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Why Linux Doesn't Spread - the Curse of Being Free 1243

Vlad Dolezal tips us to a philosophical take on why Linux hasn't grown to challenge Windows as the most popular operating system. According to the author, the reason is simple; Linux is free, and humans tend not to equate free things with being valuable. "Here's what Compy McNewb sees. He can get both OS's for free. But one of them is worth over three hundred dollars, while the other one is worth nothing. 'That's not true!' I hear you scream. 'Linux is worth a lot! It's just being offered for free!' I know it's not true that Linux is worth less than Windows. It's far more valuable to the end user in terms of getting things done. But that's not what Average Joe Computer Newbie sees. He sees a free product versus a three-hundred-dollar product he can get free. It's all about the perception!"
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Why Linux Doesn't Spread - the Curse of Being Free

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  • by zonky ( 1153039 ) on Sunday February 17, 2008 @11:19PM (#22458402)
    because it is relatively difficult to buy as a pre-installed system.
  • by neapolitan ( 1100101 ) * on Sunday February 17, 2008 @11:20PM (#22458408)
    Nothing new, and basic psychology. This has been proposed before, even on Slashdot many times in many posts.

    It is also the explanation behind fraternity rites / hazing and various initiation procedures to clubs. No pain == no value in many people's eyes.

    You could almost look at defense of Microsoft as a form of the Stockholm syndrome. [wikipedia.org]
  • Big deal. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Sunday February 17, 2008 @11:20PM (#22458410)
    This is just another story about perceived value vs. actual value ... whoop-de-do. It's funny too, because the music industry would take the exact opposite position: people see "free" as being more "valuable".

    Gagh. The human psyche is fundamentally twisted.
  • by Gothmolly ( 148874 ) on Sunday February 17, 2008 @11:20PM (#22458412)
    A computer nowadays is an appliance, that plays games, downloads porn, and gets you onto Myspace. Whether its a Mac or PC is based on what other s/w you can steal from your friends, or whether you're rich and/or trendy. You have to buy a computer, and it "comes with" the OS - why would you even waste your time farking around with something else?

  • I call BS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrbcs ( 737902 ) * on Sunday February 17, 2008 @11:21PM (#22458420)

    But that's not what Average Joe Computer Newbie sees. He sees a free product versus a three-hundred-dollar product he can get free. It's all about the perception!"
    It's not perception. Windows is already "free". It either comes with your computer or you borrow a disc from a friend and install it. How many of Microsoft sales depend on users buying a copy in the store?

    Who wants to use Linux when there always seems to be one damn thing that doesn't work? How many of the cheap Walmart cd's will run on a linux box? The killer still seems to be accounting programs. When Quicken, Quick Books and Simply Accounting work, then there will be real in-roads to business.

    Home users may never sign on. Shit far too many home users already shouldn't have a computer. You want Linux to work and be accepted by the masses? Make it look and work like windows. Any learning curve is too large. We've had the same basic windows functions and menus (until Vista) since 95. How the hell are we going to train legions of AOL users to use Ubuntu? Good luck with that.

    I hate Microsoft as a company. Their business practices have been highly suspect, but their software (XP Pro anyway) does work and lets me do stuff without having to read man pages, or tweak files or find special drivers or find a replacement program, or run in a sandbox. After 8 years, countless distros, way too much time and actually failed hardware (how does ubuntu kill a previously working drive), I personally have jumped off the linux soapbox for the last time. Linux is awesome on servers but I don't think it will ever even challange even Apple for desktop market share.


  • by QCompson ( 675963 ) on Sunday February 17, 2008 @11:22PM (#22458428)
    One can come up with all sorts of complicated theories on why linux hasn't gained significant ground on windows, but it's very simple. Applications, applications, applications. If linux was running word, photoshop, quickbooks, and a host of other business software (not to mention games), we wouldn't be reading these endless pontifications about why linux hasn't been overtaken windows on the desktop.
  • I don't buy it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by _merlin ( 160982 ) on Sunday February 17, 2008 @11:23PM (#22458436) Homepage Journal
    I don't think the n00b sees it this way at all. To them, the OS/window manager is part of the computer. That's what they see when they turn it on, and that's all that matters. As they don't see Windows as separate from the computer, they won't see it as extra value. Linux may be ready for the masses at last, but until it's marketed as such in the stores they visit, they'll never know. I was at Harvey Norman the other day buying a new Wacom tablet. There was not one Linux PC in the building. Same goes for just about any other computer store. If your lucky, there might be one or two in a corner. Linux is a build-to-order option from Dell, but Joe n00b won't choose that - he'll just take what's recommended. Right now, you have to actively seek out Linux if you want it; that's perfect for techs, but no use for n00bs.
  • by stevestrike ( 695817 ) on Sunday February 17, 2008 @11:23PM (#22458442)
    I've tried to setup several small offices with OpenOffice. Within a week or two, they are screaming for their Excel and Word. It's not that they hate free, they hate change! If it doesn't look and behave exactly like they are used to, they won't invest the time to learn a new product.
  • OP is wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jjohnson ( 62583 ) on Sunday February 17, 2008 @11:24PM (#22458446) Homepage
    It's not because Linux is free, it's because businesses don't put Linux on their desktops.

    For a really large number of people, their main experience with computers is at work--that's what they learn on, that's what they come to understand. Deviation from what they know is a barrier to entry.

    Couple that with virtually no vendors selling computers with Linux pre-installed, and you have a huge barrier to entry. The vast majority of users use what's put in front of them, either by their employer or Dell or Walmart, and see little to no incentive to switch.
  • Duh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WK2 ( 1072560 ) on Sunday February 17, 2008 @11:24PM (#22458450) Homepage
    Thanks for the profound knowledge, Einstein.

    I noticed this a long time ago, when I first started my business. According to economics, there is more demand if you lower your price. But in reality, this is not always the case. In fact, I would go so far as to say that almost as often as it does, price does not affect demand at all.

    I've been saying for a long time that someone should package a Linux distro in a box, and sell it for $100. People will buy it. Anybody could do it, developer or not. It is perfectly legal, as long as you follow the license for all of the programs, which can usually be done by including a source CD along with the package. I haven't done it myself because I'm not familiar with retail setup, and would probably just end up spending my money on a business venture that I can't complete.

    Red Hat does something similar. They sell their package for $15. They should increase the price.
  • by ushering05401 ( 1086795 ) on Sunday February 17, 2008 @11:24PM (#22458452) Journal
    Yeah, that has to be reason #1. Outside my professional acquaintances I know very few people who would ever attempt re-installing Windows without a pro technician, much less the great unknown Linux.
  • Apples & Oranges (Score:4, Insightful)

    by EEPROMS ( 889169 ) on Sunday February 17, 2008 @11:28PM (#22458470)
    The author is off base, Linux isnt free when presented with the same features as Windows ie codecs. Thats why we have $$$ distributions that sort all that out for the consumer. What is an issue are people downloading free versions of Linux then being stupidly surprised that the $$$ bits are missing.
  • Re:I call BS (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ushering05401 ( 1086795 ) on Sunday February 17, 2008 @11:30PM (#22458492) Journal
    "When Quicken, Quick Books and Simply Accounting work, then there will be real in-roads to business."

    I would suggest the Sage products are more vital to businesses.

    http://www.sage.co.uk/productsandservices/home.aspx?tid=131865&stid=131870&pid=132037 [sage.co.uk].

    These guys are deep in every core industry and are global. A product like SageTimberline is used beginning to end in the commercial construction industry including by the owners and property managers who commissioned the construction.

    It is kinda insane how powerful Sage is getting through acquisitions, they could open doors for Linux overnight.
  • by ShieldW0lf ( 601553 ) on Sunday February 17, 2008 @11:30PM (#22458494) Journal
    My system is just so much easier to use in a general sense using free software. My computer used to feel like a wrestling ring with two dozen different companies and a few organized criminals duking it out while I tried to keep things from falling apart, with anti-spyware and anti-virus programs acting like my assistant referrees. That feeling is just gone. I don't think I could go back to the way things were before and be happy working that way now.

    I'm sure I'll need to work with MS tech to make my living in the future, and I'm pragmatic about it, but it sure is nice to be free of their crap.
  • by Lemmy Caution ( 8378 ) on Sunday February 17, 2008 @11:32PM (#22458506) Homepage
    Moreover, if you have 99% compatibility, enough users will hit that 1% often enough in meaningful enough situations that they will shrug and go back.
  • Windows is Free (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mazin07 ( 999269 ) on Sunday February 17, 2008 @11:40PM (#22458564) Homepage
    How many people pay for Windows? These scenarios are common:

    "When I need Windows, I just grab my friend's Windows disc with a volume license."
    "When I need Windows, I just buy it for $5 with my University ID."
    "When I need Windows, I just borrow my friend's bootleg copy that he got in Asia."
    "When I need Windows, I get the pre-cracked version from The Pirate Bay."

    How many people really know the real cost of a full license of the various versions of Windows Vista?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 17, 2008 @11:41PM (#22458570)
    Or, it's not spreading because it's just not a very good general-purpose desktop system.
  • Re:I don't buy it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NorbrookC ( 674063 ) on Sunday February 17, 2008 @11:42PM (#22458584) Journal

    Exactly. Most computers these days are in the hands of people who do not understand that the hardware and the OS are separate items. Which is why the average computer user doesn't see the cost of Windows - it's built into their purchase price. They might choose Linux over Windows if they were forced to buy the OS separately from the hardware.

    That said, there are moves into the retail market by Linux computers. They have the advantage of being significantly cheaper than the equivalent Windows versions. I've found that if you give most people the choice between computers, they'll take the cheap one every time. If it can browse the web, check their e-mail, play their music, and so on, they're happy.

