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Linux Desktop Ready, Says Mainstream Media 387

Posted by kdawson
from the so-it-must-be-true dept.
DeathElk writes, "The Sydney Morning Herald recently featured an article espousing the virtues of desktop Linux. From the article: 'Linux is shedding its hard-core techie image in a bid to woo ordinary human beings seeking an easy-to-use operating system that can be downloaded for free.' Is this a step forward for widespread GNU/Linux desktop adoption? Too bad the article doesn't mention the large range of live CD/DVD distributions available for try-before-you-fly, or the range of Windows applications tested and working under Wine." Also, the article is slightly unclear on the concept of open source, defining it as an arrangement "where the source code can be modified upon the request of users or other developers."
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Linux Desktop Ready, Says Mainstream Media

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  • by HotBlackDessiato (842220) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:31AM (#16104868)
    Also, the article is slightly unclear on the concept of open source
    Never.

    The mainstream media is never confused with the meaning of open source.

    Lies.
  • by dosius (230542) <bridget@buric.co> on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:31AM (#16104885) Journal
    What about the geeks who use Linux because it's not mainstream? What will they use now? Dragonfly?

    -uso.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by wandm (969392)
      Psst, Plan9 is the word. Pass around.. http://cm.bell-labs.com/plan9/ [bell-labs.com]
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by legoburner (702695)
      Nah it is getting to a point where we can go into a state of Xen [wikipedia.org]
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by atokata (872432)
      Linux. ;-)

      The bit the FA doesn't quite get right is that even if Ubuntu is fantastic and easy and all those other good things for 'ole Joe Sixpack, the typical non-geek computer user is *never* going to independently install Linux him/herself. I'm a freelancer, and I've got clients who work in corporate environments who call me in a panic if they accidentally open a cmd.exe on Windows. That is, they interpret the mere presence of a command prompt, in a window, as a critical failure of their computer.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by edmicman (830206)

        Now, we geeks might finally be able to begin offering Linux as an option for our friends, family, and customers, and not be met with "Huh?," but it'll still be a long time yet before Joe the drywaller, or Jim the doctor, or even Marge, the accountant, actually seeks out a Linux box for an objective, independent reason.

        Maybe, but if Dell or HP or Best Buy offer a PC system that will browse the intarweb and do email and IM and print school reports, for a *real* discount ($200+ less than a Windows system?),

    • by soloport (312487)
      Um, GNU/Hurd?
  • Of Course! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by susano_otter (123650) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:32AM (#16104887) Homepage
    If the Mainstream Media says Linux is desktop ready, then desktop ready it must be!

    After all, the Mainstream Media is well known for its expertise in IT and its reliability as a source of proven facts and sober analysis!

    Hrm.

    Actually, now that I think about it, I do believe this is proof positive that Linux is absolutely not desktop ready.
    • by ericdano (113424) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:46AM (#16105080) Homepage
      Until Dvorak or Enderle say so, it is NOT so.
    • Re:Of Course! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MyDixieWrecked (548719) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @11:11AM (#16105371) Homepage Journal
      linux is NOT ready for the desktop.

      I thought it might be, but it really isn't. I recently installed ubuntu and kubuntu, and although they are leaps and bounds better than anything else I've used and it's getting really close to being ready, it really isn't.

      some problems I encountered (which should be relatively easy to fix) are:

