back to article The Linux Chronicles, Part 1

Last Autumn I volunteered to review Windows 7. But in the following weeks, I found Linux to be preferable in many ways. This is pretty significant progress, and outside the 'community' has gone largely unnoticed, too - I haven't seen all that many Ubuntu stories in the Wall Street Journal. But what comes next is going to be …


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  1. Leo Maxwell
    Thumb Up

    Me too

    I have to agree.

    My day job is supporting a multiuser, multiOS company network.

    Windows2003, 2008, XP,Vista, 7.

    Mac OSX

    Linux, Redhat server, and until recently, Suse desktops.

    We are now an Ubuntu 10.4 shop where Linux desktops are concerned, and the Windows users are becoming restless.

    At home, Ubuntu, UNR, and Mythbuntu.

    At least a dozen installs on very different hardware combinations, and no problems.

    Evolution even works well with our Exchange server.

  2. GregC

    Good read...

    ... which pretty much mirrors my own experiences with Ubuntu recently. However I have to take issue with this:

    "This is true of the window controls shifting to the left, Mac-style, in Ubuntu 10. You have to know, or Google it, or download an Ubuntu "PowerTools" app to put them back over to the right. A simple clear setting would help."

    The buttons move according to what theme you choose, so this is only a problem if you want to keep the default theme and move the buttons. A simple setting would be an improvement, I agree though.


      The GUI isn't that hard.

      > "This is true of the window controls shifting to the left,

      > Mac-style, in Ubuntu 10. You have to know, or

      > Google it, or download an Ubuntu "PowerTools" app to

      > put them back over to the right. A simple clear setting would help."

      I dunno. Mebbe you should use all of that experience using other operating systems and the inherent discoverability of the GUI concept to sort things out yourself. Sure, the bit with the window controls is a terribly annoying sort of apparently gratuitious UI change. However, finding the Ubuntu Theme manager is not rocket surgery.

      It's simply not that hard.

      Admittedly, some GUIs are harder than they should be and don't really aid the novice (Windows networking being a good example). However, this is not such a case.

  3. Mr Templedene

    I have been using

    Mandriva Linux as my primary OS for several years now, this PC "can" dual boot to windows but it's really so rare as to be months apart.

    Quite happy with it, because, as you state, it is "just there" doing what it should and letting me get on with my work. Occasionally I have to respond to an update reminder but it's less obtrusive and easier than the windows equivalent I see friends and family dealing with.

    I upgraded a friends laptop from a creaky vista install to mandriva and he's in non-techy heaven as his laptop is now so much faster.

    Unless there is no linux equivalent or wine compatible version of software you need to work, I really cannot see why a large proportion of people couldn't switch.

    (caveat, I don't play games)

    1. fandom Silver badge


      Just in case I would like to point out that KDE works much better in Mandriva compared to Kubuntu.

      For example in Mandriva the app to configure network cards actually configures network cards, I guess every Kubuntu developer uses DHCP or something.

      I did skip a few Mandriva releases though so that KDE 4 had the time to became usuable

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Nicely realised

    I don't get this snobbery i have seen in the past, over Ubuntu. "I'm a diehard Linux head, I used Spazware v0.00001 when it had no kernel and we were hardcoding the boot sequence by hand! Ubuntu is just like Windows. I want my life to be hard and never get anything done than building software from scratch!" Jesus!

    As you rightly said, computers are a means to a end, a way to get things done. I work in IT as an Oracle DBA/Unix SA and I use Ubuntu as my main desktop, plonked in front of it for 8-9 hours a day almost always running dozens of simultaneous multi-tabbed terminal windows, it has never ( touch wood! ) let me down. The Windows machine I have to have for Outlook has to be rebooted every 7 days, company rules. My Ubuntu box get rebooted once a month, usually just to ensure kernel updates are taken up OK. Ubuntu is simple, quick and slick with Gnome, it's just the ticket for maintaining terabyte sized DBs and dozens of servers.

    These daft planks deriding Ubuntu as "too easy", I thought we wanted more normal people to use it?! Thanks to Shuttleworth putting his large wad where is his mouth is, we finally get something useful and worthwhile which even the "norms" are using without issue, yet the planks still come and keep slating it as being "Linux for Dummies!".

    Well I am happy to be a simpleton, using my Mickey Mouse version of Linux! More power to your elbow Shuttleworth!

    1. lurker


      +1 to this. I actually am a diehard "former Spazware user" (actually, Slackware back when it came on 20-odd floppies) and I have used most of the distributions out there, compiled my own custom distro, developed on and supported linux professionally for years, etc. etc.

