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566 comments

Maybe true, but not necessarily desirable (5, Interesting)

Tet (2721) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932177)

To gain momentum Linux needs a central installation architecture that all applications must use to properly install and run. The OS should ensure that applications are installed before they can be executed.

Perhaps there's some truth to this. If Linux is to gain more widespread adoption, then maybe that would help. If so, then I personally hope Linux remains a niche OS. What he doesn't seem to grasp is that some of us would rather remain true to the Unix ideals and philosophy than to chase mass market popularity. I want to just be able to extract an archive and run a binary contained within. I don't want to have to inform the OS that I've done so, and have to "install" the software. I want to be able to compile an app and run it from my home directory. Why should I have to register it with the OS in order to do so?

I do NOT think Linux needs an install architecture (1, Interesting)

Work Account (900793) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932256)

Linux already HAS widespread adoption.

The MAJORITY of all new servers today are slated to run Linux.

This is not going to change, I repeat, it will NOT change.

How can you call Linux a "niche" OS?

First off, Linux, or rather GNU/Linux, is an operating system KERNEL.

But more importantly, it is hugely successful and I am personally offended that you post a trite, mocking comment regarding something that I and thousands others have worked hard on the past 10-15 years.

Re:I do NOT think Linux needs an install architect (3, Interesting)

uofitorn (804157) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932403)

It's implicitly assumed he meant it was a niche OS among the Windows/Home PC crowd.

While I agree with your comments for the most part, to say that the majority of all new servers are slated to run GNU/Linux is typical of the naive slashdot groupthink and is not remotely true. However, I'm in the middle of installing FreeBSD 5.4 on a Sun Blade 100 machine so I'm doing my part!

Re:Maybe true, but not necessarily desirable (5, Insightful)

helix_r (134185) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932261)


You can have your cake and eat it too.

Linux has to made more useable "out of the box", expert users can always strip-down their install or use only certain tools or pick "expert" distros.

No harm is done (to expert users) if a smart company decides to release a user-friendly linux distro.

Re:Maybe true, but not necessarily desirable (4, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932369)

Like on Apple OS X. If you want to install an Application you can normally drag and drop it in your application folder (easy enough). But if you wanted to you can go into the terminal and do a ./configure; make; sudo make install

Just because there is a easy way it doesn't stop you from doing it the hard way. Having an easy option usually save the person time in deployment.

Re:Maybe true, but not necessarily desirable (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13932278)

Great job, studying the user-interface of a kernel. Very insightful and such.

Re:Maybe true, but not necessarily desirable (4, Insightful)

helix_r (134185) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932458)


Of course, as reasonable people, we all understand that he means LINUX distributions rather than the LINUX kernel.

Re:Maybe true, but not necessarily desirable (4, Informative)

cortana (588495) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932324)

My operating system (Debian) has just such a system (dpkg).

Re:Maybe true, but not necessarily desirable (5, Insightful)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932478)

There ya go! This is the core of the Linux problem. Everyone sees Linux vs. Windows, and in this battle, I have little doubt Linux would win. But that's just not what it's all about. Linux is a kernel, not an OS. The problem is the Linux OSes fragmentation. There is not one, but many Linuxes fighting for the crown, and this is weakening their common kernel: Linux.

If only SuSe, Red Hat, Debian and Mandrake could just agree on some STANDARDS !!! For crying out loud, everyone is bashing microsoft for not adopting an "open" standard (actually plenty of them) but the key distros cannot even agree on a common way to distribute and install an application. How can anyone blame Microsoft when the exact same idiocy is happenning in their supposedly "perfect" open-source world?

</rant> ;)

One Word - Checkinstall (1)

zaguar (881743) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932393)

Checkinstall is a great app that can build and install .deb, .rpm and slackware packages. I personally use it on ubuntu so source-compiled apps can be managed using apt-get

To use, go the usual
./configure
make
then (as root) checkinstall

Try it out!
http://asic-linux.com.mx/~izto/checkinstall/ [asic-linux.com.mx]

Re:Maybe true, but not necessarily desirable (1)

Iriel (810009) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932467)

Well the problem is addressing these perceived shortcomings of Linux compared to Windows/OS X/whatever is that some people view Linux as the name of a single operating system...but it's not. For the power users, go with something like Gentoo/Slackware or a distro equally technical and 'pure' to the Unix-like roots. If you want a Linux distribution to compete with Windows, then we may be looking at something like a more refined Mandriva/openSUSE flavor.

But when it comes to installing things to the system, I think the majority of distros need software with some sort of system that has both a GUI installer that you can select whether you want it installed on the entire system, or just your home directory (I still graple with those troubles), and so on. But it should still be accesible from the command line like a normal source package to allow the power users to completely customize their installation.

I could be way out of my leauge on this topic (or how possible my idea could be), but that's just my 22 cents.

Re:Maybe true, but not necessarily desirable (4, Insightful)

mj2k (726937) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932490)

"Linux to be 100% RISK FREE. If you don't like it you need to be able to easily uninstall and your computer will be exactly the same as before you started." So linux should use a fat32 fs so it can be "uninstalled"? Try installing XP and "restoring" win98 or win2k. If you want to tryout linux use knoppix, it's stupid to expect _any_ OS to adopt a deprecated fs from another OS in order for a user to be able to "restore" his old OS. Don't put absurd requirements for Linux that the latest MS Windows can't accomplish..

Re:Maybe true, but not necessarily desirable (4, Insightful)

aetherspoon (72997) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932497)

I can do the same under Windows, yet Windows has a central installation architecture. Why is that? Dependencies, for one. If a program has no dependencies or externals, I can just extract and run the binary (in fact, a lot more programs under Windows work this way than one would think).

