How to make Linux more successful on the desktop?

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pangaea3
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How to make Linux more successful on the desktop?

Post by pangaea3 » Wed Oct 23, 2013 5:56 pm

Linux has become very popular for servers, supercomputers, and even mobile devices. But is a minority with desktop and laptop computers. Why do you think this is, and how can it become more successful?

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Re: How to make Linux more successful on the desktop?

Post by Crewp » Wed Oct 23, 2013 6:01 pm

It's hard to compete against the MS money machine, most venders have deals with MS to have Windows preloaded on there machines. That makes it an uphill battle for Linux.
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Re: How to make Linux more successful on the desktop?

Post by Eggnog » Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:17 pm

I would guess it would depend upon how one measures success. It's gaining popularity from where it was even ten years ago. Valve has introduced Steam for Linux and will be introducing the SteamBox, which has caused more interest from AMD and nVidia in the way of driver support. A good infrastructure for gaming is essential. If I hear one thing over and over it's "I would consider Linux if it supported the games I play".

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Re: How to make Linux more successful on the desktop?

Post by passerby » Thu Oct 24, 2013 1:48 am

Servers are about performance, low overhead, reliability, security, and all the backend stuff that a majority of end users don't pay a great deal of thought.
Desktops sell via aesthetic appeal, ease of use, simplicity and familiarity. (not for everyone, I know. I mean general non-tech/non-gaming end users)
Because of that, Linux is well-suited for servers and supercomputers, but on the desktop, the main features of Linux take a back seat to the familiarity of Windows or the pretty colors of OSX. General users don't want to learn how to use their computer all over again.

Truthfully, I don't see Linux becoming big on the desktop. I think it will indeed continue to grow, but desktops are already in the decline, and they aren't picking back up any time soon.
With pushes such as SteamOS, governments in a few parts of the world handing out Linux CDs for people soon to be shunted by XP, Ubuntu being bundled as an alternative OS on commercial machines, and the increasing awareness of user security, Linux will grow, but without becoming an alternative industry standard (ie. so that any company or organization, not just tech companies, can make the switch painlessly), MS will remain ahead.

I'm more interested in seeing Linux on emerging technologies anyway. With mobile devices and even wearables becoming the norm, and Linux being lightweight and versatile enough to be a perfect fit for the platform, it's a good opportunity.
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Re: How to make Linux more successful on the desktop?

Post by igor83 » Thu Oct 24, 2013 11:32 pm

passerby wrote:Servers are about performance, low overhead, reliability, security, and all the backend stuff that a majority of end users don't pay a great deal of thought.
Desktops sell via aesthetic appeal, ease of use, simplicity and familiarity. (not for everyone, I know. I mean general non-tech/non-gaming end users)
Because of that, Linux is well-suited for servers and supercomputers, but on the desktop, the main features of Linux take a back seat to the familiarity of Windows or the pretty colors of OSX. General users don't want to learn how to use their computer all over again.

Truthfully, I don't see Linux becoming big on the desktop. I think it will indeed continue to grow, but desktops are already in the decline, and they aren't picking back up any time soon.
With pushes such as SteamOS, governments in a few parts of the world handing out Linux CDs for people soon to be shunted by XP, Ubuntu being bundled as an alternative OS on commercial machines, and the increasing awareness of user security, Linux will grow, but without becoming an alternative industry standard (ie. so that any company or organization, not just tech companies, can make the switch painlessly), MS will remain ahead.

I'm more interested in seeing Linux on emerging technologies anyway. With mobile devices and even wearables becoming the norm, and Linux being lightweight and versatile enough to be a perfect fit for the platform, it's a good opportunity.
I always offer Linux Mint to people who hire me to fix their malware-infested Windows computer or ask me for computer advice. So far, no one has taken me up on the offer. They don't know what Linux or Linux Mint is. They want to use what everybody else uses and are scared of the unknown. I think Linux Mint is perfect for beginners and also expert users. But Microsoft has the power of marketing behind it and it is everywhere on desktops and laptops and, like the above poster said, comes preinstalled on most new computers. So Linux and Linux Mint will remain options for those who know, the technorati, the elite who will enjoy the best of the best where operating systems are concerned.

