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"What is Linux Missing?"

CmdrTaco posted more than 13 years ago | from the stuff-to-think-about dept.

Linux 720

three55ml writes "This is an editorial I wrote noting a few points about what Linux has to do before it moves totally mainstream. It talks about both the small and the large issues currently slowing the widespread use of Linux."

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missing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447138)

The GUI(s) are still a bit rudimentary for one....

Re:A Standard UI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447139)

NOT!! I prefer choice. If I wanted a standard gui, I would use winblows.

Re:Plug and Play (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447140)

BSD has plug and pray. Given the nature of the BSD licence, the *linux companies can just take the BSD code and add it to the *linux distros.

Re:Plug and Play (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447141)

Its got plug and pray. I use it everyday

What Linux is REALLY missing (Troll) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447142)

I think what Linux is really missing is a load of naked women [strathleigh.co.uk] on the box. You know... "New Improved Red Hat Linux with Naked Women ® [strathleigh.co.uk]

The other think that's missing, or rather needs improving is xroach. I think instead of cockroaches, they should be Natalie Portmans [strathleigh.co.uk] , and instead of squishing them you should petrify them!

So, who's got the skills to program such a beast? Just think, your name could be up there on Freshmeat!!!

Money Dance as good as Quicken (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447143)

There is no Linux Quicken version, so what ?

Besides the paper and pen good ol' system for management of personal finaces, there is the Money Dance java application, which is very good.

In fact, Money Dance is even a bit too rich and complex, and Gnu Cash is simple as well as sufficient for most of personal financials.

This is my 2.5 cemts, anyway...

Re:Money Dance as good as Quicken (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447144)

Who said Linux was missing Quicken? Over here [strathleigh.co.uk] Intuit announced they were about to release a free beta version.

Re:my 10 cents worth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447145)

you whack a CD in your drive, click on some icon to install and voila there it is..
Ick! Why do you want this icon jazz? Just type something like cdinstall.

Re:What it needs is just one killer app (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447146)

No, that's not good nor realistic.

Linux will not win because users will be forced to have it for certain applications. It will win because users will feel more free with it.

Besides, the "open source" model who allow anyone to port the application to another platform.

Re:my 10 cents worth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447147)

Typing is for my grandpa. GIVE ME FAVICONS, BILLIONS AND BILLIONS OF ICONS.

Re:Who Cares About the Average User? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447148)

It's not "GNU/Linux", Richard. It's just Linux. Haven't we heard enough of your glory-mongering deceptions and propaganda? I just want to puke.

Re:Why I use Windows, and not Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447149)

Get a real job. You are your own master.

Re:Why I use Windows, and not Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447150)

That guy should have been an "IT" major. He certainly spells like it.

Re:Who Cares About the Average User? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447151)

It's not "voila". It's "voilà", you know.

Credibility (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447152)

heh!

Re:Who Cares About the Average User? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447153)

I started using [censored]/Linux two and a half years ago in response to the unreliability and instability of Windows 95. Now I understand the extreme limitations of the Windows platform, and the superior capabilities of the Unix world.
So, when are you going to upgrade to something more industrial strength? Have you tried the more serious Unices yet, like Solaris or BSD?

Re:Who Cares About the Average User? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447154)

The average luser has a blinking 12:00. Screw him.

Re:Pretty close to the point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447155)

The trouble is, what we think of as "using a
computer" is of no interest at all to Joe Public.
They just want the apps, none of the farting
about with command lines etc.
And that ease of use is what it SHOULD be all
about. Why not come up with something fool-proof
and simple to keep everyone happy - and bomb proof
because there's Linux behind the scenes?
Isn't that the ideal?
Those of us happy to learn and meddle still can,
and those who aren't don't. Bliss.
We'll get there eventually.
Merry Christmas!
+Bah Humbug+

Re:Linux needs newbie stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447156)

The KDE/Gnome/E "help" systems blow goats. Can't search them. Can't print them. Can't index them. Don't integrate to the rest of Unix. Chupacabras, indeed.

Re:what is "linux" missing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447157)

It is the kernel.

The whole system may be more accurately defined if named GNU/Linux, because it contains a great deal of GNU utilities, and the Linux kernel.

There is also GNU/Hurd, same as GNU/Linux but with a HURD kernel.

Re:what is "linux" missing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447158)

You have to insist upon Linux meaning only the kernel. You know why? Because it's the only solid piece of engineering in the Linux world. These operating systems like Redhat/Linux would make any Unix vendor blanche with embarrassment. They're just shoddily put together. Hopefully RHAT's new money will fix that. But only if we complain and demand a real O/S out of them.

Re:need it . . got it . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447159)

Yes, impressive. But that's not the same as stable, or fast.

Is M12 stable? Is it fast?

bye, pieter

Re:what is "linux" missing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447160)

"GNU" my ass, you RMS-sucking devil. It's Redhat/Linux, SuSE/Linux, Corel/Linux, Slackware/Linux, etc.

Re:what is "linux" missing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447161)

Here come the Stallman cults again
They act like robots not like men

I saw them here the other day
I wish I wish they'd go away.

Re: Not true... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447162)


I have had virtually zero resistance from day one.

Three years ago we ran Novell. The first thing I
did when asked to purchase an increase from the
25 user license was to install Linux and point out
how it beat Novell in both quality and price.

