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back to article Mono man accuses Mac Gtk+ fans of jeopardizing Linux desktop

Miguel de Icaza has criticized plans for the next GNU Gnome cross-platform environment that risks damaging the Linux desktop ISV ecosystem by focusing on the Mac. De Icaza, leading the Mono and Moonlight cross-platform .NET projects at Novell, has warned a "new crop" of developers pushing plans for Gtk+ 3 risk "throwing away …

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Sigh.

"Linux on the desktop remains, as ever, stuck somewhere in the distant future."

You mean, apart from on all those millions of Eee's, where people with virtually zero computing skills appear to be getting along with it just fine?

Yeah, apart from that.

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Linux is on some desktops

I'm with Adam. I know lots of people that use Linux as their one and only desktop. They might not be grandmothers, but they're not all hard core techies. There just aren't as many press releases and Gartner articles about it.

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Linux

Linux on desktop

My father is a 56 yeat old factory worker with no technical skills or knowledge, but I set him up on Linux after my sister trashed the hell out of his XP install with limewire, he has had no problems with it.

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Dead Vulture

"distant future" was yesterday

If you count by sold licenses, Linux is very, very far from the desktop. But I suggest you had a look at the actual world. The one where people live (and use Linux on desktops and laptops). Of course it's not completely mainstream yet, But comparing MSWindows licences sold with Linux paid copies doesn't really make sense. The average "desktop" Windows user buys a new licence every 5 years or so (and is thus counted many times) whereas the average Linux user buys a windows license every 5 years too (thanks OEMs for the MS tax) though they don't use them, and buy zero Linux license though they use Linux all the time. As far as the figures can tell, all desktop Linux users are counted as MSWindows users.

Appart from that, "OEM Linux" desktops and laptops have been available for quite a while now. When put in direct competition with Windows, Linux apparently wins hand dows (how else would you explain that all Linux Eees sold out so fast whereas the retailer's shelvers are still loaded with the Windoze version?)

Oh, and while we're in the "breaking news" section, coal CAN actually replace wind when it comes to powering transatlantic liners. Though the young fools who keep saying that refined oil could be used as a power source are fancy dreamers. Heck, some of them are even talking about a weird "nuclear fission" thing. Weirdoes.

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Hooray for KDE!

With the slick KDE-4 now released, I hope to see more developers switching sides.

To quote Linus Torvalds - "I personally just encourage people to switch to KDE. This 'users are idiots, and are confused by functionality' mentality of Gnome is a disease. If you think your users are idiots, only idiots will use it. I don't use Gnome, because in striving to be simple, it has long since reached the point where it simply doesn't do what I need it to do. Please, just tell people to use KDE."

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Comment

Perhaps I miss de Icaza's point. I doubt it. So...

I have some issues with a guy devoted to porting Microsoft's attempt to embrace extend and extinguish C++ (via managed C++) to non-Microsoft platforms criticizing a project which has built an excellent standard C & C++ cross platform GUI API (GTK/GTK+).

You might raise the hoary arguments that .NET frees one from memory management and the bone crackingly fearful specter of pointers. I'll just say that if that's your POV, then you need to go back to your first year programming course - the one where they taught you about allocation, de-allocation and what an address is, or that nifty article you once read in Dr. Dobbs or C++ Journal about smart pointers.

.NET is nothing more than an attempt by MS to let people keep coding for WIN32 using C++ tropes but still lock them into Windows. .NET remains under MS's control, ISO or ECMA or whatever not withstanding. MS can still release the next version which can break the 'standard' and just call it dotdotNET or such. Therefore whatever gets created using MONO will be hostage to MS's intents. .NET/MONO is an MS attempt to subvert the wide applicability across platforms of one of the dominant programming languages (C++) nothing more and nothing less.

People who expect to leverage MONO to achieve Linux / Windows interoperability will get a rude awakening just as soon as some MONO app starts to look like a killer. A service pack from MS *will* appear that makes that killer app work so much better on Windows.

Java makes a lot more sense than MONO/.NET for cross platform software because at least Sun cannot seriously entertain strong arm tactics. Solaris' market share is too small and there is (was? - could be again - I'm an unreconstructed C/C++ programmer) an excellent Java VM implementation from IBM to keep Sun honest.

Whether Linux ever makes it on the desktop is irrelevant to de Icaza's argument. IMNSHO he's pissed because he works for Novell and he's starting to realize that Novell's strongest corporate trait is to back the right idea with the wrong horse - in this case cross platform interoperability with MONO.

That's just my $200,000,000,000.00 worth. All the tech managers and CIOs who apprehend the blinding truth of what I have just pointed out can contact me at emerth@hotmail.com for instructions on how to send me the consulting fee.

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Happy

Gnome still the minority desktop on Linux.

