Desktop Linux folks: “I don’t understand why anyone uses Apple’s products.”

And that, dear reader, is why it’s not the year of Linux on desktop.

@aral I think I can imagine what you want to say, but I dont understand this comparison.

Are you comparing proprietary products by a company that actively tries to prevent standards and define the perfection of vendor lock in to the (I tend to agree) imperfect Non-Expert Linux Desktop User Experience?

I think its apples (haha) vs. bananas...

@cybastl I’m saying that the inability to understand why people use Apple’s products is what’s holding FOSS people back from designing experiences (not an operating system) that competes with them.

@aral sure.

I understand apple users why they want to buy products from a family of easy compatible products easy to use products.

I dont understand them because the products from this vendor are not sooo compatible with the rest of the world (and deliberately limited in functionality to keep this status).

And IMHO this is not because of the outside world alone...

@aral and to conclude: i personally am about to accept the fact that people want something easy. I'm also without any passion about cars. I don't care the brand or if they have fancy-feature-X - as long as they don't spy on my privacy i'm mostly fine and don't care.

And as a tech person you have to accept that people are like this about computers.
So I stopped believing we can make all people change from MS and Apple to FOSS. It might be ideal, but i dont believe it will happen

@aral With all due respect, I disagree.

I'm a linux user with who has a super customized window manager.

My ex boss forced me to use MacOS for almost a year. But I much prefer Linux and my own customized window manager.

IMHO it depends on the type of people, some people adapt to whatever you tell them to us and some people what to change the env based on what they feel is suitable for them.

in tha Apple world you have to choice many people are alright with that which comes with 1/x

@aral pros and cons. They get to use something that is ready to use and there is a commercial support behind it more or less, but they have to pay buttload of money and they don't get to choose or change the details and Apple dictates the future to them

In the other hand if you go with the Linux world, you won't have a commercial support (community only) but you have the choice to change whatever you like and it is free.

It's a trade off really.

@aral I'll give them a 👍 for the durability of their products at least. This MacBook is ancient, and has (literally) been through fire and water.

@aral for years I've been watching reviews of new distro releases, and for years they are dominated by aesthetics: new icon placement, new desktop background, new menu layouts. A weird obsession, also showing lack of true innovation. FOSS definitely has strengths it could employ.

@aral For example, I miss sustainability of my labour which I put into configuring os: from software selection to accounts sync. I hate repeating that drudge each time I install linux. It could quite simply persist across machines and distributions.
For now it seems that this labour is understood as pure joy that devs cant think of giving up.

@dudenas @aral Why are you installing Linux over and over again? I only copy the files to a bigger SSD and that's it. If the SSD has the same size then I don't even bother just put in my old one and keep working on the new computer.

@jeena fair question. I cannot use linux as a daily driver because of my occupation, but I get my hands on different machines for limited time almost every year. Usually linux is most practical way to put them to work. And probably just out of curiosity I tend to try different distros.
So yeah, probably it isnt a typical case.

@dudenas A tip for you would be that all configuration is stored in dot-files in your home directory and this is true across all distributions and front ends. If you find a way of synchronizing them between your computers it should solve most of your problems. I'm only doing it with some specific ones which are particularly difficult to set up like my Emacs installation:

@jeena I'm thinking about something bolder. A system that during imstall could check an online account or offline config file, pull in all the software listed and configure it, including desktop environment. So user would feel rigt at home and ready to work immediately.

@jeena Does not sound like critique :] I never used macos, but they probably do some of that too. Good tech does not have to be wrapped in average UX.
User friendliness is what @aral is speaking of, and I agree that it is the primary obstacle for linux to go mainstream. As if linux desktop is only meant for geekish demographics who love to spend time in configs.

@aral I tried to sync some Photos between an IPhone and the Icloud to download it on a PC. It was a mess. Incoherent quantitys of files, no clear message which pictures were where, and so on, not to speak of silly sorting defaults (I recall "most interesting" or sth.?)
There was of course the inexperience, but that incident did not advertise easyness of Apple products.

@aral This is so true. And the evidence for that is in the comments. You guys are right with all you say, but please keep in mind how the average user wants his experience: easy, with no need to ask what is this for, what does that. Just open the lid and start. Bonus for eyecandy. I miss that on every distro I have tried the last couple of years.