      • you insert a device (ipod), but it doesn't mount. you have to explicitly mount it
      • no mp3 playback out of the box (probably strictly an [k]ubuntu issue)
      • sluggish filesystem browsing (it takes a while to launch konqueror to start viewing the filesystem. that should be loaded on boot so it fires instantly)
      • doesn't remember the system volume between reboots (easy enough to fix, coding wise)
      • package manager really needs a more advanced user to utilize properly. it should have a function to view popular packages and more robust categorizing of packages (you really need to know exactly what you're looking for in order to install it)
      • slow boot time, then really slow login time (relative to OSX, at least; I'm really not familiar with windows boot time)
      • most apps still feel cluttered. the GUI toolkits don't really help with designing clean looking interfaces. maybe web-based apps really are the answer! (not)
      • overly complex system settings. most things should be hidden in an "advanced" tab since no one is going to fiddle with many of those settings
      • still very poor laptop support; although it supports many things on my powerbook, it gets weird when I close the lid, then open it. plus it takes forever to go to sleep when I close it.
      • when you boot the live-CD, it really should pop up with a window saying "do you want to install [this]?" and the installer should let you just agree to erase the drive and get going... (for non-tech savvy users)


      I'm a huge proponent of linux, but it's really a lot more painful to use on the desktop than windows or osx. although it's got some nice features, it's playing follow-the-leader to the big 2, for the most part, and hasn't fully implemented features that users expect. it'll be nice when they finally get that far.

      don't get me wrong, linux is fine for the desktop for the techy crowd. but not for the mainstream. Gramma could use it if all she's gonna do is type letters, surf the web, shop on amazon, and send/receive email. but when 13 year old jessica wants to play her music and do crap with myspace, she's SOL.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by drinkypoo (153816)

        Insert a device: Haven't tried an iPod, but the USB storage devices I've plugged in have shown up on my desktop.
        mp3: this is a real problem. I used one of those neat programs that automatically stuffs ubuntu with the stuff you want, but nothing like that comes with ubuntu, so you have a good point.
        sluggish filesystem browsing? I used ubuntu, not kubuntu, but on ubuntu nautilus comes up plenty rapidly. Maybe you should call that ksluggish kfilesystem kbrowsing? :)
        doesn't remember system volume, what are

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          you make some good points, too... another problem is the enormous variation in hardware, distributions and versions of said distributions that lead to different experiences.

          as for our differences...

          sluggish filesystem browsing? I used ubuntu, not kubuntu.....

          what kind of machine are you running? now, I can't vouch for gnome's nautilus, but konqueror is slow on up to 1ghz machines. I'll play with gnome again this week and maybe I'll change my mind.

          although that does bring up another potential thing to trip u
          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            what kind of machine are you running? now, I can't vouch for gnome's nautilus, but konqueror is slow on up to 1ghz machines. I'll play with gnome again this week and maybe I'll change my mind.

            Thinkpad A21p, Mobile P3-850MHz, 384MB RAM. I also run ubuntu in a virtual machine on my dramatically faster Compaq nw9440 (Core Duo T2600, 2GB RAM) but I'm talking about the thinkpad here.

            about the overly complex system settings- I'm mostly talking about KDE's system settings

            That's a KDE thing. The settings

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Pike (52876)

          Look, it's simple to get an ipod to mount automatically, it was VERY CLEARLY EXPLAINED in this post [theaimsgroup.com] to the kernel mailing list last may. you just have to apply the patch like this and recompile:

          undiff ide-2.6.git/drivers/ide/ide-disk.c \
          /usr/src/root/local/home/innersanctum/kernel/versi on/2.6.44.a/kernel.bas | more
          make -t -o -f -s- -ss -F -sss -z -9 kernel.exe

          note that the procedure is different if you are running Ubuntu "Dumpy Doper" releas on an Apple PPC with an nVidia card, as CLEARLY EXPLAIN

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Blakey Rat (99501)
          apps feel cluttered: most windows apps feel cluttered, too.

          Just pointing out the mindset that will guarantee that Linux will never be better than Windows. It doesn't matter that Windows programs have the same problem if it is a valid problem.

          You don't see Mac users constantly comparing their software to Windows... that's because Mac users have a sense of identity more complex than "we're not Windows." Linux needs to develop this, or it will never be better than Windows. (Because, whenever somebody sugges
      • At most you're saying that Ubuntu isn't ready for the desktop. Different distros have different package managers, different speeds, different laptop support, etc. Also, some of your complaints are a little surprising, for example I've never had to explicitly mount anything and I've been using Ubuntu for over a year. Maybe you have a hardware conflict?

