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Linux in the long run

© April 2008 Anthony Lawrence

Regular readers here know I'm a big Mac fan, and I often wax so enthusiastically on that subject that you could easily miss that I'm also a big Linux fan. On alternate Tuesdays, I expect that someday Linux will dominate computing.. but then again I think maybe not..

On the plus side, Linux keeps getting better and sooner or later it should be as slick as slick can be. I mean that literally: at some point we will reach the zenith of OS design and then why would you choose anything other than the free one? Linux ascendance and dominance seems inevitable from that point of view.

On the other hand, Linux could have succession problems.. it could all fall apart when Linus steps aside or dies. Of course that's equally true for Mac OS X: Steve Jobs is the major force that drives Apple to excellence, and he may be very hard to replace.

Notice I'm not mentioning Microsoft. I think Microsoft is done with or without Ballmer or Gates.

Now I know somebody is going to argue that Linux already deserves the laurel crown. For some users, that may be true. If my life today was mostly doing C or C++ coding and not much else, yeah, I might find Linux more than suitable. But Linux still lags (not by much, but still lags) in desktop friendliness and general smoothness. Yes, yes, yes: it's getting damn good. Yes, I have used Ubuntu recently. Still.. it's just not quite as slick as my Mac..

But it's free - doesn't that more than make up for any minor clumsiness? Well.. sure, if you think so, then it does. For you, the cost offset outweighs the little stuff. For me, it doesn't. Not yet, anyway. As my economic situation changes and as Linux continues to improve, I could change my mind.. and probably will, but that's at least a few years away.

Now on the server side, it's a different picture. There I'm going to automatically choose Linux without hesitation. That's because in that market, everything else basically does the same thing: file and print is file and print whether it's Microsoft, Mac or Linux, but only Linux file and print is free - nothing more to be said, unless there are unusual needs afoot.

So that's where I sit with regard to Linux. Great respect, hopeful anticipation, constant interest. It won't surprise me a bit if someday Linux is my desktop OS.

Just not yet, sorry.

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Fri Apr 4 15:38:05 2008: 3943   ScottCarpenter

I like the free as in beer part of GNU/Linux, but for me it's the free as in freedom that makes it worth putting up with things that aren't quite as polished or that may be missing altogether. That said, even though I struggled making the transition from Windows to Ubuntu -- finding alternatives and struggling with new ways of doing things -- now I feel very comfortable in Ubuntu and don't feel like I'm missing very much at all. It seems like I'm more often lamenting the things I have in Ubuntu that I'm missing on my Windows work laptop.

Sat Apr 5 13:22:21 2008: 3948   JonR

In January 2003, out of anger and disgust, I vowed never again to use a Microsoft product voluntarily. I've stuck to my promise, but it hasn't always been easy. I've mainly used Mandriva Linux and Ubuntu -- the later since not too long after its inception.

Linux is simply not user-friendly. MS Windows is not truly user-friendly, for that matter, but it's often easier to get things going in Windows than in Linux, and mainly for one reason: Microsoft is a centralized operation with employees all required to meet specific goals -- and those employees can be fired. Linux will never have those, er, advantages, and still retain the free (as in liberty) and innovative environment that helps make it what it is. The disparate views and circumstances that enrich open-source, often individually developed software are also its downfall in terms of popular acceptance. I would literally throw my computers in the trash bin before I would return to Microsoft products. But I don't expect ever to see Linux, or anything like Linux, having any kind of dominance at all.

Sat Apr 5 20:25:33 2008: 3951   anonymous

I'm a Quarter Pounder fan myself, I feel bloated when I have Big Macs. Oh, I see what you mean now, nevermind.

Sat Apr 5 20:53:17 2008: 3952   TonyLawrence

You know, me too - and I do not like the taste of that Big Mac Special Sauce, either.. but if I have a choice, I'll do a Whopper Junior - much closer to actually tasting like a hamburger.

Tried Red Robin a few months ago - was terribly disappointed as we expected much better.

With great anticipation, we also tried Fuddruckers - Yuckruckers, in my opinion..