  • I disagree (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jollyreaper ( 513215 ) on Sunday February 17, 2008 @11:43PM (#22458596)
    This was news years ago but this view is slowly changing.

    1) Open Source is gaining more and more penetration in the workplace. It starts out small with free stuff like wiki's, gimp, open office, etc. Eventually the ethos will spread to the OS as well. OSS isn't just abstract theory anymore, there are real apps that non-geeks can appreciate.
    2) There's more and more frustration with Microsoft.

    I'm hearing people in userland start to talk about going open source. Case in point, a parent I know found out the cheap computer they got did not come with Office. They need it for school. Well, you can fork over $125 for Office or $0 for Open Office. Assuming they just need basic word processing, free is fine. Said parent was highly receptive to the idea. Five years ago, I can just about guarantee the answer would have been "Open what? No, no, I want the Microsoft brand, what everybody's using."

    More than "free must = crap," I think the dominant corporate meme is still "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM." If Microsoft drops a steamer in your lap, you just shrug and look at the boss like "Hey, what can I do, the market leader is dropping steamers on everyone." You go with a product no one has ever heard of and it fails, the boss looks at you like "We're the only outfit in the industry with a steamer in our laps and gee, we're also the only one using that Foosoft app. Got any excuses, flitboy?"
  • by FoolsGold ( 1139759 ) on Sunday February 17, 2008 @11:44PM (#22458604)
    ...for what it's worth, as to the reasons Linux isn't spreading as quickly as was hoped:

    (1) Crap-all marketing. Windows has posters, flyers, tv spots, and general awareness by most computers users. Apple has poster, tv spots, attractive retail stores, and in most cases a general awareness by most computer users. What does Linux have? At best, word of mouth.

    (2) Lack of commercial apps. Don't give me crap about being able to use GIMP for free - armature and profession photographers want professional-level tools like Photoshop. They WILL pirate the damn thing if necessary.

    (3) Path of least resistance. Moving from one operating system to another is generally an exercise in trading one set of hassles for another. It's not often that it's a painless experience. Moving to a Mac though is much more realistic for someone fed-up with Windows than moving to Linux however, due to points (1) and (2).

    Finally, the biggest reason of all - why change? Windows just isn't that bad if you know how to use a computer. Most people have more important things to do in life than worry about operating systems, or at least they do once they get to a certain age when priorities become clearer.
  • Wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kmac06 ( 608921 ) on Sunday February 17, 2008 @11:45PM (#22458608)

    It's far more valuable to the end user in terms of getting things done.
    That's wrong. For the vast majority of users, it doesn't matter much what OS they use. Inasmuch as it does matter for those users, "getting things done" is tipped in Windows favor just because of compatibility issues such as Word vs OpenOffice. Many users (such as myself) use specialized software that only works under Windows, or simply play games. I know you can do some virtual environment or dual boot, but neither of those is better "in terms of getting things done". There is of course a small base of users than can get more done with Linux, but they are a small minority.

    I'm not bashing Linux or open source software in general, but the simple fact is that Windows is Just Fine for most people. Add to that fact that people don't see the hidden cost of Windows, and you have the current situations.
  • by rohan972 ( 880586 ) on Sunday February 17, 2008 @11:53PM (#22458666)
    ... and then they'd ask me how much it was... and when I told them it was free, they'd be disappointed!

    http://www.ubuntu.com/support/paid [ubuntu.com]
    Then tell them it's $250 with a years support package, but because you're a licenced distributor, you can install it for nothing, just for them. Then it has percieved value, it's a good deal and they're getting it because they know an insider! While people don't want to get something of no value, they love getting something of value for nothing and they love "knowing the right person". Either that or tell them the price of a Dell with Ubuntu preinstalled [dell.com], which is not nothing and definitely has credibility as "value".
  • Inertia (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JesterXXV ( 680142 ) <jtradke.gmail@com> on Sunday February 17, 2008 @11:57PM (#22458712)
    It's got NOTHING to do with Linux being free and EVERYTHING to do with inertia. Linux is used by jillions of companies every day for all kinds of shit BESIDES desktop apps, so it's not like there's widespread distrust of Linux, and certainly not due to its price tag. The reason it hasn't reached that tipping point is circular: nobody is using Linux on the desktop because nobody is using Linux on the desktop.

    Windows is well-known and it's Good Enough for the masses, so they have no reason to go through the unknowns of switching. That the "something else" is Linux has nothing to do with it.
  • by plierhead ( 570797 ) on Sunday February 17, 2008 @11:57PM (#22458726) Journal

    Most people don't like free for many reasons. People need to know how you're making a buck before they want to deal with you. After all, "there's no such thing as a free lunch".

    If you come around and offer to clean my windows for free, I naturally assume its some kind of scam. Perhaps my windows are coated with a rare gold dust which you intend to scrape off and re-sell? Who knows?

    If you offer - nay, push on me - a free piece of computer system, I have to wonder why. Especially if you have the appearance and demeanour of some kind of zealot, with an almost religious fervor in trying to push me to use this software.

    At least with MS I know they have a naked interest in gouging me for money via unnecessary upgrades and vendor lock-in. I can almost put a number on it - something in the mid-100s perhaps over the next few years. Something I guess I can grudgingly live with.

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @12:03AM (#22458772) Homepage
    1. It doesn't run "Word", "Outlook", "Photoshop" and all that people are used to
    2. The flaws, difficulty and learning curve are very different from the flaws, difficulty and learning curves the people are already accustomed to under Windows. (It's important to note that Windows isn't perceived to be 'better' than Linux or even MacOS, it's that the users are accustomed to the problems with Windows and are reluctant to learn to deal with a new set of problems associated with alternatives.)

    Most Windows users will not give you any argument about the expectedly poor performance, stability, reliability or security of MS Windows. If you told them it was unsafe, you wouldn't be telling them they don't already know. The reality of the user psychology that most people seem to be missing is that people are accustomed to Windows and its shortcomings.

    The reality is that there's a LOT of psychology to overcome when it comes to getting users to try alternatives... even alternatives such as MacOSX. And getting beyond the psychology still isn't enough -- there has to be a comprehensive set of answers to handle the questions surrounding migrating their data to a new OS and running needed applications or their acceptable substitutes. And most significantly, the answers to those issues are not one-size-fits-all! The comprehensive solutions need to be tuned to the user being converted.

    I don't have a clue how to get beyond the psychological barriers to change. But taking a lesson from Microsoft when they were busy converting users from Word Perfect to MS Word, they were ALL ABOUT providing massive guidance and assistance for Word Perfect users. Microsoft's efforts won users over. It would seem to me that if there were sufficiently effective documents and "wizards" to guide Windows users in using Linux, it might prove to be helpful... do a degree. (If I were to estimate how effective such an effort might be, I'd guess about 5% effective. It's not a big estimation, but it's not 0.)
  • ^^ Good Excuses. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rampant mac ( 561036 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @12:03AM (#22458776)
    "According to the author, the reason is simple; Linux is free, and humans tend not to equate free things with being valuable." Linux fails because it's _doesn't_ do anything significant. Apple = iTunes, iPod, iPhone, Digital Monopoly Windows = Gaming, Office, Corporate Environment, Desktop Monopoly Where does Linux fit in among the current scheme of things? It does nothing well of the previously mentioned market space, so what does it have going for it? Those 8 things are probably 95% of what consumers do with computers so where and how will Linux compete?
  • by jjohnson ( 62583 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @12:09AM (#22458836) Homepage
    It's not a bad idea, but Quickbooks and TurboTax aren't enough. They'd have to port the top ten apps, starting with Excel, and it would have to have a way to enable continued use of existing Excel worksheets with as little frission as possible to users--ideally some situation where the IT department dumps all spreadsheets into a folder and the new system serves them a converted version that seems like the same thing they've known all along.

    There's an installed base of software that has to be overcome. But more importantly, there's an installed base of data that's ad hoc and poorly organized. The latter is the bigger barrier to overcome, I think.
  • by mikesd81 ( 518581 ) <mikesd1@noSpaM.verizon.net> on Monday February 18, 2008 @12:16AM (#22458898) Homepage
    And, here lies the exact reason why Linux doesn't spread. People who have even slight knowledge with computers still see it as a hobby. Distros like Ubuntu have come a long way to make things work out of box, but still...they don't. And I know that Microsoft has it's problems too, but there are drivers out there that you can just install...in a more easy way than having to add this line to a file and run that command and so on. I love Linux, I have a Fedora box running as well as a MS box and they coexist together on the same network......but I can burn a cd easier through Windows Media Out of Box than having to install non-free-extra packages for Amarok and K3b. This hinders Linux. Linux will probably never become a desktop OS as we know of OS desktops now. Maybe in the future when we're all running embedded devices like Star Trek and Linux will be the OS of choice for sheer horse power. But until the community gets together, petitions hardware manufactures to make easy to install drivers for their devices (and come one people, compromise isn't a bad word. If their binary drivers and they work.....then so what?) and get businesses to port their software over to Linux, then we're stuck in complacency. Linux makes great strides, but until businesses know that there is a HUGE demand or at least more than slight demand for their software on Linux, they won't spend their money on resources to make it happen.
  • Re:Here's why.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by xarius76 ( 826419 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @12:20AM (#22458922)

    • Would you like to register/buy Roxio CD burner?
    • Would you like to register/buy your Windows Media Player?
    • Would you like to register/buy (whatever DVD player comes with Windows)
    • Would you like to sign up for AOL?
    • Register your MSN Messenger now!

