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Author Topic: 13 Reasons Why Linux Won't Make it to a Desktop Near You  (Read 11994 times)
mahesh2k
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« on: September 16, 2007, 10:16:15 AM »

This PDF i got from gizmos newsletter,i thought it is worth to share with you guys.I thought very few subscribed to his newsletter,so here is the link.

Quote
This short and whimsical article by regular contributor "Briard" is so accurate it's painful.

http://www.technoledge.co...au/pdfs/linux_desktop.pdf

I want to know your reaction about this article.Being linux user myself i do agree with some of the details of this article.
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« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2007, 11:01:19 AM »

I had a brief look thru, and yeah, it is pretty much true. No standards, too many things to decide, and yadda yadda ya.. M$ will still lead the way for many years to come.
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« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2007, 11:05:51 AM »

Just thought you might like to know there are actually quite a few subscribers here.  And if you are a supporting member of this site, you can even subscribe to the Premium version at a discount.   Kiss

That being said, I loved the way Briard wrote that up.  I followed each article as they were written and feel they are mostly right on the money.  However, there is a lot to learn there, and if anyone is willing to take the time, the learning curve is not that steep anymore, comparatively.  As he stated, "Linux is not ready, but some distributions are".  Thanks to Briard, I found LinuxMint and have loved it ever since.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2007, 11:09:17 AM by steeladept » Logged
Edvard
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« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2007, 12:32:31 PM »

I was going to post on this, but you beat me to it.

Also read Kim's posts on Is Linux Really Ready for a Simple User (8-part series, eep!!), Steven J.'s response and reasons why he thinks the Linux Desktop Will Succeed Despite Itself.
While you're at it, see LinuxBrainDump's Commenting on a Simple User.

What these articles have done for me is break through the clouds of optimism that I cannot help but get caught up in having been a Linux user for a scant 5 years now, full-time as of 2 years.
It pains me greatly to hear of the difficulties people go through over what should be a simple task and I think Stephen J.'s article touched on that, but it is a monstrous reality that some things still demand to be hand-crafted in Linux (all 'pro' arguments aside...) which, like it or not, is simply too much to ask for from the average Windows user. My wife would refuse to use Linux if I did not "fix" it for her, I can assure you.

It pains me to hear the smug and often uninformed Windows user who pops off a curt "I tried linux and it sux" (or similar) blanket statement but knowing that (as it stands) the question is not 'Is Linux ready for the Desktop' but 'Are you ready to deal with a Linux Desktop' and also knowing that for 80-90% of Windows users the answer is "No, not really, I just don't have the time, don't bug me with that icky command line, let me play my games and how come if Linux is so cool there's not a version of Photoshop for it?".
To know that as much as Windows users have put up with over the years, it still runs damn well enough to remain the dominant OS (who would complain about a 300-pound gorilla if he mows the lawn and does the dishes?), all claims of monopoly aside.
To know that, like it or not, and to varying degrees, most if not all Linux distros fall short of what they claim, and the ones that would dare advertise their shortcomings wouldn't get very far on DistroWatch.
To know that as popular as Linux is getting, most manufacturers of peripheral hardware still refuse to release robust drivers, API or code, any of which would be acceptable for the vast majority of users and a definite kick in the pants for Linux adoption.

