back to article City of Munich throws Ubuntu lifeline to Windows XP holdouts

Windows XP users in Germany’s third largest city are being offered free upgrades to Ubuntu ahead of termination of Microsoft support for the OS next Spring. Administrators in the City of Munich have distributed 2,000 CDs carrying Ubuntu 12.04 LTS to libraries across the City, for users to borrow and download the Linux distro …

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  1. Roland6 Silver badge

    What's wrong with LiMux?

    Interesting that they seem to be distributing a third party distro rather than the version they developed and deployed internally. This would seem to be more joined up with the potential for further benefits to Munich.

    1. Joseph Haig

      Re: What's wrong with LiMux?

      My guess is that LiMux is heavily modified to hook into the government office infrastructure and most of these modifications will be of little use to other people. I am quite happy to use a similarly customised distribution from $EMPLOYER but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone outside of the company.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What's wrong with LiMux?

        "Administrators in the City of Munich have distributed 2,000 CDs carrying Ubuntu 12.04 LTS to libraries across the City, for users to borrow and download the Linux distro."

        Presumably desperately trying to invent new jobs for themselves after the failure that is the local attempt at migrating to Linux is likely nearing it's end (over ten years and tens of millions spent - the migration is still not completed - and when council workers need to use the majority of their applications - such as a version of Office that actually works - they connect to Remote Desktops running....Windows!)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What's wrong with LiMux?

          ... the failure that is the local attempt at migrating to Linux ...

          Citations please. The only reports I can find say that it's going remarkably well, despite MicroSofts constantly changing file formats. For example, there are multiple reports of it saving them in the region of 10 to 11 million Euros and MS declining the opportunity to dispute the lower TCO of Linux on the Munich desktops.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: What's wrong with LiMux? @Chrris Wareham

            If you're going to ask for citations you should provide them for your own statements.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: What's wrong with LiMux?

            "there are multiple reports of it saving them in the region of 10 to 11 million Euros"

            That doesn't allow for the ten years of migration costs, the resultant productivity losses, or the rumoured €30 million that IBM spent on the project...It clearly has been a massive failure - hence why near zero organisations have followed down that path well over ten years later....

            1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

              Re: What's wrong with LiMux?

              > That doesn't allow for the ten years of migration costs,

              Yes it does. That is what 'saving' is all about - fewer costs than the alternate. They were on Windows NT and so would have had to allow for migration costs to _something_ whether that be XP (and then again to Win7) or to Linux. Also the saving will continue to grow as they no longer send money to Redmond, or is that Ireland so MS don't have to clip tax out of it ?

              > It clearly has been a massive failure

              It clearly was a massive failure of Ballmer. He couldn't throw enough chairs to stop it going ahead. But Munich say it is a success, who are you to say they are wrong ?

              I do know that Microsoft paid for an 'independent' report that claimed the costs were higher, but that did not include licence costs to MS (about $7million) plus many other false claims.

              http://techrights.org/2013/01/24/anti-munich-pr/

              > the rumoured €30 million that IBM spent on the project.

              Was that _rumour_ started by Microsoft or by you ?

              """By the end of 2011 the program had exceeded its goal and changed over 9000 desktops to Linux.[11] The city of Munich reported at the end of 2012 that the migration to Linux was highly successful and has already saved the city over €11 million (US$14 million)."""

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: What's wrong with LiMux?

                "The city of Munich reported at the end of 2012 that the migration to Linux was highly successful and has already saved the city over €11 million"

                That's incredibly misleading. That's compared to their legacy system costs. Munich would have saved over 4 times as much over ten years compared to their legacy costs with the solution Microsoft had recommended / offered....They spent $30 million EXTRA upfront just to switch!

                And this 'saving' doesn't include the full migration costs - or the vast amount of money that IBM spent developing a version of Linux and integrated applications that actually sort of worked.....

                1. Chemist

                  Re: What's wrong with LiMux?

                  "That's incredibly misleading. ...."

                  YOU have mentioned this before on countless occasions - nobody believed you then and they don't know - 20 ACs or for that matter 100 ACs don't count BTW.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: What's wrong with LiMux?

                    "YOU have mentioned this before on countless occasions - nobody believed you then and they don't know - 20 ACs or for that matter 100 ACs don't count BTW."

                    http://www.geek.com/news/munich-linux-migration-hits-serious-snags-555131/

                    "It has also been revealed that the Open Source software bid was actually 51% more expensive than the proposal made by Microsoft"

                    1. Chemist

                      Re: What's wrong with LiMux?

                      "http://www.geek.com/news/munich-linux-migration-hits-serious-snags-555131"

                      This is truly PATHETIC even by your appalling standards - this (your own reference) is from 2004 !!

                      (By this year they had 13000 computers migrated to Linux BTW)

                      1. Chemist

                        Re: What's wrong with LiMux?

                        Although interestingly enough your ref. (dated : Feb. 17, 2004 12:04 pm with lots of comments from that date) has a link to the CURRENT Register.

                        Reporting the news or maybe making it ?

                        Someone has gone to some trouble to generate this FUD

                      2. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: What's wrong with LiMux?

                        "This is truly PATHETIC even by your appalling standards - this (your own reference) is from 2004 !!"

                        So what if it was from 2004 - that's closer to when the more expensive contract for Linux was signed than now! There are plenty more references to it being more expensive for Linux if you want to use Google....

                        Face it, you have been proved wrong....

                        "(By this year they had 13000 computers migrated to Linux BTW)"

                        Really - so according to you - they migrated 13,000 in 1 year, but in the 9 years since they have only been able to migrate another 2,000?! I don't think so:

                        Actually, by 2008 (after 5 years!) they had only been able to migrate 1,200:

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

                        So wrong again....

                        1. Chemist

                          Re: What's wrong with LiMux?

                          "By this year "

                          Just point out (for those stuck in 2004) that THIS year is 2013 !

                        2. Chemist

                          Re: What's wrong with LiMux?

                          BTW - you really are sounding desperate (& ludicrous )

                          For the less-than-numerate i.e. - YOU 2004-1013 is NOT 1 year ( - I think you probably know that)

                          Could you also address why the 2004 page has a ref. to the current Register ? - no, thought not.

                        3. Chemist

                          Re: What's wrong with LiMux?

                          "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LiMux

                          So wrong again...."

                          NO as usual you have posted a ref. that is actually AGAINST your own argument. If you'd posted the whole of the wiki ref. you'd have shown the 13000 migrated by 2013

                          November 2008: 1200 out of 14,000 have migrated to the LiMux environment ........

                          .......November 23, 2012: Report shows that the savings brought in using LiMux environment are over 10 million euros[26]

                          January 2013: About 13,000 LiMux PC-workstations

        2. Fatman Silver badge
          Linux

          RE: Re: What's wrong with LiMux?

          Presumably desperately trying to invent new jobs for themselves after the failure that is the local attempt at migrating to Linux is likely nearing it's end (over ten years and tens of millions spent...

          I smell a Microshaft shill!!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: RE: What's wrong with LiMux?

            >I smell a Microshaft shill!!

            See below ( http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/containing/1958519 )

            ;-)

  2. Martijn Otto

    Half measures

    Telling people they're "on their own" after making the switch is not going to motivate them to change. Especially the computer literate ones that still believe the blue E "is the internet".

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: Half measures

      They are also telling they are on their own if they don't switch...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Half measures @Paul Crawford

        "They are also telling they are on their own if they don't switch..."

        Yup - with something they're at least familiar with.

      2. Jess

        Re: Half measures

        Er surely they ARE on their own if they don't switch. The question is whether they take the paid for option or the free one.

    2. Fatman Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Half measures

      Especially the computer illiterate ones that still believe the blue E "is the internet".

      FTFY

  3. Pen-y-gors Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Nice idea, but...

    I have an old Shuttle box that originally had XP on it. A few years ago I switched it to Ubuntu to see what it was like. Not at all bad. I upgraded and got to 11.10, and then took their advice and upgraded to 12.04 - which died totally. It seems that the necessary graphics drivers to support the embedded graphics (GeForce 4 MX if I remember rightly) aren't available for 12.04 and upwards. 11.10 is no longer supported.

    I always thought Linux was meant to work on a wide range of older hardware? It seems I was wrong, and many of the good burghers of Munich may have the same problem.

    1. James 51 Silver badge

      Re: Nice idea, but...

      There are plenty of distros out there that should work on it. Just need to do a little hunting round on the net or there might be a publicly spirted penguin amont el reg's readers.

      1. HereWeGoAgain

        Re: Nice idea, but...

        Therein lies the problem - the eight hundred thousand slightly different distributions. Most people don't want to try them. They just want their computer to work, which is why XP has had such a long life.

        The idea that rpm and dpkg are anything like as user-friendly as setup.exe is a joke. Truly, this year and the next hundred years will not be the year of the Linux desktop.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Nice idea, but...

          I understand your point HereWegoAgain, but from personal experience I have found it immensely easier to to install and operate various flavours of Linux onto a PC than XP. Not only is the install MUCH quicker, it installs normally all the correct drivers and key software, unlike XP which requires yet more myriads of discs and time to install. The only problems I have encountered with Linux has been sometimes getting printing to work without a bit of a faff, and domestic network sharing, but it's still quicker overall compared to the vast amount of time I wasted with XP over the years with all of it's various issues. I actually use Win 7 most of the time for business reasons and it's a huge improvement over XP, but I still prefer linux.

          1. Dan Paul

            Re: Nice idea, but...(perhaps try Win7 instead of XP??)

            Perhaps you should have tried comparing Windows 7 instead of an ancient operating system like XP.

            Honestly the number of complaints about difficulty installing XP just make me laugh. Win 7 finds everything you can throw at it, UNLIKE any Linux distro that typically has to be led down the path to the right graphics and sound card drivers. How about printers and scanners Oops?

            Try it on a good quality PC that is not underspecified and you'd be amazed. Too bad that people can only complain about Windows and praise Linux. Last clean Win 7 install for me took less than 30 minutes.

            1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

              Re: Nice idea, but...(perhaps try Win7 instead of XP??)

              You obviously didn't

              - Apply all the patches to the OS, .Net 3.5 and .Net 4

              .Net 4 is a 46Mb download and 240Mb of patches.

              I did a Server 2008 R2 install today. Installing the core OS took about 30 mins.

              Then it took more than 2 hours to Download and install all the patches and then reboot umpteen times

              1. TheVogon Silver badge

                Re: Nice idea, but...(perhaps try Win7 instead of XP??)

                "I did a Server 2008 R2 install today. Installing the core OS took about 30 mins.

                Then it took more than 2 hours to Download and install all the patches and then reboot umpteen times"

                If you really need to run a 5 year old OS version, then why havn't you slipstreamed the updates into the installation image? It will probably take you no more time than patching once...

                http://slipstream-win2k8.blogspot.co.uk/

            2. JEDIDIAH

              Re: Nice idea, but...(perhaps try Win7 instead of XP??)

              > Honestly the number of complaints about difficulty installing XP just make me laugh. Win 7 finds everything you can throw at it,

              No it doesn't. Been there done that.

              You're just repeating the same old tired propaganda.

              "They got it right this time. Really they did."

              1. Dan Paul

                Re: Nice idea, but...(perhaps try Win7 instead of XP??)

                So SHOW ME what it didn't pick up and prove that without any user involvement that Linux installs and just works. I never said anything about their (MS) propoganda.

                I just want a computer that I can use right away, not something that I have to use ANOTHER computer to find all the bits and pieces that don't just work.

                I don't need any updates to actually begin to USE the computer and that's what you guys won't/can't understand. It's not an operating system for you people, it's a religion...

                All you can offer me is the same bullshit that I've been hearing for years from the Linux crowd and nothing else.

                My grandma can install Windows and use it but she can't install Linux and have it working.

            3. Richard Plinston Silver badge

              Re: Nice idea, but...(perhaps try Win7 instead of XP??)

              > Win 7 finds everything you can throw at it,

              Win 7 will find 'everything' on a machine that is modern enough to run it. If it is attempted to install on a machine too old or with inadequate resources where it _can't_ find everything then it may refuse to install. If it is installed on a machine that has components newer than the Win 7 build then you may have to search for matching drivers.

              I don't know whether you are overly optimistic or just naive.

              1. Dan Paul

                Re: Nice idea, but...(perhaps try Win7 instead of XP??)

                You have me there, optimistic me.

                Any machine that was sold with dumbed down ram (2 gigs or less) is a paperweight not a PC. What is the point of making that crap work on ANY OS when you would be doing them a favor by throwing it out a 4th floor window? Win 7 runs the "most" equipment. Linux has trouble finding a working video driver. The fact that it may refuse to install is a clue that the PC you are installing it on needs a dos install first that is not done normally in Win7 but was done in earlier versions like 98 and XP.

                Okay, a poor school with used old PC's please put all the linux you can on them just so they have something that "works" barely. However, they will never have the productivity that can be gained from decent machines and the scum that donated that crap to the poor school should be forced to use it themselves.

                1. Chemist

                  Re: Nice idea, but...(perhaps try Win7 instead of XP??)

                  "The fact that it may refuse to install is a clue that the PC you are installing it on needs a dos install first"

                  Nonsense. What on earth are you going on about ?.

                  Live CD first to check for any problems.

                  By the way none of my Linux machines have more than 2GB but they still perform (VMs, protein modeling, HD 50fps video editing etc, etc)

                  1. Chemist

                    Re: Nice idea, but...(perhaps try Win7 instead of XP??)

                    Ignore the first half of my reply I realize now that you were talking about Windows

                    The 2nd half stands though

                2. codejunky Silver badge

                  Re: Nice idea, but...(perhaps try Win7 instead of XP??)

                  @Dan Paul

                  In your numerous posts you have made a few points that did stand out to me-

                  "Any machine that was sold with dumbed down ram (2 gigs or less) is a paperweight not a PC."

                  Only last month I moved my grans machine from XP to ubuntu. 512mb ram on a 1Ghz celeron processor. The machine runs as fast as when it was on XP and will be supported with no additional cost beyond the life of XP. She doesnt want another computer. Its for her to send email and listen to music.

                  "If you have the manufacturers disc with a new driver why not use it? Or why not just use the base driver on the OS disc, because the base Nvidia driver is too old?"

