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Desktop Linux Is Dead 1348

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the oh-no-he-didn't dept.
digitaldc writes with this quote from PCWorld: "It kills me to say this: The dream of Linux as a major desktop OS is now pretty much dead. Despite phenomenal security and stability — and amazing strides in usability, performance, and compatibility — Linux simply isn't catching on with desktop users. And if there ever was a chance for desktop Linux to succeed, that ship has long since sunk. ... Ultimately, Linux is doomed on the desktop because of a critical lack of content. And that lack of content owes its existence to two key factors: the fragmentation of the Linux platform, and the fierce ideology of the open-source community at large."
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Desktop Linux Is Dead

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  • by denshao2 (1515775) on Monday October 18, 2010 @08:34AM (#33931710) Homepage Journal
    I have been using Linux for the past 5 years and I have no plans to abandon it.
  • So...? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ByOhTek (1181381) on Monday October 18, 2010 @08:35AM (#33931720) Journal

    While everything mentioned is a big detractor, that doesn't mean that Linux on the Desktop is dead. At some point, someone could come up with a way to make it work. Ubuntu was certainly more of a leap than a step in the right direction. It's moving closer every year. Of course, the desktop seems to be moving away every year too, it's a catch-up race with MS and Apple in the lead. Overall, it does seem Linux is gaining ground, just slowly.

  • huh... why now? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by someonestolecc (1038714) on Monday October 18, 2010 @08:36AM (#33931728)
    ... i dont get it.. why now? why at all? i've been using it for years so for me it's great ..
  • by just_another_sean (919159) on Monday October 18, 2010 @08:36AM (#33931742) Homepage Journal

    As long as I can download and install a free OS for my computer from any number of sources I consider Linux (on the Desktop) alive and kicking. News of its demise has luckily not reached my Desktop and it is chugging along just fine.

  • by leachim6 (1007609) <mikeNO@SPAMmikedonaghy.org> on Monday October 18, 2010 @08:37AM (#33931758) Homepage

    I think a lot of linux fans don't mind it being an "indie os" y'know?

  • by mihauKw (869076) on Monday October 18, 2010 @08:38AM (#33931780)
    looks like there are only 1-2% of us..
  • One other thing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by btcoal (1693074) on Monday October 18, 2010 @08:39AM (#33931792)
    Linux is also the only major OS that cannot advertise. Ubuntu 10.10 has great copy on its website extolling the benefits and showing that you can do pretty much anything on Ubuntu that you can on a Mac or Windows based PC. But...you only see that if you're already on the Ubuntu landing page. Linux also doesnt come pre-installed on the vast majority of new PC's either.
  • Mass market games (Score:2, Insightful)

    by asicsolutions (1481269) on Monday October 18, 2010 @08:39AM (#33931794) Journal

    The only reason I run windows on my computer at home and my kids computer is games. Fallout 3, Fallout New Vegas, Civ5, Steam. If all of those were available under Linux _At the same time_ as the PC counterparts, I would wipe windows off my PC tonight. I am writing this on my work laptop HP DV8t running opensuse 11.3.

  • wait... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by polle404 (727386) on Monday October 18, 2010 @08:40AM (#33931804)

    But I thought this was the year of the linux desktop?

    seriously, are we starting the troll posts and flamebaits in the articles now?

  • by bl8n8r (649187) on Monday October 18, 2010 @08:40AM (#33931814)

    I figured microsoft had more to worry about right now than FUD'ing up the linux arena with Paid-for blogging*, but meh.

    Desktop Linux works for me, and has been since 1997. If you don't like it, don't use it. Be thankful you have alternatives. If it weren't for *nix, you probably wouldn't.

    [*] - http://www.blogger.com/profile/5530582 [blogger.com]
                http://www.flickr.com/photos/strohmy/315871552/ [flickr.com]

  • by yyxx (1812612) on Monday October 18, 2010 @08:40AM (#33931818)

    Linux is very much alive on the desktop; it is very widely used inside corporations and universities. These "1% market share" figures are meaningless; they are usually based on device sales or web site statistics of popular web sites, neither of which tell you much about "desktop" Linux.

    Linux hasn't grabbed much of the general purpose consumer desktop market, but that market is pretty much stagnant in itself. The new consumer market is tablets, netbooks, and smartphones, and Linux is grabbing a large chunk of that with Android and (in the near future) MeeGo and Chrome.

    No need for Tux to look sad.

  • Right... okay... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sylak (1611137) on Monday October 18, 2010 @08:40AM (#33931820)
    So, by citing many unrelated facts, and some things which the average user doesn't know enough about to care, he has proved that Desktop Linux is dead. Okay, i buy that.
  • WTF? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday October 18, 2010 @08:40AM (#33931830) Homepage Journal

    Okay Taco, I know you're desperate for page views, but posting this is just trolling for them. What a pathetic way to start off a slow news day. How many sharks have you jumped now?

  • by Jartan (219704) on Monday October 18, 2010 @08:41AM (#33931838)

    Everyone always thinks the point of games is biased but the reality is a large portion of nerds/geeks/hackers/etc are gamers. These people are not in any way large compared to the market as a whole but they make up a huge chunk of the people that can easily switch and might want to switch. Without these people leading the way for others to switch I suspect Linux will always be stuck.

    Clearly Microsoft knows what it's doing too. This is probably the main reason they don't just outright 100% abandon their PC game market in favor of the Xbox.

  • by fgaliegue (1137441) on Monday October 18, 2010 @08:42AM (#33931864)

    For goodness' sake, since Qt had gone LGPL (thanks no Nokia, admittedly), why does Gnome still exist at all??

    KDE has proven superior for many years, freedesktop.org has started unifying some desktop components, but the progress is SLOW. Why tens of sound APIs? Why tens of imaging APIs? Why tens of video APIs? Why less than ten, but still more than one, packaging format?

    Choice is good - until a certain extent. And as far as the desktop is concerned, non open source application developers will want ONE api to work with ALL Linux distros out there. That's a fact. Live with it.

  • Re:On the contrary (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jxs2151 (554138) on Monday October 18, 2010 @08:42AM (#33931868) Homepage

    Linux desktop is very much alive...on thinclients :)

    However, what is up with the obvious story troll? Are the /. numbers low today?

    "...what is up with the obvious story troll?"

    This is what the author was referring to when he mentioned "...the fierce ideology of the open-source community...". Dismissing non-believers as heretics/trolls makes you an ideologue and renders the platform unattractive to regular users. Your natural reaction to this will be to dismiss regular users as not worthy of Linux but nobody wants to adopt a platform that gets them trashed by smelly, overbearing, slogan-yelling hippies.

    Thanks asshole.