        Gramma could use it if all she's gonna do is type letters, surf the web, shop on amazon, and send/receive email. but when 13 year old jessica wants to pla

      • by billstewart (78916) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @11:37AM (#16105646) Journal
        Any current Linux implementation that doesn't have MP3 out of the box is doing it because of license restrictions on the codec - you either have to pay money for the license and end up with a non-free-beer non-free-speech system, or else you need to let users install their own MP3 player and deal with (or ignore) the license themselves. Windows and MacOS don't have that problem.

        Also, a nitpick - GNU/Linux isn't ready for the naive user, but X/Mozilla/OpenOffice/Linux might be. Compilers and command-line tools with extra-long option names and EMACS are all fine things, but they're for somebody who's willing to RTFM, not for the couch-potato consumer.

        • GNU/Linux isn't ready for the naive user, but X/Mozilla/OpenOffice/Linux might be

          I dunno about X... it still feels like it's designed for uber-advanced users. programmers, even.
  • by Petersko (564140) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:33AM (#16104906)
    "Linux Desktop Ready, Says Mainstream Media"

    "World is Ending! says People in General." A lone man on a streetcorner was quoted....
  • by jimstapleton (999106) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:34AM (#16104920) Journal
    If the user isn't the administrator, then I could, but for the average every-day user?

    I'm more tech savvy than most and I still find Linux to be a pain in the ass when installing applications and setting up stuff. The problem is while most distros share a general code base, a lot is slightly different enough to make compiling/installing apps a royalpain, and the documentation is often less than stellar.

    Having recently put a lot of effort in getting Gentoo, Ubuntu, KUbuntu, and before that spending several years with Red Had machines, I cannot see giving normal users Linux machines.
    • You can use terminal services for any of those difficult to replace applications, open office has been good enough for 90%+ of users, the web, mail services are frankly better, more scalable and reliable, the hardest bit historically has been calendaring/scheduling, easily solved with a decent web groupware system.

       
    • by Lumpy (12016)
      no you are wrong. recent ubuntu is perfect for the general user. super easy.

      only problem..... it will not play mp3's, video, flash, most java sites, etc...

      so it takes 3-5 hours of a seasoned pro to fix all that crap that should be in there already but the asshats in the US government are more intersted in making "illegal" in some stupid way.

      if someone would make a ubuntu package and drop it in the repository that is called "fix ubuntu multimedia" that had everything in it and all the tweaks it would absol
    • I have installed Ubuntu onto about 6 PC's now. Each time I hand it over to the person & never get another call back. My worst case was with a Compaq desktop (PII 500 IIRC), I couldn't get the integrated soundcard to work. When I looked it up, seems it's a proprietary chip & not even WinME supported it. Oh well, in went the $5 Soundblaster & off went the PC. For people who only want to do simple Web browsing, E-mail, and word processing, Ubuntu should be the prefered OS, much lighter than Windows
    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
      ``If the user isn't the administrator, then I could, but for the average every-day user?''

      Would you rather give the average every day user the responsibility of keeping various programs patched using their respective update mechanisms, keeping virus and spyware definitions up to date, and running regular checks? That's what it's like on Windows these days: you need to put in a lot of time and be reasonably tech-savvy.

      ``I'm more tech savvy than most and I still find Linux to be a pain in the ass when install
  • Mainstream? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by supabeast! (84658) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:35AM (#16104926)
    How exactly does one Australian newspaper with a circulation of 365,000 (Wikipedia) count as the mainstream media?
    • by suv4x4 (956391) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:50AM (#16105130)
      How exactly does one Australian newspaper with a circulation of 365,000 (Wikipedia) count as the mainstream media?

