  • 2005. Linus Torvalds and Anal Cox found dead along with six penguins, a tub of crisco and several used condoms.
  • 2005. CmdrTaco rumored to have had sex again.
  • 2006. CowboiKneel found dead in hotel room with 56 pizza boxes covering his bloated corpse. Three suffocated gay prostitutes are extracted from beneath his body as police remove it with a backhoe.
  • 2007. CmdrTaco actually has sex again.
  • 2007. BSD is still officially "dying." No word on when its demise will take place.
  • 2007. CmdrTaco starts new weblog to replace Slashdot, creatively named Dotslash. Remainder of Linux users flock to the site and immediate WIPO-Troll it out of existence.
  • 2008. CmdrTaco has sex with his wife for the first time.

This troll was reposted from the Troll Library without permission of the original author. If you object to this post, or if you wish to add your troll to the Troll Library, please reply to this message.

Re:Hi! Slashdot sux0rz cox0rz! (-1, Offtopic)

LinuxLowRider (321305) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051439)

Now that is f'n funny!!!

Linux on the desktop... (5, Interesting)

Computer! (412422) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051418)

I installed Yeloow Dog Linux on one of the iMacs in our Dev lab (first Linux install ever), and man, was I impressed. Hundreds and hundreds of apps came with, and as a lifelong Win/Mac user, I felt comfortable right away. Since that experience, I have stopped bitching about Linux useability. Thanks, Linux! (sparkle from teeth)

If TiBooks had 3 mouse buttons?!?! (0, Offtopic)

thedbp (443047) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051428)

C'mon, haven't we heard enough of the "If only apple would ship with a 3 button mouse!" thing?

I mean jeez, just order your damn powerbook, then head over to just about ANY online retailer and pick up a 3 button scrollwheel intellimouse or something. You won't even have to install any drivers ;)

Re:If TiBooks had 3 mouse buttons?!?! (0, Troll)

qurob (543434) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051435)

Yeah, slapping a 3 button mouse on my Powerbook is really going to help the whole portability thing....


Re:If TiBooks had 3 mouse buttons?!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3051500)

Yeah, because heaven forbid you carry peripherals.. Remember, you need to carry a power supply with you anyway, probably a length of CAT5 too. What's a mouse gonna hurt?

If the Powerbook really is supposed to be a Digital Hub then you need to plug shit into it. Deal with having to carry that shit with you!

Re:If TiBooks had 3 mouse buttons?!?! (2, Informative)

meekjt (94667) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051480)

I mean jeez, just order your damn powerbook, then head over to just about ANY online retailer and pick up a 3 button scrollwheel intellimouse or something.

I don't think you understand, people buy laptop computers to be mobile. If you are forced to use a external mouse then that makes the computer much harder to use "anywhere".

Re:If TiBooks had 3 mouse buttons?!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3051542)

Well, with an optical mouse like I use you don't need much, if any extra space. When I'm on a plane I put the laptop on the tray and use the mouse on my leg. works great.

Laptop on a plane?? (-1)

October_30th (531777) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051630)


You can use laptops on a plane? At least with all the airlines I've flown here in Europe they have explicitly prohibited the laptop use during take-off and landing and most of the time also in flight.

Re:If TiBooks had 3 mouse buttons?!?! (4, Insightful)

pressman (182919) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051566)

Ok, well, what's the difference between using a multiple button selection device on a laptop and using modifier keys to do the same thing? You're still essentially pressing keys to mimic a multi-button mouse. My left pinky finger has become quite adept at modifying mouse commands on my iBook. I don't miss my one button or multi-button mouse at all while using my laptop.

Re:If TiBooks had 3 mouse buttons?!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3051618)

Lets see here. I am currently sitting in a classroom on my laptop. Indeed, it is a very portable machine, I can take it from class to class, to and from school, to and from work. And I love it, I'm always on the same computer, the same setup.

So why is it that having a mouse makes my life so much harder? I'm already carrying the following:

  • 6 ft Firewire Cable
  • AC->Power Supply Cable
  • Power Supply
  • 6 ft CAT5
  • USB->Hipzip cable

None of those are optional if I'll be using the computer all day. Even with a wireless card the CAT5 is needed for those times when noone else has 802.11

Now, how does a mouse really make things so much worse? I carry an older Logitech Optical Wheelmouse. It works on any surface, from my leg to the desk to the wrist-rest on my laptop to the arm rest on my chair.

FFS, it's not like people really love trackpads and nipplemice anyway, they're hard to use and lack the simple use and precision of a real mouse.

That's my rant. I've never met a laptop owner who didn't carry a mouse, so I feel your argument holds no water whatsoever.

Re:If TiBooks had 3 mouse buttons?!?! (0, Offtopic)

the COW OF DOOM (tm) (1531) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051509)

It's pretty obvious that he does this *just* to piss off Mac-using Slashdot readers.

