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Asa Dotzler on Why Linux Isn't Ready for the Desktop

samzenpus posted more than 9 years ago | from the listen-up dept.

Editorial 958

An anonymous reader writes "Asa Dotzler of The Mozilla Foundation compares the explosive growth of Firefox to the anything but explosive growth of Linux and what it needs to do to get there for the "regular user" AKA mom, dad and grandma Bootsie."

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Well, here's my take (3, Insightful)

the_mad_poster (640772) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059173)

My general take on Linux, take it or leave it or try to convince me why I should change my outlook.

Linux is not a bad system, it just doesn't have anything to offer that its competitors don't already do as well or better.

The problem with Linux is not that it's not production ready, it's that it's a system that doesn't have anything special to offer and has nowhere new left to go. It has taken a large chunk of the market share away from the old, cumbersome UNIX systems, with their painful licensing models and lackluster support, but now it has no more market share to chip at because the supermajority of disk space that is left is in the form of desktops.

And Linux is just nothing special in that realm.

I speak authoritatively on the subject because my experience with Linux begins many moons ago with an old system called Linux Mandrake, now called Mandriva Linux. It started with version 5.2, a system forked from the Red Hat 5.2 release. I have since used Mandrake 6.0, Red Hat 7.0 and 7.3, 8.0, 9.0, Fedora Core 2, and variations from SuSE.

The first version I used was painful. It was a horrible system with a horrible interface and horrible documentation. Managing it was excruciating, and it wasn't uncommon for a seemingly simple change to break numerous systems in unrelated modules and drivers. The GUI was weak, disorganized, and difficult to manipulate. The desktop was hard to customize, and the interfaces were slow and cumbersome. Installing and uninstalling was nearly impossible because packages scattered files across a confusing, oblique filesystem, and it was a very common occurrence to find rpm entries had been corrupted and left unusable.

These problems I experienced were not uncommon and plagued Linux for years, leaving astute IT professionals shaking their heads, and young, energetic, and idealistic kids suffering under a burdensome system. I think it is fair to say that the rise in Linux use during the IT bubble and the subsequent pop of that bubble is not a completely coincidental correlation. Literally millions of man hours were lost in this time to troublesome Linux boxes and that sort of loss can hit new IPOs hard when it comes time to pay the piper.

It took many, many years and thousands of developers, but the system finally began to shed its inadequacies and "quirks" and develop into a full-fledged corporate workhorse. The managers who had been shaking their heads warily approached new versions and their confidence was bolstered as the GUIs began to fill out, the quirks began to shrink to the background, and more application support became the norm on new releases.

Now, Linux is a force to be reckoned with in backoffices and server racks. It is not, however, any closer to dethroning Windows as the supreme ruler of meatspace userland.

There is a very simple reason for this: it sucks.

I know, I know, I just finished zipping up the body bag on the "Linux isn't production ready" myth, but we've moved to a whole new realm here. We've gone from the terminology of fsck to frag. From SMP to MMORPG.

The problem is that everyone knows Windows and everyone's applications already run on Windows. There is no purpose in learning a new system because Windows is now polished and stable, and maintains its original attractiveness through its continued ease-of-use. Like Linux, it has shed its inadequacies and become a competent and powerful system in its own right.

So, in effect, we have the Windows system which has provided a consistent and simple interface for a decade now, and the Linux system which is an alien world to most people. Both function competently, though Linux still suffers a bit from the problem of glut thanks to its monolothic structure, and neither really offers a serious bnenefit over the other. As Joe Sixpack sitting in my cubicle, I have to think "Well, then why should I switch?" As the IT manager evaluating the cost of switching, I have to ask, "Well, how can you justify the tens of thousands I'll need to spend in training on this new system?"

Why, indeed? In the end, the Linux system offers nothing of value that Windows doesn't. For the multitudes who are already using Windows, there is no reason to switch. For the newcomers, it's a toss-up. In fact, there are only two groups that give each side an edge in specific circumstances: the Linux zealots hype Linux because it's Linux, and the gamers hype Windows because it's where all the games are.

At the end of the day, I can't recommend one over the other, but that's why I have to recommend Windows. It's already on your computer, you might as well just use it.

Re:Well, here's my take (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13059190)

Plus, Jews use Linux.

Re:Well, here's my take (3, Funny)

KaptNKrunchy (876661) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059306)

Plus, Jews use Linux.

Duh, it's free! (my appologies to my fellow jews, just couldn't resist)

Am I the only one (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13059192)

who think "STFU"?

Re:Well, here's my take (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13059201)

holy crap, get a life

Re:Well, here's my take (2, Informative)

PocketPick (798123) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059209)

Mandrake Linux isn't really that old of a system. I remember purchasing the 8.0 distribution at Circuit City just about 2 1/2 years ago.

Re:Well, here's my take (1)

KaptNKrunchy (876661) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059262)

And it is not currently called Mandrake Linux either. It is now Mandriva.

Re:Well, here's my take (1)

PocketPick (798123) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059300)

I wasn't drawing attention to it's current name. I simply mentioned that as short as a little over 2 years ago, they were still Mandrake and thier product was still called Mandrake Linux.

mods ... mods ...mods .... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13059254)

look at who you are moderating .... This poster is well known for his faggotry ...

PLZ MOD PARENT DOWN!!!

Re:Well, here's my take (5, Insightful)

wolffman1982 (897620) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059260)

I don't think the collapse of the irrational speculative bubble of the late 90's had any real correlation with those start-ups using cumbersome Linux systems. Rather, the reason peapod/pets/...com failed was because they were given amazing amounts of money to fund business models that didn't make money.

The VC firms just wanted a company to grow as fast as possible in order to create a profitable IPO. Linux costs were a pittance compared to the misappropriation of money by these .com's.

Don't confuse the market segments. (5, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059272)

There are 4 major market segments:

1. Servers
2. Corporate/government desktops
3. Mom/Grandma home users
4. Power users/Gamers

Linux is making huge gains in the server market. The statistics show that.

Linux is just starting to gain in the corporate/government desktop market. Expect this to take at least another 3 years.

Once OEMs are comfortable with Linux (due to large orders from corporations/governments), they will start offering it on desktops suitable for basic email/web surfing. The largest limitation is lack of drivers for new hardware. As this market grows (slowly), that will change.

Which will, finally, result in power users and gamers having Linux as an option. That means that the latest hardware will be released with good Linux drivers and the games will be available on Linux. The biggest problem here is the Microsoft desktop monopoly.

Other than that, a corporate KDE or GNOME desktop can be made to look almost exactly like a Win2K desktop so there is no need to worry about training the end users.

The value of Linux doesn't exist for the last two market segments (both home segments). The value exists for the server market and the corporate/government desktop market. But that value will drive the home adoption as people become familiar with Linux at work.

The original article is correct in that having a way to capture the info from Windows would be a major boost to Linux adoption in the home segments. But without the hardware/game support, it just isn't worth the trouble for the average user.

Firefox is worth the trouble of the few websites that don't support it because of all the great features of Firefox (no ad/spyware, very few popups, ad-blocker, etc).

Re:Don't confuse the market segments. (4, Interesting)

Synbiosis (726818) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059420)

Which will, finally, result in power users and gamers having Linux as an option. That means that the latest hardware will be released with good Linux drivers and the games will be available on Linux. The biggest problem here is the Microsoft desktop monopoly.

Uh, no. I'm one such power user, and the problem with Linux is that moderate customization requires intimate knowledge of the command line and Linux's quirks.

I'm an XP man, but when I used a PowerBook for two weeks, I could easily install and remove programs, connect my external hard drive, and had some interface customizations up and running in a matter of minutes.

Compare that with my Linux experience: Two months ago, I installed Kubuntu onto my laptop. It's very likely that all of the issues that I ran into are easily fixable, but the solutions were simply not apparent or mentioned on all the help sites I went to. Let me tell you one thing: Most people don't like recompiling the kernel, compiling programs, or compiling drivers. It's probably a simple process (I've never had success with it myself), but it simply should not be required for usability purposes.

First issue: Installing software. This blew ass. First, I had to find out the name of the package, and tried to use apt-get. This didn't pan out. Then I found out that the servers that apt-get was trying to use were disabled, or something to that effect, so I had to go and edit a text file to allow for this. This pissed me off quite a bit, because had I not been dual-booting Windows at the time, I would have had no way of knowing how to fix it.

Second Issue: Getting my wifi card to work. This was fairly important, as my connection utilized my campus's wireless. So whenever I had an issue, I had to reboot into Windows and search for it. I never managed to get it to work, even though I have one that's fairly ubiquitous (Intel 2100). After futzing around with the command line for a couple of hours and browsing some sites, I tried to figure out how to install the drivers derived from the intel open-source release. Then I foudn I'd have to compile the drivers or whatnot, and I gave up there until I could find someone experienced in the matter.

Third Issue: I couldn't get it to sleep. I spent a good 40 or 50 minutes to find out that I needed to recompile the kernel to include support for sleep.

Fourth Issue: Realizing that I had just wasted my time installing Linux. I could do everything I could do in Windows, except it took me twice as long. Screen space was a serious issue. Using OpenOffice at 1024x768 felt like using MS Word at 640x480. My screen always felt cramped. Image editing in GIMP just sucked. Even when using Photoshop, I felt that 1024x768 wasn't sufficient for some of the stuff I was working on, and using GIMP made me feel like I was working at 800x600.

