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A Gut Check On Gutsy Gibbon

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the who-you-callin-windows-like dept.

Operating Systems 390

jammag writes "Linux pundit Bruce Byfield looked inside the pre-release of Gutsy Gibbon and found what he calls 'Windows thinking.' His article, Divining from the Entrails of Ubuntu's Gutsy Gibbon, notes that Ubuntu is the dominant distro, having achieved a level of success that might be leading to complacency. He opines: 'Only once or twice did I find a balance between accessibility to newcomers and a feature set for advanced users. At times, I wondered whether the popularity might be preventing Ubuntu from finishing some rough edges.'"

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Wait for next (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20681467)

Hm, I guess it seems Gutsy Gibbon isn't quite up to stuff. Prolly oughta wait for the next edition, the more refined Hairy Hardon.

Re:Wait for next (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20681611)

Hm, I guess it seems Gutsy Gibbon isn't quite up to stuff. Prolly oughta wait for the next edition, the more refined Hairy Hardon.
You do that. I'll wait for the ultimate release: Nappy Nigger.

Re:Wait for next (4, Insightful)

Braino420 (896819) | more than 7 years ago | (#20681755)

The author has some very interesting ideas about "security"

This [not being able to choose additional packages at installation] lack is not only frustrating, but violates a main principle of security. After all, you can hardly secure a system if you do not know what is going on it.

it [sudo] means that an intruder only needs one often-used password instead of two to gain control of the system.
Ok, not being able to install additional packages at installation is a big deal, but calling it a "security issue" is a little silly. No ports are listening on a default Ubuntu install. It doesn't need to be "secured".

I don't understand how not having sudo means the attacker has to gain control of two passwords. Does that even make any sense? They only need ONE password either time, the root password, or the password for a user that has sudo privs.

I'm glad someone is really giving a critical eye towards Ubuntu (which can only result in further improvements), but talking out of your ass isn't going to get anything done.

Re:Wait for next (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20681927)

Presumably you don't allow the root user to login at all. The only way to get to root would be with su. His statement, I'm guessing, is based on that premise along with having to break into a normal user account first, before being able to su to root. Of course, that doesn't take into consideration the numerous possible attach vectors that do not require first breaking a normal user and then breaking root.

For years I've never installed sudo because I liked the forced separation of privileges with different passwords. However, in an environment where numerous users need escalated privileges for different things, I have revised my thinking and enjoy the ability to provide fairly fine-grained controls on who/what people are able to access when raising privileges for specific tasks. Short of implementing SELinux, sudo gives me what I need for right now. I can see a day where SELinux will be more appropriate for some things, but until then...

Re:Wait for next (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20682115)

I like the idea of preventing users root login, and requiring the root password for SUDO in it's current implementation. But then again, the only people who can sudo on my system(s) are those who would be allowed to use root otherwise.

Actually, what I could consider idea, would be the ability to give each user his or her own sudo password, that cannot match his or her own login password.

Re:Wait for next (4, Interesting)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#20681981)

I think with the sudo thing he's referring to the fact that most systems have more security vulnerabilities that allow you to take control of a non-privileged user, so it's a lot easier to hack into a non-privileged user than it is to hack into root. If you are able to hack into a non-privileged user that is in the sudoers file, you have root.

Of course, most of those exploits involve gaining control of daemon users, like the httpd user or whatever, and if you have any of those users in your sudoers file you're asking for trouble anyway.

There may also be the assumption that most people will choose stronger passwords for their root user than they do for their normal user account. I'm not so sure that this really holds true in a desktop environment, but it may in a server environment. Of course, there's also the issue that a frequently used password may be easier for someone to shoulder surf. So, while a normal person may only very rarely log in as root, so shoulder surfing opportunities are likewise rare, they probably log into their user account (which on Ubuntu will likely have sudo access) many times.

So, while I think there is a lot of hand waving involved in whether or not Ubuntu's model is really more or less secure, there is at least an argument to be made.

Security of Users vs Root security (5, Insightful)

drx (123393) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682123)

I actually wonder why there is still this big iron thinking about root and "unprivileged users", especially around a desktop distro like Ubuntu. I am the only user of my system. If someone breaks into my normal user account and deletes all files there it is the worst possible scenario. If it is done from root, there is not much of a difference. And unprivileged users can also serve as spam bots, they have all the access to a heap of scripting languages and whatnot -- so really, what is the difference?

Just because it happens to be Unix, some people seem to have a sysadmin reflex that tells them root is more worthy than others.

Re:Security of Users vs Root security (2, Insightful)

roemcke (612429) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682437)

The real difference is when you want to remove said spambot and be sure it hasn't left any backdors into your system. If root has been compromised, you need to reformat and reinstall everything (including the MBR and BIOS for the paranoid!!). If only a single user has been compromised a spambot is much easier to remove and detect, and it cannot bypass the firewall or hide funny processes.

Re:Security of Users vs Root security (5, Insightful)

dfgchgfxrjtdhgh.jjhv (951946) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682577)

root gives them full control over your system, they can set daemons to run at startup, mess with system files, delete/modify every users files & any other file they want, run services on privileged ports (1024), install trojans, rootkits, delete/modify log files, and anything else they want.

a root compromised means a full system rebuild. reformatting all drives & reinstalling from trusted media & the last known good backups. you cant trust anything on the system, or any backups taken since the hack. you might not even know the date of the hack, nevermind how they got in, or what they did, if they cleaned the logs.

if a normal user account gets hacked & you're sure root hasnt been compromised, you could just delete the user, fix the vulnerability & restore the files from backups. you still have the log files, which will help give clues to how & when you were hacked.

having your user account hacked is obviously very bad, but if they get root, its as bad as it gets, even on a single user system.

btw, if your personal files mean a lot to you, you should take regular backups.

Re:Wait for next (1)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682169)

Sudo access and local priv-escalation bugs are two very different things. IMHO, he's probably referring to the fact that so many end-users use the same password EVERYWHERE, like untrusted web sites. Having the sudo password to get to root via the same password you use to login everywhere isn't so great from a security standpoint.

Sudo is great for letting non-root users do some root things in a very controlled way when you DON'T want to give full root access. It's not "really" meant to be a substitute for "su". Using plain "su" or "su -" with a totally different password when you need full root access is much more secure than allowing full sudo access to everything with your everyday login password.

Re:Wait for next (0, Offtopic)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682125)

I'm just curious. I see this phenomenon where folks reply to an unrelated first post... this usually happens when there are already several replies to the article itself. Why does this occur?

Re:Wait for next (5, Insightful)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682427)

I'm just curious. I see this phenomenon where folks reply to an unrelated first post... this usually happens when there are already several replies to the article itself. Why does this occur?
Let's not be disingenuous. We all know why it happens -- too many people saw that this was successful in getting their comments modded up in places like digg, and started doing it here too. And the mods encourage it -- they /should/ be getting marked offtopic, but that never seems to happen anymore. Before anyone objects - yes, I know that this practice did not originate with digg; but there is no denying that it has started happening a /lot/ more frequently since digg became popular. While that's not direct evidence of causation, it's still a pretty compelling circumstantial case.

Re: SSH (1)

durdur (252098) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682199)

Re security, I was really surprised when I installed a previous release and SSH wasn't even available. I had to download/install it separately. Granted, you may not want to start the server automatically, but making it easy to set up post install a secure remote connection seems like a good idea.

