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Why Desktop Linux Hasn't Taken Off

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the let-the-flaming-begin dept.

Linux 1264

alphadogg writes "It's free, easier to use than ever, IT staffers know it and love it, and it has fewer viruses and Trojans than Windows. So, why hasn't Linux on the desktop taken off? When it comes to desktop Linux, the cost savings turn out to be problematic, there are management issues, and compatibility remains an issue. 'We get a lot more questions about switching to Macs than switching to Linux at this point, even though Macs are more expensive,' one Gartner analyst says."

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Way too confusing (5, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#39846823)

How I am even supposed to begin to recommend Linux for the average user when there are 100 different distros, each with its own quirks and issues? Hell, even I don't have any clue where to begin on which one to recommend. And I sure wouldn't know how to support each one if they had problems.

At least with Windows, I can say "Use Home Premium at home, Professional at work." Even simpler with Macs. With Linux, I guess I would recommend Ubuntu, but a lot of Linux fans are even starting to bitch about that.

If you want simple users, make it simple to use. Linux is way too fractured right now for the average user. Get a consensus down to a single home distro, a single business distro, and a few specialized distros and then start from there.

It would probably also help if you could get Linux users to stop fighting amongst themselves over every little goddamn thing. Outsiders are really turned off by what looks like a bunch of squabbling geeks fighting over their favorite Star Trek series (which we all know is DS9, anyway). Average consumers *do not* like stepping into the middle of a fight which they don't even understand. That's one of the reasons they like Windows and OS X (all the fighting over those is kept behind the scenes, for the most part).

Re:Way too confusing (4, Insightful)

TechCar (2628639) | about 2 years ago | (#39846831)

Also; Quality, easy of use, availability of (commercial) software etc are the better selling points. Frankly, free is one of the shittiest selling points for corporations. The cost of OS licenses is ridiculously small compared to everything else. Hell, employers have to pay almost 100x the price of Windows/Mac license to one employee per month, with taxes and benefits. If things work better with Windows/Mac then it's a no-brainer. With servers the cost are much higher, and Linux been used with them a lot more and has better compability, so it's less of an issue. But even still Linux has only managed to get about half and the other half goes to Windows Server, which admittedly is used more in internal-facing servers.

"Free" just isn't good selling point for companies. The time you need to waste with Linux costs a lot more than something that just works. Hobbyists might value their time less, but employee hour for a company costs A LOT.

Re:Way too confusing (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39846935)

availability of (commercial) software

this x100 is half the battle; the other half is management of desktops (basically admins having to relearn, which will face resistance).

Re:Way too confusing (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 2 years ago | (#39846957)

Free mattered a lot more in battling other Unix desktop OSes which were over $1k at the time. Windows on the desktop has always been cheap so against Windows it hasn't mattered much. If Windows were $1k per desktop OTOH...

Re:Way too confusing (5, Interesting)

RanCossack (1138431) | about 2 years ago | (#39846969)

Hobbyists might value their time less, but employee hour for a company costs A LOT.

I thought a lot of what you said made sense, but -- hobbyists don't value their time less; they just enjoy their hobby. It's different from a company.

Re: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39847023)

Because of "Gnome 3"

Re:Way too confusing (5, Insightful)

sconeu (64226) | about 2 years ago | (#39846991)

The cost of OS licenses is ridiculously small compared to everything else

Yes and no. The cost of OS licenses is ridiculously small. The cost of OS and app license *COMPLIANCE*, on the other hand, can be huge *cough*BSA*cough*.

Re:Way too confusing (5, Insightful)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | about 2 years ago | (#39847007)

And then there's the problem of distros breaking on upgrades, and the prevalent WORKS_FOR_ME && WONT_FIX responses towards bugs, the really lousy bug-reporting scheme (I tried it with KDE, my cpu went to 100% and never even loaded the desktop, requiring a reinstall from scratch).

Then there's the lack of social skills among the "self-anointed." Plus their childish insistence on labeling it GNU/linux (do you call it a Firestone/Mustang)? Or M$. Yes, we see what you did there, and no, after the 5,000th time, it's just stupid.

Pointing out the problems invariably gets you labeled as a shill, an astroturfer, or worse.

Pointing out the problems with the GPL - or worse, pointing out that the GPL doesn't even respect the 4 freedoms listed on the home page of the FSF - brings out people who blindly repeat what "everyone who really is a true believer knows."

It's not a religion or a cult, but you could have fooled me.

Re:Way too confusing (1, Troll)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#39847285)

Ah yes, here you are again.

And then there's the problem of distros breaking on upgrades

I've had Windows break during upgrades. Windows is so terrible. *cough*

the prevalent WORKS_FOR_ME && WONT_FIX responses towards bugs, the really lousy bug-reporting scheme (I tried it with KDE, my cpu went to 100% and never even loaded the desktop, requiring a reinstall from scratch).

Ah, generalities and anecodes...

Then there's the lack of social skills among the "self-anointed."

Because the actions of a few give you license to bash an entire community.

Pointing out the problems invariably gets you labeled as a shill, an astroturfer, or worse.

Perhaps if done with less arrogance, aggressiveness, and spite it might go over better. Or you could just ignore them, instead of "waging war" and becoming their polar opposite.

