Pros and Cons of Linux on the Desktop

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Pros and Cons of Linux on the Desktop
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Chad Johnson
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March 12, 2011 - 11:00 am
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There's always Linux...

[size=85:1b3xuv5h]Edit: Split from [url=http://www.davescomputertips.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=1242&p=7330:1b3xuv5h]this post[/url:1b3xuv5h].[/size:1b3xuv5h]

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Ken Harthun
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March 13, 2011 - 10:17 am
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There's always Linux...[/quote:1ry8sk53]

True. With the GUIs in most distros these days, it's not so hard for a regular PC user to navigate. But Linux is still a bit Geeky.

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Ken Harthun
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March 14, 2011 - 10:13 am
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Ken, someday I'm going to type up my rant on why Linux is not for the desktop and likely never will be. Sounds like a future article. Overall though, I agree with you. Linux just hasn't gotten down to everyday usability levels yet for anyone wanting to do more than surf the web.[/quote:1lbvi1vt]

Ziggie, I'll look forward to that! One very good thing about Linux is that you can get various distros that run from live CDs. The CD being a read-only medium makes it possible to set up a very secure online banking terminal. I wrote an article about that: http://itknowledgeexchange.techtarget.c ... ing-fraud/

Most distros will also run on much older machines, so it's useful if you have an old laptop lying around and want to put it to use. That's mainly what I use it for.

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Chad Johnson
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March 14, 2011 - 12:43 pm
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Ken, the light weight distros are awesome for reviving old machines and turning them into 'netbooks', routers, firewalls, all sorts of things. I have an old Pentium I sitting in my basement that does nothing but file serving (and torrent downloading -- all legal of course). It hums along just fine as long as I don't ask it to do too much.

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BruceCadieux
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July 23, 2011 - 7:20 am
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Ken, someday I'm going to type up my rant on why Linux is not for the desktop and likely never will be. Sounds like a future article. Overall though, I agree with you. Linux just hasn't gotten down to everyday usability levels yet for anyone wanting to do more than surf the web.[/quote:1qp980xs][/quote:1qp980xs]

I would certainly look forward to that. In fact I simply can't wait to see it. I haven't read a good comedy article in a very long time.

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Jim Hillier
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July 23, 2011 - 9:28 am
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Hey Bruce - Welcome to the forum.

I suspect you may be a Linux fan? And I also suspect your comment has been delivered with more than a slight dose of sarcasm?

Are you familiar with the old comeback during a football game at all? Look at the scoreboard!!

Here is the scoreboard as at July 23rd 2011:

Windows (3 versions) - 88.20% market share.
Mac - 5.3% market share.
iOS - 2.63% market share.
Java ME - 1.2% market share.
Linux (well over 200 versions/distros) - 0.95% market share.

Nuff said!!!

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BruceCadieux
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July 23, 2011 - 3:24 pm
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Are you familiar with the terms monopoly, intellectual property theft, copyright violations, patent violations, contract violations, and abuse of monopoly powers to coerce OEMS?

As far as market share it doesn't really mean much at all. In fact it has nothing to do at all with whether a distribution is ready for the desktop or not.

I actually content for daily computer use, that Linux is far easier to use, and is in fact compatible with more hardware straight out of the box than any other operating system on the planet.

I can take a "new" computer user, build a computer for them configure Linux on it, and hand it to them, and be confident that I have handed them a system that runs well, is easy to use, will do whatever they need to do, and do it trouble free, they won't have to spend ridiculous amounts of money on third party software in an effort to put band aids on gaping wounds, they won't have to scan, scrub, douche, clean, wash rinse and repeat, they won't have to run disk cleanups, they won;t have to defragment, they won't be getting software that stuffs toolbars, adware, and load a bunch of crap at start up.

Now if you meant to say that Linux is not ready for the average "wndows user" you would still be wrong. Linux is indeed ready for the average windows user.

The problem isn't is Linux ready. The problem is windows users. They are not ready for anything. A simple UI change and they are lost, move a button, rename one thing, and they don't know what to do. Simple things like setting up an email account is beyond the scope of 75% of windows users, installing and removing software is beyond the scope of even a higher percentage.

So yes, Linux is indeed ready for the desktop, my 74 year old mother uses it every day.

Many of my local customers use it everyday.

It isn't difficult, it's just different.

That is where the problem lies, not difficulty, not geekiness, it's just different.

Things being different are what windows users struggle with. It really is a simple thing to see, all you have to do is look at the number of people who cling to the bug ridden security mess XP. Not because it is better, or more ready for the desktop, but because using Vista or Windows 7 is a change, different, and things work differently, not massively different, but different enough that they resist change.