Also, while gcc was installed, the C++ frontend was not. Ok, so this is maybe an end-user distro, if you're using OpenOffice and mail you don't need C++. But if you want to start with Ubuntu and configure it to do development on, it was extra work compared to other distros.

Re: SSH (1)

ambrosen (176977) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682553)

Well, it's only one install to add dev-tools or whatever it's called. And presumably you're going to be downloading the source you want to compile anyway.

Re:Wait for next (5, Insightful)

spagetti_code (773137) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682263)

Ok, not being able to install additional packages at installation is a big deal, but calling it a "security issue" is a little silly. No ports are listening on a default Ubuntu install. It doesn't need to be "secured".


Not having to make choices at install time is EXACTLY the reason that ubuntu is good. After a couple of simple questions, you are up and running with a very well configured system with the best one of each type of app installed that most people want. You dont have a huge stack of apps installed that you dont need.

If that idea doesn't suit you, then I think you need a different distro. Dont go raining on ubuntu because its executing its plan well. (And by the way, that plan is exactly what the general population want/need).

Re:Wait for next (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682271)

No ports are listening on a default Ubuntu install.

Really? I don't remember having to do anything special to enable sshd. Is this new since edgy?

Re:Wait for next (1)

I'm a banana (1139431) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682469)

What he means is that in the default install there is no daemon listening on any port, not that all ports are firewalled by default (which is false, there are no firewall rules set in the default install).

For a desktop, sudo works pretty well. (1)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682485)

His other complaint about sudo is misguided, too:

However, when you flip to the User Privileges tab in the application, you can see that Desktop Users can do everything except log in with sudo, which still seems unacceptably broad for security.

Linux, like most Unixes, has a long history of separating things that users can do safely from the things that only privileged users should be able to do. The corners are worn smooth by this point. Windows grew from a single-tasking system with no memory protection (sure, the NT kernel has good, finegrained security, but for backward compatibility they've only finally started insisting on it with Vista) and so applications constantly assume they can muck with things that are none of their business.

On Linux, a regular 'Desktop' user can do all kinds of things, because the apps are written not to need privileges unless they have to have them. The only difference needed between 'Administrator' and 'Desktop' is the ability to sudo.

I wouldn't run Ubuntu on a server... but that's not what it's aimed for.

On one page? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20681915)

This article is another one spread over multiple pages, so you'd think that the print version might be sane.... but no, the print version is multiple pages, with many [blocked for me] adverts and a big grey navigation box at the bottom. I can only assume that the blocked ads are for shit like toner, ink and paper! Anyway, here's the article, minus the annoyances:

Divining from the Entrails of Ubuntu's Gutsy Gibbon
By Bruce Byfield
September 20, 2007

According to the 2007 survey, Ubuntu is the distribution of choice for 30% of GNU/Linux users. The exact figure is questionable, but Ubuntu's dominance is not. For an increasing number of people, Ubuntu is GNU/Linux. Yet, looking at the pre-releases of Gutsy Gibbon, Ubuntu 7.10, I found myself becoming disturbed by the degree to which this popularity has translated into uncritical acceptance.

Make no mistake -- due to the energy that the Ubuntu community and Canonical, its corporate arm, have put into improving the desktop, this popularity is well-deserved. Yet, at the same time, I find myself wondering whether user-friendliness must inevitably mean discouraging users from exploring their systems or taking firm control over them. This question keep nagging me each time I installed, went through the selection of preloaded software, explored the desktop, installed new software, or examined security. Only once or twice did I find a balance between accessibility to newcomers and a feature set for advanced users. At times, too, I wondered whether the popularity might be preventing Ubuntu from finishing some rough edges.

Many releases ago, Ubuntu settled on installation from a Live CD. To begin the installation, you boot your computer with the CD in the drive, then click an icon to add Ubuntu to your hard drive.

Little has changed in the Gutsy Gibbon release. The installer opens with a warning that you are using a pre-release version that installation of might mean over-writing existing files, then leads you through an eight-step wizard.

To its credit, the installer makes adding an operating system to your hard drive as easy as it can probably be. However, while even novices are unlikely to have much trouble if they accept the defaults, straying beyond them is difficult. For instance, in the keyboard selection step, the only way to know the differences between two U.S. English International layouts or the classical, left hand, or right hand versions of the Dvorak keyboard is to know them beforehand, to research them on another computer, or to try each systematically in the field provided for the purpose.

Similarly, at the partitioner, if you choose the Guided option, you quickly discover that it's a misnomer. "Guided" really means automatic, and gives you no choice whatsoever. I can't help comparing this lack of choice unfavorably to Debian 4.0's presentation of different partitioning schemes that you can either accept or modify as you want.

The installer does a better job with Advanced options on the final screen, tucking away controls for choosing where to install the bootloader or participate in the package Popularity Contest a button-click away from the top level screen.

Yet, for all its convenience, what most characterizes the Ubuntu installer is the lack of choice it presents. Users cannot even choose the initial software to install. This lack is not only frustrating, but violates a main principle of security. After all, you can hardly secure a system if you do not know what is going on it.
Bootup and Desktop

Like the installer, the desktop in Gutsy Gibbon has changed only in minor ways from earlier versions of Ubuntu. And, in many ways, that's not a bad thing, because Ubuntu's default GNOME desktop has always been well-organized. Its menu avoids overwhelming users with choices, and its organization of panel applets or logout options into several categories helps you locate what you need more easily. Sensibly, too, Ubuntu continues to offer only two virtual workspaces instead of GNOME's usual four -- enough to make users aware of the possibility of multiple desktops on the same monitor, but not enough to drag down performance on older machines. Unless you are lucky enough to benefit from some of the extra free or proprietary drivers included in the latest version, you'll probably notice few changes in general appearance and functionality.

Yet despite the thoughtfulness that shows in the basic Ubuntu desktop, it also contains what might be considered over-simplifications. By default, the GRUB menu does not appear, so users might easily miss the availability of a recover mode or memory test of an initial option. Nor do users have an option to display boot messages, although of course they can review the log file later.

In addition, rough edges remain along with the highly polished ones. Although Ubuntu is well-supplied with fonts to display international languages, the quality of fonts for Western European languages remains limited. The default terminal font displays jaggedly at higher resolutions. For desktop use the most convenient is the Bitstream Vera family, which in other company would be mediocre. Other free fonts, such as Linux Libertine, Fedora's Liberation fonts, or other of the SIL International fonts besides Gentium would give users a much better-rounded selection.
Next page: Software selection and installation

Ubuntu also seems to have taken an idea from SymphonyOS, and placed key icons such as the logout, trash, main menu, and Show Desktop at the four corners of the desktop. Unfortunately, at high resolution, these icons are so small that they are easy to overlook, which defeats the effort to make better use of the corners of the screen.

Several years ago, Ubuntu made a promising start on its desktop. However, further evolution is either slow or overdue -- and I'm not just referring to the mail browser, either.
Software Selection

Gutsy Gibbon contains some of the very latest software. The current pre-release includes a 2.6.22 kernel, Firefox, and the GIMP 2.3.18. Development versions of 2.3 and GNOME 2.20 are also installed. Presumably, these will be replaced by the actual releases as they become available. Pre-release versions of KDE4 packages are also available from the repositories, although they may not be in final form by the time Gutsy Gibbon is officially released. More likely, KDE users will have to settle for version 3.5.7.

