The future: Linux as against proprietary OS's

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by mac'in'toss'ed, Feb 17, 2009.

  1. mac'in'toss'ed macrumors member

    Jan 27, 2008
    Hi all!

    I was just wondering what is the future of different OSs for a common computer user. Is there going to be a shift towards Linux which is slowly gathering a huge developer base???... and thus a huge potential for compute solutions? A new (2days ago:)) starter to starting to learn Linux (though i donot even know any language/os) i find that a lot of stuff is now available for linux. Though still not as slick as Leopard ;) in the user interface and use, but it is really interesting to see the simltaneous development of the free source distributions. I think with time, these distributions will give the proprietary sofware companies a run "with" their money and close their shops...
    Does that make sense????

  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    The winds of change are definitely starting to shift towards Linux as a mainstream platform. Sooner or later it'll get to the point where companies realize that they're going to have to play ball with open source software and eventually industry standard hardware. In 10 years companies like Apple won't be able to pull this "mini display port" BS (which is really just what they've been doing for years- mating their proprietary hardware with their proprietary software).
  3. pilotError macrumors 68020


    Apr 12, 2006
    Long Island
    It's hard to predict these things. Linux has been proposed many times as an alternative to Windows. The Data Center has largely moved to Linux at least in the Financial Arena, but I still don't see it on the desktop anytime soon.

    The big problem that I see is there isn't any real packaged set of applications. You don't typically walk into Wallmart or Costco and see a Linux application section. It's great that there's a good number of applications for free and they are well supported by the community, but mindshare wins in software.

    People have heard of Linux and are afraid it's hard to use or different from Windows (that comfort zone), but it really is a lot for most people to download the OS, burn the CD/DVD, find the drivers for their computer (Most non-techies don't even know what they are) and install them. Linux has really attacked those areas in the past few years, but it's still a challenge most people would not bother with.

    A good example is the App store for the iPhone / iPod Touch. The apps that are listed in the top 10 downloads have a huge advantage because you don't have to do much work to find them. Being in the top 10 opens up access to folks who didn't know such an application existed or an app that they didn't know they needed, but now that they know it's there, they'll give it a try.

    Apple who actually has had their act together for quite a long time (well sort of), is only now making inroads into consumer acceptance. For years people were scared into thinking if it didn't run office, I don't want it. The switch to Intel allowed them to try it and if it doesn't work out, they'll install Windows on it. That's a huge psychological advantage. If they were still running Power PC chips, I don't think you would see the growth your seeing now.

    I actually think Apples entry into the home on a large scale is a big plus for Linux. If it works out, people would be less hesitant to try new things.

    Personally I wanted something different. I really got tired of having to be a technician just to use the computer. Since switching to Mac, even my kids won't touch windows. My parents in their 70's want to know how come Windows isn't this easy (I had them switch 2 years ago).

    Until Linux gets a big push by someone that puts it on TV and commits to getting it into the public's head, you probably won't see widespread adoption anytime soon.

    I think things like the Eee PC and all the other netbooks are starting to garner Linux acceptance because its easy. It's already installed, has big giant icons that people understand and it's usable.
  4. talkingfuture macrumors 65816


    Dec 4, 2008
    The back of beyond.
    People like me still see it as a geeky specialty. My assumption is that it isn't suitable for the average user without technical knowledge of linux. The increase of Netbooks with it installed will help to spread it. I may have a play with a low cost Linux netbook to see what all the fuss is about. My biggest worry with things like this is that they don't "just work" like OSX or sometimes Windows does.
  5. Theophany macrumors 6502a


    Nov 16, 2008
    NW London.
    I'm writing this from an Asus Eee PC 901 running Ubuntu Linux. It's easy as hell to get to grips with (unlike, say, Gentoo's installer or OpenBSD) but you do notice it's a freebie. I miss the attention to detail in the graphical quality of the UI, I do notice how despite KDE and GNOME's best efforts, there is a lack of 'cohesion' between individual app's interfaces.

    Linux is great for what it is. A low-cost, lightweight OS that will easily do the job (and often a lot faster than OS X or Windows). The programs written for *nix are extremely well-written, on the whole, and what's more, they're free.

    All of that being said, if OS X ran well on the Eee PC I'd install it in a heartbeat. Why? Because it's much more polished and a lot more welcoming to your average user. I don't need to know terminal commands, arguments and strings to run tasks quickly and easily in OS X, it comes with a nifty app called 'Automator' that works brilliantly and is very intuitive. I can and on occasion do use the terminal in OS X, but rarely so. Linux is much more terminal-centric as an OS. Less-so with fuzzy-cuddly distros like Ubuntu and Mandriva, but there is still a strong terminal element.

    That's not to say the Terminal is not a massively powerful and useful tool, but most people don't give a **** about it and will immediately be put off from using it unless they know what they're doing or theyh just want to play around.

