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Getting Past "Ready For the Desktop" 578

Posted by timothy
from the it's-been-ready-for-mine-for-a-while dept.
Jeremy LaCroix suggests in an editorial at Linux.com that the phrase "ready for the desktop" is ready for retirement. As anyone who's been using Linux for several years (or even a few) for everyday tasks knows, "ready for the desktop" is in the eye of the beholder.
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Getting Past "Ready For the Desktop"

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    You could just say that "Linux will never be ready for the desktop" and be done with it.
    It's a lot more honest than simply giving up because 'it's in the eye of the beholder'.

    Wankers.
    • by dave87656 (1179347) on Monday May 19, 2008 @01:11AM (#23458822)

      You could just say that "Linux will never be ready for the desktop" and be done with it.
      It's a lot more honest than simply giving up because 'it's in the eye of the beholder'.

      Wankers.
      I use it for my desktop. We use it for 40 desktops in our company. Seems to work very well there. And, if I compare it to the support required for the ~10 Windows boxes we have, it seems Windows is not quite yet ready for the desktop.

      The honest answer is: it depends on what you want to do with your desktop.

  • DOS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bondsbw (888959) on Sunday May 18, 2008 @08:23AM (#23452256)
    Was DOS ready for the desktop? By many definitions, people would say no, but that's exactly what started Microsoft's dominance of the OS market.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kijori (897770)
      "Ready for the desktop", though, is a phrase whose meaning changes as peoples' understanding of a desktop changes. People don't expect their desktop to behave like DOS anymore.
  • by Manip (656104) on Sunday May 18, 2008 @08:23AM (#23452260)
    I'd like to coin the term "Ready for my mom's desktop." Meaning after a few hours training she can use the platform without too much hassle.

    That's where Linux really drops the ball still and OS X/Windows still dominate.

    The UIs are extremely poorly designed on Linux and worse still they're often inconsistent with half a dozen ways to do the same operation.

    And don't even get me started on the continued use of the terminal for /any/ normal user operations.

    Linux isn't a consumer desktop, in fact it isn't even making very much ground in that area. That being said it is still an awesome server and geek toy.

    • by soccerisgod (585710) on Sunday May 18, 2008 @08:27AM (#23452288)

      I don't think that's true at all. I have installed Ubuntu on a number of computers belonging to friends and family, and everybody (they're all pretty much computer-illiterates) agrees that it's easier to use and more intuitive than Windows. Take the "start" menu: you have an "Applications" menu and the last entry therein is "install/remove". Could it be any simpler?

      IMHO the beauty of Linux and all the software for it is that you can pick what you need and ignore the rest. If you want to do stuff the hard way, you can. If you just want to use a computer, use something like Ubuntu. Linux has the potential to serve all needs, and by now the modern Linux distros are doing a fine job at it.

      • by antirelic (1030688) on Sunday May 18, 2008 @09:53AM (#23452702) Journal
        I agree that Linux is, and has been ready for the desktop for quiet some time now. Not trying to be too much of a fanboy (because I'm not, I prefer the Fedora distro line) of Ubuntu, but man, Ubuntu is what people have always dreamed a computer being like. For example: If I need a peace of software, I go to that Ubuntu software management application, find the category of different applications, browse through, click, and its installed (all the downloading and installation happens behind the scenes).

        The only downfall is still the fact that most commercial software (read as: games, MS Office, and Itunes) do not run on Linux natively. So the question about Linux being ready for the desktop is a misnomer. Linux is and has been desktop ready, it is just a question of when will application developers develop popular applications for Linux.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by notamisfit (995619)
          And it's a question of when the application developers will see any point in doing so. If iTunes was made available for Linux tomorrow, do you think Apple would get any praise for the move? Fuck no. They'd be condemned across the board for trying to "contaminate" Linux with their evil "non-free" software.
    • by damburger (981828) on Sunday May 18, 2008 @08:31AM (#23452298)
      Seeing as my mum and stepmum already use Ubuntu quite happily (and aren't phoning up every 10 minutes complaining that something is broken/they've got a virus) it seems Linux is already at that stage.
      • Ready for my pocket (Score:3, Interesting)

        by symbolset (646467) *

        I think we're past the "ready for the desktop" question and well into "ready for your pocket" territory.

        Linux owns HPC. It rules the server room. Phone makers are going to put it in 100 million cell phones. Sure, it's on millions of desktops too, but who cares really? It's time we unchained the PC from the desk and let our teams get out to where the action is.

