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The Next Leap for Linux 517

Posted by samzenpus
from the so-easy-a-penguin-could-use-it dept.
Nrbelex writes "The New York Times is taking a look at the state of Linux. "Linux has always had a reputation of being difficult to install and daunting to use. Most of the popular Windows and Macintosh programs cannot be used on it, and hand-holding — not that you get that much of it with Windows — is rare. But those reasons for rejecting Linux are disappearing." The article discusses major PC makers' newest offers and compares them to their Windows counterparts."
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The Next Leap for Linux

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  • Less keystrokes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jonoton (804262) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @08:07AM (#20849977)
    to install debian than to type in the windoze license key.
    • Re:Less keystrokes (Score:5, Interesting)

      by chuckymonkey (1059244) <charles.d.burton ... AGOom minus city> on Thursday October 04, 2007 @08:11AM (#20850005) Journal
      If I had mod points I would make you insightful. I have less problems with my mother's computer now that she has Ubuntu and I didn't have to walk her through the install. When there is a problem all I have to do is ssh in and fix, I do this while she's still using it.
      • Re:Less keystrokes (Score:5, Insightful)

        by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @08:47AM (#20850307)
        Yes that is all you have to do to fix it, but what does she have to do to fix it? The problem isn't that linux is intimidating for the average /. poster. It is that Linux is pretty freaking intimidating for the average computer user.

        If acceptance of linux is something that the community wants, then it needs to realize that Windows biggest flaws are also some of its best advantages. Afterall, its so easy to install programs on Windows that they practically do it themselves ;)

        The ubiquitous nature of windows makes it very easy to fix your machine should something go wrong. Part of it is due to the fact that there are very few versions of Windows, part of it has to do with the vast user base that windows has. You may not like how MS got there, but dislike of the situation won't change the problem.

        To those of you who know how to use linux, remember this: While windows may have a steep learning curve when it comes to administrative work, with Linux the curve is a brick wall for most users.

        • Re:Less keystrokes (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Aladrin (926209) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @08:52AM (#20850355)
          When something goes wrong with my mother's Windows-based computer, what does she do? I'll give you a hint: It doesn't involve fixing it herself.

          How is that any different than Linux, with the exception that with Linux, I wouldn't have to leave my house to go fix her computer?

          The only reason I've left her on Windows is that she plays those Reflexive.net games. If they played on Linux, and were easy to install (there's nothing easy about Wine, and it only works on these Reflexive.net games some of the time) then I'd switch her over. Heck, I could even install the games for here remotely, if they'd run afterwards.
          • Re:Less keystrokes (Score:5, Informative)

            by somersault (912633) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @09:00AM (#20850441) Homepage Journal
            You can actually do remote assistance invitations on Windows, or install VNC on her computer.. I'm no lover of Microsoft, but that's kind of a poor reason to choose Linux over Windows?
            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by Anonymous Coward
              Yes, you should just install a non-encrypted remote control server on a Windows machine and punch a hole in the firewall to allow external machines to connect to it. What could go wrong?
              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by tchuladdiass (174342)
                Install cygwin & sshd, then you can ssh into the windows box. Also configure VNC to only accept local connections and ssh port forward. Instant secure remote admin.
                • Re:Less keystrokes (Score:4, Informative)

                  by norminator (784674) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @11:34AM (#20852629)
                  That's cool, but in using cygwin, ssh & VNC to support the idea that it's easier to securely admin a remote Windows box than to admin a remote Linux box, you just proved that you need extra steps to do the same thing...

                  Under Linux, you obviously don't need cygwin, and an ssh server is usually installed and ready to go after a default install of most distros. VNC is just as available for Linux as for Windows, although most Linux distributions give you quick access to many VNC flavors through their default package managers, so you don't even have to manually download and install files.

                  Of course, under Linux, you can just install an NX server/client, which does have its own setup headaches, but once it's installed, using it is just as easy as Remote Desktop. You don't need to establish an ssh connection, then tell the client to tunnel through that connection; it handles all of the ssh stuff automatically and transparently. And with the latest version of NoMachine's NX server/client, you have the option of establishing a new session (even while someone else is running another local or remote session), or attach to a currently running session.
            • Re:Less keystrokes (Score:4, Insightful)

              by TW Atwater (1145245) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @11:34AM (#20852617)
              If Windows is so much easier to administer than Linux, why does it need Remote Assistance?

