Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

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Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

Yes. Hundreds of Distros, each with multiple DE's, and some flooded app categories is too overwhelming for the general public.
54
40%
No. The insane amount of choice Linux offers is not limiting its popularity.
82
60%
 
Total votes: 136

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Re: Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

Post by randomizer »

markfiend wrote:I still don't really understand why the "market share" of Linux is important to you.
Because the success of an operating system is apparently tied to how many people are involuntarily using it.
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Re: Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

Post by MALsPa »

randomizer wrote:
markfiend wrote:I still don't really understand why the "market share" of Linux is important to you.
Because the success of an operating system is apparently tied to how many people are involuntarily using it.
I can see where that's true, but I also don't think that Linux is hurting right now, even with the tiny market share. And it doesn't seem like Linux usage is decreasing, by any means. So I guess that has a lot to do with why I have no concerns at all about Linux popularity or market share -- and I certainly don't have any concerns about the amount of "choice" in Linux distros, desktop environments, apps, etc.
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Re: Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

Post by monkeyboy »

I agree with MALsPa on this, competing for the number of desktops is a looser. Linux is not a commercial product so selling it to the maximum number of users is not a goal. I mean you can't find the billions of dollars that Microsoft expended over the decades to secure market share anywhere in the Linux model and for that, we should be glad.
Linux has always been a niche market project and as such needs its own definitions of success. I would suggest that questions like, is it easier to use then it used to be, is its stable in comparison to its past incarnations and most importantly will it do what I want it to do without getting in the way. In my opinion Linux has already succeeded and continues to advance when judged correctly and will likely always fail when judged against products that serve a different segment of users with different definitions of success and promoted using a commercial marketing model. Enjoy
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Re: Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

Post by mintnoob »

markfiend wrote:I know you weren't asking me but IMO the explanations are largely as follows:
  • Advertising budget. MS is advertising Windows 7 on the TV quite heavily at the moment here in the UK. This costs money, and a lot of it. Linux has an advertising budget (effectively) of zero. It's all done by word-of-mouth and (let's face it) by open-source evangelists.
But since Linux is free, it should have no problem going viral if it is competitive with Win and Mac. If Linux, as a whole, was better, just as good, or not too far behind, respected computer and tech magazines and websites would be giving Linux free advertising by writing positive reviews about it and recommending it to people.
[*]Most computer users stick with whatever the computer came installed with. They just aren't interested in installing a new OS.[/list]
But if Linux was more popular, it would come pre-installed in more computers. And with great out-of-the-box distros like Mint, it's not that hard for the average person to install it.
I still don't really understand why the "market share" of Linux is important to you.
Couple of reasons:
  • More popular = more users = more developers = better OS and, more importantly, better Apps
    More popular = more hardware manufacturers providing drivers (printers, etc)
    More popular = more software being Linux compatible (Yahoo IM, etc)
    All that = one step closer to being Windows-free
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Re: Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

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Re: Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

Post by randomizer »

mintnoob wrote:But since Linux is free, it should have no problem going viral if it is competitive with Win and Mac.
It shouldn't, but it does. The reason for that is because most people don't care what is on their PC, and many do not know that Windows is a piece of software and not just part of the thing they bought. Windows and OSX have bred a generation of technological imbeciles dependent on the quirks of whatever they are used to. Most are too lazy to learn something new even if it will be beneficial to them. Being free means nothing if people are willing to pay for more of the same. A product doesn't need to be good to sell, it just needs good marketing. OSX and Windows both have excellent marketing, and could be steaming piles of crap and still sell just as well.
mintnoob wrote:But if Linux was more popular, it would come pre-installed in more computers.
Circular logic. For Linux to be more popular it will already need to be installed on more computers, assuming popularity is based on number of users. How can it possibly be "popular" if people have not already seen and used it? Popularity with enthusiasts is a different story, because we don't buy pre-installed OSs. Having said that, we generally prefer what we're already used to nonetheless.
mintnoob wrote:Couple of reasons:
  • More popular = more users = more developers = better OS and, more importantly, better Apps
    More popular = more hardware manufacturers providing drivers (printers, etc)
    More popular = more software being Linux compatible (Yahoo IM, etc)
    All that = one step closer to being Windows-free
The first is debatable, because more developers doesn't mean more good developers. Nor does it mean more developers willing to settle for Free Software licences when they're used to proprietary ones. I agree with the latter three. But if all this is so important to you, I wonder if you've done anything to spearhead the uptake of Linux yourself, or just moaned about meaningless metrics of success applied to market segments where it is irrelevant (libre vs commercial)?
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Re: Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

