Are Linux desktops like Gnome not ready for prime time, is that why?  Or is Microsoft still some kind of monopoly?  

Which of the Linux desktops is the best, or what are the some of the major pros and cons and how stable are they?

It kind of seems like the bigger companies aren't doing Linux systems for home use, or they sure don't make it easy to purchase them, since the OS box doesn't seem to offer anything but Windows!

So who would you recommend as selling nicely set up Linux systems for general use, with NO MICROSOFT crap on it, at all!!!  ;)

thanks much

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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
You could use Linspire (formerly Lindows), it's purpose was an OS sold on PCs OTHER THAN Windows.  No real experience with it, but a friend of mine likes it.

Otherwise, I'd suggest you still with "old reliables" and vendors who can provide more direct support, such as Novell (Suse) and Red Hat (Fedora).  

Otherwise, plenty of people like Ubuntu and other distros and there's nothing "wrong" with them.

As for which desktop, I've generally heard Gnome is easier than KDE.  But I use KDE FAR more often, so I can't give an objective opinion on that.

And is linux ready for prime time?  I say no.  I see MacOS is proof of concept, but linux needs one thing that still doesn't exist (but is being worked on).  A global (as in across all platforms) standard for software packaging and installation.  In my opinion, it's biggest problem is in how it handles the installation of new software.  apt is great, and I know RPMs can work, but typically a system doesn't support both - then you have to worry about dependencies and other conflicts.  When these can be worked out and your grandmother can install software with next to zero chance of the installation failing, then Linux is ready.

There is another problem of course - ease of use.  It's both very easy and very difficult.  I generally feel the Mac's success is because it is easy and there are only a couple of ways of doing things.  If you want to make a line of text bold on a mac, you typically have 1-3 ways of doing it.  When you ask for help, you're shown the 1 or 2 most common ways of doing something.  Because your answer is only in a set of 3 possible ways, ask a few times and you WILL learn how to do it yourself.  

With Microsoft products, you have 4-6 ways of doing things.  This is great for the savvy user, but for Grandma, it takes her longer to learn because there are more options she can use and she has to remember each one she is shown.

Linux, while a techie's dream (at least in most cases), it's very difficult to learn because not only are there 10 ways of doing common tasks, there tend to be 10 programs to do it in, each with 10 ways of doing things.  (Obvious exaggeration, but in a standard linux install, there might be 5-10 editors installed.  In Windows its Notepad and Wordpad.  Done).

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Personaly I don't like gnome, it isn't very customizable and in my opinion not too practical, compared to KDE...

Anyway it isn't the desktop which decides on whether to use windows or linux.

One main reason companies don't make linux PC's is that some companies refuse to make linux drivers for their hardware, usually because they're under presure from m$. Another reason is that consumers don't know anything else than M$.

A further reason is that there is no M$ office version running natively under windows. I've seen some people who may have changed to a linux PC, but they have been using office... Although you can do almost everything you can with openoffice which you can also do with office, most of these people are reluctant to change because some of the documents done in openoffice might look slightly different when printed on an office PC!
For users who are used to the Windows GUI (desktop), KDE is the most similar.  There are many different desktop managers/GUI's available for Linux, some that are very lightweight and extremely fast, and some which are very feature rich and offer a lot of addon packages.

I personally prefer KDE.  I've tried Gnome, but didn't find it to be suitable for my needs.  There is no "best" software for any needs, except for the software that you find bests fits your specific needs.  Be aware, however, that some distributions of Linux (like Fedora, RedHat and SuSE) highly customize their KDE and Gnome desktops, to include features specific to those distributions, including changing the default images and icons that would normally appear with a vanilla (unmodified) version of the same software package.  This is important, so that you understand why the desktops may look and react differently between distributions.

As for whether or not any Linux desktop GUI is ready for primetime, that answer isn't quite as easy.  Because Linux has a totally different learning curve between distributions, let alone compared with Windows, Linux may not be the best choice, especially for new computer users.  There are times when the best method of tracking down and fixing a problem under Linux is via the console command line.  Learning Linux commands for the command line requires a lot of effort and patience, which most new users (or even very experienced Windows users) just completely lack.

There are a few computer manufacturers that do ship with Linux as the installed OS.  Here are some links to a few:

Hope this helps answer your question.
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Many of the Linux Desktop OS's work quite well, especially ones that boot from a USB stick such as Knoppix. The question is what the machine is used for? Such as using the GeexBox Distro as a media player system. I friend of mine hands out a game console emulator booting usb flash disk with a ton of old Atari style console games that can be booted on just about any newer machine. As for Gnome, Kde, or whatever, isnt it cool just to have a choice?

  Q- Are Linux desktops like Gnome not ready for prime time, is that why?
  A- YES and NO ! - and it all depends on what you're expecting your desktop OS to do for you and what you want to do with your desktop OS.
  I've been using Linux OS for six-seven years now and it's usually KDE ( and more often Blackbox or Kfce than Gnome desktop environment) . From the Day 1 I considerred Linux a desktop OS and not a server OS ( my mistake in the very beginning ) and over the period of time I learned a lot of how to make Linux very usefull workstation ( easy to use yet very productive, compatible and cooperative with other OS-es etc.) I had no ilusions Linux was capable of doing just about everything Windows can do, and I learned how to be happy whith what you get from Linux . And Linux capabilities were allways  exceiding my expectations. Sure I've never expected to be able to watch Apple movie teasers on my Slackware box nor to record streaming media on Red Hat 9 . Same me way I've never expected to run reliable FTP server on my Windows ME PC nor make my Windows 98 a good proxy-router box.  
  Q- Or is Microsoft still some kind of monopoly?  
  A- Microsoft IS monopoly !


  Q- It kind of seems like the bigger companies aren't doing Linux systems for home use...
  A- You are wrong : just take a closer look at what Linspire, Xandros, TurboLinux and Linare are doing as well as  Lycoris and Libranet ( now defunct distros ) ,Ubuntu , Arch and Ark procects...

  Q- So who would you recommend as selling nicely set up Linux systems for general use, with NO MICROSOFT
  A- Xadros Desktop Linux Business edition would be my #1
      SuSE 10  is #2
     and #3 Fedora 4 or 5 on any DIY white box with all tweaks from :

   And remember: don't be fooled with rhethoric questions like "Is Linux desktop ready for prime time or not?". Just give Linux a try and see for yourself. Linux community, developers and users are very busy crowd , improving their beloved OS everyday in every aspect so they have no time to waste with repetitive asking of the same stupid question. That's actually mass media perpetuum mobile that is recycling the same Linux "problem"  proving basically deep misunderstanding of what's going on in operating system landscape as well as ongoing groundbreaking changes in the way people are using personal computers.
    good luck

One more great article about Linux readiness for desktop prime time :
glow060197Author Commented:
i have no idea who to give these points to, **suggestions welcome**!  it's like you all answered different parts of the question...

anyways i'm posting a new related question so go check that out!!! ;)

You got 250 points, split them!
Press the split points link and you can assign 1 comment as "the answer" and other comments as assisted answers and assign points how you like it, minimum 20 points.
glow060197Author Commented:
Venabili,  sorry about this oversight on my part.  If it's not too late your recommendation is fine by me..thanks..glow
You can still close it yourself ( and I would advice you too :) ))
glow060197Author Commented:
there.  have a happy day.  glow.
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