28 Jun 2012

Why Can’t Linux Crack The Desktop?

Linux vs Mac vs Windows
Image by KobraSoft
Many computer geeks have always held Linux in high regard. They endlessly talk about its stability and security features. For many years people talked about how Linux may eventually take over in the future, but the OS is yet to take off as the leading operating systems. There has been a lot of debate as to why this OS has never really taken off. There are many things that programmers, computer experts, users and geeks in general have failed to agree on. However, there are a number of things that have affected its success.


There are many versions of Linux from Ubuntu, Fedora and many others. All these versions have a different system as well as configuration. This doesn’t seem to be a problem to many computer geeks, but it is clearly a problem with many users. Users prefer using a system that is predictable. They don’t want to spend a lot of time reconfiguring the computer just because there were changes with the OS they were using. Even though Linux is free, this problem may be an extra expense to the organization due to investments in expertise.


Linux has always been poor when it comes to usability. Even though the Graphic User Interface has improved over the years, it still has a long way to go for the ordinary user to feel totally at ease when using this system. Currently, one of its biggest is the software it offers as an alternative to popular windows and other commercial software. OpenOffice does not have as many features as MS Office. GIMP which is open source and free, is still not good enough to replace Photoshop, which is quite expensive in the market. You can still use these tools on a Linux machine but you need to install an emulator which doesn’t always work as you would expect.

Training and additional costs:

Because Linux is not easy to use, it is not the best Operating System to introduce a beginner with to computers. The Windows OS is more user friendly and easier to manage. If you are to migrate to Linux, then you need to train your employees because they probably have never used a Linux system before. Depending on the size of the organization the additional costs of training, may exceed the amount saved by using Linux. If an organization is trying to adopt the Linux OS to be used by its employees, then they need to try and weigh the options to see if it really is a cost cutting measure.

This post is written by John Lewis and he works at PriceCollate as a writer.

Author's position may differ from site owner's one.


  1. I think the reason for the lack for adoption of Linux as a dekstop is the lack of support from software vendors. If only Linux had more games. If only it had top-of-the-range music production tools.

    The main problem with this is the fact that distributions don't work towards one and only one package manager. The Linux Standard Base clearly states that RPM is the standard. A vendor that develops for Windows will give up as soon as they see all those different extensions for installers. And it shouldn't be that way. Until that changes, I don't think we will be seeing much Linux adoption on the desktop anytime soon.

    1. You're right. I'd add that business software vendors are to support Linux as well... I've written about this in one discussion.

    2. Much of this is Windows-centric thinking.

      For instance, in terms of Music software - I have used Sybelius and Cubase - but on Linux I use Rosegarden (http://www.rosegardenmusic.com/ ), Hydrogen (http://www.hydrogen-music.org/ ) and MuseScore (http://musescore.org/ ) or Ardour (http://ardour.org/ ) for a digital studio - have you ever tried out any of these with an open mind? You don't have to have proprietary software for it to be successful. Every school music department in the country could have a copy of these for free (legally).

      As for games - have a look at Happy Penguin (http://www.happypenguin.org/ ) and this YouTube Video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TC2s8Qfslko ) and this list (http://www.unixmen.com/10-must-play-linux-games-for-2012/ ). There are LOTS of games for Linux and many games run under CrossOver (http://www.codeweavers.com/products/cxgames/ ) as well (admittedly not free).

      The same goes for software like Adobe Photoshop (try GIMP instead), Adobe Premier (there are lots but I prefer OpenShot - http://www.openshotvideo.com/ ).

      The reason for this is that Linux systems generally run open source software. If you have the source code then it generally does not matter which package manager you use. There are four 'standards' used:

      1) DEB (used by Ubuntu, Mint and Debian) - in co-ordination with APT which is a awesome package manager.

      2) RPM (aka Red Hat Package Manager) - widely used on Red Hat derived systems such as Fedora, OpenSuSE and Mandriva)

      3) tar.gz PacKaGes (PKG) - e.g. Slackware + generic Linux distributions of software. Same a ZIPping up a directory - unpack to /opt and off you go.

      4) Source code - what is required by all the software repositories and by source based systems (like Gentoo).

      This is no worse than the situation for Windows. In the case of Windows you generally have:

      1) Updates of packages (from Microsoft) - analogous to Fedora/Ubuntu repositories - they just download and run.

      2) MSI (Microsoft Installer) files - these have to match up to the correct installer system and if not it doesn't work!

      3) SETUP.EXE files - you HOPE these are not Trojans and every one is different (and wants to put things in different places).

      Oh I forgot - in addition you have 32 bit EXE and 64 bit EXE files and YOU have to handle which ones you download. How is this any easier than Linux? - hint - it isn't - you are just used to the Windows-centric way of thinking.

  2. To begin with, to make your point, You've conflated ordinary users and business users. You've also added a strawman argument.

    quote:: Standards:
    There are many versions of Linux from Ubuntu, Fedora and many others................. due to investments in expertise ::quote

    There are indeed many flavours of Linux. With your argument here you appear to be telling us that because there are many flavours an ordinary user will regularly replace a fully functioning Linux system with one of the others, there by necessitating that they redo all their configuration setting.

    You appear also to be saying that businesses will also regularly do this, as well, making it necessary that the user redo all their configurations.

    Do you not see a slight flaw in your argument that because there are many flavours of Linux it becomes necessary that a Linux user redo all their configurations on a regular basis.

    Does it not occur to you that an ordinary user will stay with the same flavour of Linux through update after update.

    Also with regard to Businesses, why would they keep chopping and changing the flavour of Linux they are using? And.... last time I worked for a Business, other than my own, it was the IT guys who did the configuration changes regardless of the operating system.

    Which begs the question, why are tou using this strawman argument in the first place?

    quote:: Software:
    Linux has always been poor when it comes to usabilit......... which doesn’t always work as you would expect::quote

    Interesting I see ordinary Windows users using OpenOffice/LibreOffice, and GIMP, perhaps the User interface of these example programs is different/better on Windows.

    quote::Training and additional costs:
    Because Linux is not easy to use, it is not the best Operating System to introduce a beginner with to computers...........s to see if it really is a cost cutting measure.::quote

    Beginners to computers have just as hard a time working out Windows, as Linux, if they don't get any outside assistance. The difference is ordinary users always know someone who can teach thm how to use Windows.

    With the same amount of training ordinary first times users pick up Linux just as quickly as first time users pick up Windows, when they receive peer training.

    The only peopele I hasve ever come across, in the work place, who have trouble getting to grips with Linux are advanced Windows users.

    I was around when OPSMs Red Hat system was rolled out across Australia, replacing their Windows systems. The training was done at each branch as the systems were installed, and the time allotted was quite minimal, and most of the people said they had no problems learning how to use the new system.

    So no I would rate you comments as uninformed, repeated misinformation, and FUD.

    1. Ah, a Linux fangirl that has taken OS-worship to new heights! One of the LXer "regulars" that can't stand another opinion.