Ubuntu's own unique contributions to the software selection have always been sleight compared to a distribution like Fedora. However, in Gutsy, Ubuntu is still one of the few distributions to include SCIM for loading custom keyboard layouts. In addition, it includes its own Restricted Drivers Manager, which assists users in handling non-free drivers. Purists might decry the tool, but, realistically, many users are more interested in functionality than software freedom, and are likely to appreciate it. Moreover, Gutsy's release is likely to include the first release of Gobuntu, a completely free version of Ubuntu, along with Kbuntu, Xubuntu, and Edubuntu.

Other software included in Gutsy are the desktop search engine Tracker, and the Deskbar applet, which searches for entries on both your drives and the Internet. At first, given the absence of the file manager from Gutsy's menus, these tools may seem unpleasantly reminiscent of Windows XP and Vista, in which the classic menus were replaced by a search field. However, open a folder, and you will find that Gutsy has replaced GNOME's default folder view with the file manager. In this way, Gutsy Gibbon accommodates both those who never venture beyond their personal folders and those who want to see a directory hierarchy. It's a balance between the basic and the advanced that other elements of Ubuntu could use as well.
Software Installation

Ubuntu inherits Debian's dpkg and apt-get package management system. However, like many modern distributions, Gutsy follows the growing habit of allowing package managers to proliferate for no apparent reason.

In addition to Synaptic, the most common graphical package manager in Debian-based distros and an update applet, Gutsy also includes the Add/Remove Applications tool at the bottom of the main menu. Grouping packages into general categories, the tool also includes a description of a highlighted package, and its rating in the Popularity Contest. However, why users should be interested in a package's popularity when they are looking to meet a specific need is puzzling -- the tool was originally designed to help Debian developers know what to include on a basic installation CD. Nor are the results particularly useful, since packages installed by default naturally have a higher rating. At any rate, the only way to judge how useful a package might be is to use it yourself.
Next page: Security

A version of the same tool has also been grafted on to Firefox for installing browser extensions, and a mention of "third party applications" in the help raises the possibility of commercial software being available through Add/Remove Applications some day -- although the reference might just be to software developed by projects outside Ubuntu.

The trouble is, Add/Remove Applications remains basic. Even its help suggests that you use Synaptic "for more advanced needs." Yet even Synaptic is less flexible than the basic apt-get command, and not much easier to use. And, for all the care given to the layout of Synaptic, the updater, and Add/Remove applications, I have to wonder: does any distro really need three or four desktop applications for the same function? After all, apt-get serves the same purpose as all of them. For some reason, the thinking of Ubuntu's planners seems uncharacteristically muddy here.

One of the best-known of Ubuntu's features is the use of sudo for administrative functions, rather than logging in as root. Given that you use sudo by entering your own password rather than the root one, this arrangement has always seemed an unnecessary relaxing of security to me -- it means that an intruder only needs one often-used password instead of two to gain control of the system. Just as importantly, for many users, the sudo command becomes a magic word that they use without any comprehension of what they are doing, or any chance of learning it. Yet Gutsy Gibbon continues the practice, presumably in the name of convenience.

In addition, the Gutsy utility for managing users has adopted much of the slackness of Windows, allowing the creation of three classes of users: Administrator, Desktop User, and Unprivileged. To be fair, the default is Desktop User, not Administrator, as it is in Windows. However, when you flip to the User Privileges tab in the application, you can see that Desktop Users can do everything except log in with sudo, which still seems unacceptably broad for security.

Even worse, the selection of choices is likely to encourage newcomers to imitate their Windows habits and automatically give every user Administrator privileges. Admittedly, you can further restrict privileges on the next tab, but how many are going to bother? And, when combined with sudo, a herd of Administrator accounts opens up too many entrances for security breaches.

Usually, the principle of allowing simple choices and hiding more advanced choices somewhere close by is a sound one. However, in the case of basic security, an exception needs to be made. Undoubtedly, the result of this utility will be Ubuntu installations with far more root accounts than are necessary. Security can only suffer as a result.
Next page: Debian vs. Ubuntu

Ubuntu Vs. Debian

Some of the shortcomings mentioned here originate in GNOME itself. Yet Ubuntu has often changed GNOME to suit itself, so it must still take part of the blame. Ubuntu began with some promising improvements on the desktop, but for the last few releases, it seems to have neglected other changes that are just as much needed as the original ones.

Moreover, somewhere along the line, a strain of what might be called "Windows thinking" seems to have entered into the project's plans. Free software has always been about user education and choice, yet, at times, Ubuntu seems to forget these goals in favor of a quick fix that keeps users ignorant and unaware of alternatives.

These tendencies are not consistent. Nor should you make the mistake of thinking that, because I criticize Ubuntu, I am hostile to it. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, at any given time, I usually have one actively used computer that is running on it.

All the same, I can't help comparing Ubuntu to its Debian parent. Despite its reputation for being difficult, Debian has always had a habit of accommodating all levels of users and helping them learn as they go.

For instance, if you enter dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg at the command line in Debian (or in Ubuntu, where it is still buried, if often unused), you have three options for setting your monitor's resolution. In the simple one, you simply select the monitor's size. In the medium option, you choose the resolution and refresh rate you want, while in the advanced one, you can enter the monitor's specs directly from its documentation. You can use whichever one you are most comfortable with, but, at the same time, you are aware of other options, some of which may be more precise than the one you choose. Such an arrangement avoids overwhelming new users while letting them know that there is more to learn at some later point.

This is the sort of flexibility that I find too often lacking in Ubuntu's desktop. For all its many excellences, Ubuntu would be an even stronger distro if it tidied up some long-neglected corners and helped to develop users' knowledge in the same way that Debian does. And maybe, eventually, it will. However, if the pre-release versions are any indication, none of that is going to happen in Gutsy Gibbon. For the next release, it looks like business as usual.

Re:Wait for next (1)

dotwaffle (610149) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682345)

Hardy Heron? Hungry Hippos is such a better name - if only it wasn't 'marked...

Re:Wait for next (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20682381)

Up to snuff, not stuff.

Re:Wait for next (3, Funny)

icydog (923695) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682483)

Gutsy, even in its development state, is missing some really basic things. If you do "apt-cache search stdc++" on an x86_64, you can see that libstdc++6 and lib32stdc++ are available, but that only the 64-bit version has a -dev package.

So I can't compile 32-bit c++ apps on Gutsy, when this really is a basic thing that, for example, Fedora gets right. This is something that most "users" probably won't notice... but isn't that Windows mentality?

And I'm not really just complaining pedantically -- my CS class provides some 32-bit reference binaries, so to link to those I have to compile against 32-bit.

The review is hilarious (2, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 7 years ago | (#20681471)

When read out loud, in a fruity "posh" voice. ;-)

My response? Open a shell.