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Monday October 18, 2010 @08:43AM (#33931876)
    I'm a pretty geeky guy who has played around with Linux many times over the years (starting back in the late 90's), hoping to get away from Windows. Frankly, I would love nothing better than an OS I could put on my parents' computers and not have to worry about them calling me a month later complaining about all the pop-ups and viruses they have. And, while great strides have been made with Ubuntu, I'm still not convinced that Linux will ever be that OS I'm looking for. I know these will all be poo-pooed by the Linux fans, but here are/were some of the problems that I (as a very technically literate Windows user) have run up against when I've installed Linux in the past*:
    1. Confusing distros Just thinking about all the different distros and configurations still gives me a headache. Ubuntu has blunted this somewhat, but even with that you have to get into the Gnome vs. KDE thing, which is damned confusing to a layperson. The worst part of this is trying to download software for Linux off of some website and running into multiple versions with odd notations regarding different distros.
    2. Poor documentation Again, Ubuntu helps. But even that is spotty compared to Windows. And the "documentation" website of many distros (and Linux software apps) is little more than a bugfix list.
    3. Software, Software, Software this is the biggest problem, and not so easily dismissed as some fans would pretend. My mom, for example, uses special software to interface with her high-end sewing machine. Is it available for Linux? Probably not. Can I just direct her to a clone of equal quality? Probably not.
    4. Little support (if not openly hostile) There aren't a lot of places to call for Linux support. And a lot of the places you can go for support on the net are filled with Linuix fanatics who are openly hostile to Windows switchers and newbies. The level of "you don't belong here" attitude towards newbies in Linux circles makes Apple fans look civil.
    5. Ways of doing things that are confusing to a Windows user with windows, I can go to a website, download an installer and install my software. with Linux I can install it via the built-in installer. but that only works if said software is in the repository. If not, getting it installed is often a lot more complex than just downloading a file and double clicking on it to install. Which brings me to:
    6. Still too much reliance on the command line interface Telling someone to break out a command line and type "sudo apt-get whateverthefuck" is like telling a Windows user to reinstall DOS and learn its syntax.

    Those are just some of the reasons Linux still isn't there for me. Ubuntu has come a long way toward this, but it's still just not there.

    *maybe some of these issues have been more recently resolved, but I can only go on my fairly recent dealings with Ununtu and Debian.

  • reality check (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Monday October 18, 2010 @08:44AM (#33931880) Homepage Journal

    and amazing strides in usability

    Uh, where?

    Every time I checked, both KDE and Gnome were pretty much busy copying whatever the latest UI abominations out of Redmond were at the time. Their UI design people completely ignore usability, and the fact that Microsoft can inflict great usability pains on their users simply because they have so many and most of them are locked in.

    An alternative OS needs to provide something better, not just a cheap copy.

    There are a few innovations and advances, I'll grant that. But the main interfaces are crap, pure and simple. Because usability is expensive. You simply can not create good usability at a programmer's desk. You need user testing, labs, feedback cycles and, most importantly, a clear vision. Some non-programmer understanding of design would also help a lot.

  • Oh come on. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dancindan84 (1056246) on Monday October 18, 2010 @08:44AM (#33931896)
    10 years ago before the iPod was released if someone had told me that Apple would have a wildly popular music device, a huge share of the smart phone market, a respectable piece of the desktop market and unbelievable sway over industry direction I'd have been hard pressed to say I thought it would happen. At the time they were fairly niche to graphic work for the most part, similar to how Linux is currently doing it's best in the server niche.

    "2010 is the year of the Linux desktop!!" isn't realistic, but neither is "Linux on the desktop is dead!!"
  • Regarding Flash (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cedars (566854) on Monday October 18, 2010 @08:45AM (#33931902)

    "the fragmentation of the Linux platform and the hurdles presented by..."alpha-quality" drivers for audio and video hardware made success elusive for the [Linux] Flash development team."

    Okay, fair enough. But how does Adobe/Macromedia then explain the failure to deliver a decent plug-in on the two other major platforms, Mac OS X and Windows?

  • Re:On the contrary (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Fnkmaster (89084) on Monday October 18, 2010 @08:45AM (#33931914)

    Dude, this morning has been one troll story after another. Look at the last 3-4 stories - Microsoft is dead, Linux is dead, now we just need a Mac is dead story and we'll complete the troll trifecta.

  • by DarkOx (621550) on Monday October 18, 2010 @08:45AM (#33931918) Journal

    Look at it this way. The operating system is becoming more and more a commodity. Most of the content "desktop" users want is online, and is going to be accessed via browsers. The other things they want to do are pretty much play video disks (blue-ray is a problem right now) and do pretty basic document editing and e-mail. There are some users that want do basic video work and like as well.

    None of these things require a finely tuned OS any more, even Linux with its recent advances in hardware detection and automatic configuration do a good enough job that all this is possible with little technical know how. I don't even have an xorg.conf on the system I am using right now. Android phones are more capable than the PCs most of us were using less than a decade ago. Linux certainly can be the platform on which an end user interface is build and its proven it can host the ever more limited selection of applications.

    There is not going to be a market for Operating systems that have licensing costs for home users pretty soon. Look how popular the IPAD is! More and more people are realizing what they want is a smart phone with a word processor and some games, a PIM, and financial package of some type; not a "home PC". Linux devices are perfect for that role; as Droid has already proven. Just wait until some of the tablet manufacturers like Motion Computing marry their existing hardware (tablets with stands and removable keyboards) to a droid like platform and target consumers. My guess is they will have the same success Apple is enjoying.

  • X is Dead (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jokermatt999 (1536127) on Monday October 18, 2010 @08:45AM (#33931920)
    "(X) is Dead" is just as unrealistic as "(X) is the Year of the Linux Desktop". I think the TFA is right that Linux may never gain a majority share, but that doesn't mean it's *dead*.
  • by Culture20 (968837) on Monday October 18, 2010 @08:46AM (#33931924)

    There aren't any business databases available for either OS. And I mean databases like dBaseIII or Paradox for DOS, and NOT the useless piece of shit Windows versions. No database, no deal. Many are using Access but if you've ever used anything well designed you don't like it.

    The PHP/Javascript/MyPostrgressSQL combo is an abortion. We need something that those who know the business rules can use to implement said rules, and do it easily.

    If it ever happens, the publisher will make billions overnight. I'm still selling PDoxDOS apps. Hey stupid, they work.

    Oh Dr. Pauker, where art thou?

    Do they work in DosBox?

  • by bergie (29834) on Monday October 18, 2010 @08:47AM (#33931942) Homepage
    I'd say, the concept of desktop as it was defined through 80s and 90s is beginning to die. Touch interfaces, actually well-working mobile devices and web services ("the cloud") are taking over more and more of the desktop's traditional role. More than a problem for the Linux desktop, I see this shift as a big opportunity as the importance of the traditional vendors like Microsoft is declining. Here are some ideas on what the "Linux desktop" ought to do: http://bergie.iki.fi/blog/the_web_and_the_free_desktop/ [bergie.iki.fi]
  • Re:three million (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cindyann (1916572) on Monday October 18, 2010 @08:53AM (#33932038)

    If 2% == 3M, which doesn't seem unreasonable, then 98% == 147M.

    I know a VC or two. They aren't investing in companies producing software that has a target market of 3M customers when they could be investing in companies who are writing for those other 147M.

    Just look at how long it took Apple to gain traction, and they still have what, 10% of the market? At least what Apple had going for it was a superior user experience over the next best thing at the time. Gnome and KDE have come a long way and they're pretty decent now, but they're not "killer app" better experiences than what you get on Mac and Windows these days.