    2. Anonymous, even though I generally agree with you about LXer "regulars", I still ask you to be more polite. Thanks!

    3. Double D- You are of course, correct.

      It is upsetting, tho, to see one of the LXer regulars post something here, then become snarky on the other site.

      NOT very nice!

    4. It's actually quite amusing when that snarkyness is directed at someone who is, or was until this year, a Windows programmer.

      It's even more amusing that the only reply that particular annonymous managed to come up with in reply to, and as an attempt to refute my comments is to call me a Linux Fangirl.

    5. The Internet is one, tough thing to run away from--just look at tracyanne's comments on LXer anytime. They are there for anyone (everyone?) to make their own decision.

      Just tryin' to set the record straight. . .

    6. @annonymous, my comments are indeed available for everyone to read. In fact I stand by them, I quite proud of my comments in general.

      However if one wants to use my comments as some sort of means of discrediting factual statements made here, by myself, then they really do have no counter argument to those factual statements.

      Quite clearly, the author of this repeated misinformation piece, really has no idea what he is talking about, and is, as I've already stated, merely repeating misinformation, or FUD, that has been floating around the internet for years,

      At least 12 years that I'm aware of, and it was misinformation 12 years ago when I as a Windows programmer and Windows Administrator first attempted to use Linux (Mandrake, Red Hat Lycoris and SuSE to be exact.... I settled on Mandrake). As it turned out Linux was not difficult to learn, in fact it was no more difficult than Windows, In fact I have used the CLI (Command Line or CMD on Windows) l4ss on Linux than I've used it on Windows.

      Over those 12 years I've grown to love using Linux, in comparison Windows, even for an expert (I've used Windows for over 20 years) Windows is an annoying pig of a System, so I'm quite pleased to be called a Linux Fangirl. However.... and here is the important part... being a Linux Fangirl neither adds to, nor detracts from any of the factual statements I made in response to, and by way of refuting the mind numbingly wrong statements made by the author of the article.

      If in fact the author of the article had actually known what he was talking about, he would have chosen some of the real reasons why Linux (desktop Linux that is) has not become more popular. But as he doesn't actually know what he is talking about he chose to repeat FUD. Not just any FUD mind you, but easily refuted FUD, that even my decidedly non technical Linux using friend could and has refuted when fed the same FUD by here Windows using Daughter and Son in Law.

    7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    8. Good try at trying to change the conversation.

      Unfortunately (sadly?) an operating system has become a religion to some. This does not excuse leaving comments on an individual's blog, then bad mouthing said individual on another website. That is just plain bullying--which was recognized on LXer when another poster suggested that folks just cool it with DD.

      Most did, but, unfortunately, some did not.

    9. LOL, talk about change the subjec.

      Clearly you have no argument to refute my factual statements, so instead you introduce a spurious and invalid debate in an attempt to derail the thread.

      The fact is the author of this piece has no idea what he is talking about, and no amount of sidetracking by someone who won't even stand by their own words, by publishing their name/nick, will change that,

    10. Well, I think my point has been pretty well made by now, so this will be my last contribution to this thread.

      It is just ironic, but consistent, that TA calls for tolerance on one website while demonstrating none on another. Sad, so sad. :(

    11. @anonymous, I refute your assertion that I called for tolerance on any website. I merely kept to the subject, and unlike you made my name publicly available and associated with my posts.

      It's ironic that not once did you stick to the point, the original article, and not once did you have the intestinal fortitude to come out off hiding, and actually debate the real point.... namely the complete and utter lack of anything of substance in the article. You had no meaningful reply to my factual statements, and instead attempted to derail the thread with irrelevancies.

      You have demonstrated nothing of substance, and instead shown us your ignorance, lack of logical thought and cowardice. You have not in any way shown that my factual statements are invalid, and you have not validated anything stated in the article, which is and always was a load of regurgitated misinformation.

    12. Thanks DD, for reposting that link.

    13. Linux is for creative human,windows is for poor knowledge base and non creative user,mac only for graphic designers.

  3. The answer is clear:

    1. Over 100 Distros, some of them for 3 people.
    2. Graphical desktop environment: can't count them.
    3. The software is always old and there is no standard.
    4. No system restore
    5. No backup possibility for the system like for W7
    6. I don't have portable programs
    7. Pinguy - the installer was broke (64 bit)
    Mint Mate or Cinnamon - problems I had with Windows Millenium
    8. Communities help? - empty propaganda!
    9. There is a confusion between choices and khaos. I Know that the schools are bad! :)
    10. Developers are doing only what they think and the problem is that they think for one person.
    11. Too much egoism and anarchy


    In this conditions will never be an alternative.
    One person with brain can put a team to make a very good system because everything is here but the problem is that this person was not found. :)

    1. You make a few good points, but overall I would rate your reply as nothing by FUD, and have not used Linux to any great extent. I have used Linux for 10 years, and only stubbornness in my wife keeps me from being M$ free.

  4. Please allow me to utter my opinion.
    It will not be appreciated, but history will prove I am right.
    First I want to exclude about 5% of desktop users, which are professional people.That leaves 95%

    Linux on the desktop will never overtake windows on the desktop, simply because the present generation of users ( 95%), and probably the next one, don't care a flippin S*t.
    They have enough brains to push the buttons, and as long as something pops up, they are happy.
    A big part of them " have " windows, but very seldom use it.
    I mean, using email and doing facebook, is not the same as being a computer user, on the same way as drinking one wisky a week does not make you " a drinker ".
    Another part doesn't even know the meaning of computer or computing, as they use their machine purely as a toy, and are not even aware that is has some usefull functions.
    In my environment of 25 million " computer-havers " there are maybe 5% who do work. The rest is just effing around with it.
    And if you want to know how many people I meet a day, well, that would be 10 over the weekend, and anything between 200 and 600 a day on weekdays. At least till one year ago.
    Last week I asked 7 of my ex-students to do me a favor.
    1--ask in your class who knows what Linux is (average 3 in 30 students)
    2--Then ask how many use it ( average less than 1 in 30 )
    3--then ask some people if they would like to have it ( answer, each and every one....can we play games? )

    This is why...not technical reasons. They don't care, they are to stupid to even think about anything else but stupid pief-poef-paf games

    1. I've used one distro or another of Linux as my sole OS for personal use since 2000. It "just works" for me. I'm happy that most members of the braindead Sixpack family uses Windows. Don't Linux dumbed down to clone Windows.

    2. You are right.

      Technical Linux superiority does not matter.

      User interface or quality apps are not the problem because MacOS / MacOS X has been superior all the time than Windows, and Apple OSs never take a significant market share.

      Typical Windows user is a mouse user with very limited background in computers and this is fine. After all, not all car drivers are a professional drivers or even know what things are under the hood (like me).

  5. What a load of rubbish.


    Since all distributions tend to make the same desktop environments available, I have yet to come across a problem with the configuration files being shared.
    I don't actually understand what a 'different system', or 'configuration' means in your article. This is vague, and non-specific. As for a system that is predictable, give me anything but Windows.