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Re: How to make Linux more successful on the desktop?

Post by wanderer7 » Tue Nov 26, 2013 12:47 pm

Believe it or not, some (or maybe a lot of) people don't even know that Windows is not the only operating system in the world. Seriously. So lack of information is a big problem.

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Re: How to make Linux more successful on the desktop?

Post by famicommander » Tue Dec 03, 2013 8:42 pm

Progress is being made.

Chromebooks, SteamOS machines, System 76, Raspberry Pi, and other such endeavors would have been crazy talk when I first got into Linux. I bought a netbook with Linux preloaded from Newegg a few years back; that's not something you could have done in 2005.

I think the prevalence of dual booting and the diversity of Linux users and Linux distributions makes it hard to get an accurate count of the true number of desktop/laptop Linux users. Linux is rapidly expanding in the developing world and users are migrating back and forth within the greater Linux community all the time (eg, from Fedora to Mint or Ubuntu to Mageia). Web counter statistics are certainly not useful for those reasons (among others).

As early as 2009, a Microsoft slide at an investor meeting had Linux with a larger market share than Mac OS:
http://www.osnews.com/img/21035/ballmermacs.png
http://www.osnews.com/story/21035/Ballmer_Linux_Bigger_Competitor_than_Apple

So I suppose my point is that desktop/laptop Linux is almost certainly under-counted by most mainstream media outlets (the ones that bother to cover it, anyway).

I think a big reason why PC adoption has been tougher than in the realms of phones, tablets, servers, and supercomputers is that there hasn't been as much need for it on PCs. Like it or not, most people already know how to use Windows and it suits their needs well enough that they do not seek alternatives. But there was a clear need for another competitor to Apple in the smartphone realm; Microsoft's offerings were (and still are) years behind and Blackberry never really got its act together after Apple and Google burst onto the scene. Android grew because there was a need for a viable alternative to iOS. Linux grew in the server and supercomputer space because it's flexible enough that high level users can customize it to suit their specific needs.

I think we're now starting to see signs of growth in the PC space because there is a visible need and available means to meet said need. Some users are frustrated with Windows 8, some are being stranded by the upcoming expiration date on XP, some are aware of the advantages of Linux but have been held back by gaming (that's what has kept a Windows partition on one of my machines all these years)... The changing market has made more people aware of the possibility of alternatives to Windows.

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Re: How to make Linux more successful on the desktop?

Post by anandrkris » Wed Dec 04, 2013 12:57 am

Sorry, I didnt go through all your thoughts in details. My recommendation if you have lot of cash :mrgreen: -
Buy [url=http://www.fit-pc.com/web/products/mintbox/mintbox2-specifications/]Mint Box 2[/url] and fund all crowd-sourcing ventures that seek to improve Linux.
With Mint Box - One less Windows machine, incentive for manufacturers to sell Linux machines, Mint team gets additional revenue that they can use for improving the OS.

P.S. Mint Box was just an example - my point is to make vendors interested in selling Linux products,
.
Cheers,
If there is a drive, there will be a path

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Re: How to make Linux more successful on the desktop?

Post by SignorBari » Wed Dec 04, 2013 2:43 pm

Crewp wrote:It's hard to compete against the MS money machine, most venders have deals with MS to have Windows preloaded on there machines. That makes it an uphill battle for Linux.
Right, most PCs come with an operating system. Most people probably don't even know there's a choice. If you want Linux, you have to either buy a Windows machine and wipe it (or do a separate partition, vm, or whatever) or seek out one of the boutique builders that will either preload Linux (probably Ubuntu in that case) or sell you a system with no OS. I chose Mythlogic for my new laptop. Preloaded Ubuntu was an option for a small charge, but I decided to load Mint myself, which meant dealing with the hardware configuration issues. I'd guess most users don't want to deal with that--the video setup particularly was nontrivial (thanks, Nvidia!). I started looking into Linux because I've been a long-time Mac user unhappy with Apple going in the direction of making their computers closed-box appliances with more limited hardware (and eventually, I fear software) choices. But this only seems to make their products more popular.

