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Matt Asay Answers Your Questions About Ubuntu and Canonical

kdawson posted more than 3 years ago | from the towards-world-domination dept.

Ubuntu 244

A couple of weeks ago you posed some questions for Matt Asay, who recently moved into the COO role at Canonical. Click below to read his answers.
Adoption stories and influences
by eldavojohn (898314)"Every so often I see an adoption story about so-and-so taking up some open source solution and sometimes I think 'Wow, French government? Now it's really going to take off. This is it. It's time.' And then I wait. And wait. Are these stories at all positive for the project? I mean, you would think with states and governments using Ubuntu or Red Hat that it would catch on like wildfire if the savings are there so why isn't that happening? I know Microsoft sends out a lot of Wormtongues to stick in the ears of important people. Do you plan on targeting governments in a similar manner? Does/will Canonical work on making a presence in things like the EU Commissions where we've seen corporations collecting members in their pockets?"
Matt: No, we have no plans to turn Wormtongue. We do, however, have aspirations to play Frodo. :-)

Ultimately, governments (good ones, anyway) are established to reflect the voice of their citizens. At Canonical, we believe that real, lasting change happens from the bottom up, as citizens within government and IT and those served by it clamor for change. We try to help this along by working with government organizations, including open source-friendly lobbying groups, to promote free markets and expanded choice through free and open-source software, but I personally believe that individuals will make the difference.

Change can be expensive, whether in terms of cost or bother, and so as individuals or organizations we generally try to avoid it. But people are now starting to feel enough pain - be it software costs, inefficient use of hardware, viruses and other malware, etc. - that Linux and open-source software, generally, are getting plenty of attention. The cure, in other words, now outweighs the effort of applying it. Yes, Microsoft will do its part to thwart this progress,but even so I've seen broad and ever-increasing government adoption of open source. It's just that most of it doesn't get reported.

Don't lose heart and, in particular, don't lose "voice." We're being heard. The worst thing we could do is to slacken our pace now.

Revenue
by Enderandrew (866215)"Shuttleworth is still funding Canonical. At some point however, this needs to turn into a profitable venture to endure. How does Canonical create lasting revenue streams, and will those decisions come at the cost of usability and freedom in the distro, such as the recent decision to use Yahoo search (powered by Bing) as the default)?"
Matt: First off, it's critical to understand that Canonical doesn't make decisions at the cost of usability. Ever. Usability is our cardinal virtue.

The Yahoo! deal is not at the cost of usability. Yahoo! is an excellent and wildly popular search engine with many many millions of users. We are very pleased to have reached an agreement that will pump additional revenue into the community compared to the existing default. For those worried about Microsoft's involvement with Yahoo!, it is trivially easy to switch to Google or other alternatives.

We will make more commercial for-pay services available to our users, but we will never make then a requirement to have a full experience of the Ubuntu desktop. If you don't like them don't buy them and nothing will make you need to.

We have very healthy revenue coming from our various businesses, the most visible of which is providing support for our OEM partners like Dell as they roll Ubuntu-based devices globally. Less visible, but also fast growing, include our enterprise business (providing support and other services for Ubuntu in cloud and traditional server deployments) and our Ubuntu One services for Ubuntu client users.

I like to think of our guiding principle as "make money because of the Ubuntu community, not from it." At the scale where we operate, all sorts of financial opportunities become possible, opportunities that don't require us to hold back Ubuntu bits to goad people into purchasing. As we roll new services out, I hope you'll let us know how we're doing, and ensure we never sacrifice usability for financial gain.

Freedom, second?
by TheModelEskimo (968202) "Matt, you were intensely criticized by members of the Free Software community for your critical stance facing 'vague concepts' like software freedom and 'no vendor lock-in.' Reading your blog, it seems to me like you are still a fan of focusing on 'high quality software at a compelling price' rather than these other concepts. How will this position affect your work with Canonical and more specifically, its relationship with freedom-first software advocates?"
Matt: I've never considered myself at odds with the goals of freedom-first software advocates, though I sometimes disagree with the means and the timing. Some, for example, have criticized Canonical in the past for including non-free bits (codecs and such).

I'm not among that number, because I believe that if we ever want to see mainstream adoption of Linux, we need to provide solutions, preferably short-term, that map to users' requirements. How likely is it that the mainstream could adopt a Linux desktop, for example, that doesn't offer support for Flash so that people can watch YouTube videos, as just one example?

It's easy to demand that everyone be like us, right now. But that, to me, is the antithesis of freedom. I'm not interesting in forcing people to make a choice. That's no choice at all. I believe the best way is to consistently offer a better experience, and invite prospective users to try it.

Here's a personal example. In my new role, I have switched from using Mac OS X to Ubuntu Linux. I've been using a Mac since 2002 when I switched off Windows. This switch would have been painful but for the fact that Firefox runs so well on Linux, and gives me access to a range of online services (like Google Calendar) that I was using before on the Mac. It would have been doubly so if I couldn't keep using Tweetdeck and other software to which I'd grown accustomed on my Mac.

Over time, I'm sure I'll migrate to open-source alternatives, for the same reason I used Adium, not iChat, on my Mac: the open-source alternatives are often the best available.

But to force-feed "freedom" on me or anyone else is a foolish, losing proposition. Especially in the short term.

I believe that Canonical and the Ubuntu community are creating software that people will want to use, not that they have to use. In the three weeks I've been with Canonical, I've used my Mac exactly once (still moving music out of old, DRM-encrusted iTunes songs). I haven't missed it.

Your version of their vision
by eldavojohn (898314) "Late last year, you heralded some moves by Shuttleworth and you said:

This, I believe, is an opportunity for Canonical to tighten its focus. While Shuttleworth suggests that Silber's appointment 'doesn't mark a change of direction,' perhaps it should. With over 300 employees and products that span mobile, Netbooks and other personal computers, cloud computing, enterprise servers, and more, Canonical has its fingers in a lot of pots.

As COO, what are you going to do to improve the products you highlighted above? I'm not looking for a soft answer like 'I'm going to promote Ubuntu on netbooks' but more so an itemized list of measurable goals, with milestones, dates and areas of focus (for instance, power minded ARM distributions). Is there anything about their vision you intend to change or influence the most?"

Matt: I don't want to offend you with a "soft-ball" answer, but it would be inappropriate for me to provide the level of detail you request, in part because much of this information is confidential to Canonical and our partners, but also because a big part of our strategy is to undergird and rely upon the community to take Ubuntu into devices that we as a company cannot or choose not to cover.

That said, two things have impressed me in my three weeks with the company. First, there are, as you point out, a lot of things going on with the very real potential for inefficiency and lack of focus.

But two, the company is remarkably consistent in what it does choose to go after. In particular, we are relentlessly focused on improving the Linux user experience. Canonical, in conjunction with the Ubuntu community, builds the industry's best Linux distribution, one that even a (former) Mac user like myself can easily digest.

We intend to take this emphasis and expertise in user design into a wide array of devices, but importantly will continue to focus on those that require a general purpose operating system. The good news is that even despite the increasing diversity of devices, the world is actually converging on fewer platforms, not more.

For areas that require expertise or focus beyond ours, we encourage our community to take Ubuntu into such opportunities, and they have. You might be surprised to learn just how many of the devices out there are powered by Ubuntu, often without Canonical involved. I see this as very healthy. It's the only way to compete with much bigger competitors like Microsoft: beat them with a bigger community like Ubuntu.

This isn't to say that we couldn't focus more. But that was already underway through Mark's and Jane's guidance. My job is to accentuate it and ensure that we stay on track.

Gaming and drivers
by HungryHobo (1314109) "I like Linux, I like programming on a Linux machine, I like learning on a Linux machine but I can't really game on a Linux machine and that's a big thing in the home PC market. What are the plans to induce game makers to port their games to Linux? What moves are being made to try to encourage graphics chip companies to create good drivers for Linux?"
Matt: You're asking the wrong man! My favorite game is Rogue, originally developed for Unix and still going strong in the guise of Qt NetHack and other variants. I'm easy to please, I guess.

As for the general gaming market, yes, gaming is a weakness on Linux, but addressing that is not a priority for Canonical. Games developers will make their decisions based on their market dynamics and those dynamics are pointing more and more towards dedicated consoles rather than the general PC market.

We work very hard with the Linux Foundation and others in the Linux community to encourage component manufacturers to either open source their drivers or make them available for Linux and with considerable success. This is not to enable gaming per so but to make Linux a peer experience on all machines.

