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Ubuntu To Pay for Upgrades To the Free Software User Experience

timothy posted more than 5 years ago

GUI 546

jcatcw writes "Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols reports that Mark Shuttleworth, CEO of Canonical, is using his millions to improve the Linux user experience, hiring people to work on X, OpenGL, Gtk, Qt, GNOME and KDE. He had doubted that desktop Linux could ever equal the smooth, graceful integration of the Mac OS. Now, between the driving pace of open-source development, and Shuttleworth's millions, it might be happening. Why not? After all, Mac OS itself is based on FreeBSD. Desktop Linux's future is starting to look brighter."

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546 comments

fp (-1, Troll)

Iceykitsune (1059892) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970133)

FR0STY P1SS!!!111111!!!111111oneoneoneoneoneoneelevenonethousandonehundredeleven

MacOS could be based on RiscOS (5, Interesting)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970317)

for all that it mattered. BSD was free and worked, in 1986. That's why Jobs - when he solicited his engineer's choice - was told to use BSD 4.

MacOS is "based" on NeXT - which was derived from extending the Smalltalk-like model of Objective C to a whole series of desktop and application frameworks.

You see, Jobs and his guys were SO blown away by the GUI at PARC, that they missed the object revolution, used to create it. They were all determined to do this again, the 'right' way, without saddling Mac/Lisa compatibility to the horse.

That got engineered on later ;-)

You want further illustration of this argument? Try managing an OSX workgroup from the network with existing BSD and opensource. You effectively manage the POSIXy parts of the system, while having almost no policy or configuration management of the Finder/Application experienc through which much of the Mac user interacts. You could - in theory, with the sources available, swap a modern Linux distro under there instead of the hybrid BSD. Almost no one would notice.

Re:MacOS could be based on RiscOS (2, Informative)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970359)

HA! Almost forgot about Mach! BSD was just a subsystem on a Mach kernel, too. More 80's-isms. Now we call Microskernels "Hypervisors" and isolated I/O subsystems "Virtual instances".

'Cos maybe they'll work this time!

Interesting. (4, Interesting)

DoctorDyna (828525) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970139)

Since the summary mentioned it first, I've always been curious as to the logistics behind having OS X released as a desktop environment. *shrug* who knows, might be interesting.

Re:Interesting. (5, Interesting)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970445)

I have a friend who is a die hard Mac fan. I don't really know that much about Macs, other than what people who use them (all fans) tell me.

The other day though, he needed to chop up an audio file and didn't know what to do on his Mac. I didn't know either, but I do know how to do it with Audacity on Linux. So he sent me the file and then sat down with me as I did what he wanted. His only comment was "Wow, that's so easy on Linux". Granted, what he was seeing that was easy was in fact Audacity, not Linux, and I'm sure there is an easy to use app under Mac, but it's nice to see that, although Desktop Linux is constantly getting railed on, once someone not exposed to it actually sits down and sees what can be done, they're not intimidated by it.

Re:Interesting. (4, Informative)

am 2k (217885) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970499)

Maybe somebody should point out that Audiacity works fine on Mac OS X, too (even without X11). I'm using it all the time for minor cropping/ogg-encoding work.

Re:Interesting. (3, Informative)

BPPG (1181851) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970703)

In fact, it uses wXwidgets [wxwidgets.org] for it's GUI, which aims to be cross platform between windows and the *nixes. Really, more of a testament to FLOSS, if not Linux.

Re:Interesting. (2, Interesting)

am 2k (217885) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970859)

Well, the UI does suck, but when I have the choice between a sucky UI and not being able to do the task at all...

Re:Interesting. (0, Redundant)

dunng808 (448849) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970519)

Audacity runs find on OS X. If you really wanted to help your friend you could have helped her install it.

Re:Interesting. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24970693)

helped him install it.

Re:Interesting. (4, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970529)

I had to do that same thing the other day. I'm a Mac user, and I just used Audacity because I know it can do the job and it's free.

What's the official Mac way? Probably QuickTime Pro (which you have to pay for, which has always annoyed me). Or a third party piece of software. Actually I think you can cut bits out with QT (non-pro) but it's a bit unintuitive. I considered using Garage Band (which I'm sure could do it) but that would be overkill.

I've got to say, it was the first time I'd used Audacity in maybe two years. It was just as ugly as ever, unfortunately. It looks almost EXACTLY like the program that came with my SB16 in the Windows 3.1 days. It works, but could really use a little interface TLC, especially on the Mac (where the Linux/Windows style interface just looks even more out of place).

Re:Interesting. (0, Offtopic)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970841)

Audacity runs on macs. I tried it when I needed to extract the audio from a quicktime movie [Quicktime pro can do that, but I didn't want to pay the money]. Total failure. Garage Band was able to do it, though. Back on topic, I suspect Garage Band would have worked for splitting up the file.

