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Linux *Won't* Fail on the Desktop? 861

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the rubbing-against-the-grain dept.
HanzoSan sent in a story claiming that Linux will Succeed on the desktop, and not just the server market where it already has had much success. I think that the latest version of KDE has demonstrated that it can compete, but with the increasing dependance on file formats that have no support on Linux, it's going to be awfully difficult. That said, Linux has been my desktop for many moons, and I don't plan on changing it (Maybe If Apple released TiBook's with 3 mouse buttons I'd at least have an option ;)
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Linux *Won't* Fail on the Desktop?

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  • by Computer! (412422) on Friday February 22, 2002 @11:39AM (#3051418) Homepage Journal
    I installed Yeloow Dog Linux on one of the iMacs in our Dev lab (first Linux install ever), and man, was I impressed. Hundreds and hundreds of apps came with, and as a lifelong Win/Mac user, I felt comfortable right away. Since that experience, I have stopped bitching about Linux useability. Thanks, Linux! (sparkle from teeth)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 22, 2002 @11:43AM (#3051449)
    or OS X. Until then not a chance. I run Linux on my servers (to avoid the gestapo aka BSA) and Windows for my clients (both mine and my customers). This is where Mac OS has a great advantage. Stable Hardware platform. It doesn't have to be all things to all people like linux is trying to accomplish.

    Personally I like all the window managers since fvwm and have no problems but being a computer nerd it's a tad different than explaining to my grandma that to get her optical mouse to reinit she needs to kill XWindows and startx. Where as Windows has the default recovery everyone knows by heart Ctrl-Alt-Del.
  • by Archie Steel (539670) on Friday February 22, 2002 @11:53AM (#3051527)
    ...hangs on a few things:

    StarOffice/OpenOffice: they need to iron out the last few bugs and market it, for crying out loud! Not just for Linux, but on Windows as well, so that they can wean the business sector off of MSOffice.

    Games: despite what many "serious" computer users will say, the PC industry was built on gaming, and gaming is what keeps pushing the hardware improvement cycle. Serious Linux players such as IBM and HP should give substantial (if discreet) grants to efforts such as Transgaming's WineX so we come out with a complete DirectX API for Linux.

    Marketing: the different Linux players, big and small, should pool some of their resources to create a "flavorless" marketing organization who promotes the Desktop use of Linux (without specifying a distro in particular). The goal is to challenge common misconceptions about Linux: that it is hard to use, that there are no apps, that it is not graphical, etc., in a series of cool, professional looking ads in print and televised media.

    Aim for the Business Desktop first: more people will consider switching at home if they've been "coerced" into using Linux at the office first, only to realize that it was as easy to use as Windows, and a lot more stable.

    Don't install so many apps by default in common distros: personally, I don't mind it, but Windows users might be overwhelmed by the choice. Let them choose their browser, e-mail client, office suite, etc. during installation, or with a post-installation "setup" program.

    I do believe that Linux has a very good chance of becoming more widespread on the desktop...the fact that it can't be bought off by Microsoft is a big plus! But I'm not kidding myself: the Linux revolution might have better chance of taking place abroad first (Europe, Africa, Asia) - and given America's (and, by extension, Canada's) annoying record of always doing everything different than the rest of the world, it could still take some time here...
  • From what I've seen of people who post on Slashdot, most of them use Windows anyway...
    Linux wannabies

    Admittedly, if a corp says uses this, you have to use it.

    It'd make a good poll.

    How many people are using Linux **right now** as they view this page.
  • by knulleke (557202) on Friday February 22, 2002 @11:54AM (#3051543) Homepage
    I to have been using linux at my desktop for many years now, and liking it very much.

    However, when compared to windows, everything appears to be very slow. Launching of windows, getting visual feedback, it's all a bit snappier on windows, on the same pc. I think most people that come from a windows world trying linux+KDE or something will be disappointed with the speed of operation.

    Maybe in a couple of years, with processors in the 100GHz range this won't matter anymore (although a new layer will be added by then to slow things down even more) but for now I see a lot of hurdles to overcome
  • To Do list (Score:2, Interesting)

    by barnisinko (551765) on Friday February 22, 2002 @11:55AM (#3051551)
    I know that everyone is always saying this, but there are a few things that "linux" needs to do to gain the average user's desktop.

