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LinuxPower: Linux user interface: Strength of diversity or a stranglehold of inconsistency?

Dec 27, 2000, 15:32 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Christian Schaller)

"As for becoming a new OS/2, I think that the fears that Linux is undermining its own viability as a platform by providing support for Windows applications and technologies are exaggerated. For instance Microsoft's attack strategy has usually been to provide support for competitor technologies, their adoption of non-W3C Netscape HTML tags in early Internet Explorer releases or their licensing of Real Audio's technologies for use with Windows Media player are two examples. Products such as Wine or the flame war breeding GNOME Basic project is the way to world conquest in my view, lack of compatibility will hurt us more than Microsoft."

"So the question is if Linux can hope to compete head on with Windows and Macintosh with our diverse desktop GUI, or will the average user reject us as too complex and inconsistent? One of the things that strikes me when reading comments about such issues on community billboards is how so many Linux enthusiasts seem to think that since we find the evolving Linux GUI easy to use, that must mean that the average user out there would too. Well, to those who feel this way, please take a 6 month job doing user support and you will quickly discover that even Linux newbies can't be used as examples of how the general public would behave when put in front of Linux desktop system."

"So for the short term I think that the adoption of Linux (or any other Unix system using our desktop technologies) into the mainstream desktop market might be hampered by our diversity, but I think and hope that the long term situation will improve... due to more and more old and inflexible applications being replaced with newer, more flexible ones and at the same time the flexibility and intuitivity of Linux applications will increase with incremental improvements in theme-technologies and due to influence from people like the usability experts at Eazel."

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