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193 comments

Installing stuff, handling network settings (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 7 years ago | (#16188487)

As Linux becomes easier to install apps on and to configure for home internet usage, for regular folks it becomes more realistic to start out with it. I don't think a regular user could switch their machine from Windows to Linux with one CD and a reboot yet... right? Can anyone show us some links for how easy the switch is, and what wouldn't be supported in general after the switch?

Re:Installing stuff, handling network settings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16188549)

what wouldn't be supported in general after the switch

In the case of Debian: Sound, video acceleration, UDMA-support (meaning harddrive-access will be dog slow), bluetooth.

What works: vi, nethack and other useless obsolete crap.

Crappy hardware (2, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 7 years ago | (#16189711)

Sound, video acceleration, UDMA-support (meaning harddrive-access will be dog slow), bluetooth.


It's the same thing when people say "XP is rock-solid for me" and I answer "I get plenty of blue screens in XP", they say "the problem is in the device drivers".


Distributions like Ubuntu, Mandriva, or Suse, which have powerful installers, usually get all the hardware working automatically. Other distros, like Debian, Gentoo, or Slackware normally need a bit of fiddling to get all the hardware working. But if you compare Linux with Windows, hardware which is not quite kosher will give problems in both systems. The difference is that in Linux it will be hard to get to work in the first place, in Windows it will install easily but crash the whole system later.


Given a choice, the best option is always good hardware, but if I have to live with crappy hardware I'd rather have a system which I can configure to work with the troublesome hardware than with a system that will get the hardware working only to crash on me.

Re:Crappy hardware (1)

alexhs (877055) | more than 7 years ago | (#16191659)

FYI, your AC parent is trolling, Debian works fine out of the box :

Sound and UDMA support are OK.

Bluetooth I can't say.

3D acceleration doesn't work for nvidia and most recent ati cards out of the box, because binary only modules are banned on Debian, and install media won't include non-free section.
You can get support by including non-free section in your repository and downloading the approopriate package.

Re:Crappy hardware (1)

glittalogik (837604) | more than 7 years ago | (#16193165)

Bluetooth support on Ubuntu took me (and my el-cheapo USB dongle) one package from the repositories and about 10 minutes of fiddling, probably the same or less time all up than installing the XP drivers that came with it on another machine.

Re:Installing stuff, handling network settings (1, Insightful)

kimvette (919543) | more than 7 years ago | (#16188559)

You haven't seen:

  - SuSE 9.1 or later
  - Mandriva (formerly Mandrake)
  - Linspire

FWIW, it's not a single CD. It's either several CDs or a single DVD, but yes, it is doable. Boot off the DVD, follow the install wizard, you now have a dual-boot (depending on distro your NTFS partition can be resized automagically), and you have to reboot only once during the process, unlike Windows' cryptic install screens, wiping out your MBR to prevent other OSes from loading, and having to reboot 4,281 times during the install process.

Re:Installing stuff, handling network settings (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 7 years ago | (#16190281)

Oh for Mandriva 2007 ive got you One better
use the NonFree DVD One and it will
1 hotswitch according to what arch you are on (32 or 64) after you answer a few prelim questions (where are you and what a language and WHICH 3D DESKTOP YOU WAN TO USE if any) you will get dropped onto a real Live desktop with this neat little icon labeled (install to disk). Now you will at this time be running Mandriva 2007 (with nonfree drivers if needed) so you can play around a bit then make the jump.
So its boot from DVD and .. (there is no and)

Re:Installing stuff, handling network settings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16188561)

Sure: www.ubuntu.com

Re:Installing stuff, handling network settings (4, Insightful)

ElleyKitten (715519) | more than 7 years ago | (#16188879)

Linux when it works is perfect. Linux when it doesn't is just weird and fucked up. I tried installing Ubuntu for a newbie recently, and sudo decided it just wasn't going to work. So I'm futzering around with weird commands and the Ubuntu forum for a couple hours, and yeah, my newbie was real pleased with her new system. Uh huh.

Now my home Ubuntu computer has decided (again!) that flash doesn't need sound. No more Youtube for me anymore...

Re:Installing stuff, handling network settings (1)

XeroDegrees (717293) | more than 7 years ago | (#16189807)

download this [arrakis.es] give it exec permissions and put in in /usr/bin/ then call it from the command line thus
youtube-dl http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whateveritis [youtube.com]
The youtube video is saved to the current working directory that you invoked youtube-dl from (so make sure its ~ unless you want to spend ages searching for what you downloaded) in .flv format.

Re:Installing stuff, handling network settings (1)

Hercynium (237328) | more than 7 years ago | (#16190805)

The problem with sudo is very strange - but having sound quit on Flash is not all that uncommon.

I've found that using either EasyUbuntu or Automatix tends to help get the multimedia stuff working. If a package update breaks it again, I just re-run which ever one I used and it fixes stuff again.

BTW: my own experience with these two utilities, if you haven't used them yourself --

Automatix's tweaks tend to work, but the script is often buggy and not exactly user friendly. Their repository is also almost unusably slow (frequent timeouts, leading to failed package downloads).

EasyUbuntu is much friendlier but doesn't always finish the job, installing the multimedia packages but not always setting them up successfully.

Automatix is constantly being updated and the community around it is active and responsive. EasyUbuntu hasn't (last I looked) had an updated release in several months and I have no clue what's going on with development.

YMMV, When all's said and done, I personally prefer EasyUbuntu given the two choices - but it's better still to just use the tips from ubuntuguide - even though that's a PITA as well.

No single distro works for everybody - Ubuntu's my favorite and it works on all my machines, but perhaps Mepis or Sarge or some other distro may be better for your friend. (Mepis *is* very nice)

Re:Installing stuff, handling network settings (4, Insightful)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 7 years ago | (#16191205)

I've had the opposite experience. Linux is great when it works. When it doesn't, it's always been broken in a sane way. I can diagnose the problem and fix a config file and be pretty confident that the problem isn't coming back. I may not have understood the problem beforehand, but after I get a handle on it the solution is obvious. Windows, on the other hand, has never made any sense when it breaks. I suspect that Windows is as rational and fixable as Linux underneath, but it's even harder to figure out the obscure tweaks that may be needed to fix it, which leaves you with solutions like "install the driver again and hope it doesn't break this time" or "try reformatting".

Re:Installing stuff, handling network settings (2, Informative)

Simon80 (874052) | more than 7 years ago | (#16192751)

I totally agree with this, most, if not all, of my experience is problems like this that can be clearly diagnosed and then fixed. Any other problems are also almost always related to hardware/drivers. In response to the original request for the "one CD switch", Ubuntu is definitely what you're looking for, you burn the one liveCD, boot off the CD into an Ubuntu that is very similar to what will be on your hard drive, and then you run the installer using a shortcut on the desktop. 6 (I think) separate pages to fill in (keyboard layout, time zone, partitioning, what to use each partition for, user name, and confirmation of the whole thing), and then it installs, asks you if you want to put grub in your Master boot record, you say yes, and you have a shiny new dual booting system. Say no, and you end up with Ubuntu on your drive but no way to boot it until you set up a bootloader to boot it up. You're asked to give you a chance to verify that the installer correctly detected the other OS on your drive.

Re:Installing stuff, handling network settings (1)

IchBinEinPenguin (589252) | more than 7 years ago | (#16194059)

To paraphrase you:
XXX when it works is perfect. XXX when it doesn't is just weird and fucked up.
Yeah, I agree.
Though for me it's usually windows that's being weird, as I'm much more familiar with Linux.

Re:Installing stuff, handling network settings (3, Insightful)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16189057)

``I don't think a regular user could switch their machine from Windows to Linux with one CD and a reboot yet... right?''

It depends on how fancy you want to get, and on your hardware. Certain distributions (e.g. Ubuntu) make it very easy to install the system while wiping everything that was there off the harddisk, and they do a good job at autodetecting a lot of hardware.

Things get more difficult if you want to set up a dual-boot system, preserve (some) of the data that was on the harddisk before the Linux install, customize what apps are installed, run Windows or Mac software, etc. etc. Whether or not this is beyond the reach of any particular user is mostly up to how much this user knows and is willing to learn; i.e. it's not particularly difficult to wipe OpenOffice.org off an Ubuntu install and install Koffice instead, but it does take a certain amount of effort and knowledge.

As for hardware not being supported, there are certain classes of hardware that are problematic. Most generally, any new or unpopular-with-developers hardware that doesn't adhere to some standard and for which no specification is publicly available. In particular, WinModems (software modems), wireless network cards, and video cards (specifically, the hardware acceleration features) tend to be problematic. Having said that, in each of these classes there are plenty of devices that _are_ supported, and, of course, there are devices outside these classes that don't work. Also, sometimes things fail to work in Linux because they are broken, although they happen to work in Windows; e.g. I had a laptop once whose USB controller didn't work due to a wrong value listed somewhere in the BIOS; it (sort of) worked under Windows, but it took some patches to the Linux kernel to get it to work there.

Searching the web to see if your hardware is supported is a good idea, and I recommend anyone buying hardware to consider Linux compatibility even if they don't want to run Linux; if you ever do want to run Linux, at least your hardware won't prevent you from doing so.

Re:Installing stuff, handling network settings (1)

mspohr (589790) | more than 7 years ago | (#16190287)

Ubuntu Linux (and others) do install with a single CD and a reboot. My experience over about 10 recent installs is that all of my hardware (including WiFi) is supported. YMMV.

