13 Reasons Why Linux Won't Make It To A Desktop Near You


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moonfleet

LOL, you "everyone is an idiot if they can't use Linux" types really kill me. All the people like you that I know personally pretty much make installing and re-installing Linux distros and software on Linux a full-time hobby. That's the way it is with Linux. It's free, but only if you don't value your time or need your time for other things. The idea that you install Linux once and then it never breaks and it runs non-stop forever is pure fiction. And even if it does work now, you're only relatively safe until the next upgrade.

And it's not like you're not dependent on anyone like you are with Windows. You are dependent on the original distro, the next distro upstream that uses that original distro, and even the next distro after that which is dependent on the first two. It's a crazy patchwork world in Linux.

As I've said before, I like and I support open source software, but it doesn't have to be on Linux. I think Linux is fun to play with, but for me, at this point anyway, it's really just play, not production. You're better off sticking with the platform that the computer was designed for. You can still pretty easily have Linux on another partition, or there are several ways to have Linux running within Windows, for example. I love Cygwin, for one. If you try to stick to cross-platform software as much as possible, it really doesn't matter what OS is running your computer.

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MasterC
The idea that you install Linux once and then it never breaks and it runs non-stop forever is pure fiction.

That is completely untrue. My 4 year old Toshiba laptop is still running the Ubuntu install that I installed 4 years ago. Whenever new versions were released, I just upgraded without a problem.

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abulfares
LOL, you "everyone is an idiot if they can't use Linux" types really kill me. All the people like you that I know personally pretty much make installing and re-installing Linux distros and software on Linux a full-time hobby. That's the way it is with Linux. It's free, but only if you don't value your time or need your time for other things. The idea that you install Linux once and then it never breaks and it runs non-stop forever is pure fiction. And even if it does work now, you're only relatively safe until the next upgrade.

the way i see it is that Linux got something for EVERYONE. If u like upgrading and testing all the time, there are distros for u. If u hate that and want a stable system, u can use something like Debian where it is upgraded very infrequently and is very stable (evidence is that it is used and preferred for servers all the time). If u like eye-candy, try compiz, it will make u lock Vista's DVD in a drawer and throw the key in the ocean lol.

Linux is just getting more popular by the second because it uses word-of-moth advertising and that explodes exponentially (at least in theory).

I am using Kubuntu right now (convert from XP/Vista) and I am very satisfied with its stability, functionality, the fact it is not $300, installs in 15 mins, preloaded with a good selection of apps, and the ability to add much more with few clicks!

Therefore, I think Linux will make it to a Desktop near me especially the newer releases are just getting better and better (look at KDE 4.0 Beta and Kubuntu 7.10 Beta and u will see what I mean)

Of course u can still use whatever u are comfortable with since no one is pulling a gun to any1's head.

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Evolution

MasterC you misinterpreted what he said... Are any of you guys actually able to make real points against Windows... apart from that it's free...?

I've used Linux for years.... and I'm not impressed enough to use it as my primary OS.... the desktop environments don't even look visually as nice as Windows.... fonts, windows, design, etc. That's not to say that for certain scenarios, running Linux alone is perfectly fine or even prefered.

Edited by Evolution
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markjensen
MasterC you misinterpreted what he said... Are any of you guys actually able to make real points against Windows... apart from that it's free...?
And you must be misinterpreting what I said. As I don't care to convince people to use Linux because it is better than Windows. Becuase it won't be for everyone.

Free, as in "free beer" is one reason that some may like Linux.

But free as in "freedom" is why *I* like it. I pick and choose only what I want in it, and my system is set up the way I want. No WGA or DRM forced on me. No un-asked for update to the updater. No restrictions on how I can use it, or how many PCs I can install on, or how many other people I can give copies to.

Linux runs like a champ for me, requiring much less daily/weekly maintenance that Windows ever did. It took some time to learn this new OS, and I didn't much find it a good fit for me when I first tried it. I went back to Windows. But I tried it again a few years ago, and ended up liking it so much, that I found I had no need for Windows. I could never go back to an "installer" based system where each app writes their own installer/uninstaller, and much prefer the "package manager" system.

