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What Linux users really want

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My Linux system-building skills are non-existent, I don't understand free software or where to look for it, and my mother is ugly and stupid. Okay, I made the last one up. But it typifies the kind of ad hominem attacks my last column on Linux usability prompted.

Plenty of people accused me of being a Microsoft-loving troll -- the classical reaction of Linux ideologues who perceive their sacred penguins to be under attack.

A couple of weeks ago, I suggested that Linux application developers have lower standards for user interface quality than developers on other platforms -- hardly a controversial assertion, I thought.

I arbitrarily used network music players as an example, but most any other application type would do as well.

Many Linux "zealots," if you will (being an obvious example myself, I'm hoping to use the term without political fall-out) seem anxious for Linux to take over every computer in the land. At the same time, as feedback to my recent article shows, many think Linux is perfect already. Criticism is not allowed. Believing that Linux is perfect today, and also expecting it to take over the world seems like an untenable position to me, and one that, frankly, suggests a deep sense of isolation.

It's time to be honest with ourselves.

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