That’s the truth, be it sad or good, windows XP/XP-Pro they do just work “out of the box”. Install the driver given you by the vendor of the machine (or preinstalled), and voilà, a wifi is automatically detected, acpi works perfectly, soundcard has never been “blocked” (I learned this could happen working with Linux…), and, last but not least, printing is quick, easy, and standard of all the applications, not the nightmarish list of “todos” of the typical linux environment.
Mind you, I used Linux for 8 years, but I give to Cesar what Cesar deserves: for sheer usability of the machines features, for “mindless” operations throughout, there’s no comparison at all…
I can close the lid of my laptop now, go to sleep, and reopen it and everything working in a second; I had to twitch even the kernel sources to get that from Linux, and never reliably…
I think it’s time to stop being geek-minded and be honest: Linux needs a lot to become a viable desktop platform for the masses; the sooner developers realize this, the better.
Otherwise, desktop linux will be only for programmers, curious (and affected by a light form of sadism) people, and people who use its incredible tools and power for something very specific, like simulations, where a Desktop environment is probably useless anyway.
Eugenia is right: why do I have to find a solution to watch Star Wars trailer when it*s obviously supposed to just click&work? is it the computer who has to relieve me of some work, or vice versa?
Right on. Linux is great for me to work on because everything already “just works” for me. Once you do your tweaking and reading of newsgroups, you can actually get to work. But the second I had to install Linux on my new laptop, I was back to the old tricks.
Linux has a ways to go, but what’s interesting is that it is not that far away, and all these changes are coming. Once Linux gets to the point that things “just work,” then what do we have? Well, we have a free OS that works as well or better than Windows XP, and also comes with tens of gigabytes of free software, excellent package management, a great developers community and powerful new ideas everyday. In other words, computers in the ideal.
Whereas with Microsoft, the “just works” part is there, but all these other elements are missing, and there are no efforts to get to them. Will Microsoft Windows ever have the enormous free and open source software movement that Linux has surrounding it? No. Will it ever get powerful UNIX integration beyond Services for UNIX? No. Will it ever get a development community that is smart, clever, active and passionate? Not so long as IT reigns.
Linux has that glimmer of what computers could be in it, but it’s just missing on some of the basics. But we’ll get there.