        WiMax is taking off, and its competitor too. The network is now everywhere. The Atom is going to amplify the mobile productivity space a dozen

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Whitemice (139408)

      I'd like to coin the term "Ready for my mom's desktop." Meaning after a few hours training she can use the platform without too much hassle.

      I don't think this is true at all. It is the generic desktop that LINUX is currently most suited to; as vertical apps are generally not available.

      The UIs are extremely poorly designed on Linux and worse still they're often inconsistent with half a dozen ways to do the same operation.

      Are you using KDE? Because GNOME has a very detail HIG that is ruthlessly enforced - enough to spark the occasional war on the mailing lists. GNOME is a very clean and consistent interface. Via the control panel an end-user can adjust anything they need with items organized in a very orderly fashion.

      And don't even get me started on the continued use of the terminal for /any/ normal user operations.

      It isn't required for any normal operation.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Joe Jay Bee (1151309)
        It isn't required for any normal operation.

        It is sometimes required for some operations, usually fixing things or setting a couple things up.

        In general though, the command line is very rarely used on Ubuntu, which is a good thing; if you tell a normal Windows user they'd have to use the DOS prompt to accomplish something, their eyes would glaze over.

        (In fairness, Apple are no better for hiding options in the command line and requiring the use of the defaults command to set them, but at least these aren't ve
        • by McDutchie (151611)

          (In fairness, Apple are no better for hiding options in the command line and requiring the use of the defaults command to set them, but at least these aren't very very basic things...)

          I had to use two terminal commands [macosxhints.com] to turn off Tiger's "Safe Sleep" feature that makes it take about a minute for my computer to fall asleep while it dumps my 2 GB of RAM onto the hard drive. I sleep and wake my MacBook frequently so I'm not at risk of losing RAM contents, so I'm better off without this feature. I think this

    • by The New Andy (873493) on Sunday May 18, 2008 @08:37AM (#23452328) Homepage Journal

      The UIs are extremely poorly designed on Linux and worse still they're often inconsistent with half a dozen ways to do the same operation.
      I seem to remember one of the hints in the Microsoft Accessibility Guidelines was that the more ways to do a single operation, the more accessible it is. I don't use windows, so I can't check now, but I'm pretty sure I can think of 4 ways to move a file, 5 ways to change screen resolution and 4 ways to shut down the computer. I don't think this is a bad thing.
      • by Fred_A (10934) <fred AT fredshome DOT org> on Sunday May 18, 2008 @10:53AM (#23453116) Homepage

        The UIs are extremely poorly designed on Linux and worse still they're often inconsistent with half a dozen ways to do the same operation.

        I seem to remember one of the hints in the Microsoft Accessibility Guidelines was that the more ways to do a single operation, the more accessible it is. I don't use windows, so I can't check now, but I'm pretty sure I can think of 4 ways to move a file, 5 ways to change screen resolution and 4 ways to shut down the computer. I don't think this is a bad thing.
        Not to mention the systems that have only one way to perform a task, which is so cleverly hidden that it takes 10 minutes to figure it out... (happenned to me a lot on Mac OS, I'm probably not intuitive enough for it, and on Windows because it's just weird)
    • by slashflood (697891) <flow@@@howflow...com> on Sunday May 18, 2008 @10:59AM (#23453164) Homepage Journal

      That's where Linux really drops the ball still and OS X/Windows still dominate. The UIs are extremely poorly designed on Linux and worse still they're often inconsistent with half a dozen ways to do the same operation.
      Not too long ago, somebody here linked to these two [arstechnica.com] images [bla.st].
  • Linux has always interested me. I've been a computer nerd since I was born, and first tried to install Linux when I was somewhere around ten years old. Well, we've seen a decade pass since then, and there's a lot of truth in this statement. I stuck with windows so long because of the inaccessibility of installing and putting together a distro the way you wanted. Now, more than ever, we are seeing a trend toward usability, starting from when you first boot the kernel. I personally love this phrase because ev
  • Oh dear... (Score:5, Funny)

    by FoolsGold (1139759) on Sunday May 18, 2008 @08:31AM (#23452296)
    If this story doesn't garner at LEAST 1000 comments, then Slashdot isn't ready for the Internet.
  • From TFA (Score:4, Funny)

    by Undead NDR (1252916) on Sunday May 18, 2008 @08:33AM (#23452306) Homepage Journal

    The fact is, there are just as many people out there who have difficulty using Windows as there are who have trouble using Linux.

