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back to article Sticky Tahr-fy pudding: Ubuntu 14.04 slickest Linux desktop ever

The final beta release of Ubuntu 14.04, due in April, is here. Code-named Trusty Tahr, 14.04 will be a Long Term Support release, meaning Canonical will support what you get in April for five years. The idea is it's a solid foundation for long-term development and planning by Canonical and users, particularly partners and …

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Head to head

any chance of The Register doing a series of articles that compare and contrast Windows against a Linux?

I think a lot of commentards here have an idea of what they like and dislike about the two OS's, however I think there are a good amount of people who simply not used a Linux before..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Head to head

Windows wins. It is by far and a way the most stable and usable OS. Unlike Linux, Windows will run all your current software. The migration cost (and continuing support cost) of a Linux migration are eye-watering. And then there is the massive re-training all your users will need, and you'll have to explain command line to them - you can't avoid that with Linux.

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FAIL

Re: Head to head

Is that you, Satya?

To borrow from Wikipedia, [citation needed]

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Head to head

What's the migration cost of moving from XP to Windows 8?

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Re: Head to head

"What's the migration cost of moving from XP to Windows 8?"

A lot less than Windows to Linux as you're not going to have to change all your applications.

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Re: Head to head

What applications? browsers are cross-platform

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Re: Head to head @AC

I see the Redmond reputation management squad are on day release.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Head to head

No contest is it?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_operating_systems

1.48% of the people cannot surely be wrong? That's half the number of people using Vista, but I won't let that massive unvote of confidence get in the way of the unswerving sense of moral and intellectual superiority I feel every time me and the 12 other users crank up our home-made free hobby software.

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Re: Head to head

I've been using OS's since DOS - especially all the Windows variants. When I sat down at a Win8 desktop I had to retrain myself on how to do the most basic of functions - so I thought bollocks, why on earth should I have to 'learn' how to use this POS OS.

So I have given Win8 and it's maker the middle finger. Nice knowing you. Clueless morons.

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Silver badge

Re: Head to head

Except for IE; no linux browser will currently run ActiveX components (and quite rightly so). Although idiots who wrote in-house applications using ActiveX and IE are sadly not rare and those applications are now causing everyone a whole lot of grief.

And not everything runs in a browser. That hideous spreadsheet your accounts department uses for reporting with the 28MB of VBA macros in it.... not gonna run, even with WINE.

You know and I know it should never have been created but it was and it is and it's mission-critical now...

Or the untold billions of in-house developments using VB or .NET Winforms or WPF that mono will simply never support.

Migration can be a great a policy but it can also be a terrifyingly expensive and time-consuming policy.

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Re: Head to head

"A lot less than Windows to Linux as you're not going to have to change all your applications."

My main applications are IDEs, compilers, text editors (code plus LaTeX), MatLab and Mathematica (apart from the browser). All of them available in Linux. The odd MS-Office document I get opens well enough in LibreOffice. In our department people use Windows (7), Mac OS-X and Linux (Ubuntu) roughly equally. I myself have used all three. Despite my earlier struggles with windows versions, I quite like Win 7. For most of my work I prefer Linux.

Just goes to show: OS wars are SO last century

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Linux

Re: Head to head

"Windows will run all your current software"

It won't run any of mine unless you mean Windows versions of Firefox, Opera, GoogleEarth, Thunderbird, LibreOffice and The Gimp, VLC, Skype - mind that's quite a lot really, about 25% of the programs I use.

I'm only missing (snigger) IE, Office

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Re: Head to head

I've been running Office 2013 successfully in CrossOver Office. Surprisingly easy - more or less a one click and watch the installer do all the hard work.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Head to head @1Rafayal

Probably the smoothest troll ever seen on these forums. Can't believe how many people have bitten so quickly. Nice one :)

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Facepalm

Re: Head to head

Don't you have a bridge to skulk under somewhere?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Head to head

Just goes to show: OS wars are SO last century

I've been using Windows since, er, DOS. When I moved to Linux, the year before last, all of my Windows software was either cross-platform, or there were viable alternatives (some better, some not). And I'm a .NET developer (glad to be shot of Visual Studio!).

The OS is just another interchangeable tool. It's becoming more and more irrelevant, and even Microsoft have known that for a while (Office on iPad, no new major controls since XP, WinForms (and WPF) in maintenance mode).

Unfortunately, their customers do not believe it yet.

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Silver badge

Re: Head to head

> And I'm a .NET developer (glad to be shot of Visual Studio!).

