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Bruce Perens on UserLinux and Ubuntu

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the figurative-figureheads dept.

212

SDenmark writes "Ever wondered what happened to UserLinux, and how it's faring now that Ubuntu has stolen the spotlight? Linux Format has an interview with Bruce Perens, founder of UserLinux, the Open Source Initiative and Linux Standard Base. Perens discusses the impact of Ubuntu, how industry bodies are helping open source and why figureheads are important for the Free Software community."

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Ubuntu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15105485)

That ubuntu... always stealing the spotlight.

Re:Ubuntu (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 8 years ago | (#15106118)

That ubuntu... always stealing the spotlight.

Annoying isn't it. You must work for Novell? ...Red Hat?

Money talks (3, Insightful)

smokeslikeapoet (598750) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105492)

Ubuntu has a huge bankroll behind it. It's great, I use it. But the bankroll helps.

Re:Money talks (1, Informative)

garcia (6573) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105535)

Ubuntu has a huge bankroll behind it. It's great, I use it. But the bankroll helps.

Plenty of Linux distributions have money behind them. Doesn't make them any better than the next. In fact, Debian works just fine for me (and has for several years now).

Re:Money talks (1, Interesting)

LordKazan (558383) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105542)

I tried Ubuntu - it's not great, it's downright crippled

latest version has PAM older than .79 and the latest is .99, the default GCC installed (GCC 4.0) from the default debian repositories cannot build executables, /etc/security/console.perms is missing, /etc/ld.so.conf is missing

that last one was the last straw for me and i proceeded to wipe that ext3 partition and load Fedora Core 5 on it.

For all it's faults atleast things work right with Fedora Core and I can compile mythtv with miniminal effort

Re:Money talks (1, Insightful)

secolactico (519805) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105674)

latest version has PAM older than .79 and the latest is .99, the default GCC installed (GCC 4.0) from the default debian repositories cannot build executables, /etc/security/console.perms is missing, /etc/ld.so.conf is missing

Odd. My Ubuntu didn't have any build tools installed by default. But when I installed then ("apt-get install build-essentials" or somesuch) they all worked without problem. /etc/ld.so.conf was missing, but I simply created a text file with a dir I wanted to include and nothing bad happened.

The thing is... if you care about those files, then maybe Ubuntu is not really the distro for you. If you want to remain debian-based (my reason to choose Ubuntu), try Mepis or Knoppix. Otherwise, your choice of Fedora Core 5 is probably right for you (haven't tried it, but FC2, 3 and 4 work great for me in production environments).

Debian based? (1)

Clinton (798067) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105866)

Not trying to troll here, but if you want to remain Debian based, why not just use Debian?

Re:Money talks (2, Informative)

EnronHaliburton2004 (815366) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105733)

/etc/ld.so.conf is missing

I blieve this is correct, and is also the new Debian-way of doing things. This has never prevented me from compiling anything. Perhaps you are misusing /etc/ld.so.conf ??? /etc/ld.so.conf isn't needed to run the default OS. /lib & /usr/lib are already included in the default library path, and other libraries are cached in /etc/ld.so.cache .

People tend to overuse /etc/ld.so.conf (and LD_LIBRARY_PATH). Perhaps someone at Debian or Ubuntu finally decided to clean up. Good for them.

Re:Money talks (1)

LordKazan (558383) | more than 8 years ago | (#15106133)

crt1.so was missing then I selected the build essentials and it installed gcc4 - i installed gcc 3.something from Adept and it started working.

many multimedia applications require /usr/local/lib to be added to your ld.so.conf

Re:Money talks (1)

nursegirl (914509) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105781)

If you're interested in these build tools, I feel pretty confident in saying that Ubuntu is not for you [penny-arcade.com] .

It really is designed to be a distro for newbies, and it is pretty good at that. If I had a classroom of kids and wanted to teach them basic computer skills, Ubuntu would make sense. Cheaper than buying Macs, easier than supporting Windows, easier to learn and support than many other Linux distros.

Re:Money talks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15105921)

Not sure what "default debian repository" you're talking about there. What happened to the "default ubuntu repository", you know, where the packages that are tested to work on your distribution are? Anyway, Debian Stable's still at gcc-3, and Sid's currently got 4.1 as "standard". As for the other things, old PAM's not that much of a crime as long as they're backporting bugfixes (after all, it would suck if your "bleeding edge" authentication system locked you out of the computer permanently.) and is probably also older than the console.perms file, hence it's "disappearance". And as the other people said, ld.so.conf isn't necessary for the operation of an average computer (all of the Usual Paths have been hardcoded into ld.so for years now).

Re:Money talks (1)

LordKazan (558383) | more than 8 years ago | (#15106181)

i said default "debian" repository because that's the package system you are using.

Old PAM IS a crime when it doesn't support a feature you critically need for what you're doing.

Flame On

Re:Money talks (2, Insightful)

towsonu2003 (928663) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105995)

the default GCC installed (GCC 4.0) from the default debian repositories cannot build executables, /etc/security/console.perms is missing, /etc/ld.so.conf is missing
stop whining and start filing bugs!

Re:Money talks (1)

LordKazan (558383) | more than 8 years ago | (#15106159)

I sholdn't have to file bugs for errors that freaking stupid on a PRODUCTION RELEASE

Like I said - I went back to my favorite distro since it works.

(I was going to use Ubuntu for a mythtv box)

Re:Money talks (1)

towsonu2003 (928663) | more than 8 years ago | (#15106303)

I sholdn't have to file bugs for errors that freaking stupid on a PRODUCTION RELEASE
from my pov, the structure of linux distros give you a chance to increase the quality of the distro you are trying by filing bugs. if you don't like something, rather than ranting about it (no offense), it is better to file a bug. Chances are, that bug will be resolved in the next release, and everyone will be happy. Another alternative is to get feedback from the devels after filing a bug that resulted in "WONTFIX". This is usually accompanied by a reason, and thus you'll know what's not wrong with their implementation.

