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

JonM33

Re: Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

Post by JonM33 »

mintnoob wrote:I firmly believe that the insane amount of choice Linux offers is, on the whole, hurting its popularity and Linux would benefit from having fewer choices.
No, what is limiting Linux is that there is no marketing awareness for it and very little OEM systems come with it. The only way that Apple ate into Microsoft's margin is due to marketing...as false as most of it might have been. Linux had a chance with the netbook market but Microsoft soon stomped that out by keeping Windows XP Home around a bit longer. Then of course there is the business/corporate market which is heavily dominated by Windows due to what Group Policy can control and SCCM can report on.

In order for Linux to take a grip it needs to educate people through marketing to get heavier exposure and also rely upon OEM computer manufacturers like Dell/HP/Acer to specialize in systems with Linux distros on them. Of course, making a Linux distro that is easiest for a Windows user to use will also help. Linux Mint is a prime example of that. That's why it has become more popular over the past few years. If I didn't depend on gaming so much I wouldn't even bother with Windows 7 and would switch to Linux Mint full time.
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Re: Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

Post by mintnoob »

markfiend wrote:What you are asking goes directly against the core ethos of the whole GNU/Linux project.
I'm not advocating the forceable reduction of anything related to Linux if that's what you mean by this.
No-one cares about market share.
Look around any Linux forum. People talk about its minuscule market share all the time and things to do to increase Linux's popularity.
What you are asking, that developers stop working on some distros and apps, and concentrate on a smaller number of distros and apps, does sound very much indeed to me like you are proposing "Get all the Linux developers to stop developing what they want to develop and start developing what I want them to develop."
Not just what I want, but what a LOT of linuxers want. You telling me you don't see a ton of people at Linux forums complaining about things wrong in Linux? I'm almost Windows-free, so if I only cared about what I wanted, I'd wouldn't waste my time trying to improve Linux for the masses.

I'm just asking developers not just think what they want in Linux, but what would benefit the Linux community as a whole and if that meant to not add another useless distro, another lightweight DE, or another app in a category already overwhelmed with apps (unless all the apps in it sucked), then that would be the better thing to do.
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Re: Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

Post by markfiend »

*sigh*

OK, forget it. We'll agree to disagree. I can see you won't be persuaded.
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Re: Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

Post by MALsPa »

mintnoob wrote:I'm just asking developers not just think what they want in Linux, but what would benefit the Linux community as a whole and if that meant to not add another useless distro, another lightweight DE, or another app in a category already overwhelmed with apps (unless all the apps in it sucked), then that would be the better thing to do.
And right there, you should be able to see the problem in what you're arguing for.

- Who is to say that a distro is a useless distro?

- Why not add another lightweight DE? Many of us would love to see another one! You're telling me that would hurt Linux???

- "...unless all the apps in it sucked..." Of course anyone adding another app in a category is most likely doing so because the other apps weren't what she/he wanted!
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Re: Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

Post by mintnoob »

JonM33 wrote:No, what is limiting Linux is that there is no marketing awareness for it and very little OEM systems come with it.
I'm not saying too much choice is the only thing that's limiting Linux's popularity. I think lack of marketing contributes a little to Linux not being popular, but I doubt it's much. I think a free software system that is arguably superior, virus-resistant, and FREE would go viral on its own if it didn't have what I think are the drawbacks that is stifling it; the underline culprit being, IMO, too much choice.
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Re: Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

Post by mintnoob »

MALsPa wrote:Who is to say that a distro is a useless distro?
When you have over FIVE HUNDRED OF THEM.
Why not add another lightweight DE? Many of us would love to see another one! You're telling me that would hurt Linux???
How many do you need?! I'm starting to think a lot of Linuxers have no life and like all the insane amount of choices because it gives them something to do.