Proprietary products
Enderandrew (866215) "You often praise proprietary, closed-source products on your blog (especially products from Apple and IBM). What is your stance on mixing proprietary and open products?"
Matt: Ubuntu is about choice. While we believe that an operating system is best developed with the source code openly available, that does not mean that the applications running on it need to be restricted to only those using the same development method. Our own users tell us, in large numbers, that they would like to see apps become available from the likes of Adobe and the games developers. On server the case is even more apparent where there are excellent proprietary applications that we would love to make available to Ubuntu users and we work to do that.

We can't boil the ocean. We want people to adopt Ubuntu Linux, and part of that requires us to support the applications that the mass market requires. Our focus is to continue to provide the industry's best Linux experience, and to make that Linux experience superior to any other platform. This process is well underway, and will encourage more and more application developers to port their software to Ubuntu.

Along the way, we hope that others will follow our lead and open source their software, but we intend to lead by example, not force-feed the industry. Google, for example, is arguably putting more pressure on Microsoft's closed-source approach than any amount of lobbying ever has or will. You can argue that Google is only doing this out of self-interest, to which I reply, "Exactly." Once the industry recognizes its self-interest in open sourcing software, we'll have even more from which to choose.

I love great software, whatever its license. But I joined Canonical because I believe the open-source development model can create better software than closed alternatives, and I'm determined to prove that.

Enterprise versus desktop emphasis
by eldavojohn (898314) "You used to write a lot about desktop Linux distributions but now that you're COO of Canonical, the revenue comes most from enterprise support. Do you plan on trying to change that or maintain any value in pleasing the at home Ubuntu user? Your blog post talks about your kids achieving basic tasks with Ubuntu, will you still keep them in mind despite the fact your new employer doesn't see a dime from them? Any plans to make it more user friendly or make it more mainstream and less server room?"
Matt: Actually, the majority of Canonical's revenue does not derive from providing support to enterprises, though I of course hope and expect us to continue to grow that area of our business. Our revenue will be a mix of making Ubuntu available to everyone on a wide range of hardware, from selling services direct to users (e.g., Ubuntu One), enabling hardware manufacturers to deliver a solid, supported Ubuntu experience on a wide range of devices, and from selling support and other services to enterprise IT.

Our market opportunity derives from Ubuntu's global user community, but it's a matter of making money with or around that community, not from it. All sorts of business opportunities are possible once a platform becomes ubiquitous, which business opportunities don't depend on charging users for the right to use that platform. That's a 20th-century model that we eschew.

So, yes, you'll see Canonical putting a great deal of effort into making the Linux experience even more user friendly: the more users, the better our revenue opportunities from ancillary services. It's in our interest to have millions upon millions of people happily running Ubuntu, and our unwavering focus is on improving the usability and design of Ubuntu to ensure that they do just that.

Ubuntu and KDE and GNOME
by Enderandrew (866215) "I loathe Gnome personally but don't begrudge people the freedom of choice. However, with Ubuntu becoming almost synonymous with Linux, do they have a responsibility to try and put out a quality KDE desktop along with a quality Gnome desktop?"
Matt: I'm new to the Ubuntu party, but I believe we already do this with Kubuntu. No?

Ubuntu and KDE and GNOME (cont.)
by Anonymous Coward "More importantly, we see GNOME falling further and further behind KDE. We need to know exactly when Matt will be pushing for GNOME to be deprecated in favor of KDE (or even XFCE). He really doesn't have a choice; GNOME needs to go, and it needs to go very soon. We're seeing the GNOME community fragmenting, and quite badly. Some people still advocate using C, others are saying that Mono is the way to go. And yet others are pushing for Vala. Frankly, the internal strife will tear the GNOME project apart, much like happened to XFree86. I, for one, sure hope that Ubuntu has moved away from GNOME far before then."
by Enderandrew (866215) "I think Ubuntu is actively hurting the KDE community by giving it a bad name. When Canonical works on new features for each Ubuntu release, they work independently of the Kubuntu team. Kubuntu is constantly trying to play catch-up on base issues. Even worse, they [Ubuntu] put out unstable, buggy, and sometimes flat-out broken KDE packages. Almost every I've talked to that has had really bad experiences with KDE complain about bugs and constant crashes they had when testing KDE packages from Ubuntu. Read KDE forums, mailing lists, etc. You'll see some serious hate and vitriol from users who blame KDE devs... They don't realize it is their distro that is causing their problems. I've seen several KDE devs walk away and stop contributing because of all the hate they're getting. If Ubuntu wasn't putting out broken packages, it would remove a lot of this backlash. That is not to say that 100% of KDE backlash is Ubuntu-created. ... But Ubuntu certainly hasn't done KDE any favors the past two years with the packages they've put out."
Matt: I remember my first taste of the KDE/Gnome divide when I was involved in the Linux Business Office at Novell. It was fractious then and, judging from your "question," it remains so. I don't want to add to this rancorous debate, but do hope you'll continue to talk actively and openly with Canonical and the Ubuntu community to ensure your views are heard and the Ubuntu distribution remains one that you will enjoy using.

Quality control
by davidm2005 (1453017) "I have been using Ubuntu as a software developer for the past several years. I have been extremely disappointed with the most recent release of Ubuntu, 9.10, as it has been extremely buggy and seems like a step backwards. The conclusion of this review also expresses a lot of my thoughts about Ubuntu 9.10. I had so many problems in using 9.10, that did NOT exist in 9.04, that I switched one of the two computers I use at work to Windows 7, for stability (yes, these are crazy days). Do you have any plans to increase quality control in Ubuntu, even if it comes at the cost of delaying the every-six-month release schedule?"
Matt: We are not complacent about bugs or quality. Far from it. In fact, I've been surprised by the level of attention it gets within the company.

You can criticize Canonical and Ubuntu for many things, but the work of the engineers and community in making an incredible operating system for servers and desktops on a huge array of hardware available for free to all is not one of them.

Every release of Ubuntu gets more users and is used on a wider choice of hardware. This creates complexity. Making an operating system entirely independent of the hardware that it is run on is hard and it's harder again when you are trying to push the performance of that product with each release.

As for Ubuntu 9.10, I've heard people call it a buggy release but that has not been my personal experience, and it's an accusation that the data do not support. Yes, we're constantly trying to improve, as Canonical CTO Matt Zimmerman calls out. But I look at this as a very good problem to have.

Why?

Because it's a symptom of a very positive thing: growth. There are more users using Ubuntu on more hardware than any previous release. Millions upon millions of users. Importantly, with our hardware partners we are providing certified, pre-installed, and supported Ubuntu on an ever-widening array of hardware. Dell's XPS 13 is just one awesome example.

For those who prefer to go off the beaten track and install Ubuntu on alternative hardware, as I did recently with a ThinkPad X200s, there may be some manual labor involved, just as there would be if you were running Windows or Mac OS X on unsupported hardware. In my personal experience, however, everything "just works." I've yet to have a single problem. Coming from a former Mac user (motto: two buttons are too hard - just give me one button on my mouse! :-), that's high praise.

Quality control (cont.)
by bcrowell (177657) I've been using ubuntu since edgy eft, and I'm really dismayed by the quality of jaunty and (especially) karmic. The biggest issue is that sound, which worked for me in edgy through intrepid, started working poorly in jaunty, and is now essentially completely broken for me in karmic. I've spent a lot of time surfing ubuntuforms.org, collecting information, trying to write useful and well documented bug reports, etc. But the upshot is that there have been major, major regressions in sound for me.
Matt: I'm sorry to hear that (no pun intended). But see my response above.

Is there a time to fork?
by nine-times (778537) "I've been thinking about the relative lack of success of Linux on the desktop lately. By 'relative lack of success' I don't mean to bash the quality of Linux, but only that it doesn't seem to be very widely used in spite of being pretty good for a lot of purposes. So first, to what do you attribute the relative lack of success, and what plans do you have, if any, to do something about it. It seems to me that a fair amount of the problem isn't the OS itself, but the associate applications. For example, lots of people have complained about GIMP for reasons ranging from lack of specific functionality to an unconventional UI, and even to the awkward connotations of the name 'GIMP.' Even having personally gotten some graphic designers to try the GIMP, I have yet to know any professional designers who find it adequate. I'd like to use Linux, but don't find I can come close replicating an equivalent workflow to what I have available using tools like Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, and Sound Forge. (those are the applications I'm personally stuck with, though I'm sure other people have other applications on their personal lists.)"
Matt: As to the relative lack of market share, it comes down to inertia. I didn't give the Linux desktop much attention until I joined Canonical. I had used it off and on over the years, but there was never a compelling reason to change.

Now that I've switched, I'm surprised by how much my ignorance of desktop Linux was coloring my opinion of it. I've been using it as my dedicated OS for three weeks, and have had only one (minor) reason to revisit my old Mac machine. I simply haven't missed it, and I thought that I would struggle.

