Understanding

When I read the title, Top 10 Things Linux Users Don’t Understand, I was thinking it was another attack-piece putting down GNU/Linux, users, etc. You know, the “technological evangelism” of that other OS. I was pleasantly surprised. It’s a piece about things users of GNU/Linux really don’t understand. My favourite is “Why everybody isn’t running Linux.” I really don’t understand that. Given the choice of GNU/Linux over re-re-reboots, the Wintel treadmill, malware, etc., why isn’t everybody running GNU/Linux?

Thank you, Christing Hall.

see Top 10 Things Linux Users Don’t Understand

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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36 Responses to Understanding

  1. oiaohm says:

    Deltas can reduce the update size downloaded.

    apt-cacher-ng stops you from downloading the file many times. apt own internal cache does this for a single machine.

    I use apt-cacher-ng when I do have a multi machine network.

    Tools for problems. Big problem with Deltas is that they are not widely deployed. apt-cacher-ng if it was able to use deltas as well there would be some nice saving.

  2. What 1 machine? Even a regular PC can do. Nothing special is required.

  3. oiaohm says:

    apt-cacher-ng still does not help you if you only have 1 machine very much.

    Deltas help with the 1 machine problem.

  4. Try apt-cacher. It caches all the packages downloaded through it so that a local server can supply them to subsequent updaters.

    see apt-cacher-ng

    This saves a ton of bandwidth upstream of that server and saves space because only used packages take up space.

  5. oiaohm says:

    I forgot to say the blacklist system does not have to take out a complete repo either. It can take out just selected files from particular repos.

    So yes apt is packing guns.

  6. oiaohm says:

    “However a malicious repository could still send you malware within one of the packages you requested.”

    Yes it could if you make that mistake. This is why adding repos you should check out how trust-able the parties are behind it. Even if you do directly request a package from a repo. If you find out that repo is malware and you set that repo in preferences to negative its packages will be uninstalled.

    Basically preferences is one of the way to repair a system where you have not checked out the repo for quality before adding. Yes I have made that mistake recently. Experimental package as dominate. Not malware but still bad. This was recent. Using firefox from Experimental instead of unstable. So every time I went to look at downloads or download a file it crashed because I don’t have experimental version of particular gnome libs.

    Yes surprise the debian package manager in its database records what repo it got a package from. There is a lot of trace ability inside the Linux systems if you know where to look. Really this should be made more displayed not just for pros like me to know how to get. You can see this if you open up Synaptic package Manager and go to the Origin section. Yes you can force installation from particular Origins. This is the big important thing. If you have malware install on a Linux system from a repo you can normally back trace it to what repo infected you. Once you know the repo is malware hosting you add it to your preferences as black listed so you cannot ever make that mistake again.

    Also something most people don’t know is that there is a preference.d directory it exists so distributions can in fact push out black lists of repos if Malware infected repos started appearing. So yes you would report it upstream and very quickly as everyone update the Malware infected repo would be blocked from operation to non Malware effected machines. The Malware would have to disrupt apt operations on debian.

    Getting the user to directly install the Malware instead of using a repo is in fact the best path for Malware to attempt. Since that is a weaker point and would have to be pulled out by rootkit hunters and other malware search for programs for Linux not nuke able by the apt counter to bad repos.

    Lets just say apt is ready for a fight and so far no Malware authors have been tempted to take it on. Better to take other paths into Linux. The repo system in all distributions have some form of fight back system built in.

    Windows you downloaded application from one of many software sites you cannot remember what one its not recorded so when you get your computer clean you will most likely get infected again.

    Yes there different forms of anti-malware software hidden in Linux distribution design.

    “The worst was Openoffice. For whatever reason, nobody has ever figured out how to make an Openoffice update that doesn’t require downloading the whole thing again, so each incremental fix is another massive download.”

