41 votes

“Just Switch to Linux” Is The Loser’s Game

56 comments

  1. [2]
    ekianjo Link
    I'm the author of the article. First, thanks for posting it here (I just discovered Tildes because of that), and for everyone who spent some time going thru it, despite its length! I will go and...

    I'm the author of the article. First, thanks for posting it here (I just discovered Tildes because of that), and for everyone who spent some time going thru it, despite its length! I will go and read your comments in more details.

    32 votes
    1. edenist Link Parent
      Thanks for writing it! It really states clearly pretty much where my own thoughts have been going recently. I'm also glad you mentioned: In fact, in my opinion this should be number one for many...

      Thanks for writing it! It really states clearly pretty much where my own thoughts have been going recently.

      I'm also glad you mentioned:

      Make kids use Linux in school

      In fact, in my opinion this should be number one for many reasons. The big companies spend million [probably billions] in getting schools to adopt their products and platforms, and giving out 'free' licenses to students, because they know building familiarity with their products is one of the biggest contributors to adoption later in life.
      Also as you touched on, it's incredibly immoral to be handing taxpayer money to huge corporations which are assumed defacto standards. It's not even about getting kids to be 'hooked' on Linux instead of Windows/MacOS, it's about teaching them to use computing devices rather than how to use products.
      Of course, just as you had your long list of steps required for a user to switch, there's an arguably longer one for schools and other institutions. Fact is, the teachers and professionals running the infrastructure in schools live in a proprietary world as well, so it's not an easy task to say the least.

      14 votes
  2. [20]
    kfwyre (edited ) Link
    I am in a somewhat unique position in that I am by far the most techy person among my coworkers, yet by the standards of Tildes or the internet at large, I am a novice bordering on...

    I am in a somewhat unique position in that I am by far the most techy person among my coworkers, yet by the standards of Tildes or the internet at large, I am a novice bordering on tech-illiterate. I recently swapped over to running Linux full time, but I'm running a beginner's distro with little to no understanding of what's going on beneath the hood or what to do if something goes wrong.

    On a daily basis I help my coworkers with tech issues, and by and large most of their friction stems from a fundamental lack of understanding of the underlying paradigms for how computer UX works.

    For example: many of my coworkers don't understand that you can type a website directly into the URL bar and go there. For them, typing the name of what they want and then clicking on it in Google is their understanding of how to go places. It is the workflow they learned, and they have formed their mental map around this process. I helped one coworker create bookmarks for her most used sites, and she didn't use them not because she forgot they were there but because clicking those was disorienting for her. She didn't feel like she was really going to the sites, or she was going to them in the wrong way.

    I say this not as a judgment, but to reinforce the point in the article that there are large numbers of people out there whose understanding of computers exists at a level far below what most would consider a base level. My own mother struggled with the concept of minimizing windows, as mentioned in the article. Even after doing it multiple times, it didn't click for her until I explained it was like "moving a paper off the table and then back on again." She didn't have the paradigm for what was going on, and she couldn't intuit it from use.

    Seemingly paradoxically, these are the people that are most ideal for using Linux. Many of them couldn't explain to you the difference between a web browser and an operating system, which means they're not tied to Windows--they simply use it because it's there. Replace Windows with a distro with a comparable UX, and they would likely be just fine doing what they've always done. It's unlikely they have any program-specific needs, as most of their stuff will be web-based, so really, if the distro can get them online, it'll suffice.

    We recently started moving staff computers over to Chromebooks and their reception was widely popular--not because they offered more or better tools, but because they reduced friction. Better boot times, no random programs that bug you on start, dead simple interface that funnels almost everything through the familiar territory of Chrome, and way better battery life.

    This is going to echo the thesis of the article, but remove the friction, and you'll get users. Most people are busy and simply want their tools to work for them. If they have to fight their tools, they become an obstacle rather than an asset. Windows, for all of its plusses, is more of an obstacle than an asset for most of my coworkers. Most of them were all too happy to adopt Chromebooks. Linux could be that solution too.

    43 votes
    1. [12]
      WinterCharm Link Parent
      This is why I seriously think that macOS is one of the best operating systems on the planet. Dead simple and easy to use for beginners, but under the hood it's got a Unix backend that's just...

      This is why I seriously think that macOS is one of the best operating systems on the planet. Dead simple and easy to use for beginners, but under the hood it's got a Unix backend that's just glorious to work in.

      18 votes
      1. [9]
        vivaria (edited ) Link Parent
        Hello again! I did quite enjoy your last lengthy comment about misconceptions regarding macOS. Considering we're in a thread about Linux, and as the biggest fans of things can often be the biggest...

        Hello again! I did quite enjoy your last lengthy comment about misconceptions regarding macOS.

        Considering we're in a thread about Linux, and as the biggest fans of things can often be the biggest critics: Are there any common use cases where the 'under the hood' value that macOS brings wouldn't be sufficient, thus prompting a move from macOS to Linux?

