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Comment Re:Are open-source desktops losing? (Score 1) 663

People need Word in the same way other people need Emacs or Vim. It is their preferred tool for the job.

Then it's not a matter of "need" at all. If one is willing to give up all of the advantages Linux has over Windows so they can run a particular word processor (which IMO isn't very smart; a word processor is a word processor and there's not much difference between any of them), more power to them.

Well, we could argue that no one actually /needs/ a computer in the first place ;-)

The point I was trying to make is that even for applications with perfect compatibility (text files & Emacs/Vim) a user's preferences can be strong, and switching from one to another a rather time consuming thing. Migrating to another Office application (Word/Excel --> whichever is the OpenOffice clone) is just a lot more expensive because you don't have (whether we like it or not) perfect file conversion.

Honestly, a lot of people need Word, because in real life, you don't have any time during your work day to be figuring out conversion problems between Word and OpenOffice.

[...]

For the perspective of an end user that prefers applications X, Y and Z only present in Windows, what kind of advantage does Linux actually offers? It used to offer more stability and security, but honestly I don't see Windows 7 being sensibly behind at these.

Comment Re:Partially a lack of interest by users (Score 1) 663

> What would possibly make me consider OSX? I assume I am well outside of their target market, but I am willing to consider your answer.

Loads and loads and loads of high quality, polished, high-level applications?

(taking from another post of mine in this thread http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2940345&cid=40457705)
Seriously, can you:
- edit PDFs in Linux without shelling US$300 for Acrobat? (no, Okular does not edit your PDFs http://armbrust.blogspot.fr/2010/02/do-not-use-okular-to-fill-out-pdf-forms.html)
- do basic video editing with a polished application?
- high quality photo manipulation (at the level of Adobe Lightroom)?
- simple/good program to create a good looking family photo album to send to print?
- I have a `nice` photo camera AND a `nice` video camera (bought both when I had a kid). Can the firmware of those be updated with Linux? No.
- have your computer actually turn off the fan when not under load? Or after 2 hours of not being under load? (I only have a Lenovo Thinkpad certified for RHEL (i.e. Red Hat Enterprise Linux) running RHEL, the fscking fan *never* turns off.
- heck, does *your* laptop suspends reliably? I have a Dell for personal use, and suspend seems to only work on every 3rd Ubuntu release, if you get what I mean (at least the Dell can turn off its fan ;-)).
- Oh, another one, I am going to buy that Retina MacbookPro that has an HDMI out. I do expect that Audio-out is going to work on HDMI. Never got that to work on Linux.

Notice that I really do not care for Gnome/KDE/etc. I just use Chrome/Firefox and a terminal (and loads of `software development` tools which would be the same on Linux/OSX/Windows). Breakage doesn't really affect me because I am smart enough not to upgrade too soon.

Comment Re:Losing mindshare. Big time. (Score 1) 663

- Decent priced PDF editor for filling in PDF files? No. (sorry, I am not buying Acrobat for that).

If you're talking about filling in PDF forms, Okular (part of KDE) already does that, though it won't do the self-calculating forms (unless it's added that more recently).

Not quite. Okular is merely fooling you into thinking it can do that.

Okular will add some *Okular specific* metadata to PDFs, and will display that as annotations and text, but all of that will **not** be saved as a standard PDF info. So if you send said PDF to your lawyer per email and the lawyer opens it using, say, Adobe Acrobat they comments and filled information will NOT show up.

http://armbrust.blogspot.fr/2010/02/do-not-use-okular-to-fill-out-pdf-forms.html
http://okular.kde.org/faq.php#addedannotationsinpdf

Comment Re:Are open-source desktops losing? (Score 1) 663

> But why would one NEED Word? I have yet to see a Word document that Oo wouldn't open easily and render well, despite MS's efforts to thwart them.

People need Word in the same way other people need Emacs or Vim. It is their preferred tool for the job.

> I can't agree; is there a Windows media player that will fetch the lyrics of a playing song and display them? If so I haven't found it.

Honestly, do you really like that? That is somehow a sore point for me because I used to love Amarok, until version 1.3, after that they rewrote everything -in order to include stuff like lyrics search- at IMO detriment of being a good music player. (perhaps it got better... its been years since I last used Amarok...)

Comment Re:Partially a lack of interest by users (Score 1) 663

When the choice is between open and better, the latter will always win.

#define "better", to me, kde is far more functional than os x, I recognize others don't think the same but they likely aren't using it in a similar fashion as to what I am. Without criteria defined there is no such thing as "better".

I'd say that most users definition of better is to be able to run the applications they want. It has nothing to do with workflow or interfaces. I think what the GP poster was about was not about a desktop's workflow but the whole `does it have the applications that users need/want to use`?

Something that seems lost to all FOSS desktop developers: the actual purpose of the OS + desktop environment is to just run applications. People really don't care about interfaces, or what happens when you type alt-bla. Really. They need Photoshop, Word, Steam, iTunes and they also need the printer/scanner to work when needed.

And just like Emacs won't cut it for VI users (and vice-versa) OpenOffice/Gimp/Etc won't do it.

Comment Re:Losing mindshare. Big time. (Score 1) 663

Decent priced PDF editor for filling in PDF files?

The one I purchased for people in my workplace had Mac, linux and windows versions available at the same price.

Actually I use PDF X-Change through Wine (no affiliation, I am just a happy user). When it works, it works great. Sometimes Wine fails on me and it crashes. I would be ok, if I was filling some silly forms, but when I am filling forms to send to a lawyer, I appreciate NOT being annoyed/distracted by Wine crashes.

As for the other points, as an occasional (but cheapskate) Mac user I can't help to notice that Apple makes it very easy to find things to buy that do the job, even when I'm not actually looking but just want to use Safari. I think that's a major part of the success and popularity. On MS Windows or linux it's a fair bit of googling to find software that might do a task.