Re:The review is hilarious (1)

z0M6 (1103593) | more than 7 years ago | (#20681647)

When read out loud, in a fruity "posh" voice. ;-)

haven't rtfa yet, but most things are hilarious when read out loud, in a fruity "posh" voice.

here's my feelings on Ubuntu and its naming scheme (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20681477)

Word soon got round on the grapevine that there was a minitel whore out there who was being tortured and abused in her sleep by her man and that I would do to her anything I was asked. I couldn't log into a chat room now without fighting my way out of a heap of messages within a couple of minutes, except by using a different name. But I did get some great requests. One character wanted me to smoke a cigarette, holding the tip close to her lovely nipples between drags, and then to put it out in her cunthole. Well, I hadn't declined a request yet and wasn't about to start now. I did it and got so excited that I had to shoot my spunk on her face with the cigarette butt still poking out of those lovely wet cunny lips. Then, on that same night, another miniteliste asked for the blade of a big kitchen knife to be pushed up my lovely Ginny's vagina. I had previously chickened out from doing this but, nevertheless, was delirious at the prospect of knifing my own girlfriend in her cunt at the request of another man. I was very close to making it my first refusal but he offered to send me some of his collection of child torture pics as payment for knifing Ginny, and what he sent was so sexy and vile that I decided to stab her up the cunthole immediately. After receiving by fax forty assorted photos and drawings of little boys and girls, some as young as two or three, being gang raped, whipped, hand fucked with monster dildos, spunked on, pissed on, shit on, bound with barbed wire, electrocuted on their baby genitals, impaled, cut open with knives (one drawing showed a toddler eating his own penis), bottled up their vaginas and bottoms, burned with cigarette lighters and forced to sit in bowls of boiling water, I could hardly refuse him the simple pleasure of seeing some photos of a twelve inch sabatier knife inserted blade first into my Ginny's thirty three year old cunt, could I? The whore bled but not as profusely as I'd feared. I was praying I wouldn't cut anything really serious in there but determinedly eased that huge knife into her cunthole until almost the entire blade had disappeared inside Ginny at which moment the pointed tip must surely have touched or even cut into her cervix. In fact I did it four times, taking frequent photographs. First I pushed the blade in vertically with the cutting edge facing upwards, secondly downwards and, on the third and fourth times, the blade was positioned horizontally, first to the left then the right. The final photo showed the knife, smeared with her blood, held over Ginny's beautiful face. Christ, what I wouldn't have given for the chance of getting away with just shoving that knife into her cunt really hard and stabbing it in and out, fucking her with it, and cutting her vagina and womb to shreds. For a few moments, I wanted to murder Ginny Harris with that knife. The bitch complained of being sore the next day and having spots of blood in her little panties and I really thought I'd gone too far this time. She put it down to too much fucking (she hadn't a clue how much fucking she was getting!) and her period, due any day. I don't believe in god but thanked it anyway, just to cover the possibility. That was the last time I knifed Ginny up her cunt or anywhere else for that matter. After that incident, during which I frightened myself with the ease with which I could have murdered her. Not killed by accident. I actually wanted to knife her to death, to kill her up her cunt. I took a break from the minitel. It was doing my head in.

ZZ rawks! (1)

toddhisattva (127032) | more than 7 years ago | (#20681515)

Gutsy Gibbon sure can play guitar!

Name? (1, Insightful)

azav (469988) | more than 7 years ago | (#20681539)

I hope this is not flamebait but what is it with these continually lame names of the releases? Gutsy Gibbon? Um, WTF? How does this say "Reliable, Trusted Operating System" to the user who is outside the geek circles?

Re:Name? (1)

doti (966971) | more than 7 years ago | (#20681673)

The user who is outside the geek circles will hear "Ubuntu 7.10".

"Gutsy Gibbon" is just a code-name, just like "Longhorn".

Re:Name? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20681847)

Yes, but as soon as you just report a bug (for which all Ubuntu apps have a menu item in the Help menu!), you'll talk to people who ask "if you've tried it in Gutsy" and crap like that.

So sorry, but these stupid, not even childish but seriously stupid names gotta go. It doesn't make it better if some nerds on the Launchpad site use them and marketing doesn't. It's Ubuntu 7.10, dammit.

Re:Name? (1)

doti (966971) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682051)

Do you really think non-geeks report bugs? If one does, it will not be the kind of person who minds a strange codename.

Re:Name? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20682495)

Have you ever pronounced "Ubuntu" to someone who isn't that computer literate?

Ubuntu's naming troubles began way before "Gutsy Gibbon"... I doubt they want to be taken seriously by anyone. []

Re:Name? (1)

What the Frag (951841) | more than 7 years ago | (#20681675)

> continually lame names
Yeah, they really should have named it Ghastly Goatse.


Re:Name? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20681699)

Well, I don't know how much the name influences people, but I'm waiting
for "Hungry Hungry Hippo" or "Irritable Iguana" to upgrade :-)

Re:Name? (1)

Qubit (100461) | more than 7 years ago | (#20681813)

"Hungry Hungry Hippo"

I can just see someone drawing a nice rubenesque hippo with the Ubuntu circle-logo branded into his rumpus...

If only I were a better artist!

Re:Name? (1)

lordtoran (1063300) | more than 7 years ago | (#20681733)

They are just codenames of the development versions. Final releases only have a version number, although they are usually referred to by their code name among geeks.

Re:Name? (4, Interesting)

kebes (861706) | more than 7 years ago | (#20681777)

This has been brought up and explained many times on Slashdot.

Simply put, the name "Gutsy Gibbon" (and "Feisty Fawn," etc.) are developer code-names, just like "Longhorn" was for Windows Vista. The final released version of Gutsy Gibbon will be called "Ubuntu 7.10". So, if you are talking to your CEO, you will presumably mention "Ubuntu 7.10 Server" and not "teh Gibbon!!" Note that you won't see the term "Gutsy Gibbon" mentioned in an installed OS (except in the sources file for aptitude, but a normal user is unlikely to ever see that).

You can hardly fault the developers for wanting to have codenames for the releases. It's a useful means of differentiating between pre-release and final versions. Now, I fully admit that many users of Ubuntu stick to the codenames afer the release. If you read ubuntuforums, lots of people will ask things like "are you running Feisty or Dapper?" and so on. I guess that just means that Linux enthusiasts enjoy the whimsical names.

So, the developers are not interested in dropping the codenames, since the community seems to enjoy them. But please bear in mind that they are not "names of releases"--they are codenames that do not appear on the official releases. (For instance, check the download page [] : it mentions "Ubuntu 7.04" and "Ubuntu 6.06".)

Re:Name? (1, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#20681867)

Even as a developer codename, the Ubuntu names border on the ridiculous. Most larger companies try to maintain some semblance of professionalism even with codenames (naming things after cities, rivers, catchy names that start with "z" or "x", etc). Codenames for upcoming releases are often referred to in press releases and the like, so it pays to avoid using overly silly names.

Will it hamper Ubuntu's growth? Who knows. It doesn't seem to be doing a whole lot of harm yet, but then Ubuntu still hasn't really broken through in any major way into the business world yet either.

Re:Name? (1)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682241)

Yes, because Vista SOOOO much better as a name. I think it means "Feces" in Tongan, but I'm not perfectly sure of that...

Re:Name? (1)

Mattintosh (758112) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682361)

Note that you won't see the term "Gutsy Gibbon" mentioned in an installed OS (except in the sources file for aptitude, but a normal user is unlikely to ever see that).

I don't know about that. All of the updates for Feisty Fawn show "somepackage-ubuntufeisty704-packageversion" in the updates panel. I'm guessing you'll see the same with "feisty" replaced by "gutsy" in the next release.

Re:Name? (1)

Braino420 (896819) | more than 7 years ago | (#20681793)

I hope this is not flamebait but what is it with these continually lame names of the releases?
It's not a release name... It's a development name. When Gutsy is released, the release name will be the version number.

Re:Name? (0)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#20681809)

Ubuntu is in a period of its growth where it is struggling with trying to appeal both to the business users who can really help grow it into a major player and the geek crowd who started the whole thing and pumped it up to where it is today. The silly names are clearly designed to appeal to the latter.