    Well, I really hope that isn't the case, given the respective market share.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by tech10171968 (955149)

      Well, I really hope that isn't the case, given the respective market share.

      Sorry to inform you of this, but this really is the case; otherwise there wouldn't be a need for a "Geek Squad". In my experience a lot of the users who deride linux for its "lack of usability" are the very same folks I see constantly tripping over themselves in a Windows enviroment (it's also amusing to see how they totally miss the irony). This just tells me, for example, that one could hypothetically create a 100% "Plug and Play" OS, everything working out of the box, no need for dropping into a CLI (li

  • I like to think of 2005 to 2015 as the decade of Linux on the desktop. It's really only the last few years that linux has become usable by grandma, so long as grandma has the right hardware. I'm hopeful that the next 7 years will see much improvement for linux. By 2015, Linux will be on par with/ superior to other OS's on the desktop.

  • by Keyper7 (1160079) on Sunday May 18, 2008 @08:46AM (#23452370)

    ...one can already notice that the article has a point. Each one has a different definition of what "ready for the desktop" means and none of them is completely right or completely wrong.

    For more evidence, check the Ubuntu forums: there's no real consistency in comments about the readniess of Ubuntu for the mainstream: some computer illiterates say it's ready, some don't. Some geeks say it's ready, some don't.

  • Ubuntu is ok already, but parts of my experience are still somewhat inconsistent.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by adrianbaugh (696007)
      Yeah, I have that too. Large parts of my experience are still pretty inconsistent, particularly most of the drunken times at university.

      Not sure what it has to do with linux being ready though... ;-)
  • If ready for the desktop means GUI everything and consistant style (read intigrated everything) you can count me out. The fastest to use programs use keyboard shortcuts for all common tasks, this is initialy slower than a gui but eventualy multiple times faster. I prefer a fast CLI, with the gui only used for software that benifits from it.
  • by cptnapalm (120276) on Sunday May 18, 2008 @08:57AM (#23452422)
    If Windows is so easy to use for the computer illiterate, why have I spent untold hours fixing other peoples Windows machines, teaching people how to double click on icons, teaching people not to double click on anything which is not an icon, teaching people how to connect to a wireless hotspot, etc etc etc?

    Who do you think the "No, I will not fix your computer." t-shirts were inspired by? Mac users? Linux users?
  • by Toreo asesino (951231) on Sunday May 18, 2008 @09:01AM (#23452432) Journal
    The way I see it, it's ready for YOUR desktop when it can run all YOUR apps seamlessly and without a problem.

    My girlfriend for instance, just browses the net, plays mp3's, checks her emails and occasionally writes documents, prints them, and occasionally uses Skype. Linux is ready for HER desktop.

    Me on the other hand, I'm a .Net dev, play lot's of PC games, work with doc & docx files every day, and actually like iTunes (for the iPod). Linux is not ready for my desktop, nor is it likely to be any time soon.

    To say "Linux is ready for THE desktop" is quite frankly very short-sighted.
  • by FurtiveGlancer (1274746) <[AdHocTechGuy] [at] [aol.com]> on Sunday May 18, 2008 @09:06AM (#23452458) Journal

    Is Linux ready for the average windows user?

  • by PhotoGuy (189467)
    This reeks of "if you can't meet a requirement, change some definitions" approach. "I did not have 'sex' with that woman." "It all depends upon what your definition of is is." Or like the Bill Gates deposition.

    It's pretty clear what "ready for the desktop" means. It means for the typical consumer. Linux has clearly been ready for the desktop for geeks since its first stable release; we know the ins and outs, the quirks, the configuration, so it's was ready for the desktop for a certain group of people.
  • by FudRucker (866063) on Sunday May 18, 2008 @09:12AM (#23452490)
    my mother happens to be a 74 year old great grandmother, she uses Slackware-12.1 and loves it (especially the kdegames package). of course i admin it and what i noticed is i have to do less work with Linux on her desktop as i did when it was running windows, i run the the same thing so i know when i need to drive across town and install an update that when i get an update then i just copy the update to a usb memory stick and take it to her house...

    i think people that are clueless about performing tasks on computers are equally clueless on Linux as they are on windows (it is not the OS so much as their refusal to apply themselves to learn and remember the methods used to perform a given task)
  • GUI is ready, hw (Score:3, Informative)

    by Coopjust (872796) on Sunday May 18, 2008 @09:16AM (#23452510)
    I'd have to fully agree with the author's opinion. Like an earlier poster, however, I've had several people (including 70+ yr olds) to the Ubuntu GUI. When compared to Vista or XP, they agreed it was easier.