Yet Another Slashdot Troll, only this one isn't very funny or inventive. Getting himself on the front page was pretty impressive though.

Re:If TiBooks had 3 mouse buttons?!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3051601)

It's pretty obvious that he does this *just* to piss off Mac-using Slashdot readers.

Yet Another Slashdot Troll, only this one isn't very funny or inventive. Getting himself on the front page was pretty impressive though

LOL, yep, cmdrtaco... the biggest /. troll of all time.

Universal File Formats (4, Insightful)

JohnHegarty (453016) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051431)

Until some universal file formats are agress by all the compaines out there , then it will no take over. But when your document can be opened in an os , on any word processer... well that will be the end of ms won't it.....

Re:Universal File Formats (1)

qurob (543434) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051452)

Gee, and we wonder why Microsoft doesn't want to open their file formats, etc up?

Re:Universal File Formats (1)

einer (459199) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051470)

Uh... RTF! Any OS Any word processor... It's been around for a while. MS != Dead.

Re:Universal File Formats (2, Funny)

stjobe (78285) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051506)

Heh, I always told my Windows-using friends to save any documents they send to me in RTF format so I could Read The Fucker :)
(Alternative for the cuss-o-fobe: Read That File)

Re:Universal File Formats (1)

buzban (227721) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051514)

yeah...that would be nice. that *will* be the end of MS, and that's why they will not willingly open up their formats, and further will not go out of their way to support others' formats...

Re:Universal File Formats (1)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051549)

damn it.....if we had developed a UFF then perhaps part of the settlement or punishment would have been for MS to support the UFF in all thier we have to do it the hard way with getting market power.

Re:Universal File Formats (1)

Doppler00 (534739) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051560)

There needs to be some type of HTML standard for printed documents. That way, if it is something that everyone can agree on, any company could make a word processor that would be compatible with it. Right now, the only standard I know for printed documents are PS files, but that isn't even that popular compared to PDF now.

Re:Universal File Formats (1)

silicon_synapse (145470) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051648)

HTML was never intended to be used for complicated page layouts. Forcing it to do so gets messy. XML is the way to go. Isn't StarOffice 6 supposed to use an XML file format? Has anyoen taken a close look at it?

Extra! Extra! Read all about it [] ! Slashdot editors censor dissenters [] .

Re:Universal File Formats (5, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051626)

This is true if the IS and IT people out there stay lazy. Me? I configured EVERY new machine that comes in to make Word not to save as a DOC file. but as RTF. this didn't implode the whole business causing chaos and burning HR people with sales people flinging themselves out the windows as many Microsoft lovers here would like people to think. Noone noticed. RTF flies around fine.. and I now have people asking clients to send them a rtf file of that document.

This is how chaing to a universal format starts and spreads.. Non lazy IT admin makes a change... now if only another 50 IT admins do this... DOC would be a rarity within months.

Never! (-1, Redundant)

korruptDOTcom (558100) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051432)

Linux is by far a very stable OS. It's proven that again and again. The problem with it is though that its still not easy for a non-experianced computer user to set it up..Someday though, I hope ti will be

Re:Never! (-1, Offtopic)

negativekarmanow tm (518080) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051611)

d00d that was insightful. What are you, 9?

Oh sorry, that was an ageist thing to say.
(you can stop crying now)

Mindshare (3, Insightful)

crumbz (41803) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051433)

It is important to see Linux succeed as a viable alternative to Microsoft. Especially here in the U.S. With the global trend of open source software picking up steam (German govt., China), the U.S. cannot afford to rely on Microsoft as the provider for all desktop and server OS as well as major applications. Look at the security problems we are seeing currently and multiply it by an order of magnitude with each major OS upgrade.

It really comes down to a balance of money, intellectual property rights and giving users the tools they want. Let's hope that the U.S. doesn't squander it's lead in this area because of a lack of options.

Uh yes it will (-1)

Guns n' Roses Troll (207208) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051436)

I've been using Mac OS X on a PowerBook 667 for about a week and a half now and it's honestly SO much better than Linux on the desktop. It's what Linux wants to be but it will never happen.

The only problem I've had with OS X is it's PPP implementation is really busted up bad. Random disconnects, dead connections but still online, etc. Apple has known about it for a while but they haven't fixed it yet. In order to get on the net I need to put the laptop behind a Linux machine doing masquerading.

3-button Mouse (1)

GeekSoup (447371) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051437)

I recently switched from a Linux/KDE desktop at home, to a PowerBook G3. My USB/2-Button/Scroll wheel mouse works just fine with Mac OS X, and even some OS 9.

I can't resit...must resist (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3051442)

Long live the fighters!

Hmmmmm... (4, Insightful)

PowerTroll 5000 (524563) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051445)

I support disseminating Linux as freely as AOL does its CDs.

Perhaps that might be a good idea. The big advantage of free software is the fact that this could be done. You can't beat the price. However, people do not have the same awareness of Linux as they do AOL.

