Linux

What Linux really needs is more fun

Find out why Jack Wallen believes that Linux needs more fun in order to succeed on the desktop. Do you agree?

Linux fun

This week, something dawned on me. It wasn't life-changing, problem solving, or (if I'm being completely honest with myself) truly profound. However, it really smacked me upside the head with a Harley Quinn-sized hammer and brought to light what Linux really needs to make serious noise on the desktop.

Many readers will assume I'm going to say something like “Linux needs that one killer app every business or end-user needs.” Wrong. If you're thinking that my epiphany has something to do with  the standardization of the Linux desktop, you'd also be wrong.

Let me lead you into this idea easily. Open up the Ubuntu Software Center (Figure A), and tell me what you immediately see. You'll most likely be presented with a list of games, multi-media apps, and other bits of what most people call nonsense. Now, open up the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. What do you see? Games, social networking apps, shopping tools, music, movies, and quite a collection of non tech-centric “fluff.” But you know what? That's what sells and helps platforms gain traction. It's not the admin tools or the hard-hitting tech-focused tools that make a platform spread like mad -- it's the software the average user can wrap their minds around. You know, apps that do little more than kill time.

Figure A

Figure A
The Ubuntu Software Center already shows what the majority of people are installing.

The cross-section of users who make up the bulk of the PC audience aren't business users or administrators. We're talking about people who think a PC is worthless unless it can get online and connect to social networking sites, check email, shop, and other things that all average users do. And that's precisely why Linux needs more fun.

That's right, I said it. Fun! For over a decade, I've been using Linux, and I've seen the majority of the enlightened users take the whole of the platform way too seriously. No matter when you gauge the barometer of the Linux community, you'll find people embattled in a war. Open vs. proprietary. Ubuntu Unity vs. everything else. RMS vs. Shuttleworth. What you won't find is people on sites like Facebook (you know, the single most widely-used platform on the planet) saying, “OMG! I found this app on the Ubuntu Software Center that you simply have to try! It's so much fun!”

For the longest time, I was fairly certain that in order to finally (and truly) conquer the desktop, what Linux needed was for Adobe to port Photoshop, for Microsoft to port Microsoft Office, and for Intuit to port QuickBooks. I no longer believe that. What I believe now is that Linux needs to start creating really  popular apps instead of one killer app. Linux needs a social app, an app to create memes, an app to turn kittens into conquering Vikings. The collective attitude of “we're better than you” needs to be dropped and, in its place, the whole of the community needs to develop a “we're more fun than you” attitude. Why? Because people like to have fun. People like to enjoy their time in front of their monitors, and that means Linux developers need to start focusing on what those billions of users really want.

Seriously, who cares what desktop interface they're using; in the end, it all does the same thing (helps the users launch applications and manages files/documents). So, instead of focusing on what Linux may never have (Microsoft Office, Photoshop, or QuickBooks), focus on what Linux can have. The majority of users are playing with apps that can be created in most developers' sleep! Take advantage of the simplistic needs that the overwhelming majority of computer users have and create a plethora of apps that they want instead of focusing on what you think they need.

Linux needs to become the platform everyone should want to use. That is how you interest the masses. Do you agree or disagree? Share your opinion in the discussion thread below.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

44 comments
Sagax-
Sagax-

Where the general public is concerned, you probably have it right.  But it does nothing to salve the egos of those who are technically adroit.

BoDiddley2013
BoDiddley2013

This article assumes the primary intent of the user. I am on Debian/LXDE for 3 years now. It is a chore. But if you really want something different (the reason behind most cheating spouses) - if you desire to be free from the snags, snares, and insecurity of Windows (in my case), then like myself you will absolutely love it.

I love the fact that I actually have the option of command line. And I love the energy generated by reducing the kinks to accommodate my needs. I love the fact that so many flavors are available, each with their own quirks. And I love the opportunity Linux presents to the world through free and open licensing.

Quite clearly I am not the ideal spokesperson for Linux. My needs are very basic. A formidable operating system without such menaces as fragmentation, and embedded autorun registry viruses that are almost impossible to delete. And, I can run minimally - thus, LXDE/Gtk/and X. As a matter of fact - I am son enamored that I do not even use a logon manager, I simply startx when I want the desktop. But that is who I am - I love this stuff.

