• @CameronDev
    link
    76
    edit-2
    3 months ago

    This seems wildly out of touch. Yes, things are getting better and more user friendly, but its definitely not “best for most people”.

    Until i can give a laptop with linux to my neighbour without also needing to also provide support, its not there yet.

    Edit: removed unintended agism. Technical ability is not linked to age, i should know better.

    • @[email protected]
      link
      fedilink
      30
      edit-2
      3 months ago

      That’s quite a high bar. Can you give a Windows or Mac laptop to your elderly neighbour and not also provide them support?

      I realise that I am only a sample set of one and my mother and father have very different usage patterns but they are both in their late 70s. My mother has an Ubuntu laptop and my father had a Windows one. He requires a lot more support. My mum’s biggest issue is forgetting her password which is hardly the fault of the OS.

      Edit: to be clear I’m not necessarily agreeing with the OP. I have no opinion on the needs of “most users”.

      • @CameronDev
        link
        153 months ago

        It is a high bar, but so is “best for most people”.

        Like i said, its getting better and better, but i dont think its anywhere near close to “best for most”.

        As for anecdotes, my dad has been using Linux for years professionally, and occasionally needs help fixing something that broke in an update. Ill have to pry Win7 away from my mum at some point.

        I think we need to be very careful making these kind of bold claims, as it can end up sounding very silly if it turns out to be untrue. “Year of the linux desktop”, “Mission accomplished”, etc.

      • astraeus
        link
        7
        edit-2
        3 months ago

        I couldn’t give a Windows computer to my grandparents without it being buried under a pile of catalogs and magazines, maybe used once or twice. That’s anecdotal but I definitely don’t think it’s uncommon.

    • @[email protected]
      link
      fedilink
      25
      edit-2
      3 months ago

      When will people stop setting the bar for usability at “can be used be old people”? I’m 53, and I guess that makes me an old person, but I suspect I know more about computers than many so-called digital natives. I can also tell you my 80-year-old dad can barely use an Android device. What happens when all the “old-people” are gone? What is the bar then? How about all the younger folk that don’t understand anything you can’t swipe? Is Windows or Mac any better in these cases (no, the answer is no)? Maybe we should have a Playskool type UI?

      Additionally, when will people stop using and linking to bullshit sites like Medium that constantly pester with pop-ups demanding my email and money?

      • @CameronDev
        link
        133 months ago

        Thats fair, i shouldn’t have brought age into it. Sorry. My partner is mid 30s, and I dont think she would find Linux usable either, its certainly not an age thing. Again, sorry for any offence.

        I’m not trying to say that Linux isnt usable, it obviously is for many people (myself included), but for “most people”, i dont think it is “Best”. Specifically, the tech adverse crowd are not going to have a pleasant time without external support, and they make up a large portion of the population. Its silly though, to try claim a “best”. Windows is the clear popularity leader of OSs, but if all other OSs were to disappear except for Windows, it wouldnt take long for the next Linus/Terry Davis to bring out something that suits them better.

        Sorry for rambling :)

        I 100% agree on Medium though, complete nuisance of a site to use. Content is usually not worth it either.

      • @[email protected]
        link
        fedilink
        93 months ago

        In my role at a Uni, I teach. I learned early on that every class I offer should have a skills workshop. One of them are basic non-phone skills like copying and pasting. Yes. Our youngest generation of college students in non computer sciences struggles with how to understand file structures and keyboard commands like copy and paste because they’ve never seen them before. So let’s stop making technology usefulness a generational thing. It’s exposure and education, which applies to everyone.

      • @[email protected]
        link
        fedilink
        73 months ago

        When will people stop setting the bar for usability at “can be used be old people”? I’m 53, and I guess that makes me an old person, but I suspect I know more about computers than many so-called digital natives.

        It is a bit silly indeed. Unix is actually older than you.

        And I’m pretty sure that “digital natives” have much more problems understanding the technical depths of an OS because they’ve simply never had to deal with them. Instead they prefer the fuzzy feeling that having a megacorporation decide your every need provides.

      • @[email protected]
        link
        fedilink
        33 months ago

        This is a good question. What will the new bar be once the current “old people” are gone?

