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73 comments

Kubuntu Kinte, I've found you! (3, Funny)

Orrin Bloquy (898571) | more than 7 years ago | (#15160686)

Dear god, I'm sorry I wrote that.

Re:Kubuntu Kinte, I've found you! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15160727)

Have you found your r00ts yet?

linux is good, very good, we're THIS close! (4, Interesting)

yagu (721525) | more than 7 years ago | (#15160693)

A good introduction. I have to chuckle a bit at the Fragmentation section, not because it's not valid but because I've always marveled anyone got away with trying to banish Un*x with it.

Even at its most fragmented (IBM/AIX, are you listening?) I was still able to sit down in front of any flavor Un*x and be instantly productive. Jumping from one version of Windows to the others doesn't hold the same promise of portable skills.

Regardless, more good information, always useful. Let me point to this article/blog: 10,000 bugs away from World Domination [keithcu.com] as a worthwhile read -- I have no vested interest in this author's (Keith Curtis, a former 10+ year Microsoft programmer) readership, but I think it is a great article with valuable insight into how close linux is and how far away it is at the same time. A good read, highly recommended.

Re:linux is good, very good, we're THIS close! (2, Insightful)

bconway (63464) | more than 7 years ago | (#15160912)

Even at its most fragmented (IBM/AIX, are you listening?) I was still able to sit down in front of any flavor Un*x and be instantly productive. Jumping from one version of Windows to the others doesn't hold the same promise of portable skills.
No offense, but if you want to present an objective argument, don't use FUD. There hasn't been a version of Windows released since 1994 that isn't 95% identical in interface or configuration. If you stuck someone familiar with only Win95 or NT4 in front of an XP desktop or 2003 Server, is there any doubt they'd be up and running in under a minute? I'm having serious trouble trying to take an affirmative answer to that question seriously.

Re:linux is good, very good, we're THIS close! (1)

yagu (721525) | more than 7 years ago | (#15160957)

There hasn't been a version of Windows released since 1994 that isn't 95% identical in interface or configuration. If you stuck someone familiar with only Win95 or NT4 in front of an XP desktop or 2003 Server, is there any doubt they'd be up and running in under a minute? I'm having serious trouble trying to take an affirmative answer to that question seriously.

You make an interesting point, I'll meet you half way. While the versions as far as user interface (GUI Shell) were concerned were of the Windows 3.1 or Windows 95 flavor, how these were implemented, and the underlying technology varied wildly. Also behaviors and underlying causes were difficult to diagnose because of these differences.

Also, I'll plead to obfuscation, but not FUD. The time frame of the AIX rollout was late 80's, so I'm talking the general same time frame of large delta Windows differences and the "fragmented" Un*x era. Admittedly a long time ago, and maybe irrelevant today but an interesting comparison to be made.

What 98 introduced, XP taketh away! (1)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 7 years ago | (#15161098)

XP ditched the Themes and the folder customization of 98, relpacing them with crippled junk.

As much as I like Linux... (1)

jd (1658) | more than 7 years ago | (#15161403)

...if you take all of the source needed to build a useful distribution for the general user, it would likely eclipse 10,000 bugs. My guess would be nearer 100,000 for the kernel alone, and 10,000,000 for the system. (This is including your kernel, your basic utilities, X, a general-purpose window manager, office utilities, system management tools, etc.)


Could this be reduced to the point where the general user would be satisfied? Well, I believe it to be already superior to many other popular general-purpose systems. There's some lack in third-party applications, X is still horrible for abstract graphics and distros aren't merging in drivers that are necessary (eg: madwifi), but those are deficiencies in imagination, not bugs in the code.


Nonetheless, there are bugs in the software, and yes these can be fixed. If there's a code audit, a random number of bugs will be found on each sweep, so the time taken to fix all of them will be indeterminate. The correctness of any given fix will also be indeterminate. If we propose an average rate of 1 bugfix every 3 days (this includes time for tracking down even the most obscure of bugs, testing the fix, and having it filter through the usual chain of developers), it would take about twenty thousand programmers a decade to reduce the number of bugs to the absolute minimum - I'm guessing that this would be in the low hundreds. (As the code is being developed, new bugs will be being added, so there will come a time when the bugs being added by the core developers will exceed the bugs being developed by this hypothetical army.)


A more rigorous method would be to use formal software methods to validate each function is doing what is intended. You could then be sure no new bugs were being added by the bug-stompers. However, because ANY change would totally trash the calculations being done, you would need to fix entire functions at a time, regardless of how many bugs there were. I'd say that it would take the same sized mob about the same length of time, but with greater certainty as to what was fixed and what was left to be fixed.


By this logic, Microsoft or IBM could have fixed their flagship Operating Systems to the point of being pretty nearly invulnerable to defects of any kind. They've had the manpower, the time and the money to perform the kind of total code review suggested. They have clearly not done so, suggesting that the marketplace is largely unaffected by the number of defects in software, but is far more influenced by application availability. Where applications are equal, then the fight is decided by brand.


Is there anything that can independently confirm this suspicion? Yes. The BBC Microcomputer had branding and software. The Acorn Business Computer had neither, even though it was technically made by the same people. OS/2 and NT4 were built from the same underlying codebase, but NT had the applications. Guess which won. The history of computing is littered with such examples.


This is why I am always skeptical of the argument that large numbers of bugs are inevitable. I believe it is closer to the truth that users don't give a damn (except when they lose data, and then they blame the computer, the dog, the telephone - anything but the software). I also believe that computer companies know that the users don't care, and therefore lower their standards to meet those expectations.


