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What Linux Needs To Do To Reach The Masses.

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timkb4cq
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Re: What Linux Needs To Do To Reach The Masses.

#21

Post by timkb4cq » Sun Aug 11, 2019 10:56 am

The thing is, that since Microsoft locked in installation on nearly every PC sold *and* had the OEMs customize the installation on their hardware, the average Windows user had all the drivers included & set up for them. When Linux is included with a computer from an OEM like Dell the same applies. It works OOTB even if it is Ubuntu. Much of the criticism of Linux falls away if you compare installing and setting up Windows on bare PC vs doing the same with Linux.

It's still the OEM/MS contracts that keep Linux desktops/laptops from being ubiquitous.
But Linux is already mainstream. Look at Chromebooks. Basically a somewhat locked down, managed Linux computer. And due to the price point they have become pretty common. Of course most chromebooks don't have the specs to run MS Office, much less Photoshop so there's not much incentive to port those big programs over ... yet.
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AK-47
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Re: What Linux Needs To Do To Reach The Masses.

#22

Post by AK-47 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:42 am

Eadwine Rose wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 8:57 am
But Linux will never be reaching the masses.. they're simply too late, they should have done that back when Windows was still tiny.

That is why Windows is so powerful: the money behind it, it's big and very well known, it supports pretty much everything that is new, and there is only ONE windows and it's linear.. you just pay more to get a few more features in the release (home, pro, etc).

Catching up to that is not going to happen because there are too many Linux varieties out there (who aren't willing to work together to boot) and too little resources.
Nope, the resources are definitely there. There are big names like IBM, Intel, RedHat, Canonical, and even Microsoft pitching in with code. Given the sorry excuse of a socially-mandated security nightmare Windows has become, it's probably not too late.
As a matter of fact, it's already been adopted by the masses in servers. Linux is also the most popular desktop operating system in North Korea.

As an exercise, how about a basic SWOT analysis.

Strengths
Stuff that is currently good about Linux in general, and improvements I've seen over the years:
  • Much of the code in general is open and free for anyone, including any rinky-dink security researcher, to look at and modify to their heart's content.
  • Linux communities in general have mellowed out a bit over the years, and have grown up from being RTFM snobs and fanboys. The support communities are now quite friendly and approachable, and won't scoff or put you down for not knowing stuff. Provided you look at the documentation the distro shoves in your face, nudge nudge wink wink.
  • Significant improvements to hardware and software support.
  • Window managers and desktop environments don't hate each other's guts as much as they used to, so applications typically work with any combination of these pieces of software.
Weaknesses
Stuff that repels people away from Linux, and also repels potential developers and vendors:
  • Dozens of different GUI toolkits that hate each other's guts.
  • Lots of different ways to boot the system, that hate each other's guts.
  • A variety of different audio frameworks and APIs, some of which hate each other's guts.
  • A variety of different package management systems that hate each other's guts.
  • A handful of different kernel-level security frameworks that hate each other's guts.
  • Hundreds of modern, sleek, lightweight, easy-to-use distros, that hate each other's guts.
Windows, as it turns out, doesn't suffer from any of those issues, and this makes vendors more willing to cooperate. This filters down to users, including corporations and government agencies, because they know that the hardware will work. Not as many test cases to cater for.

Opportunities
Anything which Linux and Linux communities can take advantage of:
  • Much of the code in general is open and free for anyone, including any rinky-dink security researcher, to look at and modify to their heart's content.
  • Pressures from some companies like Valve who are working to make gaming platforms for Linux such as Steam Proton.
  • Web applications, which will basically run on any OS that can run Firefox or Chrome.
  • Window managers and desktop environments don't hate each other's guts as much as they used to, so applications typically work with any combination of these pieces of software.
  • For basic use cases, modern open source suites and software (OpenOffice/LibreOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird, Claws Mail, etc) will suit a person.
  • Windows becoming increasingly frustrating for users (bad UX, updates that break things, spyware revelations, etc).
Threats
Obstacles to Linux' success:
  • Microsoft's OEM agreements, including the "secure" boot saga.
  • PCs still come pre-installed with Windows and nobody wants to install a different OS.
  • Resistance from others due to lack of familiarity. People know and trust Windows, rather than that piece of software from the internet.
  • Resistance from governments and corporations due to lack of familiarity.
  • Other dirty tricks from Microsoft.
  • Requirements for certification or approval before usage in many corporate and government settings, especially those that deal with security-sensitive data.
  • Institutions that teach things like computer skills or administrative skills almost always exclusively use Microsoft Office and Windows for the training.
Last edited by AK-47 on Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:22 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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KBD
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Re: What Linux Needs To Do To Reach The Masses.

