Pinterest Stumbleupon Whatsapp
Ads by Google

According to data analytics company Net Market Share, Linux desktop usage has reached 2%. This is a first time achievement for the open source operating system.

This number does not count Android as Linux. That suggests that more users are flocking to the traditional Linux desktop (or that a lower percentage are using others).

LinuxReplaceWindows-Marketshare

Does this mean Linux has reached a point where it can replace Windows and Mac OS X for the average user?

As a native Windows user who switched to Linux several years ago, I’d say the answer is yes! Let me tell you why.

1. Linux is Easy

There’s this misconception that Linux is difficult to use 7 Linux Misconceptions Debunked 7 Linux Misconceptions Debunked Not that many people use Linux. True or false? Let's face it, there are so many misconceptions about Linux, it's time to start addressing them. Let's debunk a few, one by one. Read More . People assume that it’s only for developers, and that people have to use the command line. Not so. Linux is different, but these days you can get by without knowing what a terminal even is.

Ads by Google

LinuxReplaceWindows-Unity

Most distros come with enough apps to cover the essentials. In some cases, they do a better job than the competition. I find it easier to edit documents, scan files, read PDFs, and edit images out of the box with a Linux computer than Windows. You can do a new or non-technical computer user a favor by starting them off with Linux 6 Ways Linux Is More Welcoming Than Windows for Newcomers 6 Ways Linux Is More Welcoming Than Windows for Newcomers If you recently installed Windows 10, you may have experienced a rather cold piece of automation. Contrast this with installing Linux, which is warm and informative - just two of many reasons to choose Linux... Read More .

2. The Desktop is Polished

Not just polished. Innovative! Beautiful!! Linux desktop environments have reached a point where they are comparable to their commercial counterparts. Not only that. In some ways, they’re more innovative.

Ubuntu has created Unity, which places familiar app icons in a launcher on the side of the screen. Its HUD lets you do most things via keyboard shortcuts 4 Things You'll Love About Ubuntu 12.04 4 Things You'll Love About Ubuntu 12.04 The new version of Ubuntu–12.04, codename "Precise Pangolin"– is officially here. 12.04 improves on Unity's strengths, and addresses some of your old complaints. It's fast, includes new features desktop users will love, and, as always,... Read More .  GNOME has spent the past few years turning a traditional desktop into an interface unlike any other 5 Surprising Reasons Behind The GNOME Resurgence 5 Surprising Reasons Behind The GNOME Resurgence Today, GNOME 3 is finally regaining users, and there are less people who go online to voice their hatred for the desktop environment. What happened to make GNOME slowly come back? Read More . Then there’s Elementary OS, whose developers put more emphasis on polish than the Linux desktop usually gets Looking For A Beautiful, Easy To Use Linux Distro? Try Elementary OS Luna Looking For A Beautiful, Easy To Use Linux Distro? Try Elementary OS Luna Elementary OS Luna is a lot more than Ubuntu with some tweaks and a nice theme. Here's what to expect. Read More .

3. You Can Do Anything from a Browser

Many of us spend most of our computer time inside a browser. Web apps make it possible to watch video, edit documents, and file your taxes. At this point, millions of people can get by using only a browser. The success of Chromebooks bears this out.

By extension, this increases what you can do from a Linux desktop. Users can now watch Netflix easily Watch Netflix on Linux with These 4 Tricks Watch Netflix on Linux with These 4 Tricks You've just installed Linux on your PC or laptop, and have added all of the productivity software you need. But now it's time to relax, how can you watch Netflix? Read More . Microsoft Office is available online. Plus there’s Google Docs, Pixlr, and all the apps in the Chrome Web Store.

LinuxReplaceWindows-Chrome-Web-Store

Thanks to the success of the web, it almost doesn’t even matter what software is available for Linux, as long as you can get online.

4. More Software is Available

Switching to Linux used to mean giving up the apps you know. While you still have to forego some, the number is steadily shrinking. You can use Google Chrome to browse the web and download games with Steam How to Install Steam and Start Gaming on Linux How to Install Steam and Start Gaming on Linux Installing Steam on Linux computers is straightforward, and the result is usually the same seamless gaming experience you had on Windows. Read More . Open source applications such as Firefox, Thunderbird, LibreOffice Is LibreOffice Worthy of the Office Crown? Is LibreOffice Worthy of the Office Crown? LibreOffice is the king of free office suites. It's unlikely to replace Microsoft Office in a business environment, but it's an excellent alternative for casual users. Here's what's new in LibreOffice 5.1. Read More , GIMP, Atom, VLC, and InkScape have grown so popular that you probably already use them on Windows, and all also run on Linux.

LinuxReplaceWindows-GNOME-Software

New apps are easier to grab. Ubuntu PPAs provide software that isn’t available in the Software Center. New formats such as AppImages, Snaps, and Flakpaks let you install an app regardless of your distribution How Ubuntu 16.04's New Package Format Makes Installing Software A Snap How Ubuntu 16.04's New Package Format Makes Installing Software A Snap In version 16.04, Ubuntu is hoping to strike a balance between having stability and staying up-to-date, with a new way to install apps. Let's find out how "snaps" work. Read More . This makes life easier for users and developers.

5. The Games Are Coming

Gaming is a big reason many Windows users haven’t switched to Linux. While the number of games coming out for Windows remains much higher, Linux has come a long way. These days there is plenty to keep a gamer happy.

