Why Analysts Like Gartenberg, Mossberg, Enderle Don’t Get Linux on the Desktop


tux crystalI follow all three of the above mentioned analysts regularly as part of my news scouring for eHomeUpgrade. Unfortunately, I believe all three of them GET IT WRONG when it comes to Linux users and what THEY WANT from their PCs. As for the enterprise users, I suggest they all take the time to pick up the phone and chat with companies like Red Hat and Novell about the success they’ve been having with their mixed-environment solutions. But I digress… lets stick to consumer related matters.

[Disclaimer: I've been using Linux (specifically Debian and Ubuntu) on my primary desktop since 2005 after using both Mac and Windows for as long as can remember.]


For some reason they all believe that Linux users want to play iTunes bought songs on their PC, want to sync iPods to their computer, use Microsoft Office, use Adobe’s creative software suite, and playback DRM-encumbered media. Uh, NO THEY DON’T. This may be true for potential “Switchers” from Mac OS X or Windows, but not for users who put computing freedom over convenience. And sadly, this is the point none of them get.

Aside: By not understanding the user, these analysts can’t fully understand the market. Like I said to a commenter: “It’s not that Linux isn’t ready for ‘joe user,’ it’s not ready for OS X and Windows users who want to run their proprietary technologies and services on Linux. And that’s fine by most Linux users. [...] that type of user wants something completely different than what he’s been getting under Windows and Mac OS X.”

Articles I’m referring to:

Truth be told, long-time Linux users prefer to use open, patent-free formats (i.e. OGG Theora, OGG Vorbis, FLAC) and/or cross-platform industry standards (i.e. MPEG-2/4, MP3, AAC, WAV) that work on a great variety of PC or consumer electronic device, as well as, free open source software to replace proprietary applications like Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, etc. In fact, Linux on the Desktop is thriving and has picked up a lot momentum lately through distribution of pre-configured systems with Ubuntu Desktop Edition / SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop from top-tier OEMs like Lenovo, Dell, and HP to the enterprise and consumer markets.

To say that Linux on the Desktop is never going to work or take off is naïve and an embarrassment to other tech analysts that have taken the time to survey and interview actual Linux users – not to mention other governments and universities around the world that have said good-bye to proprietary operating systems and software. But for some reason many analysts, like the ones mentioned, take their Windows and Mac experience and want to replicate it with Linux. That’s the problem… Linux is NOT the same, Linux is different – and proudly so. Linux doesn’t want to be shackled, restricted, monitored, or told how to behave. It just wants to be free to do what it does.

Aside: I want to make it clear that I’m not against proprietary software being ported and used on Linux (I use VMware regularly). I just don’t believe that by not having apps like iTunes or Photoshop on Linux that it’s a death nail to the platform. If companies like Adobe, who’ve done great work porting their Flash Player to Linux, want to port their entire product line to the Linux Desktop, they should definitely do so. Many would probably agree that that would be a good thing, while others would be more than fine without them.

It’s true… Linux might not suite everyone’s taste or needs, but it’s another option that’s worth having around. Personally, I like Windows and Mac OS X. They both have their strengths, but it’s their weaknesses – according to the usage I’m after – that keeps me going back to Linux for my daily activities. I might not have all the toys and whiz-bang gadgets supported on my main system, but at least I have peace of mind and satisfaction with my chosen OS. What’s more, having a mixed PC environment is healthy.

Questions tech analysts and columnists SHOULD be asking when reviewing Linux Desktop/Notebook offerings (work-in-progress):

  • Are all the PC hardware components operating correctly under Linux?
  • Does power management (i.e. Suspend, Hibernate) work as expected?
  • Does the system offer hardware components that make use of or support open source drivers?
  • Does the OEM have a support team that tests PC systems against new OS point releases and distributes updates via their repository to correct any conflicts? (I know system76 prides themselves on doing this, which is AWESOME.)

* If you don’t know what I’m talking about, pass on the review requests or send back products for God’s sake.

PART II:

[I would have rather just posted the thoughts above only, but I'm sure many of you would start asking me which points the analysts made that I found questionable.]

Alright, so lets address some of the concerns about media playback and legacy applications brought up in the linked articles.

