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It's time to retire "ready for the desktop"

By Jeremy LaCroix on May 17, 2008 (2:00:00 PM)

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Quite a few reviews of new Linux releases these days try to determine if a distribution is "ready for the desktop." I myself have probably been guilty of using that phrase, but I think it's time we officially retire this criterion.

What defines an operating system as being ready for the desktop? Surely everyone has a different opinion on the actual definition. While my search for an official definition or list of guidelines has failed, to me this phrase means that the OS is usable by everyone, meets everyone's needs, and is able to do everything that everyone wants it to do. In that regard, is any operating system truly ready for the desktop?

I'm an IT technician, and clients bring PCs to me for almost any reason, including defective hardware and software not working correctly, among other things. This is regardless of the OS, though Windows XP is among the most common that my clients bring to me for help. This does not mean that Windows XP is a bad OS, it just raises the question that if XP is "ready for the desktop" to the point where it serves as the main comparison point of many Linux reviewers, why am I getting so many machines that run it to fix, and why do I get asked constantly to train people on how to use it or its applications? The fact is, there are just as many people out there who have difficulty using Windows as there are who have trouble using Linux.

I understand that comparing Linux to Windows is a hard situation to avoid, especially considering that Windows is the dominant OS in the market. But I think we should compare them less often, because Linux needs to stand on its own legs rather than in the shadow of its more popular competitor. Each OS has its merits, yet each is separate, caters to different types of users, and has independent strengths and weaknesses that complement each other. Windows has a large collection of commercially supported applications, Mac OS X focuses on usability and supported hardware, and Linux focuses on freedom, stability, and scalability. Since each OS caters to a different audience, there will never be "one OS to rule them all."

Another overdone review trend in the IT press these days is getting a person who is not very computer-savvy to sit down in front of a Linux distribution and seeing how well he (or more likely, she) is able to use it, as a way of determining how ready the OS is for the desktop. If one person is not able to be productive in Linux, does that really mean anything to the rest of us? Each of us has grown accustomed to a certain way of doing things, and each of us has our own preferences. I use Linux because it does everything that I want it to do. I like the way Linux does things, but not everyone is going to agree. If a user has difficulty with Linux and a reviewer grades a distro badly because of this, the review doesn't help Linux users to know whether the distribution would make a good switch from our current one, has great features, or contains any severe bugs.

While I don't feel that naming an OS as being ready for the desktop is a fair argument, I do believe that Linux needs to continue to make strides in usability in order to have a wider audience, such as a focus on getting Windows games to work, and less need for the command line. But assuming that Linux needs to cater to the entire PC world is silly. As it is now, Linux is a very viable option on the desktop. While it's not for everyone, Windows and Mac OS X are not a good choice for some people either.

The truth is that no OS is ready for the desktop, and never will be. An OS that was ready for the desktop would put people like me out of business, because it would be theoretically perfect. Since each person uses his computer in different ways, it's impossible for one OS to cater to everyone. Therefore, you shouldn't ask if an OS is ready for the desktop; rather, is the OS ready for your desktop?

Jeremy LaCroix is an IT technician who writes in his free time.

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on It's time to retire "ready for the desktop"

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100% agreed

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 90.199.172.173] on May 17, 2008 02:29 PM
OS to be truly usable for everyone from 4 to 100 years old would need some kind of DWIM (do what i mean) interface backed by human-like AI :)

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Re: 100% agreed

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 91.104.245.167] on May 17, 2008 05:47 PM
Also 100% agree. I the only reason I can see for the "everyone must be able to use it" argument is as a cover for someone who can't use OS "A" but is reasonably proficient with OS "B", and doesn't want to look like there is something they can't manage. And if I ever meet Joe bloody Sixpack, I will take great delight in breaking his mouse arm.

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Re(1): 100% disagree

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 76.18.207.49] on May 19, 2008 02:07 PM
Recently installed PC LinuxOS on my Compaq C751NR. Good luck installing the Linux driver for the Intel 965 Chipset!! I really WANT to use Linux, so many advantages, but it is just too difficult to work with i.e. installing software not in the package manager, not intuitive and the ever popular you don't have permission. sudo this...

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Re(2): 100% disagree

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 216.161.142.143] on May 19, 2008 06:35 PM
The thing about PCLinuxOS, is that while it was really nice a year ago, from what I've seen it has since been trumped by Mandriva with their latest release. In order to enable the driver for the Intel 965 chipset, you need to use a more recent kernel than the default used in PCLinuxOS (2.6.18), and in order to do that, you need to enable testing repositories (I'm using the same chipset, and that's what I had to do--grabbed a 'testing' 2.6.24 kernel and intel drivers work fine).

Even in their testing repositories, it seems everything is a bit behind.

On the other hand, if you don't mind things being a little behind, after getting everything set up properly, PCLOS works very nicely.

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Re(2): 100% disagree

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 69.108.2.242] on May 22, 2008 05:05 PM
Intel graphics chipsets are widely supported by many popular distros. I know I'll get flamed for saying it, but you should try Ubuntu. If your system is up to running it, try simplyMEPIS. Both will support your GPU out of the box and both have superior wifi support. I've never been impressed by PCLinuxOS.

After you install Ubuntu, you've got Synaptic for package management. After you un-neuter the repositories, you've got access to a lot more software then you'll find for most other distros. Still, god forbid someone should actually have to type 'sudo apt-get install xxx' to aquire and install software for free. Oh, the injustice of it all! This is why us fat Americans prefer to drive our SUVs down to OfficeMAX and shell out $100 for a CD containing software that does the exact same thing.

As for 'sudo this', that little layer of security added by the annoyance of having to type your password is a big part of why Linux boxes are so difficult to pwn in comparison to Windows and Mac systems. It is a visible by-product of a superior method of having your GUI talk to your backend. YOU WILL SUDO AND YOU WILL LIKE IT, PUNK!

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It's time to retire

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 68.47.230.235] on May 17, 2008 05:35 PM
"The truth is that no OS is ready for the desktop"

Eh, right. Look closely, by your saying it's time to retire the statement "It's time to retire the statement 'It's ready for the desktop', you yourself have just done what you are arguing against.

And as far as the statement that no OS is ready for the desktop, that is an absurd statement. People, it isn't about the OS! It's about the apps, and more importantly, your data. I'm not using Linux based operating systems for Linux's sake, I'm using it for my apps sake. Sure, I like what Linux based operating systems gives me as far as control and as far as a platform. But the bottom line is, if it an OS let's you do what you need and even a bit of what you want, then it's ready for your desktop. If all I do is view web content and IM friends, then there are numbers of programs that can do that on Linux based operating systems as well as other operating systems. Therefore, that means that it's ready for your desktop. I myself find it ironic that I'm even responding to this kind of story. Sheesh.