Sat Apr 5 21:35:08 2008: 3953   anonymous

You sir are one of the very few non-linux users with their brain still intact. While I don't share your opinions (I think Linux can continue with or without Torvalds), it's great to read an honest, unbiased opinion for once. Bravo!

Sat Apr 5 22:39:31 2008: 3954   RobukaKenderle

>On the other hand, Linux could have succession problems.. it could all fall apart when >Linus steps aside or dies. Of course that's equally true for Mac OS X: Steve Jobs is the >major force that drives Apple to excellence, and he may be very hard to replace.

Wow, if youre gonna talk s***, you better be prepared to defend your position. There are dozens of articles every year that explain exactly why this wont happen.

Gnu/Linux is decentralized, it does not depend on the benevolent ruler for direction.
When Torvalds dies, someone else will step in to oversee the kernel.
The tense standoff at Larry McVoy's house 7-8 years ago saw to this. Ask someone to tell you about the Twin Peaks peace (or truce).

And speaking of kernel, that's what Linus works on. Not the "OS" but just one part of the Gnu/Linux OS. He doesnt do the distro, he doesnt do GUI stuff like KDE, and he doesnt touch (or minimally) to the GNU tools chain. He is in charge of the kernel development.
He dont do marketing, he (definitely) dont do the media thing, his role being totally different than Jobs.
While I worry about the power politics that might follow Torvalds death, technically speaking I dont think the Linux kernel development will suffer once he leaves. This is not a diss on his talents, btw.

On the other side you have Apple, a turtleneck wearing company full of intrigue that redefines the boundaries of 'cool' and lives by the Tao of Steve.
Remember what happened when he left the first time?
I still have a brother who swears every time someone mentions to him the abortions that were OS 8 and 9.

Jobs image, mystique and aura of invincibility are part of Apple's success. Replace him with another and the Jobs cachet is gone.

And you will never change your OS... people like you are the key paying customers of 'slick' because its all in the head. In the meanwhile, my retired parents and grade school kids will run their 'unslick' Compiz

Sat Apr 5 23:57:58 2008: 3955   anonymous

I made the switch over to Linux almost a year ago from Windows ME after doing lots of research. My first consideration was cost, I wanted a new OS but if I chose Vista that would have required a new computer too. So here I am now with a older computer that work better and faster than it ever did. As for user friendliness, I have no complaints. My personal feeling is the same people that find Linux not user friendly probably also have difficulties with Windows in one way or another. Anyway the one thing that Linux is missing is PR and Marketing. When was the last time you've seen a TV or ad for Linux?? I recommend Linux to everyone.

Sun Apr 6 00:50:55 2008: 3956   TonyLawrence

Yes, of course someone will take over after Linus. Someone will take over after Jobs, too. The problem for both OSes is that the person who takes over may be weak and ineffectual.

"And you will never change your OS... people like you are the key paying customers of 'slick' because its all in the head"

No, you are wrong about that. I expect that I WILL change, because someday Linux either will reach OS X "slickness" or it will become close enough that I don't care enough to pay the premium.

Or my economic situation will change and I won't be able to afford $2,400.00 laptops. Or maybe both things will happen..

By the way, I'd definitely agree that Apple has more to fear from succession than Linux does.

Sun Apr 6 03:27:35 2008: 3957   Prash

You're wrong about one thing. "Linux" suffers less from succession problems than Mac OS. Linus Torvalds is a very small part of the team that makes the Linux kernel. Furthermore, the "slickness" aspect that you seem to be the most interested in has nothing whatsoever to do with him. That is dependent on separate projects (gnome, kde, compiz etc.) that are combined with the kernel to make an OS such as ubuntu. This distributed approach has less focus than the top-down approach of proprietary software but it is certainly less vulnerable to the untimely death of an individual leader. The suggestion that Linux could fall apart without Linus is very misleading especially considering most of the work on the kernel is done by professionals being paid to work on it.

"the person who takes over may be weak and ineffectual"
True, but the point is that this is simply less important in open source. The leader is guided by the community instead of the other way around.

Linux OSes are less slick than Mac OS, sure, but I don't know how important that is for most people. They are very nearly as usable as any other OS. Their big problem is that they can be very difficult to set up perfectly in that usable state and this is mainly down to lack of driver support. Luckily this is getting noticably better every year.

