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What does Linux need to steal market share?


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#1 Master_Scythe

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 11:02 AM

So I'm of the opinion that UNITY\Ubuntu has actually surpassed Mac for ease of use; assuming no hardware conflicts. The side bar is the apple dock. The desktop shows mounted drives, the file system support is wide, software support is actually getting huge. (Pidgin, Gimp, Skype, Steam, Opera\Firefox, Audacity, etc.) But I want to know what you guys, as linux fans, see holding it back? What makes people nervous, and still makes life hard? As someone who just tried to set up a 'desktop' machine (although im using it as a server), I have three: 1. a 'Device Manager' needs to be standard on all full weight distros. For a GUI user, you're forced to just try everything to see if its broken. Even a simple "This driver is missing" page would be better; the closest we have is the ubuntu 'Additional Drivers' tool IMO. 2. "Your Programs" section of whatever menu system you use. For someone like me, I was happy to search around. But to add a tool using APT or the Software Centre (or packman or rpm, or Git) and then have it 'finish', nowhere to be seen, is frustrating. On a related note, a graphical "Startup" applet would be nice. 3. Care to break less things. Updating a kernel or Xorg is useless if it breaks even SLIGHTLY old hardware. I know this is a result of separation, as the peoiple writing XORG dont know what the people using UBUNTU want, etc. Maybe they should stop conbformiong to the 700mb CD and move to a 4GB DVD image, with a hardware detect script and multiple versions of things. For example, I have an AMD chipset and need "Xorg 6.9 to Xserver 1.12 and Kernel version up to 3.4" which means going back to Ubuntu 10.04 for LTS support; It'd be nice if 12.04 had multiple XORG's, as someone proved rolling that back fixes everything. But no. So, what do you think is stopping it hitting mainstream harder than it is?

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#2 SquallStrife

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 02:57 PM

What does Linux need to steal market share?


It needs a paradigm shift. The entire ecosystem is suited to nerds tinkering at the terminal, it's fundamentally incompatible with the constraints that result in a good end-user experience.

The three points you raised are good ones. How about these? Why does there need to be umpteen different sound systems? Why can't the File->Open dialogue be consistent between applications? Why can you occasionally not Copy+Paste between certain applications?

Most of the answers to these types of gripes, yours included, are intrinsic in the Linux mindset. Key to the FOSS philosophy is that if you don't want to conform to, or implement a certain standard or interface, you don't have to. If you don't want user experience to flow in the defacto-standard fashion, then you don't have to. When nerds don't have to do something, they don't. So there are a truckload of sound related libraries and architectures, however many clipboard APIs, squillions of common dialog libraries, and so on. No consistency.

Companies like Canonical do try to fill in the gaps, but they can only do so much with what's available. There are toolkits like GTK that attempt to standardise these kinds of thing, but again, implementing these toolkits is completely optional.

The other biggie is productivity software. LibreOffice is pretty mediocre for creating documents. Gimp may be touted as being "as powerful as Photoshop", but the UI is esoteric beyond belief. There still isn't a free tool that compares with iMovie for simplicity, and iMovie is free with a Mac.

Support too. Once you download Ubuntu, you're on your own. You can try searching the Interwebs for answers to your problems, but be wary of advice for old versions (which, if followed, could break your system), advice for different distributions, bad advice, dead links, discussion threads with no answers, etc etc etc. When a company sells you a Windows computer, they're obliged to provide some form of support for it (you usually get a year or two from Dell, HP, etc). When you buy a Mac, you get a year of free phone and in-store help, and you can even extend this coverage to 3 years for a small cost.
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#3 .:Cyb3rGlitch:.

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 03:40 PM

^ what he said. I'm a computer engineer who works with Linux all the time, and it's painful to use beyond belief. The only Linux based OS I like is Android, and that's only because it's been designed by a real UX team.

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#4 Master_Scythe

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 04:12 PM

Ironically I find GIMP and LibreOffice amazing. And I grew up and use at work photoshop and MS office. It just works for me. Its a good example of 'different strokes' though isnt it? I find gimp and libre MORE simple, yet as powerful if I want to dig.

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#5 SledgY

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 06:45 PM

All of this entirely misses the point of what Linux is about. What people who like Linux like about Linux is there isn't one thing, there are options. Distrowatch has hundreds of different options because people who are interested want choice.

I would argue that the Linux became mainstream a long time ago, it's in most embedded appliances, phones (via android) and the majority of the servers on the internet.

Is the OP really after something like OSX but with a GNU/Linux subsystem rather than BSD? I can see that as an end goal of Ubuntu/Mint.


PS. I personally far prefer the experience of a GNU/Linux desktop for most of what I do. I'm a software engineer, GIMP is my graphics tool of choice, I personally find the Photoshop UI is awful (ironically different from the default of every OS it runs native on) vs GIMP/GTK that is at least consistent with other GTK applications. For audio work I prefer to use OSX largely due to the software native to the platform but also because under the hood it's a form of Unix.
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#6 SquallStrife

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 10:29 PM

All of this entirely misses the point of what Linux is about. What people who like Linux like about Linux is there isn't one thing, there are options. Distrowatch has hundreds of different options because people who are interested want choice.