I personally prefer to file bugs (or post to forums or email developer when no bugzilla is implemented by the distro) in distros I tried and don't even consider to go back/use.

An example would be Slax, and my reason for not going back is simple: I don't have a reason to use a LiveCD... One of their extensions didn't work, and I didn't like their implementation of user accounts (only root, new user cannot be created due to some weird bug, possibly in the filesystem implementation), so I emailed the devel and posted to the forum. They will be fixing the extension and they gave a reason (that it's a LiveCD) for not fixing the issue with non-root accounts.

Re:Money talks (1)

yo_tuco (795102) | more than 8 years ago | (#15106065)

" I tried Ubuntu - it's not great, it's downright crippled"

Yes, the default installation is. Add the Universe and Restricted repositories in /etc/apt/sources.list and then apt-get the distro whipped into shape. I was shocked too that the default didn't bring in compling tools. Or even sshd when you select install as a sever... sigh. But, hey, you get alsa when you select install as a server. Just what you need for that config, right?

Re:Money talks (1)

bwcarty (660606) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105681)

How can I gain access to that huge bankroll, too? It does sound great!

Re:Money talks (4, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105713)

Ubuntu also has newbie love.

i have tried over the years to convert many loved ones and friends to linux. It failed because of the "hard" factor.

Every single one of them LOVE Ubuntu and will not switch back to windows. Why? installing new software is brain dead easy... Far easier than windows and MAC os has ever been, plus they all do not care about running brand name apps but simply something that works.

The biggest thing they all love, no viruses and no spyware.
 

Re:Money talks (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 8 years ago | (#15106571)

Because I honestly don't know, how is software installed in Ubuntu? Is is that diff. from other major distros?

Re:Money talks (1)

dsginter (104154) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105756)

Money talks indeed.

My primary concern is how it will begin talking from the other side of the table. Case in point, intellectual property [slashdot.org] . Now, I'm no fan of the state of our patent system but this discussion was interesting because not a single person brought up the issue of legality. Now, Ballmer recently hinted [forbes.com] that Microsoft are putting together an IP war against Linux.

I work for a pretty large company so management is very conservative (side note, I do realize that those aren't mutual - its just the norm). One of the big items on the agenda is the outcome of the SCO/IBM litigation. Simply, management have pinned their decision to implement Linux *bigtime* on the outcome of this case. If SCO loses, then Linux gets a big customer. If SCO wins, then Microsoft maintains their existing customer. I would imagine that many other large businesses fall into this same boat.

If SCO loses, I'll bet that Microsoft will unleash a war on Linux. If this happens, I would like to see the ducks in a row. How much would it cost me to *buy* a version of Ubuntu with complete support for MP3, video, flash and all that other crap? The only reason that I use Linux at all is because EasyUbuntu [freecontrib.org] makes it painless. Yes - I realize that I could go buy Mandrake or Suse but neither of those appeals to me like Ubuntu.

Yes - it seems easy enough to uncomment a few lines and claim that I'm a local resident of Catalunya, but it would be nice to see someone putting money into this side of the equation.

Re:Money talks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15106009)

AFAIK, Linspire and Xandros and perhaps some others come with those closed source features out of the box (legally), and you can buy them and buy support. You don't need to wait for ubunutu and use wink wink nod nod servers hosted over in lower elbownia to get DVD and mp3 playback, etc. They went ahead and paid the fees associated, for example I think the fee for MP3 from fraunhoffer is 50 grand unlimited. Any distro could do that, most don't bother and are treading on thin ice (in the US and some places) when it is offered in the "weird" repositories.

OSDL Desktop Linux (3, Informative)

anandpur (303114) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105505)

Why not help? http://www.osdl.org/lab_activities/desktop_linux/ [osdl.org]

BP:Well, some of the industry bodies try to help open source. OSDL is actually handicapped in one very important way, which is that the majority of OSDL's membership have a conflict of interest where the agenda of open source is concerned.

Re:OSDL Desktop Linux (1)

nutshell42 (557890) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105587)

Why not help?

Because imho Desktop Linux always had the feel of a publicity stunt/political exercise.

I got sick of all the Ubuntu hype (WOW!!!1 With Ubuntu Randy Rabbit stuff "just works"... half as good as in Fedora or SuSE 5 years ago!!~! Ubuntu is like the bestest thing evaRR!! OMGPonies!! - admittedly that got better over time - just like it did with other hyped distros like Gentoo - and *Ubuntu* got better over time so now it can live up to the hype - mostly - which in itself makes it much less annoying) early on but Ubuntu nevertheless always tried to become a better (the best) distro first; the hype, the big statements about the future of mankind and all that stuff was secondary. IMHO that was different with User Linux

Perhaps I just don't like Bruce Perens =)

Re:OSDL Desktop Linux (1)

ReluctantBadger (550830) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105740)

"Perhaps I just don't like Bruce Perens =)"

Don't worry, you're not alone.

Re:OSDL Desktop Linux (1)

ThePhilips (752041) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105840)

I can hardly disagree with you on Ubuntu v. FC/SUSE.

As to the BP with User Linux (PR, "IMHO that was different with User Linux" remark) again it was different. User Linux project is *commercial* project. It's targeted at vendors. It's sort'a like OEM version of Linux. Successful or not - different matter. As any commercial project, it can't live w/o advertisement.

