back to article Linux to spend eternity in shadow of 'little blue E'

Linux will never make any meaningful headway into the desktop. Nope, never. I could cite market share numbers, growth figures, and total cost of ownership studies, but none of that matters (plus, it's boring). Linux will never, ever defeat Windows because Windows has the little blue E. The blue E on my desktop that I can click …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Oliver Mayes

    Just another reason... teach kids about different operating systems at school and college. My IT A level was done entirely in Word and Excel because that's what the teachers knew. If you questioned them about anything else you were just met with confusion.

    If you start people early and show them multiple software packages and OSs then you can let them choose whichever they're most comfortable with and leave them to it. At least then you wouldn't end up with whole generations who know Windows and only Windows.

  2. Lee Stacey

    You are wrong

    OK so you're right for now. That IS how things are but it won't always be the case. Imagine a world of applications in the cloud... Some say this paradise already exists...

    One day the user will be used to their applications opening in a browser. What happens then? Well, in short: The operating system becomes as it should be, irrelevant.

    As long as you have a web browser everything else is unimportant.

    Last time I looked, Firefox is pretty multiplatform...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    if windows stayed the same

    .. the argument might stand up. However since windows is becoming arguably a worse user experience with every iteration and the number of virus' etc etc that stop you working only get more frequent, aren't those 'non-stupid' users going ask at some point, just how valuable is familiarity, its not valuable to MS in their new versions of the blue W.

    This article has a view that is years out of date.

  4. Fihart


    Too right, mate. I've used computers daily since 1985 starting with MSDOS, thru Windows 3.1 and 95 and XP. In the past five years I have tried Linux repeatedly and each time walked away.

    I don't want an OS which forces me to learn new commands that have to be typed in laboriously. I don't want to have to do puzzling partitions to hard drives. I don't want to have to search reams of internet postings to find drivers that should be supplied as standard either in the OS or with the device. I've done all that before, it's not a productive use of my time and it's boring.

    Linux -- it's obviously just too good for the likes of me.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    schools fault

    > That being said, there's always an exception to the rule. The Reg published a story last week about an American woman who bought a Dell laptop that came with Ubuntu, and her unfamiliarity with it caused her to drop out of school.

    if i remember it correctly she also dropped out because the schools website/online teaching thingamajig only supported IE.

    Also i believe she was somehow taking a tech class (as in IT, I believe)... No more questions...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And not just Linux...

    I wonder how many of the problems Microsoft had with Vista and market acceptance are not so much the resource usage (which only really the techies care about, and you probably wouldn't really notice anything in day-to-day usage if you've just bought a new computer three times as powerful as your old one), but the "everyday" users clamouring,

    - "Aargh, how do I foo in this one!"

    - "I can't find the bar anywhere!"

    - "They've completely changed quux!"

    &etc. to "I want my XP back!"

    Watching non-technical users being exposed to new systems is an education. Techies have a tendency to go, "oh, it's not there any more", grumble a bit about relentless UI fiddling, then go menu spelunking until they've found what they need, no more worries. Normal people, on the other hand, are more apt to freeze, stare blankly at the screen, and murmur, "I want the old version back."

    (Of course, acceptance of the new and relentless desire to learn is probably what made those people techies in the first place...)

  7. Ed

    You could be right...

    I think you're right, I support a number of people, and the vast majority don't really care - it's a tool. I think longer term though - 20 years perhaps, we'll see people (and perhaps companies) care more. If Apple (or Linux) can succeed in getting a reasonable marketshare in the home market, these users will want that OS at work, or at least be aware that having that OS at work is a possibility...

    OSs are only going to compete based on the value-added features - OS X has iLife etc, what does Linux have? My experience of Linux has been gradually getting better, but there's honestly just too much choice - your average user doesn't want to have to chose between 10 different photo album apps, or 5 word processors. I also find that Linux software is just not as well made as Windows software, let alone OS X software. I'd love to love Linux, but until the focus for Linux is on User Experience over all else, it's not going to succeed.

  8. Jim

    Closed shop

    What holds linux back from the desktop is the closed-shop agreement between MS and the pc manufacturers. It's as simple as that.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What is this windows that you talk of?

    or this blue E.

    Inquiring minds wish to know.

    Isn't a desktop the plank of material rather aptly named for being on top of a desk?

    We do have these things we call computer systems, and oddly enough the better ones, the Ferraris, the Morgans, the Porsche, the Lamborghini, the BMW, the Volkswagon, the Mini variety they all run a variant of unix.

    Not sure what the Skoda lot are using, though I hear it comes with a Blue E.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Agree 100%

    Totally agree.

    I hate windows - I think it's shite. But my girlfriend, and my brother and her mum don't CARE that windows is shite. As long as they can access their yahoo web mail and buy stuff from Next online and write a few letters and print stuff out. That's all they want. And so when they come to write a letter and up pops Open Office and it doesn't quite work the way Word does, they don't want to re-learn it - they just want Word back.

    I don't like this, but I'm in a minority and while I will never agree (I think Word is shite too), I'm starting to give up on the battle against it - life is too short.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    A geeky techie nerd writes

    You're dead right, for once. I spent years as an IT manager and most people are just not interested in computers. They've spent years learning the basics of the MS Office apps that they have to use. If they need to do anything that they've never done before in Word or Excel, they 'phone their friendly support person or, in a small organisation, ask their local geek - who looks it up in the help files and shows them how to do it. They're not paid to be geeks. They're paid to be accountants, internal sales, production controllers, credit controllers, etc.

    As an aside, we once had an accountant who knew how to use Lotus 123 R2. We had R3, and if a graph was ever needed, I had to take an hour off and do it for him....

  12. Andy ORourke
    Thumb Up

    Well Said

    You got this one spot on, now if it wasn't for all those pesky copyright issues and someone from the Linux community could bring themselves to stoop low enough to bastardise their beloved OS and make a distro that look and works EXACTLY like XP (OK, without the crashes, bloat, AV, DRM etc. Maybe even put some fake AV icon in the taskbar for peace of mind) then the revoulution could begin.

    People, and by people I mean the "average" end user, are LAZY, they dont want to learn something new and you only have to look at Vista / Office 2007. Things changed and didnn't look exactly like people expected them to so a big backlash, people "downgrading" to XP and office 2003

  13. Anonymous Coward

    backwards E

    Don't panic - you can get your E on Linux too...


  14. Mage Silver badge

    Blue E

    I don't think so.

    Stupid article.

    BTW, 99% of my use is on XP, 1% on Linux. but still a stupid article.

    10 years ago the article may have made more sense.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Is there a middle finger icon?

    'nuff said

  16. Craig

    Consideration of end users

    It's the age-old problem with software. Designed by techies for techies, even when we try to take into account user requirements we still end up with a solution that isn't entirely intuitive.

    Windows is by no means transparently intuitive, but it's a lot better at providing straightforward means of performing numerous end-user tasks than current breeds of Linux. Mac OS X has the potential to knock Windows from the dominant OS spot, but even that is unlikely for another three to five years (guesstimate).

  17. Jared Earle

    The console is what's keeping Linux off the desktop

    The day Linux can ship without needing a terminal is the day it can stand a chance on the desktop. The day you can install Linux on a generic PC and not have to visit the command line. The day your mum can survive the entire life-cycle of a PC without resorting to the shell.

    Until then, it'll always be the purview of techies.

    Sure, it'll always ship with a terminal (remember the debate around Mac OSX 10.0 about whether or not it'd ship with a Terminal?) but it's the day it doesn't *NEED* one it's in the game.

  18. Lionel Baden

    Fail to mention

    I feel that

    Windows is something you get

    Mac is something YOU must go and get

    Linux is something you must search for batter into usable shape Cry batter some more use, Wish it did stuff like windows can and then moan about how much windows costs.

    Dont get me wrong i wish windows didnt come loaded with 50 million useless pieces of addons but, over the broad spectrum of computers available windows is the ONLY Sensible choice !!

    It supports the most hardware configurations !

    Mac VS Win = mac fail. They wernt really competing

    need multi icon

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    completely correct

    The switch from Lotus to Excel gave my wife carpal tunnel and a good case of rage. Asking her to leave the W and the X would be just asking for trouble. And it is not that she is unintelligent, she just has other things to do.

  20. Andy Shaw

    Accurate as far as it goes

    Of course, with Microsoft pushing heavy changes to both the Windows and Office interfaces, a "Windows skin" on a Linux window manager and a copy of OpenOffice actually provide more familiarity than new versions of Windows do. It's an anecdote I know, but my mother (the only typical user I have to support) is much happier with this setup than she was with Vista and Office 2007.

  21. James

    and then there is

    The users, who have decided that paying for windows is just feeding the beast that keeps biting you, but have been stuck with it because the Linux required some coding to get working, a dam command console, which requires another language, when I haven’t finished learning my first one yet (English and I,m 27)

    Then along came the bright idea at ubuntu to make it idiot proof with a desktop version. With all the drivers sorted for you and with a nice user interface that anybody who refuses to read instructions can get along with and most importantly I can play eve on it... - side note if you need an instruction book _ ITS DESIGNED WRONG.

    So my first install yesterday went well, all done easily on a clean HDD and everything appears to be working.

    Now onto those dam pivot tables.

    On the business side – a single training course should sort out most users and those who are incapable of switching are probably best put to the top of the redundancy lists.

  22. Rob
    Paris Hilton

    apathetic or idiotic?

    it's not just that people don't care about computers, i keep running into to people who seem to have no interest in anything, and no curiosity at all about the world around them, whether it be languages, food or just generally wondering how something works, computer stupidity is pretty close to the old not being able to program the vcr issue i think.

    How does one explain to these people that they may not be idiots as such, but if they're not going to use their brains they may as well be?

    it doesn't take much research to figure out vaguely what an operating system is, what the green "x" actually is/does or that the monitor is not the computer.

    it takes even less effort to not care and suck up whatever's dumped in front of you, but the more you do of either, the easier they get.

    -by implication there must be people go to pieces when they get a new microwave/tv/washing machine/car that does exactly the same as the old one in a slightly different way? -i've never met one that i know of but i would call them idiots, or luddites if i were feeling generous.

    it all depends on your definition of idiot i guess, personally i think someone who's unable or unwilling to learn is an idiot, with the latter being by far the worst of the 2.

    paris, because even she likes learning new tricks.

  23. Anonymous Coward


    >Some people are just dumb.

    Indeed Ted, some people are! I've heard many a tale of people whose written prose consists of swearword after swearword, occasionally tied together with overly opinionated text. Some people are - as you say - just dumb.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    When you don't know what you're talking about, it's best not to talk.

  25. William Andrews

    Linux needs to rule!

    I look at my screen, my own little 3D environment, desktop cube, ect. and ect.

    All my free applications, that work better or equivalent to Microsoft apps.

    In my opinion, those users are not idiots (like that woman), she was just so

    oblivious to take the proper steps with something unfamiliar...

  26. Anonymous Coward


    I use windows of various ilk on my machines, but the blue "e"?

    I only ever use that to make sure web pages aren't broken by it.

    For everyday surfing, I use the orange fox.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If Linux can't usurp Windows' dominance....

    ...then maybe this one can.

  28. Muscleguy

    Techie job creation scheme

    Or maybe Windoze is preferred by IT types because if everyone used say Macs they would have nothing to do. I used to voluntarily run Mac support for a large science lab on the side of doing my proper job. It used practically none of my time apart from periodically defragging a drive so that large files would print. I entered this state because the IT people were so snowed under supporting NT etc that it could take them a week or more to get around to a job and it was easier and quicker to do it myself so life could continue.

    Oh yes there was this one time that the beige G3 box was found to be riddled with nvir, only symptom was it ran a bit slow. Last time I saw a live virus on a Mac and nvir was ancient back then. Of course we had to worry about macro viruses in Word documents . . .

    Mine's the white one with unmentionable biological spills on it.

  29. Lars
    Thumb Up


    Good article. Far too often are users exposed to IT people with no sence of service or how to talk to non tech people. Hopefully articles like this will help IT staff to realise that to help them self they need to lear the ways of the normale people hehe

  30. John Carney


    ... the thing that is holding linux back is that for key apps, the software is significantly inferior to Windows - Word, Excel, Outlook/Exchange and Photoshop are streets ahead of their Open Source equivalents. It's not familiarity of one over the other, it's that the software is demonstrably less capable.

  31. Nigel Wright

    Linux, Windows..blah

    I'm a "geek", I have a network at home of 8 pc's. I support a few locals and my company..I've just made the move to Linux (Ubuntu 8.10) on my Dell netbook and it works brilliantly and without a flaw. It's fast, repsonsive and reliable. I also run Windows XP on several pc's at home, but I am now preferring the Linux flavour.

    The g/f has bought a new Dell laptop with Vista on it and I find it such hard work, fiddly and inutitive (damn the UAC!). I've had trouble with application compatibility on it. The contrast between it and Ubuntu in terms of usability couldn't me more marked - Ubuntu trashes it. But despite hating it, the g/f prefers Windows because it's what she knows

    By contrast, a friend of hers has also bought a Dell laptop with Ubuntu on it and complains she can't find Internet Exploder, can't install her Windows specific apps, but is thrilled it has Word and Excel on it for free!

    The problem as so rightly highlighted is familiarity - users want free software that is long as it looks like Windows.

  32. Code Monkey



  33. Allan Rutland
    Thumb Up

    Very true

    It's also a huge problem actually for MS. Many users saw Vista and screamed, not because of anything technical, but because it didn't look like XP. XP was around for far to long, and due to that became the default. Nothing else exists, or should exist. It was a known quantity (even if one which was incredibly crappy).

    No matter what jazz they throw at Win7, and how it runs faster than XP on many machines (been testing the beta on a few older bits of kit, and its between the same and 10% faster than XP on the same machine). It doesn't matter. It's new fluffy interface means it will scare Joe Public. And if they can't see uniformity, they will scuttle back to what they know. XP.

    The same is true of Office. Office 2007 scared the living daylights out of people. Yes, for the first time user it maybe a much better system, yet for the older user who has used it for the past 20+ years seeing the beloved menu bars vanish terrified them.

    Is there a solution? Maybe, but not as it currently stands. Realistically the only possible way to stop such things is slow evolution over time so nothing majorly surprises the users. But the only way to do that would be something like the cloud.

  34. Saucerhead Tharpe

    I think Ted needs a break


    I think I Ted needs to lie down in a dark room and get calm.

    This "linux" thing obbviously upsets him. IWhen he comes out he can write about things he enjoys, instead of frothing at the mouth at how all these evil penguin people are deluded fools.

    it'll be better for him

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    My considered opinion on the way this article is written:


  36. Mark

    Ebeneezer Goode

    So just get it banned as a class A drug. Call it "E's" and the dumb won't notice.

  37. Matt

    Close to home

    We're currently having this argument in our office. Someone in Management has recently decided that everyone should move over to Ubuntu, "because it's better". That's the same reason they gave for Open Office, as well. (We think that certain people are unfairly bitter over Big G's paycheque).

    Unfortunately, it would appear that "better" is actually a code-word for "cheaper" - it's all very well trying to cut costs and so on, but you're challenging someone's expectations and asking them to remain effective all at the same time.

    We've already had the usual File Format wars with clients - they don't care if we're using Open Office or not, they want to send that Excel Spreadsheet with a bunch of customised macros and they expect it to behave exactly the same when I open it up - that's not too much to ask. You want to wean people off of one system and onto another, then be my guest - but users are a resiliant bunch.

    It's one of those un-winnable arguments. The proponents will always argue that one is better than the other - personally, I use Windows. I know it like the back of my hand, I know what to do when it goes wrong, I know what things to turn on and what to turn off, and how to do it. I can navigate my way around a Linux system, I can understand partitions and just about figure out how to install 'compile your own' drivers, but I have to loose all the things that I use daily and know so well just because the alternative is "better"? I don't think our IT department has the knowledge or experience to adequately administer a bunch of Linux machines when they go wrong - and that will be it's downfall!

  38. Nick Palmer

    I reckon jeremy and Bert Ragnarok...

    ...are both right, in that the user experience has been getting steadily less familiar and agreeable, but I think that that isn't a "WIndows" problem nearly so much as an Office one. Let's face it, you could run Office on Linux if you wanted to, and the key thing that the users of the W and the X'd be complaing about wouldn't be anything to do with the OS, it'd be the ghastly redesign of Office.

  39. GreyCells
    Gates Horns

    Don't underestimate Joe Public

    Yes, most people are uninformed enough to think the Microsoft software is good, invented the www, and other such nonsense, but it's just down to plain ignorance, fed by the Redmond marketing machine and Microsoft's illegal/immoral dominance of the channel. People are not really that stupid, just habitual and badly informed (a delicious irony in the information age).

    Your argument only stands up when you focus on the retail PC in it's current form factor. As soon as other form factors arrive (iPods, SmallCheapComputers, mobile phones), users have no problem transitioning.

    As we start to see more usable internet devices arounf the home/business (no, Windows PCs are *not* usable internet devices), then people will not care to be struggling with the legacy Windows UI and swiss cheese approach to security.

    Remember, Microsoft's desctop dominance (which is unlike the dominance in *any other* business sector, within or outside IT) was created (and is maintained) by proved illegal and immoral practices. It is not there because it is better.

    Bill Gates [evil icon], because Microsoft has held back true innovation in IT by at least five years.

  40. Phil Hannent

    Agressive and short-sighted

    Wow, clearly the writer has some anger management issues "its only an operating system".

    The main problem you are talking about is how intuitive the interface is and how well the operating system manages the computer for you.

    If you take the argument that people want it to look like Windows then you just have to look at the failure of the distributions that try to mimic windows, they plus wine have a small market.

    The only good thing about the E is the title. That was well worth Microsoft paying those millions for. Ask an internet virgin to connect to the internet and when they see "Internet Explorer" vs "Firefox Web browser" which are they going to pick?

  41. Richard

    Doesn't this point to a general O/S FAIL?

    The fail is that ALL O/S's have monstrously crap help systems. That get worse if you're coming over from another O/S. Microsoft has a genuine advantage (pun intended) in that, as the incumbant majority O/S writer, people are most likely to use up their "I'm learning how to use a computer" mental budget on their product, so they benefit from rubbish help in that it leaves other systems having to be nigh on impossibly easy to use so as to not confuse people too much.

    I suffer from a similar issue when it comes to graphics programs - if the menu structure isn't like Photoshop 7, I'll spend at least 5 minutes of confusion per use trying to figure out how to do anything.

    I think the console could teach a lot when it comes to this, or at least games could. Games tend to have printed manuals (or at least PDFs), something O/Ss abandoned circa the original iMac. They come with quick reference cards. And often with (heaven forfend!) reasonably well thought out tutorial modes.

    Vista offers a good example of what I mean - they've shuffled up the control panel: fine, I can live with that. They even allow you to switch to "Classic View". That's not going to last in future versions though, is it? I'm still going to have to learn the new view eventually, but you're going to make it hard for me. How about a bit in "Classic View" that actually tells me where it is in the new version - a "Where the hell is the Big blue E?" mode if you will?

  42. Edward Miles

    By this argument...

    Office 2007 is destined to fail, because the revamped UI is going to lead to users not knowing what's going on. I don't entirely disagree with this article, user familiarity is a major boon to MS, and a bummer to linux, but if that was the only barrier, some group would have set themselves up in some country with lax copyright laws offering something like this (With the menu modified yet further to make it look more XP-like): and the whole world would be using linux.

    Alas no, I feel the biggest barrier is lack of porting of commercial software to Linux, it's a chicken and egg problem that wont be solved any time soon. Meantime, I'll keep on using it, but my XP partition will remain for the foreseeable future!

  43. Mark

    re: You could be right..

    Nope, I think you're talking results not reasons.

    The reason for this isn't that they don't care or even, really, that they are dumb. The problem is that all they've been told is the application not the problem.

    Want to write a letter?

    No! You want to use Office.

    Want to browse the internet?

    No! You want internet explorer.

    Marketing from MS drive this through. The APPLICATION was the aim. Avoid mention of the problem to be solved because anything else can be used for that solution, not the product they are selling.

    "With Microsoft Office you can write your letters, sort your accounts, even run your business...".

    Pummel that often enough and people start thinking: "I need MS Office" when they REALLY need "to write a letter".

    Schools have picked up that one because teaching how to use MS Office 97 is a hell of a lot easier than telling someone why they would want an integrated suite, or how to design a letter (which USED to be what they taught in English Literature classes when all you had was Pen and Paper, but then you didn't have to worry about fonts. Just how bad your handwriting was.). So teachers teach the application solution, not the problem to be solved. It's easier.

    Then the kids grow up thinking of the product not the problem and they continue to demand MS Office or whatever when they should be demanding "Make writing a resume easy".

  44. Peter Jones
    Thumb Up

    Totally agree

    and it's been something I have said for a long time. The majority of desktop users will go with what they know. And they know what is provided at work.

    It's not just the E, W and X. All MS apps are used in preference to any other because they have the same thinking behind them. File, Edit, View etc are the common thread that people will know and cling to. The spelunking trips they take will be in there.

    Give them another application, and the different contextual menus will throw them. No exploring, nothing. Whine, cry, hold breath until they turn red etc.

    Office 2007 has the ribbon. Different from 2003? Yes, at least in part. Same design across all Office apps? Yes. Full of win.

    You linux trolls want to see linux on desktop (outside of your basement hovels)? Skin it to perform all the functions of Windows. Have it run applications including MS Office if the users want it. Make it look and feel exactly like XP. All the menus, buttons, icons.

    Once that is done, and accepted by the majority of users, then you can start to slowly modify it to make it BETTER than XP.

    Or you could continue to foam at the mouth whilst posting on forums, barking at the moon. Your choice, but only one of these options will change anything.

  45. Ash
    Thumb Up

    PC Gaming

    It's all that holds me back from Linux.