The OS should ensure that applications are installed before they can be executed.
I don't know of any OS that requires that one. However, that isn't an arguement against the former part of the excerpt, which is the only part I'm addressing.

Linux as a whole needs one. Something that lets joeuser download a file (ONE) from the net, run the file, and it installs everything needed for the program downloaded and runs correctly the first time on any modern linux platform. I still can't do that on SUSE even for most programs.
Compare to the Windows world. You can download a single file (a self-installing executable file) from the net and assume it will work on any modern windows platform (2K/XP/2K3). In fact, the only things I can think of as exceptions off the top of my head are ports from Linux to Windows.

Re:Maybe true, but not necessarily desirable (2, Insightful)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932574)

To gain momentum Linux needs a central installation architecture that all applications must use to properly install and run. The OS should ensure that applications are installed before they can be executed.

Must use? Can use? Mandatory to use but can use other methods as well?

I think I'd want to lean towards the latter. If there were an install wizard-like method, consistently available across every Linux app (or at least the ones most people want to use) I'm sure a lot of people would like to be able to use that. On the other hand if I want to compile from source, hand-hack some config files, and manually move them to the directories where they belong, I want to be able to retain that level of control. If they take that away and give us a shiny GUI wizard-like installer, I think a lot of people would be upset. But if they give us that easy install AND let us continue to do things as we see fit, everyone wins.

Package management (2, Insightful)

starfishsystems (834319) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932615)

Why should I have to register it with the OS in order to do so?

It's apparent that Greg Raiz doesn't "get" Unix, and so his choice of language is open to criticism. Unix is not a monolithic black box intended for narrowly defined use. It's an extensible workbench written by developers for developers.

That said, Greg has made an intuitive connection with an idea which is very important for any modular operating system, and that is that it should be possible for the modules to be managed in a structured way, taking into account authentication, dependencies, versioning, installation, and removal.

It's not like this is a new idea. Package management has been in Unix for a decade or two at least, and for example in Solaris the entire operating system install is managed in terms of packages. We don't have a package standard that is common across all Unix and Linux variants, though we have several candidates. I often wish we could converge on one of them because it would be very helpful for site management, especially at heterogenous sites.

Greg is profoundly misguided in suggesting that such package management must be (a) centralized or (b) mandatory. Those are classic weaknesses of the Microsoft approach which Unix developers have prudently managed to avoid. On the contrary, package management should support a distributed model which sites can define to suit their particular requirements. And certainly it makes no sense in a development environment to mandate that all software be "installed" under the same restrictive conditions as might be desired for production software.

The reason we have Linux is because it turns out that the world is not just made up of software "consumers". Some of us actually prefer to work within a development environment. We'll tend to choose development tools that give us more, not less, control over our systems.

Linux is FINE (2, Interesting)

Work Account (900793) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932181)

I have been reading about Linux being "ready for the desktop" for like 8 years now.

I for one am sick of it.

I use Linux every day on the desktop.

Yes, at first it was a bit confusing, but over the years it has matured ten-fold.

My parents use it, my grandmother runs Fedora, and I convert others on a daily basis.

ENOUGH already with this GUI/desktop debate. It is over and done and we have done it.

Re:Linux is FINE (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13932236)

My parents use it, my grandmother runs Fedora, and I convert others on a daily basis.

Flamebit here. Yes your family uses Linux because they have a free 24 hour personal troubleshooter. Not that windows gives less trouble, but it is easier to find people who can fix a give problem, more or less.

Re:Linux is FINE (1)

mayhemt (915489) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932282)

I Agree.
Only if your tasks are browsing, office apps, photo viewing/pritning.
But once you want those cool games, videos etc, its a nightmare. Not that its impossible, but u think granny would be happy if u tell on phone to her
do a ./configure && make && make install
she wont reply 'u r nuts!!??'
dont forget p2p apps (amule) & file sharing on local networks..they too look simple, but bitch a lot at first. Just to name a few just adding my own contribution to the flames

The logical question... (2, Informative)

baudilus (665036) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932284)

The logical question to ask is: why should Linux (or the Linux community) care if it's more and more widespread? What's wrong with the way it is now? This is not a flame, I'm asking because I'm looking for a good answer, believe it or not.

The answer you wanted (2, Interesting)

Work Account (900793) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932366)

SUPPORT.

As a Linux developer you and I often deal with companies that will not publish open specifications regarding their hardware.

As such, it is necessary to "break the law" and reverse engineer these devices in order to create decent Linux drivers that interface between the device and the application/user level software on the GNU/Linux kernel and operating system tools.

Some say that if Linux slowly gains market share of say 20-30% that manufacturers will stop making Windows-specific devices.

Another benefit would be support: all of us Slashdot/Linux guys would instantly become experts on people's home PCs if everyone ran Linux.

As it stands now, most of my friends have trouble figuring out how to .ZIP up files on Windows or do other simple things such as send an email, etc.

It is funny/amazing to watch them because they write code like protein-folding applications in Linux but on a Windows computer all they can manage to figure out is how to start Solitaire :)

Re:The answer you wanted (5, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932462)

Welcome to the Chicken and Egg problem. Hardware manufacturers and Software producers are not going to support Linux until it's popular. Yet Linux won't become popular until the Hardware and Software vendors support it. As a result, you need to make the product more attractive to users in another way.

Apple has the right idea. By pushing the technology far ahead of the competition, they convince users to accept some of the shortcomings in exchange for a large number of features unavailable on other platforms. This increases the Mac user base, forcing the Hardware and Software vendors to support them.

I know in my own personal case, I could run regularly Linux right now if I wanted to. The problem is that my kids have a large number of educational titles and other kids' software (no, they don't operate correctly under WINE) that they must reboot to use. If I leave the system in Linux, I hear no end of complaining from my wife who has to reboot the next day.

