Linux optimize

Will Linux ever be a popular desktop system? Take the poll

Linux versus Windows has been the subject of debate for quite some time, but will it ever achieve the status of a popular desktop product that we'll have to support? Share your opinion and take the poll.

Linux versus Windows has been the subject of debate for quite some time, but will it (Linux) ever achieve the status of a popular desktop product that we'll have to support? Share your opinion and take the poll.

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A couple of years ago, I wrote a piece exploring whether or not Linux would ever be a popular desktop product. While the positive sentiment toward Linux was prevalent throughout the ensuing discussion, not many thought it would achieve a desktop status worthy of being called popular. After two years, it seems as though not much has changed. Or has it?

As ones who support desktop users, we certainly have a vested interest in at least considering using (and/or learning) Linux, and we certainly owe it to ourselves to follow the popularity of it. After all, what if, for whatever reasons, in the course of a few years Linux did indeed begin to make inroads into the main-stream desktop market and became yet another factor in supporting desktop users? While some support pros would embrace it, others might find it to be one more factor among already too many in providing good support.

After all, it's a common conception that Linux is popular only among the tech savvy among us because it has to be. (Or is that a misconception?) And as we all know, a good portion of the users we support are anything but tech savvy.

In short, if Linux ever became a popular desktop product, would it solve more problems for support pros or, perhaps, cause more? Considering as much, there are really two questions I'm exploring. The first is "Will Linux will ever be a popular and significant desktop product?" The other is "Do most support pros even want it to become one?"

Take the polls and share your thoughts.

118 comments
Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

and MS approved software and hardware, we need something that gives us freedom of choice in software and hardware that works

jfreedle2
jfreedle2

As a matter of fact, I am tired of having that Linux junk shoved in my face. Windows works, and works well in addition is extremely reliable and the most secure operating system on the planet. Linux is nothing but junk in addition to Macintosh Operating System.

Steelers6
Steelers6

I don't think so, they are so akin to being free and open that they will never be organized enough to be considered competetion in the big leagues. I mean, how many Linux versions are there now? If they could make one good product and throw their collective energy and full support behind it then they could. But with their current mind set I don't see this as happening. I would love to see Linux as a competitor, it would give the masses choices and drive prices to a reasonalbe level. They just need to get it all together. I think if they did, a great majority of Linux users would revolt as they want this to be free and open. Someone needs to STEP UP AND TAKE CHARGE for goodness Sakes! IMHO

TheOlderEd
TheOlderEd

The real problem is people trying to switch from Windows, or whatever. they have hardware. They don't want to replace it. But trying to find Linux drivers is almost impossible for many of those devices. Someone actually writes drivers, but they remain with only that person or persons. Until that changes, it ain't gonna happen.

AV .
AV .

Love it or hate it, Windows is engrained in the workplace and at home. Most users are comfortable using Windows. Windows does everything. What is the compelling reason to change to a Linux desktop? Personally, I wouldn't want to support people going through THAT transition. Most users can hardly handle upgrading to a new version of Windows. AV

howard48906
howard48906

Linux may or may not become popular. It could gain popularity if public schools could be convinced to implement Linux and Open office instead of Windows because they are free. As a new generation of kids becomes as familiar with Linux as today's are with Windows it could hapen.

patrickmm97
patrickmm97

It already is. Don't tell me that it only this or that small percentage of users. Just one percent of users in this world is millions. Come up with an actual number and you will see what I mean. I discourage everyone I deal with to not use percentages to compare anything. It's totally misleading and doesn't give the entire picture.

