What prevents Linux from beating Windows and OS X?

In today's open source roundup: Which problems stop Linux from dominating the desktop? Plus: Linux gamers and Nvidia graphics cards. And new Firefox features might not work on unencrypted sites

What prevents Linux from beating Windows and OS X?

Linux has been around for quite a long time now, but it still plays third fiddle to Windows and OS X. Which problems are stopping Linux from dominating the desktop? A redditor asked this question and got some very interesting answers.

MCMXChris asked which problems continue to plague Linux:

In your opinion, what prevents it from becoming a household name like Windows/Mac/Android/iOS? I realize most of these are actually based on Linux. But what problems are specific to Linux?

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His fellow Linux redditors responded:

Doom_Oo7: "There was less cash spent in marketing for the whole idea of a desktop linux in the last twenty years, than for a single TV ad for MS Windows."

JRRS: "During 6 to 8 of those 20 years Linux was never really targeted as a personal use/desktop system. Yes there were user friendly distros such as Mandrake/Mandriva, Knoppix and early SuSe but they also needed some serious tweaking and hacking to get stuff configured and done, in an era when you could install WinXP and do some clicks to get it ready it was a disadvantage on which maybe nobody was willing to invest on publicity.

This is because over those 20 years Linux had some serious marketing on the server/corporate market, I might say some times even more aggressive than Windows server."

Shadow31: "Someone (like the Linux Foundation) should put together a really awesome ad that plays off the 1984 Apple Macintosh commercial but this time, portray Windows and OS X as Big Brother and Linux with it's choice of desktop environments (GNOME, KDE, Unity, Cinnamon, and a million others) as the rebel.

The first part of the ad could be monochrome and when Big Brother's monitor is smashed, the bold warm colors of the different distros could appear. A quick slideshow of Ubuntu & Unity in orange, Fedora & GNOME 3 in blue, openSUSE & KDE in green, etc. End with the Linux penguin and a short url to a nice, friendly page with links to the easy-to-install distros and lots of screenshots of the different desktop environments."

Oneeyed2: "Developers for GUI applications following some kind of standard guidelines. I'm not even talking about GUI framework, but the design...

As it is, it's all over the place. That's why GUI apps don't seem as polished or professional in my opinion as in other OSes."

Spupy: "There are badly designed Linux apps for sure, but I really don't agree with you; in fact I think the situation is quite the opposite wrt Windows vs Linux GUI apps. Windows applications are terrible at being consistent, especially the more "professional" ones - all sorts of toolkits, developers going NIH on the visual side, themes not in line with your OS's visuals, all sorts of weird...window layouts. I find Linux apps to be much more consistent.

For example, the Windows 7 installation I use for gaming has around 6 or 7 apps pinned to the taskbar - the ones I use most. Out of those only three actually look consistent with the OS itself, and that's because 2 out of those 3 are part of Windows itself. What about keyboard shortcuts? Devs that write for Windows chose some of the most retarded key shortcuts I have ever encountered."

9279: "I also feel like documentation is a problem. It is scattered and unorganized and this causes information to get out dated because no one is keeping up with one set archive. Look at Debian's wiki. It is just a ton of information that had been added on top of itself over and over again and now it's a mess.

Why we don't have one site with a section for every distro and the documentation for each distro is maintained and presented in a similar way is beyond me. And then general sections for pieces of widely used software."

Jabjoe: "Why does it need to become a household name? I don't think the Linux kernel, or GNU will ever be household names. What may be is different Linux distributions, which could already be the case if you count Android. Ubuntu is a distro many even vaguely technical people have heard of. Similarly ChromeOS. It will be brands of Linux and GNU/Linux that people know, not the names of the technology it is made of. I suspect the first time norms will hear of Linux is if/when MSLinux comes out and then of course most of them will think Microsoft invented it.

But I'm finding I care less and less about what other people use. And for me, GNU/Linux, or specifically Debian, has been meeting all my needs for many years now. For friends and family, I can increasingly claim I can't fix their Windows machines because I don't know modern Windows. If friends and family want me on hand to fix their problems, they need to be running an install by me or a distro I'll support (i.e. Debian based)."

MekkaGodzilla: "Most people don't even know what it is.

Most of those who have heard of it think it's very complicated, and that you need to type in "command lines" to accomplish anything. Even software developpers at my office (who do windows software mostly, in Delphi).

Everytime I mention I don't use Windows at home, people assume I run MacOS. When I correct them, they think I'm some sort of wizard."

Mubix77: "Whenever I try to introduce someone to Linux/Unix than one of the first questions they ask me is how they can use MS Office. When I show them Libreoffice, they are usually a bit disappointed. So IMO for Linux to become a household name, is to have better Office software and maybe an MS Outlook alternative."

Awkwardtechdude: "Why do we need to have access to proprietary things like MS Office or iTunes? We need to use open-source applications and protocols. Don't fall into using proprietary software."

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