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Why Desktop Linux is nowhere, part 3

Posted 01-19-2009 at 02:42 PM by AGer
Updated 01-27-2009 at 06:29 AM by AGer

In Part 2 I cried over software support in Linux. Now it is time to bash Linux soft skills.

Linux is nowhere communicating. The media presents it like Windows, only free and better. People start to feel themselves paying customers to Linux Inc. and get frustrated immediately.

Even worse, vendors start to think the same. I do not recall what exactly I was installing, but it was funny. A "run" file did it best to install itself and failed with some complaints. When I looked into it, I found out that it was sufficient to write a small paragraph on what should be done instead of trying to guess a disrto and automate the process. What is really bad is that the vendor did not write such a paragraph, in addition to the run file, indicating absolute misunderstanding of the customers.

Documentation is part of communication. The peer support is a good thing, but a peer normally can say just "under these conditions I did that and it worked". Sometimes it is easy to reverse engineer what was happening, sometimes not. Unfortunately, it communicates a wrong message to users - "Linux knowledge is a vast collection of secret spells". It also communicates a wrong message to developers - "users can figure everything out on their own and there is always somebody else to write a how-to".

For an extreme example, consider Slackware. There is no scim support out of the box in 12.0. In 12.1 the scim support has been added together with the notes describing how to install scim. In 12.2 the scim support is still out of the box, but the installation instructions are removed from notes. I was so frustrated that I had to read the scim scripts to find out what should be (and was!) documented upfront that I emailed a complaint to Slackware.

Another old but wonderful example is the KDE 4.0 release. It was explained that the KDE team needs more beta testers and releases a beta as 4.0 to gain more attention, but the message was not understood (by the Linux people, BTW) and a huge wave of KDE bashing followed.

Naturally, all the above is not sufficient to explain why Desktop Linux is nowhere. Part 4 will cry over the Linux overall design that is incompatible with good Windows style desktop.
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  1. Old Comment
    "Even worth, vendors start to think the same ..."
    did you mean:
    "Even worse, vendors start to think the same ..."
    this is too good to marred by typos.
    Posted 01-23-2009 at 11:12 AM by archtoad6 archtoad6 is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Thanks, indeed it was a typo!
    Posted 01-24-2009 at 10:17 AM by AGer AGer is offline
  3. Old Comment
    I think you can edit the original to eliminate it.
    Posted 01-25-2009 at 07:49 AM by archtoad6 archtoad6 is offline
  4. Old Comment
    I fixed it! Thanks for the comment, with exactly zero blog experience I never thought it is possible to change an already posted entry. It just looked like rewriting history to me.
    Posted 01-27-2009 at 06:33 AM by AGer AGer is offline
  5. Old Comment
    Good, glad to help.
    Posted 02-02-2009 at 09:13 AM by archtoad6 archtoad6 is offline


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