As far as I can work out most Linux users have gone for the clunky KDE desktop option, rather, than the Gnome.

There are many reasons for this but it mostly boils down to KDE has been a "complete" product for longer so people are familiar with it and there are more applications (all those ( K-thingys ) specificly targeted to the KDE desktop.

After a few false starts:-

I tried it five years ago but the awful pedantic "spatial' Nautilus file manager brought back some terrible OS/2 flashbacks -- I ditched the whole thing immediatly.

Tried again a couple of years later when you could click a few options to make Nautilus beheave sanely -- but the apps I wanted to run used the KDE libraries so I swithed back to KDE.

As of last year swithched to UBUNTU with Gnome and I am very pleased with the whole setup, and would recommend anyone who is not a "K-Office" power user to make the swith.

However even though there are a relatively small nulber of Desktops and Applications usining the older "depreciated" APIs my advice to the GTK community or ANY software development team is MAINTAIN BACKWARD COMPATIBILITY OR GET ANOTHER JOB!

In the 60s people used to laugh at IBMs obsesion with backward compatibility -- and you can still run binaries compiled for OS/MFT in 1965 on the latest z/OS hardware.

Of IBMs competitors from the 60s only HP is still around -- but only having mutated into a supplier of overpriced ink and a assembler of INTEL hardware. This story is repeated every decade:-

In the 70s good old ICL tried to force thier customers away from Geroge 3 to VME and lost most of them to IBM/Burroughs/UNIVAC.

In the 80s DEC managed to persaude most of its customers to migrate from PDP to the incompatable VAX, but royaly pissed everybody off by immediatly losing binary compatability when upgrading to the Alpha chip.

In the 90s it was mostly software giants like Lotus and Ashton-Tate who demonstrated how incompatable file formats and APIs can trash you business.

In the current decade it seems to be the developers at Microsoft who are cheerfully rushing twoards the edge of the cliff.

Not too worried about GTK though the worse that will happen is the project will fork, the backwrod compatable fork will plod forwards for years to come while the "brave new world" fork will rush headlong into obscurity.

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Linux

Linux desktop some future dream???

What planet does this guy come from?

30 Million (super conservative estimate) desktop Linux users might laugh at this naively ignorant article. And consider the fact that "desktop" Linux has many potential GUI environments and the dilemma of collapse seems even more silly.

Novell sadly got under the bed sheets with Microsoft and contaminated themselves.

But that will not stop Linux from being even more powerful as a desktop system.

Linux like life itself, will find a way.

My manufacturing business is not involved in a major way with Computer configurations and I don't even advertise in an overt public way the fact that I can and do, build upon request by well heeled clients, Linux desktop computers. Yet this year alone I have been well payed to build 12 Desktop Debian Linux systems.

Last year it was 3.

Top drawer small PC computers at several thousands of dollars each.

Debian Linux, not just Ubuntu is growing fast.

Guess what each of these systems were to replace? XP as the old last century going away from system... But Under no circumstances did these people want or would tolerate "Vista" ( the best thing Microsoft ever did for Linux )

I can build great Desktop Linux Computers, but it is not my business. So only people who know of my skills, seek me out locally, and throw good money at me to not "just rescue" them from the clutches of Microsoft, but to deliver to them a super practical full blown Debian, net installed, killer desktop and Internet road monster computer.

They hate it so much they tell their friends about how dreadful it is and their friends come to me, begging me to abuse them with one of my... Something of a future dream :) ... Desktop Linux Computers.

Not one of the hundred or so computers I have built for other people is known by the bean counters of the worlds PC computer users because Microsoft was not invited to attend the party. And I did turn my back on SuSE/Novell when they bit into the poisonous apple of Microsofts tainted fruit.

Yes I use GNOME, some... but my favorite is KDE! That leaves several not mentioned here.

Desktop Linux gets stronger by the minute.

Watch out, the future is already here, but you can't see what you can't understand.

And I am but just one unknown builder of what is the best type of desktop system.

30 Million + Linux desktop computer users are laughing at you.

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@Hooray for KDE

I've been getting a bit fed up with Gnome for a while now, this is likely the final push to something else, although (and nothing against KDE), after gnome i want something fresh and lightweight like xfce or something.

The fact that Gnome can take this line yet we can choose not to go with them, is exactly the difference in Open Source.

If this were apple people would be signing petitions (fruitlessly) or if it were MS they would decide MS knows best and change their mind to support it no matter what (eh Vista fan boys).

And Mono is a great project, I have alot of respect for Mr De Icaza.

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Wrong way round

Hi There,

I remember reading figures derived from unique page views and such that show there are 1.5 times as many *active desktop Linux users as *active desktop Mac users. This is of course always going to be hard to trace as number of Mac licenses issued doesn't necessarily correspond to actual active users and the cut of Win/Lin/Mac percentages will vary with different web sites. I suspect that Apple's Mac's patch download site would show an almost universal desktop Mac world domination. These figures attempted to flatten it all out and once done, Linux came in a clear 2nd.