Much of this is due to the success of the Humble Indie Bundle, which led to many games running natively on Linux. If you enjoy indie games, this is an area where Linux is strong.

Steam has brought more AAA titles to the platform 10+ Windows Games You Could Be Playing on Linux with Steam 10+ Windows Games You Could Be Playing on Linux with Steam If you've been holding onto Windows simply to play your favorite games, let go. Installing SteamOS is now a viable option and the following collection of titles illustrate just what the situation is in 2016. Read More . Linux may not get every major release, but it’s snagging enough titles to provide countless hours of entertainment. And that’s before we dive into the many ways to play old Windows and DOS games 7 Ways to Play Old Windows & DOS Games on Linux 7 Ways to Play Old Windows & DOS Games on Linux Gaming on Linux is on the rise, but if you don't want to turn your PC into a game server then the answer is with old games, retro classics from the Windows platform. Read More .

The experience isn’t what you would get on Windows, but you aren’t left with only Tux Kart and countless Quake 3-style shooters either.

6. Linux Is Dependable

Remember Windows 7? It was a solid release that won praise unheard since the days of XP. Then Windows 8 came and provided a radically different experience The Windows 8 Guide The Windows 8 Guide This Windows 8 guide outlines everything new about Windows 8, from the tablet-like start screen to the new "app" concept to the familiar desktop mode. Read More . Squares were everywhere.

Windows 10 was next in line, and sits somewhere between Windows 7 and 8 in terms of look and feel.

What should we expect from the future? It’s anyone’s guess.

As for Linux, you can count on the same experience being available years from now. Even when GNOME underwent a major change several years ago, the Mate project was born, keeping the old GNOME feel alive A Review Of MATE - Is It A True Gnome 2 Replica? [Linux] A Review Of MATE - Is It A True Gnome 2 Replica? [Linux] The world of Linux desktop environments has dramatically changed since then. Gnome 3 was born, Gnome 2 was essentially thrown to the side, Gnome 3 was forked to create Cinnamon, and so on. However, Gnome... Read More .

Open source applications don’t change all that often, so AbiWord today isn’t all that different from what it was a decade ago. The same is true of GIMP. New features come, but the workflow remains the same.

Plus the OS can run on the same PC for ages without slowing down Why Upgrading from Windows XP to Linux is Easier than You Think Why Upgrading from Windows XP to Linux is Easier than You Think An ideal way to give Linux a try if you're completely new to it and unwilling to invest in new hardware, is to test it out using some PCs. But how easy is it? Read More . If you want your computer to be a reliable workhorse, Linux is the way to go.

Is Linux Perfect?

Hardly. Many Windows apps from a decade ago can still launch on modern PCs. Meanwhile, Linux software can stop working after an OS update every six months. And it may never even work at all on another distro. Developing for Linux can be a headache, and that’s frustrating for users. New package formats may fix this, but for now, that remains a future possibility.

Using Linux requires more research. Since you can’t go to the local big box store for support, and your family’s other computer whizzes may only know Windows, you may find yourself on your own. Windows is more popular, and while that isn’t a fault of Linux, it does have an effect on your overall experience.

But Chromebooks are showing that neither of these issues are dealbreakers. These Linux-powered machines are flying off the shelves and grabbing more of the marketshare. They’re showing people that it’s okay to try something new. Traditional distros are benefiting from this, and frankly, there has never been a better time to give the Linux desktop a go.

Have you switched to Linux, or are you increasingly tempted? What’s stopping you from giving it a go? Tell me about it the comments.

  1. John
    November 23, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    I don't typically recommend Linux to anyone and for good reason. Linux is a different OS and anyone switching from Windows must accept that the Windows and Linux ecosystems are very different. Leaving Windows means leaving iTunes, Microsoft Office, your favorite tax prepare software, many favorite streaming apps, and any real gamers out there never even consider Linux. Even with Steam making strides into Linux for gaming. The available games are a small slice compared to Window users. I do recommend Linux desktop's in niche markets like education, small business, and consumers with Chrome OS devices. Consumers can better understand a Chrome OS and the complexity of Linux is not presented in that kind of desktop. I never see Linux making huge inroads into a desktop PC or Laptop PC. It just won't happen. For one reason, the consumer market basically gives most consumers a choice between Windows, Mac's and Chromebook's. Sure you can find a few Ubuntu PC's on Dell's web pages buried in the business sections. But hardly anything that a consumer would find. Not to mention a Best Buy or WalMart offering any sort of Linux PC. That was tried years ago with netbooks and was a total failure. No Linux is a obvious choice for more technology driven geeks. But never for a consumer who just doesn't want to fiddle with unknown ecosystem.

  2. Maki
    August 10, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    After 10 years of using Linux I have to say that there is no perfect OS but Linux is in my opinion the best option. There is a large number of times when some hardcore MS Win user tried to break my arguments about Linux and be ashamed in couple of minutes in front of his friends or family.

    My best friend who was only Win user because of gaming, use my choise (Manjaro) and with Steam enjoy his games for years. I do not need to talk about how many information and files I rescued to my friends and colleagues with live linux OS from broken MS Win with no need to go to expensive services and after that always stays on Linux.

    In almost 9 years of installing Linux to others I didn't have any reclamations. People need to understand that anything can be learned even new OS that is not MS Win in couple of days and enjoy simplicity, speed and security.

    People, give LINUX a chance and YOU will not regret it.

