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Linux on the Desktop 444

Posted by michael
from the amor dept.
webmaven writes "Mitch Kapor's Open Source Application Foundation just released a 34 page report on the Desktop Linux market, written by Bart Decrem, who has discussed desktop Linux previously. The OSAF is working on Chandler, which the press have generally described as an 'Outlook Killer', but it's really intended to be in a completely new application category, more similar to Lotus Agenda in some ways than what currently consider a PIM (email + contacts + appointments). The report goes into some detail about the current state of desktop Linux, trends, and various limiting factors, and concludes that while a revolution is not immediately in the wings, a trend can definitely already be discerned, and they expect adoption of desktop Linux to increase over the next few years, and identifies leverage points to accelerate the process."
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Linux on the Desktop

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  • by Frothy Walrus (534163) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @04:10PM (#6409328)
    Look at workalike apps that run on Windows. They can't even make it. You expect users to adopt a new OS *AND* utilities? Get real.
    • SP (Score:3, Insightful)

      by usotsuki (530037)
      Unfortunately you're right.

      We need a revolution in usability.

      -uso.
      • Re:SP (Score:3, Funny)

        by BWJones (18351)
        Unfortunately you're right.

        We need a revolution in usability.


        Hmmm. Like OS X?

        Ducks

        • OS X isnt a revolution in usability. Just a different window manager. The revolution will be when we adopt something other than a WIMPs interface....whatever that is is anyone's guess...virtual reality? who knows.
      • Re:SP (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Pxtl (151020) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @04:44PM (#6409584) Homepage
        No - we need an OS/windowing system that forces coders to make things usable automatically. Command line and graphical launch should be the same thing from a developer standpoint - instead of having to pop-over to the command line, the user should be able to pop-open a constext menu for the run-parameters of a program, and see limited options, not just an ambiguous text-passing system. It should be more convenient to write a configuration system through a graphical widget window then through a text editor. Basically, I think code should move away from the simple text config file, and more into a database-style concept of a header that defines widgets. So, the configuration simply becomes an onscreen list of widgets - with no text file to get confused by. Sure, if the coder leaves out the doctext then this thing is confusing - but at least widgets will give you a vague idea what the control does.

        The problem is that all major OS's are gradually evolutionary growths from the 80's. None are actually "designed".
    • by yppiz (574466) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @04:45PM (#6409587) Homepage
      Mod parent as insightful, not flamebait. The poster is saying the following:

      If Windows users don't switch to competing apps on their current OS, then how can we expect them to switch both applications and operating systems?

      --Pat / zippy@cs.brandeis.edu

      • by IdleTime (561841) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @05:15PM (#6409838) Journal
        The switch to Linux on the Desktop will not start at home, just for the very same reasons you point out.

        Linux on the Desktop will start in the corporate world, just like Windows did. After adoption in the corp world, the adoption at home will follow.

        I have heard for years that Linux is not ready for the Desktop, the apps suck etc and every time I look at my PC and think: I wonder what their needs are?
        I have used Linux exclusively on the desktop for years, currently running Gentoo, but that is not a point. My point is that most people, both at work and at home will have more then adequate number of apps available and with features that covers their use. Remember the good old 80/20 rule? 80% of the users only use 20% of the feature in any given app. This still holds water, so there is really no need for an Outlook killer, most people will have more than enough functionality with already existing apps.
        I also fail to see the so called "un-polished" look or lack of interoperability, it's there, both in Gnome and KDE, and getting even more polsihed for each release. What you use is based on your perception of the available DE and Wm environments. I work for a huge company, 40000+ employees and have so far not found one single task that I or my coworkers need to perfom that could not be done under Linux, not one single!

        I would really love to see the list of programs needed for Linux in order to be a valid alternative to Windows on the Desktop. As far as I know, there are none!
        • IdleTime writes:

          I would really love to see the list of programs needed for Linux in order to be a valid alternative to Windows on the Desktop. As far as I know, there are none!

          You're right. It's not the apps that are the problem. It's that most PCs come with Windows pre-installed.

          Walmart selling Lindows PCs is the biggest threat to Microsoft's home market. If other stores join in, millions of ordinary users will enter the Linux world - without really knowing or caring (or needing to).

          --Pat

  • by smitty45 (657682) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @04:11PM (#6409339)
    here's the real link: http://www.osafoundation.org/
  • Clippie (Score:3, Funny)

    by whitelabrat (469237) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @04:13PM (#6409357)
    Forget "Outlook Killer". Just get rid of the damn clippy guy!
    • by Malc (1751)
      Why are people still going on about Clippy? I haven't seen him for *years*. He's not hard to avoid. I don't even know if it's an option anymore, although if it is, I must have deselected last time I installed Office XP.
      • Re:Clippie (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Osty (16825) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @04:27PM (#6409457)

        I don't even know if it's an option anymore, although if it is, I must have deselected last time I installed Office XP.

        You can still choose to install the Office Assistants, but you've always been able to choose not to install them. I've never had to deal with Clippy, from Office 97 through Office XP. Of course, most people prefer to just bitch and moan rather than do something about the problem, so it's not surprising that people are still complaining about Office Assistants.