  • by CdBee (742846) on Monday October 18, 2010 @08:53AM (#33932040)
    I run Linux myself - and tel all my friends why its great. Most of them are interested up 'til the point where they ask if they can run out the lates MS Office on it, and Photoshop CS for their camera, and iTunes for their iPod/iPhone, and the official Yahoo and MSN Messenger releases.

    When I tell them that some of the above work but buggily under API emulation, and the rest don't, they arent interesting in hearing about other, similar apps that can do the same thing. You can talk 'til you;re blue in the face about OpenOffice and aMSN / Pidgin (not mentioning GIMP, far too silly name) - but at that point you've already lost.
  • by CodePwned (1630439) on Monday October 18, 2010 @08:53AM (#33932046)

    My name is Chad and I hate using linux... however....

    Linux has never tried to replace windows for the common user. It's focused on being a useful, security minded, light weight alternative for power users, IT professionals etc...

    Linux has never marketed itself as a gaming platform, or multimedia home system etc. There are flavors of linux USED that way, but never advertised like windows. Linux has only recently (past 5 years) reached a point where it is user friendly to new users. Fedora Core or Unbuntu really took off with the whole user experience.

    "But there's no content!"... what are you smoking? Sure... your mom can't install "Couponfriend" on a linux machine but that's not what Linux as a whole is focusing on. Linux is a business grade utility. It's a solid alternative to windows that allows you to do almost everything windows can do. The limitations you encounter are what programs you use.

    A company I work with recently made the push to move to linux distros instead of windows. Dear lord the users hated it at first until productivity went up, and IT costs went down after 6 months.

    There were 567 LESS tickets concerning hacked machines, malware and crashes. The centralized management software they use controls what can be installed on the machine... and pushing installs works just like windows except the machine doesn't have to restart. This solved a lot of issues for the small business as they just couldn't afford the windows equivalents.

    The difficulty comes in what programs are being used. Users navigate just like they used to to find files. Hell they even created "My Document" folders... except those are hosted on a SAN, but the user doesn't know.

    Linux is NOT dead as a desktop OS. It just might not be at the point of a typical user who thinks Best Buy is a smart place to go for a computer.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 18, 2010 @08:55AM (#33932074)

    The article sites a lack of good DRM and the move toward cloud computing as the primary indicators that Linux is not only dead, but will always be dead, despite having become viable in terms of ease of use and stability, etc. Ugh. So are savings accounts dead now that almost everyone uses credit? Are families dead because people can buy condoms? What about going outside? Is going outside dead?

    That was painfully stupid.

  • by Ephemeriis (315124) on Monday October 18, 2010 @08:56AM (#33932084)

    I'd say, the concept of desktop as it was defined through 80s and 90s is beginning to die.

    Agreed.

    Smartphones, iPhones, iPods, and iPads are becoming major players. We've got an assortment of ebook readers and netbooks and whatnot that don't really run a traditional "desktop" OS of any kind. Even conventional Windows machines are shipping with stripped-down non-desktop environments loaded on them. My new Dell latitude came with some kind of Linux-based instant-on environment for surfing the web and reading email. Folks buy televisions and set-top boxes that'll stream content from YouTube or Hulu or Google or Netflix or wherever.

    I have no doubt that Windows is going to hang around for a long time. And we're going to have desktop computers running desktop OS'es for a long time. But I think the relevance of the desktop is waning.

    Folks are more interested in the content than how they access it. Folks want to pull up Facebook, they don't really care if they're doing it on an iPhone, or an Android phone, or a Mac, or a Windows box, or what. They just want their Facebook.

  • Re:On the contrary (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 18, 2010 @08:59AM (#33932126)

    You should look up what "troll" means. It does not mean "lie", it means the article was written to garner attention. Which it was.

    While you're at it, look up what "ideologue" means. It doesn't mean fanatic.

  • Please elaborate: What features do you feel that MySQL (purely as a database, not counting what language is used to interface with it since it can be interfaced with practically anything) is missing? Same question for PostgreSQL.

  • Lame and pointless (Score:3, Insightful)

    by after.fallout.34t98e (1908288) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:00AM (#33932148)

    Most computer users I come across need 4 applications: an internet browser, a pdf viewer, a program that can open word and a program that can open excel files. I haven't seen a Linux desktop that doesn't provide these out of the box in the past few years.

    So, what is missing from getting Linux to the masses?
    1. retail distribution channels (walmart, dell, ...)
    2. marketing presence
    3. easy to use, consolidated app store with a way for users to actually pay for stuff

    Google could easily fix all 3 of those issues; why hasn't it yet? ... ChromeOS. Expect a solid windows competitor in the next few years.

  • Re:On the contrary (Score:2, Insightful)

    by etymxris (121288) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:04AM (#33932210)

    No, it's trolling because it'd be like posting a story on a Christian site titled "God is dead". Regardless of whether it's true or not, the story is designed to piss off the primary viewership of the site.

  • Re:So...? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by narrowhouse (1949) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:05AM (#33932226) Homepage
    I almost agree with the premise of the article, just based on the fact that I think the DESKTOP is dying. Between phones and tablets I expect typical Desktop OS installations to become the minority in less than 5 years, though the desktop will live on in business, which doesn't leave time for Linux to "catch up", it will just be a player in a new game.
  • by PotatoHead (12771) <doug.opengeek@org> on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:07AM (#33932262) Homepage Journal

    It's possible to get some nice applications, including CAD, Arch, Mech, and Electrical CAD, CAE, and lots of other good stuff on a Linux Desktop.

    A well confugured Ubuntu system will work for a Rocket Scientist as well as some kids wanting to surf the net.

    How many times did we hear, "Apple is dying" in reaction to their small share?

    Exactly.

    Now a few percent means a LOT of users, and that fierce ideology means those users can use it for as long as they want to, share or not.

    Funny how that works, isn't it?

  • by fgaliegue (1137441) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:08AM (#33932284)

    I should add: whoever modded parent (mine, OK) as troll should have a reality check. Honestly.

  • by xtracto (837672) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:11AM (#33932326) Journal

    There aren't any business databases available for either OS.

    Oough...
    these guys [oracle.com] beg to differ with you.

  • Re:three million (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hvm2hvm (1208954) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:11AM (#33932334) Homepage
    But it's the percent of the people who actually come to your site that's important. If you make a site that has about 50000 users per day, taking care of the x% which use opera will yield a low number that doesn't seem important. Yes, if you had visitors from virtually all computers every day (e.g. facebook) you might want to think it as "3million lost users" but that's usually not the case. Not that I'm not advocating against standard compliant sites but you have to realise why some site maintainers don't provide compatibility with a browser.
  • by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:12AM (#33932362)

    Frankly, I would love nothing better than an OS I could put on my parents' computers and not have to worry about them calling me a month later complaining about all the pop-ups and viruses they have.

    With my parents, Windows 7 with Firefox/Adblock as a browser finally accomplished this. By default they don't allow root privileges when prompted unless they were planning on installing something or it's on the very short list of annoying but safe autoupdaters they've seen and cleared with me.

  • Re:On the contrary (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Masterofpsi (1643965) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:14AM (#33932384)

    Linux desktop is very much alive...on thinclients :)

    However, what is up with the obvious story troll? Are the /. numbers low today?

