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Journal tepples's Journal: Five Blockers to Linux 21

Conventional wisdom holds that at least the following five problems block the adoption of Free operating environments such as GNU/Linux on home computers. What steps have GNU/Linux advocates begun to take in order to fix these?

  1. The only consistency among graphical applications for GNU/Linux is that they consistently ignore the GUIdelines of their desktop environment.
  2. Best Buy carries no peripherals with a penguin on the front of the box. A penguin would indicate that the IHV has chosen to include working Linux drivers on the disc bundled with the hardware. "Print out your distribution's hardware compatibility list and carry it into the store" does not easily apply to gifts from relatives.
  3. Best Buy carries virtually no recent release proprietary 3D games designed for GNU/Linux, other than those few M-rated first-person shooters that include a Linux client binary on the CD alongside the Windows binary. Parents may find M-rated games unacceptable, or players may prefer MMORPGs or tactical simulations.
  4. Best Buy carries no recent release proprietary educational games designed for GNU/Linux. People buy computers to run Reader Rabbit.
  5. GNU/Linux lacks a DVD Video player application licensed by DVD Forum and DVD CCA.
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Five Blockers to Linux

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  • In my experience people couldn't care less about DVD-CCA and DVD Forum, all they care is that their products work. So, an officially licensed player isn't a show-stopper, because the other players work.
    • So, an officially licensed player isn't a show-stopper, because the other players work.

      But no commercial GNU/Linux distributor is going to distribute possibly patent-infringing MPEG-2 and Dolby Digital decoders, and no commercial American GNU/Linux distributor will risk its ass by distributing software comparable to DeCSS. Now you're getting into installing apps from outside the distribution, which runs directly into the "consistency" argument. So perhaps number 5 is redundant, restating number 1.

      • The libraries are consistant, only the Interfaces aren't. It doesn't matter how the backend looks, and again--the other players work. I haven't had any trouble with non-Unixy persons installing software to their distributions. In fact, in my experience, the people who have problems are the l33t hax0rs that think they know everything.

        I'm not sure I agree that UI inconsistancy is keeping Linux (or BSD) off the desktop, because Windows and MacOS programs aren't all consistant, hell even Official Programs aren
    • whether you're running Lindows or not. Check their click-and-run warehouse. It's just Xine with the license to use de-css legally. At least that's what the tech support guys told me when I emailed them.

      That said, most users aren't savy enough to hunt down the software for dvd play back on the net. Even if they are, xine's deinterlacers suck (except in the 1.0 pre releases, but I'm sorry to say those are buggy as heck and hard to use) and mplayer is a command line app with a man page. Linux needs a good,
      • How about ogle? It has a nice gui, can be used from the command prompt, and supports menus properly. I'm not sure if it does de-interlacing, because I don't watch DVDs enough to care about stuff like that.
        • Unfortunately Ogle doesn't do deinterlacing, and it doesn't look like it will any time soon. Trust me though, the first time you watch an interlaced video without on a progressive display (i.e. monitor) without deinterlacing, you'll care. It sucks a lot. The Ogle site's got a pretty good discription of the problem. Interlacing's kind of a sore spot for me because I watch a lot of anime transfered from tv.
  • Is right on the money. It is a home run, but few geeks listen. They are geeks by the time they know how to fix it, and the haphazard GUI seems to bother them less. I think that beyond that, GUI design should be focused on Mac OS and not Windows, since Apple has put so much more money into end-user research, and the result is so much more consistent.
  • One thing standing in the way of vendor-distributed drivers is that the kernel doesn't make things easy for binary-only drivers.

    A one-click tool to recompile the kernel with new drivers would help.
  • About %80 of the modems sold in commodity hardware are winmodems......
    I mean yes you can make a fair number work under linux but this is not a job for the novice
  • by aonaran ( 15651 )
    Add to that, that the few periperals that do carry a penguiun on the box (the Lexmark Z55 springs to mind) have such lousy drivers that you'd have a better chance getting a random non-penguin bearing device to work.

  • Perhaps you are too young to have fiddled with DOS, but the command line drove many people away from computers back then.

    There's a reason Windows 3.1 made such a headway, it allowed the average person to use a *standard* GUI to accomplish many tasks.

    Linux cannot do this. Sure, many (and I do mean many) GUIs exist, but many imporant tasks *must* be done from the command line.

    There's the #1 barrier to home adoption of Linux. Arcane, obscure CLI-driven software.

    Fix *that*, and then you start worrying about
    • Would you please list the tasks that Windows 3.1's GUI allowed but GNU/Linux's GUIs do not?

      • Given the time frame (1993) I'm certain a great many things (like driver install for one)

        Now if you want to compare linux now with windows then, it's hardly fair, but even windows 3.1 has an edge in *standard user interface* and *keyboard commands* (things like alt-c and alt-v will copy and paste no matter what program you are in. Things like that linux *still* cannot do (many linux software bits don't obey such rules)
        • Given the time frame (1993) I'm certain a great many things (like driver install for one)

          1993? Give Linux a break; MS-DOS had a 10-year head start. And how did one install CD-ROM drivers back then? Wasn't it with MSCDEX options in the config.sys and autoexec.bat? Or did some versions of Windows 3.1 (other than the one that came on my machine) come with a GUI for setting those options?

          Now if you want to compare linux now with windows then, it's hardly fair

          You're the one who suggested comparing it t

          • You're missing the term "now" to "then".

            Forget about BestBuy, CircuitCity, CompUSA, etc. That's small issues. Fix the big, huge, show stoppers and THEN get back to me.

            (also, for what it's worth, I had a GUI installer for my CD-ROM drivers (Nakamichi quad disk changer), just as I had for my video card (Orchid Farenheit), my modem (US Robotics).

            Even those items that had to be installed under DOS (a CLI) had a nice file called "install.exe" or "setup.exe".

            One went from the C:\ and typed "install.exe" (or "

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