Re:Way too confusing (4, Insightful)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | about 2 years ago | (#39847009)

The issues with Linux have not changed in the past 10 years. It's disappointing that no progress has been made.

Sure it's easier to install than it used to be, but for most people it's not as simple as putting the disk in and running the installer. You'll end up with devices that don't work and that Joe Average can't troubleshoot.

Despite the fact that it's become easier, it's still not easy enough for the general public. Compounding this problem, the "Easy" bar has moved significantly further away now that OSX and iOS are becoming the consumer platforms of choice.

The desktop platform is, for average consumers, on the way out. There's really no need to worry about it now. The resources poured into Linux for desktop PCs would be better spent building a competent, truly private, truly free, easy to install and again, truly free - distro of Android.

Re:Way too confusing (3, Interesting)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#39847139)

The issues with Linux have not changed in the past 10 years. It's disappointing that no progress has been made.

Perhaps this is because what you believe to be "issues" are not believed to be by the people doing the work?

for most people it's not as simple as putting the disk in and running the installer. You'll end up with devices that don't work and that Joe Average can't troubleshoot.

And when Joe Average has problems with Windows he's equally stuck.

it's still not easy enough for the general public.

And the people working on the various Linux distributions generally aren't targeting the general public. Faced with the marketing machine that is Apple and the monopoly that is Microsoft, what value is there?

The resources poured into Linux for desktop PCs would be better spent building a competent, truly private, truly free, easy to install and again, truly free - distro of Android.

So long as Android is developed behind closed doors it can never be "truly free." It will always go where Google will take it, and they've got the money and the vendor access to ensure their version is always what is used.

Re:Way too confusing (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39847217)

This is not a fair comparison at all. The average user does not install Windows
or OS X, it comes pre-installed.

Heck, installing Linux from scratch on random hardware can be far easier than
doing the same with either Windows or OS X. Many drivers work right off an install
disk.

Comparing apples to apples, stick to assuming users buy their computers with
Linux pre-installed.

Re:Way too confusing (5, Funny)

wjousts (1529427) | about 2 years ago | (#39846861)

It would probably also help if you could get Linux users to stop fighting amongst themselves over every little goddamn thing.

Checks weather report in hell, nope, not gonna happen today.

Re:Way too confusing (2)

rainmouse (1784278) | about 2 years ago | (#39846941)

It would probably also help if you could get Linux users to stop fighting amongst themselves over every little goddamn thing.

I'd agree with this idea, maybe Linux needs the software equivalent of the Council of Nicea...

Re:Way too confusing (2)

wjousts (1529427) | about 2 years ago | (#39846923)

Agree on the need for less, simpler distros. The problem is that one the greatest strengths of Linux, that if you don't like something about it you can just change it, has led to it biggest problem, that there are hundreds of slightly different flavors that the average outsider can't make head nor tail of. I'd say it's ironic, but some grammar nazi will jump all over me and tell me I'm using it wrong (which I probably am).

Re:"Just Change It" (2)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | about 2 years ago | (#39847245)

We had a chance to get Linux On the Desktop in 2006 with Vista "that looked like Windows 7 (to come later) but crashed like Windows 95". So X% of users suffered, y% stayed on XP, Z% went to Mac. Let's just say "no one" (for LARGE values of "no one" in quotes) went to Linux.

But maybe we're on the edge of an even better chance. We're all being shoved off of XP soon, headlong into Windows 8 Metro. Metro will NOT look anything like Windows. It might not even run a lot of apps so the compatibility advantage weakens.

So just maybe, if we can get a couple of overall policy direction leaders that the techies really trust, (with no single one in charge for fairness?) then maybe someone who likes Disruptive business can tap a silent investor with a BIG pocket to churn 30,000 developer-hours to cleaning up the inter-operability problems in Linux. (Maybe some cross-distro middleware?)

Re:Way too confusing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39846959)

STFU RTFM!

Re:Way too confusing (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 2 years ago | (#39847013)

...recommend Linux for the average user when there are 100 different distros, each with its own quirks and issues?

I've worked with several engineering companies that used Linux because of the ability to customize only to regret the choice because of the many quirks and issues, mainly compatibility and stability of device drivers. If engineers are frustrated, average end users would be lost.

Re:Way too confusing (5, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | about 2 years ago | (#39847015)

Dude.... DS9 was way too bogged down in politics. TNG FTW.

Besides, it's not just fragmentation. The fact of the matter is that Linux isn't designed with any sort of binary compatibility in mind, and consumers don't have the patience for trying to learn why compiling the latest Foo application produced some obscure error about C++ symbol availability... or worse.

This problem came to a head for me when I had to port an app to a newer version of a library to avoid breaking everything else on the system; the library in question was, IIRC, a popular sound library—the sort of library whose existing API should never just suddenly go away and get replaced with a different API. For me, it took all of about fifteen or twenty minutes; for a non-programmer, it would take all of about fifteen or twenty years, all because they couldn't be bothered to include a three-line compatibility shim as part of their new API. And that right there is why Linux will never make it on the desktop as long as the hacker mentality prevails.

What most consumers want is to know that for the next several years, they'll be able to get new apps without having to upgrade their OS, and that those apps will be simple, drag-and-drop binary blobs that "just work". Anything less than that, and Linux won't go anywhere.

