[NEWS] 'Linux is too much like Windows'

Mcleod, Ian ian.mcleod at eds.com
Mon Dec 30 13:27:00 CST 2002

couldn't agree more..

Anyone I try to suggest Linux to just say 'yeah - but if we have problems -
what to we get?  RTFM?  We're sticking with windows'

I don't blame them.

Selling Linux is a hard task.  The RTFM - 'you are an ignorant newbie if you
don't' attitude has done enormous damage to the image of Linux.  Technically
Linux is without reproach - we all know that - it's why I use it - but
customers won't touch it for fear of that dreaded response 'RTFM' - when
they need help in a hurry.

Until that changes - Linux will need more than just technical merit to take

Sadly - the user-unfriendly philosophies have not changed at all in the last
5 years since I started using Linux.

I hope it does - before it's too late..

-----Original Message-----
From: James Leone [mailto:LINUXCPA at netscape.net]
Sent: Sunday, December 29, 2002 7:12 PM
To: ilox at airnet.com.au
Cc: Linux SA
Subject: Re: [NEWS] 'Linux is too much like Windows'

I think that the statement 'Linux is too much like Windows'  is too 
general.  I break it down into two categories:

* Configuration - Modular vs Non  (Linux will never move in the Windows 
direction on this)*


I agree that as a principal of design, configuration and application 
files should be separated as they are in Linux. This design philospphy 
is clearly superior to Windows' if the design is stable. If it is not, 
as the state of Linux is today, it is a network administrator's worst 
nightmare. I have worked beyond the limits of feasability to make Linux 
on the desktop a reality, and speak from experience.

This very philosophy, in conjunction with non-intuitive documentation 
and unstandardized configurations are just a few of the barriers to 
widespread use of Linux.  Kernel and application _design stability_ 
lacks, applications and device settings that worked but a few years or 
even months ago have a decent chance of not working in the newer 
distribution releases. A great number of desktop applications are not 
completely developed, yet development stagnates, and if the application 
is developed, it does not measure up to the standard of user 
friendliness enjoyed by Windows users. So Linux goes unused by 95% of 
the population.

This is a tragedy because its a waste of talent and generosity and 
further legitimizes an operating system rooted in illigitimacy.


Ok fine that's out of context, :-D  but this isn't. I think that a group 
of major open source software projects (INCLUDING STALLMAN) should form 
a Standards Board to answer the following questions:

1. Where should configuration files go?

2. How should installations work

3. Pick a standard .Deb or RPM and stick with it

4. Pick a boot sequence standard and stick with it

5. Documentation standards

6. Ease of use standards

7. Justification for changing the command line systax of your applications

8. Development roadmaps

9. Elect a leader at large to give some direction

That way when a company looks into porting their application they won't 
have to wonder if it will work in two years or require excessive 

Here is a sample of what the next generation of Linux users want and 
think of Linux: Albeit it is a heated discussion, but that tends to 
bring out the honesty:


I can't stand it when Lindows stretches the truth....


* GUI's

Fundamentally, GUI's should be easy to use and remove so that they don't 
get in the way of experienced  users, but make the computing experience 
as intuitive for new users.

Which leads me to another point. A friend of mine made to me after I 
mentioned that I was working on some installation wizzards for Linux. 
The first thing he wanted to know was how much was I going to charge, 
and I told him if its Linux I probably will never charge because

    1.) Its not how I earn my living

    2.) The wizzard does not add as much value as the programs I configured

    3.) The situation is so skewed in Microsoft's favor, that I felt 
doing this for gratis was a bit of equalization so to speak, although small.

    4.) Its not how I feel. I feel like I want to make my small contribution

    5.) If people were paid for it someone with more experience than I 
would do it.

But then he said..."Well I think it would actually be nice if the Linux 
community charged for their work, that way, the operating system  would 
be funded enough so I or many other people could use it. Just look at OSX."

Well, he didn't change my mind, but I see his point.


James Leone

ilox at airnet.com.au wrote:

>Just found this item. What do you think?
>Rant: 'Linux is too much like Windows'
>By ron carlson, Insanely Great Mac
>December 22nd 2002
> Once every other blue moon Dvorak says something intelligent
> In a column titled "Microsoft, Innovation, and Linux", John
> Dvorak opines that "Linux is too much like Windows." That
> this is true is obvious and it's a matter of some wonder
> that no one -- at least no one notable -- has publicly noted
> this before.
>I think he and Dvorak have got it wrong but that is just my POV, what 
>are your thoughts on the matter?
>Cheers, Ian.

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