        • Re:Clippie (Score:3, Insightful)

          by EverDense (575518)
          You can still choose to install the Office Assistants, but you've always been able to
          choose not to install them. I've never had to deal with Clippy, from Office 97 through
          Office XP. Of course, most people prefer to just bitch and moan rather than do something about
          the problem, so it's not surprising that people are still complaining about Office Assistants.

          Most people working in an office environment DO NOT install their own software.
          Nor, initially, do they understand how to change configurations.

          So
          • Re:Clippie (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Osty (16825)

            Most people working in an office environment DO NOT install their own software.

            So your argument is moot.

            No it's not. It just means that the IT department who is doing the installation should better understand what they're installing. The people you're referring to are the same people that wouldn't use the help functionality anyway, so it doesn't matter whether they have the hand-holding Office Assistant or the standard HTML help to work with. In either case, they're going to call IT.

    • Re:Clippie (Score:3, Funny)

      by swordboy (472941)
      As you wish... [microsoft.com]
  • Wow! : ) (Score:3, Funny)

    by Jonsey (593310) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @04:15PM (#6409370) Journal
    Linux is for desktops too?

    Yeah, I'll go RTFA. : p
  • Allow me to ask.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xtermz (234073) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @04:17PM (#6409392) Homepage Journal
    ...a question which sounds like "flamebait", but it seriously isnt.

    Are there any real objective 3rd parties who investigate and report on the different aspects of linux ( ie TOC, benchmarks, etc ) who truly are impartial to either OS. It seems that anybody writing 'reports' are either slanted towards windows, or linux. I dont think i've ever read a report that says "well, linux sucks at x, and windows sucks at y as well. in summary, they both suck ( or they both rock, or whatever, etc. ) . "

    Where does one find unbiased reviews and benchmarks of OS's ?
    • by nagora (177841)
      Are there any real objective 3rd parties

      You'd have to find people that don't use computers but then, of course, their opinions probably won't be insightful.

      The next best thing is to stick to people with an open bias and compare their arguments. It's a bit like reading newspapers.

      TWW

    • This guy [commercialventvac.com] did a comparison of some popular operating systems and it seems to be somewhat fair in what he notes certain advantages and disadvantages.

    • by krb (15012) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @04:44PM (#6409579) Homepage
      i don't think your post was flame bait at all. it brings up a good point, but i think the real question is :

      are there any real objective and impartial 3rd parties that review or report on anything, ever?

      it's a fact of life that most people competent to review items in a product class are going to be experts of some sort with products of that class, with all the built up preferences and biases that come with being an expert.

      i've come to the point where i no longer look for objectivity, because it doesn't exist -- just add new information into a corpus of prior knowledge, along with whatever inherent slant it has, and base personal reasoning on that. objectivity and impartiality are best simulated with aggregation. i don't fell i can assume someone else is even capable of impartiality.

      it's like the news media. i could watch cnn, or fox news, or local news, and adjust whatever they say to normalize what whichever one says based on what i know of their inherent proclivities. I could watch all of them, but that's not feasible from a time standpoint, so i take the digest form : news.google.com. Not because it's new and flashy, but because it provides aggregation. I can scan the headlines and merge them into a global sense of the prevailing attitude towards a story. I can see which outlets are sensationalizing (or alternatively, downplaying) a story, or who's not covering it at all, with a quick scan. I can then choose to read the stories from any perspective i choose (which is often not necessarily my own) because i can trivially determine which sources have what perspectives.

      To me, it's the best possible feature of the www -- true impartiality of reporting because the web crawler doesn't give a shit what the inherent slant is, just what words are in the document.

      as for benchmarks, they're often only marginally above statistics on the scale of truth (i.e. somewhere south of 'damn lies'), so they're *really* only useful taken as a broad average of many, many different testers and conditions.
  • Whatever happened to Ximian, or Evolution, or whatever it was called? I thought *it* was going to be the Outlook killer. How many Limux apps does it take to kill MS Outlook?
    • by jason0000042 (656126) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @04:33PM (#6409500) Homepage

      Just take Mozilla Thunderbird and Calendar, integrate them into the kernel. Then put in a feature that allows an arbitrary host on the network run arbitrary code on your machine in the interest of letting other people invite you to meetings automatically.

      That should infuse some of the old MS flavor into the dish. Should really get the punters switching to linux in droves.

    • The one single Linux app that would kill outhouse would be a proxy or a plugin that would allow other email readers such as mozilla or evolution to access an exchange server running in MAPI only mode. (No i don't mean the Ximian connector).
  • Sure... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Otter (3800) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @04:19PM (#6409404) Journal
    Recently, I initiated a project on behalf of OSAF to take a careful look at the state of Linux on the desktop, and asked Bart Decrem to spearhead a short-term research project to assess the current situation and trends.

    Of course, the last time we heard from this guy, he was explaining [linuxandmain.com], "My big gripe about KDE is I think it's butt-ugly. The main reason I keep using GNOME is that the icons on KDE are aesthetically offensive to me. And the letter K is kind of offensive, it's not very elegant." The new report is Slashdotted, but I'm curious to see what other letters are slowing Linux adoption on the desktop.

