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Why the World Is Not Ready For Linux

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the penguins-just-too-scary dept.

861

eldavojohn writes "While many users reading Slashdot embrace Linux, ZDNet is running an article on why the rest of the world isn't ready. One note for Linux developers: 'Stop assuming that everyone using Linux (or who wants to use Linux) is a Linux expert.' While a lot of these topics have been brought up as both stories and comments on Slashdot, this article pretty much sums up why Vista could be absolutely terrible, and people would still believe there is no other option." From the article: "The one area of Linux ownership and use where it becomes apparent that there's an assumption that everyone who uses Linux is an expert is hardware support. Your average user doesn't have the time, the energy or the inclination to deal with uncertainty. Also, they usually only have the one PC to play with. Hardware just has to work. There's a very good reason why Microsoft spends a lot of time on hardware compatibility — it's what people want."

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I believe in people (5, Insightful)

suso (153703) | more than 7 years ago | (#16703835)

I believe in people. Sometimes it is hard to, but for the most part I believe that people can be smart or become smart. They are just not given the oppurtunity to be. Companies like Microsoft usually don't try to allow people be smart, in fact its usually the case that these companies develop a business model based around people being ignorant and lazy. You can tell by how they word their agreements, marketing material and by what they leave out.

The unix way (besides do one thing and do it well) however is to allow beginners and experts in, and help them leverage themselves so that they can be intelligent and productive in how they work. I don't care if everyone adopts Linux, but I do care if the people who want to work intelligently and are willing to be intelligent are shut out of it. I encounter people all the time who want to learn Linux for the sake of learning it. These are open minded people who want to be smart. Maybe they are smart, maybe they aren't. But honestly that doesn't matter, if they have the will, then Linux will probably work fine for them.

This comment is not meant to "save the world" or anything so grandious. It is only meant as a retort to jackass e-zine writers who don't have the desire to give it a try and have no faith in the concept of community.

Re:I believe in people (2, Insightful)

Bob Loblaw (545027) | more than 7 years ago | (#16703891)

in fact its usually the case that these companies develop a business model based around people being ignorant and lazy
No one ever went out of business by assuming people are inherently ignorant and lazy.

Re:I believe in people (1, Flamebait)

tibike77 (611880) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704311)

But most people ARE ignorant and lazy if not COERCED to behave otherwise.
"Why The World is Not Ready for Linux" ?

Well, for once, because there's already enough people that can mess up something as simple as a Windows installation, and if you tell them the words "command prompt" they'll look at you and go "what command and why in such a hurry?".
And because most people with a salary are having massive problems even getting used to the most intuitive and simplest of "new toys"... take for example the "oh noes how do I set my VCR clock" syndrome ?

In other words, the "World" isn't ready for Linux just BECAUSE people ARE lazy, ignorant and (I dare say) downright stupid, as a general rule.

Re:I believe in people (1)

Jinjuku (762364) | more than 7 years ago | (#16703917)

You must not run your own business developing software :-) I would say about 1 in 20 customers actually have a clue. Most don't even know how to use, or what is, Windows File Explorer. I have to do trivial stuff remotely like: Printer installs, copy a file to a folder on the c:\ drive. Save, then unzip an attachment.

Good luck to the linux community getting those type of users into the big tent...

Re:I believe in people (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704395)

I would say about 1 in 20 customers actually have a clue

In many areas of research [statsoft.com] , the p-value of .05 is customarily treated as a "border-line acceptable" error level.

*scratching head*

CC.

Re:I believe in people (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#16703923)

it's not a matter of weather or not they can, it's a matter of weather or not they want to, and most people do not see the learning curve as "worth it", and you cannot change most of their minds on the matter.

Re:I believe in people (1)

Professr3 (670356) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704247)

Good grief! When are people going to learn how to spell "whether" without referencing meteorological patterns...

Re:I believe in people (3, Insightful)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 7 years ago | (#16703927)

you assume people have the time to be smart. Which is exactly what most people refuse to give these days.

People have been brought up to expect everything NOW. If they have to take time to learn it then obviously it's not worth it. That's what us Manics are for. They learn just what they need and then we save the day when they need more.

Re:I believe in people (2, Insightful)

Thansal (999464) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704033)

See, there is the difference. You say that some one has to be "smart", or "willing to be intelligent" to use linux. that is not the case. People have to be relatively intelligent AND have the time to spend on linux. I know many highely intelligen people who just don't have the time/energy to spend teaching themselfs how to setup and use a linux solution. And for these people, there is Windows/MacOS. And that is exactly what the article was getting at, most poeple just don't have the time to spend teching themselfs how to use a tool (that is what a computer is), when there is a much simpler soloution (that does "just work") out there.

Re:I believe in people (1)

Stephen R Hall (163541) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704199)

People have to be relatively intelligent AND have the time to spend on linux


I agree totally. Many people do just not have the time to mess around getting wireless networking going. I had it working fine with Ubuntu Breezy. Upgrade to Dapper screwed it up. I didn't have time to fix it, so went back to Breezy. If Dapper had been my first install, I wouldn't use Linux.

Re:I believe in people (1)

mpathetiq (726625) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704419)

If Dapper had been your first install, you'd still be using Linux. Upgrades are the problem, not fresh installs.

even the linux experts get tired. (5, Interesting)

yagu (721525) | more than 7 years ago | (#16703851)

I've been installing, troubleshooting, setting up Linux boxes since the days of the 75+ floppy disk installs. Back then it was fun, how cool to get a FREE version of Unix on my PC!

I have probably installed hundreds of Linuxes. In the beginning it was cool, it was fun, and the end result was always worth the effort. Today, while a fully functional Linux box is almost always worth the effort, the blood, sweat, and tears of an install-troubleshoot doesn't come as easily. I've found other Linux "experts" who agree... it's time Linux works out of the box.

That said, I might disagree a bit with the thesis Linux doesn't work out of the box... I've found especially with distros like Ubuntu Linux has come far to "just working". As I've posted before, on a raw machine I've actually had better installation success with a cold install of Linux over XP.

But the main point is valid, and I think it extends to the Linux experts. Not only is troubleshooting geek-cool only to geeks, it doesn't bring warm fuzzies to people for whom you introduce to Linux. There's nothing more scary to the general users than seeing gibberish bootup messages complaining about missing or incompatible drivers and hardware when what they want to see is a shiny new GUI with applications they can use right away.

Linux experts can and still do slough through the pain of perfect Linux installs but the rest of the world isn't impressed. Give them something they can use that works well with everything else. Ultimately it looks like Linux is getting there and may even have a chance of becoming a major desktop... I'm not as pessimistic as the article seems to be.

In the meantime, good points from the article to win favor for Linux and its future:

  • evangelize, but don't be religious (there's a difference).
  • educate
  • give good support...
  • (mine) don't give Linux to someone for whom it isn't going to make any sense... that's a disservice to your "client" and Linux

Re:even the linux experts get tired. (1)

WhiteWolf666 (145211) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704051)

The issue with Linux is that there just isn't a good, up-to-date hardware database.

Distributors should try really hard to build an online, wiki-style database of ALL the hardware that a given version of their distribution supports. This should not just be by "chipset" (Atheros, ACX100), but rather, should be by actual box packaged versions of the hardware (D-Link so and so version 2, Linksys so and so versions 3-5, Logitech QuickCam Pro, etc. . .).

