back to article Shuttleworth remixes Ubuntu... for biz users

Inspired by the tweaks of Ubuntu-using IT departments, Canonical has released a Business Desktop Remix of Ubuntu. Re-chopping Ubuntu according to the most common changes that business users make to their installs, Canonical product leader Mark Shuttleworth hopes that the new desktop-friendly boot will make it easier for …

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Gold badge

John Shuttleworth? can we expect Ubuntu to have a nice start up sound performed on a Casio keyboard?

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He is Mark.

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Holmes

That's the problem with big donor charity

It's his money, so he calls the shots. If he makes good decisions, it's a good project. If he makes bad decisions, it goes down the tubes. I'm using Ubuntu now on this machine, but I'm convinced it peaked a couple of years ago and I no longer can recommend it to anyone.

I think that OSS needs better business models that are more responsive to the real users and to small donors. It certainly isn't the quality of Microsoft's software that wins. It's that Microsoft's economic model shoves the risks on the customers and makes the sale before the user ever sees the computer. The software sucks, but Microsoft makes money. Ubuntu has never made the money, and the software is declining.

My suggestion for one new economic model to consider in the form of a 'charity share' brokerage:

http://eco-epistemology.blogspot.com/2009/11/economics-of-small-donors-reverse.html

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Still Unity desktop though?

...about as business-like as my fisher-price laptop.

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Anonymous Coward

@david 63

lol you have a fisher-price laptop

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You must have

Fischer-Price? Must be running Windows 8 with Metro.

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Just checked...

...it's actually a v-tech

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Thumb Up

Re: Still Unity desktop though?

It's almost as if MS' and Shuttleworth's products are going through a new childhood. I gave up on Ubuntu with the new mucking about, but I'm looking for a way around the MS problem.

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RHEL hasn't taken off?

I thought RH was pretty dominant in the business Linux field. Certainly commercial Linux software seems to come mostly in rpms.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: RHEL hasn't taken off?

Not as an enterprise *desktop* it hasn't.

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Devil

RHEL desktop was an abismal failure

RHEL as a server distro is a success, Redhat enterprise desktop was and is abissmal failure.

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Linux

RHEL Never really taken off... ?!

I dunno about other industries, but the chips that power the computer (or phone or slate) you used to write this article and the ones we are all reading it on were almost certainly designed and verified on RHEL (along with the chips in your TV, PVR, router, washing machine, car, microwave, ... And basically any other gizmo you may have with a micro processor in it).

I think having a virtual monopoly in a particularly lucrative part of an industry might be considered being successful.

(Of course, 10 years ago that would have been Solaris rather than RHEL)

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Ditto in science

A good deal of science computing is done on RHEL or spin offs

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Anonymous Coward

Err...

Chip design and scientific use is hardly mainstream desktop use.

In server use RHEL is the defacto standard linux, it's big for web serving and it is very good competition for proprietary UNIX on both desktop and server, but it isn't competition for bog standard desktop use for either Windows or Mac.

How many people do you really know who use Linux? Now how many use a Red Hat derived linux? I do, but I connect to it via Windows with xming/PuTTY. My partner does for post doctoral research involving programming and number crunching, but again using Windows/xming/PuTTY.

At work our developers have dumb terminals which are linux based, but they all connect to a virtual desktop running Windows as well as a dev VM running Red Hat.

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All I can say is

~200 Computational chemists at my last company all used Linux on the desktop - the software wasn't available for Windows in any case as the practitioners in this area all use Unix/Linux. The workloads were epic, I'd leave protein modeling software running for days on a dual xeon workstation or shift it if necessary to a 1024 node Linux farm.

We all Windows systems too but that was for the trivial stuff like corporate e-mail.

CERN has a very heavy use. Most scientific academics use it.

I have 6 machines and have used nothing else for years.

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And as I've mentioned before ..

.. the fact that people are willing to install a Linux on hardware that almost always they have to buy with Windows pre-installed and where most people don't care or know about Linux is a major triumph even if the desktop usage is ~1%.

I build all my own (except 1 laptop) so it's a no-brainer for me

There's an awful lot of people writing and compiling software for a desktop that you appear to think doesn't exist. Forget the enthusiast authors, major bits of software like Google Earth, Firefox, VLC, GIMP, Hugin, Thunderbird, LibreOffice, Opera are all available.

