The Future of Linux Pt 3 [Guest Post]

Continuing a series of guest posts sparked by a discussion over at the Hampshire Linux User Group. This turned out to be the best argued thread that we've had in some time, and worth wider reading. Here is Lisi's response to Ally Biggs question.

Do you guys ever think there will be a day that Linux will be as popular as Windows in the desktop market?

It will take a long while in the consumerist "west", but the developing
countries are starting to use it.  (Brazil, China, India to name but a few -
but a few who comprise a large percentage of the world population.

Why don't the developers standardise a distribution for the home user i.e same package manager and packages?

Because it is free as in libre?  If I don't want to use Ubuntu (and I don't) I can just use something else.  Package managers are not all identical as you own.  But how will you standardise when things are free?  Vic would probably take up arms to support the rpm system, as I would the apt.  The important point is that we have the choice.

There are several good GUI installers, and the **** hits the fan rather rarely.  There is a myth around that Linux drivers are impossible to find/load, but Windows ones are easy.  Last time i installed Windows XP (I lead a life that is blessedly free of Microsoft) I had to find, download and burn practically every driver separately.  It was a nightmare.  I have had the odd problem with Linux, but nothing like that.  Life is slightly more onerous since my chosen distro Debian decided that the installer had to be entirely free in both senses of the word, but there are still easy solutions.

In my experience, no-one expects anyone to know anything.  They may make incorrect assumptions, but mostly list members are extremely helpful.  You do get the occasional dismissive idiot, but they are not the norm and I haven't noticed that attitude on this list for some time.

Say what you have done to help yourself, and say that you would need help with any suggestion that needs the command line, and you will get a lot of help.  Older people may forget that you have probably had very little experience of the command line.  Those of us who are longest in the tooth had been using computers for some time before the GUI was invented.

I reckon that if I can switch to Linux, anybody can.  There is a *very* easy book in the LUG library, I can't remember the name.  When you want to know what something is, look it up in a very easy book.  That will not give you the answer, but it will give you enough understanding to be able to look it up in something more informative.

I made the transition from Windows with an enormous sigh of relief.  No-one who has not had to live with Windows 95 can understand the true benefit of Linux.  My husband tells people:  "When she used Windows she was always getting angry with the computer.  Now she is using Linux she has to find
something else to get angry about."

So how did you guys learn Linux?

Took the plunge and leant heavily on HantsLUG.  I found that they were endlessly patient and were prepared to say things in words of one syllable, and, if necessary, several times.  I'm a slow learner compared with many on this list, so I must frequently have driven them mad. Lisi