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Why Linux Is Not Yet Ready For the Desktop 1365

An anonymous reader writes "Every now and then a new- or old-media journalist tries to explain to everyone why Linux is not yet ready for the desktop. However all those men who graduated from their engineering universities years ago have only superficial knowledge about operating systems and their inner works. An unknown author from Russia has decided to draw up a list of technical reasons and limitations hampering Linux domination on the desktop." Some of the gripes listed here really resonate with me, having just moved to an early version of Ubuntu 9.10 on my main testing-stuff laptop; it's frustrating especially that while many seemingly more esoteric things work perfectly, sound now works only in part, and even that partial success took some fiddling.
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Why Linux Is Not Yet Ready For the Desktop

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  • Games (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ub3r n3u7r4l1st ( 1388939 ) * on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:00AM (#27993711)

    Without the big labels like Valve developing their titles on Linux, you aren't going to see Linux widely used in desktop soon.

  • 9.10? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nvivo ( 739176 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:08AM (#27993761)

    having just moved to an early version of Ubuntu 9.10 on my main testing-stuff laptop; it's frustrating

    The first alpha of 9.10 was released a couple days ago with new kernel, new gcc, lots of new libraries... you should not be surprised things don't work well yet. Jaunty seems pretty stable to me. Minor issues with my intel video card, but works fine for all my daily work.

  • by AnalPerfume ( 1356177 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:09AM (#27993767)
    They are indoctrinated to a world of malware, reboots and crashes. They are convinced that's just the way PC's are, so they stick with the devil they know rather than attempt to learn anything new. They refuse to open their minds to anything else. These people will cling onto Windows well after Microsoft go bankrupt and no longer provide updates. These people will sit securely in their own bubble and assume they are safe and secure. If it wasn't for the fact that EVERY user gets the fallout from Microsoft botnets regardless of their OS, I'd say leave them be.
  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <{tepples} {at} {}> on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:09AM (#27993771) Homepage Journal

    There is also the fact that web-based is the new way of making money from software. No piracy since its mostly server-side, lace it with ads and nobody complains about adware.

    But people do complain about not being able to access web applications from notebook computers while away from Internet access, such as on the road or in a restaurant that does not offer free Wi-Fi.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:11AM (#27993779)

    between GNOME and KDE, and the mainstream distributions (Novel ubuntu) promote GNOME/Mono.

    So when somebody writes a new app, there are instantly forks of the same thing in: GTK, QT, Mono, PyGTK, Java, and one in C for FVWM.

    So people just write libraries and the major distroes cherry pick the crappest frontends.

    It's simple. If you make $40bn per year you can invest $100M to eleminate the competition and that can be used to promote crapware FOSS...

  • by petes_PoV ( 912422 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:12AM (#27993791)
    Linux's ship has sailed.

    If you're not using it now, you probably never will. As a long time (and current) Linux user, I have come across all these issues first-hand, as has every other Linux user, developer and advocate out there. That they are still problems even though they've been known for years - sometimes decades shows that they will never be addressed, or fixed.

    Linux is a hobby systyem. The code is donated mostly by amateurs (or people working for rewards other than money - for example the recognition of their peers) and is therefore not within the normal disciplines of IT developemt. If you tell a Linux developer their code is crap - or the application they have written is junk, they'll just walk. As they will if you ask them to do things they don't want to: such as write a manual, fix bugs, add (or remove) features.

    Basically guys, this is as good as it gets. Live with it or go elsewhere.

  • Troll -1 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by k-zed ( 92087 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:12AM (#27993793) Homepage Journal

    The TFA is a worthless troll, even more so than usual in these "Linux is not ready for the desktop" Slashdot articles.

    It has the usual list of ignorant complaints (oh no, there is a choice of distributions, boo hoo! oh no, there is a choice of GUI toolkits, boo hoo!), but some points stand out in their sheer stupidity.

    "Bad security model: there's zero protection against keyboard keyloggers and against running malicious software (Linux is viruses free only due to its extremely low popularity). sudo is very easy to circumvent (social engineering). sudo still requires CLI (see clause 4.)"


    Who admits these articles to the front page anyway?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:12AM (#27993797)

    and I run it ubuntu 9.4 exclusively on my home machine. It is an excellent OS with some bugs and does occasionally does something completely random. It has its faults but that isn't the reason why it isn't ready for the normal user. The reason is that the average computer user is an idiot. I"m talking about those people who freak out when there isn't a gui and mainly uses their machine to write word documents, email and play games. These users want something that works and when it doesn't someone to call up and complain to/swear at.
    Add in M$ market dominance and you have two blockades that are not going to be cracked anytime soon. However this is a good thing! As long as the idiots run windows, there will be orders of magnitude less viruses for Linux.

  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <{tepples} {at} {}> on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:13AM (#27993801) Homepage Journal

    Zero games? Tell that to World of Warcraft, which seems to work fine for me on Ubuntu, straight out of the box, through wine.

    The article states that Wine does not run every popular video game designed for Windows. You just got lucky in your choice of games; families with children clamoring for a specific incompatible title don't have that luxury.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:14AM (#27993807)

    One of the reasons Linux isn't ready for the desktop is the attitude of developers. An example is the current Kubuntu.

    Many people who did take the plungs with desktop Linux settled, reasonably, on the mature, functional KDE-3.5. But if those people upgrade to current Kubuntu Jaunty Jackelope (one wonders if 9.10 will just be called "Silly Gay Name"), they'll find their familiar desktop -- nowhere. Instead, they'll find KDE-4.2, which isn't the atrocity that 4.0 and 4.1 were, but which still ain't ready for real work.

    It would be a simple thing to support both and to allow people to migrate gradually to the new KDE, as it and its applications become more usable. But that's not being done and the developers and packagers are actually kind of snotty about it.

    One *can* get KDE-3.5 for the current Kubuntu and Ubuntu, but it involves unofficial and semi-official (whatever that means) repositories and substantially more work.

    Users, especially those who want to use Linux for real work, might end up thinking that Linux developers in general are kind of jerks. That impression can be hard to refute.

  • by damburger ( 981828 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:18AM (#27993843)
    Lucky? I hardly think so. WoW is hardly an obscure game - it is the most popular MMORPG in the world. The idea that wine can run, out of the box, such a high profile game is perfectly incompatible with 'no games, period.'
  • by Chlorine Trifluoride ( 1517149 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:19AM (#27993857)

    ...but insists that reproduction of any kind is prohibited without permission. So I won't quote from the article. I will just refer to it.

    You might want to refer him to the concept of "fair use".

  • Re:Games (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:20AM (#27993865)

    Without the big labels like Valve developing their titles on Linux, you aren't going to see Linux widely used in desktop soon.

    What makes you think that games are the be-all and end-all of the desktop computer market? The vast majority of desktop computer users is happy with Minesweeper, Solitaire and Tetris.

  • Again... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JustinOpinion ( 1246824 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:20AM (#27993869)

    Seems like we've had this exact argument a thousand times. This list at least makes mostly good points. But it still misses the mark many times. Particularly annoying is the absolutism in so many statements, like:

    No games. Full stop.

    This is obviously false. There are games on Linux. Many are open sourced, and some commercials games are available on Linux (e.g. World of Goo). Now I wouldn't have argued if he had said "Very few games." But instead he tried to make his point punchier by being absolute... and this weakens his whole argument by introducing lies.

    And as usual the author prefaces by mentioning that this is some sort of relative comparison with Windows, yet points out problems that exist with all operating systems, like "A galore of software bugs across all applications", or "huge shutdown time" (I've timed it on dual-boot systems and for me Kubuntu was faster than Windows XP. YMMV.) and "poor documentation" (does Windows come with an awesome manual I wasn't made aware of? No. For both Win and Linux you end up searching online. Both have tons of 3rd-party documentation.)...

    And then there are kind nonsensical complaints like "don't allow you to easily set up a server with e.g. such a configuration: Samba, SMTP/POP3, Apache HTTP Auth and FTP where all users are virtual" Does Windows let you do this easily? The heading said that this was an analysis of whether Linux is ready for the Desktop and instead the author injects one of his pet-peeves about configuring Linux as a server?

    And then there are spurious assumptions used to justify complaints, like "Linux is viruses free only due to its extremely low popularity". We've had this argument many times... undoubtedly the low market-share of Linux helps keep viruses off the platform. But there is also plenty of evidence that it is robust security-wise (e.g. infection rates for servers). At a minimum it's not the settled question the author implies.

    I could go on and on. No doubt this thread will tear-apart other statements from TFA. It's too bad, because many of the points made are very much correct, and deserve attention. But it seems that whenever someone tries to compile lists such as this, they end up not only making good points about what needs work, but throwing in their own anecdotal annoyances and personal viewpoints, which muddies the whole argument...

  • by MtViewGuy ( 197597 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:24AM (#27993903)

    The desktop/laptop is NOT dead.

    The reason is simple: people don't trust computing "over the cloud," because your device will be essentially useless if you are in an area with little to no Internet connectivity. Besides, you can get a netbook computer for under US$400 nowadays, and with improving technology those netbooks will soon store as much as 250 to 320 GB of data on the hard drive in the machine itself, way more than enough to store local data for business documents, spreadsheets, and smaller presentation files.