    • Windows burns CD's natively (for data). Windows Media player burns music, no registration required!
    • Show me a retail windows PC that doesn't come with DVD support already installed and working.
    • Since when do you have to register or buy windows media player seperately?
    • I'll give you the AOL bit, they throw a lot of money at manufacturers to include their wares.
    • Can't recall messenger ever asking you to register either.

    I use Linux day in and day out at work, along side both windows xp and vista. The OP you replied to has it exactly right, it's just not easy enough for the average joe to figure that stuff out on their own. Most people would gladly click the "don't bug me again" button on various dialogs for the first 30 minutes while they use their new computer than spend countless hours trying to figure out how to enable various basic functions which they would have mistakenly assumed function properly right of the box. I know this because those average joes are my customers.
  • by Money for Nothin' ( 754763 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @12:20AM (#22458924)
    Business users don't generally use Linux on the desktop because of:

    1) IT inertia - i.e., application infrastructure which would require replacement (a.k.a. lock-in)
    2) Corporate desire not to spend extra money supporting another OS
    3) Training costs

    Joe Home User sees #1 and #3 as well. e.g. for #1, they want to play Cabela's Big Game Hunter, not hack on Gnumeric. And Big Game Hunter is a Windows app, not a Linux app. For #3 - and this is the killer - Linux is still too hard to use. Venture outside the well-defined, tolerably easy-to-use user needs space of web browsing and... and that's about it... and you're looking at having to deal with a command-prompt. God forbid you should have to install something like a printer, which is usually dirt-simple on Windows, but a PITA on Linux (to wit: I have used Linux and FreeBSD since 2000. I still cannot get my Brother HL-2040 to print anything besides text and Word docs via CUPS + SMB on my FreeBSD box. PDFs are a no-go. But it works fine when connected to my OSX laptop - which also runs CUPS, so I know it *can* be done.)

    Users have a hard time dealing with command-prompts -- that's partly why GUIs were invented.

    Windows offers a path-of-least-resistance/lower barrier-to-entry. It does so by having a larger established application base, far-greater mindshare (which in turns feeds the app base), and by providing a generally easier-to-use interface -- all of which drive its own growth, or at least self-perpetuation.

    Meanwhile, although Linux is free-to-possess, it is certainly *not* free to learn, and operating it requires more time spent "tweaking" than is usually the case on Windows. As the old saying goes, "Linux is only free if your time is worth nothing." Hence why some of us have switched to OSX (my time is pretty expensive)...

    Windows' continuing desktop dominance is ultimately a feedback loop in action. Linux is great for many things, and for a power user who does no more than basic Office-type work (Word docs, spreadsheets, etc.), and who doesn't mind multiple audio streams failing to mix together correctly -- or require different audio frameworks to do it, depending on the app -- it's usable... But as a desktop for Joe User, Linux isn't there yet, and probably never will be (consider the expansion into synchronization with iPods, cellphones (and the PIM stuff that goes along with smartphones), and so forth. Even Apple has a lot of catch-up to do here; Microsoft is using its market dominance to connect all these things in a tolerable -- but far from perfect -- manner.)
  • by Draek ( 916851 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @12:30AM (#22458992)
    Seriously, five years ago only the companies's local geeks had heard of Linux, nowadays only the young-and-stupid MSCEs *haven't*. And the amount of Linux users I've met during non computer-related activities has been surprising, too, and it has only tended to increase during the last couple of years.

    Sure, it hasn't been as fast as Firefox, but I'd say it's not so much due to Linux's "free" status, as much as due to Microsoft's tight grip on it's OS monopoly. HTML is a standard, the Win32 API... not so much.

    Not that I particularly care, though, Linux works for me perfectly without needing a 50%+ marketshare, but it *is* spreading, slowly perhaps but that should change once it gains a good foothold in the business market.
  • by moss1956 ( 246946 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @12:36AM (#22459032)
    The real problem is that it is a hassle to get any operating system up and running on a machine. Microsoft solved this problem by working with manufacturers
    to make sure the windows runs on their product. Apple solved this problem by only allowing their operating system to be used on machines that they sell.
    Until recently there had been no solution of this sort for Linux, so people who ran linux had to be brave enough souls to fuss with the machine
    so that it acts right after the operating system has been installed. Part of the reason that linux is starting to be used more on the desktop is
    because manufacturers are selling the machines with linux preinstalled. I am not so sure its about perceived value, its more likely about convenience.
  • by smittyoneeach ( 243267 ) * on Monday February 18, 2008 @12:40AM (#22459052) Homepage Journal

    By the way, I almost laughed at the "sheer intellectual curiosity" line. The lack of "sheer intellectual curiosity" is what drives the entire advertising industry: unwillingness to do research before buying a product.
    This may be the crux of the discussion: are you for or against Idiocracy?
  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan ( 730745 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @12:41AM (#22459062)
    Its the apps... Thats it.

    It starts with the applications. Its things like iTunes. It's things like Office, Games, etc. On the more professional level, there are a lot of apps that are still just windows and those that do have linux versions lack the other complimenting applications that are only still on windows... which prevents people from using the linux versions.

    There are other factors such as ease of use. Linux is still a bit tricky in some areas. Its a lot easier to install now a days but it is still not as smooth and straight forward as windows.

    Hardware. Linux supports a lot of hardware... but not all.

    The main thing is applications and not because its free. Just because it's free, doesnt mean i'll take it. A free Ferrari without its Ferrari engine in it, is worthless to me.

  • by DigitAl56K ( 805623 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @12:44AM (#22459076)
    I'm not so sure. By now there ought to be a whole generation of tech-savvy people in their 20s-30s who grew up "doing the things with computers" that their parents just couldn't fathom. That group of people ought to be a big market, and I fall into the category. I've also installed a few different distros of Linux over the years, played with them for a bit, and then went back to using Windows.

    I know that many of the following points will be disputed, but here are some of the reasons I personally have stuck with Windows:

    * It's what I'm used to.
    * I have a lot invested in Windows software that isn't available natively on Linux. (Yes, some of it could run under Wine)
    * Graphics drivers. I installed Fedora about a year ago and installing their graphics drivers felt like I was hacking my own computer. Maybe that's part of the fun of Linux (heck, of course it is!), but for a wide base of consumers it's also part of the fear.
    * Installing software. There's so many distro's of linux and seemingly packages built for individual flavors, installing new software "feels" risky, and running into package conflicts is a bit nasty. Do I trust the people who seem to build and redistribute packages on random websites? I don't know. There's a bit of a difference between commercial vendors and some guy with a popular FTP repository. I also downloaded and compiled some apps myself because I couldn't find packages for certain things for the version of Fedora I was using. Are regular consumers expected to do this?
    * Accessing my Windows files was a bit of a PITA. I had to install an NTFS driver manually, which meant editing some conf files to auto-mount partitions. Again, that ought to have been automatic to make switching OS's easier. Maybe it's included in more recent distros?
    * Back to the nVidia graphics drivers: I quickly discovered that something like gEdit was very simple to use, much like Notepad. Then I tried editing some conf files from the shell. With vi. Enough said.
    * I had a nice soundcard (Creative Audigy 2), and when I installed Linux some of it's advanced features were not working (e.g. CMSS), and the mixer application showed dozens of sliders to set the volume, some of which I couldn't even identify. Then there is the whole issue of using two separate sound architectures.
    * Which desktop environment do I want to use? I have no clue. Am I supposed to get familiar with one for a while, then try the other, then finally decide?

    I think the problem is this: Linux can be made to vastly lessen the learning curve for new users, and at it's heart it's a very powerful and flexible OS. You can tweak it to work any way you want it to work. But that's part of the problem - eventually (and usually for me, not too long after installing it) you run into situations where to make your Linux system do what you want/need it to do you have to delve a little into the "customization" piece. Sometimes that means editing some conf files. Sometimes that means running commands that you found on some website that look like they might do what you want, according to the comments posted by others. It's a different experience to Windows, where most people will never have much cause to turn to the command prompt, for example - or at least it will be to fix a problem after it occurs, not to make something work in the first place. Of course, you get out of the OS what you put in, but there are still far too many people in the world who wouldn't even try editing their registry on Windows with a graphical utility.

    Why did I give up on Fedora (for now)? Because I have a full time job and as much as I would love to spend time learning Linux, I just don't have the time to. I have an unreasonable expectation that I should just be able to use a new OS without much effort. But it's the same unreasonable expectation that consumers have in general. It's also one that Linux can fulfill so long as newer distros keep doing more and more out-of-the-box, and at some point having to run a few commands in the shel
  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan ( 730745 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @12:45AM (#22459088)
    You should run Vista. I'm not running any AV etc. Yes windows defender is running but... in general thanks to UAC... I really have no problems with web spam popup/install hijack stuff like XP did.

    Two vista systems here running clean.

    Vista's not flawless... but it is an improvement in some ways.