Re:Way too confusing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39847033)

DS9? How dare you? STFU & GFTO, you kiddy n0ob.
Picard would force you to make it so. (listening to Lt. Cmd. Data (RIP) when in "rambling" mode )

We all know that there is only TNG. Now return your geekcard. It has been rendered void.

DS9.....! Paaa. Incomprehensible how people like you are allowed to post publicly.

(kidding.........sort of......or do I?)

Re:Way too confusing (5, Interesting)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 2 years ago | (#39847037)

I just installed Linux Mint Debian Edition. It's 100% compatible with Debian Testing. I run Debian Sid on every linux machine in my house (HTPC, server, sheevaplug, sound server in the basement). I've tried other distros. My girlfriend has Ubuntu and every single update she bitches about how they changed something. First they forced Unity. Then they managed to make unity worse. She's going to give the latest LTS a chance before switching to Mint or back to Windows.

I wanted to see if I could finally replace my Mac. I'm very, very impressed and think I may finally switch to a Linux "Desktop" (it's my laptop). MATE is excellent with Compiz.

But the one problem with Linux is what everyone touts as its biggest advantage: The paradox of choice [ted.com] . When I was setting up scale (aka Expose) on Compiz I could drag the speed slider all the way from 0 to 50. What they ment, fuck if I knew until I tested it. And could I really see a difference between 5.3 and 5.5? No. Say "Slow, Medium, Fast". If nothing else hide it behind a "advanced user" dialog.

A perfect example is the pointer acceleration/speed in the mouse dialog. XP has 10 discrete spots. MATE has infinite. I spent almost 9 hours getting the desktop how I wanted it. The average user doesn't want to do this, but if they DO want to change something how about we not overwhelm them with choices.

Re:Way too confusing (2)

s0nicfreak (615390) | about 2 years ago | (#39847065)

Simple: "Use ubuntu." The average user isn't deciding what they will use at work. And who cares about what the Linux fans say? Do you want the average user to be able to use their computer, or do you want to appease the Linux fans? The average user isn't going to hear the arguments. Ubuntu is simple to set up, simple for the average user to keep up to date, they can browse the web and make word-compatible documents and, basically all the things the average user wants to do except watch netflix. They won't NEED to call you for support. When my mentally disabled brother was on Windows, I got a call a week where he had some virus or something he couldn't figure out. I switched him to Ubuntu and he now calls me for help about once every 6 months. If a mentally disabled person can use it, the average user can.

Re:Way too confusing (0, Flamebait)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | about 2 years ago | (#39847233)

So what you're really saying is that linux is for the mentally disturbed. Got it.

Re:Way too confusing (5, Insightful)

nyctopterus (717502) | about 2 years ago | (#39847093)

I think you have a point, but I think the biggest problem is that most people just don't see the advantages. Their question will be 'what will Linux let me do that I can't do on Windows/Mac?'--and there isn't a clear answer to that. There will be things they can't do to do: run many popular games and applications, but the benefits are nebulous.

Answer that question satisfactorily, and I think you'd see some people switch.

Re:Way too confusing (1)

mcrbids (148650) | about 2 years ago | (#39847097)

It would probably also help if you could get Linux users to stop fighting amongst themselves over every little goddamn thing.

Don't know what you are talking about?! There are different distros, with different strengths and weaknesses. Looking for stability? Debian or RHEL is a good choice. Want the latest stuff and don't mind an occasional burp? Fedora's your man! Want something that caters to Desktop users? Try (K)Ubuntu!

In truth, underneath, they are all very similar. KDE is pretty much KDE, with the main differences between distros being mostly about skins and icon placement. As the sizes of the packages involved have grown, the amount of influence a single distro has on the end user experience has shrunk.

Re:Way too confusing (5, Insightful)

dynamo52 (890601) | about 2 years ago | (#39847119)

It would probably also help if you could get Linux users to stop fighting amongst themselves over every little goddamn thing. Outsiders are really turned off by what looks like a bunch of squabbling geeks fighting over their favorite Star Trek series (which we all know is DS9, anyway). Average consumers *do not* like stepping into the middle of a fight which they don't even understand. That's one of the reasons they like Windows and OS X (all the fighting over those is kept behind the scenes, for the most part).

Not only that but another big turn off is that documentation often tends to be non-existent, incomplete, confusing, or simply wrong then, to make matters worse, when inexperienced users venture into the forums looking for guidance, the replies are usually along the lines of RTFM emphasized with varying degrees of condescension. Very rarely will you find a simple, clear set of instructions on how to perform a specific procedure. New users need hand holding but the Linux community will more often than not just throw them to the wolves.

Re:Way too confusing (4, Insightful)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about 2 years ago | (#39847203)

"...Linux for the average user when there are 100 different distros..."

There are at most 5-6 distros for the average user. Counting every special single distro is at best ignorantly misinformed. More likely intellectually dishonest or outright FUD.

Re:Way too confusing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39847281)

Hell, even I don't have any clue where to begin on which one to recommend.

Linux From Scratch [linuxfromscratch.org] , next!

Common Execution Runtime (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39846859)

What is required is legislation that a common execution runtime exist on all Operating Systems. Write once, run anywhere. This will end OS monopolies.

Re:Common Execution Runtime (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39846905)

Java ?

