back to article Ubuntu 14.04 LTS: Great changes, but sssh don't mention the...

The future is here, or at least the next five years of it for Ubuntu fans. Canonical has released Ubuntu 14.04 Long-Term Support (LTS) release, meaning the Linux shop will be supporting this distro until 2019. Significantly, this is likely the first look that more conservative users will get at the direction Ubuntu has been …

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  2. Pete 2 Silver badge

    The narcissism of small differences

    > If such tiny UI refinements don't impress you ...

    What does impress me, when I see it, are new features: things that I wanted to do in Version 1.0 that are now possible in Version 2.0. If they are things that I didn't even know I wanted to do (until I tried it), then that is a true improvement: real innovation.

    But so far as Ubuntu goes, as a full-time user since version 8, I'm still waiting. Though to be fair, I'd probably say the same about any other O/S release, including OS/X or Windows. That WinXP still has such a large user-base would indicate that there are millions of other people who regard an O/S in the same way: unless there is a new killer app or feature, why change?

    But so far as GUI design is concerned, the best thing it can be, is (like a good butler) completely invisible, yet indispensable at the same time. It should "know" what I am going to want and have it ready for me - with the minimum of fuss, time and keyclicks or mouse movement. Anything that comes between me and what I want to achieve is unwelcome.

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: The narcissism of small differences

      Sometimes small differences mount up enough to make the difference though.

      I use Xubuntu on one of my VMs so some of this passed me by, but I did try Unity. I didn't like it but that was mainly because there were too many inconsistencies, annoying oddities and it generally felt unpleasant. It was sort of in an Uncanny Valley between a polished modern touch-style interface such as iOS and an old school GNU/Linux DE such as KDE or Gnome. Based on the above, I'm willing to give it a try again. (Though I'll be disabling the Amazon-snooping, obviously).

      >>"That WinXP still has such a large user-base would indicate that there are millions of other people who regard an O/S in the same way: unless there is a new killer app or feature, why change?"

      Well the XP user base is obviously made up of those for whom their PC is not a primary focus and / or tech not a core interest. Those of us Windows users who are focused on IT are long since moved on from XP. I never even used XP at home. I went Linux->Windows 7. XP simply wasn't suitable for a tech-savvy person, imo. The point is, GNU/Linux users are not the same audience as current XP users. They are people who are willing to rip out an OS and put a new one in and have significant technical expertise (compared to the average user, anyway). With an audience like that, it's well worth making a pile of refinements like this even if there aren't any wild new features.

      Anyway, pint for the Ubuntu teams (including the documentors and translators). I'm sure they've been busy and earned it.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: The narcissism of small differences

      It should "know" what I am going to want and have it ready for me

      Be careful what you wish for though. That can go too far such that the OS "forces" you do things the way the OS designer wants you to rather than the way you want to.

      Many of the most visible changes in each new Windows release are like this IMO

      1. Matthew 25

        Re: The narcissism of small differences

        Agreed and +1 from me. I find iOS and OS X also force you to do things a certain way and I find it very frustrating.

        1. James 132

          Re: The narcissism of small differences

          I really like OS X. It's pretty well organised even if I can feel the slide towards fondleslab trends.

          For Linux/BSD KDE has won me over through sheer utility (as had XFCE, but I do find KDE a very fluid and tidy experience) which is no mean feat considering I really disliked version 4 on release. I suppose it's just good to have something with lots of choices.

    3. Wzrd1

      Re: The narcissism of small differences

      Blather.

      It worked quite well for me with 12.04, it's working quite well for me on my test environment. I might update the rest of the systems at home in the late summer to early fall, after the version bump comes out.

      Upsides: newer kernel tree level. Enhancements of that which was a bit functional to be more functional.

      My 5 year old+ systems are working fine, thank you, have zero clue what the author was blithering nonsense about, it's a matter of choosing frills you want or do not want.

      But then, the vast and overwhelming majority of work that I do on the machines is on the command line. The only time I use the GUI is to write a formal letter, print it and post it or when I have to write a formal letter and, ugh, fax it.