Obviously, I'm back to XP. I'm willing to spend the extra $300 to save the time and frustration that I've had using Linux. I realize that pretty much all of these issues are 'trivial', but the fact that I ran into all of these problems in the span of two days seems unacceptable. When I used OSX for the very first time, it took me less than two hours to become proficient. XP took me 4. Linux needs to get to the point where a power user like myself can be quite proficient over the span of a day.

Re:Well, here's my take (5, Insightful)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059310)

Classic formulation: if you're not interested in adopting the Unix mindset (text-based text processing, pipes, small well-defined tools, a de-emphasis on graphical user interfaces, non-data-processing devices, etc.) then why choose a Unix operating system?

Linux offers a great deal of value that Windows doesn't. As someone who works with huge databases of text at a major publisher on a day-to-day basis and who has to use both systems at varying times, I can assure you of this. Just because you don't have the needs that justify the Linux learning curve doesn't mean that no-one else does. And even if you can't even see any features that Linux/Unix has that Windows doesn't, it's fairly rich of you to assume that everyone who chooses Linux/Unix over Windows does so simply becuase they are deluded.

I can honestly tell you that for any number of large jobs in my workplace, two or three commands at a Linux command line replace either dozens of labor hours, dozens of development hours, or the $$$ to purchase a specialized product in Windows.

What I don't understand is why desktop users who have no need of the "Unix philosophy" of data processing insist on complaining about an operating system that was designed to move DATA (not icons or mouse pointers) around efficiently.

If it doesn't fill your needs, don't use it. The unfathomable leap comes when you assert that no-one else should either.

Re:Well, here's my take (1)

TheRealSlimShady (253441) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059367)

I can honestly tell you that for any number of large jobs in my workplace, two or three commands at a Linux command line replace either dozens of labor hours, dozens of development hours, or the $$$ to purchase a specialized product in Windows

I guess that's the thing - those tools in a Linux command line aren't unique (except uniq :). Those tools are ported to Windows, and have been for ever. Sure, some of the shells aren't available but the big two are (bash & ksh).

If it doesn't fill your needs, don't use it.

Bingo!

Re:Well, here's my take (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13059392)

I agree with most of you points - to some extent.

However, I've been fixing windows boxes for friends and family for some time. It seems that after about 9 months of really using windows (XP in particular), everyone gets the windows sloooow down. Some part of the system slows to a crawl. Sometimes it is the login. Sometimes just to display the desktop. Sometimes it is when you launch the browser. Sometimes it is shutting down windows. *Everyone* who really uses windows gets this slow down effect. And everyone hates it. (BTW, nothing 'fix' this issue. Not registry cleaner, virus scanners, spy ware removal) And everyone wants something the will not only 'just work' but 'keep on working'.

I believe the real reason the Linux is not adopted as fast as it should/could is because Linux system are not sold as mainstream competion windows. If users could try a Linux PC at Best Buy and *see* how it really is cheaper, then people buy. And Microsoft knows it.

I recommend all Macs for friends and family now. I will not fix windows machines anymore.

-AC

A fine post and everything but... (4, Insightful)

flithm (756019) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059396)

how the hell did you get first post with so much freakin' writing?

Did you type this up ages ago, just waiting for the day you could get first post with this?

As for my comments on your fine post:

I recently installed Linux on my non-computer literate girlfriend's computer. She was always afraid of Linux because whenever she tried to use my computer it was nothing like Windows.

I put on a nice easy to use distro, set her up with KDE, and let her go to town. She's now using GIMP, uses it for all her photographic needs (scanning, digital camera). She even sighs when she has to reboot to Windows.

She was amazed at the little things, like how cut 'n paste works. I could tell she was thinking "why wasn't it always this easy?"

Or how she can resize an entire "folder" of images with a couple of clicks and no fuss.

I really don't think it's so much a matter of Linux offering nothing of value that Windows doesn't, because that's simply not true. Linux has tons to offer the average person that Windows doesn't.

The major problem, as I see it, is that it requires changing the way you think about using a computer.

When I first started using Linux I got very frustrated for a while, simply because my mind is notoriously bad for resisting change. It didn't like having to re learn such simple stuff. In fact in the beginning I kind of felt like I was a prisoner to my computer. I no longer knew how it worked at all. No idea! How do things run at startup? How do I add a printer? It was all this huge mystery.

And then, even beyond that, everything is just Done Differently. You really have to change your mindset to become a fully functioning *nix/*BSD user.

For a lot of people that's a really hard thing to do. But the funny thing is it really doesn't take that long. No longer than a week later my girlfriend was installing her own applications, updating her system, etc.

Anyway I don't want to give the impression I don't agree with what you said, because that really was a good and well thought out post. For the most part I agree with what you said, I just wanted to add that.

I don't think Windows is desktop ready (3, Insightful)

Nailer (69468) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059405)

  • You install it, there's no apps (or crap ones - compare IE to Firefox or Outlook Express to Evolution), or you pay lots of money to get them.
  • You run as root by default, not for ease of use (how difficult is 'type your passsword to continue' that Fedora and OS X do?) but because Microsoft and Windows developers couldn't be bothered fixing things. And you get spyware and viruses as a result, and you fix most, but a few remain, and the whole thing moves like molasses. The SP2 'firewall' still lets in about 7 network ports by default, including those used for some of the major worms.


That's why I recommend Linux. I don't see either item changing soon either. I've played with Longhorns betas, and nothing's different. It's your computer, you may as well use it. That's why I recommend Fedora.

Linux (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13059175)

In soviet Linux, First Prosts you!!!!!!

OH SHUT YUOR STUPID FACE (0, Troll)

Amsterdam Vallon (639622) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059176)

I'm a freakin MORON plain and simple (drop out of Yail) and yet I have run LINUX on 7 different computers since 1998 when I first learned about it from a local LUG.

It's FREE and it's great and simple to learn.

The community is helpful (like Slashdot) and boys are nice to me.

Linux Objectives (4, Insightful)

fembots (753724) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059182)

It seems Linux has to be "like Windows" to attract a broader user base. I thought that is obvious and has been talked about for many years.

The thing is, how many of the developers are willing to sacrify what they have built so far in exchange for a bigger market share? Are linux developers really keen to get as many people onboard at all cost?

I guess what I'm trying to understand is, what are the objectives in Linux? What is it trying to achieve? Is world domination still the name of the game?

Re:Linux Objectives (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059234)

I'm about to try and sell an old windows user on Linux (dual-boot with windows XP), by having it come preinstalled with about a dozen games and Synaptic on her desktop so that she can get more at will. We'll see how it goes! ;)

Re:Linux Objectives (3, Interesting)

bedroll (806612) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059407)

Linux doesn't have to be any more like Windows than it has to be like Mac OSX. If devs try to make consistant and logical interfaces for their applications, and make those applications useful, then people will use them. I don't think developers should change things to be more like Windows, because they should be trying to be better than Windows.

My opinion on home desktops: Microsoft can keep them. I don't want Linux to be screwed up by attempts to make it work like Windows. I don't think Linux needs to have any more of a userbase than it already has. If it gets it, then great. If it continues on the path it's been taking then it'll probably have a broader userbase anyway. Why should the FL/OSS community worry about rapid adoption? We know that we'll be around later. We just need a large enough userbase that it can't be ignored, we need it for interoperability and nothing more.

I don't agree with everything that the article says. I don't think that the desktop experience for a GNome or KDE user is so perplexing that they can't figure it out. More likely they'll have no problem at all with anything if whatever administrator that installs the OS shows them where a few apps are.

This all comes back to the user being separate from the administrator. I don't want to use an OS that confuses those two (like most Windows setups do). I'm happier using an OS where someone with a clue is the administrator and the user is kept out of those tasks.

Boatse? (1)

jube_fl (701837) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059193)

Am I the only one that read that as goatse?

Re:Boatse? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13059220)

Yes.

insightful (2, Insightful)

diegocgteleline.es (653730) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059194)

So, in order to be a successful desktop OS, linux needs to be more user-friendly. Film at 11.

Re:insightful (2, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059267)

So, in order to be a successful desktop OS, linux needs to be more user-friendly. Film at 11.

Yes, seems obvious, but most of the developers never seem to actually listen to it when it's said.

less stupid users (-1, Troll)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059195)

Granted there are utils that need better man pages and some configs could be simpler...

However, there are just too many stupid, ignorant and lazy people out there.

If mom won't use linux too fucking bad. She'll die first anyways. So long as the next generation uses linux who gives a shit?

Honestly, I'm so sick and tired of this "must be windows" bullshit. Is windows easy to use? Really? Is that why so many people get trojans, viruses, backdoors, malware, etc?

Tom

Re:less stupid users (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13059217)

Linux takes a lot more intelligence to run. The reason Windows users get infected with more trojans and viruses isn't because it's hard to use, it's because it's easy to use. So more stupid people use it.

Re:less stupid users (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13059257)

I would actually think that smart people WOULD go with something that is easier to use, instead of wasting time with something that is inherently 'hard'. I use Windows because every single time I have used Linux, it has given me too much trouble, and my time is too valuable to be wasted on something that Windows with half the hassle.

Re:less stupid users (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059284)

Depends on what you're doing. If you're a developer of ANY sort [software or hardware] almost always linux is a better choice.

