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Old 03-13-2009, 08:16 AM   #16
revilojames
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Is Linux for the average user


I'd have to say yes would I not, after all I'm signed up to this and many other forums.

But I started using Microsoft OS's without thinking that there might be an alternative, then about 10 years ago I was introduced to Linux by a good friend (who lives and breaths computer systems - while having a strange dislike of all that is MS) and I must admit that I was initally intrigued but soon disheartened by the difficulties of configuring the installation. Anyway I tried a lot of distros, Redhat, Fedora, Suse, Mepis, Ubuntu ... and I kept messing with them.

Today I find that there are many distros that are very user friendly, top of my list comes Mint Linux. This distro which uses the Ubuntu repositories, is very easy to install. What's more it comes as a live CDROM so one can try before installing to check hardware compatibility. I remember my pleasure when I first installed Mint, the live CD enable me to easily configure Wifi and so I was able to watch the install process while listening to my favourite radio station, very impressive.

There's still a need to instil confidence so the Windows user can create partitions on his hard disk but one done it's a breeze to install a Linux OS. Certainly the case with Mint.

I personally like the XFCE desktop and can recommend the latest version 4.6. Without going the Compiz Fusion route it provides a beautiful desktop that is highly tweekable.

I could ramble on about the excellence of Linux for hours but must do some work so I'll just say that for me Linux has evolved into a very easy to use OS which retains the ability (for those who like to dive under the hood) for tuning the installation, and benefitting from the power of the Unix/Linux command line functions.

My prediction is that the current Worldwide economic meltdown will only do a huge amount of good for Linux, It's largely Open Source and hence a real money saver, I note that the French and UK governments have realised this (what took them so long) so it's good for everyone and totally in tune with a philosophy for survival into the next century. Plus the computer and software people will still be needed to keep the commercial systems working. A win/win situation in my mind.

Enough of this rambling, back to work while encouraging everyone to promote Linux to their family and friends.

Revilojames.
 
Old 03-13-2009, 09:11 AM   #17
Randux
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brianL View Post
The "average user" doesn't need, or want, to know how a computer works. I don't need to know how a microwave oven works to cook ready made meals in it. I dont need to be able to act or direct a film to enjoy it.
Well this is the key. But even more to the point, the average user doesn't need an OS, period. Winbloze isn't an OS, it's a GUI app.

Very people really need an OS. That's why Bloze has been successful aside from the strong-arm marketing tactics.

A home PC is an appliance, it's not a computer any more than your stereo system or video game is.

To answer the OP, you can't ask is Linux ready for the average user. There isn't an OS called Linux, there are hundreds of distros made out of Linux.

If you want to know whether there are any bloze-replacement Linux distros, I think we're getting close but I doubt we'll ever get there. There's too much investment in middleware and tools for writing games and other stuff for bloze.

That's fine with me. I need an OS, I don't need an appliance.
 
Old 03-13-2009, 09:40 AM   #18
malekmustaq
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Hi everyone:

With due respect to all senior members' opinions above, allow me the honor to add something.

Only my own opinion. I can be right and I can be wrong.

By any measure: today: March 2009 !NOT March 1994: desktop Linux is far easier and faster to install than any of the Microsoft desktop systems. Period.

But my understanding of "average user" is quite different because I came from different world: the world of windows & gates. In my world before, an average user "is one who is able to use and frequently uses an application or two to satisfy the need but should not meddle with the hidden Windows & Program folders". If she learned how to make some tweaks, say, switching booleans inside the 'registry', then she can be considered an "advanced" user. If she installs, deinstalls, formats drives, backup & restore system (--everything that an usual Linux user is expected to perform) then, in my former world, she is already a wanna be "admin".

Productivity is one common denominator between my former and present worlds. I see no reason why Linux should not dominate this realm in the next ten years, not counting the fact for its being both as free-beer and free-dom. To me (just my opinion) I think an average M$ user, browsing the web, working on data or processing docs does not care what kernel works behind as long as she can accomplish the work: she is not even interested to know the difference between a kernel and an OS. So that, as long as there are "Linux installed configured-platforms" ready to use for the given apps or purpose, any average user from either worlds can jump and drive it.

This is not meant to offend my fellow M$ users; I too belonged to that world: I started writing my business letters using EDIT.COM that cannot wrap text, and tasted every system from Redmond until Server 2008: my sympathy.