Sun Apr 6 04:07:50 2008: 3958   anonymous

"Not as smooth as your mac" ?
Are you kidding me? YOU are the one who is unable to right click, YOU are the one with premature Synaptic drivers (like windows' as well).
Jobs running Apple is good? Such a big fanboyism for such a stupid product line, all apple knows to give is products for idiots, built upon excellence of open source software - check out your terminal or your compiler, yes, they are FREE! why? cause the community made them, NOT apple! apple did less then 50% on that OS, the kernel is based on OpenBSD, the command line tools are based on BSD and the user interface is totally eye candy.
OSX is nothing but "wow", I never seen an operating system that bloated (windows doesn't count, it sucks for granted), with 2.5GB of JUST PRINTER DRIVERS, because Mac users are so dumb they can't figure out how to operate their computer.
Mac users are nothing but fanboys - following their ego (and wallet) "I overpaid, I might as well act like a fanboy!".

Give me a break, before bashing a growing (desktop) operating system, judge yourself and the users that use your "beloved" operating system.

Sun Apr 6 04:18:52 2008: 3959   drag

All Linus does is the kernel. That's it. He may have some influence on other stuff, but that's only because he is a smart guy and most people involved respect him.

If you take a close look at what Gnome and KDE are doing they are taking great pains to keep cross platform. Everything they do from FreeDesktop.org standards to the entire GNU userland is designed to be cross-platform. Portability is still a highly prized commodity among these sorts.

Of course Linux Kernel combined with the GNU userland is the premiere platform so with that you get all the bells and whistles possible, but don't think that for a second that you can't have a very similar experience on FreeBSD or OpenSolaris. And both Gnome and KDE are working on OS X and Windows compatability.. although of course with those OSes they are bit more difficult to work with as far as Free software-based desktops go. So none of those programs.. all the way from the compiler up to and including the most high-level applications are not dependent on the kernel, at least not in a significant way.

Linux kernel just happens to be the best kernel for the job. So that's why everything is called 'Linux' I guess. Of course this leads to a great deal of Linux desktop clunkiness. There are lots of features in the Linux kernel that would smooth out (say) Ubuntu's wrinkles.. performance stuff, hot-pluggability, configuration stuff.. but Ubuntu doesn't take advantage of yet because X.org's need to keep working well with other Unix-like systems.

Anyways as far as the Linux kernel goes... everything is so decentralized that Linus has very little to do with the vast majority of the development going on. He just does mostly code review on patches he applies to his own development branch that has been filtered through many other people. That in itself is a full time job.

Traditional development limitations and attitudes do not apply to the Linux kernel. I mean this is a program that has over 10,000 regular contributers from hundreds of independent and competing companies. Since the 2.6 series release a few years ago probably 70% of the code in the Linux kernel has been removed and replaced with something else. Frankly it's amazing that they are able to release something that actually compiles. Nobody, not even Linus, controls that train.

It's very interesting. Git itself is very interesting. It is not paticularly original it's it's ideas and execution, (Linus mostly lifted the good ideas from other code management systems) but it was the first code management system to get it's set of features done 'right' AND fast. It's a good expression on how Linux kernel development works and how Free software development should work. Completely decentralized with code being shared through zones of mutual trust. No central authority, no controls.

And you will never change your OS... people like you are the key paying customers of 'slick' because its all in the head. In the meanwhile, my retired parents and grade school kids will run their 'unslick' Compiz

Relax homeboy. The man has already changed his own personal OS more times then most anybody else.

The guy _is_ a Linux user.

Sun Apr 6 04:21:39 2008: 3960   drag

""Give me a break, before bashing a growing (desktop) operating system, judge yourself and the users that use your "beloved" operating system. ""

Go through the guy's website. Look around before you start flaming somebody on their own blog.

Otherwise you'll look the fool.

