ITWire in Australia on the Desktop

The point of all this is that from the standpoint of a new Linux user, having a snazzy looking interface is all well and good but it means nothing if users have to revert to the command line to perform what should be simple tasks. Installing new downloaded software is one of the most common tasks performed by desktop users at home and in small offices. Until the Linux suppliers can make this task trivial, they will continue to miss out on a whole world of users beyond the command line geeks.

NOTE: I normally don’t re-publish news like many of the “blogs” you see out there but in this case the article was pretty good and hits home with a theme I’ve been stating a bit lately.

The article above was taken from ITWire…IT News in Austrailia.

This article was a good read and I believe it to be true. Until Linux can come up with ways to make the user oblivious to what is going on underneath the GUI, it won’t make inrroads to the desktop.

UPDATE: 3/2007

Penguin Pete, the not famous blogger over at penguinpetes blog flagged this post as being the main reason that he no longer posts links to my blog. Interesting in that if anyone were to read this post out of context, they might not know what I was driving at for this post. The main intention of the post is to show that new users need to first feel comfortable in their OS before they drop down and get dirty with the shell. That’s a fact jack. Nothing is going to sway that…I’ve had many users I’ve switched over DESPISE dropping to the shell and cite that as the main reason they go back to Windows. This is what I was agreeing with in this instance…that New Linux users need to be semi oblivious to what is going on underneath and not have to worry about it in their beginnings…not to ‘dumb down’ Linux or remove functionality underneath it.

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  • http://hawknotes.blogspot.com rcjhawk

    Isn’t the main problem with Windows that it is too easy for a user to install software? I.e., “Click her to see ALL OF HER”, and people do, and get 0w3nd. At least in a *nix environment you have to stop and think about it for a bit.

    Anyway, the problem mentioned in your link wasn’t with Linux: the problem was with Canon. As in:

    “Hey, Canon! I’m a faithful Linux user, and I’d like to give you money to buy a printer.”

    “Sorry, kid, no can do. Your money’s no good here.”

    “Whatcha mean?”

    “I mean, we’d rather not market to you Linux types.”

    “Oh, OK, never mind, I’ll just go elsewhere.”

    “Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.”

    It’s amazing the number of companies out there that don’t want to take money from Linux users.

  • Jeffrey Rollin

    Windows has a commandline too, and despite its abysmal qualities, this site finds plenty doubleplusgood stuff to say about it:

    http://commandwindows.com/

    In fact the commandline is so primitive that you use one every time you type an address into a web browser, and every time you code, and Microsoft are putting one in Windows Vista that should even make geeks happy (if they can get past the other bogosities of its design, like bother-me-every-five-minutes UAC, for instance).

    So I’d say it’s +1 for primitiveness and geekery, on this occasion.

  • http://opensourceheaven.net Ben

    GNU\Linux is getting better at this, it’s taking a long time but it has drastically improved over the last few years. In the early days you needed to compile a kernel just to install the OS, these days most of the top 10 (on distrowatch) will do pretty much everything out of the box without you needing to visit a command line, as all the package managers have GUIs now. Adding printers can me slightly more tricky, but even that can be pretty easy these days. It’s automating things like installing codecs, and multimedia plugins for web browsers that are the modern challenges. Also an easy-to-use (i.e. GUI only) implementation of Wine would be pretty good.

    I’m not sure that we’ll ever be able to get rid of the Linux command line because of the system architecture – but maybe I am just pessimistic?