It is only in technical knowledge and skill that a "self administering Linux user" stands far above a "self administering M$ user". This is due to the opposing tenets that created two different cultures. In Linux world there is open-ness in the system; but in my former world "secrecy or concealment" is the rule of "righteousness"; in our world today we say to hackers "Have fun!" but in my former world I can't even lend my OS installer to a friend!; the Linux world motivates talent; but my former world made me a de-facto-criminal many times! because of copyright provisions. Yes, social tenet, small thing as it is yet has created two different cultures in the computing world.

Thank you.
 
Old 03-13-2009, 11:03 AM   #19
theNbomr
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Linux is great for me. I won't use Windows except when forced to do so. I am not an average user.

Linux will not be ready for average users until a few things are 'fixed'.

Printing in Linux is still way behind Windows, and for a few reasons. Windows was actually designed with printing as a principle output mechanism. In Linux, the printing process is a bunch of layers of hacks that try to streamline the printing process. Support for many printers does not exist in Linux, as the printers were designed for Windows. Since support for these is almost always achieved by reverse engineering, the support almost always lags behind, both in terms of time-to-market, and in capabilities. Average users don't want to have to research whether the new printer they buy is supported in Linux, and they sure don't want to have to spend a lot of time and effort to reconfigure their system to get the printer(s) working. Manufacturers don't consider Linux users as an important part of the market, and aren't interested in investing in any support for Linux users. They also don't want to engage in open sourcing anything, fearing that they will divulge trade secrets. Conspiracy theorists would probably tell you that there are agreements with Microsoft that prevent them from revealing things about how their products are driven.

Sound is also still a black hole of hacks. Every few years, someone adds another layer on the stack, trying to solve all of the problems left over from previous attempts. These layers are often either in conflict with each other, or require some manner of cooperation, configuration, and end-user understanding to make them work correctly. Multi-media, primarily sound and video, falls in this category generally. A lot of the problem stems from lack of manufacturer support, but also from distributors averse attitudes to the likes of patent/copyright infringement regarding multimedia encoding algorithms such as MP3. Average end-users aren't interested in dealing with these issues.

Linux is not an optimal platform for gaming. Probably never will be. A lot of average users want to play their favorite games on their PCs, and if the game can't be played on Linux, they probably won't use Linux. More generally, there is a lack of Linux support for some of the 'killer applications' that are considered the gold standard among many users. This would include the likes of Photoshop, Autocad and its relatives, and others. Many GNU/Linux friendly applications advertise themselves as being compatible, or work-alikes, but generally fall short as competitors.

Someone talked about 'keeping up'. Linux is evolving rapidly, and this evolution is one of Linux's own worst enemies. Who among us hasn't tried to install or upgrade some new package, and been sucked into the unending vortex of dependency hell? And who hasn't spent a huge amount of time and effort to finally get all of the necessary prerequisite ingredients installed, only to find that it broke one or more other applications? I've tried all sorts of tactics to work around this problem, from using distros that are produced with long-term planned support, to distros that are always on the cutting edge of latest-and-greatest technologies and newest versions. Eventually and inevitably, a wholesale re-installation of the OS is required. Usually, this results in losing a bunch of things that I had worked hard to install. Average users are never going to accept this kind of situation.

I don't object too much to working around these issues, but most users who are confronted with even a single one of these issues would simply turn their backs on Linux and stay away, or revert to their comfortable standard of Windows. Sadly, they will do so at the expense of discovering the many superior things that Linux can offer.
--- rod.

Last edited by theNbomr; 03-13-2009 at 11:07 AM.
 
Old 03-15-2009, 06:01 AM   #20
GTrax
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Quote:
By any measure: today: March 2009 !NOT March 1994: desktop Linux is far easier and faster to install than any of the Microsoft desktop systems. Period
The "average user" almost never has to cope with installing any OS. It comes pre-installed, and if it gets messed up, they take it to the nice folk at the help counter - or maybe find a geek friend to help them out.
 
Old 03-15-2009, 03:06 PM   #21
kapz
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Hey no offence bro...but why put 'such' a question in Linux Questions...I mean its here to help you out with the 'problems' you face while USING linux and not ask if linux was a fair deal for 'average users'...Linux is all about - stop being average and learn!!!! Learning will help you gain more control over your machine...and its definately not rocket science.

So use linux to gain knowledge - which is useful in MANY ways...so welcome man
 
Old 03-16-2009, 02:33 PM   #22
jiml8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randux View Post
Well this is the key. But even more to the point, the average user doesn't need an OS, period. Winbloze isn't an OS, it's a GUI app.

Very people really need an OS. That's why Bloze has been successful aside from the strong-arm marketing tactics.

