back to article Linux on the desktop is so hot there's now a fight over it

Citrix has made good on its April promise to deliver virtual Linux desktops, today announcing it's ready to roll out penguin-powered pretend PCs. The company snuck the penguin-powered desktops into Feature Pack 2 for XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6. For now, Citrix says says you can choose from Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.6 …

  1. Khaptain Silver badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    >fabled Year of Linux On The Desktop?<

    What yet another one... "How many Years of the Linux Desktop" will we endure before everyone just gives up on this exhausted cerebral flatulence..

    ( I have 4 pcs running Linux so no need to think I am a MS Fanboi, I like systems that do the job I need to get done, not the flavour of the day that the tech media would like me to use...)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I have 4 pcs running Linux so no need to think I am a MS Fanboi, I like systems that do the job I need to get done, not the flavour of the day that the tech media would like me to use"

      Ditto - but I see a little hope in this announcement in for some companies/environments: a place I supported until about 2 years ago was an example. We would spend hours at a time building corporate standard desktop images (new one per quarter as "Global IT policies" changed), then testing for a mandatory week, and then rolling them out to users, all of which had Receiver and every single business application used from within a XenDesktop on top of the image. The test "machine" i dd that was Ubuntu on a USB stick with the XD running on that ran rings around the other machines, but it wasn't deemed "compliant", so the IT people were the only ones that used it!

      If this opens some minds even a tiny bit, that's a good thing ... ?

    2. BobChip
      Linux

      Linux Desktops?

      Does it greatly matter?

      We seem to be at a position now where you can do whatever you want to do using any of the three major OSs out there. Your choice will be based on various factors such as how open or closed each OS is, stability, ease of maintenance and support, lease or own outright, total cost of ownership over time etc.. To be sure, both Apple and MS would like to convince you that their OS is the only possible choice but, like competing religions, they will both be wrong and will collect their faithful accordingly.

      I am not a Linux "fanboi" - I am a Linux user. I am a user because, right now, Linux ticks more of the boxes than the other two - it is that simple.

      1. phuzz Silver badge
        Gimp

        Re: Linux Desktops?

        I disagree. I think the main factor that governs what OS companies use on the desktop is inertia.

        The marketing department will use Macs because they always have, the IT department will use a mixture of all three plus some odd ones because we're contrary buggers and most users will use Windows because retraining them is too much of a pain in the bum.

        (I don't run linux as my main desktop, but I have just rolled it out to a bunch of users, high turnover staff are easier to change)

        1. BillG
          Happy

          Re: Linux Desktops?

          For Linux desktop to see any degree of significant popularity it needs to either run MS Office, or a 100% compatible Office suite, Note that 100% compatible does not mean 99.999% compatible.

          All businesses are emailing Word and Excel docs, along with Outlook appointment notifications, between each other, on a daily basis. Like it or not, MS Office is the foundation upon which modern businesses are built.

          1. Teiwaz Silver badge
            WTF?

            Re: Linux Desktops? MS Office compatibility

            MS Office often does not reach anywhere near even 90% compatibility even with itself, so 99.999% compatibility must be a sign from god or something...

            I've experienced several situations where IT is one MS Office version up from the customer and that caused no end of issues, and it wasn't even as if the documents were using the 'latest featureset' or any degree of complexity to the layout and formatting.

            1. Jakester

              Re: Linux Desktops? MS Office compatibility

              One business I consult for had a standard Microsoft Word document for a FAX cover sheet. It was originally created in Word 2000 (or before) and been updated/modified over the years. Eventually, the logo image in the document would print upside-down, even though it looked correct when editing the template. I was not able to fix using Microsoft Word, but had to open in Libre Office Writer to fix so that Word could once again be used to fill-in the template and print correctly. Over the years I have had to use Open Office Org and now Libre Office to fix documents that Microsoft Office had bolloxed.

          2. nightflier

            Re: Linux Desktops?

            Hardly. Office 365 is not 100% compatible with Office 2012 is not 100% compatible with Office 2007 is not 100% compatible with the Mac versions.

          3. Richard Plinston Silver badge

            Re: Linux Desktops?

            > All businesses are emailing Word and Excel docs

            And they should not be. doc and xls are not data exchange formats. They should be using an appropriate format such as PDF.

            > MS Office is the foundation upon which modern businesses are built.