      What matters is this:

      It works. It does the job. Other distros could as well, but this one works reasonably well with only modest tweaking *and* has an LTS version.

      Out of five test machines, only one had a problem and that was an HD that was positively ancient failed hard. As much of my home environment is enterprise level servers and switches and the rest is older workstations, it's a "big shit", order a new HD and move on.

      Had one bit of annoyance with one test netbook, with a massive 8 gig SSD, not quite enough space for a basic office system. Did an apt-get clear and life was good again. SSD tuning wasn't necessary, but I'll probably play with it to see what I can break, erm, improve. OK, don't see improvement in the cards.

      One broken thing on that miniscule antique system is overlayfs, which has some brokeness inherited from debian. But, if I boot without the overlay, the base OS is up and can update without fudging by adding chances to the overlay on flash card and instead update the base OS on SSD.

      As for it overall, it's an updated version of a solid distro. It isn't like we're talking about the difference between a Vic-20 and the GSV Grey Area.

  3. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Three questions

    Does it have:

    (a) Multiple workspaces?

    (b) An easy way to differentiate running programs on the left-hand bar?

    (c) A hierarchical menu system as opposed to a need to search or pin favourites?

    Absent those, it doesn't fit my use case. I'll give it a try in a virtual machine, probably, but the original Unity pushed me to Cinnamon and Mint and I haven't yet seen a reason to return.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The fixation with 'serarch' for everything

      I'm not only looking at you Canonical, you seem to have slavishly copied MS here.

      Why? Can someone please explain to a dumb ass like myself (only 42 years in IT) why you have to search for everything all the time (unless you pin the app)?

      I have several versions of some products on my system. With a hierarchical menu system I know which version of the apps I'm using. simple and easy. Searching? not a chance.

      Once upon a time I waved the Ubuntu flag but with decreasing quality (after 10.04) and this mess that is Unity, I threw in the towel and deserted the ship. I still try the new releases of Ubuntu but these days, I really have better things to do with my time.

      1. Rob Carriere

        Re: The fixation with 'serarch' for everything

        Why search for everything? Because it fits well with a keyboard-centric way of working. Unity is pretty meh unless you're a keyboard freak, then it effortlessly outstrips everything else out there.

        The funny bit about Unity is that it will work reasonably well for a beginner (no clutter to get lost in) and it shines for the experienced keyboarder. The ground between beginner and expert and the ground for mouse-based experts is left, well, not bare, but certainly not covered by anything very inspiring either.

        1. BitDr

          Re: The fixation with 'serarch' for everything

          Fascinating. A keyboard centric GUI... whatever for... just use the shell. There... fixed that for ya.

        2. keithpeter
          Coat

          Re: The fixation with 'serarch' for everything

          "Why search for everything? Because it fits well with a keyboard-centric way of working."

          @Rob Carriere

          Keyboard centric unless you are a big user of nmemonic shortcuts (Alt-FA to Save As... for instance, or in LibreOffice Alt-IOF to insert a formula). These did not work at all in earlier Unity releases. The top level now works so you can e.g. pull up the File menu using Alt-F, but two or three letter chords do not work.

          I have various mnemonic codes wired into my fingers, so I'm using Gnome Ubuntu 14.04 at present on the test laptop - have not been able to work with unity since 12.04 which is a shame because I think its use of wide screen real estate is efficient.

        3. Greg J Preece

          Re: The fixation with 'serarch' for everything

          Why search for everything? Because it fits well with a keyboard-centric way of working. Unity is pretty meh unless you're a keyboard freak, then it effortlessly outstrips everything else out there.

          Amen. If your work is keyboard-intensive (I'm a programmer, myself) as opposed to mouse/tablet/other arty things, then quick-search is the very best. I used to be that guy that slavishly organised all his menus, back in the XP days, but since the advent of first KDE 4 and then Windows 7, I've started using quick-search for everything. Hit ALT+F2 or the Windows key (depending on system), type what I want, hit enter. All the programs I use that have different versions are tagged as such at installation, so it works really well for me. It's also why the Windows 8 Start Screen on my desktop and laptop doesn't even remotely bother me any more - if you're a keyboard user then it works pretty much identically to the Win7 menu, so who cares?

