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

Posted: Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:44 pm
by JayM
seaken64 wrote:
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.
That's what the article said too, that (as has been said before, over a period of many, many years) desktops are going away and laptops/tablets/handhelds will take over. Maybe that will happen someday, but not any time soon. There's still a thriving market not only for pre-assembled high-performance desktops but also for motherboards, cases, desktop CPUs, PSUs, video cards, and other components. Gamers prefer desktops because they can upgrade the CPU, video card, etc. quite easily which is difficult or impossible in a laptop. Many home theater/entertainment system enthusiasts like desktop computers that have a video card capable of full 4K resolution (and I read that 8K is now a thing) and easily-expandable storage for their media collections, while HDDs thin enough to fit inside laptops are currently limited to 1TB due to the number of platters: higher-capacity drives are thicker due to having more platters and won't fit inside most laptops. Businesses and governments use desktop PCs because they're cheaper than laptops, they're less likely to be stolen, and their components are modular and easily replaced by IT staff so downtime due to component failure (i.e. coffee spilled on the keyboard) is a lot lower. They only buy laptops (usually with docking stations) for those employees who have a particular need for one, such as the Big Boss who attends lots of meetings and travels frequently.
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.
It depends on how you define "the average user" but I think you're probably right. I suspect a few more will switch to Linux after support for Windows 7 ends but probably not all that many. They'll either lower their expectations and upgrade to Windows 10 or keep using 7 even though it's no longer supported or updated. There are still people who continue to use XP and even Windows 98 or Vista.

Some hurdles against adopting Linux are:
1. For those who know little or nothing about computers, the installation. Windows probably came preinstalled on their computer so unless they've had to reinstall it themselves they've never installed an OS before and that can be intimidating.

2. They associate "free" with "low quality" or the idea of downloading an ISO and burning it themselves with, I don't know, piracy or something, or else they just don't know how so this requirement is one more barrier.

1 and 2 would require a Linux "Elmer" to help and assist the Linux newbie in getting a distro installed and configured then helping them over the initial rough spots for a while.

3. The biggest hurdle is probably just that the majority of apps and games that they want to run are Windows-only due to the fact that Windows has had such a stranglehold on the OS market for so long, so it's kind of a Catch-22 situation: Windows controls most of the desktop/laptop/tablet OS market share, so most of the desirable apps are Windows apps, so people don't want to leave Windows which guarantees its market control continues, so not enough people switch to Linux to make it worth the app devs' time to make Linux versions, so people don't want to leave Windows. The trick would be to somehow break that cycle. Maybe a really fantastic new game that everybody was talking about and that's Linux-only? Some huge new breakthrough in Wine that allows it to run absolutely every Windows app there is with no problems at all? (I know, dream on.)

(Edited to correct typos and grammar as I wasn't fully awake when I wrote the original reply.)

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

Posted: Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:48 pm
by rokytnji.1
AK-47 wrote:
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.
Whew. That was close. I almost hit the report post button and labeled this as a excellent post. No worries. I won't steal it. :popcorn:
One does not have to agree with all talking points to recognize a excellent effort.

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

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 5:10 pm
by jj1j1
...They will use what is handed to them.

...Linux will always be an obscure thing to most users. But they may use it anyway, unknowingly.
So true. How many Android users know, (or care), that it's actually a flavor of Linux?

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

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 8:41 pm
by handy
I think it is more like what the masses need to do to reach Linux.

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

Posted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 11:29 am
by rokytnji.1
Well I can only comment on my local situation.
quote by frankbell at linuxquestions.org: Remember that most computer users have never and will never install an OS on a machine.

Most po-dunk small town high schools don't have computer courses. Funding mostly is at fault.

Then there are business and govt agencies in the USA who only deal with Windows gear. So user agent switchers and other stuff is tried to compensate for this.

Above posted Knowledge also not available to un-educated folks in the boonies with no education budgets.
Plus poorer neighborhoods use antique computers out here.

I only know this stuff because of motorcycles. It happened to intersect with my interest. Hard drive died. I needed a operating system to buy parts for my motorcycles.

After the linux community gave me hand up. I reciprocated the favor and joined some teams.
Also. The linux community taught me new things to make using computers more interesting.
But I had to still make the effort myself to learn on my own.

Totally selfish reasons. Did not care about security. Or any geek worries. I was un-educated about that stuff then. Not until I installed something other than Windows did I begin to learn something.

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

Posted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:56 pm
by Head_on_a_Stick
Somebody should try fixing some of the problems listed in this book — it's over 25 years old now and still relevant...

And anyway why do we want more users? The only ones left by now are the pure consumers and GNU/Linux needs a significant proportion of it's users to be providers.

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

Posted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 5:18 pm
by jj1j1
Somebody should try fixing some of the problems listed in this book — it's over 25 years old now and still relevant...
Thanks for the read.

From Forward:
You can’t even single-step today’s machines. They always run at fullspeed
I used to use that feature a lot :bouncingsheep:

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

Posted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 7:10 pm
by handy
You think single stepping is going to attract the masses?

Beyond that, as I'm sure has been said in this thread already (I may have already said it... lol), if/when the masses prefer GNU/Linux on their desktop, I'm sure that I won't like much of what "they" do.

As long as we can still choose the DE/WM that we prefer, & have a number of choices of utilities/tools that we can choose to add/remove at will from such systems that we have set up to suit our desires - then Linux/BSD (& whatever other) OS is OK by me (& for all of the others users who share the same attitude).

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

Posted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 9:33 pm
by jj1j1
For some it's a mindset. The moment Linux becomes something other than an alternative to the mainstream the novelty of choosing the alternate will wear off.

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

Posted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 9:42 pm
by Gordon Cooper
When a buyer can walk into a main street store and purchase a computer with a Linux OS off the shelf, and have a choice of costs and features, then Linux
could be considered to reach the Masses.