Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

The Next Leap for Linux

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the so-easy-a-penguin-could-use-it dept.

Linux 517

Nrbelex writes "The New York Times is taking a look at the state of Linux. "Linux has always had a reputation of being difficult to install and daunting to use. Most of the popular Windows and Macintosh programs cannot be used on it, and hand-holding — not that you get that much of it with Windows — is rare. But those reasons for rejecting Linux are disappearing." The article discusses major PC makers' newest offers and compares them to their Windows counterparts."

cancel ×

517 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

what? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20849945)

linux took a first leap? good spin on the article title. another fine job by slashdon't.

KDAWSON article? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20849973)

I am surprised that this isn't.

Oh wait, it isn't a "x COULD BE y" article...heh

captcha: bowels

Off a cliff. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20849959)

Linux can take a flying leap.

-S. B.

Re:Off a cliff. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20850001)

Penguins can fly, you know?

Mod parent funny. Metamod negative mod down. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20850101)

Morons with mod points ALWAYS try to ascribe trollish intent to posts when they don't "get" a joke.

Re:Mod parent funny. Metamod negative mod down. (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850405)

Steve should have just put Linux on a chair and thrown it off himself

Less keystrokes (5, Insightful)

jonoton (804262) | more than 6 years ago | (#20849977)

to install debian than to type in the windoze license key.

Re:Less keystrokes (4, Interesting)

chuckymonkey (1059244) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850005)

If I had mod points I would make you insightful. I have less problems with my mother's computer now that she has Ubuntu and I didn't have to walk her through the install. When there is a problem all I have to do is ssh in and fix, I do this while she's still using it.

Re:Less keystrokes (-1, Troll)

roe-roe (930889) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850263)

Christ! How could both of you make the same mistake? It is FEWER keystrokes and FEWER problems.... Are you related?

Re:Less keystrokes (5, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850417)

Fewer of your cheek, please.

Re:Less keystrokes (4, Insightful)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850307)

Yes that is all you have to do to fix it, but what does she have to do to fix it? The problem isn't that linux is intimidating for the average /. poster. It is that Linux is pretty freaking intimidating for the average computer user.

If acceptance of linux is something that the community wants, then it needs to realize that Windows biggest flaws are also some of its best advantages. Afterall, its so easy to install programs on Windows that they practically do it themselves ;)

The ubiquitous nature of windows makes it very easy to fix your machine should something go wrong. Part of it is due to the fact that there are very few versions of Windows, part of it has to do with the vast user base that windows has. You may not like how MS got there, but dislike of the situation won't change the problem.

To those of you who know how to use linux, remember this: While windows may have a steep learning curve when it comes to administrative work, with Linux the curve is a brick wall for most users.

Re:Less keystrokes (5, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850355)

When something goes wrong with my mother's Windows-based computer, what does she do? I'll give you a hint: It doesn't involve fixing it herself.

How is that any different than Linux, with the exception that with Linux, I wouldn't have to leave my house to go fix her computer?

The only reason I've left her on Windows is that she plays those Reflexive.net games. If they played on Linux, and were easy to install (there's nothing easy about Wine, and it only works on these Reflexive.net games some of the time) then I'd switch her over. Heck, I could even install the games for here remotely, if they'd run afterwards.

Re:Less keystrokes (5, Informative)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850441)

You can actually do remote assistance invitations on Windows, or install VNC on her computer.. I'm no lover of Microsoft, but that's kind of a poor reason to choose Linux over Windows?

Re:Less keystrokes (5, Insightful)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850567)

The ubiquitous nature of windows makes it very easy to fix your machine should something go wrong.

Really? Sorry, but that's just not true. In fact, the famous Geek Squad usually fixes all Windows problems by re-imaging your box (which may solve the problem, but also wipes all your data, which is not cool at all, and not REALLY a true fix.) It would be like hiring someone to fix a leak in your roof and you come home and find that the roof was replaced, but now all your personal possessions in your house are gone.

To really fix windows problems requires a fairly significant amount of skill / knowledge that MOST end users (and Geek Squad employees) simply DO NOT HAVE. If this guy's mom runs into problems on Windows, she will call him anyway.

Once a Linux box is properly setup and running (which I admit may be a bit of a challenge if you have certain bits of "Windows Only" hardware) it is LESS likely to have problems than a Windows box in the first place.

Re:Less keystrokes (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20850509)

I would have modded you up, but you mean fewer keystrokes. "Less" is for singular nouns, "fewer" for plurals.

Back to school for you!

The fact that it's on mainstream press.. (5, Insightful)

jkrise (535370) | more than 6 years ago | (#20849979)

Itself means Linux has made a good 'Next Leap'. Seriously! Until a few months back, the only Linux news used to be about the SCO case, Microsoft - Novell patents FUD etc. The nature of the GPL has meant that the cat is now well out of the bag, and the mainstream press outlets are compelled to sing the Penguin March.

Poor network performance in Vista, the OOXML vote and now, the Excel 2007 calculation howler have made bad press for Microsoft. Not a day passes on Digg without Ubuntu articles getting over thousands of Diggs. So now, the NYT, Forbes, Gartner, Yankee and the rest must join the Linux bandwagon. Or be left behind.

Re:The fact that it's on mainstream press.. (4, Insightful)

darthflo (1095225) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850029)

You're right about the mainstream press 'Next Leap', but apart from the Excel 2007 "problem" I don't see Digg, Vista's network performance, the OOXML fiasco or all those freedom politics helping to get non-techies to consider switching. Even the Excel trouble didn't get too much bad mainstream press 'round here.
Linux's biggest mainstream advance over Vista will probably stay it's lower price for the next few years.

Re:The fact that it's on mainstream press.. (1)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850075)

How about this, found on digg: http://troubledramblings.com/2007/10/02/why-my-mom-can-use-ubuntu/ [troubledramblings.com]

Re:The fact that it's on mainstream press.. (1)

darthflo (1095225) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850255)

It's a nice story and perfectly proves my point (Linux being installed not because of bad OOXML press, it being free as in speech or Ballmer throwing chairs but because it's free as in beer and less of a hassle to install). EasyUbuntu looks nice, too.

