06 February, 2009

Is it Windows 7, or is it KDE 4?

Two members of ZD.net took a laptop onto the streets of Sydney, Australia to ask passersby what they thought of the current version of Windows 7. By and large, people were quite happy with the snazzy (and snappy) interface, along with the ease of use.

Trouble is, the laptop wasn't running Windows 7. It was running Linux, with the desktop manager KDE 4.

This is where you'd like to say that the myth of Linux unusability has been exploded, but probably not. The passersby never actually installed or used the system; they only watched a demonstration by an advocate. This may sound dishonest, but it's similar to a recent ad campaign of Microsoft, "the Mojave experiment". The main difference between the two is that at the end of their Sydney adventure, the ZD.net editors ask themselves what they've learned, and conclude: "Nothing."

Post Script: My personal opinion regarding Linux usability is the following: my wife and son had little trouble adapting to KDE. Sure, it required some adaptation, and I still do all the administration, but they did it. The only real problem we have is with my son's teachers, who expect some of his homework to consist of PowerPoint presentations. Microsoft hasn't released a version of PowerPoint for Linux, and their Mac version isn't even compatible with the PC version.

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