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Red Hat's CEO Suggests Windows For Home Users 1079

Posted by timothy
from the self-abnegation dept.
Selecter was one of many readers to point out a ZDNet story in which "the CEO of Red Hat now says that Linux is not ready for the desktop, but may be ready in a few more years. Curious - I'm wondering if this is the start of a corporate only retrenchment of Linux, or just a bump in the road to Linux having a wider desktop share?" Apropos that, Gwobl writes "Jim Lynch, over at ExtremeTech, weighs in on the fate of the Linux desktop, now that Red Hat has apparently turned its attention to the enterprise and Novell is buying SUSE (to go with Outlook clone Ximian, which it also owns). Lynch's take: Cheer them on! The Linux world needs these strong champions. And don't overlook Novell's networking roots. Time was, Big Red defined networking."
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Red Hat's CEO Suggests Windows For Home Users

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  • LEt's face it. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mindstrm (20013) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:01PM (#7391432)
    Nothing these companiess have done really drives linux.. linux drives itself. Even Redhat, despite their contributions, is just along for the ride.

    Linux will succeed regardless of what happens with these companies.

    It was a very useful tool before they arrived, and will be equally useful after they are gone.
  • Szulik sells out. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dolo666 (195584) * on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:03PM (#7391444) Journal
    This move is surprising to me, but I wouldn't put much faith in what Matthew Szulik has to say about Windows or Linux for home use, considering he's changed the direction of Red Hat's policy regarding sales and distrobution. To me all this means is that Matthew Szulik has changed his company politics (done an about-face). It's in his interest to tell everyone to use Windows at home, because he doesn't want to have to listen to Linux users complain about him selling out, and he doesn't want another vendor to compete directly against him with the corporate guys. A Microsoft partnership at this time is very wise with Red Hat, but I'd bet dollars to donuts, Billygoat Gates slipped him a mickey or something to that effect.

    Szulik likely realized that you can make twenty times more money working with big business than you can fielding techsup for home users. To me, this goes against the overall spirit of running Linux, and even the Open Source community, in general.

    Thank god Linus doesn't think this way, eh guys?
  • by bluethundr (562578) * on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:03PM (#7391451) Homepage Journal
    the CEO of Red Hat now says that Linux is not ready for the desktop, but may be ready in a few more years.

    CEOs are known for their business acumen, but not necessarily for their techincal knowledge or skills. I've even read in one really great Apple history book [barnesandnoble.com] that Apple engineers lambasted Steve Jobs as "non-technical" and considered him unfit to make "technical" decisions. I don't know that much about the RedHat CEO, but this may be a similar case.
  • Justification (Score:1, Insightful)

    by CrayHill (703411) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:04PM (#7391465)
    "the CEO of Red Hat now says that Linux is not ready for the desktop, but may be ready in a few more years."

    This sounds like him attempting a justification for RedHat's actions of dropping desktop support and focusing on the Enterprise Edition.
  • by Mitch Murray (680637) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:07PM (#7391486)
    The home desktop crowd is support intensive and aren't willing to pay for support, period. What RedHat is saying is "Please, these customers we can never make money on, go buy Windows, bitch to BillG and friends, and by that you do us a favor".
  • Consumers... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aardvarkjoe (156801) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:07PM (#7391491)
    His statement is that "consumers" ought to be using Windows rather than Linux. Fortunately, as somebody who uses rather than consumes my computer, I'm just fine with my Linux desktop.

    The point is that he's right, in the sense that he's using: from a standpoint of people doing the marketing, they would rather have people using Windows than Linux. Of course, that's really pretty much irrelevant to us who actually use the computers.
  • by metatruk (315048) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:09PM (#7391503)
    and until there is a Linux distro that "just works" it won't be.

    Consider:
    The lack of good font support in X. But it's not just X. It's applications too. There's no unified way to use fonts, or to use the "right" fonts.

    Lack of good clipboard support in X: Perhaps it isn't X that's the problem. But most applications cannot agree on what clipboard format they are using. Forget about copying an image in Konqueror or Mozilla and pasting it into OpenOffice. Or even formatted text for that matter. Sheesh!

    Number of Linux distributions: There's no way to
    make a good installer that will install a commercial app on Linux and have everything work. There are too many dependencies for specific versions of libraries and things that would make this sort of thing worse than any kind of Windows DLL hell.

    Drivers: Linux intentionally makes it difficult for people to release binary-only drivers. Of course, Binary only drivers are a bad idea anyway, some vendors will insist on it such as NVidia.

    Games: Linux would make an ideal game platform IF games were released for it. Now I realize this is a chicken/egg problem of course, but you have to factor it in when thinking about if Linux is really ready for the Desktop...

    All of this being said, I do use Linux as a desktop. I feel comfortable with its limitations. I'm not an average user though, and I wouldn't expect any average user to figure out how to make Linux do what it can do.

    Now, where I disagree with Red Hat is that you should _not_ use Windows. Use Mac OS X. It's way better than windows in design, and just works.
  • by namespan (225296) <namespan@RABBITe ... minus herbivore> on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:09PM (#7391516) Journal
    Szulik gave an example of his 90-year-old father going to a local retailer in order to purchase a computer with Linux: "We know painfully well what happens. He will try to get it installed and either doesn't have a positive experience or puts a lot of pressure on your support systems," he said.

    Thing is, lots of consumers have exactly the same sort of experience with Windows. But with Window's they're the market leader, not some minority emergin alternative. People are far more likely to think there's something wrong with them when they can't make Windows work as they expect, and the reverse is true for Linux.

  • If I had a dime... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by festers (106163) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:10PM (#7391527) Journal
    ..for everytime someone said "Linux isn't ready for the desktop", I'd be paying these people to STFU. I was a big supporter of Red Hat in the past (been using it since 6.0), but with the recent changes to their support, and boneheaded comments from their execs, I've pretty much had it with them. Look, if Linux isn't ready for your desktop, fine, I won't beat you over the head. But it's been ready for my desktop for the past 3 years, and lots of other "non-techie" types as well.
  • hooray? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by digitalsushi (137809) * <slashdot@digitalsushi.com> on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:12PM (#7391536) Journal
    if linux goes back to the popularity it had in 1999ish, all the "1337 5cr1pt k1d5" will be happy again because their personal identity, defined through their computer's operating system, will be closer to unique once again! (speaking as someone who was one of these people back in 1999, and had a wise unix guru tell me why i was being a dumb kid, and helped me grow up by losing that attitude and demonstrating linux advocacy where appropriate, and avoiding it where not)
  • Initial reaction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by inode_buddha (576844) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:12PM (#7391537) Journal
    Maybe he's just being realistic? Don't get me wrong, I've used RH daily since 5.2. I've also supported Win9.x and XP for friends, family, and co-workers. When a linux distro has that slick of an install ("Just click "next""...), along with *all* the device drivers, it'll really take off on the desktop.

    And that's the catch-22, IMHO. I believe that the truly successful desktop linux company/distro will pay most all of their attention to simplifying and integrating things in the GUI, and 3/4 of their devel's will be device driver people. Why do I say this? because, people buy computers for its devices. Device manufacturers won't be arsed to write linux drivers until it has a much larger market. It won't have that larger market until you can plug XYZ into a USB port without thinking, cuz it had a penguin sticker on the box.
  • by NineNine (235196) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:12PM (#7391543)
    I've been a RedHat user since 5.1. No more.


    And the amount of money you paid for your Red Hat distributions was probably not enough to cover a box of pencils for the company. Which is why they don't care that they're dropping the desktop. They don't want you, and you don't want them. It's a match made in heaven.

    Oh yeah, and it's "Fuck you Red Hat". I don't think that "Fsck" is a word.
  • tacky (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pavon (30274) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:13PM (#7391545)
    I agree that linux as a whole isn't ready for the desktop, unless you have a nearby linux geek who doesn't mind do the occasional difficult administrative things that a normal user can't.

    On the other hand this announcement seems a little tactless. "We have decided to get out of the home desktop market, so no one should use linux on the desktop any more. Use windows, not those other linux distro's. I mean if we don't think this is a good market for linux than no one should market linux there." Now he was probably just explaining why they got out of the market but this is how it came acrossed to me.
  • by Dareth (47614) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:17PM (#7391585)
    This isn't about all of "us" who already have linux on our desktops. This is about all of "them" who do not know if they have Windows XP or Windows 95.

    There is a digital divide, but it isn't about race, religion, or economic status. It is all about knowledge, skill, and the desire to actually understand what you are doing. Many of "them" will never understand anything about computers. And probably most of "us" will never understand why they don't feel the same as we do.

    Use what works for you. If I want to use a hammer for any mechanical work, so be it. If you don't agree with me, you might just start to look like a nail. *wink*

  • by guest (3772) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:18PM (#7391593)
    You're right, CEO's aren't known for their technical knowledge, but by "ready for the desktop" I think he means "ready for the average person to use", if that's the case I think he's more qualified than someone with technical knowledge to make that proclamation.
  • How 'bout my $40?! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mariox19 (632969) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:21PM (#7391617)

    Let me see if I get this straight. The company from which I paid $40 to buy a box set of Red Hat Linux 9 is now saying their product is "not ready for the desktop"?

    This is the same Linux with the swell GUI, Bluecurve; which, to quote the press release [redhat.com] offers a "[c]onveniently organized, user-friendly desktop with numerous graphical enhancements and icons."

    How about refunding me my $40 for no other reason that shame on you! -- hmmm?

  • by drskrud (684409) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:22PM (#7391623) Homepage

    What you really have to realize is that, for your average desktop user, tweaking an OS to their liking isn't really something they care for. All they need is something that you pop in and run. The Operating System acts mostly like a black box to them and just does whatever it is they've learned how to do.