        Maybe the trope would be people who are too busy to fiddle with settings, like a super busy CEO or something.

    • Powderhorn
      link
      fedilink
      113 months ago

      You can pry KDE from my cold, dead hands. But there’s no way I’d put it on my dad’s laptop and then fly back out of state.

      Linux for the elderly is called ChromeOS. Links to individual sites on the launcher with their web icons. Email, Amazon, banking, Google. Settings can’t be accidentally changed.

      So yes, it’s widely available, but it’s not a distro.

      • @CameronDev
        link
        23 months ago

        My only problem with ChromeOS was installing it on unsupported hardware. Id like to be able to get an old laptop and install it, but it hasnt been possible since I last checked?

        • Powderhorn
          link
          fedilink
          63 months ago

          My situation was my dad’s existing Windows laptop was borked, and on a visit for his birthday with other family, I was tasked with fixing the situation. I’d never considered a Chromebook, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense, given that he’s past doing anything beyond Web browsing and writing emails. Local storage was irrelevant, and in 2021, any CPU was sufficient.

          We splurged and got him a $300 model with a nice, big 1080p screen that I still had to scale to 150%, and he was very happy not to have all these things on his desktop and just a few big buttons that did what he wanted.

          It’s not a solution for repurposing an existing machine, unfortunately. But the savings in time and agony (I had to unsnarl a few things with his accounts on all sites after local “help” did about what you’d expect from someone taking advantage of a guy in assisted living) since have more than made up for the initial expense.

          • @CameronDev
            link
            13 months ago

            What’s it like for remote support? Can you remote desktop into it if you need to? Or do you just not need to do that?

            My goto for my grandma is an android tablet. She has terrible eyesight, so a light tablet can be “zoomed” as much as she needs, and i can remote in with some difficulty via teamviewer.

            • Powderhorn
              link
              fedilink
              43 months ago

              Yep, you can remote in from Chrome on any other machine. Just get on the phone so they can provide the connection code, and you’re good to go. Unfortunately, this does not cover “I forgot my login password” …

    • @u_tamtam
      link
      113 months ago

      Until i can give a laptop with linux to my neighbour without also needing to also provide support, its not there yet.

      I mean, isn’t your neighbor already getting Windows support from his son or nephew anyway? Let’s not pretend that there exists a magical and perfect OS for those who don’t want to learn one. Some learning is required, whichever the OS, and I would be hard to convince that a current preinstalled Linux is more difficult to handle than a current preinstalled Windows.

      Windows has for itself that it’s a devil most people know/got exposure to (thanks to Microsoft schemes and monopolistic practices), there is nothing inherently better or easier about it (and arguably quite the opposite).

      • @CameronDev
        link
        53 months ago

        I gave a windows 7 netbook to my grandma a few years back. It wasnt super bad, but eventually her eyesight started to ler her down. She upgraded to an android tablet, which is greatly helped.

        She was fairly technically proficient though, she used to take the bus to the library just so she could take classes on how to use computers, so she set herself up for success there.

        She is still mentally capable, but alas her eyesight is letting her down :(

    • @[email protected]
      link
      fedilink
      33 months ago

      Technical ability is very much linked to age. Same as playing the piano is linked to how much you practice

      • @[email protected]
        link
        fedilink
        83 months ago

        Interest × practice, not so much age.

        A 70 year old who retired and spent 5 years learning all they could about tech, can have much more technical ability than a 25 year old who spent 20 years learning all they could about memes and internet influencers.

    • @[email protected]
      link
      fedilink
      23 months ago

      I’m not familiar with the current state of Linux, but the minimum usability bar for the general public is never ever having to open a terminal.

  • Kerb
    link
    fedilink
    303 months ago

    $(date +“%Y”) Is the Year of the Linux Desktop

    • TechCodexOP
      link
      English
      23 months ago

      Depends on the perspective…

      • @[email protected]
        link
        fedilink
        23 months ago

        I love Linux, don’t get me wrong, and I have used desktop versions of Mint and Arch and Ubuntu and Zorin and Pop! and OpenSuSE and Parrot and Kali and a bunch of other small ones way back in the day (currently I have Mint and Zorin on a side laptop), and both rackmount servers in my bathroom are running Ubuntu…

        But I still use a Windows desktop for gaming and a MacOS laptop for dev work as my main drivers.

