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Why Ubuntu Got It All Wrong Linux article
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Unless you have been living in a cave somewhere in Redmond you would no doubt have heard of Ubuntu and its many derivatives, touted as 'Linux for human beings'. Ubuntu has become the darling of the Linux media and has stolen the limelight from other prominent distributions such as the stalwart Red Hat and, the now Novell owned, SuSE. The question is why?

At first glance Ubuntu appears to be the answer to the prayers of Linux evangelists worldwide. It has a great website, great marketing, an enigmatic philanthropist leader, a devoted community and a philosophy which seems to mirror that of the wider free software community in stark contrast to its enterprise counterparts. With such a stellar resume one has to ask the question, is Ubuntu too good to be true?

The only real problem with Ubuntu is Ubuntu itself. A tested and bug fixed version of Debian unstable with a pretty installer, a splash screen and the Gnome desktop is hardly the 'revolution' which it is purported to be. For Ubuntu to upset major players in the desktop arena such as Microsoft and Apple they need to start behaving like a professional company and provide for the needs of their customers as opposed to what the company thinks they need.

Let’s begin with Gnome. If Gnome was going to be a Desktop that would create massive changes in the IT world it would have done so by now. In no way am I belittling the success and advances Gnome has made within Linux, rather it’s the simple fact that Gnome is old and no longer up to scratch. Users want a pretty, easy to use environment with consistent menus and one administrative 'control panel' type utility. This should provide a simple solution for all administrative tasks such as adding and removing programs, hardware and networks. Gnome is not the answer for the Windows savvy world and neither is the resource-hungry KDE.

Innovation and diversity is what makes Linux different and supposedly superior to proprietary OS's. However, with every major distribution opting to use one of two substandard window managers and every release becoming increasingly unimaginative and generic is there really any need for another bloated, windows-like version of Linux? I believe the simple answer is, No.

I could go on for hours about my personal dislikes for this particular flavour of Linux but as it is relatively indistinguishable from so many others this would be pointless. Instead I will outline exactly what I believe the open source community needs to develop in an operating system which will interest the rest of the world enough to ditch what they know and try something new. Many of these features are available in existing offerings; I will try to acknowledge this where possible. I want to emphasize that this is not intended as a feature-list for the 'best' Linux distribution ever, this is a list of necessary characteristics needed to truly reflect the Ubuntu motto; “Linux for human beings.”

The Desktop Environment is the first issue I want to discuss as it is an obvious requirement for OS success. Unfortunately in recent years it has proved wholly unimaginative and under-developed within Ubuntu releases. Although there are distinctions to be made between window managers and desktop environments they are outside the scope of this article and it should suffice to say that a distribution “'for human beings” would comprise a Desktop Environment as opposed to the latter.

The current desktop environments namely Gnome and KDE have done great things to bring usability and eye candy to Linux on the desktop. To their credit they were once considered revolutionary and well developed, however like any piece of old software architecture they have outlived there usefulness and their popularity is due to the lack of a comparable alternative.

For Linux to retain its reputation as the fast, stable, secure and freely available operating system it needs to continue to live up to all these qualities. Gnome and KDE as the current default desktop environment means sacrificing at least one of these qualities. Sadly this is making Linux a less attractive solution which is bad for the community.

With no current satisfactory solutions available Ubuntu should have either created their own Desktop Environment or, better still, invested some of its millions of development dollars into one of the projects such as Enlightenment, Mezzo or the Sun sponsored Project Looking Glass. These are Linux projects truly aimed at making big steps in innovation as opposed to stirring stagnant water. All that would be required would be to get the code for one of these amazing projects, add some polish, remove some options and make sure it has the following elements designed to help, not confuse the intrepid newbie:

A control panel which contains everything (!!) needed to administer the system via simple gui-based utilities with a consistent look and feel.

A consistent look and feel across all applications available via the package manager. If it doesn't look right either change it or don't include it.

Speed. We use Linux because we don't want to be forced in to constant hardware upgrades by OS manufacturers that have strategic partnerships with hardware vendors or, in the case of Macintosh, are the hardware vendor.

Aesthetics. If you want to beat Mac and even Windows it had better look better than Gnome. I can draw a parallel with cars; no matter how much innovation is achieved in an automobile design; no one wants to be seen dead driving a Fiat Multipla. To the pragmatist aesthetics and speed may seem mutually exclusive but you only need to try Enlightenment to know this isn't the case.

Stability. Naturally this is a very important consideration but oddly enough seems to be getting less and less attention these days. It’s great that an application crash doesn't freeze your entire system in Linux but that doesn't mean application crashes are acceptable on a regular basis. Unfortunately this appears to be the case even with many of the major distributions currently.

