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OSDL's Review of Desktop Linux In 2006

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the it's-a-wrap dept.

Linux Business 200

derrida writes "The OSDL's Desktop Linux Working Group has published its first year-end report on the state of the overall desktop Linux ecosystem. The report provides insight into the year's key accomplishments in functionality, standards, applications, distributions, market penetration, and more. Of great interest is the Market Growth part. Quoting from there: 'Most observers believe that much of the growth will take place outside of the United States. "It will be in the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) countries," said Gerry Riveros, Red Hat, "because of the price and because they aren't locked in yet."'"

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So not global domination (-1, Troll)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787338)

What a realistic surprise!

not to mention (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17787342)


not encumbered by patents or opressive DMCA type laws

US kids in 20 years will ask: what happened ?
and you will say: well, we where in court arguing semantics and business methods while the rest of the world just got on with it

rAC

Re:not to mention (5, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787378)

You don't get a free pass with a comment like that. It's easy to look at what Congress has done here, and say, "boy, is the U.S. fucked." Unfortunately, we aren't alone. Europe is taking our shiny new copyright and patent crap and running with it (and making it even worse in some respects, if that's possible.) Furthermore, there's a lot of pressure being applied to bring other countries in line, pardon me, "harmonized", with certain unpleasant aspects U.S. IP law. We're all going down the tubes together: we're perhaps a couple of elbow joints ahead of everyone else, but not that's all. Too many powerful people around the world want control of their respective economies, and one way you do that is by manipulating and suppressing technological advancement.

Re:not to mention (2, Insightful)

AusIV (950840) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787552)

Thank you! It drives me nuts when people talk about anything that goes wrong in the US as though their country were perfect. If you live in a country that doesn't have any downsides, let me know and I'll see about moving my family there.

Am I happy with the direction the US is going? Certainly not. Be it IP laws, corporate protection at the cost of citizens, or the attorney general claiming that the writ of habeas corpus is not granted by the constitution, I'm not happy with the way things are going. But the great thing about the US is that it has a good (though not perfect) mechanism for changing the direction every couple of years. Right now, the technically inclined are noticing problems with IP. If it becomes significant enough to become a political issue, the country can change course accordingly. In many respects, our country has been in worse situations before, but we've always recovered.

With regard to the grandparent post, the US, like any other country, may fall behind in a certain area for a while. But we're not so stupid to sit on our collective ass for 20 years and allow the country to fall horribly behind the rest of the world.

Re:not to mention (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17787688)

With regard to the grandparent post, the US, like any other country, may fall behind in a certain area for a while. But we're not so stupid to sit on our collective ass for 20 years and allow the country to fall horribly behind the rest of the world.
So you would like to think but there are enough counterexamples to prove otherwise.

Re:not to mention (2, Insightful)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787800)

You forgot to name the "counterexamples."

Re:not to mention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17788248)

  1. The voters voted out the corrupt republicans and voted in the democrats (corrupt? most likely, but we will see)?
  2. The democrats said that they would pull us out of Iraq? i.e. they promised something that they can not deliver, but apparently it sounds good.
  3. The democrats signed off on funded ideas i.e. no new increases in debt. if true for the next year and a half, I will pull a straight ticket democrat.
  4. Going after the corruption of W and the Republicans. Awesome. But why not push to open sibel edmunds? While She will take down a few dems, she will supposedly take out 50+ corrupt top republicans (including bush and cheney).

All of this sounds good, we will see if there is hope for America.

Re:not to mention (2, Insightful)

Arivia (783328) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787912)

Thank you! It drives me nuts when people talk about anything that goes wrong in the US as though their country were perfect. If you live in a country that doesn't have any downsides, let me know and I'll see about moving my family there.

Cana-fuckin-da.

Close, but no cigar. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17788198)

>> If you live in a country that doesn't have any downsides, let me know and I'll see about moving my family there.
> Cana-fuckin-da.

NO downsides you say? Wasn't Canada the country where your politicians are being brib^W^H lobbied to get rid of fair use entirely? The one where they came out with that bogus "responsible for 50% of all movie piracy [slashdot.org] " statistic to support it?

The one where they're censoring the Internet [slashdot.org] ? Yeah, it's for child porn, but I have to think that a better approach wouldn't be to censor it like that, but to arrest the people who made the site and take down the site instead of blocking it. Blocking like that is far too easily expanded into censoring other materials.

And there's plenty more where that came from. Yes, Canada is quite nice. #1 on the Human Development Index, even, last I recall. But nobody, and I mean nobody gets a free pass for claiming there are NO downsides to living there. Great? Sure. Perfect? Hell no.

Re:not to mention (5, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787836)

Europe is taking our shiny new copyright and patent crap and running with it. . .

It's called the Berne Convention Treaty. America was shoved into coming in line with it; and ran with it.

America's shiny new copyright and patent crap is firmly rooted in the monarchial grants of absolute right and trade guildism that America's founding fathers firmly rejected.

Too many powerful people around the world want control of their respective economies, and one way you do that is by manipulating and suppressing technological advancement.

And adoption of the Berne Convention Treaty was one of the first signs that America was heading down this path. We gave up being the industrial might driving the economy of the world for being a bunch of paper traders.

If they can manage to hold themselves together as a nation China wins. If not India wins. In any case, we lose as our bits of paper become worthless on the international market.

Jesus we used to make some good stuff.

KFG

It was of our own doing. (5, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787944)

Jesus we used to make some good stuff.

Amen. What's ironic, is that as I drove around certain parts of Western Pennsylvania a few weeks ago, is that it's not as if we don't have the capability to make "stuff" anymore -- the machinery, the productive capacity, is mostly all still there, albeit rusted, and the workforce is there, albeit unemployed and twenty years out-of-date -- it's just that the desire to do it disappeared and moved elsewhere, by virtue of some pieces of paper that swapped hands and certain handshakes between heads of state.

We have a government run by the "paper traders," as you put it, for their own kin; they have sold off the economy, piecemeal, to the benefit foreign interests and themselves, despite the obvious outcome: you cannot maintain a first-world economy and standard of living, when you are competing in a labor market with a billion-plus Chinese and Indian peasants. It just isn't going to happen, it's unsustainable: either the first-world country's costs and standards of living are going to sink, or the third-world's are going to rise, and the former is a whole lot easier and a lot more likely than the latter. (Think of it in terms of economic "mass," and of two bodies orbiting around each other; it's a lot easier to move 300 million people down towards the level of a billion poor ones than it is to move the billion up to meet the 300M.)

When the shell game is done, the U.S. is going to become a nation of aristocrats: the same paper-traders who have run the place into the ground, and thus knew from the beginning where it would end, and have moved their wealth into hard currencies; and everyone else, who will be stuck with their savings in a currency suddenly not worth the paper it's printed on (it's already not worth the metal its minted with), and forced to buy everything from abroad (since the country has long since ceased to produce anything of value), who will be stuck with the bill.

Take a look around: you're witnessing the decline of one of the world's great empires, which, like many before it, was brought down not by invaders from afar, but from mismanagement and greed from within.

Re:It was of our own doing. (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788030)

. . .it's already not worth the metal its minted with. . .

When I perform one of my own songs I like to do a little routine, offering a cash prize to whoever can identify the movie that is the secondary inspiration of the song, the primary inspiration being obvious, since the first words are "I know a girl."

I reach into my pocket and pull out a quarter:

"Oh sure," I say. "You're thinking it's only a quarter, but you have to remember, this is not just a piece of paper. It's hard currency; and when the shit hits the fan and the economy collapses, it will still be worth its weight in . . . adulterated zinc."