Oh I see, what you really mean is "I want to see a portable Windows execution runtime" available on all operating systems.
Can we have also a common Apple execution runtime ?

Re:Common Execution Runtime (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39847143)

No, I want to see a common API integrated into all operating systems. Files would be shared as bytecode and converted to native code upon install. There is no reason why Java, as a language could not be offered, but I do like the idea of a common language runtime allowing people to use different languages.

Re:Common Execution Runtime (2)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | about 2 years ago | (#39847055)

"I'm from the government, and I'm here to help."

Re:Common Execution Runtime (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about 2 years ago | (#39847237)

Great idea! But who will be arrested if this common execution runtime doesn't exist for, say KERNAL [wikipedia.org] , or CP/M [wikipedia.org] , or any one of these 150 Operating Systems [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Common Execution Runtime (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#39847249)

There goes the idea of adding new features to your OS.
Lets say, my OS I wanted to create a new feature lets just say this feature interacts with your brainwave patterns and interprets this into flat text.
Ok I have the feature, now Programmers want to to access that feature and use it in there programs... But wait, they can't because their is a Law preventing me from doing this, unless I am willing to go threw the process of regulating it make sure my API is compatible and give my competitors all my trade secrets so they can implement this as well.

Advertising and Marketing (5, Insightful)

gatkinso (15975) | about 2 years ago | (#39846869)

Very powerful, virtually nonexistant for Linux on the desktop.

Re:Advertising and Marketing (1)

lorinc (2470890) | about 2 years ago | (#39847017)

Add to this the fact that targeted managers have no technical background at all, and do not even have a clue of what the words "operating system" mean. It's easier to sell something to an ignorant than to the perfect layman.

Re:Advertising and Marketing (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 2 years ago | (#39847089)

The one most powerful form of advertising (and the folks of Google may argue it's the only one that counts - it got them big), is word-of-mouth. Having people recommend a product to other people. I know that is how I for one got to know Google, and started to use Linux.

One should wonder why it doesn't work in the case of getting Linux more widespread.

Bingo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39847159)

The answer is marketing, including but not limited to pre-installs which are probably the most powerful form of marketing to be had in the desktop market.

Stupid question, Linux isn't a desktop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39846877)

Let's talk about Gnome 3, Gnome 'Classic', Unity, KDE, XFce, Enlightenment, and so on, and then see why Linux hasn't taken off on the desktop.

And does the desktop matter outside the office any more when you have tablet-style UIs?

Re:Stupid question, Linux isn't a desktop (1)

YurB (2583187) | about 2 years ago | (#39847283)

I agree, this is a stupid question. We have different DE's, and we have varying number of software options per task... But I'd say that if we had different, more thoughtful and creative culture of computer use (when the program is not supposed to be smarter than the user, but just to work well), people would appreciate free software much more, and some of the free software would have been better. But the fact we have it now, and that the industry is counting free software users as a significant part (by providing critical software for linux like Skype, Flash player, Nvidia drivers, etc) is good, although I'd want more openness from them.

Two Words (4, Insightful)

thebrieze (1102809) | about 2 years ago | (#39846879)

Microsoft Office

Re:Two Words (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39847135)

More specifically, Microsoft Outlook.

Re:Two Words (0)

grqb (410789) | about 2 years ago | (#39847215)

I agree. I don't know anybody who uses a computer and doesn't rely on Microsoft Office. And crossover office is not good enough (it might work well enough, but it's not easy enough for my parents to install themselves).

It comes down to the fact that distros like Ubuntu are still too difficult to use for normal folks. Give your parents Ubuntu and see how far they get trying to play a DVD or uploading music to an ipod.

Why Desktop Linux Hasn't Taken off... (4, Informative)

s0litaire (1205168) | about 2 years ago | (#39846881)

simple...

Games!

Get the games companies to release Linux version of their big titles (Modern Warfare series, Elder Scrolls series etc... etc...)
and you'll see more and more Linux desktops!!

Well that and AMD / Nvidia get around to shipping bug free drivers that is.. ^_~ lol

Re:Why Desktop Linux Hasn't Taken off... (1)

Radres (776901) | about 2 years ago | (#39846963)

I don't think games are as big a pull as they once were. Consoles and the perceived need to control privacy have pretty much killed the PC game market.

Re:Why Desktop Linux Hasn't Taken off... (3, Insightful)

Dan667 (564390) | about 2 years ago | (#39847047)

Games are still a huge pull on the PC (and a lot of people are sick of the vendor lock-in crap forced on them with consoles). Valve announced that they will be supporting Linux with their Steam Game Service.

Re:Why Desktop Linux Hasn't Taken off... (2)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 2 years ago | (#39847145)

The death of the PC game market has been greatly exaggerated, for the past decade or so. But it does seem that the ability to run the latest red-hot games is much less of a factor in buying the next family PC than it was some years ago.

Re:Why Desktop Linux Hasn't Taken off... (3, Interesting)

DarkXale (1771414) | about 2 years ago | (#39847157)

The PC game market which out revenues the PS3 and Xbox360 together? Before taking into consideration MMOs?

Re:Why Desktop Linux Hasn't Taken off... (1)

jandar (304267) | about 2 years ago | (#39847225)

Games *are* the major sector missing mostly on Linux. Or why else are the humble-bundle releases so breaking news?

