Reply to post: Re: So, 2018 will be the year of the Linux desktop because of Gnome?

You GNOME it: Windows and Apple devs get a compelling reason to turn to Linux

Mike Moyle Silver badge

Re: So, 2018 will be the year of the Linux desktop because of Gnome?

"So, exactly how is "apt" (apt-get is obsolete, obviously) any worse than the maze of cryptically-named menu entries you have to navigate through to make Windows update (or, more importantly these days, *not* update)?"

Basically, if you want Linux to become more than a niche OS -- and I'm assuming here that you are comfortable with the command line and likely comfortable building computers and/or modifying system files to get your machine to work just the way you want it -- you need it to meet potential users where THEY are, rather than making them come to where YOU are. Would they be more competent and independent computer users if they knew more about their machine's internals? Probably so, but they wouldn't necessarily be HAPPIER, and people want to use their machines -- be they computers, cars, or cook-stoves -- to perform the tasks that THEY want to do to make themselves happier. There is a reason that most modern microwave ovens come with a "one touch = one minute on high power" button or a "Popcorn" button, as well as the plethora of settings for time, power intensity, etc. It's because most people just want to be able to heat something for three minutes and enjoy it in as easy a manner as possible. It's why car manufacturers figured out how to provide automatic starters, spark-timing, and shifting; because most people just wanted to GO somewhere with minimal effort. The enthusiast who enjoys tinkering under the hood has his place, but he is NOT the mass market. The mass of computer users just want to be able to shop online, email their friends, and maybe see the video of the new grandkid. They don't want to tinker under the hood, they don't want to learn a new language, and -- with rare exceptions -- they don't think that doing either of those will make them happier.

I used to work in tech documentation. Among other gigs, I worked for an -- at the time -- Fortune 400 computer manufacturer, for a networking hardware startup, and for an automobile-security accessory manufacturer. And in literally EVERY case, the project engineers were convinced that their designs were so intuitively obvious that documentation wasn't necessary. (Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed!) People who are highly technically literate in a particular field often forget that not everyone is nor cares to be and often forget their stumbling early days ("It's all so SIMPLE once you get used to it!"). But those latter "I just want to do 'X'," people are the ones who will take a product mass-market. The technical leader -- the explorer -- has to be the first out into the frontier, but if the greater population -- the homesteaders, if you will -- choose not to follow because the explorer insists that the only way to go is on foot with a bedroll, a frying pan, and a knife, the migration into the new land will be stalled before it starts.

That is where the larger take-up of the Linux desktop has stalled. The mass market doesn't want to worry about WHICH "repository" they need to go to to get an application ("A 'repository...?' Isn't that one of those things Gramps used to use when he couldn't go...?"); they want to go to THE app store. The. The One. The Only One. Sneer at the Apple "Walled Garden" all you want but, with their App Store, as long as you know WHAT you want to do, they made it just about as easy to find and get a HOW that'll do it as it is possible to get. And they don't want to know from "dependencies", "SUDO", or anything else that gets between their "what" and their "how"; they just want to do their "what".

Don't assume that they're stupid; in general, they're at least smart enough to judge whether a tool will let them do their what as easily as possible -- by THEIR terms -- and go elsewhere if it won't.

"I ask out of interest, but as I write this, I realise I won't get an interesting answer."

Sorry to be boring.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019