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Thread: Why Linux Isn't the Most Popular Operating System

  1. #1
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    Why Linux Isn't the Most Popular Operating System

    In a nutshell: There are too many variations, and although Linux has very good package management systems, it isn't enough.

    Okay, first off I would like to say how much I love Linux - it opened up a whole new world in computing for me (BIOS, partitions, filesystems, and a whole lot more). However we all know it is not the most popular operating system - but exactly why isn't it? I believe it has quite a few main problems, mostly relating to incompatibility with itself:
    • There are multiple installer package types (.deb, .rpm, .tgz, etc) - this means that packages are not very compatible between distributions.
    • Programs handle stuff they shouldn't (Gnome handles the background, Gedit handles syntax highlighting, Firefox handles it's icons, etc) - this makes would-be-simple tasks such as setting the background or changing syntax coloring hell for programmers, and therefore such programs tend not to be very compatible between desktop environments.
    • Settings are spread across different systems (/etc/default, gconf, etc).
    • Branding: Ubuntu (most people I've talked to think it sounds weird), the Gimp (is this a joke?), and more.


    Linux lacks commercial software, to get commercial software on Linux we need to make it as easy as possible for companies to sell software on our repo's:
    • Create 'FOSS' packages and a FOSS master-repo' - FOSS packages can be uploaded to the FOSS repo' and automatically be converted into various package types and distributed across multiple distributions.
    • Make it possible to create installation CDs that are compatible between distrobutions.
    • Introduce a commercial packages scheme - setting up a system that allows users to pay for packages should encourage companies like Adobe to port their packages to Linux. We could also add a donate feature to help support open-source packages. - In Progress


    I admit that one of the main reasons why Linux is not very popular is because of Windows' monopoly, but it is partly because Windows is better for the average user. What does everyone else think?
    Last edited by Penguin Guy; July 19th, 2010 at 04:30 PM.

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    Re: Why Linux Isn't the Most Popular Operating System

    Why is this question asked 10 times a week, and always leads to the same thing of "it's your opinion, others may think otherwise"?

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    Re: Why Linux Isn't the Most Popular Operating System

    Quote Originally Posted by Eisenwinter View Post
    Why is this question asked 10 times a week, and always leads to the same thing of "it's your opinion, others may think otherwise"?
    ^^This^^
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    Re: Why Linux Isn't the Most Popular Operating System

    Quote Originally Posted by Eisenwinter View Post
    Why is this question asked 10 times a week, and always leads to the same thing of "it's your opinion, others may think otherwise"?
    People are on a mission to add as many threads to recurring discussions as possible
    Code:
    while true; do echo -n "RiceMonster "; done
    Best thread ever

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    Re: Why Linux Isn't the Most Popular Operating System

    Popularity is probably more down to availability - bear in mind most people buy a PC with MS Windows (or MAC OS) already pre-installed, and not many people are technically confident enough to think about installing Linux.

    I am not sure I agree about your critique of the various applications but as Eisenwinter says it really all is a matter of opinion. At the end of the day the OS is a tool do either do productive work with, or to enable leisure activities. If it works for you then great. You will notice that flame wars on the internet are very rare on the subject of hammers, saws or screwdrivers, and they are just tools too.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Why Linux Isn't the Most Popular Operating System

    My view:

    I guess I'm a little confused about Gedit handing syntax highlighting. No part of the file itself is changed (the only thing I can think of is the tab width/spacing). Highlighting is provided as a convenience, and many GUI text editors have this option. In fact, I think Gedit is a little more graceful than some, as it allows you to select themes which are loosely based on built-in Ubuntu themes.

    I think a large part of why Linux isn't more popular is the fact that it's hard to displace what everyone already knows well. At this point, Microsoft is popular because everyone uses it. Send someone an OpenOffice Writer file saved as .DOC with a bunch of custom-formatted tables and see if they like it. Thus, MS Office is a de facto standard of business.

