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Is Linux Desktop ready for prime time?

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Is Linux Desktop ready for prime time?

Prefbid II
One of the things that has facinated me on Linux is the question of when it would be ready for real general release (and not just for geeks). To understand my position, I have been involved with Unix for better than 17 years and would consider myself a "rusty" master of the OS. I have not been diligent in keeping up with the changes and permutations, so I get surprised occasionally.

This last weekend I installed Fedora Core 4 over an older RH Linux install. I learned a lot about the "state of Linux" from that install. First of all, the Linux install has improved tremendously over the last couple of years. I found the steps to do the install to be far simpler than anything I had done in the past. I've gotten several things to work that never worked before so overall I am really pleased with the transition. On the other hand, Linux is still not ready for prime time deployment. If I did not have my "guru" hat on during several steps, I would not have finished. I used stanton-finley's installation notes to guide me through the process. I found those notes to be much easier to read and more comprehensive than the official notes.

Here are some of the issues that I had to deal with:
1. Instructions for correctly burining CDs is lacking. I found places on the net that said you had to use cdrecord in order to get a proper burn. It turns out that K3b is actually the best tool to use -- its just a little hard to find the right setting ("Burn to image").
2. The RH update took better than 14 hours to complete after the install. There is no indication on the machine that it is still working or is dead and 14 hours of "looking dead" is far too nerve wrecking for most people. I suspect that some of the time is because it is trying to digest too much at once. Seems there is no priority order to it, like update the kernel, restart, then update the next package.
3. Thunderbird did not load in the initial package. I manually loaded Thunderbird (it was on the disk) but it was missing 2 libraries, so I had to find them and install them.
4. I went through some issues to get yum installed. It does not seem to install "ready to use" and has to be booted to get going. Too mach typing. It is a real shame because it is a pretty good installation manager. I've been having a hard time finding the rules for how to expand it to include other distributions, but the instructions are hard to find.
5. I installed RealPlayer v 10 manually. It wasn't hard, but it was different than anything else that had been loaded up to that time.
6. Printer maintenance requires you to supply the root password. I hate that. I had to use one of my tricks to bypass that restriction. My printer queue jambs occasionally and I would prefer that my kids just go in and delete the queue themselves.
7. Most help files are beyond worthless.

Other than that it worked real well. I love the new Gnome. Thunderbird is getting close to being real helpful. Firefox needs a few tweaks, but I like it a lot more than IE. OpenOffice is excellent except for graphing in the spreadsheet and the find and replace in the editors. I haven't tried the databases yet. Many items in the menus have names that are far too cryptic.

Overall I think it is fine for us geek types, but it still needs some work before I would start recommending it to anyone for a home desktop.