Improving The Linux Desktop: 20 Needed Fixes: Page 3

Posted November 1, 2010

Matt Hartley

Matt Hartley

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15) Play nice with proprietary software. The realization that proprietary and open source will have to play nicely is quickly become an uncomfortable reality for some folks. My take? So long as it's not installed by default, who cares?

As long as the user must install it themselves, it's not bothering anyone. Complaining every time Ubuntu or another distro comes closer to embracing the proprietary software world doesn't fix anything. And it sure hasn't stopped folks from asking for Photoshop for Linux, among other applications.

16) Browser choices out of the box. Offering different default browsers by choice during a Linux install is a great next step. Obviously it would make sense to provide the advanced user install options to bypass this kind of thing. But a full menu would provide new users with the immediate sense of freedom in seeing their browser choices right there.

This is not a critical need, rather something I’d like to see. It would make folks feel more at ease if they were using Chrome in Windows and didn't know where to find it for Linux otherwise.

17) Microsoft Exchange alternatives. There are countless open source groupware suites out there and it feels like no one is using any of them in the enterprise situations we work in.

Getting Zimbra or something like it ready to go with simple OTA solutions would be one option. At the end of the day, too many of us are waiting on Google as a possible alternative and it's not even close.

18) Real marketing talent. You know, I've seen the "try Linux videos" created for various contests over the course of 2010. In each instance, the exclusive focus has been all on the "freedom" aspect and the producer failed to realize the users’ true needs.

They’re not speaking to Joe and Jane Average. How about focusing on the time savings in quick Linux installations, freedom from driver CDs, or being much less of a target for malware?

19) Long live LibreOffice! Let's find a way to push some real money into the LibreOffice project. With the people at Oracle out of the picture now, how about if we seize this opportunity to give this localized office suite a massive design make over?

While the option to deal with formatting in DocX snafus is beyond our control, the fact that we still have something that looks like it's from 15 years ago is just pathetic. Let's incorporate some new graphics and maybe even….some color? Open Office already has a new name with LibreOffice. A new look to go with it is the next best step.

20) Just be Linux. Distros need to focus on the common sense stuff. Let’s have less focus on being like OS X or Windows. Focus on what is already working and stop trying to reinvent the way it looks to make it "prettier."

While some limited visual updates are welcome, the desktop managers need to stop thinking like coders (exclusively) and actually look at the usability of what is being offered. Instead of three clicks, can this be done in less? And for the love of decency, Ubuntu, no, Unity isn't what I had in mind.

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Tags: Linux, Ubuntu, Linux desktop, Linux downloads, Wi-Fi

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