    Again not true. Yes I know the problem I will give you full detail and I guess you will curse some people. There is no simple fix. Yes solutions have been worked out. One that works getting it rolled out is a issue.

    http://debdelta.debian.net/ Yes deltas exist. Have existed for quite a while. 6.5gb of extra storage on mirror server compared to not having them. Delta needs a full package at some point to work from. Asking for 6.5gb extra on a server kinda gets frowned on. Most people don’t notice that most Debian mirrors don’t have iso files. Instead you have to use Jigdo”Jigsaw Downloader” to make the iso from the deb files on the mirror. Yes space costs.

    I am in the horrid location. My local isp file server that costs me nothing to download from does not have Delta files. Downloading Delta files will cost me quota.

    Then there is rsync. Bad news this don’t work great with compressed files like deb and gz.

    Basically we need something like rsync that works with deb files in a creative way that we don’t need to expand the ammount of data the mirror server have to hold. Yes Mirror servers will take up stuff that reduces what they have to hold.

    So this is not what you call a simple problem. Yes you want smaller download. Mirror servers what to store less. So unless you have a plan that grants both we are screwed. This is one time being Microsoft with money to pay mirror servers is an advantage.

  7. Jason says:

    So you admit that M$ spreads FUD about their own product then? I wonder why they would do that? or it could just be that they are telling the truth, remember M$ said themselves that Windows can slow down with use.

    How do I put up with Testing? easy, I like keeping up to date, the Linux world moves fast you know.
    I bet it was great not having to reboot after those updates as well, I love how Windows treats its updates, it gives you the prompt saying your updates are installed now you need to restart to activate them, so you think that its all done when in fact its far from it, then you have to wait for an age while it configures those updates on shutdown and then again on boot (and you obviously you can’t use you PC while all this is going on) I mean shouldn’t it of done all that when it actually installed the updates? like a normal OS?

  8. Linux Apostate says:

    oiaohm, thanks for the information about the preferences file. You have taught me something. This is certainly a protection against a malicious repository replacing some mainline package, if it is enabled (which it is not, by default). However a malicious repository could still send you malware within one of the packages you requested.

    Jason… sigh. FUD doesn’t just come from Microsoft. FLOSS uses FUD too.

    I ran Debian Testing for a while too, but got fed up of hundreds of megabytes of updates every week. How do you put up with it? The worst was Openoffice. For whatever reason, nobody has ever figured out how to make an Openoffice update that doesn’t require downloading the whole thing again, so each incremental fix is another massive download. Fortunately Debian got their act together with Etch, and from that point onwards, the stable distribution was sufficiently up-to-date to be usable. Really great to only get a few updates on an occasional basis… just like Windows in fact.

  9. oiaohm says:

    Linux Apostate
    “There must be some serious difference between Aero and the Win2K theme, because one requires GPU acceleration and the other does not.”
    This is how you know you have a idiot in the room.

    Compiz requires GPU as well. No GPU no Compiz. compositing manager the means of managing image to screen requires GPU. Really this is not a major difference same image data just handled in a more cpu effective way but requiring GPU. Early prototypes of Vista when it was longhorn in fact did Aero effects without requiring a GPU since they were using CPU to emulate the effects.

    Aero only requires GPU because Microsoft removed the software rendering part. Win2k and WinXP look modes are exactly the same engine in Windows 7 as Aero only composting effects are turned off. Same as kde kwin with compositing effects turned off and a different theme applied. Ie Kde is not kde just because compositing is disabled. So am I to call kwin with compositing on one name and kwin with compositing off another? Sorry this is not logical. Same windows manager 2 different modes. Windows same windows manager 3 different modes.

    “It’s good to know that there are projects to keep the old and fairly usable desktop environments going, though of course if you’re using third-party repositories then you risk installing malicious or broken packages for the same reason as on Windows (see “That Other OS Worthless”). If operated maliciously, a third-party repository could really mess you up, given that /etc/apt/sources.list grants it the authority to replace any package on your system with whatever might offer.”

    This is another foolish statement and incorrect statement. There is a section of apt people complete forgot about.

    its the /etc/apt/perferences file. With this you can do a
    *
    Pin: origin
    Pin-Priority: 1

    Result. By default every package that exists mainline will be installed ahead of what is in the third party repo unless user directly requests it.