I doubt they present the latest Ubuntu to big companies as "Gutsy Gibbon", or at least I hope they don't. If they did, it would definitely hamper their ability to break into that world.

Eventually, either Ubuntu will grow into a major player in the business Linux world, at which point many of the geeks will abandon it as being too mainstream or evil, and the zealotry will wane, sort of like Red Hat, or it will shrink back into a cult distribution, at which point the zealotry will pick up steam again on places like Slashdot and won't die until the next distro of the month comes along.

ya... (2, Insightful)

zogger (617870) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682081)

...sorta like that goofy startup with the weird name, what was it called again, oh ya, "google". WTH is "google", my boss will never go for that!

PHBs, and the companies they run, who fixate on names instead of the engineering aspects of a product will suffer long term, as always, because they probably also make weird decisions based on completely unimportant stuff. Like, what's a "linux", like a big bobcat, right? Can't be any good. They give it away free? Can't be worth much...and so on.

With that said, of course gutsy gibbon is too weird, I prefer "randy rhino", the power tie of names! ;)

Re:Name? (5, Insightful)

dfdashh (1060546) | more than 7 years ago | (#20681883)

Who's to say that any name is lame or not? More importantly, who cares? A cursory glance beyond whatever moniker a distribution has is really needed before a decision is made to adopt it. If you judge based on a name, you probably shouldn't be in a position to decide anyway!

If you are really worried about the name as it relates to non-geek circles, use their numbering scheme instead. Gutsy Gibbon is Ubuntu 7.10 (
Personally, as long as the Ubuntu guys continue to churn out an excellent product, I could not care less about the name.

Re:Name? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20682583)

I think Shakespeare covered this with that whole rose thing.

Re:Name? (5, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#20681889)

When dealing with the PHBs, feel free to use the version number instead, as that is the official name -- 7.10 for Gutsy Gibbon.

I just refer to it as Gibbon when necessary; when questioned about why the name Gibbon was chosen, I tell them it's to recognize the hard work of all the codemonkeys.

I haven't yet been challenged on the fact that Gibbons are apes, not monkeys, so I'm sticking to my story.

Re:Name? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20682405)

Gibbons are apes, not monkeys.

Re:Name? (1)

Sczi (1030288) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682539)

I hate those codenames.. not just ubuntu, but basically everything. Who started it? And don't say the military, because they're the only ones that do it right. There is just something magical about good old fashioned version numbers, where anybody can look at it and tell which one is more recent. It strikes the nerve in me right next to the nerve that took a hit when MS changed the "network" icon to "network neighboorhood" and then "my network places".. gag me with a spoon for real, y0. This is the *real* pussification of America.

evidence (4, Funny)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 7 years ago | (#20681569)

Well they've obviously become complacent about the name because it has "random adjective and animal generator" written all over it. Maybe they'll give it some actual effort next time when it comes up with Aroused Aardvark

Re:evidence (1)

sharkey (16670) | more than 7 years ago | (#20681701)

I'm thinking Horny Hedgehog, Erect Elephant, Flatulent Flounder, Randy Rhino, it's all good.

Re:evidence (1)

lordtoran (1063300) | more than 7 years ago | (#20681783)

Horny Hedgehog
This one is not applicable, because there is actually a past release named Hoary Hedgehog.

Re:evidence (3, Funny)

Doctor Crumb (737936) | more than 7 years ago | (#20681763)

It won't hit "Aroused Aardvark" for another 20 releases, since the first letter is incrementing sequentially through the alphabet. "Horny Hippo" is still a possibility though!

Re:evidence (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20681873)

Maybe in 20 releases, they'll finally have [waited long enough that someone else has] implemented the great features that get deferred on every single Ubuntu release.

Re:evidence (1)

gnulxusr (729574) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682425)

the first letter is incrementing sequentially through the alphabet
They broke the sequence in the past [] , they just might do it again.

"Horny Hippo" is still a possibility though!
Well, the Hippo missed its chance when the Heron reared its Hardy Head [] .

Re:evidence (4, Insightful)

kebes (861706) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682043)

random adjective and animal generator
You think the names are chosen randomly? Heck no! These are geeks we're talking about... they plan, discuss, make lists, and debate such minutia endlessly.

Don't believe me? Check out the "Ubuntu Development Code Names Wiki [] ", from which future codenames will be chosen!

Choices and Plurality (4, Insightful)

saterdaies (842986) | more than 7 years ago | (#20681583)

Sometimes, one has to make choices:

After all, you can hardly secure a system if you do not know what is going on it.
So, I should manually pick each and every package that is installed on my computer. Wait, that won't do it. I need to read and audit the source and then compile that source to be completely sure! I understand where the author is going here, but that's one of the great things about GNU/Linux. I can have my Ubuntu that gives me a good system in 15 minutes and he can use Gentoo, Slackware, or Linux From Scratch to create a system where he can account for everything on it. One distribution doesn't have to be everything to everyone. Lucky for us, because of the nature of open-source, a plurality of distributions is easy which closer meet the needs of our diverse uses. Many users don't want or care about a lot of the choices offered (heck, most of the world uses Windows). Thankfully, Linux is open-source and allows us to choose as much or as little configuration, selection, and customization as we want to deal with.

Re:Choices and Plurality (1)

solafide (845228) | more than 7 years ago | (#20681709)

You always have to trust your compiler; it is possible to change the compiler so that it compiles everything with a backdoor, even the compiler itself. The compiler is all-powerful. How do you find a trusted compiler?

Re:Choices and Plurality (3, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682001)

More importantly, how do you find a trusted CPU? Is there some sequence of floating point operations that will disable page checking (or whatever) in an Intel processor? :P

Re:Choices and Plurality (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682067)

Obviously you hand compile the source.

This makes sure that you really audited it well at the same time.

Re:Choices and Plurality (1)

unfunk (804468) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682367)

heh... do people actually do that?

Re:Choices and Plurality (1)

Erioll (229536) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682107)

Guess you have to write it in assembly. Oh wait, that uses an assembler/linker, which is a vulnerability.

Output the bits directly? Well what if your output program is actually a trojan that reads all bitstreams and STILL puts a backdoor in?

Maybe there's a way to probe the bus to directly enter in the bitstream manually? Oh but wait, what about the BIOS or the architecture of the chip itself?

Paranoia can only go so far.

Re:Choices and Plurality (1)

solafide (845228) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682237)

True, paranoia is difficult. However, it's a lot easier to have a backdoor in your gcc than to have backdoor in your cpu. You only have to backdoor gcc once and you can't trust it until you reinstall from scratch, with a CD burned on a trusted computer. The CPU is a lot harder to backdoor.

Re:Choices and Plurality (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682219)

How do you find a trusted compiler?
Armed with the specification for the C programming language and the Programmer's Reference Manual for your CPU, you write a partial C interpreter in Assembler (it only has to be able to interpret the instructions that are actually used in the Source Code of the actual C Compiler). This is verifiable, because you wrote it. You run the C compiler source code (which is clean; the backdoors are all contained within the binary) through your homemade interpreter. Now you have a known clean compiler -- albeit a slow one because it's running under an interpreter -- which you can use to compile the compiler source code and know it isn't going to mung it with backdoors. This gives you a fast, known clean compiler.

Re:Choices and Plurality (5, Interesting)

kebes (861706) | more than 7 years ago | (#20681955)

I agree with you.