KFG

Re:It was of our own doing. (1)

bnenning (58349) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788050)

US manufacturing output is rising [nam.org] . There are fewer *jobs* in the field, but that's largely because of automation, not foreign competition. China is losing manufacturing jobs too [conference-board.org] . As productivity rises, fewer workers can produce more. While this is often bad for those who lose their jobs, it's a net benefit to society; consider buggy whip makers, phone operators, secretarial pools, etc.

either the first-world country's costs and standards of living are going to sink, or the third-world's are going to rise, and the former is a whole lot easier and a lot more likely than the latter

Considering the consistent worldwide economic growth in the last several centuries (when not ruined by totalitarian regimes), which today is being accelerated by Moore's Law, the latter seems much more likely to me.

Take a look around: you're witnessing the decline of one of the world's great empires

The US may lose its hyperpower status though any number of causes, but that's independent of whether standards of living rise or fall. The sun now sets on the British Empire, but I'd rather live in London today than in 1907.

Re:It was of our own doing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17788528)

Why are you so keen on being the BEST economy in the world, when you could be second or third best but still better off than today *in absolute terms*?

Division of labor makes life better for everybody involved. Yes, those who can't adapt to a changing world lose their jobs, but that's life. No one of us has a right to keep doing the same thing for decades and get paid for that.

Other countries (3, Insightful)

Mazin07 (999269) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787386)

So they're going to say that Linux will really grow in countries like China and India, where street vendors hawk a variety of Microsoft bootlegs for less than $0.50?

I'm not seeing the appeal.

Re:Other countries (1)

mgiuca (1040724) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787528)

$0.00 $0.50?

Re:Other countries (1)

mgiuca (1040724) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787570)

God damned HTML...

$0.00 < $0.50?

(I'm just kidding, I love HTML).

Re:Other countries (3, Funny)

Hao Wu (652581) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787534)

in countries like China and India, where street vendors hawk a variety of Microsoft bootlegs for less than $0.50?
Untrue. Chicken or dog cost at least many dollar. Half amount of carcass will trade for quality software more or less.

Re:Other countries (2, Funny)

mgiuca (1040724) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787610)

Half amount of carcass will trade for quality software more or less.

So just to clarify, you mean, "Will trade for software of the same quality as half a carcass."

Sounds about right.

Re:Other countries (4, Funny)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787754)

So just to clarify, you mean, "Will trade for software of the same quality as half a carcass." Sounds about right.
Sounds reasonable. I'd trade my old copy of W98 for half a dead chicken.

Ripoff. (2, Funny)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787966)

Sounds reasonable. I'd trade my old copy of W98 for half a dead chicken.

Sounds like a bad trade to me. You can make soup out of that chicken, but what are you going to do with those Windows discs? Even sauteed, I think they'd be pretty tough.

Re:Ripoff. (1)

wellingj (1030460) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788608)

Sounds like a good trade on his end....

Re:Other countries (2, Insightful)

canuck57 (662392) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787542)

So they're going to say that Linux will really grow in countries like China and India, where street vendors hawk a variety of Microsoft bootlegs for less than $0.50?

Any you pay $179....

Or should you pay $98 or $95...

The OS is a commodity, $9.99 at Walmart with Office is the Windows future. Lets face it a $5999 dual core system not to long ago goes for $599 today. Everything in personal computing has gone down but Microsoft. Eventually the cost and perceived benefit is going to change. I even predict Microsoft Linux some day. Maybe 2010. M$ isn't dancing with Novell for nothing, they are milking corporate America for what they can get before the big switch. Makes the CIO/CIO feel like they know something to see a familiar "Windows" screen in the data center, OK, make that 2012.

I call this PONIIC, Price Of Not Investing In Change.

But when push comes to shove, and the PACRIM $500 3 TB database appliance comes through the door with Linux inside it makes a poor case for $1999 of W2003 and MS-SQL and you haven't bought the hardware yet. Think - more people in China, India and Russia are learning Linux than there are users in North America. This will make the CEO question costs of PONIIC.

Microsoft knows where the growth is. That is why it is $0.50 in other countries an not in the US. Hold it off as long as possible. Nice way to beat anti-trust too because in theory it should be the same price in Taiwan as the US. Not technical reason, Windows is loaded with enough DRM and remote control a simple update could shut the pirates down in a shake.

Re:Other countries (1)

Kuciwalker (891651) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788148)

I call this PONIIC, Price Of Not Investing In Change.

It's actually called opportunity cost.

OS as a commodity (2, Insightful)

LauraW (662560) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788372)

The OS is a commodity, $9.99 at Walmart with Office is the Windows future.

I wish this were true, and it probably is true in the enterprise market. But I think it's unlikely in the home or consumer market in the near term. Items become commodities (in the non-pork-belly sense) when there are many suppliers, producing nearly interchangeable products, competing mostly on price. We're not there yet in the OS world. There are still only a few major players: Windows, Linux, various flavors of Unix, and assorted niche OSs. Price doesn't seem to matter much to consumers and OEMs: Linux is mostly free but Windows still has huge market share.

Even more important, the OSs aren't yet interchangeable. With a commodity like wheat or gasoline, it doesn't matter what kind you buy, because they're all basically the same (marketing nonsense like "Techron" notwithstanding). With computers, the OS still matters: it affects the user interface, security, training, and the applications you can run. There's also the network effect, where people tend to use an OS, or any other kind of software, because all their friends use it and they can get free support.

For what it's worth, I use and like Linux (primarily Ubuntu) at work. I mostly develop in languages like Java and Python, where "write once, run anywhere" is now finally true. However, I still use XP at home. I'm almost to the point where I can dump it, but I still use Photoshop occasionally (I hate the Gimp's UI), plus a few other tools (EAC, Quicken, some MP3 tools, a few games) that either run only on Windows and Mac or don't have easy to use Linux equivalents.

Re:Other countries (1)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787546)

The appeal comes from not the miniscule lower cost of the OS, but the lower cost of the system required to run it.

Oh, the Irony! (4, Interesting)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788070)

Your comment is correct. I spent two years in Haiti, the poorest in the western hemisphere. Did anyone run Linux, no. They used old hardware everywhere. Old hardware that would not run linux. I tried replacing the pirated copies with linux and failed! Bandwith is very expensice there at least when compared to Income levels. So downloading linux "for free" is actually much more expesive than the 50 cent Devils own copy of windows. You'd have to find an older version of linux that would run on the hardware ( unlikly in most cases) and then compare it the the windows equivalent. I'm sorry I love linux, but redhat 5 doesn't compare to win 2k on the desktop for new users. No, DSL linux didn't work doesn't matter beacause the oss applications running on top neccisary for real work ( openoffice or abiword) perform terribly on older hardware.

Technology flows from the first world to the third. They will be the last to get linux on the desktop, not the first.

Outside the US for now (4, Interesting)

NorbrookC (674063) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787388)

I think the interesting thing about this is the projection of the greatest growth in the "BRIC" countries. I don't think it's so much that they aren't locked into Windows, as much as Microsoft has (inadvertently on their part) pushed it along. When MS started its big "anti-piracy" crackdown, it mostly hit in these parts of the world. Add in the high cost of Windows, and the ever-increasing hardware requirements for it, and a free OS that can run on existing hardware looks pretty darn good.

The problem desktop Linux is still facing is getting more penetration in the biggest market - the United States. There are still areas where improvements need to made, and in some areas, applications to be developed. One thing that we have to recognize is that MS is not going to give up its stranglehold on the OEM installed market. The only way Linux going to be able to make any strides is to recognize that the user is going to have to do the install, and to make it easy for them. There's a project going on for Ubuntu which shows some promise, called Winbuntu - it's a Windows installer for Linux. I don't know how it'll work out, but it shows the concept.