                  My last desktop was XP. I wiped it to give away but had misplaced my driver disks apart from the mobo one. That was lucky because the base install of windows didnt recognise the ethernet port. I then had to boot a live CD of mint to get the make and model video card because XP didnt identify it and I couldnt remember. Mint plainly stated the video device from live CD and I didnt have to go download anything, mint would keep it up to date for me. I have the same video driver issue on win7 and my new system but I kept hold of the disk this time.

                  "The printer driver I downloaded direct from Kodak's site and worked immediately"

                  I remember when I had to download drivers for printers in ubuntu. Not done that in a while. For most printers (even over a network) ubuntu scans, detects and presents a working printer. I had to set up a printer on win8 recently. That was not easy and the downloaded driver didnt work.

                  "Don't call moving caching files to different drive locations as a big deal since only power users ever even THINK about anything like that and with new ssd's will not become a problem for longer than the drive warranty."

                  Absolutely a caching thing. However it does matter that moving my documents is a pain in the ass as is turning off all of windows little disk writes. On linux I just assigned the logging and home directories to the HDD while the OS sits on the SSD. Trivial.

                  "NONE of the most recently updated Linux drivers or files are EVER on a "distribution disc" so you STILL have to download them and THAT is the failure of Linux."

                  What part is a failure? On windows each individual update tool will run and slow down your system fighting to update. I could have 3 separate programs updating at the same time and begging to keep rebooting. Linux package manager updates everything. No need to go looking or go downloading, it does it for you.

                  "I just want a computer that I can use right away, not something that I have to use ANOTHER computer to find all the bits and pieces that don't just work."

                  I have 3 systems currently using mint 14/15 and all configured themselves with no messing. Auto detection of drivers and devices. I have installed linux on some other machines and had some problems to fix but they were fixable. When hardware doesnt work with windows I have had to throw it out and replace. If windows or linux has difficulty installing you often need another machine to find solutions on. Its the same issue.

                  "I don't need any updates to actually begin to USE the computer and that's what you guys won't/can't understand"

                  I would never use a windows machine online until it is fully patched and updated. Otherwise it is begging for a virus.

                  "My grandma can install Windows and use it but she can't install Linux and have it working."

                  My gran did install ubuntu. She had never installed an OS before and I sat and watched. She was very nervous but I was impressed. She doesnt know what she is doing but willing to learn and try.

                  "It's not an operating system for you people, it's a religion"

                  Yet you religiously pushed windows and made some funny claims about linux. An OS is a personal choice. It is up to the user of the machine to look at their options and at least linux and BSD is free to try. There is software written just for windows which wont work in linux and there is a lot of functionality which just comes with linux that you have to download extra stuff for windows. It is choice.

                3. Anomalous Cowturd
                  FAIL

                  Is this DanPaul.co.uk ???

                  Dan.

                  You're full of shit.

                  FUD off!

                  1. Dan Paul

                    Re: Is this DanPaul.co.uk ???

                    Fortunately I am not, but then you should lick my rectal orifice just for fun

            4. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: Nice idea, but...(perhaps try Win7 instead of XP??)

              >Win 7 finds everything you can throw at it

              Try connecting an HP Deskjet 960c, install the driver and then share it... Works fine on XP.

              Yes, installing HP Officejet 8500 & 8600 on Win 7 &8 was a dream compared to similar on XP.

              But then Win 7 and 8 owe their ease of install to the lessons learnt with previous versions of Windows...

              1. Dan Paul

                Re: Nice idea, but...(perhaps try Win7 instead of XP??)

                Which way did you try to install the 960 driver & which connection? Were you using XP Home or Pro (BIG Difference when networking/sharing is involved.

                Older HP printer designs suck to install almost everywhere, especially if there is networking involved.

                In general printer drivers are renowned for being crap and bloated beyond comprehension.

                The "Pro" version of XP and Win 7 were FAR better than the "Home" versions (that should never have been sold IMHO)

                Yes, and most operating systems seeme to get better as they learn from their mistakes.

                So WHY is Linux still so fractured and unsupported?

            5. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: Nice idea, but...(perhaps try Win7 instead of XP??)

              @Dan Paul

              Honestly the number of complaints about difficulty installing XP just make me laugh. Win 7 finds everything you can throw at it, UNLIKE any Linux distro that typically has to be led down the path to the right graphics and sound card drivers. How about printers and scanners Oops?

              Win7 required the nvidia graphics drivers installing from disk. Mint had 3 driver options listed but defaulted to the nvidia stable. Both found all my other components. Win7 required the disk for my printer, mint found the printer with no driver messing (add printer, install). Win7 required a lot of customizing to split my files and various caching files away from my SSD (c drive) and put it on my HDD (e drive), I set the linux partitions on install.

              Both OS's have their pro's and cons but I dont have the issues you speak of with linux.

              1. Dan Paul

                Re: Nice idea, but...(perhaps try Win7 instead of XP??)

                Strange how Win 7 asked me for the files from the mfgs driver disc and/or asks to connect to the internet to get the files it needs.

                If you have the manufacturers disc with a new driver why not use it? Or why not just use the base driver on the OS disc, because the base Nvidia driver is too old?. Thats why they call it a reference driver because it is manufacturer agnostic. Is it better to use one from the manufacturer? Certainly, but that can happen anytime after the PC is up and working.

                Completely unattended, the Win7 box booted up and was useable in 30 minutes. The printer driver I downloaded direct from Kodak's site and worked immediately, so did the wireless mouse and keyboard even though I had no drivers downloaded for them, strange, even the wireless card and the network card, all motherboard drivers were effectively there and this was NEW mobo that had not been out for any length of time. It called all those drivers down from Windows Update without my involvement.

                Don't call moving caching files to different drive locations as a big deal since only power users ever even THINK about anything like that and with new ssd's will not become a problem for longer than the drive warranty.

                No, I had not done the million extra updates in the 30 minutes but quit lying and be honest, NONE of the most recently updated Linux drivers or files are EVER on a "distribution disc" so you STILL have to download them and THAT is the failure of Linux. If you don't know the exact files or the link to get them, chances are you WILL fuck up your install.

                FACT: ALL operating systems and software need to be updated and frequently. Windows has a better way to do that which is almost foolproof. Linux does NOT.

            6. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Nice idea, but...(perhaps try Win7 instead of XP??)

              Try installing Windows 8.1 for speed - it takes less than ten minutes!

              1. Dan Paul

                Re: Nice idea, but...(perhaps try Win7 instead of XP??)

                I would but I'm waiting for Windows 9. I never said I was a Microsoft Shill; I have seen too many people who freaked out on Metro (now have them using Classic Shell on Windows 8 or 8.1)

                You are right, Win 8 does take less time than Windows 7 does to install, alot less time than Linux.

            7. Anomalous Cowturd
              WTF?

              @ Dan Paul Re: Win7 instead of XP??

              But Dan, the article is about XP.

              And how long did W7 take to update to latest revisions and reboot umpteen times?

              Last one I did about a month ago took about three hours of updates, and four or five reboots. And user intervention to agree to some MS license BS. .Net I think...

              Mint install to same PC took under an hour including all updates and ONE reboot to load the latest kernel. And it was usable whilst it was doing it.

        2. Fibbles

          Re: Nice idea, but...

          "The idea that rpm and dpkg are anything like as user-friendly as setup.exe is a joke. Truly, this year and the next hundred years will not be the year of the Linux desktop."

          Ubuntu software centre > Some dodgy freeware site and setup.exe

          I still don't see what is so confusing about a .deb either. You double click it, it installs the software.

          1. Michael Habel Silver badge

            Re: Nice idea, but...

            It becomes "dodgy" when you assume Linux = Linux and that *.dpg's will work on Redhat based *.rpm systems. So yes lets not even start with the various versions of "apt" Debian, "yum" Redhat, or for that matter "emerge", Gentoo...

            I still feel that these ARE the areas where Linux needs to start unifying. I don't think most people are put of by the CLI. But, you either pick your poison and use that, till your successor (from the other camp comes in!), or you have to learn a myriad of anachronic commands that usually are used to preform the same routines of either installing, or updating the OS / Software on the System.

            May the down votes commence...

            just note I too am a Linux fanboi. I'm just not coloured enough in such prejudices that I actually believe that Linux is better then Windows.... I just believe that Linux is better then Windows 8!

        3. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: Nice idea, but...

          @HereWeGoAgain

          "The idea that rpm and dpkg are anything like as user-friendly as setup.exe is a joke. Truly, this year and the next hundred years will not be the year of the Linux desktop."

          I take issue with this. For the exe you can put a CD in or download it. Except downloading it is dangerous unless you know the trusted source and its not a scam site made to look like the original. As allowing exe from the web is generally bad you will want to call your local IT guy. Aprogram is trying to modify your computer- allow YES NO? Once you are allowed to start you must select options from install page 1,2,3,4,5,6,etc which asks if you want a full/typical/minimal install, where you want it, do you want links on your desktop/start menu/quick launch.

          I compare this with entering the software centre of fedora or ubuntu- do search in software centre, click install, if it asks to install dependencies click yes. Thats it. If you need to download a deb or rpm you are likely doing something more technical and know if you should trust the source. But if you end up downloading one it opens with the software install centre and just installs as it would in the software centre.

          The difference is huge when you are teaching an old person who has no idea about any of this stuff. No baffling screens. No messing.

          Your comments on XP are right. Once they got XP to work and due to it being pre-installed for so long it has a huge following. Its a good OS. Windows 7 is the only other MS OS I would recommend to anyone. But for the old XP machines which often dont have the hulking hardware for the other windows OS's I install ubuntu or mint. They both run better than the MS alternatives I have seen

          1. monkeyfish

            Re: Nice idea, but...

            I just put mint on an older xp laptop, the first time I've ever used any version of linux after 20+ years of windows. The main problems with linux are:

            1) As the op said, the fact that there are countless different versions of it. Ask for an opinion of which one to install and you'll get as many different answers as there are versions. In the end I just guessed at mint, as it looked pretty similar to xp, but even then there were 4 different current versions to guess from.

            2) You're on your own. The wifi card didn't work and although I could find forum references to this problem the solutions involved some sort of terminal or tar ball which might as well have been written in latin for all I understood it. You can't just download the drivers from the manufacturer as it is an unsupported OS. I bought a small wifi dongle to get around the problem but that didn't work either, in fact it didn't even seem to recognise that I had plugged it in. I went to un-install the whole thing on sat only to find the built in wifi works now. I have no idea why it now works when it didn't previously and no idea what to do if it stops. Now working it works well and I quite like it. But you're on your own.

            1. Chemist

              Re: Nice idea, but...

              "I just put mint on an older xp laptop,"

              The advice I'd give is - don't rush, do a little research, download a few live CDs from the various distros and try one or more - this will show you any major problems with your hardware without committing to an install. If there aren't any problems, and I've not found any with (for example) OpenSUSE for years, then go ahead to a full install. If you don't have a bootable CD then a USB stick can be used (check with the distro) as long as your hardware supports booting from USB

              1. Rol Silver badge

                Re: Nice idea, but...

                Chemist is bang on the money.

                I have been dual booting for years, using XP and the progressive incantations of Ubuntu from 7.xx up, on every bit of kit that passes my way, which means all my mates are on it also (and they love it) The recent bolt for the Unity (read Windows 8) desktop was a stomach churner, but as Chemist rightly points out, a live CD/DVD gives you a try before you commit option, it loads up into memory and writes nothing to your HDD. so, you can give it a good testing before committing to a new partition.

                I use Linux Mint 14, Nadia, 64 bit. It runs superbly and presents like an XP system (on the surface) and despite the almost black hole of knowledge I have about Linux, it just works flawlessly.

                Dive a bit deeper and now you're in unfamiliar territory, gone are all the Windows structures you have been spoon fed for years and although irksome, it is for the best, as all it takes to break windows is a little knowledge and oh how little knowledge hath screwed things up properly. No if you want to get under the lid and play with all the bits in Linux you'll be needing a highly specialised tool just to open it up, a high functioning brain, with more than a passing knowledge of command line Latin. So, if you want to play the microsoft "expert" with Linux, you'll need more than a high score on Minesweeper to get you started.

                and yes I have windows also, but that's just for the high end games and stuff. Having said that, WINE makes a damned good fist of running windows programs under Linux.

                One thing's for certain, I never ever connect to the internet unless I'm booted into Linux, I just laugh at malware and poke the eyes of trojans from my lofty Linux castle.

                The reason there are so many flavours to choose from is a good thing, as many are tailored towards specific usage and or give you the option to customise your work environment beyond just changing the background. Many are highly tuned hybrids of the usual versions, which if you had the energy you could make yourself from the basic Kernel, but why bother, have a root around the internet for the wealth of expert opinion and try some out. You'll not get burned, but you might, just might get a taste for free lunches.

            2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

              Re: Nice idea, but...

              > 1) As the op said, the fact that there are countless different versions of it. Ask for an opinion of which one to install and you'll get as many different answers ...

              It's a wonder that there is just one car maker with just one model. It must be really confusing for car buyers with so much choice and so much conflicting advice. And then they come in different colours.

              At least with cars they come free and you can discard them and try a different one. Oh wait ..

              1. smacky

                Re: Nice idea, but...

                Your car analogy is great. I've pretty much migrated totally to Mint Cinnamon 15. Only problem I've had was my older A/V receiver wasn't passing a 1080 signal thru and the Nvidia propriety driver would not remember what resolution I wanted. I just plugged it straight into the monitor and used the spdif/optical out. It recognized that my audio input had changed, and ported to it. Had to read a short little tutorial on the Mint forums to setup my Brother wireless printer, boom it worked. Cheers to all. Well except for some of idiots.

            3. Joe Montana

              Re: Nice idea, but...

              It's likely that your wifi wasn't supported by the version you initially installed, and some subsequent updates added a driver for it...

              Similar problems occur on windows, chances are it won't support your wifi out of the box and it doesn't make it easy to find out who even manufactured your wifi card which you'd need to do before you can find the manufacturer website.

              Generally when you get an OS preinstalled, it will already be configured appropriately whereas if you install it yourself there are often going to be problems with missing drivers, or worse - oem hardware which is *slightly* different to the generic versions of hardware based on the same chipsets and thus doesn't work with the standard drivers.

              The biggest problem with linux is that it generally doesn't come preinstalled in its standard form, you don't hear of people having problems with android or chromeos devices, or any of the other myriad embedded devices which are linux based.