Now I (and a few others) have suggested methods by which the Linux Desktop could pull ahead of Windows, and possibly even the Mac. My own suggestions would be distro specific and would not harm any existing distros. Yet the community resists such changes strongly, stating that "Linux is perfect the way it is". Many automatically assume things I didn't say, based on their past experience.

So in the meantime, I and my small team will attempt to implement these ideas whenever we have sufficient time. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to reconcile our schedules, and without more volunteers I fear that the project will not get done in time to make a difference. Which is really too bad, as I feel that it could make Linux a significant competitior in the Desktop market.

Re:The logical question... (5, Insightful)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932406)

Wider adoption would bring many benefits:
  • More testing - a bigger user base means bugs get spotted and reported more quickly
  • ISV support - more potential customers means more software companies developing for Linux. OSS can't provide everything (games, high end content production for example)
  • Drivers - hardware manufacturers mostly ignore linux at the moment because of its small marketshare
  • More use of open formats - it's much easier to expect people to use open formats that are properly supported on Linux (OpenDoc vs MS Office, Ogg instead of WM[A|V] etc.) if its market share is significant.

Re:Linux is FINE (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932413)

I'll second the support. I'd rather not spend a whole lot of time retraining a person to a new OS. Then there's the setup, if I forget a detail regarding their needs, then I have to go back and fix it.

Heck, I connected a higher resolution monitor to an FC4 installation and I couldn't find a way to update the monitor profile. Current consumer OSs (being Windows and Mac OS X) automatically detect a changed monitor and update the resolution profiles.

Re:Linux is FINE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13932422)

j00r gr4ndm4 r00t b0xes?

Re:Linux is FINE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13932433)

"It's over"? So there's nothing in the article worth considering, you think?

Re:Linux is FINE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13932469)

what you describe is Linux on "a" Desktop.

Besides, this Desktop obsession is stoopid. Linux in cars, embedded systems, PVRs, PDAa, is much more interesting.

They say generals always plan for the last war. Sounds like Linux fans are fighting for the battleground of the 80's.

Re:Linux is FINE (0, Troll)

ifwm (687373) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932508)

"ENOUGH already with this GUI/desktop debate. It is over and done"

You're right.

Linux isn't ready, people who aren't zealots know and admit this, and the argument is done because people like you will never be convinced.

Re:Linux is FINE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13932584)

Wow, thank you. For a moment, I though that the fact that quite a number of people use linux on desktops was a good point. Now I understand that he was a zealot, and that there's no way linux could possibly be used by computer illiterate people.

Now that I'm enlightened, I have to go and remove it from my grandmother's computer.

Re:Linux is FINE (3, Funny)

jzeejunk (878194) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932572)

My parents use it, my grandmother runs Fedora, and I convert others on a daily basis.

Wow you must all be living in your great grand parents' basement ;)

RTFA? Nah. No this one. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13932194)

Not a word on user interfaces in the article itself.

Re:RTFA? Nah. No this one. (2, Insightful)

Jerry Coffin (824726) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932301)

Not a word on user interfaces in the article itself.

While it's true that the summary mis-characterizes the article as being about the UI when it's really about the whole OS, it's also true that the article contains a fair amount that really is related to the UI -- specifically the section on common controls, which are much of what comprise the UI.

--
The universe is a figment of its own imagination.

Re:RTFA? Nah. No this one. (1)

canuck57 (662392) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932432)

Not a word on user interfaces in the article itself.

The reason is simple. Microsoft is still borrowing from the Linux UI. One thing this stupid article does not say is the Linux UI, X Winodows was around before Microsoft had an OS!!!!!

It is also why Microsoft can't sue anyone for "windows" as Microsoft was not the first, nor the second to have windows.

I beg to differ (4, Interesting)

Janitha (817744) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932221)

Linux should stop copying Microsoft feature for feature and embrace the differences and features that advanced users love.

I would disagree. What about enlightenment, fluxbox, openbox?

This article doesn't really make much sense overall.

Re:I beg to differ (1)

B1ackDragon (543470) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932565)

Don't forget XFCE, which if you kill the taskbar and pager bar at the bottom can look and feel quite a bit like flux, while still having pretty and easy to use xfce-ness.

Sorry for the off topic, but I just like a good desktop discussion :-)

Slow news day, eh? (-1, Flamebait)

baudilus (665036) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932222)

Why is this news? Articles like this have been around for nearly 10 years now...

SUN dropped GNOME as Desktop (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13932250)

Sun seem to be dropping GNOME as their Desktop

http://www.gnome.org/~gman/blog/02112005 [gnome.org]

Read more on above link!!!!

Re:SUN dropped GNOME as Desktop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13932459)

Actually the link doesn't say anything about dropping GNOME on Solaris.

duh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13932538)

Who is modding this as "insightful"? Just because Sun has dropped their "linux java desktop" and they're focusing in using gnome + opensolaris doesn't means they've "dropped" gnome

Finally (1)

Svenne (117693) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932603)

Suns Java Desktop based on GNOME is, quite frankly, crap. I would much rather see them develop something of their own, something that isn't slow as hell on a 2.2GHz AMD64 with with 1GB of RAM and a Radeon 9700

Despite its ugliness, I'm still using CDE on my OpenSolaris box, sipmply because it's about a hundred times snappier, and also it doesn't lack menu entries for some of the most essential management utilities for X, like JDS does.

command line moves the world (2, Insightful)

cwebb1977 (650175) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932262)

The core mantra should be: "Simple and easy in everything we do, but give me a command line and I can move the world."
or you rm all the pr0n from your harddisks

M$ mantra (2)

0110011001110101 (881374) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932263)

FTFAThe core mantra should be: "Simple and easy in everything we do, but give me a command line and I can move the world."