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Re: It's time to retire

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 83.89.0.118] on May 17, 2008 06:55 PM
Eh, what. He didn't make that statement. He made an argument against it. Making an statement is not that same as writing the words down, in a completely different context. It obvious to even a retard - be serious, dude.

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Re: It's time to retire

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.2.100.95] on May 21, 2008 01:03 AM
I disagree. The point here isn't that we need to retire a statement, I think it's more that we need to retire the sentiment. Take my usage for example. I run Sabayon for my primary use desktop and server because I feel very comfortable in it's environment for media and server needs, though I have tried many, many other distrobutions. I have a WXP Pro rig that I use for gaming because it does the best for gaming, but I prefer not to use it for a primary desktop because it's not as comfortable, the application stability isn't there (for the other apps I use) and it causes problems with hardware detection (software fault that has been identified). I also own a macbook, which I'm typing this out on right now. For doing any office work it's my preferred OS: it works, the software I need is readily available and still free or inexpensive and the hardware integration really is quite flawless.

In short: I use the right tool *for me* for whatever task I'm doing. And I believe that's what the spirit of this article was about: users using what they are comfortable with and what works for them, getting rid of the idea that in has to work for everyone else in order for it to work for [me].

Gryyphyn, out.
http://dffaq.blogspot.com/

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It's time to retire "ready for the desktop"

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 65.173.88.239] on May 17, 2008 06:41 PM
Is Linux ready for my desktop?
Yes. It is! It is now about 2 weeks after I decide to put Linux as primary OS on my primary PC. Here is the view from highly comfortable Windows administrator who is claiming the Linux learning carve.
1. Can I do everything that I need in Linux. Yes, So far I have not encounter a task that I could not complete. Usually quick search on Google and the community forum of my selected distribution resolves any issue so far.
2. Is there any bugs in Linux? Sure I found some. Most of the time turns out that the bugs are well known by the power users and there are fixes or workarounds.
3. Is Linux/Gnome desk top easy to use? I was quite surprised to find GNOME more useful and easy for me.
4. What about the 'difficult' command shell? Back in the days of Windows 98 Microsoft was making statements that it will be the last use of 'Command Prompt'. Since then they not only did 180 degree turn on the subject, but also create a new shell for windows called "Power Shell" So If MS can see the benefits of the shell, why the use of shell is minus for Linux. Personally the powerful shell is big plus for Linux.
5. What is the main problem that I find in Linux? I found as I expected that each task can be done in many ways and it is taking a lot of time to test each solution in order to peak the best one for me. As they say with freedom comes the responsibility.

So Linux is my Desktop. Windows holds the lead because the power of MS pushing it and that most of users that have learn the Windows are not going to take the challenge to learn to use computer again.

Now have any body notice that US and EU courts failed to make MS to remove the junk-ware from Windows XP, but the OLPC project did. Why? Because MS knows very well that If the user learns to use Windows first, the same user most likely will be their slave for ever.

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It's time to retire "ready for the desktop"

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.119.237.189] on May 17, 2008 07:41 PM
I was just thinking about this the other day, I use Linux everyday so of course it's ready for the desk top. The question has been answered.

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Setting the user in front of a Linux box...

Posted by: justwally on May 17, 2008 08:51 PM
The only way to really do that fairly is for someone else to configure the theme and desktop environment in a similar layout, first (so, yes, I agree with you entirely, but with qualifications).

So, for ten minutes of theme-tweaking (to roughly match whatever they are accustomed to in the layout of their current OS) you would get a comparison that is more realistic. The rub is, however, that different operating systems are _different_ because...well, because they are not the same operating systems. :-) I wish folks could get that through their heads in the fandom and media world.

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Re: NEVER WILL BE "ready for the desktop"

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 136.165.112.58] on May 17, 2008 09:40 PM
MASSIVE FAIL. Vista crashed on my desktop the day I got it. Running Linux didn't crash it. Coincidence?

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Re(1): NEVER WILL BE "ready for the desktop"

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 80.56.22.75] on May 21, 2008 06:06 PM
That summarizes my first experience with Windows 95 ten years ago, when I managed to make it crash within one hour. Good to hear that nothing has changed in the meantime at all.

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It's time to retire

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 65.102.225.128] on May 17, 2008 11:50 PM
Sure Linux ready, but there's the ding-a-lings in marketing, buffoon managers and the IT person with $3000 of MS books.

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For any OS, it's about communtity support.

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 68.225.99.100] on May 18, 2008 03:16 AM
What you have noticed is that computers as they are require an extensive support network. The phrase, "ready for the desktop" was invented by people who don't like free software. The same people said that free software would not be able to make a kernel, a userland, a GUI, well written documentation and so on and so forth. "Ready for the desktop" is their last gasp because free software has delivered everything most people need but mainstream vendor support but that too is on the way. With everyone from Asus to mom and pop computer stores clued in, GNU/Linux will be easier to use than that other stuff that's shipped for the last 25 years.

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It's time to retire "ready for the desktop"

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 209.30.32.110] on May 18, 2008 03:19 AM
Linux is more than ready for Desktop computers, but for laptops its another story, Its getting better, Ubuntu 8.04 suspended and restored to RAM without human intervention when I installed it on a Latitude D820 recently, but suspend to Disk was still problematic. Automatic discovery of wireless networks is much improved over the prior release. Support for syncing to palm, Windows Mobile, iPhone, Black Berry etc, weak to non existent. Try plugging in an external monitor to your laptop and problems are guaranteed and support for docking stations sucks (no sound or viedo). 802.11n is a crapshoot. Improvements noted, but still a long way to go.

Conclusions: Linux on a server, desktop or thin client; by all means. Linux on a laptop blows.

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Re: It's time to retire "ready for the desktop"

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 77.163.218.131] on May 19, 2008 06:16 AM
Linux not ready for the laptop? Oh please... I have a Dell Inspiron | 8500 and everything works. When I slam in my ASUS wireless card it gets instantly recognized (plug&play) and I am ready to go. 802.11n works like a charm if you have a wireless network card that is not designed for Windows (Ralink based cards for example). And if you don't like the fact that your current wireless card is not supported than why don't you sell it on eBay and buy a new one for $24,99? It's that little for freedom. Suspend, sleep, etc did work when I used Kubuntu 7.10 but with the new community supported Kubuntu 8.04 KDE4 Rmx it doesn't because the graphics driver doesn't work, but that's an unstable, unfinished peace of bleeding-edge community build distro with an unfinished bleeding-edge GUI.

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Re: It's time to retire "ready for the desktop"

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 96.28.195.79] on May 31, 2008 04:37 AM
My Blackberry syncs just fine in Mandriva 2008.1.