I have run some of the most awful distros and successfully so, and thought I was so 1337 for it. I dove in headfirst to Linux and learned a ton in the process. The way was not always easy, and some days I did give up (for the day...) and some days I marvelled that people still think "Linux is not ready". Some may argue that the learning curve for Windows is steep as well, but that's no excuse. In reality, you're asking plain folks to switch carts in the middle of a race, not pick a cart at the starting line and make your go of it, which is what Microsoft did from the beginning. Linux as an easy to use personal desktop is very much "almost there", so close you can taste it, but it's an upstart in that regard, and I dare say a darned snotty one at that. Don't be surprised when people act like they are being faced with a snotty upstart... they are. In Briard's articles, he continually stated his opposition to using the command-line for ANYTHING even though we regular users know in our little geek hearts that his fears of 'breaking things' are not justified and that a terminal window is simply a portal to the magic that is the Linux experience, not the touch-and-go surgery that editing a Windows Registry is (he equates the two, you see...). Still, his viewpoint is valid that a robust, usable gui SHOULD be able to take care of what 90% of users are going to need. Blame it on Microsoft, go ahead, they deserve it, but DON'T blame Average Joe for his trained-in preferences.
I love Linux and as long as it remains legal, I will never turn back. But personally, I think it's high time we (full or part-time members of the GnU community) stop waving our 'RTFM' flags, start taking naysayers as constructive critics rather than flame-bait, give newbies the help they deserve (yes, even the annoying ones) and start helping existing distros perfect their craft before Vista gets a blood transfusion and starts singing and dancing like it was supposed to in the first place.
(tip of the hat to the 'Young Frankenstein' analogy?)

Was that a rant? Maybe I should take a poll...
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« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2007, 07:47:57 PM »

Kim Brebach article is exactly what I was talking about in that other thread where I heavily criticised those kind of "one hour with Linux" reviews. I'm going through it right now and so far, it's excellent, the guy took some time to actually test the distros, instead of live blogging about the installation experience and letting some guys submit the "impressive and refreshing experience" to Digg's front page. Rant over Wink
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« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2007, 08:19:39 PM »

Briard has penned a 2-part prequel prior to this one, also available via Gizmo..


• http://www.donationcoder....ic=8042.msg57393#msg57393

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« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2007, 09:14:02 PM »

The learning curve for any new OS is likely to be steep. I still marvel at how counterintuitive a Mac feels after I've been away for awhile - even though everything is right there. Linux I find to be much easier, probably because the GUI mimics Windows to a degree.

Edvard - I've tried Linux and I love it. Most of my attachment to Windows has to do with expensive software that I've purchased to run under it - it's not really a rational attachment, more sentimental, although some of the apps simply don't have analogues in Linux (ArcGIS and some 3D Geometric Morphometrics apps that I run). I've tried WINE and it's just not the same... Anyway, I consider Linux to be a very viable alternative to both Windows and OSX (which I also have running on an old iBook  - admittedly its 10.2.x not the latest greatest version, mind). I've a notebook that I will be moving from dual boot to strictly Linux (haven't decided on a distro yet) in the near future.
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« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2007, 11:16:38 PM »

haven't decided on a distro yet

Which one have you tried?
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« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2007, 11:31:44 PM »

Over the years I've tried Mandrake, Ubuntu, Kororaa, Saboyan, I'm sure there have been others. I'm leaning toward Ubuntu as its the last distro that I used and I really liked it. We'll see. I haven't kept a dual boot configuration for long because I'm on notebooks and have always had to think about harddisk space. Now that I've a spare notebook I figure its time to have a dedicated Linux box to play with! If all work and no play makes me a dull boy, what does all play and no work make? Not really bone idle but... what?
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« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2007, 11:55:48 PM »

I have Ubuntu installed on a computer and PCLinuxOS on the other. PcLinuxOS is really really working well. But I prefer Gnome over KDE (one silly reason being... well I love the Gnome Deskbar applet, sort of a "farr for linux"... But it's nothing like farr... yet), so I end up in Ubuntu  most of the time. There's a gnome project for PCLinuxOS (http://www.mypclinuxos.co.../forum/index.php?board=68) but not very active. Anyway : PCLinuxOS is the only distribution I've installed on 4 different machines with NO manual hardware configuration to do what so ever; I'm not including peripherals in that assertion... Printers etc. are generally okay, but scanners and other fun devices are, of course, a different story... better to check before buying. Impressive nevertheless.