            And they should not be. Businesses need to run order systems, inventory systems, payroll systems, purchasing systems, and many others. Using MS Office (or any other) as a mechanism for running a business is a very poor substitute.

          4. Deryk Barker

            Re: Linux Desktops?

            "All businesses are emailing Word and Excel docs, along with Outlook appointment notifications, between each other, on a daily basis."

            But not the UK government? Or the city of Munich, or......

            1. JEDIDIAH
              Devil

              Re: Linux Desktops?

              There are entire industries that gave up on msoffice as a data exchange format.

          5. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Linux Desktops?

            > ... MS Office is the foundation upon which modern businesses are built.

            Does your head hurt often?

      2. Alan Bourke

        Re: Linux Desktops?

        "We seem to be at a position now where you can do whatever you want to do using any of the three major OSs out there."

        As long as what you want to do isn't running business software or playing games.

    3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      +1

      Linux on the "commoner's" desktop is not likely to happen. The PC industry has tied its fate to Microsoft and it is even less likely to try something stupid in lean times like this.

      The target markets in the announcements are quite descriptive - these are all people who can afford something that fits their very specific needs and see Clippy (and its more voluptuous Cortana incarnation) as a parasite which gets in the way.

      Disclaimer - the last Windows desktop in the house was wiped in 1997 and I presently have 5 (a personal per head + 1 shared) Linux desktops, 4 Linux laptops, 3 Linux STBs and 2 RPi based controllers. All of that is running Debian. Based on running that Linux is fit for purpose to be a desktop for Joe Average User 99% of the time.

      The problem is not in fitness for purpose. The problem is that the PC industry will not accept it. It has become dependent on the upgrade cycle brought by MSFT OS releases and even the abject failure of the last 3 releases to bring new PC requirements is not likely to wean it off this dependency.

      1. James Anderson Silver badge

        Re: +1

        The PC industry tied its fate to Microsoft.

        The PC industry is dying (except for the inscrutable Lenovo) maybe its time for them to try something differnet.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @James Anderson - Re: +1

          It always puzzled me why some PC manufacturers will go down in flames tied up to Microsoft Windows. Heck, why not give Linux a try ? With less than a half of the licensing fees paid to Microsoft they could pay the developers of a Linux distribution.

          As for enterprises, no need to start a mass deployment but they could at least have one of the commercially supported Linux desktop distributions (the ones from Suse and Red Hat for example) evaluated and certified just in case.

      2. People's Poet

        Re: +1

        " Disclaimer - the last Windows desktop in the house was wiped in 1997 and I presently have 5 (a personal per head + 1 shared) Linux desktops, 4 Linux laptops, 3 Linux STBs and 2 RPi based controllers. All of that is running Debian. Based on running that Linux is fit for purpose to be a desktop for Joe Average User 99% of the time."

        Oh you're my hero! Can you tell us the colour of your walls while you're at it. Totally irrelavant to the whole argurment.

        Actually you've highlighted the problem yourself. There are a myriad of Linux distros and on top of this a myriad of desktops. Imagine the following scenario, Bob is talking to Fred in the pub who is having an issue and he doesn't understand how to change his screen resolution for the new monitor he's purchased. Bob says don't worry mate I'll pop over and show you how. The trouble is Bob is running Ubuntu and Fred is running Mint. (Try not to be a pedant and point out that Mint runs on Ubuntu.)

        Bob only knows how to do it in Ubuntu and doesn't have a clue how to do it in Mint. This doesn't deter him and he manages to royally cock things up! Yes it's a very simplistic view but it gets the point across as to why businesses and people like to stick with Windows for the main part. People know it.

        1. Teiwaz Silver badge

          Re: +1 Bob and Fred

          Not a great example.

          If both were running Windows, Bob popping round to Freds to sort it out might still result in Bob coking up Freds pc, depending on software version, drivers, and many other factors.

          While, if Bob had even a marginally sentient I.Q. he'd be able to extrapolate from the commondesigns across both Ubuntu and Mint -> Control Panel -> Display -> Viola!

          Personally, I prefer to depend on desktop-agnostic tools like xrandr

          xrandr --output <monitor-name> --mode <resolution>

          put in .xprofile is a quick, dirty solution..

          Or do you imagine most people only have the I.Q. of a glass of water?

          Frankly, if Bob and Fred were running Ubuntu and Mint respectively, they'd be spending most of their time in the pub arguing over which was the better distro/Desktop

          And Frank, he sits looking on, feeling smug as he has a Mac,,,,.