    From a business point of view, Linux config lives in NFS mounted directories. Unlike windows, there is no massive expense in having to redo it for each new machine built. In my company, we have about 15 IT staff supporting Windows, and 2 supporting Linux. This is for almost the same number of desktops (~600 Windows, and about 550 Linux). The facts speak for themselves.
    The description that the author of this article has given, actually applies more to Windows than it does to Linux. Configuration of Windows 7 has been dramatically re-arranged from a user interaction perspective, and I have yet to see Windows machines upgraded in such a way that a working system is delivered immediately after an upgrade. Contrast this to Linux upgrades, which often 'just work', complete with all original OS configuration options.


    Software the runs on one flavour of Linux, tends to run on any flavour, providing you build with the oldest compatible GLIBC.
    Commercial vendors can do the same as they do on Windows, and use a commercial installer product like Bitrock. That's what my company does. Same tool as Windows - in fact, you can even build the Linux installer on Windows, or vice versa.
    Software development is _MUCH_ easier on Linux. I have to develop for Linux, Windows, Solaris, and AIX. I choose to use Linux for writing my code, because it is a superior development platform in almost all respects.

    Training and additional costs

    Linux programs have very similar interfaces to Windows/Mac programs. No additional training is required. Centrally installed software is rather nice, and avoids the usual Windows problems with the various local installations.

  6. I think you didn't really think about it before you posted this. I would argue all of your points.
    1. Regular users would install one distribution (probably Ubuntu) and wouldn't have to deal with compatibility issues.
    2. I won't agree Open/LibreOffice has less features then MS Office. Maybe it has less user friendly interface, but it is highly arguable. And please tell me how many regular users are ready to pay for photoshop. Photoshop can be an issue to proffesional not mainstream users.
    3. As for the last point. The thing is companies use the software that the employees know. So if Linux got broader adoption among home users the training costs would be lower. Of course even now many companies decide to go with Linux and they benefit this decision.

    Real reasons are much more complex than what you have written.

    1. I offer Linux Mint to individuals and small businesses. The training takes less than five minutes. It is simple and effective and to date no one has complained about the office suite or Gimp. Personally I have been operating my business on Linux since April 2009. I save a lot of time that I used waste doing Microsoft maintenance.

  7. There are so many articles about why Linux can't increase market share. Rarely, however, does anyone ask if the OS needs to.

    As a linux user, I couldn't care less.

    Here are the facts:
    1.) Linux is an awesome, customizable, open, powerful desktop.
    2.) Linux does require a bit of computer knowledge and a desire to learn.
    3.) Most people want computers to be a tool, there lives are too busy to have to learn one more thing. Windows and Mac dumb down their experience so they don't have to think.
    4.) For almost 20 years, programmers and companies have been developing Linux, either as a hobby or with a business model that makes money, without a huge user base.
    5.) I understand why some companies, programmers, and users would want the market share to increase. But Linux is GREAT THE WAY IT IS!

    So the concept that Linux is somehow a failure because billions of people do not use it (the underlying message in most of these articles, is seriously flawed

  8. I totally refute the argument that Linux is not easy to use. It is no more difficult to learn Linux than it is, for example, OS X, but people are learning OS X no problem. I have installed Linux on the computers of some of the most computer illiterate people imaginable and they have no problems whatsover. And therein lies the rub. *I* installed it.

    Linus recently talked about this in his now infamous talk where he told nvidia: "**** you". There is a lack of opportunity for people to buy machines with Linux preinstalled. The plain fact is, the vast majority of people have no clue whatsoever about how to install an operating system. If this was available and marketed, you can bet your backside it would soon have a market share that dwarfed Apple's.

  9. I would say the main reasons are

    1. Most home computers and laptops are released with Windows pre-installed and the majority of people have no reason to change and probably don't even know that you can change.

    2. Lack of awareness and knowledge in the market place.

    Basically the only people who will learn unix or linux at college/university are the people on computing courses. People on other courses such as accountancy courses will use whatever the college has but it is irrelevant to them what the operating system is.

    Only a proportion of the people taking the computer courses will be interested in the unix/linux stuff. the rest might go on to be business analysts, systems analysts, project managers, with minimal interest in the technology side of things.

    Moving into the workplace the people who make the big decisions will also have used windows at home and will talk to their IT managers who also have windows familarity etc. They all have a common centre of knowledge about the operating system and applications.

    This may change in the future with Apple taking a lot of the tablet market as less people will use windows at home.

    I cannot linux taking over as the next big thing but neither do I want it to. At the moment it is perfect in that it is raw and not ruined in the same way windows has been.

    I say to those who don't care keep your windows. I'm not that bothered. I couldn't care less if a billion people use linux or just a few thousand. I like it, I use it.

  10. Why Can’t Linux Crack The Desktop?
    Because windows came with the computer they have.

    "Linux has always been poor when it comes to usability"
    not sure what your definition of "usability" is. the standard Linux install includes a full package of useful apps, what does windows come with?

    "Because Linux is not easy to use, it is not the best Operating System to introduce a beginner with to computers."

    what decade are you living in? Linux has spent the last decade "dumming" things down, and trying to look and act like windows. if your thinking command line, most distro's make it hard to even find the terminal! Can an OS get any easier than Ubuntu with Unity? my 6 y/o has no problems.

    "The Windows OS is more user friendly and easier to manage"
    do you know anything about windows? have you ever done a fresh install of XP lately? (the most popular most used OS) on some machines it's almost impossible to find drivers and set it up, and when all the service packs are installed - you better add memory to this bloated OS. (won't even go into security issue's)
    vista will take a full day to install all the updates.
    win7 if installing on an older machine plan on replacing old vid cards and sound cards, there are no win7 drivers for most. oh and plan on upgrading your legacy apps, the ones you used on XP and Vista probably won't work here.
    Have you seen Win8 yet? hello Metro - lol and you just thought you didn't like Unity :P

    Manage? lmao 85% of my computer business is removing malware/viruses, some customers I can count on returning within 6 mos. manage linux? enter your pass and update?

    most people don't use their computer, they use there browser.

    one final reason We don't want Linux to crack the desktop market.
    ("we" being most computer related business)
    It is hard to find $ in linux
    it's stable, it's secure, a ton of free Apps,you can use your old equipment until it dies, the list goes on.

  11. The main reason people don't try Linux is that they believe the sorts of things written here, as well as several other 'truisms' that may have held a grain of truth a decade or so ago: Linux doesn't support as much hardware, Linux is hard to install, Linux is tougher to configure. When people repeat the tired FUD about the number of distros, they forget that the differences between distros are trivial compared with the differences between Windows versions.

    I install a good bit and tweak a good bit for my friends, and I dread working on a Windows box because Windows is so flaky. The reason I stayed with Windows as long as I did was that I believed the sort of crap I saw written in this article. I thought that trying Linux would be a pain, so I stayed with the devil that I knew...until I got tired of trying to constantly hone my geek skills to keep Windows limping along. Fresh installs take 4 hours or more, if they go smoothly, as compared with 30-45 minutes for most Linux distros. One example is when I had two identical sets of new hardware, and I started the install at the same time. The Windows install took all afternoon and part of the evening. It would have taken longer, if I hadn't punted on getting Windows to work with the onboard audio. I'm thankful for a shop close by that has cheap audio cards, as well as Linux, since I could play videogames over the hours when Windows was trying to figure out how to handle a basic install.