Now I notice little things that annoy me in Windows, when I am on my PC at work (which really is about the only time I am exposed to Windows). Things like quickly scrolling a background window with the mousewheel without having to select it and bouncing focus between the two windows you have open. I have found and added two mini-apps (one written by a fellow Neowin member) to give me two other windowing features I am used to: shading a window, and resize/move windows from any location on the window with an ALT+rightmouse or ALT+leftmouse)

If people insist that the only reason to use Linux is because of the price tag... Well, little can be done to convince them otherwise - and I certainly don't try to convince others that Linux is the right OS for them.

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ichi
Are any of you guys actually able to make real points against Windows...

1) Annoying interface

- You can only move windows dragging the title bar. You can't drag windows out of the upper side of the screen.

- No virtual desktops, which forces you to waste time reorganizing your windows every time you need to switch apps.

- Active window always on top, which is a PITA when I need to keep several windows visible for reference.

- Start menu only accessible from the start button.

- Minimized apps only accesible from the task bar, which becomes a mess once you have several windows.

2) Inconsistencies on

- Placement of apps configuration files.

- Whether a program will stop or not when killing it from the task manager.

- Naming of drives and partitions.

- Directory tree.

- Procedures for installing, uninstalling and updating programs, with each of them bundling it's own installer. It gets worse with some programs with no easy way (or not way at all) to uninstall them (eg. norton).

3) Lacks

- Ability to uninstall/update running apps.

- Easy to make simlinks that have actual functionality.

- Usable output to diagnose errors.

- An actually useful console.

Just to name a few, and without getting into the maintenance burden (AV progs, defrag, cleaning the registry...), performance, scalability or modularity.

It's ok if you prefer windows, but there are legit reasons for other people to not like it.

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markjensen

Some of your points are not true.

- No virtual desktops, which forces you to waste time reorganizing your windows every time you need to switch apps.

- - Genuine Microsoft tool allows this, downloadable from their website.

- Start menu only accessible from the start button.

- - Windows key

I don't know enough about Windows to know any of the other items have Microsoft implementations.

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Barney T.
Are any of you guys actually able to make real points against Windows...

Well, I need only two....

1) I love working with the OS. It does everything that I need for an OS to do, and does it flawlessly.

2) I haven't had to shell out one cent for it, no matter how many computers I want to put it on.

Those are all the points that I need. I need to convince no one but myself. :yes:

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ichi
Some of your points are not true.

- No virtual desktops, which forces you to waste time reorganizing your windows every time you need to switch apps.

- - Genuine Microsoft tool allows this, downloadable from their website.

One step closer to becoming usable then (assuming it actually works as intended) :p

Now I guess why that's not installed by default.

- Start menu only accessible from the start button.

- - Windows key

The menu is fixed there. Even if you use the windows key you still have to move the mouse down there to access the menu items.

It's not just a windows issue, it also happens on KDE and GNOME, but fortunately there are other WMs/DEs available.

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Miuku.
MasterC you misinterpreted what he said... Are any of you guys actually able to make real points against Windows... apart from that it's free...?

Real points? Right.

Let's use some real points that affect the everyday life of a computer worker.

- Viruses.

I haven't seen one for Linux, I've seen thousands for Windows. I've seen machines crippled, documents destroyed and people lose inexorbitant amounts of money due to both downtime and the loss of files and documents that have, for one reason or another, not made it to the backups and even if you had backups, you'll be looking at serious downtime when you're trying to recover your systems. TCO goes up the roof.

- Spyware

Same story as before - lost time, money and effort. Forced to use 3rd party spyware protection, virus scanners and others to protect you. Apalling. System slowdowns due to virus scanners, false positives and even then you aren't really truly safe.

- Security

Shabby security enforced by placebo tools such as UAC. Majority of the zombie machines out there are Windows, infact % wise to userbase vastly higher than any other OS. Admin user by default, the whole system nukeable if you get console access on anything less than Vista Ultimate. Pathetic.

- "Eye on you".