    Linux, in it's current state (and in my very limited experience) is still not ready for the average desktop user who is baffled by tech jargon. While I have no problem downloading and compiling ALSA to get my sound card to work properly, most people probably wouldn't know how to do that. Actually, as a general statement, one simply can't expect an "average user" to compile anything. And it seems that much of the wonderful free/open source software that exists for windows does require SOME tinkering, the average user probably doesn't know or is afraid of tinkering with systems most likely beyond their understanding. Maybe some linux desktops zealots fail to realize that what may be mere child's play to them, is out of the question for normal people. The desktop is, after all, the realm of normal people. Linux has to be able to interface with all the readily available hardware devices right away, and without hitch before the masses of people start using it, and part of that problem is getting manufacturers to supply linux drivers or make their devices linux compatible. While there are ongoing improvements in this area, it's still not quite ready for the normal people....

  • by chrisbw (609350) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:22PM (#7391625) Homepage
    This guy is not a Redhat founder, he's just some MBA dork they picked up to make the VCs happy. You can see how quickly he's sold out the dream of linux on everything and turned it into the VC dream of 'linux on everything profitable'.

    Well, it doesn't take an MBA to realize that businesses kinda need to pursue things that generate profit. I personally thing RedHat made the right choice in ditching a line of business that was dragging it down.

    It's also possible that perhaps Linux isn't really ready for the mainstream desktop. I personally have a hard time picturing my mom installing and maintaining Linux on her home computer.

    I'm certainly not saying Windows is anything great, or that Linux doesn't have its merits, but Linux has very much grown organically along the path that UNIXy people have wanted it to grow in, which doesn't always lend it to being an "average consumer"-friendly OS.

  • Re: tacky (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:23PM (#7391627)


    > I agree that linux as a whole isn't ready for the desktop, unless you have a nearby linux geek who doesn't mind do the occasional difficult administrative things that a normal user can't.

    By that standard, what OS is ready for the desktop?

  • by Rimbo (139781) <rimbosityNO@SPAMsbcglobal.net> on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:25PM (#7391647) Homepage Journal
    What the hell is this idiot thinking?

    On the one hand, he just pissed off a lot of the loyal Red Hat users. On the other hand, he just turned a bunch of consumers off of Linux. And on the third hand, for you three-handed folks out there, he's going to turn off his enterprise consumers as well by saying, "There's something we don't do well."

    Now it may very well be true that Linux doesn't do the desktop well, it may not be. I've got my own opinion, as do you.

    The point is that when you are trying to sell something, as Red Hat is, you don't say, "We don't do this, and don't think people should try it with our product." You say, "We may not do this well, but we think people can do it, and we're working hard to make the experience even better." This is Public Relations 101 for cryin' out loud.

    How the hell did Red Hat get this loon? And what's the over/under on Red Hat's PR department releasing an "Explanation" within the next 24 hours???

    Things are not going well down Red Hat way.
  • No love for OS X? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by l0ungeb0y (442022) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:25PM (#7391651) Homepage Journal
    WTF!?!?
    RedHat advocating Windows?
    You'd think they would have advocated an OS whose underpinnings are some what related to their own and offer a bonafide "OS alternative" that provides ease of use, popular applications and has name brand recognition.

    Sure, fine... turn away from the home-enthusiast and ma/pop sector. But at least support those who contribute to the OS community rather than the dark lord in Mordor^H^H^H^H ...err Redmond.
  • Linux is not fruit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kindbud (90044) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:26PM (#7391665) Homepage
    However, Szulik expects Linux to be ready in a couple of years after it has had time to mature.

    What is it, a fruit? It takes time to ripen? I think not. That's just stupid. RedHat Linux is not suitable for the home user desktop because RedHat has not made it so. Waiting will accomplish nothing.

  • by Nailer (69468) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:27PM (#7391678)
    So Red Hat acknowledges the realistic state of Linux on the desktop and dares create a Debian style distribution with their trademark ease of use and their employees working on it?

    What assholes!
  • by hchaos (683337) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:28PM (#7391683)
    This guy is not a Redhat founder, he's just some MBA dork they picked up to make the VCs happy. You can see how quickly he's sold out the dream of linux on everything and turned it into the VC dream of 'linux on everything profitable'.
    Which is exactly why his opinion is so important. Because it's people like him, not people like /. posters, who make decisions like "I can't work with this complicated system, Windows is so much easier, so everyone in the company needs to use MS for everything."

    Also, despite his probable lack of computer knowlege, he is probably a lot smarter that your average computer user, so if he doesn't think it's ready, your average computer user won't think it's ready, either. As long as Linux is more difficult to install and use than Windows, it doesn't stand a chance. Even though a lot of improvements have been made, none of the UI's for it are anywhere close to being as good as Microsoft's. If you want Liinux to dominate Microsoft (and, clearly, the CEO of Redhat will care about that), you have to remember that most of the people who use computers today didn't before Windows 95.
  • Yup. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by mindstrm (20013) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:29PM (#7391692)
    And for joe average, Windows doesn'ty come close to MacOS. Not nearly as polished or finished. yet it's everywhere.
  • It seems to me.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MortisUmbra (569191) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:29PM (#7391695)
    That the people who determine the future of Linux, generally don't listen to people like this....

    By that I mean that, for the most part, Linux users are more liable to decide to run Linux because it suit them and their needs, than they are to listen to some MBA dolt who tells them they shouldnt. And since, lets face it, the Linux community is more concerned with making a good OS than it is with taking the #1 spot, I dont see how this even registers on the scales.

    And to be honest, I do rather agree with him. I CANNOT set up my less knowledgeable family with Linux without answer 20x more "I have a problem" phone calls than with Windows. This is a problem for me running it on my desktop, but for my mother, it is a VERY real problem. And that is who he's talking about. Your mother, my mother, your grandmother....and even the simplest distro is still a bit much for them.
  • by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:29PM (#7391703) Homepage Journal
    I think part of the problem is the flexibility.

    Linux is so flexible that there are who knows how many widget sets, rather than improve on one, developers seem to rather work on their own and not really refine it.

    There is also no direction, and developers working for free often can't be motivated to properly document how to use a program. There's no money in testing, that is left up to others as well. This lack of direction also hurts development efforts as so many projects are repeating each other. They compete rather than having just a few projects that complement each other and put the effort into a truly refined product.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:32PM (#7391716)
    I haven't...

    I just haven't had time to fuck around getting it to work...

    I know you'll say something like "if you can't get a camera or usb mp3player to work then you're just not leet enough for linux!" well YES EXACTLY.

    I have studied computer science, I know how to code and how networks work and all kinds of technical shit, but I'm just to busy to waste time setting it up. The docs are always out of date or specific to one distro.

    It's not that I'm not technically knowledgablwe enough to figure it, it's that I'm too fucking busy to babysit my operating system. I need to be able to plug shit in and have it work. Sorry, but some day when you have a life you're just going to want an OS that works FOR ME not an OS that makes ME WORK! Computers are supposed to make MY WORK EASIER not add EXTRA WORK.

    Linux on the desktop has been an emperor has no clothes situation for so long I'm glad the guy had the balls to admit that linux, although it's getting better, is just not ready for widespread desktop use. When he says desktop use he doesn't mean desktop of a someone with no life who can spend all day screwing with it, he means desktop of someone who has other things to do with their time that sit around fucking with an OS all day. The truth of the matter is a well designed OS shouldn't even be noticable, it should just work behind the scenes and let you do what you need to do.
  • by hkmwbz (531650) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:32PM (#7391718) Journal
    This is an honest question, and something I've always wondered when people make statements like this. I am primarily a Windows user myself, but I am wondering:

    What is it that makes Linux more difficult to use for Joe Dummy? Having recently installed Mandrake, I actually found it as easy as, if not easier to install than Windows 2000 or XP (which I've recently installed as well). When I say "Linux" I am referring to Mandrake, SuSE and other such distributions, and not Debian, Slackware, Gentoo, etc. They are clearly more advanced.

    But Joe Dummy wouldn't install Windows would he? He would get it preinstalled. And then he would need someone to tell him what icons to click to do whatever he wants to do. But how is this more difficult when using Linux?

    The only thing I can think of is that there are more Windows users out there, so it might be easier to find one if you need help. But that doesn't make Windows itself easier to use than Linux, does it?

  • Re:Let's face it. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MarkusQ (450076) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:33PM (#7391724) Journal

    ...the small fractions of nerds in the community that will use Linux will never make it popular.

    Funny, it wasn't that many years ago I heard basically the same argument aimed at home computers. Why would you want a computer in your home, anyway? The small fraction of nerds in the community that build their own will never make them popular.

    And a few years later I heard the "they are going to go with a large, reputable company" argument too, except back then it was used to explain why the clone makers were doomed and IBM was going to rule.

    Try as they might, companies (and especially big companies) don't cause trends. They follow them, and attempt to profit from them.

    -- MarkusQ

    P.S. RedHat's progression shouldn't be suprising to anyone who's read "The Innovator's Delima".

  • by samjam (256347) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:33PM (#7391730) Homepage Journal
    Redhat bloat (and SLOW gnome bloat) is BIGGER and WORSE than windows bloat!

    I wont tire of saying that a P400 with 64MB and Redhat 9 + Gnome thrashed disk like mad while the P100 32MB Win95 machine it replaced was much much better.

    When I put 200MB in the P400 it stopped thrashing and was only 4 TIMES SLOWER than the P100 with 32MB and win95

    Thats GNOME for you, who persue idealistic usability instead of pragmatic usability.

    Then don't get me started on Debian, that DOESN'T install the packages containing the kernel modules needed to run the installer until AFTER the next boot when its too late, cos the network card (and PCMCIA) were some of those drivers.