What are you using instead?

(Personally, I quite like VS, post VS2010 which was crashy and irritating).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Head to head

What are you using instead?

MonoDevelop for C#, WebStorm for front-end.

(Personally, I quite like VS, post VS2010 which was crashy and irritating).

I used to love VS. VS2012 encouraged me to look elsewhere.

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Silver badge

Re: Head to head

You keep parrotting the argument that "you have to use the command line", which has all the hallmarks of superstition about it; as though somehow there was something wrong with that.

Seriously, what is so bad about the command line?

For me, the command line is simply a way of issuing a precise command straight to the computer, in a way that does not depend on the user's personal configuration options. In answering a question asked by a user, I can write "Open a terminal window and paste in the following:" and be confident that it will Just Work.

If I had to describe the process of clicking through various icons and menus, it probably would break if the user had altered their configuration from the default as shipped. It would also take a lot longer to describe the process.

Why do you think there is a difference between entering a quick textual command without making any pretence of understanding it, and making a long series of mouse clicks without making any pretence of understanding it?

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Silver badge

Re: Head to head

>Just goes to show: OS wars are SO last century

Yep.

Ultimately, an OS by itself is of little use to anybody. For most people the OS is just that thing that lets them run the software that they use. Increasingly, the software that most people use is either available for most platforms, or can run in a browser. However, there will be many who use software that isn't available for some OSs, and the whole idea of OS 'choice' is for them meaningless. Its a chicken and egg situation - why bother developing your $0000 software for a platform that currently has very little market share, if your customers can easily afford a Windows licence?

Things are changing, but it is a long road.

Some people are having a bit of headache migrating from XP to newer versions of Windows (so may as well investigate Linux) - lots of custom worksheets plugged into an old accounts package, for example. In another workplace I know, where most staff are just entering data, the switch to Linux was pretty straightforward and cost-effective- a no-brainer.

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Re: Head to head

Sorry for feeding such an obvious troll as dear "Windows wins" AC, but I can't resist myself (it's also Friday). I have considered myself a long-time Windows power-user. When I have switched to Linux, it was very counter-productive: "un-intuitive" and "non-usable interface" (as windows-user-friendly Gnome 2!) really pissed me off for a long time. Since then I have spent about 6 years using Linux as my primary OS. And now I feel exactly the same feeling when I have to "fix" or install something on my wife's or relatives' windows-based PC: it seems to me counter-productive and counter-intuitive (just because my preferences have changed after all these years, so it's almost exclusively a matter of taste).

Another issue less known to many civilised el Reg readers is that in my third-world post-USSR country almost no one buys Windows when it doesn't ship with a new PC. Most people just download and install non-updated, backdoor-supplied, warez version of Win XP or Win 7, and sooner or later their computers are just a nodes in a botnet. (No, personally I just don't do that, I always insist that Windows must be 'genuine' to get all security patches, since I cannot support a computer full of security holes). So free-as-freedom Linux is MUCH MUCH better. secure and easier to maintain than a free-as-beer pirated Windows, believe me :)

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Re: Head to head

Yes they are - and name a sizable corporation that only uses browsers.

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Megaphone

Re: Head to head - Windoze upgrade

Dogged makes the point that the 28Mb spreadhseet with VBA macros aint gonna run on Linux. Well, I have news for you - it can and does run under OpenOffice, and it was 3,000 MB. However, it was developed under Office 2003 using WinXP.

It failed spectacularly on Office 2010 using Windows 7, and had to be rewritten.

So, there you are - reality check says it is easier to upgrade to OpenOffice and Ubuntu than it is to Office 2010 and Windows 7. And it is also cheaper, as in FREE !

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Silver badge

Re: Head to head

Any post like this under an AC banner will be either treated as a troll, or ignored.

Why can't you post under a recognisable pseudonym? Your comments will be much better regarded!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Head to head

Yes they are - and name a sizable corporation that only uses browsers.

The company I work for (global, presence in every country you can name, the "Microsoft" of our industry), stipulates that every user interface that we make is web-based (where feasible - there are edge cases).

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FAIL

Re: Head to head

And then there is the massive re-training all your users will need, and you'll have to explain command line to them - you can't avoid that with Linux.

Is that you, Loverock Davidson???

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Bronze badge

Re: Head to head

> any chance of The Register doing a series of articles that compare and contrast Windows against a Linux?

> however I think there are a good amount of people who simply not used a Linux before..

