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Why Desktop Linux Hasn't Taken Off 1264

Posted by samzenpus
from the let-the-flaming-begin dept.
alphadogg writes "It's free, easier to use than ever, IT staffers know it and love it, and it has fewer viruses and Trojans than Windows. So, why hasn't Linux on the desktop taken off? When it comes to desktop Linux, the cost savings turn out to be problematic, there are management issues, and compatibility remains an issue. 'We get a lot more questions about switching to Macs than switching to Linux at this point, even though Macs are more expensive,' one Gartner analyst says."
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Why Desktop Linux Hasn't Taken Off

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  • Way too confusing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by crazyjj (2598719) * on Monday April 30, 2012 @01:04PM (#39846823)

    How I am even supposed to begin to recommend Linux for the average user when there are 100 different distros, each with its own quirks and issues? Hell, even I don't have any clue where to begin on which one to recommend. And I sure wouldn't know how to support each one if they had problems.

    At least with Windows, I can say "Use Home Premium at home, Professional at work." Even simpler with Macs. With Linux, I guess I would recommend Ubuntu, but a lot of Linux fans are even starting to bitch about that.

    If you want simple users, make it simple to use. Linux is way too fractured right now for the average user. Get a consensus down to a single home distro, a single business distro, and a few specialized distros and then start from there.

    It would probably also help if you could get Linux users to stop fighting amongst themselves over every little goddamn thing. Outsiders are really turned off by what looks like a bunch of squabbling geeks fighting over their favorite Star Trek series (which we all know is DS9, anyway). Average consumers *do not* like stepping into the middle of a fight which they don't even understand. That's one of the reasons they like Windows and OS X (all the fighting over those is kept behind the scenes, for the most part).

  • by TechCar (2628639) on Monday April 30, 2012 @01:05PM (#39846831)
    Also; Quality, easy of use, availability of (commercial) software etc are the better selling points. Frankly, free is one of the shittiest selling points for corporations. The cost of OS licenses is ridiculously small compared to everything else. Hell, employers have to pay almost 100x the price of Windows/Mac license to one employee per month, with taxes and benefits. If things work better with Windows/Mac then it's a no-brainer. With servers the cost are much higher, and Linux been used with them a lot more and has better compability, so it's less of an issue. But even still Linux has only managed to get about half and the other half goes to Windows Server, which admittedly is used more in internal-facing servers.

    "Free" just isn't good selling point for companies. The time you need to waste with Linux costs a lot more than something that just works. Hobbyists might value their time less, but employee hour for a company costs A LOT.
  • by gatkinso (15975) on Monday April 30, 2012 @01:07PM (#39846869)

    Very powerful, virtually nonexistant for Linux on the desktop.

  • Two Words (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thebrieze (1102809) on Monday April 30, 2012 @01:08PM (#39846879)
    Microsoft Office
  • Maybe It Has? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by stupor (165265) on Monday April 30, 2012 @01:09PM (#39846899)

    Maybe it has taken off and all this talk of it not taking off is just evidence of it having taken off?

  • by Microlith (54737) on Monday April 30, 2012 @01:11PM (#39846915)

    Why do we keep getting these posts that are deliberately chosen to incite flamewars between pro- and anti-Linux people?

    Do we need to have more unhelpful arguments like the one yesterday when Samzenpus posted a dupe of a response to a dupe from back at the start of the year?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 30, 2012 @01:11PM (#39846931)

    ....confusing, non-intuitive, and not compatible with most all games and apps.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 30, 2012 @01:11PM (#39846935)

    availability of (commercial) software

    this x100 is half the battle; the other half is management of desktops (basically admins having to relearn, which will face resistance).

  • by Criton (605617) on Monday April 30, 2012 @01:14PM (#39846983)
    Most people do not know there is an alternative to windows or that it's as good as windows. Other issues confusion and people trying to fix things that are not broken such as completely redoing gnome in gnome 3 or brain dead things like Unity in Ubuntu which cause Mint to over take it as the most downloaded distro. Android is a good example of what can happen when people are exposed to an alternative OS. It's now the number 1 smart phone OS and Windows phone is more or less a flop.
  • by sconeu (64226) on Monday April 30, 2012 @01:14PM (#39846991) Homepage Journal

    The cost of OS licenses is ridiculously small compared to everything else

    Yes and no. The cost of OS licenses is ridiculously small. The cost of OS and app license *COMPLIANCE*, on the other hand, can be huge *cough*BSA*cough*.