            4. BongoJoe

              Re: Nice idea, but...

              > MonkeyFish

              I find it amazing that you received a number of downvotes when your statement was valid.

              I tried Linux a while back when there were a considerable fewer numbers of distros around and I had the same issues; first of all which one and then what to do when it fails.

              If I were to migrate hundreds of users from a Windows base to Linux then I am going to need to be certain of a few things first:

              1. That the applications and services that I use will still work, with an acceptable amount of rewrite, in Linux.. Not only do the packages have to run but the thousands of lines of VBA within Office would have to be replicated somewhere, for example.

              2. That I know that I can get the operating system to pop up and say Hello on all of the machines in the environment.

              3. That I can get technical support from someone who is willing to help.

              We've already had one chap have a go at non-Linux users on this thread which is completely opposite to what is required. The thing with Windows is that it is fairly well documented and what isn't there are a number of known and well publised workarounds. It's bad enough that there's about a dozen different flavours of Windows running at the moment but how many different versions and flavours are there for Linux?

              Many years ago, back in the 70s, a lot of people got tired of the jumped up self-important fools in the computer centre because they fed paper into the line printers and thus they were gods and were to be worhipped as they were the priests to the machines. Some of the comments one reads from the Linux community reminds me back of those unholy times.

              I don't know why this is, perhaps it's people thinking that my version of Linux is better than yours and the bitterness is overflowing. But one thing is for sure; it's really, really stopping the advance of the operating system in the corporate world.

              If the Linux community were to show a helping hand to those wishing to migrate and to help with the Office/Exchange migrations, for example, then Microsoft would really have something to worry about.

              So how about it? Will the Linux community help make this wonderful operating system main stream or would you wish to continue to make it exclusive? I will take the vote in the form of up-votes and down-votes.

        4. Fatman Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Nice idea, but...

          The idea that rpm and dpkg are anything like as user-friendly as setup.exe is a joke.

          Then it seems that you don't understand WHAT a package manager DOES; and I don't have the time to EDUCATE YOU.

          In case you CARE to become educated:

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

          After you have gleaned what you are capable of comprehending from that article, can you tell me that the fucked up setup.exe system used by WindblowZE is better????? NOTE carefully the comments about maintaining UPDATES.

          1. raving angry loony

            Re: Nice idea, but...

            @Fatman - quote " I don't have the time to EDUCATE YOU."

            Which is a really common reply, both in tone and manner, from a lot of Linux aficionados when someone with Windows XP starts to question the user-friendliness of Linux.

            Sadly, this attitude is probably one of the bigger reasons folks just go "oh well, I tried Linux, but it's just too user unfriendly". What they really mean is that the advocates are far too often newbie unfriendly.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Nice idea, but...

              "@Fatman - quote " I don't have the time to EDUCATE YOU."

              Which is a really common reply, both in tone and manner, from a lot of Linux aficionados when someone with Windows XP starts to question the user-friendliness of Linux."

              His tone may have been wrong but there was nothing wrong with his point.

              Linux is extensively documented. As well as this there are myriad tutorials and walk-throughs. The issues being raised about package managers have been answered and answered again on various forums.

              It really isn't his job to educate you. The answers are already out there.

            2. JEDIDIAH

              Re: Nice idea, but...

              A Windows style installer is nothing more than a crude script that spews files everywhere. It does this because there is no sense of process control on Windows due to it's heritage as a single user system. It may have the appearance of being easier because it doesn't really do anything except in the most crude fashion possible.

              You just push the shiny button and hope for the best.

              Although sometimes even this isn't even good enough as Windows software still has dependencies.

              Linux package management automates and centralizes everything. Even if you do stray off the reservation, chances are the package manager will be able to rescue you.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Nice idea, but...

                "A Windows style installer is nothing more than a crude script that spews files everywhere"

                Thanks for demonstrating your complete ignorance. Windows Installer is far more powerful and feature rich than any Linux type package manager. Just try the streaming features of the Microsoft Office 2013 evaluation download as a good example.....

                1. P. Lee Silver badge

                  Re: Nice idea, but...

                  > Just try the payment streaming features of the Microsoft Office 2013

                  TFIFY

            3. A J Stiles

              Re: Nice idea, but...

              Imagine you are a harassed member of staff in a popular tourist resort on the Côte d'Azur. Now here come two British tourists. One of them has a French dictionary and is attempting to speak a little faltering French. The other is simply speaking English slowly and loudly, as though talking to an imbecile. To whom are you going to be more polite and helpful -- the one who is making an effort, or the one with the sense of entitlement so huge he's lucky to get his head through the door?

              Well, when you first join in the Linux adventure, you are in the position of a Brit Abroad. And if you want to be treated like a grown-up, first you have to act like one. Which means: If you want help, you have to earn it.

              See also here:

              http://www.catb.org/esr/faqs/smart-questions.html

            4. DropBear Silver badge
              Mushroom

              Re: Nice idea, but...

              "Sadly, this attitude is probably one of the bigger reasons folks just go "oh well, I tried Linux, but it's just too user unfriendly". What they really mean is that the advocates are far too often newbie unfriendly." - Quite so, with the addendum that beside death and taxes the third insecapable certainty of life is that you WILL have to fiddle endlessly with Linux unless you're prepared to live with some stuff not quite working (that always worked just fine in windows...) - rabid deniers are kindly asked to point out a functional driver that actually manages to initialize the LNA on the Asus P7131 MyCinema Hybrid properly (without which some channels simply can't be tuned to), just to quote one example from an endless list of gripes I had battl... sorry, "administering" Linux (did I mention both of the latest LTS upgrades broke the computer into not booting anymore, for different reasons?). I'm full able to deal with most of that (eventually), most of the time - I'm just tired and unwilling as f*** to bother anymore.

              1. Michael Habel Silver badge

                Re: Nice idea, but...

                This is why you need to stick with Brands like Technotrend, or KNC-1 where you can. I to learned this the hard way. I'd also recomend L4M (Linux 4 Media). Granted my flavor of HTPC is Digital (e.g. DVB-C, Cable & DVB-S(2), Satellite), and not Analog.

                Besides on that note.... WTF is an Analog Tuner Card good for these Days, I thought (or was under the impression that...) Analog had gone the way of the Dodo....

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Nice idea, but... @Fatman 14:32

            Wow, less than half way down the first page, and you've already deteriorated to using caps too much, the overused "WindblowZE" thing and personal insults. Your first sentence highlights the point at least one person has made here about the worst aspect of trying to get into Linux. Or is that why people like you are so keen to see more people trying? So you can tear them down? Linux zealots - Microsoft's best weapon ...

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Nice idea, but...

            Well done Fatman, you single handedly demonstrated why the Linux eco-system (and often computing in general is seen as unfriendly.

            (Maybe unjustifiably) it appears to the layman, that the whole arena is full of fat,ignorant, social misfits who have some sort of sad, pathetic superiority complex, when in fact they are lacking in all the real skills that one hopes humanity needs to progress.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Nice idea, but...

              "Well done Fatman, you single handedly demonstrated why the Linux eco-system (and often computing in general is seen as unfriendly.

              (Maybe unjustifiably) it appears to the layman, that the whole arena is full of fat,ignorant, social misfits who have some sort of sad, pathetic superiority complex, when in fact they are lacking in all the real skills that one hopes humanity needs to progress."

              Laymen don't understand how a dentist drill works. Not because they can't, but because they lack interest. It's the same for other machines. So while I applaud anyone's effort to remove the religions, scams, and other waleware from their machines, I cannot recommend that they attempt such a feat as the decline of human intelligence progresses.

              Making it easier for the newb just makes it harder in the long run.

              1. monkeyfish

                Re: Nice idea, but...

                Laymen don't understand how a dentist drill works. Not because they can't, but because they lack interest. It's the same for other machines. So while I applaud anyone's effort to remove the religions, scams, and other waleware from their machines, I cannot recommend that they attempt such a feat as the decline of human intelligence progresses.

                Making it easier for the newb just makes it harder in the long run.

                Sure, I don't know how to use a dentist drill, but does the dentist understand how to design a power supply for the drill that will operate from the mains voltage and regulate the drill speed? Thought not. The very nature of knowledge is that that you can't know all of it. Some people like to spend their free time fiddling with computers and trying out new distros. Other people just want a computer that works so that they can get on with something else.

                1. This post has been deleted by its author

                2. Rol Silver badge

                  Re: Nice idea, but...

                  No one is forcing anyone to jump from MS to Linux, well maybe MS is.

                  Making a strong case to accept Linux into your heart is in my mind slightly counter to my own needs, as the relatively small amount of users (several umpteen million) almost guarantees it is an OS that isn't worth the time or bother to maliciously fiddle with for monetary gain, the returns on time spent writing viruses, will be pitiful, not least because most users are too savvy to allow any attack past the welcome mat and those that are new, will not easily grasp how to throw open the door to any passing vagabond.

                  Add to that, that the code is there for anyone to read, to debug, to modify or more pertinently go WTF is this NSA script doing in here means it is clean of agency meddling and the community keep it that way.

                  If I was to put anything on granny's computer it would be Linux as teaching her all the intricate fiddly bits of MS and how to keep it safe would take forever, while Linux just keeps on working with little to no knowledge required.

                  Oh and did I mention it's free, perhaps the only free lunch that is unarguably free.

                  Sorry, did I say lunch, I meant, five course meal with silver service at a five star restaurant, with optional wafer thin mint.

                  1. Michael Habel Silver badge

                    Re: Nice idea, but...

                    What is true today, may not be so tomorrow. On that note I'm surprised that there aren't that many Veri in the wild. But I guess an iOS "Jailbreak" is not the same thing as being able to actually "Rooting" it. These kinds of scum eventually go where the Money is, and where ever that might be in the times ahead. I doubt it will be on Windows 8.

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Nice idea, but...

            Funny how the people who "don't have enough time to EDUCATE YOU" seem to have enough time to write sanctimonious comments and use names line "WinblowZE" because it is the funny.

            Here's a tip: Don't bother trying to speak for people who use Linux, it's much better for the OS as a whole if you just don't speak. People who make fun of the OS that potential Linux users currently use and then effectively tell them to RTFM (you did, even if you don't realise it) do far more damage than good.

          5. P. Lee Silver badge

            Re: Nice idea, but...

            Ha! Who said trolling is a lost art-form?

            :D

          6. Michael Habel Silver badge

            Re: Nice idea, but...

            This would be an example of why Linux seems to massive roadblock in front of it preventing a massive uptake towards it. Add to this the Hypocrites in some Dev communities that will openly discuss ripping and downloading of DVD / BR Movies. OTOH, but are all to quick to bitchslap you arse when you so much as breathe a word about DeCSS, for your own in-home enjoyment. As I learned early on in my foray into building a better HTPC on Linux, then what was, and continues to be possible on Windows.

            But, it is amazing what you can learn out there, if you take the time to find the right Channels. But, I don't expect the Mac-esque XP point-and-click lusers will want to deal with having to learn to deal with a new OS. That may well promise the world, but, only then deliver on it. Only after a messy and convoluted drawn-out process that turns out to be a delicate Flower that dies all to easily.

            Thankfully Linux (YaVDR), has come a long way since I started using Gentoo.

            If anything I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to learn those Systems. But, yeah it was A RPITFA to have had to do so. Again mostly on my own!

        5. Daniel B.

          Re: Nice idea, but...

          "The idea that rpm and dpkg are anything like as user-friendly as setup.exe is a joke."

          Oh but it is, my dear shilltroll! In fact, the setup.exe option is so fucked up MS hasn't used it for years! Ever heard of MSI? Keep up with the times d00d! Any decent OS these days uses some kind of package manager, and that includes commercial OSen like Solaris, OSX *and* MS Windows. Interestingly, the advantage with the Linux ones are that you can download dependencies w/o having to go on a dependency hunt (unless your package is reeeeally odd). No dodgy sites here!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Nice idea, but...

            Any decent OS these days uses some kind of package manager, and that includes commercial OSen like Solaris, OSX *and* MS Windows.

            Downvoted for using OSen

        6. JLV Silver badge
          Thumb Down

          "The idea that rpm and dpkg are anything like as user-friendly as setup.exe is a joke."

          Agree with what the OP said - and I do wonder who downvoted him for having the temerity to be surprised at Ubuntu not supporting some older hardware. I thought that was the point.

          And I kind of agree that there is comfort in limited choices - for most people at least. Most people do NOT want to evaluate 10 different OS. And that includes a significant proportion of IT-but-not-sysadmin folks. I don't use Linux much myself these days (I'd look at Debian now, rather than Ubuntu).

          But your statement that setup.exe and its ilk on Windows are more user-friendly than a proper packaging system, like Apt, makes no sense.

          Once you've installed say Ubuntu, the system is able to very quickly install extra packages from online repos, with very limited user interaction. As someone else pointed out, you don't have to deal with outdated CD versions. Or potentially dodgy websites from which you will be downloading and running executables. Prereqs are pulled in automatically.

          But, mostly, the beauty of Linux program installation lies in the updates. On Windows, every single vendor packages their own update manager, which invariably loads at boot time, nags you and clogs up your machine. Adobe and Java being two particularly obvious miscreants.

          When the vendor does not do that, you are hard pressed to keep your proggies up to date, short of again finding the exes on the internet.

          And let's not talk about Windows Update itself, where every other update "may require a reboot but we are too stupid to let you know for sure".

          Once set up, a Linux machine is a breeze to maintain. You may not like Linux, and your reasons are your own, but you made a spectacularly poor choice of argument here, dude.

          If I had a grandmother, she'd be on Linux.

          1. Joe Montana

            Re: "The idea that rpm and dpkg are anything like as user-friendly as setup.exe is a joke."

            The state of updates on windows is even worse than that...

            The core windows update is buggy, it's not like a proper package manager where every file belongs to a specific package, and every package has specific versions... Windows updates are binaries which may replace files, may add files to be replaced on the next boot, may make other changes or perform other actions, all with no central control... It's common for updates to fail, or mark themselves as installed even while failing (e.g. those that mark files to be replaced on the next reboot will often mark themselves as applied before the reboot has happened, and the file replacement may fail on the next reboot resulting in a partially applied update.

            And the situation is even more ridiculous for third party apps... With no central update system, third party apps have to handle updates themselves and all the methods they use seem to be flawed in one way or another.