So does this means M$ core mantra is "Over complicated and flashy in everything we do, but give me a command line so I can get shit done post-BSOD" ?

Who??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13932265)

Greg Raiz, Boston based interface designer and former Microsftie

Who?? Never heard of him. RaizLabs? Never heard of them. Former Microsoftie?

Ok, I get the picture. Some loser was fired from Microsoft and no one will give them a job. So the hang out their own shingle, claim to be an expert, and start issuing Slashvertisements.

Start the unemployement paperwork pal. No one will buy what you're selling.

Re:Who??? (1)

grub (11606) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932380)


Look at the link of the submitter "Anonymous Coward". It links to raizlabs...

OS X? (5, Insightful)

deke_kun (695166) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932266)

"The core mantra should be: "Simple and easy in everything we do, but give me a command line and I can move the world.""

I'm guessing he hasnt spent a lot of time in OS X then. Especially since he says in the article that Apple took the simplistic (ie not technical) approach.

Re:OS X? (1)

u16084 (832406) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932562)

I must agree, I'm stuck with XP due to office politics, I have dabbled with almost every major distro out there. If you throw in whats available now, kde,gnome - the limitations are annoying. Try Cut/Paste between windows/Applications? Its that SIMPLE stuff that people are looking for. If you have to "Learn" the operating system its not going to work. People dont want to goto command line, they dont want to compile or worry about dependencies, rpms etc etc. Avg home user doesnt care about apt-get,emerge or yum. I had the pleasure of sitting down at a osx machine... My 70 yr old grandma could click through the OS without asking silly questions. You have your eye candy and functionality - and if you want your command line, its there. OSX + intel/AMD = danger to microsoft. As the "Avg home user" will have a "Real" choice. Real, meaning out of the box..... You can jump in and start screaming "KDE/GNOME WORK OUT OF THE BOX!", yea thats great... Take someone off the street, Sit them down behind a OSX / XP / box and let them choose. (Interface not operating system) Real world problems = we are lazy people. Change is good if someone does it for us. Security patches whats that? - and ofcourse "Why do i need to enter a password to install something??" So untill people change - Linux will remain a "fad" FOR THE HOME USER (stress HOME USER)

Really? (0)

Sam Haine '95 (918696) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932271)

From TFA:
The Basics To get people to switch operating systems you need to remember two rules.
1. People avoid change
2. New Operating Systems break old applications
In other news -

bear/shit/woods

pope/catholic

etc.

Excellent piece of advice (1)

Conorb (443598) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932277)

As a long fan/user of the Linux desktop (six years) I think is on of the best peices of advice I have seen.

Summary. (4, Informative)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932279)

Make upgrading from windows as easy as possible, Standardize on your widgets, and Make Installing Software Easy and secure.

I tend to agree with most of the articles comments except for 1 random jab at Apple for choosing the lower ground of loosing functionality for better interface, where I believe that Apples interface is middle ground like windows but it is just better designed so it is easer. But I digress.

For Installing why can't Most Linux distributions support Loopback files, So they can install Linux on top of a Windows partition and if they don't like linux just delete the ISO file. Also a Non-destructive partition system like Partition-Magic.

More effort should be put into WINE, and MONO projects. It should be easy to run Windows programs. Just like the migration from Apple OS 9 to OS 10 or from DOS to Windows or Windows 3.1 to 95. People prefer "Optimized" to their OS applications, and will ask for them, but if they can't get it they want to run the old ones. These projects will not make developers think "Well Linux emulates it so we don't need to port it." they will think wow we have xx% of our customers using our product in linux, Perhaps we should make a Linux Version before our competitor does so we don't loose them.

Standardizing on the User Interface is extremely important. I can't even count the times I have to go to a newbe who is using KDE or GNOME and opens an Application build with the other tool kit or worse a different one like X11 and explain to them that they may have some trouble Copying and Pasting, and oh this is a x application you need to do it this way instead. And your files are by default saved here except for there. It is confusing and they do not comprehend why things are so diverse.

Installing, I really don't see why Linux can't take a lesson from Apple and improve on it. To install an application drag the folder to where you want to run the application. Have all its files that it needs to run self contained inside itself and uninstalling it is just deleting the directory. And try as much as possible to make the application statically built With Drive space below $1 per gigabyte the extra space lest be a little wasteful to make installation easy. Only spread the files across the OS when you Really-Really Need to.

Re:Summary. (0, Troll)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932371)

/me Waves hands...

Linux is not the OS you are looking for...

now run along back to your Mac... Linux and its concepts is obviously too different for you to grasp...

Re:Summary. (4, Informative)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932489)

Linux and its concepts is obviously too different for you to grasp...
Except for the fact that I have used Linux as my primary Desktop OS since Mid 1994, I understand Linux and its concepts but some of them are wrong, and parts of the linux community are just to high up on themselves to realize that there could be a better way of doing things. I have just recently started using a Mac as my primary system, figuring if I don't like OS X then I could put a PPC Linux distribution on it, or just stick with Xwindows support and command line. But I come to realize a Good Interface especially for Desktop applications actually helps productivity.

Re:Summary. (1)

tolan-b (230077) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932421)

--
Standardizing on the User Interface is extremely important. I can't even count the times I have to go to a newbe who is using KDE or GNOME and opens an Application build with the other tool kit or worse a different one like X11 and explain to them that they may have some trouble Copying and Pasting, and oh this is a x application you need to do it this way instead. And your files are by default saved here except for there. It is confusing and they do not comprehend why things are so diverse.
--

I have no problems copy and pasting between KDE and Gnome. Also, Gnome task-tray items show up in the KDE task tray7 and vice-versa, ditto 'start menu' items.