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It's time to retire "ready for the desktop"

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 71.181.226.153] on May 18, 2008 04:11 AM
Linux on laptops "blows" for the reason that most hardware for laptops is either proprietary or just plain hard to come by. Ubuntu currently is and continues to make strides in this department when they joined up with Dell. Ubuntu 8.04 detected everything on my Dell XPS M1530 laptop, including the webcam, wireless, and bluetooth directly from the Live CD without ANY intervention on my part (other than adding in my WEP key). Drivers for Linux is by no means "Linux's problem", it's the problem of the vendors that only make drivers and programs for Windows.

As far as problems are concerned, my only problem is trying to figure out which distro is best for me because I usually do end up playing flavor of the week more often than I'd like. Ubuntu, openSUSE, Mandriva, Fedora, Arch, Sabayon, and Slackware are all distro's I have used or currently do use for any extended period of time (read: 1 year continuously or better) but, with maybe the exception of Slackware (as it's based philosophically on stability), each and every new release of any of the above-mentioned distro's gets better with each new release (although some may argue that point in the case of Fedora and maybe even Mandriva). To those of those who need Windows, with VMware Server being free on both the Windows and Linux platform (or even VirtualBox, Qemu, Xen, etc.), I think it's best to run Windows as a guest OS running from a Linux box.

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Re: It's time to retire "ready for the desktop"

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 77.163.218.131] on May 19, 2008 06:35 AM
There is not much proprietary except for the Trusted Platform Module and the fingerprint scanner, and believe me you do _NOT_ want these to work!!! Intel and AMD (x86, x86-64) always works, RAM always works, HDD always works, keybord and touchpad always work, audio always works on the laptop, shortcut keys always work (unless they're broke like 2 of these on my laptop but that is another issue), all ports including USB work... the only thing that I can come up with is wireless (just buy a ASUS or Sitecom card for $24,99).

So how about graphics? Intel has GPL'd their drivers so this is not an issue. nVidia only has proprietary drivers which always works if your distro does not include a version of X11 and Compiz Fusion that is newer than the latest nVidia driver. ATI is opening up with documentation without NDA's and their new proprietary drivers are reaching nVidia quality. All graphic cards work on 2D level so you are guarantied to have a working desktop.

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Re: NEVER!

Posted by: justwally on May 18, 2008 06:42 AM
"Vista had more market share than all of Linux after just 3 days!"

I wouldn't know. I don't care. Linux has been my "desktop" since I moved from MINIX and X11R5 on my Atari 1040ST. It has been "ready for the desktop for me for a very long time.

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It's time to retire

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 76.114.143.252] on May 18, 2008 01:24 PM
The question of if an OS is ready for the Desktop is very subjective. Linux has been ready for my desktop for 5 years now. My wife sits at her computer, which is identical to mine in every way save the OS. To her Linux may well never be ready for her desktop...though I highly doubt that Vista ever will be either.

At any rate, well said!

Cheers!

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It's time to retire "ready for the desktop"

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 83.241.11.135] on May 18, 2008 01:44 PM
You just can't make foolproof OS

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Re: It's time to retire "ready for the desktop"

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 77.163.218.131] on May 19, 2008 06:25 AM
Why would anyone want to do that? You need a drivers license to drive a car, you need to read the manual of a professional camera to make pictures, everybody understands their latest mobile phone (every phone has a different interface, so why can't people just take their time to learn to use their OS?). They are not stupid, not incapable to learn, but dead-on lazy. These people need to stop whine and learn before they say that Linux is not ready for the desktop.

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Re(1): It's time to retire "ready for the desktop"

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 123.2.246.182] on May 20, 2008 01:02 AM
There is so much difference between driving a car or using a new mobile phone and moving to new OS. After people know how to drive a car, the learning curve for driving other car is not a big difference as well as for changing the new mobile phone that the interface is not so complicated and most users don't use anything other than the call feature.

The better comparison is by switching from palm smart phone to windows-mobile smart phone. You will see that it's quite a big challenge because they have to think of the applications to use instead and how to migrate(or convert) data to the new system. This doesn't include time taking for learning the windows mobile itself.

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Ya mean those "Ma had trouble on Slackware so Linux is not desktop-ready" type stories?

Posted by: silentstone on May 18, 2008 01:45 PM
I agree with you that the "is it desktop-ready?!?" question is overused. It can still mean something, maybe just not what it's come to mean--absolutely bugfree, with ready tech-support that successfully fixed all problems, and all the applications that /I/ like to use. There's no such thing, not even precious Windows XP: We see how much trouble people have with their XP machines!

However, I disagree with you on the usefulness of newbie Linux-introductions. These often show where some things work or don't work, and can be helpful to developers. They're simply different perspectives, case studies. But they aren't good for broad generalizations such as that stated in my title. The questions would arise: "Who's your Ma, especially compared to anybody else who uses computers? What is Slackware, especially compared to any other distro? Define 'desktop-ready'?"

No, sweeping generalizations help nobody.

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Point being?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 86.124.110.152] on May 18, 2008 02:09 PM
I think everyone are missing the point here. The "ready for desktop" means "well suited for the majority". Windows XP IS ready for desktop because
majority can use it to their goals. Linux - not just yet.

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It's time to grow up ...

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 85.146.17.158] on May 18, 2008 02:29 PM
ready for desktop means leaving the terminal alone (bury it), have drivers avaliable for all sorts of hardware, have a good api for programmers to program applications on (see the win api or directx , it's all integrated with one and another and easier to use) . Mainstream people like to play games and not those thirteen in a dozen opensource boring games the mainstream doesn't play.
Also linux people need to get over their free for all, but exclude closed source propeitary software , that's not freedom to me as a user. (maybe as a programmer)

Stop saying linux is easy to install and create pages with each step on how to do it. Mainstream doesn't care about that, they care about OEM and pre-installed with a nice recovery cd.

And using an OS is using it, so get past the install phase and debunking linux is easy to install, start focussing on how to use it.

For instance take Gimp and Paint .NET both opensource, I switched to Paint .NET because it's usable. Maybe the linux community needs to more into the usability stuff some more and stop bickering and being conservative about changing the user interface. Ie get stuff done without using the terminal, now there is a challenge for you. And while you are at it, make it easy and functional. Not those dumbed down wizards you have in Microsoft land. Easy != dumbing it down.

And stop being elite, because that means you will always stay in that little corner where you are now, now where's mainstream to that?

Well here's my 2 cents on that , so basically I agree with the author that a pc is still personal, however you should be able to make the OS personal for you , not the other way around.

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Re: It's time to grow up ...

