KenRay, on 12 April 2012 - 10:33 AM, said:
They shouldn't have to "know how".
I have been using Ubuntu Linux on my desktop for years. A few years ago there was an issue with finding software to use on Linux. Now there are no issues except when people insist on using MS Office on Linux. I am very happy with the performance of my laptop. Windows usually slows down after a few months on a new install. But my laptop has not slowed down at all. It performs like new 24/7. The biggest reason people don't switch is because they don't know how or just don't know about it at all. MS Office is what keeps businesses from switching. Most apps are on the net now anyway.
You shouldn't have to know how to switch your OS to switch your OS? Could you please clarify that for me?
That, in my opinion, is why linux is great for millions like you but is not ready for primetime on the average user's desktop machine. OO.org and LibreOffice are not equivalent programs to MS Office (unfortunately)
This is like an urban legend from Snopes.com that doesn't die, like alligators in the sewers. Word processor, spreadsheet, database, drawing, presentation, math entry - yup, you're right, Office doesn't include Access and Visio as standard so it's not the equivalent of LibreOffice. :-) The city of Munich, Germany just finished switching 18,000 desktops to Linux and open source software, saving millions in the process - and support calls are down! If LibreOffice is good enough for the city of Munich, why isn't it good enough for anyone else? If you're going to make the claim, state WHY it's not good enough. As Gore Vidal said, "why" is the most dangerous word in the English language. I'd also personally love to know what I'm missing out on myself (other than the cost and vendor lock-in).
but the bewildering array of distros create a real barrier for universal adoption.
By that same logic, the bewildering array of desktop PCs or cars should create a barrier to their adoption. :-) Choice is not a barrier, nor is it ever a barrier. Lack of choice can be. There's nothing bewildering about it either. Different distros exist for different purposes. Some have commercial support, some don't. One can whittle down the choices to a small handful with a few simple criteria such as that.
The vast majority of us don't want to futz with our computers
The vast majority believe the FUD that you'd need to futz. The sad fact is we all need to futz at one time or another, whether it's adding more memory, replacing a hard drive that's beginning to click, upgrading an OS, etc. There's nothing in existence that futz-proof.
and learn how to do something that prety much comes working out of the box on the OSX Windows side of the equation.
It only comes working out of the box because someone made it work out of the box before you bought the box. It does NOT come working out of the DVD. If that were your criteria, you'd throw away Windows right now and install Linux. When I install Windows 7 on a system I need to download and install video drivers, install the motherboard chipset and sound and ethernet drivers (probably needing to go find them on the net because the included drivers will be out of date), install Flash, install java, install a PDF reader, install an archiver before I can install a lot of the zipped drivers, install codecs, install an antivirus solution, install a CD/DVD burning program, install a backup tool, possibly install a firewall, etc. When I install Linux on a system all of the latest drivers are bundled and included... Flash is downloaded during the system install, along with an archiver, PDF reader, and java. Codecs will be downloaded and installed on first use of the media player if the user permits it. The default install also includes a CD/DVD burning/authoring program, office suite, GIMP (which is a very powerful image editing program), music & podcast management program capable of syncing to devices, media player, IRC client, instant messaging client, VoIP phone, partition management program, bittorrent client, e-mail, calendar, to-do, note, contact management suite, backup program, and lots of nice touches like clipboard manager, powerful screen snapshot program capable of sending images to other programs, e-mail, IM or file sharing sites, multiple desktops, on-screen display, etc. Install and an average user would be ready to go with everything they'd really need! On top of all that the installer is incredibly configurable with the ability to not install any of the defaults or install hundreds of other programs on the DVD and can save all of the install choices and/or the parition layout to files so that they can be used to automate the install on other systems! So please don't lecture me about out of the box... I dread Windows 7 installs but other than passwords and a few desktop changes I like to make afterwards can perform a Linux desktop install unattended in a fraction of the time.
