Friday, May 11, 2007

How far have we come?

How far have we come? What am I referring to? I am referring to Linux on the Desktop. How far have we come in this area in the last 4 or 5 years? I reckon the linux desktop has come on leaps and bounds, however, i do not thing the desktop experience is ready for rpime time. Intel and Redhat have teamed up to spread the word but when I first heard about that venture my first thought was "Oh no, here we go again." That venture is doomed to failure. I am sure both parties will put heart and soul into their efforts but I cannot help but think it is doomed to failure. Linux on the Desktop whilst being very very good compared to a few years ago may be ready for the masses but it is the engine that drives it all that is not. While we Linux users pride ourselves on how robust the basic OS is it is held back from mass consumption by the fact that there is no really good way to install updates and extra applications. As is often seen in the MS Windows world people do not want to be editing text files to configure something. people do not want to be putting in the root (administrator in the MS world) password every time they wish to install something or change some system setting. Until that mentality is removed Linux on the Desktop will never propagate. The various methods of various distributions are all well and good and should be heartily commended for their efforts in this area but there are many differing ways and until such a time as those differing ways all follow the same path this Linux on the Desktop thing will go nowhere fast. Redhat is not Linux. Redhat will not succeed in the desktop market. Who will? I haven't a clue but whoever comes out on top of the pile they have a long way to go before they are accepted and until they are accepted Linux on the Desktop for the mass market is doomed to failure.

1 comment:

seVen said...

Very Interesting Indeed.
As I read this post I see on my right the following links in my Gmail:

* Affordable Linux Desktops
* We Do Linux On Tiny Boxes
* Linux Laptops
* 1U 14" Server for $475
Thermal Efficient 1U for AMD, Intel Linux: Servers, Storage, Support
* RedHat Linux »
Linux Workstation »
Red Hat Linux Download »
Linux Installation »

One thing for sure .. Linux is not Redhat ! As hard as they try to appear they are, they are not.
As far as Linux users, we do pride ourselves on knowing our systems and how to configure many things
we may be forgetting that so many things that we used to configure by hand that are now common place and accepted as being configured by applications/scripts though, one thing real quick that comes to mind tcp/ip dial up configurations ( you may remember the good old papchap files and papsecrets by hand=) in the not so distant past. Scripts handle this very well now. Well, maybe the years are moving faster than I want them too, nonetheless, Linux users as a whole are "easing" up a bit and letting applications and/or scripts configure things for them, at least more than we used to. This had to be a slow_ISH process or it may have been met with great resistance though.

This brings us to where more and more people are using Linux nowadays, way far and beyond the numbers as the recent past. I think it is because of ease of configuration coming to town by scripts or whatever way, that may be different in each and every Distribution but get the job done. Do we want our precious OS (yes we think it precious and stable and better! We sure do! ) in the hands of millions taunting it's very "root" ? =)

Compromising the OS by letting by default applications install themselves and update without giving a root password? Or can we have a mini-root ? Just a thought. Sure Linux will let us do such things. It makes one think, the POST contents above that is for sure. It opens up a world for discussion. And Linux is becoming very "cool" which I think is where most Linux advocates, at least old timers just maybe did want it to become.

hmm Interesting topic Jeepster. Very thought provoking by the way! Not so long ago many users of the OS were not really that exited about gaining the masses and many are still not because of reasons you mentioned above.

I, Myself, and many others really want Linux to stay at bay, or, stay *not so popular* for various reasons. For the Geeks in all of us and not for mom amd pop that is, and for sure not for the script kiddies to shine a bad light on the OS. SO not as much mom & pop but the younger masses which would be standing in the way of progress , which, is against the entire philosophy of Linux/GNU/OSS,FSF and the like. But then again, what is the point of that? Well, I guess one thing that Apple and Microsoft started out with was basically NO security so this lent itself for the updates and such without an admin. But then again, more and more, especially at the workplace, users of windows machines are given only "x" amount of access while the admin will have to come and do the rest with the all magic admin password. So, many things to consider here. One thing for sure. Linux has come a long way.. especially in supporting peripheral devices which was the biggest gripe of Linux advocates .. closed source drivers! Andf hey, we would even , and have, accepted closed source drivers as long as they work!

Well, I have to say ... I love the POST and it has some very interesting points of thought.

Indeed they are trying very hard to compete in the desktop market. It is hard to say how long or which way
this will have to turn for it to actually compete with windows or mac on the "average" household desktop.

Putting in a root password may or may not deter many average users from this.
I am not sure if this would deter users from using the Linux Desktop in and of itself. However, I do agree that Linux Desktop for the Masses is not there yet.