  3. Nick
    August 3, 2016 at 10:31 am

    1st of all, very good articles and very well explained.
    Here my opinion:
    Is not question if Linux is good enough to reach or overtake Windows, but is the society prepared enough to remove Windows and take Linux instead? I mean, How many manufacturer want to write Linux code for drivers beside windows drivers?, How many device manufacturer, and not only PC related, are ready to address themselves toward Linux users? For most users Win will be always the 1st choice because they can't choice anything else as the environment where they are moving on is Windows based. At school they learn about word processor using Win Word not Libre Office or Open Office or whatever, when they get back to home, they prefer using the same tools used at school, job, relax or sport environment.

    • Harold A.
      August 10, 2016 at 3:40 am

      Hey Nick I feel the same way about it as you do, I am personally a windows fanatic, my first computer was a windows 95 and even though I now use windows 10 I am deff. a windows 7 lover, I still miss XP but not as much as the 7th, i think linux is great because it has so many options but i don't think it will ever be better then windows, it might be better then windows vista but that's about it, I have asked the same question to people that know a lot about the topic like the getnerdio.com guys and they agree that they do not see windows stepping down any time soon, after all is one of the biggest companies in the world today for a reason.

  4. Pat
    August 3, 2016 at 4:40 am

    Because of Windows 10 being bloatware, I installed Linux Mint on my university-student daughter's laptop. She loves it and she doesn't have to know any more about how it works than she did with Windows - which is nothing. Everything she needs is pre-installed, fully functional, none of this trial-ware crap that Windows gives you. And it boots fast, runs fast and shuts down fast without all this update crap.

    And there are ways to get most Windows programs, if you MUST have them, to work in Linux.

    • satrain18
      September 20, 2016 at 11:51 am

      "And there are ways to get most Windows programs, if you MUST have them, to work in Linux." And those way are either cryptic esoteric workarounds or inferior native Linux alternatives.

    • Bertel King, Jr.
      September 22, 2016 at 2:06 pm

      @Satrain18

      "And those way are either cryptic esoteric workarounds..."

      This is true when trying to get native apps from any operating system to run in one they weren't designed for, assuming it's even possible.

      "...or inferior native Linux alternatives."

      Entirely subjective. We've published posts about Linux apps that people have ported to Windows because they're such good options.

  5. Philip Bates
    July 31, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    The main problem, I think, is what you note in #1: it might be good enough to overtake Microsoft, but there's that misconception that open source means you have to know computers and OS inside-out, that there's a lot of work involved. That's what's holding it back. I think if you ask the normal guy in the street, they won't know much, if anything, about Linux, and that's what needs to change.

  6. Mark
    July 31, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    I haven't read the all the comments yet, but I think the question is has Windows gotten BAD enough to make the switch to Linux?

    • Ralph Cramden
      August 4, 2016 at 2:15 pm

      For me personally, that happened in the year 2000 after I'd used M$ from 3.1 through 98SE. Got so disgusted with the crapware, the crashes, the constant fighting to make something work the way *I* wanted it to, and the complete lack of the ability to adjust anything and everything to the way I wanted it to work/look/act etc.

      I literally went online one night looking for another OS. I'd never heard of Linux and had seen Apple/Mac's in stores and tried one out even - it sucked, was slow, and the mouse was nothing but a PITA.

      Then in my online search came up Linux. I only had dialup back then and the first distro I downloaded (almost took three days to do!!) was Mandrake. It was okay, but the software installer it used then sucked and sometimes things would simply not work though the system was still running and no crashes. After about a week of playing with Mandrake, I found SuSE.

      It seemed to work a little better so I stuck it out for a couple of weeks and ended up staying with it until around 2007 or 2008, when they started to collude with M$ and doing unethical crap and basically not carrying on with the Linux ethos. I dropped OpenSUSE like the fresh turd it had become and again went on a search for something better.

      Found Slackware 13 and have been with it since. My 78 year old mom uses it, and now just recently after hearing my best friend of 24 years complaining and complaining of M$ 10, I cleaned his hard drive and installed the latest Slackware (14.2). He's loving it and learning to do things on his own almost daily. The only thing he hasn't got down-pat yet is the installation of updates to software programs or the compiling of something he wants to use or try out, but he's more than willing and as I said he does most everything he wants as is on his 'new' system. He also is happier about how much faster it is and how even after all the blackouts and brownouts we've had since I installed it that it hasn't messed up anything on his hard drive (I've touted the wonderful benefits of reiserfs since the first day I used it!!) and just keeps on keeping on with no harm done and no loss of data, like had happened to him so often when he was using windows on his system.

  7. Jim I.
    July 31, 2016 at 6:10 am

    One huge problem I see is printer support. I would like to see a good article on this topic.

    • Ralph Cramden
      August 4, 2016 at 1:58 pm

      Printer support isn't one of the 'problems' of Linux...it's the idiot printer/scanner manufacturers who refuse to make the software for linux users alongside the windows software. Blame M$ for that and their constant pay-offs and or monopolistic lawsuits and threats against hardware manufacturers to 'toe the line, or else' crap. Only so much can be done when trying to reverse-engineer.

      • TheSola10
        August 5, 2016 at 3:45 pm

        Then there's CUPS, which has exactly the same compatibility with printers as OSX.

    • Kelsey Tidwell
      August 16, 2016 at 10:19 pm

      Yeah, I'm still without printer support under Mint.