Re:The fact that it's on mainstream press.. (4, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850109)

Itself means Linux has made a good 'Next Leap'. Seriously! Until a few months back, the only Linux news used to be about the SCO case, Microsoft - Novell patents FUD etc. The nature of the GPL has meant that the cat is now well out of the bag, and the mainstream press outlets are compelled to sing the Penguin March.
I don't disagree with you that the mainstream press' recent positive attention to Linux is demonstrative of Linux on the desktop becoming a success story of its own, but I don't really see what the GPL has to do with it. The license itself makes no difference as far as 'compelling mainstream outlets to sing the Penguin March.' All that matters in this regard is that Linux can get the job done and is proving itself as a viable desktop operating system. The license may have contributed to that by invigorating the developer base (a matter that's up for debate), but the GPL really has nothing to do with Linux's success -- the success is a result of the hard work of developers, testers, documenters, and community volunteers that help spread the word.

So now, the NYT, Forbes, Gartner, Yankee and the rest must join the Linux bandwagon. Or be left behind.
These groups don't have to do anything of the sort. They merely report on trends in technology. If one of those trends is Linux, so be it. They'll report. Gartner and Yankee in particular aren't going to end their Microsoft bias anytime soon though.

Re:The fact that it's on mainstream press.. (1, Interesting)

jkrise (535370) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850237)

... positive attention to Linux is demonstrative of Linux on the desktop becoming a success story of its own, but I don't really see what the GPL has to do with it. The license itself makes no difference ...

Er.. how many BSD licensed distros have made it to mainstream press? The simple truth of the matter is that GPL has ensured that users get the most benefit from the Freedoms. Else, the corporate idea-thieves would've long ago taken over Linux, and made colourful, bloated clones.. back to Unix days. GPL is the best thing that ever happened to Linux.

Re:The fact that it's on mainstream press.. (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850377)

Else, the corporate idea-thieves would've long ago taken over Linux, and made colourful, bloated clones..

Ya, thank god there's only one LInux distro!

Re:The fact that it's on mainstream press.. (1)

TuringTest (533084) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850517)

Ya, thank god there's only one LInux distro!
You weren't there during the UNIX wars, were you?

Re:The fact that it's on mainstream press.. (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850507)

Er.. how many BSD licensed distros have made it to mainstream press? The simple truth of the matter is that GPL has ensured that users get the most benefit from the Freedoms. Else, the corporate idea-thieves would've long ago taken over Linux, and made colourful, bloated clones.. back to Unix days. GPL is the best thing that ever happened to Linux.
You make it sound like there's only GPL and BSD to chose from in free / open source licenses. There are something like 60 different licenses listed on opensource.org [opensource.org] . Are you suggesting that if Linux had been distributed under, say, the Artistic License that it wouldn't have been as successful? And the answer to your original question: How many BSD licensed.... is at least three. FreeBSD, Mac OS X and Darwin.

Hardware still an issue (5, Interesting)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 6 years ago | (#20849995)

Based on my experience with Ubuntu, I'd say that the biggest issue is by far hardware vendors. When given ideal hardware Linux will pretty much "just work" but there is a lot of hardware that is not just less than ideal, but quite frankly unusable. I eventually bought a new PCI wireless card because I couldn't get my existing one to work, even with ndiswrapper.

Unfortunately there really isn't a whole lot the developers can do to change this unless hardware vendors start opening their specs. The good news is that a lot of vendors do realize that having the FLOSS community write the drivers is pretty much the cheapest way to outsource development. As a bonus these drivers tend to be a lot more stable as well.

Re:Hardware still an issue (4, Insightful)

Max Threshold (540114) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850051)

Hardware? Really? My biggest problem with Ubuntu (currently running the 7.10 beta) is with developers trying to squeeze in the latest and greatest upstream versions at the last minute, causing regressions and general strife and turning what could have been the Windows killer into an embarrassment for anyone who's trying to promote Linux.

Re:Hardware still an issue (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850157)

My greatest problems were the significant lack of gui configuration tools for all but the most simple things, oh, and the kernel update screwed things up. I went back to gentoo since I didn't see any less hacking required under ubuntu.

Re:Hardware still an issue (1)

Perl-Pusher (555592) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850575)

My greatest problems were the significant lack of gui configuration tools for all but the most simple things


Amen to that! A wiki should not replace a good configuration tool. I've used YAST in SuSe, Mandrivas tool are pretty good too. But for me the best little setup has got to be PcLinuxOS [pclinuxos.com] it has the same configuration tools as Mandriva , but uses Synaptic to download software. And there are a ton of packages available. You never need to install a new version, it is completely upgradeable via synaptic. And the packages are thoroughly tested and just work. Its a live CD so you know it will work before you install it. It really is impressive for a small distribution and it looks great too. It doesn't have a company behind but it does have a community of volunteers.

Re:Hardware still an issue (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850159)

But you are running a beta... It's expected to have problems.

Re:Hardware still an issue (1)

blackbirdwork (821859) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850177)

Gutsy 7.10 beta is a BETA. You shouldn't be using it if you are not a beta tester or developer. Try with 7.04

Re:Hardware still an issue (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850179)

I think you pretty much answered your own issue there. You did say it was a Beta version, right?

Re:Hardware still an issue (2, Insightful)

Nicholas Evans (731773) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850231)

I think his point was that, hey look, it's 2007-10, and they need to release this soon. Why are they trying to assfist in all of the bleeding-edge stuff *now*? Why can't it wait for 8.04?

Re:Hardware still an issue (2, Informative)

darthflo (1095225) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850287)

You're in a bit of a dilemma here. Running beta software will cause some instabilities there (as mentioned by all others responding to you), but going back to stable 7.04 will probably get you the hardware-related problems GP was talking about (if you're running exotic or really new hardware anyways, Gutsy really fixed tons of issues there). I'm happy with Gutsy and a few problems, hope you are too :]

Re:Hardware still an issue (1)

Laebshade (643478) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850115)

I have a similar problem. When I built a new PC earlier this year, of course I went with the best [that my wallet could handle]. All of the equipment is compatible to Linux... except the sound card, a Creative X-Fi. It has no support on linux whatsoever and probably won't until at least next year.

