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Da_Necromancer 03-26-2005 07:30 PM

thoughts about desktop linux
 
seeing that Apple's Mac OS X seems to be gaining popularity I'm just wondering if it going to dampen the initiatives on desktop linux. Linux is definitely going to dominate in the server platform, I really don't see OS X server even touching Linux's market share there... but on the desktop its a totally different ball game isn't it...

every thread i see here is a Windows vs Linux thing, where people tout the instability of windows and its pathetic command line and stuff like that. Most people still have gripes on software compatibility in Linux, some have quite a bit of trouble getting things to work but all the some love the secure and stable environment linux provides.
This is why I think that Apple's OS X could actually do some real damage here. IMHO OS X seems to provide the the best of both worlds. It's got most of the major apps running on it, open source apps running on linux can be ported using fink or recompiled from source, game support isn't great but its better than on linux and well... its darned easy to use.

i've always figured that for Linux to truly conquer the desktop, it would need to maintain its reputation for stability and freedom and inherit the wide compatibility and easy of use of Windows. Do you think that with OS X just beat Linux to it?

alienDog 03-26-2005 08:14 PM

Re: thoughts about desktop linux
 
Quote:

Originally posted by Da_Necromancer
i've always figured that for Linux to truly conquer the desktop, it would need to maintain its reputation for stability and freedom and inherit the wide compatibility and easy of use of Windows. Do you think that with OS X just beat Linux to it?
A bit of sidetrack here, but...

This talk about the ease of use of Windows always leaves me puzzled... What exactly is so easy about it? I personally find it extremely difficult. First of all because each new version is totally re-arranged and there is no "standard windows way" of doing anything. Every version of Windows is different. Secondly, even if two Windows machines were running the same version of Windows (say XP), they still differ from each other. Why is it, that whenever you try to (for example) setup a DSL connection in Windows, the system on screen absolutely never looks the same as the system described in the installation manual? About "wide compatibility of windows" I would just ask exactly how widely compatible is a system that doesn't follow any standards but Microsofts own? Besides even their own standards seem to change in every version, making different Windows versions largely incompatible with each other.

Just a point of view to add to the conversation. What exactly are we talking about when we are talking about the ease of use? Utilization of graphical tools for configuring a system most certainly doesn't make it easy to use in my book. What makes it easy is that the system has somekind of "stability" in the way it's put together and managed.

I have to confess here that one of my friends calls me a person who, by walking into a room, makes all the Windows machines instantly crash. So maybe it's just my incompatibilty with them talking...

AlexV 03-26-2005 09:46 PM

Let's face it: Linux and Mac are both single digit percents of the desktop market. Apple has always had a small but very loyal fan base and I doubt that it will shrink or grow all that quickly.

Besides, I see any growth popularity of OS X as benefiting the Linux community. The more diversity there is in desktop OSes the more software developers will begin taking a hard look at writing cross-platform and easily portable code, as well as employing open and/or widely compatible standards.

I don't care whether you use Linux, *BSD, Mac OS X, or something else completely. If it's not Microsoft, it's one step closer breaking Redmond's dominance and establishing a free and open industry where innovation can truly flourish :)

BajaNick 03-27-2005 12:06 AM

Re: Re: thoughts about desktop linux
 
Quote:

Originally posted by alienDog


This talk about the ease of use of Windows always leaves me puzzled... What exactly is so easy about it? I personally find it extremely difficult.

hmmm..... Well lets see, you can install programs very easily compared to linux. You can install Drivers somewhat easier compared to linux. Things are organized in a logical order instead of some bizarre disorderly structure with strange names and dots and letters. If something doesnt work there are fixes readily available online rather than having to jump through rings of fire to get something working or reading up on how to write a script to get something working. Dont get me wrong I really like linux but there are some things that are much easier in windows and just because something is simplified doesnt mean that were dumbing it down, it just means we want to increase productivity.

SciYro 03-27-2005 12:48 AM

[QUOTE]Well lets see, you can install programs very easily compared to linux[/QUOTE
emerge X

is harder then buying a program, putting the CD in, fussing thru those stupid install wizards that ask personal questions?

Quote:

Things are organized in a logical order instead of some bizarre disorderly structure with strange names and dots and letters
you obviously haven't seen the "windows" directory, where programs are kept.... whats so hard with the following?
/etc - system configs
/bin - programs
/sbin - restricted / admin programs
/share - program datafiles (usually /usr/share)
/man or /info or /doc - (usually found in /usr/share) - program documentation
/var - logs, program PID lists (so daemons know if there is already one of itself running), or other misc files, like mail
/tmp - programs temporary files
/usr - essentially a copy of the / dirs, this was ment for 2 boots off old UNIX's, disk (partition) 1 had essential programs and files to boot the system, and mount (load) the other parts of the system), partition 2 had would be /usr, this has normal files used for everyday work
/usr/local - this is just like /usr , only here is to help keep user installed programs separated, or some other task to separate programs



thats look at windows:
first, what drive? (ahh, to hard for you? .... is for me, you can never tell what letter your new hard drive will be ..... damn letter system)

well say standard C drive (it can be any letter .... depends on where the drive is found at)

then, in C/

/windows - all system programs, files, drivers, hoards of subdirs, etc)
/program-files - has more subdirs with programs names (at least this in neatly done), then those subdirs are usually the program, and datafiles (you cant separate em!)
/users - subdirs with names of users, the subdirs have more subdirs, with confusing names, and bizarre files that cant be edited

i know im missing stuff, but i don't use windows anymore :p

Quote:

If something doesnt work there are fixes readily available online rather than having to jump through rings of fire to get something working or reading up on how to write a script to get something working.
/me points to this site

so, cant find help?, to lazy to read the docs, and/or to lazy no write a script, sounds to me like you just want your computer to work the way you think it should, and any work on your part related to USING YOUR computer is SOMEONE ELSE'S fault? ... in which case people who fit in this category shouldn't you computers, it will only stress you out

Da_Necromancer 03-27-2005 05:08 AM

the problem with ease of use is that it is basically comes down to opinion. i mean its very obvious that the UNIX file system is far more organised and robust than the windows equivalent.

the thing is that, you need to consider that the VAST majority of users don't really care what their underlying file system looks like. Most of them will be browsing their 'my documents ' or home folder to find that excel worksheet they were working on yesterday or something. This thread is basically about linux threatening Windows on the desktop. so in this case ease of use would basically be catering to users such as the above and not to experienced computer users who are going to run their terminals and appreciate how organised their file system is :).

For one, Microsoft's blatant disregard for standards makes it extremely difficult for other OS's to make much headway. http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/hyatt...s/2005_01.html - take a look at this site, its this safari and KHTML developer who says just how hard he found it was to actually adhere to the HTML standards because IE disregards them and because of IE's popularity, most websites wouldn't display correctly if he didn't follow IE.

Most sites also use windows media for their streaming, knowing fully well that stuff like real player or quicktime would be far better owing to cross platform support. I'm not sure about quicktime support in linux though, but real should do.

the other thing that people love about windows is its uniformity. On linux we've got so many toolkits, QT, GTK, GTK2, tk/tcl. Whereas on windows its basically win32 that dominates (whether its flawed or not is a completely different debate :)) but all the same it means that all the apps look and behave more or less the same. More importantly they communicate much more seamlessly because they all share a common clipboard etc.

i think that linux can benefit a lot from products like crossover and wine. while pure open source would work on the server market, proprietary software that people are used to in their day to day lives are a must have for the OS to be truly accepted as a desktop OS. This is because i seriously doubt microsoft will be porting their technology over to linux...

coming back to OS X, this is why i think that OS X is miles ahead of linux on the desktop bit. As ironic as this maybe, Microsoft limited support for OS X does make the OS more friendly. Its got Office, an official client for MSN messenger, IE for those sites that just don't look right on other browsers and a Windows media player that supports their proprietary format. This support, as limited as it is makes it so much easier for potential switchers to make that final decision. Besides that, the Cocoa widget set dominates all Mac apps that let it enjoy the same uniformity windows apps have.

I for one see Apple's OS X as fast becoming the OS to turn to when the 'I'm so sick of windows' bug sets in, which could prove a real shame for linux.

alienDog 03-27-2005 05:13 AM

Re: Re: Re: thoughts about desktop linux
 
Quote:

Originally posted by BajaNick
Things are organized in a logical order instead of some bizarre disorderly structure with strange names and dots and letters.
I wouldn't actually call Windows registry particularily logical. Compairing it to FHS I would say that it's the latter that is logical and orderly, not bizarre and disorderly. I do agree with you that there is a lot of things that will need to get done with software installations though new installation tools are getting to be pretty good on Linux side too (such as emerge on Gentoo and apt-get on Debian).

For your average user there is no difference in usability between a Linux machine and a Windows machine. This has been tested numerous times as more and more public libraries in my country are moving to Linux. The claimed learning curve does not exist for a basic desktop user.

Mega Man X 03-27-2005 05:15 AM

I hope Apple will never get bigger then it is. I know everybody thinks that MS is evil (and often, it is) but Apple is by far, worse: They push you not only their OS, but a nearly non-upgradable, pricey and underpowered hardware. The second "affordable" option is the Mac Mini, but you still need monitor and upgrade the memory it ships with for something "good".

If I've to chose between MS and Apple, MS gets my vote. Between Linux and MS, Linux indeed. So in this case, I'd to say Hail MS :)

SciYro 03-27-2005 06:51 AM

id go for apple, then when it gets bigger then m$, i go for m$, then back, ....... until they wipe each other out

pevelius 03-27-2005 08:07 AM

the cost of Apple hardware + OS X is higher than the cost of x86+WinXP. Overall, I feel that they are in par if you compare Quality/Price. My 1y old Powerbook has proven that Apple can make os & hardware play together. I just havenīt had a single problem in that time.
Well, because of Apples stupid policy towards itīs users (lawsuits etc.), i still wonīt buy a new mac when this one dies. So from now on i just enjoy my PB and Linux server till i have to get a Linux laptop. I just wish that by then x86 laptops have a decent quality (i feel they all are just crappy compared to PB).