  • Philosophical? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by woodrad ( 1091201 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @12:48AM (#22459112)
    TFS says that TFA is a philosophical take, but TFA seems psychological and economical to me. However, TFA doesn't seem to contain much empirical data. If my understanding of economics and the article is correct, the author implies that operating systems are an exception to the theory of demand similar to Veblen or snob goods (which are theoretical anomalies because of the snob and bandwagon effects.) It seems even less likely that this is a Giffen good, as there are plenty of substitutes and Windows is likely a superior good to most people. If the author provided empirical data on elasticity and constructed a proof from said data, perhaps the author would have something more that mattered. Heck, it might even be newsworthy. The author might have a point in suggesting that the price of Windows contains information on its quality. For example, when one is unfamiliar with a type of good it seems safe to default to the name brand (or another kind of normal good.) On the other hand, since Linux is provided in many Live CD flavours a customer may sample a legal, free substitute at any time-- it even comes with a lower cost, that of maintaining a good that is pirated when software manufactures come out with new anti-piracy measures. It seems that if a consumer is rational only insofar as he is interested in his own self-interest he would see the added utility of moving to a substitute like Linux. Again, with no data on elasticity the post is little more than conjecture. It seems like this post contradicts utility theory as I understand it. Furthermore, the only "proof" to support any of his claims is purely anecdotal. Tom Sawyer? Some record executive? Please. This isn't news. It's for idiots. It doesn't matter. The tags !news and blogvertisement come to mind. I'm sure there will be a race to get the coveted "you must be new here" first reply. Good luck to you all.
  • by Average ( 648 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @12:50AM (#22459132)
    This is one of modern Linux's greatest assets. When I re-install a box for Windows I have to:

    Find the right OEM disc.
    Step through the install.
    Deal with activation headaches.
    Uninstall a dozen OEM programs I don't want.
    Run through several reboot cycles of upgrades.
    Download drivers, antivirus, utilities from a dozen sites.
    Download the free (beer and speech) apps I need and use from more than a dozen sites. Go back and get Windows add-ons I needed for things like Paint.NET.
    Round up 7 or 8 CDs worth of software. Many of them needing codes and activation (or cracks). Install these one by one.

    A full day shot.

    Needless to say, Ubuntu Gutsy is much faster to get going. I've used Unixes for 13 years now. But, I use synaptic because I don't want to have to care any more. If I worked with 200 Windows machines, I'd create a images and force matching computers. But, I (like many small business types) am dealing with only 15 or 20 computers, every single one of which is unique.
  • by Moonpie Madness ( 764217 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @12:54AM (#22459172)
    But this is not the normal physical world we're talking about.

    When I'm looking for practically ANY utility on the internet. A file converter, an .mpd player, a game emulator, a audio mixer... I always know I'm getting the best quality and least scammy thing if I find the most popular open source version.

    I never google for such programs anymore without including an open source term of some kind.

    Those who haven't figured this out yet, haven't figured the internet out yet.

    MS is out to get more than the windows profit from you. Way more. Most of it most folks have no idea about. With Linux, they are mainly out to build market share, and it's easy to see fairly quickly.

    You say we should choose the one that wears his motives on his sleeves, and I say that's the best argument to stay away from MS ever.

    You're totally right about human nature and how the world is perceived, but man I wish people realized how the opposite is true.
  • by ynososiduts ( 1064782 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @12:55AM (#22459174)
    Linux has more modern hardware support out of the box than Windows does. No need to install network, display, or sound drivers when you install Ubuntu. Windows is a different story though, but normal users don't install their own OS and they never see this.
  • by pherthyl ( 445706 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @01:01AM (#22459220)
    The thing is though, it's not even the viruses for me. I have been running XP and previous versions of Windows for years and years, and I haven't had a virus since Blaster. Most of the time I don't even bother running an antivirus program or a firewall and my system is still clean. If you have a little bit of common sense your chance of being infected is very low.

    But I still get the same feeling that my computer is just a playground for different companies to run their buggy software on. Every little piece of hardware comes with a stupid tray icon to manage something useless. Every program wants to nag me about something, or install their own updater service and then bitch at me about letting it install some update or other. The start menu is full of entries corresponding to names of companies that I couldn't give a flying fig about. Windows update will randomly decide that it will restart the system that I've left running overnight to finish a compile. The whole system is just very inefficient and frustrating.

    That kind of thing just doesn't happen on Linux. Everything is integrated into one updating service. Everything shares the same libraries as much as possible. "Start" menu entries are organized by function, not by who wrote the program. I realize no non-geek would give a crap about any of this, but I really don't like it when software does its own thing and presumes to know better.
  • by tsa ( 15680 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @01:03AM (#22459236) Homepage
    Joe user says: "Every time I want to play an mp3 on my Ubuntu a weird popup comes up telling me about plugins?! And my wireless network card doesn't work. Give me my Windows back!"
  • by bootedcat ( 783267 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @01:12AM (#22459320) Journal
    Two things: out-of-the-box usability and ecology building.

    Out-of-the-box usability means a new user can find his basic needs in a Linux distro without having to google for command-line instructions for installing or configuring something. Modern Linux distros generally have evolved to this requirement in the West, but in the East, few KDE-based distros automatically set up an East Asian language input functionality. This is lethal to Linux's survivability in East Asia. Fedora 8 is so far the only distro that both is available with a KDE Live CD and automatically installs Chinese input for me when I change the system langauge to Chinese.

    Ecology is another vital aspect. Like a "living language" is not only about a specification of a vocabulary and a grammar, but also a large enough user base and information base (information available in that language), a "living operating system" is not only about an installation CD itself; it has to build up a social ecology around it: (1) tutorials available in bookstores and pre-installed computers available in computer stores; (2) a large applications market for this OS; (3) a large user base. A Windows user does not migrate to Linux first and then wait for his needed applications to become available for Linux. Things has to happen in the other way around -- first let there be free and open source and cross platform Rapid Application Development (RAD) tools that can let an application developer write a single version of source code and compile for multiple target platforms (Windows, Linux, MacOS, etc.). I'm glad to see such things have already taken shape: Lazarus for Pascal-based RAD and Code::Blocks for C/C++ based RAD. Bill Gates has three weapons that win him the desktop software world: Windows, Office, Visual Studio. While Office is no longer a user-locking factor since there is things like OpenOffice.org, RAD tools as easy as Visual Basic are still rare for Linux, and more importantly, for cross-platform desktop app development. The open source world has to conquer the user's desktop by first introducing applications that are available for both platforms, such as Firefox, The GIMP, Pidgin, OpenOffice, BitTorrent, FlightGear, StarDict, to name a few. When the Windows user gets addicted to the Windows versions of these cant-live-without apps, and when hopefully all his critical apps are available in a cross-platform fashion, that's the moment that he can truly convert to a Linux distro.

    The bottom line: invest in and support cross-platform RAD tools like Lazarus and Code::Blocks (and backbones like wxWidgets, but Java is too slow-ass in my opinion)!!
  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan ( 730745 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @01:14AM (#22459324)
    You make a hell of a point and i agree with you completely on what you're saying. I too can not stand that ATI has to brand my right click menu with their nonsense, and the endless tray icons and how each company seems to have its own download/updater application. I agree completely with that. Its a waste of resources, and a bothersome mess.

    I agree with you on that. No way i could possibly disagree with you. BUT... Google wants their name on all desktops. Microsoft wants everyone using live... Yahoo wants everyone using Yahoo... Even the linux folks too. It's a mentality these companies have where they want to brand our desktops.

    Hell look what aol did for years. They still do it, with their own anti spyware programs and stuff like that. It's just disgusting and insulting.

    Thus is the nature of these big companies though. They want to brand us. I dont think there is much we can do about it as long as we use applications and services from these big companies. I have google talk on my desktop... i use windows vista's search though. I dont use google's desktop.

    I install the ati driver, without the ati control panel so i dont get that lame ATI right click menu...

    Logitech, Adobe etc.. all have their own updating services running. I could turn them off though.

    It's not that bad if you can control it, but yeah i agree often these companies over step the line of decency and i'm all for giving them the finger.

  • by tsa ( 15680 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @01:14AM (#22459330) Homepage
    You can't play games on it.
  • by thejynxed ( 831517 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @01:15AM (#22459336) Homepage
    And you sir, are full of it...

    On two machines I had to:

    Install ATI drivers.
    Install Linksys drivers.
    Install 3Com drivers.
    Install Brother printer drivers.
    Install Intel Chipset drivers.
    Install Realtek NIC drivers.
    Install SoundMAX audio drivers.
    Install Turtle Beach audio drivers.

    Thanks for playing, try again.
  • by kjkeefe ( 581605 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @01:24AM (#22459378)
    I can't tell you how many IT people claim to have "tried linux and it is too experimental/incomplete/unstable/whatever". Then, I ask them a little more about their experience and find that they tried the wrong distro, three versions ago. In the OSS world, 6 months is a long time. If you haven't tried the recommended beginner linux distro at the version that has been released within the last 6 months, you shouldn't be asserting that modern linux distros are not mature. That would be like me taking a copy of windows 98, trying to install it on my 3 month old computer, and then calling Windows a bad OS because it didn't work. You wouldn't give an assessment of Vista based on your experiences with Windows 2000 would you? Then why does it make sense to say that current linux distros can be evaluated based on your experience with older versions.

    I highly recommend you take that computer and try it again with Ubuntu linux 7.10. Your nVidia card will almost certainly work. Installing software is really easy and the number of packages in the repositories is massive. NTFS just works. The sound should just work. Finally, are you really complaining about having to choose between desktop managers???? Give me a break. Use whatever you like. Stop spreading ignorant assessments of linux. If you don't know the current state of linux, don't say anything. Better yet, learn the current state of linux. From what I hear, it is pretty cheap to try it out.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 18, 2008 @01:29AM (#22459412)
    Yes the Battle of OS's was pretty well lost when the Whole OEM thing started. On the Face of it bundling software with hardware seems perfectly reasonable.

    As an Average consumer I can expect that I go to the department store buy a Television, take it home and it will work. In the case of my Digital tuner it came with all the stations preprogrammed (I didn't even have to rescan).

    Most people expect to do the same with a PC buy it plug it in and have it work. When Windows is the only operating system that you can get then the average user will not care enough to switch to something else.

    When I go to update my laptop it will come with Vista. I don't want Vista, but I'm going to pay for it anyway. An even for me trying to get the cost of the software back is probably more trouble then its worth. I've had Sales reps warn me that if I change the OS the manufacturer will claim that I voided my software warranty, (probably not legal but I'll have a fight on my hands to prove it).