        I actually think that if OEMs would put it on hardware they sold at BestBuy it’d sell like hotcakes, but that level of support is never going to happen, and without the ability for them to bring it to GeekSquad and have them either fix it or RMA it, Linux is never going to be “right” for the average person.

  • @[email protected]
    link
    fedilink
    19
    edit-2
    3 months ago

    A lot of these points seem a bit wrong, and are simply talking points

    • Viruses… Windows has UAC, its the same as Sudo. In fact, Xorg has some serious unfixable security issues apparently (Wayland fixes them). Malware like https://therecord.media/malware-found-in-npm-package-with-millions-of-weekly-downloads is the future… Most users get malware because they install it…
    • Safer files? Tell that to the BTRFS RAID guys… MacOS actually handles this the best these days imho due to time machine (which does incremental backups). A lot of Linux Distro’s don’t even ship with an easy to use backup system, or anything as nice as Time Machine. Microsoft is literally at the point it is auto-recovering the OS when a fault happens.
    • Fast and smooth? Apple beat Linux and Microsoft with accelerated desktop stuff by ages. Also, on my NUC 11 Enthusiast, I couldn’t even get the ARC working… Accellerated video is still somewhat iffy in some scenarios on Linux it seems.
    • Flexability? Yeah… Too much flexibility. We’ve got so many distro’s which are basically just copies of other ones. And I’m still looking for an easy, low risk alternative to Magnet in MacOS (which kills PowerToys FancyZones or the KDE Tiling stuff)

    That being said, if there was GOOD android integration baked in, and Android App store baked in, it would actually make a huge difference I think. Because thats the competition…

    Waydroid still has some major issues unfortunately.

    This would bring in lots of high quality apps (including ones missing like Whatsapp or Messenger), and ultimately do what Steam for Linux did for Linux Gaming.

    • @[email protected]
      link
      fedilink
      73 months ago

      One of the biggest things I’d point out for security is that unless effort is made to ensure people are upgrading, more systems on Linux is going to mean more versions of the kernel being on more machines.

      It will result in a lot more machines running versions that have known exploits open against them so malware will become easier to propagate on Linux in general.

    • @[email protected]
      link
      fedilink
      English
      5
      edit-2
      3 months ago

      I mean, there’s a reason there are so many distros. They’re for different needs.

      Some people seem to prioritise a little convenience above absolutely everything else, which leads to Ubuntu, but people like me want proprietary software to burn in hell, so we wouldn’t use Ubuntu. Ubuntu is not suitable for our needs. It also wouldn’t be suitable for having an easily customiseable OS, which a lot of people like.

      • @[email protected]
        link
        fedilink
        93 months ago

        They’re for different needs.

        Yes… but also extremely no. Superficially you are right, but a lot of the arguments of why many new distros are created is just because of human nature. This covers everything from infighting over inane issues to more pragmatic reasons. A lot of them, probably even a majority, don’t provide enough actual differentiators to be able to honestly claim that it is because of different needs. In the end it all boils down to the fact that people can just create a new distro when they feel like it.

        Which is a strength in one way, but not with regard to fragmentation.

  • @[email protected]
    link
    fedilink
    103 months ago

    Having used Mint on my laptop for the last few months, I can say I have had to do far less technical meddling with the OS to get it to work correctly than I did with Windows 11. I have also been able to totally resolve all issues encountered (1 issue) which I didn’t have the time or expertise to do with my Windows OS. It’s refreshing not having to work with a system that feels like a broken mess I’m too incompetent to fix.

  • @[email protected]
    link
    fedilink
    93 months ago

    As a dual booter such a dumb take. Mac and Windows are much easier for the masses. Have to debug stuff with Linux is not something the average wants to do or even can do. Not to mention the biggest problem, software compatibility. Also the last part gave me a chuckle. “Elderly people who are not familiar with advanced technology and prefer clean and simple computer usage.” Are you fucking kidding me? Mac is the way to go for old people IMO.