Commericial distros need ads to create demand. Community distros need no advertisement since they are created due to lack of acceptable offerings. It's simple as that.

Anyway, Linux was created to allow for more choices in software. We now have more of them. BP tries to achieve something - and that's fine with me. The proportion of his talks to his deeds is still above one. I do not like people who talk more than they do - e.g. RMS - but I guess it's the same to everybody else.

P.S. Amongst all Linux luminaries, I like BP most. Please also note I do not include Torwalds on the long list of Linux luminaries - the Gods and the Semigods are on different list ;-)

Figureheads? Let's do it Hollywood style (3, Interesting)

TheSpatulaOfLove (966301) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105526)

Figureheads are useles unless they're glamorous. I can see it now - (Pick your favorite Hollywood Floozie) dressed in a business suit touting the wonders of (favorite flavor Linux). Marketing speaks to mouth-breathers.

I can see it now. (5, Funny)

slashbob22 (918040) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105593)

Fear and Loathing in La SuSE (They've got the lizards, just need some product placement).
Honey I Shrunk the Embedded Ubuntu.
Star Wars XV: Attack of the CentOS (Didn't this happen in Tuttle, OK?)
Miss Fedora Universe (Make the Geeks go crazy for models in Fedoras)
A Beautiful Distro (A Linspiring movie)

OK, I am done. But why not have product placement, much like Apple has done in popular culture for the past few years.

Re:I can see it now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15105736)

"(They've got the lizards, just need some product placement)."

Did you just save $500 on your car insurance?

"Honey I Shrunk the Embedded Ubuntu."

If you are embedded and find that your ubuntu is shrunken, I have about 7,000 C$IALIS and V1A6RA spams I can forward to you to give you ideas on solving your problem.

"OK, I am done. But why not have product placement, much like Apple has done in popular culture for the past few years"

Negotiations are already underway to turn Manny in "Ice Age 3" into a giant billboard for the forthcoming "Mopey Mammoth' ubuntu build.

"Star Wars XV: Attack of the CentOS (Didn't this happen in Tuttle, OK?)"

Begin, this OS war has.

"Miss Fedora Universe (Make the Geeks go crazy for models in Fedoras)
A Beautiful Distro (A Linspiring movie)"

Is that a secret level in the new Godfather game?

Re:I can see it now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15106237)

You forgot The Adventures of Mandriva, Queen of the Desert.

Re:Figureheads? Let's do it Hollywood style (1)

PenguinBoyDave (806137) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105633)

I can see how you could put that statement to Stallman...

Re:Figureheads? Let's do it Hollywood style (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15105685)

Agree 100% Its only the figure heads that think they are important... the rest just reads their rant once in a while and ignore them.

Bruce Perens (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15105556)

It's time that people open their eyes and realize that Bruce Parens is nothing more than a self absorbed head line grabbing nutter with opinions that have as little value as the sense they make. He's nothing more than a blathering histrionic like this guy RMS who spends most of his time fantasizing about Fidel Castro and picking fleas out of his beard. Paren's time is past, he is now just a passé footnote to history. Time to move on.

How did this thing modded insightfull ?! (0, Offtopic)

Alphager (957739) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105672)

Hopefully, someone meta-moderates the persons responsible for it.

Re:How did this thing modded insightfull ?! (1)

Homestar Breadmaker (962113) | more than 8 years ago | (#15106158)

Probably because its true?

I used to use aol cds.. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15105584)

Now I use Ubuntu cds for coasters.

What is Userlinux? (5, Informative)

EnronHaliburton2004 (815366) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105604)

Not to be an ass, but what is Userlinux? Is it a Linux Distro? There is no obvious description on the Userlinux webpage. People like to blame Ubuntu for stealing the spotlight, but Ubuntu fame isn't preventing anyone from putting up a quick blurb describing "Userlinux".

Every open source project should have a quick 2 line description at the top of the webpage. It shouldn't take me 6 clicks to get a BASIC description of your project.

Before you criticize, here's what I did:



I still have no idea what UserLinux is. And that was what, 7 clicks?

Compare this to Ubuntu.com. It took me 10 seconds to read the 2 line blurb at http://www.ubuntu.com/ [ubuntu.com] :

"Ubuntu is a complete Linux-based operating system, freely available with both community and professional support. It is developed by a large community and we invite you to participate too!

Re:What is Userlinux? (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105634)

http://www.userlinux.com/ directs me to http://www.userlinux.com/cgi-bin/wiki.pl [userlinux.com] ...

Great, so I click on http://www.userlinux.com/ [userlinux.com] and end up back at http://www.userlinux.com/cgi-bin/wiki.pl [userlinux.com] . No luck there!

Good old GNU technology ;)

Re:What is Userlinux? (4, Informative)

data64 (300466) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105669)

Not to be an ass, but what is Userlinux?

See UserLinux description on Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] . And I do agree with you, there should be a better description on Userlinux.com website. I still don't know why one would use UserLinux rather than Ubuntu.

Re:What is Userlinux? (3, Interesting)

data64 (300466) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105795)

Interestingly enough, its listed under Inactive or Discontinued distributions [wikipedia.org] on Wikipedia.

Re:What is Userlinux? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15105910)

That's because it has been inactive for a very long time. In the article, Bruce says that he will try to get back to it.

Re:What is Userlinux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15105812)

Userlinux was/is a way for BP to sell his consulting services. When he didn't make much off of it he pushed it off to the side.

Notice how every article he agress to has multiple closeups of him? It isn't about Linux it is about BP - if Sun would pay him more he would start supporting Open Solaris.

Re:What is Userlinux? (4, Informative)

int14 (559258) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105907)

I just went to the UserLinux FAQ [userlinux.com] looking for the question, 'What is UserLinux?', and I was going to be all smug and reply with some 'read the FAQ you fool' type comment...

but then I realized...