Recently Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak ("The Woz") was interviewed regarding Android phones. He talked about several things his Android phone could do that his iPhone couldn't. He then said that while it was true that the iPhone was easier to use, the Android wasn't much harder, and for making that little extra investment of time a user could gain a lot of nice features that weren't on the iPhone. Naturally i-fans had a fit, but I think The Woz' wisdom holds here too. Invest a little bit of time in learning how to do something differently, and you gain a lot of customizability and other benefits. In fact, when I switched in the middle of 2010 from XP, I gained not only all of Windows 7's features but every single significant feature being touted for Windows 8 as well, two years early and for free. I also gained an amazingly customizable desktop, logical volume management (the system can treat multiple drives as one drive so, say, if you have a 200GB drive you can add a second 1000GB drive and Linux can treat it as one 1200GB drive so you don't have to copy partitions around to take advantage of the new space), package management that lets me install any of thousands of programs with a click and have them all updated, an eight month rather than 3-5 year upgrade cycle, etc. I'm incredibly glad I switched and given that Windows 8 still hasn't caught up to my desktop, I don't see myself being induced to switch back any time soon.
For those who love Linux and enjoy working with it on their desktops, more power to you. Linux is simply not for the rest of us and we make up well over 90% of the market.
You seem to find safety and security in numbers. Linux is indeed for most of you; most of the 90% don't know it exists. In Australia, ZDNet sent people around in 2009 with a laptop with Linux and KDE on it and told people it was a beta of Windows 7. Not only did users believe it and have no problem using it, but many praised how much better it was than the Vista they were currently using. :-) In Italy a few months ago the same thing was done, this time telling people it was Windows 8, with similar positive reactions. TechRadar also ran an article in which they gathered Windows and Mac users along with Linux ones and had them try out the various Linux desktops. The article mentions that
The overall response from our testers was that KDE felt familiar. Whether it was the layout of the desktop or the Kickoff app launcher, users of other desktop environments as well as other OSes all felt at home with it. No one batted an eyelid at the desktop and almost instinctively headed to Kickoff.
We were amazed by the level of comfort the users experienced with KDE. Even new users were navigating the desktop as though they'd been using it for years.
Guarino has had a similar experience: "For me and for my customers, KDE 4 is currently first choice. Its well thought-out interfaces allow a user to feel at home with little effort. Users of Windows and OS X have also commented on its polish and ease of use. Business users feel at home in the common desktop metaphor that KDE so beautifully creates. This, coupled with its well-integrated applications, means KDE wows almost every business user I present it to."
When all's said and done, though, every one of our testers was floored by KDE 4.7 across all devices. Only the most basic users noticed that instant messaging and other online services weren't integrated. There was a lot of praise for Activities, which was described as the natural extension to virtual workspaces on the Linux desktop.
So, contrary to your unsupported claims, when put to a real test with real people really using it, KDE impressed just as it impressed Windows users in Australia and Italy. You can't treat the Linux desktop of today like it was 1999 anymore than a critique of Windows should address the flaws of Windows 98. My transition was so smooth that I started testing OpenSUSE 11.4 and was still "testing" it one year later (not having booted back into Windows in the meantime) before I decided to make it official. :-) I can boot in record time into my nicely-configured desktop, read my e-mail, surf the web, connect to a samba Windows network and also use SSH to sync files with my laptop, connect my MTP-based mp3 player and effortlessly upload my latest podcasts to it, do data analysis work with powerful tools like python, R, RapidMiner and LibreOffice and use Firebird SQL and sqlite for managing my data, use VirtualBox for testing of software, manage my e-books and reference papers with tools like calibre, have full disk indexing/search capabilities (down to a .doc file in a zip file in an e-mail attachment) as well as full-disk encryption for security, sync with my camera to download, catalog, tag, geolocate and edit my photos, use GnuCash to manage both personal and business accounts, use XBMC to watch tv shows and movies at night and play games (including several too old to run right on real Windows anymore thanks to the WINE Windows compatibility libraries), all with no "futzing", editing config files, or any of the other things people who haven't tried a modern desktop-oriented linux distro have claimed (and I might have agreed with even a few years ago). That all of this didn't cost me a penny is just icing on the cake.
There's no walled garden here; this garden has an unlocked gate, and somehow the more people who enter the garden, the better it gets via the magic of open source. No one's forced to enter and anyone can leave at any time. You're welcome to stay outside or in a walled garden of your own, but please stop making up stories about how awful it is over the wall. Don't turn your wall into a prison for others.