5 More Things I Wish Linux Had And One I Wish It Didn't

khess 0 Tallied Votes 352 Views Share

After posting 5 Things I Wish Linux Had, I did some mulling and gathered comments from readers and compiled this additional list of items that I wish Linux had. I've also included one thing that I wish Linux didn't have. These are part of my 2009 Wishlist and are more focused on the future direction of Linux. Most of them will move to my 2010 Wishlist but I think they're important enough to begin work on immediately.

1. Current Software Compatibility - Many would be Linux users won't make the switch because they have made considerable investments in Windows-compatible software. Regular users don't want to reinvest in all new software if it doesn't make sense to do so. They want their current programs to work in whatever they use. Additionally, they don't want to use something like Wine to make them work or sort of work.
We need to have some true emulation, compatibility layer, or way to convert those apps for the end user--or perhaps even Linux ones that are available by trading in the Windows version.

2. A Face - Linux needs a public face. We need a Maytag Repairman, a gecko, William Shatner, or even little Tux to be our collective spokesperson for Linux. We need this kind of recognition in the public eye to associate something with Linux besides Data Centers, uber geeks, and technical obscurity.

3. Commercials - We need commercials on TV, radio, and newspaper. Windows has them, Mac has them, and so does just about every product you buy. Related to #2, we need to change the perception of Linux from this weird thing that only rocket scientists use. We need a third guy in those Mac commercials. Apple finally figured out that it's a marketing issue and not a technical one.
An animated Tux commercial spouting our cause would be perfect. Perhaps a Tux video game for the Wii or some Tux Happy Meal giveaways from McDonald's would also help raise awareness.

4. Retail Visibility - Walk into any retail store that sells software and you'll see Windows of every flavor: Vista Home, Vista Home Premium, Vista Business, Vista Enterprise--a Vista for all seasons and needs. You'll also see Mac OS X in its recognizable white box. You might see a boxed Linux version somewhere in the store--note I said "a" box. If you see Linux at all, you'll only see one. And, no, it's not because it's freely available to download. A box represents something that's real.
We also need to be able to buy systems with Linux pre-installed. How many regular users have to install Windows on their computer? Almost none. Maybe PC vendors can ask a new question when a buyer calls in: "What do you do with your Computer?" Based on the answers, the user is directed to the Operating System that best fits their needs rather than a boiler plate Windows offering.

5. A New Name - Yep. There, I said it. Linux needs a new name. Windows is something recognizable. Mac and Apple are both recognizable names. They are all easy to say and don't allow for any interpretation or mispronunciation. Linux, as a name, is a bit offputting and its pronunciation is not obvious. Those not in the know irritatingly pronounce it Lye-nux.
Let's choose something that's easy to say, spell, catchy, and recognizable. The name should not include: OS, ix, or anything computerish--think Windows, Mac, Apple, Vista, Solaris, Netware, and so on.

The one thing I wish Linux didn't have is this rancid, religious, overzealous fanboys who give Linux a bad name. If you look at the Linux thought leaders, developers, and community leaders, they don't possess the same acrid attitudes that the congregation-at-large does. Linux is an Operating System. It is not a religion. Mac people used to act like that and it's not only unbecoming but embarrassing as well.
Some of these basement dwellers feel as if it's their right to spew their expert opinions without regard for anyone else's feelings or choices. For them, Linux is the only answer and they refuse to entertain any other point of view. It's annoying so stop it.

Feel free to leave me your feedback--after all it is your feedback that prompted this post.

Dmlang1985 0 Newbie Poster

Very well done and straight to the point. I have always said if the programs I have for windows would work on Linux I wouldn't even bother with windows.

Also, yes these Linux "cultists" or "basement dwellers" as you so fondly referred to them as often scare off those who would might otherwise be open to trying Linux. These type of people are usually have very abrasive personalities, and often "don't play well with others."

This was a good read keep up the blog entries like these, and maybe someone or group of people will take up the cause to make a Linux flavor that will surpass the popularity of it's competitors.

dankegel 0 Newbie Poster

Re point 1: I think Wine *is* the compatibility layer you're after. You just don't recognize it because it's not finished yet.