Secondly and possibly just as important is the package manager. One of the major advantages of using Linux is the availability of high quality free software. The advantage this provides for distributions such as Ubuntu (who use Debian as their parent OS) is that they already have a brilliant command line package management system available in the form of apt-get or aptitude. The gui front-ends for apt however leave a lot to be desired, a 'human being' using the Ubuntu package manager would likely find it less than useful when they type in a query such as 'Internet' in the search box and are presented with hundreds of options for everything from the Bind DNS server to the more obscure libiiimcf2 package which according to its description is an “Internet/Intranet Input Method Framework Library”. Very useful for its intended purpose no doubt but even more useful for convincing a new user to never ever fire up that package manager again…. ever. Luckily for this particular problem a viable solution already exists, the interface for Freespires CNR software warehouse is simply brilliant. Copy it and don’t feel bad about it. Freespire make it glaringly obvious that they are using Linux and related open source software to copy Windows in every way possible, in fact they used to be called Lindows!

The last characteristic required of a “Linux for human beings” is unfortunately the most difficult to achieve and by far the most contentious but it is also the most important hurdle for Desktop Linux in my opinion.

Software support. Human beings don't like change and cannot be expected to change every piece of software they use all at once. Therefore an operating system for human beings wouldn't require them to do so, unfortunately it does. It’s true that there is an abundance of excellent software for Linux that makes it possible to achieve almost anything within the realms of the imagination. The problem is that people are familiar with their tools and understandably don't want to change those tools. It might be feasible to convince someone to change their email client from Outlook to Evolution and their browser from IE to Firefox but to tell them to change their spreadsheet software from Excel to Open Office would be deemed ridiculous. Excel (in their opinion) displays all their current company spreadsheets with VB macros and tables correctly and a change to Open Office will more than likely garble any non-standard spreadsheets including those which will continue to be sent to them by friends family and colleagues. Equally ridiculous is telling someone who spent four years at University obtaining a degree using Photoshop to ‘switch’ to The Gimp which is 'similar'. Someone needs to raise the bar and sink some cash in to Wine so that MS Office (All versions) and Photoshop (All versions) will run on Linux as if they were native Linux apps. Until these issues are addressed no distribution of Linux will ever threaten the big boys in the Desktop arena.

This may seem like a pretty damning outlook on the state of Ubuntu and indeed Desktop Linux itself but if Linux is going to fulfil its potential it's time we took a realistic look at what Linux is and what it isn’t. This needs to be followed up by developments that will change it for the better rather than just proclaiming it to be the best and waiting for it to 'take off'. Then and only then will it live up to the hype that Ubuntu is currently creating.

