Why Linux Will Never Take Over the Desktop

by Preston Gralla

For my next book, "The Big Book of Windows Hacks," I've just written a hack about how to run Ubuntu inside Windows Vista. Great fun, great hack, and it's great to be able to run Linux on a Vista machine. But it's showed me, once again, why Linux will never take over the desktop.

69 Comments

Tel
2007-04-19 16:07:43
If the biggest problem with desktop linux is the format of the update messages then Linux is certainly ready for the desktop. The vast majority of people just click OK and never read any of those messages anyhow. If they do happen to read something like "package maintenance system for Debian" then they might reasonably guess that it has something to do with software packaging but they might also type the phrase into google and get http://www.debian.org/doc/FAQ/ch-basic_defs.en.html which gives all the details anyone would want to know. It really is not all that hard...


Wasn't that long ago when the pundits were busy saying that Linux would never be able to work as a real server. Well they were proven wrong.


Then they said that Linux wasn't ready for the "Enterprise" (whatever an enterprise is, no one seems to be able to explain exactly)... but sure enough no one seems to be saying "not ready for Enterprise" anymore... guess they got that one wrong too.


No need to guess that Linux on the desktop is the next thing the pundits are going to be wrong about :-)

Mark Murphy
2007-04-19 16:23:04
"Microsoft messages and updates are difficult enough to decipher for the average PC user. But this? Forget it. People simply won't have a clue."


Microsoft's Windows Update messages are incrementally more understandable to lay people, which is to say maybe 3% of the people would understand them vs. 2% for Ubuntu's messages. Please understand that regular users of PCs don't understand much of anything about them or how to update them. Saying that Ubuntu isn't ready for the desktop based on that reasoning is pretty much saying Windows isn't ready for the desktop.


"It's simply too tough for the average person to find and install software for Ubuntu."


Click the Ubuntu menu icon, then choose Add/Remove. Windows' equivalent is further removed from the user (Start->Control Panel->Add/Remove Programs), and most people never pay attention to "Add Windows Components" because there's nothing they'll understand in there. With Ubuntu, the scope is broader, everything is nicely categorized, and the first thing you see is the AbiWord word processor, which will give users a clue that they're in the right area. By your reasoning, Windows isn't ready for the desktop here either.


All that being said, I don't think Linux is ready for most desktops either, but your rationale needs work.


2007-04-19 18:43:13
I Agree with Mark Murphy


Yes, why doesn't windows have a way to keep up to date versions of all installed programs like ubuntu does? How can anybody tolerate the half dozen different update-checking things on their system?
lets list a few:
- firefox [or opera]
- acrobat
- java
- pretty much every IM client
- anti virus
- quicktime, windows media player, real player, itunes, winamp...
- windows [complete with "would you like to reboot now, or should I ask you again in 15 minutes", or the all time favorite "reboot now, ask again in 15 minutes, or in 5 minutes of no answer I'll reboot anyway"]
I [as a windows developer] would love such a feature
[though I guess ClickOnce in .net is somewhat there [though painful to the user, "checking.... " every time you start]]



that said, seeing updates for:
libx11-6
changes:
Version 2:1.0.3-0ubuntu4.1:
* SECURITY UPDATE: Multiple integer overflows in the XGetPixel()
and XInitImage functions.
* Add debian/patches/104_integer_overflows.diff: upstream fix.
* References
http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=414045
CVE-2007-1667


is more informative to me than [the ubiquitous]:
Security Update for Windows XP (KB931784)
A security issue has been identified in the Windows Kernel that could allow an attacker to compromise your Windows-based system and gain control over it. You can help protect your computer by installing this update from Microsoft. After you install this item, you may have to restart your computer.

Simon Hibbs
2007-04-20 00:09:24
There are many reasons why Linux is having, and will continue to have problems in the Desktop marketplace, but I agree with other posters here that this realy isn't one of them.


The main problems are (1) that many users have a significant investment in the time and effort they've spent learning to use their Windows and Mac software. It's the same barrier that makes many Windows users shy away from the Mac. (2) The fragmentation between different Linux distributions.