As for the when/where/who for these numbers, sorry, I read them with interest in passing and failed to note down where.

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@James Anderson

Small point: I didn't think ICL brought VME into play until the 80s. I thought we went to George 4, then DME, then VME.

It was a whiile ago so I could be wrong.

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Gates Halo

What a load of balls

There is yet again more tripe from Linux Fan boys on here!

.NET = Simple, Quick, Easy, Faster to make!

That is why people use it, features!

Yes we pay for them to Microsoft, but to be fair if someone had something as easily adoptable we'd pay them.

C++ what the f**K has that got to do with .NET? Who the hell uses managed c++, you use .NET for c# and vb.net. and condering its global update it would suggest other feel the same too.

As for linux on a desktop, 1 million pc's you say lol. Good god, thats a lot is of ASUS junk people have bought.

I could also add if you have 50 million downloads of some linux distro in a day, I bet half never get installed and the rest get uninstalled after a week lol

Why? Linux = Utter Crap for Morons with no life, unless its used where Unix/Linux should be on a server

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@Damien Jorgensen

Non sequiteur lol

Unsubstantiated statements lol

Pointless lol's lol

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Happy

RE: What a load of balls

congrats, Damien! your ill-informed nonsense made me spurt my coffee out over my keyboard. well done! I particularly enjoyed Your Unnecessary Capital Letters and this poorest grammar.

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RE: What a load of balls

Now if only you'd demanded that people using Linux on the desktop be strung up, you'd get my vote for FotW.

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More of the same

Just to add my voice to the "Linux desktop is a solved problem" crowd. I ditched Windows and switched almost 10 years ago and have been using Linux as my only desktop ever since. Windows gets booted every now and then to check that a website looks okay in older versions of IE.

I use WindowMaker. KDE is just a clone of the crappy Windows system, while Gnome is just new, fresh crap design of its own. However, it is worth pointing out that having all these options is an improvement over Windows or OSX, not a weakness.

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I'm with Damien

Fanbois, shush. If I were to walk out of my door and into the first big company building, how many linux desktops do you think I would find ?

Of course it's true that comparing licence sales on a like for like basis is utterly meaningless, but so is pulling figures out of your arse and quoting the same three tedious "I force my granny to use linux" anecdotes.

And as for "unreconstructed c++ programmer", perhaps you need some reconstructing, MS has never tried to deprecate C++, which remains the primary language for systems programming on the windows platform.

Perhaps all this is just a displacement from the unpalatable truth about the inherent deficiencies in open source software development which arise because no one is in charge, and no one is incentivised to behave in a way beneficial to anyone but themselves.

But then, no true FOSS believer can have an honest debate about this because it involves trashing closely held, utopian bullshit dogma like "The Cathedral and the Bazaar", which were penned by the movements prophets, and therefore not subject to debate.

Wankers.

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Ubuntu 8.04 Desktop

"Linux on the desktop remains, as ever, stuck somewhere in the distant future."

I wouldn't be so sure about that. I've been a Mac OS X desktop user, exclusively, for about 5 years now and the only time I've touched GNOME is when I'm setting up or maintaining Linux servers. About a month back I decided I needed a small server farm at home, so I could experiment with things I don't get much chance to on customer site, and on a whim I decided to install Ubuntu 8.04 LTS Desktop on one of them. What an unexpected surprise that was. Once I'd got the restricted codex loaded, flash, all the MS fonts copied across (so web pages and Word docs render as the authors intended them to look) and Compiz Window Picker functions (aka OSX Expose ) mapped to my screen corners, I quickly discovered that the Ubuntu desktop is a very friendly and usable place to be. I was quite shocked actually. This is a world apart from the clunky old Linux desktop I used to know.

It's still not quite a slick at Mac OS X, but it's bloody close. So much so that I'm spending more time in Ubuntu now than I do OS X. If I hadn't already invested my data so heavily in OS X apps and were able to easily start over, I'm pretty sure I could live in Ubuntu for my day to day needs.

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Anonymous Coward

Off soapboxes for a minute guys

If you look at the stats (yes I know that there lies, damn lies and then statistics), on something like W3Counter. Linux makes up 1.95% of hits, OS X 4.62% and symbian 0.04% the other OS's in the top ten are all M$.

I think it's a fair comment to make that Linux has not made a significiant impact into the desktop world, even Apple with a very neat products and huge marketing budgets can only achieve less than 5%.

Most people will use what they are given and they don't like change. A MS operating system is the same everywhere, but with different flavours of Linux and different graphical desktops how can there ever be a standard version that everyone can use. Even Linux diehards will argue about which is the best version.