Inside Out. (1)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787504)

the high cost of Windows, and the ever-increasing hardware requirements for it, and a free OS that can run on existing hardware looks pretty darn good.

Is there any place that this is not true?

Outside the Windows for now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17787878)

"I think the interesting thing about this is the projection of the greatest growth in the "BRIC" countries. "

Oh, I don't know. If we can get Kanada into the fold, then we'll have something to throw through Windows©.

Re:Outside the US for now (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788042)

MS is not going to give up its stranglehold on the OEM installed market. The only way Linux going to be able to make any strides is to recognize that the user is going to have to do the install.

You have written the obituary for Linux in the domestic consumer market.

This market is middle class.

This market is antithetical to everything the Geek stands for. If the Geek hasn't learned that lesson by now, he will have it pounded into him again and again over the next five years.

This market can and will bear the cost of the OEM Microsoft system install, as it has for over twenty-five years. No one wants the level of involvement with an OS implied by the do-it-yourself Linux install.

Entry level for the Vista Basic laptop at Walmart.com is $500. Vista Premium $850.

Re:Outside the US for now (4, Insightful)

gbulmash (688770) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788090)

You're forgetting a major factor here. Most people didn't learn the applications they use. They were *trained on them*. They never learned the program conceptually. They learned it procedurally... step-by-step.

If you change the steps, the order of the steps, or the location of the steps, and they're LOST. Not only are they lost... they're angry, unhappy, less productive, complaining, and in need of re-training. It doesn't matter if the new software is better or "just as good". It doesn't matter if the platform is better. They know how to be productive when they're following these specific procedures. If changing the software changes the procedures, you have to re-train them in the new procedures, and you have to deal with all the productivity lost while they learn and adapt. And that doesn't include the pushback from the ones who resist change out of fear or inertia.

Any exec or front-line salesperson who uses ACT!... never going to switch platforms until ACT! supports that platform. Seriously.

And that's where your hurdle comes in. Change is neither easy nor painless. Imagine a pain meter on a scale from 1 to 10. Let's say that Windows is a 5 and Linux or Mac is a 2. But the adjustment of switching is an 8. People will opt to stay with the 5. They know the 5. They know they can tolerate the 5. Because even though the 2 is promised, the 8 looms large in the immediate future.

What's going to prompt people to switch is when the combination of Microsoft arrogance and aggressive bad guys raise the pain of Windows to a 6.5, while the efforts of Linux and/or Apple developers lower the pain of switching to a 6.5 or lower. When switching is no more painful than staying the course (or possibly even less painful), you'll see the needles start to move in bigger ways.

You can lead a manager to water.... (3, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788266)

You know, I think I'm going to bookmark this post, because it describes the situation with every government office and employee that I've ever encountered in my life, to perfection. And to a lesser extent, most large corporations.

I'm not sure you know how right you are. (In fact, I hope you don't; and if you do, I feel your pain.)

The "training problem" is something that most technical people fail to appreciate, because it almost universally doesn't apply to them, because they generally have some conceptual understanding of how their software and hardware operates. Once you have that conceptual understanding, it's nearly impossible to imagine how it would appear without it. It changes the way you think about the tools you use, on a fundamental level.

Unfortunately, imparting that type of conceptual understanding to someone who isn't interested in learning it, is nearly impossible as well -- even when in the long run, it's almost certainly to their benefit to have it.

Re:Outside the US for now (1)

HeroreV (869368) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788232)

There's a project going on for Ubuntu which shows some promise, called Winbuntu - it's a Windows installer for Linux.
Thanks for the heads up, this looks fantastic!

For a long time it's seemed that few care about making Linux easy to get into for the average person. ("I can setup Linux, so it's stupid to waste time making setup easier. I'm faster with a CLI I've invested hundreds of hours in learning, so it's stupid to waste time making/improving the GUI.") However, this is clear evidence that some people really are working hard on making Linux easy as pie for normal people, and it really makes me hopeful.

If the Ubuntu Windows installer turns out like it is described on the Ubuntu wiki, I can definitely see it making a huge impact.

Re:Outside the US for now (3, Insightful)

mikearthur (888766) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788530)

Technically, the biggest market is the EU, which has will and has seen far greater growth than the US, according to the article.

OSS mainly outside of the USA (5, Interesting)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787396)

it's already been identified that the majority of OSS gets developed outside of the USA, i think you will find america's court system and patent laws are going to result in doing software business inside the USA to become very unpopular through the next decade. you'll end up with only massive corperate entities like MS able to cope with these entry barriers, and if you think you can rely on companies like MS for innovation......

Re:OSS mainly outside of the USA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17787816)

Of course you would think this. It's because you, like a lot of slashdot dweebs, are a fucking idiot.

OSS gets developed outside the US because talented developers in the US have things called "jobs". Using these "jobs", they are able to trade their software coding skills for "money". This "money" allows them to achieve a higher standard of living. Part of the bargain, however, is that the software they write is owned by the company paying them to write it. This concept may frighten you, but chances are that you are too stupid to truly grasp it.

Most OSS is written by a bunch of third-world losers in the hope that some company in the US will notice them and offer them a "job". Many will protest that statement, but that doesn't make it any less true. Sitting in Bulgaria with nothing to look forward to except another supper of cabbage soup is a great incentive to write code that might get you out of there.

As for barriers to innovation.... It's hard to even discuss since you are obviously naive and like it that way. MS, for good or evil does innovate. You may be to enamored of yourself to admit it, but that's your failing not theirs. In no place more than the US can true innovation bring about change.

In summary, shut the fuck up and let the adults speak.

Re:OSS mainly outside of the USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17788246)

[long rant with lots of name-calling...]

In summary, shut the fuck up and let the adults speak.

My feelings exactly!

Re:OSS mainly outside of the USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17788570)

Give us just one example of MS innovation... real innovation that is, pls.

My 2006 report (5, Informative)

br00tus (528477) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787402)

I should begin with that I am a confirmed Debian booster. I run Debian at home and love it. Anyhow, at work an old server was decommissioned and I was told I could have it, so I burned the latest unstable CD and tried to install Debian. No go. I have heard a lot about Gentoo but have never really played with it so I decided to try that. No - didn't work. So then I had some Red Hat CDs lying around so I tried that. No go again.


In years past I have always noticed that FreeBSD always makes it easy to install. Makes it easy meaning it recognizes hard drives, network cards, even 56K modems, without a problem. I installed FreeBSD with two 3.5" standard FreeBSD install disks a few years ago over a 56K modem with no problem. Like the Apple commercials say - "it just works".

I prefer Debian and Linux to FreeBSD, but Linux distros have a lot to learn from FreeBSD in terms of ease of installation. FreeBSD makes it really easy to install itself on a PC without barfing on network cards, hard drives and so forth. It was the same situation ten years ago when I was installing Slackware on multiple floppies versus my FreeBSD network installs. And from my experience last week, I see it still holds true.

Re:My 2006 report (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787426)

Debian and Gentoo are a pain in the ass to install. Period.
Personally, I'm a huge fan of Mandriva. It also 'just works'. Even my wifi was detected and properly configured without any problems, without any messing with ndiswrapper or the CLI. I mean, you can set stuff up that way if you want, but I much prefer doing the config work AFTER I have a fully working system.