Games are the only applications I've ever run on a non-*x os. My mom and sister don't play games and are satisfied with Linux.

Re:Why Desktop Linux Hasn't Taken off... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39847279)

No, GP has the right of it. If you just need some random shitty Windows-only app, WINE or VirtualBox will get it done. If you want to play a game though, even something that's "ancient" by now like Oblivion let alone Skyrim or Crysis etc, they just don't cut it.

Re:Why Desktop Linux Hasn't Taken off... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39847165)

Re:Why Desktop Linux Hasn't Taken off... (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 2 years ago | (#39847209)

Assuming games are truly an issue, it's a chicken-and-egg problem. Games are written for the platform that has the most users, to get more sales. That'd be Windows. So the only way to get games written for Linux is to have more (or at least sufficient) people on Linux. But if, as you say, people choose the platform based on the games they can get for it, they'll naturally stick to Windows.

Yet I think about half of the PCs in this world are used in office-type environments, where games are not exactly a primary application. And the Windows-less tablet market also appears to do quite OK, without having high-end games available. Probably for most people Angry Birds is good enough there.

need remote/cloud applications (2)

elykyllek (543092) | about 2 years ago | (#39846887)

It's an application compatibility issue at the moment. Just about everything I use is browser based these days except photoshop. If I could pay a subscription to something like onlive.com for remote photoshop access, my next laptop wouldn't be a mac.

Some more/sane reasons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39846945)

Here are some more reasons why non tech masses haven't picked linux yet
http://qubitlogic.com/2012/04/why-this-is-not-the-year-of-desktop-linux/

Re:need remote/cloud applications (1)

IrquiM (471313) | about 2 years ago | (#39846975)

For you, yes. But Photoshop is not the reason for most people.

Re:need remote/cloud applications (3, Insightful)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | about 2 years ago | (#39847201)

But something is. For me, it's games and, to a lesser extent, Netflix. For a lot of office workers, it's Office (no, OpenOffice/LibreOffice is not equivalent when the whole infrastructure and training has been MS Office). For some people it'll be Netflix instead. Windows has a lot of killer apps and, unfortunately, the consumers have no say on whether they get ported to Linux.

Re:need remote/cloud applications (4, Insightful)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | about 2 years ago | (#39847277)

For you, yes. But Photoshop is not the reason for most people.

Almost everyone has their own "Photoshop" - a program that is only available under Windows or a Mac. Witness how many people are still dual-booting. If dual-booting and VMs were rendered impossible, the number of linux installs would plummet.

Maybe It Has? (2, Insightful)

stupor (165265) | about 2 years ago | (#39846899)

Maybe it has taken off and all this talk of it not taking off is just evidence of it having taken off?

Management that fears change (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39846909)

I work for a software company whose product line is based on linux & linux-like OS. The managers in our group are extremely hostile to linux and harass staff if they use anything other than microsoft windows. It doesn't help that many of these managers are former microsoft employees but basically they fear it because they don't know it and are way too lazy to learn anything new.

Samzenpus, Official /. Troll (5, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#39846915)

Why do we keep getting these posts that are deliberately chosen to incite flamewars between pro- and anti-Linux people?

Do we need to have more unhelpful arguments like the one yesterday when Samzenpus posted a dupe of a response to a dupe from back at the start of the year?

Re:Samzenpus, Official /. Troll (1)

k6mfw (1182893) | about 2 years ago | (#39847011)

Is it just me or do others see virtually all articles are submitted by samzenpus?

Re:Samzenpus, Official /. Troll (2)

maccodemonkey (1438585) | about 2 years ago | (#39847067)

"Why do we keep getting these posts that are deliberately chosen to incite flamewars between pro- and anti-Linux people?"

If the story was trolling, I'd agree, but in this case, it's fact. Desktop Linux hasn't taken off. And a discussion about why is actually productive and could help improve Linux, even if a few people have hurt feelings that something bad was said about their favorite operating system along the way.

Re:Samzenpus, Official /. Troll (2)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#39847219)

And a discussion about why is actually productive

The problem is that the discussion has been had many times, and the demand that is always made is that everyone give up what they're doing and go to work on some $unified_platform, with the decisions made by $unknown_dictator as if they were a single corporation. The problem is that unless you find a way to incentivize or inhibit people who disagree with how things are done, you will get differentiation. No one ever offers a solution to the people problem.

Re:Samzenpus, Official /. Troll (2)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | about 2 years ago | (#39847221)

It's flamebaiting more than trolling.

Re:Samzenpus, Official /. Troll (1)

Alan Shutko (5101) | about 2 years ago | (#39847079)

Why? Because it drives page views, of course.

ummmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39846927)

Because Gartner analysts aren't paid to think analytically. They're paid to spout nonsense droll in order to bulk up readership and subscriptions to their out-of-date information.

Linux _is_ on the desktop. It's in more places than "they" think.

Is it ever going to "iPad" everything else out the door? No, because people actually like choices, and they're going to
choose the platform that makes it the easiest to do the job they have to do.

That's why my desktop is linux, and my corporate windows image is run in a VM.

Year of the Linux desktop (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39846929)

Maybe we need to plan a "year of the Linux desktop" to get people to migrate...