The person who hired me, who was the accountant,
is now a huge Linux advocate.

If a manager, who doesn't understand technology,
won't listen to your opinion then you need to
switch jobs or try to tactfully let them know that
they are clueless.

Mark

Re:Linux needs newbie stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447163)

At least it keeps daddy goat and his kids happy.

a brainless environment option (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447164)

The problems with printing should be fixed--is bulky postscript the problem? Perhaps a new standard is needed for linux printing, to get it done quickly. Something is wrong when WinDoze is printing 5x faster than linux. What's the bottleneck?

As for drivers, we should keep doing our part to let hardware manufacturers know that we linux people are a real market, which has money and will pay for linux-stamped hardware. They'll follow the cash.

As for the lusers: this is a real problem that could really hurt acceptance of linux. I work for a company which, among other things, sells and installs computers for homes and small businesses.

I have been able to program since childhood. Working with computer people shielded me from the reality of how damn little people know about even how to use computers. Basic things like cut and paste were foreign to people who had already owned a computer for several years. Even Windows is hard for them.

Regardless of how we feel about these people, their acceptance of something besides Windows will be important to Linux's success. If people in general remain afraid of it, it might not ever gain mainstream acceptance.

Re:Well, part of the fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447165)

Unix is programmer-friendly. I'm a programmer. Therefore, it's me-friendly. Why should I care about matron aunts' access to /etc/rc.local?

It really needs *one* app (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447166)

Microsoft Office. It won't gain wider corporate acceptance w/o a *great* office app. 'nuff said.

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447167)

What the heck are you talking about? Maybe you're using some f'ed up hardware? No problems here, ever. I've got plenty of Linux complaints, but not that.

Re:Well, part of the fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447168)

MyLinux doesn't have an /etc/rc.local, you BSD fossil!

Mac-levels of ease... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447169)

as an option...of course, so the guys that like carving their tools out of solid rock won't complain. I dont want to hack the friggin kernel, I just want a PC that works. And so does Your Mom. I know its not k3wl, but you asked.. Wizards, give us wizards...

Re: I disagree - we just need Office compatibility (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447170)


Sun has a great opportunity if they make Star
Office work better with Excel files, and more
complicated Word documents.

People don't necessarily need MS Office, but when
someone email-attaches an Excel spreadsheet, they
need a way to view it...

Star Office's compatibility with these kinds of
files is OK for die hards like me, but it has a
long way to go before the average user can give
up Excel...

MyLinux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447171)

What's "MyLinux"? Is that a roll-your-own distro? I'd love it if Redhat let me build one of those!

Re:Well, part of the fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447172)

This is why the fledgeling professional Unix admin serves for a year or three of time at an apprenticeship with a real master before he becomes a journeyman and strikes out on his own.

the problem with Linux is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447173)

...that there's a serious lack of full-scale programs, like Gimp or Netscape. All programs should be open-source. It is very nice that commercial vendors like Sun and corel donate free software (StarOffice and WordPerfect), but statically linked direct ports are very slow and a waste of hardware. Imagine StarOffice using Gtk+ and optimized for your CPU, that would be a great improvement. I'm very pleased about Linux's flexibility and think there's no need for a standardized GUI. I like Linux because it has no standard, everyone makes something different. That's wat makes Linux so special. But as I told before: *more* apps needed!

Direct X and Visual Studio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447174)

Linux needs something like Microsoft's Direct X to encourage game developers.

Also, like so many others, I make a good living writing Visual Basic apps. you can knock together some very nice database apps in no time at all. If I had this available under Linux, I would happily tell all my customers to switch.

Re:Well, part of the fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447175)

"Apprenticeship"? "Master"? "Journeyman"? What is this--the Unix Guild?

The Unix Guild (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447176)

It must be. They have their own cant!

Free: Games games games games games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447177)

Yeh, we want games, but they've got to be free! It makes no sense for all these talented developers who can build operating systems and databases and write programming languages, can't produce the best games on the planet and make them free and open source for everyone. This is where Linux has failed. Nobody's thinking about bringing the freedom of fun, joy, and the addiction of games to everyone for "free."

Games for free is the final frontier!

SAGE *is* a guild (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447178)

Haven't you heard of SAGE, the Systems Administrators' Guild? It's real.

Re:SAGE *is* a guild (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447179)

Oh good. Do they have secret handshakes, too? Is Dilbert a member?

This is why Linux will remain a geek os (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447180)

Because if you're not a geek you get ripped to shreds by busloads of angry teenagers that think they know everything.

Wave, kids!

Installshield / Wise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447181)

I find it so hard to install software on Linux.

So often in fails, or something refuses to compile. Why can't I just click on a file like I do in Windows, and have it install itself without fuss?

Re:One thing missing: Games games games games game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447182)

Whadya mean no games?
$ ls /usr/games
adventure caesar grdc morse random trek
arithmetic canfield hack number robots wargames
atc cfscores hangman phantasia rogue worm
backgammon cribbage hide pig rot13 worms
banner dm hunt pom sail wump
battlestar factor huntd ppt snake
bcd fish larn primes snscore
boggle fortune mille quiz teachgammon
bs gomoku monop rain tetris
See -- plenty of games, and all free. :-)

And if that's not enough for you, there's also sh, awk, perl, sed, and the other Unix games.