 
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Comments about this article
Take another look at KDE...
writen by: Micah on 2006-10-12 17:36:26
Have you seen KDE lately? I'd say it's more innovative than anything out there except for perhaps OSX, and it runs quite efficiently. The upcoming 4.0 version is promising better performance than the 3.x version that is out now. Compare that to the MS Vista hardware requirements. It also has a central control panel to control things just as you're talking about. The plugin arch for the control panel allows any developer to add any kind of control fairly easily. It's more resource hungry than XFCE, but then again, it's doing a heck of a lot more.
RE: Take another look at KDE... written by Micah:
preach to the choir
writen by: brokndodge on 2006-10-17 11:30:03
we all are very well aware of the defiencies of linux. As to a particular distribution, this article seemed less about ubuntu than linux in general. Many distributions are contributing to the wine project as well as more people than can be counted. MS Office worked fine under Wine before Microsoft began including software specifically to break it. As did most Microsoft programs. I have not found very many true windows programs that don't run under Wine or Cedega. Movement towards mimicing Windows in Linux is not innovation. Innovation is slow and very time consuming. Ubuntu is still a young distribution and cleaning up Debian Unstable is a big task. Give them time and real Innovation will begin to occur. But, as with most distributions, most of what they do is simply to tie together other peoples projects and make them work together. I have been using Linux since 1997. I now use Linux on every desktop in our house and office, except one. The only reason we still have one Windows desktop left is shockwave. Will shockwave does run under Wine, it is slow on our very old machines. The great thing about Linux is there is one for everybody. We run Debian Etch, because it is a nice blend of stability and technology. Debian Etch is not quite state-of-the-art but it is close and everything just works. Those user's wanting something easier to use tend to choose Mandriva. Those Linux users that want the look and feel of Windows have Linspire, Freespire and Xandros. Ubuntu is still a young distribution and cleaning up Debian Unstable is a big task. Give them time and real Innovation will begin to occur. Microsoft has been working on Vista for many years (I believe I read somewhere that is has taken 10 years to develop). While I am sure it will be great when it comes out, Linux has been under constant development for 25 years and will continue to be under constant development as long as there are hackers breathing to work on it. I recently began learning to program, because I couldn't find an IRC fserve that did what I wanting. So I found one that was no longer under development and took over the project. It's just a simple perl script, but that is the wonder and power of Linux. If you don't like it, change it. I suggest instead of complaining that Linux in general, or Ubuntu in specific, is not what you want then jump on the wagon and fix it. Linux is Real Innovation by millions. Real Innovation takes time.
RE: preach to the choir written by brokndodge:
I beg to differ...
writen by: tuximus on 2006-10-24 09:57:26
We have an entire callcenter of 60+ people who have never even heard of linux, much less used the gnome before, and we're running the whole place with Fedora Core 4 boxes with Gnome and many of them prefer it to Windows already. I think it's pretty unfair to call the Gnome outdated.
RE: I beg to differ... written by tuximus:
Why Ubuntu Got it All Wrong
writen by: Michael on 2006-10-31 07:52:35
I don't get it. I've using edubuntu. I could surf the net. my kids play flash games. i told them forget about the shockwave. we oould live without that. There is the office, realplayer. Good enough for lot of poor and smart guys like me. I just could not see anything wrong ??
RE: Why Ubuntu Got it All Wrong written by Michael:
Not wrong, can't you see it?
writen by: The DarkMaster on 2006-11-12 08:26:40
RE: Not wrong, can't you see it? written by The DarkMaster:
Ungratefull
writen by: TheTitan on 2006-11-12 12:26:46
RE: Ungratefull written by TheTitan:
well, it's free...
writen by: Paul Lee on 2006-11-13 07:12:25
I think it's enough for the complaints. Ubuntu project is a free project, you can't expect much by not paying anything. Somehow, I believe the person that post such critic might be innovative enough (even innovative than Bill Gates) to come out with a better OS programme? Don't just seek to be served, serve instead. If you have better ideas, then put it into something real than to complaint and critic. I myself is a little frustrated over Ubuntu for the need of installing many things manually, but It's a good community project that can benefit many that couldn't afford expensive softwares. I salute the authors of free softwares for these, their time is not wasted.
RE: well, it's free... written by Paul Lee:
Oh for heavens sake
writen by: Robert Mercer on 2006-11-16 18:43:01
(Quotes snipped) Look, I hate hearing the "if you don't like it, it's free, so shut up." Look, if I had the slightest inclination to write a program from scratch, in C++ (My home language) I wouldn't be writing this, I'd be sitting at a software company somewhere, earning money. Look, a lot of us don't have the time (myself) the knowledge (90% of PC users), or the intestinal fortitude (Have you ever tried to bug-test a complete C++ program? It gives most programmers nightmares) to try and write a program from scratch. Hell, most programmers don't know where to start when confronted by something that massive. If Linux is ever going to become popular in the general PC world, it's going to have to offer programs that can compete with Microsoft. What, you think Microsoft got where they are because they make useless crap? No, they are a multi-billion dollar company because they make what most people want. Agreed, we as the Tech Snobs of the PC world don't like the "bloat" and "needless features," but I have to admit, most people seem to like it. As a PC user, I would love it if all of my games ran under Linux (and no, I don't trust emulators like WINE, they eat performance like a cat eats salmon) without an emulator. I would love it more, however, if Linux used a file manager that made sense (First time I booted a Linux distribution--Back|Track, based on Linux Live--I spent god knows how long trying to find the equivalent of Windows Explorer). If we can make a user friendly Linux, with file menus that make sense, file explorers that are usable, and native support for Windows applications, we'll be all set. We just need to make that happen. Now, where did I put my books on C. And why the heck doesn't this email box support plus-addressing.
