Hidden Linux Benefits, Clear Linux Challenges: Page 2

Linux benefits outweigh Linux challenges, yet the desktop clearly offers both.
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Despite the common misconception that Linux benefits from not being widely known or understood, I think the biggest challenge is the anonymity it presents to most people. Go ahead, ask anyone not in tech circles what Linux is and how it affects our lives. And the reaction is usually a "huh?" of a blank stare.

Now I realize it's a tall order to take time out of our day to set up shop somewhere and start introducing it to folks. But the fact is, PC repair shops and those who are often called upon to help with family tech issues should be the first line of introduction. It's these individuals we need to target, teach and empower. Thus far, we've done a great job at keeping the echo chamber full, but still have work to do attracting those individuals mentioned above.

Specialty app support remains a challenge

Seeing first hand what technologies such as Wirecast and Motion can do with a matter of a few mouse clicks makes me wonder if this kind of functionality will ever make it to Linux.

Clearly, these are not tools that are holding back Linux adoption by any means. I mean, how many people seriously use either in a home-based environment? No one, as these are tools for creators, not casual users. Sadly, because of this, folks are forced to buy these expensive tools for specific hardware instead of being able to use Linux.

With the advent of software options such as Open Broadcaster Software for Linux, we're getting closer to being able to manage our video recording projects on the fly. That said, it's not quite there yet for serious studios – it's just not. I would say that tools like Open Broadcaster Software are very good for those looking to make YouTube videos or to stream from their homes in a live setting, though.

At the end of the day, the biggest shortcoming is no matter how far we come in this space, specialty software for Linux always feel dated. Perhaps as Microsoft continues to fade, those not wanting to invest in Apple hardware will help to make greater Linux adoption happen. But for now, specialty tasks remain in the hands of proprietary operating systems.

Oddball peripherals

The last challenge I've found with Linux on the desktop is dealing with some oddball hardware. Usually the biggest challenges here include various wireless devices or label printers and business card scanners. Unlike a typical CUPS or SANE compatible device, these specialty devices often involve proprietary software that is designed exclusively for Windows only.

This means if you're thinking about purchasing a device for tasks such as business card scanning or label printing, you'll need to do some research before heading to the local office supply store to make a purchase. The fact is, most of these devices are not compatible. The only two brands that come to mind that are genuinely embraced and compatible under the Linux desktop are InteliTech label printers (there may be others) and Brother business card scanners.

Closing thoughts

I want to point out to anyone reading this and coming to the opinion that I'm berating the Linux desktop: that simply isn't true. I live in the Linux desktop space fulltime, and I do so generally quite happily. Still, as I have expressed in my sentiments above, I believe there are still challenges that need to be looked into.

On the plus side, I'm thrilled to report that the benefits of the Linux desktop far outshine the challenges I've experienced. I remain humbled by the great experiences afforded to me through Linux and look forward to many years of future happy times with this great desktop platform.

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Tags: Linux, Linux desktop, KDE

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