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 69.108.2.242] on May 22, 2008 05:41 PM
DirectX is a pain in the ass to program for. Linux has SDL and OpenGL, which will do everything dX will do and trust me - from a programmers standpoint they're much easier to use. Windows and Mac also support SDL and OpenGL APIs, and as it stands right now it's easier to write a program using SDL in Linux and porting it to another platform than it is to write for dX in Windows. DirectX is bloated, sloppy and a terrible example to use in your arguement.

As it is with the pro-Windows crowd, entire arguements based on out outdated notions and simple ignorance. The Linux crowd knows Windows, most of us spent 8 hours a day with it at our jobs and I'll bet most of those have at least one box in their house running XP. We prefer Linux because it is a superior OS, Windows users seem to prefer it because it's all they know and they don't want to bother to learn anything else.

It's a non-arguement at this point. Love of software vs. laziness and brand loyalty? Pointless! And I hope Linux never gets that mass market share, I don't want these fair-weather fanboys in my camp.

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It's time to retire "easy to install"

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.184.53.32] on May 18, 2008 02:29 PM
On a related note, can we please stop focusing so much time and effort on making GNU/Linux easy to install? Consider the time wasted on WUBI (the MS Windows-based Ubuntu installer). How many people do you know who say: "Gee, I'd love to try GNU/Linux a try, but I don't want to partition my hard disk."

Anyone who is serious about trying GNU/Linux will drop an installation CD into their computer. The process doesn't need to be made any easier than it already is.

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It's not that binary

Posted by: TK on May 19, 2008 03:07 PM
You WILL have folks that want to try Linux but are extremely hesitant about partitioning their hard drive. Did YOU know how much swap to partition, if you should have a separate /home or even what /home is, all of those details when you FIRST began thinking about Linux? There are folks on our LUG mailing list crowing over WUBI and how nice it is to try out Linux without doing a major install and without running it from a slow live CD. You are creating a false dichotomy where there are tons of degrees between the two.

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It's time to retire "ready for the desktop"

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 69.21.147.105] on May 18, 2008 03:24 PM
Of course it is time to retire "ready for the desktop". The question has already been answered.

It is more of a question of whether users are ready for Linux or any other OS, for that matter. Some people will just never "get" computing as it is today.

Windows 3.11 was "ready for the desktop". Yet I remember people messing with IRQs and memory management to get it to work. Even then, it crashed and people lost data. Yet it was sold and used by many people. It was deemed to be "ready for the desktop". Today's Linux is far easier than that and just as easy to use as any modern version of Windows. It is just slightly different.

It has to do with users. People who use Windows want to use a Windows clone and will only learn something even slightly different if there is some overwhelming motivating factor. They want to memorize a sequence of mouse clicks to perform a particular task. It doesn't even have to be the "right" sequence of mouse clicks.

Case in point: I encountered a Windows user in a corporate setting once that only knew how to open a new Word document by closing the program with the window close button and restarting the program. This person did not close the old file and use the drop-down menu to open another. She was not interested in learning a "new" way, either.

I agree that unless and until a "mind-reading" interface is used, some people will never feel comfortable in front of a computer. So in one sense, every OS is "ready for the desktop", it's just that the users are not ready for the OS. Some will never be, simply because they don't want to be.

--kb9aln

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It's time to retire "ready for the desktop"

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 69.2.124.11] on May 18, 2008 05:33 PM
Linux has been "ready for the desktop" for years, but will it be ready for "normal users" anytime soon?

Normal users don't expect to ever have to see a TTY. On OS X, you have to dig around for it, and normal OS X users never need to touch it.

Can any Linux desktop be completely and fully usable (and fixable) without a TTY? I think _that_ is the criterion.

Also, user friendliness, UI consistency and ease-of-use should be considered at least equally of importance as UI power and flexibility. The default UI should be easy, consistent and pleasant, and encouraging of users to develop skills and delve further into more levels of power and flexibility. Mac OS X comes closest to this, Windows tends to make leaving the default easy UI hard, and Linux tends to make the default too flexible.

All IMHO of course.

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It's time to retire "ready for the desktop"

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 86.166.44.173] on May 18, 2008 05:56 PM
Frankly, as soon as your theoretical definition of "ready for the desktop" is "perfect", then the rest of the post becomes irrelevant. Whatever the point you are trying to make, it flies in the face of reality where we know things are never perfect. If you can't be bothered using terms of reference that allow for intelligent discussion, don't waste your time posting on the subject.

Further, to turn it around and state the question is where the OS is ready for your desktop, you only reinforce the self-centred thinking that completely misses the rather obvious point of the original phrase i.e. is it suitable for easy adoption by the typical computer user? It is a simple concept. The fact that a simple question does not have a simple answer does not mean that you should attempt to re-define the question by employing simplistic black-and-white straw men. That's just an easy excuse to avoid having to think outside your comfort zone.

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It's time to retire "ready for the desktop"

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 190.198.159.103] on May 18, 2008 06:53 PM
I agree that linux is ready for desktop, but certain things that don't have relation with the system slows linux adoption. A simple example are drivers. Few companies provide linux drivers and the few drivers provided are generally not as efficient or good as in the windows platform. Linux kernel has a BIG BASE of free drivers, but some peripherals must have propietary drivers in order to work better. Examples: Graphic Cards (Nvidia made his homework here, ATI/AMD drivers still pose problems), WebCams (few manufacturers provide linux drivers in this category). Im a linux user 100 %, but i think there is space for improvement from the industry side.

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I agree, but

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 71.34.103.55] on May 18, 2008 08:02 PM
I agree that the term is overused, but I disagree with your definition. "Ready for the desktop" refers to an operating system that is usable enough for the average person. While the phrase is terrible, and is used far too often for glittering generalities, the concept of rating an OSs usability is definitely very important to projects who want to steal marketshare from Windoze. As for laymen testing, I think it's a wonderful idea. By understanding what makes sense to people, developers can create programs that are much easier to use and stay out of the users way.

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Linux cant even start to be usable for me until wireless works.

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 99.229.123.199] on May 18, 2008 08:18 PM
It blows my mind that the state of wireless is little better than it was 8 years ago. Since then I have installed, and then uninstalled multiple linux distros. Its not that I don't have the technical skills to figure it out - I just don't want to. With that said - every six months I reinstall the latest version of Ubuntu watch its installer fail to recognize my Broadcom card and then reclaim the partition space back to windows.

The ultimate irony for me is that I recently installed VirtualBox in a WindowsXP host and got Ubuntu running flawlessly - of course that is because VirtualBox makes the wireless look like a simple wired connection - But I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

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Broadcom??? -wretch-

Posted by: TK on May 19, 2008 03:28 PM
Did you purposely pick the one wireless chipset that has the worst track record on Linux? Holy cow! Wireless on Linux works just fine if you use the correct hardware - and don't EVEN start harping on that point. You think you can pick ANY hardware and make it run on Vista? Nope, won't happen. In fact a good majority of older hardware was purposely dropped in terms of support for Vista.