Walt Mossberg: “My verdict: Even in the relatively slick Ubuntu variation, Linux is still too rough around the edges for the vast majority of computer users. While Ubuntu looks a lot like Windows or Mac OS X, it is full of little complications and hassles that will quickly frustrate most people who just want to use their computers, not maintain or tweak them.”

Totally untrue. Ubuntu (and most other popular distributions) comes with all the essential, best of breed applications pre-installed that will get you off and running on your first boot up. Examples: Instant Messaging (use multi-client Pidgin aka GAIM), Browsing (Firefox), Email Manager (Evolution or Thunderbird), Office Documents/Spreadsheets/Presentations (OpenOffice), Media Player (Totem). To say it’s a bit of a hassle to use an OS that your not familiar with goes without saying, really. Pick up one of the many wonderful beginner Ubuntu manuals to get you up to speed. As far as I know, there’s not a single OS that is so intuitive that a 7 or 8 year old can pick it up without asking a single question. What’s more, if you’re buying a pre-configured system from Dell, or any other OEM, there’s nothing to “tweak.” You don’t like particular a setting? Find out how to change it like you would in Windows or OS X. As for maintaining you system… if what Walt is referring to is clicking the update icon to to bring your OS and and all its installed software packages up to date for FREE, then that’s a maintenance action I’m more then happy to do.

Walt Mossberg: “When I tried to play common audio and video files, such as MP3 songs, I was told I had to first download special files called codecs that are built into Windows and Mac computers. I was warned that some of these codecs might be ‘bad’ or ‘ugly.’”

Hello. Windows and Mac PCs don’t have those codecs “built-in” to their operating systems either. They’re licensed and bundled with the OS. Ever try to play a DVD on a new Windows system that doesn’t come with a DVD player that provides a license for playback? As for Bad or Ugly, these are references to how the particular codec is licensed and the rules/restrictions for installing them. If you want to purchase codec support legally, you can buy them through Fluendo [Press Release]. I’ve suggested in the past that Dell and other OEMs should offer customers the option to buy these licenses – as a media suite – legally through their site at the time of purchase.

Rob Enderle: “With Linux, the customer often expects to get the product for free and wants the retail price of Windows deducted from his/her purchase price. There are no funds passed back to the vendor and, because Linux is different, customers tend to place more service calls — at $85 a call. As a result, the vendor generally ends up losing money on average with Linux.”

Uh, no – or at least not always. If you have a commercial version of Linux installed on your system like Novell SUSE or Red Hat Enterprise, those companies handle any software related issues. In fact, that’s how the commercial Linux vendors stay in the black. However, sometimes OEMs offer in-house support services, again for a fee if it’s software related. In the case of Ubuntu and Dell, Ubuntu’s project sponsor Canonical offers Dell customers a pay-for support service or free support through its community resources like the Ubuntu Forum and Ubuntu Documentation Wiki (both excellent, from my experience).

Michael Gartenberg: “Unfortunately, despite major strides in recent years — notably the Ubuntu release — Linux still isn’t viable for most end users or organizations. Take a look, for example, at the Dell offering. When it was first announced, I asked company officials whether it was a mainstream product with full support. No, they said. The Linux machines were meant for enthusiasts who wanted a “no Windows” option. Users would still have to pay for the operating system — about US$50 less than Windows, which was hardly a major savings — and significant features would be missing because of a lack of driver support.”

Excuse me? “User would still have to pay for the operating system.” Sounds like a misunderstanding to me. Ubuntu is free to download and distribute – it costs the company nothing to acquire it, ever.

Michael Gartenberg: “The latest and greatest hardware still arrives without Linux driver support. Until a vendor is willing to take a gamble and build fully optimized Linux systems, most IT shops simply won’t bother to make the costly transition.”

That’s odd. Just about every motherboard on the market is capable of running Linux along with graphics cards from NVIDIA, ATI and Intel which have either proprietary software drivers for Linux or free open source drivers, in the the case of Intel (same goes for their wireless chipsets). In fact, Intel has widespread support for Linux in the majority of their product lines. As for peripherals, that’s a different story. Many do work right off the shelf, but others need specialized drivers. However, there’s a new program available that will get talented Linux developers to create drivers for companies at no charge. It doesn’t get any better than that. You can read more about it here and here. There’s also a good article from Linux.com that provides links to hardware compatibility databases according to peripheral type.