  46. Mark

    re: Agree 100%

    You start off with:

    "As long as they can access their yahoo web mail and buy stuff from Next online and write a few letters and print stuff out. "

    But then say that they DO care what they use, the result is irrelevant:

    "they don't want to re-learn it - they just want Word back."

    They THINK they want the end result, but they are thinking of the product, not the problem.

  47. David Hicks

    You're all wrong and stupid

    @Lee Stacey - Cloud? ROFL. It might take off a bit, but not for most things. It's a buzzword for exactly the same stuff that gets thrust to the forefront every ten years. call it client/server, call it distributed computing, call it thin client, call it mainframe. Never going to take over.

    @Fihart - Once the tech has installed it for you then you don't have to know what a partition is. hell;, you don't need to if you install it yoursel. Hitting "Auto" on any old distro works these days. Also, you'll most likely find that Linux comes with more drivers than windows these days. Especially for devices that don't have a purpose written vista/win 7 driver.

    @Jared Earl Linux can be done without the command line. You don't need it in ubuntu. At all.

    In general I think it will take time, but linux will gain share for two reasons -

    1. Windows is changing. Vista changed things, 7 changes them further. Most people will leap straight from XP, so who knows what's going to happen there.

    2. Corporate and public sector linux usage is on the rise. It's in no way dominant yet, but in many countries there are private and public corps encouraging or even mandating linux usage.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Live CDs and The Extreme porn law

    May help witht the penetration of Linux

  49. John

    yeah but...

    Didn't The Reg report a little while ago that Firefox was now at 20% market share... Oh yes they did:

    The gap is slowly closing, lets hope is keeps going.

    and in reply to "Agree 100%" by AC @ 13:23

    The situation you describe with family that just want to browse, email and write the odd letter. That makes your desktop an ideal candidate for switching to linux. Its folks that are stuck into a rouutine of Adobe software for instance that are hardest to switch, and frankly they aren't worth the trouble of trying to convince. Life is certainly too short for that headache, your situation is perfect however ;)

  50. Sean Baggaley

    Choices, choices...

    The "too much choice" argument against Linux is a telling one. I spent years working in the games industry and "meaningful / interesting" choices are key in designing a successful game: sure, you could make an RPG where literally _anything_ is possible, as in the real world, but the real world is, for the most part, quite dull. Most choices we make in our daily lives are so tedious that we don't even remember making them.

    There's a damned good reason why Apple deliberately *limit* choices on their products, and now you have an idea why. Why provide fifteen different text editors? How many *ordinary users* ever even USE a text editor? (Seriously! When was the last time you saw your mother or aunt fire up Notepad?) Who CARES about Emacs? Who gives a toss about VI? Only the techies and geeks! These are the people who will cheerfully build a Gentoo system from scratch. If your distro isn't aimed at these people, STOP CATERING TO THEM. They are NOT your audience!

    Is it beyond the wit of a Linux distro team to run some polls and _decide_ which apps are best-of-breed -- and I use the term loosely -- in the Linux ecosystem? Is it beyond their ken to just -- oh, I don't know -- get off their high horses and go _look_ at Apple's implementation of their "App Store"? Build something similar for Linux so all those other apps can still be made available to those who want or need them, but don't blind people with meaningless, pointless choices.

    No, "apt-get" on its own is not enough and neither are most attempts at GUI-fying it. It needs to be capable of handling dependency issues silently, behind the scenes. Most importantly, it must include _meaningful metadata_ about each app. User ratings, for example. User reviews. Some kind of feedback loop which will make Linux developers actually sit up and take notice of what the ordinary punter really thinks of their software. As long as the only feedback developers see is from fellow developers, they will never, ever, produce anything Joe User wants to use.

    Of course, there's nothing anyone can do about Linux developers who don't _care_ about Joe User. I am also assuming that these developers are in the minority in the Linux scene, which admittedly flies in the face of all the evidence to the contrary.

  51. Bruno Girin

    I agree but there is hope

    I sort of agree with the article: most people who buy a computer expect Windows on it. On the other hand, I think there is still hope.

    Love them or hate them, one thing that Apple have done for us over the past few years is show people that a computer doesn't have to come with Windows. One of my friends, who is the most un-technical person you would ever meet decided a while back that she'd get an iBook to replace her ailing Asus laptop. Her criteria for choosing the iBook was that it looked great and stylish. She had no problem learning how to use the dock nor that the browser was no longer a blue E but a blue compass or that the mail app was no longer a yellow clock but a mail stamp (which somehow does make more sense). Granted, she did put the whole MS office suite on it rather than using iLife but she did need to exchange documents with other people and Neo/Open Office was not up to scratch at the time (it's now better but still behind). So if she can switch OS, I think everybody can.

    As for Linux, I agree that it needs to be a bit more polished in places but Canonical are doing exactly what needs to be done with Ubuntu. You can now use Linux without ever dropping to the command line and with everything working out of the box on a large variety of hardware. But most people won't ever get to installing an OS anyway, they'll use whatever is shipped with the computer, whether the hardware is well supported or not. A company that would start offering computers with Linux pre-installed and were to make the OS a feature of the computer, in the same way that Apple did, highlighting the difference rather than hiding it, would do well I think.

  52. Tony Humphreys

    you forgot the biggest advantage of Windows

    When windows fails, they can call someone. All users want is it to work - and with windows they are willing to throw money constantly at it until it does. Dont even bother trying to bring them round to linux, they are not interested, just let them pay you to fix windows - its a nice little earner, while you can count your pennies in oo on ubuntu!

  53. RainForestGuppy

    Too True

    Our IT dept, spent a fortune** rolling out OpenOffice to about 1000 non-power users as they could do the same basic functions as MS Office products without the long term licensing costs.

    However whenever somebody received a spreadsheet from a third party that didn't quite look right or couldn't find a function in the word processor, then they requested that Office was re-installed.

    Now nearly all of the 1000 users have had MS Office re-installed. Familiarity and the "It's what everybody else uses" mentality will always keep MS Office products at the top of the market.

    ** Yes OpenOffice is free, but you have to provide user and support training, you need to test it with various applications/documents etc and the actual rollout itself.

  54. Edward Rose

    Some good points....

    @Jared Earle

    Linux doesn't _need_ the terminal. It's used for advanced tinkering (or if you are unlucky not to have common hardware). Okay, from that you may argue that you do need it still - but average Joe actually doesn't. Okay, you lose a lot of chance for optimising, but for the average windows user they can do the same through GUIs. Mostly. I apologise for poor English here, little tired.

    That said I sort of agree with you, too much tinkering still needs the terminal. I know, I'm contradicting myself - but _I_ know what I mean.

    (Most users can't do half the GUI config under windows remember - the techies do it for them).

    Concerning the article - as one chap has mentioned, SCHOOLS. Start 'em young with a variety. See the difference. People don't like change and they hate learning. But, if they start with Linux or a mix then it stands a good chance. Get Linux in primary schools (Prinux anyone?). Perfect place for it too - no course work depending on things be just so....

  55. Baldychap

    I agree

    I think this is spot on. I'm an IT pro and I love the idea of using Linux and at home I now use it pretty much most of the time. But I hate to think of the blood, sweat, tears and late nights I've had to endure to get to this place. That said, if I need anything 'not so everyday' doing and I don't feel like battling with Linux then it's nice to know I've got my trusty XP box that will do want I want it to.

    I spend a fair amount of time supporting family and friends with windoze machines as it is. It would be a nightmare if I pushed them all onto Unbuntu or similar - For them and me!

    Linux is definitely getting better, but it's not quite there yet. And when it is it will need a singular Brand marketing campaign, which, like it or not, Microsoft and Apple do well, to get the average Joe to change. Not sure how that's gonna happen with all the distro's out there..... shame.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Once again...

    ...we see how disconnected from reality some in the IT community are. OF COURSE this article is absolutely spot on; wittering on about closed shop agreements utterly misses the point; it's what the huge majority of users want. I've just fought a huge battle to ensure my users can keep using Windows rather than switch to Linux. It's not because it's that I think Windows is superior in any way, simply that the whole place would grind to a halt when people no longer knew how to use all their applications, and I and my team would be spending our entire time trying to help them do the basics, rather than what we're supposed to do - whatever that is. Using computers doesn't come naturally to most people - as my wife says, "all I want to do is type". People are familiar with what they use, and they just don't want to have to learn anything new simply to do the same task - and why should they? It's not lazyness, but they and their employers have invested huge sums in getting them to their current level of proficiency. It's expensive to start again, even if the software has no cost. Even I still have trouble trying to remember how to do some things with the green X, whereas I remember the 123 keystrokes perfectly. And the majority of users are no different.

    Teach kids different OSs at school? Why? You'll just confuse them. I learned how to do everything in CP/M - so that's been really useful.

    No, it's not lazyness or stupidity or anything like that that keeps people tied to Windows, it's simply the fact that the thing works, more or less, and the way people expect it to. PCs are still magic boxes to most people - they know the spells needed to get things to work in Windows, and they simply couldn't care less if the spells work slightly better in Linux if they can't even find the spellbook, never mind remember how to cast them. In fact knowing how to use what you've got and not want something else strikes me as rather intelligent, if anything.

  57. Joshua

    I wouldn't be so sure - eternity is a very long time

    Whilst I fully agree that Microsoft, with it's E, W and X, has an awful lot of brand recognition that provides comfort, the fact is that the average user's toolset is more than amply covered by both FOSS and Macs these days.

    The desktop is TOTALLY Microsoft's game to lose, but they haven't exactly proven to be up to the task of maintaining their monopoly through innovation (e.g. Vistaster) - and the EU is doing an admirable job of restricting their ability to abuse their monopoly position.

    With Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera et al out there taking the game to MS on the browser front. And Linux fairly well entrenched in the server market, Apple dominating the music, "creatives" scene, and dominant in most universities, there is a lot of pressure on Microsoft. Competition is thriving in areas where Microsoft has had to compete on a level playing field - and mostly losing.

    At the end of the day though, as long as Linux doesn't die, "living in the shadow" is enough. It doesn't exactly need a huge amount of revenue to survive does it?

    In the words of Rachel Hunter, "It won't happen overnight, but it will happen".

  58. John

    we all *know* Linux is better?

    bring back Otto!

  59. Anonymous Coward

    Windows minimises learning

    Your archetypal user's desire not to have anything change from the way he has grown to understand it is going to have one major effect: he's never going to learn how to automate anything that he does, other than arguably within the very narrow domain that his office software macros allow him to, and that's assuming his training takes him that far.

    Fine for your cubicle droid who clocks in, is paid by the hour and is controlled by a helldesk system which ensures that the person who answers the calls doesn't know anything useful to the person on the other end of the line.

    Developing a whole operating system around the paradigm of a particular WIMPish (Windows Icon Mouse Pointer) way of doing a user interface is going to prevent exploration, experimentation and learning beyond the boundaries of the system view this interface presents. Windows is designed to prevent learning. The idea of "user friendliness" it embodies is about minimising what someone needs to learn in order to perform a narrowly defined task. Sure this will give high "productivity" ratings when narrowly measured against the narrowly defined task or a collection of such defined for the test. But the longer-term costs in connection with the artificial constraint on the development of wider-domain knowledge by the expensively educated, employed and trained human being behind the user interface should to be considered.

  60. Daniele Futtorovic

    Missing gratification?

    While I pretty much agree with the contents of the article, I'd like to raise one point here that I encounter too seldom for my liking.

    Been there, done that. Yeah, GNU *is* better. Steep learing cure, though.

    But... why the fuck does everyone want to have GNU/Linux/KDE|GTK dominate the desktop, Life Universe and Everything in the first place?! Are their phallusses that tiny? Isn't it enough to them that it's good? That's it's a pleasure to work with?

    And aside from that, don't they realise that, if it actually did dominate, it would simply become Windows? The capital goes where the profit is. Economics 101, kids.

    If you love free, collaborative software; if you love things done right for no other reason than esthetics... then _pray_ it'll remain a niche product.

  61. Robert Grant

    This is by far your best article... the vocabulary-replacing swearing, of course. Windows' biggest weapon is familiarity. Even though people have to install anti-virus, install anti-spyware, cope with a slower PC with each release of Windows, get a local geek to install their broadband, whatever...they will go with Windows because they've used it before and won't give up at the first unfamiliarity or hurdle with the phrase, "I just don't get Linux."

    This will probably change (authors get paid to either extend a cycle's upcurve out to infinity and say, "this will always continue" or extend the downcurve and say, "this is going to burn") but I have seen the thinking behind it time and time again.

    And as you say, ignorance of operating systems/computers != stupidity.

  62. Neil

    The real problem is....

    ....that unless Linux takes a giant leap into precompiled, click and go usefulness the masses will never "get it", and Windows will continue to eveolve.

    Linux was handed its chance with Vista. After testing Windows 7 Beta I think that door is about to be closed for another 3 years.

  63. zelrik


    I stopped using windows XP one year ago to use ubuntu only instead. I started ubuntu 2 years ago as a dual boot. At that time ubuntu was not as good as it is now so I struggled a bit. But now I can tell that ubuntu is heading in the right direction, most things got their own GUI. I am still using the command line because I am a bit of a geek, but I dont feel it's so much needed anymore.

    By the way, I have been using windows for 10 years before that, I also tried Linux 10 years ago which made me puke at that time.

    As for the little E, Firefox has a lot of market penetration (>20% now).

    For the little X and W, OpenOffice has also descent share also (~15%).

    So dont assume people dont use alternatives when they actually do.

  64. Stephen Bungay

    Yes and no...

    This article can be summed up with one statement; "people don't like change".

    Microsoft learned this the hard way with Office 2007 and Vista. The really amazing thing is that the people who complained about Open Office being different (and it really is a small difference) didn't get their noses out of joint with Office 2007, which is major shift in the user interface and has a rather steep learning curve for them.

  65. Mark
    IT Angle

    "No, "apt-get" on its own is not enough "


    You don't get anything anywhere near as good from Microsoft.

  66. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    re: Close to home

    Well, they are your employer. You either accept their change and work with it or leave their employ.

    That's what I have to do when I'm forced to use Microsoft Word for a memo at work...

  67. Psymon
    Gates Halo

    spot on article but...

    I think there are 2 other key (and slightly overlapping) issues restricting Linux from being more widespread.

    The first is the generational experience trickle into the academic community.

    In a university, you will have astoundingly complex mix of multi-OS environments.

    College will perhaps have a few unix servers.

    Secondary schools will be pretty much windows only domains with a few macs in the music dept.

    Primary schools are lucky to have a windows workgroup.

    Bear in mind Linux has only been a viable option as an easy to use OS for the intermediate user for the last 8 years or so (v roughly).

    [deep breath after that sentance!]

    It'll take time for people with experience of the more friendly Linux to filtrate through to primary/secondary schools, where they in turn will introduce youngsters to the alternatives.

    The second part is where the linux-heads seem to completely miss the plot, and that is managability within a mid to large network environment, and this is where the linux community needs to bend over backwards and re-double efforts to please your system administrator.

    windows is now completely managed from the server. Everything from what drive letters are available, to your homepage and what favourites you get. Any admin worth his salt will NEVER be cought having to physically walk to a machine to manually change a preference, homepage or run an update. This level of control is critical in a school environment, where you have hundreds of wannabe hackers and script kiddies all trying to circumvent your security.

    Chucking a random flavour of Linux onto his carefully crafted network invariably adds work, and usually a few headaches when it refuses to behave, allows access to resources on the network it shouldn't, refuses to access those it should, and generates masses of support work from unfamiliar users.

    I refused to allow alternate browsers (ironically, because of the security implications) until Firefox Community Edition came along, and allowed me to dictate from the server the favourites, homepage, and trusted zones from within group policy.

    When add-ins and activex comonents are carefully managed by zone, IE actually becomes much more secure than a 3rd party browser under full control of the user.

    Linux is still an adolescent with an ASBO. It needs to grow up, get a suit and tie, and start behaving like all the other very mature XP workstations before it'll be widely adopted by the guys who actually dictate what you get on your business workstation

  68. Steen Hive

    Users aren't stupid?

    "Users aren't stupid. They just have better shit to do than learn C++ programming or tinker around with FreeBSD."

    Contradiction in terms. Dump their stupid, wilfully-ignorant, lame arses in a landfill somewhere.

  69. Dave

    Not Quite True

    What about the switch to Office 2007? That totally changed the user interface and hid all the useful commands in unfamiliar places. Oh, and it introduced yet another file format change to give incompatibility issues with those who wanted to stick with the old version.

    The real power of the e, W and X is just because everyone else is using them. MS has already shown that it can change what's behind them and people will still spend money and buy the latest version. Users *are* stupid.

  70. Steve

    Never a Windows Fan BUT

    Use windows at work becuase I have to sadly.

    Luckily though I kept off PC untill about 2001 up untill I was using my old Amiga 1200 with various Addons such as :-

    68040 Card (Was well chuffed when i could play an mp3 at some speed)

    My 2 Gig Hardrive

    MY Power TOwer

    OS3.1 upto 3.9

    and 32mb Ram

    Bought these abck in 1997 and they kept me happy

    But in 2001 the old system was showing signs of teh times.

    GRanted I could have bought Add ons etc etc for it but did not seem worth the money so i went the PC route with windows.

    Now in 2009 I have started to play about with Linux Unbunto (Still geting used to it)

    But I do like it (Just trying to sodding figure out how you install a sodding GUI) Yes i know about the gnome thingy.

    But i am liking Linux more and more its more like an OS should be lets you control whats going on unlike windows which dictates to you what you can and carnt do.

    ALso learning the terminal commands (Reminds me of amiga shell)

    All good fun. But sadly ni this day and age every one is too busy rushing around and they just want something that looks pretty out the box and works!! (Windows)

  71. Doug Southworth
    Thumb Up

    Thank you

    As someone who is a Network Admin in the public school system, I spend most of my time working with teachers. I agree with you 100%. And thanks, by the way, for writing an article with a few explicatives sprinkled in for effect. It sounded much more well thought out than the usual 5 naughty word per sentence rant, which always makes me think of a 10 year old who has just learned a new word...

  72. Pierre

    The blue e, he?

    I think you're wrong. More and more people are looking for the fox, the seagulls, all that reliable, affordable wildlife.

    @John Carney : " ... the thing that is holding linux back is that for key apps, the software is significantly inferior to Windows - Word, Excel, Outlook/Exchange and Photoshop"

    You HAVE to be kidding... I mean, there ARE windows-only applications that are better than their *NIX counterparts (though it's massively the contrary, especially in highly technical proprietary application. But I digress). but you're citing effing MSOffice and -amazingly- *Outlook* as good applications? Man, these apps are amongst the worst pieces of code ever written by Man. Get a grip. No-one knows how they work (especially, no-one at MS) and they're so full of holes you could fly a squadron of An-225 Cossack through them. Photoshop is not that bad for novice image processing, but is in no way better than the GIMP. You, dear Sir, failed.

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Users aren't stupid?!

    I wish. Vista and Windows ME, as well as any pre-3.11 version say different - no company should have been given another chance after any one of those buckets of shite, but thickie users keep coming back time after time after time. This isn't just about Linux - there was a time when Apple were a serious contender, in fact there was a time when someone could talk about the inevitability of Apple's eventual dominance and not be laughed out of the room. Even OS/2 had genuine potential.

    The truth is that it is now many years gone since I installed a KDE-based Linux on a machine in the office and watched users come in, sit down and type a letter then email it without realising that they had not used Windows, so the "not ready for the desktop" argument is just bollocks, frankly. Windows is not ready for my desktop, but that's not stopped it.

    Windows is third-rate crap and always will be, but dumb users who are scared of any change - even imaginary change - will keep it going for years to come yet. In the end, Linux and OSX won't kill Windows, Microsoft will.

  74. Anonymous Coward

    The users don't get to choose.

    I've just reached the end of a VERY painful software audit. Suffice to say the organization of 500 seats were a teensy bit out on their licencing (read absolutely no SQL 2005 licencing and 220 Office licences out).

    In this economic climate 2 things happened; the FD removed Office 2003 from all machines that did not need it, such as single purpose machines in the warehouse (OpenOffice installed instead). Sacked the third party developer who installed SQL 2005 and incurred £26K without looking at MySQL, Postgres etc.

    The users use what they're given. They can threaten to quit if they don't get their W or X, but there are plenty of unemployed people out there willing to try a grey OO.

  75. Adam

    Moving from Win to Linux...

    I often consider making the switch, and am a programmer who is fairly familiar with using the unix console. There are four main things I do on my home machine... Web browsing/playing games/watching movies/litening to music.

    If I moved to linux, I would spend a lot of time getting everything setup/configured, and then a lot of time re-familiarising myself with a new suite of applications to use, and at the end of the day I won't be doing anything better just differantly.

  76. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Knowing about computers != Knowing about Windows

    In my experience of people using Linux there are three types:

    1) Doesn't know much about computers: Finds the switch to /current/ Linux distros easy. In fact they generally prefer it.

    2) Thinks they know a lot about computers (actually: Knows about Windows): Don't like switching because it's different.

    3) Knows a lot about computers: Finds the switch to Linux -- or any other OS -- easy. In fact they generally prefer it.

  77. Anonymous Coward

    Another Windows vs Linux crap

    At the end of the day, the OS is a tool. Do you really want an argument over which hammer is best? A Stanley or a Draper?

    To me, these so called "experts" on either Windows or Linux are just a bunch of OStards! Get a life, use what you want.

    I'll get my coat, hopefully, no one's going to have an argument over whether a B&Q or Homebase's coat hook is best.

  78. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Users aren't stupid?

    What an enlightened view.

    You lot have such elaborately violent fantasies on the finest of hair triggers. I'm starting to think today's nasty new law might actually be a good thing.

  79. Nano nano

    Not just Mars probes

    "... corporate air that's been heated to a temperate 72 degrees ..." - unless you don't like working in a sauna ...