Until someone has a compelling reason to shift, however, they're unlikely to discover this. For those picking up new machines, for example, a low-cost netbook, they won't have to overcome this inertia. Email, Internet, IM, etc. all work just as well on Linux as they do on Windows or the Mac. These are the applications we spend 99.9999% of our days in (most of us, anyway). As a result, I think we'll start to see barriers come down.

The irony in this is that these application incompatibility concerns are the exact same ones I had when I started using a Mac in 2002. Years later, application support on the Mac is much better, though still not at the same level as Windows. And yet 99 percent of the time it doesn't matter, just as it doesn't on Linux. As more applications move to the Web and as application developers improve their support for Linux (a trend I've noticed happening), it will matter even less.

In the interim, if you are happy to pay for and need these specific Windows-only applications then Windows is probably the right OS for you. Microsoft Office, however, is not a compelling reason to keep paying the Windows tax for many people. It's one of those applications that we think we use more than we actually do, and which OpenOffice (or Google Docs, if you wish) more than adequately handles.

We would love Creative Suite to be available for Linux but the open source or web-based alternatives are satisfactory for many users.

Mobile platform plans
by abhikhurana (325468) "What are Canonical's plans for mobile platforms? With Maemo, another Debian based distro, now available for smartphones, would Canonical also get involved with either that or maybe develop a completely new Distro? With the desktop Linux market being extremely small and server markets being dominated by Red Hat and Novell, mobiles probably are the sweet spot for Canonical, with its strong focus on usability. Additionally, the lack of standardization means that users are more willing to experiment with interfaces. So what is the relative priority of Mobile, Netbook, Desktop and Server platform in Canonical's roadmap?"
Matt: Mobile is a top priority for Canonical, especially as it looks less and less like the traditional embedded market and more and more like a general-purpose OS market. That's our sweet spot, and given our concern for and expertise in user interface design, we will be leaders in this market.

We will do a lot of work on ARM and Intel platforms this year that will see Ubuntu popping up all over the the computing landscape. Ubuntu is a platform: it is not a desktop product or a server product or a mobile product. So where there is a requirement for an OS you will find Ubuntu. You'd be surprised by the kinds of devices you already own that run Ubuntu today.

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This was good (2, Interesting)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#31334262)

Despite the occasional snobbish answer, this was a good Q and A. Thanks Slashdot! You guys aren't just Microsoft bashing and astro turfing after all!

Re:This was good (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 3 years ago | (#31334316)

Nothing too surprising, though the console remark with regards to gaming made me chuckle. I agree, but there are a lot of people working very hard to avoid dealing with that reality.

Re:This was good (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31334404)

And it will never be reality. There's a lot of people who prefer to play with PC. I do too, although I do own all PS3, Wii and 360. They're nice to play with friends or while on sofa. But otherwise I rather play on computer, especially strategy and first person shooter games. Then theres also the added benefit of mods, freeware, shareware and indie games. PC is and will stay strong on gaming and Linux developers should really work towards bringing it there too.

Re:This was good (1)

geordie_loz (624942) | more than 3 years ago | (#31334680)

Yup. I gave up PC based gaming a long time ago. Each flashy new game release seems to require a very expensive upgrade of hardware too.. With consoles the hardware is fixed, guaranteed (more or less) to be identical for a given console, and therefore the experience will be much the same for each user, and game developers are forced to push the hardware rather than upping the specs.

Re:This was good (3, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#31336014)

With consoles the hardware is fixed

With consoles, the market is also fixed, against indies. Sony and Nintendo have erected substantial entry barriers against a company publishing its first title on their consoles, even on PSN or Wii Shop/DSi Shop.

Re:This was good (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 3 years ago | (#31336314)

Fortunately, indies are the only gaming worth doing on the PC. That and emulation.

Re:This was good (3, Informative)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 3 years ago | (#31336092)

You gave it up long enough ago that you weren't around for most modern games being designed with Xbox360/PS3 specs in mind anyway, thus ensuring that any graphics card bought in the lifetime of those systems will cover every game out there sans Crysis.

The last graphics card I bought was two and a half years ago, and it sill plays every new game at a solid 60fps with everything turned on high. This is one advantage to having consoles being powerful. It doesn't make pc gaming a constant horse race as it was in the early 2000's.

Re:This was good (4, Interesting)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335272)

Ironically, the Xbox was the thing that made me able to finally switch to Linux completely. Why bother running Windows for gaming when all the good games are for consoles anyway?

Re:This was good (1)

Bigbutt (65939) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335492)

I'm just about there myself. And with the flaky hardware (I'm looking at you ATI), I can't get a decent game running for long anyway.

[John]

Re:This was good (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 3 years ago | (#31336042)

The only problem with that is that not all the good games are on consoles.

Re:This was good (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31334660)

Agree, not bad but there was a propitious amount of weasely marketing speak in there.

We are not complacent about bugs or quality. Far from it. In fact, I've been surprised by the level of attention it gets within the company.
WTF? Better not be surprised, this is supposed to be what separates you guys from the borg. Seriously.
Btw, who doesn't remember the nasty scheduler problem when Hardy was released? Or the Pulseaudio problems? They were legendary and there's a ton of open launchpad issues still open.

The KDE/Gnome issue is big, especially with QT going LGPL from pure commercial. The response was as non-commital as it gets. But perhaps that's because they don't know where they're going either.

But hey I'm not complaining really. I use Ubuntu everyday, it's free and works well. They've done a great job and I for one couldn't imagine going back to the hell that is Windows.

Icon! (4, Interesting)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 3 years ago | (#31334284)

An Ubuntu topic icon!

The freedom part sounded like: (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31334416)

But RMS's ideals forced on someone else, even if it is
    something like software freedom, is still a rule; not anarchy. This
    contradiction was becoming clear to me in the fall of 2005. Even as
    early as my first lan party, "Why did I love to code?" I framed it,
    but still, I dont understand it. It goes against my beliefs as a
    true software anarchist. But there it was. Computation, processing
    monolithic kernels, compiled binaries, THE SYSTEM. That's what we did. Its what
    we always did. C coders kicked the shit out of C++, C++ kicked
    the shit out of Python, Python kicked the shit out of Perl,
    Perl took out the PHP guys, and thePHP guys
    beat the living shit out of Ruby fags and the Ruby fags did
    nothing. They were like the new HTMLers. What was the point? Final summation? None.

Re:The freedom part sounded like: (4, Insightful)

Verdatum (1257828) | more than 3 years ago | (#31334592)

What an odd poem...

Re:The freedom part sounded like: (1)

Anamelech (821849) | more than 3 years ago | (#31334668)

An SLC Punk reference. Bravo, good sir.

Ubuntu needs two things added. (-1, Flamebait)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#31334514)

Binary drivers are a fact of life if you want a 3d video card with any real performance. Even a 6 year old Nvidia card outperforms the latest and greatest from intel. I understand the reasoning behind not including the drivers, but not including a icon on the desktop that is a "click here to download, install and enable the nvidia non free closed source evil drivers." is a must have. Either that or include a linux guru with every download so grandma sprinkles can install it herself.

Also the mediabuntu repository while easy for us that are familiar with ubuntu to reinstall at every release are near impossible for a newbie to install.. Again a icon that states," click here for media drivers if you are in a country that is not opressive and looks at such an act as illegal"

If ubuntu was able to come with nvidia, ati, and mediabuntu installed it would be very much grandma ready out of the box. They really need to find ways around those issues to get more newbie users and non techie users.

Re:Ubuntu needs two things added. (1)

Verdatum (1257828) | more than 3 years ago | (#31334618)

which would be great for trash-talking in LAN parties. "Aww snap! My GRANDMA'S box is better than yours! She runs Ubuntu!"

Re:Ubuntu needs two things added. (4, Informative)

bflong (107195) | more than 3 years ago | (#31334620)

I don't think you've used Ubuntu in a long time. The hardware manager pops up on first boot and gives you the option to install proprietary drivers for devices it's found on your system (like Nvidia/AMD cards). Also, the first time you try to use a media player you get the option to install proprietary codecs. This has worked for at least the last couple of years.

Re:Ubuntu needs two things added. (0)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#31334850)

I did a fresh install of 9.10 was done this weekend on a spare PC and I NEVER saw that popup on first boot.

As to using media player the first time, very cool that they did that, but I knew that Ubuntu had no mp3 capabilities so I needed to go hunting for mediabuntu and install it.

Re:Ubuntu needs two things added. (0)

aBaldrich (1692238) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335524)

The same happened to me, as a complete novice I had to spend many hours to do a manual installation of the nVidia driver. If I wasn't so enthusiastic about linux I would have returned to windows in no time. That's a bad thing (tm).