      But I don't want to HAVE to compile my own kernel nowadays. I can't be bothered to ./configure the source of every application myself to get some insignificant performance/smugness benefit from having done so. I never liked having to hack around with XF86Config in the first place.

      Frankly a lot of people I see slagging off ubuntu are themselves (I suspect) johnny-come-lately script kiddies who would like to feel that they are *nix experts because they have downloaded arch linux and had their hand held through the process of downloading/installing their OS from source. The bottom line (for me) is that linux/GNU is linux/GNU when you look under the hood, and I've never come across any problem on ubuntu that I couldn't resolve with a little tinkering under the hood or research on Google. For servers i'll stick with 'raw' debian, but for a desktop environment I am very happy with 'umbongo' because it is nicely set up out of the box, requires minimal fiddling in order to get to the point where it does everything I want from a desktop, it's well supported by an active and friendly community and, yes, it looks pwetty.

      1. Orclev

        Somewhat agreed

        Personally I have no problem with Ubuntu (and I used it for a while on my laptop), but for my day to day work programming I find Arch to be better simply because there's less hoops to jump through to get the latest dev snapshot of libraries installed. Yes you can do it on Ubuntu, but it often gets cranky when you do. Now, for my relatives, I never install anything but Ubuntu (and the one time I made the mistake of installing Kubuntu thinking they might like the flashy graphics), and it keeps things nice and simple for them. On one of my servers I'm running Gentoo, but in retrospect I probably should have gone with Arch as the whole emerge system is slightly unstable in practice.

        I think it's one of the great features of Linux that you don't have to start with a "one size fits all" version and tweak it till it somewhat resembles what you want. Instead you can get whatever distro happens to most closely match the experience you want, and then perform few if any tweaks to get it where you like.

        In a related note, just so no one accuses me of being a fanboy, I do run Windows 7 on my gaming system (and it gets along quite nicely thank you), and my wife owns a MacBook and an iMac, which do very well (so long as you do things the "Apple way", god help you if you deviate from how Jobs thinks you should be using his hardware).

  5. Kevin Pollock

    Still no Powerpoint alternative

    Hi Andrew,

    I very much enjoyed Part 1, looking forward to the next part.

    When Vista became such an embarrassment a couple of years back I was one of the guys in my company (I'm in the user community, not part of IT) who thought "what a great excuse to look at Linux". It was even more applicable when Office 2007 came out and seasoned office veterans were turned into Newbies overnight by the feckin' "Ribbon".

    I'd played with various Linux implementations over the years, but never found anything to do with them. It seemed that people run Linux just for the joy of running Linux. I guess it's OK for developers, or as a server, but there are no world class apps for the general population.

    So I tried it for laughs. I got no further than Open Office. What a pile of dingo's kidneys compared even with Office 2007. Open Office was the reason I persevered with the Ribbon, and have sort of, kind of got used to it.

    I was amused to read your words about BeOS...

    "The only two things BeOS didn't do was view PowerPoint presentations from PR people and text retrieval. But that was a problem for PR people, who got a polite message requesting a PDF version."

    Powerpoint is actually used by quite a few people. And the Open Office equivalent - Impress - is literally a joke. It does anything but impress me. I tuned into one of the developer forums for Impress, hoping to find out I'd installed it wrongly or something. But when I pointed out that animations were poorly implemented the forum moderator politely told me something like:

    "We won't be fixing this. I never use animations."

    After I'd finished laughing at the arrogance of this remark I promptly wiped the Linux installation and went back to Windows - with a greater sense of gratitude that, whatever Microsoft's faults, within Windows there are good quality office applications that actually do far more than the users need.

    I know Open Office is free. But again, this is a symptom of the Linux mentality. People will actually pay for good software. You don't have to put up with crap software just because it's free.

    I also realise that a lot of people work very hard to produce and maintain Open Office applications. I apologise if my remarks have upset them in any way, although I hardly think they're anything they haven't heard a thousand times before.

    My prejudices remain:

    - Linux is for developers and servers.

    - Macs are for content security consultants, and people who like shiny, expensive toys.

    - Windows is for ordinary users who need world class applications for office automation.



    1. Anonymous Coward


      Yeah, the OpenOffice forums are exceptionally unfriendly through and through. It seems to have come from people constantly posting threads with feedback on OpenOffice along the lines of 'It's great so far, but I can't use it properly unless you {add MS Office feature/make certain feature more like MS Office}' or heartfelt complaints about parts of OO that are just a bit broken, really.

