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Journal FortKnox's Journal: Why linux will never dominate the OS market 17

All summed up, right here. I added my own schpeel to it, but this guy successfully portrayed that 'nerd with his computer trying to get back at the meanies that hurt him' elite attitude. As long as there is a lot of people like this using linux (or, at least, responding to your questions with RTFM), it will never be ready for Aunt Mable.

BTW - sorry for sounding like a broken record.
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Why linux will never dominate the OS market

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  • BTW - sorry for sounding like a broken record

    You know, I never did understand that phrase. Every record (of the audio variety) I've seen that was broken was not playable by any means and therefore made no sound, however this euphemism is used to imply a repeating message. I associate that sort of behavior with a worn record. Worn (not Write Once Read Never but as in wear) is not quite "broken" IMHO. My old hoopdie of a car is worn, but the fact it got me to work today implies it is not broken.
    • I felt really old when I was talking to a teenager who complained he never understood the expression, either.

      Turns out, he thought it refered to a broken record as in breaking an Olympic record. LPs were ahead of his time, and he never made the connection. Once I explained it to him, he immediately got it - not because he had actually heard a record repeating, but from soundbites simulating that effect in commercials, etc.

  • Is the logical inverse not true, that Linux will never be a mainstream OS as long as Windows users decry it without ever having used it (or simply dismiss it as a "toy", or claim that free can never have any value, etc).

    I'm a Linux and Mac user. I have, of course, used Windows. I prefer Linux and Mac.

    Because I like Linux, I'm a 31337 script kiddie, or a communist. Because I like Macs, I'm a beret-wearing artfag with a pastel toy on my desk. I suppose if I liked QNX I'd be some kind of absurd Canuck.

    Elitism goes both ways.
    • Elitism goes both ways.

      Agreed, but I think we'd all do better, for the time being, holding the hands of users until Linux is more mainstream on computers.
      • holding the hands of users until Linux is more mainstream on computers.
        Wow... I thought that you didn't like Linux. I obviously misunderstood. But I digress...

        I agree. Once it does become more mainstream, then there will be less and less of a need for handholding.
        • Heh, I have a linux box as a server at home. SuSE7.2. Cute little box.

          I'm definately a fan of linux, but on slashdot, I'm usually the voice of reason. Linux is not ALWAYS the answer, and getting linux mainstream requires helping newbies, not yelling RTFM.
          • getting linux mainstream requires helping newbies, not yelling RTFM
            Agreed. That acronym should be deleted from everybody's brain. If the person asking questions is being a doofus, then the linux guru should just straight forwardly say so. There is no need to be rude, especially when there is so much room for miscommunication on the Internet.

            On a slightly unrelated note, what do you and others think about Do you think that that is a reliable place to go, to get info on using Linux? I ask because you mention the handholding.

            I figure that that web site would be best for it. I can see value in having a mailing list or newsgroup, just for professionals. If all of the newbies were *politely* sent to one place, then other mailing lists would be uncluttered, and the work wouldn't have to be repeated because of the same basic questions.

            Your thoughts?
            • If all of the newbies were *politely* sent to one place...

              A grand idea, but there will be a little overlap. I haven't been to linuxnewbie, so I don't know how great it is. Something to help newbies is a little knowledge of how they are and what they know. There are various stages of "newbie"-ism in the linux world.
              There are people like who I was, who were born and raised on the DOS prompt, and had UNIX force fed to me in college. But I wasn't afraid of command lines, and could get around relatively easy.
              There are the newer generation, brought up on Win95 and above, know there ins and outs of computers, but feel useless at a command prompt. They have some of the terminology down, just need step-by-step knowledge of the command prompt.
              Then there's aunt mable, who's afraid to touch the power button while the machine is plugged in. This is the last target, and usually needs personal attention and literal hand-holding through the whole process.