  80. Brian Miller

    Never mind little blue 'e'

    A while back I helped my landlord get his computers connected to the Internet. One computer went to Yahoo!, and the other one came up to Dell's website. He thought that something was broken, and I had quite a time explaining how things worked, etc.

    Computers are nice, but even Windows requires IT support when the user is, ah, a bit dim.

  81. Muscleguy
    Jobs Halo

    Universities teach all systems

    Word from an offspring. At Auckland University in New Zealand the computer labs are all Intel Macs loaded with 10.5, XP and Linux with posters on the walls on how to get in/out of each. You cannot buy a generic PC that will run all 3 OSs, only Macs can. It's a no brainer from a procurement p.o.v.

  82. The Badger

    Re: Once again...

    Before I get started, I agree that Windows has a huge advantage as the incumbent from the perspective of the users: as long as the IT machine keeps paying the bills and keeps everything running, why would anyone uninterested in their job want more work? However...

    "wittering on about closed shop agreements utterly misses the point; it's what the huge majority of users want"

    If you listen to what people say about Windows in developing nations, there's a tremendous amount of brand envy going on: people won't take stuff which is better because they perceive Microsoft and Windows to be the premium brands. To find the appropriate analogy for the average British consumer, it's a bit like being offered a better ketchup than Heinz but having the feeling that people are forcing you to have a version of Tesco Value ketchup that you just haven't heard of. You want Heinz, just like the Americans, damn it!

    So, in a world where Ford were the only perceived choice for cars, how easy would it be to sell a superior brand of car? If BT were the only game in town for a telephone service, how easy would it be to sell another, better service under a name which isn't BT? In a world where Microsoft is the only perceived choice, thanks to various bundling agreements, a degree of coercion, inertia and advertising, how easy is it to persuade anyone to move to anything else? The "closed shop" aspect most certainly plays a part.

    "Teach kids different OSs at school? Why? You'll just confuse them. I learned how to do everything in CP/M - so that's been really useful."

    Hey, why even bother teaching them foreign languages? Indeed, why not just give them a pamphlet containing the hundred most important factoids required for a happy life as an obedient, unquestioning citizen? It'd save anyone from having to teach or understand anything.

  83. Doug Glass

    Whether You Like It Or Not ...

    ... the story's position is correct. Linux is the Betamax of the OS world. Time will certainly tell and so far Linux is just not where its gurus want it to be. If it were, all the bluster, hype, and hurt feelings wouldn't be there. You can tell something is a failure by the amount of hot air surrounding it. Shakespeare perhaps put it best when he penned, "The lady doth protest too much".

    But we'll see and if history shows us anything, it's that all these same rebuttals will be repeated in five years, ten years ... oh you see what I mean.

    But I and others can certainly be wrong, but for now Linux is an also-ran per the numbers. And in today's market driven societies (as opposed to tech driven) those numbers are all that really count.

  84. Lionel Baden


    Guys its really is just the plain simple fact that

    windows will run on 90% computers without any problems !

    Unix runs on 99% of computers with problems on 95% of them

    Mac runs on 3% of computer with problems on .9% of them

    And the biggest Fact of all

    Games run on Windows and Consoles ..... and well actually thats it

    Common is really what ive posted wrong please prove me wrong but seriously !!!

  85. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    re: Re: Users aren't stupid?

    "I'm starting to think today's nasty new law might actually be a good thing."

    And that's EXACTLY why they said it.

    Mind you, I have to wonder if you're talking about the post at 15:23 because there's fuck all there that's anywhere near as bad as some of the other posts on this site.

    (that's you, that is...)

  86. Doug Glass
    Paris Hilton


    Y'all have thingamajigs down there too? Neat.

    Paris because she knows what a thingamajig is and how to it.

  87. Doug Glass

    @Robert Long

    Yeah they are.

  88. Anonymous Coward

    Tin foil hat's

    Some of you guys are scary , "I am IT Pro..,Windows only has a market share because.." yada yada yada.

    I can do a far less on linux than i can do in a Win enviroment ,use far less applications and have even poorer hardware support..oh right wait that is MS's fault or the hardware vendors fault or the application vendor, or those stupid users know nothing...

    No wait it is linux's fault for being ...shit

    Everytime I find someone using linux as a desktop at home they usually deliver pizza's or do 1st line "is the plug in helpdesk support" of course online they are all sys admins with three data centers under there belt.

    Love you guys but from a very great distance.

  89. Mark
    IT Angle

    "managability within a mid to large network environment"

    That may be true, but you blow it all out of the water when you say that Windows is better.

    My God.

  90. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    re: Re: Users aren't stupid?

    I was just pointing out that it was, I felt, disproportionate to suggest that people who don't know about computers should go the way of Mickey Eyes and that in GoodFellas.

  91. Mark

    re: Missing gratification?

    Well, ever tried adding an NON-MS system to an MS network? HUUUGE pain in the arse.

    Added a non-Linux system to a Linux network? Not *piece of piss* simple, but a lot simpler and easier than the above option.

    Windows servers serve windows. If they *must* they'll do other systems but they'll do their damndest to make sure you pay a higher psychic price for your apostasy.

    That would be ONE reason to want Linux everywhere (tm).

    As to the downsides of monopoly, there cannot be whilst the code is FSF-free (as opposed to OSI-free). You can't make a monopoly on a product people can copy and improve themselves if they can or want to.

    That's two.

    Linux doesn't need to make huge profit and doesn't allow you to lock users in, so your costs are reduced hugely over Windows and its CAL's, BSA audits and all that.

    There's three.

    Want any more?

  92. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    I don't really agree

    Sensible people take an interest in the tools they need for their work and learn how to use them properly. It doesn't matter whether it's a mechanic using a spanner, or a musician using a guitar, or an office worker using a computer. If you need it for your job, learn how to use it properly. This is especially true in the case of a computer where many people will be using one at home a lot too.

    I don't think there's any excuse for not taking an interest in your computer's desktop environment and the applications installed on it. People are perfectly capable of learning new things if they have sufficient interest in doing so.

    Of course, the simpler the thing works, the better, so e.g. people are likely to adapt quicker and better with a change from Windows to Mac than they are with a change from Windows to Linux. So this is not an argument not to continue improving Linux on the desktop. When Linux is reasonably easy for people to learn and use, people who aren't lazy/worthless/whatever will happily learn and adapt accordingly.

  93. Doug Glass

    I Just Hate It ...

    ... when my belief system gets dented.

    Torvalds warns of Windows 7 threat

    Might make Windows sing again

    By Nick Farrell

    Monday, 26 January 2009, 10:07

    WINDOWS 7 might create the rebirth of Microsoft OS, which was blighted by the release of its Vista operating system, according to Open Sauce guru Linus Torvalds.

    In an interview with Computerworld, Torvalds said that Windows 7 is better than Vista and the Vole may have a huge PR advantage as people will compare it to Vista and think it is good so, "angels will sing again." This is what happened with Windows 95 compared to Windows 3.1.

    He thinks that Microsoft may have even done this on purpose.

    The Vole realised the Windows development cycle is way too long and it would be insane to do that again, however they might aim for a two-year development cycle and Torvalds think that is too long.

    Torvalds thinks that Vole should disconnect the operating system from the applications and release products sooner.

    He said for Linux six months is quite tight and the bits that are thrown together sometimes don't work properly.. However an annual release cycle is a reasonable cycle for doing a whole distribution.

    Microsoft wanted people to rent the software, but users don't want to. If you do development over five years and make so many changes it is more painful for the user. The cost of the pain is likely to be higher than the cost of the operating system which is why people are slow to upgrade, he said. µ

    All sixty-nine of you fanatics need to pay attention

  94. Mark

    re:Windows minimises learning

    "Your archetypal user's desire not to have anything change from the way he has grown to understand it "

    But you forget that if the change is done by the product they USED to use, they will accept that change, where they will NOT accept it in a change to a new application, even if the change is less.

    In businesses this is likely because the executive officer cannot appear to make mistakes, lest they be stabbed in the back toot suite. Ergo, they can never have made a mistake with with buying windows.

    The recession and the cockup on Vista may have given many a chance to change without having to have admitted a mistake, but there will be many who are afraid to say "I was wrong".

  95. lusuwzhgdfdk

    Internet != WWW

    "The only good thing about the E is the title. That was well worth Microsoft paying those millions for. Ask an internet virgin to connect to the internet and when they see "Internet Explorer" vs "Firefox Web browser" which are they going to pick?"

    Neither will connect you to the Internet. The former will however give you the wrong impression that "The Internet" is the same as "The World Wide Web".

  96. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Pierre, RE: GIMP

    Here we have one of Linux's main problems in my opinion.

    I am unfamiliar with GIMP and its contemporaries so I am completely unable to comment on its suitability or comparative greatness.

    However, I can assure you that giving a program the name GIMP just conjures up images of Beavis and Butthead-esque figures writing a program and then sniggering childishly whilst deciding on what peurile name to give it.

    And lose the penguin.

    You want your software of choice to be taken seriously? Then make it serious.

    So, can anyone answer this: why does linux etc. still not have any meaningful market share when it is in fact free? How shite does something have to [be perceived to] be before people think that free is still far too much to pay for it?

    As a last question, why do the most rabid of supporters of the Free Software ideology think that all Freedoms are good apart from the freedom to chose to use Microsoft products?

  97. Anonymous Coward

    Linux advocates

    It never ceases to amaze me how Linux advocates are completely and utterly oblivious to the realities of IT. As someone up there posted" Photoshop is great for novices, but it's not as good as the Gimp". Seriously? I mean, seriously? What medication do you have to be on to believe such a statement.

    Normal users aren't going to come over if you dress up Linux to look like Windows, for 95% of the time, it just won't fly. What Linux needs to do is go into a completely different direction, come up with a truly new and revolutionary interface for the 21st century, instead of aping whatever comes out of Redmond or Cupertino.

  98. David Hicks
    Thumb Down

    @Sean Baggaley

    "Who CARES about Emacs? Who gives a toss about VI? Only the techies and geeks! These are the people who will cheerfully build a Gentoo system from scratch. If your distro isn't aimed at these people, STOP CATERING TO THEM. They are NOT your audience!"

    Actually, not only are these people your audience, but they are the people writing it, and they are writing it because they like it and want to use it.

    Take away choices and you'll start to see the geeks wander off somewhere that they can still have a choice. Lose the geeks and nobody's going to be pushing your system to the masses or to the manager.

  99. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    @Lee, Re: GIMP

    "However, I can assure you that giving a program the name GIMP just conjures up images of ..."

    Only if you have no sense of proportion.

    "You want your software of choice to be taken seriously? Then make it serious."


    "So, can anyone answer this: why does linux etc. still not have any meaningful market share when it is in fact free? How shite does something have to [be perceived to] be before people think that free is still far too much to pay for it?"

    Read the Halloween documents and the emails that have been brought out showing MS's activities to keep Linux sidelined.

    Shit, you're a dumbass.

  100. David Hicks
    Thumb Down

    Also ran?

    @Doug Glass

    go look in your friendly local datacentre/web hosting company/office server-room.

    What's that running most of the kit? Oh, wow, Linux! the also-ran!

    Linux server revenue is at around 20% of the server market currently, MS at around 40%. But that's in raw dollars and takes no account of the fact that Linux is run for free by a lot of corps on machines they buy with no OS or that they reimage.

    Linux on the desktop? Well, frankly, ahaving all you brain-dead idiots that are scared of change is the last thing the people that write linux really want.

    See KDE developers comments on how they don't need users. Contributors, yes, users (especially users that think they're entitled to something) no.

  101. Mark
    Dead Vulture

    "windows will run on 90% computers without any problems !"

    Uh, where were you when Vista came out?

    Where were you when "Vist Capable" and "Vista Ready" were proven bollocks?

    Will Windows Vista run an NVidia 5200 graphics card? No, the driver that works for Vista doesn't support the 5000 series and earlier.

    Will Windows98 run on a current computer? No, it doesn't understand PCI Express and there are no drivers for the new hardware (in case you were going to say "Yeah, but XP works".

    Will it run on PPC? Will it run on a PS3? Will it run on a Sparcstation? Or are these not computers...?

  102. Anonymous Coward


    The author is a cretin, attitudes like that are stupid. If everyone thought that way then nothing would ever change. Nothing new would ever be developed, the human race wouldn't have evolved.

    Let's propagate this attitude that all change is bad because that's a sensible thing to do.

    I'm so glad the author's already been proved wrong by the very fact the human race has evolved.

    Got my wife a Linpus Acer Aspire 1, stuck a citrix client on it so she can do her work on that (because her work are stuck in the thrall of MS), the rest of the time she's using firefox and whatever the mail client is that comes with it. She doesn't care what the OS is, she doesn't care what the browser is, so long as it browses the iterweb she's happy.

    I mean seriously is this just a troll article?

  103. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    talking sense

    I Agree. People dislike change.

    Not just on the desktop. I'm certain that a case could be made for swapping the servers I use and support others with from Server2003 to another NonMS option. And once I've learned what to do it could be cheaper and more effective. But I know what I'm doing more or less, and I don't fancy re-learning (time and effort) because I've got other calls on my time.

    Anon, cos I fancy a low profile.

  104. David Hicks
    Thumb Down

    @Buck Futter

    "What Linux needs to do is go into a completely different direction, come up with a truly new and revolutionary interface for the 21st century, instead of aping whatever comes out of Redmond or Cupertino."

    Was that meant to be a joke?

    It's MS that's copying Linux and Mac now, not Linux copying everyone else. Linux first moved into the 21st century with the US of 3d acceleration to add to the desktop (like or not). Linux has different UI strategies to MS (have you even tried Gnome or KDE recently?)

    i agree with you on the GIMP thing, the interfaces is not nice. But apparently there is now GIMPshop, which addresses that. Further than that, I'm not sure the general reaction to the GIMP by artistic types is anything more than "eugh, different, all the cool kids use Photoshop".

    Of course it helps that photoshop is perceived to be just as free as the GIMP, after Windows it must be the most widely pirated program out there.


    "So, can anyone answer this: why does linux etc. still not have any meaningful market share when it is in fact free? How shite does something have to [be perceived to] be before people think that free is still far too much to pay for it?"

    Umm, it has a meaningful market share, just not on the consumer desktop. It has a huge marketshare in the server and embedded markets. Check out what runs on your ADSL router, or under the covers of a number of mobile phones, or in the server room, etc.

    As for your implication that because it's free and still has a small market share that it must just be bad - well, (and I'll pretend to be Joe just-above-average-enough to know that windows is not the same as the computer here) windows is free, isn't it? And anyway, changing is hard.

  105. Richard Mason

    It's not Office

    Linux will continue to have problems being accepted for the desktop in the UK certainly in small to medium sized businesses while there is one killer app not available for it, and it's not Office. You won't get Linux on the desktop in these businesses until there are Linux versions of Sage50 Accounts and Sage Payroll.

  106. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Completely Agree

    Ted you completely get it. 100% of reg readership will debate the merits of this or that but 99.99% of 'real' computer users expect windows to pop-up - they'd be lost otherwise.

  107. Anonymous Coward

    If this were true

    I would still be loading software with a tape recorder. People think they don't like change, but these days from a users point of view its all just the same.

    Linux/OSX/windows are all magazine like interfaces that do stuff. When users get past that hurdle they don't care (I speak from experience). The only people who continue to complain are the people who are unable to use any computer and see it as a good excuse. Try changing anything else about the office environment or the way people work and they will react in the same way, it's nothing to do with software it's to do with people.

    I see your smug superiority and raise you with cold hard cynicism.

  108. Keith Oldham

    People have said it before but ........

    Linux ( I use SuSE ) can be easily installed without using the command line. Indeed I can't remember the last install where it was needed and I've used Linux since the early 1990s. For routine use the command line isn't needed either. As for usability my 85 year old mother-in-law has been using it for browsing (Firefox), e-mail (KMail) and WP (OpenOffice) for several years since a Windows upgrade trashed her hard-drive. I think she is MUCH safer online with Linux and 1 personally wouldn't bank online without Linux/Firefox/NoScript

    My network of machines is split 3.5/1.5 Linux/XP with file/print and other servers and workstations running SuSE 11.0 - I've never had any serious issues with mixed networking ( not tried Vista). Samba copes brilliantly.

    Only use XP for video editing, although I'm gradually moving to Linux programs which are not as complete/easy/versatile in my experience, and running MPLAB for PIC microcontroller programming although I believe this is now fully supported by WINE. as well as native Linux programs.

    One laptop runs just XP but that's on borrowed time.

    I don't find I need much from Windows with Firefox, Google Earth, OpenOffice, compilers, CAD, VNC and so much more being available.

    I certainly agree that drivers can be a problem (not often) but as others have noted that is generally due to manufacturer's stubborness. Although this can be a problem or even a stopper a little research before installing is always useful. If that doesn't appeal stick with Windows. It's your loss !

  109. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Umm...Buck Futter...

    It's pretty much the other way round. Almost all the niceties in OS X and Windows have (to a greater or lesser degree) been seen in Linux first. Rough and ready for sure, but the idea was there and people saw what was possible. The one exception is the Ribbon Bar, and seeing as how must users have a blue fit when they see it that does not surprise me.

    People dislike change that is forced on them, especially when the see no benefit and there are certainly cases where moving to Linux will cause those problems. But staying Windows will also cause the same problems as the GUI and OS is changing anyway, I am pretty torn as to which will cause the biggest headaches for IT departments.

    Linux - new alien thing and users will moan that is locks them down (or whatever their gripe is)

    Vista/Win7 - fat, bloated, slow, incompatible, needs new equipment, new software etc

    One thing I am stunned at though is the comments about users not knowing how to deal with a new OS (be that Linux or Vista). The basics are the same across them all; windows, open, close, move etc. The menus and icons may differ, but the ideas remain the same. If an end-user is too dumb (or just not trained well enough) to know at least these crude basics, then what the hell are the doing in a job that needs them to use a PC?

    It's like a car mechanic being too stupid to learn how to use the new wheel balancing machine. Ridiculous.

  110. Pierre

    @ Buck Futter, Lee, and various anti-penguin people

    "As someone up there posted" Photoshop is great for novices, but it's not as good as the Gimp". Seriously? I mean, seriously?"

    It was me and it's not what I wrote. PS is good for novice image processing (let's say "non-serious image processing done through clicks on shiny buttons", if you prefer, but that's a lot longer). The GIMP does the same thing. And the GIMP is a bit better at it than PS (think scripts, amongst other things). Yes, seriously.

    "instead of aping whatever comes out of Redmond or Cupertino." Funny you'd say that, because there is some serious evidence pointing exactly the other way round...

    At Lee: The GIMP stands for The GNU Image Manipulating Software. It was originally a PS clone, but got better than the model over the years. As for the name, well, Stuffit sells reasonably well. Also, I do know some people who choose their software from the capabilities, not the name.

    I saw a few comments along the lines "console? Yuck!" and "Windows works on all computers, unlike Linux". There are quite a few distros (the vast majority of them actually) that are fully functional without the use of the console mode at all. Of course it would be a pity not to use the console, but if you don't want to learn, you don't have to. People saying the contrary obviously don't know what they're talking about and just parrot what they heard other (equally clueless) people say.

    And the major distros have a hardware compatibility spectrum that beats any version of Windows (and that's trouble-free compat). Lusers usually don't see that because the fight with hardware usually takes place behind the scene, but it's true nonetheless. (I'm excluding non-standardized gizmos like webcams, which can be a bit harder to configure under Linux, depending on the manufacturer. But this is entirely due to the absence of standard and the voluntary MS-only stance from some makers.)

  111. This post has been deleted by its author

  112. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Agree 100%

    "I hate windows - I think it's shite. But my girlfriend, and my brother and her mum don't CARE that windows is shite. As long as they can access their yahoo web mail and buy stuff from Next online and write a few letters and print stuff out. That's all they want. And so when they come to write a letter and up pops Open Office and it doesn't quite work the way Word does, they don't want to re-learn it - they just want Word back."

    That's just it. Only the geeks are really interested enough to worry about what their computers are running. They are vaguely aware that some software is running, but as long as they can word process, browse, listen to the odd bit of music etc, they don't care what it is.

    A good analogy, IMO, is cars. Most people just know that their car goes pretty much where they want it to, and they need to refill the petrol, check the tires and oil. But, they don't care who made the spark plugs, or who made the brake cables.

    People use windows not because they like it (although some do), but because it's on the PC, and they can flick a switch and a minute or so later, they can start word processing. They don't have to worry about getting one of 50 word processors from the on DVD repository. They also know that whatever device they happen to buy (be it a digital camera/camcorder, an MP3 player, external hard drive or whatever) will work with Windows. At the most, all they need to do is stick a CD in the drive and click "setup".

    If it is ever to beat Windows, Linux needs to pull it's socks up. The Linux producers need to design one distribution with good hardware support, a good selection of built in apps (single built in apps, not "select one from 50"). They need to design a new user interface that is easy to learn and logical, and ensure that as much as possible, any application use similar interfaces.

    If you think that's not possible on a Unix, well, Apple have already done it, so, yes, it is..

  113. Anonymous Coward

    @AC - 16:21 GMT

    You got a set-top box? You know what kind of OS that almost certainly has? I'll take extra chillis on my pizza thanks.

    There are as many Wintards as Lintards and they both suffer the same problem: they have no clue.

    1) Choose the software/equpment that solves the business problem.

    2) Choose the OS that supports that software (if needed).

    3) Choose the hardware that will run that OS (if needed).

    The only time you reverse those three in any shape or form is when the cost of one (e.g. licenses for a new OS, or new kit) outweighs the advantage gained by the business from the switch.

    It's not about what is "the best" or whatever, it is about what will solve the business problem and give the company a competitive advantage for the next 3 years (say), until a new problem needs to be addressed.

    I don't think MS makes the best software, but they do talk a good story, they can present the above to the business leaders and they can solve business needs.