        2. James Loughner

          Re: +1

          Hmmm maybe if the Bob or Fred knew how to read the man pages the problem would be solved. Also online help is sooooo much better for any Linux distro. So if you need help ask. Someone knowledgeable will help. Or look it up yourself the any question has been asked and answered on the Internet

        3. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: +1

          > Bob only knows how to do it in Ubuntu and doesn't have a clue how to do it in Mint. This doesn't deter him and he manages to royally cock things up! Yes it's a very simplistic view but it gets the point across as to why businesses and people like to stick with Windows for the main part. People know it.

          And the point you are making is exactly the issue about Windows 7, Windows 8.x and Windows 10.

          Knowing how to do stuff in Win7 is no use at all when faced with 8 or 10.

    4. beavershoes

      Henry Ford said that we are all going to be driving the Model-T Ford and that they are all going to be black. That was true. We all drove Model-T Fords and they were all black.

      Before that we all rode horses and wore cowhide. If variety went away little by little instead of increasing little by little, this would be a sad place to live.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OS all growed up

    About time we saw the OS as just another driver, something that will exist between the software in use and the end result we are looking to achieve. For any particular bit of kit I might try a few variations of drivers but some companies need to learn we don't favour the drivers that lock you in, turn features off then charge for the limitations.

  3. keithpeter
    Windows

    Advantage over rdp session?

    "It's just as easy to pipe a Windows app into Citrix Receiver on Linux as it is Citrix Receiver on any other operating system."

    Judging by the screen shot the main advantage over running an rdp session into my Windows desktop is the way individual applications can be 'piped' into a graphical session. Am I right?

    Disclaimer: civilian end user here

    PS: @Khaptain: I suspect that use of the phrase in question has been ironic for at least a decade.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Disclaimer: abandoned Windows between 98 and ME

      Linux graphics is almost always X, which is over the network by design. There is a choice of log in managers, and most provide fields for user name, password, initial desktop software and what machine you want to log into. After that, the only difference between a remote and a local session is which resources require network access. It is simple to start multiple log in managers and switch between them with <CTRL><ALT><Function key>, then log into several machines simultaneously. The problem with doing it that way is you cannot cut and paste between different logins. It is also possible to have a virtual X servers display in different windows of an X server, using something like xephyr.

      My usual operating mode is to log in, and start terminal sessions on the machines I am using. That way I can run programs on the machine where the majority of data is stored, but all the windows are managed by the same desktop environment and I can cut and paste between them.

      The thing is, all of this has been around for well over a decade for penguins. I have been told for years that 'Linux is not ready for the desktop', but I gather Windows only recently provided multiple virtual desktops (a twentieth century feature), and does not yet provide a varied selection of user interfaces.

      The obvious difference between now and a decade ago is that there are more journalists about who have done more than scratch the surface of what Linux can do.

      1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        Re: Disclaimer: abandoned Windows between 98 and ME

        "The thing is, all of this has been around for well over a decade for penguins. I have been told for years that 'Linux is not ready for the desktop', but I gather Windows only recently provided multiple virtual desktops (a twentieth century feature), and does not yet provide a varied selection of user interfaces."

        Ironically, you chastise those who only know Windows by behaving like someone who only knows Linux. Those things you mention that penguins have been able to do for 10 years, other OS' have been doing for 30.

        I actually upvoted you for your comment, seeing as this is a Linux thread, but someone who knows other systems out there might think you are no different from those you criticise - same philosophy, different religion.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Advantage over rdp session?

      " the main advantage over running an rdp session into my Windows desktop is the way individual applications can be 'piped' into a graphical session"

      Actually you can now do that with RDP as well but, yes, that's one of the historical advantages of Citrix app virtualisation.

      Another was the efficiency of the ICA protocol over RDP (I used to have a contractor who worked from Thailand on a dial-up connection using Citrix) but that gap has also been closed.

      Citrix adds some good features for presentation of apps to users (integration into start menu / desktop), optimisation for video, GPU passthrough so that you can virtualise CAD apps etc and all sorts of other non-obvious cleverness.

      They also design some of the worst user interfaces and management tools known to man IMO.

    3. Daniel B.
      Boffin

      Re: Advantage over rdp session?

      Judging by the screen shot the main advantage over running an rdp session into my Windows desktop is the way individual applications can be 'piped' into a graphical session. Am I right?