    At any rate, at least this story should generate some life on Slashdot. I'm trying to avoid doing work, and the last five stories are still in single digits for comments, including FP! trolls.

    • Re:Sure... (Score:4, Funny)

      by Zork the Almighty (599344) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @04:24PM (#6409441) Journal
      I find the image of feet and the letter "G" offensive, that's why I use KDE.
    • Re:Sure... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by el-spectre (668104) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @04:32PM (#6409495) Journal
      It would be nice, however, if someone would put out a goddamn program that isn't called 'kApp', 'kBrowser' or 'kCoolgame'.

      Cuteness has its place, but it's a real pain finding the right app most of the time.
    • actually.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tuber (678236) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @05:18PM (#6409868)
      I tend to agree with him. Starting everything with a k or a g is annoying as hell. Everytime I used to boot up the 'konqueror', I started thinking about how much I hate the Mortal 'Kombat' where you use 'Koins' to unlock 'Koffins' in the 'Krypt'. IT'S FUCKING ANNOYING TO HAVE EVERY PROGRAM START WITH THE SAME LETTER. The g's in gnome are still annoying, but as much to me because i dont get reminded of the whole 'kombat' thing. I mean, say what you will about microsoft, at least it isn't Microsoft mOffice that comes with mExcel and mOutlook and mWord. That's why I use enlightenment, no omnipresent prefixes there, no-siree. Now let me go fire up ETerm..... Oh dear god no, what have they done???? And in the new version, E17, they have about ten more built in apps on the way that all begin with E. Jesus christ it felt good to get that rant out though....
  • So..? (Score:2, Insightful)

    Predicting that Linux trend will continue to grow doesn't exactly take a genious , does it ?
    I mean even windows is continuing to grow ? So what's the point here ?
    If linux is replacing the desktop *nix market, albeit very small (solaris, irix etc.) whats the big deal in that ?
    How much M$ boxes are being replaced by linux ?
    Currently linux and windows on desktop are growing at their own pace, as they don't share a common user base. And what ever common userbase they have , use dual-boot option.
  • by TWX (665546) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @04:20PM (#6409408)
    I don't run Windows anymore unless I want to play Carmageddon II at home, and at work I only get into Windows if I need to use the custom workorder system that ties into Novell and MS Access. I can watch movies, play a few games, listen to music, surf, do email, and the like all without Bill and his Evil Empire.

    We need to start new-to-computers people with non-MS operating systems. They'll be much more inclined to use anything handed to them, and they'll dislike the crashing problems, popups, and weird behaviour of Microsoft's OSes. I repair Windows machines at work for my job, and every time something goes awry, I don't think of it as normal anymore, I think of it as bloody annoying.

    Being nearly Windows-free for the last three years or so has been really awesome. These things are tools, not cheap toys that break a lot.
    • True, one big problem that I often encounter is that people are scared of change. You can explain to somebody that OpenOffice offers the same features as MS Word but the fact the the menus and shortcuts are different scares the crap out of people. The more people I convert to Linux, the more I see a need to emulate the Windows "workflow". This is especially true for older computer users who have an aversion to computers to begin with. Personally, I don't want a windows "look alike" desktop but if the goal i
    • by knightPhlight (173012) <nate.nottingham-tech@com> on Thursday July 10, 2003 @04:49PM (#6409610) Homepage
      You actually detail some of Linux's problems quite well. Let's see:

      "I don't run Windows anymore unless I want to play Carmageddon II at home". I don't recall ever walking into Wal-Mart and buying a Linux game. Consumers want to be told what to buy. Such as: Get Armagetron [sourceforge.net] here! 3D! Multiplayer! New, new, new! (No, really check it out). Windows has better games because Windows games have better advertising because Windows has a bigger market share. It'll be a long time until you hear some ten-year-old say, "I had to install Linux so I could play Doom 6.66. It just isn't the same on Windows."

      "at work I only get into Windows if I need to use the custom workorder system that ties into Novell and MS Access." Legacy software, hardware, and geeks will eventually fade into /dev/null. Until then continuing to use the same old crap will be cheaper in man hours and dollars. And as always management can almost always be convinced to keep using the same old thing if it worked well enough that they didn't get blamed.

      "We need to start new-to-computers people with non-MS operating systems." Great idea. But have you ever looked at the books or web sites these people try to learn from? You know the ones where there is a chapter on the mouse complete with blow-by-blow steps for double clicking? Try finding something like that for any distro. Your standard Linux distro has hundreds of powerful, Ghz using, bandwidth blasting apps that new-to-computers" people can live their entire lives without using. The community is great as long as you know that hard drive storage is different than system memory. If your knowledge isn't that advanced (like 90% of users) you'll be lucky to get any help at all.

      With all the incredible advances the community has contributed to Linux sometimes Windows is still necessary.

      Counter point away...

    • Being nearly Windows-free for the last three years or so has been really awesome.
      This sounds like a line from an A.A. meeting.