Microsoft has complete control over your software. Don't like WGA? Tough luck because you COULD be a pirate, better treat you as one rather than value you as a customer (Naturally pirates are laughing their arses off here). "Updates" without permission, privacy concerns over data sent by the tools in Windows.

- "You have to upgrade"

DirectX 10. Need I say more?

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markjensen
Majority of the zombie machines out there are Windows, infact % wise to userbase vastly higher than any other OS.
Where do you get that information?

I just stumbled across this article in The Reg where the former Chief Information Systems Officer is quoted as saying "More interesting is that most of the compromised machines were not Windows machines. "The vast majority of [the phishing sites] we saw were on rootkit-ed Linux boxes, which was rather startling. We expected a predominance of Microsoft boxes and that wasn't the case."".

I cannot find information one way or another on this, but it seems that any improperly-administered box (Windows, Linux, whatever) would be subject to compromise. And, if people are out there setting up a Linux server, then leaving it un-updated or otherwise open to attack (thinking that "Linux is secure" is an absolute), then they are setting themselves (and Linux) for failure. Security is a process, not a product. And, the hubris thinking that it is a product will lead to bad things.

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Miuku.
Where do you get that information?

I'd like to give a direct link but I read about the issue (possibly from F-Secure blog) where there was an analysis of?bot?networks (in other words machines that are used to DDoS targets and have a "bot" in iRC) and apart from a few example almost every single of those machines was a Windows based client.

Most of them were compromised by either viruses or applications they picked up from web sites through outdated software / warez / cracks / loggers / p2p.

(And we're talking in the range of tens of thousands of machines, not just "100 guys in an IRC channel").

Your article actually speaks of phishing sites, not zombie clients. That means a dropped program in a web server, not a zombie.

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markjensen

Yeah, I included that Reg article only as a counterpoint to the perception that some might get that you will be secure, just because you have Linux. When that isn't necessarily true at all - any mis-managed box is vulnerable.

However, I could not find any analysis on this, one way or the other. Just this CIO's statement from his experience in one case of phishing source cleanup. That's why I was asking for information. Obviously, you know me from around here long enough to know that I am a Linux user and supporter, so my post was not an attempt to discredit your statement, or attack your other points.

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Miuku.

I know Mark, you're most likely the most level headed Linux guy here of all time :)

(And I use a Mac nowadays.. :p )

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micro
Real points? Right.

- "You have to upgrade"

DirectX 10. Need I say more?

Err, who said you have to upgrade? Directx 10 is only for games, and last time I checked linux didn?t even have native support for directx in any way other than software emulation.

Also why would you take the time to develop a virus when there is a small userbase compared to windows? You make for the majority.

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Miuku.
Err, who said you have to upgrade? Directx 10 is only for games, and last time I checked linux didn't even have native support for directx in any way other than software emulation.

Last I checked DirectX was heavily used in different professional software, most music software rely on DX on some level (although ASIO is the key here) and since the biggest reason I have for owning a machine with Windows is to play games, I'm feeling peer pressure to upgrade to Vista for the sole reason of "DX10 only titles".

Also why would you take the time to develop a virus when there is a small userbase compared to windows? You make for the majority.

Ever considered the fact that it's a lot harder to create a successful Linux virus than it is to make one for Windows?

You also have a userbase that has practically no virus scanners anywhere which means there would be mass penetration if you were successful.

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k311

linux has a ways to go before it is mainstream. i know everyone pinpoints their own problem with their system as the 'key' that is holding linux back, but i think i have a pretty good general list:

1) HARDWARE! The support for hardware has to get better. There have definitely been major improvements between now and 2 years ago when i first gave linux a shot, but there is still a long way to go. Even now, for example, my laptop has a broadcom card, and i can get it to work using fwcutter, but the driver has a much shorter range than what the card is capable of, so i have trouble in public places. Only an example, there are thousands more out there. Until there emerges a trend in the hardware market to cooperate with linux, this will continue to nag the adoption of linux on a large scale.

2) Ease of use. I know that there are easy to install distros out there, and with some training, its pretty easy to make one's way around the command line when they need it (which is becoming less for those who wish to stay away from it). But in the real world where windows dominates every new computer sold, the average user is not interested in re-learning how to think about how to use their computer. they just dont care enough. the transition really has to be much easier to get newer users who arent as skilled to stick with linux as a long term solution.