    Looking over this article again...are you sure you didn't just step out of a DeLorean with a flux capacitor after a drive from about 1998?

  12. Heads up! The desktop is dying - al smartphone and tablet so why bother. Linux’s time is coming. It was never destined to be on the desktop. Servers you say? Need I say more?


  13. VERY FAT

  14. The desktop won't die, though its use will probably diminish to the point where Windows (and commercial OS's in general) becomes a non viable business proposition .. now consider what will be left when that occurs .. generally that will be the *nix OS's.

    IMHO Microsoft already realise this .. no large multi billion dollar companies have arisen from the software industry for quite some time, software is now considered a means to an end .. such as Apple giving away OS X/iOS free, as a means to the end of selling hardware, or Google giving away code to sell advert space, Facebook giving away code/apps for market share, etc. .. which is why Microsoft are willing to alienate their own partners by moving into hardware markets, in direct competition with those partners.

    Those partners will not be able to compete with Microsoft hardware (such as the Surface tablet) as Microsoft don't have to pay themselves a licence fee to use Windows .. their only option to stay competitive will be to use a "free" OS.

    Linux, BSD, ChromiumOS, Android, etc.

    I'd say the future (as things stand now) is looking pretty rosey for Linux on the desktop

  15. I agree with tracyanne overall.
    It's my experience too that it's the 'advanced' Windows users who have the most trouble with desktop Linux. Beginner and intermediate Windows users get along with it just fine when there's someone to sum up the key aspects of the system (because it's different).
    The use itself at that level is much simpler and safer than in Windows, because the user doesn't have to be so involved in maintaining the system, it doesn't spam the user with notifications (less distracting), actions that require authorization makes sense, and it's easy to keep your stuff organized. That is when the user is the maintainer (one's personal computer), even the beginner user can do that.

    Someone commented that desktop Linux folks have spent years on copying Windows. Now if they were doing that then the whole argument of being hard to use wouldn't make sense. It's "hard" because it's different and actually very easy to use when you don't try to operate it with your assumptions.

  16. This doesn't chime with my experience. I use both GIMP and Open Office on the Windows machine I'm forced to use at work because I can be more efficient. I've introduced at least four complete newbies to Linux and all of them get along with it just fine; three of them use pre-Unity versions of Ubuntu and one young novice uses CrunchBang on a Dell Mini 9 -- kid took to it like a duck to water.

  17. my reason to go to Linux was easy Windows sucks. When i bought my first laptop it came with mellinium and everyday it will crash like clock work which send me over to red hat and slackware which at that time was not user friendly, but i learn it. Now i have so many of my friends using Linux its not funny i always say you want to know anything about computer and how they work LEARN LINUX..

  18. I'll add my 2 cents. Though it is improving, without pre-intalled GNU/Linux boxes from the major resellers, we won't see this improve much.

    The desktop is already there and other popular packages would soon follow after GNU/Linux was pre-intalled.

    Even with just another 10% increase on global pre-intalled computer sales, games, productivity, graphics drivers, all would be there.

    Just keep up the good fight. For myself, it's already there because i build my own boxes. I'm a gamer of sorts too, and have been playing many games via wine with ease and i buy up every native client game that interests me.

    As for the complaints there are too many Distro's, DE's, and window managers too choose from, i think it's a rubbish arguement. More choice is better.

  19. The premise is wrong and the reasons are irrelevant because of that.

    Linux has fully "cracked" the desktop. Numbers of users is irrelevant when there is no one making money selling desktop linux. The only relevant issue is do people successfully use and enjoy using Linux as a desktop OS. The answer is sure.

    When the average person purchases a computer it comes with Windows preinstalled and quite often with any other applications purchased with the machine also preinstalled. Is having a machine's software preinstalled and set up for you easier than installing it yourself? Sure. Is it the test of the usability of the OS or software? Of course not.

    When I install Linux on a machine for a person familiar with standard computing paradigms they have no trouble using it beyond the kind of things they might also ask about using Windows. Why? Because just like their experience with Windows, the machine I put in front of them has the software they need (all free of charge) preinstalled. They can do complex wordprocessing, spreadsheets, photo editing, PDF creation, web browsing, email reading and creation, music playing, DVD watching, yada yada yada. All using paradigms for use that are similar but often easier or more convenient than with Windows.

    OpenOffice is irrelevant now. LibreOffice has largely replaced it as a Linux office suite. The average user likely have no issue whatever using LibreOffice. Someone using lots of custom formats and macros is the exception. None of the users for whom I've set up machines have had an issue because they do not use 95% of the obscure elements of MSOffice.

    I know two people who use Photoshop. They are not Linux users. I could set them up to use their older versions of Photoshop under Linux but they haven't asked. (Both have long ago foregone the upgrade fee and are still using what they have.) GIMP isn't Photoshop but if you do not need 16-bit per color channel graphics or CMYK color spaces you may find GIMP is even more useful than PS for some of the really slick functions it has. I use RawTherapee for developing raw digital images from my cameras and Gimp to finalize the image post processing. I am not so sure on could do better with PS and I doubt it would be done faster.

    Most computer users would be just as happy using a tablet rather than a computer if they didn't need to type the occasional email or letter. My wife switched to Linux and never looked back when she got tired of Windows giving her BSODs. Why? Two antivirus programs never said. Re-installing Windows didn't fix it for long. With Linux she does professional healthcare-related consulting 8 hours a day. She writes reports, researches issues and experts on the web, does accounting for her invoices and has no issues with Linux. And she has no more BSODs. That saves her and me a lot of time.

  20. It has nothing to do with merit. Linux is superior to Windows and Mac OS in every possible way. It's all about the preloads. Microsoft's continued dominance of preloads by strongarming OEM to prevent preload of non-windows os is the only thing stopping Linux from world domination. Witness how Android is unstoppable; this is what you would see in desktop PC if Microsoft were not artificially manipulating the market. Barack Obama was born in Kenya.

  21. Linux can't crack the desktop for two reasons:

    - Desktop always comes with Windows
    - Good graphic cards drivers are not available for Linux (decreasing the gaming experience)

    Standards: all non-geek users use only one distro, and it is the standard for them. Also, what the non-geek sees is only the GUI: 99% of non-geeks use either GNOME or KDE, and both these are available in every major distro. The difference between Windows Vista and Windows 7 is huge compared to the difference between KDE on Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian or even FreeBSD. Here, Linux wins over Windows.

    Software: 99% of the office users never use features present in MS Office but not in OpenOffice. The same about GIMP and Photoshop, and practically every other couple of Windows / Linux software. Another invalid arguiment.

    Usability: are you going to convince me that KDE or GNOME are less convenient to work with than Windows? Or that OpenOffice is less convenient than MS Office? I'd say there is no difference.