  8. Amar
    July 31, 2016 at 3:42 am

    Linux is a better operating OS for commercial use.

  9. Petko Momchilov
    July 30, 2016 at 9:42 pm

    Lightroom and Photoshop cannot run on Linux. That`s why I have to stick to Windows. Unfortunately.

  10. Nicklas
    July 30, 2016 at 9:23 pm

    Hi, I moved to ubuntu 7.04 when it came out and I have stayed whit linux. It is not easy. Not all apps is working but over all its working great

  11. Sunny
    July 30, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    I switched from Windows to Linux when Ubuntu was in version 7. I tried Ubuntu, RedHat, Open Suse, Mint, and a few others. I chose Ubuntu and have been living with it ever since. I've changed around 5 laptops since then, all of them came with Windows. And the Windows installation is gone the first day.
    I get all that I want on Ubuntu. I'm a developer, so I love the terminal as well. In fact, I can't imagine a life without the terminal.
    My dad still uses Windows (8.1 and 10). I've trying to make him get on Ubuntu as well. That'll happen sooner or later.
    I just love Linux.

  12. Georgios
    July 30, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    No, Linux is not just good enough to replace Windows. IS TOO MUCH, for this piece of crap!

  13. Ziaur Rahman
    July 25, 2016 at 8:36 am

    I do not run Linux before and I want to dual boot with windows and Linux. Can anyone help me which Linux distributions will be best for me?

    • Rishi Rahul
      July 25, 2016 at 7:19 pm

      Try ubuntu

    • Andrew Gulak
      July 25, 2016 at 9:32 pm

      Ubuntu 16 is probably your best bet. Good luck.

    • FileEagle.com Chris
      July 28, 2016 at 2:06 am

      I think the average user does not want to take the time to learn how to use Linux. Windows is easy to use and you can ask other people if you need help.

    • Sumeet Kumar
      July 28, 2016 at 8:26 pm

      From my point of view (Since i have used Fedora, CentOs, OpenSuse, and different Ubuntu based distros)

      Linux Mint or Ubuntu are best for new users.

    • Sumeet Kumar
      July 28, 2016 at 8:28 pm

      One more thing, If you are a windows 8, 8.1 or 10 user, make sure to turn off fast boot first, or else you wont be able to access NTFS partitions, (Or Install linux incase C is also a NTFS Partition)

    • Dave
      July 30, 2016 at 2:55 pm

      This is a less well known distribution (and the download servers are very slow) but once it is downloaded and installed I have loved Linux Deepin. I had really loved Linux Mint before that, but after switching I found that many programs that I needed on Mint that didn't function correctly worked perfectly on Deepin. I loved the look and simplicity. It is also really fast. It's worth looking at!

    • Kelsey Tidwell
      August 16, 2016 at 10:17 pm

      I tried Ubuntu and it is a pretty easy to use distro. Then I tried Mint and didn't look back. It was even easier!

      I installed it on a 2010 Acer 7551 laptop because Windows 10 was really overheating the old boy and often would shut it completely down. Those laptops had overheating problems anyway, so it was Linux or nothing.

      The overheating went away and as a bonus, Mint recognized the DVD drive that Windows 10 flat out would NOT touch. :)

  14. William F. Maddock
    July 24, 2016 at 12:21 am

    Today, you buy a computer from the computer store, and it WILL have Windows 10 and that AWFUL, monopolistic BIOS that won't run anything but Windows unless you know what you're doing. So, how about a tutorial on the process of getting around that road-block?

  15. williamwclee
    July 22, 2016 at 2:21 am

    hardware drivers are headache.
    you don't have OEM linux driver for most common devices.

    • Dave
      July 30, 2016 at 2:58 pm

      @williamwclee, I've had the exact opposite experience with hardware drivers - finding that Linux Mint and Linux Deepin both handled automatic hardware drivers a billion times better than windows. I've done clean installs on several Lenovo laptops and every time getting the wi-fi cards functioning with Windows is insanely hard. Even installing every single driver from Lenovo individually from Lenvo doesn't work. With Linux on the other hand everything worked perfectly.

  16. Alexandru
    July 21, 2016 at 6:08 am

    I use Linux from 2002, removed MS Windows XP from my computer in 2008 and never install any release of Windows again. Finally this year I realized I can live without Wine or PlayOnLinux, because I need no Windows-only software any more.

    My wife uses Linux every day and wonders how difficult is the life with Windows.

    At work I have no choice, so I use Windows. Still literally all software I run on Windows is GPL licensed and ported to Windows from Linux. And the same is the situation for almost all Windows supporters I know.

    I reinstall Debian Linux once in two years when new release is out and in past 14 years had no single corruption or crash. Of course, when some program doesn't work, I apply a work-around, which most probably exists and is described. The very same is true also for some not running Windows program at work.

    Finally, I am really glad to know Microsoft finally decided to include Linux subsystem in their Windows 10 update planned for July, 29 this year.

  17. bruce_kiacz
    July 20, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    I've been using Ubuntu Linux as my desktop for the past 6 or 7 years. I find it much better than anything Microsoft has produced and here's just one reason why.

    Back in the era of Windows XP I got a Mattel/Intel QX3 USB microscope as a gag gift. Actually, it worked great for looking at small parts or checking for bad solder joints on circuit boards. Of course, as soon as Microsoft released a new OS, Mattel/Intel abandoned the software and the poor toy just collected dust on the shelf. Then, Just the other day I took it down and thought - I wonder if this will work under Linux?