              I don't know about the rest of you who serve as help-desk for a wide circle of family and frineds, but the average user is completely lost if he clicks an icon and nothing happens. The only reason Linux isn't making inroads against MS on the desktop is that you can't go down to Best Buy and find computers with Linux pre-installed.

              More than 60,000 Windows programs won't run on Linux. Partial List here. [viruslist.com]

              • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                by somersault (912633)
                FFS, people are going to have issues on any system... and have you any idea how stupid/lazy some people are? The people that I find need the most help, are the same people that I consider to have the most evil personalities :P Could just be a coincidence.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Braino420 (896819)
              I think Reflexive.net is a poor reason to choose Windows over Linux.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by weicco (645927)

              You can actually do remote assistance invitations on Windows

              And you can do it over Live Messenger which I install to every computer I have to set up.

          • When something goes wrong with my mother's Windows-based computer, what does she do? I'll give you a hint: It doesn't involve fixing it herself.


            Ignoring that what you described can be accomplished in Windows with some type of VNC, it doesn't matter that in your case your mother doesn't fix her computer. In those cases, it doesn't matter if your mother was using Linux, Windows, Unix, or MacOS. That class of computer users will ALWAYS call someone else to fix their computers. But what about the people wi
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by supersnail (106701)
              Windows is not easier to install -- its just that Dell/Acer/HP did it for you. Installing an new XP from a shrink box is a long complex process, you usually lose a few devices on the way and spend another half a day trying to locate the right drivers for your sound card etc.

              Troubleshooting is not easier in Windows, especialy if an uninstall program f**s up and leaves your startup and registry in a mess.

              The only real problem from the end user point of view is the numerous intall package formats, if you are r
              • by debest (471937) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @12:11PM (#20853233)

                How hard would it be to get a unified package management system?

                I feel absolutely qualified in answering your question...

                "Very."

                You're welcome!
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by turbidostato (878842)
                "Installing an new XP from a shrink box is a long complex process"

                You can be damn sure. Just this morning a junior tech was trying to install XP SP2 on a computer. He came to me because he thought the SATA hard disk was fried. I pointed out that BIOS start messages showed it properly; then he told me the problem was that XP install just hanged. I told him, "just take the netinstall CD from Debian and run it to the point it offers to partition the hard disk and we'll see" and I returned to my stuff. 25 m
            • Re:Less keystrokes (Score:5, Informative)

              by mr_mischief (456295) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @10:42AM (#20851691) Journal
              Step 1 on Linux could be any of:
              • apt-get program ... done.
              • urpmi program ... done.
              • Search for it in Synaptic or aptitude.
              • yum install program ... done.
              • emerge program ... done.


              Also, if you think troubleshooting Windows is easy, you probably haven't done it much. Try installing WordPerfect Suite, Corel Draw, Photoshop, Crystal Reports, PowerTerm Pro, Lotus Notes, and PagePlus on 10 PCs. Crash half of them by cutting power. Then, troubleshoot the DLL hell and disk corruption that results.

              Troubleshooting Windows may be easier for you than troubleshooting Linux. That's not an objective measurement. I'd say both have their strengths and weaknesses in troubleshooting. One of Linux's biggest strengths is that so many production server machines so rarely need troubleshooting in the first place. I've never had a Windows server run for three months without downtime, let alone a year or two.