      Terminal Services licenses are extremely expensive. Thus not-RDP stuff will end up being cheaper than RDP.

      I did like RDP, but it's not quite there compared to XDMCP or other "remote desktop" stuff. Hell, UNIX had "remote desktop" at least a decade before Windows had RDP!

  4. John Robson Silver badge

    X1 in a four pack

    But I only have one hand...

    With Linux server support I could reasonably think about citrix server to the iPad.

    It would be ironic really - running citrix reciever on an iPad to connect to a headless Linux box, running a W95 app under Wine...

    The X1 mouse would be really nice in that environment...

  5. Phuq Witt
    FAIL

    X1 Mouse

    "...a pain when, for example, attempting to wield a cursor in a text editor or even a field on a form. The X1 does away with such fat-fingered fumbling..."

    The fingers need not be fat, nor overly prone to fumbling, to make text selection on touchscreens a pain. The piss-poor design of that functionality across all mobile OSes, sees to that.

    1. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: X1 Mouse

      Oh Azathoth yes. I try and work on this iPad but if any inline edit is in order I usually have to deploy a Bluetooth keyboard to get out of iOS Thinks I Should ... Land. It infuriates me that when I want to select and copy the bloody OS won't cooperate, but when I want to interpolate something two words back it can't stop itself painting so I can do the cut/paste I so obviously need to do.

  6. Professor Clifton Shallot

    Citrix helps get Linux on the desktop

    But often not in the way Linux advocates would want.

    The app virtualisation of Citrix is excellent and renders the client OS largely irrelevant as long as a Citrix Receiver exists which means Windows can be replaced by Linux but it also means that Windows apps can run on those Linux desktops and in my experience this is precisely what happens.

    I had 1200 Linux workstations deployed in a nominally Windows organisation but they were all effectively thin clients for a Citrix back end supplying Windows applications.

    MS will hardly miss the desktop OS fees (particularly as the cheapest option in many cases is still to buy a PC with a Windows licence and just install over it) and their stranglehold on apps will be reinforced rather than weakened.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Citrix helps get Linux on the desktop

      You're absolutely right!

      Applications are the reason why enterprises are staying with Windows and just switching to a Linux desktop as shown in the article does not address that. In this case it might be better to stay with Windows desktops and shun the Citrix solution completely because it is a waste of money.

      I'm pretty sure Microsoft will not lose any sleep because of it. As for large vertical blah, blah using Linux desktops seems a lot like marketing speak from Citrix.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Citrix helps get Linux on the desktop

        > "I'm pretty sure Microsoft will not lose any sleep because of it. As for large vertical blah, blah using Linux desktops seems a lot like marketing speak from Citrix."

        Microsoft are losing sleep, just not over this. Why else are they trying to get android apps to run on their new baby?

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Citrix helps get Linux on the desktop

      >MS will hardly miss the desktop OS fees

      Not so sure about this, given their desire to have Windows everywhere.

      What I find interesting is how many companies having deployed 2012 RDS solutions, go out and buy bulk standard Windows desktops to use as RDS clients, rather than VDI thin clients based on Win7 Embedded or Linux.

  7. kryptylomese

    Some folk seem to be blinded by Microsoft but Linux is used on the desktop:-

    http://www.techrepublic.com/article/five-big-names-that-use-linux-on-the-desktop/

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Linux_adopters

    I use both - Linux is better!

  8. James Anderson Silver badge

    Sp they have invented the X-Windows server then?

    Which was all you ever need to run a Linux desktop remotely.

    This was always the case before Gnome 3 etc came along, and as there seems to be considerable user resistance to the OS-Xalike desktops, 90 percent of the current installed base could be used as a remote desktop by enabling the X client.

    But the problem with all these remote desktops is you need a real desktop to access them so why bother?

    1. kryptylomese

      Re: Sp they have invented the X-Windows server then?

      Oracle Secure Global Desktop has been able to do this for a long time and there is also Guacamole too...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I find it interesting!

    This is one of the rare occasions when Windows and Linux proponents seem to be on the same side of the fence. This may be bad for Citrix planning to make money out of their solution.

  10. totaam
    Linux

    meanwhile... true seamless open source solutions

    Actually work, and are being deployed today, without licensing fees.

    Not posting links, you can find them easily enough.

  11. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Inevitable? No.