    Here Linux is not Free. It requires me to excert additonal effort to get it installed and raises the prospect that some of the things I paid for, such as hardware warranty, will be lost. Requiring me to spend even more effort if something breaks.

    The Last time I went to the computer store there was one computer which was being sold with Linux preinstalled, the Eee PC. It was going to some lengths to look as windows like as possible. I suspect someone thought it would sell better if the average Joe assumed it was running Windows.

  • by thejynxed ( 831517 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @01:31AM (#22459432) Homepage
    They generally won't take an interest though, because most "crapware" offers rely on significant missing functionality in Windows - they are offering products to do things that A) a Linux-based OS has no real need for (anti-virus, anti-spyware) or B) already has programs installed by default that handle it (useful cd/dvd authoring, video, audio, etc).

    Granted - MS is getting better about including such functionality by default, but honestly, they have a long way to go to match anything offered by say Ubuntu, Mepis, or Apple's OSX.

    We'll just leave the closed vs free argument right out of this for now and say that these companies won't offer trial-ware on such systems for several reasons.

    This being said, I game and do other things that Linux does rather poorly at the moment, so I use WinXP Pro for most of my computing time. To me Linux is just something to be played with now and again because it doesn't quite do what I need it to do (that may change in the near-future, now with ATI and whatnot ready to release real Linux drivers with 3D support instead of hacked together binary blobs and obscure config file voodoo).
  • by agendi ( 684385 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @01:32AM (#22459438)
    Good call.. Tell them it's worth $150 and they can send the cheque to the EFF, OLPC or any other Opensource project/charity needing the money.
  • by isdnip ( 49656 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @01:37AM (#22459486)
    No, he was right -- Linux sucks as a desktop system. Good server system, bad desktop system.

    Not that I haven't been trying and hoping for better since, uh, Yggdrasil came out in 1993 or so. It's not as if I haven't tried a LOT of distros. Trouble is, THEY'RE ALL LINUX. And Linux is not just a "free" OS, it's Unix. And Unix's the uber-geek OS, written by programmers for programmers. (chmod octal bitmaps? Right.) Powerful but not intended to be easy. More of a boys' club "seekrit password" approach -- no wonder nobody has time to join the Masons and learn their boys' club secrets any more! ;-) And the apps it brings are aimed at a certain type of user. Not the same as the Windows audience.

    So to make a long story short,

    - Linux has poor driver support (because Linus hates blobs, so many vendors don't cooperate, and the unstable ABI breaks drivers) so lots of desktop iron doesn't work in various distros, even if it works on other distros. For instance no distro works all of the peripherals on my laptop, but individual distros work different ones. Just no mix-and-match, because drivers aren't portable as in Windows.

    - Linux apps have poor GUI consistency. Often opening the GUI brings up defaults instead of current settings, even losing current (working) ones when that should show you current settings. And some GUIs are just dialog boxes to put in unexplained text parameters (-j013 -T3),a sin Windows developers NEVER do. Linux setup still ends up (way too often) being about editing dot files in vi. Compare GRASS (Linux/Unix) with MapInfo (Windows), for instance. Help? man pages are a grad student puzzle: Provide no examples, and not a shred more information than necessary, formatted for an LA-36 DECwriter.

    - Linux apps are rarely complete. The last 20% takes 80% of the time, after all, and free software developers get bored. Others copy the easy stuff, do some vanity work, call it a new project, and leave it incomplete.

    - Linux weenies (including too many Slashdoters) are largely insufferable. Ask for help and you're likely to get insulted, or told to just write your own code, or decipher the source. Users are not coders. But Linus wrote Linux for coders to have fun with. I don't object to their fun. But I need a system that lets me be productive, and my work is not writing Linux code! There are more users like me than there are programmers.

    - Windows XP doesn't suck much! Hell, the system I'm on now has been up, I think, over a month, and I really should take it down to install some patches. Some MS apps (IE, OE) really do suck, and invite security problems, but I don't use them. The kernel's not bad at all, nor is the GUI, the print subsystem (far better than Linux), the sound subsystem (far better than Linux), or the networking (different issues from Linux', but pretty stable if you're careful). Plus laptops get good power conrol/sleep/hibernate support. And the truth is, writing code for users, vs. writing for people like yourself (programmers), is an art, which both Apple and Microsoft have learned (okay, MS copies Apple), but which simply doesn't interest the Free Software community too much (except for some application groups like Mozilla, but they had a head start).

    - Too many important desktop apps aren't on Linux. Real users often need specific vertical-market apps, which usually go only to Windows. The tyranny of market share, to be sure, but a motivating factor for real users. Server software developers, in contrast, often think Linux first, or assume it's necessary.

    I'm a huge cheapskate and would love to use Linux. I actually PAID MORE for Mandrive Powerpack for a family member than I paid for Windows. But it's not suitable for my day-to-day use, even though it's still my favorite distro. Windows seems like a daft choice for most servers, but Linux is at least two years away from being ready for the destktop -- and so it has been for 15 years.
  • by GaryPatterson ( 852699 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @01:41AM (#22459516)
    No, the problem with Linux is that it's decentralised and developers are working all over the place doing whatever bits they want to do. It's a strength, but also a weakness.

    Linux is a lot better than ever before, but some sort of focused development would solve a lot of the problems people complain about. Sadly there's no-one ponying up the dough so we're largely back to people doing whatever they feel like.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 18, 2008 @01:46AM (#22459536)
    but neither of those apply to, say, the Dell preinstalled deal. You're *scraping* for complaints there - it's exactly the same as complaining that Windows can't open PDFs or that you have to install something to stop your screen displaying everything big.
  • by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @01:47AM (#22459538)
    Or an even bigger pandora's box: "I can't get my iPod to work on Ubuntu and where can I find iTunes"
  • by fahrvergnugen ( 228539 ) <fahrvNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Monday February 18, 2008 @01:53AM (#22459574) Homepage

    So because someone tried a distro in Fall 2007 that wasn't the "right" distro and gave up, that's the end-user's fault, and not the distro's / linux community at large's fault?

    • There's no clear signpost as to what's the "right" distro for beginners(UBUNTU UBUNTU UBUNTU, but newbies won't know that, go google "which linux distro should I choose?" and get back to me when the top result isn't a TEN QUESTION QUIZ.
    • 6 months ago was Fall 2007. Windows '98 shipped in 1998, and was deprecated partially in 2000 and fully in 2002. You can't compare a 10-year-old OS to a 6-month-old linux distro. Well, I guess you can, you just did, but you can't do it without looking like a total asshole.

    XP was the standard for Windows for 5 or 6 years, and it went through 2 major revisions in that time. OS X revs approximately every 18 months, and is on the fifth version to ship since 2000. You're not treated like you're stupid by the community for getting frustrated with the shortcomings of OS X 10.2.

    Look: UI engineering is all about balancing exposing essential functionality vs. overwhelming your end user with choice. Here's an example: Near as I can figure, my TV remote needs about 18 buttons, max (including the 12-digit number pad). Yet it shipped with more than 70, and each of those buttons is there because the engineers at Sony thought I'd want them. I ignore the extra features on my remote, and resent their presence, because they're a constant reminder that I'm not using the television to its fullest abilities. That I don't WANT to use it to those abilities is irrelevant, those 50 buttons there remind me every time that I pick it up that I'm just not smart enough to get the most out of this machine. They have a negative effect on my perception of the value in this television. I dislike it because of the complex user interface (and I plan to get around it by getting another, simpler universal remote, at which time I will credit the remote for simplicity, and not the television for functionality).

    Similarly, the barrage of choice that assaults users of linux systems is a detriment to the newbie. Having to pick window managers in 2008 is a disgrace. The decision should be out of the end user's hands until he wants to make the choice, at which time it should be available to him. You don't just ram it down his throat the first time he powers up the system.

    You yelling at him for not wanting to make that choice, or necessarily understanding it, is shameful and proof that you're unable to see the forest for the trees. Stop being so damn myopic. Of course you and I want all the functionality we can get out of linux, but we're not typical. Ubuntu understands this, which is why it's been such a phenomenal success, but godDAMN man. Stop driving away the people we need to convert with this shitty attitude of yours.

  • by tsa ( 15680 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @01:57AM (#22459612) Homepage
    Joe user just bought a laptop and doesn't know the difference between a window and the screen. That's the audience we're talking about here. They just want their computer to work.
  • by StrategicIrony ( 1183007 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @01:58AM (#22459626)
    You just complained about 3rd party software and optional features which are easily disabled.

    I'm still not quite sure where this is a Windows issue.

    If everyone were installing the kitchen sink on Linux, it too, would have a dozen programs trying to run updates.

    And Linux can also be configured to reboot on automatic updates if you so desire.

    Feature or bug?

    I use both and the issues you mention are the last of the things that cause me trouble on either system.

  • by DigitAl56K ( 805623 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @02:14AM (#22459720)

    Unless you tried Fedora 8, you haven't tried the current offerings, so you can't have an informed opinion about linux.
    Isn't that a bit like saying unless I've used Windows Vista, I can't have an opinion about Windows?

    I tried Fedora 7. But you are right, I can't have an informed opinion about Linux - I didn't use it nearly long enough. I also wasn't aiming to post an opinion, but elements of my experience that lead me away from Linux, and that probably will lead others away also.

    And yes, you shouldn't be STARTING with Fedora. It isn't meant to be a beginner distro for several reasons.
    That's nice to know, now :) But there isn't a banner on Fedora's home page that says "Hey, are you a beginner? If so, you might want to try Ubuntu instead"? Nor on the Debian page, and probably not on many other distro sites one might happen to land on while searching for popular distributions. One answer to "Why Linux Doesn't Spread" is that there are many options out there, and you can easily end up at one that isn't really suited to you.