The standard Ubuntu install comes with the usual office suite, browser, email, and many more additional apps than I've ever been able to use. If you're tied down to a particular app that only runs on Windows, then Microsoft owns your ass; otherwise, it's a piece of cake.

freebsd linux (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16188507)

for stability on your servers, i recommend teh freebsd.
linux is ok for asterisk type stuff where porting is not an option.
win2003 web edition was sorta enjoyable to use. It appears
stable for simple webhosting needs.

As user experience ++ so does ability to use linux (1)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 7 years ago | (#16188897)

Anyone who has used a computer for a few years knows well enough how to navigate about a computer, even if not with a command line. Linux is getting better about being better for that average joe who wants nothing to do with a command line.

The sad thing is . . . (1, Interesting)

Bluesman (104513) | more than 7 years ago | (#16188911)

It's still much, much easier to deploy applications on Windows, even when you're using the GNU toolchain. With windows you're guaranteed binary compatibility on a majority of systems, with Linux, it's pretty much expected that your users are advanced enough to be able to compile from source.

It's a huge pain to distribute binaries for every different distro, so unless your app becomes popular enough for other people to do that work for you, (or the distros do it themselves) then a significant amount of development time is spent just on packaging and deployment.

Ironically, Windows with mingw et. al. seems to be a more hospitable environment toward deployment of open-source software than "Linux" is.

There is no "Linux operating system" (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16189193)

This is a nice illustration of what I mean when I say there is no such thing as "the Linux operating system". There is, however, "the Debian GNU/Linux operating system" and "the Fedora Core operating system" (as well as "the Windows operating system" and "the OpenBSD operating system").

Re:There is no "Linux operating system" (1)

Burz (138833) | more than 7 years ago | (#16190107)

GNU/Linux IS an operating system, and it is standardized, but it doesn't have any "handles" that end-users can (or would want to) grab hold of. So the ones that try to use it get a distro, with all sort of non-standard (non-LSB) stuff like X11, a window manager and the like.

What Linux isn't is a PC platform. MacOS and Windows are PC platforms, NOT mainly because of their GUIs are standardized (in fact, they shift in usually understandable ways). Its because you can learn to program complex applications on Windows/Mac, and expect a relatively stable platform where other people can easily acquire and run your stuff when you start to get really ambitious. They are mediums of creativity that produce applications which draw users to those platforms.

Linux distros comprise a desert of shifting sand by comparison. Its too hostile for anyone to thrive off it except for career geologists and the like. In our case, Linux is like a candy store for system-level coders and admins, and things are standardized mainly for their benefit and convenience. Rarely, we will get a system hacker who has some skills in writing higher-level functionality, but even so they have spent too much in time/experience/habit into lower layers and lack the experience to compete.

Also, how do they offer tech support when the underlying OS could be different in so many ways? The answer is usually either A) reduce capabilities/ambition of your code and rely on mainly common system services, or B) give it to the repository priests (for free) and let them stand between you and your users (instead of forging more direct relationships with them).

LSB Desktop could be an answer. We'll see.

Re:The sad thing is . . . (5, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 7 years ago | (#16189347)

The sad thing is you don't have a clue of what you are talking about.


Every time someone mentions blue screens, the Microsoft guys say "Oh, XP is stable for me, it never crashes!". Yet they still mention this "compile from source" which is so 1998.


Most of the applications I use today are available in one of the Debian or Ubuntu repositories, so a simple click in synaptic or adept will install it for me, including all the necessary libraries. I have also a few other apps, such as Google Earth for instance, that aren't under the repositories, but it has been a long time since I had to compile anything.


You Microsoft guys have no idea how complicated is getting software for Windows if you are a newbie. You just think it's easy because you are so familiar with the whole thing. Getting winamp or nero or whatever application you want is very easy if you know which app you need and where to get it. But show me where is the centralized application install function in XP, like Adept or Synaptic in Linux. Where is the simple way to look for a software to install, searching by category? I need a software to edit a video or to manage a network or to do scientific calculations, where is the simple interface where I can find it and install it with a few mouse clicks? Without knowing beforehand the name of the software? Let's face it, the closest equivalent to Synaptic or Adept in XP is Google!


Besides, even when I had to compile stuff in the past, it was much simpler to type "./configure; make; make install" in a console than trying to solve all those "missing vbrun.dll" problems one often got when trying to install software in MS-Windows. I may be out of date myself here, because it has been a long time since I did this, but I remember that even in 1998 automake/autorun were easier to use than solving all the incompatibility problems between windows applications and DLLs.

Re:The sad thing is . . . (2, Interesting)

manno (848709) | more than 7 years ago | (#16190095)

"You Microsoft guys have no idea how complicated is getting software for Windows if you are a newbie. You just think it's easy because you are so familiar with the whole thing. Getting winamp or nero or whatever application you want is very easy if you know which app you need and where to get it. But show me where is the centralized application install function in XP, like Adept or Synaptic in Linux."

And where's the central repository of knowledge that tells me what's the best text editor of the 9,000 available for Linux? The best media player, the best burning software? How do I know how stable they are? Will they have the functions I need? These aren't hits against Linux at all, but it's a lot easier for me to ask the guy next to me what he uses to burn CD's rather than look it up online. And while Linux continues to hold a very small part of the market, Finding what apps to use in Windows will be an easier thing.

Installing in Windows just as easy as installing something on Linux. Frequently it's a heck of a lot easier to set up due to gui set up, rather than having to use config files.

I've used Ubuntu, and tried to get it up and running on various computers with various levels of success. Even with its package manager I had to trudge through the forums to find out what program does what. Not to mention the fact that in order to replace my Windows setup I need to add repositories that aren't in there by default. I know why there no there to begin with, but it's a pain to add them for every install, and every tutorial I've seen just uses the command line anyway. I know you see it as easier, but I personally don't. I've had plenty of times where I install software with the package manager, and it either doesn't install right, or completely. Resulting in an hour + spent finding out what went wrong. How to fix it, ect.

I love the idea of open source software. I use FireFox, OO.o, InkScape, OpenVPN, VNC, all terrific programs, but using Linux as a desktop OS just is not there yet. I've been following it for only 5 years now, and I admit it's come a LONG way in just 5 short years, and I honestly believe that sooner rather than later Linux will become my OS of choice, for myself, and the friends, and family I help pro-bono. But as it stands right now it still has a very critical last 10%-15% to go.

I wish it could have been rip-roaring to go in time for Vista, but it looks like that won't be the case... I'm looking at Vista as a large black cloud looming menacingly off in the distance. I wish Linux, was there to replace XP as my OS of choice.

Re:The sad thing is . . . (1)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 7 years ago | (#16190597)

I dual boot, FC5 at home, 4 at work. I didn't install 4 (one of the tech guys at work did it for me), but I did install at home, and it was a piece of cake. I've discovered now (past few months) that I'm using Linux for just about everything. I've gone back and forth over the years, but now it really is at a point, for me anyway, where it succeeds admirably on the desktop.

I've said it before in these discussions, and I'll say it again (because repeating yourself is a sign of stupidity), the problem that most Windows users have with Linux is that it's not Windows. Full up with a GUI it looks a little like Windows, but not exactly. It doesn't function exactly the same. OO is not MS Office, even though it's got the components that the vast majority of people want (word processor and spreadsheet).

The problem is that most people don't like change.

As far as the problem of which text editor to use, most users don't use text editors (see, you're thinking like a programmer again). The best media player? Install them all! Just like you end up doing on Windows where you need QT, RM, Flash, WMP, etc. Burning software? Install them all and pick which one you like the best.

The second problem is that while I believe Linux is better, for most people it simply doesn't matter. If the computer does what you want it to do, why bother switching? What compelling reason are you going to give a Windows user to switch? For that matter, what compelling reason could you give a Linux user to switch to Windows? Nothing!

Re:The sad thing is . . . (1)

Jussi K. Kojootti (646145) | more than 7 years ago | (#16190665)

every tutorial I've seen just uses the command line anyway. I know you see it as easier, but I personally don't.
I think you've misunderstood. It's actually not that people want to force CLI on you or even that they think it's easier... Giving clear, unambiguous and succinct instructions for a GUI is often impossible and almost always significantly more laborous than giving the same advice for CLI. Try it and you'll see.

Installing in Windows just as easy as installing something on Linux. Frequently it's a heck of a lot easier to set up due to gui set up, rather than having to use config files.
I guess these are matters of opinion... Personally I'm never going to administer a machine without proper package management again -- my memories of installing Windows and installing software on Windows are definitely not as rosy as yours. Of course it is possible that I just wasn't knowledgeable enough about administering Windows, and thus made unnecessary mistakes.

Re:The sad thing is . . . (2, Informative)

ElleyKitten (715519) | more than 7 years ago | (#16190681)

And where's the central repository of knowledge that tells me what's the best text editor of the 9,000 available for Linux? The best media player, the best burning software?
Look, I know you're used to Windows which comes with a bare-bones text editor, a bloated pos for a media player, and no dedicated burning software, but Linux distros tend to come with decent programs to do all those things. If you're willing to use whatever some random guy uses too, then why not just stick with the perfectly usable defaults?

