back to article gOS - a Google good OS for your Mum

What's free, looks like Mac OS X, just works and is actually Linux? The answer is gOS, which recently launched a new beta that builds on the distro's initial success and adds new tools like integrated Google Gadgets for Linux. When it launched onto the scene late last year, gOS (which stands for good OS) made quite a splash …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    OEMs?

    The article mentions that this distro is targeted at the small web appliance world, are there any OEMs that have announced that they are planning to use it yet?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    @OEMs?

    That is, other OEMs than Everex, of course.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    What will I do...

    ...with my spare time? If I don't have to fiddle with my gOS distro for hours at end, what will I do? Surely not interact with society in a meaningful manner...

  4. Mad Hacker
    Jobs Horns

    Uh, hasn't this been done? Something called Lindows (Linspire)

    So I remember The Register wasn't too thrilled with Lindows (later renamed Linspire) which attempted this same thing with a Linux distro.

    Now I suppose there is a difference... Where Linspire tried to be like Windows with a Linux core, gOS appears to be trying to be Mac OS X with a Linux core.

    Anyway, it would be interesting to see how they compare. Maybe gOS didn't make the same mistake as Linspire that the user accounts were given root permissions.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Mad Hacker

    "Maybe gOS didn't make the same mistake as Linspire that the user accounts were given root permissions."

    That was the very first question that popped into my head - if user accounts have root permissions, will gOS end up as just another virus vector, and if user accounts don't have root permissions, will gOS devices only be used by people that have offspring that can administer the thing for them?

  6. Colin Wilson
    Linux

    I almost...

    ...included this as a bootdisc with a laptop I had to repair* for someone recently, as a means of being almost completely sure they were safe (excluding poisoned DNS results, but anyone could be hit by them) for online banking - sadly it didn't detect the fact he had a widescreen LCD...

    I ended up having to include xubuntu, as it was the only one that worked as it should (barring wireless connectivity)

    *xpantivirus malware again, along with all the friends it invited... 18 detected by Sysclean (Trend Micro), another 20 detected by Spybot S&D, and 3 potentially false positive rootkits that appeared to be related to the audio and video subsystems. Most were credit card stealers...

    It looks very nice, but the lack of configurability put me off - perhaps if they could introduce a "normal" and "admin" settings toggle to hide the more advanced features from regular users, it would encourage take-up.

  7. Sleeping Dragon
    Paris Hilton

    Not bad for a beta

    Whilst most of us *nix fans would love a OS we can take apart, we do need to remember that for most people out there this is their first introduction to such a system.

    Before we can start to introduce the excellent power and flexibility of a desktop Linux, there needs to be a simple point from which Joe/Jane Average can stumble around and play without having the worry of breaking things. There's nothing to be gained by swamping a new Linux user with all the features under the sun and watching them look bewildered.

    I believe gOS offers and excellent balance of use and flexibility. Yes, it's based on Ubuntu, so the software is there for admins later on.

    There's no reason why gOS shouldn't do very well.

    Paris, cos even she can understand something as simple as gOS.

  8. daniel Silver badge

    Now if only...

    Someone would write a *coherent* GUI for all the systems administration tools, and kill vi with fire - developing on Linux at times has me pining for MS-DOS Edit!

    I wish there were more distros about that "just do it" rather than to install a browser, type make, make install and decypher pages of GCC warnings and errors - and maybe you will be spared dependancy hell on installing an RPM if you sacrificed beforehand a blonde virgin in the name of Linux & Cox on the nearest Full Moon to the Summer Solstice...

  9. Antidisestablishmentarianist

    @Colin Wilson

    "It looks very nice, but the lack of configurability put me off - perhaps if they could introduce a "normal" and "admin" settings toggle to hide the more advanced features from regular users, it would encourage take-up."

    People who want 'admin' levels + configurablility aren't the target market.

  10. Pete
    Heart

    Just works?

    I don't know about you but I would prefer an OS that works really well, rather than one that "just works" (and no more, presumably). Shouldn't they have spent more time on development?

  11. Antoinette Lacroix

    Where's the problem ?

    It doesn't lack configurability - it lacks configuration tools. You're free to edit the config files by hand. With vi, gcc & autotools, it's a tweakable as the next distro.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    not to be the proverbial "fly in the ointment", but...

    what about COTS hardware that's conveniently designed for windows only? Oh, say little things like USB hard drives, digital cameras, tons of commercial software that people like me have been screaming for *nix versions for several years?

    Yeah, it's really cool and it's nice to see that someone is actually thinking about the average computer USER, but unless the OS is able to overcome some of the little niceties that windows users take for granted, like plug & pray USB devices, like printers, storage and the occasional humping dog, then I don't see this little endeavour being much more than just an experiment.

  13. Gordon Fecyk

    But can I play WoW on it? Maybe Runescape?

    Maybe Runescape if the thing has a current Java VM on it?

    <insert anti-Google domination rant here><s/Microsoft/Google>

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gos yes that the one that confuses evreyone,

    because they stuck a great big Google Logo in the middle of the desktop.

    That's pretty close to passing off, I would say but then I was fooled by it as well.

    There are loads of Linux distributions, and really what you after is a large repository, quick updating and developers who do give a damn.

    Or, someone with deep pockets looking to advance Linux to the unwashed masses who will then sell them support.

    These mid range distros can be quite annoying if they don't keep up, they end up tarnishing the image of Linux more than they help it to sparkle.

    So manus, should really go and chat with some of the bigger distros, or take a couple of distros inhouse and basically allow them to update the distro for the consumer.

    Open source is odd, you have to know what you are doing or it is a minefield.

  15. Goat Jam
    Linux

    g for good?

    "Big red envelope" "only works for gmail"

    "Marketing to OEMs"

    Yeah, right, it is obvious that the developers of this distro are interested in selling it to one customer, and only one customer.

    No, the "g" doesn't stand for "google", honest injun!

  16. CTG
    Unhappy

    @OEMs

    Of course not, Microsoft has the OEMs all tied up.

    Until that monopoly is broken, *nix is never going to make any headway. If people buy a machine with Windoze on it, the vast majority will never understand that there is an alternative. In fact, I bet the first question most people would ask when told about gOS would be "Does it run on Windows?".

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    The markets large but

    I know quite a few people who only ever run IE on their computers, the only other well known application would be iTunes.

    They have digital cameras, but none of them want to do more than look at the pictures, even if they had a cut down photoshop with one big easy to use button, well frankly its too much effort & they can't give a shit

    Such folk would be well servered by say an eee pc, takes up no room, turns on quick and its small sizes & lack of windows keeps it free of unused apps

    But what a HUGE number of them want is porn, if you could sell it Sky TV style monthly subscription with easy access to all the porn they can eat you would employ thousands, make tons of cash and be called a genius

    iTunes does all the music biz, iPlayer all the TV any sane person needs, noone listens to internet radio for more than a couple of songs and thinks bandwidth limit & turns it off.

    If you want to make money, the stuff of industry, you must give the public what they want, porn, fresh porn

  18. Magilla
    Gates Horns

    The answers you've been looking for:

    Re: Now if only... (daniel)

    vi is extremely fast, if you know how to use it. If you don't, there are plenty of other options, such as pico/nano.

    And if compiling and dependencies are not your thing, use yum (RedHat-based distros), apt (Debian-based distros), emerge (gentoo-based distros) or YaST (SuSE-based distros) - all of which do a pretty good job of working it out for you.