At present, Coverity's software seems to indicate that Open Source is down to the low hundreds of bugs per million lines of code, for those classes of bug their software can detect - which is some unknown fraction of the number of possible bug types that could exist. (I'd guess 10%, which would mean there's about a thousand bugs per million lines of code.) I see no reason why, within a decade, we could not be seeing reports of Open Source having fewer than a hundred bugs per trillion lines of code - other than nobody wanting to invest in that much clean-up when almost none of the mainstream users would even notice.


That's the problem with a pure market-based system. The market isn't interested in quality and won't pay for it, so no sane company is going to invest the kind of resources needed. The market is far more interested in applications - particularly games and multimedia - and that's where most of the investment is made. The practical upshot is that machines are often highly vulnerable, highly unreliable and highly inefficient. In turn, this causes all kinds of mission-critical software to behave unpredictably (the ambulance service in London, UK, shut down for 3 days in the late 1980s, due to buggy software, probably resulting in a number of deaths). It also causes lost productivity and errors in financial transactions. All of these costs add up.


Assuming the above wildly speculative estimates have any validity, you'd only need an average overhead of $20 per user per year caused through software bugs for the software bugs to have cost more than the payroll for those gigantic teams I suggested for correcting (almost) all of the bugs in the software. Of course, getting all the computer users around the world to club together to finance the fixing of their software would be next to impossible, even though it'll be a pathetically trivial amount for almost all of them.


(After a while, it'll cost the Governments around the world far more in lost taxes than to fix the bugs, but they're even less likely to work together. Can you imagine the UN setting up a Sourceforge repository?)

sounds like a good marketing tool... (1)

zogger (617870) | more than 7 years ago | (#15161988)

..I'd sure invest as in reasonable cash money into an OS and applications desktop-oriented distro that upfront prominently said that their main purpose was NOT new eye candy but secure bug-free as possible code, and that part of what I was paying for was constant overlapping audits. That concept - run through the appropriate marketing speak translator - might help sell an open source distro in the general market place.

BAD CAR ANALOGY TIME

I can see the TV commercial, new shiny whizzbang motors latest release! Mega fins and wings, curb feelers, 29 channel surround holovision, purple paint with flames and giant rims with triple reverse spinners! Plus, its an SUV *and* an economy car, at the same time! Or so says the advert....

Dude goes to drive it off the carlot after buying it, heads out to the "information superduperhighway" the road sign says, he gets two flats immediately,an oil slick under the car appears, a couple of wheels fall off,the hood pops open, magic smoke release, bad guys jump out of the side of the road and mug him, take his wallet and credit cards,and etc.

Cut to the next scene, a normal looking solid car, smiling driver, driving right past the gas station and not pulling in, right past the carlot where the previous guy just got his new whizzbang, right past where he is broke down on the road and got robbed, now there's a cop car there with the blue lights..... keeps driving, gets out at home, walks into his normal looking house..fade back to the driveway...the camera zooms in to the odometer on the dash, it reads 2,678,000 miles on it.....

Announcer in the background goes..."Now really, which would you rather drive?"

Re:linux is good, very good, we're THIS close! (5, Insightful)

schon (31600) | more than 7 years ago | (#15161609)

Sorry, I couldn't get past this line:

In contrast OSS new features arise either in response to features seen in proprietary software, or simply because a developer discovers how to do something cool and suggests that it be included.

Wow, what a great picture. OSS coders are either lazy, unimaginitive losers who copy MS, or freaks fascinated by new, shiny things.

What about features that appear because a developer needs them? You know, like how 90% of all successful OSS projects start?

I've made some (minor) contributions to OSS projects, and in no case was it because I was copying a closed source feature or because I "discovered how to do something cool". It's because I needed a feature that didn't exist, so I made it happen.

Related link (4, Informative)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#15160721)

On a related note is an old but still relevant essay: Debunking Common GNU/Linux Myths [msversus.org] by Jem Matzan.

Re:Related link (2, Insightful)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 7 years ago | (#15160966)

Unfortunately, for every 'debunking myth' article hidden away in some obscure website, there's dozens of full page Microsoft Myth ads prominantly placed in executive washroom magazines that claim the latest Windows makes the Internet safer, boosts your bank balance and improves your corporate standing.

Re:Related link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15163233)

Are you telling me in all honesty that installing windows will NOT increase my bank balance? I want you to think about that for a moment, are you sure??!??!?!!! Cause I could swear otherwise.........

Rare Statement (3, Insightful)

MudButt (853616) | more than 7 years ago | (#15160744)

FTFA: Is OSS any good? Yes. Not perfect, but better than closed source in some respects and worse in others.

In my line of work (system administration in a medium sized business) I'm often having to integrate closed source and open source solutions (or at least make them play nice). I like a lot of Microsoft's products. I also like a lot of OSS. But I find that (generally) whenever I look to the OSS community for help integrating the two solutions, I'm met with resistance or flat out rudeness.

For example, if I'm seeking help with getting samba working nicely in a mixed environment or figuring out how to run a PHP app on a windows box, I get responses like, "Just ditch XP, d00d, it sux", and "Apache is better than IIS".

I think if the community, in general, could adopt the idea quoted in TFA, a "newbie's perceived difficulties" with the OSS community would be drastically different.

Re:Rare Statement (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15160827)

Whereas when you look to Microsoft for help integrating the two solutions, they're all flowers and roses?

Re:Rare Statement (1)

MudButt (853616) | more than 7 years ago | (#15160880)

Whereas when you look to Microsoft for help integrating the two solutions, they're all flowers and roses?