Like you, I remain tightly attached to windows. I've invested so much time and money, it would be stupid (and incredibly time consuming…) to dump everything… now. I'll eventually use Linux more when there's a way to use  my favorite apps on top of Linux (I’m of course talking about the one without true Linux alternative). As you say there's Wine, sure  but… I really doubt it will progress fast enough to accomodate apps written in the future (for vista — I mean, even Microsoft is having trouble to make its Oss compatible with applications designed for it !), etc.  Wine is certainly impressive, but since my first steps in Linux World — in 1996-97 — the progress has been (predictably) somewhat slowish. Vmware Fusion for Linux (???) might one day be a much better answer to my compatibility needs.
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« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2007, 12:25:36 AM »

Lotta people talk about Linux but the truth is it will always be a stunted child. The reason is that computers are no longer the exclusive domain of computer geeks and nerds.
The market, the money is in mainstreaming OS's so that casual users can get online, chat, surf, write blogs, play games, share media and view porn without tweaks or complicated instructions.
When or if Linux can do this on install then it might make a dent, until then it'll always be a toy......nothing more.
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« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2007, 12:43:32 AM »

casual users can get online, chat, surf, write blogs, play games, share media and view porn without tweaks or complicated instructions.

I'm surprised you say that. Casual users? Pick any of the top distros, they can ALL do that, as easily as windows (except for games, I admit -- but then Mac OSX is not exactly a gaming platform either...). On install. Even with a live CD. I understand the money idea in your argument, but is there something else I don't understand in what you're trying to convey??

To me, the problem with Linux is not about satisfying the casual user, but about satisfying businesses and the power users. The ones who absolutely need specific apps. The casual user doesn't care if it's OpenOffice or MS Office, firefox or internet explorer, Nautilus or Explorer, Totem or Windows media player, Gnome Deskbar or Windows Desktip Search, etc.  : as long as it approximately does what she's expecting.

BTW, without being overly pessimistic, I don't think that michael shuttleworth is behind Ubuntu for the sake of Africa and poor countries well being. So... I'm not an expert in the economic aspects of Linux, but I'm sure some people see money making opportunities there...
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« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2007, 01:29:56 AM »

Well see that's where you lose the proper perspective.
Computers are becoming consumer based, not just for "power users or businesses" (although businesses is IMO a stretch because businesses especially would want a no hassle simple to use interface/OS, anything more costs in production and support).
The ideal situation for any OS in the future IMO is all about plug and play, and that is what M$ is aiming for.
Think about it, what percentage out of say 360 million potential users really care about tweaks and searching for drivers?
Your talking about a very small percentage out of millions of possible customers.
I'm old enough to remember when color televisions were pretty high maintenance.
You couldn't even bump one with a vacuum cleaner let alone move it without a service call.
Ain't that way anymore, the market ...the money, wants to move in that direction with modern computing also.
I also remember working with intel's 4040 and 8080, lot a stuff has changed since then.
Just what I'm doing right now was no more than science fiction then.
Linux is a long way from dominating and unless it become very consumer friendly really quick 20 years from now it'll be a curiosity.
Just like Old televisions.

And you know what? You don't even have to take my word for it, I have no dog in this hunt. It's just that I have seen OS's come and go over the last 30 something years and Linux has never inspired me much as being a real alternative.
I maybe wrong but really, how much headway has it really made?
« Last Edit: September 19, 2007, 01:36:32 AM by Cpilot » Logged
Armando
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« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2007, 01:55:40 AM »

I won't fight on behalf of Linux tonight...  smiley There's no need for it anyway, and we all know it's not starting to replace windows tomorrow. Not even in 2 years, most probably.

Think about it, what percentage out of say 360 million potential users really care about tweaks and searching for drivers?