      Hello, my name is Ann, and I've been Windows-free for 3 years.

      Everyone: Hi, Ann!!
    • I'm sorry, but I have to disagree. I run Linux on my home computer, but as the resident computer geek I've been called in to install Windows XP twice in the last two weeks. Whether anyone wants to hear it or not, when it comes to an average user's needs Microsoft has really got it nailed down. Installing new hardware and getting it to work is very easy, wheras Linux seems to be in a "pre-Windows 95" state. This is probably Linux's biggest weakness, but at the same time, it's a source of strength. Allow
      • This serious "flaw" with linux that you are talking about can very easily be resolved with a script.

        We Linux/UNIX users/admins/developers don't really care right now whether you can see your devices or not. We care if the system is stable, bug free, has drivers for all the hardware, is secure and efficient. When you do things the right way the first time it always takes longer and it might even be a bit harder, but when its finished there will be no alternatives because noone else took the time to do it
  • by burgburgburg (574866) <splisken06@em a i l . com> on Thursday July 10, 2003 @04:22PM (#6409425)
    Article [com.com] in news.com about Lindows just came out with LindowsCD, so that people can try Lindows Linux without having to install it. They're not the first, but since they're selling easy of use and ease of transition, this seems an especially smart way to show people they can function in a non-Windows world.
  • by mikeophile (647318) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @04:24PM (#6409440)
    Clippy looks like he's meant to snapped into the butt of an automatic pistol and says things like this.

    "I'm an occational drinker, the kind of guy who goes out for a beer and wakes up in Singapore with a full beard."

    "The kid's face had as much expression as a cut of round steak and was about the same color."

    "She opened a mouth like a firebucket and laughed. That terminated my interest in her. I couldn't hear the laugh but the hole in her face when she unzippered her teeth was all I needed."

    What do you mean Chandler wasn't named after Raymond?
  • by GillBates0 (664202) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @04:26PM (#6409450) Homepage Journal
    Having just browsed through the 34 page long PDF article for now, I found the conclusion very insightful: " Desktop Linux is no longer a technical challenge - it's a marketing challenge"

    Moreso, when the competitor is a monopolistic giant of a corporation, entrenched in a significant portion of the desktop market for about 10 years now.

    Let's just hope that desktop Linux doesn't suffer the same fate as Betamax in the disastrous Betamax/VHS battle. That's atleast one instance that I can recall, in which a superior product failed before a better marketed product.

  • by curtlewis (662976) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @04:26PM (#6409453)
    "they expect adoption of desktop Linux to increase over the next few years"

    That's what they said a few years ago. And that's probably what they'll be saying a few years from now. Don't get me wrong, I like Linux. But it's just not for mom and pop and I doubt it ever will be given who is working on it and what they've been doing.

    Linux innovates very little except in technological areas. It's GUIs even today fall short of Windows and Mac GUIs, and several years from now I don't expect Linux will catch up. I don't see MS or Apple kicking back sipping pina coladas at the poolside.

    I think alot of great work has been done in Linux and I'm a Linux user myself, but not as my primary desktop. Linux is an OS made for geeks by geeks that love to push the geek envelope. That's great stuff in and of itself, but it's not going to put Linux in the mainstream.

    And does it want to be mainstream? Do Linux users want it to be mainstream? For the most part, I think not. When asking a technical question in Linux circles, the responses you get range from apathetic to offensive. RTFM! NEWB! It's pretty rare you actually get someone with a little compassion that has felt your pain and is willing to help you out.

    Everything about Linux (and Unix in general) seems to be as if it is some kind of rite of passage. You must fight the bear without weapons, then you must walk the fire barefooted and then you must master Unix! It is that final task at which the brave warrior often stumbles...

    • by thelexx (237096) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @05:10PM (#6409800)
      "Linux innovates very little except in technological areas."

      Not many have said as much in as few words.

      "It's GUIs even today fall short of Windows and Mac GUIs"

      I find KDE desktop behavior to be vastly superior to that provided by Windows. Try opening a full screen browser and a smaller window over it. Now try to navigate in the browser _without obscuring the smaller window_. This is but one example, and maybe it can even be done in Windows, but I've never seen it, heard of it or stumbled across it drunk.

      "It's pretty rare you actually get someone with a little compassion that has felt your pain and is willing to help you out."

      You aren't looking for help in the right places then. I've never been flamed while (groups.)googling. Or are you looking for a live hand-holder on IRC and/or simply can't/won't actually read any documentation?

      "Everything about Linux (and Unix in general) seems to be as if it is some kind of rite of passage."

      What can I say but that yes, it basically treats you like a fscking adult who has some grasp of fundamental computing principles. Some of us find that incredibly refreshing. Actually though, this is what distributions are for IMNSHO. RedHat and Mandrake or whatever for grandma and Debian and Slackware (or roll-your-own for crying out loud) for people who want more control and less automated hand-holding.

      Argh, it's the same thing, over and over and over and over....

    • I'm giving up modpoints on this article to respond to this. Here goes...