      Slashdot has spoken.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      How exactly does one Australian newspaper with a circulation of 365,000 (Wikipedia) count as the mainstream media?

      Because the newspaper office lies on the banks of the main stream flowing through town.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Any Web Loco (555458)
      It's mainstream in Australia. The SMH is one of two "broadsheets" in Australia and is read widely, despite hailing from Sydney. It's about as mainstream as you can get.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      How exactly does one Australian newspaper with a circulation of 365,000 (Wikipedia) count as the mainstream media?

      Depending on how you measure, the Sydney Morning Herald is actually more widely circulated than USA Today.

      How?

      Well, if we consider that USA Today is a USA newspaper and SMH is an Australian newspaper, then we can say that the wideness of the circulation can determined as a ratio to the population of its respective markets. USA has a population of 299,360,879 (2006 est.) according to Wikipedia, a
    • Re:Mainstream? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Tim C (15259) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @11:40AM (#16105690)
      I suspect it's "mainstream" as in "aimed at normal people rather than techies".
  • ofcourse (Score:2, Interesting)

    by slack_prad (942084)
    it's ready alright, but for whom?
  • I agree (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TrippTDF (513419) <hiland@gmaiAUDENl.com minus poet> on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:35AM (#16104934)
    I used to play with Red Hat in 2003, and I found it just a little too hard for everyday use to keep using, so I went back to Windows/OSX

    A few weeks ago, I started playing with Ubuntu, and I gotta say, there is no reason why it can't replace windows on the desktop. If Dell will start installing it on systems (thus knocking $100 buck off the price of a machine), then it can make some serious in-roads, and knock Windows back.

    I don't know if it's ready for a corporate enviroment, though. Although I don't like MS, their combo of Exchange, AD, and DC is pretty powerful.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by saider (177166)
      A few weeks ago, I started playing with Ubuntu, and I gotta say, there is no reason why it can't replace windows on the desktop. If Dell will start installing it on systems (thus knocking $100 buck off the price of a machine), then it can make some serious in-roads, and knock Windows back.

      Dell (or any other PC vendor) has no interest in "knocking Windows back" and they probably only pay in the $20-$30 range for Windows with their volumes.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by 9mind (702505)
      I'm a stout linux advocate. The only Windows machine in my house, is my elderly mothers, and my work laptop. However, linux IS NOT ready for the desktop. The simple things like browsing the web without the ability to read all media (e.g flash 8+), play most video formats with a single simple player that treats files of the same extension all alike (.mkv and .avi will not play the same in all players), and the ability to play DVDs, etc, download updated drivers from the web without underneath working know
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by jZnat (793348) *
        Flash doesn't come installed with Windows. MP3 and DVD support doesn't come with Windows. If you install another media player, different audio and video formats open in different programs.

        All your complaints hold true to Windows. I'd argue that Windows isn't ready for the desktop...
        • by HansF (700676)
          I agree with you, but have to point out that the default windows mediaplayer has mp3 support.
          But your right about issues like DVD playback. Also, you don't have xvid or mkv playback. So the average Joe still needs a savvy user to explain this codec stuff, or point him to videolan.
    • by Bertie (87778)
      You don't honestly think Dell pay $100 a copy for each Windows installation they supply, do you?

      If it came to it, Microsoft would give them Windows for free rather than have Linux being offered as the default OS by the world's biggest computer manufacturer.

      (When I say default, I mean that when you spec up your PC, Windows would be an extra-cost option, and Linux would be free)
    • by westlake (615356)
      If Dell will start installing it on systems (thus knocking $100 buck off the price of a machine), then it can make some serious in-roads, and knock Windows back.

      Remember Walmart's big push to mainstream OEM Linux?

      The revolving-door of Linux systems and distros that passed through walmart.com?

      Dead and buried.

      There are enormous economies of scale when you build for the Windows market. Dell's Back-To-School special was a $279 Celeron system. 17" CRT. Word Perfect. One-Year Warranty. Home Delivery.

