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Linux Business

Red Hat Avoids Desktop Linux, Says Too Tough 472

Posted by Zonk
from the choosing-where-to-fight-your-battles dept.
eldavojohn writes "We recently discussed the Linux Foundation's decision to leave desktop Linux alone but Red Hat is also steering clear of that goal. The reason? It's too tough. From the company blog: 'It's worth pointing out what's missing in the list above: we have no plans to create a traditional desktop product for the consumer market in the foreseeable future. An explanation: as a public, for-profit company, Red Hat must create products and technologies with an eye on the bottom line, and with desktops this is much harder to do than with servers.'"
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Red Hat Avoids Desktop Linux, Says Too Tough

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  • Whither Fedora? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Craig Maloney (1104) * on Thursday April 17, 2008 @08:56AM (#23103710) Homepage
    I wonder where this leaves Fedora in the long term? I can't say I fault them, but honestly I would hope Red Hat would rise to the challenge rather than shrink away from it.
  • Desktop Linux (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Thursday April 17, 2008 @08:57AM (#23103738)
    Well, their main competitor Ubuntu is basically giving away the OS for free. How can RedHat expect to compete with that?

    Personally, I find Linux to be great as a server OS doing very specific things for my home network. Webserver, you bet. Fileserver, yep. Firewall, no doubt. Mail server, of course. But on the desktop, I find that Windows (XP) just works without any fuss. I've tried "desktop Linuces" and found them all pretty clunky for the stuff I wanted to do.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17, 2008 @08:59AM (#23103762)
    Redhat built up a reputation on the server. They really do not compete against that many. The desktop is a whole other creature. In particular, it is not just MS (which is hard), but also apple, nearly ALL the other linux distros, and even BSD. This is a tough market and will require staying power.
  • Free means that you're free to look out for yourself. As long as they don't inhibit other people from making desktop distros, I see nothing wrong with this.
    I certainly didn't intend this submission to sound like I was blaming Red Hat for abandoning Linux on the desktop for the single user. I was, instead, hoping this would generate interesting conversation about whether or not desktop Linux is supposed to be delivered by a company. Perhaps it has to come from single developers working together? Red Hat contributes big time (over 10% of all contributions I think) to kernel development so they're already a god to me.

    Will Canonical's Ubuntu distribution be short lived if they fail to target the enterprise? I don't mean to spread FUD, just wondering. I think Canonical is Europe or South Africa based, perhaps America's economic woes are driving Red Hat away from funding things that, frankly, have no return on investment? Is desktop Linux for the end user merely an economic drain on a company? I certainly hope not but that's kind of how I interpreted Red Hat's blog ...
  • Confused ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:04AM (#23103842) Homepage
    OK, so I'm thick, I'll confess.

    But, seriously ... what the hell do people mean when they say that someone needs to design a "desktop". I've used Linux/FreeBSD as a desktop OS for over a decade. Gnome and KDE both seem fairly robust, with lots of apps and functionality.

    WTF is fundamentally missing that it can't be a "desktop"?? Are we talking administration? Apps? Screen savers? Spinning cursor add-ons? iTunes? Virus scanners? Boxed software?

    I'm afraid I just don't get what is fundamentally missing here. What is missing from the puzzle for being a "desktop"?

    Cheers
  • Re:Confused ... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by liquidpele (663430) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:10AM (#23103978) Journal

    OK, so I'm thick, I'll confess. But, seriously ... what the hell do people mean when they say that someone needs to design a "desktop".
    Mainly, it's the combination of "just working" and supporting the things that end up not working that you'll need to provide.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:13AM (#23104018)
    Canonical sure wants to take over. They've got one step to cross first... Turning a profit _before_ Mark runs out of money...
  • Re:Confused ... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tomtomtom777 (1148633) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:14AM (#23104036) Homepage

    What is missing from the puzzle for being a "desktop"?

    Simple answer: easy installation.

    FreeBSD with Gnome or KDE is simply not comparable to Ubuntu Hardy (for example) in terms of installation and administration for the average Joe.

    I agree that for the desktop might not be the right terminology but if you step in Joe's shoes and compare both solutions you'll notice a huge difference.