    Well, literally 5 minutes after installing Video4Linux Control Panel and using the Cheese video software already installed on the system, the old QX3 was working again!

    Now, I had spent HOURS in Windows 7 and 8.1 trying all kind of workarounds to make this toy work without success. Linux took 5 minutes and rescued my old (gag) pal so I can play again.

    Microsoft Windows? Nevermore!

  18. Tom
    July 18, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    I recently dual-booted my 6 1/2 year old laptop with Linux to save money. I did not want to spend hundreds of dollars on a new one. I can still access all my Windows files from within Linux. I use Linux (Linus Mint 17.3 Cinnamon) better than 90 percent of the time. Use Linux: save money.

  19. jymm56
    July 18, 2016 at 11:35 am

    It does really depend. If you are dependent on a certain Windows program Linux may not work. Wine and PlayOnLinux don't always work or some parts of a program don't work. Yet for the average person that web surfs, e-mails and edits photos or music Linux is great.

    I became frustrated with Windows and moved to Linux. I am a GUI guy, over 60 and really have few problems. The one command I find I have to use is "sudo dpkg --configure -a" as Synaptic cannot always fix broken packages. I have it on a text editor and copy and paste when needed.

    I love the Mate desktop which is very traditional. Anyone who wants to replace Windows with Linux is capable if they keep an open mind. You don't need to be a geek. I am certainly not a geek.

    • Bertel King, Jr.
      July 18, 2016 at 2:36 pm

      Spot on!

      I agree, if you need a certain Windows program, stick with Windows. I've had poor experience with Wine and don't consider it an idea solution.

      Now I'm at a point where there are more Linux apps I miss whenever I use another OS than the other way around.

      • Michael Weldon
        July 30, 2016 at 3:13 pm

        Depends on how willing you are to track down all the necessary parts in order to make something work.

        I run Adobe's Photoshop CS2 under WINE on Puppy Linux, and, no word of a lie, it actually runs faster (and 100% correctly, too) than it ever did under Windows.

        But then I'm one of those rare people who can run both Photoshop AND the GIMP, and switch backwards & forwards from one to the other without any problems.....

    • fcd76218
      July 18, 2016 at 6:20 pm

      @jymm56:
      "The one command I find I have to use is “sudo dpkg –configure -a” as Synaptic cannot always fix broken packages."
      Just for my personal information and I am not trying to be snarky but what do you do to break the packages so badly that Synaptic cannot fix them? I've been using Debian-based distros for over 10 years and I had maybe one broken package in that time. Synaptic had problems fixing it.

      • fcd76218
        July 27, 2016 at 12:13 pm

        "Synaptic had problems fixing it."
        OOOPPSS! Finger check! That should be "Synaptic had NO problems fixing it."

    • Jeff C
      July 20, 2016 at 10:30 pm

      Here is a trick for the terminal:

      Use the arrow up key to get the previous commands you used.

      If "sudo dpkg –configure -a” is one of the last commands that you used it will be right there.

      When the terminal has it selected then press enter.
      No need to copy and paste.

  20. Sugi
    July 18, 2016 at 6:12 am

    It quite frankly depends, I guess. There are many die-hard Linux fanatics who will hear no wrong about their platform, and then there are people who genuinely like it. What is really annoying though, is those fanatics who go around convincing people to adopt the platform. Whenever someone points out a fault, they say "well, that's not so much of an issue anymore" or "here's a workaround" or "here's an alternative" or sometimes even just "well, it doesn't matter that much." There is never a clear solution, and they expect you to just accept these problems and live with it, the way they do. Here's a tip; anyone who tries to convince you to use their platform by providing workarounds should probably invest more time into fixing it.

    • Bruce Epper
      July 18, 2016 at 10:51 am

      The same type of issues also face other operating systems. Frequently there are flaky bits for Windows that require an odd workaround while you wait for a patch that may or may not arrive to fix it. I don't use Apple products, but the same is likely true for OS X.

      This doesn't only apply to the operating system either. It also affects any applications you are running on the platform whether it is MS Office, LibreOffice, or anything else.

      No matter what platform you are running, you are already dealing with these same issues, you just don't perceive them in the same way as one that differs in some ways from what you are used to.

  21. Sugi
    July 18, 2016 at 6:09 am

    The issue is decentralization; in comparison with professional operating systems, Linux and Linux distros are the product of an uncontrolled, elitist group of fanatics who barely cooperate and never agree. There's a constant process of forking and dying, forking and dying, over and over again in the Linux community. This is why we can't have nice things on Linux, unless there's a real company behind the project, like Google. At which point, having the thing being open source is fairly pointless, since no one except the parent company can modify it.

    • Bruce Epper
      July 18, 2016 at 11:37 am

      First, define "professional operating systems".

      If it is an operating system that runs on mainframe computers, as of June 2016 more than 99% of the 500 fastest mainframes are running Linux while the remainder are running Unix. None of them run a Microsoft or Apple operating system.

      If it is an operating system that hosts public-facing Internet servers, as of Feb 2015 the count of the top ten million servers gives us: Linux, 35.9%; FreeBSD, 0.95%, Other unknown Unix-like system, 30.9%; Microsoft Windows, 32.3%.

      If you mean an OS that is used to browse the web on both desktop and mobile devices in May 2016 we find: Microsoft Windows, 44.28%; Apple, 16.43%; Linux kernel-based (including Android), 33.15%; and Others, 6.15%.