There's nothing wrong with supporting fewer hardware configurations than Windows. The issue is to be able to support hardware configurations at the same _cost_ (or slightly more) as Windows, with the same availability.

It doesn't matter to me if all the add-in cards at BestBuy support Linux. It _does_ matter to me that I be able to find one that DOES support the distribution I'm running, with the Out-Of-The-Box kernel I'm running.

The same with Desktops. It doesn't matter to me if all the Best Buy boxes support Linux. It does matter to me that I can find a few HPs or whatever they DO.

Most Linux installs are not home users with Frankenstein boxes, and there's no need to target the Frankenstein box. Instead, customers need to be able to locate Linux compatible hardware quickly and easily, and the entire hardware support problem goes away.

IMHO, supported hardware on Linux is vastly easier to install than on Windows. Modern distributions automagically load kernel modules on demand, and driver updates are pushed via automatic update. The problem comes when you have to figure out the chipset in the box you got at BestBuy, download a custom kernel module, compile into the kernel, and then disable binary kernel updates.

Technically, Linux is already there when it comes to hardware support. You cannot expect the kernel people to produce drivers for every chip out there under the sun. However; it's not enough to tell people that Atheros chipsets will work. You need to be able to directly identify which products on the shelf contain those chipsets. This is mainly an economic/marketing problem.

Re:even the linux experts get tired. (2, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704203)

This should not just be by "chipset" (Atheros, ACX100), but rather, should be by actual box packaged versions of the hardware (D-Link so and so version 2, Linksys so and so versions 3-5, Logitech QuickCam Pro, etc. . .).

Except the whole problem is that there's thousands of parts. It's simply not practical to catalogue them all, or even just the ones that work - hence why it has to be a "suck it and see".

To compound this problem, it is not unknown (indeed, it's relatively common) for two products which do the same thing but internally are totally different to be given the same model number and packaging by their manufacturer. (ADSL modems, I'm looking at you here).

Most Linux installs are not home users with Frankenstein boxes, and there's no need to target the Frankenstein box.

There is. Because there's no such thing as a standard PC - they're all Frankensteins. Just as it's not unknown for two totally different ADSL modems to have the same model number and can only be told apart by cracking open the case, the same is true of off-the-shelf PCs. Dell are particularly good at this.

Re:even the linux experts get tired. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16704293)

"Except the whole problem is that there's thousands of parts. It's simply not practical to catalogue them all, or even just the ones that work - hence why it has to be a "suck it and see"."

Do you see that? That there is a defeatist attitude!

Re:even the linux experts get tired. (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704253)

I was kind of thinking along those lines.

I think there should be a distro that is configured to each major platform.
I.E.
a distro for the IBM T30's, 40's 60's etc.
A distro for Dells (one for each model, even if largly duplicate) Then all the user needs to do is download the distro for their PC and wham! it works.

Most users buy a Dell and never change it other than adding a bit of disk on USB. It shouldn't be hard to give them good user experience.
Besides, Dell has shown a willingness to switch vendors... perhaps they could provide some of the hard costs (hosting, dev platforms)?
linux.dell.com would be awesome to see grown a bit...
-nB

Re:even the linux experts get tired. (1)

onegear (802747) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704073)

and the author thinks windows is ready to run right out of the box? just more ZDNet crap.

Re:even the linux experts get tired. (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704145)

My experience has been similar to yours. I found Mandrake and Suse much faster and easier to install than any version of Windows, ever. There are less reboots and fewer questions to answer. On slighly old Dells I've never once had any issues.

But Linux won't go more mainstream until a major desktop vendor puts together a nice pre-installed distro and has the computers displayed next to the Windows machines at CompUSA and Best Buy. Linux can work perfectly well with most hardware if vendors make distros specific to their configurations. When people play with it in the store and see it looks "normal" they'll be inclined to buy it.

Re:even the linux experts get tired. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16704275)

I reached the burnout point three years ago. I'd been using Linux and FreeBSD for a decade, there just came a point at which it wasn't remotely fun or interesting or cool - I just wanted it to work. So I switched mostly to Macs for personal use and Windows for gaming. Linux is still the "gangly adolescent" of the OS world, sooner or later someone may make a home system out of it - but I'm not waiting around for that to happen.

Re:even the linux experts get tired. (3, Insightful)

ajs (35943) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704345)

But the main point is valid, and I think it extends to the Linux experts.


I don't think the main point is valid. Installing and tweeking Windows sucks just as hard as Linux. The thing is, you don't do that. You get it pre-installed on your box by an OEM who did all the work. Then your graphics card comes with drivers that the card manufacturer and the OS company have worked together on to make sure the OS gets the most out of the card. Then, you might download some piece of software, and the vendor of that software has worked with the OS vendor to make sure that it installs cleanly and uses all of the features of the OS.

Linux is hurting on the desktop side, not becuase it is hard to use, but because there isn't an army of companies working with any OS vendor to make sure that you don't really have to "use" it at all. The situation is improving, though. The number of people who run the most popular games under Wine or Cedega and use Firefox, Thunderbird and OpenOffice natively on Linux is climbing, and as that happens, more and more vendors will be pushing major commercial vendors to provide hooks for the smooth installation and use of their software across platforms. OEMs were more common for Linux desktops in the early 2000s, but they died quickly. That trend will rise again as the user-base begins to grow.

Oracle and Microsoft's recent moves to compete with Red Hat have lit up the industry, and while most of the action is on the server-side right now, it's going to spill over onto the desktop.

Re:even the linux experts get tired. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16704383)

Ubuntu has better hardware support for fresh installs than XP on every machine I've every put it on (including laptops). It even works out-of-the-box for a lot of Apple hardware.

Re:even the linux experts get tired. (2, Insightful)

petabyte (238821) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704393)

I'd have to agree with that. I have been running Linux since I was 16-17ish (I'm now 24) and frankly I'm pretty exhausted with it. I've used Slackware, Debian, Suse, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, and Ubunutu and while Ubunutu is pretty close to just "install and go", I still have to jump through hoops and pray that my hardware is supported. When I built my last computer a year and half ago, I seriously considered a MacMini. It probably would have cost as much, offered me all of the opensource applications I love, and wouldn't sound like the jet engine. My next upgrade cycle in probably 2 years, will likely see me switching to a Macbook and tossing out my two athlons and I'd trade them today if I could. I guess I'm a Linux hobbiest who no longer wants to spend hours working on his hobby. It should just work.

I think Linux is as the point that for it to work out of the box, you need the support of vendors and commerical application providers. Ubuntu pops up on my system just fine and the install isn't a problem ... once I patch ASUS's broken bios. Once its up, I can surf most of the web ... other than the ever incresing number of sites which require flash (64-bit ubunutu so no flashplayer plugin). Gaim works for the most part and I can get into Gmail. Getting the tvcard on the machine to work requires all of my accumulated tech kharma over the years. When my fiance says, "go to this website and tell me what you think" and I have to respond with, "well, let me boot up my windows xp box and rdesktop into it" she rolls her eyes. And she has a point.

Now if I can just convince her that to prove her point she has to buy me that Mac ... :)

good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16703889)

Linux won't miss most of that world.

Hardware just has to work! (1)

hullabalucination (886901) | more than 7 years ago | (#16703905)

Hardware just has to work.