  • by PenisLands ( 930247 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:26AM (#27993923) Homepage Journal
    You're forgetting about specialist applications like audio/music editing and production, video editing, and advanced image editing. Doing this stuff with web-based software isn't feasible, so as long as people do stuff like that, there will be some form of desktop.
  • by mrraven ( 129238 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:26AM (#27993925)

    The parent poster is not talking about corporate use, or geeks like us, he's talking about the folks at home. You know the other NINETY percent of the market.

  • Standard Asound driver.

    You miss the point: I did get it to work. That means it could always work, from the beginning, but Ubuntu did not include the correct hardware recognition to set up the system. It also provides no easy method for me to report back those settings for others. If it was truly a manufacturer problem then I would still not be having sound.

    That means the moment I got it to work I stopped fiddling- and every time I get the little red upgrade spot I hesitate and think: Is this the reboot that kills it?

  • by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:29AM (#27993971)

    The future is web based. Endless bloat, inefficient javascript and the latency of accessing remote systems.

    Most of the software I work(ed) with is still to get heavy duty tasks done are still very much on my computer. CAD, programming, mathematica-type programs... not that I want them all to be, just how it is with current internet pervasiveness and speed.

    Why will people accept such a system? because a lot of people never learned to use a desktop, they learned how to use a web browser. Anything outside the web browser looks complicated to them.

    I like using Google Apps because I don't have to worry about keeping files updated across multiple computers. I think Google is safer than carrying a tangle of USB sticks about. If the file is that important or secret, I stick it onto a computer that has absolutely no net access, no modem, and no ethernet connected to it, no wireless, etc.

    There are more reasons to like net apps than just being clueless. Besides the aforementioned syncing problem with files, services like provide, say, an iPhone user a convenient look at their finances impossible with a regular desktop/notebook unless you're really regimented.

    There is also the fact that web-based is the new way of making money from software. No piracy since its mostly server-side, lace it with ads and nobody complains about adware. Give it a few years and ads will no longer be served up by dedicated domains you can easily block.

    That's a decent insight. However, I have no problem with people making money on software that way, as long as software patents don't block competition. What's more problematic with me is being at the whim of the software service provide at any moment to hold your data hostage and your account in their hands. I had enough experiences with ebay's arbitrariness to make me wary. That's why I do keep a backup of the google documents (and important emails too, as webmail is the essentially the same thing with the same pitfalls as any web hosted app, although more comfortable to many because it's been around a bit longer)

    If client side desktop computing is to survive the interface has to become more iPhony. Ordinary folk love the touchy feeley colourful, childish looking animated interface of the iPhone so the future is in projects like Hildon. I personally hate the iPhone's interface but thats alright, if its Linux or BSD I'll just install a minimalist window manager which there should always be plenty of.

    While the interface is important, I think many like the convenience and lack of carrying files around like I said earlier, and that will be hard to replicate for any desktop app.

  • by AbbeyRoad ( 198852 ) <> on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:30AM (#27993979)

    You are effectively saying I *should* use Linux
    *because* hardware manufacturers have a problem.

    Er. That doesn't make sense.

    I don't care WHERE the problem is. I am a USER and
    I want my computer to WORK. As a user I ought not
    to even KNOW the difference between software and
    hardware, let alone the feud between the
    manufacturing organization and the Free
    programmer. Let alone justify my use of the
    software with some kind of support-of-the-little-guy argument.

    I am thankful to developers, but those same
    developers also tried to convince me
    that Linux was more useful
    than it really was and provided a half-baked
    solution. They were not really honest
    and you don't sound like you are going to be
    honest with the user either.

    I'd rather pay poolah and give no thanks
    and get something that works.

    And don't come with that "Free" is not "free"
    kwap. In PRACTICE free and Free have turned
    out to be the same thing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:33AM (#27994017)

    1999 called, they want to know what percentage of desktop users are using Linux.

  • by masterQba ( 699425 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:34AM (#27994037)
    I think that Linux is more than ready for the desktop but as you say people don't know that it exists. Over the weekend I reformatted my semi-corporate laptop (lenovo thinkpad r61) from Vista Business to Ubuntu 9.04. And I've been totally surprised how well the whole process went. All of the hardware worked OOTB. Today I've been even more surprised when I brought the machine to work. I connected the network cable. Fired up Evolution and connected to the Exchange server. When I wanted to print something Ubuntu had found all of the available printers on the network and let me choose which one I wanted to use. Everything has been flawless the whole way. Not to mention that it's blazing fast compared to Vista. I can even run a Windows XP environment in Virutalbox without any significant slowdown (4GB RAM) so if I need to sync my iphone apps on it I can do that too. But people don't know that the possibility exists, or even if they know the headaches caused by Windows aren't big enough to warrant a change, or a couple other excuses to just stay with what they know.
  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <{tepples} {at} {}> on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:35AM (#27994053) Homepage Journal

    Very little. Not just because TINC, but because those who wold speak up for Linux know better than to equate Linux with Ubuntu.

    Then with what distribution of Linux-for-the-desktop should the promoters of Linux-for-the-desktop equate Linux-for-the-desktop? If not Ubuntu, then what?

  • Re:Troll -2 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:36AM (#27994065)
    Is that why Linux Desktop is such a blazing success right now ?
  • by ciderVisor ( 1318765 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:36AM (#27994071)

    Please stop talking about bad support of devices in linux, but talk about stupid hardware manufacturers.

    Regardless of who's to blame, the fact remains that it's "a problem with Linux on the desktop".

    I'm pretty much OS-agnostic. I ran a dual-boot Windows XP/Ubuntu 8.04 system for over a year and found both had their strengths and weaknesses. If I had to choose one OS, it would HAVE to be Windows (and in fact, I just scrubbed Ubuntu from my hard disk at the weekend, leaving Windows XP SP3 as the sole OS). All my musical hardware and software will only work under Windows or OS X and I ain't buying a Mac when I've got a perfectly stable and usable Windows PC already.

    Bad device support is the single biggest factor working against Linux adoption on home machines. Not everyone with a PC can perform all their computer tasks using an office suite, browser and e-mail client. Lexmark printer ? Cellphone with only a Windows sync client on the supplied disk ? Ditto for a digital camera. TV tuner card ? Webcam ?

  • Wait....what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wandazulu ( 265281 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:37AM (#27994087)

    Linux is a hobby system

    So wait, what does this mean, exactly? It's a hobby system that's cute to fiddle with then turn it off when I want to do "real" work? Like working with a database system that holds hundreds of millions of rows, used every day? That's in an Oracle database, running on a Linux machine.

    Is my Tivo a "hobby" system? Does TomTom only make "hobby" devices ("you didn't get where you're going? Oh well, you know it's just a hobby system, right?"). I guess I shouldn't expect much from the routers, phones, and other devices that have put Linux at the core of their stack. I mean, it's just a hobby, right?

    So what is a "professional" system to you? Windows? Sure, it's used a lot of professional capacities, sure there's a lot of software available for it, but are you saying it's somehow more "professional" than Linux? Why is that? Because it's written by Microsoft? Is Microsoft somehow more professional than Oracle or IBM?

    Your post is breathtaking in its ignorance, and I know I'm doing myself no favors by feeding the trolls, but *come* *on* least a descent job of flame baiting would latch on to some obvious, specific weakness and exploit it, rightly or wrongly. This is post is just raving.

  • Re:Games (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sir_Lewk ( 967686 ) <sirlewk@gma i l . c om> on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:39AM (#27994095)

    Well presumably he already has a license for Windows so it wouldn't be terribly unethical to download new installation media (or use the media he already perhaps has) and use that license for a VirtualBox installation of windows.

    Entirely legal? Who knows, hell if I've read that entire EULA. Ethical? Sure.

  • Re:Again... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Adam Jorgensen ( 1302989 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:39AM (#27994099)
    Pretty much. The valid points are drowned amongst the morass of stupid statments.
  • by JustinOpinion ( 1246824 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:48AM (#27994223)

    If you're not using it now, you probably never will.

    This prediction is incompatible with the current trend, which sees a (albeit slow) increase in the Linux marketshare. At least at present new people are migrating to the platform, and I see no reason why this slow migration will stop.

    Basically guys, this is as good as it gets. Live with it or go elsewhere.

    This is incompatible with the rather obvious advances that are being made in Linux all the time. With every release it is indeed getting better and better. It's getting better both in the "standard" ways (all operating systems are adding new features, etc.) and in the "catching up" ways (Linux is now easier to install than most other OS, and is almost as easy to configure via GUI for a novice...).

    Linux is a hobby systyem. The code is donated mostly by amateurs

    This misses that fact that many major components of the Linux ecosystem (including the kernel, servers, databases, the major office suite, etc.) are supported by companies. Many of the primary developers on these systems (ever heard of this guy called Linus?) are salaried employees.

  • Seriously, why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gzipped_tar ( 1151931 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:49AM (#27994249) Journal

    But why are Linux enthusiasts hoping for a future of Linux on the Desktop (TM)?