            Some have an update service running in the background, a few of these and your system soon slows down...

            Some check for updates when you actually run the program, which falls apart if your running as a non admin user, or happen to be without internet connectivity when you run the program.

            Some do nothing, and expect you to manually go to their website to check for updates!

            And with all these different inconsistent update mechanisms, its hugely painful when you actually want to update everything.. There are plenty of reasons to want updates to occur on demand, or only at specific times... For instance i want my laptop to download updates at night, and only when its on my hime network and not on my traffic restricted (And slow) 3g dongle.

            The end result is that apps don't get updated, and become a prime target for exploitation. It's much less common for a linux user to be running a large number of outdated applications.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "The idea that rpm and dpkg are anything like as user-friendly as setup.exe is a joke."

              "it's not like a proper package manager where every file belongs to a specific package, and every package has specific versions... Windows updates are binaries which may replace files, may add files to be replaced on the next boot, may make other changes or perform other actions, all with no central control"

              Windows Installer is actually a far more powerful package manager than anything available on Linux, and easily handles for instance multiple conflicting versions of the same library or DLL.

              You are correct that 3rd party software doesn't usually get centrally updated in older versions of Windows, but that's been addressed from Windows 8 onwards - anything installed via the Windows Store will get centrally managed updates...

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: "The idea that rpm and dpkg are anything like as user-friendly as setup.exe is a joke."

                "You are correct that 3rd party software doesn't usually get centrally updated in older versions of Windows, but that's been addressed from Windows 8 onwards - anything installed via the Windows Store will get centrally managed updates..."

                That'll effect nobody then !

          2. Captain DaFt

            Re: "The idea that rpm and dpkg are anything like as user-friendly as setup.exe is a joke."

            "If I had a grandmother, she'd be on Linux."

            Just a nitpick here... Why is the view that old people don't get computers so prevalent?

            In my family, Grandpa's the Linux freak!

        7. Abot13

          Re: Nice idea, but...

          with a good package manager it is just like an app store, much easier then hunting for the software you want, downloading it (with the risc of yet another "downloadmanager" and crapware install option checked) and then doing the setup.exe. After witch you can go and delete the original download manually.

          Setup.exe easier? I think not

        8. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Therein lies the problem

          No, the diversity of linux is not the problem, it's linux's strength - an individual operating system for everyone. Just get away from the one-size fits all mentality and never look back

        9. Joe Montana

          Re: Nice idea, but...

          It has long been claimed that people won't understand or will dislike the linux package manager concept...

          But those arguments are wearing a bit thin given that the two most popular smartphone and tablet platforms have copied the concept and been hugely successful.

          Fact is the vast majority users much prefer having a single place where they can search for and easily download/install software and keep it up to date. It's far more convenient, not to mention safer faster and more reliable than fucking around with removable media or running the risk of downloading arbitrary binaries from potentially dodgy websites.

          1. Dan Paul

            Re: Nice idea, but...(or downloading from Google/Amazons walled gardens is better?)

            Joe,

            My little friend Windows Update says he can do what "App Stores" can do but safer, more effectively and with less spyware. Not that MS is without fault mind you.

            The download or update webpage for a software manufacturer is at least as safe as any app store if not more so.

        10. sam bo
          FAIL

          Re: Nice idea, but...

          "The idea that rpm and dpkg are anything like as user-friendly as setup.exe is a joke."

          You forgot to mention virus.exe which is also incredibly user-friendly on Windows.

        11. Vic

          Re: Nice idea, but...

          > The idea that rpm and dpkg are anything like as user-friendly as setup.exe

          ... Is like the idea that msiexec is anywhere near as user-friendly as PackageKit or synaptic.

          You're not supposed to be running dpkg or rpm unless you know what you're doing. They're low-level tools.

          Use the proper tools and you'll find that Linux packaging - of *any* flavour - is very much better than Windows software management.

          Vic.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nice idea, but...

        Public spirited penguin?

        Nope, not in my experience, unless public spirited involves calling the questioner a dumb retard for not knowing and having to ask.

    2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      Re: Nice idea, but...

      Xubuntu, Lubuntu, LXLE, Peppermint and Bodhi are all based on core Ubuntu and will run on much older hardware than the flagship distro.

      1. Zimmer
        Unhappy

        Re: Nice idea, but... X marks the spot.

        Actually, the graphics problem is probably the fancy new detection stuff in the latest version of X . I have an old Shuttle running Mrs Zimm's XP... It used to run Ubuntu fine..when X was set up manually... as the old screen does not talk to the OS to give it the EDID.

        Now, although I have dual booted Mint on it I have managed (somehow) to start in a low res and I have to xrandr to get the right res... cannot find the right documentation for customising the new X with the previous screen settings(changing the old xorg.conf just does not seem to want to work succesfully anymore).

        Now my laptop* (which has been working Linux for the last 6 years) has developed a screen problem and is not detected on boot... dead (also on all previously working newer versions, tried booting from other partition installs, external USB HDD etc..).. However, plug in a Puppy USB and it comes to life...

        So any new potential user with a less than modern screen (or a dodgy one) will find Ubuntu et al a no-no... shame...

        *Using another laptop (Mint, SUSE 12.3) until I can find time to trawl the net for answers.. AGAIN!!

        1. JEDIDIAH

          Re: Nice idea, but... X marks the spot.

          The video card issue may very well be a genuine support issue given the age of the hardware. I would not be at all surprised if the proprietary BLOB driver doesn't include support for that card anymore.

          Although I would be surprised if the libre driver dropped support.

          These people might not be able to run Win7 either for similar reasons.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nice idea, but...

      just install Debian on your Shuttle. Partly thanks to Ubuntu, Debian has moved on from being too techie centric, and since the Unity debacle is a much better choice in my humble opinion. Couple that with the smooth upgrade between releases and your likely to be much happier than with the Ubuntu (or Mint) "wipe and install" upgrades.

    4. A J Stiles

      Re: Nice idea, but...

      Ubuntu is designed to run on modern hardware.

      Linux is just the engine; a distribution (such as Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, Mandriva or Puppy) is a complete car. If you have passengers with particular requirements, a general-purpose car aimed at the mainstream might not be exactly ideal for them.

  4. Mtech25
    Thumb Up

    Speaking as an MS.. fan.. well long term user

    I Should be saying "careful now" and "down with this sort of thing" but i actually think this may be an intresting idea the only problem i would see is getting the users use to Linux.

    1. alain williams Silver badge

      Re: Speaking as an MS.. fan.. well long term user

      the only problem i would see is getting the users use to Linux.

      Most users don't care, they don't really know what the difference between Linux and MS Windows is; they are only interested in what their machine will do for them: can they read email, browse the web, edit a document and print - that covers 90% of non game functions.

      Don't even talk about applications: most users don't understand or care.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Speaking as an MS.. fan.. well long term user

        "Don't even talk about applications: most users don't understand or care."

        I presume, the accompanying notes warn them that programs they did have might not work anymore or at least need some extra work to get them to run after they use the CD.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Speaking as an MS.. fan.. well long term user

          or fail to point out that installing this may obliterate all the data on their machines and those photos they don't have backed up will be lost forever.

          After all they are targeting the less computer literate folk here.

      2. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: Speaking as an MS.. fan.. well long term user

        And sooner or latter I'm sure Valve will address that other 10%. In fact I know they are!

  5. JimmyPage Silver badge
    WTF?

    A fascinating insight into other cultures ...

    Can anyone see Birmingham City Council dishing out Linux Distros to it's XP citizenry ?

    Just weird ....

    1. Philippe

      Re: A fascinating insight into other cultures ...

      I can, as long as it's available in Urdu, Paschto, and Punjabi.

      1. John G Imrie Silver badge

        I just up voted you

        Then thought, is windows available in Urdu, Paschto, and Punjabi?

        1. JimmyPage Silver badge

          Is windows available in Urdu, Paschto, and Punjabi?

          One thing I know for sure about MS is they are very hot on localisation ... I know this after having to install a South Korean version of windows (from the MSDN) to flush out a bug we could not get to happen here. IIRC it was to do with Unicode and 4-byte character codes.

        2. jonathanb Silver badge

          Re: I just up voted you

          Windows is available in Urdu and Punjabi, but not Paschto.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A fascinating insight into other cultures ...

      Knowing how BCC works, they are likely to dish out Win2000 at £200 a copy (using 150 staff to do so).

      Hint for those that don't know, they are only just starting to roll out wheelie bins, a few decades after the surrounding shire counties.

  6. Piloti

    Whodathunkit.......

    .... that Germans would be leading the moral high ground on Open Source and we lazy Brits still keep handing over money to MS for tied software.

    Well done Germans....

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Optional

    Hasn't our friend RICHTO been going around pretending Munich had dropped Linux after that M$ commissioned (but never released) spoof "audit"?

    I wonder how he'll re-spin this!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Optional

      I hadn't seen RICHTO claim that, but the claims of Eadon that Munich's move over to Linux were smooth, easily completed and saved them ten billion euros (it's million incidentally, over a decade, he always got that mixed up, despite being told every time) are patently rubbish if you look at any reports on the subject. Last I heard they'd been going a decade and still haven't completed their workstation rollout.

      The lessons from Munich are: City with appallingly badly designed MS based IT infrastructure, completely mess up the rollout of Linux based IT infrastructure. Who would have thought that could have happened?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Optional

        RICHTO/The Vogon/AC claimed all sorts of things about this - all rubbish..

        Munich INTENDED to take a long time over this - why not ?. They're Germans, plan for the long game, don't rush such that you have to overspend and underachieve.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @ Anonymous Coward

          "Munich INTENDED to take a long time over this - why not ?. They're Germans, plan for the long game, don't rush such that you have to overspend and underachieve."

          You don't know anything about it. To remedy that, read http://web.archive.org/web/20120214072347/http://limuxwatch.blogspot.com/

          In an earlier El Reg piece we also found out that Munich's decreased IT costs are due to outsourcing support to places far, far away...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Optional

          Munich intended to take over a decade to move from MS to Linux? I've heard some claims about the project, but this is by far the least believable.

          This isn't actually a pro or anti Win or Linux comment, neither was my previous one - Some Linux zealots hold up Munich as a shining example of Linux being used by a public body, actually Munich is a shining example of a public body who couldn't operate a Windows infrastructure, not being able to operate Linux infrastructure either. Munich's IT is an example of Munich council shouldn't be listened to on any IT matters at all.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Optional

            "Munich intended to take over a decade to move from MS to Linux?"

            - nobody said a decade and indeed they were held up by some disgraceful FUD about Linux but to quote WikiP

            "The migration project in Munich is ongoing and not an overnight switch to free software on every desktop."

            They actually started the real migration in ~2006

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Optional

              "...they were held up by some disgraceful FUD..."

              Was it as disgraceful as the fraudulent "audit" FUD we're getting from RICHTO?

      2. Antonymous Coward

        Re: Optional @AC 12:35/13:07

        Here you are RICHTO, a few recent reminders to jog your memory. Astonishingly inane when viewed in succession... you almost sound like some sort of fuckwitted shill who's been paid to spew out exactly the same crap over and over again. There's a handy "My Posts" link over on the right ( that way -----> ) which, if you follow it, will allow you to view millions more iterations of the same crap. Should you need further reminding. Knock yourself out.

        http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/containing/1937285

        http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/containing/1825520

        http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/containing/1951061

        http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/containing/1907119

        http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/containing/1726924

        http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/containing/1710002

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Optional @AC 12:35/13:07

          Oh, look the old argument: "at first glance someone doesn't agree with me, so I'm going to accuse them of being a shill, one of the more zealoty commenters and chuck in some general abuse at the same time."

          Well, I've got news for you, I'm neither of those people, I work with Linux desktops and servers every day (and Windows as well) but I'm sufficiently far from being an OS zealot that I can see that Munich's rollout of Linux is about the worst example for big business that there is. People who hold this up as an example of a good rollout do immeasurable damage to Linux because IT Architects at big companies look at it and just think "no way am I going to suggest that to my CTO/Board" and they'd be right.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Optional @AC 12:35/13:07

            Calm down RICHTO. You'll give yourself a massive Connery.

          2. Chemist

            Re: Optional @AC 12:35/13:07

            "and just think "no way am I going to suggest that to my CTO/Board" and they'd be right."

            So you think that making a major change to the way a company does business is better for being hasty, ill-thought out and done without pilots, evaluations and rethinks ?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Optional @AC 12:35/13:07

              I don't suppose you've ever had to plan a major IT overhaul, but if you think that the board of any serious company would tolerate a project taking a decade to move from one system to another you've got another think coming. Having to maintain multiple skill sets at a user and admin level, multiple different infrastructures and training regimes, using systems which are at best mostly compatible just isn't going to fly. It's expensive and it's inefficient, even if you can tout large savings down the line, ten years is not an acceptable amount of time for such a project to run. I would suggest five years including research and development is probably too long, but possibly just about tolerable by most companies. These projects don't need to be knocked out overnight, but suggesting that they're hasty and ill thought out if they take less than a decade shows very little knowledge of project management.

              I worked on a similar project to replace W3.11 and OS/2 and Netware with lotus 123 and an early version of office with NT4 clients/servers at a very large UK FI, not quite as big as Munich are, but a similar level of IT change. We did the project in two years, ok we had a little headstart in that some of the bespoke software would work on the new OS and that we were using office in the target, but still a lot of the office stuff had to be rewritten. There were major data transfers to move from old to new servers, email systems to be migrated, user training and rebuilding of workstations out of hours. All of that achieved without rushing the project, cutting corners or taking so long that the extra staff required couldn't be short term contractors.

        2. TheVogon Silver badge

          Re: Optional @AC 12:35/13:07

          "Here you are RICHTO, a few recent reminders to jog your memory"

          Just for the record, most of those are not posted by me! The content is a pretty good summary of the Munich mess though.

          As per the recent HP study, Munich would have saved €43.7 million if it had stuck with Microsoft....

          1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

            Re: Optional @AC 12:35/13:07

            > As per the recent HP study, Munich would have saved €43.7 million if it had stuck with Microsoft....

            The 'HP' study was funded by Microsoft and has not been fully released so that the figures could be checked.