Wait, let me stop myself there. I had to check the Creative open source page [creative.com] to confirm, and there are beta drivers now! But, a Gentoo forum thread [gentoo.org] shows that these are really just alpha drivers. Still, some progress is better than none. Maybe we can get nVidia to release specs for their video cards...

Re:Hardware still an issue (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850203)

The situation is almost certainly going to improve tho...
There was talk recently of at least one major OEM demanding that hardware they buy must have linux drivers available, and i doubt they will accept anything marked as beta. Component makers can't afford to lose large OEM contracts.
With companies like Dell now offering Ubuntu, it doesn't make financial sense to maintain completely different sources of components for linux and non-linux systems, they will try to use as many of the same parts across the board as they can. If some hardware has no linux drivers, that's a big disincentive to buy that hardware and then have to separately buy something else for other systems.

Re:Hardware still an issue (1)

blackbirdwork (821859) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850117)

I don't agree. I installed Ubuntu on my new machine and everything worked out of the box. I tried to install Windows XP and it didn't detect my SATA drives, i had to use floppy drives (god, in 2007 we still have to use floppy drives!). After that, my Webcam, Hauppage WinTV-150 card and HP printer worked without doing anything in Ubuntu, in Windows I had to install drivers. So please tell me why is easier to install and setup hardware in Windows?

Re:Hardware still an issue (2, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850217)

It's amazing how many features get left out of windows, that would be so easy to support, yet for some reason never seem to make it in. One feature is loading RAID, SCSI, and IDE Controller card drivers off something other than a floppy disk. The other that really drives me batty is the inability for you to set an image as your wallpaper, and have windows resize it so that the image fills the maximum amount of the screen, without changing the aspect ratio. Seriously, this has been available in Linux for at least 5 years, and Vista still doesn't do this. The algorithm would take 1 person a maximum of 1/2 a day to program, and test, even if they weren't a good programmer. Spending 6 years on Vista and they can't even add simple features like this, that would make so many home user's lives easier, is just terrible.

Re:Hardware still an issue (1)

blackbirdwork (821859) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850297)

That's because they can't copy Linux code anymore :)

> The algorithm would take 1 person a maximum of 1/2 a day to program, and test, even if they weren't a good programmer. Spending 6 years on Vista and
> they can't even add simple features like this, that would make so many home user's lives easier, is just terrible.

Correction (4, Insightful)

smartin (942) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850009)

But those reasons for rejecting Linux are disappearing.

Those reasons disappeared years ago, what needs to disappear now are stories repeating them.

Re:Correction (5, Insightful)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850033)

The same reasons still exist... a lot of the professional software used by many folks, still only exist on windows, and hardware vendors are not quick to support linux.

Its been that way since i installed slackware 1

Re:Correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20850229)

Its still not perfect, and I guess never will be. Installation is really easy, but you still get a lot of options that a non-techie user would baulk at. (a question like 'which language do you want to use?' is fine, ones like 'choose a filesystem: ext3 or reiser fs?' or 'enter your IP address, subnet and gateway' aren't).

Many of these questions are fundamental to the working of the system so cannot be removed, but a few could be moved to a better hand-holding wizards that have a lot more explanation of where to find which values to enter.

So, I think the installation topic is as good as solved as its likely to get - there is room for it to get a little better, but its fine.

The biggest problem I have with linux now (apart from having to guess which damn directory packages install their files to) is configuration of those packages. I know 'linux' can be described as 'not those add-ons' but in the mind of every user Linux means Kernel + Apache + everthing else.
If these packages are difficult to configure (and they range from tricky to downright impossible) then that's a huge turn-off for users.

Re:Correction (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850391)

When was the last time you tried? Download (K)Ubuntu Feisty and install it, and then check your complaints. I think you'll find that they are -all- addressed.

Filesystem choice? The installer defaults to 'auto' mode and chooses for you.

Network? Last time I installed, it didn't even -ask- me about this. DHCP automatically. (I'd have prefered it ask, since I use a static IP on my network. It was easy to change afterwards through the KDE app for it.)

Package configuration? The only configuration that needs to be done is for advanced packages, like Apache. Everything else is auto-configured by the installer.

There's even a graphical interface for the package installation.

Re:Correction (1)

Nosklo (815041) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850571)

apart from having to guess which damn directory packages install their files to
if you are using debian-like:

dpkg -L packagename
or right click the package in the package manager and choose "properties".

Impact of the article ... (3, Interesting)

foobsr (693224) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850025)

From TFA: "Linux is best for technically savvy users or for people whose needs are so basic that they will never need anything other than the bundled software"

Which basically translates to not for me for the average person, being neither a geek nor wanting to have the self-image of being 'basic'.

CC.

The article contradicts itself. (4, Interesting)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850149)

"for people whose needs are so basic that they will never need anything other than the bundled software" ... translates to not for me for the average person, being neither a geek nor wanting to have the self-image of being 'basic'.

Of course, the article itself already stated:

"An Add/Remove function actually makes finding programs easier with Linux than it is for Mac and Windows. Without having to go to Web sites, it lets you browse through categories of software. It took me only seconds to find several additional music players, a PDF reader and other programs. In addition to downloading the software, this feature installs it and finds any necessary additional files."

It's a holdover from Windows/Mac, where installing software can be hard and requires some technical knowledge. The author still subconsciously thinks of installing software as 'difficult' even though they've actually seen the evidence that on Linux it's not. On any modern desktop Linux, software installation is no more complicated than "I want this program. Gimme."

Re:The article contradicts itself. (1)

darthflo (1095225) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850341)

On any modern desktop Linux, software installation is no more complicated than "I want this program. Gimme." Usually, for switchers it'll be more like "I want a program that does X. Gimme.". This is also the problem I think TFA is addressing with this excluded "average" group – people who are used to Windows and know Windows software with which they (want to) do their work. While I am sure most of those programs have acceptable or sometimes even superior counterparts on Linux, we'd really need wine to be easier to handle and more feature-complete to satisfy those users too.

Re:The article contradicts itself. (5, Insightful)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850411)

we'd really need wine to be easier to handle and more feature-complete to satisfy those users too.