              Desktops of both kinds are more likely to need troubleshooting than servers, because you have more finger-poking happening. A well-administered Linux desktop is safe from lots of this, while most Windows desktops still have to be run as administrator to get real work done. Microsoft is making progress on the limited account front, though. On Linux at least you can remove and reinstall a particular package without trashing the libraries in use by other programs, and without rebooting to release any libraries still in use by other programs. Microsoft's registry is probably a really good idea for the OS, but making it a central
              repository for every application is a mess. /etc is a much better solution, and is easier to fix when something goes wrong.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Knuckles (8964)
              Windows is much easier to troubleshoot

              Aaaaahahahahaaaaa! *wipestearsfromeyes*

              Are you serious? windows is such a bitch to troubleshoot that nobody even tries anymore. Everyone with a clue just reimages when it inevitably starts to act up, home users and corporate IT departments alike. In Linux distros I have wonderful logging by the kernel and the apps, and I can run the apps from the cmd line where they will spit out lots of useful info, and often even have a --debug or --verbose switch. (Not even counting
        • Re:Less keystrokes (Score:5, Insightful)

          by walt-sjc (145127) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @09:14AM (#20850567)
          The ubiquitous nature of windows makes it very easy to fix your machine should something go wrong.

          Really? Sorry, but that's just not true. In fact, the famous Geek Squad usually fixes all Windows problems by re-imaging your box (which may solve the problem, but also wipes all your data, which is not cool at all, and not REALLY a true fix.) It would be like hiring someone to fix a leak in your roof and you come home and find that the roof was replaced, but now all your personal possessions in your house are gone.

          To really fix windows problems requires a fairly significant amount of skill / knowledge that MOST end users (and Geek Squad employees) simply DO NOT HAVE. If this guy's mom runs into problems on Windows, she will call him anyway.

          Once a Linux box is properly setup and running (which I admit may be a bit of a challenge if you have certain bits of "Windows Only" hardware) it is LESS likely to have problems than a Windows box in the first place.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by rbochan (827946)

            ...In fact, the famous Geek Squad usually fixes all Windows problems by re-imaging your box...To really fix windows problems requires a fairly significant amount of skill / knowledge...

            Yes, and those that have that knowledge usually charge a price. What would YOU rather do... pay someone knowledgeable for 6-8 hours to remedy the situation or pay them for 2 hours to re-image and update the machine? Even plumbers charge $90 per hour.
            It's a simple matter of economics.

            Once a Linux box is properly setup

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ceoyoyo (59147)
          It seems to me that "fixing" the computer for the average user is the same for Windows OR Linux: get someone else to do it for you.

          The problem with Linux for Joe Blow is not fixing it when something goes wrong but getting it to work with peripherals, or new programs. It's gotten a lot better, but when Joe goes out and buys some device and plugs it into his Windows machine, the manufacturer of that device has made it as easy as possible for Joe to get the thing working. On Linux it's not (always) so simple
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by CortoMaltese (828267)

          The ubiquitous nature of windows makes it very easy to fix your machine should something go wrong. Part of it is due to the fact that there are very few versions of Windows, part of it has to do with the vast user base that windows has.

          Windows easy to fix? You must mean, "Umm, where's that installation CD again?" ;) I've used Windows 10+ years, Linux 5+ years, and my experience is that Windows is difficult to fix. It's hard to find the root cause for problems, and it's difficult to figure out what can be done to fix the problems permanently. You just hack away and cross your fingers. And boot after every change in settings (okay, this has improved a lot lately.)

          Of course, Windows has interesting, non obvious features to prevent breakag

    • by dave420 (699308)
      Unless you're using the Windows unattended install, in which case it's 0 keys to press.
  • by jkrise (535370) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @08:08AM (#20849979) Journal
    Itself means Linux has made a good 'Next Leap'. Seriously! Until a few months back, the only Linux news used to be about the SCO case, Microsoft - Novell patents FUD etc. The nature of the GPL has meant that the cat is now well out of the bag, and the mainstream press outlets are compelled to sing the Penguin March.