psrocks20
psrocks20

I would like linux to be popular but there are so many restrictions. the softwares are no match for commercial software in many case. I have tried to stick to many of the linux distro but each time I have to come back to windows. See my requirements are very simple. I want an alarm clock software which automate my computers wake up, hibernate, run program, run file, fun music all on the time I choose. I want a torrent client which I can modify as per my requirement as i do with utorrent, and I want simple options in contro l panel to tweak my os as I like it. in linux most of it may be possible, but the steps are confusing. I am not that novice but I still get confused many time. Currently I find Puppy is very good, fast and has almost everything for such a small distro (100MB). But finding software is a pain. It works on sfs and pet files. many people makes these but they make as they want it. they modify too much from the original, because for some reason everyone associated with puppy is hell bent on reducing the size of everything. OK Puppy is small and sweet, but anyone who is looking to add extra software to that OS is obviously in need of something extra. Cutting down few mb from the original and loose some beautification or worse some functionality hardly makes any sense. Agreed that Puppy is for older computer but if I have a modern computer with lots of hard disk space, is it my fault that I still love Puppy and want to use it will all its glory and some more. I am sure many other might be feeling same way with some other linux distros. so though I work on Puppy but still I cannot totally abandon Windows. and with Windows 7 I am more than happy to stay with Bill dear.

PeterPac
PeterPac

Once hardware makers see that more people are using Linux they will begin making drivers or lose customers. When this happens I actually see Linux taking off. Presently due to the lack of drivers for certain hardware and when we get rid of people like Stallman who really limits actually what Linux can do with his if it is not free or proprietary it cannot be used with Linux systems it will always be a second class operating system. People want computers that can do all functions and not just the functions that Stallman states. Like I stated in previous articles until the Free Software Foundation realizes that everything cannot be open code the sooner Linux will gain better shares of the computer world. There are just way to many dangerous harmful programs out there that if devious persons had the code readily available could create disastrous consequences for the entire Internet. If Stallman and the FSF do not realize and see this than they are the ones who do not know a thing about computing.

garyfizer
garyfizer

New to linux but activly trying it out. So far Ubunto is pretty painless and Linux Mint is sweet. A pleasnt suprize is Puppy Linux. If they keep on developing as well as this the prospects are pretty good. The fly in the ointment is profit. Linux's strength and weakness is the open sorce. The bright lights of it's devlopment like inovating and polishing the free system. (And I have got to hand it to them, it's impressive what they have done.) To be fully rolled out the general public it would have to go comercial. Alieninating the people who love. That would be it's death note.

adamspivey
adamspivey

Linux has better security and better performance than Windows. Linux's major weakness is if you have to use proprietary software and there is no open source equivalent. Wine can bail you out sometimes but not always.

jkameleon
jkameleon

I have a daughter which, until recently, hated computers. Consequently, she was more or less computer illiterate. She needed a computer for her study, though: Word processing, spreadsheet calculation, web browsing, and email. Plus, she was panicking about computer viruses all the time. Linux seemed like a logical choice, so I bought her a box with preinstalled Ubuntu on it. I thought: "Never mind, it's free anyway, let's give it a try, I can always install Windows if she doesn't like it" But, surprisingly, she did like it very much. She was able to find he way around immediatelly, Ubuntu's UI is far more simple and intuitive than Windows. Before I knew it, she learned Open Office by herself, hooked on her camera, managed her pics, and learned to use Gimp. The only thing I did was to install Compiz, so that she can brag in front of her friends. The only help she needed from me was with jailbreaking her Apple iCrap.

drowningnotwaving
drowningnotwaving

Then the answer can be whatever the respondent decides, with complete confidence of their own accuracy. If the answer is based upon Linux gaining a decent size of the world desktop base, let's say 25% or more, the answer is IMHO no, never.