How about an ad-campaign a la IBM Infrastructure commercials [] to explain Linux in plain English? Without awareness, few would be likely to pick up the CD.

Re:Hmmmmm... (1)

barnisinko (551765) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051595)

Good idea regarding the ad-campaign. Only problem: who would pay for it?


Re:Hmmmmm... (2)

garcia (6573) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051631)

they also don't have the knowledge, time, or desire to put it on their computers.

AOL was something that (in theory) could be removed.

you put Linux on there, you can't just click "Uninstall" and have it go away.

Just what we need, 50,000 pissed off people killing all the penguins in sight b/c we are wasting 5.0G of their precious MP3 space.

I don't think it would be a good idea at all. Put the money into commercials supporting Linux (like Good Morning America for LUG's).

That's my worthless .02

Re:Hmmmmm... (1)

cholokoy (265199) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051635)

Unlike the AOL software that will be modifying only a portion of the system, Linux is a complete overhaul and most "sheeps" err users will not be able to navigate the complex interface that is Linux. Add to that the probability of a failed install due to their experience with Windows software installations and its not a very viable option anymore.

Make the Linux interface very similar to windows and there might be a possibility but until then it will not happen.

Re:Hmmmmm... (1)

BigJimSlade (139096) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051636)

I support disseminating Linux as freely as AOL does its CDs.

Perhaps that might be a good idea.

Not only is this a good idea, people are already doing it: [] .

Feel free to stop by there, download an ISO, burn a dozen copies and give them to any non-linux using family members and friends.

It will succeed when it meets or exceeds WinBlows (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3051449)

or OS X. Until then not a chance. I run Linux on my servers (to avoid the gestapo aka BSA) and Windows for my clients (both mine and my customers). This is where Mac OS has a great advantage. Stable Hardware platform. It doesn't have to be all things to all people like linux is trying to accomplish.

Personally I like all the window managers since fvwm and have no problems but being a computer nerd it's a tad different than explaining to my grandma that to get her optical mouse to reinit she needs to kill XWindows and startx. Where as Windows has the default recovery everyone knows by heart Ctrl-Alt-Del.

Re:It will succeed when it meets or exceeds WinBlo (1)

Archie Steel (539670) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051580)

Personally I like all the window managers since fvwm and have no problems but being a computer nerd it's a tad different than explaining to my grandma that to get her optical mouse to reinit she needs to kill XWindows and startx.

Just do Ctrl-Alt-Backspace: that's simple enough...It will kill the current X session and restart it automatically (if you've setup X to run automatically at boot time, which you would do for grandma anyway). Noted advantage over Ctrl-Alt-Del: it doesn't reboot the whole machine, so it's a lot quicker. And if that doesn't work, well the ole' three-finger-salute does work as well.

Linux is as easy as Windows, only different.

Different is not easy for grandma (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3051641)

Unless you want to be tech support 24x7 (oh wait I already am!)

IMHO... (2, Funny)

Drakula (222725) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051453) of two things has to happen. The average user must become more computer savvy, including being able to deal with a command line and wanting to understand to some degree what the OS is doing.

The other thing is Linux will have to become more like a the black box that other OSes are. Everything is hidden and little to no knowledge of what is going on is required.

It is unfortunate but if you look at other technologies, similar things have occurred. For example, look at the automobile. The complexity of them has gotten to the point that the average driver has little idea of the inner workings and they don't really want to know anyway. I realize this is a bad analogy but hoepfully it makes some sense.

Re:IMHO... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3051578)

It's also got to the point where your average mechanic can't repair you car because of all the high tech electronics!

Re:IMHO... (0)

SigmundK (551485) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051637)

10 years ago people USED the command-line. now they have forgotten it all, and so they need to get familiar with the commandline again.

Mouse? We don't need no steeenking mouse! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3051461)

I love my iBooks trackpad.. Out of all the trackpads I've ever used, Apple's is the best. It has good support in the OS too with good features like click-drag..

But all of that is irrelevant anyway, you know why? Because you can just plug any USB mouse into the sucker. That's what USB is for CmdrTaco..

Whose desktop are we talking about? (3, Redundant)

DagnyJ (206386) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051464)

I guess that depends on whose desktop you're referring to. Linux is already popular on geek desktops. Getting Linux on the desktops of your average Joe (or Jane) is entirely different.

I would be mightily impressed if a distribution of Linux was released that my mother could use easily.

Re:Whose desktop are we talking about? (2, Informative)

Tenebrious1 (530949) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051598)

Yeah, it doesn't pass my "Dad" test either. When you have to talk someone through opening a console window, ungzipping a file, untarring the file, running make... you realize how wonderful Windows Install programs are. Wizz-bang-click-next-next-next-finish. Really until my dad can install applications without having to open a console window, Linux isn't ready for the average home user.

how linux would win? (0, Redundant)

bastard01 (532616) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051466)

I would think that linux would stand more of a chance, if all of the developers of all of the various open source projects that go into linux would work on having all of their applications work together in a way like windows or macOS would, for example, being able to install/uninstall software a little easier, and .make the desktop work a little more efficent, while I can handle using linux the way it currently is, the majority of users still would be confused on some points.Although the file formats are definately going to hurt the progress of linux, I would think the fact that the community hasn't really made an outstanding, new way of doing things that is better than M$ or apples operating systems will hurt it more.