          Horses for courses, naturally, but that's what's great about Linux. If the way Unity does something isn't for you, install something else.

          Lastly, I definitely agree with the person above who said that a lot of small changes over time make a big difference. Even without comparing KDE 4.0 to its current state, I have to use XP from time to time, and going back to it now feels like using a dinosaur. I guess it depends how static your working methods are over time, but using XP now just pisses me off. Its reputation is far in excess of what it deserves.

      2. Connor

        Re: The fixation with 'serarch' for everything

        "Why? Can someone please explain to a dumb ass like myself (only 42 years in IT) why you have to search for everything all the time (unless you pin the app)?"

        Because it is so much faster. You don't really 'search' for it, the results are instant. Believe me, going from Ubuntu to Windows XP and Windows 7 demonstrates the benefit of this method as you realise with those OSs that there is no quick way of finding a program, and it is very frustrating (Click Start > All Programs > (wait) Scroll > (wrong folder) > Scroll > (gone past it) > Scroll > Click. Compared to typing one or two letters and clicking. It also works with system settings, rather than having to open the Control Panel (as in Windows) and hunt around for the right setting to change by finding what it appears under. I really can't believe we did it the Windows way for so many years.

        There are drawbacks to this Unity method though. Firstly you have to know the name of the thing you are searching for, secondly you have to spell it correctly. Incidentally though, Unity was like this way before Windows 8, so if any copying was done it was the other way around. Besides that search is Windows 8's best feature.

        1. Avatar of They
          Meh

          Re: The fixation with 'serarch' for everything

          Time saved by not using mouse, you move your mouse, click, click, click, voila.

          As you said when typing you start typing ASSUMING you know what you are looking for. Timing is massively increased because when it has loaded what do you do, you get your mouse and start to navigate inside Word or Excel etc. You don't just continue to click away, no one uses only shortcuts in Word or Excel? (Well no one I have ever met)

          I move my mouse, click on the icon. Takes a lot less than any menu movement and how can there be less clutter than an embedded menu system.

          Typing for stuff should be left for servers because if you don't know what it is called you are left with a myriad of options. It could be media player, it could be amarok, it could be banshee, or it could be that default new third party app they bundled on this release, or it could be that crappy one I don't like, what did they call it? I have three installed, which is the one I usually use, the auto loading one, erm... Was it Winamp? no that is on XP, so amarok, how do you spell it amarak? No wait for the search... Nope that isn't installed, erm... Media player.... Oh what is that bringing back now? I just typed it in and now it is still requiring me to type in AGAIN....

          And so on.

          So you shortcut it as a desktop or unity icon but you end up having forty icons on the left because searching is pants and so you shortcut everything, and you spend your life scrolling up and down to find what you want in a badly orientated way. (Or just go to Mint and Cinnamon like I did)

          And you are right it is Windows 8 best feature. There is not thing like typing 'control panel' on the desktop and it not working, so changing to the metro and typing 'control panel' and have it take you back to the desktop to get it to load control Panel. Sadly I liked it so much I went back to Windows 7, (Actually not due to searching, but because of licensing and the god awful metro and constant left and right scrolling)

          1. I Am Spartacus
            Megaphone

            Re: The fixation with 'serarch' for everything

            @Avatar of They

            Well, if you have ever been a power user of Word or Excel in their 2010 or 2013 hideous incarnations with that damn ribbon instead of a menu, you will now that power users do use any keyclicks that can to get what the need. This is because MS applications follows the Spartacus Law of HMI.

            This says "The probability of the function you want being of a different ribbon to the one you have currently displayed is inversely proportional to you knowing what the correct ribbon menu is".

            So if you know that "Remove Duplicates" is on the Data bar, you will already be there. But if you don't know how to change a single page to landscape, then it will not be on the current ribbon, and you will be lost.

            Thus, power users who know what they don't know put in short cuts to all the functions they use all the time.

            Besides which, real men don't use mice.