KimTjik
KimTjik

Popularity to me isn't a fixed number. Hence I see it as a combination of reasonable popularity and general awareness. Where I live the user base seems to be around 2%. In view of how much has changed in attitude and support I'm inclined to believe 5% is enough to view it as popular desktop solution. I do want Linux to become popular as long as one party doesn't get to much power to dictate and limit choices. Distributions can attract different kind of users without compromising their goals. Support isn't a big deal. Active in the Windows sphere for a long time I'm not impressed by the support a casual desktop user can get. You can get bad advice as well in some Linux forums, but the know how seems to be generally better. Will this change to the worse if more adopt Linux? Could be, but the ace is that the more advanced communities will still be there in case you need more advanced help. It's already evident how users of more mainstream distributions come by and check Wikis and search help in forums connected to more advanced distributions. I've never seen anything equivalent for Windows to the Linux Wikis. PC vendors could probably get good deals with Linux support channels, and hence connect to the totality of Linux knowledge. In itself I don't see Linux adoption as a goal. To me it's better computing, but users should decide for themselves. Something I agree with however is that higher demands should be put on users overall before they connect to the Webb. Windows isn't inheritable secure, but it should work fairly secure as long a users behave. Misbehaving "Windows users" cost society enormous sums of money. Linux could solve some of these issues, but in the long run, something has to be done about it, beyond platform choice. Just think about it: how would it be if we let people drive cars on public roads with the same mind set? Last was a bit off-topic, but I'm on vacation and the weather is terrible today. (Sorry for my "spam" above. I don't know why but two comments were put oddly in the thread hierarchy.)

linuxiac38
linuxiac38

TechRepublic, and most of it's supporters/readers seem to be Microsoft fan boys. Well, why not, if they all are getting lots of money from it? But, published reports across the media abound about the multitude of world governments, businesses, and users who are embracing FOSS (Free, Open Source Software). And, including the 500+ GNU/Linux distros, and 36+ BSDs, comprise a tidal wave of competition, according to Microsoft Executives in both sworn court testimony, and sworn SEC Reports! Alone of all the Linux Distros, the Ubuntu community could be in the number of 30+ millions of users, including dozens of governments, and the US DOD, FAA, DOT, CIA, FBI, NSA (SELinux!), NASA (Mars Rovers!), NYSE, LSE, Wall Street... Since 1999, when IBM announced that, annually, $1 billion of IBM money is infused into GNU/Linux, and fully returned in annual compensation from sales, I have seen the distribution, training, and support for GNU/Linux multiply! The 200 to 500 Linux CDroms I distribute annually, since 1997, during store demos, and installs into some new and many more used computers in schools, churches, homes, and businesses, all have my personal Cell phone number and email on them. I get an average of one call per week, from converts to GNU/Linux, and it is usually one of thanks. Thanks for a virus free system, that has multi-user, multi-process, parallel con-current processing, on a multitude of desktops, with some 28,000+ programs, that are mature and competent and include games, applications, browsers, educational products, and many office suites that read, and write, import/export, all standard filetypes, that include all Microsoft Office files, and more! Thanks for an honest system that does not require any registration nonsense, or tracking by the mother ship, like Microsoft's WGA. One billion Chinese, 1 billion people of India, and a billion others in developing nations are the grassroots for the next wave of adoption of Open Source OSes and applications, in English, and in dozens of native languages, on top of the 90+ currently extant. The Fortune 1,000 corporations, including Microsoft, Google, You Tube, ALL use Linux. 15,000 leased Akamai Linux servers, and 400 Aruba Linux Routers/firewalls at Microsoft Corp. attest to the strengths of Linux, and the weaknesses of Microsoft. When I support a user in dumping Microsoft, I demonstrate only the most basic GUI LiveCD boot/install, of GNU/Linux. Updating and simple tasks are shown to the user. Install, update, and demo are less than an hour, typically. My users are from ages of 8 to 76, and a few younger, along with their parents, and most are the Windows challenged many of you deride, who are totally frustrated with the lot of you "Support Technicians"! One in about 20 have been trashed by the "Geek Squad", ripped off by greedy PC shops who destroyed components through ineptitude, or in a ploy to force them to purchase newer systems they did not need (we were installing Linux, after we repaired the damage done by Best Buy or PC shops!). Abused ex-Windows users chose Linux over a $180 re-install of Windows, or a new system they can't afford! Too many of you screwed the goose that lays the golden eggs, who are now more competent, and have finally hooked up with a community of millions of real technical supporters on IRC, web forums, or blogs, who offer them help to master their computers, and Linux! So, you can march with the Penguins, or die! You would be wise to grab a download of Linux Mint 7 and study it without ever opening a terminal, to see how refined this Unix clone has become, at 17 years of age. http://linuxmint.com Then, if you want to peruse the CLI, grab the one page of Commands from FOSSWire.com

techrepublic
techrepublic

Mom, now 85 is on Linux. Much happier as it just works and she isn't having to deal with Windows security issues. She has a live CD just in case it ever does blow up on her too. Me, I'm happy that she can do her computer stuff without me having to drive across town a couple times per week for emergency fixing and when I do visit we can do something more fun than try to get her Windows working again.