    It'll always be difficult to track Linux's market share. This is because there are so many variants of it using the same kernel, but also because it is (broadly speaking) not a retail OS (it is under the GNU public license, say 'Stallman' three times in front of a mirror, but there are many companies that retail their distros such as SuSE and Mandriva) and thus sales figures are largely non-existent. More to the point, Linux is so much more involved than other OS' out there. Microsoft and Apple have been pushing towards OS simplicity, intuitiveness and ease-of-use out-of-the-box since their inception, Linux has always seemed to be the polar opposite of that mantra, even when distros like Ubuntu are designed mainly for the market of cheap computer-illiterate users they retain a great deal of their bearded, socks-and-sandals heritage, and as such will always have a smaller user base.

    Besides which, Linux is only on netbooks to keep overheads down on the units. Much cheaper to license Linux en masse than it is to license Windows and to pay for those silly little 'Designed for Windows...' stickers.
  6. Cromulent macrumors 603


    Oct 2, 2006
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    The major problem for Linux is actually its greatest strength. The developer community that is behind it.

    The problem is that the developers are pretty much jerks most of the time expecting users to fix their own problems. Until the open source community moves to a more customer orientated approach with software which is easy to use and they are prepared to hold the hands of those who need help then it will never reach the level of Windows and Mac OS X.

    I know they work for free and they can do what they want. But if they ever want to see Linux as a mainstream OS they need to drop the attitude and take on a more professional approach, which (to a certain extent) means dumbing things down.
  7. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
  8. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5


    Jun 6, 2003
    Solon, OH
    I love Linux, and think Ubuntu in particular has made huge leaps forward in usability (along with its derivatives Kubuntu and Xubuntu). However, it still has a long way to go.

    I totally agree with the developer community comment - I have experienced this myself, trying to compile programs from source and running into all kinds of problems. Fortunately, my most recent bout with this was just dependency issues, and wasn't buggy code...

    Package managers are wonderful things. I sometimes wish Windows and Mac OS X had something similar. They're not perfect though - for example, it's not at all uncommon for there to be a delay between the release of an application update and the corresponding package in the package manager. In most cases this takes a few days, but there have been cases where updates fail to show up for weeks, months, or even years. :eek:
  9. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    Linux is forever on the verge of going mainstream. It's been on that verge for so long, I think it's probably time for even its most fervent supporters to admit that it's not going to be a proprietary OS killer. Proprietary software has the advantage of having one company behind it, deciding on what direction it will take, and actively marketing it. Open Source has the advantage of developing "organically" and of being free, but it turns out that this is not enough to overwhelm the coordinated development and marketing advantages of commercial software.
  10. chagla macrumors 6502a


    Mar 21, 2008
    this year surley will be the "year of linux".:rolleyes:
  11. chewietobbacca macrumors 6502

    Jun 18, 2007
    That and the support behind it. Apple and MS all have extensive support databases and what not behind it that developers, hardware developers, etc. like. And then you factor in consumers wanting support and business users definitely needing support and its why linux has never crossed over
  12. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    Companies such as Red Hat were supposed to fix that problem, but then you have to pay.
  13. KingYaba macrumors 68040


    Aug 7, 2005
    Up the irons
  14. ceezy3000 macrumors 6502


    Jan 10, 2009
    The Valley!!
    i also want to believe but it just wont happen. there was a study done on net traffic or something)i was reading it on computer world) there are more hackintosh users than open source linux users. linux users barely amount to 1% or less of the worlds jcomputer users. that means more people use psystar, frankemacs, osx86, than linux, what a shame
  15. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    The nice thing about that poster is you can keep using it year, after year, after year.
  16. MacsRgr8 macrumors 604


    Sep 8, 2002
    The Netherlands
    IMHO if Linux and Open Source really are expected to rule the world, they should have done so already.
    For the most part after Y2K, Linux geeks have been telling us that Linux will be this and that, the future, etc.

    The problem is support. If you don't pay for software, you won't be paying for support. One can argue that support nowadays isn't top notch anyway, but at least you have a place to complain and expect response.
    It's great for über savvy users, geeks, server administrators etc. because they know their way around an OS, want to use Google and dig through threads to get help how to install a printer driver.
    But for most people, a computer should be used as the TV. Get some simple instructions how to set it up, and then use it. If it doesn't work call the repair man.

    It is the freedom of choice to use Open Source, or paid software that makes it great now. Don't force one or the other... ever.
  17. followme macrumors regular


    Feb 16, 2009
    In order for Linux to really take a serious foothold in the home computer market, they'll need to do two things:

    1) Get unified. There needs to a simple, singular standard by which all Linux distribution users can feel they are using the "same OS." Whether by using the same distro, or by having all distros extremely compatible.

    2) Make the user experience more accessible for non-techies. Linux, in all its current distros, just isn't the kind of OS you'd want to talk your grandmother through over the phone. Too much reliance on the command-line, as well as many unnecessarily complicated hardware/software installation procedures.

    Ubuntu made a serious and good effort, but again, unless others jump on board, they fail at #1, and #2 is still quite a ways off.

    While many Mac users think of themselves as the underdog, Linux is the underdog of underdogs. For this, the userbase has become extremely loyal to their OS, and are often extremely defensive of it. This defensive behavior has made making suggestions difficult at times.

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