RedHat/Fedora and Suse both install with the same skin for both KDE and Gnome apps. Though I find that Suse's implementation of this is more convincing. I fired up xchat in kde on my new Suse 10 install (think I'm going to finally dump Fedora.. Suse 10 / OpenSuse 10 is gorgeous) and tried to find a giveaway that it wasn't a KDE app.. I couldn't find one.

Now plain X apps you have a point with, but I can't think of the last plain X app I saw...

What distro are you using?

Re:Summary. (1)

Fordiman (689627) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932428)

Ever thought what would happen if Microsoft did Mac's route?

Rather than develop their own new kernel, they provided support for linux and moved to a linux kernel; built their own window server and manager from scratch and hired people to work on the Wine project.

*shakes head*

god... I'm living in a dream world.

Some of the author's points (3, Insightful)

TWX (665546) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932293)

The whole notion of open software creates the opportunity for better collaboration and better end to end solutions.

- Create a single music solution that is consistent and flows easily from OS to music applications to TV experience.
- Create a single photo solution that is consistent and flows easily from OS thumbnails to previewing full screen to editing in a photo applications.
- Create an office suite that can be used as a component in other applications. Anywhere I have rich text editing I should also have red-underline spell checking, thesaurus, and other tools that help me write.
- There should be a single interface for dealing with contacts, buddies and users, and this should be used consistently across the OS and related programs.
The problem with the author's first point is that many of the codecs or routines needed to decode media flat-out aren't available legally in the U.S., and until we don't have to rely on the likes of marillat and others to host stuff out of the country then we won't have the ability to do that.

For the second point, the photo system would be entirely dependent on the window manager and basic shell suite, and I know that Gnome has thumbnailing. I personally almost never use the default photo management stuff, opting for better software than baseline, but I can understand the author's argument.

The productivity suite one is a difficult one, as it'll require unrelated projects to have some kind of common backbone that may require extensive editing. It also won't be consistent to web-delivered rich-text editors that are common in forums that allow fonts and formatting. Even more annoying would be if it were difficult to remove or supplant with a better productivity suite.

As for contacts, while I'll agree that a baseline system would be nice, I'm inclined to specifically avoid something that's across-the-board for privacy and security purposes. I'd rather not have some malicious software that gets in through some exploit manage to retrieve my entire list of contacts and their types, only to then try to spread to them or to spam them.

The thing that the author doesn't address is that these responsibilities are the job of the distributions moreseo than the application developers. The distributions could very easily hire their own developers to take a project or application and modify it to meet these requirements. It might cost some money, but that's where RedHat or SuSE can 'value add' their part.

To me, this issue always disturbs me (5, Informative)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932295)

The issue is decent looking fonts. I always have to download the webfonts.sh script http://vigna.dsi.unimi.it/webFonts4Linux/webFonts. sh [unimi.it] , and turn off anti-aliasing in order to have a desktop that is a pleasure to work with. Heck ebven the most recent OpenOffice.org release is uglier on Linux than it is on Windows.

Guys, we need to have an attractive desktop by default in order to make the user experience at least more appealing. In one installation of Ubuntu, I had to tweak the X.org conf file in order to have it display these fonts correctly! And believe me...it took more than 4 hours to get right! Who would have that time in the "real" world?

Re:To me, this issue always disturbs me (3, Insightful)

rco3 (198978) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932423)

My fonts look fine. I live in the "real" world, and have spent approximately zero time screwing with fonts. What, exactly, is the problem with your fonts?

Re:To me, this issue always disturbs me (2, Informative)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932594)

> What, exactly, is the problem with your fonts?

Well, I hope you do not think fonts in OpenOffice.org are generally better looking than their Windows counterparts, do you? In my previous installation, these fonts looked blurry, huge and ugly. I guess I should have broadened the scope of my premise to include the general look and feel of OpenOffice .org. This is fact: This application looks better on Windows than on Linux. Now you tell me it does not.

Fonts (1)

massysett (910130) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932568)

Try the latest SUSE, 10.0. I agree with what you say about fonts; they always looked horrible to me. But SUSE has finally got it right. They looked great out of the box (and I don't even think it used the MS fonts by default, either.)

By default SUSE's fonts are anti-aliased and, oddly, the toggle box in KDE has no effect on this. But here [opensuse.org] is a quick way to get great fonts without anti-aliasing.

Re:To me, this issue always disturbs me (1)

ctr2sprt (574731) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932588)

It looks like the main problem with font quality at this point is the availability of good free (as in speech) fonts. GNOME, which comes with the Bitstream Vera fonts on FreeBSD, looked great out of the box with zero configuration. KDE, which does not, looked like ass. Until I told KDE to use Vera for everything, at which point it looked pretty good. (The antialiasing routines being used by GNOME seem better.) GNOME actually looked much better than Windows.

I suspect that if GNOME and KDE had, like Windows, five or six families of solid fonts that shipped with the DE, this would be a nonissue.

Tough guidelines (2, Insightful)

ChrisF79 (829953) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932320)

That was a pretty good article but the one thing that struck me is that he starts by talking about how much people fear change. Then towards the end he is writing that Linux should be "different." I think it would be pretty difficult to achieve both of those goals. I think right now that the fact that Linux is different is just feeding this fear of change. I'm not advocating that Linux follow suit with Windows and give it the same look/feel but if it becomes too unique, good luck getting people to switch.

Dear GREG RAIZ, author of this article: (-1, Flamebait)

Work Account (900793) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932325)

At least us LINUX users can can BURN CDs [slashdot.org] , you Microsoft fan boy [64.233.167.104] !

I personally think Linux has a BETTER user interface than Windows.

It crashes less often and I am able to do everything I can do visually in a command line if I so choose.

Automating ANYTHING in Windows is a royal pain and the crashes and overall bloat piss me off as well.

Get a clue.

This guy is a brainwashed Microsoftie.

Trust me.

I know them well.

