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Re: When Will GNU/Linux Be Ready for Joe User?

From: Paul Bramscher
Subject: Re: When Will GNU/Linux Be Ready for Joe User?
Date: Wed, 19 May 2004 12:37:36 -0500
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.6) Gecko/20040113

Simon wrote:

I'm doing a survey.

When do you think GNU/Linux will be ready for the average Joe?  What
obstacles must it overcome first?

It's already far easier (and far, far more powerful) to work with than DOS or Win3.1, both of which were supposedly "ready for the average Joe" in their time. So if linux isn't ready today, then we might begin to ask whether Average Joe has dumbed down in the past 10-20 years.

Linux faces challenges that other OS's don't because it doesn't cripple the hardware or server daemons to the extent that M$ does. If all you want to do is word process and browse the web, then Red Hat, SuSE and other distros are already ready for the average Joe. A point-and-click installation and you're done.

But if you want to set up a load-balanced web server, database server, SSL certificate, ssh or sftp services, etc. then there are additional considerations and skillsets -- regardless of OS -- that need to be considered. WindowsXP is easier in this regard because it simply cripples a lot of that out.

The other problem with linux is that, as an open source OS, it can be custom compiled and there's a lot of technical -- and totally unintuitive -- jargon surrounding it. This is a good thing for expert users and people concerned about security, development, openness, etc. -- but presents a big worry to the neophyte who thinks he'll need to learn perl/c/bash in order to send an e-mail. Just not true, but it's possible if you want -- and that's a strength not a weakness. The linux community just needs to make it known that setting up a box equivalent in functionality to an XP installation is basically point-and-click with more than one distro.
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