I watched this over the years for many years with numerous different windows releases, the move from 98 to win2K/XP people resisted, the move from 2K/XP to Vista/Win7. Hell there were even people who wouldn't move to new versions of DOS as they were released.

Is Linux ready, yep it sure is, it has been for more than a decade.

Ease of install, setup, and use far exceeds windows.

Take your average windows computer user, hand them a computer with no operating system installed, hand them a windows DVD and watch the comedy show when it comes to getting their hardware functioning as it should. Watch them get virus after virus, rootkits, malawre, spyware.....................as they search for software to install.

You see the common mistake people make when they make foolish claims like Linux isn't ready is this simple fact. The average Windows user has never installed an operating system, they use whatever the OEM pre-installs for them, and suffer with slow computers because of all the unnecessary pre-loaded bloatware.

When I build, and pre-configure a Linux operating system for a customer, I rarely have to field a support call, and never have to go fix anything for them.

I cannot say the same of the computers with windows on them. It doesn't take long before the windows operating system starts to slow down because of lack of user maintenance, and the fact that windows simply isn't ready for the average computer user. It never will be. I can't wait for windows 8 to be released, and sit back and watch as the hordes of people scratch their head when that is released.

I am counting the money already in anticipation of all bugs, glitches, and user confusion.

I'm off to to one click rip some DVD's on my Linux computer for the local public access station and put them up on the Linux host/website I created in Linux, so that windows users can watch the shows on the internet at their leisure when they miss the live broadcast.

Be back in a bit.

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Mindblower
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July 24, 2011 - 7:56 am
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[quote:15bgshz6]I can take a "new" computer user, build a computer for them configure Linux on it, and hand it to them, and be confident that I have handed them a system that runs well, is easy to use, will do whatever they need to do, and do it trouble free, they won't have to spend ridiculous amounts of money on third party software in an effort to put band aids on gaping wounds, they won't have to scan, scrub, douche, clean, wash rinse and repeat, they won't have to run disk cleanups, they won;t have to defragment, they won't be getting software that stuffs toolbars, adware, and load a bunch of crap at start up.[/quote:15bgshz6]

My dentist uses a Windoze based computer, but over 90% of what he does, is confined to a specific program for patient information and billing. So the operating system he uses could be Linux based, but unless he also uses Linux at home, and/or his tech reps are familiar with Linux, he'll not use Linux. The same can also be said about others who use a package program, the operating system can be whatever.

[quote:15bgshz6]So yes, Linux is indeed ready for the desktop, my 74 year old mother uses it every day.

Many of my local customers use it everyday.[/quote:15bgshz6]

You're proving my point. The users you're referring to have you for tech support, and you're a Linux geek. Just two questions, how many others are there like you, since should a problem occur, and you're not around (on vacation), just where would your local customers get support (should the rare problem occur).

I can honestly agree with many points you're making, except that Linux is NOT that easy to use. Your experience with DOS gives you one leg up on today's mouse clicking Windoze users. Your ability to build computers definitely puts you into Geek status. Silly how with all this knowledge, you're not able to grasp the fact the Linux is not just different, it's also more awkward to learn, Mindblower!

"Light travels faster than sound;
That is why some people seem bright until you hear them speak"

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BruceCadieux
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July 24, 2011 - 8:34 am
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It isn't awkward. It is simply different. I fail to see what DOS has to do with anything. I rarely if ever use the command line unless I have to and that applies equally to all operating systems, I use it in windows as much as Linux or MAC. Now if you want to talk about awkward, we could delve into the realm of the Windows registry

As far as getting support, I guess they would get it the same way they would if they were using a windows computer. Pick up the phone and call, or go to a forum and ask a question, or send an email. I honestly don't know where the problem is as far as that is concerned.

Perhaps you could explain what is awkward.

My mother finds nothing awkward about it.

My other customers find nothing awkward about it.

One of my newest Linux customers had this to say.

[quote:1u95fjh0]I'm absolutely thrilled with my new PC - [b:1u95fjh0]this has been my easiest transition between computers ever[/b:1u95fjh0], even though my previous computer was about ten years old. Bruce transferred all my files, including photos and music I'd forgotten I had. [b:1u95fjh0]The Linux operating system is easy to use, and when I've had any questions about it, I get a response almost immediately.[/b:1u95fjh0]

[b:1u95fjh0]By the way, I had given up on PC's and was planning to get my next computer from Apple. My new system is a fraction of the cost[/b:1u95fjh0] and has a personal level of service that is outstanding. [/quote:1u95fjh0]

Lets see, he was ready to give up on computers because of windows, he was ready to get an apple, he claims Linux is easy to use, he got the system at a fraction of the cost................ When people are ready to give up on PC's because of windows it speaks volumes about user friendliness, and being "awkward". His computer was as far as he was concerned dead for all intent purposes. Rootkit, and numerous other malware on it made it unusable. Wouldn't even boot. Pretty awkward, and a common scenario if you ask me.

