i-ac7e046e12bb5910cd67286ae17d0341-children_dont_kill_us.jpg

for the children
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols addresses this question. The question itself was recently raised when Mark Shuttleworth (Mr. Ubuntu) discussed the possibility in a recent talk.

We can assume that Shuttleworth is being optimistic and pro-Linux because he is so invested in it. So I won’t write off what he has to say, but we will not be surprised at his exuberance. Vaughan-Nichols bothers to make a comparison between the Mac system and the Linux system and bases his conclusion on that. Sorry, Stevo, but that’s dumb. If that was the basis for what system is going to be growing vs shrinking in user base, then where would Windows be? Out the window, certainly.


I think there are two types of people who will put Linux on their desktop in their notebooks. One, obviously is the geek, and we need not discuss that further other than to say that there are not enough true geeks to move Linux very far ahead in user base.

The other people are serious computer users … people who are not programmers or engineers or fiddlers with hardware, but who need a serious computer … who simply don’t like windows and don’t like macs and who have not been convinced by their ‘friends’ to be afraid.

Membership in this group of people who may prefer the simple power and versatility of Linux would grow for financial reasons as well. As long as the Microsoft philosophy remains “the users will upgrade, the users will pay” and the Mac philosophy remains, well, similar, there will be people who look at the computer that costs a third of a Mac and half of a Windows-infected box and pick the one they can afford that does what they need it to do.

Right now, I still believe that Linux is not for everyone. It is not for the faint of heart, it is not for people who like to whine. It is not for individuals who are not very smart or who don’t really need a computer that works well and packs a punch. People who don’t know their Ram from their Rom or the difference …. or lack thereof …. between a file and a folder need to be hand held by their Mac or bullied by their Windows box had better stay away.

Fortunately, none of these attributes apply to children. Children have not yet learned to be selectively ignorant of technology or afraid of what they are told to be afraid of. My daughter is equally competent at Mac System X, Linux KDE or Gnome, and Windows. She does not see them as really different. I wish more children (among those that are exposed to computers to begin with) were more widely exposed to different approaches. Were that to happen, unless Macs became cheap or Windows computers became sensible, you can bet Linux will take a much larger share of the user base.

Comments

  1. #1 Winawer
    August 1, 2008

    Umm, Greg? Neither Shuttleworth nor Vaughn-Nichols were talking about market share. They were talking about whether Ubuntu can match the integration and UI of Macs.

  2. #2 Anon E Moose
    August 1, 2008

    The moment I read “Windows-infected” you lost all credibility.

    You’re just another condescending elitist wanker, I see.

  3. #3 Lassi Hippeläinen
    August 1, 2008

    About market share: you missed an essential point. Linux runs fine in low cost netbooks (Asus Eee, Acer One, etc). XP has difficulties, and is on Microsoft’s kill list anyway. Vista doesn’t work, because it is so resource hungry.

    I just bought a Acer One (512MB RAM, 8GB SSD, for 320€), which is fine for web browsing and light writing work. It comes with Linpus Lite, which I don’t quite like. I’ll probably switch to Ubuntu Netbook Remix. And once I get to tuning, I’ll add nother GB to the RAM, set up a ramdisk for transient files to minimize SSD writes, and throw away the swap partition…

  4. #4 morgan
    August 1, 2008

    he’s not an elitist wanker at all – its the truth.

    As soon as you put Windows on your machine you have infected it with aids – just by going on the internet you spread your windows aids to other machines.

    And you have to pay for it too…Also buying products from Microsoft helps fund the Republican party in the USA………….

  5. #5 jo
    August 1, 2008

    I find this to be very true, my 4 year old sister currently uses an old computer that i put ubuntu on, she logs in perfectly (the password is super easy), opens firefox and plays tweenies (i made it the homepage for easy access) all the time. She doesn’t seem to discriminate between windows and linux, to her their both computers where she could play tweenies.

  6. #6 Ambleston Dack
    August 1, 2008

    Why is it when a blog or article based on Linux starts talking about Windows and its short comings, you get idiots like Annon E Mouse start the name calling.

    FACT: – The way Windows gives users admin rights helps the virus/malware writers and helps spread their code. I have spent the best part of 10 years as a IT pro, combating such things. Am I an elitist wanker as well?

    Both Linux and Mac are safer because users do not necessarily have admin rights. MS tried this with Vista, User Account Control, but alas they failed.

    I think that Linux community should look to Apple for the way they designed their UI, and emulate the design concept and philosophy. Making the end user’s experience as painless and pleasant as possible should be the design goals.

  7. #7 George
    August 1, 2008

    How did Windows fail with UAC? As a full time Linux user who’s spent a lot of time with Vista I can attest to the fact that UAC is no more prevelant/annoying than GKSUDO prompts.

    The fact that people have turned it off only shows how people are unwilling to change. These are the same people who come on the Ubuntu forums asking how to run as root so they don’t have to type in their password when they want to run synaptic or edit config files.

  8. #8 lefty.crupps
    August 1, 2008

    > The other people are serious computer users … people who are not
    > programmers or engineers or fiddlers with hardware, but who need a
    > serious computer

    Um, really? Because I am a geek, sure, but not a programmer (every attempt to learn pretty much fails), and I need a very serious computer. I do paperwork and spreadsheets. I do graphics. I do video. I do network administration. And, having a ton of free software at my fingertips, I am doing more now that I ever knew I could.

    The only type of activity that I would ever recommend a Windows machine for is gaming, and I’d really recommend that you but a console for that.

  9. #9 Han Solo
    August 1, 2008

    Not gonna happen. There is no ‘linux store’ at the mall, there is an ‘apple store’ with people who are trained and knowledgeable in the use, tweaking, and support of the Mac OS.

    (typing this from a Dell Laptop running RHEL at work right now).

  10. #10 Dan
    August 1, 2008

    Yeah well i think the same way as this article says i like them all but i still also believe that windows is way to problematic and that macs are for conceited rich dont know anything snobs because y else would you buy something so expensive with all the same attributes at a windows system.

    now Linux on the other hand is awesome it has the perfect mix between the two its free( or cheap for the people who will pay for open sorce code) and it has all different kinds of programs out there and if it doesn’t have a program that you need just go and write some code and make one lol

    so think about it cheap os that also has the simplicity but also the power of computing i will always and never change my mind i will stick with Linux forever

  11. #11 Justin Flood
    August 1, 2008

    I see the OS marketplace splitting into 3 segments, with Linux running on low end pc’s and netbooks, Windows running on mid-range and gaming pcs, and OS X running on the more expensive Apple computers, and iphones.

    You’re going to see a huge spurt of growth in the Linux sector soon with netbooks like the eee Pc bringing it to the masses.

    Will it surpass OS X use? Probably not, but it’ll be close. It’s like comparing apples to oranges though ( no pun intended )

  12. #12 Andrew
    August 1, 2008

    > How did Windows fail with UAC? As a full time Linux user who’s spent a lot of
    > time with Vista I can attest to the fact that UAC is no more prevelant/annoying
    > than GKSUDO prompts.

    It wouldn’t be more annoying, except for the fact that it comes up everywhere. You can attribute that to poorly written apps that want to do things that require admin access but shouldn’t, because they were used to the free ride of pre-Vista Windows, but the fact remains that it becomes an annoyance and a lot of users simply turn them off.

  13. #13 Tom
    August 1, 2008

    I think that OSX and Linux are pretty damn similar to “geeks”. So your geek market share is probably going to split there.