    Debian - where the "about" docs are merged with the "join us" docs which are merged with the "instructional" docs so it becomes IMPOSSIBLE to get any information out in any decent ammount of time.

    Debian - whose users think apt-get is better than the ("I never heard of it") rpm/up2date of redhat and with much less features.

    As you can tell I'm ticked off at Linux on the desktop.

    For 2 years I've dual booted, preparing to make the switch, I still haven't been able to do it!

    I guess I'm sticking with win2k another couple of years despite my FAT32 my documents to I can use open office from win or linux, thats the ONLY thing that works, with MOZILLA on a NEARLY 2nd best.

    Desktop Linux is nowhere soon.

    Sam
  • by cbreaker (561297) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:37PM (#7391768) Journal
    I don't think it's as simple as that unfortunately. Users plug in multifunction devices (printer/scanners), cameras, camcorders, etc. Games.

    They can't easily use Linux and plug in something and have it just work. Not so say that in Windows everything just works either, but it's supposed to work without doing much. Linux usually isn't, you often have to mess with things a lot.

    Depends on what you need to do. If you're a very light computer user you could get away with it. Hell, I even had OS/2 on my mom's computer for a long time and it was fine.
  • by Dragoon412 (648209) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:38PM (#7391777)
    I read a comment on Slashdot before that summed up the Linux vs. Windows on the desktop debate almost perfectly, and I really wish I could remember who said it so I could give him credit, but it was along the lines of:

    ---
    I can take a PC running Windows XP, plug in any of thousands of pieces of hardware, and they'll just work. Or, I could spend hours putzing around with obscure config files and recompiling the kernel to get the damned scroll wheel on my generic mouse functioning.
    ---

    But configuration and the nearly-endless number of package dependancy issues aren't the only reasons Linux won't catch on for the desktop. One of the largest reasons, which I rarely see pointed out, is that despite all the KDE vs. Gnome flamewars, it doesn't matter which you choose, because they both suck! Say what you want about XP's playschool UI (which can be skinned very easily, by the way); it's still years ahead of anything I've ever seen running on *nix.

    I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment that OSX is far and away the superior OS - I recommend it to anyone that wants a computer for home but isn't a gamer, but for your average home user, Linux is just out of the question. And for your average advanced user? Linux is way too much of a headache to be worthwhile.

    In the end, Linux is practically designed to be a business OS. Security, stability and cost efficiency are selling points for PHBs and admins, not home users. I think Mandrake and Redhat ought to be commended for making such an effort to make Linux more user-friendly, but ultimately, it's futile. It's like trying to make an M1A1 tank practical for day-to-day commuting. You can modify the hell out of it, but in the end, you're still using a tank to do what a plain old car's much better-suited for.
  • by hherb (229558) <horstNO@SPAMdorrigomedical.com> on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:40PM (#7391791) Homepage
    In our medical centre, we use Linux to exclusion. On the desktop, on the server. And we are happy that way.

    What's more, we couldn't care less what RedHat does or doesn't, recommends or thinks. We don't need them, never did. We use Debian.

    If there is one thing we believe that has slowed Linux' uptake on the desktop, it is RPM - RedHat's package management. Would they have settled for the vastly superior Debian package management system - where could we be today?

    But then, freeing customers from these artificial update cycles would mean losing revenue, losing stronghold on customers, and what corporate entity likes that idea?
  • Re:...you dumb kid (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MoneyT (548795) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:41PM (#7391812) Journal
    Your ignorance into how the mind of a consumer works leads me to wonder why you posted. Just because something is technicaly superior does not make it the superior product for the target consumer. On a server level, yes, linux and it's brethren are superior to windows, however, on a desktop level, a level targeted at the mass consumer market, Linux is the inferior product because it is difficult to use and maintain properly.

    To continue with the all too popular car analogies:

    Linux is like a manual transmission car. Technicaly it's superior, if you know how to use it properly.

    But to average consumers, an automatic is the superior product because it requires minimal effort on the part of the consumer to accomplish the same task.
  • by dnoyeb (547705) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:42PM (#7391813) Homepage Journal
    Please. I am not Joe dummy. i use it as a server and its great. I thought to install it on my laptop and sort of convert myself.

    Linux sucks with multimedia compared to windows. Windows I can play a DVD with any number of easily installable and functioning programs. Linux I killed myself getting 2 different programs to work. And they still have many issues. I was told to rewrite code if I had a problem. Which i would if I had time but I'm contributing to other open Source programs right now.

    Not to mention I also had to compile my own code after I deciphered and modified byte codes to get power management to even thing about working. And its not working fully either. Linux is yet to have a full power management strategy.

    It neither ready, nor easy.

    Saying it will be in 2-3 years is also a joke unless Redhat or somebody puts some muscle behind multimedia and power management.
  • this one (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:43PM (#7391830)
    > I agree that linux as a whole isn't ready for the desktop, unless you have a nearby linux geek who doesn't mind do the occasional difficult administrative things that a normal user can't.

    By that standard, what OS is ready for the desktop?

    osx
  • Umm people? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kelz (611260) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:44PM (#7391844)
    Compatibility. Gamers (mainstream) don't use Linux because they don't want to figure out how to compile Wine.

    Average users don't use linux because it is a very high wall to leap over, and they are comfortable with IE and Word, and are not the least bit concerned with security, unless they regularly make purchases online.

    Businesses don't use Linux (in desktops) because the cost in time and money of training all the users to switch from dos-based to unix-based systems.

    I agree that Linux is not ready for the desktop yet, because the hurdles are currently too high. I think by saying this the Red Hat CEO is implying that they are working on a way to make the transition much much easier.

    Just remember he said Linux isn't ready for desktops yet
  • by k98sven (324383) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:44PM (#7391845) Journal
    Plenty of ways.. but to mention one:
    Hardware installation.

    With Windows every hardware manufacturer and his dog are out there to make sure that the installation will work for 95% of the windows users.

    In linux, it MIGHT be simple.. if kudzu (if you're using Redhat) detects and configures the hardware correctly. But this is not always the case. Nor are drivers always available.

    Upgrade the kernel? Edit /etc/modules.conf? Forget about it: Average joe-blow user can not, will not, and should not have to do that kind of stuff.
  • it's true (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kipple (244681) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:45PM (#7391853) Journal
    Imagine if you were a sysad trying to explain an average secretary how to deal with troubles in linux. The problem is, that there might be a lot of troubles that the average guy isn't ready to deal with. In windows you reboot and things go fine 99% of the times. In linux you can keep rebooting and it won't improve your situation.
    It's true that in Linux you have less chances of "strange errors", but - if you have an untrained person on the other side of the phone, every error is a strange error (that in windows you solve by telling them "reboot").

    conclusion: if you think that linux is ready for the average desktop guy, try installing into a mid-sized company and deal with end users.

    The Desktop is not a conquer - in fact, GNU/Linux is what it is for the sake of it. It's not a race! C'mon, who cares who wins the desktop in 2003? What's more important is that linux will become more and more stable and superior because its code quality and standards.

    On the long run linux will prevale. Right now that's not the top priority.

    now mod me down.
  • by GospelHead821 (466923) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:48PM (#7391889)
    I don't think that it's Joe Dummy that necessarily has the problem (except Joe Dummy might be just afraid of change). For myself, I'm far from a Dummy. If something's going wrong, I may not be able to fix it myself, but I know how to find the answers I need and then I am confident enough to tamper with things to get my problem resolved. The interface of Windows is simple enough that when I manage to generate a problem, which I'm fairly good at not doing, I can dig through help files and the internet to fix it. With windows, I have a moderate degree of authority and a moderate amount of accessability. With Linux, I may have oodles of authority, if I'm root, but the documentation is more complicated and I'm less familiar with the environment, in general. Therefore, I'm more likely to create a problem and less likely to be able to figure how to fix it.
  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:49PM (#7391894) Homepage
    This may seem like religious rhetoric (I'm a Debian user), but frankly, it is RedHat that isn't ready for the desktop, not Linux. The biggest problem with any Linux system is being able to easily install software. RPM is not easy and RedCarpet is neither complete nor does it handle dependencies elegantly. What makes RedHat great is their nice shiny corporate facade and excellent (albeit spendy) enterprise support. That's good for enterprise use, but it's not much good for end users (unless you've got money to burn).

    The beautifully maintained Apt archives make life easy for the person maintaining the platform if they are comfortable with the command line, but it's no fun for the typical end user. Debian's install process is pretty intimidating (not hard mind you, but it will scare people away), and the lack of easy Windows network integration is a bit of a drawback for most people.

    XandrOS solves those problems with a nice GUI interface for Apt, the installer, and wizards for connecting to your EvilOS machines. It's not safe outside the firewall (or at least the version I purchased was not), but if you've got Windows machines and non-expert users, you shouldn't have the machine outside a firewall anyway.

    RedHat is the biggest, and perhaps the best for enterprise server closets, but not the best for the typical end user's desktop. So RedHat is focusing on the market to which it is best suited. It doesn't strike me as a bad thing. It's a lot better than hearing friends of mine, upon their first time using Linux, complaining that Linux is too hard because installing RPMs is a hassle, and further assuming that since RedHat is the one they've heard of, everything else must be worse.

    RedHat leaving the desktop space is a good thing - it leaves more market share for the truly desktop oriented distros like Lindows, XandrOS, Mandrake, and friends. It could even lead to commercial vendors focusing a bit less attention on RPM and a bit more on platform independent tarballs.
  • by ninjadroid (622900) <ninjadroid@gazu g a .net> on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:51PM (#7391916) Homepage

    Am I the only RedHat fan who not only thinks this is a good idea, but is relieved that they're finally doing it?