Re:Ubuntu needs two things added. (3, Insightful)

badpazzword (991691) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335946)

That's because you shouldn't have done a manual installation in the first place!

System > Administration > Hardware drivers

Re:Ubuntu needs two things added. (1)

frodo from middle ea (602941) | more than 3 years ago | (#31336332)

Maybe there are no binary drivers available for your hardware.
Nvidia and ATI (AMD) both drop support for older hardware in their new releases, after that the only choice you have is either stick with a older kernel that can use the older Nvidia/AMD binary drivers, so use latest kernel but then you have to use the OSS drivers, as the lastest binary drivers may not support your older hardware.

A question from an ignoramus (1)

jwietelmann (1220240) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335092)

I haven't been a regular Linux or Ubuntu user for a few years now. What happens if I change my hardware configuration after I've already installed Ubuntu? My past experience was that while most Linux distros were quite good at detecting hardware during their initial install, almost none of them would give me any sort of help after the fact. Introducing new hardware was an unnecessarily major pain; I knew Linux was capable of detecting it, but no one had bothered to think beyond the first-install scenario.

Is this better now? (Or was there always a solution to this that I wasn't aware of?)

Re:A question from an ignoramus (2, Interesting)

jockeys (753885) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335516)

I recently had the same problem with Kubuntu. Was giving it a shot, had a soundcard burn out, swapped it for a very similar (but slightly different) SoundBlaster.

after hours of reading forum posts and trying to configure it via command line I gave up and reinstalled Kubuntu... which solved the problem.
I'm back on Windows7 now, because I think it's fucking retarded to have to reinstall the whole OS just to make a new soundcard function.

Re:A question from an ignoramus (1)

fader (107759) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335550)

What happens if I change my hardware configuration after I've already installed Ubuntu?

The same utility [launchpad.net] detects the change and if a proprietary driver is available offers do download it for you. Incidentally, it does the same thing if a new driver is detected (e.g. nVidia updates their driver).

Re:A question from an ignoramus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31335618)

Not sure how long ago you tried this, but I have not had any major issues with exchanging hardware components since ~2003-2005.

Re:A question from an ignoramus (1)

clarkn0va (807617) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335682)

I've always considered this to be one of Linux's strengths. I have many times taken a hard drive from a working computer, dropped it into another box with all different hardware, and fired it up with only a couple minor issues: if you want a proprietary driver on the new box (such as a video card driver), but weren't using it on the old one, then you'll have to add that manually. The primary ethernet interface will have a new name (eth1 instead of eth0, for example), but other than that, it's pretty much plug and play. I assumed all Linux distros were similar due to most drivers being present as modules that load on demand.

Re:Ubuntu needs two things added. (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#31336156)

The hardware manager pops up on first boot and gives you the option to install proprietary drivers for devices it's found on your system (like Nvidia/AMD cards). Also, the first time you try to use a media player you get the option to install proprietary codecs. This has worked for at least the last couple of years.

The OEM system install has been the gold standard in the consumer market for thirty years. The buyer doesn't think "open or closed," he thinks "convenience, power and performance."

Ideally, something he can see demonstrated in-store.

Near the end of its last flirtation with Linux, Walmart.com was posting yellow-bordered banners to warn potential customers that Linux was not Windows. That may have solved some problems with returns, but it was scarcely a boost to sales.

Re:Ubuntu needs two things added. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 3 years ago | (#31334764)

I understand the reasoning behind not including the drivers, but not including a icon on the desktop that is a "click here to download, install and enable the nvidia non free closed source evil drivers." is a must have.

Wait, what? Doesn't Ubuntu do this already? ...I thought Ubuntu even enabled those drivers already.

Also the mediabuntu repository while easy for us that are familiar with ubuntu to reinstall at every release are near impossible for a newbie to install.

Really?

Open Terminal. Copy-and-paste from the website to the terminal. Enter password, press enter. Done.

Sure, it could be easier -- though I think Ubuntu tends to just put those in "multiverse" or something, and I wonder if medibuntu might be depricated by now.

Re:Ubuntu needs two things added. (3, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#31334894)

Open Terminal. Copy-and-paste from the website to the terminal. Enter password, press enter. Done.

for you and me? yup easy.

for non Unix people... it's an EPIC fail. there is NO reason for them to copy paste and open a terminal. that can be written as a simple one click, enter password, done procedure. and it NEEDS to be.

Re:Ubuntu needs two things added. (1)

Fast Thick Pants (1081517) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335158)

Not to mention that encouraging novices to google, copy and paste random shell code, and grant it root access is a security nightmare.

(I mean SURE we've all done it, but the more common this gets, the more it'll be used for malicious purposes.)

System > Admin > Hardware Drivers (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335170)

Ubuntu users don't need to use the terminal. From the System menu choose Administration > Hardware Drivers. (I use Ubuntu 8.04 LTS here at work; newer versions might have since changed the name.)

Re:Ubuntu needs two things added. (1)

etrnl (65328) | more than 3 years ago | (#31334840)

Considering that there's a popup to install proprietary drivers like nvidia if your system detects it (and a few clicks to get it running), it's really much less of an issue than you're making it.

That said, isn't Lucid switching to Noveau by default?

Re:Ubuntu needs two things added. (1)

MostAwesomeDude (980382) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335676)

Binary drivers aren't a fact of life for chipsets not supported by them. Six-year-old cards, sure. Eight-year-old cards, maybe not. AMD/ATI recently decided to drop support for r500 and older (anything older than Radeon HD 2000) from their Linux binary driver, and deferred completely to the open-source team. nVidia doesn't support their entire lineup, either; I'm told that for stuff like TNT2 and the first GeForces, the nouveau project's drivers are beating the crap out of the ancient legacy nvidia blobs.

9.10 is buggy imo (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 3 years ago | (#31334624)

My desktop has had the same hardware since I've been using 6.06, I feel I've had more struggles getting 9.10 set up. In the end I think it's fine and sorting it out wasn't rocket science but it wasn't as smooth as the previous release. Audio has been the biggest issue.

Re:9.10 is buggy imo (1)

lgarner (694957) | more than 3 years ago | (#31334892)

9.10 is exceptionally crash-prone. From what I've been able to gather it's related to the Intel graphics. Since it's now March, I'll hang on and give Ubuntu another chance with 10.04 before switching. 8.10 worked fine, I just updated for a slightly more stable Evolution client.

And not the fault of exotic hardware (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335530)

I agree that stability of Ubuntu has gone downhill. I have given up using Ubuntu on my desktop for that reason, and it is not exotic hardware - it is a Dell which came with Ubunutu preinstalled on it!

The two biggest problems are the Intel graphics drivers and Pulse Audio. Keith Packard and others have been using the Intel drivers as a proving ground for some much needed re-architecting of the Xorg driver framework. This is important work, but it also means that using the latest and greatest versions of those drivers, like Ubuntu does, is a bad idea. Pulse Audio is buggy as shit. I'm not convinced that it is a good idea at all, but at the very least it should not be considered stable enough for mainstream use.

Ubuntu is quickly changing from a mainstream user-friendly distro to a bleeding edge distro, because they cannot resist the urge to include new features. They look at how these features would improve usability if they worked, but neglect the frustration caused by their instability. Even long term support releases have this problem.

Re:9.10 is buggy imo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31335536)

If you are using the same computer since 6.06, that might be an issue unto itself, in part. Off brand and "special deal" low end pre-built computers have all kinds of goofy cheap hardware with enough soft drivers to make one wonder how the computer even turns on. I can hardly imagine anyone wanting to hack together a soft driver for a crappy piece of hardware. It would be so much more work for that developer than to just buy better hardware.
 
It is one thing to write a driver for something like audigy pro, or other real sound card, and another thing to write a driver for a wire, 2 magnets, and a plastic cone.

Re:9.10 is buggy imo (2, Informative)

micheas (231635) | more than 3 years ago | (#31336390)

If you are using the same computer since 6.06, that might be an issue unto itself, in part. Off brand and "special deal" low end pre-built computers have all kinds of goofy cheap hardware with enough soft drivers to make one wonder how the computer even turns on. I can hardly imagine anyone wanting to hack together a soft driver for a crappy piece of hardware. It would be so much more work for that developer than to just buy better hardware. It is one thing to write a driver for something like audigy pro, or other real sound card, and another thing to write a driver for a wire, 2 magnets, and a plastic cone.

The problem that linux (and windows and freebsd) has with specific hardware is not the cheap nature of it, as the os can emulate it in software, the problem is that some low, and high end lie about what they can and cannot do so you have to know that if hardware id = X know that it lies about being able to perform Y.

