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30 Days With Ubuntu Linux

Hemos posted more than 7 years ago | from the making-the-switch dept.

Linux 852

jkwdoc writes "Vexed by Vista's hardware requirements and product activation issues, many have claimed on various boards that they plan to 'switch to Linux.' [H] Consumer spent 30 days using nothing but Ubuntu Linux to find out if this is truly a viable alternative for the consumer. Linux has indeed become much more than the 'Programmer's OS.'"

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ya but (-1, Offtopic)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237598)

Ya but does it run linu....I mean games?

Re:ya but (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18237882)

Ya but does it run linu....I mean games?

Sure. Oh, you meant ones that do not suck greasy cocks ... no, sorry; it only does ugly amateur console-games like Natheck and Hangman.

Misguided or simply lazy (5, Interesting)

suso (153703) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237600)

From the article: But what about power users, such as the typical audience of HardOCP - those who know how to build their own computers, but not compile their own programs?

IMHO, anyone who wants all the control of building your own computer, reads a website which has overclocking in the name and thinks Linux/FreeBSD/Open Source is either misguided about the benifits of Linux or is just lazy. Putting your own computer together these days with all the options, choices to make, etc. is getting harder than it was 10 years ago. Meanwhile, Linux has been getting easier. So I don't see where the challenge is for these people.

It is nice to see that non-Linux people are continuing to give Linux a try. Most things in the world only get one chance and then its over.

Re:Misguided or simply lazy (1)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237702)

Believe it or not, its still cheaper to build a higher end PC yourself than to go with Dell and the like. Sure if you just want a cheap machine just for everyday stuff, they'll be just fine for you... but its when you want a decent gaming and media rig that the big boys just can't offer the same for less. In this case the only reason to end up with a Dell is for it to come with Windows and a 2 year service plan which you will very likely need due to cheap parts.

Re:Misguided or simply lazy (3, Informative)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238128)

Even if you just want a dirt cheap PC you can still usually build one for cheaper than what Dell does. The main thing you get with Dell is: support, and a single stop for your warranty. Most people who read Slashdot are without need of the very basic support Dell can offer (good for the clueless, but overall their support guys know less than most technophiles). The warranty is nice, but even building your own you usually have a warranty on all the components, you just have to do more work (contacting individual manufacturers) in order to use the warranty if needed.

Personally though, while the upfront cost is nice, I found it beneficial a LONG time ago to stick with homebuilt PC's, simply because they all use fairly standard equipment. My first x86-based computer was a Packard Bell 486, and it pained me as that thing got old that there was very, very little I could do with it to keep it updated (everything was proprietary). So my next PC was one of those "screw driver" shop ones from a local store where they built them with everything off the shelf. That was circa 1996 or so. Since then, I've never actually bought an entirely new PC. Don't get me wrong, my current computer is absolutely zero components in common with that system (and I've been through countless iterations of unique configurations), but all of that has been done through an upgrade here, an upgrade there, etc. With almost any major manufacturer's systems, you eventually just have to dump it and start again.

Re:Misguided or simply lazy (2, Insightful)

jcgf (688310) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238282)

Even if you just want a dirt cheap PC you can still usually build one for cheaper than what Dell does.

I'd like to see that.

Re:Misguided or simply lazy (5, Insightful)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237754)

It seems to me that often people who build their own computers and worry about overclocking are doing so to get the most bang for their buck for gaming purposes. This would not be necessarily be a target audience for Linux.

Re:Misguided or simply lazy (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18237756)

Building a computer today is easier than 10 years ago? O RLY?

Maybe you don't recall IRQ conflicts or undocumented jumpers. Perhaps you don't recall 'Plug and Pray'. To say nothing of cases wherein their manufacturers believed human hands were made of some steely, unbreakable substance and by no means needed protection from sharp metal.

I can slap a computer today very nearly by accident in comparison to the annoying foibles of yester-year-- saying it has become more difficult simply smacks of an unwillingness to become familiar with new technologies. That doesn't really play well in this community, sir.

Re:Misguided or simply lazy (3, Insightful)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238154)

It's more harder to put a CPU fan on top of the CPU with all the extra clips, screws and whatever else. Back in the Pentium days, switching a CPU was no problem and I did that frequently. These days I switch out the CPU once in a blue moon since removing and putting the fan back on can be a bitch.

Re:Misguided or simply lazy (4, Insightful)

cide1 (126814) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238170)

IRQ conflicts were 15 years ago. 10 years ago was about the easiest it has ever been. Buy an ATX power supply and case, any of the hundreds of Intel BX boards, whatever the fastest Slot 1 you could afford was, a hard drive, a cd drive, (it was all the same bus then) and if you really had mad cash maybe a Geforce 1 or Voodoo3. All cards were PCI w. AGP video. Everything was PC100 memory, and it was pretty cheap for the time.

Now, you have 5 differant processor sockets, 8 differant chipsets, 3 differant memories all in multiple speeds, differant power supply sockets, PCIx, PCI, and AGP, etc... Plus, it is harder to tell which parts are the fastest or best value now that everyone says their chip all their chips are equivallent to 4 GHz. The chance of being able to upgrade to current equipment is much less than it used to be. Replacing a processor now almost always means memory, power supply, motherboard, and heat sink.

All of this is hard enough building a windows machine, but now couple on getting Linux compatibility, and I say no thanks. I have built dozens of machines for family and friends, but I no longer do. I tell them to go to Dell, buy the cheapest thing, upgrade the memory. I don't have support or warranty issues. Im not returning parts that are wrong, etc...

My best solution to this problem was that when my super tricked out brand new system got stolen, I bought a mac, and it was one of my best computing moves. I paid a rediculous amount, but 3 years later, I haven't felt the need to upgrade it once.