It's more than just KDE (2, Insightful)

Krusher55 (414674) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051468)

Succeeding on the desktop is more than just KDE or even nice applications. It requires substantial hardware support. People don't want to be severly limited in the type of printers, scanners, video cards, sound cards, etc. they use and they will expect them to work exactly the same as under their current system. The cost saving of using Linux is wiped out if you have to spend more to get a supported printer or if you have to spend an extra half hour figuring out how to change the resolution of your screen. Linux is still a little ways from that point so widespread desktop use is unlikely to happen any time soon.

Grrr! Stupid mouse remarks! (3, Offtopic)

pressman (182919) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051481)

(Maybe If Apple released TiBook's with 3 mouse buttons I'd at least have an option ;)

Aaaaaargh! With OS X you can use a 5 button mouse if you'd like! Just go and buy one! Can we please let this rest already!

Servers and file formats... (1)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051484)

If it's just serving data you don't necessarily have to know the file format. I mean, if it's a file server or a document database, who cares what format the software knows of. Web servers don't need to understand file formats. Heck, that takes about half of the server market right there!

Re:Servers and file formats... (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051584)

Web servers are half the server market? I would like to see that statistic somewhere. If it's true then my company must be all sorts of screwed up since only about 10% of our servers are web servers. The rest are file servers, app servers, etc.

Re:Servers and file formats... (1)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051619)

*Cough* I was referring to webservers/fileservers/database servers when I said that.

It's not about what's best (4, Insightful)

mrblah (229865) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051491)

What everyone keeps forgetting is that people don't care about making the best choice in operating systems. They're only concerned with making a good choice. If MS is good enough for the vast majority of users, then the new user is going to decide that it's good enough for them. MS is what "everybody else uses" ... and that's a strong message.

linux on the desktop post predictions (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3051502)

Let's compactify this whole discussion into what's it really going to be:

  • 90 posts from Tuxheads who already run Linux on my desktop and how it whoops Microsofts ass.
  • 5 posts from apple /.'ers who state they run OS X, and that's close enough to Linux for me and it still whoops Microsoft's ass.
  • 25 posts saying Hey, I run Windows and there's nothing wrong with it.
  • 7 posts from geeks who say they run Linux and Windows side by side, and while Linux kicks it's ass, I have to run Windows for my everyday job.
  • 10 posts whining Waahh.. Microsoft has a monopoly in the desktop arena and Linux is doomed to only server
  • 40 posts saying Yeah, it's gonna rock!! Did j00 see the new Gnome 2.0 screens?
  • 15 posts that Gnome sucks, you should use KDE
  • 8 posts about how Microsoft is evil.
  • 1 page widening post
  • 2 trolls arguing about the first post
  • 10 posts suggesting a poll about linux on the desktop with an option for CowboyNeal
  • 3 posts wondering why Taco is posting articles and isn't out with the fiancee livin' it up

Did I miss anything?

Pre-emptive anti-flame (4, Funny)

GlobalEcho (26240) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051503)

Maybe If Apple released TiBook's with 3 mouse buttons I'd at least have an option

For the Apple enthusiast's in the audience, you do know Taco is just pulling your leg. Right? Right?

Aren't you fogetting something? (0)

gik (256327) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051508)

Once again, slashdot completely ignores Gnome. Good work boys. How do you think De Icaza et al. feel when they don't see the word Gnome in a Slashdot article touting linux on the desktop like this?

...way to encourage all projects.

Re:Aren't you fogetting something? (1)

Gheesh (191858) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051629)

They are probably too busy trying to clone .NET to notice...

3 buttons (1)

HaiLHaiL (250648) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051511)

You don't need 3 buttons in Mac OS. My TiBook is on its way.


So much for my linux desktop.

So, who wants to place bets... (1)

Scooby Snacks (516469) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051512)

...on how long it will take rms to write a letter to the editor of ZDNet telling them that he's not an "open-source advocate", but that he promotes "Free Software"?


Trollbait (0, Offtopic)

MyNameIsFred (543994) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051517)

After he gets married, do you think CmdrTaco's kids will apprieciate all of his troll stories?

Come'on Cmdr, the three button mouse line is like shooting fish in a barrel. Be a little more inventive.

How about the new Quicksilvers don't have an off button, only an on button. How do I turn it off?

people been saying this since 1997 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3051521)

And nothing changed. The fact is while MS Office dominates the workplace desktop, and DirectX games dominate the home desktop, linux will never triumph.
I realise people will reply to this and say "StafOffice is cool" or "Wine + Transgaming is cool", but think for one iota of a second how many people are using these products.
The fact is, the availability and quality of software will drive the OS market.