I don't think it would be hard to find these for Windows, but I reckon that a working app store with some-even-though-imperfect-malware-filtering makes buying software a lot safer and easier. Pretty much like how I never worried about buying used books from 20 random sellers through Amazon, only one reputable firm gets hold of my credit card number and there is a system in place to prevent wide-spread fraud.

Comment Re:Are open-source desktops losing? (Score 5, Insightful) 663

IMHO Most people could care less about a desktop's work flow. If it works in *some way* you learn that and get over it. The reason people have computers is to run programs in it.

For one, loads of people need MS Word. Not OpenOffice (or whatever is the new name for it). My sister (pro-photograph) needs Photoshop, not the fscking Gimp. You can argue they /truly need/ it. But one way or another, why should they run an OS that lacks they prefered applications, when they run one that has?

If Linux doesn't have the programs you need or programs which are `good enough for your needs`, and Windows7 or OSX have them. Linux has great browsers, but great applications are really far and few in between.

Comment Losing mindshare. Big time. (Score 3, Insightful) 663

Some 10 years ago, the Linux desktop was The Challenger. The first alternative to Microsoft. The cool OS to use for all the cool tech headed people. All people I knew working in academic research in 'hard science' fields used Linux.

That moment is gone.

All the younger cool tech-headed kids I know use Macs. Most people that I know that used Linux in the late 90's early 2000 years have migrated to Mac computers. Actually I can say that with one or two exceptions everyone migrated to Macs.

[...]

Personal annecdote:

Started using Linux in 1995. Worked as a Linux sysadmin when I was a student. Use Android phones and installed OpenWrt in my router (previous one ran Tomato). Own a Linux NAS (Debian based). I have a LWN.net subscription. My work computer runs RHEL. My parents computer (I bought it and maintain it), runs Ubuntu.

When my wife needed a new laptop, I bought her a MacBook Air. Not a chance I would inflict Gnome/KDE/Whatever on her.

I have a kid, little spare time and a fair amount of disposable income.

With the Linux desktop:
- Do I have a polished, easy to use, easily discoverable video editor? No.
- Polished, high quality photographic manager and processor for Linux (Like say, Adobe Lightroom)? No.
- Something easy to use for creating good looking family photo albums for printing? No.
- Decent priced PDF editor for filling in PDF files? No. (sorry, I am not buying Acrobat for that).
- Does my kick-ass Lenovo work laptop running certified RHEL has the fan on at all times? Yes.

If I went out of my way to find sort-of-good-enough alternatives for these things, could I do it? Probably.

Do I want to spend my time doing that? No.

The question on my mind right now, is which configuration of the new Retina MacBook Pro to order.

Comment Re:ethernet dongles (likely at added cost on $2k+) (Score 1) 683

> I would like to see how that sub-$500 laptop is doing after 4 years...my bet is you'd probably need to retrieve it from a landfill first.

Get real.

I have a 7 yr old *consumer* Dell laptop, it does the job for email, web browsing, and ssh.

Look, I have no trouble with people being happy buying 'brand name' whatever. Unless you get a faulty item, if you take minimum care of your Apple / Thinkpad laptop, it will probably last you many years. Just don't delude yourself thinking that the same is also not true of a, say, consumer-level Dell laptop.

Comment Re:What is the problem with a dongle? (Score 1) 683

> I don't see why people are hung up on a dongle. You have to have a cable, so what's the deal with a dongle being an issue?

Because it is "yet another item to carry along and to keep track of". Some people like to say "less is more" :-P

Oh there is already an ethernet cable. So why not 2 cables (or 3)? One cable is less complex than two.

Comment Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice (Score 1) 818

Fool me once, shame on you.
Fool me twice, shame on me.

I used KDE until the 4.0 train wreck. Then I learned that KDE devs didn't care 2 shits about their users. So I took my stuff and went to play elsewhere.

Trying it again? Sorry, KDE fanboys. I actually have work to do and a life to live. In other words, I have better things to do than to be constantly trying new desktops for the sake of trying.

FYI:
- Running Gnome something on the "Red Hat Enterprise Bla" work laptop (yes, my employer actually gives me a Lenovo laptop running RHEL to work on);
- Running Ubuntu+LXDE on my old private laptop;
- Running "Ubuntu" on my private desktop.

Comment Re:No One Hates DRM More Than Me ... (Score 1) 299

Recently, however, I decided to move house and found that moving my sizable library of over a hundred books and a stack of journals is a tiresome undertaking.

I moved a lot in recent years. Will move again in 3 years time (has to do with the job). Turning all that paper weight and volume into digital files and the adjustable font sizes are the real killer e-reader features. Instant dictionary look-ups when reading a foreign language also a huge bonus, although I reckon there is less people that benefits from that.

Comment Re:... join the Math Club (Score 1) 133

Can't really imagine how that is possible. Math textbooks are basically just a listing of basic proofs. Maybe they found simpler solutions in the meantime, but most of the proofs for basic algebra have been done hundreds of years ago. The only difference is probably the text markup.

You clearly never studied math at university level. Proofs can be written in different ways, some easier some harder to read. The choice of which theorems to include and which to leave out also means a lot. Having good exercises lists is also part of being a good book. Sometimes, some math techniques lose relative importance, because their applications lose relative importance.

Also, in older books it was prohibitively expensive to include many figures or graphs. Equations were also expensive to typeset, so older books have less equations. Even the choice of how to write equations was different (as typesetting a large fraction of many variables was much more expensive than just doing "alpha^2 beta bla bla * / ( \int_{x=0}^{1000} gamma bla bla bla)" on a single line of text.

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