Pick a supported card! It's as simple as that! I use a Netgear WG511T (Atheros chipset), and it was immediately picked up by the kernel and I was able to use WPA with no magic incantations or command line wizardry.

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Re: Linux cant even start to be usable for me until wireless works.

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 69.108.2.242] on May 22, 2008 05:50 PM
What a joke.

As of Gutsy, Ubuntu has a built-in utility to use Windows drivers on even the most unsupported wireless chipset. It's not hard to find and it's not hard to use, and its been there for a year. Try a little harder next time.

The wireless issue was an actual issue, like 2 friggin' years ago. The community has been working hard on it and it pisses me off when people still make the same old arguement in the face of that. FAIL!

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Re: It's time to retire "ready for the desktop"

Posted by: Dummy00001 on May 18, 2008 08:51 PM
I will not be that critical. In fact, if you stack things up then even Mac OS X is not ready.

But then somebody comes and says "Hey! Solaris 8 is great desktop - we got new CAD version and it runs twice faster than on Windows!" (What in fact is "real story").

Depending on requirements, you choose your OS. For work I strongly prefer Linux. For home use, Linux can do about 90% of things I need. The unfortunate problem with the remaining 10% keeps me on XP at home (*).

There is no "desktop ready OS" per se. Five years before, if some app wasn't available for Windows, most would say "you can't do that." But now we have Linux/BSD, Mac OS - we have choice. And that what is important. We have choice - so we can finally compare things and point out weaknesses. Problem for Windows is that M$ doesn't listen to its end-customers (it only listens to customers - channel partners and big OEMs), giving both Linux and Mac OS a chance to improve things, making system more usable. After all, most innovation right now happens on Linux and Mac OS - not on Windows.

(*) Just as you bound by gaming to Windows, so am I bound by anime to Windows. Linux/Mac OS has nothing comparable to "Media Player Classic" (http://sourceforge.net/projects/guliverkli/), "Haali Media Splitter" (http://haali.cs.msu.ru/mkv/) and "DirectVobSub". Also, modern multimedia support is really immature: 720i HD content which plays on Windows w/o any problems (with ~25% CPU load), under Linux is simply unwatchable (though still CPU load remains 25%). Problem is not the coding - problem is missing infrastructure. Windows has DirectX. Mac OS has CoreImage/CoreAudio/CoreVideo. Linux has only generic decade old APIs which are can't scale to playback {720,1080}{i,p} HD content. Do not even get me started on missing subtitles support. Does that make Linux not "desktop ready?" Hell no. It is just particular application/infrastructure is missing. If it is not usable for me - doesn't make it unusable by others. Reminds me of my friend and his start-up from 6 years ago which went with Mandrake on desktop and never regret it. For some people Linux worked for many years.

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It's time to retire "ready for the desktop"

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 217.171.129.69] on May 18, 2008 09:55 PM
I'm a linux user on my home desktop pc primarily because i did not have a windows license and thought i'd give it a go. it has been great. recently got a new laptop with Vista pre-installed and simply haven't bothered to change over on it because it does not make a difference to me. If i could have got the laptop cheaper without window i would have but that is not the way it works! Microsoft have still got things pretty well sewn up...

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Maybe Linux users don't ask for support

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 67.188.3.148] on May 18, 2008 10:11 PM
One of your arguments is as an IT person you don't get much requests for Linux support. Could it be that Linux users feel that there is simply no official support from their local IT department for Linux and so resort to self help?

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It's time to retire "ready for the desktop"

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 216.117.134.180] on May 18, 2008 10:20 PM
these are the problems i got while using linux (especially mandriva 2008).

1. Bluetooth dun doesnt work, how to dial it? KPPP -> is not! , what else?
2. i'm missing vendor specific cable driver, it makes my most used hardware fail.
3. grub doesnt support triple boot : linux-windows-osx, anyone know the solution?, it detects osx as unknown partition.
4. i miss visual studio 2008 features, like code analysis - intellisense - nice ui. tell if any cpp ide on linux support these (code analysys is an exception).
5. msi installer package, the easiest install experience than other os has. No silly "many kind of package manager".
6. hibernation/suspend was a disaster on my system ( i guess its just on my system ).
7. cant put my monitor to powersave every 3 minutes. the minimum on kde and gnome is more than 3 minutes.
8. i miss the patented video enchancement. Linux(foss?) for multimedia is just suck!!!!!
9. this is a biggest foolest of linux stupidity -> its kernel module. i must add this that blah package to make one software to work. even to install nvidia driver i must recompile the mtfcking kernel, damn, its just not once a time, its everytime i install new software that need kernel support that not supported yet (clear?).
10. kernel module - kernel driver - kernel recompile, what kind of kernel that it need to recompile for a driver install? Please fix IT!!!!!! its just stupid.
11. imagine a never used a linux before user must face a ".install" command everytime he/she want to install a software. it will drive them mad, if they not read the faq before, who know faq if im a newb.
12. number 9-10-11.

The real conclusion is :
1. linux is never ready for desktop -> it doesn have a handy kernel for general desktop user.
2. linux's distro is maybe ready for desktop if everything as easy as it could ( just simple double click will help)

3. Linus, fix the kernel's external/internal dependency( fix or rewrite?, funny this one maybe the old minix/unix's problem), dont make the user do what the kernel must do!

4. dont hate me, dont read my ip, dont do drugs, forgive my grammar/syntax errors.

im a college student who love programming and trying sumthing new (new for me).

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Re: It's time to retire "ready for the desktop"

Posted by: aquaadverse on May 18, 2008 11:24 PM
I hope you aren't planning to make your living coding I'm triple booting OSX86. You need to install a version of Grub that is EFI compliant. Power saving every three minutes? Yeah that's something everyone needs to do. What the hell are you running? I don't know anyone that has to recompile the kernel every time they install a piece of hardware. Are you aware of package managers? Obviously not. You have the same problem as many of the folks who keep wondering why they have issues using Windows troubleshooting on Linux issues. Use the package management, it automatically resolves dependencies, keeps every package installed using it current and up to date.