    Poor network performance in Vista, the OOXML vote and now, the Excel 2007 calculation howler have made bad press for Microsoft. Not a day passes on Digg without Ubuntu articles getting over thousands of Diggs. So now, the NYT, Forbes, Gartner, Yankee and the rest must join the Linux bandwagon. Or be left behind.
    • by darthflo (1095225) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @08:15AM (#20850029)
      You're right about the mainstream press 'Next Leap', but apart from the Excel 2007 "problem" I don't see Digg, Vista's network performance, the OOXML fiasco or all those freedom politics helping to get non-techies to consider switching. Even the Excel trouble didn't get too much bad mainstream press 'round here.
      Linux's biggest mainstream advance over Vista will probably stay it's lower price for the next few years.
    • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @08:27AM (#20850109) Homepage Journal

      Itself means Linux has made a good 'Next Leap'. Seriously! Until a few months back, the only Linux news used to be about the SCO case, Microsoft - Novell patents FUD etc. The nature of the GPL has meant that the cat is now well out of the bag, and the mainstream press outlets are compelled to sing the Penguin March.
      I don't disagree with you that the mainstream press' recent positive attention to Linux is demonstrative of Linux on the desktop becoming a success story of its own, but I don't really see what the GPL has to do with it. The license itself makes no difference as far as 'compelling mainstream outlets to sing the Penguin March.' All that matters in this regard is that Linux can get the job done and is proving itself as a viable desktop operating system. The license may have contributed to that by invigorating the developer base (a matter that's up for debate), but the GPL really has nothing to do with Linux's success -- the success is a result of the hard work of developers, testers, documenters, and community volunteers that help spread the word.

      So now, the NYT, Forbes, Gartner, Yankee and the rest must join the Linux bandwagon. Or be left behind.
      These groups don't have to do anything of the sort. They merely report on trends in technology. If one of those trends is Linux, so be it. They'll report. Gartner and Yankee in particular aren't going to end their Microsoft bias anytime soon though.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by jkrise (535370)
        ... positive attention to Linux is demonstrative of Linux on the desktop becoming a success story of its own, but I don't really see what the GPL has to do with it. The license itself makes no difference ...

        Er.. how many BSD licensed distros have made it to mainstream press? The simple truth of the matter is that GPL has ensured that users get the most benefit from the Freedoms. Else, the corporate idea-thieves would've long ago taken over Linux, and made colourful, bloated clones.. back to Unix days. GPL
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by a.d.trick (894813)

        The license may have contributed to that by invigorating the developer base (a matter that's up for debate), but the GPL really has nothing to do with Linux's success — the success is a result of the hard work of developers, testers, documenters, and community volunteers that help spread the word.

        I'm not quite sure what the GP was trying to get at, but this is a bit misleading. The chief innovation of Linux was not technical, it was social. It's not like Linus was the first decent OS architect, but h

  • by BlueParrot (965239) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @08:10AM (#20849995)
    Based on my experience with Ubuntu, I'd say that the biggest issue is by far hardware vendors. When given ideal hardware Linux will pretty much "just work" but there is a lot of hardware that is not just less than ideal, but quite frankly unusable. I eventually bought a new PCI wireless card because I couldn't get my existing one to work, even with ndiswrapper.

    Unfortunately there really isn't a whole lot the developers can do to change this unless hardware vendors start opening their specs. The good news is that a lot of vendors do realize that having the FLOSS community write the drivers is pretty much the cheapest way to outsource development. As a bonus these drivers tend to be a lot more stable as well.
    • by Max Threshold (540114) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @08:20AM (#20850051)
      Hardware? Really? My biggest problem with Ubuntu (currently running the 7.10 beta) is with developers trying to squeeze in the latest and greatest upstream versions at the last minute, causing regressions and general strife and turning what could have been the Windows killer into an embarrassment for anyone who's trying to promote Linux.
      • My greatest problems were the significant lack of gui configuration tools for all but the most simple things, oh, and the kernel update screwed things up. I went back to gentoo since I didn't see any less hacking required under ubuntu.
        • My greatest problems were the significant lack of gui configuration tools for all but the most simple things

          Amen to that! A wiki should not replace a good configuration tool. I've used YAST in SuSe, Mandrivas tool are pretty good too. But for me the best little setup has got to be PcLinuxOS [pclinuxos.com] it has the same configuration tools as Mandriva , but uses Synaptic to download software. And there are a ton of packages available. You never need to install a new version, it is completely upgradeable via synaptic.