An article on VirtualBox, leading to how to install linux in a VM, would be both short and far more effective. IMO. And I'm never wrong. Except when I choose to be. Which I sometimes do.

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re: command line (@ A J Stiles)

What, use the command line, like in Windows? Where most support conversations go "Click Start, type <command> and press enter?" e.g. http://windows.microsoft.com/en-GB/windows/i-cant-start-the-microsoft-security-essentials-service

Shame Windows doesn't have command-line editing to allow you to fix typos. Or leave a window open to check what you might have done wrong, let alone show you the error message. Simply repeat the entire process, correctly this time.

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WTF?

Re: Head to head

It won't run any of mine unless you mean Windows versions of Firefox, Opera, GoogleEarth, Thunderbird, LibreOffice and The Gimp, VLC, Skype - mind that's quite a lot really, about 25% of the programs I use.

So, it will will run all your current software then?

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Silver badge

Re: Head to head - Windoze upgrade

> Dogged makes the point that the 28Mb spreadhseet with VBA macros aint gonna run on Linux. Well, I have news for you - it can and does run under OpenOffice, and it was 3,000 MB. However, it was developed under Office 2003 using WinXP.

That's interesting. The (actually real) spreadsheet I was referring to has any number of MSGraph COM objects in it and crashes explosively under WINE and the VBA doesn't work at all under OpenOffice.

So, some will, some won't. But most of the homebrew line-of-business Windows applications absolutely won't run so my point stands.

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Roo
Silver badge

Re: Head to head

"It is by far and a way the most stable and usable OS. Unlike Linux, Windows will run all your current software."

That is simply not true, Windows fails to run any of my OpenBSD or Linux binaries...

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Silver badge

Re: Head to head

These are things you take into account at the time when you're migrating. What you probably need to do is take a step back and look at the bigger picture. And more importantly, concentrate on ends as opposed to means.

A spreadsheet with loads of macros in it is -- in all probability -- a horrendous bodge, never mind how many people are trying to do things that way.

Whatever is in the spreadsheet probably really belongs in a database; which naturally belongs on a centralised server in the office. And then you can replace all your convoluted macros with a few simple scripts in Perl, Python or your favourite language. Instead of e-mailing a huge spreadsheet around everyone and it quickly getting out of sync with reality, why not display it in a web browser, straight from the database server?

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Silver badge

Re: Head to head

I used to love VS. VS2012 encouraged me to look elsewhere.

I'm mostly a Java developer, but I've been using VS 2010 for the past six months. I can't believe it. It has fewer features than Eclipse and IntelliJ had 10 years ago. It seems you have to buy some kind of add-on to do anything but the most rudimentary refactoring.

What do all these year suffixes signify? The only IDE I can imagine that's more primitive than VS 2010 is the Visual Studio 6 I used in the last century.

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WTF?

Re: re: command line (@ A J Stiles)

Shame Windows doesn't have command-line editing to allow you to fix typos.

What version of Windows are you using? Even DOS had command-line editing.

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Re: Head to head

"So, it will will run all your current software then?"

Just to clarify : Linux runs all the software I currently use. I don't have a Windows computer - indeed only 1 of my 7 computers has ever had Windows installed. My latest laptop (4-core i7/8GB) was bought new recently free of an OS

About 25% of the programs I use ( those listed) are also available for Windows. This is a kind of a tortuous way of saying that if the programs listed are the ones you mostly use then you could be running them under Linux rather than WIndows

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@A J Stiles

I absolutely agree with you.

The problem is, this is owned by the Accounts department who see that a) what they have now works b) replacing it would cost money in developer time and analysis and c) they (as the Accounts department) would be paying.

The odds on sneaking any improvement past the beancounters are infinitesimal.

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Re: Head to head

>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_operating_systems

Get malaria/bilharzia - a billion users can't be wrong.

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Re: Head to head @1Rafayal

I am genuinely interested to see what would happen.

I think there has been a slight case of fervent Linux fanboism on the Register for a while now. So, I want to see a head to head comparison that compares both Windows & Linux on the desktop as well as servers.

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Joke

Re: Head to head

Is that you JDX?

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Re: Head to head @1Rafayal

"I think there has been a slight case of fervent Linux fanboism on the Register for a while now."