        I ask as someone using Windows who would like to explore alternatives, and who is curious about cases where you would want to use one or the other. In particular, I'm going to get nudged into Mint (19, Cinnamon) on an upcoming dev internship, so if you have any thoughts on relevant comparisons to macOS I'd love to hear them.

        EDIT: Just noticed the input from @tindall below that touches on some comparisons, too. Would be also interested in hearing from them if they feel up to it. :>

        4 votes
        1. [6]
          tindall Link Parent
          As @Akir touched on, it's against the EULA to run Mac OS on un-blessed hardware. Linux and most anything you need to run it on any hardware (except some specific drivers) are as free as software...

          As @Akir touched on, it's against the EULA to run Mac OS on un-blessed hardware. Linux and most anything you need to run it on any hardware (except some specific drivers) are as free as software can be. I run Linux on my laptop, my desktop, my ultraportable, and on my VPS server.

          Mac OS does not provide most of the really cool kernel-level features that make Linux so versatile. For instance, Docker doesn't work on Mac OS without a virtual machine (and the whole point of docker is to avoid using a virtual machine). Mac OS doesn't support nonvolatile RAM, either (like Intel's new tech), or ZFS, and HFS+ is an absolute disaster of a filesystem. Mac OS doesn't have a working UNIX environment by default, either - you have to install XCode to un-restrict yourself from using programs that are easily available on Linux.

          The basic difference, though, is that when you use either Windows or Mac OS, you don't own the most basic level of functionality in your computer. If Microsoft or Apple want to wring more money out of you, which they most certainly will, they have every legal right to do almost anything at all to do so (for instance, installing software you don't want, removing software you do want, tracking your position moment by moment, or literally destroying the functionality of your computer if you try to get it repaired by someone other than them).

          With a free software operating system, it's very, very difficult for anything like that to happen. Technically, if you use Ubuntu, Canonical could pull some crazy stunt like that, but the open source nature means everyone would know right away and anyone could easily publish a way for people to get around the modification.

          11 votes
          1. [4]
            vivaria Link Parent
            So, if I'm understanding correctly, the choice depends on the trade-offs that come with "trusting the (often obfuscated) decisions a single company makes for their unified ecosystem" versus the...

            So, if I'm understanding correctly, the choice depends on the trade-offs that come with "trusting the (often obfuscated) decisions a single company makes for their unified ecosystem" versus the alternative of "building your own ecosystem out of a hodge-podge of scattered, but transparently designed components."

            In choosing the former, you might receive hardware/software integration and optimization at a level that's difficult to attain for a layperson, but with the trade-off of having far less control and understanding of how your system is operating (as in a lot of ways you're at the mercy of, say, Apple).

            5 votes
            1. [3]
              tindall Link Parent
              I don't necessarily agree that, e.g., elementary OS or Ubuntu Linux is a "hodge-podge". It's a painstakingly polished initial experience with access to a catalog of curated apps plus the option to...

              So, if I'm understanding correctly, the choice depends on the trade-offs that come with "trusting the (often obfuscated) decisions a single company makes for their unified ecosystem" versus the alternative of "building your own ecosystem out of a hodge-podge of scattered, but transparently designed components."

              I don't necessarily agree that, e.g., elementary OS or Ubuntu Linux is a "hodge-podge". It's a painstakingly polished initial experience with access to a catalog of curated apps plus the option to use almost any software ever written for Linux.

              A great example of this is Windows, actually. There's a ton of absolutely awful software available for Windows. That doesn't make the good stuff worse.

              the trade-off of having far less control and understanding of how your system is operating

              This is true (I care a lot about how my system operates, and I like to know about it), but the thing that's so great about open source is that even if you can't read the code, you don't have to trust the people who wrote it. Any person who can read it could blow the whistle on, and provide the ability for you to remove, any nefarious changes.

              8 votes
              1. [2]
                vivaria Link Parent
                Sorry, I wasn't clear there. Not necessarily referring to the distributions themselves as hodge-podges, but more... the entire user experience? Maybe I'm not giving enough credit to Linux distros...

                Sorry, I wasn't clear there. Not necessarily referring to the distributions themselves as hodge-podges, but more... the entire user experience? Maybe I'm not giving enough credit to Linux distros as working seamlessly right out of the box, but relative to macOS I figured it was a bit more DIY.

                That also might just be complete misconception from the perspective of a Windows user, though.

                3 votes
                1. tindall Link Parent
                  To be honest, I think this is very much a... I don't know if misconception is right, but a perception that isn't justified. Focusing just on Ubuntu: if what you want to do is browse the web, watch...

                  To be honest, I think this is very much a... I don't know if misconception is right, but a perception that isn't justified.

                  Focusing just on Ubuntu: if what you want to do is browse the web, watch videos, play music, and edit documents (text, spreadsheets, presentations, and drawings), you'll never have to install any software. It ships with Firefox, LibreOffice, GNOME Music, and a video player.