The thing is... Even with windows it's not that simple. For example, last week I bought a Canon camera and it took me 3 hours (and I consider myself a power user) to have the software-driver functioning properly — and I’m not alone! Isn't that tweaking? The same thing happened with my scanner (which BTW, worked instantly under Ubuntu).
Anyway, it's true that there is usually some tweaking involved with Linux, but my past experiences showed me that it all depends what you're trying to achieve. If all you want is what you described in your other post, well, there's generally no problem. As we all know, it'S the latest piece of hardware that’s usually problematic… And, well, yes... some proprietary media format are/will become problematic too , especially with the Microsoft heavy involvement in DRM. Nevertheless, let’s also not forget that abig part of planet earth is not using the latest hardware and software, and that not every country intend to respect DRM the Microsoft way (to not mention the existing methods to bypass DRM and countries like China that don't seem to be willing to play the game according to occidentals rules).
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« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2007, 04:57:01 AM »

Yes,Microsoft is beating opensource badly.Microsoft designed Silverlight technology to beat Adobe's Flash technology.They've placed their agents with Project Moonlightor in short called Mono,which allows silver light to run under Linux.
This is just beginning they forced many companies to adopt their .net technology.Their design of j# is just start of beating java technology.In next 2 years there is going to be big war with open source vs MS.We can make difference if we choose carefully our sides.I don't want you to fight on Linux side.Its your decision.I'm developer i can create cross platform app and forget about the war.This way no-one suffers.

What microsoft is doing is that they are playing against their competitors one by one? They are taking them down one by one like:
Putting java or wxwidgets below .net or j# will slow down open source/cross platform developers.This will result in slowing Linux & open source.Next thing they can do as create alternative for each and every open source/cross-platform software like silverlight(for flash) etc.

Linux needs lot of funding for developers/hosting/clients.It needs good tools and must let any newcomer to get into their system without any loss of software while migrating from windows.

If you know where linux lacks or what it needs for survial then post your views on this thread here
http://www.donationcoder....g77248;topicseen#msg77248

« Last Edit: September 19, 2007, 05:00:28 AM by mahesh2k » Logged
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« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2007, 06:48:58 PM »

I'm not so sure that I'd say "Microsoft is anti-open source". They're 'embracing' it in their own MS way.  rip

They've got new licenses that are for open source (e.g. MSPL).

That MS is anti-GPL - that's a given. The FSF is a radical organization with little in the way of moderation. The LGPL is the only usable license for anyone that makes their living in software. The whole "support" thing is a sham. Redhat makes nothing compared to any of the other players. The business model just doesn't really hold up (comparatively).

The biggest impediment to consumer adoption of Linux, is the Linux community itself. They're too busy making uber-geek stuff and focusing on functionality. Functionality doesn't matter if nobody can use it.

How do you install a Windows app? Double-click on the installer... Click "Next"... It's stupid simple. Anyone can do it.

How do you install a Linux app? Login to CVS. Download. Compile. Get 50 trillion required components. Compile again... Realize that you've got the wrong versions of dependencies... OK - maybe a bit extreme, but not far off.

You should not have to install half a dozen different software packages because of dependencies. That's the killer for Linux.

MS on the other hand "gets it". The most that you'll ever need to do is install .NET once.

These all are impediments to consumer adoption which drive developers to Windows where things are easier for people. That makes Windows more attractive for people because there are more options and more software offerings.

When Linux is finally able to attract developers en masse to develop for Linux, that will make it more attractive for consumers.

At the moment, other than run a server, you can get a sub-standard office suite for Linux and, well, not much more (comparatively).

The best thing to ever happen to Linux is Novell. They sponsor Mono and that's the single best thing going for Linux.

The .NET way is simply far superior to anything else out there for general programming. The language you use is no longer important. You can just write it then run it, and with Mono, you can do that anywhere.

Mono is really maturing very well and is going to be the most important thing to attract developers to write for Linux. When that happens, you'll see more software offerings for Linux and consequently, more consumer adoption.

