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I was reading the latest issue of Linux Magazine last night and the last page columnist asked the question what will happen to Linux now that Mandrake has filed for bankruptcy protection in France. In other words, who's next. Is Linux on the desktop finished, oh so close, but Micro$oft wins? It seems, that Linux companies will have to stick to the enterprise server market to make a profit, because, anyone who want's Linux on the desktop already has it. There's the low-end ala Lindows, which, ultimately isn't going to make money unless the software update subscription model takes hold (which I can't see it happening if Microsoft is backing away from it.)Any thoughts on Linux's future?

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I find all those things very worrying, try to support Mandrake in every way I can, buying boxed products, membership Mandrake Club, buy their over-priced books, but I do know very well, that on my own I can't save Mandrake from bankruptcy.About Linux in general, I think the open source community is so large and versatile, there will always be initiatives to bring new distro's.The really Big ones may have hard times ahead, but the medium size distro's ( Slack, Debian ) will stay ! And don't forget the small distro's, hundreds of them, sometimes just as good as the big ones !The day that Mandrake will cease to exist will be a black one as far as I am concerned. B) Bruno

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havnblast

Actually I think one will see more and more of linux on desktops in the future. Many are dual booting with it now and as for me I am in linux mode more than I am in windows mode now. I don't see linux going away, companies might come and go but not the OS.

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Cluttermagnet

I'm looking foreward to trying Knoppix shortly when my CD shows up in the mail. About 7 years experience with Windows here- I probably barely qualify as an 'intermediate' level user. I know enough to do a lot of maintenance and repair, and to do the occasional Win OS install on a mint HD. I love to play endlessly with all sorts of Windows software utilities- especially freeware! I have zero drive time on any Linux distros to date. Knoppix sounds very promising, in theory. I personally have a strong wish for Linux to thrive and survive as hopefully a viable alternative to the Windows desktop. What is happening with the view from Redmond on the future of the 'personal computer' borders on diabolical, as I see it. Their founder does a wonderful, mild-mannered Darth Vader parallel, LOL! A lot of folks are very uncomfortable with where they are trying to take us. We shall see, but I am starting to become somewhat invested in the future of Linux, an OS I have zero time on so far! Maybe it really is important enough that people will be willing to learn how to drive a more command line oriented OS created by eunuchs- er, those unix guys.I came in late enough to almost completely miss out on the PC AT/XT era and the joys of DOS- yet it is the noble heart of DOS that beats beneath the wonderfully creative overlayer that is Windows 9x (thanks, Uncle Billy!). Yup- I don't even know how to drive DOS very well (but I don't find it intimidating). I did have a brief fling with FORTRAN and BASIC 'way back when' in school, so you see, I am a 'slow adopter'. I wanted to wait until Windows PCs were a mature technology (1996) LOL! Oh, I built one of Clive's ZX-81 computers in the 80's, but that was just a fling. I even owned a CP/M computer before that but never did anything with it. I was hopelessly mired in my analog electronics worldview. And we macho, hardware type guys from the dark ages (before digital) fashioned circuits with our bare hands and teeth. We walked to school in a blinding snowstorm, uphill- both ways! We were very resentful when these upstart young programmer whippersnappers came along and started pulling down the big bucks writing sissy software. They didn't even know how to operate a soldering iron, most of them, for gosh sakes! But I have seen the light. I used to be trapped in 'radio prison'. Now it is computers that suck up all available time like a black hole... Let's hope that we come up with some viable alternatives to Windows while the world is still a safe place for democracy, apple pie, and good trolls and flame wars! Like the guy sez at the Restaurant At The End Of The Universe "...how are we for time?..." (Poof!) Linux? Now _that's_ intimidating LOL!