If you want the "fast food" mentality, stick with Windows. That is what you pay them for.


willis0966
willis0966

I read a lot of comments regarding Linux / Ubuntu / Kubuntu & similar OS's and almost everyone has an opinion about what's wrong or right.  When it gets to the bottom line; does the "system" work or not?  Libre Office works but AutoCAD doesn't - unless you install Wine or some other VM software.  However, it slows things down when Ubuntu has to run a virtual machine so your Windows apps can run...  Unfortunately, some of the major "productivity" software developers don't think there's much of a market for their applications to run on a Linux based machine.  If you learn English when you're a toddler, it's difficult to learn Swedish when you're 30 and next to impossible when you're my age.

Dr. Fowler
Dr. Fowler

I wonder about your sense of perception. The Linux "fun program" is Linux itself. If you go to the social media sites the ballyhooing is done for Linux, not its clients. That's why there are all the competitions over unwise or greedy folks trying to defun Linux or bring in a horde of users who can never perceive that. Or be able to install an update.

kingpin.joe
kingpin.joe

As someone had pointed out earlier, the Ubuntu Store has already done what Jack has suggested and yet Ubunutu has not made a huge into the PC market.  There's one very important and subtle point that I think Jack has not factored in.  What the iPhone, iPad, and Android devices have revealed is that the large majority of what we used to think of the PC market as, has segmented to people who are mostly content with social media apps, email, and games.  Yes, you cannot do serious and protracted work on a tablet, but the truth is most people don't do serious and protracted work on computers.  PCs were popular because there was no other type of consumer computer out there.  Ubuntu understands this - that's where they were trying to get Edge off the ground.  Blackberry/RIM also became a vicitm of this lack of understanding of their own customers.  Blackberry was popular because there was no other alternative.  Making Linux "succeed" in the desktop market is simply the wrong focus.  The desktop market is shrinking, all the PC makers are feeling that pain, and PCs are going to be assigned the role of workstation for content creators.  In that sense, Linux is on the right track, because it can survive the economic upheavals that PC makers WILL go through, Linux is already geared towards many areas of content creation, and tablets/phones will suck in all those consumers who simply consume.  Linux, or an offshoot of it, will eventually dominate the desktop PC because no other for-profit OS will survive the massive changes underway.  If you understand that, you now know why Steve Ballmer left MS, and why he called MS a "devices and services" company.  Even MS is starting the shift away from the PC.  They have to.

fernpromero
fernpromero

Please, I would like to buy a first row ticket for the "Shuttleworth vs Stallman"  fight. 

Could anybody get one for me?

ddalley
ddalley

Fun? I haven't got time for fun. Give me rolling updates from all of the major distributions and I would be happy. This could be a big selling point for Linux. Install once and never have to play catch-up every six months installing a new version again, just to stay current with the modern features or functions. That's just madness.

Make rolling updates a selling point for Linux.

wmstrome
wmstrome

I would prefer that the effort be made to make it work solidly, and not become broken after updates. For example, with my netbook, after the update to Ubuntu 13.04 I can no longer connect to encrypted wireless routers (and I see from posts that other users with different hardware have the same problem). It has been confirmed as a bug, but after months no one appears to be working on fixing it.


I just tried to update to 13.04 on my newest (still two years old) Intel i7 based system, and half way through the install, the monitor went blank and all control from keyboard and mouse were lost. The live dvd works fine. I tried reinstalling several times, always with the same result. I can work from the live dvd but that requires me to reload quite a bit of software every time I reboot, which is a pain.


All too frequently, after updates, sound quits working and is always a pain to try to fix. Video (e.g. YouTube) often fails after updates.


These are the kinds of problems which would definitely deter the average user!!!

blueboxer2
blueboxer2

At 83 I'm mostly beyond the bells and whistles league. I just want something that works, that I can fix if something simple goes wrong, and for which I can find help. If it's free and works well that's a bonus.

I had some spare space on my XP machine so downloaded Ubuntu 8.04. Someone I met on Freecycle offered to install it in a dual boot setup. Neat, I liked it. Then I went to a home hotspot wireless and Ubuntu wouldn't go online anymore. Now here's the rub. I did some internet searching and found information telling me my Netgear wireless adapter wouldn't work with Linux and no new driver was available. I could not find out who made a Ubuntu-compatible adapter or where to buy it. I did find one and ran the installation disc and it worked - with Windows! The manufacturer sent me a command line command but for some reason I can' t get a command prompt and no one can tell me why.

