The latest batch to be thrown on this tinderbox of a topic? A post on LXer provocatively titled, "anyone can use the Linux operating system".
Ninety percent of today's Linux distributions can be easily used by just about anyone when correctly configured and presented with a couple of minutes of explanation to the new user, "wrote thoughts on technology bloggers and Bodhi Linux lead developer Jeff Hoogland in his post on the site.
It's those first steps, however, that are critical-and where potential users may be lost due to obstacles encountered during the installation, has suggested.
"Ultimately the best way to get Linux into the hands of someone again and make sure that they provide a positive experience is the correct installation and configuration of the operating system from someone who knows what they're doing," concluded Hoogland. "Just like Windows or OSX, anyone can use Linux in 2011, but not everyone can install Linux".
The words were just appeared on the first page LXer comments began to appear-followed by more and more.
"Linux is a kickass OS, but do not install, operate, or maintain as Windows work," stressed oldgeek, for example. "Dontcha think if everyone knew that; and none of the smart asses that lurk forum pulling out the noobs could answer, that Linux would spread and flourish faster?!
"Do," said oldgeek. "I would take the challenge of being a rational voice in all these sites just to keep the noobs out shoe l33t."
Then again: "We [are] all missing the crucial issue, that is," countered Fettoosh. "A good level of quality free support for Linux does not exist.
"The Forum, although there are many of them are not good enough," Fettoosh added. "Having so many of them is a big problem. The way they are organized is a big problem. "
Soon it became clear that the topic had hit home with many readers. Linux girl couldn't resist taking a small sample of views herself down to the supremely well-air-conditioned Punchy Linux Penguin Saloon in the blogosphere.
"It is true that anyone can use GNU/Linux", educator and blogger Robert Pogson opined. "It is a GUI for charity".
In fact, Pogson taught First-Grader "to choose a mouse, and have had no problems with it at all," he recounted. "If the OEM install it properly and Put on retail shelves, GNU/Linux will sell just as he did for the netbook before M $ paid OEMs and as Android/Linux is selling like hotcakes, now."
Hyperlogos blogger Martin Espinoza had a similar story to tell.
"I put recently Natty on a Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) Your 1500-one of the great old heavy with a Core 2 Duo really early," he began.
"This is the car of my lady and provided with Windows XP, which runs until recently committed suicide and digital it blue-screening began on every boot," said Espinoza. "Funny, the machine is actually running quieter and cooler on Linux (with GNOME 2 desktop ' classic ') that with XP and considerably snappier as well.
"Since she spends almost all his time in Firefox anyway, using Linux has only improved their lives," Espinoza said. "Because I can fix most problems with the computer in any case, support is more difficult for at least one user. In fact, much less; who wants to Fix XP? "
Most people, in fact, "can barely use Windows," said Barbara Hudson, a blogger on Slashdot, that goes from "Tom" on the site. "They know how to use their usual applications, but ask them to create a new directory and save a file to it, and never will again".
The majority, in other words, using their computer to run only a limited set of tasks. Also, "if they had learned to do those tasks under linux first, switching to Windows would be just as hard as switching to linux," said Hudson.
Fortunately, this problem is resolving itself, "he added. "For more casual users, the operating system is becoming irrelevant-they just want to be able to use the content, not produce it, beyond some email and upload a video."
A few years from now, "any old tablet or smartphone will be their device of choice-even one that runs linux," he concluded.
Consultant and Slashdot blogger Gerhard Mack took some of Hoogland exception.
"The last time I tried to download software via the web, went straight from the browser-based package manager," said Mack.
"I don't understand your complaint about sh file in Linux, since it is not harder than an exe file in windows," he added. "Tar files can be annoying, but it is rare for me to find one without a package available for most distributions somewhere, and I have to do something really technical I don't find a package when appropriate".
He was the only point Mack agreed with "odious forum/help users of the channel," said the girl from Linux. "But that is in no way limited to Linux, and there are better forums available."
Slashdot blogger hairyfeet wasn't so sure.
Linux is usable by anyone only "If you throw security out of the window and never update it or learn the make/model/firmware rev of every single piece of hardware, along with Bash conventions and how to navigate the forum," he said. "Refuse to do all this? Welcome to pain. "
Now that is 2011, hairyfeet "because there is no button ' find driver '?" he asked. "Why is when every other main OS for the last decade has had a stable ABI for hardware drivers, Linux users get to make the death March, pilot or must watch the treadmill for six months as a ' break ' Linux now?"
Chris Travers, however, focused on the bigger picture.
"Only an operating system, Linux is not" started a Travers, a Slashdot blogger who works on LedgerSMB project. "It is a lifestyle-one I think is that basically enable".
The adoption of Linux, then, means a change in lifestyle.
"A user to Windows, Linux is confusing, not so much because of what is lacking, but because of how one goes about solving problems," he explained. "Windows relies heavily commercial, off the shelf software to solve problems."
Linux, on the other hand, tends to rely on more flexible solutions; the software is often more difficult to learn, but once learned offers increased productivity, "he opined. "Yes, everyone can use Linux. But not everyone will. "
Who "move away from consumerism, towards greater independence and freedom," said Travers. "It takes some effort, and people didn't put forth the effort unless they have something to gain from it".
Therefore, "in the sale of the community, I think we should sell lifestyle, rather than the software," Travers suggested. "Linux has much to offer. Let us ensure that we make people aware that this is not cheap. "