Re:Year of the Linux desktop (2)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | about 2 years ago | (#39847133)

Maybe we need to plan a "year of the Linux desktop" to get people to migrate...

... to Apple? Because that's what people want - something that works, not something you have to make a hobby of just to keep running between distro-hops.

Because it's UI is stuck in the 90's, creaky... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39846931)

....confusing, non-intuitive, and not compatible with most all games and apps.

My opinion on the matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39846971)

I happen to like Linux (run Oscelet 64-bit on a VM) but I'm pretty technically minded. The problem is partly advertising (or lack of it). The other issue is not too many novice users would like to go to the terminal and type sudo {whatever} to install things. The newer versions have helped eliminate this, but I still have to occasion do just that for some things. I do, unlike many other Linux users from some of the reviews I've seen, like Unity since it very much mimics Windows Start menu in that you can type something in the box and it pops up various options; like the quick launch bar too. Still, it's the intimidation factor along with lack of advertisment that's killing Linux imo. :)

Lack of advertising more then anything else (5, Insightful)

Criton (605617) | about 2 years ago | (#39846983)

Most people do not know there is an alternative to windows or that it's as good as windows. Other issues confusion and people trying to fix things that are not broken such as completely redoing gnome in gnome 3 or brain dead things like Unity in Ubuntu which cause Mint to over take it as the most downloaded distro. Android is a good example of what can happen when people are exposed to an alternative OS. It's now the number 1 smart phone OS and Windows phone is more or less a flop.

Re:Lack of advertising more then anything else (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39847253)

Android however is also far more centrally managed. The biggest issue with Linux is not in Linux itself, but everything 'on top'. These conflicts and constant infighting often results not in 2-3 throughly developed and reviewed products, but 12-13 half-arsed projects with little to no peer review (comparably). And with all the incompatibility issues it breeds as well.

No single standard library, no single standard GUI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39847039)

Linux is too fragmented. It needs to have one standard library framework for coding against which includes the GUI, audio and other input/output methods. It also needs to have a standard framework for encoding/decoding compressed audio/video.

Open source does not have to be "free" as in beer.

Re:No single standard library, no single standard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39847187)

It does, moron. Ever heard of SDL?

Windows 8... (1)

smudj (1983234) | about 2 years ago | (#39847049)

hasn't been released yet. Playing with W8 pushed me to look seriously into Linux alternatives. (#! and Linux Mint) Valve should release Steam for Linux this year. Gabe Newell trashes Win8/Linux client near: http://techland.time.com/2012/04/25/steam-native-linux-client-near-gabe-newell-trashes-windows-8/ [time.com]

Someone cool has to use Desktop Linux (1)

kawabago (551139) | about 2 years ago | (#39847053)

I just can't understand why that isn't me!

Same old question asked a million times! (1)

na1led (1030470) | about 2 years ago | (#39847059)

I've heard this argument so many times, I think it's posted a dozen times a year. I'm sure everyone knows why Linux isn't popular, we live in a Windows World! If the poster doesn't know this by now, he must be brand new to computers!

My YOLD came in '92 (2)

dLimit (2495802) | about 2 years ago | (#39847063)

Seriously, Who cares? My year of the Linux desktop came in '92 even though I was born in '93! I use Linux religiously and will evangelize it to anyone willing to listen to my gospel. But so what if Linux doesn't ever get mainstream. If people would rather use Windoz or Mac, it's their God given right!

Development Tools? (5, Interesting)

darylb (10898) | about 2 years ago | (#39847077)

At work, I write code that has to run on Windows (multiple versions, multiple bitness), Linux x86-64, and Solaris SPARC 64. Maintaining compatibility across multiple versions of Windows and Visual Studio is trivial compared to Linux. Worse, GUI applications have more complex code execution paths that, under Windows, can be debugged without too much pain. On Linux, I cringe every time I have to fix a broken GUI.

I'm sure there are lots of Linux developers that are smarter than I am, but, really, Microsoft has pushed hard to make the developer tools usable and productive, so much so that they're actually worth the cost. The result is that it's easier to develop more apps faster on their platform.

Just one opinion.

Dumb It Down (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39847083)

I know why I switched back to Windows - I couldn't figure out into what directory I should install new programs. I searched high and low for a how-to to explain one simple thing, couldn't find the answer despite hours of searching, realized the more difficult questions would be impossible to find answers to, and gave up.

Linux geeks are extremely good at what they do, but no one has come up with a Idiot Newbie Guide to Linux article or even a Top 10 Things Newbies Should Know About Linux list. Y'all have to dumb some of this stuff down.

No, I mean dumber than even that.

Polish & Commercial Software Support (1)

Githaron (2462596) | about 2 years ago | (#39847085)

Even the more polished Linux distros such as Ubuntu have their little quirks that you either have to live with or go the trouble to fix which could mean hours of trouble that the average person is not willing to go through. As time has progressed, this has gotten better but it is still not completely there. The other is lack of commercial software support for software that everyone already uses. I can't even watch Netflix on my Linux install without a Windows VM. Even when a business chooses to create a Linux version of their software, the software sends to have a subset of the functionality of the Windows version. I still haven't even mentioned gaming. All this said, when I can use it for what I am doing, I prefer Linux. The powerful command line alone is worth it.

confusing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39847087)

Because with windows and macs, you can realistically expect someone to help over if you have questions that you need answered. That includes dumb things like 'how do I install my printer'. *Some people* find asking someone else to handle their problem far easier than looking it up online. By some people I mean the majority of people.