At some point, Wine will improve to the point where you can run your favorite apps in it flawlessly.

Which apps would it have to run to make you personally happy?

khess 95 Practically a Master Poster

Well Wine version 1.0 is out. It's been 10 years in beta. I don't particularly need anything to run in Wine but there are other people who would like their games, Quickbooks, and other stuff to run on whatever they have.

I wrote an article on Wine at linux-mag.com.

jeffritter955 0 Newbie Poster

As some one that has been watching linux and dabbling in it a bit I can vouch for the "fanboys" being a turn off. The biggest reason I am still just sitting with my legs in the water rather than swimming in the pool is because of the "basement dwellers". I am dual-booting an older desktop with Ubuntu and XP, and I use a lot of live CD's but have not attempted a dual-boot on the laptop yet. Good list of things needed.

For the videos, go to youtube and look up novell linux vs mac vs pc. They have put out some high quality vids that should be on the television. There are also a couple of vids by turenuff that do not make linux itself look good, but they do make fun of the basement dwelling zealots and are good for a laugh. Unless you are a basement dwelling zealot that is.

robsku 0 Newbie Poster

I have to say that I can only really agree with what you dont want... And I know that it's already been said, but WINE is the compatibility layer that you want, it just has to be finished and polished enough first (and no new project could get where it is and past it in time so there is no point nor need for new project).

Thinka 40 Posting Whiz Team Colleague

A pretty good list, definitely something to think about (as someone who, like jeffritter aptly put it "only sits with their legs in the water"). And I agree with you on most of the points. You're spot on, when Apple realised it was about marketing, a new "MacWorld" was born.

In the UK you can get laptops with Linux OSes pre-installed, but oddly enough they are always Netbooks (with a screen size of not more than 10.9"). How depressing for a Linux-lover that must be! I know I was looking for a cheap laptop and did want to get a Linux one, but because of the screen size I went for an XP one instead. Which seems insane, seeing as Ubuntu is the one that's free, with free applications too.

All-in-all, I think the Linux "fanboys" and "basement dwellers" should read this, take it to the next general meeting, and start doing something about it. Just don't shout at us please when we ask why we need a root password that's different from a user account password :-p.

trombonechamp 0 Newbie Poster

1. Current software compatibility. Hmmm... what exactly does this mean, and how far should we go? Does this mean someone should be able to just swap out the underlying system with all the programs working exactly the same way, just so some newbie doesn't have to take 10 minutes of their life to figure out the differences between the product they used on Windows and the FOSS on their new system? Does this mean that a large group of people should work their butts off just to try to copy Microsoft? What next, will we have to make everything look and work exactly like Windows? If this is really what you want, we have ReactOS...
2. We have Tux you know. I know most people who see Tux and associate him with the OS one time will never fail to do so in the future.
3. Would you rather spend money on TV or radio commercials asking "Joe the Plumber" to reformat his hard drive and change operating systems, or would you rather spend that money on improving the software that you and other users use on a daily basis?
4. Ubuntu, SuSE, Linspire, etc. are sold in stores already. Dell is selling it preinstalled, and you can't question the popularity of the Eee PC.
5. Guess what, the "new name" exists. It has existed for a long time. Heck, it is older than the name "Linux". It is called "GNU/Linux".
Regarding the "Antifeature" - You say you don't like the extremists, but in reality, these are the people who actually do the programming and provide the leadership that is necessary in the FOSS community. I have a hunch you are talking about Stallman in particular. Without Stallman, you would be using Windows or BSD. If nobody thought the OS was the greatest thing in the world, nobody would actually feel passionate enough to devote their lives to programming, improving, and "preaching" it.

AceofSpades19 51 Junior Poster in Training

Every OS has its set of over zealous fanboys, Windows, MacOSX, *BSD, Solaris etc. Its something that most people would want taken away from every os.

tracyanne 0 Newbie Poster

quote::I have always said if the programs I have for windows would work on Linux I wouldn't even bother with windows.

But that is the point, they are deliberately intended, by the companies that sell them, not to run on Linux.

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