  • Like a utility (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bombula (670389) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:14AM (#23104040)
    I've posted before that the desktop GUI is becoming a lot like a utility. This is another example of why: everyone needs it, but it's too difficult to make a profit providing it, so this is why Ubuntu is stepping up strong.
  • Re:Whither Fedora? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JeremyGNJ (1102465) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:15AM (#23104052)
    Be honest with yourself. That's not *really* linux on a phone, at least not in a way that would ever have any influence over a user switching their Desktop OS.
    It's just a way manufacturers found to avoid hiring 2 or 3 more programmers.
  • Me too (Score:5, Interesting)

    by drooling-dog (189103) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:24AM (#23104166)
    I was about to ask that same question. I'm using Linux "on the desktop" right now as I write this, as I have for years. What is it about my desktop that isn't "ready for the desktop"? If anything, my friends using Windows have had to deal with more overall crap, and most of them would acknowledge as much (but not switch, of course).

    I suspect that that this "not ready for the desktop" meme that I see constantly being reinforced is just part of the FUD campaign that Microsoft and its stakeholders have waged for years. It doesn't matter that experienced Linux users know it's a load of crap if they can keep their own customers too afraid to try it.

    I've also noticed lately that posts like this one get modded down pretty quickly, now that there are companies that perform this service for a fee. Let's see if it happens this time...
  • by newbiefan (703469) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:24AM (#23104168)

    In the Red Hat world, you install Fedora to try it. You find a problem and want support, tough.
    If you want Red Hat Enterprise Linux for free, get CentOS. Red Hat contributes more to free software than Canonical.
  • Re:Confused ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jimicus (737525) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:28AM (#23104254)

    WTF is fundamentally missing that it can't be a "desktop"?? Are we talking administration? Apps? Screen savers? Spinning cursor add-ons? iTunes? Virus scanners? Boxed software?
    Every time one problem is solved, it's another one.

    It used to be "No serious office software". Then OpenOffice came to be.

    Then it was "very difficult to configure" (never mind that in businesses, where much of the money is, a dedicated IT department does all the configuring and they sure as hell don't go around like monkeys clicking "Next Next Next" on every PC). Then Ubuntu came to be.

    Right now there are a few more - the first two that spring to mind are "very difficult to manage across a large group in a similar easy fashion to Windows - you can't easily click a button and - poof! - an icon for an application will appear on the desktop of everyone belonging to a particular group, you can't easily centrally disable UI functionality on a per-group basis so end users don't see anything that might confuse them." The general answer to that one is "it's not that hard to roll your own" - which is certainly true but few IT departments want to re-invent the wheel. Canonical have a product called "Landscape" which supposedly solves this but it's only available when you pay for support so how good it is I don't know.

    The second argument right now is "all the little business applications which handle boring things like payroll and accounts, of which there are myriad, are conspicuous by their absence on Linux".

    Once this problem is solved, I imagine something else will come up. I think what it really boils down to is "a migration would provide little benefit and cause a great deal of work which we can't justify". Which is probably the most sound business reason that exists - make no mistake, it will continue to exist for a very long time. Lots of companies stuck with dumb terminals for years, only to migrate to PCs with a terminal emulator for the business application.
  • Re:Whither Fedora? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by drakaan (688386) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:33AM (#23104372) Homepage Journal
    Doesn't that mean that a monopoly that abuses their/its power is an illegal monopoly?
  • Re:Confused ... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Tikkun (992269) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:42AM (#23104584) Homepage
    So... then you're saying... that Windows isn't ready for the desktop because it doesn't have Time Machine.
  • by Super Jamie (779597) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:53AM (#23104810) Homepage
    Canonical is Mark Shuttleworth's toy, and he's loving Linux at the moment, in between his spaceflight holidays. The company is at least covering costs, if not profitable, but he slipped the Ubuntu Foundation a spare $10M pocket money, should rainy days come. I don't think Ubuntu is going away any time soon :)
  • Re:Whither Fedora? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by canuck57 (662392) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:56AM (#23104858)

    I know you were ranked funny because of how it is worded. But there is truth to it.

    Lets go back to before PCs. I/T and business didn't bring them in, the real McCoy "hackers" and engineers did. Then the users got on board, often with their own dime or in at least the department business unit bought them. There was no direction from I/T or senior management. The PC crept in through the back doors. I/T even used to say use the mainframe, we don't support the PCs.

    At some point the business and I/T woke up and found these PCs took over the workplace, and finally invested in it. The business was driven by the users.