What it needs is just one killer app (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447505)

Seems to me that the one thing Linux needs is some user space application that the world couldn't live without. One that would run only on Linux, freeBSD, and ect... Like... well... pokemon games?

Conflict of interest? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447506)

I see so many people advocating Linux as the OS for everyone . Yet at the same time, most of these people seem to take the stance that it shouldn't be "idiot proof," and that those who want to run Linux have to take the time to learn, lest they be unworthy. Where's my evidence? Look at all the people who flame Windows users when they talk about how easy it is to set up/use when compared to Linux. (The recent "Win2k released" article on /. comes to mind...)

This is a serious issue that needs to be resolved, as it will seriously impact what Linux becomes -- will it remain an OS for the "l33t" only, or will the Linux community accept and promote the lowering of the Linux learning curve? In a perfect world, the majority of the computer-using population would have the time, patience and will to learn these computing skills; In reality, the majority of computer users are people who just want to do a few simple things: write papers, e-mail, cruise the internet, and do their taxes. They want their computer to be like a toaster... simple -- they just don't have the time to figure this stuff out, their lives do not revolve around the computer the way ours do... If you want Linux to be for the masses, sacrifices must be made.

Linux needs only one thing: APPS!!!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447507)


The only bit of resistance I EVER run into is that
Linux won't run users' favorite apps. For example
a small business owner the other day who depends
on Print Master, or an accountant who needs his
accounting software, or a kid who wants his
favorite game.

Judge Jackson was correct in pointing out that
it is the "applications barrier to entry" that
Microsoft protects at all costs, and it is the
single thing that keeps Windows going...

The only way to make Linux more successful to the
average end user is to convince application
vendors, e.g. ID, that they can make a profit by a
Linux port... when Linux reaches critical mass in
applications, the road to World Domination will be
paved.

Mark

Good printer drivers. (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447514)

I think that the current printer drivers (Ghostscript) don't work any more. I've bought a brand new Epson stylus Color 850. The printer output generated with Windows is perfect, but a print out with Linux GS 5.50 sucked. The colors aren't correct and the speed isn't opimal.

Before Linux is going "Mainstream", the driver problems must be resolved.

IMHO,
M.Aartsen
maartsen@wildcard.demon.nl

Support problems (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1447515)

While I agree that there are problems with commercial application support and hardware support for Linux, I have to question the value of writing about it.

We, as a community, have no control over hardware producers willingness to support the OS with either commercial drivers, or open specs to driver developers within the community, other than as customers. The only way that we will arrive at a situation of having Linux supported is by asking, every time we go into a computer store, "Does this work with Linux? Is this app available on Linux? Can you order me this game for Linux?" Once we get the stores to recognise a demand, then we may get proper support and recognition.

A problem I see with the community is our willingness, all too often, to accept that things are the way they are. We do our research before buying hardware, so that we know beforehand if support exists. If we buy a piece of kit that doesn't work, we reprimand ourselves, not the producer. We don't make a fuss.

If you ask me, the way into the mainstream (and it's by no means a given that that's where we want to go) is through financiers pockets, combined with millions of requests to helplines, e-mails to support@supplier.com and bemused queries as to why our local tech store isn't stocking Linux commercial software, or why hardware in the store doesn't have a little tux sticker on the box.

For too long we have suffered in silence. Now it is time to ask for help.

about the slow printers... (1)

pixel fairy (898) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447516)

thats ghostscript doing the rendering thats taking forever (and possibly the conversion to postscript) if you get a printer with postscript on board(1) its as fast in linux as in any other unix(2)

i guess this is just another driver thing. those makeing personal printers make windose drivers (and mac drivers if your lucky) and linux just does it like the rest of unix, postscript. unfortuneatly, postscript is unheardof in commercial software land. if adobe was not greedy about postscript it probably would have become the standard it was supposed to be.

(1) This is expensive. all ive seen are laser printers.

(2) Sco, i dont care what your lawers think, linux is a unix.

One thing missing: Games games games games games (3)

Masem (1171) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447523)

Besides the lack of app software, there is a significant lack of game software. Sure, we've got Q3A and UT, Civ and a handful of others, but the number of game titles for the PC is hundreds of times larger for Windows than Linux. In addition, the people that tend to develop Linux tend to favor the FPS type games, and which suggests that other types would not do as well; consider the surprise hit of Roller Coaster Tycoon, or what everyone is expecting to be the big selling next year, The Sims. For some reason, the attitute of Linux users and these games don't mesh well, and thus, there won't appear to be a big push for them. But these ARE the types of games that mainstream users like, and if they aren't available for Linux, there's no reason to go that way.

Most everything else is important, but game software needs to be taken serious to get Linux onto the average Joe desktops.

Re:A Standard UI (2)

Christopher B. Brown (1267) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447525)

In order for there to be a Standard User Interface For Linux, there needs to be a formal standard established so that there exists a "de jure" Standard User Interface.

Consider for a moment that people keep finding it necessary to create new UIs; this is evidence that the elements needed to establish such a standard have not "settled down" yet.

Re:missing (1)

Alex F (4615) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447555)

You can say that again. It would be nice if they could just be stable! Redhat 6.1 is unusable under Gnome. It crashes more often and in more ways than windows ever did. I've not tried KDE yet, perhaps that's more mature.

Re:missing (1)

datazone (5048) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447556)

geesh
i can't believe people are still calling Gnome and KDE "window managers"

man...