    Linux faces a few problems that are slowing widespread adoption:
    -Hardware support. This becomes less of a problem everyday. Dell supplies Linux drivers for every component of my 2 year old budget (less than $1000 USD) laptop, and as a result, Ubuntu compatibility is amazing.
    -Program support. This is currently the Achilles heel of Linux- many people are trained on Outlook, Photoshop,etc. GIMP isn't as elegant to use, and while Evolution is much more intuitive in a lot of ways, some people just don't want to switch.
    -Protocol support. Sorry, but I haven't found a reliable or consistent way to import DOCX/XLSX/etc. files into Openoffice. And Evolution flat out refuses to work with my Exchange server (with the same settings as the Windows partition on the same PC). Sure, I can use IMAP personally and always save as DOC. But every day it's more frequent to get those new Office 2007 files from others, and my work email isn't really a choice for me. If I have to constantly bootup into my Windows partition, Linux is more difficult to use.

    I'm really excited about the progress that desktop Linux has made and will make. Wireless support has gone from poor to amazing within the past 3 years, and other hardware support has gotten better too. Repositories have grown, programs have become more stable, distros have become easier (easier than Windows!) to setup and maintain...in a lot of ways, Linux IS "ready for the desktop". The community has a few big issues to tackle before more people adopt it, however.
  • by mlwmohawk (801821) on Sunday May 18, 2008 @09:18AM (#23452520)
    I am so sick and tired of the when will "Linux be Ready" crap. Linux is far more than ready.

    The real issue is the Microsoft monopoly. If Microsoft's monopoly did not distort the computer industry, ISVs and big applications would already be supporting Linux in a big way. Boards and shareholders are cowards, if there is no financial incentive to do it, it won't happen. As long as Windows is preinstalled on over 80% of new desktops, no one would be able compete no matter how good their OS is.

    Speaking as a long term Linux user, I laugh at Windows. It is almost useless at its core. It doesn't do anything. It doesn't work well at all. It is a confusing mess of incompatible technologies. The "control panel" is a joke. Its networking ability basic at best.

    A kununtu/Ubunto/RHEL desktop is easier to navigate and use. A basic Linux install has so many more features and capabilities. I am *always* saying to Windows users, "let me do it, its easy on Linux."

    Supporting Linux is easier too. Ask any "non-moron" internal support person. In my company remote Windows support is a mess of 3rd party utilities. The guys prefer Linux because they can use ssh and don't even have to rely on the user.

    The *only* advantage Windows has in the market place is its monopoly position that is being illegally maintained by Microsoft. Basically making it a financially losing proposition for ISVs to support Linux.

    For anyone who doubts that Linux is "ready for the desktop." I dare you to install Kubuntu, OpenOffice, Firefox, and all. And honestly try it for a month.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by notamisfit (995619)
      If Microsoft's monopoly didn't distort the computer industry, someone else's would have. Maybe Apple, maybe IBM, maybe in that bearded Spock universe, it would have been Amiga or Be, Inc. Nobody, not software houses, retailers, or Joe Average wants to go back to the days of five or six different major platforms.
  • The real question. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jellomizer (103300) on Sunday May 18, 2008 @09:20AM (#23452536)
    Is Linux ready for a majority position on the desktop. The answer is no and Ill expect it always will be. Because I don't see the desktop being the dominate platform for much longer. As smart phones are getting smarter, replacing many of the most commonly used desktop uses and as the price of powerful hardware is rapidly dropping I am seeing a world where we have more appliances then desktops. The key for Microsoft dominance in the desktop for the past decade has moved from 3rd party software variety to the fact that people need 100% office compatibility. (Even office for the Mac offers 99.999% compatability... not good enough) Open office offers 99% compatibility meaning normally 3 day a year you will need office, to view a document. Now if Microsoft looses it office share or there are complete solutions to share the files Microsoft will go down as well as the desktop. And we will move back towards appliance applications, for personal use. Granted they will be more like under powered desktops but using todays terms for $200.00 you will get a system that is roughly the power of a first generation core solo, a small k unupgradable box with Wi-Fi a keyboard with just office like applications. Games will be relegated to the console. All the appliances will have internet connections so most 3rd party apps will be web based. Yes slashdot will scoff and be overall displeased by this but this direction would seem to make the most sense. As it would be more economical, people will not feel the need to upgrade every 3 years. Closed Source Developers would like it as it can reduce piracy of their software. Desktops will not Die, just as the Mainframe didn't die but the desktops would be more for people like the stereotypical slashdot user who uses more of the PC power then the rest of the population. Nothing says these appliance apps will not run on the desktops.
  • I hate these threads. Y'know why? Because they're futile, and almost always degenerate into a flame war. I agree with the poster. We really need to move beyond "ready for the desktop". The real question is, whether it's ready for you. The trick with deciding whether or not to use Linux is to try it. If your computer has trouble with it (closed or non-standard hardware), or if there is some program you just have to have, then don't use it, and take the live CD out of the drive. This whole discussion was poin
  • Before anyone starts pestering me on this, I want to mention that I've been using *nix based systems for a long while now. I'm a software engineer, and I worked at a linux based ISP for two years on top of it. I've installed countless distro's and eventually stopped using them all (mostly for gaming reasons). The one problem I have every time I go back to loading up gentoo (still my fav) is lack of applications I like.