      • by Bert64 (520050)
        But you are running a beta... It's expected to have problems.
      • by nschubach (922175)
        I think you pretty much answered your own issue there. You did say it was a Beta version, right?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          I think his point was that, hey look, it's 2007-10, and they need to release this soon. Why are they trying to assfist in all of the bleeding-edge stuff *now*? Why can't it wait for 8.04?
          • by Etyenne (4915) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @10:14AM (#20851245)
            Because 8.04 will be a LTS release (Long Term Support), and it is expected that the Ubuntu developers will be conservative with the feature set they allow into 8.04. As such, if you have a feature that is somewhat experimental, you need to push it now (to get it tested and polished before 8.04), or wait until 8.10. At least, that's the theory. In practice, I am fairly certain quite a few experimental features will find their ways into 8.04 anyway.

            Managing releases at fixed date and coordinating with upstream project release is probably the toughest challenge Ubuntu is facing. But on the other hand, this is exactly what gave it the edge in the distro war. So far, the execution have been pretty good and Ubuntu reap the benefits.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by darthflo (1095225)
        You're in a bit of a dilemma here. Running beta software will cause some instabilities there (as mentioned by all others responding to you), but going back to stable 7.04 will probably get you the hardware-related problems GP was talking about (if you're running exotic or really new hardware anyways, Gutsy really fixed tons of issues there). I'm happy with Gutsy and a few problems, hope you are too :]
    • by Laebshade (643478)
      I have a similar problem. When I built a new PC earlier this year, of course I went with the best [that my wallet could handle]. All of the equipment is compatible to Linux... except the sound card, a Creative X-Fi. It has no support on linux whatsoever and probably won't until at least next year.

      Wait, let me stop myself there. I had to check the Creative open source page [creative.com] to confirm, and there are beta drivers now! But, a Gentoo forum thread [gentoo.org] shows that these are really just alpha drivers. Still, some
      • by Bert64 (520050)
        The situation is almost certainly going to improve tho...
        There was talk recently of at least one major OEM demanding that hardware they buy must have linux drivers available, and i doubt they will accept anything marked as beta. Component makers can't afford to lose large OEM contracts.
        With companies like Dell now offering Ubuntu, it doesn't make financial sense to maintain completely different sources of components for linux and non-linux systems, they will try to use as many of the same parts across the b
    • Why Closing a Driver loses its vendor money [catb.org]

      ESR may or may not be popular on Slashdot, but he covered this topic pretty well in the Cathedral and the Bazaar [catb.org].

  • Correction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by smartin (942) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @08:11AM (#20850009)
    But those reasons for rejecting Linux are disappearing.

    Those reasons disappeared years ago, what needs to disappear now are stories repeating them.
    • Re:Correction (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @08:15AM (#20850033)
      The same reasons still exist... a lot of the professional software used by many folks, still only exist on windows, and hardware vendors are not quick to support linux.

      Its been that way since i installed slackware 1
    • C# is what it would be like if they copied it [java].

      So... much improved and faster? :)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dave420 (699308)
      Those reasons haven't disappeared. You still can't do 100% of what you can on Windows on Linux. Until that changes, there are real, tangible reasons for people not to switch. People don't like to compromise. There is no way any of the companies I've worked for could become 100% Linux, as there are key pieces of software that many folks use every single day that are nowhere near available on Linux. It's a shame, and it's getting better, but to say it's "there" is doing Linux a great disservice, as it en
  • by foobsr (693224) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @08:15AM (#20850025) Homepage Journal
    From TFA: "Linux is best for technically savvy users or for people whose needs are so basic that they will never need anything other than the bundled software"

    Which basically translates to not for me for the average person, being neither a geek nor wanting to have the self-image of being 'basic'.

    CC.
    • by Dr. Manhattan (29720) <sorceror171@GIRA ... minus herbivore> on Thursday October 04, 2007 @08:31AM (#20850149) Homepage

      "for people whose needs are so basic that they will never need anything other than the bundled software" ... translates to not for me for the average person, being neither a geek nor wanting to have the self-image of being 'basic'.

      Of course, the article itself already stated:

      "An Add/Remove function actually makes finding programs easier with Linux than it is for Mac and Windows. Without having to go to Web sites, it lets you browse through categories of software. It took me only seconds to find several additional music players, a PDF reader and other programs. In addition to downloading the software, this feature installs it and finds any necessary additional files."