Sun Apr 6 07:16:27 2008: 3961   Solv

Please forgive the Religious Nutcases here getting all fiery and abusing you, for they know not what they do! Seriously, it really bugs me how heated people get over such issues...it's just an OS for crying out loud. Now for my 2 cents.
I appreciate your position that linux is not quite as 'slick' as a MAC, and I think your right...I myself and most people I know, agree that the Mac UI is very cool (both MS and Linux users alike)....but like you said, if anything is going to reach a pinnacle, it will most likely be linux. I mean look where it's come in the past 3 years (since I switched from windows to gain freedom and dicsovery of a new world in OSS), it's development is basically exponential compared to that of Mac and MS. I switched when Fedora 3 was released and it looked okay, not quite as much chop as XP I thought...but quite nice notnetheless - and now we have kde 4 and compiz fusion...Mac watch out it won't be long. I agree that MS is done...IT will be a very different landscape in 10 years. Some people have stated that Linus leaving/dying won't be a problem... I have to agree there...because of the nature of OSS and it's community development - it's vision and drive are not set by one man, but by the collective. I often say to people that if I was rich I'd probably have a mac, one reason being it looks and feels smooth, but mainly because there are no decent video editing packages YET for linux. But what I HATE about Mac is that same philosphy as MS, and that is vendor lock-in. I absolutely despise how they force people to use their hardware, their software, force you to upgrade (like OFFICE) when there is nothing wrong with your current version, but the fella at your partners business decided he thought the latest office was all the rage so now you can't view his documents and he's too stupid/stubborn to save in a backwards compatible format, and neither does he have the ability to save to PDF - thank God for Open Office.
Anyway, so there is a philisophical and moral reasoning behind why even though I like the look of Mac hardware, the look and feel of the software and what not...I just can't support it without feeling like I'm betraying something or someone.
It goes without saying that Vista is useless rubbish and doesn't even factor in to my thoughts about Operating Systems, I hope it dies a horrible death.

Sun Apr 6 08:54:01 2008: 3962   anonymous

I started many years ago with Microsoft (DOS, shudder), switched to Macintosh around the turn of the millennium, then finally settled on Linux about 3 years ago. It seems a natural progression, but my purposes were probably not typical. I fled Windows because I am completely opposed to the concept of product activation, and everything new for Windows seems to have it.This was not true at the time with Apple, but how long before it takes root? I feel it's only a matter of time before you'll have to ask permission to reinstall that Mac app, and so have the same joys of your MS-using brethren. I'm not a pirate, but I refuse to spend my hard-earned dollars on software that gives the developer control over my use thereof. Just my $0.02.

Sun Apr 6 10:16:08 2008: 3963   anonymous

I don't think that Windows will simply disappear, unless Microsoft decides that it's no longer worth producing. Rather, I expect Microsoft to eventually follow Apple's lead and build a UNIX-like operating system, either from scratch, or by customizing one that already exists.

In the long run, I believe that everyone would benefit if this happened. Of course, Microsoft will still promote proprietary document formats, but as Linux closes the gap, Microsoft will eventually be forced to secede in that arena also. Then Microsoft can concentrate on enhancing it's UNIX-like offering, in order to better it's competition, just as Apple does today, and all desktop users will benefit from more compatibility and development in their preferred operating system.

Sun Apr 6 11:06:27 2008: 3964   TonyLawrence


You said:
You're wrong about one thing. "Linux" suffers less from succession problems than Mac OS

Read what I actually said: :
By the way, I'd definitely agree that Apple has more to fear from succession than Linux does.


YOU are the one who is unable to right click

Actually, we can right click - and if I wanted to I could attach a "normal" mouse. I like the trackpad.

Jobs running Apple is good?

Yes, because it was Jobs that brought Apple to Unix.

apple did less then 50% on that OS, the kernel is based on OpenBSD, the command line tools are based on BSD and the user interface is totally eye candy.

Yes: and those are the precise reasons why I started using it.

To all: yes, I've read all the "succession won't hurt Linux" arguments. They are wrong: succession CAN hurt. It may not, and I'm certainly hoping that it won't, but it CAN. I'll write more about that at (link)

I never seen an operating system that bloated (windows doesn't count, it sucks for granted), with 2.5GB of JUST PRINTER DRIVERS

OS X uses cups, just like Linux.

Give me a break, before bashing a growing (desktop) operating system, judge yourself and the users that use your "beloved" operating system.