JimInPA
JimInPA

there are certain aspects of Linux that are just too frustrating even for those like myself who like Linux. Like setting up multiple wireless networks. I finally got sick of the aggravation and blew Ubuntu off my laptop and gave the rest of the free space back to winders. B-)

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Competition is good for everybody. If it reaches a high-enough proportion of the everyday home user, wireless OEMs might just see it to their benefit to write drivers for Linux, even if those drivers are not released for inclusion in the kernel. NDISWrapper is a PITA!

SKDTech
SKDTech

There is no telling what will happen tomorrow, next week or next year. Could Linux become a popular desktop OS? Which distro should it be? Which distro would it most likely be? I would support it but then again I am all for anything that puts money in my pocket. Maybe when they can pull together a solid baseline desktop experience that will be consistent over most major distributions. It is fine to have customizations and alternatives but for widespread acceptance the average user should be able to expect certain common things to work the same regardless of which distro they pick up. It is all well and good that people can create anything they want and give it away and expect others to do the same. But there are a lot of apps that fall short in the usability and interface department in my opinion and could benefit from a more end user oriented development process.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

until minor fiddlers similar to myself don't have to learn a foreign language to fiddle effectively.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

If someone has hardware that they don't want to replace, it's probably old enough that drivers have been reverse engineered (for lack of vendor help) and included into the kernel, Xorg or sound support systems. The bigger sticking point is brand new bleeding edge hardware that will impose a time delay for Linux based systems that don't have the benefit of interface specs from the hardware vendor. An example is Creative's X-FI generation of soundcards. Creative went about it the right way though; they started an open source driver to support the hardware under Linux. When they lost interest, they passed the source and hardware interface specs on to Alsa who have a beta driver that works very well; I'm eager to see it included into distributions. Nvidia chooses to provide there own driver and it's dead simple to install for those distributions which choose not to provide it. There shouldn't be issues with Nvidia graphics cards under Xorg these days. There are still things like Broadcom wireless that won't due to the decisions of those companies regardless of kernel developer's willingness to write full support if given minimal information. As such, there are still cases of hardware imposed support grief. In general though, if the hardware is known by the distribution then it will just work. It should only be rare cases that a bit of hardware is not supported or required a vendor provided "linux" driver.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

That they used to say the same things about Word Perfect, Lotus 123 and so on. Where are those products now? M$ Office didn't replace Word Perfect, and so on because it was better just easier to use when it came to dragging data from one app to another. If there is a reason to move business will because they have to. Col

jdclyde
jdclyde

I DO remember when DOS was the standard OS, the STANDARD spreadsheet was Lotus 1-2-3, and the STANDARD word processor was WordPerfect and the STANDARD PC manufacturer was IBM. None of those are now the standard, and most of the common user has never even heard of them. There have been shifts before, there will be shifts again.

drowningnotwaving
drowningnotwaving

... do you understand the reticence of business people to involve some IT folk in strategic business planning? If not, re-read your post about 12 times and hopefully you'll get the drift. Good luck :)

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Okay, you've convinced us. Now, can you do something with software developers and hardware driver developers to convince them that Linux is 'popular' enough to write for?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

And you're calling us fan boys? What are you going to do, peck me to death? This is the sort of overblown nonsense that puts your already feeble position down for the count. Can't you make a case for Linux without the unnecessary threats and rhetoric? We're talking about desktops and you drag in servers, Mars rovers, firewalls, etc. "One in about 20 have been trashed by the "Geek Squad", ripped off by greedy PC shops..." The quality of the services people purchase have nothing to do with the operating system they chose.