            It is simply a work of fiction.

            http://www.h-online.com/open/news/item/Microsoft-partly-releases-study-on-Munich-s-Linux-migration-1792733.html

            http://jan.wildeboer.net/2013/01/that-hpmicrosoft-study-on-the-linux-migration-in-munich-hm/

            1. TheVogon Silver badge

              Re: Optional @AC 12:35/13:07

              "It is simply a work of fiction."

              No - it is public knowledge that the estimated cost of the Munich project was $30 million MORE for Linux than Windows at the time the Linux bid was accepted.

              It was never going to save money with such a vast gap, so suggestions that it did versus the Microsoft solution are ridiculous. The claimed cost savings are against their legacy stack, not what Microsoft had offered in parallel to the Linux choice....

              1. khjohansen

                Re: Optional @AC 12:35/13:07

                Bayerischer Rundfunk:

                http://www.br.de/themen/ratgeber/inhalt/computer/10-jahre-limux-linux-muenchen-100.html

                Article on the savings, the HP/MS "audit" with links to official documents.

  8. Red Bren
    Coat

    Should have called it

    Munix

  9. RISC OS

    As a german..

    ...I don't know anyone who would switch just because the town council has, the only ones who would are the sort of people who already use linux.

    1. Joseph Haig

      Re: As a german..

      How about people who have heard that support for Windows XP is about to expire and, although they may be concerned about this, have no real attachment to one operating system or another? The options are to upgrade Windows for €€€ or try this new-fangled thing that the library are giving out free.

      Admittedly, a lot of people would just take it as an opportunity to buy a new computer, which would probably come with Windows 8.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: As a german..

        I'd have thought many (most) of the public still running XP won't give a hoot about "support" ending and will go on exactly as before... perhaps, the more sophisticated ones, keeping Firefox and AVG up to date... until those systems ultimately grind to a halt.

      2. Don Jefe

        Re: As a german..

        The 'just buy a new computer route' has always been popular with the consumer. Popular with manufacturers and retailers too. For most people it is easier, they get something new and shiny, and a foreign person to yell at when it doesn't do what they want.

        It will be interesting to see if the general consumer cares about XP support being cutoff. Businesses are an entirely different discussion, but a consumer buying rush would help a lot of companies.

  10. birchanger_toper

    How does this help?

    They're helping people by moving them from XP, which will be unsupported soon but with which the user is familiar; and which has millions of pages spread over the web solving just about every problem ever likely to be encountered, to Ubuntu, which they know nothing about, which is in practice unsupported from day one and has considerably fewer millions of equally helpful pages.

    1. Richard Wharram

      Re: How does this help?

      Much as though I'd personally prefer Ubuntu over XP I was just going to post exactly the same thing.

      OK - Ubuntu will still get security fixes but why would the council intervene? It's just opening them up to complaints.

      1. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: How does this help?

        Perhaps by enlarging the linux ecosystem, increasing the market for linux, hence the number of devs who can make money off it, keeping the money in the pockets of Munich people which makes them happy and gives them a chance to spend it on local products rather than sending it to the US.

        I'm still not convinced that someone not brave enough to go XP->W7 is going to jump at the chance of going XP->Ubuntu, irrespective of whether its a good idea or not.

    2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: How does this help?

      It helps simply by giving those folk the idea that (A) the current XP support will end soon, and (B) they can do *something* about it for free (as in money, not in time).

      The alternative is to either let them be and watch as all of those machines become infested and cause all sorts of problems to the users and local business, or to force them to pay up for new machines that will probably not run a decent portion of old stuff / old hardware, and will have the radically new TIFKAM interface in any case.

      There is no simple answer to what to do if you don't have a big budget to refresh and retrain users. Trying Ubuntu (or getting the local tech person to help you try it) is way better than doing nothing.

      1. Richard Wharram

        Re: How does this help?

        If they are still on XP then the chances are they haven't upgraded Java and Flash either and both of those will be far more likely to cause problems than XP.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. Khaptain Silver badge

      Re: How does this help?

      I pity the poor fool that heads on down to a Linux forum and asks a noob question.... There is nothing worse than some next beard explaining that you need to write a little script in python which pipe outs to a second bash script that makes reference to various regex expressions, grep and awk and a fistfull of parameters.

      That is not the way to gain support.....

      RTFM , no problem but which manual....... There are million of them and "man" is a f****ing mightmare for anyone less than a Stephen Hawkings groupie... ( With MAN you actually have to read the MAN page on how to use MAN)

      1. eulampios

        Re: How does this help?

        Spreading FUD about Linux forums? I'd tell you the difference between asking questions on Linux and Windows forums. The difference that the latter will bring you mutually contradictory answers: it's a malware, clean your PC, it;s your harddrive dying, MS will send them to the OEM, OEM will point at Microsoft.

        ElReg. Something wrong is going on with the rating system, wanted to downvote this FUD and can't after mistakenly having upvoted it.

        1. Khaptain Silver badge

          Re: How does this help?

          It's not FUD it's fact.

          Here is an example of an answer on how to change the resolution of the video card. And this is an easy question ( a lot of people are confronted with this problem that is the reason I Cherry Picked this one).

          I have been running Linux on and off for the last 20 years or so, so I undersand mostly why each of these lines are important and also their general prupose. BUT, this sort of answers frightens the shit out of Joe User..... I would very much doubt that most would even manage to open a terminal.......

          Reponse starts here.........................................................................

          Uvesafb replaces vesafb in Ubuntu, in case you are wondering.

          --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

          [Fix/Workaround]

          * uvesafb required v86d package to be installed. Hwinfo package is required for the next step as well.

          sudo apt-get install v86d hwinfo

          * Find out the supported resolution by using hwinfo.

          sudo hwinfo --framebuffer

          Sample output :

          02: None 00.0: 11001 VESA Framebuffer

          [Created at bios.464]

          ...

          Hardware Class: framebuffer

          Model: "(C) 1988-2005, ATI Technologies Inc. M92"

          Vendor: "(C) 1988-2005, ATI Technologies Inc. "

          Device: "M92"

          SubVendor: "ATI ATOMBIOS"

          ...

          Mode 0x0321: 640x480 (+2560), 24 bits

          Mode 0x0322: 800x600 (+3200), 24 bits

          Mode 0x0323: 1024x768 (+4096), 24 bits

          Mode 0x03ee: 1366x768 (+1408), 8 bits

          Mode 0x03ef: 1366x768 (+2752), 16 bits

          Mode 0x03f0: 1366x768 (+5504), 24 bits

          Config Status: cfg=new, avail=yes, need=no, active=unknown

          * Edit /etc/default/grub to make sure we boot with uvesafb framebuffer. For the mode_option parameter change to your native screen resolution you see from running the above comment (if not just set to 1024×768-24 which is safest. Oh, Netbook user – please exercise some common-sense here) Non relevant lines are omitted for clarity.

          ...

          GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash nomodeset video=uvesafb:mode_option=1366x768-24,mtrr=3,scroll=ywrap"

          ...

          GRUB_GFXMODE=1366x768

          * Edit /etc/initramfs-tools/modules to include uvesafb by adding the following line.

          uvesafb mode_option=1366x768-24 mtrr=3 scroll=ywrap

          * Force the use of framebuffer:

          echo FRAMEBUFFER=y | sudo tee /etc/initramfs-tools/conf.d/splash

          * Update and we are done :)

          sudo update-grub2

          sudo update-initramfs -u

          * Now reboot and enjoy the high resolution sensation :) (my first reboot hangs, but 2nd time onward it works flawlessly). If it works correctly, you should be able to have moving dots with the splash screen; lesser time of blank screen and much more time with splash screen.

          And this is only "one" of the variations that were found on the forum. There were also far more "exotic" responses....

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: How does this help?

            @Khaptain

            Wonderful. So what was this person trying to achieve? You say change screen resolution but that is easily done in the system settings so I am guessing there is a complication which is likely very relevant.

            However it is interesting that someone is trying to help here. Ever tried to fix a broken component in windows? And that includes graphics.

            I am beginning to wish you had seen me fighting with windows 8 and a printer it claimed to already support. Except it wouldnt print. I downloaded the drivers (for win8!) and tried to install them, but they wouldnt install. Eventually I managed to do it through trial and error and a lot of time. There was no help available to fix this. No google results to help. Nothing I could see online. Luckily I managed to fix it without having to post a question somewhere.

            Getting help is not a bad thing.

            1. P. Lee Silver badge

              Re: How does this help?

              The linux (and general unix approach) is to understand and fix. Windows is more about the re-install.

              Both approaches have merit in certain situations. In either case, you need to be prepared for the solution appropriately.. e.g. time spent to fix, or time spent backing up and determining an appropriate restore point and resetting all the config data buried in the registry.

          2. eulampios
            Linux

            Re: How does this help?

            I haven't been using Linux for 20 years, it's only about 8-9 years, yet I know enough of resolution setups though to resort to the xrandr command. In your example, a text buffer driver is set up for a high resolution. Only technically adept person would most probably need it. Hence it must have been explained that way. On the other hand, why would you need a 1366x768 resolution when booting?

            As far as the video driver is concerned, it's xrandr, if not automatically probed.

            If the video drivers is capable of the needed resolution, and the grandr, gnome-/mate-monitors isn't able to probe, xrandr might still handle it.

            Here is what I just did for 1360x768 on my old i915:

            gtf 1360 768 60.0

            xrandr --newmode "1360x768_60.00" 84.72 1360 1424 1568 1776 768 769 772 795 -HSync +Vsync

            xrandr --addmode VGA1 1360x768_60.00

            xrandr --output VGA1 --mode 1360x768_60.00

            And you got that resolution!

            It's a copy-paste stuff and has much more sense than "clean your computer from viruses, clean the Windows registry, reinstall Windows etc"

            I myself learned most of what I know about Linux, Unix, FreeBSD and other IT related things from the forums, yet never did I have to ask a single question there. Someone did it for me and before, so I just used it to learn a lot of stuff. I did try helping other as well and followed the tradition of doing that in a user friendly manner, as well as reported a few bugs, having found and published some resolutions and workarounds. Well, the Linux forums are usually the most user friendly and unassuming. FreeBSD ones are most cryptic and concise, yet highly informative. While, my Windows forums experience is much much worse.

          3. Midnight

            Re: How does this help?

            While I appreciate the complexity of that answer, it does not answer the question of how to change the screen resolution.

            That procedure changes the resolution of the frame buffer used during startup, which is something which the average user has no use for. Once the system has booted and started up the graphical logon and desktop there is a slightly different process to be followed:

            1) Open the system menu, then select "Preferences" and "Monitors". The exact location and appearance of this may vary depending on exactly what distribution, version and desktop you are running but for me that menu option has the helpful subheading "Change resolution and position of monitors" directly below the title.

            2) Click on the "Resolution" pulldown and select one of the supported resolutions available.

            3) Click on the "Apply" button. The resolution will change and a window will pop up asking if everything looks okay.

            It really is that easy. If looking at the wrong answer can "frighten the shit out of Joe User", then how did they ever survive using Windows when confronted with directions like this for changing network settings?

            (From http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929852, and yes this is the answer to the wrong question just like editing the grub configuration to change the frame-buffer settings is the wrong way to change screen resolution.)

            Click Start, type regedit in the Start Search box, and then click regedit.exe in the Programs list.

            In the User Account Control dialog box, click Continue.

            In Registry Editor, locate and then click the following registry subkey:

            HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip6\Parameters\

            Double-click DisabledComponents to change the DisabledComponents entry.

            Note If the DisabledComponents entry is unavailable, you must create it. To do this, follow these steps:

            In the Edit menu, point to New, and then click DWORD (32-bit) Value.

            Type DisabledComponents, and then press ENTER.

            Double-click DisabledComponents.

            Type any one of the following values in the Value data field to configure the IPv6 protocol to the desired state, and then click OK:

            Type 0 to enable all IPv6 components. (Windows default setting)

            Type 0xffffffff to disable all IPv6 components except the IPv6 loopback interface. This value also configures Windows to prefer using IPv4 over IPv6 by changing entries in the prefix policy table. For more information, see Source and Destination Address Selection.

            Type 0x20 to prefer IPv4 over IPv6 by changing entries in the prefix policy table.

            Type 0x10 to disable IPv6 on all nontunnel interfaces (both LAN and Point-to-Point Protocol [PPP] interfaces).

            Type 0x01 to disable IPv6 on all tunnel interfaces. These include Intra-Site Automatic Tunnel Addressing Protocol (ISATAP), 6to4, and Teredo.

            Type 0x11 to disable all IPv6 interfaces except for the IPv6 loopback interface.

            To use the DisabledComponents registry value to check whether IPv6 was disabled, run the following command at a Windows command prompt:

            reg query HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip6\Parameters /v DisabledComponents

            You may receive the following error message:

            ERROR: The system was unable to find the specified registry key or value.

            If you receive this error message, the DisabledComponents registry value is not set. If the DisabledComponents value is set, it overrides the settings in the connection properties.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: How does this help?

              You're comparing apples with oranges. Wanting to change the screen resolution is a very common thing, wanting to configure your IPv4 to have priority over IPv6 in a network where you have both versions of IP available between peers is a very unusual thing to want to do.

              Incidentally, I've had problems with resolutions in MythBuntu, the previous version worked out of the box with my 1366x768 TV, the current version didn't. Nothing I've managed to do will make the new version of the OS see the screen's native max resolution. I've tried all of the things suggested up this thread and many, many more. In the end I've given up and run it at 1024x768 with appropriate scaling. Getting things like screen resolution correct and not dropping the ball by unintentionally unsupporting modern hardware between releases is very important, this is the stuff that should just work.

              1. eulampios

                Re: How does this help?

                Older cards/drivers seem to be pretty capricious at probing possible resolutions. I was able to set up mine to 1360x768 successfully. Very well explained in here, post #3 nothing of that sort portrayed by a silver-badged Microsoft expert Khaptain.

                1. Khaptain Silver badge

                  Re: How does this help?

                  There are a couple of guys in this thread that really need to shake your heads a little. My comments were an "example" of what a newbie might just have to go through when installing [insert favorite distro here].

                  One or two of your answers were exactlly the kind of "I'm an expert let me show you how to do that properly" neck beard kind of answers which genuinely do not help newbies or anyone else for that matter.

                  It is an unfortunate fact that there are relatively few *nix users on forums that actually know what pedagogy actually means. I can see that you are happy keeping up the tradition.

                  1. eulampios
                    Linux

                    Re: How does this help?