Re:Interesting. (1)

N3Roaster (888781) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970853)

In fact, he could use Audacity on a Mac (the download page is the first hit when using Google to search for Audacity Mac) and it would be just as easy.

Though my day to day work is mainly on Macs these days, Linux desktop development has come a long way over the past decade and there is still a lot of interest in making it better. It's great to see funding to keep these improvements coming and look forward to making the switch back to a new, improved Linux desktop at some time in the future.

Flash content (2, Interesting)

Javi0084 (926402) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970141)

How about paying someone to fix Flash? It's what made me go back to Windows.

Re:Flash content (5, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970219)

If you can get Adobe to open source Flash, I'm sure that can be arranged.

In the mean time, the best you can do is to tell web developers to not use Flash, but open alternatives.

Re:Flash content (2, Interesting)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970313)

Are you serious?

Flash is one of the first things I DISABLE on a browser. I have it installed, only as a last resort kind of stuff.

If some casual site wants flash, I leave the site. And those flash ads just dont work. That's a plus in my book.

Re:Flash content (5, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970357)

A lot of us watch YouTube and other flash video. Heck, some of us even play the odd flash game until a download is finished. If Adobe open sourced Flash, you could make decent cross-platform web applications in a matter of minutes all the while blocking Flash ads.

Re:Flash content (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24970415)

Heck, some of us even play the odd flash game until a download is finished.

Wow, way to utilize that multi-tasking capability. How about actually getting something done?

Re:Flash content (0, Redundant)

arth1 (260657) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970777)

If Adobe open sourced Flash, you could make decent cross-platform web applications in a matter of minutes all the while blocking Flash ads.

And if Natalie Portman threw herself at you and begged to be your slave, you'd be a happy man.
Your point, again?

Re:Flash content (1)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970903)

VLC/mplayer/etc can play most flash video and youtube is moving to h264 for most of their new stuff, in fact if you google around you can find a hundred different ways to extract the video from google in either .flv or .mp4 format.

Games, on the other hand, probably a lot more difficult to handle in a purely open source environment.

Re:Flash content (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24970457)

Flash games. Youtube.

Re:Flash content (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24970921)

Are you serious?

Flash is one of the first things I DISABLE on a browser. I have it installed, only as a last resort kind of stuff.

If some casual site wants flash, I leave the site. And those flash ads just dont work. That's a plus in my book.

Well, YOU are a geek. If you tell geeks about flash, most of them will say "flash is only for porn or ads". Why is flash on linux so crippled? Because this is what we deserve. You don't like it - fine. Just don't spam everybody about it. Normal *non geek* people like flash.

Re:Flash content (1)

Awptimus Prime (695459) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970339)

How about paying someone to fix Flash? It's what made me go back to Windows.

killall -9 pulseaudio

then install the flash10 beta for Linux.

It's pretty nice in comparison to what we've been dealing with in the past. Still not open source, but a lot better than before!

Re:Flash content (1)

bucky0 (229117) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970471)

There is still that terrible wmode bug that's been fixed in the firefox upstream but hasn't made it to the ubuntu repository. I've been following the bug in the tracker, and nobody thinks it's a high priority thing that flash will segfault firefox when using wmode.

Re:Flash content (1)

Curtman (556920) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970671)

then install the flash10 beta for Linux.

Link for 64 bit version please?

I use swfdec currently. It works some of the time, and I'm grateful when it does.

Re:Flash content (5, Funny)

kiddygrinder (605598) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970799)

Link for 64 bit version please?

Adobe don't believe in 64 bit. In fact i think their programmers get confused if you ask them to count to 33

Re:Flash content (2, Insightful)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970371)

I think Adobe already gets paid

Re:Flash content (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970385)

Flash has always been annoying esp. on Lunix. I was rather pleased to find my EeePC 901 plays YouTube videos just dandy (and rfmon works on the WiFi ;)

Lunix??? (4, Funny)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970807)

WTF is Lunix???? Doesn't exist, according to distrowatch.

It's not broken, but you might be Re:Flash content (1)

rubies (962985) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970937)

Hardy Heron with firefox 3 and flash straight from the repositories.

No crashes, no problems and so much "Charlie bit my finger, again" it'll make you cry.

I *wish* it was broken. That way, the kids wouldn't keep replaying that stuff.

Stop saying that Mac OS is based on FreeBSD. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24970157)

Speaking as a FreeBSD user I don't appreciate it.

Mac OS uses a modified Mach kernel and some of FreeBSD's userland stuff, but that's it.

Re:Stop saying that Mac OS is based on FreeBSD. (2, Informative)

DoctorDyna (828525) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970187)

Maybe you should point people here [wikipedia.org] when making that statement.

Re:Stop saying that Mac OS is based on FreeBSD. (2, Insightful)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970249)

Um...HELLO? Your link backs up what the OP said. It's not FreeBSD.