@sthaydn @aral but maybe linux is not for the average user and the whole linux-year is a myth. Some people like customize/maintain their car themselves. I don't. That's why I'm ready to pay more to have someone make sure my car is always ready. In the contrary I like the ability to do whatever I want with my OS and actually have fun tuning it. If you don't like that, there is no shame to stick with Apple, Google or Microsoft OS. Just take the product you are the most confortable with.

@sthaydn @aral for exemple, my heart would like to use a FOSS/tracker free smartphone. However I've absolutely no knowledge about rooting / installing custom ROM on any device, and really don't have time to learn how to. That's why I'd prefer buying an already setup phone, what does not exist at an affordable price. That's why I'm stuck with a regular phone. That's my choice and I see no point insulting lineage os or I don't know who to not being able to support my own little case.

@aral @milouse Good point. I was a long time on Android and have the knowledge about rooting and flashing a custom ROM. That was fun and gave me a good feeling about security/privacy. On the other hand it took a lot of time to handle that, e. g. trying another ROM or updates which brick the device or the compromise between security/privacy and usability.

Therefore I am looking forward for „the year of Linux on mobile phones“, which hopefully will have a great start in the near future and the right mixture about security/privacy and usability by default.

@sthaydn @aral sadly, it will never happen. Phone manufacturers have absolutely no interest for open ecosystem. Supporting every possible system and config'd be nearly impossible and cost too much to be economically viable. Lock down phones and ecosystem is not a philosophical choice, but an economic one. This is not a dev fault, but the capitalism system, which urge every company to make money. If we lived in a world where company are there to help people, I bet we won't had this conversation.

@sthaydn @aral the moral value shift in the industry will never happen while all the money come from tracking users and the users won't understand they are responsible of their choices. Each time I go to the fairphone forum, I'm sad to see all the insults, drama, scream of users bricking their phone by trying weird manipulation with it. When you see that, you understand why there is no more company trying to give freedom to their users: it always backfirein the most hard way.

@sthaydn @aral Thus opening and hackability will somehow always be a benevolent/passion thing. And you cannot expect the same level of service from a company than a single one.

So ... are you happy with this state of affairs? Do you think that not having a tracking-free device is the just punishment for you lack of knowledge?

I don't blame the LOS-people, but the future of privacy is dark if only a chosen few are able to defend it and the rest just shrug their shoulders.

Thos stuff needs to be available to all, including the time-poor -- and the number of devs who actively deny this is frightening me.
@sthaydn @aral

«Those stuff needs to be available to all»... As with all free software, you're free to actually *do* it, or make it happen. There are LOS phones available (/e/ for example), or linux [desk/lap]tops (tuxedo for example). Regular people use them and actually find them easy to use and user friendly. Perfect ? No. But neither is complaining and blaming the original devs.
@milouse @sthaydn @aral

Yes, those are indeed food beginnings.

Also, plase note that I'm not blaming "the devs". I can understand any spare-time developer who'd rather work on a cool new feature than on optimizing UX or somesuch. That's fine, although better UX would be nice.

I'm annoyed with people who *get in the way* of those who try to make things accessible to non-nerds, by arguing that Linux is not for noobs and must never try to be otherwise.

@milouse @sthaydn @aral

@Mr_Teatime @sthaydn @aral I don’t said I’m happy. But sadly I don’t have the money to pay for hundred of devs full time to make this happen… Thus the availability of any solution will only come from benevolent time of gentle devs who accept to work on these solution on their free time instead of going theatres, play music or just have time with their family. That’s why it is never fair to pressure any one about the lack of ready to use solution.

Agreed. As mentioned elsewhere, I'm not trying to bash people who make stuff in their spare time.
I'm trying to:
2: explain that exclusivity for nerds is a major weakness, not an asset
3: get more people to understand this, so maybe more devs try to make things for non-nerds
4: establish that devs who actively obstruct such attempts (of which I've encountered several -- they're a minority, but loud enough to set the tone sometimes), that they're not helping at all.
@sthaydn @aral

@Mr_Teatime @sthaydn @aral agreed too. However I think we are converging in the right direction. I see more and more UX related project appear. But as we say in France : « Rome has not been built in one day. » When I look behind from what we came in term of accessibility, it's already marvelous. But yes, there are still a lot of area to improve.