                    Khaptain, I did not try to give you any piece of advice . I just wanted to say that your example is, putting it pretty mildly, irrelevant. It's like I would ask a question how to build a Linux kernel and get frustrated about answers heavily filled with git and make-package commands.

                    Your claim was that Linux forums are comprised of these scary workarounds is not true in general. I've been there, I've used them very often. I found them mostly user-friendly and yet highly competent. Yes, the required level of expertise might vary, yet if a question contains the sacramental "I am a newbie in Linux", the answer would never have any scary bash, awk, sed or perl code, let alone any technical nonsensical recepies . Even though you can always suggest just simply to copy-paste a code or command, so very often a much lesser headache than dealing with those infinite dialogs provided by Windows.

              2. Pookietoo
                Linux

                Re: the previous version worked out of the box with my 1366x768

                You need to specify 1360x768 (actually works out at 1360x765, vertical is calculated from horizontal and the 16:9 ratio). The horizontal pixel count must be divisible by 8 - this is a restriction imposed by the EDID standard rather than something peculiar to Linux or this implementation. Workarounds are possible, but not with all hardware combinations.

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Change screen resolution in ubuntu

            Buddy, that's what you do.

            What I do is -

            1 click on the ubuntu icon in dashboard

            2 click on screen settings

            3 choose desired resolution

            4 click OK and close

            Why are you making out it's difficult?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Change screen resolution in ubuntu

              I'm making out that it's difficult, because I've been in IT for the best part of two decades, I've used Unix and Linux for most of those and while the resolution I needed appeared on one version of Mythbuntu, it didn't on the next a no amount of coaxing it will make it work - and stay working.

              1. JEDIDIAH

                Re: Change screen resolution in ubuntu

                MythBuntu? Really? A novelty fork intended for a single narrow use case?

                I see people whining all the time in general forums about how hard it is to make Windows into an appliance and how this makes the Windows equivalent of MythTV unsuitable for the unwashed masses.

                Been in IT for decades and it never occured to you to revert? Really?

                Although it sounds like a combination of lame (for MythTV) video card and bad driver version due to Canonical being dipsh*ts. Hard to tell really in the near total absence of any useful information.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Change screen resolution in ubuntu

                  @JEDIDAH - Mythbuntu is not a novelty fork, it's basically plain old ubuntu with a few extra programs added to support mythtv.

                  But you trail off into "windows is bad, and you've got the wrong distro or wrong hardware and the people who make your distro aren't as good as mine", this attitude prevents linux from getting a foothold on the desktop.

                  Case in point: I recently installed CentOS on my father in law's laptop as he's retired and wants to have a poke around with linux. One of the things I had to tell him was that no matter what distro you use, someone on the Internet will tell you that you're wrong and that the problems you have are somehow your fault. Ignore them.

          5. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: How does this help? (Have an upvote on me!)

            This is exactly what I meant in an earlier post. BTW, Upvote for great example of what takes 3-4 clicks in Windows versus PHD dissertation and thesis in Linux

            NONE OF THIS SCARY CRAP IS NEEDED IN WINDOWS!

            This is exactly why Linux will never replace Windows!

            Until someone make the GUI front end for Linux as easy as Windows is for normal folks it will never be viable on the desktop.

            The fact remains that the Linux "Beards" never want that to happen so they can continue to spout their lame superiority complex all over everyone else.

          6. Adair

            Re: How does this help?

            You're really on a FUD offensive, aren't you. Well go, keep us all entertained.

            Funnily enough, when I need to change my screen resolution I click on 'Settings' on the toolbar; then 'Display'; adjust the screen resolution, and click 'Okay'---this is Linux BTW.

            Are you calling from 1996 or something?

      2. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: How does this help?

        @Khaptain

        "I pity the poor fool that heads on down to a Linux forum and asks a noob question.... There is nothing worse than some next beard explaining that you need to write a little script in python which pipe outs to a second bash script that makes reference to various regex expressions, grep and awk and a fistfull of parameters.

        That is not the way to gain support....."

        What on earth were you trying to do? Out of interest are you actually complaining that they tried to help you? The very difficult to understand little bit of command line text they ask you to run probably is above your head as a user. But the reason for it is to gain information about the system you are using to diagnose the problem. Have you ever tried to do that on windows?!?! Hell. On windows you might get an error message (if not crash), which gives you an error code. That code means nothing and clicking further information or looking it up online tells you that MS dont know what it is either.

        When they ask you to run a couple of commands it is because you are a user and likely know very little about your system. This information tells them exactly what you have in your system and how your system is recognising it. I have yet to see such a facility in windows.

        Interestingly you complain about linux help but do you also complain about technical customer service for your other components? When you ring about your internet connection and they tell you to plug/unplug/restart/go to url/etc? How do you blow that out of proportion too?

        If you struggle using man then what are you doing in the command line? That applies to both windows and linux. The terminal is for someone who knows what they are doing or when one of those 'beards' trying to help you tells you what to run.

    5. eulampios

      Re: How does this help?

      Did you know that Ubuntu is much better supported than any of the Microsoft Windows iterations?

      1. Metrognome

        Re: How does this help? @eulampios

        With respect, I will agree with you only when the latest and greatest peripherals have Linux drivers.

        That includes: webcams, 7.1 headphones, touch pads and styluses, joysticks with all the customization options, any and all wifi and bluetooth USB dangles, any and all printers with their control programmes for scanning etc.

        Then go to the more esoteric peripherals for audio production and then you can triumphantly declare that Linux is better supported.

        I wish it was the case, alas it's not.

        1. Vic

          Re: How does this help? @eulampios

          > only when the latest and greatest peripherals have Linux drivers.

          This can happen any time the hardware vendors want it to.

          There is an outstanding offer from the kernel team to write a driver for any piece of hardware that will supply a full datasheet. A professionally written driver to sit within the mainstream kernel at no cost to the vendor.

          Very few vendors take up this offer. I still don't know why.

          Vic.

      2. TheVogon Silver badge

        Re: How does this help?

        "Did you know that Ubuntu is much better supported than any of the Microsoft Windows iterations?"

        Really? Can I still get standard enterprise support for a 13 year old Ubuntu version like I can for Windows XP?

        Somehow, I doubt it...

        1. Vic

          Re: How does this help?

          > Can I still get standard enterprise support for a 13 year old Ubuntu version

          There are no 13-year old Ubuntu versions. But if you find a 13-year old version of a distro that you want supoprted, then yes - you can get support for it. What is more, you can choose the level of support you want.

          Vic.

    6. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: How does this help? @birchanger_toper

      >They're helping people by moving them from XP

      No they are not helping them to 'move', they are merely increasing awareness and providing access to a Linux distribution, that many could get by simply purchasing a PC magazine with a Linux distro cover disk - with exactly the same level of help and support. If they were providing "clinic's"/workshops etc. where members of the public were able to get an expert to perform the migration of their system then that would be help.

      No for the majority of the public they have a PC running XP say and until it either breaks or its browser is no longer supported by the websites they use, there is little incentive for them to upgrade/replace.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    being offered free upgrades to Ubuntu

    As a gesture of thanks, Canonical is donating 10% of advertising revenue to the City!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I bet a lot more people would switch if...

    1. Linux was a non-destructive install, either resizing partitions to install itself, or installing directly on NTFS so all files were preserved

    2. If the install gathered the list of network shares and printers that were running through XP and set up equivalents in Linux

    3. If the installer installed Wine, preconfigured to the existing c:\windows directory and put shortcuts to selected applications which were known to work properly over Wine.

    4. If the user could uninstall and revert their machine back to the way it was

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: I bet a lot more people would switch if...

      AFIK the default installation will dual-boot with XP.

      Only fly in that ointment is occasional rogue Windows DRM-style program that would write to the boot sector area assuming only the MBR is used and trash the grub loader. That may be fixed now (saw that 3-4 years ago).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I bet a lot more people would switch if...

      That's exactly what is needed....please go and do it!

    3. d3rrial

      Re: I bet a lot more people would switch if...

      Linux doesn't really support NTFS. Only sort of. That may be caused by NTFS being proprietary closed source stuff.

      1. Chemist

        Re: I bet a lot more people would switch if...

        "Linux doesn't really support NTFS. Only sort of. That may be caused by NTFS being proprietary closed source stuff."

        Funny I thought this was at least do-able these days. I've no need having no WIndows systems but my OpenSUSE 12.3 has ntfs-3g and utilities.

        1. Daniel B.

          NTFS

          NTFS-3g and similar module support are still kinda iffy if you want to do regular writing on an NTFS filesystem. I remember trashing one of my Windows installs when trying to copy some files into the NTFS partition. Oops.

          However, it is good for read-only ops. Apple seems to have kept NTFS support read-only as well, so maybe there's some secret MS sauce that breaks non-MS modules?

          1. eulampios

            Re: NTFS

            Never experienced that, however, have seen so many oopsies of the native windows system trashing itself (like mbr) and not being able to restore itself thereafter.

            1. Daniel B.
              Happy

              Re: NTFS @eulampios

              Indeed, ntfs-3g has the ability to recover data from FUBARd NTFS filesystems. I still don't know how, but some NTFS partitions will not be recognized by both OSX and Windows ... but ntfs-3g will mount it and extract any data w/o problem!

        2. JEDIDIAH

          Re: I bet a lot more people would switch if...

          I have an Linux production box running an NTFS volume.

          The idea that Linux doesn't support NTFS is just outdated nonsense.

          1. Snar

            Re: I bet a lot more people would switch if...

            Yes - SDA1 = NTFS and SDB1 is SSD

      2. eulampios

        Re: I bet a lot more people would switch if...

        Sometimes you find Linux supporting ntfs much better than the native WinXP system.

      3. Vic

        Re: I bet a lot more people would switch if...

        > Linux doesn't really support NTFS.

        Yes it does.

        Vic.

    4. Pookietoo
      Linux

      Re: I bet a lot more people would switch if...

      [1] Wubi installs Ubuntu to a Windows filesystem - dual-boots without repartitioning.

      [2] should be quite easy to do, but Linux copes pretty well with finding shares and printers itself as long as the printer manufacturer plays fair with drivers

      [3] PlayOnLinux is doing good work automating installation of some popular Windows software.

      [4] Wubi uninstalls with Windows Add/Remove Software.

    5. Adair

      Re: I bet a lot more people would switch if...

      No they wouldn't. Most people don't care what OS they are using, and even if they did they wouldn't have the nerve to change it themselves.

      In fact many Linux distros can be installed 'non-destructively' as you put it, and uninstalled if not wanted, no big deal. But, the user still has to have the interest to give it a go, whether it's Windows, Linux, OSX, or anything else---most do not.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Isn't it free already?

    What are they actually giving them? Pressed CD's

    1. Joseph Haig

      Re: Isn't it free already?

      "What are they actually giving them? Pressed CD's"

      I believe that is what the second sentence of the article says, yes.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Isn't it free already?

        Except that the articles author wa's literate enough to reali'se that you don't u'se apostrophe's to indicate plural's.

        1. Anonymous Dutch Coward
          Headmaster

          Re: Isn't it free already?

          Maybe the OP was literate but one of those annoying Johnny Foreigners whose native tongues would have you use CD's as the plural of CDs. And he might have just slipped up a tiny bit.

          However, I'd never stand in the way of a proper grammar bash, so bash away...

          1. Joseph Haig
            Coat

            Re: Isn't it free already?

            "CD's as the plural of CDs"

            I think you mean "CD's as the plural of CD".

            (Running for the door as fast as possible)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          you don't u'se apostrophe's to indicate plural's.

          Except in abbreviations. (Supposedly strictly only correct for single character abbreviations, but it's no more wrong than 70's. It's not horrid like greengrocers' apostrophes)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Critical Mass

    Am I alone in thinking that this is a hugely positive step away from the M$ monopoly?

    There may be diverging versions of Ubuntu, but with more users comes a greater need to support a wider range of hardware.

  15. SeymourHolz

    none of those people use WinXP because of Microsoft "support"

    none of them care that the support is going away

    even though that really really bothers the El Reg staff

    1. Mcbain

      Most of these people use XP because of Microsoft's continued support for vulnerabilities/security fixes, even if they're not aware of it.

      When that support disappears just watch how quickly people find something secure, the smart ones are already moving.

      It's akin to the police closing down the station and moving out of the neighbourhood, sure you can still stay in your house but it's going to become more and more lawless outside your door.

      1. vonRat

        Most people change their operating systems when they replace their PC and most PCs are replaced due to low performance or hardware failure. Win XP is still 'popular' because the PC it's running on is still working and performing adequately. I suspect most of these XP users won't care that their 'support' has ended.

        When the PC does stop working, it will be replaced by whatever is on the shelf at PC World and the last time I looked, almost all of these were running Windows (8).

  16. agricola
    WTF?

    Balmer on skis?

    Get serious!

    1. Red Bren
      Joke

      Balmer on skis?

      Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "Chair Lift"

  17. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Mcbain

      Re: I used to care...

      You can try a simulation of how it will be when XP loses support.

      Imagine installing XP without any service patches, vanilla XP as released in 2001.

      Now connect it to the internet, leave it connected for 24hours no patching allowed.

      Now login to all your favourite banking websites one at a time.

      Still feeling happy?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I used to care...

        Vanilla XP didn't have a firewall, I'd suggest SP2 would be a fairer test, I suspect it'd do much better.

        1. Sandtitz Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: I used to care... @AC &Mcbain

          Vanilla XP did have a firewall from the get-go!

          Before SP2 it was called Internet Connection Firewall and was turned on by default if you told on the "welcome to windows wizard" that the computer is 'connected directly' to internet.

          With SP2 MS renamed it to Windows Firewall and provided a better UI and group policies.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

  18. bjr

    Why don't they offer free beer to their Muslim citizens?

    Didn't it occur to them that anyone who is still running XP is either extremely adverse to change of any sort or lacks the necessary skills to do an upgrade of any sort let alone to a different operating system?. Anyone who has the necessary skills and the desire to do so can easily install any of the major distros, all they have to do is download an ISO and install it. If you can't make an ISO then you certainly won't be able to install an new OS. frankly they would have a lot more takers offering free beer to their Muslim citizens.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why don't they offer free beer to their Muslim citizens?

      Believe it or not, I know many Turkish residents in Germany who don't feel their religion is as strict about alcohol consumption as other muslims do and so might well be tempted by the free beer offer. Admittedly I haven't seen any of them with a Ubuntu CD as yet.