    "...what is up with the obvious story troll?"

    This is what the author was referring to when he mentioned "...the fierce ideology of the open-source community...". Dismissing non-believers as heretics/trolls makes you an ideologue and renders the platform unattractive to regular users. Your natural reaction to this will be to dismiss regular users as not worthy of Linux but nobody wants to adopt a platform that gets them trashed by smelly, overbearing, slogan-yelling hippies.

    Thanks asshole.

    It's not a troll because it asserts that Linux is dead.

    It's a troll because it asserts that Linux is dead ON /.

    Come on, now.

  • by Guspaz (556486) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:15AM (#33932418)

    Databases? Like, Oracle, DB2, Pervasive, Sybase? There are a lot of modern enterprise DBMS solutions that run on Linux. I'm tempted to say more than Windows, but that's just a hunch. But since you seem to think that DOS is still relevant in a modern enterprise, I can say conclusively that more modern enterprise DBMS solutions run on Linux than DOS.

    Mainly because no modern enterprise DBMS solution runs on DOS.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:17AM (#33932436)

    Confusing distros Just thinking about all the different distros and configurations still gives me a headache. Ubuntu has blunted this somewhat, but even with that you have to get into the Gnome vs. KDE thing, which is damned confusing to a layperson. The worst part of this is trying to download software for Linux off of some website and running into multiple versions with odd notations regarding different distros.

    Now I'm confused. You begin by saying you're a pretty geeky, technically able guy. Is it a problem for you that you think laypeople get confused by Gnome and KDE? And for the laypeople, is it really that much more confusing to say "Gnome is one graphical interface you can use (it looks like this... *show*), KDE is another (*show*)" than to say "Windows 7 comes in UltraCorporate, HomePlus, HomeMinusPlus, Entry-Squared and Vanilla editions"?

    Poor documentation Again, Ubuntu helps. But even that is spotty compared to Windows. And the "documentation" website of many distros (and Linux software apps) is little more than a bugfix list.

    I think there is an "uncanny valley" with regards to documentation for a certain range of users. For the day-to-day read email and browse the web user, documentation is really as good (or bad) as it is with Windows. For the very technically able, such as developers, there's awesome technical documentation to be found all over. It's perhaps the mid-range user, the one who wants to fiddle with stuff but isn't that good at it yet, who gets screwed over. This is a problem.

    Software, Software, Software this is the biggest problem, and not so easily dismissed as some fans would pretend. My mom, for example, uses special software to interface with her high-end sewing machine. Is it available for Linux? Probably not. Can I just direct her to a clone of equal quality? Probably not.

    Are we talking about the ordinary desktop user or are we not? Really, for every sewing machine you come up with, I can find two pieces of physics lab equipment that only runs on Linux (or similar). Let's not pull x-ray diffractometers and sewing machines into this!

    Ways of doing things that are confusing to a Windows user with windows, I can go to a website, download an installer and install my software. with Linux I can install it via the built-in installer. but that only works if said software is in the repository. If not, getting it installed is often a lot more complex than just downloading a file and double clicking on it to install.

    Of course things are different when you move to a completely new environment! I'll grant that everything being the same old is an advantage Windows has, but it's certainly one that EVERY competitor will have to face, and it's not really fair to count it. I agree that it's something you have to consider when switching, but it's inherent in the very idea of switching OS. Also, let's not forget the obvious fact that regarding software installation, the Linux distros' way of doing things is *far superior* to the Windows one, especially with regards to security.

    Still too much reliance on the command line interface Telling someone to break out a command line and type "sudo apt-get whateverthefuck" is like telling a Windows user to reinstall DOS and learn its syntax.

    You're confusing things again. The "read email and browse the web"-user never gets told that! If he needs to install anything, he'll be told to click the big shiny "install software" button and the "install security updates" button. The mid-range (and high-end) users may be told to do some simple CLI stuff, I agree. But really, I don't understand how it's any worse than "click menu A, look for B, go to the tab C, find the checkbox that says D, set it to enabled, find dropdown E, choose F"?

  • by Baavgai (598847) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:17AM (#33932448) Homepage

    The only real thing that holds Linux back on the desktop is hardware. No so much the actual computer as the myriad of junk people plug into them.

    A POS printer from Walmart will run fine on Windows, but not any Linux distro. So many of the external toys that people expect to simply buy and use have zero Linux support. Wifi in particular is tragic.

    I use Linux and accept I may have to do a little research to get some PlugAndPray toy that will work. Grandma is lucky if she can figure out where the plug goes. If she plugs into windows, it will usually hold her hand, at the very least say something. If she plugs it into a Linux box, it can be ominously silent.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:17AM (#33932452)

    There kinds of grunge articles are a dime a dozen. ./ must be dropping in 'hits' these days and the Great Taco needs to increase traffic. What better way than to poke a stick at the hive.

    Of course, it's ultimately a futile effort.

    Trolling - a way to increase traffic.

  • by Short Circuit (52384) <mikemol@gmail.com> on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:19AM (#33932470) Homepage Journal

    I love Linux on all my systems at home. I enjoy using Windows 7+Visual Studio at work, and know my registry intimately. I call 'troll' on the PCWorld article. Does that still make me one an ideologue?

    By the time I left community college three years ago, encountering non-geeks who use Linux was no longer a surprise. Some time this year, I stopped being surprised at seeing Linux installed on laptops in coffee shops. Does that make me an ideologue?

    I've seen support for Linux in commercial games and applications grow to the level Macs were at prior to the iPhone explosion. I've seen the number of non-Linux-compatible websites drop dramatically, thanks to improvements in browser technology. My WoW-playing fiancee was using Linux exclusively before I met her.

    I still call 'troll' on the PCWorld article. Does that still make me an ideologue?

  • by bsDaemon (87307) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:21AM (#33932504)

    I started running FreeBSD and Linux at home in the 8th grade. Now I'm 26, and frankly, am more than happy to just let my *BSD and Linux machines sit in a server room and out of my way. I'll interact with them via SSH from my MacBook Pro. It's Unix enough to allow me to do what I want to do, and I have VMWare images of FreeBSD 8-STABLE, OpenBSD 4.7, Fedora 13 with the CERT data forensics tools, and WIndows 7 Professional, if I need to do something on a "real" BSD, Linux or Windows system locally.

    But, I can close the lid of my laptop and it goes to sleep, open it and it wakes up. I don't have to write wpa-supplicant files by hand, worry about wireless drivers, or anything else. I can watch my DVDs, I can watch internet videos if I want to (as much as I bitch about youtube culture and whatnot, there are occasionally things worth watching that happen to live inside of an embedded flash player), my battery life doesn't suck and I spend a lot less time beating my head against the wall due to "not quite 100% compatible" issues.

    There are enough little idiosyncrasies in OS X to occasionally make me face palm, but I'm about 95% happy with it. I have a supermicro 1u running FreeBSD at home, a CentOS VPS living at the hosting company I used to admin for, and currently work in a BSD shop, where they provided me with a new iMac as a workstation, which is a pretty nice step up from the crummy Dell running Fedora I was stuck with at my last job.