A home PC is an appliance, it's not a computer any more than your stereo system or video game is.

To answer the OP, you can't ask is Linux ready for the average user. There isn't an OS called Linux, there are hundreds of distros made out of Linux.

If you want to know whether there are any bloze-replacement Linux distros, I think we're getting close but I doubt we'll ever get there. There's too much investment in middleware and tools for writing games and other stuff for bloze.

That's fine with me. I need an OS, I don't need an appliance.
This is a pretty silly post. Not a single accurate statement in it - except of course for the last one, which is a statement of personal preference.
 
Old 03-16-2009, 03:55 PM   #23
pixellany
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randux
Very people really need an OS. That's why Bloze has been successful aside from the strong-arm marketing tactics.
Any computer needs an OS---If you use a computer you need an OS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Randux
A home PC is an appliance, it's not a computer any more than your stereo system or video game is.
You have got to be kidding!!! What definition of "computer" are you using?
 
Old 03-17-2009, 12:07 AM   #24
measekite
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Talking I Wish It Was

Quote:
Originally Posted by TB0ne View Post
This has been discussed many times here, and in other forums on the net. In short, yes, I believe it's ready for 'average users'. What distro, that is harder to say.

Ubuntu/Kubuntu are great for 'regular' users, and are very much focused around easing the transition from Windows to Linux. However, it's ALL a matter of preference. I've known people who get started with Ubuntu, and then get frustrated quickly, because their skills grow, and they don't like Ubuntu's quirks as much, and go to another distro (OpenSuSE? Fedora?), to push things further. Some folks start out with such things, and are quite happy...it all depends on the person.

Since they're all free, it costs nothing to try them, and find the right fit. You can have the same GUI's on any of them, and they can all look/feel the same way, so you're not giving anything up.

As far as 'keeping up' goes...keeping up with what? Pick one that you like...change only if you feel like it. Automatic updates run easier on Linux than on Windows, IMHO. And how many Windows XP users still haven't 'kept up' with getting the latest Vista? SP3? Whatever crap that Microsoft wants to trowel out that week? Just because a new release of OpenSuSE comes out, doesn't mean I'm going to automatically go get it....because I don't have to.
I wish Linux was for the average user. If a Linux support person set it up and configured it (the cost for doing that would offset part of the savings of a full compliment of software but not all) then the average users could USE it without difficulty. For I have done that.

Now lets find out why not.

Ubuntu 8.10
Running LiveCD it does not properly recognize many nvidia cards and one needs to know something about that. One has to know how to set up and configure a printer but that is getting easier. Much hardware like cameras and scanners do not have out of the box drivers and some have not drivers.

Fedora 10
Not as bad as Ubuntu in this go around. The video was automatically set up and configured with the correct resolution. One needs to install the printer but for many that is not a biggie. One does have to learn how to use the package manager and what software to download and what I call the average user may need some help.

Much of that is taken care in Windows. Now if a person bought a machine with Linux pre installed and configured then he/she would only have to set up broadband.

The bottom line is we are getting close. One needs to have all distros use the same package manager and place all of the installs in the same directory structure so there is little or no difference between distros in that regard. Other things like look and feel and many of the applets could set them apart without a problem.
 
Old 03-17-2009, 12:18 AM   #25
measekite
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by theNbomr View Post
Linux is great for me. I won't use Windows except when forced to do so. I am not an average user.

Linux will not be ready for average users until a few things are 'fixed'.

Printing in Linux is still way behind Windows, and for a few reasons. Windows was actually designed with printing as a principle output mechanism. In Linux, the printing process is a bunch of layers of hacks that try to streamline the printing process. Support for many printers does not exist in Linux, as the printers were designed for Windows. Since support for these is almost always achieved by reverse engineering, the support almost always lags behind, both in terms of time-to-market, and in capabilities. Average users don't want to have to research whether the new printer they buy is supported in Linux, and they sure don't want to have to spend a lot of time and effort to reconfigure their system to get the printer(s) working. Manufacturers don't consider Linux users as an important part of the market, and aren't interested in investing in any support for Linux users. They also don't want to engage in open sourcing anything, fearing that they will divulge trade secrets. Conspiracy theorists would probably tell you that there are agreements with Microsoft that prevent them from revealing things about how their products are driven.

Sound is also still a black hole of hacks. Every few years, someone adds another layer on the stack, trying to solve all of the problems left over from previous attempts. These layers are often either in conflict with each other, or require some manner of cooperation, configuration, and end-user understanding to make them work correctly. Multi-media, primarily sound and video, falls in this category generally. A lot of the problem stems from lack of manufacturer support, but also from distributors averse attitudes to the likes of patent/copyright infringement regarding multimedia encoding algorithms such as MP3. Average end-users aren't interested in dealing with these issues.