There never will be a 'Year of the Linux Desktop', but I can see it's desktop penetration gradualy expanding over the next decade as it's usability incrementaly improves. It's harder to change OS than change browsers, but the Firefox example has shown that well polished Open Source software can reach the mass user base. If and when other Open Source apps acheive the same kind ofopularity, then the Linux desktop will stand a real chance.

Rob Nichols
2007-04-20 01:15:19
I have to disagree with this. While I would agree with a statement that currently difficulty in installing software on Linux can be a major headache, I think that anyone making a statement that this will always hold back Linux hasn't worked with the latest software management utilities built into Linux installations. For example, Synaptic (see http://monkeyblog.org/ubuntu/installing/#package_manager) makes installing very easy. I run SimplyMepis (http://www.mepis.org/) and its package management tool is excellent, leveraging packages from a number of major distributions.


Unfortunately there are still occasional bits of software that don't have packages compatible with the package management systems. Then headaches can rear their heads, but these are becoming less and less all the time.


And what is more the package management systems will also handle updates. There update systems may give odd messages, but the essential thing is that it is not only updating the OS, but also all your applications installed through the package management tool. For me this makes the update manager in Linux better than that in Windows. You haven't got all these small utilities each going out to check up for updates. No Symantec liveupdate getting its fingers in everywhere. No Adobe update running each time you open a PDF. No Apple Quicktime or Java update tool messages in the morning.


If the only thing holding back Linux is its updating system, Microsoft really do have trouble on their hands!

Sajin Koroth
2007-04-20 01:34:18
I think one of the reasons for the Higher penetration of Windows in the desktop market considering the average users needs is 1. Software Piracy (One of the boasted advantage of Linux is that it's free and in many parts of the world Vendors just provide users with the pirated edition of Windows Os's,software suites like Microsoft Office and even some Highly priced image editing softwares like Photoshop ) 2. Lack of Games released for Linux 3. I also agree with the author on the fact that Windows is more user friendly to an average user i mean anyone who just knows how to play Solitaire on windows will just be able to do administrative tasks without much difficulty. But the present scenario will soon change with the Release of windows Vista since it needs more resources than that found on an average PC for that cool eye candy effect ,but Linux can provide better alternatives that uses much lesser resources( like Xgl Compiz).
Sammy Fischer
2007-04-20 10:39:31
while it's true, that Linux can be daunting once you start tweaking it or want to install weird source-only software, the average user would probably never get as far.
Most people use a couple of programms : a word processor, instant messaging, a browser, a picture viewer .. pehaps even a cracked copy of Photoshop to edit the pictures a bit.


those are all things they can have in Linux, without paying a cent, nor having to install anything extra. But as exactly those people were told for years that Linux is for geek, Macs for Grafic Designers and Windows for normal people, they tend to believe it, even though all three systems have become more and more alike.


There are only two reasons not to use Linux : high-end games and webcams. There are some very fun games for Linux (Armagetron and Scorched 3D come to mind), but you won't find the latest hyped game.
And as for webcam, correct me if I'm wrong, but the problem resides in the fact that webcam manufacturers don't publish linux drivers or even webcam specs. I'm aware of ONE webcam type that had Linux drivers in the package, it was from Genius and it was the ugliest thing you could think of (shaped like a stuffed dog??). So, all the webcam drivers were reverse engineered by enthusiasts, and the quality shows not dissing their work, just stating a fact)


and as someone else already said : I perfer to actually get a lenghty description of what's being updated, than a "Security Update for Windows XP (KB931784)" .. most users won't care one way or the other, and those who care are happy to get details.

Greg Graham
2007-04-20 14:26:56
Never is a very long time.
disagree
2007-04-21 21:10:19
Honestly, I disagree. Whether or not Linux takes over the desktop is not the question. It may, it may not. But again, another "It's just not like windows" blogs. It gets old. I've heard a couple blog reviews lately that say the same. I always have the same thought.. It's not that Linux will never rule the roost on the desktop, or that it will for that matter, it's that people in general will continue to remain computer ignorant. Maybe those inclined to make such blogs and statements would better serve the public by lifting up how wonderful WinXP and Vista is over dos or Win98, for the rest of us so called "Nerds, Geeks, etc...", we could care less if you enjoy your windows and believe it will always "rule your roost".