Goodness.. "bashing"? Do you really think I'm bashing Linux??

Sun Apr 6 11:13:39 2008: 3965   TonyLawrence

Oh and one more thing-

Drag is of course right: I AM a Linux user. And also a Linux "pusher" - I install Linux servers whenever and wherever I can.

I also write a lot about Linux here. Just click on (link)

Sun Apr 6 12:34:53 2008: 3966   Prash

"By the way, I'd definitely agree that Apple has more to fear from succession than Linux does."

Your original article definitely says different. I only noticed after posting that you changed position or at least realised you didn't mean what you originally wrote. Good.

Sun Apr 6 12:37:43 2008: 3967   TonyLawrence

Prash, I changed nothing. That's what I said originally and that's what I say now. You read carelessly and jumped to an unwarranted conclusion.

Sun Apr 6 12:51:34 2008: 3968   anonymous

"apple did less then 50% on that OS, the kernel is based on OpenBSD, the command line tools are based on BSD and the user interface is totally eye candy. "

1. How on earth did you -- could you -- arrive at that figure?

2. No, it's not (and this makes the first assertion even more suspect). The kernel is XNU, which is a Mach/FreeBSD hybrid. Ever hear of Avie Tevanian?


3. Anyone who thinks OS X's user-interface is merely of value because of its attractive appearance -- I take it that's what the adolescent term "eye-candy" means -- knows nothing about design, and had best not comment on the subject.

While -- Like Tony Lawrence himself -- I use Linux most days I have to say that many Linux users really put me off. There seem to be a high percentage of fanboys to sophisticated users among Linux users. If anyone says anything even mildly critical about Linux distributions, even if he himself uses and likes Linux distros, they go off the deep end and start getting angry and frothing-at-the-mouth, insulting people, blackguarding the work people have done on other operating systems, and expressing fatuous and utterly ill-informed opinions salted with factually incorrect assertions.

It's *not* the way to win friends and influence people.

Sun Apr 6 12:54:18 2008: 3969   TonyLawrence


.I just can't support it without feeling like I'm betraying something or someone.

Boy, do I know that feeling. In fact, I have a post in the works called "Mac OS X shame" that discusses just that.. It's scheduled for Wed this week..

Sun Apr 6 12:57:02 2008: 3970   TonyLawrence

If anyone says anything even mildly critical about Linux distributions

Well, Linux does get a lot of unjustified crap from the Windows apologists, so maybe it's just a case of raw skin..

Sun Apr 6 14:37:58 2008: 3972   Prash

OK, my last comment was quite accusatory so I'll take yours on the chin. I didn't want to get all pedantic about this but you wrote:

"On the other hand, Linux could have succession problems.. it could all fall apart when Linus steps aside or dies. Of course that's *equally* true for Mac OS X." (my ephasis)

And the context doesn't seem to contradict this. Since equality is recursive, this statement in my mind directly contradicts the following one:

"By the way, I'd definitely agree that Apple has more to fear from succession than Linux does."

That's all I meant. I think many others interpreted your first statement in the same way as me hence the comments above.

Sun Apr 6 15:11:18 2008: 3974   AnonYMous

You can also look at it this way:

Saying it is "equally true" that they can both have succession problems doesn't say anything about the magnitude of the succession problem. I don't see any inconsistency there.

Where are all these commenters coming from? Did this get dugg or something?

Sun Apr 6 15:50:59 2008: 3975   BigDumbDinosaur

While -- Like Tony Lawrence himself -- I use Linux most days I have to say that many Linux users really put me off. There seem to be a high percentage of fanboys to sophisticated users among Linux users.

Ain't that the truth? I, in describing the problem, wouldn't be as nice as you. I'd refer to what you call "fanboys" as immature punks.

The above sequence of comments reminds me of another day when it used to be Commodore vs. Apple or Atari vs. Tandy. No one system is ideal for anything. They all have their warts. In the case of comparing OS-X to Linux, that is no less true than comparing a Commodore 64 to an Apple IIc. Yes, Linux is amazingly powerful and is constantly getting better. However, it is not as friendly to the casual user as OS-X or (gag) Windows. Linux is still very much the hacker's toy, whereas OS-X is geared to someone who wants to get work done with his/her computer, not tinker with it.