              There needs to be various types of tutorials (and god-oh-god don't say man pages. Man pages are decent for reference, not for tutorials), set for various types of newbies to help them through a large variety of things to do.
              Also, (I know some are available), but there needs to be a linux distro made just for newbies. Everything you do has an explanation, its stock full of tutorials, and help is easily and readily accessable.
              • god-oh-god don't say man pages. Man pages are decent for reference, not for tutorials
                *Exa-a-actly*! Man pages teach you very little, and the fact that the user has to choose between help, -help, -h, --help, --h, info, and man, shows that there isn't enough standardization.
                Also, (I know some are available), but there needs to be a linux distro made just for newbies.
                Again, *exa-a-actly*! In fact might be clearer to say, that there are lots of distributions for Linux newbies with computer experience, but there are no distributions for *computer* newbies. We don't need engineering experience & knowledge to use a microwave, toaster or oven. Why should we have computer science experience & knowledge for using a computer? As I type this, I am thinking that the solution isn't for a bunch of benevolent hackers to make a computer newbie distro. Perhaps the solution should be for a company to make that distro. They will be filling a special market niche that will require a lot of work. As a result, they should be able to earn money from their work. I'm not convinced that every distro should be free. Also, people need to bear in mind that computer hackers are just that. They aren't always good at directly meeting the needs of the public. So, they should just focus at what they are good at, which is making the software that people want. Let the big companies figure out what the public wants and provide the services.

                On a slightly unrelated note, I speculate that a per seat licensing would be a legitimate option with this type of distribution. It wouldn't be used by people running a network, therefore each person should pay something.

                Using a computer should be a positive experience. I remember when I was a child, I went through this IBM tutorial on how to use a PC, and how the computer had all of these neat features. PgUp & PgDn were so new and exciting to me. The sounds & music coming out of the PC speaker only added to the excitement. If I recall correctly, it was playing the Barber of Seville [correct sp?]. I'm a firm believer that the command line has the potential to be enjoyable by even Aunt Tilley. However, there needs to be a good tutorial.
                Everything you do has an explanation, its stock full of tutorials, and help is easily and readily accessable.
                Yet again, *exa-a-actly*!

                Hmm, I wonder if a good Linux tutorial would actually take the person through the procedure of making common mistakes, then showing them how to fix them. This type of a tutorial would clearly show that "Hey, these things happen. These things happen to everybody.". When Aunt Tilley sees exactly what happens when she presses the reset button or power button without shutting down, and how to fix it, then she won't feel so scared to touch those buttons.
    • Because I like Macs, I'm a beret-wearing artfag with a pastel toy on my desk.

      I don't know what I should do first - take offense or lol. First, I'm the typical Unix hacker. Raised on DOS, Netware and Unix. I hate using my mouse when programming and I like to take everything (including code) apart. No artfag in me or any pastel toys on my desk. My primary machine - PowerBook with OS X. The number of programmers and Unix people converting to OS X is rising every day. We're not all artfags.

      The more intresting fact is why I chose OS X. At the end of the day, I don't want to think about compiling my own device drivers or trying to update my kernel with a lot of pain. That's what I get paid to do and I do it damn well. When I want to balance my checkbook, Quicken is on OS X and works great for me. When I want to type a document, Word does the job without my need to think. When I want to program, well...I've got Terminal.

      The problem with Linux is that it still revolves around individual hackers trying to make a name by writing programs. These programs a lot of times need to be compiled and hacked to work under different versions of Linux. What the whole GNU/Linux movement really provides isn't a desktop replacement (since people just want the computer to work like the phone), but it gives developers the ability to reuse a core base of functionality in new systems.
      • At the end of the day, I don't want to think about compiling my own device drivers or trying to update my kernel with a lot of pain.