      It's a holdover from Windows/Mac, where installing software can be hard and requires some technical knowledge. The author still subconsciously thinks of installing software as 'difficult' even though they've actually seen the evidence that on Linux it's not. On any modern desktop Linux, software installation is no more complicated than "I want this program. Gimme."

  • Ok, so why is it not advertised on Dell's site ? From the TFA, Vista is 50 to 80 dollars more expensive. Does this only mean that Dell wants Microsoft to reduce its license price ?
  • Evolution of Linux (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Fireflymantis (670938) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @08:22AM (#20850065) Homepage
    I first got linux running back in '97 with Mandrake 5 point something, and back then I used it more with a 'shove it to MS' attitude. Things were clunky, slow, and broke easily in the GUI side back then. Definitely needed xkill as a shortcut, accessible at all times. X was a nightmare to configure and good luck getting sound working. OSS was 'the next big thing' for dealing with sound cards. *shudder*

    10 years later, there are some things that are still a bit rough around the corners, but at least now I am using it full time because I find it genuinely more usable and I can get a lot more work done using it than I ever could on windows. It is more stable, and short of accidentally hitting the switch on the power-strip with my feet, never have to deal with system crashes or BSODs.

    Right now, we are starting to see some 'really' neat things taking off like next-get UI's (compiz/beryl) and zeroconf that when refined over the next many years will undoubtedly make Linux systems the leader of the OSs. Additionally, due to the compound effect when more users switch over, more companies will release more goodies onto 'nix.

    Over the next decade I really think that there will be massive proliferation of Linux desktops and that maybe finally the IT industry can start the long journey to finally rid itself of nasty kludges presented by Redmond year after year. Of course though, we will have to watch out for self contrived idiocies such as political breakdown within the wizard circles (kernel, KDE, Gnome, Mozilla, etc) and also try and sanely resolve niggling issues like the current GPLv2 vs GPLv3 dilemma.

    So far since my indoctrination to the Linux world I have seen such vast improvements it boggles my mind, and I expect nothing less for the next 10.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @08:23AM (#20850069) Journal
    Most people buy windows pre installed. But anyone who had gone through a full install of Windows knows how difficult it is. When Redmond releases the next version and calls it an upgrade some chumps try to buy the install disks and attempt upgrading their machines. Or more frequently, a virus or something hits and they only thing that will really eradicate it is to format the hard disk and reinstall the OS. Even with a restore disk specifically created for that machine, many of the prompts during the restore process and install process are arcane and most users can't do anything other than accept the defaults. So why people harp on "Linux is difficult to install?", compare Linux install to windows install. Or compare pre installed Linux to pre installed Windows.

    Another disappointing thing about the article is that it positions Linux as a "cheap" alternative. The main point of Linux is not that it is cheap, it could be or it might not be. The real power of Linux is avoiding the vendor lock.

    • "Most people buy windows pre installed. But anyone who had gone through a full install of Windows knows how difficult it is."

      Exactly. Only people who have installed windows knows that it's not very simple, but most people have not. This is why it's completely irrelevant to compare installing linux to installing windows. Installing linux needs to be as simple or simpler than booting up a fresh copy of windows vista for the first time, which incidentally requires no effort beyond pressing the power button. Ye
      • Ok, so you're saying that for users who don't give a fuck about vendor lock, linux really has no point?

        Most people would not mind paying more, if they can use the PC as reliably as they use the VCR. The reason why most common consumers use Windows is because, they are familiar with it at work, so they buy the same thing for their home. They seem to reason, "ok I use this machine at work and have built some level of expertise. Same machine at home, I can handle it. If there is a problem, I can ask collegu

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Tim C (15259)
      But anyone who had gone through a full install of Windows knows how difficult it is.