jim
jim

that's some kool-aid you've been sipping! I make a living developing Windows apps -- and I'm nobody's "fan boy", thank you very much. Why Windows? I've been consulting and writing apps for over 20 years and can count on one hand the number of times anybody's wanted user apps for any Unix/Linux environment. I'll never be apologetic about making money -- my family seems relatively accustomed to eating. I happen to like a lot of things about Linux, and have it myself. But pardon me if I refuse to "march with the Penguins". I've noticed several folks here that seem to be Windows users that have considered the possible merits of increased Linux popularity. What hurts it is attitudes like yours. And it always seems to me that the rhetoric and "justification" ratchet up another notch or two proportional to the length of time you've all been waiting for the world to "see the light". Know what else hurts people getting excited about Linux? "multi-user, multi-process, parallel concurrent processing..." etc... That's sure to send the masses running in terror. And why are they "your users"? Can't they just pick up an package at the store, run an install and be on their way? Maybe that's the part that's actually worth money to people?

ator1940
ator1940

It just works. Plus you have full control to do what you want with it. If you want to change something in a program, you open a text editor, as root, change it to your hearts content. I turn 69 Monday and I have been a Linux user for 8 years and there is no way I would ever downgrade to windows.

robspangler
robspangler

I've been using Ubuntu since about the 5.x or 6.x version, not that long really, and I've not had any problems setting up WiFi or wired networking. Their GUI is super easy, eh em "just like Windows"... I will say that I did have some challenge on the wireless side configuring the encryption method when it wasn't simply WEP, but it's all handled and works great for me.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

That's the second comment about networking grief with Ubuntu. I should have a look at it and see as Mandriva and Debian have been a networking dream. Mandriva provides it's own taskbar app for discovering and connecting to wired or wireless. Debian has the network-manager-gnome and network-manager-kde packages that do the same. With my notebook I can plug in the wire and have it pick up then unplug and it picks up the wireless. I've found I like it's automatic switching between with a preference for the wire versus Debian Testing which left both connected but prefered the wireless rather than faster connected wire. It's actually been a long time since I've had grief with networking thanks to Mandriva previously and Debian Stable now. (The choice of thinkpad and good desktop components probably helps too). Anyhow, odd that Ubuntu shows so many networking issues outside of hardware drivers.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

That you first had to learn a Foreign Language to learn to sort of Fiddle with Windows. Then with every new release learn more things as to how the new works and remember how it used to work for those times when you need to play with the older OS's. I'm still surprised just how many of the Linux Commands that I sometimes slip up on and use actually work on a Windows System. Could that explain anything as to what M$ is attempting to do? :^0 Col

Slayer_
Slayer_

All my older systems that are big enough for XP, but not enough for Vista or W7, can't run Nix for various hardware being too old. Usually sound and graphics. Nix hates all ISA cards it seems. Nix hates everything SiS, ya know, like the old graphics cards and chipsets during the 600mhz to 1.6ghz era. Systems that run XP beautifully but cannot run modern Nix properly. I've tried so many times, the only system I have that could run Nix, I would never ever install Nix onto because it's my gaming system. And its all high end hardware.

AV .
AV .

Windows is everywhere. Its the server and the desktop. All the other apps are made to run specifically on Windows. In the olden days, Novell was the network of choice with Lotus and Wordperfect. All separate products. I agree that the lack of integration is what killed them. It wasn't so easy to be productive back then. If Linux can offer something more than what we have now with Windows, it would be worth moving to. Otherwise, there isn't any way I could justify it. Windows is an empire. Every app can work on it. Not so with Linux. Big problemo. AV

AV .
AV .