3) Lack of commercial applications. Obviously this goes against the spirit of the OS as a whole, but people aren't interested in learning how to use open-source alternatives to photoshop and illustrator and dreamweaver, etc. Openoffice is a pretty seamless transition for the average user, but many will miss their windows only apps. (Even i had to use wine to run photoshop 7 in ubuntu. Gimp just doesn't do it for me!)

4) Standardization. All the different flavors of linux are both good and bad for the adoption on a mass level. Its good that the OS is open that anyone so motivated can create their own distro, but it also takes away from a sense of unity as a whole. I really believe that if Linux is ever adopted on a major scale, it will be when there is one (or are a couple) major distros that people can understand. Ubuntu's success i think can signal that more than anything.

5) Early Adoption. The average person has average ability on a computer. The first thing they learn is the only way they know how to do things. And 99% of them aren't interested in changing that, "it was hard enough to learn the first time!". They see (and rightly so for their own benefit,) no reason to switch their way of doing things just to use open source software. However, if Linux was someone's first system, chances are they would prefer that in a long term sense (sort of like native tongue to a multilingual person).

6) Advertising Strengths. One thing linux is only beginning to do is to advertise the advantages it holds over windows: No viruses (virtually), no spyware, free software, more control, incredible eye-candy (in a market dominated by Microsoft and Apple capitalizing on the appearance of their interfaces, this is a strength!), etc. Linux needs to advertise their strengths, something that is just beginning to happen.

The things i listed i see as problems AS RELATED TO MASS ADOPTION OF LINUX. Not problems in general. I think i was pretty fair in my assessment...?

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Peter McGrath
He also mentions vendors like IBM will soon follow Dell's footsteps in providing Linux on their machines and this just might also give a great boost in the market side of things.

The only reason IBM/Dell offers linux is because they don't make an O/S for the PC. They support it purely to reduce the cost of their PCs

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Mouldy Punk
The only reason IBM/Dell offers linux is because they don't make an O/S for the PC. They support it purely to reduce the cost of their PCs

Dell put linux on their PCs because of the overwhelming requests from linux users. Supporting it probably actually costs them more because linux can be more difficult than windows to provide customer support to...if they even do that yet?

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markjensen
Dell put linux on their PCs because of the overwhelming requests from linux users. Supporting it probably actually costs them more because linux can be more difficult than windows to provide customer support to...if they even do that yet?
I imagine that Dell also loses out on the "bundled crapware" they get paid by various companies to add into their Vista builds.

As for the "overwhelming requests", I am very curious as to how many sales this has translated to in the real world. I know I am needing a new PC here probably early next year, and I am likely to get a Ubuntu Dell (and overwrite it with my distro of choice) just to support Dell in this experiment. Plus I don't really need to buy a license for an OS I won't be using.

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  • 2 weeks later...
PGHammer
Let us not turn this into yet another Linux vs. Windows bashing thread. Choose the OS you like and be happy. Then let others do the same.

Thank you for your attention.

Agreed; however, the various fanatics (on both sides) seem to like picking the argument.

I have some experience on both side of the aisle (both Win32 and Linux/UNIX, especially RH-based Linux distributions, Ubuntu, and Solaris) though I as a person primarily run Windows Vista (and before that, Windows XP) mainly because of application (and gaming) issues. The biggest issue *I* have had with most Linux (and UNIX, for that matter) flavors is that they tend not to co-exist well with a pre-existing version of Windows. Fortunately, some bright brains have taken one of the friendlier (for newbies) Linux distributions (Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn) and used it to neatly sidestep that one major problem I (and likely a few others) have had with getting into Linux: the Partitioning Problem.

The modified distribution is Wubi Ubuntu (currently, it's based on Feisty Fawn), and it's easily the slickest Linux distribution (including other distributions of Ubuntu) i've ever heard of; mainly because it doesn't install like any other Linux distribution on the planet.

It installs *from within Windows*.