Nope, that's a trap [wikipedia.org] . OS/2 was essentially 100% Windows 3.1 compatible, and what happened? Developers thought, "Why bother writing an OS/2 native app when I can just write a Windows app and be compatible?" So OS/2 never got any apps to speak of. And we know where it is today.

Linux needs those alternative, native (or at least cross-platform) apps.

Re:The article contradicts itself. (1)

darthflo (1095225) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850589)

Nope, that's a trap.
It sure is, but the lack of compatibility is slowing Linux adoption greatly, which also results in no native ports.

Re:The article contradicts itself. (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850535)

I was probably unclear in that I was not writing about myself (Linux since SLS), but I still disagree that 'On any modern desktop Linux, software installation is no more complicated than "I want this program. Gimme."' (On a scale from gentoo to Ubuntu(easiest), and you may replace 'Linux' for any other OS, having the 'average' user in mind).

However, I wanted to point out that the article does not do a good job in promoting Linux, building on the premise that the average reader looks for summary/conclusion/advice which he might find in the originally quoted fragment. Now if even the author with his preliminary exposure still communicates this bias ...

A conclusion (hard to convey to people rooted in the vicinity of engineering since well before computers came to birth, and still) might be that it is more about an 'image' rather than reality (might be marketing 101 or how you name it).

CC.

Linux Dell cheaper than Vista ? (2, Interesting)

eulernet (1132389) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850049)

Ok, so why is it not advertised on Dell's site ? From the TFA, Vista is 50 to 80 dollars more expensive. Does this only mean that Dell wants Microsoft to reduce its license price ?

Re:Linux Dell cheaper than Vista ? (1)

darthflo (1095225) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850397)

Ok, so why is it not advertised on Dell's site ?
Because Dell know(s (We talking about the company or Michael here? ;))) most people expect Windows to ship with their PC. Plus they are extremely probably making a few bucks on each copy of Windows shipped and a few more on each piece of crapware included. And the Dell support helpdesk (including their field staff, I'd imagine) probably isn't ready to support a huge wave of Linux-related questions which they would have to if they rolled out Ubuntu on a really broad basis.

Evolution of Linux (5, Interesting)

Fireflymantis (670938) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850065)

I first got linux running back in '97 with Mandrake 5 point something, and back then I used it more with a 'shove it to MS' attitude. Things were clunky, slow, and broke easily in the GUI side back then. Definitely needed xkill as a shortcut, accessible at all times. X was a nightmare to configure and good luck getting sound working. OSS was 'the next big thing' for dealing with sound cards. *shudder*

10 years later, there are some things that are still a bit rough around the corners, but at least now I am using it full time because I find it genuinely more usable and I can get a lot more work done using it than I ever could on windows. It is more stable, and short of accidentally hitting the switch on the power-strip with my feet, never have to deal with system crashes or BSODs.

Right now, we are starting to see some 'really' neat things taking off like next-get UI's (compiz/beryl) and zeroconf that when refined over the next many years will undoubtedly make Linux systems the leader of the OSs. Additionally, due to the compound effect when more users switch over, more companies will release more goodies onto 'nix.

Over the next decade I really think that there will be massive proliferation of Linux desktops and that maybe finally the IT industry can start the long journey to finally rid itself of nasty kludges presented by Redmond year after year. Of course though, we will have to watch out for self contrived idiocies such as political breakdown within the wizard circles (kernel, KDE, Gnome, Mozilla, etc) and also try and sanely resolve niggling issues like the current GPLv2 vs GPLv3 dilemma.

So far since my indoctrination to the Linux world I have seen such vast improvements it boggles my mind, and I expect nothing less for the next 10.

Re:Evolution of Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20850227)

Just to pick a nit, Mandrake was first released in Summer 1998.

Not really mainstream (-1, Troll)

thasmudyan (460603) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850067)

Two things make even considering Linux for normal users absolutely prohibitive:

Usability is a nightmare. The UI is cluttered with useless, confusing icons and half of the functions behind them don't even work properly. But configuration is the worst problem, why is it so hard to make a system architecture and drivers that don't require constant hand holding regarding even the most basic settings?

Second, supporting Windows apps is a huge problem, too. For all intends and purposes Wine just doesn't work, at least not of you don't know how to tweak and trick it into doing the right thing. At least SuSE comes with XEN, but it's pretty much unusable. The idea of mere users setting up something that works like Parallels on Mac is just completely out of the question with the way this stuff needs to be configured.

Of course it doesn't help that Linus himself is a big antagonist when it comes to making a system that saves the user some time with useful configuration models and efficient UI.

Who has time and energy to spend days setting up his workstation? (Servers are another matter, they're ridiculously easy to set up!) I'm a fairly good developer and I'm under the comforting illusion that I have at least a basic understanding of what goes on under the hood. So when I say that even I am regularly getting discouraged by the obscene amount of hoops Linux/KDE/whatever make their users jumpf through to get anything done, that should mean something.

Re:Not really mainstream (2, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850363)

Usability is a nightmare. The UI is cluttered with useless, confusing icons and half of the functions behind them don't even work properly
What are you talking about? Have you seen a recent GNOME or KDE desktop? Lots of thought and care were put into uncluttering the desktop and making icons and menus make sense -- on both of the major desktops.

But configuration is the worst problem, why is it so hard to make a system architecture and drivers that don't require constant hand holding regarding even the most basic settings?
It's not. I haven't had to compile a custom kernel in gods-knows-how-long. Most common hardware devices are supported out of the box on modern, polished distros like Ubuntu or Fedora. For the four computers in my house, I only ever needed to manually configure ONE piece of hardware -- a USB wireless adapter on my laptop. The other machine with wireless has an Atheros wireless NIC, and I literally had to do nothing other than configure WPA. The digital camera, Web cam, scanner, printer, wired NICs, nVidia video cards, USB storage devices, mice, trackballs, keyboards (some with special keys), etc. were all literally supported out of the box with no manual configuration or driver installation whatsoever.

