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Old 12-05-2004, 10:53 PM   #1
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An interesting observation.......

I notice an interesting phenomenon in alot of Linux forums. My comments may not be all positive or negative, but don't be so quick to flame me. There is a defensive attitude when it comes to Linux when a negative comment is made. Some of you guys here probably know loads more about Linux than I do as I'm only dabbling with it for the past couple of months and not on a daily basis. I feel sometimes a newer users opinion is more interesting than a "know-it-all" users is, especially with Linux. The goal of any OS is to attract new users towards it. When building an OS, there are many goals, one of them being ease of use to an extent when dealing with certain functionality of an OS.

Microsoft by no means has the "perfect" OS, however they have a more user friendly OS. When some of you have worked with Linux for multiple years it may eventually be easier for you to use than Windows, that is not the case with myself and 90% of the worldwide users out there using Linux today. My comments may be off, but I represent your majority customer base, newbies who enjoy cutting edge technologies such as Linux. Companies who are building Linux distributions will follow my words to a greater degree than a pros because there goal is to show new users that Linux is as easy as Windows. Maybe I do have misconceptions about Linux due to lack of knowledge and experience with this OS as to me at this time, it's merely a toy to play around with right now.

Linux is still new technology so to speak. I am excited to see something new and like venturing into unknown territory. I have read time and time again of Linux not being ready for prime time and I to believe this as well. It's the novice home user base that Linux will eventually make it's biggest profit from, not the egghead set who can build the kernel and the entire distro piece by piece. If Linux were to stay at the difficulty level it is at currently and not change or improve they would be dead in the water. Most Linux users despise Microsoft but they can teach Linux a valuable lesson as they have created the template for success as far as OS's go.

It's a bad bargain if nobody profits. The whole end goal of any business is to make money and desktop users are where the money is at. I love to see people go to the console in Linux and write all these commands and admire their expertise with Linux, however, if you guys here believe that this OS is going to be successful staying that way, well. If the Linux community here thinks that they don't need to cater to the mass home user market, take a look at Novell Netware, BeOS, NEXT and Amiga as what happens when you don't. Netware was superior to Windows but since they only catered to the egghead set of Administrators and Corporate users they're history. If you've been to Novell's website lately check out Novell Linux Desktop and SuSE as indicators that they've learned there lesson this time around.

Look at MacOS and Windows for the regular everyday user. How much must they go to the command line? That is where Linux is heading. Even when I work with my server at work which is a Windows Server 2003 Standard, It's rare these days when I have to go to the command line unlike the days when I dealt with NT. I admit I am still writing scripts and am using the command line more often than the average user but what I'm trying to accomplish a home user won't have to concern themselves with. About 10 years ago Windows was in the same boat as Linux is today. Back then it was 3.11 for Workgroups where DOS and the command line still dominated the majority of Windows functionality like the Linux console today. In 5-10 years Linux will resemble a Windows XP type of feel and Windows, who knows??

The point is hear the newbies words for they give you the best judgement of where Linux must head. Microsoft did and despite all the negative comments it gets here, the virus that plagues it and all the backwardness and instability it has, it is the market leader. Anyone who aspires to be 2nd Place is a loser. If you belive being second is good enough, apply that mentality to any goal you have in life and see how far it will get you.
Old 12-05-2004, 11:16 PM   #2
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Welcome to LQ!

You will find this site more newbie-friendly than any other linux site out there!

Don't be afraid to ask questions: that's the best way to learn.

I have used Linux for a couple of years seriously now and it's very newbie friendly, especially the later versions.
Old 12-05-2004, 11:26 PM   #3
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One of the main reasons that Windows is seen as more user friendly is because many are use to how windows works. True, windows has more gui options (which I take it is what you mean by user friendly)--but these are both a good and a bad thing. Many guis hide important options and many more take to long to accomplish the same thing that a command line could. Why would I want to open Photoshop 7 to convert a gif to a png when I could open xterm and type "convert image.gif image.png"?

Linux does take time to learn, but Windows took time to learn as well.

GUIs can be nice, no argument there. Command line can be nice too, in fact, after I got good at the command line, I didn't want to use the guis--they were a waste of time.

Perhaps all I want to say is this:

Linux is worth the effort to learn. At the end of the day, I'm not so sure that Windows was worth my time.