  • by Barbara, not Barbie (721478) <barbara.hudsonNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday April 30, 2012 @01:15PM (#39847007) Journal

    And then there's the problem of distros breaking on upgrades, and the prevalent WORKS_FOR_ME && WONT_FIX responses towards bugs, the really lousy bug-reporting scheme (I tried it with KDE, my cpu went to 100% and never even loaded the desktop, requiring a reinstall from scratch).

    Then there's the lack of social skills among the "self-anointed." Plus their childish insistence on labeling it GNU/linux (do you call it a Firestone/Mustang)? Or M$. Yes, we see what you did there, and no, after the 5,000th time, it's just stupid.

    Pointing out the problems invariably gets you labeled as a shill, an astroturfer, or worse.

    Pointing out the problems with the GPL - or worse, pointing out that the GPL doesn't even respect the 4 freedoms listed on the home page of the FSF - brings out people who blindly repeat what "everyone who really is a true believer knows."

    It's not a religion or a cult, but you could have fooled me.

  • by tripleevenfall (1990004) on Monday April 30, 2012 @01:15PM (#39847009)

    The issues with Linux have not changed in the past 10 years. It's disappointing that no progress has been made.

    Sure it's easier to install than it used to be, but for most people it's not as simple as putting the disk in and running the installer. You'll end up with devices that don't work and that Joe Average can't troubleshoot.

    Despite the fact that it's become easier, it's still not easy enough for the general public. Compounding this problem, the "Easy" bar has moved significantly further away now that OSX and iOS are becoming the consumer platforms of choice.

    The desktop platform is, for average consumers, on the way out. There's really no need to worry about it now. The resources poured into Linux for desktop PCs would be better spent building a competent, truly private, truly free, easy to install and again, truly free - distro of Android.

  • by dgatwood (11270) on Monday April 30, 2012 @01:15PM (#39847015) Journal

    Dude.... DS9 was way too bogged down in politics. TNG FTW.

    Besides, it's not just fragmentation. The fact of the matter is that Linux isn't designed with any sort of binary compatibility in mind, and consumers don't have the patience for trying to learn why compiling the latest Foo application produced some obscure error about C++ symbol availability... or worse.

    This problem came to a head for me when I had to port an app to a newer version of a library to avoid breaking everything else on the system; the library in question was, IIRC, a popular sound library—the sort of library whose existing API should never just suddenly go away and get replaced with a different API. For me, it took all of about fifteen or twenty minutes; for a non-programmer, it would take all of about fifteen or twenty years, all because they couldn't be bothered to include a three-line compatibility shim as part of their new API. And that right there is why Linux will never make it on the desktop as long as the hacker mentality prevails.

    What most consumers want is to know that for the next several years, they'll be able to get new apps without having to upgrade their OS, and that those apps will be simple, drag-and-drop binary blobs that "just work". Anything less than that, and Linux won't go anywhere.

  • by Dan667 (564390) on Monday April 30, 2012 @01:18PM (#39847047)
    Games are still a huge pull on the PC (and a lot of people are sick of the vendor lock-in crap forced on them with consoles). Valve announced that they will be supporting Linux with their Steam Game Service.
  • E Pluribus Unity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by XiaoMing (1574363) on Monday April 30, 2012 @01:20PM (#39847091)

    IMHO, it's because Ubuntu was really the only distro that had a fighting chance at "mass" adoption (that number is relative, but considering how MacOX was sitting at 9% for an eternity...) with their tri-force of:

    A pretty, and relatively user friendly interface,
    A centralized software update suites that didn't requiring googling what to sudo apt-get for in a console
    And pretty good brand recognition and media attention.

