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Why Desktop Linux Sucks, Today.

No, that's not a typo. The title for this Michael's Minute is "Why Desktop Linux Sucks."

We're uniquely positioned to know the weaknesses of desktop Linux, since not only is our entire company run on LindowsOS (except for our graphic artist who we can't pry away from his Macintosh), but we hear from individuals, companies and schools on a daily basis about their own experiences, where we meet their needs and where we fall short. Don't get me wrong, desktop Linux will suit most users very well today and will save them big dollars on software. Anyone who uses their computer for email, IM, web browsing, word processing, spreadsheets and presentations should try LindowsOS today -- they'll be pleasantly surprised at how well it works for them. There are still some holes though and that's what I want to talk about. Because Linux is a diligent global effort, publicly pointing out shortcomings will spur the community on to provide solutions. (In fact, I'll tell you how you can help below).

Mplayer and Real Player handle a lot of popular video filetypes, streaming video support for Linux is still lacking. Though there are some promising developments on Netscape/Mozilla plugins, the combination of encrypted video streams and sites embedding video inside webpages makes this a hard area for Linux on the desktop. When it comes to video games, desktop Linux users have far fewer game titles to choose from than Microsoft Windows users. This is a limitation for those looking for a PC as an entertainment device, of course computer stores stock more games for Playstation, Xbox and Game Cube than they do for any computer. In addition, productivity PCs and game machines are becoming so cheap, that consumers will eventually have dedicated boxes for each duty.

While online stores and mail-order outfits are doing well selling computers with Linux preinstalled, retail stores are not yet offering these computers (other than in Canada) and neither are top tier vendors like Compaq, Dell and Gateway (much of the hold up is financial pressure from Microsoft on those retailers not to offer desktop Linux). Desktop Linux suffers as a result, because consumers get fewer hardware choices. Even though it takes under 10 minutes to install LindowsOS, people naturally don't want to be bothered with it, especially after they've already had to pay for a Microsoft product when they initially purchased the computer.

How you can help

You can help improve this area of desktop Linux by picking up a phone and making a toll free call. Compaq offers a quality computer today for just $319 (after $50 rebate). I called them to ask if I could get that computer with LindowsOS instead of Microsoft Windows XP. The answer was "no." Funny how I can customize everything else (hard drive, memory, monitor, etc.), but not the OS. If they offered this computer with LindowsOS, then it would be under $250 for a name brand

Call 1-888-999-4747 and ask for a choice

computer! You can help make this happen by calling Compaq at 1-888-999-4747, listen to the entire first message (be patient!), then dial 2 then 1. Tell the sales rep that you are interested in a Compaq Presario s3000v series pc running LindowsOS and nicely encourage them to offer this choice (If even a fraction of you who get my Minute each week call in, it will send a loud and clear message to Compaq that consumers want a choice for their operating system).

Desktop Linux isn't for everyone today, but it has made remarkable strides in the last 18 months in ease of use, applications, drivers and networking. I'm confident that a year from now it will have made equally impressive strides in the areas I listed above. Then we can work on that lone Macintosh holdout at!

-- Michael

Please visit to answers questions you may have about LindowsOS or

Bringing Choice to Your Computer!

About, Inc. is a consumer company that brings choice to computer users., Inc. was started by Michael Robertson, founder and former CEO of LindowsOS is a modern, affordable and easy-to-use operating system that allows users access to hundreds of applications via the Click-N-Run (TM) Warehouse. All applications in the Click-N-Run Warehouse ( are licensed on a lifetime, per-person or family basis and can be downloaded, installed and run with just one-mouse click. LindowsOS is presently available on LindowsOS Certified Computers ( including a $799 laptop ( being offered from Builder partners LindowsOS can be ordered on CD and/or downloaded at offers a safe computing environment for family’s and businesses, learn more by visiting

LindowsOS and are trademarks of, Inc. Linux® is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. Microsoft® Windows operating system is a registered trademark or service mark of the Microsoft Corporation.


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