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Or they don't want to spend money on their PC

      Believe it or not, there are plenty of people to whom their computer is just a tool for writing & printing the odd document and visiting a couple of sites on the Internet.

      An upgrade to Win7 or 8, or a new PC would cost them quite a bit of cash, which they either can't afford or simply don't want to spend, as they have other priorities.

      A free upgrade to Linux may well give them with a faster computer capable of opening the latest document formats and visiting their favourite websites (possibly better with HTML5 and all that jazz), for zero money.

      This would be something relevant to their interests, unlike shelling out more cash on "the grey box under the computer"

  19. Snar

    Ubuntu

    Is a really great operating system - But it's not something that just works out of the box. Windows does.

    That is the reason why it is going to be difficult to get people to migrate to Linux. Every machine that I've installed it on has needed some coaxing and drivers downloading (especially for internet connectivity) to make good. I don't have a problem with this - I can faff about until the cows come home, but it's not going to be an easy transition for out Teutonic pals. An OS has to work out of the box - if it doesn't, it's going to make more enemy’s than friends.

    One bad experience can have more of a detrimental effect than if that person had not tried to install. Unity is also a real dog IMO. Ubuntu has been promising a lot for a long time but to make it work, it does still need a level of competence to install which most users don't have. Until this is addressed, Linux will not get the user base it so deserves.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ubuntu

      I don't agree, I've had many problematic (*) installs with both Windows and Linux in my time. I had more unproblematic than problematic installs with both though.

      My impression is that if it's not brand-new hardware, Linux gives a better out-of-the-box installation experience provided the chosen distribution does come with non-free drivers, as Ubuntu does.

      (*) as in needs manual search for/installation of drivers that mom wouldn't be able to handle

    2. btrower

      Re: Ubuntu -- It's a relay race

      @Snar: I agree. After probably hundreds of personal hands-on installations of every flavor of Linux, I have never had a single one run to completion on its own. Of course, I have had plenty of problems over the years with Windows, too, but not as many as Linux.

      [Relay race: When the manufacturer hands the baton off to Microsoft, they are very careful to see that the handoff takes place. When the manufacturer hands the baton off to the Linux development community they are not nearly so careful. Worse, sometimes they just drop it at the starting lines. Worse still, sometimes they won't even let go of the baton and run in the other direction.]

      Windows either supports your hardware product or the product cannot sell into the huge Windows ecosystem. If Microsoft won't do it, the manufacturers will or they will go out of business. As Microsoft has shifted more of this burden directly on manufacturers, it has put in place training, certifications and real technical support for some (not all) of the developers. If Linux does not support something, then often (usually?) the manufacturer will leave the Linux support up to the community. You can never be sure something works with Linux without trying it. If the Linux community won't or can't support the product, then it's not a big deal for the manufacturer.

      Linux developers have more skill with Linux, more tenacity and more modest needs. Consumers have much less skill, frustrate easily and are often attempting to install cheap or unusual equipment, complicated end user software, etc.

      Linux developers develop for Linux developers first, consumers second. Microsoft developers develop for Microsoft shareholders -- whether they want to or not.

      1. Chemist

        Re: Ubuntu -- It's a relay race

        "I have never had a single one run to completion on its own"

        I'm astonished, I agree you might well have some failures with some hardware and some distros but my experience for years installing to every years or so to 7-8 varied bits of kit ( desktop workstations, atom fileserver, lenovo laptop, asus netbook ) with OpenSUSE ( currently 12.3) and never had a problem, certainly not for ~~5 years.

      2. Vic

        Re: Ubuntu -- It's a relay race

        After probably hundreds of personal hands-on installations of every flavor of Linux, I have never had a single one run to completion on its own.

        I do not believe you.

        Vic.

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: Ubuntu -- It's a relay race

          @Vic

          "I do not believe you."

          He probably couldnt find the power button and assumed the black screen was linux's fault

    3. JEDIDIAH

      Re: Ubuntu

      The only reason Windows ever works "out of the box" is that it's installed that way by some hardware vendor.

      Getting any n00b to install ANY OS on their own is going to be a problem.

      Although Linux will be dramatically easier despite all of the Lemming protestations to the contrary.

      The only easy Windows install is the special single-use one that your hardware vendor gives you with your new PC (if you're lucky).

      1. Metrognome

        Re: Ubuntu @Jedidiah

        Sorry to shatter your convictions but I know plenty of semi newbs who put their rig together and installed it from scratch.

        Any and all possible hardware and chips assembled on the motherboard have windows drivers.

        Linux? Manual searching required.

        And don't get me started on laptops and their fn combo keys for controlling brightness, projector behaviour or wifi state.

        I really wish it wasn't the case but Linux of all flavours just fights you every step of the way. And having most of the fancy, blingy peripheral makers exclusively supporting Windows doesn't help. Not to start on iTunes (I know it's filthy but folk use it), netflix or the various iplayers of the various channels.

        1. eulampios

          Re: Ubuntu @Jedidiah

          Metrognome, once again. With Windows, when installing you look for drivers elsewhere, with Linux they are already there. See the difference.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Ubuntu @Jedidiah

            @eulampios - Balls, once again. You run into driver no on the disk problems with both Windows and Linux, to suggest otherwise is dishonest.

            I've lost count of the amount of times I've had to scower the Internet for a dodgy Windows driver for that new USB wifi or whatever, at the same time the same bit of kit usually needs to have the source downloaded and compiled for Linux.

            It's all part of the joy of IT and the satisfaction when you get it to work.

        2. Adair

          Re: Ubuntu @Jedidiah

          Metrognome, I'm sorry you have such unlucky friends. Can't say in all the scratch builds I have put together over the years (getting on for a dozen), I have never had any major problem installing Linux. Wifi cards have caused a few issues, not recently, but that's about it.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Confused

    Making available free upgrades? Ubuntu is always free

    Making it available for download? Canonical did that already

    1. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: Confused

      "Ubuntu is always free"

      If your time has no value....

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Confused

        @ TheVogon

        ""Ubuntu is always free"

        If your time has no value...."

        Same applies to windows. It takes time to learn how to use a computer, I know because I teach people to use windows. For those willing to sit and learn its ok but for the rest it is a complicated mess of popups and virus warnings. Learn to use windows or linux and you get the reward of a computer. If you only use linux then have to set up a windows machine it is just as much a pain as a windows user setting up a linux box. On linux you might have to fix some little niggly hardware. On windows you have to find the disks or downloads to make your machine work and for simple requirements like office and drivers. Swings and roundabouts.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Isn't it about time

    That there was just one thread on the whole Internet of MS versus Linux, and clever deduplicating software to remove all redundant posts, just incrementing a score pointer each time a given argument was rehashed? First one to overflow a 64 bit unsigned into wins.

  22. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    The fantasy of hardware support

    "Therein lies the problem - the eight hundred thousand slightly different distributions. Most people don't want to try them. They just want their computer to work, which is why XP has had such a long life."

    Yup, but people who say "they want their computer to just work" and then say Windows is the way to do this gloss over that, in the Windows world (assuming enough RAM and CPU power), the XP-compatible hardware may or may not work in 7, newer systems are compatible with Windows 7 but not XP. Of course the really old ones would have 95 or 98 or 2000 drivers but no support for XP. This idea you can just stick whatever verison of Windows on whatever hardware you want and expect it to run is sheer fantasy. You can keep running the same version for ever if you want, but of course, you can do this with Linux too.

    Ubuntu tossing out some compatibility, I do give them a "thumbs down" for this, and just saying "you can run some other distro" is not helpful, but the fact of the matter is you DO have the choice of an up-to-date distro that supports older hardware rather than just sticking to an old distro (as happens in Windows if a newer version drops support for older hardware). BTW, I'm pretty sure Geforece 4 MX440 is now supported in 12.04 at least by NVidia's driver.

    "The idea that rpm and dpkg are anything like as user-friendly as setup.exe is a joke. Truly, this year and the next hundred years will not be the year of the Linux desktop."

    Yeah, it's easier. Pick the software you want to install and it installs, versus finding the exe, scanning it with a virus scanner (wait, you don't do that?!), and then persuading the installer "No, I don't want a toolbar, no I don't want this 'extra bonus software', and no I don't want you to send my E-Mail to a spammer". Then it will also be yet another thing that pops up to hassle you when there's an update, since there is no central update mechanism like a package system like rpm or dpkg have. Not running a random executable to install software takes major getting used to, but your argument against it is basically you don't like it because you aren't used to it.

    Anyway... I'm a little mixed on shipping Ubuntu 12.04 to people. Unity is AWFUL, the first thing I did was install the "gnome classic" desktop --- except they call it's package "gnome-session-fallback" so if someone installs Ubuntu 12.04 out of the box, they are unlikely to figure out how to find it. (Basically, similar to Microsoft trying to shove a tablet interface down people's throats with Windows 8, Canonical tried to shove what is clearly a tablet interface down people's throats in Ubuntu 12... once you kick the tablet interface to the curb everything is quite nice however.)

    I've got several people now running Ubuntu... I didn't replace *working* XP for them, but virus-shredded non-functional XP (and of course they have no recovery partition and no CD.) A surprising number of people have a "laptop" (which they call it that even if it runs far to hot to ever put on a lap), they use it to do junk on facebook, play facebook games, watch streaming videos, and watch downloaded videos. Seriously, that's it. They have enjoyed having their machines run faster than they were before even when clean, having only *one* thing hassle about updates, and not getting viruses so frequently (I assume from porn sites, but maybe misclicking on free video sites.) They don't miss a thing from not running XP, and these systems would run 7 VERY poorly.

  23. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    "There are a couple of guys in this thread that really need to shake your heads a little. My comments were an "example" of what a newbie might just have to go through when installing [insert favorite distro here].

    One or two of your answers were exactlly the kind of "I'm an expert let me show you how to do that properly" neck beard kind of answers which genuinely do not help newbies or anyone else for that matter.

    It is an unfortunate fact that there are relatively few *nix users on forums that actually know what pedagogy actually means. I can see that you are happy keeping up the tradition."

    But this "This MIGHT happen when installing a distro" stuff is useless. Honestly, for each example someone comes up with I can probably come up with 5 ways Windows could blow up, in much more confusing and unhelpful ways. The fact of the matter is if you have a Linux distro CD, and you have a OEM Windows CD for your machine, you probably just click "next" a bunch of times to install for both, reboot, and (if you didn't have Ubuntu pre-install the updates) then run a ton of updates. I think no noob should run a OS install without someone to help "just in case", since both Linux and Windows if something goes wrong fixing it may be over their head.. and then once it is fixed it will not be a problem.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Windows XP users in Germany’s third largest city are being offered free upgrades to Ubuntu ahead of termination of Microsoft support for the OS next Spring."

    The "free" upgrade that is available to everyone for free?

  25. FrankAlphaXII

    Epic Eyeroll...

    Half of the comments on this article are polarized polemic bullshit. They really are, they ignore reality to suit what seems like a Religious or Political agenda and its coming mainly from the Linux side, though there are Microsoft supporters who are acting the same way here. I dont get the religious devotion and refusal to be objective when dealing with an issue like this.

    Ive never had an issue with an MS install, and I've never had an issue with a Linux install either. Its not that hard. And since I use Fedora, I get to use what is probably the most arcane and confusing installer in the Linux world. It still gets the job done if you know that a checkmark means you're finished. Hell, even installing a BSD isn't THAT hard anymore.

    And some background, I got Windows Vista the day it came out and my drivers worked fine, just as well as they worked on the W2K system that upgraded to Vista. Windows XP for me was a dog, Windows 2000 for Idiots as I used to call it. I hated it. Windows 7 works great and always has. Its better than XP and Vista, but its not as good as Windows 2000 was because there are still missing features. But the common thing between all of these various Operating Systems was that they installed easily.

    The only distro that gave me problems later (after install) was Ubuntu but it may have improved. I dont know and I wont find out because Fedora, CentOS, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and RHEL all work for me for my use cases. If I was going to use something like Ubuntu nowadays (basically something using APT), Id use either Debian or Mint, I disagree with too many of Canonical's recent decisions (Unity, and especially Mir) to support them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Epic Eyeroll...

      Agreed. Always thought Windows 2000 was the best version, with Windows 7 coming in a close second. And even something like CentOS is a piece of piss to install.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Epic Eyeroll...

      > Half of the comments on this article are polarized polemic bullshit.

      Agreed.

      > ... its coming mainly from the Linux side, though there are Microsoft supporters who are acting the same way here. I dont get the religious devotion and refusal to be objective when dealing with an issue like this.

      Objectivity is a noble but for us human beings largely unattainable goal. Well, that's my subjective impression. Another is that the "polarized polemic bullshit" is emitted in roughly equal measure from both sides so not sure why you're taking sides.

      What it comes down to to me is that as a user of an old Win XP machine you've got essentially four options:

      (1) Purchase a new PC, deal with Windows 8, somehow. (I think someone on here linked to this article http://www.zdnet.com/will-90-percent-of-users-always-hate-windows-8-7000012348/ which I found to be spot-on)

      (2) Keep your old PC, run the Windows 8 compatibility checks http://windows.microsoft.com/en-GB/windows-8/upgrade-assistant-advisor and if compatible, purchase a license for ~£50 (amazon). Deal with Windows 8, somehow.

      (3) Keep your old PC, check compatibility with Windows 7 (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-GB/windows/downloads/upgrade-advisor) and if compatible, purchase a license for ~£95 (or system builder edition for ~£50) from amazon. Enjoy a decent upgrade.

      (4) Keep your old PC, grab a Linux distribution such as OpenSUSE or Ubuntu (in the latter case: deal with the UI, somehow) and if the live environment works fine with your hardware, install it. If you have enough disk space you can with a bit of fiddling (most users would need help, I guess) install it along-side XP since you don't Windows-upgrade and thus don't lose your XP license.

      The benefit with a Windows upgrade is that it should keep your "personal files" but since installations tend to be risky endeavours you should make a backup before going down that path. With Ubuntu you will not only need the backup but a restore as well since it doesn't keep them unless you keep your old XP installation and set up mounts and symbolic links for Documents and Pictures etc. folders for which the large majority of users will need help.