    UNTIL they decided to completely over-indulge their own sense of relevance by forcing the mandatory Unity interface on users with some absolutely retarded idea that they would to do this for the huge wave of tablet adoption they were now going to see, since I'm assuming Desktop users are already totes in the Ubuntu bandwagon?

    I think the real issue isn't that (consumer) Desktop Linux hasn't taken off, but that the people behind the main distro that actually had a fighting chance decided to chop some of the more useful limbs off of it to make it more...fingerable.

    http://www.extremetech.com/computing/102599-ubuntu-14-04-will-be-a-smartphone-and-tablet-os-so-what [extremetech.com]

  • by nyctopterus (717502) on Monday April 30, 2012 @01:20PM (#39847093) Homepage

    I think you have a point, but I think the biggest problem is that most people just don't see the advantages. Their question will be 'what will Linux let me do that I can't do on Windows/Mac?'--and there isn't a clear answer to that. There will be things they can't do to do: run many popular games and applications, but the benefits are nebulous.

    Answer that question satisfactorily, and I think you'd see some people switch.

  • by dynamo52 (890601) on Monday April 30, 2012 @01:21PM (#39847119)

    It would probably also help if you could get Linux users to stop fighting amongst themselves over every little goddamn thing. Outsiders are really turned off by what looks like a bunch of squabbling geeks fighting over their favorite Star Trek series (which we all know is DS9, anyway). Average consumers *do not* like stepping into the middle of a fight which they don't even understand. That's one of the reasons they like Windows and OS X (all the fighting over those is kept behind the scenes, for the most part).

    Not only that but another big turn off is that documentation often tends to be non-existent, incomplete, confusing, or simply wrong then, to make matters worse, when inexperienced users venture into the forums looking for guidance, the replies are usually along the lines of RTFM emphasized with varying degrees of condescension. Very rarely will you find a simple, clear set of instructions on how to perform a specific procedure. New users need hand holding but the Linux community will more often than not just throw them to the wolves.

  • by ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) on Monday April 30, 2012 @01:26PM (#39847201)

    But something is. For me, it's games and, to a lesser extent, Netflix. For a lot of office workers, it's Office (no, OpenOffice/LibreOffice is not equivalent when the whole infrastructure and training has been MS Office). For some people it'll be Netflix instead. Windows has a lot of killer apps and, unfortunately, the consumers have no say on whether they get ported to Linux.

  • by ArsonSmith (13997) on Monday April 30, 2012 @01:26PM (#39847203) Journal

    "...Linux for the average user when there are 100 different distros..."

    There are at most 5-6 distros for the average user. Counting every special single distro is at best ignorantly misinformed. More likely intellectually dishonest or outright FUD.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 30, 2012 @01:26PM (#39847217)

    This is not a fair comparison at all. The average user does not install Windows
    or OS X, it comes pre-installed.

    Heck, installing Linux from scratch on random hardware can be far easier than
    doing the same with either Windows or OS X. Many drivers work right off an install
    disk.

    Comparing apples to apples, stick to assuming users buy their computers with
    Linux pre-installed.

  • by Sebastopol (189276) on Monday April 30, 2012 @01:29PM (#39847263) Homepage

    All of the +ve praise for the Linux desktop comes from... the linux community!

    Try asking non-Linux people what they think of it, and maybe you'll get realistic feedback.

  • For you, yes. But Photoshop is not the reason for most people.

    Almost everyone has their own "Photoshop" - a program that is only available under Windows or a Mac. Witness how many people are still dual-booting. If dual-booting and VMs were rendered impossible, the number of linux installs would plummet.

  • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Monday April 30, 2012 @01:34PM (#39847331) Journal

    OK, not claiming there aren't problems, but you're comparing to commercial operating systems, right?

    Ok...

    And then there's the problem of distros breaking on upgrades,

    So? That happens on Windows and OSX every so often. Score, zero all for being crap.

    WORKS_FOR_ME && WONT_FIX responses towards bugs, the really lousy bug-reporting scheme (I tried it with KDE, my cpu went to 100% and never even loaded the desktop, requiring a reinstall from scratch).