    The business model for Aunt Tillie desktop Linux just isn't there for 3 reasons:

    1. Linux isn't easy and smooth enough for people who don't love the idea of Linux.
    2. Linux doesn't have all the readily accessible functionality that normal people expect.
    3. People who grok Linux are more inclined to obtain it for free than not.

    I envision the first two points becoming invalid within a couple of years, but the last one isn't likely to change. Since the vast majority of desktop Linux users are also free riding (nothing wrong with that, it's what I do), making money off of the Linux desktop is just a dangerous game to be playing.

    RedHat didn't sell us out. The Fedora Project [redhat.com] is The Right Thing. If you don't know what that is, follow that link and don't return until you grok in fullness.

    The average consumer doesn't like Windows, but they like it more than anything else because of what it can do. Linux is technically superior, of this I am sure, but until we can get the average consumer to like it more than Windows, we're not gonna sell it to them. RedHat's move to maintain profitability by pushing Enterprise Linux, coupled with the open development of the Fedora Project, is only going to accelerate this process by combining the best aspects of a profitable corporation and a loosely knit coalition of hackers.

    Remember, we are striving for world domination here...

  • by adrianbaugh (696007) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:56PM (#7391943) Homepage Journal
    Consider: The lack of good font support in X. But it's not just X. It's applications too. There's no unified way to use fonts, or to use the "right" fonts.

    There is good font support for X (which as far as the average Joe need care is the same thing as "in X")- the truetype fonts I have installed here look wonderful. The problem is not all applications use them - even gnome and KDE behave totally differently. The quality is certainly available, but I agree there needs to be a lot more standardisation.

    Number of Linux distributions: There's no way to make a good installer that will install a commercial app on Linux and have everything work. There are too many dependencies for specific versions of libraries and things that would make this sort of thing worse than any kind of Windows DLL hell.

    The traditional Free Software argument would be that this is a feature, not a bug, and it's the fault of the proprietary software. I think that's a bit facetious, and more to the point it is possible. Mozilla, Acrobat, nVidia, even RealPlayer have installers that work okay with pretty much any sanely-set-up linux distribution. Yes, they generally work from the command line and aren't friendly enough for Average Joe, but it is certainly possible to achieve with a bit of development.

    Drivers: Linux intentionally makes it difficult for people to release binary-only drivers. Of course, Binary only drivers are a bad idea anyway, some vendors will insist on it such as NVidia.

    NVidia was a bad example to quote, because for a while they have had a very good driver installation program that has Just Worked on every distro I've tried it on, from Mandrake to gentoo to Debian. It doesn't use an X interface (necessarily so) but if included with distributions it could be incorporated flawlessly into an installation procedure.

    Yeah, basically I agree with you. I don't think any of the problems are insuperable, or even as dramatic as you imply, but they definitely are problems. You use it on your desktop, I use it on mine. But we know how to dig about under the bonnet. The average user could easily use a well-set-up linux machine, it's the installation that is problematic. Even with something comparatively good, like Mandrake, I find I have to fiddle about with a newly-installed distro to get everything looking good and working properly, and that just shouldn't happen. Maybe it's easier with the commercial distros like SuSE (in terms of having java, flash etc. preinstalled), I might give SuSE 9 a try at some point.
    While I sort of agree with you about using MacOSX rather than Windows, it doesn't help those who already have an x86 system but want to ditch Windows. For them I guess they need to find their local linux geek to help get everything set up...
  • by IM6100 (692796) <elben@mentar.org> on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:57PM (#7391950)
    Ummm, 'fsck' is a Unix command for checking a filesystem.

    If you think it's a word in the English language, you're wrong.

    It's really that simple.

    (and no: Raymond is NOT a contributor to the OED)
  • Salting the earth (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Performer Guy (69820) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @09:02PM (#7391980)
    This is an old tactic, known as salting the earth, the intent is that nothing can grow there for anyone else.

    It's not enough for Red Hat to abandon it's base which it won at the expense of other distros. Now that it is 'withdrawing' from that market it feels the need to undermine the whole desktop Linux business in a segment that it thinks won't affect it's own business.

    Red Hat is gravely mistaken. It claims that it was unable to run a competitive business where the actual product was more or less free and the manufacturing overheads were miniscule. All that was left was support costs which are (or could be) passed directly along and a networked patch distribution model with little overhead.

    So what is really going on here? The reason it withdrew was not lack of profitability, but insufficient profitability. It basically wanted the higher margins of it's enterprise product and saw it's premium business being undermined by it's consumer business. In other words it betrayed it's base because there was almost no differentiation between enterprise and desktop versions of it's products and most could get support less expensively for the desktop. This is the real reason for it's withdrawal, not some imagined nonsense about desktop readiness. Remember enterprise support costs more not less than desktop support, in other words it's a nice little earner. An appropriate response (if Red Hat's excuses were anything other than a sham)would have been to charge appropriately for support on the desktop instead of abandoning it's users to an experimental distro that will be a nightmare for it's allegedly naive user base. The fig leaf Red Had is holding isn't big enough to cover it's shame. A cynical betrayal of it's base to protect enterprise margins and now an attack on the desktop when it knows damned well that approriate pricing for support is all that is required. It's difficult to imaging a more paradoxical porition that Red Hat's over this, they are using their concern over their poor abused users as the excuse for abandoning them, when things were ticking along nicely. This betrayal has everything to do with preserving margins on undifferentiated products.

    It will be a cold day in hell before I ever use Red Hat again, for enterprise or anything else. They have betrayed their base and mendaciously and cynically undermined Linux to justify this shame faced betrayal.

    Never thought I'd see it from Red Hat. What a sad day for Linux. Just what the heck has happened inside Red Hat.
  • by SnakeStu (60546) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @09:03PM (#7391994) Homepage

    ...but maybe they just don't know enough. I mean, at their young ages (11 and under), they don't "know" what a "desktop-ready" OS is "supposed" to do. They have Win98 on their own machine, but they keep coming back to use GNU/Linux on mine on a regular basis. And asking to have it on theirs. And no, this isn't a make-believe story (and I'm going to have a chance to give them what they've been asking for this weekend).

    Now, admittedly, they're not doing business work on it, but that wasn't the point anyway, we're talking about home users. I'm pretty sure my kids qualify as such, whether they're playing games or doing homework. (Oh, FWIW, they/I use GNOME on Slackware, not RH.) Could the environment stand a lot of improvement? Absolutely.

    But GNU/Linux isn't alone in needing improvement to be "ready" for home users. Windows needs it too -- it needs less of a push toward DRM, less corporate/publisher control, etc. And the fixes that GNU/Linux needs (usability) are within scope, whereas many of the "fixes" in Windows (freedom for the user) run counter to the goals of its publisher, and will never be addressed. (Forget an uprising of customers, the apathy of the public is obvious.)

    RH wants to focus on servers for enterprise customers -- great, go for it. No problem with that. But to push home users toward Windows is self-serving and short-sighted, no matter what "justifications" are brought up for it.

  • Re:tacky (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kfg (145172) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @09:08PM (#7392026)
    I agree that linux as a whole isn't ready for the desktop, unless you have a nearby linux geek who doesn't mind do the occasional difficult administrative things that a normal user can't.

    But this is just as true of any other operating system. I put lots of food on my table and fuel in my boiler by administering Mac and Windows systems. The real problem here is the perception that these OSs can be administered by the average user. The end result is that instead of paying me $40 a couple times a year to keep things running smoothly they end up waiting until things go all to hell and have to pay me a couple hundred to straighten things out.

    Good for me, I suppose, but only in the same sense that it's "good" for doctors if people only come in with a cut after gangrene has set in.

    In this respect the greatest problem with Linux on the desktop isn't Linux itself, but the very geeks needed to administer it. They have no clue about the real needs of average users and don't set up boxes for them properly.

    http://qrxx.4t.com/linuxbeat3.htm

    As for the statements of Red Hat this is the sort of shit that happens when you decide you want to be a "playa," go public and put the MBAs in charge.

    Since Red Hat has decided that their own interest is in pushing Linux as an "Enterprise" system they have to support that point of view publicly by dissing Linux itself on the desktop ( and other people's enterprise systems as well, of course). They are no longer a Linux company. They are Red Hat (tm).

    Fuck 'em.

    KFG
  • by hkmwbz (531650) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @09:09PM (#7392035) Journal
    Hardware is a fair point, but I've yet to see Mandrake fail to detect any of the existing hardware on the few systems I've installed it on.

    But Joe Dummy would hardly risk installing hardware himself, would he? I know my mother would never touch any hardware. I would have to install it for her, and it is easy in Windows of course - as long as Windows is able to detect the hardware. Funnily enough the last two systems I installed Windows on, XP failed to find my sound card, and 2000 didn't find the sound card or graphics card.

    If we go on to discuss more advanced users, they will find whatever they are used to to be the easiest. I am used to Windows and the way things are done there, so Windows is easier for me to use. But if someone had set me up with Linux when I was a novice I am sure I would find it easier to install hardware in Linux now.

    Windows has the upper hand when it comes to compatibility, but isn't how easy it is to install the hardware dependent on what you are used to? Joe Dummy isn't used to anything and doesn't have a clue. He probably wouldn't touch the new hardware!

  • Re:Yup. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Hott of the World (537284) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @09:14PM (#7392063) Homepage Journal

    Extremely proprietary = Mac
    Good Balance = Windows PC
    Extreme Freedom = Linux.

    Cost also reflects this tricotomy:
    Macs = most expensive
    PC's = Good balance
    Linux = Cheap

    So, as someone who isnt baby enough for a mac, or Cheap enough for linux, I choose Windows. Because I can. Thanks.
  • "Yes" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jht (5006) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @09:14PM (#7392069) Homepage Journal
    That's the correct answer. Linux isn't ready for most home users, and most home users aren't ready for Linux, either. For better or worse, the average home user should either stick with the herd and use Windows, or they should run a stable, Unix-based OS for "The rest of us" - MacOS X. When the off-the shelf software support, ease of administration, and device support in Linux is on a par with either Mac or Windows, then it's time for Linux to hit the home desktop.