    I use SuSE 7.3, and love it, but there are a few things that were somewhat difficult for me to figure out, and I can't imagine what the non-techie user would do about these things.

    -printing: it is currently a shade less than a nightmare to configure printing in linux. I believe this varies wildly depending on what printer you are using. One false move, and your printer starts printing a million pages of gibberish.

    -Internet connectivity: I think the biggest hurdle for this one is the evil WinModem. Also, some ISP's just plain don't have a clue how to help users set up connections using linux.

    Some other ideas:

    -I have no idea how this one might be implemented, but some sort of "sanctioned" place for technical support for users would be good. I think one central place would give users some comfort instead of being told that they need to find their technical support on newsgroups.

    -We can always use more support from hardware manufacturers. This seems to be getting better and better all the time!

    -Lastly, the ubiquitous Games! We need more!

    barnisinko
  • Ugh, more garbage? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by conner_bw (120497) on Friday February 22, 2002 @11:57AM (#3051567) Homepage Journal
    No doubt linux will prevail. But the article linked is a pile of crap.

    It claims Linux will prevail with no facts, examples or andicdotes, then takes it all back by saying Linux developpers should focus on killing Office or all hope is lost.

    ZDNet is playing sklashdot like a fool.

    Write up a piece of incoherant propaganda that concludes by saying Office rules, call it "Linux Rules" and get slahsdotted for banner revenue.
  • by sharkey (16670) on Friday February 22, 2002 @12:01PM (#3051620)
    What do people need?

    Porn. Get the various streaming media formats supported on Linux. Get the various video formats supported. Get the various "features" of broken web-browsers supported in Linux browsers. Once all the features of porn sites are easily accessible using Linux, then success will come.
  • by ihatelisp (529132) on Friday February 22, 2002 @12:02PM (#3051623)

    I recently helped a fellow CS grad student install Linux on his laptop. KDE looks pretty, Netscape 6 runs great, and emacs handles all the text editing he needs. But frankly, I find it hard to advocate Linux to replace his Windows partition entirely.

    It's really the distribution taken as a whole that counts. This includes drivers, program setup, configuration, etc.

    We ran into some stupidity when installing Linux. When the computer goes into suspend mode and then wakes up, XFree86 would hang. In order to play games, he has to kill off aRTs daemon to get reasonable performance; and if he kills it off, he'll have no sound in KDE. When configured for DHCP and the laptop is disconnected from network, system start up would take a long time (older Windows also have this problem, but not 2000 and XP). There are a few more problems like these, and they really look silly to my friend who has been a long time Windows user.

    I told him a Linux system is a pain to set up the way you want it, but after it's set up it'll rarely choke on you. This has generally been my experience running Linux every day. Fortunately we had most things working and he's happily dual-booting between Linux and Windows.

  • by Linus-fan (463349) on Friday February 22, 2002 @12:04PM (#3051646)
    As an oldtime user of Linux I DO have the advantage of being at home on it. I've used Linux as my desktop for seven years. (Mostly KDE.)

    The interesting thing is that I throw people on it without any training to see what happens.

    F.ex. an eleven year old girl sat down and logged in (I gave her the password) and configured it just the way she liked it.

    She installs software and plays games, does research online and writes school reports without ANY help from me. She's not trained on computers either, just not afraid.

    I've thrown grownups on it too, and as long as they are not afraid of trying, they think it looks great and is easy to work with.

    So I don't know that it's not ready, except for thoses who don't understand or are against change. I agree that it is not quite where windows is at, after all these years, but don't throw it away either. Many offices could readily change and have the tools they need using Linux, and gain the stability and speed we come to love.

    It just does not cover ALL desktop needs.
  • by JordoCrouse (178999) on Friday February 22, 2002 @12:06PM (#3051661) Homepage Journal
    guess that depends on whose desktop you're referring to. Linux is already popular on geek desktops. Getting Linux on the desktops of your average Joe (or Jane) is entirely different.

    I would be mightily impressed if a distribution of Linux was released that my mother could use easily.


