Linux Ready for Prime Time?

Aldo Cimino aldo at
Tue Jun 20 18:24:02 PDT 2000

I vote no.

I think you need to differentiate between the _progress_ of GUIs for
Linux and their current state.  A great deal of progress has been made,
but they are still quite quirky and require some getting used to.

In addition, drivers are kernel level.  Telling a newbie that they need
to "recompile their kernel" is not exactly going to be self-explanatory.

Installation has come a long ways, but this is somewhat beside the
point.  If I spent all day installing my OS instead of using it, I would
be very happy about this, but I don't.  Moreover, you can always find
someone to help you install Linux.  Whether this someone wants to take
the time to help you configure /etc/fstab, lilo.conf or the numerous
esoteric files scattered about the Linux filesystem is another matter

Installing software is easy with package managers such as RPM, as is
removing software.  Hardware compatibility is another "progress" point,
but isn't usually on the cutting edge.

Encouraging Mac users or non-computer enthusiasts, at this point, to use
Linux as a desktop OS will only contribute to a sort of disillusionment
and bitterness towards the OS.  People need to understand that the
reason Linux is making waves right now is arguably due to three factors:

1. It's an excellent network operating system
2. It's a stable and effective server.
3. It's uses the open source model of development.

Just my .02

Eric Skagerberg wrote:
> 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 he
> 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.

Aldo Cimino
Contributing Editor
Maximum Linux

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