Re:My 2006 report (1)

frogstar_robot (926792) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787710)

My experience with Mandrake a few years ago mirrored yours. Out of the box, things would be autodetected better than anything else and Just Work. Thing was, My Mandrake installs would rot faster than Windows 98. Updates never worked right and the online repositories would always be incomplete and flakey. Debian was a breath of fresh air. Harder to configure initially but I could stomp on my Debian boxes with heavy lead boots and I could never screw one up so badly that I couldn't get back in a healthy state easily.

My question is this: These days, how well do Mandriva systems do as time goes forward and you update and upgrade things? Should you decide to manually config things, will the GUI tools handle it seamlessly or barf obnoxiously?

Re:My 2006 report (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787742)

Honestly, I've never used the upgrades. hah. You might have had a bad distro though. It seems that every other version is kinda crappy, though which ones work sometimes depends on your hardware. For example, 9.2 ran rock solid back when I was starting out...never had a single problem with it. 10.2 made me switch to slackware. NOTHING worked right. I came back though for 2006, and haven't had many problems yet, though it's a fairly recent install. I dunno if I'm the best person to be giving advice on this though...I'm only about halfway into the second year since I discovered linux. Still quite new to it.

Re:My 2006 report (1)

frogstar_robot (926792) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787898)

These days, I use Ubuntu for Desktop use but I still come at it like a Debian guy. When I got into Ubuntu, they were faster at getting desktop and multimedia candy than Debian unstable. Once Etch releases, I might even go back. Once I get my Ubuntu systems installed, I just use dpkg, apt-get, and checkinstall as though I were still a Debian user (incidentally I've been running Debian on servers for years. The impedance match for that remains spot-on). I'm largely unaware of Ubuntu specific management tools since I still use a home directory that goes back to my Debian days. I basically have been treating Ubuntu as a more current set of packages rather than something that has a different ideology than Debian. Hell, Debian Unstable oftentimes has some new toy I want; the desire for a current KDE got me into Ubuntu in the first place. I often rebuild Sid sources against my Ubuntu desktops then install. I'm reluctant to install Debian binary debs in my machine but I won't hesitate to rebuild their sources against it. Come to think of it, that may be the best policy. Ubuntu has a new desktop release every six months and those tend to be well polished. If I want to be even more current on some minor item then rebuild Debian's latest against it.

You can have your stable cake and eat the latest and greatest too. It just takes a little knowledge and effort. If you don't want to take the time for knowledge and effort just run Fedora's, Ubuntu's, or Mandriva's latest supported distro and wait. All good things will come to them eventually.

Re:My 2006 report (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787924)

I've never managed to get the ubuntu installer to even start on my computer. Damn thing just won't run. A friend was trying to try out Linux and was recommended Ubuntu, and had the exact same problem. I pointed him to Mandriva and he hasn't had a problem since. So I tend to be bias against Ubuntu. But I know more people personally that have seen it fail than have seen it work.

Re:My 2006 report (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17787908)

"I dunno if I'm the best person to be giving advice..."

Hey, don't let that stop you, this is slashdot! :)

Re:My 2006 report (1)

evilneko (799129) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787798)

I took my first Linux baby steps on Mandrake, back when it was called Mandrake. I liked it, I think it's the perfect distro for windows refugees (disclaimer: I have not tried other friendly and windows-like distros, such as Linspire or Xandros yet) and even found the killer app that made me stick with Linux: screen. After that I cut my teeth installing Gentoo on aging hardware, and then Debian. Debian is a breeze, compared to Gentoo.

Re:My 2006 report (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17787704)

If you are interested in an easy-ish way to install and run Debian unstable, consider http://sidux.com/ [sidux.com] , which basically is in RC mode at the moment.

Re:My 2006 report (1)

istewart (463887) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787736)

On old hardware, I typically find myself reaching for FreeBSD before anything else. I came into possession of an old Pentium 133 with a CD-ROM drive that couldn't be booted from directly. The only Linux that would install was Damn Small Linux, and I disliked its behavior of booting from an image on the hard drive rather than installing to its own filesystem on the hard drive, so the next candidate was FBSD. It installed and ran great... the only caveat was that the 1GB hard drive was too small for a ports-tree install. Ever since then, I've kept FBSD handy at all times for whenever I run into an old machine.

Re:My 2006 report (1)

zx-15 (926808) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788006)

I had the similar problem running debian testing on older hardware, I work with first generation Compaq DL380/580 . In particular installer doesn't like some SCSI controllers, however this problem is easily solvable by installing base system of debian stable, using network install cd, then going to /etc/apt/sources.list and replacing stable mirror with unstable/testing, and then performing distro-upgrade. Works like a charm if you want to have a newer system on the older hardware.
The only problem with this approach is that when updating the kernel from 2.4 -> 2.6, apt tries to remove 2.4 on the working system! so you first would have to install latest version of the 2.6 kernel for debian stable (it's 2.6.8 i think, then do dist-upgrade) and then install the latest kernel e.g. 2.6.18-3(etch) or 2.6.19(sid).

Re:My 2006 report (2, Insightful)

Firehawke (50498) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788106)

I really don't want this to sound like I'm trolling, based on the content, so be warned in advance.

About three years ago, I ran into a server (HP, if I recall correctly) that had the strangest problem I'd ever seen: Neither Gentoo or FreeBSD would run on the thing. You could install it, but the thing would randomly kernel panic within 5 minutes of being up, and you couldn't trace where exactly the crash was.

If, on the other hand, you shoved Windows XP onto the thing.. it would run perfectly fine.

To this day I'm still not quite sure what was wrong with that box.

My point? Nothing's perfect. The problems you described having aren't necessarily indicative of problems with the distro-- of course, you didn't really go into any real detail on WHY the installs failed-- and for every report of one of a "Linux just won't work on this machine" type of trolling (not saying you are, but I see those all the time around here) in favor of BSD or whatever there's a thousand reports of it just being fine on a given hardware.

Your mileage may vary, I guess...

Novell or ODSL? (1)

alext (29323) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787430)

Is ODSL funded by Red Hat as well? Seems to have a Novell slant, to the extent of (ludicrously) claiming that cross-platform development is "finally" available with Mono 1.2. Like it wasn't with Java?

Anyone care to estimate how many companies put Linux in place to run Mono vs. Java?

Re:Novell or ODSL? (1)

Hymer (856453) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788598)

I don't really think that anyone is really interested in .NET, Mono is good to have in the same way wine is good to have but as soon as you kill the last WinBox in your company you don't need any of them anymore.
As I see it .NET is a good way for profit maximizing for sw. compnies: developers can make their job quicker and the companies are selling the product more expensive (Pay $$$, this is new technology)... and the final product is not any better and is not easily portable (mostly because it is heavily relying on components wich are part of the OS).
--
the truth is the truth... even when you doesn't like it.

Still a number of years, being realistic here (3, Interesting)

notoriousE (723905) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787480)

While Linux is gaining a little bit of ground on the desktop, I think it will take another 5-10 years before the average joe will be able to switch. I figure in that amount of time most applications will be web-based and subscription based and therefore able to run on any platform. At that point, why NOT run Linux, BSD or OSX? You won't be tied down to some proprietary application on a dying platform.

Re:Still a number of years, being realistic here (0, Troll)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787500)

avg(joe) won't swap untill 2 things happen. flash runs as well on linux as it does on windows, and games run.

Re:Still a number of years, being realistic here (1)

notoriousE (723905) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787530)

Flash 9 is out for linux and runs fine I think the gamers are going to start gravitating towards consoles in the next 10 years as well.