Just because you can't be bothered to learn a better way of doing things doesn't make it wrong.

And even for the average joe case, there are SIMPLE distros like Knoppix to use. I use Gentoo because I like the advantages and the learning curve wasn't out of reach. It serves what I work on very well. It's not for everyone.

Though I imagine you posted as AC because you're just trolling. But in order to make you look stupider I'll just say that if you can't sort out how to use Knoppix or Fedora you probably aren't using a computer what you have is an etch-a-sketch. You just can't tell the difference.

Tom

Re:less stupid users (1)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059311)

Depends on what you're doing. If you're a developer of ANY sort [software or hardware] almost always linux is a better choice.

Unless you're developing Windows software. Or Apple. Or XBox. Or Java and you need to test all platforms.

Re:less stupid users (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059378)

um.... What is "windows" or "apple" software?

I write portable software that "just builds" on the platforms...

Oh yeah, because I'm not some bandwagon jumping lunatic and can reason that something as mature as C is a good bet [and effective].

Just to give you a hint: My libtom projects are tested on [right now] a dual-core AMD64 box running Gentoo. I started the projects on an athlon t-bird running cygwin in windows. I didn't "port" the code to linux when I made the jump and I don't "port" the code to windows now.

The code I've written btw... is used on ALL THREE of xbox, playstation and gamecube, it's also used in wireless routers and other embedded platforms. *none* of which I've ever developed for.

This is the trick behind designing proper software and "hacking together" a solution with TLAs and trendy tools.

Part of the big move to linux from windows [XP at the time] was not only that Linux is often more stable [yes it has it's moments but once you get it working it's better] but that the userland experience is so much better. The shell [in this case bash] is also a heck of a lot nicer than "cmd.exe", etc, etc, etc.

Once you learn to make good use of a *nix like desktop you'll question using windows.

Tom

Re:less stupid users (1)

FLAGGR (800770) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059399)

Being BSD based, OSX runs Linux apps with little more than a recompile at times. (Endian issues and any asm of course needs to be fixed, but otherwise no problemo) Apple provides an X11 API for osx.

Re:less stupid users (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13059361)

No, being able to use it isn't the problem. It's the time it takes to use. I'm sure as a (open source) software developer, you have no time constraints and are on no schedule. But, in a real live corporate environment, I don't have the time to compile everything I download. I don't have the time to try to figure out for two hours why my video drivers aren't working. I don't have the time to dick around with Linux.

Re:less stupid users (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059402)

Ok you're seriously talking to the wrong person. I work two jobs and maintain over 100k lines of code, 500 pages of documentation, etc in my open source projects all for free.

Trust me. Downtime costs me.

There are distros where you don't compile everything. The fact you're not aware of this [or showing it] is because you're a two-bit troll. Go download knoppix and come back here about "compiling everything".

As for why your graphics card doesn't work, take your ATI piece of shit out, burn it, go buy a 100$ nvidia card. It'll work just fine.

Anyways, if I want to keep any sort of schedule with my projects while keeping employed I have to make the best use of my time. So far Gentoo Linux hasn't gotten in that way.

Tom

Re:less stupid users (2, Insightful)

PocketPick (798123) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059281)

People who don't want to learn Linux aren't ignorant. But someone who actually would think that we should all spend our time surfing man pages and learning 100+ commands line applications so that we can do rudimentary tasks are. What would happen if you went to the bank, and the teller handed you 100 pages of documentation on how to perform a deposit?

Most people use thier computers read thier email, surf the internet, play a few games and use office-style applications. Linux offers this, but at no greater benefit than Windows or MacOS from a learning curve perspective.

Re:less stupid users (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13059288)

So long as the next generation uses linux who gives a shit?

But, if Mom & Dad are running Windows at home...and the schools are all running Windows...when is the next generation going to get exposed to Linux? Sure, they can tinker with it in their spare time, but they'll be expected to use Windows applications for school and work. They'll be taught how to use MS Word and things like that, and in the end we'll be left with yet another generation that is more comfortable with Windows than it is with Linux.

What we need to do is make Linux enough like Windows that people will switch over for largely trivial reasons... A price difference, a nifty feature or two, a catchy logo, the recommendation of a friend. Right now Linux has some real advantages to offer, but there's simply too much effort involved in switching over. Make it easier to switch over, easier to give it a try, and you'll get more people staying with it. And if you can get Mom & Dad to use it at home, and some of the schools to use it, then you'll actually wind up with a generation that is comfortable using Linux.

Re:less stupid users (1)

OzRoy (602691) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059354)

You didn't actually read the article did you?

Forget windows, forget OSX, forget whatever OS people happen to be using. The point is users are comfortable, and don't want to change because what they do with their computer "Just Works", and that is something that has never been achieved by Linux.

Linux has never reached the "It Just Works" stage. I have been using linux for years and sometimes installing software is a pain in the butt. "You require X library", "You have X library, but you require Y version". As soon as I upgrade 1 library 10 other bits of software stops working!

Now I know how to solve those problems, and I know why certain quirks happen, but why should anyone else have to deal with that shit? Those people are not stupid, they are not ignorant, and they are not lazy. They just DON'T CARE! And they shouldn't have to care because they already have a system that "Just Works".

We don't need better man pages, or instructions, because no one reads them! I have never ever read a manual for windows software, why does linux force me to read the manual all the time?

Now I like linux. I think it has great potential, but in all the years I have used it I have yet to see it really progress in the areas it has to, and I'm not going to wait any more. As soon as the x86 Macs are out, I am migrating.

Re:less stupid users (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059372)

Yes, it precicely *is* why people get trojans viruses, backdoors and malware.

People don't want to bother with jumping through hoops to make thinks work, and the unfortunate fact is that if their boss sends them an email with a 'little thing that shows them the stock price of the company' they just want to see it quickly without jumping through hoops to make it work...

They neither understand nor care that the 'little thing that shows them stock prices' also spies on them and makes their computer spam people. All they care is that if their boss sends it it just runs.

Unfortunate, but true.

Re:less stupid users (1)

black mariah (654971) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059423)

Remember all this next time you take your car to a mechanic to get some work done.

Re:less stupid users (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059424)

Is windows easy to use? Really? Is that why so many people get trojans, viruses, backdoors, malware, etc?

Yes, it is. People who aren't experienced or knowledgeable enough to know how to protect themselves from malware use Windows because it's easy.

the problem is GNOME KDE is ready for the desktop (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13059197)

KDE 3.4 is ready as desktop the only problem
is that major distros have decided to support
the infamous gnome an ugly environment featureless
full of first ladies.....

Re:the problem is GNOME KDE is ready for the deskt (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13059248)

Gnome without firefox is completely useless

Quick mod him down (1, Funny)

syousef (465911) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059203)

He dared to blasphemeth. He hath derided the holy OS on /. and he must be modded down -1 troll into oblivion!

Re:Quick mod him down (1)

ValourX (677178) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059401)

That's some seriously half-assed Elizabethan English. Try this instead:

He did dare to blaspheme. He hath the deride of the holy OS on /. and, lo, he shall feel the wrath of yonder moderators this day. -1 troll, ye shall be known to him as destruction to Sodom and Gomorrah!

Here's how I see it (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Butthead (523905) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059210)

I'm tired of this "Linux isnt ready for the desktop" bs...

To be honest with you, if Linux runs on any *Desktop* it's ready. It may not be ready for Grannies system, but it is running.

Granted, this comment is totally biased, but hell, I think freeBSD is also desktop-ready. (Linux, FreeBSD, are used on desktops here)

Re:Here's how I see it (2, Insightful)

sgant (178166) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059317)

Really...and how do they determine it's "not ready for the desktop"?

How about setting up someone with Linux already installed on a system? Much like Windows systems that are pre-installed on machines? I know I was the one that always had to go and reinstall windows on many people's machine because it was too confusing for them...so does this mean since people can install Windows that it's not "ready for the desktop"? The same can be said for OSX.

Any person not familiar with a computer will be confused on any system...be it OSX/Windows/KDE/Gnome. No one that's never touched a computer before will be able to just sit down and run one of them without a little reading/training. Sorry folks, but that's the truth. Each system usually has a "getting started" tutorial to get people up to speed.

Linux is as ready for the desktop as any other system out there. And all this article is just BS. It's just this guys feelings. He's not doing any tests or research. He didn't go out and test 50 grandmothers and sat them down in front of a computer and see what would happen. It's just this guys feelings and opinion.

Re:Here's how I see it (1, Troll)

sgant (178166) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059336)

And since when does a fricken blog rate enough to be included here as "news"? It's a blog...which is just random masturbation of words for the amusement of the blogger himself.

There's blogs out there that still claim the world is flat and that NASA faked the moon landings...let's put them on here too! Let Slashdot become the fucking Art Bell of the internet!

Might as well. I hope Taco is enjoying all the cash that OSDN is paying him. He doesn't seem to care what goes on here anymore.

Film at 11 (1)

Jooly Rodney (100912) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059213)

The FA is yet more criticism that would be better directed at particular Desktop vendors / packages and application developers than at the mythical entity "Linux." Nothing to see here.

But they do... (5, Funny)

HappyHead (11389) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059215)

But my mother and father already use Linux - mostly for the games though.

"Grandma Bootsie"? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13059221)

"Grandma Bootsie"? Is that the name of your grandma or the name of your cat?