      Linux do

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      If Dell will start installing it on systems (thus knocking $100 buck off the price of a machine), then it can make some serious in-roads, and knock Windows back.

      First, Dell probably pays in the range of $70 for each copy of Windows pre-installed. They make a significant portion of that back by being paid to include random software that is arguably spyware or adware, or is a limited version of some software. Most of that software runs only on Windows, so they'd take a hit unless they could get those softw

  • ...just not laptop ready.

    The lengths I had to go to get my laptop working with Ubuntu were staggering.

    Personally I don't think it's ready for mainstream as there are still loads of things that should be automatically installed by default (OpenOffice, FireFox, Email client).

    Oh, I might as well plug my FAQ for installing Ubuntu on a Toshiba M70 [ubuntuforums.org]. It might work elsewhere too...
    • by bobintetley (643462) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:50AM (#16105127)

      ...should be automatically installed by default (OpenOffice, FireFox, Email client).

      But didn't you just say you used Ubuntu? Last I checked OpenOffice, FireFox and Evolution were installed by default....

      • by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @12:02PM (#16105917) Homepage
        >But didn't you just say you used Ubuntu?

        Fake mustache falls off...

        Oh my God, it's Ballmer! Get him!!!!
      • Toy-ready (Score:3, Insightful)

        by phorm (591458)
        I'd say that the problem with linux is not that it's not "laptop-ready", but that it's not "toy-ready."

        It's the annoying little things, like the built-in cardreaders (the usb ones for desktops work fine, but I've rarely seen a laptop one work), some wireless chipsets (getting better... but despite having supposed kernel support I still haven't gotten my broadcomm chipset to work without ndiswrapper), hotkeys, and various other little things that don't quite work in linux.

        On the other hand, there are lot
    • by Lumpy (12016)
      windows is not laptop ready. I have had to do major hurdles to get things working right on my laptop as well.

      IT's the fact that laptops are perfect examples of "cobbled together crap" there is on the planet. at least on a desktop PC you have decent chipsets and choices for video and sound. on a laptop you get the absolutely lowest quality crap the manufacturer specified. I have fought with laptop sound trying to find the right XP drivers many times and dont get me started on the other prephrials that ar
    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
      I'd turn it around and say a lot of hardware isn't Linux ready.

      Consider: Linux has been regarded as technically superior to Windows for ages, it's being used and pushed by many of the largest corporations in the world, and it's surpassed the competition in usability (really, it has). It's being used extensively on servers, and it's share of the desktop and laptop market is growing. It's getting attention not only in the technical world, but also in the (non-technical) press. Most people who know anything ab
  • FTA, Ubuntu's marketing slogan - "Linux for human beings"

    I feel like pluto, according to Ubuntu, I'm no longer human...
  • My Take- (Score:3, Insightful)

    by IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:41AM (#16105005) Homepage Journal
    I've been playing with Linux since I discovered Suse 6.1. I love the concept, but the execution has been flawed. People have enough trouble with maintaining Windows PCs, much less having to delve into command line shells to get things done.

    I've tried virtually every distro out there (and some that don't exist any more) and what I've found is the only one that matches the ease of use of Windows and BeOS is.....

    Linspire (also working as freespire)

    Funny, from the man everyone loves to hate (and I admit, his bragging has been pretty outlandish) comes the only linux distro to get it right.