Installing in Windows just as easy as installing something on Linux. Frequently it's a heck of a lot easier to set up due to gui set up, rather than having to use config files.
Config files? No, on Ubuntu it's just point and click. Ok, type in something to search, but on the whole, less clicks than Windows installers.

Even with its package manager I had to trudge through the forums to find out what program does what.
It says what it does right in the description. What more information did you need?

Not to mention the fact that in order to replace my Windows setup I need to add repositories that aren't in there by default. I know why there no there to begin with, but it's a pain to add them for every install, and every tutorial I've seen just uses the command line anyway.
You don't have to use the command line, people just like it because it's more straight-foward. You can add them through Synaptic (forget where, not in front of my ubuntu box, sorry) or you can get EasyUbuntu [freecontrib.org] , which will install mp3, flash, etc, as well. Or you could get Mepis.

Re:The sad thing is . . . (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 7 years ago | (#16191109)

And where's the central repository of knowledge that tells me what's the best text editor of the 9,000 available for Linux?

Who cares? Why do you need the best, rather than just one that does the job? And who defines "best", anyway?

Just read the descriptions, pick one that sounds like it might work for you, install it, and see if it does the job. If so, great. If not, pick another. Of course, if you have someone around that already understands the pros and cons, ask, but all of the packages in the repository do pretty much what they say they do, so in a pinch that's all the information you need.

And how is this worse than Windows, anyway? On Windows, you still have the issue that there are multiple options available, and you still have to figure out which one you want. Except that on Windows the apps are harder to find, harder to get (perhaps costing $$) and harder to install/remove.

Installing in Windows just as easy as installing something on Linux. Frequently it's a heck of a lot easier to set up due to gui set up, rather than having to use config files.

Bah. Debian/Ubuntu prompt you for the key configuration information during the installation process, so you rarely have to do anything to get the app running. Not only that, most desktop apps these days do have GUI-based configuration tools.

Even with its package manager I had to trudge through the forums to find out what program does what

Why? They have descriptions. If you install them, they have documentation, plus you can always just try them out. Now, perhaps you *prefer* to ask, but that's different from *having* to ask.

but using Linux as a desktop OS just is not there yet

Damn. I guess I'm going to have to tell my wife and kids they can't use Linux any more, they're going to have to learn XP/Vista. They'll be annoyed, but they'll get over it, I'm sure.

Of course, I'm being facetious. Obviously, Linux isn't right for everyone's desktop, especially for people who know Windows and don't enjoy learning a new platform (which is a *lot* of people). But for those who are willing to invest a little time, Linux has been an adequate desktop platform for some time, and Ubuntu is an excellent platform now. Windows is better in some ways, Ubuntu is better in others. There's not really a clear-cut winner, which is the best possible outcome for users, because competition ultimately benefits the consumer.

Re:The sad thing is . . . (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 7 years ago | (#16192449)

And where's the central repository of knowledge that tells me what's the best text editor of the 9,000 available for Linux?


There isn't a "best text editor" for Linux. Which text editor is best is a function of your personal tastes, the specific uses you have for it, and other things. Same, really, as on Windows (though the options are different.) No "central repository of knowledge" exists for either, you've got to figure out what works for you. There's lots of good resources on the net to find out about text editors for either platform, but without trying some out, you won't answer that question.

Same for media players, burning software, etc.

These aren't hits against Linux at all, but it's a lot easier for me to ask the guy next to me what he uses to burn CD's rather than look it up online.


I thought you wanted a centralized database with feature comparisons to let you know the best of each of these applications? Now you just want some random guy that you can ask what they use? There's plenty of those for almost any kind of Linux application...

Installing in Windows just as easy as installing something on Linux. Frequently it's a heck of a lot easier to set up due to gui set up, rather than having to use config files.


I don't see a lot of big differences, here. Most of the stuff I install on linux either has an installer or can be installed with apt-get (or any of the GUI front-ends for that), occasionally you'll still run into stuff with a laborious manual install process, but usually that's for fairly specialized open-source projects that usually don't have binary installers for Windows, if they are even available there, so its not really a disadvantage to linux, but to particular applications.

Now, that being said, I don't see linux replacing or threatening Windows unless someone comes up with a revolutionary distro that really redefines the user experience and forces Windows to play catch-up in an area where lots of less-technical users instantly and intuitively grasps the advantage, even if does catch up so that there isn't any more serious debate about Linux being "ready" for the average desktop user.

Re:The sad thing is . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16192643)

There isn't a "best text editor" for Linux.
Wrong, there's emacs. *ducks*

Re:The sad thing is . . . (3, Funny)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16190219)

``Let's face it, the closest equivalent to Synaptic or Adept in XP is Google!''

Which, of course, runs Linux.

Re:The sad thing is . . . (1)

Bluesman (104513) | more than 7 years ago | (#16190689)

I'm not talking about installation as a user. I'm talking about the time it takes to set up the software for distribution as a DEVELOPER.

With windows, I can distribute an app as a zip file, confident it will run without adjustment on a majority of windows systems. The .dlls can be included in the directory of the app. It's five minutes of development time to create the binary, zip it up with .dlls, and ship it off to other people who'd want to use it. Or I can use NSIS as I get more advanced.

The thing is, I have a limited amount of time as a developer of open-source software. I can afford to package for *maybe* three systems. So there's windows which is a piece of cake, FreeBSD which is a piece of cake, and then we come to Linux. . .let's pick a distro, learn its package management system, ok, we're out of valuable time I'd rather spend developing.

This isn't a technological problem, it's an organizational one. Yet another package manager won't help.

Re:The sad thing is . . . (1)

ratboy666 (104074) | more than 7 years ago | (#16191257)

Link it statically. If you don't want to do that, then include all shared objects with the application. Dynamically link with those objects from the top application directory, or ./lib.

Rely ONLY on Clib (Xlib, and OGL). (and CLib can be supplied with the app as well).

Voila. "Click and run" application. Include a png icon for the application as well.

If you follow these rules, your application will be very portable. Even running with emulators such as QEMU to target SPARCs, etc.

Now, build your application tree into a shell archive. Double click to install, double click to run.

How is this different from the Windows approach?

YMMV, but I don't see how
Ratboy

Re:The sad thing is . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16193487)

He's an MS developer. He probably doesn't know what 'link it statically' means, let alone what 'linking' is. Heck, more than half the visual-foo++ programmers I've met barely know what 'compile' means, and certainly can't explain it.

Re:The sad thing is . . . (2, Interesting)

goarilla (908067) | more than 7 years ago | (#16191559)

i dont want to sound like an asshole or something but
./configure; make; make install is not the way to go
if configure fails it'll still try to make it ... etc
./configure && make && make install is better assuming you are root when you compile things
(and offcorse want the program to end in the your PATH)
best thing tho is to first read README INSTALL and then ./configure and output the options to a file
So you can consult them first before making the thing

./configure && make && make install are fine for most packages but for importants programs like mplayer,mencoder you should
take all of your time you have to compile xvid, h..., Nvidia XvMC support, .... therefore first consult the configure options and read the documentation and for
a lot of people doing all that is just hardcore!
when my friends see me compile mplayer altho i have frontends of mplayers installed on their pc's
and they use it daily they say damn you're a geek and damn GNU/linux is hard but then i always
remind them of the fact that some guy did even more hardcore shit than i did to get to compile those win
binaries that they are all using :D

and then they all shut up

Re:The sad thing is . . . (1)

supermank17 (923993) | more than 7 years ago | (#16191589)

Actually I'm not sure you know what you're talking about. In my house I currently have 1 Windows PC, 1 Mac laptop, and 3 Linux PCs. And he's right, its far harder to install Linux software than PC software (the mac is easiest of all, but thats a separate issue). I'll admit, apt-get and YUM have made life a lot easier. If the app is in the repository, you're good to go, you just click on the file in your package manager, and it installs. But when its not? Then you have to deal with the mess of various repositories, source code compilation, and missing dependencies. And unfortunately, I've had lots of applications I want that are missing from the repositories. And don't even get me started on trying to install browser plugins or getting multimedia to work.

Now I know a lot of these problems aren't necessarily Linux's fault, but they do exist. And as for where to get Windows software, thats easy. You buy it from a store :-P.

Re:The sad thing is . . . (1)

lowe0 (136140) | more than 7 years ago | (#16191667)

It's called CompUSA.

There isn't a centralized repository for commercial software because no one's come up with a good business model for it yet. It's just a drawback of commercial software.

Re:The sad thing is . . . (1)

IflyRC (956454) | more than 7 years ago | (#16192027)

*IF* Microsoft created a list of software in Windows, categorized by type it would be HUGE. There is no way they could include a list of all of the software made for Windows.

Now, for the sake of argument lets say the do include such a list that is somewhat manageable. Manageable meaning that it's not every piece of software made. Most software for Windows is not open source, therefore they would need to integrate some software purchase scenario within Windows to connect to the software maker, download the software and handle payment.

Whats wrong with this? All of a sudden retail starts screaming because they just got cut out of the deal. CompUSA, Circuit City, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Office Depot, Office Max, Staples, Mom & Pop's software shop in who knows where USA.
The OTHER problem is this...who decides what goes in the list? What kind of deals get brokered? All of a sudden Microsoft is now controlling WHO I buy my software from? How about the little guy...Small Time Software Company Inc.? Does he then sue to get placed on the list? Can he legally?