    Costs: "Because Linux is not easy to use..." - yes, and because the pigs fly, we can pick shoes from the trees.

    People with Windows experience find Linux hard. People with no Windows experience almost always find it easier than Windows. Some people move from Windows to Linux, but almost noone moves in the opposite direction. The facts contradict your position.

  22. I think some of the main reasons are:

    Part I
    Support of manufacturers for hardware: Lack of good open source drivers (for example wireless, mouse pads and graphic cards). It often works out of the box or not at all. Windows and Mac come of course pre-installed with full hardware support.

    Support of manufacturers for software: Lack of commercial desktop applications, games, professional software for designers or engineers. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Windows-only_software)

    Windows compatibility: Good support for things like ntfs, .doc,.Net,directX. They all work more or less. But the write support for ntfs isn't good, .doc documents don't look good in OO.org/LO, mono always is behind (or not supported by the distro). Besides this the "Windows" key doesn't work...

    Migration to Linux: As the case of the city of München the migration to Linux is a pain without not a lot of gains (It took the city about ten years to migrate before reporting some success: http://www.linuxjournal.com/content/limux-munich-linux-migration-project-reports-success). A company wouldn't invest this much in its desktop environment. It is costly, people needs to learn new software, the Excel sheet aren't working anymore, software is incompatible or not available. The TOC of Linux takes to long to pay off?

    Linux stability and security: Linux is rock-solid on the server, but on the desktop I experienced just as many crashes as Windows. As for security; Linux is just not a target platform for hackers, but most distributions don't offer real anti-virus and firewall out of the box.

    OS Installation: You can use Linux on live media or in a VM. These are mostly slow, not working and I had trouble with persistent storage, multiboot, chainloading and filesystem limitations. Wubi doesn't work at all on my computer due to the nouveau driver...

    Software Installation: When software comes out a user can install it right away from the website in Windows. In Linux one has to wait until it's packaged and uploaded in the repository or built it yourself from source. As I am running Fedora of course there is only a ppa etc.

    Resources: There are of course a lot of community developers, but you cannot force them to code things they don't think interesting. Cannocical is one of the few that tests things on average users, give attention to design, but they have not enough resources to push this forward on the same pace as Apple and Microsoft do. There are a lot of big companies involved in Linux like IBM, Oracle, Red Hat, Google but non of them made desktop computing for end users a priority. Now you see new desktop environments (KDE 4, gNome3) take for ages to mature without such support.

  23. Part II

    Boot: Although you nowadays have upstart and systemD and read about fast boot times. Still a lot of flashes and different screens that doesn't fit together when booting a Linux system. It is still also slow on my i7 laptop (more than a minute).

    Command line: It sometimes still necessary to use a terminal. Most Linux users are used to it and know a lot of commands. A normal user never wants to open or see a terminal popping up.

    Standards where it doesn't matter. The kernel is is relatively unified, but things like package management and sound are not. Instead of LSB there could be better one base distribution like Debian. Now a lot of work is done over and over again.

    Too much choice: Before starting, people have to ask questions like, what kind of distribution do I install?, What kind of desktop environment do I like? When really testing this; they find out that some of things they like are in distribution X and some in Y, some in DE A and some in DE B, but not all in one. If they are technical enough they start there own distribution.

    Desktop Environment: A lot have happened the last years, but most desktop environments either look old-fashioned (KDE3,Gnome2,E17,LXDE,XFCE) or are not good usable for the desktop (Unity/Gnome3). Cinnamon is still in its early stages and KDE4 took for ages to mature and is still bloated, slow and inconsistent. Also GTK and QT bite each other. So KDE has Kicker which is not a very good menu, so I need the Mint menu. Wait this isn't available.

    Last of all normal users don't know what Linux is and don't care. Not about technology,freedom,security or privacy. They just want to perform a set of tasks as fast and easy and if they can do it don't learn something.

    If there would have been big end user advantages over Windows (things like speech, touch support or other innovations) it would have been more attractive for normal users. See for example the gains of browsers like Firefox or Chrome (they are easy and clearly better than IE).

    Besides this everything is about the internet/cloud with devices like smartphones and tables nowadays. Maybe soon all desktop users will be Linux users (and it will be as much users as there today). Then the famous year of the Linux desktop have arrived.

  24. Democracy is nice and sooner or later we'd have an article with stereotypes like the present one. Everyone's entitled to an opinion... mine follows FWIW...

    I'd agree the differences between distros are confusing to users, but they are in reality a bigger problem for developers. Also, using the word "standards" to discuss Windows is bit inappropriate IMHO.

    The software thing is way outdated. Not only Libreoffice advanced by lightyears, Gimp also has been used where Photoshop is less capable -- but that's not what matters. What's important is those two apps and others have passed the point of being enough. Today, there are already certain features on which GPL software surpasses proprietary software like M$ Office and PS. People still act like professional solutions should be better, but it's like your granny suddenly got into producing her special unbelievable pie in great quantities and it's obvious it's far superior to any industrial cake. Except granny can't really make that many pies -- but Free Software can, because copies are easy to make.

    And the thing about ease of use really is worrying. In fact, we're having some kind of revolt now in the Linux world because some folks really overdid it: current Linux users started to complain about recent desktops being so easy they even are dumbed down (e.g. Gnome 3 and Unity). At work, I'm forced to use Windows and regret it's not as easy as my Linux setup at home.

    Linux' desktop share is a matter of intense discussion. Most stats refer to systems which do some kind of browsing on the internet, but that simply does not happen with a lot of computers. I guess many computers go unnoticed. This could be easily checked by examining what desktop shares one gets from a house with 2 Windows computers versus 7 Linux PCs, like mine.

    10% could be a number closer to reality on average. But "reality" differs widely from place to place. English language countries seem to be more Windows orientated, but certain areas like Munich or Extremadura would present greater Linux usage. Picture a map: it's not like an uniform change of Linux share in a big region, but rather like spots of Linux use slowly appearing and increasing in size.

    The Linux desktop has problems, but many are not its shortcomings or Windows' virtues. We simply need more homogeneity just like Android has -- and that's why it is a kind of Linux so successful.

    Most users don't really think about the OS. Nor Windows is chosen neither Linux is rejected: they simply use what is installed. Windows and Linux desktop share are probably simply identical to the installed base of machines which were never and never will be formatted. That's why Windows numbers are so big -- because M$ controls the OEMs. The day they don't control them anymore is the day Linux will explode in usage (also because Apple does not license iOS for use in non-Apple h/w). There's no specific virtue to Windows (like ease of use, for instance) except for being cheaper than the competition. That's how it got where it is today, by being cheaper, and that's what will happen whenever it faces any competition. First, with "starter" versions -- essentially the same software with heavily discounted prices -- and I hear there will be trial versions in the near future, which is essentially giving one's product in hope that someone would decide to pay for a full non-nagging version. That pretty much amounts to an admission of defeat from M$. Libreoffice/Openoffice made the business of M$ Office division inviable, it would seem to me. That's the way Free software works, it dominates traditional segments, forcing companies to innovate... or die.