I don't go directly to MS for help. Just like I don't go directly to RedHat or SuSE for help. I go here [microsoft.com] and here [macromedia.com] and here [ibm.com].

Re:Rare Statement (3, Insightful)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 7 years ago | (#15160854)

whenever I look to the OSS community for help integrating the two solutions, I'm met with resistance or flat out rudeness.

Not that I'm defending said attitude, but...

How come you don't look for help on the other side?

What would be, say, Microsoft's reaction if you asked them for help on plugging your Windows box in a mixed network using Samba?

Especially in the light of Microsoft's intentional changing (i.e. breaking) the SMB, so that it wouldn't work with Samba.

Let's face it... more often than not, it's the clash of religions.

Re:Rare Statement (1)

MudButt (853616) | more than 7 years ago | (#15160913)

How come you don't look for help on the other side?

I see your point, and I often search for help on both sides...

What would be, say, Microsoft's reaction if you asked them for help on plugging your Windows box in a mixed network using Samba?

To be fair, that would be like going directly to RedHat or SuSE for help, which I don't. We're talking about the community, so I end up going here [microsoft.com] and here [macromedia.com] and here [ibm.com].

Especially in the light of Microsoft's intentional changing (i.e. breaking) the SMB, so that it wouldn't work with Samba.

Do you have something to support this? I'm not being sarcastic... Is it generally accepted that MS broke SMB for this purpose?

Let's face it... more often than not, it's the clash of religions.

Agreed. =)

Re:Rare Statement (1)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 7 years ago | (#15161014)

Especially in the light of Microsoft's intentional changing (i.e. breaking) the SMB, so that it wouldn't work with Samba.

Do you have something to support this? I'm not being sarcastic... Is it generally accepted that MS broke SMB for this purpose?

As it is not anywhere near my immediate area of interest, no, I do not have anything to prove it with.
Actually, were it not for Slashdot, I wouldn't have known of it.

However, although it is a theory I encountered here, I've never actually found anyone willing to dispute it... and not all Slashdotters are MS-bashers. Therefore, I have judged it 'reliable enough'.

Re:Rare Statement (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 7 years ago | (#15161376)

Is it generally accepted that MS broke SMB for this purpose

I think it's generally accepted by the sort of people who read slashdot, but it's not like Microsoft have issued a statement about it or anything. Microsoft have had a history of doing the sort of thing with standards (like .doc - although to be fair their competition was doing the same thing), and when the standards change for no obvious reason, people start making assumptions.

Re:Rare Statement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15161659)

Do you have something to support this? I'm not being sarcastic... Is it generally accepted that MS broke SMB for this purpose?

Yes, it is. It's the same reason they're refusing to cooperate with giving the EU docs on the protocol. Interoperability is death to a monopolist.

Re:Rare Statement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15161577)

Do you have something to support this? I'm not being sarcastic... Is it generally accepted that MS broke SMB for this purpose?

It's generally accepted by anyone who's worked with them.

Speaking as someone who has been doing it since the days of NT 4.0, every time that a new version of Windows was released (and often, updates within a version) you could count on it breaking things.

Things that weren't bugs get "fixed". Things that *were* bugs don't, but get changed so that they break interconnectivity (as in the bugs still exist, but are changed just enough to break file/printer sharing.)

MS *has* been caught doing this in the past. It's sheer hubris to think that they don't do it with SMB. Incompetance doesn't explain it, only deliberate malice.

Re:Rare Statement (4, Informative)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 7 years ago | (#15160904)

For example, if I'm seeking help with getting samba working nicely in a mixed environment or figuring out how to run a PHP app on a windows box, I get responses like, "Just ditch XP, d00d, it sux", and "Apache is better than IIS".


Many people underestimate the differences between the two platforms. Often there are odd problems such that even if the app is supported on Windows, it may have limited functionality. For example, HERMES (a PHP app) is a pain to install on Windows because of a lack of symlinks, and SQL-Ledger (a Perl app) can't use MD5 authentication with PostgreSQL on Windows, nor does the LaTeX support work right if you are trying to print directly to a printer. In once case, it is a DBD::Pg versioning issue, and on the other, it is a limitation with the printing mechanism.

My advice to you is this: If it is designed for Linux, run it on Linux. If it is designed for Windows run it on Windows. If you need to consolidate, use SFU and Apache on Windows (I have never gotten Apache on Cygwin to work properly with PHP and even if it did, I suspect there would be performance issues).

Otherwise, if you need help integrating even if you don't like my advice, you can pay for our services ;-)

Translation (3, Insightful)

kbielefe (606566) | more than 7 years ago | (#15160959)

I get responses like, "Just ditch XP, d00d, it sux", and "Apache is better than IIS".

Translation: "I don't know because I've never had the desire to try it, but my ego doesn't allow me to admit that I don't know."

Re:Rare Statement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15160960)

For example, if I'm seeking help with getting samba working nicely in a mixed environment or figuring out how to run a PHP app on a windows box, I get responses like, "Just ditch XP, d00d, it sux", and "Apache is better than IIS".

Oh, come on, now. None of the above could possibly be true if you went through legitimate support channels for PHP, any PHP scripts you might have decided to run, and *ESPECIALLY* for Samba. Did you go to omfgwindowezsuxx0rzlin0xr0xx0rzurs0xx0rs.com for support or something? Everytime I've needed help with anything from PHP, Samba, Linux, and making the above work with Windows, Mac, other Unixes, I've never had a problem, and have always had very fast and curteous help, and often from people involved directly with those projects!