Re:Misguided or simply lazy (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238286)

IRQ conflicts are still there. Especially for Nvidia 6600 GT and some ATI cards.

Worse, back in the old days you could change the IRQs with jumpers. Today most crappy boards *cough* dell *cough* try to put everything on one irq with apic irq routing. Yes it works most of the time fine but when it doesn't it usually means its time to go into the bios. Worse WindowsXP will bluescreen if you put IRQ sharing off and change plug and play OS to non plug and play os unless you reinstall. Sometimes it will boot fine changing these.

Sometimes when technology comes into play to solve a problem and it can create more difficult headaches unless its done right

Re:Misguided or simply lazy (5, Insightful)

faloi (738831) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237840)

So I don't see where the challenge is for these people.

The challenge is in the purpose. AFAIK, people don't just got into the guts of their system to crank everything up for the joy of theoretical numbers to throw around. Generally, they're after the biggest, baddest box for a reason. A big reason for a lot of people is gaming, after's what consumes the most horsepower. And gaming is currently where Linux falls short. I think if more games (that people want to play) were available with native Linux support, more people would be willing to switch.

Distro's like Ubuntu are great for non-technical users to have a solution to hop on the Internet, check email, do word processing, that sort of thing. In short, all the stuff that a non-technical user is likely to do with a computer anyway.

Re:Misguided or simply lazy (1)

Compholio (770966) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238048)

And gaming is currently where Linux falls short. I think if more games (that people want to play) were available with native Linux support, more people would be willing to switch.

In my experience, people don't care if it's native support or not - if people can run their games under Wine then they're just as happy. Wine effectively runs a lot of games these days (like World of Warcraft and Command and Conquer: Generals) and isn't far from supporting the latest and greatest (for example, the Command and Conquer 3 demo is completely playable but crashes after several minutes).

Re:Misguided or simply lazy (3, Insightful)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238192)

"(for example, the Command and Conquer 3 demo is completely playable but crashes after several minutes)."

I think it's this definition of "completely playable" that keeps people away from Linux.

Re:Misguided or simply lazy (1)

gaijin99 (143693) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238274)

That's it in a nutshell. I use my linux box for everyday stuff, but if I want to game I need to reboot to Windows. Since this semester I'm not doing much gaming, I haven't been booted into Windows for around a month or so, last semester I had an easier classload and I booted to Windows almost every day.

Re:Misguided or simply lazy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18237974)

More difficult? I disagree. I've met lots of people who brag about having assembled their own machines. What is there to brag about? There are no IRQs to set by pin or other resource conflicts to manage. You just have to put the piece into the place that seems most obvious and it will work.

Re:Misguided or simply lazy (5, Insightful)

BJH (11355) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238266)

Putting your own computer together these days with all the options, choices to make, etc. is getting harder than it was 10 years ago.

I call bullshit on that one (and yes, I was putting together my own PCs ten years ago).

Then: A dozen different video card manufacturers, twice that many chipsets, equal variety of drivers.
Now: Two major manufacturers, two unified drivers.

Then: IDE=slow. Master? Slave? Cable? WTF is this?
Now: SATA - plug and go.

Then: Set up your modem to connect to your ISP and hope you don't get any incoming calls. Firewall? What's that?
Now: ADSL. Wireless routers. Built-in firewalls.

Then: Scanner? SCSI (and don't forget your terminators). Printer? Parallel. Video in? Forget it.
Now: USB and Firewire.

Then: Steel case weighing 20kg, built out of razor blades.
Now: Complete kit with rounded internal edges, fans in the box, you name it.

Re:Misguided or simply lazy (4, Interesting)

CPNABEND (742114) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238268)

I have been building my own rigs for more than ten years, and I have KUBUNTU up on one of the boxes on my LAN. I have a stumbling block trying to understand the LINUX file system. It's like I download something like Firefox - and can't find where it went. I have been searching for a book that could walk me through everything, sort of like a translation of M$-speak to LINUX-speak. Then, I would be more than happy to kiss Windoze g'Bye.

Yeah (0, Redundant)

saibot834 (1061528) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237604)

But does it run GNU/Linux?

On the other hand... (1, Interesting)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237608)

Linux may not be just a programmer's OS, but the Ubuntu flavor of Linux, IMO, isn't a very good programmer's OS at all. I think it crossed that fine line between control and ease of use.

Re:On the other hand... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18237696)

Huh? Why's that?

I can run or compile about any programming language on my Ubuntu system. C runs great, Java 6 runs great, and other languages too.

Define "programmer's OS."

Re:On the other hand... (4, Insightful)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237740)

Are the configuration files in either a text format, or a well documented format?
Does have a normal UNIX shell environment?

Then it's got all the control you need.

Re:On the other hand... (1, Redundant)

McDutchie (151611) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237908)

That's allright. This is where the diversity of Linux distributions actually comes in handy. Programs you write on one distribution will work on another with, at worst, a recompile. There are plenty of distributions geared towards the programmer.

(Personally I've found Slackware hard to beat; everything it comes with is 'vanilla' and as the author intended it, and there's no superfluous user-friendly stuff to distract the programmer. And best of all: no dependency hell!)

Re:On the other hand... (1)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238086)

I agree completely, and I'm still using Fedora. I gave Ubuntu a try after reading all the accolades it got on slashdot, and I think it's a great OS for non-technical types, those people who just want to use their computer for typical end user apps.

Re:On the other hand... (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238004)

Yeah, I never understood the appeal of Ubuntu and am diehard Fedora. The sudo business was very odd to me. You can run a command as root by using "sudo", but you enter your *own password? What gives?

In other news, Most Annoying Distro of the Year award will always go to:
*Any distro that tells me to insert the installation CD #1, at any time, for any reason. I don't have the installation CDs. Get it off the net.