      Go for Win7 (system builder) if your hardware is compatible would be my advice for most users, but I wish more people understood that none of these options are right or wrong as such and mostly depend on the individual's circumstances, budget and current hardware compatibility. And that while by far most will go with Windows one way or another, Linux deserves many a user's consideration, so I actually applaud Munich's handing out of Ubuntu CDs. But they should tell people what the options and consequences are. In fact, the Ubuntu installer should make that more clear.

  26. RAMChYLD

    12.04 LTS? Why?

    If you're not going to provide help and support, you might as well just give them 13.04 and get it over with.

    That said, Ubuntu is so dumbed down that even my normally-computer-illiterate uncle could use it daily without complaints, so I don't think there'd be any real issues with the switch.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Linux, fine - but why Ubuntu?

    Giving away free Linux CDs to people still on XP is a nice idea, but why the hell does it have to be Ubuntu? It's made by shitheads (Canonical) breaking stuff as they go along, and it has a crappy UI that has zero resemblance to XP's user interface.

    They could have taken another Linux distro which happens to have its main development done only 100mls north of Munich: openSUSE. With KDE it comes much closer to the XP look and feel than Ubuntu, and in my experience it works much better than Ubuntu.

    1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: Linux, fine - but why Ubuntu?

      > UI that has zero resemblance to XP's user interface.

      Ubuntu has several UIs. Just click on KDE, XFCE, Gnome or others on the Software Centre. You can select the one that you want when you login to the system.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ubuntu has several UIs

        Sure... but it is quite a leap for an XP user who uses XP just because ...they use XP to even think about alternatives desktops being available and an even bigger leap to go ahead and install one.

        I can get a sense of how it might feel by comparing how I felt about flashing a non-stock "rom" (I hate that Android users use that term that way) on my phone. Scary! (Yep, I am not a natural phone user).

        There are other Linuxes that have an interface that makes the transition from XP easy. Ubuntu 10.04 made it easy for me and, although I'm still with Ubuntu, I've shifted to MATE, to keep that same desktop paradigm. Yes, one can shift, it is part of the Linux freedom, but people who just want their computer to work don't want to mix and match OSs and desktops for themselves.

        So, congratulations to Munich for promoting Linux to XP users, but it was just dumb to pick Ubuntu + Unity.

  28. Bladeforce

    Good on them

    I say lets hope more cities follow the trend and ditch a closed system like Windows. I did the same over 10 years ago and never looked back. In fact I laugh quite a bit at how similar the problems with Windows are today as they were in the year 1998. It's quite pathetic really that people/companies can be bought out by pure FUD

  29. Vociferous

    Bad choice

    Ubuntu's Unity interface is as bad as Win8, so the "XP holdouts" might as well go for broke and get Win8.

    Or a Linux with good interface, like, say, Mint with Cinnamon.

  30. sena.akada

    Well..

    .. I started using Ubuntu in 2008 when I got a new PC pre-installed with Vista. It's been my main OS on and off since then. In that time I've learnt some things;

    * AMD's Catalyst graphics drivers for Ubuntu are utter crap (Nvidia's are pretty rock solid IME though).

    * WIFI never really works properly (especially RealTek). I just tether through my phone's WIFI nowadays.

    * KDE is very buggy. Try running Kubuntu and see how many segmentation faults you encounter.

    * Canonical seem only to happy to drag its users through whatever half-finished idea they toss out (ala Unity circa 2010-2011).

    * They're are way to many fucking distros. Choice is great, too much choice is irritating & confusing.

    * Installing drivers is way to difficult for noobies. Want to install that latest Nvidia graphics driver because a certain Steam game needs it? Hope you enjoy - CTRL + ALT + F1 -> sudo bash (enter password) -> service lightdm stop -> cd /home/username/Downloads -> sh NVIDIA-Linux-x86-xxx.xx-pkg1.run -> follow onscreen prompts (some confusing to a noobie) -> reboot. Oh, but when you run the update manager & install a new kernel, then reboot, be prepared for a borked system because you forgot uninstall the fucking driver before rebooting. Vs download, press next a few times, reboot (Windows).

    Linux still has some MAJOR issues.

    1. Chemist

      Re: Well..

      "* AMD's Catalyst graphics drivers for Ubuntu are utter crap (Nvidia's are pretty rock solid IME though).

      * WIFI never really works properly (especially RealTek). I just tether through my phone's WIFI nowadays.

      * KDE is very buggy. Try running Kubuntu and see how many segmentation faults you encounter."

      Sorry you've had such an experience - please try a few live CD distros. I've never had KDE show a seg. fault on either OpenSUSE or Kubuntu, WiFi works fine for me on the 3 machines I have that need it (OpenSUSE). I agree the NVidia drivers are rock solid but others may disagree. I find the graphics drivers install automatically without any involvement from me other than running the updater manager

    2. Pookietoo
      Linux

      Re: Well..

      "* AMD's Catalyst graphics drivers for Ubuntu are utter crap" Working just fine here.

      "* WIFI never really works properly" "It just works" here.

      "* KDE is very buggy" I heard it got better, but I haven't used it lately.

      "* Canonical ...half-finished idea" I'm on 12.04, so haven't used some of the latest stuff, but a happy Unity user.

      "* There are way too many fucking distros." Just go to Distrowatch and pick one off the top of the list.

      "* Installing drivers is way too difficult" Menu>Hardware>Additional Drivers and up pops a list of drivers you can choose to install.

      At least try to sound like you're keeping your FUD up to date.

  31. keithpeter

    Signal to noise

    "...please calm down; it's just software." as Jeremy Bicha once put it in a slightly different context.

    What we need now is one of the good citizens of Munich to pop up a YouTube video about using one of the freebie CD-ROMs (remember it is try before you 'buy' in the sense of running a live session).

    1. Lars Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: Signal to noise

      What an amassing response in numbers to how Munich has performed or not. With some 15.000 desktops converted including skipping Word for OpenOffice there is no doubt they will save money to the end of day. The fact that Microsoft apparently paid HP to perform some funny calculations just proves how deeply Microsoft is concerned. "If you cannot prove it is cheaper in the long run" then try the, "it is more costly the next 18 months". Damn it, Microsoft is fully aware of the facts. Over the years Microsoft has moved, from software, into an organisation infiltration Governments, in the USA and outside, universities, and the press, especially the IT press.

      Anything in the header against us, and well. Meanwhile, the world behind Linux, and such a world of companies behind anything, has never existed before, not ever. Microsoft will not disappear any time soon but it is quite obvious that their ability to run the show is history. There is no way they can keep their grip on the OMS, there is no way they can maintain Office as the sole solution, and worst of all there is no way to mend a OS that is poor from the start.

  32. btrower

    Linux Vs Windows

    In my previous comment I got downvoted a bunch of times and from subsequent comments it seems people thought I was being unfair to Linux. I was not.

    I am a supporter of Linux. I want it to succeed. It is pointless to mislead people (including ourselves) about its ease of installation and use relative to Windows. For people migrating from the world's most used operating system it is a big and nasty learning curve that they simply cannot climb easy enough to switch.

    In actual practice, most people have Windows installed for them and as crappy as it works it generally works. They can do stuff. Linux on the other hand presents them up-front with the fallacy of choice and it goes downhill from there.

    How can we realistically expect to improve the end-user experience of Linux if we don't even think it needs improvement? It needs improvement.

    Last I looked, Ubuntu had about the least hostile user experience of the Linices. Here is their handy page on troubleshooting installation problems:

    https://help.ubuntu.com/lts/installation-guide/amd64/boot-troubleshooting.html

    Bear in mind that those hurdles are all 100% more than is required for a pre-installed Windows OS. Never mind whether it is fair that Windows has that advantage. The fact is, it does have that advantage.

    You could shoot a bullet down the Tokyo subway without hitting anybody who understood all those instructions, let alone were willing to do them.

    The way to overcome issues with Linux is to recognize they exist and address them head-on.

    I would like to see a live CD where you insert the disk under Window XP, click 'Yes' one time and it runs smoothly toward a complete installation that migrates applications, virtualizes the old XP OS, sets up dual boot defaulting to the new OS and boots directly into a new OS that looks so much like the old one they just continue working where they left off. It's a big job, but its doable.

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: Linux Vs Windows

      @ btrower

      So you want linux to not only be free. Not only offer a more secure system. Not only offer an easier system for software and updates. Not only offer a live cd test environment. Not only have a huge community of support. Not only offer great choice and upon installation be highly customizable..... But you also want it to migrate and port over all the crap from the unstructured and closed system of MS?

      Would you like a cherry and sprinkles too?

      MS and linux have their own good points. Windows doesnt support linux. It wont even try even though the code is open source. Linux supports windows file systems and tries to offer an emulator-ish (wine). MS software doesnt support linux. The various open source software on linux support MS software. Linux have gone out of their way to be as compatible as possible because thats what was needed. And every time they reach that goal someone else says 'I would like to see it do X'.

      The install process depends on the linux you install but generally its easy. My gran installed it although she has never done it before (not even windows). Every OS can improve and they all work towards that. Ubuntu upset people with unity and MS upset people with (not) metro. Where people cry about win 8 and downgrade to win7 those moving to linux dont. They just choose a different interface from the simple software centre. How simple do you want it?

      The unfair advantage means everything. People get machines with windows on it and so assume windows is the computer. With no clue we have people who dont use linux and might have looked at it once, maybe on a mates machine. You can see them commenting on here saying the dumbest things. All because they dont know any better.

      An OS is a personal choice. Unfortunately it is a choice blinded by ignorance. A lot of people dont even realise that you cant install windows programs on linux (without using wine) but that is nothing to do with the OS. People assume office means MS office and dont even realise the free alternatives. So what hope do they have of moving unless they are educated. At least this effort in germany may teach a few more people how their computer works and that for a lot of people, there is an alternative to windows. Especially windows 8.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Linux Vs Windows

      From my experience, most installations are trouble-free, so I don't see this as as big of an issue as you seem to.

      Installing in parallel on *new* (Windows 8) machines is a bit of a nightmare thanks to SecureBoot. But that is by Microsoft's design and there's little Linux can do against that kind of attack from a company that still appears to have much control over the OEMs.

    3. Vociferous

      Re: Linux Vs Windows

      I agree with your point in general, but personally I consider Ubuntu's Unity interface to be as user-hostile as Windows 8's Metro interface, and for the same reasons. To a Windows user I'd recommend Linux Mint with Cinnamon interface instead, it's much more similar to classic Windows (things look different but everything you expect to find exists and is where you would expect to find it). Personally I've also found it more stable when running in emulation, but that may just be me and my tinkering ways.

  33. agricola
    WTF?

    City of Munich: Four Steps Forward, π Steps Backward

    "City of Munich Throws UBUNTU Lifeline..."

    WTF! The tone of this article, or rather the title, suggests that Munich is doing XP hold-outs a favor.

    Munich is doing a favor by suggesting that people use an operating system whose goofball, megalomaniac, SelfAppointedBenevolentDictatorForLife has gone on record as saying that Ubuntu is NOT Linux, and he'd rather people didn't refer to it as such?

    Some favor.

    XP Hold-outs: try Linux MINT instead; it's been much more popular than Ubuntu for a long time.

    Everyone says it's much more XP-friendly, and every Linux user KNOWS you won't get shafted by ITS founder, Clement Lefebvre.

    Suggesting they use Ubuntu, huh? Incredible. I thought these people were tech-savvy.

  34. subs

    I'm NO MS supporter, but can't figure out why corporates haven't moved to Open office ?

    Respected IT Gurus and other folks like me

    I'm NO MS supporter and this post is NOT to support MS, but to understand and improve my world view

    I can't figure out why corporates can't move to Open office ? or Libre Office ?

    I can NOT imagine that a slightly re formatted word document or a slightly different looking power point slide will bring down a company so the downside or risks (of moving) should be small ....

    95% of folks (including me) do NOT use advanced features (in office products), and since Open officec, Libre, all do the basic functions pretty well, that (lack of 'this' special feature or that one) should NOT be a problem

    open office is completely free, while corporate versions of MS office is approx $ 125 ~ $ 250 depending on config / country

    If you have 1000s of employees that MS office cost is going to be prohibitive ....

    So.... I can't figure out why corporates are NOT rushing en block to open office

    My view of corporates NOT moving stems from the sales #s that MS keeps reporting quarter after quarter (sort of birds eye view) and NOT by any interview or census

    Moving a whole OS with from windows to linux, changing drivers , servers, communications ..... and / or moving ERP front ends etc etc is much more difficult than moving office ? no ??

    again .... this is NOT a pro MS ...anti MS post !!!

    thanks in advance to all those who reply

    regards

    Subu

    1. agricola
      Boffin

      Re: I'm NO MS supporter, but can't figure out why corporates haven't moved to Open office ?

      Can't understand, eh? Choose from the following list ("all" is a perfect answer):

      Lazy

      Stupid

      Can't read

      Won't read

      Mouth-breather

      room-temperature IQ

      Couldn't understand if they would/could read.

      --------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Feel free to add to this list.

  35. subs

    what are the best value for money linux pre installed Laptops ?

    Dear Folks

    I recently tried buying a laptop

    I thought buying a NON windows laptop [*Linux pre-installed* ] made a lot of sense as I don't have to pay for the windows which was almost 20 ..25% of some mid range laptop cost

    But surprisingly I found most linux *pre-installed* laptops from reliable manufacturers (like Lenovo, Dell, HP, etc etc ] were at or about the same price in many cases costlier than linux pre installed ones

    the other option I was given was to buy a windows laptop and install linux on a partition, which defeated by basic idea of NOT paying for window$

    I'd be grateful IF some one could guide me to good , value for money linux pre installed laptops

    thanks and regards

    subu

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: what are the best value for money linux pre installed Laptops ?

      @ subs

      "I'd be grateful IF some one could guide me to good , value for money linux pre installed laptops"

      Good luck. Every laptop I have bought I put linux on it and had no issues. However dell recently tried to make a ubuntu laptop for developers which had a spec which wouldnt suit developers but also had loads of compatibility issues. It seems that manufacturers bump up the price of a linux laptop to the same as windows because there is demand but very little supply. They like to continue the myths that linux is hard and has compatibility problems. They can then bump up the price.

      Desktop is easier because you can buy them without an OS so you can put on whatever OS you want and as a result you dont pay the MS tax.

      My advice is buy a laptop you are happy with and put linux on it. The alternative is expensive and very limited choice.

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