Kernel

Darwin is built around XNU [wikipedia.org] , a hybrid kernel that combines the Mach 3 microkernel, various elements of BSD (including the process model, network stack, and virtual file system), and an object-oriented device driver API called I/O Kit.

Some of the benefits of this choice of kernel are the Mach-O binary format, which allows a single executable file (including the kernel itself) to support multiple CPU architectures, and the mature support for symmetric multiprocessing in Mach. The hybrid kernel design compromises between the flexibility of a microkernel and the performance of a monolithic kernel.

It contains BSD code --but so did the NT networking stack at one point. You gonna say that XP is based off FreeBSD next?

Re:Stop saying that Mac OS is based on FreeBSD. (-1, Troll)

Gewalt (1200451) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970283)

Not just BSD code, but the damn BSD kernel. That's a tad more significant, yes?

Re:Stop saying that Mac OS is based on FreeBSD. (2, Insightful)

DoctorDyna (828525) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970573)

Yep, I know :) It wasn't an argument.

Re:Stop saying that Mac OS is based on FreeBSD. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24970771)

Not all comments are an argument, ya know. Sometimes people are agreeing, or even giving more information to back up the OP. Shocking, that people on the internet can sometimes have a cordial conversation, no?

Re:Stop saying that Mac OS is based on FreeBSD. (0, Troll)

Gewalt (1200451) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970253)

Speaking as a FreeBSD user I don't appreciate it.

Mac OS uses a modified Mach kernel and some of FreeBSD's userland stuff, but that's it.

Noone cares if you like it or not, but it IS based on FreeBSD, like you just freakin said, right here. If you find that disrespectful, then you need to check the damn license. Now if you try to say that the Mach kernel was not FreeBSD, you are only partially correct, as it was developed solely as the replacement for the BSD kernel, and much of its codebase was integrated into FreeBSD, not the least of which was 100% of memory management.

Where's the BSD? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24970181)

As anyone with half a brain knows, Mac OS X is based on the Xnu kernel, not the FreeBSD one. Xnu is a combination of Mach combined with various bits lifted from FreeBSD 5.x (but is not itself the FreeBSD kernel). OS X is an updated NeXT, not a GUI-fied FreeBSD.

I can't believe the editors let such a blatant slip-up onto the front page. Wait, it's slashdot --practically speaking, we have no editors. ;_;

Something great, but not new (4, Informative)

pwnies (1034518) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970203)

Shuttleworth paying out of pocket to help the ubuntu experience is nothing new. He's always done this. The printed CD's of ubuntu have always been free to whomever requested them. That's cost out of pocket for canonical. Don't get me wrong, this is great; but it's something they've always been doing.

Re:Something great, but not new (2, Insightful)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970825)

He's just playing the role of venture capitalist to his own venture.

Quite a broad range of things to improve (5, Interesting)

Captain Spam (66120) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970209)

X, OpenGL, Gtk, Qt, GNOME and KDE

Frankly, that's a considerable amount of work he's planning on hiring up for. This intrigues me greatly, to be honest. And, with any luck, this all comes back to the community so that not-Ubuntu users can get in on it, too.

Though I give it five minutes before we hear complaints that they're not helping out some obscure toolkit or DE. :-)

Re:Quite a broad range of things to improve (2, Insightful)

codemachine (245871) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970365)

Well, we could complain that XFCE and Xubuntu isn't getting any help, but since it is based on GTK as well, they'll get some benefits to that work. And obviously anything that goes into X and GL drivers can't hurt any desktop environment.

Re:Quite a broad range of things to improve (5, Funny)

jd (1658) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970377)

I'm sorry, but even Bill Gates doesn't have the money to get Enlightenment even to the next full release.

Re:Quite a broad range of things to improve (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24970865)

you know, I've been working on this DE, called jerkoff, for about an hour every weekend. I've been working on it since Gutsy Gibbon, and I'm already at version 0.0001. Why the hell can't I get any Shuttleworth money for it?!?

Re:Quite a broad range of things to improve (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24970917)

I demand more attention for GNUstep!

Why Not? (2, Interesting)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970217)

"Why not? After all, Mac OS itself is based on FreeBSD. Desktop Linux's future is starting to look brighter."

As long as you have people literally in stand-offs against each other based on QT vs. GTK, Gnome vs. KDE, and the merits of this distro over that, then no. It won't become as seemless. Why? Because a lot of good programmers are tied up in projects that simply don't move the ship forward. They only decorate a room on the ship. Hey, I love Linux. Adore it! Maybe the problem is until Linux geeks get laid more, they simply won't bother to take time to smell the flowers: i.e. pay any attention to the end-user's experience.