Re:On the other hand... (5, Informative)

Teresita (982888) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238056)

Yeah, I never understood the appeal of Ubuntu and am diehard Fedora. The sudo business was very odd to me. You can run a command as root by using "sudo", but you enter your *own password? What gives?

Sudo gives you root access for the purpose immediately at hand, and then takes you back to your account. It lets you get in, get out, and not have your fanny hanging out there on the net in admin mode for someone to burn you.

Re:On the other hand... (4, Informative)

mackyrae (999347) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238150)

It also means that if you're an admin and there are many users, you can avoid giving out the root password. You can set it so only specific people can use sudo, and you can monitor everything they do while in sudo mode. So, if something goes wrong, you know which person did it rather than a general "someone with the root password did it" and every guy's pointing to the guy next to him going "he did it!"

Re:On the other hand... (1)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238188)

But you can do this anyway, with any distribution. Only now, you can't just "be" root to accomplish a series of tasks, you have to prefix everything with "sudo", even if you are the system administrator. I didn't claim anything was impossible, it's just that there is a fine line between ease of use and ease of customization, and IMO, Ubuntu crosses that line.

I think Ubuntu is great, otherwise, and would definately recommend it to just about any end user. Just not me.

Re:On the other hand... (1)

gkhan1 (886823) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238088)

I don't get this. I'm a long time Linux user and a frequent programmer that modifies my system in a whole bunch of ways. I switched to Ubuntu two or three months ago, and I think it's great. I previously used Fedora, which is also a great OS, but it is ridiculous to claim that ubuntu isn't as "hackable" or that it is not suitable for programming. I do both just as easily as I've done before. What is it specifically that you are not happy with?

Re:On the other hand... (1)

dosius (230542) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238168)

Is it that hard to apt-get build-essentials? And you'll have all the important tools. Ubuntu doesn't hide them THAT far away.


Obligatory karma hit (-1, Troll)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237614)

Here's my experience [] trying to switch to Ubuntu.

Important clarifications:

1) It was actually Grub error 25 at stage 1.5, not Grub error 1.5. I know there's a website listing Grub errors now, but apparently, at the time, no one knew of it.
2) Yes, I tried navigating the directory by command line (in effect using the install CD as a Live CD), but the files that should have been there weren't there, and none of the commands recommended to fix the problem did anything.
3) Yes, I'm aware of the page that tells you how to ask a question on a forum. But when people recommend doing exactly what I already said I did several times ... sorry, problem ain't on my end.

So, to summarize:

1) Ubuntu (HIGHLY) recommends unnecessary bootloader.
2) Bootloader messes up and freezes so I can't debug it there.
3) File that must be fixed can't be accessed from the install CD.
4) Commands to diagnose the problem won't run.

Re:Obligatory karma hit (1)

wframe9109 (899486) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237684)

I had a fun time with Ubuntu too, although my problem was a bit more tame: the installer won't load.

I've been told this is a "hardware" issue, but given that Debian, XP, and Vista work with it, I tend to blame whomever wrote the software.

Decent article. I've been trying to do the same, but I've kept a dual boot setup and am often tempted to boot back into windows instead of searching for solutions to things I already know how to do. Oh well...

You again. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18237704)

I think we've already established several times on here that you went into that message board with an obnoxious, give-me-the world attitude and were quite rude to everyone involved. So learn some manors and get over it. The errors never should have happened, but the continued negative experience you had was largely your own doing. "Hey, when I treat people like crap, they're not very helpful!"

Re:Obligatory karma hit (1)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237778)

Wow, you got it to install? I couldn't get that far. If kept crashing in the middle. Fortunately, Debian didn't have such an issue. I was really wanting to get rid of Fedora and move to something using the Debian package system. And while my hardware wasn't spectacular, I expect a 700Mhz Thunderbird with 512MB RAM, 250GB HDD, and Radeon 7500 AGP video card to at least install even if I don't get great performance out of it.

The good news is that my wife really likes Debian's default WM and the packages I've installed in apt so now so she's not harping on me to get a licensed copy of Windows for that computer anymore. It looks like soon we'll be running Linux on our desktops and Windows on our laptops exclusively now.

Re:Obligatory karma hit (1)

nfgaida (68606) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238000)

700mhz Thunderbird? I thought the first AMD thunderbird cores were 1700+.

Re:Obligatory karma hit (1)

UncleTogie (1004853) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238116)

Nope. As seen here [] , they started at 750Mhz. If it's at 700MHz, it could very well be a Duron, instead.

Re:Obligatory karma hit (1)

nfgaida (68606) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238190)

NM, I'm thinking Thoroughbred. 1700 was the first of those. Too many T horse words.

Re:Obligatory karma hit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18238182)

I had a thunderbird 800 Mhz.

Re:Obligatory karma hit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18238196)

Why do you think that? Thunderbird was the first Socket A core. Plenty of 700Mhz Thunderbirds still around.

That depends ... (2, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237786)

... sorry, problem ain't on my end.

That depends upon what the problem is finally determined to be.

Since there is no way anyone else can diagnose your problem, you are free to make any claims you want to about it.

Meanwhile, your experience seems to run counter to the majority. I have installed Ubuntu on many machines without a single problem. Ubuntu does have problems installing at times, but mostly with SATA drives on specific chipsets in specific configurations.

Re:That depends ... (0, Flamebait)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237878)

That depends upon what the problem is finally determined to be.

I was referring to problems in asking questions to a forum. When I specifically say "I tried re-installing, several times", and the first response is "Oh, just re-install", who exactly is not doing his part?

Since there is no way anyone else can diagnose your problem,

Oh, no, I already diagnosed my problem:

I have software design standards Ubuntu didn't meet. I wouldn't have HIGHLY RECOMMENDED a product capable of locking you out of your box unless it had gone through rigorous testing.