    I mean, I am the one of the mystic, claimed-by-some-to-be-nonexistent "Linux-exclusive" users you've heard of, and I like it with a passion. However I don't understand why people like me are busy trying to push Linux to the Joe Q. Users. Is it because that a Linux future must be better than something else? But how do we know for sure? Even if we were, then why should we be pushing it for some global acceptance?

    And yes, I know the technical advantages of Linux that could be beneficial to average users. I know the ideals for which Linux claims to stand and I think they are fine, but on the other hand something being fine doesn't necessarily imply that we should be pushing it everywhere. You may want to share your joyful experience with your new shiny $DISTRO desktop but everyone has his/her own definition of joyfulness.

    In other words, I value a future of Everyone Happy with His/Her Own Fucking Favorate Operating System far greater than one of "Linux on the Desktop". It's all about choice, huh? We are supposed to be the more technical-savvy group so we should have understood our own needs (which means I need what I need but I don't necessarily need what $BIG_GREED_CORPORATION tells me to need), AND that ours are not necessarily shared by others, right?

    Thanks for listening to my rant. I apology for the time I made you wasted in reading this post.

  • by ricky-road-flats ( 770129 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:50AM (#27994267)
    I have been trying for years to get a Linux desktop I can use as a full replacement of Windows. It's nearly there, certainly constantly improving, but absolutely not there yet. I'm not just a whinging Windows fanboi - I've been working and playing with Linux on and off since 1992, and on the server side I use a mix of Windows and Linux as appropriate for the job at hand, and have introduced successful Linux systems into Linux-hostile companies.

    On the desktop,in the last couple of years especially, Ubuntu has driven it a long way forwards, and I enjoy trying each new release. But several fundamental things still don't work well enough and the help when things go wrong is still fairly awful.

    Printing - still too hard to get up and running.

    Wifi connectivity - my laptop 'just works' for any required length of time with a solid Wifi connection in Windows at home, but in several distros of Linux it has to re-establish a connection every couple of minutes.

    Battery life on laptops still sucks relative to both XP and Windows 7.

    Suspend/resume, and Hibernation/resume. In Windows I just fold the laptop and *know* it will close down cleanly, and come back when I open it. USB, sound, video - all will still be working when it comes back. Not so in Linux.

    Yes, I as a computer user and engineer of over 20 years experience can get Ubuntu to work for me. But it's just too hard to be worthwhile. And it's a shame, but I certainly can't recommend the technophobe people I support (family, friends) switch to Linux as things are.

  • From TFA:

    12. Bad security model: there's zero protection against keyboard keyloggers and against running malicious software (Linux is viruses free only due to its extremely low popularity). sudo is very easy to circumvent (social engineering). sudo still requires CLI (see clause 4.).

    I don't know whether to laugh or cry at that one. Linux is viruses free BECAUSE of its security model! A program you run from the web will NOT change your root settings! If you get "infected" because you got the "I want to see the dancing bunnies" syndrome, you can still log in as root and fix your infected user account. Yes, an infected user will NOT infect other users!

    Try that with Windows.

    "sudo still requires CLI". Yes, but we have gksu and kdesu. I've been using it for years.

    It's not the model that's wrong, you dumbass (I'm talking to the article writer), but the implementation (_IF_ it is indeed wrong). Linux has this philosophy: It's better to be safe than friendly. Windows has tried to put user friendliness over security. Thanks to this we have botnets running all over the world.

    Everything was fine with the article until I found this "bad security model" crap. I tagged the article "troll" just because of it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:53AM (#27994321)

    Just a few reasons why Windows isn't really ready for the desktop either:

    1.1 Insanely difficult to set up volume levels, audio recording ... and in some situations even audio output.

    1.2 Highly confusing, not self-explanatory mixer settings.

    1.3 By default the volume levels are not set properly (no audio output/no sound recording).

    2. Kernel Level GUI making security a nightmare.

    4. It should be possible to configure everything via simple GUI which is still not a case for too many situations and operations require registry edits or hacks with 3rd party software.

    5. Problems stemming from high windows popularity and closed source nature:

    5.1 Too many duplicate software titles, crapware which duplicates the features of existing software getting bundled with PCs. Massive lack of reuseable code. Many programmers reinvent the wheel badly due to lack of suitable libraries/backends.

    5.2 Incomplete or unstable drivers for some hardware. Problems setting up some hardware.

    5.2.1 A lot of web cameras still do not work without badly written proprietary drivers, often unavailable for Vista or even XP. Many devices with the same chipset ship with their own drivers and more annoyingly there own poorly written proprietary software.

    5.2.2 There's no standard webcam/TV card viewing software.

    5.4 It's impossible to watch Divx movies without downloading extra Codecs which Windows won't find for you.

    5.5 Questionable patents and legality status. Bad record of abuse of monopolies and unfair practice against competitors.

    6. Poor or almost missing regression testing in Window kernel (and, alas, in other closed Source software too) leading to a situation when new versions of windows may become totally unusable for some hardware configurations (software suspend doesn't work, crashes, unable to boot, networking problems, video tearing, etc.)

    7. A galore of software bugs across all applications. Just look into some of the CERT advisories which have been issued for Windows.

    8. Poor interoperability between applications and their components. E.g. many kernel features get a decent userspace support years after introduction.

    9. General slowness: just compare bootup/login times between a Windows PC installed 2 years ago and a Linux one.

    9.1 Huge shutdown/suspend/hibernate/restore time.

    10. Poor documentation.

    11. Bad security model: there's zero protection against keyboard keyloggers and against running malicious software. UAC is very very easy to circumvent (social engineering). Such a vast amount of the OS running in kernel space makes it far easier to exploit.

    12. A very bad backwards and forward compatibility.

    12.1 Old applications often fail to work in new Windows versions. Compatibility modes not always reliable and quite daunting for novice users.

  • by b4upoo ( 166390 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:56AM (#27994359)

    Gee Whiz! I didn't realize my desktop isn't working. Month after month and year after year it felt like it worked just fine.

  • Re:Wait....what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by petes_PoV ( 912422 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:59AM (#27994393)

    So what is a "professional" system to you?

    Simple: one that is reliable, cheap (talking about TCO, not "free"ness[1]). Has the tools I need to produce high-quality output. Is integrated - so I can work quickly and efficiently. Is secure, so I can prevent unauthorised access to my resources. That I can rely on to support the hardware I need/want to use. Is well suported and documented - so I can easily find out how to use it. Is stable, so I have the confidence that in 3 or 5 years time, the same applications will work. Works well with the other systems I interface with. Complies with standards so they will continue to work together in the future.

    While Linux platforms do some of these things - and does some of them well, it is not complete and cannot be relied on to do all these things I need from a computer. As it is, I am completely O/S agnostic. I simply don't care what system I use, provided I can get the results I want. As it is, I am finding that achieving my goals on my Linux platform is becoming harder and harder as time goes on. Once it was the best solution for be requirments - nowadays that's in doubt and I can't see the situation improving.

    [1] Typically one day lost trying to work out how to use a software package and failing, far exceeds the money spent on buying a commercial solution

  • Re:Games (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:59AM (#27994413)
    Steam is still evil DRM used for renting games and dictating our use of them.
  • Re:Troll -1 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by selven ( 1556643 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @09:01AM (#27994441)

    sudo is very easy to circumvent (social engineering)

    That applies to pretty much every password system in existence.

  • by Architect_sasyr ( 938685 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @09:02AM (#27994453)
    Just wanted to say, whilst making note that I am strongly against cloud computing, that the first spreadsheet programs were probably very inflexible too. Things like macro's and massively complex formulae probably weren't available early on. I don't actually remember that, I net have a use for spreadsheets until about 4 years ago, but it is something to think about.
  • Re:Games (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bsdaemonaut ( 1482047 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @09:04AM (#27994489)

    I've never really understood that argument. While I was growing up, playing video games pretty much meant you had an Atari, NES, or SNES. I realize there were plenty of other consoles out during this time, but that's not the point -- in the past gaming was largely limited to consoles. Yet, for the past 15 years that has no longer been true. The gaming industry on the computer has grown by leaps and bounds. If there is a trend, its consoles that are on the way out, at least if you look at the past 30 years.

  • by Rich2k ( 1227830 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @09:05AM (#27994497)
    But how many end users actually ever need to use regedit compared with CLI on Linux?
  • Re:Games (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 18, 2009 @09:12AM (#27994627)

    I thought Valve were working on releasing a native Steam client?

    No. Someone saw some files that related to the Linux server and jumped to conclusions. Then, as usual, Linux users started running around flapping their wings and squawking like the silly little parrots they are.

  • Wow.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by p.rican ( 643452 ) <spammesilly&gmail,com> on Monday May 18, 2009 @09:13AM (#27994633)
    I've never seen a bigger piece of flamebait than this article. Stopped reading it half-way through cuz it's just LOADED with misinformation.
  • by Dragonslicer ( 991472 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @09:15AM (#27994665)
    Viruses don't matter anymore. It's all about trojans now. A stupid person using Ubuntu is just as easy to infect with a trojan as a stupid person using Windows is.
  • Re:Wait....what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ciderVisor ( 1318765 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @09:17AM (#27994689)

    Is my Tivo a "hobby" system? Does TomTom only make "hobby" devices ("you didn't get where you're going? Oh well, you know it's just a hobby system, right?"). I guess I shouldn't expect much from the routers, phones, and other devices that have put Linux at the core of their stack. I mean, it's just a hobby, right?

