Q: What does *Nix have to do to conquer the desktop?

Discussion in 'OT Technology' started by Grelmar, Feb 20, 2006.

  1. Grelmar

    Grelmar New Member

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    Prefer if this didn't turn into a flame bait session.

    Right now, Windows rules the desktop. No sense denying it, it's just where the market is.

    My question is, why? What does Linux have to do to appeal to "Aunt Velma" and the rest of the average users out there? What's it missing, what's it doing that blocking the path?

    I'm going to kick it off with some of my own main gripes (keep in mind, I like Linux, a lot).

    #1: Ease of installing the Operating System: It's gotten WAY better over time, but it can still be a pain. Ubuntu is probably the class of the field right now, and even with it, I've had to get into some funkadelics to get it to install into certain laptops (ok, Laptops aren't fair, they're notorious for weird architecture and hardware, but hey, Windows usually never has any problems).

    #2: Ease of installing software: Let's face it, the "Aunt Velma's" of this world don't want to have to learn Synaptic Package Manager, drop to command line to use apt-get, or any of the other ways you install software in Linux. They certainly don't want to have to build even a simple one line Shell Script to launch a Java program. What they want to do is clicky the install icon and make rocket go. Yes, I know, this creates inherant security problems, but that's the way the consumer wants it to work. Deal with it.

    #3: Mount/Unmount: Get rid of it. 'Nuff said.

    What *Nix has Gotten Right Lately

    Office productivity. Open office, you've come a long way baby. Very little reason to use MS Office anymore.

    Browser/Email - Firefox and Thunderbird have crossed the threshold in cross platform utilities. They not only match, but, IMHO, outperform the MS products.

    I know the last two aren't directly related to *nix, but they definitely make the platform more palatable.

    Gnome/KDE: Both are proving to be highly usable desktop GUIs, usable by people who aren't really into computers.

    Now it's your turn

    Go ahead and insult my genetic heritage for dissing the *nix if you want, but that won't really get us anywhere.

    This is for both the people who currently love, and currently hate, and the one's who fall somewhere down the middle. What's good, what's broke, and where the heck should *nix go from here? I mean, aside from taking over the Palm OS market.
     
  2. CyberBullets

    CyberBullets I reach to the sky, and call out your name. If I c

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    get rid of rpms
    get a faster responce from X (kde 4 fixes this)
     
  3. EvilSS

    EvilSS New Member

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    Uh, sorry, but Thunderbird can't compete with Outlook (or Notes, for that matter) at the corporate level. Great for home, useless in the enterprise. Novell's Evolution is about the only thing I've seen that can compete at that level.

    As for your question, the answer is simple: Applications. There are nowhere near enough enterprise applications available for Linux desktops. Going along with that, easier software development. As much as people (including me) hate it, VB6 was a huge plus for inhouse development. A development environment that has parity with Visual Studio is a must for Linux desktops to make any real penetration into the corporate world. Then there is still the issue of 3rd party enterprise application support. Peoplesoft, JDEdwards, SAP, SAS, Hyperion, Kronos, Business Objects, Siebel, Saleslogix, etc, etc, etc. Plus you also need desktop management capabilities, like software deployment and inventorying (SMS, Radia).

    For home users, the application gap is much smaller but there are still issues, such as Game support.
     
  4. Peyomp

    Peyomp New Member

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    Aqua needs to run on any x86 hardware. Then UNIX will conquer the desktop.
     
  5. CastorTroy

    CastorTroy New Member

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    Really UN*X and variants are ready themselves, it's applications for them that need to catch up. Windows got into the desktop market at a good time, with a very easy to use installer/interface, people are used to it, good applications have been made for it, it'd be very hard to conquer the desktop in the forseeable future simply because it's there and it works (sometimes). Solid working emulation of Windows apps/games would really help as well.

    I use all BSD/Linux for servers, and prefer them over Windows by far, but since I game and use certain apps only available for Windows, I still require it. If Windows software emulation was working well, with close to 100% application compatibility, Windows would be gone for me.
     