Many a graduate from my top unversity got recruited heavily and they drank the MS Koolaid.

I could hardly recognize them a year or two later at engineering events because they had their MS polo shirt on and their brand new Kia and Fossil watch acting like they were as important/rich as Bill Gates.

I actually pity guys like this :)

Re:Dear GREG RAIZ, author of this article: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13932630)

Linux does not have ANY user interface, fucktard.

VB for Linux (3, Informative)

obender (546976) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932327)

From TFA:

There is an opportunity for the open source community to create a VB compatible IDE that could compile applications for both to Windows and Linux.

It is a good commercial idea. But will any FOSS programmers bother implementing VB under Linux? On a more inflamatory note do we even want those VB programmers to develop for Linux?

Re:VB for Linux (1)

oztiks (921504) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932531)

Sorry, but im going to run under my bed and hide now ..

The mear thought of having VB!!! (scream) anywhere near linux just gives me that horrid feeling in the pit of my stomach, its bad enough it exists and is used in windows in the 1st place!

I rarely act out and say nasty things about people but this quote needs to be added to the "get a clue" pile and the author needs to go back to school and figure out what a programming language really is... In my view VB is not a real language, its just ... its wrong i tells ya .. this whole artical is just wrong :(

Its the other way around ms should be lending from linux oh wait that was in yesterdays artical about symbolic links and we wont mention who was 1st to have remote desktop technology, i think it was XFree about 1/2 a decade before microsoft (please dont hold it too me im just guessing) but heck thats right linux needs to take from microsoft, we need to have more bugs more bloat ware and more security flaws!

Oh so right... (0, Flamebait)

bod1988 (925911) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932330)

The Linux community needs to learn about standards, every fucking distribution has a different way of doing things. No wonder hardware companies don't release drivers, as soon as the kernel gets upraded, the driver no logner works. Ready for the desktop? Yeah right

The Challenger: OS X versus Linux (4, Interesting)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932332)

This probably won't be a popular comment, but I think Mac OS will eventually be bigger on the desktop than Linux.

1) Easier Support - your computer breaks, you know who to go to
2) Less of a learning curve.
3) Less confusing in terms of options (there are a lot of types and kinds of Linux, or so it seems).
4) Media acceptance. Macs are more well known than Linux, which isn't Linux's fault, it's just the fact that OS X has Apple behind it.
5) Application Support - Things are ported to Mac quicker than to Linux usually. Apple also stands to get more software compatibility when they go to Intel computers.

::Braces for "-1 Flamebait"::

Re:The Challenger: OS X versus Linux (1)

lixee (863589) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932408)

Linux came to where it is because it's both entirely open-source and free (as in beer)! OS X is an impressive piece of software, but Linux shall, most likely, prevail.

Re:The Challenger: OS X versus Linux (1)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932528)

Look, I'm all for open-source. I really am. I want to see it expanded to all sorts of things. But fundamentally, the simple fact that something is open-source does not promise it victory. I use Firefox because it is better, not because it is open source. If you want to argue that by being open-source, Linux will overtake Mac OS X (and eventuall OS 11), then I want to have that discussion, b/c you may be right. But I don't think being open source is a de facto reason for victory.

The Challenger: OS X versus Linux-Tyson. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13932492)

"::Braces for "-1 Flamebait"::"

Well I like GWB.

*Braces for atomic bomb drop*

Seriously I agree. Apple gets a lot of things right, and proves that the cathedral model is a viable one. You don't need a thousand eyes to create good software, just a few good ones.

---
"Don't make me think by Steve Krug" about the web, but a lot of advice carries over.

Re:The Challenger: OS X versus Linux (1)

Jerry Coffin (824726) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932514)

This probably won't be a popular comment, but I think Mac OS will eventually be bigger on the desktop than Linux.

IMO, about the only part of that that's open to question is the "eventually". I suspect that right now there are substantially more desktop users running OS X than Linux.

Granted, it's difficult to tell how many people use what OSes in what situations. It's even more difficult with Linux than most, since sales numbers mean nearly nothing. That leaves more or less apocryphal evidence as about all that's really available, but certainly just keeping my eyes open when I go into various offices and such, I see people running OS X considerably more often than I see them running Linux.

--
The universe is a figment of its own imagination.

Jumping in the way of your flamebait tag.... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13932530)

Linux and Windows UI pales in comparison to Mac OS X. So when I see these debates I only think of one thing:

Cripple fight!

I think I've seen an instance of risk-free Linux.. (5, Insightful)

FearTheFrail (666535) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932336)

To get people to switch you need to get them to try. To do this you need to get Linux to be 100% RISK FREE. If you don't like it you need to be able to easily uninstall and your computer will be exactly the same as before you started.
...did I hear you say Knoppix? [knoppix.net]

Mod Parent UP!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13932609)

The author is an idiot for not mentioning bootable distro's when talking talking about a Risk Free option.

If the author chooses to touch on a specific field of a subject, Risk Free completely uninstallable Linux(ie. bootable distro's), and neglects to commentate on those key components of that subject, I'm not sure the author is up to writing about the topic they've chosen!!!

/possibly a run-on ...

Ok, now which widgets should I use? (3, Insightful)

Crouty (912387) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932355)

Greg Raiz suggests to unify user interfaces. Ok, now which widgets should I use?
  • GTK?
  • QT?
  • wxwindows?

Re:Ok, now which widgets should I use? (1)

supun (613105) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932596)

I'm looking at my Windows computer. On the screen is BitDenfender 8 Professional Plus, AT&T Global Network Client, Sonic RecordNow!!! and Window Media Player. None of these application have the same interface or widget set, in fact they don't even look remotely the same. Apparently Windows doesn't follow this rule and people get along fine.