It hurts Linux because it adds confusion with all the choices that gets people frustrated, which might make them leave Linux, and stifles their own productivity by making them spend so much time tinkering with all the choice out there instead of picking what they need to then move on to use their computer to get the jobs done they need their computer for.
"...unless all the apps in it sucked..." Of course anyone adding another app in a category is most likely doing so because the other apps weren't what she/he wanted!
A lot of times yes, I agree and wouldn't discourage that. Take for instance movie editors. There's like a dozen of them and most who have used Windows Movie Maker would agree they all suck in comparison. That's what spawned the creator of OpenShot to start his project. I believe OpenShot will become the first good Linux movie editor that will truly replace Movie Maker and if it does, hopefully the Linux community will advertise and promote it so most Linux noobs will be aware that editor can truly replace Movie Maker so they won't get caught up wasting their time with one of the other inferior editors which might turn them off from continuing with Linux. It's just one example, but this example was one of the reason I went back to Windows a couple of years ago after trying out Linux for the first time.
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Re: Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

Post by mintnoob »

It didn't respond to this because you seemed to withdraw from the debate, so I was going to let you have the last word.
MALsPa wrote:And nobody can force anyone to not go forward with any open source project.
When you say going forward, one can argue if the Linux market share is staying at such an embarrassing low %, is Linux really going forward?
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Re: Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

Post by Snydar »

I'm sorry everyone is giving you a hard time, mintnoob.

I'm on the same boat with you. It is just frustrating that half the time progress in Linux seems to move sideways, rather than forwards. Yes, you have tons of choice, yes developers can do what they want, and no it isn't helpful for others (usually)... but they developed something, and will publish it and flood the amount of choice which will confuse users.
MALsPa wrote:Well, let's say I saw things about Amarok that I didn't like, and that I had the brains to make it a better app, to be something closer to what I thought it should be. I could contribute my services to developing Amarok.

But what if I wanted to make some serious changes to it? How much freedom would I be allowed to do what I wanted to do with Amarok? The Amarok devs are not going to just let me waltz in and make my own changes to it, right? I might be able to contribute some things, but to a large degree, my hands would be tied. I couldn't go in and change Amarok into something that I felt would be a better app.
I kind of explained this in my post that you were replying to, but I'll say it another way. Most changes people seem to make to software such as music players seem to be focused specifically on the UI first (the layout, how it looks and feels), then by the available features. (The plugins, can it burn a CD, playlists, converting, etc.)

Problem: Person X wants to change Amarok's layout.

Solution #1: Person X is free to change Amaroks's layout, and do what he wants with it. He makes his desired changes, and releases it as a new music player called Spamarok.

Solution #2: Instead of changing the place of a few buttons, and calling it Spamarok and publishing it, I feel that Person X should have just made a new skinning interface for Amarok, which could be adopted by Amarok so that other users can try out new skins, and even make their own. If Person X's new skin/layout becomes super popular, Amarok might change the default.

I definitely would prefer it for Person X, and anyone else to choose Solution #2. If they just forked Amarok into Spamarok, then if it actually got popular, it would take longer for Amarok to adopt the new layout, less people would get access to it, and there are now 2 versions of essentially the same player which will confuse people. And Person X might not keep up with updates to Amarok, and if someone downloads Spamarok, they will get a buggy version. (I actually do not know if Amarok supports skins and whether or not you can already do this, I'm just making an example.)

The same thing goes with the available features/plug-ins. If Person X wants to reduce the amount of features to make something simpler for most users, why not offer a method of having a stripped down version of Amarok? Perhaps during the install process of Amarok or in a menu option, you would click a check box and select if you want the Lite version, Normal version, or the Advanced version. Many great apps I've used before offer such a solution.

Luckily for the most part, the better distributions, and the better apps are usually the ones that are first to pop up on the mighty Googler, but not always, and it is still confusing for noobs.

Beginners should be presented with the most supported distributions and applications first. I think for the most part they already are, but even choosing among the top 5 distros, there are many different spins of those available on the site, each one of this containing different default apps, and different desktop environments.

I would almost go as far to say that noobs should get a tutorial type distro, which installs several different DE's, and gives them a little tour about the different features and advantages/disadvantages of each choice. After they pick which one they like, they could chose to remove the extra options, or keep them. Yes, I know there are live CD's which they could burn 5 different ones and try them all, but the average user wants to install a system, and get it running and then change it from there. Not to mention that live CD's run slow, and many users will think that Linux just runs slow and give up.