    Apple can to the same to the creative types.

    Linux/Unix...well they can do that to the techies, which is why those platforms are such a backbone; but they do not manage to get the business message across to the stakeholders and so they remain marginalised (and still have all those dumb, cutesy names).

    You can be damned sure that if Linux could (and I am not saying it can) allow a company get a product to market six months sooner and for half the cost - then the entire corporation would switch faster than you could say "Where's my 'Start' button gone?".


    Are you kidding?

    Are you kidding? Linux doomed to be in the shadow of the E? Exploder?

    The E is already being replaced on Windows by saavy Windows users.

    Microsoft survives due to the perception that they are the only game in

    town. As soon as that perception is fractured, you have people fleeing

    en masse to other alternatives.

  115. RW

    What's wrong with Linux

    1a. There is no consistency in the keyboard shortcuts from one app to the next. As some commentator has said, it's time for Linux apps to adopt the de facto standard that Windows presents: ctrl-F4 to close the current document, alt-F4 to close the program, etc.

    1b. Windows apps using the alt key to activate the menu: you key alt, then (say) F to get to the file menu. Some Linux apps work that way. Others require chording: you must key alt *and* F simultaneously.

    2. In OpenOffice, slavish imitation of Microsoft's poorly thought out UI. I also notice this in IBM Lotus Symphony, where changing the font for a cell or range of cells, one of the most common actions, is buried several layers deep. You want to see good UI ergonomics, check out the now 15 y.o. Lotus 1-2-3 Release 5. The old versions of WordPerfect were pretty good, too.

    3. The failure to prune the Ubuntu forums and digest their contents into an MS-like knowledge base. Trying to find a solution to a problem is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. It ends up being easier and faster to simply post a new question.

    (Written by an otherwise happy adopter of Ubuntu)

  116. Henry Wertz Gold badge

    Inflamatory but good points...

    This article's a bit inflamatory but has good points. HOWEVER:

    1) The exact same could be said about going from like Office 2000 to 2003, or god forbid Office 2007. Or 2000 to XP. Or especially XP to Vista. Things moved, they aren't where they used to be, OMFG!!

    Amusingly, I saw this Russian distro, I think it was called "Linux XP". It looked EXACTLY like XP, had firefox with an IE icon and everything; it even had a WGA clone pop up and tell me to send them $50 to register it... hahaha!

    More seriously, though, if your users are not real flexible, you can skin a Linux distro to look more windows-like (just as you'd probably have to do going from Windows to a newer version of Windows).

    2) @Jared Earle

    "The day Linux can ship without needing a terminal is the day it can stand a chance on the desktop. The day you can install Linux on a generic PC and not have to visit the command line. The day your mum can survive the entire life-cycle of a PC without resorting to the shell."

    Get off it! Your afraid of anyone ever having to launch a shell in any situation, but Windows admins think nothing of running regedit, manually downloading and running ad-ware cleaners, virus cleaners, etc., running ipconfig -- from a command prompt! -- looking for suspicious files (again from a command prompt!) and on and on. Your mum can't survive the life-cycle of a *Windows* PC without the shell, unless you define the "end of life" as her throwing it out because it's bogged down...

    With the likes of Ubuntu the user CAN get normal stuff done without a shell (admittedly you still needed one a few years ago to set things up, but no longer). Unusual stuff, it's easier to say "type this, this, and this" under Linux *OR* Windows than have a super-cluttered GUI that tries to cover every situation, and that's what BOTH do. I should point out, OSX also has Terminal (which gives you a command shell), and people use it, for situations the GUI doesn't cover. No-one argues OSX should ship without Terminal (well, it wouldn't surprise me if Steve Jobs argued against the Terminal at some point... but other than that...)

  117. Mark
    Dead Vulture

    @Sarah Bee @16:29

    I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask for a clarification. Is that a direct quote, because if so, I've got the wrong posting. If it isn't can you please quote the bit that implies what you say it does.


  118. Sooty

    linux and schools

    although i agree that more than just windows should be taught in schools, this is unlikely to happen, in fact it already has happened and was dropped in favour of windows.

    throughout the 80's and 90's most schools used BBC's & Amiga's, but predominantly they used Archimedes computers with RISC-OS (which was actually pretty good) This was abandoned in the late 90's in favour of Windows machines precisely because that's what people had at home and would be more familiar with. Switching to something else that the majority of people don't use*, would be going backwards from their point of view.

    *I know Linux is freely available to try, but as most big name companies, i'm looking at you HP, don't provide windows install disks, it's not like the average user can try it and then go back. i don't think a recovery partition would last 5 minutes against a newbie and a linux install.

  119. Tim Groven

    @PC Gaming

    Completely agree here. I installed Ubuntu to check it out and I loved it. The only thing keeping me in Windows is playing my games.

    I know WINE is out there, but I don't have time to figure that out. :(


  120. Dave Morris

    unique perspective?

    I guess I must have a very uncommon perspective. It seems many commenters above have indicated how difficult linux is, or how horrible, or what have you. I think this could not be farther from the truth.

    I have been using linux at home for a very long time (since 1994). Even back then, when kernel panics happened with some level of frequency (perhaps once every month or two), and the installation and maintenance was a nightmare, and device support was lacking, I still found the experience much more pleasant than Win95, with it's regular hourly (or every other hourly) BSOD, along with requisite daily reboots. At the time I was also taking classes in c programming on macintosh, which was also a nightmare.

    Things have changed. On all 3 OSes. Windows is much more stable now (at least XP is; I have yet to use Vista extensively, since it bogged my computer down too much when I tried it out). OS-X is, from my minimal use, more stable and more usable. and linux is very easily installed, and generally has pretty solid device support. Don't get me wrong; XP still crashes, OS-X still has some quirks, and not all devices come with linux support - but things are better. Maintaining both windows and linux has become easier by leaps and bounds. Ubuntu, for example, is now so easy to keep up to date, I think even most windows drones could (and possibly even would) keep it up to date.

    Of course none of what I have said contradicts the author's assertion. It simply contradicts what many of the commenters have asserted. I'm a big proponent of disliking things for the factual/correct reasons rather than disliking them for false/incorrect reasons.

    Dislike linux (and OSX) because they are unfamiliar, not because they are "hard to use" or "have no driver support" or any of the various other FUD reasons out there.

  121. dexen
    Thumb Down

    I call the article

    bull. After quickly migrating most of the family from Windows XP to Slackware 12.2, both their and mine (as their small-time admin) productivity rose. There still is a separate XP machine for games, but nobody cares much about it anymore.

    They just found it easier to use KDE3.5 & OpenOffice, with things (modem, printer, webcam, pendrive, DVD burner etc.) *just working*, instead of endless struggles with Windows, drivers and stuff. KWallet was instant hit with banking and other online services. And Stepmania for kids sealed the deal.

    For the record, the family range from 6 to 46 year old.

  122. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    half truths and FUD

    I'm your average geek

    Well ok your average geek does'nt get to program industrial robots to take over the world when the time comes (and bash bits of metal in the meantime)... but what the heck.

    If I set up a PC running linux, with a nice gnome desktop, and blue firefox icon instead of the red curly one, most users would be hard pressed to notice the difference.

    As for 'compiling programs' yeah right... I've been using fedora linux for 2.5 yrs and only once tried compiling something(note: tried) the rest of the time its install from the add/remove programs menu(strange that.. its rather like windows)

    Using the terminal..... it gets an exercise every now and then when I mount an ntfs partion on a linux box, but only because I cant be bothered to automate it because it is'nt needed very often.

    As for the difference between word/excel and open office such as macros not exactly working from one to another.. heres news.. they dont exactly work between versions of word/excel either.

    but the linux guys are missing a point of the article, is that users just want the thing to work, they dont care if the OS is linux, windows, mac, bsd, lsd, or a ZX-81.

    Oh and I run windows Xp in classic mode because I cant stand the new crappy colours

  123. jim

    I tried. Really,.

    I bought an ASUS EEE with Xandros Linux and made a serious effort to get into it. I hit the wall after about 2 days of posting forlorn messages on various forums, trying unsuccessfully to install FireFox 3 when it came out. Not long after that, I Ebayed it and bought one running Windows.

    Linux will remain exactly where it is until some for-profit company offers a complete unified "distribution" where all the updates come from one source, with a GUI that lets me configure everything. An OS that lets me -out ot the box - browse to a web site, download a program, install it and get an icon on my desktop.

    Until then, it stays where it is - in the back rooms of IT, out of site. Don't even try to argue with me, I spent many hours trying to learn to like this thing and it's not going to happen.

  124. vincent himpe
    Thumb Down

    we have millions of very smart people

    all wasting their time fighting endless vi vs emacs , gnome vs kde, ubunut vs redhat vs debian vs suse battles.

    Wanne topple microsoft ? Write a Windows clone: something that can run any of the bajillion existing windows applications straight from the box, and can use any of the windows drivers.

    The API's are known. The driver interfaces are known. You could rewrite it from scratch and make it bulletproof.

    An Os is picked in function of the applications that run on them. And right now ... windows wins..

  125. Jerry Masterson
    Thumb Down

    @Lionel Baden

    "Guys its really is just the plain simple fact that

    windows will run on 90% computers without any problems !

    Unix runs on 99% of computers with problems on 95% of them

    Mac runs on 3% of computer with problems on .9% of them"

    Hey, the 90's called, they want their statistics back.

    Fact. I have had to throw out more perfectly usable devices because of lack of driver updates for Windows than any other OS.

    Fact. Unix is usable on far more systems than Windows.

    Fact. None of this matters. Users don't like change. They've learned to live at the bottom of a hole and would rather put up pictures than dig themselves out.

  126. Eric Dennis


    It's time for a reality check here,

    Businesses decisions on computers and operating systems aren't made by "consulting with" staff to inquire on what they use at home. Hence, it really doesn't matter what staff buys to use at home and it doesn't matter if they want to use similar technologies at the office. Businesses generally are interested in how technology they are going to buy integrates with the technology they already use and what the cost of that technology is. You may not like Windows and decide to buy Linux to use at home, but go to work and try to demand they install Linux on your PC at your desk and see how quickly you get laughed at. You may not like Linux and decide you want a Mac at home. Go to your office and demand a Mac at your desk and see what happens. You won't be getting the technology you use at home set up on your desk just because YOU want it. The company you work for owns the computer at your desk. THEY decide what you get at your desk and if you intend to keep working at the desk that technology sits at daily, get use to whatever they give you because it isn't up to you.

    That being said, Linux just isn't user friendly enough for anyone who isn't a Nerd. I played around with Red Hat Linux in 2002. While I found it interesting, driver problems as well as the need to spend for too much time in a console window compiling code just to install something that should come with a .exe installer (media players, etc) caused me to give it up when Red Hat stopped supporting it and moved on to wooing enterprise customers on the Server end. If the user interface were more elegant, drivers problems went away, and it didn't require a computer science degree to install any program, I might re-consider, but the fact is that all of the software I have runs on Windows and I have no problems with Vista. I had a Mac for five years and after it became too long in tooth to update, a bad buying experience from an online Mac Vendor lead me back to Windows again. I'm sure a bunch of Linux advocates can counter all of this in one way or another but all I can tell you is that until Protools software and digidesign hardware interfaces run on Linux, I won't be touching it because I can't get any work done on it. Protoos runs on both Windows and Mac and the hardware it controls is compatible with Windows and Mac. NOT Linux.

  127. Anonymous Coward


    Linux on the desktop is still driven by developers ---- not typical end-users. That is the problem.

  128. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I see a connection...

    So, Ted has written an assessment of what your average user wants to do and how they want to do it. Then he has said that Linux will not take off because it does these things in a sufficiently different way to cause the users to hate it.

    And he is quite right. Users don’t like change. Why should they? Lets face it, an average (and I’d argue, more adjusted) person wants to just do their job and go home on time after shifting the workload. Then they have the free time to do what interests them.

    They do not want to repeat painful hours, days or years learning something that will not ultimately, in their eyes be any better.

    Forget about different operating systems, just changing the way someone works is hard enough.

    It really does not take much to fox a user. As a programmer, I’m learning that there is no correlation between the code you sweated blood to get working and your users reactions. It does not matter that you created 3D real time graphs, a touch screen interface or whistles or bangs. The user wants to do that task as quickly as simply as possible. The last thing they want to see is an error message. They want “It’s done” or “It’s broke, someone else will fix it”.

    As for the connection in the subject line? I see this exact same problem with IT “Professionals”. In fact they are worse, and I am just to blame as the rest of you. IT people who comment aggressively that doing X using tool Y is crap. I remember my first attempts at XSLT transforms, trying to tackle the job in a procedural manner, before I understood that that they worked declaratively.

    What hope does an end user have when a lot of the IT people are worse?

  129. Steve
    Thumb Down

    @ Psymon and Lee

    Your both so on the money it scares me!

    It's free but has fuck all take up. The icon is a bloody penguin, apps like GIMP (the fact that someone defended it by EXPLAINING what the name means...?!) and application management tools called "apt-get" or "yum" bring to light why it's uptake is so low on desktops.

    Management is problematic for mid-sized networks, the diversity alone means it can take 3 months to pick a bloody version and the complexity for doing anything. And the penguin defenders on about not needing a terminal are talking bollocks - plug in some hardward and it's irrelevent if the apps are "in the cloud" if your fucking 3g card STILL doesn't work. (Or scanner, or USB wifi, or obsecure webcam).

    Linux needs to grow up. Yeah, a few well-paid geeks can get it to run well performing very basic functions (did someone mention a SOHO router?!) in a single hardware configuration - wow. I'm so pleased for you!

    Give me something like GPO's - with a single, decent "version/distro" of Linux, support for hardware like Vista has and we'll talk.

    Until then it's for learning/experiments.

  130. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    @AC 20:20

    And who do you think writes Windows?

    Art majors???

  131. SkippyBing

    Excuses excuses

    'I don't think there's any excuse for not taking an interest in your computer's desktop environment and the applications installed on it.'

    Actually there are many, 'I hate this fucking job and don't care', 'I'm not interested, oh look Jade Goody has a new haircut' and 'I hate all this geek shit' being merely three of the options. Note they're excuses not reasons.

    The fact is vast tracts of the population don't give a toss about computers and have no interest in learning about them because life's too short and they're interested in other things. They tend to intersect with the segment of the population that aren't enthused enough about their jobs to get beyond the just doing enough work to avoid being fired stage.

    The opportunity cost of a company educating the above group of people just isn't worth any perceived advantages a few years hence.

  132. Phillip Bicknell

    I'm out there spreading the Linux word

    So why don't some more of you join me? I do my bit on Yahoo Answers, bigging up Open Source stuff like Gimp against Photoshop, and helping people who do ask Linux questions. I reckon the majority of question askers are young, judging by the (lack of) spelling and (abuse of) language, so I'm busy gently helping the next generation of workers. Revolution won't work, but evolution will.

  133. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: spot on article but..

    I kind of agree with your comments but there are some problems with it:

    * Active Directory is great (no really) but if you build your administration system around AD then you have caught on the hook on the end of the line - Microsoft add new policies to Windows client and Windows Server to keep you on that hook! - this isn't a good thing. Making custom policies are a nightmare and where are ways around them (I did this to out system admin and he wasn't impressed).

    * Where I work we support Schools (I work in IT Support for a local council) - we heavily lock down local Schools network for an admin and curricum network (school computer on curricum network, admin staff on admin network - there are changes between the two (firewall) as to which can access what but it is heavily locked down) though the schools will work on ancient NT4 domain (schools are cheap) and refuse to update to AD. We are currently offering a TS solution but I don't think this will pan out properly.

    * Linux and open source is a good thing and when they are better aimed at the business sector they will be better suited for it (obvious statement) but I'm sure they can use a directory structure/system but it is working out the process - I'm sure Novell would be looking at this but I've not looked at SuSE since Novell bought them.

    I like Ubuntu and Debian - I wanted to install it at work on my workstation as a dual boot system but the management didn't agree with me. Their (backward) view is that as open source, it can be updated by anyone though most developers would know what they are altering (its not like a package is going to get updated by a numpty who just so happens to get is past the project maintainer).

    I tried until I was blue in the face and gave up - I said to our management that this will happen in time when our budgets are cut and we are mandated to do it...

    I use Ubuntu and the System Rescue Linux CD at work all the time to repair Windows machines:

    * copying files from a failed/damaged NTFS partitions/moving files to the system when the machine has been Syspreped.

    * Finding what network card is installed in a PC (i.e. onboard NIC built intot the chipset) or other hardware.

    * I have even used Ubuntu to work out which screen resolutions a Windows CE terminal could do (I had to findout if the terminal could do 16:10 resolutions - this was a question that Wyse Support couldn't answer).

    The problems I have with Windows:

    * There is no std installer and uninstaller options for apps and these seem to leave registry key or settings in the profile - though nor does Linux have std packing methods between distros.

    * File system support with Windows is limited - cannot understand Linux file systems or old other

    file system file systems (I mean I can access my old Amiga FFS harddrive with my Ubuntu desktop machine).

    * Windows seems to run and install the default user as admin even though this is a bad thing and Microsoft even recommend not doing so!

    * YOU have to manually customise Windows XP for business and fix a lot of security issues - admittely you do this with Linux too but not normally to the same level.

    * Windows XP doesn't support new machines out of the box (lack of drivers) - I don't understand why Microsoft cannot have an updated Windows XP DVD image which you can download from their site with a month updated file??

    * Windows gets malware and spyware installed - possibly due to running just as Administrator and having a lot of security issues out of the box.

    * Registry corruption - possibly not only Microsoft's fault (I'm sure 3rd parties should take some blame) but Windows does seem to corrupt the registry and user profiles very easily,

    - These are what I can think of at the time but I find administering Windows boxes a pain in the arse that just doesn't go away even when a new version is released. I wish they could just make a version of Windows 2000/Windows XP style OS with these ideas in mind. I am stick of new version which seem to have a face lift which just seems to annoy users (which then makes support roles more differcult). I'm not impressed with Windows 7 as it seems more of the same.

    Posting anon as I do like having a job.

  134. Anonymous Coward

    what is this rubbish

    "Users aren't stupid. They just have better shit to do than learn C++ programming"

    I have used a Linux desktop for nine years and I do not know shit about any C programming.

    Where do you actually live, old chap, I was a programmer for 35 years and I have not written one line of code for using a linux desktop (Mandriva).

    Piss off.

  135. frymaster

    Another problem with desktop linux in the office... that there's no AD. Yes, I'm well aware that by customising your linux build appropriately you could end up with a multi-user multi-computer system that enforces settings centrally - but you'd basically be doing this from scratch, it would take ages, and probably wouldn't be as good.

    the centrally-controlled multiuser bit is simple enough, but it's the policy management... hell, even just the better ACL system with ntfs/ad compared to linux. Given a group of users who could adapt equally well to linux or windows, OOo or ms office, and given the ability to put any money saved straight into my back pocket, I'd still choose windows and AD for any generic office. And yes, I use linux servers (and like it) and dabble* in linux on the desktop (and am ambivalent to it)

    * My routine consists of: install latest ubuntu, install 3d drivers, attempt to get working with multiple monitors, end up hacking xorg config file from the command line to get it to work, realise linux is still not ready for the desktop, wait another 6 months.

  136. Chris Miller

    Two different desktop audiences

    1. Very simple home user. Just wants to browse the web and receive email - oh and IM and Skype would be nice. Cheap and cheerful Linux installation perfectly satisfactory (so is Windows BTW).

    2. Large corporate with 100s or 1000s of desktops. Needs extensive tools to manage the desktop fleet, automatic updates, configuration management. Sends and receives vital business documents (word processor, spreadsheet, presentation ...) with the need for 100& compatibility. Linux is a non-starter.

    Sorry, just the way the world is.

  137. tardigrade
    Dead Vulture


    "However, I can assure you that giving a program the name GIMP just yadda yadda.."

    "And lose the penguin."

    "You want your software of choice to be taken seriously? Then make it serious."

    Absolutely and while we're at it someone should phone Google and tell them to change their name or shut up shop. What a ridiculous name. What the hell is a Google anyway's?

    It'll never catch on.


  138. Jim

    Closed shop

    Windows is ubiquitous and that is why Joe Public knows it. The situation will not change unless pc makers start integrating Linux at the factory. Nearly all PCs made since 1985 have Windows factory integrated, to the exclusion of all other operating systems. That exclusion, and the contracts that support it, are what made Bill Gates the richest man in the world.

    Linux is not more complicated than Windows, but the lack of factory integration makes it seem so. If you had to compile your Windows drivers, Windows would seem complicated. There is no complicated physcology here, just a monopoly.

  139. Adrian Esdaile

    I would love to use Linux...

    BUT, and this is one big almighty but...

    The Autodesk software I rely on to do my job doesn't work under Linux, and if you mention Wine I will hit you. Hard. With a hammer.

    If the software we need is only available for Windows, I will use Windows. It is a means to an end.

    In effect - Windows has killer apps, like it or not. Linux doesn't. I'm an Architect, not a web server, so Linux has NOTHING for me.

  140. Anonymous Coward

    @@PC Gaming

    WINE can be a bit of a pain to manage, especially if you use multiple source locations so the various installs don't conflict/easier to delete when done. However, luckily you have Crossover and Cedega, both commercial (they have trial versions available) that build upon WINE and both give you a nice GUI to manage it all amongst other things.

    As they are both pretty much dedicated to games (Cedega anyway, Crossover has a few different products) their 3D capabilities easily out perform WINE on its own to the point that the performance is almost as good as running under Windows. Check their various websites for the games they support, complete DirectX support and copy protection seems to be their sticking points.

  141. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As a dedicated Linux user...

    ...I suspect you're right. Ignoring the comments of the idiots and paid MS shills above, this isn't about the facts that Linux is more stable, more usable, more responsive, or that its applications are generally (though not always) easier to use, more stable, more intuitive than their MS equivalents. It's that the average user doesn't give a rat's arse about any of this - and, in truth, why should they?