It requires no modification of your Windows partition (growth, shrinkage, or anything else). It *does* require a modicum of hard drive space (like any Win32 application); however, given the size of hard drives today, that's actually the *least* of your worries.

It *does* add itself to the OS Loader (and will happily co-exist with at the least any Win32 OS that supports NT 5 and later; which means Windows 2000/XP/Vista and their server twins); that's actually a good thing, because that means you have no need for grub (which isn't exactly newbie-friendly).

While the way Wubi installs and uninstalls is certainly unlike any other Linux distribution anywhere, it's *still* Ubuntu (and Feisty Fawn). I have a more than passing familiarity with Feisty Fawn for a reason: Feisty Fawn was my first major exposure to Ubuntu, and I recognize *everything* that Wubi Ubuntu has in it from Feisty Fawn; other than the lack of partitioning, they didn't remove *anything*. (It even *updates* the same way a *traditional* Feisty Fawn-based install would; I just finished applying a monster set of updates, all 124 of them.)

Even nicer, if you discover you *hate* Wubi Ubuntu, the removal process is even easier; boot back into your Windows OS, go to Add/Remove Programs, select Wubi, and choose Uninstall. (You won't even need to reboot after.) It's actually a better-behaved uninstall than most Windows applications.

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markjensen

^^^ Thanks for the WUBI promo and plug. :unsure:

One point that you made that I might observe you have backwards is "The biggest issue *I* have had with most Linux (and UNIX, for that matter) flavors is that they tend not to co-exist well with a pre-existing version of Windows.". Actually, you will find that Linux distros handle dual booting various flavors of Windows quite nicely. The same cannot be said about Windows detecting dual-booting with Linux installs.

Yes, wubi sounds cool.

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James7
^^^ Thanks for the WUBI promo and plug. :unsure:

One point that you made that I might observe you have backwards is "The biggest issue *I* have had with most Linux (and UNIX, for that matter) flavors is that they tend not to co-exist well with a pre-existing version of Windows.". Actually, you will find that Linux distros handle dual booting various flavors of Windows quite nicely. The same cannot be said about Windows detecting dual-booting with Linux installs.

In other words, Linux is not afraid to take on and be compared with Windows, so it makes it easy to dual boot. Windows makes it IMPOSSIBLE to dual boot. Try this: install Linux on your computer and then try to install Windows and get it to dual boot. It won't do it. Chicken st that lamo windows, it is. Probably for good reason.

I am SO wanting Gutsy to come live, where is it?! :D

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Kreuger

I have XP installed on my laptop along with Feisty and wubi ended up being a pain for me (something about wanting to migrate the documents from xp) so when i got my external drive I just used a cd and it worked flawlessly for me. Although I don't use the XP partition much

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PGHammer
^^^ Thanks for the WUBI promo and plug. :unsure:

One point that you made that I might observe you have backwards is "The biggest issue *I* have had with most Linux (and UNIX, for that matter) flavors is that they tend not to co-exist well with a pre-existing version of Windows.". Actually, you will find that Linux distros handle dual booting various flavors of Windows quite nicely. The same cannot be said about Windows detecting dual-booting with Linux installs.

Yes, wubi sounds cool.

The issue with *most* Linux distributions (and one that is, unfortunately shared with Solaris) is that they are not setup to *read* Windows partitions out of the box, despite that most Linux kernels (and all of them since 2.4.5!) have a read-only option for NTFS partitions. The result of *that* is that you right away have to custom-rebuild the kernel or use SAMBA (which is slower than read-only support designed into the kernel; fortunately, this is an error that no Ubuntu release since Dapper Drake committed). Also, not many Linux distributions will co-exist with Vista in any way. Wubi neatly avoids both issues (I did my install from within Vista Ultimate, and it now shows up as an option within the Vista boot loader). Also, to be quite honest, I *hate* partition fiddling. Filesystems that can handle large volume sizes (such as ext3 and NTFS) were designed *specifically* to reduce, if not eliminate, such fiddling. Yes, I know how to do it; however, I still hate having to do it. With Wubi, I no longer have to do it. (Partition resizing is one piece of aggro I can do without, thank you very much; also, how many newbies even know how?)

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