  6. Apothis

    Apothis New Member

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    It's true linux still has a ways to go in the user-friendly/usability department, but it should be close enough. What it really lacks is adequet support from mainstream 3rd parties, both in hardware drivers and in software. It's not that there's much of anything linux inherently "can't" do, it's that nobody makes stuff for it ..at least not the popular stuff people are familiar with and want (especially games).

    Enterprise software is also important, of course. Both servers and workstations need market growth. People are often inclined to get for their home the same kind of computers they are familiar with from work. When all they see at work is Windows, odds are that's all they'll have at home too. Increasing market share in business would likely benefit adoption at home.

    It's a bit of a catch-22. Linux needs 3rd party support to gain meaningful market share. But 3rd parties are reluctant to support it UNTIL it has meaningful market share. This makes it difficult to get off the ground and I'm impressed that it's come as far as it has. It needs greater adoption in both the corporate and the consumer markets, and it will need more 3rd party support for each to get there.

    It's still moving along though, slowly but surely. Its growth may not be as quick as we'd like, but it's not something that's going to just dissappear either. It has benefited greatly from corporate support from companies like IBM and Novell and it may yet have a bright future ..eventually.
     
  7. kingtoad

    kingtoad OT Supporter

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    I think this thread would make me e-cool for posting in it. Hence, why I posted in it.
     
  8. Keyzs

    Keyzs OT Supporter

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    Didn't work, but its the same reason I am posting.
     
  9. Peyomp

    Peyomp New Member

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    If Aqua became FOSS, and all the Gnome and KDE whores took to developing it. and released it from Objective-C hell... then Unix would pwn the desktop. Otherwise, it ain't happening.
     
  10. CyberBullets

    CyberBullets I reach to the sky, and call out your name. If I c

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    :wackit: if that ever happened. We can only hope!
     
  11. AeroSquid

    AeroSquid New Member

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    I'll tell you what it's going to take to make me switch: Vista DRM

    If *nix is still DRM free then i'll be switching. I want an OS that lets me do what i want to do and not controlled by some corporate assholes. I want my privacy and i want security. I don't think M$ intends to provide any of that in their next gen OS.
     
  12. EvilSS

    EvilSS New Member

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    Yep. It will also be HD content free as well. That Vista "DRM" is OS support for the HDCP hardware that is required to play HD-DVD/Blu-ray content at full resolution. For any OS to support playback is MUST support HDCP. Don't expect this to be as easy to break as CSS either. MPAA is going overboard on this after DeCSS handed them their asses.
     
  13. Peyomp

    Peyomp New Member

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    If Apple licensed Aqua for Linux, that might do it too.
     
  14. EvilSS

    EvilSS New Member

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    If Apple would just license OSX for non-mac machines, we could just throw desktop Linux into the dungeon and forget it ever existed.
     
  15. Grelmar

    Grelmar New Member

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    True and False at the same time.

    HDCP ant it's accompanying encryption are going to be tough to crack, but I wouldn't expect the encryption to last more than 6 months (on the extreme outside) before someone in the *nix community cracks it. And because it's going to be a "standard," they aren't going to be able to shift the encryption once it's cracked.

    As for the legal issues - That's mostly going to be a problem in the US, and maybe Britain. In most European countries, Canada, and most of the Orient, there's nothing illegal about using freely available decryption software to view encrypted media. In spite of the MPAA's and the RIAA's efforts in these countries, the laws don't look like they're going to change anytime soon.

    Once the encryption is broken, I don't expect it to be a major challenge to get the hardware (drives, monitors, graphics cards) working with the OS. The hardware manufacturers are in the business of selling hardware, not movies and songs (with the notable exception of Sony). None of them are particularly interested in locking their products out of any percentage of the market by making it impossible for their hardware to work with *nix. They'll do a wink and nod to the MPAA by supporting the encryption standard, but they won't go to any extra effort to limit their product's usefullness in *nix.

    Good thread. I keep forgetting about the Enterprise market issues surrounding *nix, because I just don't deal with it.
     
  16. EvilSS

    EvilSS New Member

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    Uh, you do know that, unlike CSS, the keys in the hardware can be updated and even revoked if tampering is detected? Unless there is a hole like in CSS, I wouldn't expect a pure crack within 6 months, if ever. After all, if it's so easy, why hasn't anyone managed to break the latest iTunes DRM? While there are ways around it (the same ways that HDCP is designed to thwart) no one has actually broken it yet. That should be trivial compared to this.

