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The Problem With Desktop Linux

Linux, taken as a whole, may be one of the biggest secret computing success stories in recent years; think of all the Linux-powered web servers, the supercomputers, Android devices and so on. When it comes to Linux on the pc or laptop - not so much. There are at least three major reasons I can think of that come to bear.

First, not many "normal" people know (or care) about a non-Apple, non-Microsoft desktop operating system. The average PC user has been so used to the status quo, it's hard to make any kind of inroads into these established conventions with another OS. Never mind one that has such a different approach to things. There is one current version of Apple OSX, one current version of Microsoft Windows, but there are multiple Linux distros available at any one time.

Following on from that, the second reason is that the plethora of Linux distributions is largely bewildering to newcomers; I know, I was one once. Why so many? What are the differences? Is one better than the other? Whether there are too many distributions is a debatable point, but at the core of the Linux philosophy is the notion that choice is A Good Thing.

Lastly, there is still the perception that Linux is weird or hard to use, or that you have to be a geek to use it. While it does definitely have geeky roots, and you can definitely find yourself hip-deep in command line extravagance, for the sorts of things most PC users do it's no more complicated than Apple of Microsoft's efforts. You still have a web browser, a file explorer, a video player, a music player, and so on.

Oh, and see that stuff below? That's what Apple OSX has under it's skirt - and most OSX users never see it...

Ditto Windows...


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