    Free open source software is not like commercial software. In some projects, 3 month old code is practically ancient.
    While that may be true, I'm going to bet that most people aren't going to try switching OS's every 3 months. Therefore I don't see why posting about an experience I had 12 months ago is such a terrible concept. When we're talking about "Why Linux doesn't spread" it does not help to get angry at people because they didn't try the particular distribution you think they ought to have, or because they didn't try the absolute latest version, or because they're wrong and you know better.

    Wouldn't it be nice if you could simply tell all those people who have tried Linux and walked away in the last couple of years that you know better and so they should change back immediately? :)

    I'll give Ubuntu a shot ;)
  • by 2short ( 466733 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @02:22AM (#22459766)

    I'm a Linux user and fan, but if we're going to discuss why Linux hasn't spread faster than it has, let's not be disingenuous:

    You double-click the icon, you get music or you don't; If you didn't, it failed. You can research why it failed, it might even be easy to research, but it already failed.

    As for the wireless, what would you do if you had a wireless card that couldn't work under Windows? Send it back as a hardware failure; There aren't any wireless cards that don't support Windows.
  • by msormune ( 808119 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @02:39AM (#22459868)
    Well, the biggest obstacle from installing another Linux on my desktop PCs is the attitude. Your post is a good example. Let me iterate: Ubuntu came also with all sorts of crap programs I did not give a "flying fig". So did Vista. You can remove start menu programs in Ubuntu. So you can in Vista. Ubuntu updater often wants you to reboot the PC. So does Windows Update with Vista but quite rarely. You can set both to NOT to fetch updates. And actually, the number of updates is FAR greater with Ubuntu per month. How is this that much different from having many updating services? And you can usually turn them off anyway. And you don't even have to use those programs. If you don't like programs like Adobe Acrobat, get the free Ghostview. Many of the Open Source flagship products ALSO include an additional updater service, like Firefox. In short, the biggest problem is the OS attitude. The same things that "suck" in Windows are seen as great in Linux desktop distributions. If Linux had the same number and diversity in programs that Windows enjoys, I bet Linux desktops would be also "inefficient and frustrating" with their update services.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 18, 2008 @02:44AM (#22459886)
    So you haven't had to turn to cmd.exe in windows? How many times have you had to tweak the registry? I would argue that every time you open regedit, it is 10 times worse than having to type a command at a bash prompt.

    What does gedit have to do with nvidia drivers? If you don't like vi then use gedit instead. This point is either misstated or completely irrelevant.

    As for accessing windows files... well thats because microsoft doesn't WANT you to be able to access your files from a non MS operating system so they didn't lift so much as a finger to help the open source community write a driver for it. Until recently mounting NTFS file systems in linux was a very hairy business. It has gotten much better in the last year or so.

    Some of your points are valid. I think if you were to try again you would find that some of them have improved greatly. For me personally none of the "problems" outweigh the benefits, hence I use windows on one PC for gaming and linux on everything else.
  • by maz2331 ( 1104901 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @02:46AM (#22459906)
    Joe User doesn't WANT a computer, he wants an "appliance" that's simple and "easy" to use. Really, just a game console that also runs some basic office apps and a browser is perfect for him.

    Me, I want a computer that I can customize and tweak and use to actually get work done.

    Thus, my laptop runs Fedora. Now if I could just get around to rewriting those damn Access apps in Java....
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 18, 2008 @02:57AM (#22459960)
    Well, that kind of thing doesn't happen because consumer hardware vendors do not care much about supporting Linux in general.
    Which is something we tend to complain about. A lot.

    But your Linux environment is clean precisely because it is 'just a hobbyist market'.

    The moment Linux is considered a serious alternative by the consumer market - and vendors consider it worth investing on par with their Windows/Mac support - you'll see Linux pre-installed in every box AND full of garbage that came bundled with every stupid driver you didn't want.

    Yes, I share the pain - but I don't think there is anything magical about Linux that cures hardware vendor stupidity.

    (why did my old usb mouse come with a CD? It's a MOUSE. It has a standard interface, two buttons and it moves a cursor - how hard can it be to do that with standard drivers?)

  • by McSnarf ( 676600 ) * on Monday February 18, 2008 @03:13AM (#22460068)
    You know whho I mean. Teen wearing "I am root, bow before me" t-shirts and who hang around in Linux support forums because Linux installed automatically on their PC. Never compiled a kernel, never seen a kernel being compiled - and wouldn't know bash from COMMAND.COM.

    You most likely know the type.

    Enters a friend of mine. New to Linux. Reasonably clever, manages to install, then wants to run Windows games under Linux. He learns about wine and wants to know if it will do what he wants it to do.
    "No problem," he thinks, "there is this thing called the community and I will go and ask!"

    And he did. In polite words. Telling people about his system setup, about his idea to change to Linux, then asking a number of questions about distributions (which one?), wine and performance.

    Answers included things like:

    - "Go away, windows boy!" (no further comments)
    - "RTFM!" (no further comments)
    - "Use Google." (including the common "Oh no, another Windows user..." quote)

    It was made very clear to him, in all but two answers, that he was not welcome, the wrong kind of user, morally inferior for wanting to play non-free games.

    Two people actually jumped in and told him that, yes, Windows was actually better in supporting Windows games and wine wouldn't really help there. Linux would not make sense here. Heresy takes courage. :)

    I am a bit of a late starter, installed my first SLS when kernel versions were around 0.98, the file system was minix and you had to hex-edit sectors to set your boot device. If you haven't been there, you don't want to know what you had to do to make X run. I remember a different kind of Linux crowd from that time. "Snotty" was not part of that.
    Nowadays, my t-shirt would probably read: "I was root. It becomes boring. Now I just fired root for beeing cheeky and hired Admin because he is polite, solves my problems and will not risk my business on alpha code."

    Linux is a great OS - and my friend is now learning how to use a Linux server as a game server (for windows games), web server and FTP server. He is doing fine, even with bash, as he is not stupid - just untrained. His web interface for game servers is not looking too bad...

    But like would be easier if the "WHOOOA! I am root!" kids (on a single user system, probably running a boot-from-DVD Knoppix or a SuSE Live DVD) learned to shut up unless they had something helpful to say. They are not doing Linux any good.

  • by skeeterbug ( 960559 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @03:55AM (#22460308)
    demand increases as price goes down... with one very important caveat. all else must remain equal. don't forget that caveat b/c it is *extremely* important. all else doesn't always remain equal. for example, if the price of $10k fur is marked down to $1k, some folks might think it is a fake and not be interested. or damaged goods. or stolen. or whatever. linux is gaining market share, but it is different and people need an *incentive* to do different things. their incentive to learn windows was they wanted to be employable - so they learned windows even if they *hated* it. business doesn't move away from windows due to the incompatibility issues caused by msft brass in order to maintain monopoly like control over the business desktop. the consumer market will go where the business market goes. if business went 100% linux tomorrow, nobody would remember msft in about 3 years. the incentive for me to move to linux was that i value freedom, saving a few extra bucks and learning new things. i like the road less traveled. that is probably why i chose postgres over pgsql and i ended up trying the zone diet based on a glowing referral. i'm very happy with all three choices, too. if linux wants to compete with msft, they need the business desktop in a big way. applications are important here and msft brass did a great job lockign most companies into msft dependent applications - so this is a tough sell.
  • by purpleraison ( 1042004 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @04:05AM (#22460360) Homepage Journal
    I have had too many (real non-IT-pro) people I have tried to expose to linux give me feedback on the system, and here's the real scoop:

    1. it is too difficult to install new applications. Yes, even installing Firefox is a challenge for a noob... now try to do it on a generic Linux distro.

    2. Where ARE the apps I just installed? WTF... why aren't the in the 'start menu'? Try to explain THIS to someone who has been using windows.

    3. logical navigation of folders: Advanced users may know where everything is, but the average tool looks in 'Program Files', or 'My Documents'. So they just have no clue what the Linux folders are.

    Maybe this is the time to admit that Linux IS a great OS (yes, it is), but we have not done enough to enlighten the AVERAGE computer user. **Unless this ever becomes an important requirement, Linux will continue to be the FREE system, while others will be able to charge a premium.

    Personally, I don't care if an OS is free, or cost $$ (it's not my $$ after-all). I just need 80% + of the users to be using it without calling me every 5 minutes.
  • by suckmysav ( 763172 ) <suckmysav@Nospam.gmail.com> on Monday February 18, 2008 @04:22AM (#22460436) Journal
    You know, it may shock you to learn that most people don't need any of that shit. In fact 99% don't even have the $2000 worth of extra software that is required for it to happen.
  • by podom ( 139468 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @04:29AM (#22460480) Homepage
    It's been a while since I've used linux. I don't particularly care for XP, but I use it on a daily basis because everything supports it. As an engineer, it's a lot more important to get the job done than to have a great OS and support the open source community. I've looking at buying an Apple laptop, and I may do that. Worst case, I could dual boot XP.

    After reading through some of the comments, however, I became interested in giving it another go. The comments suggest that Ubuntu would be a good one to try. I downloaded the appropriate Ubuntu distro CD (x64 for my 64-bit AMD machine here at home) and tried to install it. I have already had enough time to completely evaluate Ubuntu on my machine, because the install CD will not get past the loading screen. When the progress bar is complete, the screen goes black. I let the machine sit there for half an hour: black screen. Different monitor: black screen. Built-in video (previously disabled) instead of video card: black screen.

    In the past I've found linux to be such a pain in the ass that I considered it to be not just not user-friendly, but actively user-hostile. Ubuntu may be a great distro and perfect for beginners, but since I can't get it to install, it's about par for the course with my past linux experiences.