        That's exactly why I have Win2k on my machines, and my Linux box is more or less a toy. (Although my PDA runs Linux, and works very well, since most PDA software is specific to a certain PDA family anyway.) Since OS X, I have been thinking about getting a used Mac or Powerbook. I'm also a DOS and Netware guy. The reasons I have yet to switch are 1) Apple hardware is damned expensive, 2) those stupid "switch" commercials piss me off. They are full of exagerations and sometimes out-and-out lies. (for example, "there are things I can do with my Mac I can't with a PC." Such as? Maybe they don't know how, but everything that can be done on one can be done on the other. It may not be as easy, but it can be done.) Those commercials have kept me from buying a Mac. They are shooting themselves in the foot.

      • I've been using OSX since the Public Beta; I know. What I mean is the persistent myth that "macs are for arty shitheads" or whatever. Or that they are toys.
  • I've just been thinking about the success of Linux on the desktop [or lack of success].

    I believe that Linux will never be successful on the desktop, for economic reasons.

    Just because there are more eyes doing debugging, it doesn't mean that there are more people fixing what *I* want. After all, how many people are going to customize Mozilla for my Linux box? They don't have any incentive to do it. Getting an OS to work on my box has benefits that are too indirect for them. Just because I will become another user, doesn't mean that it will be worth while for them to do the customization for me. After all, the wizards figured it out for themselves, and they don't want to figure out another computer for free.

    Another economic reason is that Linux is too unstable, economically speaking. In other words, the kernel is being upgraded constantly, and the distributions are leaving it up to the user to upgrade them. With RealPlayer, you are told that such-and-such a version works with Windows 95, 98, 2000, etc. If a new version comes out that doesn't work with 95, then they'll say so, and you will have to use an older RealPlayer version. With Linux, you have to figure out what kernel you are using. As far as I understand, you can't use RealPlayer 8.* with the 2.2.* kernels. Maybe I'm wrong. I don't know. However, every now and then, I get the impression that people have to upgrade their kernels, but aren't asked to upgrade their entire OS. If this is true, then it leaves a bit of unstability, in that there are so many steps involved, and unknowns. Will my other apps work with the new kernel, or will I have to upgrade that too? I believe that distro companies should never release new distros until the new stable kernels begin to settle down. In the mean time, they can release "subversions". In other words, 8.1, 8.2, 8.2, 8.n, etc.

    I suppose that I could be completely out to lunch on all of this, but is it really wise for people to take time out of their busy schedules to clear up my misconceptions? Isn't there a good chance that others will have the same kind of misconceptions? Well, if so, will the Linux community train each and every person for their personal computer configuration? Linux may be easy to use, but is it easy to customize? Customization is important for me, because I have approx. 1 Gig of harddrive space, and 64 MB. If nobody cares enough about me to get my computer running good software, then I have to respect that. After all, it's not necessarily their job to deal with such things. However, nobody can complain if I don't want to be bothered to read manuals that have no guarantee of helping me.

    What are your thoughts? I'm not entirely clear on any of this, but I can see a fundemental difference in the way that Linux is enjoyed, as opposed to the way that Windows is enjoyed. Perhaps, with Linux, there are so many things that can go wrong, whereas with Windows, you just reboot or reinstall. In an office environment, time is money, so it's worth spending a few moments to ensure that you never reboot your server. However, with the desktop, there are so many things that need to be understood, and time is valuable in a different way. People probably save time by rebooting, instead of spending a day to read docs. With a web server, I assume that you have one basic program running, from the practical view point, and that program is the web server program. With the desktop, you have tons of stuff. People can't read ungauranteed HowTo's everytime their computer doesn't work.

    I think that I might cross post this, so I hope I don't offend you guys.
  • I acknowledge that I'm slightly biased here, but why go on the massive companies against massive organisations argument ?

    Honestly, this is about as interesting as the "who is the most beautiful, vain and egotistical newsreader" contest ?

    I suppose I have the pacific island attitude, but I couldn't give a damn about this beauty being skin deep rubbish which continually appears from Hollywood.

    Is this 2002 or 1982 ? Honestly, the next thing they'll try and do is pass the "Television has no off button" act.

"I'm not a god, I was misquoted." -- Lister, Red Dwarf