The real conclusion is you don't know what you're doing, or how Linux works. Not totally your fault, one of the biggest criticisms I have is a Google for learn Linux will give page after page of command line tutorials with the GUI's that most people are looking for impossible to find. The implication is you have to know how to nerd it out, which is just not the case. I've had conversations with people explaining how you have to a nerd to use Linux while they drill 17 levels deep in the registry to add a Dword string they have no idea about. You need to meet Jonathon: He also has no clue of how Linux works and insists on using Windows tricks to work on Linux.


http://tech.blorge.com/Structure:%20/2007/05/13/how-ubuntu-nuked-my-laptop/

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I've been saying this for years

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 74.69.88.163] on May 18, 2008 10:23 PM
Well, a little less than two years ago:
http://baggins14.blogspot.com/2005/11/is-linux-ready-for-desktop.html

Linux has been "ready" for the desktop for many years. It's more a question of WHICH desktop you are talking about, and what the person is trying to use that desktop for. I switched my wife's computer over from Win2K to Linux a couple of years ago after getting tired of constantly fixing the windows box every time it would lose its brains. I kept here background and basic desktop icons the same, and it took her several weeks to even notice the difference.

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It's time to retire

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 88.159.74.100] on May 18, 2008 10:28 PM
I always ask people that ask such questions what they are exactly comparing. The easiest is to have them compare 32-bit and 64-bit windows, and then apply the differences to a comparison of 32-bit Windows and Linux. Or an slightly older windows (e.g. w2k), or the newest beta (a while back w2k8)

Why? Because then you erase a bit of the "number 1" feeling, the fact that fairly ripe drivers come on CD with hardware, that the suggested flash version is actually the correct one etc.

The only reason because a comparison with "Windows" work, is because windows is deliberately kept opague. It's not windows, it is using the most use OS (-version) that is the difference. Or at least for a very, very significant part. And that can stop any minute (see the current Vista troubles)

P.s. I never saw what people see in Mac OS X, and the Apple "ease of use" mantra. I have been a (reluctant) user since Mac OS 6, and still was stupified with the OS X partition manager, where it took me half an hour to figure out that clicking in the free space was the only way to create a new partition

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It's time to retire

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 206.183.25.242] on May 19, 2008 12:22 AM
When an OS is ready for the desktop it means that people who a competent and computer literate can achieve their goals with minimal effort; and sorry kids, linux just isnt there. No point and click interface to install device driver; and Ubuntu only lists what proprietary drivers are installed in its weak attempt at a device manager, and not the drivers being used to support the devices. Buggy interface for just changing desktop resolution on some distros; and in some even editing the conf files fail. Its allot of work to get some games to work, and to get some productivity software to work. You can RTFM and follow HOWTOs and sometimes things still work work for various reasons. Dont get be wrong. Its a great OS for those who like to tinker with things and make stuff work in environments that it wasnt meant for. But if you just want to get on with it, XP is your best bet.

Why do IT professionals have so many problems with windows users? Well, Windows is the dominant OS, and the users are uneducated dipsh!ts. Half of them dont know where their files live. They call installing software downloading it. Watching the navigate through things makes you want to ice pick your skull. They dont know what DHCP, DNS, or any of that, is. If they access a system via a terminal they dont know if the system is broken or the terminal software. They are idiots.Now, take those same users and throw linux at them... WEEE! Most of these people are never going to know any more about computer than they need too. They run their apps to accomplish their goals; what they are paid to do. They input their data, organize their day, place orders, design stuff, share their research, etc and dont have time to learn the intricacies of an OS.

Much of the linux community isnt much on the idea of user friendly. They consider useful features bloat. Scoff at the idea of a point and click software installation. Scream RTFM NOOB when they dont understand how to answer someones support issue and mock those trying to find full featured packages similar to those they use on windows. Then there are the "If you want that to work in linux, switch to my distro" jerks. They dont know why the HOWTO you are using doesnt work to accomplish you goals, so they say, "change to a distro that doesnt suck, noob!"

I've seen setups where every time the system boots it boots to a fresh load of the designers choice. Any changes; installed software, viruses, spyware, cookies, cache, anything, are overwritten with the 'factory' load. All user saved files are stored on another partition, or on the network shares. Anyone who is forced to support user PC should implement schemes that force users to save their data to a single location, and image the users harddrive before it is given to the user. This lesson downtime and personal frustration. This mindset should carry over to Linux as well. Why? Well, its nice to change distros without loosing your data, and it is nice to keep an image of a distro you have worked so hard to hack to meet your needs.



#

It's time to retire "ready for the desktop"

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 75.73.156.5] on May 19, 2008 01:08 AM
It is time to start asking why apps in major production areas either are not available for Linux or do not measure up to the Windows equivalents. It is an old, old cliche that nobody uses a computer for the operating system. No matter how "good" Linux is on the desktop it must have usable applications to be useful. Some are... very many are second-rate.

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It's time to retire "ready for the desktop"

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 71.212.92.243] on May 19, 2008 01:53 AM
I think the problem is that the media, and large corporations cater to Microsoft Windows and act as if Linux doesn't even exist. This allows Windows to attempt to restrict LINUX out of the game by using Monopolistic practices. The examples of LINUX RESTRICTION are found in everything from websites like abc.com(full episodes), to hardware drivers, to server email systems(exchange), to verizon internet in New Jersey(if they find out you are using Linux, they'll say you can't use their service). Most people don't see this problem because they handily keep a copy of Windows around, and don't truly commit to being a Linux desktop user. This makes me absolutely crazy because people should NOT be punished for using Linux!!

Also, the more people that use Linux, the better Linux will get! This is because more people will DEMAND that Linux be recognized as a Desktop Operating System and so providers will be sure to not let Microsoft restrict people from using Linux.

Linux will continue to get better because it's as open(or more so) than the Internet, and people are tired of the "windows" way of doing things.

Go Linux on the Desktop!!

Shannon VanWagner
http://healthysystem.blogspot.com

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It's time to retire "ready for the desktop"

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 68.19.236.212] on May 19, 2008 05:15 AM
All those criticizing "Linux" for how unfriendly it is, I wonder if you can actually envision an OS different from the one you're using that could qualify for "friendly", because most of the time your complaints boil down to "it's not what I've been using for the last ten years". Or else, "it didn't find the wireless card on my built-for-winxp bargain-basement Eureka laptop", which is a sheer question of marketshare and vendor cooperation.
What I find particularly ironic, though, is that the same people who run down "FOSS zealots" for being "religious" about free software and open source are the same who gripe that they have to take extra steps (including -- gasp -- command line usage) to install support for mp3, DVD encryption, or their proprietary graphics card driver. Do you not realize that the reason for this is NOT because FOSS devs are obtuse or religious, but because the people who control the patents and copyrights on that software chose to release it under a proprietary license, and thus restrict its distribution, and thus prevent it from being preinstalled in a free, international OS? Don't you think that if Linux distros could legally ship a free OS worldwide with support for Flash or mp3 that most of them would? Give me a break; you noobs need to quit having delusions of a tyrannical FOSS inquisition and get educated about what's going on.

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Different people, different needs.

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 90.149.81.73] on May 19, 2008 12:28 PM
Good point! I use Linux for a couple of reasons.
1. freedom
2. fits my needs

But it really do have it's downsides...