They don't even have that question on the FAQ. Wow, so yea, you're absolutely right.

Re:What is Userlinux? (2, Insightful)

TDO48 (248810) | more than 8 years ago | (#15106060)

I like your comment... actually happends with sooo many open source software: instead of having a quick description of 2-3 lines on the main page that explains the project, we usually find some news/revision history/CVS update or some general blurb saying something about free, hosting, etc.

Somehow in science we learn to convey the key message of an article in its abstract... but apparently in OSS sometimes this is not the case. And without clear description of what is the stuff about, well... unless you've time to loose...

Of course having the news or revision history on the front page is certainly interesting for those guys who know what is the project about, but in this case we might also argue that they could link to whateverproject.org/news and leave the general description on the main page for the casual visitors.

a BASIC description (1)

greenguy (162630) | more than 8 years ago | (#15106189)

10 REM a BASIC description
20 PRINT "UserLinux is a Linux distribution that aims to provide businesses with a freely"
30 PRINT "available, high quality operating system accompanied by certifications, service, and"
40 PRINT "support options designed to encourage productivity and security while reducing overall"
45 PRINT "costs."
50 PRINT ""
60 PRINT "The project was initiated by Bruce Perens in late 2003. It is based on Debian and GNOME."
70 END

Try Wikipedia Next Time. (2)

twitter (104583) | more than 8 years ago | (#15106513)

UserLinux [wikipedia.org] .

I say (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15105612)

F bruce

mod me down u idiots.

UserLinux (2, Interesting)

bhirsch (785803) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105636)

Correct me if I am wrong, but wasn't UserLinux just sarge (when it was testing) pinning some sid packages? I honestly don't remember it being anything terribly more substantial than that along with some convenient metapackages like graphical-desktop-environment and enterprise-server.

When Perens announced at the Desktop Linux conference in MA a few years ago, it sounded like a pretty half-baked idea.

Re:UserLinux (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15105955)

It's a Bruce Perens vanity project that didn't take off. It didn't cause the desired effect which was a giant Bruce Perens masturbation fest. Bruce is a publicity whore who has been skating on accomplishments of a long long time ago, he would very much like you to buy him a fast new car that you can give him blow jobs in. Enjoy.

Re:UserLinux (1)

bhirsch (785803) | more than 8 years ago | (#15106227)

I think that was basically my underlying sentiment.

I'm a User and I'm not impressed. (1)

ukemike (956477) | more than 8 years ago | (#15106184)

I inherited a neat IBM PC with the CPU is in the base of the LCD screen. It had win98 was nightmarishly slow with some problem that caused it to access the HD every 10 seconds even when idling. I decided to do my first Linux install. I got Ubuntu, and wow it runs so smoothly and is nicely designed. Of course the machine's main purpose is to play DVDs for my son. Who would have thought that would be such a problem. Now I've been pouring over wikis trying to figure out what a package is, which one to download just to do something really simple. So it's a dual booter and we still use win98 because the DVD player program works. I'm not some fuzzy brained highschool drop out. I'm an engineer, I built my last PC, and I hate paying for software. I'm the natural market for a "user linux," and I'm telling you it's getting close but it ain't there yet! On a positive note, the IBM machine is more like a laptop, in terms of the gear inside and Ubuntu installed flawlessly and runs much better than the OS it shipped with.

IMHO, Linux is just a mess. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15105661)

59 gazillion distros, with different file system layouts, default compiler options blah blah woof woof. Linux is just a nightmare for me. In 2004 I used to use a mixture of Gentoo and a couple of other distros, but got sick and tired of the ever changing baseline which meant using it as a workstation became an impossible proposition for me to actually get any work done.

My workstation is now a locked down install of Solaris 10 on a dual-proc Blade 2000 and all my servers are running OpenBSD-STABLE. No pointless faffing with crappy configuration issues and when I switch the power on I get rock solid secure boxes that stay up and running. No conflicts, no crashes, no module problems.

Mod me -1 Troll, but that is my experience with Linux and no amount of angry moderation will change that.

Re:IMHO, Linux is just a mess. (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 8 years ago | (#15106565)

59 gazillion distros, with different file system layouts, default compiler options blah blah woof woof. Linux is just a nightmare for me.

It's only a mess if you're the kind of person who can't resist the siren call of "something other than what works for me, currently." Fortunately, this doesn't include the bulk of the human race.

Ubuntu...why is it so special? (1)

PenguinBoyDave (806137) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105686)

I don't mean to sound like a troll here...I am asking because I just don't know. I have used Ubuntu and I didn't like it. Xandros...I like that. Debian...my primary Desktop. Ubuntu...I just don't see what has people so excited about it. Can someone help me see what I am missing here. If it is better, help me see the light.

Re: Ubuntu...why is it so special? (1)

uglyduckling (103926) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105764)

Ubuntu does now what we all hope Debian will do in six months... or 1 year... or 6 years... I've been using Debian for nearly eight years now, and for the first four it was my desktop OS as well as my server OS. Then I started getting fed up with the number of packages I needed to use from backports or unstable to get a fairly up-to-date Gnome desktop, Firefox/Mozilla, video player etc., and how often it would break because of the number of packages coming from different sources. I used Mandrake for a while but couldn't stand it. Then I tried Ubuntu. Everything I need for a decent multi-purpose workstation/desktop, fairly up-to-date, good community support, software updates rarely break anything. It's still properly Free Software so I get the warm fuzzy feeling. All pros and no cons. And they contribute back to Debian. I can't understand how anyone would want to use Debian stable in preference to Ubuntu.