And you know, if you went looking and somehow found a PHP app that for *needed* Linux, or a UNIX environment to work on for whatever reason, you should have your ass flamed, just for being smart enough to find the power button, but too stupid to read a README.

Re:Rare Statement (1)

MudButt (853616) | more than 7 years ago | (#15161010)

And you know, if you went looking and somehow found a PHP app that for *needed* Linux, or a UNIX environment to work on for whatever reason, you should have your ass flamed, just for being smart enough to find the power button, but too stupid to read a README.

LOL, thanks for helping to prove my point. =)

Oh, come on, now. None of the above could possibly be true...

This is a nice touch too... Maybe I should say, "Oh, come on! You couldn't have possibly had a good support experience! I've had bad ones! So that must mean you have too! LIAR!" =)

Re:Rare Statement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15161392)

LOL, thanks for helping to prove my point. =)

Yeah, and nobody's trying to support your dumb ass, either. Provide some specifics to your situation, and you'll get support. I'll even go out of my way to fix your problem. Provide a bunch of vauge fingerpointing, and I'll get frustrated, and you'll get flamed.

I bet you're one of those people that couldn't put together a home weightlifting system, even if you were provided detailed diagrams, and clear and concise instructions in whatever language you're best at!

Re:Rare Statement (2, Funny)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 7 years ago | (#15161536)

So on the one hand you say you'll help, and on the other hand you continue to insult the person you're so generously offering to aid. Do you honestly think after you spend this time calling someone names, that they would even /want/ your help? I could picture you working a register at McDonald's. "What? Yeah. Yeah fine. You want FRIES? No? I'll throw them in for free. Have some nice fries, lardass. Here, have ketchup too. No, don't thank me. Come again soon. Asshole."

Shaking hands. Sticking tongue out. (2, Insightful)

matt me (850665) | more than 7 years ago | (#15161038)

First there's the hypocrisy in running free software on Windows.

But also remember Linux is it's community. I might not write the software I use, but those who to are in my reach and willing to discuss. If I feel there is a problem, I can make others aware of that problem, leading to a solution. Microsoft doesn't have a community, there's no dialogue between consumer and producer. The backlash of Linux users against Windows users is a reaction against Microsoft not playing fair.

Microsoft purposely make their products difficult to be compatible with. They don't conform to purposeful neutral standards set out by the W3C etc, but use their own secret ways.. Office documents are notoriously difficult to read. Internet Explorer won't render perfect HTML/CSS but encourages malformed HTML. A specification for the MSN protocol has never been made avaliable. They play foul, they are a parasite burrowing deeper into their hosts. Microsoft never and aren't even expected to meet Linux half way in being able to read .odt, but of course all Linux software is expected to be 100% compatible with Windows, or else it's dismissed as C.R.A.P. Every linux office worker will receive .doc files from their colleagues, who just *expect* them to own the £100 suite. But I would never post them .odt. Mozilla has to render crappy sites bodged to work in IE, but I'm not allowed to use transparent pngs when I design a site. None of my Windows friends will talk to me on Jabber, so I have to talk to them in MSN.

Re:Shaking hands. Sticking tongue out. (1)

Al Dimond (792444) | more than 7 years ago | (#15163023)

There is a Windows development community. There are all kinds of sites, for example, where people discuss development for Windows and Microsoft-specific platforms. Furthermore, you can bet that Microsoft tries to have its finger on the pulse of its development community when it plans new products. It's not the exact same thing as the F/OSS community, but it is a community. It's a large community that gets a lot of use out of its software.

I understand that Microsoft does many things that you might object to. But a backlash against Microsoft doesn't have to mean a backlash against all users of their products. If your open-source project purports itself to be cross-platform it should strive for good functionality on all the platforms it supports. It's frustrating to me that nobody will talk to me on Jabber, too. It's frustrating that I receive Word files, or even worse, MS Publisher files in email (I think even some Office users can't open those). But if you actively alienate Windows users the F/OSS community becomes as little a community to them as the Microsoft community is to you.

Re:Shaking hands. Sticking tongue out. (1)

onecheapgeek (964280) | more than 7 years ago | (#15164093)

How is there hypocrisy in running free software on Windows? Wouldn't the real hypocrisy be developpers releasing versions of F/OSS for Win32?

It's never hypocritical to make use of something that is provided for free. Unless you would also mean "It's hypocritical to buy a car and then take advantage of the opportunity when you are offered free gasoline."

Re:Rare Statement (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15161045)

I've repeatedly bumped into the main barrier when integrating open and closed software. This is, simply, that there's no way to know how the closed software works in detail (short of reverse-engineering it).

When studying how a closed program interacts with an open one, you can only look at one side for any direct information. The other side is a black box, and you're limited to guess-and-checking to find a solution.

Likewise, many fewer people with knowledge of the code will have posted information online, and even fewer of those people are interacting with the community -- so you'll find technical forums are usually filled with guess-and-checking rather than detailed explanations.

This could well be the reason you've had such difficulty getting help. When someone uses open-source programs, it's not that they necessarily encounter fewer problems, but that those problems can be solved without the original developer. If you're asking open-source developers to solve problems involving closed-source components, they'll understandably shy away from the unnecessarily arduous task of guessing how that black box works.

(Note that none of this is meant to justify the rude responses you've apparently been given.)

Re:Rare Statement (1)

agony_zhou (950311) | more than 7 years ago | (#15161117)

How do I get a zebra to make out with a hyena? Seriously, mixing free software with proprietary software is painful. You better make some well defined boundary to somewhat isolate the two worlds.