      Now even forum moderators are quick to tell you that it Works For Me (tm), and perhaps you just need to get used to it.

      Me? Oh, I wanted to switch to OpenOffice. I still do. But whenever I try to create diagrams, the drawing logic puts me off quite a bit. Every time I try and draw a line and then let go of the mouse button the line appears, but half a millimetre or so below where I actually drew it. This is exactly the sort of 'feature' that inspires Mario-Kart-blue-shell levels of pure, unadulterated, primal rage and anguish, and makes me want to run into walls and open a root terminal with command dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda until the bad software goes away. Right up there with the Windows Update 'you have not restarted your computer yet' nagger, truly.

    2. blah 5

      One forum moderator soured you?

      "Powerpoint is actually used by quite a few people. And the Open Office equivalent - Impress - is literally a joke. It does anything but impress me. I tuned into one of the developer forums for Impress, hoping to find out I'd installed it wrongly or something. But when I pointed out that animations were poorly implemented the forum moderator politely told me something like:

      "We won't be fixing this. I never use animations."

      After I'd finished laughing at the arrogance of this remark I promptly wiped the Linux installation and went back to Windows - with a greater sense of gratitude that, whatever Microsoft's faults, within Windows there are good quality office applications that actually do far more than the users need."

      Agreed, many people rely heavily on PowerPoint, although it has been cogently argued that they're doing it wrong. (see Edward Tufte's essay on PowerPoint at for one of the best analyses around.)

      OpenOffice has improved with every version, including Impress. I've been successfully using it for years as my primary office productivity tool in a company with thousands of employees on Microsoft Office. Yes, that includes Impress's animations. Version 3.x's are much easier to use than earlier ones. I'd have to say that your forum moderator must have been overruled at some point. :)

      In my view, OO's biggest weakness today is the database component. The forms designer is missing features that were available in Paradox 20 years ago. OTOH, being better than Access isn't too tough, so I have hopes that the OO dev team will eventually get there.

      BTW, if you're interested in keeping up with open source office productivity tools without going through a Linux install, keep in mind that many of the really good ones are cross platform. You don't need to load Linux to check out OpenOffice, Abiword, or others.

      1. jake Silver badge

        @blah 5

        "many people rely heavily on PowerPoint"

        I, for one, have never in my entire life, met a single person who "relied on Power Point" who wasn't completely superfluous to the organization. As a consultant, if a middle-manager is introduced to me as "our Power Point expert", that manager is usually the first to be fired. Power Point has wasted more man-hours, more CPU cycles and more meeting-dollars than any other line of purely corporate bullshit that I can remember in my over a third of a century of trying to get Corporate America to work efficiently with computers.

        1. Mark 65 Silver badge


          So how do you do your sales presentations then? Every one I've ever been on the receiving end of has been delivered in powerpoint.

          1. jake Silver badge

            @Mark 65

            "So how do you do your sales presentations then?"

            I don't. I stopped all "marketing" around thirty years ago. These days, I get a phone call from a company about a job that needs doing, draw up a contract[1], and submit it. I don't even advertise anymore. No point, I turn down more work than I accept, even in this economic climate.

            "Every one I've ever been on the receiving end of has been delivered in powerpoint."

            I sit thru' a sales presentation once or twice a year (for purely political reasons). Yes, most of them were delivered using powerpoint. HGowever, to date, not a single one of them has told me anything useful that I didn't already know. Most of them were flat out a waste of the time of everyone in attendance, filled with lies & inconsistencies.

            [1] Usually on a model M keyboard attached to a 3151 terminal, no GUI even. Sometimes I'll print it out on a Daisy Wheel printer, if I know the contract will be read by an old timer ;-)

            1. Mark 65 Silver badge

              @Jake (again)

              So you'd probably agree that you're really quoting for your subset perspective whereby you may or may not like it rather than "the enterprise" (not a Star Trek reference) where it is common-place. I don't see a problem with the software just its use - trying to polish a turd with an animation, but that's marketing all over.

              1. jake Silver badge

                @Mark 65

                As the proverbial "thinking man", it's not a matter of like or dislike, it's a matter of "why!?" ...

                Powerpoint does nothing useful ... unless you consider keeping a boatload of otherwise useless middle-management employed "useful", that is.

                That middle-management includes both the "powerpoint experts", and the drooling sycophants who mindlessly nod at each new slide[1], every one carefully embossed with the company logo so the brain dead idiots can remember the name of the company they are working for or thinking[2] of purchasing from ... Does the name "Pavlov" ring a bell?

