What’s Stopping Consumers From Buying Into Linux

Posted on 24. Dec, 2012 by in Linux, Opinion, Technology

When it comes to computers now-a-days the reality is not many people are choosing to buy a desktop. And why wouldn’t you? You can get an almost limitless variety of laptops which cater to all needs, thus rendering a desktop obsolete for almost all but the most demanding of users.

So with the majority of users using laptops, this begs the question: what are they running on these laptops?

The reality is this, those who choose to buy a Mac almost always run Mac OS (obviously) with the occasionally user choosing to also run windows along side it. Those who don’t buy a mac will end up with a PC running Windows.

Running Windows on your laptop is all fair and well but there comes a point where experimenting with running other operating systems comes in. You could install Mac OS and try creating a Hackintosh, but the majority of people choose instead to take a shot at installing a distribution of Linux.

Now as alternative desktop operating systems go there Linux really is a viable option. Unfortunately when it comes to running Linux on laptops you encounter issues related to the portability of the device as well as the grandfathered issues from desktop Linux.These two flaws, as I see it, are the lack of proper power management, and the lack of some form of advanced GUI-based “control panel”.

When you look at the biggest player in the desktop Linux game, Ubuntu, you wonder why, when they have made it their mission to grow the adoption of Linux, they haven’t considered these two issues.

Power management is a must have on a laptop. There isn’t a consumer out there today that will go out and buy a laptop with less than 5 hours of battery life. Unfortunately the reality is that really isn’t possible for laptops running Linux. Even laptops which ship with Linux, having had the OS customized for them, have abysmal battery life. This really is unacceptable considering Linux is, by far, less system-intensive than Windows, and laptops that get only 3 hours on Linux get over 5, or even 6 hours on Windows. Fixing this should be a priority if anyone it going to take Linux on a laptop seriously.

Secondly there is the issue of advanced controls comparable to what windows has in the form of the Control Panel. This is a key component of Windows that allows slightly more advanced users to make adjustments, tweaks and perform advanced tasks without delving into the abyss of learning to use the command line. By allowing user to stay out of the command line the software gives a more uniform user experience, distances the OS from looking like it is too complicated (something Linux should be working much harder at doing), and makes it easier for less advanced users to learn more advanced skills. This is a win-win for Linux as none of these improvements in any was change the command line functionality of the system, thus avoiding alienating more advanced users.

So, the Linux Foundation, Ubuntu, Fedora, and all others who want to make Linux all that it is capable of: PLEASE, stop skirting around the real reasons why no one is using your OS and get down to work on something that can run on my laptop.

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