RE: Oh for heavens sake written by Robert Mercer:
Perplexing...
writen by: John on 2006-11-21 21:52:23
I don't understand the gripes. I use Mepis (Ubuntu on steroids) It's a complete system and it's FREE. Anyone who can learn to install and use Windows can learn to install and use Mepis. It ain't rocket science folks. It runs quite happily on hardware that would throw up and die on windows. I do some heavy hitting with it too. VPN to work, SSH terminal sessions to work Sun box, VNC to my desktop at work, telnet to any of 8 Fedora boxes on our nation wide network, samba shares to my wife's win box and share printers with win boxes at work and at home - all from my recliner. All for free. Bitching about that would make you pretty hard to please.
RE: Perplexing... written by John:
Childish, nonsense... the kind of post I
writen by: The DarkMaster on 2006-11-22 10:07:59
RE: Childish, nonsense... the kind of post I written by The DarkMaster:
Subash
writen by: subbi on 2006-11-29 07:27:53
Why would anyone want to mimic a broken OS (a.k.a. Windows)? Linux has its own blend of innovation and mimickery. Linux copies from (and only from) unix - and mind you, it's not a unix clone. It builds and betters on unix. Windows has a crippled Control Panel. Linux has hundreds of config tools, most distros pack a control center, and for the power users there are config files and scripts. Talk about choice! - do you have a choice in Windows at all, if anything goes wrong? True, some packages have blunt names. But atleast there is the option to scourge from thousands of packages all over the globe! That's a blessing already! Windows has no option to find and pull something good. You have to find it yourself - and that's tough. Even after installing some app, Windows doesn't know what the app is about. But Linux, well, it briefs you about every package installed you on your system. Talk about Gnome and KDE. Both are more beautiful than the *generalized, uneventful* windows shell. KDE is eye-catching, and Gnome is rock-solid and fast. Again, atleast you have a choice in the Linux world. When there are so much choices, one cannot stick on to the old approaches.
RE: Subash written by subbi:
I have to agree with the fist post
writen by: Marshall on 2006-12-17 22:19:12
I don't think everyone understand what he meant. He is saying that Ubuntu is saying they are the best system out there and better than Windows, He is saying all he hear is Ubuntu this and Ubuntu that, and he's right, thats all you hear and he's also right they are not the best Linux OS. I tried the latest version which had help from the maker of Mepis and it's still not better than Mepis. Gnome is not the best desktop today, it was the best or 2nd in it's hay day, but that time has gone. Enlightenment and XFCE are better and faster, now neither have as many apps as the big 2 KDE/Gnome. I'm a new linux user in 2006 and tested over 40 different distro's. Some worked ok some I couldn't get installed, me being a newbie, it has to be able to install or it's in the (crap) category, also all apps and hardware should work. Ubuntu did not find my dialup modem and if you were in their forum you'd see tons of people with the same problem. If Ubuntu is going to lead they need to design, seems they get the best of whats already made and use it and than say they are the best OS in the world and get tons of people agreeing. I for one have to know i'm using one of the best. I started with Mepis lite as my daily OS now a new OS called Dream linux has sprung up and it's now my daily OS. If Unbuntu was go good, a new upstarted OS like Dream linux would'nt have a chance, but as it stands, Ubuntu has to beat them out as well, because at this moment Dream linux is better and it uses XFCE. Remember I was a full 100% Windows guy until this year. I hope that readers from this posting would try Dream linux and than be very honest about your testing and reply to this post and tell me why Dream linux is not better than Ubuntu. I don't expect to get nothing but (your right) it's better/faster and with great looking eye candy! thanks everyone for reading Marshall
RE: I have to agree with the fist post written by Marshall:
Experienced Users
writen by: Robby on 2006-12-19 18:45:27
This is the problem with today and Linux: The experienced PC user who has been running Windows for years trys out Linux. Linux is not Windows does not have the same software, does not have the same look and feel and does not have the same goal. So the experienced Windows user cant use Linux. They think its a peice of $@%# because it doesnt function the way they usally use a computer. So now the experienced Windows user thinks, 'oh well if i cant use Linux then the average Joe cant use Linux either. Because im experienced at computers and the average Jo isnt and thus they will have even less of an idea then what i have on how to use Linux' So then he posts a message on the forums, blogs or whatever stating Linux is unsable for everyone because i (a more experienced user then you) cant use it. Thus they should change it to, (list of Windows like features) so that everyone can use it. Sure there are experienced Windows users who give Linux a shoot and realise that (LINUX IS NOT WINDOWS) and then learn how to use Linux. But this is not the case here. Now on the other spectrum, the average computer user who checks emails, browses the web, chats on the internet etc. They have little experience with windows and are open to anything. They then learn how to use Linux for all their everyday tasks and all is happy for everyone. So just to summerise, Linux does not have to be Windows to be usable.