    Example: Trillian [ceruleanstudios.com] for windows / Adium [adiumx.com] for mac (click on Xtras, top right of screen).

  • by cyclocommuter (762131) on Sunday May 18, 2008 @09:34AM (#23452600)

    ... writing software for it (Linux Desktop) then it might be ready. Or when when smallish companies which bankroll software figure out a way on how to make money of it. I am not talking Office software here but tax preparation and other small business software for Accounting, Billing, Inventory, etc. It may also help if a small company can hire developers that can develop desktop software on it in true RAD fashion without the need for these developers to know how to do it in C ala Linus.

    Also when users of these software (outlined above) are confident that nothing will break after 6 months when it is time for them to upgrade to the latest build of Ubuntu or Simply Mepis, Mandriva, or whatever desktop distro it is they are using, then it is ready for the desktop.

  • by Josh Booth (588074) <joshbooth2000&yahoo,com> on Sunday May 18, 2008 @09:47AM (#23452662)
    My girlfriend's dad just got her a Mac, and for the first day I found that I had a vicious Mac envy. But on the second day of using it, I am ready to go back to my three year Dell with Kubuntu. The explanation is simple: Mac OS X looks great and is intuitive, but doesn't fit my workflow well. This is pretty much the same reasoning Linus has against GNOME--the stuff he wants to do is not trivially possible.

    In most ways, GNU+Linux is ready for the desktop: it has almost all of the required applications, they provide the requisite features, and they work. These are the requirements for 80% of the people who use a computer: they just want something that works and are willing to learn, but just once. As long as you don't change anything, they are fine. These people would adapt to a KDE, GNOME, Mac OS X, Windows, or Sugar desktop equally well, for that matter. And the main reason is that they feel they have far too many other things that are important in their lives to worry about how efficient they are on their computer, regardless of how many hours of their life they could reclaim by investing another hour learning a new interface.

    But those 20% of users who are power users are the ones who are worried about whether Linux is ready for the desktop. Once you didn't /need/ to do anything from the commandline, Linux was ready. But for those power users, they typically have some efficiency axe to grind (myself included). Linus complained that GNOME didn't let him map some mouse key to some obscure function (among others). Mac weenies demand that everything looks as though it works out of the box the first time, even though it really doesn't. Windows junkies want to be able to download some spyware-laden utility to magically give them 2 fps more on Quake or make the desktop do something goofy. I just want an orthogonal interface--is that too much to ask? Needless to say, these people will never be appeased.

    It seems to me that one day, we will be able to combine all of these concepts programmatically, and the result would be a really wonderful piece of software. But that has got to be at least 20 years away.

    Either way, GNU+Linux is ready for the desktop for most people, but the cost of retraining 80% of the computer-using population is high. That is why I thought it was great to install Linux by default on these tiny laptops, because it is extremely appropriate to use Linux over Windows XP to take advantage of the low power and storage, and people are willing to learn a new piece of hardware. But Micro$oft is quickly killing that idea with XP on the new EEE PCs. Oh well.
  • How can we judge? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bsDaemon (87307) on Sunday May 18, 2008 @10:13AM (#23452812)
    I'll be 24 in a month, but have been using some varient of UNIX since I was 12 or 13. For half my life, my computer has either run FreeBSD or Linux (Slackware, RedHat, and lately LinuxMint because the only computer i have with me here right now is a Dell d830 and I'm absolutely reliant on Wifi and too lazy to cut firmware by hand), often in dual-boot, though I have occasionally been forced to use windows machines of opportunity. I also had a G4 iBook for a while, but I gave it to my sister because it pissed me off.