While no operating system is trouble free I get very few, next to no calls from the people who use Linux, on the other hand I get numerous calls about problems with windows.

Now if when you refer to OEM support you mean getting an Indian call center full of people who read from a script of canned responses, then you would be correct, Linux user don't get support.

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Mindblower
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July 24, 2011 - 2:42 pm
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[quote:2jyctp5u]I fail to see what DOS has to do with anything.[/quote:2jyctp5u]

DOS was command line. No mouse clicking icons. Those who mastered it, were considered by those who could not for the life of them, master a simple task, to be truly blessed. Do I need to connect the dots?

[quote:2jyctp5u]Perhaps you could explain what is awkward.[/quote:2jyctp5u]

ADJECTIVE:
Not graceful; ungainly.
Requiring great tact, ingenuity, skill, and discretion:
Read more at [url=http://education.yahoo.com/reference/dictionary/?s=awkward:2jyctp5u]YAHOO! Education Dictionary[/url:2jyctp5u].

Listen, just because you know and prefer to use Linux, this does not mean everyone needs to follow your path. Windose is NOT perfect. Never claimed it was. And YES, I did try out Linux. It did take some learning, and to say otherwise, is hardly being truthful. Remember, different strokes, for different folks, Mindblower!

"Light travels faster than sound;
That is why some people seem bright until you hear them speak"

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BruceCadieux
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July 24, 2011 - 3:18 pm
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I fail to see what DOS has to do with Linux. It has nothing to do with it at all. Perhaps you lost a few dots along the way, because DOS and Linux can't be connected they are not even remotely similar.

Nobody says you have to follow any path. That is the beauty of freedom and choice, you get to choose what operating system and software you use.

I am simply replying to myths, FUD, and misinformation.

Plain simple truth is Linux is none of the things you seem to think it is.

Thank you for the lame attempt at sarcasm with the Yahoooooooooooooooo education ( scary thought ~ yahoo education ), I don't have to look up the meaning I am fully aware of what the word means.

Awkward in the context of this thread seems to be the obvious awkwardness of people trying to discuss things they know very little about other then their misconceptions.

Which Linux distribution do you use? What is difficult about it?

Now if you one of the ZOOBUNTU derivatives aka gnome distribution I would agree, it is awkward that they have been for several years taking the users are stupid approach of removing features, utilities, options, and configuration ability in favor of dumbing it down, and in the process taking operating systems 20 years backwards because they have the mentality that giving people options is bad.

Perhaps you would enjoy a different distribution that adds features, options, utilities, and configurations rather than removes them.

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David Hartsock
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July 25, 2011 - 1:54 am
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OK, while I/we encourage spirited discussions this is getting dangerously close to crossing the line into personal attacks and I will not tolerate that!

Linux is great. Windows is great. I choose to use Windows for the vast majority of my computer interaction. Someone else may prefer Linux. In the grand scheme of things it really doesn't matter. It doesn't affect you if I choose Windows and it doesn't affect me if you choose Linux. I really don't see the need to justify one's position and choice on this subject to a point that causes this type of behavior (of course, Apple bashing is permitted ).

If this can be continued with intelligent and factual banter that doesn't border on personal attacks then please do. If not? Well, just move along.

OK, here's a little ditty to liven things up - [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZA2kqAIOoZM&feature=player_embedded:32ve1zsz]Microsoft wishes Linux a happy 20th birthday[/url:32ve1zsz] and [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ocq6_3-nEw&feature=player_embedded#at=33:32ve1zsz]The Story of Linux[/url:32ve1zsz]!

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Jim Hillier
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July 25, 2011 - 9:26 am
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Here, here Dave. .....education is always far more beneficial than altercation!

Anyway, on with the discussion Bruce:

[quote:26t9osi1]As far as market share it doesn't really mean much at all.[/quote:26t9osi1]
Really!! Well I believe many would be prepared to debate that. Facts and figures do often tell a story, if that were not the case then all statisticians and many scientists would be out of a job.

[quote:26t9osi1]In fact it has nothing to do at all with whether a distribution is ready for the desktop or not[/quote:26t9osi1]
Granted, and point conceded. However, whether or not a distro is ready for mass desktop deployment is totally subjective and, as such, open to opinion and debate. Statistics, on the other hand, are undeniable.