Second, supporting Windows apps is a huge problem, too.
Really? Why is that a problem? Notice no one ever says "supporting Windows apps is a huge problem for Mac OS X". That's because 1) most people don't need Windows apps when there are plenty of nice alternatives, and 2) there are options like Parallels and Boot Camp for Intel Macs. Likewise, there are options like XEN and QEMU on Linux. Ever tried QEMU on Ubuntu Feisty Fawn? Other than the need to compile a custom kernel module for full virtualization (admittedly, a bit hard), there are applications like the QEMU Launcher and the QEMU Control Panel, which make it drop dead simple to setup and run QEMU for someone who knows what he's doing. Not that setting up Parallels is a cakewalk, either, though. It still involves installing a second OS in virtual machine, no matter what. And XEN is very usable.

Re:Not really mainstream (2, Insightful)

thasmudyan (460603) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850527)

Well, at the risk of losing even more karma even replying to this, but...

What are you talking about? Have you seen a recent GNOME or KDE desktop? Lots of thought and care were put into uncluttering the desktop and making icons and menus make sense -- on both of the major desktops.
Personally, I like KDE, I even like Gnome, but I'm a geek. And I'm not denying that desktop environments didn't come a long way towards usability. At the same time, I think it is necessary to refine them relentlessly. Anyone who thinks KDE is ready for their mom or your average office worker is clearly kidding themselves and I invite them to conduct their own study.

It's not. I haven't had to compile a custom kernel in gods-knows-how-long. Most common hardware devices are supported out of the box on modern, polished distros like Ubuntu or Fedora.
Huge issues for me are multihead configuration and other graphics integration issues. This stuff shouldn't be so hard. Granted, most distros work fine on a standard single-screen system if the hardware isn't too fancy. Again, we've certainly come a long way here. But this needs to go so much further, up to the point where no user has to even touch a configuration text file, ever again.

Really? Why is that a problem? Notice no one ever says "supporting Windows apps is a huge problem for Mac OS X".
It is a big problem because there needs to be legacy support for business apps and other expert software that can't be ported but has to be used for some time to come. Just saying "fuck this, you don't need this app" is not really the solution.

And supporting Windows apps is indeed a problem for Mac OS X, but not a huge one. Why? Because you can install stuff like Parallels even if you are just a mere human.

Re:Not really mainstream (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850443)

Usability is a nightmare. The UI is cluttered with useless, confusing icons and half of the functions behind them don't even work properly. But configuration is the worst problem, why is it so hard to make a system architecture and drivers that don't require constant hand holding regarding even the most basic settings?

You're talking about Windows, right?

Second, supporting Windows apps is a huge problem, too. For all intends and purposes Wine just doesn't work, at least not of you don't know how to tweak and trick it into doing the right thing.

But the majority of people don't need Windows apps - they need a web browser and a word processor. These are things that are available for non-windows platforms - the uptake of OS X (before Parallels appeared) should prove this.

At least SuSE comes with XEN, but it's pretty much unusable.

I have no recent experience of SuSE (although I have heard lots of bad stuff about it and for political reasons I wouldn't use it), but Xen under Fedora 7 is quite usable.

Of course it doesn't help that Linus himself is a big antagonist when it comes to making a system that saves the user some time with useful configuration models and efficient UI.

Whether or not you agree with Linus's opinions, he does not control the direction that individual distributions take the userland.

Who has time and energy to spend days setting up his workstation?

For one thing, even if I have to set up a workstation from scratch it doesn't take days. However, these days I tend to just copy my Beryl and Emerald config onto new workstations so there is no real set up to be done. One thing I _am_ sure of though it that if the OS restricted me as much as Windows does I would waste far more time having to deal with a bad unchangable configuration on a daily basis than I do in configuring a workstation _once_. One of the reasons I use Linux is because I can tweak the config to speed up operations I have to do frequently - Windows does not allow this to the same extent.

So when I say that even I am regularly getting discouraged by the obscene amount of hoops Linux/KDE/whatever make their users jump through to get anything done, that should mean something.

Yup, Linux makes people jump through an obscene amount of hoops. Guess what - so does every other OS, get over it.

Re:Not really mainstream (2, Insightful)

darthflo (1095225) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850455)

Usability is a nightmare. The UI is cluttered with useless, confusing icons and half of the functions behind them don't even work properly.
When was the last time you tried a fresh copy of Ubuntu? 7.10 seems way less cluttered than Vista to me and I think it's quite similar to 7.04 and 6.06 (never tried those, but Screenshots look similar).

Of course it doesn't help that Linus himself is a big antagonist when it comes to making a system that saves the user some time with useful configuration models and efficient UI.
Unfortunately you may be right here. Linus really is focusing on Linux's potential as an "Enterprise" OS, but that's why we need people like ck, Miguel de Icaza and Mark Shuttleworth.

It is as difficult to install windows. (4, Insightful)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850069)

Most people buy windows pre installed. But anyone who had gone through a full install of Windows knows how difficult it is. When Redmond releases the next version and calls it an upgrade some chumps try to buy the install disks and attempt upgrading their machines. Or more frequently, a virus or something hits and they only thing that will really eradicate it is to format the hard disk and reinstall the OS. Even with a restore disk specifically created for that machine, many of the prompts during the restore process and install process are arcane and most users can't do anything other than accept the defaults. So why people harp on "Linux is difficult to install?", compare Linux install to windows install. Or compare pre installed Linux to pre installed Windows.

Another disappointing thing about the article is that it positions Linux as a "cheap" alternative. The main point of Linux is not that it is cheap, it could be or it might not be. The real power of Linux is avoiding the vendor lock.

Re:It is as difficult to install windows. (1)

Loke the Dog (1054294) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850225)

"Most people buy windows pre installed. But anyone who had gone through a full install of Windows knows how difficult it is."

Exactly. Only people who have installed windows knows that it's not very simple, but most people have not. This is why it's completely irrelevant to compare installing linux to installing windows. Installing linux needs to be as simple or simpler than booting up a fresh copy of windows vista for the first time, which incidentally requires no effort beyond pressing the power button. Yes, that's impossible, so you're gonna have to accept that installing linux will ALWAYS be considered hard. What you don't seem to understand is that life is unfair, especially for the linux missionary. It isn't enough to make linux as good as windows, it needs to much, much better.

"Another disappointing thing about the article is that it positions Linux as a "cheap" alternative. The main point of Linux is not that it is cheap, it could be or it might not be. The real power of Linux is avoiding the vendor lock."

