Is Linux a desktop operating system?
dave at mudsite.com
Wed May 25 20:47:56 UTC 2005
hagen van rissenbeck wrote:
> Hi, everybody,
> I am running linux distris since winter 2001/2002.
> I am teaching business and economics, some of my audiences are it -
> specialists. Therefore I started to think about operating systems as a
> In the beginning I thought that the competition between linux and m$
> is mainly a question of usability or comfort or everything that seems
> to be managed for the typical user who only wants to write texts,
> surfs the net, corresponds to friends via email or downloads mp3s,
> videos or any other stuff.
> Today I am in the start up phase of my own business. And I've
> realised, that being the operating system on a users pc is first a
> question of so called "first mover advantages".
> General Customers buy what they get (customers especially in the
> industrial belts on the planet), and what they get is a m$ - os.
> Sometimes they don't buy it, because they use cracked versions ;-(
> The problem is: the growth of the market share is limited by the offer
> of preinstalled linuxsystems. Only a minority of users is curious
> enough to try an individual linux install at home. They fear crashing
> their systems.
> They use m$ NOT because it is the better desktop os, they use it,
> because it is preinstalled.
> And you know, that a lot of your windows friends are not happy with
> the problems they have with the m$-os ;-) ;-)
> On the other side, when Linux is installed, everything works the same
> way than m$.
> Mouseclicks are nearly the same, additionally (an advantage of linux)
> everything what the typicall user needs is preinstalled.
> And if a user has got a problem with his/her pc , he/she needs support
> by a friend. One other lack of linux compared to m$.
> ...and then, the drivers for new hardware (o.K, I stop here)
> Just wait until longhorn is coming, or the next wave of viruses....
> I think that pc-users change to linux when they have realised, how
> they benefit from tux-technology...and there should be linux-pcs on
> the market place.
> Linux, especially ubuntu is of course ready for the desktop, but the
> pc-sellers and hardware-producers are mainly not ready for linux (they
> don't want to?).
I am going to have to disagree with a few of your points. I agree
people who use Windows are using it because they are not looking to
install and potentially 'crash their systems', or they don't want to
try. And for good reason. There have been times where everyone who is
reading this would have had a hosed system if it was not for their
understanding of the command line, and ability to edit config files.
The standard user does not know about changing their resolution in
However, I am going to disagree that that is the main or only reason.
People have seen the IBM Linux ads on TV (at least in the US) and they
hear about it every now-and-again in the media, like New York Times. I
am going to say people are using Windows because they have used it for
as long as they have owned a computer. You are right, that the lack of
choice prevents this. But people stay with what they are comfortable
with. The learning curve is not an easy one, granted that it is leaps
and bounds easier than 1 or 5 years ago.
I believe, correct me if I am wrong, there are hardware companies that
are trying to get support into Linux more and more. Places like nVidia
release drivers for Linux, however can not release the source because of
some NDA they have. Taking this further, my opinion is that the nvidia
X driver is much better than the open source nv driver. How would a
normal user know or care about the difference. All the user knows is
that some 'magic' happens to make a computer work.
I also think the problem lies in the software. Linux stacks sort by far
on this one. Everyone and their mother who write business software are
writing it in Windows only. Programs like wine can't keep up with the
advances with that software. Even programs that are coded for Linux to
compete with Windows ones fall short. I have to say MS Office is still
better and more feature complete than OpenOffice is. Now I have not
used OpenOffice 2.0 yet so maybe it has made a comeback.
The one thing you have to remember is that as much as we don't like
Windows, it still is a tool that has a purpose. All Linux
distrobutions, even Ubuntu, is not ready to be pushed to the standard
user. I think we are getting closer, and more automatic. Windows is a,
don't kill me, great OS for that user, as much as I don't like to think
that. Ubuntu has and is doing a fantastic job on making a desktop OS.
Computer Science House
azrail at csh.rit.edu
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