TFA is not wrong in what it says, but perhaps it misses a point. For years people were begging for a "user-friendly" Linux distribution, where the user would "not be inundated with choices" and so on. Ubuntu arose with the aim to be "Linux for human beings," where an ordinary person would be able (with some guidance) to install, learn, and productively use the OS. The aim of Ubuntu is to fill that niche.

TFA discusses needing to find the balance between "simplicity for beginners" and "power for advanced users." But he seems to think that each Linux distro should be finding that balance--rather than accepting that the point of having multiple distros is that each one can strike a different balance. Ubuntu, clearly, is a distro that favors simplicity, because it is trying to capture some of the "mass market" of beginners. If you want the installation to expose lots of details to you, then there are distros that will make that happen (e.g. Debian).

Now, having made the case that each distro can and should strike a different balance, I still find the argument misses the mark. I like to consider myself a "power user" who tries to do technical things (run webservers, programming, etc.), and Ubuntu (Kubuntu actually) is my distro of choice. Frankly, once you "know Linux" it's trivially easy to find and modify all the hidden features. Once you open a terminal, you have access to all the power, customization, and advanced features of any other Linux distro.

Furthermore, many experts may prefer Ubuntu's simplicity, because it lets you get to the tasks you actually care about (and care about customizing) faster. It's nice to be able to complete a full install in 15 minutes (yes, I timed it), with no hassles, and then fine tune it as needed. As I said before--it's not like the customizations are not there. Just open a terminal, edit a config file, just like any other distro.

Re:Choices and Plurality (1)

Pat__ (26992) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682025)

>I need to read and audit the source and then compile that source to be completely sure!

Even if you read the source, and compile it yourself, you would not be 100% sure it is safe.

Reflections on Trusting Trust [] ;-)

Ubuntu is the closest..... (2, Insightful)

HartDev (1155203) | more than 7 years ago | (#20681607)

So Ubuntu is the closest thing to a Linux distro that can fight off the Windows, Mac OS X will do okay but it will still be fan boys who get that. So unless we all want to run windows for another decade or two, we gotta respect what Ubuntu is doing for Linux distros........(sniff and a tear)......all over the world!

Re:Ubuntu is the closest..... (1)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 7 years ago | (#20681875)

Mac OS X will do okay but it will still be fan boys who get that.

Really? Mac OS X has already achieved what Ubuntu can only hope for, and for the user there is really no difference. Both OSes involve migrating away from Windows-only software, both are (fairly) secure and immune to common viruses, and both are 'nix based. The difference is that OS X has achieved the "it just works" holy grail that Ubuntu reaches for (albeit by "cheating" - limiting hardware configs), but for the end-user that hardly matters. But seriously, will the average user care about being able to plug in any sound card he chooses? Heck no, he just wants his machine to work.

Yes, I know Ubuntu is free as in speech, but do you really think the average user cares? That's really the only "edge" Ubuntu has on Mac OS.

yeah, but... (1)

unfunk (804468) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682079)

Yeah, but Average Joe can't run OSX on the PC he already owns. He can run Ubuntu, though...

Re:yeah, but... (1)

HartDev (1155203) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682317)

Yes that is my point. You see how aggressive MS was about making money off Vista, they have marketing at the heart of all their plans, then I hear from a podcast that they (Microsoft) will create their own PC and the xbox and xbox 360 was a testing to do just people are like "Holy cow MS will control the hardware and software! We are all screwed!" WELL Apple has done that and refused to do anything other than that from the beginning, if you ever used iTunes and got frustrated (and if you haven't been frustrated then I doubt if you used iTunes) you long for the application that will let you drag and drop files for your music. Apple will not under a gun, under the prospect of having their CEO fired, under the direction of Higher beings or Vulcans, give you that application! So I am willing to look past the faults of Ubuntu cause in the end things will be better than Mac OS X, or any apple product, or MS product can ever hope to be.

Re:Ubuntu is the closest..... (2, Insightful)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682331)

The difference is that OS X has achieved the "it just works" holy grail that Ubuntu reaches for (albeit by "cheating" - limiting hardware configs)

Yes, because OS X isn't limited at ALL in the hardware it can run on, right? Please.

According to, Ubuntu is NOT #1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20681645)

According to the stats at, something called PCLINUXOS is the number one distribution with Ubuntu a close second. Looks like somebody is giving them a run for their money.

Re:According to, Ubuntu is NOT #1 (1)

lordtoran (1063300) | more than 7 years ago | (#20681929)

PCLinuxOS is notorious for showing up very high on their list without being a major distribution. The list is based on hits to their site, so it is in theory possible someone wrote a bot to distort the stats.

Re:According to, Ubuntu is NOT #1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20682555)

from the latest DistroWatch weekly editorial:

There have been speculations and suggestions that the Page Hit Ranking statistics might have been manipulated by some overly enthusiastic PCLinuxOS fans. I don't believe so - for two reasons. Firstly, I have logged all visits to the PCLinuxOS page and analysed them for any signs of abuse, but I found none. (That's not to say that there was none, but if there was any, I couldn't find it.) Secondly, there seems to be a trend among the DistroWatch readers to visit distribution pages that are relatively high in the Page Hit Ranking statistics, but are otherwise not particularly well-known outside the scope of this web site; we have seen this not only with PCLinuxOS, but also with other similar distributions, such as Sabayon Linux and Linux Mint. Based on these two facts, everything seems fair and square and PCLinuxOS is on top simply because its page is the most visited one at the moment.

Also, PCLinuxOS is quickly becoming a more widely known and used distro, there are already several other distros that use it as a base (I can only think of one off the top of my head, SAM Linux, but there are others) so kindly do your homework before accusing people of cheating the hits per page counter.

Come ON, how full of crap is this? (4, Interesting)

c0l0 (826165) | more than 7 years ago | (#20681703)

Unhappy with *[Uu]buntu's way of installing, not leaving many choices for the "IT professional"?
Use the alternative LiveCD. Note you don't need to "secure the system", since the default install does not bind any sockets listening. I actually consider it one of Ubuntu's strongest feats that you are not facing any choice of package selection whatsoever, so you can be sure you will end up with a sanely organized system you can build upon, if you want, or just walk on with the preset choices.

Next hilarious thing on his list is the boot menu - if you're actually an advanced-enough user to know about the possibility of testing your memory at bootup, I figure you also know about how to hit Escape to have GRUB's full menu appear.

He's got one point on fonts, as there can never be enough fonts included in an install. I personally do like Gentium though, and consider freetype's font rendering as Ubuntu sports it very pleasing to the eye.

On page two, where he's going to whine about "Proliferating package managers", the author imho show severe lack of understanding concerning Debian-ish package management. Well, let there be a lightweight update-checking-utility that does not come up with the whole bunch of X11-windows that is synaptic. It's a good thing it's there - it uses the same backends as apt-get, aptitude, synpatic, dpkg, adept, whatthefuckever use, and it saves you from manually checking for updates every so often. So would you please stop being anal about it? Thanks.

Also on page 2: "At any rate, the only way to judge how useful a package might be is to use it yourself." Oh wow, movie at eleven. I won't even comment on this, Cpt. Obvious to the rescue.

Page 3 is about security, and once again tha author seems clueless to me. An "intruder" on a default Ubuntu system can pretty much by definition (due to the lack of running network-interfacing daemons) only be a local attacker with physical access to your machine. Well, in case of physical access you're hosed anyway.
The point in criticizing default group memberships for the "desktop"-class of users is also beyond me. Well, that is how UNIX tends to work, and if it weren't for the desktop user to be able to, e. g., adjust the sound system's mixer levels or burn a CD, what's left for "desktop" usage to be done? No access via `sudo` means no (write-)access to other account's files and data. Besides, if you let people you don't trust gain local access to a machine via their very own personal account, you should probably check for your very own mental sanity/security first.

My point is, if Ubuntu actually behaved like he now states he'd like it to in his article, it'd be a flamefest of a different kind: namely criticizing how Ubuntu lacked in "usability", and how it would shy away "novice users".

Ubuntu is a very fine choice for someone starting out with GNU/Linux or computers all together. It's also a fine choice for someone more knowledgeable, since it's perfectly possible to stray away from the sane defaults the Ubuntu devs chose for the distro. If you happen to find your demands outstrip Ubuntu's capabilities, you're probably better off by creating a distribution of your own.

My 2 cent.

Re:Come ON, how full of crap is this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20681913)

to be fair he does look a bit retarded (byfield.jpg [] )

Re:Come ON, how full of crap is this? (4, Interesting)

jonesy16 (595988) | more than 7 years ago | (#20681939)

I was going to write a long post regarding this article but it looks like you covered it already. Good work, cause I couldn't agree more. The only reason that we see a linux distro preinstalled on Dell computers, for example, is because of the strides made by the Ubuntu team in creating a distro that is easy for a Windows-level user to sit down and interact with.

I'm the first to agree that in a high-tech-level setting Ubuntu has MANY shortcomings. As an example, it takes me about 5 seconds to get a RedHat based machine configured on our Kerberos network using authconfig. I spent a half hour with it (I'm no Kerberos expert), and I still can't get Ubuntu working correctly since I have to do everything manually. My point, however, is that NO home user is EVER going to want to set up Kerberos, so that's not what Ubuntu is geared for and I can't get upset with them for that. Same goes for partitioning in the installer. Anyone remember the options in the Windows installer? They're on the same level: let the installer wipe the drive and commit it to Linux, or set up a few paritions on your own and tell the installer which one it can use.

Lastly, I have to disagree with the author regarding the user account classifications. He claims, erroneously, that by allowing for the use of 'sudo', an attacker only needs one password to break a system, whereas with a root account he claims you need 2. Umm . . . hello . . . you still only need one password, root's password! Unless your savy enough to not allow root logins . . . It seems perfectly acceptable to me to provide those three levels of user accounts and even that is more than most people will need.

Re:Come ON, how full of crap is this? (3, Interesting)

recoiledsnake (879048) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682223)

Page 3 is about security, and once again tha author seems clueless to me. An "intruder" on a default Ubuntu system can pretty much by definition (due to the lack of running network-interfacing daemons) only be a local attacker with physical access to your machine.

Wrong. A buffer overflow in Firefox can be the attack vector. As can be a hole in any internet facing software that use internet data (Synaptic, FreeAMP, Media players) or even applications that open any files(if GIMP has a vulnerability parsing JPEG files, even JPEG files could possibly result in a "intruder" gaining access to your machine(not root access though, unless you run GIMP as root).

who (2, Interesting)

wwmedia (950346) | more than 7 years ago | (#20681721)

who gives ubuntu versions these crazy names?

Re:who (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20682161)

who gives ubuntu versions these crazy names?
Harry Hamster does..... Why?

duhh (5, Insightful)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 7 years ago | (#20681771)

Ubuntu isn't successful because it's an operating system for advanced users only (like Gentoo). It's successful due to being user friendly to people who are Windows users who are curious about Linux.

With Linux I've noticed that user control is inversely proportional to user-friendliness. Operating systems like Ubuntu are made with user-friendliness in mind and that comes at the price of user control. It's quick and easy to set-up and use which garners alot of favor from the Windows crowd.

Similarly, Gentoo gives the user complete control over what applications, drivers, daemons are installed but is by no means user-friendly.

The writer of TFA really did a whole lot of whining about how little control he had over the installation and initial software packages. What did he expect? It's Ubuntu.

Re:duhh (1)

What the Frag (951841) | more than 7 years ago | (#20681993)

> Operating systems like Ubuntu are made with user-friendliness in mind and that comes at the price of user control.
Not really. I used Gentoo for 3 years until 2006, then I switched to Ubuntu.

You can configure it the way you want it to. You want to be root? Fine, sudo passwd then.
You want to use another kernel? Fine, compile it. You want to use another window/desktop manager? Fine, install it.

Yes, the package manager loads binaries by default, it doesn't compile your Gnome with all those funky -funroll-loops flags. But most probably you won't notice anyway on modern machines.

Is there anything you can't do on Ubuntu? No. (2, Interesting)

mpathy (1067128) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682393)

Welcome to the circle of friends.. ;)

And hey, if you want to do it, like you did on gentoo, than why not?

There are almost no reasons to do it like you do it there - the speed factor the self-compiling guys (*BSD, Gentoo) are pointing out isn't really there, thats so minimal you can forget about this argumentation.

1.) If you really have to - the package management is flexible enough to let you do this - try it like this:

Load the package you need to configure and compile like this, so the dependencies are resolved like you apt-get some binaries:

apt-get build-dep exampletool

Now do the configure stuff, you find it in debian/rules.

Then use this combined command to get the sources, compile them, and make a package out of them:

apt-get -b source exampletool

2.) Another, less automated way is to download the program you want to compile yourself, and then use a tool like "checkinstall" (its in the repositories).

In this scenario you do the usual things: ./configure --somespecialconfigureoptions
(and then instead of sudo make install you do:)
sudo checkinstall

Answer the questions and the selfcompiled program is also added to the package managment and also could be removed like you do it otherwise.

As you can see, if someone says "Ubuntu can't do this or this because its focused for beginners" it's just not true.

And not to forgot the rock-solid "Ubuntu-Server" flavour.. We put all our server also from Debian to Ubuntu, because its a lot easier to have actual versions of server-related software with a long-term support (security updates etc.) than to handle on D_____ with a massive amount of backports to achieve the same. And if you have security issues on packages there, you can hope, some people give the same massive amount of time in putting security updates up in a recent time.

Really, if someone can say me something I can't do there, please tell me, perhaps I am missing something :)

Re:duhh (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682085)

And to think my mod points expired yesterday. Would someone please get this person to +5?

I have tried Slack 10 and Debian somethingorother (same time as Slack). By tried I mean, downloaded everything, put them on CD and did manual installs just to see what I would be getting myself into. Four installs of Slack and I got four different results. Two installs of Debian and I got two different results.

Now Ubuntu, as the OP has said, is for someone like me who wants to put their toes into the Linux pond. If I had an empty system I'd be more than happy to fiddle with Ubuntu and then, maybe, move on to other distros.

With a bit more handholding (i.e better documentation), I could see Ubuntu being used more and more by folks, like me, from the Windows crowd who want to both experiment and maybe eventually move to Linux.

Re:duhh. Where are they now? (2, Insightful)

hondamankev (1000186) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682253)

RH brought the linux desktop to the masses. it was roundly criticized for it being too newbie friendly. PEOPLE WONT LEARN LINUX! they all said. Later, the same allegations were leveled at mandrake(iva) and Lindows/spire. IT HURTS LINUX MORE THAN IT HELPS they all cried. Well now that ubuntu is taking the desktop maturity to new levels of easeness, its now completely acceptable, and welcomed by all. Ease of use is in.

The ubuntu cheerleaders, which is allegedly now ~30% of all linux desktop users, defend their darling distro till death. I would wager that many of these same people are the very same people who publicly smacked RH around, mocking those who used it.

My question is, where are those people now?

I grew up on RH, and use Fedora today. I was one of those who, back in the day, would get lol'd at in efnets #linux channels when I asked for help. Perhaps I am the kid who got virtually beat up too many times in my linux childhood, but it seems to me the hypocrisy level is in overdrive in regards to ubuntu.

Re:duhh (3, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682491)

With Linux I've noticed that user control is inversely proportional to user-friendliness.

That's not so. A user who expects a large amount of control is going to find a "user friendly" OS that limits him to be very unfriendly.

Operating systems like Ubuntu are made with user-friendliness in mind and that comes at the price of user control. It's quick and easy to set-up and use which garners alot of favor from the Windows crowd.

Except that it doesn't come at the price of user control. A Ubuntu system can do pretty much everything a plain debian system can. The shell is still there and fully functional, same with apt-get.

Re:duhh (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682551)

You quoted everything but the last sentence. This is about the installation procedure.

Re:duhh (1)

drharris (1100127) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682517)

It's more than that. I've been using Linux since Redhat 4.something.. before that I played with FreeBSD and before that I was programming HP "minicomputers". I certainly know my way around the tech details. The thing is that's *not* what I do to earn my living. I write software..

Personally, I like not having to edit my fstab manually, or drop to a shell to mount things, or edit my cups.conf file, or edit my xorg.conf file so I can get the perfect monitor timings..

It's not just great for people who want to "dip their toes" into Linux. It's for people like me who are able to hack it, but choose to work in their environment more than on their environment.

Clash of new vs. old-school users (4, Insightful)

Chris_Jefferson (581445) | more than 7 years ago | (#20681839)

I think the main problem the reviewer is having is that he wants thinks to be like linux used to be. The reason I like Ubuntu is that it tries to escape from that. For example:

- By default, the user never has to select any partitioning options, or even know what it is.
Well, most people don't know what partitioning is.

- Want to choose which software to install.
Once again, new linux users won't know the names of all the programs they might want. Ubuntu installs what I consider a reasonable selection. Talk of knowing exactly what is installed sounds more like server talk, for which you probably want Ubuntu server, which does install a much smaller selection of packages by default

- Doesn't send hundreds of confusing messages past at high speed on boot-up (me paraphrasing)
Well good, particularly because most start-ups have at least one thing which looks to the untrained eye like a failure

Other problems, including fonts, are possibly more valid. I'd be interested to know what an Ubuntu expert's opinion is on them.

I actually liked it, really. (1)

clintp (5169) | more than 7 years ago | (#20681945)

I've got a mix of systems at home. Debian, Windows, etc..

For a while my kitchen laptop (a 5 year old old Dell Inspiron) was running Ubuntu G.G. and I found it quite nice to use. This was my first desktop Linux system in about 4 years. It was responsive, easy to find things, and perfect for that application. (Lots of web browsing and some note taking.) I'd still be using it except...

Eventually, though, I had to install XP Home on the system. No amount of research, begging, pleading and tweaking in /etc/X11 could get the LCD display to flip upside-down. Which in the long term was necessary for an under-cabinet mount. $40 for Pivot Pro and re-installing the original XP load was worth the headaches.

Re:I actually liked it, really. (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682379)

Did you try the invert option in xrandr?

My ubuntu box is headless, so I wasn't able to test it.

Re:I actually liked it, really. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20682453)

Sounds like a job for a compiz fusion plugin. I bet it's not very hard to write such a plugin, that rotates the desktop. At least they can to it in 3D.

I'm using Linux Mint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20681961)

for boxes I push on others and find it more polished and much preferable to Ubuntu. Props to Shuttleworth (and Debian prior) for doing the heavy lifting, but big props to the Mint folks for making it really work. Personally, I use FreeBSD; the layout is sensible, POLA-based and I find ports much more up to date than any distro's included packages. Also, that mess that is Flash support doesn't bug me that much, so I don't miss it.

ubuntu (2, Interesting)

treak007 (985345) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682023)

Ubuntu is very popular atm because it is very beginner friendly. Ubuntu seems to strive to make itself like Windows to attract more people. It is only a matter of time before Ubuntu looks and acts just like Windows.

Re:ubuntu (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682439)

A lot of people think that this is "selling out". But ignoring the problems "under the hood", Microsoft has done many many studies into how their OS UI is designed, and the result is based on actual user input. An unbiased view accepts that there are many many users who like the Windows UI, and find it quite usable.

Perhaps Ubuntu doesn't look like Windows to be like Windows, but because many users like that kind of UI?

Rough Edges indeed (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20682175)

When I switched for a 1600x1200 (Dell) to a 1600x1050 (BenQ), Ubuntu recognized it, but did not reconfigure X for widescreen, and consistently picks some middling 4:3 format that gets stretched. It looks ugly and 2 version upgrades have failed to correct the problem

Editing is not a solution for the non-technical user

User Friendliness (4, Interesting)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682177)


... I find myself wondering whether user-friendliness must inevitably mean discouraging users from exploring their systems or taking firm control over them ...


... while even novices are unlikely to have much trouble if they accept the defaults, straying beyond them is difficult ...

I think this is where us techies fall down sometimes. We assume that everyone who uses a computer wants to "Explore their system" or take "control over them".

Let's face it, probably about 90% of computer users use an office type application, a browser and an email client and the more advanced of them may use a feed reader of some sort. The most "control" they want over their system is to change the background and perhaps the colour scheme, and they want to do it easily, no code, no hassle.

And that's fine! Their computer is a tool to do their job. They learn how to do what they need to do and that's it.

So, it's a good thing that Ubuntu is easy to use. Us techies who want to "stray beyond the defaults" will find the way to do it anyway.

Gah! (2, Insightful)

unfunk (804468) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682217)

This guy is obviously writing the review from the angle of a Linux Geek. A newcomer to the world of Linux will just be intimidated by all the shell commands this guy is talking about. I mean, really... is "apt-get update install xasd fdsix ikispkg mnfklsad --v" really that simple to remember? All those incredibly cryptic CLI commands are quite intimidating for the noob, and even intermediate users like myself tend to keep away from them.

Ubuntu is doing wonders for Linux in the popular mindset... users can cut their teeth on it first, then if they want, they can move on to more advanced distros. Don't be recommending that they cut their teeth on Gentoo first, please.

Good lord (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20682339)

Bruce Byfield has a face that only a mother could love...

Adblock Photos (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20682493)

Am I the only one who blocks photos of geeky journalists?

Yes it is like Windows (2, Insightful)

simong (32944) | more than 7 years ago | (#20682567)

Because Windows also makes those choices for the desktop user, and the idea at this stage is to get users away from Windows and on to Linux without them having to think about partitioning disks, one password for them and another for whatever root is, and having to look for a instant messenger app, so they can chat to their sister in Spain. It has to just work as much as possible: to that end the model seems more like OS X, which of course also uses a single user and sudo (and with the rise in popularity of Beryl and Compiz, Ubuntu is starting to look like OS X).

I can see the author's point to an extent, but Ubuntu isn't aimed at him, and he won't be able to approach it from the target user'sperspective.
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