Fundamental assumption? (4, Interesting)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059225)

All presupposing (as is so often done) that the ultimate "goal of Linux" (thereby attributing to "Linux" intentionality that it no doubt does not possess) is to woo Windows users away from their desktops, rather than to provide a superior computing and data processing platform.

I am very happy with the latter, which Linux has provided me with for some years now, and if Linux ceases to do so in favor of attempting the former, I'll happily switch to some other platform (until "I hate elitsts" n00bs who want to be elite but don't want to work for it invade and begin to transform-to-inefficiency that one as well, at which point I'll move on yet again).

Give me efficient computing or give me death. I want to manage my reams of data and my network tasks. I don't care if it jives with the [utterly inefficient] way of doing things in Windows, or if the Windows users care to adopt my methods.

I just want the powerful tools, unpolluted, task-oriented, intelligently designed, that let me talk to my computer using the language through which it can most quickly and subtly be isntructed.

It's not an elitist view, it's the view of a data processing pragmatist with a lot of tasks to juggle and a lot of work to get done.

Mod parent up! (1, Flamebait)

khasim (1285) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059410)

Linux should be focusing on the code.

There's nothing wrong with styling your GUI to look like WinXP, but the code should come first.

There's nothing wrong with having a dual-boot Win/Linux system where FireFox on the Linux system snagged all the IE info during installation. That would be a pretty cool feature. But the code comes first.

Linux is winning the server market because of the stability, reliability and functionality. Not because it looks just like a Windows server. Focus on the code.

Migration tools are good. More migration tools would make it easier to migrate more servers. But the code comes first.

it IS ready... (2, Informative)

override11 (516715) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059230)

Windows was never thought of as 'easy' when it first came out. You still had to learn how to use it, what to click to close a window, the concepts of using a mouse, right click, etc. Linux is just different enough from a window PC that there will be a learning curve. Frankly, I wouldnt want another OS that was exactly like windows.

Anything worth doing is worth some effort. Just sit down with linux for a bit and you will find it can do everything that Windows can do, just a bit different.

Re:it IS ready... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13059297)

I have to agree here. I have used windows for ages even dos for that matter all the way back to about 4.

Windows is no easier then linux, the only edege that exsist is a common form of software and package dilvery, which will soon be an issue of the past.

I would dread seeing another copy cat os that has to drum itself over as a windows clone to make a buck. If you to lazy to read manual why are you using a computer any way ? So you can be yet another internet drone broadcasting viruses, trojans, and Spam ?

Linux fs structures are no in any way difficult to understand, I don't see how anyone could think that.

Var, variable data
tmp, temporary
usr, user space no different then Program Files.

I mean, anyone else say wtf are program files when you first installed win 95 ?

Re:it IS ready... (1)

afabbro (33948) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059305)

Yes, but it was possible to learn Windows because there were manuals that were in sync with the code, documentation was available, etc.

I wouldn't want another OS that was exactly like Windows...but a free (in all senses of the word) OS that was exactly like the Mac, on the other hand...(at least in a user-interface sense)

Re:it IS ready... (1, Insightful)

asa (33102) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059308)

"Just sit down with linux for a bit and you will find it can do everything that Windows can do, just a bit different."

My point is that masses of people _won't_ "just sit down with linux for a bit." They'll spend a few minutes on it and decide it's not good enough and go back to Windows. My post covered a few of the reasons for this.

- A

Re:it IS ready... (1)

override11 (516715) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059385)

Well thats fine, why would we want to take an awesome user supported OS and 'dumb it down' for the masses?? As soon as linux is 'accepted' by those masses, us geeks will just find a new elite OS to use and it will start all over =)

Re:it IS ready... (1)

layer3switch (783864) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059376)

I think, learning curve in general is required for any computing. Heck, even Mac wasn't as GUI intuitive as one may have thought back in the days. And Mac had only ONE CLICK BUTTON!

For Desktop Linux distros, the downfall of it all, IMHO, is that they all are trying to mimic each other and at the same time forgetting to innovate with ease of use in mind. ie. worry about "function first, usage later" design. Biggest example of Red Hat's success would be KickStart/RPM/UP2DATE/GUI Package Management and at the same time, biggest example of Red Hat's failure would be 6+ distribution CD's just speaks for itself.

Full Text of Asa's Post (in case of /.'ing) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13059246)

(posted as AC to avoid accusations of karma-whoring)

linux not ready for the desktop

After reading Massimo Sandal's recent article, The Firefox Target And The TuxMini, I knew I was going to be in trouble because I just had to blog my contrary position. This post isn't a point by point reply to Sandal's article, but rather a more general disagreement based on my experiences with Linux, Mozilla and Firefox.

It's probably worth pointing out that I'm not a "Linux person." I've only been using Linux for about 6 years. I've been using Windows for about twice that long, and I've been using Macintosh for about 20 years. I'm not really loyal to any one OS; I've used what my employer or school offered or required and when that wasn't a consideration I've used what I thought was most convenient.

OK. So what's wrong with Linux that makes it not ready for the desktop. I've tried KDE and Gnome desktops but my latest is FC4 so my criticism is focused on that (and Gnome) but I think KDE distros suffer just as bad if not worse. The issues fall into four basic categories, migration, stability, simplicity, and comfort. These issues each cover both technical capability shortcomings as well as usability failings.

The first issue, migration, is pretty serious. For "Regular People" to adopt Linux (which usually means leaving Windows) Linux is going to need a serious migration plan. It will need to install on machines next to Window, leaving that completely intact and easy to return to, and carry over all or nearly all of the user's data and settings. Regular People may be willing to take a look at Linux, but as long as all of their data and settings still lives in Windows, they're not going to stay very long -- no matter how appealing it might be. We learned this lesson in the Mozilla world. It wasn't until we implemented a very capable migration system in Firefox, which carried over the user's IE favorites, cookies, history, passwords, etc. that Regular People started moving over in serious numbers -- and staying (and bringing others over.) Linux needs to do the same. It's clearly a much bigger task for an entire OS and all of its major applications to accomplish, but it simply has to be done. When Regular People fire up the Linux desktop for the first time, the browser, office suite, email client, IM client, file manager, etc, each need to carry over as much as possible of the Windows application settings and all or very nearly all of the user data. Without this, the hill is just too steep to climb and Regular People will not make the climb.

The second problem that blocks massive Linux Desktop growth is stability. I don't mean the not crashing kind of stability, I'm talking about a stable API that doesn't require the user jump through hoops when they want to download a new application from download.com. A user should be able to install Fedora Core 4 and go grab the latest Firefox release from Download.com and have it work without the need for finding and installing compat-libstdc++ or whatever. Developers may think it's cool to reuse as much code as possible but the user doesn't care whether it was Linux that failed to include the necessary compatibility components or Mozilla that failed to make the build work for that particular dot release of libstdc++. Regular People expect to be able to download software, install it, and have it just work. Asking them to figure out complex system library and kernel compatibility issues is a one way ticket off of their desktop.

The third issue is a lack simplicity. Just because you can include a feature doesn't mean that you should. Just because you can provide a user preference doesn't mean you should. I don't want to start a desktop war but I really gotta say to the distros, pick a desktop and be happy. Regular People shouldn't have to (guess or learn enough to) choose between Gnome and KDE when they're installing your product. Regular People don't need 15-20 mediocre games in a highly visible Games menu at the top of the Applications list. And what is a Regular Person to think when confronted with a choice between Helix Player, CD Player, and Music Player? Does the Music Player not understand CDs? What's "Helix" mean? Gedit has about 30 user preferences spread across 5 tabs in a preferences window -- Notepad has about three. You and I know that the difference between Settings and Preferences is that one is system wide and one is per-user but Regular People don't know that and shouldn't need to know that. If the Regular Person doesn't have access to it because it's a system wide setting, then why put that entire menu of options in front of him. If the Regular Person has equal access to both, then why are they split? It's just a confusing mess.

The final major issue is comfort. Linux must feel comfortable to Windows users. Most people using computers today have been at it for a while now and they've been at it on Windows. Don't mess with their basic understanding of how things work. Regular people do not know what it means to "mount a drive" and they shouldn't have to. Regular People don't want their OK and Cancel buttons reversed -- tossing out years of finely tuned muscle memory. Regular People shouldn't have to learn what /home means or how it differs from My Documents. Regular People don't want two clipboards that seem to constantly overwrite each other. Linux UI fundamentals need a reworking to match the habits that Windows users have been building over the last decade. Get the users first, then try to teach them a better way (if you've got one.) Putting things in the "right" place for Windows users will go a long way. You can never do too much to ease the transition.

I think of Linux today the way I think of Mozilla 1.0 from just a few years ago: a very capable product with a very limited audience. If Linux makes major inroads on the desktop, it will probably be as a result of the same kind of focus that put Firefox on tens of millions of desktops, a focus on migration, stability, simplicity, and comfort.

update: I just ran acros Kim Bauters' article which hits on some other great points.

Repost: my Linux desktop experiment (2, Interesting)

gelfling (6534) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059251)

Project:
Find a Linux desktop distro which can be installed on a low end PC and function as a credible replacement for Win95/98 which previously ran on that hardware. The OS has to be semi-easy to install, relatively bug free, it has to support a modicum of normal desktop apps that the typical student or home user would use or be able to use, and it has to be relatively straightforward to maintain from the perspective of installing printers and other common devices as well as installing patches or updates. It has to boot in a reasonable amount of time and it has to recover from a 'pull the plug' shutdown with few if any messages or user intervention. No Windows OS software or partitions are preserved.