These are simple, basic, easy questions. With Windows any of a million websites would offer step by step instructions on how to make my OS work. The Microsoft Knowledge Base is available, so is the retailer I bought the machine from, so are the makers of the major parts, legions of newsletters and even casually knowledgeable friends who  an offer advice. But when I start following the routines and procedures that have let me do everything to and through removing a virus infstation in Windows, there's nothing usable.

I suggest what Linux needs is support - support put out there in such a way that Google will pick it up. It needs volunteer newsletters (like the ones excerpted in PCPitstop every week.) It requires simple information in simple, minimally technical terms. If you look in esoteric places advanced essays fascinating to an assembly-language programmer or OS editor are legion - but not a simple explanation as to why I can't get a command line, or what a sudo is and why I should care, or who will answer a simple mail question - or maybe even lives in my area code and explain something on the phone. Windows has it, Mac has it.

Perhaps when Linux has enough of it to be friendly to the casual user, Linux will take off too.

webster_z
webster_z

But Jack, you already said (before saying the word "fun") that Ubuntu Software Center does showcase fun apps. Quoting you:

"Open up the Ubuntu Software Center (Figure A), and tell me what you immediately see. You'll most likely be presented with a list of games, multi-media apps, and other bits of what most people call nonsense. Now, open up the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. What do you see? Games, social networking apps, shopping tools, music, movies, and quite a collection of non tech-centric “fluff.” But you know what? That's what sells and helps platforms gain traction. It's not the admin tools or the hard-hitting tech-focused tools that make a platform spread like mad -- it's the software the average user can wrap their minds around. You know, apps that do little more than kill time."

So Ubuntu is already there, right? Why is it then not catching on with the bulk of the PC audience?

TheGokes
TheGokes

Totally agree. Kinda like Android. Where you have a million apps to do the same thing (that might be drawing the long bow). But the end result it that the platform is the most used mobile platform in the world. People like to have choices and once you give them this they come like ants to sweets.

russoisraeli
russoisraeli

I'll agree with people advocating marketing. If people don't know and don't care that there's an alternative, it doesn't matter if Linux has all the fun apps and all the working software.

I also agree that it starts with small business. These folks always look to save money, and the workstations they have often need a productivity suite and not that much more... that's where the focus should be. That's when people come home from work, and wonder how they can have something similar at home.

Otherwise, I think that the desktop is moving well as is. There are things working on the desktop today I didn't dream to have years ago, and more and more hardware manufacturers provide Linux drivers. Some software manufacturers make their products work through WINE (TeamViewer).

I'd really concentrate on business apps. #1 priority should be full MS Exchange compatibility. #2 should be easy joining of an Active Directory domain, and potentially allowing to "get" group policy. Someone should make a survey of small business owners of what applications are critical for them in day to day work.

alzie
alzie

Hmmm . . . good point.

I look at play.google and

theres lots of fun fluffy stuff plus productivity apps.

Theres every thing for every body.

I guess ditto for the ios store.

Its fun to just smurf the store.


Onto ubuntu touch:

I dig their need to address the enormous and growing mobile arena, and

i recently tried ubuntu touch on my nex7.

OMG have they got a looong way to go.

Its a Major turd at present, but shows promise.

I like their GUI concept.  I wish Canonical a Lot of luck.

I want them to succeed.


janitorman
janitorman

Why is it so hard to post here? Jump through hoops just to sign in, allowing all sorts of cross-site scripting, and ads, and then it won't allow you to type, and then when it does, it won't actually post.

Anyway, I disagree. It's not what Linux has to offer at all, it's marketing. When Dell, HP, Lenovo, etc. are convinced NOT to install Windows and offer Linux on their machines, a single distribution, with standard tools and applications, and move away from Windows, similar to what's happened on Android devices (and you have to admit no one is buying the Windows versions, they all buy either the Mac versions or Android) Linux will never "take off" in the consumer market.

The typical consumer does NOT install an alternate OS, nor even an upgrade, they use what is on the box when they bought it, plus any upgrades/updates that are installed automatically. They will not even upgrade using the same company, say an XP box to Vista, or Vista to 7, let alone XP to 8,  no matter what the features, and no matter that it would have to be offered free, and work exactly the same as the old OS did, no strange loss of the start menu, or changes whatsoever. This is one reason there are so many XP machines still out there. They work, and there is no reason to "upgrade" them or change them at all. The only way most people get a new OS is when their tired old hardware blows up and they are forced to buy a new box.