Re:Why Not? (4, Funny)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970269)

Maybe the problem is until Linux geeks get laid more, they simply won't bother to take time to smell the flowers: i.e. pay any attention to the end-user's experience.

I have a thought! Maybe Mark should be paying hookers!? BRILLIANT!

Re:Why Not? (4, Funny)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970759)

<BENDER>
In fact, forget the development!
</BENDER>

Re:Why Not? (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970291)

As long as you have people literally in stand-offs against each other based on QT vs. GTK, Gnome vs. KDE, and the merits of this distro over that, then no.

Literally? You mean they're actually pointing at each other with guns?

Re:Why Not? (2, Funny)

jd (1658) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970351)

Well, they were technically guns. See the story Slashdot ran on the Emacs vs. Vi paintball game.

Re:Why Not? (1)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970421)

Well, verbally!....wait...Textually! :p

Re:Why Not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24970737)

I think the apposite word is "figuratively".

Re:Why Not? (3, Insightful)

Curtman (556920) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970861)

Because a lot of good programmers are tied up in projects that simply don't move the ship forward. They only decorate a room on the ship.

That kind of stuff has almost always been done at the distro level. Sun, Redhat, Novell, Ubuntu, etc. Independant developers tend to stick to their projects at least in the Gnome universe [gnome.org] .

I wish Sun, or someone else would do more usability studies like this [gnome.org] one. That is exactly the kind of feedback we need. I find it nearly impossible to imagine the noob experience after having used Linux for the past 10 years.

Re:Why Not? (1)

JackassJedi (1263412) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970963)

This is very true, and sad, because a lot of efforts are just wasted energy in the style of "ok then, since we can't get our heads out of our butts [sorry i'm being too sarcastic here] and getting unified semantics for both of our toolkits, then let's at least try to make them LOOK the same just so people get confused why same-looking apps behave differently"....

Freedesktop should spec an abstract widget set, defining mostly semantics, and looks only where it really matters, and both Gtk+ and Qt should try to adhere to this standard within their own.

We really REALLY need coherent usage semantics of UIs under Linux; while this situation is never perfect, certainly not under Windows, but also not always on OS X, it is to a big degree better than on Linux because there are many, many standard components available under Windows and under OS X, in any case many more than available through Gtk+, maybe also Qt, even though Qt has a pretty big library.

We Linux zealots are simply used to all the apps and quirks of apps so we don't notice, but real people will feel well only if everything behaves consistently ;)

It's just like with people, it's about trust; people need to trust the UI, and you can only gain trust if you stop being inconsistent. (Yes i know, awesome roundup, but in essence it's true. ;)

The Year of the Linux Desktop . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24970233)

is 2008!

Ironic That Link Renders Incorrectly in Konqueror (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24970271)

It's ironic that the first link http://blogs.computerworld.com/ubuntu_to_work_more_with_larger_linux_community renders incorrectly in Konqueror -- no scrollbars. They aren't invisible. They really are not present.

Re:Ironic That Link Renders Incorrectly in Konquer (-1, Flamebait)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970575)

The irony isn't that the ubuntu article doesn't work in konqueror (ubuntu uses firefox by default), the irony is that there's still someone in the world using konqueror.

I imagine you use it while wearing a blouse with harpsichord music playing in the background while your servants tend your grounds in the English countryside. Perhaps tonight you shall go to a local party where you'll waltz with a middle class young lady looking to marry up in society!

Gnome + KDE (4, Interesting)

InlawBiker (1124825) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970335)

I keep wondering when Gnome and KDE will ever join forces and do some real damage. But every time I wonder that out loud somebody smacks me down, as though I'm asking the English and German to join forces against tooth decay. I guess it's smack-down time again.

Re:Gnome + KDE (1, Insightful)

pugdk (697845) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970453)

I disagree. I seriously hate Gnome.

Gnome is dysfunctional, limits my options, looks like shit (well, that can be themed, but...) and just generally sucks.

If KDE had been chosen instead and as much time had been spent on polishing KDE as Ubuntu has spent on polishing Gnome, we would not have this discussion.... Ubuntu (i.e. Kubuntu) would already rule the desktop.

Sadly, I see more and more development time wasted on supporting / trying to polish Gnome into something functional instead of just throwing the towel into the ring and going with KDE.

Re:Gnome + KDE (4, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970547)

What a wonderfully balanced opinion you have.

I can't imagine why there's such bad blood.

Re:Gnome + KDE (1, Flamebait)

pugdk (697845) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970849)

I've used windows since 3.1 (and even tried Vista heh) and used OS X for some time as well.

I've also been using Linux for more than 10 years, trying all kind of different window managers.

The one that was the most unusable, the most annoying, the most illogical one I ever tried, was Gnome (and believe me, I've tried... I've really tried to like Gnome, tried it multiple times, both in Debian and in several releases of Ubuntu. After several weeks, sometimes a few months, I just get fed up and install KDE instead).