Ok, so you're saying that for users who don't give a fuck about vendor lock, linux really has no point? In my experience, what interests the average user about linux is that its cheap. If you can find average windows users who think the cost issue is unimportant and vendor lock in to be a big issue, I must say that is fantastic. Just because that's how you see it doesn't mean the readers of this article will generally agree with you.

Re:It is as difficult to install windows. (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850587)

Ok, so you're saying that for users who don't give a fuck about vendor lock, linux really has no point?

Most people would not mind paying more, if they can use the PC as reliably as they use the VCR. The reason why most common consumers use Windows is because, they are familiar with it at work, so they buy the same thing for their home. They seem to reason, "ok I use this machine at work and have built some level of expertise. Same machine at home, I can handle it. If there is a problem, I can ask collegues or the help desk at work."

The windows monopoly is sustained by giving huge discounts to big businesses. Companies the size of Home Depot or GE or Pepsi pay a flat fee and get unlimited use licenses. They pay slightly less than what it would cost them to switch to Linux/Sun whatever. The medium and small businesses are forced to be compatible with the big companies. And all the employees get familiarity with Windows. That is why most people buy Windows on their own. Right now the big companies don't really care about vendor lock and as long as Pepsi is sure that Coca Cola is spending the same level as itself, they would not rock the boat and fight on other turfs.

And investing to achieve vendor lock, has a longer pay back period than a year or two. That is 8 quarters. No CEO/CFO/CIO is going to make a sustained effort over that many quarters. For all he knows, it is the next guy on his seat that is going to see the cost savings. But all it would take is for a couple of companies to make a switch and show a little profit. All other companies would hedge their bets, and eventually behave like a herd. Much like they were asking, "What is our India strategy" in the context of out sourcing, they would stampede like herds with "What is our Linux strategy?". When other systems come into the work place, it will find its way to homes too.

Re:It is as difficult to install windows. (1, Informative)

Tim C (15259) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850273)

But anyone who had gone through a full install of Windows knows how difficult it is.

I guess I must have missed something then, as I've installed various flavours of Windows over the years and have never had any issues. Of course, I've never had any issues installing Linux either...

Re:It is as difficult to install windows. (1)

imcclell (138690) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850495)

So why people harp on "Linux is difficult to install?"

I'll tell you why. I have a Dell Inspiron 6400 with an ATI graphics card. When I went to install ubuntu, the install won't even come up. It kills X right away and there's an extra 20-30 mins involved, and a bunch of commands you have to type, and that was after I found the solution rather quickly. Now, what I had to do to fix the problem was not terribly difficult with the docs in front of me, but I couldn't have left it to my wife (who has done some of our XP installs).

Now, with windows, everything may not have been perfect, but the install would have happened with basic drivers like vga. It wouldn't have died before the first screen.

I'm sure someone will make some comment about hardware compatibility or this being ATI's fault for drivers. And you know, you may be right. The problem is, I don't care. I don't care who's fault it is that it happened, and neither do most people. The laptop didn't do that in windows, and it did in linux. Linux's fault from their point of view. I'm personally not going to let that deter me, but a lot of others would.

Difficult? (4, Informative)

blackbirdwork (821859) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850073)

Difficult to install? That's only for Linux from Scratch. All other distros are easier than Windows to install. Have you tried to install Windows XP on a new machine? It's a pain in the ass... remember to have a floppy drive before trying it.

Re:Difficult? (-1, Troll)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850261)

Hmm? Do you KNOW what ytou are talking about? When was the last time you installed Windows? XP (and for that matter NT4, 200 and Vista) comes with a bootable CD, so floppy is not needed at all. Hell I yesterday installed XP on a floppy-less Dell Inspiron 8000.

And moderators, how the HELL is that lie rated INSIGHTFUL? Oh, we are on slashdot, so we know the level of intelligence we have here.

Re:Difficult? (5, Informative)

blackbirdwork (821859) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850317)

It seems you never did an advanced installation of Windows XP for hardware with RAID or SATA controllers not supported by Windows...

Re:Difficult? (0, Troll)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850533)

Well,duh, try to install Linuzzz on a hardware without the controllers drivers... How in hell you will install it then without the drivers on some media? How is that different?

Re:Difficult? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20850335)

Why? Just boot straight from the install CD. Easy.

Re:Difficult? (1)

darthflo (1095225) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850479)

That's only for Linux from Scratch.
Somebody's forgetting Gentoo here... ;)

Re:Difficult? (1)

blackbirdwork (821859) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850569)

Well, I think Gentoo is more "time wasting" than "difficult" :)
But yes, I think it should be difficult for a desktop user.

Shouldn't the TFA have been titled (2, Funny)

amishdisco (705368) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850085)

"2008: The year of the Linux Desktop?"

Thank you (5, Funny)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850345)

"200[x]: The year of the Linux Desktop?"
I've found that title to be reliable for knowing what year it is, as it has worked for the last 5 years in a row. ;)

Encrypted music? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20850097)

One challenge for Linux users is finding media players that work with encrypted music

Who would want to listen encrypted music?
Oh, wait... Bruce Schneier! but he is about the only one.

Linux must tackle this first (1, Redundant)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850133)

In my opinion, Linux distros must provide a means of doing away with text configuration files, but still retain the ability to access them for those who wish. Everybody I have asked to edit some configuration file has loathed the idea. They are just used to pointing and clicking. They look terrified when presented with a configuration file. Some kept asking me where they should save it!


The other thin Linux distros must do is to make the default install beautiful. I knoe beauty lies in the hands of the beholder but an ugly app does not help matters in this way at all.The upcoming KDE release looks promising.

Here's another: In the server world, if one has to install a mail server for example, not less that 4 pieces of software have to be installed! This is insane. The installation should be handled by *one* script, that takes care of all components needed to create a fully functional mail server. If you wanted to install an ISP style mail server, an exercise in frustration awaits those who have not done it before.

In my early days, I had trouble with the Courier/POP/IMAP configuration since I did not know that one even needed it to have a working mail server. It does not have to be this way. I am an expert now by the way.


Last but not least; Marketing. Linux distros can do a better job at marketing.

Re:Linux must tackle this first (3, Funny)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850253)

Everybody I have asked to edit some configuration file has loathed the idea.