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Re: How to make Linux more successful on the desktop?

Post by Brahim Salem » Wed Dec 04, 2013 4:42 pm

Linux is not an OS but rather a kernel on which many distributions are based. Linux desktop was a total mess which you still can notice on many distros like Fedora a Opensuse. On these distros for no clear reason you don't even have window controls and you have to go throgh the "River of the Dead" so that you can minimize a window. These guys think that everyone is a geek and has nothing to do with his life but fix his desktop and play with it. No wonder why some of these distros are extinct and others have shrinking user base. That kept Linux away from the mainstream. When Ubuntu was it out, it fixed some of that mess and polished Linux for average users. The second revolution was made by Linux Mint which made things easier by including codecs and useful software by default and then by introducing Cinnamon which is a "third revolution". It is an easy-to-use , elegantand practical desktop that even average users, including myself, can make their own themes and stuff without attending Harvard University of IT. But Cinnamon neds to be mediatized so that Linux can become mainstream. We will see more users coming to Linux thanks to Cinnamon in the near future :D


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Re: How to make Linux more successful on the desktop?

Post by dogsolitude_uk » Wed Dec 04, 2013 5:33 pm

Brahim wrote:Linux is not an OS but rather a kernel on which many distributions are based. Linux desktop was a total mess which you still can notice on many distros like Fedora a Opensuse. On these distros for no clear reason you don't even have window controls and you have to go throgh the "River of the Dead" so that you can minimize a window. These guys think that everyone is a geek and has nothing to do with his life but fix his desktop and play with it. No wonder why some of these distros are extinct and others have shrinking user base. That kept Linux away from the mainstream. When Ubuntu was it out, it fixed some of that mess and polished Linux for average users. The second revolution was made by Linux Mint which made things easier by including codecs and useful software by default and then by introducing Cinnamon which is a "third revolution". It is an easy-to-use , elegantand practical desktop that even average users, including myself, can make their own themes and stuff without attending Harvard University of IT. But Cinnamon neds to be mediatized so that Linux can become mainstream. We will see more users coming to Linux thanks to Cinnamon in the near future :D


"“If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself.”
Albert Einstein
Erm, Linux *is* an operating system. I think you should read up on what a Kernel is! Perhaps you got mixed up between Operating System and Desktop Environment.

Your comments about Fedora and OpenSuse are also way off the mark I'm afraid. The standard KDE4 desktop in OpenSuse is very friendly and glossy indeed, and very easy to use. You should check it out. Fedora comes with Gnome 3, and yes, that has window controls.

Ubuntu's big mistake was forcing people to use the 'Unity' desktop environment, a Touch-based interface. Whereas it's not as unusable as Windows 8 on a desktop, it still got in the way of enough users to see them migrate to the Linux Mint distro, because of Cinnamon and Mate, two more traditional desktop environments.

Regarding making Linux more successful on the desktop, well, to get people off Windows they'll need to be able to run the applications they depend on. For most people that'll be Office, Adobe products and other common productivity applications.

For gamers, many of whom build their own PCs and install their own OSes, we'll need a port of Skyrim and other AAA titles.

For me, I'd like a Linux version of Ableton Live.

For most Mum and Dad home users there's not a lot of point in switching if their home PC already has Windows on it, and their files. Replacing the OS would be unneccessary hassle, and would involve getting them used to an unfamiliar environment. Plus if things go wrong it can be a bit daunting. The chief problem is that if their sound goes (for example), and they end up on a forum being told to recompile the kernel that can be a bit offputting.

Seeing as Linux is free, the numbers game is a bit of a red herring anyway.