Inside of that there, I see your regular Windows developers writing applications in the Windows tradition of making things easy for users. No more "install these 6 dependencies first, and make sure you have the right version." .NET killed DLL Hell. Your average commercial Windows developer knows that users won't tolerate any of that BS. (Something generally missed elsewhere.) Their livelihood depends on making things simple. That's what people want. That's what will attract people to Linux.

The OS is immaterial. It doesn't matter. The usability of the software offerings matters.

People use software to solve problems - NOT for the sake of using software. Those problems are solved easier on Windows at the moment. Mono is going to help turn the tide there as it opens up Linux to developers with a different mindset. i.e. "I'm writing software to help users solve problems." and not "I'm writing software to show to my developer friends how great a coder I am."

 

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« Reply #16 on: September 19, 2007, 09:12:13 PM »

A few things come to mind, if Linux is to be used more widely then it needs to get into a reasonable number of large corporations, places with 30 thousand or more workstations.  This is going to be a hard slog.  Those sort of companies are not going to pay huge amounts of money to teach people to use a new operating system when they can employ people off the street who have a basic knowledge of MS windows.  After all the cost of training 30000 plus people for a day is quite significant, if enough could be done in a day to make the users feel comfortable doing the work they need to do.  The amount they pay for a licenced windows copy is small compared to these costs. 

And then there is the the user support areas, and the folk who are going to implement software changes throughout the organization.  Lots of training required there.

Then there is compatibility with the people they do business with.  Lets face it, a word processor that wont open .doc files is pretty useless, so they all can, and the support these big companies get from microsoft is, or was, when i was involved, quite good. 

One company I worked for spent over 1/2 a billion dollars on a system to do their billing for them, all staff had access to this on windows PCs, probably not an insignificant cost in changing it to run on linux.

And i think its safe to say people will buy computers with operating systems they at least feel they know a bit, and those are the ones they use everyday at work.
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« Reply #17 on: September 19, 2007, 09:22:25 PM »

Thing is I'm not out to bash Linux, people that are happy with it then all the more power to them.
I just think there are too many obstacles to keep it from becoming a viable alternative to Windows and I just don't see that changing anytime soon.
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« Reply #18 on: September 19, 2007, 09:46:23 PM »

Thing is I'm not out to bash Linux, people that are happy with it then all the more power to them.
I just think there are too many obstacles to keep it from becoming a viable alternative to Windows and I just don't see that changing anytime soon.

I think that one of the major obstacles - the Linux community itself - will be removed once Mono gains favor among developers. That will really open up Linux to more applications.

For corporate concerns, you can have your C# (or whatever .NET language) applications on both platforms, alleviating much of the expenses associated with training.

Yeah - I'm rooting for Mono in a big way! I'd love to develop for OSX & Linux, but I just can't really justify it much unless I'm reusing efforts spent developing for Windows. I see Mono as the answer there. Go Novell! smiley

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« Reply #19 on: September 20, 2007, 08:28:43 AM »

They've been saying the same thing "linux will get mainstream on the desktop when..." for the last 5 years (and probably the 15 years before it) but the one major kickstart happened when a major company took it up (in the case of ubuntu). So I think the community is too fragmented to kickstart itself. Whether there are enough companies willing to take up linux and kickstart it (like Nokia, Canonical, and Dell) to persuade major software companies to release linux products for the desktop, I don't think it will happen. It's much easier to push Apple's OSX -- Apple does all the work, it's more ready for the desktop, it's already in the shops, it's already being marketed well (and it runs most linux software). It will take a lot less effort if you're looking for a competitor to Windows to become mainstream on the desktop. That's my view. In the time linux could persuade adobe & microsoft to release creative suite and office for linux for example, apple will have persuaded the whole pc gaming industry to release games on OSX.