                And people wonder why Windows is endemic to the corporate desktop ... Boiling it down to basics, people don't want to think for themselves and Microsoft has the best marketing.

                [1] When I worked for Bigger Blue, back before the days of VisiCalc and Word Star, if middle management wanted to know how long it'd be before any given project would be finished, the stock answer from us techies was "We're still waiting on the results of the Perk Test[3]" ... the manager would mindlessly nod his head, usually slack jawed, and wander off. Many of them actually had open-ended bars on their hand-drawn Gantt charts labeled "Perk Test" ... the mind boggles.

                [2] For small values of thinking ...

                [3] Computing's a hurry-up-and-wait kinda career. Sometimes we need coffee ... but actually, I coined the phrase after a soils engineer came out to my property to evaluate the location I had chosen for my new leach field ;-)

          2. Kevin Bailey

            We use a TWiki

            You get a really easy to use page editor and you can set up links to other pages.

            You get to concentrate on content rather that messing about with form.

            You can upload images etc.

            But the key bit is that you don't have to follow a linear series of slides. You can link to different parts and jump between any parts you want. You can even allow your clients to have access to the doc from their own PC's.

            There are even much easier wiki's which can be used instead of TWiki.

          3. Bruno Girin

            @Mark 65 @Jake

            You actually talk to people and demonstrate your product rather than showing wizzy Powerpoint slides that tell them nothing.

            The best presentations I've ever seen either included no slides at all or if they did had a small number of slides with a small number of bullets on each that were just there to support what the presenter was saying. In any way, they didn't need any fancy animation stuff and could have been produced with anything like OpenOffice Impress or the Apple presentation software (can't remember the name). I have even seen some that were a set of HTML files displayed in a full screen browser.

        2. Kevin Bailey

          That's why Scott McNealy banned it from SUN

          He could see it was a waste of time.

          I seem to remember that Sun then went from losing hundred of millions of dollars to making a profit.

      2. RISC OS


        "Agreed, many people rely heavily on PowerPoint, although it has been cogently argued that they're doing it wrong. (see Edward Tufte's essay on PowerPoint at for one of the best analyses around.)"

        Yeah, I'll I'm sure my collegues well be pleased to hear that some dude called Tufte thinks that they are using PowerPoint incorrectly... they'll be sure to stop and change there ways just so that OOo could be used instead of MS Office.

        1. Mike Moyle Silver badge

          Edward Tufte

          Ummm... Edward Tufte isn't, AFAIK, connected in any way with OOo. His book, "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information" is -- or should be -- a bible for anyone creating informational graphics (including PPT slides).

          And FWIW -- if people are using PPT inappropriately, moving them to Impress won't help them. They'll still be making useless slides and reading them out loud to the audience. Tufte's point is about making them GOOD, after first determining if you actually NEED to make them at all.

    3. RISC OS

      Great post

      my experience and views on Linux/windows are the same as yours.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down


      Just one of the many things that is also *very* wrong with Powerpoint, along with things like the built in templates (another symptom of Microsofts legendary lack of taste). Powerpoint isn't a bad piece of software (it's not the best either; see Apple's Keynote for the contender to that title), but it is abused by too many people. To be fair, it's hardly Powerpoint's fault. In my experience, most people don't know how to present. With all due respect, mocking Impress' 'weak' animation presets would put you firmly in that camp. For those unsure of when to use animation in a presentation; that'd be *never*, along with not using bullet-points, over-crouding slides and clipart. And no, the corporate brand doesn't need to be on every slide.

      Gates Horns

      Windows is all about the vendor lock

      My prejudices remain:

      - Linux is for developers and servers.

      - Macs are for content security consultants, and people who like shiny, expensive toys.

      - Windows is for ordinary users who need world class applications for office automation.


      Windows is for people that feel they can't live without some bit of Windows only software.

      Everyone else can be easily acomodated by Linux or Macs depending on their comfort level with each or their willingess to pay for a Mac. Windows is still a mess when it comes to usability. MacOS has a better thought out design in many ways and Linux is built by users for users (perhaps not your sort though).

      Any time I try to do anything non-trivial I only end up with a renewed respect for Apple and a deep seated desire to erase Windows. Windows makes even simple stuff like network setup unnecessarily bothersome.

      If I haven't used Windows in some meaningful way for awhile I forget just how crappy it is.

      Here's to forgetting this weeks experimentation with Windows 7 MCE. '-p

  6. Chemist

    One of the nice things with Linux..

    is that there is variety. OK it may seem that there are too many distros but I, for one, welcome the possibilities. I use OpenSUSE 11.2/KDE 4.3 for my workstations, server and laptop but am happy to use Eeebuntu on my netbook.