Most people trying out Linux could really use a distro that is like this... you get a tour of the different desktop environments, a tour of the apps, and pick which ones becomes default, and remove the rest. There could even be little tutorials about how to install new applications, some simple layout changes you can do, etc. Yes it would take a little longer to install everything, but most people are new to Linux and could really find the tour helpful. How many questions have you had to answer for noobs they could be easily answered if they just read the directions? (As far as I know a distribution like this doesn't exist... sorry if it does, there are too many distributions to keep track of... lol)

Does this sound like a good idea for a new distro to anyone? (Yes, I realize that it would be a new distribution adding to the choice out there, but arguably if it were implemented correctly, it would be the ultimate distribution to offer a noob to try...)
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Re: Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

Post by markfiend »

mintnoob wrote:Take for instance movie editors. There's like a dozen of them and most who have used Windows Movie Maker would agree they all suck in comparison. That's what spawned the creator of OpenShot to start his project.
You have just defeated your own argument! If your "let's have less choice" idea was put into practice, then the OpenShot creator would have been "encouraged" to work on one of the existing GNU/Linux movie editors. And OpenShot would never have been created.

The same thing is true of every single open source project. The GNU tools wouldn't have existed if RMS hadn't been dissatisfied with existing UNIX tools, replacing them with his own free software versions. The Linux kernel wouldn't have existed if Torvalds hadn't been dissatisfied with MINIX and started to write his own kernel. GNOME was started because of dissatisfaction with KDE's reliance on the (then non-free) Qt toolkit. I could go on with example after example.

You can't have it both ways. Innovation in the FOSS world is driven by its developers who, for a large part, are working in their own time for free. You ignored the main part of my previous post:
markfiend wrote:The choice inherent is developer choice. If you actually look at some of the stuff RMS has written: the GNU project is for developers by developers. The rest of us just get freebies as an offshoot of that; the developers would (for the most part) keep doing what they do for the love of it, even if no-one else used it.
You try to take away -- or even limit -- the choice available to developers, they'll walk away. Without the developers, well, bye-bye FOSS.
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Re: Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

Post by MALsPa »

mintnoob wrote:It didn't respond to this because you seemed to withdraw from the debate
I should have done so long ago.
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Re: Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

Post by markfiend »

:lol: at MALsPa 8)

==========================

Tell you what, you guys that think there's too much choice in Linux, join the development team for the distro you think deserves to be the only one, then you can work to make it truly the "killer distro" for Linux that boosts it to 20% market share. Devs from other distros will surely flock to your flag then!

Or join the development team for the media player (or whatever app) you think is the best. You could make it so good and so popular that developers from rival projects will give up.

Or you could just sit there carping about the fact that Linux development doesn't happen the way you think it should. What's it going to be? S**t or get off the pot.
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Re: Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

Post by MALsPa »

All of my friends and family know that I use Linux. Many of them have seen it on my computer. Many of them have used one of my computers at different times when they needed to get online for a little while.

I convinced one person to try a few live CDs. I helped one other person install Linux after he took a look at it on my computer.

The first person decided not to use Linux because she didn't feel that she had enough time to learn to use it and because she loved Windows and Bill Gates and she also loved using Microsoft Access. At the time there was no good alternative to Access in Linux; not sure if there is now.

The other person was still using Linux last time I talked with him, which was over a year ago.

Nobody else I know is interested enough to even try it.

Not a single person I know has ever cited the amount of choice in Linux as a reason for not using it, or even hinted that this was a reason.

Some of them are addicted to gaming, and so they have no interest in Linux.

Others just don't want to be bothered learning something new when they already know how to use Windows, which they already use at home and/or at work and at school.

I know that this qualifies as anecdotal evidence, but what else do I have to go by? There are no reliable statistics to go by. There are a few complaints at the Linux forums about the amount of choice in Linux, but those complaints are coming from folks who use Linux!

I do know that many Linux users, if not the vast majority, embrace choice, and love Linux for it. You always see the comment that "Linux is about choice."