      As for the "uncontrolled, elitist group of fanatics", have you experienced Windows ME, Vista, 8 or 8.1?

      Granted some open source projects fork and die, but then again many projects continue unabated for years. Look at Debian coming up on their 23rd anniversary in August. Then there is Red Hat which began 21 years ago. It transformed into Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Fedora, both of which are still going strong today.

      • Greybeard
        July 20, 2016 at 8:40 pm

        No, "99% of the fastest mainframes" are not running Linux and the rest running Unix. Not unless you define "mainframe" as "any box bigger than a household machine", and the first assertion is probably still not true then.

        Why are you making this claim?

        • Bruce Epper
          July 21, 2016 at 4:55 am

          You're right. That was supposed to be supercomputers, not mainframes. While researching the numbers I couldn't find any kind of reliable mainframe numbers within the last decade and messed up my notes after moving on by putting the supercomputer data into the mainframe column of my data.

    • Michael Weldon
      July 30, 2016 at 10:41 pm

      So, in your opinion, the only way to get a 'professional' Linux experience is to have the entire Linux eco-system systematically controlled and overseen by one, monolithic company, à la Microsoft?

      No thanks. I'm happy with my Puppy Linux setup just the way it is. I couldn't really care whether or not Puppy is 'good enough' to make it onto YOUR desktop. I'm satisfied with Puppy the way it works, and runs on, mine. It works for me. I also couldn't care whether you want to use it, or not; your decision will not affect MY enjoyment of MY system.

      That's the whole point of free will, and free choice. No one company SHOULD be 'in control' of GNU/Linux; it would destroy the very point of it.

  22. Lou Guay
    July 17, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    A few weeks ago I went dual-boot (again), trying Linux Mint alongside Windows 7. Lots to like about Mint, but, some of the small differences and bits of flaky are driving me nuts.
    One example: time. Mint usually, but not always, insists the time is 5 hours different from local actual. Time zone is set correctly. Adding to my confusion: about one out of every 7 re-boots time displayed is correct! I spent the better part of 6 hours searching for and trying fixes, before finally conceding this is a known issue in most Linux flavors when you dual boot with Windows. Only real fix is dumping Windows completely, not an option anytime soon.
    Microsoft Office documents are a bit hit and miss in LibreOffice, and documents edited or created there don't always display correctly in Office. I can save text documents as PDF so they can be shared with no problem, but sharing spreadsheets is an issue.
    I'm certain sufficient time and effort will make Linux a more comfortable experience, but,
    at this point I would not recommend Linux to most family members or friends as there is still a bit of 'geek' required.

    • Bruce Epper
      July 18, 2016 at 12:31 pm

      Windows expects the RTC to be set to local time (a poor design decision). Linux generally expects it to be set to UTC. If the clock is off by an exact number of hours, this is usually the cause of the problem.

      There is a registry hack for Windows 7 and later that will allow Windows to do the proper conversion from UTC on the RTC to local time, but Windows can no longer update the RTC via the Internet Time process so drift (and possibly DST) become issues (again).

      This is commonly blamed on *nix systems, but the problem is Microsoft's handling of the RTC and the system clock in local time. For a history of the issue and why it rests on Microsoft's shoulders to fix it, see this article: http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~mgk25/mswish/ut-rtc.html.

    • Bruce Epper
      July 19, 2016 at 8:22 am

      That time problem is a Microsoft issue, not Linux. Windows is the only operating system that expects the RTC (Real Time Clock) to be set to local time, not UTC. This causes a lot of issues, especially with DST.

      For example:

      1. UTC can ALWAYS be converted to local time unambiguously. Local time CANNOT be unambiguously converted to UTC.

      2. CMOS does not indicate whether DST is currently active or not, thus there is no way to know if the time adjustment has been applied to the RTC or not.

      3. There is no clear indication what the current offset is from local time to UTC.

      The solution to the problem would be for Microsoft to get with the program and keep the RTC at UTC at all times as it completely eliminates the above problems.

      They have added a registry key back with Windows 2000 that was supposed to help alleviate this issue, but there are issues with that (aborted) functionality as well. The primary one is that the Internet Time process cannot adjust the RTC if it is configured to use UTC so clock drift becomes a major problem. There have been steps made beginning with Vista and Win7 to address some of these issues, but there still is not a complete 100% reliably working solution and won't be until users make it an issue for Microsoft.

      For more information: http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~mgk25/mswish/ut-rtc.html

    • Michael Weldon
      July 30, 2016 at 10:45 pm

      @Lou Guay:-

      Unfortunately, you're right. It all boils down to the fact that Linux and Windows perceive 'local' time differently. Of course, if you're a real 'geek' like me, you keep Windows for the 'necessary' things that don't QUITE work in Linux the way you'd like them to.....and use Linux for everything else. And when you become truly comfortable with using both OS's, you'll be able to switch back & forth between them.....and wonder what all the fuss was about.

  23. Paul Andrew Anderson
    July 15, 2016 at 5:16 pm

    This article is so true (as are the comments so far)! The average Joe looks at a video or an image that's about Linux, and they see the open terminal window and how you must type in "sudo apt-get blablabla" and (metaphorically) their eyes glaze over and they decide at that moment that Linux is not right for them. I've commented about this before here at MUO so I'll not elaborate here, but the very reason why Windows became Windows was that dreaded DOS enigma! (wiki/History_of_personal_computers) It was not the PC exactly, but the home computer (or HC) that was at issue from a mass-market standpoint.