    In fact by forcing a Pin-Priority in – range even if a repo is in the /etc/apt/sources.list nothing can be installed from it. In fact its handy leads to that repo installed applications being systematically removed next sync of packages.

    Basically /etc/apt/preferences and /etc/apt/sources.list have to say that a repo can install what ever it likes or it cannot.

    Yes you can black list repos in the preferences so preventing installation even if someone adds them to sources.list.

    Even so third party repositories still use signing keys. To prevent tampering and restrict who can provide packages.

    Bloat is not about features. Lot of bloat has been cleaned out of the Linux kernel recently. Removing code duplication. There is a lot of duplication inside windows that is not required really. Wine supports a redirection system between dlls. You should see how much code this does cleanly away with.

    Feature Bloat is a subset of bloat refering to insane ammount of features. This is not the bloat Linux people are talking about when they say windows is bloated. Its like all the direct x libs with completely duplicate functions not using a common copy. Or applications having installed like 20 copies of the same dll. Just because they cannot trust what version the system has installed.

    Remember a normal Linux install normally ends up not in dozen programs. But in few hundred to thousands of programs installed. My work style with the broad range of tools I use does rip windows to bits.

  10. Jason says:

    Or as I said you could just install the openSUSE KDE 3.5 live cd, or use another distro that still uses KDE 3.5, remember there is always choice when it comes to Linux.

    And what does the user want? I always thought there was more than one user of an OS? so how do you cater for different users that want different things? perhaps by letting them choose which desktop environment they want to use, which is something Windows doesn’t let you do.

    I can turn off desktop effects in KDE too but I’m still running KDE.

    So you are saying that M$ is spreading FUD? and that Windows is fine as long as the user doesn’t install and remove dozens of programs and run antivirus tools and download untold amounts of junk from the internet? WOW I guess Windows is much more limited than I thought, because I do all those things on my Linux machine (apart from run antivirus because I don’t need too) and it doesn’t suffer from any slow downs at all.

    Oh and I’m running Debian Testing which gets updates daily, which obviously involves installing numerous new programs and libraries, so I guess if I ran a Windows machine like I run my Linux machine then Windows would run like a turtle, and the amount of down time would just be insane, waiting while it configures all the updates on shutdown then again on boot.

  11. Linux Apostate says:

    Debian packages GNOME 2. For now. They also kept KDE 3.5 for a long time after other distributions had moved on to KDE 4. Well done to Debian for holding out as long as they did.

    KDE 3.5 disappeared in Debian 6. I expect GNOME 2 will also disappear soon. This software isn’t maintained any more by its creators, who don’t know why everyone isn’t already using the latest version.

    It’s good to know that there are projects to keep the old and fairly usable desktop environments going, though of course if you’re using third-party repositories then you risk installing malicious or broken packages for the same reason as on Windows (see “That Other OS Worthless”). If operated maliciously, a third-party repository could really mess you up, given that /etc/apt/sources.list grants it the authority to replace any package on your system with whatever might offer.

    Torvalds talks about features rather than bloat, but aren’t these closely related? That features are unwisely added (bloat issue) or removed (usability issue) without considering what the user wants? Because if the user did want all the features added to Win 7, you couldn’t very well call them “bloat”.

    There must be some serious difference between Aero and the Win2K theme, because one requires GPU acceleration and the other does not.

    Sorry, Windows rot and bloat are FUD. I see your anecdotes and match them with my own. Maybe my Windows machine works well because I haven’t “install[ed] a dozen programs, load[ed] it with antispyware and antivirus tools, and download[ed] untold amounts of junk from the Internet”. But that’s because I actually want to use the machine, not prove a point about how M$ sux. If you guys ran your Windows machines like you run your Linux machines then you wouldn’t notice any problem.