And another thing... Enough with the windows/linux comparisons. Web is ugly with them and none of them make any sense.

Limulus
2007-04-22 03:07:10
"for the vast majority of people, Linux simply won't cut it."


That's an assertion that's not backed up by my experience. You gave the example of updates that aren't labeled in a simple-enough way. When I installed Ubuntu on my neighbor's computer (a lady of retirement age who didn't know much about computers) I told her that when she sees the update icon to click it and install the updates. And she does. As has been noted by others, 'the vast majority of people' who use Windows do basically the same thing anyway with the MS updates.


I would say that Desktop Linux is actually closer to what 'the vast majority of people' want from an OS: a typewriter, a calculator, a record player, some games and a window to the web; all for free and very safe to use.

Joe Domask
2007-04-22 05:20:53
How can someone make such a shallow and empty retort without providing any fundamental evidence?


Software installation in Ubuntu is miles ahead of windows. One single place to add, remove and update thousands of applications at the click of a button with the benefit that all the software available there has been vetted by the open source community, rather than the random download off a web site and pray and hope that it doesn't hose my windows system.


You might as well titled this, "why i did too many drugs in the 1970s and cannot use anything more complicated than my thumb's interface to pacify my own sense of insecurity over learning something new".


Really, get a life.

Joe Domask
2007-04-22 05:24:03
One other thing, it is clear that you have a real conflict of interest in making sure that Windows remains viable, otherwise your books won't be worth the ink that they use and you may actually have to start learning a thing or two about other operating systems for your own writing career to remain viable.


You can make all the self-fullfilling propecies you want, if it gives you comfort. But most people will see through your bias.

Brian
2007-04-22 20:32:43
I agree that the updates may seem complicated... ut they're not. Who actually reads updates anyway? Most people have Automatic Windows Updates to download and install automatically. Why does this have to be different? I do have to agree that Linux apps always had funky names like "dpkg" and "dbus".


Where I disagree is that updates are updates, regardless of Linux or Windows. Where Ubuntu prevails is that those 129 updates... are updates for EVERYTHING, not just your OS. How nice would it be if Windows Updates updated iTunes, or Winamp? Sure linux apps have funky names, but who cares? All updates have descriptions which beat Microsoft's standard repetitive descriptions (ie Critical Update, Critical Update, Critical Update).


Also your comment:
"Same things holds for installing new software. It's simply too tough for the average person to find and install software for Ubuntu."


Have you even used Ubuntu? Every Ubuntu program you could possibly want is listed alphabetically and by category in "Add/Remove Programs" thats listed on the "Start" menu. Just check which programs you want and it automatically goes out, downloads the program, installs it, creates links in the correct category, and even gives you a list of newly installed items so that you can run them immediately after install.


Try going to Add/Remove programs in Vista and make it download bearshare or a bittorrent client. Oh and once you install a program, it'll automatically notify you if updates are available and ask if you want to install them.


I'm not trying to bash your article, but I don't believe you've even used Ubuntu other then installing it. And for the record I've only just started using Linux. I've downloaded Ubuntu 6.10 about a month ago and just recently upgraded to 7.04. And updating to a new version is done through Automatic updates... not your typical "boot from the CD into a DOS app" update either.


Both of your flaws you stated are actually better in Ubuntu then Windows. For the faint of heart, just run your favorite version of Windows inside a virtualPC program like VMware inside Ubuntu. That way if ANYTHING should not work... load up VMWare. I do this at work occasionally for testing applications, rarely that is.