I personally dual-boot Windows and Linux on most of my machines, using Windows if I want to make music or do gaming, Linux if I'm coding/surfing (because it's fast to boot and gets out of my way). I'm platform-agnostic, and generally suggest to people that they find whatever works best for them, whether it's Windows, Mac, Mint, Ubuntu, OpenSuse or BeOS or whatever.

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Re: How to make Linux more successful on the desktop?

Post by Brahim Salem » Wed Dec 04, 2013 6:51 pm

What Linux needs is mediatization and huge corporations to bring it to the wider public! Canonical has done it right and now we see more and more computer manufacturers supporting Linux! :D
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Re: How to make Linux more successful on the desktop?

Post by lexon » Wed Dec 04, 2013 7:28 pm

Not a big deal.
Desktop PC's are slowly going away. Laptops not as fast but are also going away slowly.
I just junked two desktops and have no desire to ever have another one.
I use a laptop with 19 inch display at home and a iPhone 3GS when out on the road. No more laptop or tablets when out on the road.

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Re: How to make Linux more successful on the desktop?

Post by SignorBari » Wed Dec 04, 2013 7:45 pm

lexon wrote: I use a laptop with 19 inch display at home
In other words, you have a desktop that you can fold up when you're done with it. It's true that changing forms means that "desktop" doesn't necessarily mean "a largish rectangular box that sits mainly on a desk or the floor." I'm using a laptop right now, one that is powerful enough to do anything I would do with a "desktop" albeit with a smaller monitor. It's also true that smaller devices have gotten powerful enough that many routine tasks can be managed easily on them. But I don't think that will make the need for more capable, general purpose computers go away.

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Re: How to make Linux more successful on the desktop?

Post by craig10x » Wed Dec 04, 2013 8:10 pm

No offense but if i see a comment like this one more time i think i shall scream:

"Ubuntu's big mistake was forcing people to use the 'Unity' desktop environment, a Touch-based interface. Whereas it's not as unusable as Windows 8 on a desktop, it still got in the way of enough users to see them migrate to the Linux Mint distro, because of Cinnamon and Mate, two more traditional desktop environments."

Unity is a DOCK...it is no more a touch interface then Mac OSX's Dock which has been on the apple OS for like how many years now??? :roll:
And i have never heard anyone call OSX a "Touch Based Interface"...

Yes, it CAN be used as a touch interface (and is in the phone/tablet versions of ubuntu) but on the desktop you use it with a MOUSE...the same as you would with ANY OTHER DOCK...

A Dock is no less mouse friendly then say (for example) the slab menu that Cinnamon uses or Mate for that matter...The only difference it is ICON based rather then Text Based...but no more difficult to use...in fact, in many ways, easier...

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Re: How to make Linux more successful on the desktop?

Post by dogsolitude_uk » Thu Dec 05, 2013 3:55 pm

craig10x wrote:No offense but if i see a comment like this one more time i think i shall scream:

"Ubuntu's big mistake was forcing people to use the 'Unity' desktop environment, a Touch-based interface. Whereas it's not as unusable as Windows 8 on a desktop, it still got in the way of enough users to see them migrate to the Linux Mint distro, because of Cinnamon and Mate, two more traditional desktop environments."

Unity is a DOCK...it is no more a touch interface then Mac OSX's Dock which has been on the apple OS for like how many years now??? :roll:
And i have never heard anyone call OSX a "Touch Based Interface"...

Yes, it CAN be used as a touch interface (and is in the phone/tablet versions of ubuntu) but on the desktop you use it with a MOUSE...the same as you would with ANY OTHER DOCK...

A Dock is no less mouse friendly then say (for example) the slab menu that Cinnamon uses or Mate for that matter...The only difference it is ICON based rather then Text Based...but no more difficult to use...in fact, in many ways, easier...
Not strictly true. Unity was, in its original incarnation, a lot more than just a dock. It includes a large-icon 'dash' with search lenses, and changed a number of things that Gnome 2 users took for granted, like multiple desktops and being able to generally move thinsg about. The Dash is very much geared towards touch devices (can't order/resize icons, for example), but unlike Windows 8, actually works OK with a mouse on a small monitor. Unity also pinned the taskbar (or what was left of it) to the top of the screen, leaving no option to have it at the bottom or the sides. You cannot move or resize the 'Dash' bit either.