    The only reasons I care are because I'd take great pleasure in seeing Microsoft die the agonising death it so richly deserves, and because if it wasn't for all those compromised Windwoes botnets out there I wouldn't have to deal with spam.

  142. passionate indifference

    got to say I like the article

    I'm of the opinion that when reading articles on el reg, the actual article counts for around 30-50% of the information gained, and the comments the remainder. Especially when it comes to the more IT-related articles.

    I have to agree with the thrust of Ted's article (although there are valid arguments to be made against the tone and some of the content). My interpretation of it is that it's trying to say that the Linux desktop won't be ready for the mainstream until it becomes as ubiquitous as Windows. Bit chicken-and-egg, that. I believe that it relates usability directly to this point, and makes a strong link between usability and prevalence. Disagree with that as you will.

    I have to agree also with the majority of comments too - there are well-documented instances of Linux success, especially in the server market, but also notably in the netbook and 'commodity' desktop, and sometimes in more specialist fields.

    But most of all, I have to agree with those who talk about people not using Linux because it's 'different'. It's great if you overcome the difference, out of necessity or choice. It's even better if you find yourself more productive using a different OS.

    What's interesting to me are the questions these pose. Is Windows really stagnating? Why doesn't Linux be more like Windows? Why aren't we teaching Linux to our kids as well as Windows? Why haven't firms tried Linux in the office?

    I guess, to me, it's not 'which OS is better?' but 'what can we gain from either?'. But then again, I'm an Aquarius, so count being capricious and mercurial as a personality trait :)

  143. Anonymous Coward

    Kit-car vs showroom

    Linux is a kit car. It's for boffins, nerds and tinkerers.

    Most people want to drive off the fore-court, not have their car delivered in boxes.

    I know Linux has moved on, and is actually quite easy to install. But post-install, the usability drops close to zero when you find yourself in the bowels of a terminal window, googling some ugly discussion group entry on how to get a wireless adapter or webcam working.

    I love this article. It embodies the complete apathy that people have for Linux. Sure it's free. But it's different, scary and challenging. People don't want challenge. If I come to work and never have to think about how to do stuff, then my OS is pretty much perfect.

  144. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Marketing 101

    The customer does not care what you want to sell him, the customer wants you to sell him what he wants.

    Unless Linux offers a positive effect of switching (more productivity, not just less crashes) with very low negative effects (learn that things are in a different place, rather than "you can't do that in this system") there will be no switch to Linux. And except for a small 30 mio. $ company (Canonical) there is not much commercial interest to make you switch. So the points won't be addressed.

    - Lack of a proper alternative to Photoshop

    - OpenOffice is still not quite there

    - No games

    - Driver problems, especially wireless

    - No money management software (tax programs etc.)

    - Lack of integration in the office environment (Exchange, Active Directory, business applications etc.)

    Many other points that prevent Linux on the desktop have been addressed. If you have a bit of technical interest, and if your main use of the PC is surfing or software development, Linux is a viable desktop, but it fails both for the casual home user and the average office environment

  145. Tim Bates

    Depsite 144 existing comments....

    First of all, I actually scrolled back up to see if this was an old article... Nope. Then what the hell is the comment about learning C++ about? I haven't even compiled a kernel for about 4 years, let alone done anything with code, and I use Linux every day!

    Second issue I have with this article is the assumption that users are dumb. Any computer user under the age of 30 is generally brave enough to just try things. If they load Firefox hoping for something like MS Word, they don't get discouraged.... In fact they tend to file this knowledge ("Oh, Firefox is a web browser") away for later reference.

    Yes this does require some stuffing around.

  146. elderlybloke
    Paris Hilton

    The Command Line

    That Linux OS is a pain because it has a Command Line thing called Terminal.

    But I seem to remember a command line thing in Windows XP , down on the lower left if my memory is correct.

    Love to all from us two (I love Paris )

  147. Doug Jenkins


    Of course, the article is correct that the ubiquity of Windows gives it a leg up.

    But here is the real world....well, my real world.

    Setting up a pentium3 with only 356 meg of ram with a new 40gb hdd. Installed XP SP0 which came with this computer ( I opened the plastic seal myself on this circa 2002 purchase) to a 25 gb partition, and saved 15 gb for Linux Mint 6.

    This early XP version had NO junk apps, a very bare install. So added AVG (After downloading SP2 and AVG through the Linux side and installed both while XP disconnected from Internet, OOo3, Foxit, Firefox and e-Sword (this is a church computer, after all).

    So with this bare XP install, added patch and these five apps, plus more updates up to SP3...6 gb of hdd space used. Time? The SP3 udate itself was an hour!

    On the Linux side, brand new modern OS, with OOo, Firefox, and so many other apps already installed with the OS. Then added wine (so I could install e-Sword), games suite, digikam (think Picasa) and Audacity (for voice recording). After updates, (yes, this cd was burned just weeks ago)... total hdd space used...4.2 gb. Time? installing the extra apps, and updates about an hour.

    Linux Mint found both networked printers, right away...XP had to be rebooted several times, before only ONE was located. (and still can't find the church computer lab (all running XP) part of the network?)

    Linux Mint can read and share files with the windows partition. Windows only reports a 25 gb hard drive.

    Both XP and Linux Mint are painfully slow on this machine, but it is serviceable. OOo takes longer to open in XP than in Mint. I had to install the SP2 patch to XP because AVG latest version would not run on plain old XP. Hey XP IS 7 years old, after all.

    Would Vista run on this? about win7? dunno....but doubt it. Latest Linux, you bet!

    In my house, four computers, two with XP (one for European Air War and one for greeting card production) and our two laptops with Linux (Mint and Kubuntu). Of our two grown sons, one uses Vista, the other dual-boots XP/ Mint. Our two grandkids (10 & 8) use Linux (Ubuntu and Mint ). But then, that is my world.

    God Bless


  148. Saucerhead Tharpe

    @Steve and others

    Former Programmer now a IT Support Manager I do very little tinkering with my Ubuntu laptop at home (my EEE is another matter) and while I have used apt-get, on the EEE, you have this link thingy in Gnome that takes you a GUi app for doing updates and installs.

    it's been ages since I even looked at "Make"


    You may be a fine writer of quality RPGs but you are off the money on the terminal. I end up having to use DOS every day in my job, and terminal infrequently on my main Linux machine. Even the EEE gets left well alone until it's time to try a new distro.

  149. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    re: Marketing 101

    And Software Engineering: The customer knows what they want, but they don't want it.

    - Lack of a proper alternative to Photoshop

    a) GIMP.

    b) Photoshope CS3 works under Wine now. Or is Photoshop not an alternative to Photoshop?

    - OpenOffice is still not quite there

    For you, it will never be, because you don't want it to be there.

    You're wrong. It's there.

    - No games




    - Driver problems, especially wireless

    That's the fault of the manufacturer. Get a Ralink or Atheros card and they work.

    Bollocks, basically.

    - No money management software (tax programs etc.)


    - Lack of integration in the office environment (Exchange, Active Directory, business applications etc.)


    a) Postfix/sendmail

    b) Kerberos and LDAP (That's what AD ***IS*** you fuckwit)

    c) What business applications?

    d) Oh, etc is really helpful

  150. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    You DO know you can buy a pre-made kit car

    So your aptonym is quite apt. And doesn't support the conclusion you come to from it.

  151. Mark
    IT Angle

    "Why doesn't Linux be more like Windows?"

    Because then it won't be ready for the desktop "because it's just an inferior copy of windows".

    There are lots of posters here do DO NOT WANT Linux to be accepted. By ANYONE. And whatever gets "fixed" they will find another reason for not accepting it (see the eternal "GIMP doesn't do X" then changed, when gimp does X to "GIMP doesn't do Y" and ignoring the Z that GIMP does and Photoshop doesn't).

    Ask THEM your why's.

  152. Mark

    re: I would love to use Linux...

    Works under Wine.

  153. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Adrian Esdaile

    >If the software we need is only available for Windows, I will use Windows. It is a means to an end.

    This is an interesting one, there was a time not that long ago when such things were

    almost exclusively workstation tasks and would be done on SGI or Sun boxes (A linux variant these days would be a simple recompile, almost all the exclusively Sun or SGI bits have an open source equivalent now).

    What did they use on those? It looks like AutoCAD is Windows only.

  154. Mark

    re: Another problem with desktop linux in the office...

    Well, Windows didn't have AD either.

    Was it not ready for the Office?


    AD is kerberos and LDAP written so that it works with Windows boxes only. How can you consider it a "server" when it doesn't?

  155. paul

    someone not reading the news

    rumors have it that the EU will force firefox to be bundled with windows. What about the big blue E?

    besides - linux is already installed in more devices than windows. (just not desktop computers)

  156. Mark
    IT Angle

    re: Excuses excuses

    "The fact is vast tracts of the population don't give a toss about computers and have no interest in learning about them because life's too short and they're interested in other things."

    You say that but why, then do they kick up holy shit when you tell them to use Linux?

    "I wants my interwebs". See that "Internet" icon. Click on it. You know how to click , don't you?

    "I wants my prints". See that "Print..." option under "File"? Click on that. You know how to use a menu system, don't you?

    "I wants my Youtube". It's there.

    But still they shit themselves and throw all their toys (and anyone else's to hand) out of their pram if you don't give them Windows.

    Doesn't sound like "doesn't give a shit about the OS" to me...

  157. Pyrrho Huxley
    Thumb Down

    Linux v/s Windows

    I've been in PC support for 20 years - I use Linux at home and I think that XP is an excellent O/S, The fact is, though, that outside the corporate environment (where there is good, professional support) most Windows PCs are in dire straights - riddled with viruses, bloatware, and sheer junk - think of all those wretched IE toolbars (or dolt-bars as I prefer to call them) . You moan about the Linux command line, as though the Widows registry is paragon of simplicity! Have you tried un-registering and re-registering a DLL in Windows without the command line? And let's not forget the coded registry entries which are designed to defeat even the most experienced user (built-in spyware?). In Linux everything is above-board. Linux and XP are not easy because operating systems are not easy - they are the most complex computer programs on earth, and the domestic PC is the most high-tech device that most people ever touch. Maybe the marketing people should stop pretending to us that we don't have to make any effort to get our computers to work. There is some superb software for Windows - Office 2007, for example - but for most users Linux will do everything they need to do, but for a lot less money than Windows.

  158. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    there is a bigger gap than the UI

    and i think a lot of it is open source driven, with most software, windows software, free or commercial, if i want it i go to the website, via google, and click the big downlaod button. then double click on the resulting file.

    the package managers in linux may list apps you want, but they dont have everything!

    with most open source stuff, you go to the website and find a developer wiki, after a bit of digging you might find a download page that asks if you want the source or the binaries (not much help for a normal user) if you do get to the binaries download page it then asks if they want the win32, 64bit deb, 32bit deb, 64 bit rpm or 32bit rpm, a tarball, a sun version, a mac version etc. Most normal users would give up and get something else!

  159. Mark

    @Pyrrho Huxley

    Aye, I suppose that XP is an OK system. Now. With all the patches. Except MS insist on fucking it up.

    1) EULA. Look, if it's not controlled by copyright, don't put it in the license.

    2) Activation. It's my computer, DAMMIT

    3) Windows Genuine Advantage. See #2

    4) Hide stuff. Look, if I'm braindead maybe then you can hide stuff from me. But if I insist I know what I'm doing, let me SEE it. So many things break and Windows hides it because it's "scary".

  160. Tim
    Paris Hilton

    Betterment Refusenicks

    Good article, though it pains me to say it, & its scope extends beyond computing. There are huge numbers of people who have no interest in doing *anything* new or better: no interest in improving their driving skills, cooking skills, communication skills (or presumably their 5hagging skills either). They seem happiest being able to do something badly than invest a little effort to do it better & more efficiently.

    Suits me, since there's less competition with the rest of us.


  161. Mark

    re: there is a bigger gap than the UI

    And such problems don't exist either.

    That's why there's

    ./configure && make && make install

    Or just copy the executable (chmod +x) and run it.


    Windows may have a lot of software built for it, but it doesn't have everything!

    And the 32/64 bit problems are far, FAR worse for Windows XP and probably worse for Vista.

  162. Mark

    @Doug Jenkins

    Doug, try turning off javascript on OOo on both systems. If you need it, you'll find out, if you don't you'll find it faster on both.

  163. Anonymous Coward

    E's are Good

    (I can't believe nobody's made this link yet, 158 comments and nothing about little blue smarties?)

    There's a guy in the place

    He's got a bittersweet face

    And he goes by the name of Ebeneezer Goode

    His friends call him Eezer and he is the main geezer

    And he'll vibe about the place like no other man could

    He's refined, he's sublime, he makes you feel fine

    Though very much maligned and misunderstood

    But if you know Eezer he's a real crowd pleaser

    He's ever so good, he's Ebeneezer Goode

    You can see that he's mischievious, mysterious and devious

    When he circulates amongst the people in the place

    But once you know he's fun and something of a genius

    He gives a grin that goes around from face to face to face

    Backwards and then forwards, forwards and then backwards

    Eezer is the geezer who loves to muscle in

    That's about the time the crowd all shout the name of Eezer

    As he's kotcheled in the corner, laughing by the bass bin

    E's are Good, E's are Good

    He's Ebeneezer Goode

  164. TMS9900
    Thumb Up


    I'm not so sure.

    I mean, I'm a Windows user, alway shave been, because that's what I'm used to. The reason I don't use is Linux is nothing at all to do with my hating it. On the contrary, it's cool.

    However, I recently installed Ubuntu on a whim (free magazine disk) and was seriously impressed. Totally painless install. Everything just worked. Bloody good.

    Recently I bought I netbook. On purpose I bought an Acer Aspire One with LINUX, not Windows.

    I ran Open Office on it the other night (comes pre-installed) and I was Seriously Fucking Impressed.

    Microsoft: Be worried.

    And that, ladies and gentlemen, from a (non-biased) Windows user :-)

  165. Alexander

    what planet are some of you on

    @ paul "besides - linux is already installed in more devices than windows. "

    did you just pull that comment out arse ? check your facts before ramble garbage.

    Linux is light years away form becoming a stable desktop OS platform for the corporate or business enviroment ,and for the SME market is does not even get of the starting block and as a home user OS is still stuck in geek land and will never become mainstream so long the the loon platoon in thread are it's champion's

    Firstly dont get UNIX and linux confused in the back end, secondly linux not being simple does not make it smart.

    The reality is a user can do more on a win or a mac platform quicker .easier and with more bells and whistles, support costs are also drasticly reduced with a unified support platform.

    Saying the average user is a fool becuase they want to press a button and things works is a no-brainer ,and only the excuse of poor design and lazy coders . that is what lunix says to me , WE will tell you HOW ,WHY and WHEN and we are going to awkard about it and even then it still might not work.

    And I really love it when the many things linux is pathetic at like networking in large estates or even multimedia or gaming, you usually get this reply install these 10 things, tweak this, change that script and it works just as well.. you silly fools that is the point ,one click is the correct way ..The linux sucks and most of the Computer user on this planet agree.

  166. The Badger


    "I played around with Red Hat Linux in 2002."

    Reality check: it's 2009 at the time of writing.

  167. Peter Kay

    @AC 'windows flaws'

    'There is no std installer and uninstaller options for apps and these seem to leave registry key or settings in the profile - though nor does Linux have std packing methods between distros.'

    Yes there is. There's a standard install engine which can then be wrapped by third party providers to make it easier to use. It's not Windows' responsibility to clear everything up on uninstall as you might want to keep some settings.

    '* File system support with Windows is limited - cannot understand Linux file systems or old other file system file systems (I mean I can access my old Amiga FFS harddrive with my Ubuntu desktop machine).'

    Yes it can, just not by default. Personally I wouldn't trust the ext2fs driver, but it does exist. File system drivers take years to become stable on any OS, not just Windows. Have you forgotten NT3.51 with FAT, NTFS and HPFS?

    'Windows seems to run and install the default user as admin even though this is a bad thing and Microsoft even recommend not doing so!'

    Yes, because users whinge. Microsoft changed it in Vista to make it more secure and people hate it. Don't blame Microsoft for this one.

    ' YOU have to manually customise Windows XP for business and fix a lot of security issues - admittely you do this with Linux too but not normally to the same level.'

    No you don't. WSUS. Group policy. Remote software install. It's all there if you want it.

    'Windows XP doesn't support new machines out of the box (lack of drivers) - I don't understand why Microsoft cannot have an updated Windows XP DVD image which you can download from their site with a month updated file??'

    Yes it does, because a business PC provider will preinstall it for you. It's also possible to slipstream the XP CD with the latest patches, or do remote installation including custom install script.

    'Windows gets malware and spyware installed - possibly due to running just as Administrator and having a lot of security issues out of the box.'

    To state the bloody obvious, XP was produced in 2002, SP2 a couple of years later. Linux distributions of that age are also likely to have exploits in their default configuration.

    'Registry corruption - possibly not only Microsoft's fault (I'm sure 3rd parties should take some blame) but Windows does seem to corrupt the registry and user profiles very easily'

    It does happen, but IME, only rarely. There's something seriously wrong if it's happening often.

    Windows has flaws that it can be blamed for, but the above aren't on the list.

  168. Mark
    Thumb Up

    "Microsoft: Be worried."

    And that, TMS9900, is why even MS fans should be egging on Linux to greater heights rather than regurgitating the old crap they do.

    MS will have to improve or die.

    MS don't want to fold the company, so they will try to win back customers. One hopes by making their product better, rather than making it illegal to not use their OS.

  169. Mark
    Paris Hilton


    He said "devices".


    Don't knee-jerk, you jerk.

  170. blackworx

    Already come from a good OS to Windows

    I came from Acorn OS at school, which was light years ahead of the then Windows 3.1. That switch was a pretty horrendous "learning" experience for anyone to stomach. Thing is, it didn't take long to become familiar, even with such an atrocity, and before long I was supporting and developing as the job demanded.

    Shove Linux down their throats I say and the users will start coping pretty quickly. It's not lack of familiarity, it's resistance to change.

    btw: "chances are that you've done a stretch" - excellent choice of words.

  171. Mark

    RE: E's are Good

    Long way back up, by me.

    You missed it.

  172. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Right...up to a point!

    I have used PCs since 1986, DOS, WIn.Lin.Mac, etc.

    I was one of the lucky few of "that" generation, we had no Windows, we had only just got out of our 8 bits and we started playing with MS-DOS, learning to write silly virii, we tried that silly Windows (2) thing out but it was boring, all you did was that stuff that MACs did, shuffle windows around, boring. No config files, no text commands? BORING! Computers, what do you want to learn about those for? Computers aren't really going to go anywhere, unless you want to be a back room techie, normal people will never use in our life time, forget them, luckily my old-man made me get into them! ( Thanks Dad! ) Now, I make a good living in IT, I get called on to fix machines and the relies pay me in beer and favours.

    At the end of the day yes we are creatures of habit, most things don't change but you take a look at the last 15 years, dramatic shifts can happen without you even realising. In 10 years time MS could have dug themselves into a hole from which they will never emerge, Linux could have been buried in favour of something you never saw coming. Predictions are nice fun things to talk about, but at the end of the day, they are merely one persons assumption based on what they have experienced and knowledge they have, they are not gospel.

    Pull out any TV show pre-1988, wait for the office scenes, try to find a computer! You won't. Now go in ANY office world-wide, if you don't find a PC of some sort, that business will not be there in 3 years time!

  173. Sean Baggaley


    I handle customer support for a downloadable games website based in the US. Mercifully, I do this in my spare time, mainly on weekends. Want to know what the most common operating system our customers use?

    "Microsoft Office".

    In second place, their operating system is simply "Microsoft".

    I kid you not. (And this is despite the fact that only three games run on anything other than Microsoft Windows.)

    The reason Linux isn't winning on the desktop is because most computer users are *ignorant*.

    (NOTE: Not "stupid". That's insulting and I hope those posters who insist on implying such labels to their users don't do so to their faces. Ignorance is most emphatically *not* equatable with stupidity. Most people are ignorant about the finer details of quantum mechanics. This doesn't make them "stupid". It simply isn't possible to know absolutely everything about everything.)

    99% of the computer using public simply cannot distinguish the point where 'software' ends and 'hardware' begins. It's just a machine. An appliance. A tool for getting something done, be it writing a letter, sorting a spreadsheet or playing a game. Microsoft aren't _winning_ the desktop war. They've already _won_ it. (Apple came second.)

    Linux's future is in embedded and niche markets because it allows one thing neither Microsoft nor Apple will ever do: rebadging. This is why you see it on the Asus Eee, on servers, in routers and other devices, where the OS is an anonymous, hidden component which stays the hell out of the user's way. Windows won't be going there any time soon. Congratulations! You won something! Here, have a medal.

    The GNU Foundation has been around since the early 1980s. Is a 1970s-throwback of a UNIX clone and some mediocre commercial software rip-offs really all there is to it? Colour me disappointed. It could -- and damned well *should* -- have been so much more.

  174. Peter Kay


    It's all about compatibility and familiarity. As mentioned, most people don't care about their OS. They're not doing work they love : they're doing something that pays the bills and is efficient enough. Too much efficiency may actually be unwelcome, if they're not interested in working at maximum capacity all the time.

    If 'the blue e' loads up something that displays web pages without a hassle, then most users will be happy.

    The 'green X' and 'blue W' won't fly. It may load something (Openoffice) on Linux that *looks* vaguely like Excel/Word, but as soon as macros/VBA are loaded it'll get checked in the bin. Been there, tried that using Describe (OS/2), Openoffice (*nix) and even Smartsuite (Windows). No compatibility, no sale.