This just opens up WAY too many cans of worms. Sorry, let walk into a store and buy what I want or let me do my own research and buy online for download. Don't give me a list of what XXX Company has made deals with.

Re:The sad thing is . . . (1)

tapehands (943962) | more than 7 years ago | (#16192325)

Agreed. Last time I had to manually install software was when I decided that the stock Orinoco drivers in the kernel weren't a good choice since I needed monitor mode. I compiled the new drivers, set the modules to load, and had monitor mode at my next reboot. Since I'm using Gentoo, I do have to recompile my kernel whenever I compulsively emerge a new kernel update, but other distros handle these updates in packages...automatically configuring everything for the end user.

Granted, not all of your hardware is going to be loved by Linux, and you may have to hassle with it to get it to work, but honestly...is the ignoramus that buys a $300 eMachine and can't install Winamp on a Windows box going to care if his nVidia card (without having the Linux binaries installed) can't get 3,000 fps out of glxgears?

Now for a slight tangent..

The biggest concern with that person would be browsing websites, creating documents, burning cds, downloading music, and being social online. The first major concern (browsing websites) is hampered by not all websites supporting browsers other than IE (not really the fault of Linux), and also by there being no version of Flash 8 for Linux (still not really the fault of Linux...but it seems worse than a website just not being compatible). The second concern is downloading music - I'm just overly paranoid about this, but I don't think the average Joe would be too comfortable with most of the Linux p2p offerings...and, for the legit people, I'm also not sure about the status of DRM'd services in Linux. The final concern is being social - I love and use gaim, but damnit all. Why can't I transfer files as easily as I can in the Windows version of AIM? Why can't I have easy webcam chats?

Microsoft library (1)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 7 years ago | (#16192357)

Microsoft library:

how about http://www.microsoft.com/products/ [microsoft.com] ? Sure, you can't instantly install the programs there, but neither can you if you go to www.gentoo-portage.com [gentoo-portage.com] . Hell, even with some programs (e.g. Maya,) you still can't do "emerge maya" or click "Emerge" with Porthole, and something makes me thing that the same situation exists with Yum and Apt.

Don't get me wrong, I love Linux and use it for my computing whenever I'm not doing things that are currently much easier to do under Windows, or things that can only be done under Windows. Hell, just two days ago I got a BSOD when all I was doing was looking at www.economist.com and ripping some movies. Speaking of BSOD's, I've been getting quite a few of them lately, and I know I don't have any viruses....

Re:The sad thing is . . . (1)

Bazouel (105242) | more than 7 years ago | (#16192415)

One out of MANY counterexamples to your argument: http://www.download.com [download.com] . Come on, how many applications do you think exist on Windows ?? Do you realistically think it would be possible to have ONE central directory of all of them ? Talking about not having a clue ...

Download.com (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#16192443)

Getting winamp or nero or whatever application you want is very easy if you know which app you need and where to get it. But show me where is the centralized application install function in XP, like Adept or Synaptic in Linux. Where is the simple way to look for a software to install, searching by category?

Download.com. will serve as an example. I could as easily have chosen a half-dozen others.

Programs neatly sorted in categories. Independent editorial reviews. User reviews. Screenshots. Tutorials. Licensing and prices.

Let me know when your typical Linux disteo provides that much help for the beginner.

You Microsoft guys have no idea how complicated is getting software for Windows if you are a newbie. You just think it's easy because you are so familiar with the whole thing

My youngest niece began with XP at age four. Her older brothers with Win95 in 1996. The truth of it is that there are no Windows newbies.

I may be out of date myself here, because it has been a long time since I did this, but I remember that even in 1998 automake/autorun were easier to use than solving all the incompatibility problems between windows applications and DLLs.

I made the move from Win 95 to Win XP in one leap and in little more than one day. Programs written for Win 3, Win 9x, XP and MSDOS still coexist on my system even now.

Re:Download.com (1)

Bottlemaster (449635) | more than 7 years ago | (#16193091)

Programs neatly sorted in categories. Independent editorial reviews. User reviews. Screenshots. Tutorials. Licensing and prices.

Let me know when your typical Linux disteo provides that much help for the beginner.

You should check out freshmeat.net. Unfortunately, it's still lagging behind in the "prices" category; Linux has a ways to catch up!

Re: The sad thing is . . . (1)

Dolda2000 (759023) | more than 7 years ago | (#16192537)

Amen to that. I just wanted to add to this a mention of Autopackage [autopackage.org] , which has done wonders, not only for amazing ease of installation (did you say "a few clicks"? Autopackage is one-click), but also for wide-spread binary compatibility under GNU/Linux. GNU/Linux certainly is capable of binary compatibility, it's just that most distros don't care anyway (why should they when there's APT/Yum/Portage/whathaveyou?). The Autopackage project has developed some rather sophisticated wrapper scripts around the GNU toolchain to build binaries that link to ABIs that are available on as wide a range of distros as possible.

Re:The sad thing is . . . (1)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 7 years ago | (#16192947)

What if you're not using Ubuntu or Debian? Or, what if you are, but need different default options?

for as "rare" as it is, I seem to keep running into software that's not in my distro (very common) (SUSE 10). Stuff like Analog, postfix.admin, etc... and invariably, when i go to install these apps by tarball, they require that the programs that I do have in my repository be configured in a different way than SUSE configures them.

bah.

Re:The sad thing is . . . (1)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 7 years ago | (#16189639)

It's a huge pain to distribute binaries for every different distro, so unless your app becomes popular enough for other people to do that work for you, (or the distros do it themselves) then a significant amount of development time is spent just on packaging and deployment.

If you are writing software that isn't going to be included and packaged for you by a distribution, then you can just use Autopackage [autopackage.org] to create a single distro-agnostic binary with its own built in installer. Autopackage even provides libraries/tools to allow functionality to degrade gracefully so that, for instance, your application can use new GTK+ features if the newer library is available, but fall back to older features and still work properly if an older library is all that's available. The tools are there, all you have to do is actually use them.

Re:The sad thing is . . . (1)

Bluesman (104513) | more than 7 years ago | (#16190975)

Thanks, I'll check into that.

The problem from my perspective, however, is that not only do people who want to use my stuff now have to download it, but also autopackage.

I'd love for that to become a standard, but it's not. It's a shame.

What would be REALLY cool is an app that produced a distro specific package based on source. I think that's the kind of thing that would really help Linux as a distribution platform.

Re:The sad thing is . . . (1)

turgid (580780) | more than 7 years ago | (#16189699)

With windows you're guaranteed binary compatibility on a majority of systems

Because Windows only runs on x86 PeeCee hardware of Pentium III and later vintage. And everyone's running the same distribution (Windows XP). OK - maybe two distros, XP and 2003 Slow-Down-My-Server-To-A-Crawl Edition(TM).

/me ducks.

Re:The sad thing is . . . (3, Insightful)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16189703)

``It's still much, much easier to deploy applications on Windows, even when you're using the GNU toolchain.''

For you or for users? Installing and maintaining software that is packaged for distributions can be easier than it is on Windows, and so much software has been packaged for Debian and Ubuntu that I feel the claim that "software installation and maintenance is easier on Debian than on Windows (or OS X)" is justified. On the other hand, packaging software for various distros can put an enormous burden on the developers.

Going the other way, providing software that can be installed on many different Linux distributions is a piece of cake for the developer. As long as you stick to a few sensible conventions (like not assuming things that tend not to be true across distros), users should be able to install your program without too much trouble, once they have all the necessary dependencies in place. Of course, this effort might still be too much for would-be users.

Other alternatives are targetting only a select few distributions (see also my other post about "the Linux OS" not existing), and/or leaving the packaging in the hands of the distributors - arguably, it is their job. Also, it's not uncommon for users to post step by step instructions or even creating binary packages for installing software on distributions that don't include that software.

``With windows you're guaranteed binary compatibility on a majority of systems''

Yes, but this comes with a hefty price tag. For example, binary compatibility will be broken the moment another hardware architecture comes along (AMD64, anyone?). It's entirely possible that this has kept PCs from evolving past x86 for so long - with actual drawbacks; various other architectures have been more performant, more affordable, etc. at various points in time. And that's just the hardware side; I'm sure many people can point out bugs and vulnerabilities that have persisted because of the need to maintain binary compatibility with some flawed earlier system.

Also, binary compatibility isn't completely achieved on Windows, either. Think of DLL Hell, for example.

``with Linux, it's pretty much expected that your users are advanced enough to be able to compile from source.''

Which doesn't have to be very advanced at all. For a lot of software, a single command suffices; often, it's the familiar ./configure && make && sudo make install mantra (which isn't necessarily more complex than your average Windows installer), and there are often front ends to the compilation that ease the process.

Also, if a user wants to run your software on an operating system that you do not support, is it your fault or theirs if the installation isn't easy? With the source, at least they _can_ make it work.

``Ironically, Windows with mingw et. al. seems to be a more hospitable environment toward deployment of open-source software than "Linux" is.''

Some companies (at least Google) actually develop their software against winelib, and then create a Windows binary that works on Windows and any x86 Linux distro with Wine installed. Although I dread the ugliness of win32 programs on Linux, it does solve the binary compatibility problem.