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In other words, who's next. Is Linux on the desktop finished, oh so close, but Micro$oft wins?
I think one of the problems, and this is true of a lot of programs that are freeware or shareware, is the fact that they are free. A company can only expend resources for so long on a project before it has to generate sufficient revenue. Eventually, the plug gets pulled if that doesn't happen. How many people here are using a free flavor of Linux and would never have done so if the program was only available for purchase in a retail store for say $200?
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Lets remember there's a difference between Free Software and freeware. They are not necessarily one and the same thing. The freeware model is just that; someone offers you the binary version of their program for freeware, unlike shareware where there are conditions for its use, generally 30 days and then you pay the programmer/developer or delete it from your computer. Free Software on the other hand means that the source code is made available at no cost to the end user. You can sell the binary version for how much you wish to charge, give it away as freeware, or as shareware, but the source code must be made available for no charge. That's why there is a movement to brand Linux as GNU/Linux because that is it's model of distribution. You can buy a retail package of the Linux CD and it will include the source code on CD or for download.

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I was reading the latest issue of Linux Magazine last night and the last page columnist asked the question what will happen to Linux now that Mandrake has filed for bankruptcy protection in France. In  other words, who's next. Is Linux on the desktop finished, oh so close, but Micro$oft wins? It seems, that Linux companies will have to stick to the enterprise server market to make a profit, because, anyone who want's Linux on the desktop already has it. There's the low-end ala Lindows, which, ultimately isn't going to make money unless the software update subscription model takes hold (which I can't see it happening if Microsoft is backing away from it.)Any thoughts on Linux's future?
Linux is here to stay period. If Mandrake goes belly up tomorrow someone else will step in and take up where they left off, remember Linux is open source and I don't see it going downhill. With Microsofts WPA, spyware, Overpriced crash and repair daily, The computer users are getting fed up and more and more are turning to Linux. People are starting to wise up to the ways of Microsoft and are backing away from it. I hope that Mandrake can stay afloat, But if not someone will take their place and there is always Debian which will always be free. They might be slow but they are gaining ground..MH
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havnblast

bjf123 - my first RedHat I purchased the book that came with RedHat cds, don't remember what version it was now - too many years ago. I thought this was the best way to go - nice big book on how to use it and the OS. Since than I have not purchased a distrobution, have always just downloaded them from their site.I would hate to see the day when it costs $200.00 for desktop linux OS

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I would hate to see the day when it costs $200.00 for desktop linux OS
While the $200 amount was just a number I pulled out of the air, if Linux is to have an sustainable future, it will have to get away from the free distribution model, IMHO.
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I'd just like to interject that no one in this thread is questioning Linux's viability. It's the most versatile OS to hit enterprises since, well, since Unix. But Unix is very expensive these days. Linux is still very cheap for enterprises. And because of that, and because it is open source, and enterprises can muck with it, and because it makes a helluva a web server, well those and many other reasons make it an emerging PRIMARY enterprise tool.But there is a very real question about whether Linux can make it on end-user desktops -- in large numbers. The numbers now are tiny. Corel sold off its end-user desktkop Linux. Mandrake is in trouble. Lindows is maybe barking up the wrong business model. Peachy is right; this is the heart of the Linux question right now.It's going to be people like us who help form the answer to this question. We are early adopters. Linux needs to improve in big ways on the desktop. It is moving in the right direction, but slowly.I'd also be interested to know what people think Linux needs in order to be a better desktop OS.-- Scot

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GolfProRM
I'd also be interested to know what people think Linux needs in order to be a better desktop OS.-- Scot
To make Linux a better Desktop OS, it needs to be smoother. The average user isn't going to want to learn how to compile programs, use the console (hence why DOS is dead), or learn a new system. Most users by now are used to Winblows, and aren't going to think kindly to having to learn a whole new system. For Linux to succeed it's going to need to be as "easy to use" as Winblows. I don't mind having to learn a new scheme, but most people, given the choice to keep paying Microshaft or "Fight" with a new system, they'll keep forking over the dough. Take the wonderful Tips for Linux Starters thread. While it's a great thread for Linux "newbies" like me, you'll also notice that we don't have a "Tips for Windows Starters" thread. It's differences like this that keep Linux from becoming a mainstream desktop OS.
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I agree with Ryan. Linux has to get away from the "uber geek user" perception and become as user friendly as Windows, or even better, as easy as a Mac. The key however, I think, to the success of Linux as a desktop OS is the number of easy to use programs for the home user. I don't think most people really care about what OS is powering their system. Even with Windows, how much time do today's home users spend actually working with the OS? Not much; it's all the programs. For Linux to put any real dent in Microsoft's market share, the programs are going to have to be there. Is there an easy to use Linux version or equivalent for Quicken, Turbo Tax, AOL (yes, AOL), Dreamweaver, Photoshop Elements, Family Tree Maker, etc.? Can the technologically challenged home user easily download their vacation pictures from their digital camera and share them with familty and friends around the country? These are the things that will be needed for Linux to have any hope of gaining any decent market share. Therein lies the problem. Until there's more market share, software companies won't spend resources writing the programs, but until the programs get written, market share won't increase.

