[sf-lug] Consumer & admin (was: Possibly interesting data point on jobs postings)

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Tue May 16 19:08:13 PDT 2006

Quoting Sarah Mei (sarahmei at gmail.com):

> I was asking in the context of a question I've been thinking about
> lately: why hasn't Linux taken off as a Windows replacement for
> non-technical home users?

If you aren't familiar with the business structure that perpetuates the 
OEM preload monopoly, I discuss that here, in my answers to some
interview questions from the _Sydney Morning Herald_:

(Don't ask me why they wanted to interview me.  It wasn't my idea.)

Sudden thought:  If Linux _had_ taken off as a home user operating
system, would we have known?  It's not like there are sales figures to
count, as any sort of reliable guide.  (This is a famous problem posed
by an operating system most of whose distributions are _not_ per-seat
licensed, and may be lawfully installed and duplicated without limit
by the general public.)

> However, one interesting issue is that under Windows, non-technical
> users can do basic upkeep themselves, which is what I meant by
> "baseline admin tasks" -- the stuff you need to do to keep your
> computer running.  In the Windows world, this is OS updates, virus
> software, and spyware software.  In the Linux world, I suppose it's
> just OS updates.  (Anything else?  I'm more of a user than a sys
> admin.)
> So is there a distribution or an application that makes updates as
> easy as they are under Windows?

Although I have little recent experience with MS-Windows, my impression
is that you'll have at least a _little_ difficulty finding one that
_doesn't_:  All of the distributions aimed at desktop users have very
smooth and effective semi-automated maintenance regimes to fetch and
apply needed security updates, with much more reliable and satisfactory
results than with the infamous Security Pack drill under MS-Windows.

> By this I mean OS updates as a fully automatic, you-never-see-it
> background feature, with the option to set various levels of
> ask-me-first-ness.  Is Adept something like this?

_Fully_ automated?  You don't get that on MS-Windows, either -- nor
would you want it, I think.

Why don't you just try your luck with one or two of the desktop
distributions, and see for yourself?  It's much more meaningful and
useful than prolonged tire-kicking via mailing list threads.

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