RE: Experienced Users written by Robby:
Linux is not Windows
writen by: kazuya on 2006-12-27 16:27:43
I agree with Robbie. I have used linux for over 3 years now. Starting with Xandros, Mepis, Ubuntu, and now Zenwalk in addition to Ubuntu. I have messed with all the others like Sabayon {gentoo-based}, Dreamlinux, elive, pclinuxos, etc. I started off as a total newbie or beginner, but since converting my parents' PCs, and siblings' PCs, no more issues with viruses, malware, crashes pop ups, or issues that are difficult for me to resolve for them. Ubuntu / Mepis / Pclinuxos / Xandros are some of the easiest distros that even a PC illiterate would rise to intermediate level while trying to install and use them. I have used Mac lightly, and windows XP at work. For 3 yrs now, I can no longer go back to windows and use my linux boxes exclusively. My parents and those I have set Ubuntu up on, find it easier to work in after the first day with no complaints. In fact, they much prefer working in their linux install than on the newer Dell PC with Windows XP Pro. For 2 yrs they use the machine with no security or crash. I updated their machine when I meet them and it is an easier process than with windows. Ubuntu is a very wonderful distro. And definitly deserves the title as it is adaptable to users of all levels. I preferred Mepis in the past and the slack-based distros as I wanted to try other forms of linux to better work in all of them. The functionality afforded by linux, one can only hope to dream of in windows or even mac OSX. It puts power in the hands of the user, no matter their skill level, and yet, it can take the power of your finger tip should you be a user that just wants to work in what you are given. All of this for an affordable price. Use linux for a month exclusively and you cannot go back to windows unless you are very passionate about gaming and certain proprietary tool uses written only for windows. The linux experience is immensely rewarding to its users irrespective of their wants or needs.
RE: Linux is not Windows written by kazuya:
My responses to your main points
writen by: Richard on 2007-01-04 10:55:30
Innovation and diversity is what makes Linux different and supposedly superior to proprietary OS's. However, with every major distribution opting to use one of two substandard window managers and every release becoming increasingly unimaginative and generic is there really any need for another bloated, windows-like version of Linux? I believe the simple answer is, No. —To this I can only argue: why not? Do you think that the presence of Ubuntu is making the average Linux user dumber or the average computer user smarter? I see Ubuntu’s role in the market as something for the masses to try around and fiddle with, with the full knowledge that a large number of gurus and users simply won’t switch. For as long as I’ve used (win3.51), Windows has had the same structure: a ‘workstation or home’ edition for general and light use, and a more powerful ‘server’ edition for the rest, albeit smaller group of, users. I could go on for hours about my personal dislikes for this particular flavour of Linux but as it is relatively indistinguishable from so many others this would be pointless. —I am rather interested to hear what your personal favorites are for distributions, desktop environments, and windowmakers. The Desktop Environment is the first issue I want to discuss as it is an obvious requirement for OS success. Unfortunately in recent years it has proved wholly unimaginative and under-developed within Ubuntu releases. Although there are distinctions to be made between window managers and desktop environments they are outside the scope of this article and it should suffice to say that a distribution “'for human beings” would comprise a Desktop Environment as opposed to the latter. The current desktop environments namely Gnome and KDE have done great things to bring usability and eye candy to Linux on the desktop. To their credit they were once considered revolutionary and well developed, however like any piece of old software architecture they have outlived there usefulness and their popularity is due to the lack of a comparable alternative. —Gnome is quite old, but it’s not archaic (CDE), and is still intuitive for a lot windows users. Other than Lindows, the last attempt that made it so well was fvwm95-(my mother was able to use this without noticing that it wasn’t windows), and this behavior can be emulated with gnome. However, one of the limits of Desktop Environment Development today is I/O, and I’m not talking about bandwidth. Today you can reasonably expect 1024x786 pixels and a 3 axis mouse(x, y+scroll). With higher resolution, expandable windows are a possibility. With a six axis mouse, most of the windows management functions can be assigned. I’ve seen a Wii-mote as if it were a 6 axis, 3 button mouse. The cursor can move left/right, up/down, next/previous window, back/forward page, zoom up/dn, and desktop roll. We seem to have hit a solid limit—what hardware we can reasonably expect users to have—and gnome does a pretty good job working within those constrains. For Linux to retain its reputation as the fast, stable, secure and freely available operating system it needs to continue to live up to all these qualities. Gnome and KDE as the current default desktop environment means sacrificing at least one of these qualities. Sadly this is making Linux a less attractive solution which is bad for the community. With no current satisfactory solutions available Ubuntu should have either created their own Desktop Environment or, better still, invested some of its millions of development dollars into one of the projects such as Enlightenment, Mezzo or the Sun sponsored Project Looking Glass. These are Linux projects truly aimed at making big steps in innovation as opposed to stirring stagnant water. All