I know what you mean! My elderly parents have no problem navigating to HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run and tweaking a REG_SZ value, but ask them to open up Gedit...

(Yes, this was sarcastic.)

Re:Linux must tackle this first (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850257)

Most things a typical user would want to do can be done in a graphical way, but it's good to have the configuration stored in hand editable text files. Having a fallback is always good incase something serious goes wrong, usually when something serious goes wrong with windows people reinstall which you could do with linux too, but having the choice is much better.
Most of those users who hate having to edit a text file, would hate having to change registry keys too.

Re:Linux must tackle this first (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850347)

"The other thin Linux distros must do is to make the default install beautiful. I knoe beauty lies in the hands of the beholder but an ugly app does not help matters in this way at all.The upcoming KDE release looks promising." Fedora? Ubuntu? Mandriva? We aren't talking about the BSD installers here...and Beryl has definitely gotten a lot of people I know interested in Linux. "Last but not least; Marketing. Linux distros can do a better job at marketing." Marketing to whom? Red Hat does an excellent job of marketing, just not to consumers. How do you think Red Hat got to the top?

The 'problem' with Linux. (0, Redundant)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850135)

There's only one reason I don't install Linux on every PC I build for people.

Drivers, or the lack of.

If I could give someone a linux box and know every bit of crap hardware they buy for it would work then I'd gladly install linux on it and they'd be very happy.

Re:The 'problem' with Linux. (2, Insightful)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850327)

Ok, so you are the one building the PCs for these people and you're bothered that you can't predict the hardware they're going to be using with them?

Realistically, if they're asking you to build them, then it's highly unlikely they'll be getting third party hardware without checking with you first anyway. Third party hardware under any OS, be it Mac, Windows, or GNU/Linux, is always a problem with non technical people. Third party drivers for Windows are rarely trouble free and frequently cause more problems than they solve - a problem Microsoft has taken note of, which is why they've been moving towards making drivers themselves where possible and trying to force the use of Microsoft-approved drivers in future versions of Windows. In practice, the 90% of devices that are supported in some form under GNU/Linux will work with equal or less hassle than the 99% of devices that have some kind of Windows compatibility.

So this isn't something to worry about. You can recommend Ubuntu to them, show them the wealth of software you can pre-install for them under that OS, and tell them that if they need a camera or printer, come to you for a recommendation. You'll be able to provide them with something low cost and trouble free. No spy-ware. No bizarre "KodakPolaroidHP SuperdooperQualityPictureMakerPrinter(tm)" that can't be uninstalled without uninstalling the driver, yet adds half an hour to the boot process and takes over the entire computer when you plug the device in. Something that "just works". Which is what they want, and it's what anyone who asks their friendly geek to build them a computer wants.

Re:The 'problem' with Linux. (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850415)

There not complete idiots, they can quite easly buy a mobile phone or web cam that they want and expect it to work on Windows, how am I supposed to even check if they will work under Linux without buying one first and trying it out?

Re:The 'problem' with Linux. (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850331)

I recently purchased a laptop for my parents, and was tempted to put Ubuntu on it. However what changed my mind wasn't hardware concerns (AFAIK, Thinkpads play very nicely with Linux), but the "Where's my [insert Windows app here]??" factor.

My parents are like most computer users in that they don't really know anything about different operating systems. They simply expect the software on the CD (or that they downloaded) to install and work. If that doesn't happen, guess who gets a phone call.

Yes, I know that's not a flaw in Linux. But it took a lot of people considerable time to get comfortable with Windows, and they aren't particularly interested in starting over again.

I'm sick of... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20850185)

the same linux articles on slashdot everyday!

COULD THIS BE!? (5, Insightful)

kevmatic (1133523) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850189)

The Year of the Linux Desktop!?!?!

Probably not.

There's not going to be some sudden revolution to Linux, its going to come gradually. There won't be a Year of the Linux Desktop, I'm thinking one day we'll all look back and marvel about how mainstream Linux snuck up on us.

I doubt this article will get any more than a couple dozen people to try it. But its a start.

What amazes me is how rapidly its improving. The Kubuntu install I'm using is only a year old, but the new Gusty Beta is so much different it might as well be a different OS entirely. How much does Windows improve in a year?

Oh, that's right, they take SIX YEARS to improve, and ended up with Vista.

(K)ubuntu is out pacing Windows so bad its only a matter of time before it overtakes Windows in all fronts. I mean, the automatix problem they're talking in TFA is supposedly already fixed for Gusty, and there's a ton of other features that people will love.

And yeah, and takes days to get an XP reinstall into a usable state too, with drivers and Firefox and updates and anti virus and antispyware and office suites and media players that have to be installed.

Seems to me people who ask the question "is Linux ready for Mainstream?" compare it to a perfect Windows that I've never seen in person.

Re:COULD THIS BE!? (1)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850283)

There won't be a Year of the Linux Desktop

That's right, any more than there was a "Year of the Linux Server". Linux's presence in the server area just kept growing, until now it's just one more tool to be used when appropriate.

Re:COULD THIS BE!? (2, Informative)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850429)

While some areas are definitely overtaking Windows (Seen Compiz in Gutsy? Nice and stable!) there are others that are pretty much out of the control of developers. I'm talking about mainstream software. It simply doesn't work on Linux, even with Wine. Once there's a Photoshop for Linux, and maybe a few other choice apps, then you'll see the acceptance of Linux as a desktop for the common man.

Two things Linux needs ... (0, Redundant)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850245)

1. Support from hardware vendors. Mostly for graphics cards and WLAN. Let's see how AMD/ATIs efforts turn out.


2. Support from game companies. If I wasn't playing games, I'd have dumped Windows years ago.

Re:Two things Linux needs ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20850515)

It's happening, albeit slowly. Unreal Tournament 3 is coming with a linux client out of the box for example.

Re:Two things Linux needs ... (1)

CortoMaltese (828267) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850561)

Enter Spanish Inquisition:

3. Objective publicity, especially in comparison to Windows.

It is just amazing how much problems Windows users withstand with a shrug of the shoulders, thinking "it's just the way Windows is". It's incredibly acceptable for Windows to have problems. In contrast, any problems average people face with Linux are huge. It's perfectly okay to tell your boss that Windows ate your source code ("Well, shit happens."), but try that again with Linux ("I just knew this would happen.").