    Frankly, I don't think I'm alone in a rather large section of professional Unix people who want at least one personal machine that they don't have to fight with all the time. Apple products aren't that rare of a scene at BSD conferences either, then again, Apple did hire a bunch of BSD people like Jordan Hubbard to help make OS X as kick-ass as it is under the hood.

  • Accept reality (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Crayon Kid (700279) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:25AM (#33932556)

    Maybe we should start asking what those 1-2% represent.

    What kind of people use a Linux desktop full time? Geeks. Developers. Bright minds.

    Consider Linux a piece of specialized software. How many computer users run specialized software? A small percentage of the total. Yet those are important for their respective niches.

    Apple has 5% but it's the cream of the crop in regard to certain traits: people who favor aestethics and "just works" over everything else and are willing to pay extra for it.

    Maybe it's time for Linux to stop aiming for more than 5%, ever, and instead embrace what it is: a professional-grade OS, for professionals.

    Why obsess with taking over the desktop of average Joe, against Joe's wishes?

  • Re:Oh come on. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Combatso (1793216) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:28AM (#33932602)
    Apple is a company with a leader, they set clear goals and work towards that... While I see your point, I don't think you can really draw comparisons. I don't think we will ever see the age of "linux on the desktop", however since Android, ChromeOS and all that mature we may see an "age of [linux in disguise]" on the desktop. My point being, a community can't drive the market to linux, but a big player like G certainly can... IF they have the right people with the right vision.
  • Re:wrong OS? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pegdhcp (1158827) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:28AM (#33932614)

    BSD's not dead of course - look only to the Mach kernel in OS X for verification. If you want to see how a desktop UNIX-based os should do it right, look at OS X. Say what you will about Apple - I don't care, only own a mac and an iPod (I have a Droid X for my phone) - but they did the desktop RIGHT. It's easy to use, fairly intuitive (passes the grandma test, for the most part), and is oh so easy to support. I remember when I got my first macbook a few years back and I had a sprint wireless broadband card for it. I was thinking "you know, I should be able to make my mac a wifi base station and share my wireless". Preferences, sharing, .... oh, that was easy. And it worked.

    Interestingly lots of people (including my wife and a number of fine arts graduates around her) do not realize that they are using a Unix system behind those shiny buttons and sliders. Do they need to know, what is a kernel, what is X and such? No, I do not think so. However if you know _and_ need you can start a terminal and start typing a cryptic series of charactes while people is watching you in amazement. This especially works, if you want to shutdown an ethernet in a _not so_ obvious way :)

    More importantly (than interesting), Apple is doing something extremely correct and keeping their GUI intuative and (I do not know how, but) compatible with older OSs they released. Like the event you mentioned, after something like 10 years away from Mac environment, it took 2 or 3 minutes for me to have a secondary monitor connected, up and running with a macbook.

    More to the point, related to the TFA, unfortunately I agree with it, on the point that Desktop is not a stronghold for Linux. The solution (if there would be any) will be in the form of a desktop manager, designed really professionally, probably not by geeks, and preferably by people who know users, and do not refer them as lusers, or talking about larting them etc.

  • by British (51765) <british1500@gmail.com> on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:33AM (#33932686) Homepage Journal

    "Ways of doing things that are confusing to a Windows user" - in regards to something like an app install, I agree.

    In Ubuntu, I take a look at Synaptic, I am amazed at just how unfriendly and granular it is. You have your dependency hell, which means if you want to install A, you have to install C, D, E, F, and so forth. Some might install, some will fail with some weird technobabble. Many apps find it necessary to have SEVERAL entries. One will be the game's main files, and then you have to install another "Data files for xxx". Why can't they be in some hierarchy?

    I also don't like it when many of the games to install require you to have the datafiles from the original. Try explaining that to your dad when he wants to install a game.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:41AM (#33932806)

    Desktop Linux isn't dead. The Desktop is dead.

    Everyone is moving to phones, tablets and laptops. Most of the (smart) cell phones sold are running Linux, and quite a few of the other ones are running UNIX. You can buy phones that run Linux at Walmart for like $30. This is probably the time when your mom is most likely to start using *NIX on a daily basis (though she won't know if.)

       

  • Non-free software (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tepples (727027) <<tepples> <at> <gmail.com>> on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:52AM (#33932988) Homepage Journal

    Seriously, compile the piece of software you want to use against the library versions you actually have!

    End users don't compile non-free software.

    If you don't understand these things, don't use software from outside your package system!

    Package systems tend not to contain non-free software. The article mentions this ideological point.

    And if you claim all software should be free, how do you expect to fund the development of a major video game if you plan to release it as free software from day one as opposed to five years later like Id?

  • Re:wrong OS? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DrgnDancer (137700) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:58AM (#33933090) Homepage

    Your sig aside, isn't that what Canonical was supposed to do? Has done really? That's the problem, when you get down to it. Canonical has done everything right. Ubuntu is easy to install, easy to configure, easy to patch, has about as good of driver support as is reasonably possible given manufacturer reluctance, its package management system is extensive and has a nice front end... There's nothing at all that Canonical did *wrong* to make a great Desktop OS, people just aren't interested. People buy a computer, they use what's on it. Manufacturers make computers and use what's easiest (which given the ecosystem of drivers and trained people is Microsoft no matter how easy an individual Ubuntu install is).

    Apple has, through multimillion dollar ad campaigns, product differentiation, aiming at the premium space, and tie ins to its iPhone/iPod/iPad ecosystem, managed to get a couple percent more market share than they had 5 years ago. A few percentage points of the market for an ad campaign that no Linux vendor could hope to match, a premium hardware budget that few manufacturers would be willing to risk, and a device ecosystem that is unmatched by anyone. Honestly if Linux ever breaks 1% market penetration on the desktop it will be shocking.

    I agree with the author. Linux on the desktop shouldn't be ignored of course. People do use it (including me), and will continue to use it. Continued focus on it as some sort of magical goal is silly though. Linux servers are everywhere, Linux portables are everywhere. Focus on what is working for you. It may well be that in ten years the "desktop" is irrelevant anyway. Whether because of the "cloud", portable devices, both, and/or them + some currently unknown factor the whole discussion is likely to have shifted anyway.

  • Re:three million (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) on Monday October 18, 2010 @10:02AM (#33933150)
    Killer apps only count when they're exclusive, or at least a better experience. Left 4 Dead 2 has been out for a year on PC and 360 (and probably PS3, though I don't pay much attention to the PS3). Mac users getting one game a year after everyone else (while 99% of games don't ever get there) is not going to sell the platform to gamers.
  • Computing History (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Roger_Wilco (138600) on Monday October 18, 2010 @10:07AM (#33933196) Homepage
    Consider not the fraction of the market, but the size of the market. How many people have GNU/Linux on their desktop?

    Compare the size of the market to the size of the market for various other systems. There were 17 million Commodore 64 machines sold. I suspect there are easily this many people with open source desktops in the world; there are around 10 million users of Ubuntu alone. Does the author mean to say that the Commodore 64 was unsuccessful, was itself dead on the desktop, for having a mere 17 million users? It seems unlikely.

