Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

An Open Letter To Linux Developers

Filed under
Linux

Submitted by helios17 on Wed, 04/27/2005 - 23:00.

First things first. I don't know perl from python. I keep a cheat sheet taped to the side of my monitor with the simplest shell commands. I am not a Linux Expert...I am a Linux Consumer. Having come to the world of Linux rather abruptly, actually as a matter of survival, I did not have the luxury of time. A nasty variant of bagle destroyed my network and shoddy backup practices almost took me into bankruptcy. So here I am, a tad over a year of Linux experience and some deep concerns. You see, I know some of you. Two of you talked with me at that little sidewalk coffee cafe' in Seattle. I know some of your frustrations and worries. I know how little recognition you receive for your work, and I agree, that stinks. I also know what is needed “out here”, and that is what I want to talk to you about.

I know a better alternative when I see one and I see one in Linux. I personally hold no grudge against Microsoft, I simply believe that Linux could be a superior product. From a consumer's point of view, we are not far from that status. I say “we”, and some of you may ask yourself “so what do you contribute?” Money. I donate money to my distro development teams and software authors, that's what I contribute. I have also taken on the task of Linux Ambassador. In my business, I have the opportunity to hand out self-burned live-cds and I do so to the tune of about 15 a week. I also volunteer my time in helping my customers install and set up their systems and I do so without charge. Now here is what We need from you.

I will begin by operating under the common assumption that Microsoft XP has set the standard. Now a month ago, I would begin this by asking for point and click installation of software. I have since changed my mind on this. Double-click software installation is part of the problem in Windows. Under certain circumstances it will let you proceed with a software installation without telling you that it is going to ruin your system. A centralized software center such as Synaptic is good. Microsoft assumes that their customers are ill-informed and lazy, they may be correct in some aspects of that assumption. There is nothing wrong with asking the computer user to take a bit of responsibility for their actions, as long as it only goes so far.

Give us a desktop search tool as functional as Yahoo desktop Search. OS X will feature “spotlight” which does an amazing job of interior search. Now I have read and studied tools for Linux such as “kat” and “beagle” and they seem to be heading in the right direction. Unfortunately, with such distribution fragmentation these tools, even when fully developed, will not be universally available to all Linux users. Such a tool needs to be uniformly developed for us. Yahoo is talking about making their Yahoo Desktop Search available for Linux in the near future. It is a shame that an outside entity would beat our own developers to that punch, however; we'll take what we can get at this point.

Please for the Love Of All Who Use Linux...develop for us a comparable program to Intuit Quicken/Quickbooks. I can honestly name 40 people who would drop their Microsoft operating system tomorrow if you could provide such a tool. My company personally runs QuickBooks via Crossover Office and it works fairly well, but some function and form is crippled. Trust me, there is nothing on the market for Linux, neither open source or proprietary that can rival Intuit's software and that is holding us back.

Reduce the user's dependency upon the command line. It scares most potential converts away. Now I mentioned the two gentlemen I spoke with for hours in Seattle. While I promised I would not divulge their identities, I will talk about some of the things we discussed. Both of these guys were guru's and volunteered their spare time to a particularly well known Linux project. I sat in awe of these people for they have provided us with an undeniably important part of Linux, but one thing disturbed me, and still does. There seems to be no concern for The New User. Both guys seemed to be more concerned with recognition from their peers than they were with innovating the product. The consensus was “learn the shell or leave.” Here is the news flash...people are leaving. I personally have found the command line useful and even fun at times, but my Mom or my Sister do not. Write Linux software for our Moms and Sisters. I challenge you to sit a New User down and have them open image magick...yeah, see? Where is it in the menu? How can my Sister find it? That's a damn shame.

I cannot conclude my letter to you without pointing out the “right” things that have been done in Linux and I am gonna name names. Let's start with Texstar and Tom Kelly...jrangels, teacher, Ivan, Sal, Yama, thedarb, johncoom...I'm leaving lots of people out but not on purpose. This is the DevTeam and support team for PCLinuxOS, and guys, they are working to get it right but they need your help. This distribution has pre-configured video cards, pre-configured streaming...for most of us it works fresh out of the chute. I have no doubt that this effort will be named Linux Distribution of 2005 but only because these folks work so hard. Now I know you do too, and most of us will never know your names. I want to personally thank you for your selfless efforts and hard work. You have brought us so far. You have forgotten more about Linux than I will ever know, and for that I salute you. I also ask you look beyond the here-and-now. Your work can be legendary if only a few things are improved. We are waiting...and hoping.

Sincerely

Ken Starks (aka helios)
Austin, TX

Author bio: Ken owns and operates a pressure washing business in Austin TX with his wife Debbie. Ken haunts the PCLinuxOS forums and is active in spreading the word about gnu/Linux. Oh and let's just try to guess his hobby.

Unless otherwise stated, Ken's work is written and published under the DWIAYP license. As long as you do not blatantly plagiarize him, you may Do With It As You Please.

re: Great,Great Commentary

> nice site too.

Oh wow, thanks for saying. I appreciate that. Smile

-srlinuxx

----
You talk the talk, but do you waddle the waddle?

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

More in Tux Machines

The Machine with Open Source Carbon OS is the Next Big Thing – if HP can deliver

HP has recently been facing some serious difficulties and has opted to betting all its resources on the new PC called ‘The Machine’. Probably the most intriguing thing about the machine is that it will rewrite basic computing on a very fundamental level. While the topic has been covered extensively, I realized we haven’t actually touched it here and thought it was about time. Read more

YEAR of the PENGUIN: A Linux mobile in 2015?

It's nearly impossible to sum up an entire year of developments in something as large and nebulous as the world of desktop Linux, especially in a year like this one which has seen some the best releases that projects like Mint, Fedora and openSUSE have put out to date. At the same time the distro that's closest to being a household name, Ubuntu, has been nearly silent since 14.04 arrived in April. To paraphrase author Charles Dickens, the past year of Linux releases has been both the best of times and the worst of times. At the very moment that Linux desktops seem to be reaching new levels of sophistication, polish and "just works" ease-of-use, the entire future of the desktop computer (by which I also mean laptop) feels in doubt. Read more

Jolla's Sailfish OS Update 10 Is Now Available

The tenth update to Jolla's Sailfish mobile operating system is now available. This update is version 1.1.1.26 and is codenamed Vaarainjärvi. Read more

Forget Google's robot cars, now it's on to ANDROID cars

Google is planning a big push into in-car infotainment systems with an upcoming version of Android, sources claim. "Android M" – the version to come after the current Android 5.0 "Lollipop" – will be available in a formulation designed specifically to run cars' built-in screens, Reuters reports, citing anonymous insiders with knowledge of the plan. Google made its first advances toward the automotive world at its I/O developer conference earlier this year, when it unveiled its Android Auto software. The first Android Auto–compatible cars are expected to arrive early next year. Read more