      "they expect adoption of desktop Linux to increase over the next few years"

      That's what they said a few years ago. And that's probably what they'll be saying a few years from now. Don't get me wrong, I like Linux. But it's just not for mom and pop and I doubt it ever will be given who is working on it and what they've been doing.


      Have you ever heard of the term "Strategic Advantage"? When we get Mom and Pop to use Lindows, we get o
    • by badasscat (563442) <basscadet75NO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Friday July 11, 2003 @01:04AM (#6412670)
      "they expect adoption of desktop Linux to increase over the next few years"

      That's what they said a few years ago. And that's probably what they'll be saying a few years from now. Don't get me wrong, I like Linux. But it's just not for mom and pop and I doubt it ever will be given who is working on it and what they've been doing.


      You've nailed it here. It's not that Linux can't compete with Windows in areas like ease of use and prettiness. It's that the people doing the grunt work on the OS don't care (or at least haven't cared until recently) about those things. This has been a real problem.

      Fortunately (for me, if nobody else), I am a bit more optimistic than you are. Even 3 years ago I would have never even considered running Linux on my home machine - I would have literally laughed if you'd suggested it. Not because I thought Linux was a bad OS, but because I saw it as kludgy, crotchety, cranky, geeky, difficult to use, difficult to look at, impossible to set up, and a bear to run. Today, I am running that same Linux on two PC's in my home and I am looking forward to the day that I can ditch Windows completely.

      Linux has come a long way in the past few years in the desktop area. Yes, I still had to buy my Linux for Dummies to get everything working right, and I've read more than my share of how-to's, usenet postings and other helpful articles around the net to get me out of jams. This is very different from Windows XP, which more or less works right and looks nice out of the box for 99% of people, with no configuration whatsoever. But it's at least at the point now that I can do it, which, as someone with very little technical knowledge (software-wise) and an attention span of a gnat, is a major milestone to me. It will only continue to get better, especially now that the focus is clearly shifting to desktop users (the server stuff seems pretty well in hand).

      Install apt-get (which is an application whose importance I don't think has been fully realized yet) and Linux is nearly as easy to use as Windows. In fact, with apt-get in some ways it's easier - download and setup wrapped into one, no worries about missing dependencies, and if you want an app you just pick it from the list (in Synaptic, if you have it installed) and apt-get goes out and gets everything you need. apt-get with the Synaptic graphical interface really needs to be installed and configured by default in every Linux distro. This is the kind of thing desktop users need and expect, and it's the kind of thing Linux developers are finally picking up on.

      Aesthetically, I think you pick your poison, really, and at this point it's up to the distro makers how aesthetically pleasing they can/want to make their interface. Red Hat, I think, is doing a really good job of it - everything in RH9 looks consistent and professional, at least to the level of Windows 2000. No, it's not at the eye candy level of XP or the insane Mac OSX (which I honestly find distracting after an hour or so of use - it's too much), but it's fine, and it's not far behind. Other distro makers are making a go of it, but I haven't seen anyone else really integrate the look as well as Red Hat yet. They will all get there eventually, though.

      I'm not worried, and in fact I'm confident that with all this attention now being paid to desktop Linux, it'll catch up fast. The developers just need to give desktop ease of use and interface issues some attention, and they are.

      What Linux does need is more professional graphic designers and interface designers donating their time - development is still dominated by programmers and programmers alone are not going to build a desktop OS to truly compete with Windows. Real attention is going to need to be paid to integrating the interface both functionally and visually, and it's going to need to be paid by those that know what they're doing in those areas. But we're getting there... KDE and Gnome have both come a long way recently along with Linux itself, and hairy but important issues like font rendering are in the process of being worked out as well. All of these are things that need to be done to attract desktop users, and they are now finally getting done.
  • My beef (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stalus (646102) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @04:26PM (#6409455)

    Really my main beef with linux is how hard it is to set the thing up when you haven't gone through the process in the last six months. I generally forget what the config file is named that I'm interested in, or where it happens to be located. Frankly, any setting that most users will have to change at some point in their life should be easily accessible through the GUI menu system.

    I will admit that it is a heck of a lot better than it used to be, but I still have to do a bit of googling to get my linux system usable. Windows on the other hand, you can go to the control panel and what you want to change will likely be in there somewhere, unless it's application specific, and you don't have to read any manuals or docs to figure out how to configure your system - it's intuitive.

  • Photoshop on Linux? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ignoramus (544216) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @04:28PM (#6409469) Homepage

    The pdf states that "...one of the studios commissioned an open source company to make Adome Photoshop run under Linux. Thanks to the open source development process, all Linux users can now run Photoshop on their desktop"

    Anyone have any info on this? Photoshop is one of the last things keeping our web designer under the giant Windows thumb so I'd love to get more details. The Adobe site only mentions Linux in relation to the PDF reader, all other references I could find were about the crossover plugin.

    And no, please don't extol the virtues of the Gimp - I've tried that...

    • by berzerke (319205) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @04:55PM (#6409665) Homepage

      ...Anyone have any info on this?...



      I still think you're missing the boat with Gimp, but that is another story. To answer your question, you're looking for Crossover Office 2.0. This version adds support for Photoshop version 7.0 and earlier. The review I read said performance and installation (of both Crossover and photoshop) were not problems.