  12. The Dalvik VM is basically just an interpreter. There is not really a “wall”. Linux is doing the I/O natively.

    People are doing 1080P video from these chocolate-bar sized gadgets while browsing or playing video games. What more computing power do they need? Do not confuse throughput of the CPU with the normal I/O bottlenecks of most desktop/notebook PCs. I have seen desktop PCs with fast CPUs and really sad memory bandwidth or slow hard drives. In many cases the limiting factor is not the CPU. These gadgets are getting good speed even as Dalvik interprets byte-code. The CPU is not limiting them much. To a human user, a system is usable if they don’t notice the inevitable delays. On my terminal servers, I often give 30 users simultaneous usability from a single PC with a CPU lightly loaded. Servers may benefit from Moore’s Law and power consumption may benefit from Moore’s Law but the user is seeing diminishing returns from the investment in ever more powerful CPUs. That’s what ARMed thingies are all about. A system running ARM is probably $200 cheaper than a Wintel desktop PC and giving the same usability. Wintel does need that CPU power because the system is designed to waste resources in concert with all M$’s partners. Many of the folks building with ARM are not M$’s partners. They are not motivated to produce inefficient systems.

  13. Actually, Linus was not complaining about bloat/speed, but having to do things he conveniently did in GNOME2 in an inconvenient manner.
    ” it’s not that I have rendering problems with gnome3 (although I do have those too), it’s that the user experience of Gnome3 even without rendering problems is unacceptable.

    Why can’t I have shortcuts on my desktop? Why can’t I have the expose functionality? Wobbly windows? Why does anybody sane think that it’s a good idea to have that “go to the crazy ‘activities'” menu mode?

    I used to be upset when gnome developers decided it was “too complicated” for the user to remap some mouse buttons. In gnome3, the developers have apparently decided that it’s “too complicated” to actually do real work on your desktop, and have decided to make it really annoying to do.

    Here’s an example of “the crazy”: you want a new terminal window. So you go to “activities” and press the “terminal” thing that you’ve made part of your normal desktop thing (but why can’t I just have it on the desktop, instead of in that insane “activities” mode?). What happens? Nothing. It brings your existing terminal to the forefront.

    That’s just crazy crap. Now I need to use Shift-Control-N in an old terminal to bring up a new one. Yeah, that’s a real user experience improvement. Sure.

    I’m sure there are other ways, but that’s just an example of the kind of “head up the arse” behavior of gnome3. Seriously. I have been asking other developers about gnome3, they all think it’s crazy.”

    That’s not to say GNOME3 is not bigger than GNOME2 but that it is perfectly reasonable to choose a different GUI if one is unsatisfactory. On GNU/Linux one can change anything. It’s in the GPLv2 etc. In the EULA of that other OS there are plenty of things one is forbidden to do and one is to change the software.

  14. Stuffed? Nope. There’s XFCE4.

    Also, I run GNOME on my notebook:
    “Package: gnome-core
    Priority: optional
    Section: gnome
    Installed-Size: 44
    Maintainer: Debian GNOME Maintainers Architecture: i386
    Source: meta-gnome2
    Version: 1:2.30+7
    Depends: desktop-base, dmz-cursor-theme, eog (>= 2.30), epiphany-browser (>= 2.30) | gnome-www-browser, evince (>= 2.30), evolution (>= 2.30), evolution-data-server (>= 2.30), file-roller (>= 2.30), gedit (>= 2.30), gnome-about (>= 2.30), g”

    cat /etc/debian_version
    6.0.2

    Sometimes people complain that there are too many choices and other times they complain there are too few. Some people just don’t want to be happy.

  15. Most users of PCs would be satisfied with many mainstream GNU/Linux distros. They need/want a browser, word-processor, printing, USB storage devices, media players and graphics toys. I have tried a dozen or so GNU/Linux distros and multiple releases of each and they all had those things except early versions of SystemRescueCD, floppy distros and CloneZilla.

    I have exposed students and teachers to Caldera eDesktop, Fedora, RedHat, Ubuntu and Debian GNU/Linux. They were all well received.