    The Linux desktop is no different, get the home users and it will be dragged into business. The other way around isn't going to work.

    If anything, Red Hat aught to produce a home user version that is so easy to install a 5 year old could do it. And leverage the Vista mess and hand me down computers. Sell it for $20 a download. Get it out there as a choice for new laptops.

    PCs, DOS and MS-Windows came in the back door, and if X-Windows Linux wants it, that is the way in.

  • by daliman (626662) <slashdotNO@SPAMontheroad.net.nz> on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:03AM (#23104970) Homepage

    I disagree. The first three areas you mention are of interest to a relatively small number of users. The final is one area that Open Source software is completely cleaning up on, with MPlayer and VLC easily being more useful players than anything else I've come across (and both running under Windows as well, if you want a decent player there...).

    As has been mentioned many times, the biggest problems are

    1. Windows comes preinstalled
    2. The current generation of users have grown up using windows; they know it already, why shift?
  • Re:What is so hard? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PRMan (959735) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:05AM (#23104996)

    Simple. Because only Linux geeks will say that GIMP=Photoshop. The rest of us have tried both and know better.

    That's not saying that it will never get there (or get close enough, like OpenOffice, that it won't matter to 70% of people.

    But right now, it's just delusional to say GIMP=Photoshop. Those applications DON'T exist on Linux.

    Plus, companies have decades worth of Access, C++, .NET, etc. apps on every desktop that they are not about to switch. So until it runs all of those, they're not switching. Windows licenses are cheaper and the support costs are lower (because their staffs know Windows really well).

  • by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) * on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:07AM (#23105024) Journal
    misterblank wrote:

    Adobe is quite happy to remain a significant Apple player I'm sure. That is their platform and it has always shined there.

    True, but only so far. Adobe has a very dysfunctional relationship with Apple, especially since Apple became a Serious Software Company. Example: Final Cut Pro (FCP). FCP was aimed at AVID, but the results were the destruction of Adobe Premiere. At the time (1999) Premiere 4 was the deal, and it sucked really badly. It was so disruptive that AVID said they would cease development on the Apple platform. Adobe followed suite. AVID soon went back, but Adobe was very deeply hurt and stopped making Premiere for MacOS. Only recently have they considered going back.

    Apple is in a strong position, but they are only as strong as their developers (which is why Linux is sucking wind on consumer apps, as discussed above). If Microsoft pulled MSOffice off the MacOS, and Adobe did the same, Apple would have to leave the computer business.

    The fiasco with FCP vs Premiere was so detrimental to Apple AND Adobe, that both sides have backed off a bit, but they still compete a lot. What you will NEVER see is iPhoto turn into a Photoshop killer, nor will Apple develop Adobe Pages and Keynote into anything seriously competitive with Word and PowerPoint - Apple needs MS Office BIG TIME. Apple got spanked - true FCP is the killer video app, and iMovie is pretty good for what it is, but the bad blood it churned up is something Apple is VERY aware of, and they know they have to walk a delicate line with their developers.

    If they get too out of line, Adobe could EASILY partner with ASUS and pull a "buy CS3 and get a computer FREE" deal, and that would be the beginning of the end of Apple.

    best,

    RS

  • Work with Ubuntu (Score:2, Interesting)

    by steve_thatguy (690298) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:07AM (#23105034)
    If RedHat is accepting they're not going to aim to be kings of desktop Linux, they should work on integrating their server product with Ubuntu desktop workstations. That could be a killer feature for them, cause then they don't *have* to worry about the desktop. I think collaboration between the two companies in this respect could actually be really beneficial for both.
  • by eeek77 (1041634) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:13AM (#23105156)
    Sorry for a simplistic response on a web forum that's anything but... but here goes.

    Right now, Ubuntu provides everything I need in a desktop. The interface is excellent, tons of apps in the repositories that can do pretty much everything I need out of a computer. I'm not sure of all the business and technical nuts and bolts of what that company is doing, but I sincerely hope they keep doing it. I love their product. The distro installs after about 7-8 clicks and 30 minutes. From my experience, everything has been plug and play.

    Now, I know this is a simplistic approach and my experiences will not be the same as many others' out there. But the cool thing about Linux is it's free, so if something doesn't work, you can just try something else.