Michael Gartenberg: “Finally, there’s the lack of critical application support. Most notable for businesses is the lack of support for Microsoft Office. Yes, there are office suites available for Linux, but the reality is that most organizations are dependent on Microsoft’s applications. Anything with less than 100 percent interoperability and compatibility isn’t going to make it in the business world. And does anyone believe that Microsoft will ship a Linux version of Office anytime soon? Or ever?

And it’s not just business users who are affected. Sorry, consumers, but there’s no version of iTunes for Linux.“

Oh, boo-hoo. No iTunes on Linux. You can keep that DRM-inspired mess on your Mac. Linux users don’t want it. As for opening Microsoft Office apps, OpenOffice does a fine job opening and creating Word/Excel/PowerPoint compatible documents. Personally, I prefer the Open Document Format like many other institutions are switching to. The only format that doesn’t work 100% is Microsoft’s Open XML format, but the partnership with Novell has enabled that feature as well in OpenOffice. Exchange Connector support for Microsoft Exchange Server on Evolution has been around since 2004.

And lastly, Michael Gartenberg’s plug for his favorite PC company: “For now and the foreseeable future, it’s going to remain a Microsoft world. Linux still isn’t the answer. And of course, there is always that other Unix-based operating system that has gained popularity over the past few years. It’s called Mac OS X, and it comes from Apple.”

No comment.

——————————————————————
RESOURCE – Alternative Applications (full list)
——————————————————————-
Office [Microsoft] – OpenOffice
Quicken [Intuit] – GNUCash
PhotoShop [Adobe] – GIMP
Illustrator [Adobe] – Inkscape
InDesign [Adobe] – Scribus
iPhoto [Apple] – F-Spot
iTunes [Apple] – Amarok, Banshee
Trillian – Pidgin aka GAIM
Internet Explorer [Microsoft] – Firefox
GoToMyPC – VNC
Outlook [Microsoft] – Evolution, Thunderbird
MCE [Microsoft] – MythTV, LinuxMCE

UPDATE 1: I just discovered someone else tackled some of the same issues about a year ago that’s worth linking to. The post is entitled, “Linux is NOT Windows.

UPDATE 2 (11/26/07): DesktopLinux.com – Desktop Linux on the rise, Linux Foundation reports. Excellent summary write-up of what Linux users want from their PCs and how much of its new growth is being seen in the SOHO market.





Filed in: Industry Buzz


  • ns01

    Actually, it’s you who is missing the point, and also inaccurate on several points.
    These guys are not saying that a LINUX desktop isn’t ready for LINUX enthusiasts, they are saying that it’s not ready for “joe user” who does want to be able to pick up any device and plug it in without having to wonder about drivers and the like.

    You also dismiss the issue of codec support by saying the Windows etc are no different and go on to claim that they don’t support MP3 out of the box, when in point of fact they do. Even the complaint about DVD codecs is no longer true, at least for Windows Vista which includes DVD playback in the base OS.

    Don’t get me wrong, I like LINUX, but the arguements about it’s suitability for the masses are dead on, and your defence is little more than fanboyism

  • http://www.alexandergrundner.com Alexander Grundner

    ns01 said: Actually, it’s you who is missing the point, and also inaccurate on several points.
    These guys are not saying that a LINUX desktop isn’t ready for LINUX enthusiasts, they are saying that it’s not ready for “joe user” who does want to be able to pick up any device and plug it in without having to wonder about drivers and the like.

    Well, guess what? I was “joe user” at one point too. I just found Linux fascinating and learned more about using it. Since then, my expectations of how a PC should operate have changed. As for wondering about drivers, every Mac user to this day checks to see if a new device will work on their platform.

    UPDATE: I re-read your comment and it HIT me. It’s not that Linux isn’t ready for “joe user,” it’s not ready for OS X and Windows users who want to run their proprietary technologies and services on Linux. And that’s fine by most Linux users. I always say use the best tool for the job (hence the mixed PC environment reference). However, if one becomes a Linux convert than he might, on occasion, need to exchange files — but there’s a variety applications that can read and write to those formats today.

    ns01 said: You also dismiss the issue of codec support by saying the Windows etc are no different and go on to claim that they don’t support MP3 out of the box, when in point of fact they do. Even the complaint about DVD codecs is no longer true, at least for Windows Vista which includes DVD playback in the base OS.