I use MS, I use Linux and I recommend both where applicable.

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@Damian

oh lol. Obviously Linux is shit, that's why so many of my friends, and their friends once they've seen it, have asked me to convert their machines to Linux.

They are sick of XP being shit and Vista is even worse. Furthermore most of them are somewhat incredulous at the thought of having to pay through the arse for such bloated sub-standard beta quality software. Best of all by giving them Ubuntu my friends rarely need any technical support, which I provide free (I maintain the position that as it was I who performed the install then I shall also be happy to help maintain the system should anything go wrong. So far nothing has gone wrong and it has been a few years that I've been doing this), for the computers. They suffer neither viruses nor crashes and Linux does in fact have the best range of hardware support out of the box. Wine has reached 1.0 and I've found it runs all the windows only apps (mainly games) that I and people I know use just as well (and in some cases better) than on windows.

Clearly Mr Jorgensen you are very badly misinformed and probably have never even attempted to use a Linux system, certainly not in the last couple of years at least.

Might I suggest you crawl back under your MS rock and stay there in blissfull ignorance rather than spout your idiotic uninformed bile?

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@The other Steve

Utopian dogma? No one takes ESR seriously any more in the OSS world, all that stuff has been replaced by Linus' pragmatic approach to making stuff work.

I don't care about what the business world says or does about Linux, in case you hadn't noticed it started with people who didn't care either and will cheerfully carry on with people who don't care.

Does it matter if Linux wins? Whatever that means. Probably not, what matters is making people realise that they can do things without being dictated to by corporations or governments (not that there's much difference) and get back their independence.

Now that's some utopian dogma that does matter.

Tux, because it nearly rhymes with something I don't give.

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@Damien Jorgensen

I know why Bill quite MS!

So he can spend more time having his arse licked by you!

Re: the eee pc - a WHOLE COMPUTER that costs LESS than a copy of windows vista. Must be a major threat.

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Putting The Target on My Chest

I'm going to get shot at I'm sure and that's fine.

I like Linux. I like the idea of something of high worth at low cost which means very high value. And Linux is a very high value item ... no argument there. But there are other considerations.

I used the various iterations of Ubuntu for over a year. I played with Puppy Linux and Mandriva, SuSe and others. I'm no Linux guru so I can't talk the talk about Gnome or KDE or any of that. But I can speak of available operating systems. I know that puts me pretty far down the food chain, but that's where I am.

My experience, which is about thirty people, was an overwhelming rejection of Linux as their desktop OS. The major cause was not being able to play a DVD movie immediately after installation. I'm sure this is a minor point to many Linux devotees but this is what happened to me. Once I showed them the repositories and how to get to them and the two or three programs that had to be installed and the codecs that were needed I just got blank stares. More than once I was asked why the capability wasn't preinstalled. It may be in Ubuntu 8.04; I stopped at 7.10. A few even asked where were the .exe files. Some even read the "warning" messages when installing the files to play DVD movies and asked would they be doing anything illegal! It was a surreal experience to say the least.

I had the exact same experience when certain web sites "didn't work right". Java and various video players had to be installed separately. And again I was asked why do we have to do that? Why isn't it included? They may be in some distros, but you have to pick just one to demo.

But the point is this. I learned that even the people I knew to be very intelligent weren't willing to work to learn a product even though it was safer, cheaper, faster, and etc. To a person they simply didn't want to venture outside their comfort zone of Windows. I know, I know, "Windows" and "comfort" seem to be at odds with each other. But the people I introduced Linux to simply wanted a computer that ran well, was a known, and was relatively inexpensive. Please note the term "relatively". The fact that Linux was a no cost OS was not a factor. They wanted XP; Apple was never mentioned by anybody.

So what did I do? Using the retail license of those systems needing rebuilding I installed a slipstreamed retail XP SP3. I installed Comodo Pro free firewall, free antivirus, the ShieldsUp free programs from grc.com, anti-malware programs and started the Windows update process. My deal was I'd set up XP for the few that needed it if they allowed me to demo Ubuntu. which I did by the way as a group and not separately.

Maybe my tact was all wrong, but calling on my teaching degree and experience, I think I did a pretty good job. It's kind of like the old saying, "The operation was a success, but the patient died".

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@ Mike

"I'm with Adam. I know lots of people that use Linux as their one and only desktop. They might not be grandmothers, but they're not all hard core techies. There just aren't as many press releases and Gartner articles about it."

So do i but i bet if we added both of our "lots of people" we could pull together about 50 people. It's just not on the same planet as a few hudred million is it?

I think GNOME needs a massive overhall and the removal of X as the GUI engine desktop Linux doesn't need a remote graphical engine. Apple realised this, and wrote a new GUI engine for OSX.

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@James Anderson

"MAINTAIN BACKWARD COMPATIBILITY OR GET ANOTHER JOB!"