        2. big_D Silver badge

          Re: The fixation with 'serarch' for everything

          @Connor it sounds as though you haven't used Windows 7 (or Vista). You press the Windows key on the keyboard and enter the first couple of letters of the applications name (or the document or email you are searching for) and it opens up a list of results for you - much the same as OS X, except it is Command + Space there.

          In fact there is no clicking involved. To open Filezilla, for example, [Start]filez[Enter] is enough to launch it.

          In fact the searching was one of the things that brought me back to Windows after XP had driven me to Linux. I'm not a Unity fan, I much prefer KDE, which is why I still use SUSE for my Linux fix.

          1. Connor

            Re: The fixation with 'serarch' for everything

            @big_D I have used Windows 7, not Vista though. On Windows 7 it was far from instant, it takes ages for the results to appear, so much so that I just tend to go through the menu as it is so much quicker. In Windows 8 and Unity it is instant (admittedly the first time in Unity is slow, but every search after that is instant). Maybe it gets faster after the first time, or maybe it depends on the machine (it is anything but fast) on Windows 7? I admit I have rarely used Windows 7.

          2. Vic

            Re: The fixation with 'serarch' for everything

            In fact the searching was one of the things that brought me back to Windows after XP had driven me to Linux.

            I don't have an issue with search - I've been known to use it myself.

            What annoys me is when the DE developers *remove* discoverability so that search is all that is left; that makes it very hard for people who don't remember the name of their application to get to it (and I've supported many such users over the years).

            My desktop - Gnome2 - has the search interface *as well as* the hierarchical menu interface. I still believe this is superior to a DE that has just one of those.

            Vic.

      3. Tom B

        Re: The fixation with 'serarch' for everything

        I have never understood the fascination with search on your own PC. Now, I'll be the first one to admit that I have a poor memory, but even I can remember where I put a particular program or data file. And if it's a data file, I usually make sure the filename is long enough to give a clear idea what's in it. Searching for that one email from three months ago, yes. Searching for something on my own computer, that I myself put there? Ah, no.

        Oh, and one more thing. Where in the bloody blue blazes did you get the phrase "a new P"? Could you be a little more vague, please? I mean, I almost understood what you were talking about, and that was obviously not your intent. Sheesh, next you'll be writing articles entirely in emote icons and text message abbreviations! OMG!

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: The fixation with 'serarch' for everything

          @Tom B

          Quickly finding all emails and documents referring to a certain topic is useful.

          I tend to be well organised, but I still use the search now and then, especially if my boss starts shouting and wants proof that a series of emails went out. It is much quicker than picking out 20 emails from a folder with a thousand or so emails relating to one project.

          Again, looking for a specific document, I can usually navigate to it fairly quickly, but if I need to find all references to a specific product we sold to 20 out of over 200 different customers, searching is generally quicker than going through all those proposal documents scattered in different customer folders.

        2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          Search is for people who do not organize their data on the PC or only have one copy of any given item - aka most people. As soon as you develop or program things, you are bound to have archive copies of this or that in backup folders and that totally screws up the search function.

          Being a developer, I do organize my data, my folders and my disks. I know where I put things and I must be sure of what copy of a given program I am launching in order to properly interpret the results.

          So no search for me.

          1. localgeek

            The same is true for us photographers. I have multiple backups and edited versions of a single file. While I can search for images in Lightroom, for example, I rarely use that feature. I have carefully organized my photos using a number of criteria that make sense to me.

            Only rarely do I search for anything on my computer.

          2. Greg J Preece

            Being a developer, I do organize my data, my folders and my disks. I know where I put things and I must be sure of what copy of a given program I am launching in order to properly interpret the results.

            I'm also a developer, and my projects folders are meticulously organised. But am I going to click into a file explorer, then down through level after level to get to the right spot, or am I going to type a few letters of the filename and select the right version from the results? KDE will show me the version or path of what I'm about to hit, so it works pretty well.

          3. Rob Carriere

            I think we're partly talking past each other. I completely agree that most of the time, search is inconvenient for file access and the few times it is convenient, it's either because I or a a colleague messed up and something wasn't filed where it belonged or because I'm trying to make sense of a project I'm not familiar with. (And then I'm usually using find and/or grep, not the Unity file search.)