For convenience (4, Funny)

weird mehgny (549321) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051525)

I dunno which of Linux/Windows is better, so I run Cygwin in Win4Lin.

Re:For convenience (1)

Dikarika (526153) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051624)

Then you run wine, right? ;)

The Key to Linux Success... (5, Interesting)

Archie Steel (539670) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051527)

...hangs on a few things:

StarOffice/OpenOffice: they need to iron out the last few bugs and market it, for crying out loud! Not just for Linux, but on Windows as well, so that they can wean the business sector off of MSOffice.

Games: despite what many "serious" computer users will say, the PC industry was built on gaming, and gaming is what keeps pushing the hardware improvement cycle. Serious Linux players such as IBM and HP should give substantial (if discreet) grants to efforts such as Transgaming's WineX so we come out with a complete DirectX API for Linux.

Marketing: the different Linux players, big and small, should pool some of their resources to create a "flavorless" marketing organization who promotes the Desktop use of Linux (without specifying a distro in particular). The goal is to challenge common misconceptions about Linux: that it is hard to use, that there are no apps, that it is not graphical, etc., in a series of cool, professional looking ads in print and televised media.

Aim for the Business Desktop first: more people will consider switching at home if they've been "coerced" into using Linux at the office first, only to realize that it was as easy to use as Windows, and a lot more stable.

Don't install so many apps by default in common distros: personally, I don't mind it, but Windows users might be overwhelmed by the choice. Let them choose their browser, e-mail client, office suite, etc. during installation, or with a post-installation "setup" program.

I do believe that Linux has a very good chance of becoming more widespread on the desktop...the fact that it can't be bought off by Microsoft is a big plus! But I'm not kidding myself: the Linux revolution might have better chance of taking place abroad first (Europe, Africa, Asia) - and given America's (and, by extension, Canada's) annoying record of always doing everything different than the rest of the world, it could still take some time here...

Re:The Key to Linux Success... (1)

snarfer (168723) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051634)

How long do you think Star Office is going to be around, or at least going to be supported by Sun? Sun can't keep putting money into it while they are laying people off. It isn't bring anything to Sun. My bet is on Gobe Productive. []

Linux for the Casual Computer User (1)

Jsprat23 (148634) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051530)

Recently I've had quite a bit of experience with a newbie linux user.(ie my roommate) As he doesn't have a comp, I installed linux on a POS (tm) machine and set it up on his desk for his personal use.

There seem to be few problems with his use of the computer. However, he has been getting increasingly beligerant about the fact that I haven't had the time to set up direct 3d rendering on the machine so he could play RTCW.

As I use Slackware Linux full time on my computer I think that GNU/Linux is quite ready for the desktop but not necessarily the desktop of a non do-it-yourselfer. Remember these are people used to playing games out of the box or not having to go through too technical of a setup to get them working. EZ Configuration is tops on my list for new users who don't necessarily have the time to RATFM(read all the ...).

Build a tool ... (5, Insightful)

linuxdoctor (126962) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051531)

I especially like this suggestion which the author suggests as a paradigm shift: "Let's completely modularize each tool function (such as layout, fonts, kerning, textures, linking, math and tables) and make each a separate interactive GUI tool. Like an erector set, applications could be constructed for specific needs. And like hammers, saws, wrenches and screwdrivers in the physical realm, such tools are easier to utilize than large factories (or contemporary application programs)."

This is the classic call to arms of Unix, way back when. "Build a tool that does one job, and does that job well." And then make the tools work together. Unix was originally built for programmers, but there is no reason to believe that "ordinary users" cannot benefit from that philosophy as well.

I say, go back to first principles, and we all win. It worked for hardware in the 1980's with the advent of RISC technology. Software too has become too bloated.

Um, I doubt it... (0, Funny)

Mike Mentalist (544984) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051536)

Yes, I can just imagine it - Linux being sold on millions of OEM machines;

Customer: 'Hello, Dell? On my Kay-Dee-Eee PC Gamecube, I cant find Device Manager. My Office Assistant also doesnt seem to be on here either. Shall I put this Windows XP CD I got free with Line-ux into the floppy drive?'

Tech Support: 'Ok, we have a problem...'

Customer: 'Can I speak to your supervisor please?'

Mainly Windows users on Slashdot anyway (4, Interesting)

caluml (551744) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051538)

From what I've seen of people who post on Slashdot, most of them use Windows anyway...
Linux wannabies

Admittedly, if a corp says uses this, you have to use it.

It'd make a good poll.

How many people are using Linux **right now** as they view this page.

A major problem with the article (3, Insightful)

phaze3000 (204500) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051539)

To paraphrase open-source advocate Richard Stallman

I don't think RMS is going to like that one.. :)

Seriously though, I think there's one major issue which the article writer has forgotten: fear.