As for the specific problem with the install, that was diagnosed too: the bootloader screwed up. Once that was clear, I *still* got people who claimed they ABSOLUTELY COULD NOT HELP unless I told them which version of on operating system (that was never accessed) I was using.

Re:That depends ... (1)

orasio (188021) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238114)

Enough yelling.

If you can't install it yourself, maybe you should pay someone to do it.

The software is free, and not just as in beer. The personalized support is not always so.

Sometimes you can expect good suppot from other people. Some other times, your problem needs more work than other people are willing to do for free, and you need to either learn something you didn't knew, or pay someone to do the work for you.

The whole idea of a community, is that other people help because they want to, not because they have to. But you can always pay someone to happily fix your issues.

And they _do_ need the version of the OS, because that implies a specific version of the bootloader, and probably some specific boot issues.

Re:That depends ... (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237950)

Every time I've had a problem with Ubuntu it's been because of bad RAM. Other than that installing Ubuntu is generally easier than Windows (NT/XP/2000).

Re:Obligatory karma hit (0, Redundant)

linzeal (197905) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237832)

Almost same experience. I use XP x64 bit to run my CAD and EE programs atm, but a few weekends ago I gave ubuntu64 it a try. Grub error right off the bat, but no biggie I had a linux and a windows boot disk. An hour later still no Linux, put in windows boot disk and back to windows for awhile. Do some research and find an old copy of partition magic, no workie. Went into town and bought the new version 8.0 [] and it finally boots without error. The Grub bootloader is still needlessly arcane after years of development but boot magic just works.

Re:Obligatory karma hit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18237854)

Wait, was your problem really a faulty hard drive?

Because I don't know about Ubuntu, but Windows will check for faulty hard drives BEFORE attempting to install the operating system assuming you do a fresh install (namely, reformat).

If Ubuntu DOESN'T do that, that's a HUGE bug in the installer, and a very good reason never to use it. (If they skip such a simple and obvious check, I can't imagine what else they've messed up.)

Re:Obligatory karma hit (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237924)

Wait, was your problem really a faulty hard drive?

No, no, no, no, no. I have used that exact same hard drive without fail *on Windows* since the incident.

Most people who were on that forum or read it, smugly dismissed it as a hard drive problem because I had tried to install a hard drive that *actually was faulty* the week before. This was not the same hard drive. The people that blamed it on a hard drive error were just being idiots.

Now, it may have been a hard drive Ubuntu wasn't prepared for, but the hard drive itself is functioning as designed.

Re:Obligatory karma hit (1)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237872)

Here is *my* experience. iew=findpost&p=1292270782 []

I had had trouble with Debian and Knoppix before, but Ubuntu installed like a breeze. I admit I'm not your average computer user, having used GNOME/X/GNU/Linux for a few years now.

Once I had Internet (which as I mentioned required knowing the name of the network in the default install, at least as far as I could tell), I quickly installed a very nice tool called "Wifi-radar" which picks up networks and connects. A pity this isn't installed by default.

I recommend Ubuntu, and for people who aren't happy playing around or who don't have much experience, having a friend or other person who knows a bit to hold your hand might be the way to go.

Re:Obligatory karma hit (5, Informative)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238130)

4) Commands to diagnose the problem won't run.

Oh, and:

5) If you act like a spoiled jerk on a community-driven forum, stamp your little feet, and absolutely refuse to try any of their troubleshooting ideas or provide them with the information they repeatedly ask for, then they probably won't help you.

Yeah, I read the thread [] where you "tried" to get help. Your take on the episode doesn't have a lot to do with what you actually posted at the time.

Moderators, before you mark me down, actually read the Slashdot thread he linked to. I'm not the one who initially pointed out his tantrums and complete refusal to help fix his own problem. I can't believe that he uses that thread as supporting evidence of why Ubuntu is broken.

retromercial (5, Funny)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237616)

We've quietly replaced his copy of Windows XP with Folger's Coffee Crystals. Let's see if he notices any difference.

Re:retromercial (1)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237672)

Oh man, how many of us are old enough to get this joke...

Re:retromercial (3, Funny)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237768)

/me sadly raises hand ...then realizes he's sitting in front of a screen and no one can actually see the hand raised ...then sadly lowers the hand...

Re:retromercial (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18237888)

You are coming to a sad realization. Cancel or allow?

Re:retromercial (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18238034)

*sigh* Allow...

Re:retromercial (3, Informative)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237816)

It's my small contribution to the dialogue between the prematurely old and the young.

From the wikipedia entry: []
Another famous advertising campaign from the early 1980s took the viewer inside various gourmet restaurants as a voice-over whispered, "We are here at (insert name of four-star restaurant), where we've secretly replaced the fine coffee they usually serve with Folgers Crystals. Let's see if anyone can tell the difference!" Of course, no one ever did.

Re:retromercial (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18238028)

You forgot to mention "American enough" too.

Re:retromercial (1)

Stamen (745223) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238042)

I am, I cracked up... now get off my damn lawn kids (oh, and you don't need an IDE to program, or debugger for that matter, damn kids these days)

Re:retromercial (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237722)

I wish I had mod points. Excellent joke!

I remember similar stuff said about XP (3, Insightful)

0racle (667029) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237652)

Look what happened there. People that might be interested in Linux or OS X will try Linux or OS X. People who aren't, won't. In the end, very little will change.

Re:I remember similar stuff said about XP (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237830)

Except now Linux is much more user friendly and easy to install. Usability is way up since XP came out, so those who are willing to try it today are probably more likely to enjoy the experience than they would have 5 years ago. Of course that's just my guess...