Driving the Linux Desktop in 2007 (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17787502)

The press on Vista is so bad right now, it should really be used to push Linux adoption on the desktop in 07.

I myself switched to Ubuntu on my home desktop because of Vista-fear.

Re:Driving the Linux Desktop in 2007 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17787544)

For me Vista is irrelevant. I switched my parents to Ubuntu when they wanted a new laptop to replace their old iMac. They LOVE it, and these are people who are generally quite computer-phobic (which is why I previously got them an iMac).

It's not happening (4, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787514)

Every year, I see these "Linux is ready for the desktop" articles. But it never happens. Back in 2004, WalMart offered a $499 Linux laptop. They don't do that any more. [walmart.com] Lenovo, HP, and Dell have fooled around with Linux laptops, but try to order one on line. Search for "linux laptop" on Dell, and you get back "Dell recommends Windows Vista(TM) Business." There are some off-brand Linux laptops available, but they're overpriced.

Linux on the desktop looked closer three years ago than it does now.

I don't think that is true (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787786)

Okay, first off three years ago Ubuntu was not out yet. It came out in late 2004. Desktop Linux has come a long way since Ubuntu's release (hell, Ubuntu came a long way. Now they have distros that based off of Ubuntu and fix their parent distro's shortcomings - like Mint Linux).

Two, I think the focus was on the desktop. Notebooks are slightly different animals. Sleep/Hibernate and all that fun, as well as many of them having their custom buttons on the keyboard.

Three, when I saw Walmart selling Linspire back in the day, I just thought "It's too early" and also Linspire made the mistake of trying to sell themselves as a cheap windows (Lindows). I think that is a mistake. It is not Windows, not compatible with Windows Apps more often than not - especially back then, and it was aimed at the wrong market.

There will be no year of Windows, but I suspect Linux will creep in more and more. Maybe it's just me though.

Re:I don't think that is true (2)

jt2377 (933506) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788088)

it seem like history is repeating itself. first it was RedHat, the first Linux distro with praise to dethrone Windows then Mandrake or SuSe and year after year with different distro. you're singing the same old song with different tune but it's still the same old song.

Re:It's not happening (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17787864)

that is so funny because there was so much praising around here about that and people claiming they finally reached the milestone.

Linux... One step forward... two steps back

Desktop linux is in good shape, now it's users (5, Insightful)

starseeker (141897) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787540)

KDE in its current form is quite usable for most common purposes, and those abilities it doesn't have can probably be added as widespread adoption takes place. OpenOffice has its faults but it usually does the job. I would say at this point, it's not Linux as Linux that's the holdup. It's:

1. Legacy systems, documents, and most importantly user training in said systems and documents. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" rules when computers are the tool rather than the end goal in and of themselves, and it's hard to fault that logic. If you change your systems you're effectively "breaking" your employees in terms of their productivity, and fixing them is quite a job. It's only justified when the end benefits are worth the pain, and to be fair in most cases they probably aren't, at least in the short term. And we all know how good capitalism is at thinking long term.

2. Compatibility with the largest possible market segment. If your customers/suppliers insist on dealing in old formats (see #1) then it's rather hard to force them to change. And every minute spent dealing with such issues is one less spent on work related to producing something.

3. Costs of retraining your IT department and switching your software/machines. Yes it will take time - hardware support, IT helpdesk training, identifying and testing replacements for currently used apps, etc. Not painless at all.

I would say Linux was "ready for the desktop" several years ago, or at least as ready as Windows. KDE and Gnome are excellent systems for most users, once installed and configured properly. (That's what admins are for - work PCs are not normally maintained directly by users, regardless of OS.) Now the problem is revealed as being rather deeper than originally anticipated - it's not JUST Linux that's the problem, it's change period.

For home use, people want to play media and install thousands of commercial specialty packages, which are all written for Windows. More legacy software issues, with no budget or interest on the part of the people writing them (why target an uncertain platform populated by geeks who give stuff away?)

The problems aren't technological now - I would say they can be more accurately characterized as inertia. It's hard to give people reasons to switch from something that works, even when the new thing is BETTER than the current one. Linux, due to legal constraints as well as not quite 100% compatibility with things like Word formats, is not and probably CANNOT become (legally) a drop-in which is better in all cases.

Personally, I think the only hope for a massive switch to an open source OS is one where the software is written in such a fashion that it can be PROVEN (mathematically) to be secure/crash proof/what have you. Such a verifiable guarantee might gain enough interest/momentum to be worth the massive shifts that still have not taken place, but I am aware of no other lack in the marketplace severe enough to warrant it.

Re:Desktop linux is in good shape, now it's users (0, Offtopic)

SUROK (815273) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787588)

i find that the worst thing about desktop linux is, for regular windows users its hard to come to terms with installing drivers using command line. windows is far superior in terms of installing stuff.

Re:Desktop linux is in good shape, now it's users (1)

starseeker (141897) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787622)

Indeed, installing drivers is a problem, but not one that can be solved only on the Linux side.

So long as hardware manufacturers want to keep secrets to themselves inside binary driver code, Linux will have difficulty supporting newer hardware well. I think projects like that open graphics card would be a big step in the right direction, but of course the latest and greatest NVIDIA card will always have this problem. Then, too, patents come into play in this arena.

A graphical "install this driver" setup wouldn't be hard - the problem is much lower level than that, and may actually be as much philosophical as anything else (I'm not a kernel expert).

Re:Desktop linux is in good shape, now it's users (1)

Trelane (16124) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787708)

for regular windows users its hard to come to terms with installing drivers using command line.
Good news, then. You don't have to install anything with the command line.

windows is far superior in terms of installing stuff.
I humbly disagree. I find installing drivers much much easier under linux (namely, you don't have to; your hardware is pretty much supported out of the box or not at all). Installing software is easier too, unless it's not provided by your distribution. In that case, it's exactly the same as Windows, as you click on an installer to install the software, unless your software vendor is a jackass (I'm looking at you Mathworks and Wolfram). There is an InstallShield installer available, just like Windows. The autopackage installer seemed pretty nice too.

Re:Desktop linux is in good shape, now it's users (1)

banerjek (1040522) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787652)

It's hard to give people reasons to switch from something that works, even when the new thing is BETTER than the current one.

I wonder how many linux users prefer the Dvorak key layout even though it's far superior and has been supported for many years? Once a base level of functionality is reached, most people aren't interested in messing with something that seems good enough for practical purposes.

Normal people shouldn't care any more about what OS their computer uses any more than they care what OS is in their phone, VCR, car computer, or whatever.

I could use linux on the desktop, but don't because there are too many problems I'd have to work around. On the other hand, I strongly prefer it for servers because it's more versatile and easier to maintain than MS.

Re:Desktop linux is in good shape, now it's users (1)

scotch (102596) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788120)

I wonder how many linux users prefer the Dvorak key layout even though it's far superior and has been supported for many years?

Ha ha, yeah, if the Dvorak key layout is "far superior" it should be trivial to prove this superiority to the world. Don't hold your breath.

Re:Desktop linux is in good shape, now it's users (1)

mgiuca (1040724) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787654)

This is mostly true, but one of the things being pointed out recently with Vista coming out is that switching from XP to Vista will require almost as much training as switching from XP to Linux. So now is the perfect time for companies to, rather than upgrading to Vista because MS tells them to, to finally break the cycle, migrate to Linux and run their own software the way they want to run it.

