[CS-FSLUG] Linux Today - Is desktop Linux too fragmented to succeed? A friend tells it like it is!!

Fred A. Miller fmiller at lightlink.com
Sat May 2 14:14:42 CDT 2009

Timothy Butler wrote:
> I think Jerry is wrong on this one.
> Simply put, McAllister hits on points I've been saying (or being told by
> users) for years. It was interesting he mentioned tax software. How many
> people do I know that struggled with WINE or had to boot up VMware to do
> their stupid taxes? It's those sorts of little things that help to 
> disqualify Linux by the death of a thousand qualifications.

Agreed.....we MUST have tax software! I just do them online because I
have a moral problem buying any software that must run on MickySoft,
even under emulation.

> My parents can't switch to all Linux, because of things like tax
> software. I moved my mom over to Linux for a year or so. I "converted"
> to Mac OS X during that time and she ended up following because she was
> constantly frustrated at having to have me come look at her machine to
> do "one more tweak" to make it do stuff.

Well, in all fairness, that is true in some cases with Linux, but even
MUCH MORE so with MickySoft.

> She is now a Mac evangelist. She loves the "just works" photo
> downloading, easy music management, the compatibility, etc. Despite my
> best efforts (and at the time, still a belief that Linux could work for
> almost any desktop user), I couldn't replicate that experience using Linux.

And, until Linux devs. get rid of the *nix snobbery soft often seen, you
won't be able to. I also have some moral problems with Apple, so I'm not
about to go in that direction.

> IP constraints are real. I can boot up a new Mac, and not only will it
> be (by most people's admission) the most beautiful looking desktop
> available, it will also play virtually any media file I throw at it
> without having to download or configure anything. This is powerful.

Yep.....sure is!

> People don't want even easy downloads. They just want the system to
> work. They want to download an AAC file from the iTunes store and sync
> it with their iPod Touch. They want to install TaxCut directly from the
> CD with no tweaking (unless the system does it automatically). They want
> to open the computer up from sleep mode and have it work in less than
> five seconds.

All true, except I can't understand why anyone needs an iPod. ;)

> I think McAllister's other point is valid too. One person uses Ubuntu,
> another uses Kubuntu, another insists on openSUSE. You can't just pick
> up a single book and learn how to do everything in each of them, because
> each one works differently. Fragmentation has been a major issue for
> years. That most distros have centered on GNOME (and KDE marginalized
> itself with version 4; in the words of a friend, managed to do the
> impossible feat of making Vista look good) doesn't solve it.

In fairness, KDE will before long be where it should be. It's
progressing VERY well quickly.

> Which I say with disappointment. I thought (and still think) Linux is a
> great solution, but as long as most of the developers are so busy
> ignoring what the users want, Apple will continue to be the only
> provider of a successful desktop *nix.

I've been battling with the devs. as well as others.

> A few observations on what Linux needs:
>     1.) It needs someone to pour millions of dollars into WINE and bring
> it up to the point that it can run current versions of Photoshop,
> TaxCut, Quicken, etc. It then needs to be tied into the DE so closely
> that the end user is blissfully unaware of the compatibility layer.

Yes, for those who want to go that rout. I want NATIVE apps!

> Focus on apps that really cannot easily be replaced with something
> already on Linux and only worry about currently supported versions -- no
> one cares if Office 2002 runs on Linux any longer.

True. Besides, with OpenOffice, who needs M$ Office anyway.

>     2.) It needs one of the two major DEs to be completely marginalized
> so that there is one standard "Linux desktop."


>     3.) It needs a major OEM to make Linux its flagship OS and focus
> totally on making really slick, desirable systems (think MacBook Pro or
> even Dell Adamo -- systems fully capable of being "cool") that come with
> it pre-installed.

Agreed, but I don't see that yet.

>     4.) It needs to come with pre-installed, licensed codecs for MPEG-4,
> QuickTime, DVDs w/ CSS, etc.

A given.

>     5.) It needs to come with one best of breed app for every job, never
> two sort of OK ones. If one cannot stand by itself, don't bundle any
> (except through a download service, see below).


>     All of this is actually quite doable. Here's what Ubuntu should do.
> It should create Ubuntu Pro for $49 off each LTS release. Ubuntu Pro
> would be a paid product so as to buy those codecs. For the moment, it
> could also include a license of VMware (but, with Canonical working with
> VMware to make it "rootless," much like VMware and Parallels for Mac).

NO thanks....too much of an opportunity for some MickySoft based
intrusion to cause problems.

>     On top of that, it would launch the Ubuntu App Store, which would be
> an attractive, GUI driven app store much like iTunes Store is for the
> iPhone/iPod Touch. Leveraging the existing apt-get architecture,
> Canonical could make waves as being the first to bring the same ease of
> installation that iTunes does for iPhones to a desktop OS. They could
> make it so, like the iTunes Store, app developers could pay $49 to join
> and sell apps for a 70-30 revenue split. this would generate huge sums
> of cash for Ubuntu, which could use that to drive development, but it
> would also make it easy to incentivize the same sorts of creative
> developers who helped Apple distribute 1 billion iPhone apps in less
> than a year.

I suppose. I don't think there's the devs. to make all that happen.

>     Likewise, Canonical could sign a deal with Amazon to build in the
> Amazon MP3 store (think as it is on Android, which in turn is copying
> iTunes) and perhaps even Amazon Unbox. Integrate shopping directly
> within Rhythmbox so that it is as good or better experience than iTunes
> on Mac/Windows.


>     The last step is finding an OEM. Dell needs a new plan. Work with
> them to launch a complete line from netbooks to luxury laptops of
> systems with Ubuntu Pro preloaded. With Ubuntu's subtle, tasteful
> artwork team, it'd look nice, be very functional and could be slotted in
> price maybe $200 less than the equivalent Apple. These systems shouldn't
> be Windows or Linux systems -- a totally separate Linux line with its
> own unique features That would perhaps sell some in a bad economy...

Just NOT workable because of Gnome! It simply ISN'T what most consumers
want to look at, nor is configurable as KDE for those who want to really
tweak it. YOU may like it, but I can tell you that in the real world, it
WON'T cut it!

>     Here's an idea that would make it killer: find a way to take one of
> those instant boot "light" Linux systems  and find a way to make it so
> that it could seemlessly fade into the full distro that could boot in
> the background while the user was already doing stuff. Instant on could
> be a killer app.

It could......Novell COULD make it happen, but won't.

>     One last thought, while I'm busy musing. Linux needs a killer app.
> Apple has the iPod. Windows had Office. Neither was totally unique, but
> both gained a following that drove people to adopt the platforms they
> worked best on. Linux needs something that people want. Linux needs to
> be aspirational rather than utilitarian. That'll sell.

Yes, it would, and it's been mentioned off and on by many of us,
however, such an app. hasn't appeared and I doubt it will.


Gun-toting Americans are clearly more self-sufficient than the sissy
Europeans. This is great news for everyone except Barney Frank, who's
always secretly wondered what it would be like to be taken by a Somali
--Ann Coulter

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