    So are you one of those people who clicks on the "report to microsoft" button and then gets a response? Bug reporting for commercial operating systems is even worse, as in, nonexistent.

    So we have maybe 1/2 for linux distros for having a (crap) bug reporting system, versus proprietary operating systems for having even worse ones. Also, we're talking about end users, right? When their OS of choice craps out, they don't file bug reports, they find suckers^W technical family to fix it for them.

    So, why are we even on this point?

    Then there's the lack of social skills among the "self-anointed." Plus their childish insistence on labeling it GNU/linux (do you call it a Firestone/Mustang)? Or M$. Yes, we see what you did there, and no, after the 5,000th time, it's just stupid.

    Because there are totally no bigots running operating systems other than Linux. Every had a person suggest switching to a Mac without even knowing what the problem is? I have. It would happen with Windows too, if OSX was the most common choice.

    That's just a completely spurious argument.

    Pointing out the problems with the GPL - or worse, pointing out that the GPL doesn't even respect the 4 freedoms listed on the home page of the FSF - brings out people who blindly repeat what "everyone who really is a true believer knows."

    lolwut? If you're going to claim that there are problems with the GPL so serious as that, you really ought to back it up with, for instance, what the claim actually is, otherwise it sounds like trolling.

    Also, you're comparing to commerical operating systems here. Have you ever even read the EULA for Windows? Ever tried pointing out problems with it to MS?

    There are many reasons that desktop Linux hasn't taken off. If you think that any of the above are the reasons, then you're living in cloud-cuckoo land as far as I'm concerned.

  • by SomeKDEUser (1243392) on Monday April 30, 2012 @01:36PM (#39847363)

    Bad distro? change distro! Are there too many? No: practically, you have ubuntu, fedora and opensuse. And lots of vocal advocates for tiny distros they and their three friends use. You mostly hear about them, but they don't amount to much (in fact, according to the WP logs, only ubuntu amounts to much).

    Seriously, the GNU/Linux thing died years ago -- you can still tell the old farts by the fact they seem to care, but no one else does.

    Pointing out problems is fine, and believe it or not, even appreciated. However, ranting that "your CPU went to 100% and never even loaded the desktop, requiring a reinstall from scratch" will not make people taking you seriously. Because to know your CPU went to 100%, without the desktop, you clearly know how to change the virtual console and launch top, and yet you were too ignorant to not do something as useless as "reinstalling from scratch".

    So you either are lying outright or are taking rather large short-cuts in your retelling of the problem. Neither of which will get your bugs fixed.

    As for the GPL and the four freedoms, WTF are you talking about ??!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 30, 2012 @01:37PM (#39847377)

    "Perhaps this is because what you believe to be "issues" are not believed to be by the people doing the work?"

    This disconnect is why Linux, in its current state, will never achieve any foothold on desktop shares.

  • by gislifb (1979154) on Monday April 30, 2012 @01:38PM (#39847389)

    You just don't get the idea behind open-source software so all your arguments are quite silly!

    For me the power is the multiple choices:

            - I don't like the de/wm I switch

            - I don't like the OS I switch

            - I would like to add a feature to some program, I do my best to actually add it myself

    For the average user Ubuntu, Mint and Fedora are the OS'es I would recommend and I really don't get the whole compatability argument because the average user doesn't need to deal with the underlying "mechanics" of the system and if for example some workplace would be Linux-only with different distros they would most definetely have a Linux-admin of some sorts and for a Linux guy it's not a problem that the workplace has multiple OS'es. I've actually managed a small computer-lab (15 computers with Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora, Debian, Arch and a CentOS server) for the past year and I've never had any problems and I wouldn't consider myself an intermediate Linux-user in comparison to a few guys I know.

    Of course for the business-side of things there is RHEL whom I consider to be a business distro and many companies use that because of the "vendor-support".

    My parents have been using Ubuntu for two years now without any hiccups and although they were a bit unsure at the time it's paid off.

    A similar story of my grandpa which uses Ubuntu and my in laws that use Mint.