    Being the sole desktop option is a hazardous place to be. If you believe in capitalism, you should prefer a mix, you should prefer that users (at some level, potentially corporate) decide which system to use.

    I use GNU/Linux: Ubuntu on the desktop, Debian on servers and sufficiently high-end embedded systems. That's not about to change. I'm glad others are concerned about converting people, but only so far as it causes them to make better the software I use.

  • by Short Circuit (52384) <mikemol@gmail.com> on Monday October 18, 2010 @10:07AM (#33933200) Homepage Journal

    Earlier this year, I started anchoring* a 4-hour social meeting every Saturday for the local LUG. I show up at a coffee shop for a certain time range, and anyone who wants to show up can. No agenda, no rules (except 'don't get us kicked out of the venue'), just socializing among geeks with some common interests. So far, it's been pretty much constructive, and we've had people in the area overhear us and ask us questions. Last week, we chatted about physical computer security, programming, audio encoding, and the passive {VGA|USB|etc}-to-Cat5 media changers one guy built. All in all, a good face for the community.

    I highly recommend the format.

    * Meaning that even if nobody else shows up, I'll be there, so people won't choose not to go because of a chance that there might not be anyone there.

  • by Seth Kriticos (1227934) on Monday October 18, 2010 @10:15AM (#33933318)

    I really don't mind some well written trolling, but this is just pathetic.

    Linux on the desktop is fine and better than ever. No, it's not mainstream (and I actually hope it stays so, I don't think more than 20% market share is healthy for any OS). It's fine in a way that there is an increasing user base. Also technically it's quite mature, and exceeds most of the competition in many ways (I'd list them, but it gets repetitive).

    Now granted, apps on Linux, especially commercial ones need some more work. And it's being done, slowly. Just from the distribution I see (Ubuntu), there are big strides to include this into the Software Center (yes, we have that already). It's still in test mode for the next half a year, but I think with a high probability that it will attract a lot of commercial interest.

    I also run a site with international audience (mostly the U.S. and China, + 67 other countries with 2k+ visitors a day, mostly private users) and the Linux share is at 2.88% there. This is much better than one or two years ago.

    So anyone telling me that the OS I currently write from is not existent or does not evolve is full of BS IMO. And the troll article was not even written in a way that would be fun to read (and we Linux folks have humor if you hit some valid points). Bad editor, grow some spine!

  • by headLITE (171240) on Monday October 18, 2010 @10:19AM (#33933368)

    Most users don't *want* to stray from the party line or even realize that there is such a thing. They just want something that works. For normal people, Mac OS X gets that right most of the time, but not necessarily only because the UI is easy to use.

    For example, my mother needs a web browser and something that gets her photos off her camera. She does use e-mail, but as far as I know, she only uses some web mail system. She has a Mac because she can go to a store, pick one up, and it just works and does everything she wants to do without her having to call her son about it. It's not so much that she thinks this wouldn't be possible with Linux, it's more that she doesn't even care and/or have a good idea of what Linux even is. She's not buying an operating system, she's buying a magical box that lets her access the web and that stores her photos. Even Windows would beat Linux if new Windows systems didn't come pre-loaded with so much crapware...

  • Re:Games (Score:3, Insightful)

    by imakemusic (1164993) on Monday October 18, 2010 @10:22AM (#33933398)

    Well version 7 that you link to is Platinum rated but that came out in 2002 and is a little bit dated. There have been 5 major versions released since then. Two of these are rated platinum, the rest are silver. And a lot of them say "does not install" or "installs, with workarounds".

    Going by that I am going to assume that you haven't actually tried this yourself, you just went and looked it up as an attempt to counter my argument.

  • Re:wrong OS? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ConceptJunkie (24823) on Monday October 18, 2010 @10:22AM (#33933402) Homepage Journal

    Office is even a stronger monopoly than Windows itself, if such a thing is possible. And the worst part is that Office (particularly Word and Access, and any of the apps once you start doing any VBA) is just plain horrible. The only reason anyone uses it is because of one of the two following things: 1. It's all they can use. 2. It's all they know how to use.

    I can't imagine there's anyone with any real software experience who actually thinks Office is good. OOo is better, although it's hardly great. Of course, when it comes to word processing, I think the whole paradigm has completely failed. IMO, if you're not doing DTP, you should be using markup. Of course, that will never happen for 99.9% of users, even though it would be several orders easier and more efficient. Just think of all the billions of dollars of productivity going down the sinkhole of using Word. It boggles the mind.

  • by KarmaRundi (880281) on Monday October 18, 2010 @10:28AM (#33933470)
    Really, like two weeks ago I bought a new laptop and installed Ubuntu over Window 7 and love it. Now you're telling me it's dead? S*!t.
  • In a related story (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lushmore (41101) on Monday October 18, 2010 @10:35AM (#33933586)

    Trolling articles are still alive and well.

  • by snowwrestler (896305) on Monday October 18, 2010 @10:50AM (#33933840)

    Does the desktop OS really matter that much any more? At least in the consumer space, I contend no:

    - File format interoperability has improved dramatically. Numerous apps on several platforms can now open MS and Adobe formats, for instance.
    - More and more functionality is delivered through the browser by servers.
    - As a result, after-market boxed software is less and less important. Core consumer functionality comes built into computers when you buy them (word processing, photos, music, video, etc). Aside from games, consumers simply don't go to stores anymore to buy the hottest new software.

    Mobile OS is still very app-oriented though. And Linux is doing very well there, in the form of Android.

    Desktop OS still matters a lot in the corporate setting because of custom business applications that have been developed on the MS platform for years. They would be a huge pain to port, and businesses will ride them for as long as they can. But even in those cases, when they develop new apps, there's a good chance they'll be developing server-based software running on Linux (even if the desktop OS is still Windows).

    So even though Linux adoption on the desktop might have slowed, that matters less and less in the big picture. The big problem with MS's domination of the desktop was that it was their chokepoint of control because it was the default environment for all developers. For consumers at least, that chokepoint is largely gone. The default environment for developers now is the server.

  • Re:wrong OS? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday October 18, 2010 @11:00AM (#33934010) Homepage Journal

    I use Linux and OS/X and Windows so I must ask what is hard to do on a Mac?
    Really I have had a very small learning curve and I have not been stopped from doing anything yet. So an example would be nice.
    And no it isn't just major studio games that are lacking.
    A good professional CAD system.
    An office package as good as MS Office. Office is still better than OO.org. It is just that OO,org is a better value.
    Photoshop. Sorry but Gimp is good and even better than Photoshop Elements but it isn't better than Photoshop for high end use.
    A video editor as good as the offerings from Apple, Adobe, and Sony.

    And here is the big one. Device drivers! Linux's hardware support is actually very good but it needs a stable binary device driver interface!
    Companies want to put a simple to install driver on the CD with the devices you buy! They do not want to force customers to install a compiler and Kernel sources!
    Not only that but they do not want to have to wait for the driver to make in to the kernel.

    That is is a killer issue for Linux on the desktop right now. If the hardware you buy isn't supported your in a world of hurt.
    Oh and "checking before you buy" is not so easy. Take wifi for instance. The list of supported devices is by chipset! Boxes often do not list the chipset and they can even change over time.