                  If you want Spotify, Discord, Telegram, Slack, Steam, etc, you go into the app store, search the application's name, and press "Install".

                  It's only when you want to do things that are essentially not possible on other operating systems (or that have been deliberately sabotaged by their manufacturer, like use some WiFi chipsets that restrict drivers, or run Adobe software) that you get into DIY stuff.

                  That may be the perception because people like to showcase all the cool stuff Linux can do, but if you just want to use it as a PC for work and gaming (including native Windows games!) you never have to touch a terminal or do anything more complex than you'd have to on Windows.

                  EDIT: And, of course, installing it in the first place. But you can buy a computer that comes with Linux; I have one and it's great.

                  5 votes
          2. WinterCharm Link Parent
            All of this is spot-on, and good criticism of why you'd want to stay away from macOS and Windows.

            All of this is spot-on, and good criticism of why you'd want to stay away from macOS and Windows.

        2. Akir Link Parent
          I wouldn't consider there to be many, but the one I can think of is a pretty big issue. Linux will run on most hardware; MacOS will only run on Apple hardware. (Well you can build a hackintosh,...

          I wouldn't consider there to be many, but the one I can think of is a pretty big issue. Linux will run on most hardware; MacOS will only run on Apple hardware.

          (Well you can build a hackintosh, but the MacOS license requires it to be run on their computers, even if it is on a VM.)

          4 votes
        3. WinterCharm Link Parent
          Sure! gaming -- While macOS has the Metal API, they just recently deprecated OpenGL and don't have native Vulkan support. While I think Metal is a good move for macOS, and there is the MoltenVK...

          Are there any common use cases where the 'under the hood' value that macOS brings wouldn't be sufficient

          Sure!

          • gaming -- While macOS has the Metal API, they just recently deprecated OpenGL and don't have native Vulkan support. While I think Metal is a good move for macOS, and there is the MoltenVK (Vulkan atop Metal - which works well because both are such low level APIs) it's not an ideal experience. Furthermore, since Apple controls the graphics drivers, you don't get GPU driver updates once a year when the major macOS update happens. Otherwise you're SoL - so I would never recommend anyone use a mac to game. If you already own a mac for other reasons and want to game, I suggest installing Windows or Linux via bootcamp, and doing it there, just for driver and API reasons.
          • engineering, and other field-specific stuff- for example, if you're a security researcher, there are flavor-made Linux distros that come with tools you will use every day, which are also hardened against attack.
          • Many apps are windows or Linux only in industries like Chemicals and sometimes in R&D -- AutoCAD, ASPEN Hysys, or Comsol. Some are available for macOS, but may be lacking features, and there might be occasional weirdness sharing complex files between users who run the Windows Version.
          • Server related things, and High Performance compute -- when I need to do serious heavy lifting, I SSH into a Linux cluster, and run stuff there. MacOS is great for local work, and while the OS can be modified to work in a cluster environment, if you're doing something with a bunch of nodes connected by Mpich, and running MPI programs.... you really want Linux.
          • If you're a Linux developer... use Linux (obviously).
          2 votes
      2. [2]
        john-117 Link Parent
        Coming from Windows I find Ubuntu much easier to work with than macOS. To me at least, it looks simple, but is not intuitive at all if you're coming from Windows.

        Coming from Windows I find Ubuntu much easier to work with than macOS. To me at least, it looks simple, but is not intuitive at all if you're coming from Windows.

        4 votes
        1. WinterCharm Link Parent
          Part of that is being used to the UI of windows, and not really "getting" the way macOS is built. I actually think people are going to be far more comfortable moving from Android or iOS to macOS....

          Part of that is being used to the UI of windows, and not really "getting" the way macOS is built. I actually think people are going to be far more comfortable moving from Android or iOS to macOS. It has many of the same paradigms.

          For example, the App Drawer from android is a lot like the Launchpad on macOS. There is drag and drop EVERYWHERE on all 3 operating systems.

          But the way macOS manages windows of an app, and applications themselves is entirely different.

          1 vote
    2. [5]
      teaearlgraycold Link Parent
      Well, ChromeOS is Debian-based, so it looks like we have the Linux distro we need. Although I hope there is a de-googled equivalent.

      Well, ChromeOS is Debian-based, so it looks like we have the Linux distro we need. Although I hope there is a de-googled equivalent.

      7 votes
      1. [3]
        hungariantoast (edited ) Link Parent
        Unless something has changed, ChromeOS is based on Gentoo. It was originally based on Ubuntu, but moved to Gentoo in 2010. ChromeOS recently gained the ability to install .deb files, so that might...

        Well, ChromeOS is Debian-based

        Unless something has changed, ChromeOS is based on Gentoo.

        It was originally based on Ubuntu, but moved to Gentoo in 2010.

        ChromeOS recently gained the ability to install .deb files, so that might be the root of the confusion, but .deb files are just archive files. They contain one archive with the program's files, and another archive with the installation information.