    Meanwhile, Linux is a viable OS for many corporate environments, and it's there today. The server marketplace is only getting bigger that Linux can target, and a lot of corporate desktops are the kind of focused tasking, centrally managed boxes that are ideal opportunities for Linux to show a lower TCO. So it's natural for Linux vendors to target the corporate market - retail boxed copies of SuSE, RedHat, and Mandrake are not where these companies are going to make their money.
  • by herrvinny (698679) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @09:15PM (#7392074)
    Wait until they grow up and want to play Counterstrike, Duke Nukem, GTA, etc. Then see if they still want Linux.
  • by NanoGator (522640) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @09:17PM (#7392090) Homepage Journal
    "What is it that makes Linux more difficult to use for Joe Dummy?"

    Too much choice. Now I can't speak for modern incarnations of Linux, but when I tried it a year ago I was presented with a number of non-descript apps that all began with K. Figuring out what did what was a painful process.

    I never particularly enjoyed installing apps in Linux, even with RPM support. When an app is installed you get this crptic screen that comes up that bothers you with modules etc.

    I was a version behind with Redhat. I forget which number but when I went to isntall Cinepaint, it complained about not having a library file. My response was something along the lines of "WTF do I get that?!"

    I never did get sound or dual monitor support to work. Both required mucking around with .CONF files etc.

    It never quite felt like apps interoperated very well. Copying and pasting from one app to another never felt quite right. Sorry I can't quantify that better, I remember impressions but not details there.

    Everything felt slower. Clicking to start a program always seemed to take forever despite having more than enough RAM. I use Windows 2000 and it's pretty darn responsive compared to KDE on the machines I've used.

    I will say again that my experiences are a year old, and that I was using RedHat, so what I say here may not be valid today. It's possible all those problems were addressed. I should also mention RedHat is not the definitive desktop distro of Linux. Any of you switching to Linux should consider Mandrake, SuSE, or even Knoppix. No idea if they address these issues or not, but I have had people drop by and tell me they're much better for desktop experiences.

    I do have one other observation to make. Linux is made by geeks for geeks. Geeks don't mind going in and editing .conf files. They don't mind restarting services. They don't mind a CLI that's painfully case sensitive. Until this attitude becomes a little more mass-market friendly, it really is difficult to imagine a distro of Linux that doesn't feel intimidating. Man I wish Apple would release OSX for Intel. I know it's easier said than done, but from what I've read they've got it right.
  • by Valar (167606) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @09:18PM (#7392095)
    As for the actual operating system, no, it doesn't do atuodetect. This is a strength, not a weakeness. If you know what hardware you have, you tell the kernel to load those modules. If you don't and you need plug and play, you use hotplug or a similar solution. On my gentoo system, with hotplug (which is installed by default if you follow the instructions while installing), all my hardware was detected the first time. That includes my mp3 player and my digital camera. Has for games, those are a little weak, but I don't have time anyway and most users aren't gamers anyway. The vast majority of people using computers now are surfing the web and reading email.
  • Should he be CEO? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ron_ivi (607351) <sdotno AT cheapcomplexdevices DOT com> on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @09:21PM (#7392124)
    If I were a RedHat shareholder, I'd want someone who buys into the vision of Linux on every desktop.

    He doesn't seem to know his own product well, as evidenced by the quote in the article: "Consumers want USB drivers and digital camera support; but for the enterprise desktop, that is a little bit different--that area is ripe". Last I tried RedHat, it worked wonderfully with my USB digital camera.

    If his goals are smaller (take market share from Open Unix 8 consultants?) perhaps he's not a great fit for that company.

  • Re:LEt's face it. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by deaddeng (63515) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @09:26PM (#7392157) Homepage
    They just killed their brand. There is no "RedHat Linux." Think about that. At least the Coca-Cola company had the sense to bring "Coke Classic" back.

    This is a major screwup from a marketing perspective. They are going to eat the Fedora, support or not.
  • Re:Let's face it. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by citog (206365) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @09:27PM (#7392168)
    Very good point. However, I do disagree. I think the difference between then (i.e. home computers leaving geekdom and entering the home) and now (Linux leaving geekdom and hitting the home desktop) is that home computing has become a consumer item, an entertainment machine. Home computers moved from being complicated setups to plug and play (in the sense of give the machine some power and off you go). Linux isn't at the stage where an average user can throw the CD and know everything is just going to work. I found RedHat 9 very close (that's all the Linux I've user for the past while) but did get tired of hunting down problems (I enjoyed it for awhile but other things became a priority). When people can just plug devices into a Linux box and have them just work then people won't care if they're running Linux or not.
  • Linux has problems with documentation. The help and various documentation files are just not written well. I guess it kind of makes sense given that the documentation is often written by tech-savvy people, while Windows documents are written by language majors and others who specialize in them.

    Whenver I look at Linux documentation, it looks like a scientific work :) When I look at Windows docuemntation, it looks like a novel :) The average user has an easier time reading a novel than a scientific book.

    The open source community needs to get non-engineers/non-scientists/etc helping out. As long as it is primarily driven and supported by geeks, it won't gain mass appeal.

    Sivaram Velauthapillai
  • by letxa2000 (215841) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @09:42PM (#7392298)
    Digital Cameras/Scanners... you know it's going to work if you don't buy something that's a cheap piece of shit, which, believe it or not, will suck A WHOLE LOT compared to something 25% more expensive.

    How do I know which is a cheap piece of shit, which costs 25% more because it's good quality, and which costs 50% more because it has a brand name on it?

    This is the whole issue. You go in to Best Buy, you find the product you want with the specifications you want, it says "Windows compatible" and you buy it and it works. With Linux there's no clear "Linux compatible" marker, I don't know what is good and what is bad quality without doing research, and even then (as someone else in this thread wrote) it's mostly a matter of buying it, taking it home, and seeing if it works.

    It's not that things don't work with Linux. It's just that you aren't really sure when you buy them whether they'll work or not. With Windows you know they will (give or take, taking into account the ineherent question of "Will Windows work today?").

    All that said, let me stress I *DO* use Linux on the desktop. And it might actually be better for me economically since I probably buy fewer devices that I really don't need since I'm not sure they'll work. But sometimes I just feel like buying something and say to myself, "Nah... it'd be cool, but I'll probably have to recompile the kernel."

  • games man!!! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sivaram_Velauthapill (693619) <sivaram...velauthapillai@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @09:43PM (#7392305) Homepage Journal
    I have been saying this over and over: until Linux supports games and other multimedia applications, it won't fly on the home desktop. Not everyone plays games, but it is a killer application. Home users care about multimedia, games, and stuff like that. Linux is weak in those things...

    Sivaram Velauthapillai
  • by BroncoInCalifornia (605476) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @09:44PM (#7392312)
    Matthew Szulik had a very difficult decision to make. Does Red Hat continue to lose money in the home market or leave that market.

    I think in the back of his mind he is not sure he made the right decision! He put his company in a position where it is now not in position to ride the desktop Linux wave if it happens. So he is over compensating here. He has convinced himself that he believes the Linux Desktop will not be ready for years.
  • by mantera (685223) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @09:48PM (#7392351)


    Red Hat will soon lose its grassroot respect and might just become one of those VC-run and profit-driven corporations; those who have expected Red Hat to become the Microsoft of the Linux world probably were talking about microsoft's marketshare but now it appears the outcome will quite possibly also include microsoft's practices.

    This isn't the first alarming sign; there's been a few trickling down for a little while, with all the consolidations, takeovers, acquisitions... et cetera et cetera it won't be long before we'll have to wonder whether the GPL will be able to prevent linux from becoming yet another private affair.

    This investors' darling is sure to do as investors want. I have always been and still am more respectful - and i know some of you might be tempted to flame me for this, please don't, it's not my point - of Sun Microsystems than ever been of Red Had; Sun is a company that was started by techies and still run by techies, often acted contrary to investors expectations and still does, and contributed far more to open source, with java and openoffice, than red hat ever would've had it not been for the GPL. The creeping clan of MBAs and capital interests Red Hat is awashed with will only mean it won't be long before it'll be the despise of the people it is now alienating; it's just inevitable. You guys sorta got what you wanted, albeit with a twist; you wanted men in suits to endorse linux and now that they are you seem surprised with their actions. If you invite wolves and sharks to dinner just don't be surprised if they'll shave all the meat off the bones and not care for your share, heck, you may even become the meal too.

    I think what linux, and OSS in general needs, is an altogether economic model; you just can't have a conventional financing for an alternative development system and expect all to be good. I think such a system that might have promise would be something like those Mutuals or cooperatives that are proven in the housing market and neighbourhood or workplace groceries; some of such "societies", especially in Europe, are big enough to provide an economically viable business that is also ethically and socially responsible.

    Mistrust of corporations is growing because they put shareholders first. That creates opportunities for cooperatives and mutuals, which don't [guardian.co.uk]

  • by fmouse (130442) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @10:04PM (#7392466) Homepage
    Don't forget, if you're comparing Linux and Windows for home use, Windows users don't have to install their OS - chances are it was pre-installed when the bought the computer, and in fact M$ does't even provide a CD anymore when you buy a Windows box so you couldn't install it from scratch even if you wanted to!

    Linux users always have to install from scratch. Microsoft won't let their OEM licensees pre-install Linux.

    The installer isn't part of the issue, if you want to make the fair comparison.

  • by Micah (278) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @10:04PM (#7392470) Homepage Journal
    ...but only as part of a complete hardware/software package that is marketed to the home user.