      I guess I must have missed something then, as I've installed various flavours of Windows over the years and have never had any issues. Of course, I've never had any issues installing Linux either...
  • Difficult? (Score:4, Informative)

    by blackbirdwork (821859) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @08:23AM (#20850073)
    Difficult to install? That's only for Linux from Scratch. All other distros are easier than Windows to install. Have you tried to install Windows XP on a new machine? It's a pain in the ass... remember to have a floppy drive before trying it.
  • "2008: The year of the Linux Desktop?"
  • In my opinion, Linux distros must provide a means of doing away with text configuration files, but still retain the ability to access them for those who wish. Everybody I have asked to edit some configuration file has loathed the idea. They are just used to pointing and clicking. They look terrified when presented with a configuration file. Some kept asking me where they should save it!

    The other thin Linux distros must do is to make the default install beautiful. I knoe beauty lies in the hands of the behol

    • Everybody I have asked to edit some configuration file has loathed the idea.

      I know what you mean! My elderly parents have no problem navigating to HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run and tweaking a REG_SZ value, but ask them to open up Gedit...

      (Yes, this was sarcastic.)

      • by PFI_Optix (936301) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @10:36AM (#20851591) Journal
        It sounds absurd when you say it, but there's actually a lot of truth to that. I've walked elderly people through their registry before and not had a problem. "Click HKLM. Now click software. Click Microsoft. Windows. Now click CurrentVersion. Now click Run. Now double-click on that, type this, and click OK."

        This was back in the early days of XP, when a lot of home users had Win9x. I also had to walk them editing some text files like config.sys on occasion. Getting them into the editor was easy, but then..."No sir, you don't need to read me the whole file. Yes sir, I know exactly what we're looking for here. Alright, do you see a line of text that starts with 'buffers'? No? Okay, move your cursor to the end of the last--click the mouse there--right. Okay, now press enter--yes, it should start you on a new blank line. And I want you to type 'buffers=10'. Yes, b-u-f-f-e-r-s. No, don't spell equals, use the sign. Two horizontal lines, to the left of your backspace key. Correct. And the number ten, as in one zero. Yes. Now you want to save that and exit notepad. Yes, overwrite it. No, that won't break anything so long as you did exactly what I told you to do.

        The point-and-click interface gives people a sense of security. It makes them feel like they're in control without being at risk of REALLY screwing things up. And there's some truth to that: changing a switch by editing a number in a GUI field is a lot different than editing a text file. You aren't risking breaking the configuration by deleting a slash or a hyphen...the only way to break it is with a configuration that doesn't work.

        I would like to see a more unified control panel for the Linux GUIs that allowed you to tweak text files without having to dive into them. It's one of those things that would provide a bridge between being able to use the OS and being able to get the most out of it for your particular requirements. As with all things Linux it has drastically improved in recent years, but it wouldn't hurt to do more.
    • by Bert64 (520050)
      Most things a typical user would want to do can be done in a graphical way, but it's good to have the configuration stored in hand editable text files. Having a fallback is always good incase something serious goes wrong, usually when something serious goes wrong with windows people reinstall which you could do with linux too, but having the choice is much better.
      Most of those users who hate having to edit a text file, would hate having to change registry keys too.
    • "The other thin Linux distros must do is to make the default install beautiful. I knoe beauty lies in the hands of the beholder but an ugly app does not help matters in this way at all.The upcoming KDE release looks promising." Fedora? Ubuntu? Mandriva? We aren't talking about the BSD installers here...and Beryl has definitely gotten a lot of people I know interested in Linux. "Last but not least; Marketing. Linux distros can do a better job at marketing." Marketing to whom? Red Hat does an excellent
  • COULD THIS BE!? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kevmatic (1133523) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @08:34AM (#20850189)
    The Year of the Linux Desktop!?!?!

    Probably not.

    There's not going to be some sudden revolution to Linux, its going to come gradually. There won't be a Year of the Linux Desktop, I'm thinking one day we'll all look back and marvel about how mainstream Linux snuck up on us.

    I doubt this article will get any more than a couple dozen people to try it. But its a start.

    What amazes me is how rapidly its improving. The Kubuntu install I'm using is only a year old, but the new Gusty Beta is so much different it might as well be a different OS entirely. How much does Windows improve in a year?

    Oh, that's right, they take SIX YEARS to improve, and ended up with Vista.

    (K)ubuntu is out pacing Windows so bad its only a matter of time before it overtakes Windows in all fronts. I mean, the automatix problem they're talking in TFA is supposedly already fixed for Gusty, and there's a ton of other features that people will love.