Re:The sad thing is . . . (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 7 years ago | (#16190087)

For you or for users? Installing and maintaining software that is packaged for distributions can be easier than it is on Windows, and so much software has been packaged for Debian and Ubuntu that I feel the claim that "software installation and maintenance is easier on Debian than on Windows (or OS X)" is justified. On the other hand, packaging software for various distros can put an enormous burden on the developers.

Installing my application is simple. The users click a link and allow the installer to run. Deploying updates is even easier; it happens whenever they run the application.

Going the other way, providing software that can be installed on many different Linux distributions is a piece of cake for the developer. As long as you stick to a few sensible conventions (like not assuming things that tend not to be true across distros), users should be able to install your program without too much trouble, once they have all the necessary dependencies in place. Of course, this effort might still be too much for would-be users.

I don't have to limit myself in any way; as long as Windows and .Net is installed (which is being done via Windows update, and anything newer than Win2k3 includes it), my application will install and work just fine. no extra effort for me or my users.

Yes, but this comes with a hefty price tag. For example, binary compatibility will be broken the moment another hardware architecture comes along (AMD64, anyone?). It's entirely possible that this has kept PCs from evolving past x86 for so long - with actual drawbacks; various other architectures have been more performant, more affordable, etc. at various points in time. And that's just the hardware side; I'm sure many people can point out bugs and vulnerabilities that have persisted because of the need to maintain binary compatibility with some flawed earlier system.

Yup, just like how it was broken moving from 16 bit to 32. Opps, Windows provided backward compatability so this didn't happen. My application in particular will also run just fine on 64 bit, without any effort on my part.

Also, binary compatibility isn't completely achieved on Windows, either. Think of DLL Hell, for example.

This problem is going away as .Net picks up more and more steam.

Which doesn't have to be very advanced at all. For a lot of software, a single command suffices; often, it's the familiar ./configure && make && sudo make install mantra (which isn't necessarily more complex than your average Windows installer), and there are often front ends to the compilation that ease the process.

Yeah, that's what a user wants to do. Open a command prompt and type THAT. Very friendly. Not to mention that this method doesn't always work. I had quite a few problems compiling from source and I'm an advanced user.

Also, if a user wants to run your software on an operating system that you do not support, is it your fault or theirs if the installation isn't easy? With the source, at least they _can_ make it work.

Developers may make it work. A normal user will just download a program that actually does.

Re:The sad thing is . . . (1)

Jussi K. Kojootti (646145) | more than 7 years ago | (#16190931)

Deploying updates is even easier; it happens whenever they run the application.
Again, easier for you... For the user this approach means tens or hundreds of applications that have their own update methods (some need to be started, some want you to click 'update' somewhere, etc.) with different UIs for the updating. It also means security implications as the user now has X additional programs that are connected to the internet.

Stand-alone installers have some good properties compared to package management. update deployment is not one of them.

Re:The sad thing is . . . (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16191171)

``Installing my application is simple. The users click a link and allow the installer to run.''

Good! Does the installer ask any questions? If so, does it explain what the questions mean, what the consequences of each answer are, and what answer one should pick?

``Deploying updates is even easier; it happens whenever they run the application.''

Ooh, spyware! Or, at least, it could be...if it's closed source and it connects to your website, without me telling it to, how do I know it's only checking for updates?

``I don't have to limit myself in any way; as long as Windows and .Net is installed''

Yesteryear, the same was being said about Java. The same has been said about DirectX, Internet Explorer 5.5, Winsock, etc. What it really means is that you're targetting what happens to be the Latest and Greatest (C)(R)(TM) API from Microsoft, which they will have to support in length of ages to retain binary compatibility. What will happen when Vista is released, with more Latest and Greatest APIs? Will all of these be provided on older Windows versions, too?

``Yup, just like how it was broken moving from 16 bit to 32. Opps, Windows provided backward compatability so this didn't happen.''

But does Windows on Alpha or PowerPC provide binary compatibility with x86? The ability to run win16 apps on win32 uses a compatibility layer baked into the hardware, as well.

``My application in particular will also run just fine on 64 bit, without any effort on my part.''

Right, because you're compiling to virtual machine code. The same trick works on any other operating system, of course.

``
Also, binary compatibility isn't completely achieved on Windows, either. Think of DLL Hell, for example.


This problem is going away as .Net picks up more and more steam.''

At least, we can hope so.

``[./configure && make && make install]

Yeah, that's what a user wants to do. Open a command prompt and type THAT.''

I guess not. That must be why a lot of software for Linux (if it's not included in popular distros) is shipped in a single (click and run, depending on your distro) binary, much like the installers Windows software uses. Takes some effort from the developer, sure, but I don't think Windows installers come out of thin air either (but I couldn't know, I've never developed for Windows).

``Very friendly. Not to mention that this method doesn't always work. I had quite a few problems compiling from source and I'm an advanced user.''

You're not alone, and this is a real problem, and it probably won't be going away. Getting compilation to Just Work across a wide variety of platforms isn't easy. Since getting binaries to Just Work depends on getting that, it's even worse. I'm just saying: keep in mind that comparing a single version of Windows on a single machine architecture to a multitude of Linux distros on a multitude of machine architectures is comparing apples and oranges.

``
Also, if a user wants to run your software on an operating system that you do not support, is it your fault or theirs if the installation isn't easy? With the source, at least they _can_ make it work.


Developers may make it work. A normal user will just download a program that actually does.'' ... and that's what many (millions?) of Ubuntu users do all the time. But if I insist on running, say, Puppy Linux, I will have to accept I don't get 15000 packages built and tested for me.

Re:The sad thing is . . . (1)

Bluesman (104513) | more than 7 years ago | (#16190865)

Oh, most definitely for *users* both systems are pretty much equivalent, once everything is packaged.

I'm talking about for me, the developer, deploying for all the distros under the Linux umbrella is much more difficult than it is to deploy on Windows or FreeBSD.

It's funny that whenever anyone brings this up, they get attacked, but really what developers want to concentrate on is writing code that's interesting to them. I can do that on any platform. I do that on Windows now because it's just so easy to share stuff. My source code is almost always portable to Linux with few or no changes, but I can't be bothered spending the few days learning each package management system for every distro. I'll expect that Linux users just compile my source.

This means, that for every beginner out there who doesn't know how to compile from source, there's going to be a large class of applications unavailable to him when using Linux, simply because there's no standard method for deploying an app that will work with most distros.

Re:The sad thing is . . . (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16191591)

``I'm talking about for me, the developer, deploying for all the distros under the Linux umbrella is much more difficult than it is to deploy on Windows or FreeBSD.''

Yes. And that's exactly because there are all these "distros under the Linux umbrella". I feel people need to realize that these are really different operating systems, otherwise we keep getting stuck in things like "Linux doesn't have $nice_property, because I know this one distro that doesn't have it". I feel, but this _is_ my personal opinion, of course, that it's much more meaningful to look at a single distro and say things like "software installation works great on Ubuntu, but it's a pity no C compiler is installed by default, because it's often needed".

``My source code is almost always portable to Linux with few or no changes, but I can't be bothered spending the few days learning each package management system for every distro.''

I think expecting developers to do so is unreasonable. I made OpenBSD, Debian, and pkgsrc packages of my software for a while, but eventually I figured I was spending more time on creating the packages than on the software proper. Now, I figure my job ends with making it easy to compile the software and do staged installs, and leave the packaging up to whomever uses the packaging system.

``This means, that for every beginner out there who doesn't know how to compile from source, there's going to be a large class of applications unavailable to him when using Linux, simply because there's no standard method for deploying an app that will work with most distros.''

That's assuming nobody is creating binary packages for the distro said beginner is using. This is definitely a valid assumption when your software or their distro is new and relatively unknown, and thus creates a barrier to adoption. However, this barrier will disappear over time as people package your software for more and more distros. You could kickstart the process by providing binary packages for one platform, which shouldn't take too much effort.

compile from source (1)

dpilot (134227) | more than 7 years ago | (#16190083)

Cue up the Gentoo jokes...

The 'compile from source' is what I like about Gentoo. I ran Linux for quite some before moving to Gentoo, and when it came time to install those non-distro rpms, it was frequently a crap-shoot. Try the rpm, learn about a missing dependency. Grab that, learn about its missing dependency, maybe up-level from distro standard. Grab this, find out that it doesn't play well with my distro, etc. I got quite a few non-distro things installed from rpm, but there were things that didn't, and things that I had to carefully back out and replace a base version.

By and large, Gentoo ebuilds just work, and the variety is great enough that I've had to go out-of-distro less often. Beyond that, since Gentoo is source-based, I usually don't have to go and grab some '-devel' package that isn't normally installed, in order to build out-of-distro software. Yeah, the compile time can be a pain, but the total get-arbitrary-package-running time is generally shorter.

Plus there isn't the old 'version n+1 is out, time to reinstall/upgrade' churn. Of course there's a lower level of continual churn, but aside from recent things like gcc and glibc levels, and modular xorg, it's pretty easy.

By an large, I only have problems with closed-source binary packages, and some stuff that isn't properly ported to amd64, yet. (Doomsday, for one)

Re:compile from source (1)

Bluesman (104513) | more than 7 years ago | (#16190429)

No jokes from me. I typically use FreeBSD, and the compile from source idea is just fantastic. The problem is that only Gentoo uses it, so unless every other Linux distro adopts that, the problem remains.