Yes, I feel annoyed when the best bet on bringing Linux to the desktop in my eyes are wasting their time and development funding on crap.

I say this as a *USER* of said software, *NOT* as a developer.

I really WANT to like Gnome, but no matter what I do I end up hating it after a while.

The fact that *I* believe this means Ubuntu will fail on the desktop aggravates me to no end.

Re:Gnome + KDE (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970909)

Your personal opinion is worthless. Millions of people disagree with you, and millions of others disagree with them.

There doesn't need to be consent. It's up to you what you use.

Re:Gnome + KDE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24970587)

I disagree.

Re:Gnome + KDE (5, Funny)

TeacherOfHeroes (892498) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970655)

I disagree. I seriously hate KDE.

KDE is dysfunctional, overwhelms me with options, looks like shit (well, that can be themed, but...) and just generally sucks.

If Gnome had been chosen instead and as much time had been spent on polishing Gnome as Mandrake/Mandriva has spent on polishing KDE, we would not have this discussion.... Mandriva (i.e. Gmandriva) would already rule the desktop.

Sadly, I see more and more development time wasted on supporting / trying to polish KDE into something usable instead of just throwing the towel into the ring and going with Gnome.

====

Sorry if this offends your sensabilities, but I just couldn't resist, and I think that is pretty much sums up the silly debate between KDE and Gnome users who are both happy with their own choices.

Re:Gnome + KDE (1)

pugdk (697845) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970927)

Its perfectly fine, I never expected everyone to have my opinion (it is after all *my* opinion :-).

You on the other hand is wrong when you insert KDE instead of Gnome.

The Ubuntu foundation has poured WAY more man hours and development time and polishing into Gnome than it has ever poured into KDE.

That you choose to enter Mandriva instead of Ubuntu is... well, your choice, but the present discussion is about Ubuntu, and frankly I don't see Mandriva as a contender for the Linux desktop at the moment.

Re:Gnome + KDE (5, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970659)

I disagree enormously. I think what they have in gnome is so perfect for Ubuntu it's almost scary. They're trying to make it so that the end user isn't overwhelmed with options and customizations, and that it just works. They've succeeded phenomenally. My only beef with it right now is that upgrading to the next release is awful, breaks my desktop about half the time, and that flash doesn't work very well. If those two things were fixed, I would never use anything else for a desktop ever again.

Re:Gnome + KDE (2, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970679)

That's the rotten thing about debating something as subjective as the preferred UI experience. Frankly I find KDE goes out of its way to emulate everything that's bad about the Windows GUI, even more so. Gnome is minimalist, which I like. The nice about Linux is that I actually have a choice. Heck, if I want to, I can install them both.

Re:Gnome + KDE (3, Insightful)

daffmeister (602502) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970785)

Which is exactly why it's good that there are two major desktops. You get to use KDE. I get to use Gnome. For me Gnome is superior because it aligns better with the way I work. I don't care that it doesn't have a gazillion options because I'm not going to be twiddling them anyway.

You can twiddle to your hearts content on KDE.

Isn't choice wonderful?

Re:Gnome + KDE (1, Insightful)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970897)

Wow, your post did a wonderful job of proving the grandparent's point!

Re:Gnome + KDE (3, Insightful)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970493)

Specifically, I thought they were going to unite their libs so that gnome and kde would be cosmetic changes of the overall GUI subsystem sitting atop X.

Some things like DCOM have already been united and shared.. It just takes a few dedicated individuals to do so.

I personally would love united libs that any gui can use while knowing that every "frozen" feature will be as such for any major versions. Let everybody use it, from GNOME, KDE, Xfce, and any other manager.

Re:Gnome + KDE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24970509)

I keep wondering when Gnome and KDE will ever join forces and do some real damage. But every time I wonder that out loud somebody smacks me down, as though I'm asking the English and German to join forces against tooth decay. I guess it's smack-down time again.

Yes, it is smackdown time again. Two brilliant teams of programmers can not combine to make one uber-brilliant team of programmers.

When people bring up this idea I'm reminded of a story a friend of mine once told me about her childhood. She had just gotten a brand-new set of crayons that had all kinds of new colors, so she decided she was going to make her own color that was prettier than all the rest, so she grabbed a bunch of her favorite colors and tried to mix them together. The result, of course, was somewhere between diarrhea and vomit.

She cried.

Re:Gnome + KDE (1)

numbware (691928) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970619)

I agree completely. In my mind, the perfect desktop environment would be initially simple for beginning users (ala GNOME), but still have extra settings accessible in a dialog filled with sliders and check boxes for advanced "power users" (ala KDE). Case in point, Firefox. Initially, it's very basic and just about anyone can pick up how to use it. But for power users, there is about:config and a whole slew of extensions to customize the experience. This is the type of "best of both worlds" scenario a man can dream for.

