Here there are two interesting points of view, that can generate some debate about why Linux is or is not too successful.
Adrian Kingsley-Hughes in his post at ZDNET blog is pointing 5 things that Linux users does not understand about the average computer user, these are those five things.
1 - On the whole, users aren’t all that dissatisfied with Windows 2 - Too many distros 3 - People want certainty that hardware and software will work 4 - As far as most people are concerned, the command line has gone the way of the dinosaur 5 - Linux is still too geeky
And he also added three more to the list in this posts
1 - The Mac effect 2 - Who provides the free tech support? 3 - Chill out, it’s just an operating system!
There have been a lot of responses to his post like this one From Matt Hartley
From my point of view I have to say that:
1.- On the whole, users aren’t all that dissatisfied with Windows I think he could be right here, but not because users are happy with windows, just because they maybe haven’t ever seen other operating system, from my years working with computer users I could identify two type of windows users, maybe two types of computer users.
- Those who are really good at computers, that can solve any issue with their PCs
- Those who are not geeks and need that geeks configure their PCs, and fix them when they got infected by viruses or need to add a new device to it
So if users are not dissatisfied with windows is because the have a computer department in their office or they have a son who is really good at computers who fixes all the issues with their Windows.
2.- Too many distros
From the point of view of the author (a Mac user) you can see he does not like to have options, but there are a lot of other persons who really like options, that means freedom, when you can choose, off course it take time to be sure you are going to pick the right OS for you.
I have never tried Mac, (just 6 hours in ‘96) enough to tell you how good or bad it is, I have heard it is a great OS, stable as the most, but as the author says it cost money, something that not all users have, and if you plan to use your computer (as most users do) for text editor, spreadsheet, email, and surfing the web, any Linux distro can do it.
For the newbies at Linux just looking for a good Desktop OS, there are not too many options, just go to the blog sphere, and you will find articles to help you find which distro to choose, and if you are a experienced PC user, you will enjoy a weekend testing a lot of Linux Distros, and running them on VMWare, and will be more than happy with the freedom and the flexibility you will find on Linux and not even close on Windows.
3.- People want certainty that hardware and software will work
This is 100% right, people want certainty that hardware and software will work, but I have to disagree with the author, that for the Desktops PCs at least all the hardware I tested including usb sticks, SonyEricsson cell phones, Digital cameras, and off course all the hardware in the PCs, like video cards, sound cards, etc work out of the box with all the distros I tested including DSL, Suse, Fedora, CentOS, Ubuntu, Mandriva, Debian, even the alpha version of Ulteo.
Thanks to the effort of all developers out there Linux has now really great support for the hardware, I even installed Ubuntu 6.06 on a new HP laptop and all the wifi, bluetooth, and everything worked just great, out of the box, there are more and more users switching to Linux from windows despite the wrong perception that it is difficult to do it, so as more and more users switch to Linux the hardware manufactures will have to include drivers and support for Linux, it is a Marketing rule.
4.- As far as most people are concerned, the command line has gone the way of the dinosaur
The author is right on this, fortunately Linux does not need command line in most of its distributions like Ubuntu and Mandriva, but is not great to have it there? instead of being jailed to GUI? once again options = freedom, and with Linux you have that options you can use GUI or command line.
To be honest there are distributions that need command line, Debian as an example, also Fedora, but those specially Debian maybe are not made for the newbies.
5.- Linux is still too geeky
The author put updates at Ubuntu as an example, but updates are really easy in Ubuntu, if he is talking about the normal updates, they are just like windows update, you get a bubble telling you there are updates available, you just click on them write your password, and voila! your system is updated.
Otherwise, if he is talking about upgrading from one version to the next one, Ubuntu is easier than Windows, you just get the bubble again but this time you find that there is a completely new release of Ubuntu and ask you if you want to upgrade, Windows is far from that, as you need to complete Vista copy to upgrade from XP as far as I know (I can be wrong), He could be right with Fedora upgrade as going from FC6 to F7 is not just a bubble and a click, you also need the complete set of CDs, but with those in your hands, it is as easy as Windows.
Linux is just another OS with their pros and cons, and it is another option (thanks God for the options) to Windows or MAC, and as I wrote on this post, Is Linux suitable for me? there are times when Linux is the best option and others when not, but the points stated there are just exaggerated.
You can also read this other post Linux is not only a Desktop operating system