  7. Andraž 'ruskie' Levstik


    I won't step on the bomb that is waiting to happen here. But I'll put it this way... if all you want to do is use your computer the way you want it and if the Ubuntu or Fedora or whatever else formula works for you. Great! Nice that you found your solution... Calling it the one true distro... no... we each have our own wants, needs and desires. I'm generally happy with most things packaged... but sometimes there's that one small tiny feature that nearly nobody will use and the maintainers won't enable and then... you need to build the stuff yourself.

    I guess I coud go on... but choice is good... so lets all have our own choices on how we want to run our systems and agree on that ;)

    1. Quirkafleeg

      One True Distro?


      With many One True Derivatives.

    2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      It's also one of the worst things about Linux

      I'm no expert with Linux so when I'm outside my comfort zone I ask my friends who are die-hard Linux users ( some sysadmins ) to take a look and they are invariably stumped when they come up against a distro they aren't familiar with, does things just a little bit different.

      "Under KDE you do this ...", is no good when it's Gnome ( and vice-versa ), "use RPM" is no good when that's not an available installer. And that's before we get to the plethora of user apps; "you are in a maze of tiny, twisty passages, all alike", but slightly different.

      At least most Windows users are all using a roughly similar base installation with a good commonality of the major applications. Linux, in the past, and to a good degree now, is like a mish-mash of running different versions of Windows, except worse.

      People are generally most familiar with what they use, no matter what it is they use. Ubuntu becoming a de-facto standard does go some way to relieving the issue, but only if people jump on-board, and it does appear that some are resistant to this. I can understand why, but it creates a disparate community ( especially a larger divide between techies and users ) which Windows and Mac do not seem to suffer so much from.

      Linux's big advantage can also be read as Linux's big disadvantage. My crystal ball suggest the desktop market will split into four camps; Windows, Mac, Ubuntu and numerous variants of Linux used only be techies, specialists and 'weirdos'.

      Mine's the one with pockets full of down-votes for daring to speak an uncomfortable and unwelcome truth :-)

      1. jake Silver badge

        @Jason Bloomberg

        Actually there is only one version of Linux. That would be the Linux kernel.

        There are various distributions of GNU/Linux, and derivatives, though. To be precise, three major varietals: Slackware, Debian and RedHat ... although I'm pretty sure that most folks would agree if I added SuSE to that list, as it left it's Slackware roots behind quite awhile ago. Yes, there are many other stand-alone distros out there, but they are bit players behind the Big Four.

        As for administration, a un*x is a un*x is a un*x. If you know what you are doing, admining them is pretty much the same. I admin my Mac OS[1] boxen the same as my Slackware boxen and my Vaxen (running BSD) and my Sun 3/470 "Pegasus" running a pre-Solaris SunOS (there are others, AIX, HPUX, Solaris, etc.). As a hint, I don't use a GUI for administration ... why bother slowing myself down?

        Remember, installing *buntu (or any other distro) doesn't make you a systems administrator any more than installing the "server version" of Windows makes you an admin. Likewise, the user interface is not the operating system ... Knowing one's way around a GUI or GUIs doth not an OS expert make.

        [1] Most people running Macs don't know it's a un*x ... and almost universally they freak out when you boot into single user to reset a forgotten password (for example).

  8. Anonymous Cowherder

    I'm cutting out windows too

    I'm fairly OS agnostic, I'll use whatever is "best for the job in hand", got a firm windows background but have been using linux every day for coming upto 3 years now.

    But I have decided to stop using windows where possible. I have used it since 3.11 and ran every version since apart from ME. I used to know 98 like a pair of well worn slippers but then loved 2000 before succumbing to XP. I didn't mind vista too much, it did what I needed it and Win7 is ok, better than vista but it isn't the user experience I want anymore.

    I don't want an action centre nagging me as it hasn't been able to run my AV, or that there are 4updates on top of the updates I installed the other day and you need a reboot now too do you? What do you mean libraries? I was happy with simple folders and directory structure, jeez, windows defender updates oh and you want to scan now do you? Well I only want to nip online for a second to find out which bins I need to out tomorrow and don't want to have to wait for you to scan, I'll do it next time I logon.

    Train of thought there but every time I turn my Win7 home pc I have to do something in addition to the thing I turned the pc on for in the first place. I work in IT, I fix computery things for a living, when I go home I want something that works so I don't have a busman's holiday every night.

