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The real barrier to Linux for new users


From Ken Stark (founder/operator of the Reglue Project) and his The Blog of Helios comes this observation:

New User Barrier To Linux - I Think I Found The Problem....

This is nothing new.  I talked about this during my Keynote at Texas Linux Fest in 2010.

It's one of those things we all know but we really can't do anything about it.  It's time we did.

In the realm of Open Source software development the adage "good enough" is  often interpreted as this software is good enough for general use.

It should read "good enough for me", speaking only from the software author's perspective.
<read rest of article>

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Yup. Sounds about right to me... 8)


That is my biggest pet peeve with most F/OSS software. The software works as a free alternative, but since it is free, it is often left in the "Good enough" state. Often times, when someone complains about a F/OSS product, one of three responses comes about:

A. If you don't like it, don't use it. It is free after all
B. You can't complain about something that is free.
C. Take the source code and write your own.

In most projects like this, everyone wants to do the sexy pieces of the project that everyone sees. No one wants to take the time to make the UI fluid, eliminate graphical glitches (Yes, they matter to the average user and indicate a level of quality in the product), or to perform proper logic within the application.

This is what turns me off to most graphical based (which is what the average user will want) programs in the F/OSS world. I can't tell you the number of times I watch programs create artifacts or react unpredictably each time I use Linux (And yes, I use it daily. Namely, #!, Fedora, and Suse (Backtrack if you count work)). Predictability is huge and is definitely a piece that Windows/MAC have a leg up on when compared to Linux.

Is there going to be a "Time for Linux"? Probably. Is it any time soon? Not until applications and windowing/UI systems mature.

Is there going to be a "Time for Linux"? Probably. Is it any time soon? Not until applications and windowing/UI systems mature.
-Josh (December 13, 2013, 11:53 AM)
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I think you neatly illustrate the truth of the IT adage: It's not the OS - it's the software running on top, and the ecosystem surrounding it.

Unless you're a geek, why spend good time futzing with something that makes work for you if you can buy something off the shelf and just use it?

Linux is still too 'geek.'

And 'geek' is not 'mainstream.'

Therefor Linux is not (yet) mainstream. QED  8)

I was going to write a long and detailed response, but I'll just leave a facepalm here, and an apology to all the Windows users who were promised rainbows and kittens if they would only switch to Linux.  I'm really sorry, but that was a lie.  Instead, you got shark lazers and rabid tigers.  You got a craft fair instead of a Wal-Mart.  Because despite all the hype, user-focused software on Linux is still a huge hobbyist playground, where "good enough" will always be good enough and if you want it better, pull up your do-it-yourself pants and join the other geeks burning up spare time to make it "better enough", because nobody's getting paid but the pros.  This is not the place for folks who want a smooth ride, despite what you've been told/sold, and I am truly sorry if you bought it.

Please... stick with safe, predictable, stable, mature, etc. and let us geeks work things out; use Linux for your servers and your phones, and come back in a few years to see if we're still around.  Meanwhile, I'll do my part contributing documentation, artwork, code, etc. as I am able, because I dearly want to see it better.  And it will be, and for the most part already is, just not as fast or far as most folks would like it to be.  And that's OK...

I have a feeling I'm going to regret this post, but it was what was on my mind at the time.  C'est la vie.


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