Used to have Ubuntu on a laptop in 2011-ish, just started using it again, because it's the only distro my employer supports: Can't say I see much improvement. Half the software I need is still only accessible via 'sudo apt install', there's a mixture of appimages, flatpaks and proper packages ... good thing we have Manjaro these days, much better, though I still wouldn't leave a non-technical person alone with it.
Yast also hasn't really improved in *decades*... :(
@sthaydn @aral

@milouse @sthaydn @aral
Suse started with abusiness model to let people pay for support, but outside of business, that doesn't seem to work so well.
I wouldn't mind paying some modest amount per year, towards making my system "just work" -- but not SLED type of money, and not for direct support. Even once the problem of perception is reduced, there's another problem of infrastructure/organisation. At the current speed, Rome won't get built before it's obsolete...

@milouse @sthaydn @aral This is the nuanced view on freedom: Proprietary Software can give you temporary freedom — but it always takes away Freedom at the same time. I once wrote about that and Apple — and why shiny proprietary tech is a problem for free software:

@milouse @sthaydn @aral The feat *we* have to empower ourselves to pull off is to make more money earn a living from ethical coding than there are people who make a living from proprietary surveillance and treachery.

»If you don't like that, there is no shame to stick with Apple, Google or Microsoft OS.«
Why the fuck is there no free OS for people who don't want to be forced to fix their desktop themselves?
Linux could totally do this, if it wasn't for a bunch of nerds who don't want to be nice to noobs.

If I ever need brain surgery, I'd hope the a brain surgeon focusses on their job, not fixing their computer. But I also really don't want my data on OneDrive. Why is that so hard?
@sthaydn @aral

@milouse @sthaydn @aral But it IS the year of the Linux desktop. Almost every year in the past decade has been:

What do you think why Windows has a Linux Subsystem now? They realized that they need it to stay relevant over the long term.

@Stefan H. @Aral Balkan I think its pretty much a matter of habits you develop through the years. I recently got from a friend iphone to test things and hopefully in the future provide howtos for various services I provide. As I'm more familiar with linux phones (phosh, sailfish, ubports) and android I cannot operate ios. I find it so counter intuitive, complex at times and too smiple at other times with inconsisten ui etc. Just because I haven't use it for long time and did not develop habbits. Same goes for web services. I dont use and never did use services by facebook or google. The moments I need to or try, find it as complex and counter intuitive as floss alternatives. For example people complain about complexity of hubzilla, and I thought it must be true, until i wasn't sitting next to a friend who was using facebook and I realized how similar those UI's are.
The point is IMO that, especially non-tech people invested lots of time to learn ui's of facebook, apple, microsoft etc and it was for them so exhausting and time and energy consuming, they are not easy to learn new things. So the moment they see button called differently or in different color and in different corner of the screen, they get overwhelmed and move to something they know.

Eg. My mom always used linux because that's what I installed for her. She can browse the web, answer emails etc. Simple usage. Sit her in front of apple or windows and she will be as clueless as someone sitting for the first time in front of ubuntu.

@aral Kinda but I'm not sure that's the whole story. It also has to do with the fact that many of us have been raised from birth to approach the world as "consumers". We expect everything to be presented as a shiny and utterly convenient – requiring zero learning or responsibility on the part of the buyer. Anything that requires skills or effort is seen as foolish, nostalgic or lower-class.

I mean, if you follow UX philosophy to it's logical conclusion you end up with something like Wall-E.

It's obviously important to think about users but I think it might be at least as important to make the case for more participation in technological culture, so that people are able to imagine and get involved in non-consumerist forms of everyday life.

@aral while i understand the point, i think we are ignoring the fact that people don't like to set up their stuff, and what apple, microsoft products, and don't forget ANDROID bring to the table is comfortability, that is the key word. Nobody likes to install another os onto their systems

That is why the new Steam Deck will increase GNU/Linux adoption.

Do some GNU/Linux projects and the community need a reality check? damn sure, but that's just the cherry on top of the cake.

Whenever I've had to use a Mac in the past, I got stuck on the simplest tasks.

The first time I tried to maximize a window, properly, for 5 minutes, until someone told me they don't get any bigger than that.
Next time I tried to right-click but there's no right button ... "so how do you..." -- "you don't, and you can't!"

These things are not made for my brain.

At least screen calibration was built right into the desktop. That must've been nice for graphic designers.

@aral dude, I’ve been trying to get a solid “2-in-1” laptop/tablet experience on my Thinkpad X230T and holy shit is it painful. I just want something that is even vaguely usable out of the box in tablet mode (with the stylus), and most distros are falling far short. That said, I am really impressed with Pop!_OS thus far for my use case. Still, I could go buy an iPad and it would be 50x more polished experience, sadly. I’m not going to, but yeah… 2021 is still not “the year” lol

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