    However, for “normal people”, I don’t think that Linux is likely to overtake Mac for the simple reason of usability. With a Mac, when it goes wrong, you go to the store, and they fix it. If Linux goes wrong, you’re kinda stuck to forums, and that’s if you understand the problem.

    Windows also has its use. Gaming, but apart from that you can replace tasks quite easily on Mac and Linux. So i don’t think the Windows hating is quite necessary.

    As soon as Linux becomes as easy to “get hold of” as Windows, then people will stop noticing the difference.

  14. #14 erichansa
    August 1, 2008

    I love how projects like the OLPC is going to uncover thousands of computer scientists from all over the world. Just because you’re broke, and in some cases don’t have running water, doesn’t mean you aren’t a brilliant programmer. And what’s best is that these new developers will be ingrained with the open source bug. Sharing, collaborating and improving. I’m excited for the future.

  15. #15 erichansa
    August 1, 2008

    I love how projects like the OLPC is going to uncover thousands of computer scientists from all over the world. Just because you’re broke, and in some cases don’t have running water, doesn’t mean you aren’t a brilliant programmer. And what’s best is that these new developers will be ingrained with the open source bug. Sharing, collaborating and improving. I’m excited for the future.

  16. #16 Brian
    August 1, 2008

    Most of your objections listed in your “Linux is not for everyone” paragraph is countered simply by buying a system with Linux pre-installed. That way it’s tested and guaranteed to work out-of-the-box. These non-technical consumers you describe will have problems regardless of what OS they use.

    But let’s see, TiVo is popular and people don’t know that it’s Linux or even care. Linux is making it’s way onto cell phones and again consumers won’t know or even care in that case either. The computer has all but become an appliance. So do us all a favor and stop perpetuating myths that no longer exist or shouldn’t have existed in the first place.

  17. #17 stelt
    August 1, 2008

    Sell toys with USB in paws with Linux installed and starting up with menu of kid games as default

  18. #18 Greg Laden
    August 1, 2008

    Winawer: So, you are saying that Shuttleworth is trying to achieve a product that makes people want it more than they want a Mac, and therefore, they will not use it so the market share can not increase? He must be some kind of moron, this Shuttleworth guy. (Or maybe not….)

    A.E. Moose: I see our Canadian is back.

    Lefty: Yes, please re-read. We are in perfect agreement.

    Han Solo: Indeed, I saw people standing in line to get IN to the apple store last weekend at the mall! In relation to windows vs. other products, though, this is excellent news.

    Of course, it is a smallish subset of computer users who will stand in line to get into a store at the mall … a store that was not too crowded yet still had people outside restricting access in order, I suppose, to kee the experience of thse inside at a certain level.

    Justin: Maybe, but I’m not sure why the OS’s would spit out on the basis of what might be their inherent inefficiencies (I assume Windows != Vista in this comparison) Why not run Linux on the Mondo Machine and get Mondo result? It is a high power operating system.

  19. #19 Greg Laden
    August 1, 2008

    Brian: Exactamundo…..

    Imagine if Windows only came as a kit but all operating systems came pre-installed. How many people would be running Windows?

  20. #20 lux
    August 1, 2008

    It’s not just about the OS, it’s about the availability of software, and that’s another area where your argument fails.

    Sure, kids can do Webkinz in the browser on their Linux box, but the minute they try to find any native Linux kid-friendly games or teaching tools they’re essentially SOL.

  21. #21 John Swans
    August 1, 2008

    I think its funny how all those mac and linux fanboys love to hate windows. All three of these have there place. Windows is fine for an average user, lots of support, most people use it and can ask each other question. Mac and linux are fine too, just don’t have the user base for the average home user. Lay off being pricky faggots, go back to starbucks sit in the corner and make your fasion statement ab out how much better your computer is. I know ill think ur cool.

  22. #22 Stephanie Z
    August 1, 2008

    John, I would care that someone who still thinks “gay” is an insult has an opinion on how “cool” I am…why? If you want to spend all your time in Windows forums, go for it, but save the trash talk for your spawn camping.

  23. #23 diggler
    August 1, 2008

    Call me pragmatic or a politician but I think there is room for everyone Dual boot xp ubuntu on hard disk or usb , use vmware to install mac os or any of the combination on your x86 and get on with it.

  24. #24 Nofmeister
    August 1, 2008

    I do think generally that most people will not leave Windows or Mac for Linux. I think that a lot of people simply don’t have the time to learn a new operating system, nor do they want to leave something that they consider relatively dependable. I also think that people are already too dependant on their Windows/Mac software and know how they run to make the change.

  25. #25 Andrew Vincent
    August 1, 2008

    Linux is a great system but i would agree with Shuttleworth. The Linux community needs to focus on a complete solution Gnome and KDE have made good headway in desktop interface, Novell and Ubuntu have also made good strides on the desktop but there needs to be more focus on the total package ie. Nice looking and easy to use programs and interface. The gnome interface is very dated looking. KDE is trying to revamp but running into some major problems along the way. Linux needs a complete solution before it will get in to the mainstream.

  26. #26 Yesudeep Mangalapilly
    August 1, 2008

    @Tom
    “I think that OSX and Linux are pretty damn similar to “geeks”. So your geek market share is probably going to split there.”

    Umm. Nope. I’ve got elders, family, and kids using Linux without any hiccups for more than 2 years now. None of them are geeks.
    They love the fact that they no longer have to wait for their
    system to start up and then their word processor or browser to start up before they can do actual work.

    “However, for “normal people”, I don’t think that Linux is likely to overtake Mac for the simple reason of usability. With a Mac, when it goes wrong, you go to the store, and they fix it. If Linux goes wrong, you’re kinda stuck to forums, and that’s if you understand the problem.”

    My family *is* /normal/. Forums? You’d much rather say
    community. A community that outnumbers and outperforms
    Apple’s shoddy retail stores.

    With a Mac when it goes wrong, you go to the store (if you find one;
    where I live they sell Macs, but have no stores; beat that).
    With Linux when it appears to go wrong, you just ask your friendly
    neighborhood geek.

    “Windows also has its use. Gaming, but apart from that you can replace tasks quite easily on Mac and Linux. So i don’t think the Windows hating is quite necessary.”

    That part I’d agree with. Windows-hating isn’t really necessary. Hating proprietary software and patents is most certainly necessary!

    “As soon as Linux becomes as easy to “get hold of” as Windows, then people will stop noticing the difference.”

    Not really. The people who I’ve got using Linux notice all the cool differences (and annoying little problems as well).

    So yeah. I don’t really like using h4xor-ish terms, but in this case
    I’d like to say “Linux pwns.” ;-)

  27. #27 fak3r
    August 1, 2008

    “As soon as you put Windows on your machine you have infected it”

    It’s true, I had a honeypot (a computer setup to act like a computer with normal services enabled waiting for malware attack attempts) running on the DMZ (demilitarized zone), so just online as I’m sure many users have done for years, and it took about 15 minutes before it started downloading .exe files! Truly amazing, bots had already hit it, and instructed it to download malware…all without me doing anything but putting it online.

    I disagree with you that Linux is not ready for everyone, have you tried to install XP recently? Try it, then install the latest Ubuntu. Under Linux everything ‘just works’, in XP you’re wrestling with drivers and calling Uncle Fred for advice for hours! Really, Linux is simple, and yes, my two kids have no problem navigating Gnome, and then OS X at the other computer, and Windows at school. no big deal.

