Open letter to the Linux scene

LinuxSince some times I’m thinking about a couple of things I’d like to tell to the whole Linux World. I chose to tell them from my blog: I hope that my english will not penalize too much the readability of my ideas.

Dear Linux“,

I esteem you very much: since several years, you’re the only and real alternative to Microsoft Windows (and to Apple OS). A free alternative, the result of an intensive collaboration between thousands of international open source developers.

You’re already famous to be a wonderful server platform: Linux and Apache are spread and worldwide appreciated; the launch of the most recent distro’s (like Ubuntu, of course) demonstrated that Linux is ready to be a plausible desktop system.

BUT.

But after all those efforts, after every try to transform Linux to make it look like a “normal” operating system, for home use… there’s always something wrong.
Everytime I read debates on web forums between Windows and Linux users I ask to myself the reason why Linux developers don’t do that final step. Why don’t you want to change those (not many) details that prevent final users to approach this great operating system?

I made a list of 3 things to do… to make Linux become an easy desktop system. I’m sorry, I’m not a developer (I’m just able to code scripts for web pages).
Please do them for me. Please do them for us :)

1. Software installation
Linux OS installation is usually easy, at least like Windows (sometimes Linux is quicker!). How can it be possible that, if I want to install a new application that isn’t included by default (in Synaptic, etc…) I still have to type hard-to-remember commands?
Same discourse about editing repositories lists (do you call this “intuitive”?); I deliberately omit the hypothesis about self-compiling from sources.
I saw that (recently) there was some efforts in this way (Autopackage). It’s imperative to make this (or a similar one) the default installation platform for Linux desktop systems.
Stop waiting users to learn how to install Linux binaries, they will not do it. They’re only waiting to do double-click on an icon and to see a wizard.

2. System Setup
Yesterday I was playing with a new install of Kubuntu: in the control panel there is a lot of options: I can customize every small corner of my desktop, from the look of the windows to the number of virtual desktops.
Unfortunately, I can’t change resolution of the screen to 1440×900 (my monitor is a 16:10) because the res selector show me only 640×480, 800×600 and 1024×768. I had to change manually the config file of the Window manager to add this resolution… after a reboot it was perfect. Why it didn’t appear in the control panel?
Do you expect that a person without good general experience with computers will understand that he has to open a terminal window, type sudo nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf, scroll to “Screen” section of the text file, add its custom resolution, save and reboot?
I remember that, when I had a CRT monitor, I spent about 45 minutes to search informations on the Internet about how to raise screen refresh from 60Hz to 85Hz. THIS is an important part of a good control panel, people need this: icons, colours and windows transparency can wait.
Any ordinary setting that an average user would want to change must be accessible by windows/buttons/sliders, using the mouse. Microsoft Windows does it, why Linux can’t?

3. Drivers
… see point 1. Newest Linux distributions are very good with hardware recognition: I installed Kubuntu on my home PC and it dectected more peripherals than Windows. But if a single device is not automatically recognized during first install, it’s the end.
Driver installation must be easy as installing an application in Windows: download a file from the web, double click on it and follow instructions.
In addiction: we know that Linux is penalized by hardware manufacturers, and often single developers release home-made drivers for devices that aren’t officially supported. It’s important to create a global repository of drivers on the Web, to let users save time and find the most part of their drivers in a single place.

You can say that I’m polemic. You can say also that I’m rude and ungrateful, but this isn’t the sense of my post. I wrote this open letter because I find ironic to have a so good and FREE operating system like Linux is, and to see it incomplete.
The features I talked about above are so easy to implement (for skiled persons like Linux developers are). Add them to Linux and I promise you that it will start its hyke to Windows monopoly.

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