Re: Ubuntu...why is it so special? (1)

xoundmind (932373) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105783)

Special? It seems almost unusable as a desktop OS. Unless you install the new-ish Xubuntu, which utulizes XFCE with all of the GTK stuff set up for you. I tried it again on my 2.4/512 machine and it took forever for any apps. to open and load in Gnome. The KDE side wasn't any better.

Re: Ubuntu...why is it so special? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15106235)

Strange, I have a 1.2Ghz Duron, 512MB RAM, and it seems fine and very fast to me, both right after install and now.

Re: Ubuntu...why is it so special? (1)

hahiss (696716) | more than 8 years ago | (#15106482)

FWIW: Ubuntu runs fine on my 5 year old iBook (G3, 500mhz, 384 megs ram). . . . Maybe Apple was right about the megahertz myth.

Of course at this point I don't use GNOME (or any other WIMP window manager) because it/they just get in the way. But that's another post for another day.

(As an aside, you do know that xfce is available through the universe repository, correct?)

Re: Ubuntu...why is it so special? (1)

EnronHaliburton2004 (815366) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105791)

It's easier to configure then Debian, has a nice user interface and has included modern packages like 'x.org' and 'PHP5' for quite some time now. Ubuntu isn't for everyone, but that's fine. That's why you have Debian and other distros.

Myself, I use Ubuntu for my desktop because it is easy to install, configure & upgrade. The install was painless. With Debian, I found that I spent too much time trying to get my video card working, managing packages, and searching for modern packages on 3rd party websites. During Install I'll get stuck at some screen and need to search the web from a different computer to check for some wierd setting.

When I last checked 5-6 months ago, Debian stable was still using PHP4 as the default. PHP5 came out in what, 2004? x.org isn't slated for Debian stable until the next major release, right?

Debian is probably a fine server OS, but for my desktop & home servers I want something more modern.

Re: Ubuntu...why is it so special? (1)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105906)

With Debian, I found that I spent too much time trying to get my video card working, managing packages, and searching for modern packages on 3rd party websites.
Actually, Ubuntu didn't do much better when I tried it. Why can't the Linux distros just recognize my hardware?! buhuu.. :-( It seems like there is always some hardware component for me that doesn't work out of the box. And if it's the network card, it's difficult to fix. I would gladly burn a whole pile of discs full of drivers before installation, if that's what it takes, to be sure the installation process would set everything up for me.

Re: Ubuntu...why is it so special? (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#15106087)

It's easier to configure then Debian, has a nice user interface and has included modern packages like 'x.org' and 'PHP5' for quite some time now.

Like Fedora Core ... 4? Thats the grandparent's point. Theres 100 distros that have up to date packages. Whats so great about Ubuntu that have people crazy about it? I don't get it either. OK, I can see Ubuntu over Debian, but why over (other_distro)?

Re: Ubuntu...why is it so special? (1)

soupdevil (587476) | more than 8 years ago | (#15106373)

If you're going to be a desktop Linux newbie, with any distro, you're going to have to ask stupid questions on forums. The Ubuntu forums are informative, and by far the friendliest that I have encountered. After some forum-surfing, that's why I chose Ubuntu over Suse or Fedora. Mandriva is under too much turmoil, and Mepix didn't seem like it had a large/stable organization behind it.

Re: Ubuntu...why is it so special? (3, Informative)

uglyduckling (103926) | more than 8 years ago | (#15106436)

Like Fedora Core ... 4? Thats the grandparent's point. Theres 100 distros that have up to date packages. Whats so great about Ubuntu that have people crazy about it?

Because there are a lot of people - myself included - who have used Debian for a long time. We like it for various reasons including it's proper Free-(as in speech)-ness, the apt/dpkg package management system, the fairly hands-on approach to system configuration and all sorts of other reasons that vary from person to person. The biggest problem with Debian is that it sucks as a desktop distro because it's too out of date. Ubuntu gives those of us that are long-term Debian fans what we need on the desktop without sacrificing what we love about Debian - except, arguably, a certain level of stability since Debian stable is tested like crazy.

To put it another way, here's why I don't use a selection of other distros: Redhat - too commercial, Suse - ditto, Fedora - can't stand the package management, Mandriva - ditto, Gentoo - would rather spend my time configuring the package well rather than compiling it. I have Debian on my server and love it, and have the closest thing to Debian on my desktop.

Re: Ubuntu...why is it so special? (1)

kherrick (843877) | more than 8 years ago | (#15106273)

If you are okay with Debian unstable, use Kanotix http://kanotix.com/index.php?&newlang=eng [kanotix.com]

It is by far the easiest distro I have ever used... over and above Ubuntu, Fedora, Suse or Mandrake. It almost auto configured everything, and I have a hard time thinking about using anything else... it's just too dead simple.

Re: Ubuntu...why is it so special? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15105803)

To quote another Anonymous Coward

"it just works"

Re: Ubuntu...why is it so special? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15105809)

Ubuntu appeals to people who like the combination of a distro that is completely free, stable, easy to install/configure, and popular.

Re: Ubuntu...why is it so special? (1)

r0dzilla (714082) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105858)

I don't like Ubuntu either, I tried to use it, I really have. I even tried kubuntu since I've been using KDE more lately. I just don't like the way it's setup and I don't like what they did with root.

Give me Gentoo any day or Fedora for a faster setup.

Re: Ubuntu...why is it so special? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15106228)

You're a retard. sudo is the right way to do things.

Re: Ubuntu...why is it so special? (1)

Criterion (51515) | more than 8 years ago | (#15106441)

"You're a retard. sudo is the right way to do things."

So sayeth the anonymous coward. I prefer that if someone were to somehow gain my user password that it doesn't automatically entitle them to root access.