We've converted quite a few of our clients to Linux servers and in every case, the client has been more than satisfied with performance and stability. One problem installation that was running on a Windows server became a "no problem" system after we introduced Linux. Another installation at a tool and die manufactory, where upwards of 150 GB of design data are available at all times, has achieved an uptime of 467 days—the server has not been rebooted since it was placed into service in 2006. The best that the Windows server that preceded this Linux machine could manage was 50-60 days max. All of this is good news to the Linux universe and should be cause for a certain amount of rejoicing.

That said, the not-so-good news is that these Linux clients are dependent on outside help (me, in this case) to address routine maintenance and configuration matters, as Linux is too technical for a layperson, even when seen through a desktop interface. In my opinion, until that changes, Linux and the casual user are not going to be an often-seen combination.

Sun Apr 6 16:47:27 2008: 3977   Brendan

Dominate or die? There are quite a few more options than that.

Here's why I use Linux more than OSX:
1. Linux is utilitarian, OSX is less so.
2. The installed OSX terminal is subpar,
3. The remote desktop connectivity is poor.
- Sorry, VNC is just inferior to RDP.
4. Lack of decent (and integrated) package management system for everything else I need to install (MacPorts).
- I'm looking for something along the lines of (at least) portage for OSX.
- Please don't point me to the existing effort...it's not ready for primetime.

For me, it will be very hard to "switch" from Linux to OSX. The OSX UI is simple and clean and, while I can appreciate it, my 3rd. mouse button finger aches every time I use it for more than a hour at a stretch...

Until OSX (or its community) can address these issues, I can't think of using OSX day-to-day. I'm quite sure there are others like me. Linux is going to be around for a while. Dominate? Probably not....or not in the near future. Die? Definitely not.

Sun Apr 6 17:18:04 2008: 3978   TonyLawrence

Well, Brendan, I do think Linux can dominate, but of course you are right: anything on the curve from death to monopoly is possible.

Prash: I can understand your interpretation - I don't think you and I really have much to argue about.

Sun Apr 6 22:36:05 2008: 3982   anonymous

Issues of desktop mostly are not slickness.

Lag problems come from a few places currently being targeted. X11 lack of support for running configuration alteration support(in the pipe line). Means for single binaries to be released for all distributions effectively(also in the pipe line). Power effectiveness also being targeted.

Come back in 12 months lot of desktop problems will be gone.

Sun Apr 6 22:52:53 2008: 3983   Ken

Hi, I made the switch to linux last october. I litteraly had it up to my eye balls with microsoft pushing vista at us anyway they can. For me they have drained my pockets dry. I didn't know my head from a hole in the ground when i started useing fiesty fawn. Using windows for so long i had the basics down for linux but there was a huge learning curve that only someone with the drive and patience and understanding that linux is not windows could tollerate to learn. I gave up alot on one hand but gained alot on the other. Cons: without using wine or simular software all my microsoft stuff became coasters. Pros: Much faster, reliable, virus free and malware free pc i have ever owned. Cons: Having to go into the ubuntu forums to read and learn about anything that i wanted to learn to do. I new the first thing i need was some kind of backup software so that any negative changes that i made i could restore back just before the mistake. Thats were partimage rescue cd came in. Of cource that took weeks to learn before i was comfortable with that but has saved my butt 10 times over or more to date. Hunting down a compatibe wireless card that was compatibe for my labtop that was also running fiesty fawn. Again weeks of finding a card then waiting for delivery and luckely for me i was smart enough to figure out how to get my card up and running on my home network without going back into the forums. Pros: All three computers have been rock solid never once crashed or anything! Like the security updates installs without restarts. I've learned the only time you need to restart is if it has something to do with the kernal. Cons: I bought a new computer for the kids at xmas last year from Dell I wanted Ubuntu on it and not vista. The rough speaking english person on the other end did not have a clue what i was talking about. I literaly had to send them the web link of the ubuntu computer i was looking at they put me on hold for 10 minutes and then said that it would be $50. 00 more than the sale price Boy was i really upset. I said just ship with vista on it and when it comes in i'm going to wipe vista off the machine and install gusty gibbon. There responce was (Sire i would not sugest that). Well xmas morning the kids opened up there new computer, i set it up in a designated room turned on the pc for the very first time and it never made it to the splash screen ended with a blue screen of death, rebooted again made it this time just passed the vista splash screen the came the blue screen of death yet again. Microsoft 2 strickes your out with this machine. I went to the bedroom got my gusty cd wiped the hard drive and installed. To this day not one problem. Go figure huh? As crafty as i have become with computer over the years it took everything i had to learn ubuntu to the point i am today and i'm still learning. tons of free software if you can get them in .deb files but to this day the only if i find a file that requires the ./config method i can do , havent been so successfull with anything else compatible with ubuntu. I think and this is only one persons opinion (mine) that if linux really wants to get ahead then all these distributions need to be merged into one common gnu or kde and then focus more than 80% of there time with hardware compatiblilty and better wireless suport for the newer hardware thats on the market today. Hunting down older cards on ebay really is not what a new user needs to be faced with. I gave up my new linksys card for a netgear 511t g card after weeks of googling and ubuntu forums and waiting for delivery. This is only one area that a new user will be faced with if he or she does not plug there ethernet cable straight into there computer. 3 weeks to get my dell inkjet 720 printer working another area a new user will be faced with. I had the drive and patience to see this problem through. The average person does not. Again looking through cups at the printers selection they are all older outdated printers again focus more on newer hardware.