    Well, I have other ideas about the desktop, but they're not very mature right now. I'll ruminate a little more and then let's what works and what not...


  25. Linux has replaced Windows on my computers (desktops and a netbook) for several years now. For the work I do the availability of professional level CAD is the big thing, and that is now finally available. For everything else I do, no problems, easy transition.

  26. I thought the "Linux is too hard" meme died when Asus brought the Eeepc and advertised the Linux version for the student and the Windows version for the more advanced user.
    The only thing keeping Windows on the desktop is inertia, lockin, and the "everybody else uses it" factor. The smartphone is beginning to break that, so maybe, oneday ...

  27. Yet another ill-informed article rehashing sh*t they read somewhere else

  28. Well, I've moved one 'sick of viruses, crapware, slowly deteriorating speed over time' user to Ubuntu lately. Dual boot setup with a new (legal) XP. He's extatic about how much easier this is. His other family members (two sons in their early twenties and his wife) now exclusively use Ubuntu 12.04 because it works better and easier.

    Granted, I helped them make the transition. Some explination and some adjustments, but they range from computer novice (he) to average user (she) and kids (we all know what that means :) ).

    Collegues at work love the Fedora laptop I use over there. My wife switched to linux whe we met and loved it ever since (in the time of Ubuntu 6.something).

    The problem is not that the interface is worse than that of the Microsoft products. The problem is, XP and now Win7 are the standard product you buy. And as a result, everyone got used to that and seem to accept messy menu's, quirks and annoyances.

    Average users don't need the features LibreOffice or Gimp are missing. They've got Wii's, PS3's or Xboxes for games and spend most of their computer time online.

    For music production I still sometimes need windows tools, but my end production (multitrack recording, downmixing) I switch over to UbuntuStudio and Ardour2 :)

  29. Why GNU/Linux is not work for me.
    1 Windows is free All the computer i brought come with it.
    2 Less hardware be supported Linux. The touch pad of my laptop never work properly.
    3 Even the dev environment has some issues, currently I try to do something with OpenCL based on AMDAPP SDK, its Linux edition is ,,, just so bad, so buggy.
    4 Linux get worst. I dislike Gnome3 KDE4,,, and so on. There are many bugs with Linux, for example, even grep(fgrep)has some bugs, if you do not believe me try grep a file bigger than 300 MB with -c (counter mode), the result is completely mess.
    5 Performance ,,, GPU, CPU... you can check the kernel itself you will get the detail.
    6 Multi-language supporting issue, I am not a native English speaker. I can tell you that the Chinese and Japanese support of Fedora openSUSE Ubuntu are kind of awful.
    7 Lack of standard, 1000 kb for a MB or 1024 for a MB??? Even these small things are mess.

    Why I am still using GNU/Linux.
    Even it has problems, it is for the freedom!!!
    It still the only usable free libre OS of the world!!!
    Even the desktop of GNU/Linux is going to die, it die for the freedom!!!!

  30. I think Linux is great. You may be right about MS office and Photo shop, for work, but for the home use I think Open Office/Libre office and the photo software are fine. I have used open source for years on windows, and find the exact equivalents on Linux (thank you Source Forge). Open source software developers are targeting both systems. I am using Zorin. The one thing that scares the average user is the terminal. I thought I might not need it with Zorin, but I did. When you no longer need the terminal, more people will use Linux as their desktop.

    As for all the distros and desktop environments, I find that a plus. I have tried quite a few, and the lighter distros have kept my older computer running for 11 years.

    I am right now building what I want for an OS with
    PC Linux Mini Zen, you could not do that with windows. Also the only rescue OS I know of that is Windows based is Bart PE, all the rest are pretty much Linux, for rescuing windows, that should tell you something.

  31. Linux has already cracked the desktop. Its all ones opinion. Lol....look at ubuntu, they somehow believe they have 200 million users! If that's true then they now have 199 million users, i switched to Vector Linux.

    1. So your some sort of hive mind of 1 Million Ex-Ubuntu users?

  32. A modern distribution of Linux is just as functional or capable as a desktop operating system as Windows is. The problem is the pre-loading of Windows on desktop PCs. If I want to buy a PC then I want the hardware - not to be FORCED to buy a Microsoft license for Windows at the same time. It used to be possible to buy a bare bones PC which had no pre-loaded operating system. Microsoft managed to get a ruling in place which prevented this to "stop pirating of Windows". Pre-loading is no longer necessary as there are plenty of protection mechanisms on Windows now (in terms of hardware locking and activation) to prevent this. It is there now purely to enforce the Microsoft Monopoly (and it IS a monopoly) of Windows on desktop PCs.

    I have demonstrated Ubuntu Linux to lots of different people and almost have have been impressed and interested in it - especially when they have found out of the lack of viruses and the huge amounts of open source software available legally and for free from the software repositories. What is preventing further adoption is VISIBILITY. Most people have never seen a PC running Linux rather than Windows - so purchasing a PC running Linux rather than Windows does not occur to them.

    1) No major high street shops stock PC which are pre-loaded with anything other than Windows (or available with a CHOICE of operating systems). If you could walk into (say) PC World and see a reasonably specified PC (not just a very low end Netbook) running (say) Ubuntu 12.04 or Fedora 17 next to a similarly specified PC running Windows 8 and be able to COMPARE them then it might be a different matter. It turns out that shops like this do not have the COMPUTER SKILLS (in house) that they used to have. They rely on pre-loaded Windows because (in most cases) they would not be able to load ANY operating system - I know this because I have asked every time that I have purchased computer supplies from them.

    2) Schools buy PCs running Windows or in RARE cases Apple Macs - never PCs running Linux. Children are taught how to use Microsoft Powerpoint rather than generic skills about presentation packages. That means that Microsoft's MINDSHARE is hammered home by the propaganda system known as our education system - i.e. they do Microsoft's marketing for them.

    3) This monopoly is tolerated - even encouraged by governments whereas other monopolies (e.g. over the mobile phone market) would not be tolerated. If (in the UK) - you HAD to buy a phone which was pre-loaded with an O2 SIMM - even if you wanted to use another carrier there would (quite rightfully) be outrage. "But you CAN put a different SIMM card in AFTERWARDS if you want to!". This is analogous to HAVING to purchase a copy of Windows even if you do not want to. This is as bad as the pre-loading - in other words having a monopoly over an industry is allowed - just so long as the company is Microsoft (who are given special privileges).

    That is why Linux has not conquered the desktop - everybody is FORCED to buy Windows even if they don't want to!

  33. Having dual booted Ubuntu / Mint for a couple of years as a hedge against what MS is doing, and enjoying it for much routine use, I'd say the software problem is with Windows file compatibility, not features, especially for O/LOffice. The fact is enterprise and even consumer users need to exchange or collaborate on some relatively complex documents with Windows users and can't from Linux. The other major drawback for me is that local networking among devices and auxiliary drives via "Samba" is a complete intimidating mystery, as compared with routine setup under Windows via intuitive wizards. Until developers build simple, intuitive local networking into an OS instead of sending users to Samba, Linux will not be a popular desktop.