Re:Good printer drivers. (1)

datazone (5048) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447557)

Well, go talk to Epson, they don't care about your money, else they would give you drivers for your OS.

Re:Who Cares About the Average User? (1)

grahamkg (5290) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447558)

Actually I've been using Solaris and HP-UX at work over the last two and a half years. (Would these also require a [censored] prefix? ;-)

My problems with Solaris and HP-UX are more with how they are administered at my place of work than with the OSs themselves. At this place, system configurations are vastly different across platforms. For instance, the Suns in one lab will have a certain tool set, while those in another lab will have different tools. Sure, I can ftp files around from one machine and toolset to another, but at least with Linux I can have everything I need right here.

As regards the X86 compatible Unices, I've run Red Hat from v4.1, a few versions of SuSE, a couple of versions of FreeBSD, Slackware, Debian, TurboLinux, and Solaris 2.6. Each has its strengths.

Finally, as regards RMS, the FSF, et al, I don't know if it is proper to call it GNU/Linux or Linux. I do know this. I'm using software that I didn't have to write and didn't have to buy. The software is good and reliable, and alot of it is GNU software. Fwiw, I never forget its source.

Graham

Who Cares About the Average User? (3)

grahamkg (5290) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447559)

I couldn't care less about the average user. I care about using my computer.

Word processing. If I want to perform word processing, guess what. There's vi and emacs. They process words just fine. I don't give a damn about some fancy piece of bloatware like Microsoft Word that turns my plain text words into some binary gludge that will be unreadable two releases from now. Ugh.

Spreadsheets. Ah, the joys of awk. In much less time than it takes to import a plain text file into Microsoft Excel, assuming the 65,536 line limit isn't blown and Windows hasn't crashed, I can have a long column of numbers summed. Pick a column, any column. I pick it with awk, and pipe it into an awk program that totals a set of inputs. Voila, my answer appears.

Desktop friendly. Geez, I'm a mathematician, and I get paid to analyze megabytes of data. GNU/Linux is my desktop os of choice. What can't I do with all of the GNU tools available to me? If the basic tools won't do everything, there's awk. And if that's not enough, there's always C. I still have so much to learn.

I started using GNU/Linux two and a half years ago in response to the unreliability and instability of Windows 95. Now I understand the extreme limitations of the Windows platform, and the superior capabilities of the Unix world.

GNU/Linux is a tribute to the best and brightest in the world from the best and brightest in the world. If the average user wants GNU/Linux, fine. Let him learn how to use his computer.

Graham

Applications and drivers. (3)

Rob Kaper (5960) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447563)

Applications and drivers is really all we need, IMHO.

While KDE and Gnome and the likes are not perfect, they definitely give the mainstream user a comfortable, usable GUI.

Installation procedures have been improving a lot too, just look at Caldera or Corel. Besides, there are tons of books such as Easy Linux that start with explaining drag-and-drop, so even the new computer users can probably learn Linux without a lot of obstacles.

What Linux continues to need though, is all the latest applications and drivers. The diversity of reasons not to use Linux I hear has shrinked to "I cannot run FavProg97" or "my DVD/webcam/whatever isn't supported".

There are many viable alternatives and workarounds for this problem, but to go mainstream Linux should no longer require workarounds. Native support, mainstream.

My mother thinks the computer at work is running WordPerfect. Since the has no interest in the OS and mostly types papers and letters on the computer, she cares about WordPerfect. I set up a Linux machine at home with KDE and WordPerfect and she continued exclaiming: "yes I run this at work too!", even when I showed some screensavers.

Linux was ready for my mother because it supported our hardware and ran the programs she wants to use in a solid, clean interface (KDE). Linux will be ready for mainstream use as soon as it supports most or all hardware and programs.

Re:How about a DHCP client... (2)

Accipiter (8228) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447578)

I have Time Warner RoadRunner, and I have it working quite nicely in Linux.

First, make sure your network card is detected. You can use modprobe, but I have PCI NE2000 support compiled right into my kernel, and in my opinion, that's the way to go.

In /etc/rc.d/rc.local, put in a line that says the following:

# Connecting RoadRunner Services (replace ethX with your ethernet device.)
dhcpcd ethX

RoadRunner no longer requires a Login, so it's very easy to get it working in Linux. Once you add the dhcpcd line, you should be all set.

Also note, this is for Time Warner RoadRunner. Your cable service may require a login, in which case you would have to use the OS that the login program was written for, or get the Linux equivilant if it exists. I know several RoadRunner login programs were written for Linux before Time Warner eliminated the login, so you may have some luck.

(NOTE: I'm not responsible if you screw up your system, people. This is just how I got my connection working, and working quite well I may add.)

-- Give him Head? Be a Beacon?

A failure to click. (2)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447581)

Informative? Someone moderated a link to the Spice Girl's porno fantasy page as informative?

Well, I guess it is informative in a way. I mean, I certainly didn't know that about Geri Halliwell's hair.

Well, part of the fun (2)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447586)

is the superior intelligence that is required to set it up, gaining esoteric knowledge on the way that puts one in the exclusive club and 'leet class of snobs that can look down our noses at the 'stoopid windoze lusers' that had to pay for it, haha! That is, you meet someone with the badge of honor of having installed Linux and you know this person is someone of depth you can trust, and not another self styled "expurt" poser who just popped in a CD and hit return a bunch of times and tries to claim they actually accomplished something. But that's democritization I guess.