...followed by some history for the benefit of those who might otherwise be doomed to repeat it. Absolutely spot on.

However, you might also have mentioned Intel and the x86. Those vendors who made "almost compatible" x86 chips all went the way of the seven dwarves, and when Intel themselves have tried to move away from the x86 they've failed (i432, i860, ia64).

Or you could have mentioned Microsoft, since nearly all of the bugs and bloat in Vista are there for the purposes of being compatible with software that was broken when it was first released. Also, Microsoft have tried to move Windows away from x86 and failed.

In fact, name almost any industry player that has been around for more than 10 years and you'll find that they spend inordinate amounts of time maintaining old crap. Conversely, name anyone who didn't and you'll probably find they are no longer in business. BUT (and here's the point) their customers are still trying to use that old crud and rely on the likes of MS to continue producing an OS that lets them do it.

Of course, with everything being open source, the rules change and grandma can just fix the code, recompile for the new target platform, and away she goes. Except that she has not reached her advanced age without figuring out that this should not be her job. She has better things to do with her life than learn how to maintain software, particularly software that demonstrably wasn't written with long term maintainance in mind. She will go and pay a small amount of money for an OS from a vendor who understands that her time is worth something.

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Linux

backwards API compatibility

Is for wimps. Real men fix the application source and get on with life. Seriously though a system gets full of cruft if it has to be developed by a dominant company terrified of offending customers who will never obtain access to source code for software they need to use from vendors whom the dominant company drove into bankruptcy years ago.

As to arguments about how develop GTK, if the developers of it can't agree they will have to fork it, in which case either its market is wide enough for both forks successfully to differentiate or the better fork wins and the worse one loses. In another context this is called evolution. Better to let the users choose between forks. When developers with monopoly control over source code make the wrong choices in a world determined to keep all APIs including the mistakes backwards compatible, this stymies the product for years to come.

Article read and responded to using Linux on the desktop. Oh heck ! that means I must be a time traveller (;-).

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@Ken Hagan

"Or you could have mentioned Microsoft, since nearly all of the bugs and bloat in Vista are there for the purposes of being compatible with software that was broken when it was first released. Also, Microsoft have tried to move Windows away from x86 and failed."

Wow. How to miss the boat, or what!

Vista was supposed to be a whole new codebase. Rewritten from scratch. Which was why

a) so late

b) so expensive

so how can it be old bugs?

Oooh, because they lied?

WinNT was on Alpha to ensure that Intel didn't get too uppity about microsoft and make their own OS. The HAL was also thrown out because it made no marketable difference and when that was thrown out, so was platform portability.

This, remember, is the same company that wrote IE for Sun systems until IE won the browser war and Netscape (which was always available on Sun) died off.

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RE: Off soapboxes for a minute guys

Old figures, old boy.

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@ Ken Hagan

"Microsoft have tried to move Windows away from x86 and failed."

Err 2003 server on Itanium?

One of the main design principals behind NT is that it would be very portable it wasn't even designed to run on Intel x86 to start with i was designed to run on Digital MIPS and IBM gear it was ported to x86 quite late on in the day.

http://www.winsupersite.com/reviews/winserver2k3_gold1.asp

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Stereotypes

The comments here do the Linux community an immense credit.

No, I'm serious. It's important that if Linux is to continue to grow that Linux fans step up their efforts to spam the Internet with inane, paranoid, teenage rantings. It's a great selling point for the OS.

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Anonymous Coward

Not just GTK, Java too

I had a customer ask me a couple of months back if we still supported Java 1.2. Yes, the one before the JIT compiler. Christ knows what they're doing but whatever it is, it's going tb be s-l-o-w...

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@ Doug Glass

> I'm going to get shot at I'm sure and that's fine.

No shooting I promise :)

>My experience, which is about thirty people, was an overwhelming rejection of >Linux as their desktop OS. The major cause was not being able to play a DVD >movie immediately after installation. I'm sure this is a minor point to many Linux >devotees but this is what happened to me. Once I showed them the repositories >and how to get to them and the two or three programs that had to be installed >and the codecs that were needed I just got blank stares. More than once I was >asked why the capability wasn't preinstalled. It may be in Ubuntu 8.04; I stopped >at 7.10. A few even asked where were the .exe files. Some even read the >"warning" messages when installing the files to play DVD movies and asked >would they be doing anything illegal! It was a surreal experience to say the least.

I had an interesting experience similar to that while trying to play a DVD in Windows. I installed Windows XP, put a DVD in and nothing happened. After I researched it I found out apparently I had to pay for some software to play DVD's. What kind of operating system is this?! It won't open Word documents either, I thought they were Microsofts own format?