    So, except in a business environment where a restricted set of applications are used and all the training is provided inhouse (I may be wrong, but how many agencies can supply Openoffice typists?) it's dead on the business desktop, although you *could* run a mixture of applications via X or RDP. Don't mention WINE - it's an unreliable pile of shit (albeit impressive) , and anyone who views the compatibility reports as a guide should run screaming.

    This might lead to the belief it's alive on the home desktop. Unfortunately not.

    Even if a decent *nix distribution was used with a carefully selected set of applications (word processor, instant messengers that support webcam out of the box, ports of common client software, all the shitty printers and bits of hardware working) Linux is still not viable due to its culture.

    People want to be able to go out and buy software (except when copying from friends..) that works with no hassle. Usable, functional, commercially available software requires an infrastructure that supports commercial software. Linux, generally, does not. The GPL is an aberration (it's not free : you want free - choose BSD) that needs to be stopped from unreasonably restricting what commercial software could do.

    As a commercial company, do you really want to get involved in a market which is fragmented (too many distributions), has an active culture against paying for software, can threaten your intellectual property (i.e. source code) and has less users than on Windows?

    Linux users should also examine the reasons why they're using Linux instead of OS X very carefully indeed. OS X is standardised, is Unix, works out of the box, lets you buy software off the shelf, supports Microsoft Office and even plays some games without much hassle.

    If you're still choosing Linux over OS X (another Unix), or Windows (not Unix, but it's possible to quite easily put an awful lot of Unix stuff on it), consider if you really, truly, want a generally available, commercialised Linux.

  175. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm a mechanic...

    ...and it really bugs me when people are so bloody ignorant. I mean, honestly, everyone knows that the splunkton wacko valves are far superior to the standard plangent spark modules, but they stick with them just because "they came with the car".

    Anyone would think people hate having to re-jig the planck combobulators after refueling, but it's a piece of piss once you know how. After you've done it a few times you get performance levels in excess of 5% extra! Who wouldn't want that?

    If you ask me, people who are willfully ignorant on these matters shouldn't be allowed cars in the first place. They should be learning this at school. It's tantamount to negligence.

    I'm told you can get cheap parts online now. I would check but my mate's put some Unbuntu on my laptop and now it's broke. I asked him to come and fix it, but his car's broken down and now he has to PAY to get it fixed! What a retard.

  176. David Hicks

    I'm sorry, but you people are f*ing retarded


    Windows is better than Linux at Networking? That's why windows runs on so many routers then is it?

    And Linux is ALREADY on the desktop in several large enterprises and government departments. Learn to read.

    As for multimedia, it's fine thanks, plays more stuff than windows ever will (TPM, DRM, HDCP anyone?)

    "The linux sucks and most of the Computer user on this planet agree."

    Most of the computer users on the planet don't know what windows is, let alone linux.

    @Sean Baggaley

    "The GNU Foundation has been around since the early 1980s. Is a 1970s-throwback of a UNIX clone and some mediocre commercial software rip-offs really all there is to it? Colour me disappointed. It could -- and damned well *should* -- have been so much more."

    FOSS actually leads the way now. Or did you not notice the way IE copies everything firefox does now? Or that MS now copy features from Gnome (and OS X).

    "If you're still choosing Linux over OS X (another Unix), or Windows (not Unix, but it's possible to quite easily put an awful lot of Unix stuff on it), consider if you really, truly, want a generally available, commercialised Linux."

    Why the hell would I want that? I get more exciting, up to date, open and interoperable, advanced and FREE software than I could ever need on the Linux platform. Good luck getting half of it on either OS X or Windows. Linux has these things called software repositories, which are hooked into the OS just as much as the Apple app store, and are FREE. Maybe you should examine why you feel the need to pay for everything?

    The GPL is free, and it ensures freedom continues. If I write code and donate it to the world, I sure as hell don't want you coming along, snatching it up, making a few alterations and then selling it on without giving a single minute of your time or line of code back to the community. Screw that and screw you. Want to develop commercial software on Linux? Go ahead. Wanna use MY work to do it? I'm going to set some conditions that ensure it stays free.

    Do you think the hardware/firmware hacking communities around linksys and other devices would ever have taken off with your BSD license? No, nobody would have had to have shown their hand so they wouldn't have bothered.

    You'rew the fuck-damned throwback,. throwback to the early 90s which is when you must have last tried linux. Fucking idiot.

  177. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Linux is moot

    Good as a geek toy with limited functionality, but for real professionals Windows is much better: group policies, user account control, ...*

    Also I hate to see my network going to the dogs because some needed resource is offline. Because a Linux box needs to be rebooted every other day (contrarily to Windows boxes), it is not a option in a professional environment.

    In short, if all you want to do is play Spore, you can keep your damn penguin, but real professional will always go for the functionality and stability that only Windows can deliver. Not to mention the lower TCO.

    Or should it be the other way round? Damn, I always get confused.

    *What do you mean, "these were reverse-engineered from *NIX tools"? You sure? Damn.

  178. E

    Linux is not

    ... in my shadow.

    I use Linux all the time.

  179. Peter Kay

    @David Hicks

    I was really hoping not to have to spell this out, and that people could read between the lines. Unfortunately it appears that certain rude zealots can't.

    FREE doesn't stick software on shelves, which is where most people want to find it. FREE is not about choice. True choice is being able to choose free (as in beer), free (as in speech), commercial or closed source software.

    FREE does not also provide 'more exciting, up to date, open, interoperable' etc software except in a narrow range of fields. Off you go and find an open source 3D accelerated Nvidia driver then, or a sensible alternative to AutoCAD, Photoshop (no, the GIMP is not good enough) or Word (Openoffice is not compatible enough). Celebrate the successes, be realistic about the failures.

    Also, learn not to equate GNU, FOSS and GPL. Some FOSS is GPL, and some of that is GNU.

    The GPL does not 'ensure freedom continues', or why do people continue writing under different licenses - it's not stopped them. It's also not as simple as just sticking closed source code on an operating system with GPL code, as you should well know..

    I tried linux when it came out in the early nineties, and I've continued to try it since. Whilst there's been progress, it's not been enough, even with Ubuntu.

    You're blinkered if you think hardware/firmware hacking a) wouldn't have happened with a BSD license - you really are extremely ignorant and b) if anyone actually cares that you saved 50 quid by hacking into something. Hacking hardware really is a prime example of extreme nerdery that people simply *do not want to do* (I shall temporarily leave aside the fact I am currently SSHd into a thin client box repurposed as a cheap, low power Unix box and that my (home) firewall is similarly a custom job : it's about the education and enjoyment. If I wanted the time back, a commercial solution would be more appropriate).

    I'd also suggest you look at just how much of this free software is already on OS X and Windows, or perhaps this Windows platform running free Unix software on a Unix subsystem, displaying remote Unix X apps on a free X server and compiling Unix originated sourcecode is a figment of my imagination. I should also point out, again, that OS X *is* Unix (and no, I'm not even a Mac fan).

  180. Pyrrho Huxley

    Why use Linix instead of OSX

    @Peter Kay "Linux users should also examine the reasons why they're using Linux instead of OS X very carefully indeed."

    A fair question. I build my own PCs - Linux (Ubuntu in this case) just works and I don't have to pay a tax to Apple (or Microsoft). Linux does everything I need - email, word processing, spreadsheets, databases, picture editing, surfing the Internet safely, encrypting my data, playing music (mainly FLAC encoded), backing up files. My favourite game is Transport Tycoon - now wonderfully ported to Linux. Linux doesn't spy on me. Why do I need Apple (or Microsoft)?

  181. spegru

    Accidents of History

    Windows beat Amiga, BBC Micro, Sinclair, Dragon et al (and indeed Apple) in the same way as VHS beat Betamax ie by ease of compatibility & availability.

    However that was 20 years ago - before the INTERNET

    Thanks to the internet, everything is compatible (I'm focussing on mass market stuff like office email and browsing)

    It's also responsible for the recovery of Apple (remember the first pre-ipod iMac? what does the 'i' stand for?)

    So now 'those who know' are faced with a wall of ignorance about the alternatives as described so well in the article.

    However that wall is coming down. It'll take a while perhaps, but it'll be led by corporations and governments seeking to save cash

    It's ironic that the writer picked the Blue E as his theme. IE is probably the weakest link in the chain (or brick in the wall) right now. Like the other 20%, I never use it - even on windows.

    Like all seemingly unassailable empires, MS Windows will be overthrown - I predict within 5-10 years


    PS. I am no programmer or command line expert - I have been working WITH (not on) my Ubuntu PC all day today. It gets the job done and is fully compatible with all the office systems I use

  182. Scott

    @Doug Glass

    "the bits that are thrown together sometimes don't work properly." - Brilliant! I think Linus has just managed to describe Linux in a nutshell! :-)

  183. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "What's holding Linux back from the desktop are user expectations and IT freetards who compensate for their own non-accomplishment with passive-aggressive superiority."


  184. The Badger

    Re: what planet are some of you on

    "did you just pull that comment out arse ? check your facts before ramble garbage."

    You might want to read up a bit about what "devices" are, and update yourself beyond the Computer Shopper view of computing circa 1990 before lecturing us all about "networking in large estates", whatever that is supposed to mean.

    "Firstly dont get UNIX and linux confused in the back end"

    So how's the SCO licence business doing these days? Even the big proprietary UNIX vendors have embraced Linux, leaving anyone still playing the "UNIX quality" card to appear somewhat deluded. The confusion "in the back end" is all yours with your "out arse" and your "ramble garbage".

  185. Seán

    What a load of bollocks

    For a start the cattle in their 8x8 pens will do what they're told. Secondly as was stated above "You're the fuck-damned throwback" I'm surprised you're allowed to publish such garbage in the reg.

  186. Anonymous Coward

    Demeaning to Windows users.

    First off, I don't like Windows - I find the file management annoying and lots of the built in "handy applications" very annoying, and my Vissta system is slow, and yes, it crashes.

    That being said, I find this article pretty demeaning towards Windows users who are generally characterised as incompetent. I gave Linux a decent shot - wiped Windows clean away and installed Ubuntu for several months. Yes, some things were obviously better, and there were some weird hiccups with things like permissions and file copying and whatnot. Whatever, I figured them out, and was able to get along fine. So I have to admit the operating system itself is great, and I'd say preferable to Windows.

    However, in my opinion, the OS is almost irrelevant in terms of productivity. Yes, it's good that your computer doesn't crash, but it's more important that your computer can perform useful functions. There's more to having a computer in your office then just changing settings and marveling at the rotating cube of desktops.

    The available productivity software is CRAP. When it comes down to actually churn out *work*, and not just tinker around, the software is where linux loses out. Gimp absolutely does not replace Adobe Illustrator. Yes, I installed Illustrator via Wine, but that's not very free, is it? Open Office absolutely does not replace Word and Excel. Only very recently has Calc incorporated the ability to add Standard Error to charts (I'm not sure if it's out of beta or not). Writer does not let you track changes within a document and work with a in meaningful way within a group.

    On the surface, everything looks very polished and great, however, for the end user who relies on software to churn out products, these little seemingly insignificant problems are absolutely dealbreakers.

    Until software improves, Windows is safe.

    Mine's the asbestos one, with an extinguisher in the pocket.

  187. David Hicks

    @Peter Kay

    "FREE doesn't stick software on shelves, which is where most people want to find it."

    So those previous comments about Linux getting it's act together and getting an apple style online store were also nonsense? Gotcha.

    "True choice is being able to choose free (as in beer), free (as in speech), commercial or closed source software."

    And you can. most commercial offerings are aimed at the server room right now, but that's slowly changing.

    "Off you go and find an open source 3D accelerated Nvidia driver then, or a sensible alternative to AutoCAD, Photoshop (no, the GIMP is not good enough) or Word (Openoffice is not compatible enough)."

    AutoCAD is a niche product. GIMP does more than adequately for most people. By the way, out of all you folk bleating about Photoshop (which runs fine under Wine by the way) How many of you actually paid for it? yeah, thought so. That's the real "free" software that Linux is competing against, software that's free so long as nobody notices or informs the authorities. People don't want to go out and buy anything. They want it given to them.

    As for Word/OpenOffice, I haven't had to resort to word for a long time, OO.o is corporate direction here. As it is in ever more places, corporate and government.

    "The GPL does not 'ensure freedom continues', or why do people continue writing under different licenses - it's not stopped them."

    Non-sequitur. People can and do write under licenses that don't ensure the freedom of all uses and adaptations of their code. Not all licenses do what the GPL does or are interchangeable.

    People have different ideals. However GPL and GPL style licenses that ensure contribution back to the community are by far the most popular. As I pointed out, BSD style license are fine if you're comfortable with the use of your freely given code in closed systems, but most people aren't, it turns out.

    "It's also not as simple as just sticking closed source code on an operating system with GPL code, as you should well know.."

    Yes it is.

    What do you not get here?

    All the system libraries and facilities you have available on any other *nix are there and available for use. You don't get to use some of the other shiny stuff without giving back, or rip off code left, right and center to put into your new product. That's it. And you can't do that on any other system either.

    "OOOH! But I can't rip off and close the source to component XYZ! I can't use GPL'd library AB or C!"

    No, you can't , as designed. And you wouldn't get them on any other system either. The LGPL on the other hand allows you to link against it, so you still don't get to alter code and hide it, but you can use the libraries that are under it. As every commercial software vendor knows.

    BTW - Try telling IBM about all these problems you're having putting closed source software on Linux, they're making billions out of it every year.

    I personally have worked on cross platform software (in C) for the last decade and have never, ever had to resort to whining about the GPL in order to get my job done.

    "if you think hardware/firmware hacking a) wouldn't have happened with a BSD license - you really are extremely ignorant"

    So linksys, netgear, tivo et al would all have released their source archives and build systems without the legal requirements in place?

    Bull. Shit.

    "and b) if anyone actually cares that you saved 50 quid by hacking into something."

    And you're blinkered if you think your opinion as a certified anti-linux bone-biter matters in the slightest to anyone. Neither the hackers nor me were doing it for your benefit or approval, thanks.

    "I'd also suggest you look at just how much of this free software is already on OS X and Windows,"

    Nowhere near the range on Linux. Not even BSD can claim that.

    "or perhaps this Windows platform running free Unix software on a Unix subsystem displaying remote Unix X apps on a free X server and compiling Unix originated sourcecode is a figment of my imagination."

    Umm, no real *nix, as I have mentioned, has anywhere near the range of stuff available for Linux, regardless of what you compile where and how you display. That whole fragment there, about compiling and remotely running things is so beside the point I'm actually laughing. You're trying to argue that John Q Public doesn't want to do any hardware hacking but understands remote display using X to a windows server running a X layer? You ought to be on the stage with humour like that.

    But basically, you're talking out of your rear orifice. If you don't like the Linux desktop, then say so, but spouting your FUD and outright lies isn't helpful to anyone. No platform has more software available, and no platform has anywhere near the hardware support.

    Whether that makes the difference in getting it into everyday life, who knows.

    But foaming at the mouth and telling lies are not helpful.

  188. Doug Jenkins

    Why Linux...?

    @Peter Key

    Yes, there is a large part of free software available for the Windows platform...but one still has to have the Windows platform...and pay for it, in both money and time, to procure and protect. This takes time and treasure away from using the equipment. (Protecting Linux requires a button push, entering a password, and a click! This not only upgrades the OS, but any application with an upgrade, too.)

    Yes, I admit to being a cheapskate, but I have been paying for Windows since 1.03 (yes, really) and the last Office I bought was '95 Professional. I got tired of paying for changes to support new document formats, and application changes that didn't, or shouldn't have required the expense.

    OpenOffice does all that I need, and I have successfully used it since late 2000. People who need an MSOffice formatted document from me were none the wiser. The only reason people know I am NOT using MSOffice is because I tell them, and send them to (BTW, the same document is 4-5 times LARGER in the MSOffice format than in the open one!)

    I think I represent more people who just need to "write a letter" or "write a paper." One doesn't need a be-ribboned behemoth to do that!

  189. Robert Brockway

    Forever is a long time

    The author has made a classic mistake. He's mistaken some period of time for "forever". The computer desktop as we understand it today didn't exist 40 years ago and it might not exist in 40 years time. At the very least it will be very different to today.

    If the author has suggested that MS might dominate the deskop for 10 or 20 years it would be worth arguing. But to say that no one else will ever replace MS. That just tells me the author needs to get a better perspective of the passage of time.

    Th author is right that familiarity is what keeps people to MS-Windows at the moment. I had figured this out too. The thing is this familiarity changes over time. One example is netbooks which do sport Linux and are making people more familiar with the interface, but even that is immaterial for the reasons I mention above

    Oh and that tech support example is unrealistic it does highlight an important point: If a company trains someone in how to do their job on an Linux system they should be no more or less happy than if they were trained to do their job on an MS-Win system. As long as they can do their job with the computer then the work is getting done.

  190. Pierre

    @Gruvn (and other people in need of software)

    If you want to replace Illustrator, you don't need the GIMP, you need InkScape (or similar). I don't know how they compare though, I've never user either extensively.

    There is almost no task you can't do in the Linux world. You might have to go and *find* the application you need though. Actually, all the people here saying that there is no soft for Linux are proving that advertisement works. People are lazy and want to be force-fed their apps. They can't be arsed to do a fast google, let alone browse a repository. Poor world.

  191. Jay McWilliams


    I find it interesting that in a world of learning & advancements, you choose to side with ignorance. While some LINUX distributions are indeed hard to use or learn, there are a few that are so easy to use a child such as yourself could easily learn (ie. Ubuntu, Linspire...) It's proven that LINUX is MUCH EASIER to use than Windows. Being an ex-licensed Microsoft Developer, I chose to leave the world of lock-down. I now am Co-Owner of a business ( ) that brings this FREEdom to others. I am not alone in this venture, many more companies everyday choose to free themselves. The best of all is support for Microsoft products is NON-EXISTENT! While LINUX, IS EVERYWHERE, every language & every country. The general public is NOT stupid, just scared & ignorant. They are not sure how to break to bonds of there oppressors, but WILL continue to fight & succeed in obtaining true FREEDOM! My heart goes out to people, such as yourself, who continue to restrain others curiosity. For you, it's lost. Thank You Jay McWilliams

  192. Thomas Kenyon

    Windows vx Linux? Not heard that argument before.

    I don't know what you're all talkin gabout, OS/2 will rule the world.

  193. Peter Kay

    @David Hicks : Ignorance is a fine thing.

    I see that it's a 'lie' when you don't like what I'm saying. As other comments already illustrate, OpenOffice is not good enough as a word/excel replacement except for home use. Again : find me an employment agency that can provide an openoffice typist without a problem, as that's what you're up against.

    So, you're now denying people's needs are valid because they're 'niche' and other products are 'good enough'. This would neatly illustrate my point that Linux does not win except in a narrow range of fields.

    Yes, people have different ideals and the Linux community is free to espouse whatever philosophy they wish - just don't necessarily expect the rest of the world to agree. The GPL is less of a problem than it was, but still an issue - or are you denying the license wrangling that happened a few years back, the FSF's repeated attempts to water down the LGPL or the controversy over GPLv3?

    People have, and will continue to, hack on hardware regardless of source code released by manufacturers. It's a nice side effect of the GPL, but not essential. Whilst some companies have been forced to release code, others knew it was a requirement from the start - otherwise they could have used a different Unix, QNX, embedded Windows or similar.

    It's not that I don't like the Linux desktop - it's come a very long way since I started using it in 1992. It's more that it still doesn't live up to the hype. I haven't run Ubuntu for about 9 months or so (when most Linux distributions failed to install cleanly in a VM. Gnarly slackware was an exception), so I reinstalled it again last night. The installation could have had slightly more attention to detail, but on the whole was very impressive finding all the hardware.

    The bundled apps (Openoffice, pidgin, etc) could do with a bit of polish relative to Windows/Adium on the mac and they lack functionality (no webcam in pidgin, for instance, and its MSN support is poor. I didn't check if they'd included the third party MSN plugin.) but it'll do.

    Sadly, the same can't be said for drivers and administration. The Free Nvidia drivers don't support 3D and multiple monitors properly, the administration dialogs and packaging system are poorly designed, the network settings kept reverting to DHCP for no obvious reason and changing to the closed source Nvidia drivers to actually get decent functionality resulted in the system dropping to a logon shell. The maintenance options didn't work and I had to faff with manually obtaining and installing the driver and faffing around with apt-get of lynx (not built in? I mean, seriously?) and ncftp because the standard FTP client kept crashing.

    When the driver finally installed, the resolutions and refresh rates still weren't right, the Nvidia control panel lacked any options to edit it any more and it would have required me to manually faff around with Xorg.conf. So, that's several instances of dropping to the shell already.

    XP, Vista, the Windows 7 beta and, if I was running a mac, OS X would all do better than that - although Windows 7 beta has inconviently fucked up resolutions/refresh rate control on Nvidia too. The lack of a sane recovery console in Ubuntu that doesn't require shell faffing is extremely poor. Perhaps in a few years it'll be ready - but not yet.

  194. Mark

    JonB Posted Tuesday 27th January 2009 17:25 GMT

    How does that work? It doesn't seem to have stopped MS making it on the market. In fact, it seems to have given them the market and their continuing dominance.

  195. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hardware support

    I've never been able to use any distro of linux without , at some point in time, having to open up the command line and type in commands to get a mouse to work properly, or some other device. Hardware needs to be more "plug in and work" like windows (does most of the time). Maybe this problem should be solved by the people making the devices who primarily choose to develop drivers for windows first.

  196. Jaap Stoel


    The article meshes perfectly with my own experiences. Linux/unix/whatever may be better. But it has the image of something infinitely complex that comes with a command line instead of a GUI and without any of the familiar applications most people are used too.

    Yes you can say that its possible to get all those things on a Linux machine. But it takes work and study. When you buy a car you expect a gas pedal, steering wheel etc. You'd also shirk away by something that didn't have those things.

    That's what people want.

