A good thought experiment: is it actually harder to teach someone to use Ubuntu 20.04 than Windows 10 for general computing tasks like web browsing, email, word processing, and light photo editing?

If so - why?


Spoiler alert: yea, it is, but every instance of this is the fault of large tech companies.

Yes, installing Linux is a pain - as much of a pain as installing Windows. But users don't usually do that, because Microsoft makes deals with everyone under the sun.

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Yes, some hardware (especially graphics hardware) is poorly supported under Linux, not because the kernel is technically incapable of supporting it but because Nvidia are a bunch of dickheads.

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Yes, a lot of games don't run on Linux, but we see right at this moment that all it took to change that was a concerted effort by one medium-sized tech monopoly.

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Adobe could port the whole CC suite to Linux if they wanted to. They could rewrite the audio plumbing at the same time and sell Adobe Studio OS with all their shit preinstalled and, for the people who run Adobe products, it would probably be awesome!

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We could have easily configurable desktop experiences that are adaptive, lightweight, and GUI configurable. Imagine the XFCE project with real market penetration and funding!

But we never will because MS won't let them play in their playground.

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Instead we have ad-ridden garbage _baked into the fucking operating system_, no standardization, an absolute joke of a "package manager" being deployed this week on the most popular platform on the planet.

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Makes me want to fucking scream. Capitalism ruined computing just like it ruins everything and I'm so fucking tired of it. But at least people could stop pretending that it isn't happening.

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To be fair, Ubuntu also has a bunch of ad bullshit, it's just far less than windows has.

Thank God other Linux kernels exist though

@VioletHaze > Ubuntu also has a bunch of ad bullshit, it's just far less than windows has.

Afaik it really doesn't anymore, it no longer has the Amazon button and currently only advertises Livepatch in the installer which is now both free and open source

@tindall I don't think it's Microsoft alone. The rest of the commercial PC software and hardware ecosystem is mostly indifferent and sometimes hostile to Linux since they don't make money at it.

But all the laptop vendors are making Chromebooks since Google pretty much told them what to build, and they sell well. This feeds device driver updates to the Linux kernel so I guess that's something.

Basically they want some other big company to lead the way. Looks like we will end up with Linux containers on Windows and Chromebooks since that's what Microsoft and Google are building.

@tindall remember that "interview" from oracle folks in what it took to port their database to Linux?

"typing make"

@tindall Once upon a time rumour had it that Microsoft agreed to keep out of the CAD market if Autodesk dropped support for AutoCAD on Un*x systems (where it originated). Dunno if that's true (of course, very few people would know even if it was) but an ex-Autodesk salesman did acknowledge to me that it wasn't inconsistent with anything he knew.

So, just possibly MS said to Adobe “stay Microsoft-mostly and we won't compete with you”. Very quietly. Maybe.

@tindall is installing Linux a pain? in my experience it's "push enter a few times"

@ben no no. For the vast majority of users, it's

1. Burn or buy an install medium, something they would not have to do otherwise.

2. Disable fast boot to Windows.

3. Boot up into BIOS and select boot medium

4. push enter a few times

This is my point. There's nothing inherently wrong with Linux - big tech has systematically made it a pain in the ass to the extent that few do it.

@ben It used to be just two poorly documented steps. Now it's four. On a lot of cheap machines it's just straight up impossible without a great deal of work, and sometimes not even then.

@tindall what we need is easier PXE boot

that removes steps 1 and 2

@ben what we need is a checkbox on the bestbuy website that says "preinstall (X) windows ( ) ubuntu"

@tindall they could do this

but they'd cost the same amount because of how Microsoft licenses OEM Windows and I absolutely do not trust Best Buy to install an operating system on a computer

@tindall Lenovo ThinkPads will be available with Fedora - announced during Red Hat Summit not log ago 👍

@gytis @tindall Dell has also had computers available with Ubuntu preinstalled (the XPS 15 I think). But go to their website and order one, and you'll see they're not really making it obvious.

@tindall Wouldn't it make more sense to rephrase that to say: Getting Linux on your computer is a much bigger pain than Windows, because Windows comes preinstalled.

This is because installing Windows is a lot harder than installing Linux. Windows requires you to find all sorts of of special drivers and it's not always clear where to get them, while on Linux is generally all preinstalled.

That doesn't matter all though, for the exact reason you highlighted. Microsoft has, since the 80's, relied on ensuring that computers come preinstalled with Windows by default, and have in the past taken to illegal means to keep it that way.

People who argue that Microsoft are good now probably are not fully aware of just how bad they behaved, and the only reason they reduced their amount of bad behaviour was because the Web and Cloud computing was threatening them to become irrelevant.

Once Microsoft has power over a given technology, you can be sure that they will leverage that power to crush competition everywhere possible.

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