    Without meaning any insult to anyone, the fact is, the vast majority are not techies. Most people do not want to have to seek out help with their tech; they want their tech to be the source of more help! I'm the techie of my family-friends circle, and have been since the mid-90's. It drove me nuts, but I kept my composure and helped anyway: That help was always very simple problems to me, but they seemed insurmountable to them, and this is only with MS & Apple products.

    Today, I'm only rarely called upon for help, largely because of tablets & phablets with simple Apps to click on! Sure, they look like kids toys to me, but to the average Joe, technology is still a bit too technical: Now the questions are: How do I work this new-fangled thermostat? And what makes Chromebooks so successful (I have one) is that the Linux OS is pre-installed and auto-updated by a tech giant, which the masses prefer over being their own tech.

    As excited as we tech-savvy folk may get (or for me, once got) to share all this intriguing tech with those around us, unfortunately they really do not care about the inner workings of, well, anything! They want to click on a familiar icon and the tech just works! They do not want to work the tech! What the big-dogs provide is relative simplicity; MS & Apple has hundreds of techs working on one OS (at a time): Conversely, Linux has hundreds of techs (many as volunteers), but spread out over a hundred+ OS Distros (wiki/List_of_Linux_distributions). And yes, Linux has several Distros that rival any MS or Apple OS. I'm all Linux (and 1 Fire Tablet)!

    • fcd76218
      July 27, 2016 at 12:02 pm

      "The average Joe looks at a video or an image that's about Linux, and they see the open terminal window and how you must type in "sudo apt-get blablabla" and (metaphorically) their eyes glaze over"
      Sites like MUO are doing their readers a disservice by publishing articles showing how to do things using CLI. The apocryphal "normal/average" user will rarely use CLI. The sites justify the articles on CLI by claiming that "they are educating the users," That may be so, but I think they are scaring more newbies away then they are educating.

      I can't recall the last time someone at MUO wrote an article on how to use CLI in Windows. After all, many tasks in Window lend themselves to terminal commands. Sites should not deprive normal Windows users of the joy of using CLI. Maybe the sites are trying to spread anti-Linux FUD by emphasizing the CLI use in Linux but ignoring CLI use in other O/Ss.

  24. tawney m.
    July 15, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    One problem for the less geeky among us is figuring out which distro to try. My husband is a Fedora Fanatic (and helps plenty on the Fedora forum), but since he totally loves command line it makes me think Fedora is not friendly. A friend says try Ubuntu, but my husband also sometimes uses Mint. It's confusing and I think it keeps some of us from trying it.

    • fcd76218
      July 15, 2016 at 8:54 pm

      When you go to the store, how many different brands of bread or pasta are there? Does the number of choices stop you from buying bread or pasta? No. You pick a brand and you eat it. If it isn't to your liking, the next time you get a different brand. Same with Linux. Pick a distro, install it, use it for a few weeks or months. If you don't like it, install a different distro.

      Since your husband uses Fedora and Mint, why don't you try those two for starters? Personally I would recommend PCLinuxOS. It is well-polished, is as easy as Ubuntu (easier than Fedora), has large repositories. Best of all, it is a rolling release distro meaning you only have to install it once and it will update itself whenever new version of software comes out. You don't have keep installing new versions every six months, as Ubuntu makes you do.

    • Kelsey Tidwell
      August 16, 2016 at 10:05 pm

      tawney I have had a pretty easy time with Mint over the last couple months. I don't care about the esoterics of the command line for the same reason I don't care about how the anti-lock brake system components on my vehicle work, and Mint does a good job of alleviating that part of using Linux. Give it a shot. :)

  25. fcd76218
    July 15, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    " Linux software can stop working after an OS update every six months. "
    Only if you use Ubuntu. Many other distros are on longer development cycles. With 'rolling update' distros, you rarely have to worry about 'software stopping working after six months'.

    "Since you can’t go to the local big box store for support"
    Would you want Windows support from the Geek Squad?! When big box stores start selling Linux computers, they will have to provide Linux support. Of course, just like with Windows, the quality of that support will be questionable.

    "New package formats may fix this, but for now, that remains a future possibility."
    Currently Snaps and Flatpack are two competing, mutually exclusive, proprietary, "universal" packaging systems. Snap is a Canonical product that works only with Ubuntu-based distros. The developers for other distros are neither interested in implementing Snaps nor in collaborating with Canonical. Flatpack is a Red Hat product that basically works only with Fedora-based distros. With a lot of gymnastics it can be made to work with other distros.

    In this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly blog, Jesse Smith published the results if his head to head comparison of Snap, Flatpack and AppImage. Reading the article raises some questions/observations.
    With a universal packaging system (AppImage) already in existence, why are Canonical and Red Hat Insisting on developing competing, proprietary systems?
    The number of packages available for Snap, Flatpack and AppImage is currently very small.
    Installing packages using any of the three "universal" systems is not as easy as portrayed by their proponents. It requires a certain amount of Linux expertise which noobs do not posses and is not for the faint of heart.

    "But Chromebooks are showing that neither of these issues are dealbreakers."
    Just like Android, ChromeOS should not be considered part of Linux. ChromeOS may be Linux-based but it is Google's version of a walled garden. Very few Linux apps can be used locally. If you want apps, you must use the online ones from Google.