Hardware
An IBM PC750 model 6887 (mod 80H engineering model never marketed). 112MB RAM. 2 IDE drives: 6GB and 4GB. The BIOS limits a single drive to 6GB. A 40x12x16 CDRW. AMDK6-2 400 drop in replacement CPU. D-Link, 10/100Ethernet NIC, Realtek 8129 family. AWE64 ISA sound card. I acknowledge that this is an ancient machine that is neither supported nor can be affordably upgraded. It is theoretically possible to upgrade RAM to 144MB but very expensive. Video is embedded S3VG64+.

RH based:
All the RH based distros are very similar look and feel and toolset. They are require significant hardware to run well. They all boot with a failure to start the sound server. If you have the hardware to run them they are probably a good choice for a desktop. General hardware minimum recommendations are at least 128MB RAM and 400Mhz CPU. Practical minimums are at least twice that: 256MB RAM and 700 -1200Mhz CPU minimum and at least 3-4GB diskspace. Some distros check the disk and made the volume a hard requirement.. Generally, from a pure usage perspective there is little to distinguish them from one another. Some had a much easier time installing printers in CUPS for example but I did not install anything significant to see whether one had more success than another. Sound server generally failed on boot. Video cards were generally detected as S3VG64 generic and not '+'; changing resolution was hit or miss. I did not try to install or run Wine. While they install well and have an elegant look and feel they are basically unusable with this hardware.

ELX - Automatic partition, very clean. This may be an orphan product however good it is.
Cobind - Very similar, manual partition, low numbered release (0.1)
SOT/LBA - Very similar, manual partition
Lorma - Very similar, manual partition. Developed at and for Lorma College. Multiple versions for i386 and 686 but the differences are not obvious on an AMDK6
OpenNA - Installs but does not run on AMDK6

Live CDs:
Most are Knoppix/Debian based distros and with the exception of Knoppix strangely, require user intervention for installation to input manual frame buffer params. These lightweight distros all have more or less the same applications. Individual variations are minor and focus on hardware support or multimedia. There is Knoppix and there is everything else. Knoppix runs very well is very complete, in fact it's a little bloated and runs fairly slow. These distros are all pretty much the same in terms of which apps they have and they run. Feather and DSL really are stripped down, many of their apps are text based in a Window or use Dilo instead of Firefox or Konquerer. Some do not install or run at all. The only unusual one is Puppy which looks almost identical to Win98. Puppy also has a very complicated mode to install on to the harddrive - I'm not sure if it's possible. Video was detected adequately. Most are not numbered version 1.0 or higher

Peanut - Does not install, does not run on AMDK6
Feather - Good script for to hard drive. Runs either on CD or harddrive equally well. With a little more RAM you can dump the entire OS into a RAMdisk. Primitive GUI, printer installation is difficult.
DSL - Very simple, fast installation. Primitive gui. Printer installation is difficult.
Slax - Does not boot in any Xmode other than 'safegui' Framebuffer so fluxbox fastgui is unavailable, forces the use of K
Slax-KB - Does not boot in any Xmode other than 'safegui' Framebuffer so fluxbox fastgui is unavailable, forces the use of K. There are no obvious differences between Slax and the Slax 'Kill Bill' edition. This would probably require a great deal of trial and error to get X running.
Knoppix - Very complete, simple almost brainless installation. Resulting system is actually rather slow and should be run on a higher end machine.
Puppy - Different code base? Windows98 look and feel, poor installation to hard drive
Generations Vortex - Some problem I don't remember what. It probably couldn't install or boot correctly.

Vector - Slackware hell. Installation problems, Lilo failures. Partitioning is sheer guesswork. Different versions have completely different boot schema. Friends don't let friends drive Slackware. 8 or 9 attempts to get this running. First was Vector1.8 which crashed during Xserver configuration and never came back. Next was Vector4.3 which required a complete tear down of a previous RH installation, down to unpartitioned freespace on the disk. Innumerable problems with getting configurations saved. CUPS installation never worked. Tossed and moved on. The distro I tried next was Vector3.2SOHO which is a normal Vector3.2 build with more desktop business applications and some better, I think, sys admin functions. Unlike Vector4.3, 3.2SOHO has no fluxbox and uses ICEWM and XCFE. It sort of works but it didn't include any print drivers I could use. In the meantime probably the only redeeming feature of Vector is that it runs well on old slow hardware. Better than anything else so far.

Root Linux - Another Debian? K gui system. Fairly straightforward menu based installation. In fact the installation can be tuned to install a server with no GUI at all. More BSD-ish than the others. Strong server orientation for a desktop. Uses a ports system similar to Gentoo but claims to be better.

Not Tried:
'Real' Red Hat - Too many CDs, stated hardware requirements were too high, not free?
Fedora - Too many CDs, stated hardware requirements were too high
Gentoo - Too many CDs, stated hardware requirements were too high
Xandros - Too many CDs, stated hardware requirement, free download is only available through BitTorrent
SuSE - Too many CDs, stated hardware requirements were too high, also could not distinguish this from the other Novell Unix
xBSD - I don't have any black t-shirts and I don't eat Krispy Kreme
'Real' Slackware - I would rather kill myself
Any source only distro - Too complicated, would take too long to compile
Any distro w/o English or German as the primary installed language

Conclusion
With the possible exception of Feather, DSL and Puppy there are no credible Linux desktop replacements for Windows95/98 let alone WindowsXP for the hardware I tried to employ using what could be remotely described as a repeatable process. This surprised me because Win95/98 ran quite well on that hardware and did whatever Win95/98 are supposed to do with a minimum of serious problems. Even running a minimum of services the RH based distros are too heavyweight. The live CD's on the other hand, if you are willing to accept some very unique GUI's and tools like Dilo that don't work very well then you can come close. Not that close but sort of close. The problem with them is that liveCDs, already running slow from the CD drive, make it difficult to create a swapfile and this only slows them down more. As a result the office software is very stripped down and non-integrated. OpenOffice is never bundled with these lightweight distros and it's unlikely you would have much success running them on these distros either. Slax demonstrated that putting fluxbox or XCFE, lightweight GUI's in the mix is useless where older hardware can't install X well enough to make them work so clearly the GUI's need some more work to actually work on the machines that would benefit from them. Vector/Slackware runs in a small footprint, quickly but it is remarkably difficult to install. The amount of work needed to create better installation procs and packaging it into a new ISO image would be huge. I was staring at critical boot time error messages that are not documented and not even well understood by the developers. I had to try random solutions that popped into my head. Once running though Vector runs faster than any of the liveCDs. The other distros were hit or miss, some installing some not, none of them distinguishing themselves from anything that came before or after.

If I had the hardware I'd recommend SOT/LBA or Lorma or possibly ELX. All appear to be fairly stable Fedora based desktops where someone has actually put the time into making them more usable. In Lorma's case, it's the distro that handed out to Lorma colleges (Philippines) students as the standard client build and it's what they support and manage their version control around. SOT is developed by the Linux Business Alliance and appears to be well tested and supported including security announcements. ELX is the most automatic and effortless however it may not be a supported product. Repeated attempts to contact anyone at te company or get any response back from the support forum failed. Another option would be to install Knoppix on the hard drive but that is not, as of today, a supported and fully functional option. You are more or less forced to run out of the CD or attempt to roll your own port to a hard drive.

But in terms of cheapness versus function, so far, Vector3.2SOHO is an acceptable choice. Acceptable as in you may go insane trying to install it but if you finally get it right you will have a fairly fast functional free system running on discarded hardware. Sans printing. You will have embraced the Slackware Way and you will have been assimilated into the Slackware Collective. Drink the Kool Aid and wait for the spaceship to arrive. I honestly can't describe how screwed up Slackware is and how annoying it is to talk to people who are actually proud of how obscure and difficult it is to install and administer. I even learned a few things about using a Knoppix liveCD to boot to a console to get into Vector in order to tweak it enough to boot.

Just today; there is a brand new Vector5.0SOHO that is supposed to have dramatically improved functions in this area.

Part 2

More Vector
Vector3.2 SOHO re-installation went fairly well. The thing to keep in mind with Vector is that it does not play well with any other distribution's partitioning. You have to start from scratch and do it by hand if you want good results. When you are done you have a very quick system for old hardware. Once again though CUPS is mess, it may work for locally attached parallel printers but that's it.

I installed the next version of Vector SOHO, version 5. This new version has a different installation script which puts almost everything in a completely different order including forcing you to create and format the data partition before addressing where the system will go. Once again partitioning and Lilo installation can't be done 'automatically' and has to be done by hand. Installation takes a Vector good long time, hours, and this is typical for other Vector installs. But after it's done you have a build that's more or less abandoned its roots. It's big and slow, feature rich, with confusing overlapping menus. Once again CUPS is a mess and I could not get printing to work. At this point I believe my print server is fundamentally incompatible with CUPS. I'll also add that in CUPS or Turboprint, if you don't have an HP or Canon printer you are out of luck. Generally thought Vector5.0SOHO has a cleaner fit and finish, better support for scanners, and sound. Package management is hit or miss. An important note is that no Vector build offers any upgrade path to any other. You must do a scratch reinstall. So for all the headaches compounded with new slowness, Vector5.0SOHO is functionally a little faster than Fedora based desktops but a lot harder to run. It's hard to see why anyone would want to do this. I ended up removing it and going back to 3.2SOHO and dinking with the printing some more.