I love it.

http://slashdot.org/~hullabalucination/journal/142 227 [slashdot.org]

* * * * *

A man's got to believe in something. I believe I'll have another drink.
--W.C. Fields

Re:Hardware just has to work! (1)

Salsaman (141471) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704265)

Hardware does "just work", but only if the hardware manufacturers provide full specs for the hardware, and not just closed source binary drivers. The fault lies with the hardware companies, not with the Linux developers. Claiming otherwise is just FUD.

Strange premise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16703911)

Microsoft Windows requires drivers for many things that work right out of the box under linux. Yes, cheapo peripherals with design and windows only drivers outsourced to morons doesn't work too well. So what, nobody (including users of proprietry OS's) should be running closed source drivers anyway!

Suppose we should expect lots of bullshit as the vista PR machine grinds into action.

Re:Strange premise (0, Troll)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704037)

and why shouldn't people use closed source drivers?

I am of the mentality that I could care less of the open/closed source nature of my software - it just has to work, and work properly, that includes the drivers.

I've found killer closed source drivers, and crap closed source drivers. Right now, if I could get the closed source windows sound driver working on my notebook over the open source driver, I'd use it - why? Because I don't want something that crashes my machine when certain thigns are done by the sound processing unit.

Open Source doesn't mean better, Open Source simply means that it's worked on by the comunity and it's content can be verified by an individual outside of those that prdouced it. I've no intention of looking at the code of my drivers, so why do I care if they are open or closed source?

So what? (1)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 7 years ago | (#16703915)

To a certain extent, I don't care if Linux is warm and fuzzy or not. It's not currently that difficult to set up a Linux system on most hardware. Even compiling and installing a driver or two isn't rocket science. Most distros have helpful communities ready to give new users a hand with their troubleshooting. Is all that work that most people want to do? Hardly. But maybe its better if people have to really want it before they get involved with Linux.

Re:So what? (1)

abe ferlman (205607) | more than 7 years ago | (#16703991)

Most people don't know what compiling is, nor do they know what drivers are. You might as well tell them to flerb their blerfs and it will be just as useful.

The real issue is that Microsoft comes preinstalled on nearly every machine in the world because of their monopoly, and hardware vendors try to be compatible because of their monopoly (and sometimes even avoid compatibility with free/open software *because* of the Micropoly.)

Re:So what? (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704019)

It's not currently that difficult to set up a Linux system on most hardware.

If anything, it's easier than setting up Windows. Ubuntu takes 1/2 at most to install and comes with office software (OpenOffice) along with lots of other productivity stuff. Not many questions asked during install and no licensing, entry of keys, Web validation or any of that sort of crapola. For the most part, it Just Works.

-b.

Re:So what? (1)

vandit2k6 (848077) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704347)

Oh yeah how about grub problems how about other shit. I am fine I spent some time figuring out...other people just dont have that time to debug grub problems.

Re:So what? (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704407)

Oh yeah how about grub problems how about other shit. I am fine I spent some time figuring out...other people just dont have that time to debug grub problems.

No grub problems. I wasn't dual booting that box anyway, so it was just a default single OS configuration. Not that MS's loader is trivial to set up for dual booting either...

-b.

Re:So what? (5, Insightful)

uradu (10768) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704151)

> Even compiling and installing a driver or two isn't rocket science.

Holy cow, are you even hearing yourself saying this? Most of the people I know that are not in the computer biz have a hard time just wrapping their mind around the concept of a directory hierarchy and the difference between a file and a folder. And then tell these people to cd into folder x and type "make", and then insmod the compiled module? Or explaining to them why some drivers are in the kernel, while others are installable modules, right after explaining what a kernel is and what it's good for? This attitude is exactly what the original article is addressing.

Re:So what? (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704349)

You see this Taco? This is why you need to fix your random number generator so I can get mod points. I want to give uradu all that I would have but can't because of your inaction.

What you just said is spot on. I joke with people that my dad, a ham radio operator, can hit a satellite 10,000 miles in space but can't figure out how to right-click a mouse. To even begin to explain to him how to compile something or how to mount a cd, or do other things that people who have worked with Linux think is so easy, is a non-starter.

To be blunt, a manual for each distribtion should be included with anyone who asks for a cd. Not man pages, not some slip of paper which says "Visit these sites or IRC channels if you have questions or problems" but a physical setup diagram which can, at a minimum, explain in step-by-step detail how to install whichever version of Linux a person is trying to use.

I don't mean a manual for how to do everything but enough that a person can get a basic system up and running and a quick run through of how to do basic things like make/delete directories, create accounts, etc.

Doing just that little bit would be one less reason people would have for saying that Linux is too difficult to use.

Re:So what? (1)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704389)

Yes, I am hearing (or seeing, rather) what I'm saying. I'm also hearing myself say, "But maybe its better if people have to really want it before they get involved with Linux." I won't disagree that the need to learn something is a barrier to adoption -- I'm saying that perhaps that barrier is blocking people we don't need or want. Clueless noobs are perhaps not the people to be running their own systems.

I certainly do think that making Linux easier would be nice -- it's not like I actually enjoy shoehorning it into a system -- but I don't think that doing it in order to seduce the clueless masses is the worthiest of goals.

Re:So what? (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704155)

I'm a senior computer programmer with A+/Net+ certs, years of PC/Server building experience, and a handful of previous Linux/BSD builds.

My last attempt at using Linux at home failed. I was going with Ubuntu, probably 9 months ago. After 3 weeks with no sound and no hardware graphics acceleration, I gave up and went back to XP. I went through drivers galore, usegroups, IRC, forums, all sorts of places, and I could find no working solution.

Yeah, it was nice to have a free OS, Gimp, FF, Open Office, and what not. But with no games and no music, it was a short lived endevor.

-Rick

Re:So what? (1)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704285)

And your experience is exceptional. Many people have little to no trouble getting things to work. In other cases it can take some work, but it's possible. I'm very sorry that it didn't "just work", but even if Linux's hardware support and auto-detection were much better than it is, you might still have run into trouble if your system is so screwy. I think that your kind of case is what needs worrying about: people who are willing to do some work/learning to make it work, but who encounter some fatal hardware issues. I'm just not so sure we want everybody else too.

Re:So what? (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704231)

"Even compiling and installing a driver or two isn't rocket science."

And that's why linux isn't succeeding.

Re:So what? (1)

keloidascope (1011725) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704281)

You see? That is just the type of a condescending comment that puts out the majority of people into using Linux.

Drivers are not simple always (1)

tinkerghost (944862) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704401)

Actually, I'm in the middle of doing a laptop for someone. The problem is the built in sound. The driver I need was pulled from the driver set 4 updates ago*. Right now I am having library conflicts trying to compile the driver from the old source code. Since I don't do drivers, or C, I am having a wee bit of a problem. Fortunately the owner is willing to wait - otherwise this would be back to Win95.

*at work now, but IIRC it's an ES-186* driver I need & the driver bundle only carries the ES-188* drivers. Doing a Ubuntu install & everything but the sound went smooth.

It's all about pre-installed. (4, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#16703953)

Until Linux is pre-installed, it won't matter to the majority of home users.

That's because the majority of home users do NOT upgrade their OS. They use whatever was installed by the OEM. They use the drivers provided by the OEM. They won't even install and update anti-virus software.