While searching I found out that apparently in Ubuntu you have to just click add/remove programs and tick VLC to play DVD's. Still, at least if you buy a Linux computer from Dell you won't even have to do that.

>I had the exact same experience when certain web sites "didn't work right". Java >and various video players had to be installed separately. And again I was asked >why do we have to do that? Why isn't it included? They may be in some distros, >but you have to pick just one to demo.

Yep I can see how having to click add/remove then tick Java may be confusing. Flash just installs on mine the first time it hits a page that needs flash. If I try and play a video file that needs a codec I don't have installed it pops a window up asking if I want to install it, I say yes and they video starts playing.

>But the point is this. I learned that even the people I knew to be very intelligent >weren't willing to work to learn a product even though it was safer, cheaper, >faster, and etc. To a person they simply didn't want to venture outside their >comfort zone of Windows. I know, I know, "Windows" and "comfort" seem to be >at odds with each other. But the people I introduced Linux to simply wanted a >computer that ran well, was a known, and was relatively inexpensive. Please >note the term "relatively". The fact that Linux was a no cost OS was not a factor. >They wanted XP; Apple was never mentioned by anybody.

Exactly. Its not the ease of use or the difficulty using one system or another, its just outside peoples comfort zone. They can be encouraged for a while until they hit a snag like 'My phone software won't install' then panic.

>So what did I do? Using the retail license of those systems needing rebuilding I >installed a slipstreamed retail XP SP3. I installed Comodo Pro free firewall, free >antivirus, the ShieldsUp free programs from grc.com, anti-malware programs >and started the Windows update process. My deal was I'd set up XP for the few >that needed it if they allowed me to demo Ubuntu. which I did by the way as a >group and not separately.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't. If you look after Windows computers you have to endure hours of trying to clear all manner of crap off it once it hits the Internet. (Cue 'I've used Windows for years and never got a virus or spyware bleat bleat')

>Maybe my tact was all wrong, but calling on my teaching degree and >experience, I think I did a pretty good job. It's kind of like the old saying, "The >operation was a success, but the patient died".

Linux (I'm referring to Ubuntu mainly) isn't perfect but all things equal its a lot easier than Windows. Any problems people have using it are down to incorrect expectations or their misfortunate choice of hardware. Its currently perfect for `Grandma` or an IT expert. The self-confessed pseudo-experts with Windows knowledge really aren't going to get on with it though.

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Why, oh why?!?!

Why, Gavin, did you say "Linux on the desktop remains, as ever, stuck somewhere in the distant future."?

It is a comment that is CERTAIN to stir up all the MS, Apple and Linux preachers into a frenzy. These people shout their own oppinions as if they were fact, and completely ignore any evidence thrown their way unless it supports their own argument (in much the same way as Politicians).

The VAST majority of people use Windows, mainly because it their PC had it installed when they bought it, but that doesn't change the fact. They use it, get pissed off when it crashes, or when a virus forces them to get a techie in to reinstall, then carry on using it. There is no denying it.

However, Linux is gaining market share in the desktop arena. And it is getting closer to being ready. Linux-for-Eejits (aka Ubuntu) has gone a long way to help in this. And for those who just surf/email/word-process etc... it is a great option. I know of many people who love it, some who like it but need windows for specific software, and some who hate it. But you cannot deny that the Linux Desktop market is growing.

You may disagree with me on the next point, as it is just my opinion. I have been using Linux for about 10 years now, and I beleive it is now actualy READY for the mainstream. Before you Windows fanatics come back with arguments about recompiling kernels, hardware compatibility and such, I would ask if you have actualy tried it recently? The last year or 2 have seen leaps and bounds made in compatibily, and I cant remember the last time I had to compile a driver or myself for mainstream use. Of course, I do recompile my kernel, use experimental drivers and software etc, but I dont HAVE to to make the machine work, it is my choice.

As for Macs, I WANT ONE, but I can't afford it. When I have used OSX, I have found that it is slick, pretty, and all-round excellent. However, while the cost of a Mac is so high compared to my own DIY PCs, I cannot justify it. Having very little experience with Macs, I will not comment further.

In summary:

* MS Fanatics: try a recent Linux on your desktop so you can make INFORMED comments rather than just slagging it off and regurgitating heresay.

* Linux Fanatics: Get of your high horses, you are making everyone hate you.

* Mac fanatics: I hate you you rich bastards! :P

* All of the above: Get a life!!

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@ another day, another batch of shrills

But this time it's DVD codec FUD time ...

Maybe it's because I'm no longer interested in Microsoft's latest OS offerings, but can anyone let me know when they started bundling the DVD codecs with XP, as all the OEM PC's I've bought in the last 8 years or so only had DVD playback because the OEM had installed a third party app, such as PowerDVD, when they built the machine.

Has this changed in the last 18 months since I bought a machine?