        Of course, I could be wrong, and Google could have moved ChromeOS' base to another distribution, but I haven't heard about that.

        Also, someone who is more familiar with Gentoo might be able to clarify on the ability to run other distribution's package managers on Gentoo, which if I recall, I've seen done and working. And it's not as crazy as it sounds, Bedrock Linux has been making a mockery of distribution fragmentation for years now.

        15 votes
        1. Diff Link Parent
          As I understand it Gentoo is more or less ChromeOS' build system, after the install it doesn't really use its package manager at all. But there's dpkg available in Gentoo's repos (tree?). Pretty...

          As I understand it Gentoo is more or less ChromeOS' build system, after the install it doesn't really use its package manager at all. But there's dpkg available in Gentoo's repos (tree?). Pretty easy to slip that in as part of your finished system.

          5 votes
        2. loto Link Parent
          Can confirm, Bedrock user here with no less than 4 package managers (including dpkg/apt and portage) installed & running.

          Can confirm, Bedrock user here with no less than 4 package managers (including dpkg/apt and portage) installed & running.

          5 votes
      2. Jedi Link Parent
        Chromium OS? You could just install Firefox via Crostini, and that'd take care of it for the most part.

        Chromium OS?

        You could just install Firefox via Crostini, and that'd take care of it for the most part.

        1 vote
    3. [2]
      vord Link Parent
      @Deimos, might want to verify parent post's warning and disable link.

      @Deimos, might want to verify parent post's warning and disable link.

      2 votes
  3. [13]
    Micycle_the_Bichael (edited ) Link
    I'm going to take a slightly different approach from the author and say what I see as another huge hurdle for Linux to hit general users: Microsoft Office. I spent 4 years developing plugins for...

    I'm going to take a slightly different approach from the author and say what I see as another huge hurdle for Linux to hit general users: Microsoft Office. I spent 4 years developing plugins for Microsoft Office and let me tell you that Microsoft made it as hard as fucking possible to do what you want. It's a fucking nightmare. BUT it runs on both macOS and Windows and over time the friction of a doc going from one OS to the other has really lessened. But try opening a heavily-formatted doc from Word or Excel in LibreOffice, make changes, send it back to the original user, and tell me how it goes. It's fucking awful. Don't get me wrong, I love Linux. I prefer it and will constantly be doing things to get my family onto Mint or Ubuntu or whatever tech-illiterate, GUI-filled distro comes out. But until either Libre <=> Office is easier or the cloud versions of Google <sheets,docs, powerpoint, etc> is as full-featured as the desktop version, it probably won't make it to mainstream at a non-software corporate level.

    EDIT: After talking to people here and as well as offline, I think the combo of office365 web interface and google office stuff are enough for most users and so if the other point of "its hard to install and you can't buy laptops with linux pre-installed at major commercial retailers like Best Buy."

    26 votes
    1. [10]
      Pilgrim (edited ) Link Parent
      My enterprise is slowly doing away with the local software versions of Office and moving everyone one to cloud365 or whatever it is MS is calling their cloud versions. Once that happens broadly...

      My enterprise is slowly doing away with the local software versions of Office and moving everyone one to cloud365 or whatever it is MS is calling their cloud versions. Once that happens broadly then I think you may see a shift away from Windows. I know my company certainly hates paying for licensing and support for it.

      EDIT: It's called Office365, but that really describes the back end which can be used with software or web-based versions of Office. So what I meant was that you can run the web-based version of Office on Linux :)

      6 votes
      1. [9]
        Micycle_the_Bichael Link Parent
        I moved to a different role and don’t really work with office anymore. Can office365 run on Linux? Because if it can’t I don’t think cloud or local really matters. If it can run on Linux (and...

        I moved to a different role and don’t really work with office anymore. Can office365 run on Linux? Because if it can’t I don’t think cloud or local really matters. If it can run on Linux (and without breaking or a lot of manual work) then I’ll happily be wrong.

        1 vote
        1. Greg Link Parent
          You can run it in a browser, similar to Google docs, although I don't think it's quite at feature or speed parity with the native versions. There are definitely MS Office power users who need all...

          You can run it in a browser, similar to Google docs, although I don't think it's quite at feature or speed parity with the native versions. There are definitely MS Office power users who need all the features and plugins to do their jobs and can't switch (and I'm of the strong belief that for certain use cases Excel is the one MS product that's actually superior to all of its competitors), but I'd say that at least 90% of people are just riding on familiarity and compatibility at this point - they're all good candidates for running it on a Chromebook or similar.

          12 votes
        2. Pilgrim Link Parent
          It runs in your browser. I haven't specifically tested it on Linux but it should work just as well as Google's web-based office products. Here's an article about it:...

          It runs in your browser. I haven't specifically tested it on Linux but it should work just as well as Google's web-based office products. Here's an article about it:
          https://www.lifewire.com/microsoft-office-on-linux-4137049

          I'm sure that the online office products aren't quite as robust as their software counterparts, but for most users I'd think it'd be fine.