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It's time to retire "ready for the desktop"

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 89.245.130.106] on May 19, 2008 02:15 PM
I've been using Linux on and off, for over a year even as my primary OS. But I kept ditching it in favor for Windows for its big lack of _native_ support for todays games.

IMHO this and unsupported major apps (mostly DTP) are the biggest obstacles on its way to real desktop glory. Oh, and of course the fact that people still talk about Linux and it being "desktop ready" or not.

Windows isn't more "desktop ready" than todays Linux is, but people don't question it.

So somebody stick some zillions up the games industry's a** and I'd make the switch one last time, never reverting back.

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Apps and hardware up to manufacturer

Posted by: TK on May 19, 2008 03:18 PM
Perceived problem does not always mean true problem, but unfortunately it does create an issue that Linux users, supporters, and developers have been pushing for resolution for years.

The real perception problem was perfectly illustrated in your own words, "until Linux allows you to use the programs you want, use the hardware you want, it will never be ready."

Let's tear this one apart. First, all APIs and HALs and whatnot are 100% open and accessible for any manufacturer to use to port or create their product for GNU/Linux. Hinting that Linux does not allow it is really a hasty, ill-informed observation. Frameworks are in place for software and projects are in place for hardware to allow them to run easily in GNU/Linux. The Linux driver project, for example, will write drivers for FREE for companies ... even with NDAs if they so require. Also, gaming on Linux uses less resources for the same games than on Windows and still gets comparable speed. Linux uses cross-platform OpenGL, allowing a company to write the core game once and merely tweak the clients for each platform - no major overhaul needed. It's been done, therefore proving that future games can be released on Linux.

Point is, the onus is now on the manufacturer's and not on Linux developers to create that environment. There are some really smart ones already in the game and more are dipping their toes in the water every day.

If Windows suits you, great. Drive on! For the rest of us, we prefer a more secure platform that allows us to bend the OS more towards our will than MS's.

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It's time to retire "ready for the desktop"

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 78.32.220.209] on May 19, 2008 03:34 PM
Not ready for the desktop, any OS? er....
Were all using a desktop of some kind and probably do every day, so they are ALL ready for the dektop really.

J

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It's time to retire "ready for the desktop"

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 195.75.91.123] on May 19, 2008 04:49 PM
The thing is, I'm comfortable using Linux on my own desktop. Anything goes wrong, I'm tech-aware enough to troubleshoot it. The same can't be said of my retired parents. They live the other side of the country from me, in a small town with no local Linux support as far as I'm aware. They can, however, get Windows support at very reasonable rates if they need it. Unless Linux takes off a bit more, it's no use to them. If they still lived just an hour away from me I'd have no hesitation in moving them onto Linux as I could provide that support to them. They don't need much from an OS as they don't do anything difficult. However, they need to know that support network is there if they ever need it.

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It's time to retire "ready for the desktop"

Posted by: Beckfield on May 19, 2008 05:00 PM
I have to disagree. I think your definition of "ready for the desktop" is entirely too all-inclusive. By your definition, a "ready for the desktop" OS includes everything from the simplest control panel configuration to the most complex supercomputing applications, and washes the car besides. The OS that is usable by everyone, meets everyone's needs, and is able to do everything that everyone wants it to do hasn't happened yet, and likely never will.

To be "ready for the desktop" means that the OS is stable and usable enough to allow the user to install the software they need to use, and perform the tasks they need to perform without the OS itself getting in the way. It does NOT mean that the OS will let you do anything on the computer without your learning how to use one. Windows, OS X, and Linux are ALL ready for the desktop to some degree (some more ready than others), or else they wouldn't be in use.

Every new car on the dealership floor is "ready for the road." That doesn't mean every person can drive.
[Modified by: Beckfield on May 19, 2008 09:16 PM]

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Re: It's time to retire "ready for the desktop"

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 65.119.188.9] on May 20, 2008 01:04 AM
I tend to agree with him. Saying that your definition of "Ready for the Desktop" is an insurmountable goal, with apologies, points out that you set an insurmountable goal for Linux, not that Linux is or is not "Ready for the Desktop".

Define a standard about what "Ready" means, and I may argue with you . . . or not . . . but that doesn't mean that Ubuntu will be more or less ready to contend with Windows on an open field than it was five minutes ago.

Well, given the speed at which Ubuntu updates, maybe it *will* be further along than five minutes ago, but you know what I mean - {G}

Jonnan

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It's time to retire "ready for the desktop"

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 58.104.58.165] on May 20, 2008 01:09 AM
kudos, Ill add this to my repertoire of responses to negative people

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It's time to retire "ready for the desktop"

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 207.161.209.39] on May 20, 2008 04:31 AM
I absolutely agree. I made the switch to Linux a year ago, but before I did, I did my homework, meaning I checked to see if my hardware was compatible. Something many people seem to be forgetting to do. When I installed my Linux OS, everything worked.
Mac & Windows have the advantage of marketing, there are no mainstream advertising for Linux distros. Another reason for the continued dominance of Windows is due simply to the fact that it's pre-installed on nearly every computer that's offered to the general public. Consumers buy what's available, it's not like they are given a choice at any major retailer.
Hey if you're comfortable with one corporation having complete control of your computer, docs, etc. then Microsoft is for you. Hears something to think about... there is nothing democratic about corporations, they are essentially dictatorships, (sure their boards are elected but we all know who controls them.)

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It's time to retire "ready for the desktop"

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 209.50.143.75] on May 20, 2008 02:00 PM
What makes an OS "ready for the desktop" to me is repeatability. That is, if I want to install and run a new application or device, can I easily do it based on past experience with the operating system? Windows succeeds in this arena in a way that Linux has not.

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It's time to retire "ready for the desktop"

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 63.149.9.78] on May 20, 2008 04:50 PM
In that case, Linux has been ready for my Desktop since 1995 :)

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It's time to retire

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 10.200.8.189] on May 20, 2008 05:05 PM
The question is not “Is Linux ready for the desktop?” The question should be “is there a user interface for an operating system that is ready for the masses?” This is not just for Linux , but for ANY OS to work, Microsoft included. What any OS needs is to have a user interface that goes beyond anything that is available now. The UI must be one that is intuitive. It must configure the computer to optimally perform WITHOUT user intervention, regardless of the hardware installed. If the collective that is Linux can come up with this, they will capture most of the computers.

