Life without Windows or OS X

GNU/Linux is quite possibly the most important free software achievement since the original Space War, or, more recently, Emacs. It has developed into an operating system for business, education, and personal productivity. GNU/Linux is no longer only for UNIX wizards who sit for hours in front of a glowing console. Are you thinking about switching to Linux and want to learn how to use it? Have you been using GNU/Linux for some time and want to learn even more? This is the place for you.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Its time for this in-fighting to end.

Which is the biggest GNU/ Linux distro on the planet? Does it really matter? While obviously the core Linux Kernel isn't fragmented, its community is. Most of these zealots don't even use Linux anyway. What they use is some flavor of GNU/Linux and many these flavors aren't uniform in nature. These days, the differences between distributions are narrowing. Most distributions that you look at will have much the same choice of software: KDE and GNOME for desktops, Mozilla Firefox for web browsing, and for office productivity. By definition, a distribution is a collection of software made by other projects. The problem still remains that vendors just can't predict their behavior. GNU/Linux is still seen as a nerdy operating system. Advanced configuration can be a challenge for non-nerds, but the same is true for Windows. One definitely would have to agree that GNU/Linux is, in many ways, is more intuitive and easy to use for non-nerds. Linux is still an operating system developed by geeks and hackers for geeks and hackers. The disconnect between geeks and the non-technical end user is still immense, and too many geeks like it that way and will actually defend their isolation as something moral.

GNU/Linux, the grass roots os, is ready to be sold at local retailers. I am well able to install Linux by myself - I'm running PClinuxOS at the moment. However, for a lot of people, this is a very awkward process. Linux on the desktop grew in 2006 as a number of substantial milestones were reached that promise to continue to move the Linux desktop ahead in 2007.The LSB specification is intended to furnish interoperability standards via a base set of APIs and libraries so ISVs can develop and port applications that will work on LSB-certified Linux distributions. The reason that people buy computers with Windows is that they don't see much of an alternative.

It's time for this community to put itself behind one or two good flavor(s) of Linux and stop all the in-fighting. Lets back a distribution. To attract the masses, a Linux desktop must work out of the box, ideally preinstalled by the hardware vendor. Many GNU/Linux distro's can't even play DVDs without introducing the risk of lawsuits, and multimedia support files are usually hosted on non-US sites for legal reasons.

If people want to start to hurt Windows/MacOSX, distro's like Linspire and SLED are idea for preinstalled PCs at large retailers. Novell's SLED provides a reliable, stable, and scalable operating system, server, and application deployment environment. The Novell Linux Desktop is the end-user version of side of SUSE's enterprise offerings. Almost all other Linux operating systems are designed for servers. Linspire was designed specifically for desktop use. They have in fact paid close attention to the many details required for easy desktop computing.

Why SLED...

Novell has put so much work into their Computer Menu, beagle search, Windows networking via SMB, dual boot and making the whole distro feel professional and polished. Novell produce that wow factor by using the relatively new Xgl. Xgl uses the power of your video card to produce some stunning visuals on the dekstop. With Xgl and Novell's 3D compositing window manager, compiz, users can switch among 3D virtual desktops with translucency.

Why Linspire..

Linspire comes bundled with the ability to view QuickTime, Windows Media, Flash, and other media types. you are able to view movie trailers without doing anything other than clicking on the trailer and choosing your media type. In fact they are in a unique position. They are the only company with the legal right to ship Linux ports of Windows Media Format codecs, including QuickTime capability. They extracted this concession as part of the settlement of their successful trademark lawsuit against Microsoft.

In conclusion...

While I realize the question of favorite distro can get quite heated, here are two that can perhaps spread Linux to those who would otherwise not try it. Ease of use, included software, maximum support this is what these distros should be measured by. Linux users have a tendency to forget this - while Microsoft pockets gets bigger. In the end, selling to the non-nerds, is where the money is made. Mom & Pop that want to buy a new PC for the family. And with Linspire and SLED they will get something that will work for them out of the box.

Polls like dellstorm could make it look like they're they want to sell GNU/LInux so that Dell can continue to claim that Michael just can't figure out which kind of Linux everybody wants. Instead of making the big decision , Michael can continue to talk the Linux talk, but fail to walk the Linux walk. You can't make everyone happy with choosing a distro, just choose one. People who aren't happy with the choice and prefer another one know what they want and can install it for themselves. Most serious users don't care which distribution is shipped/supported so long as their hardware works. As far as I'm concerned, Dell can arbitrarily pick any of the popular Linux distributions, as long as at least some laptop and desktop models are available that work out of the box with only free software drivers.

The battle for the desktop starts on a brick& stone retail store not on a dot-com site. People want to feel, look at and experience the piece of hardware their buying. I want to see GNU/Linux desktop side by side with MS Win-Vista.

Locking people into open source is just as bad as locking people into proprietary software.


Post a Comment

<< Home