Re:Rare Statement (2, Insightful)

say (191220) | more than 7 years ago | (#15161177)

I don't know where you ask, but I've done the same thing a lot of times without getting anything like that. An it's relevant to point out that if you're going to run PHP, Apache _is_ better than IIS.

And BTW: Windows installation of Apache, Apache/win32 installation of PHP, IIS installation of PHP and pretty much anything Samba is described extremely thoroughly in the installation documentation. When looking at support forums and mailing lists, I am really surprised to see how many questions which are answered _directly_ in the docs. And we're not talking about some obscure FAQ or mailing list archive, but bundled docs in nice HTML, often searchable on php.net or apache.org or whatever.

After writing the massive amount of documentation, I understand that the standard OSS developer doesn't care to answer the same questions in online forums.

(No offense BTW: There are obviously problems that go beyond documentation, and some projects have clearly lacking docs.)

Re:Rare Statement (2, Insightful)

killjoe (766577) | more than 7 years ago | (#15161236)

Unfortunately integration is only possible if both players want to co-operate. The problem is that people like you often ask for the impossible or the illegal and then complain loudly and abusively when what you want is not given to you on a silver platter.

The ugly fact is that MS does not want to play nice with OSS products and is especially hostile to the GPLed ones. Nobody in the open source community can help it if exchange, AD, windows file server, etc uses proprietary protocols. Some people risk litigation and try to reverse engineer this stuff and sometimes they are pretty successful at it but that's them. The problem is the people like you want everybody to take the same type of risks. In this day of the DMCA you are just going to have to get used to the fact injecting MS products into your network means that you will always have problems with integration. Not just with OSS stuff either but with other vendors as well.

Maybe, just maybe the "newbies" can take some responsibility. Maybe then can start bitching at the people who are making their lives miserable (MS, hadware manufacturers who don't provide drivers, politicians who pass draconian laws, corporations who lobby for these laws etc) instead of bitching at the people who are providing them free software and trying their best deal with deluge.

The attitude "newbies" is ten times worse then the attitude of the RTFM people. Nothing but a bunch of ungrateful and sometimes hateful bile directed at developers without being willing to lift a finger to help solve the problem. Most newbies who bitch and moan will not even be bothered to post config files or log entries for gods sake.

Finally. It really really really does get annoying to answer the same fucking question for the hundredth time you know. I mean if the answer is in the FAQ or the manual why is everybody obligated to keep answering it for the idiots who can't be bothered to read it? Why is it so much of a burden for you guys to read a web site? Honestly please answer that for me? Why is it too much to ask you to read the documentation? How come you take so much affront when somebody asks you to do that.

Re:Rare Statement (1)

Danny Rathjens (8471) | more than 7 years ago | (#15161428)

That is an absurd claim. Take a look at all of the HOWTOs in the linux documentation project dedicated to integrating with other systems. How to dual boot linux and windows, how to mount windows partitions, how to connect to appletalk networks, how to tweak your tcp window sizes for compatibility with certain routers/systems. And you give Samba as an example!? That very project was designed with integration of multiple operating system environments in mind!

Perhaps you need to look a bit closer to home for the source of your problems in getting help instead of blaming the community. For example, be sure to read http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html [catb.org].

GNOME vs. KDE debate again? (2, Insightful)

null_session (137073) | more than 7 years ago | (#15160757)

The writer seems to want to bring up Gnome/KDE wars. Smells of trolling. What the hey, I'll bite.

Gnome has, with it's "more is less" focus achieved, IMO, a better new user experience than KDE. Not that KDE isn't good, I'm only saying that for people I know that aren't necessarily technical but just want it to work, I set them up with Gnome (on Ubuntu). My biggest success story on that front was setting up a Gnome/Linux PC for my cousin (RedHat in this case, it was a while ago). She used it to do homework for 4 years, having never used Linux/Unix before, and never called me once for support. The only call I ever got was one from her Mom asking me how to mount a floppy disk to get a document copied.

Personally, I don't think we have that far to go for Linux to be easily usable...

Re:GNOME vs. KDE debate again? (4, Interesting)

MudButt (853616) | more than 7 years ago | (#15160818)

Gnome has, with it's "more is less" focus achieved, IMO, a better new user experience than KDE.

Look on the bright side... I a couple years, when KDE 0wn3rs the desktop and Gnome is out of business, the flame wars will be over. j/k =P

As a serious response, I think a big part of how a person adopts a desktop preference is based on their personality. I, for example, am the type of person that goes into a store, grabs a pair of jeans, looks them over and says, "these'll do", and leaves without looking at anything else. I was introduced to KDE first... It worked and I had no problems... 3 years later, do I want to learn how to use Gnome? Not really, because like I said, KDE works for me and I have no problems.

My point (if I have one)... From what I can see, most distros tend to default to a KDE installation (even though both are available), and there are a lot of people like me out there. I'm sure I'm be a Gnome guy had that been the first linux desktop for me to use.

Re:GNOME vs. KDE debate again? (3, Interesting)

null_session (137073) | more than 7 years ago | (#15160888)

a couple years, when KDE 0wn3rs the desktop and Gnome is out of business, the flame wars will be over.

But it's Gnome that has all the corporate backing!

j/k also, but you bring up a good point (or reinforce my earlier one, or something)... Mainly that as long as it works, for most people Gnome vs KDE vs WindowMaker vs Aqua vs Vista vs XP etcetera makes no difference whatsoever. As long as it works, and continues to work.

