Still they must be doing something right as the Linux userbase continues to grow.
Extremely slowly, yeah. They've been trying to give it away for over a decade. It's not a good sign at all, when more people switch to Macs every month (despite it costing as much as Windows, being just as closed source, and needing overpriced hardware too) then people switch to Linux in an entire year. That they're having such a hard time giving their stuff away while the rests is expensive is definitely NOT a good sign! it clearly show being free just isn't enough. People are definitely willing to pay for something that actually works.
I have read that there have been problems with Intel graphics support on Ubuntu 9.04 and other distros using newer kernel versions.
And considering it was just about the only video card with stable drivers under Linux... Mind you the card itself sucks, and the drivers are fairly simplistic (e.g. often no OpenGL).
considering they are one of the few (only?) graphics hardware vendors which actively support open source drivers.
Not at all. There is an open source driver for ATI cards, and it sucks too. And the ATI folks handed out all the infos required to make your own too. fglrx is a sad joke at best. The closest thing to "stable" and working decently, seems to be older nvidia cards (something I definitely don't want of) only when you're using them with the closed/proprietary drivers.
unfortunately quite a few others haven't
All modern hardware is well supported by their vendors. There are lots of such claims, along with "not compatible with software" but that's been FUD for the most part -- just see this list
But I guess the same could be for Linux, its not the OS's fault, but that of the hardware manufacturers for not supporting it.
Not at all! When I buy the hardware, it comes with a "works with Windows" logo. They're promising me they'll have drivers that work. As for Linux, they made no such claims, and most drivers out there aren't written by them either.
Anyway, why wouldn't hardware without x64 drivers work on a 32bit Windows system?
It works. My ancient hardware (I got rid of a couple months ago) that didn't have x64 drivers still worked perfectly fine under Vista x86 (using the exact same drivers as XP).
Sure but Thunderbird or Evolution (which even connects to MS Exchange) are not that different.
but not familiar either, and lots of people like familiar and are quickly lost when outside of their familiarity "bounds". As for Evolution, I wonder if you've actually tried it, it's anything but stable.
It was quite buggy years ago, but I've not noticed any problems for a long time?
It still definitely is. Go read their blog here
. You'll see TONS of disgruntled Linux users complaining a lot about it. Then again, it's largely due to Linux's own issues (like the absolute mess their audio stack is)
You're comparing Apples and Pears (OEM Windows vs user installed Linux).
You're talking about regular end-users, and those do get their OEM Windows installed by Dell or whatever in 99%+ of cases. Of course, Linux wise it's a whole 'nother story (and not exactly an attractive one for most)
Not sure about Vista, but XP doesn't have DVD (video) or Blu-Ray
Vista has a MPEG2 decoder and all that. I belive XP MCE does too. And again, OEMs install all that in advance for "normal" end-users.
Amarok works fine with my gfriends iPod
Only for some stuff (e.g. no DRM'ed songs from ITMS), doesn't work with every device (e.g. iPods with 2.x firmware). Can't say I've been really impressed.
As I said maybe not for the powerusers or professionals skilled in the use of specific tools.
It's hardly limited to that.
I'm not sure what the problem with GIMP is
It would be quicker to list problems it doesn't have...
The point is, Linux has nothing approaching even simple photos apps meant for everyday users like Aperture on OS X, or Photoshop Elements on Windows. Have a look at this
for starters. That's just the tip of the iceberg (far better at basicaly everything), and I'm not talking about pro use at all here.
Go easy, that's a bit harsh!
Not really... I'd call it spot-on. those happy with OOo (those who don't care about anything beyond the most basic features, and only basic apps) would be just as happy with any old version of any office suite pretty much (or Google apps almost)...
most of your points aren't really relevant as this will be a pre-installed/OEM type of installation which will be tailored to the hardware. Therefore all hardware will work no worries.
99% of average users get their Dell/Acer/HP/whatever box with Windows already installed and working out of the box. As for the very, very few that get a box with Linux installed (which only seems to happen on netbooks -- not that I've seen anyone with a Linux netbook yet, and the popularity of Linux on netbooks is *very* rapidly decreasing too). Besides, most of the distros installed by netbook vendors tend to suck quite badly.
The only decent app I've seen under Linux is Firefox, which runs faster under Windows anyways (even the Windows version running under WINE is faster than the Linux version!). And then again, once you add the Flash problems...