    I thought we were discussing Linux on the desktop, not as an embedded OS ?

  • by Shin-LaC ( 1333529 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @09:18AM (#27994705)
    The question is which anecdote echoes most readers' experience.
  • by Yosho ( 135835 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @09:18AM (#27994707)

    As popular as the game is, and knowing it can run on a *nix variant, Blizzard still won't produce a native Linux client. So why do you suppose that is?

    They're a company, so the answer is simple: it's not worth the cost. Linux's install base among desktop users is less than 10% of what OS X has, and they've stated in the past that the only reasons they develop OS X versions of their games are because some of their developers prefer OS X and because maintaining multi-platform compatibility helps them find bugs that they wouldn't find otherwise. The OS X version makes them a small amount of money, but its primary usefulness is as quality control.

    (by the way, OS X is not a *nix variant, it is a full-fledged UNIX)

  • Re:Games (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sun.Jedi ( 1280674 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @09:19AM (#27994735) Journal

    VMs on the desktop are a hack to make up for the shortcomings of Linux, not a solution.

    It's extremely silly to even think that VMs are a viable long term solution, not just because the the topic is "Linux is not ready for the Desktop", but probably more because Mom and Pop will not install and configure a VM when Windows 'just works'.

  • by Jewfro_Macabbi ( 1000217 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @09:24AM (#27994833)

    For all the faults Microsoft has with their software, at least they did the research and learned how Joe Shmoe uses a computer and designed to the lowest common denominator. That's how they ended up on top.

    Crap. The people who "can't use Linux", cannot use Windows either. I eat better because of it. They break their pre-installed version (usually within a few months). Then they pay someone like myself to re-install Windows, and all the drivers and software they need.

    If you give them a linux system pre-installed and configured (a thing you can buy from Dell and others now), they are able to use it with the same level of functionality. They can surf teh interwebs, play music, and watch videos.

  • Re:Games (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ravenscall ( 12240 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @09:26AM (#27994865)

    Why install another whole OS, set up virtualization, get windows working and install the quilting application when just installing windows and electric quilt does the same exact thing? Would you ask hypothetical Joe Enduser and reasonably expect him to be successful in this task? He would likely give up in the hour, say his computer is broken, and would have the Geek Squad charging him out the nose to reinstall windows (fix) his computer, and whenever somebody mentioned Linux, would relate his horror stories, turning more users off from ever trying it.

    And he would be totally justified in doing so.

    Until there is a Linux distro that "just works" as well as an average new windows installation, there will only be niche uptake of Linux.

  • Re:Games (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Onyma ( 1018104 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @09:40AM (#27995169)
    I can understand what you're saying but I think the reason is this:

    In the 'early console days' games were far simpler and required less 'power' to run. You could pick up a relatively simple box and plug it into the largest screen in your house (your TV) and play away.

    Games then started to become more complex and the focus shifted away from the largest screen in the house to the most powerful platform. PC Development was in its hey-day and developers moved onto the platform where they could write the most complex games to stay ahead of the market. The console's importance died out for awhile and PCs with their new fangled 3D hardware, bigger screens, etc. began to take over.

    This brings about the third 'age' of gaming where now the console makers have ramped up hardware development. Suddenly the average PC is no longer the big dog in the house power wise. Specialized hardware has allowed the console to catch up and frequently eclipse the PC in game complexity. This has also conveniently coincided with the rise of the large format flat screen TV so now you can play the most 'complex' games on the biggest screen in the house again.

    If I had to guess I would say the future involves more of a fusion of console and PC rather than a back and forth. I think we're headed to a world where your home functions on one (or several?) core boxes, whether you use those to kill aliens, do your taxes, surf the future web, or control the oven. But now I'm way off the original topic :)
  • by reallocate ( 142797 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @09:41AM (#27995189)

    Slashdot has been running "Is Linux Ready For The Desktop?" stories pretty much forever. We could go back several years and find threads saying pretty muh the same things.

    The question is wrong. It isn't so much "Is Linux Ready for the Big Dance?" as it is "Is Anyone Gonna Ask Linux to the Big Dance?" For instance, while it may or may not be the fault of Linux that most hardware vendors do not provide linux drivers, the fact is that they don't. If someone can't use their hardware with Linux, pointing the finger of blame isn't going to make that hardware work.

    Linux lacks many (most?) of the commercial products used by other platforms. Why? Because the perception exists that Linux users won't buy commerical products. Whether that perception is accurate is irrelevant.

    My own take: The more tightly an OS is associated with a specific hardware platform, the eaier it is for that vendor to control the quality and reliability of the users' experience. Due to the nature of its development culture, Linux stands farther away from hardware platforms than do Windows and, obviously, OS X. The Unix-y ability to Linux to run on many hardware flavors is a double-edged sword.

  • Re:Games (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Inner_Child ( 946194 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @09:44AM (#27995273)
    It really is funny you should say that, especially considering most Windows installations don't "just work" at all, unless you venture out onto the internet to scrounge up drivers for all the hardware Linux picks up automatically. Then you have to install all of the various types of software in Windows that come already installed with virtually any Linux distro so that you can actually do something with your computer. Saying Windows "just works" and Linux doesn't is a bit inaccurate.

    Linux has gotten to the point where it's easier to install and set up than Windows. When was the last time you tried?
  • Re:Wait....what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rantingkitten ( 938138 ) <kitten&mirrorshades,org> on Monday May 18, 2009 @09:47AM (#27995359) Homepage
    Simple: one that is reliable, cheap (talking about TCO, not "free"ness[1]).

    Windows' "reliability" is questionable -- it's come a way since XP, but Vista isn't what I'd call reliable yet. And spare us the TCO garbage. One day of my trying to hunt down a missing dll and then resolving the conflicting versions, or scrubbing a salesperson's machine of yet another couple of trojans and viruses, outweighs the "productivity" gains from Microsoft's offering.

    Is integrated - so I can work quickly and efficiently.

    I have no idea what this means, and I suspect I'm not alone. Next "point".

    Is secure, so I can prevent unauthorised access to my resources.

    Oh, yeah, Windows is highly secure and never lets unauthorised persons crack it. I'm not even going to bother providing links on such a laughable statement.

    That I can rely on to support the hardware I need/want to use.

    Agreed, Windows is pretty good about that these days, but no better than a modern Linux distro, particularly something like Ubuntu. I also note that Ubuntu usually gets things right out of the box, whereas on any fresh Windows install I have to spend an extra hour or two hunting down drivers from manufacturer's websites, installing them, and cleaning up the party favors they leave behind. Even then I was never able to get my Creative soundcard working under Vista, though it worked fine in Ubuntu (and, to be fair, XP as well, so I have no idea what the deal is). I ended up having to use the onboard sound because I just couldn't get it to work.

    Is stable, so I have the confidence that in 3 or 5 years time, the same applications will work.

    "Stable" can mean a few things, but it's certainly not "stable" by your definition. Tell that to all the people who won't migrate from XP to Vista, because their applications won't function properly under Vista. I guess you could argue that they can continue running XP but the counterargument is that they're nine years behind the times.

    "Stable" also means, to me, that the OS remains relatively cruft-free over time, and doesn't lose performance over time. Microsoft is among the first to tell you to reinstall the OS every so often because Windows is guaranteed to slow down over time, regardless of what you do or how well you try to manage it.

    Works well with the other systems I interface with.

    Windows works well with other Windows systems. It doesn't work well with anything else. If you're strictly an all-Windows shop, great, but some of us are trying to get real work done.

    Complies with standards so they will continue to work together in the future.

    What standards would those be, exactly? Microsoft's own that are followed by nobody else? Frankly, Microsoft can't even maintain compatibility with its own stuff -- documents written under previous versions of Office won't open properly in newer versions half the time for example, then they introduced this docx and xlsx crapola to break even their own "standards". Microsoft dragged its heels in supporting ODF and then offered a completely half-assed add-on solution. Their HTML and CSS compliance still sucks as far as I can tell. POSIX compliance is unavailable in any version of Vista except Ultimate, and is only sort-kinda acheived in Server 2003. The list goes on. "Microsoft" and "standards compliance" are almost mutually exclusive terms.

    Maybe I've been trolled, but I just can't make sense of your statements.
  • by Kupfernigk ( 1190345 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @09:50AM (#27995391)
    Linux printing is one of the best things about it. With any reasonably modern (Bonjour compliant) printer I expect to have it working under Ubuntu in no time flat, whereas Windows involves downloading what is often a load of bloatware. HP and Samsung in particular have excellent Linux support, and I've had no problems with Oki.

    I suspect what you are really saying is that it is hard to get the cut price "designed for Windows" printers to work. Well, surprise! You can't blame a non-Windows OS for not supporting a printer when part of the firmware is embedded in a Windows driver and it is crippled by design. Buy a mainstream office printer from a mainstream manufacturer and you should have no problems.

    I don't disagree with your other comments, btw, and I run Windows on my netbook to allow several legacy programs without Wine to run. But GDI printers are an abortion.