Re:Gnome + KDE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24970733)

What makes you think if Gnome and KDE got together that they would make something better then what they are making now. I am sick of this myth of two competing projects coming together and making something even better.

Re:Gnome + KDE (3, Insightful)

martinw89 (1229324) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970735)

It will probably never happen. Plus, the competition probably does both teams a lot of good. But let's look at the specific reasons:

  • Different toolkits. If the projects joined, they would have to consolidate (ie, rewrite) TONS of code. That is, if they wanted to unify the applications look and feel. I suppose they wouldn't have to, but that sort of defeats the purpose.
  • Different design philosophies. KDE is all about choice, Gnome is all about making the choices for you. Obviously these are big oversimplifications of each (KDE makes some good choices by default, Gnome usually gives the power users a place to change things), but the different design philosophies would be hard to combine.
  • They're just different: The two projects have grown a lot over the last 10 years, and they both have great systems in place inside their desktop environments. Tons of this work would have to be heavily rewritten or scrapped altogether to make a new unified desktop environment. As an example, Gnome stores a lot of settings in the GConf repository, KDE doesn't.

And one could go on for a while regarding why these projects can't just magically join together. It's sort of like the cries of Webkit in Firefox. Read the Ars article on that subject to get a feel for trying to combine projects with similar goals but completely different designs. They just don't mesh.

Re:Gnome + KDE (3, Interesting)

idonthack (883680) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970823)

The two environments take entirely opposite approaches to design:

  • Gnome assumes the user is confused and tries to help them.
  • KDE assumes the user is capable and lets them do whatever they want.

They are both an equally valid approach, but the target demographics are incompatible. It would be stupid to try and combine them.

An omen! (5, Funny)

CaptainNerdCave (982411) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970337)

This must be proof that 2009 will be the year of the Linux desktop!

ALSA Drivers Please!! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24970347)

As an audio software developer, I have tried several times to make and port programs to Linux.

Basically, you never dare to request anything other than the default config from an alsa driver. Trying different sample rates, formats or channel configs can cause anything from an unhelpful error code to a segfault (I kid you not).

So it's hard to take Linux seriously in this context.
ALSA is a roadblock, due to being "good enough", but it's nowhere near good.

Re:ALSA Drivers Please!! (1)

jd (1658) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970843)

Personally, I'd love it if there was a facility somewhere with a small army of software engineers whose jobs were to formally verify (where possible) or unit-test (in all other cases) every function of every major project in Linux, and to fix those functions to operate within specification. It wouldn't fix all problems, integration creates as many bugs as the individual units, but if you could halve the number of bugs, the primary developers could focus on architectural defects rather than implementational defects.

What would it take to do this? For just the Linux kernel, GCC and GLibc suites and X11, you'd need about 20,000 full-time mathematically-oriented software engineers, to be able to get the code as clean as possible and keep it that way, within a year. If you rolled them over onto other software, you could have Gnome, KDE and ROX pretty much sewn up the following year, maybe two.

So, we can get Linux reasonably (not perfectly, just reasonably) bug-free, for about 6 billion dollars. Personally, I would regard that as an extremely worthwhile investment. The DoD has done studies that have shown troops have illicitly spent about that on women of ill repute using Government credit cards, in the past 15 years. (That has resulted in some going to military prison, but I doubt that got any of the money back.) A national bug-hunt might not be as much "fun", but a lot more people will enjoy the results.

This, however, is somewhat unlikely. Equally unlikely, however, is the ALSA module ever getting many problems ironed out. The range of hardware is too great, the information available is too limited, the number of developers is too small, the complexity of ALSA is too vast and the spaghetti monster of a configuration module is too convoluted.

ALSA is probably unmaintainable in the long-term and does not appear sustainable in the short-term. It's good, but it's just not providing the resources people need. If it was, you'd not need heavy-weight pluggable supercharged V10 engines [youtube.com] just to run the mixing desks.

As long as it's not ubuntu-ify (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24970387)

if KDE and gnome join together it'll be a big huge fight considering that gnoem was a GNU project and KDE views are different.

but as long as Mark doesn't make these projects more "ubuntu" I'm all happy

Wrong. Again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24970407)

OS X is not "based" on BSD.

That having been said, I wouldn't leave FreeBSD for anything; even with the poor flash support. It's the cat's pajamas.

Straight from Shaney's mouth (4, Funny)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970417)

"Macs were interesting because 1) they weren't Intel and 2) they weren't Unix, now they're both. Oh well."

Are his millions enough? (4, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970425)

Red Hat has invested a lot of money to improve the Linux desktop experience as well. They've made great strides, but still - they still have a ways to go, at least in the opinion of this user of both OSes. So spending more money does not guarantee they'll reach the goal.