    I personally think this is an opportunity that screams for a PC manufacturer to pursue.

    Make a top quality PC, one that anyone would be proud to own. Make a Linux distribution that is self-branded and custom tailored to this PC. It should come pre-installed, but if it needed to be re-installed, it should consist of nothing more than sticking the CD in and maybe pressing Enter a couple times.

    Said distro should contain nearly every piece of useful or fun Open Source software, and maybe some non-Free stuff like Loki games (I bet they could get a cheap bulk license). It certainly should include Flash, Realplayer,and Java if at all possible. (No flames needed; that's just the reality of what end users expect.)

    A set of manuals should come with it -- a manual for getting started, using the office suite software, connecting to the Internet, etc. I think it should also include documentation for graphics apps like Gimp, sodipodi, and even Blender -- all in paper book form with pretty pictures. Another book to introduce "power user" concepts like simple programming (probably in Python) and databases would be a nice touch. Show them how to set up a database and connect it to OpenOffice (which of course should be made easier than it normally would be).

    Sell it at a price where they could make a couple hundred bucks per unit, market the crap out of it to home users, and I think they'd do well.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @10:04PM (#7392471)
    Well he certainly as heck had the ability to leave that market without publically verbally trashing all the companies that stayed behind. Wouldn't that have been the polite thing to do?
  • Fucking dicks like this are yet another reason why Linux will never be ready for the desktop.

    SYNOPSIS OF EVERY REPLY TO A POST SAYING LINUX IS HARD:
    1) Oh you just have to type PDSQWJDASH then enter then SCROLL LOCK not once not twice but thrice. Stupid.
    2) Oh the docs are hard to read USE GOOGLE that will make them easier to read especially when you're trying to figure out how to get your network up. Stupid.
    3) Linux is better because we have 10,000 inferior choices for every single piece of software you can imagine! Your choice is invariable wrong and mine is right! Stupid!
    4) Windows sucks because three years ago Outlook Express had big holes in it! It sucked compared to thunderbird now! Stupid!

    I can only imagine what my VW Bug forums would be like if these kinds of elitist pricks were trolling them. I'd have never gotten the fool thing working if every post was "Oh you should be using the 009 Bosch distributor, it's far more reliable than the stock vaccum model! Hahahaha this guy doesn't know if he has a dual or single port 1600! What a loser! The curved windshield wasn't introduced until 1973 Super! There's not way you have one in your '68 Vert! All you have to do to adjust the carburetor is adjust the bypass screw until your idle is at 850 rpm *900 for the autostick* and then turn the volume control screw counterclockwise until the engine drops about 30 rpm! It's that easy! Now get back to your water cooled engines!"

    Dickheads. Linux doesn't need you and it doesn't want your half assed help.
  • Good God People (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wxjones (721556) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @10:07PM (#7392490)
    I've been using Linux as my ONLY desktop OS since 1996 (FVWM for gods sake). My work computers run Linux. My home computers run Linux. Hell, my four year old uses Linux (he really likes Doom II). Would I recommend Linux to my mother? HELL NO! Do I care if you use Linux? As if. Do I give a rat's ass about 'World Domination'? Let me clue you in here. I use Linux because it suits my needs. Period. If it suits your needs great, I'll be happy to exchange knowledge with you. If you choose MS, I have no sympathy. One day probably someone will make a wad of cash by making a version of Linux as point-and-click as Windows. Fine. Hasn't been done yet and I don't care.
  • by Brandybuck (704397) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @10:07PM (#7392492) Homepage Journal
    Precisely. If I were Szulik, and wanted to abandon my entire consumer market, I would at least abandon it to someone in the family.

    "Redhat isn't ready for the average consumer's desktop. In the meantime, you might want to try Lycoris or Xandros..."
  • by zpok (604055) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @10:14PM (#7392537) Homepage
    Linux is nowhere near the desktop.
    - no GUI rules, total application jungle and no power apps for the end user. Don't get me wrong, I think OO and the Gimp are good programs. They're not however serious Office or Photoshop replacements.
    - no hardware support - the average person wants their gadgets and stuff to work without having to write a driver or spend hours on end trying to install one.
    - administrating your machine and keeping it sound and safe is not feasible for about 90% of people that are currently using computers

    Windows is on all desktops, but does a half-ass job
    - sure, you have tremendous power-apps, but you'll lose data ever so often for no apparent reason
    - there's a sort of plug and play that sometimes works immediately and even works longer than a month. More often than not, however you're frustrated into looking for drivers.
    - administrating your machine and keeping it sound and safe is not feasible for about 90% of people that are currently using computers

    There's only one desktop that really takes the hassle out of computing, and that's OS X.

    Disclaimer: I think Windows is friendlier and more foolproof than Linux, but I think Linux is way cooler and an incredible feat in itself. But we're talking about the desktop here.

  • RedHat FUD (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BeeazleBub (535448) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @10:18PM (#7392576)
    The only reason RedHat would say that Linux is not ready for the desktop is because they haven't been able to accomplish it yet. Their infrastracture can hardly bear the load of their enterprise clients. If they actually sold a desktop product with good support, it would crash their support network like a stone. Besides who wants to run a desktop that is more than a year behind the times as soon as its released. Fedora hasn't changed any of that, they're just setting it up so that someone else does the work for them. RedHat will never be able to compete with Novell and Suse desktop, server or otherwise. Why would anyone pay $350 per server each year. You might as well run Windows. Sadly, Redhat no longer brings anything to the table that's not offered by any other linux packager. Why pay when you can get the same, for free. B-
  • by GuruHal (229087) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @10:35PM (#7392684)
    I think the larger picture is when will the service industry support an alternative to Windows. If you go ask Joe user to recompile something, sure they go - "huh?!" But you'll never get that far until the service providers support something beyond Windows.

    Example: If someone calls tech support at the ISP were I work and asks "Why won't my bank software work?" and phone support asks "What version of Windows are you using?" you get an idea where the bottleneck might be. As soon as a customer answers "Redhat, or Debian, or Suse or Slackware" they'd get apolite little cough/snicker and a reply that goes something like "You'll have to call your OS manufacturer or consult your HOWTOs". If nobody supports them, nobody will flock to your OS no matter how configurable it is. Its the reason very few new users want Macintosh. Sure G5s are powerfull and look great, but since only about 5% of the market is using mac, where's the support? And more importantly, where will it be in 5 years? For that matter how much will it cost when the last two people who are supporting it are charging by the hour for all the service calls in North America? OK, that was flamebait. Regardless, Joe/Jill user want a security blanket that Linux can't offer right now. They can't call their cousin who runs the same OS and ask "How the hell did you do this?" and lets face it we've all been in the position of fielding support calls from friends and family.

    Admittedly the Linux community has lots of howtos and documents, but most have a list of abreviations and jargon-speak that the average user would balk at. So, the correct answer is, until the OS can support itself or everybody else is using it, the desktop of Joe/Jill average user will remain the pipedream of the linux community. Could be a little while in my humble opinion.

  • by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @10:41PM (#7392718) Homepage Journal
    Absolutely!!
    I don't want 500 "alternative" Text editors, i want the frikkin *BEST* editor.
    I want my cake and eat it too.

    I want software that is consistent, compliant and responsive.
    If I get into trouble with whatever task I am performing, I should expect context sensitive help, advice and fixes if necessary. This should effortlessly interact with the online community of both users and developers of the system.

    I don't know about you guys, but I came onto this internet with my eyes wide open. I still dont believe we have taken it as far as we can.

    Lets do as the parent suggests - Lets work together for our common goals.
  • by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @10:43PM (#7392730) Homepage
    I'm sorry, but I tried to get my 75 year old father-in-law to use the internet. I got him a Windows box with a simple dial up connection and set everything up for him. But he has yet to use it by himself. It would have been easier for me if I set him up a Linux box, because I know it better and could write scripts to help him log on automatically. I know it is also possible to do that with Windows but I didn't have the time to learn it for him.
    The real problem, it seems to me, is that you provided your father a system that you are unable and unqualified to administer. This proves or disproves nothing about the viability of a given OS for a given purpose.

    For the same reason, I don't adminster my father's box (a Mac), but hooked him up with a local Mac user's group for seniors.
  • by Larthallor (623891) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @10:46PM (#7392741)
    He's complaining that the drivers just aren't there and that this makes the technology immature. WTF? If he were talking about how writing quality drivers for Linux was so much harder than writing them for Windows because of some flaw in the driver model for Linux, then he'd at least be making sense, because he'd actually be talking about the OS. He'd be wrong, of course, but at least he wouldn't be speaking gibberish.

    It's true that there aren't Linux drivers for every device that comes out when it comes out, as there is for Windows. But how is this reflective of immature Linux technology? It's just that the manufacturers don't want to spend the money to write multiple drivers and so they pick the one that has 90% market share! That's it!

    Let's see how mature Windows technology would look if hardware manufacturers told Microsoft to write their own damn drivers. Better yet, if they told Microsoft to hack them together through reverse engineering! How friggin' easy would it be burn your damn CD or use your wireless card on Windows then?

    The real driver problem for Linux is market share. This is why drivers for enterprise types of hardware are getting better manufacturer driver support - Linux is actually gaining some market share there.

    If Linux were to ever crack 40% market share on the home desktop, there'd be drivers come out our ears.
  • Re:Yup. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Espectr0 (577637) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @10:48PM (#7392751) Journal
    Now your going to say that they cost too much. They don't cost any more than a PC. Ohh, your talking about a stripped down PC with no extra's. Ok, PC are cheaper...

    Oh come on, i want to buy a powerbook myself (love os x!) but the price/value just sucks. For 1599$ i can get a powerbook 1.0ghz with 256mb. For 1299$ i can get a pc laptop with 2.8ghz and 512 mb ram, loaded with all the same features.