But then again, it will depend on people who disagree to push these distrubutions so that won't stop them (I hope!! it's probably the next wonder of the world, how worldwide collaboration on such a massive scale works together). Perhaps the pdf in the start of the topic just shows how conservative some marketing companies are -- realising the potential for linux but not their potential role in helping it move forwards and the benefits of that.)
« Last Edit: September 20, 2007, 08:34:10 AM by justice » Logged

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« Reply #20 on: September 20, 2007, 09:17:54 AM »

One misconception is that Mono is not programming language it is silver lights code port API for Linux/OSX.Many of you confused it with .net technology,.net is actual programming language that is competition to java.

.Net is very good and demanding but still it is not cross platform & in future it won't get any further OS than Mac OS X.

If you've to choose between java,.net and anyother what will you choose?why?
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« Reply #21 on: September 22, 2007, 05:22:59 AM »

There was a related article recently that was interesting:

Quote
Desktop Linux? Stick a Fork in It!

It's over. The magic is gone. The dream is dead. The egg has fallen off the wall and no amount of "sudo" super glue can put his pieces back together again.

I'm referring, of course, to the not-so-recent departure of Con Kolivas from the Linux kernel development community. Con - that champion of all things desktop centric - hung-up his keyboard this summer, the victim of an ideological rift within the Linux community.


Quote
And try as he might, Con never could convince the powers that be that his way was the better way, this despite copious evidence of the effectiveness of his patches. Con's concerns – and those of like-minded Linux users who appreciated the need for a better interactive desktop experience – simply weren't shared by those at the helm.

I'm highlighting this story because I see it as another clear example of why Linux continues to fail on the desktop. Despite all the warm, fuzzy talk of open source and community development, the fact remains that, at the kernel level at least, Linux is still controlled by a small group of elitist "prigs." And if a particular feature or function isn't a priority to them, it isn't a priority for Linux as a whole.

I don't know the inner debates about this so i'm definitely not going to take sides -- and the truth is i'm friendly to the idea of retaining some control and guiding direction in the hands of a small group of people than many in the open source community, but i do find it interesting.

hat tip http://www.osnews.com/index.php -- a great site
« Last Edit: September 22, 2007, 05:24:48 AM by mouser » Logged
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« Reply #22 on: September 26, 2007, 07:15:26 PM »

One misconception is that Mono is not programming language it is silver lights code port API for Linux/OSX.Many of you confused it with .net technology,.net is actual programming language that is competition to java.

.Net is very good and demanding but still it is not cross platform & in future it won't get any further OS than Mac OS X.

Actually, Mono is the open-source implementation of .NET and it does make .NET cross platform; in fact, I'm pretty sure it's the only way to get .NET on OS X right now (excluding virtualisation solutions). A number of the standard Ubuntu apps are running on Mono, such as Tomboy; most of them should be able to run under .NET with minimal adjustment.

Moonlight is the Mono team's open-source implementation of Silverlight.
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terribleterryc
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« Reply #23 on: September 26, 2007, 10:14:55 PM »

This week I experienced the joys of freespire, Linspire($50), and Linux Mint  all claiming to have one-click program installations.  Mint had nothing of interest.  Liked freespire so I bought Linspire for $50 in a desperate attempt to get netzero.deb loaded for dialup access.  When I purchased Linspire 6.0.0 they neglected to inform me that their one click CNR access isn't available yet!  In order to resolve problem I changed ISP providers(which I didn't want to do) , loaded Ubuntu , and was on line in an hour.
In the last year I have spent 300 to 500 hours trying to learn Linux(only recently did I get a book - Ubuntu for non-geeks) and I still don't know nothing.
90 to 95% of American computer users are NOT going to find linux an alternative as it is.
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thomasd3
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« Reply #24 on: September 26, 2007, 10:32:19 PM »

I think one of the big problems with Linux has to do with the attitude of some people in the community.
It's like they think they're an elite and are almost afraid that 'common' people would use Linux too. After all, for many it seems like the motivation is really to be different.
there's an article about that here: http://www.sibylleandthom...s.info/drupal-5.2/node/19 and it seems like people are divided about it
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