People tell me all the time that 'x' can't be done on Linux -they are almost always wrong. Only the other day someone said 3G dongles didn't work - they do., and someone else said that 1080/50p video couldn't be edited - It can.

</rant>

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Linux

Things working on GNU/Linux

"Only the other day someone said 3G dongles didn't work - they do". Yeah, I hear that a lot too. I almost started believing it, since never using Windows means I don't know what people place as a baseline for "easy".

On what I use (Fedora 14, CentOS 6.2 Desktop) you just plug in the device and tell NetworkManager what country + provider you're using, and then it works. Tried with three different dongles, all were this easy. As is conneting via Bluetooth to my phone and using its 3G connection.

It was actually hard-ish when I was still insisting on using things like wvdial and other shell based things. But it certainly hasn't been hard the past few years.

And then I found how how "easy" it _really_ was on a Windows. Wow. Just wow. Even colleagues of mine working with Windows can't make it work right. Weren't "drivers" a last century thing?

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3G dongles

"On what I use (Fedora 14, CentOS 6.2 Desktop) you just plug in the device and tell NetworkManager what country + provider you're using"

Yep - And it generally takes about 1/4 of the time it does on Windows, and usually just works. It's actually quite bizarre when you think about it.

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Shuttleworth - a force not to be taken seriously

I was a faithful Ubuntu user for years, since v6.06, I enjoyed Ubuntu's rising functionality with my laptop. Things were working well. After several versions, it was clear Ubuntu was heading in the wrong direction, as my experience grew worse and worse. I started using Kubuntu from about 10.04 through 11.11, to try and salvage what was left of my relationship with Canonical's distribution. Kubuntu had the right U.I. guts, but as I moved forward through the versions, it was highly evident that my experience went from good, to worse.

At this juncture, I cannot trust Linux, or Canonical to deliver a good user experience anymore. Shuttleworth's distro's have no redeeming value anymore. Free is still too expensive, considering my laptop went from working well with Ubuntu's distro, to not working.

Countless releases made networking a headache. The configuration interfaces were highly buggy. With every release, I spent more and more time trying to get things fixed, and less time getting any work done. Even accessing samba shares (Windows file sharing) was a headache, but a necessity for any modern OS, and one that I had to work real hard to get working (if it worked at all).

I need a computer that works, and a network manager that works, and it's thanks to distro's like Ubuntu and Kubuntu for driving me to Windows 7.

Unity, and Gnome 3 - absolute H.S.

Business mixed Ubuntu? Who cares. When I decide to give Linux another go, it'll be with a different distro, and probably with the KDE desktop or Xfce. It certainly won't be on my main machines. It'll be only for toying around to gain more experience with Linux.

Canonical's distros have left a sour taste in my mouth.

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Silver badge

Try OpenSuse

Use the Live-CD so you can try your hardware before actually installing

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Coat

@Tristan Young

"Canonical's distros have left a sour taste in my mouth."

Try putting the disk in your drive instead.

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Anonymous Coward

@Tristan Young - For our own curiosity

Why toying around with Linux for all these years ? Why bother getting experienced with Linux since you stated that your time is so valuable that you always used and will continue to use Windows ? We got your message, just stay with Windows and enjoy it.

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Seconded

Kubuntu 10.04 crashed on my NVidia-powered laptop 4 times in one evening (complete freeze of the desktop, lost quite some work that evening). The 10.10 version would not even boot on NVidia (beta testing apparently done by end users of the so-called stable version). Switched back to OpenSuse 11.2, no worries since.

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Linux

Strange nvidia problems...

I have used multiple nvidia based machines for years in a variety of situations in some pretty demanding situations and never had the desktop freeze once. This includes a lot of use of 10.04.

There are things that I would fault Canonical for. Lack of solid nvidia support is not one of them.

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Silver badge

It may have been the 11.x version that would not boot on various NVidia powered laptops (specifically), not just mine. I then got the older Kubuntu (maybe Gnome versions worked better) which on occasion froze, until that fateful evening when it froze 4 times in quite quick succession (whilst writing some LaTeX in emacs, not a graphics or CPU intensive load). Later a patch was made available for 11.X, but by then I had switched back. New version might be fine, and we work with some Kubuntu derivative at work on my desktop machine, which seems happy enough with the NVidia support. It just did not get along with my old Vaio SZ.

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Pint

Seconded OpenSuse

As suggested, if you haven't tried it yet, you might want to give OpenSuse a shot. Stable, but flexible, and everything works pretty well, as far as I have experienced. (except for the damn KDE automatic updater thingy, but that is relatively easy to make go away.)