Now for my Software Engineering / Computer Science knowledge:

Also as far as mathematical proofs go, well that's just infeasible I'm afraid. By this I mean, it is mathematically impossible to make proofs in most languages because they are so nondeterministic (this reduces to the Halting problem). Modern languages may be designed with proofs in mind (functional and logic languages like Haskell and Mercury) - now for these it is technically possible to make "proofs" but if you want to automate a proof on anything more complex than Hello World or a simple computation, it's going to take an exponential amount of time.

For more realistic proofs, you do hardcore system testing, establish reliability measures, etc, etc boring statistics stuff, to come up with a "0.00001% chance of failure per hour" or something like that.

But really, this is all academic crap that nobody in the "real world" will listen to - and it's silly to think that businesses will throw away Windows and adopt Linux just because some professor says it's "proven stable". Linux is already well-regarded to be a far more stable/secure platform than Windows but it doesn't do us a lot of good.

Re:Desktop linux is in good shape, now it's users (2, Interesting)

Skewray (896393) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787760)

You will note that, according to the Executive Overview, there is no KDE, only GNOME. Was the report written by Americans?

It's broken again. Fix it with free software. (4, Interesting)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787790)

Legacy systems, documents, and most importantly user training in said systems and documents. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" rules when computers are the tool rather than the end goal in and of themselves, and it's hard to fault that logic. If you change your systems you're effectively "breaking" your employees in terms of their productivity, and fixing them is quite a job. It's only justified when the end benefits are worth the pain, and to be fair in most cases they probably aren't ...

Funny how Microsoft has gotten away with just that. Every version of Windoze has a few pointless GUI changes and little real improvement, yet the Dells of the world push it out. Vista and Office 2007 mark the largest GUI change in a long time. Legacy software is broken. Where does that leave the user's "faultless" logic?

Free software interfaces are more stable. Window maker, is a Next clone and it's basics have not changed in fifteen years. There are several others, like the fvwm or olvwm, and Enlightenment, that have been just as rock stable. At the same time there have been many other excellent interfaces that have grown up. All of them are extensively customizeable so that you can have as much change in each as you like and they all work together, so you can mix and match. The same performance from Microsoft would have Windows 3.1 GUI be adequate, customizable still available and easily interchangeable with a dozen other excellent window managers. Right.

The same arguments apply to file formats and hardware. Vista is bringing with it .DOCX, the M$ "open" format with a 6,000 page spec. It's also going to obsolete 54% of exiting computers and 94% of them are not really "premium" ready, so their users will soon be disappointed by an upsell that degrades their actual performance. DRM promisses to make it all that much worse.

The real hope is that Vista goes nowhere. XP did not move hardware and it had much better driver and legacy application support at launch. It took four long years for it to be majority. People want new hardware and it's time for it to move. There are major improvements that are good for both performance users and people who want something small and quiet. If Vista's changes are so bad that it actually harms sales, look for Dell, HP and others to follow Lenovo's lead to make up the difference. That would break the M$ monopoly once and for all and then we would not have to worry about this upgrade train nonsense.

Vista - the Ow is Now.

Re:It's broken again. Fix it with free software. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17787970)

twitter [slashdot.org] , please read this carefully. Following this advice will make Slashdot a better place for everyone, including yourself.

  • As a representative of the Linux community, participate in mailing list and newsgroup discussions in a professional manner. Refrain from name-calling and use of vulgar language. Consider yourself a member of a virtual corporation with Mr. Torvalds as your Chief Executive Officer. Your words will either enhance or degrade the image the reader has of the Linux community.
  • Avoid hyperbole and unsubstantiated claims at all costs. It's unprofessional and will result in unproductive discussions.
  • A thoughtful, well-reasoned response to a posting will not only provide insight for your readers, but will also increase their respect for your knowledge and abilities.
  • Always remember that if you insult or are disrespectful to someone, their negative experience may be shared with many others. If you do offend someone, please try to make amends.
  • Focus on what Linux has to offer. There is no need to bash the competition. Linux is a good, solid product that stands on its own.
  • Respect the use of other operating systems. While Linux is a wonderful platform, it does not meet everyone's needs.
  • Refer to another product by its proper name. There's nothing to be gained by attempting to ridicule a company or its products by using "creative spelling". If we expect respect for Linux, we must respect other products.
  • Give credit where credit is due. Linux is just the kernel. Without the efforts of people involved with the GNU project , MIT, Berkeley and others too numerous to mention, the Linux kernel would not be very useful to most people.
  • Don't insist that Linux is the only answer for a particular application. Just as the Linux community cherishes the freedom that Linux provides them, Linux only solutions would deprive others of their freedom.
  • There will be cases where Linux is not the answer. Be the first to recognize this and offer another solution.

From http://www.ibiblio.org/pub/linux/docs/HOWTO/Advoca cy [ibiblio.org]

Super (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17788210)

You must be one of those people who descend on Amazon and "tag" every single Microsoft product with "defectivebydesign". Man, you guys are clever. With that "M$" and "Windoze" style, phrases like "XP did not move hardware", shades of "Windows hasn't changed since 1993" and doom-around-the-corner predictions about Dell and HP going to... Linux? (?) you guys are the cream of teh interwebs.

Except I wish you would all stay here and here only.

Re:Super (2, Interesting)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788418)

You must be one of those people who descend on Amazon and "tag" every single Microsoft product with "defectivebydesign".

No, but that sounds like a good idea and I'm glad that someone is doing it.

I wish you would all stay here and here only.

Hmmmm, you don't like me and I don't like you. Let's make a deal. You go away, your friends leave computer vendors [slashdot.org] , ISPs and everyone else alone and our paths will never cross. How about that? You get to pay Bill Gates for permission to use your computer, I get to use my computer and both of us are happy. Best of all, you can avoid advocating M$ shit to a free software web forum.

Now that would be super, but you've got a job to do don't you? Suck it up and get back to work.

My experience (2, Informative)

DarkWicked (988343) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787550)

As a relatively new linux user, I can say that I've seen significant progress in the ease of use and functionality in just one year.

I started with Fedora Core 5, got jealous of some of the functionality of my girlfriend's Ubuntu, and I'm now extremely satisfied of Fedora Core 6 which brought all the functionality it lacked and even great extras I didn't know I needed like the desktop effects (xgl/compiz).

An example of the graphics issue mentioned. (1)

AltGrendel (175092) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787558)

If anyone wants to have an idea on just how tough it can be to get a binary graphics driver running, just check out the ATI forums at phoronix [phoronix.net] . It's a painful process though I will say one thing. While I can't run beyrl, I now have one hell of a FPS speed on my older ATI 9000 chipset graphic card.

Next time, it's going to be Nvidia.

OSDL = Open Source Development Lab (1)

AusIV (950840) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787560)

OSDL = Open Source Development Lab. I had to look it up. Thought someone else might be wondering.

Re:OSDL = Open Source Development Lab (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17788238)

I had to look it up.
You must be new here.

Re:OSDL = Open Source Development Lab (1)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788436)

LOL Hey, GP. It's where Linus Torvalds works.

So here is my progress... (2, Funny)

paniq (833972) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787578)

I switched my Gnome desktop theme about 20 times last year, unable to decide whether a Vista-styled theme was glorifying or mocking the competition.

Then I decided that I still prefer Clearlooks.

Boy, what a year.

Printing (2, Informative)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787592)

Some kind of corner has been turned for the GNU/Linux desktop in 2006.
I light off cups (that is, go to http://localhost:631/ [localhost] in FF), enter th IP address of the printer in the obvious place, and stuff works.
It's a cheezy home wireless network; I really want the Dumbest Thing That Works, realizing that if there is a reset, DHCP may re-jigger things.
Trying to figure out how to set a printer by IP in that other OS has baffled me. It's an Easter Egg hunt gone ronngg. The quest for simplicity has been abandoned at a variety of levels.
At least I only have to suffer that OS at work.