    Like you said it’s now included. Great, that means Microsoft decided to buy the licenses for the media codecs before hand. Smart move. Like I said earlier, Dell and other OEMs can do this as well when they ship product.

    ns01 said: Don’t get me wrong, I like LINUX, but the arguements about it’s suitability for the masses are dead on, and your defence is little more than fanboyism

    Linux isn’t for everyone. I agree. I wrote this article from the viewpoint of an actual Linux user, which I am — not someone who’s a Mac fanboy like Mossberg and Gartenberg who were given a Dell laptop with an unfamiliar OS. Seriously, how does one review a product that he has no previous experience in using? I would never review or much less write an article about FreeBSD or Solaris.

    The main point I tried to make in the article is that once you understand and enjoy how Linux works (including its limitations) that type of user wants something completely different than what he’s been getting under Windows and Mac OS X. Moreover, trying to make things like iTunes work on Linux is completely backwards to those users.

  • wleung

    Dear Mr. Grundner,

    I would like to share with you my experiences with Linux Distros, and possibly try to suggest why the analysts you have critiqued may have the opinions they have.

    I would like to try and establish my attempt at being ‘objective’ by ADMITTING that I do not know what the definition of an ‘average joe’. A lot of authors think they know average joe, or are average joe. I admit I am not. Personally, IMO anyone who can publish an online article and beat the fear of ACTUALLY INSTALLING their own operating system is not an average joe (not at the moment anyway -> wait another 10 years).

    My personal experiences -> Windows since 1994, Linux Distros since 1998, OSX since 2005. And yes I still use all three indiscriminately. I AM NOT an average joe, and about half of my friends are linux users (other half have no idea how to use anything out of windows)

    I AGREE with you in that linux IS NO HARDER TO USE THAN WINDOWS for a complete beginner. If I grew up with linux first I would have spent just as much time re-adjusting and re-optimising my work flows with windows (and whinging about the lack of application-specific drivers on windows).

    There maybe a misunderstanding with gfx hardware support. Ubuntu started only a few years ago based off Debian, and yes its getting better (not too sure about Nvidia support still -> maybe a little buggy).

    But from 1998-2003, gfx card support was under par. Actually it sucked. I had to edit x.org files to get something half working.
    ATI only open sourced their designs … was it this year or last year? New linux-distro users have to understand that some of us had to struggle through the horrible 90′s and early 00′s before distros became more ‘usable’. Some of the myths ARE out of date, and we may still have some bias as a result. This may or may not explain why some of those myths are flying around.

    Arguments about whether or not linux distros suit the masses are subjective and irrelevant. If linux was the main OS, then we would have articles as to why Windows is ready for the mass market. It’s an ego thing… I was a linux fanboy between 2001 and 2003, then I actually strangely evaluated my own productivity and realised how backwards it was for me (ONLY ME… I am not implying for others… if you are a web/server/linux software developer then YES linux COULD BE better! I am not)
    1998 -> realised how computing is different when using linux
    1999 -> became a linux fanboy
    2005 -> realised how computing is different when using osx
    2005 -> became a osx fanboy
    2006 -> realised how great windows can be when osx and linux don’t support particular applications.
    2006 -> became a windows, osx fanboy
    2007 -> became a windows,linux,osx fanboy… anything else I can bash out?

    The article suggests that you experienced osx before linux…. so give or take two years u’ll probably be where I’m at.

    MY STORY: I am still cautious of linux due to my experiences from 1998-2003. But I still use it for applications I cannot use in OSX and Windows. The Linux Distro’s and OSX’s main weaknesses at the moment is how drivers get built. Windows has a large enough consumer market that companies that make products write drivers for windows as well. It may not be profitable for them to write linux drivers. Linux Distros(maybe not anymore) used to be…. “a new product got released…. crap we have to write drivers for it” while taking tonnes of crap from impatient linux-distro fanboys complaining about why drivers for their new Logitech mouse with 100 buttons isn’t working on linux yet (:D sorry went a bit fanboyish there… but felt like a rant for rude users. I feel sorry for open source programmers sometimes).

    My point: Linux is great and ready for the mass market.
    Windows is great and controls the mass market.
    OSX is great and ready for the mass market.