Many (most) IT directors think that 'No-one ever got fired for choosing Microsoft'. If they go with Linux and it's a failure, it could well be their neck on the line; if they choose a Microsoft option and it's a failure, well everyone already knew Microsoft were crap, but what choice did we have?

The only way this can be combated is with slow erosion of the Microsoft market - it used to be that "no-one ever got fired for choosing IBM", so it's certainally possible to topple the Microsoft monopoly - it just isn't going to happen overnight.

It needs to be more snappy (2, Interesting)

knulleke (557202) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051543)

I to have been using linux at my desktop for many years now, and liking it very much.

However, when compared to windows, everything appears to be very slow. Launching of windows, getting visual feedback, it's all a bit snappier on windows, on the same pc. I think most people that come from a windows world trying linux+KDE or something will be disappointed with the speed of operation.

Maybe in a couple of years, with processors in the 100GHz range this won't matter anymore (although a new layer will be added by then to slow things down even more) but for now I see a lot of hurdles to overcome

Win XP helps recover US economy (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3051547)

I just finished my MCSE track. Me and thousand successful IT professionals will help our economy to recover. What linux propose is only quick way to disaster. We need right tools and not paying for software it is not the right choice. So, please stand aside, support financially our economy by buying MS products and let us IT professionals decide which product to use.


Ximian rules (0)

sp0rch (470244) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051548)

Ximian rules! everything you need for a desktop
and self installing. easy to update with the provided
red-carpet tool [] go to []

to install run as root
lynx -source | sh

To Do list (2, Interesting)

barnisinko (551765) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051551)

I know that everyone is always saying this, but there are a few things that "linux" needs to do to gain the average user's desktop.

I use SuSE 7.3, and love it, but there are a few things that were somewhat difficult for me to figure out, and I can't imagine what the non-techie user would do about these things.

-printing: it is currently a shade less than a nightmare to configure printing in linux. I believe this varies wildly depending on what printer you are using. One false move, and your printer starts printing a million pages of gibberish.

-Internet connectivity: I think the biggest hurdle for this one is the evil WinModem. Also, some ISP's just plain don't have a clue how to help users set up connections using linux.

Some other ideas:

-I have no idea how this one might be implemented, but some sort of "sanctioned" place for technical support for users would be good. I think one central place would give users some comfort instead of being told that they need to find their technical support on newsgroups.

-We can always use more support from hardware manufacturers. This seems to be getting better and better all the time!

-Lastly, the ubiquitous Games! We need more!

barnisinko (1)

smak (193931) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051552)

Love the use of MS Powerpoint for the slideshow.


succeed on dektop means to fail on good os? (1)

pyromatz (561062) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051555)

If Linux will succeed on desktop, that means IMHO that the os will dramatically change in something "microsoftier". I mean, we will end up in something, without terminals, with automatic software installation and a "My Computer" icon. Because for the standard windowsuser this is the essence of an os. Then parts of Linux will become propretiary, unstable, overloaded and slow, like KDE.

I dont want Linux to "succeed on the desktop" - but i am a blackbox-purist, so my two cents probably arent important?

3-button (1)

prwood (7060) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051558)

Dude! Stop it with the 3 mouse button bitching already!

why linux isn't my favorite desktop.... (1)

johnmearns (561064) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051559)

I'll admit it, I still use windows 2k as my desktop alot of the time. Adobe photoshop....better than gimp and necessary at times. Some work related software....only for windows. Most of all though I just don't like linux web browsers. Nothing beats the latest windows version of opera. The linux version seems so far behind. Thats the major roadblock for me, and I think many others

Ugh, more garbage? (4, Interesting)

conner_bw (120497) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051567)

No doubt linux will prevail. But the article linked is a pile of crap.

It claims Linux will prevail with no facts, examples or andicdotes, then takes it all back by saying Linux developpers should focus on killing Office or all hope is lost.

ZDNet is playing sklashdot like a fool.

Write up a piece of incoherant propaganda that concludes by saying Office rules, call it "Linux Rules" and get slahsdotted for banner revenue.

Winmodems (1)

Scooby Snacks (516469) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051574)

Developers must be persuaded to provide Linux drivers, especially for "Winmodems,"

Actually, I hear there is already some good support [] for Winmodems, especially those with the Lucent chipset. There's even some vendor support [] for other chipsets.

Does anyone know if any of the distributions include Winmodem support yet?

Flat Out Wrong (1)

BurritoWarrior (90481) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051579)

I use Linux every day. I love Linux. I appreciate more than I can say all the hard work the developers have put in.

That being said, there is *no way* it is anywhere near ready for the desktop. I had problems with Grub the other day on my Red Hat box and it took me about 45 minutes to track down the solution and correct it via a rescue disk.