          7 votes
        3. [6]
          fifthecho Link Parent
          Under Wine it's not seamless, but it can work.

          Under Wine it's not seamless, but it can work.

          3 votes
          1. [5]
            Micycle_the_Bichael Link Parent
            I haven't played around with Wine so I won't say this for sure. But I will say any abstraction layer sends alarm bells off in my head that it won't work first casual users. I once had a user using...

            I haven't played around with Wine so I won't say this for sure. But I will say any abstraction layer sends alarm bells off in my head that it won't work first casual users. I once had a user using virtualbox who couldn't understand why our excel plugin wasn't installed. He didn't understand that software on his main machine wasn't on his VM, or how to install things on his VM. It was painful explaining. Again, I don't know anything about Wine so I could be wrong and I'll be first to admit it.

            2 votes
            1. [4]
              Grand0rbiter Link Parent
              I have office installed in wine on my work to use if compatibility issues arise. I just double click the file on the desktop/file explorer and it opens with office, people won't even notice...

              I have office installed in wine on my work to use if compatibility issues arise.

              I just double click the file on the desktop/file explorer and it opens with office, people won't even notice there's wine running it.

              It's way different than a VM.

              4 votes
              1. Micycle_the_Bichael Link Parent
                Between that and office365 I have changed my stance. Updated my original comment to reflect my new knowledge. Thanks y'all for educating me :)

                Between that and office365 I have changed my stance. Updated my original comment to reflect my new knowledge. Thanks y'all for educating me :)

                3 votes
              2. [2]
                Greg Link Parent
                It's pretty smooth when it works, but I'd describe my experience with Wine as a little bit like running web apps in, say, Internet Explorer 9 or 10: things generally function, and sometimes...

                It's pretty smooth when it works, but I'd describe my experience with Wine as a little bit like running web apps in, say, Internet Explorer 9 or 10: things generally function, and sometimes they're perfect, but they haven't really been tested for that specific environment so you're a lot more likely to hit visual quirks, non-responsive buttons, or general weird behaviour.

                1 vote
                1. Grand0rbiter Link Parent
                  Oh yes. And it is not a new version of Office i'm using. I think it's 2010. I don't need it very much.

                  Oh yes. And it is not a new version of Office i'm using. I think it's 2010. I don't need it very much.

                  2 votes
    2. Stroh Link Parent
      An online editor is the best. I had difficulties writing in a forum through the edit box. Almost each time I switched from the web to Microsoft Office to Linux then back to pasting it into the...

      An online editor is the best. I had difficulties writing in a forum through the edit box. Almost each time I switched from the web to Microsoft Office to Linux then back to pasting it into the edit box gave horrible formatting issues.

      Linux really can take abuse and has very low requirements. I rarely see windows embedded in government applications and even when I do, Linux is running under it.

    3. thisonemakesyouthink Link Parent
      This is the one I always object to. I genuinely believe anyone with even a base-line understanding of computers could install Linux. Basically, if you can install a piece of software onto your...

      its hard to install

      This is the one I always object to. I genuinely believe anyone with even a base-line understanding of computers could install Linux. Basically, if you can install a piece of software onto your Windows PC, you can install Linux. It's the same thing, selecting a few options and clicking a few boxes.

  4. [7]
    tindall Link
    All the points this article makes are very valid, but it doesn't dig into the reason it's essentially impossible for most people to use Linux. Microsoft, Nvidia, Adobe, Apple, Google, and many...

    All the points this article makes are very valid, but it doesn't dig into the reason it's essentially impossible for most people to use Linux.

    Microsoft, Nvidia, Adobe, Apple, Google, and many others have all spent nontrivial amounts of time and engineering effort to make it as difficult as possible for "normal" people to use Linux and other free software. They do not want people to be able to understand how their own computers work, because people will realize that they can do things without reliance on these massive companies.

    And that makes it a moral responsibility for anyone who can to pitch in to make it easier. Make end-user apps that only or primarily work on Linux. Make the desktop environments better. Use things and submit bug reports.

    19 votes
    1. [4]
      WinterCharm Link Parent
      This. Holy hell, this. I love macOS because: it has a basic UI / UX thats excellent for normal people It's got a powerful backend for pro users. Things like a proper Terminal, Unix Backend for...

      This. Holy hell, this.

      I love macOS because:

      • it has a basic UI / UX thats excellent for normal people
      • It's got a powerful backend for pro users. Things like a proper Terminal, Unix Backend for devleoping, Automator, AppleScripts, and insane levels of granular customization of key combinations, and some amazing pro level tools.
      • macOS has professional creator software -- Adobe Suite is there, as well as many AutoDesk applications, and other professional tools.
      • MacOS is not perfect, but compared to 95% of linux distros it's easier to use, more powerful, and has a broader range of software.
      • macOS is insanely stable... I mean ridiculously insanely stable. Not slowing down when I've got a 45GB swap file, all cores at 100% and all 16GB of ram occupied, because I'm rendering a 75GB output file from the cluster, while it runs a second simulation, all via Terminal and a few other tools... This is the kind of workload that will make any windows machine crawl on its knees and display the BSOD.
      • macOS is wildly battery efficient -- 30 days on standby, without losing battery. I just open it up and work, and close it. 8-10 hours of battery life during active use, and a "pretty good" 2.5 hours under extreme load.