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Have they sorted the package and patch management yet? When I used it for OpenSuse 10/11 it was sluggish, buggy and AFAIK couldn't handle in place upgrades. This pushed me over to Ubuntu 9.10 which was quite a pleasant surprise in comparison to OpenSuse.

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Certainly package management has

..been rather rough in the past. I'm using 11.4 without any glitches on 6 machines. I see the latest version (12.1) has changed the management again so we'll have to see how it pans out.

It's still WAY better than total lack of management in Windows.

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Bronze badge

I know where you're coming from. Ubuntu 10.4 runs fine on my netbook. Later versions, the UI went wrong. Maybe too much overhead, certainly a visual design that didn't suit the screen-space.

And when I tried the current Live CD, earlier today. I couldn't find any way of making the UI--level font sizes readable. Maybe it can be done, but how?

(I now expect to be inundated with links to web pages explaining what to do.)

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Flame

ubuntu + unity = unmitigared clusterf***

I had been using ubuntu for many years. WIth the advent of unity and the POS 'netbook' desktop, I thought I was gonna hurl my lunch from the previous Xmas!

I currently run SuSE, flipping back and forth between Icewm and fvwm. I avoid kde like the plague (yeah, they even managed to screw that up with the stinking 'plasma' artiste renditions. ~bleaah!~

I use linux because it works out of the box and I dont have to fuss with 'uber-cool' colorizations. I guess artsy-fartsy is what you use when things are broke and you need a diversion.

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OpenSUSE 11.4

Nice to see all the OpenSUSE users posting on this thread.

Ill also add my voice for OpenSUSE. I've been using 11.4 for almost a year now. Its on three PCs, 2 desktops, and 1 netbook. I'm very happy with my experiences, 11.4 has been rock solid stable for me.

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Agreed

I've got 11.4 on a range of hardware, atom netbook, celeron laptop, dual-core atom fileserver, 64AMD, dual-core 64AMD and a dual core Intel. All installed without any problems.

(BTW I've just added a cheap modern NVIDIA card to the dual core AMD and it now plays 1080/50p video perfectly with cpu use at ~5-10% using VDPAU )

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How about ensuring that it can properly work with Exchange, specially calendaring.

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Anonymous Coward

@fuzzie - Just talk to Microsoft

and they will be happy to help you with that.

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Mac OS X does it...

Mac OS X does it great so there is no reason Ubuntu couldn't do it too. Now they might have to pay for a license to include it as I'm sure Apple didn't have a problem with that if that's how they got Exchange integration built into their UNIX.

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Anonymous Coward

"properly work with Exchange, specially calendaring."

Are you sure it's Linux that's not working?

Where I am, with a 100% certified Microsoft dependent IT department, they can't even get calendaring working right in a Windows-only environment.

Goodness only knows what IT will do if anything more complicated comes along and the Board wake up and actually challenge the IT department to justify their budgets and their existence by making <shiny new non-MS thing> work right.

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FAIL

Properly?

Exchange doesn't do CSCW software properly*!

Let the calendaring software communicate with the email software as necessary. Don't try and amalgamate them into a mess. KISS!

*No surprise, it didn't do email properly in the first place. Exchange was a horrible kludge to get Microsoft Mail working across the Internet. Internet? - you know, that thingie that Mr Gates didn't see as important before 1995!

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I get where you're coming from re Exchange being a dog of itself. The reality is that when you're in a large(r) business/enterprise environment Exchange is pretty much it. The sticky tape and glue solution of Thunderbird + Lightnight + dav<ail just doesn't cut it and Evolution seems to just be more and more neglected.

It's actually easier to sync my calendar to my mobile and manage it there.

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This post has been deleted by its author

"when you're in a large(r) business/enterprise environment Exchange is pretty much it"

People used to say things like that about ProFS or All-in-1 once upon a time (look them up). They were silly people. Things can change.

Exchange may be pretty much it this week. Things may not be the same a few years from now, especially the way MS are looking really rather clueless at the moment. At least for now they still have their supporters in the IT department and elsewhere. But that too may not last forever

"It's actually easier to sync my calendar to my mobile and manage it there."

Exactly. So someone will notice this and start something using the same methods so the corporates can do proper calendaring with or without Exchange.