My mom could never in a million years do that, nor would she want too. The top three reasons Linux won't be on a computer desktop soon, as I see them are:

1. Still too difficult to use, though light years ahead of where it was.

2. Not enough applications that "Joe User" can go buy in a store, all nice and shrinkwrapped.

3. No Microsoft Apps. I don't care about that, and you probably don't either, but a whole world of people have their documents, presentations and spreadsheets in MS format and need office, at a minimum.

Gobe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3051581)

Gobe Productive is coming to Linux and it's pretty darn good. Check out their trial version [] on Windows. This will bring a lot of business users over to Linux.

One word... (4, Insightful)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051589)


I know flames will fly, and not a lot of people believe in it, but that's what MS has a big advantage in. People watch TV. People see MS ads. People might occasionally see an apple ad. People only see IBM's Linux Server ad (and the common person has no clue what its about).

Also, maybe having some local demo's in malls. Just to let people play with it, like they do in bestbuy, etc...
See what its like so you don't need to be afraid...
If someone made a good commerical ad and had demos in public places that showed how pretty it is, how inexpensive it is (people will need to buy it for the support), and how there aren't licenses and most everything is free, then you'd have a "general layman interest."

That "general layman interest" is a catalyst Linux needs. Its powerful. That's when people "try" things. Isn't that all we're asking for? Just "try" it??

From the article (2, Insightful)

Selanit (192811) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051590)

>In a nutshell, the Linux community must develop both
>a quality GUI system for configuring hardware and a
>standardized system for installing and removing
>software. Developers must be persuaded to provide
>Linux drivers, especially for "Winmodems," and to
>port their software products to Linux.

Agreed on the need for a GUI "system properties" type hardware configurator. KDE's hardware configuration leaves something to be desired. (Specifically, it doesn't offer much in the way of actual configuration options. If you want to do any non-trivial fiddling with your hardware, you might as well go straight to a console, 'cause you're going to need it anyway.)

As for installing and removing software, it would be good to have a more-or-less universal software management system. The two current contenders are RPM and Debian's apt-get, of course. Both have advantages and disadvantages -- for example, it's more common to find fresh builds of programs in .rpm format; but apt-get handles dependencies more gracefully. Perhaps what we need is a synthesis of the two, which would use the .rpm file format and apt-get's syntax. Instead of having a centralized package depot like apt, or many randomly distributed files like rpm, you strike a balance: maintain a server that lists current URLs for packages, which would be hosted on the project's page instead of centrally. Typing "rpm-get install Snicklefritz1.3" would check the central database for current URLs of the RPM and its dependency BruberMIPS0.9.5, download them from two different sites and install them. (Note: the "spell" system in Sorcery GNU/Linux [] works kind of like this, only it downloads source and auto-compiles instead of downloading pre-built packages.)

In addition to persuading companies to release Linux drivers for their hardware, we also need to convince them to open-source the drivers. I seem to recall ATI already did this. There is even less reason than usual to make your driver proprietary; after all, the driver is useless without the hardware to match. People would still have to buy the product in order to get use out of the driver, and in the meantime students could study the driver code to learn about low-level hardware interaction. And stuff. (nVidia, are you listening?)

My thoughts (1)

tkrabec (84267) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051593)

About all linux needs to make it into the desktop world is ease of use for Eye DE 10 T's, by adding "wizards", or gui configs. And start asking questions in plain english as obbosed to "techeese".

-- Tim

Linux hasn't failed (2)

Stiletto (12066) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051597)

Linux is on my desktop, and it hasn't failed me yet!

Fix installs, first (2)

fobbman (131816) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051608)

When you can give the user a "launch the installer, ask a couple simple questions, watch it install the files, and put icons wherever the user wants" installation system then you will have a better chance at the desktop. Even better if the uninstall is just as easy.

I mean, what the Hell are dependancies to the Winbox user? And why should they care? Apt-get is close, but not enough.

Eyecandy is all well and good, but if they can't install programs easily then it's not going to work.

tac0 = er33t (0, Offtopic)

Pope Slackman (13727) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051612)

Yay. Taco made another comment about Apple mice.
Color me surprised.

Makign j0eks about teh appel m0ose is FUNEE!!!

Better than a 3-button mouse! (1)

timothy (36799) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051617)

Better than a 3-button mouse would be an interchangeable module there in the "trackpad" space -- a space for whatever pointing device the user preferred. (And Apple could tell hardware manus: here are the specs, free. Go make things.) I would greatly prefer my iBook to have a trackpoint-type pointer, because I think they're millions of times nicer than touchpads. The other advantages (it was a good deal, and the battery is better than most laptops) ended up winning out, but I do curse the silly touchpad. Would be great to be swap out the touchpad for a trackpoint.

I haven't used a trackball on a laptop lately, but current optical desktop trackballsare great, and I didn't mind it on my powerbook in 1993, so maybe that would be another option.


Not just the pretty desktop and apps (2, Interesting)

ihatelisp (529132) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051623)

I recently helped a fellow CS grad student install Linux on his laptop. KDE looks pretty, Netscape 6 runs great, and emacs handles all the text editing he needs. But frankly, I find it hard to advocate Linux to replace his Windows partition entirely.