      The software is what keeps me on the Apple platform. It's just the best of all worlds. It's not perfect but it's as good as it can get.

      12 votes
      1. [3]
        tindall Link Parent
        If you close your laptop lid and open it a month later with no loss of charge displayed, your operating system is lying to you. Li-ion batteries physically cannot achieve better than about 7%...

        30 days on standby, without losing battery.

        If you close your laptop lid and open it a month later with no loss of charge displayed, your operating system is lying to you. Li-ion batteries physically cannot achieve better than about 7% self-discharge (the amount of energy lost to random electrons migrating across the electrolyte barrier) per month in ideal conditions. (1) In addition, in standby, the RAM has to be refreshed, which requires, per memory bank, at absolute minimum 50μA of current (assuming 1/4th array refresh at below freezing temperatures), and more like 100 to 200 μA, realistically. (2)

        With a 5450 mAh battery fully charged, in a month, you'd lose at minimum 381 mAh from self-discharge plus 220 or 440 mAh from memory refresh depending on the model of Macbook (assuming Macbook Pro). That's 581 mAh, nearly 10% of your battery, depleted even under pretty ideal conditions (low temps, low RAM usage, and a fresh battery).

        This is the problem with Mac OS. Apple lies to you to make themselves look good, in addition to doing real engineering to get good standby life.

        8-10 hours of battery life during active use, and a "pretty good" 2.5 hours under extreme load.

        This is in no way exceptional for laptops with the processing power (low) and battery fraction (high) that most Macbooks, Macbook Pros, and all Macbook Airs have. For instance, my (7-year-old!) T430s can do this easily under Ubuntu with its dual battery system.

        macOS is insanely stable... I mean ridiculously insanely stable.

        Is it this stable? ;)

        Jokes aside, Linux machines with over 15 years of continuous uptime exist.

        it has a basic UI / UX thats excellent for normal people

        [...]

        MacOS is not perfect, but compared to 95% of Linux distros it's easier to use, more powerful, and has a broader range of software.

        These are the same point. Also, citation needed. I hate Mac OS's default window manager, it's slow and difficult for me to use. That it's easy for you to use does not make "95% of Linux distros" bad, and it's difficult to switch out; only recently are good tiling WMs being made available.

        It's got a powerful backend for pro users. Things like a proper Terminal, Unix Backend for devleoping, Automator, AppleScripts, and insane levels of granular customization of key combinations, and some amazing pro level tools.

        This is the birthright of every computer user. That it seems like a "plus" or "benefit" is an artefact of Microsoft and Apple pretending that computers can't do anything they haven't blessed.

        Mac OS is not inherently better than other . It works well for your use case, and that's good, but if big tech companies didn't hold functionality hostage on proprietary platforms, the percentage of people using Linux would be way higher, because it would be more profitable to sell hardware with Linux-based operating systems pre-installed.

        A low fraction of Linux users is not an inevitable tragedy. It's the result of deliberate marketing decisions by both manufacturers and, for some reason, users, especially of Mac OS. To expand slightly on my original comment, the reason you think that being stable with a large load fraction and a big swap file, or being able to be scripted and configured, is somehow a really cool feature, is that Apple and Microsoft castrated their operating systems so they could sell applications software. Don't be taken in by it.

        27 votes
        1. [2]
          edenist Link Parent
          Well said. And you know, it sort of reminds me once again of the apple commercial featuring the "what's a computer" line. Of course there was the online outrage about how stupid the line was...

          This is the birthright of every computer user. That it seems like a "plus" or "benefit" is an artefact of Microsoft and Apple pretending that computers can't do anything they haven't blessed.

          Well said.

          And you know, it sort of reminds me once again of the apple commercial featuring the "what's a computer" line. Of course there was the online outrage about how stupid the line was because "of course an ipad is a computer" etc... But the more I think about it, with your line above in mind, is it really?

          What's more, I'm now of the view that most people don't even want to use computers, they just want the lowest friction path possible to the most content possible. They want to use content-consumption devices. Which is where I now classify all of apple's, microsoft's and google's products.

          4 votes
          1. tindall Link Parent
            Perhaps true, but it's crucial to remember that this is only because that's what people think computers are because they have been lied to.

            I'm now of the view that most people don't even want to use computers, they just want the lowest friction path possible to the most content possible.

            Perhaps true, but it's crucial to remember that this is only because that's what people think computers are because they have been lied to.