Arnold Johnson
2007-04-23 08:09:09
I believe that the real problem is that when users buy a computer it only comes in one flavor, MS Windows. PC users will use what they've bought and use what they're use to. They normally don't have to install Windows and have accepted Windows as the standard. In comes Linux, robust, user friendly and free. But you have to install it because PC vendors won't. People wouldn't buy Macs either if they had to install OSX themselves. I have been using Ubuntu Linux for a year now. It actually has a better desktop than Windows and does not force me to upgrade my hardware (spend more money). Yes I've learned to do a few things differently than in Windows but no different than if I had bought a Mac. You don't hear folks question if OSX is ready for the desktop. I believe that if PC vendors were free to sell pre-installed Linux systems, users would try/buy them. I think the majority of users just don't know Linux is out there. You have to commend a product that has committed to overcoming user mindset in a Microsoft dominated world to produce a product that would dare to challenge the default standard and finally give us users a choice. If you writers would promote and explain Linux the way you have done MS Windows then the vast majority of people would be educated and encouraged to give it a shot. Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt are a Microsoft thing, it is not so with Linux.
Confused but getting better
2007-04-23 09:02:28
On one hand I agree and on the other I don't. The Linux community is by definition one of enthusiasts as as long as desktop Linux is targeted to that community, it isn't likely to change. Linux (and open source in general) needs to make a leap into the up until now 'commercial' world of marketing, define its target market and work out what it needs to change to address that market.


More rant

chromatic
2007-04-23 23:30:01
Preston, the last time I tried "Add/Remove Programs" on Windows (admittedly a few versions ago) it did absolutely nothing to help me find and install software.


I agree that Applications -> System -> Synaptic Package Manager isn't the clearest menu path to start adding software, but it certainly beats having to find and download and install software manually, and there's just no argument that it's much easier to keep up to date.


Infamiliarity may indeed be a barrier to adoption, but familiarity is not the same as ease of use.

Bruno Martins
2007-04-24 03:04:10
The first time I use Linux, ten years ago, it was really difficult to make it run, but today ... it's a piece of cake ... and i'm not a geek. I've got Ubuntu Feisty and the only thing that can stick users on windows is the fear to learn.
LazerTag
2007-04-24 12:30:56
I've been using Linux for years on and off and like others have said it was hard to use a while ago, but that has changed. Windows also went through this same stage (I'm sure many know how badly things ran in 3.0 and 3.1 not to mention the network headaches of 3.11WG). Heck I could add Windows 95 to that as well, but we'll give it a break for now.


Now Ubuntu's Linux distribution 6.04 caught my eye and I have not looked back since. The recent 7.04 has been great as well. Super easy upgrade. I think the only reason I still keep Windows around, for the moment, is gaming. Everything else Windows can do Linux can also do and better most of the time in my opinion. I will admit that my ATI HDTV card does not work very well under Linux, but the same can be said for Windows too.


And I agree with the others here, simply pointing out that there were a bunch of updates and what appears an awful naming scheme, simply isn't enough to rationalize your thought in this article. I mean how many updates are available after a flat install of Windows XP? Keep in mind when calculating this number that many of us still have first releases of Windows XP without SP2 in it. And also make sure to breakdown that SP2 pack into each individual update. Finally make sure all the extra programs you "need" (anti-virus, Adobe Reader, etc...) get counted as additional updates in your number.


For my final comment I would like to say that I help out quite a few family, friends, acquaintances, with their computer issues. Sadly for me I am the "computer guy" in my circle. I could easily state that well over 80% of those folks whom request my help, all they ever want to do is check out the web, e-mail, or print something from the web/e-mail. Seems to me you can do that VERY easily with Linux and for free.


BTW, did everyone see that Dell has brought XP back for it's home consumer systems. So what's so wrong with Vista that a company would remove it as a choice only to bring it back???