Raw unix isn't for everyone, it's user friendly but picky about it's friends, etc etc.

But seriously, what they'll be talking about after all these IPO's is market penetrataion which means custom tailoring the system to the markets existing level of expertise or a tolerable learning curve to expand the user base. It'll probably be up to the developers paid by RHAT and VA to do all the boring 'user friendly' extensions necessary to make Linux accessible to the average person in the mall; a lot of the developers who 'do it for fun' and share their code get their kicks in other ways, usually pushing the technology in front of them and probably couldn't care less about coding in proactive help and dancing paper clips - it's hard enough just to get release notes typed up! Of course some developers may get a charge just out of eroding the mighty snake god's empire enough to help with the friendifying extensions sometimes requires cunning trickery.

Maybe if Video card mfgrs distribute a linux CD already configured for their card. Or rhat sponsors a hardware testing/certification program so vendors can put a "Linux OK!" sticker on their box and an easy to find rpm just has to be loaded to use it.

Boojum

that got mangled! (2)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447587)

strike "extensions sometimes requires cunning trickery" and sub "extensions."

Missing paragraph - Windows isn't always a dream itself, they've got their share of tech support calls and upgrades that require an expert and cunning trickery to get runnings.

One of my hosed boxes at work has a win95 display properties windows that is 50 screens wide - sure takes a long time to get to the "OK" button, heee.

Boojum

DUH! REad the whole post you dolt! N/M (0)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447606)

n/m

Re:A Standard UI (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447607)

#ifdef SARCASIM
True, and windows needs one too.
#endif

please, tell me why. why does it need a standard GUI? do you get easily confused? if you make a statement please qualify that statement...
What the hell is a standard GUI? twm has been around for over 20 years.... I'd bet that's more of a standard GUI than anything else on the planet... and Linux ships with that, so I'd say that Linux does have a standard GUI.

at that point, my ATM's need a standard GUI, my car dashboard needs one, and my yes... Microwave ovens do too!

I am easily confused if you change how it looks! please do my work for me. make my life effortless so that I may just drool and watch old tom and jerry re-runs... But I cant... my tv's remote control doesnt have a standard UI... so I'm confused again.....

Pretty close to the point. (4)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447609)

The article is pretty close to the point on many facets. I agree that Linux software needs to be "mainstreamed" I saw a copy of corel wordperfect 8 for linux at my local Best Buy (I bought it too even though I have the free version). but the biggest thing is not just software...

Hardware... almost everything on the shelves is Linux compatable except for the cheap junk.(Win products) but is there a linux sticker anywhere? no way! We hear of these companies saying they support linux, but they refuse to put a works with linux sticker on the box (Creative Labs... get that sticker on every box you dummies!)

But then linux isn't made for the general computer user. windows9x is great for the clueless... it's great for the un-knowing... it's geared for the person that has very little in their heads or very little desire/time to do more than push a button. Linux didnt become popular because it was effortless, it became popular with us because it is hard. ls -al is dang difficult to the windows user. they cannot understand keyboard commands (before you win-lovers start flaming... I support windows95/NT for 120 users at my office... they cannot understand anything that is more difficult than a doorknob. yes there are a few that have a clue but it is very few) Unix has been around for eon's longer than wondows/dos even was a fleeting idea. Unix was "shunned" for being complex. Dos came around... it too was "shunned" for being complex! Only the geeks had 8088 or a 80286 (-rich geeks) computer at home, and everyone else said "oh god no! no pc for me! I cant even set my new-fangled clock on the VCR!"

well now it's 1999... and these same sheep cant set their VCR clock, but they think they need a computer!

I dont want them using linux. Actually, the best thing for linux is to stay "fringe" or in the "power user" domain.. it will become de-facto in business (It's replaced most of my servers) because it can be made to easily run what the sales dept., accounting, etc... needs and will keep the "I know something about computers" people from screwing it up! A linux box properly configured for business is 100% bullitproof, idiot proof, and makes an admin's job almost trivial.

So please linux, dont go mainstream... stay in the realm of power hobbiests, and business users.

Leave the fodder of the "home user" to Microsoft.

Open source is hard to be accepted by managers (1)

Fats (14870) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447621)

I would like to add to the article that free open-sourced software is still unlikely to be accepted by managers.
Managers tend to have this feeling of 'If it's free, it can't be good, will not have proper support and I can't sue anyone if the software fails.'

Re:How about a DHCP client... (1)

Herbert West (18715) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447629)

I'll give it a shot...

I've been messing with this crap for a week and I'm very close...which makes it all the more annoying.

I've tried 3 different Ethernet cards, my box sees all of them, I can config static IP's for all of them, not a single one of them will activate and retrieve a DHCP address from the cable modem. I'm not done trying yet though :)

How about a DHCP client... (2)

Herbert West (18715) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447630)

that works? Having a cable modem is nice, having to run it in windows is not!

Re:A Standard UI (3)

delld (29350) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447653)

I agree fully. It is like that internet thing - if every site only had a standard interface, it would just take off. But right now each and every one has a different look and feel -nobody can use it. The net is even worse than programs written for X, at least in X one has ten or so different ui's all very similar, none to hard to figure out. But the net? Every site is different - you can not tell most links from images or underlined words. If _they_ would just fix it, it would be the next big thing.