  • Re:Games (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ebh ( 116526 ) <edhorch&gmail,com> on Monday May 18, 2009 @09:56AM (#27995527) Journal

    I would. It's a perfect example of "needing Windows to run the thing I need to run because there's no way to do the same thing on Linux".

  • Re:Cut and Paste (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MistrBlank ( 1183469 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @10:13AM (#27995823)

    Guys, everyone responding to the parent, his gripe is not that cut/paste doesn't work.

    His gripe is that when you click on the URL bar in Firefox-Linux, it doesn't automatically highlight the entire text so he can paste over the whole thing right away.

    Personally, I think this is a stupid argument and a windows failure. I don't want to have to multi click to put my cursor at a specific point. This is a bad UI decision on MS's part and is a Windows behavior, not FF). And it's easily fixed by double clicking in Firefox-Linux.

  • by tjonnyc999 ( 1423763 ) <tjonnyc AT gmail DOT com> on Monday May 18, 2009 @10:14AM (#27995845)

    the average user just doesn't give a shit and is unwilling if not incapable of tweaking the OS to accomplish otherwise simple tasks.

    Absolutely. You've hit the nail right on the head. 95% of users out there are not going to RTFM, will not open the command prompt, and will not edit a config file. Not because they're stupid, or lazy - but because it's not their job. And the sooner developers realize this, the better.

    It's not a question of "how can we make the stupid users figure out that 1% of the application experience so we don't have to code a step-by-step GUI configuration util for it?", it's a question of "how do we understand that the secretary/doctor/lawyer/manager *expects* the machine to work just like every other machine in his/her universe?".

    The problem is not that the average office user / home user is stupid. The problem is that they're used to their coffee-maker, microwave, fax machine, and calculator being 100% operational out-of-the-box, and the computer should not be any different.

    There is a significant difference in the mentality of Joe Q. User and Jim Q. Developer when it comes to the question of what's acceptable in a computer application, and until we IT professionals suspend our hubris for a minute and try to work out a solution that "just plain works", we'll keep running into the same brick wall and wondering why it's still there.

    Of course, this is IMHO, YMMV, and so on.

    P.S. Someone mentioned a dearth of audio software for Linux. Here's a small list: []
    Google Transation: []

  • Re:Here's why... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PiSkyHi ( 1049584 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @10:16AM (#27995881)

    Many of his points are just embarrassing. I don't get it, what pride can you take in showing that you tried a hobbyist operating system that flies in the hands of a master and then demonstrating all the areas you failed to comprehend/jury rig ?

    Its not supposed to work straight out the box, because you are supposed to find the way to use with in symbiosis - if you are a paid up windows user, please don't complain when you bring home a free DIY airplane and you glue the decals on the windscreen.

  • Re:Games (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sopssa ( 1498795 ) <> on Monday May 18, 2009 @10:17AM (#27995909) Journal

    What would be the point of emulating lots of software you use? and specially games, you even cannot as the fps would be like 1fps.

    Unless linux can deliver me all of the things I need that I have in windows, I'm not gonna transfer. Hell, I prolly wouldnt transfer even then unless theres something better that I have in Windows (but yes, security gained by minor OS would prolly be good, but that would change in my scenario aswell).

    And let me state, I use linux for various servers I own and manage. But it just cant give me the same use for me as Windows in desktop usage, from both work and gaming experience.

    And no, my gaming needs aren't replaced with the freeware and some other games that are available for linux. I want to play the newest games like Left4Dead and Sims 3, and providing "alternative" for me doesn't cut. I want to play those games and not make a compromise, specially when theres no any need to.

  • by tnk1 ( 899206 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @10:21AM (#27995991)

    Yes, but corporate use drives home use. That's the reason I own a Windows PC today instead of a Mac or a Linux box. I'm a UNIX Systems Administrator who mostly works on Linux boxes and I actually have to use Windows to do all the parts of my job that do not involve me directly typing commands on the command line.

    Office (Outlook, Visio, Word, Excel) is #1, but there are a lot of other tools that are either Windows only, or they are so much easier to use on Windows that they might as well drop their Linux versions.

    Yeah, I could get OpenOffice, but then, I can run that on my Windows box too. I might as well just use MS Office, as my workplace pays for that.

    On the Desktop, everything that Linux distros have, Windows also has. And many things that Linux desktops don't have, Windows boxes do.

    I'm entirely capable of creating a Linux desktop that I could get by with, but why would I? Windows has business and games which are the top two reasons for me to have a computer at home.

    For non-administrator types, creating a usable home Linux desktop is much less compelling as they probably need to use Excel or Word and have never used or even heard of OpenOffice. Needless to say, they will be annoyed and frustrated when their Linux distro pulls out one of its patented "only half-works" issues on something that should be taken for granted like sound or graphics.

    Home desktop use is maybe 90% of the market, but what do you think put the PC in the home in the first place?

    I have a copy of Vista, it took three tries to install it, and it took me about an hour to get it looking like XP again and to turn off UAC. It sucks up RAM like no tomorrow. But it doesn't matter. I wanted DirectX 10 and my box has 6GB of RAM, upgradeable to 12, so I really don't care. I could have a Linux box that is built on a better platform that will make far better use of my system resources, but how would it be anything more than a toy?

  • Re:Games (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sopssa ( 1498795 ) <> on Monday May 18, 2009 @10:21AM (#27995995) Journal

    Stop buying the bulk computer boxes or constructing your box yourself, and you'll see that all the general computers sold to end user comes with drivers and instructions and everything needed to run them.

    On an another note, yes Linux comes with drivers that work in most cases. But since they're general drivers, they never archieve the same results as specific drivers made for Windows by the manufacturer.

  • Re:Wait....what? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 18, 2009 @10:22AM (#27996015)

    And you are breathtaking in your arrogance. The article is about the desktop and the poster above you is right! Everything he said is generally right about the software available for desktop distros. His example was about the open source software available (which is um.... just about all of it)

    And your reply is about Oracle Tomtom and Tivo who obviously PAY developers to create software and who can force them therefore to write manuals and even good code!

    Perhaps you should take your own advice and do a decent job of flame baiting next time.

  • Pure troll (Score:2, Insightful)

    by peppepz ( 1311345 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @10:25AM (#27996071)

    0. Premise: proprietary software will stay indefinitely. Full stop. You may argue eternally, but complicated software like games, 3D applications, databases, CADs(Computer-aided Design), etc. which cost millions of dollars and years of man-hours to develop will never be open sourced. Software patents are about to stay forever.

    And how this has to do with Linux?

    1. No reliable sound system,


    no reliable unified software audio mixing,


    many (old or/and proprietary) applications still open audio output exclusively causing major user problems and headache.

    Probably refering to the old proprietary flash plugin? The new one doesn't have that problem, and if you care about hackers not entering your computer, you shouldn't use the old one anyway. By the way, we also have gnash now.

    1.1 Insanely difficult to set up volume levels, audio recording ... and in some situations even audio output. 1.2 Highly confusing, not self-explanatory mixer settings. 1.3 By default many distros do not set volume levels properly (no audio output/no sound recording).

    Still ignoring the efforts PulseAudio. Now some people are upset because the volume mixer is TOO simple (btw I agree with them).

    2. X system: 2.1 No good stable standardized API for developing GUI applications (like Win32 API). Both GTK and Qt are very unstable and often break backwards compatibility.

    Pure BS. Qt is extremely stable, much better than MFC and sure A LOT much better than USER.EXE. In fact, even many commercial applications for Windows are starting to use it.

    2.2 Very slow GUI (except when being run with composite window managers on top of OpenGL).

    Perhaps repainting can be a bit slower, but try watching TV on Windows using any commercially available software of your choice, then do the same on Linux, and after that let's talk about slowness again. Btw any graphics card produced after 2005 is able to do compositing.

    2.3 Many GUI operations are not accelerated. No analogue of GDI or GDI+. Text antialiasing and other GUI operations are software rendered by GUI libraries (GTK->Cairo/QT->Xft).

    No analogue of GDI? You mean we cannot draw lines and circles in Linux? Sounds new to me. No acceleration? See EXA and XRender. Xft renders fonts via XRender. No GDI+? See Arthur, Cairo.

    2.4 Font rendering is implemented via high level GUI libraries, thus: 2.4.1 fontconfig fonts antialiasing settings cannot be applied on-the-fly.

    Thus: each application can use the font rendering engine to do whatever it wants with fonts, other than drawing strings on the screen.

    2.4.2 Fonts antialiasing only works for certain GUI toolkits (see 2.1).

    False. Xft is part of X11 and can be used by every application. Even old-timers like xterm uses it. There's absolutely no reason to use server-side fonts anymore. What applications are you talking about, xbill?

    2.4.3 Default fonts (often) look ugly.

    De gustibus non disputandum est. (Being resolved) By default most distros disable advanced fonts antialiasing.

    That's because Microsoft owns a patent over sub-pixel rendering. Send your complaints to them. By default most distros come without good or even compatible with Windows fonts.

    Install msttcorefonts.

    2.5 No double buffering.

    We have composite these days. Before that, we had the X Double Buffering extension.