Linux is not an optimal platform for gaming. Probably never will be. A lot of average users want to play their favorite games on their PCs, and if the game can't be played on Linux, they probably won't use Linux. More generally, there is a lack of Linux support for some of the 'killer applications' that are considered the gold standard among many users. This would include the likes of Photoshop, Autocad and its relatives, and others. Many GNU/Linux friendly applications advertise themselves as being compatible, or work-alikes, but generally fall short as competitors.

Someone talked about 'keeping up'. Linux is evolving rapidly, and this evolution is one of Linux's own worst enemies. Who among us hasn't tried to install or upgrade some new package, and been sucked into the unending vortex of dependency hell? And who hasn't spent a huge amount of time and effort to finally get all of the necessary prerequisite ingredients installed, only to find that it broke one or more other applications? I've tried all sorts of tactics to work around this problem, from using distros that are produced with long-term planned support, to distros that are always on the cutting edge of latest-and-greatest technologies and newest versions. Eventually and inevitably, a wholesale re-installation of the OS is required. Usually, this results in losing a bunch of things that I had worked hard to install. Average users are never going to accept this kind of situation.

I don't object too much to working around these issues, but most users who are confronted with even a single one of these issues would simply turn their backs on Linux and stay away, or revert to their comfortable standard of Windows. Sadly, they will do so at the expense of discovering the many superior things that Linux can offer.
--- rod.
Very well said. Add Gutenprint and the Gutenprint plug-in to Gimp with that lousey and confusing dialog box. A way above average user still has to screw around with it just to print various size photos. You also have to install Poscript 2 ppd files to get any functionality and it still may omit some printer features like borderless printing. Ok I said it so you can add that to the list of what needs to be done before the average user can use Linux. Add scanning to the list also even though Xsane can scan to multipage pdf files that cannot be done with out of the box scanning software in Windows.
 
Old 03-17-2009, 04:23 AM   #26
revilojames
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Is Linux for the average user

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTrax View Post
The "average user" almost never has to cope with installing any OS. It comes pre-installed, and if it gets messed up, they take it to the nice folk at the help counter - or maybe find a geek friend to help them out.
A very good point. And as I suggested earlier an average user would not subscribe to this or similar forums. And if they did would that be a good thing? I have noticed that in the space of 20 years it has become harder to find answers to problems because of the increasing volume of "Newby" posts, but hey the Linux Open Source world is by definition open to anyone. That is one of it's appeals. But I'm certain that the "Average user would not be interested in such a forum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Randux
A home PC is an appliance, it's not a computer any more than your stereo system or video game is.
A nice radical statement and one with which I agree. From my perspective it is becoming a home appliance. Of course for some it remains a powerful computational tool but because of that ever increasing power the device is capable of greater multifunctional abilities. For example I use computers as : a digital radio, a DVD player, a juke box, a video telephone, an agenda, an address book, a photo store, a photocopier, a fax machine, A fountain of knowledge, not forgetting, as my principal workstation. But increasingly they will become home control centers.

And I find that today a Linux OS can be setup with little or no specialist knowledge to work out of the box on a large number of computers, at least to work as well as Windows for the undemanding user.

For the more demanding user some knowledge of Linux systems and their configuration is a must. I hope that that will be always the case; consider, Windows (and Mac) are big OS's, big because they contain millions of lines of code to enable automatic configuration of just about any device one can plug into them. Let's not forget that the commercial pressures ensure that device manufacturers will get their product to work well with the major OS suppliers.

One could make a Linux installation to be totally user friendly but then it would become just a unwieldy as Win or Mac. My WinXP software partition is 25Gb, 70% full, My Linux software partitions are 5Gb, and between 50 and 80% full, with approximately equivalent software packages.

Anyway, to conclude I'd say that Linux today is ideal for the average user, in fact given the current economic climate it is the best system for the average user; it can be downloaded or purchased for little money and installed on an old machine to give lightning fast Vista like performance.

The above average user can then learn how to set it up for his more demanding applications, hence it's educational too!

revilojames
 
Old 03-17-2009, 09:04 AM   #27
Randux
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pixellany View Post
Any computer needs an OS---If you use a computer you need an OS.
The computer needs an OS but the typical user especially the typical winbloze user doesn't need one, he needs an appliance that lets him do what he wants- browsing the web, playing games, sending email.