            2 votes
    2. [2]
      Jedi Link Parent
      Google? Most everything of theirs works either in the browser or in Linux.

      Google?

      Most everything of theirs works either in the browser or in Linux.

  5. [4]
    JamesTeaKirk Link
    I think more people will continue to switch to non-Windows OS's as the alternatives simply become better products for the user. You already see people willing to switch to ChromeOS for it's ease...

    I think more people will continue to switch to non-Windows OS's as the alternatives simply become better products for the user. You already see people willing to switch to ChromeOS for it's ease of use if you're someone who just needs web browsing capabilities. I think this article really overestimates how invested people are in Windows. I work in consumer computer sales and the people who don't even know what Windows is don't seem to have any loyalty to it whenever I mention the existence of other OS's. The other issue I see in the article is the assertion that someone must know how to complete the entire process of switching if they want to do so. This is untrue; If you don't know how to install an OS, you're likely paying some sort of setup and data transfer fee when you get a new PC anyway, regardless of which OS it is.

    6 votes
    1. [2]
      teaearlgraycold Link Parent
      I'm afraid that we might not have enough money in the FOSS world to really polish an application for "end users", let alone a whole operating system. Good UI/UX takes talented people skilled in...

      I think more people will continue to switch to non-Windows OS's as the alternatives simply become better products for the user.

      I'm afraid that we might not have enough money in the FOSS world to really polish an application for "end users", let alone a whole operating system. Good UI/UX takes talented people skilled in those areas, but assuming you can get those people involved in a FOSS project you need to do actual user studies. Pay random people to come in and test your product

      Sometimes just observing how users work with your OS is good enough to find out typical flaws. [Article]

      And then the engineers need time for improving discovered issues.

      As I understand it most of the big sources of funding and free engineering for Linux distros are corporate entities that need existing software improved for their use cases.

      10 votes
      1. thisonemakesyouthink Link Parent
        I would argue Linux has already surpassed Windows and OSX in UI and UX. The issue is the software running on top of that.

        I would argue Linux has already surpassed Windows and OSX in UI and UX. The issue is the software running on top of that.

        2 votes
    2. Micycle_the_Bichael Link Parent
      I feel like you're echoing things the article listed as hurdles and are saying them as positives and I am confused. I don't think the article said they are invested in windows. In fact, I read it...

      I feel like you're echoing things the article listed as hurdles and are saying them as positives and I am confused. I don't think the article said they are invested in windows. In fact, I read it as the opposite, people aren't invested in Windows at all! They do say that the steps to install Linux on your own are above the comfort and knowledge of your average computer user (definitely true) and there aren't Linux machines sold in regular computer stores. I.e: I can't walk into Best Buy and pick up a laptop with Ubuntu pre-installed and ready to go with no configuration needed. THATS the bar Linux needs to hurdle. It's why, as you and other commenters mention, chromeOS is growing in popularity. When I walk into Target or best buy or Walmart I don't only have to choose between one of 20 different windows 10 machines that are varied in price and specs, or 4 MacBook options that are all expensive. Now I have a third option that comes with the software I use already installed and is cheap. Right now Linux has no major selling points to casual users, and doesn't exist in the casual user marketplace. I agree with the article, the best way to get Linux into the mainstream would be to find a distro that is extremely tech-illiterate friendly and sell them to people. As long "Install and configure your OS" is a step in the process, you won't get people. And that's a shame, because there's a lot of people who use windows because the computers are cheap and it can run Microsoft Office.

      6 votes
  6. 9000 Link
    I have always felt like the idea of a Linux-for-the-masses was predicated on this assumption that the general public would rise up, care about these software freedoms, and in their demand to find...

    I have always felt like the idea of a Linux-for-the-masses was predicated on this assumption that the general public would rise up, care about these software freedoms, and in their demand to find tech that conforms to those ideals, choose to transition to Linux. This has always felt naive to me. Don't get me wrong, I would absolutely love for it to happen! But, to have strong opinions on free software, and the technical knowledge to acquire, modify, and use it, takes a lot of specialization that we can't expect the general public to have.

    I think there's a decent case to be made that ridding our friends and family of excessive telemetry and other forms of surveillance is a net positive, even if they don't understand what Linux is, or how it's relevant to their lives. But, I'm not sure freedom is the dominant mentality of the public; they won't suddenly choose to heavily customize their devices because of this shift. Instead, I believe trust is a better model.* I run Linux in part because I value many of those freedoms, but also in part because I trust Debian's package maintainers to be more aligned with my interests than Microsoft. As many people like to point out, when you're installing binaries, or even compiling source code you haven't rigorously audited yourself, you aren't gaining significant security benefits over just trusting someone in the first place. And, when you don't have the programming and computer science knowledge to be able to bend a foreign code base to your will, you aren't gaining significant freedom benefits either. In that vein, I think Apple has done well in their ability to sell trust to their users, because their users are writers or politicians or toddlers or accountants or any of the plethora of people who don't have the time, will, nor ability to take full advantage of a FLOSS system, but do want to trust their system to be stable and secure. The most customization they usually care about is their user icon or browser theme.