that would be required would be to get the code for one of these amazing projects, add some polish, remove some options and make sure it has the following elements designed to help, not confuse the intrepid newbie: A control panel which contains everything (!!) needed to administer the system via simple GUI-based utilities with a consistent look and feel. —What you suggest would be nice, but because of Debian/Ubuntu’s micropackage base, it is impossible to effectively implement without a rewrite A consistent look and feel across all applications available via the package manager. If it doesn't look right either change it or don't include it. —but this has already been done. By default, Ubuntu gives access to a small but functional set of applications through apt and synaptic. By adding the other archives one gains access to things that don’t jibe with the current look. Speed. We use Linux because we don't want to be forced in to constant hardware upgrades by OS manufacturers that have strategic partnerships with hardware vendors or, in the case of Macintosh, are the hardware vendor. —No, we use graphical Linux because we perceive it to be better than the alternative, and there are lots of things that affect that. Also, a distribution like Ubuntu is going to be bound by the same hardware limits that windows is bound, even though it may be more configurable. Aesthetics. If you want to beat Mac and even Windows it had better look better than Gnome. I can draw a parallel with cars; no matter how much innovation is achieved in an automobile design; no one wants to be seen dead driving a Fiat Multipla. To the pragmatist aesthetics and speed may seem mutually exclusive but you only need to try Enlightenment to know this isn't the case. —Linux and Ubuntu have the support for eye candy. I’ve seen it in a spherical desktop/wm and in Xgl, but Ubuntu’s policy of open source releases only prevents them from installing it along with the flglx and nvidia. I believe that open software should be preferred, but if there is no alternative, the choice shouldn’t be nothing Stability. Naturally this is a very important consideration but oddly enough seems to be getting less and less attention these days. It’s great that an application crash doesn't freeze your entire system in Linux but that doesn't mean application crashes are acceptable on a regular basis. Unfortunately this appears to be the case even with many of the major distributions currently. —As much as I hate to say this, stability is more of an issue for people like you and I than it is for others. We don’t put up with it because we know it can be better, but many people just attribute it to “the computer being smarter than the person” or some shenanigans like that. Good news to me is that Linux effectively doesn’t have the equivalent of a bluescreen. Granted, I’ve seen kernel panics when working with drivers, but when you see one, and many Ubuntu users haven’t yet, it is a surprise. However, in Windows, one a day isn’t bad. Secondly and possibly just as important is the package manager. One of the major advantages of using Linux is the availability of high quality free software. The advantage this provides for distributions such as Ubuntu (who use Debian as their parent OS) is that they already have a brilliant command line package management system available in the form of apt-get or aptitude. The GUI front-ends for apt however leave a lot to be desired, a 'human being' using the Ubuntu package manager would likely find it less than useful when they type in a query such as 'Internet' in the search box and are presented with hundreds of options for everything from the Bind DNS server to the more obscure libiiimcf2 package which according to its description is an “Internet/Intranet Input Method Framework Library”. Very useful for its intended purpose no doubt but even more useful for convincing a new user to never ever fire up that package manager again…. ever. Luckily for this particular problem a viable solution already exists, the interface for Freespire’s CNR software warehouse is simply brilliant. Copy it and don’t feel bad about it. Freespire make it glaringly obvious that they are using Linux and related open source software to copy Windows in every way possible; in fact they used to be called Lindows! —I’ve been a long-time advocate of hiding secondary (support) packages from the user. Also, why not remove them when the last package requiring it is removed? The last characteristic required of a “Linux for human beings” is unfortunately the most difficult to achieve and by far the most contentious but it is also the most important hurdle for Desktop Linux in my opinion. —Well Said. Software support. Human beings don't like change and cannot be expected to change every piece of software they use all at once. Therefore an operating system for human beings wouldn't require them to do so, unfortunately it does. It’s true that there is an abundance of excellent software for Linux that makes it possible to achieve almost anything within the realms of the imagination. The problem is that people are familiar with their tools and understandably don't want to change those tools. It might be feasible to convince someone to change their email client from Outlook to Evolution and their browser from IE to Firefox but to tell them to change their spreadsheet software from Excel to Open Office would be deemed ridiculous. Excel (in their opinion) displays all their current company spreadsheets with VB macros and tables correctly and a change to Open Office will more than likely garble any non-standard spreadsheets including those which will continue to be sent to them by friends family and colleagues. Equally ridiculous is telling someone who spent four years at University obtaining a degree using Photoshop to ‘switch’ to The Gimp which is 'similar'. Someone needs to raise the bar and sink some cash in to Wine so that MS Office (All versions) and Photoshop (All versions) will run on Linux as if they were native Linux apps. Until these issues are addressed no distribution of Linux will ever threaten the big boys in the Desktop