I could keep going on and on but the bottom line is linux no matter what flavour you choose will always treat you good. Better than microsoft. But only if the machine your installing it on the hardware is compatible. Again focus more on hardware and less on the snazies of the kernal. All three of my computers are runing ubuntu and networked and wireless. I will through the computer out before ever going back to microsoft. Its been a very long and hard road using linux up to this point but if lunux does want proceed in the future as a patient beating myself in the head person who has to find alternative ways to do things under the linux os i have chosen you really need to do more with the hardware issue in proportion to the bells and whistles of the kernal and cut down on the many confusing flavours for a brand new user to choose from. I have been trying to convert my friends to linux , i give them a live cd thats closest to windows as they know it they use it for a day and say i can't install this or that or i can't play my yahoo games now. This needs to be addressed sometime in the very near future. In any event they stay with microsoft. Sad, So Sad...............................

Sun Apr 6 23:30:12 2008: 3984   anonymous

OSX looks good, and Linux can be made equally neat with ease. But with freedom comes some lack of consistency. In appearence that's the one issue in my book. What OSX provides is that consistency which makes it easy on the eye and easy for newcomers. The struggle for the desktop dominance gives OSX some advantages and that is simplicity (for the user) and workflow. Good workflow is the true advantage of OSX and that's what's missing in Linux. Together with a sounder priority as regards bugs. Stability is not just that the machine restarts - bugs are there for years without fixing. Such as Hotplugging and Gparted in Ubuntu. The cost of fragmented development?
(Oh - I live in a Msoftfree house - Only Linux here - Although i really like Apple products - I dont like their "customer jail" at all - The iPhone scam kind of obsoleted Apple's potential as edible)

Mon Apr 7 00:12:44 2008: 3985   ken

I agree with you, i haven't gone with apple do to price. Its just rediculous. I haven't had any issues in ubuntu with any bugs yet if there there i have not come accrossed it yet in my daily uses of ubuntu. I'll raise my cup to hotpluggins i forgot to mention the mess with my web cam as well. Falls into the same catagory as my previous post what a mess. but it is working (when it wants to). I use gparted as my work hores. But not while i'm using ubuntu. I use it through the partimage live rescue cd. Mabey thats why i havent run into any problems with that yet. Knock on wood. I don't have the know how to write scripped or programs to make hardware work, i'm just a end user who just suggests improvements that are needed and see a way that the linux community (as a hole) could come together as you put it unified and not segmented on so many different levels. Look at it like this. From last October till today thats 6 months of my own time (trying to learn linux) in a way that for a windows machine is regulary used, what the linux comunity as a hole could do in 6 months for the desktop? Not to be so segmented on every level as a new user as myself. If i could make a difference with this problem i would certainly try but i'm just not smart enough to do this.........

