People install and use Linux for a lot of different reasons. Some find their interest piqued by learning new things about computers and operating systems. Some are fed up with Windows annoyances and feel that Linux may provide a good alternative to their current situation. Some find it faster, more stable, or more secure than their current operating system. For servers, it's definitely a top choice.
Then again, Linux certainly isn't for everyone. Ubuntu, Red Hat, and similar distributions enable new users to jump right in but still keep it user friendly enough to be usable, but even these suffer from bugs and still require some work from the dreaded command line.
There's a certain mentality that a lot of Linux users have that makes them totally unresponsive to the words in the previous paragraph, however. And, unfortunately, that mentality breeds incorrect statements such as:
* Windows users are "too stupid" to learn Linux
* Windows users are "too lazy" to code solutions to their problems
* Windows users are "too brainwashed by Microsoft" to consider Linux a viable alternative
* Windows "sucks", mostly because it isn't free or open source
* Microsoft "sucks", because it produces Windows and has a lot of money
* The best way to encourage growth of Linux is to avoid criticizing it
* Linux has no real problems
Windows has become the most successful operating system for desktops in the world, and it's because Windows really IS a good operating system. Lessons can be learned from Microsoft's work and success, if people are willing to pay attention.
This journal entry stems from the user comments made on this article
, which makes a good point: people should really consider contributing to the top Linux apps to make them really stable. A lot of users dropped to personal attacks about how the author "isn't really a developer" and the usual "Microsoft sucks" ensued. One particularly stupid comment (in response to the author's call for a unified instant messaging application) reads:
Jesus, who cares? What a waste of time. I bet you send text messages on your mobile phone too. Get a life.
That kind of closed-mindedness is a bad thing for Linux. I'm glad that at least some developers seem to have good ideas about bringing Linux to new and inexperienced users. Growth of Linux can only be seen as a good thing for the operating system itself, since an increased user base leads to increased focus from companies willing to invest resources in the project. That in turn makes Linux more usable, appealing, widespread, supported and builds up the number of apps ported over. How is that bad?
I suppose I'm just sick of the people who call Linux "a system by hackers, for hackers" and attempt to make it some sort of exclusive club. Linux has great potential backed by the fact that it's free and it has thousands of developers. There's no reason this sort of grade school mentality should persist when a great project is at stake. I hope that as the Linux userbase grows, these kind of comments get drowned out in the wake of useful suggestions from users who are actually interested in Linux as a desktop OS.
Those who would rather use an OS because it's obscure can check out some other alternatives: Syllable
, or pretty much anything else on this page