From that reality, a computer isn't any different from a phone or a DVD player, etc. Do you not understand this point?

The OP wanted to know if/when Linux will become ready for the average user. My answer is that Linux started out as a real OS, which was developed for people who wanted to use UNIX but couldn't get a license. These people weren't gamers or web surfers, they were developers. There is a big difference in the whole reason for Linux and the whole reason for Windows. Do you acknowledge this? Linux was developed as a platform for coders, Winbloze was developed as a GUI appliance.

Linux has features that an OS needs to have while Winbloze has features a home appliance/media player/gaming platform needs to have. The two are different because they have different purposes. While many distros are pushing Linux in the direction of a home appliance and away from its core purpose as a development platform, Linux is still an OS, while bloze is arguably a GUI app with some OS features.

If Linux continues to evolve as an OS then it will probably never be ready for the "average user". Because the average user doesn't need an OS, he needs an appliance that does what he wants.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pixellany View Post
You have got to be kidding!!! What definition of "computer" are you using?
I explained it already. Do you like arguing for no reason, are you a Winbloze fanboy, or are you just having a bad day?

Last edited by Randux; 03-17-2009 at 09:12 AM.
 
Old 03-17-2009, 09:08 AM   #28
Randux
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jiml8 View Post
This is a pretty silly post. Not a single accurate statement in it - except of course for the last one, which is a statement of personal preference.
Hey jiml8, I notice 90% of your posts are just personal attacks on people or attempts to ridicule opinions you don't agree with or facts you can't deal with.

You hardly ever seem to be able to express your own opinion. Maybe you're a frustrated proof-reader or editor and this is your practice forum.

I've had enough of your non-productive attacks on my comments and those of other people. You never actually seem to address any issues or refute anything, you just say it's all stupid.

Now I'm going to have a look at setting my options to ignore your posts from now on.

Have a nice day!
 
Old 03-17-2009, 02:51 PM   #29
jiml8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randux View Post
Hey jiml8, I notice 90% of your posts are just personal attacks on people or attempts to ridicule opinions you don't agree with or facts you can't deal with.

You hardly ever seem to be able to express your own opinion. Maybe you're a frustrated proof-reader or editor and this is your practice forum.

I've had enough of your non-productive attacks on my comments and those of other people. You never actually seem to address any issues or refute anything, you just say it's all stupid.

Now I'm going to have a look at setting my options to ignore your posts from now on.

Have a nice day!
Toooooo funny. Methinks the poster needs to consider the psychological term "projection".

Methinks the poster also need to learn the definition of an operating system, and of a computer, and the difference between a computer and an appliance, and how the insistence on the term "winblows" or whatever shows who/what he is.

Me also thinks that it would be a very good plan for the poster to block me, because methinks that people who post like the poster deserve mockery and very little else.
 
Old 03-17-2009, 04:30 PM   #30
Tinkster
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randux View Post
The computer needs an OS but the typical user especially the typical winbloze user doesn't need one, he needs an appliance that lets him do what he wants- browsing the web, playing games, sending email.

From that reality, a computer isn't any different from a phone or a DVD player, etc. Do you not understand this point?
Where exactly is your point? I cease to see one. I see
an opinion that I happen not to agree with.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Randux View Post
The OP wanted to know if/when Linux will become ready for the average user. My answer is that Linux started out as a real OS, which was developed for people who wanted to use UNIX but couldn't get a license. These people weren't gamers or web surfers, they were developers. There is a big difference in the whole reason for Linux and the whole reason for Windows. Do you acknowledge this? Linux was developed as a platform for coders, Winbloze was developed as a GUI appliance.
Interesting view. Where is the MS design document that
backs your view? And when do you believe that "appliance"
functionality would have been introduced into Windows? The
last few times I ventured into the M$ world it was still an
operating system, and extensible via APIs (poorly as it is),
very much unlike a toaster or a DVD player. No, inserting a
DVD is *not* the same as writing a custom program or installing
software via the internet.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Randux View Post
If Linux continues to evolve as an OS then it will probably never be ready for the "average user". Because the average user doesn't need an OS, he needs an appliance that does what he wants.
/me coughs ... sorry, but repetition doesn't make it any more true


Quote:
Originally Posted by Randux View Post
I explained it already. Do you like arguing for no reason, are you a Winbloze fanboy, or are you just having a bad day?
You didn't explain anything; you reiterate your opinion in
a variety of ways. And spare people your derogatory tone.



Cheers,
Tink
 
  


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