Re: Ubuntu...why is it so special? (0)

LiLWiP (918943) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105919)

I have been using Ubuntu on my Toshiba Satellite laptop for about 6 months. Ease of installation and updating packages is what makes it great. The problem I have is that it takes longer to load programs than Windows ME! No drivers for my linksys card so I have to use ndiswrapper with NET8180 drivers to get my wireless connection to work. It takes longer than Windows 98 to boot... All of this combined is forcing me to go with either a different distro or put Windows back on the machine. I will probably opt for Windows because my wife wants to use the lappy for work and Linux is not user friendly enough for her. Not to mention she can't use most of the programs she needs for the projects she is working on (MS Project, MS Visio, etc...)

UserLinux was never going to work (5, Informative)

ProteusQ (665382) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105699)

I remember being on the mailing list years ago. The conversations with Bruce can be summarized this way:

BRUCE: I can't tell you who I'm working for, but there's a lot of money behind this project. So, we have to be serious about this. What should we call this distro?

BOB: SuperLinux!

FRED: Enterprise-D Linux!

ELMER: CoolNIX!

BRUCE: No, no, no! You have to be serious about this! There's a lot of money behind this project. I can't tell you whose money, but we have to come up with a name for our distro that they'll like!

FRED: If they have that much money, why don't *they* pick a name?

BRUCE: I want this to be a community effort! How about 'UserLinux'?

FRED: Boring.

BOB: Generic.

ELMER: Ditto that.

BRUCE: But the community has to be serious about this! There's a lot of money behind this, and the companies that I can't name won't use Linux without a professionally named distro!

ELMER: So, this is a community effort, but the decisions will be made by fiat?

BRUCE: No, the community has to be a part of this. Now, KDE or GNOME? My clients only want GNOME. What do you think?

ELMER: That we should take this seriously because there's a lot of money behind this project from companies you can't name?

BRUCE: Exactly! So, KDE is out!

Eventually, there was a big rumble and KDE got shoved back in. I dropped the list some time after that, because it was clear that the community was meant to rubber-stamp a project that some large companies wanted to produce on the cheap.

Re:UserLinux was never going to work (1)

atoms (15027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105994)

Sounded pretty bad until I got to the "KDE is out" part.

Re:UserLinux was never going to work (3, Interesting)

Ploum (632141) | more than 8 years ago | (#15106476)

I was on the UserLinux since the beginning and it's absolutely true. Please mod this as "informative", not "funny" !

In fact, the mailing list was more grumbling about the logo and the name than anything else. The only constructive work was done by an Italian guy who did the paperplane logo because he tought it was a good idea (and it was right).

Then, for the next two months, everyone was discussing the color of the plane, if it must point to left or right.

After 6 months of effort, we had ... a paperplane ! woohoo !

Times change, people don't (3, Insightful)

Itsacon (967006) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105700)

I still think it's funny how there's a new `Holy War' between Linux distros every few months.
`Back in the day' when I had my first experience with Linux, you had the Red Hat Camp vs the SuSe Camp. (Real hackers used Slackware then, btw).
Then Red hat became the evil empire, people started yelling `Debian' at each other, while SuSe became something you didn't talk about.
Around then Mandrake finally made a proper installer (albeit a very limited one if you knew what you wanted) and raked in Windows users by the dozen.
Then that position was attacked by Lindows(C), which was so effective it got in trouble with Redmond itself.
In the meantime, Red Hat looked out of the Windows (pun inteded) and started to make some money. So they started Fedora to keep the free code coming (and stay somewhat compliant to the GNU GPL). And Debian went out of the picture again.

Now I'm hearing Ubuntu on all sides (still sounds like an African dictator to me, but whatever), while my work PC suddenly runs CentOS (where did that one come from?).

UserLinux? Never heard of it either, so must have been a pretty weak spotlight in the first place...

Wonder what the next `Must-have-distro' will be.

I'll make the switch when they stick to one for more than a year, until then, I'll use Windows and BSD.

Just my $0.02...

Re:Times change, people don't (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105881)

CentOS has never been a must have. Too bad really it is a very good choice for a server. It is basicly Red Hat Enterprise but free.
You left out Knoppix and Gentoo from your must have super buzz distro list.

Of course the good thing is each of those distros actually brought something inovative to Linux. The only holy wars left now comes down to desktops Gnome vs KDE vs something fast and light and package systems apt-get vs emerge vs yum and or yast.

BTW if you think that only Linux has these issues you must not have used Windows very long. I rember when die hard DOS people would tell you Windows sucked, then Windows 95 was faster then Windows 98, then we had Windows ME which did suck. Then Windows 2000s users saying that w2k was as good as XP but faster which was true. Now you have the rabid Windows user claiming that Vista will be GREAT but they have never used it.
Holy wars and computers go hand in hand. The sad thing is they are all wrong! The Amiga was the truly great computer!

Re:Times change, people don't (1)

Itsacon (967006) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105957)

> You left out Knoppix and Gentoo from your must have super buzz distro list.

I knew I was forgetting something!!
Knoppix is actually one of the distros I DO regulary use. When some WinXP system has crashed again and people have been saving data on their system drive so they don't want to do proper reinstall...

As for different Windows versions, I agree it's a bit the same, but that's talking about different versions, I've seldom heard people shout at each other on which Linux Kernel to use :-P
It's true though, I'm a sucker for Win2k :-)

And VI is better than EMACS!

Re:Times change, people don't (2, Informative)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105956)

You also forgot about Corel's version of Linux, which was supposed to be the first real user friendly Linux that embedded WINE to allow native support of Windows applications (namely, Corel's CorelDRAW suite and WordPerfect).