Da_Necromancer 03-27-2005 08:13 AM

i know what you mean... i recently bought a powerbook and have never looked back. been using it for almost a year now and its just hands down the greatest computer i've owned. i'm not sure about apple's treatment of its users, i think that the lawsuit on the guy who seeded tiger on the torrent was justified. that was pretty much just asking for it, hosting a developers only edition thats got 'DO NOT distribute' all over it on a public torrent site :).

anyways, heres hoping that x86 reaches that standard too.... highly doubt it though RISC seems the way to go in my opinion.

mhearn 03-27-2005 08:25 AM

No, the last of the really big usability problems are being addressed very quickly with Linux. I don't think OS X is serious competition except maybe for the "lite" home/consumer desktop space. It has no business penetration and never will, and business desktops make up something like 80% of the market.

I reckon the Big Issues to solve in order to beat MacOS X at its own game are:

- Software installation
- Bundled lifestlye apps quality (eg, photo software, music software etc)
- Just general polish, but this improves a fair bit every 6 months with each new GNOME release
- Get the new graphics work Red Hat, Novell and Xorg are doing into mainstream distributions

Note that software compatibility is NOT on that list. MacOS does not have very good software compatibility as it cannot run Windows programs, and its game choice is fairly pathetic too. Appcompat is critical for business but less so for the home/end user market. So Wine is important but not required for "beating the Mac".

Meanwhile I totally concur with Megaman X, a move towards Apple would be a step backwards. They're no better than Microsoft is.

Da_Necromancer 03-27-2005 09:13 AM

i think that OS X insistence on running only on Apple hardware is both its biggest flaw and its greatest strength. the easy plug and play nature of everything on a mac is simply because the OS just knows exactly what it can support and what it can't unlike the myriad of hardware windows and linux have to be tested with. this is what i think would probably hamper OS X where market share is concerned, that it doesn't run on anything but a PPC platform on proprietary apple hardware.

about what you said about software compatibility:
"Note that software compatibility is NOT on that list. MacOS does not have very good software compatibility as it cannot run Windows programs, and its game choice is fairly pathetic too. Appcompat is critical for business but less so for the home/end user market. So Wine is important but not required for "beating the Mac"."

i don't think thats true. for one, wine is just a compatibility layer and still has a long way to go in terms of bringing windows apps to linux. the apps that do run, don't really work with the OS that well. most of the time, you need to tinker with the wine config file quite a bit to get apps to work.

MacOS has pretty good software compatibility. most of the apps people spend considerable time on getting to work on wine i.e. office, IE, wmp, macromedia stuff have quite good native ports that linux just doesn't have. in the case of microsoft office, most people go as far as to say that some bits of the mac version are actually better than the windows counterpart. in others like adobe photoshop, theres no difference between the two except for the OS it runs on.

the game choice in OS X is 'pathetic' only compared to windows. linux has almost zilch native games support except for stuff by ID games and UT. if you consider cedega, then linux does indeed have decent game support. but cedega is still quite buggy, some bits of games that do run don't always work. some games refuse to run at all. the worst thing is that linux remains only compliant with nvidia cards whilst windows and macs have excellent support for ATI as well. nvidia is not the dominant king in GPUs for this to be okay, ATI has some brilliant cards, of course its not linux's fault that ATI doesn't support it but still its a huge black mark on the OS. compared to this, macs work great with both nvidia and ati... its got quite an arsenal of games that have been ported over that are officially supported and work flawlessly.

pevelius 03-28-2005 03:18 AM

btw, wine is available for OS X too, i havenīt tried it so i donīt know how well it works.
http://darwine.opendarwin.org/
also MS has their own windows emulator/compatibility layer for OS X.
then of course you can run all linux programs on mac with fink/darwinports/gentoo for OS X. app compatibility is in par with other systems.
I agree with Megaman X: Linux should not try to follow OS X, it should stay on itīs own route full of alternatives and choises, even if it meant more pain to get stuff working. I am very much Pro-Linux and like to install it on my own & my friendīs computers as well as try very hard to get it to our office :)

Da_Necromancer 03-28-2005 04:05 AM

yes i've heard about that... what the darwine people are trying to do is to integrate QEMU (a sort of x86 emulator) with wine to allow windows executables to run on PPC mac os x. unfortunately, i think that the darwine project hasn't really gotten much attention from the developer community and progress is quite slow. i'm looking forward to the time when darwine reaches the maturity of cross over office. the thing with Mac OS X is that since most of the major apps already have native ports most users would want to run much smaller special purpose windows apps. like for instance chat clients like msn and yahoo or in house developed software. so while the going is slower for darwine, i think that its requirements aren't as challenging as wine on linux or BSD. to my knowledge the only major software not having a native mac os x version is AutoCAD. i'm sure there might be a few more but anyway i seriously do hope darwine goes on to fulfill its intended goals.


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