Commercial Desktops
I then tried two 'complete' distros; Linspire and Lycoris. Linspire is a liveCD only, Lycoris can be installed to the harddrive. Note that Linspire can purchased and that version installs to the hard drive.

Linspire is a fairly complete distribution that probably works well. It was very hard to tell since it barely runs off the CD on my old machine. Almost nonfunctional in terms of speed. That stated, hardware requirements are about what a good Fedora build are but since it only runs off the CD the performance on this 'evaluation copy' is abysmal. The real version runs from the harddrive. I believe that printing worked or partially worked. Unlike some of the other distros you don't have to set up printing for applications separately. I did not try to install or run Wine.

Lycoris is a commercial desktop as well. The download version has no support and most of the easy update and patch features don't work. Lycoris is the latest version of Corel/Caldera Linux. Installation is very simple albeit it takes a lot of sitting there and answering random questions at random intervals. Functionally it's very clean and most of the basic functions work well out of the box. If I recall, printing worked semi-well. The drivers weren't up to date but it's likely that the real version had better driver support. Lycoris is a very heavy distro and needs serious hardware to run. Stated requirements for Lycoris (and Linspire) are about what a new machine 3 years ago would buy you: 1.2Ghz CPU, 256MB++ RAM, lots of disk, USB hardware, new CDRWs, etc... But on the upside it appears to handle scanners and other peripherals that most distros don't. One thing that it does well is present a single clean WM system that leaves out all the dozens of minor apps and tools from the menu system. You aren't for example presented with a boot option to start icewm, XCFE, X, K, etc..... with different applications in the menus for each one. I did not try to install Wine.

Libranet
Last was Libranet which is Debian based and brings with it a new set of questions and strangeness. Installation is fairly clean but it's a 2CD distro and during the installation program you're asked specifically which packages to install. You probably don't know what half of them are and during the installation you don't know which CD they are on. Libranet has a unique approach to installation: it loads most everything to the harddrive and then installs from itself. This requires a lot of babysitting and watching. Partitioning is odd since automatic partitioning doesn't work and I suspect that even with manual partitioning you can't put the swapfile on a the second drive before any other and have the system recognize it. I also found that configuring X was a major pain but luckily there is test mode which allows you to quickly trial and error it. It could not detect my video or monitor correctly and I just messed with the settings about 10 times until I found something that worked. The end result is functional but some of the WMs don't format correctly on the screen and chop off the bottoms of some of the menus on the toolbar. Also some of the message windows don't text wrap correctly either. Libranet is a huge distro that tries to do everything. Everything except print of course. Suffice it to say that printing is the same failed miserable experience as Slackware/Vector.

Libranet is relatively quick on old hardware except when running K. But half of the applications are K apps anyway so it spends an awful lot of time chugging through the K libs to start up the apps. Moreover each WM has features and apps of all the others and all of them contain a confusing barrage of every application you could think of. Some of the tools appear in 3 or 4 or more places and the click-double click behavior of them is not consistent. On an old machine, to accidentally start 2 or 3 copies of K Organizer is a huge waste of time.

Printing was a mess here and in some ways a bigger mess than anything else. It didn't print either. It has a version of CUPS that's no better plus it also includes a 'free' version of Turboprint that configures printers differently from CUPS. When you see a printer in CUPS that was created in Turboprint, it's different from the definition in Turboprint in fact it's not even a valid definition at all. Turboprint is a 'free' version which means that it's supposed to print a 'demo' watermark.

I found the confusing array of WMs and menus to be self defeating - switching from one to the other sometimes carried changes to the layout with them, sometimes not depending on whether you made adjustments to K applications. Not all of the WMs display an option to logout or start a different WM.

I think Libranet has potential but it really has to address some basic things: Printing of course. The confusing combination of desktops and the installation proc which needs less human intervention and better documentation.

End
This project has reached its end. I'm convinced that there are no workable solutions to the original goal of the project. The only plausible solution would be to acquire better, newer, more powerful hardware and install a good Fedora distro on it. It is theoretically possible to pull together a low end machine for about $250 and this is the minimum hardware one could use.

In order to exploit the existing low-powered distros it would require a very large amount of handwork, starting from the kernel on up. And this would result in a highly customized build with limited appeal since it would not run any better or more fully on high end hardware. 2 other options that already exist, for hardware that is newer is a Knoppix like build on a USB pendrive and a Linux terminal server such as K12LTSP. I have no ability to test either one of these out and though a 256MB USB drive is not all that expensive, testing on the faster machines I already have wouldn't prove anything to me.

Re:Repost: my Linux desktop experiment (1)

mvdw (613057) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059369)

Interesting that you refused to try slackware, yet that is the distro that I would first try on such a machine.

Also interesting is the statement that you couldn't find a "replacements for Windows95/98 let alone WindowsXP for the hardware". I'd like to see XP running on that hardware...

Re:Repost: my Linux desktop experiment (1)

utuk99 (656026) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059409)

Wouldn't it make more sense to find 5 year old versions of linux to install on 5+ year old hardware? I recommend anyone still running 95/98 to just buy a new computer anyway. If they can't afford the $250, I can't waste my time with them.

Now if you were just using it for routing or something thats different, but you don't expect that to be super user friendly. Then again if you can't afford $20 for a router, don't bother me either.

When you get right down to it ... (4, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059256)

Ma, Pa and Aunt Bootsie are irrelevant. The corporate world is where the money is, and that's the area where Microsoft is most concerned about losing market share to anything or anyone. Right now, people that buy a computer for home use are to a large degree constrained by what they use at work, which is most likely Windows. All this talk about Linux being ready for Joe Sixpack belies the fact that operating system acceptance begins in the workplace and filters down from there. If the idea really is to displace Microsoft, then the place to start is the cubicle farm, not the den. The original IBM PC, all those years ago, gained widespread popularity among the corporate set because it had a ready-to-go set of business applications (and, of course, the IBM name.) Everything else flowed from there ... and it's still true today. Linux really needs (and is getting) some heavy-duty office/business applications and functionality. That's what it will take.

PS (2, Insightful)

SQLz (564901) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059258)

Make sure to tell that to Ebay, Google, Disney, Yahoo, IBM, and about upteen other major companies who have large installations of Linux desktops.

We get it already (0, Troll)

blah_ect (577817) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059259)

Look, the year is 2005. You don't have to keep posting these "Why Linux isn't ready for the desktop" articles rehashing the same shit over and over again.

This is like pointing out over and over again why the fat girl isn't going to the prom with a date.

We *get* it already.

-blah ect

Re:We get it already (1)

eggman95 (718643) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059296)

i agree. this has been discussed a million times over.

Re:We get it already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13059356)

Agree.

Re:We get it already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13059425)

I sympathesize with you. I mean you are not the only one who is fat^H^H^H, look at half of america, they can barely move ass from one side to other. Don't worry your prince charming will come some day.

Chicken or Egg? (1)

molrak (541582) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059268)

I remember learning how to use an Apple ][ computer when in primary and secondary school, and people weren't complaining about the interface, or why the floppy drives took so long to load. People used those clunky, green-screened machines because it had the applications they needed to use, and it was easy to pirate A][ programs.

The same was true of Windows--it had Microsoft Word (and Office), and also had Lotus' equivalent as well. 3.1 (and 3.11) were relatively easy to pirate. People used Windows at work, that's what they became familiar with, and that's what they bought when they decided to use a computer at home. Until Linux develops its own 'killer ap', it's never going to overtake Windows. If anything, the MacOS X is looking pretty inviting to a lot of users, especially with the iLife suite, but since that's not targetted at most businesses, it may not even make a difference.

Linux needs a Screen of Death! (5, Funny)

tktk (540564) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059278)

Windows has the Blue Screen of Death.
Longhorn has the Red Screen of Death.
Mac OS 9 had the Sad Mac and the Bomb.
OS X has the big power button in the background. (And maybe one more.)

And Linux? I don't know what it's got.

Linux users need some iconic way to know that they've really fsck'ed up the their computer. Then they can be satified when they haven't seen it in a while.

We need something....like a dead penguin. Or maybe a slightly stunned penguin. I don't know, get a Japanese manga artist to draw it.

Re:Linux needs a Screen of Death! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13059340)

Perhaps we should just intentionally program bugs into the kernel, so that way Windows users can feel at home.

I have Windows XP, and I get a nice warm feeling everytime it bluescreens at me, its like a Husband reminding his wife that he loves her, after savagely beating her once again...

Re:Linux needs a Screen of Death! (1)

gromitcode (888226) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059393)

No need to intentionally program bugs into the kernel, have you seen the amount of kernel patches released this year for linux :-(.

Why 'regular users'? (1)

Corvaith (538529) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059280)

Asa makes a lot of good points here. Of course he does. Firefox rules, etc. And Firefox has done some good things.

I think what most Linux distributions and software packages need, though, is to decide what their target market *is*. There's all kinds of talk about whether Linux is 'ready for the desktop', but never about whose desktop it should be ready for.

Many Linux distros and packages are ready and working nicely on geek desktops everywhere. They do what those users want them to do. Those users like lots of configuration boxes and options and new toys. Asa makes mention of the 15 silly little games in the games folder when you install--and my first time installing Mandrake, I probably spent three hours afterwards trying all the new little games and utilities. It was good fun.