Let's not get too "user friendly" (1)

billsf (34378) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447665)

I found that the X method of installing just didn't offer what it takes to make a knowledagable install right off. I finally resorted to placing the RH6.1 cd in a drive on another computer, mounting it on the annon. ftp area and doing a 'ftp install' instead. It worked great right off and all that was needed was to build and compile a 'real' kernel to obtain a firstrate system.

I would be pleased to see a Linux that anyone can install, but to have a first rate system, you must be able to have manual control of the process, download the most recent kernel and build it properly. I would sincerely hope the next RH release would be easier to do a proper install and yet allow a 'newbie' to get an 'out of box experience'. The offering of the ISO image is a great move, unfortunately i still needed to to a 'ftp install'.

It is probably assumed that anyone who seriously wants Linux, *BSD or other Unix has some sort of a network connection. This being the case, there is virtually unlimited software to compile and use. I am also in agreement to having more CDs available in computer shops, at carefully controlled prices, for those that think the Internet has something to do with /dev/modem ! I would pay upto $10 for such a CD if i found myself in a pinch or 'happened to be' in a computer store.

Direct X and Visual Studio (2)

Tanaka (37812) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447673)

Linux needs something like Microsoft's Direct X to encourage game developers.



Also, like so many others, I make a good living writing Visual Basic apps. you can knock together some very nice database apps in no time at all. If I had this available under Linux, I would happily tell all my customers to switch.

Re:How about a DHCP client... (2)

radja (58949) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447708)

Hmm.. got it to work quite nicely myself.
cablemodem from castel@home, running suse linux 6.1 (I think. I'm at work now and forgot the version. That's what you get from free stuff(as in beer...)

//rdj

A Standard UI (1)

The Future Sound of (60863) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447714)

There needs to be a standard user interface.

Re:A Standard UI (1)

The Future Sound of (60863) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447715)

Well, if you want enough applications to make it a viable choice for the mainstream, someone's going to have to pick one.

Microsoft to port their applications (1)

The Future Sound of (60863) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447716)

If Microsoft picked one of the standard UIs to release their big applications on - say 0ffice2000 and IE5.5, that UI and Linux itself would immediately gain legitimacy.

Re:Open source is hard to be accepted by managers (2)

jflynn (61543) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447718)

Yes, that is the fallacy of our times, that all value is based on money. It should eventually wither because it is not based on reality.

To equate a software product's value to counting the hours someone paid to have it written is seriously bent. Even equating its value to the hours spent writing it is absurd. The value is much better measured as the satisfaction of the user without regard to the method of production of the software, or its cost. Measuring it this way naturally includes such factors such as support and accountability.

BTW, the managers are correct that support and accountability are the playing field, that is exactly what RedHat, VA Linux, etc. need to provide and *market* to succeed. It's only high cost as indicator of quality that is a ridiculous criterion, and I suspect most smart managers know that. How large that subset is...

Plug and Play (1)

ScumBiker (64143) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447722)

Plug and play would be nice, along with a truly simple user interface. I'm currently debating with my self which OS to install on my Mom's new PC. This is no trivial decision, since she lives 3 hours away and I get to support her PC use. I'm leaning towards Mandrake, instead of a MS OS, mainly because I can lock it in to a browser and wordperfect. But the rest of my family that lives in her town all run Win9X. Maybe I'll flip a quarter.



Dive Gear [divingdeals.com]

Re:my 10 cents worth (2)

Zigg (64962) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447723)

I was thinking about this the other day -- idiot-proofing Linux.

The only way you're going to do it is by the following:

  1. Making sure that every last need that your end-user can have is covered by the GUI configuration tool.

  2. Locking down all the scripts so they can't ever touch them, and auditing every last package to make sure it doesn't do anything ``unexpected''.

Let's face it, no computer is idiot-proof. (How many times have I, in my past life as a T/S whipping boy, had to help someone clean up a mess that they or another program made by doing something M$ never predicted?) And I don't think anyone is going to be able to anticipate every one of the end-user's needs -- that is what set-top boxes are for :-)

And in any event, once you idiot-proofed it (assuming you could), who would buy (into) it? How many people are swayed by promises of power when their needs are probably much better met with a lack of power?

Re:A Standard UI (3)

Zigg (64962) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447724)

I don't think there needs to be a standard user interface per se, but there is a need for standards on user interface behavior.

Common functions of all user interfaces (for example, generating program launch icons or registering file types with a file manager) could be abstracted to an API, or better yet a program that could be called, so that software vendors could release a program with an installer that would work cross-UI and cross-platform, registering itself with package managers and adding itself to launch menus along the way.

Just remember -- you don't need an rpm package to register your package with the rpm system. The FreeBSD ports system handles this rather well, registering programs with the package system as it goes yet never actually creating a package per se. (Note: I'm not claiming FreeBSD is the solution to this problem) :-)

Re:How about a DHCP client... (2)

G27 Radio (78394) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447741)

Linux has a DHCP client. A friend of mine recently installed Linux, and it autodetected his ethernet adapter and automatically configured his Internet access (he was connected by ADSL.)