    There has been a MARKED improvement in being able to plop my ass down and just do "windows" things on Linux in the past few years, however quite frankly I find it somewhat less usable than I did when I was in jr. high.

    I used to have these incredibly elaborate .Xdefaults, .tcshrc, .bashrc, .dircolors and .vimrc files, which are now pretty much useless.

    I haven't been able to get ANSI fonts like Nexus to work in Eterm and display colored BASH prompts properly since Red Hat 6.0.

    Everything has some GUI interface to it now that rights configuration files in some way that I never would have had I been doing it by hand and then I'm afraid to do a hand edit, because something usually ends up breaking.

    Frankly, it seems like the push in the last 5 years especially has been to try and make a free ripoff of Windows that isn't Windows and then try and get "average computer users" to switch, for some reason which isn't even clear to me -- so why it would be to them, I have not clue.

    In 8th grade I was captain of my school's BASIC programing team to the Great Computer Challenge at ODU university (sort of like an ACM competition, only stupid), and I also competed in an engineering competition where I tossed a mousetrap car together the night before in about an hour and ended up coming in 2nd place, ahead of about 30 other people.

    I took the money I won from the engineering competition and bought a book on C. I had some exposure to FreeBSD through an ISP shell account that I messed with, so my uncle gave me a copy of RH 4.1 or something so that I could get at the free dev tools and learn C. I was then captain of my high school's C team for 3 years.

    I started using UNIX because I wanted to use UNIX, NOT because I wanted a "cheap version of Windows that wasn't Windows." Frankly, I think the dev community, and evangelist community, have gotten far, far away from "The UNIX Way," and in the process haven't even really gained what we sought -- which for some reason was the "can any random old person or idiot use this system without me having to be on call 24/7?"

    Why random people would need a multi-user, multi-tasking operating system when all they want to do is chat on IM and watch DVDs is beyond me.

    So, in the long and the short -- we barely know what non-geeks want, and apparently forgot why we wanted *nix in the first place. How can we judge if the system is "ready for the desktop, then?" It seemed just fine before...

  • The truth is... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by blahplusplus (757119) on Sunday May 18, 2008 @10:35AM (#23452972)
    ... that people don't care what OS they use, they care about OS like they care about screw drivers. Does it get the job done for what I want it to do?

    Most people are too time strapped to diddle around on the computer, considering the modern person works most of his adult life, why anyone would expect the majority of people to want to switch OS's is pretty naive.

    Linux has a niche but the truth is piracy has a lot to do with why linux will never be totally mainstream, installing another OS has to have some benefit over the one you are using. I've used windows 99% of my life and linux for the average user is quite transparent, most users don't care about technical stuff, they only care about the apps they themselves use. There has to be such a major switch in efficiency / speed or usability for me to switch an OS and linux is just not it, even though from a technical standpoint I am down with the linux concept from a user perspective who doesn't want to have to dick around with stuff, windows 'just works'.

    There's a reason why console game machines have an advantage over PC's with OS's - platform stability. The average user doesn't have to worry about spending time maintaining his system, since if you get seriously into tech it's like having a 2nd full time job.

    When I was younger I used to fix other peoples PC's, now that I'm older I just don't want to spend the time fixing others problems.

    The next killer app is automating management, delivery and maintenance of applications without user intervention and that can intelligently roll back if something is borked (by accident).
  • by SpinyNorman (33776) on Sunday May 18, 2008 @11:10AM (#23453252)
    With Dell, and even Walmart, selling Linux on the desktop, it has undoubtedly already arrived.

    Linux is also the desktop OS of choice for a whole new class of low-cost computers from the OLPC to the Asus "Eee PC", MSI Wind, etc.

    I think the "desktop" goalposts are also moving... The future of mass-market home computers (or at least a very major segment of them) is surely more along the lines of the simple-to-use internet appliance with a launcher menu rather than the general-purpose install-your-own-software PC. In this environment you could care less what the OS is, anymore than you care what OS your DVD player, Tivo, or the bank's ATM machine is running.
  • by gelfling (6534) on Sunday May 18, 2008 @05:33PM (#23455990) Homepage Journal
    Linux is only not ready in the context of what you already expect Windows to be able to do. Linux will never be Windows therefore the people who insist on 'ready' being exactly like Windows will never be happy.

    Mac isn't Windows and it never will be. But it has its own advantages. It has its own learning curve. Same with Linux. If you never saw a Windows machine you would learn Linux differently and you would have an entirely different set of criticisms.

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