    The problem is, those features that make the Linux desktop attractive to the geek is exactly those features that make it difficult for otherse to use. My mother doesn't want to hear about command lines, and permissions, and filesystems and the such. She just wants to log on to AOL.

    Will the development of a desktop for the masses involve such massive changes to the basic concepts of Linux so as to make it unattractive to the the geek? And more importantly, will the geek willingly "dumb down" the distribution for the desktop. I will have to say no. Linux exists as it is today because we have designed it for our own use, not for Aunt Tillie.

    So then it falls on the commerical companies to develop a Linux distribution for the average person. Lindows is the first attempt at this, but even they have been hampered by the unique semantics of a POSIX system (permissions!).

    I have resigned myself to the fact that Linux will never reach widespread popularity on the desktop. However, I do know that the platform of tommorrow will *not* be the desktop - it will be the palmtop, PDA, or set top box. The world is obviously moving to a more embedded and more distributed environment. Luckily, thats where Linux shines.

    Don't waste your time getting Linux on the desktop. Instead, spend your time getting rid of the desktop itself.

  • X must die! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by themks (536975) on Friday February 22, 2002 @12:07PM (#3051668)
    OK we have KDE and Gnome and a great moltitude of window managers and desktop apps.
    I think the real problem remains X(Free): it's too heavy and it doesn't provide any form of widget directly.
    Maybe I am wrong but what we need is a linux kernel with a decent, fast, reliable and self-contained GUI (please don't forget the "classic" tty shell such as bash).
    What we get today is a GUI with tons of layers (CORBA, DCOP, QT, GTK, and so on...) that reduce the performances and create a lot of problems during compiling because the incredible number of libs dependencies.
    If someone needs X, well, he could use it in "rootless" mode on the GUI as already happen in Mac OS X.
    A simple installer should complete this visionary desktop-oriented distribuition of Linux.
  • by Lemmy Caution (8378) on Friday February 22, 2002 @12:30PM (#3051877) Homepage
    (Heh, my parents have a picture of their grandkid as the wallpaper.)

    The home market isn't all that relevant. It's the enterprise desktop that's the real prize, because it has a much shorter sell-cycle, because you get lock-down without a lock-down by moving to a *nix desktop, and because it's only necessary to train to specific work-related tasks, not how to install driver X or game Y or cutesy-apps Z.
  • by Time Doctor (79352) <zjs@zacharyjackslater.com> on Friday February 22, 2002 @12:36PM (#3051946) Homepage Journal
    The open-source setup tool [icculus.org] is the _perfect_ example of a GUI installer (which can also run fine in ncurses). It can install whatever libraries a user needs right along with the program.
  • by maddman75 (193326) on Friday February 22, 2002 @12:41PM (#3051996) Homepage
    Yeah, it doesn't pass my "Dad" test either. When you have to talk someone through opening a console window, ungzipping a file, untarring the file, running make... you realize how wonderful Windows Install programs are. Wizz-bang-click-next-next-next-finish. Really until my dad can install applications without having to open a console window, Linux isn't ready for the average home user.

    Have your dad try Ximian Red Carpet. No console, no arcane commands, and so easy he'll probably be asking why there isn't something like this on windows :)
  • by thesolo (131008) <slap@fighttheriaa.org> on Friday February 22, 2002 @12:46PM (#3052043) Homepage
    The problem is, those features that make the Linux desktop attractive to the geek is exactly those features that make it difficult for otherse to use. My mother doesn't want to hear about command lines, and permissions, and filesystems and the such. She just wants to log on to AOL.

    This itself is part of the problem. Everyone expects a very complex system to be EASY. Computers inherently are NOT easy!

    Honestly, I think the automakers are the only ones who ever successfully pulled off this paradigm well; cars are extremely complex, but even the most dimwitted person can understand how to start the car, push down on the gas or brake pedal and turn the wheel.

