[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
Sun May 3 11:30:02 CDT 2009

Timothy Butler wrote:
>>> 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.
>     Practically true, but I think the ease of installing stuff of CD's
> causes most people not to notice. Either that, or they just live with
> it, but if they move on to something else they have higher expectations.

Therein lies part of the problem. Even though they know full well that
M$ isn't secure and NEVER will be, they don't like change.

>>> 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 can't imagine giving up my iPod! (Although I refuse to walk around
> in public with headphones in my ears, let the record show.)

Hehehehehehehe.......here, you don't want to get caught with both ears
plugged or covered with "anything," or it can cost you a bundle in fines!

>     Actually, I'm an iPod addict -- I have three. Four, if you count the
> iPhone. Although, admittedly, I was given two and won one. If only my
> car had an iPod dock. But, the Beetle come with either a satellite radio
> or an iPod docking cable; mine came with the satellite radio. The
> mini-headphone jack suffices.

I'll take a good CD/DVD player anytime. ;)

>     I think the iPod dock also demonstrates Apple's savvy. It's
> simplicity and efficiency have created an amazing ecosystem for devices.
> And who wants to buy even the world's greatest phone or music player
> when your stereo and your car have docks for another device?

I agree with that......gives people choices, even though I don't choose
to use them, others do.

>>> 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.
>     I hope so. I think the danger is the "release it broken, and then
> fix it" mentality. That's what Microsoft did with Vista, too.

Yes....agreed. FIX it first, the best that can be done anyway. Another
factor that we often don't take into account, is that the economy has
taken it's toll on devs. as well.....not as many as there once was nor
do they have the time to devote to it.

>>>    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.
>     If you make it so they can generate a profit, perhaps starting with
> netbook focused apps, they will come. Look at the iTunes app ecosystem.
> You had no iPhone developers at all two years ago; only "greymarket"
> ones a year ago -- now you have the biggest mobile app ecosystem in
> existence. A lot of it, I think, is the promise that Joe Appdeveloper
> can make a nice bit of cash at $.99 for an app without having to deal
> with the headaches of billing, etc.

That WOULD be an advantage. 'Sure would make MickySoft sweat, eh? :)

>     The key is the easy infrastructure. That makes cost of entry low.
> The software, for that matter, could even be Open Source, if the devs
> wished to make it that (think the RHEL model). For $.99, people would
> likely use the store, even if the software could be compiled for free.
> It's an impulse price.

It's a VALUE price that can't be ignored.

>>>    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.
>     I don't know, Fred. I can say GNOME comes closer to the Mac OS X
> experience than KDE (if you look at KDE 4, note that even its GUI cues
> down to the color scheme mimics Vista, whereas GNOME's visual cues are
> right out of Apple's GUI handbook), and given the universal praise of
> Mac OS X... The only problem here is that I started using GNOME and fell
> in love with the philosophy I followed the source of inspiration back to
> the Mac and switched.

'A minority, to be sure, with no criticism intended, even as much as we
like to bust each other's chops. ;) I haven't spent a lot of time on
Macs, but the newer models with the latest OS seem to me to not be like
any other OS in design nor philosophy. I like much of what Apple has
done, but sorry, I don't see Gnome as being even close in any way.

Now, having said all that, IF Gnome had the configurablity and features
I expect from a desktop, I'd give it a much more serious look, but it
doesn't so I won't.

>     People I show GNOME to these days think it looks very nice. The big
> problem is all the other stuff above.

Yep.......it does look nice at first. ;)

>     (Tweakability isn't the problem, I would argue: Mac OS X, like
> GNOME, hides much of its customizability in the configuration files,
> focusing on the stuff normal users want, and it doesn't seem to hurt
> drawing users. GNOME may need more "power user tools" -- like exist in
> the OS X ecosystem -- that add GUIs to tweak these otherwise hidden

Probably. If they aren't available from the GUI, then users, by and
large, aren't interested in using it. One of the things that kept so
many, a vast majority, using KDE through 3.5 was all the EASILY
available "switches" to make it look and do pretty much all anyone
wanted. The problem is that it became bloated, IN PART due to it's
design. That's why KDE4 was totally written from the ground up with a
new design, so that new features, (Plasma for one), could be implemented
and get rid of the bloat.

> features. I'd add, I think this is the Mozilla Firefox model too --
> Mozilla dumped the KDE-esque, do everything in one spot suite for a
> relatively lightweight, but expansible browser that now is a major force.)

They learned that it's an error to try to make an application into an
OS. Let the OS handle what it should, and let the application do what it
should do and do it well.

>     KDE does have potential, but they need to bring on some serious GUI
> aesthetic experts. KDE 4.2 did fix some things, like the horrid font on
> the clock in the panel, but the theme still looks like a mix of Vista
> and OpenLook (the kicker panel looks just like the Vista taskbar and the 
> toolbar buttons and other elements look very reminiscent of OpenLook).

NO disagreement there. If I were a dev., I'd want to mimic the Mac
interface LONG before Vista/"7", and not just because of my dislike for
anything from the, IN TRUTH, "evil empire," but because the design and
philosophy of the Mac is superior in every way.

>> 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.
>     Indeed.

I want very much to say something at this point, but can't except hope
isn't lost..........yet. ;)


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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