Saturday, 24 February, 2001

Linux Not Ready for the Desktop

If you're still unconvinced that Linux needs some serious work before it's ready for the masses, read Linux: Not Ready for Prime Desktop Time over at www.osopinion.com, and be sure to read the comments in the talkback forum.  The author of the article, who is somewhat knowledgeable about computers, describes some of the problems that he encountered trying to get a Mandrake Linux system up and running.  His isn't an isolated case, either.  You can find similar complaints all over the Internet.

I wasn't terribly surprised by the majority of responses in the talkback forum.  To sum them up "Go back to Windows, you luser."  (To be fair, there are some informed and interesting replies, as well).  This is just the kind of advocacy that Linux needs in order to remain a geeks-only operating system.  Oddly enough, most of the posters admit (mostly indirectly) that Linux still isn't for newbies.  Many of their comments start with "if you'd searched the Internet for information, you would have known that..."  These people still don't understand that most users just want the computer to work:  they haven't the slightest interest in hacking the kernel or downloading and installing RPMs to fix operating system problems.

Linux advocates have no qualms about telling users to go grab some new kernel version or updated RPM, yet laugh whenever Microsoft releases a new update.  I fail to see how the Linux way is better than Microsoft's in this regard.  At least when I have to grab a Microsoft update, I just point my web browser at the appropriate site and press the Go button.  My computer automatically downloads and installs the update.  No messy command line or weird RPM commands.