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Guest ComputerBob
....Until there's more market share, software companies won't spend resources writing the programs, but until the programs get written, market share won't increase.
BINGO! ;)
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nlinecomputers

One of Linux's strength is also its biggest stumbling block. Linux is very diverse. There are many programs that do the same thing. There are several GUIs such as KDE and Gnome, several distros, several methods of installing applications such as RPMs or Debian APT-GET files. Variety is good as it spurs inovation but it also causes things to not be developed as far as it should. Most every program is not considered a full product. What ever the program it is often version 0.X. Not version 1 or 2 but version 0. Variety is appreciated in the Linux word but a single focus isn't. Take Red Hat 8. Red Hat made the bold move to streamline its apperance and blur the differences in KDE and Gnome by creating Bluecurve. From what I saw most die hard Linux fans hated this. They felt that there prefered GUI was being blunted for the sake of compatibility.Yet I think it is a necessary move for Linux. One distro is going to have to slimline and try to make it effortless to operate. Lindows is trying to this, Lycoris is as well. Even Mandrake and SuSE are making small moves to do this. Without a slim easy to use destktop with consistant performance across applications Linux is doomed to be a hobbist tinker toy/erector set desktop. Unforchantly it may be that the only real way to do this is the Apple way, design a custom and full desktop that sits ontop of a *nix base. If I could run Max OS X on a PC I would dump Windows in a heartbeat.

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All these are great points of view, but I think it really is simpler then you realize -- but only because the steps are many, and we can only take one at a time.Linux is a long, long, LONG way from being a major player on the desktop. It's not going to happen overnight, this year, or next year. It's true, that software, as in applications, always leads. Without that, no one is going to adopt in droves.But there's very little that your average Linux distro packager can do about that. What they can -- and should -- do is to build shells that are easy to use and not just skins that have little functionality. This is one of my biggest pet peeves with Linux. The UI doesn't really do a whole lot. Neither KDE nor Gnome is really that good. They remind me of Windows 3.x's Program Manager -- maybe worse. Norton Desktop for Win 3.1 was better in those days. So was PC Tools for Windows 3.1. We need a Super KDE or Gnome (I'll confess that I prefer KDE) to emerge. Or better yet, an all new desktop that goes a lot further.Installation is another area, as is application installation, operating system updating, device management, network management, and a whole slew of other things. While in many ways Linux works better as-is, when you have to reconfigure something, it's a lot harder to do. Mostly it's because there's very little UI that hooks up the underlying, arcane (ok, to me) functionality with usable settings and config dialogs. Microsoft has not been wrong about the directions it has taken in making its software usable. Where it has tended to fall down is on the underpinnings -- all the stuff that Linux already has in spades.So, while there is very little that RedHat, SuSE, Mandrake, UnitedLinux, Lindows, etc., can do to make applications suddenly appear, there is something they can do: Make the OS a product that the average person can use. That also includes decent documentation, by the way. This expectation that Linux is only for geeks is the pride that goes before the fall. You're not going to train the average PC user to spend that much time learning an OS. If you make Linux an order of magnitude easier to install, easier to use, and fully configurable from understandable, logical UI, then ... just maybe, application makers will be encouraged to port stuff, rewrite it, build it from the ground up.Every single OS that came before Linux faced the same conundrum that bjf123 and ComputerBob were talking about. Software makers don't build products for an OS before there's enough marketshare to make it worthwhile; users don't buy and OS before there's enough apps to make it worthwhile. In almost every case, luck or leverage has been the key to breaking through that barrier. Linux will have to employ the same. But it can't curl up and die in the meantime. It has to perservere.Which leads me to Nlinecomputers' point. I actually think the multiplicity of Linux distros is a good thing. The market will self select the best one(s). If a Linux distributor lands upon something better, as RedHat and others continue to try to do, it will quickly be adopted. The others will either follow or differentiate in other ways. Eventually, there'll be fewer distributions as some of them clearly emerge as better that the rest. In the meantime, having lots of competitors means that better ideas are more likely to float to the top faster.My two cents.-- Scot

