My Session at OLS on What does Linux need

Posted 28 Jul 2003 at 18:36 UTC by cmacd Share This

As Promised in my initial posting here are the results of my BOFS.

I was pleased to see over fifty folks came out to my BOFS at OLS on What Linux needs to be sucessful in the desktop. I had been worried when Mad Dog Hall had actually brought up some of the points I had intended mention in his talk at the opening party, and then I heard more of potential thoughts expressed at the GOSLING Ottawa BOF

I had not lead a session like this in a few years, and so I did start rather slowly.

I will list some of the major items that came up.

  • Plug and play for scanners and printers.

    It looks like this is being worked on as a posible Sub-project from the FreeDesktop project.

    They are working on something called D-Bus which would allow Hot-plug devices let Userspace programs know what they are and how they whish to be addressed.

  • Consistant Drag and drop, and Cut and Paste

    Again this is one of FreeDesktop's Goals

  • Better Import and export from The curently popular closed source market leader Office applications.

    The problem seems to be that the internals of The Redmond spreadsheet are closely linked to the data format, and in order to Import and Export without loss, the developers are having to follow the errors built into the closed source product too closely.

  • Encourage educational insitutes to use Linux

    Several speakers mentioned that the schools have been encuraged to teach the "Point and Drool" method of running a computer because they are under the immpresion that that is what will offer greater employmnet prospacts for their students

    Folks that are using Linux are finding that they are having to go back and teach basic UNIX®concepts to folks that have never even used a command line before they can understand higher level programming.

  • Baby steps for non-technical users

    MadDog Hall pointed out that free/open software is a brave new world for those who are used to living with Microsoft.

    He sugested that projects like Mozilla and Open Office might be the best way to introduce potential users to open software while still using Windows® as their desktop.

    Once they see that Our brand of software is actually profesional and friendly, they may be more inclined to consider doing the total switch to Linux.

  • More publicity may be Required

    Often the folks that make desisions on what software will be used by an enterprise are in middle maangement. They are not always technicaly aware, nor do they have as stratigic an outlook as will be found in the upperreaches of the Corporate world.

    Good Publicity is needed to get Open and Free software to find itself in their thoughts. Sites like Stay Legal could be one way to achieve such publicity, another would be for users groups and consultants to make an effort to issue press releases whenever posible in connection with any client who has saved money or enhanced their business infrastucture though the use of any FLOSS product.

  • Users Groups should work on educating potental users.

    Projects like Linux in the Wild which was a picnic put on in the Ottawa area featuring Linux could if picked up by the media assist in getting the word out.

Again Thanks to everyone who shared their ideas. Might I suggest the CanOpenER list as a fourm for further ideas.

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