Linux seems to do better about blacklisting devices do to it's larger number of bug testers. But one computer that windows was crashing on every five hours or so I installed linux on it and the boot screen showed lots of messages about hardware features being disabled because the hardware was known to perform out of spec, so linux was more stable than windows on that machine. I will leave others figure out who's fault it is that windows would not work reliably on the machine.

Don't worry. Be happy. (1)

fyoder (857358) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335876)

It seems to be buggy in the opinion of a lot of people, but according to cannonical it isn't, so quit yer bitchin.

I reverted to 9.04 because of vid issues, but even in 9.04 I can't get the microphone input on my audigy 2 to work. Seriously thinking of setting up a Windows machine for audio stuff, as regressive as that would feel. I've been using Linux for about 10 years now, and the novelty of screwing around to get stuff working wore off quite some time ago.

For day to day stuff though, I would never go back to using Windows routinely. Never, never, never. When I do have to use a Windows machine for any extended period, it makes me feel so sad that I have to uncheck boxes to show me stuff it thinks it should hide, like file extensions. It's such a horrible OS in so many ways, but it has hardware support like Linux will never have, especially when a major distro like Ubuntu says "You think there are problems? There are no problems. Don't worry. Be happy."

Re:9.10 is buggy imo (3, Informative)

nextekcarl (1402899) | more than 3 years ago | (#31336116)

I've had the same hardware since 8.04 (now using 9.10) and I've had almost no problems of any sort, with one exception. Since most of my work in web based I tend to have firefox open continually, and after a while (ranging from a few hours to a day or so) I will lose sound in flash (outside of flash it is fine) until I restart FF, which actually requires me to kill firefox since just closing it doesn't work at that point. Everything else seems to bee exceptionally stable for me (better than 9.04 actually). I wonder if these complaints come from a particular chipset? I used to have problems with sound pretty frequently years ago (with my older system) but I haven't had any (any that can't be traced back to flash anyway) sound based problems in a few years at least with Linux.

Re:9.10 is buggy imo (1)

dHagger (1192545) | more than 3 years ago | (#31336436)

I can only agree. Using the same hardware since 7.04, I've seen improvements up to about 8.04. After that, it has gone downhill. Audio has gone from "good" to "horrible" in three versions (I'm going to wait and see if 10.04 improves things, or I will install OSS 4 instead). Things like Notify OSD was rushed/pushed out before it was ready. Changing monitor settings in Gnome requires the applet to be launched with root privileges from run/console instead from the menu to be able to apply the changes, at least on the various 8.10/9.04 laptops I have seen/used. Last time i tried KUbuntu (I don't remember if it was 9.04 or 9.10) multi-monitor support was not working at all.

The answers from Matt gives me the feeling they aim for "quantity" instead of "quality". I don't care if Ubuntu supports some rare hardware if I have major problems listening to music using a default Ubuntu install on some really common desktop hardware. I don't care if the new and shiny feature that replaced the old and proven feature has some nice touches, if this new feature is so incomplete/unfinished that it breaks things (like Notify OSD placing notifications outside the visible areas in some configurations, and no options whatsoever to move them back inside).

He'd say mass (5, Informative)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 3 years ago | (#31334646)

From this interview: I've never considered myself at odds with the goals of freedom-first software advocates

And just last September he wrote that "Free software is dead. Long live open source [cnet.com] ", where he writes:

Free software makes for great headlines ("Miguel de Icaza is basically a traitor to the Free Software community"), but it is far too demanding, and of largely the wrong things, to capture mainstream interest. ... The path forward is open source, not free software. Sometimes that openness will mean embracing Microsoft in order to meet a customer's needs. ...Free software has lost.

Dude, that's you being at odds with the goals of the freedom-first advocates. You can embrace Microsoft all you like. Meanwhile, I'm busy working to minimise the patent and FUD harm they're doing to us. Canonical [swpat.org] have been helpful so far in campaigns against software patents. I hope there won't be a new "don't offend Microsoft" vibe that changes this.

Re:He'd say mass (-1, Troll)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#31334906)

Wow, well, done, you managed to take this quote:

Sometimes that openness will mean embracing Microsoft in order to meet a customer's needs.

and somehow extrapolate it to the point where you fear a 'new "don't offend Microsoft" vibe'. Well done! You've clearly demonstrated the utter crazy that seems to infuse the more rabid among "freedom-first software advocates"!

Shuttleworth called it like it is (3, Insightful)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335072)

Microsoft is FUDing, and Mark Shuttleworth called them on it [mybroadband.co.za] :

Microsoft is asking people to pay them for patents, but they won't say which ones. If a guy walks into a shop and says: "It's an unsafe neighbourhood, why don't you pay me 20 bucks and I'll make sure you're okay," that's illegal. It's racketeering.

To fix the patent situation, we need that kind of vocal support of executives. Will we get that support from Matt?

Re:He'd say mass (2, Interesting)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335082)

If you've regularly read him, he certainly isn't the biggest fan of Microsoft. His supposed "Open Road" column isn't about being open so much as it is about getting away from Microsoft.

I'm not a zealot who insists on 100% FOSS, and I have no problems mixing open with proprietary personally. When I asked Matt about it above, I suspected I knew how he'd answer. I figured it was a question however that others would want answered given his new role.

I assume he will have no qualms mixing proprietary products in his releases, and even offering closed products and services. (As a non-Ubuntu user, I believe Ubuntu One is currently closed-source, but I don't know for sure). However, I seriously doubt he will bend Ubuntu to Microsoft's whims. That doesn't seem to be his m.o.

Re:He'd say mass (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31335826)

I've been a big (K)Ubuntu fan, but this interview, along with recent experience with the poor quality of the KDE implementation, leaves me more than disappointed. "Usability" is Ubuntu's primary concern? Really? To come so far, only to have the hard work, aspirations, and idealism of all the thousands of people who have poured millions of hours into the FREE code that makes Ubuntu possible dismissed by an unprincipled nebbish is too much. So long Ubuntu, you'll be missed, but you've changed, and not for the better.

Too much denial (5, Insightful)

BetterSense (1398915) | more than 3 years ago | (#31334800)

He just brushed away the two very important issues of the Kubuntu Desktop and sound. Now, what he was doing there is is meeting a "your distro sucks" accusation with a "does not!" reply which is to some degree fair. However that doesn't change the apparently common opinion that the Kubuntu desktop is crap, and sound is just flat out broken. I like KDE because it has more features and looks better, but it's just too damn buggy so I had to switch back to gnome just so me and my wife could use the computer. And I have NEVER had sound work properly out of the Ubuntu box. It is downright embarassing. I don't know to what extent these problems are the fault of Ubuntu as opposed to KDE, or the fault of the Linux kernel using Pulse or what. I just know that the Kubuntu desktop is highly unpolished and the sound situation is dire. These things were addressed in the Q&A because they are important and the only answer we got is "It works fine for me".

Re:Too much denial (5, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335028)

However, you will note he openly admits in the other answers that he has been fairly ignorant of Linux since he hasn't been using it.

It seems he brushed off the questions because he honestly doesn't have answers for them. I have no problems with an honest answer, but I would have felt better if he said he'd look into these concerns himself. As perhaps the most visible blogger covering Open Source for years, and heading up a major project (that puts out Linux releases) I'm shocked how ignorant he was of Linux, and Ubuntu.

Re:Too much denial (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31335398)

It is not Kubuntu's fault that KDE only got barely usable again after the 4.3 release. I kept myself on the 8.04 LTS until karmic was out for 3 months, because KDE 4 just plain sucked before that. Even now they don't have everything ported to 4 yet or don't have all the old functionality back yet.

You might blame them for having KDE 4 as the default KDE version though. However, I personally had no difficulties at all, living with the LTS. It had my precious KDE 3 and everything else worked fine too. If you are the kind of person that installs a new version of Software X right on release day, well then you take at least half the blame for yourself.

Also, my two last Kubuntu version (8.04 LTS and 9.10) have no issues with sound whatsoever. I don't know if I am in the minority or you are, but Kubuntu is definitely not a 100% guarantee for broken sound :)

Re:Too much denial (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335486)

I think any distro that switched to KDE4 too quickly bears blame. If they wanted to make KDE4 available, they should have made it an option, not a requirement, and kept KDE3.5 as the default since it's so mature and reliable. Yes, it's more work, but they should never have released a distro with KDE4 (pre 4.3) as "ready for prime time", because it simply wasn't. Part of the blame also goes to the KDE folks here, for pushing out KDE4 way too quickly.