    Defend the mac, but please DON'T LIE. Tell me you like the OS. Tell me you think the hardware is pretty and durable, tell me the apps are good, tell me they are great for multimedia, but NEVER, NEVER tell me they are cheaper!!!
  • by rinks (641298) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @10:58PM (#7392806)
    ...they have problems. Every comment I read about someone not being able to do something with Linux or getting frustrated by some aspect of it is immediatly followed by cries of "bullshit!" There's part of the problem, in my opinion. When someone says "my camera didn't work in linux", saying- "well, your camera sucks" or "MY camera works fine and I have Linux" doesn't help matters any.
  • by MarkJensen (708621) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @11:41PM (#7393040) Homepage
    Steps for getting a Linux video player to work:

    1. Install Redhat 9
    2. Install apt for rpm
    3. apt-get synaptic
    4. Open synaptic and search for "mplayer"
    5. Select desired search results and install
    6. Run mplayer, and use it to play DVDs, DIVXs, XVIDs, MPEGs, etc...

    Errr.. Did you compare this to the list that you have to do in Windows?

    You don't have to even do step ONE!

    Now, don't get me wrong. I am not a Windows fanboy. I run Linux on my home system. No dual-booting. 100% Linux. But, I will be among the first to admit that I would not recommend it to anyone wanting a PC. It just isn't for everybody. Neither is Windows, but the world is set up to make Windows easy. Hardware manufacturers certify and write drivers for Windows. Web designers design for Windows. Game writers write for Windows.

    As more people switch over (ever dual booting!) to Linux, businesses will start to lethargicly move to support it. It is a slow process, and we are just at the beginning.

  • by TheLittleJetson (669035) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @11:46PM (#7393071)
    new found direction? i was always under the impression that the linux desktop always was sort of a joke... sure, it's okay for geeks -- but the learning curve is far too steep for the average user. i think of my mother as the lowest-common-demoninator when it comes to computer literacy (no offense, ma!) -- and she still has difficulty with her mac [os x] after owning it for over a year, and recieving several lessons from family members.

    redhat was available on hp,compaq,dell servers for the past 4 years or so? i hardly think this behavior is "new".

    there's a lot of great environments out there, but when it comes to being *PRACTICAL* for average-joe-user, its really just windows and os x.
  • by atlasheavy (169115) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @11:57PM (#7393144) Homepage
    If he thinks installing Linux for home use is hard, try installing Windows for home use. First you install from the XP CD, then you'd better call MS to get it activated. Then you start installing all those patches from Windows Update. Then you start installing your apps ... Don't forget to track down the driver CDs for those obscure bits of hardware - in this sense, "obscure" can mean things like digital cameras, scanners, etc. that are actually pretty common in home PCs. Uhm, can we say FUD? Seriously, I've never had a Windows machine that was anything but a self-built box, and I've never had the problems you're describing with XP. XP will activate itself over the internet with basically no work on the user's part (you click a button and it's done). I do agree with you about the part on Windows Update, but the better solution (automagically installing everything from Windows Update) has everyone on Slashdot up in arms every time it's mentioned. Don't forget, you still have to run the Update utility on Mac OS X, or one on Linux (assuming you've got one) whenever you do a fresh install. Meanwhile, XP has never even asked me to put its install disc back in for drivers. I've plugged in everything from 4 year old ATI video cards, random USB scanners, my digital camera, a webcam, a firewire PCI card, and a ton of other stuff without any problems ever. You would have had problems like this with Windows 9x, but the implication here that linux doesn't suffer from uninstalled driver problems like those being described above makes zero sense.
  • by Minna Kirai (624281) on Wednesday November 05, 2003 @12:00AM (#7393168)
    But Joe Dummy would hardly risk installing hardware himself, would he?

    Yes he will. He'll install the hardware following the guidebook step by step, and then Windows(r) will "Detecting new hardware" on startup, and take him through 9 dialog boxes, ask for the system disks, and fill the Device Manager with red exclamation points.

    Then he'll get on the phone to the hardware manufacturer, and the nice guy on the other end will tell him precisely what mouse clicks will make it work. If he hadn't been using the same OS as 96% of all customers, that recourse wouldn't have been there to save him.

    But if someone had set me up with Linux when I was a novice I am sure I would find it easier to install hardware in Linux now.

    Not really. There's a whole separate category of problems Linux users can run into, which simply don't happen to people using a majority OS. When buying hardware, it's completely safe to assume that everything in CompUsa is compatible with a Windows/Intel platform, unless the box specifically says "Macintosh". And if you need confirmation, the clerk will absolutely be able to tell if the product is supposed to be Windows compatible.

    With Linux, there's no guarrantees like that, so even choosing new hardware is tricky. Most packaging says nothing about whether it's Linux compatible, although much hardware is. Rarely labels announcing Linux compatiblity can be seen, but they sometimes refer only to one specific 2-year old RedHat distribution.

    So there's the whole difficult problem of "Can it work?", before you even start to answer "How can it work?". And there are many products that have no hope of Linux compat. Winmodems (except for one Lucent chipset), the SoundBlaster 16 (and compatible) audio cards, Intel's Centrino wireless networking... the list goes on and on.

    Just look at me: I'm using a USB mouse at my Linux workstation now. This year I bought a second USB mouse. It works fine in Microsoft(tm) Windows(r) systems. But plug it into Linux, and all USB devices stop responding until you reboot. Apparently there are subtle differences between mice that can really trip up an OS. Who knew?

    PS. Technically the Soundblaster 16 can be made to output sounds under Linux. But the restrictions imposed by the driver design render it painfully less capable than the same card in Windows.
  • Re:Yup. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Minna Kirai (624281) on Wednesday November 05, 2003 @12:04AM (#7393197)
    They just don't serve the $400 market.

    Ergo, they are more expensive. And remember that the needs of 80% of computer users can be handled by the $250 market.

    Macs come with a full unix development environment.

    That started less than 2 months ago. OS X 10.2 didn't ship with compilers, unless you ordered them specially.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 05, 2003 @12:08AM (#7393228)
    If you can borrow a Mac with OS X and play with it for some time, you will see what Linux is missing for the non-technical user. OS X is a Unix system but does not require Unix skills for use.

    What I don't like about RedHat announcement that it is like they are saying there is only one alternive for home users. But in fact there are currently two: Windows and Mac OS X. Yes, I agree that Mac OS X runs only on Mac hardware (well..., technical users generic PowerPC with Mac-on-Linux works also). Maybe someone is about to buy new hardware but will not think about it...

    Just want to let you know that I am a Debian GNU/Linux user on both x86 and PowerPC. I do not recommend that OS for home users, of course. Now, after having seen OS X, I would recommend home users to at least consider Mac / Mac OS X as an alternative. Depends also what you want to do with your computer.

  • Bogus RH bashing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 0x0d0a (568518) on Wednesday November 05, 2003 @12:11AM (#7393257) Journal
    Okay. I'm responding to both the parent and grandparent poster. ...which company was it that has decided to focus on the enterprise market?

    If you're talking about the Fedora-RH thing, that was an *expansion* of RH's packages for the typical user. A very good thing for RH users who were tired of having to get packages from RH+Fedora+dag+freshrpms+blahblahblah. The person who submitted the Slashdot article painted a very, very negative picture.

    With it's new found direction, RedHat seems to have lost its honour.

    What, officially bundling community-packaged software along with RH-packaged software? You must *hate* Debian -- they package *everything* in the community.

    It is odd, bearing in mind that they purposefully crippled KDE on their distro.

    First, RH was trying to provide visual integration KDE and GNOME. They ended up using KDE art and software, but a larger set of GNOME. This is not surprising, as RH has funded plenty of GNOME development (starting in the Bad Old Days when KDE wasn't fully free due to it being tied to Qt). The main person complaining was the extremely vocal Mosfet, as well as a couple of other very vocal KDE folks. They made a phenomenal stink about KDE and GNOME being blended. The fact that Konqueror wasn't included was a big chunk of it. There was a stir on the GNOME boards as well, but it died down after a bit.

    Keep in mind that a year ago, one of the biggest complaints on Slashdot was that "KDE and GNOME needed to be merged" and that the "inconsistent UI was one of Linux's biggest problems". Red Hat runs out and does what folks have been asking it to do...and gets hammered for it.

    Finally, Red Hat has been one of the largest people helping Linux get to the desktop. They've put a huge amount of money and effort into GNOME, and had a whole project (Red Hat Advanced Desktop) aimed at trying to produce a better desktop. The guy saying that Linux isn't ready for the desktop, but hopes it will be in a couple of years, is saying that because he doesn't want companies to run out, put Linux on their desktop, get burned because it isn't up to par with a Windows desktop environment for Joe User yet, and then refuse to look at Linux again for a decade.

    Aside from Debian, Red Hat is one of the most influential pushers trying to keep Linux quite free and open. SuSE hangs about on handing out free ISOs of new distros, other folks backed Qt when it wasn't as Free as the GNU folks felt it should be, and still other folks wanted to hang on to Netscape Navigator -- RH dropped it like a hot potato for Mozilla (to be honest, before Mozilla was really ready). It's really disappointing to see so many people on Slashdot bashing them after one pretty distorted story earlier today after the years of work and current work they're putting in.
  • by methuselah (31331) on Wednesday November 05, 2003 @12:24AM (#7393353)
    Yeah,
    I am sure no one will read this but I am gonna bother to post it anyway. I am sick and tired of all this neediness crap, .. this craving for acceptance ... this need of approval. Screw Red Hat they aren't putting bread on my table heck they have arbitrarily changed the rules (with little or no explanation) with every piddly little release of their, oh so wonderful distribution. I won't bore you with the details of which was the first version of their software I started with. RH 8.0 was dummed down crap and that is when I stopped using it. I have actually migrated away from windows based computing and have found Linux to be the bomb! Red Hat does not equal Linux.... They think they can get away with hand holding l33t MSCE convert sys admins and bleeding em dry swell for them. They think they can just ride IBM's coat tails, good for them. I don't care what Linux is and isn't ready for I just know, I use it, I like it, and its ready for me. I am not the least bit affected nor does my self esteem suffer if you or them or they or whoever or whatever isn't ready for it. This thread is so tired......
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 05, 2003 @12:47AM (#7393513)
    I really *wish* that Linux was as "easy" as Windows when it comes to this stuff. I really feel good about the future of Linux on the Desktop. We have support from the two leading 3D Grapgics Card manufacturers, which is a big step forward. When trying to compete with a monopoly, it's slow going.