While it would be nice for all application to look the same, this can't really be a complaint in the Window vs Linux ( ala X Window System ) if Windows doesn't follow this rule either.

oh, they should use Xaw :)

Errors in assumption (2, Insightful)

Fordiman (689627) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932364)

- Create a single music solution that is consistent and flows easily from OS to music applications to TV experience.
- Create a single photo solution that is consistent and flows easily from OS thumbnails to previewing full screen to editing in a photo applications.

Actually, these are both there already. Sound in general, as well as video, are all handled byty a group of libraries common to most Linux platform audio and video software. I do think, for example, that Kaffiene and amaroK could be integrated, but their functionality is so disparate that I don't think its necessary. Meanwhile, on the back-end, Kaffiene uses xine. As does Totem. (why all three come installed in Knoppix is beyond me; maybe they were just trying to find ways of filling that 4G of DVD).

Right now there are dozens and perhaps even hundreds of different Linux distributions. Each one has its own quirks, bugs and issues. Linux is currently an idea it's not a brand. There doesn't seem to be a central floodgate to dictate the standard interface. Each distribution creates its own icons, interface elements, configurations and sometimes even their own shell. To gain momentum some level of standardization is necessary to be called "Linux."

Linux is the name of the kernel. I run Debian, and the specific distribution is Knoppix. Some people run Gentoo, some people run Red Hat, some people run Slackware. Each distribution, like you said, has it's points and problems. Most of these points and problems have to do with the preferred method of software management. Apt works for me.

Part of the fragmentation problem for Linux is that the fragmentation forces a problem for software installation. Users are forced to untar, un-gzip, copy, configure and sometimes compile in order to properly install software.

Again, Apt works for me. I haven't had to untar and compile anything except my own software (and its dependant libraries on occasion).

Just.. I realize you're not actually asking much, but it definately seems you're asking from the wrong context. Desktop linux is not a windows replacement. It's a windows alternative. It seems strange, but we're not actually out to kill microsoft... just to not contribute to them.

Nothing to see here; move right along... (2, Insightful)

Uncle Op (541486) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932365)

I don't see much new here. We even have the traditional misspellings.

The speed of innovation in any software can be both a boon and a bomb.

It's easy to drop in the word "framework": with a well-designed framework, you can extend and reuse existing tech. This is why the underlying pipe mechanism in Unix derivatives is so powerful. It's also why it's hard for many to master.

There's also a point when the framework - which should be strong-yet-supple - can instead ossify, like so much old glue that's set up and cracks easily.

Ultimately it is real work to take the time to design something that meets both current *and* future needs. While many working in the kernel and the distributions realize this, there remain the folk who just want to sling code and do the sexy, fun stuff first and fast and loose.

Too much breadth, not enough depth... (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932382)

This article may have some valid points in it but it is all presented at a very high level. I think the author may be biting off more than he can chew with this brief article, I would like to hear more of his ideas but with more specific proposed solutions. There is also little justification for his logic. I'm not sure where he got his "Two rules" of operating systems from but I don't exactly agree with them--he may be over-simplifying this.

Best statement yet in the article (1)

gmac63 (12603) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932383)

Don't just think different. Be Different.
An operating system can at best meet the needs of about 80% of the general population. Unfortunately you can't make everyone happy. (...)

Linux should stop copying Microsoft feature for feature and embrace the differences and features that advanced users love.

Says it all.

Re:Best statement yet in the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13932532)

Well, since everyone copies from eveyone else, why should Linux be disallowed?

Ever heard of Apt? Emerge? (5, Interesting)

quakeroatz (242632) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932395)

As a corollary to the first rule, users don't like installing applications. Part of the fragmentation problem for Linux is that the fragmentation forces a problem for software installation. Users are forced to untar, un-gzip, copy, configure and sometimes compile in order to properly install software. To gain momentum Linux needs a central installation architecture that all applications must use to properly install and run. The OS should ensure that applications are installed before they can be executed.

Wow, I couldn't have described apt or emerge any better. Isn't it common that those who review Linux OS's vs. Windows almost always head to the biggest vendor (Redhat) which is exactly the wrong idea: directly motivated by Microsoft's position on the closed source market? Biggest is best is necessarily a universal philosophy. Also, there are rpm managers in Redhat that do the same thing as apt, I think you can even use apt on Redhat without too much trouble.

Sure one might say, "How would the avg. Windows user know to apt-get install ?"
I would answer, "They could figure that out long before they understood how to dl and compile source code, and would certainly require less user knowledge and decisions than going apt-get install , which rarely asks for user input"

I see a ton of skilled Windows IT folk that are scared away from Linux because they try to compile everything. Apparently they haven't heard, and/or common linux knowledge doesn't include important tips that would make Avg Joe Windows user's first Linux experience much more enjoyable.

Branding and Feature Copying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13932401)

Linux is currently an idea it's not a brand. ... Don't just think different. Be Different.

Umm, yeah. Be different by becoming a brand. I'll pass.

Linux should stop copying Microsoft feature for feature and embrace the differences and features that advanced users love.

Actually, it's been my experience that this works in reverse. XP's tabbed completion in the cmd shell, for example. Vista's transparent desktop elements. Vista's MSH (now with piping). Tabbed browsing in IE sold as *innovation*.

And how long will it be before Microsoft also picks up on multiple desktops? I know every time I have to use a Windows machine, I find their absense frustrating.

Recruit VB Developers? (3, Funny)

0kComputer (872064) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932405)

Microsoft has put most its eggs in the .NET platform and has abandoned tens of thousands of VB developers by pulling support and further development on VB6. There is an opportunity for the open source community to create a VB compatible IDE that could compile applications for both to Windows and Linux. Such an IDE in conjunction with WINE could bring not only applications but also developers to the Linux platform.

so basically the strategy here is to take the shittiest developers from the windows platform and get them to write garbage code on linux?

