I think @danrabbit hit the nail on the head with this one. It's my opinion this is why on the desktop has had such a hard time getting traction. It's more than capable, but at this point is it even possible as a desktop OS to provide that extra bit that would get average people to switch? What is it people actually NEED from a desktop OS?

@juliank the differentiator there is that Chromebooks are really cheap and backed by a household name, so people trust it (trust vs Google is another conversation - I don't want to go there in this conversation).

That's the extra @mike is talking about, I think. As someone to switch to a rando Linux distro on rando hardware, it a much harder sell. It need to be exemplary, not just good enough.


@kev To normal people, there's only Windows laptops, Chromebooks, and MacBooks. They don't install OS.

Chromebooks are not necessarily cheap, you can buy fairly expensive ones. That said, I only have fairly cheap ones.

Chromebooks offer working L1 Widevine DRM and that's relevant for the media consumption that's necessary these days. A Linux distro doesn't.

@mike @danrabbit

@juliank @kev @mike @danrabbit Linux runs Netflix just fine. Whatcha talkinbout? Fedora and Ubuntu, ans probable Manjaro too have wide support for media stuff and DRM.

@dragnucs there is limited l3 drm, allowing 720p on most videos, but some videos are SD only, and none are full HD (not to mention 4K, but meh, 4K is exclusive to Edge on Windows anyway IIRC) @kev @mike @danrabbit

@juliank @kev @mike @danrabbit I can watch 4k on my crappy laptop (3rd gen core i3) with embedded GPU. It struggles a bit because the machine can't handle 4k, but at some passages it runs smooth. It can render smooth 1440p however.

@dragnucs The hardware is capable of 4K rendering, the DRM is not allowing it. This isn't rocket science.

Netflix is available in Ultra HD on Windows and Mac computers with:

- Microsoft Edge for Windows
- Windows 10 App
- Safari for MacOS 11.0 or later

@kev @mike @danrabbit

@kev @juliank @mike I think trying to apply @danrabbit’s argument to Linux desktop adoption is trying to squash a bunch of different criteria into a single dimension. It’s oversimplifying things.

@mike @danrabbit
The extra bit would be privacy, but it is hard to convince normies that this is actually an important feature.
Also, I don't get how people can use OS which choose when to apply updates and force reboots, what the hell... I think someone has mixed up all the relationship dynamic. I am the master of the OS and not vice versa.

@jb I agree that privacy and control are huge factors for me, but they're not enough for the average person to dump Windows or macOS to move to the Linux desktop. They probably should be, but aren't. I just wonder what it would be that would finally tip the average person over the edge. It's not going to be privacy. It's not going to be control. It's not going to be a flashy UI. Windows and macOS are "good enough" in those respects, and they're already there.


@mike @jb @danrabbit It was all about life stage for me. I was at school, was looking at a job that I didn't need a computer for, and had significant free time. if you can find people that are in the right life stage I don't think it has to be better for them to try it. You just have to plant interest.

@pyre35 I don't disagree, but I think planting that interest in an AVERAGE person is easier said than done. A specific demographic? Sure. I got into Linux because I didn't want to constantly have to dial up to my university's DEC Unix server for my programming classes. For some people it's the "free", regardless of definition. We're still talking about a small minority that's going to be interested in doing it instead of something else. What would attract a more general group?

@jb @danrabbit

@mike @jb @danrabbit it might be an ambassador problem more than anything else. I mean, since even trying linux I've talked to maybe 2-3 people about it? how much are we actually talking about it and trying to gain interest?

@pyre35 I couldn't begin to tell you how many people I've talked to about it, but I've been using it almost 25 years. I've installed it for people on their computers, and some even stuck with it. Right up until they replaced their computer with a new one, and they didn't care enough about the OS of the computer to want Linux back. Windows or macOS is "good enough" so they don't need to go through the effort of installing Linux. That's pretty much where it falls down every time.

@jb @danrabbit

@mike @pyre35 @jb @danrabbit

Yeah, I installed it for a mate; new lease on life for his old Aspire. But I'd imagine good enough will see him leave Linux behind, when he eventually buys again.

@mike @jb @danrabbit there is certainly a large gap between your wealth of experience and mine lol. the new computer problem is an interesting one. Also, if an update breaks the install, I'm sure that's annoying as well. And not everyone has 2-3 laptops lying about to just mess around on. They just need it to work. I am curious if some of these "cleaner, friendlier", if you will, linux distros can bridge that gap, i.e. zorin, elementary, etc. let's just all hound the 2-3 people around us lol

@pyre35 Heh, I honestly don't think a clean, friendly UI is going to be enough. Today's Linux desktops are more than capable. People have certainly used worse versions of Windows. is a great example, as is . They're great distros. Clean. Friendly. Beautiful UIs. But Windows and macOS are fine. Linux UIs don't offer anything unique enough to draw people in. They can do the work to install and then use it, or just use whatever came on their computer.

@jb @danrabbit

@mike @pyre35 @jb @danrabbit I believe that the installation process is holding back many users. Linux should be out there in the stores next to MacOs,Windows machines and Chromebooks. Maby a few more people would give it a try.

@AaronTheIssueGuy @mike @pyre35 @jb @danrabbit but the process is super simple already within popular and well established distributions? Fedora, for example, has ~ the same number of steps for regular installation like Win10.

@b847c1960 @mike @pyre35 @jb @danrabbit For most people Windows comes preinstalled. Setting up a bootable usb with an ISO and booting to it is to much for non tech people

@AaronTheIssueGuy @mike @pyre35 @jb @danrabbit it does not. You buy Windows with a key, right? They give you an usb key with the installation?