It's like expecting someone who bought a Ford, even if it was 20 years ago, to tear out the engine and put in a different one, from a different manufacturer. It doesn't happen.

lefty.crupps
lefty.crupps

And this is where we chime in to say, "But we already have TuxPaint!  TuxRacer!  Frozen Bubble!" and a few other lame games.

These games are so so dated.  The Humble Indie Bundle might be our only hope at this rate, yet every time I buy a bundle it's nearly impossible to install the apps on my Debian Testing machines.  I point to Ubuntu for this.  Ubuntu needs it's own package extension (.ubu) which can funtion identical to .deb, but then we'd at least know what system a package is for.  Then, we can get on with making packages that install as expected, and then people can have a system that reliably installs software, and then we can show them games that they can expect will function.

monsuco
monsuco

One question still remains: why does Linux need to take over the desktop? It does what I want it to do. Why do I care how many other people are using it?

Don't answer that question with "that's the only way to get more software for Linux". Nearly every "must have" pogram out there seems to have a suitable substitute (which normally doesn't cost anything and generally is cross-platform). A good chunk of those "must have" programs like Chrome, Flash Player, Steam, Java, Skype, etc. have Linux ports. Almost everything else will run on WINE.

Linux already dominates servers, embedded devices, smartphones and tablets (Android), super computers, network equipment and it powers Chromebooks. What's with this constant fixation on the desktop?

rdevereux
rdevereux

Hi Jack

What's missing in your article is going on to say that the reason that the consumer market is important is that once people are gripped at home, they bring the ideas, the approaches and the OS of choice into the workplace and start demanding compatible functionality.  This is exactly the approach that Apple took and the reason they are so successful and overtook Linux as the alternative desktop OS of choice.  They sold the idea of mp3 players and systems that would do everything you wanted and then got the consumers to sell the company to the Enterprise.

firstaborean
firstaborean

No, Mr. Wallen, what Linux needs is salesmanship.  The "We're better than you" attitude is altogether the opposite of what's needed.  If you want to sell something, you need to do what a friend of mine whose business WAS sales, says:  "Romance the customer."  What most Linux distributions do, now, is to wait for the customers to beat paths to their doors, and the customer just yawns and goes to Microsoft and Apple.  Instead, Linux publishers need to seek out customers and make the OS so attractive that the customers feel left out without it.  For some customers, it is, indeed, the fun factor, but not for all.  Salesmanship first begins with the motto, "Know your customer."  Then the romance begins.  Nearly all Linux desktop OS publishers utterly fail in these two tasks.  Until they learn better, Linux will remain a niche player for professionals only.

I've never met a consumer who at all thought of asking at the store, "Do any of your computers run Linux?"  Those who wish to promote Linux need to change that.

jqbecker
jqbecker

...could not disagree more. What is needed is a big vertical app like Quickbooks, or Dentrix, Cerner, Epic,  PracticeWorks, or what-have-you in the medical industry to come over. If you want Linux to be a dumbed-down time waster, you will have put it into "me-too" category. You think you can out-Apple Apple? And forget gamers, too niche. Valve may go that route, but doubtful it will succeed.

The market to focus in on is Small/Medium and just under Fortune 2000 size companies. They are battered by endless updates, incompatibilities, high cost, and too many apps that waste time.

What small/medium business needs is less fun, and more work out of employees. They already have their smartphones to waste time with. Given that, a stripped-down essentials OS that runs business apps, and only business apps, would put the nail in Microsoft's coffin.

jag022054
jag022054

More fun, more commerce, and more compatibility. Gamers influential they guide what their parents and friends buy. People are not going to limit what software they choose based on idealogical ideas. People will choose the software that appeals to them even if it isn't open source. Things as simple as being unable to easily update your kids educational toy can undermine even the most enthusiastic supporters resolve.