    Example, I was happily running PCLinuxOS for a few months. Eventually, it gave me a boot error and wouldn't start up. I tried at it for a few days, but eventually gave up and moved on. I had tried Ubuntu before and came back again to where I am now. I'm sure I'll try PCLinuxOS again because there were some things about that distro that I loved, also.

    Catch my general drift, here? What happens if your Windows PC has a bust? You either beat your head against the wall until it's fixed (yes, you have to do that with Linux also) or you pay someone who can fix it for you.

    With Linux, all you need is hardware, a high speed internet connection (I do NOT recommend trying Linux out without hi-speed internet), and an open mind to explore and try out.

    You could probably count me as a mini-mini power user. I am not afraid to wipe a hard drive and install an OS. But on a regular basis, I try to stay away from the command line as much as possible and I can't code anything.

    (gosh, this guy isn't a coder and he's posting on Slashdot?!? who let him in?)

    My point is that I love what the Linux/FOSS movement provides for me RIGHT NOW. I know there are some greater and global economic/social pressures that might force what we have now off the internet. But as a little person who can't control those things, I hope to the heavens above that what's provided for us currently, continues to be so because I'm very happy with it. Worst case scenario - years from now, I'll still be running my old Ubuntu 7.10 version. I'd bet it will still be just as stable, too.

    To answer the parent, I think companies like Ubuntu and Firefox have a strong enough hold on the market that they aren't going to die any time soon. (Hopefully)
  • Now a company with support capacity and marketing abilities is needed if we want to see more than a 2% market share

    According to W3Counter, Linux passed 2% in January.

    If their figures are believable, Linux use has close to doubled in the past nine months.

  • by Jedi Alec (258881) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:49AM (#23105830)
    From an engineering perspective but not from a marketing perspective. What is the easily communicated value that more than overcomes the network effect of Windows' accumulated user knowledge (already knows how to use Windows and Office)

    Speaking as someone who's just had to switch from Office 2000 to 2007, at this point I'm seriously considering going for OO instead. I'll have to pretty much learn how to use the damn suite all over again anyway, might as well get the right thing while I'm at it.
  • by JShadow21 (871404) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:53AM (#23105910)
    I just got an email from Red Hat yesterday telling me about all the benefits of switching all of our desktops to Red Hat, using Lotus Notes / Domino as the collab suite. http://www.lotusonredhat.com/ [lotusonredhat.com] See the Linux client migration guide on the left.
  • by Markspark (969445) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @11:16AM (#23106316)
    this year, my school switched from office 200x to Office 2007, and i actually think that this is the first thing MS got right, from my perspective, after a few hours, you find your way around it, and it's alot faster to do scientific papers in the new version than in the old ones.
    at home i use OpenOffice, and i think it still has a far way to go. (atleast when it comes to writing equations and stuff, i guess i should switch to latex)
  • Desktop is fine (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Xoth (168125) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @11:28AM (#23106516) Homepage
    Admittedly too busy to read the articles behind the links so I will spew my opinion without proper research. First I get the impression that the MS windows clique resembles republicans jumping on democrats when they make a comment and twist it to their end. Ultimately its shows they are grabbing at straws and unix in the end dominates the computing world. Maybe this post doesnt qualify as this, not sure, but be on guard.

    Second its important for techies to explain to non-techies the difference between the OS and the desktop. Its not the same thing. Often Mac users rave about the virutes of their OS confusing it with the desktop. In fact the OS is a unix variant with a cool proprietary desktop, proprietary in the sense of the hardware and that desktop and app drivers will work without issue.

    Third after making that distinction, understand that unix/bsd/linux is blessed with choice of desktop, and more importantly the flexibility of not running x windows at all. I can can see where the discussion may get confusing. Linux distros are more concerned with the OS, and the desktop is left to the developers who build desktops and to developers who build desktop apps. Its all good. The desktop becomes an abstract layer unto itself and major linux distros may find it unnecessary to focus on it and focus more on the OS and provide a solid foundation for server and/or desktop. They are not giving up on the desktop, just a desktop oriented distro. Someone else is focusing on the desktop.

    Fourth the linux desktop has made huge strides in the last 10 years and gnome and kde developers deserve high praise and all the app developers that run with these. I'm amazed. Whats needed is support for end users to understand the issues and overcome the need for windows. End users get a computer with windows which is more often than not screwed up by additional software and bloatware which actually makes windows appear more unstable than it is. End users may try a linux desktop but dont equate free software with the absence of some software drivers and get frustrated there. I like the new feature in fedora 8, dont recall the name, where you open a file and the app discovers there is no driver for it and a pop up appears showing where to dl it or buy it.