The advantage with a Linux system is that it usually doesn't sit and collect spyware, trojans, etcetera and so doesn't have to be completely reinstalled every couple of years, it can run for as long as you want it to, acting exactly like it did the first time you ran it.

Re:GNOME vs. KDE debate again? (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 7 years ago | (#15160925)

I moved my parents from Windows 95 to Red Hat Linux 6.1 when it was still current. Tech support calls were immediately cut in half (my parents were the ultimate clueless newbies on both systems), and they started using their computer more. Years later, they are on Fedora Core 4, and would never go back.

When I used to work at Microsoft, occasionally it would come up that Linux was fine for clueless newbies because my violin-teaching mother used it. Boy did I get flack for that....

Re:GNOME vs. KDE debate again? (1)

null_session (137073) | more than 7 years ago | (#15160940)

Gnome has, with it's "more is less" focus achieved, IMO, a better new user experience than KDE.

That sentance is horrible, and I move that it be taken out and shot.

Sorry :-)

Should have said: IMO Gnome, with it's "less is more" focus, has achieved a better new user experience.

Re:GNOME vs. KDE debate again? (0, Troll)

killjoe (766577) | more than 7 years ago | (#15161273)

There is no GNOME vs KDE. All major distros come with GNOME as the default desktop. GNOME has won this war. KDE is there for the people who want to download and use it and that's wonderful but the default is GNOME for 90% of the people who use linux.

Re:GNOME vs. KDE debate again? (2, Informative)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 7 years ago | (#15161746)

What? Are you only counting Fedora as the major distro? The default desktop for Knoppix and Mandriva is KDE, and Slackware doesn't even include GNOME.

Re:GNOME vs. KDE debate again? (1)

killjoe (766577) | more than 7 years ago | (#15161999)

Slackware?

Let's see now.
Debian, Fedora, Suse/Novell, Ubuntu, Mepis, and knoppix make up the top of the popularity list. Of those only knoppix comes default with KDE.

Since debian, fedora, suse/novell, ubuntu, and sun desktop are the only distros businesses use for business it's unanimous for gnome.

My linux timeline: (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15160771)

1

1995 - widespread adoption of desktop linux. yeah right.

1997 - widespread adoption of desktop linux is 3 years away

2000 - widespread adoption of desktop linux is 2 years away

2002 - widespread adoption of desktop linux is 2 years away

2004 - widespread adoption of desktop linux is 2 years way

2006 - widespread adoption of desktop linux is 2 years away

Reflect. (2, Informative)

kryten_nl (863119) | more than 7 years ago | (#15160773)

The article is not exactly ment to reflect...

Welcome to part two of a series for beginners explaining what Linux is, where it came from, where it's going, how to use it and why you should.

In short: nothing to see here, except the forever raging flamewar of KDE vs GNOME.

Bullshit! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15160787)

Linux is *not* user friendly, and until it is linux will stay with >1% marketshare.

Take installation. Linux zealots are now saying "oh installing is so easy, just do apt-get install package or emerge package": Yes, because typing in "apt-get" or "emerge" makes so much more sense to new users than double-clicking an icon that says "setup".

Linux zealots are far too forgiving when judging the difficultly of Linux configuration issues and far too harsh when judging the difficulty of Windows configuration issues. Example comments:

User: "How do I get Quake 3 to run in Linux?"
Zealot: "Oh that's easy! If you have Redhat, you have to download quake_3_rh_8_i686_010203_glibc.bin, then do chmod +x on the file. Then you have to su to root, make sure you type export LD_ASSUME_KERNEL=2.2.5 but ONLY if you have that latest libc6 installed. If you don't, don't set that environment variable or the installer will dump core. Before you run the installer, make sure you have the GL drivers for X installed. Get them at [some obscure web address], chmod +x the binary, then run it, but make sure you have at least 10MB free in /tmp or the installer will dump core. After the installer is done, edit /etc/X11/XF86Config and add a section called "GL" and put "driver nv" in it. Make sure you have the latest version of X and Linux kernel 2.6 or else X will segfault when you start. OK, run the Quake 3 installer and make sure you set the proper group and setuid permissions on quake3.bin. If you want sound, look here [link to another obscure web site], which is a short HOWTO on how to get sound in Quake 3. That's all there is to it!"

User: "How do I get Quake 3 to run in Windows?"
Zealot: "Oh God, I had to install Quake 3 in Windoze for some lamer friend of mine! God, what a fucking mess! I put in the CD and it took about 3 minutes to copy everything, and then I had to reboot the fucking computer! Jesus Christ! What a retarded operating system!"

So, I guess the point I'm trying to make is that what seems easy and natural to Linux geeks is definitely not what regular people consider easy and natural. Hence, the preference towards Windows.

Re:Bullshit! (3, Funny)

MudButt (853616) | more than 7 years ago | (#15160828)

Linux is *not* user friendly, and until it is linux will stay with >1% marketshare.

Remember from 1st grade? The packman ">" always eats the bigger number...

Re:Bullshit! (1)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 7 years ago | (#15160903)

As I read this, I have a flashback to watching Mathman on Square One.

Mathman Mathman multiples of three. *chomp*

Re:Bullshit! (1)

geofferensis (808339) | more than 7 years ago | (#15161867)

"Remember from 1st grade? The packman ">" always eats the bigger number..."

I can not stand by and allow you to use improper terminology. Clearly ">" is an alligator.