    So if you want OS'es for the average user you pick Ubuntu or Mint (haven't tested Fedora on relatives or friends). If you want a business distro you use and pay for RHEL. If employees want different distros chances are that one of them really knows his stuff, if not you hire a Linux-admin like you would hire a Windows-admin for day to day tasks or to solve problems the average user can't.

  • by darkwing_bmf (178021) on Monday April 30, 2012 @01:39PM (#39847413)

    I think his point was that everyone has some application that they want or need that Linux isn't compatible with. For him it might be Photoshop. For me it might be my library of games. For someone else it might be their account management software.

    Basically users don't care about the OS, they just care about the things they want to do without changing all of their hardware and software to do it. For most people this means not switching to Linux.

  • by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Monday April 30, 2012 @01:41PM (#39847439)

    It's the year 2012, fix sound.

    Sound doesn't work out of the box. They have the abomination (IMHO) that is PulseAudio so I do an apt-get purge. Suddenly sound works.

    So I go and try to play 2 things at once. [Unless you have ALSA setup a specific way with mixers it won't do it because only one PID gets to talk to hardware at once.] Wow it works. Maybe they started shipping a working ALSA config. I go check /etc/asound.conf. Everything is still set to pulse.

    So I check task manager. Sure enough the pulse server is still cranking away. But by purging all the files it somehow magically started to work. So I re-install it.

    I repeat the test. Somehow mplayer decides it wants to grab ALSA instead of pulse but ALSA then grabs the hardware, so pulse dies and can't communicate to ALSA (which is actually doing the hardware interfacing if I read my workflow correctly). So now I have no sound, again.

    So I try it straight from mplayer specifying the hardware device and it works. Except only in mplayer. So now I'm going to spend another few hours dicking with either the dmix plugin or deciding to give Pulse a 5th chance.

    Fork something or start something from scratch. Something like MATE/GNOME2. And make it 'just work'.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 30, 2012 @01:41PM (#39847443)
    Hobbyists aren't on the clock!
  • by Microlith (54737) on Monday April 30, 2012 @01:41PM (#39847445)

    No, this why you have companies like Canonical. They give structure to a platform that has no uberdictator to decide where it goes.

    Trying to force an entire, wide community of people with diverse needs, opinions, and goals to act as if they were part of a single organization is nigh upon impossible, and trying to suggest that they should do as such is to completely ignore the reality of the situation. A real solution will only happen when that's taken into account.

  • by jellomizer (103300) on Monday April 30, 2012 @01:44PM (#39847495)

    Linux works great for Grandma,
    Linux works great for IT folks.

    Linux sucks in the middle. That is why Linux is Strong in the Server area and in the Mobile Phone area. However lacking in the desktop area.

    The key features for the Middle, that isn't really all that easy in Linux.
    Adding new hardware. Some stuff just works, other stuff is a real big pain. Mac and Windows (due to its popularity mostly) has the hardware vendors supply them with drivers, or when you get the hardware you have an easy to use install for the drivers. Linux you may be able to find the drivers, but you have many versions and you need to do a lot of research to see which one is going to do what you need it to do.

    For example my Wifes Dell Inspiron 9 mini (Netbook) with Ubuntu display 800x600 while the screen native resolution is 1024x600... I cannot use the normal GUI to fix that. The instruction on how to do so, are cryptic and sometimes don't work. while the 800x600 stretched bugs the heck out of me. My Wife doesn't care, so I wont do much to fix it. That is after I spent time to get sound working on it, after an upgrade.

    I am sorry but compared to Windows and OS X, Linux is a Free Desktop OS and it shows. Put it in a server great, put it in a phone just as good. The desktop is the troubled area.

    Part of the issue I think, is they are spending too much time copying what Microsoft does or what Apple does, and the Open Source democratic structure doesn't have a few good people to say it sucks or it is good.

  • by mcgrew (92797) * on Monday April 30, 2012 @01:49PM (#39847573) Homepage Journal

    How I am even supposed to begin to recommend Linux for the average user when there are 100 different distros, each with its own quirks and issues?

    Ignore the distros you're unfamiliar with and recommend ones you are familiar with that you think would match the person you're talking to.