Re:It's all about pre-installed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16704225)

Right on the spot, I'd say.

"Selling" software only works when the user doesn't have a preference. Usually that preference is whatever is installed.

I could install OpenOffice on my girlfriend's computer, because the choice was between obtaining MS-Office somewhere (expensive, or illegal) and installing OOo. I could "sell" her to Thunderbird by including all her email accounts in there. Before that she always used webmail (still does), but now she also uses TB a lot.

I also installed Firefox, for the one occasion where a Java applet wouldn't work in IE. Once IE wouldn't print nicely, and again I suggested "try the page in FF". Still, she only uses IE.

To reach users, Linux has to be pre-installed (or made a choice: either Linux for free, or Windows for $29+).

Precisely. (1)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704295)

And until something replaced Windows as the preloaded OS, Windows will continue to be the resident default value on the desktop. Period.

I've seen folks who can't even figure out how to use a browser. All they know is that they can click on links in their e-mail and bring up web pages that way, but they don't remember that a browser icon exists on their desktop. Seriously.

Those folks aren't changing *anything* on their PC as long as what they have works.

Re:It's all about pre-installed. (1)

Brad_sk (919670) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704337)

Then why doesn't Ubuntu or other distro make a deal with a OEM?...C'mon you know that there is truth in this article...

Didn't Linux developers already know this? (1)

Brad_sk (919670) | more than 7 years ago | (#16703955)

This is one of the basic things...Please don't tell me linux distro developers didn't know this. Then the question on why it so even if they knew is intriguing!

linux and airlines (1)

phptard (1017056) | more than 7 years ago | (#16703959)

your average person doesn't give a rat's behind what all goes in to letting them check their myspace.. they just want to know that it will work-- apple and microsoft are succeeding as businesses because at some point they realized that there's more to selling computers and software than making the best thing out there. people want to feel good about it.

I don't use Linux at home (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16703965)

Home, I mostly about gaming and what not,(cygwin for work-at-home) Linux is out.
At work, productivity is key. While issued at wintel laptop, I usually use one of the dev aix servers for most of my real work.

MICROSOFT spends a lot of time on HW Compat? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16703969)

There's a very good reason why Microsoft spends a lot of time on hardware compatibility - it's what people want.

Uh, there's a very good reason Microsoft doesn't have to spend a lot of time on hardware compatibility - they used anticompetitive products to gain a virtual monopoly and now the hardware vendors worry about supporting Windows.

And just to put this idea of "a lot of time" into perspective, just how much time do you think the open source community has spent on developing, testing, and debugging hardware drivers for Linux? Many of those drivers build on work done in other operating systems, or for other products, so where the drivers do not share common backgrounds you have to add in all the time for that work, too.

Wine (1)

l_bratch (865693) | more than 7 years ago | (#16703989)

This article shares the idea that many people have about Linux running games and various other pieces of software.

It states that if you're a gamer, you'll NEED to dual boot.

I'm a gamer, and I use Wine to run all my Win32 games. The very latest ones aren't perfect (yet), but for the most part you can run anything. As for other software - you really can nearly run anything perfectly.

When I say not perfect YET, it needs to be stressed that Wine is progressing really really fast, with more and more things working all the time.

Re:Wine (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704223)

Lots of games won't run at all under Wine. Linux is not an option if running any game you come across is important to you. For a lot of games, Linux is not an option even if you have to be able to play your favorite game.

"...you really can nearly run... ," Great, I can nearly do my work on Linux. On desktops for the vast majority of people, nearly is not nearly good enough.

The only real reason Linux is pushed over Windows is because you are supposed to hate Microsoft.

Re:Wine (1)

l_bratch (865693) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704387)

Again, I point out the rapid development of Wine.
It's only become so rapid recently, because more people are trying to get things running, and filing more bug reports than ever before.

If you want to try playing your favourite game, try to run it, if it doesn't work, file a bug report, and help to make it work.
The only users this won't work for are the ones that expect things to Just Work - and I agree, THEY are not ready for Linux yet.

"The only real reason Linux is pushed over Windows is because you are supposed to hate Microsoft."

This is not the only reason. You might want to use Linux because you:
Don't want to pay for your operating system (without breaking the law)
Want to try something different (do you think all Mac users don't use Windows because they hate Microsoft?)
Want to learn how to as many different systems as you can (why get stuck into one way of doing things?)

Re:Wine (1)

QCompson (675963) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704235)

I use Wine to run all my Win32 games... for the most part you can run anything.

Pardon me sir, but your pants seem to be on fire.

You're not a gamer (1)

giafly (926567) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704267)

I'm a gamer, and I use Wine to run all my Win32 games. The very latest ones aren't perfect (yet)
A gamer would buy whatever it takes to run the latest games perfectly, even Windows.
I used to be a gamer, but I got older. Now, like you, I sometimes play games.

Even XP doesn't support all current hardware (1)

HappyHead (11389) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704003)

If Microsoft puts so much effort into hardware compatibility, then why do my nice new HP scanner and laser printer work well with Linux, but not at all in XP Pro? HP's official story is "we can't get drivers to work on the 64 bit version of XP". Linux uses the same drivers for 32 bit and 64, just re-compiled, and they work with an out-of-the-box install of Fedora Core 6.

That doesn't look like "just works" to me.

On the plus side, this means that my parents now use Linux pretty much exclusively, because that's where the printer works.

Re:Even XP doesn't support all current hardware (1)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704183)

Strange, I've had no issues getting a HP printer working in both XP x64 and Vista x64.

Re:Even XP doesn't support all current hardware (1)

tb3 (313150) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704363)

The reason you had no problems, and the GP couldn't get the printer working is that Windows is fucking unstable! Every single Windows install is unique and the configuration is unrepeatable. Even Microsoft doesn't know how the damn thing works. Why else do you think XP upgrades have a feature that lets you roll back the install to the previous OS? (And let's not even get into the fact that even if you roll back the damn thing you've still paid for it, and you can't get a refund.)

They're admitting that they don't have a good handle on the hardware they allegedly support, even if a previous version of their OS worked!

Re:Even XP doesn't support all current hardware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16704339)

...64 bit version of XP



On the plus side, this means that my parents now use Linux pretty much exclusively, because that's where the printer works.



... because some dork told them to get a 64-bit chip. Which, of course, everyone's parents really need, having 8GB of RAM and all. Mmmm, browsing the web at 64-bit. And who in their right mind would recommend XP64 for home use?



Linux is pretty usable (1)

netdur (816698) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704005)

I know that because my mom has no problem using debian on Nokia 770, I have no problem using Ubuntu on home desktop, my friend has no problem using Fedora on his web server, millions of "Joe" has no problem running Linux on phone or pda

Who Writes the Drivers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16704007)

There's a very good reason why Microsoft spends a lot of time on hardware compatibility - it's what people want.
But I thought it was the hardware vendors who 'spend a lot of time on hardware compatibility'? They're the ones who have to ensure their hardware works on Windows, if they want to sell anything.

Why The World is Not Ready for Windows (1)

Anthony Liguori (820979) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704009)

"While many users reading Slashdot embrace Windows, ZDNet is running an article on why the rest of the world isn't ready. One note for Windows developers: 'Stop assuming that everyone using Windows (or who wants to use Windows) is a Windows expert.' While a lot of these topics have been brought up as both stories and comments on Slashdot, this article pretty much sums up why Fedora Core 6 could be absolutely terrible, and people would still believe there is no other option."