    This is why linux hasn't spread. The user experience--for people who aren't linux hobbyists--is terrible. Free has nothing to do with it, and the author's pop psychology conclusion is horse shit.


  • Coherent and Xinu (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Per Abrahamsen ( 1397 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @05:23AM (#22460756) Homepage
    Oh, if just Linux had been proprietary like the other Unix lookalikes of the time, it might today have enjoyed the same propagation on the desktop as, say, Coherent or Xinu.

    BTW: Linux does ship today with more computer based products than MS Windows, just not on the most visible platform of them all, the PC desktop.
  • by Cyclops ( 1852 ) <rms@[ ]7.org ['140' in gap]> on Monday February 18, 2008 @06:53AM (#22461202) Homepage
    Well, I don't advise to exactly *do* this, but it's probably a concrete example of how to value what is got at a free or very low price.

    Let's make an equivalent to breathable air...

    Think it's not valuable? Here's a nice plastic bag around your head. Wait a few seconds... Still think free isn't valuable? ]:-)
  • by clang_jangle ( 975789 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @07:38AM (#22461462) Journal
    I wish I had mod points for you, you deserve a +5 insightful for that one. So many linux users just want *everyone* to use it, but if that ever happens we will see pre-installed linux dumbed-down and tarted-up just like windows is now. We'd have thousands of pointless, idiotic programs available from third parties in binary only form causing innumerable security and performance issues, plus of course all the pre-installed crapware that is now on most new windows computers.

    Sure, it's a bit of a PITA dealing with the occasional compatibility problems which arise from using linux and BSD in a windows world, but darn it I like the fact that my OSs of choice are not the prime targets for every sleazy company trying to get rich off the stupidity of end users.
  • by jacksonj04 ( 800021 ) <nick@nickjackson.me> on Monday February 18, 2008 @08:48AM (#22461848) Homepage
    I just showed that to my roommate who is also doing a computing degree. He said "What the fuck does that all mean?".

    That is why Linux hasn't taken off. The average user doesn't give two shits if they compile --with-this or --without-that. They don't want to have to delve into the command line to install what should be simple utilities or change simple options. They want a good, solid OS which doesn't rely on them knowing they have to ls -a to just find the config files which has a simple, reliable and intercompatible installation method. Some distros are getting close, but they seem to be being plugged by geeks who spout on about "It's so configurable" or "You can change the code if it doesn't do what you want" to people who haven't even changed their desktop background on Windows.
  • people hate free (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tsjaikdus ( 940791 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @08:58AM (#22461904)
    >> Linux is free, and humans tend not to equate free things with being valuable.
    That's why peer to peer downloading of mp3 is so hugely unpopular
  • by Jeppe Salvesen ( 101622 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @09:10AM (#22461976)
    amsn? Really? That fugly mess that actually asks me of my architecture? (every heard about /proc and uname, amsn developers?)

    That's the second part of my complaints: The developers tend to be the type that goes for programmatic elegance over usability. Reality check: Nobody's gonna use your app just because your coding skills are great. They will use your app because it is great. Or else the won't use it at all. Pidgin is a nicer chat app, but it lacks webcam capability. See where we are going with this? We have two programs: One barely usable with the required specifications, and a second that is usable but is not up to speed on the requirements. Would you like to be boiled or fried, good Sir?
  • by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @09:51AM (#22462290) Journal
    The average user wouldn't need to do any of that on windows or linux. You see, they don't support their own computers. They buy them preinstalled, they pay people to fix them, most of them swear up and down they heard of a virus scanner but damned us you will find on working when they complain windows is broke.

    Your roommate, who is doing a computing degree, seems like one of those people too. It is possible he just hasn't advanced enough to be comfortable with stuff like the GP mentioned but Windows software is hardly free from defects of the same nature. I remember making registry edits just to get games to work properly, having to go into safe mode to find hidden files that didn't want to appear even though you selected the idiot buttons that say show everything, or something would keep a lock on a file that needs deleted, replaced, updated or whatever and you need to go into safe mode to take care of it. A fun one with windows is attempting to edit the registry after a malware/spyware infestation to repair the winsocks enough to get on line so you can track down the exact instructions to reset it or find a program that will do it.

    I guess if your degree in computing is how to use word, a topic that untrained monkey could eventually figure out, then you would still be the average person who takes the machine to professionals, or at least people passing themselves off as profesional, to do the work for you. Therefor, you and your roommate can safely remain clueless without fear of having to muck around in the guts of something and possibly learn something along the way and still use linux.

    And BTW, why would he prefer dir -a over ls -a to find hidden files? Because windows has them too, and linux usually take both commands. Oh yea, he doesn't do that.
  • by djones101 ( 1021277 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @09:56AM (#22462340)

    synaptic is a killer application, the dumbed down version is literally idiot proof
    As a programmer with a decade of writing endless lines of code to plug holes that only idiots manage to find, I can wholeheartedly tell you, NOTHING is idiot-proof. On another note, while bundling with a standard PC is the primary hurtful strike to Linux, another is what most of us know as "the blame game". Management needs a target to blame when something goes wrong. If its their own pet project, they'll try and find something outside their project to blame. In the case of the place I work at, managers have consistently avoided OSS simply because, when something goes wrong, you cannot blame the company that produced it and call up their support department to fix the problem. No, you have to wait for the community to release a bug fix or hope the programmers can resolve the problem themselves. When the VPs start pressuring the managers, and there's no "lack of support" to blame, then the manager's ability to make software decisions comes into play. Yes, I do have first-hand experience with this. Two separate OSS packages were denied by our VPs simply because the only support offered by OSS was by the community. As a result, we spent money on less robust systems simply to have a support company to blame for problems. *shrugs* Que sera, sera.
  • by Fafnir43 ( 926858 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @10:24AM (#22462646)
    I'm doing a Computer Science degree in Cambridge (world ranking university, partnered with MIT). I'm getting top grades. That didn't mean terribly much to me, either - I understood the second sentence, but not the first. Granted I'm only in my first year, but the point here is that "Computer Science" != "Training to become a Linux sysadmin", and expertise in the former does not somehow confer expertise in the latter (although it makes it much easier to acquire).

    Understanding the concepts behind algorithmic complexity and programming in general won't tell you anything about the specifics of shell scripting, any more than a deep understanding of C will give you the ability to code in FORTRAN without having some idea of the syntax.
  • Re:Big deal. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 18, 2008 @10:42AM (#22462846)
    No, the music industry is exactly in the same position. There, people like "Free" because that free stuff is actually pirated versions of music that they usually buy. There are some truly free music from indy artists but people don't download them much because most people perceive those artists as not as good as the ones that the music industry markets and they won't even bother to sample their work.
  • by Corwn of Amber ( 802933 ) <corwinofamber.skynet@be> on Monday February 18, 2008 @10:55AM (#22462976) Journal
    The reasons why Linux is no use :

    1/ No Photoshop
    2/ No GAMES
    3/ No MS Office

    Now I'm on Macintosh/Hackintosh, I can use real software. Like Photoshop and MS Office. (I suck too much at games to ever enjoy them.)

    Why not GIMP and OpenOffice?
    Because they both suck. GIMP is unusable and lacks major features. (No CMYK? WTF?) And OpenOffice takes an hour to load.

    And don't come talking to me of gaming on Linux. When Wine works right out of the box, yes. Maybe. Or in the alternate reality where a virtual PC (vmware etc) has hardware 3D. (This necessitates to download and half-install a Windows anyway, though.)

    I'll keep OSX on my Apple and -compatibles, thanks. (Hint : Intel chipset + Intel CPU + nVidia GPU = Mac)

    No package dependency hell, no half-baked "will finish between my studies and my first job" software, no "we don't ship the settings for the mobos sensors even though we do have them", no "these drivers support half a thousand obsolete webcams that no one makes anymore", no "this has been compiled with GCC2.95 and an alternative libc", no "recompile your kernel without support for your TV tuner if you want to ever use the controller card that interfaces to the HDs you bought to record TV".

    When Linux is INTEGRATED and works RIGHT, NOW, as in OUT-OF-THE-FUCKING-BOX, then I'll use it again. If it has the software I need to GET WORK DONE : Adobe Suite and MS Office.
  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @11:07AM (#22463090) Homepage
    If you are a slackware user then it really doesn't matter because you are a slackware
    user because none of the bullshit impresses you any. You can just grab the rpm or the
    deb and turn it into a tarball and be as happy as bear running amok at a honey farm.

    The slackware option is not easy enough for a drooling moron? Big fat hairy deal.

    Slackware users are not drooling morons to begin with.

    BTW, if you are still fixating on the commandline you are just recycling obsolete FUD.
  • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @11:07AM (#22463092) Homepage Journal
    Your room mate needs to get a clue. What is his 'computing' degree in? It sure as shooting isn't going to be in CS.
    That being said does anyone know how to make Windows case sensitive?
    I just installed Ubuntu. I would have to put it down as being as easy to use as Windows if not easier. I have not needed to use the command line once. Getting everything working was no problem. Getting it working on my notebook was too easy. It just worked including the WiFI.
    My wife is having no problem with Linux on her desktop and it just works for her. Again no problems and no need to use the command line.
    BTW you don't need to use ls -l to see your config files. Just tell the file manager to show hidden files.
    If you want Linux to just work then I suggest that you try Ubuntu. If you have supported hardware you will probably have as close to a trouble free experience as anything I have ever used.
    Ubuntu has changed Linux. I was shocked how really good it is.
    Oh I am using it right now.

  • by kent.dickey ( 685796 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @11:19AM (#22463222)
    Linux has several problems, almost none of them are major problems with Mac OS X or MS Windows. I think it's biggest problem is that in 4 major ways, Linux is hostile to folks writing GUI apps. And people will run the OS with the applications they need/want.