  28. #28 Ig88b1
    August 1, 2008

    The only thing keeping me from linux is that its all commands. In Windows, I can do anything with point and click. Installing a Video card? No problem. How about a wifi adapter? Easy as 3 clicks and a visit to linksys.com. on linux i have to get my driver, extract the inf, use some windows to linux driver program, configure the driver to linux, remember the name (usually wlan0) and hopefully it will work.

    So linux users, tell me, could a regular user do that?

  29. #29 autokad
    August 1, 2008

    ‘I love how projects like the OLPC is going to uncover thousands of computer scientists from all over the world. Just because you’re broke, and in some cases don’t have running water, doesn’t mean you aren’t a brilliant programmer. And what’s best is that these new developers will be ingrained with the open source bug. Sharing, collaborating and improving. I’m excited for the future.’

    heh, im not so optimistic. i see another russia, millions of low income people with know how trying to hack, spam, and identity theft more US users. at least they will all be upity Linux users.

  30. #30 niksoft
    August 1, 2008

    Linux IS mainstream, the fact that so many people fail to notice it, well, it’s not my fault, leave it there.

    Linux runs most web server, most game server, most DB servers. Linux runs the most network appliances, many phone systems, and happens to be the biggest cell phone platform. It runs most clusters, most particle accelerators and most space craft, and their communication centers (compared to all other OSes), most observatories, and most universities. Linux, if not already, pretty darn close to running the largest part of movie production and post production… It’s main stream already, fact that you see little of it does not take that credibility away from it.

    It will contine dominating these areas, whether users like it or not. Linux is starting to get into the user market, but as many people have mentioned, it lacks the integration. As i commonly say, where in Windows or Mac there is one program to do something, in Linux there is a half dozen programs to do the same job, in parts. Yes the end result you will likely have more control of a better product, but in the end it will take 5 times longer to do. And i don’t mean this in a disrespectful way, i love Linux, it’s total openness, its tweakability is unparalleled on other platforms. Someone here said that geeks will be split about 1/2 and 1/2 with Linux and OS X, thats bs, i have an MBP (dual booted) and 4 nix machines and an OpenBSD box. As a geek i prefer Linux, as a photographer and a music guy i prefer OS X, as a guy who’s into computer security i prefer BSD and once again Linux (though it takes a lot of work for the second of the two to make it more or less secure, depending on a distro). I love and at the same time have problems with all 3 platforms. One thing for sure though, windows right now, pays my bills, and i hate every second of it….

  31. #31 Bader3k
    August 1, 2008

    Will a free program overtake those that are pay? Perhaps. However, Linux is probably going to need to start advertising a lot more – word of mouth, even among a geek community, can only take you so far. I’m a Mac user and also run XP on my machine. Do I need to install Linux? Why or why not? I have no reliability issues, can run all my programs, and so far have no other needs. Does Linux have free scientific or educational programs/aids? Can the programs install themselves with a simple click? Can I get started with the program as soon as it loads? My friends mostly use Mac (my roommate), Windows (XP and Vista, yech)…and, that’s pretty much it (I forgot to mention my brother runs some kind of Linux, but if I want to ask anything I have to talk on the phone for a few hours), and anothre brother who runs I have no idea. There is no neighborhood geek. When I had trouble getting Ubuntu to run properly on my PS3, I had to find a forum and try to get an answer, and all I got was some techspeak that was no help whatseover – and all I wanted to do was get it so that the screen size fit my tv screen. Once I discovered a file type that played native on my PS3, I dumped Ubuntu (10gb og hard drive space I could use). I don’t really play games on my home computer, so that is not an issue. Is there any reason for me to try Linux?

    The “elitist” talk of the post notwisthstanding, I don’t want my hand held (and since I can actually get to Macs Unix core, I can dig if I want to), but I don’t want to waste time fiddling with my computer. It’s a tool, and I want it to work properly out of the box.

    Other than that, what Linux would this post be about? Off-hand, I can think of at least four different versions, and I have no idea which is better, or what the differences are (which has more programs, more support – hee – which is more stable, etc).

    Are there computers pre-installed with Linux? Here in Texas, in the land of Dell, I am not aware of any that have that option, but then again I am not looking for a new computer so I have not asked. When looking at the question of Linux surpassing anything, that has to be considered. Are there any Linux companies that have deals with the machine builders? Are there educational or business discounts or plans that might encourage people to switch?

    Also, if you consider Macs (and Windows), what kind of support for such things as iTunes, the iPod and the iPhone does Linux have?

    All told, could Apples policies (yeah, support does suck) and cost (going down, but actually pretty comparable to some Windows machines), mean that Linux will grow in users and market share? Sure – it could happen.

  32. #32 bob
    August 1, 2008

    “How did Windows fail with UAC? As a full time Linux user who’s spent a lot of time with Vista I can attest to the fact that UAC is no more prevelant/annoying than GKSUDO prompts.”

    As far as I know, GKSudo retain your root password and gives you root priviledge to do anything for 20 minutes. How about UAC now? It was 2 ms last time I checked.

    I’ve configure countless server using GKSudo without loging root, but I was pissed at UAC after 10 minutes, making me deactivate that piece of crap.

  33. #33 Brian
    August 1, 2008

    Does it really matter Linux vs Mac, under the hood Mac OSX is a modified version of FreeBSD called Dolphin. FreeBSD is another flavor of Unix just like Linux is, except that it is not completely open source. Pretty much anything you can run on FreeBSD can be compiled for Linux with little effort. The only difference between Mac OSX and Linux is the UI interfaces and Linux is coming along very quickly in that department with GNOME and KDE.

    As to the Geek or Tech savy, I am both, don’t get me wrong, but I use my laptop with Ubuntu (GNOME desktop) to do my regular word processing, web browsing, email and sometimes a bit of graphics editing with GIMP (Photoshop but free).

    I setup a machine for my 70 year old father, put Ubuntu on it, and spent 10 minutes showing him the basic differences between it and his old XP machine and he was off and running. He has no clue what the difference between RAM, ROM or a Hard Drive. When he looks at a PC its a monitor, keyboard and mouse with applications that he wants to use.

    As to the argument of more linux vs Mac users, were already there. A large number of government organizations around the world are switching to Linux Desktop environments for day to day business. The Open Document format used by OpenOffice.org is working towards standardization and not OpenXML from Microsoft. Once it becomes common place at the work place, then it will start becoming common place in the homes. How do you think Windows did it, it started with business and then people wanted to work from home.

  34. #34 Ian (not Lan) ;-)
    August 1, 2008

    I think the point is that the UI battle is not going to make a difference for the upcoming generation of computer users. If kids today are exposed to a wide range UI’s, they will be able to accept them all for their basic underlying advantages. Linux, Mac, and Windows are all excellent operating systems. They all have pros and cons, but if they didn’t, there would be no question on which is better.

    Laden makes a good point that children using these platforms will have a completely different view on the UI. They’re not afraid of new technology or have a reason to be OS selective. I am a young engineer, and I’m always eager to try new technologies, but in my view of the world: Linux computing is cheap, Windows is powerful and mature, and Mac is middle-age trendy. If this trend continues, I’m sure each will continue to develop on what they’re good at, and their user base will grow.

    My personal computing: I have an old Dell laptop running Ubuntu. It’s great for homework, surfing the net, listening to music, and some limited code development. My Windows desktop runs all of my programs that I need for school and work, like the big AutoCAD and LabView apps. And I got a Mac for my mom, so she can edit/email pictures, surf the net, and she doesn’t have to ask for step-by-step directions that I would repeat to her 10 times and clarify that there are another 10 different ways to go about performing the same task.