    "Actually you've highlighted the problem yourself. There are a myriad of Linux distros and on top of this a myriad of desktops. Imagine the following scenario, Bob is talking to Fred in the pub who is having an issue and he doesn't understand how to change his screen resolution for the new monitor he's purchased. Bob says don't worry mate I'll pop over and show you how. The trouble is Bob is running Ubuntu and Fred is running Mint. (Try not to be a pedant and point out that Mint runs on Ubuntu.)"

    OK, Bob then come's over to "WindowsFred's" house, and says "Sure I know how to change your screen resolution." But he's done it in Windows 7, and "WindowsFred" is running 8, 8.1, 10, XP, or some version of Windows Server, all of which have put this in slightly different places. Just saying, when it comes to an OS debate, people will point out the different Linux distros as a negative, then conveniently pretend all Windows installs are identical.

    I really don't know if Linux will become big on the desktop or not, but it seems like sooner or later Microsoft will make enough mis-steps that things will change; I guess we'll see how Windows 10 does.

    Before you think it's inevitable that things will never change, take a look at the early 1980s -- you had CP/M systems for businesses and home PCs (Apple II, Atari, etc.). CP/M-86 (a port of CP/M from the Zilog Z80 CPU to Intel 8088/8086) was out, and there was no reason to think it wouldn't dominate on Intel-based systems. The very issue of Byte that reviewed the IBM PC had a Digital Research CP/M-86 ad with a guy in a bad leisure suit pointing to a chart showing the millions of units they'd ship over the next several years. Well, those millions of sales never happened, since IBM went with IBM PC-DOS/MS-DOS.

    1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: Inevitable? No.

      > The very issue of Byte that reviewed the IBM PC had a Digital Research CP/M-86 ad with a guy in a bad leisure suit pointing to a chart showing the millions of units they'd ship over the next several years. Well, those millions of sales never happened, since IBM went with IBM PC-DOS/MS-DOS.

      Actually, around that time DRI was demonstrating Concurrent-CP/M-86 which was pre-emptive multi-tasking with virtual screens. It was based on MP/M-86 (multi-user) which was the 8086 version of MP/M from 1978 and MP/M II of 1980. DRI also had DR-NET networking for those machines.

      So while the IBM-PC ran PC-DOS 1 which couldn't even support hard disks (though it did have a cassette tape port - I have one here), DRI was in the multi-user, networking and multi-tasking business. DRI did ship millions of sales - just not in the same market.

  12. Deryk Barker

    Oh yes, let's run the stable, reasonably secure OS in a virtual machine under the control of an unstable insecure OS.

    No ta.

  13. Jim E
    IT Angle

    Hmmm...

    Well I don't know if this is the Year Of The Linux Desktop, but it does seem that the concept provokes less laughter now.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's a damn pity...

    ...that no one sells/supports a proper desktop Linux distro that is designed for PC users instead of geeks. While many of the distros will install, having to be a secret agent to find and install the most basic printer and other hardware drivers, is simply unacceptable and ignorant. If a company as screwed up as Microsucks can have a library of half-assed hardware drivers and a scan of the hardware install many of the basic drivers, then Linux purveyors have zero excuse for not providing the drivers as an automatic distro install.

    Then there is the real issue of converting from Windoze based O/Ss to Linux. Those who sell popular Windoze based software rarely offer the same software designed to run on Linux or a means to convert all docs created in Windoze O/S software to be fully functional on Linux. Thus it's a cluster for consumers even if you are willing to buy all new Linux software or spend weeks trying to salvage some of the docs via "overlays" designed to mitigate some of the distress.

    There has been plenty of time for companies to develop a legitimate free standing Linux desktop O/S and it simply does not exist IME of testing numerous Linux offerings. Then after paying for the Linux distro AND support, you discover the tech people who are suppose to support the distro can tell you all about the distro but they are clueless on hardware drivers and migrating to Linux from Windoze based O/Ss. Thus you are on your own to sort through the headaches being offered as Linux for the desktop and it's a futile deal unless you are a geek with plenty of time to waste.

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: It's a damn pity...

      "t's a damn pity...

      ...that no one sells/supports a proper desktop Linux distro that is designed for PC users instead of geeks. While many of the distros will install, having to be a secret agent to find and install the most basic printer and other hardware drivers, is simply unacceptable and ignorant. If a company as screwed up as Microsucks can have a library of half-assed hardware drivers and a scan of the hardware install many of the basic drivers, then Linux purveyors have zero excuse for not providing the drivers as an automatic distro install."