    Fifth its about the software you need to use to get your task done. Generic apps like word processors and spreadsheets are available for the linux desktop, for free. You dont have to use word anymore.

    Finally is the desktop an issue? Computing has changed and in a way and come full circle. First you had client/server where your client was very thin and you connected to a central computer to accomplish your tasks. Then personal computers came along and it became decentralized. Now with the internet we are going back to client/server. How much time and effort do you want to invest in your desktop and apps when you can merely open a web browser and use a word processor at google.
  • by gladish (982899) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @11:31AM (#23106578)
    So I'm just about 180 from you. I'm make a living as a software developer and use the command line almost exclusively (except for browsing the web). I made the "switch" about two years ago (at home) from Linux to Mac OS and was really happy. I had the best of both worlds. I recently decided to buy a new PC (big mistake) and installed windows vista on it. I did this because I wanted to learn more about win32 development. About a month ago, I decided to try Unbuntu. Everyone is always talking about this new linux distro that is so wonderful. At first I was very impressed. It actually resized my NTFS partition and setup dual boot without a flaw. Then I started fielding questions from my wife about manging pictures and transferring music with our ipod and realized that it's nowhere near ready for mainstream use. I had to rebuild my favorite game (bzflag) from source to get sound working properly, which is my biggest complaint. The core sound system on linux seems to be re-architected once a year.

    The reason Linux will fail on the desktop and succeed as a server platform is (in my mind) due to fragmentation and duplicate effort. If you look at the development of the kernel itself, it's IBM, novell, redhat, and a relatively small set of individuals. The changes they are submitting are being filtered through an even smaller set of gatekeepers. This prevents random features from just popping up inside the kernel and it ensures that things that people don't want to work on that should be actually get fixed. Remember if a customer complains about a kernel bug, then IBM or someone who's getting paid will probably have to work on it. You can also look at device drivers. How man drivers do you have for a device? Probably one.

    Now look at the UI/Desktop. We have a half-dozen or more media players, window managers, widget sets, etc. And now with Mono everything is being done again but in C#. It's more of a playground than a stable platform. We (as the Linux community) never finished the first 5 media players and now we're building another one. This leads to fragmentation of development effort and to people abandoning projects before they're complete. Sure it's choice, but I'd rather have a choice between 2 good media players rather than 10 unfinished ones. I'm using the media player here as an example, but this pretty much applies to all things on the desktop. Too many people doing the same thing over and over.

    I'm not saying it's bad, Linux is a nice environment to simply learn a new language or API, but as far as bringing it up to commercial grade level... probably never.

  • by uab21 (951482) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @11:48AM (#23106862)
    I'm participating in a StarOffice beta at my current company to see if we can avoid updating our Office2000 installation to Office2007 next year. Everyone I've roped into the beta has uninstalled it within 48 hours. (including me, but I re-installed it to see if I could find ways to workaround what really bugs people). The biggest headache is Excel files with charts (why the hell can't I have a chart on a separate tab in Star by default? Without having to reset background fill and size?), and extensive Visual Basic macros (will those work in 2007 anyway?). The documents and presentation stuff work fine, but the files 'look different' when first opened (although they print fine) - I think Star needs a default 'looks like MS' option for viewing mode when opening a .doc or .ppt

    Bottom line is I don't see companies switching, and so individuals likely won't either

  • by SlashV (1069110) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @11:52AM (#23106916) Homepage