Re:Too much denial (1)

INT_QRK (1043164) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335582)

Since it is a simple matter to download KDE and configure Ubuntu for the choice to select KDE or Gnome at the start screen, that is exactly what I always do. That said, I always end up defaulting to back to the Gnome desktop. I'm not sure what the major gripe against Gnome is, but having gotten used to it for a number of years, I find it fast and stable, and it's grown on me. I'm glad to have a choice. So, what is the problem, exactly? BTW I remember having problems back in 2005 (-ish?) with sound and other driver related issues, but I've found no problems for the longest time. When I last messed with Kubuntu, even, everything worked fine. Not taking exception BetterSense's post, just needed a convenient place to attach this observation.

Re:Too much denial (1)

bmcage (785177) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335638)

Personally, 9.10 Kubuntu almost fixed all of my KDE issues.

I am now hacking happily again. Was sticked with 8.04 for work and coding at home up to 9.10. Sure hope 10.04 will again be a step forward for Kubuntu, but as always, I'll try with the laptop of my wife first :-D

As to sound in linux, I listen some radio streams and they drop from time to time. My windows and Mac using collegues have the same problem though. Although their apps reconnect automatically after a while. On the other hand, with my sister I had to work twice for more than an hour to get sound out of skype on Vista... All these example proof nothing of course. I really don't know any people who use their PC for more than radio and managing their music collection for their mp3 player

To end, not saying anything about the Gnome/KDE divide might also mean Ubuntu is seriously thinking some things over. One has to agree that the KDE people cooked up a mobile interface on one hackathlon with Plasma/QML/Qt, while Ubuntu took a lot of time and moved to what was it again, E17? They can only build on that or Gnome if they do the work themself (Moblin is gone now). Using the vibrant KDE community _and_ companies behind it, must seem appealing.

Re:Too much denial (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335716)

And I have NEVER had sound work properly out of the Ubuntu box.

It's worked OK on my hardware, with built-in Intel HD Audio, but it does frequently give me some error message about having to fall back to PulseAudio.

It seems like the introduction of PulseAudio has caused a lot of problems from what I've seen. The whole audio system needs some major QA work and validation on a wide range of hardware.

Re:Too much denial (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31336440)

It seems like the introduction of PulseAudio has caused a lot of problems from what I've seen. The whole audio system needs some major QA work and validation on a wide range of hardware.

My fix (for sabayon, which also has sound trouble):
# chmod o-x /usr/bin/pulseaudio

No more trouble. Getting mixing working again is a simple matter of adding a few lines to my .asoundrc file.

Re:Too much denial (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335902)

If you read his reply:

Matt: I remember my first taste of the KDE/Gnome divide when I was involved in the Linux Business Office at Novell. It was fractious then and, judging from your "question," it remains so. I don't want to add to this rancorous debate, but do hope you'll continue to talk actively and openly with Canonical and the Ubuntu community to ensure your views are heard and the Ubuntu distribution remains one that you will enjoy using.

This is executive-ese for, "I don't give a shit, and we won't be doing anything to stop fucking KDE." Very similar to, "thank you for your input, I'll take it under advisement."

Re:Too much denial (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31336168)

A friend of mine tried KDE-4 with Arch Linux, and had the same experience. So apparently it is KDE-4 fault, not Ubuntu's. Everything I have read in the web points to the same direction.

Re:Too much denial (1)

nextekcarl (1402899) | more than 3 years ago | (#31336230)

I haven't used Kubuntu for a long time (I used to, when I first switched from Windows to Linux full time about 2004ish) but sound in Ubuntu has worked perfectly out of the box for me on 5 different systems (except for a recent intermittent problem with Flash that I mentioned in an earlier comment), but I also don't understand the Gnome hate many people have. When I switched to Gnome full time a couple of years ago (just to see what it was like since I hadn't used it at all in many years) and figured out what the differences were, KDE wasn't something I missed at all.

Fix Sound! (4, Insightful)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#31334814)

I like how he sort of blew off the sound question.
It has nothing to do with "supported hardware" it has to due to the Cluster Fuck [ggpht.com] that is Linux Audio.

I know OSS is about "choice" but there's just too many choices. And none of them work right. I'd consider myself a high level user and usually read a "How To" then understand the underlying system (such as how uBoot works on my Sheeva Plug), but I haven't in the slightest idea how the fuck linux audio works.

I can install OSSv4. And use those drivers with ALSA. Or use ALSA drivers while playing through Pulse Audio and telling all ALSA applications to go through Pulse Audio. And I don't even want to start to think about 'mapping' in ALSA.

If Canonical/Ubuntu fixes sound, it'll be one of those stories that we tell our grandchildren about.

Re:Fix Sound! (4, Informative)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#31334866)

Re:Fix Sound! (2, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335856)

Yet, gnash has working hardware acceleration. Do not listen to the whiner adobe has hired to make linux flash.

Re:Fix Sound! (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335030)

Wanna have more fun? Throw Jack into the mix.

I've seen grown men curl up and cry under a desk over Jack.

Re:Fix Sound! (2, Funny)

ebuck (585470) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335314)

That's because they don't know Jack.

Re:Fix Sound! (1)

sheph (955019) | more than 3 years ago | (#31336028)

Hehehehe, nice!!! I've used Jack for some time with fedora for quite some time, and it works well. I'm not sure that it's all that complicated as long as one knows how to read.

Re:Fix Sound! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31335450)

Why.. Jack is basically the only sane linux audio api out there! Sure, it deals with strange settings and parameters, but it is intended for people who are into real time audio, so knowing a little bit about digital audio is natural to the intended audience.

But regarding the general audio situation, things *will improve*.
OSS is pretty much gone already, so that need not confuse anyone.
Pulse audio will eventually replace ALSA as the primary audio API.. ..and ALSA will remain in it's role as a driver layer (which was always it's strength).

So, apps should talk to Jack or Pulse, who in turn will talk to ALSA which talks to the hardware.

Go have a look at the slides from the recent Linux Plumbers conference for more info.

Re:Fix Sound! (2, Informative)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335548)

OSS is pretty much gone already, so that need not confuse anyone.

Nope, OSS is back from the grave in the form of OSSv4. I believe it's currently being used in FreeBSD, and claims to clean up a lot of the problems with ALSA.

Re:Fix Sound! (2, Funny)

0racle (667029) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335038)

What's to understand? It doesn't work, seems simple enough.

Re:Fix Sound! (1)

pnutjam (523990) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335506)

I'm more concerned w/ multi-display support. On opensuse, I can dock my laptop, undock, plug in a projector or run dual-displays with no problem. On Ubuntu, it is painful to switch between displays with different resolution and plugging in a projector is a nightmare.

Re:Fix Sound! (1)

cuby (832037) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335768)

Right.
Pulseaudio has serious problems... I have trivial hardware and not even one, of the several apps I have, can record anything by default. S/PDIF out doesn't work. I have several users under one computer, sound only works in the first that logs in. Sound is a mess since the beginning and everyone knows that.
I think the acknowledge of problems would be a good thing, but he is an executive, what can we expect?

Re:Fix Sound! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31336144)

If Canonical/Ubuntu fixes sound? What sound is broken? Pulse Audio works very great IF you use good distribution. Ubuntu isn't one of those. Mandriva is still best distribution to basic users. Ubuntu is for nerds who want to jump away from windows because microsoft is baaaaaad.....

Re:Fix Sound! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31336334)

Well, I have a different history, pulseaudio has fixed all my audio problems. And there's no way Linux is going back to things like pure ALSA or OSS (to start with, users already depend on PA functionality that those systems can't offer. Also, PA tries to do what succesful desktop systems do, like OS X and Windows. BSDs/Solaris are not a good example of succesful desktops systems -> the main reason why OSS sucks). Of course, because it does things other systems didn't do, it causes problems (new versions of PA could have sound issues in kernel drivers that do not report db attenuation data correctly [pulseaudio.org] ).

You can blame PA of those problems as much as you want, but it's the one with the balls to try to fix the linux sound problem. And the fact is that with every PA/kernel release the whole systems works better, and the number of PA whinners becomes smaller and smaller.

What about wireless too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31336510)

I know everybody goes on about sound (and that's understandable), but what about wireless?

I know that none of the available wifi drivers or hacks to use the windows drivers worked at all, and I ended up running ethernet by following the cable TV run. Still wireless can be a big issue when people aren't willing to take that step or live in a rented place where they can't just go and drill holes in the wall. (If that's not an obstacle to being acceptable on the desktop for home use, then I'm not sure what is.)

Anyone ever get the word on that, or is that something that's been fixed since the last time I tried. (It's been a while, but then again my only fix was to run some wires.)