Abdel rebel
Abdel rebel

 I am an ordinary user and to be honest I don't need "Games, social networking apps, shopping tools, music, movies" etc. What I really need is to get my work done through applications that do not pose problems of compatibility with the world around me at work. for instance, I need a word processor that is completely compatible with microsoft office because, unfortunately, that's what the whole system use at my work ant that's what prevented me from completely switching to Linux. and by the way, you can play games, access facebook and the like, do your shopping, enjoy music and movies in Linux.

grantgwells
grantgwells

We all know that Windows and Mac are the "do everything" desktops and are really not optimized for anything. Usually, I see Windows gamers dual-booting their systems so that one partition is set up for day-to-day use (office, email, surfing, other business tasks) and the other technically streamlined to reduce system overhead and improve gaming performance. Why not pick a Linux distro and focus efforts on optimizing that distro to outperform Win/Mac on every major technical and non-technical aspect? If Linux engineers/developers focused their time on this strategy, "Average Joe" could be sold on a "gaming system" and doesn't need to know why/how it was built - just that it's better than Win/Mac. The "gamers" could be exposed to the technical aspects on how/why it's better. Both would have one less reason to use Win/Mac. Consider the following for a Linux gaming platform:

1. Better technical performance from the system itself (video refresh rates, system overhead, memory management, etc optimized for gaming - not generic "desktop" use)

2. As per the Mac approach, focus on select (gaming) hardware/drivers that "just work" out of the box.

2. Better selection of high-quality, mainstream games as per Mr. Wallen's point in this article (thanks Steam for moving in the right direction!)

3. Improved "store" experience over Win/Mac (address weaknesses of these platforms)

4. Best-in-class developer tools (this may not be a current issue at all but the point is to ensure that this is true)

5. Market this distro as the "desktop gaming platform of choice" to developers, gamers and average consumers and support it with real evidence why that is custom-tailored to these distinct groups.

If this approach were to gain traction, then extrapolate into other "task optimized" distros such as audio/video editing, for example.

Make no mistake, I'm not implying that any of this is easy but converging efforts to ensure that a given Linux distro is irrefutably better at any one task than Win/Mac might be a better than trying to outgun Win/Mac on every task as been the predominant "Year of the Linux Desktop" approach to date.

Nigel Whelan
Nigel Whelan

Agree. But great o/s and it's free, If people learnt how to use it , they would have fun

Knighthawk5193@Yahoo.com
Knighthawk5193@Yahoo.com

While it might be "fun" to have more games on Linux, I feel there could be other....better advancements made with it. Instead of some "Angry Birds" or other time killing endeavor, why not come up with ways to make Linux more compatible with the apps and games you already know and love? And don't get me wrong, I hold no ill will towards the Angry Birds or other games that are currently being played and purchased by the populous....I just feel that adding more games to Linux won't necessarily make it the "desktop of choice" worldwide. There is a specific mindset that comes from dealing with Windows.....and at some point the mid evolves "past" what Windows offers, this leads people to the Apple Macs.....and still some others to Linux. Those that just want a "camera OS" (you know..."point-and-click"!) should stay with the simple ones they know. but those that have a thirst to discover more...to learn more...to DO more ususally aren't in it for the gaming...I think that those who want a gaming version of Linux can always go to a site like DistroWatch and find that distro of Linux that heeds the call, that fills the need. but it's not necessary to niclude games with Linux in order or it to be used on a large scale. And you keep hearing about the "Year Of The Linux Desktop"...well this isn't going to happen, because Linux isn't in direct competition with any of the mainline desktop OS'es out there! It's there and available for those who want ot use it, and those that DON'T want to use it...can use what they want! And while some people might insist that there's a "war' going on with the Open Source Software community and the proprietary ones, this isn't true either,..granted most of the software that is "sold" would prefer if you bought from them, and some of them might be losing ground to F.O.S.S. simply because a lot of companies don't want to spend anymore for software, at least not when there's an available alternative...but in the end it will remain the user who dictates what will be considered "fun" to them....just my 2 cents....

Duke E Love
Duke E Love

You are aware the Android is Linux? However it took Google engineering to make Linux fit for mainstream consumption.

TechDaffy
TechDaffy

Well, if you're looking for more fun, you're using the perfect OS. With Linux, you can program your own games, enjoy them, and also share the fun with a whole lot of others. But lets get pause for a second. Linux is not for casual end users; if you'd like to have fun, stick with Windows or Mac. Better yet, use the proper equipment/software that's actually made for gaming: get your XBox and/or your PlayStation and buy all the games your heart desires. 

