Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Linux migration

When Asa Dotzler first posted an article criticising Linux over its non-readiness for desktop computing, there was quite a bit of hoo-hah, with a lot of defensive comments from the Linux community along with the usual flamers. The thing is, Asa was totally spot on.
He’s now writing a series of follow-ups, this being the first, which explain in more detail his four core criticisms of Linux. A lot of the points relate to things that Mozilla has done in Firefox which make the migration path from Internet Explorer much easier, and this first part suggests creating an import wizard, like in Firefox, that can copy over a user’s settings and documents from Windows. So your MS Office settings would be imported into OpenOffice, IE into Firefox, MSN Messenger into Gaim and so on, along with explanations about what program does what in the new environment (for example, instead of Outlook you would use Evolution, which would have all of your emails and account settings imported over).
It’s actually quite surprising that no Linux distribution has done anything like this yet. Sure, in the bigger distros with lots of packages it would be a huge task, but in more streamlined distros like Ubuntu it shouldn’t be too difficult.
The Linux community need to pay attention to what Asa has been saying. If Firefox can go from less than 1% of web users to almost 10% in a year then surely Mozilla are doing something right.

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