True, I do agree, Linux distros come and go, but the OS never really takes off. They need one Distro to rule them all, but the Linux camp is so disorganized and filled with too many individuals trying to be the hero that Linux will never be an effective replacement or competitor to Windows. Until you get ALL linux developers concentrating on ONE Linux distro, the very fact that there are 100+ camps will mean Linux will never succeed as a workstation platform. Each distro has its unique claim to fame, but if you had one distribution with ALL these claims, then that would be impressive.

Re:Times change, people don't (1)

swordfish666 (518548) | more than 8 years ago | (#15106176)

If read "Just for Fun" by Linus you will see where/why Linux failed to take over. Linus did not want to take sides which is is right. But if he had chossen a camp back in 1996/1997 like RedHat or SuSE that distro would be one every desktop and and Vista would be a pipe dream.

Re:Times change, people don't (1)

Dansteeleuk (967617) | more than 8 years ago | (#15106377)

But each new Distro brings something to the table, and they each take things from other Distros. We don't need one Distro to Rule them All - as soon as that happens development will slow. Just let everyone make their own toys, then five, or maybe ten years from now everyone will have them all installed as instances in Xen, and all you'll have to do is run the VoltronLinux System Builder to combine them into one market-shattering UberOS. VoltronLinux. You heard it here first.

Re:Times change, people don't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15105968)

Meh, it's just you.

Me:
1. Slackware in the beginning (this is back in the 1.0 days, 13+ years ago). Basically there wasn't anything else.
2. Debian (apt, huge repository)
3. Ubuntu (finally what Debian should have been; still apt; still huge repository but now it's up to date without breaking your system and easy to install and use; closest thing to Windows/OS X popularity and ease of use; all without being anything like Windows or OS X)

A natural progression.

Now, I have tried most distros at one point or another (tried, but not made my primary desktop). Anyone worth their salt could tell all those other distros sucked. RedHat (and everything based on it)? Pffft, how many things can you do differently from every other UNIX-like distro on the planet and still call it Linux?! Gentoo? Pluuease, compiling everything from scratch is so 10 years ago.

Re:Times change, people don't (1)

Karma Farmer (595141) | more than 8 years ago | (#15106040)

Slackware in the beginning (this is back in the 1.0 days, 13+ years ago). Basically there wasn't anything else.

You came to linux fairly late, then.

There were several distributions before slackware. In fact, more than a handful of people ran linux even before ready-to-install distributions existed.

Re:Times change, people don't (1)

Criterion (51515) | more than 8 years ago | (#15106488)

Note to Karma Farmer, there is a difference between not knowing about something at it's earliest onset, and being late to the party. I think it's a bit absurd to think that someone who used Slackware at ver 1.0 as coming "to linux fairly late". Please adjust your perception to the true reality field.

Re:Times change, people don't (2, Funny)

mccalli (323026) | more than 8 years ago | (#15106022)

...my work PC suddenly runs CentOS (where did that one come from?).

Tuttle.

Cheers,
Ian

Re:Times change, people don't (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 8 years ago | (#15106508)

I still think it's funny how there's a new `Holy War' between Linux distros every few months.

Well, every time there's a Columbus' egg [wikipedia.org] all the other Linux distros scramble and do it. Despite what all the "one Linux desktop" people want, it's just not going to happen. Imagine that for a little while your distro of choice got a helluva lot of traction, set some groundbreaking standards and united all of Linux desktops under one banner - a rather unlikely prospect to begin with.

What's going to happen? Ten new distros are going to fork off from that, each taking it in some new direction because well... they think their way is better. Imagine you took a current distro back five years in a time machine. Obviously it's vastly superior to contemporary distros and wipe all the old ones off the market. Fast forward five years. Think there'd still be one distro? Hell no.

What you're seeing is the competitiveness of Open Source. You can't just sit around and ship a five year old OS and make free money, like certain Redmond-based companies. If you want to keep your distro popular, you need to improve it constantly, with emphasis on constantly. Because at any time there are competitors breathing down your neck, trying to push your distro out and replace it with their own. It's pretty much a textbook case of free market economy without barriers to entry.

Re:Times change, people don't (3, Funny)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 8 years ago | (#15106582)

I'll make the switch when they stick to one for more than a year, until then, I'll use Windows and BSD.

Alas, poor wretch. Then misfortune shall be thy lot.

Best (5, Funny)

AlterTick (665659) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105722)

This is all too confusing. Can't someone just cut to the chase and tell me what the best Linux distro is?

Re:Best (1)

zpeterz63 (851922) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105864)

That's not possible. Much like ice cream, the "best" Linux distro depends on the tastes of the individual. Do you want plain chocolate ice cream with it's simplicity and warm feeling of security (minimalist distro)? Do you want a bowl (full install), or would you perfer a cone where once you're done you eat the dish itself and nothing is left behing (live CD)? Do you want sprinkles and all sorts of fun toppings (a "pretty" distro)? It all depends on personal tastes and what is the "best" distro for one person may not meet the needs of the next.

Re:Best (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15106357)

His post was a joke you stupid faggot and your little condescending metaphor is fucking terrible

Re:Best (1)

Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105899)

Cygwin.

Re:Best (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 8 years ago | (#15106592)

first define "best"... then we can help you... :)

A wise Linux guru (3, Informative)

january (906774) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105724)

I am amazed how pragmatic Bruce Perens is. His paper on the economy of Open Source is much better -- both in terms of being concise, as in terms of being correct -- than anything I ever heard from some other Open Source or Free Software Gurus.