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Linux

@Putting The Target on My Chest

Doug,

So, rather than setting up a decoder for the DVD's and installing a couple of codecs you had to install anti-virus, anti-malware, firewall etc. and this is windows working out of the box? I hear the same argument time and again from the windows boys, Linux doesn't work out of the box, windows does. Reality check, on windows you have to install office, firewalls, dvd players(don't mention media player, piece of crap just keeps crashing).Most linux distros have open.office, inbuilt firewall (a proper one, not just a half arsed packet filter), if you want to run java on windows you need a jvm same as linux. Linux is no more difficult to use than windows, it is just different, every user had to learn to use windows same as you would have to learn Linux. just my two pence

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Law
Paris Hilton

cant we all just get along?!

Am I the only one who doesn't have strong angry feelings against any side here?!

I use a mac, so that ticks the osx/apple box.

I am a .NET programmer (loving C# too) - so that ticks the windows/ms box

I have a linux desktop machine at work and home and love em - so that ticks the linux box

Mono is a cool project - hopefully they can finish it completely before moving completely to moonlight, some packages I need for porting arn't quite there yet.

On subject - I use gnome, but not religiously, if they start messing around again then I will just switch back to good ol' KDE or another new one.

Paris - because I'm probably the Paris of desktop users, hard to please but a bit of a tramp!

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@jermeny

>I've been getting a bit fed up with Gnome for a while now, this is likely the final push to something else, although (and nothing against KDE), after gnome i want something fresh and lightweight like xfce or something.

Xfce is based on GTK+. GTK+ is not the problem (if one exists) with GNOME.

As an open source developer who actually works with GTK, I can vouch for it's quality. It really is well designed and powerful. It also has excellent language bindings for C++ and Python (PyGTK is IMHO the best cross platform platform out there).

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Happy

@@Putting The Target on My Chest

There's no way to win really and I guess that just validates that people have varying expectations, likes and dislikes. They say diversity is a strength.

The situation was I have more time on my hands now and I agreed to de-crapify a number of Windows XP computers if I'd be allowed to introduce Ubuntu first. There were a couple of machines that the simplest thing to do was reinstall Windows. On one of them I installed Ubuntu 7.10.

To make a long story short, I was patiently allowed to install Ubuntu and demo it. But in the end, I lived up to my end of the bargain and did what we'd agreed to.

This was done in a seminar-like setting and there was a measure of interest in the group. But when it came right down to it, even those that would have liked to have tried it weighed what they felt they, their families and extended families would most easily put to use. And that was Windows XP; their original comfort zone. And I respect that.

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Anonymous Coward

@Mark

Old Figures??

No they are the figures for the month of June 2008. Or do all Linux users go on holiday at the same time.

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@doug

If you think getting a DVD codec confuses users, just wait till they want to install office on VIsta!

Took me about five hours. Admitedly credit card issuer, geographical location at the time of install, home address, and desired language covered four countries) but why should the dowload site keep switching to French just because I am in Belgium, its not as if its even the majority language there, and having selected English-UK as the desired installation language they then insisted on an English post code for the Credit Card address.

Worse thing was at the end of all this pain the Missus decided she prefrered the old XP version on the old XP PC and hasn't used any of the Vista Office apps since.

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Rule of Law

My comments wrt .NET notwithstanding, I applaud the even tone and agnosticism of Law.

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@stereotypes

Nice stereotype you got there yourself ... Mr Shrill

You'll find that its the Microsoft Shrills who usually bleat loudest and nastiest, and not just in response to linux items. The vast majority of rebuttals of their FUD against many Microsoft competitors tends to be reasoned and well made, such as Darrens rebutal of the codec FUD above.

Look, you're going to have to get more subtle in your approach. We've all seen the briefing emails you got for your shilling. They came to light as a result of the Comes vs Mircrosoft case, if I remember correctly, and they're still out there on the net for all to see - Groklaw as ever, is a good starting point.

You do know the ones I'm referring to, don't you? The ones about this all being a jihad, and to paint the opposition as fanboys and zealots. The trolling from certain individuals throughout El Reg fits this agenda perfectly.

Of course, it's great joke, attempting to paint non-MS fans as paranoid teenagers, when a particular sad troll that has to resorted to nym cloning and crude innuendo is on your side, isn't it?

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@E

Ummmm....

"I have some issues with a guy devoted to porting Microsoft's attempt to embrace extend and extinguish C++ (via managed C++) to non-Microsoft platforms criticizing a project which has built an excellent standard C & C++ cross platform GUI API (GTK/GTK+)."

You did know that Miguel De Icaza is the original author of GNOME right?

LOLZ.

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@Josh Holman

Nope. I had no idea.

Makes even less sense in that case.

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tom
Paris Hilton

Breaking compatibiliy is Mac-centric at a developer level.

