Thursday, September 14, 2006

Linux is not just for geeks anymore

Today someone brought to my attention this osnews article with the title "Why Desktop Linux Will Not Take off, and Why You Don't Want It to".

Although the author makes some very good points describing geeks (at least it described my geek side perfectly). He makes the wrong assumption that Linux is still just relegated to geekdom.

Linus Torvalds criticism of Gnome, for example is actually its praise.

As a geek I think that one can use Gnome for the every day things and still have access to 'under the hood' stuff using the command line console (actually as a geek I don't like Gnome limitations either so I use something else).

Linus displays the clear traits of a geek. So what? Some other people that aren't technical geeks have joined the Open Source movement and are slowly making their mark obvious. They are layering simplicity on top of the complexity.

Linux is very fast approaching the "Easy for beginners to do easy things, Easy for experts to do complex things".


Ankit Tandon said...

Linux in my view is emerging out to be an OS which is user friendly with all other poweful features...In my experience most of the people who don't switch to Linux are simply ignorant about it or find it difficult to change there perception of a Desktop from windows to anything else.

charm said...

At The Working Centre we recycle a lot of Pentium II's and III's. Due to licensing we're often stuck with older versions of Windows (i.e. 95/98). When volunteers have a problem installing Windows (i.e. the hardware behaves badly) they always come and ask me for an Ubuntu Linux disc. Why? Because it's a lot easier for them to install, and it works beautifully on the hardware. It's a lot of horse hockey that Linux is difficult. In my experience it's people who try it for an hour, or a few weeks, and expect to just get it.

The problem is that its really like expecting to know how to fly a plane just because you can drive a car. People think because they "know" an OS like Windows that Linux should work that way, if it doesn't, they ditch it - because they give up before they try to learn it. It's not worth learning because they already know another OS. But if you come to it with fresh eyes (i.e. never tried a computer before) it can be really refreshing.

I know quite a few people who never touched a computer who found Linux really easy to use (and we're talking using WindowMaker as a window manager). Easy is different for different people.

And the article mentions Games as being a sticking point, but he clearly hasn't done his research. While a lot of Windows games never get translated into Linux versions there are a load of cool games out there. For example, I recently picked up Northland for Linux. I also play Diablo II LOD under Cedega, and it works fine. Cedega is point a click, a little more work than a Windows install, but not much more... and with software like VMWare, there really is no point in running Windows as a standard desktop, not with all the spyware and virus problems it has...