    I don't think however that you need to dumb-down the distro. Linux should do this, IMHO:
    On install, after you pick the install type (Workstation, Server, etc.), pick the install type (basic or advanced). If you pick Basic, it makes everything as easy as humanly possible; no status displays on bootup, just a nice graphic with a loading bar. If want to see if eth0 came up correctly, you should do an advanced install. And of course, you can change that in X itself too. If you pick basic, it doesn't even put a shell on the main KDE bar, nest it down somewhere. Put the Office Apps on the desktop, Web Browsers, Media Players, and thats IT. If you're a geek, Advanced install or Advanced mode let you do everything you currently can under Linux.

    Geeks are happy, regular users are happy, and Linux looks good to everyone.
  • Microsoft's strength (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 22, 2002 @12:54PM (#3052125)
    I work in the IT dept. of an insurance company. We are all MS apps here, and one of the reasons is that you can get the parts of Ofice to talk to each other and work together to the point where sometimes it doesn't matter which app is really running the show - the functionaliy is there wherever you are. I have developed an MSword app that runs a very complex back end procedure on a SQLserver database and then does some fancy printing with the results. I haven't seen the latest version of Star Office but I hope it or someone on Linux can provide an equivalent level of integration, tying together the datahandling capabilities of spreadsheets and databases with end-user functions like printing. Remember, the IT department has a lot of input in choosing these desktops and at this point the availability of integration like that is a real factor.
  • by AndrewCox (180128) on Friday February 22, 2002 @12:54PM (#3052128)
    First of all, I'm a geek - not an uber geek, but a geek nontheless (Software developer). Now, tell me - why should I use Linux?

    Okay, I can think of one reason - so that Bill Gates won't take over the world. I have never been an anti-Microsoft person like all of my CS peers in college, but I'm starting to think that maybe he wouldn't be the best world leader if his desire to rule the world is realized.

    Aside from that though, is there anything that Linux can give me that is better than Windows XP? Can Linux stand on its own merits?

    I really want to have a reason to install it and use it, but I've never been able to get my PC to dual-boot with Windows without a floppy. LILO couldn't handle the size of my hard drive last I checked (though I think that might've been remedied). Here's your chance - convert me!
  • Just an observation. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by volcanic_god (312399) on Friday February 22, 2002 @01:02PM (#3052197)
    I believe that Linux does have a promising future as a common desktop operating system. The problem is that everyone uses MS products as a benchmark for usability and functionality. Is linux difficult to use? When comparing it to the defacto standard that MS has established over the years, indeed Linux is confusing and difficult to use.

    As an experiment I recently gave my mother, who has _never_ used a computer, a new Dell system with Redhat 7.2 installed. I taught her how to use it and gave her a few books to help her along the way. Results, she is now a productive and happy user of Linux.

    See, to her MS or Linux makes no difference. She would have to learn either but since she didnt have years of bias towards MS products both OS are completely interchangeable to her. She can surf the Internet, use word processing, and play music, and the price was right!

    Linux has come a long way and is getting better everyday. Maybe LUGs should proactively promote and manage Linux machines in schools with kids who don't have the bias yet, and establish Linux as the defacto standard.

    Just a thought.
  • Still years away (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ToasterTester (95180) on Friday February 22, 2002 @01:08PM (#3052247)
    The people behind Linux on the desktop don't understand what the masses need and want. The Linux desktop looks the part but doesn't have the consistency and intuitiveness of Mac or Windows desktops. It may never have, the openness to do things your way of Linux is also its downfall. There is no interface standard for Linux like Mac and Windows. The masses NEED/REQIRE consistency. Everything has to have a place and be there. GUI app's caught on because learn one Mac app you now know the basics of all Mac app's. The apps are as important as the desktop they are inseparable.
  • by CJ Hooknose (51258) on Friday February 22, 2002 @01:09PM (#3052262) Homepage
    One really, really obvious feature that I've never seen is integration of the command line shell and a file manager.

    KDE 2.2.1, open a Konqueror window, Window->Show Terminal. Been there for a while, since KDE 2.0.1 I think. (Unless you meant something different by "integration", which you probably did, since that's a really slippery word and you should've defined it better.) Never used it much since I always have a konsole open anyway.

    I've never seen the ability to launch a command line shell set to the directory you're currently viewing in the file manager.

    Shoot, that's in there too: Open a Konqueror window and choose Tools->Open Terminal (Ctrl-T). Been there since KDE 1.1.2 IIRC, and probably since before then. KDE 1.1.2 came out sometime in 1999.