More hardware is supported by Windows, and this can pose a problem for Linux users. So this aspect makes Windows a bit more user friendly. What do I do to make up for it? I find out if the hardware is supported before I buy it and if I can't do that I ask the store if I can return it if it doesn't work with Linux. If they say, "no," I don't buy it from them.
Old 12-05-2004, 11:31 PM   #4
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I've had to teach people (who shall remain nameless) how to use Mac OS on their new iMacs. Coming from zero computer knowledge, they didn't understand things like cutting and pasting text, where to type in addresses into the address bar of a web browser, and so on. Eventually they got these concepts, but my point is that for someone with zero computer experience, any OS will be difficult to learn. I was frustrated teaching them until I realized this. We take the user-friendliness of Windows / MacOS for granted, because I gather most of us grew up with it or spent a huge portion of our lives working with it.

Try explaining the difference between an .exe file and an .ini file to someone who literally just got their first computer, had never used one, or never did much beyond pressing the Start button. It would be as foreign to them as ./configure && make && make install, which is probably simple stuff to a Linux user.

I don't mind using Windows and rarely had a problem with it, and I see your overall point, but I just wanted to point that out. I don't know if total market domination is/should be/can be the goal of Linux, but I guess that's a whole other discussion...
Old 12-06-2004, 09:57 AM   #5
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thanks guys, I was beginning to feel like the "wrong" answer was deadly. I had asked if Xandros was more Windows/networking friendly and my response was look at your previous post which had an answer from a person that was friendly, however that question and response was referring to a different topic so I felt like "wow, I had a pet-peeve on Linux and now these guys are black-listing me and are gonna blow me off now because they didn't like my opinion rather that tell me what was really the case, Xandros is more Windows friendly to Networking as one had said yet the answer provided by the user never covered it. They in other words he made me hunt furthur for my answer as I couldn't get the answer hear from anyone. If you search my previous posts you can see what I'm talking about.

Today I installed Xandros on a test PC and it was a cinch to setup for Windows browsing and actually it authenticated itself on my DC and shows up in Network Neighborhood like one of my Windows PC's. I can also from the Linux machine browse and view shared files on other Windows PC's so the negotiation is bi-directional. Printing to Network printers is also possible, though SuSE never had any problem with that. As a note to all I have found that Xandros is easier to configure as far as Windows Networking is concerned. I guess the most difficult part of picking a distro is finding the one that fits your setup best. Some may use SuSE like I have and found networking not to be a problem, but my setup is different then theirs is. I do like SuSE as well so hopefully they will pick up on these strides that Xandros has made and integrate them. I hope that soon all these Linux distros could share with one another and put up their best suits and create the ultimate distro together and share in the success.
Old 12-06-2004, 11:58 AM   #6
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I like Linux being hard.. it makes it easier to use and you actually learn something. Its the simple and easy things that scare me..
Old 12-06-2004, 02:33 PM   #7
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I have a dual boot with Windows XP for my daughter and Mandrake 10.1 for me. Last week she was plagued with several virus attacks and was able to use Linux to help her restore her system without me intervening. I think she is even considering Mozilla instead of IE for her browser. I think Linux is very user friendly without the use of CLI.
I think you just have to select the right flavor of Linux.
Old 12-06-2004, 03:17 PM   #8
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I think there is a lot more to having a good operating system than just having new users and it being easy to use. Sure, you should make it as easy as possible, but without removing any of the power or flexability. However, I do primarily use Linux for programming rather than for desktop use so this will make my needs somewhat different from those of an average user. But it's good that I can use Linux because I like it and someone else can use Windows because they like it. Why do all operating systems have to be the same and have the same goals?
Old 12-06-2004, 03:28 PM   #9
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Originally posted by Optimistic
Linux is worth the effort to learn. At the end of the day, I'm not so sure that Windows was worth my time.
Linux is worth the time to learn. As I gain knowledge I find myself booting Windows less and less. Try SuSE for a good GUI environment, Xandros if you need no-brainer networking, and Ubuntu if you want something that is refreshing. I think the Windows mindset is what got me initially. After I got it through my head that Linux is not Windows and didn't even pretend to be, I found it much easier. I installed Ubuntu on a PC that someone gave my aunt with no OS, she had no computer knowledge, and she is doing fine. I think it's because instead of having to unlearn the Windows way of doing things, she was a clean slate.
Old 12-06-2004, 10:30 PM   #10
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Welcome to Linux, cat-21.
Another "phenomenon in alot of Linux forums" is some new users expecting Linux to be Windows.
They are two different operating systems and are not the same on many levels in spite of some superficial similarities.
It is not uncommon to define "user friendly" and "easy" as "what I already know". I know for a fact that brand new Windows users are as apt to say "it's so confusing" or "there's so much to learn" as they are to say "Windows is so intuitive that I have no problems using it at all".
Taking a "Linux is not Windows" approach and deciding if Linux is worth your time is a smarter option.
Good Luck


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