Originally Published: Tuesday, 21 December 1999 Author: George Fotis
Published to: featured_articles/Featured Articles Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

Linux: Time to Get Serious

Linux is a revolution in the world of computing. Powerful, stable, and free, Linux is the ideal system if performance, features, integration and system stability is what you're after. But how about a user-friendly environment?...

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Linux is a revolution in the world of computing. Powerful, stable, and free, Linux is the ideal system if performance, features, integration and system stability is what you're after. But how about a user-friendly environment?

Most users want a system they can really use. For Linux there are three major factors that blocking the way to our desktop.

First, we need better device support. Linux has a long way to go in that area, because we can't really expect users to drop their existing devices. In my case, my Miro DC10+ video editing card and my Mustek scanner's interface card are currently unsupported.

Second, we need more applications. The reason for having a system is to use it for the things you need to achieve, which leads us to available software. Believe it or not, I was searching the Internet for a graphical backgammon game for X (what could ever be more common ?) and I did not find anything.

[Editor's Note: There is a backgammon game available for KDE, but it's primarily a client for FIBS, the First Internet Backgammon Server. It only supports online games at the moment.]

Both of these factors are dependent on the third major problem. There is no currently available integrated, visual and well-supported development platform for X. Thus, developers who code for X are currently lost in a space of README's, HOWTOs, and FTP sites. But, ladies and gentlemen, that's not the best way to go.

Let me put this straight. First, are there any doubts that the number of X applications available would be much larger, if such an environment existed? And second, will there be any excuse for hardware manufacturers to not include the Linux driver in the box, when crystal-clear system documentation and programming tools are available?

To both questions, I say I don't think so. The backgammon application is not a really demanding application for an average skilled programmer. Well then, why isn't it there?

Users could be more demanding too. When my printer (oh, that's what I could not remember which still remains unsupported) did not have Linux drivers in the box, I did drop them an e-mail. Just how many users do that? And if users don't mention it, how can these companies be expected to understand their needs and develop for Linux?

There's a still long way to go. But, given Linux's track record, most of its issues will be addressed in time.

George Fotis, Giorgakisfts@yahoo.com.





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