Re:I remember similar stuff said about XP (2, Interesting)

Erwos (553607) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238136)

I first seriously got into Linux when I found out about XP's activation system back in 2001 or so. Until then, I had used it for home server applications (like a web server for PHP testing, and a cheap NAT/firewall router) and a development environment for college programming courses, but the news of the crazy activation scheme drove me to actually using it as my primary OS, with the intention of phasing out Windows 2000 at some point.

I still use Linux (Fedora Core 6) as my primary OS, and I'm pretty happy with it. It does all of the day to day productivity tasks that I need, and I like the flexibility it gives me in terms of technical capabilities - if I want to, SSH into work write a program in C++, test a web page, try out a new language, and so forth, I can do it with minimal hassle. I don't really see switching off of Linux as my own personal desktop OS.

However, I still have a Windows partition, and it's not going to go away any time soon. The Linux gaming scene is still pretty much dead (no offense meant to Michael Simms and the folks at LGP!), for one thing, and my console isn't a complete replacement for that yet. Outlook is still (unfortunately) the best local email client when it comes to remote-synchronized calendaring, email, and address books, especially when you toss smartphones and such into the mix, at least until I move to Google Apps. And when it comes to my own needs, Windows Media Center provides a better fit than MythTV. I'm waiting for 30 people to chime in that MythTV is everything to everyone - but that's just not true. :(

So, much as I hate to say it, Vista's probably in my future. But so is Linux. :)

Fark you Kyle. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18237654)

Fark you Kyle.

Hooray (1, Redundant)

spellraiser (764337) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237712)

I, for one, welcome our new Linux-using recruits.

Ubuntu has done a lot to make Linux mainstream, and I think it's the best distro out there for 'regular' people who have grown up on Windows and want to give Linux a try.

Frankly, I'm perplexed that anyone would pass on the opportunity to try out a free (as in beer) OS. Except gaming junkies, of course, but I think that with the maturing PC userbase they've become less relevant. Or maybe I'm just getting old ...

OS changing is too complicated for most people (4, Insightful)

fantomas (94850) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237984)

"Frankly, I'm perplexed that anyone would pass on the opportunity to try out a free (as in beer) OS. "

Changing OS is too complicated for most people, and there's not enough payback. If it works, why break it? If you can send email, and look at the web, and write a letter, and it took a lot of pain to get that far, why change the system you use and have to learn all over again, maybe losing your old files? That's how most people see it.

Changing OS may cost nothing financially, but for many people, their time isn't free. The time required to install the new software, get up to speed using the new tools and assuring yourself that you can access your old files and all your other hardware (printer, digital camera, internet connection, etc) is either lost business time (=costs money) or lost personal time (=time away from more pleasant use of leisure time). It's only "free" if you were going to spend that time messing around with a computer anyway. For many people that's not the case.

Re:Hooray (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18237996)

'Frankly, I'm perplexed that anyone would pass on the opportunity to try out a free (as in beer) OS'
Because I tried last year, and the year before that, and the year before that.....
it was supposed to be 'ready' for a long time....
Fed up to lose my time....
Let the wolf do its job and eat those time loser linux boys.....

I am perfectly happy with my debian routeur/server.....
But on the desktop ? no way in hell when application don't even mind crashing without a single screen *pooof* adept is gone.....
Or when 3 different wifi tools cannot even manage to output the same result....
one find the signal but cannot connect due to lack of function....
one cannot find signals at all....
other say it can connect....but cannot....

no linux is not general purpose desktop ready...
Not to say the Kubuntu utterly fail at hibernate on my two laptops where XP works flawlessly even though the laptops were build before Y2K...

Commendable but... (5, Insightful)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237850)

The place where Linux really needs to start to shine is the workplace. People run PCs at home, mostly because they run PCs at work. There's exceptions, but this is definitely the majority.

What's really needed is some 'professional' IT organisation to sell a definitive Linux solution for a whole workplace. And support it. And point out that actually it a) costs less to support and b) is way cheaper.

Personally, I think it's viable, and I can see IBM gradually moving that way, and perhaps Sun too. But they'll have a lot of work to do to overcome the 'No one ever got fired for buying Microsoft' attitude that's ingrained into most of the workplaces in the world. (I'm still somewhat stunned at the complete lack of understanding of the mere existance of Unix that I see in my current, IT company).

*shrug* I look forward to a day when every business desktop runs Linux. I think there's a lot of people who's talents are wasted being support monkeys for cranky windows bogosity. But at the same time, I can't see it happening, simply because it'll put a lot of people out of work.

Re:Commendable but... (1)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238022)

Too many companies run specialized Windows-only apps, often custom written. It could be something as simple as a custom timeclock program, or something more critical like a specialized ordering platform. It would be expensive and take forever to re-write all of these, and I think it would be hard to justify.

Re:Commendable but... (1)

Salsaman (141471) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238156)

If they run on .net, then most likely they will run on Mono. Miguel de Icaza estimates that by the summer, 70% of all .net apps will run natively on Linux, either out of the box, or with less than a dozen changes.

Re:Commendable but... (1)

Paulrothrock (685079) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238244)

Wine. VMWARE. Hell, dual boot the machine.

My dad had a similar problem. He wanted a Mac, but all of his financial software was in Windows. Now he boots into Windows once a week and does his financial stuff, then reboots back into OS X.

Re:Commendable but... (1)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238284)

Dual booting kind of defeats the purpose of a free OS.

Who the hell is this end user that edits DVDs? (4, Interesting)

parc (25467) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237898)

I switched my 80 year-old grandmother to Ubuntu 6 months ago. I won't pretend there were no problems, but they all revolved around user interface. Specifically, things didn't EXACTLY match Outlook/Internet Explorer's interface. Once I explained that and she used it for about 2 weeks, she has no problems whatsoever.