    As for Europe and Asia, it doesn't matter what the law does or does not do. The hardware makers are being forced, through their license agreements, to implement it. Just like they were forced to adopt CSS. So unless they decide to violate their licenses, HDCP will be a global DRM standard.

    The hardware will work with Linux, but the protected content won't. At least not at HD resolutions (IIRC it will be locked to 480p on non-HDCP compliant hardware and systems).
     
  17. Peyomp

    Peyomp New Member

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    Pixelated video is SO hot right now.
     
  18. lionsgraphics

    lionsgraphics OT Supporter

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    I say it'll be really hard to bite into that market, especially if Vista will be as successful as XP.

    Interesting reason is why Windows is so dominant in workstation and desktop market is because of Office, Excel/Word in particular. They're just too feature rich, compatible and robust to fuck with.
     
  19. Shibboleth

    Shibboleth teh mad Plato skillz

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    from my brief experience with ubuntu linux, I've noticed a few things that are just not going to fly with anyone who doesn't want to spend a few hours looking up how to mount a hard drive.

    1. enough of the ambiguous acronyms/psuedo-abbreviations/names. How do I know I need to leave enough room on hda1 to fit both an ext2 primary partition and a swap partition? make that all automatic.

    2. get rid of config files. 'nuff said.

    3. the os can't be so fragile. I freak out every time my cat5 cable gets unplugged or I lose power or I start up without my usb mouse plugged in. If the cable gets unplugged, then I need to restart to get internet working again. if I lose power then I need to either learn how to fix my account from the shell or I need to reformat. If I startup without my mouse plugged in, then it hasn't been recognized and I need to restart.

    God forbid something should happen while I'm using synaptic to update. One wrong version of glibc or whatever could ruin my install. Don't let dumb users break their system.

    4. there need to be a wide spread msi like installer. I want to get a single program, open it, and follow the steps to install it.

    5. the file hierarcy is absolutely frightening. Either don't let me see any of it outside of my home folder, or make it more intuitive.

    6. add more support for plug and play. If I plug in a usb stick, I want to be able to access it instantly.

    7. file sharing and printer sharing should be easier (or it should at least work)

    8. no more startup script in /etc/.initd

    9. I know how sexy it is to see my computer actually boot up "synching clock with UTC. . .". but I really don't care. put in a flash screen and a progress bar.

    10. KDE and gnome seriously have to get along. It's frightening as hell trying to choose between this in synaptic
    "KDE, KDE desktop, KDE environment (x3 different versions), gnome, gnome desktop, gnome environment, GDM"

    11. better wine integration.

    12. someone should just license the mp3 codec.

    That covers most of my main gripes. I know it sounds like I'm being an ass, but if linux ever wants to see more windows users, then there needs to be a distro that actually takes away control from the user and packages it up nice and tightly. Although that's going to take money, because we all know that linux devs would never do something that traded usability for control. Until then, linux is still just a dev box/server.
     
  20. Grelmar

    Grelmar New Member

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    Actually, I don't know much about the specifics of HDCP, to be honest.

    I'm just working on history. Virtually every uncrackable copy protection scheme that has come around, has been defeated eventually. Even if the iTunes DRM hasn't been specifically "cracked" - there are workarounds that have the same effect.

    Maybe I'm putting too much faith in the sunlight deprived propeller heads of the world, but I strongly expect them to come out with a workaround or out and out crack very shortly after the standard is released (it hasn't been finalised, AFAIK).

    Anyhoo, the DRM thing is probably best served in a thread of its own.
     
  21. EvilSS

    EvilSS New Member

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    I think in this case you are being overly optimistic. I hope I'm wrong and you are right, but I don't think so. The really sinister thing about HDCP is that it is end-to-end. That means it is encrypted from the disc to (and in) the display device. This is designed to prevent capturing it after it has been decoded. Cracks and workarounds are going to have to come from the hardware makers. Hopefully some will be nice enough to put in codes to turn it off like they did with CSS, region coding, and Macrovision in some DVD players. Although those devices will probably just end up with their keys revoked.
     

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