    Although I really see no reason why anyone worries about why Linux hasn't taken off. That's easy -- Windows comes preinstalled on all but Apple machines, and if it ain't broke, why fix it?

    I can see why IT wouldn't, in many cases, want Linux. In the home, however, Linux is far superior to Windows. But Joe Blow has never even heard of Linux, or if he's heard anything at all about it it's a piece of crap hobbled together by a bunch of hippie nerds and you have to use a command line and you can't do half of what you can in Windows, plus you have to be a genius to use it and most hardware has driver issues. False, of course, but that's what Joe's heard, if he has heard of Linux at all.

    When I talk to normal people about Linux, they're incredulous. Don't have to enter a password when you turn it on? And it comes back on with all your programs and apps open just like they were when yoou shut it off? You can leave it running without reboots? Impossible! Everybody knows that when you patch a program you have to reboot the computer!

    Well, you do with Windows. These are only a few Windows annoyances that Linux lacks. Good luck even explaining what an OS is or what Windows does to Joe Blow.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 30, 2012 @01:55PM (#39847677)

    In my work environment, it comes down to two words - Microsoft Office. Period. We are a Fortune 100, a mix of Windows PCs and Mac laptops. Centralized management is nice, but the critical thing everyone needs is Microsoft Office. Pay no attention to the fact that MS Office on the Mac is not the same as MS Office on Windows. If Microsoft forked LibreOffice and called it MS Office for Linux, Linux on the desktop would suddenly become a reality.

  • by ebinrock (1877258) on Monday April 30, 2012 @02:06PM (#39847841)
    Exactly, you get what you pay for. And you're right, EMPLOYEES are the single biggest cost to any company. As for me, where the situation is home use and free DOES matter, I decided to switch back to Windows after my little short-lived courtship with Ubuntu Linux, for a number of reasons: * For every little file move or copying of files, I HAD to get root access and type in a command. There was no GUI way to do some things (as far as I know). And there's really no way to correct a typing mistake in command line. That got to really be annoying. * I have a multifunction printer (print, copy, scan, fax) and the ONLY Linux driver that worked with it was from TurboLinux - $40 for the driver and it was only good for print. Couldn't use the driver over my home LAN like I can with my mfr's Windows driver. * OpenOffice messed up the formatting of some of my more intricate Word files. * Couldn't stream videos on Netflix, as Netflix requires the Silverlight plugin. * Some web applications require Internet Explorer to work (I know, I HATE proprietary web applications and extensions as much as the next person, but one doesn't always have a choice). * I still have to sometimes use local (non-Web) software on my PC, and that software is WINDOWS based. And so far WINE sucks; it crashed on every Windows program I tried to run in the Linux environment. * Sure, I could set up a dual-boot with Windows, which I did. But very shortly I got tired of switching back and forth between OS's. I was tired of having a "schizophrenic" computer, and just decided the heck with it, I'm just going back to Windows. So there you go. And plus, so far Windows 7 is running very smoothly on my new machine I recently built, so why mess with success?
  • by 0123456 (636235) on Monday April 30, 2012 @02:11PM (#39847925)

    The fact of the matter is that Linux isn't designed with any sort of binary compatibility in mind, and consumers don't have the patience for trying to learn why compiling the latest Foo application produced some obscure error about C++ symbol availability... or worse.

    Hands up all those consumers who compile programs on Linux rather than using yum or apt-get?

    What most consumers want is to know that for the next several years, they'll be able to get new apps without having to upgrade their OS, and that those apps will be simple, drag-and-drop binary blobs that "just work". Anything less than that, and Linux won't go anywhere.

    Yes, because using apt-get install or a GUI front-end is just so hard compared to running some weird Windows installer.

  • It sucks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by grumbel (592662) <grumbel@gmx.de> on Monday April 30, 2012 @02:11PM (#39847927) Homepage

    Overall the Linux desktop experience is a shitty experience, it's really as easy as that. And no, I don't mean the lack of games or commercial software, I just mean problems within the Free Software world itself. The complete lack of quality control, inconsistencies, stuff not working properly and so on. It simply looks and feels like what it is: A product cobbled together by thousands of people with little or no agreement on any consistency. It doesn't help that the Free Software world likes to hit the reset button every five years to switch to a new, yet completely incompatible and still completly unfinished desktop expierence.