I think, in order for Linux to really break through here, they probably need to have teams of actual designers rather than have the coders do most of the design themselves. They also probably need to "think different" and come up with their own usability/interface ideas, rather than keep mimicking Apple's (which Gnome seems to frequently do, if discussions on the developer email lists are any indication).

In any case this is a good thing, and I hope Linux continues to push forward thanks to this new investment.

Re:Are his millions enough? (5, Informative)

Aetuneo (1130295) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970645)

From the article itself: "... We are hiring designers, user experience champions and interaction design visionaries and challenging them to lead not only Canonical's distinctive projects but also to participate in GNOME, KDE and other upstream efforts to improve FLOSS (Free/Libre/Open Source Software) usability."

If I had millions... (2, Informative)

DotDotSlasher (675502) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970483)

while this is useful admirable-- if I had millions, I would consider setting up a program to pay a limited number of folks $100 for installing Linux on a desktop machine used 8+ hours a week and using it for a few months. A weekly (at least) intelligent posting to the forums would be required. You would have to apply for the program - show some of your writing on the internet (slashdot posts) as someone who really exists and can actually communicate.
Meanwhile, paid staff would facilitate a way to solve problems (watching forums, suggesting fixes, adding to a wiki) -- perhaps the organization could also offer bounties for FOSS developers to improve certain areas which are most annoying.
This guy is way ahead of me, I'm still waiting for the millions.

BSD is growing (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24970497)

Sorry, I couldn't help it:

It is official; Netcraft now confirms: *BSD is growing

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered Windows community when IDC confirmed that *BSD market share has risen yet again, now up to more than 30 percent of all servers. Coming on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that *BSD has gained more market share , this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. *BSD is sending other OSes into complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by topping the charts in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be a Daemon to predict *BSD's future. The hand writing is on the wall: *BSD faces a long and prosperous future. In fact there won't be any future at all for Windows Server because *BSD is growing. Things are looking very good for *BSD. As many of us are already aware, *BSD continues to gain market share. Red ink flows from Redmond like a river of blood.

FreeBSD is the most loved of them all, having gained 93% more core developers. The sudden and pleasant release of the long developed 5.0 only serves to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: FreeBSD is growing.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

OpenBSD leader Theo states that there are 70000 users of OpenBSD. How many users of NetBSD are there? Let's see. The number of OpenBSD versus NetBSD posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 70000/5 = 14000 NetBSD users. BSD/OS posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of NetBSD posts. Therefore there are about 7000 users of BSD/OS. A recent article put FreeBSD at about 80 percent of the *BSD market. Therefore there are (70000+14000+7000)*4 = 364000 FreeBSD users. This is consistent with the number of FreeBSD Usenet posts.

Due to the release of OSX, cool new technologies and so on, FreeBSD is expanding into more desktops than ever. FreeBSD has become more than the sum of its parts.

All major surveys show that *BSD has steadily gained in market share. *BSD is very powerful and its long term survival prospects are very bright. If Windows is to survive at all it will be among OS dilettante dabblers. *BSD continues to improve. The progress achieved is nothing short of a miracle. For all practical purposes, *BSD is alive and kicking.

Fact: *BSD will kick your ass

Much Cheaper Solution! (0)

crhylove (205956) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970543)

Though his money is undoubtedly helping, I think Ubuntu would become much more popular, much faster, if it would lose the hideous orange and brown color scheme.

http://brainstorm.ubuntu.com/idea/12326/ [ubuntu.com]

Simple start (2, Insightful)

loconet (415875) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970563)

X? OpenGL? really? Will some of the simpler more annoying stuff that is broken right now be addressed as well? How about we start with some simple stuff like getting Flash with audio not crash Firefox 98% of the time. I don't care that you can fix that by installing Flash 10 beta, or some extra library, the fact is that it does not work out of the box. Not only that, the fix (as explained by the hundreds of other users who had the problem) involves jumping to the command line and apt-get'ing a new version of flash after installing a new unsupported apt source. For me, it's fine, I can deal with it but the general public will not want to jump through those hoops. It is very hard to spread Linux adoption when this is one of the very first things users experience. They will not care that the problem might be on Adobe's end or Mozilla's or some obscure repo. The fact is, the browser shipped with the OS crashes. This makes it all look unpolished, unfinished. A house with squeaky floors. I hope that money is also being used to eliminate these basic problems at whatever the root cause may be. .. and yes bugs have been filed!

Re:Simple start (4, Insightful)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970781)

Thats right.
Ubuntu works fine.
Firefox works fine.
Gnome/X works fine.
Compiz works fine.
Pretty much every app works fine.
Bugs are addressed quickly on ubuntu's website.
ADOBE makes a crap version of Flash for Linux.

It's Ubuntu's fault Flash crashes. Nuh-huh

Try: The proprietary software dealer.