    Does this mean anything…. not really…. businesses are in it to make money, not to change the world….use whatever OS you want. teach your kid whatever OS you want. DON’T INSULT OTHERS or FLAME OTHERS.

    Wilson

  • praxis22

    I was reading something similar in the NYT just yesterday:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/04/t…xprod=permalink

    Especially this comment:

    “Linux is a political idea — an idea of freedom. They don’t want to be tied to Microsoft or Apple. They want choice. To them it’s a greater cause.”

    I think this is bunk. It’s the same mistake time and time again. I’m an elder geek, I use ubuntu, and I have a second machine running Sidux (Debian Sid unstable) but I don’t use it because of freedom, I use it because it’s simply better, faster, and more secure.

    My mother uses Firefox, Thunderbird and OO on XP, it’s only XP, as at the time we gave them the laptop, they only had a USB winmodem for their DSL connection, and it was XP only. Subsequently, we’ve installed a broadband modem/router/firewall so the next time we’re there, we’ll backup their data and install ubuntu.

    All this crap about, ipod’s and DVD’s is just that, crap. Many people may have an ipod, but that’s not what holds them to Microsoft or apple. It’s simply what they’re used to. Most people do not want to change. Free is also less of an issue unless they’re buying new hardware. I think what we should be focusing on is, better, faster, more secure. Peace of mind and Beryl/Compiz will shift far more units, than “freedom” or “sticking it to the man” To the average person, Microsoft is not the antichrist, in as much as they are though of at all, they’re just a company who make annoying software people are forced to use. A PC is just a tool.

    Geek arguments will not work with ordinary users.

  • 1369ic

    …you’re talking apples and penguins here. They’re talking the average desktop user, as in enough people to allow Linux to make a serious showing in percentage of users, and thus become a legitimate desktop OS as they define it. That’s by commercial standards. You’re talking Linux users, as in people who use Linux, people who want freedom, or capability or control or whatever. At this point, that’s two different sets of users. It’s kind of like people who drive cars and people who drive a stick. Same general population — “desktop computer users” — but one is a subset of the other. So when you take apart their arguments you’re not missing the point, you’re applying, oh, let’s call it straight-ahead logic, and they’re applying commercial logic, which by comparison, could be called pretzel logic, but it’s just as legitimate as they’re using it.

    I live this difference every day, much to my disappointment. I’m a confirmed Slacker, but I can’t get my wife or daughter off Windows. My wife just doesn’t care. She wants the thing to fire up and work. She wants to use the software that came with her high-end Canon DSLR. She wants every option that our printer offers, not the options the Linux driver can offer. She wants her Sony laptop thumb reader to work, and the web cam, and the wifi…all without tweaking. I’ve had her use my system (running Gnome, XFCE, E17 and KDE at different times), and she says it’s fine, but it doesn’t offer her any reason to switch, while presenting some loss of functionality for things she does now.

    As for my daughter, she’s 5 and is perfectly fine in XFCE — until she gets to her favorite sites (which is all she goes on the computer for) and one or the other requires flash/shockwave/whatever functionality that’s not up to par in Linux. Then it’s “Daddy, I can’t play my game.” I’m just hoping Linux catches up so I can switch her to Linux before she becomes attached to Windows (or afraid to leave, more likely).

    So there’s the “I just want it to work” factor I think you’re underestimating, and there’s the codec factor I think you’re underestimating. These analysts aren’t. They may be over-estimating it — certainly in regards to people like you and me. But “bundled” equals “built-in” to my wife and daughter. I’m guessing it does to a lot of other people, too.

    I think Linux will make gains on the desktop, but it will have a hard time making the kinds of inroads the analysts are looking for — again, much to my disappointment. It may well take a Dell or HP to make up the difference as you suggest. In the meantime, the Linux cloud will advance — a guy with a perfectly fine Windows 98 machine that won’t run XP or Vista well converted here, a guy tired of virus or browser hijacking there, and so on. I’ve gotten Linux on the boxes of a half-dozen friends. Only one uses it full time (interestingly, a retired guy who had never used a computer before. I don’t think he had the expectations switchers have), but they all use it once it a while. I keep nudging them on.

    While I nitpick with your article, thanks for keeping all this on people’s minds. Some people are also converted after reading things like this and deciding to give Linux a try.