I don't think those distros should have to change. If you're good at that and you're happy doing that, then do that. You don't have to have a Windows market share. You should make a product your users like to use, and if you do that well, you're in good shape.

On the other hand, if what you're emphatically trying to do is to produce a desktop just like Windows XP and your target userbase is all the people who currently use XP, yes, everything Asa says applies. Make that a conscious decision, though. Don't just try to make Linux for the masses because somebody else says you should, for god's sake. I'm not trying to save up for a Linux box so I can have Linux for the masses. I'm saving so I can have a little icon in the corner of my screen that shows me the moon phase and run a webserver off my machine and all those good things.

Some of us like our obscure toys!

BS (1)

GoldenShale (93637) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059283)

This discussion comes down to a matter of goals. If the goal is to get as many windows users as possible to convert to linux, than producing an exact copy of windows that is free is probably the perfect solution. I don't think that is the goal though, at least for most of the open source & linux community members that I know. I think we should let microsoft take care of the web surfing, office using weenies, and make linux the platform of the computing elite. Lets pimp it out to the extreme. Sure, we can have some clean, easy to use systems that help make mundane computing tasks easier, but other than that I don't think we should follow anyone. Lets invent, create and kick some ass!

Another Idiot (0, Troll)

Master of Transhuman (597628) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059291)


Why on Earth do I need to "migrate Windows settings"?!

WHAT settings? Other than my browser settings - why the FUCK do you think I use Firefox? (Or Opera in the past.) Email? How hard is it to set up a new account in whatever email client you use? Such as Thunderbird, for Christ's sakes!

My data happens to be sitting on a FAT32 partition that I can easily access from Linux. Try the reverse in Windows (without using a third party tool like explore2fs)! Yes, it would be nice to have a tool that converts it to EXT3 or whatever without losing the data, but that's hardly critical.

Everybody needs to get a grip. There is NOTHING about Linux that is a showstopper to migrating someone to it except the EXPECTATION that it will IDENTICAL to Windows.

And this nitwit wants to perpetuate that by babbling about migrating "settings."

instead of linux it must be... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13059292)

KDE, GNOME, XFCE

this has nothing to do with linux, it affects BSDs too.

Perhaps the wrong approach (4, Insightful)

Sv-Manowar (772313) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059293)

The article seems to suggest that the general idea of "Putting things in the "right" place for Windows users will go a long way" is something that would be beneficial to linux switchers. The many users who have switched to OS X haven't needed this, and in fact have moved to systems where menu choices and design philosophy are significantly different to windows.

The reason for this not being a problem is that things are laid out in a way that's intuitive to those who just want to perform the action, rather than perform it in the way windows does. From my experience people who mostly use macs find it harder to use windows pc's on occasion than vice versa for precisely this reason. Windows has its usabilit nuances, and cloning them doesn't help people get a better experience from using the computer

Tired of the moaning (2, Insightful)

jrcamp (150032) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059298)

Regular People don't want their OK and Cancel buttons reversed -- tossing out years of finely tuned muscle memory.

I'm really sick about this mentality that seems to have actually increased in recent years. Everybody seems to think "well just because it doesn't work like Windows then it is flawed." We should not (and will not) bow down to these kinds of gripes. The coummunity is in the business of producing better software--not equal software.

In none of these write-ups do they care to mention viruses, spyware, or other basic design flaws Windows has. Or how things seem to bit-rot over time. All they do is moan about how things in Linux are different without digging into why it might actually be a better system. Or, if not, seeing what is being developed to solve certain problems.

Don't get me wrong, Linux has a long way to come in some areas. In others it is light-years ahead. I hope more people will join in with me to celebrate Linux's strenghts while being honest about where we are lacking and how to improve.

Sure but.... (1)

Geldon (444090) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059299)

My girlfriend is a true Linux "user". She is is not very tech savvy, however, she loves Linux simply because she does not have to worry about things like viruses or spyware. She says she shouldn't have to worry about such things. With Linux, she doesn't. Needless to say, her Windows machine has a lot of spyware and a couple viruses on it every time I get her to let me clean it.

TROOLK[ORE (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13059322)

us the cou8t3sy arseholes at Walnut the bottoms butt move any equipment

dear slashdot (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13059326)

seriously guys, shut the fuck up about linux not being ready for peoples desktops
no one cares anymore
get over it

Some good points, but... (4, Interesting)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059331)

First of all migration is raised as an issue: "When Regular People fire up the Linux desktop for the first time, the browser, office suite, email client, IM client, file manager, etc, each need to carry over as much as possible of the Windows application settings and all or very nearly all of the user data."

First of all that's a steep ask, but secondly I just don't think it's necessary. If that was required for people to switch no one would ever move to Apple. It's definitely a nice idea, and in the "nice to have" category, but I don't see that it's a deal-breaker.

The second point is API stability: "A user should be able to install Fedora Core 4 and go grab the latest Firefox release from Download.com and have it work without the need for finding and installing compat-libstdc++ or whatever."

This one is fixed - if developers would actually pay attention. Autopackage [autopackage.org] allows developers to package up their application into a self installing executable that can do dependency resolution. At that point not having compat-libstdc++ is the developer/packager's fault: they ought to have included an Autopackage for it in their repository so the installer can fetch it if it finds the right version of compat-libstdc++ isn't already installed. Better still, the people at Autopackage provide relaytool which allows developers to smoothly fallback to other library versions: for example, you can have your binary use the new GTK+ file chooser if it is available, but fallback to using the old one if it isn't. Which is really saying that the problem has been solved, it's up to the developers and people releasing the software to make use of the tools available.

The third point is preferences: "Gedit has about 30 user preferences spread across 5 tabs in a preferences window -- Notepad has about three."

Now that's not a great example becaue Gedit does a hell of a lot more than notepad, but I think the point is still very valid. To be fair I think GNOME has been putting in a lot of work on this front, and trying to clean a lot of these things up. That work is ongoing, and we can expect to see continuing improvment. That is, the way forward has been laid out, it's just a matter of continuing down the path.

The final point is "comfort":"The final major issue is comfort. Linux must feel comfortable to Windows users. Most people using computers today have been at it for a while now and they've been at it on Windows. Don't mess with their basic understanding of how things work."

I have to say, I think this one is a little dubious. If there is a better way of doing things why not do it? I think constraining yourself to the way Windows does things is a little pointless. There are plenty of things Windows does well, and it's fine to follow those examples, but there are plenty of things Windows does badly, and slavishly copying broken behaviour really doesn't make much sense.

I think the real point here is: be patient. I think the points are valid, but they are also largely well known, and being dealt with. Linux on the desktop is not going to "take off" anytime soon, but the rate of improvment in desktop Linux is tremendous, and it is making slow but steady inraods. Software installation (which has been the recent bugbear that people complain about) is looking quite good with Autopackage and Smart [smartpm.org] , but both of those are very new and it's going to take some time before a lot of stuff shifts over - that's life. GNOME is working hard on the preferences trim down and clean up, and, I think, is workign towards a fairly clean easy to use Desktop. KDE is headed in a different, but equally valid and interesting direction - I think the divergence is going to end up providing some real significant choice. Finally I think once all these bits properly fall into place and desktop Linux manages to make a dent in the enterprise (which seems to be where the major distros are targetting) we'll find manufacturers selling more pre-installed machines and people will simply shift to Linux when they buy a new box, mostly removing a lot of the "migration" issues (though I definitely think more migration work would be a good idea).

It's not going to happen overnight people, but then anyone who thought it would was beign foolish. I think desktop Linux is looking good, and it's just a matter of time before it manages to carve out its niche.

Jedidiah.

if you don't help newbies... (5, Insightful)

yagu (721525) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059338)

From the post:

needs to do to get there for the "regular user" AKA mom, dad and grandma Bootsie

(First off, I'm a little nervous about how the OP knew my grandma's name.)

If you don't help newbies with linux, especially ones not very technical, then linux may not be ready for mom, dad, and grandma. Applying this standard implies also then Windows is not ready for mom, dad, and grandma. I've spent countless hours (that I can't charge, and I'll NEVER get back) fixing, re-installing, helping, instructing, etc. in a support role for my parents from Windows 95 through Windows XP.

And, guess what? They're still struggling. Part of this stems from the fact they missed the technical revolution (and lest you diss my parents, one is a Doctor, the other is a Concert Violinist, played in the Pittsburgh Symphony). But most of it stems from the intractable problem of rendering technology intuitive and transparent to the lay-person.

Interestingly this problem plagues both Windows and linux. Interestingly, for Windows what I've found in coaxing my parents along the learning curve is Microsoft has done much if not most to make Windows obfuscated to my parents. Each new generation has left them re-learning pieces of the environment they had just about almost mastered... (they were this close!)

But, I do think linux is up to the desktop task for many who use the internet for mostly surfing, e-mail, quick word docs, and simple spreadsheets. And I think linux actually fares better simply for the rock solid reliability. I haven't set up my parents with linux because I live 2000 miles away from them, so I'm a little paranoid that should something really bizarre happen, I wouldn't know who to have help them, while with Windows, though it demands more support, if I'm not available, there's always some quasi-pseudo expert ready to jump in and "fix" things.