    I used BeOS as my prime OS for several years, so I'm no stranger to command lines, bash shells and working with obscure items, but Linux, as a concept, has a long way to go.
    • by ericdano (113424)
      Windows Maintenance is a pain. It's not easy at all. Easiest OS to maintain is OS X or FreeBSD. FreeBSD is simple is so many was. Ports, rebuilding the whole system. Easy.
      • by joe 155 (937621)
        Partly I agree with you about how difficult it is to maintain a windows PC, you have to keep making sure your anti-virus is up to date, run it every week at least, possibly more, each time it takes an hour or so, keep running anti-spyware etc... I also have some sympathy with the GP though, because people don't see things like that as "difficult" but when I asked them just to type;

        su -

        yum update
        y

        They look at you like your no better than Howard Scott Warshaw. tut.
  • what changed? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by brunascle (994197) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:42AM (#16105020)
    the article makes it sound like something changed recently, when i dont think it did.
    "Until recently Linux desktop applications were not ready for consumption by the general public because"... However projects such as GNOME have introduced new guidelines to ensure consistency across common desktop operations, he said.

    when exactly was this quote taken? what is he talking about, am i missing something?

    granted, i havent used Ubutuntu, but i used Red Hat, SuSE, and Fedora as a desktop for a few years, and all were very easy to install and use.

    IMHO, linux has been ready for the desktop for years, but the world just isnt ready for linux.

  • I do believe Linux is good enough for mainstream consumption, although I'm not sure if that's enough to make people switch. I mean, why bother. Windows is already on the machine when I buy it, and it too is good enough. For most people. The best distro I've seen lately is MandrivaOne 2007 and that costs 120/year to use, if you want to support it. How many years util it becomes more expensive than the windows I've already bought with the machine?

    Oh, and I do believe that the story is a dupe. I'm quite sure I
  • by Foofoobar (318279) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:45AM (#16105069)
    I got sick of answering my moms problems with viruses and spyware on her windows machine that I finally switched her to Ubuntu. It detected her scanner, her digital cammera and everything right off the bat. She's 65 and she says she hasn't had a single problem with her computer and that it works great!! She h0onestly says it's the best system she has ever had and ever more impressive, I didn't have time to train her on anything and she has pisked it all up wonderfully on her own. She understands Open Office and doesn't notice the difference between that and wrod.

    Honestly, for everyone but gamers, Linux meets their needs. For graphics developers, Macs meet their needs ;)
  • Too Bad? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by xtracto (837672) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:48AM (#16105097) Journal
    Too bad the article doesn't mention the large range of live CD/DVD distributions available for try-before-you-fly, or the range of Windows applications tested and working under Wine."

    I would say, TOO GOOD that they didn't do it. I am sure that any user having the slightest curiosity of ditching windows will be overwhelmed after looking at more than 500 (or lets say 40 "main") linux distributions.

    Or sure tell them how "tested and working" are those Windows applications under "Wine", so that when after they install their preffered linux distro and say, "okay now how do I install my 'tested and working' Winamp on Linux" their head will explode searching at zillions of forums/faqs/howtos/irc/etc.

    The *only * way a WinApp-in-Wine would work is as google did it with picasa (i.e. the company will have to make something) or that a Linux company like Linsipre added such applications to their Click'n'Run service (of course they would have to buy licenses to each of the software they will sell). I like this idea a lot.
    • by Lumpy (12016)
      you never used crossover office have you.

      My wife installs windows apps all the time on her ubuntu box. Braindead easy and also give her more options. well behaved Windows apps work fine under crossover.
  • by Spackler (223562) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:56AM (#16105199) Journal
    1. The check is in the mail
    2. I'm from the government, and I'm here to help you.
    3. I won't cum in your mouth.
    4. Linux is ready for the desktop.

  • by jpellino (202698) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:59AM (#16105233)
    The Aussie paper saw that "Bruce" was a staunch proponent of OSS, and figured if it's good enough for Bruce, it's good enough for everyone!
  • That I can also easily install? Knoppix works while the cd is in and the people at the friendly forum [knoppix.net] told me I shouldn't try to install it. The Ubuntu Dapper Drake cd won't boot up so that's out. I have an old dell I'm trying to use only for browsing the web so it doesn't need much, just a browser, preferably firefox, and the wireless stuff to work (which knoppix does till I installed it on the hard drive).
  • by Klaidas (981300)
    Linux Desktop Ready, Says [...]
    If I could only get 25 cents every time I hear this...
  • However not all popular applications are available out of the box, especially when it comes to graphics and gaming. Although users can choose from an enormous range of applications for the OS, such as image-editing program The GIMP, or Cedega for running PC games on top of Linux, these must be sourced and downloaded individually.