Mon Apr 7 03:10:20 2008: 3986   Glenn

Mac users seem to be just as fanatical about their computers as Linux zealots are about their OS. How hard is it for a Mac user who has never used windoze to cross over and become productive? Or from a Mac to Linux?
I think that the KDE desktop is just as easy to use as is Windows XP. The Mac interface seems to be slicker than either, but I think the learning curve from Widows to Mac is steeper than from windoze to KDE. I don't even want to talk about from Linux to windoze.
The only problem with Linux at this point, to me, is that some of the apps that many people like to use have not been ported to Linux yet. Such as tax preparation software, greeting card software (you would be surprised at how much they are used), many games, etc.
But as Linux continues to grow, the companies will see a huge financial incentive to get on board. The smart ones will do it sooner than later, before good open source alternatives come into being. And that will happen unless the commercial products are of good quality and are reasonably priced.
But if they do not get on board in time, they will wilt on the vine. Such is the case with Nero and their Cd burning software. Their product is no better than the free alternatives, maybe not even as good. Nero Linux products are something I will not buy now, but would have if they had come on board when they were needed.

Mon Apr 7 10:06:29 2008: 3987   TonyLawrence

Macs get their slickness because Apple controls the hardware - it's a lot easier than having to deal with everything Linux has to cover.

The application side is a problem for Linux: even when the apps do exist, it's usually for a small subset of distros. OS X doesn't have to fight that either. I did my taxes with Turbo tax on my Mac just last week..

Yet I still think Linux will prevail in the long run.. on alternate Tuesdays, that is.

Tue Apr 8 12:11:39 2008: 3992   GopiNathan

Linux is a failure in terms of replacing Windows. In 2000 I intsalled Suse Linux and was impressed by the kde desktop and other features. But in 2007, when I tried fedora, it was a disaster. Nothing has changed in these intervening years...Many Linux versions are out of the market...Tried Ubuntu now. OK. but ... but ... many things still missing...

Some companies and semi-government bodies had decided to standardize on Linux instead of Windows in 2003. But then in 2008 we see that most of them have not implemented that decision!

Linux failed (to replace Windows) mainly because of the 'hacker' mentality among the supporters and many of the inherited Unix features...Quality of the OS alone is not enough to replace Windows (if it had been OS/2 would have done the job long ago)...

Tue Apr 8 12:14:24 2008: 3993   TonyLawrence

I think it's silly to say that nothing has changed in Linux in the past seven years - a LOT has very obviously changed.

I can agree that Linux does still have some rough edges, but there are far fewer every year.

Tue Apr 8 12:27:03 2008: 3994   GopiNathan

Yes... What remains as a dominant factor in the Linux Community is the amature nature of things.. This ad hoq attitude is a bad inheritance from Unix...(as I write my colleague is struggling with 'vi' editor on a Unix terminal, on the next table!) Linux was popular once when it could be used as a Webserver..That advantage is lost with NT and XP.

Today ordinary user decides the fate of the product, not the corporate giants. Microsoft understood this long ago...Linux never understood this. Simple home user want to use email, web and a word processor. Linux support on the last was not good. Web too international community uses many language fonts,,, again a failure on Linux...

With all the positive features of Linux, it failed in providing simple things to the simple home users. That is why all these xyz versions of Linux had to be packed back to the shelf.

Regarding improvements.. how long it takes? We are now talking in terms of years or decades?

Tue Apr 8 12:37:17 2008: 3995   TonyLawrence

If your colleague is "struggling" with vi, he probably just hasn't understood it - probably thinks it's a word processor. He might be helped by (link)

Linux is anything but amateur, and is still used for webservers - you'd have to be an idiot to run a webserver on Windows!

There are excellent Linux word processors.. far better than bloated Office..

I really don't think you have a clue, sorry. There ARE things to pick on in Linux, but you are actually trashing the very areas where Linux is strongest!

Tue Apr 8 12:40:32 2008: 3996   TonyLawrence

I'm going to close off comments now. If you have something really important to add, send it to me by email and I'll consider it.


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