Interesting that you see it that way. I see many posters ( or is it just one or two ACs) proclaiming that Windows is far superior whilst still seeming to need to rabidly attack Linux with the same old tired untruths. You know the sort of thing ... need to use the command line to install, need to compile the kernel, doesn't support X,Y or Z, is unstable.Only poor people, basement dwellers and people with BO problems use Linux. It all sounds desperate. I wouldn't use Windows myself but I hardly ever attack it

Now it may be only 1-2% of installed desktops but judging by the range of comments/contributors on The Register a much larger percentage of the people here use or support Linux - scientists/academics/engineers and programmers. Maybe we should have a poll about OSs.

(And maybe a poll about the excessive use of AC which makes following a thread and making sense of who you are replying to rather difficult)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Head to head

"What's the migration cost of moving from XP to Windows 8?"

What migration? Do you really think people will stop using Windows XP after April 8th?

It's all FUD! To make money, to sell new computers, to make the richest bloke on the planet even richer!

If people want to keep using XP let them. Don't push, force or lure these folk into new stuff. Some of these users are too old and can't cope with so much change or don't give a fuck about computers and therefore only use them for mundane tasks. Windows XP is still fine for those people so why bother? As long as they have a decent browser (like Mozilla Firefox 27.x.x), upto-date java (Java 7v 51) and flashplayer (v12) and uptodate antivirus-software (03/2014) what's all the fuzz about! The people who are really into computers have already moved on to Windows 8.x, Ubuntu 12 or 13, or whatever.

Stop parroting all those bloody scare-mongers, for god's sake!

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Go

Re: Head to head

"Seriously, what is so bad about the command line?"

Nothing, people who know how to us it will always (if available) use it when it's faster more reliable and especially if you can make or reuse a script. People who can use the command line have no problems using a GUI when appropriate.

People who do not know, probably work only with Windows, and their opinion regarding the command line is totally worthless, like having strong opinions regarding a language you don't speak.

So, in other words, the bad about the command line is that people who know nothing about it tend to express their worthless opinion about it. Omitting (then) the command line was one of the worst mistakes Microsoft ever made. They had the *nix world on their knees but they blew it and I still feel both surprised and damned happy about it. People working within MS then wrote about it and explained that the stupidity was due to the big boys considering the command line old fashion. Ha haa haaa. Still I feel like a traitor when writing about it. Keep sleeping MS. Good night.

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Re: Head to head

>Yes they are - and name a sizable corporation that only uses browsers.

Name a sizable corporation that only uses *any* particular <type of application | software>.

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Re: Head to head - Windoze upgrade

Similarly, I've had a number of occasions when I've helped someone with an old Word / Excel document that couldn't be opened in or was messed up by a new version of MS Office... by opening it in Open/Libre Office and saving it in the current version of MS Office.

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Re: re: command line (@ A J Stiles)

>>Shame Windows doesn't have command-line editing to allow you to fix typos.

>What version of Windows are you using? Even DOS had command-line editing.

Even DOS? Or only DOS?

Isn't the only part of 'Windows' that lets you use the command line, essentially, DOS (in a window).

Nothing wrong with that, of course.

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Re: @A J Stiles

>The odds on sneaking any improvement past the beancounters are infinitesimal.

True. In a way.

But isn't an important definition of 'important', important to the users?

(Rather than to the techies who might have different goals / wishes / criteria which might not coincide with, and shouldn't necessarily / always override those of the users).

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Re: Head to head @1Rafayal

>I think there has been a slight case of fervent Linux fanboism on the Register for a while now.

Maybe.

Or maybe Reg readers tend to be smarter than the average bear, on average?

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Re: Head to head

>Ultimately, an OS by itself is of little use to anybody.

A bit like an application, a lump of hardware, a mains power supply, a road, a car, a ...

Funny how many things need other things to be of use.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Head to head

The UK MOD is trying to, as rapidly as possible, shift as many of its staff (Military and Civil Servants) into the G-Cloud - PCs will become, effectively, dumb terminals, all documents accessed via the browser, no local copies held by the machine. The plan is that eventually - even if you find a 'misplaced' Gov't laptop all you find is just enough password protected OS to make it boot into a password protected browser log on.

I work in the Sim side and the plan to virtualise many of our simulations is gaining traction.

Lots of MOD machines still run XP and while the roll-out of Win7 is going on a pace (at least it's faster than the NHS), the MOD has also been tasked to pay considerable attention to Open Source and Open Standards and if that pressure continues there might not be a jump to Win8/9/10 if a light Linux client will do the job...

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Linux

Re: Head to head

Windows in it's current form has long time Windows users wanting to use something ELSE.

Oddly enough, it's precisely because of the same kind of nonsense that Ubuntu is pushing here.

Metro and Unity are birds of a feather.

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