Linux is for innovators, programmers, engineers...the serious and boring people. Leave them alone. There's only one actual OS for them to use, so let's not ruin things for them.

w7hd
w7hd

I won't be 70 until next month, but I have to agree that more "fun stuff" needs to be included.  I converted my wife to Linux several years ago, and she is always looking for that game that will be more fun, especially if she can also load it on her Kindle HD and/or Android phone.  She keeps a dual-boot Windows solely for the purpose of two games she enjoys.  If those were available under Linux, she would have me remove Windows entirely.  As I get ready to retire next month, I am using Linux more than Windows, since I don't need Windows except for work functions (such as remote VPN connections that use Windows for authentication).  After retiring, I may not even run Windows any more, because I can find a number of games I enjoy as native Linux apps.  Even though I don't play a lot of games, it makes an enjoyable diversion after working on stuff I need to get done (I do documentation and programming for several projects).

Keep up the great reviews, Jack.   You're doing great, even if I don't always agree.  You usually give me something to think about, and that is a measure of success.


M Iwan Rochman
M Iwan Rochman

Should have many apps that run in Linux as Windows.

IndianArt
IndianArt

Totally agree Jack.

Going by Android & stuff it looks like that most people are casual users & Android has the numbers to prove & support it.

As far as the Linux distros I use, I find Ubuntu has made most of this very simple & should help this get it more mass adoption.

Along with making things fun which will intrinsically make people keep doing it because it rewards the brain (& perhaps rewards the soul :) ) I feel it must be very user friendly & easy to use.

Gesture & voice commands must be possible so a simple webcam & mike makes computers accessible to all, even small children & illiterate people. This will make computers truly understand us by sight & sound & could really talk to us (Give us info & take voice commands).

Also, the computer today is like its crippled & paralyzed & can't move on its own. If Linux robots could be developed, mass-produced inexpensively & sold, I feel that would change everything. It would help people a lot & the mass adoption of Linux will set an even bigger virtuous cycle where more resources could be put to use for it to get even better & much faster.

lk_bellsouth.net
lk_bellsouth.net

Jack, you have made some excellent observations in this article. I alternate between Windows and Ubuntu Linux, mostly for productivity projects. Much bally-ho has been made over the Unity desktop and others as well. As long as one can remain productive, what difference does a desktop make in the grand scheme of things. That applies to a number of other points that seem to promote a lot of comment as well. When you go to the Software Center its pretty obvious where the emphasis has been placed by simply noting the number of games offered as opposed to utilities and productivity packages. This, of course, is definitely not a bad thing but it is also out of balance. Yes, there needs to be more "fun" offerings for people to use. The old axiom "All work and no play make's Jack a dull boy" is as true now as it was when first penned. Variety is the spice of life and we all need that from time to time. Ahanse is somewhat correct in his/her observation that society is changing. I am 70 years old so, yes, I've seen my fair share of it. Change is good but not all change is progress. It takes the attempt at both to ultimately develop that elusive thing called success. Do I think that adding more games to Ubuntu Software Center is going to suddenly put Microsoft on the ropes? Not at all. However, it will through time increase the use and exposure of the product. That is progress. I hope that in the future Mark Shuttlesworth will make an effort to balance the offering a bit more. Thanks for all that you do for all of us. Your efforts and hard work are truly appreciated. --- Lee 

ahanse
ahanse

I am afraid I have to agree...but I squirm at the thought of it.

If mind numbing activities is all people want then our societies are not in good shape.

simonschilder
simonschilder

@kingpin.joe 

The nail on the head. I made a comment on a previous post along the same lines before I saw yours.

SDRidout
SDRidout

@wmstrome

To be precise, you're talking about UPGRADES not updates. Even Windows users experience nightmares with upgrades (e.g. XP to Vista).

The simple answer is to stick with the LTS versions and only upgrade every two (or four) years. Wait a couple of months or more for bugs and compatibility issues to be ironed out then do a clean install of the new version. 

bobc4012
bobc4012

@monsuco I think you are missing the point. You are looking at it from a developer/business aspect. The average "mom and pop" using a PC doesn't think the way you do. Rightly or wrongly, Jack seems to hink that having some good "windows competitive games andother apps would draw people to Linux. However, "janitorman" sums it up fairly well (see his post a few after your post). People stick with what comes on the box they bought and that us Windows (yes, I know people buy Macs too). Look at the tablet market. Apple came out with their iDevices that do things the average person (the millions who don't use the PC at home for work) like to do, including games. The same with Android tablets (as long as you don't care about not having Facetime - Skype is not a suitable replacement (at least the last time I looked). My brother-in-law just ran  out recently and bought an iPod when he found out a number of family members had idevices with Facetime, so he could stay in contact visually. These are people who do not think or use a PC like you do and they are the majority of the users. 