    3. Problems stemming from the vast number of Linux distributives: 3.1 No unified configuration system for computer settings, devices and system services. E.g. distro A

  • Re:Games (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sopssa ( 1498795 ) <> on Monday May 18, 2009 @10:45AM (#27996519) Journal

    And how is it not a shortcoming of Linux when theres the stuff needed just isn't available like it is for Windows?

    This kind of attitude just brings me to mind the linux fanboys who go about how great linux is, and when asked if theres equivalent for some soft they need they just answer "eh.. well, you dont need that. its open source you know!" or "if you continue using that goddamn Windows you're evil and support bad companies!!!"

    And no, its not a troll. I've seen these things so many times (and I do use linux myself, but just for my servers usage)

  • Re:Games (Score:4, Insightful)

    by blackholepcs ( 773728 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @10:46AM (#27996543) Journal
    First let me say the I'm not anti-Linux. Any competition to MS is good, as it (you'd think) makes them strive to make better software with better features and reliability. And I have no animosity towards Linux supporters/users.

    However, I do have a hard time understanding why many Linux Lovers have such a hatred of Windows, and why they continually claim that Linux is better and can do EVERYTHING that Windows can do and more.

    I'm sorry to say this, and I'm really not trying to be a troll (even though I'll most likely be modded as such), but Linux is worthless to a LARGE amount of end users for simple reasons (whether or not the end user is simple themselves doesn't really matter) :

    A) Installation IS a pain in the ass for anyone who isn't a geek with a decent amount of experience. Hell its a pain in the ass for those who DO have a decent amount of experience, especially when trying a new distro for the first time that has a wholly different install experience.

    B) Driver support sucks. Oh, sure, a lot of the big hw companies have usable drivers for Linux. But does that driver work well with your distro? Do all the features work with your distro? And what about the non-juggernaut hw companies. A vast majority of them don't have native Linux drivers, making it a super-headache to get the item to work in Linux.

    C) Software selection leaves a lot to be desired. As pointed out in TFA, Open Office vs MS Office is just one of many instances where FOSS really takes a back seat. And most of the industry-standard software either doesn't run on Linux at all or works partially and only in a VM (which kind of defeats the purpose of using Linux).

    D) Games. I don't think I really need to expound upon this one. We all know (even if some of you can't seem to admit it) that gaming on Linux SUCKS ASS because most games don't work on Linux.

    Ok. Now I know that some of what I touched upon can be band-aided by using Wine and such, but come on. That's cheating. If the OS can't natively run the software, and has to do so in a virtual-Windows environment, why not just use Windows?

    Oh, I already know what a lot of the answers to that question will be. "Windows has viruses and isn't secure!" or "Windows doesn't have good driver support either!" or even "Because MS is EEEEVVIILLLLLLLLL!!!!" Well, guess what. Windows SHIPS insecure, but once installed by any competent person who knows how to tweak the system, Windows can be as secure as any other OS out there. I've used almost every iteration of Windows, and starting with XP have never had a virus infection or security breach (and I download a LOT of crap from unreliable sources). That's not to say that a virus has never actually physically been on my system. Just that I've never had to format, reinstall, repair, or anything. Just delete the offending file, and maybe a registry entry or two. And I've had some virii show up that could have screwed me over royally. But because I tune my system the way I do, not much damage can be done, even if I intentionally download a virus (which I have tested several times). Now, I'm not saying I'm invulnerable. I know my system can get FUBAR'd by this or that virus or breach. But it's a safe bet that I'm more secure than any Linux distro out there (which I've proven via a friend who runs Debian, by betting his system would get FUBAR'd before mine after 3 consecutive days of surfing and downloading from some very disreputable sites. His system was tanked in two days, mine never got touched.)

    Now, that whole paragraph above leads to the main point I'm trying to make. An average end user will not understand/like/want to go through the massive learning curve of Linux. Nor will they be happy with the horrible compatability. At the same time, they will not be happy with the virus-fest and crash-athon of Windows. But they will put up with Windows because 95% (I'm guessing) of software works with Windows, as well as 99.99% of games (not taking into consideration that many games don't work when shipped due

  • by HerculesMO ( 693085 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @10:54AM (#27996707)

    "Drop to the terminal", you've already lost most users.

    I appreciate the power of the terminal, and many of the folks on this site also do, but users simply don't care about the "power" of it, they care about simplicity, straightforwardness, and software.

    Linux isn't yet simple, especially when people are used to doing things in Windows or even Mac (a bit), those two platforms work surprisingly alike for installing software (double click!), for finding software (go to some website, download it), etc. When a user is used to going to and downloading the latest Firefox, and then tries doing that in Linux only to find that they have to drop to the terminal and do a install, they already are ready to wipe and format and put Windows back on so they can play their games and surf the web.

    Windows has taken years to get a cohesive (and still not quite there yet) and unified GUI. Mac took a long time too, and it's pretty darned good. Linux is a compilation of GUI, and while it's pretty good LOOKING, it's not unified across every window, every application, etc. Plus, breaking the habit of people downloading apps from the web and going to repositories is counter intuitive for a lot of people.

    If you want to make a dent where Windows is king, you have to adopt some of the peculiarities of the OS in order to adopt. You give them training wheels and the rest they learn on their own. If you fail to provide that, then they just give up and say it sucks -- like the returns OEMs show from getting *nix laptops. Even with distros that work out of the box from OEMs, people are returning them. Sure the distro can be done better, but the odds of that happening are slim, so my thought is that Linux itself needs to change at its core to help the users bridge the gap.

    But I've been hearing "Linux on the desktop" for so many years now I just laugh about it now. Given the treatment of non-Linux users by Linux users (berating, combative, defensive, angry, etc), there's good reason why it never catches on, and it's because the userbase for Linux are a bunch of assholes.

  • by sean.peters ( 568334 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @11:16AM (#27997115) Homepage

    ... was the point of the article going over your head. The key phrase (from your own post) "hobbyist operating system". The point of TFA was that Linux isn't ready for the masses, not that it isn't ready for geeks. Sure, it "flies in the hands of a master". The point is that very few people are masters, and very few have the time or inclination to become masters.

    Its not supposed to work straight out the box, because you are supposed to find the way to use with in symbiosis

    Right. Which is why it's not ready for the desktop (at least for ordinary mortals).

  • by man_of_mr_e ( 217855 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @11:27AM (#27997331)

    I think you missed his point. His point is that sudo can be easily circumvented by social engineering.

    Let's say yuo have Sudo configured like the typical Ubuntu, where the current user need only enter their password to gain root access. Let's suppose that in some future reality Linux is really popular, and starts getting "normal" users. They install some nifty password saving program that asks for their password. They give it to it, and now the app can do anything it wants.

    "But we can read the source code, so that won't happen", you'll yell.. sure YOU CAN, but not the "normal" person. "It would never make it into the repository" you say, well if Linux becomes popular people won't simply be using the repository, they'll be getting software from all over the place, just like they do with Windows now.

    And the flaw in your thinking about the security model is that it ignores vulnerabilities in the software. Yes, browsing a web site *CAN* infect the entire system if there's a vulnerability in the browser which can be used to exploit a privilege escalation vulnerability in the system. Even on Linux. And there are plenty of them. In fact, Linux install so much software in a default install that it's more or less guaranteed that there will always be some vulnerabilities.

  • Re:Games (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 18, 2009 @11:59AM (#27998001)
    Oh yeah, trading the $50 OEM Windows license cost for hours and hours of headaches and incompatible software is SO worth it. Sorry, but my time must be worth far more than yours.
  • by twasserman ( 878174 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @12:07PM (#27998157)
    Several years ago, at the last Linux Desktop Summit, I said that my measure for success of "Linux on the desktop" was to be able to do 100% of my desktop computing on a machine that ran only open source software. Although I have advanced degrees in computer science and was (am) willing to do command-line customizations and installations, I took the perspective of the average non-professional user seeking a home desktop solution that is roughly comparable to MacOS X and various Windows implementations.

    At the time, I estimated that we were around the 50% mark toward that goal (lots of missing device drivers, buggy OpenOffice, no high-quality equivalent tools for photo editing, page layout, video editing, and much more). In short, anyone using a Linux desktop would need to have another machine to accomplish these other tasks.

    In recent weeks, I have installed SLED 11, openSuse 11.1, Fedora 10, and Ubuntu 9.04 on several netbooks, notebooks, and boxes. My goal (once again) was to make one of these systems my everyday workhorse machine, one that I could recommend to friends and family for all of their computing tasks. While the situation is much improved from three years ago, we are still quite a way from reaching that elusive 100% goal. For myself and my family, I would guess that we are in the 80's, but gamers would give a much lower score.

    Installation and setup is vastly improved. The desktop layouts, particularly GNOME, are reasonably familiar to users of other platforms. Individual applications, notably OpenOffice and Firefox, have come a long way. The usability of system update mechanisms ranges from the smooth (Ubuntu) to the challenging (SuSE). (Development tools are outstanding, but that isn't the issue here.)