If you are a Windows user (like the author of TFA), then you will be pissed off by Linux because you aren't as productive immediately (because, *gasp*, it's different).

If you are a Linux user (like me), then you will be pissed of by Windows because you aren't as productive immediately (because, *gasp*, it's different).

It's the same old story that's been told a thousand times before. Come on, it's not a slow news day. Hell just froze over. [prnewswire.com]

Remove the word LINUX (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16704025)

What someone needs to do is come out with a brand of Linux, but leave the word "LINUX" completely out of any literature (or, at least, as much as you legally can). In the non-tech world, the word "LINUX" is synonymous to "must have advanced technological knowledge of computers and operating systems". Therefore, everyday computer users are scared-off when they see anything that says "LINUX" even if it may be easier to use, easier to maintain, and better than the alternatives in a lot of cases.

Maybe not the stupidest thing I've heard this week (1)

drew_kime (303965) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704027)

But it's close.
The one area of Linux ownership and use where it becomes apparent that there's an assumption that everyone who uses Linux is an expert is hardware support.
Absolutely. Bad hardware support is entirely because the people writing code for Linux don't think they should bother with device drivers. It has nothing at all to do with the fact that hardware manufacturers won't give up enough information to do it correctly.

Yup, just a bunch of 1337 haxx05z who don't want the unwashed masses using their toy.

OS X? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16704041)

"While a lot of these topics have been brought up as both stories and comments on Slashdot, this article pretty much sums up why Vista could be absolutely terrible, and people would still believe there is no other option."

Mac?

For me, a better question than "why use Linux when you could use Vista?" or "why use Vista when you could use Linux" is "why would you ever use anything besides a Mac?"

World Not Ready for Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16704043)

I think ultimately that statement shows off a large part of the problem.

It shouldn't be that the world isn't ready for linux, rather linux isn't ready for the world!

Stop trying to convince all and sundry that linux is better than windows, put that effort into actually making it better! I'm not saying linux is useless, far from it, but it's still not ready for mass-market consumption.

Nice FUD piece the article is. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704045)

I love the tirades in it about "just work" and "Your average user doesn't have the time, the energy or the inclination to deal with uncertainty"... Yeah, like Microsoft products eliminate all that.

I make a huge amount of money on the side because of things in Windows that has lots of uncertainty and that they don't work. Example from today.... Customer calls in a panic, they uninstalled Roxio myDVD and now they are missing all their dvd drives in their computer, they dont show up, reboots dont help. I had to manually edit their registry and then reinstall their other software to get it to work again. Simply uninstalling an app should not do this, granted it's roxio's fault for writing crappy software. How about spyware that needs 2 hours of manual prying to get it removed? how about installing the latest high end soundcard only to find it does not work because it is conflicting with the built in sound?

Almost every point in the article about linux I can point to in Microsoft..

Re:Nice FUD piece the article is. (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704373)

I was thinking exactly this -- if XP was so easy to use, why do I get paid so much to consult for people on how to use it properly?

Its not easier to use, people are just accustomed to it and they accept its failings because its the standard. Its hard to explain to someone that my old webcam doesn't work on Linux; they simply mock me and ssay it would work on Windows. However, everything else I have works better on Linux than it does on their Windows box, but they just take those things as normal.

You know what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16704075)

Vista will be bloated and slow, and there is still no other option.

ironic title... (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704081)

given that it is trying to state reasons why the average user can't use Linux, and the problems are thigns that can be more easily changed in Linux (and I believe, will be changed; allthough not all the way there, Ubuntu is a good example of the cutting edge of the trend). So, shouldn't it be "Why Linux is not yet read for the world"? The way it's progressed, I give Linux 5 to 10 years, unless people decide to migrate to BSD (yeah right)

If they had to install(!) Windows ... (3, Informative)

richieb (3277) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704083)

If "the people" had to install Windows from scratch, there would be no Windows. Last X-mas I built a machine with my son. It was an AMD based machine, with a new SATA drives. When we booted from the Windows XP install CD no hard drives were detected. After checking and double checking all the connections I booted from Fedora install CD.

Fedora had no problems detecting the hardware. So, after some googling we discovered that there were separate Windows drivers for the SATA drives that came with the motherboard. We had to create a floppy (!!!!) with the drivers that had to be inserted at a specific step during the windows install. Luckily my son insisted on getting a floppy drive, otherwise we would not be able to install windows.

Fedora Core 4 installed with no problems..

Re:If they had to install(!) Windows ... (2, Informative)

wgaryhas (872268) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704319)

You must have been using a pre SP2 windows disk. Serial ATA support was added at that time.

Re:If they had to install(!) Windows ... (2, Insightful)

Pastis (145655) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704351)

Easy to compare hardware suport in XP (October 2001) with FC 4 (June 2005)...

Try booting Debian woody (July 2002) on that machine and let's see what goes on!

And this thread will prove why..... (1)

LibertineR (591918) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704105)

Because no matter how great Linux is for us, we have failed to make the REAL case.

The very first thing I learned at Microsoft is was the 80/20 rule. This is the thing that most Linux advocate will simply never understand. Many of us hate Windows because it is inferior, but we refuse to address the fact that for a HUGE majority of people, it is GOOD ENOUGH!

Instead of taking that premise and working from it, we just call Windows advocates stupid, lazy bums who just dont get it. Yeah, that's how you build a movement, just insult all the people you care to influence.

This thread will surely join the other thousand or so in calling Windows users idiots in the same league as those still on AOL (ouch!), while the majority of those users just fire up their favorite business app or game that just WORKS without having to recomplile anything.

Someday, for Linux to succeed, we are going to have to come to grips with the idea that NOT EVERYONE WANTS TO BE A GEEK. They want their computer to work like an appliance. They dont want to interact with it, they just want to USE it. If we ever GET that, Linux will make inroads. I aint holding my breath. Flame away, I got karma to burn!

Hardware just has to work, eh? (1)

thewils (463314) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704119)

Hardware just has to work. There's a very good reason why Microsoft spends a lot of time on hardware compatibility - it's what people want."

So that explains why I had to hunt around for the drivers for my on-board Lan and Sound on my last Windows install. Without a network. Have you tried getting 64-bit Windows drivers for a Canon Scanner these days? It's a case of "do ya feel lucky, punk?".

Problem is GNU (1)

jackharrer (972403) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704133)

Main problem with Linux is approach of Linux developers. I understand that they don't want any external, precompiled software with their free product. But that stops Linux from almost everything. Linux should be a OS, platform that runs computer. Nobody should be scared of installing anything that is precompiled (as long as it comes from legitimate source). Right now Linux doesn't have proper drivers, flash player was just added, and there're more things missing.
Tell me, why? What's the problem in playing game that comes precomplied on CD? Don't you think it's much easier for Joe Average to just click 'Install' and play it?
And think what would happen if we finally aggreded for that? Joe installs the game. He notices that it's much faster than on Windows. Joe loves Linux (because 'my computer is so much faster!!!').
That's the way to make way for Linux. Average users. More users in Linux world means more of them transforming into Linux developers. And more support from big companies. And more people to evangelize about it. More people realizing that there's something more than Windows XP.
Only way to make Linux win that 'war' is to unite and CHANGE. And to change not users, change ourselves.