It is also common to list some Windows features lacking in Linux, while ignoring cool features never seen on Windows.

Yes, but does it run on... (2, Funny)

TechnoBunny (991156) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850285)

...oh. Never mind.

Decent linux programmable cellphone out yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20850291)

Is there a QWERTY linux cellphone out there yet with decent features and maybe a video camera?

My sony mylo runs linux but is only runs Skype and isn't open to developers.

Lg Voyager looks good but what does it run and is it open to indie developers?

And to bring things closer (4, Informative)

E-Sabbath (42104) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850301)

I've found this lovely project. It's called Wine-Doors, and it's a Package Manager for Windows programs under Linux. Like Apt-Get.
Seems to work pretty well, too.
http://www.wine-doors.org/wordpress/?page_id=5 [wine-doors.org]

NO! Not Automatix! (5, Informative)

gbutler69 (910166) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850321)

Automatix IS NOT recommended for Ubuntu! It tends to screw things up preventing correct updates to the next version.

Codecs are now installed automagically whenever you attempt to open a media file for which you do not have the correct CODEC.

Automatix IS NOT recommended.

Windows apps? Why? (1)

blackbirdwork (821859) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850361)

Why we keep saying "using Windows apps in Linux..."? We don't want to use Windows apps in Linux, we want to use Linux apps.

The year of the desktop? (0, Redundant)

00_NOP (559413) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850407)

I've been using Linux for just over six years and I am never sure if it has become easier or I've just become more profficient, though certainly hardware support is much much better.

I've also noticed that desktop users have probably doubled to about 1 - 1.5% in that time, with most of the growth in the last 18 months (Ubuntu effect I am sure). Suspect we need about 3 - 5% before we are really in the big time: that's maybe three years away yet.

Let them eat Windows (1)

TheFlu (213162) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850469)

I've been using Linux as my main desktop platform for about 10 years now. In that time, we've seen some amazing work done in regards to the usability and hardware support that Linux users enjoy today. I'd go so far as to say that Linux has completely altered my conception of how the computing world, and perhaps the world in general, should operate. That said, I'm not sure I'm ready for the masses to embrace Linux.

Sure, it would be nice from a driver standpoint, as I can foresee many more hardware manufacturers hopping on board the Linux bandwagon if the user base keeps expanding. Also, I imagine some of the bigger software players, such as Adobe, might start offering more of their wares for Linux. Adobe already has Flash support, the Flex developer platform and Adobe Reader, so it's not out of line to think that their Creative Suite might be ported one day as well, if the user base is large enough.

That said, I'm not so sure I want "the masses" to use Linux. The main reason I say this is that I fear the things I love about Linux will slowly be watered down in order to appease the non-geeks among us. Now I'm not saying that in order to enjoy computing I need to have a platform that's difficult to use, but I would be concerned that the ideals behind Linux would slowly erode once big business sees that there is money to be made on it. Additionally, I would hate to see the Linux platform start to sacrifice power for ease of use. Making once difficult tasks easy is a fantastic programming goal, but when we start sacrificing flexibility in the process, we start taking Linux out of Linux.

I try to post fairly often on Linux forums in order to help new users find solutions to their problems, so I'm certainly not opposed to more people embracing Linux and enjoying what it has to offer. I just question whether I really want Linux to become the "New Windows", as I feel we may get more than we bargained for if that comes to fruition.

keep (1)

kurtis25 (909650) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850473)

I'm in the stop changing things camp. I'm tired of having to relearn software and OSs because MS decided to fancy things up. IMHO they should dump Vista and go back and polish off XP, make it secure, safe and fast. My sis got a new computer with Vista and has called no less than twice with questions which I can't answer because I know nothing about the thing. I think Linux will eventually win because it is consistent and predictable. I know how long the release will be supported, I can test new releases, documents work across the various distros (sorry Vista and XP you hurt yourselves on that one). Ms is going to make a ton of money because companies will need to retrain employees on how to use Vista and office 2007. Drivers are the big Linux problem but I think manufacturers will eventually realize they need to be open to Linux or they will be left behind.

installation difficulty vs windows (1)

SolusSD (680489) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850503)

Honestly-- most Linux distros designed to be easy for new users (ie, ubuntu, mandriva, fedora, etc) are at least as easy, if not easier, to install than windows. You get a pretty GUI right from the get-go. Some distros can be installed in 3 or 4 clicks of the next button! Also, by the time you are at the desktop, support for most of your hardware is already in place. A vanilla copy of windows xp, for example, is an ugly sight on new notebooks. Wrong screen resolution, wrong video drivers, network, wireless, sound, etc are either the wrong driver or not installed. End users usually don't see how deficient windows can be in this area because it comes preloaded and configured on virtually any computer you buy.

Vista bomb not helping Linux (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850577)

The dismal failure of Vista hasn't pushed people to try Linux. It's only kept them on XP. Why would people switch to an entirely new platform when what they have works perfectly well?

My recent experience (1)

jayInIndiana (1166565) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850579)

I recently replaced our main family PC (a P3 running Windows 2000) with an Athlon 64 X2 running Fedora 7. The installation was amazingly smooth. My onboard LAN, video, and sound all worked "out of the box." The only additional driver installation required was for our HP printer/scanner, which was easy as "yum install hplip." I was very happy with the system, except for needing to restart my router every day or two (likely not linux's fault, but not a problem in 2000). Unfortunately, it failed the wife test. She had trouble getting used to the tabbed-browsing in Firefox and was generally unhappy with OpenOffice (in her words, "it just isn't the same"). I think given time she would have gotten used to Fedora, but it wasn't worth listening to her moaning, so I installed XP last night. What a frickin' hassle... All of the onboard components needed to be installed one-by-one (with a reboot in between) and SP2 took close to an hour to install (with another reboot required). For some reason, every time it reboots it reads/writes to the HD like mad, which I don't think was happening with F7. I hope that stops once everything is installed. I'll install Office and the printer/scanner drivers tonight and expect at least a few more reboots. I just hope the wife doesn't have a problem with Office 2007...
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>