Post by markfiend »

mintnoob wrote:But since Linux is free, it should have no problem going viral if it is competitive with Win and Mac. If Linux, as a whole, was better, just as good, or not too far behind, respected computer and tech magazines and websites would be giving Linux free advertising by writing positive reviews about it and recommending it to people.
OK. So say I'm the editor of Mac User, and someone comes to me with an article singing the praises of Linux Mint. I'm going to spike it.

The fact is that a lot of the tech magazines and so forth have a vested (often financial) interest in one of the commercial OSs
mintnoob wrote:But if Linux was more popular, it would come pre-installed in more computers. And with great out-of-the-box distros like Mint, it's not that hard for the average person to install it.
Again, most of the OEMs have a vested interest in supplying a commercial OS. Apple (obviously) are never going to ship with anything other than the Apple OS. Most other manufacturers have done deals with MS to supply Windows. Even with Dell, the most Linux-friendly manufacturer, it's really difficult to actually buy a Linux PC off them.

And yes, agreed, it's not hard to install Mint, but go to John Q Average Computer User and tell him to install his own operating system, he'll have a fit!
mintnoob wrote:
I still don't really understand why the "market share" of Linux is important to you.
Couple of reasons:
  • More popular = more users = more developers = better OS and, more importantly, better Apps
    More popular = more hardware manufacturers providing drivers (printers, etc)
    More popular = more software being Linux compatible (Yahoo IM, etc)
    All that = one step closer to being Windows-free
OK, I get it now. I still think you're wrong... :mrgreen:

Like randomizer I agree with your last three points (although I'm not convinced the world will ever be Windows-free)

BUT I'm not sure that more users = more developers. I think the developers who are interested in contributing will do so, after all I find it hard to believe that someone capable of coding for a FOSS project won't have heard of Linux.

I actually think that it's at least possible that the opposite is true: more popular -> more users -> more freeloaders -> developers get frustrated and walk away.

And removing choice is also likely IMO to drive away developers; people are only going to develop for FOSS projects because it's something they want to do. If, somehow, your idea that the number of distros (or WMs or DEs or music players or whatever) could be limited, what guarantee do you have that coders who wanted to work on one of the projects you've managed to stop will come over to one of the projects you've allowed to go forward?

Your proposal to limit the numbers of FOSS project fails, IMO, ultimately because it fails to take into account why there is such a wide ecosystem of FOSS projects in the first place. Free open-source software is driven by its developers. These guys are coding for fun for the most part. They don't particularly care whether you (or anyone else) are using their software, they just care that they are using something that they have made. And forks, duplicated effort, and a massive proliferation of available software are an inevitable result of that.

I'll give you an example: I'm currently teaching myself Python. One project I'm trying at the moment is a program for me to play Reversi against my computer. I am well aware that there are already a multitude of Reversi computer games available, but that's not the point. It's a learning experience for my own benefit. And if I ever get to the point that I think it's good enough, I might release my Reversi under the GPL.