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It's time to retire "ready for the desktop"

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 70.45.98.125] on May 20, 2008 10:47 PM
Well, to this date, Linux still requires you to have a PhD in file systems to be able to format a memory card. I lost count of the many times I was using Linux and had to reboot into Windows XP for a quick format of an SD memory card. Linux also makes you feel like you are braking into some corporate computer system every time you want to install a program or change settings on YOUR OWN computer. Even Vista's UAC confirmation while still annoying is a step up from The Mother of All Bureaucracy known as Unix and all OS's who have chosen to imitate it. And don't get me started on the lack of capable and well organized applications for music, photo and video editing. The current tools on Linux are either too basic or a total mess not worth the time to learn - let alone that most of us would rather spend more time working and creating than learning how to work and create.

So basically, if you are an uber-geek or have very, very basic computer needs (web surfing, email, word processing) Linux is a great fit for your desktop. But for most users in between those groups, Linux is still not ready for the desktop, whether you like to hear it or not.

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It's time to retire

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 66.157.73.200] on May 21, 2008 02:00 AM
H'mmm! I'm just a poor brick mason. No computer nerd. I consider my-self normal user. Read the rants pro and con.Some say windows is great because of the gui and point and click. Baaa! I quit using windows Ummm, let's see, was it 5 or 6 yrs. ago. I played with Linux from 95 on. Yes, back then it was hard to learn. No question. And even now does not have apps like window. But if is fast catching up. Windows is just as problematic as any other os. I had driver problems just as I do with Linux. My son has vista, had to hunt drivers for something while back. Had problems loading and took time to get to work. So what. As to the fact that a statement was made about Linux being to hard to work with. Sounds to me, those people are flat lazy anyway. I've ripped my hair out over driver problems, or compiling errors, and yes have not been able to get something to work in Linux. But have had same problem in Windows. The issue is, to what extent are you willing to work to have you computer run for you. I have a very stable system, that almost never crashes. ( only when I get wild hair and decide to do something I shouldn't. That's my fault) When left along, runs without a miss. I like that.:) Has all the apps I need and more. One day will be so easy that 3yr. old can do it.
My hat is off to OSS. The hours and time that is put in by people is with out compare. "ready for desktop"
It's really ambiguous.
But what do I know. I'm just a brick mason!

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It's time to retire "ready for the desktop"

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 125.162.189.104] on May 21, 2008 03:18 AM
<quote> "I do believe that Linux needs to continue to make strides in usability in order to have a wider audience, . . . . . . and less need for the command line." <end_of_quote>

NOOOOOOO, NO, NO <Crying>. Do not take my precious command line from me. That is one of the reason I use Linux. It is so powerful and very very useful IMHO. Windows Server 2008 even imitate almost all of it's power (in fact, they can't even reach half the power and customizability of a Linux shell).

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It's time to retire "ready for the desktop"

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 80.13.36.71] on May 21, 2008 10:45 AM
MacOS X.5 (Leopard) is (almost ?) ready for MY desktop. There are still few things to tweak here and there and it will be perfect.
AmigaOS did not, BeOS did not, Windows (98, 2000 & XP) did not, Linux (Ubuntu) did not, MacOS X.4 (Tiger) did not...

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It's time to retire "ready for the desktop"

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 10.22.20.16] on May 21, 2008 03:16 PM
No, the question is still valid. Ignoring the question if linux is ready wont make the question go away.

this is the question that MS and Apple makes (maybe not with these words) everytime they launch an OS.

The user will be able to use it in a simple manner? focusing in the task he must do instead of the OS?
will his hardware work seamlessly?
The user will be more productive? (not the machine performance, the user's work... will he be able to get out at 5?)

Linux is ready for SOME desktops not all. In my case Linux only delivered 1 of the 3 items above.

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It's time to retire "ready for the desktop"

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 70.53.120.104] on May 21, 2008 05:19 PM
Never get rid of the command line! I use linux primarily for its file system, shell environment, and customization ability. Then again, I'm a programmer so I'm another breed of user.

The greatest thing about linux is that there are options. Linux can be made to cater to anyone.

Definitely think dropping the "ready for the desktop" pickle would be a good thing. Not everyone is an uncle joe or clueless grandmother.

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One of the players?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 157.82.24.26] on May 22, 2008 12:28 PM
Maybe we should start saying that Linux is one of the serious candidates when you pick an OS for your desktop. In other words, the sentence could be "Linux is one of the players when it comes to desktop OS competition." But, honestly, "desktop ready" sounds much better.

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Re: It's time to retire "ready for the desktop"

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 69.108.2.242] on May 22, 2008 05:26 PM
Blender, GIMP, Jacklab, etc, etc, anyone?

As for gaming, there are a handful of popular games with Linux binaries and most will run in WINE with a little effort. I think you'll find that most Linux users don't use their PCs as gaming consoles. There was a time when I took my semi-annual gaming upgrade budget and spent it on a 50" DLP, XBOX360 and 5.1 surround system. I then realized how absurd it was to spend $2k on new parts every couple of years just to play games on a small screen sitting in an office chair.

As far as hardware not working with Linux? I've tried several distros on several machines and the worst I've ever had to contend with was using a wrapper for an unsupported wireless driver. This process has been streamlined in my favorite distros since then so it is no longer an issue.

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It's time to retire "ready for the desktop"

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 76.108.118.244] on May 24, 2008 07:44 PM
I think an appropriate question would be whether a particular distribution would be appropriate for a certain user.

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It's time to retire "ready for the desktop"

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 193.136.207.149] on May 26, 2008 05:53 PM
To define what “ready for the desktop” is you need to first define the purpose for which you want the OS to be used for. After that, “ready for the desktop” will simply be an OS that is ready to be used for that specific purpose (or set of purposes) after being installed and with minimal work.

Minimal work can be defined as less than 30 minutes work for most users.


You get more computers with WinXP in your work… congratulations. Considering Windows OSs are in about 95% of computer, your sentence means little.

Also, can people stop talking about Linux as if it was one single OS? How many Linux distributions are there? And how diverse are they?

Each one has its own set of purposes and is ready to work for those purposes (alright, most the times…). You can’t compare Linux with Windows, but rather Ubuntu or other user-friendlier distribution with Windows.

If you have a dumb user, that person will need a Linux distribution that he can use easily. If you are a power user or you do very low level programming or you heavily work with networks you’ll need entirely different distributions.

Linux distributions need to cater for the entire PC world in their totality (probably not the best phrased sentence here) or they will never be a real option to Windows.

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It's time to retire "ready for the desktop"

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 172.16.10.37] on May 26, 2008 09:35 PM
100% Agreed Upon - Retire the selling point of is "Linux Ready for the Desktop?" It was a bad phrase to use in the first place...where as KDE and GNOME are the desktops -- that run atop of Linux...the Kernel. If there hadn't been such a flavorful onslaught of "Linux" then we'd be selling KDE running atop the Linux Flavor. I think the phrase has just prolonged the misery and anguish of getting KDE and GNOME to the Desktops - and confused the public at large.

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