E Pluribus Unity (3, Insightful)

XiaoMing (1574363) | about 2 years ago | (#39847091)

IMHO, it's because Ubuntu was really the only distro that had a fighting chance at "mass" adoption (that number is relative, but considering how MacOX was sitting at 9% for an eternity...) with their tri-force of:

A pretty, and relatively user friendly interface,
A centralized software update suites that didn't requiring googling what to sudo apt-get for in a console
And pretty good brand recognition and media attention.

UNTIL they decided to completely over-indulge their own sense of relevance by forcing the mandatory Unity interface on users with some absolutely retarded idea that they would to do this for the huge wave of tablet adoption they were now going to see, since I'm assuming Desktop users are already totes in the Ubuntu bandwagon?

I think the real issue isn't that (consumer) Desktop Linux hasn't taken off, but that the people behind the main distro that actually had a fighting chance decided to chop some of the more useful limbs off of it to make it more...fingerable.

http://www.extremetech.com/computing/102599-ubuntu-14-04-will-be-a-smartphone-and-tablet-os-so-what [extremetech.com]

So? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39847107)

I've been using as my primary operating system for well over 10 years. For typical programming/office work it's just easier to deal with than Windows. This is especially true when my job requires to connecting to other Unix based boxes and the majority of my work is done on command line.. I feel neutered every time I have to go back to windows..

Personally I don't care what the masses like..

Still to complicated. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39847117)

I have played with linux distros of various flavors over the years. They install easily, usually recognize all the hardware with no problems and are easy enough to tweak and navigate. I usually give up when I need to install a program I've downloaded from the web. It is never as easy as running an executable on Windows. When it starts telling me to open a terminal and enter a string of commands, I get lost and give up. Fix this one issue and I would be a convert.

managing a lot of machines is hard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39847121)

IMHO the problem has a lot to do with managing a large number of computers. I'm no expert, but I do have a decent understanding of UNIX, I can configure a working Linux distro for personal use, etc, and when I studied the possibility of migrating a large part of a small company (40+ machines) to Linux, the biggest problem was how to mantain them, restrict permissions, etc. Something along the lines of MS's Group Policies is needed.

It has no wings (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39847123)

It didn't take off because it was never treated as a platform. It lacked vision of competent professionals at the very top who could put their foot down and tell the people in the chain that an OS doesn't really need 5 pre-compiled IRC clients or web browsers.

Once you ask the user to launch the terminal you've failed.

Notice I'm speaking in past tense. The desktop thing is coming to an end. It's over, Jack. The only hope for linux from here on out is SOC ODM implementations as plumbing. We're already in the post-PC appliance era and I don't see many prospects for Linux as an alternative.

It might be Android today, or something else in the future, but that's where Linux will stay - in name only. Desktop wars are over.

Re:It has no wings (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39847223)

Desktop wars are over.

For most, yes. But just like the Civil War, where you have a few ignorant rednecks down south who still think they're going to get the better of the north one day, there are a few stragglers who still think the year of Linux on the Desktop is coming at any time now.

This is a stupid question. Here's the answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39847129)

1) Most enterprise level software does not work on linux.
2) Most linux distros do some things great and others so bad it's not an option
3) Most software most non technical users want to use does not have a linux install
4) Linux savy techs (actually know wtf they are talking about) cost almost double what a windows tech does in salary
5) Companies know that the equipment they get will work with windows. Finding obscure linux drivers for a network card, video card... etc can be extremely difficult.

It basically comes down to Windows does more out of the box than linux because it was designed to be that way. For linux to become acceptable in a normal corporate world it will take the ability to emulate windows and run it's software.

It will take more time . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39847137)

One of the hurdles is the number of business applications written exclusively for MS OS for which there are no readily available Linux substitute. It's simply an economy of scale issue. For software with a broad base of users, ie GIMP, OpenOffice, WebBrowser, and etc, there are no shortage of quality Linux alternatives. However, for less popular software in accounting, shipping, inventory management, barcodes, and etc, the user base is simply too small for a quality Linux alternative to be created. While the number of Linux application is increasing and quality is improving it will take years for the open source community to fill in the various niche software being used in the business world.

Why Not Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39847141)

Microsoft Office. I don't want to hear about the 'compatible alternatives', no one really cares. That is all. It's available for Windows and Mac OS X, and the non-technical higher-ups who make the decisions don't care either. Also, you'd be surprised at how many big businesses still use Lotus Notes...

Linux missed the window (5, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | about 2 years ago | (#39847151)

The great opportunity for Linux on the desktop was a decade ago. Back when Windows 95 sucked, Windows XP was late, and Windows 2000 cost several hundred dollars. That's when it could have happened. It didn't.