bobc4012
bobc4012

@rdevereux While there may be a certain bit of truth in what you say, it is just the opposite. Prior to the PC, the "average" home user was the hobbyist type (or someone who worked on mainframes, minis, etc.). They, by today's comparison were very few. The first IBM PCs really were sold to businesses that could afford them or a "techie" type who could shell out 2 or 3 or more thousand dollars. It wasn't until the clones started to proliferate the market, driving down the cost, along with the internet and AOL and other sites that initiated the rudimentary aspects of "social networking".  Today, you will find a lot more people MAY use a PC at work (depending upon their job and company's view on who requires their use) and I understand that. But the average user is not technical and looks to basically use the PC for social activities. They are locked in to Windows because that is what dominated the market due to the deals that Microsoft made with the clone manufacturers. One reason why Apple never made it as dominant in the business world. Same reason IBM lost out too! Proprietary and not willing to license to the clones at a reasonable price - plus MACs inttially ran for years on 6800(0) architecture - non-Intel. This was one area where proprietary screwed the likes of IBM and Apple. Remember Apple's suit against Franklin Computers? In the meantime, Microsoft took advantage of the opportunity and made all those restrictive deals with the clones. 

When you could buy a Compaq or some other clone for a lot less than a proprietay IBM PC (or a proprietary Apple/MAC) and get the job done, which would you buy? 

Apple got a jump on everyone in the current tablet market with what it had to offer wit its iDevices. Then Android came along for tablets/phones and you could get a lot of the same apps at a cheaper price and they took off. Both operate (from an user standpoint) similarly and are easy for the user to learn the basics of a few apps (primarily social - Facetime, e-mail, networking with others, movies, games, etc.). Now Microsoft is late to the game and selling a "kludge, IMO" at a hefty price - not their "firesale" RTs.  

BTW, the early tablet attempts were those used in the workplace rather than at home. It wasn't until their was an evolution that made the tablet acceptable to the average user  that they took off in the home plus the iPhone and Droid phones. 

bobc4012
bobc4012

@@firstaborean I pretty much agree with you. Unfortunately, Linux is too fragmented to do that. You would have to get back to Jack's desire to have one standardized base distro to even think about accomplishing Salemenship - you know, the kind with people spinning on tables, rolling around swiping the tablet screen, etc. IMO, if it should ever happen, it could be a company like Redhat. They would want to get into the consumer market with a good chance of making a profit. Have an advertising budget that could reach millions. Google would be another possibility. Outside of that, it would probably have to be a H/W manufacturer with deep pockets.  

BTW, I am aware that Android is Linux.


janitorman
janitorman

@firstaborean  I agree, until the manufacturers are convinced they need to put Linux instead of Windows on all their machines it won't happen. The typical user will buy the hardware, with whatever OS is on it, and will NEVER change it. Why do you think so many boxes are still running XP? People will NOT change the OS, whether they have to pay for it or not. 


simonschilder
simonschilder

@bobc4012 @monsuco 

Bob, I think it goes even deeper than that. The average Joe only buys a pc in the first place because he/she wants te read email, do some ebanking and have access to the internet and the social media. ANY tablet can do that, so mr/mrs Joe now buys a tablet instead of a pc.

Only the "hardcore" gamers (and of course the home worker) needs a pc nowadays. 

Hence the decline in pc sales.

So wether or not Linux gets gaming options (btw the Steam platform should remedie that) I think it is a lost cause.

bobc4012
bobc4012

@monsuco I went into edit mode and was locked out before I finished. I did fix a few typos and errors, but also added:

"It is too easy for people like us, who read these blogs and the like to keep up technically, to fall into the trap that the rest of the world is technically adept (or should be).  It would be just like the auto mechanic thinking very car owner should know how to do more than just put in gas and oil (some don't even put in oil or change it). One reason why most states have inspections. "

simonschilder
simonschilder

@janitorman @firstaborean 

Have you ever tried to find a main stream off the shelf pc without any OS so you can install one yourself?

And then: the average user wouldn't know how to install an OS from scratch anyway.
So @Janitorman: I agree, most users by the pc and the os and never look back again.