Where can I get MS-Linux? (kidding!)
I have to say, I agree with Jeff Covey's (non-technical) points. Linux still demands that it's users be willing to do plenty of homework to get their system running. I am not a hacker. I'm not even approaching that status. I know a little HTML and just enough Unix to do a little web stuff. I installed Linux (RH7) on my new home computer because I was curious about the system, and had nothing on my new system to risk. Everything went swell until I tried to use my modem. Yes, it was a Winmodem, a term I'd never heard of until it was much too late. If my experience is at all typical (and USNET posts I've read on newbies attests that it is) then Jeff and Linus are right. It's the desktop, stupid. Linux won't be on desktops until it either provides the drivers or becomes so popular that hardware isn't sold without Linux drivers. It's a chicken/egg problem.
I am now on my third modem, after installing an external that worked but stalled every 25 or 30 seconds and then replacing the Winmodem with a modem that 'works with Linux' according to it's box. But RHL 7 came with kernel 2.2.16-22 and the fine print on my modem claims it's for kernels 2.3 and higher. Well.
I read about tarballs and got the files and read the HOWTOs and READMEs and looked at the Red Hat site's information and decided I was ready to compile 2.4.1. Except 'make' isn't on my system. When I installed RH I declined the 'developer's tools.' I'm not a developer, I just want to be a user. [Long story about USENET groups and the kindness of strangers deleted.] Now I know I should have installed the developer's tools. At this point, I've decided to wait for a new release with a stable kernel that has a driver for the modem. It's not fair that hardware manufacturers feel compelled to write drivers for Windows but not for Linux, but that's the way it is.
If Linux get's popular, manufacturers will provide drivers. Linux won't be popular without drivers. Hackers (and you know who you are) need to donate drivers whenever they can, and guys like me can write letters to Dell and US Robotics.