That about sums it up (1)

Programmer_In_Traini (566499) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704153)

That about sums up why i haven't switched to linux yet.

I tried ubuntu and two other variations that were supposed to be easy too but in the end i dont have the time to learn it all.

There used to be a time where i enjoyed spending hours just playing around with something, not being afraid to mess it up but that's not the case anymore.

I got a day job where we use windows then i come back home where i spend time with my girlfriend, i game a little and do some "real" manual work like fixing the car or stop that leak in the bathroom.

and in the end, i dont have the energy to learn ubuntu (even if its easy). because learning it requires me to sit in front of the pc and browse the net and search, go on forums, ask questions, wait reply, try something....etc its time consuming.

granted its easier once you got the basics but getting those basics is time consuming and i guess that where the average joe (like me?) just wont switch even if i love open source and dont like MS too much for various reasons.

obviously they're right (1)

illuminatedwax (537131) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704157)

Of course, they're right. And it's not for any crazy reasons like "the iPod don't work" like esr would have you believe. The key of course is getting developers to target their products toward users of course. We all know this is the problem. I think that these days if doesn't agree that Linux (pick your distro) isn't ready to go for people with no computing background is crazy. I see, however, a lot of "oh but people are just trained on Windows" - this is no excuse. It's possible to make software discoverable, it's just really HARD.

I'm starting to think that this is the major flaw of Open Source Software. It's not that people don't have a desire to bring FOSS to the masses, nor the ability to make it usable for Aunt Tilly, but more due to the fact that most end users are fucking bitches. It's not easy for a volunteer staff to put up with the bullshit that real users require - but if you don't deal with it, you can't complain. That's life - you put up with idiots using computers or you aren't competitive in that market. Until FOSS gets more backing by businesses or developers learn to focus on how their product behaves, you aren't going to get anywhere.

Personally, I think the first thing that needs to happen is for distros to get their act together. I don't know what would help - maybe drafting/implementing Linux distribution standards? - but installation is always the first step.

Umm, no wrong again; thanks for playing. (1)

B5_geek (638928) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704181)

Has the author actually tried installing XP on a new computer? (a Dell 'OEM reinstall' doesn't count)
You need to be MORE of a hardware expert to install XP on a computer then if you were to install Linux (especially Ubuntu). yes I know that XP is 5 years old and can't support 'NEW' equipment, but the author doesn't seem to care so I won't either.

Will Vista support more hardware out-of-the-box? yes of course.
Will linux support more hardware then Vista in 1+ years? yes of course.

If you install XP...

you need to know what chipset you are using.
you need to know what graphics card you have.
you need to make sure SP2 gets installed FIRST so that you can get USB2.0 to work. ..etc

This is needed just to get the computer to work at better-then-i386 settings.
Most linux installs *at default* give you MORE usability then XP ever has.

Re:Umm, no wrong again; thanks for playing. (1)

tuffy (10202) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704379)

I can attest to this first-hand. I took my old Linux box, formatted it to XP and tried to give it to my parents. In the process, I discovered that XP couldn't find SATA hard drives so I had to replace them with IDE. My onboard gigabit ethernet card only runs at 10 Base-T speeds with the driver I found (and Windows' built-in driver tool can't find a better one). The onboard AC97 sound card didn't work at all so I had to add a sound card. Oh, and the older scanner they were using has no XP-compatible drivers whatsoever from the manufacturer (though it works perfectly under SANE) so that needed replacing too.

Perhaps Vista will be better. But these days, in my experience, Linux's hardware support is far superior to XP's.

They've got it all wrong... (2, Insightful)

not already in use (972294) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704205)

The misconception is that the layperson actually goes through the process of installing an operating system, ever. Most people don't realize that a computer and the operating system are two different things. They buy it, and everything works. The key to Linux becoming mainstream is extremely simple yet very difficult. Get hardware vendors to ship computers with Linux preloaded and get these computers into the retail stores like Best Buy, CompUSA, etc. The other part to all this is making migration of a new OS easy on the layperson. This is the direction certain distros have been taking, Ubuntu being one of them. The last big thing... wireless drivers, wireless drivers, wireless drivers. People want laptops, people want to go wireless. Give the people what they want.

Linux distro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16704213)

I think there are two questions here. How to make Linux attractive to power users, and businesses large enough to have an IT shop. And how to make Linus attractive to non-power users, and small businesses without reliable knowledgeable IT support. for the first group current Linux strategies are proving successful. However a majority of users are either in the second group, or are benefit from staying compatible with the second group. To make a historical analogy, automobiles were a niche market until around 1905 because users had to provide their own mechanical and fuel support. Most of us drive these days, and we respect those who can re-build a carburator. But we can't rebuild a carburator ourselves. If we want Linux to break out of its niche, then we have to stop requiring users to be able to re-build carburators. Or we can keep it as a private possession and allow the rest of the world to keep walking.

Tired of shoring up a failing structure (2)

JoeWalsh (32530) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704215)

I left Windows because I was tired of always having to fix something or other every other weekend. Either my girlfriend's computer would have a problem or mine would. I didn't want to fix computers all weekend - I wanted to have a life! So I ditched Windows and tried out this new thing called Linux that was supposed to be super-stable, no crashes, etc.

That worked OK, but all of a sudden buying new hardware became a monumental task. Will it work with Linux, or is it Windows-only? What hoops do I have to jump through? And when something *did* occasionally go wrong, it didn't usually mean spending a weekend fixing it. Usually, it meant spending a week fixing it.

That's why, when Mac OS X became stable (version 10.1), I took the plunge and bought a Mac. I haven't spent time worrying about or tinkering with my computer or my wife's computer since. Everything just works. I have my life back.

And I much prefer it this way.

Re:Tired of shoring up a failing structure (1)

6ame633k (921453) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704361)

What tha...wait a minute...you have a wife AND a girlfriend ? Dude - no wonder you don't have time to learn Linux.

Solution: Spend time on hardware compatibility?? (1)

BELG (4429) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704219)

There's a very good reason why Microsoft spends a lot of time on hardware compatibility - it's what people want.
To imply that Linux developers don't spend "a lot of time" on hardware support is so pompous, pretentious and uninformed that I feel like I'm going to explode. Now, there are plenty of problems with hardware support in Linux, but developers that care, and the amount of time they put in certainly isn't one of them.

not Rocket Science? (1)

envyc (798635) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704243)

I have to admit - I want to like Linux, and believe me I've tried. I am a pretty savvy computer user and have been trying out various distros for a few years. Installation is pretty much straightforward these days, most mainstream hardware is recognised out of the box. The problem with Linux is software! I shouldn't have to open a terminal, unpack a file, type some incomprehensible gobbledygook and then be told I don't have sufficient privelege or other similar obstacles to install or try out a piece of software. Equally, I shouldn't have to worry what distribution I'm using or different package manager concepts. For my part I would say that desktop Linux will never make it past the door until installing software is a double-click affair.

As a new user of Linux, I have to say... it sucks. (3, Funny)

Asmor (775910) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704245)

I've just recently installed Linux on my home system and really tried to figure out. And I've gotta say, the whole thing sucks. I've tried Fedora and Ubuntu. Fedora installed much easier than Ubuntu, although that's partially because Ubuntu was installed to replace Fedora. Fedora, however, had an option to automatically remove all Linux partitions and install there, while Ubuntu's only analog (and default even if there's plenty of unpartitioned space) is to delete the entire drive! Not something I'd want to do when I'm dual booting.

