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On Installing Linux

tychoish
8 January 2013

(alternately, "Installing Linux the Hard Way")

I've had the occasion to install Linux on three systems in the recent past. People don't really install Linux anymore, it seems: with "cloud" instances and provisioning that's based on images means that no one really has to install Linux as such. My experiences have been mostly awful:

I need to do it again: to update an older laptop to the 64-bit version of Arch, and I fear this is going to be terribly painful. I'm left with two main questions:

  1. Have we given up on the idea that desktop Linux may be viable for people who aren't already familiar with Linux, or who aren't software developers (or the next best thing?)

  2. Does the desktop experience actually matter?

    I'm asking this in a more narrow line of questioning. There's computer usage that revolves around things that happen in the browser, which is (probably) better suited for embeded systems (i.e. Android and iOS based devices,) and it's not clear where the line between that and "General Purpose" computing will fall.

    If we end up using embeded systems for most of the computers that we actually touch, this fundamentally changes the desktop experience as we know it, particularly for things like installation.