(Post edited because I noticed a typo, then edited again to insert this explanation.)
Last edited by markfiend on Wed Jun 16, 2010 6:49 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

Post by mehmet7 »

True,as many of you did mention maybe "average Joe" computer user couldǹt care less about which OS he is using-he just wants to push the button and be able to write a letter, a mail, surf in the net etc. I wouldn't say that those users would really considering Linux distros even if those would be more "pre-selected". What I think the average user would be ready to do theoretically is just to accept a pre-installed Linux OS if it came with the computer automatically, but as most users are just used to Windows they are not really likely to switch to a new system they are unfamiliar with. I remember that years ago some universities used to have Linux (Redhead if I remember correctly) OS on their public computers, nevertheless as students complained about the unfamiliar system they just switched over to Windows again. Its not so much the aspect of choice, but the will and curiosity to familiarize oneself with a new concept, I would say.
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Re: Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

Post by mintnoob »

A related discussion over at linuxquestions.org:
entz wrote:well i intend this as a discussion regarding the new , old and odd question of why linux is not getting anywhere near mainstream !

i mean when we talk about linux we talk about an OS that covers a lousy 1% of the usage share , so i'd like to hear your personal opinions regarding what is it in linux that's lacking or even perhaps hindering a mainstream adoption as well what should be done to get things moving forward and towards a popular linux YEY !
Dinithion wrote:A few things I can think of that is a giant hold back, is:

4. To much choice. People get confused.
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Re: Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

Post by markfiend »

mintnoob: are you actually reading anyone else's posts on this thread? It seems to me that you're just dismissing any opinion that does not match your own.

The general consensus on this thread is:
1) You are wrong about how low is the adoption rate for GNU/Linux in general.
2) If 1 fails, you are wrong about low adoption rates being a bad thing.
3) If 2 fails, you are wrong about low adoption rates being caused by too much choice.
4) if 3 fails, you cannot propose how you would go about limiting choice.

In other words, you are wrong on every level, yet you keep flogging this same old dead horse of yours.
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Re: Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

Post by randomizer »

I think we're aware that other people quote the erroneous 1% figure. Would you like me to surf the net and quote another 50 people for you so you don't need to do it? It doesn't make your argument any stronger. Verifiable evidence would, but these is just opinions. Oh well, you'll probably ignore this post and quote somebody on another forum in the next few days anyway.

To answer the original question of this thread: The only way to know would be to try it out. This won't happen, and therefore you can't answer the question.

EDIT: That thread has alot of stupid arguments, on both sides.
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Re: Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

Post by markfiend »

randomizer wrote:EDIT: That thread has alot of stupid arguments, on both sides.
:shock: Flamewars between teenagers. What do you expect?
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Re: Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

Post by MALsPa »

markfiend wrote:The general consensus on this thread is:
1) You are wrong about how low is the adoption rate for GNU/Linux in general.
2) If 1 fails, you are wrong about low adoption rates being a bad thing.
3) If 2 fails, you are wrong about low adoption rates being caused by too much choice.
4) if 3 fails, you cannot propose how you would go about limiting choice.

In other words, you are wrong on every level, yet you keep flogging this same old dead horse of yours.
randomizer wrote:To answer the original question of this thread: The only way to know would be to try it out. This won't happen, and therefore you can't answer the question.
I agree with these comments. mintnoob, Linux is not going to be changed to something with LESS choice. It is not going to happen. It would no longer be Linux. It would no longer be open source.

You are beating a dead horse and carrying on a pointless argument.
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Re: Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

Post by calinut1 »

I didn't vote as I don't agree with neither of the statements. Still, you gotta think about this: Lets say they decide somehow to remove the unnecessary distros and make a better one. How would the developers of that distro feel after they spent so much work on it? How would the users feel after they spent so much time and effort with it? How would you feel if you were in their position? I personally prefer having more than 4 choices (Windows, Mac OS, Ubuntu, Linux Mint) although I may never make those choices(For example I may never install OpenSuse, but who knows? )
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Re: Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

Post by mintnoob »

markfiend wrote:The general consensus on this thread is:
Just because the "general consensus" thinks I'm wrong, doesn't mean I'm wrong. These kinds of subject provoke a lot of pride, therefore will meet a lot of resistance. It's the classic "All truth goes through three steps: First it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Finally, it is accepted as self-evident."
1) You are wrong about how low is the adoption rate for GNU/Linux in general.
2) If 1 fails, you are wrong about low adoption rates being a bad thing.
3) If 2 fails, you are wrong about low adoption rates being caused by too much choice.
4) if 3 fails, you cannot propose how you would go about limiting choice.
1) Then what is the correct rate?
2) A low adoption rate is reflective of a free OS, like Linux, not being as good as a non-free OS, like Win or Mac.
3) Then what are the causes?
4) I have proposed how.
In other words, you are wrong on every level, yet you keep flogging this same old dead horse of yours.
Evidence suggests otherwise (and I'm not talking about the poll results).
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Re: Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