  197. Aaron Guilmette

    It's all about who you know

    "Engineering isn't holding Linux back from the desktop. We all know that it's better software than Windows."

    While I agreed with much of the article (depsite its old underpinnings), I had to do a half-nod. The "we all know that it's better software than Windows" is analgous to "we all know a charcoal grill is better than a gas grill." "Better" is subjective and wholly dependent on your personal experiences.

    For example, a Chevrolet isn't necessarily better than a Dodge. In your experience, you may have only owned Chevrolet vehicles and therefore think that because you've chosen them repeatedly, that it's the best solution. Your experience with the product and comfort level with its nuisances lead you to assert that it's better, regardless of thousands of satisfied Dodge owners who feel the same way about their vehicles.

    A hammer isn't always the best object to use for striking something. It may be great for nails, but it really dings up the walls when you try to kill a fly. That doesn't make a hammer an inferior tool--it just makes it inferior to a flyswatter when the task at hand is killing flies.

    The "Linux vs Windows" debate is very similar. To businesses, what's "better" is the product that has lowest overall cost of ownership intersecting with the highest user productivity. If a free piece of software runs fine on a 2-year old PC but it takes three times as long to prepare a client's document, then a business owner might opt to spend $200 on Windows XP and $500 on Office and satisfy the client in a more timely manner or satisfy more clients in the same amount of time.

    It's really a fundamental argument to anything you do. Is a different way better? Is it more cost-effecitve to pay for my familiarity and productivity while potentially sustaining system crashes or is it more cost effective to obtain free software and deal with transitions and learning curves? Business goes through this time and again with new product deployments and software upgrades. 99% of the time, compatibility, familiarity and productivity with potential instability beat stability with the potential for a period of lessened productivity or potential compatibility.

    Mine's the one with the pocket full of pragmatism...

  198. Talamasca

    Same song

    People just want their stuff to work. They don't care about kernels, builds, KDE. It's Greek to them.

    As long as the Linux distro's require a more than basic tech-saviness, just for installation, Linux will never go anywhere.

    You want it more widespread? All you fanboi's, make the installation idiot proof. People do not know nor do the care what partition is. Or dual-booting.

    For me! I have Ubuntu and Open Solaris but rarely do use them because of limited driver support for modems. Have put Linux on at least a half dozen machines and the problem is always the same, no drivers for the modems. I neither have the time or desire to go replace all that. Some kind of open source wall if you will.

    So, make the installation relatively painless. And better driver support for modems. Until that happens, continue whining about it in your IRC chats

  199. Psymon
    Gates Halo

    OK, one last word from the sysadmins perspective

    All these people who complain about the time it takes to set up a windows box.

    When we buy new machines, we usually do it in double or triple digits, and this is where a linux distro falls flat on its face.

    With my 1st cup of morning coffee, I unpack one of the machines, stick a network cable into it, bang on the f12 key and wait for the RIS menu to pop up while reading... You gussed it, this marvelous site. (keep this under yer hats, guys - it's the sysadmins best kept secret).

    I give the computer a name for the domain, and then pick the win XP SP3 image.

    30mins later, I install the relevent drivers for that hardware build and pull an image of it back onto the server, then copy the configuration section of the riprep.sif from one of the other images.

    This stage we normally do with the demo machine our supplier sends us for approval, so we're usually ready to load and lock (That's actually the right way round) when the lorry pulls into the carpak.

    Unpacking is the hardest part of the job from there in. How long does it take for me to set up a new box then?

    after unpacking and plugging in? 35 seconds. That's right. from blank hdd, to a fully installed, fully patched XP environment with approximately 45 apps installed it takes 35 seconds of my time.

    I log into RIS, give the new computer a name, and pick the image with the right drivers.

    After that, the riprep.sif defines organisation info, product key, regional settings, local admin password, screen resolution, domain info, hard disk partitioniong, and what optional XP components are installed.

    Once it starts booting into windows though, group policy takes over. This new machine could be a student desktop, or it could be for our head accountant. Everything, and I mean everything, is defined by where I stick its computer account in active directory.

    I'm not even going to attempt to list all the configuration options in a GPO, but all software on our network is repackaged into an unattended MSI, which I then assign to the computers via a GPO.

    Everything from flash plugins, k-lite codec pack, educational software and Office.

    I have naturally installed the the ADM extensions for Office, and created a great many more for other software, so I don't have to configure a single peice manually, even macro security within Office is defined from the server.

    If I want to change the role of the computer, I move its account in active directory. Next time it reboots, it will reconfigure all windows settings, uninstall no longer assigned software, and install (and configure) any newly assigned software.

    Are you starting to get the idea?

    If the machines been joined to the domain once, the server remembers its MAC address, and will re-attach it to its exsisting computer account in active directory everytime we re-RIS it. Even if you replace the HDD.

    Given the choice between spending an hour diagnosing a windows/software problem, or 25 (don't have to re-name an exsisting machine) seconds starting a RIS that will have a shiny new XP install in less than an hour?

    Corrupted files system? re-RIS it. Registry gone belly up? re-RIS it.

    35 seconds. From start to finish. I'm currently negotiating with our supplier to reduce the level of packaging! It's better for the environment, and this is actually the largest part of the workload when setting up new machines.

    Now, show me a Linux server/client distro that can do this, and I'll happily give it a trial. Samba is a poor mans immitation of 2003, and always 5 steps behind.

    Plus in educational licensing server 2003 is £30, and XP is £7 a cal. There really, really is no competition when it comes to TCO.

    The techs I have described above are old hat now too. I'm migrating to SCCM which will allow the drivers to be pooled, so 1 image will fit all, wsus updates will be slipstreamed during the WinPE stage of setup, non MSI software won't need to be re-packaged (any sw engineer that doesn't use MSI for his windows apps needs to be shot on sight!) and the Intel AMT BIOS will allow hardware level control.

    You don't believe me? How the hell do you think I've had time to write all this?

    Just keep it under your hats, lads. If management had any idea just how much spare time I actually have...


  200. coz

    I disagree


    I switch people over to ubuntu from windows all the time both residential and corporate clients, mainly residential. The feed back is 100% positive. They are pleased with the smoothness and ease of use,, the comfortable browsing, and the lack of "expensive" software.

    Not a single client has complained about no software available, difficulty in maneuvering etcetc.

    Linux is more than ready for desktop in people homes as well as a real threat to both windows and mac. Especially now that compiz fusion is a default install on most major distrbutions.

    the last two years which introduced Beryl then compiz fusion has brought more people over to linux than anything did in the past 18 years linux has been around.

    there are no complaints about switching to linux nor anyone unfamiliar with how things work.

    It is an easy transition and , again, a major threat to both mac and windows.

    The support is you know!


  201. Mark

    All you fanboi's, make the installation idiot proof

    It IS idiot proof.

    Much more so than Windows.

  202. Mark

    Psymon Posted Thursday 29th January 2009 11:59 GMT

    And yet in Linux, you can ghost images that actually frigging WORK.

    A slight change to the chipset? No worries, it will be picked up and you won't have to change a thing. Since 7.1 you don't have to have an xorg.conf, it autoconfigures (try that with Windows. Swap out your NVidia card for an ATI one. You'll need to TELL it to use the new one).

    No need to install the new drivers.

    Heck, you can boot of a live CD with a prepackaged presentation. Or netboot entirely over the network as you want to do for XP (but without having to put something to post-install configure the machine).

    DynamicDNS updates is how your server can remember the machine.

    Guess what? That's BIND. That's on Linux. No advantage for windows.

    Because you can put EVERYTHING for the home user on its own partition, put /opt on a different machine, etc, you don't have to worry about a hosed system on linux either. It takes as long to reimage as it takes to punt that image over to the HDD. No advantage there for Windows.

    You DO NOT USE Samba for it. There's no need. You use Samba to cooperate with what Microsoft wants you to do with their OS. If you're running Linux/Mac/Solaris/... you don't need it. Read up on LTS (Linux Terminal Server).

    Does all you need and more.

    With no need to fuck about with drivers after installation. Or CALs, audits, etc.

  203. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    re: Hardware support

    You are talking bollocks. Command line for Mouse support?


    Now, take your fancy newly installed WindowsXP box with the mouse in the USB slot.

    Now place your USB mouse in a new USB slot.

    Oh, you have to wait while it notices the mouse, looks for a driver and then goes "OK, you can use it now". Linux? Plug it in and it works. No waiting.

    Probably the same with Vista.

  204. Mark
    Gates Horns

    @Peter Kay

    What is missing from Open Office, then?

    Why is it NVidia's fault when its drivers for Vista fucked the system right up, but it's Linux's problem when NVidia's open information doesn't support multiple monitors?

    If you want to see what happens when you SUPPORT the platform, take a look at the 945 chipset integrated graphics.

    Will it run Aero? Will it fuck.

    Will it run Compiz? Yup. Nicely too. Sharing the memory with the CPU can make it a bit pissy if you have a memory intensive program running, but that's inherent in shared memory architecture.

    Will it support multiple monitors in Linux? Yes.


  205. Psymon
    Gates Halo

    @ Mark

    You see that tiny speck in the far distance?

    there, the one that's rapidly disapearing?

    That was the point. I'm afraid you shot by it at some speed.

    I already stated that the requirement for a driver-based image was obsolete, but there you go.

    No the point was all about rapid deployment, and in my earlier posting, centralised management, of which, Linux doesn't appear to have any. Ghost creates inflexible, static images

    Quick test here. You have 2000 desktops spread across12 physically seperate sites.

    If I have to perform any of the tasks listed below on an individual basis, It's a big fat FAIL.

    Do not pass go, do not collect £200, and certainly do not win that big fat suppliers contract.

    If you make me physically walk over to any of the machines for any of these tasks, I will firstly set fire to you. I'll put you out when I get back, and the effeciency of the task will then be measured by the ratio of 3rd degree burns.

    change the desktop wallpaper on either a machine or user group basis

    replace a peice of software on a group or all machines

    add/remove shortcuts from whatever app launcher you may have

    restrict right to specific local drives by machine or user group

    modify the list of favourites

    modify the list of shortcuts on the desktop by user or machine group

    add an environmental variable

    restrict access to command prompt/terminal window by machine/user group

    add/remove favourites/bookmarks by machine/user group

    approve and deploy specific OS or software updates for all machines, and ensure they've all completed the update within a given timeline

    modify the file permissions for all machines local drives

    redirect the home folder to either a local or server share by user or machine group, or both

    change the proxy settings for a machine or user group

    This is just a tiny, TINY fraction of the tasks that I perform on a regular basis, from Group Policy Management without the need to even look at a single machine or user, which filter out to all machines on an interval basis I dictate the balances the need for rapid updates, with that of network load (and guess what, that's defined from within group policy too!)

    These aren't wishlists, these vital requirements. For some surreal reason, The Linux Fanbois seem to have it in their heads that one desktop environment fits all.

    I need to be able to dictate the environment on a granular level, and without having to do on every machine, or god help us, having to re-ghost them each time I need to make a change.

    This is the point, right here. Or do I have to run your nose in it like a cat that's left a present on the carpet?

  206. jake Silver badge


    First of all, IMO you can safely ignore Mark. He's probably very young, and clearly has too much time on his hands that could be better spent actually learning about the things that he babbles about.

    That said, I think that you could use a little education, too.

    I've been a UN*X user since ken got to Berkeley. I've been a WinDOS user since Ford Aerospace got 6 pilot-build IBM PCs running PC-DOS 0.96 beta (I fiddled with Vista for a year, but finally gave it up as a waste of time and space ... Not religious about it, I'll probably look at the next MS OS). I've been a Mac user since the first Mac came out (I bought one new, biggest waste of money I ever spent). I've been administering networks containing all of these OSes (and more) for a long time.

    So, please allow me to address all your issues.

    "centralised management, of which, Linux doesn't appear to have any. Ghost creates inflexible, static images"

    I manage several Fortune 500 Linux networks from my office overlooking my wife's barn and jumping arena, here in Sonoma California. Remote administration has been built into UNIX-like operating systems from practically day one.

    "Quick test here. You have 2000 desktops spread across12 physically seperate sites."

    One of my smaller installs, then.

    "If I have to perform any of the tasks listed below on an individual basis, It's a big fat FAIL."

    Lose "fail" as a meme. It's very old and tired.

    "Do not pass go, do not collect £200, and certainly do not win that big fat suppliers contract."

    Monopoly? Are you sure you are a professional?

    "If you make me physically walk over to any of the machines for any of these tasks, I will firstly set fire to you. I'll put you out when I get back, and the effeciency of the task will then be measured by the ratio of 3rd degree burns."

    Threats? Over this kinda thing? Whatever.

    "change the desktop wallpaper on either a machine or user group basis"

    Linux, check. Windows, check. OSX, check.

    "replace a peice of software on a group or all machines"

    Linux, check. Windows, check. OSX, check. (that's "piece", BTW)

    "add/remove shortcuts from whatever app launcher you may have"

    Linux, check. Windows, check. OSX, check.

    "restrict right to specific local drives by machine or user group"

    Linux, check. Windows, check. OSX, check.

    "modify the list of favourites"

    Linux, check. Windows, check. OSX, check.

    "modify the list of shortcuts on the desktop by user or machine group"

    Linux, check. Windows, check. OSX, check.

    "add an environmental variable"

    Linux, check. Windows, check. OSX, check.

    "restrict access to command prompt/terminal window by machine/user group"

    Linux, check. Windows, check. OSX, check.

    "add/remove favourites/bookmarks by machine/user group"

    Linux, check. Windows, check. OSX, check.

    "approve and deploy specific OS or software updates for all machines, and ensure they've all completed the update within a given timeline"

    Linux, check. Windows, check. OSX, check.

    "modify the file permissions for all machines local drives"

    Linux, check. Windows, check. OSX, check.

    "redirect the home folder to either a local or server share by user or machine group, or both"

    Linux, check. Windows, check. OSX, check.

    "change the proxy settings for a machine or user group"

    Linux, check. Windows, check. OSX, check.

    Looks like a wash, doesn't it?

    But it's not. Given my background in all three OSes, I much prefer today's Linux, specifically the Slackware distribution, which I modify according the needs of the target user(s). It's faster, more streamlined, more secure, and it does everything 95% of all office workers need, without bloat.

    The other 5% can have Windows, or OSX, or Solaris, or even a Mainframe if they absolutely need a specific software package that hasn't been ported to Linux. As I said, I'm not religious about it. Best tool for the job & all that.

  207. Mark


    Yup, and my point went WOOSH over your head.

    Rapid deployment.

    Why is that not solved completely and fully with an image install?

    You don't have to have the same disk size for Linux to install the disk as an image. "cp -a" works just fine. At the end of it, you have a fully configured system ready for use. No drivers to install, not configuration to sort out, etc.

    The only configuration you will need to do is to change the name of the machine in /etc/hostname.

    There is no need to configure the server since DDNS updates will assign an IP, domain and all the other bits to that hostname specifically. It can also assign this information on heuristics about where in the system it came from (e.g. if it is behind "MARKET_SYS" server, then put it in the domain and updates appropriate for that domain.

    LDAP can also configure all this based on host name/domain name and IP address netmask. (What do you think Windows uses to do this under the AD hood? Mystic Meg???) All that stuff about groups, permissions, home folder, server default, yada yada yada. And most not necessary because Linux was built WITH computer networks in mind, rather than an unconnected secretary machine for typing company reports on like Windows.

    Now, why does an image not work?

    You only specified that you wanted to deploy a new machine for use.

    That is solved.

    Why don't you like the solution? Because it shows you were wrong? Likely.

  208. BristolBachelor Gold badge

    re: Hardware support and Vista

    Just got my new laptop and it's running Vista.

    Plug the mouse into a different USB port (or re-learn my bluetooth mouse because It decided to stop responding).

    Vista says it found new hardware (It's not that new!)

    Then it says it is installing the drivers (weren't they already installed?)

    Then it says I have to restart windows to use it. (Although it now seems to be working anyway !!??)

    Both mice are Microsoft and are natively supported in Vista...

  209. chuddies
    Gates Halo

    Too right

    And its not just familiarity, in actual fact MS office IS better than open office, as in several leagues ahead. You're basic users that just scribbles the odd letter or adds up a few figures in a spreadsheet may not see much difference but the hardcore of analysts and technicians know that comparing open office to MS office is like comparing the off road capabilities of a ford KA and a landrover.

    But lets review the situation here, Linux is not a windows killer because it is designed from the ground up to be something else entirely, i.e. Linux is built by and for programmers (pretty much), they make little effort to make Linux friendly to the MS windows drone because to do so would make it less friendly for them and defeat the object.

  210. Richard Hebert

    a page of irony

    Come on .. you cant possibly be serious :) and you're not , we know. First .. let me call 911 and get you to a nice place filled with good guys that dress you up warm in one of them new trendy shirts that close at the back , and give you some of them feel good pills ..

    my 2 cents worth :

    Expect to pay 300 to replace WinME , cause it was so crappy ..

    Expect to pay yet another 300 to replace XP ( it's so old and passe .. join the Vista generation )

    Expect to pay yet another 300 bucks to replace that total crap Vista you got .

    See a pattern ? no ? good .. I wanted to talk to you about shares in the great Brooklyn Bridge, a sure investment ..

    Microsoft is the wal-mart of computing. Personally i just cant stand to buy crap that will end up in the garbage.But you go ahead and pay them yet another 300 bucks .. Bill Gates needs it to put a gold mast on his yatch .. Come on .. fork it out .. :) You can afford to make him rich .. while you stay poor :D , mentally and economically.

  211. Mike Manship

    What a crock of sh!t!

    Windows will stay dominant on the desktop for now, but its already changing and will accelerate over time.

    I use Linux on my old PC and it has saved me several hundred pounds at least because I haven't needed to upgrade my hardware to run the latest versions of Windows.

    I use PS3 for Gaming/Home Media, Archos 5 for wireless internet and media (served from my Linux PC).

    All I've got is an XP VM for when I update my TomTom once in a blue moon.

    Sure it took some setting up originally, but it was interesting and I've not had to do anything to it since, it just works when I need it to.

    People aren't all stupid either they are just sheep, as soon as another FAD comes along they'll jump on that bandwagon in droves... Look at the iPhone.

  212. Mark
    IT Angle

    re: Too right

    "And its not just familiarity, in actual fact MS office IS better than open office, as in several leagues ahead. "

    Well, what are these magical properties of MS office (and WHICH VERSION are you on about)?

  213. Mark


    Yeah, we all believe you. You haven't made any of that shit up because you shill for microsoft. Oh, no. You really did try that and all that.

  214. Mark

    re: Too right (PS)

    The last bit is correct. Linux was never written to replace or compete with Windows. It was written by Linus who wanted a UNIX that didn't cost a shitload and worked on his 386.

    It's an OS. Not a frigging religion or lifestyle choice. But even those who say "Huh, use the program that works" think it is necessarily Windows (none have said "linux", many said "windows" most didn't say, but some you could check on the posting history for always promote windows...).

  215. Dom
    Thumb Up


    These comments demonstrate exactly why Linux will not get onto the mainstream desktop - bickering and lack of focus.

    Microsoft and Apple are companies with goals. They pay people to write software, test, demonstrate, market etc. Most Linux distros are written and updated in dark basements by unpaid unknown geeks. So the company that wants to replace their computer system is presented with a spotty geek in jeans and a smiley face tee shirt trying to get them to change to a new system which won't run some of their mission critical systems/programs. Hmmmm. Then enter the MS/Apple salesman in his suit, explaining that there will not be any problem and all will be sorted because their software WILL work and has been tested on their platform. Spotty Geek or professional salesman? I know [if I was a potential customer] which one I would go for.

    Linux needs to get it image act together if it wants to compete with Win/Mac. People need to stop whining and get Linux sorted if they want it to compete against the big boys. But it's not going to happen. The comments from the Linux fanclub prove this. The fanclub will alway be the dog chasing it's tail, complaining bitterly about MS dirty tricks yadda, yadda, yadda. ITS OLD NEWS! If you really want Linux on the desktops of big businesses, then get ONE company together, create the distro that can compete with Win/Mac and SELL IT!

    As for customers being dumb - well duh! They are not IT specialists! They are Doctors, Solicitors, Architects, Teachers etc. They have better things to do than try to figure out how to recompile their PC's OS core every time they want to insert a USB memory stick. The last thing you want to hear from your Solicitor is that he can't make it to bail you out of jail because he is stuck trying to get used to his PC's new OS!

    The most incredible thing is that most of the people posting are IT professionals. You probably make your money by supporting Win/Mac systems. Great. Get rid of the big 2, give the customer a brilliant stable OS which never needs supporting - great way to work your way out of a job!

    Are MS and Apple worried by Linux? No. Why? Because the die-hard Linux fans do all their hard work for them, by standing around bleating on blogs etc. instead of joining together to become a coherent serious competitor that can focus on the needs of the business customer and all that marketing and developing entails.

  216. Mayhem
    Thumb Down

    Missing the point

    I agree with Psymon above, and also think many of the responses miss the point

    Linux cannot become a dominant desktop until such time as it develops a way of allowing windows based applications to be installed and run seamlessly. And by that I don't mean "install wine and then tweak this and then run that" I mean put in a cd and click the nice little flash INSTALL ME prompt. This then needs to trigger some underlying handling to translate the OS into whatever the app expects and let the program *just run*. And this needs to be done out of the box when a user first gets the machine, not as an aftermarket tweak.

    Lets face it. Windows has the dominant market share for desktops, so programs are written for it. If the *nix system cannot run them by default, it has failed in its goal.

    Yes, alternatives are available, but the user should not have to use them, especialy if they already own the software.

    And don't just dismiss specific programs as *niche markets*. Niches can be pretty damn large. Two examples. Banking uses Excel heavily to do all sorts of things that Microsoft never dreamed of. I've seen Excel running as essentially a full trading suite, with live data being updated simultaneously by multiple users in a 24/7 environment. How that was done I have no idea, and my support consisted of crapping myself and praying a reboot fixed it, but I strongly doubt it can be done in Open Office. There are a lot of traders around the world, and I'd say all use Reuters data tied with Excel. Sure, Reuters could develop a plugin for open office, but do YOU want to pay them to do it?