So, "Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?" From what I can see, the answer is, "No."
JonM33

Re: Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

Post by JonM33 »

mintnoob wrote:
JonM33 wrote:No, what is limiting Linux is that there is no marketing awareness for it and very little OEM systems come with it.
I'm not saying too much choice is the only thing that's limiting Linux's popularity. I think lack of marketing contributes a little to Linux not being popular, but I doubt it's much. I think a free software system that is arguably superior, virus-resistant, and FREE would go viral on its own if it didn't have what I think are the drawbacks that is stifling it; the underline culprit being, IMO, too much choice.
Lack of marketing killed AMD against Intel. There was a point where their processors were superior (AMD Thunderbird vs Intel Coppermine) and they did jack. After that, Intel ramped up the clock speed race with their lame NetBurst technology and left AMD in the dust with customers. AMD had another chance with their Athlon X2 line, which destroyed Intel's Pentium D in performance, power draw and heat. But, no marketing hurt their chances to make a difference. After that? Intel released their Core 2 series and AMD has been an afterthought.

The same goes for Microsoft and Apple. Apple finally managed to make a difference when Microsoft faltered with Windows Vista - which failed not only due to poor performance but also had zero marketing compared to Windows XP. Nobody knew anything about Windows Vista other than Apple slamming it in their ads. So Apple market share went up and Microsoft's went down. Microsoft got smart and did a heavy marketing campaign for Windows 7. Now it has twice the market share just for Windows 7 compared to Mac OS X.

Linux NEEDS marketing to make a difference. Nobody will notice what a great thing Linux can be until there is.

Not sure why Linux users keep touting this "free" thing. You spend hundreds of dollars on a PC. The average person spends $500-1000 on one. Laptops are about equal with the exception of netbooks at the $300 price range. Do you know how much extra it costs the manufacturer to slap a Windows license on one of those? Maybe $10-20. Perhaps $10-20 is a lot to a zip popping teenager making minimum wage but to most people that's lunch for one day.

There is a LOT of free software available for Windows. I can go to Softpedia and get a big handful that can satisfy my daily needs. Heck, I use VirtualBox, Firefox, Thunderbird, Skype, Winamp, uTorrent, OpenOffice, CDBurnerXP, Microsoft Security Essentials, Media Player Classic - Home Cinema, etc. The only thing I really pay for are my games. There are even some free games out there such as America's Army.

What you really get with Linux are lack of malware issues. I can tell you that I LOVE the feeling of being able to browse the web without *much* fear. Most malware comes in through web browsing (the wrong places). The other stuff are from people using keygens or cracks for Windows software. That's always too funny.
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Re: Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

Post by markfiend »

JonM33 wrote:Not sure why Linux users keep touting this "free" thing. You spend hundreds of dollars on a PC. The average person spends $500-1000 on one. Laptops are about equal with the exception of netbooks at the $300 price range. Do you know how much extra it costs the manufacturer to slap a Windows license on one of those? Maybe $10-20. Perhaps $10-20 is a lot to a zip popping teenager making minimum wage but to most people that's lunch for one day.

There is a LOT of free software available for Windows. I can go to Softpedia and get a big handful that can satisfy my daily needs. Heck, I use VirtualBox, Firefox, Thunderbird, Skype, Winamp, uTorrent, OpenOffice, CDBurnerXP, Microsoft Security Essentials, Media Player Classic - Home Cinema, etc. The only thing I really pay for are my games. There are even some free games out there such as America's Army.
No you're missing the point. OK usually GNU/Linux is free financially, but that's just a side-effect. The important freedom of GNU/Linux is that it is free as in "you are free to decide what to do with it". No restrictive licensing. Freedom to copy, modify, and redistribute as you see fit.
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Re: Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

Post by randomizer »

mintnoob wrote:I think a free software system that is arguably superior, virus-resistant, and FREE would go viral on its own if it didn't have what I think are the drawbacks that is stifling it; the underline culprit being, IMO, too much choice.
It's very hard to have a fruitful debate with someone who ignores peoples' posts so that they can bring up the same points over and over. The free-to-go-viral thing has been covered before, and I'm sure more than once. Being free has no notable impact on the usage of software with costly alternatives. Besides, Windows is free (both legally and illegally) for most people as well, so why bother learning another free OS?

IMO, considering a large number of the few people who have heard of Linux but not used it equate it purely with Ubuntu, choice is but a minor factor if a factor at all. Those who do venture to try it and ask what distro to go with are overwhelmingly told to use Ubuntu as well. They don't even know the choice exists until they're already using it...
JonM33

Re: Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

Post by JonM33 »

markfiend wrote:No you're missing the point. OK usually GNU/Linux is free financially, but that's just a side-effect. The important freedom of GNU/Linux is that it is free as in "you are free to decide what to do with it". No restrictive licensing. Freedom to copy, modify, and redistribute as you see fit.
Okay, I don't know one thing about software programming so all of that is insignificant. I guess Linux is perfect for the developers of this world but is that all you want? Some niche community of developers that constantly bash anything that isn't open source?