    Re:Just works? (Pete)

    Pete, mate - you'll notice that the article states that this is a "beta" release. This is the software codeword for "we haven't finished development yet". The idea being that they can get feedback and make improvements before the official release.

    Of course, were this actually "google OS" rather than "good OS", I wouldn't be expecting it to come out of beta for a very long time...

  19. Pierre Silver badge
    Coat

    @ Mad Hacker, and daniel

    "Linspire tried to be like Windows with a Linux core, [...] Maybe gOS didn't make the same mistake as Linspire that the user accounts were given root permissions."

    I think you'll find it's called a feature, not a bug. Either you try to emulate Windows, or you don't. ;-)

    daniel:

    "Someone would write a *coherent* GUI for all the systems administration tools, and kill vi with fire" Da, Komrad. Am goink to be fixin dis leetle red vagon of yours. Please providink IP.

    --

    Pitr (userfriendly.org)

    Seriously, who in their right mind prefers an opaque GUI? Why not an "online help", while you're at it? man and vi(m) are the only tools one would want if one knows what one's doing. And if one doesn't, well, one shouldn't be allowed anywhere near root powers. Therefore, and according to what I read here, gOS looks good. Provided the documentation is well done, it's both hacker friendly and relatively luser-proof. Hail goodOS!

    PS: "Emacs is to Vi(m) what Vista is to... well, like, yo Emacs is so fat it looks like Vista." Or something along that line.

    PPS the original being, of course, "Yo moma so fat she looks like Vista".

  20. Ben Mathews
    Jobs Horns

    iBar

    That sounds like a law suite waiting to happen :)

  21. Doug
    Black Helicopters

    Windows OEM's can not market any Linux based products

    if they have a contract with Microsoft, they might sell some Linux but they can't promote it or market it without that contract being reconsidered. And if they have a deal with Microsoft for MS Marketing Dollars then it is even more of a problem for the OEM.

    So, Linux and OSS can not and will not grow from the Windows tied OEMs. It will grow from Linux based OEMs, new OEMs, and from Linux embedded devices like the Tivo, Linksys routers, NAS systems, etc. We've already seen the worldwide pressure Microsoft can put on vendors like the OLPC group and how they eventually bend to cripple their product to 'get in line'. Asus is another with their pricing and packaging once they signed a deal with Microsoft.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Welcome back 1988.

    Glad to see someone finally ported it over from the Commodore 64.

  23. Simpson

    Trying to install for kids machine

    For the Linux zealots:

    I am a windows user that has used win95, 2000 (pro, server), xp (laptops), and 2003 server. I use 2003 server as my everyday OS.

    I have installed, configured and used fedora (several versions), redhat (pre fedora), suse 9.0 pro, and ubuntu (6.06 Lts, 8.04 Lts). But I do not install any of the Linux GUI's. Mainly because I found them unfamiliar, and they seemed to be slow, and they were resource hogs. But I haven't tried any of the linux gui's in the last several years, so they may have improved.

    I operate several postfix mx servers, and several mysql based dns servers.

    I can (if needed) reconfigure and rebuild linux packages from source. I have (once) built Win Mysql from win Mysql source.

    So (linux zealots) don't call me Joe Sixpack, then blame the user (me).

    ----------

    I am setting up an old dell 400sc for my 5 year old to use. It has: 2Ghz celeron, 256 ram, 40 gb ide disk, usb mouse, usb kb. I have already installed win xp on it, but I still need to spend several hours patching it.

    So I read this article and decide: "He's only 5", "he will only be running old edu kids games that might run on wine", "maybe using kid web sites with flash based games".

    This is all he really needs... It will probably run much better, since Linux requires less ram, etc to run.

    So I download the iso, put in a different (known good) hd and give it a go. That was 5 hours ago, and it is still not installed.

    Running from the live cd is brutally slow (at least with 256 mb ram). This is true in standard or safe graphics mode: After booting into linux, it takes several minutes for desktop to fully load and render. Opening apps (if they open), displaying right-click menus, etc, all take a minute or more to load. Jerky mouse (sometimes)

    The "install" app on the live cd desktop takes several minutes to load. (ok, something is wrong here... so I download the ISO again, from a different mirror)

    Same behavior. The "install" app on the live cd desktop has frozen at various steps several times. Mostly on the first step. One time, the mouse and keyboard stopped responding at all.

    I have given the installer plenty of time on the install steps (I went to eat dinner, drove to store, etc).

    As of right now, the install is running and is at the furthest point that I have seen it. It is on step 3 of 7 "Starting up the partitioner". But it has been at 46% for a while now. The mouse is responding 30 - 60 seconds after I move it. The caps lock key is taking 3 - 15 seconds to respond.

    CD is churning away. System fans are revving once in a while, so something is happening. "Starting up the partitioner" has jumped to 53%, but has stalled again.

    My conclusion so far: This will not run (or at least install) on a system with only 256 mb of ram. But I will stick it out, and post again later

    to be continued....

  24. Pierre Silver badge
    Joke

    @ Simpson

    Keep it up, pal. You're good!

  25. foo_bar_baz
    Linux

    @bws

    You haven't tried Ubuntu, have you?

  26. Damian Turner-Steele

    Vector Linux anyone?

    No distro based upon Ubuntu can really be called lightweight. I have tried Xubuntu, FluxBuntu amongst others and they really don't run all that well on the specs that Simpson mentions. No particular reason that gOS will run any better.

    I suggest that for the PC he is building for his child that Vector Linux may be a much better bet.

    Of course, I could be wrong.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    @bws

    .. ubuntu works great with every item you mentioned, perhaps you should go back to that pre-2000 stereotype some more and it would really add to your argument.

    Also the author notes that there is some conflict about the use of wine in general.

    Perhaps there is but mostly its easier to get something running natively than to use wine.

    I would love to use GIMP as my main graphics app but having to use PS elsewhere (mac, windows etc) means that i would rather use that, besides GIMP uses different menus and tools which never seem to be easy to get things done with.

    PS 6 runs excellently in wine.

  28. Jonti

    Runescape and WoW

    @Gordon Fecyk

    The article doesn't say it, but it seems likely to me that the gOS will come with a java runtime. That's all that would be needed to play Runescape (otherwise a quick "sudo apt-get install sun-java-jre" should do the trick -- gOS is based on Ubuntu). My kids use both Ubuntu and Xandros (the Asus EEE linux) to play Runescape with no trouble at all.

    The article does say the gOS ships with Wine installed, so it sounds like a good bet for World of Warcraft too. Here's hoping!

  29. Mike Street

    @ Simpson

    You are right. I can't speak for gOS, but it is based on Ubuntu which will run fine on 256MB, but probably won't install from the 'live' CD with that little RAM.

    For that you need a text-based installation - like the low-tech XP install which is terminal based but displays a few pictures as well (and is not trying to run itself at the same time, as happens with a 'live' CD).

    Which is why Ubuntu has an 'Alternative' CD which will install on a 256MB machine as it is not also trying to run the OS in RAM at the same time. gOS doesn't seem to list one of those, so I guess it probably won't work. Which is not surprising on 2000-era hardware such as you are using, frankly - it's a modern-day OS after all. I am surprised that with all your experience you didn't know that, but now you do.

    Good luck. :)

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @Simpson - Trying to install for kids machine

    "... 2Ghz celeron, 256 ram ..." BZZZZT - system imbalance detected!

    Ouch - recycle those itty-bitty dimms and add maximum RAM if you can. It is always the most cost effective upgrade you can make.