  16. Linux Apostate wrote, “Windows bloat and Windows rot are myths”.

    I can run a GNU/Linux thin client in 64MB and this server is running fine in 256MB after a bit of tuning. I can run a desktop that is snappy in 512MB easily and “7” requires 1 or 2 gB of RAM. I think that defines the bloat. I see systems running that other OS swapping like mad just to boot. Some of us have better things to do with RAM.

    Ask M$:
    “No matter how fast or shiny computers might be when they’re new, they all seem to get slower over time. That state-of-the-art PC you bought last year might not feel like such a screamer after you install a dozen programs, load it with antispyware and antivirus tools, and download untold amounts of junk from the Internet. The slowdown might happen so gradually that you hardly notice it, until one day you’re trying to open a program or file and wonder, “What happened to my poor PC?”

    Defragment your hard disk

    Clean up your hard disk

    Unnecessary files on your hard disk take up disk space and can slow down your computer.

    Restart regularly”

    Do not deny reality. It will bite you.

  17. oiaohm says:

    Linux Apostate simple question how often do you install and remove applications.

    Speed of rot is linked to Application changes. These can be updates to applications as well.

    Basically its not a myth. I have 10 year old plus Linux installs that have been massively changed over the years without issues.

    The problem is the Windows single configuration file ideas. Making it hard to clean up proper after removing applications. Linux does from time to time require a little file cleaning. But due to the multi file system Linux uses locating what should be gone is not hard.

    “Installing Trinity on Debian 6 requires the use of third-party repositories. The packages are not part of the base distribution.” So. It have current firefox and particular media codecs I have other Third-party repos install.

    Just because the mainline does not do something is not a fact. Heck Lets say that we apply that same to windows. Only able to use what Microsoft supplies that would sux.

    “If you don’t want Aero you can use the XP interface or the Win2K interface.” Also this proves you are a fool.

    Aero and the Win2k Like interface on 7 are in fact the same thing. All you need to see it is block users profile directory from being accessible and default user information from being accessable. When it cannot load Aero theming information it displays the Win2k interface not 100 percent right because you still have the Aero active desktop.

    Aero is in fact a skin and a composting system stack on top of the older interface.

    Basically you don’t know windows. So you believe there is a choice when in fact there is not one. Its like Gnome with and without compiz with a change theme applied when compiz is on or off.

  18. oiaohm says:

    Try using Litestep on windows sometime.

    Supprising how many applications break if you do.

    There is trinity that can be installed in Debian GNU/Linux 6.0 what is on going work from 3.5.

  19. Richard Chapman says:

    “The real mystery must be why people use Linux for many years, become experts at using it, and then switch to MacOS or even back to Windows.”

    Yeah, that’s become a real problem. I think Robert and I are the only ones left.

  20. Jason says:

    Windows bloat and Windows rot are not myths, I have experienced it when I was running Vista and 7, and I have numerous friends who have the same problem, one of them doesn’t go to youtube because it causes her computer to slowdown, I have been asked numerous times to do a spring clean on Windows PC’s because they are running slow, unfortunately the only way to completely solve the problem is to reinstall (or even better install Linux instead) and there are numerous businesses out there that make money from Windows rot.

    No the packages are not in the official Debian repo’s but you can still run it on Debian, and you can also download an openSUSE 11.1 KDE 3.5 Live CD if you wish, remember freedom of choice is a great thing.

  21. Linux Apostate says:

    Windows bloat and Windows rot are myths. They are FUD. My Windows install is 2 years 4 months old and still works very nicely. Linux, running as a guest within Virtualbox, appears to be just as fast as Linux on the hardware. And a “registry cleaner” is nowhere in sight.

    Installing Trinity on Debian 6 requires the use of third-party repositories. The packages are not part of the base distribution.

  22. oe says:

    The biggest hurdle to adopting linux for the new user (ironically, it’s a good thing too once you’ve used it for a while) it “too many distros” and the choice of “which one to use?” Though I had great experiences in using linux when the commercial alternatives fell flat for personal use a dallied for years because of the “which distro” problem. Its almost nice when you have a friend/coworker to make the choice for you.