  • by bytesex (112972) on Monday October 18, 2010 @11:18AM (#33934240) Homepage

    Because ever more CPU-demanding app-development, and ever more screen-real estate (photo/film/games/tv) demanding apps are suddenly gone ? People don't need to type anymore ? I don't get it. I've heard 'photoshop through the web is going to be here in five to ten years' for the last fifteen years now. It hasn't happened.

  • Re:wrong OS? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 18, 2010 @11:23AM (#33934294)

    I was a Linux user until OSX. I only used a handful of apps on Linux. When I found I can use them on OSX, Linux lost some luster. I still love Linux, but OSX does what I need. I now use GIMP for post processing my images. Inkscape is great for making SVG images. The terminal is in the dock and is used often.

    OSX killed Linux in this household. I was looking for a Linux laptop, then the iPad came out. A UNIX tablet? Hell yeah.

  • The cult of UNIX (Score:4, Insightful)

    by couch_warrior (718752) on Monday October 18, 2010 @11:25AM (#33934320)
    I have been a devotee of Linux for nearly 15 years. I have faithfully followed first redhat, and now the fedora releases. All my PCs at least dual-boot, if not run native Linux all the time. I even TAUGHT Linux for a major computer company for a while. In my informally gathered experience, there are three things holding Linux back- 1) The cult of UNIX mentality - this is a belief, deeply held by many OSS fans, that it is morally wrong to make software easy to use. If it was hard to code, it should require effort from the user to make use of it, otherwise how will they appreciate your hard work? Microsoft on the other hand got it a loooong time ago. Ease of use isn't just nice to have, it is the one overiding factor that outweighs all others in software design. Flexibility just confuses most users. security is a sick sad joke that only security wonks care about. Until the Linux community embraces the overwhelming truth that ease of use is ALL that matters, they will be doomed to be a hobby OS for out-of-touch tech weenies. 2) Endlessly re-inventing the wheel. I think Redhat/ Fedora is now on their third version of the X-windows package, and there is talk of scrapping the whole thing for a new windowing paradigm. Every six months I do a version upgrade, and my desktop breaks, my icons disappear, my scripts stop working because the directories have changed. For the love of sanity PLEASE knock it off. If it ain't broke, DON"T FIX IT!!! If you want people to really use Linux, focus on a consistent user experience, keep the magic behind the curtain, and stop screwing up the user interface. 3) Fear of licenses. Every time I upgrade fedora, I have to spend hours getting my Xine video player, web browser, and games to work again. Give up the insanity guys. The world is not going to change to suit your whiny childish prejudices. There's all kinds of industry standard free software out there that EVERYONE uses. You are just marginalizing Linux by not supporting it in your distros. 'Nuff said.
  • What the repositories don't contain much of is payware

    As I understand the article, the lack of a reliable way to deploy payware on desktop Linux is contributing to the death of desktop Linux because not all genres of application are conducive to relying on donated labor.

    it's not a store.

    Three major game consoles (Wii, PS3, and Xbox 360) have a store. Three major handheld game platforms (iPod touch, PSP, and DSi) have a store. Two major smartphone platforms (iPhone and Android) have a store. Windows has several stores, including Steam, Impulse, and GOG. Not to mention brick-and-mortar stores that sell copies of software on CD-ROM or DVD-ROM. So if the repositories aren't stores, what is?

  • by NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) on Monday October 18, 2010 @11:44AM (#33934574)

    Everything from word processing to simple photo-editing goes on line - or into an "app."

    People have been claiming this (at least the on-line part) for a long time, though. I seem to remember software company executives in the 90's drooling over the thought that you'd pay them a monthly fee to access their word processor and photo editor apps from your thin client at home.

  • Re:On the contrary (Score:2, Insightful)

    by imric (6240) on Monday October 18, 2010 @11:50AM (#33934640)

    Yup because being reasonable means agreeing with obvious trolls (and here is what a troll is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_(Internet) [wikipedia.org] It doesn't mean 'to disagree', btw).

    What you are calling for is 'fair and balanced' meaning that you must give equal weight to opponents even if their position is untenable - IOW, if you don't agree with the validity of the obvious troll's point, that means by disagreeing you (the "smelly, overbearing, slogan-yelling hippies" - your words) are 'trashing' the poor victim, the troll. Right?

    And as a real treat, your ending statements are a 'strawman' ("Your natural reaction to this will be to dismiss regular users as not worthy of Linux"), of course hoping to demolish your strawman later and cry victory. (what, you don't know what a strawman is either? Here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strawman_argument [wikipedia.org] )

    So why should anyone listen to your gems of wisdom, again?

  • Re:Again? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 18, 2010 @11:53AM (#33934660)

    You know what's dead? Paper magazines about computers, like PC World.

  • Re:three million (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 18, 2010 @11:55AM (#33934688)

    woosh

  • by judeancodersfront (1760122) on Monday October 18, 2010 @12:01PM (#33934762)
    Netflix, iTunes, MS Office, random work program, random school program, random games, etc.

    Some say this is just because of market share but there is more to it. The open source ideology has made the small marketshare of Linux even more unappealing. You can't expect much support from proprietary companies when you denounce them as morally inferior.

    Stallman was wrong in his expectation that hobbyists could compete with commercial companies. Sorry but I do not consider Tux Racer to be a competitor to Gran Turismo. Stallman went too far, it's time for everyone to admit it. It is ok to prefer open source but there is nothing wrong with proprietary software.
  • Re:wrong OS? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by johnw (3725) on Monday October 18, 2010 @12:22PM (#33935052)

    Linux users have less respect the concept of intellectual property than as most computer users

    That sentence is so mangled it's hard to be sure what you were trying to say, but it sounds like an assertion that Linux users have less respect for intellectual property than others. If that is indeed what you're saying, then the following part is a total non-sequitur.

    IME, Linux users tend to have rather *more* respect for intellectual property than your average computer user, which is why they stick to using open source software rather than stealing commercial software. I've lost track of the number of times when I've had an average Windows-user-in-the-street asking me for a bootleg copy of Office, Photoshop or indeed Windows itself. Most of them are gobsmacked by the idea that there's something wrong with just copying them.

    I use Open Source software because I respect the rights of creators of software - including their right to make it freely available.

  • Re:wrong OS? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BlueStraggler (765543) on Monday October 18, 2010 @12:25PM (#33935088)

    You are just used to the idiosyncrasies of different desktop environments to the point that you don't think about them any more.

    It's a bit silly, for instance, to criticize Apple's UI for inconsistency in close/exit behaviour when you click the red X window control, when this button is modal in all other major UIs, with no indication of which mode you are in (hint: it's usually close mode if there is one window open, and exit otherwise).

    The green zoom button always causes grief to new users because they think it's ought to be a minimize/maximize button, which it isn't. This expectation is entirely a consequence of coming from UIs that treat minimize/maximize as a primary UI operation.

    The menu bar pegged to the primary screen is indeed an old and debateable quirk of Mac OSes, but it should be noted that your criticism doesn't really apply to the portable market, which might explain why Apple has so much success there.