    Last time I checked (which was Edgy Knot 2), The GIMP was still installed by default in Ubuntu.
  • by bhunachchicken (834243) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @11:09AM (#16105343) Homepage

    No DRM
    No Viruses
    No Spyware
    No Malware
    It's cheaper
    It's Free

    I've been using Linux now for over 5 years and I honestly don't think I could go back to using Windows at home. The need for virus checkers, etc. just leaves me feeling paranoid. So what that I can't play many games on it, I have a PS2 for that...

    • That is a shame, but now that you point it out, I think it's encouraging that there's an article that advocates Linux not because of its lack of crap that you get with Windows, but because of the good stuff you get with Linux. It's like saying even if Windows didn't have these faults Linux would still be worth using.
  • I won't believe it until Dan Rather reports it at his new job. I heard Mary Mapes is also working there now so we can be absolutely 100% sure the story is factual.
  • by massysett (910130) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @11:22AM (#16105492) Homepage
    I am so tired of two sets of articles: those discussing whether Linux is "ready" for the desktop, and those that say that "NOW is the time when there will be massive adoption of Linux on the desktop."

    On the first set of articles: Linux is already "ready" for the desktop. I use it on my desktop already, and it does everything I need it to do. It is for me a superior choice.

    On the second set of articles, what they usually mean is that upon some event, there will be massive adoption of Linux on the desktop in rich, developed countries. "some event" varies and is typically purported to be 1) the coming of a new Windows version, such as Vista, which will be expensive and have high hardware requirements; 2) some big vendor preinstalling Linux, or 3) some big Windows security flaw, or 4) some other pain in the ass thing that MS is newly implementing, such as more DRM or copy restriction.

    Well I've got news: it's highly unlikely we will ever see "widespread adoption" of Linux on desktops in rich developed countries. People in these countries can afford Windows, and switching is a big pain. Windows is crappy, but not crappy enough to switch away. It would be amazing if we even saw adoption rates that paralleled the adoption rates of Firefox in parts of Europe, but I think even that is unlikely. Note that I'm not saying anything about developing countries, where the dynamics--economic and political--may be quite different.

    I'm tired of these articles because I don't understand why they're relevant. It's much more likely that we would see massive adoption of the Mac than of Linux. But we don't see articles crowing about that. Macheads are secure in their superiority complex; they don't see a need to sit around and predict when Mac world domination will happen. They don't worry that the Mac is irrelevant, no matter how small its market share is. Macheads are happy because their machines do what they want them to do. As a Linux user, I feel the same way. My machine does what I want it to do. My platform is not irrelevant--huge companies like Adobe, IBM, and Intel realize its importance even on the desktop. I do not care that roughly ninety percent of people use Windows, and I do not care about world domination.

    Unfortunately it's often pro-Linux people (rather than just random press idiots) who promote this world domination crap. We need to realize that we've got a great platform, it works for us, and it's continuing to improve and work for even more people. The world domination and "ready for desktop" talk is tiresome and it just makes us look stupid.
    • by ronanbear (924575)
      You probably don't get your tech information from mainstream media either. The SMH is a good paper but it's not a tech specialist. Many people have been put off using Linux because papers like the SMH wrote that it wasn't ready for the desktop and that it was only for geeks.

      That they aren't writing that anymore signifys a shift in the mainstream medias perception of Linux. Their understanding is still poor but that will come.

      Think of this as free advertising for Linux to a market who it is interested in

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by diamondsw (685967)
      "Unfortunately it's often pro-Linux people (rather than just random press idiots) who promote this world domination crap. We need to realize that we've got a great platform, it works for us, and it's continuing to improve and work for even more people. The world domination and "ready for desktop" talk is tiresome and it just makes us look stupid."