    Wanna improve things? Get together and define one distribution independed packaging format. And while at it, make it flexible so that it doesn't require root rights to install software, make it easy to share software with it, make it easy to get access to the source and modify it. Then start working on having apps cooperate with each other, give me flexible data import/export everywhere, so that I don't have to manually transfer my podcast subscriptions item by item when I want to switch players. Cleanup /home/ so that everything is in ~/.config/. Enhance the documentation system so that it's trivial to find out what files an application uses and where it stores your data (yeah, strace is great, it's not a replacement for documentation). And so on.

    At this point I don't expet Linux to ever succeed on the desktop. It was a mess 10 years ago and it's still a mess, with very little improvements in the mean time, instead a lot of useless reinvention of the wheel.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 30, 2012 @02:18PM (#39848019)

    "Barbara, not Barbie" is not here to argue in good faith.

    Why should she be held to a different standard than most Slashdotters? I've posted facts and been shouted down by random numbers as ignorant. Until there is a civil society of some kind on this site, you have no grounds to condemn a person's own observations.

  • by quixote9 (999874) on Monday April 30, 2012 @02:23PM (#39848059) Homepage
    I think it was 2007. Linux was taking off all over the place. Governments were talking about adopting open standards. Schools and municipalities were deploying Linux. You could see it really starting to take hold.

    Microsoft's no stupider than everybody else. They could see it, too. And I seem to remember they dropped the price on Windows to $3. (That was on whichever version was old, but still dominant at the time. XP?) Not in the US, but elsewhere, where the danger was highest. Then they also really, really, really pushed to prevent adoption of open standards and, if that wasn't possible, to water those standards down to something that interfered less with their business model.

    And, as far as I can see, they've successfully held back the tide that time.

    Which isn't to say that the problems with Linux people have identified upthread aren't right. They are. Linux does have problems with lack of advertising and sudden holes where important stuff ceases to work. That is very important and something we really need to get our act together about. But the real problems shouldn't blind us to the equally real problems that have nothing to do with Linux itself.
  • by Pausanias (681077) <(pausaniasx) (at) (gmail.com)> on Monday April 30, 2012 @02:26PM (#39848073)

    I think he said it best. Linux on the Desktop will never happen because Mac came along.

    Before OS X, many many people were dying for a Desktop OS that looked beautiful but still gave them their beloved UNIX-style command line and familiar tools (emacs, vi, gcc, etc.). They wanted a UNIX-style OS which had drivers that actually worked instead of requiring wastage of huge amount of time googling this and compiling that.

    OS X came along and fulfilled the wish of many. The only people left were those who wanted a UNIX-style OS that was libre; that was a vanishingly small number compared to the first group, whose desires were more than adequately fulfilled by OS X.

    http://slashdot.org/story/07/10/11/1527219/rob-malda-answers-your-questions [slashdot.org]

  • by tom17 (659054) on Monday April 30, 2012 @02:44PM (#39848275) Homepage

    Case in point: A colleagues old desktop machine. He recently installed Ubuntu 11.10. USB ports would not pick up any USB mass storage devices. Couple of people had found the problem but it had not been fixed.

    Still there in 12.04.

    It's little random bugs like this that keep cropping up that play a part in steering people away from Linux. I myself am an avid linux user, but I have been waiting for that 'perfect desktop' and it never came. I have even gone so far as to *not* wipe Win7 on my latest laptop...