  23. Jason says:

    “Actually on Windows you can use the graphical shell from the previous version. If you don’t want Aero you can use the XP interface or the Win2K interface”

    But you are still booting into that bloated Windows 7, you can’t uninstall all that bloat and you will still suffer from Windows rot, but with Linux in 10 years time it will still be running just as fast as when it was first installed.

    Actually you can run KDE 3.5 on Debian, its called Trinity, and there are numerous other options as well, and if you want Gnome 2 then choose a distro that uses gnome 2, like Linux Mint for example, isn’t having the freedom of choice that Linux gives you just great.

  24. Linux Apostate says:

    “do you have the option of moving to a lightweight desktop environment with Windows? NO”

    Actually on Windows you can use the graphical shell from the previous version. If you don’t want Aero you can use the XP interface or the Win2K interface. There was also something called Litestep which completely replaced the shell. So actually, you are wrong.

    But on Debian GNU/Linux version 6.0, if you want to use KDE 3.5, you’re stuffed. And on Fedora (or whatever it is that Linus uses) if you want GNOME 2.x, you’re also stuffed. I suppose you can always go build from source, though. Freedom!

  25. Jason says:

    “I’ve noticed that free desktop environments have also got slower over the same period. And that’s not just me! Linus Torvalds moved to GNOME to escape KDE4. Then he moved to XFCE to escape GNOME3. Was Microsoft to blame for KDE4/GNOME3 bloat? Clearly not.. so maybe increasing the feature set isn’t just some sort of Wintel conspiracy, but actually just progress.”

    Its a good thing that you get freedom of choice with Linux then isn’t it, do you have the option of moving to a lightweight desktop environment with Windows? NO
    Oh and I am running KDE 4.6 on Debian 64 bit and after a fresh boot it uses just 220mb of ram, that’s hardly what I would call bloated.

    And you seem to have assumed wrong, I am talking about the dreaded windows rot, you know… when a consumer buys their windows PC it initially runs quite well but then after a couple of years its running dog slow, they think they need a new computer so go out and buy one, when in fact they just need to get rid of the dog of an OS, it works out well for M$ though doesn’t it, its almost like they designed their OS to do that so they can make more sales.

  26. Linux Apostate says:

    Oops, posted that a bit too soon.

    I’ve noticed that free desktop environments have also got slower over the same period. And that’s not just me! Linus Torvalds moved to GNOME to escape KDE4. Then he moved to XFCE to escape GNOME3. Was Microsoft to blame for KDE4/GNOME3 bloat? Clearly not.. so maybe increasing the feature set isn’t just some sort of Wintel conspiracy, but actually just progress.

  27. Linux Apostate says:

    Well, that’s all true, oldman, but you haven’t considered the impact of magical open source applications which are 100000% more efficient than

  28. oldman says:

    “This is coming into clear focus in 2011 when tiny ARMed processors running at 1gHz blow people away when the 4gHz hair-driers are no faster and cost much more.”

    Those dinky toys may work with the kind of stripped down apps that run on smart phones and tablets, but experience dictates that the minute that any attempt is made to implement more sophisticated desktop like applications, Mores law will start up again and the ARM processor makers will also go biugger and bigger.

    Remember, for the apps on simpler feature phones, single core 500Mhz ARM cpu’s were sufficiant. The minute one went to more full featured applications running on a virtual machone, one neede to move to 1Ghz plus dual core CPU’s

    IMHO Pog, you are kidding yourself if you think this won’t happen, especially since android has to continue to require execution on a VM to insulate commercial ISV’s from the depredations of the GPL.

    And BTW, the fact that one might be able to bypass Davlik and execute natively, will slam into the VM “wall” every time a I/O needs to be done – THis BTW is where Virtualization falls down as well.