  • Article: :-|
    Document: :-)
    Slashdot: :-(

    Bottom Line: :^P
  • Linux will never be "ready" for the desktop. Neither will Solaris, AIX, IRIX, *BSD, or HP-UX. *nix is for servers and hackers, not Joe Sixpack and his PC. To succeed on the desktop, you need a UI designed for the LEAST computer-literate people out there, it has to support ANY hardware they can throw at it, installing/removing software has to be easy, etc., etc., ad nauseum.

    Besides, if Linux did gain wide acceptance as a desktop OS, we would all lose our elite status and have to go back to VMS.

    • by cbowland (205263) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @04:37PM (#6409532)
      Mac OS X certainly refutes your claim that "*nix is for servers and hackers, not Joe Sixpack...."

      I do agree with your analysis of the state of the Linux UI, but Apple has demostrated that you can put an effective and attractive GUI on a unix machine.
      • I stand corrected regarding the OS X UI. BSD can be made usable IF you make the command line completely unnecessary, but that isn't the only issue. Since Apple is the only company that builds Macs, they can ensure that all their hardware and software work flawlessly together. That will never be possible with Linux on x86.
    • "To succeed on the desktop, you need a UI designed for the LEAST computer-literate people out there, it has to support ANY hardware they can throw at it, installing/removing software has to be easy, etc., etc., ad nauseum."

      Better or easier have nothing to do with anything.

      Network marketing is everything. Absolutely everything.

      In the end, nothing else matters.

      I wish it weren't so, but it is.
    • huh bsd? have you used a mac lately? seriously
  • by MROD (101561) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @04:32PM (#6409497) Homepage
    Having seen a great deal of hype and discussion about how Linux is going to push Windows off the desktop I see a problem with the whole subject...

    No-one's actually defined who's desktop they want to aim at.

    Now, if it's the corporate desktop then distributions should concentrate on a small number of bullet-proof applications included on the CD's. They should be set up so that they're designed to be "plug-and-play" when it comes to setting them up for a specific task and they should only allow the admin to change the look and feel etc. After all, it's an interchangeable office tool like a desklamp. Or it should be.

    If it's the desktop of Aunty May then they should target with a few, easily used and bullet proof set of applications and a desktop which is very simple to use and only does a few things but does them extremely well.

    If the desktop is for the computer hobbyist then they need a core set of programs which are bullet proof and a desktop which is customisable etc. In addition to this a lot of optional toys should be available.

    Now, which of these "desktops" do you want to conquer?

    In my opinion, for the last two, Apple have got the right mix with MacOS X, so Linux distributions could do worse than following Apple's ideas on combing novice usability with UNIX nutter complexity.

    No operating system I've seen does the "desklamp" type interchangable desktop system all that well other than maybe Sun's SunRays and other thin clients, but they rely upon server CPU to run the applications.
  • this story? [slashdot.org]

  • Nothing new (Score:5, Funny)

    by ZoneGray (168419) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @04:36PM (#6409525) Homepage

    Nothing new. I've had Linux on my desktop for years.

    One of these days maybe I'll open the box and install it.

  • Linux on the Desktop (Score:3, Informative)

    by Silwenae (514138) * on Thursday July 10, 2003 @04:38PM (#6409541) Homepage
    I've switched to Linux as my full time desktop.

    It is *ready*. It is usable. Even my wife gets it when she sits down at my machine. The only caveat is minor installations for the browser (Flash mainly).

    I'm an avid Gnome user - but applications such as K3B for burning, Gaim, even Grip are easy enough to use for an average user.

    The article did a fantastic job by going into details by category, and then summing up the good and the bad, and I like the smilies.
  • Linux on the desktop scratches my itch. I can do everything I want to (even games) and if I can't do something I can usually knock up a script or a bit of C to bend it to my will.

    Sure, if Linux was no longer 'sexy' I might have to give up playing some new releases (UT2k3 for example, or NWN) but I could live with that - the Quake engines were opened up way before Linux was a buzzword and they are still fun to play. There might have been more GPL game development too that way.

    So in the long run all of the
  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @05:04PM (#6409757) Homepage

    I mean, he can get a bit annoying with the whole GNU/lunix thing, but even the most resolutely ignorant commentator should be able to distinguish between KDE/GNOME, and the linux kernel running under it. Normally it wouldn't bother me, but they are primarily talking about the desktops here.

    If you think this is splitting hairs, how many reviewers do you think would know how to tell the difference between KDE 3.1.0 running on top of linux and the same desktop running on top of BSD?

  • by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @05:04PM (#6409763) Journal
    I can see Linux gaining desktop share in corporations, but IMHO it will not be a major force in the home market for some time to come. All the current development focus seems to be on server functionality.

    Linux needs better support for hot-plugged devices, a better GUI, easier configuration, a cleaner file system, and better applications.

    By far, the majority of home computer users care about ease of use and simplicity rather than configurablity. They want applications and hardware that are easy to install and use. This is something that GNU/Linux with XFree86 does not have. And, it will have to change before Desktop Linux is common in the home.