There was a second chance when the netbooks came in. But that, too, was botched. For a moment, it looked like the future of computing was a $99 Linux netbook in a bubble pack at WalMart. This terrified the industry. The EeePC Linux was badly broken, especially in the networking area. Microsoft frantically revived XP, and then, with the cooperation of the PC industry, tried to destroy the netbook industry. Companies which also produced PCs were told they'd lose their Microsoft volume discount if they sold a Linux netbook. Hence, the "Asus recommends Windows 7" [asus.com] branding. Similar pressure was applied to dealers. You can buy low cost Linux netbooks from suppliers in Shenzen right now, but try to find one at a US retailer. (The current ASUS EeePC 1001, at $200, which is a quite capable little computer. was supposed to be a Linux machine. It's only available with Windows 7.)

Re:Linux missed the window (1)

maccodemonkey (1438585) | about 2 years ago | (#39847213)

I don't think I agree, if anything I see another window for Linux adoption coming up. Both Apple and Microsoft appear ready to abandon pros. Lion is getting more difficult for pros to use effectively... and Windows 8... well just look at the start menu.

Using Steve Job's analogy, Apple and Microsoft appear to be abandoning the truck market for the car market, but a lot of people still need to buy trucks. That truck could be Linux.

(Oh great. This turned into a car analogy on Slashdot.)

More Mac inquiries? I am shocked. (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | about 2 years ago | (#39847175)

'We get a lot more questions about switching to Macs than switching to Linux at this point, even though Macs are more expensive,' one Gartner analyst says.

You mean the operating system with multiple millions of dollars of advertising and marketing behind it has a greater mindshare among the general public than the one put together by volunteers with no such backing? Colour me shocked.

(This is not to say that Linux doesn't have its problems, of course. But to suggest like the top poster here that Linux "consolidate" its distributions into one shows a serious misunderstanding of what Linux is and how it's put together.)

Weighing-in (1)

DaMattster (977781) | about 2 years ago | (#39847179)

The article mentioned manageability problems with Linux on the desktop and I disagree. Check out puppet for helping to manage systems. I have a soft spot for open source, particularly CentOS and OpenBSD. Again, from the article, if the Chester County Cat Hospital in the Greater Philadelphia area can deploy Linux on the desktop and server, then just about anyone can. I was amazed that anyone could find an open source practice management system. Generally, I think this article was not too well written but I am impressed at the research done to discover the Chester County Cat Hospital. I actually know of that practice and used to live in the area. Additionally, here is an article written about a company specializing in open source usage in business. A company by the name of MTier has done it, and in the process, is able to basically architect a system that is so secure that it would probably surpass standard auditing requirements by a wide margin: A Puffy in the corporate aquarium [undeadly.org]

The linux desktop has taken off (2)

Anon-Admin (443764) | about 2 years ago | (#39847189)

First, the biggest reason that business does not look at changing is the cost of retooling. Most businesses are soo tied into windows that they can not even consider an alternative. They have thousands of not hundreds of thousands tied up in the windows infrastructure that would, for the most part have to be scrapped and replaced. From communicator, exchange, Antivirus, share point, you name it and if it is a Microsoft product then it is designed to work with windows. I have known several large companies that looked at moving to Linux desktops, once you worked out the cost of retooling, retraining, and the disruption to the end user, it was cost prohibitive.

Now to home use, I think Linux as a home desktop is far more prevalent that most people think. I know quite a few non-tech people now running linux as a home desktop. I have noticed that almost every software provider has listed in there FAQ "Do you provide a version for Linux?" If it is a frequently asked question then, IMHO, it is far more prevalent than many believe. The issue here is proof, with windows it is sales but buying a Linux desktop is not as easy as going to Walmart and buying a windows one. Top that off with the fact that all systems sold with windows count towards windows numbers even when they are wiped and Linux is installed. So the real question is how many linux desktops are there and what is the best way to identify them. Until those questions are answered we really have no way of knowing how big the population is.

BSA (0)

Lehk228 (705449) | about 2 years ago | (#39847239)

Cost of purchase really isn't much for windows and office, compared to the cost of screening hiring and training an employee a few hundred for the software on their computer is not a major factor for a business, the True Total Cost of Ownership is not taken into account until a business gets keistered hard by a BSA audit and has operations interrupted, trade secrets stolen, and forced to settle because the same key was used on two machines (even though there were enough legit keys for all users)

if the business survives this they may look to rid themselves of all BSA affiliated software.

The quality problem. (3, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#39847241)

Dekstop Linux hasn't taken off because people don't want a powerful OS that does what they tell it to. They want trinkets that keep them entertained. It's the same reason why McDonalds sells billions of hamburgers a year, why Home Ec is the chief focus of The Learning Channel, and why Kurtzmann and Orci keep getting work. People are stupid, end of story.

In my neck of the woods it sure is taking off (5, Interesting)

andydread (758754) | about 2 years ago | (#39847243)

300+ Ubuntu residential installations and many business desktops/laptops and counting. When I approach an infected Windows computer I suggest a migration from windows to Ubuntu. I charge the same price to clean windows or migrate to Ubuntu. When they realise that they don't have to keep paying me to come back and clean windows again and again they chose to go with the migration to Ubuntu and are quite happy with their choice. Almost every one of them have not heard of Linux until I come along and give them the option.

Loaded sample population (3, Insightful)

Sebastopol (189276) | about 2 years ago | (#39847263)

All of the +ve praise for the Linux desktop comes from... the linux community!

Try asking non-Linux people what they think of it, and maybe you'll get realistic feedback.

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