KDE (4, Informative)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 3 years ago | (#31334882)

I was disappointed with his response to the questions regarding Gnome & KDE. What I read in his response was 'We have Kubuntu. Please keep using it!'.

Ubuntu and KDE and GNOME by Enderandrew (866215) "I loathe Gnome personally but don't begrudge people the freedom of choice. However, with Ubuntu becoming almost synonymous with Linux, do they have a responsibility to try and put out a quality KDE desktop along with a quality Gnome desktop?" Matt: I'm new to the Ubuntu party, but I believe we already do this with Kubuntu. No?

Have you any idea what's going on in Kubuntu with Operation Timelord [kubuntu.org] ? That's as close as you can get to saying 'We're tired of Ubuntu is fucking us, so we're blowing this popstand and doing it right.'

Re:KDE (1)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335574)

I know it's bad form to reply to my own post, but the last paragraph SHOULD have read:

Have you any idea what's going on in Kubuntu with Operation Timelord [kubuntu.org] ? That's as close as you can get to saying 'We're tired of Ubuntu fucking us over. We're blowing this pop stand and doing it right.'

I blame a severe lack of sleep and a severe lack of good coffee.

Re:KDE (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#31336232)

Have you any idea what's going on in Kubuntu with Operation Timelord? That's as close as you can get to saying 'We're tired of Ubuntu is fucking us, so we're blowing this popstand and doing it right.'

Buh? As far as I can tell, "Operation Timelord" is as close as Kubuntu can get to admitting that they've fucked up in the past and need to fix some things. Every single one of the items they plan to tackle to improve the project addresses how *Kubuntu* is managed. Improving localization, changing how bugs are tracked, decided not to release shitty KDE packages... that's all work in Kubuntu's camp, and has nothing to do with core Ubuntu.

MS, Ubuntu, all the same marketing flak (4, Interesting)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 3 years ago | (#31334910)

Note the answers to quality question. Instead of answering (yeah, nah, whatever), this guy spews the same gross bullshit you hear from nameless corporations everywhere.

Did they chose the right guy here?

"Usability is our cardinal virtue." - Really? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31334964)

From the article:

Matt: First off, it's critical to understand that Canonical doesn't make decisions at the cost of usability. Ever. Usability is our cardinal virtue.

The Yahoo! deal is not at the cost of usability. Yahoo! is an excellent and wildly popular search engine with many many millions of users. We are very pleased to have reached an agreement that will pump additional revenue into the community compared to the existing default. For those worried about Microsoft's involvement with Yahoo!, it is trivially easy to switch to Google or other alternatives.

Really? So this means that Canonical is convinced that Yahoo is at least as good as Google, Bing, etc.

I'd be interested in seeing what studies support that conclusion because I couldn't find any. I could find some data suggesting the opposite though:

KDE response was lame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31334988)

Could he have avoided the KDe-package-quality questions, and the Kubuntu-system app questions, any better?

Come on, those 'answers' shouldn't have even been posted. For KDE lovers, try other distros. That shouldn't be news, however.

Bad answers. (5, Interesting)

Blice (1208832) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335002)

He blew off or dismissed most of the important questions. As other commenters have said, he didn't acknowledge Ubuntu's terrible implementation of KDE, Gnome's short comings, nor the sound issue.

But the worse thing is how he completely dismissed Creative Suites and games. Whenever I ask any of my friends why they aren't on linux, they reply with one of these two. Whenever I see linux vs. windows being debated in a OS agnostic forum its these two issues I see come up the most. I can't believe Canonical is completely ignoring it.

Re:Bad answers. (1)

stickmangumby (1671008) | more than 3 years ago | (#31336086)

I don't recall the exact figures, but lets say Windows currently has 85% of the marketshare.

What percentage of Windows users use CS on a daily basis?
What percentage of Windows users play (non-browser based) games regularly?

I would be astonished if the two figures combined came to more than 20%.

Yes, the lack of such software is holding people back, but the vast majority aren't using linux because of ignorance or apathy.

Re:Bad answers. (4, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#31336284)

He blew off or dismissed most of the important questions. As other commenters have said, he didn't acknowledge Ubuntu's terrible implementation of KDE, Gnome's short comings, nor the sound issue.

Oh, you KDE whiners. Everything about Gnome sucks. Everything about KDE rules.

Did it every occur to you that some people might actually hold the opposite opinion? That they might be glad Ubuntu chose a single desktop to focus on, rather than dividing their efforts, and picks Gnome, which is sleek, clean, and works, rather than the horrible, ugly, cluttered mess that is KDE?

No, of course not! KDE is the shit, amirite! Clearly Canonical are just idiots!

Or, then again... maybe not.

buggy stuff (3, Interesting)

Mantis8 (876944) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335150)

I'd like to echo the sentiment of many others - ubuntu is just too buggy. The first version I used seemed to work ok, but had warnings saying that several drivers were missing, so I upgraded to the next version (9.04). It had password issues that I had to go into grub to fix, and it never worked right. I couldn't update anything because my root pw was hosed. So I waited until the next version (9.10), bought a new cd for $0.99 on ebay, reformatted the hdd, and ended up with the same issue. So I took a chance & switched to linux mint. It too worked fine at first, but after the first batch of updates, I ended up right where I started from: with a bad root password so that I couldn't upgrade anything. This time I reformatted & only installed updates with a # 1 or #2 on it and so far, it's ok. I'm a linux noob, & have been tempted to go back to windows, but at $300-$400 for a brand-new version of windows 7, I'm going to stick to linux. At least its extremely low cost ($0.99 on ebay), open office is free instead of several hundred dollars for MS office, & I don't get all the malware. Not to mention I can install it on as many machines as I want & don't have to activate or register it. But when the next linux version comes out, I"m going to wait a while to see how it goes out there before I immediately jump in.

Quality Issues (2, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335180)

He may not be aware of quality issues, but they certainly exist.

He is right that it is a byproduct of size. Ubuntu has massive repositories, and plenty of users to discover bugs. However, I doubt Ubuntu has the engineering experience or staff of Red Hat or Novell.

I know that choice is a good thing, but distro fragmentation has gone too far. I think the Linux community needs a few leaders to organize the fractured community and consolidate/coordinate efforts to improving quality overall.

Instead of X number of package maintainers working on Arch, and X working on Sabayon, and X working on Mandriva, and X working on Mint, and X working on Slackware, and X working on PCLinuxOS, etc. I really think the major distros need to bring the community to them.

Instead of 10 Fedora forks, why not try to integrate those community efforts into improving Fedora? And the same for Ubuntu.

Re:Quality Issues (1)

RichM (754883) | more than 3 years ago | (#31336216)

However, I doubt Ubuntu has the engineering experience or staff of Red Hat or Novell.

You're right.
However, they have the biggest community of any Linux distro and with that comes people (like myself) who are willing to give up their free time to provide free technical support to end-users on forums and wikis.
People like me want to see Ubuntu become more popular than Microsoft Windows - you may say that's just a dream or it's a bad idea but think about what our computing world would be like if that ever happened.
Gaming on Linux would become a reality, popular software would be released first on Linux, we would never pay for our operating system, we would be more secure by default due to the very strong user sandbox on Linux.
The world would be a better place and you know it.

Dodging questions about quality. Geez. (5, Interesting)

KWTm (808824) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335270)

He managed to dodge some questions, in a very unsatisfying manner. Look at this:

with Ubuntu becoming almost synonymous with Linux, do they have a responsibility to try and put out a quality KDE desktop along with a quality Gnome desktop?"
Matt: I'm new to the Ubuntu party, but I believe we already do this with Kubuntu. No?

Uhh, no. Kubuntu is far from a quality release. The questioner was trying to put this politely, Mr. Asay, and you took advantage of his courtesy to dodge the question. Try answering this one: "Why does Kubuntu suck?" Did you grasp the intent behind that one?

they [Ubuntu] put out unstable, buggy, and sometimes flat-out broken KDE packages.
Matt: I remember my first taste of the KDE/Gnome divide when I was involved in the Linux Business Office at Novell. It was fractious then and, judging from your "question," it remains so. I don't want to add to this rancorous debate

Second dodge of this question. This is NOT the "which is better, KDE or GNOME?" question. This is the "why does Kubuntu fall short of KDE?" question.

