Linux for consumers?

  PC Advisor. 11:46 02 Jul 2003

Hi folks,

Just wondering what our visitors think of this latest Linux development.

In the light of this story, do you think that Linux is now a serious challenge to Windows in the consumer space?


Celf gives Linux a boost
by James Niccolai

Consumer electronics industry rallies for Windows rival

Tuesday, 01 July 2003

In a move that could potentially bring Linux to the masses, eight of the world's top consumer electronics vendors have formed an alliance to promote development of the open-source operating system for use in digital devices including audio and visual equipment and mobile phones.

click here

  Big Elf 12:01 02 Jul 2003

I think with the big names involved and the way they apparently want to develop it means its got to be considered a major challenge for Microsoft. Any large business or Government Department must already be considering Linux in view of the high cost of licensing.

  Chegs ? 12:22 02 Jul 2003

I spoke to our local council about changing over to Linux(as they were whinging about the cost of MS)and was told "Linux wont work!" on their PC's.Seems that Linux reputation as a "geeks" only OS has put off most people.I doubt if Linux will ever shake-off this image,so MS can rest easy.

  Aspman 13:34 02 Jul 2003

The cost of retraining and getting staff back up to speed has to be taken into account for any organisation. Also things like availability of drivers and particular software is a big issue for orgs who think about ditching MS.

Linux is not an easy thing to switch to if you have used nothing but MS products. Everthing you have ever done needs to be done in a different way, installing drivers is hard, installing programs is not as easy as windows. Not every program will create its own icons and place itself in the startup menu.

For simple uses where it will never be changed it might be an option, my Dad uses an old PC to access the internet and send email, not much else. He could probably learn to use a linux system to do the same quite easily but it won't run on a 200MHz P1. Yes I know you can install Linux on a 386 but you do need a bit of muscle to run the desktop Gnome/KDE environments. I doubt I could convice my Dad to start to use a command line over W98.

I work in a school, we use a Linux box as a web proxy / web content filter. It works great can't complain. We wouldn't use it on desktop PCs though. The software just isn't available to cover everything we do, nor are the drivers. The time to get everyone up to speed now (myself included) would just take too long. Parents expect their kids to be taught on MS Office products, that is probably what they will use at Uni and in business.

I think linux will make some inroads in the desktop market in off the shelf basic PCs. Along the lines of the Lindows boxes Wallmart sells in the US. A basic machine that will access the web / email do a bit of word processing and if you want anythign extra cough up the cash and the OS will download and install it for you. Still got a way to go before it reaches the usability and speed of a windows OS.

  Sir Radfordin 13:43 02 Jul 2003

It is perhaps helpful to consider why Linux isn't already being used by more people. I think a large part of the reason is down to time and resources available.

Most people who have a good enough grasp of IT to test these things often don't have the time to spend on the task. I downloaded Linux over a year ago (first thing I did when I got broadband) but have gone no futher simply because I don't have the time. There isn't a need and so I haven't been forced to make the time.

As Aspman says, availablility is also an issue, both for hardware but software that will run on a Linux box.

Unfortunatly M$ have reached a critical mass of users so they are always going to have enough people using their products to attact those who don't already.

Its been a case of M$ first and anything else is 2nd. Use of Linux is likely to remain in use by people who want something different as a hobby or for a specific use as highlighted already.

  TechMad 13:51 02 Jul 2003

Being new to Linux, I feel that there are some developments that are welcome and some that are not.

Redhat has come closest to a consumer Linux product. This is as far as the support and interface are concerned. However it doesn't happen to have a standard graphical installation proceedure for other applications. i.e. to install RealPlayer, which Redhat lacks.

Having a DVD player in my machine and some region 2 discs, I would like to play, but I am concerned about the legality of being able to do this on an open source system.

Linux is a great concept, but I feel that it needs further development to be a consumer OS

  TechMad 13:56 02 Jul 2003

Another thing is that Linux is huge and complex. If you have tried a Mandrake 9.0 installation you are sometimes brought a list of modules that have bizzare names. This is daunting to a new user.

  barrie_g 14:04 02 Jul 2003

Hi, I would have to agree with Sir Radfordin, also as I said when I took part in the StarOffice Challange, There are already so many people already using the Microsoft versions that people go out and buy Microsoft simply because of the fact that, that is what everyone else is using and that is what everyone is used to using.

As with everything there will always be those people who will buy alternative products because; they are cheaper, they do a particular task better, or they just dont want to be the same as everyone else.

Though in the long run I can't imagine Microsoft getting too worried about it, they may not like it and will probably change their product slightly to appeal even more to the people who may consider using something else, becuase in the long run I feel that Microsoft still want to be the one and only operating system out there, and anything esle that they can get away with running out the compition.

  Mango Grummit 14:38 02 Jul 2003

In the light of this story, do you think that Linux is now a serious challenge to Windows in the consumer space?

No, but I wish it was.

Not that I have a desire to use Linux but if it really was a serious challenge then M$ prices would fall accordingly but it's not going to happen I'm afraid.

  -pops- 14:46 02 Jul 2003

The "consumers Linux" will, I'm sure, be a long way from the geeky presentation that it is at the moment - it will have to be to gain acceptance.

It can't be anything but good, both for Linux and for anything produced by Microsoft. It should certainly prevent Microsoft becoming too complacent in have the operating system monopoly they have at the moment.

The winner in this is going to be the user.


  scotty 15:16 02 Jul 2003

All great empires fall eventually. If Linux is to topple Windows there will need to be good reasons for Windows' fall and Linux's rise. M$ have used a vast array of "dirty tricks" to keep organisations from changing to Linux. However, thay are also providing the main impetus for change - high prices and unfavourable licencing conditions.

Cost considerations are already making many bodies consider open source software. Consumer electronics may be the first step on the ladder for Linux to break into the mainstream. There are other possible ways for Linux to gain the groundswell necessary to depose M$. In the developing world, the Far East, China and other countries closer to home there are moves to dump Windows. If a major country makes the switch and developes an integrated package which offers equivalent facilities, a market will grow around the platform and it will mature to a stage where it could challenge WIndows globally.

As mentioned earlier, there is a massive user base for Windows. Like a laden oil tanker, it will not turn quickly. With the time cusion this would provide, M$ would have to be very inept not to react to a challenge.

But then, who would have predicted that IBM would lose its place as king of the PC manufacturers?


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