I've had the chance to work on a few Mac-based applications over the years, mostly dropping in to do light maintenance on a control panel or something. And, this whole "let's break things every 5 years" thing stinks of Apple, so I'm not really surprised. Apparently, the developers at Apple like to say "No, this is the *new* *right* way to do it" and come up with an entirely different approach to the GUI every, oh, 5 years or so. So, you hack together version 1 of your control panel, it works OK, and then 5 years later good ole Tom is called in to work in an unfamiliar environment with strange tools and every API call throughout the interface is done in two different ways (to support both the old and the new way for existing installations) and the "new" way is deprecated for an even newer one.

OK, too much information. All I'm saying is that my experience down in the code seems to support the criticism. All I'm saying. I'm going to get a beer, anybody else want one? And where's the beer icon? (Paris, because there's no drugs or rock'n'roll. One out of three is only 33%, you know.)

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Re: Maintain backward compatibility or get a new job

@Mark

"Wow. How to miss the boat, or what! Vista was supposed to be a whole new codebase. Rewritten from scratch. Which was why, a) so late, b) so expensive, so how can it be old bugs? Oooh, because they lied?"

Er, yeah. Given the choice between "rewritten from scratch" and "compatible", they chose the latter. If El Reg articles from a couple of years ago are to be believed, they made a *serious* effort to do the former, but it didn't have enough of the C word, so they went back to the Server 2003 sources.

@Anonymous Coward

">> Microsoft have tried to move Windows away from x86 and failed."

"Err 2003 server on Itanium?"

Er, yes, and a rather more successful port to the Alpha. But I was referring to commercial products and frankly neither of those were ever money-spinners. MS maintained the Alpha port long enough to finish the 64-bit development work. They'll maintain the Itanium port for a couple of years more yet, but it's dead, dead, dead. If the combined forces of Intel and Microsoft can put all their marketing force behind a switch to Itanium and actually deliver the product, but still it fails, then the market is trying to tell you something. That something begins with a C.

"One of the main design principals behind NT is that it would be very portable it wasn't even designed to run on Intel x86 to start with i was designed to run on Digital MIPS and IBM gear it was ported to x86 quite late on in the day."

If by "late in the day" you mean first commercial release, then yeah I used it, so I'm familiar with the ancient history. I don't think it's fair to say it wasn't designed to run on x86 hardware. It started on i860 (did that version ever changed hands for actual currency?) but no-one ever said it wouldn't be available on a 386 PC. Also, and speaking as a software engineer, I'd have said that one of the main design principles was surely maintainability, not portability. The latter is a fairly trivial consequence of doing the former correctly. (Use a high-level language for most of the executive and user-space code. Hide all hardware behind a software interface.)

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Linux

Speaking of Just Working on Windows...

I recently dug up the USB cable for my Olympus camera (C3030 Zoom) and tried plugging it into various computers. Turns out that Window (XP and Vista) just scratched their heads and asked for driver discs, whereas both my Mac and my Ubuntu boxes immediately said "It's a camera!" and ran the appropriate utilties.

Turns out I can't even download the drivers from Olympus -- I need to buy a CD to get the drivers, and Olympus doesn't support the C3030Z on XP or Vista anyway.

Normally I remove the memory card and use a reader anyway, so it's not a show-stopper. And no, it's not Microsoft's fault Olympus won't give me drivers. But since it seems like digital cameras all use the same protocol anyway, why isn't it just built into Windows?

Playing DVDs right out of the box. OEM installs of PowerDVD notwithstanding, some DVDs come with a player that tries to auto-install. I forget why I hate it, too many ads or compatibility problems between versions or something. I forget. But I agree with the rest of the Linux crowd on this one: it's a box tick and button click away on Ubuntu, or an apt-get or make install or the equivalent on most other *nixes. On Windows you have to buy PowerDVD if it's not already installed. (Or steal it.) What's more, you have to go looking for it.

My MacBook not only came with a DVD player already installed, but it also came with an IR remote control.

As for Macs being expensive, well, generally it's true. But my wife picked this up last January for my birthday for $900 (refurbished). None of our friends could match the specs for that price, or even come close. That may have changed since then, but I've been pretty happy with this machine and consider it money well spent.

Tux just for the heck of it.

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Linux

That's it, I'm switching to Enlightenment!

KDE doesn't work for me. As far as I care, KDE is a bloated piece of software designed to kill hard disks by constantly thrashing them. It feels no different from Vi$ta- slow, constant disk thrashing, and so much flash that it gives me seizures.

Tux, because I'll still be using Linux, only a different, less memory intensive window manager that will at least let me get things done.

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Misattributed comments

"De Icaza is the biggest and highest profile voice so far to complain publicly about the proposed toolkit changes, here and here."

But neither of the "here"s links to something written by De Icaza, although the second at least links to things he wrote.

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