Re:Bullshit! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15162369)

Must we always confuse idiot-proof with user friendly. Just because a command prompt makes you panic doesn't mean it's not user friendly

Re:Bullshit! (5, Interesting)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 7 years ago | (#15160858)

Take installation. Linux zealots are now saying "oh installing is so easy, just do apt-get install package or emerge package":

With Fedora, you can also go to the web site, click on the RPM, type the root password when requested, and it will install it for you or at least tell you what packages you are missing. I prefer to use yum but for those who are afraid of the command line, there are other ways.

As for installation of the distro, Linux is far easier as a distro to install than Windows is. I hate having to come back every 15 minutes and answer a bunch of questions that really should have been asked up front. And don't get me started on product activation.

User: "How do I get Quake 3 to run in Linux?"
Zealot: "Oh that's easy! If you have Redhat, you have to download quake_3_rh_8_i686_010203_glibc.bin, then do chmod +x on the file. Then you have to su to root, make sure you type export LD_ASSUME_KERNEL=2.2.5 but ONLY if you have that latest libc6 installed.


You do realize you can do essentially all of this in the GUI. And if I have customers that need this done, I usually send them a shell script so that they don't have to worry about it. :-) The fact that this is not simple is not Linux's fault. Quake (like the old Loki ports of games) could ship with a nice installer, but maybe it doesn't. It could even ship with a nice shell script command line installer, but maybe it doesn't. I don't know because I don't play Quake.

In my experience and the experience of my non-techie parents, Linux is as easy to use as Windows, and because once it works, it just works, and because it is comparitively transparent, it is actually easier to learn once you get used to it (but we are not to say that familiarity is the standard of user-friendliness are we? Because if it is, then we should never try to do anything new).

Re:Bullshit! (1)

jroysdon (201893) | more than 7 years ago | (#15161397)

Yumex is very nice for GUI-lovers. It's just a front-end for Yum, but it's easier than explaining all the ways to grep what packages are available for a certain feature (say games).

Here's a screenshot [mac.com].

Re:Bullshit! (1)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | more than 7 years ago | (#15161512)

If the Quake3 installer is anything like the one for Tremulous [tremulous.net] (which it should be, since Tremulous is based on the Quake3 game engine), then all you have to do is download the binary (a .run file), mark it as executable (either with chmod or through the GUI), and run it (command-line or double-click). The only extra step vs. Windows is setting the execute bit, and I think the underlying reason for that step (to avoid spyware/viruses) is sufficiently useful to justify leaving it in.

If you want to install it into the system directories you need admin priviledges, of course; Windows has the same requirement. However, I had no trouble installing the program into my home directory (it even autodetected the non-admin state and chose a reasonable directory to install into). I have no idea why they recommended setting LD_ASSUME_KERNEL; I know what it does, but Tremulous installed fine without it, and Quake3 should also, since the underlying binary is essentially equivalent.

Re:Bullshit! (0, Redundant)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 7 years ago | (#15160876)

Oh, I haven't seen *that* one for quite a while... thought it was dead already.

I have a proposition for moderators, though: start modding this funny. Maybe the idiot gives up.

Re:Bullshit! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15160954)

you're one of those windows95 babies who gets freaked out by the DOS commandline aren't you?

There are still severe disadvantages... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15160829)

  • Gaming: sure, you can buy a compatibility layer that makes some Windows games work reasonably well, assuming you don't believe in open source too fully to do so, but ugh. If Linux was ever going to work on the desktop it'd have games being developed for it by now.
  • Printing: flip a coin. Either as easy as Windows or requires days of futzing with obscure utilities depending on your distribution and printer.
  • Wireless network: there's that concept of a compatibility layer again, if you've managed to find a card that even works with it.
  • Video drivers: not taken nearly as seriously for Linux when developed by the card manufacturers, for example leading to bugs that don't get fixed in more recent driver releases that you must run to be compatible with newer versions of Linux. Just buy a new card. Even though Linux is open source closed source binary drivers somehow acceptable.
  • Distribution obfuscatory confusion: more than enough standards to choose from, some fully-developed, some incompatible with others, some with commercial industry cramming undesireable features in, some fighting commercial industry on cramming desireable features in.

Re:There are still severe disadvantages... (2, Insightful)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 7 years ago | (#15161130)

I take it you've never had Windows randomly stop recognizing your print server. Or tried installing a printer over a network for Windows. A generic postscript driver just doesn't exist for Windows.
And binary drivers aren't good, they're just acceptable. We geeks would love it if ATI or NVidia had open source drivers, but they don't, and the free offerings don't work right because NVidia and ATI hide their specs. Not much we can do about it.
It's confusion, but it's also choice. Do a little research and you'll find what's right for you. One size rarely fits all. I know a number of co-workers that couldn't fit into my size medium t-shirts no matter how hard they tried ;)

Re:There are still severe disadvantages... (2, Insightful)

frogstar_robot (926792) | more than 7 years ago | (#15161948)

A generic postscript driver just doesn't exist for Windows.

This is true. However the HP Laserjet 4 PS driver does pretty nicely if you need a dummy Postscript printer or some such.

Re:There are still severe disadvantages... (1)

killjoe (766577) | more than 7 years ago | (#15161252)

Distributions: Well just choose one and stick with it.

The rest: Go yell at the manufacturers for not providing drivers. Don't ask other people to risk litigation trying to reverse engineer drivers for you. If you want people to risk jail put some money on the table to make the risk worthwhile.

color management and Adobe software please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15161264)

I'd use Linux if it thoroughly supported color management. And if I could use my Spyder 'colorimeter' to calibrate the monitors.