#23

Post by KBD » Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:50 am

He should have at least used the Ubuntu LTS release, those in-between Ubuntu releases are buggy if not outright garbage.
Screen resolution is not usually an issue on old desktops or laptops. Wifi can be solved with a wifi dongle if no other solution is found. The only real issue is suspend, which often requires getting under the hood of Linux.
Like with Windows, the truly frustrating thing with Linux is updates breaking things. That's when users get frustrated.
Linux supports so many things out of the box, so that's not the biggest frustration right now.
The other big issue is new hardware, as support is sketchy on that front still.
The biggest issue is that casual users do not want to work on their software, and with Linux you have to be your own Linux repairman. Debian can lessen that significantly because it has so few updates. If the user needs exotic apps/software, or wants a fast moving Linux version to have the newest of everything, they better be prepared to work on their software. Otherwise they should just stick with Windows.

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Re: What Linux Needs To Do To Reach The Masses.

#24

Post by KBD » Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:57 am

dreamer wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 10:41 am

Has anyone wondered why Android apk packages are small compared to Flatpaks and Snaps? I have.

Maybe Google solved the problem with sandboxed apps without using a lot of data?

I think Flatpaks and Snaps make Linux look inferior on a technical level and that's not good. I'm not saying Flatpak and Snap are bad per se, just that they make Linux look bad.
Flatpacks and Snaps are a lazy, Windows approach to Linux. Terrible idea that will have bad lasting consequences I think. They can't make these packages secure. A secure packaging system has been one of the best things about Linux. And this new system often has huge, space eating app packages.

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Re: What Linux Needs To Do To Reach The Masses.

#25

Post by arjaybe » Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:11 pm

The first thing I did with this article was check the date in case it was an old piece re-surfacing. The second thing I did was say to myself, "People are still writing this article?" The third thing I did was skim the article to see what he had to say. Summary: There are some problems that can show up when you try to install "Linux" on a laptop: Wireless, suspend and hi-res screens. He has a point. It would be nice if "Linux" would install flawlessly and effortlessly on all laptops. The problem is with his premise about reaching the masses were that the case. Working OOTB on all hardware would not make "Linux" the OS of choice for the masses. It would be nice for those of us who choose to use it, but it would not bring about a mass conversion to what many of the masses think of as "Free Windows."

I am continually impressed by the improvements I've seen since I started using Linux. For my purposes it is doing more than fine, but I don't expect it to ever become an equivalent alternative for the masses. Fortunately, that's not something I need to care about.
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manyroads
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Re: What Linux Needs To Do To Reach The Masses.

#26

Post by manyroads » Sun Aug 11, 2019 3:19 pm

Perhaps a better question to ask is why have Oracle, IBM, and Microsoft begun to embrace Linux enmass. This article offers some interesting statistics:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_sha ... ng_systems
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Re: What Linux Needs To Do To Reach The Masses.

#27

Post by jj1j1 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 3:41 pm

Careful what you wish for. You usually get it and find out ., OOOOOOOooooops. :confused:

Capitalism usually jumps to the for front when mass appeal kicks in.
Not to mention the virtualy virus free state of Linux today. I think mass appeal would incite mayhem.
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Re: What Linux Needs To Do To Reach The Masses.

#28

Post by handy » Sun Aug 11, 2019 7:27 pm

manyroads wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 3:19 pm
Perhaps a better question to ask is why have Oracle, IBM, and Microsoft begun to embrace Linux enmass. This article offers some interesting statistics:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_sha ... ng_systems
Sorry, I didn't read your link @manyroads - though my major thoughts on this are that Linux servers suit them best for their current & future plans. They see the cloud as the ever growing future for their businesses & the iot cloud, is full of Linux embedded systems too.
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Re: What Linux Needs To Do To Reach The Masses.

#29

Post by manyroads » Sun Aug 11, 2019 9:05 pm

handy wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 7:27 pm
manyroads wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 3:19 pm
Perhaps a better question to ask is why have Oracle, IBM, and Microsoft begun to embrace Linux enmass. This article offers some interesting statistics:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_sha ... ng_systems
Sorry, I didn't read your link @manyroads - though my major thoughts on this are that Linux servers suit them best for their current & future plans. They see the cloud as the ever growing future for their businesses & the iot cloud, is full of Linux embedded systems too.
I agree. I do think that their interests when combined with those of Google (android) indicate that Linux has a robust future. People like me (and you?) can use that very same Linux base (ecos) to build desktops (environments) that suits our needs. The combination is, for me, exciting and fun. I don't actually worry much about whether others follow my lead. I simply like having the freedom to choose.
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Re: What Linux Needs To Do To Reach The Masses.

#30

Post by seaken64 » Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:28 pm

I'm not sure what was meant by the author as to who "the masses" are. The way it looks now there will be less and less desktop users and more and more mobile and cloud users and enterprises. In any case, I don't think there will ever be a majority of users who will know anything about the OS they use. They will use what is handed to them.

Now, if he meant the "masses" of geeks who install their own operating systems, then Linux is already doing a pretty good job. But the average user will never react well to "here's a free OS you can install yourself on your own equipment". Linux will always be an obscure thing to most users. But they may use it anyway, unknowingly.

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