Post by mintnoob »

randomizer wrote:I think we're aware that other people quote the erroneous 1% figure.
Then what is the correct figure??? A lot of you keep saying that figure is erroneous, but won't give me the correct figure.
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Re: Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

Post by mintnoob »

MALsPa wrote:mintnoob, Linux is not going to be changed to something with LESS choice. It is not going to happen. It would no longer be Linux. It would no longer be open source.
You keep making it look like I'm proposing to do away with true open source and replace it was some kind of dictatorial or restricted source. I AM NOT PROPOSING THAT.

There are ways to curb things without the use of force. One method is education. Another are pleas from respected members of the community.
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Re: Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

Post by mintnoob »

calinut1 wrote:Lets say they decide somehow to remove the unnecessary distros and make a better one. How would the developers of that distro feel after they spent so much work on it? How would the users feel after they spent so much time and effort with it? How would you feel if you were in their position? I personally prefer having more than 4 choices (Windows, Mac OS, Ubuntu, Linux Mint) although I may never make those choices(For example I may never install OpenSuse, but who knows? )
Who are "they"?
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Re: Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

Post by calinut1 »

mintnoob wrote:Who are "they"?
The Linux community, the project leaders of the distros, anyone who has the power to decide this. I didn't say there are such persons, I just said what would happen if THERE WERE such persons ad if they decided to do something.
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Re: Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

Post by Snydar »

I skimmed through a bit, but didn't read everything... so sorry if I repeat anything. Just wanted to share my personal experience with beginning with Linux. It is a long story, so If you just want to see my little conclusion, skip down to the :!: :!: :!: at the bottom of my post. :D

I used to be competent Windows user, and knew all the apps to use to get my stuff done. But I got a little bored with the maintenance to keep it running without bogging down, and heard about Linux and wanted to give it a try.

I searched for how to install Linux. I found a lot of older articles, and I just wanted to install the coolest most up to date version, but couldn't really find any info on which Linux was popular by googling, but I did find Distrowatch. I read the info on the top 5 or so Distros at the time, and decided Mint was cool, and I would give it a shot. I couldn't believe there were so many choices, I thought you just install "Linux" and install what you need like you did with Windows.

I went to the Mint site to download... and then I found there were a few different choices after even picking distro! I went back to the googler to check which version is for me. I focused my search on Gnome vs KDE. My search wasn't that productive... but it seemed to me like Gnome was the tamed down simplified version meant for beginners, and was out of date... and that the KDE version was cool and hip and bleeding edge. Sweet! So I got the KDE version and installed it.

After booting up, I liked how things looked more or less... things were unfamiliar, but fresh and I was pretty excited. I was frustrated how different the process is to install apps. I had to google for alternatives for every app that I was accustomed to, and decided that I would be better off sticking to windows because it would take HOURS to find alternative versions for everything I needed to use. MSN Messenger, torrent software, games, Word, Excel, etc... So I wiped the Linux partition after only giving it about 20 minutes. KDE looked pretty cool, but it was kind of awkward, foreign, and seemed too complicated to be able to replace my Windows lifestyle.

Back to Windows I went. I got tired of the maintenance again about 6 months later, and decided to give Linux one more shot.

I remembered that Mint sounded like the best noob friendly distro, so I went back to Linux Mint.
This time I decided I would get the Main edition, even though it sounded like the basic, boring version.

My average Windows experience would be using MSN messenger, Internet Explorer, playing some online games. So, decided I would get to work installing these apps so I wouldn't need to dual boot. I didn't read so much about how to use Linux, but proceeded to go to some sites to download the same apps I used on Windows. Of course MS wouldn't make a MSN for linux, so I searched for a clone... and found 2 or 3 versions. I just wanted the best, most up to date one... so I picked one that I thought was close enough. Wasn't good enough, so I tried the other... that one was good enough, but for some reason when I installed through Synaptic, it wasn't the newest version with the newest features. So I went to download the deb package from the site. Sweet, I got the most up to date version. (Although not the supported way...)

