Most usable Linux 2007 - let the battle commense
Usable Linux is going to be my "buzzphrase" of 2007 I think because of the importance I place upon it shifting the operating system landscape. 2007 isn't going to be the year people move to Linux as a primary non-Windows operating system (in my opinion) because it's not *quite* ready yet, but this is the year that will complete what 2006 started. The groundwork is being done to make Linux the easiest computing solution around.
I've covered recently how easy some distros are making "normal" computing and I only see this situation improving over the next 6-12 months
However, who is going to be the poster child of usable Linux in the future? Who can be crowned "most usable Linux distro 2007"? Is Ubuntu going to claim the crown by default because it's the current poster-child or will some other distro perform regicide and take the thrown for itself? There are some key contenders:
Has to be the favourite at the moment with such a strong community and an undeniably formidable product. There's so many good things due to come out of Feisty when it's released that it has to be the favourite at this early stage. Edgy and Dapper were both excellent and to expect anything other than an excellent release in Feisty would be foolish. The Ubuntu developers have proven themselves numerous times so if you're after a safe bet - here's where your money should be.
PCLOS is the underdog who get's my vote. While it doesn't have the massive numbers that Ubuntu has behind it I find it the most intuitive (albeit these judgements are made from non-final releases). I'm also unsure when PCLOS2007 is going to be released which doesn't help but from what I've seen and heard, PCLOS is going to win over some serious numbers this year. I know that a lot of readers on this site have a soft-spot for PCLOS and I have to agree with them. I really think that if you try it once you'll keep it. It's that good.
Mepis, Gentoo and others?
The Linux landscape moves so quickly with so many different distros it's hard to keep track of them all. Gentoo and Mepis are both excellent distros and I can't help but think that they'll be donning boxing gloves later this year when their new versions are released. They may not be at the forefront of the usable Linux scene at the moment but all of this can change in a heartbeat. A good release is all it would take in this world.
Usable Linux is key this year because of how much it could change the computing world
I say this because usable Linux is all about making open source operating systems as easy (if not easier) as Windows. It's difficult to argue how easy things are getting - certainly over notoriously awkward media playback (Feisty installing missing codecs on the fly for example). Synaptic package manager is quite the evil thing (as I shall write in a follow up article... watch this space) and allows you to just pick any piece of software, download and install (along with pre-requisits) within 1-2 clicks. This makes life so much easier than any other operating system I've encountered (well, Mac OSX and Windows 95/98/XP/Vista).
This was more of an introduction to the topic and I intend on following it up with more posts discussing the topic as and when new events unfold. Namely, Ubuntu Feisty Fawn lands in a couple of weeks and that's likely to win over some new fans. If you've got something to say about usable Linux in 2007 I'd love to hear your thoughts. You know the normal means of getting in touch - throw it in a comment.
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