    • flatbield
      link
      fedilink
      English
      53 months ago

      Most people cannot install or debug windows. For most people the biggest issue is their support network. My father-in-law and my wife run Linux and have done so for 20 years. They are not technical and it works just fine. My mom uses Windows and I have not suggested Linux because I am not local. She needs a local support network. I spend as much time or more supporting her.

      The worst barrier is explicit hardware compatibility not software. Most hardware works but you never know. For software most things have FOSS eqyivalents. If you actually want to run commercial software then sure Windows or whatever platform it runs on.

    • @[email protected]
      link
      fedilink
      33 months ago

      Debug, you say? Windows is way harder to keep running than Linux. At least an immutable distro like UBlue. You don’t need to debug anything. Just get it running, get some shit installed over the top, and it will auto update forever. I’ve got lots of relatives living comfortably that way for years now. If they were running Windows, it would be a support call every week and a fresh install every 2 years.

      Now, Mac I’ll grant you. A Mac will also just keep running forever. But you can run nearly every Windows game on Linux and almost none of them on Mac. And Mac requires special hardware.

  • 🦊 OneRedFox 🦊
    link
    fedilink
    English
    83 months ago

    I put my boomers on Fedora with GNOME a couple years ago and there hasn’t been any issues with that. Especially now that a lot of stuff that used to be desktop apps has moved to the browser, it’s more viable than ever.

    • @[email protected]
      link
      fedilink
      13 months ago

      Same, but I recently moved to UBlue. Really good experiences so far. That distro is bulletproof.

  • @[email protected]
    link
    fedilink
    6
    edit-2
    3 months ago

    I have set up a Linux computer for my dad just this week. As the others are saying the biggest hurdle is support. Mostly the part where reliable automated update mechanisms don’t exist. The system I created has a WM & a panel and it’s even simpler than chrome OS, but here is no way my dad could deal with a message, where apt would ask him, if he wanted to update to the maintainer’s grub version. Making an update script is very easy, but whether you use Debian stable, Ubuntu or Arch eventually some kind of intervention is going to be required beyond just typing sudo passwords…

    Though truth to be told Windows has a lot of garbage problems (perhaps even more than L) as well, it’s just people have gotten used to them after 20 years of NT on desktop. On Linux at least most common problems can be solved without reinstalling the OS, on Windows the rot feels like a built in planned obsolescence sometimes, because there are many that just update their PCs instead of ever reinstalling Windows.

  • @[email protected]
    link
    fedilink
    23 months ago

    When a Linux desktop environment breaks, it breaks hard. I’ve lost whole days of work debugging stupid nonsense like where I couldn’t get past the login screen without switching from GDM to LightDM, or not being able to open settings in Gnome until I realized that it was a proprietary display driver issue, or had a previously working secondary display just switch to rendering a distorted image. And these are things that would happen after installing routine updates that the OS prompted! The investigations and fixes were just filled with deep dives into configuration files and all sorts of CLI shenanigans. Searching for solutions brought up inapplicable suggestions from 6 distro versions ago.

    Windows and MacOS certainly have their issues but they’ve never broken like that for me. I still use Linux on my work machine but anecdotally speaking I don’t think it’ll ever be daily-driver ready for “most people.”

    • TechCodexOP
      link
      English
      13 months ago

      The Distros mentioned in the article are meant to be used without changing anything else…

      If you meant Arch, I agree with your concern. But Arch isn’t designed for beginners in the first place. It was designed to be built.

      Any operating system would break if you tinking too much about how it was built. In Windows, if you mess with regedit too much, it’ll start to misbehave or worse, Blue Screen…

  • @[email protected]
    link
    fedilink
    13 months ago

    I love my Mint laptop and I find it plausible that someone who just does “the basics” could get by with a usability-focused distro.

    In my experience, the problem is that not a lot of people really are just sticking to basics on their PC anymore. The truly “just browsing and email” users just use their phone. Someone with a PC is doing something—gaming, photo editing/digital art, audio production, long form writing—where they have a proprietary app they like. Either that, or they’re using it for work and have a company controlled, fully Office 365’d PC.

    Linux got usable enough for basic users, but basic users left PCs behind.