I would argue that the Linux became mainstream a long time ago, it's in most embedded appliances, phones (via android) and the majority of the servers on the internet.


You're right, except that this is clearly a thread about the desktop.

IMO, Android is successful because it's nothing like a desktop Linux. It has one audio layer, one widget toolkit, one clipboard API, one boot process, and so on. Android seems less mired in the politics and ego stroking of the FOSS landscape, and the winner is consumers.
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#7 Master_Scythe

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 11:23 PM

And there will always be options. For example, if the leads for each project got together and decided on a hardware manager, I wouldnt expect, say, puppy linux to follow. Its exactly what squall pointed out. There can always be a 'slim' distro you can build as you want. But for an OOBE desktop environment, there needs to be SOME, not a lot, but SOME standardization. Hardware status\configure, and software menus would be a small thing to ask, but a huge help to general end consumers. as for 'am i after the OSX experience' almost. Some customization makes things fresh, but the way you approach core configuration has no need to be unique on a dekstop distro.

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#8 noskcaj

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 06:18 AM

For linux to get market share it needs to be put on PCs by the OEM which requires market share. Infinite loop. Productivity software has the same issue, people get trained for Microsoft because it has the biggest market share and then they can't switch. Your third point (for ubuntu at least) is no longer valid, as mir is coming for 13.10. Maybe to xubuntu as well (If you want to have your say or help test the mir images, let me know)
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#9 Master_Scythe

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 08:25 AM

For linux to get market share it needs to be put on PCs by the OEM which requires market share. Infinite loop.

Productivity software has the same issue, people get trained for Microsoft because it has the biggest market share and then they can't switch.

Your third point (for ubuntu at least) is no longer valid, as mir is coming for 13.10. Maybe to xubuntu as well (If you want to have your say or help test the mir images, let me know)


I say nope to all the above.

Linux has been on Laptops by OEM's before, even Ubuntu; and there are a few still around. Hell, look at the Chrome Book right now.

I actually strongly disagree with the productivity suite.
In a business environment, you're right, 110% right. But quite honestly the majority of end users I meet don't have 'office' because its too expensive. They use Google Office, or wordpad, or are using a cracked office suite which I then explain there's a free alternative for. This thread was focused on simple end users, not on corporate environments.

My third point? As in, things need to stop breaking? I dunno man. While MIR, MIGHT be better than Xorg, that was a specific 'in the last hour' example. What about... hmm... One I hit last night; tiny but annoying. If you're in Ubuntu, and using Unity, open Rhythm Box, Now View -> Party Mode, and tell me if you can get out without a hard power down (protip: only way is Alt-Ctrl-F1, and killing it). Rhythmbox just doesn't work with Unity in party mode (F11 ignored).
While that's software not hardware\driver support, its another example of too many cooks.
Besides, Ive been messing with Linux long enough to suspect that MIR will break more than it fixes, at least untill 14.** LTS.
We'll see though.


With that said, I'm not targeting the *buntu's. I'll repeat though; Everyone providing and OOBE, Desktop Operating System, should be standardized in setup alone; there is NO reason not to.
For those who want to do it differently, most builds have a 'slim' or 'netboot' etc. type install you can build with only the packages you want. Most people, when trying something 'new and scary' just want their fucking PC to work.

What Ubuntu and Libre\Open office need is some actual free advertising. As above, more open office users would be around if they knew. at least in the end users that hire me.



EDIT: I will offer one praise though. The Unix style (well duh) install\uninstall method is amazing. Especially with a package manager. No fucking 7 different installers pop up (well often they do but to the user its invisible), no god damn tricky wordings "are you not sure you do want to avoid the possibility of sending not your credit card details to Russia?" [Yes] [No].
Its one thing *nix does well that windows does not, they HAVE standardized the install\remove method. They can layer GUI on top of it, which is pretty, but at least generally speaking it stops people taking advantage of people who dont read.

Edited by Master_Scythe, 12 August 2013 - 08:36 AM.

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"I don't care what race you are, not one f*cking bit, if you want to be seen as a good people, you go in there and you f*ck up the people who (unofficially) represent you in a negative light!"


#10 CptnChrysler

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 09:36 AM

Only one thing to gain market share.

Linux Pre-Installed on new PC's from a major brand.

Most people will never install an OS - they use what is pre-installed when they buy the machine. A large number couldn't even tell you what OS is installed on their box.
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#11 Master_Scythe

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 10:44 AM

Such as Dell who's been doing it for years? Or Samsung now, doing the ChromeBook? or the eeepc from years ago?

Edited by Master_Scythe, 12 August 2013 - 10:50 AM.

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#12 CptnChrysler

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 12:25 PM

The initial eeepc was very successful. Until MS started forcing cut down versions of it's desktop OS onto OEMS. As for dell - they've never seriously pushed the Linux option, it's usually tucked away and hard to find. Not sure why they bother really.
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#13 noskcaj

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 01:46 PM

MS: Have you reported the bug? that's the only way it will get fixed.
the LTS will be 14.04, dapper won't happen again (missed the release by two months).