    And yeah, and takes days to get an XP reinstall into a usable state too, with drivers and Firefox and updates and anti virus and antispyware and office suites and media players that have to be installed.

    Seems to me people who ask the question "is Linux ready for Mainstream?" compare it to a perfect Windows that I've never seen in person.
    • There won't be a Year of the Linux Desktop

      That's right, any more than there was a "Year of the Linux Server". Linux's presence in the server area just kept growing, until now it's just one more tool to be used when appropriate.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Aladrin (926209)
      While some areas are definitely overtaking Windows (Seen Compiz in Gutsy? Nice and stable!) there are others that are pretty much out of the control of developers. I'm talking about mainstream software. It simply doesn't work on Linux, even with Wine. Once there's a Photoshop for Linux, and maybe a few other choice apps, then you'll see the acceptance of Linux as a desktop for the common man.
  • ...oh. Never mind.
  • by E-Sabbath (42104) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @08:47AM (#20850301)
    I've found this lovely project. It's called Wine-Doors, and it's a Package Manager for Windows programs under Linux. Like Apt-Get.
    Seems to work pretty well, too.
    http://www.wine-doors.org/wordpress/?page_id=5 [wine-doors.org]
  • NO! Not Automatix! (Score:5, Informative)

    by gbutler69 (910166) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @08:48AM (#20850321) Homepage
    Automatix IS NOT recommended for Ubuntu! It tends to screw things up preventing correct updates to the next version.

    Codecs are now installed automagically whenever you attempt to open a media file for which you do not have the correct CODEC.

    Automatix IS NOT recommended.
    • by chrono13 (879557) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @09:32AM (#20850739)
      Not only is Automatix not recomended, but it is almost completely irrelivant and unessary.

      On a fresh 7.10 install:

      Add/Remove, Show all packages, "restricted". Install restricted package.
      You now have installed: Java6, Flash9, video codecs, lame, dvd playback, ms fonts, and more.
      No command line, no downloading of a 3rd party unrecomended script. Just easy. Compare that to Windows.

      Even going outside of the package manager, most people find there is a deb for their distro (eg. Google Earth).

      I removed the "Made for Windows" sticker and replaced it with a "Powered by Ubuntu" sticker. Ubuntu 7.10 is the release that has replaced Windows for me.
  • I've been using Linux as my main desktop platform for about 10 years now. In that time, we've seen some amazing work done in regards to the usability and hardware support that Linux users enjoy today. I'd go so far as to say that Linux has completely altered my conception of how the computing world, and perhaps the world in general, should operate. That said, I'm not sure I'm ready for the masses to embrace Linux.

    Sure, it would be nice from a driver standpoint, as I can foresee many more hardware manufactur
  • Honestly-- most Linux distros designed to be easy for new users (ie, ubuntu, mandriva, fedora, etc) are at least as easy, if not easier, to install than windows. You get a pretty GUI right from the get-go. Some distros can be installed in 3 or 4 clicks of the next button! Also, by the time you are at the desktop, support for most of your hardware is already in place. A vanilla copy of windows xp, for example, is an ugly sight on new notebooks. Wrong screen resolution, wrong video drivers, network, wireless,
  • The dismal failure of Vista hasn't pushed people to try Linux. It's only kept them on XP. Why would people switch to an entirely new platform when what they have works perfectly well?
  • by Xenomorph.NET (969401) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @09:49AM (#20850927)
    "They" have been saying for 10 years now that Linux is ready for the Desktop. It will be ready for the Desktop when the public says it is. Not supporting DRM or getting scary "constitutes a CRIME" messages when trying to play music and movies doesn't help. Pushing "OpenOffice" as a free *clone* of Microsoft Office doesn't seem to be fooling people either. It will only take a user 5 minutes to realize it lacks the Mail functionality or even comes close in speed of Microsoft's Office. I am looking forward to Ubuntu 7.10. I still won't see it as a replacement for Windows - but it is definitely an alternative to it. Linux for me has excelled as a great tool/utility OS and a server OS.

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