  34. Personally my reaction is basically that it's drivers for the average home user. I know that most people that are concerned with that are going to be buying retail boxes if they are available and anyone who is going to install a system themselves will already likely know the situation, but there is still a general concern that the system isn't going to work right out there it seems to me even though Linux people insist that there are no driver issues.

    The problem is that they are not actually telling the truth. I had a printer initially, a Compaq c31000 that I simply could not find a driver for for as long as I had it open source or proprietary, and my sound has no hardware acceleration with the open source driver. There is no proprietary driver for it and my webcam was slow under the sam circumstances. I am assuming the last one was a driver issue but don't actually know the reason for sure, so even though I have always basically been in good shape there have been feature/ /functionality/performance issues to some extent. No deal breakers for me, but my point is if a person is afraid their system isn't going to work they will be afraid to try Linux right from the start. It's a basic principal, and prevents you from ever even getting going.

    Lots of people don't play high end 3d games and not everyone uses Photo Shop, but I still feel as though they are afraid to try it. I could be wrong

    I'm not flaming. I love Linux. I use it every day at home. I just wish that the last of any kind of driver issues could be solved and I'll bet everything else would eventually just fall into place after that for a system that was complete in itself and had no functionality issues whatsoever that everyone knew worked that way.

    Did that make sense?

    I type like I have a dribble glass to my lips.

  35. Linux is making inroads on the desktop but slowly. I'm using it and I know several others who have come to it because we don't like Microsoft taking away useful features in the GUI and making us do things their way. The big problem is that new users have too many choices to make and don't know what a desktop environment or window manager even is. They just want something that looks familiar.

    Maybe every distro should have a "newbie theme" available.

  36. The RTFM attitude I have sensed from time to time when seeking assistance does not help the cause. Especially when I am unsure whether to use grep, apropos, or man to find out how to patch the kernel so that the TV tuner which which just worked with win7 will function under distroX. More participation by hardware manufacturers would help adoption on this front. The M$ environment presents itself as the least common denominator solution for most tasks. Sure the solutions presented may be sub optimal but for most workflows business and personal there is a package which requires less of an investment in nerdosity to become productive. For me the GNU/Linux experience satisfies my curiosity while providing a low cost system. Simply, I am too poor to go to PC Rx to fix my machine when it goes down do to my fiddling, or pay to explore audio software Y to create my one and only remix. Given the investment in time Linux systems allow me to be a novice in anything a computer has ever been used for. That said; until end to end solutions exist either for the majority of tasks for which most people buy a computer without requiring an understanding of esoteric sysctl options or the killer app evolves for professionals requiring the adoption of a Linux desktop i do not predict this will be the decade, month, or year of the Linux desktop in regard to widespread adoption.

  37. When free cd's were distributed with Ubuntu (7?) Linux broke into the consumer desktop world, with the usual limitations. Documentation was functionally non-existent. Even though rtf and html was available, there was no FM to R. There still isn't, though there's confusion and obsolescence aplenty. Most computer users carry usb flash chips of one kind or another, yet many distros still don't do LiveUSB or graceful multiboot. With a threat of corporate patent lawsuits, Linux kernel development (already sadly behind) was distracted for several years with separating out drivers, and has only recently begun to progress past the late 90's. Even ignoring hardware drivers, Linux software setup still often requires detouring into technical arcanities documented only in confused fora and incomplete/obsolete wikis instead of version-layered hyper-manuals(git?). Many modern distros are indeed polished and robust; but there's clearly room for improvement - instead of excuses - and donation support instead of whining.

    1. "When free cd's were distributed with Ubuntu (7?) Linux broke into the consumer desktop world, with the usual limitations"

      WOW, so your assertion is that Linux was not on Desktops prior to Ubuntu 7 (2007)? FAIL

      I was using Linux on my Desktop back in Mandrake (pre-Mandriva) days. In other words, before 2000! I knew several people that also used Redhat, Debian, and Slack on the Desktop at that time, they influenced me to try Linux.

      "Even though rtf and html was available, there was no FM to R."

      Man, strike 2! I got a complete manual when I bought a copy of Mandrake 7 in Walmart. All versions of Linux I knew of had a manual in html or in text that you could download. Then there were already books that you could by in 2000 as well. Beyond that... what is wrong with the man pages???

      "Most computer users carry usb flash chips of one kind or another, yet many distros still don't do LiveUSB or graceful multiboot."

      STRIKE 3!
      Does Windows or Mac have ANY version of their OS that boots and runs live from USB? DVD? CD?

      In fact, speaking of graceful multiboot can you explain what you mean? Because I started back in pre-2000 multibooting Windows and Mandrake and it was Linux that used LiLo as the boot loader that did the multibooting not Windows. Do you know why? Because Windows had no built in way to do it back then! Even now, with Grub/Grub2 it is still an easily accomplished task that makes mutliboot a breeze.

      "Even ignoring hardware drivers, Linux software setup still often requires detouring into technical arcanities documented only in confused fora and incomplete/obsolete wikis instead of version-layered hyper-manuals(git?)."

      Again, just WOW! You are batting for the fence... behind you.

      I can say that early days of Linux was riddled with spotty driver support and even "compile your own" software that often had issues. That was over 10 years ago though. In this last 10 years Linux has been a fast moving ecosystem that has seen loads of drivers and software improvements. In fact on many levels hardware is often supported better under Linux than in Windows. When you get/install new hardware (new video card or printer) and start Windows 7, you might or might not have a driver that was created for Windows 7. Even if you do, you have to install it via a CD that shipped with the hardware. That driver may even be outdated!

      With Linux, in most cased that hardware driver is already built in! No CD was ever shipped with that hardware for Linux, nor was it needed. The kernel developers have already done the work for you.

      I realize that Windows has this same luxury as well in many cases. I do not claim that driver support is bad in Windows. I merely state that it is no more correct to say this for Windows or Linux. Hardware support is great in both these days. There are some examples of poor support on either side.

      For the record, I would love to see more people use Linux, but do not think that Windows should go away either. Having only 1 OS is bad. No competition stifles innovation and improvement. The better Linux does, the more Windows will fight to be better and vice versa. Mac, BSD, etc... only add more flavor and more innovation. Choice is good people!

  38. I want to comment on the issue of training and additional costs.

    I have worked for a large multinational company for a long time. In that period, there has been two migrations to new versions of Windows and a major telephony system upgrade. The training for these has consisted of a few days helped by floorwalkers, some written material, numerous PDF presentations as well as of course company tech support. This would have happened regardless of whether the OS upgrade was with Windows or Linux. With these upgrades, money would have been spent on training for Tech Support Staff on Windows therefore the same would have happened for Linux. As Linux Desktop is almost similar in most aspects to Windows, I don't see how additional training would be required?