  35. #35 Greg Laden
    August 1, 2008

    Bader3k: Your model of Linux … what you think it does and does not do … needs to be updated!!!! For instance, the installation of the mainstream software in Linux is always easier than on a Mac or a PC. Always. No exceptions.

    All systems have stuff you can do that is quirky and requires screwing around and that the average person who wants their computer to ‘just work’ should not touch. Macs included. But the mainstream software in all three systems has fairly system-typical installation methods. And installation is easiest in most Linux distributions compared to other systems.

    In Debian Linux, for instance, you search a repository, check whatever you want installed, hit “ok” a couple of times and it is installed. No EULAS. Software from all sources can be installed together. No nag screens. No versions that don’t work unless you pay for more hardware.

    And in particular with respect to the comparison with Macs, there is very little Linux software that does not run on any configuration, more or less. There are important Mac aps that requires you to spend a lot of money on hardware to use it. THAT is a problem with installation!!!!

    Also, almost never does one need to reboot when installing Linux software.

    “Are there computers pre-installed with Linux? Here in Texas, in the land of Dell, I am not aware of any that have that option, but then again I am not looking for a new computer so I have not asked.”

    again, please, you need to learn more. Dell in fact does this. And there are many others. You might not find them advertised in, say PC magazine, oddly enough, but if you pick up a copy of Linux Journal you’ll find plenty.

    Regarding iX, Linux has full support for all of that software and hardware.

  36. #36 Brian
    August 1, 2008

    “Does Linux have free scientific or educational programs/aids?”

    Yes, close to all the applications for Linux are free, and a there is an entire distribution of linux for education called Kbuntu released by the Ubuntu team for students. A large number of scientific applications are written for the linux platform (prob more than for mac or windows) because of the low cost (See the product call Schrodinger, does protien folding for research as an example of a paid app).

    “Can the programs install themselves with a simple click?”

    Yes, Ubuntu most applications are installed by check box and click of a button. It downloads, installs, and sets the software up and then does not require reboot to use. In most cases you can upgrade linux without a restart too.

    “Can I get started with the program as soon as it loads?”

    Yup, install and launch. Nice and easy.

    Don’t get me wrong, it can do all the things you asked, and in some cases you might need to do a bit more. The UI is not as pollished as Mac OSX. A lot of the functionality you just mentioned has been in Linux for a few years. Its funny when some of the guys at work here show me features on their Mac that they are so excited about that I was using a year or two ago on my Linux Desktop. Its funny, and it doesnt bother me. Mac OSX should gobble up all the features it wants, thats the fun of Open Source. We want to share :)

  37. #37 niksoft
    August 1, 2008

    Under the hood OS X is NOT a modified version of BSD at all, the Darwin kernel they use is based on a nextstep kernel which is based on a Mach kernel with BSD Posix extensions and TCP Stack. Though personally i would have gone with the Be kernel that Jobs was about to buy…

  38. #38 eeterrific
    August 1, 2008

    I am using a laptop right now that I paid $399 with Vista Premium installed (six months ago…Staples), that I upgraded to SP1. Ok, its not a top of the line (technically a POS)..but no real performance problems for browsing (Opera), spreadsheets (open office), some photoshop (GIMP), and of course, word processing (open office…again). It came with 1 gig of memory, which I upgraded with another gig ($25). I spent approximately a day and a half tailoring the system, downloading software, eliminating some services, etc. The performance is pretty decent. I don’t seem to experience the problems other folks do.

    I also have an older desktop (pentium 4, 2 gigs memory) on which I installed Suse 10.3 when it came out, and I’ve used it. To tailor it to my satisfaction, took approximately two days. It works fine. I use Opera, Open office, and Gimp on it.

    Guess what. The operating system isn’t that important. Either system does what I want it to. I can get the assistance I need via the net. How much cheaper would a Linux implementation of my $424 laptop be??

    Operating system geeks, get over it. Its the applications that are important.

    If there’s an issue, its the ability to get support, whether on the web, or your friendly neighbor or relative. And I do a lot of that for neighbors and relatives…100% windows.

    The issue is support. Most people I assist are for all intents and purpose helpless. They don’t know what a driver is, they don’t know what a video card is, they have no idea what tcpip is… And, whether you like it or not, the prevalence of Windows means that those folks are better off right now with Windows.

  39. #39 Andrew
    August 1, 2008

    Let us not forget one thing: Microsoft is Evil, OpenSource is Good. There is an ethical consideration here. This is not an apolitical question.

  40. #40 Chrispc88
    August 1, 2008

    I’m a programmer, and have been for just under 20 years now. I started programming with BASIC on DOS 3 (I was 12 at the time). By 1999 though, I had gotten tired of all the ‘little’ problems with Microsoft’s products. I never had major problems, just little things – and so looking to see if there was something better I downloaded a copy of Red Hat (I think it was version 5 or 6 – I can’t remember). Anyway after nearly a week of searching for drivers and trying to learn how to use a system that wasn’t completely working – I gave up, and put Win98 back on. BTW the system was a Socket7 K62-300mhz AMD with 64Mb of RAM.

    At this time Apple had just released the iMac – which I just looked at as being a toy rather than a computer. But I ended up getting a used Powerpc Performa 180 at a local computer store. Even though it was an older system than my PC I was impressed with the OS – it just seemed to work. Very few programs even required an installer – just drag and drop the app (I still continued to use windows though). When OS X first came out – it sucked, and so I continued using windows. However, when 10.2 came out, a friend of mine showed me all the new stuff – and he convinced me to take the plunge and buy a new PowerMac. I think this was in the middle of 2002. I’ve been using Macs as my primary systems ever since – and personally I’m so glad that I can get to the business of writing my programs in XCode – and not have to worry about little annoying problems happening.

    I always have a PC as well, and about once a year I decide to ‘try out’ linux again. Then at the first part of this summer, we had a bad lightning storm when I wasn’t home – and my newest iMac got fried along with a couple other items. I had just installed Ubuntu on my PC, and so I had to spend a couple weeks with Ubuntu exclusively. I can now say I HATE Linux. I’m sorry – but it needs some SERIOUS work if it is going to be something that the average everyday person is going to use. My list of complaints would be long – but at the top of this list would be that Linux needs a universal API of some sort (perhaps Mono could one day fill this need) so that ANY program that is compiled to work with Linux will work with any Distro. The ‘package manager’ in Ubuntu is -ok- but I want more choices than those that are spoon fed to me. But every time I would find a program for ‘linux’ on the net, I would then have to spend hours looking for supporting packages and such to make that program work… no normal user is going to do this!!! Linux looks great now – there is eye candy galore, and I have very few issues with drivers (except I can never seem to get a video card driver that takes full advantage of my video cards). So, personally I think Linux needs to work mainly on making it dead simple for an average user to go find a program on the net, download and run it – without having to do anything else to make it work (with few unavoidable exceptions obviously). This is a very good part of the reason that Windows continues to be popular, and why Mac is ahead of linux.

    Programmers like myself, can write a program for Windows or Mac and put it up on the net and know that the vast majority of users can simply download it and run it. Other than instructions of how to ‘use’ the program nothing else should be required. I will continue to ‘try’ linux from time to time, but I can’t ever see it becoming my main desktop OS until at least this issue is addressed. But that’s just my opinion! :) And I do apologize if this offends anyone, I’m just saying this is what my experience with Linux has been so far.