Every other app was about the same story... google for an alternative, and I would be presented with at least 2 or 3 choices, often more than 5. I just wanted to get the most popular and supported software, get the most up to date version. (Newer = better, right? At least to Windows users...)

The apps I found were hit and miss, some did almost everything I wanted, but in some cases I needed two similar apps to do what I did before in one app.
I couldn't believe I was spending hours just googling and getting lists of applications, and having to spend so much time to pick which one has the most features and is most supported.

I really liked the feel of the main Mint edition, I think it was edition 5 or 6. But I still needed to dual boot to play games, and I was just so used to a couple apps in Windows that I couldn't cut the cord. Also, I needed Word and Excel for school, and I didn't want to risk any down time not being able to work on my school work if I deleted Windows.

At first I was using Windows more often than Mint, but gradually I started using Mint more than Windows. I found out I could get some games working with Wine... and some apps I wanted I could use in wine or VirtualBox. I liked the feel of Linux more than Windows, so I tried my best to not get frustrated and find out how to do things the 'Linux' way. Eventually I cut the cord, and deleted the Windows partition for good. (Although, I did make a virtual box version of Windows just in case a friend needed me to help them with something on Windows and I could have it there in front of me to walk them through.)

I would think my experience was pretty average. Get sick of Windows, and try Linux. Was overwhelmed or frustrated by the change, tried it out a little, and gave up. Going from an operational system that you are accustomed to, to an unfamiliar system that you can't use for everything is very daunting. There were a lot of choices for apps, and I just wanted the best version. Which to most windows users is going to somewhere like download.com and picking the software with the most downloads.

I think it was unfortunate that I picked KDE to try first. It isn't as user (noob) friendly as Gnome. I am pretty geeky, so I thought KDE was for me, but it shouldn't be recommended for the Linux noobs.

:!: :!: :!:
I think that the fragmentation of Linux was a large part of the reason that I gave up using Linux my first try. I just wanted something that worked. I didn't want to spend hours googling for which version of Linux is best, and then which desktop environment for that distro is best, and then which applications would work for that desktop environment.

Honestly what I expected was to go to http://www.linux.com and download Linux. Install the CD, and download a few applications and be rolling in about an hour or so. It shouldn't take so much time to find the right word processor, photo editing software, music software, messengers, video software, games, etc..

I think it would be very helpful if new Linux users were directed to ONE place to go at first. I would like them to be presented with a small questionnaire. There would be a list of applications that they use in Windows / Mac and you would click the check boxes. At the end, you would click the download button, reboot and install your system.

This new user would save a lot of time searching for applications because they would be presented with the most mainstream equivalent application.
This user should also have one place to go to ask questions if they need help with something.
After this user gets the hang of Linux, they should then be encouraged to customize their installation, try out a new distro, try new applications and see what the Linux world has to offer. And possibly even contribute some of their time to a project.

I think a lot of potential Linux users try a distro that is too difficult, and also have a hard time choosing which applications they should use. Someone that goes from a stable system that they know very well will have a hard time switching to something if it takes a lot of time just to find and install the applications they need.

To conclude, I'll say I strongly support having the freedom of choice in Linux, but I think that potential new users should be directed to a certain place to begin their Linux journey. The last thing a new user wants to do is spend hours reading about which distro, and which applications they need. What a new user wants is a system with all the software they need, and they want it now. Some distros are good at this like Mint, but sadly I think potential users are pushed away from Linux because of the myriad of choices they are presented with as soon as they google "download linux". Give it a try yourself, and let me know if you think the average person would be motivated to try Linux after googling to download it. Most people won't know where to begin, and will give up. At least that is what I did my first time.

(Be easy on me... :lol: and wow, I didn't realize how long this was until I hit preview...)
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