I have been working with non IT personell longer that i can imagine and i can relate about the troubles and issues. Everuthing more than one click is a chore and difficult to do. Still, we will see soon enough what will happen since Android is a major player as well.

@b847c1960 @mike @pyre35 @jb @danrabbit you go to a store and buy a PC without preinstalled OS? Doubt. Of course you habe to do the setup but not partitioning no USB no nothing. Just a PC and an OEM installed version of Windows.

@AaronTheIssueGuy @b847c1960 @mike @jb @danrabbit honestly if I wasn't persistent this would have stopped me. I used several different ways to create a bootable USB, only to discover that I had done something wrong. I knew it was possible because I had Tails up and running in seconds, but it just took me a few tries to finally nail it and get Mint up and running. I think having a flagship laptop running linux in bestbuy, etc. would make a huge difference,

@pyre35 @AaronTheIssueGuy @mike @jb @danrabbit how are we standing with that... Etcher program, is it helping to bridge the gap?

@b847c1960 @AaronTheIssueGuy @mike @jb @danrabbit I have used etcher successfully numerous times but it did fail me once. I think that was a problem with the ISO though. Some linux distros though, even finding a link to download can be fun. Start throwing in mirrors and torrents, yeah, there is an issue.

@pyre35 @AaronTheIssueGuy @mike @jb @danrabbit makes sense, yes. Let us observe what will happen next. Surely somebody will tackle that.

Right now themes and new installers are all the rage. And new desktop environments :angery:

@mike @pyre35 @jb @danrabbit plus Win10 offers many thing ootb today and it kinda looks like good bang for buck. I use linux distros since 2006 and those are my only and default OS and yet i was impressed to discover at work how much one Win10 Pro license gives to you. VM, Edge InGuard, antimalware...

Plus, windows always had a million little programs in its ecosystem. Tiny GUI programs like the ones from NirSoft are appealing.

@mike the reason I moved from Windows to Linux was privacy. I also cant help but admire using an OS built entirely on the work of dedicated people supporting free software.

If Linux was a proprietary closed system, I wouldn't have moved.

So, its not just the "function" per se, bu the ideas in the evolution of that function as well... in which case for me, as long as Linux provides me with something even close to Windows (or at least something I can live with), it'll supersede it.


@Ged And I get that, those are important factors for me too, and they really SHOULD be important factors for everybody IMHO, but Windows and macOS are "good enough" for the average person in those respects, and they're already on the computer when it gets bought. I legitimately don't know if there's anything an OS can offer in this day and age that would be enough of an advantage to get people to want to move from Windows or macOS.


@mike youre right... for the average user, there is no paradigm shift in any of them. Speaking purely functional, its not even worth the hassle you go through in Linux...

I have hopes through the mobile ecosystem and the idea of convergence though... If one day, people could actually fit their daily driver pcs into their pockets, something like that could really become a game changer... this is all very dependant on hardware of course but, who knows...


@Ged Convergence is really an interesting problem. It's arguable whether convergence is a better solution to just flat out interoperability.

It WOULD be cool to have a wirelessly operating convergence device. A screen, keyboard, and mouse that work on your phone, but don't require a connection other than WiFi. You could start an email in your car while sitting at a stoplight. Get home and without plugging in or anything, just continue where you left off with a full keyboard/mouse.


@mike I think its ideas like these which can be realized with Linux is what will 'functionally' differentiate it from the alternatives 😊👍 @danrabbit


I feel like a kot of people would need everything to be the same as they're used to; for all of their software to work flawlessly; and for them to have to learn how to do nothing new. Unreal expectations but that's how I see most people.

@PublicNuisance I agree that most people would want that. I still don't see that they would move to Linux from the OS they currently have, even if that's what they got. If it works EXACTLY the same, why move? More privacy? More control? Those are things that people should be interested in, but those same people are using Facebook and Instagram. Privacy isn't a huge motivator, and I honestly don't think they WANT the control.

@mike @danrabbit Normal people don’t install operating systems, they buy a computer that has one pre-installed.

These days you also want the OS and the hardware to perfectly work together. No handling of drivers or any other sysadmin shenanigans.

System76 and Purism are two good examples of vendors that produce really good devices with a Linux OS perfectly fitted onto the hardware.

@seb Agreed, which is why Linux would have to do something significant to ever be a possibility. It would have to be so significant that it would draw the attention of the general population, which doesn't normally pay attention to those sorts of things, and motivate them to do something they normally wouldn't even consider. Either that, or pay someone else to do it. What would a modern OS require to motivate someone that way?


@mike @danrabbit

I also think privacy is that distinguishing feature. However, privacy can only be used as a selling point, if the customer fully trusts the product/project team.

I think the few Linux projects that provide the necessary transparency and democratic project governance (for example Debian) aren’t easily accessible for normal people. It takes too much knowledge to fully understand, review, and trust a project like that.

@mike @danrabbit getting users to switch would take time. it'll happen eventually 🙂

@mart @mike @danrabbit

plug and play, and peer pressure would be the factors of changing a user's perspective, IMO.

@davidskg10 Plug and play is a great feature, but Windows and macOS have it too. It works on pretty much every major OS out there these days. Peer pressure could certainly be a factor, but you need to have a large enough group to apply that pressure. It's getting to that tipping point that's the real trick.

@mart @danrabbit

@mike @danrabbit
After reading the responses, I think everyone here has great points. At this point, normies are simply used to just being handed something shiny that just works. I suppose it would help if we could somehow get manufacturers to slap a free distro in a computer/laptop/tablet and then charge less for it since a good portion of price has to do with the dope deals between hardware companies and the big 3 monopolies. 🤷‍♂️.

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