    Cheers to you for sticking with the project, otherwise... I doubt I would have lasted that long while waiting for the machine to thrash itself (or maybe me) into another dimension...

    T

  31. Steven Raith

    @simpson

    If you can, wang more RAM in there - I'd put money on that making things much, much better.

    Seriously, trying to get any modern OS [IE post Win2k] with less than 512Mb is asking for frustration, even if it's just nasty slowdown, rather than 'real' problems - regardless of what the minimum specs say.

    Steven R

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @ Simpson

    When you have it installed, try gCompris educational suite, runs native under gnome, in fact I'd be tempted with a machine like his, to use Ubuntu and switch off all the composite graphics as they will kill a machine with a video card of that vintage.

    Icon, not wanting to start a distro war, honest

  33. Simpson

    Trying to install for kids machine part Deux

    I couldn't take it anymore. I pulled the plug after 45 minutes with "Starting up the partitioner" at 53%.

    I found an additional 128 mb of ram for the machine. So we have 384 mb now.

    Completely different experience. The Live CD was snappy. I closed all of the apps on the desktop, except for the sweating flower pot (what is it?), before starting hd install.

    Install completed and completed quickly. The "Starting up the partitioner" portion took seconds. Everything seems to work.

    Pull wired connection. Insert brand new belkin wifi usb stick. Nothing. No pop-ups or notices. Uh-oh. Check network icon... usb wifi detected, installed, and running. Great!

    Haven't got shared key auth working yet, but only tried for 2 minutes.

    Gos Peeves:

    1.While the 17" monitor was 5ft away and on the floor, the default resolution and font size was too small during the install from the live cd desktop. I think that all OS's should default to a low setting during install, then let the user pick a res after the first real boot.

    2. Changing the default resolution was not intuitive. Right clicking the desktop gave several options regarding the desktop, but the screen res was not there. If you are going to bother to have desktop font and background color options available to a right click, group the screen res in there too.

    3. The results of a search on the "most used" search engine for 'gos change resolution' referred to left clicking on the desktop.

    From the screen shots I saw, I liked the menu (and options) that should popup on a left click. But this feature is missing from the version I downloaded. In this version, I needed to use the gos start-menu and navigate through a few sub menus to change the res. Too much work. If the person can not make out the text due to vision problems or screen size, they will not be able to navigate the text menus to find the settings.

    4. I was able to change the resolution, but I was not able to move down one (monitor supported) res at a time. The res would not apply. I found that I had to go down to 800 600, then move up from there.

    If those old games will install on this, I think my kid could use it.

    He will be less likely to break it too, due to the smaller user base = less profitable targeted attacks against the platform = less vulnerable. But it will all boil down to the compatibility with the existing apps.

    Because after all, my kid won't care if it is Windows or Linux, he will just want his stuff to work... Most adults are like my kid in this way. If they buy something at the store or online, they just want it to work. They don't want the OS (or the OS zealots) to make them feel dumb or belittle them.

    (I think I will name this "The WIndows lInux 5yr old kid Theorem", or just TWIIT for short. But I do find myself wishing that Linus was named Abe, then it could be "The Windows Abenux 5yr old kid Theorem", or T**T)

  34. Snake Plissken

    @AC, Steven Raith

    Put more RAM in?

    I thought it was evil Windows that was the resource hog around here? I thought Linux will run at the speed of light on anything, down to and including a ZX81.

  35. Goat Jam
    Linux

    @simpson

    If the machine is around the 2000 vintage the acpi implentation in many PC's of that era was somewhat buggy to say the least.

    Check your running processes (type 'top' in shell prompt) If you see a process, probably "kacpi" using cpu in the high 90 percent range then you can add acpi=off to the end of the appropriate kernel loader in /boot/grub/menu.lst

  36. Aldous
    Linux

    WoW+linux

    WoW works fine under wine even on my old laptop which is only slightly above minimum specs (and only has 512mb ram) in unbuntu

  37. bygjohn
    Thumb Up

    @ bws

    Well i can't say what drivers gOS includes but the Eee Xandros has just worked with all the USB peripherals I've thrown at it: External hard drives, memory card readers, mice, printer, even a tatty old scanner. I have a (non-techie) friend who just plugged in his digital camera and it was fine, too. Only thing I've tried which hasn't worked was a USB webcam, which was an experiment for said friend with the cam-less 2G (mine has a built-in cam). And it turns out that there are a bunch of cams that will work off the shelf anyway. So my guess is that the majority of standard USB peripherals will work, especially mass storage devices, printers etc. And especially as gOS is based on Ubuntu, which I believe has excellent support for peripherals.

  38. Bonnie
    Paris Hilton

    Netbooks to the rescue?

    I find the netbook reference interesting. If anything, netbooks benefit from the simplicity and user-friendliness of gOS. Yet Intel, the biggest proponent of netbooks, is pursuing Red Hat-based distros with their Moblin, even if Red Hat has that server bias. Intel really need to rethink who their partner with.

    On a grander scale, what's interesting is that if netbooks do well, Linux gets a big boost out of it. Vista won't scale down, Symbian won't scale up, so what remains? Mac OS X? Too fringy.

    Paris, 'cos she and her ilk will inherit the world.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Doug

    "Windows OEM's can not market any Linux based products "

    Go on then explain Dell.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Pierre

    "man and vi(m) are the only tools one would want if one knows what one's doing."

    And that, folks, is why the *nix world is stuck in its little elitist niche (M$ bully-boy tactics to one-side for now).

    For all its ills (and these are legion) Windows does at least do things pretty consistently. I can go in via the Control Panel, set options, uninstall etc. I could do the same things via the registry and various ini files (and sometimes have to as the GUI does not give 100% coverage); but that's pretty intimidating if you are not experienced (or without very clear instructions).

    A consistent GUI doesn't need to do it all, just most things that most users want. It can at also protect new and learning users from total incompetence to an extent. *nix is making progress in this direction, and it's good to see. I want to like *nix (and I do like many things it does), but it is not there yet for the _AVERAGE_ user.

    Not that the *nix fanbois care about that, too busy re-configuring their white elephants from the ivory tower and sneering at the average user who just wants to swap their mouse buttons (or whatever).

  41. Magilla
    Thumb Down

    Re: @AC, Steven Raith (Snake Plissken)

    Very funny. Get Windows running, fully-featured, from a LiveCD (that is, 100% in RAM, no hard-drive), and then get back to us.

    256MB of RAM is plenty for an installed light to medium distribution. The issue is trying to fit a CD of date (up to 700mb) in a quarter of a gig.

  42. TeeCee Gold badge
    Coat

    @Ben Mathews

    "law suite"?

    Is that where you lose so badly the bailiffs come and take your sofa and chairs away?

    I'd love a coat, but the bastards took that as well.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Simpson

    Firstly running any Linux distro from the live cd is painfully slow, unless you have some pretty impressive hardware. Actually to be fair it's still painfully slow compared with a proper install.

    Secondly I had the original gOS running fine on a machine with 256MB of RAM, and by the looks of it the new one isn't going to be that heavy. I have a machine with a 1GHz processor and 256MB of ram running Kubuntu with KDE 4.1 ('cos it's pretty) and that runs OK for the basic home user stuff. So gOS should be fine with that spec.

    However, thirdly I have found that installing X/K/Ubuntu from the live CD is next to impossible on that spec of machine and have to resort to the text based install.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @The nay sayers

    I find it interesting that the linux "community" always wants to rubbish any distro aimed at the ordinary Joe. Most of the "reasons" that gOS won't succeed are moot, simply becase the ordinary Joe gives not a stuff about those things. She goes out and buys a laptop from the cheapest local source she can find and just wants to browse the web, send/receive email (usually web mail these days) and view/print digital photos. Yup there are a few (not insurmountable) problems with cameras and printers. However I expected problems with a Nikon Coolpix S10 and Ubuntu and found it worked right out of the box.

    If a Linux distro can knock a sizeable chunk out of the cost of that laptop by avoiding the MS licence fee then they will buy that laptop instead of the Windows one. If the OS in question is significantly less resource hungry than Vista (and what isn't?) then that will reduce the price even more. Distributors of such an OS need to be getting the likes of Aldi/Netto/Lidl/At Home/etc on side (in the UK at least, not sure what equivalents there are in the US). The target market won't make a special trip to PC World or where ever if a store they visit every week has a cheap laptop in stock. Do that and you can neatly sidestep any problems the OEMs might have with MS licensing deals.

  45. BatCat
    Stop

    @Simpson - don't waste your time mate!

    I've been through all this with my kids.

    Issue #1 - there is no Shockwave plugin for Linux.

    Flash games don't use the flash player, they use shockwave which has no linux support. Yes, you can install wine and Windows firefox and then the widows shockwave plugin will work, but it's a bit glitchy even on a >1Ghz >1Gb machine.

    Issue #2 - Linux MSN compatible chat clients are not 100% compatible.

    Ok, with a 5yo you're probably not going to hit this one, but older kids want MSN with all the same features as their mates - ie voice, video, ridiculous 3rd party smilies / nudges / winks / plugin games etc.

    Issue #3 - windows only games

    Plenty of windows games, commercial and free downloads, don't work with wine.

    My solution:

    Install XP. Use something like Acronis to make an image of the clean installation. When the XP installation inevitably starts to degrade or gets a virus infection or gets overrun with downloaded crap - just restore it from the clean base image, takes about 15 mins.

  46. Gilbert Wham

    Hmmmm, Beta is right...

    Can't get it to play nice with VMWare, and it hangs on the live CD, so there's no chance of it getting put on a HDD of mine yet...

  47. Avi

    The target market mightn't need the configurability

    But their slightly-more-techy offspring, siblings, colleagues probably will when they inevitably break it and take it to one of them to fix.

  48. Jonti

    Flash games on linux

    I was a bit puzzled by BatCat's comment that "Flash games don't use the flash player, they use shockwave which has no linux support."

    So, just to check, I headed over to www.flash-game.net

    Works for me! (firefox on Ubuntu linux, if you need to ask).

  49. Jess
    Paris Hilton

    @Anonymous Coward

    "Firstly running any Linux distro from the live cd is painfully slow, unless you have some pretty impressive hardware. Actually to be fair it's still painfully slow compared with a proper install."

    Rubbish. I set up a puppy linux system running from CD on a 7 year old PC with 128MB RAM for a friend and some kids who were used to windows, commented that it was very fast.

  50. J-Wick
    Thumb Up

    This is EXACTLY what Linux needs!

    Sounds great - nice simple install, hides all the inner workings, can be bought off the shelf on hardware configured for it - could probably give one to my parents - as long as they can email & surf the web, they'll be happy...

  51. Simpson

    Aware

    I am aware of text mode install, but it was not an option on the iso.

    The pc would easily run with only 256 mb if configured as a linux network firewall + postfix anti-spam gateway (placed in front of exchange or other), and probably handle rejecting mail for 800 - 1000 users.

    gOS just looked simple, and like it might be enough for a 5yr old, while having enough compatibility too. But i am not buying more RAM to run (very basic) 90's era edu games.

    For some linux distros: I think it is silly to have high res splash screens before, during or right after setup. Because of this, I prefer the alt install iso or the jeos install.

    Marketing tip: GO'S, instead of gOS

  52. BatCat
    Thumb Down

    Jonti - Flash Vs Shockwave

    It depends on the games, some use flash, some use shockwave.

    eg http://www.flash-game.net/game/41/snowcraft.html

    Looks like more games are using flash than they used to, but you can still bet that the ones your kid's mates are all playing is a shockwave one...

    Anybody got Windows Live Messenger running on Linux??

  53. Bucky
    Flame

    Why on Earth?

    Why on Earth would anyone do a FRESH install of Photoshop CS2 nowadays?

    CS3 is a year and a half old already. If I were to buy a new computer with gOS, and then buy a fresh copy of Photoshop (you're not suggesting violating the original licensing by installing copies of Photoshop across multiple computers, are you?), what I'd be buying is CS3.

    Under any common circumstance, the proper phrase to use in this review is "Photoshop completely fails to run, or indeed, even install under wine."

    Running some arbitrarily old version of Photoshop isn't much of a selling point.

  54. Don Mitchell

    Yawn

    Politics replaces substance these days. Instead of real operating system evolution and innovation, we have an army of true believers convinced that going back to the old UNIX operating system is "elite". The look and feel of Apple and Windows OS, and MS Office suite are mindlessly copied, and we are told that is also innovation. Windows NT features are shoveled into open source kernels...more "innovation". Linux becomes as bloated and badly documented as Windows...immitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

    And all the while, the dogmatic mantra...collective action, amateurs are as good as professionals, the intellectual property of inventors and programmers belongs to society, software should be free. It's like reading an Ayn Rand novel. It's like watching the Soviet Union making copies of Pentium chips, with the Intel logo still left in the photoresist.

  55. Gareth Jones

    @Gilbert Wham

    "Can't get it to play nice with VMWare, and it hangs on the live CD, so there's no chance of it getting put on a HDD of mine yet..."

    You're obviously not in the target market so why are you botherinng?Apparently so you can whinge.

  56. Herbert Meyer
    Linux

    perhaps

    Is there a gcc package for it ? Perhaps I will trade in my fedora for it, while I wait for RH to come clean.

    Give me gcc, I can build whatever hackish bits I need to feel at home.

  57. Gilbert Wham

    @ Gareth

    Well, no, quite possibly I am not. But if it was nice and fluffy and easy to use, I have lots of friends and family who might rather appreciate it what with their children infecting their windows boxes and them being generally stupid. I'll check back when it's out of beta. If that's alright with you, of course. Does anyone have anythying *helpful* to say?

  58. Martin Owens

    Re: Don Mitchell

    If you want a principles fight Mr Mitchell, I'm quite willing to give you one.

    Watching a market of people constantly manipulated into consuming a single capitalist system busting product should be enough to raise the heckles of any true blood capitalist. How the free hand of the market has been tied down by a lack of market regulation of monopoly power is a travesty worth political introspection. See Adam Smith on monopolies.

    The fact that the product in question is an information and production tool involved in business, industry, government and social organisation makes it a social and political problem as much as it is an economic drain.

    Now, those who are cheerleaders for the Free Software world are doing so for social and political reasons as much as for technical excellence rationale. Those who are promoting Microsoft and Apple do so because of their emotional attachment to certain brands and products. Very rarely have I ever heard a logical reason for using Windows that wasn't because someone's freedoms were already stolen.

    As to your general point about politics replacing substance, well you know I think I read somewhere that practicalism is much like masturbation, some say it causes blindness.

  59. Walter

    @Gilbert

    I just installed it using vmware server without a problem on my notebook. Of course it didn't perform as well as if I had just installed it on the system directly, but it was usable. Didn't have to do anything special.

    I'm not a huge fan of the setup, though. It felt a lot like Mac OS X, but just not as nice. I'm not the target market, though, as I run X just so I can have a ton of shells open, tabbed, with screen running in most of them. Oh, and of late, so I can play World of Warcraft. I'd imagine it'd handle WoW fine, though, as it is based off of Ubuntu. My desktop is running Ubuntu 8.04, with wine installed from the distro, and WoW installed with no issue and runs like a champ (AMD X2 4200, 2 Gigs RAM, GeForce 7800.)

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    The trouble with Linux

    The trouble with Linux is that it leaves out the intermediate users. The people you might "power users", they're not satisfied with an "internet appliance" but they don't want to spend hours mucking around in text files either. Admittedly I've had over a decade to learn Windows, so it's not exactly a fair comparison but it's still the best compromise between power and ease of use that I'm aware of.

  61. Christopher
    IT Angle

    @Mad Hacker

    What Linspire is nothing like GOS and almost every confusing thing has been removed (Although it has been a while since I have played about with GOS)

    For anyone who just wants a pc I think GOS will do, although I havent tested the WINE bits (Didn;t realise it was there)

  62. Saucerhead Tharpe
    Linux

    MSN CLient on Linux

    I have used Pidgin on my Xandross EEE and apart from lack of the webcam the parties on the other side have not been known if I am using that or Trillian on the Windows machine.

  63. Mark

    Wine critics

    Wine is unfortunate. It's rather like calling people who would rather we didn't have nuclear weapons ANYWHERE "nuclear critics".

    If closed source had not been picked up and gone on so long it became "accepted", Wine would not have been needed. We could have recompiled the code for a new OS.

  64. Mark

    user accounts given root permissions

    That's why I didn't like Linspire/Lindows and also why I don't like Ubuntu. All you need to hose your system is your ordinary user password.

    It makes your "root" account your user account.

    It's also difficult when you're digging around because there is no root and so each attempt to see what's going on is preceded with "sudo". A pain in the bum.

  65. Mark

    @BatCat

    "Issue #1 - there is no Shockwave plugin for Linux."

    ??? Shockwave not equal "Shockwave Flash"???

    "Issue #2 - Linux MSN compatible chat clients are not 100% compatible."

    It is when MSN stop fucking about with the protocol. MSN clients are not 100% compatible with AOL servers. AOL not 100% compatible with MSN servers.

    "Issue #3 - windows only games

    Plenty of windows games, commercial and free downloads, don't work with wine."

    And plenty of windows games, commercial and free downloads don't work with Windows. Some were written for Win95/98 and don't work with XP. Some for XP don't work with Vista, any for XP won't work for 95. Dos extender games won't work with XP/Vista.

    Plenty will work with Wine. And many of those are the older games. Which don't require more than 256mb of memory.

  66. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    re: The trouble with Linux

    "The people you might "power users", they're not satisfied with an "internet appliance" but they don't want to spend hours mucking around in text files either."

    Have a look at what we "guru's" call "a full distribution".

    Red Hat.

    Suse.

    Mandriva.

    Debian.

    etc.

    These have "administration" tasks that are a GUI front end to the text file.

  67. Steve-SCB

    Nothing special going on here then

    gOS is based on Ubuntu, so its no great surprise that it just works then. Ubuntu pretty much just works, the only hardware driver problems are with suppliers who have an anti open source stance, which is becoming less the case.

    I've installed Ubuntu for Windows users, and they've been pretty happy with it and the apps from the repositories. Including Skype is a good Idea its the only non standard repository app I've ever been asked to install.

    If gOS takes usability a step further for the Linux platform that's good, hopefully the outcome will be more usable apps released to the community from Google.

  68. BatCat
    Flame

    @ Mark

    Shockwave.

    There isn't a shockwave plugin that works natively on Linux, ie without running a windows version of a browser with wine. Shockwave isn't the same as flash, some games use shockwave, those games won't run on a linux browser. As luck would have it, most of the games my kids want to play are shockwave ones.

    MSN

    I don't give a monkey's *why* MSN clients on linux don't support the full feature set of the current Windows MSN client, the fact is they don't - the net result being a degraded user experience. No webcam, no audio, no plugin games, limited silly nudge / wink / smiley thingies.

    Games

    Specifically, the games my kids want to run don't run on Linux with wine, they do run on XP though.

    The most important thing to bear in mind with IT solutions are the User Requirements - unfortunately Linux fails to meet the requirements of my users so I can't use it as a solution - regardless of however much I want to. Yes, Linux is adequate for some users (me included) but it's unlikely to ever be the right OS for everyone, or even the majority of users.

    The trouble with Linux is that there is no compelling reason to choose it instead of windows. Yes, we techies can all go on about some aspect that *technically* makes it better than windows - but most PC users aren't bothered about stuff like that. Betamax was technically superior to VHS, Philips V2000 was arguably superior to Betamax. VHS won - the history of technology is littered with similar stories...

  69. Mark

    @BarCat

    "I don't give a monkey's *why* MSN clients on linux don't support the full feature set of the current Windows MSN client, the fact is they don't"

    But you can't blame linux for that. Blame MS.

    And the linux clients eventually work and keep working until MS change, so the "outage" isn't long.

    Please send me a link to the "shockwave that is not shockwave flash" because I don't believe such a beast exists.

    "The trouble with Linux is that there is no compelling reason to choose it instead of windows."

    And windows vista has no compelling reason to choose it. Which is why MS are determined to ensure you CANNOT CHOOSE.

    Which is nice of them.

    In fact, XP doesn't have a compelling reason to choose it. It's that your applications you choose are fixed on one OS. That isn't a "why", that's a "must" and you *like* being coerced?

    Will your games work on Vista?

    "unfortunately Linux fails to meet the requirements of my users"

    You mean your kids. Don't go larging yourself. And most of my games don't work on XP. The games I have that DO need XP do work under Wine. So if you want to continue to use that crap reason make it a good reason by putting it in context:

    "For some games that my children want, wine won't work" and don't come with the arse-pulled factoid "most games won't work with wine". you don't know that, you just know in the very limited scene you have, wine doesn't manage.

    PS: if you don't care about why something doesn't work, how will you know how to fix it? That you don't lends credence to the idea that you are not denying Linux applicability because of your needs but denying it to ensure it fails. Why?

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Using gOS right now

    Well, I'm just running it off the CD. But gOS seems pretty decent. The strangest thing so far is what it does when you try to open any Windows text file. It gives you a dialog box with the opens [Run in Terminal] [Display] [Cancel] [Run], which is hardly user friendly. And if that takes you more than 5 seconds to figure out, it throws up an additional dialog box (in front of the first) informing you that you can exit the dialog box by clicking cancel.

    But that complaint wouldn't apply if you installed gOS from scratch. Honestly I see no reason why it wouldn't meet the needs of an average computer user. I was pleasantly surprised by how well Wine works too, though it's not perfect.

  71. James Penketh
    Linux

    @ Don

    'Windows NT features are shoveled into open source kernels...more "innovation".'

    Er... care to elaborate?

    On a more random note... why does everyone seem to want Linux desktop environments to look/feel/behave like Windows/Mac OS/etc.

    Also, I can understand why people want open source to be widely used, as this leads to community reviews of code, etc... but why all the zealotry? Surely it doesn't matter what people use, if it's all open source.

    @ whoever said vi(m) should DIAF:

    Hey, I like vi(m), I find it easier and quicker to use than these silly GUI text editors. Just because you can't get your head round it doesn't mean that everyone should stop using it. (If that logic worked, nobody would be using windows, cause I can't get my head round that... ;) )

    Open source user and proud of it. (Linux on all the PCs in this house... gentoo on mine, and openSUSE on the ones the family use. No complaints so far. :D )

  72. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  73. wayne
    Linux

    Simple to use root instead of sudo

    One time sudo

    sudo passwd

    Then you can log in as root.

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Device support

    I'm sure one can rebuild their own kernel from scratch to get around the limited devices support ;) That, or you just download and build the module separately yourself in the event that the module ships separate from the kernel due to licensing isses.

  75. BatCat
    Linux

    @ Mark - You're missing the point...

    1) I'm not putting Vista on my kids PCs, they have XP. When did I ever mention Vista?

    2) I've never found a Linux MSN client that supports video & voice. I *know* this is because MS doesn't stick to standards, but that's not the point. The point is, it does not work & probably never will - unless MS adopts some FOS standards, which is highly unlikely.

    3) Errrm... yes I do mean my kids (and my wife) are my users in this scenario. It's just an example. Most of the gOS target demographic will be in the same boat. See the title of the article - "gOS - a good OS for your Mum" - well, yes, unless "your mum" wants to use video or voice on MSN, for example. And, like it or not, the vast majority of the people "your mum" will want to chat with will be using MSN on windows.

    4) You're right, I've not tested every game on the market. Maybe I'm just unlucky and it's just most of the ones I have that don't work. Still, it doesn't matter, it's *those* games I want to work, not other games. And, yes, those games probably won't work on vista either, but I don't care, they run on XP, which is what is installed on the game players' PCs.

    5) Sounds like you don't know what shockwave is.

    For example, try loading this game on Linux:

    http://www.flash-game.net/game/41/snowcraft.html

    More about the shockwave wine workaround can be found here:

    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Shockwave

    The point I'm making is that, like it or not, there's still a few reasons why Linux isn't the best desktop OS choice for many PC users. I've been using Linux since Red Hat 5 in the late 90's so I know how much progress has been made to lower the technical barriers that used to rule out mass adoption. The barriers now are not purely technical ones, they are socioeconomic ones. FOS code-monkey propeller-heads never seem to grasp social or economic concepts very well though do they?

    The good news for me though, is that the vast majority of server implementations I've worked on over the last 5 years have been on Linux. My commercial users have benefited from the lower TCO that this has delivered - freeing them from expensive proprietary server hardware / OS suppliers. This has been a fantastic outcome driven by Linux and the FOS software community, spurred on by a good dollop of bitter rivalry between some big players in the industry. The same forces are not at play in the domestic (or even the commercial) desktop PC market - PCs with Linux are not significantly cheaper than PCs with Windows and they have no compelling additional end-user features, they don't even look any nicer (ref. apple!). Microsoft has won the battle for the PC desktop, no it wasn't a fair fight, but that's just the way things are. Get over it, and move on.

  76. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC Device Support

    gOS is primarilly designed for OEM installation on SCCs and the like. Why on earth would an end user need to jump through these hoops?

    The odds of a member of the target market installing gOS on their own hardware from a downloaded ISO are almost zero, so this just isn't an issue. The target being the sort of potential computer user with little or no previous experience, do you really think somebody like that is going to buy a computer then browse the internet looking for a better OS to install?

    It seems, once more, that here we have a poster who is desperately trying to find reasons to object to gOS with the result that the best reason they can find is one that makes no sense.

  77. Mark

    BatCat, you're not making a point

    Your only point seems to be "Linux isn't XP" and so what?

    This isn't about XP.

    Hell, the article isn't about your kids' needs.

    I posted that I didn't like Ubuntu because there wasn't a root account so if you knew what you were doing, it was awkward.

    On topic.

    Someone said that they thought that Linux didn't have admin tools for the advanced windows user (as opposed to advanced computer user, for whom learning a new OS is trivial a problem).

    On topic.

    You come along and say it isn't good enough for your kids.

    Off topic.

  78. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    re: Please get some clueful writers

    Thw writer was a whole lot more clueful than you.

    Why does it matter what OS you're using when you're using email (an open specified protocol) to send text (ASCII, an open specified standard) to your family (over the open and specified protocol)? When they look at the internet (an open specified protocol) to view HTML (an open and specified protocol) why do they care what OS they use. All they care about is that their system works.

    Do you care that your LCD screen is a panasonic or sony? There *are* technical differences that mean they operate differently. They still show you Buffy episodes on DVD.

    Same here.

  79. L1feless
    Flame

    With the Right Support....Anything is Possible

    @Antidisestablishmentarianist

    I believe his comments covered that point. He was merely mentioning that by the use of that sort of toggle the Linux virgins who wish to learn could in fact have that option. The layman's could even disable or hide that feature. In the grand scheme of things it is not such a bad idea.

    In General:

    Above there were several comments about setups and drivers etc. That is a pretty big deal and yet another reason why Windows is such a tough OS to de-throne. When my Granny wants to plug in her camera which is tough enough for her she doesn't have time nor the know-how to realize why her camera after she plugs it in doesn't work after putting in her CD/DVD to "INSTALL" it. I strongly believe that if gOS is to ever move forward it is going to need some serious partnerships with companies like HP, Sony, Dell, Samsung, Viewsonic, Apple & Nvidia. Once they gain peripheral driver support this OS will be a force to be reckoned with.

  80. Ben Bufton
    Dead Vulture

    zzzzzzZZZZzzzzz.....

    <pfft>

  81. BatCat
    Happy

    @ Mark - gOS - a good OS for your Mum

    I was originally commenting on the article.

    The article, as indicated by its title, suggests that gOS is a suitable desktop OS for general PC users such as "your mum".The point I'm making is that it depends on what "your mum" wants to do with it. I illustrated this point with examples from my own experience of trying to get general PC users ( my family ) to use Linux instead of XP. I have highlighted some of the problems I had and I'm suggesting that many people, particularly in the gOS target demographic, will also likely face the same or similar problems. Therefore, my original comment is very much on-topic, gOS or any Linux distro for that matter, is not necessarily a good OS for "your mum" or anyone else who may need features that it doesn't support.

    If I was just out to criticise Linux, I'd be moaning about the hours I spent getting the wireless adaptors and sound working properly on the kids' laptops. Those problems I could fix, it's the problems that don't have a fix that are the killers.

    BTW, on Ubuntu, try

    sudo bash

    That runs a shell with root privileges so you don't need to sudo any other commands in that shell instance - surely anyone who knows what they're doing can figure that one out. ;o)

  82. Mark

    L1feless's granny

    Uh, I don't think that these days there is ANY camera that won't work "out the box" with Linux. Windows wants the drivers because it wants "Kodac PictBridge" drivers when "Any frigging PictBridge" drivers will work, but that's a different rant.

    Your granny is probably better off on Linux because she won't have to protect herself from drive-by installs or worry about clicking on that banner ad (because it's written for windows to infect). Hell, she doesn't have to care about virus checking and keeping that up to date.

    For Barry, to whom computer==windows Linux may be a problem.

  83. Mark

    BatCat, where's my PyGame???

    Oh, it doesn't work unless you install what someone else has ported to Windows.

    Still, I'll blame Windows, not the developers.

    How about xpilot? I love that game. Is that available anywhere on Windows?