She DOESN'T do any DVD editing. She DOES use digital photography (in that I send her pictures of her great grandson and she views them). She's even managed to solve minor problems on her own. She writes documents, receives documents (both word and excel), and has had no issues to date that could not be solved in 10 minutes on the phone.

Her only major complaint? It's not the user interface. It's not the multifunction printer/copier/scanner. It's not the funky colors. It's not the email. It's that she can't make the computer wit more than 2 hours before hibernating.

Perhaps these "reviews" of "typical users" should evealuate what a real "typical user" actually is.

Re:Who the hell is this end user that edits DVDs? (1)

Zelos (1050172) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237946)

I've done it several times using iDVD. Things like hacking together a DVD show reel for an actress friend.

Re:Who the hell is this end user that edits DVDs? (1)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237990)

How much effort was there in you doing the 'switch' though. Windows usually comes with your PC, and if it isn't mostly just installs. Don't get me wrong, I really like Linux, but I have to say my dad went back to Win98 (yes, I know) because the Linux he tried to install did a couple of 'bomb out' crashes, and he got frustrated by it being obscure in what was up.

It's all well and good to get a running copy of Linux for someone, but that cuts out 90% (or more) who either get it pre-installed, or want to install it themselves to see what it's like.

Grandma != typical user (1, Insightful)

iceperson (582205) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238252)

I deal with typical users every day. Most of them have at least 1 device that won't work at all or at least loses functionality in Linux. These are common things like webcams, digital cameras, mp3 players, multimedia keyboards, Bluetooth/wireless cards, cellphones etc... The fact that you said she uses digital photography because you email her pictures and she views them is naive at best. So you setup a linux box to do what your grandmother could have done with webTV. Call me when you setup a box that your uncle can seemlessly syncronize his PDA/Cellphone on while his 3 kids can update their 3 no name brand $40 MP3 players and his wife can print edit/print photos on her 3 year old canon photo printer taken on their Suprema digital camera...

I switched to Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18237916)

-Everything is free which is the main reason I use it
-Some software is fantastic

-Crashes so much that I'm tempted at times to switch back to windows. Of course this might just be Fedora that I'm using, but I've noticed KDE and GNOME both to be pretty unstable.
-Software installation is improving with the likes of yum, but many software packages still require endless reading of documents and setting flags for configuration files etc.

It's the Internet! (5, Interesting)

frieko (855745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237952)

I 'switched' to Linux several times in the past, only to get frustrated and switch back. But Kubuntu has stuck. I'm Windows free for a year now. The reason it stuck this time is simple - with Firefox, Flash 9, Acrobat Reader, and w32codecs, the WWW is now as good on Linux as it is on Windows. I'm surprised more people don't make a bigger deal about this. For me it's huge.

Ubuntu (2, Insightful)

vwstickman (1071956) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237958)

I tend to agree with the mass consensus, Ubuntu has gone a long way to bringing home the Linux desktop but still needs work in some areas. One such area is laptop support. When I installed Ubuntu my standby was flaky and hibernate hung on restart forcing a hardboot. These are key areas that do not work properly and there are many other little bugs like that. As I said it has come a long way but still does not work 100% out of the box.

Re:Ubuntu (1)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238040)

I tried Ubuntu on my laptop and also was fairly disappointed... however I'd be more than willing to give it a shot on my Desktop at work, or as a dual boot for my main home computer

Re:Ubuntu (1)

malevolentjelly (1057140) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238230)

I had a similar experience with Ubuntu. I think Mac OS X represents the most effective consumer Unix application ever. It's elegant, beautiful, and usable. In the Open Source sphere, I think HaikuOS has great long-term potential in the form of being a simple and attractive OS based on solid design principles. I wish Linux-distros would focus more on server applications, and less on bridging this unnecessary gap to the "Everything and Nothing" OS.

Of course, I use Vista. :)- but we're talking *nix.

My quest to "switch" (4, Informative)

fed0up (963179) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237994)

I have been meaning to try out Linux for years, but never ventured. Thanks to reading /. (can't remember how long; should be 3+ years) I finally decided to take the plunge two weeks ago.

I chose openSUSE, simply because it got some Press(Read: Novell).

I have XP on Toshiba Laptop and wanted to have a dual boot on it.

I used GParted [] for partition, though openSUSE came with partition manager. GParted was very easy and "Windows like"

The installation went smooth and openSUSE recognized all hardware. I chose GNome as the desktop, simply because Firefox came with it.

I played around and customized to my liking. Opened the Terminal and played with the vi editor. It seems like vi skills are etched in memory(I used to program in C years ago).

I hit the road block with wireless network. The installer recognized Intel 3945 wireless card, but would not connect.

Doing a Google search(are you happy now Google lawyers?), I found I am not alone. I tried ALL solutions offered on various forums.

1. Using Intel's Linux driver - This required a kernel version of 2.6.8 or greater. openSUSE 10.2's kernel is 2.6.16 or something. It is only sensible to use the native driver right? I hit the wall again and again.

2. ndiswrapper - Grudgingly I tried this as a last resort. Same result.

Time spent: Few weekday evenings and a weekend (to the dismay of spouse)

I absolutely love the shiny OS. Unfortunately I can not use it without an wireless internet connection.

So it sits there unused.(I changed the default OS to Windows in GRUB).

I was one of these converts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18238010)

I have a upgrade key to Vista, but have refused to install it. Like the author, I installed Ubuntu as an alternative (running x86_64 version). I will confess that no 64-bit Flash Player really sucks. Fortunately I was able to piece together the hacks and get it working with a 32bit browser install of Firefox. However, this solution is neither elegant or conducive to linux newbies. I guess I don't understand the reason for no 64bit support of Flash by Macromedia - how do they support it under 64bit Vista? 64bit machines have been out for several years and it seems like Macromedia ought to be getting their act together.

Probably my next big issue was no out of the box support for mp3. I realize it has licensing issues, but the fact is it's an mp3 world - how many people actually have portable OGG players?

I tried to get Beryl running, but gave up - it really is not an easy install on 64bit Ubuntu + KDE - and yes I have a NVIDIA 7900GT video card, so its not really for lack of a good video card or video drivers.

Gaming - I am learning to live without - I plan on getting a Wii anyway and will be leaving PC gaming behind. Yes I have Battlefield 2, WOW, etc. but the time has come to give up games that don't support Linux. I have tried Cedega and it is a waste of money - games run poorly and multiplayer games are pretty much useless. Unless a game has a native port for Linux, I'm not interested.

As far as making a switch for the general populace, its still not quite a good time yet - although support is much better for most hardware (it recognized everything except for my scanner (HP Scanjet 4670), webcam (Logitech Quickcam Fusion), and printer(HP Deskjet 6600)). I bought a new scanner supported by linux (Epson Perfection 4990) and found a driver that lets my printer work in black and white, but no luck with the webcam.

Overall I'm happy with the switch, but I can tolerate a little more hacking then the average user.

Re:I was one of these converts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18238218)

used automatix2
to install swiftfox
and then the swiftfox plugins for flash

now i have flash in "swiftfox"
i have to browsers firefox and swiftfox.
only one can be open at a time.
which is fine by me.
i can browse with out the annoyance of flash.
but if i want to watch some flash video i switch to swiftfox blah blah blah

Works for me... (1)

jpellino (202698) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238032)

As noted on another thread, I spent a week running my iBook G4 (HD died...) with an Ubuntu LiveCD. Firefox, Thunderbird, OpenOffice, flash drive. It did 90% of what I needed to get my job and life done, and with less speed bumps than swapping over to a standard windows XP Pro for the subsequent week the machine was in the shop. Very impressive.

I switched to Debian desktop in 2005 (3, Interesting)

br00tus (528477) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238038)

Ubuntu is derived from Debian. I had qualms about making my main desktop Linux for various reasons, but in 2005 an attempt to have my Windows do wireless screwed up the whole system, and then I needed to use that OEM Windows CD crap, which not only mucked with my C drive but erased my whole D drive for some reason. I got tired of it and switched to Debian.

I thought I would miss some things in Windows but I didn't. The thing I thought I would miss most was Microsoft Word, but Abiword did fine. I was always concerned I would have to modify my resume and send it out in a nice Word format that Linux wouldn't have, but that was never a problem. I never missed Windows for anything. They talk about Windows having better hardware support, but my (then) 802.11b wireless was a hell of a lot easier to install on my system then Linux. I also liked the ability to open a shell and just be able to do stuff - do an awk or sort or whatever on a file, have multiple windows and so forth. It had all the nice user brain-dead stuff of Windows, but I could drop to a shell and actually do stuff, instead of getting some MS-DOS prompt crap. It's much better nowadays than my old days when I had a Linux kernel version 1 running fvwm as one of my work desktops (the other desktop at that time was a Sun IPX running SunOS 4.1.3_U1).

My question to Ubuntu/linux preachers (4, Interesting)

Programmer_In_Traini (566499) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238050)

I'm a long time windows user, from the DOS days and I've always remained on the windows side of things mainly because at work its all we use. I never saw any point of switching of linux at home knowing that knowledge would not serve me at work.

I'd usually spend efforts trying to improve on things that would help me at work.

Anyway, now im starting a web hosting and web design (very) small company. I'm not really impressed by the direction MS is taking nor by the fees its charging. Vista smells like a truckload of overhead shit that i have zero interest in even trying out. The 2003 line of servers from MS is just too expensive just to avoid mentionning i hate the notion of online activation/tracking.

I've installed Ubuntu and other distros of linux at the time and while I've always got stuck with the file structure and various command lines to learn, i feel this is something i could get the hang of over time.

But what brings me back everytime to windows are my own limitations regarding programming. At work, we do ASP and Not c#, I can read c# but i don't really program with it.

I have no interest in learning php, ruby or other languages despite all their advantages. Because at work that's not what we use and I'd rather re-use my skills rather than split into a new branch just because im having something on the side.

so, my question is, is there any (easy) way i could be running the .net framework on ubuntu ? no virtual machine if possible, no emulation, just run .net framework on ubuntu ?

I know its pretty contracdictory but i dont want to install overhead on my server just for the benefit of running .net, I don't think its possible otherwise but that's why im asking to people who knows more about this.

So, is it possible ?

Re:My question to Ubuntu/linux preachers (5, Insightful)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238160)

When one invests their time in platform dependant skills, one has to live with the fact they will be forever tied to that platform. I'm pretty sure that what you want is not yet legally possible.

I think so... (1)

michaelwigle (822387) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238276)

I'm not a programmer but I did come across this site [] . I think it has the answers you are looking for. I haven't programed since C++ was brand new and have been trying to choose a versatile language to learn so I can get back into programming again and I came across this. It appears to be a way to allow Linux machines to have access to the .net framework and allow you to compile and run .net apps on a linux box. Hope this fits your needs.

Re:My question to Ubuntu/linux preachers (2, Informative)

Doctor Crumb (737936) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238278)

It depends on what you mean by ".NET framework". If you mean the *Actual* framework, as in the thing that takes your c# code and runs it, then yes, you can easily use Mono (which is a competing implementation) in ubuntu.

If, however, you mean Visual Studio, then there may be issues. There are several nice IDEs in linux (Eclipse, KDevelop, etc), but none are exactly the same as Visual Studio, and I don't know how well any of them deal with .NET.

It isn't about trying, it is about sticking around (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18238070)

There has never really been a problem with people willing to give Linux a honest chance. I've found that I could even get my mother to try with "Slackware 96".

The problem is having people that do try out Linux stick around. Most go back to what is comfortable and they are used to after the novelty has wore off. There seems to be so much fluff about those that try out Linux and not about about those that stick with Linux. There hasn't really ever been an issue with those trying out Linux.

Damn double speak (0)

kernelpanicked (882802) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238074)

I'll start testing on Ubuntu Linux 64-bit. Vista is available as a 64-bit operating system, (although it also comes in 32-bit) and, should we look at Vista 64 in the future, we want to be able to compare apples-to-apples. However, I'll also test the 32-bit version of Ubuntu and compare not only the 32- and 64-bit versions of Ubuntu, but will also be able to compare my observations to a 32- and 64-bit Vista should the opportunity arise.

So let me get this straight. The author appears to have never run Vista 64 bit, but instead is making the assumption that Windows Vista 32bit==64bit so Ubuntu 32bit==64bit, therefore we jump straight to testing ubuntu 64bit and should anything not work, rather than testing Windows 64bit, we'll just compare to 32bit which we already know. Extremely convoluted way to claim that they're comparing apples/apples when really it's more like apples/potatoes.

Re:Damn double speak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18238232)

Extremely convoluted way to claim that they're comparing apples/apples when really it's more like apples/potatoes.

He must be French then. In French potates are apples of the earth.

Re:Damn double speak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18238236)

So let me get this straight. The author appears to have never run Vista 64 bit, but instead is making the assumption that Windows Vista 32bit==64bit so Ubuntu 32bit==64bit, therefore we jump straight to testing ubuntu 64bit and should anything not work, rather than testing Windows 64bit, we'll just compare to 32bit which we already know. Extremely convoluted way to claim that they're comparing apples/apples when really it's more like apples/potatoes.

That's perfectly appropriate to this case, since Mark Shuttleworth comes from South Africa, where potatoes are known as earth-apples.

30 days of Vista? (0, Troll)

jumbo008 (564145) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238076)

Did I miss the 30 days of using Vista article, or has no one lasted that long yet?

Re:30 days of Vista? (1)

Teresita (982888) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238164)

Did I miss the 30 days of using Vista article, or has no one lasted that long yet?

People keep getting out to 28 or 29 days and then Microsoft issues an automatic set of patches that removes Vista "features" and totally invalidates their notes, so they have to start over.

This is not entirely realistic.. (2, Informative)

phazer (9089) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238082)

None of the two computers have an ATI video card. Allegedly the ATI drivers sometimes even work, but I have yet to see this for myself.

The author has a HP Laserjet standing around? Nice. Good luck with a Canon "software" printer or other GDI printers though.

One or the other would've made the report much more interesting to me.

Re:This is not entirely realistic.. (1)

shlepp (796599) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238248)

With the x64 windows platform lacking support...still. There is little reason not to use linux. I decided to go with the openSUSE flavor of linux distro, and i like it alot so far. I even have a select few of my games running in it. Counter-Strike Source, Day of Defeat Source, HL2DM, Quake 4. Alot has changed, and amazingly alot of windows stuff will run on linux, even 64 bit linux. Linux also is alot less boring then windows. With wine and cedega, who needs windows?

Not viable on my ThinkPad (1)

Wormholio (729552) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238132)

I'm used to Fedora but I thought I'd give Ubuntu a try, so I downloaded and burned a copy of the install CD for 6.10 and tried to install it on a ThinkPad A22m which already has W2K on it but more than enough space for something else as well.

Booting from the CD seemed to take a lot longer than, say, booting from a Knoppix CD. And when it was done, I had a desktop with an icon item marked "Install". No helpful dialoge to take me through the process or even a hint of what was expected next.

I assumed that to install Ubuntu on the machine I had to launch the thing marked "Install", so I double-clicked. After a short while the whole thing just froze.

Viable alternative? Not for that machine.

The problems with Linux. (2, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238134)

Well the list is typical I am afraid.
1. No 64 bit Flash. Or the lack of support in the X64 version of Firefox for 32 bit plug ins.
2. You can not watch DVDs you buy at the store with out breaking the law... Thank you US government...
3. Drivers specifically the fact that it is IMPOSIBLE for a manufacture to put a binary linux driver on a disk and stick in the box with his product.

The first part the Linux community really can not do a lot about. I guess that the distros could ship the 32 bit version of Firefox as the default until Adobe catches up.

The second issue is a legal fiction and can only be fixed by lawyers... And that is never a good state of affairs.

The third is my least favorite problem because it could at least be helped by the kernel developers. If they would just put in a stable binary driver interface then it would be possible to put drivers an a CD. Currently they don't want to put one in because they feel it would encourage closed source drivers. They will use excuses about performance but the simple truth is it is all about politics.
This article was a great example. The new network adapter didn't have a driver in distro. In this case the driver hadn't made it to the kernel yet. Even if the manufacture had produced a FOSS driver there would be no way to put it on the CD. There would be no way of knowing if it would work with the users kernel. They would have put a bunch of source code on the disk and maybe a script to compile it... If the user has a development system installed and the right headerfiles...
I hate technical problems caused by politics.

Re:The problems with Linux. (1)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238178)

64-bit OSes just aren't ready yet, simply put.

as for the legality issue, if this is a for home media player computer, I'd say "stuff it" to the law. There's no media police that's going to go into your computer and fine/arrest you for having a DVD linux player.

Flash problem (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238254)

One of his big problems was getting flash to work with a 64 bit browser. He solved this by going to a 32 bit browser. It is also possible to wrap the 32 bit flash binary using nspluginwrapper apper/ [] which works OK most of the time using 64 bit Seamonkey and FC6.
Flash on solar power: -selling-solar.html []
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