  29. That’s a classic. I have often seen students’ mouths drop open when I show GNU/Linux running on an old PC doing hundreds of millions of operations per second, searching or sorting or calculating… The idea that waiting is not a requirement of computing opens their minds. Somewhere in the 1990s PCs became fast enough that ordinary folks never had to wait but Wintel wanted to keep that treadmill moving and always found a way to bog things down. This is coming into clear focus in 2011 when tiny ARMed processors running at 1gHz blow people away when the 4gHz hair-driers are no faster and cost much more.

  30. Jason says:

    How about no. 11… I think I need a new computer, its running really slow.

  31. It’s not that simple. At one time, Apple had schools tied up. Many young people encounterd Macs that way and continue to be loyal followers. My brother was one. He liked that it just worked when he had endless problems with malware and re-re-reboots with that other OS. When I showed him GNU/Linux for very little cost could be installed on PCs, he was impressed. He got what he wanted without the extra cost.

    Young people now are flocking to Apple because of the “cool” factor. Of course, Apple rekindled the phone and tablet markets and defined “cool” but soon Android/Linux showed the world another way to be “cool”. iPhone and now iPad are being overtaken by a sea-wave of Android/Linux.

  32. Linux Apostate says:

    The real mystery must be why people use Linux for many years, become experts at using it, and then switch to MacOS or even back to Windows. And yet here we are, commenting on your blog. It’s inexplicable.

  33. Contrarian says:

    “Apple’s increase in market share recently is largely due to people (especially the younger generations) rejecting Windows…”

    Why not accept the obvious. Apple has very successfully re-asserted itself as the creme-de-la-creme product in the PC market. Their influx of business is not a rejection of Windows, it is a flocking to a brighter flame that tells the world that you are a success and can pay $100 more for a white phone than others of lesser means pay for a black one with the same features. Buy a Mac and you are a sophisticate. Buy a PC and you are a nerd. That is their message.

  34. oldman says:

    “Apple’s increase in market share recently is largely due to people (especially the younger generations) rejecting Windows but not knowing that alternatives exist for PCs.”

    Inm apples case, it also helped that it actually WAS an alternative with a well developed set of commercially supported applications. IN fact for Musicians, Apple is the superior platform – it runs all of the applications that I use to boot.

    The only reason that I am not using apple is because IMHO they overcharge for their hardware.

  35. Someone says:

    Reason #1 why everyone isn’t using Linux: They don’t know about it. Apple’s increase in market share recently is largely due to people (especially the younger generations) rejecting Windows but not knowing that alternatives exist for PCs.

  36. Contrarian says:

    “why isn’t everybody running GNU/Linux?”

    Well you can make one of two assumptions. The first being that all consumers are totally irrational people who will not select an obvious course of action. In that case, your task is hopeless and there is no point in even trying to promote any course of action. “Casting pearls before the swine” is the Biblical notion here.

    Alternately, you can postulate that people will make a rational decision based on their understanding of the pros and cons of the issue. In that case it is clear that the consumer does not have the same point of view that you espouse. You have to determine whether or not that is because they are wiser than you or if they have simply not had the opportunity to learn the facts.

    If you disagree with the former and insist that Linux is clearly better than Windows, even after considering the much wider spectrum of selection criteria that most people have relative to your own, then the fault lies with your own efforts, in aggregate with those of other like-minded Linux advocates, to educate the world’s consumers in regard to this choice of OS.

    What are you going to do about that? You have to reach more than a billion people, you realize, and bring your message to them so that they understand it. You will need to be brief since there is so much contact to effect.

    My own view is that you are fatally underestimating the scope of application and support needed to address the entire consumer market. Linux can meet the needs of a few technically adept users who have no use for some of the more common Windows/Mac-only applications and have found some alternatives to any that they might otherwise need. That leaves out the non-technical faction of consumers, though, and so requires the establishement of a support mechanism to replace the 20 years or so of total experience that people have had with using Windows.

    There is no way to do that without spending a lot of money and there is no good way to recoup the money if the investment were made. No one with the money is likely to risk it and it cannot be done on a shoestring. And that is why it is never going to happen that “everybody is running Linux”.

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