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Yahoo!/ZDNet: Why 2001 is not the 'Year of the Penguin'

May 31, 2001, 20:19 (76 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Victor M. Reynauld)

Goodness. This guest columnist, a self-described "Linux enthusiast" and "realist" offers that Linux isn't suited to end users because its multi-user nature is too confusing for the "grocery list and e-mail" set, and that it won't go anywhere with businesses because it lacks applications and could involve excessive retraining time.

Some of his assertions are, in our considered opinion, flatly false. Others bear consideration, even if they aren't the show-stoppers they're characterized to be.

On the home computing side:

"...There are a myriad of complaints I have heard from average computer users who I have tried to understand Linux. A lot of the complaints stem from the unwillingness to learn something new, but a few of them are valid. Complaints such as Linux's poor support for installing new software, the lack of centralization of common components such as fonts, the cryptic nature of the Linux and Unix directory structure, and the inability to easily run pre-existing Win32 and Win16 applications, are all valid complaints as to why Mr. and Mrs. Average would pass on Linux."
and on the business side:
"...Assume for a minute that this company decides to go to Red Hat for their servers, Linux-Mandrake 8 for all of their employees' computers, and they've installed StarOffice to try to take over their MS Office dependency. The first problem comes in when they need their mission critical applications. How would they create the PDF's they need to create? There's no more Acrobat. How would their graphics team be able to make high-quality marketing graphics? There is no Photoshop. Lastly, what about the fate of the 16-bit legacy applications, which are critical to their productivity? Those, too, are gone. While I'm sure that you could possibly find cheap, or even free, applications capable of handling most of this company's needs, their second problem hits you. It's time to re-train all of the employees. They're accustomed to Windows, and they're resisting the change to Linux. They're frustrated because they knew how to do their job well with their pre-existing Windows 98 machines and Win32/Win16 legacy applications, and now you have the dubious distinction of trying to train them on all this new software, on the company's dime, of course.:

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