From there, things just got worse. I spent a long time researching how to mount an NTFS partition in Fedora, finally found some good links for Ubuntu (hence the change). I managed to mount the NTFS partition and listen to the music stored thereon, but I really only had a vague idea of what I was doing. Some of the stuff was reasonably obvious. For example, the fstab file is obviously supposed to be default mountings when you boot up. However, the syntax used inside of it is all gibberish to me, as was most of the commands I used during the process of installing everything I needed for this project. I basically just copy-pasted everything, filling in specific information like /dev/hdb1 when neccessary. I don't know what the -l in fdisk -l means. Hell, if it weren't for using it in DOS I wouldn't even know what fdisk was. I don't understand the commands that I used to grab the software from the internet.

And every single tutorial is exactly the same. They either assume you know something, or they tell you what to do without explaining why you're doing it. It'd be nice if there were some tutorials that actually took the time to tell you, for example, "fdisk -l" invokes the fdisk program with the -l switch. Fdisk is used for viewing and editing partitions and the -l switch makes it (I assume) list the current partitions.

I installed Linux so that I could learn how to use it, but all I've learned is how many arcane commands with even more arcane syntaxes (syntaces) it has.

Keep in mind, also, that I'm the exception. I'm a Windows user with no practical interest in Linux, who's only doing it for the learning experience. I'm actually willing to go out and look stuff up, to some extent. As I said, though, Linux is just a curiosity to me. I'm not going to spend all day figuring out how to exit the "help" given by the man command (seriously, how do you exit it? Aside from closing the terminal, I mean? I know I can prest shift+zz because someone told me that, but how the hell would anyone ever guess that?).

Linux, even the best distributions, have a long, long, long way to go before they're anywhere near as usable as Windows.

Re:As a new user of Linux, I have to say... it suc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16704299)

Here you go:

http://www.linuxfordummies.org/ [linuxfordummies.org]

Ejoy,

Hardware support (1)

DragonHawk (21256) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704263)

While I agree that getting hardware to work under Linux is often harder than getting it work under Windows, there are a couple of popular misconceptions involved here.

One is that getting hardware to work on Windows is easy for the newbie user. This isn't true, either. There's a whole industry that makes its living getting hardware working for Windows (it's called "IT"). The reason Grandma Ethel doesn't encounter this issue so much is that she buys a working system and never uses it for anything but email and web browsing. A pre-built, OEM integrated, turn-key Linux system would work just as well there.

The other misconception is that we can point the finger at Linux developers and say, "It's your fault". We also need to blame hardware manufactuers. If you buy a new widget from Conglomco Technologies, you'll find discs and manuals for Windows, but nothing for Linux. Call Conglomco and complain. If possible, also return the product, inform the reseller why also, and then tell Conglomco you bought a competitor's product because of their lack of Linux support.

Microsoft doesn't support all the hardware (1)

Programmer_Errant (1004370) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704269)

The hardware vendors do because they want to sell into that market. The problem with Linux is a lot of vendors don't care. If I go and build a new PC with all the latest hardware, Windows will be supported. Linux? Maybe. You'd lose a lot of hair trying to find all the drivers for it if they did exist.

Inconsistency (1)

tttonyyy (726776) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704289)

The trouble with Linux is inconsistency that comes about from multiple disparate groups of developers. Everything in Windows behaves the same, and the vast majority of apps of applications follow the same UI trends.

Take a look at Linux though, and you have a vast array of different widgets that perform the same functions, and different dialog layouts (down to which way around the "OK" and "Cancel" buttons are presented). This inconsistancy is just plain annoying. It's annoying on Windows too, when apps try and do something different (stupidly big buttons, for example, like in HJSplit).

If all the applications looked the same and behaved the same, then your average user at home might be happier to use them. Familiarity is the way forward.

But the real question is (1)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704291)

Why do we want people to use linuz? Please, let people use whatever the freak they want, be it Windows, OSX, AmigaOS or SpectrumBasic os... Geee, is that a question of life and death?

Bad Writing (1)

TheStonepedo (885845) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704297)

The one area of Linux ownership and use where it becomes apparent that there's an assumption that everyone who uses Linux is an expert is hardware support.

How are we to take this article seriously with such awful writing? If I wrote "everyone who uses Linux is and expert is hardware support" in a paper for a grade I'd fail. I'm not sure everyone who uses the pretense of being a writer is an expert in use of the English language; I had assumed that people who are paid to write are held to a higher standard.

(sort of) new user experiences (1)

nanosmurf (609905) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704307)

From the front lines...

I _just_ bought a new system last week after my three year old laptop all but cratered. When the laptop was new we tried Red Hat: it couldn't handle the power regulation and the fan would spin up to crazy speeds, and GRUB would kill the boot sector when we did any sort of drive configuration in Windows. It was a lost cause.

I decided to give Ubuntu a chance again with this new system. I got Windows pre-installed, but fired up the free boot disks Ubuntu mailed to me a few weeks previously. The kernel wouldn't boot from that version (6.06) on my hardware (duo core, 64 bit) and the online "solution" was to disable the USB support. Not.

A 600 MB download later of the 6.10 version, and yes it booted. Installed. Seemingly smoothly. But wait! The install didn't recognize onboard ethernet. (Back to the windows partition, and six reboots later it's working.) But wait, my $300 VPU is acting like a $20 video card because ATI is not well supported (apparently). I still don't have that figured out. SH errors and BASH errors trying to install the drivers.

So, four evenings later I've got a system that does about 80% of what I paid for. Will I use it? I haven't decided yet. And I'm an easy convert.

It seems to me... (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704313)

The most likely reason that the hardware situation is better on Windows is because MS got its OS dominance by tight relationships to the major hardware supplier (and extended it by building similar relationships with other hardware suppliers) back in the DOS era, then once its dominance was established, hardware vendors had a strong incentive to make their systems work with Microsoft's main operating system of the time (DOS, then Windows.)

Linux is always going to be at something of a disadvantage there as long as hardware vendors aren't attached enough to it to provide just-works, out-of-the-box functionality, community efforts are likely to always lag behind—they may eventually be better, but they won't be ready when the product is brand new, and by the time they are up to speed, the product may be replaced.

What might help in Linux—and seems increasingly plausible now with the wide array of quality application software available covering many of the most important uses—is if a consumer-oriented hardware vendor decided to adopt Linux as the OS for a complete consumer-oriented computer solution, taking the time to do get the hardware support for the core configuration down. If they could get these out at a budget price with an attractive software and hardware set for the budget market, they might get enough of installed user base that it would provide third-party hardware vendors enough of an incentive to make Linux support a priority.

(If it doesn't happen from someone else sooner, this could be a long-term side-effect of the OLPC project if it is successful.)

Linux and OS X (1)

logicnazi (169418) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704335)

I'm a big linux fan. I think it makes for a great server system and a great development/geek system. However, I would be reluctant to run it as my primary laptop OS. I wouldn't run Vista either.