    Hardware manufacturers generally don't make drivers for Linux because Linux isn't a popular desktop operating system.

    Linux isn't a popular desktop operating system because it's not intuitive and easy to use.

    Linux needs to mature. It needs to be fun, easy, and pretty. You Linux geeks need to quit being so elitist, suck it up, and make it easy to use.

    Once it gets to that point, it will start to take hold as a viable desktop alternative.
  • by steeviant (677315) on Wednesday November 05, 2003 @12:59AM (#7393594)
    I have a friend who works for a company that imports and rebrands ADSL routers and internal adaptors from overseas companies. I saw a disturbing and unfortunate side of Linux hardware support through them.

    They used to advertise that one of their products, an internal ADSL adaptor was Linux compatible. They stopped claiming it was Linux compatible and dropped all Linux support after the endless woes they experienced trying to get the binary drivers for their devices installed on different distributions/kernel variations.

    It seems that there is no way to make a driver that will definitely work with the next minor point release of the kernel, and often custom kernels will fail to work with the binary driver even when the supplied instructions are followed to the letter.

    Their experience leads me to think that some kind of stable ABI is needed to allow device drivers to be distributed in a binary form. Recently I noticed some progress has been made in allowing Linux to use Windows device drivers.

    It occurred to me that this seems a very good option for binary-only drivers for Linux users, and hardware manufacturers alike, allowing them to make a driver that won't be broken next time someone touches the code that the driver references, and will benefit Linux users too, giving them access to hardware for which no Linux driver yet exists, and after all who wants more binary-only cruft floating around?

    Besides, having Linux native drivers might only serve to discourage people from creating open-source versions of the drivers.
  • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Wednesday November 05, 2003 @01:02AM (#7393611)
    My back ground:

    Started with Linux on servers with Slackware 3. The good ole days of GUI's were for wimps and if you wanted that SCSI card to work, write your own damned drivers...okay maybe not that bad, but close.

    Eventually I attempted to install RH 5.2 on my desktop to replace Windows 98 in the middle of 99. I could do it, went out and bought SuSE. Everything worked, except for my Winmodem and sound card. Easy enough, I recycled a jumper based 33.6 from my old 486 and was on the net. I thought Star Office was cool, used it for a summer. THen I came back to college and it came time to replace my laptop.

    I was doing a lot of work in PHP and MySQL at the time and liked being able to develop in a native *iux enviroment, but I needed M$ office, powerpoint really, for classes and the ablity to use my scanner, digital camera, and other devices. I was not going to buy another shitty windows laptop, so I chose an iBook with OS 10.1 and then upgraded to 10.2.

    I have been impressed. I had my native *iux, on a FreeBSD core (I quit using Linux for webservers over their BSD cousins in 2001), plus I had many products that provided drivers for the macs. Also, I had access to a number of applications like Photoshop, DW, Flash, Pagemaker, and many other standard applications. iPhoto, iTunes, and the Combo drive coupled with battery life was great.

    Since then I have been sold on the macintosh over Linux for most desktop uses and there are even a few games available...

  • by driptray (187357) on Wednesday November 05, 2003 @01:14AM (#7393679)

    Umm, mplayer plays dvds just fine out of the box, and noone I know has had a problem with it if they just read the docs first.

    Well, you just ruled out 95% of the population right there.

    Blaming such users for being ignorant or stupid is missing the point - if you don't provide for these users they will go elsewhere.

  • by infra-red (121451) on Wednesday November 05, 2003 @01:24AM (#7393725)
    I've been using Linux on a laptop for 5 years now.

    Starting with Slackware on a Pentium 233, working through RH6.2, RH7.0, RH7.1, RH7.2, RH7.3, RH9, each new version is leaps and bounds better then the previous version was.

    Just because it isn't there yet doesn't mean it isn't making progress. The people who sell hardware will make sure it works with Windows, otherwise their hardware won't sell. They don't concentrate on Linux though, thats up to end users and maybe if were lucky, a developer or two from within the company.

    The ideal place for Linux on the desktop is in a corporate environment where they have standardized (at least in batches) hardware. Solve the problem once, deploy to 50 systems.

    If this is where RedHat is going, then I think it will make a much bigger impact on improving the Linux desktop environment. Companies that buy many multiples of hardware have a bit more influence on hardware developers to support their desktop environment.

    As far as DVD's go, ogle worked when I was running 7.2/3, and mplayer works now in RH9. The only problem with mplayer is that it requires alsa. This is a good thing in my opinion even though RH9 doesn't have it. It just means that development hasn't stood still. Getting alsa and mplayer on RH9 is pretty simple if you don't mind using rpm's from freshrpms.net.
  • Playing a DVD in Debian/KDE 3.1.4

    1. Put DVD in DVD drive
    2. Push play in Xine.

    I'm sure Noatun (sp?), mplayer, and all the others are similar in function.

    Yes, I did have to install Xine. That's _only_ cause I don't like Noatun. KDE-Multimedia took care of the rest, easy as pie; if I were running Mandrake, it'd be even easier, since it's all there by default.

    So, when shall I bring those Mandrake disks around, hmmm? =)

  • Stupid. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mattr (78516) <mattr AT telebody DOT com> on Wednesday November 05, 2003 @04:17AM (#7394310) Homepage Journal
    This guy ignores these realities:

    1. The parts of linux which are "not ready for the desktop" are the things needed on the enterprise desktop too. Things like cut and paste, and printing to name a couple. If RedHat does not approach these issues its enterprise desktops will not be polished in the near future.

    2. RedHat is not big enough to take on Microsoft on its own, as plenty of companies have found. Its latest announcements have given weapons to Microsoft which can be used on decision makers and what's more, has alienated the community of individuals and companies which have created nearly all of RedHat's products.

    3. There currently are in fact a lot of people using linux on the desktop, and RedHat seems to forget that ALL current RedHat customers started by using the RedHat desktop!! Does RedHat imagine they can throw ALL of their current customers into the trash and start from scratch?

    4. Mac OS X is unix-based, unlike Microsoft Windows. It would make far more sense for RedHat to recommend that home users use Macs, which are easier to use, more advanced, and could also run unix applications, than to recommend Windows, which you can only trust to further muddy the waters of incompatibility. The less people use Windows in any sense, the better for RedHat.

    5. RedHat has now officially alienated its customers, the producers of most of its products, the competitors which up to now had been in league with RH against Microsoft, and everybody smart enough or interested enough to recommend RedHat desktop software and use it. If they thought it would be ready in a couple years, they would not be dropping it now. After all the recent announcements about product life cycles and not selling desktop software, and now this total backstabbing, I am losing interest in RedHat and see no reason to recommend their enterprise line anymore though I would have done so in an instant a couple months ago. RedHat has forgotten how it got started and why they have gotten this far. Even in large companies and governments, the decision makers need to be on their side and this guy is RedHat's own worst enemy.

    6. The linux desktop has made many strides recently and will continue to get better, no thanks to RedHat. Possibly this and the Novell news will help other distros become more unified and give some more impetus to fixing the desktop. But this is mainly going to happen because people want to invest their time/money in making it happen and RedHat's lack of interest in such development indicates it is not interested in supporting linux's future. Possibly Fedora will take off, but something tells me it is not going to be because of this suit. U.S. corporate culture has breeded a whole generation of smiling, heartless executives who imagine that getting the numbers right will spell success. I feel ashamed.

    7. Slashdot, arguably one of RedHat's best free PR outlets, has turned from RedHat lovers to FSCK RedHat (that's FUCK REDHAT! for nontechies). RedHat can kiss their allies goodbye. FUCK EM!
  • by ookaze (227977) <ookaze@NOspaM.mail.ookaze.fr> on Wednesday November 05, 2003 @06:32AM (#7394683) Homepage
    Le KeepAlive est suffisant pour ce probleme.

    You must be kidding me !
    A Video Player in Linux is ready out of the box on most Linux distributions. You have only to do step 1. I think even MPlayer is installed already.

    Now, you can't play every content with the default, because of patents or copyrights, I do not know.
    But for sure, you can read more video formats on a default Linux install than on Windows.

    You cannot play encrypted DVD, because of patents or copyrights, but you can not either on Windows (except if your PC came with a DVD Player).

    The steps you give are to play EVERY file formats in existence actually. And you dare to say it requires no step on Windows ? On Windows, you cannot read any Xvid or Divx out of the box, for example. You have a great deal of complicated steps needed to play those on MS Windows, and it does not even work well most of the time. I actually installed Linux or give a Geexbox CD to a lot of newbies around me, who could not play their files on Windows.

    I agree with most of your other points though, but I would not say multimedia is Linux one of weak points.
  • Now what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by anothy (83176) on Wednesday November 05, 2003 @07:21AM (#7394813) Homepage
    Dern. Now where am i supposed to get [apple.com] a good Unix OS [apple.com] suitable for both desktop [apple.com] and server [apple.com] use?

How often I found where I should be going only by setting out for somewhere else. -- R. Buckminster Fuller

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