  41. #41 Chrispc88
    August 1, 2008

    I’m a programmer, and have been for just under 20 years now. I started programming with BASIC on DOS 3 (I was 12 at the time). By 1999 though, I had gotten tired of all the ‘little’ problems with Microsoft’s products. I never had major problems, just little things – and so looking to see if there was something better I downloaded a copy of Red Hat (I think it was version 5 or 6 – I can’t remember). Anyway after nearly a week of searching for drivers and trying to learn how to use a system that wasn’t completely working – I gave up, and put Win98 back on. BTW the system was a Socket7 K62-300mhz AMD with 64Mb of RAM.

    At this time Apple had just released the iMac – which I just looked at as being a toy rather than a computer. But I ended up getting a used Powerpc Performa 180 at a local computer store. Even though it was an older system than my PC I was impressed with the OS – it just seemed to work. Very few programs even required an installer – just drag and drop the app (I still continued to use windows though). When OS X first came out – it sucked, and so I continued using windows. However, when 10.2 came out, a friend of mine showed me all the new stuff – and he convinced me to take the plunge and buy a new PowerMac. I think this was in the middle of 2002. I’ve been using Macs as my primary systems ever since – and personally I’m so glad that I can get to the business of writing my programs in XCode – and not have to worry about little annoying problems happening.

    I always have a PC as well, and about once a year I decide to ‘try out’ linux again. Then at the first part of this summer, we had a bad lightning storm when I wasn’t home – and my newest iMac got fried along with a couple other items. I had just installed Ubuntu on my PC, and so I had to spend a couple weeks with Ubuntu exclusively. I can now say I HATE Linux. I’m sorry – but it needs some SERIOUS work if it is going to be something that the average everyday person is going to use. My list of complaints would be long – but at the top of this list would be that Linux needs a universal API of some sort (perhaps Mono could one day fill this need) so that ANY program that is compiled to work with Linux will work with any Distro. The ‘package manager’ in Ubuntu is -ok- but I want more choices than those that are spoon fed to me. But every time I would find a program for ‘linux’ on the net, I would then have to spend hours looking for supporting packages and such to make that program work… no normal user is going to do this!!! Linux looks great now – there is eye candy galore, and I have very few issues with drivers (except I can never seem to get a video card driver that takes full advantage of my video cards). So, personally I think Linux needs to work mainly on making it dead simple for an average user to go find a program on the net, download and run it – without having to do anything else to make it work (with few unavoidable exceptions obviously). This is a very good part of the reason that Windows continues to be popular, and why Mac is ahead of linux.

    Programmers like myself, can write a program for Windows or Mac and put it up on the net and know that the vast majority of users can simply download it and run it. Other than instructions of how to ‘use’ the program nothing else should be required. I will continue to ‘try’ linux from time to time, but I can’t ever see it becoming my main desktop OS until at least this issue is addressed. But that’s just my opinion! :) And I do apologize if this offends anyone, I’m just saying this is what my experience with Linux has been so far.

  42. #42 Jon T
    August 1, 2008

    All 3 Operating Systems have thier problems. Everyone also forgets that a little something called “hardware” can affect a user’s installation and usage experience. I have a toshiba that I can’t get windows drivers for. I have a dell that I can’t find lynksis wireless adapter driver for ubuntu. I have a mac that for some reason refuses to keep time.

    There is no such thing as a hassle free environment and there never will be. The complexity behind millions of lines of code is staggering. So staggering that its amazing any of them work as well as they do.

    I prefer linux because I dont’ always have someone trying to sell me something. It is easy to find answers. (For all those who woudl refute i’d call you lazy) There is a huge forum where there are tons of people willing to look at your problem and offer a solution. If you don’t understand the solution you need to look something up.

    Mac’s…are just over priced and have become more a fashion statment than a computing platform. Sure it does everything but so do the other platforms.

    The point i’m trying to make is that they are all useful systems. They have their strengths they have their weaknesses. The best thign to do is take the time to learn how to use them and you won’t be frustrated anymore. or don’t use them at all.

    Nothing is perfect in this world. It never will be perfect stop expecting it to be perfect. If you don’t want to waste your money go with linux. Want to be “cool” go with MAC. Want to play games go with Windows.

  43. #43 chrispc88
    August 1, 2008

    “It is easy to find answers. (For all those who woudl refute i’d call you lazy)”

    I just thought I’d point out that last year I tried a couple Linux distros with a PC I built having the Intel 945 chipset, and a 19″ widescreen ViewSonic monitor (144×900) resolution. I spent upwards of a 100 hours total over several late nights trying to get the resolution correct. Fedora, Ubuntu, Suse, Mandrake – none of them would work. I tried Intel’s drivers, I manually edited the config file that controls the refresh rate and defines the available resolutions. Nothing would work correctly. When I could get 1440×900, it shifted the image to the left by about 100 pixels. When I installed the latest update to Ubuntu at the first part of this summer – I will say that it recognized the video resolution correctly for the first time. But my point is – something like a resolution problem should never be so difficult. I read MANY threads at forums for all of the distros I just mentioned. Several people had the same problem with that chipset, and with 1440×900 in general. Some claimed they were able to get theirs working, and many like myself were never so lucky (at that time). Again, I’m just pointing out that the average person would never put up with a problem like that – they wouldn’t even know where to begin to fix a problem like that.

  44. #44 Scott
    August 1, 2008

    I see Linux use picking up vastly in the future. I think one of the main reasons people don’t use it is because (like you are implying) they aren’t too keen on switching. When I grew up, I grew up mostly with DOS and Win3.1 – then our next computer had Win98 which was starkly different, so when I built my first computer around 2000, it was either Windows 98 which I was just getting used to, or Windows 95 which was old and stale. Windows 2000 was too expensive – I couldn’t afford it. But a friend of mine told me about Linux and I gave it a shot.

    Now it’s really all I use. At first, it was tough to get used to, and being a teen I didn’t particularly enjoy that I couldn’t play most of my games – so I ended up installing the Win98 SE CD that came with another computer we had. But then later I tried it again, this time learning a little more about it first – and I got it up and running no problem, set up a dual-partition, and everything was fine.

    I think as more people grow up with computers and an interest in how they work, more people will be attracted to open-source because of the potential to learn from the code – as well as the reputation that many of these programs have as being more powerful and/or stable. First it’ll probably be Ubuntu or one of the other “user-friendly” distros, and maybe most will stick with that. Then some of the more savvy users may switch to Gentoo knowing that with a little tweaking and patience, they can get a lot more out of their computer – while others will be just fine with sticking to Ubuntu, Debian, etc.

    I was surprised when I got to college to see how many people have actually tried Linux in some form.

  45. #45 chrispc88
    August 1, 2008

    Oh, and I just thought I’d mention that the only time I’ve seen a Mac (or PC for that matter) having a problem keeping time is after a reboot. That should indicate a bad battery on your MoBo. You might try resetting your P-Ram as well.

    Also, I just can’t help but add – that if Mac’s are overpriced… so are Dell and HP. Go compare spec for spec on the systems. The iMacs are a bit more expensive – since they are an all in one. Dell had an all in one earlier this year I don’t know if they still have it, that was almost exactly the same price. Compare those new little Dell computers (Studio Hybrid) to the Mac mini, the Dell is a bit cheaper, but that is usually the case when Dell introduces a new model. When you compare the Mac Pros to anything Dell or HP have you’ll see Apple has those models VERY well priced. Across the spectrum of what Apple offers, they are a bit more expensive on average – but nothing huge.

    I just think the argument that a Mac is nothing more than an expensive elitist status symbol is a bit condescending. I don’t consider myself “cool” because I have a Mac – I just don’t like ‘fiddling’ with my computer. I know how to work on my systems, I did so for MANY years… I grew out of that, and I no longer see tinkering with my system to work out little bugs as being fun. I’d much rather spend a few extra bucks to save time getting my computer working.