I highly recommend http://perens.com/Articles/Economic.html [perens.com] this paper to anyone who has not read it yet. It is much more interesting than the interview itself (which is short, and, in my opinion, quite uninteresting given the experience and knowledge of Bruce Perence -- the interviewer(s) did not get as much of him as they could have).

The article is quite long, but very well researched, and definitely worth spending some time on it.

Cheers,
j.

Re:A wise Linux guru (1)

Clansman (6514) | more than 8 years ago | (#15106341)

The interview is short because it is an extract. You have to buy the magazine to get the rest of the interview.

Perens was misquoted (1)

fortunatus (445210) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105926)

i'd just like to point out, the large black lettered quote saying, "I don't feel Linux is the right fit for the enterprise," is a MISQUOTE.

in the article he said:

"I don't feel that Linux is the right fit for a profit-making enterprise."

and the context is that it's hard to make money by distributing a Linux distro.

Re:Perens was misquoted (1)

Itsacon (967006) | more than 8 years ago | (#15106049)

> i'd just like to point out, the large black lettered quote saying, "I don't feel Linux is the right fit for the enterprise," is a MISQUOTE.

Actually, I know that many Navy ships use Solaris, don't know for sure about the Enterprise though... :-D

News Flash.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15105937)

....who gives a shit??

Holy misleading excerpt, Batman! (3, Insightful)

dougmc (70836) | more than 8 years ago | (#15106023)

There's a nice little excerpt in the article, in bold, that says this --
"I don't believe that Linux distributions are a natural fit for the enterprise."
... which seems a strange statement for Bruce to be making. But then I read the article, and see that what he really said is this --
BP: I actually considered going to work with Canonical when Mark [Shuttleworth] was starting it, and there were a couple of problems with that. I think that Mark is eventually interested in having a successful and profitable company, and I don't believe that Linux distributions are a natural fit for for- profit enterprise. Indeed, if you go on my website I have a very long paper on the economics of open source, and one of the things that you can derive from that is the fact that open source works almost worst for a for-profit Linux distribution.
Which isn't completely clear, but it seems that Bruce is saying that making a Linux distribution is not a good way to make money. The excerpt that they took makes it sound he's saying that Linux isn't good to use in a business. (And it's made worse in that they edited his words -- they took out `for-profit', which helped qualify his statement a bit.)

In any event, the writer should consider himself chastized. Excerpts like that are only useful if they give you an idea of what the article is about, and in this case it says (when taken out of context and then edited) something totally different than what the person who said those words meant.

a lot of people seem a little... disillusioned. (1)

nowhere.elysium (924845) | more than 8 years ago | (#15106074)

i've read a few posts saying 'what's the fuss about ubuntu?' - i have to admit, i kinda agree. i use ubuntu, and it's nice. it's not the XP-killer that it's touted as, but it's (almost) a nice parallel. there's still the hardware support issues to deal with, and, of course, the windows-only software doesn't yet entirely have linux-based equivalents. so; it's not gonna take over. yet. the main point of appeal for me is that ubuntu has debian's core, with a more up-to-date series of updates available. it's still a little slow, though; it only updates as far as 2.6.12, last i checked (about a week ago) - i had to learn how to patch and compile a kernel to get up to date, and improve hardware compatibility on my laptop. it's still not perfect, but it's better. incidentally; before i get labelled a n00b - i'm an OSX/windows technician - i don't have to support linux; it's a personal hobby. i honestly think it's going to all level itself out as a competition (in large terms; don't declare a holy war at me) between fedora, ubuntu, and maybe suse. obviously, the other distros will definitely survive, but i'm talking in terms of the larger game here. however, the hype that ubuntu is totally idiot-proof is not entirely true. you *do* still have to put in a fair bit of work to get it running up to speed, especially when it involves laptops, or proprietary hardware. i like ubuntu, but it's not perfect. nor has anyone got the right to say that it is.

Ubuntu is not quite ready for prime time (IMO) (1, Insightful)

blueZ3 (744446) | more than 8 years ago | (#15106164)

I've installed Ubuntu three times now to see if I could get Windows off the one non-gaming machine left in my house that's still running it. So far, no luck. Several problems I've been able to solve myself, but there were a couple of glaring issues that made me think I wouldn't install Ubuntu on a machine for a noob.

First, the support for USB devices is spotty. I've got four or five different USB tools that I regularly use (WiFi, Bluetooth, Card reader, USB key, etc.) and only the USB key was recognized right off. Since Ubuntu relies on network connectivity for getting drivers, I had to go through the annoying process of finding a USB WiFi driver on my PowerBook and then moving it over. Not good. You'd think that an OS that practially requires a network connection to be useful would provide the widest possible array of network device drivers, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

The most egregious error, though, was the hardware device database tool. Tabbing through the controls on the dialog boxes allows you to edit the dialog box text. Just as an info point: you shouldn't be able to edit the interface text in a modal dialog box. That's a Bad Thing®. Worse, could someone explain why you can't use the keyboard to select options in the mouse dialog? How exactly am I supposed to tell you I'm having trouble with my serial mouse if I have to use a mouse to select an option other than "works fine"? Sigh.

I really want to like Ubuntu. I have an install at work that I use when I want to fiddle around with Unix text files in an easy way. But I don't think it's to the point where I could give someone a CD and tell them "have fun". Too bad, because I have some less tech-savvy folks I would love to help.

Re:Ubuntu is not quite ready for prime time (IMO) (1)

Alioth (221270) | more than 8 years ago | (#15106277)

The Wifi problem is a general issue with the Linux kernel as a whole rather than a specific issue with Ubuntu. The state of wireless in Linux is pretty bad. This is largely due to the manufacturers - they won't even release specs let alone release a driver for Linux - so you have to be very picky about which wifi dongle you use.
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