Sergio
2007-04-24 14:28:01
And microsoft dont have updates? What a stupid article
Jeff
2007-04-24 14:36:22
"Everything else Windows can do Linux can also do"


This is far from reality.

hsfrey
2007-04-24 14:49:45
No, the real reason Linux won't take over, free or not, is that for every command in the language you've got to buy a $40 book from O'Reilly on how to use it. (Slight hyperbole for dramatic effect.)
Paul Topping
2007-04-24 15:01:10
I agree with the original article and I think many of the commenters deliberately miss the point. Many of them say things like, "If that's the only problem, what's the big deal?" Of course, the original article only offered this as an example of the problem. The real problem is that the software is still created by programmers. Some commercial s/w also suffers from being created by marketers but the best s/w is created by marketers, user interface specialists, and programmers.


Open source efforts have a hard time getting people to put effort into installers and the like. Programmers consider the job pretty much done when another programmer can get their s/w to run. Creating s/w that doesn't present the user with questions they can't answer is a big part of putting the finishing touches on s/w. Of course, this can happen with open source s/w, it just typically doesn't.


At the risk of being unfair, I would like to suggest that most of the responses just go to prove that most Linux people do not get it. While I don't stay in close contact with this community, I do support their efforts. I just hope they are past the stage where the fact that Linux users have a choice of GUIs is considered good for the end-user.


Paul

Scott Gever
2007-04-24 15:31:59
Preston,


I think your observations and conclusions beg some interesting questions. For instance, if linux is not poised to take over the desktop, is anything else? To that, I would answer, yes. In fact, OS X has swamped all linux and Microsoft usability features for a long time but now, a lot of people are realizing it. Another question is why would you conclude "never"? All linux keeps doing is getting better with no timetable. All Windows keeps doing is more of the same and never hits it's marks; quality or deadline wise.


You ended by saying "... Linux simply won't cut it." Amend it to "doesn't cut it" and I'll agree but otherwise, your temporal orientation is not persuasive.


Bottom line is you got the correct answer but started with the wrong question.


2007-04-24 15:47:46
Linux doesn't make it on the desktop because of the 'cryptic' names in updates?!? Nonsense most non technical users either decide to update just because an update is available or decide not to update because they just don't understand what any given update system tries to do to them Linux or Windoze. Or does the author of the original article suggest that the Microsoft update 'some update for Windows whatever version KBsomenumber' is less cryptic and more informative for the casual user?


As I do agree that there are some issues for Linux penetration on the desktop, it is certainly not the patching or update system on whatever Linux distro.
- be it hardware compatibility
- be it the FSF preaching choice while restricting choice by making it difficult for the industry to supply non open source drivers
- be it the computer manufacture not offering alternative OS's to user and force feeding the Microsoft products


I could go on but the list is long.


However there is one thing what one should consider before handing over it's hard earned money to the so user friendly Microsoft Corp. that in their latest offering you don't own the software that controls your computer anymore, Microsoft does. Microsoft also controls the way you use the hardware you bought. Just something to think about before you hand over your hard earned money to Microsoft. Be it to use Linux, be it Apple, be it something else. It is your choice. Choose the software and hardware that is right for you, not what someone is telling you is right for you.


h0llar
2007-04-24 16:07:35

Preston,

In my Opinion your comparison of the Debian "package Manager" updating a Ubuntu linux system to Windows update is so out there It makes one wonder if you used Ubuntu for any amount of time?(Over a week?)


I have been running Ubuntu for 2 years now and never lost functionality from an update. Also if I choose to learn about a specific package there is a wealth of information out there. Far more than is avalible for an average windows update package, EVEN THE SOURCE CODE.


Looks to me like more and more Windows wont cut it for Desktop users. As I am write this I am sitting here at college with a class mate who has a 1 week old Vista laptop. In the last 20 min. It has crashed 3 times and She had to use my ubuntu Laptop (Running Feisty Which has been out less time than Vista;) To watch streaming video.

Unlike Windows Ubuntu just works and yes, I am a Desktop user.


Caemhin
2007-04-24 16:08:12
Do you really think the desktop paradigm is where Linux will have the most impact? I suspect it will be in the area of mobile technology that Linux developers should be concentratng. The desktop is old media now.
Javester
2007-04-24 19:05:25
I'm currently working at a fairly large software company and we're slowly transitioning to installing Ubuntu Linux on our laptops, with Windows XP running in VMWare.