What FreeBSD gets right that Gentoo really doesn't focus on is binary compatibility, such that I can download a package for a specific release of FreeBSD that's the same as if I had compiled the port with default settings. I'm sure Gentoo will get there someday.

Re:The really really sad thing is . . . (1)

Jetson (176002) | more than 7 years ago | (#16190133)

It's still much, much easier to deploy applications on Windows
Mainly because when you distribute for Windows you know you're normally going to have administrator access to the machine and can use any registry key and installation directory you want as long as it's obfuscated enough to miss other apps through sheer luck. Of course those are all just bad assumptions and Microsoft tells you not to expect such access, but 99% of the developers seem to write with that level of access in mind. I've had numerous Windows applications fail to install on machines where I wasn't administrator. These had no device drivers or complicated security requirements -- they simply failed because the programmer wanted to write to the protected areas of the registry instead of the user nodes.

With windows you're guaranteed binary compatibility on a majority of systems.
Majority != All. I find it particularly odd to see sites still offering programs for download that are not Win32 applications.

It's a huge pain to distribute binaries for every different distro
Well, there are two solutions to this: Use the RPM format and allow the other distros to import using "alien", or else get automated build tools. You would only have to set up the tools once with the distro-specific directories, etc.

Re:The really really sad thing is . . . (1)

Burz (138833) | more than 7 years ago | (#16190739)

Mainly because when you distribute for Windows you know you're normally going to have administrator access

As usual, the existence and relative success of OS X negates such claims.

Automatic package managers + huge repository seem nice at first. Until you realize there are Zero independant application developers offering great stuff for your OS, because the distro differences and their PMs continually massaging/tossing around system components have scared off those types of developers. Want your stuff to install and keep working on the PCs of users A, B and X? Then find out what their distros are and surrender your code so that a 'maintainer' middle-man (with probably no interest or real experience with anything more high-level than Firefox) can manage it for you. Ha. There goes control over your code. There go modes of distribution like application on a CDROM or a ZIP file. There goes the close relationships you might have formed with most users who cannot/willnot operate a compiler. All out the window.

None of this is really an obstacle to nerdy sysadmins or those to write software targeted at them, because they have IT insight and experience. But for everyone else, such as authors/users of PC applications, its lethal.

Mac and Windows serve as relatively stable environments, where PC developers and users meet. Or if you prefer, they "interface". That is how a PC software platform has to work. To our Linux community, this direct interfacing without a distro 'maintainer' between them is treated as 'unclean'. And if Linux distros were as carelessly written as Windows, the author/user seperation habit probably would improve cleanliness (less malware); however that is not necessarily so and it is proven untrue in the case of Mac OS X, which has the PC software model without a malware epidemic.

Windows Perspective (4, Interesting)

Tadrith (557354) | more than 7 years ago | (#16189033)


I'm a computer geek who regularly uses Windows. Yes, I know, boo, hiss, whatever. My software development happens under Windows because that's what I learned on, that's where most of the market currently is, and that's what I've got a job doing. I'm not going to stop working for a company I like doing what I enjoy just because I happen to do my work on Windows.

In any case, periodically I load Linux on an alternate hard disk in my machine to play around with it and see what I can get going. I do like to keep my knowledge of it up in the event that I run into it on the job (I also do field work from time to time), but I also like to see how far it has progressed. At some point in time, I really would like to use it as my core operating system, even if I still have to drop into Windows when I work.

Recently (about a week ago), I decided to try a couple of different distributions. They all seem to suffer from one problem -- the USB keyboard no longer works when it hits the installer. "You forgot to turn on legacy mode for USB in your BIOS!", is the first thing most people would say, except that I haven't forgotten to turn it on. It works perfectly fine for the BIOS-based boot menu. I even triple checked it, thinking I was missing something. I tried numerous options to try and get the damn thing working, to no avail.

Yes, I could get a USB to PS2 converter and yes, it does work fine after that. But that's not the point -- I shouldn't HAVE to do that. Critical things like that will kill any interest your average user will have in the operating system. But, for what it's worth, I was very pleased with what I saw after I did finally get it loaded. It's come a long way from the operating system I tinkered with 6 or 7 years ago.

Which distros? (1)

jonasj (538692) | more than 7 years ago | (#16189231)

Which distros?

Re:Which distros? (1)

Tadrith (557354) | more than 7 years ago | (#16190527)

Well, I downloaded Fedora Core 5 to try it out. I haven't touched anything by Red Hat in some time (I have a habit of using Slackware whenever I play around, for some reason). That was the first one that didn't work. I also tried the evaluation version of SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10. I used to do a lot of work with Novell Netware back in the 4.11 days, so I thought I'd revisit Novell. I also tried Ubuntu, but I used an older version that I had lying around (Warty), so that's not exactly the best test.

Interestingly enough, FreeBSD also has a problem, though it will work once the installation is finished.

For all I know, it may be something with my motherboard that isn't working right that Windows is just working around.

Re:Which distros? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16191517)

If you have teh time, try installing windows from scratch on that PC. And may god be with you (and have a floppy drive) if you need to install RAID drivers.

Re:Windows Perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16189321)

teh freebsd installer has teh option for usb keyboards.
it asks you if you are using one and just works.
teh linux don't have nottin on freebsd

Re:Windows Perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16189337)

I've installed Linux on a machine with a USB keyboard and it worked just fine. I'm really curious what distro you used, and on what hardware, as this seems rather unusual.

Re:Windows Perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16189419)

Critical things like that will kill any interest your average user will have in the operating system.
Since when does average users install their operating systems?

Re:Windows Perspective (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16189933)

``But that's not the point -- I shouldn't HAVE to do that.''

You know, not saying you're wrong, but I'm getting tired of hearing this argument. Since when is it not your responsibility that your hardware is compatible with the software you want to run? Windows doesn't support every piece of hardware that Linux supports, either. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if, say, Ubuntu supported more hardware out of the box than Windows XP.

Re:Windows Perspective (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 7 years ago | (#16190073)

Bullshit.

If Linux supports the USB keyboard when it's fully installed, there's no reason that the installer shouldn't except the programmers of it didn't bother to do any sort of QA process what-so-ever.

If you go to (to use an example) Ubuntu's website, and check the specs, and it says right there in black and white "supports USB keyboards," then that means it should support USB keyboards all-around. If it doesn't, it should say "supports USB keyboards (PS/2 keyboard required for install)" or something that isn't as misleading.

I don't know what distros he tried, but I've encountered tons of examples of Linux distributions claiming to support things that they didn't actually support. The latest one was probably my WinPVR 250 card that numerous people claimed was supported in Linux, but which never worked despite installing the driver following the exact directions.

Re:Windows Perspective (1)

Tadrith (557354) | more than 7 years ago | (#16190297)

Actually, the keyboard doesn't work at all, regardless of whether it is during the installation, or post-installation. It flat out doesn't work when it's plugged into a USB port. ;)

Honestly, more than anything, I wish I knew why.

Re:Windows Perspective (1)

ratboy666 (104074) | more than 7 years ago | (#16191343)

So, now I am curious. What motherboard, are you using a USB external hub, if so, which one, and which keyboard?

Secondary, which distribution(s)?

YMMV
Ratboy

Re:Windows Perspective (1)

Tadrith (557354) | more than 7 years ago | (#16191565)


I mentioned the distros in another message, but I'll post 'em here:

Fedora Core 5
SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10
And I tried an old version of Ubuntu (Warty)

I would really like to use Fedore Core 5, though. I finished getting it running with a PS2 converter, but it still doesn't work with just the USB. From what I've used of it so far, I like it. I know I can just leave it like that, but it's bugging me, and I would like it to work without it. :) I'm not using an external hub, just the ports on the motherboard. I tried using a different port, and that didn't help either.

My current setup:

ASUS A8N-SLI Premium Motherboard
AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+
nVidia GeForce 7900
Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi

Re:Windows Perspective (1)

ratboy666 (104074) | more than 7 years ago | (#16191785)

Tadrith

I currently on contract with ATI/AMD, but I'll see if I can squeeze out some cycles to look at this (again, I am intrigued). Not tonight, though...

Ratboy

Re:Windows Perspective (1)

Tadrith (557354) | more than 7 years ago | (#16191917)

Sure.

I agree, it is a really odd problem. I did a lot of looking on the web, but nothing came of it.

Re:Windows Perspective (1)

lilo_booter (649045) | more than 7 years ago | (#16191945)

I have never had problems with usb keyboards on linux, but on my intel mac... well, every time I boot up, either the keyboard or the mouse of my el cheapo wireless set isn't working.

Now, my gut reaction would that the particular keyboard and mouse are not compatible with OS/X. The fix will just be to buy a replacement (.. but then, I live in Belgium and good QWERTY keyboards are like gold dust here - I'm just waiting for the next time I'm going to the UK or Holland :-)).

Just a thought, but have you tried another keyboard?

FWIW, the same el cheapo set works perfectly on Linux laptop - go figure...

Re:Windows Perspective (1)

Tadrith (557354) | more than 7 years ago | (#16192147)

I recently replaced my keyboard for one with low profile keys. I'll have to dig up my old one and try.

But, it too had similar problems on a different motherboard. I'll try it anyway. :)

Re:Windows Perspective (1)

howlingmadhowie (943150) | more than 7 years ago | (#16190509)

if you're installing something with proprietary closed-source drivers you can expect it to not work on most linux kernels.