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Linux

Strange combination of crippling and pandering

This new variant of Ubuntu actually reminds me of Mint in some ways. In some respects you could describe it as a less uptight set of packaging rules. They could just make regular desktop Ubuntu a little more "mint-y" and have pretty much the same effect. No separate version needed. No need to remove things that a corporate user might find use for (productive or otherwise).

The real hurdle on the corporate desktop is accommodating MIcrosoft-centric standards and otherwise being a drop in replacement for the machines you' are trying to displace. Adding a JDK and Flash really doesn't address that.

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Anonymous Coward

ubuntwho?

ubuntwho? are they still around? i heard they used to be good

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Pint

Ubuntu... for business users? Don't we already have that?

What's he calling it? "Debian?"

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Nothing to see here (again)

I wish Mark Shuttleworth was as good at building Operating Systems as he is at self promotion.

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Its not 'easily setup' which counts...

Durability and maintenance are the major issues here.

Simply put; If you're a business and you put man hours into setting up such an environment then that counts as an investment. After which you want continuity; in other words being able to continue using the product without any drastic changes (drastic changes imply the need for changes which means spending hours thus money again).

Another important aspect is of course maintenance. When we're talking about workstations which also have an Internet connection then they'd better be secured. Because in the overall a security breach on Linux isn't as easy to detect by the average user.

But unfortunately there are major caveats to keep in mind. While Ubuntu does a very good job with their LTS releases which last 3 years worth of support, it becomes just too tedious the very moment when you need to upgrade such an LTS version to the next LTS. Often you're better of either upgrading to each individual in between release,or simply re-install the critter from scratch entirely.

And quite frankly it looks to me as if Shuttleworth is merely picking up on Ubuntu, relying on their release cycle and simply added something to the main package. While it might interest some businesses I have very serious doubts if its going to last.

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Anonymous Coward

pc linux

having actually taken on line course to learn rh9.0

i learned

i need lessons to learn new os

i did to learn 98 and use 98se on my old machines

i use old ff or ie6 on it to surf

i have never gotten ubuntu to load on any of my machines and work

but pc linux did, but got broken [?]

used to laugh at ms commercial "we are pc"

i am looking for the long term version tho since he says support for 5 yrs

i do not want to relearn stuff every 6months to 3yrs [migraines make me forget stuff now days]

sure my 98se crashes on busy web sites alot

but restarts quick enough

just give me a lesson guide for your LS version

i"ll star craft /broadwar on 98 se [ or xp]

but ms , i am not going to pay 100 + for surfing and movie watching every three years

just my 2 cents for who ever

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Anonymous Coward

Re: pc linux

then i did an computeach course and then i earn £30'000 pear year with a company car and benefits as a computor games designer

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Bronze badge

RHEL is used as a desktop by people using stuff like Cadence. (Probably the other EDA suites as well as getting them working on Windows is a nightmare). Probably the people who pay nvidia to make the Linux drivers use it as well. (Hollywood type people). It is the only supported desktop for Red Hat universities (That students can use for free) there seems to be a few.

It is used by people who care about bugs actually being fixed in the distro. (And pay for it)

Ubuntu is an absolute joke even the LTS release you need any bug at all fixed (Let alone an obscure libc bug it is just not going to happen).

Look at any serious piece of desktop Linux software and you will find it supports RHEL (and Suse Enterprise if you are lucky).

Those people quite rightly don't want Ubuntu.

(It is likely just those people using stuff like Cadence Virtuoso give Redhat enough money to make the Desktop distribution worthwhile. (The per seat cost to Cadence means it is also likely to cost peanuts but Redhat still do well)

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Bronze badge

Bakunin, what's this 'disk' you speak of?

Flash and VMWare View, how business centric. How about Word, Excel and Outlook? Seems to be what most business users want. Oh, and iTunes of course.

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Many new Ubuntu haters here - a converse view

I'd just like to say that I've used if for a few years over a couple of machines (plus support of parents Ubuntu machine), had a few problems (Nvidia drivers almost always), and have subsequently moved to Unity.

I like it. I didn't get on at first, but persevered. And it works. It works well. I can see no real difference in productivity between Unity, Gnome 2, or even WinXP which I use at work. After all, all the desktop really does is provide a way of starting your favourite apps, once they are running, they are the same whatever the desktop. For some things, its faster to get things started, for others slower. Still some rough edges, but every version has got better (unlike Windows!)

Ubuntu package management works pretty well - lots of stuff easily accessed.

I have no real issues. YMMV

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