Open source is a great thing because it can spawn BETTER things. An example is that Ubuntu spawned Linux Mint, which I find to be the most usable (out of the box) Linux distro I have ever seen. But try thinking along the lines of the Linux USER - the ones that want a different solution than Windows that is plagued with malware and the dog of software designed to prevent it or Apple that is plagued with pricing that only a mentally retarded person (Steve Jobs) could conjure. I bring up pricing in that aspect because there's a difference between the price of lunch and completely ludicrous.

This thread is about making Linux more popular. That requires pulling in 99.9% of the computer users in the world that AREN'T software programmers and don't care about open source or what it means. I know it might sound harsh but there are people in this world that just want a PC to function FOR THEM without having to worry about something not working properly.
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Re: Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

Post by MALsPa »

JonM33 wrote:This thread is about making Linux more popular.
This thread is about whether or not Linux would be more popular with LESS choice. Maybe so, maybe not. But "Linux" and "choice" go hand in hand. If Linux is going to become more popular, it's going to have to be from some other approaches besides trying to limit choice.
JonM33

Re: Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

Post by JonM33 »

MALsPa wrote:
JonM33 wrote:This thread is about making Linux more popular.
This thread is about whether or not Linux would be more popular with LESS choice. Maybe so, maybe not. But "Linux" and "choice" go hand in hand. If Linux is going to become more popular, it's going to have to be from some other approaches besides trying to limit choice.
I'm not saying to limit choice. My statement here is that the sheer number of Linux distro options is not hurting it. What is hurting Linux is lacking of awareness through marketing. Why not an ad to slander Apple? Although Apple aimed at Microsoft with it's "switch" campaign it was actually targeting "the PC". Well, Linux is a PC operating system.
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Re: Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

Post by Snydar »

Maybe I am missing the point of why choice is being defended so much.

I'm not a developer, so this is coming from the side of a user.

I want an OS that runs 'perfectly'. (whatever that means... maybe... stable, most efficient, fun, pretty, easy to use...)
I want applications that will run in my perfect OS, and easily be able to do all of the things I want to do as efficiently as possible. (Play music, burn a CD, edit a video, send it to my friends, check my e-mail...)

I assume a developer would agree with all of those things.

I wouldn't consider any current OS as 'perfect', but to me Linux has been a better experience than Windows, with a few exceptions.

Features that I would consider as being standard in some software, are only included in several of the many different programs in that category.
This means I might need for example one music player to edit tags, another one to convert them to a different format, and a different one to burn them to a CD.

To enjoy and manage music on my Linux rig, I sometimes need 3 different programs.
I am happy that I have the choice to get the 3 applications, but I would be much happier if I had the choice to have ONE better program that could accomplish everything and allow me to be more efficient and make things easier to do.

If the developers of these music programs came together to focus on a single project, couldn't they accomplish this? And wouldn't everyone be happy?

Yes, all of us Linux nerds like experimenting with the new music player, the hip new distribution, or the new lightweight desktop environment just for fun... but what gives us this urge? Is it not us feeling like what we are using now is a little lacking in something? The solution is not to start from scratch and rewrite a new music program just because the one you like doesn't have the ability to burn a CD. You should contribute to the existing software and help to streamline it.

Help Linux move forward, not sideways. I don't want to need to have 3 different music programs. But because many of the ones out there suck, I am glad I have the choice to have multiple programs so I can do what I need to do. I am kind of happy that I have the power to change what I feel like, and do what I want with it. But I would be even happier if I didn't have to make changes to something to make it how I like it.
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Re: Would Linux be more popular with LESS choice?

Post by monkeyboy »

So how do you stop developers from developing? The trend is for more projects not fewer and the logic of consolidation doesn't seem to have much in the way of traction. How do you accomplish the goal?
If you don't like it, make something better
If you can't make something better, adapt
If you can't do either ball your panties up and cry.

Complaining is like masticating most anyone can do it.
However doing it in public is really hardcore.
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