    What is it about my desktop that isn't "ready for the desktop"?
    Example: I'm running ubuntu 7.10
    • Webcam was not supported (logitech)
    • Sound stopped working after plugging in a webcam
    • Encrypted DVD won't play
    • Black windows appear when many windows are open. (nvidia)
    • Touchpad on laptop doesn't work properly (alps)
    And the list goes on. In general whatever hardware I get I have to worry whether it is supported on Linux.
    I managed to solve all of the above issues, but for a regular user that's too much trouble if they can get it done at all. Yes, Linux needs better marketing; Yes, it needs better support, but the bottomline is: IT JUST ISN'T READY.
  • by Fuzi719 (1107665) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @11:57AM (#23107018)
    I don't have outrageous hardware, just a standard older P4 system with an ATI graphics adapter. I've tried 5 different Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, PCLinuxOS, and Mandriva. None of them will install a working usable desktop. The default install doesn't use any of the abilities of my graphics adapter (an older ATI x1300Pro AGP model) so it is soooooo slooooow to paint it is unusable. Trying to install the included ATI drivers always results in the "black screen of death" that results in the only way to get out of it is to do a complete reinstall of the OS. I've spent literally days trying to get a distribution working to no avail. But WinXP installs, detects my graphics adapter without a problem, installs the adapter specific drivers, and is fast fast fast without me having to spend hours or days killing chickens under a willow tree during a blue moon after midnight. Even Vista installs on this machine without a problem (though I hate Vista and went back to XP Pro). And yes, someone always blames ATI for the problem. But pointing fingers doesn't lessen the issue: no Linux distribution will install and work as easily as Windows does currently. Until that is addressed, Linux on the desktop is a minor niche at best.
  • I've said for a long time that Linux is not desktop ready. (snip BS) So I bought the next best thing. A Mac Book Pro Thats all I have to say.
    Which wasn't much. Anybody would choose OS X over Linux is a tool. Have you looked under the hood of your fabled OS X? Just look at the directory structure alone. Shit is spewed all over the place. Be honest, you bought the MacBook Pro because it just looks good. You're making a fashion statement, right? Pretty boy running a Pretty OS. Pffft. Go diddle your Finder, Macboy.

    Oh please. I think the Darwin/OS X directory structure is far better than most other *nixes', because end-user apps go into their own folder. Things are just more intelligently organised. Apart from that, it's almost identical to FreeBSD, but with sysvinit swapped out for launchd.

    True, it's a pain in the scandal and farce whenever you need to do more advanced stuff (its terminal is often difficult to work with) but the directory structure is, by no means, an adequate argument.

    The bottom line is Linux needs more configuration. My new Eee PC arrived on Tuesday, and while I absolutely love it, I've still had to

    • swap Xandros out for Eeedora, because of no wpa-psk support
    • swap Xfce for GNOME, and the text login system for GDM
    • install OpenOffice.org
    • edit the init and bash config files to get GNOME and GDM to work properly
    • edit the GNOME panels to be able to see the config dialogs' OK/Cancel buttons

    and numerous other things. It still isn't working completely perfectly. However, I can switch on a Mac and get it up and running within the hour. Even a ten-year-old could probably get it working within three hours. It 'just works'. That doesn't mean it's the most powerful OS in the world, but (at the moment) it's my favourite.

  • by SocietyoftheFist (316444) * on Thursday April 17, 2008 @01:13PM (#23108186)
    The fanboys tell me over and over how this is the year of the Linux desktop, I've been hearing that since 1999, but I've tired of the issues I had trying to run Linux as my primary desktop. I bought a MacBook Pro last year and am very happy with it. I run Windows/Linux in VMWare Fusion when I need/want to do something in them but I really am quite happy at deciding to choose the Mac as my primary platform. I started using Linux in 1996 with Slackware 2.x but last year when I found myself still having to compile source code to get a new piece of hardware to work, without full functionality to boot, I through in towel and said I'm done. Linux will succeed on the desktop when hardware manufacturers build their products with Linux in mind and ship with Linux drivers. When the latest gadget that everybody wants has a sticker that says "Ready for Linux", Linux will have arrived.
  • Re:Desktop Linux (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mdm-adph (1030332) <mdmadphNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday April 17, 2008 @01:38PM (#23108600) Homepage

    The biggest one, IMHO, is that the open source community has high esteem/respect for developers, but other tasks that go into producing a polished product meant to be used by less technical people aren't valued the same way. I think someday the community will come around and place high values on rigorous testing, UI design, user documentation, etc., and that really will be "the year of Linux on the desktop."
    Agreed, as long as it's understood that no matter how hard the community works at anything, it's irrelevant if hardware manufacturers keep producing products that are dependent upon Windows' proprietary technologies (remember "Winmodems?") as well as making it extremely hard -- if not frequently impossible -- to get technical information on hardware just so that the community can begin to code drivers.

    The community works as hard as it can, but it sometimes seems like companies are almost working actively against Linux compatibility, and if that's the case, no amount of polishing will ever make much of a difference.

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