Re:Printing (1)

frogstar_robot (926792) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787670)

Some kind of corner has been turned for the GNU/Linux desktop in 2006. I light off cups (that is, go to http://localhost:631/ [localhost] in FF), enter th IP address of the printer in the obvious place, and stuff works.

That ass Raymond not too long ago held up CUPS as example of things FOSS is doing wrong. I hate that sometimes. A lot of very talented people did hard and thankless work to make things work as well as possible and all some can do is bitch about what doesn't. I'm no fanboi. I know there things that could work better. But ESR's brand of "constructive criticism" is one we can well do without. You're right. With decent hardware, CUPS can work well and not be all that hard to deal with.

Re:Printing (4, Insightful)

zcat_NZ (267672) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787922)

Browsing to http://localhost:631/ [localhost] in firefox to configure your printer is one of the totally counter-intuitive things ESR was complaining about. Browsing to some random port on localhost is like having to tweak a registry key in XP, and it should not be necessary or tolerated for anything a 'normal user' is likely to do.

If you want to add a new printer there should be an "add new printer" tool somewhere obvious, like under the System menu. Bonus points if it already detects the attached printer for you, and if the system can be configured to pop up the add-printer dialog any time you plug in a new printer.

Sorta... (2, Interesting)

Xenographic (557057) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788218)

In terms of being cryptic and user hostile, I agree that editing the registry and browsing to some random port on localhost are about the same.

However, there IS one important difference--it's quite easy to screw over a machine by mucking around in the registry, either by accident or because the instructions you found were incorrect. I can't compare that to simply browsing around localhost. What's the worst you could possibly do? Hit the wrong port and get a screen full of crap from chargen?

Re:Printing (1)

unapersson (38207) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788618)

What like:

System -> Administration -> Printing

followed by "Add New Printer".

Which takes you to a Wizard. So it's part of GNOME already.

Linux has come a long way (4, Insightful)

alan_dershowitz (586542) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787602)

I first tried Linux in 1997. At the time I couldn't imagine using it as a desktop. However, there were a few turning points for me:

1) GOOD package management. I started out on Redhat. Whenever anyone brings up RPM problems, they get reamed on Slashdot "RPM IS NOT A PACKAGE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM!" Well, once upon a time, there wasn't Yum or Red Carpet, and the best thing there was (RPM) was still hell to use. Now between RHEL and Gentoo, I rarely have to worry about not finding dependencies. Thank God.
2) 2.6 Kernel. The reason is because before 2.6, X under Linux always "felt" slow.
3. Firefox.
4. More expansive community, documentation. I remember in 1997 trying to get help:

ME: "I'm trying to do X and it's doing Y. Does anyone have experience with this? "
THEM: "RTFM"
ME, (looking): "The man page doesn't say anything"
THEM: "+b You've been banned, troll."

Now I look at the Gentoo install documentation and user forums now, and I am just in awe. Likewise for many of the other major distros.

Now that wireless is going smooth, the only thing I have to complain about is no matter what I do, font rendering is inconsistent and often ugly. But as of two years ago, I am a happy full time Linux user! Take this for what it's worth, I just wanted to share my experience.

Re:Linux has come a long way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17787770)

1) GOOD package management. I started out on Redhat. Whenever anyone brings up RPM problems, they get reamed on Slashdot "RPM IS NOT A PACKAGE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM!" Well, once upon a time, there wasn't Yum or Red Carpet, and the best thing there was (RPM) was still hell to use. Now between RHEL and Gentoo, I rarely have to worry about not finding dependencies. Thank God.
I started using Linux in 1995, with Slackware. Some time after that, I moved to Redhat. I had this Redhat 5.0 install that I upgraded all the way to Fedora Core 4, often incrementally using Rawhide packages. Every single upgrade was done in the command line, without using the CD-based upgrade. And up until Fedora Core 1->2 upgrade, every single one was done by hand with rpm -U. And believe it or not, this setup ran very well.

RPM isn't convenient to use manually, but it's not as bad as you make it sound. As long as you knew to use RPM in query mode, it was pretty simple to figure out which file had what you needed. And I recall rpmfind.net, which I used often.

Now dpkg is absolute garbage. It's no wonder the debian people made apt-get first.

2) 2.6 Kernel. The reason is because before 2.6, X under Linux always "felt" slow.
To me, X felt exactly the same with the 2.4 kernel.

3. Firefox.
Definitely. Those last couple of years with Netscape 4.x were just very unpleasant. I was very grateful for the Mozilla suite (I've never been a Firefox fan, though).

4. More expansive community, documentation. I remember in 1997 trying to get help:

ME: "I'm trying to do X and it's doing Y. Does anyone have experience with this? "
THEM: "RTFM"
ME, (looking): "The man page doesn't say anything"
THEM: "+b You've been banned, troll."
I'm sorry you had this experience, because mine differs dramatically. In 1997 the Linux users I knew were very competent (much more than the self-proclaimed Linux experts that are around today), and they didn't have this attitude problem you describe.

Re:Linux has come a long way (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17787934)

My crycle with Redhat was:

1. Is there an RPM? yes.
2. Install RPM dependencies fail. Go to rpmfind.net
3. try to install 5 other RPMs. These have six other dependencies. Back to RPMFind.net.
4. OK, a few have RPMs, a few dont. Try to install the ones I find.
5. download source for missing dependencies.
6. build fails because it can't find GTK.
7. Spend a week looking at source and forums for problem.
8. month later, a new minor version of the library compiles and installs.
9. Finally try to finish installing the program I want in the first place. It won't install because it can't find the library I installed from source.
  10. I give up, with an extra 1.1 gigs of crap installed on my system.

And I know I am not alone in this experience. I undoubtedly will be called an idiot by someone for this, but I don't think dealing with this made anyone smarter, gave them any more credibility or built character. It just made RH a pain in the ass to use.

Re:Linux has come a long way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17788104)

I'm not going to call you an idiot. It mirrors my own old-days experience with red hat. But I went to slack instead and compiled everything I needed from source. A lot easier than trying to make rpm work as advertised..

fucking gnome (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17787726)

I just upgraded from FC5 to FC6 and gnome was the default desktop environment, at least from the few buttons I clicked during the installation. I've discovered gnome doesn't have a decent CD burning program... there's one in nautilus but it's about as basic as burning gets, and it doesn't burn on-the-fly... it creates a gigantic image of what's being burned first.. then burns from that image.. WTF? I don't have the diskspace for that.. and it takes twice as long more-or-less.

I installed K3B (KDE cd burning utility) which is just perfect, very flexible and it's pretty easy to use... It does everything Nero does plus probably a few more things... too bad it looks ugly as sin.

If gnome can't even provide a nice cd burning utility which everybody uses these days, I don't know what good the future can bring to that environment... Seems like gnome development has shifted towards "corporate applications" and "groupware" junk... I'm tempted to move to KDE entirely even if it looks like shit.

What is BRIC, and why BRIC (1)

romit_icarus (613431) | more than 7 years ago | (#17787906)

Interestingly, the article mentions BRIC countries. The BRIC http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BRIC [wikipedia.org] is a set of coutries poised for great economic growth this century.

So it's obviously a set of countries that Linux should be in..