    If you could have a window that was half-command line, half-file manager, such that when you changed directories in one half, it would change directories in the other?

    That is the default behavior for the command lines you launch with the "show terminal/Ctrl-T" command in Konqeror, and probably has been there since 2.0.1. You can turn it off by clicking on the "link" icon below the terminal window scrollbar.

    Everything you mentioned is available, it either seems so obvious or so "why would anyone want that?" that no one bothers to mention it. Oh yeah, it would also confuse the newbies. HTH anyway.

  • by toupsie (88295) on Friday February 22, 2002 @01:13PM (#3052307) Homepage
    That's very close to heaven for a sysadmin, no?

    Pure. I am doing the same in my company. I am about to present the most radical idea ever to management. Dump Microsoft. With the press lately, Gates is helping me out with my business plan. Thank God for Microsoft arrogance.

  • by Pengo (28814) on Friday February 22, 2002 @01:20PM (#3052385) Journal
    As someone comming from the KDE side of the fence, I would say we have a -LOT- to learn about red-carpet. Though it's not perfect, it's what an installer should be. Simple, direct and online.

    My guess is a huge percentage of the post-install boxes are on the internet. I know the kde group believes that the responsibility is for the distro's to resolve those issues, but I disagree. I have a redhat 7.1 box that just doesn't need upgrading, because I have switched it over to Ximian Gnome desktop. Thats right, there is nothing really different about that older version of redhat than running on a ximian desktop on top of Mandrake 8.1. It's great, my box is always current and I don't need to play the bi-yearly distro knuckle-shuffle.

    I get to choose the distro I am most comfortable with , and red-carpet keeps me up on the security updates, software updates , etc. It's just plain and simple nice.

    I don't think I will be upgrading my home / primary workstation to Mandrake 8.2 because Ximian works fine. I am also tired of chasing down RPMS and playing the dep game.... Ximian has just got it right on that one, and it's all in the packaging and distribution.

    IMHO KDE is superior in technical ways, but I am now using Gnome because of the superiour distribution and packaging and the warm feeling of knowing I am getting updates on a weekly basis.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 22, 2002 @01:30PM (#3052492)
    While I'll agree -- most Slashdot readers are "Linux wannabes" that post stuff like "Yeah, I use Linux...I installed Mandrake once, but couldn't figure it out, and now I'm using Windows and haven't booted into Linux in ages".

    Kind of makes a hash of the "Linux is easy to use" argument if the (technically-oriented) Slashdot community mostly can't handle using it.

    If you aren't using Linux as the only OS on you machine, sit down. :-)

    If you have a second box, you can experiment with FreeBSD.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 22, 2002 @01:45PM (#3052644)
    echo "Do what you want. You can't do any harm if your UID != 0" >> /dev/motd

    That should make them less scared of it.
  • by BadlandZ (1725) on Friday February 22, 2002 @01:56PM (#3052733) Journal
    I still have a hard time believing that MS Office and .doc are going to be the tough part of getting people to choose OSS over MS software.

    I don't believe people are _that_ afraid to try an OSS office suite. Maybe a little intimidated, but not truely scared.

    I think the real resistance, the real fear, will show up when you try to get people to give up Quicken or MS Money in favor of some OSS replacement.

    IMHO, people will be much more worried about looseing their banking info, check book ballances, account numbers, payment histories, and other financial information... By comparision to worrying about formating of a frigging .doc vs. a .rtf, which do YOU think they will worry about more?

  • My experiences (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 22, 2002 @02:01PM (#3052779)
    Not that anyone will get to read this but....

    I interned for a company called Masks.org (it is on the web so you can view it) and turned my voulanteer position into one that pays, albeit not at intustry levels but I am having fun so who cares. My job has been to transfer them from Mac OS systems into Linux, my first task was the NAT box (which he promptly put back for some reason that I don't understand). Later I exchanged his WebStar server on a 400M G4 for an Apache on 4 P233s, it has NEVER crashed wereas the Webstar server crashed on an hourly basis....