      But really, how many windows users could install windows?

      The issue is lack of PC's sold with Linux preinstalled - the ease of installation argument is a falicy.

      Secondly, every piece of PC hardware created comes with a Windows driver from the manufacturer.

      Most of the open-source operating systems have had to write the drivers themselves.

      As for finding them, I'm not a Linux user, but my open-source OS-of-choice comes with all available drivers. I suspect it's the same for Linux.

      Now, try finding a driver for a new piece of hardware when you are running an older Windows release...

      P.S. Using terms such as 'Microsucks' or "Micro$oft" etc. make you sound 10 years old

    2. Daniel B.
      Boffin

      Re: It's a damn pity...

      ...that no one sells/supports a proper desktop Linux distro that is designed for PC users instead of geeks.

      Pretty much most of the mainstream distros are actually geared towards PC users, and even pass the grandma test. They have been like this for quite some time, 6 years, maybe longer. Of course, thanks to Gnome 3 there's a Windows 8-ish moment in some graphical interfaces, but the thing is: they're pretty much useable out of the box. Ubuntu even works with WiFi out of the box, as does Fedora.

      The only real stopper is the lack of MS Office, and even that is mostly because of MS's stranglehold on the word processing and spreadsheet areas.

      1. kryptylomese

        Re: It's a damn pity...

        I gave you a thumbs up but I want to add this comment. You are correct that most businesses have tied themselves into Microsoft Office so not having that suite of applications on Linux does prevent some businesses from converting to Linux. However, there are alternatives (Open Office, Libre Office, Google Apps, or even Office 365) and the forward thinking companies use them instead. (There are a large number of companies that have switched already)

        1. Alan Bourke

          Re: It's a damn pity...

          Open Office, Libre Office, Google Apps, or even Office 365 are a not even close to a replacement for any sort of serious word processing or spreadsheet work especially if automation is required.

          1. JEDIDIAH
            Mushroom

            Re: It's a damn pity...

            "serious word processing" can be done with anything. This has been the case since before msoffice managed to get itself entrenched. The only thing msoffice brings to the table is the fact that it's a trusted brand name. It may not even be "most compatible" with itself.

            This mindless brand fixation nonsense is one of the most annoying parts of Windows. You have this monopoly product that's supposed to offer you literally anything and everything (because of the whole monopoly thing) and it gets wasted because of this herd mentality regarding what apps you can use.

            Pitiful.

  15. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Office 365?

    Office 365 is the 'future' Office (baring any back-tracking, I think the packaged and sold version will be retired in it's favour at some point). It does after all adhere to the software-as-a-service ethos Microsoft are currently following.

    It'll be interesting to see if any breakages on version updates transpire with Office 365. Then we might get the answer to the long-running question whether MS Office version incompatibilities were intentional to encourage purchasing the newest version, or just incompetence.

    @ Alan Bourke - what do you mean by automation? (mail-merge seems a little defunct these days, but I guess it still has applications).

    Open Office and Libre Office are packaged suites (as MS Office) while Google apps and Office 365 are web-apps, I've never used the latter 2, but one is an information gathering / advertising trojan horse, the other (if free) has no reason to provide all the bells and whistles without going on the subscription

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Linux still not ready for some (most?) average users

    I tried to switch some family members to Linux a couple years ago to get them off of XP.

    Initially they were pleased with the new graphics and animations. Then, the hard questions started.

    "Where is my iTunes?" ... well, I set them up with the default Ubuntu media player so they could play all the music they had already downloaded from iTunes. This seemed to satisfy them for a few days (or they were just being polite) but ultimately they told me they wanted to use iTunes proper, partially because they like to use it to find new music.

    "Why won't [streaming video web service that I pay for] work?" ... turns out it requires some sort of Silverlight (?) DRM that isn't implemented or supported for Linux but works fine for Windows and OS X.

    "Why won't some of my old Office documents open correctly in my new Office [LibreOffice]?" ... by this point I was getting tired of tech support and just bought some Windows licenses.

    Now I'm sure you can make a million well-reasoned arguments about how people shouldn't support DRM'ed content or proprietary content services or non-standard document formats and all of that, but ultimately your average user is not going to care about your well-reasoned argument and will still want to run iTunes or whatever.

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