So basically, any notion of a customisable workspace went out the window.

Whereas I accept that it wasn't so much of a 'wrench' as Windows 8 interface, I stand by my assertion that many users left Ubuntu because of Unity, and I'll also stand by my comments about it being, initially at least, touch focused.

It looks lovely, by the way, and it's perfect for netbooks (not used it on a tablet yet). I can't fault Canonical's design sense. Great use of colour, subtle use of effects, I love the 'Ubuntu' font too. The current version of Unity is much improved in a lot of small ways, and a lot of the little niggles that bugged the hell out of me with the initial release have been ironed out, but it's still not very flexible. Like I say, one cannot change the size of the launcher or move it to other parts of the screen. A really simple-sounding thing to expect, but Shuttleworth's response was basically 'my way or the highway'.

It's these things combined with the general feeling of clutter and clunkiness that have stopped me from using Ubuntu and Unity, and led me to use the sleeker, more minimal Mint with Cinnamon and Mate. It's not just me that felt this way (http://www.extremetech.com/computing/104581-linux-mint-the-new-ubuntu), many others did too.

If Unity works for you, then great. You'll be pleased to hear that I'm not actually King of The World, and so my opinions won't delete it from any website, or prevent you from using it in any way! :)

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Re: How to make Linux more successful on the desktop?

Post by DrHu » Thu Dec 05, 2013 4:03 pm

Don't worry, be happy!
Win7x is fine, not so sure about win8x

We can't change anyone's mind about what they use, even if we have a cheaper or more useful product selection list available: LibreOffice 4x for most is enough of a suite to compete with Ms Office, now that Apple has given up on that venture
http://lifehacker.com/battle-of-the-office-suites-microsoft-office-and-libre-1147940828
  • are they so disimilar
  • Even so, I have no distaste for Microsoft product lines, except that I do think they fragment the only OS product they have (their general purpose OS) into way too many versions of the same OS product
    --and I do like the fact, that being a mass marketer, Microsoft has been able to drive down hardware prices, albeit it would have happened in any case, but much slower..

    Avaricious concerns about sales/sales position and other statistics are not all that interesting to Linux users (I think), even private/commercial organizations seem to have little concern about their stats, except when it applies to share prices
    • Share prices are only virtual being that they do not represent real products or results but only the expectations of those avarious hordes: aka investors ?

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Re: How to make Linux more successful on the desktop?

Post by dogsolitude_uk » Thu Dec 05, 2013 4:14 pm

DrHu wrote:Don't worry, be happy!
Win7x is fine, not so sure about win8x

We can't change anyone's mind about what they use, even if we have a cheaper or more useful product selection list available: LibreOffice 4x for most is enough of a suite to compete with Ms Office, now that Apple has given up on that venture
  • Even so, I have no distaste for Microsoft product lines, except that I do think they fragment the only OS product they have (their general purpose OS) into way too many versions of the same OS product
    --and I do like the fact, that being a mass marketer, Microsoft has been able to drive down hardware prices, albeit it would have happened in any case, but much slower..

    Avaricious concerns about sales/sales position and other statistics are not all that interesting to Linux users (I think), even private/commercial organizations seem to have little concern about their stats, except when it applies to share prices
    • Share prices are only virtual being that they do not represent real products or results but only the expectations of those avarious hordes: aka investors ?
Quite. One of the great things about FOSS, and to an extent Linux, is that the market-penetration arms race is less important than for Microsoft and Apple, and has also meant that one can cater to niche markets without feeling the ire of shareholders.

At least that's my understanding anyway.

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Re: How to make Linux more successful on the desktop?

Post by craig10x » Thu Dec 05, 2013 4:29 pm

That's cool...by the way, by default, i wasn't crazy about the large icons on unity, either...however, that can easily be adjusted in the system settings...I have a 17" laptop i use as a desktop replacement and i shrink the icons down to 38 pixels which to me seems just right (you can make them even smaller)...