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BobThompson

I have done some light testing of Caldera with KDE and Red Hat 8.0 with BlueCurve. Other than that, I have some, but very little command line experience with various unix and linux versions.What I can say is I found KDE almost useless, because as Scot mentioned the control panels were hard to find, hard to figure out when you found them, and there was not a control panel for every task I wanted, such as mounting the CD-ROM.BlueCurve (the Gnome version) was much better. CD-ROMs mounted when they were inserted. I found and was able to use the printer control panel to install a network printer.I was reading over the Red Hat 9 papers and it seems that Red Hat is continuing to focus on this aspect. I will download and try it when I can and post my findings.I whole heartedly agree with Scot that Linux has two major obstacles: the aforementioned control panel dirth and the lack of major publishers porting their applications to linux.I think that the subscription software model of Lindows.com will prove successful when they have enough commercial software available that it makes sense for home users. Right now, most of the offerings are freely available elsewhere.

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Prelude76
One of Linux's strength is also its biggest stumbling block.  Linux is very diverse.
you hit the nail on the head. As a winblows expert myself, looking to get into Linux for fun to play around with it, even I am confuzzled (confused and dazzled B) ) by the sheer amount of distros. It would almost be easier to split Linux distros into newbies and advanced. And even the easy ones, I load the Live Eval CD of SuSE 8.2, and it all flowed good and easy, and then I go to log into Linux and it has my username and it has 6 different workspaces (kde, gnome, mm, and more)... i think i had the mm one selected (as a newbie, how am i to know to stick to KDE only?) and after i loaded, there was no taskbar, no clear way to exit, only by clicking right button i got menu, but there was no logoff or exit anywhere. ;) i luckily remembered Bruno's tip, CTRL-ALT-BACKSPACE, and then tried KDE and loved itand when i went to official linux page, and search for 'mainstream' distros, i got 46 results!!! <_< Linux is powerful, but to succeed on the desktop, it has to be a lot easier and less intimidating. there should almost be new distro, one that geeks would shy away from and newbies will want to flock to, that has ZERO command line interface, only has KDE GUI, and has easy to follow install and hardware setup, and just one of each application ( dont need Mozilla AND Galleon for web browsing, just mozilla).
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Guest LilBambi

It's getting there! You should have tried it a few years ago ;)When I got started with Linux initially, I had seen and liked RedHat (version 6.0 at the time), but hated the fact that I had to do a mount command to look at a cd or an unmount command to even open the door.That was why I had initially tried Mandrake 7.x ... they were the only distro that I was aware of that was using the super/auto mount by default. And it was buggy too at the time. Later versions handled it really well. Now RedHat uses it too.It is nice to have things like auto-mounting of CDs. It is these little conveniences that help new users who are just starting out with Linux. And the Distros are adding more of them all the time.It only keeps getting better ... but you really have to have a desire to learn something new to appreciate it and stick with it long enough to make it worth your while. <_>

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... but you really have to have a desire to learn something new to appreciate it and stick with it long enough to make it worth your while.  <_<
BINGO ! LilBambi ! B) Bruno
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Prelude76

im sure Linux is growing and i'm sure i'll love it coz i hate re-loading Windows every 6 months because of blue screen of death, but whether Linux is ready for the casual non-computer savy world, i doubt it. lil bambi, you mention the auto-mount of CD as a nice new 'convenience'. i dont mean to be a bugger about it, but i should never have to learn or even know about mounting/unmounting CD drives. it shouldve been automatic in linux years ago. :unsure: i mean, in windows, i click on "my computer", then on "CD".. done.. it should be as easy as this in linux, IMO