    However, I had to install restricted drivers to make wireless work, had to install commercially licensed Flash to be able to view many websites, and still found myself without programs for video editing, page layout, and photo editing that compared well with their commercial counterparts (e.g., Scribus vs. MS Publisher or Pages). Watching commercial DVDs occasionally required the use of terminal commands to download and install software, not to mention the associated legal issues. Webcams and microphones were unreliable at best, making it impossible to do video chat or broadcasting (e.g. uStream) with web-based applications.

    So I renew the challenge to make it possible for average computer users to do 100% of their work using open source software. That means moving development efforts up from the operating system and infrastructure level to concentrate on creating high quality, easily used applications. That also rules out using WINE or VirtualBox to run proprietary apps.

    Let's create personas and scenarios for different types of users, identify their needs, and build the needed applications and drivers. Let's also continue to push device makers to supply Linux drivers. Let's find a workable solution for Flash and SWF-based web content. (Gnash isn't quite there.) In that way, we can make some progress toward that magic 100% number that would allow people to do all of their computing on a Linux desktop.

  • Re:Games (Score:5, Insightful)

    by howlingfrog ( 211151 ) <> on Monday May 18, 2009 @12:13PM (#27998263) Homepage Journal

    You're comparing apples to oranges. In the situation where a computer is assembled and configured by professionals, then sold to end-users, any OS will Just Work out of the box. In the situation where components are sold to end-users who assemble and configure themselves, Linux is a hell of a lot easier than Windows to get running, and slightly easier to get running well.

    I think the argument you're trying to make is that an OS that doesn't come preinstalled by major-brand manufacturers is unsuitable for the typical end user. Which I agree with--I'm a Linux user, borderline zealot, but there's no way Joe Sixpack can be expected to know how to install a new OS.

  • Re:Games (Score:5, Insightful)

    by the_B0fh ( 208483 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @12:14PM (#27998279) Homepage

    So, a flat head screw driver is a shortcoming of a philips screwn driver?

    Use the right tool for the job. If windows is the one, then use it.

  • Re:Games (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Baki ( 72515 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @12:24PM (#27998499)

    If you are even older (like me, over 40) you remember a time before personal computers, the oldest systems for gaming were only consoles:

    At 11 I got my first "console", it had only 4 variants of ping/pong black & white on the television.

    Then at 13 I got the first real console, a Philips videopack G7000 []. Others maybe got an Atari (the Philips was mainly known in the Netherlands, and since most of my relatives used to work @ Philips it was the logical choice).

    Only 2 years later (I was 15) real computers started to appear: the first real computer I experienced appeared at school, a commodore PET. You could program games in basic or machine code (enter pages of hex codes). I was immediately hooked on computers and have been ever since...

    Shortly after I moved to a C64 and later to an Atari ST. Only 1 year ago I have bought a console (WII) mainly for my children. I still prefer computers (windows PC alas, I would prefer linux if games were available) for gaming.

    But anyway, consoles have been around longer than computers I would think.

  • by Xabraxas ( 654195 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @12:49PM (#27998909)
    1. ALSA works fine. Pulse still sucks but it isn't necessary for mixing. I agree that mixer settings are confusing though.
    2. GTK hasn't broken backwards compatibility since the 1.x to 2.x switch. QT4 and QT3 are both installed on my machine and I have NEVER had an issue with lack of backwards comaptiblity with either toolkit. Text antialiasing IS accelerated and can be applied on the fly. Windows fonts may be familiar but they suck. Double, even triple buffering exists on Linux.
    3. Gnome and KDE both offer configuration programs for most tasks. Even Windows requires you to tweak registry settings sometimes. Personally I think the lack of a package manager in systems like Windows is a brain-dead security nightmare. Application development really isn't that hard. I compile all my software and never have an issue with the fact that the software was developed on another Linux system.
    4. See 3.
    5. Saying Linux has few software titles is mind numbing. I have well over 10,000 packages available for my system. Home users don't generally use AutoCAD and most don't NEED CS3. Linux does have some wonderful digital creation programs but it still probably isn't going to be a choice for a professional. Games are a niche and most users don't play more than solitaire. Hardware is an issue for all systems. Vista stopped supporting a ton of printers when it came out. I am a Linux desktop user that has no problem interfacing with my digital camera, wireless mouse, mp3 player, GPS, wireless printer, webcam, and cell phone. Even BOTH of my wireless cards work. I don't own any Blue-Ray titles and from the sales figures I would say I'm not that much different from most users. Of the codecs that are available, their legality is only a question in some countries and there are quality codecs available for purchase. Windows doesn't even come with most common codecs anyway.
    6. The ONLY issue I have had with the kernel in a long time is the current graphics situation. There is a lot of work going on right now with graphics drivers both in the kernel and in the Xserver. This is causing issues for people but a major shift in grahpics driver developement is bound to cause issues. The blame here should be on the distro that released a broken implementation or combination.
    7. This isn't any different than Windows or OSX. The big difference is that pretty much anyone can post a bug for open source software.
    8. I'm not sure what the author is referring to here. I don't find this to be the case at all. Userspace generally keeps up with kernel development pretty well. I would love to know how setting up an LDAP configuration is even remotely common among average desktop users. This is a sysadmin job even on Windows.
    9. This might be yet another distro related problem. OO launches about as quick as Office for me. Perhaps the author has Office preloading.
    10. This is another issue that even Windows has.
    11. -
    12. WTF? Someone just released an application to completely bypass UAC in Windows 7 and Linux is insecure? Zero protection from malware? Tell that to my grsec/pax/ssp/pie system. SELinux is a standard part of the kernel now and some distros enable it by default. Social engineering a sudo password isn't any different from social engineering ANY password. Sudo DOES have a graphical interface.
    13. Old applications work fine for me. Not all of them but most. Many more applications broke from the switch from XP to Vista for most people, including expensive software packages that needed to be re-bought. The last time I had an issue with an old program it was fixed with one line of code: #include <linux/limits.h>. Try doing that with Windows.
    14. Windows doesn't have a standard way of distributing software. Linux does. It's called a package manager. They very same thing that was a complaint earlier. Software policies can be implemented with SELinux and I don't believe desktop versions of windows even support this.
  • Re:Games (Score:4, Insightful)

    by __aasqbs9791 ( 1402899 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @01:14PM (#27999331)

    I agree. I was talking to my brother (who is a pretty smart person overall) about some computer problems he was having and he said he was out of memory. Being that it was a java program I was telling him to run, and knowing that his computer is several years old, I wasn't too surprised. So I asked him how much memory he had?

    "1.3 Ghz?" was his response.

    I tried really hard to not laugh as I realized he isn't a computer guy (he can type, but he's never built a system, etc) and I had completely forgotten this fact. It is so easy for us to forget that most people don't have the experiences we do. I wonder if people in other professions have this same problem? Do civil engineers forget most people don't have any idea how much stress a bridge can take? Do doctors forget most people don't know anything about prescription drug interactions?

  • Re:Games (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DrgnDancer ( 137700 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @01:24PM (#27999525) Homepage

    The argument that he (and everyone who makes these arguments while thinking about the real world with real people in it) is making is that "The Year of the Linux Desktop" will come when the average computer user can go to the store and buy a computer with Linux on it that works just as well as the one with Windows on it. When that user can go into the aisle next door and buy any piece of software and know that it will work on their new Linux computer, and when they can go to the aisle on the other side and buy a new printer or USB TV tuner or whatever and know that THAT will will work just as well on their computer as it will on a Windows computer. I've said this like a million times. I like Linux, I use Linux, I have no problems at all with Linux and I hate Microsoft's monopoly as much as anyone. It's not the fault of Linux developers or Linux advocates that their software doesn't come pre-installed, or that "regular" software companies don't develop for the OS, or that manufacturers refuse to develop Linux drivers or release specs. It's not their fault, but they are never going to get wide-scale desktop penetration until all those things happen.

    Free isn't enough. Better in some difficult to measure or display ways isn't enough. Most normal users don't care about things like that. They want to go to the store and buy a computer. They want to know that most of the software they need will work on the computer. They want to know that they can take the computer to someone and get it fixed when it is broken. They want to know that when they buy a new piece of hardware (almost always an external piece of hardware, opening the computer up is scary), that the software that comes with it will make it work. MacOS has managed to make some inroads into the Windows desktop share, only because they can offer most of this. The software and hardware are a bit chancy, but mostly everything works with a Mac, and it's a big enough market share that hardware manufacturers make a point of showing they are Mac compatible if they are.

    People are not going to install a new OS (Windows or Linux, it doesn't matter) unless forced. If they HAVE to do so (and can't afford to get the Geek Squad to do it for them), they'll do their best to use the quick restore the vendor provided. I recently friended an old military science professor of mine on Facebook. Nice, guy, I always liked him. He just bought a new computer. Why? Well you see his hard drive died. He couldn't/wouldn't install a new one and reload his OS, and Best Buy told him that it would cost $489 for them to do it (and they wouldn't guarantee it would work, since they couldn't be absolutely sure that it wasn't a bus problem or something until they got into the repair). So he bought a new computer. A WHOLE NEW COMPUTER, because his hard drive went bad. I wanted to strangle him through the Internet lines for even thinking about it, but to him it made perfect sense. This is the kind of person that will make the "Year of the Linux Desktop". Someday after you explain to him what a "Linux" is.