However I have set up others with linux, and I've been amazed... the support calls simply stop! This is for people who satisfy the above criteria: internet surfers; e-mail junkies; and simple "office" tasks. The linux just works. There's probably a larger demographic out there that could use linux than most people think.

God I hate these articles (1, Informative)

wyldeone (785673) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059339)

These same articles have been spewing out for pretty much all of the time that linux has been a major os. Each one adds little to the rest (and this one is no exception); they focus on several things: the difficulty of installing applications, the difficulty of migrating from windows, and the need to resort to the command lines. For the first, in any modern distro installing applications is much easier than it is in windows. In windows, if I want to install an application, I have to find the download, download it, double click the icon, then click "next" a whole bunch of times. Then I likely will be asked to reboot. On linux it's either apt-get install xxx or yum install xxx. And if you're not comfortable with the commandline, there're several guis available (the best IMO is synaptic.) Which one is more daunting? For the second, these people generally complain that the KDE or Gnome desktop is not exactly like windows. This is true. However, I would say that this is a good thing; certaintly the windows desktop shell is not perfect, or anywhere near perfection, and steps to make it better are not a bad thing. I have seen poor computer users pick up KDE in a few hours. For the third, this is also false. Nearly every task which an ordinary user would be doing has a gui; even more outlandish things such as setting up a web server or ftp daemon have guis. For doing the stuff that most computer users do it is never needed to go to the command line. While it's true that some things are difficult to do on linux for an ordinary computer user, things like setting up a mail server, web server, etc., how many people actually do that on windows? It's not something that the normal desktop user will do. Linux on the desktop is ready. We have a free version of every major application group (office, graphics, music, etc.), the interfaces are easier than ever to use (look at the KDE command center). We just have to get people using it.

what about Windows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13059344)

I highly doubt that Windows is ready for desktop either.

Its obvious why... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13059371)

cause the GUI blows and there are no standards.

Well gee (1)

xenocide2 (231786) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059379)

Thanks for sharing your valuable insights. I mean, it's not like there isn't four or five major companies selling Linux and addressing these very issues! They know that it's important to allow people a migration path, all the other areas this guy has pointed out, and many more.

Talk is cheap, and the biggest thing that Linux lacks as a desktop is Dedication, Effort and Commitment.

I'm glad that this vindicates me... (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059382)

I feel glad about this because when I tried to press the Linux world into adopting autopackage http://autopackage.org/ [autopackage.org] , a good number of slashdotters modded me down while others said autopackge does not solve the underlining issue. Granted but...

Guys, Joe Six Pack just wants things to get done. The current rpm hell does not cut, it and even Debian's apt still has a hell of problems. Time has come for the Linux world to do something about software installation on Linux. For an average user, there is just too much information.

Consider this: If one wants to install =package-name=, this user will be presented with the same package for at least six major distros. Heck, as an average user, I thought I used Linux! Sadly, on the desktop, Linux might never fly!

One word Games. (1)

bxbaser (252102) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059383)

Linux will be ready for desktop when you can simply install the latest game and play it.
My take on this is flame away if you must I am a freebsd user for just about everything but games for that i need windows.
My dad a few weeks ago was asking me about bsd I directed him to download a live cd.
He rebooted to cdrom and was up and using the desktop all was great he was having no trouble at all using it,then he said what games can i play.
I told him all the same games you play now just reboot to windows.
I know you can use wine but for the casual user , they dont want to muck around they just wanna play.

I for one am getting kind of sick of this (1)

dsci (658278) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059384)

What is this about Linux not being ready for 'average users?'

There are 'average users' all over the world using Linux. I know of 8 year olds, elderly folks who are not guru geeks, etc who use Linux daily. Without looking back to MS.

The point, imo, should be about CHOICE - use the OS that is best for you. For me, and a whole of people, that choice is Linux. For others, it never will be.

With modern distros, the Linux problems of even 5 years ago are largely unimportant.

Linux is more ready than Windows (2, Interesting)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059386)

What does the average Joe need in a computer? He needs to be able to run a word processor, a spreadsheet, an email client, and a web browser. He needs nice easy to click icons to run those. He needs to be able to automaticly download upgrades. He needs to be able to do so without worrying about security, with some level of stability, and without having to do a lot of administration.

Lets go down the list.

Word processor- check. OO is a fine word processor. It does everything Joe User needs to do. It just does so differently than Office

Spreadsheet- check. OO again

Email client- check. Evolution or Thunderbird

Web browser- check. mozilla and firefox

Easy to click icons- check. Under Gnome or KDE

Automatic updates- check. The distro just needs to add a cron job to get all available uipdates at 3 am every morning

Security- check, and far better than Windows

Stability- check. And when programs do crash, they don't crash the OS. And rarely crash the WM. Better than windows

Administration- check. Distros set everything you need up for you. And the Admin programs with distros tend to be easier than the Windows control panel.

If given a pre-installed computer, Linux fits Joe User's needs better than Windows does. Even installing it isn't too bad- distros will pick defaults for you, and take away the choice of WM, email client, etc.

What some people seem to want is for Linux and all its apps to become an exact Windows clone. For there to be a magical 0 learning curve. This won't happen, and it shouldn't happen. Linux does things differently, many times for good reason. If you use a new system, you need to relearn it. Just like they had to learn Windows at one time. If anything its easier this time around- many of the concepts in Windows transfer over.

The answer is simple... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13059388)

(Bye bye Karma...)

In the other two major desktop OSs things just work.

Her Key point (1)

Crashmarik (635988) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059395)

Software installation is the killer. You need to be able to get software for linux load it and have it work. You can go out to simtel download dos or win 3.1 software and just plug it into windows and it just works. (Printing maybe not) but overall its grab and go with the binaries and you don't worry abit about what libary versions are installed on your system.

The one thing that she missed thats a corrolary to her key point and is something that both windows and linux need. More consistent and transparent, configuration/management tools. Windows would do wonders for itself by dumping the registry and bringing back the ini files and centralizing them. Linux could do wonders by actually forcing configuration files to be standard and clearing out the cruft in distributions. Theres no reason to have an iptables configuration in /etc if its not being used.

Migration (1)

TheRealSlimShady (253441) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059398)

I think one of the most telling comments in there is this one: The first issue, migration, is pretty serious. For "Regular People" to adopt Linux (which usually means leaving Windows) Linux is going to need a serious migration plan. It will need to install on machines next to Window, leaving that completely intact and easy to return to, and carry over all or nearly all of the user's data and settings.

Plenty of people don't realise that part of Microsoft's strength is their migration ability (and I'm not really talking on the desktop here). You want to migrate from Groupwise to Exchange - there's a free tool for that - or Lotus Notes to Exchange, same again. What you don't see from the majority of their competitors are tools (or even best practice guidance) that go the other way. Microsoft make it very easy to migrate to their products (and the fact that they make it hard to migrate away helps them a bit as well :). If companies are going to compete with Microsoft, we have to see a migration path from one to the other, and think about interoperability. Lots of people complain that Microsoft doesn't interoperate with others well, and theres certainly truth to that, but interop works both ways.

Software installation (1)

Hungus (585181) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059411)

One of the biggest issues with Linux on the desktop seems to be the installation of applications and "dependency hell" that sometimes occurs. It seems to me that HD prices being what they are, why not use OS X style installations where all of an applications needed libraries and dependencies are included in a single package? I know there is the issue of being able to upgrade libraries, but could this not be done by giving the applications the ability to register their libraries in a central location? then when an update to a library is available they could be individually or corporately upgraded or even in-duh-vidually ignored. Sure apps become huge , but maintenance and installation become much easier. Also allowing the apps to register their libraries and dependencies would allow the repository to be rebuilt at any time in case it became corrupted. think macintosh classic apps and the desktop database system.

An OS is like underwear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13059412)

1) one size does not fit all.
2) you may like boxers, while others prefer briefs.
3) people get upset when the store no longer carries their favorite.
4) just because the package is fancy and it costs more, doesn't mean the elastic waistband will hold up after use.
5) if you soil yourself, you still have a mess inside, regardless of the brand.
6) people still seem content to wear them, even if it's full of holes (Windows brand).

Why should Linux be more like Windows? (1)

Plazzma (754649) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059416)

In my opinion, the Linux community should not strive to become more attractive to regular Desktop users. If Linux became very easy for the regular user, it really wouldn't be Linnux anymore.

Not ready for prime desktop time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13059417)

1. Nobody wants to write unsexy stuff like drivers, plus many hardware manufacturers do not want to play nice w/ open source softwares.

2. Dependencies dependencies dependencies dependencies dependencies dependencies dependencies ate my cat.

3. All the cool new apps always comes out for Windows / OSX first and Linux is always forced to play catch-up (downolad mp3 codecs much, granny?)

Plus the Gentoo guy is broke now so ;_;

What a surprise! (2, Insightful)

OzRoy (602691) | more than 9 years ago | (#13059426)

What a big fucking surprise this has turned out to be.

66 comments, and what do I see? The majority of posters flaming away, or covering their ears screaming "I'm not listening, I'm not listening!"

And as long as this attitude continues linux will continue to suffer. For once in your geeky lives how about you sit back and think about what people are saying about your precious holy operating system. How about you take the constructive critisism and recognise it for what it is! These people are trying to HELP YOU! But no, you don't listen, and these problems will continue to plague Linux, and normal users will take one look and turn away leaving it forever in the hands of the fanatics.
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