I have been extremely disappointed with the most recent release of Ubuntu, 9.10, as it has been extremely buggy ... Do you have any plans to increase quality control in Ubuntu?
Matt: We are not complacent about bugs or quality ... As for Ubuntu 9.10, I've heard people call it a buggy release but that has not been my personal experience

Slightly different question that you dodged here, now it's not "Why does Kubuntu suck?" but "Why does Ubuntu suck even when KDE is not involved?" I guess you can't twist it into a KDE/GNOME playoff this time. I notice that you've used the good ol' trick of "What problem? I don't have a problem, therefore you don't either." Unfortunately, Mr. Asay, I suspect that I'm not the only one around here who recognizes your fallacious train of thought. Maybe I can entertain you with a joke:

Q: How many Ubuntu-using Matt Asay's does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Why do you want to change the light bulb? I have an exact identical copy of your light bulb here, and it works fine for me.

Okay, next question:

I'm really dismayed by the quality of jaunty and (especially) karmic.

Wow! That's the fifth question about the quality of your software. In a list limited to 12 questions voted to the top by a large number of Slashdotters, we spent five of those questions directly asking about quality. Do you get the sense that your community is trying to tell you something, Mr. Asay? Let's see what your response is ...

Matt: See my response above

You know, I was hoping for better. I understand that you're new to Linux, and fielding questions from Slashdotters is probably not one of those essential duties that will determine whether or not you get a bonus at the end of the year. But here's your chance to directly reach out to the people who support you, but who are at the same time telling you that you have problems. You could acknowledge the problems, or at least acknowledge our questions, something like "I see that there is a lot of concern about quality. Here are our processes for improving quality: (insert blurb) I'll find out a bit more and post it on the Ubuntu forum." etc. But to say, "I personally have not had problems with my Ubuntu, so I won't answer your question ..." geez, we hashed that out on Slashdot before Canonical even existed.

Disclosure of my personal stance: Linux fan, no Microsoft on my computers since 2004. KDE fan, but Kubuntu has been disappointing. Using KDE3 on Kubuntu 8.04, waiting for Lucid (10.04) to come out so I can learn it and not have to chase after a moving target reinstalling every half a year. I believe KDE4 will be a good experience now, but am not going to find out until Lucid.

What Linux needs yesterday (0, Troll)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335304)

1. Everything a user would want needs to work out of the box, even if that means bundling proprietary video drivers, Flash, etc.
2. They need a major retail presence. Red Hat had boxed copies in stores ages ago, but most users aren't comfortable replacing an OS. You need to be able to purchase a computer with Linux preinstalled from major retailers. There have been very minor experiments with this, but most retailers seemed to push customers away from the Linux models. This may change a bit with Chrome on netbooks, but Chrome is largely just a browser.
3. Linux names marketing. With fragmentation, this is difficult. Google will add some name recognition, but until the average person develops some trust with the Linux "brand", you won't see massive acceptance.
4. Migration needs to be simple. An installer should help you migrate your documents and settings over without too much pain or grief.

These goals can be accomplished partially by the community (word-of-mouth advertising, perhaps running a community GetLinux.com site akin to the GetFirefox campaign, etc), but part of this needs to come from major Linux companies like Canonical.

Until those four points are addressed, don't ever expect Linux on the desktop to be anything but a niche product.

Quality Control (2, Interesting)

sheehaje (240093) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335310)

I like the response that he gave on Ubuntu 9.10 being a buggy release. One thing I've come to realize isn't the 9.10 is more or less buggy than previous versions, but that I'm starting to use Ubuntu to do more things. I now have it installed as my main work OS, and I also have Ubuntu 9.10 Studio (which is another beast with the RT Kernel) installed at home to record my band. So in the end, I notice more bugs that I wouldn't have with earlier versions because I didn't use earlier versions as much.

With that said, if I install Ubuntu, and use all the default applications and settings, It's a solid experience (read netbook). The more I tend to install and tweak things the way I like seems to be where I start running into problems (ubuntu studio, work pc with network intensive applications and samba file shares, etc). Evolution connecting to Exchange 2007 has also been a pet peeve of mine in 9.10, as I was able to do it compiling from source with an updated connector, but 9.10 still doesn't have an update in the repository for it.

I can use Ubuntu now for much more than I could, but it still has a ways to go before I find it a totally pleasant experience.

Bing sucks - Yahoo deal is crap (1)

doodlebumm (915920) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335336)

I *HATE* bing. No, really. I HATE bing. Yahoo a wildly popular search engine? Only because the people already using it are too afraid to use anything else. Google is vastly superior in every way to Yaho's search. That move was a giant step backwards!!!!!

Re:Bing sucks - Yahoo deal is crap (0, Offtopic)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335758)

So don't fucking use it. Why bother posting rants?

you actually care what he has to say? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31335374)

you guys must be total fags.

Frodo? (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335512)

We do, however, have aspirations to play Frodo.

OK, I've read the books a few times and I'm pretty sure Frodo failed in the end and succumbed to the temptation to (attempt to) become the new Dark Lord. His short lived usurpation of power was thwarted by another would be usurper that fortunately also suffered from bad balance and/or poor spacial awareness/maneuvering skills.

Re:Frodo? (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335872)

would be usurper that fortunately also suffered from bad balance and/or poor spacial awareness/maneuvering skills.

Well, not really... apparently he just lost it in the *cough* heat *cough* of the moment. Gollum was quite physically adept and quite aware of his surroundings.

Dodging the driver question... (1)

MostAwesomeDude (980382) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335612)

Ubuntu is easily the quietest of the large distros when it comes to talking with driver upstreams. Really, his response, to me, translates to, "We'll let Redhat and Novell continue to front the cost of paying developers to write graphics drivers, while dragging our feet at adopting new upstream code." Frustrating.

Failzo8s (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31335712)

Usenet. In 1995, 3est. Individuals Assholes, as they

Forget gaming, I guess... (2, Interesting)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335794)

His complete dismissal of Linux as a gaming platform really disappoints me. I'm one of those people that still use Windows simply because of gaming. If Linux had support for the games I want to play, I would have been a full time Linux user years ago.

I'm not unreasonable either. I have a decent understanding of the challenges involved in making that happen on Linux, but to hear this guy just totally dismiss the thought isn't what I was hoping for. It will take time and effort to make Linux a gaming platform, and it will never happen when people like this just flat out give up on it. He tries to say that gaming is all moving over to consoles, but that is an utter falsehood, as there are still millions of us that use a PC as a primary gaming platform.

All in all the most amazing thing about this Q&A is how he readily admits that he really has only used Ubuntu for his primary OS for a few weeks now. The thought that someone as ignorant as me, about the internals on Linux, has used Ubuntu more than its new COO is just stunning.

WontFix/WorksForMe (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335852)

Is it just me, or this answer:

As for Ubuntu 9.10, I've heard people call it a buggy release but that has not been my personal experience, and it's an accusation that the data do not support ...

In my personal experience, however, everything "just works." I've yet to have a single problem. Coming from a former Mac user (motto: two buttons are too hard - just give me one button on my mouse! :-), that's high praise.

really sounds like the infamous WONTFIX/WORKSFORME bug ticket closure?

I found this to be telling (2, Interesting)

Torodung (31985) | more than 3 years ago | (#31335860)

As more applications move to the Web and as application developers improve their support for Linux (a trend I've noticed happening), it will matter even less.

So Ubuntu's future is as a Linux kernel with a window manager in X to run a web browser? Canonical's plans do not include broad applications support? Not even so far as to work with the Wine team in producing a migration path by getting more critical Windows apps (Quicken, Adobe CS) to the gold status?

"99.9999%" of an operating system's relevance is in messaging and AJAX supported applications? That doesn't sound like much of a game plan for anything other than Ubuntu becoming the Cadillac of embedded systems. It's as if Mr. Asay thinks the future of the operating system is irrelevance.

While this may be true, it isn't much of a business plan.

--
Toro

If you were expecting a Geek discussion... (1)

hilldog (656513) | more than 3 years ago | (#31336148)

This was not it. These were answers aimed at stockholders and loan officers. Nice , temperate, safe and no boat rocking. Linux has become big business and welcome to the real world.

KDE is a baroque piece of s**t. (1, Flamebait)

sgage (109086) | more than 3 years ago | (#31336412)

In my opinion. The KDE fanboys sure feel no compunction about dissing Gnome.

Gnome is not perfect, but at least it's not the confused weirdness that is KDE. Every time a new version of KDE comes out, I hear all sorts of glowing reports so I check it out. And I wonder what is so great about this? If you like it, fine, but it's not obvious to me that it's wonderful or better than Gnome or that Gnome is "falling behind".

I'm not a Gnome fanboy or anything - I keep trying new things. But KDE is simply a different take on what a desktop should be. Kubuntu may not be exactly what the KDE fanboys want, but the incessant whining about it is boring. It will improve, especially if you provide clear and measured feedback, as opposed to vague "it sucks" type commentary. Or just go use OpenSuse - I hear that's a hot KDE distro. Whatever.

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