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Old 27th April, 2009, 05:51 PM
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Has Desktop Linux Missed its Opportunity?

Written by Daniel
Monday, 27 April 2009
It's time we faced it: The Year of the Linux Desktop, long foretold, isn't coming.

Year after year, breathless pundits announce that the open source OS is on the verge of a tipping point, a critical mass that will see businesses abandoning Windows in droves. And year after year, nothing happens. Is it too late for desktop Linux to matter?
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Old 27th April, 2009, 05:54 PM
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Oh look! We gave Linux a deadline and they missed it....oooh! To bad for Linux! ":O}
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Old 27th April, 2009, 07:25 PM
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As much as I hate to admit it, even I have been struggling to see myself having the same relationship with linux in the future. For the last five years I have waited, sent weekly emails asking for ports of some much needed software, and made due with programs that aren't quite there.

While the linux desktop has made great strides in the user interface department, it hasn't made many strides in what it is capable of. I am still limited to the same apps I was 5 years ago, only difference being is that I can do those limited things through a nice looking GUI instead of in terminal..

I am in Windows all day at work because that is what my business software needs to run on. I am in Linux 75% at the time at home, but I still have to boot Windows sometimes. When I get on a plane to go somewhere, I bring a MacBook along for the ride these days..
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Old 27th April, 2009, 08:13 PM
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The biggest weakness of Linux is also its greatest strength..........the fact that it is all done by volunteers.

Why do I say that? Think about it: some geek somewhere needs a piece of software to do something, and either writes or ports it for Linux. So far so good. But once he's got what he needs, he's done with it. If someone else needs additional functionality, they've got to either write it themselves, or pay someone else to do it, or find some sympathetic soul.

So Linux is forever dealing with the 80/20 rule: it'll do 80% of everything that most people need really well, but the other 20% is going to be really tough to get.

Here's another problem: support.

Yes, I can jump on a forum, or an IRC chat, and get answers to just about any question I might have regarding getting Linux to work with some piece of hardware I might have. But I'm a geek and I get off on figuring out how to do that kind of stuff.

My wife couldn't give a ***** less. She just wants the thing to work. A really large chunk of the desktop market is that way. If it doesn't work, then they want someone they can call and yell at to fix it. Since the vast majority of the people involved in Linux are doing it just for the fun of it, they aren't going to take being called an a-hole or an idiot. They don't have to. This is their hobby, not their profession.

Does this mean that Linux can't continue to grow on the Desktop? Absolutely not. It just means that it has to start working a different way. There are people and outfits like Best Buy that are quite happy to fix all of your Windows problems, for a price. There's no reason the same can't be done for Linux.

And people forget that when Microsoft was just starting out, they had many of the same issues regarding a small software ecosystem and little to no support. So did Apple, for that matter. So, these issues can be addressed, but Linux is going to have to become more of a business.

And therein lies the rub: business is notoriously stingy about sharing things, and open source doesn't work without sharing. This doesn't mean that open source and business can't coexist, but it DOES mean that traditional ways of doing business won't work in an Open Source world.

Last edited by Gizmo; 27th April, 2009 at 08:14 PM.
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Old 28th April, 2009, 06:49 PM
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I no longer have a copy of Windows loaded to a machine...For me it just wasn't worth the trouble to install 2000 pro again and I refuse to phone home.

I would miss 2000 pro if I could still play games on it, but MS put a early end to PC games for me at lest...

I'm sitll a child when it comes to Linux... there is still much that is fundamental that I still don't know where or how to go.

Yet today I'm doing all my site work in Mint, a new distro for me. Had troubles setting up here and there (Net working is a PITA!!)

I just like Linux better than 2000 pro. I haven't used and so can't compare new flavours of Windows.

All that said, I don't make a lot of demands of my OS, Net browser, really. Play my music, watch links to Utube, for what "I" do....Why pay MS? ":O}
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Old 29th April, 2009, 08:55 PM
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Gizmo nailed it. I totally agree....
If Linux Distros started selling it to pay employees then we would have another Microsoft on our hands (well maybe). Open Source has become an amazing opportunity for user to try free operating systems, programs, games, etc. Which I love because the price is right. The main sacrifice is time, updates, and help.
I'm with Gizmo, the main reason I tried Linux from the start is because I like to figure things out... I have a certain gift of PATIENCE with computers and I get to have a lot of success in the long run.
The one element that would cause me to turn away from Windows is games. But we allready know the more Linux is like Windows, the more it inherits the same issues: virus's, Framerates, malware, drivers, updates etc.
So I say, let Windows monopolize over digital media and let them deal with it. The small percentage of us Linux users with continue to enjoy the free programs, games, operating systems
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Old 29th April, 2009, 11:04 PM
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I think what booman has touched on is why linux on the home pc is struggling.

Linux as a whole has only small percentage of people using it, that small percentage is divided to even smaller groups that are partial to their distro, inside that are even smaller groups that are partial to particular applications. Add in the fact that there hundreds of apps that are not finished or have missing features that would round them out, but nobody seems to finish them up, plus the countless apps that still receive regular updates and attention even though nobody uses them. What I see is an incredible amount of talent and effort working as hard as they can to make sure linux never evolves.. If you don't evolve, you die.. I can only think of a couple of open source apps that actually work as good, as an app I could buy for Windows. Funny part is those apps are actually available to me for free in Windows as well. Even the good apps seem to lack in features or usability when compared to a corporate backed application..

While today's linux may work with basic netbook functionality, it can in no way take the place of Windows or OSX for the average home user. Basic home computing has moved beyond surfing, email and music. I have even had to move my Mom back to XP from Suse because she wanted to do more on her computer.

I truly love what linux stands for, which is Freedom, but being restricted in what I can do with my computer doesn't truly equal freedom. I have learned a lot from using linux, I do love to tinker within my OS and I do have patience. I use gentoo and once spent 3 days compiling OpenOffice on a pentium2, luckily my latest hardware can take care of it an hour. My life is continuously evolving but my favorite OS is at a standstill so I am afraid by the end of the year I will have to move back to Windows for everything I do.
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Old 29th April, 2009, 11:35 PM
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Quote:
I am afraid by the end of the year I will have to move back to Windows for everything I do.
Please don't Cliff, you have been AMAZINGLY helpful when it comes to Linux!
You are right about Home users....
As for server use, most people use Linux for a webserver, dataserver, or gameserver and the applications that come with server versions do not need a whole lot of updating and configuring after they are installed. At least in my experience. Like a webserver. Once the permissions are set, static IP addresses, apache/perl, and other miscelaneous applications, then its ready. I never have to update my webserver.
My gameserver is a different story, but thats only because of updates for games. Once a game is updated then I have to update the dedicated server files so the computers can connect again. After that, its good.
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Old 4th May, 2009, 05:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ccperf721p View Post

. My life is continuously evolving but my favorite OS is at a standstill so I am afraid by the end of the year I will have to move back to Windows for everything I do.
Daniel feels the icy grip of cyber winter at his back...":O}
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