  46. #46 clownpants
    August 1, 2008

    Idiot.

  47. #47 zeeol
    August 1, 2008

    is it wrong to think that os x is a better os than any of the linux distros i’ve tried? i like linux, but honestly prefer the UI and experience of os x to the ubuntu/gentoo/fedora/blah blah experience.

  48. #48 Stephanie Z
    August 1, 2008

    Zeeol, no. What’s the point of having choices if you don’t get to make them?

  49. #49 CyberCod
    August 1, 2008

    To Linux haters:

    I think its too early to be having this discussion. In another five years or so Linux will have matured to the point where there is no argument at all. If you look back at where Linux was five years ago, at the geek-level required to install it, operate it, and understand it, you see where most of the trash talk in this page is coming from. Right now, Linux is on the cusp of greatness. Most things just work, applications are getting there. Its at the point now where it is right at the same level of completeness that the other OS’s have stood at for a long time. But it got there a helluva lot quicker than the others did.
    In some areas it is even pulling ahead.

    What one really needs to keep in mind is that the growth of Linux is accelerated far beyond what the other operating systems can manage. Not only that, its exponential growth. As Linux grows it gains more and more developers. These developers aren’t limited to creating the userland applications that just sit on top of the OS. These new developers are invited and encouraged to take part in improving the very core of Linux. And with each improvement, it draws more people to it. Some of these people become developers who add to the whole process. This is an exponential growth cycle.

    The proprietary operating system companies cannot afford to hire the same ammount of talent that Linux receives for free. Its just not possible. To hire so many would simply not be profitable.

    Linux will surpass them. It is inevitable.

    Linux doesn’t try to nurture the helplessness of its users. It empowers them. Windows users are mentally lazy and do not wish to learn how to do technical things. For the most part, I blame this on Microsoft. By creating this artificial dependency, they have attempted to put shackles and collars on their users so that they may never escape. “Now easier than ever before!”

    While Apple didn’t start this trend of stupidity, Apple is even more guilty of perpetuationg this than Microsoft. “Its ok to be stupid. We’ll do the thinking for you.”

    The reason for this tactic is that there are still generations alive that were fully grown to adulthood before the prevalence of the personal computer. Making it super easy was the only way they would ever touch a computer. These people are dying.

    People are being born that have touched computers before they were able to speak… able to walk. Computers are an intrinsic part of their lives. To think that they won’t be able to grasp the concepts involved is naive, and only manages to point out your own stupidity and shortcomings.

    Don’t like Linux. Thats fine. Understandable in specific cases. For now. But if you think that Linux is never going to become the defacto OS for the world, you’re pretty much a shortsighted fool.

    With exponential growth of the developer pool, there’s hardly a future where Linux won’t become the standard to which all others are compared. Its only a matter of time before the proprietary system of doing this is completely abandoned. Sharing is part of the new generation’s culture. They grew up after the age of Napster.

    So keep on hating linux. As time goes by you’ll be seen as the fool you are by a greater and greater number of people. People who are younger and smarter than Microsoft and Apple ever allowed you to be.

  50. #50 Stephanie Z
    August 1, 2008

    Then again, CyberCod, maybe some of us just want to use the smart on something other than making our tools go. Does everyone in your world have to be able to take their car’s engine apart and put it back together to qualify as fully human too?

  51. #51 Jimmy
    August 1, 2008

    I only post because I want to counter the “Mac is expensive” myth. It is simply not true.

    I am two years into my Linux (ubuntu) experience after 13 years of windows and _berfore_ that a couple years on mac and even before that on Amiga.

    I never bought a mac and have never been tempted to – I simply don’t like the UI very much.

    Anyway I’ve been in the market for a high quality laptop and if you compare Mac to similar quality win machines you’d see that a lenovo a tosh or a hp easily costs 1000$ more than a comparable mac. So I simply don’t buy that argument any longer.

    I believe the real point made here (though the posters may not be aware themselves) is that you can buy a ‘discount’ windows laptop but you can’t buy a ‘discount’ mac.

    If you want high quality hardware, Macs are actually quite good offers. I know there may be other dangers lurking if you need a new battery or other parts but still. They are not expensive if you actually compare apples to apples (ie apple to high end hp, lenovo, tosh etc.)

  52. #52 Badger3k
    August 1, 2008

    Thanks for the info, but seriously: “Your model of Linux … what you think it does and does not do … needs to be updated!!!! For instance, the installation of the mainstream software in Linux is always easier than on a Mac or a PC. Always. No exceptions.” ?

    I put the disc in, it pops up, I click on the installer app, and it loads in. How much simpler can you get? Since you mention the EULAS, I guess not having to click one button is “easier”, but I’m not sure if that 1% makes a difference. Of course, when you get into programs you paid for, there is also the step of putting in the registration number. For free ones…you don’t have this. For other things, I found a free program that put tags on mp4s. Downloaded, put it in my applications folder (since that’s where I wanted it), and I was off and running. About the only way that gets easier is if the computer did it all by itself, without even asking.

    As for Dell, that is a surprise. A friend bought a new computer so she could play World of Warcraft, and nowhere on the site or in the ad did it even mention Linux. I had to have her specifically ask to put XP on instead of Vista, since that is what works and what she is used to. It’s entirely possible that they would put Linux on it, but finding an ad in a Linux magazine is a bit different than finding it in a newspaper sales ad.

    I still have no idea on the different Linux versions. Every time I try to look up Linux, I get into the technobabble. I don’t have the time or desire to learn it. I have enough to learn already and have no desire nor inclination to add to my list of things to learn. Can you recommend a good site where I might get answers in plain English?

    CyberCod – you, like many of my students, confuse both criticism of and a lack of care about something as “hate”. You might want to look a little into actual hatred before you toss around that word. I see this as a meme that has spread – quite a few of the fora that I visit have that tossed around (“If you don’t like it, then you are a hater” “no, I just don’t care about it, get over yourself”).

  53. #53 Badger3k
    August 1, 2008

    Edit – that last comment in parenthesis “If you…” was a sample from a board I visit – not a comment about CyberCod or anyone else. I just realized it could be taken that way.

    Other than that, my point I may not have made clear is that I am an end-user, not a programmer, and don’t want to search and have to figure out lines of code, or even type in a bunch myself. Someone mentioned finding a program and having to load it in – I tried that on my PS3 Ubuntu, and I had no frigging clue how to install it. It didn’t open, the doc with is had some kind of command lines I needed to use, and had to change something in the system. After a bit of scrambling with it, I gave up. Some things may be easy to install, but there are others that are not. Maybe it’s different now in the, maybe a year?, since I tried it.

  54. #54 Winawer
    August 1, 2008

    Winawer: So, you are saying that Shuttleworth is trying to achieve a product that makes people want it more than they want a Mac, and therefore, they will not use it so the market share can not increase? He must be some kind of moron, this Shuttleworth guy. (Or maybe not….)

    I’m saying that Shuttleworth (and Vaughan-Nichols in reply) was talking about the user interface and not installed user base when he was talking about Apple. He was talking about increasing usage – obliquely – when he was talking about Linux needing a new business model. The two are probably, though not necessarily, correlated. NeXT whipped the pants off everyone in the development and interface area (which is why Apple bought them), but they tanked.

