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1. Editor's Note: What Do We Really Want From Linux?
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- Apple's Quarterly Earnings Show The iPhone Revolution Is Succeeding
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- Microsoft CEO Defends Move Beyond Desktop
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- New Bill Proposes 'Health Record Trusts' That Pay Doctors To Use E-Health Records
- Motorola Taps COO Greg Brown For Board
- Verizon Supports Some 'Open' Measures Of 700-MHz Auction
- Forget Users; It's External Customers That Count
- Sony Posts Record $826 Million First-Quarter Profit
- MySpace Defends Efforts To Vet Sex Predators
- Half Of Tech Employers Looking To Fill Jobs By End Of 2007, Survey Finds
- Google Earth Enterprise Gains Web Browser Integration
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Quote of the day:
"Too much of a good thing is wonderful." -- Mae West
1. Editor's Note: What Do We Really Want From Linux?
First off, let me state my own position regarding Linux. On a day-to-day basis, I'm a casual Linux user. It hasn't eclipsed Windows on my personal desktop, and that's mostly because there's still a lot that I use Windows for in a work environment -- testing software and hardware, mainly. I like Windows for what it is, but I've come to like Linux for what it is, too.
Now: What about Alex's two issues? First off, I don't think the broad number of Linux distributions out there is a bad thing, except in the sense that it makes it difficult to choose where to begin. This is definitely a problem, for both pros and beginners, but you could no more slim down the number of distributions out there than you could selectively turn off the stars. It makes more sense instead to provide people with a way to efficiently choose the right distro for the right job.
What we need is a better way to decide those things, and in fact I came across something that comes close -- the Linux Distribution Chooser. However, I think it starts off on entirely the wrong foot and asks too many questions to get the needed information. It's an area that badly needs more work.
Second is the perception of what the average user wants or needs. This can be a tricky issue to pick through for a bunch of reasons -- a major one being that the pros tend to forget that less-technically-savvy users are simply not as obsessed with the way the system works.
A regular user will say something like, "I'd like to deal with my e-mail and browse the Web and write my novel." The exact way they get those things done isn't as important, as long as they can get them done in a relatively straightforward fashion. Windows and the Mac offer more deliberately closed-ended ways to get there, while Linux offers a plurality of ways to get there. Again, choosing a distro is often the issue -- but, that said, the vast majority of distributions are so specialized that this is not as bad an issue as it might seem. It usually boils down to something like Ubuntu vs. Red Hat.
I do agree that there must be incarnations of Linux that are as comfortable as possible to use on the desktop -- something for Joe CD-ROM, as it were. But I don't believe the whole of Linux as we know it has to be remade to make that possible.
What do you think? Do you agree that the abundance of Linux distros is a good thing, or do you think that too much of a good thing is -- too much? Leave a comment at the InformationWeek Blog and let us know.
Microsoft CEO Defends Move Beyond Desktop
Chief executive Steve Ballmer defended the software company's expansion beyond its Windows and Office software businesses, saying Web services and consumer devices are key to the company's future.
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