    An interesting article, Bertel. On the one hand you say that Linux is ready for prime time but on the other you try very hard to dissuade the readers from switching to it or using it.

    • Sugi
      July 18, 2016 at 6:04 am

      That's because some of us realize the technical drawbacks of an operating system that is too often blindly marketed by it's supporters as flawless.

      • Bruce Epper
        July 18, 2016 at 12:55 pm

        So, on par with Windows and OS X?

      • fcd76218
        July 27, 2016 at 11:42 am

        @Sugi:
        There are fanbois and zealots in every crowd. Every O/S has its segment of users that are convinced that THEIR O/S has absolutely no flaws. Look at the Win 10 proponents - they think it is the greatest invention since sliced bread.

    • Bertel King, Jr.
      July 18, 2016 at 2:47 pm

      Thanks for the feedback. And what can I say? Part of writing a good paper means responding to potential counter-arguments, and Linux has quite a few weakness -- not unlike any other OS!

  26. fcd76218
    July 15, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    "There is, however, one legacy issue that can stop ‘normal’ users new to Linux from delving very far beneath the GUI and really understanding the OS."
    How many 'normal' Windows users delve far beneath the GUI and really understand the O/S? Most Windows users do not even know that it has command line capability. Most computer users do not care if their O/S has CLI.

    "Moreover there is a long standing IT tradition that programmers who will religiously track down the tiniest bug in ten thousand lines of code refuse to write more than a couple of paragraphs to support people using their application."
    BUNK!

  27. Alex B.
    July 15, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    All I need to do is figure out how to play Star Wars: The Old Republic on it and I will put it on my main machine. Windows 10's last update included Auto-Correct!

  28. C Pearman
    July 15, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    I'm a long-time DOS and Windows support professional (30 years) . I've dipped in and out of Linux over the years and agree - it is a mature system that is pretty easy to install and use.
    There is, however, one legacy issue that can stop 'normal' users new to Linux from delving very far beneath the GUI and really understanding the OS. Many of those who know most about Linux are profoundly geek and revel in protecting their knowledge by battering enquiring newcomers with obfuscating tech-speak. Moreover there is a long standing IT tradition that programmers who will religiously track down the tiniest bug in ten thousand lines of code refuse to write more than a couple of paragraphs to support people using their application. Now I know that this is a simplification of the issues I perceive to be holding Linux back, but they need to be addressed. As an example, the WordPress community offers great support to new adopters and as a result WordPress, despite it's many drawbacks, has become hugely successful.

    • Bertel King, Jr.
      July 15, 2016 at 1:58 pm

      Linux documentation has come a long way. The ‘Help’ section has many GNOME apps is packed with more detailed explanations than many of us realize. And with sites like askubuntu.com, you don’t have to go straight to the developer for answers.

    • Colin
      July 15, 2016 at 2:34 pm

      It depends on what forum support you use. I am not a computer whiz, but find the support from Ubuntu Forums to be quite helpful for new beginners. It also helps if you can explain your problem and give some of your computer's specs.

      • Bruce Epper
        July 19, 2016 at 8:43 am

        This is common for any kind of support forums. Frequently people are going to expert-level forums asking questions that should be asked (or searched for) on newbie forums.

        People also tend to get their panties in a knot when nobody even attempts to answer their question whether it has been answered multiple times elsewhere and could be found with a simple search in the forum (or Google), the question itself is incomplete (not enough details to even guess what the problem is), ask a question that will never lead to the answer they desire, or otherwise doesn't follow the rules of the forum.

        If you want help from a forum that is heavily populated with geeks, there are a few simple rules to follow:

        1) Search for an answer first. In most cases, it has already been handled and you are wasting everyone's time asking an already answered question.

        2) Follow the posting rules for the site/forum where you are asking the question.

        3) Ask your question addressing the right people. Asking a diesel mechanic how to lay the foundation for a 110-story skyscraper isn't likely to lead to a response you want. Likewise, asking an Apache forum how to set up IIS (Microsoft's web server) isn't likely to go far.

        4) Make sure you are asking the question you want answered. Asking "Can you set up an email server?" is likely to get the single word response - "Yes". And yes, I am one of those pricks who will do that to you.

        5) Make sure you are providing as much relevant detail as possible when describing the problem, and most importantly, the steps you have already taken to try to resolve the issue on your own. If all you have done is simple searches without trying anything that you have found as a result, you probably won't be finding much help from anyone else either. If you are not demonstrating you are putting forth effort to resolve it yourself, why should someone else be putting in more effort than you to fix it?

    • Michael Weldon
      July 30, 2016 at 11:02 pm

      I do agree with this one. Yes, the support Forums do play a huge part in helping people adapt to Linux's 'quirks'. The Puppy Forums helped me to understand an OS which, even by the standards of the rest of the Linux community, is absolutely unique in its method of operation.....yet that method is actually very simple, and blindingly obvious, once it's been explained in easy to understand terms.

      That's what I love about the Puppy Forums. It's one of the very few I've found that DOESN'T try to confuse newcomers with arcane 'techno-babble'. Pretty well everything is explained in easy to understand plain English, by an amazingly friendly bunch of folks, who just want to help EVERYBODY to enjoy what is a truly amazing lightweight OS.

      And since most newcomers to Puppy are ex-Windows users, it's been designed with 'tooltips' and 'wizards' everywhere you look.....

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *