back to article Linux risks netbooks defeat to Microsoft

Ubuntu-based things do well in tech circles, but the consumer space is different, as gOS discovered when Wal-Mart blamed poor demand from baseball caps and mullets for its decision to stop selling Linux-loaded PCs. David Liu, chief executive of Emeryville, California-based gOS, is undaunted. Indeed he is optimistic that Linux …

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  1. amanfromMars Silver badge
    Linux

    Circular Logic

    Mr Liu,

    Sponsor a Champion championing the System, leaving Windows in ITs Wake. An Out of this World Suggestion which makes a Lot of Common Sense.

    And if IT Cracks Windows too because of exposure of Inherent Business Intelligence Faults in its Programming which open source/Open Source has avoided with its Model, then so be it..

    As the other article, here today on the Register, highlights ...... http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/08/09/defcon_speakers_sued/ ....... ignoring major defects doesn't fix them and thinking that defects should remain when they are known, just because they are an inconvenience which hits the bottom $ line, just isn't an option. It smacks of trying to keep people dumb rather than sharing the SMARTs. And that is Totally Illogical and Perverse too when it is All for the Love of Money Root.

    Penguins don't have Money and they do no Evil to Man or Beast or Environment which is QuITe SMART. Man on the other hand has trouble doing anything Right, with artificial obstacles put in his way by other men, invariably, which is Real Dumb.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Where's the analysis?

    Not a good picture, not the best article.

    Microsoft have a monopoly on desktops and laptops primarily because of their business practices. For example, to get a Windows licence at a sensible price, manufacturers like Dell and HP have to commit to pay for a Windows licence on every unit they sell, even if it ships without a Microsoft OS.

    Does the article tell us whether the same monopolistic business practice applies to PDAs, netbooks, appliances, set top boxes, etc? No it doesn't. Does it point out that it was Microsoft that ended "choice" in the world of the handheld PC/PDA market? Who remembers the HP Jornada 720? I do. Smaller than a subnote, and given today's technology a modern equivalent could have been an Asus-killer *and* a Nokia-killer. But MS killed the relevant variant of Windows CE, and now Windows Mobile is all they talk about (though Windows CE does still exist if you look hard enough, and are happy with the choice of ARM, ARM, ARM or ARM hardware, rather than ARM, MIPS, etc...).

    Instead, the article covers in the depth the whinges of yet another distro supplier (one my 10+ years of Linux-fiddling, from set-top-box to datacentre, have never previously uncovered?). The People's Liberation Front in Life of Brian had nothing on the thousands of fools who argue among themselves for who's got the one true best-for-everyone Linux, without being able to see who the real enemy is.

    If you want some Linux coverage with bite, how about digging into how companies like MontaVista and others can make money out of GPL software while not making their GPL-derived software freely available as legally required by the GPL? The "Busybox hall of shame" used to do something like this but eventually gave up (they had a product to ship, and they probably had lawyers calling them too).

    Could do better. Fixed in the next major release?

  3. Charles Silver badge

    Barrier of entry

    The biggest problem Linux faces in the end-user world is that there are tons of compelling reasons to stick with Windows (the giant product library), but the most important one is not a product but a service. For Linux, the only way you'll get an average end-user to accept your product is to make it "turnkey" simple: turnkey as in you turn it on and it goes with no intervention on the user's part--and no matter what the user's machine presents to the OS. But the Linux world's base philosophy of customizability ultimately clashes with this simplicity--many kinds of customization leads to information overload for most people, causing them to balk.

  4. Patrick O'Reilly
    Gates Horns

    He's right you know.

    There are currently no linux based Small and Cheap PC's available on pcworld.co.uk they're all the windows versions.

  5. Doug Glass
    Go

    Hot Dayaam !!

    I didn't realize the ball cap wearing, mullet topped NASCAR lovin' boys (and gals) had such clout in the market.

    All they gotta do to fix this broke thang is have Ubuntu associated with chewing tobacco, cheap beer, and pickup trucks and Linux will blow the wheels off the Windows tank as it flies by.

  6. Mark
    Gates Horns

    Re: Barrier of entry

    Linux is pretty much "turnkey". Windows is much, MUCH further from turnkey. That line is a load of complete bollocks.

    What's the problem is that MS sit on propriatory protocols and butt-widening EULA and license costs to make non-MS software unusable:

    Exchange: Works with MS blessed closed source apps. And non-MS apps blessed are always late to the game because MS writes the server to fit their other programs and after all the work THEN tells others who pay mucho dinero for blessings how to rewrite their app.

    AD: Works with the *correctly versioned* blessed OS.

    MSOffice: Obscured format even MS don't understand (but get to take years developing the new version in secret so they can get something that "works" even if they don't understand why). Doesn't even work with other MS apps and barely consistent with the same MS Office version on a different machine.

    Sharepoint: Another hook to tie beancounters who get OTHER PEOPLE to write their documents (and reformat again AND AGAIN) into MSOffice. Works with only The Blessed.

    Server CAL: Pay for a windows license even if there's no windows. No financial advantage and you get "that configuration is not supported" so lose your "enterprise grade" support contract. Nice.

    EULA: Squeal little piggie! May not even be allowed to connect heterogenic systems together.

    So for businesses, non-linux is sabotaged from as many directions as MS can manage to make it hard to go non-Windows on *anything*.

    For the home market, either your ISP only supports Windows/IE, your bank only supports ActiveX/IE or you have more than one computer so if you've invested in Windows, MS are going to make it hard for you wherever possible.

    THESE are the reasons why Linux (and Apple) don't take off: not utility, usability, cost or power. MS already have their dick so far down your throat there's no room for anything and you can't talk loud enough to be heard.

  7. Andrew Cockbill

    Less choice please

    Linux could obliterate MS in this space....if there was one single distribution that everyone worked on to make it the obvious de facto choice for SCC's. From a technology point of view, it is the correct decision as it needs less resources to provide a compelling experience.

    Unfortunately the very nature of linux development works against them. Every developer has their own opinion of what would be best, and merrily makes there own ideal system, which almost always bears no relation to what the average person wants.

    People actually crave 'simplicity' this is sad, as computers are not simple, and never have been. This means that people actually crave familiarity, which leads them inexorably to choosing the thing that most closely resembles what they have. Offering thousands of different distributions all subtly different is not a good idea, it is in fact identical to the marketing scam used by large telecoms companies to confuse punters into buying the wrong contract. People are utterly paralysed by choice when they cannot process the differentiating factors....

    Have one system that everyone can come to understand, standardise on it...sure keep all that customisability so that us geeks and the teenagers can play, but make it simple and consistent at first glance. People want to buy a toaster, not a multifaceted bread grilling appliance.

    And I say this all as a happy penguin lover...just a realistic one

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Linux and the windows user

    I've heard so much about Linux that I decided to try it, (being a non techie windows user(able to install and uninstall windows)--I bought a version of Linux at wall mart, ($22.00 was never able to install it, try as I might, there were just things i didn't understand.

    I would try again BUT it doesn't play the microsoft games my grandchildren love to play and what about my Age of the Empires?

    Gentlemen if linux installed at least as easy as windows then u'd have a go getter, allthough i still think it's gonna hafta play games that run on windows.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    When will OSS types finally realise the truth of this....

    OSS in itself means Jack to end users outside the 0.05% of people to whom it's the be all and end all. And it's that 0.05% of people that are the public face of Linux.

    As I type, I can feel the red mist starting to decend, but time and time again I see (and read) OSS "advocates" banging on about how preferable OSS is, for so many reasons, before completely missing the point that, to any market of any size it's completely unusable on the desktop - untidy, picky and, worst of all, inconsistent in operation. Reliable it may be, but if in practice that means that it'll confuse me every time in exactly the same way then reliability is a moot point.

    These same types then sneer that those that don't understand why all that's far less important than the "danger" or using a closed source OS or App and finally to complete their unintentional self-parody pass some lamer than lame comment that emacs users are complete w@nkers, or such like...

    It makes me so, so cross, because Microsoft have no right to own any market, their software isn't great, it isn't robust, but they focus on marketing it and delivering in as best they can. They get away with substandard delivery for two reasons:

    1. Steve Jobs is quite happy where he is thanks very much

    2. The OSS community is far happier comparing and categorising navel fluff than acutally delivering a consumer (and some would say enterprise too) desktop

    Now that might just be a failure on the part of "the community" to engage with the market in the correct way, but for the most part I think it's just the lack of a critical mass of OSS fans that actually have the sense to understand the point.

    Small factor machines won't be bought by hobbiest users who are moistening up at the thought of learning how to use a Shell. They'll be bought by people actually wanting to be productive, and the Linux Desktop currently (and probably never) doesn't come close to cutting it.

    "But it's free as in beer" is just a hopeless message, a laudable one, but hopeless as a tool to win hearts and minds from the windows world.

    So guys, a few requests...

    Could we have a single standard desktop environment? One that people can develop to style for? So Apps work in a consistent manner?

    How about say 3 or 4 key applications in each genre that compete with their Win/OSX counterparts rather than dozens of alpha stage packages?

    How about targeting to reduce the instances of forced use of the Shell?

    And there's the rub, OSS advocates will read my requests in horror - unthinkable, heracy!

    Without those things Linux will remain in the Comms room. Which is a pity, because there, where it has all the tools it needs it excels.

    And that of course it why Desktop Linux will still be "right around the corner" in another 10 years and why Linux devs will remain the very definition of busy fools.

  10. Vendicar Decarian
    Boffin

    Lintards never learn

    Lintards and Unitards will never get it.

    After 30 years of Unix/Linux failure they are undaunted in maintaining the same old brain damaged philosophy that perpetrated the initial failure.

    If Linux can't make any headway when it's up against Vista then what does that say about it ever becoming something other than a 30 year long running gagg?

    Ahahahahahahahah

    My last experience with Linux was installing Ubuntu 6.whatever.

    It pestered me for several days to update the OS. And finally when I gave it permission, the updates Cacked all over the OS.

    F.L.U.S.H

    Linux, the never ready for prime time OS.

    Vendicar Decarian

  11. Don Mitchell

    Windows vs. Ersatz Windows?

    I don't think the open source community really gets consumers or has ever card about them. It cares about owning the space that Microsoft (and Apple) built.

    People buy PCs, not to sit and admire the operating system or to feel part of some political mass movement. They are practical, they want to run games and applications, and they want to be compatable with most other computer users. That means windows, and it has little to do with "microsoft's business practices", it's pure momentum.

    To break into this space, Linux would have to offer a radically new and better technical solution and offer a big collection of innovative games and applications. It comes nowhere near doing that. Systems like Ubuntu are at best an ersatz copy of windows functionality and look-and-feel that isn't compatable enough to run any of the standard apps.

  12. Bruce
    Linux

    Inaccurate statements

    The statement:

    "From a general operating system perspective - there's still a lot of packages to download"

    Is flat wrong.

    I have Fedora Core 5 installed on my Dell M60.

    GIMP - free photoshop like image editor - included.

    Firefox - Explorer equiv - included.

    C++ compiler/debugger - included.

    OpenOffice - included.

    **This is not the complete list of what is included. Just do a custom install and select everything to find out.

    With Windows, I would have had to buy and install the OS, followed by Photoshop, Visual Studio, MS Office. With FC5, it was all in one distro.

    On a side note: The power management on FC5 seems to work better than the power management on Windows when running battery only. My notebook's battery lasted longer on a flight when I was running FC5 than windows.

    I think the "Anonymous Coward" at the first posting slot, is correctly stating the real reason. It doesn't cost anything additional for the vendors to supply a notebook with Linux.. unless Microsoft is requiring all have Windows installed as part of their 'bargain'.

  13. Martin Owens

    A problem

    The real problem is the lack of law enforcement against Microsoft's illegal business practices. The fact that Linux can make any headway is like watching one of those hero guys from Japanese cartoons that seem to never be defeated against super, giant, ultra fighting things from space.

    People will move to Linux, now we can push ubuntu I'm confident that it'll win out in the end. It's not like we could die of irrelevance when the mac and windows worlds are so poor at giving people ownership.

  14. Drew
    Joke

    It's the Channel, stupid

    Useability is not a barrier, it's a red herring. If useability was an issue, we'd all be using Macs.

    How do you install MS Office on MS Windows? (The simplified version)

    1. Search for an online vendor, choose one

    2. Look at the licensing options.

    3. Spend an hour or two figuring out the best and cheapest out of a dozen or so licensing options.

    4. Get out your credit card.

    5. Purchase from online store (a multi-step process in itself).

    6. Wait for a couple of days.

    7. Open box, insert disk.

    8. Install software.

    9. Enter 365-digit "license key" to "activate" the software (should Microsoft deign to allow it.)

    10. Reboot

    11. Go out and earn the $500+ that Visa is gonna bill you next month.

    12. Use software

    How to install OpenOffice on Linux? (In full)

    1. Type "yum install openoffice"

    2. Use software.

    Windows: 12 steps (at least!), 2 days

    Linux: 2 steps, half an hour.

    Now tell me again how Linux suffers from poor useability.

    The REAL barrier is the sales channel. Getting them to sell Linux devices

    would involve CHANGE and they don't like that. Channel sales people are bottom feeders, they won't put any effort in. If they can't find the SKU inside a minute, they won't bother.

    Stay on the path, follow the crowd, don't stand out, don't make waves.

    Should they sell Windows and the standard add-ons at 10% margin?

    Or should they sell Linux and make 100% margin on helpdesk and services?

    Oh, no. That's too hard. They'll stick with the 10% they know. W*nkers.

    Windows is NOT easier to use, it's just more familiar.

    Now bugger aff and gie us peace.

    Joke Alert? The channel is a joke.

  15. Svantevid
    Happy

    @Charles

    "For Linux, the only way you'll get an average end-user to accept your product is to make it "turnkey" simple: turnkey as in you turn it on and it goes with no intervention on the user's part"

    From the perspective of someone who had to install Windows and Ubuntu OSs, Ubuntu is easier to install and maintain/upgrade... everything the average user needs is already there, and there's a centralized update that covers every one of your programs. As a bonus, I don't have to restart my PC every time I download an update, an XP "feature" which for some reason seriously bothers me. I don't see how it could get any simpler than that, barring the OS that can read users' minds.

  16. Simpson

    Linux Therapy

    You come in here every few months and say that you want to make more friends. You say that you want everyone to like you and get along with you. Every few months, you say that you are ready. That you have changed.

    But it is always the same result.

    You go to the party and you expect everyone to love you, just because you are there. If they don't tell you how great you are, you get angry and start calling people names, knock things over, cause a scene, and storm out.

    Then you come in here and start complaining on how bad they treated you, and say you are never going back. But if they don't invite you to their parties, you complain about that too. Then call the host and ask if you can go to the party.

    Why do you keep doing this?

    When you went to Joe's party, you refused to play any games with his kids. Not even monopoly. You kept insisting to play linopoly, but they didn't know what that was, because you just made it up yesterday. When Joe asked what the problem was, you started screaming "JOE SIX PACK", "JOE SIX PACK" and "YOU'RE KIDS ARE DUMB". This sort of behavior doesn't help you. Why would he invite you back to his house?

    When none of the guests at Mr. WalMart's party would talk to you, you got on the microphone and said "You are all mouth breathers. I'm out", and left the party. This sort of behavior doesn't help you.

    You always tell me what great friends you are with Mr. R.P.M. and Mr. D.E.B. But just the other day, Mr. R.P.M. was in here and he said that he saw you and Mr. D.E.B. out together. He went over to say hi, but you pretended you didn't even know him... You told him that you didn't remember him... That you might know him through Mr. Package, but that you wouldn't even talk to him if Mr. Package wasn't at the table with you and Mr. D.E.B. That's just crazy.

    You need to introduce your friends to each other and get along, you can't just focus on the person you came with. That sort of behavior angers and confuses the people around you.

    And that one popular girl.. You know the one. The one that used to pretend that you didn't exist. You need to get over her. You guys have a lot of the same friends. These new people you want to meet, they all know her. You can't force your new friends to pick sides. If you try to, they will pick her. You may think she is a shallow slut, but she is popular. While you my friend, are an arrogant, prick.

    You have a choice to make.

    If you want to get along with everyone, you need to change. You can't keep calling everyone dumb and expect them to change to fit your needs, people just don't like that. You will need to change to fit everyone.

    If this will not work for you, stop trying to be someone you are not. Stop worrying about all the people who don't like you. Stop being angry at them and calling them dumb. Accept who you are, and try to enjoy the friends that you already have.

  17. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Oh, and hey.

    I wasn't even thinking here. See my last post. Here's the quote I'm replying to:

    "From a general operating system perspective - there's still a lot of packages to download. That's not something you are going to see my mom use," Mann said bluntly. "Until it gets to the point where it's drop-dead simple or devices lock down functionality, you aren't going to see much uptake among consumers."

    Pick, say, Dell, OK? Multi-million dollar company. You order a system with Windows, they send you a blank computer and a Windows install disc, right?

    Uh-uh.

    They probably have a special DEPARTMENT of people who spend all their time generating installed Windows images, generating recovery discs, checking to make sure all the drivers work, and so on. (Not saying they don't make mistakes, just suggesting that somebody is doing that as their job. Full-time. Probably several somebodies.)

    OK, let's assume for a moment that some company (like Dell) gets serious about Linux. Are they going to hand you a blank computer and an install disc? No, they're going to pre-install Linux for you. All those packages that Mann bluntly said you have to download? Well, like what? Give me an example.

    There's no reason Dell can't generate install images for Linux that includes all the functionality of a Windows machine, including a virus scanner and a firewall if you really want. (Oh, and, um, a free Office suite.)

    Why assume that Dell MUST only ship the default install, and that it will require massive package downloads? Oh, patches, yeah. But Windows needs that too, so there's no difference there.

    (I just installed ClamAV. I admit that it took an extra click and typing in my password more than I said in my last post. Mea culpa. But it took about 30 seconds to start the install. And that's on a REALLY slow old laptop.)

    So: assuming Mom is your average user, she needs web, e-mail, maybe IM, maybe Office, maybe a printer, maybe a reader for PDF files. OK, the printers are tricky, though God knows why, but that's a rant for another time. So load it up with installed drivers for all the printers you're currently selling.

    It's NOT THAT HARD, people. I really wish people would stop assuming that Microsoft somehow has a monopoly on usability.

  18. Nexox Enigma

    HP / Suse experience

    I got one of those HP mininotes recently, and I let it take me through the Suse out of box experience. I was rather surprised that they hadn't actually set up the OS for the device - I had to select screen resolution and all sorts of technical stuff. Not that I minded, since after I grabbed the useful-looking config files I reformatted and installed Slackware, but I can see how this could confuse some people.

    And it isn't exactly difficult to make a Linux image thats at least partially pre-configured for each type of machine you sell. Seems like an obvious thing to do, really. Then again the HP guys said that they fully expected people to install their own distro as soon as they got the notebook.

  19. Herby Silver badge

    We should all contribute to a Linux AD campaign

    Lots of Linux users, each front $1.00 towards a BIG media (TV) campaign. Better than those "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" sillyness (even if they are true to some extent).

  20. Darryl

    Nice to see they're not just copying Windows anymore

    That screenshot looks like a pretty faithful OS-X rip-off. Do the icons on the 'dock' bounce up and down too?

  21. Flocke Kroes Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Plenty of time

    "too many packages to download" on a pre-installed Linux box? Amanfrommars is more coherent.

    For years, manufacturers would not pre-install linux. Now that there reviews of Linux machines, distributors will not sell them. So what if it takes another few years for distributors to give Linux machines an equal place on their websites. The market will still be there and Microsoft will still be losing market capitalisation.

    @Charles: End users do not want a giant product library. They may want a few specific things and get pushed into Windows because of one of them. If someone wanted a really enormous software library, they would use Linux. As the article says: there are too many packages to download. Even Microsoft have caught on to the fact that people are not making enough software for Vista for them to claim there is a giant product library - hence all the news that Microsoft are failing to get free software programmers to develop for Vista.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Half right...

    Maybe not on pcworld.co.uk but I've just come home with a new Linux Acer Aspire One that I bought in the shop itself. :-)

    (Having said that I'm about to spend a diverting afternoon putting Ubuntu on it anyway, which I suppose is partly the problem...)

  23. Stan

    Depends on the point of view

    He is right, things are moving very quickly at the mo and open source has to do it's best to keep up but there are a few other points that have a big influence on the issue.

    Windows Calculator Edition (or whatever it's called now) is the best thing they have for small devices and it just doesn't cut it. MS will already have a system in development for lower powered devices but even if they rush it out of the door its not going to be here any time this year and it will be a beta at best judging by any of their other recent releases.

    Big names are involved now. Steve harping on about the 300 unidentified patents means sweet FA when it's the responsibility of the supplier and the supplier is dell, HP, IBM etc. Now these folks are involved hardware manufacturers can no longer ignore linux as it is most definitely mainstream now and has a clear and well defined set of sales figures to state just how much business they are loosing by ignoring it. ATI and nvidia are already getting into a pissing contest over who loves linux more and this is only the start of it.

    Software companies are under no illusions that MS will be king until hell freezes over and most major names have made it clear they are getting ready for an emerging market. Even games companies are paying attention, notice how many new titles "just work (tm)" with wine? Almost as though they have included it in their test process.

    The biggest potential threat isn't MS, it's apple. The devices are changing and so is the way we use them and apple does know a thing or two about making nice interfaces. If apple where to widen it's target market a few notches lower then they could really clean up and leave open source more or less dead in the water, plus they have already been saber rattling about their new ultra-portable so there is a good chance system is more or less ready.

    Either ways MS has already dropped the ball with that godawfull thing called vista, by the time they come up with something usefull and modern that can run on low powered hardware they will be lucky if they can even see the ball any more. The ironic part is Bill Gates actually got this one right when he predicted a rise in tablet PC's yet MS are the ones left behind.

  24. marc
    Linux

    Not enough money in it

    Unlike Windows, Linux doesn't require £100 worth of add-on software to get up and running. Retailers rely on this to stay in business.

    Also consumers don't mind paying for software. Being able to walk into a shop or order a piece of boxed software and a manual , something that you know will work (because you have Windows version 'X') is much better than using some obscure command (aptget) to install some piece of half-baked ammature software (let's face it, a lot of it is..!) that might or might not work, and may not be compatible with your work PC. Apart from Mozilla and Netbeans, I can't think of much open source that rivals proprietary alternatives. Open Office is certainly not as good as MS Office.

    Despite it's flaws, Windows works and it's a defacto. This is better than 30% of people using Mac, 40% using Windows and the other 30% using various Linux distributions.

    Companies don't mind paying either. Even £30 grand a year for all their software that they know will work. For them it's like an employee that works 365 days a year, and never phones in sick. Bargain.

  25. Gene Cash Silver badge
    Stop

    Who cares?

    I don't care if "Linux dominates the desktop" or "Linux dominates the PDA/subnotebook" as it certainly dominates my desktop and my Nokia N800.

    I use Linux exclusively at work at home because I Need To Get Shit Done and Windows always craps out when I depend on it.

    I honestly don't give a damn if anyone else uses Linux, or Windows, or Mac or whatever.

  26. Volker Hett
    Gates Horns

    If I could lay my hands on a Linux Netbook ...

    I'd buy it, but here they have only Windows equipped ones.

    Billy because he's behind it

  27. Henry Wertz Gold badge

    @Charles

    Product library: You're right. This is the MAJOR reason Windows isn't just dead by now -- it's simple inertia. "All" software's made for Windows, so people keep getting Windows; people get Windows, so "all" software is made for Windows.

    As for Linux needing to be made more turnkey, this problem is more perception than reality. Take an Ubuntu install, or several other modern and complete distros*, and stuff plugs in and just works MUCH more frequently than under Windows. You don't even need to pop in a driver CD! As new hardware comes out, regular distro updates make that hardware also out-of-the-box supported. But, people read about the horror stories*2 where stuff DOESN'T work, assume that's normal, and conveniently overlook the horror stories of Windows setups gone wrong.

    I've installed 1000's of copies of Ubuntu (7.04, 7.10, 8.04, and now 8.04.1, now using an automated network install, except on the few boxes that are too old to netboot, then I use a CD.) What didn't work out of the box? 1) Machines below the minimums -- just don't bother if you have a below a PII, or a machine you can't get 192MB into. It'll be too slow. Xubuntu *might* work. 2) Dell Optiplex GX1P and similarly old Dells, have a Crystal Sound 4236 sound card. cs_4236 has to be put in /etc/modules, it's a non plug'n'play ISA sound chip so it just isn't detected; when told to load the driver, it does work. *THAT'S IT*. We've had P2, P3, P4, Xeons, Dual Cores, all fine; ethernet? Broadcom 100 and gig, Intel 100 and gig, 3com cards, SiS, Via Rhine, NE2000 clones, Realtek, certainly others, no problems. Video? ATI, NVidia, S3, Via, Matrox, some Number Nines, Cirrus Logic, certainly some other oddballs, no sweat. Sound? The CS_4236 has to be manually set, but EMU10Ks, Soundblasters, the onboard Intel, NVidia, ATI, SiS, Via, basically all of them, all work fine. Firewire, USB, scanners, printers, webcams -- in the interest of full disclosure, I couldn't plug all 4 webcams in at once, two of them didn't seem to get along with each other. Wireless went from CRAP support in 7.10 to being almost 100% in 8.04.1 (ndiswrapper works for the rest.)

    Windows? Heh. Plug it in some generic Dell that has Intel 810, let alone a 915... 16 color VGA. No ethernet support, either for Intel 100mbit or gigabit. No sound. No support for Broadcom ethernet either. Plug in a 3com ethernet card so it can get online -- oh, nice, the "search for drivers online" doesn't find any! Fancier machines? No SATA, no Firewire, no Bluetooth. Of course now, with the newest machines, the hardware vendors have been pushed into not even supplying XP drivers, for people who are ditching Vista (and not just ditching Windows entirely). And, as a bonus, get the drivers for one machine, and they won't work on another model with an identical chipset! Ouch.

    *"Complete distros" meaning ones that aim for ease of use. Gentoo, for instance, it won't do a thing when you plug in some USB printer or whatever -- that's up to the user. I love gentoo, but I would NOT just give someone a gentoo setup and say "have at it". I've been churning out 1000's of Ubuntu installs where I work, and they just work out of the box.

    *2 Usually wireless hardware. Which, can work with ndiswrapper if it doesn't go out of the box. I don't expect some random person to be able to setup ndiswrapper. But, it's easy and convenient for Windows fans to forget, "some random person" usually can't get new kit going under Windows either if it's any harder than "pop in the CD. You're done!"

  28. Allan Rutland
    Flame

    Very right

    Have been selling Eee's ourselves, and ok...nice bits of kit and all that. And for the simple note taking and web use utterly brillient. But Joe public do have a tendancy to cringe away from what they do not know. Everyone slightly techy who plays with one, loves it, yet Joe public it's a big scary new world which most shy away from.

    The second problem is one which the Linux community wouldn't want to solve though, and that is one of uniformity. Show Joe public two different netbooks and they get utterly lost as why aren't they both the same OS. For Joe public who gets utterly confused on something as simple as a USB flash drive, all the different distro's is yet another confusing factor. Until (if) the day the different distro's can come together to make one common uniform release (can't see it ever occur) the variety will be one of the factors which limits Joe publics take up.

  29. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge
    Linux

    I'm a litte confused

    "From a general operating system perspective - there's still a lot of packages to download. That's not something you are going to see my mom use," Mann said bluntly. "Until it gets to the point where it's drop-dead simple or devices lock down functionality, you aren't going to see much uptake among consumers."

    Let's see. Suppose I've gone completely insane and want to replace, say, Lookout Excess with an E-mail client that, say, doesn't go looking for ways to infect the machine. Simple, yes? Just Google for E-mail programs and sort through the crap until I find one that's a) free and b) does what I want. (Note: last time I did that, there was no such thing. I ended up buying a copy of Pocomail.)

    Then I run around looking for their download page -- usually simple, but not always, depending -- download the thing. Then go through the install process.

    OK, not that hard.

    OK, let's check that function in Ubuntu. I pick Ubuntu because I'm reasonably familiar with it and it's probably the most popular at the moment. Well, let's see... first of all, it ships with an E-mail client already, but so does Windows. IIRC it's Evolution. But I don't like Evolution. So I click Applications, Add/Remove, type "mail client" into the search box, and a few seconds later I have a list. I have to read the descriptions and maybe do a little research if that's not enough, but I have a list of e-mail clients to work from. Now I happen to like Claws Mail, having already spent some time doing the research, so I tick the check box and click "Apply Changes". Voila, in a few minutes I have my mail client installed.

    It's actually rather convenient to use the repository. But apparently his mom finds it easier to search on the 'web.

    Of course, maybe I don't like any of the choices in the repository, in which case I need to -- dare I suggest it? -- search the 'web, so maybe I'm no better off. But Windows doesn't give you the choice.

    And chances are Mom would rather stick with Outlook, and Sonny there isn't going to rock the boat by, say, installing something less vulnerable. But you see my point -- an awful lot of the programs you are likely to want or need are a few clicks away and can be installed automatically.

    And Ubuntu comes with an E-mail client, web client, office suite, games, calendar, and so on by default. Does Windows come with all that? Well, mostly, except the office suite. You either have to pay for Microsoft Office or download OpenOffice (or StarOffice) and install them yourself.

    But pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, he's not important.

    For your average "Mom" user, once installed competently, a modern desktop Linux should be as easy to use as Windows. Admittedly if you want something not available via the repository you may have to do some work to install it, whereas Windows installers are usually pretty straightforward.

    So it's going to depend a lot on a lot of factors. But I object to the assertion that a) if you run a new Linux install you automatically have to install a lot of packages (which ones?) and b) the implied assertion that it's easier to do in Windows, all the time.

    Updates and patches? Nearly automatic in Ubuntu. It tells you when there are updates ready. One click to start the updater, another to apply changes, a third time to shut it down when it's finished, and the only time you have to reboot is if it's something like a kernel patch. Windows? I don't know about Vista, but I always have to spend several minutes of my first XP install setting up the Automatic Updates, Firewall, and Virus scanner settings, along with setting the thing up not to keep pestering me if I don't have them set the way Microsoft thinks I should. Fortunately I've done it enough times to be able to go through it quickly, but will Mom know how to do that? Ubuntu comes installed with the updater already set up the way I like it. Let me know when updates are available, and let me decide when I want to apply them.

    It's not as one-sided as it used to be, pal. Wake up and smell the coffee.

  30. Pete "oranges" B.
    Joke

    Am I the only one...

    ... who cannot resist pronouncing "gOS" like "DOS" rather than "gee - oh - es"?

  31. Goat Jam
    Gates Horns

    Linux has no chance

    While Microsoft is PAYING vendors to ship Windows in preference to Linux

    http://www.freesoftwaremagazine.com/columns/more_evidence_microsoft_tying_up_the_asus_eeepc

    Microsoft truly are an evil empire.

  32. Cavehomme
    Linux

    My PC clueless wife loves Ubuntu

    Well, not to be sexist in any way whatsoever, but my wife despite her relatively young years never somehow got to grips with PCs or using them. A few years ago she learned how to use Outlook Express, also firefox, then more recently Skype. She could never work out how to print things, save, etc etc. A fear of computing probably, for whatever reasons.

    Well, after several problems with XP SP3 completely f**** things up on my network and making XP home and XP prfessional not play with each other (a bad attempt by Microshaft to get punters to upgrade to Vista), and decided to stop arsing around and set up a dual boot with Ubuntu 8.04 on it, as default.

    Well it's like she suddenly discovered America. She loves the simplicity, logicality and aesthetics of Ubuntu. Whilst I hate brown, I must admit she is completely right, and more importantly for me to support Ubuntu my work is an ABSOLUTE minimum compared to frigging around endlessly with XP and all the crapware and so-called security packages (of which you need half a dozen to keep you reasonably secure).

    Whilst Ubuntu is not brilliant, it certainly is massively competent, and is much easier than MS to work with and support for 80% of things. And that's what it really comes down to, the 80 / 20 rule. MS fails badly, Ubuntu wins clearly. 80% is all most people need, yet the arguemtn always focuses on the nerdy pointless 20% and some of you lot spend 80% of your time tossing around with that 20% crap.

    Roll on Ubuntu. Still some way to go, but certainly getting there.

  33. Cavehomme
    Thumb Up

    Linux Therapy - inspired, spot on!

    Linux Therapy - inspired, spot on!

  34. Mark
    Alien

    @Simpson

    You seem to have bipolar disorder. Your inane commenting stared off talking about Microsoft and Windows and then you burst out with some hare-brained waffle that seems to be trying to lead someone to think you were on about Linux.

    NOTES: AD is a protected secret. As such, Linux ARE NOT ALLOWED TO PLAY. Nothing to do with Linux not asking, nor Linux users asking, not even about MS Windows users demanding they be kept out. Just MS crying about is "innovation" (which seems to be "steal someone else's work and exhaust them in litigation or add bits that, although people shared with me, I'm NOT SHARING BACK").

    If you want how MS act when asked nicely if they will play, have a look at the Massachusetts IT department when they asked that MS implement a standard (as in one that anyone is allowed to implement) for Office formats. What did they do?

    a) Go home and make up one "kid-on" open spec and demand that be used

    b) Slander and libel (using works you never heard in a bible) when the state said "no, that's not a standard"

    c) Get the head of the IT department sacked

    d) Still not get their own system to work with the standard they created

  35. Mark

    Re: Very right (and on "Uniformity")

    But what *I* want as a uniform Linux is not what *you* want as a uniform Linux. The impasse is you requiring that I suck up whatever YOU decide should be there.

    And where's the uniformity in Windows?

    XP and Vista (when you include the 64-bit versions which *operate* differently) gets about 20 different versions (double for OEM whose license is different, so you need to know each).

    Add in the dozen server configurations of Vista/2003 and the older versions of still supported Windows server OS's you have what? 60-80 different versions of Windows?

    Now add in that Office doesn't look anything like Office did, that Outlook looks different from other Microsoft apps (and is again different from Outlook Express and versions from a while ago), we have NO uniformity of Windows.

    Unless you have "you don't get a say in ANY Windows uniformity" as the uniformity....

  36. Mark

    "Despite it's flaws, Windows works"

    Anyone else notice this? If it has flaws, IT DOESN'T WORK.

    OK, if you *really* know computers you can either make it work or work around the flaws.

    But if it isn't 100% working it's flawed.

    At least that seems to be the idea when it's Linux and not when it's Windows.

    PS My sister has an iTunes account and the computer has software (a LOT of software: three kids) for the kids to play on. The DRM protections means her CD will not burn music from iTunes because of these game copy protections.

    "Why should they care about me burning my music to CD's?" was her question.

    "They don't care. They definitely don't care if you can't. That's your problem from their point of view" was my response.

    But she'll put up with it because she doesn't want ANY change to the computer. She'll put up with Windows being broken and when she buys a new computer, it will have Windows on it. Why? Because under Linux she's been told it doesn't work and it's too hard and MS is just so much better. And, despite proof that Windows doesn't work, she won't change. Always hoping "next time it will work".

  37. Mark

    @Don Mitchell

    Linux has NEVER CARED about taking from microsoft. The OS was originated by Linus because he wanted a ***UNIX*** system on his 386. Not because he wanted something to replace Microsoft Windows on his 386.

    It's quite common though for people to assign to others their own faults. It means either they aren't bad (because others are no better) or it can be twisted so that YOUR problems are because of THEM and so you're just the victim.

  38. Mark

    Re: Less choice please

    And Ford Motor Cars could rule the motorcar industry if they just made the one car, rather than all this "choice" that is so confusing to users.

    What complete and utter wank.

  39. conan

    Turnkey

    It doesn't matter how simple it is to install Linux. Consumers don't install their operating systems.

    It doesn't matter how simple it is to install open source applications. Consumer's don't install their applications.

    Linux may be easy to use; but everyone uses Windows at work, so they're familiar with it. They choose Windows because they've seen it. Linux has to be not just better than Windows, but so easy to use that someone who is comfortable with Windows finds it easier.

    And it has to have a name. "Linux" is no good - there are loads of distros. There needs to be one, whose name everybody knows, so it becomes familiar. When somebody says "Why not get a Linux PC next time?" to their neighbour, their neighbour has to say "I was thinking about that actually, I've heard they're good" like they do with Apple Macintosh computers. Then if somebody goes to a shop to buy a PC with Linux, they get sold a PC with the same Linux as everybody else they've ever met with Linux, so it's familiar.

  40. Nick H
    Thumb Down

    Lol - there you go Linux people...

    Stick your heads in the sands. Preach the same old tired crap.

    You can say what you want. You can list it. You can sing it. It doesn't matter. The reality that you choose to ignore is that out of the box, windows is easier to install and, for the most part, easier to use. The moment 'command line' becomes involved, you've lost the race. The moment you have to pick between 5 different desktops, you've lost the race.

    Understand - I'm no windows fan. And sorry, comparing the problems Mac has had vs windows doens't cut it. Mac's can say they are better and still lost to marketing/extortion, whatever. A viable consumer linux desktop is barely a toddle in the scheme of computer years - the linux communities biggest problem..is itself. One only has to read the whiny ass posts to see it.

    Conan hit the nail on the head - the distro thing is an unmitigated disaster, as far as desktop penetration goes.

    In fact, you should all print Conan's post and put it on your walls. Linux might have a chance then.

  41. vincent himpe
    Thumb Down

    Has anyone LOOKED at gOS.

    It looks like a fisher-price toy ... Its an operating system for kids. They like the oversized flashy icons. And apart from that , you can't really do anything useful with it.

    lets see here what an average person uses ( i take my dad who is almost computer illiterate as example.)

    If he were to be using linux :

    - internet browsing - works (he uses opera which is cross platform)

    - write a word document - That would be a no. There is openoffice but that is 'broken'. It cant evenr ead office2007 files.

    - make an excel spreadsheet - no again (see above)

    - print to his all in one HP printer - sorry no drivers for loonix

    - scan and fax with his all in one - no again no drivers.

    - Arrange his photos with Photoshop Elements - no again (photoshop doesnt run on loonix)

    - sync his smartphone (gps/phone from htc) to the pc - no again

    So out of 7 things he does daily or weekly , only one works .... if Linux is the solution , i want the problem back !

    Linux is a 'closet' operating systen :

    - it eather sits in a closet as a server ( for which it is excellent by the way ! )

    - it is glorified by pale skinned , pmply faced kids that hack away at it . They live in what can be described as a 'closet' and never even come in the real world.

    As long as the linux community can't get their sh!t together, and :

    - Make a distro that 'feels' like 'wind-woes' ( from a user perspective , minus all the crashes and security holes)

    - Get rid of 200 different distos each with their own quircks

    - Make a unified self deploying installer that works on ALL distros (right now it is horrendous. this installer only works on that distro , this thing requires this and that as prerequisite , which sometimes break other installed programs , because now they need updating too.)

    - Stop bickering about vi vs emacs and gnome vs kde in all the forums and blogs, and go write some usefull applications instead of half finished junk like the Gimp ( Oh and please , hire someone to come up with real names. It's 2008 for crying out loud ! 4 letter program names that are abbreviations, and command lines went the way of the dinosaur ... )

    - Get some serious software companies on board to write applications (like adobe and microsoft [yes even them ! Microsoft has office for Mac , so they could easily do it for linux] )

    If the above can't be done i fear it will remain a closet operating system. Which would be a shame. It's got potential , but t is being held back because of all the inside fighting. And here is a final hint ( aimed At Shuttleworth, who last week or so, caled for yet another graphics desktop ) STOP MAKING MORE GUI's ! We dont; need 400 different graphics desktops and 5 bazillion colour scemes. What we need is working applications !

  42. P. Lee Silver badge
    Linux

    netbook vs pc

    Most of the arguments here miss the point. People buying netbooks accept limited functionality and a high price in return for a small size unit and style. Similar to those who buy Mac's - there are limited numbers of games and apps, but users are happy with the ones that are there and "just work". These are not the same people who upgrade their games machine every couple of years to the highest ghz cpu & gpu on the market.

    This is where linux can shine. These units are not very upgradeable so no need to aptget xyz or recompile webcam drivers from source. Games are not high on the agenda beyond solitaire and mahjong. Its a bit of an appliance so the interface can be a different as long as its good, in the same way we don't need a "start button" and a huge list of apps on a mobile phone. As long as the apps (web, email, office productivity and pim) and os are robust and data file formats are easily exchanged there shouldn't be too much of problem.

    Given that these are probably secondary devices, cost isn't such an issue for the consumer, but it has to look good (hardware as well as software) and be a status symbol. That means your customer is really aspiring to a Mac Air, not Vista. Unless your cardboard box and hardware is as cool-looking as Apple's, you will struggle.

    Certainly there is an opportunity for linux - if that even matters. It probably isn't one for the little chap working in his garage. Its about vast sums of money being spent on hardware styling, packaging design and channel incentives. Its about branding and its the kind of thing Sony might be able to do. It really has precious little to do with the OS or the GUI and even the capabilities of the applications are not the primary factor for this market.

    Tux - a cuddly penguin _and_ a great name for a netbook.

  43. Craig McCormick
    Unhappy

    Money talks

    M$ strikes again with its anti-competitive business practices.

    I only read up here nowadays out of interest. This industry sucks massively with innovation and common sense being stifled to meet the needs of the M$ shareholders. I've left the IT profession altogether to do a 'feel good' job and stop banging my head against the wall, supporting crap software that has better equivalents which are being stifled by the bigger boys or held back by the idiotic in-fighting within the open source community.

    It's only going to get worse. The Linux, UNIX and UNIX-like operating systems don't stand a chance against the all powerful marketing and ant-competition departments of Redmond. This, despite the Unices of the world powering some of the most mission critical systems around.

    But idiots on the desktop will always tip the balance in M$'s favour.

    IT has to be the most soul destroying industry there is.

    G'night

  44. Mark
    Happy

    @vincent himpe

    you complain about the name "GNU Image Manipulation Program" with a name like "vincent himpe"????

    Bwahahahahahahahahaaa!

  45. Mark
    Happy

    @Nick H

    "out of the box, windows is easier to install "

    You don't even have to install it!!!! It's included "out of the box".

    Now, if your computer needs a little TLC which will you do:

    a) buy a new one (no reinstallation necessary)

    b) reinstall (which is far, far, FAR worse than making a Linux install)

    ?

    Ignorant peasant.

  46. Anonymous Hero
    Thumb Down

    @mark

    "And Ford Motor Cars could rule the motorcar industry if they just made the one car, rather than all this "choice" that is so confusing to users"

    Comparing the car industry to the PC desktop industry....what complete and utter wank, like comparing apples and oranges.

  47. Mark
    Gates Horns

    Re:Turnkey

    Well, make your argument to the idiot twonk that said that all that was needed was Linux to be "Turnkey".

    Why is "Windows" better? It doesn't look like a window to me. Is it double-glazed? It's a stupid fucking name. Change it, Ballmer!

    What? They didn't listen to me??? Well, that's EXACTLY WHY Windows Vista will NEVER take off! Stupid named products, no consideration for users and no turnkey operation!!!

  48. jim

    like being in a lifeboat in the North Atlantic

    A few months ago I bought an ASUS EEE with Xandros Linux. I was pumped about finally cutting the cord to MS. What a letdown. Absolutely zero support from ASUS, or Xandros, nothing but finger-pointing in every direction. Trying to install something new, or configure the system differently, turned out to be an enormous pain, a lengthy 'scavenger hunt' of Googleing on forums, repositories, incompatible packages, semi-defunct open-source projects, conflicting information, trial-and error...

    As soon as it's cheap and easy to do so, I'll be putting XP on this system and getting on with my life, and LInux will remain right where it's been for the last 15 years.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @ He's right you know

    @Patrick O'Reilly

    "There are currently no linux based Small and Cheap PC's available on pcworld.co.uk they're all the windows versions."

    Can only assume you didn't spend too much time looking. The website (and stores) both stock various linux EEEpcs, the original SCC;

    http://www.pcworld.co.uk/martprd/store/pcw_page.jsp?BV_SessionID=@@@@0628351352.1218397500@@@@&BV_EngineID=ccdiadeelfhkfemcflgceggdhhmdgmh.0&page=Product&fm=null&sm=null&tm=null&sku=525082&category_oid=

    http://www.pcworld.co.uk/martprd/store/pcw_page.jsp?BV_SessionID=@@@@0628351352.1218397500@@@@&BV_EngineID=ccdiadeelfhkfemcflgceggdhhmdgmh.0&page=Product&fm=null&sm=null&tm=null&sku=457074&category_oid=

    http://www.pcworld.co.uk/martprd/store/pcw_page.jsp?BV_SessionID=@@@@0628351352.1218397500@@@@&BV_EngineID=ccdiadeelfhkfemcflgceggdhhmdgmh.0&page=Product&fm=null&sm=null&tm=null&sku=305071&category_oid=

    http://www.pcworld.co.uk/martprd/store/pcw_page.jsp?BV_SessionID=@@@@0628351352.1218397500@@@@&BV_EngineID=ccdiadeelfhkfemcflgceggdhhmdgmh.0&page=Product&fm=null&sm=null&tm=null&sku=387394&category_oid=

    http://www.pcworld.co.uk/martprd/store/pcw_page.jsp?BV_SessionID=@@@@0628351352.1218397500@@@@&BV_EngineID=ccdiadeelfhkfemcflgceggdhhmdgmh.0&page=Product&fm=null&sm=null&tm=null&sku=833570&category_oid=

  50. D
    Coat

    There are at least 100* more copies of Vista than Ubuntu out there

    It really is about time that the linux devotees started asking themselves why they can't give away a free product, at least to all IT professionals who "should know better".

    All I want is a stable OS that will give me browsing and applications similar to Dreamweaver and Photoshop. I tried Ubuntu, it had nothing like dreamweaver and the OS ran painfully slowly and kept hanging. I looked around for reasons why but after six hours gave up. I could have persevered, and have no doubt that if I had it would have eventually run at blinding speed. But why should I bother? I was able to reinstall XP in less than an hour and it worked just fine, I never use more than 10% of processor capacity so efficiency isn't an issue. I run thunderbird, firefox and open office as default apps, so have no aversion at all to OSS.

    I'm not interested in learning the guts of a PC operating system, any more than I'm interested in the operating system that my washing machine or playstation 3 run on, I just want to switch the bloody thing on and start working just like the washing machine and the PS3. The fact that some anoraks no doubt think that I'm "lame" for giving in so easily does not bother me in the slightest. If linux can't win people like me over it has got sod all chance of success in the open market.

    There's no reason why linux has to be so inaccessible, it's just a reflection of the mentality of the people who build it who seem to have no grasp of the needs of the average end user. Without a philosophy based around making it a turnkey solution linux is destined to remain a badge of geekiness and nothing more.

  51. Mark

    @Anonymous Hero

    Nope, it is completely correct to use the absolute FACT that not everyone wants a four-door family saloon and so a CHOICE of what you want rather than being told "anything as long as it's black" is vastly preferable.

    Just like OS's.

    I want KDE and enlightenment.

    Bob wants Gnome.

    Alice wants XFCE.

    So fuck off and die you coward.

  52. vincent himpe

    @mark

    The correct full name would be : 'Gnu's Not Unix Image Manipulating Program (and keep recursing the gnu...)

    Might as well have called it PCMCIA . People Can't Memorise computer Industry acronyms.

    Why not call it something like 'Imagine' ( short for Image Engine ) . . What i'm getting at is : we have horsepower in our computers these days , can we please leave the archaic 8.3 filenames and 2 letter commands ( because hstorically parsers were dumb and had to be small due to memory restrictions ) behind.

    Try to come up with a name that explains in one word what it does. Go out in the street and and ask 1000000 people : if i give you a program called Gimp .. what do you think it does ? Ask the same question for something called 'Photoshop' of 'PhotoAlbum'.. That's what i am getting at.

    As long as you try to sell a system full of made-up geeky names , cryptic commands and programs that do not give a consistent look and feel ( this program uses this graphics library, that one uses that graphic library and toolbox, buttons don't even look uniform ) you simply scare people. That is what the Mac OS work shines at ( and i am not a fanboi , i don't even have a mac or anything apple for that matter )

    They simpify the gui so that all programs look the same. ( i have seen linux desktops where on window 1 the close button is left top , and on window two it is right top ... can we please keep things simple ? ) Even microsoft only updates their gui look and feels every 5 years or so. Linux ? every two motnhs there is a new gui ..

  53. Doug Glass
    Happy

    The Second Parting

    Wow! I tell you what, If Moses had to lead the children today he'd have an easy time marching through the absolute chasm between the Windows and Linux camps.

    Damn I love reading this stuff. When the Sc-Fi channel goes all mundane I can always count on this site (and the "other" one) for raw entertainment.

  54. Aubry Thonon

    A few requests:

    I am a happy user of Linux *as a server*. I have tried to use it a few times as a desktop install and wiped it each and every time. Here is my wishlist for a Linux desktop (some of which may have already happened, knowing FOSS):

    1) apt & yum and others are great. I have my server updating once a week without any problems. However, trying to figure out which packages/software are available, what they do, etc, etc, could be made simpler by (for example) having a, er.., product, which lists the available packages by names and/or categories and/or keywords (etc) with a description of what each package does.

    2) Installation of packages should create an appropriate icon on the desktop or item in the appropriate menu list. Yes, yes, I know *some* packages do this already, but not all. And it should include an easy "uninstall" option for when you've realised you've installed the wrong package.

    3) a pre-configured version of Wine or equivalent. Yes people, realise that the majority of users you want to attract (myself included) will have a stack of old MSWindows program they still want to use. Deal with it.

    4) I perfectly agree with some of the comments - some packages are just too much pain to use. GIMP and OpenOffice come to mind. Did someone purposefully go out of their way to make them as un-windows as possible? Somebody *please* tell me how I can get OpenOffice to display my documents in something akin to MSWord's "Normal View"? Is it so hard to understand that some of us *don't* want WYSIWYG until we're ready to add final formating to the document? Heck, MSWord has (had?) a "Word-Perfect compatible" command which allowed ex-WP users to use WP command in MSWord.

    Let's face it - Apple took a *nix flavour and customised it so that even the grand-folks could use it.

  55. Steve Kellett

    Then again...

    A few weeks ago I took my Asus EeePC 4G which I've converted to the desktop style interface with me when I played a music festival. It ended up being used by several non-IT people for Net access over the course of the weekend (as well as serving as an iPod charging station), and none of them noticed that they were using Linux. One of them asked "Is that Vista? It doesn't look like my XP set-up."

  56. Trix Bronze badge
    Boffin

    Turnkey

    The only machine that I've had with literally *everyone* able to sit down and use it with no pre-existing knowledge of the OS, was an Asus eee running Xandros. Even my mother, who won't use a mobile phone, could figure it out. Sure, I don't think it's great in terms of customisability - although eeeUbuntu takes care of that - but let's be consistent about what the target audience is.

    As others have pointed out, normal users do not install their own Windows or Mac OSes - it's done by the OEM. When more OEMs install Linux with the correct drivers and sensible base packages (ie. not the pox that is MS Works, and all the AV that expires after 3 months), it will resemble a level playing field.

    Many of the Linux distros have solved the usability, package range and look-and-feel "problems". Yes, it is incredibly customisable with too many options for the usual punter to deal with. And so? It's the system builders who should be packaging the systems correctly. How many would be able to make use of a barebones install of Windows and the full range of available peripheral device and software installation packages? Before it gets pwnd by malware, that is. Let's actually compare apples with apples.

  57. Henry Wertz Gold badge
    Jobs Halo

    Kind of long, but OK...

    @Vendicar Decarian: Ubuntu 6.06 sucked, I used it and it was awful. 7.04, 7.10, 8.04 all made HUGE improvements. I don't expect you to try 8.04, but honestly it's lots better. 6.06 really showed it's old-school Debian roots, it didn't seem to "plug'n'play" jack, or make anything seamless... newer versions do.

    @Nick H:

    What a crock. Windows is absolutely NOT easier to install. You get it installed, you have 16 color VGA, no ethernet, no sound support out of the box. On newer systems, you also have no USB and perhaps not even a bootable system (depending on how the SATA and IDE is feeling.) You can see my huge list of hardware I've installed Ubuntu onto in my previous post, all out of the box. The *entire* install: boot the live CD, click the installer on the desktop. Screen 1: language (defaults to English). 2: Time zone. 3: Keyboard layout (defaults to USA). 4: hard disk partitioning (defaults to "Guided" which just does the right thing for both blank disks and for disks with an OS already on them). 5: username and password. 6: Shows what you told it, and asks "are you sure". 7: watch the install go by. 8: reboot 9: install "ubuntu-restricted-extras", this adds java, flash, etc. in one shot -- but, if you don't, it'll ask to install flash, java, etc. for you the first time you need them! Where I work, I have this fully automated, the steps are 1) go in BIOS and set the boot order to floppy, CD, hard disk, netboot. 2) Plug into network. 3) Go work on other computers or take a break -- it does a fully unattended network install. If the install fails, the machine's probably faulty. If the machine's too old to netboot, pop a CD in, take a break -- the CD ejects when it's done.

    As for the distro problem -- you're right up to a point. But, I think Ubuntu's helping -- I've had a few people actually ask about Ubuntu, and when I mention it's a version of Linux, they're like "What the heck's Linux?" To be clear, though, there's NOTHING wrong with lots of distros -- Ubuntu (and the Debian base it's based on) cherry-picks the nice stuff from them, as does SuSE. Most of the hundreds of distros, almost noone uses them, you don't have to know they exist unless you go looking for them.

    @vincent himpe

    Yeah I looked at Gos, it looked pants. They really should just put Ubuntu or even SuSe on there.

    Internet browsing: Check.

    Word docs: Check (OpenOffice 2.4 DOES support Office 2007 stuff.. Gos just has some out-of-date version of OpenOffice)

    Excel: Check

    HP Printer: Yes, it definitely has a driver for the multifuncs

    Scan and fax: Don't know. I think it'll scan at least?

    Photoshop Elements: Well, no, you'd use some other photo management setup.

    Smartphone sync: Don't know, I haven't looked into it.

    That at least gets you up to like 5 or so out of 7, without having to install a single app even. Scanner functionality and smartphone sync, I'm sure there's software about to do this -- don't whinge that Ubuntu isn't viable because it doesn't do 7 out of 7 out of the box, you know as well as I do Windows does 1 out of 7 (if you're willing to risk using IE) out of the box.

    As for your other, essentially, demands:

    Both "Get rid of 200 distros" and "Get rid of 400 GUIs". No. It's free software, if people want to write more, they can, and it's not your place to tell them not to. It's not a big deal though -- 1) most people use some few major distros, so it's not diluting users so ridiculously as you'd think. (It's nice to have a single-floppy rescue distro when you need it, but it's not for normal use). 2) Bugs flow upstream to "owners" of individual programs, then the fixed apps flow downstream to distros -- so, it's not like using all these distros slows down progress like you might think. 3) Just tell people "use Ubuntu" rather than "use Linux" and they won't be confused by choice. GUIs -- same thing..gnome and KDE are the main ones (the rest are niche.) And most newer distros, the default install doesn't even give a choice, so there's no confusion for the user. If GUIs were restricted to one, the OSX-style desktop effects would have never happened, they were implemented first in a spinoff window manager.

    "Make a unified self deploying installer that works on ALL distros". It'd be nice. The rest about this needing that that breaks that, however, is the reason distros DON'T all use the same packaging setup -- the good ones DON'T break like that, and the other distros that use bad packaging setups refuse to change to use a better one. My solution, don't use the distros with bad packaging systems.

    "Stop bickering about vi vs emacs and gnome vs kde in all the forums and

    blogs" No, just don't read them then. Geeks will be geeks, vi versus Emacs has 20 or 30 years of..umm.. rich history I suppose. gnome versus KDE, I don't know why people care (I've used both and they're fine) but they do, so let them bicker. Gimp's not half-finished junk, and if you want to write an app, you can call it what you want -- don't tell others what to call their apps. Exchange, Outlook, Sharepoint, are not descriptive names by any stretch either.

    "Get some serious software companies on board to write applications" Well, there's the catch-22 that Microsoft forces Windows onto every PC as much as possible, then pretend those are legitimate sales. They then use those numbers to "prove" everyone's running Windows. I'd LOVE some serious software companies to write Linux apps. Your example though.. Microsoft Office for Mac is in SERIOUS trouble right now, they did not port VBScript etc. to the Intel Mac version of Office.. apparently it's such a sloppy mess it simply is not portable at all anymore (if Office is "ported" to Linux, it'll be ported by wrapping it in Wine basically.)

    Well, this post got pretty long, but OK....

  58. Andy Worth

    Re:It's the Channel, stupid

    It makes me feel dirty, what I'm about to say (defending Microsoft)....but you're not making a fair comparison.

    For a start you missed out the steps of having to download or obtain a copy of OpenOffice....free or not you still have to download it from somewhere. Then you compared it to an install of a completely different product. How about describing the install process of OpenOffice on a Windows based PC? Oh, that's right, it's just a case of double-clicking the install file and following the prompts.

    The unfortunate fact is that Linux is still a niche product, at least in the terms of the home PC market. Most of the target audience are almost completely PC illiterate, and don't have the competency to work with Linux. I don't see that changing in the near future, and that is why they are unlikely to sell many PC's with a Linux install.

  59. Mark
    Alien

    I thought that we were supposed to be taking windows...

    "some packages are just too much pain to use. GIMP and OpenOffice come to mind. Did someone purposefully go out of their way to make them as un-windows as possible?"

    Uh, well an earlier poster told the writers off for aping windows and failing. Here you're saying that they MUST ape windows.

    Freaking strange...

  60. Mark
    Alien

    I thought that we were supposed to be taking windows...

    "i have seen linux desktops where on window 1 the close button is left top , and on window two it is right top ... can we please keep things simple ? "

    And why is it that the close box on windows changed from XP to Vista and YOU SAID NOTHING???

    Mac OS has the close in a different place. Maybe people like them in a different place and, while there are lots of distros (unless we get rid of them all as per "user demand" here) you can pick one that acts like Vista or XP, Mac or Amiga, Win95 or Dos.

    Calling it "Imagine" wouldn't work: there are already several commercial apps called that. You wouldn't know that Firebird was going to be the name of Firefox but *a database app* called Firebird threatened them with a lawsuit for having the same name.

    Irrespective of whether the trademark was valid across different applications.

    And nobody now needs to go to the command line, except to do things they could not do on Windows either.

    PS Change your surname. It's stupid. Something like "Smith". It doesn't cost anything, just change the name so people won't wonder how to pronounce what you're currently called.

    What? It's none of my freaking business? Well turn that around, boy.

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @ Henry Wertz

    All of Vincent Himpe's points were valid, yet like a typical Linux zeolot you don't want to listen.

    Until the Linux community starts taking constructive critisim on-board it'll never produce an OS that can compete with Windows or OSX. Let's face it, if Linux can't make significant gains against the disaster that is Vista, then it really isn't "ready for the desktop".

    So, Henry, why don't you do the Linux cause a favour and go buy yourself a Mac?

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Linux is still not ready

    The comments about Linux not bering ready fro the average user are 100%. People are replying with "No, that's wrong. I installed Windows, Ubuntu, Exchange...." YOU are not average users.

    The AVERAGE USER wants to buy their PC, switch it on and have it work. No bullshit. They want to buy a new sound card and have it work. No Bullshit. They want to fit a video card, and have it work. Fit a TV card and have it work. Fit a whatever and just have it work. Linux CANNOT do this. Sorry, but its can't.

    In the Linux world you have to read under the hood, understand the vagaries of the file structure and hack a way at the script files. This is totally unacceptable to the AVERAGE USER who, at most, will be able to check a few option buttons and then press "OK".

    I do not (yet) use Linux in anger but I'd dicked around with it. It has come a long way in recent years and that advance it to be applauded. But for the AVERAGE USER (read: non-IT, basic consumer) it is still far too tech heavy. I have no doubt that specialised/stripped down versions are in use every day (e.g. PVRs and what have you); but all the distros available today are still to clunky for the AVERAGE USER. e.g. when I installed Windows it auto-detects my mouse and sorts it out. In Linux I had to hack away at a script and use trial and error. Unacceptable.

  63. paul
    Gates Horns

    MS Businesss practices

    I was about to order a Dell with ubuntu linux on it. Next week sometime.

    I may not now if the top poster of this thread is correct. The dell I want to get without the MS tax , dell still pay ms? That seems totally wrong to me. I demand an alternative - competition laws and all that.

    Sparking the ps3/xbox/wii debate. This is why I hate xbots. MS are far far far more evil than sony. MS are halliburton part 2. Regardless of how good/bad the box is - I hate M$. My friend at work used to think like this , he was an apple fan. Now he has an xbox he is converted to a Bill Gates fan.

  64. Mark
    Thumb Down

    re: Linux is still not ready

    "The AVERAGE USER wants to buy their PC, switch it on and have it work. "

    That is what Linux will do if pre-installed (just like Windows).

    Now, two months later and what's changed? Your antivirus signature needs updating.

    If you're on Windows.

    Not really "have it work", is it?

    "when I installed Windows it auto-detects my mouse and sorts it out. In Linux I had to hack away at a script and use trial and error. Unacceptable."

    What is unacceptable is that is complete and utter bollocks.

    Linux accepts the mouse automatically.

    In fact, if you take your mouse out and plug it into another USB slot, Linux continues without a pause. Windows? Well, it has to stop, look for the driver for the mouse, install it for this new USB port and THEN starts working.

    "In the Linux world you have to read under the hood, understand the vagaries of the file structure and hack a way at the script files."

    Compared to the other one, this one isn't as unacceptable. It's still wrong. Or at least as wrong as under Windows. After all, if you put your game in your DVD drive on E: when it was installed on your DVD RW drive on F:, your game will often complain that the game DVD isn't in the drive.

  65. Mark
    Thumb Down

    re: Re:It's the Channel, stupid

    "For a start you missed out the steps of having to download or obtain a copy of OpenOffice."

    Only under windows or in specialist distros (like Puppy or DSL which are for small, low-power machines, rather like Windows CE was. Now get your HL2 installed on your WinCE device...).

    For Red Hat, Fedora, SuSE, Ubuntu, Debian, ... Open Office is on the DVD and you don't have to download it. In most cases, it is installed by default (unless you don't install a GUI desktop).

    Why do anti-Linux Shills make so much arrant nonsense up???

  66. Svantevid

    @AC 11.08.08. 08:52 - "Linux is still not ready "

    "when I installed Windows it auto-detects my mouse and sorts it out. In Linux I had to hack away at a script and use trial and error."

    I have a Windows Intellimouse that was immediately recognized by Ubuntu 8.04 and all the buttons and scroll wheel work perfectly. To be fair, Ubuntu 7.10 didn't automagically recognize the extra buttons/wheel. Although I had to remap the extra buttons on my keyboard as BTC didn't provide a linux driver. Thankfully, the remapping was identical to the one I've used in every game I've played so far... press the button for Media Player, Volume Up, Volume Down, Browser... click "OK" in the end and that was it.

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Mark....

    <Sigh>

    And there we have it.

    Do us all a favour Mark, go read, then re-read Simpson's "Linux Therapy" comment. Keep reading it and thinking about it for however long it takes to sink in.

    There are so many people out there with so much common sense to bring to bear to help you and who'd just love to see you come good, but unfortunately, to you they're all f*cktards whose only decent opinion are the ones you endorse.

  68. Vendicar Decarian
    Boffin

    Lintards never learn - It's impossible for them.

    "Useability is not a barrier, it's a red herring. If useability was an issue, we'd all be using Macs." - Lintard

    And that my little children is why Linux/Unix has been a loser for the last 30 years.

    Lintards are seemingly uncapable of learning

  69. Tony W

    Installing is - or should be - be irrelevant

    Why all this going on about installing the OS? I know loads of Windows users and not one of them (other than professional engineers) has installed the OS. Very few of them would even consider doing so. People want to buy something that works out of the box.

    Apart from that, inertia is a gigantic problem. When I got my first PC (pre-Windows) it was important for me to get something that I could get advice on from people I knew. And where in the UK are the local councils offering free Linux-based "get started in computing" courses? For all the people trying to get the masses on the Interweb, Computers=Windows.

  70. Mark

    @Anonymous Coward

    Why? That post was complete and utter drivel.

    Should I exhort you to go to the Xenu site? The Flat Earthers' Society?

    No, I read it and it made no sense. It was a completely negative and erroneous rant against Linux and had no worthwhile content at all.

    Therapy? Only in so far as chopping your head off stops your toothache.

  71. Goat Jam
    Paris Hilton

    @ Aubry Thonon

    A few requests:

    ". . .product, which lists the available packages by names and/or

    categories and/or keywords (etc) with a description of what each

    package does."

    In Ubuntu, you can click "Applications>Add/Remove" and it gives you a nice clean list of categories with apps that you can browse through, complete with icons for all the apps and a 1 line description of it's purpose. Put a tick in the box and it installs automatically.

    2) Installation of packages should create an appropriate icon

    on the desktop or item in the appropriate menu list.

    Oh come on, 90 percent of them do that. The ones that don't are generally obscure little trinkets that haven't been actively developed for years. Anyway, if you install using the method above then you will always get an icon. At least it's better than 'doze where the setup process goes and makes a folder on the start menu called "Name Of Developer" and then puts all the icons in there. Gee, that's helpful, thanks for that "Crap Software Developers Inc."

    And it should include an easy "uninstall" option for when

    you've realised you've installed the wrong package.

    Go back to Applications>Add/Remove and untick.

    3) a pre-configured version of Wine or equivalent.

    Not sure what you are asking for here. On my default install, I double click an exe and it installs. Sure, not all apps work, but many do. Wine, by it's very nature, is always going to be hit and miss

    4) I perfectly agree with some of the comments - some packages

    are just too much pain to use. GIMP and OpenOffice come to

    mind. Did someone purposefully go out of their way to make

    them as un-windows as possible?

    OK, so you don't like gimp and OO. Fine. But thats got nothing to do with Linux. Adobe and MS could make versions of their apps for Linux if they wanted to, it's not Linux's fault that they won't.

    Let's face it - Apple took a *nix flavour and customised it so

    that even the grand-folks could use it.

    That's just inane. Look at your own points 1-4.

    1) Apple don't provide an app repository from which you can install apps AT ALL.

    2) When you do install an app, apple don't create an icon on your menu or desktop (that is up to the app provider, just like it is on Windows and Linux.

    3) Apple don't provide wine, either pre-configured or not.

    4) Apple don't provide you with Photoshop or Office, Adobe and MS CHOOSE to support them on that platform, and by all accounts the latest Office on mac is not so crash hot either.

    So, what you have done here is list a whole lot of criteria where Linux allegedly fails, only to present apple as the supposed gold standard when they don't pass your criteria either.

    Try to engage your central cortex next time you put hand to keyboard, OK?

  72. Peter Kay

    Not as easy to install as Windows... or BSD for that matter

    My experience is that Windows has had far more testing on unusual configurations and installs better. Linux tries to be too clever and fails.

    At least OpenBSD or similar doesn't try to be clever. It Just Works. A few questions (yes, reasonably technical ones) and then it generally just sits and does its own thing.

    Linux? First most of the distributions try to boot into graphical mode - which might fail (try doing it on VirtualPC - not a rare configuration. It doesn't support 24bit colour). It doesn't detect that it's failed, it doesn't offer alternatives, you have to hack config files yourself.

    Once it's finally installed, on many installations it's not obvious how to install software, some of the software respositaries appear not to work at all (I think it was a version of Mandriva that claimed its own repository didn't exist).

    XP? Vista? They support pretty much everything. I've never seen a system where USB isn't supported, and frequently it boots into a high resolution 3D accelerated mode - not 640x480. (Granted it won't be the best driver, but it will work).

    Finding decent software that's complete and stable is time consuming and prone to error on Linux. In many ways it falls between having vast numbers of resources (Windows) or having only one or two well informed ones (OS/2 when it was still alive). There are decent Linux sites on the Internet, but the distributions really aren't highlighting them effectively.

    Linux has come a long way in the last 16 years, but really it's still not quite there yet.

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    linux based netbooks

    most seem to be closed source!

    thier web sites are down or empty, with no content!

    if they opened them up, we might see them increase sales

    of instead of the adverts of unhackable (by obscurification)

    thier software is out of date, with lots of errors in not only the OS but the setup of the defaults of the software. (anyone speak chinese???)

    I bought a CnM maplin notebook last week(£180 inc silly case), i took it back the next day.

    No updates(just patches, cos the installed software is bugged to hell) No alternative software available. no easy way to get a compiler to the CPU they use and the install extension is incompatible with everything available?

    WAP anyone?

    you cant even get a POST/BIOS screen up before they boot thier mashed gnome variant.

    so installing a alternative OS is impossible(unless someone has managed to hack one)(good luck)

    (if i could get one running opera and thunderbird(eudora) for mail i'd be happy, along with few other apps would be real nice) even usb/wi-fi printer support would be a nice addition.

    These notebooks could be realy hot, they are the perfect size, and with a bit of tweaking thier specs could be boosted without much loss of performance.

    If they are not opened up fully to deveolpers, then they are going to become roadkill left in the wake of the M$ monster.

    as it is my only option is to go for a Eee of some flavour, just a pity they are so much more expensive.

  74. alistair millington
    Thumb Up

    I used to like windows

    But I had to support it. Outlook, the Vista OS in general, having to buy software yet never owning it.

    ...and then 1 or 2 things that just annoyed me, the xbox 360 controller for windows drivers, and their own updates not working in SP3.

    So I went to ubuntu and there is a steep learning curve if you want to do anything beyond just working.

    But as an end user it is straight forward and out the box.

    I have since got a ubuntu, Mandriva and opensuse triple boot and struggled with the various differences, but they are pretty much the same when you get down to it.

    The only differences I found were the front end which is either gnome or KDE and the way it lays onto the disk (LVM or grub) and that is no use to the end user.

    Using add / remove is straight forward but not as easy as a double click.

    Marketing is therefore the only real problem I see, and M$ buying it's way into the market of everything. I want an M1000 with SDD and linux but only the XP and HDD are available in the UK, that speaks volumes for the market.

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @@Anonymous Coward

    Actually if you read it correctly (metaphores and all) it talks as more about the linux evangelists and their attitutudes as it does about the various aspects of the operating system itself.

    Any normal person reading this comment thread and any other like it across the internet shall draw the same conclusions. Linux fanboys need to wake up and communicate with people as oppose to spout their demented rhetoric.

    I think you could do with some operating system orientated therapy, I really do.

    As an aside people keep babbeling about buying ms office and photoshop when on linux they can use gimp and open office. I gotta burst your bubble kids - you can use gimp and open office on windows too (I shit you not), but you can also use photoshop and ms office if you need them instead.

    Shocking I know.

  76. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    White Elephant ?

    On purchasing a EEE PC for the wife, and getting permission to purchase it

    New EEE PC Linux - Out of the Box

    BBC iplayer - does not work, needs flash - not an automated install

    ITV Catch Up - does not work, needs Silverlight - not suppported

    Channel 4 on demand - does not work, needs Media Player 11 - not supported

    Itunes - does not work - not supported

    XP/Vista PC - Still on the desk at home

    BBC iplayer - yes after automated install

    ITV Catch Up - yes after automated install

    Channel 4 on demand - yes after automated install

    itunes yes on automated install

    hurrah, I gain a new gadget and she loses out ( for the moment )

    For the non technically minded and the patient, how many EEE PC's ( Linux ) have either sailed back to the place of purchase, or have been 'filed' with the breadmaker and the foot spa.

  77. Nìall Tracey
    Stop

    Linux's new problem

    Many people are now being introduced to Linux by the ultra-cheap Chinese SCCs.

    The killer here is the lack of x86 compatibility. Lots of people will be put off Linux by the fact that most "Linux" software won't run on their "Linux" computer.

    It's time for a serious fork: we must acknowledge that "Linux" as we know it is an x86 OS, and ports to other architectures are not truly Linux. Either that or Linux needs to become truly cross-platform -- but that's never going to happen.

    Unless Linux = Linux = Linux, "customers" will never be confident in what they are getting, and they'll never "buy" in.

  78. Schroeder
    Stop

    Another Linux story, another bunch of Microsoft shrills,

    Yes, all the AC's with the out of date FUD and copious wailing.

    For the joe sixpacks who might stumble across this thread, if linux was really as bad as they paint, how come so many people with decent IT skills flock to it? How come manufacturers such as Dell and ASUS are going against their Microsoft masters and installing it for consumers?

    It's just so funny to see them come here, some of them fresh from trolling usenet with their sad bile and try and tell everyone linux is soooo bad. And yet, all their issues are generally shown to be uninspired FUD generally within minutes. Why do they persist? Some might think a company with lots to lose if Linux takes off on the desktop pays them to poison discussion pages like this. A company for whom the term 'astroturfing' was coined.

    An lo, they will retort, that I'm a 'zealot' for suggesting that rather than continue to pay a convicted monopolist for your operating system, that you might like check out a open and free distribution such as Unbuntu. NOOOOOO, they will shriek, it's too different, too hard, copies windows too much. All simply aimed at stopping you from getting hold of a live CD and having an hours play with a different operating system, because they fear that you might like it and, shock horror, install it over windows.

  79. Bill Gould
    Gates Halo

    @Simpson (Linux Therapy)

    Too true.

    Linux doesn't do what I want, so I don't use it. *shrug* That's about it.

  80. Mark
    IT Angle

    @Nìall Tracey

    How many Pocket PC's with Windows CE/PocketEdition/Whatever will run their "Windows" software???

    You ignore that, don't you.

  81. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @mark

    So even second time through Simpsons' post passed you by? Mark, go back and read it some more, pause for though as you finish it and try to find a little empathy with all those people who'd love to be your friend really.

    So you didn't get it? You thought it was drivel? Read and re-read it!

    Keep banging the rocks together fella... ;-)

  82. Mark
    Thumb Down

    @@@Anonymous Coward

    And the Windows Shrills are eloquently showing that they are SHIT SCARED of a "hobby" OS overcoming a multi-billion-pound behemoth. So much so that they make any old shit up in the hope that someone will be scared off or predisposed to see the problem and ignoring that they get the same (or worse) problem on Windows.

  83. Mark
    Thumb Down

    @ Peter Kay

    BSD????

    What are you smoking, kid???

    With Linux there are FAR MORE drivers for FAR MORE products than for BSD. And the only reason why Windows has more drivers is where the manufacturer produces a driver disk. Mind you, find a driver disk for a GeForce MX440 for Windows Vista...

  84. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    New EEE PC Linux - Out of the Box

    Now: new EEE PC Windows - out of the Box:

    No DVD playback.

    No MP3.

    No AAC.

    No iTunes.

  85. Gerry

    @"White Elephant?"

    New EEE PC Linux - Out of the Box

    > BBC iplayer - does not work, needs flash - not an automated install

    Yes, you are right and if you look in the back catalogue of Register articles you will see the Free Software campaign against the BBC supporting only Microsoft which led to Flash and a (new) promise to get downloadable working for Linux.

    Flash is proprietary but is a one-click install for those that want to, then there's Gnash.

    > ITV Catch Up - does not work, needs Silverlight - not suppported (sic)

    > Channel 4 on demand - does not work, needs Media Player 11 - not supported

    I think you'll find that project Kangeroo has been reported to the Competition Commission.

    When the playing field is level the issues will be different. Time is on Free Software's side and you will be free too.

    > Itunes - does not work - not supported

    Yes, of course, but let's take a moment to think "why?" Could it be part of that general lock-in to our products used by both Microsoft and Apple?

    But there are alternatives including DRM free music from commercial providers and wonder MP3 management systems such as Amarok.

  86. Mark
    Thumb Down

    Wintards never shut up either.

    Never going anywhere???

    What about the Asus laptops that don't need booting to play media? Uses Linux on the BIOS. What about the top500 list of computing power? Dominant linux. Rednerfarms (Disney, ILM, Pixar et al) used to be IRIX shops. Now Linux rules.

  87. t
    Linux

    On the other hand

    Windows is so drop dead simple in supporting hardware that a brand spanking new Inspiron puked on a Dell support requested reinstall after it kept puking running Eclipse, but Fedora Core 9 Installed and Works...

  88. Goat Jam

    @Nìall Tracey

    Good grief Niall, either you are the most magnificently sarcastic bastard on the face of the planet or monumentally befuddled by the Redmond Kool-aid.

    I can run Linux on a MIPS processor, an ARM processor and a PowerPC processor (just to name a few)

    Can you say the same for Windows?

    No, I thought not.

  89. A
    Dead Vulture

    Calling the Moderatrix

    I don't suppose I could persuade you to cull those long URL's in the AC post above? They're stretching the page width here to 150% *and* causing all the comments to flow into the blue bar on the right, black on blue is nigh on unreadable ;)

    Pretty please? Ta!

    Dead birdy cause it's killed your page layout ;)

  90. vincent himpe

    to various

    @Mark

    "And why is it that the close box on windows changed from XP to Vista and YOU SAID NOTHING???:

    Gnome desktop . 2 programs open. simultaneous on same machine: Windows look different , buttons are different , menu bars are even different, different locations. Can we have some uniformity. I don't care. For a lot of people it is a problem. Where is the close button ...

    Here is another problem : installers not making a shortcut. I installed an ubunutu program (i think it was etherape) through the nice graphical interface. After installation : where the heck is it ... and how do i uninstall ... can we have some uninstallers ?

    When i finally found it , i had to do some editing in some config file to get it to work.

    Take apache for example. Will someone please write a nice graphical installer and configurator , instead of archaic text file editing to get it to work ?. Everyime i need to mess with it something breaks.

    All i want is a friggin file and webserver that can take automatic backups of my pc's on the network , centralise my pictures, video, music and documents and serves a webpage so that my family can look at my pictures. I did the ubuntu LAMP installation. After installation you stare at a black screen with a blinking cursor... not very friendly are we ?

    It took a full day and a lot of web reading to get only the webportion up and running. I finally gave up and installed the minimalistic gnome so i could at least use a mouse and have a workable texteditor instead of 'vi'. It's almost 2009 you know ?

    After fiddling with the Ubuntu thing for over a year to try to get my various other devices to work (Medialounge , roku soundbridge, Media Center Pc,) i finally gave up. Last week I shelled out 170 dollar for Windows home Server licence , Popped in the CD click next next next , i agree , punch in the 12 digit keycode , wait half an hour for the install to complete and everything works. And i can even get to my files from anywhere in the world. It comes with a free dyns forwarder. It snapshots my 3 other computers automatically. If i need more storage space : plug in a harddisk and click 'Join to the storage pool'. Done.

    It doesn't get simpler than that.

    And as for your fascination with my last name : You are just jaleous that you don't come from a very large Belgian family. Drank any Belgian beer lately ? You should try it. It opens your perspective.

    @henry Wertz : Last time i played with openoffice ( 6 months ago ) it could not execute any of my excel macros ... pretty frustrating.

    I have to be interoperable with people that use microsoft office. ( that is until some other program becomes the dominant bussiness spreadsheet )

    As for your distro comment. I agree, diversity is good, and people are free to develop what hey want . But can we first complete the ones there are before we fork more ? All this stuff is in perpetual state of development. There are more 'eye candy' developers than application developers. Whenever someone doesn't like a feature of program 'x' they fork it, make 'y' and tweak it a little. Firefox , iceweasel and some other 'clones come into mind... and then z and 25 others pop up too.

    I had a comment a few weeks ago about that cube spin desktop. ( forgot what it is called ) Why do you run this desktop manager ? This one is much better because you can spin your applications on a cube ... Unless you can give me a real 3d monitor ( and even then i fail to see the point ) big whoop. All i need is a basic windowing system that lets me do things with the machine. It's like that aero thing on Vista . On the only machine i have with Vista, i turned that off , and reverted to the XP look and feel. Basic simple GUI that is pretty much uniform across applications. (unless you have some half whack developer that insists on rendering his own controls.

    Anyway. Everyone is free to run whatever OS / dekstop / app he wants. I don;t care. I am happy with Win XP Pro and the applications i use daily. I dabbled with Linux ( I had red hat , Suse and Ubuntu. ) and gave up. Too complicated. 20 years ago i handcoded in TASM a TSR mouse driver for dos. and i could recant the option table for int13 and 21 in the bios by heart. I still have the two 720K floppies with linux 0.89 on it. Hey look it even hase 4 more floppies with X-windows and you can run x-eyes !

    Now .. i just want a button to click that does something that makes my life easier. Let the computer do the boring work. That is what those machines are built for. The computer has eveolved froom ' a tinkertoy' to a 'tool'.

    Take a set of screwdrivers.

    Some people have an odball collection of different brands, shapes, handle styles, old rusty ones , ones with a chipped blade , the one that falls apart but they can't let go off because it has 'sentimental value', sometimes they use a penny or a dime . Some people (very few) make their own screwdrivers .. Some die hard's bicker days about brand x being better then brand y, instead of putting the screw in the wall. Some like the yellow handles , some like the red handles. Some buy a set because they like the box it comes in.

    Me ? I'll get the electric one (preferrably the pre-charged one).. It requires the least effort on my part, it puts the screw in in no time, and i can finally enjoy looking at the painting i made, that now hangs from it.

    It just seems to me like some of the the linux die-hards would use their screwdrivers as paintbrushes, just to prove it can be done .. and the real hard core ones would rather nail the screwdriver to the wall. and look at that.

  91. Drew

    @Andy Worth

    "....but you're not making a fair comparison."

    Oh yes I am!

    "For a start you missed out the steps of having to download or obtain a copy of OpenOffice"

    I didn't leave out any steps, obtaining a copy of the software is taken care of by the computer (as it should). It's called "innovation", I beleive.

    "Then you compared it to an install of a completely different product."

    That would be "equivalent product".

    " How about describing the install process of OpenOffice on a Windows based PC? "

    Add two steps "Download OpenOffice, double click installer". Still 8 steps and $500 easier.

    "Most of the target audience are almost completely PC illiterate, and don't have the competency to work with Linux."

    Overall, Linux is easier than Windows, especially for beginners. The problem lies in the informal support network that only has MS Windows experience. MS Windows experience is so hard won that who'd willingly to let it go?

    (Note that my kids used to prefer my laptop running Linux over the household desktop running MS Windows until we got a Mac.)

    As far as I can see, the major complaint against OpenOffice is that "it's not the same as MS Office" and that against Linux is "it's not the same as MS Windows". Of course their different! If they were the same then we'd all be stuck with MS Windows, wouldn't we?

  92. Steve Mann

    Oh Dear

    Another Windows/Linux flamewar with hardly anything relevant being said.

    I'm really, really looking forward to the point where there is a viable alternative for the home user to Windows. Linux isn't it, yet.

    Because, despite what several hysterical mouth-foamers are saying, the vast majority of people can simply walk into a Staples, buy a copy of Office for *much* less that $500, load the disk, install the software with a click and (Vista users only spend another 45 minutes trying to register the thing and having to set up a passport account but hey, that's Vista, doesn't happen on XP, which should have been a clarion call to SOME Linux vendor out there years ago), and you are up and running.

    Someone mentioned GIMP. Gimp. The benchmark for maddeningly unintuitive intefaces that is thrown up time and time again as a "viable" alternative to well-established packages like Photoshop (the full-blown thing). I've had people patiently explain to me that the *problem* in Madison Avenue is that all the graphic designers for some reason refuse to dump a package that they have used for years so they can move into the Linuxy goodness of GIMP. When I suggest that perhaps the evangelical effort would be better spent lobbying hard for a Linux port of Photoshop, I am condescendingly told that I don't understand the issue. Riiiiight.

    Suse. I was enthusiastic when I saw this in action, demonstrated by some eager young things who were salivating at the business market assembled before them. Like many others there I was slightly *less* impressed when the tech lead for office systems integration sardonically related that "one person had baulked in using Open Office because of lack of pivot table support, so we put it in even though we don't see why anyone would use it". Once again a know-nothing-outside-his-narrow-field techie blew off his own size ten and he didn't even realise what he'd done. I wanted to grab him by the neck and scream "Geat a f*cking clue and do some research, dimwit!".

    But then he went on to say that he couldn't see why a firm in New York would want digital camera support either (Goodbye medical market, newspaper market, insurance market and those are just the three waiting at the top of Mr Head).

    What puzzles me is that it is largely the same crowd that bleat over the horror of having web-site choices forced on them as being the very anathema of what the modern computer user experience should consist of, that then turn round and say "Well, you should stop using whatever tool you've been doing business with for x years and switch to <linux "equivalent"> just for the pleasure of using Linux". When the inevitable list of shortcomings of that "equivalent" mounts too high for them to answer, they generally fall back on "what do you expect, it's free?" which, of course, is the death of what they're trying to argue for. Can't use *that* one in front of the Board of Directors.

    Until the major third party software vendors start producing for native Linux, there will be no sea change in the way people in the street view their computers.

    Stop whining about how the other guy doesn't do it right. Make the alternative a better choice FOR THE USER.

  93. Alan
    Linux

    Anecdotal experience of linux

    I've been building a media centre over the past few days. I thought I'd try installing linux on it with MythTV - it's free and I though that if I could get it working then that'll be cool, if not then I could always pick up a copy of Windows. I chose the Mythbuntu Ubuntu / MythTV combination. Installation went extreemly smoothly, and only took about 15-20 mins or so. And then it just worked. I didn't have to spend another few hours installing video drivers, sound drivers, anti-virus, patches, service packs. Just 20 mins on a blank system to fully working media centre. TV card, remote control, LCD fornt panel all working. I have yet to type a single letter into the command line. It *really* could not have been easier.

  94. J-Wick
    Boffin

    A computer should be a means to an end...

    ...not an end in itself.

    I primarily use Ubuntu, and really like it, but it's not quite desktop ready yet. It's really come a long way (since my last Linux experience in the late 90s), but it's not quite ready. Like others have said, DVD playback isn't out of the box (yes, I *know* you can install decss or whatever), and WMVs don't play well. Yes, I *know* they're a MS-specific format, but I'm interested in the content, not format.

    People (including me) watch to check email, listen to music, edit photos, watch DVDs and do things with their computer. The OS should really be invisible. Linux does have enormous hurdles to overcome, since the market is Windows-dominated, but that's the standard by which it's going to be judged...

  95. Mark
    Stop

    Electric screwdrivers

    "Me ? I'll get the electric one (preferrably the pre-charged one).. It requires the least effort on my part, it puts the screw in in no time, and i can finally enjoy looking at the painting i made, that now hangs from it."

    Unless the torque isn't enough. Then you're fucked.

    Or if the battery holds charge enough for fifteen minutes use.

    Or it uses a propriatory screw head (so that you have to take it to an authorised dealer).

  96. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    To Vincent Hippie

    "And why is it that the close box on windows changed from XP to Vista and YOU SAID NOTHING???:

    Gnome desktop . 2 programs open. simultaneous on same machine: Windows look different , buttons are different , menu bars are even different, different locations. Can we have some uniformity. I don't care. For a lot of people it is a problem. Where is the close button ..."

    I notice that, even though you *included the quote* failed to answer it.

    Vista changed the close button.

    No noise from you.

    Try this: Windows. Office 97. Where's the Preferences (language, etc)? Now Windows. Office 2000. Where's the Preferences (language, etc)? Now Windows. Office 2003. Where's the Preferences (language, etc)? Now Windows. Office 2007. Where's ANYTHING?

    Install Windows Media Player.

    Everything is in a non-standard place and looks like no other Windows application.

  97. Mark
    Gates Horns

    So even second time through Simpsons' post passed you by

    "You come in here every few months and say that you want to make more friends...."

    Nope, Linux doesn't say that (even under those conditions where you are talking metaphorically.

    "You go to the party and you expect everyone to love you, just because you are there. If they don't tell you how great you are, you get angry and start calling people names, knock things over, cause a scene, and storm out."

    This sounds like Microsoft (cf Brazil, Massachusetts, ISO, etc).

    "Then you come in here and start complaining on how bad they treated you, and say you are never going back."

    Ballmer: "Linux is a cancer" "Linux stole 235 of our patents" "Linux stole our code"

    "You kept insisting to play linopoly, but they didn't know what that was, because you just made it up yesterday."

    cf Hasbro, Scrabble and Scrabulous. IP tells us we can't MAKE a program called monopoly.

    "When Joe asked what the problem was, you started screaming "JOE SIX PACK", "JOE SIX PACK" "

    Ballmer: "Developers Developers Developers" and "Linux is a cancer"

    "When none of the guests at Mr. WalMart's party would talk to you"

    Wallmart still sell Linux.

    "You always tell me what great friends you are with Mr. R.P.M. and Mr. D.E.B. But just the other day, Mr. R.P.M. was in here and he said that he saw you and Mr. D.E.B. out together. He went over to say hi, but you pretended you didn't even know him... You told him that you didn't remember him... That you might know him through Mr. Package, but that you wouldn't even talk to him if Mr. Package wasn't at the table with you and Mr. D.E.B. That's just crazy."

    Talking of crazy!!! What the FUCK is this about???

    "While you my friend, are an arrogant, prick."

    Assertion more appliccable to Microsoft: cf "ODF can't do what we need it to do in Microsoft Office". THAT is arrogance. Their ONE VERSION of a program is the be-all and end-all of what an Office Suite MUST do?

    yes, the retard was chewing on the whacky baccy and you french-kissing got a huge hit of the mind-bending chemicals too.

  98. Peter Kay

    BSD vs Linux and non x86 Linux (Niall is right, Goat Jam and others are wrong)

    BSD doesn't have as wide ranging support as Linux, but in my experience the install is more solid - precisely because it doesn't try to be too fancy when it's not up to the task. I'd rate Slackware on Linux as one of the few distributions not making the flash over functionality mistake.

    Niall is completely right about non x86 Linux - read carefully what he's saying. A non trivial amount of software that works fine under x86 Linux either doesn't work on non Linux unixes or fails to compile when it finds anything other than x86 architecture.

    Sure, the kernel works, and bits of gnu might work (don't make any bets on gdb, for instance..) but many other bits of software probably won't (or haven't you seen the situation where you run a ./configure and it has no knowledge of the architecture, even given an up to date configure file?) . Given that situation it's better to productise 'cut down x86 ubuntu that works on an eee' to a friendly name that means it's easy for people to check compatibility rather than trying to get 'Linux' software which may not actually work.

    You're a poor student of history Goat Jam. Can it be said that Windows runs on MIPS, ARM and PowerPC. Well, yes, you can say that. XP, Windows 2003, Vista and Windows 2008 run on x86, x86 64bit and Itanium. NT4 ran on Alpha, MIPS, PowerPC (PReP). Windows CE runs on a shedload of platforms...

  99. J-Wick
    Thumb Up

    @Steve Mann

    "...then turn round and say "Well, you should stop using whatever tool you've been doing business with for x years and switch to <linux "equivalent"> just for the pleasure of using Linux"

    Bingo. This seems to describe the majority (or at least the most vocal) of linux advocates - myself included!

    But it's not enough of a reason for everyone else.

  100. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    media codecs

    h264 support is shite aswell.

    Jeez those are some lovely artifacts and a nice consistant green.

  101. Mark

    it's not quite desktop ready yet

    The same is true of Windows. Heck, any past version of windows, not just Vista.

    @Steve Mann

    "I'm really, really looking forward to the point where there is a viable alternative for the home user to Windows. Linux isn't it, yet."

    And neither is Windows. Actually, since the internet and Windows 98 the ability of Windows to BE ready for the desktop has steadily dropped lower and lower.

    Viruses. ActiveX (and careful watching to ensure it doesn't get abused). Firewalls. Drive-by pwnage. All very much so that non-computer experts can no longer use windows.

  102. Mark
    Pirate

    What are you looking for?

    "Someone mentioned GIMP. Gimp. The benchmark for maddeningly unintuitive intefaces that is thrown up time and time again as a "viable" alternative to well-established packages like Photoshop"

    It is a very intuitive interface. It's just that Windows is no Window Manager.

    You right click on the image and you get a list of commands that are appropriate for the image you clicked on. Very intuitive. Very UNIX. And MS picked up on that BIG-TIME for Windows98.

    By "maddeningly unintuitive" you mean "it isn't photoshop". Well, when Adobe noticed another company using tabs to separate out groups of commands and widgets, Adobe sued them for making a GUI that looked like theirs. And won.

    Now how is a free package supposed to afford the bus fare to court to defend from this? After all, we've seen time and again that no matter how stupid and illegal your complaint is, if the defendant doesn't turn up, they lose.

  103. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Mark

    Lol, you're a funny guy. I think you need linux therapy. You seem to be blinded to the gaping flaws in both Linux and your own mind.

    Every graphics designer/publisher I know says GIMPs shit, only lunatics claim it isn't.

    Here take a seat and tell us about your friends.

  104. Nìall Tracey

    @Goat Jam & @Mark

    @Goat Jam

    "I can run Linux on a MIPS processor, an ARM processor and a PowerPC processor (just to name a few)"

    My point is that massive amounts of "Linux" software is really "Linux i386" software in that it only works on an x86 chip. The term "Linux software" is therefore a point of extreme confusion.

    Don't start talking about "recompiling", because most of it won't recompile, because of the complexities of library dependencies -- there's bound to be something in the critical path that just isn't available for your architecture of choice. Besides -- recompiling is not what beginners expect to have to do.

    @Mark

    I'm not ignoring anything about Windows Mobile. There is enough of a specific by-version branding that most people know it's not Windows Windows, but I've heard a fair few people say that they don't want Windows on their phone because the screen and keyboard aren't big enough to use Word.

  105. Steve B
    Thumb Down

    Lack of Visionaries.

    I tried to install an old Linux application which was part of an old OS install that did not work on the destined laptop.

    Simple exercise to install a current running version of Linux and then extract the application and put it on top, after all that is the approach i would take with a Windows app.

    Not so simple unfortunately as it doesn't have an RPM or Deb or whatever they are, so although several new versions of Linux install and run a dream, I can't take the next step to get at the application.

    I tried the forums trying to link up with some Linux experts who could give guidance.

    This highlights the main problem:

    The answers I got back:-

    1 - You should only try that if you are a Linux expert.

    2 - If you can load those versions of Linux you are doing alright, why waste time on the application just carry on using Linux!?

    As I pointed out, in real IT installing an OS is never a major target, it is a(n) (un)necessary step. I think I was banned as no further help was forthcoming.

    Until the general attitudes change and a very simple interface is incorporated ( you can have everything driven by text config files, but there should be a simple select option interface for everyone else to use) which is common between versions, there is not much chance of a massive take up.

    After all, between windows there is a big XP or Vista debate, but with Linux, it is RH, UBUNTu, kubunto, gentoo, ooh ahh... etc. That isn't going to put anyone off is it?

  106. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    @Mark

    Mark,

    As the man says, go have another read, one day you'll get it...

    You blinkered OSS Fanbois are so so funny to read.

  107. Mark
    Stop

    @Anonymous Coward

    Get what?

    That it was either a load of crap or a long rant attempt at humour?

  108. Mark
    Stop

    @Nìall Tracey

    then why are you here on a story that says that Linux may lose out to windows, giving reasons why Linux is no good that are just as applicable to Windows?

  109. Mark
    Gates Horns

    Anonymous Coward shit.

    "Every graphics designer/publisher I know says GIMPs shit, only lunatics claim it isn't."

    And you know all the graphics designers?

    My dad (72) uses Gimp. Likes it. Uses Photoshop, Picassa and Picture Project. Some of these apps do ONE thing better than all the others. He's not a computer whizz. He's pretty much a neophyte. But he generally uses GIMP or Picassa.

  110. Mark
    Stop

    Re: Lack of Visionaries.

    Try installing an old Win95 app. Heck, try MS Wine with Oz Clarke. May work, may not. If it doesn't work, you're SOL.

    Better, try installing an old app from Windows NT (Alpha). SOL right off the bat.

    Why do you complain that Linux isn't ready and then give examples that show Windows isn't ready either.

  111. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Mark

    I'm curious - have you seen the "Things That Shall Not Be Named - Ever", recently? It would defenetly excuse your insane ramblings.

    I suggest you go outside, sit on a park bench and eat a sandwich whilst enjoying the great outdoors. It could save your mind.

  112. David L Pearce
    Alert

    @Mark

    Mark,

    Honestly, you have valid points about GUI choice, etc.

    But I get the impression you have very little knowledge of the real insufficiencies of Linux.

    #1 Issue: Inconsistent kernel APIs. This means you have to choose older and open hardware to add to your Linux system, unless it can be driven completely by a simple class driver. This means any manufacturer that wants to do a closed source driver (heresy!!!!) to protect their intellectual property, will never have a truly solid driver that works across all distributions (though some companies come closer to supporting the majors than others). Add to this that the user is encouraged to build even more custom kernels for their own systems, and that kernel API is even further from being even near standard.

    #2 Issue: I gave up at FC4 over this one, cut and paste between apps. Some apps written for one desktop, can't cut and paste to apps for other desktops, even though they run otherwise undisturbed between two GUI environments. There should be a standardized method for a developer, such that no matter what desktop library a app was coded for, that all apps can communicate relevant cut and paste data. Maybe always export basic data, such as selected text, vcards, email addresses, etc. via the X data sharing libraries?

    #3 Issue: Library versioning... even windows has problems with this, but nowadays it seems much worse on Linux. Like Windows, Linux dumps all libraries into the same directory for the most part. The benefit is that all apps have access to these libraries. The detractor is that in Linux, many times the libs are not reverse compatible. Microsoft has gotten better about this issue of late. Either Linux needs a standard way to find a specific version of a library, never requiring the user to swap libs, etc., or Linux needs to make sure application libraries are generally backwards compatible to older apps, while supporting the new apps as well.

    I think that if the Linux distribution architects got together, they could hash out fixes to these three major issues, but until they do, it will be very difficult to penetrate the user market with Linux.

  113. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Anonymous Coward shit.

    I know a fair few more who say it's shite then say it isn't (well I don't know a single professional who says it isn't shite), and I'm talking about professionals not enthusiasts but then even the enthusiasts I know say it's junk. In the region of 40 people in real life and double or triple that online. Ironically I'm quite adept with it, but it's still garbage.

    But keep it up, you're a funny guy.

  114. Mark
    Gates Halo

    @Anonymous Cow Herd

    I see.

    Linux Therapy == The Emperor's New Clothes

    If I were smart I'd be able to see how enlightening that pile of satanic cow shit is. But as I don't see it, I must be thick as pigshit and so dumb that I wouldn't understand the explanation.

    And you complain about FOSS telling people "you're too dumb"!!!!

    There's no icon with a wintroll's head up BillG's arse, so this will have to do...

  115. Mark

    @David L Pierce

    Maybe they aren't deficiencies but "not what windows does".

    #1 Inconsisten kernel API's.

    How does that affect the end user? Or they apps they use? For kernel programmers, it meant that there was full 64 bit support in the Linux kernel how many years before Windows XP64 came out (and crashed and burned because it was a rush job)? Four? More?

    #2 Issue: I gave up at FC4 over this one, cut and paste between apps.

    No, the only one this gives trouble with is Evolution. And that's because it is trying like billy-o to ape Microsoft Lookout Express. In all other apps, highlight the text, middle click where you want the text. Much easier than Windows "Select copy, select paste/Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V" which is available in all applications on Linux too.

    #3 Issue: Library versioning

    A) if Windows has this problem too, then why is Windows ready for the desktop?

    B) There's no problem.

    Reverse compatability is not a problem: you have the old version of the library in there too. And if you have some package manager looking after it, rather than say "this dll doesn't seem to be used any more but if I delete it it could break things so I want you to tell me if I can delete it" as per Windows, your package manager uses the "--uses" tag to remove unneeded libraries.

    So to sum up:

    #1 is as much a help as a hindrance and NO PROBLEM for non-kernel applications.

    #2 is as far as I can tell made up

    #3 is not a reason why Linux isn't making it on the desktop because Windows makes it despite being as bad or worse.

  116. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    Did you think they were serious ?

    Its pretty obvious Asus etc. don't really care about Linux.

    The 701 was supplied with Linux (cos it was free) but the package had drivers and instructions for XP.

    Clear signal to MS, surely ? Come on, you know you want to sell XP cheap to us lower powered PC suppliers ? A few extra dollars for something thats recouped its costs years ago ?

    And now result - MS are looking to punt XP to the netbooks hand over fist.

    XP - its the new Vista really.

    My 701 lasted 10 mins on Linux, just enough for AC Jnr to get bored with Penuin Racer, and then it was on with the XP install.

    Game over.

    Bill - cos he still knows how to get a win from anything...

  117. vincent himpe
    Stop

    @mark ( and this is the last one )

    If you can't even write my name correclty, then i do not want to use any of your code... If you want to find out how it is spelled: look in the developer docs for almost any linux distro out there. hint : look at the i2c api for motherboard diagnostics and monitoring.

    And as for the screwdriver example: mine's the quad core with the 1000 watt power supply. It will drive the little screw in the drywall. You missed the point, again, completely.

  118. Anthony Prime
    Stop

    @ Mark

    I don't for one moment think you're thick as pigshit or dumb, but I do think you need to develop some awareness outside of your current field of vision.

    Simpsons original post was subtle, yes, but with dispassionate reflection it contained a lot of difficult "truth". And unfortunately, you've done your level best to prove his point which seems to demonstrate a jaw dropping lack of self awareness.

    Rather than taking it on the chin, agreeing that everyone has a different point of view (and to paraphrase him) tried to get on with people who disagree, you've been rude and arogant. You could have used your knowledge to influence, to drive "the cause", but instead you reinforce old stereotypes and exactly the ones Simpson was doing his best to throw into relief.

    Reading back through these comments, you're the only poster, exception me right now, to use the word "fuck" and, in my opinion, without exception, every post you've answered you've done so in a confrontational sarcastic and blinkered manner. To quote Simpson "This sort of behaviour doesn't help you".

    The world is not black and white! Can you not accept that you may not be 100% correct and anyone deviating from your view is not by default 100% wrong? I believe you're intelligent enough to understand that, but for some reason on this subject the red mist always wins through - yet another support to Simpsons original post.

    My own experience? Disatisfied and disillusioned with XP (and MS generally) for a number of years. Tried half a dozen Linux distros none of which I could get to grips with in a meaningful way as a productivity tool, finally landing in desperation with OSX. And the quality of my experience with OSX means Linux and I will seldom if ever cross paths again.

    Natually you'll respond to this as you have everyone else, and naturally you'll rant at me, which is a shame, because I'm open to and supportive of OSS as a whole and Linux in particular. But you won't ever accept that fact because, like you, I'm only open to it on my terms. You champion choice as the unbreakable primary directive, but paradoxically in doing so you insist that I can't choose not to have to make choices I am unquallified to make.

  119. Mark
    Thumb Down

    @Vincent Hippie

    No, I just think you should change your name. OK, you don't have to change it to "hippie" but change it. The one you've got is completely unsuitable.

    As to Athonus Prime: are you then 100% correct? That pile of shit "Linux Therapy" had nothing subtle in it. It had a lot of crap in it. And how come you still haven't said what I've missed?

  120. Mark

    Heck, while we're on the subject of 100%

    What about the places where I and others have said "So? That's a problem with Linux and it's a problem with Windows too"?

  121. Mark

    Optimus Prime

    "You champion choice as the unbreakable primary directive, but paradoxically in doing so you insist that I can't choose not to have to make choices I am unquallified to make."

    Oooh. Where did I say you MUST CHOOSE LINUX? Never. What I have said is that if you're going to diss linux for never getting to the mainstream, please don't include things that didn't stop *Windows* getting to mainstream.

    "But you won't ever accept that fact because, like you, I'm only open to it on my terms."

    Fair enough. Don't use Linux. But let someone else try it without YOUR prejudice turning them sour. It's a free frigging download or several ISO's with a lot more stuff available on the front of a £5 magazine. LET THEM TRY.

  122. Aubry Thonon
    Thumb Down

    <sigh> And people wonder why Linux has yet to take off...

    ... I made a few comments about what I wanted for my wishlist... and instead of being "educated" (ie, shown how to get what I want) I get ranted at.

    First of all - to all of you who flamed me, read my post again. I am a big fan of Linux. As a server. Love it. Wouldn't want to run anything else. It keeps on ticking away in its little box and serving my web-pages and e-mail to the outside world without supervision. I just don't think it is ready for the desktop.

    As for the flaming and people telling me to engage my brain... might you look in the mirror sirs? I did not ask that GIMP and OO be "like photoshop or MS word", I wanted a compatibility option like MSWord had for WP. It would help me make the transition. Why? Because I do not like Adobe or Microsoft. I would love to cross over. I just don't feel up to re-learning upteen million commands (exaggeration, I know, but it sometimes feel like it) just so I can *start* to use the damn product. No, I don't want a Linux copy of Photoshop or OO, I want a version of GIMP or OO I can use *right now*. Even if not fully.

    I notice, BTW, that no-one has responded to my "normal view" comment, unless that comment about "too much like MS" was the response.

  123. This post has been deleted by its author

  124. vincent himpe

    @aubry Thonon & others

    There are mods for the gimp that gives it the same menu structure and feel of an outdated Photoshop ( don't expect Cs3 ... ) They are called the GimpShop and GimPhoto.

    Funny thing is that , when the developer of the GimpShop posted it on the Gimp forums he was blasted by the lead developers , and bluntly told to keep his modifications for himself...

    strange.. When someone tries to make a useful tool that makes transitioning platforms simple, they get blasted by the 'Linux' community. I guess this 'Open Source', 'free software' and 'Collaborative Development' went out the window.

    No wonder people stick to windows.... If they make a serious attempt to try Linux they only get blasted by the 'elite crowd'. Blasting your prospective customers is a very bad move , marketing wise ... akin to shooting yourself in the foot.

  125. Goat Jam
    Linux

    @Peter Kay

    "A non trivial amount of software that works fine under x86 Linux either doesn't work on non Linux unixes or fails to compile when it finds anything other than x86 architecture."

    Nope, the fact is that if you have the source code it is possible to re-compile on ANY architecture that provides gcc. The fact that the source / configuration may need to be changed to some degree (from minor->major) is irrelevant. If somebody wants to port some open source app to another architecture then they can do so.

    The same can't be said for Windows.

    "You're a poor student of history Goat Jam. Can it be said that Windows runs on MIPS, ARM and PowerPC. Well, yes, you can say that."

    Nope, I was there during history and I have a good memory. Firstly, XP/Vista don't run on MIPS, PowerPC or ARM (I am willing the acknowledge that there may be a cut-down version of XP out there that runs on ARM but I have not heard of it). Pointing to a version of Windows that is over a DECADE old is a sign if desperation Peter. Same goes for Wince, which has also been obsoleted.

    So, we find that the only architectures that current versions of Windows will run on are x86 variants and the itanic.

    Wow.

    The point here is that you can only run Windows on architectures that Microsoft chooses to compile it for. End of Story.

    Open source, by its very nature can be compiled to run on any architecture. The fact that it might not work out of the box for every one of those architectures is completely irrelevant.

  126. Goat Jam
    Linux

    @Niall

    "My point is that massive amounts of "Linux" software is really "Linux i386" software in that it only works on an x86 chip. The term "Linux software" is therefore a point of extreme confusion."

    Whereas 100% of Windows userland apps only run on x86 chips.

    "Don't start talking about "recompiling", because most of it won't recompile, because of the complexities of library dependencies"

    Whereas with Windows, you don't even have the chance of re-compiling because MS won't give you the source code.

    I don't understand what point you are trying to make here. You seem to be saying that Linux is inferior because you can't always recompile the source code without tweaking it compared to Windows where you cannot recompile the source code AT ALL.

    And somehow this makes Windows better? I want some of what you are smoking dude.

    Seriously.

    See my preceeding post @Peter Kay for more details

  127. Goat Jam
    Linux

    @Aubrey

    "I made a few comments about what I wanted for my wishlist... and instead of being "educated" (ie, shown how to get what I want) I get ranted at."

    I call bullshit Aubrey.

    I told you how to choose and remove apps as per your wish list.

    I pointed out that It's not the fault of the GNU/Linux OS that the proprietary shops (apple, MS, adobe) choose to ignore linux as a deliberate strategy in an effort to maintain the predominance of their closed source model..

    I forgot to point out that you can't just copy the look and feel of Photoshop because adobe will sue you for doing so. Fortunately, somebody else did that.

    I do admit I suggested that you "engage your cerebral cortex" which I probably should have not have done. Please consider this my apology for that.

  128. Mark

    @Niall

    Yellow Dog Linux.

    PPC code.

    The Top500 computers running linux? I don't think they are x86, toto.

  129. Mark

    @Vincent Smith

    Well, what's wrong with telling someone whose forked a project to continue with their forked project?

    If GimpShop really IS better and more wanted, that fork will progress and become the dominant one. If not, then why should the developers take time away from other user requests to put into making it ape Photoshop?

    That GimpShop is not taking over shows that the UI problems only exist for a very small fraction of users and maybe a number of Photoshop users (who don't like the name because it's weird, so why not change your weird name?).

  130. Mark
    Pirate

    Emperors Clothes

    Nope, the reason why it makes no sense is because it's wrong.

    FOAD

  131. Peter Kay

    @Goat Jam

    You just don't get it, do you?

    Yes, you can port software to any platform. It's also possible to write an operating system using echo and dd if you really want to. Guess what - it's too much hassle for most sane people.

    Same with software. The vast majority of people just want to click a couple of icons. A few more technical people will be prepared to do a configure and make. Having to work out how to customise the code for a weird processor architecture used by your netbook manufacturer? If you think that's realistic for more than 0.0001% of users you are utterly deluded.

    Windows CE is not obsolete; Windows CE is the base mobile operating system, Windows Mobile is the combination of the OS (CE) and the set of apps and support systems that customise it to a particular device.

    Yes, NT 4 is old and dead. The point is that Windows is portable, regardless of its current platform support.

    Linux may have more current platform support, but that's not useful if it's not possible to transparently install or at least compile software on it. That is often the case on non x86 architectures.

    This is why Linux may need to be productised. Call the OS MiniNoteARMto for 'Ubuntu that works on a cut down notebook with only 16bit colour and with an ARM chip' - then refer to that product consistently, so that people can search for MiniNoteARMto apps and be certain they will work..

    It seems to (mostly) work in the mobile phone world (where apps are either selected via the platform i.e. S60, or the phone model), but as soon as you stray outside x86 on various Unixes including Linux, it's not uncommon to find limited functionality and small software libraries.

  132. Anthony Prime
    Thumb Down

    @Mark

    Leaving your trolling personal insults aside,

    "Fair enough. Don't use Linux. But let someone else try it without YOUR prejudice turning them sour. It's a free frigging download or several ISO's with a lot more stuff available on the front of a £5 magazine. LET THEM TRY."

    I don't quite see how I'm stopping anyone? I just want more of those who try to discover a great OS, friendly, productive and an OSS showcase. I want those who try to stick and stay. I want the reasons they give for leaving (my reasons for moving on!) not to apply. I want that because it benefits everyone, Linux, The Community, Users, everyone. Heck it would even force MS to actaully get with the program and stop devliering sub standard pap to fit a profit margin.

    Can you not see where I'm coming from? Not at all?

    I make the point that actually they won't stay because the project's immature and your ONLY counter is that obvously they're f*ckwits because they can't see the *real* benefits. Posturing aside, do you genuinely believe that?

    And sadly, friend, "your" (and I don't really mean you personally) mindset and attitude is doing more to deter people than I ever could - even if I was minded to. :-/

  133. Goat Jam
    Linux

    @Peter Kay

    Actually I do get it. It was you Wintrolls that bought up the whole "can't compile Linux on X architecture" crap.

    The fact is that 99% of users NEVER have to recompile apps. They just use the precompiled x86 apps that are provided by their distro, end of story.

    I've written and compiled some minor apps in the past. However, the fact is that I don't want to do that for my OS and user apps, and I haven't had to do so since about 2001. What you are attempting to do is maintain the MYTH that ordinary users need to compile all the software they want to use, which is a load of complete bollocks.

    Ergo, pointing out that the Linux source code won't compile on some obscure architecture is patently ridiculous when we are discussing Windows vs Linux on "Netbooks" which are all x86.

    It is a red herring. A blatant attempt to troll this forum and spread FUD by Microsoft shills such as yourself. If you have a problem compiling Linux on your obscure architecture of choice then why don't you have the same problem compiling Windows?

    The truth is that you don't have difficulties compiling windows source for your imaginary architecture because A) you don't actually have any hardware of a different architecture and B) even if you did you don't have the Windows source to recompile.

    Today, to use Linux (Ubuntu) you install off the CD, click on Synaptic Package Manager and select "Mark All Updates". If you fail to do that it will consult the repositories anyway and then inform you that "Updates are available". Click the icon, type in your password and all updated packages will be downloaded and installed automatically

    No compiling is required. If you want to run on some whacky architecture then that is also fine, but you need to take some responsibility for that choice and tweak+recompile. Big deal.

    That is called choice. If want to take the easy route, then choose an x86 box and install a distro like Ubuntu. If you wan't play at uber geek and install Linux on your gcc equipped toaster oven then that is fine too, just don't expect it to work seamlessly.

    The fact that you don't have such a choice with Windows appears to escape you WinTrolls. You can't recompile Windows for ANYTHING, yet you point at the choice that Linux provides and whine "Its all to hard for joe sixpack to compile linux for his toaster"

    Here's a hint Peter. Joe Sixpack would never want to recompile an OS for a toaster oven.

  134. Svantevid
    Linux

    @ Aubry Thonon

    Points 1. and 2. (Add/Remove Programs, put them in Start menu upon installation) have already been dismissed as already solved in Linux (although in a somewhat rude manner), but I agree with you on points 3. and 4.

    Wine should be included in consumer-oriented distros (Ubuntu, I'm looking at you), so Joe Sixpack could run his Windows-only programs. One of great advantages of Ubuntu to an average user is that everything relevant comes on the installation disk and you don't have to locate additional programs somewhere on IntarTubes(tm). As some of my business tools (I'm an accountant) have no Linux equivalent, I'd like Wine preinstalled so I could say to some of my less savvy colleagues "Look, just click on BusinessTools.exe and it'll install it for you". Instead of doing a Windows-like "first you have to install this."... people put up with that behavior from Windows just because it's a familiar environment. Linux has to outshine Windows in that field if it wants to attract more people... Windows didn't have much of a competition, Linux faces a virtual monopoly.

    GIMP also... as you have said, WinWord had a WordPerfect compatible style. GIMP users should be greeted with "do you want GIMP or Photoshop menu-styles?". If you want to attract people, give them familiar look and feel.

    I'm glad that nvidia's Linux support started drawing people away from ATI in such a number that ATI felt compelled to release Linux drivers... not that my X1800XT didn't work flawlessly with Ubuntu with default drivers, but it's much nicer now. 8-)

    I hope that we'll see other manufacturers act the same, it will remove the "aargh, my XXX hardware didn't work with Linux!". Maybe I'm blessed with exceptionally common hardware as I had no such problems, but as people turn more to Linux I think in several years such complaints will become much rarer.

    While we're at suggestions for improvement, it seems that the non-existent telephone support is a big problem. If Canonical's keeps its promise of 60 days of free telephone support for anyone who buys Ubuntu (20 USD isn't *that* much), it could negate that complaint too.

  135. vincent himpe

    @mark

    Until you can spell my name correctly : go and troll somewhere else.

  136. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    I thought we were consumers...

    Do you really think that Microsoft _controls_ what you are going to eat tonight?

    People who like Windows, buy Windows. Regardless of the flaws, they like it and thus they buy it.

    Why are consumers not choosing Linux systems on a scale that matters? Oh wait, I can read the answers above....ok...I see. It is EVERYONES fault. Linux is basically THE BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD and everyone is working AGAINST it....or...

    They don't, because it can not do what a consumer want it to do.

    Ow yeah...the great idea of adding wine emulation onto majority of Linux distribution so users can run Windows apps....which requires a Windows OS license anyway....smart. That is how you indeed kill Microsoft. While you are at it, send me 100 bucks as well - that way you can make sure I'll get poor and unhappy too!

    FACE IT - LINUX IS MACARENA.

    UNIX and MS are the champs of grown up, serious computing.

  137. Mark
    Thumb Down

    Re: I thought we were consumers...

    No. But they DO control what I can do with their software and others. Copyright means I cannot make a "work-alike" or interoperate. Patents mean I can't create a connector to MS's AD to validate.

    Even though I've bought the OS, they control what I can or can't do with it.

    That is why so little consumption of Linux is taking place.

  138. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    @vincent hippo

    Look, you have a silly name. Change it. It doesn't cost you anything. Just change that silly name to something less silly.

    Or you can say that it is none of my business what your name is and I shouldn't tell you what you should be called.

    And then do the same for the GIMP programmers.

  139. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    "Wine should be included in consumer-oriented distros"

    Lindows does.

    Lindows got sued by MS all over the planet because they used a name *like* windows. They had to find a court that didn't accept "windows" was too generic to be infringed by something that *sounds* like it.

    And AFAIK, wine is on all the DVD distributions anyway.

    If you want to have a GIMP with that functionality, fork the code. Heck, if you don't like the name, fork the code, change the name and use search/replace to change GIMP to whatever you like. And put up with finding a new name when some pissant company you never heard of sues you for infringing on their trademark. But, you know, you CAN do it, rather than just complain.

  140. Mark
    Alien

    @Anthony Prime

    Look up "FUD".

    Fear

    Uncertainty

    Doubt

    Fear that you will break your computer or be unable to use it.

    Uncertainty as to whether you will be able to get help

    Doubt that you will be making a sound decision

    This is what you do when you troll against linux as you do with one-sided arguments or 1990's era complaints.

    And the reason for spouting FUD? To halt, reverse or at least slow Linux adoption. By making the people thinking of trying afraid to try.

  141. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    @mark - FUD

    Ahhhh... Got it now, it's us, not you - of course!

    So to support Linux is to be blind to it's flaws and airbrush them from my mind. To blindly encourage people to try substandard product, tell them they're fools when they say things could perhaps be a little easier and then expect them to stay and be eternally grateful. :-)

    Actually son, I've got to live in the real world so I'll give it a miss eh - it's called choice ;-)

    If it weren't so sad, it'd be funny...

  142. vincent himpe

    @Mark Troll

    You missed the point again, completely. The Gimp programmers are of course free to name their tool as they want.

    The problem is that , for people trying to switch to linux , everything is very unfamiliar.

    Again , ask 100000 persons in the street what you would think a program called 'GIMP' does. Ask the same people what a program called 'PhotoShop', 'Paintshop', 'Photoalbum', does... Cut the geekspeak and the 'elitist' crap and make the things simple. Call a cow a cow. Not HHMTINAGOSAPM (hoofed,Horned,Mammal,That Is Not A Goat or Sheep And Produces Milk)

    Ask all the farmers in the world what a a HHMTINAGOSAPM is, i guarantee you only blank stares.

    Here is another thing where you go wrong :

    'Even though I've bought the OS, they control what I can or can't do with it.'

    WRONG . You do NOT buy the operating system. You buy a LICENCE to use it -as is- and as the manufacturer of the thing restricts you. Don't like the license ? Don't buy it. Simple as that.

    Thats the same reason lots of companies do not want to develop for linux. Whenever they mod a library that is subject to gpl or lgpl they have to disclose the source and give a way their technology. Companies exist for one thing only : Making money !

  143. Mark
    Gates Horns

    @vincent hope

    Yup, I do buy an operating system: Linux.

    I really do get to own it.

    And because you don't get to own other software, what do you get off the price to compensate you? After all, the EULA is a contract (because it takes away rights you have intrinsically, unlike, say the GPL or BSD which GIVE you rights) and contract has to exchange consideration otherwise it is null and void, you must get *something* back.

    No? And you *like* and *approve* this? Well, this is how we can TELL you're biased wintrolls: whatever MS does is absolutely fine.

    In Germany specifically, the EULA is absolutely 100% void. In the UK it would come under UCCTA and as a contract of adhesion most of the restrictions are not applicable before then. US? Well, if the uniform contracts act is passed in your state, you're stuffed unless you raise a constitutional issue on it (NOTE: the MS EULA has *never* been tested in court) but in most states you're covered with the first sale doctrine and contract of adhesion law to ignore the EULA.

    Companies only make money by making something people WANT. And by that want, selling what they make available and making a profit.

    This is no longer true of Microsoft for a long time and if they don't change their way of thinking, they could well die off. Which, despite what prejudices you have may make you think of me, I don't want. That they have monopoly means that the free market is broken, that they rode closed source (which they didn't invent but was a VERY rare beast for most of the computing industry history and innovation was massive over those times too) and now because of it have a temporary reprieve because interoperability is the sine non qua of computing and interoperating with a closed source application practically requires either open protocols (which MS are fighting with every resource they have: see the stacking of the MSOOXML boards with other well paid wintrolls) or purchasing the monopoly product, MS are in the delusion that the slow reduction of their power will reverse merely because they are Microsoft.

    If they don't change, there will be no microsoft. And without competition, all OS producers have less need to innovate. Of course, they have less fear of being screwed/lawyered/fillibusterer/stolen from by microsoft, but that will only help for a while.

  144. vincent himpe

    @Mark . Talk about FUD ...

    'Yup, I do buy an operating system: Linux'

    1) Since when do you have to 'buy' linux ... it' free. like in zero paid ..

    2) Even if you buy a specific 'distro' like Red Hat or Suse there are closed source modules in there. You may own the source to most of the distro.. but you are equally screwed with the closed off bits.

    3) you cannot buy 'Linux'. You buy a system based on the kernel written by Linus & friends. Right now there are so many flavors , and some of them kinda play nice together, some don't ( package installer x does not work on distro y. Application compiled for distro y may not run on distro x, update of kernel modules breaks bunch of installed apps (windows has/had dll hell , linux distros have shared library hell) , Kernel API gets changed on purpose because that's how they want to force hardware manufacturers to release source for the drivers. )

    I use commercial software (Cadence and Mentor Stuff) on a daily basis on Red Hat. Don't even try to get it running on other flavors. The software vendor specifies : you need this distro , this kernel , these libraries in these versions. anything else ... all bets are off, you are on your own , good luck , and don't come complaining if ti doesn;t work right. We only tested it with xyz and cannot support whatever flavor of linux you may be running.

    When we licence the software it includes the right distro ... It goes that far that we have dedicated machines running only that software in that version of Red Hat. just to avoid trouble. We just use remote terminal running on a Windows box to work on the machines. Reason we use Red Hat there : PC hardware is cheaper than Sun hardware.

    And don't come moaning : you have the source, you can recompile it if you want... 99.9$ of the people living on planet earth are not programmers. Of that 0.1% that are programmers , only 1 % can actually pull off compiling a block of source. As for modifying it . That number is even lower, and keep sdecreasing with the complexity of the application.

    Take a look at a serious program like Quartus. Exists on Solaris, Windows and Linux (was originally Solaris Only) . Runs fine on Win98 , 2K XP and vista. Same binary. The linux version ? Sorry, Red hat only. Wanna try anything else ? feel free... we will not support it. People have tried it on Suse, Mandrake, Ubuntu, There is always something that doesn't work right.

    Runs fine on all sorts of different Solaris versions though.

    What i'm saying is : open source is good , but right now there is a wildgrow of distros that have too many base differences , and that makes it hard to make software that runs reliably on whatever distro you happen to be running.

    If Linux would become mainstream today ( suppose microsoft calls it quits today , revokes all licences and tomorrow we all need to intall Linux ( Yay ! no more need to pay for the OS ) Hp will deliver machines with Red hat , Dell will use Ubuntu , IBM will uses Suse , Gateway will use Mandrake and other vendors will use whatever.

    Think about the nightmare for the support teams and the frustration at the users side. " I downloaded program x. It runs fine on my neighbours hp , but my ibm won't run it. It won't even install because the package manager is different. And my other neighbour can't run it because he uses kde instead of gnome ..."

    If i buy a program for windows i have a 95 % chance it will run on Win 2000 , XP and 80 % vista. ( nobody uses 3.1 , 95, 98 and Me anymore. Those versions went out with the dinosaurs ). Linux ? whatever is the 'favorite flavor of the moment i guess' And it shifts very quickly. Too quickly , and to many flavors sprout up . ubuntu , kubuntu , xubuntu, gobuntu. And every six months there is a new one , that starts the cycle all over again, Feisty Fawn , Gutsy Gibbon , Hardy Heron, whats the next one... Smelly Fart ?

    Too tight control ( microsoft style) restricts freedom. No control leads to collapsing civilisation...

    The ubuntu idea is good. But there are many more programs out there, than are offered through the system. And most of them don't target ubuntu. They target other distro's. Asking all those manufacturers/coders to adapt to all those distro's ? Ain't gonna work. Fix the OS . make it simple for software manufacturers.

    It's time for the distro manufacturers to line up on a couple of points :

    : package deployment system , library version control system , prerequisite control system, install local libraries with the app (disk storage these days is irrelevant. At 100$ for 750 Gig, i don't care if a programs needs 100 megs more diskspace ). That would make the end user experience more enjoyable. "Hey i got this cool program for linux based machines. Here , have a copy".

    One click and it works right. Irrespective of that flavour you are running. Then you would have a truly free operating system. Free in the sense that end users can pick their distro freely , and are not longer tied to distro x , because app y won't run on it because the installer doesn't work or it is running the wrong desktop, or there are no drivers for my piece of hardware because the APi has changed, once more ....

    I am convinced that distro manufacturers secretly hope that some application that only runs on their distro will become popular. So they get more marketshare. After all , the distro manufacturers are in it for the money too. If that would fall away , they would only gain marketshare if they truly have something to offer in the OS that others don't have ... And that is very very hard. An Os is just a means to run applications. You don't work with the OS (apart from some file navigation), you work with applications that run on it. And in the real world it's the applications that you wanna run that determine which OS you will run. If all apps run on all flavors of OS then it's damn hard to convince people to uses your version of the OS... if you pick the wrong color scheme for your gui you may fall out of grace...

    I am not a windows freak. I use windows for aplication xyz , i use Red hat for application a,b,c, Solaris for d and e and i dabbled with ubuntu for a while too. I gave up. Because none of the software i want to use runs on it. Same reason i also gave up on Mandrake and Suse and MacOs and Dos , And win 3.1 and win 98 and NextStep and Irix and tons of others.

    I wish we could have programs that wouldn't need operating systems. Just a tiny little boot manager. A very minimalistic system that can allocate a small virtual world for the application to live in , give access to keyboard, mouse, audio and a rechtangular area of screen real estate. Printing services can go through the same graphics api. Just a different 'screen size' depending on chosen paper. (printer is 300 dpi , paper is 8 1/2 by 11 ? : 2550 pixels by 3300 pixels is your 'screen' . now do the rest). Drivers would be simple. Grab the pixel data from the 'virtual page' and send to target , however that target requires it.

    Networking services ? Every sandbox has a TCP/IP stack. Interprogram communication ? via tcp/ip tunnel directly between programs.

    Programs would be compiled into a single file that contains all the executable code it needs. An application also has one settings file it can read/write (This minimalistic system would only allow it access to that file). Anything else is user data that can be stored in a hierarchical file system. No installers needed. Just copy those two files to a spot on your harddisk. And done. Don't need the program anymore ? erase the two files.

    Such a minimalistic system could be written directly into the rom on the motherboard. Turn on the computer and in about 3 seconds its ready to use. Update of the Os : reflash the rom. Protect the OS against malware ? Write protect the rom. ( hardware switch ) nothing would 'auto run' Applications cannot corrupt each others settings or executables. They don't even see them. It's outside their sandbox. Only the program in ROM (let's call it the 'governator' for fun) can move programs to the folder that contains 'executable' files, and only on explicit request from the user. Applications could still corrupt user data. But that is solvable too. File Open and Save only gets access to the file specified by the user. Nothing else ! Applications simply can't write to different locations because the filesystem that they see only contain their own config file and the file that the user opens. Maybe they can have a scratchfile of their own too. Programs could still have multiple data files open. Every time the user clicks file-open and picks a file that file becomes visible int he file system of that application.

    The file-open , file-save and file close services are given by the 'governator' to the application on the request of the user, Not the application. 'Opening' a file lets the application see the file in its sandbox. That's all. There is a root entry in every programs menu. That contains File Open , File Save , File Close and Exit.

    Program crashes ? no problem. Governator is still running. Click Exit. Governator simply flushes the memory occupied by the runtime. Game over.

    Anyway. One can only hope... as you already wrote. My name is Hope .. Vincent Hope...

  145. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    @vinvent

    Glad to see you've changed your name.

    You can *buy*

    Red Hat (odd that you use RH but don't know you have to buy it. Fedora is the [recent] free distribution).

    Suse

    Mandrake

    SCO

    (Ok, joking on that last one).

    among others.

    Buy.

    If you buy a program you have a 90% chance it will work under Wine under Linux or MacOS X. Picassa is a Wine program.

    Targeting a distro is targeting the package manager. NOT the distro. Debian packages work in Ubuntu. And if you have the source tarball, this is not targeted. How difficult is this?

    $ configure

    $ make

    $ sudo make install

    Or use an autopackage package (which is distribution agnostic but acts like rpm or apt).

    We used to have programs that didn't need an OS. That didn't work so well. And if it doesn't work with Windows you're SOL. If it doesn't work with Linux, a recompile is almost always enough.

    Now what did all that have to do with how Linux will never make it???

  146. t
    Coat

    All this silliness

    Use the tool that works for you. I like the *NIX world, distribution depending on what architecture machine. I know how it works. I have my dot files for my personal desktop environs I LIKE that are cross platform. It's about useless to try to hack up a comfortable windows interface to me, I've messed with LiteStep and all the rest, when forced by a job to use a windows desktop. It caused me to slowly and painfully waste loads of time getting a desktop that works the way I LIKE, not the way somebody at M$ likes. If I'm going to hack up OS X to suit me, why not have source code and just run the BSD they stole it from?

    As long as the only easy bits of customizing an out of the box non-*NIX GUI barely extend past changing wallpaper, I can't see any of them as viable out of the box Operating Systems or Window Managers.

    /My desktop will be the one running the super hacked up version of Ion with MY DOT FILES SO I CAN MAKE EVERY MACHINE I TOUCH WORK THE SAME that rarely gets rebooted.

  147. Mark
    Thumb Up

    re: All this silliness

    Agreed.

  148. t
    Coat

    And another thing...

    "one click and it works right"???????

    I mostly hate mice, I just biff them about with my backhand to shift focus between tiled windows once in a while. Why should I have to click? It's an ergonomically broken model first forced on stupid people by Apple and now forced on people by Apple and M$. Mice have a minor purpose in my computing existence. Every time my hands have to leave the keyboard I'm not typing. Being able to sorta use something rapidly tends to lead to tools that aren't very good if you use them all the time. If you want to click, fine. I like a kb because it's a better tool for my purposes. The only thing I generally dislike more than mouse intensive environs is touch screens. They might be good for handicapped people and such but they don't do anything for me. I've never woken up in the morning and thought to myself "You know, I'd really like to have to poke a monitor a lot to get something done, maybe I'll type something about it on a broken membrane keyboard in an email using my AOL account".

    People who spend 16-18 hours a day working on computers get a pretty good grasp on ergonomics, as often as not. They don't work in Redmond or the Bay Aryan Nation either, as far as I can ascertain. That's why *NIX tools tend to be intuitive and work very very well once you understand how they work. They are used by people that USE THEM.

    /Sorry. It's a pet peeve that the industry is so narrow minded to focus so much on anti-ergonomics that are easy for stupid people to learn poorly.

    //Mine's the coat that says on the back "I started out on a PDP-11 when I was 7 years old".

  149. Mark
    Linux

    Re: And another thing...

    See if a "window manager" called ratpoison will work for you. Gets rid of mice.

  150. t

    Nope:

    My incarnation of Ion works for me. It predates ratpoison and works better for me.

  151. vincent himpe

    @t.

    Yes, you may not have a need for a mouse. Ever tried to do any kind of CAD work without a mouse ? Ever tried to manipulate images without a mouse ? (like selecting an area , moving it , rotating it , tilting it ) , Ever tried to play almost any popular game without a mouse. Try designing schematics or board or silicon without a mouse .... By the way , a mouse was NOT forced by apple and microsoft. Sun , Apollo , and Vaxstations had mice long before the pc... The Calma and Computervision machines i did my first chip designs on already had mice + tablets. Calma had 'mice' as far back as 1971 ...

    Not everyone is a coder you know. When i'm coding i also infrequently use the mouse. When i'm doing graphics work .... keyboard is only for command invokation. left hand on the keyboard , right hand on the mouse.

    In a perfect world we would have the LCARS interface from Startrek TNG and later. Very minimalistic , and using a tactile screen. No need for keyboard ,mice and other crap.

    Until then. give me my mouse , and tablet ( for serious graphics work ), and Space navigator (for serious CAD work)

    And puhlease give me a simply installer. Drag and drop a file where you want it , right click it and select 'install' from the popup menu. Its 2008. Commandlines are for dinosaurs.

  152. Mark
    Thumb Down

    @vincent hippie

    Uh, maybe he does't DO CAD work.

    I know, just a wild "shot in the dark" because y'know, almost everyone and their dog has to use CAD software, but maybe this is one of those rare "not using CAD" users you hear about in the dark corners of the internet...

  153. t
    Happy

    @vincent

    Umm, I have absolutely no interest in gaming and I mostly use vi, command shells, or a browser. What would I need to do CAD work for? I'd reckon the majority of the computer users in the world are not CAD people. They mostly type in boxes on their screens. It's a tad bit more efficient to type with a kb than a mouse. I guess you could hunt and peck letters on a touch screen if that gets your rocks off but it sounds inefficient to me. The fact that it's really hard to set up windows to not be annoying will keep me in *NIX for forever, probably.

    Mouse was somewhat forced on average computer users because it's really hard to use a Win or Mac environment without one and really hard for most people to buy any other sort of computer, because of lack of their interest in learning much beyond excel, outlook, ie, their favorite game, and word.

    For MY purposes, clicky sysadmin tools suck arse. Maybe MCSE type people will never go away but I never wanted to be one of them. The most hateful job I ever had was co-admin for a company with loads of win boxes and some DEC stuff. Had job security because I was the only person there that understood their VMS apps, but it sure sucked to have to do the win bit.

    If I feel like playing a game I shoot clay pigeons and billiards outside of an office with non-virtual real tools. Computers aren't much recreational to me. For that reason, shell scripts and code are way better than clicking on things. Try and reconfigure file naming conventions in a large database, because your boss wants you to, in ten minutes on a Vista box. You will go mad clicking on "are you sure?" boxes.

    So we're back to my initial statement of "use the tool that suits your purposes".

  154. Svantevid
    Linux

    @ AC 12.08.08. 14:18 GMT, "I thought we were consumers..."

    "Ow yeah...the great idea of adding wine emulation onto majority of Linux distribution so users can run Windows apps....which requires a Windows OS license anyway....smart"

    http://www.winehq.org/ claims that Wine does not require Windows. Where did you get your data from?

  155. Mark

    @Svantevid

    "Where did you get your data from?"

    It's big. It's Black. And I be afraid of it.

  156. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @ When will OSS types finally realise the truth of this....

    ""But it's free as in beer" is just a hopeless message, a laudable one, but hopeless as a tool to win hearts and minds from the windows world.""

    If you're going to quote something it helps if you know what you're talking about. The quote you were looking for is:

    "Free as in freedom, not free as in free beer" -RMS

    I stopped reading your post at that point because I figured if you were that far off on your quote the rest of your post would most likely be garbage too.

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