To gain momentum (0)

DrugCheese (266151) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932418)

some level of standardization is necessary to be called "Linux."

There already is said standard: they use a linux kernel .

wireless support on linux is horrible (2, Interesting)

taxman_10m (41083) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932473)

After a few more days I'm probably going to wipe my linux partition unless I can get my Linksys wireless PCI card working with WPA encryption. Who knew it would take an act of God to configure correctly?

Fedora Core 4's network configuration gui is worthless. Ndiswrapper hung the machine. And it took me hours and hours to find that I needed some WPA supplicant something.

We need a Higher Level XServer (5, Insightful)

starseeker (141897) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932476)

I think he makes a good point that the clean solution is always better than trying to support older decisions that turned out to be less than ideal. But the problem is, users aren't interested in details. Details don't matter. They only want something to work, and keep working.

Most modern interface elements are implemented by most toolkits. I think a solution would be to take the concept of the X server, which implements low level functionality available via byte stream communications, and implement much higher level concepts using the same idea. Rather than linking in libraries (and tying your graphical concepts to one language - C for GTK, C++ + custom weirdness for QT) have an X server analog that can speak in terms of Menus, Canvas w/ Scrollbar, Button, Text Input, Text Output, etc. Instead of Xlib (or clx in Lisp) you would have a much, much higher level communication protocal. Language bindings for C, C++, what have you would build on the primatives and higher level widigets provided by this X-server plus, and themes and other details would no longer be different because of what language binding you happened to be using. Translating code between languages would also be much easier, since concept names in different languages could all build off of the standard in the server.

Look sometime at the problems people have writing Python bindings for QT. I think the idea of a high level graphical object server with server side theme configuration would take us a long way towards a common desktop look and feel.

Ease of OS installation is key (2, Insightful)

dTronic (927871) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932495)

To take on Microsoft, you'd need an OS that is nearly as easy to install as Windows. It needs to find and auto-configure for common hardware, make reasonable assumptions and continue with the installation without pestering the user unless it's absolutely necessary.

Re:Ease of OS installation is key (3, Insightful)

nagora (177841) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932632)

To take on Microsoft, you'd need an OS that is nearly as easy to install as Windows. It needs to find and auto-configure for common hardware, make reasonable assumptions and continue with the installation without pestering the user unless it's absolutely necessary.

All of which is easy to do in Linux if you do it the same way that 99.99999% of the world's Windows users install Windows: they just buy a machine with it pre-installed and set up for the hardware in the machine.

Windows is not easy to install in the sense of it automatically sensing everything and never having to download drivers etc. But noone cares because almost noone actually ever installs Windows.

And, THAT is why Microsoft leans so hard on people like Dell and others to prevent them selling computers with Linux or even FreeDOS on them.

TWW

My Rant about Progress (1)

bookemdano63 (261600) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932510)

"People avoid change"- I guess that is why this site runs a 45 year old OS.

I don't really care if people avoid change. I want to be the most productive I can be, and I want to help my clients be the most productive they can be.
Becoming more productive means changing. Sometimes the changes mean sacraficing backwards compatability.
I am always amazed how people on this site seem to want to be cutting-edge and state-of-the-art but when the choice comes between new-and-improved, like AMD 64-bit x86 vs Intel Itanium, or new OSes vs 45 year old *nix, there are always complaints about the new architecture being too different.

Do you want progress?

Definite Progress, but at a crawl. (1)

Oz0ne (13272) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932559)

I've been using linux for over a decade. It's a wonderful OS system for servers. The UI has finally started to develop into something nice... but it's still not ready for prime time.

A lot of the things mentioned in the article were mentioned 10 years ago. How much progress have we really made?

Asa Dotzler on Why Linux Isn't Ready (1)

Noksagt (69097) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932573)

I've read Asa Dotzler [slashdot.org] and you, sir, you are no Asa Dotzler. For one thing, he actually had experience with what he was talking about. This isn't to say I agreed with Asa on most points (I do run desktop Linux), but his arguments didn't seem to be from 10 years ago. Has Greg actually run Linux? Which distro? Where are his credentials?

FOSSing VB (5, Insightful)

ChaoticCoyote (195677) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932604)

Microsoft has put most its eggs in the .NET platform and has abandoned tens of thousands of VB developers by pulling support and further development on VB6. There is an opportunity for the open source community to create a VB compatible IDE that could compile applications for both to Windows and Linux. Such an IDE in conjunction with WINE could bring not only applications but also developers to the Linux platform.

He makes it sound so simple, doesn't he?

Writing a complete VB clone isn;t as simple as writing an IDE. VB 6 worked because of the underlying Windows infrastructure — ADO, Access, COM, and all those other acronyms that could be glued together with VB to make an application. VB provides a great environment for hacking together in-house and vertical market applications. It's good for rapid prototyping, too.

The Unix world has some very strong biases that make cloning VB difficult, not the least of which is a general prejudice that all VB code sucks. I've worked in shops with VB programmers (I'm a C++ guy), and saw some darned ugly code; the anti-VB prejudice has some basis in fact. Be that as it may, VB is a powerful force that locks many developers into Windows. If any of this code is to move to Linux, we would need to replicate the entire foundation of acronyms used in VB programs — a daunting task that most Unix-oriented folk will find unpalatable.

In part, Mono was trying to accomplish Windows-Linux interoperability, albeit using .Net as the foundation. Mono, however, does not address the vast quantity of VB 6 applications. And Mono's viability is still open for debate, given Microsoft's proprietary attitudes.

A while back, I was tried to sell the idea of a FOSS Access and VB to several major Linux "players", without success. Perhaps my pitch just wasn't that good, or maybe, just maybe, Unix people really are letting their prejudices get in the way of a Really Good Idea.

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