    I use fedora during the day but it disagrees with my home pc so I stuck ubuntu on there the other night, dual booted with win7, just in case and I am addicted to my itunes play counts so still need windows sometimes.

    So far so good, I'll put up with a bit of config to get the pc how I want it then I can just leave it, will get the odd update but will get a much more hands-off experience and I will be in control of my pc not my OS telling me what it needs to do to just sit there.

  9. vegister

    university vs workplace

    linux is probably the most heavily used OS in universities (particularly in science faculties). the larger the network, the better, and far easier to manage than windows domains.

    windows is dominant in the office.(although not too long ago, Sun workstations were heavily used on trading floors, even with the high hardware costs of the time)

    so what happens between uni and the workplace? is it a desire to use the format everyone else is using (doc, ppt), or decisions made by pointy haired bosses, or fear of being different? or the vendor-installed windows-tax on PCs?

    1. Leo Maxwell

      trading floors?

      Read about MS software being dropped by the Uk stock market because buying a Linux company and writing their own app was actually cheaper by a factor of ten compared to paying MS license fees.The new app is an order of magnitude faster and more reliable.

      1. Mark 65 Silver badge

        @Leo Maxwell

        Not really a trading floor app though is it? It's the order management/execution/matching system used by the exchange. Why they used MS in the first place for this sort of thing puzzled me but they seem to have found a particularly poor vendor for the installation either way and might want to ask the NYSE who did theirs. However, what's used in the exchange matters not to what is used in the wild which will doubtless remain Windows - mainly because financial institutions have no impetus to change.

    2. Doug 3

      business decisions are no longer made by Lead Technologist

      previous to around 1995, businesses had on staff a lead Technologist position which management would rely on for software and hardware decisions. Management would hash out what they thought they needed or lay out the problem at hand and the Technologist would take that and build a plan from it. The plan was made based on using the best technology for the task and with and eye to solving the problem. These people were not afraid of making the wrong choice because they knew how to research the problem and provide hardware and software choices for a solution.

      In the middle '90s, Microsoft started flooding management magazines and journals with THEIR solutions and since it was marketing fluff, it only had a fraction of truth to it but it was the beginning of the end for the corporate Technologist position. Managers could throw together Power Point presentations based on Microsoft marketing materials showing how great things will be using Microsoft X, Y, and/or Z products. They could whip up an Access database and then tell their tech guys to make it better and start using it in the division. Managers even started dictating what programming languages and tools projects were to use. Who needs a Lead Technologist when Middle and Upper Management knew how it can be done.

      To some extent, these managers knew they knew very little but when their people could get an Access database to keep track of this and that and use it in the 12 person teams, these managers looked like super geeks at meetings. Now try to bring in something different than a nice pretty Windows machine to solve a problem better, faster, and cheaper and what you'll get is shown the door. You're a threat to that manager and you are probably now a threat to the whole department because it too is made up of people who only know one tool, Microsoft Windows.

      That is what happened between universities and the workplace. And because every now and then a business does find themselves with a closet geek who'll throw Linux and a LAMP stack on an old box somewhere, they signed deals with Novell to keep Linux inside of Windows hosted virtual machines. They also put aside millions of dollars to be used to help these businesses decide Windows was the better choice. I think sometimes, they even help get these rogue geeks fired as in when a certain security expert spoke out of turn.

      In the '90s, Microsoft was also doing things like talking to Intel and advising them to close various unfriendly software projects. They enticed HP to pull a dozen or so PC's from a computer showroom floor the night before the opening of the show because it ran an unfriendly OS. Little things like that happen on the way from the University to the Workplace.

      da granade, because so many have no clue what really hit them.

    3. Marvin the Martian

      What happens between uni and workplace?

      What happens is that there's just many years between uni and "can decide wholesale tech change for company", and luckily in those years either realism sets in or you get fired.

      Many uses still cry over the appearance of the "ribbon" in Office, upsetting their whole working lives, so good luck making them use OpenOffice and the whole kaboodle.

      Yeah, not all users have gone to uni, and those who did may have hated the unix they got subjected to there. I hated the Oberon ("It's a programming language --- and an OS!") I got subjected to, and its crashes especially during practical exams, as well as the linux (pine, netscape, and badly configured latex as only used software) and some other stuff in other years/locations.

  10. Uwe Dippel
    Thumb Up

    Yep. But 'no' on KDE

    I fully understand the passage about KDE and 4.0. Though it shows that you haven't actually grasped the 'serious, solid, German engineering' concept. And you're not to be blamed. It is kind ahead of its time; and it is implemented in a lousy, quite unstable, partially inconsistent and absolutely not 'serious, solid, German engineering' quality.