arena. —I wholeheartedly agree with your argument but find unexpected fault with the past. If my memory serves me well, right around when Windows 95 came out, OS/2 was finally finished. It had died from many different causes, but one stands out: compatibility. OS/2 could run Windows apps. While this seemed like a great idea at the time, it led to a great lack of native apps, so when developers wrote a new application most never thought of porting it to native OS/2 code, because they could compile and ship as a Windows app and it would run on both platforms. As there were no real native apps, there was no real reason to run OS/2. This may seem like a pretty damning outlook on the state of Ubuntu and indeed Desktop Linux itself but if Linux is going to fulfill its potential it's time we took a realistic look at what Linux is and what it isn’t. This needs to be followed up by developments that will change it for the better rather than just proclaiming it to be the best and waiting for it to 'take off'. Then and only then will it live up to the hype that Ubuntu is currently creating. —I can only remark that if there were fewer people like you, less would get done.
RE: My responses to your main points written by Richard:
lol google totally indexed this guy's un
writen by: Sam Banks on 2007-01-06 02:51:19
RE: lol google totally indexed this guy's un written by Sam Banks:
What the FCK?
writen by: WhatTheFCK on 2007-01-11 13:16:50
RE: What the FCK? written by WhatTheFCK:
Food for Thought
writen by: Clayton on 2007-01-13 13:53:16
Maybe the reason Linux has not made it in the desktop world is because a large portion of the Linux community spend too much time bickering over what is and what isn't. Granted I am a pacifist but it's so damned annoying and frustrating to click a Linux related link on the net and read only to find that what I thought was going to be an insightful article or blog has turned out to be nothing more than a verbal brawl. My view on Linux (despite the fact I loath a certain Redmond company because of how they operate) is this: If windows works for you, USE IT. If Linux works for you USE IT. If you want something for free/less money use Linux but expect to have to work out some kinks on your own. If you can't afford to spend time that is anything but 110% productive use windows but don't expect it to be free. Complaining about Linux not being as user friendly "as it should be" is like ranting because someone GAVE you a car that had an oil leak or needed a headlight replaced. You could have gone out a bought a new car but someone was generous enough to give you a second option.
RE: Food for Thought written by Clayton:
Mr
writen by: B on 2007-01-14 23:24:36
Hi all, I'm new to Linux I've download Ubunto and I've been trying to use it. The install of the OS was very easy. Good Job to those who have put the time into it. But I need help installing other programs for this OS. Is there a website that I can refer to as a guide. I really want to clear away from windows or use it as less as possible Need help thanks to everyone who answers this poor poor newbie lol bye now
RE: Mr written by B:
hi
writen by: vaibhav on 2007-02-09 17:23:12
well i think there is nobody who seem to be interested in helping the new users of linux.. they are just fighting over the shortcomings of linux but the main aim behind it is to distribute it & make other people aware of it.. i am also a new user of linux& first of all iwould like to know which linux i should use as a beginner. can u help me please
RE: hi written by vaibhav:
The K .I.S.S. Principle is often forgott
writen by: Aqua Fyre on 2007-02-22 22:44:57
As much as Gnome may frustrate the likes of Linus Torvalds etc, the fact of the matter is that for most people, not only is KDE too resources hungry, it is also overly complex. Where gnome has too few choices, KDE has a welter of headspinning choices that most non linux users can barely make head or tail of, let alone use. Linux,(for it to become a serious alternative OS for the masses of people who are not Linux fan boys) should maybe come up with a desktop enviroment that is based on the K.I.S.S. principle. (Keep it simple stupid) And the closest that comes to that, is Mac's Os-X. Oh and for the record, I use Linux Fedora Core 6, Mac OS-X and Windows XP in my daily business environment (publishing). So I think I might be in a position to compare.
RE: The K .I.S.S. Principle is often forgott written by Aqua Fyre:
Fserv
writen by: Herra on 2007-03-03 14:57:37
RE: Fserv written by Herra:
ubuntu
writen by: john on 2007-03-15 00:30:27
Why do I have to go to the CLI to do anything more complex than file management ? Why won't Ubuntu recognise my monitor (an IBM) ? Why do I have to use xorg to configure my PCI video card - and then it still doesn't do anything ? Why is Ubuntu twenty times as slow as Win98 with no more functionality ? Why is it SO difficult to install new programs on Linux ? Why do Linux people think that a system where you need a doctorate in Computer Programming just to put in new programs "adequate" ? Why doesn't Ubuntu install all the relevant compilers ? People say that "installing is not for newbies" - oh right, Linux is okay - provided you don't want to use any new programs ! Why do you have to have an internet connection just to run Ubuntu ? (you don't for Vista !) What is the point of "Help" ? No help is available ! Why do not programs install automatically (like on DOS !), rather than having to use the cryptic "package manager" which keeps on prompting you to go to the internet ? Why can't this be done in the background ? Why does the user have to do all the work ?
RE: ubuntu written by john:
the facts
writen by: qwert on 2007-03-19 11:54:59
Because you probably have an ancient computer thats made of spare parts. ^^No wonder nothing can be recognized^^ Ubuntu rocks! I'd like to thank the creators for making this. Many Windows users don't want to switch to Linux because they are friggin lazy to learn an OS that deals with many commands. Thats the bottom line.
RE: the facts written by qwert:
Ahmed
writen by: Ahmed on 2007-04-30 04:05:46