The irrefutable fact is that Linux has now been around for 20 years, yet can only manage 0.95% market share. We can discuss and debate the pros and cons all we like but in the end, those statistics tell us indisputably that the masses have not taken Linux to heart.

I've said many times over that I believe Linux is a very good operating system and definitely has the potential to make the transition to mainstream. However, the reasons behind Linux's non-proliferation are not wholly external, and until the Linux community recognises that fact and begins to view the issues with far more introspection, the situation is unlikely to change.

It all begs the question: Do the majority of the Linux community actually wish for Linux to be universally popular or are they satisfied that it suits them [personally] just fine and happy to settle for that?

Cheers

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BruceCadieux
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July 25, 2011 - 10:14 am
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Market share?

Which market?

Because overall market share has it ahead of any operating system in the world.

Smart phones.......Android aka Linux is outselling all other operating systems, tablets, walk into any "non apple" store and all you see are Linux tablets, super computers, web servers, massive moves in European and Asian governments to Linux, United States is making huge moves to Linux and have even released their own "secure" distribution, then you have all the other "embedded" devices the great majority running Linux.

Market share is a subjective topic, and with the current trends towards smart phones and tablets, windows isn't even on the radar screen.

Now all that said, I refer you back to all the illegal things Microsoft has done in years past to create and maintain the market share they enjoy. Now lets look at the fact that their desktop operating system is "losing" money, and the deficit is being made up through other avenues for them. yep the windows division at Microsoft is losing money.

Marketing when coupled with billions in marketing dollars is hard to compete against.

Their market share is losing ground, and more so every year. While they lose ground all other operating systems are gaining ground. Which of course only makes sense, when one loses someone else gains.

There have been a lot of good operating systems and software killed off through Microsoft's embrace, extend extinguish policies over the years. The one system they haven't been able to extinguish has been Linux, it is taking over in the government and corporate sectors, server markets....... and that will just like Microsoft did in the early 90's lead to a domination elsewhere.

That is happening in all segments of the technology world, and is creeping into the desktop environment.

Of course when you consider the fact that there is no reliable way to count Linux installtions the published numbers are skewed. Then when you consider the fact that all those computers running Linux once had an install of windows that is still "counted" as a windows machine as far as the market numbers are concerned then the numbers are really off base.

But again, usability and ease of use has nothing to do with OEM installs of windows, That is all about getting money from all the third party trialware apps they pre-install. They get big bucks from the likes of Microsoft, Symantec, McCaffee, CyberDVD, Kodak, HP, and others.

Linux distributions don't pay OEMs and don't have the "Marketing" machine that other companies have.

Linux has had to survive on the quality of the code and software, and the fact that Linux has survived and thrived when so many others have squashed out of existence is a testament to it's stability, usability, scalability, and hardware versatility.

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Jim Hillier
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July 25, 2011 - 7:28 pm
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Yes Bruce, again you make some valid points. But you have strayed slightly off topic mate......we are talking about [b:nopyna7n][i:nopyna7n]desktop[/i:nopyna7n][/b:nopyna7n] operating systems!

[quote:nopyna7n]Linux distributions don't pay OEMs and don't have the "Marketing" machine that other companies have.[/quote:nopyna7n]
Agreed, but that is largely their own fault. They have all the ingredients in place to create prolific marketing opportunities. They just need to radically adjust their thinking and take a much more unified approach. It all gets back to the "fragmentation of input, ideas and development" I mentioned earlier.

IMHO, first and most crucial step would be to all get together and start working toward a common goal; drastically reduce the massive number of distros currently available and concentrate their efforts. Take the very best elements/components from the very best distros and combine them into one mighty desktop operating system. They could also produce add-on packs to cater for specialist requirements/environments.

I can assure you Bruce I am very much pro Linux but I am also open-minded enough to perceive the possibilities [i:nopyna7n]and[/i:nopyna7n] the weaknesses.

Anyway, I think I shall leave the discussion there, we appear to be going round in circles.

Just one more point before I depart: Please don't take this the wrong way Bruce, I sincerely do not mean any offense. But, when pushing the Linux barrow, it is not good practice to be attacking MS and Windows. Remember, many of the people you are addressing are using Windows and by attacking these institutions you are, by association, also attacking them and the choices they have made.....it is entirely counterproductive mate.

[quote:nopyna7n]I will likely start a new topic, with information I have from "personal experience" that shows just how friendly a Linux distribution can be.[/quote:nopyna7n]
That would be very welcome Bruce!! Something we can all learn from.

Cheers.....Jim

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