    But that has nothing to do with the desktop...My other job was to help him transition the desktop systems...he now runs just about everything on Linux and loves it. He still uses Mac for his website development because he has some sort of fancy thing working there. He installed them all on his own, set up NFS and Appletalk as well as LPR with some minor help from me. There are now only 2 other systems left that run MacOS and they are for people that just can't deal with something that looks at all different...it was funny when we tried.

    At any rate, those that say Linux is not ready for the desktop are simply kidding themselves. Either they never tried or something. I think most of the people who badmouth linux have never even seen it, so I don't really pay attention to them anymore. Even mildly computer literate people can install Linux and get it working...I have seen it happen on numerous occasions.

    NR
  • by Lxy (80823) on Friday February 22, 2002 @02:40PM (#3053121) Journal
    I submitted this story twice only to get it rejected. Over at News.com [com.com] there's an article about Walmart stepping out ahead and offering PC's WITHOUT an OS! This will not only drop the cost of the PC but will alert consumers that yes, they ARE paying for the OS and yes, it DOES matter that linux is free.
  • by Anthony Boyd (242971) on Friday February 22, 2002 @03:13PM (#3053385) Homepage
    How many people are using Linux **right now** as they view this page.

    That may not be a fair question. I'm viewing this on my lunch break at work, and the company has standardized on Windows. But my home is full of Linux & Mac computers. I spent last night using my SuSE 7.3 box: I downloaded skins for XMMS, I surfed to mp3.com and slashdot.org using Mozilla, and played a game of Risk. So what should slashdot count as my "real" computer? My "lunch break" computer or my home computer?

  • by limber (545551) on Friday February 22, 2002 @03:14PM (#3053393) Homepage
    This discussion reminds me of an interesting article [wired.com] in last month's Wired regarding the standardization of screw threading.

    The article relates how William Sellers actively campaigned for his 'Sellers thread' screw to replace the then semi-standard 'Whitworth' screw standard from England.

    His thread design was simpler,cheaper and easier to fabricate than the Whitworth design. (analogy here of .txt or .rtf vs .doc). Sellars gave an impassioned speech in 1864 "On a Uniform System of Screw Threads" where he noted "In this country, no organized attempt has as yet been made to establish any system, each manufacturer having adopted whatever his judgment may have dictated as the best, or as most convenient for himself." (sound familiar?)

    The article goes on to detail how Sellers had to tap into his political and economic connections in order to create momentum for his standard, which was opposed by many machinists. He first convinced the Navy, then Pennsylvania Railroad, then the Master Car Builder's association. By 1901 the Sellers thread design had become the standard in america.

    But (and here's the 'interoperability' part of the analogy) Britain stuck with the Whitworth screw. This didn't create any problems for a long time... until the winter of 1941, when Germany's Afrika Korps started pummelling the Eighth Army in the desert. British tanks and trucks wore out, broke down, etc in the course of war. American factories churned out vehicles and parts for the British. But when the supplies arrived in North Africa... everyone was surprised to discover that American nuts did not fit British bolts.

    ("crap, that idiot in marketing sent me another unreadable .doc file...")

    American factories retooled and ran two separate assembly lines for the rest of the war. In 1948, Britain decided next time, incompatible screws would not be a good reason to risk losing a battle, and adopted the Sellers thread standard.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 22, 2002 @03:29PM (#3053507)
    How long have you been using X to do things?

    As long as you have, it's been successful.

    What are we measuring here, actual usability, the fact that people utilize Linux/X?

    Or is this another hoser-competition, where moronic newbies think Linux is about killing Microsoft?

    If the latter, then Linux will most certainly fail. Linux as it is today will never topple Microsoft. If it ever changes to a position where it can, it won't be Linux anymore - it'll be another money-grubbing entity whose sole concern is profit.

    Linux 'will succeed' on the desktop.

    Hah. When I did my first install, I started using X for everything but games (And to say games are a vital part of a PC desktop.. Again, hah. Personal computers aren't toys.). Both of my parents have picked up on how to do things in X (And I'm using Blackbox, not Copycat-D-E). I've had friends wondering why Windows doesn't do half of the things I can do with X.

    'Will succeed'?