We get the best of both worlds! The rock-solid stability of Linux, made easy with the nice packaging of Ubuntu, and with XP readily available in the background.


And since our products are enterprise-level systems (read Unix/Java/Oracle/DB2), working in Linux makes everything sooooo much easier. No need to run X Servers. No need for terminal emulators, nor SSH/FTP clients and other cut-and-paste solutions to make Windows work in a mixed environment.


Vista? Hmmpphh... Its nothing more than a largely cosmetic upgrade. Heck, even Beryl and Compiz puts Vista to shame with what in can do with far less hardware.


Now if VMWare or any of the other Linux distros come up with an easy way convert a Windows XP machine to Linux, whilst migrating the currently installed XP license to a virtual machine...


That could very well be the tipping point for widespread Linux acceptance on the corporate desktop (if not the consumer desktop).


With VMWare Server already free, new microprocessors providing hardware virtualization support, and Linux intergrating virtualization support (not to mention Vista turning out to be such a dud for the corporate desktop), that time may just be around the corner...


And Preston, it appears that you just tried Edgy Eft. Have you tried Feisty Fawn which has made substantial improvements in the packaging mechanism?

Javester
2007-04-24 19:07:48
Just wanted to add that Windows will stick around... I'm a Nix man myself (Linux, Solaris, OS X), but I still keep a Windows machine around to play games.


For everything else, I use Mac/Linux/Solaris.

Giovanni Bassi
2007-04-24 20:57:36
Well, after reading all this comments I am just glad the discussion keeps on going.
While "the community" keeps on running to update Linux, Microsoft will be on its toes. It will keep sharp and it will keep on improving its apps. I'm just happy Firefox came around; if it didn't Microsoft would just had relaxed and not updated IE. The same exact thing happened to VB and VC++. Microsoft relaxed, then came Delphi and Java. Microsoft replied with .Net and is virtually taking over enterprise development.
Thanks open source communities!


And while the open source community is working to update their products, they are years behind one of the most valued area of every Microsoft development: user experience. After all, the user is the one paying the bill.

jeremiah foster
2007-04-25 04:39:24
Vista is actually already driving people to use Linux according to DRW, so I think Linux will actually take over the desktop too. Mostly thanks to Microsoft's cruddy quality and expense.
B
2007-04-25 06:31:24
Those are the short descriptions of the updates. Anyone ever clicked the "Details" button? I think those are pretty good explanations of the packages. Just as good as Window's update descriptions. ( Of course someone like me would like to see all the fixes that are in the updates, but that's another story... )


Yes, my mother is not going to understand update descriptions from Windows OR Linux, but someone like her is going to simply do automatic updates anyway. This is certainly NOT a good reason to say Linux will never take over the desktop. Try another reason. :)

Elam
2007-04-25 07:51:48
turn off your bold please
Elam
2007-04-25 07:52:16
:)
Elam
2007-04-25 07:54:37
Oh, and anyone who says 'never' anything shouldn't be taken too seriously. The only thing holding Linux back from mainstream Desktop adoption is lack of applications.


I need my Photoshop and Flash MX and so forth. I think these will come eventually and when they do, Linux is desktop ready.

Barry Bloye
2007-04-25 08:14:44
I can't see how any of those are worse that update names like "Security Update - KB 2012345". It's not like the 'vast majority of people' really need to know what they are!
Ivanotter@comcast.net
2007-04-25 11:54:08
3 things that stop me from just switching over to Umbuntu:
1: It does not GUI support WPA encryption, the ONLY encryption that is relatively secure anymore for WiFi (relative because only wire is truly secure), and installing a program that is NOT in the Synaptics package manager? I haven't found out how. Probably just missing it, but STILL, point is don't know how.


2: Gaming: I don't mean Ataxx knockoffs and Scorched Earth 3d (like both, I mean Red Alert 2: old, but still cannot play it reliably without emulation and other things as such. Doom3, Halo


3: Laptops & Hardware in General: I have an IBM Thinkpad t42. For a decent amount of the hardware (even though IBM is a big Linux proponent: my t42 doesn't even have a Windows Key) there is no Linux driver. Like my Biometric scanner for my finger.