    Look, I don't care WHY they don't work, just that they don't work.

  84. James Bassett
    Thumb Up

    Installed gOS

    Just thought I'd mention that I installed gOS on my wife's 5-year-old Dell laptop last night (something I'd been preparing for all week so this article was aptly timed). Took about an hour from scratch. Wirless just worked. Graphics just worked. Digital camera just worked. HP printer just worked. Battery monitor just worked. Hibernate just worked. The Laptop now flies along (XP was dying) so the Wife is chuffed to bits.

    Thanks to Foxmarks she still has all her bookmarks in Firefox. Just three slight downsides - two nothing to do with the OS.

    She was running Outlook in XP. I haven't been able to move her mail archive or address book over yet. I plan synching them to a GMail account (I kept the XP image as a VMWare machine) and then running IMAP from Thunderbird to the GMail - so that's sorted. Not exactly "Your Granny" stuff to sort out though.

    MPlayer, the default video and music player, is the worst pile of crap I've ever seen. Still, loads of options there. Shouldn' take more than 10mins to sort out this evening and she doesn't really play much music on the laptop anyway.

    All in all though, EVERYTHING worked straight away and the whole experience was actually quite pleasant. I've been setting up machines since the early 80s and have covered DOSs, Windows, Unix, Linux and others. This was the easiest install I've ever done.

    I'll stick to a dual-boot of Ubuntu and Vista for the development PC, but for a "kitchen" laptop gOS suits our needs perfectly.

  85. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Admin tools are the problem on windows

    Whining that Linux distros lack the easy admin tools of Window is not an argument against Linus, surely it's an argument against Windows.

    In common with most people who work in IT I get a lot of requests from friends, relations, colleagues, neighbours and, indeed, complete strangers to look at their PC which isn't working properly. In 99% of cases the reason their Windows are broken is becuase they (or their mate who "knows all about computers") have been messing about with those nice easy to access and use admin tools.

    The average home user really doesn't need most of those tools and dicking about with them does not improve the user experience, it destroys them. For some reason people dick about with the settings on their computers in ways that they would never dream of with their TV. You know all that weird stuff that most of us don't understand buried six levels down in your TV's menu. We don't cock it up because it's hard to find and it all looks a bit technical and threatening. However Microsoft have stuck serious stuff where it's easy to find and made it all look soft and fluffy and non threatening.

    Confusingly they have no fluffy admin tools for the stuff you really do need to change so you have to delve into that totally ridiculous registry. Or spend ages trawling technet to find that there is a nice pretty admin tool, but for some reason you have to download it because they didn't include it in the OS.

    Go figure.

  86. Mark

    @James Bassett

    "MPlayer, the default video and music player, is the worst pile of crap I've ever seen."

    Uh, it's a lot more capable out of the box than Windows Media Player. And you can't get hosed by downloading a "codec" that is really a trojan. At work if something comes in for my neighbour that requires being played, it plays on Linux and not on Windows. Even flash videos (.swf). Nothing needed installing. Windows XP plays naff all "out of the box".

    Your abilities seem to be "computers" rather than "Windows" so a learning curve is accepted. Oddly, even though windows users get a learning curve each release, this is accepted and no training needed, whereas Linux "is copying Windows" has a learning curve that is more onerous even when it is less of a barrier.

    Heck, if you want something other than Windows try one of:

    Xfce

    Enlightenment (really nice, fast and plenty of candy)

    Windowmaker

    they are in all major distributions.

  87. BatCat
    Happy

    @Mark - xpilot / PyGames on windows

    Xpilot has been ported to windows. Python and the PyGames libraries are also available for windows. But, I wouldn't ever even suggest you switch to windows - you're happy with Linux as your desktop OS & that's great - for you. However, It doesn't mean Linux is right for everyone else. Not because they're too stupid to use Linux, but because Linux doesn't support the features they want to use.

    Want another example? MS Office compatibility. Yes, Open Office does a pretty good job at cross-compatibility - but it's not 100%. When I was running Linux as my primary desktop OS I was always getting formatting problems with MS Word and Power Point documents using Open Office. Not to mention a complete lack of support for Visio and MS Project.

    Linux Fanbois never seem willing to accept that there are plenty of real-world issues for users wanting to switch over from Windows. They always try to dismiss them with partial solutions or complex workarounds - I know, I've done it myself. But then I grew up.

  88. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This clearly isnt targeted at the 'Average Joe' user

    It's targeted at people who might want an operating system for Average Joe, like an OEM - who would preinstall and configure the appliance, and may also even preapprove accessories - and *nix users who want an OS where their mum can't break anything, but can do everything they want to.

    My mum is reasonabley computer literate, I like to think I've tought her well. She can browse teh interweb (and buy stuff, she LOVES the ebay) , write thousands of word documents, copy photos from her phone to her PC no problem. I still get called up, and very often summoned back, if she gets a new gadget, or buys a new printer. She just doesn't want to know about how it works, or how to fix it, and I think IT types forget that regular people don't actually care about this stuff.

    I think Linux tries too hard to be a replacement windows, without enough thought into the overall process because of this. Personally, I use FreeBSD, which has a much much lower level of support for hardware than even Linux, however the drivers that are there are coherent and well designed - for example, the wifi drivers in FreeBSD all share a common codebase, abstracting all the 802.11 defined code away into a common interface. Each linux wifi driver family is completely different. On the other hand, theres virtually no TV card support under FreeBSD.

    Linux completely understands this desire to 'just work', its how its slapped together. I just think its barking up the wrong tree to try and aim for 'simple, easy to use, Joe Public OS', and just aim at the 'computer literate' crowd instead. If its open, enterprising Joe Publics who think they're computer literate will paint their bikeshed. Firefox turned from being designed as a lightweight browser, into a behometh in no time, because users and devs demanded more and more features. I don't doubt gOS will disappear down the same path. If it doesn't come with a package manager, some enterprising user will add one, nicely packaged in however is most easy for a gOS user to install.

    BTW, kudos to the guy who said "all you need is vim + man" (Lennon?) - I'd certainly say that to a colleague, but probably not my dad!

    :wq!

  89. Mark
    Black Helicopters

    MS Office compatability

    Well, if you're talking about "page presentation" accuracy, MS Office isn't compatible either. Visio you may be right (but the Linux application Dia was there AGES earlier) and MS Project isn't much of a reason to have an *Office program* chosen. Plenty of other project planners available.

    Linux does have a lot of problems. Most of them are from outside (hardware not specced, software kept deliberately obscured, etc). The problems Linux has is mostly the ones a newcomer has to a market.

    Problems that are parts of Linux are:

    configuration tools are not interchangable between suites. By that I mean the Red Hat GUI tools teach you something that you can't take with you to SuSE.

    Root Nazis. Nowadays if you *dare* use root to log in a graphical system, you get red flashing lights, sirens going off and a limited windowmanager. Let me be a fool and log in as root, tell me then get the fuck out of my way.

    Abandonment. Mandrake, for example, don't really make it too easy to patch their software because they do a LOT of fiddling with the code (all the big ones do it now, it seems). So when they end support for the older version (understandable insofar as you got it for free) you're left pretty out of it. Autopackage would help, but that doesn't seem to be getting anywhere.

    Mono infestation. Novell aren't saying they are going to cover any organisation that uses Mono but make SuSE and Gnome use Mono. Meaning either a rush to move to KDE or taking a risk that MS are estopped by the GPL from asserting any Silverlight patents that Mono is using.

