One of the reasons why Linux will not reach widespread use

For years, Linux and Unix in general has struggled to gain widespread acceptance in the consumer PC market. Its best chance of widespread use was with the introduction of netbooks but Windows XP has managed to dominate that market as well. Part of the reason for widespread rejection of Linux is that it’s not intuitive. As much as people want to knock Microsoft Windows, Windows just works the way you expect it to. Let’s take the example of software updates. Every Windows software I have used are either updated automatically or requires a one or two click update by either going to a menu item to search for update or going to the company’s Web site to download and install the update. Now let’s see what it took to update one of my software on Ubuntu. Normally, you can just go to System-Administration-Update manager to update all your Ubuntu supported software but this particular package is not distributed by Canonical so it won’t update. Here are the steps I had to perform to get the latest update of this software.

  1. Go to the software Web site and click download.
  2. Instead of being presented with a single link, I see a dozen links showing all different flavors of Linux.
  3. Track down Ubuntu and I now have a 3 choices. The first choice is Canonical which is outdated. I choose option 2 which is PPA (I have no idea what PPA stands for and the page does not offer a clue. I don’t really care)
  4. Choose the version of Ubuntu I’m running.
  5. Copy two lines into System > Administration > Software Sources.
  6. Tell Ubuntu to authenticate PPA by copying a code. This is done by opening your terminal and entering sudo apt-key adv –keyserver –recv-keys 12345678
  7. Tell Ubuntu to re-load the details of each software archive it knows about by typing sudo apt-get update in terminal.
  8. Run System-Administration-Update manager and run a partial update if prompted.

So I ask you this: Can a soccer mom do this? Until crap like this gets easier, Linux will stay a niche product.