It's really the distribution taken as a whole that counts. This includes drivers, program setup, configuration, etc.

We ran into some stupidity when installing Linux. When the computer goes into suspend mode and then wakes up, XFree86 would hang. In order to play games, he has to kill off aRTs daemon to get reasonable performance; and if he kills it off, he'll have no sound in KDE. When configured for DHCP and the laptop is disconnected from network, system start up would take a long time (older Windows also have this problem, but not 2000 and XP). There are a few more problems like these, and they really look silly to my friend who has been a long time Windows user.

I told him a Linux system is a pain to set up the way you want it, but after it's set up it'll rarely choke on you. This has generally been my experience running Linux every day. Fortunately we had most things working and he's happily dual-booting between Linux and Windows.

Where is Linux's "Digital Hub" Strategy? (2, Insightful)

desslok (7863) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051627)

One of the killer things about my OS X Powerbook is how I can plug my digital camera or FireWire cd burner and it not only has a driver, it already knows what to do with the device. With my camera, it automatically asks me if I want to transfer all the pictures off the camera.

I've never bothered hooking it up to my Linux box. I'm sure nothing would happen.

Where Apple goes, often most of the industry follows. Jobs' "Digital Hub" strategy is dead on once you've seen it in action. It makes a computer really useful for the home user.

For the business, I am increasingly in doubt. Microsoft file formats are so common it's futile to try to use Linux in the office. If the free office suites do the job, fine. But I think the only place Linux will succeed are in custom installations (like the Burlington Coat Factory point of sales units) or where cost is essential (like the city using Linux for offices in the Florida Keys).

For the business user on the go, Linux won't make it unless there is a desktop with the kind of commercial development behind it like Apple's or Microsoft's. The level of integration and consistency of interface needed is far, far away in the Linux world.

Hate to say it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3051633)

But Linux will fail on the desktop. Microsoft will make sure of that.
What app is there for linux, Office, Acrobat? Sure some may be compatable but MS Office will always rule, PDF creation in Acrobat will always rule, just one click any you have a great lookin PDF file, a few more clicks you have bookmarks and set links and any novice can do that, spend more time you do forms, or creat FFD files.

So go ahead all you cheap ass linux freaks, I'm sick of this Linux shit, get a life you nerds.

All it would require is some icon recognition (1)

azcoffeehabit (533327) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051640)

since a large percentage of the desktop users only use the internet and processing of .doc files all we need is some icon recognition and an install that doesnt ask too many questions. Put some Icons on the Desktop labeled "internet" and "office". Take away the X configuration by putting some safe values default and add trimmed xconfig that just lets you change resoulution and color. A plain english Network setup and.. Whalla! linux on the desktop. Of course they have to leave in the stuff that all of us love but we can click an extra button to get it. Just make it Dumb by default.

the OS is the most expensive part (1)

Ubergrendle (531719) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051642)

I believe that Microsoft is going to be facing an uphill battle to maintain their high OS prices. Given that even Walmart is now selling an OS empty computer, the window of opportunity is there. When a good internet-ready PC costs less than $500, it's hard to justify 'bundling' an OS for another $150 or $200. It is the most costly piece. I believe that some OEM manufacturers will eventually establish a baseline OS that has minimal cost overhead due to it's reliance on open source. When computers/PCs become disposable commodities (e.g. $500 every other year), the margins will become so low Micorosft will simply exit the market. They already know that this is the path with their convergence on the "home hub" X-box model. The word processor, e-mail, and internet browser haven't changed that much in the last 10 years...feature bloat I can do without, and so will consumers when they can save a couple of $100 a purchase...

Lycoris? (2)

saintlupus (227599) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051645)

Installing SuSE 7.3, Red Hat 7.2, Mandrake 8.1, Lycoris DesktopLX or Caldera 3.1 is as easy as installing Windows

I've at least seen the others, but has anyone used this Lycoris distro? How does it stack up?


Linux On The Desktop Is Viable Today (5, Interesting)

Linus-fan (463349) | more than 12 years ago | (#3051646)

As an oldtime user of Linux I DO have the advantage of being at home on it. I've used Linux as my desktop for seven years. (Mostly KDE.)

The interesting thing is that I throw people on it without any training to see what happens.

F.ex. an eleven year old girl sat down and logged in (I gave her the password) and configured it just the way she liked it.

She installs software and plays games, does research online and writes school reports without ANY help from me. She's not trained on computers either, just not afraid.

I've thrown grownups on it too, and as long as they are not afraid of trying, they think it looks great and is easy to work with.

So I don't know that it's not ready, except for thoses who don't understand or are against change. I agree that it is not quite where windows is at, after all these years, but don't throw it away either. Many offices could readily change and have the tools they need using Linux, and gain the stability and speed we come to love.

It just does not cover ALL desktop needs.
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