Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Linux User-Friendliness

Filed under
Linux

A reader asks: Why is Linux still not as user friendly as the two other main OSes with all the people developing for Linux? Is it because it is mainly developed by geeks? My initial feeling when reading this question was that it was kind of a throwaway, kind of a slam in disguise as a genuine question. But the more I thought about it, the more intrigued I felt. There truly are a large amount of resources being dedicated to the development of Linux and its operating system halo (DEs, drivers, apps, etc). Some of these resources are from large companies (IBM, Red Hat, Novell). Why isn't Linux more user-friendly? Is this an inherent limitation with open source software?

I won't pretend to give an authoritative answer to this question. All I hope to do with this article is posit a few possibilities and open the topic for discussion. First I think we should try to clarify the question by defining user-friendliness. ;Often, user-friendliness is conflated with beginner-friendliness, and this is a grave error. Just because the use of an object isn't immediately obvious to a new user doesn't mean that it's not well-designed or even that it's not easy-to-use. I have a nail pulling tool that's unquestionably the most effective nail-puller you can buy. But whenever I hand it to someone, even an experienced carpenter, who's never used one, they give me a blank look, and it usually takes five minutes or so to figure out how it works. They make nail pullers that are much easier to understand, but they don't work as well. They take longer and damage the wood more. But the thing about the slide-action pullers that I like is that even though they take a few minutes to learn, once you know the trick, they save you several minutes with each nail. Over a lifetime, a tool like this might save a professional carpenter several entire workdays. You could say the same for computer users.

rest here




More in Tux Machines

Digia spins off Qt as subsidiar

Digia has spun off a subsidiary called “The Qt Company” to unify Qt’s commercial and open source efforts, and debuted a low-cost plan for mobile developers. The Linux-oriented Qt cross-platform development framework has had a tumultuous career, having been passed around Scandinavia over the yearsfrom Trolltech to Nokia and then from Nokia to Digia. Yet, Qt keeps rolling along in both commercial and open source community versions, continually adding support for new platforms and technologies, and gaining extensive support from mobile developers. Read more

Qubes: The Open Source OS Built for Security

No matter how good the code review process is, or how high the standards for acceptance, applications will always have bugs, says Joanna Rutkowska, founder and CEO of Invisible Things Lab. So will drivers. And filesystems. “Nobody, not even Google Security Team, can find and patch all those bugs in all the desktop apps we all use,” Rutkowska says in the Q&A interview, below. Read more

KDE Developer Says Community Managers Are a Fraud and a Farce

KDE developer Aaron Seigo is a very outspoken person and he is known for his strong opinions. He recently proposed for public debate a very heated and interesting subject about the role of the community managers for the open source project. He thinks that the community managers' role, as they are working today on various projects, is actually a fraud and a farce. It's unclear what determined him to make this statement, but he knew right from the start that it was going to rile up the community and various community managers. Read more

RadeonSI Gallium3D vs. Catalyst At 4K UHD On Linux

The open-source driver stack tested was with the Linux 3.17 Git kernel while using the Oibaf PPA to upgrade to Mesa 10.4-devel for the latest RadeonSI and LLVM AMD GPU code. The closed-source driver was the fglrx 14.20.7 / OpenGL 4.4.12968 Catalyst release. When running the Catalyst binary blob we had to downgrade from Linux 3.17 to Linux 3.16 for kernel compatibility. All tests were done from the Intel Core i7 5960X system running Ubuntu 14.10. Read more