Saturday, October 30, 2010

Great Article about Linux and its problem(s)

Just found a great article written by a Linux Developer (not an absolute noobie like yours truly) discussing why he thinks Linux has (or will) "hit a wall" when it comes to being a valid Desktop OS. So without further ado, here's the link, and a few quotes (though it's honestly hard to pick quotes from, cause it's so good):

Why Linux will (has?) hit a wall in popularity with normal users...
Ben Collins

"So here's the problem as I see it. Too many choices. Debian used to be a free-for-all where all of the choices were exposed to the user. People who used Debian loved the choices, but the fact isn't that they loved the choices, they just loved that their choice was among them."
"If you didn't have a preference, for example with a Desktop environment, then choices are bad for a user. They didn't know how to pick one. So now, there is a default. That's great, but across many Linux distributions, even if the default is Gnome, the little nuances of each system will overwhelmingly differentiate the entire thing so that no Gnome desktop is truly the same as another distribution."
"The real issue at stake is some company needs to break out of the "We're a Linux distribution" mold. If a normal user somehow gets to the Dell Linux page, and they say "wow, what is this Linux thing?", they will surely go to and start checking. Bad? Hell yes. The huge amount of information, choices and decisions becomes quickly apparent to them."
The comments are interesting too, especially from the author. He made one comment that is worth quoting as well:
"Look, we can go back and forth on who should be "cool enough" to use Linux, but that's not what I'm writing about. It's easy to say "we can't make it dumb enough for you, so you go use the lame Windows/MacOS". However, it takes real talent to make something simple, and powerful."
And now my thoughts on it:
I agree with everything he's said: Linux is choice, but that can get out of hand. Period. You can have too much of a good thing. If you read the comments, alot of the people come from the standpoint of experienced Linux users, disagreeing because they want choice. Is choice in Linux good for experienced users? Yes. I'm not arguing that, and I don't think Ben is either. We're talking about the average user. The people who don't want to have to mess with stuff through terminal to get Xorg working, or have to decide which package management they want to use. Because they don't care. That's not a bad thing, some people just don't like computers and they don't want to deal with the hassle.
Good stuff. Read it. Don't want to? Too bad! I told you to! Now go!
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