If i could resolve those, I would seriously consider switching over.

Cloned
2007-04-29 02:13:19
I love Linux, espically ubuntu Fiesty Fawn, but i get your point: the avarage computer user only knows of windows, not even that DOS was the predessor, let alone there was any other versions than xp. Also, I talk to my friends, raving about Linux, and they do not know what im on about.


If a distro was to be like Windows, I wouldn't use it. One of my main reasons of installing Linux was that to keep my sanity. I started using computers sinse i was two, in the DOS era of Windows, it was great. then they made 95. installed it and still used dos. However, when they intergrated it into Windows, i was in shock! I found it totally pointless and boring now. I only use Windows now for pointless applications i need to use for my education and thats all.


Also, one question? If there was a Linux distro which was litually a copy of windows, could you exploit it and plant a virus into it?


Cloned

jbooth
2007-05-01 07:28:41
"Never"?
A number of years back I bought a copy of RedHat v 5.0, installed it on an old box and set it up as a little server just to play with. A friend said that Red Hat would be out of business in a matter of months because Windows NT 4 was so good it would take over all servers and all desktops in no time. Now that friend runs a fairly large web site hosted on a dozen or so servers running Red Hat Linux.
Ubuntu desktop Linux may not be as polished as some would like, but Linux sure has come a long way in just a few short years.... and Never seems like a long way off.
Markus
2007-05-01 14:13:49
Regarding 129 updates, you installed 7.04 when it was still in beta. I got that many updates too but they were updates of all the final versions.
Aeurgo
2007-05-01 15:29:52
The thing is, you are talking about the middle-ground of computer users here. The users that have any interest in knowing what the updates do. Most of them, my technologically challenged mother (using 7.04) just clicks the button and waits for it to finish whenever the system tells her too. These are the users you are forgetting about - the users that don't look in the corners.
And btw, installing software, my mum couldn't do that when she was running Mac OS X, let alone Windows. But using Ubuntus "Add/Remove" she has managed a good deal on her own.
charuhas
2007-05-02 03:41:37
The real question is Microsoft Windows is ready for Desktops??
Leave alone Linux.
Microsoft it slef does not support its own softwares.
Good example is Microsoft Office suit.
Try to open MSWord-2003 file in MSWord-2000 and vice versa.
I bet you will never use Microsoft products again.


And besides you can have all required softwares in one single CD.
You does not need to buy any thing else.

Phil
2007-05-03 04:43:54
I gave up on Microsoft being afordable and usable without continual re-installs and loss of data in 1999 and installed Red Hat 6.0 and haven't looked back.


All I have to add is that Microsoft software of any flavor that I have tried (Basic in rom with a TRS80 through Windows XP Pro) is not ready for the internet.


Windows is my "play station", but I am bored with games now and GNU/Linux is my "work station".


Fedora core 6 has yumx for software and has installed anything I need, plus the updates update all the software as well as the basic OS.


I have a partition for Ubuntu, I gotta try it.

Another Anon.
2007-05-03 18:12:49
A few points for Linux
1. The man pages are useful, in contrast with Windows
2. A few things like multiple desktops (patented by Microsoft, I've heard, but certainly never used in Windows!), mouse paste, fully customisable everything (dangerous things, like "format C:" in DOS, are not accessable to users, but everything else - yes. Windows either blocks all or allows all) are very useful features. Because of them, going back to XP every day (at work) is terribly annoying.


Can't think of anything else right now, but if Linux is not suitable as a desktop system, then Windows is a very user-friendly environment and never crashes!

