Does Linux need to change to attract more users?

In today's open source roundup: Should Linux change to attract more users? Plus: A beginner's guide to Linux, and command line tools for Linux system administrators

By , ITworld |  Open Source, Linux, open source

There have been many articles over the years that have focused on the popularity of Linux, desktop market share and other so-called important benchmarks of success. But do any of those things really matter at the end of the day? Tech Republic thinks that Linux needs to change to attract more users.

According to Tech Republic:

In the world of consumer electronics, if you don't give the buyer what they want, they'll go elsewhere. We've recently witnessed this with the Firefox browser. The consumer wanted a faster, less-bloated piece of software, and the developers went in the other direction. In the end, the users migrated to Chrome or Chromium.

Linux needs to gaze deep into their crystal ball, watch carefully the final fallout of that browser war, and heed this bit of advice:

If you don't give them what they want, they'll leave.

More at Tech Republic

Does Linux need to change to attract more users?

While I can appreciate the spirit and attitude of the author in wanting to draw more people to Linux, I must disagree with the idea that Linux needs to change. We already have OS X and Windows aiming to draw in as many users as possible to generate profits for Microsoft and Apple. I'd rather that Linux didn't go down the same commercial road as those other two operating systems by trying to appeal to the constantly shifting tastes of consumers.

I rather like that Linux is what it is, and that it doesn't seek to cater (pander?) to people in order to increase desktop market share. I've felt for a long time that desktop market share was a bad way to judge the success of Linux, and I shudder to think what the results might be of a headlong rush by Linux developers to suddenly target the consumer market at the expense of today's current Linux users.

Also, Chrome OS and Android are based on Linux. And both of those operating systems already appeal to consumers in the mobile devices market. Do we really need Linux as a whole to suddenly try to do the same thing? I fear that we might see a dumbing down of Linux if the consumer market becomes the main focus of development efforts.

The article mentions Steve Jobs in a reference to convincing the consumer to use Linux. But let's not forget that Steve Jobs made a lot of mistakes in his career, and he was known to change his mind about something in the blink of an eye. True, he had an amazing record of success but he wasn't perfect and he had his share of failures. And remember that when Jobs knew he was dying, he made it clear that he didn't want anybody at Apple to "ask what I would do," he wanted them to do what was right for the product.

I think that's the right attitude for Linux too. Developers should focus on doing what's right for Linux and not worry about fighting for market share among consumers. If users want the power, choice and control that Linux offers them, then they will find their way to it as so many others have before them.

Linux: A guide for beginners
Linux.com has an excellent beginner's guide to Linux.

According to Linux.com:

Just like Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Mac OS X, Linux is an operating system. An operating system is software that manages all of the hardware resources associated with your desktop or laptop. To put it simply – the operating system manages the communication between your software and your hardware. Without the operating system (often referred to as the “OS”), the software wouldn’t function.

The OS is comprised of a number of pieces:

The Bootloader
The Kernel
Daemons
The Shell
Graphical Server
Desktop Environment
Applications

More at Linux.com

I really like how this article lays out everything a beginner needs to know about Linux, and I particularly liked how it explains each piece of the operating system. Experienced users will know all of that stuff, but beginners will find it extremely helpful as they start to understand Linux.

The selection of distributions is also very good, it hits all of the major options and should help beginners find a distro they can use. The author of the article did a great job in providing enough information to get beginner's going without also overwhelming them with too many things all at once.

Please do pass the Linux.com article onto anybody you know who wants to get started with Linux. It might be a very helpful resource for them.

Useful command line tools for Linux system administrators
Xmodulo has a great roundup of command line tools for Linux system administrators.

According to Xmodulo:

System administrators (sysadmins) are responsible for day-to-day operations of production systems and services. One of the critical roles of sysadmins is to ensure that operational services are available round the clock. For that, they have to carefully plan backup policies, disaster management strategies, scheduled maintenance, security audits, etc. Like every other discipline, sysadmins have their tools of trade. Utilizing proper tools in the right case at the right time can help maintain the health of operating systems with minimal service interruptions and maximum uptime.

This article will present some of the most popular and useful CLI tools recommended for sysadmins in their day to day activities. If you would like to recommend any useful tool which is not listed here, don't forget to share it in the comment section.

More at Xmodulo

Command line tools for Linux system administrators
Image credit: Xmodulo

Wow, that's quite a list of tools. There are so many that I can't even begin to list them here. But note that the author has conveniently broken them up into the following categories:

Network Tools
Security Tools
Storage Tools
Log Processing Tools
Backup Tools
Performance Monitoring Tools
Productivity Tools
Package Management Tools
Hardware Tools

What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.

The opinions expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the views of ITworld.

Join us:
Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Tumblr

LinkedIn

Google+

Answers - Powered by ITworld

ITworld Answers helps you solve problems and share expertise. Ask a question or take a crack at answering the new questions below.

Join us:
Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Tumblr

LinkedIn

Google+

Ask a Question
randomness