    Another issue is choices, options, and the requirement to know a bit about (or at least desire to know how to change) settings and the internal workings of your PC. Windows made the computer accessible to nearly everyone. Some can say Linux is working toward that as well, but there are still too many options, too many tweaks that need to be performed. The general public doesn't want to decide if they want Gnome, KDE, XFCE, etc. They don't want to guess if the hardware they buy will work. They just want their computer to work. This may not be all the fault of the Linux community (we have to reverse-engineer drivers, after all, since they're often not provided), but it's still a drawback. Apple has addressed this by limiting the selection of both interfaces and hardware, even though the core system allows for much larger variances.

    The problems you list about package installer types is actually a little further than that - because Linux can be customized so many different ways, it's harder to release software that works on all systems. Proprietary companies generally don't want to support a million variants of a product used by 1% of the total computer users. Financially, it makes sense not to support Linux unless those types of users are your core market. Intuit has refused to produce and market a Linux version of Quicken because it feels most of its users run Windows or Mac, and doesn't want to pay for R&D for Linux for minimal returns.

    Part of why I love Linux is because I can change things, edit settings (or even the code if necessary), and do with it as I please. But I'd say I'm in the minority.

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    Re: Why Linux Isn't the Most Popular Operating System

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Flury View Post
    Popularity is probably more down to availability - bear in mind most people buy a PC with MS Windows (or MAC OS) already pre-installed, and not many people are technically confident enough to think about installing Linux.

    I am not sure I agree about your critique of the various applications but as Eisenwinter says it really all is a matter of opinion. At the end of the day the OS is a tool do either do productive work with, or to enable leisure activities. If it works for you then great. You will notice that flame wars on the internet are very rare on the subject of hammers, saws or screwdrivers, and they are just tools too.
    However, there are a lot of flame wars about tools...if you know what I mean...
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    Re: Why Linux Isn't the Most Popular Operating System

    Lots of reasons why its not the most popular
    1. windows comes with every pc by default, it works (sometimes barely) and the user doesn't need to go into CLI to configure/run stuff

    2. OSX has a reputation of being rock solid, albeit bloated and works extremely well with the hardware

    3. Linux is viewed by most people as an OS for hobbyists who like to muck around with the innards of the OS, compiling kernels and such. Most typical users don't want to dig in that much.

    4. Software/peripheral support. I use LightRoom, there's really nothing comparable in Linux that gives me the same level organization for my images and non-destructive image editing capability. When I want to print them, I do so on my Canon Pixma Pro9000 printer. I am unable to find drivers for that printer on Linux

    So you see there's lots of varied reasons and the list I produced is not comprehensive in any sense of the word.

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    Re: Why Linux Isn't the Most Popular Operating System

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Flury View Post
    You will notice that flame wars on the internet are very rare on the subject of hammers, saws or screwdrivers, and they are just tools too.
    That is because if you have a compatibility problem between your screwdriver and your screw, there is an easy solution: get a new screwdriver. When you switch between screwdrivers it's as easy as taking one out of the toolbox and putting another back in - you don't have to wait a few minutes rebooting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Calmor View Post
    The problems you list about package installer types is actually a little further than that - because Linux can be customized so many different ways, it's harder to release software that works on all systems. Proprietary companies generally don't want to support a million variants of a product used by 1% of the total computer users.
    Exactly! My point is that we should allow customization, but in such a way that makes everything compatible. For example, you could put your home directory at /admin/home if you wanted - but it would break everything - that is, if it were not for the $HOME variable. If Linux simply added more things like these, distro's would become far more compatible.

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    Re: Why Linux Isn't the Most Popular Operating System

    Quote Originally Posted by maflynn View Post
    3. Linux is viewed by most people as an OS for hobbyists who like to muck around with the innards of the OS, compiling kernels and such. Most typical users don't want to dig in that much.
    Well, to the extend Linux is viewed at all, this is true. Every person I meet in person (not on the forums or in blogs) who finds out I use Linux asks if I work in technology or if I'm a programmer. They're often shocked to find out neither applies to me.

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