But when Windows came along with its slick GUI interface and integrated applications, there was a compelling reason to switch. I don't see a compelling reason to switch to a Linux environment, especially if your infrastructure is designed for Windows from top to bottom. Why would the change be worth it? AV

drowningnotwaving
drowningnotwaving

You're right JD things do change. Typically though those changes are Revolutionary. The GUI (or event-based applications) was revolutionary. It changed the use and view of the personal computer forever. Apple had the lead with (Lisa then) the Mac, and Microsoft had the DOS/PC base ready to move to its Windows 3, which was the take-off point. Lo and behold, the two practical originators of that were Apple and Microsoft. The other revolutionary step they took (that companies like Lotus disregarded to their peril) was the growing integration between the operating platform and the applications upon it. Microsoft drives / depends upon that link today. One of the issues with people even questioning Windows v. Linux is that they fundamentally miss the point. It's Linux v. "The Entire Microsoft Stack" and that is where Microsoft is spending its billions and, to be frank, its corporate and government customers are sucking up in their more and more billions. There is a significant and documented marketing history of 1st and 2nd versus the rest, in any 'generation' of technical advancement. This also applies in many industries. It (typically) takes some sort of revolution for another player to attain a dominant position i.e. 1 or 2. Being 3rd, with 10% or less of the market, is where Unix got to before it collapsed. It's not dominant IMHO.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

He could simply have said something like: - hardware more easily supported without a stack of driver disks and driver download visits - programs easily installed from a search-able library vetted for compatibility with the rest of the system - updates provided from a comprehensive single download utility in a shorter time after bug discovery - system stability requiring less full system reboots to recover and less frequent individual program crashes - higher performance on lower hardware needs And, for the geeks since average consumers won't care beyond "so is it safer?": - higher potential for security and potentially higher initial security depending on distribution's default settings - higher resistance to malware damage due to compartmentalization of users and privileged levels Yeah I know though. Hardware support has room for improvement as more vendors choose to provide drivers or work with those who are begging to write the support. If support is there it comes up naturally during boot but support for a Linux hostile latest release bit of hardware can be a pain to work around or wait on a fix for. System stability also depends on the quality of the branding company and installed program. Debian will be more stable than some flake basement distribution and badly written apps crap out on all platforms. I'm seeing these as things that would continue to decrease as measurable popularity increases where the problem is the third party rather than kernel developers. The hot and heavy demanding approach is rather unattractive especially when there are plenty of positive things to focus on. It seems a little like Apple focusing so much effort on blocking other companies interoperability when they could just continue to focus on what the iPhone already does well and could do better.

KimTjik
KimTjik

I can't find a way to delete a comment. This one however should have been a reply to the poll and not to a comment here.

JimInPA
JimInPA

I got my original network setup fine but I went to another network and then came back to my original network and I could never get it to work again. Even tried command line configuration which is required if you would happen to connect to an unsecured network. To much of a PITA for me. :ar!

JimInPA
JimInPA

should have a look at Mandrake/Debian. Ubuntu woes- I set up 1 wireless network but every other network I have attempted to connect to has been an exercise in futility. I really don't know what the problem is but it has been frustrating enough for me to remove my dual boot config and go back to XP exclusively. I really wanted Ubuntu to work but I just didn't have the desire to put all the extra energy into making something work that I fought to get working in the first place... edit - speeling

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

The windows and programs are (in large part) named things that make sense as to what they do. Windows Explorer vs. Dolphin is an example. Samba for networking? WTF? Give me a break. This is my biggest complaint with Linux. Picking up Windows was no biggie due to naming that hinted at function. But Linux does not name things in a way that indicates what those things do to any but those already familiar with Unix.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I've done the same. Discovering winNT command line history was an accidental up arrow due to habit from Red Hat. ipconfig vs ifconfig. I smile when I find a Windows command that specifies "-h" type switches instead of "/?" type switches. I still have to add my own ls.cmd and su.cmd scripting; the second containing a /runas is a fantastic tweak though.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Normally the power supply is pretty well designed to keep that pesky smoke in but sometimes if finds a way out. I've seen the smoke escape from the processor chip once or twice also but not in years. They must be getting better with the jailing.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Father fired up a compressor, and it blew the breaker and the smoke escaped from the power supply.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