    People like Apple, in part, for the exact same reason that many users on this thread are skeptical of them: Apple has control. Linux doesn't have a straightforward trust model, and if you set your tech-illiterate grandmother up on Ubuntu, in terms of practical effects on her freedom, it's no different from just being a cheaper Apple device.


    * Of course, convenience is really the strongest motivator. But, if you're running Linux for yourself, or considering how to get your friends and family to do so, we're past that point.

    6 votes
  7. DonQuixote Link
    Long time windows user here, also with an ipad iphone and formerly and android phone. A few years ago I installed one of the Linux variants to a pc, and my experience, as a non-technical person...

    Long time windows user here, also with an ipad iphone and formerly and android phone. A few years ago I installed one of the Linux variants to a pc, and my experience, as a non-technical person was predictable: I liked the interface, but couldn't get much done with what I had formerly used.

    I dropped using android phones because of Google's overbearing and constantly changing system. Basically I had little control over what was going on. So I've avoided Chrome for the same reason.

    All to say that now seeing Windows as getting itself more intrusive, I think I'd welcome a de-googled Chrome type interface, if I could somehow get backward compatibility into my extensive files without living entirely on the web. To me the web is a tool, not a reliable business environment. Please tell me I'm not dreaming and that something less intrusive is coming. Otherwise I'll just stick with pre Windows 10 until those versions get buried.

    4 votes
  8. [2]
    mbc Link
    This all makes it more complicated than it needs to be. Here's how I switched to Linux, winner-style: Install Linux Play games on my console, not on the computer I'm simplifying things of course...

    This all makes it more complicated than it needs to be. Here's how I switched to Linux, winner-style:

    • Install Linux
    • Play games on my console, not on the computer

    I'm simplifying things of course because "install Linux" requires learning how to use a computer and thus a new skill for some, but let's face it, people who aren't into learning new things are not switching OSes in the first place. The real solution is to just give up on playing games on your computer. Then you can run a super-old computer and with the money you save on not having to buy the fancy new stuff, buy a gaming console. (I like the Switch, but to each his own.)

    4 votes
    1. Gyrfalcon Link Parent
      To be honest for a lot of people it's not a bad compromise. And even for people who have games that might not work well on console (Crusader Kings II and other grand strategy) or are greatly...

      To be honest for a lot of people it's not a bad compromise. And even for people who have games that might not work well on console (Crusader Kings II and other grand strategy) or are greatly enhanced by mods (Cities Skylines, Kerbal Space Program), those are the types of games that have native Linux versions, at least in my experience.

      2 votes
  9. LiberHomo Link
    I think there're two groups that comprise the majority of computer users: 1. Path-of-least-resistance types 2. Killer-app users I think there's a good opportunity to grab people in category 1 (and...

    I think there're two groups that comprise the majority of computer users:

    1. Path-of-least-resistance types
    2. Killer-app users
    

    I think there's a good opportunity to grab people in category 1 (and chromebooks are going after them), but people in category 2 are much harder. I'm a FreeBSD user, but the problem is the same as GNU/Linux: category 1 users never want to use TUI tools, and that means attracting them requires complete GUI wrappers built over these tools, and they need a consistent UI or it's confusing. That's a lot of work!

    2 votes
  10. [2]
    mrnd (edited ) Link
    Regarding the site: Did anyone run into a weird verify-you're-not-a-bot logic on this site? It redirected to a weird domain that asked for notification permission, which seems very sketchy? EDIT:...

    Regarding the site: Did anyone run into a weird verify-you're-not-a-bot logic on this site? It redirected to a weird domain that asked for notification permission, which seems very sketchy?

    EDIT: This seems to only happen on mobile (tested on Firefox and Chrome). I left a message on their contact page.

    EDIT2: They are now aware of the issue.

    EDIT3: And fixed now.

    12 votes
    1. tomf Link Parent
      I was forwarded through a bunch of 'click4cash', news-tap.com, etc etc sites on a desktop (Chrome, macos.) Looks like someone hijacked their wordpress installation.

      I was forwarded through a bunch of 'click4cash', news-tap.com, etc etc sites on a desktop (Chrome, macos.) Looks like someone hijacked their wordpress installation.

      9 votes
  11. [3]
    nothis (edited ) Link
    I just clicked the link, got a 404 then a redirect to a "virus warning" malware site?

    I just clicked the link, got a 404 then a redirect to a "virus warning" malware site?

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      ekianjo Link Parent
      Should be fixed now. A plugin had malware after an update. Really sorry about that.

      Should be fixed now. A plugin had malware after an update. Really sorry about that.

      6 votes
      1. nothis Link Parent
        No problem! Thanks for looking into it so fast!

        No problem! Thanks for looking into it so fast!

        4 votes