Linux Ready for Prime Time?

Laney Coulter rebel at
Tue Jun 20 19:16:06 PDT 2000

----- Original Message -----
From: Eric Skagerberg <eric at>
To: <nblug-talk at>
Sent: Tuesday, June 20, 2000 5:53 PM
Subject: Linux Ready for Prime Time?

> I got this call from a reporter at the Press Democrat, and he's doing a
> story about Linux.  He's going to call me back tomorrow (Wednesday), and
> wants to know if I consider Linux ready for the average computer user.
> What do you think?
> He got my number because I teach Unix using Linux at SRJC.  We've used
> Linux from the beginning, although always in command-line mode via telnet
> to a single host.
> The Linux GUI has improved enormously.  But fellow instructor Sean
> Kirkpatrick has always asked:  Would you turn Linux loose on your typical
> white-haired grandma?  Could she use it as easily as a Windows or Mac
> machine?  Or are we still a year or two away (or more)?
> (Now, Nancy, I know you qualify as a grandma, but I would hardly call you
> typical!)
> Key usability issues for me:
> - Installing the OS
> - Installing software
> - UNinstalling software
> - Hardware compatibility (modems, for example)
> Any other issues?  Comments?  Act now!  That guy is calling me back
> tomorrow morning, Wednesday, June 21.
> Thanks!
> Eric S.
After three days trying to get Open Linux up and another half day with Red
Hat (still no X windows)
I'd have to say, no way.  I also wonder if it ever will.  It appears to me
that your average American
computer user just isn't that concerned about another $69 for their
operating system,  and the politics
of monopoly capitalism is dinner conversation at best.  Just comparing
Caldera's installation process
to Red Hat's,  it appears to me that the kind of faultless (relatively
speaking of course) installation
that the normal computer user expects, would require a) giving up most of
the advantages that Linux's
accessability offers, and b) a huge programming effort that isn't likely to
be close to the heart of any
hot Linux programmer (essentially dumbing down the system).

As for myself, I installed Linux because I wantted to network my computers.
Another half day of struggle
with X windows and I'll just forget about having a GUI on my server.

I'm not very good at asking for help.  Anybody want to coach another newbie?

Blessings,  Peter Laughingwolf

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