I think it would be nice if you had the option of putting it on the bottom, but i got use to it being on the left (and interestingly my mac-friend puts his osx dock on the left because he likes it better over there...lol)....The reason they have it on the left is to make it unified throughout all environments (desktop, phone, tablet, etc)..
so i understand the thinking...

Also, you have to keep in mind that it is GNOME that went to the new desktop with it's Gnome Shell when Gnome3 was introduced...Canonical wanted to work together with them but Gnome apparently wanted everything their way so Canonical was forced to go off on it's own...personally, between Unity and Gnome Shell, i think Unity is the more streamlined and elegant solution even if it doesn't have all the "customization" options...

But that is the idea with main Ubuntu...to make an attractive, simple to use desktop that is nice "out of the box" and help to attract more newbies to Linux...a very WORTHY goal in my opinion... :D

If one desires more customization, or a different style of desktop, there's tons of alternatives, including the ubuntu variations (xubuntu/kubuntu, etc) and distros like linux mint...

For me...i just want to have something that looks good, is simple to use and then just USE it...not worried about changing this that and the other thing, as it were.... :lol:

Personally, though i started with Ubuntu and love it...i was not in love with it's original 2 panel configuration, so eventually migrated to mint....but when Unity was introduced, it brought me back over to it...I had used a mac for a while after leaving windows (but before discovering linux) so i found the "mac-like" unity set up to be very appealing...I also liked Windows 7 but really can't take Windows 8 (metro)...that IS a real mess...

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Re: How to make Linux more successful on the desktop?

Post by dogsolitude_uk » Thu Dec 05, 2013 7:29 pm

craig10x wrote:That's cool...by the way, by default, i wasn't crazy about the large icons on unity, either...however, that can easily be adjusted in the system settings...I have a 17" laptop i use as a desktop replacement and i shrink the icons down to 38 pixels which to me seems just right (you can make them even smaller)...

I think it would be nice if you had the option of putting it on the bottom, but i got use to it being on the left (and interestingly my mac-friend puts his osx dock on the left because he likes it better over there...lol)....The reason they have it on the left is to make it unified throughout all environments (desktop, phone, tablet, etc)..
so i understand the thinking...

Also, you have to keep in mind that it is GNOME that went to the new desktop with it's Gnome Shell when Gnome3 was introduced...Canonical wanted to work together with them but Gnome apparently wanted everything their way so Canonical was forced to go off on it's own...personally, between Unity and Gnome Shell, i think Unity is the more streamlined and elegant solution even if it doesn't have all the "customization" options...

But that is the idea with main Ubuntu...to make an attractive, simple to use desktop that is nice "out of the box" and help to attract more newbies to Linux...a very WORTHY goal in my opinion... :D

If one desires more customization, or a different style of desktop, there's tons of alternatives, including the ubuntu variations (xubuntu/kubuntu, etc) and distros like linux mint...

For me...i just want to have something that looks good, is simple to use and then just USE it...not worried about changing this that and the other thing, as it were.... :lol:

Personally, though i started with Ubuntu and love it...i was not in love with it's original 2 panel configuration, so eventually migrated to mint....but when Unity was introduced, it brought me back over to it...I had used a mac for a while after leaving windows (but before discovering linux) so i found the "mac-like" unity set up to be very appealing...I also liked Windows 7 but really can't take Windows 8 (metro)...that IS a real mess...
Have fiddled with the settings, and tried them at 16px on my desktop. I still find the interface stifling tbh, but I can totally see your point about something that's consistent and works straight out of the box. Also found out how to switch desktops after a bit of digging. Can't see myself ever using it over Cinnamon, Mate or XFCE, but like you say I'd feel reasonably confident that I could install it on a friends PC, show them round it a bit and they'd be happy.

Looks damned fine with that 'water drop on leaf' background too.

The joys of Virtualbox and free operating systems :)

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