If Linux wants to be more widely adopted what it needs is not more hardware support but to be more like OS X. Namely it's complex UNIX guts should be accessible but hidden. The user should be presented with a consistent, pretty user interface with all the bells and whistles without being lured into dealing with any complex configurations.

KDE and Gnome projects have done some great work here but the underlying problem is X. The old difficult to accelerate architecture of X really needs to be replaced with a whole new drawing/rendering model. Quartz is a good example but I'm sure the smart people who do this sort of thing could come up with something even better if their was the will to totally jettison X and start over.

Until something like that happens I'm using linux for my server boxes but my main machine will remain a laptop running OS X and if I need a PC for general web browsing and things that would be OS X as well.

Re:Linux and OS X (1)

logicnazi (169418) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704413)

I don't mean to criticize the linux/X people here. They are likely doing their best with a tough situation.

Ironically Linux and Vista are both at a disadvantage to OS X in many respects because they are burdended down with backwards compatibility issues.

Likely the best hope for replacing X is to get everyone on board using multiple output rendering libraries like cairo which can then be retargeted to a new underlying windowing system.

Oh for the love of deprecated kernels! (1)

Chas (5144) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704343)

All kudos to Ubuntu for their work on making stuff eminently usable, even for complete dumbasses.

But this idea that EVERYBODY needs to be on Linux NEEDS TO FUCKING DIE!

There's always going to be a group of people who just will NEVER be prepared for Linux REGARDLESS of what you do! These are usually the same class of users who break something in their Win/Mac box with a generally hourly frequency.

As to the group of people who have "neither the time nor the inclination", I can only say FUCKING LEARN!

You don't drive a car without some education about how it works. Granted, driving could be used as an analogy to the UI. But those who change their oil every 30,000 (yes thirty thousand) miles, don't put air in the tires until they're running on rims, don't change the tires at about the same frequency, and generally treat the vehicle like a mobile battering ram and take it on the EXACT straightest course between two points (regardless of terrain, obstructions, etc), don't have a car for very long. In the same way people who beat the living fuck out of their OS don't have a usable system very long.

Nowadays, in most modern, first-world countries, some basic education about computers (more than just "This is Windows. This is Office."). This way, if someone asks a trivial hardware question, they're not greeted with a stunned-cow look and a long, drawn-out "duh-uh?".

Wrong assumptions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16704357)

The autor of the article makes the assumption that Windows has the better hardware compatibility than GNU/Linux. This is, however, not the case. It may be the case if Windows comes pre-installed with the machine. But on a fresh install, Windows creates a lot more trouble than GNU/Linux. I just recently installed both Windows and Linux on a new machine. It took me about 45 minutes to install Ubuntu (Dapper Drake). It took almost six hours to install Windows. Why? Because I had to download and install about 20 applications and drivers, just to use Windows (Don't mention the Windows patches). I didn't have to install any external drivers for Ubuntu. Later I wanted to use my IPod on said computer. I didn't work out-of-the-box for Windows (I had to install iTunes). It did, however, for Linux (Through Rythmbox).

I don't think that hardware compatibility is realy a problem for the adoption of GNU/Linux. A fresh install Linux installation is easier to do than a fresh Windows installation. GNU/Linux however lacks what I call "Power-User-Support". Almost everyone using a Windows machine "knows" someone to install and maintain his machine. This is not true for Linux. If computers came with pre-installed Linux, the users wouldn't know who to ask. And if the first computer "expert" they call doesn't know Linux, it will be overwritten as fast as you can say "We'll just pirate this corporate Windows CD."

Linux needs more of those self-educated, self-proclaimed "Power Users". The gray masses of computer users who know about the Windows registry, program their Visual Basic scrips and provide computer support for the whole neighbourhood. If we can convince this people to use Linux, they in turn will convert their neighbourhood. It's so easy...

Show me the Apps (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704397)

The author is vaguely correct, so it sounds good and very comforting.

The most compelling reason why users will switch is because Linux/BSD desktop will have an application that this guy needs.

At the end of the article the writer claims he'll set up a linux file server. Which is what this guy needs and MS won't give you one when you purchase a desktop from them. (please don't split hairs with me on this one. XP is not a file server.)

As all linux users know, it will install easily, he'll figure out the way things work in the distro of his choice and it will be all good. Because it's linux, he'll start adding things to it and pretty soon it'll be doing other things really well. Meanwhile MS will be tightening the handcuffs on his new vista machine. And pretty soon Linux will be doing even more and the desktop will be even better.

Right now, Linux is working it's way through the enterprise pretty anonymously and media people get to say bad things about it because they can and most enterprises don't want the specter of IP litigation. The usefulness of Linux and the Vista handcuffs will drive many more users to it, the litigation bombs will drop and there will be too many people too invested in it to -not- go to battle.

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Mahatma_Gandhi [wikiquote.org]

Linux is somewhere between ingoring and laughing.

Hardware support in GNU/Linux (1)

ciw42 (820892) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704405)

This is something which has always annoyed me. The idea that all hardware just works in Windows is utter nonsense, but something that Microsoft does all it can to perpetuate. For example:

When someone installs a new graphics card in a Windows machine, after a restart they are invariably presented with a basic VGA resolution, 256 colour display until they install whatever drivers come with the card. This seems perfectly acceptable, and in fact is. However, when someone either installs GNU/Linux on an existing machine, or installs a new graphics card in such a machine, they seem to think that it should just work. This seems to be the case for supposedly professional tech journalists as much as average end-users. The number of times I've read a review of a new GNU/Linux distribution that included something along the lines of "the wireless adapter in my laptop wasn't picked up and had to be installed manually" is just insane, they seem to forget that they had to install drivers for exactly the same card when they originally installed the hardware.

It's therefore strange that having to install drivers seems a cause for much alarm and complaint. Granted, the installation process in Windows will often be slicker and more suitable for non-technical users, you have to do pretty much the same thing no matter what OS you're running.

Something else to remember is that the people who develop hardware drivers for GNU/Linux are invariably the developers themselves. The people who develop hardware drivers for Windows are the invariably hardware manufacturers, not Microsoft. The difference in the amount of work required to achieve the same result is phenominal, which is why it's good to see that some hardware manuafacturers are now developing drivers themselves. It's just a shame that they often just release them via the Internet only and don't ship them on a CD with the Windows drivers that come with the hardware itself.

The main problem... (1)

crhylove (205956) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704421)

..isn't hardware support. Even n00bs can find a driver (sometimes!). The main problem is how arcane the entire file structure is, and how the menus don't behave properly. How Wine doesn't come pre-isntalled in most distros. How there are stupid little religious wars over gnome and kde, even though they both kinda suck. How different distros are addicted to random non-standard apps that aren't as cool as firefox. the default of not being root, and then having to logout and log back in and problems relating to this.... Not one decent native game (I'm picky!). No emulators. Winamp is still the best audio program, but that goes back to Wine not being preinstalled again. The ugly shit-brown of Ubuntu. Trying to figure out the Linux partition manager. Everything to do with gaming: Video drivers, audio drivers, etc.

But yeah, while you're fixing all that stuff including better hardware support would also be a plus I suppose.

Really the only advantage to Linux is philosophical at this point, and the fact that Redmond is a bunch of fuck ups who couldn't code their way out of a wet paper bag. And the fact that macs cost too much, and aren't really geared towards enthusiasts and gamers, who drive a significant portion of the market.

rhY
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