    It does offer the traditional, overflowing, one-dimensional, easy-accessible and desktop-cluttering panel as well, that you're used to. Though maybe the future is different? What about a 2-dimensional or even 3-dimensional interface?

    That is a serious paradigm shift. Maybe it will take you another 10 years, to see this in retro-perspective.

    As a hint: I for one have no more panels; no, no auto-hide. No panel, not at the top and neither at the bottom of the screen. It was an experiment on myself. My head hurt. But after some months, I'm most happy to have dumped the cluttered crutches that used to help me operating my system for the last 15 years, called panels. To me, it's history, and happily forgotten.

    1. Chemist

      Re : Yep. But 'no' on KDE

      KDE 4.3 is rock solid on all my machines. (5)

  11. TecTerra
    Gates Halo

    Not for me it doesn't

    It seems that everybody has no problem whatsoever installing Ubuntu.

    Now, I'm no newbie but I couldn't get it to work on my hardware.

    As Kevin Pollock 12:23 already pointed out: My prejudice remains

  12. Mountford D

    Ubuntu is NOT for geeks and here's why

    I went Windows-free two years ago and can honestly say I have not had a single problem since. The machine gets switched on and it works. Just like turning on the TV, which works until you switch it off.

    For that reason, it is the ideal system for the novice user as they will never have to fix it or rely on the plethora of anti-this and anti-that. Naturally, this will be too boring for geeks, anyone who likes investigating system malfunctions and those who see malware removal as the challenge of a lifetime.

    On the other hand, if they used Ubuntu or some other flavour of Linux, they could devote their free time to the Open Source community and fixing the diabolical Mail Merge facility in Open Office and give us an Access compatible equilvalent instead of us having to rely on CrossOver Office.

    1. Chemist

      Re : Not for me it doesn't

      Sorry you are having problems.

      You've not given any indication what they consist of. It's really rather rare to not be able to get some kind of running system

      3 suggestions

      1) Ask on an Ubuntu forum - giving as much detail and saying that you are new to this

      2) Use a LiveCD and see if you can get a running system without committing to an install

      3) Install Virtualbox on Windows and install Ubuntu to that. - this should remove any problems with odd graphics cards or wifi

      1. Mark 65 Silver badge


        I'd just add that the live cd trial isn't always convincing as I've seen several installs (mainly laptops, but one desktop) work on it then have a missing network connection (usually wireless) requiring a firmware install once the OS is on the hard drive. It shouldn't happen, but it does.

        1. Chemist

          @Mark 65

          Using a LiveCD is a good way of finding that out. I had a laptop where the wireless didn't work straight off - so I put a PCMCIA wireless card in - that worked fine - so I carried on with the install. I'm writing this on it now.

    2. Tony Smith 1

      Defo not for geeks!

      My kids used to have a Windows PC.

      Every 3 months it would be 'Dad, the PC's gone funny'.... cue a format and reinstall to get rid of all the spyware/virus'/toolbars etc that had installed themselves. Followed by a backup of all their files and an apology cos I could never figure out where IE stored their favorites.

      3 years ago I switched them to Linux.....

      Since then I've not had ONE SINGLE CALL for support :-)

      It just works :-)

  13. ske1fr
    Thumb Up

    Who are you and what have you done with the real Andrew Orlowski?

    Have you changed your meds, Andrew? This isn't at all like you, arch-castigator of all things freetard-like. I actually resurrected my dormant Reg account for this. Looking forward to see where you go with this.

    KDE 4. Sigh. Yes, as a long-time user of Kubuntu since 6.06 and a lover of 8.04 with KDE 3 I'd got everything I needed (apart from decent photoprinting support but let that pass). Then I decided to move on and installed 10.04. How long did it take me to realise that I couldn't get the date in the clock display to become a readable size while the time display stayed suitable for someone without a visual handicap, or wrapped around to the top of the screen while the rest of the bar stayed at the bottom? Too long. Where is everything? Why is the launcher so pants? why can't I find any of my old programs in KPackagekit

    That chuffing cashew nut.

    I tried the netbook variant on my netbook and was underwhelmed. The Ubuntu variant though? Nice. Likewise the Ubuntu desktop version. Even the Lubuntu desktop looks and acts like something you can work with, not a lifestyle accompaniment.