  • Re:Games (Score:5, Insightful)

    by badpazzword ( 991691 ) <> on Monday May 18, 2009 @01:24PM (#27999529)
    Oh, but the problem is that the real reasons why working in Ubuntu is better than working on Windows can't be seen in screenies. It's the sum of many small great touches :)

    Some examples, in an ordered in no particular order list:

    1. Multiple desktops. Stop the clutter at the bottom of the screen. Organising your work is as easy as pressing Ctrl-Alt-E (IIRC) or just Ctrl-(Alt)-<Arrow>.

    2. Mouse wheel works on item however, not item focused. Want to scroll that document in a background window? Just move the mouse there and scroll away! You can also use the scrollwheel to cycle between desktops, tabs, windows, comboboxes and more.

    3. An 'always on top' item in the window menu. If you need to copy data from app A to app B put app B at the top with two clicks (or a right mouse drag). No external bloatware required.

    4. Middle click pasting. Now that app B is on top, select stuff normally from app A and middle click on the destination in app B. Voila': copy paste with the mouse only. And your Ctrl-C/Ctrl-V buffer (aka clipboard) stays untouched!

    5. Notifications that get out of the way. Ubuntu 9.04 doesn't need no frikkin' baloons (and currently the method to bring them back doesn't work for me :D). Message boxes are done the right way -- (almost) no generic yes/no choices.

    6. If virtualization is good enough for videogames on a Mac (it is), then it is good enough for videogames on a Linux. (Non free; dunno about the free) versions of virtual box are able to use the processors' virtualization extensions and offer inbuilt OpenGL support. DirectX support is in the works. Hell, the (free) Ubuntu supported enterprise virtualization support doesn't even work without it.

    7. Dual booting. You don't need to wipe Windows for that app you NEED to run in native Windows. Since you won't use it that much you can even not care on Windows to install all the damn bloatware like firewalls and antiviruses.

    8. Installing, uninstalling and updating applications. So long as you keep true to installing EVERYTHING through whatever your distro uses to manage packages, 95% of that stuff is as hard as respectively checking boxes on, checking boxes off and clicking on "Install updates". No, you don't even need to mindlessly pound through wizards on the Next button waiting for it to become Finish.

    9. Codecs. It is surprising how well codecs work on Linux, when you consider the not so solid situation on sound reproduction. Just downloaded an flv from youtube? No need for external players or convertors -- totem plays it out of the box. Totem will automatically prompt you to install missing codecs (see 8) when needed. Oh, and generally speaking, if you can play it, you can convert it to free formats like ogg or ogv.

    10. Compiz. It's just too cool not to be mentioned, and AFAIK it predates the Windows and Mac equivalents. :D

    Oh, an important thing to end this tl;dr comment:

    Ubuntu is not a Windows skin.

    It doesn't work like Windows.

    It's *designed* not to.

    If you try Ubuntu like a Windows skin you are going to fail. Full stop.

    If you aren't interested in giving up on the way you work on Windows to approach different, not necessarily better ways of working then don't bother trying Ubuntu and while you're at it stop talking about it and just keep on going with Windows. Nobody is forcing you. Linux is all about choice. ;)
  • Re:Games (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Frank T. Lofaro Jr. ( 142215 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @01:33PM (#27999679) Homepage

    Is there VPN software for Linux that doesn't require 40 hours of work and a PhD in CS in order to get up and running?

  • Re:Ecosystem (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rob Y. ( 110975 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @02:01PM (#28000203)

    You got it. The only thing wrong with Linux today is that it's still developed in R&D mode. The distros, desktop environments, etc. are still changing too fast. This is a byproduct of the open source development model, and it's the reason Linux got as complete as it is without billions of investment.

    But for general desktop usage, R&D mode won't hack it. And at this point there's not much good reason for Linux to stay in R&D other than inertia. Sure there are a few things that haven't shaken out a good desktop standard yet. As has been mentioned before, the presence of multiple sound and video API's is an ongoing problem. So much so that KDE4 built Phonon to wrap the 'native' API's in a standard one apps can code to (and lots of apps lost functionality in the process of converting to that least common denominator API).

    Hopefully, the painful transition from KDE3 to KDE4 was the last 'total rewrite' in that project. And if that accounts for the pain, then it'll prove well worth it. GNOME seems about ready to undertake a similar wholesale update.

    What would be wonderful would be for the next development cycle to be concentrated on really nailing down such things and targeting all the major toolkits toward the same underlying plumbing. And then keeping it the same for a good, long time (at least from the app's point of view). Then maybe the 3rd party apps would start to appear. As it stands, WINE is probably the most stable API available under Linux, and (no disrespect toward WINE) that's not a good thing.

  • Re:Games (Score:3, Insightful)

    by IntlHarvester ( 11985 ) * on Monday May 18, 2009 @02:16PM (#28000497) Journal

    You are trying to rewrite history based on your personal experiences and peer group.

    Even in the post-"crash" era, Nintendo sold 10x as many games as Commodore. True that many/most home computer users pirated games, but the money was still in the console market. The PC market has always been much smaller.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 18, 2009 @02:27PM (#28000717)

    We are finally beginning to see Windows improving because there are things that Linux does better. I would think every Windows fan would be cheering Linux on. Most of these criticisms are valid in that they are not so much about Linux having a Windows look and feel but where Linux falls short of good user interface principles as a system. What we could do here is prioritize the issues that he has taken the time to identify. We can consider when to submit bug reports. Ask developers questions. Decide which weaknesses are strengths. Talk to hardware vendors. Take a look at the code. Submit patches. Test new code. I dual boot Windows rarely.

    I find the security model points disturbing though. Windows is a rather awkward system to trust with anything valuable. I only run it on my hardware after disconnecting the internet.

    These criticisms are golden nuggets. For the most part they can be fixed. They are just a few bumps in the road of the journey to world domination.

  • Re:Games (Score:1, Insightful)

    by ushdfgakj ( 1218112 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @06:24PM (#28004101)
    Lots of crap here. Everything in Linux is sure an 'add-on,' but the kernel itself isn't a bloated piece of crap, and users have the choice of what to add on. 'Most mouse software' is clearly a guess - I don't think I've ever seen that myself. Firewalls aren't nearly as bloated on Linux as in windows, as iptables is built right into the kernel, and streamlined like crazy. The reason DirectX compatability isn't done on Linux is because of the plethora of bullshit legal mechanisms erected to destroy Microsoft's competitors. The reason Linux has (basically) no virii is not only because of its low market share, but because it's inherently secure, and requires permissions to do system-vital tasks. Unless you're running every application you open with sudo, in which case you're an idiot. Installing packages on some distros is just as easy as on Mac OS X, even easier sometimes (can you type yaourt -S gedit? see how easy that was?). The reason things like BluRay can't be played yet is because of proprietary limitations. The dealbreaker for me with using Windows was the knowledge that I had no idea what code was running on my computer, and no control over most of it. That is absolutely unacceptable. I'll put up with shitty drivers, quirky software, whatever, to get away from that alone - not that these issues are even that prominent for me at this point. The only problem with the laptop I'm writing this on is the shitty ATI drivers - every time the card overheats, my screen goes into 'color bars' mode - but this is the ONLY problem with my computer. Next time I reboot, I'm switching to the open source drivers, with the knowledge that they'll progress faster than the proprietary ones. I've used both operating systems my whole life - but I'm not going back to Windows on my home PC.
  • Re:Games (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sir_Lewk ( 967686 ) <sirlewk@gma i l . c om> on Monday May 18, 2009 @09:50PM (#28006003)

    Please note how I made it painfully obvious that I was talking about ethics, not legality.

  • Re:Games (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tbannist ( 230135 ) on Tuesday May 19, 2009 @12:37AM (#28007157)

    Frankly, I'd call not running on Linux a short coming of an obscure quilting application.

    The gripe is all about perspective.

  • Bad Security? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by stanjam ( 1057588 ) * on Tuesday May 19, 2009 @08:02AM (#28009843)
    I read until I hit the part about Linux having a bad setup for security, laughed, and stopped reading. That was enough to let me know that this guy is clearly an idiot. Doesn't he realize that the reason so many people run into security problems in Xp is because they run as admin? No viruses for Linux ONLY because of its low popularity? Umm, it is the number one web server, and it still maintains a good security reputation. It is the number one embedded OS, and it still maintains a good security reputation. It is run by companies like Google and Yahoo, and still maintains a good security rep. Trust me, I should know. Linux is much more secure than Windows. Windows Vista is the only version of Windows that is reasonably secure, until you turn off the annoying warnings.
  • Linux hobby (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 19, 2009 @02:11PM (#28014801)

    For many of us who are curious, but not programmers, Linux really is basically a hobby system. It's the appeal of figuring out how things work, that brings a lot of us over from M$.

    I didn't expect my laptop's Ubuntu 9.0.4 to work perfectly on install. In fact, it took me three days to figure out what I needed to do to get a DVD to play. I would never dream of recommending Linux to less-savvy people as a replacement OS - but I did get a sense of achievement out of getting it set up for myself. So for most of us who aren't trained IT professionals, it's like hauling home a broken-down car in order to teach yourself some mechanic skills. If that's not a hobby system, I don't know what is.

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.