And if Adobe were to produce a Linux native version of Photoshop. Which is perhaps less likely.

Pity for me eh.

Re:There are still severe disadvantages... (2, Interesting)

Jessta (666101) | more than 7 years ago | (#15161670)

Gaming:
I agree that GNU\Linux hasn't been the target platform of many games recently.
This is generally because games development doesn't work very well with the open source development model. Games are developed quickly and then released once.

Printing:
I've always had very good success with CUPS, never had much trouble.

Wireless:
I agree, wireless on GNU\Linux is terrible, due to lack of vendor support.

Video drivers:
I agree again, but again it's a problem created by the hardware vendors. If they released their spec, open source drivers could be created and quality would improve.

Distribution obfuscatory confusion:
This is where I have to stop you. A GNU\Linux distribution should really be thought of as a completely different Operating System(think, Windows XP and MacOS and BSD) that just happens to be quite compatible with other GNU\Linux based Operating Systems.
Anyone that says that Gentoo is at all the same as Redhat is insane.
So if you want a standard GNU\Linux operating system, then just use Redhat and pretend the other distributions don't exist. Then you won't be confused.

- Jesse McNelis

 

Why you should (4, Insightful)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 7 years ago | (#15160869)

Although my current addiction to gaming means that most of my recent computing has been Windows based, I have long believed and will continue to believe that for the most part, UNIX and its' derivatives genuinely represent the way God intended man to use a computer.

Despite continual advances and new wrinkles being thrown at us in the area of graphical user interfaces, for many tasks the console is still fundamental and without peer where speed is concerned. Microsoft and Apple can crow about their own approaches all they like; UNIX existed before both of them, and its' descendants will exist after those two companies' names have passed out of human memory.

On reading Eric Raymond's The Art of UNIX Programming, I came to realise that that book offered not just a methodology for programming, but for life in general. It also describes the thoughts and philosophies of a group of people who were as pioneering, adventurous, and brilliant as any other in human history, and to whom larger humanity will owe a debt of gratitude for at least the next several hundred years to come.

Re:Why you should (2, Funny)

vivek7006 (585218) | more than 7 years ago | (#15161008)

"UNIX and its' derivatives genuinely represent the way God intended man to use a computer"

s/God/Intelligent Designer/g

Thought That Counts (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#15160877)

Thanks for the present. It was poorly wrapped, and I've regifted it many times, but it's made my life a lot better than all the fruitcakes, ties, and even toy trucks I've ever gotten. Almost as good as extra warm socks.

roots & perceived difficulties (5, Interesting)

Tinkster (831703) | more than 7 years ago | (#15160988)

Not quite sure what to say. My mother (she got used to computers at work,
using a Wyse terminal and a set of mainframe apps) could never make any sense
of MacOS, OS/2, Windows or Linux ... she asked me many questions about how to
use any of them.

My mother-in-law gave me more calls about her previous Windows installations
(ranging from 95 to 2000) than she now does regarding Slackware 10.2 with
KDE, and needless to say there were no spy-ware removal or virus-cleaning
sessions since.

As far as I'm concerned it depends on the initial set-up, and that's the
case for all current OSes. If you are a geek, or know a geek very well,
you'll be fine. If you simply want to use something, and it's not pre-installed
to perfection (in other words, to how you'd like (it) to work) there's hassle.


Cheers

IF you have to ask if you should use it... (-1)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 7 years ago | (#15161716)

Hey, Mark, listen up for a minute, okay? This has nothing to do with this site, but would you just listen to me anyway! See, I went to the local irc.freenode.org today. You know, irc.freenode.org? And the damn server was packed so full of people, I couldn't even join a channel! So I looked around a bit, and I found a banner that said "Free Ubuntu Cds". What the fuck is wrong with you people? Are you idiots or something? Any other day you wouldn't even think of going to irc.freenode.org, but if there's free ubuntu cds, you all flock in here? It's just 5 fucking bucks! You can't buy cigarettes with that! And you're bringing the script kids too, huh? Look at that, a gang of four flooding #debian. Con-fucking-gratulations. And now the guy's going, "All right! Daddy's going to apt-get dist-upgrade" Shit, I can't watch any more of this.

irc.freenode.org should be fucking brutal. Two guys sit facing each other across a text-based IRC client, and you never quite know if they'll suddenly just start a fight right there. It's flame-or-be-flamed, and that's what so damn great about the place. Suits and n00bs should stay the fuck away.

Well, I finally joined a channel, but then the guy next to me goes, "HURR HURR HURRRRRR! I'll install apache with Mod-perl!!". So now I'm pissed off again. Who the shit uses mod-perl these days? Why are you looking so goddamn proud when you say that? I wanna ask you, are you really going to fucking code in line noise? I wanted to fucking interrogate you. For about a hour. You know what? I think you just wanted to say "mod perl".

Now, take it from the irc.freenode.org veteran. The latest thing among irc.freenode.org experts is this: Linux From Scratch. That's the ticket. A New OS with lots of CFLAGS, and optimisations. This is what someone who knows his shit uses. They put in more optimisations, and less dpkg. A fresh compilation with the proper CFLAGS, that's goddamn awesome. Now, you should know, if you keep supporting this, there's a risk Opers might write you up. This really is a double-edged sword. I really can't recommend this for amateurs.

Now, as for you, Mark, you should just stick to Knoppix.

Re:IF you have to ask if you should use it... (1)

Vorondil28 (864578) | more than 7 years ago | (#15161877)

Jeeze, let me just ask: What the fsck was that?!?

I'm not even sure I know what you're angry at...
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