    Check my journal for further thoughts on this.
  • by tabdelgawad (590061) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @05:17PM (#6409853) Homepage
    I've been using Wintel for over 15 years and have just recently installed Red Hat 9 on an older K6-2 550. Here are a couple of points I think are worth mentioning (ubergeeks can exclude themselves from the classifications below):

    1. Linux is ready for *some* desktops only, namely ones where users won't be constantly tweaking and installing new software and hardware. You want a computer for grandma to browse the web, send email and view a few grandkid photos? Linux is great! You want to roll out corporate desktops where employees don't really need to be able to download and install the latest version of KaZaA? Linux is a godsend (provided the business software you need is supported).

    2. Linux is *not* ready for the average user desktop. The average user wants to do everything grandma wants to do, but they also want to be able to install or upgrade software and hardware *easily*. In addition, they want a fully functional GUI, with no *necessity* of dropping to a CLI for everyday tasks. They want to be able to go to a third party software/driver website, follow the 'click here for Linux version' hyperlink, download the file, then double-click to install it.

    Needless to say, as long as Linux distributions and desktop managers continue to proliferate, the average user's requirements will never be met. I say this as a *fact* not a *prescription*, so spare me the Linux-strength-in-diversity comments. I just think you can't have your cake (freedom/diversity) and eat it too (Linux on average desktop).
    • Needless to say, as long as Linux distributions and desktop managers continue to proliferate, the average user's requirements will never be met. I say this as a *fact* not a *prescription*, so spare me the Linux-strength-in-diversity comments. I just think you can't have your cake (freedom/diversity) and eat it too (Linux on average desktop).

      I've not seen any credible evidence to back this up. I agree with your two numbered points; however, this addendum is from the perspective of a self-admitted 15-year
    • by Xtifr (1323) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @06:30PM (#6410506) Homepage
      I've been using Wintel for over 15 years and have just recently installed Red Hat 9 on an older K6-2 550.

      Keep in mind that you're evaluating a primarily server-oriented distro there. If you want to see how well a linux desktop can work, you really need to check out one of the desktop-oriented distros, like Knoppix, possibly Mandrake, or maybe even Lindows.

      1. Linux is ready for *some* desktops only, namely ones where users won't be constantly tweaking and installing new software and hardware. You want a computer for grandma to browse the web, send email and view a few grandkid photos? Linux is great!

      Even though I don't agree with everything you say, you deserve your insightful mods for this point alone. Linux is, and has been, ready for Gramma for quite some time, and I have the experience to prove it.

      The average user wants to do everything grandma wants to do, but they also want to be able to install or upgrade software and hardware *easily*. In addition, they want a fully functional GUI, with no *necessity* of dropping to a CLI for everyday tasks.

      Here, I think we're seeing your bias from having been exposed to a server-oriented distro. The more desktop-oriented distros have solved both of these problems to a much higher degree than RH has. Or needs to - the servers actually benefit from the CLI, as it makes mass, remote administration much easier in general.

      They want to be able to go to a third party software/driver website, follow the 'click here for Linux version' hyperlink, download the file, then double-click to install it.

      This one is still a valid point. On the other hand, as more corporate desktops and grandmas get Linux installed for them, the more "click here to install the Linux version" links we'll see. This one will be solved before too much longer.

      Needless to say, as long as Linux distributions and desktop managers continue to proliferate, the average user's requirements will never be met. I say this as a *fact* not a *prescription*, so spare me the Linux-strength-in-diversity comments.

      Here I really disagree with you. Spare me the "fact" claim about what is, honestly, just your opinion. The real issue here is not "strength-in-diversity" - that's just a fringe benefit for those of us who aren't average users. The real issue is the openness of things like file formats. When you use MSOFfice, you're dealing with a vendor who wants to shut out the competition (and this is true even with proprietary software vendors who don't have a monopoly). When you're dealing with FLOSS, you're dealing with people who want to maximize interoperability. Thus, Gnome and KDE get closer and closer, day by day, and it becomes less important all the time which (if either) you use.

      Of course, we're not there yet, and time could prove you right, but I seriously tend to doubt that you are. This is a whole new ballgame, played by different rules, and assumptions based on the old rules are quite likely to be wrong.
  • by geomon (78680) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @05:22PM (#6409896) Homepage Journal
    If any company has even a thought of entering the desktop market, they have to focus on their commitment to sales. Sounds easy, right? But that commitment means showing up for sales meetings and making sure the customer is happy not only with your product, but with your company as well.

    Microsoft didn't get to market dominance by ignoring their customers. The problem they have had in the past has been a pit bull aggression toward their competitors. This often left the customer with half finished products, but their early focus was to move the product closer to what the customer wanted at all times. Their focus has changed now that they dominate the market, but their competitive drive still remains on steroids.

    Compare that to a Linux vendor who was supposed to speak at our company today. They set up two consecutive meetings with our company and a LUG to show how their software would not only provide a good user experience, but would also convince skeptical IT personnel that their product was a ready replacement or alternative to Windows.