    First, the problem is what is "Linux"? The different distributions are really not that compatible. Imagine if Apple produced 7 similar-yet-incompatible versions of Mac OS X, and then wondered why people weren't using it. It seems that HP-UX and Solaris have more in common than RHEL and Ubuntu. This is far and away the top problem with "Linux."

    Second, it is incredibly difficult to produce a Linux binary that works on multiple distributions. Actually, I have no idea how to do it, so maybe it's even impossible. Even with source included, it's incredibly nice to get a binary so you can try using something without spending hours compiling it first. If all you ever use is vendor-supplied packages (i.e., whatever your vendors installer will install), you might not see much issue. But imagine only using Microsoft software on Windows--if that's what Linux can achieve, then that's not much to brag about.

    Third, it feels like every release, each Linux distribution decides to break backwards compatibility in some way. There's a reason Microsoft supports 10+ year old programs.

    Fourth, what GUI library should I use? This seems like a total mess, made even worse by the other issues.

    As a developer who despises Windows, I can see that it is much easier to distribute a Windows executable that will just work for everyone than to distribute a Linux GUI application. It's easy to develop a Linux command-line application, though, since POSIX standardized that for everyone. Linux will not get supported by general developers for desktop use until this can be fixed.
  • by reallocate ( 142797 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @11:20AM (#22463234)
    Some may be old enough to remember Turbo Pascal. Back when Microsoft and Digital Research were selling Pascal compilers for DOS for a few hundred dollars or more -- in the days before C took off on that platorm -- fast Turbo Pascal hit the market for $39.95. They sold bunches. I sure fewer people would have acquired Turbo Pascal if it had been released for no cost with a free license of some sort.

    Linux is not held back as much by the "it's free" factor as it is by its unavailability in places where many people look for software. I know that sounds incongruous to everyone here, but the world is full of people who expect software to come in a shiny box sold by a store in the mall.

    That, of course, is marketing, something that Turbo Pascal had and Linux has never had. More precisely, it's something no single commercial Linux distribution has ever taken seriously: market Linux to a mainstream audience. (Plenty of distributions have decalred they were targeting the mainstream audience, but they never bothered to tell the mainstream.)
  • Oddly Enough (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WED Fan ( 911325 ) <akahige@@@trashmail...net> on Monday February 18, 2008 @11:27AM (#22463324) Homepage Journal

    My Linux installation is case-insensitive, if you use JFS you can enable "OS/2 compatibility" with the -O option to jfs_mkfs, which will make it case insensitive. Then you can enable case insensitive matching in bash etc by editing your ~/.inputrc.

    That is exactly the type of advice you get when you ask for Linux help, and it soooooo clarifies things for Joe User.

  • by norminator ( 784674 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @12:22PM (#22464064)
    How is installing mp3 support more complicated or difficult than setting up a second display? I agree that neither should be hard to do, and I have heard that dual-displays are a pain in Linux (I've never had to deal with it, though), but when you want to play an mp3 in Ubuntu, a dialog pops up telling you that you have to install mp3 support, and gives you a button you can click on to do it automagically. It's not hard. That dialog might seem weird (according to the GPP), but it's only because of PITA legal limitations imposed by the "not-so-free" culture. Of course it just explains why it's not installed by default, and gives you a button to click that will install it.

    Honestly, most of the nit-picks I've seen in these comments today have even more annoying equivalents in the Windows world. How many *weird* pop-ups are there in Windows?
  • by Jarjarthejedi ( 996957 ) <christianpinchNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday February 18, 2008 @12:39PM (#22464324) Journal
    You're horribly misrepresenting Windows by acting as though every Windows user is a complete idiot. Let me ask you something, how is the average joe going to find out what in the heck Synaptic is if they don't know enough about computer to know the difference between downloading and installing? I have no idea what Synaptic is, but I could download and install FF in 30 seconds on a windows box.

    There are 2 main problems with Linux right now that stop the average joe from wanting it. Installation issue (Windows has them as well but since it normally comes pre-loaded the average joe has never seen them. And, while is seems like heresy, Windows has far less installation issues, if only because the hardware is made for it) and fanboys who don't understand how someone can't figure out how to use a command line tool with the proper switch options in order to enable their 'insert absolutely necessary component of a computer here' so they can use Linux, I mean a child could do this!

    Windows is far simpler to use than Linux right now, sorry but that's the facts. Linux is far more useful than Windows but it's still not easy enough for primetime.
  • by VON-MAN ( 621853 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @12:39PM (#22464328)
    So, let's see:
    1/ No Photoshop
    Sure, if a company needs Photoshop, Linux is out. But how many PS installations does a regular company needs, unless it is a graphics shop? One, maybe two.

    2/ No GAMES
    Companies don't want people to play games.

    3/ No MS Office
    So you simply use OpenOffice. And it doesn't take "an hour to load". On my desktop (a simple AMD 3200) it takes 12 seconds to load the first time, the second time 2 seconds.

    No package dependency hell
    Yes, and 1999 wants it's fud back.

    no half-baked "will finish between my studies and my first job" software
    You can find that kind of software for any os, also for Macs.

    no "we don't ship the settings for the mobos sensors even though we do have them"
    What!? Ship settings?

    "these drivers support half a thousand obsolete webcams that no one makes anymore"
    What's wrong with that? It's very much better than not having the drivers. And how are the obsolete webcam drivers for Mac doing?

    "this has been compiled with GCC2.95 and an alternative libc"
    That is why one uses the packages for _one_ distribution. And don't try too install binaries from unknown sources, please.

    "recompile your kernel without support for your TV tuner if you want to ever use the controller card that interfaces to the HDs you bought to record TV"
    Did this happen to you, or did you just try to think of something weird?

    "When Linux is INTEGRATED and works RIGHT, NOW, as in OUT-OF-THE-FUCKING-BOX, then I'll use it again."
    You wanted a pre-installed box? No problem, you even have choice these days.

    "If it has the software I need to GET WORK DONE : Adobe Suite and MS Office."
    Oh, ok. Goodbye.
  • by bonefry ( 979930 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @12:42PM (#22464366)
    Well, having a Hackintosh is pretty illegal.

    And when I'll have a Mac OS X that will work "OUT-OF-THE-FUCKING-BOX" on my current hardware and with legal permissions too, then we'll talk about Mac OS vs Linux.
    Until then please acknowledge the fact that what makes Mac OS X great is the open-source software that it ships with.
  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @01:12PM (#22464722) Journal
    Don't be silly. Yes, it's difficult to change a fundamental design decision on any OS. On Linux disabling case sensitivity takes some arcane command line options. On windows, I'm not sure you can do it at all.

    The fundamental maxim of UI design is that simple things should be easy, complex things should be possible. Both XP and Ubuntu make simple things easy, Ubuntu makes many more complex things possible.

    And BTW, your roommate's a moron.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 18, 2008 @01:29PM (#22464928)
    Windows is case preserving but insensitive by default, as I'm sure you're aware. You can set a registry key to make the system be case sensitive, just google for it, it's easy to do, but the downside is that a lot of programs depend on case insensitivity.

    As much as *nix people gloat about case sensitivity being a plus for their system, how often do you really want:


    etc? How frequently do you actually differentiate by capitalization alone, and why do you want to suffer so much?
  • by just_another_sean ( 919159 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @03:29PM (#22466448) Journal
    No OS does 100% of what you want though unless you only want to play games, or only want to email or only want to use Photoshop or only need to administer remote servers... etc.

    I've bought several computers over the years and even though they keep getting cheaper they still seem expensive to me. As their prices go down my expenses go up so I am just keeping pace by using computers that see at least 5 years before I start looking around for a new one.

    Right now Vista doesn't do it for me because I don't have a computer that runs it. OSX doesn't do it for me because I don't want to run their software on my hardware if they don't want me to. And I'm not sure it would anyway. Linux does it for me because it runs on my hardware, well. Not Damn Small Linux, not some floppy install from hell, Ubuntu or Etch, I like them both. Modern, graphics for when I need them, a powerful shell, office apps, web apps, etc. I don't need Photoshop and anyone who says OO.org takes an hour is talking about their experience with StarOffice in the 90's.

    But guess what, I do also use XP. Age of Empires II is a favorite of my son and playing over the LAN with him is about the most fun I ever have with a computer... (he's ten).

    So, I use one OS to get work done and one to play. And I do it because my primary job is monitoring Linux servers, writing scripts for said servers and basically I need something stable and flexible. All the Firefox, Cygwin, WinSCP, Putty, Open Office, etc in the world doesn't make me feel as productive on Windows as I do on Linux.

    Is one better then the other? IMHO, yes. Does that mean sh*t to the next guy? No, choose what works for you. And if it stops working because MS or Apple changed the rules again and you either need to upgrade or do without? Thin about switching to Linux. IN the beginning you'll at least save some cash and in the end you may find you have all the tools you need after all.

  • by gothzilla ( 676407 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @03:51PM (#22466720)
    Heh you just made his point. If I have to know all that just to use the damn thing then I'm not going to use it. :)
  • Seriously? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shyberfoptik ( 1177855 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @04:06PM (#22466886)
    How can you understand this:

    Then you can enable case insensitive matching in bash etc by editing your ~/.inputrc.
    Without being able to at least infer what this means:

    My Linux installation is case-insensitive, if you use JFS you can enable "OS/2 compatibility" with the -O option to jfs_mkfs, which will make it case insensitive.
    JFS is obviously some sort of file system. Case sensitivity is probably a quality of filenames. An option exists to toggle this.

The party adjourned to a hot tub, yes. Fully clothed, I might add. -- IBM employee, testifying in California State Supreme Court