He was completely blown away because he expected it to be another fiasco like when he tried to configure his winmodem.

numb

Re:Why I use Windows, and not Linux (2)

G27 Radio (78394) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447742)

I use Windows becuase it's easy to install a program, becuase it's easy to see what im doing, where im going and how to get there. I use it because when i want an mp3 dbasing util, i can download a single package, and install it with a mouse click. I don't need to hunt for an obscure library file, i don't need to make sure that it will run with the Window Manager i want to use, i don't need to decode version numbers of updates to work out what i need and don't need. This may sound lazy, but i don't have the time to do this, i don't have the energy to do this, i don't have the knowledge to do this.

This is an excellent point which I forgot to mention. There are several programs make installation and un-installation easier (like RedHat Package Manager.) But no one seems to have agreed on a standard for this kind of thing. Most software is still distributed as gzipped tape archives...which is a great format for many reasons.

tar xvfz package.tar.gz
cd package
./configure
make install

^ is pretty easy when you know how it works, but there's no reason that this couldn't somehow be condensed into a double-click.

numb

Linux needs newbie stuff (5)

G27 Radio (78394) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447744)

I definitely agree with the author about what a hassle configuring Xwindows can be. I know RedHat 6.1 has made some improvements to their X configurator, but still with most systems I've installed it on I ended up having to do it manually anyway.

OK, disk partitioning is sort of a problem. I really don't like disk druid. It picks the name and order of partitions for me which would be nice for a new user, but it's not cool when they force it on you. Fortunately for me fdisk suits my needs just fine for partitioning--however disk druid would probably be the way to go for a new user. It's good that RedHat provides both. However, disk druid needs some work.

I recently installed Debian 2.1r4--liked that a lot despite some wierd problems, but it would still be a little much to ask a newbie. I don't think newbies are Debian's target audience anyway.

There are little nits here and there with Gnome and Enlightenment, but nothing that won't be fixed soon I'm sure.

Newbie documentation. Linux distributions include tons of in depth documentation about the operating system and all things related. If you bought Windows, you'd have to spend $50-$100 on books after buying the operating system and you'd still have nowhere near as much depth of technical information. The X/Gnome/E help systems available for apps look great also--however a lot of the apps don't use them. There is a good reason for this. So much of this software is still being developed and improved--documenting works in progress for newbies would take away from the time that could be put into the apps themselves.

I'm pretty sure these things are being worked on as we complain :) For me Linux already works great...I'd just like to see it be more available to my friends that don't have as much experience. Of course, a well-configured (and PRE-CONFIGURED) Linux system would be great for a newbie.

ObWinDis: Installing any Windows operating system on a machine that didn't come with it is no joy either. In comparison to installing Linux, it's a long convoluted process that takes several reboots. In fact, installing RedHat 6.1 on a system that does not already have Windows on it, and has fully supported hardware, would probably be easier for a newbie than installing Windows. It would certainly take less time.

numb

what is "linux" missing. (1)

pfy (79082) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447747)

This individual seems to take for granted that "linux" is only the kernel.

Why I use Windows, and not Linux (5)

onosendai (79294) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447753)

First things first, I'm a frustrated wannabe-Linux user still using Windows98 yet probably for the reasons that could easily answer this question.

I use Windows 98, even though i know its got dismal hardware efficiency, in that the equivalent machine on a RedHat installation could work alot better than on Windows. I use Windows knowing full well (and being disgusted with) the marketing practices of Microsoft. I use Windows knowing that my love of tweaking how my machine looks, works and runs could be fulfilled much easier on a linux box. I use Windows knowing that my data is about as secure on a WinBox than my personal possesions if I were to have the lock on my backdoor installed by a thief.

The single reason I personally use Windows and don't use my set of four RedHat v6 disks sitting right here is becuase one thing, Gloss.

It's shallow i know, but im an average user, im a student, i don't study IT, im more interested in the social context of the internet, it's effects upon communication psychology, but im the user that Linux needs to convert to have any hope of ever fighting back against the "Windows on every desk" mantra.

I use Windows becuase it's easy to install a program, becuase it's easy to see what im doing, where im going and how to get there. I use it because when i want an mp3 dbasing util, i can download a single package, and install it with a mouse click. I don't need to hunt for an obscure library file, i don't need to make sure that it will run with the Window Manager i want to use, i don't need to decode version numbers of updates to work out what i need and don't need. This may sound lazy, but i don't have the time to do this, i don't have the energy to do this, i don't have the knowledge to do this. Most of the market that Linux needs to reach out and grab is like me, the computer techs are sold, the geeks and nerds are sold, the average user ? not yet, they will, but not yet.

Please don't get me wrong, i love the concept of linux, open-sourced, free, community built and driven, and i would switch back in minutes given the chance, but linux really needs that single element that MS still has, Gloss and simplicity.

my 10 cents worth (3)

wanderingwalrus (85361) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447769)

i think before linux can really make it big it pretty much needs to become slightly more idiot-proof. Something along the lines of, you whack a CD in your drive, click on some icon to install and voila there it is... but then again that's prolly not linux is really all about...

think the fact that it's predominatlyly an OS for people who knows what they're doing and/or people who are interested in computers enough to learn something about it... the moajority of computer users are still people who turns on their new user-friendly iMac to just look at stuff round the web and type up the occasional word doco here and there.. they don't give a toss really about what goes on, and i doubt they could be really bothered to just to learn about linux

need it . . got it . . (1)

Money__ (87045) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447771)

Geek leader (got it)
Developers (got em)
More apps (need it)
Stability (got it)
Browser (got it)


_____________________________________

Re:Xwindows manager manager ? (1)

Money__ (87045) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447772)

If users were given a standard toolbox list so they knew which was used for what they could pick and choose the ones they like and still have tons of variety.