    There are others.

    So I do realise there are real-world issues.

    The ones you seem to make are just as much a problem in Windows. So unless you're going to rag on them for the same problems, leave them out of it. Find ones that are *Linux* issues, not fud-spew.

    Then again, MS fanbois are rabid about dissing linux, they're just getting around to the idea that saying "hey, I like and use linux, OK, but...".

  90. BatCat
    Happy

    "The Laptop now flies along"

    It would fly along with a fresh installation of XP too, Linux isn't magically boosting the performance of the PC. XP performance does tend to degrade over time, specially if users are installing lots of demo / free software downloads and plugin widgets. My kids' laptops fly along after I've restored a clean XP image onto them. It takes about 15 minutes using acronis true image every few months. They can enjoy all the same user experience as their mates and if they screw up the OS, I just restore it again. Perfect solution.

  91. Mark

    @Bat

    I tried one. First one worked off the bat. No installation needed.

    http://www.flash-games.net/online/3402/mexican-train-dominoes.html

    Hmm.

    Some work, some don't maybe. Definitely not ALL not working.

    Though, to be honest, the games are a bit shite.

    They'd be good on a smartphone or whatever, but then again, most of those aren't using the Blessed MS and definitely not using the Imperator Intel. In those cases, something that really IS portable seems to be a good idea. Stops you having to write the Nokia 915 version then the Samsung 2940 version then the Palm Communicator version, then the ....

  92. jeanl
    Gates Horns

    Linux hype

    I still don't understand why folks from Linux communities still refuse that Linux is an ancient defunct OS as in x86 intel CPU to Pentium class. No matter how it progress, VIA try hard and Intel try revive it as atom, still an ancient technology.

    Linux boot time is slow

    Linux is dump as hell when come to drivers, not even universal drivers wold function properly

    Linux came in 100's of distro, each has it own half finish project. Together, Linux are almost a little more than half finish project.

    User friendly? Not so fast when come to problem, user immediately realise that they stuck if didn't know all the commands. Not simply click here and there true GUI.

    Linux almost virus free... hmmm! wait till those kid figure out then all your file will be gone for real because you don't know much about Linux either.

    Security issue is not a problem, I've see some geek hacked into Linux in minutes. It not reported to Linux community yet because they've nothing to gain to prove Linux is insecure.

  93. Mark

    re: "The Laptop now flies along"

    I think it has more to do with two things. One endemic to the Windows Way We Do Things (tm): Poor self organisation. Bits are tucked in odd places, files fragment, cleanup is had because "scary" is hidden.

    One is endemic to MS's development of OSes: XP was fast and buggy as hell. So SP1 fixed a few things, missed some good opportunities and slowed things down a bit. SP2 fixed most of what was hugely wrong (apart from the EULA which I won't agree to. If MS wants to install and uninstall stuff without telling me what and why, they can buy my computer off me and let me run it) but XP with SP2 is *significantly* slower than SP1 or vanilla. Probably because MS must continue to entangle bits of code into other unrelated systems so that they can't be told off and forced to unbundle NewGreatMusicServerSystem0.1 like they had to with Win98. So it's easy to miss things and changes repeated means repeated redundant checks.

    If MS were a development company, their problems in the output of their coders would be much less, but MS were always a marketing company that produced technical products, so they must do what makes the system marketable and hang the consequences.

  94. Mark

    "Each linux wifi driver family is completely different."

    Odd. Because the reason why the drivers are all different is because they keep changing the hardware whilst leaving the model number the same. Which is fine for Windows with a driver CD but will bite you if you buy a netgear (X-Bow chipset) 311 wireless card to replace your netgear (Javelin chipset) 311 wireless card and you the old one off with the new driver CD (because they are both the same model number).

    Double odd because Windows has two weird effects with respect to drivers:

    Plug your USB mouse into another USB slot and it stops the mouse, pops up the "new hardware" installs the USB mouse driver you already had and THEN lets you use the mouse. Move it to another new USB slot and the same happens. Linux? Not even a pause. Linux goes "it's a freaking USB mouse!". Windows: "It's a USB port 4, bus 2 mouse!".

    Change your IP address of your box (don't know if this works in XP, does in 98) and it asks for your windows CD so it can install the netbios driver that hasn't changed since you installed it with the old IP address. Uh, why's the driver need reinstalling when you've changed something that has nothing to do with the driver???

    Again, problems BOTH systems have, but shaded (lying by omission) to put Linux in a bad light.

  95. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @jeanl

    Protips.

    Learn to troll.

    Learn English.

    Come back.

    Failing that?

    Kill yourself.

  96. Simpson

    Trying to install for kids machine - part tres

    I made a mistake in my earlier post. It is on a 2.26 GHz p4, not a celeron 2.0.

    Wifi: It took about 20 minutes to get wifi working, but it would have worked instantly if I had an open network.

    Game good: "jump start" "reading for second graders" installed without any problems. On running the game the initial splash screen loads slowly, but then it runs without any problems.

    Game bad: When the game is running, the cpu usage is at a steady 100%. The high cpu usage is almost entirely wine + the game executable. It stays at 100%, even if the game is idle, but running.

    I am not sure if wine + any win32 exe is this cpu intensive or not. But if it is, then I would say that wine is there for when you NEED to run a win32 exe, and is not suitable for when you WANT to mostly run win32 exe's.

    I will be setting up a gos based system for my mom. All she needs is kiosk style web and email access.

    But for the kids machine, I will be using xp. I want to be sure that it is compatible with all of the hand-me-down games we already have (only tried one in gos). More important (to me), I don't think my 5yo will be neatly closing applications when he is done playing. So I don't want it to be running at 100% cpu 24 hrs a day, just because a win32 exe is running on the desktop.

  97. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Mark "Bits tucked in odd places"

    Because Linux totally doesn't do anything like that. LOL

  98. Mark

    "Linux boot time is slow"

    Running Suse 11.0 on a Athlon XP1900+ laptop. Boot 20-26 seconds login 10 seconds. Full 3d wibbly effects.

    XP on an Core 2.4 takes 32-40 seconds to boot and 25 or more seconds to log in (finished loading the apps that must load on the taskbar).

  99. Mark

    Anonymous Coward

    Nope, it doesn't. Well, in a few places, but very few.

    configurations in /etc. logs in /var/log. personal configurations in ~/.program.

  100. Mark

    @Simpson

    At least trying cost you nothing other than time. If you don't like or can't use a closed source OS (Apple or Microsoft), you aren't allowed a refund.

    Which is nice.

  101. James Bassett
    Thumb Down

    Re: BatCat "The laptop now flies along"

    That's simply untrue. Yes, XP would have been quicker than before if I had rebuilt it. However, no-one in their right mind would describe a Celeron 1.5GHz PC with 512MB RAM running XP SP3 with Office 2003, Media Player and Photo Editing Software as flying along. Acceptable? For the first 3-6 months maybe - maybe not.

    Although, from my Wife's perspective (and I'm using her as a classic example of "Don't bother explaining it to me, I just want it to work") the "Suspend" is the main time saver. Under XP, she could suspend her laptop in seconds and bring in back in seconds. And then wait five minutes for the disk to stop thrashing before anything became usable. And then another five minutes for Outlook. A rebuild would have helped but Windows still thrashes like hell for ages after coming out of sleep mode and Outlook is just rediculous.

    Under gOS she can suspend and restore in about 10s either way and everything is back at full speed.

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