If I remember back far enough, that would be AWE64 territory. All I had to do was run sndconfig and let it set the soundblaster drivers. It would have been Mandrake I was running then unless it was an old Red Hat. I wouldn't expect Mandriva 2009 with KDE4 to run smooth but an enlightenment or xfce from Mandriva 2008 should run. If I had the hardware around still, I'd give it a go.

jdclyde
jdclyde

Microsoft is GIVING people a reason right now. Everytime you upgrade the OS you have to throw away your entire investment in equipment and buy all new. That same hardware would run a linux environment. It is good for the bottom line AND anyone that pretends to be an environmentalist should be in favor of getting more use out of the existing computers instead of sending them to a land fill just because they won't run the latest version of bloatware. Add to that, MS changing the interface so much that life long users have to be retrained just to be a user, let alone support.

drowningnotwaving
drowningnotwaving

JD, Oodles of writers, from comic to PhD, have discussed IBM's movement away fom PCs and how/why they lost share and market position. We could drink for hours on that topic !!! Should Microsoft similarly decide that they will no longer be interested in fighting for the desktop, I'd say it's a fair bet that they will lose their position. If you look at it from the 'chip' position the argument stands - Intel and AMD fight over 1 & 2, and a number of others fight for crumbs. If you look at it from a Box position then it's Intel-compatible #1 v Apple #2 v a lot of other players fighting for crumbs. Linux will remain a crumb. As another writer pointed out, even being a crumb is a big number. But the biggies - banks, insurance govt etc - tend to spend money making sure they're not on the periphery. Like Palmie pointed out - haven't seen a lot of really big players seriously say "we're moving over" for their desktop strategy. IMHO of course. Lotus and WordPerfect well that's another story. They were (relatively) late to jump into Windows and they didn't have the full set of products to integrate (Lotus got close but even with Ami Pro there were significant differences in usability etc). Jim Manzi's refusal of Bill Gates' offer to dance is legendary. What is less known are transactional issues. Such as Lotus refusing overtures from Amstrad to bundle 1-2-3 with their PCs - at the time (in '91) Amstrad were by far the largest bundle-deal PC manufacturer on the planet. Jim Meehan, Lotus's head of International (that is, anything ex-USA), offered the Asia-Pacific head of Amstrad to bundle Symphony, citing the position of 1-2-3 would be made inferior by bundling. When the Amstrad guy pointed out that, despite Lotus' own rhetoric, they were a one-product company and that product is 1-2-3, Jim stormed out of the meeting. True story. I sat in the meeting seeing my dream of a possible $50k per month commission float out the window on a breeze of ideology. 2 months later Excel took market leadership in Asia-Pac in terms of monthly units shipping, and has never lost that position. [i]universities do drive what people use[/i] In the nicest possible fashion, JD, on what planet would that be? :)

jdclyde
jdclyde

It was their bad management decisions that knocked "Big Blue" into the wild blue yonder. It was also the office suite that killed Lotus/word perfect. If the two of them had JOINED together in a suite, MS would never have stood a chance. Instead, the two standards tried to make you choose. When universities got bargains on MS and switched over, that was the end for everything else. universities do drive what people use, and they know there is more money to be made for them in MS certs than with any other platform, so they will sit tight. More and more, security is playing a factor, as well as cost. The shift IS happening in the world, just not much in the Americas. Of course, we are strictly talking PC's and not servers. :)