    I agree that it is inaccurate to describe Apple's UI as intuitive---parts of it are astonishingly sophisticated. Intuitive suggests that it should be easy for new users, but that is the way of Clippy and Start buttons. Apple doesn't design to be intuitive--that's a leftover meme from 1985. Apple designs to be productive, which makes it annoying for people who already have burned in productivity habits from platforms where this is less of a design ethic.

  • by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Monday October 18, 2010 @12:27PM (#33935110)

    The Desktop OS is dead.

    Apple will wind down OS X over the decade - the PC era is over.

    Wrong!

    In people's homes, certainly desktops will continue to lose some marketshare to alternatives.

    In offices? Not so much. Sure, you have (and will continue to have) some office workers who continue to use laptops in docking stations as essentially desktops, and some that just use laptops as such period. I don't see much if any of that market moving to tablets anytime soon, and the migration of the things those people do to web-based solutions is just not happening very fast, where it's happening at all. At this point, most of what's going to internal web apps or virtualized workstations in the next decade already has.

  • by jc42 (318812) on Monday October 18, 2010 @12:35PM (#33935176) Homepage Journal

    I seem to remember software company executives in the 90's drooling over the thought that you'd pay them a monthly fee to access their word processor and photo editor apps from your thin client at home.

    Heh. I know quite a lot of people who've tried this, and quickly learned the downside of any sort of centralized or "cloud" computing model: If you miss a payment, all your stuff disappears. Sometimes permanently.

    And most of the ISPs who provided the early online storage to customers turned out to have contracts saying that putting a file on their server automatically transfers the copyright to the ISP. I know several friends in bands who tried this and learned the hard way that they had assigned the copyrights to all their work to their ISP, who found things that they liked and used in ads. Other people stored pictures of their kids, pets, etc. on "their" web site, and found the ISP using their photos in ads. Remember the fuss when msn.com was caught doing this, and MSN's reps quoted that passage in their contract?

    I also have a couple of friends who lost a parent who had been keeping personal info (pics, diaries, etc.) on a hosted site. They were a bit upset to find that after the parent's death, they had no legal access to anything on the site, because the parent hadn't thought to will it to them. And after a few months, the parent's "site" was purged and lost forever.

    Going back a bit, one of the original reasons for the rapid adoption of "personal computers" in work environments back in the 1980s was the growing problem of corporate data centers that more and more controlled what employees were permitted to do on the mainframe. Departments learned that if they wanted the computing capability that they needed, the easiest way was with a little computer that the department owned, and which the data center had no control over. This is a continuing battle in corporations everywhere, with no end in sight.

    It's an old story. If you don't own the machine(s) that hold your data, you don't own the data, and you have no say in how it may be used. If this means anything to you, you'd be an idiot to trust your data to an organization that views you as a source of income. You need, and will always need, a computer system that you completely control. (And you need it backed up - on your own hardware, not on someone else's. ;-)

  • by C10H14N2 (640033) on Monday October 18, 2010 @12:37PM (#33935194)

    Baloney...

    I run at least five flavors of Windows and hafter as many Linux distros, am pretty solidly in the Ubuntu camp. I have a Mac and an iPhone and am going to be buying more for a laundry list of reasons.

    HOWEVER, the first thing that struck me about the Mac and the iPhone was how much they did NOT "just work." I was ready to be converted. Oh, please, let me for once just buy a !@#$ing box and be able to plug it in and start working. It was NO different to me than setting up a Windows or Ubuntu box. The OS wasn't fully configured or even current. I had to install everything myself only to find it wanted to automatically run 2.9GBs of patches, rebooting about six times in the process. I didn't have a working computer until the next day.

    The difference is that Apple has an army of well trained baby sitters who will, for a fee, put up with this crap for you and coddle your ego telling you what a special, pretty smart and interesting person you are and then hand your shiny box back.

    I refuse to pay for that sort of saccharine bullshit, so I'm left with a computer that is just as much a pain in my ass as any other.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 18, 2010 @01:21PM (#33935880)

    The days of the desktop are numbered. (No seriously, stop laughing, for real this time!) As widgets in Win7 and OSX become more sophisticated, and app-based economies begin to proliferate the desktop will be come a much simpler device and no longer the big noisy box we have all come to know and love for the past 30+ years. E.g.: Apple TV interface = iPad interface = iPhone interface. However, I see the coming of the Great Simplification a perfect vehicle for the linux kernel.

    There will always be workstations for content developers and engineers, but I suspect their #s will continue to decrease.

  • by evil_aar0n (1001515) on Monday October 18, 2010 @02:27PM (#33936998)

    This strikes me in the same way as the rabid OS X fanboi that said that any OS X failure was _my_ fault, because OS X _never_ failed. Baloney. Why do they need patches, then?

    I've set up close to a dozen Mac OS X machines, over the years, and have never had any experience close to what you mention. The worst one was when a MBP of mine died and I had to set up my replacement from the dead unit's HDD. I was shocked at how easy that was. I connected the HDD to the new laptop, which recognized that it had an OS X installation on it, and it proceeded to ask if I wanted to initialize my new MBP from that drive. After some time to copy files, it was ready to go, configured almost exactly as my previous unit. There were some things I had to handle manually - HP scanner shit, which is buggy, anyway - but it was automatic, for the most part.

    I don't know how you ended up in your situation, but yours is definitely an outlier case.

  • Re:Accept reality (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Haeleth (414428) on Monday October 18, 2010 @03:04PM (#33937678) Journal

    YES! This is spot on.

    It is frustrating that currently, every major Linux-based project seems to be working hard to dumb itself down and remove more features and configurability with every new version, in the name of "being easy for Grandma". Then Grandma carries on using Windows, and the developers say "oh dear, it must still be too complicated", and the cycle continues. Linux developers are making the product worse and worse for the people who actually use it, in the name of making it easier for people who do not even want to use it.

    Because, really, what would Grandma gain from switching? She knows Windows. It does everything she needs. It's not particularly insecure these days, particularly since her grandson installed that cute Firefox icon for her. And she couldn't care less about the power of the CLI, or the ability to run a different window manager, or multiple X sessions, or any of the other cool things that are easy to do in Linux and difficult or impossible in Windows. Why should Grandma use Linux?

    The two things Linux should be concentrating on are being a great Unix-like desktop for power users, and interoperating well with Windows infrastructure such as Microsoft Exchange. (The latter is important in order to allow its use on enterprise desktops -- there are plenty of developers who could make a very good case for using the same platform on their desktop that their code is going to be deployed to, but need to be able to demonstrate that doing so is not going to hinder their ability to use corporate email and collaboration services.)

  • by mr_mischief (456295) on Monday October 18, 2010 @06:08PM (#33940242) Journal

    There are trends that have gone on for years in the magazine publishing industry. One is that if Newsweek puts a bear on the cover, the stock market is going to go up. The other is that if PC World pans your technology, it's about to take off.

  • Re:Accept reality (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Draek (916851) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @02:12AM (#33943400)

    the number 1 reason that we like Macs is that Mac OS X is unix and the number 2 reason is that Mac OS X is the most flexible, configurable, programmable OS available - bar none.

    Most flexible and configurable, really? care, then, to describe the steps required to make OSX' look and feel similar to that of Windows 2K? preferably ones that don't involve VMs in them.

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