  • http://www.commanddotcom.com rockmanac

    Linux is a great OS.. I’ve used it on an off for some time now. Every time I decide I’m going to go to Linux full time I find, though, something that gets in my way. Currently, my 2 problems are…

    1. No real alternative to Quicken. Stop.. Don’t even recommend GNUCash. It’s nowhere near as, user friendly, nice looking and it cannot automatically download my bank statements.

    2. No alternative exists for GRLevel3. Of course, you’ve probably never heard of that. It’s a piece of software for downloading NWS radar in basically real-time. (I’m a storm spotter.. It’s an essential piece of software).

    So basically… Until that gets fixed, I’m stuck on XP. Oh and I tried running XP with virtualization, but it seems none of the virtualization apps for Linux support Direct X which kills the chance of running #2.

    -A

  • Dilireus

    rockmanac said: No alternative exists for GRLevel3. Of course, you’ve probably never heard of that. It’s a piece of software for downloading NWS radar in basically real-time. (I’m a storm spotter.. It’s an essential piece of software).

    I work as a contractor to NWS at the NOAA headquarters in MD and lead the software team on the AWIPS (Advanced Weather Information Processing System) project responsible for collecting and distributing those very same RADAR products from the 160+ NWS weather forecast offices (WFOs). My team is also responsible for the Satellite Broadcast Network, which is used to distribute NWS data to anyone who wants to put a dish up to collect it (like television stations, universities, etc.). All of the AWIPS hardware, including the graphical workstations used by NWS forecasters, run Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 only. Windows is not used at all in AWIPS. I run openSUSE 10.2 on my desktop at work and have no problem interacting with others who use Windows. NOAA is committed to open source where it makes sense. Anyone who claims that Linux isn’t “ready for the desktop” is really clueless.

  • http://www.billie0w.us billie0w

    Dilireus said: I work as a contractor to NWS at the NOAA headquarters in MD and lead the software team on the AWIPS (Advanced Weather Information Processing System) project responsible for collecting and distributing those very same RADAR products from the 160+ NWS weather forecast offices (WFOs). My team is also responsible for the Satellite Broadcast Network, which is used to distribute NWS data to anyone who wants to put a dish up to collect it (like television stations, universities, etc.). All of the AWIPS hardware, including the graphical workstations used by NWS forecasters, run Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 only. Windows is not used at all in AWIPS. I run openSUSE 10.2 on my desktop at work and have no problem interacting with others who use Windows. NOAA is committed to open source where it makes sense. Anyone who claims that Linux isn’t “ready for the desktop” is really clueless.

    GRLevel3 is a product we also use. I would be MOST interested in what is available for Linux that can do the same job.

  • infosec

    More ‘blanket’ comments. Research always helps. Alternatives may not be ‘exactly’ the same in functionality…but I’ve learned that most *Nix based apps actually provide many more features. Hence…you actually have to learn how it works. Most folks pay many $$$ for features in applications (Office for example) that they never use. Listings below….

    rockmanac said: Linux is a great OS.. I’ve used it on an off for some time now. Every time I decide I’m going to go to Linux full time I find, though, something that gets in my way. Currently, my 2 problems are…

    1. No real alternative to Quicken. Stop.. Don’t even recommend GNUCash. It’s nowhere near as, user friendly, nice looking and it cannot automatically download my bank statements.

    Try Moneydance. Still pay to play…but so is Quicken. It’s java based, so it will run cross platform. Many people prefer it to Quicken.
    http://www.moneydance.com/
    http://www.linux.com/feature/49400

    2. No alternative exists for GRLevel3. Of course, you’ve probably never heard of that. It’s a piece of software for downloading NWS radar in basically real-time. (I’m a storm spotter.. It’s an essential piece of software).

    NOAA has several applications listed here. Near real time usually means muticast streams…so if you’re running it on windows…there’s probably some lag time from the real feed via the application vendor (usually packaged in some manner)
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/radar/radardata.html
    http://www.nws.noaa.gov/tg/radar.html
    http://www.nws.noaa.gov/tg/rpccds.html

    Again…not familiar with NWS data…but if they’re recommending it…the features are probably comparable to what is run on your XP system. From the looks of it NOAA give this away for free.

    So basically… Until that gets fixed, I’m stuck on XP. Oh and I tried running XP with virtualization, but it seems none of the virtualization apps for Linux support Direct X which kills the chance of running #2.