    Dear KDE developers, stop trying to be Mac-like and be yourselves. Lead, don't follow. And let a few civilians see what you're planning before you throw the baby out with the version 3 bathwater.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Who are you and what have you done with the real Andrew Orlowski?

      I don't believe you. You're new here, aren't you? :)

  14. andy 103

    Still got a long way to go

    My first experience of Linux was in 2002. I was studying for a degree in computer science and it was on the lab PC's. I remember downloading Redhat (version 7.3 I think) and couldn't even get it installed on my laptop, so never bothered with it on my own machine!

    Things have moved on a long way since then and the installation process is much easier. Being able to try a "live CD" is convenient too - all of that wasn't available 8 years ago. I think people like Mark Shuttleworth have done good in getting rid of stupid messages and asking people stuff they don't understand just to get it installed.

    But there are still several key problems which existed with it in 2002 which haven't changed at all. Firstly, and to repeat some of the comments above, it's fine to use it if you're a developer or are dealing with other people using Linux. But if this isn't the case it's not practical for real life, every day use in an office/workplace environment. I know people have done loads of work to get file converters working so you can open files from a Windows machine on a Linux machine, but there's still a long way to go. Also this thing about there being equivalent apps for Linux and Windows or MacOS - is just not the case, otherwise of course more people would bother with it. The second point is that the attitude and mentality of hardcore Linux users is that their way is always right and they will often justify their arguments without thinking about the real-life, every day practicalities of using such an operating system.

    Compared to using Linux 8 years ago, it's in a much better place. But there is still such a long way for it to go, in both technical terms and the attitude of its community (as will probably be noted by people modding down this comment!).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This is largely, but not solely...

      an issue about open standards. We've seen how money can pervert a standards body.

      The corporations that cause these issues understand, very well, that without OS lock in many customers would move to other mostly more secure OSs.

      So, unless and until there is a government elected in a large enough country, economically powerful enough country, to demand that open standard are functional and implemented there will be no change.

      Unless an open source office system surpasses that other wide used office system. I truly hope that day is sooner that later.

      1. carlleigh

        Simply require support of standard file formats.

        ppsx should look and work the same in Microsoft Office as it does in Impress, if it doesn't it is probably the fault of Microsoft, the programs are saving files with a slightly modified format - remember standards may be published binaries are not or a feature in the Powerpoint file format hasn't been implemented yet in Impress. Being standard and published it should be added by the programmers at OpenOffice.

        Do you get it? Create in Power Point test in Impress. Create in Impress test in Power Point.

        If you are a company I own stock in you better be working on saving money. If you have a person that can't do it with Impress maybe you should be retiring the old fellow or gal and hiring someone that is more flexible/capable/younger.

        If you are a Government agency it is obvious that incompatibility is a part of the Microsoft offering. My advice - require standard and open file formats. 100% of your users should be able to open it now and probably 100 years from now. If you go with proprietary and slyly changing formats you will find that many of your users cannot use your service or open your files.

        For example: in the United States I suspect that Obama could publish an executive order directing the executive branch of the Government to use standard open file formats and that would be it.......

    2. Leo Maxwell

      Not practical in the real world?

      Our customer service staff have been using Suse Linux, with various applications, including Evolution and OOo, for 4 or 5 years now.

      With NO issues at all, apart from the advent of office 2007 and its new file format, which also caused problems for our Windows users.

      Now they use Ubuntu 10.4, and love it.

  15. Al fazed

    Can you stand the insults

    when you use the forums ?

    I got fed up with standing in penguin shit whilst trawling for solutions that just aren't there.

    How happy am I running a PC that won't; play MP3's even after installing the codex, fucks up printing documents from Open Office, shows Flash ads in Seamonkey but not Google maps !

    Maybe Ubuntu 10 is better than earlier versions, but I don't really care any more. I wasted far too much time and still saw my OS disappear, far too many times for a "stable" release.

    Compared to Windows, I was saving money, but I was burning far too much midnight oil, just trying to fix basic things like getting music files to play, without flaws.

    I'm now suffering the slings and arrows of OpenSuse 11 rather than buy a new machine with another Microsoft mash-up OS, but OpenSuse 11 is still wanting when considering the basic requirements of most Microsoft Windows users.

    Maybe like MS, only the latest hardware will comply ? But I doubt that is the reason.

    I think that when any Linux distro finally does get it together and provides what the Microsoft and Apple user wants, without quibble, be that MP3, M4A, or whatever, flying the flags and lighting the fireworks should be saved until then.

    Otherwise, there is the chance that people will think that the penguin brotherhood are just crying wolf.

    Again !



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