Re:Simple start (2, Interesting)

bendodge (998616) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970869)

Does this Flash problem everyone gripes about exist in only in GNOME or something? I am using Kubuntu 8.04 KDE 4.1 and Flash seems to work just as well as in XP.

"Might" is right (1)

jmerlin (1010641) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970641)

Don't forget that OSX is developed for a small subset of all available hardware. End users installing linux will likely have wildly varying hardware configurations making the process of providing an equal experience to all users incredibly more complex than such a task would be in Apple's situation.

+10 internets... (1)

kuzb (724081) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970689)

...for not calling this the year of the linux desktop.

Why do people go on about how great Mac OSX is? (-1, Troll)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970713)

It's *not* that great. It's slow, crashy and overcomplicated. It's got an ugly, messy desktop environment and it doesn't come with any decent usable software. It's got this weird browser that doesn't render stuff, doesn't have AdBlock and which usually gets replaced with Firefox. It can't play back most videos or music files without expensive shareware. It doesn't even have a usable text editor!

It's utter crap. Ubuntu is already better than Mac OSX. Please don't try to make another crappy OSX Aqua-looky-likey clone thing.

Re:Why do people go on about how great Mac OSX is? (4, Informative)

Yosho (135835) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970893)

It's slow, crashy and overcomplicated.

Your first two arguments are unprovable flamebait, and the last is a matter of opinion. There are lots of people who think it's fast, stable, and just complicated enough.

It's got an ugly, messy desktop environment and it doesn't come with any decent usable software.

Again, the first is a matter of opinion, and I would think you could at least realize that you're in the minority. Lots of people think the desktop is pretty and well-organized. The last is, again, flamebait. It may not come with as much as your typical Linux distribution, but Safari, Pages, Mail, iTunes, Xcode, DVD Player, and the various iLife apps, among others, are far from unusuable or indecent. And, despite the fact that it doesn't come with as much as your typical Linux distribution, there are many thousands of free and open source programs that you can install.

It's got this weird browser that doesn't render stuff, doesn't have AdBlock and which usually gets replaced with Firefox.

"Doesn't render stuff" is, again, unproveable flamebait. Safari does just fine in rendering tests. You're also showing off your ignorance, as it does have AdBlock [sourceforge.net] . Come on, that's the first link in Google.

It can't play back most videos or music files without expensive shareware.

This is just wrong [videolan.org] and uninformed [perian.org] . Those are just examples off the top of my head that I like, there are plenty of other free and open source players out there.

It doesn't even have a usable text editor!

What about TextEdit and Pages is not usable?

If those are too flashy for you, just install vim or emacs. They work fine.

It's utter crap. Ubuntu is already better than Mac OSX. Please don't try to make another crappy OSX Aqua-looky-likey clone thing.

You clearly do not even know what you're talking about. Please spend some time using OS X or at least do a bit of research before you try to troll again.

Re:Why do people go on about how great Mac OSX is? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970975)

Never had a crash here in several years of use.. On similar hardware its as snappy as KDE.

Ever hear of VLC? Plays every media file ive ever tossed at it, and its not 'expensive shareware'.

Care to try again?

Please tell me... (1)

427_ci_505 (1009677) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970725)

Where does Mark Shuttleworth get all his money from, and why is he trying so hard?

I'm genuinely curious, since this is making my 'trust no one' sense tingle.

Re:Please tell me... (2, Informative)

knewter (62953) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970901)

This is easy to answer - he sold Thawte for $575 million.

Do you not have the internets where you are? Wikipedia, geezus.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970797)

Kudos to Cannonical for this move. Serious kudos indeed. That being said, I really hate reading Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols's blog posts.

I also disagree with Shuttleworth saying that OS X hands down provides the best experience. I haven't used it recently, but I have never been blown away by OS X. It does things well, but I don't see a massive usability revolution.

Please correct me if I'm wrong. Point to specific things the interface does well. Maybe the FOSS world will pay attention. But I'm just not seeing it.

The KDE interface is the best I've seen (though it certainly isn't perfect either).

Mark Shuttleworth is... (4, Interesting)

Brain Damaged Bogan (1006835) | more than 5 years ago | (#24970889)

the uberGeek. We should all aspire to be like that guy, he's worth millions but he chooses to give back to the community by paying for FOSS development out of his own pocket. Sure, Canonical is a business and I'm sure the publicity and improvements he's paying for will help get some more license fees, but the geek points he's scoring are worth so much more

**Geek points not redeemable for any cash value.

fags (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24970933)

you ever notice that all the males on the family guy have a chin that looks like a nutsack? i think it's because fags often like to think about nutsacks on their chins. that's why it's so popular with nerds too. star wars fans also dig it for the same reason.

i bet if you made tux's chin look like a nutsack the rest of the fags would join the linsux movement too.
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