Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Linux 'not just for power users'

Filed under
Linux

Linux advocates hoping to convert Windows users to the open source operating system are more likely to succeed with technophobes and very inexperienced computer users than with Windows power users.

In a report published by research and analysis firm Quocirca, entitled "Migrating to Linux on the Desktop", the company found not only was it a myth that you had to be a power user to cope with Linux, the complete opposite is true.

According to the report, as users become comfortable with an operating system and start customising it, they are far less likely to want to change.

"The consensus amongst early adopters is that Windows power users are the most difficult group to migrate to Linux because of the breadth of applications they rely on and the advanced features they use within them," the report said." Replacing this richness with Linux-compatible alternatives, and at the same time dealing with their legacy data and home grown applications, is extremely difficult".

The researchers' view is supported by Jon Oxer, president of Linux Australia, an organisation dedicated to the Australian Linux and open source community.

Oxer told ZDNet UK sister site ZDNet Australia that, for a novice computer user, there is virtually no difference in usability between Linux and Windows. However, he said there were difficulties associated with changing a user's applications.

"[Novice users] are still going to have a learning curve about how to manage files and open programs. But at an application level, people put a lot of time into learning things like keyboard shortcuts," said Oxer, who pointed out that there are still problems when converting macros and other customisations.

"A [Microsoft] Word macro is written in a language specific to Word. It is hard to write something that will take the macro as it stands. There will probably have to be some form of conversion done," said Oxer.

The news for desktop Linux advocates is even worse when dealing with smaller companies, according to SMB IT and outsourcing specialists Brennan IT.

David Stevens, managing director of Brennan IT, said SMBs did not even consider Linux on the desktop because they did not want to take a risk and were willing to pay for Microsoft's software licences.

"There is no contest," Stevens said. "Linux just isn't an issue for the SME market. SMEs are much more interested in the stability, performance and productivity of their desktop and are risk averse when it comes to these objectives. The licensing costs charged by Microsoft are not sufficient to force a SME into looking at alternate desktop operating systems, or office applications".

Stevens said Brennan IT assessed Linux as a desktop platform every six months and believed at some point in the future its takeup would be "very significant". However, he does not believe the platform is "viable" now.

However, there is some light at the end of the tunnel for Linux firms, Oxer reckons.

Oxer said the growing interest in Web-based applications could allow Linux to sneak into the work environment as users become more reliant on their browser than they are on their desktop environment.

"When one only needs a browser and email program on their computer, the operating system doesn't matter. Breaking the desktop application paradigm is going to be a very big thing. If companies can migrate their applications over to Web services then the desktop becomes irrelevant. All users will need to know is how to launch a browser," said Oxer.

Source.

More in Tux Machines

Leftovers: Software

  • diction: The words you choose and why
  • style: Similar idea, different direction
  • SMS based Cosmos Browser for the developing countries
    Browsing the internet has different meaning to different people. While to some the web is a source of entertainment, to others it is a valuable and source of learning. Sadly enough, the internet is not widely available and easily affordable everywhere in the globe. Slow network speed is another problem. Developer Stefan Aleksic of ColdSauce tries to find a solution in an SMS (text) based browser for the third world countries which are yet to see the internet as we know it. He has named it the Cosmos Browser. If you ever used elinks on Linux, you know how efficient and low-bandwidth text only browsing can be. Of course, it is not meant for visiting a website for downloading wallpapers, but it is more than sufficient if you want to read some information from the web. Cosmos will work on text and will not need any data plan or WiFi.
  • Keyboard Modifiers State indicator For Ubuntu: Xkbmod Indicator

today's howtos

Leftovers: Gaming

Sorry, Windows 9 Fans, This Is How Multiple Desktops Should Work – Video

The Linux platform has always taken pride in this cool feature. Having multiple desktops is a great way to increase the productivity and there are numerous means to implement it. Lots of Linux distributions have this option, which is used in various ways. Read more