    A second niche, a very large school a friend teaches at has a big piece of software that handles student data - reports, exam results, attendance etc. The software is written as a desktop suite, and runs on windows 95 98 NT4 and 2000. It doesn't run properly on XP, but then none of the local pcs run XP either. This is the fourth software suite they've tried, each headmaster likes to bring the one from his old school in as an "upgrade". All essentially work the same however. Find me a linux based alternative to that, as there are a lot of educational facilities around, and they all need something similar. Niche yes, small no.

    Finally, many people above were talking about embedded or rebadged operating systems, and servers. Frankly, I think most people would be hard pressed to say what OS is running their embedded device, and I've seen windows errors crop up in everything from ATMs to airport boards. I've also seen unix errors on the same devices. Which is more suited is an irrelevant argument - the original article talks about desktop PCs, not routers or atms. As for servers, they are normally specifically built to do a few things well. File servers could be *nix or windows and most users wouldn't know or care - across a network they all seem the same.

    Application servers are the same, certainly most web servers these days seem to run apache.

    Once again though, its arguing the wrong thing. Linux, or unix, or debian, or ubuntu, or whatever, they are not suitable to replace a desktop for the majority of users oustide of a home environment, with the exception of *niche* roles like software development.

    Think of corporate environments. Admin - no time and attendance programs. Accounts - not enough compatibility with regulators. Trading - just no.

    Educational environments? For CS students, sure, maybe. For staff, no.

    What about military, or geosciences. Any linux based GIS programs?

    You name a program that linux provides as an alternative, I can probably find another large *niche* that there isn't an alternative for. *Thats* the point. Windows allowed the creation of all these programs. If you don't support them, you'll never expand outside of the small niche market of the home tinkerer.

  217. Mark

    re: Missing the point

    "Linux cannot become a dominant desktop until such time as it develops a way of allowing windows based applications to be installed and run seamlessly."


    There are already installers out there that will work IF the writer of the application USES THEM.

    If they don't surely that's a fault of the developer, not Linux.

  218. Mark


    Uh, wintards are bickering too.

    YOU'RE here bickering.

    Strange that those bickers aren't killing Windows, isn't it.

    Linux for you is dead not because of a lack in Linux or the antics of those proposing it, but in yourself. You don't WANT to use it.

    That's fine.

    Just don't fuck about with excuses that it's not your fault, it's someone else's. You ARE allowed not to use Linux "just because". Don't lie about the reasons though.

  219. Mayhem
    Gates Halo

    @Mark re: Missing the point

    "Linux cannot become a dominant desktop until such time as it develops a way of allowing windows based applications to be installed and run seamlessly."


    There are already installers out there that will work IF the writer of the application USES THEM.

    If they don't surely that's a fault of the developer, not Linux."

    No, because you can't expect a developer of an older piece of software to go back and rewrite their install mechanisms to cope with different operating systems.

    Yes, a developer of a new piece of software can and should try and make it as seamless as possible to work on any platform, but my point above was that linux is not in a safe position of dominance. Therefore it needs to accommodate *more* than windows to take over that position, and as such needs to make it trivial for an end user to install any program they want, especially windows based programs.

    Why? Because often they are "best of breed" programs, or programs mandated by policy, or simply legacy programs needed for compliance with other systems. Sure, someone could spend weeks writing their own open source program to do the same thing, but the simple point is they shouldn't have to.

    Yes, linux is different. Yes, it works differently to windows. But until someone comes up for a way in which it can replicate the whole windows experience in addition to its own, it cannot *replace* windows.

    As an earlier commercial example, see OS/2. It ran windows applications as well as its own, and arguably better than windows did. Ok, that was based off the fact that they shared a common ancestry, but IBM understood that platform compatibility was fundamental.

    Another example, see the Playstation 2. Its still the biggest selling console of all time, a large part because it allowed people to seamlessly continue using their old PS1 software while also providing a new and improved experience. Ok, maybe not many people ever play their old games any more, but the point is that they *can*.

    Look at the modern Apple PC. It will allow you to install and run many windows based programs *without* requiring much user intervention. And thats with OSX running on some form of *nix, so it can be done.

    Linux on the desktop requires that same seamless built in compatibility with the mass market of applications, or it will be stuck as a kind of slow second cousin in the minds of the masses.

  220. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Just don't fuck about with excuses that it's not your fault, it's someone else's."

    Woosh is the sound of irony sailing over Mark's head.

    What you have summed up in one line is everything that's wrong with Linux marketing/evangelism: the user is always wrong. Or the developer. Anyone or anything except the product not being fit for purpose.


    "you can safely ignore Mark. He's probably very young, and clearly has too much time on his hands that could be better spent actually learning about the things that he babbles about."

    I'd figured as much.

  221. vincent himpe


    inkscape ? you're joking right ? Try going to a publisher with drawings made in inkscape... Sorry bud its AI or EMF files they want... none of which inkscape can produce.

    it can't even grab correctly from the clipboard. Most (windows) programs post graphics data as EMF to the clipboard so you can grab it as vector data. Illustrator : no problem. Inkscape ? sorry does not work in a lot of cases ( especially elliptoid arcs ).

    Sure SVG is a neat format. except nobody in the printing industry uses it yet. I had really nice drawings in inkscape... all for nothing

  222. jake Silver badge

    Replacing Windows?

    Who said anything about replacing Windows? If an office user needs Windows for, say, AutoDesk products, let 'em have it. Note the word "needs", not "wants".

    However, today's Linux is compatible with probably 95% of all office work. The other 5% need tools that are currently unavailable on Linux. When I roll out a LinuxOffice installation, I see to it that the 5% have access to the tools they need. Somewhat predictably, after an initial training period, 95% of support calls are for the 5% ... OK, maybe that's a trifle inflated, but I do have several 3+ year old 150+ seat Linux installations that I haven't had support calls from, other than hardware failure. Yes, I keep an eye on security updates for them. Part of my job.

    Understanding the needs of the Office, and having a training program to match helps. It also helps to pick the five or six more computer literate staff and set 'em up as a kind of informal first level of support.

    To the person who suggested you have to recompile the kernel to get USB support, that's not true. And even if it WAS true, when I roll out an install, I customize the kernel for the hardware long before the end user gets access to the keyboard. Whining about "driver support" isn't a valid point. I don't spec hardware that isn't Linux compatible, which helps.

    To the person who commented that "if Linux is that good, we'll be out of work" ... Yes! Absofuckinglutely! That's a system administrator's JOB, FFS ... Roll out a system that just works, and needs no support is the holy grail. Linux on the desktop and BSD on the servers is coming close to that.

    Game support? Why do you want games at work? Maybe your organization's depth chart needs revamping ... which is another service I provide. It's amazing how much money you can save by firing three quarters of middle management ... They are usually the ones doing the most whinging about having to "learn Linux", and it usually turns out they don't really know how to use Windows or a Mac to begin with. They are also the ones playing games ...

    As for creating a version of Linux and just selling it ... I do, thanks :-) Actually, I start with a basic Slackware installation and customize it to fit the situation. This includes a custom kernel, specific software for the job, a custom desktop, all necessary networking, printing, group access, security, remote access (where necessary), etc.

    Hard work on my part? Yep. But I get well paid for it. And my clients are happy.

  223. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Arrogance of Windows Users...

    Wintards are just like Manchester United "fans". Don't really know about the subject but profess to be experts, only support the one at the top, and are wantonly oblivious to the amount of cheating that goes on by their "team" in order to win.

    As for the article, meh. The cream will always rise to he top. The user wants something that works, be it a Microsoft's offering, Apple's or some geeks in their bedroom. All that bollocks about Photoshop. I've been using it since 1992 (Version 2.5 for those interested) and it hasn't been bettered since version 5.5(1999), all that has been added is needless bloat for un-artistic idiots that cannot understand layers, channels and the clone tool. Most users barely need Photoshop Elements. The GIMP certainly out muscles that (in fact if you know what you are doing, the GIMP is as good as Photoshop). As for AutoCAD, it's just fucking etch-a-sketch. Been using that since 1994 (R13). Again, bloated, although this is where linux is missing out. My point is this. Its the operator, not the tool. If you are any good at what you do, you should be able to use the software available to you. Name dropping big apps is utterly pointless. It's like when you were a kid and all your mates had Nike trainers and you had Reeboks. If you understand the fundamentals, then picking up the GIMP, or switching to Microstation of VectorWorks is easy. I know. I've done it countless times. If the user is that unadaptable, maybe their position should be considered.

    Here's one for you "Windows works out of the box" crowd. Dell Vostro 1700, design for Vista. I dual boot it with Fedora. It took the best part of a Saturday to re-install Vista (hard drive borked with a Vista fail - Vista really is utter toilet) to a useable state, i.e. service pack, apps and drivers installed and running. Fedora took approximately 45 minutes. Including updates. During installation Vista restarted itself 4 times. Fedora didn't once. Vista needed to be restated after pretty much EVERY driver installation. Fedora got everything except the NVidia drivers (something about licensing) during install. Can't see Windows 7 being any better.

  224. Anonymous Coward


    What routers do you use at home/work? see what "OS" they use. Outside the box mate, think outside the box...

  225. Dom
    Paris Hilton


    Thank you Mark - you made my point very well - that Linux is not ready.

    In the PC industry that we have, the customer is King - period. What he wants he gets. And until Linux is made into an easy out-of-the-box solution like Win or OSX AND has major software houses writing for it, Linux will fail.

    [For example] I could not sell a Linux box to a professional photographer if he could not use Photoshop that he has [bought and paid for and] used for years. Win and OSX are the only viable options. And he would only laugh in my face at the mention of GIMP (yes, I know what it stands for, but it still conjures images of Pulp Fiction and dodgy sex games - and probably would do the same for a potential customer).

    Image is everything when selling - and I'm sorry to say the image you portray isn't very pretty - and that is a significant part of Linux's problem. Marketing will play a very important part of any attempt to bring Linux to the desktop. But your strategy of telling people such comments like "Just don't fuck about with excuses that it's not your fault, it's someone else's" and (my personal favorite) "Don't lie about the reasons though" just proves that Linux may be in more trouble than anybody could imagine!

    You seem to have this impression that I am a "Wintard". Well yes, I use Windows - desktop and server - and I'm not ashamed to admit it. But I also use Mac OSX desktop and server. And I use Linux including Red Hat, Fedora, Mandriva and Ubuntu distros to name but a few. So that really means your comment "Linux for you is dead not because of a lack in Linux or the antics of those proposing it, but in yourself. You don't WANT to use it" is just plain wrong. I want Linux to do well and I would love to see it on desktops of companies. But to get there though, it needs to get it's act together on program support, marketing and standardization (too many choices). But many die-hard Linux fans have attitudes similar to yours - and that will only hasten Linux's [desktop] downfall.

    Paris? Because she knows what the phrase "Good Marketing" means.

  226. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @David Hicks

    The GPL doesn't mean free as in no cost. "When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not price." from depending on the GPL version, if I want I can take the software that you have written and donated to the world, add to it and charge for it if I wish, so long as I credit you and include (or provide unrestricted access to) your original source code and my updates to that code.

  227. Martin Usher

    I know how to get new users to use Linux....

    ....just don't tell them what it is. They just use it. Most home users spend their time in the Web browser or maybe playing media so they trundle off with Firefox without giving things a second thought. Work users typically use a very small subset of the available software and then only relatively few functions of that software. Its surprisingly easy to switch over and once you've started using L. it gets more and more difficult to switch back because your system running Windows will feel sluggish, it will hide stuff from you and it has a lot of quirks dealing with peripherals such as printers and cameras.

    Anyone who's developing applications these days should be using a cross platform tool, writing for a general platform like Java or Python rather than trying to work with the native OS. This not only isolates all the BS compatibility issues to one layer -- a layer that hopefully "isn't your problem" but the resulting code will run just fine on any computer. Its an offer you can't refuse.

  228. Anonymous Coward

    Car interface!

    OK, I didn´t bother to read ALL the comments, ALL the way down, so I won´t reply any of those, just the article.

    My point of view is this: Compare the OSes to cars. Now let's compare the souped-up posh roller (pick your brand here ) to a Volkswagen Beetle. There are some loose-ends here, but most car pick the same interface, because it WORKS.

    Steering Wheel? If you steer left, it goes left, steer right, it goes right. Now on Linux / Windows, steering left will give you different results on both, that's a no-no. Cars Check!

    Horns? Most will do it embedded on the steering wheel (the switch that plays the horn, that is), while the few cars I know won´t have the horn in the steering wheel are such a failure. cars check!

    Rear view mirrors - they are on the doors columns, on most vehicles. Some japanese cars put it on the hood, but it can be found pretty easily. Don't forget the one on the top. Even semi-trucks also do it. Check!

    Seats - check - almost no car lets you drive standing up or lying down in a bed-fashion. I don't know one. CHECK!

    Transmission - no matter if it is automatic or stickshift, there is some sort of rod in the center of the front seats to control the transmission. Of course, manual cars require a clutch. CHECK! In 15 seconds or less you could figure out how to use both. Ah, the clutch... only people that can drive manual cars know what that is, while people that only drove automatic cars won´t know... FAIL. Well some American cars have the transmission on the steering too, but the majority have the stick, so people with that kind of car are used to it, and would be able to use such car with no problems.

    Windshield wiper - the command for it lies in the right hand of the driving column, a small rod. Most cars do. CHECK!.

    High beams, left - right indicators - all lie in the left hand of the steering wheel, with few exceptions. Very few have feet-operated knobs for high beams. CHECK. Do I have to mention brake lights?...

    ...No, but the brakes are always the second pedal to the right. CHECK.

    ...and the gas is the first. CHECK.

    In short, my point of view, most cars have almost exactly the same interface for everything, from plain driving, to night driving, to rain driving, or signaling. Even the parking brakes are actuated on the same place on most cars. You don´t get that uniformity in all of the OSes, and you don´t hear people complaining about a steering wheel located in the backseat or in the glove box either.

    My point is, put a Windows-only user in front of a Linux box, and ask him to change the video resolution of the desktop. If he can´t find a control-panel for it, or right-click the desktop, FAIL.

    If the user can´t buy (acquire) a software, shove it down the DVD player, find the said device on the system and hit SETUP, then Linux won´t survive. (or even better, if a Mac setups everything for you, no questions asked, perhaps?)

    It is all about what people are used to.

    If people never met Windows in their lives, and faced Linux, from day one, what would be the outcome? Would it be reciprocal?

    This article is spot-on, struck a few hundred nerves out there! Except the writer should have tried some recent Linux distros, right? Ow, he did? Alright then.

    Going back to the cars analogy, anybody with a driver's license from any country can drive a car built anywhere on the planet (with a few seconds fiddling around), and that's good. Nobody enforced any law to make all the cars similar to each other (quite a few aren´t), but they just do, because they can BE SOLD anywhere. The OS is on the same path.

    My comment can be attacked in so many ways, but the general line is right, isn´t it?

  229. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Linux: By Techies For Techies

    This article is spot on.

    The problem with Linux being adopted by the average end user is that it is developed by techies who don't give a damn about the average end user for techies who don't give a damn about the average end user.

    So long as the Linux dev community refuses to accept that the average end user doesn't get a thrill out of spending hours tinkering with the internals of the system and just wants to run familiar software in a standardized, familiar environment, Linux will NEVER see the Year of Linux on the Desktop.

    Only techies care what's under the hood. Everyone else just wants to be able to sync their iPod, play the latest FPS, send email, etc. - all without having to fuck with a command line, edit a config file, compile from source, or any of the other things that give techies wood while giving everyone else a migraine.

    Until the Linux community comes down from its ivory tower and decides to code for the masses, Windows has nothing to fear from the Penguin. Apple is the only real competition Microsoft has on the desktop because, unlike the Linux cult, they get it.

    So have some more cheese to go with your whine, fanbois. The users you look down your noses at could care less about the veracity of your arguments. They don't give a shit how superior your OS is because they know you don't give a shit about them.

  230. Mark

    Anonymous Coward Posted Friday 6th February 2009 04:08 GMT

    Talk about whine.

    Can't even dare to say who you are, and whether you're the same AC that spouted ~100 Pro-MS/Anti-Linux diatribes/whines on this one thread (as AC).

  231. Mark

    re: Car interface!

    And if you want to transport a nuclear sub with that car, what bit do you fiddle on the gear lever to do this? How about if you want to run it in an F1 race? How about destruction derby or RAC rally?

    A car is a single-porpose machine. That makes the UI a simple task.

    And have a look at how many people have a problem intuitively in someone else's car:

    a) open the door to get out

    b) set the seat forward/back

    with your "simple interface"!

    As to your idiotic post about "changing resolution" when was the last time you ran Linux? Here's how you do it in Linux:

    Right click on desktop (same as windows)

    Configure Desktop (similar, names changed to protect the indecent)

    Select Display (you have to select the Display tab in Windows)

    In the "Size and Orientation" section, select the size, refresh rate for the screen.

    Someone who can manage the task in Windows but not in Linux is a computer image-recognition scheme that automates clicking on things, not a human being.

    Where the fuck do you get your info from? MS Knowledge Base???

  232. Mark


    "No, because you can't expect a developer of an older piece of software to go back and rewrite their install mechanisms to cope with different operating systems."

    And these older programs work on Windows 98 and not on Vista/XP. So by your reasoning, Vista/XP are not ready for the market.

    Pretty strict, aren't you.

  233. Mark

    PS: re: Car interface!

    "Going back to the cars analogy, anybody with a driver's license from any country can drive a car built anywhere on the planet"


    Get an automatic driving license and you are illegally driving a manual unless you're a learner.


  234. Mark

    Anonymous Coward Posted Tuesday 3rd February 2009 16:35 GMT

    Really, what irony? Just because you say "that's the sound of irony" doesn't make it ironic.

    Just say "***I*** don't want to use Linux. I don't like it". That is fine. That is YOUR opinion. But don't make shit up about it not being YOUR decision.

    "What you have summed up in one line is everything that's wrong with Linux marketing/evangelism: the user is always wrong. Or the developer. Anyone or anything except the product not being fit for purpose."

    And talk about reading from a parallel dimension. It was all about it being the USERS DECISION. AND that that was OK. What is NOT right is making crap up about why when it really is just their personal decision.

    What the flying fuck were YOU reading???

  235. Mark
    IT Angle

    vincent hippy

    " inkscape ? you're joking right ? Try going to a publisher with drawings made in inkscape... Sorry bud its AI or EMF files they want... none of which inkscape can produce"

    Uh, wrong.

    Rather like saying "You MUST use CMYK or print shops won't take it". Plenty of printers now have RGB entry capability. They will accept it.

  236. Mark
    IT Angle


    "And until Linux is made into an easy out-of-the-box solution like Win or OSX AND has major software houses writing for it, Linux will fail."

    Nope, because, if you actually tried COMPREHENSION, there is no way for some users to make Linux right, no matter how out-of-the-box it is. NEVER. They, like you, Vincent Hippo and the various AC's talking out their arses will NEVER accept Linux. If it ever managed to be 100% compatible, you or others would kill it as merely a "me too" product. Because it is 100% compatible, that includes all the bugs that meant Linux was inherently safer. And at that point, what the fuck's the point of writing the OS?

    And you and your pals spreading lies and shite "reasons" why Linux won't work ensures that someone who may have tried (and, maybe, failed) to move to Linux will be scared off.

    Through Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. And even if they failed, that would have been an honest failure. Where you are trying to ensure the attempt is never made.

    Why? I dunno. You make lots of money off the status quo and so any change may reduce it (anyone doing better than average is likely to lose in ANY change, since a change will reset all players default standing).

  237. Anonymous Coward

    Linux needs to get professional

    Linux maybe faster, use the swap file better, have better threading etc., BUT it still needs:

    * a PROPER base desktop, with a really good Windows Skin, including Window decorations, dialogs, key mappings, and emulate the Windows Control Panel, or make it really easy to install such a skin.

    * PROPER default productivity and media software, which looks nice and not fugly (Open Office, Firefox, and VLC help)

    * installation, and uninstallation, of applications should be as easy as Windows, with the option of usable install GUIs, instead of primitive, arcane, command lines.

    * excellent default driver support

    * support APIs like Direct-X

    * have proper Java support

    * have a Windows emulator like Wine, but which works properly, doesn't give weird results and crashes, so that Windows Applications can run like native apps.

    * support all the hardware platforms, CPUs and peripherals, supported by Windows


    ... in ALL desktop dist.s, so that everyone can just work, including techies, without days of downloads and tweaking!

    Please get over this anti-proprietary software BS, you hippy idiots, not everything can be Open-Source.

    Also the OS/Application updater must be as smooth as Windows Update and Firefox, do background update downloads, _before_ asking for SU authentication, and NOT require a full OS install to move to a new dist. version e.g. Ubunto 7.n to Ubuntu 8.n etc.!

    Gnome and KDE etc. need to stop being incompatible arses and agree on standard config. files, for everything, and only take copies for their proprietary approaches, and like web browsers allow imports settings from other config. file formats!

    Ubuntu pissed me off even though it seems one of the better dists., it takes days longer to get Linux setup and configured, _with_ Applications, than Windows!

  238. Mark

    re: Linux needs to get professional

    So "Professional" software doesn't include "Works efficiently", then?

    Linux can stay non-professional then. I'd prefer a GOOD OS than one that has features that don't enhance the OS.

  239. Pierre

    @ "Linux needs to get professional " AC

    Sorry sir, you just demonstrated that you have no knowledge of the subject whatsoever. Best luck next time. (I'd have told you why you're misleaded if you had bothered to attach you registered pseudonyme to your post)

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like