    Mark this a troll, because the Linux desktop has been succesful for a good long while.
  • by Rubbersoul (199583) on Friday February 22, 2002 @03:56PM (#3053694)
    staroffice will for one, there are others aswel.
  • by 1%warren (78514) <wardon&xtra,co,nz> on Friday February 22, 2002 @04:10PM (#3053770) Homepage
    How many people are using Linux **right now** as they view this page.

    Tag all posts with browser/OS info - embarrass them into using Linux. With all the traffic /. gets, it would be a major boost for open source.
    I'd certanly get off my ass & fix the things that keep me booting W98, & submit more/better bug reports for the things I can't fix.

  • by JohnDenver (246743) on Friday February 22, 2002 @04:12PM (#3053784) Homepage
    Agreeing with the other guy, and being fairly proficient with VB and macro viruses (I read and sometimes unobfuscate the code), I quickly got to work...

    Working with Word 2000, they pretty much allow anything to be scripted, including MOST of the options. There's actually an Options object, which is accessable from the Application object. It consists of 160 some odd properties which can turn on a number of options, but I CANNOT change the default Save option. Oh yes, it's there in the Diaglog box, and I can change the default Open format to RTF from the Options object, but I CANNOT change the default Save option.

    There are 20 some options dedicated alone to "Format As You Type", how often auto save kicks in, Grid Distance, Hebrew Mode, INS Key For Paste, RTF in Clipboard, etc.

    But there is no option for changing the default save to RTF.

    Seems to me Microsoft doesn't want an easy way to give IT administrators an easy way to change the default save option for hundreds of machines.

    Steve
  • by dunstan (97493) <dvavasour.iee@org> on Friday February 22, 2002 @07:22PM (#3054991) Homepage
    The point about the corporate desktop is exactly right. Larger corporations will have a small number of standard builds which are rolled out onto large numbers of desktops and laptops. My company makes money out of "desktop refreshes", where a large number of either new or existing machines are brought into the workshop, and a defined image is written onto the disks of 1000's of machines. With this sort of exercise, once the image is defined the users aren't expected to change their desktops - indeed, after this sort of mass rollout the desktops are usually locked down to a) prevent the users breaking them, and b) prevent the users from installing unlicensed software with all the potential corporate liability issues involved.

    To date we haven't been asked to do any large GNU/Linux based desktop rollouts, but it would be eminently sensible if we were. And in the process of such a large rollout, the licence costs of all the software included in the defined builds for 1000's of desktops is obvious and evident. This is where GNU/Linux on the desktop will really take off.

    Dunstan
  • by pressman (182919) on Friday February 22, 2002 @08:39PM (#3055334) Homepage
    So Linux is ready for the desktop of the vast majority of users, who never go beyond word processing, spreadsheets, and email. The fact that it doesn't have what you think is necessary is irrelevant. Claiming that it isn't ready for the desktop just because it isn't ready for your desktop is an exercise in ego.

    Ah, but lots of people want to do video editing, manage their photo albums without configuring DV camera drivers and other simple tasks that, yes, can be accomplished using LInux if you are a fairly adept user. However, there are millions upon millions of people who never want to have to compile a kernel, deal with drivers or use a terminal.

    Again, I think KDE and Gnome are pretty decent desktop environments and are only getting better. However, until the UI behaves as consistently or stably as Mac OS 9, Mac OS X, or shudder, Windows it's just not going to take off. The core of what's needed is there. It's just that pretty much most Linux development is targeted at creating a user experience based around the desires of programmers and networking people.

    Yes, Linux is a desktop OS, but it's main strengths are still in the back end arena where the lack of an inconsistent UI is not that much of an issue.

    I use Linux at home. Mostly for teaching myself new things, but when I need to get honest work done, I switch over to my trusty PowerMac and fire up applications that I know are going to behave and perform in a very consistent and predictable way. KDE and Gnome are still just a little too rough at this point for the average user, which, yes, includes those millions and millions of parents out there who are going to be spending their disposable income so that their children can have computers. Hopefully, some of the kids will be adventurous and try installing Linux or OS X or NetBSD or BeOS (if they can find it).

    Linux is NOT going to take over the desktop but I sincerely hope it has a long and fruitful run serving people faithfully.

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