Dimitri
2007-05-05 01:39:01
It was correctly stated above that the main reason users avoid to use linux on desktop is the admittedly high amount of time needed to be invested in familiarizing oneself with the new O.S. Having a solid experience with windows XP, however, I needed the same time to acquaint myself with windows vista as with linux ubuntu. Furthermore, if i add to this the difficulty to get software for vista, i have no reason to stick to microsoft!
brendan
2007-05-07 00:25:57
I think the main reason more people don't use Linux, is because the average computer user doesn't know it exists. They may have heard the name, but don't know there is a choice when it comes to an OS, other than buying a mac. Most people have never heard of the Dvorak keyboard, which is better than the QWERTY in most ways. But most people don't switch over because they have to learn all over again, the same goes with Linux. People who use windows will stick with it because they know it.
Tony
2007-05-11 06:42:29
I`ve been using Ubuntu since version 6.10 (Edgy Eft) and recently upgraded to 7.04 (Feisty Fawn), but the hardest part of using Ubuntu (or other Linux distro) are when you installing new software or hardware driver (such as VGA driver or MP3 codec) because Ubuntu is forced you to connect to internet to download the packages. And as you know, at development country like Indonesia where I reside, unlimited and 'always on' internet connection is really expensive for most people and are not widely available in every district/province. Majority of internet users in Indonesia uses the very slow 56K dial-up connection.


That`s why penetration of Linux at development country is hard. And also, unfortunately, Ubuntu didn`t have driver for 56K modem by default. So...??

Simon
2007-06-11 17:15:09
You have a very westernized view of the OS market. 3rd world countries will adopt Linux, Countries who's philosophies differ from America will also adopt Linux, people who can't afford Windows will adopt Linux. Microsoft recently dropped the price of retail Windows to a few dollars in countries where piracy is rife, why? Because market share will decline very rapidly in those countries when good people, who are currently pirates, realize they no longer have to break the law.


There will be no 'Year of' anything just a steady decline in market share for Windows, first around the world, in markets already tough for Microsoft, then slowly but surely at home.


BTW No hack required. If you're interested in installing Linux as a program while running it as a completely separate operating system check out Wubi. You can install and uninstall like any other program, It really is a great intro to Linux and is an improvement on the Live CD as it runs like a regular install.


http://www.cutlersoftware.com/ubuntusetup/wubi/en-US/index.html

Marco
2007-07-20 12:40:42
The Year of Linux Desktop has been "just around the corner" for how long now ? 9, 10 years ?
The only way that Linux could succeed is once its advocates aim for the lowest common denominator and not for people with above average tech skills. But as exemplified in the comments "if it doesn't work for you, you're doing it wrong" this is unlikely to happen any time soon. So Linux remains a system by programmers for programmers.
Edude
2007-08-10 06:39:25
There's no need to read what all the updates are, you can just click "ok" at the bottom of the screen and let your software update as mindlessly as in Windows. Besides, you only get updates for stuff that's already installed, nobody is going to try and sneak something in there that your system doesn't need, unlike another OS we all know about. And isn't it nice to know that you will always have the latest version instead of having to go find updates for something that has gone obsolete?


In Debian (origin of Ubuntu) you have Synaptic which has all the software available on-line for download. You want games? You will never be able to download all of them (yes, some are junk, some are diamonds) and try them all out. And more are being developed all the time.


Unfortunately, most people will not want to change, a case of the devil you know verses something new.

Halca
2007-08-12 10:20:18
Boy, you've got a lot of generalisation on your side. Firstly, there are other FAR more desktop centric distros than Ubuntu, which seems to be somewhat of joke in the Linux world.


"As soon as I installed it, I received a notification that updates were available. I clicked the notification, and was told that 129 updates were available."


Now firstly, it's pretty interesting to hear a windows user, who usually has updates once per century to start whinging about software updates.


Secondly, i agree with the fact that Ubuntu is completely reciprocal of what it claims to be, but to say it's not got a bazillion dollars of iniquitous cash behind it, it fares PRETTY DAMN WELL against windows, which is even worse!


For instance, do you think windows users on the whole know EXACTLY what "Windows Upgrade 3.0" KB89303 is? Of course not.


"Same things holds for installing new software. It's simply too tough for the average person to find and install software for Ubuntu."


Synaptic? System Tools -> Install Software is too hard? You need to get some peanuts.