    Also…try using Qemu. If the only thing above (NWS) is keeping you from running Linux, you can run XP virtualized for free on your shiny new Linux installation ;) , which will run ActiveX/DirectX natively. I do this when I need to run ‘required OS applications’ from time to time. Normally, I just try to find an alternative so I don’t have to.

    Qemu
    http://fabrice.bellard.free.fr/qemu/

    If you won’t move because things aren’t ‘exactly’ the same with what you use today…then that’s you’re decision. But it’s usually not a limitation of applications, only personal choice.

    -A

  • wolf77459

    “…long time Linux users prefer…” – precisely; but when windows users try to switch to desktop Linux that sentence doesn’t cover them, and unless you can find compelling reasons to change – such as a Joe User who finds the OS or freedom concepts particularly interesting – then they’re not going to change.

  • mathcomat

    I have used Linux on and off since 1996-1997 mostly on servers and the last few years on the desktop. I have tried Slackware, Mandrake/Mandriva, Ubuntu and PCLinuxOS. At home I dualboot Windows XP and Ubuntu and at work run PCLinuxOS. At work I don’t have any problem what so ever with any of my work tasks. If there is any Windows Apps i need to run there is a Windows 2000 Server setup with Terminalserver capability for accounting purpose.

    Now.. when it comes down to home use its a diffrent story. My wife likes to use PrintShop Deluxe 22 and ofcourse it won’t run on Linux unless you use vmware. My son who is 7 on the other hand like to play toontown, thats where all the breaks take full effect. It wont run on linux with or without vmware. Also my Canon Pixma IP1700 is not supported nativly in Linux, but i can get it working in VMware. I know there is the turboprint version that works but right now i don’t want to put out 30 dollars for a printerdriver. I know im cheap. Until toontown and Printshop runs on linux with or without 3rd party programs like Crossover or Cedega i have to run Windows on dualboot.

    Now when it comes down to support for operating system. Have anyone tried to contact Microsoft for support? $99 or more per insident. If you want free support you have to contact the OEM that preinstalled your system. But thats only until your warranty runs out.

    Linux is difficult to use… i don’t belive so. Im sure many people tried Windows Vista, and i think most people have less hair since they tried it. The frustration on how the darn thing operates makes me want to invest in stock with Rogain.

  • Dilireus

    billie0w said: GRLevel3 is a product we also use. I would be MOST interested in what is available for Linux that can do the same job.

    I’ll ask around to see if anyone knows of anything.

  • http://www.alexandergrundner.com Alexander Grundner

    wolf77459 said: “…long time Linux users prefer…” – precisely; but when windows users try to switch to desktop Linux that sentence doesn’t cover them, and unless you can find compelling reasons to change – such as a Joe User who finds the OS or freedom concepts particularly interesting – then they’re not going to change.

    You’ve hit the nail on the head. Trying to educate people on the benefits of free open source software (FOSS) is a monumental task. Guys like Richard M. Stallman, founder of GNU.org and advocate of FOSS, are slowly making a dent (and even efforts by the EFF.org, FSF.org, and DefectiveByDesign.org), but their message lots of time goes on deaf ears — sometimes due to people being close minded or them just simply being content with their current setup. Thankfully, applications like Firefox, Thunderbird, OpenOffice, Miro, Audacity whet people’s appetites for free quality software on both Windows and Mac, which then sometimes has the net effect of people questioning why they’re paying companies like Microsoft $300 for Office and $200 for Windows every few years and if there’s an alternative. But really… it’s more than just money. It’s about the freedom to really own, run, and modify your software.

    Below is a video of Richard M. Stallman speaking to the guests and students of University of San Francisco’s Computer Science Department that I recorded September 13, 2007. In summary, Stallman talks about his belief that knowledge and access to technologies and software should not be locked up by a selected few (i.e. proprietary software vendors) and that everyone should have the ability to use/share/study their software as they see fit and protect themselves from restrictive and/or malicious code (i.e. DRM hooks or surveillance).

    Granted, if you want or must use restrictive software, it’s best to stick with those platforms or technologies if you so desire. There’s nothing wrong with that per se… it’s all back to a matter of choice, right? In Stallman’s world, it’s not about the lesser of two evils… it’s about right and wrong (but to each his own).