Linux and the ever-important consumer base (4.18 / 22) (#12)
by AmberEyes on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 01:58:41 PM EST
First off, just to clarify, I am a Windows user. I haven't touched Linux, and I have no desire too. I've seen it used, know what it's good for, and know that it's free (for the most part).
I'm still not convinced that I want to use it yet.
Articles and numbers like the above figures are a good window into understanding people like myself. I don't run servers, I don't write open source, and I certainly am not as involved into the technical aspects of computer operations and maintenance as I am sure the majority of the kuro5hin users are.
I'm just an end user who makes computer games in his spare time, jumps on the internet, checks his email, and of course, plays lots of computer games and likes his WinAmp.
For Linux to be successful as an operating system, especially when it's stacked against something like Windows, 3 things have to be realized:
1.) Service and support: Let's face it, it's a lot easier to get help with Windows products. Yeah, they crash a lot, can be pretty unstable, etc, but they have a lot of tech support. You can call Microsoft, check out their support sites, and so on. More importantly, the help is to the point and often simple to follow and interpret. This is one of the strengths of Windows - the majority of Linux help are text files that look to Windows users like they were written in a foreign language by mathmatics professors. I'm sure that the Linux community did not write them like this intentionally (especially since they seem to help Linux users out immensely), but regardless, to the majority of Windows users, the Linux world is a dark and scary place, full of confusing terms and non-obvious instructions.
- Service and support
- Software and stability
What to a Linux user might seem obvious or normal often to a Windows user looks cryptic: what sounds easier? To access your root directory, or to click the ok button? Having a GUI helps immensely (and Linux GUIs are helping combat this), but Windows has an edge over *nx on this.
2.) Software and stability
One of my friends who uses Linux is often left out of the loop of conversations between Windows users when it comes to software and games. Being the fun loving social bunch that my friends and I are, we talk about gaming and stuff often. First off, it's difficult to find a common game or software to talk about. Face it, the game/software base for Linux is a lot smaller than Windows - this really hurts Linux as a gaming platform. Admittedly, that is the developers fault for porting games over, but with such a small consumer base (in relation to the Windows consumber base), it doesn't make that much financial sense. Thank god for companies like Loki though.
Then, when we find software that he also has, listening to his stories about installing software, trying to piece driver files together to get hardware to run, and other tasks seems very complicated to a crowd who is used to "Put CD in tray, double click setup.exe". While Linux is more stable and secure, hearing his stories makes us Windows users think he's insane for using a system like that.
Linux desparetly needs some sort of friendly looking (and, more important to end users - sounding) interface. We Windows users like point and click, we like bells and whistles, and we hate command lines. While a GUI for Linux might solve our problems, it's still easier to do it on Windows. And that brings me to my final point....
Windows users are generally lazy and stubborn. Hehe. Linux users often ask "How can they use Windows?!? It crashes, they lose their work, and then they reboot like nothing ever happened! That's crazy!". Well, now you know. We like having everything so visual, so point-and-click, so nice and wrapped up, that we forgive stuff like this. But more importantly, we are so used to it, that it doesn't bother us. This is why you have to make Improvements to Linux itself that benefit the end consumer, more than anything Windows could offer. You could make Linux match everything that Windows does, and we would still use Windows - we're that used to it. You have to give us a really good reason to change over. What do we want? I don't know. Everyone wants something different. For me, the stability of Linux is a big selling point, and, should Linux be able to do everything that Windows can, I would switch over in a heartbeat to Linux, just for that stability.
But, as I touched on before, why should I switch over if I can't play my games?
Linux seems to be in the progress of moving into the server sector, rather than the consumer sector. Of course Linux is not going to sell as well as Windows if it doesn't move into the consumer's area - consumers like to play games, point-and-click, and get instant help on their computer woes - not have to understand about recompiling their kernel, or run server software to get use out of the OS.
Also, I'm being honest here - all this is from my viewpoint (and I suspect, a few of the average Windows users' viewpoints as well). Please don't vote me down because you disagree with my opinions. Look at what I'm saying, argue if you must, but use it as constructive criticism as how to better your own product. And, being that I am a Windows user, I'm probably wrong about some stuff in my message. Please correct me or bring that to my attention with a reply, I'm curious about Linux and it's uses. It's just not for me...yet. :)
"But you [AmberEyes] have never admitted defeat your entire life, so why should you start now. It seems the only perfect human being since Jesus Christ himself is in our presence." -my Uncle Dean