  • by CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) on Monday April 30, 2012 @03:51PM (#39849303)
    Okay so you threw in the towel on linux in favor of...an outdated version of Windows that, given ~18 months, will no longer have any support or receive any updates. Well, whatever floats your boat. I've been using different distros of linux for 12 years. During more than half that time, linux has been my primary OS. In fact, I have a laptop that dual-boots Ubuntu and Windows Vista. Vista is an abortion so, all the more reason I enjoy linux. At work, I have Windows 7 and am forced to use MS Office 2007...I hate and can't get used to Ribbon so I prefer using LibreOffice. I've seen previews of Windows 8 and I think Metro sucks. Apple computers have nice hardware and a very polished UI but that doesn't excuse the outrageous cost...Also, I don't like Apple's walled garden approach to everything it sells...Also, to put it mildly, I'm not really into the whole culture of Apple fan-dom. So there you have it. i'm sticking with linux at home.
  • by SomePgmr (2021234) on Monday April 30, 2012 @04:13PM (#39849647) Homepage

    Agreed. Even in our small business (two small locations), I couldn't get away with anything other than Microsoft Office.

    People flip every time I roll out a newer office where a few button locations changed, or Microsoft removed some obscure feature. The employees are so accustomed to it (they really do know the suite inside and out) that they feel like you've tied their hands when anything changes. This is especially true with Outlook.

    Beyond that there's also Creative Suite, but not everyone gets that, so it's less of an issue.

  • Psycology (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phorm (591458) on Monday April 30, 2012 @06:13PM (#39851175) Journal

    I know somewhere that had similar issues.

    So one guy got smart. He started mentioning how old our version of office was etc. The techies followed with the same mutterings.
    After that circulated around, it was announced that we were going to bring in a newer version of Office (nobody said MS Office). By making it sound like an update/upgrade, rather than a newer version, acceptance was greater and everyone actually seemed to like it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 30, 2012 @08:14PM (#39852405)

    for all the people that claim to NEED Photoshop, i have only met one that had a licensed copy of it.. (I have met others that where Mac users)..

    Of all the people I know that NEED Photoshop, all of them could produce the same quality of work they were capable of in PS with Gimp after Gimpshop plugin was installed. An amateur relies on the tools; a professional understands how the tools work in the first place.

    Sadly almost all of them continued to pirate Photoshop.

  • by westyvw (653833) on Monday April 30, 2012 @10:57PM (#39853683)

    Sucks you are anonymous, you could learn something here.

    This is the mindset that needs to die. You dont get it. Most businesses arent in the business of making software. The GPL makes complete sense, you want to enhance a software package, and contribute back to the community, of which you know will also contribute back making everyone have better software so you can get on with YOUR BUSINESS. Think of it as a global software pool that just gets better.

    Dont think that can work? Here is a case study for you from real life: Business needs to get its information out to a website, the content is important, Apache, Postgres are simply tools. They pay 50,000 a year for support to a vendor. The vendor provides patches and fixes. At the end of the year, if they have support hours left over, they add "nice to haves", which enhances Apache and Postgres for everyone. There are businesses doing this today, right now, and they are more productive and have better support. Why? Because there is no lock in, they could choose a different support team next year if they weren't satisfied, and the enhancements and bugfixes are coming from everywhere on the planet.

    In my work, the number of features of an application I use regularly has increased exponentially, because different business interests are paying to enhance the suite, something we couldn't afford individually.

  • by zeugma-amp (139862) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @12:36AM (#39854177) Homepage

    I don't know much about OSX, but I know a clean install of Windows 7 takes a bit longer than a clean install of Ubuntu, mostly because of the extra rebooting.

    I'd say it takes a heck of a lot longer, if you factor in all the stuff you get with Linux that you don't get with MS-Windows. How long is it going to take you to install all that extra software that you get for free with Ubuntu, or just about any other Linux distribution? Did your version of MS-Windows even come with an http, ssh, and (anonymous) ftp server? Some people might not want these, but I do, and it just comes with Linux. How about word processor(s), spreadsheet program(s), html editors, multiple email clients, a password management program, multiple browsers, image editors, batch image processors, multiple compilers, and an actual shell that allows you to do real work in if you're so inclined? All this stuff and much more is installable all at once with Fedora, Ubuntu, Mint, or whatever it is that you like to use, yet for the most part, they are separate installs in the MS-Windows environment, which in addition to being a serious pain in the ass, is very time consuming.

    If your time is worth nothing, run MS-windows, and deal with all the separate programs, whose updates are all also tracked, downloaded and managed separately as well. Not to mention the time you'll waste dealing with various kinds of malware detection software.

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten

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