  55. #55 Greg Laden
    August 1, 2008

    I put the disc in

    You loose right there. Did this disk materialze out of no where or did you have ot go get it somewhere? I have yet to install any software other than the OS itself form a disk of any kind. My computer does not need a functioning disk drive and I don’t have to bother with the disk.

    it pops up,

    It and all kinds of other crap pops up.

    I click on the installer app, and it loads in. How much simpler can you get? Since you mention the EULAS, I guess not having to click one button is “easier”, but I’m not sure if that 1% makes a difference. Of course, when you get into programs you paid for, there is also the step of putting in the registration number. For free ones…you don’t have this.

    The “nothing happens after I click install” part is indeed total fanatasy. The free/non free distinction is irrelevant. If you are putting “free” windows software on your computer it is probably malware. You will be messing around with this crap for a LONG time before you get it back off your system. No, you have not demonstrated an easier installation of commercial or “buyme” ware on a Windows computer, sorry.

    For other things, I found a free program that put tags on mp4s. Downloaded, put it in my applications folder (since that’s where I wanted it), and I was off and running. About the only way that gets easier is if the computer did it all by itself, without even asking.

    Yes, the *nix based Mac is a much easier than the Windows machine for installing software, but again it depends on the software. For the software that requires hardware and system upgrades … that is not one click. That is get a night job for a month or two and eat only raman noodles to save up for the new hardware. Then start the installation process once that gets going!

    I tried that on my PS3 Ubuntu

    Aha! Now, we have discovered your problem! You are using a PS3 Ubuntu. What the heck is a PS3 Ubuntu?????

  56. #56 Cubist@ao.com
    August 1, 2008

    Several years ago, Eric S. Raymond wrote an essay on how much hassle he had to go thru to get a Linux box to print, and how, as long as something simple like printing was a world-class obstacle course, there was no way on God’s green earth that anybody except a true-blue, dyed-in-the-wool, propellor-beanie-wearing TurboGeek™ was ever going to use Linux.
    Of course, that essay was written Several Years Ago. I’m going to take Raymond at his word about what the state of Linux was at that time; my question is, how have things improved between then and now? Is it still a royal pain in the ass to get a Linux box to talk to a printer? What other areas of the ‘computing experience’, if any, are currently a dead loss for Linux, as compared to whichever flavor of OS X or Windows?

  57. #57 Jon H
    August 1, 2008

    Eh, nickel-and-diming on you computer and OS is a false economy. My time’s worth too much (and I’m not even paid a whole lot) to quibble.

    Where I work it’s mostly Macs (laptops, G5 towers that are being phased out, and Mac Pro towers), except for a few PCs that are required for particular hardware, like video eye trackers or $100,000 neural interfaces. But hey, we’re just an academic neuroscience lab generating and analyzing terabytes and terabytes of data, nothing serious.

  58. #58 Greg Laden
    August 1, 2008

    Cubist: Several years ago I bought for a lab a Linux-ready computer with Linux installed … a very rare thing at that time …. and guess what. I could not get the damn thing to talk to a printer. It was so much work I eventually wiped the system and installed windows.

    Yesterday, my wife had a linux laptop that needed to talk to a printer it had never met before. She has neverreally used Linux. She hooked the cable up with the intention of finding me to do what needed to be done to make this work, but first decided to try going to the “print” command in whatever software she was using …

    the printer was ready to go. Plug and play, baby.

    Next time I saw her she was jumping up and down saying “I don’t need your help with Linux anymore…”

    I swear the ‘opinions’ and ‘facts’ I so often see regarding Linux are so often the equivalent of complaining about Windows 3.1 when talking about Microsoft’s latest product ….

    Jeeessssh…

  59. #59 Graham
    August 2, 2008

    The idea of Linux catching and passing OS X is laughable. Linux has its uses, but it needs a lot of work to compete on the desktop. Linux has been around since 1991. After 17 years it still can’t offer a credible desktop alternative to even the #2 operating system. It has its notable strengths and it would be awesome to see Linux advance, but I’ve been waiting to see that happen for a long time and it has never lived up to the unspoken potential: that of replacing OS X / Microsoft. I say it will take another 10 years.

  60. #60 Badger3k
    August 2, 2008

    Lot to go with:

    “I put the disc in
    You loose right there. Did this disk materialze out of no where or did you have ot go get it somewhere? I have yet to install any software other than the OS itself form a disk of any kind. My computer does not need a functioning disk drive and I don’t have to bother with the disk.”

    Sorry – I prefer to have a hard copy of any program I install. Anything I download gets burned to a dvd for backup. I never operate without that. I haven’t had any problems with hard drives, but I have seen enough crashes (and seen enough drive wipes) to make sure of that. I also refer to disc images as “discs”, so anytime I download a dmg this applies (it gets burned and installed).

    “it pops up,
    It and all kinds of other crap pops up.”

    Last one had the install app, a pdf users guide, and I think something for foreign language installation. If that’s your idea of “crap”, then we definitely have different ideas. What “crap” are you referring to? What do you see when you open something like that? I seriously have no idea what you are referring to?

    “I click on the installer app, and it loads in. How much simpler can you get? Since you mention the EULAS, I guess not having to click one button is “easier”, but I’m not sure if that 1% makes a difference. Of course, when you get into programs you paid for, there is also the step of putting in the registration number. For free ones…you don’t have this.

    The “nothing happens after I click install” part is indeed total fanatasy. The free/non free distinction is irrelevant. If you are putting “free” windows software on your computer it is probably malware. You will be messing around with this crap for a LONG time before you get it back off your system. No, you have not demonstrated an easier installation of commercial or “buyme” ware on a Windows computer, sorry.”

    First off, who said I was installing windows software … but maybe you’re showing your own biases there, huh? My main computer is my mac, and the most I have put on my XP partition is, I think, 5 programs. I scan my computer every day (I only got this when I installed XP on it, just to be safe), updated today, and not a blip. Now, if you are referring to the little preference and other files that get installed with any system, sure – every one I know has them. Are you saying Linux does not install any kind of preferences, drivers, or anything else? No user profiles? No cookies or cache files, or anything else? What else gets installed with these programs that does not get installed with these apparently virginal Linux programs?

    “For other things, I found a free program that put tags on mp4s. Downloaded, put it in my applications folder (since that’s where I wanted it), and I was off and running. About the only way that gets easier is if the computer did it all by itself, without even asking.
    Yes, the *nix based Mac is a much easier than the Windows machine for installing software, but again it depends on the software. For the software that requires hardware and system upgrades … that is not one click. That is get a night job for a month or two and eat only raman noodles to save up for the new hardware. Then start the installation process once that gets going!”

    I think you are correct there, but if you need hardware upgrades, then that applies no matter what operating system you have. I also have used iMac exclusively for years now because, although I say I want the option to upgrade, I have never needed to nor wanted to, except for memory. I have yet to run into any program that needs more then I have, and if I did, I just can’t see wasting money on something like that. I have more important things to do then inflate my computer for one program. By the time that the whole systems have advanced enough to make me want something more than what I have, it’s usually time for me to buy a new one anyway. I lived life where if we did not have something we learned to do without, and while I like to indulge myself when I can, for too many years I needed money to just stay alive, so a computer program is really, really low on my priority list. I just realized – are you saying that Linux programs do not need hardware or software upgrades to run? So, the computers today are running off the same systems of, say, five years ago, and are not optimized for the systems and processors of today? I can get a program written yesterday, put it on my 600mhz windows Me HP laptop, only eight years old, and it will run without any need for an upgrade? (actually, this is not as sarcastic as it sounds – this piece of garbage is just taking space until I can find a recycling center so anything that might make it viable is of interest)

    “I tried that on my PS3 Ubuntu
    Aha! Now, we have discovered your problem! You are using a PS3 Ubuntu. What the heck is a PS3 Ubuntu?????”