Xwindows manager manager ?

_____________________________________

Re:need it . . got it . . (1)

Money__ (87045) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447773)

And which browser might that be?
That browser would be Mozilla [mozilla.org] , now in M12, soon to be M13 and will be ready for cross-platform, open-source deployment. The M8-M12 Milestones are very impressive

_____________________________________

Mom deserves better (1)

Col. Panic (90528) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447782)

Is the rest of your family in your mother's town going to use her computer? I think Mandrake is a great choice if she is not going to change the PC. I put Win95 on my mom's machine just because it was in the days of Redhat 5.0 and the gui was lacking a bit. She probably wouldn't have been as happy with AfterStep as with 95. Now I would like her to run Mandrake with KDE but she knows 95 a little and she detests change.

Re:Why I use Windows, and not Linux (1)

Col. Panic (90528) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447783)

OK - you make good points, but here is a suggestion. Try it. Pick a Saturday when you have a little time to spend and make your machine dual bootable with Redhat 6.1 or Caldera 2.3. They are both very easy to install and you can always go back into 98 whenever you want.

I still use 98 for games and DVD and that won't change very soon. However, I have the option of using a more stable, bleeding edge OS without the worry of "did I get a virus visiting that site?"

I agree that the 98 interface is easy, but you probably don't realize how easy the KDE and Gnome interfaces are too. Try it and maybe, just maybe, you'll really like it.

Re:A Standard UI (2)

Col. Panic (90528) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447784)

I disagree. What needs to be standard is the way new users can select tools without having to know the name to launch it. Say you like the feel of Gnome but want kPPP. GnoRPM is your favorite now, but how long before you knew it existed?

If users were given a standard toolbox list so they knew which was used for what they could pick and choose the ones they like and still have tons of variety.

Re:Open source is hard to be accepted by managers (1)

pte (99565) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447800)

Why should only managers think in this way? Open-source is a thing that has only started becoming a 'big thing' in the last few years.

Many people are afraid of new things, it takes time for them to be accepted. I think that in 5 to ten years open-source will be accepted by almost everyone, even managers. (Note: this doesn't mean it will be used by everyone.)

bye,
pieter

Re:need it . . got it . . (1)

pte (99565) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447801)

And which browser might that be?

I hate to admit it, but using Netscape or IE on a windows system is (in every case I've seen) a lot faster that on Linux (or UNIX in general).

Although it's true that we have a lot of developers, probably more than any commercial company, we still don't have enough. The reason is that many of the Linux developers have a normal job or are studying so they don't have much time to spent on coding.

We also need more 'developers' not writing code, but writing documentation because that's going to be important if Linux wants to go mainstream.

bye,
pieter

Re:missing (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447816)

From my experiences both of those window managers are very stable, although I will admit to running KDE more ofter then Gnome just because I like it more. The only time Iv ever had X crash at all was when I was trying to get Mesa and my Voodoo3 card to play Quake2, but that was my own fault for not configuring it correctly. But in that case all I did was hit ye' olde Alt-Ctrl-Backspace to kill X and everything was happy again.

Use the Macintosh Human Interface Guidlines (1)

LarryTheCucumber (105583) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447819)

You can find them here [apple.com] .

Apple got the GUI right the first time out, and nobody's really made any earth shattering improvements to it since. Why not just steal their work, as great artists are known to do? There can still be a lot of flexibility in how widgets look, but programs should work in more or less the same way from the user's standpoint. Users should be able to expect a new program to work like other programs they already know. This, as much as anything, has been what's kept Apple's rabid customers loyal to the Mac over the past 15 years.

-jimbo

How to go about it (1)

reality-bytes (119275) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447833)

I am currently looking at setting up a small company in UK with a view to providing at cost+miniscule margin distribution of linux software (other than core O/S) but this is obviosly reliant on demand being high.

There is currently little market knowledge about linux demand so this is something I will have to begin tentatively.

Whether or not I will be distributing the commercial packages will remain to be seen as, likewise, will the possibility of distributing to retail outlets.

There is so much excellent software under GPL already, its only getting better and yet, joe public and joe corporate user know nothing of it; yet it is they who could benefit the most.

BTW: Isn't it going slow on /. today? I guess most sysadmins have booked the day off for xmas :)
Unluckily I have to work :(

Re:Why I use Windows, and not Linux (1)

reality-bytes (119275) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447834)

I use windows cos the fascists here won't let me use anthing else :(

Re:Microsoft to port their applications (1)

reality-bytes (119275) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447835)

The applications are already there mate, it doesn't neccesarily take Bills Big Dollar Machine to promote anything. Lets just give it 12months eh? ;)

simple idiot proof install (2)

piranesi (125846) | more than 14 years ago | (#1447850)

When i first installed linux i accidently wiped out windows (not a big loss - my excuse for such a stupid mistake : incoherent from lack of sleep (or as some may look at it "the right way to install linux"))

My second attempt was successful(mostly) but it wasnt as easy as installing Windows and dear god nothing near as easy as installing macOS. Making the installer less ugly, less stupid, and less frustrating would also help.

(oddly i've always have more problems installing 98 than NT)

piranesi (unfortunatly an idiot)
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