Re:Windows Perspective (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16191317)

``If Linux supports the USB keyboard when it's fully installed, there's no reason that the installer shouldn't except the programmers of it didn't bother to do any sort of QA process what-so-ever.''

Right. So we'll mandate that people acquire every possible piece of hardware on the planet before they're allowed to put together a Linux distribution. Because, you know, the Windows installer also supports all makes and models of SATA drive and SCSI controller that an installed Windows supports, without requiring such things as inserting driver disks and the like.

``If you go to (to use an example) Ubuntu's website, and check the specs, and it says right there in black and white "supports USB keyboards,"''

Maybe his keyboard isn't a real USB keyboard? I don't know if this is the case for keyboard, but I know there are standards for certain classes of USB hardware, and I would consider it perfectly acceptible if some OS supported devices that comply with the standard and not devices that didn't.

``I don't know what distros he tried, but I've encountered tons of examples of Linux distributions claiming to support things that they didn't actually support.''

In that case, they're lying, and they deserve whatever liars deserve. I've personally never encountered this, but if you have, you have every right to be outraged.

Re:Windows Perspective (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 7 years ago | (#16192993)

Right. So we'll mandate that people acquire every possible piece of hardware on the planet before they're allowed to put together a Linux distribution.

That has nothing to do with what I said. What I said is that if the distribution claims to support a particular piece of hardware, they should QA their install process to make sure that particular piece of hardware works. I was assuming when I wrote that that the USB keyboard worked after the distro was installed but (as the original poster replied) it turns out I was wrong about that... so perhaps this statement is wrong and the distro doesn't support USB keyboards at all anyway, in which case you wouldn't expect them to work with the installer any more than the OS itself.

Because, you know, the Windows installer also supports all makes and models of SATA drive and SCSI controller that an installed Windows supports, without requiring such things as inserting driver disks and the like.

We're not talking about Windows, we're talking about a Linux distro. This sentence is entirely irrelevant. Why the hell do Linux users always have to bring Windows into everything? It's a sick obsession.

Maybe his keyboard isn't a real USB keyboard? I don't know if this is the case for keyboard, but I know there are standards for certain classes of USB hardware, and I would consider it perfectly acceptible if some OS supported devices that comply with the standard and not devices that didn't.

So it's an imaginary USB keyboard? ... ok, snark aside, I understand what you're getting at, but there are two factors here:
1) Why would someone build a USB keyboard that didn't support the USB standard and (therefore) required special drivers before it worked?
2) The term "real" here is very misleading. Obviously it's a real keyboard, it's made of plastic and sitting on the desk. What you mean is "standards-compliant" or something similar. And you're right, Linux can't reasonably support this type of keyboard if one exists. (And I doubt any exist.)

In that case, they're lying, and they deserve whatever liars deserve. I've personally never encountered this, but if you have, you have every right to be outraged.

The problem with my WinPVR 250 was that every person in Linux-ville assured me, over and over, that WinPVR 250s worked with Linux. It turns out the *truth* is that *some* WinPVR 250s work with Linux, and there's no way to tell (short of installing the hardware and trying out it) which ones do and which ones do not. As mine was way past it's return/exchange date, and there was no way to tell if another would work even if I did exchange it, it turns out that my WinPVR 250 does not work with Linux. Anybody claiming that WinPVR 250s work with Linux without mentioning that only some do is lying, IMO.

I've had other bad experiences, but they're pretty old and out-of-date. (RedHat 6.2 claiming to support my Soundblaster 128 then not producing any sound, for example. I think there were a couple others, but I'd have to go back and look at my notes.)

Re:Windows Perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16192113)

Try a recent Knoppix CD (no install, just boot from the CD) and see if it works. I've yet to encounter a piece of hardware that claimed Linux compatibility and refuses to work with Knoppix.

My USB keyboard experience (1)

quazee (816569) | more than 7 years ago | (#16192865)

I had a similar problem when I was trying out SuSE Linux 9.1 x64 a couple of years ago.
The installation went OK, however, the keyboard never worked in GRUB, even if 'USB Legacy Support' was enabled. After some fiddling, I finally had to give up and use a PS/2 converter.

I think the problem is somehow related to the fact that the keyboard was not just a USB HID keyboard device, but a USB Composite device, containing two USB HID descriptors (a keyboard + a mouse).
The mouse descriptor is probably there because the keyboard has a scroll wheel, which works exactly like a mouse scroll wheel without installing any additional software.

Re:Windows Perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16193795)

I will add that I have not had this issue myself with a USB keyboard in the past two or three years. My secondary computer uses a USB keyboard with USB mouse and I have installed all manner of open source operating systems on it over the years. Gentoo, Ubuntu, Debian, FreeBSD, Fedora and a host of minor Debian derivatives. The only one that failed was OpenBSD, which I was somewhat heartbroken over. Which, regardless, was not related to the USB keyboard not working.

I just installed Debian stable on it over the weekend. Yes, crusty old Debian stable. I used the 2.6 kernel (linux26 boot option), but I know 2.4 has worked in the past. The thing uses XFree 4.3 for crying out loud! There's a reason I call it Debian "ancient." Yet even then it still works fine.

Now, I did have an issue with Knoppix derivatives where the mouse would fail. But that was on a completely different machine and it was the mouse, not the keyboard. It seemed like every debian knock-off that relied on Knoppix for device detection was affected. Then Ubuntu started using discover and I told all of those knoppix kids to fuck off. Haven't looked back.

Not again... (-1, Troll)

Klaidas (981300) | more than 7 years ago | (#16189205)

Awww, come on! Stack up where? Servers? Desktops? Store shelves?
Long story short: Linux on the servers, WIndows everywhere. + some zealots hating Windows and incomfortably usign Linux on the desktops.
Bye bye karma...

Re:Not again... (1)

jrieth50 (846378) | more than 7 years ago | (#16189397)

How about FreeBSD on your servers, Kubuntu on your desktop, and Windows on your laptop due to more advanced power management/factory utilities. Works for me, it could work for you. And none of it is incomfortable - as I prefer to use Kubuntu when I'm not away from home and forced to use my laptop. I don't really see the incomfortable argument if incomfortable is indeed a word. And thats running Edgy Eft knot 3 - which was a breeze to install and caused no further complications in system setup.

Re:Not again... (1)

Klaidas (981300) | more than 7 years ago | (#16189867)

True. And I do dual boot ubuntu too.
But what I wanted to say was an example of an averange Joe - he walks into a computer store to buy a new PC.. And what OS does he get/request?

Re:Not again... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16189733)

"Bye bye karma..."

You mean, "bye bye credibility". Just because you never use Linux on the desktop doesn't mean that people who do are uncomfortable doing it. Of the three major operating systems I use daily, I find Windows to be the least comfortable. Does that make me a Linux zealot? or a Mac zealot? or an anti-Microsoft zealot? Or does that make me a person who has an informed opinion and bases his decisions upon that opinion? Hm.

Well, I guess it all boils down to what it is you want to believe. You clearly have some emotional investment in thinking that using the most common and popular OS makes you somehow more special, better, or more rational than those of us who don't like it. What's not clear is why you feel the need to flaunt your membership in the MS lovers' club, and why you need to taunt people who disagree with you. The only answer I can come up with is insecurity - no, no, I'm not talking about Windows. I'm talking about your psyche. I think you need to get in touch with yourself, learn to know and to like yourself, and then perhaps you'll see that if using Windows defines you as a person, you're not really much of a person. Perhaps after high school, you'll realize that all those cool kids you wanted to hang out with weren't really all that cool, either.

We're here to help. Come talk to us when you develop opinions of your own.
 

Re:Not again... (1)

Klaidas (981300) | more than 7 years ago | (#16190009)

Just because you never use Linux on the desktop doesn't mean
I do. Surprise!
It's just that about 98% of people I see on the (Linux support/talk) forums are real linux zealots. They won't use anything with closed source. They want to "kill" Ms, etc, etc. So everytime I see "Linux ready for desktop", "Linux agains MS" I write posts like that.
You clearly have some emotional investment
Yes, I do, because of the reasons stated above. :)

Re:Not again... (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 7 years ago | (#16191221)

They won't use anything with closed source.

So what about those who use closed source apps on Linux?

Re:Not again... (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16190111)

``Long story short: Linux on the servers, WIndows everywhere''

Eh? Windows runs on watches, Playstations, and Powermacs these days? And as for "if you have the choice, which would you pick?" I'd say Windows on the desktop, perhaps, but nowhere else; Linux is ok anywhere (but that's only because "the Linux OS" doesn't exist: I'd like a GUI on my PDA, but not on my router).

LINAPCP - (2, Informative)

Burz (138833) | more than 7 years ago | (#16189301)

"Linux" is not a Personal Computing platform. It's a kernel that's wedded to the GNU toolchain, which is meaningless to most end-users and young developers starting out. Its a boon for people who 'do infrastructure' (including managed thin-clients) or gizmos with custom UIs. But thin-clients != personal computing. This only looks like a platform if you're a sysadmin or systems-oriented coder.