The initial eeepc was very successful. Until MS started forcing cut down versions of it's desktop OS onto OEMS.
As for dell - they've never seriously pushed the Linux option, it's usually tucked away and hard to find. Not sure why they bother really.

Exactly my point.
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#14 Master_Scythe

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 03:28 PM

Yeah its been reported for over a year and no fix, I found the original bug tracker the other night; last update was "Job reassigned to > New Queue > Memebers: 0" so i'm sure its getting a lot of attention :P

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#15 SquallStrife

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 07:18 PM

Or Samsung now, doing the ChromeBook?


IMO it's misleading to say that a ChromeBook "runs Linux". It's like saying an Android phone "runs Linux".

Because yes, they do use the Linux kernel, so the statement isn't technically false.

However, "running Linux" in practice means to be running a GNU/Linux distribution, like Debian, Fedora, Ubuntu, Arch, Gentoo, what-have-you.

Android and Chrome OS use the Linux kernel, but nearly everything on top of that is bespoke non-GNU software. Most of it isn't even GPL-licensed.

So, using Chromebook and Android phone sales as indicators of "Linux adoption" is wishful thinking.

EDIT: I will offer one praise though. The Unix style (well duh) install\uninstall method is amazing. Especially with a package manager. No fucking 7 different installers pop up (well often they do but to the user its invisible), no god damn tricky wordings "are you not sure you do want to avoid the possibility of sending not your credit card details to Russia?" [Yes] [No].
Its one thing *nix does well that windows does not, they HAVE standardized the install\remove method. They can layer GUI on top of it, which is pretty, but at least generally speaking it stops people taking advantage of people who dont read.


I don't know what crap you're installing to get prompts like that.

Windows has a magnificently comprehensive framework for installing/uninstalling software, patching installed software, checking dependencies, and otherwise managing software packages. It's called Windows Installer, the packages are MSI files, and it's horribly under-utilised outside Microsoft, or at least it was before "Apps for Windows 8" came into existence.

Know how Office 2013 setup can determine that you have Office 2010 installed? It doesn't look for files in specified locations, or prod known registry locations. It queries the Windows Installer through WMI. It knows if you have Office, what version of Office, what patches are installed, when it was installed, what edition you have installed, what features or components are installed, etc etc.

The thing holding this all back isn't the OS, it's software vendors and users, stuck in their old habits.
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#16 Waltish

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 02:37 AM

More better games ported to Linux ... All above are valid points but to broaden the base and steal market share Games would also make a difference. Tis a good thing that Gabe is doing with steam.

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#17 Master_Scythe

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 09:25 AM

I don't know what crap you're installing to get prompts like that.


Been a while since you did much Break and Fix work eh? lol.
Basically these days, majority of shareware will try and use tricky english to get you to agree to something.

Even the ASK toolbar which bundles with a lot of things used to say something like "Are you sure you want to keep your default home page?" (yes) followed by "The ask tool bar is an optional addon are you sure you want to skip installation?" (yes)
When an End user has just enough knowledge to be dangerous, they say "No, No, No" to extras prompts without reading.

Even more annoying is when it changes the title bar of the installer to the add-on, and says "Continue installation?" as if you almost accidentally cancelled the thing your'e TRYING to install.
Believe me, the shit is out there, and not even slightly rare.

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#18 SquallStrife

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 11:44 AM

Been a while since you did much Break and Fix work eh? lol.
Basically these days, majority of shareware will try and use tricky english to get you to agree to something.

Even the ASK toolbar which bundles with a lot of things used to say something like "Are you sure you want to keep your default home page?" (yes) followed by "The ask tool bar is an optional addon are you sure you want to skip installation?" (yes)
When an End user has just enough knowledge to be dangerous, they say "No, No, No" to extras prompts without reading.

Even more annoying is when it changes the title bar of the installer to the add-on, and says "Continue installation?" as if you almost accidentally cancelled the thing your'e TRYING to install.
Believe me, the shit is out there, and not even slightly rare.


I can honestly say the only place I've seen that is the Daemon Tools Free installer, and some odd little obscure tools from shady-looking banner-ad-infested sites.

Linux isn't immune to this, by the way.

If what you want isn't in your distro's repo, then you need to add a third party one. Once you add a third party repo to your sources list, they can do anything they like to your system. You run apt-get (or yum, or pacman, or emerge, or whatever) in sudo after all.
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#19 8vm

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 10:29 PM

More games will definitely help. Unlikely for now since Direct X is only for Windows. And as already mentioned, if it is installed out of the box on a good spec laptop with a really good price also helps.

#20 Waltish

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 01:05 AM

Yeh but DX is not the only graphics api in use, OpenGL is quite well used for many things including video games.
Sony does not use DX they use a version of OpenGL , ID used to be an open GL shop maybe they still are been a while since I have looked at this subject .
But any way some links to info re OpenGL.

http://www.khronos.org/opengl/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenGL

A version of OpenGL is the graphics api for Android environments.

If DX disappeared tomorrow we would get by just fine after some that used it did a bit of furious porting. {:-)

Edited by Waltish, 14 August 2013 - 01:10 AM.

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