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RE: Ahmed written by Ahmed:
?
writen by: Jordan on 2007-05-11 14:38:54
I have been using Ubuntu and have been very happy with it. I have tried KDE, but it just does not look good enough. I have Gnome customized to look like Windows Vista at the moment and it is running smoothly. I have tried Knoppix, SuSE, and FreeSpire, but they just look really bad. I like Ubuntu a lot. ~Jordan
RE: ? written by Jordan:
No Comparison
writen by: TaZMAn on 2007-05-25 19:36:42
Why is it that most people who try Linux always try to compare it to Windowz? And then it's always the software issue. I need to run Windowz Office in Wine. Why? Open Office is included and can do everything you want. I could go on but I will limit it to two replies I read. 1)(Quote)"Hard to install software" You have got to be kidding?!!! If you are using Ubuntu or any Debian Distro or even Red Hat's installer it's nothing more then choose and click. Much easier then Windowz and I don't have to reboot for non-kernel software. 2) (Quote) "None of my hardware or video card is found" Had a co-worker with the same complaint. Seems he was using an old ISA slot board. Read the Hardware Support files. ISA slot hardware is not supported. I'm using 4 distros of Linux on 2 different computers. The oldest is a 1.4 Duron with onboard video and audio. The other uses an AMD Barton with Nvidia video card. Both are fast and work very well. They also have all the audio and graphics apps I need. Yep! Linux isn't like Windowz. Thank goodness. And if you really want to gripe about an OS try using Vista. That costs a lot of money and won't run many of your favorite apps. TaZMAn
RE: No Comparison written by TaZMAn:
P.S.
writen by: TaZMAn on 2007-05-25 19:43:14
RE: P.S. written by TaZMAn:
Installing Kubuntu for my mom
writen by: Anonymous on 2007-06-16 18:54:56
I'm reading this as I setup a Kubuntu installation for my mom and family. They've been using XP for a while but it keeps trashing the hard drive causing it to not boot. After years of managing their XP installation I'm fed up with the spy ware, viruses, hackers and other crap. They don't know it but they've used linux before and (Ubuntu) and having been running off a Ubuntu live cd for the past week (since windows trashed the hard drive for the last time). Most end users only want to browse the web, send/receive email and maybe download some files. Any version of linux can easily do that. No shockwave support? Big deal, unless you live off of shockwave games/apps I doubt the end user will notice or care. Linux has come a long way and in the process left the other options in the dust.
RE: Installing Kubuntu for my mom written by Anonymous:
ubuntu got is better than windows cp 64
writen by: hgl on 2007-07-24 06:36:31
When installing os'es on my dual opteron with nvraid, xp 32 bit is instable and xp 64 bit.... just 64 bit operating system but no software??! for example no free firewall etc. So i am now running: Ubuntu feisty 64 bit and a lot software and yes it use my raid 0!!! on nvraid. Installed the adept manager, these debian upgrades are great!! now only installing encoders decoders etc. after that... vmware with 95, 98 and xp booting... maybe osx (it is already booting to root prompt). So why should i upgrade to VISTA? ( i used > 10years microsoft products but this is the moment, i stop using in the future.)
RE: ubuntu got is better than windows cp 64 written by hgl:
jg
writen by: gfg on 2008-01-11 01:04:52
RE: jg written by gfg:
Synaptic to install programs
writen by: beojan on 2008-05-18 08:53:22
RE: Synaptic to install programs written by beojan:
At least Ubuntu 8 got some things right
writen by: nn on 2008-06-01 04:02:02
Now "average users" can run many things "straight from the box" with Ubuntu 8. Improvements indeed!
RE: At least Ubuntu 8 got some things right written by nn:
That's BS, Microsoft Guy!
writen by: Solid Snake on 2008-08-01 15:21:09
Sure Ubuntu isn't as customizable as most distributions of linux, But it has a excellent GUI, Great support, fast performance, and an awesome package manager that no other distribution has. The driver support is amazing, I never got my wireless card to work on Fedora correctly, and Ubuntu configured it under the network manager and now it is even more useful than XP or Vista's network manager. Oh, and to the Guy who worked on this for Microsoft in his basement, please, don't you have a crappy OS to fix or are you just going to give us more excuses to switch to your "Windows ME with a wannabe compiz feel" operating system"?
RE: That's BS, Microsoft Guy! written by Solid Snake:
Ubuntu is better
writen by: George paul on 2009-02-14 00:38:44
Eventhough Ubuntu is better than Windows Open office is not a match to Office XP I have been using Linux and windows fo many years now I am not satified with Open office I have installed OXP through Wine and crossover Simple xls will work not with VB
RE: Ubuntu is better written by George paul:
Ha
writen by: jordo on 2009-04-01 04:43:44
RE: Ha written by jordo:
Stop Wine-ing and fix it.
writen by: Ekim on 2009-04-15 20:01:28
The only complaint I have with Ubuntu or Linux is how long it took me to discover it. It doesn't act like Windows, it isn't Windows. This OS can be used by anyone. You can do what you want with it. You don't have to be an IT Gobbly Gook to use it. However theres plenty of stuff for the IT feller to customize if needed. The common folks don't have to spend hundreds for an OS that burps every chance it gets. Oh!yes, "Reboot" More $$$$ for an Office Program, Clean the Reg.... Defrag....Norton $$$, McAffee $$$, AVG $$$, Avast $$$, ect, ect. "Reboot" again. Want to do the picture thing? $$$$ Adobe. Burn it to CD or DVD Nero $$$$. My only other problem with Linux is the self centered, self proclaimed Linux Goru that wine's about how the Linux OS isn't like Windows and is poorly compiled and junk. If you want Windows, use Windows. If you don't like something in Linux .....FIX IT! YOU can fix Linux anyway you like. No body can fix Windows.
RE: Stop Wine-ing and fix it. written by Ekim:

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