Open Source

Poll: Which area of Linux could use the most improvement?

Is there a particular area of Linux that you think could have the greatest impact on Linux adoption if it were improved or changed? Look at the choices in this poll and pick just one, and let us know why you picked it.

I read a blog post by Ken Hess, "Linux Ain't Broke But Here's Five Ways to Fix It," in which he lists five areas that could use some help and his suggestions for "fixing them." Included in his list are no big surprises: virtualization, graphics, games, point-of-sale, and education. Certainly our members have lots of opinions about that last one, as evidenced by the nearly 300 comments on the topic of open source in schools in one of Jack's recent posts.

Linux advocates are always looking for the best ways for Linux to compete with Microsoft and Apple. This week, Jack Wallen also takes a look at a "feature" in Linux that is both boon and bane to Linux adoption -- the unbounded diversity that it offers.

With this in mind, if you had to pick just one area that Linux could improve on and get the most bang for the buck, so to speak, what would it be? What would really get people's attention or persuade someone to take a closer look at migrating to Linux?

Take the poll and let us know your reasons for making the choice that you did.


Selena has been at TechRepublic since 2002. She is currently a Senior Editor with a background in technical writing, editing, and research. She edits Data Center, Linux and Open Source, Apple in the Enterprise, The Enterprise Cloud, Web Designer, and...


Pick a computer user at random and ask them to choose a flavor of Linux. Chances are that this is not the flavor you've got in mind. It is so fragmented, no one knows what you mean when you say Linux. Do you mean the kernel? That's Linux. Do you mean the kernel plus basic tools? That's GNU/Linux. Do you mean a distro? That's GNU/Linux + redhat or whatever else you have. Compare this with someone saying "MacOS-X" or "XP", there's no ambiguity there, it gets the point across. I've been a linux advocate since the SLS / pre-slackware days, but I must say it is still as confusing as ever to the newbie. In my experience, here's what is holding Linux back: 1. Device support: Yes, we can get drivers for any device you throw at Linux, but buy a scanner, camera, printer, etc and it usually comes with a CD with drivers+software for Mac and Windows, not Linux. At the end of the day the user simply wants to plug in, click to run the software and get going, not hunt around forums for software/drivers, and make do with second rate apps with just a few features missing. 2. Confusion elimination: This is impossible to achieve. I can't imagine the day we'll have just one or two Linux distros, and the fedora/suse/ubuntu fights are no more. 3. Applications: Face it, the majority of apps are written for Windows and Mac. Linux is an afterthought. Give me native apps on Linux - photoshop, matlab, mathematica, illustrator, lightroom, etc, not the open-source alternatives. GIMP is *not* photoshop - not even close, not even in the same league, no matter how hard they try. The lack of a solid application base doesn't do linux any favors.

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