    As to the argument that Windows is easier for the ordinary employee because they have it at home, from my experience that is laughable. I have come across many instances of computer illiteracy where have I been met with awkward silences when for instance asking people to copy and paste or attach documents to an email. While everybody has Windows on their PC, it doesn't mean that they use it for more than just browsing the web. The PC desktop needs to be thought of as a multi-tool which people use it for different purposes. Just because some people use all or lot of the functions it offers, it doesn't mean that most people are the same. Most people only use a PC for one or two things and have no need or desire to use the rest.

  39. Also, I'm surprised that nobody has mention Android in the argument for Linux cracking the Desktop.

    From what I've read, it looks like Android 5.0 could have a version for the Desktop or functionality that would allow it to be. If this is correct and it can be done properly then there is a possibility that the 400 million Android device owners would see this as a better alternative than Windows and so would the large number of developers for that platform. As the Android and Linux kernel have merged, it should mean that porting Linux applications to Android. With that and the ecosystem of Android apps, it could be a serious challenge to Windows. The question is, while there will always be demand for specialist Linux distros and lightweight Graphical Toolkits like FLTK, but how will this affect the like of Ubuntu, Fedora, Mint as well as Gnome and KDE?

  40. Am also fed up with opinions being written as if they are hard facts. The choice of operating system you roll out in Enterprise really depends on what your users needs are. There are some fantastic enterprise desktop choices for Linux desktop now and I am sure market penetration will continue as the traditional application space changes. What really needs to change (and will eventually) is out of touch old school IT managers, and trainers who feel their strangle hold on users slipping and are growing afraid.

  41. The title of this post "Why can't Linux Crack the Deskto" is a bit of a misnomer and depends entirely on the writer's definition and reference of the word "crack".

    Linux has not garnered a tremendous "percentage" of computer desktop usage statistics here in the USA to be considered a success for the sales mentality that permeates most of technology use means testing now-a-days. That does not mean however that there is not a significant amount of Linux desktop use, or that this criteria is of any real importance anyhow.

    Furthermore, most of these comparative analyses do not apply to the rest of the world, where Linux desktop use - in various forms including the "one Laptop per Child" project is very successful and expanding rapidly.

    I would not have expected DarkDuck to resort to sensational article topics for increased readership.

  42. We won't crack the desktop until we get over going ape shit over petty things. Look in any of the forums, or even this thread. There are still so many drooling idiots raging over such trivial things that we'll never win because they make us all look like fools.

    You can thank people like Sam, Carla, Katherine, Scott, Richard, and others for promoting this terrible behavior and helping to perpetuate the problem.

    To people like them, it is better for business to keep the animals out of their cages because it means more clicks. At the cost of everyone else who wants to see FOSS be successful.

    We will never progress as long as we act as bad as or worse than Microsoft. Unfortunately today, we are the trolls spreading FUD. We are the problem, and we are just destroying ourselves.

    1. This Anonymous person is actually pretty typical. When people don't agree with them, and instead engage in robust debate.... using facts. This type of person instead prefers to make personal attacks from the anonymity of an anonymous posting.

      This is not why Linux won't "crack" the desktop, but it is an example of the sort of cowardice that is prevalent in Linux circles.

    2. This person represents my argument well. Pointing out that the person is anonymous to alter the argument rather than facing the challenge directly. Claiming personal attacks when there are none. That is what people in our community do, they manipulate the argument so it has a different face and then attack that because it is the only way they can win.

      You made my point very well, thank you.

    3. Good point, we should also ask ourself: what is really important... linux or FOSS?

      The FOSS concept has importance, not the outdated unix cruft from the 70s. If the FOSS community want a successful desktop, they should step off the dead horse unix. 20 years of beating are enough, this proves again, the unix concepts were never meant for the desktop use case. Reactos is technical better suited and also FOSS.

  43. http://www.reddit.com/r/linux/comments/vvdxn/the_ffmpeglibav_situation/c57zdk2

    This is pretty typical, but believe what you want.

  44. Ok, the most insightful comment on the current state of the linux desktop was from Ingo Molnar some months ago:

    "The basic failure of the free Linux desktop is that it's, perversely, not free enough.

    There's been a string of Linux desktop quality problems, specific incidents reported by +Linas Vepstas , +Jon Masters , +Linus Torvalds and others, and reading the related G+ discussions made me aware that many OSS developers don't realize what a deep hole we are in.

    The desktop Linux suckage we are seeing today - on basically all the major Linux distributions - are the final symptoms of mistakes made 10-20 years ago - the death cries of a platform.

    Desktop Linux distributions are trying to "own" 20 thousand application packages consisting of over a billion lines of code and have created parallel, mostly closed ecosystems around them. The typical update latency for an app is weeks for security fixes (sometimes months) and months (sometimes years) for major features. They are centrally planned, hierarchical organizations instead of distributed, democratic free societies."


    tl;dr: The fragmented and still centralized distribution model prevents a real platform and condemns therefore the linux desktop to irrelevance.

  45. As consequence of the centralized distro model dominant in Linux world (and NOT on the successul platforms Windows and Mac) you have such annoyances:
    "Upgrading packaged Ubuntu application unreasonably involves upgrading entire OS

    It is easier to upgrade to the newest stable versions of most applications -- even open source applications -- on a proprietary operating system than it is on Ubuntu."


    Also, the system-application integrated model of the linux distros is the reason for the missing applications in the linux ecosystem, it plainly scales not well enough: 10.000 apps vs 10 million on e.g. windows. This was identified by ubuntus MPT 2010, see this talk UDS N Monday plenary:
    "Getting great applications on Ubuntu" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GT5fUcMUfYg)

  46. The problem with Linux (or Linux-based OSes) for everyday use... Keeping in mind here I've used Linux and really want it to succeed, but let me get some things out of the way:
    1) We need to stop comparing Linux with Windows or OSX. They are all different systems, each with their own set of strengths and weaknesses. Windows is really cool in some respects (and I'm talking on a technical level) and does some stuff better than Linux. And Linux does some stuff better than Windows. Each system has its design wins and flaws.
    2) Stop pointing to the flaws in other people's products every time Linux get critcized. Some of that criticism is warranted.
    The biggest problems I see with Linux adoption is the furious pace at which the kernel and libraries get obsoleted. Now I'm not talking about updates and bugfixes here- I'm talking about entire chunks of the operating system (kernel included) getting thrown out for the sake of, well... I don't know why. What has Linux gained from constant upgrades except for the bigger version numbers?
    Backwards compatibility is not good at all...
    And how many desktop environments does one OS need? It's ridiculous if you ask me.
    Oh yeah, the Unix paradigm is old. The entire Unix framework on which Linux OSes are based was never meant for modern computing. Security yeah yeah but we need a shift in paradigms, period.
    Maybe I'll take useabilty overbuilt-in security and make my own choices about shoring up my operating system. Security is important, but there's a lot more to an OS than that one point.
    And Linux documentation, in general, just plain sucks; incomplete and outdated. This is something the Linux foundation needs to fix. The LF has already defined a set of standards so they can document a bare-bones Linux OS based on this which would apply to all major distros.