    Ahh – I’m sorry. I thought you were aware that you can run Linux on a PS3 by partitioning the drive and adding in a second operating system (you can do more than one, but space gets prohibitive). I used some version of Ubuntu that came out about a year ago, since that was one that I saw a lot of people recommending, although there were some 3 or 4 that showed up often in the Playstation Forums.

  61. #61 Andrew
    August 2, 2008

    Will Linux surpass OSX? Yes, the global PC environment is changing in a way that will support a substantial increase in market share for Linux over OSX in the long term.

    The key word here is GLOBAL, people. Most posters are clearly from the US and are using their own local experiences to make determinations about future market share for Linux and OSX without realizing that the dynamics of their market don’t apply to the rest of the world.

    I’ll outline a few points here to illustrate the differences between the older smaller market from the west, and the newer growing markets that make up the developing world –

    - Global PC adoption is currently being driven by the developing world on the heels of record low PC prices and hardware parts worldwide as well as falling cost of broadband internet. Also, many local PC manufacturers have begun using hire-purchase agreements to sell their machines, making them even more affordable.

    - Over 1 billion domestic PC users exist currently and over 75% are from the developed world. PC adoption in the developed world is already approaching saturation. The next billion PC users will come from developing countries, especially China and India.

    - Large manufacturers play very limited roles in supplying PCs to the domestic markets of most developing countries. Locally assembled machines make the bulk of sales worldwide and take advantage of falling hardware prices. The Dells, HPs etc are mostly going to the local businesses by way of subcontracted local companies that are licensed to sell the brand. As a result, the local prices of the brand name machines go up substantially, putting them out of reach of most in the population.

    - Linux is being sold in some major developing countries pre-installed on machines

    - Macs are not marketable to the vast majority of the next billion first-time PC buyers because they are well outside the price range of the average third-world buyer. Remember that the reason most of the world doesn’t yet own a PC is because they still can’t afford one. Macs are only affordable to the rich of the third world, and their numbers are few in comparison.

    -With Vista having more DRM and more hardware requirements than XP, less third world pirates will be able to build windows machines profitably. Linux market share is going to increase as a result of increased pre-installed base in major developing countries.

  62. #62 Lancest
    August 2, 2008

    Linux desktop quality is growing by leaps and bounds. Just 5 years ago I could not completely envision dual booting without Windows. Today I run rock sold both 64 & 32 bit Ubuntu and have never seen such power & reliability. No more performance degradation, HP printer auto installs and awesome Compiz 3D desktop. Linux is secure and fast perfect for internet computing. Hey I forgot there is always the constantly improving Google Docs with new template features. Can anyone prove to me my home or business needs to run MS? Nah I can always run Virtualbox with XP just for fun though.

  63. #63 Alan
    August 3, 2008

    What everyone always forgets is…..

    Mac runs of standardised hardware so all its software is programmed to take advantage of this. make life easy to fix problems. I’m not going into to setting up linux on different machines because if you have even a slightly different config it can all go tits up.

    what ever you say about windows is that it can run on loads of hardware combo and drivers exist for it.

    Everyone grow up, Linux still sucks in the consumer market and freebsd works better for all the servery stuff.

  64. #64 x-ray
    August 3, 2008

    Alan,

    You are a moron. Linux runs on more hardware that Windows hands down. Free BSD is a flavor of Linux/Unix.

  65. #65 Brent
    August 4, 2008

    Not gonna happen. There is no ‘linux store’ at the mall, there is an ‘apple store’ with people who are trained and knowledgeable in the use, tweaking, and support of the Mac OS.

    I think you’re missing the point. The fact that there doesn’t HAVE to be a Linux store helps. Maybe Canonical puts an Ubuntu-kiosk in all BestBuy/CompUSA/Circuit City stores for people to just grab a live-cd of the newst distro? The type of person who wouldn’t try Linux just because they’re unable to buy it for hundreds of dollars are the type of people who would never try Linux in the first place.

  66. #66 chrispc88
    August 4, 2008

    This weekend I had an incident with a friend that made me think of this blog post again. I have a friend who is (self proclaimed) ‘very good with computers’ – and he bases his opinion of himself on a class in High School that he took. He is 19 now (younger, should have less bias I think is what one person was trying to say earlier) and told me he is sick and tired of Windows. So, I sold him an older G4 PowerMac for $75 last week so that he could have a half way descent computer to ‘try out’ a Mac with. I gave him a quick tutorial on how to get around the system.

    He brings the computer back to me yesterday, saying – it simply doesn’t work. Surprised, I immediately took him back to my work bench and set it up. I ran a couple tests, and could find nothing wrong. So I asked – “why are you saying it isn’t working”. My friend then opens up his bag with several CD’s in it. He says “it wont run any of my games”. The bag is full of Games for Windows – some of which are so old, I would be surprised if they would work in Vista. I just looked at him in total disgust and said “Man, why don’t you go out and buy a Nintendo Wii – then buy nothing but PS3 games for it and see how well that works out for ya?”. I spent over an hour trying to explain why what he was trying to do would not work, Short of installing an old copy of Virtual PC and Windows XP. And even then the games requiring 3D acceleration wouldn’t work.

    My point is, my friend is pretty ‘average’. We who really ‘use’ our computers would never think to do something like he just did. If he could not understand this basic concept, how long do you think he would go before having some major issue with Linux? Take “Google Earth” for example on Ubuntu. This fact may have changed (I don’t have time to look it up) – but I know it wasn’t but a few months ago, that to install Google Earth you had to resort to opening the command line and running 2 commands. That sounds fairly simple to most of us commenting here – but I can see where my buddy, and many other ‘average’ people would simply not be able to do that without screwing something up – somehow.

    This also reminds me of another friend who – to get more hard drive space on his windows PC, started deleting any and all files that he could from his C:\Windows\System32 folder. He got rid of a lot of files (most of which obviously were not in use at the time)… but on a reboot, his system was totally hosed and he simply COULD NOT understand why. Average people (at least those whose computers I’ve had to work on) simply have no clue how to use them… that’s why Microsoft and Apple do everything they can to make things as simple as possible. That is what Linux will have to do if they ever want to “take down” Microsoft in terms of market share.

    BTW – I gave my friend his money back for the computer, which was a good deal, it was a Quicksilver 867Mhz with a Gig of RAM and 2 80Gig HDD’s… I tried to tell him he wouldn’t find another one for $75 like that for a while.

  67. #67 zelrik
    August 5, 2008

    “The idea of Linux catching and passing OS X is laughable. Linux has its uses, but it needs a lot of work to compete on the desktop. Linux has been around since 1991. After 17 years it still can’t offer a credible desktop alternative to even the #2 operating system.”

    Clearly wrong, Linux had a much slower start than Mac or Windows because no money support and well established leaders (Apple and M$). I want also to mention that M$ has been around for much more than 17years and they still cant figure out security issues !

    Linux has an organic growth and needs a critical mass to really pierce through (which I think is happening right now). I want also to add that M$ has been fighting against Linux an OpenSource in general to slow it down. But the only effect is that they kept it from spreading too much for a while, now it’s getting out of control for them.

    You should look at Ubuntu now and check for yourself how stronger is the core design compared to any M$ OS. What M$ have been doing quick and dirty for 30+ years, Linux is doing it right !

  68. #68 robbi
    November 15, 2009

    It is exciting to watch the the future of Linux, Windows and other systems…