Linux needs Control Panel (2, Interesting)

zx-15 (926808) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788052)

I think that desktop linux is not ready because it still plagued by a problem of text configuration files. I'm perfectly OK configuring my debian box from various files in /etc directory, however most of the users e.g. normal people aren't, and as long as proper GUI configuration tools, like Control Panel in windows, are absent from KDE/GNOME desktop environments I don't think that majority of people would like to use it. And these tools would not be there for some time, because a few distros currently support common location of configuration files, and LSB itself is a joke: "LSB compliant system is the system that supports RPM package management". So until these things are going to get sorted out Linux will get mainstream, which is, I hope, just a couple of years from now.

And, yes I'm aware of Red Hat system-config-* stuff, the problem is, these utils aren't that great, an they not that well organized.

Re:Linux needs Control Panel (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788178)

What do they lack? Yasy? system-config-* and KDE Control Center?

Re:Linux needs Control Panel (1)

the_womble (580291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788180)

like Control Panel in windows, are absent from KDE/GNOME desktop environments


Like System Settings (kcontrol) in KDE and the Gnome Control Centre?


The few occasions when I have resortd to editing text files has been when doing things that the majority of people do not do.


There are lots of things for which Windows users need to edit the registry [google.co.uk] . This is usually more complicated than editing a Linux config file.


Stop Spreading FUD.

Re:Linux needs Control Panel (1)

miro f (944325) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788200)

openSUSE YaST2 and control center actually manage to configure pretty much anything that you would need with the desktop without any issues (well, except for the fact that it's damn slow)

it's a shame no other distro has come up with anything nearly as good.

Re:Linux needs Control Panel (1)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788410)

openSUSE YaST2 and control center actually manage to configure pretty much anything that you would need with the desktop without any issues (well, except for the fact that it's damn slow)
-- Not when you compare Yast to "Add/Remove Programs" in M$, then you think about it and Yast handles a lot more stuff, like an online repository, complex dependencies, security updates, etc., otherwise I couldn't agree more.

Re:Linux needs Control Panel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17788216)

Try Zenwalk a slackware variant, it has exactly what you are looking for. In fact it is a stripped down distro that by and large does everything that windows does plus one hell of a lot more. It uses Xfce with the GDM manager and really is faster than any distro I have tried to date. If you understand about levels you can reset the login to 5 or 3 within an Xgui so that it makes changing video cards a breeze if you have to.

All the other configuration utilities work under X and you can even easily reconfigure you network, audio card and startup services from within X without having to drop down to level 4. Compared to changing video cards on windowsxp it is simple. Just use xorgconfig then startx if you screw up your video configuration. There is even a simple graphical video settings gui for those who are too lazy to use the macro ctrl+alt+plus.

Slackware and Zenwalk being closer to a true unix file system setup makes program installations a breeze and compiling code from source is just plain simple (if you do code for anything). The new editor Gainy is really easy to use for editing and debugging source code as well. Not to mention it is a really great little text and html editor.
The kicker is that you do not have to know squat about linux to use the system...all you have to do is be willing to type in a user name and password. I know this is an anathema to windows users but it is also the real reason windows just plain sucks.

All and all if you want a linux desktop that is so simple that even your mother could learn it then Zenwalk ranks up there with Ubuntu and is one hell of a lot less resource hungry. Because of Audacious it will also easily do Mp3s without the rediculous Debian and Ubuntu codec warnings!

Re:Linux needs Control Panel (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788308)

So use Mandriva. It has MCC, which works better than 'control panel'.

Re:Linux needs Control Panel (2, Interesting)

Dilaudid (574715) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788546)

I think that desktop linux is not ready because it still plagued by a problem of text configuration files. I'm perfectly OK configuring my debian box from various files in /etc directory, however most of the users e.g. normal people aren't, and as long as proper GUI configuration tools, like Control Panel in windows, are absent from KDE/GNOME desktop environments I don't think that majority of people would like to use it.
I think you're wrong. I had to know what autoexec.ini was on windows 95, and Control Panel is not usable by most users, anyone who can use it can use a text file just as easily. Most users are quite content with a "I can't make it work, it's broken, but I can live without it" attitude, so the key thing is that the computer (mostly) configure itself - which on Ubuntu, it seems to do. Thank god.

Overlooked... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17788074)

Is STANDARDIZATION. Linux will never make it until there is a hell of a lot more standardization. Not 50000 formats for releasing packages, but ONE that works everywhere. JoeSchmoSoft doesn't want to install 20 different distributions to test that their packaging works and to create, host, and support those 20 different package formats.

In Windows, one installshield package does everything on any Windows version.

Nor does Grandma Gertrude want to download all 20 to figure out which one works on her system if all she knows is shes running Linux. Even if she does grab the correct package, she certainly isn't going to be able to open shell, su to root, and dpkg -i or rpm -Uvh the file. She will double click it, see nothing happens, and give up.

Something like VFW would be welcome, I install a video/audio codec, and it works in all applications. Also, some cleanup of the video code in general, why is there no decent video output, opengl has tearing issues even with __GL_SYNC_TO_VBLANK = 1, Xv is really pixellated, I forget the others now, but none look nearly as good as the standard overlay in Windows.

Standardization of directory hierarchy. Does that executable go in /bin, /usr/bin, /usr/local/bin, /opt/bin? What about the conf file, is it in /etc, /etc/progname/, /opt/progname, /opt/progname/etc, ...? This may be my being 'used' to Windows, but I prefer each program has its own directory where all of its files are, that way I know exactly where to look, and I can have a nice overview of what is installed.

Some just general stupidity as well, like I was bored and decided to try SuSE, so I pop in the 10.2 minimal cd which lets you install over the network. I boot and first off it takes like 2 minutes to boot into the installer, and its running like I'm on a 386, and if you've ever booted off the minimal cd, you'll see it has no reason to run like that. Anyway, I suck it up and figure it'll be okay once everything is on the hard drive. So initial question is where do you want the installer to get the files from, I was on a laptop, so I hit network, wireless, enter my WPA key, and off it goes, grabs the installer files, launches the installer, grabs all the packages, installs, and reboots to finish the configuration. Except... this time it doesn't ask for my network settings, nor save the ones I entered earlier, so I end up hitting skip on a bunch of files it needed for ending configuration because it couldn't see my freaking network anymore.

So I figure oh well I'll just configure it by hand when it boots, so I reboot and after about 5 minutes of waiting for it to boot up to a login screen I just hit the power button and boot off the windows CD and remove all the partitions and reinstall Windows.

Note: It is not the hardware, I had a Gentoo install on it ever since I bought it that worked fine, I just got tired of waiting for crap to compile all the time, and was hoping for a 'no-hassle' installation.

Other general stupidity...

- I have to install like 300MB of libraries in order to run Firefox if I'm running KDE.
- I have to wait for all those libs to load every time I open Firefox off of a fresh reboot.
- Total lack of standardized advanced GUI tools. What tool is good for administering what programs start when the system starts up? What about when the user logs in to X? How about something that tells me what video codecs are installed, what audio codecs?
- No apps seem to be 'lightweight'. Look at my two favorite windows media applications, Foobar2000 and Mediaplayer Classic. Foobar2000 is a 1.6MB download, supports every audio format under the sun, and loads almost instantly on a cold start. The closest thing in Linux is AmaroK, which is a 20MB download, and loads slow as holy hell, and doesn't offer nearly the range of audio support foobar does. Now MPC is a 1MB download (3mb? uncompressed single exe) supports everything you have an installed codec for, loads almost instantly. Linux... theres mplayer which is like a 30mb and has a horrid GUI, vlc which is ~20MB download and is probably as good as it gets but loads slow as hell and also needs some UI work, and finally xine which has the worst UI and is about the same size download (20MB or so? I'm not sure on this one).

End rant for now...
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