    They decided to 'no-show'. And they did it without providing adequate notice. Through their actions, they have told both organizations they scheduled meetings with that the customer is not important.

    I know that things go afoul and that sometimes a scheduled event must be cancelled. But if Microsoft had scheduled the meeting where they thought they could have an opportunity to get to a competitors customer, they would have shipped a sales representative with a 102 degree Fahrenheit fever rather than 'no-show'.

    That is why they dominate the desktop market, and probably will for years to come.

  • by eniu!uine (317250) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @05:34PM (#6409979)
    Why are we using this arbitrary word 'ready' anyway? This clearly depends on who's using it and what they're using it for. People say that their mom can't run it, but forget that their mom can't run Windows either. It's a pointless argument anyway.. people wondering whether or not linux will 'succeed'. This isn't a commercial product, it's a bunch of open source projects. Look at how much developement was done before anyone knew about it or was interested in using it. It can't really fail. The real question is will Linux ever occupy the majority position on desktops the way that Windows does now. I think the answer is obvious. If Microsoft doesn't come up with some serious innovations then EVENTUALLY they will lose the desktop, where eventually could be a matter of a few decades.

  • by RandyF (588707) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @05:47PM (#6410063) Journal
    is that the switch to Linux is really a war of attrition. I've used it almost exclusively for for over three years now. But then, I'm a geek.

    Every so often, another 10 or 12 M$ users get fed up an try Linux. Two or three stick with it. Every now and again a few hundred people buy a Lindows-based cheap PC from Walmart.com. [walmart.com]. Most of those keep using it because it's simple and runs pretty good. Every now and then one of us geeks gets fed up, decides to try Linux, needs the skills for our jos, etc... and we're hooked. The rest is history.

    The whole Open Source community is a different way of thinking. It's a whole new world that takes some getting used to. Once on board, however, a small percentage of the "users" become the "contributors". With more contributors, more problems get fixed, more features get added, more things are moved to the new environment.

    As more people move to the new environment, more commercial vendors of those really cool apps decide it's worth the cost to port their apps. From Games to server-side to productivity, more new commercial apps are deciding to join the fray.

    As this "war of attrition" continues, we slowly reach the point refered to as "critical mass". That is where the percentage of users is high enough, the ease of use is good enough, and the level of "public expertise" is great enough that the Joe Sixpacks out their don't see a difference and start choosing Linux on purpose (or maybe just gets it because it's already loaded on the PC he wants and "oh, this one IS cheaper isn't it...")

    At that point, M$ quickly loses it's $ and becomes the fringe radical OS, much like what happened to OS/2 and nearly happened to Mac/OS.

    Something that is free (as in freedom), almost free (as in I didn't have to pay --much-- for it), and has a huge following that is constantly improving it will continue to increase in market share until it is the dominant player.

    In the long term (that may be a few or many years) the only people not adopting OSS will be the dinosaurs that refuse to change and have a rabid, unexplainable attachment to the M$ OS.

    As far as being a "threat to the software market", markets change over time. If a large group of people are willing to build, for free, the commodity pieces, then there is no market to sustain those software makers.

    In a "for instance": Netscape went out of business (yea, I know, AOL bought them... they still went out of business!!!) because M$ decided to offer their new, buggy browser for free. Now, M$ is going to go out of business because the public has decided to offer their new, not quite as shiney, OS for free.

    In the same vain, Oracle has, arguably, the best RDMS on the market, AND IT RUNS ON LINUX. None of the OSS dbms packages can really compete on their scale... yet. It is realy only a matter of time before the scalability, stability, and breadth of services of one or more of these OSS dbmss catch up or even pass Oracle. It will still take a while after that point for widespread adoption to kick in. I don't see that happening for another 7 to 15 years.

    M$, however, only has about 2 to 4 years left in their profit cycle... and they know it. That's why they are getting soooo nasty. Linux has already passed them up on general stability and scalability. It's really only the flashy stuff that remains to be polished.

    Yea, OSS will take over the market, with only a few niches left for commercial apps. The app vendors that don't port will go quicker because non-ported specialty apps give a valid target for the OSS crowd. (Take not Sdobe, Autodesk, Intuit, Macromedia etc...) A popular movement, like OSS, is like a train: get on board and enjoy the ride or stand in the way and get squished...

    'nuff said...

  • Commodification? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by eyegone (644831) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @06:24PM (#6410464)
    4.2.3 The commodification of the operating system

    I'm pretty sure this isn't a word.
  • Well (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Cyno (85911) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @07:07PM (#6410785) Journal
    Here's how I see it. Linux on the desktop is inevitable. It is an option that businesses can choose to ignore at their own cost.

    Now if their competition somehow cuts costs using Linux and outmaneuvers them they will be answer to their share holders. But if they can somehow leverage proprietary software to make their business work more efficiently then it is still possible Linux might not become the dominant OS.

    Speaking from experience I serious doubt proprietary software can be as dynamic and efficient as OSS. But I will give them the benefit of the doubt.

    Listen up folks. Proprietary software NEEDS all the help it can get. Because we all know software doesn't build itself. ;)

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