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Just edit the Title to 'Deleted', and put 'Wrong thread' or something similar in the Body.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Mandriva is more towards GUI management where Debian has been more stable and great for workstation or server setup. With both I do a minimal boot then add in my preferred list of packages. The list is easy to provide but I'm not going to advocate for cli package management with aptitude and urpmi unless that's your thing. Mandriva's hardware support and more accepting use of binary hardware drivers was a benefit. The GUI control panel type draketools really makes it along with the graphic installer. Debian's config file use seems a little more sane. dpkg-reconfigure packagename will rerun any "install wizard" type questions. An example would be reconfiguring my mail transport with "dpkg-reconfigure postfix" rather than editing a bunch of the text config files. Aptitude is great if you do manage install from command line but it also has the graphic package manager. Debian does target a more cli comfortable user so to get less GUI for a moment; It'll find network repositories for you during install but I always edit /etc/apt/source.list and make sure each of the ftp or http lines has "contrib non-free" at the end of it. basically, it shows an ftp or http path then at the end will have "free contrib non-free" to denote the three sections within that repository. Then "aptitude update" to refresh the lists of available packages. With the thinkpad the networking needed the following to install the firmware (wireless driver) and management: aptitude install iwlwifi network-manager-kde The rest was strait forward software selection and there is more graphic ways of doing that including simply selecting major software categories during the install process. I will admin that Debian's installer isn't nearly as user friendly as Mandriva's but once I got used to the partition manager I was all set. Play with both in a VM first of course and with Debian you'll want to do a few learning installs in the VM until the partition manager makes sense. If you didnt' have that existing Windows partition you could also just go with one of the defaults; "use whole disk, use separate / root and /home partitions" and so on. Of the two, Mandriva will be the more hardware and graphically friendly but Debian will be the more stable system with cleaner file structure. Last, I'm more a fan of Mandriva 2008.1 with KDE3.5 rather than Mandriva 2009.1 with KDE4. The former ran better on limited resources though the later's KDE4 isn't bad to work with and it may have newer hardware support on the install disk. Mandriva provides "One" the liveCD but I like hardware install off "Free" full DVD due to my picky software selection process. Debian is more of an install and run distro though there is a liveCD in development I believe. If they end up giving you hardware support grief I'd be interested to know what grief and hardware for my notes or encase I've already found a fix for the same issue.

roaming
roaming

Trust me, there are a lot of programs in Windows that don't have obvious names either. It's all up to the whim of the namer.

ator1940
ator1940

Some of the names are meaningless, in Linux. Like you said windows explorer, right away you know it's a gateway for viruses, etc. Bing, you know what that is,zune, very obvious.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

With apps a name is a name for the most part. Firefox doesn't sound like a web browser but Windows people got it figured out. Explorer versus Dolphin is a bit of a difference though. IPconfig vs IFconfig isn't a drastic difference though usage will differ. In terms of config /etc/network/interfaces /etc - it's in the system config area /etc/network - it's networking related /etc/network/interfaces - it's the interfaces configuration In my KDE menu: Edutainment - Science -- "Celestia - space simulator" -- "stellarium - desktop planetarium" Graphics - "KPDF - PDF Viewer" - "Mirage" - "OpenOffice.org - Drawing Program" Internet - Thunderbird mail/news - mail client - Firefox web browser - KMail - mail client - KNetworkmanager - network manager - Konqueror - web browser - Ktorrent - bittorrent client Multimedia - Amarok - Audio Player - k3b - cd & dvd burning - kaffeine - media player - mplayer - multimedia player - soundconverter - audio files converter and cd ripper - VLC media player Office - Kaddressbook - address manager - OpenOffice.org Base - database development - OpenOffice.org Calc - Spreadsheet .. and so on. It's pretty descriptive. In KDE4 it's actually reversed even; you get the "what it does" description with the program name as the additional information. Compared to the default KDE program menu layout, Windows default All Programs is a mashed mess of jumbled folders and program names with no description even when they really do need one. Finding new programs to pull from the repository may take a visit to a website unless you search the GUI package manager's program descriptions. This is not really different from visiting downloads.com to find what programs do what you need. It's generally just a matter of learning what programs do what you need where software developers do not provide the same program name on different platforms. Both platforms have programs with obvious and obscure names. It took me a program description to realize Mirage was an image viewer (opvious if you open it after install of course). PowerPoint sounds like a controller of some sort not presentation slide software. Samba isn't really any less desriptive than CIFS or SMB. On all three cases it becomes "how do I get the network thingy to work where I can see all the other computers and folders?" The general program name is just a name for the post part because it's presented with a description of what it does and the description is the more important part. It could all also just be that I took the time to learn the language just as I had to once take time to learn the Windows words. One does learn new languages easier as they learn more languages.