      Unfortunately, that's where you run into the great schism in Linux - those who use and promote it as a political agenda (GNU), and those who use it as good technol
  • I'm Glad.. (Score:4, Funny)

    by Si (9816) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @11:28AM (#16105542) Homepage
    I've only been using it on the desktop for 6 years, and now it's finally ready!
  • Hasn't Linux been touted as desktop ready annually since about 1999?

    Each year, I will admit, it gets closer and closer due to the hard work and efforts of the Gnome and KDE teams, but it still has a way to go.

  • by timothy (36799) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @11:53AM (#16105821) Homepage Journal
    (at least in the sense some people would like them to be).

    It's just that some OSes have landed there anyhow, because the telepathic, user-conforming, natural-language, all-seeing, all-knowing, vibrating-massage OS is not here yet.

    OSes churn, because conventional wisdom shifts re: the "best" way to do certain tasks, because meme spreading makes some approaches to controlling bits on a screen seem more intuitive than others (people who first saw the GUI-based Apples in the early 80s can relate), because the advance of hardware makes it imperative to accomodate new devices or relative strengths of the various pieces that make up a personal computer, etc. OSes would probably look different if RAM cost one tenth (or ten times!) what it does now, or if optical drives were 10 times faster. A Live CD (or booting from flash) could be the "normal" / "obvious" way for computers to hold their OS.

    There are flaws in Windows (crashes, user-interface failures and inconsistencies), and I don't much like the aesthetics of most Windows systems I've seen. I'm not expert enough (nor interested in spending the time to become expert enough) to get rid of some of the annoyances that even facially non-malicious Windows software likes to impose.

    For instance: At the moment, I have an old laptop running Windows XP; I installed a newish, tiny Konika-Minolta laser printer's driver on it, but rather than simply now being able to print, I get two large pop-up messages about the printer's status every time I boot that laptop. I've gone through every menu option I can find to try to disable this annoyance (yeah, I know whether the printer's connected right now or 1000 miles away; thanks), no luck so far. Similarly, I know that my father's Windows machine starts up quite a few programs that he's not specifically asked for every time he boots it up; much Windows software is this way -- arrogant, presumptuous, intrusive -- and people just seem to put up with it, for the most part. By the way, your Virus Protection from McAfee is out of date, can we sell you more?

    Linux-based systems aren't perfect, but ... for me (a computer dilletante, to put it mildly) there's no question that Linux is nicer to deal with. Much less frequently, but I've certainly over the years seen a number of "crashes" (sometimes less spectacular than on Windows, but if the system becomes unrecoverably unresponsive, well, that's a crash) on Linux systems, too, and depending on your chosen distro, there's usually a great many more interface inconsistencies to choose from than with Windows :) But those are drowned out by the obvious benefits:

    1) competition -- some people like to complain about the proliferation of distros, but ... why on earth? It's great, and helpful, and instructive, that there are so many different ways people have chosen to combine the Linux kernel with all the other bits that can make a day-to-day computing environment. This is true not just in that there are different complete distributions (hundreds of 'em, maybe thousands by now), but in the case of individual software projects that run on free operating systems, too. KDE v. Gnome? Even if that *were* the only "competition," it would be a good thing; improvements are constantly introduced in each of those environments because of ideas introduced in the other. But the borrowing and idea-generation goes on also with other desktops, because someone has the terrible idea that their priorities are worth spending chunks of their life energy to achieve, and others end up agreeing in whole or in part.

    2) Tons of great free software. Debian users have had the longest sustained crowing in software history, perhaps, because of the thought that went into Debian package management. Nowadays, there's a surplus of good package managers and control systems, though, and the users of just about any Linux system can grab new free software (with a net connection) with greater ease than the conventional Windows approach of driver

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