> > > There is no such thing as a desktop market for *BSD or Linux.  There
> > > never has been and there never will be.
> Oh come on now, it depends on a couple of things, and I wouldn't go that
> I've got a lot of family members that know next to nothing about
> and I got tired of fixing them all the time.
> Just as an example, my cousin basically destroyed his parents computer and
> got a job, and bought himself a brand new computer, and had me set it up.
> This was a while back and his Windows XP Home computer took all of one
> week too have issues. I updated Windows and saw he had never tried.
> I installed Spybot and AVG and updated them and ran them. When I got back
> home, I checked them and they had found over 12,000 infections! Everything
> from trojans and back doors, to those fake security centers.
> He is an idiot when it comes to this stuff and I don't mind saying so. The
> thing was that all he did on this computer, was go online with a web
> IM with friend's, and listen to music and download all types of things. He
> do some homework in between porn marathons too.
> My point for all this is that I eventually did something that worked; I
> Linux on his computer, made a script to keep it updated, and basically, I
> KDE installed, Gnome, and a few others, and by setting up KDE and putting
> Web browser short cuts on the desktop, a shortcut to some IM clients, an
> XMMS shortcut, and a few others so that he could do what he was doing. I
> set up some Office suites as well, and this worked. His machine stayed up
> date without any issues, and he no longer had any problems.

The common denominator for these types of issues is that the average
consumer isn't properly educated on how to maintain a computer or on
responsible internet browsing. You can only get so far with Geek Squad
before they've exhausted their knowledge and competency of computers in

> > You know you opened a can of worms with that one. Because all the
> > nerds are going to step up and say "Well, I run FreeBSD on my desktop!
> > It's totally viable!"
> Like I said, I wouldn't go that far; Those of us on this list probably
aren't fans
> of Windows, and probably only use it when required, but in the example I
> gave above, I found that people who know literally nothing about computers
> in general, do really well with Linux and BSD as long as I took the time
to set
> up the desktop for them and installed all the stuff they needed and placed
> the shortcuts on the desktop. It worked really well. Even my Mom who
> knows nothing about computers, can sit down and use Linux or BSD without
> any trouble, as long as the desktop is set up properly.

I am a fan of Windows for the most part, probably because I enjoy gaming and
don't like looking for workarounds to what I've been accustomed to for a
couple of decades now on either Windows or Mac OS (I'm 25...interpret that
as you will). The problem that I've always seen with Linux or BSD in general
is the fact that you have to take the time to set it up or have someone do
it for you if you have no idea how to read documentation or don't feel
comfortable installing the system yourself. OS X will do the job for the
average consumer wanting a UNIX-like experience with a functional desktop
out of the box even if it costs them their kidney. I myself have little
difficulty with Linux or BSD, but I originally started out my university
life in computer science and am therefore not really your average consumer.

> > Dear nerds, get some perspective. You aren't an end user, and you're
> > masochistic. It's okay, we accept you here. But your individual use
> > case doesn't indicate a place in the market. Your basement isn't a
> > market. It's a basement. Your small company isn't a market. It's a
> > small company. Many companies combined create a market.
> > Back to sleep.
> Now see, that has a point, but I do personally think that Unix not only
> fine on the desktop, but depending on which version, some versions are
> more suited to being used as a desktop than others; PC-BSD for example,
> along with SUSE and even Mandriva, all work well for this.

That's the very problem with Linux and BSD: which version should I use?
Should I go with openSUSE? Or maybe should I go with Ubuntu? Yeah, Ubuntu
looks like the easier way to find software I want. But then what version of
Ubuntu should I use? Unity, KDE, or something else? What is this OpenBox I
see everyone raving about? I just want iTunes so I can plug in my iPhone and
listen to my music; what do you mean iTunes won't work?

The reason there isn't a huge market for consumer Linux or BSD is because
consumers don't care about the alternatives that they have to set up
themselves after figuring out what disc image to download and how to burn in
to DVD or CD. What Apple and Microsoft have been very good about doing for
the past 20+ years is providing consumers with two very simple options that
work out of the box. Linux and BSD has yet to do the same from what I can
tell, even despite the efforts made by Dell (offering a single laptop
configuration with Ubuntu 12.04) and System76.  The freedom that we enjoy on
BSD or Linux, or just open source as a whole, is a double-edge sword when
dealing with consumers. Despite some project's best efforts, BSD and Linux
still require a certain level of technical knowledge that Best Buy, Target,
Walmart, Fry's, and any other major brick-and-mortar retailer cannot offer
assistance in (because those employees aren't technically educated either
and have most likely only heard of Windows or OS X except in the case of

I am no opponent of open source at all, but the reason it hasn't done well
in consumer markets is because of the fact that it's open source and offers
far too many choices that the average, generally computer-illiterate
consumer doesn't want to make or simply doesn't care about. All of us
already know that BSD and Linux is at a technical advantage to Windows and
OS X. Until it's as easy to install and set up as it is on OS X or Windows,
it won't go anywhere for consumers.

Stephen Perry

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