Re: More Political Stuff

On Fri, Aug 25, 2000 at 12:02:09PM -0400, Havoc Pennington wrote:

> > Which one of the above is "the desktop".
> >
> I think there are several key "desktops." One is office desktops. With
> the LWCE announcements we suddenly have these in range within 1-2
> years, as soon as we can ship a finished office suite.  The key point
> about office desktops is that end users don't have to install the
> software or hardware on them.

Indeed.  For techie companies/departments we're already there.  Techies
can go for a long time without needing to touch an Office (or even an
office) application, and many techies appreciate "a proper OS" on their
desktop.   But, as you say, the average "office" desktop is still
someway off, but definitely in range.

> Another is appliance desktops. These are also in range; again, end
> users don't need to install anything. Linux is actually used here a
> good bit already.


> The final one is the home desktop. This is MUCH harder because you
> need all the "toys" such as little cameras and scanners and printers
> and so on. Hardware support and ease of hardware installation need to
> get fixed here, and that's not something the GNOME project can easily
> impact. So I expect this desktop to take longer. Though, once we have
> the above two desktops, I might expect Linux distributions to start
> trying to do the work for the home desktop.

I agree with this, but there's a whole spectrum of home desktops.  Lots
of home desktops are computer enthusiasts - I think here of my father as
an example.  He enjoys tinkering, he has a home network of several
computers, and spends time writing VB apps.  These sort of people are
prepared to invest some time in getting their home desktops working how
they want.  The type of people who will have their office laptops
dual-booting Win2k whilst the office is still on NT - because they enjoy
playing with computers.  As the distributions become more slick and
featureful and hardware support improves, Linux/Gnome comes within range
of more of these people.

There also many people who are completely ignorant when it comes to
computers and for these people, yes, we have a long way to go.

My point is that to be ready for the "home desktop" we do not have to
have Linux/Gnome dumbed down to the lowest common denominator.  We will
not wake up one morning and discover that we have made a distribution
that your pet hamster can install and we can declare ourselves "ready".
The fact is that distributions are becoming more and more accessible to
more and more users and a very large home user base is not as far off as
you might think.


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