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Guest LilBambi

Prelude76 --I hear ya and I know it can be frustrating to us, I know it has been to me at times!But you have to remember that up to a couple years ago, Linux really was a Geek only OS. And Geeks mainly worked in commandline because it was much more powerful and faster than any GUI. They created the GUI for themselves initially and had no need to tailor it for Windows users.It was created by geeks who often just took Linus' kernel, or some other little distro, and created their own distro out of it, to meet their needs and for their own use. Mainly this was for server use and/or personal use. These were generally mainly volunteer developers donating their time to the cause and providing the community with drivers, programs, scripts, whatever.Since Linux didn't start out as an OS for 'normal' users like Windows did, and geeks didn't need, nor want, these 'conveniences' we Windows users have found irreplaceable, that was not the focus at all initially.However, some of these 'Distros' became desired by other geeks, and developers began to make these available for the other geeks in tarballs.Then RedHat came up with the RedHat Package Management (RPM) way to make it easier for 'more' normal users to get an introduction to an otherwise very geeky OS.Later Mandrake, taking off with their own version of an RPM based OS, really started trying to create something normal users could begin to sink their teeth into.Now that many Distros are heavily trying to meet user's desires for an alternative to the Windows monopoly on the "Desktop," many Distros are struggling against time (in many cases, in their own free time, since most may never be paid for their labor of love) to help meet that need. There is a lot of catching up to do and from what I have seen, they have done an outstanding job thus far for being such a new player in the "Desktop" arena.And as such are beginning to see the need to collaborate in a more commercial manner to speed things up. Hence the 'paid' packaging that is becoming more prevalent. Although their pricing is still very good. And most Distros you can still get for free if you don't want or need their support, which is really what you are paying for in most cases.Truthfully, I would like to have seen Microsoft do half as well with all the years they have had focusing on the "Desktop!"NOTE: Many other Distros besides the ones listed here are major players now in the US, and many more have been players in Europe/Asia for a long time. Also, I have skipped alot due to time and space constraints so please understand that this is a very short summary and some points may be not as clear as I'd like.But, sometimes it helps to know a little bit of background to help understand some of the issues involved. :unsure:

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im sure Linux is growing and i'm sure i'll love it coz i hate re-loading Windows every 6 months  because of blue screen of death, but whether Linux is ready for the casual non-computer savy world, i doubt it.  lil bambi, you mention the auto-mount of CD as a nice new 'convenience'.  i dont mean to be a bugger about it, but i should never have to learn or even know about mounting/unmounting CD drives.  it shouldve been automatic in linux years ago.  :unsure: i mean, in windows, i click on "my computer", then on "CD".. done..  it should be as easy as this in linux, IMO
I agree completely. In another thread, I make this exact point. We're actually looking into switching to Linux as a replacement for Windows. We were testing Open Office (under Red Hat) and copied some Excel and Word files to a diskette. It took us quite awhile to figure out we needed to mount the floppy drive before we could try to open those files. Until Linux gets those kinds of things resolved, it will have a difficult time gaining acceptance from the non techies.
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You've all brought up very relevant, pertinent thoughts and observations as to what Linux needs to be "on par". Here is one thing that Windows could use: while in Windows, it cannot - by itself - see Linux partitions, or read, write, copy, etc. Linux can, by mounting, do these. (If I am mistaken, please correct me.) I was able to transfer a needed executable file for XP from my "/home" directory in Mandrake; thought that was great, or have I just found out something that is obvious? :unsure: Anyway, it made me feel ;).

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Yes Quint read an write is a one way street between Linux and Windows, so just load Linux every time you boot :D :D !B) Bruno

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PS: you cant run any windows executable from within Linux ( that's also why a win virus can't spread ) ! But you can run some of them, like notepad, in windows accessed through Linux if you've got Wine installed. ( have a look on your CD's ) But then running notepad in Linux, why would you want to do that for ?? B) Bruno

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PS: you cant run any windows executable from within Linux ( that's also why a win virus can't spread )  ! But you can run some of them, like notepad, in windows accessed through Linux if you've got Wine installed. ( have a look on your CD's ) But then running notepad in Linux, why would you want to do that for ?? B)  Bruno
Thanks, Bruno; been wondering about "Wine". It's on one of the CD's...guess I'll have to investigate. :D
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