Skip to comments.Is usability breaking Linux adoption?
Posted on 08/06/2012 8:15:49 AM PDT by ShadowAce
I have been a Linux (Linux in this article refers to Linux based Operating System) user for a quite a number of years, actually, since I owned my first PC about four years ago. All through I have been using Fedora Linux , and it has not been an easy ride all along.
Linux users have to learn how to use text editors, and how to work their way around configuration files. Initially, the issue was that Fedora Linux ships without a number of drivers, so called proprietary drivers and software. Proprietary drivers are drivers that do not conform to open source licensing terms. This means that the operating system ships lacking support for common media formats including MP3 and will also lack firmware drivers required for the functioning of some hardware such as sound cards and graphics drivers.
The missing proprietary software can however be installed by the user from the Internet, or one can opt for a Linux distribution that includes such proprietary drivers by default, such as Ubuntu or Mint Linux. Some flavours of Fedora such as the Russian Fedora Remix also include them.
Sadly, it just doesn't stop here. Once in a while, mostly every six months when most distributions release new versions, a major issue will most likely crop up.
Fedora 17 shipped with a bug that left some users unable to connect to the Internet through an ethernet cable. The issue was quickly fixed. This however required downloading of an update to fix the bug in NetworkManager, the app that connects network connectivity on Linux.
Today, after five days of trying and Googling everywhere, my Nokia Bluetooth headsets finally worked with my Linux. The issues here was PulseAudio, the default sound server for most Linux distribution is missing an audio configuration files with two lines of configuration. Bugzilla, which tracks such bugs and issues has a well documented report on the issuehttps://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=827629but there is no update yet to fix the issue.
While Linux has arguably the best software distribution system, all packages are held in online repositories and can be downloaded to one's PC according to needs. However, on Fedora, the RPM Package Manager which does this job suffers from a flaw too. While one can choose to update all out-of-date applications, and easily upgrade from one Linux version to another, RPM has an irritating issues known as "dependency errors"
On Linux, applications usually depend on other applications to provide some functionality, requiring both to be installed. Usually, the dependencies are usually tied to a particular version of the package since newer versions can result in changes or even no longer provide the required functionality. RPM usually checks for such dependencies and resolves them. However, the checking of dependencies does not work as intended at times, and this might lead to packages requiring packages that no longer exist after a previous upgrade. A package may also be required by two others, each requiring a different version.
Setting out to update your applications might leave you poring through bug reports and forms hours later on how to sort out your dependency issues.Other issues that have left me poring through forums for days include broken graphics on a version upgrade and poor video playback quality after a version. This excludes the long running suffering endured by Linux users due to Adobe Flash issues. It does not help that Adobe has given up on newer Linux versions of Flash, only promising to issue bug fixes.
Linux market share is estimated at between 1 percent and 1.5 per cent. Android, the hugely popular mobile operating operating system has a share of between 2 percent and 4 percent while rival iOS has between 3 percent and percent.
Android is based on the Linux kernel, same as other Linux based operating systems, however is quite easy to use for many.
Linux on the other hand, has seen usability vastly improve over the years. However, it looks like usability is yet to become a critical factor in Linux development, yet remains a stumbling block for many adopters, despite being free. This leaves Linux a preserve for technical users who can figure out the many configurations that need to be tweaked time and again.
Android is proof enough that a more usable linux experience would lead to more Linux users. How long before we get there?
It doesn't take me long to configure a new installation to be the way I want it, and--for me--it just works.
I also tend to configure portions of it as I need it. Network comes first, obviously, and the Desktop just gets adjusted as I perform various tasks on it. It doesn't seem like a long time, but it may be once you take into account everything that gets done over the course of several days while I'm working with it.
Linux is a very expensive operating system, once you add in all the hours you have to spend tweaking it.
Just. Use. Ubuntu. I installed Ubuntu 12.04 on my grandparents’ crappy laptop and it’s working like a charm.
After decades the Unix and Linux geeks dreams of havingt everyone love their fave - they have yet to figure out that gramma just wants to turn on the computer and see the email button light up that there are new photos of the grandkids there....
Until that happens Mickeysoft will continue to dominate and Linux will continue to be for geeks
Superior operating system or not, you just cant turn it on and go the way you can with a Windows machine
I use Bodhi Linux ,Zorin and Xubuntu ,all easy to install and use and work great ,Distrowatch has dozens
I can't stand to use the thing.
Mostly due to unfamiliarity, I think.
I’d rather spend the time than the cash. Personal preference.
I was using RedHat in the late 90s for a while.. Went away from the linux systems for a while. When my XP laptop HD died, I put Ubuntu on the new HD.
Today’s Ubuntu is light years ahead of what I was using before.
Couldn’t fer Adobe Flash to work, so went with the open source flash, it works great.
The only other major hitch was getting DVDs to play. Downloaded the needed 100 meg files, and all is good.
Oh please. Any decent admin with a few years under their belt will have kickstart or autoyast or preseed scripts that need but a few minutes of “tweaks” to get an OS ready to go. If you are installing via local, menu driven media and manually “tweaking” in today’s age, you’re doing it wrong.
>>gramma just wants to turn on the computer and see the email button light up that there are new photos of the grandkids there....<<
Actually, this is exactly how my Ubuntu system is working now. With the in-house Wi-Fi no need to even sign on to the internet, it is on 24/7, just hit refresh on the browser or check mail when it shows that there is new mail.
Microsoft is fine when it works, when it doesn’t, resources are thin for finding the problem. Linux has lots of online resources for problem solving.
Plus you do not have to re-boot under linux every time you move your mouse like you do under Windows.
Oh, man, I just ride in 'em. I don't know what makes 'em work ...
“I have been a Linux ... user for a quite a number of years, actually, since I owned my first PC about four years ago.”
My impression is that Android succeeds, in part, because hardware designers are obliged to accommodate it, rather than the other way around. I’m not sure this will ever be true for desktop Linux.
You're missing the intent of the number of choices.
Sure there are hundreds of different distros out there, but most of them are special-purpose. ie DVR, database, gaming, etc.
There are much fewer GP distros--Fedora, Ubuntu, and Slackware--along with their derivatives.
Compare that choice to what MS gives us--Personal, Home, Business and Enterprise (or whatever they're naming them these days). All of those actually have the software on the disc--they're just not "turned on." With Linux, everything's turned on by default.
BTW--file extensions mean nothing in Linux. Literally.
There are too many varieties and versions for it to be considered practical for ‘real’ computing.
I tried several ‘distros’ a few years ago. One would not recognize my wide-screen monitor. None would recognize my PCTV card. They had a few standard programs — browser, etc., not not enough programs for serious use.
Most modern Linux distros provide a more sophisticated and nuanced working environment than Windows, which is exactly what I want. I'm sure other folks are perfectly happy with what Windows offers, and more power to 'em.
My next install with be the Linux Mint distro, with KDE as the user interface (as I understand that support for Kubuntu is about to disappear).
I met Linux online in 1991. I’ve made a lot of money off of Linux over the years.
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