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Is Natty Narwhal the first Linux for newbies?

Katherine Noyes, PC World | May 3, 2011
Whenever a new version of an operating system is released, it's common to see a wave of reviews following on its heels, assessing how the software compares with what came before it and weighing its new pros and cons.

Now, Unity promises to change all that.

 

A Bridge Across the Divide

Many longtime Linux fans aren't particularly thrilled with Unity, as you can see in some of the reviews. Some are even saying that Ubuntu has lost its way.

I'm not so sure. If gaining more widespread adoption really is a goal for Linux in general and Ubuntu in particular, then this is just what was needed: a distribution that's welcoming and easy for Windows users to get used to.

Ubuntu may never have been hard to use, at least not in recent memory, but it's always been different from Windows, which is what most people have grown up on. By tapping into consumers' new familiarity with mobile operating systems, Ubuntu has found an alternate bridge to help them cross that divide.

Longtime Linux users may not want to stick with Unity. But I'm not sure that matters. Linux fans, after all, can easily replace Unity, if they want; they also have myriad other distributions to choose from. What Ubuntu -- and maybe even Linux -- needed, however, was a compelling alternative for Windows users, and I think that may just be what Natty Narwhal delivers.

The next challenge for Linux, as I see it, is marketing. But that's a subject for another column.

 

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