To anyone just wanting to run their PC, get user-oriented applications on CD or downloaded as a file... or experiment with some code that their teachers and pals across town can download as a file and run... "Linux" (nee Fedora, SuSE, Ubuntu, Linspire, Xandros, etc, etc) feels like a big headache. Your friends are trying out "Linux" too? Well, you've probably got to learn packaging, dependencies, repositories, etc. before you can expect your experiements to run at all on anyone else's system. The fragmented distro scene is like chlorine against budding application developers needing platform stability in order to express their creative urge.

So in the crucial desktop PC space, Windows and Mac will continue to have a considerable edge.

People here often forget what makes the PC experience special: The uniformity of a platform aimed at *their* needs (not just those wanting to experiment with new encryption and packet-switching schemes), primarily the ability to install apps and drivers at will (and before you issue the kneejerk response, no Mac OS does NOT suffer by advancing these essential platform qualities).

Anyone wanting GNU/Linux + Whatever to shine as an alternative for PC users should get behind the new LSB Desktop spec. that is due this December/January. At least then ISVs (not just system hackers) will have something uniform to target as far as APIs and other features are concerned, and we should see more creative and wonderful applications that can draw end users to the platform.

To those who don't care or hate the idea, perhaps because of the notion that elitism is what keeps GNU/Linux good and secure, I suggest adopting a tolerant and polite attitude instead; No one will be forcing you at gunpoint to use distros conforming to LSB Desktop. The desktop PC needs a workable free alternative, and we're looking to geeks to either help or get out of the way.

Average PC User (1)

emil10001 (985596) | more than 7 years ago | (#16190377)

While I agree that standardizing parts of the Desktop Distributions would help, and will look forward to the future avoidance of "dependancy hell", I don't agree with the assesment that the non-standardness of these Desktop Distros causes any real undue problems for normal PC users.

An example is my roomate, I installed Suse 10.1 on his virus laden windows box, and he loves it. There have been no issues at all with it. The biggest plus with most of the desktop oriented distros that you mention, is that there is no need for the average user to install extra software, becuase everything that most of them need comes pre-installed.

Then there are the package managers like synaptic, yum, yast, smart, etc. which take care of everything for you, and can be easier than tracking down windows software.

So, if an average user wanted to use a linux distro as your desktop pc, I don't see where the big issue is. The fact is that the average user will run into problems with any desktop oriented operating system, say spyware and virii with windows, or dependancy hell with linux, that they will either need to figure out, or get help for.

Re:Average PC User (1)

Burz (138833) | more than 7 years ago | (#16191419)

Assume Linux and Windows marketshare was 50/50 and that your roommate had a daughter:

His daughter wants to experiment with some simple ideas in automatically manipulating media files, and can choose her father's Windows partition or the SuSE partition on the same machine.

(We'll ignore that that SuSE installer will change the C: partition to 'hidden' which causes the XP disk checker to freeze on bootup, a Redmond "oops". Assume the installation works.)

Over a period of, say 3-4 years returning repeatedly to several of her different dalliances in programming.... Which OS is she likely to settle on? I say she'll tend to settle on Windows, particularly as she becomes more ambitious and career-oriented toward programming. You see... Her Linux friends couldn't even run the Linux code she sent them. That was a real downer... all that sense of accomplishment and no one to SHOW it to!

Her Windows pals could run her programs easily. This resulted in a networked, social reinforcing of her endeavors on that platform. Whereas SuSE has no desktop platform to offer, because the other Linux distros do not include many of the same pieces. Someone told her to learn "packaging" for RPM or DEB, but that got complicated very quickly and the problems were all confusingly different depending on which Linux pal tried it. She read something about 'LSB' being a standard she could write for, but it didn't include the graphics or audio she needed.

Oh well...

This budding programmer will go on to write marvelous applications that will draw many users to the Windows platform. She could have stayed with "Linux" if it had nurtured her with a stable environment; if there were a reasonably modern framework she could count on, and a beginner-intermediate IDE that was promoted and supported by RedHat, Novel, etc.

For that matter: Mac OS has none of the problems (viruses and dependency hell) that you mention. We should be asking why, and why desktop Linux isn't learning much from the quintessential modern PC.

Re:LINAPCP - (1)

howlingmadhowie (943150) | more than 7 years ago | (#16190627)

the fragmentation gives linux its vigour. think of it as a boat being pulled by thousands of people. They can't all pull in exactly the same direction, but they get there a lot faster than a boot being pulled by one.

when windows xp came out, the linux desktops looked like windows 95. Now, when windows vista is coming out, it looks primitive compared with a modern opengl desktop on linux. The linux development model is running rings around apple and windows.

and btw, you only need stable apis if you want to develop closed source drivers for the kernel. if you want your code to run on someone else's linux box, send it to them as source and they can compile and install it themselves.

Re:LINAPCP - (0, Flamebait)

Burz (138833) | more than 7 years ago | (#16191025)

Doesn't seem all that vigorous from where I'm standing. For applications, its *anemic*.

A Windows user posted elsewhere that he wanted to try Linux, but having a USB stopped him cold from using the installer. That's not a sign of robustness or vigor. Again, no real obstacle to the admin types who do enjoy robust features in Linux intended for that audience. For everyone else, its the same story: Endless prickly details that must be tended from the CLI before basic things like keyboards, displays and sound not only WORK... but can be RELIED upon.

What's reliable in Linux is Ethernet, ATA, etc. Interfaces you need to run a headless server.

Come on Slashdot! (1)

CHK6 (583097) | more than 7 years ago | (#16191101)

I've been fine with Slashdot stories that link to other stories with links in them. But atleast the linked story has some meat to it. This is nothing more than a indirect pointer to more pointers. What's next a Slashdot link to an off site web portal that links back to the Slashdot post?

this makes me think of ... (2, Insightful)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 7 years ago | (#16191909)

The Linux pride, or simply pride, campaign of the open source movement has three main premises:

        * that all people of all computing orientations should be proud, not ashamed, of being young white middle-class Linux-geek men;
        * that computing diversity is a gift to young white middle-class Linux-geek men;
        * that computing orientation and operating system type are inherent, unless of course you dual-boot Windows and FreeBSD and are therefore only fooling yourself.

Pride Parades are held worldwide, wherein young male white middle-class Linux geeks of all colours, ages, operating system types and backgrounds can walk down the centre of the main street of their city and commemorate the original Stallmanwall printer driver riots.

Many parades still have at least some of the original political or activist character, especially in less Linux-positive settings. However, in more Linux-positive cities, the parades take on an installfest-like character. Large parades often involve floats, coders, Mountain Dew, venture capitalists, and amplified music; but even such celebratory parades usually include political and educational contingents, such as local politicians and marching groups from open source institutions of various kinds. In some countries, Linux parades are now also called Linux Pride Install Festivals.

Even the most festive parades usually offer some aspect dedicated to remembering victims of Stallmanwall and anti-Linux FUD. Some particularly important Linux parades are funded by governments and corporate sponsors, and promoted as major tourist attractions for the cities that host them. Other typical parade participants include local Linux-friendly churches such as Emacs Community Churches and BSD Universalist Churches, PFLAB (Parents and Friends of Linux and BSD), and the nerd employee associations from large businesses.

Though the Stallmanwall riots themselves as well as the immediate and the ongoing political organizing that occurred following them were events that were fully participated in by BSD users, X11 people and future Sun founders as well as by white middle-class male Linux users of all races, genders and backgrounds, historically these events were first named Linux, the word at that time being used in a more generic sense to cover the entire spectrum of what is now variously called the Red Hat, SuSE or Debian community.

By the late '80s and early '90s, as many of the actual participants had grown older, moved on to other issues or passed away, this led to misunderstandings as to who had actually participated in the Stallmanwall riots, who had actually organized the subsequent demonstrations, marches and memorials and who had been members of early activist organizations such as the Linux Liberation Front and Linux Activists Alliance.

But eventually the language caught up with the reality of the community and the names have become more accurate and inclusive, though these changes met with initial resistance from some in their own communities who were unaware of the actual historical facts. Changing first to Linux and BSD, today most are called GNU/Linux/X11/KDE/GNOME/Mozilla/gcc (GLXKGMg) Pride Parades. But only by the sort of geeks even the other geeks don't want to hang out with.

Remember: just because you have a personal coding output of zero doesn't mean that you can't take full credit for the programming genius of others for a lifestyle of Slashdot, caffeine and masturbation.

And believe me, you haven't lived until you've seen twenty Linux geeks clad only in silver jockstraps.

http://uncyclopedia.org/wiki/Linux_Pride [uncyclopedia.org]

Desktop? (2, Informative)

Monsuco (998964) | more than 7 years ago | (#16192149)

It seems like Linux is now becoming a major competitor to Windows and Mac on the desktop. It hac come a long way. With the advancment of binaries like .deb, .rpm, .bin, and scripts it is getting easier and easier to install things on linux. Wine has gotten so that most Windows software with exception to some games and programs that need drivers will run. I can easily run IE, WMP, Shockwave, the latest Flash, Outlook Express, Office, and the like. More and more hardware vendors have been supporting linux. The winmodem problem seems to have been solved not by the development of drivers (though that has happened) but by the spread of broadband and ethernet. WiFi support has improved. Gaim has IM covered. Firefox's spread has helped linux be able to read more web pages by discouraging IE only pages. OOo has goten good at dealing with office documents. iPods work. Flash and Java and MP3 and Real are all supported. The only real problems are legal DVD support and legal WMA and Quicktime support. There are games on linux. What is missing, we need OEMs.
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