            Where I find search to be superior to menus is in program startup and occasionally as a replacement for deep menu navigation. This is a very fast way to get to programs I don't use frequently enough to pin. So, windows key;c;a;enter and Calibre starts up. Windows key;g;enter and gjiten is there and so on.

            Things that I do use frequently enough to pin are even faster. WIndows key + 7 and emacs is up. Still other stuff I fire up from a shell; xdg-open foo.pdf and so on. The whole system works well enough I don't need much pinned. (nautilus, firefox, write, calc, settings, shell, emacs, xpad -- and the write should actually be removed, I hardly ever fire that up from the bar.)

            I agree that discoverability isn't as good as a classical menu system. I don't care, that's startup costs. I use computers intensively and startup costs are negligible compared to the total, so the relevant criterion to me is the speed I can eventually reach. And between fast application access and not having to drag windows around, I think Unity saves me an hour every week.

            That's not for everybody of course. Somebody who spends their time in Gimp is going to be using the mouse far more often than I do. Even office software has many features that are easier with the mouse than the keyboard. So, no I'm not claiming this is a universal solution; I'm certainly not saying that everybody should switch. I am saying that it works for me and that works amazingly well for me.

          4. Martin-73 Silver badge

            Not just developers, 'power users' (I was one before it became a disgusting epithet) also like to organize.

            I know from what a program does, which submenu it will be in, and I also have more than one version of some programs, or some named very similarly. The 'I can't work a menu system' method doesn't work for me either

            1. Steven Raith
              Happy

              I don't see what the problem is with search when it comes to a well organised file structure - you can either navigate to the folder location manually, or if you know the metadata attached to it (IE if I made a document that contains the phrase 'Draytek 2860' I can search for that) then you can fire up the quick search dialog (Apple+space, WindowsKey on any NT6 platform, I forget the Ubuntu shortcut, think it's just the home key) and enter the phrase you are looking for.

              Yes, there are edge cases where you can have multiple similar file names in different folders, but in that case you can get programs that will let you search by extended metadata that they add - IE if you import a PDF from an email attachment, it'll tag it with the time recieved, who it was sent to, from, subject, attachment name etc - Filestar and X1 just to name a couple I've worked with (but not for, natch) which seem to fill this niche nicely. When your document store gets to a certain stage, it starts to make sense to move on to them - or to have a very well organised filesystem that doesn't crap itself after 253 characters of folder/file length. I'm looking at you, NTFS ;-)

              For programs, there's metadata too - if I fire up my Ubuntu box in the corner, I can search for photo, and it'll show me my photos directory, and what photo editors I have, the built in webcam booth software, etc on the machine and cursor-key to them if I want. You don't have to search for the specific program name or owt.

              I used to be of the opinion that wide search was crap, till I started using it. It also keeps my toolbar/taskbar/launcher clean of the dozens of apps I used to have pinned in them, too. More specifically, it means I can arrange my most commonly used apps in the taskbar, and when the machine boots, I just single click down the list, Super-S, and drag them to the workspace I want them on (one day I'll learn how to have them launch to a preferred workspace....one day) and I can just search for anything else.

              And as I've mentioned - many times - before, NewUI/Metro/Whatever search on Server 2012 is actually....pretty handy. Hitting start, Typing group then hitting return is far faster than navigating through the system management console - and as I work on a lot of different servers remotely, it's pretty handy to not have to remember if that particular server has a list as long as my arm of roles and functions that I have to mouse through to find that one function - just hit search, type in the first few letters, hit return.

              Horses for courses and all that, but against my own expectations I've come to really rather like it, in general (IE ignoring stuff like the Windows 8 start screen enforcement - I like search, but I don't like the brutality and idiotic way it was shoehorned in) And my filesystem is still nicely arranged into photos, TV, movies and grot, thanks. I might be oh so lazy, but I've still got standards ;-)

              Steven R

        3. FrankAlphaXII

          Re: The fixation with 'serarch' for everything

          I'm pretty sure the author meant PC, it makes sense, much more sense than "a new P". You can send corrections you know, and they do appreciate it when you do.

      4. Matthew 25

        Re: The fixation with 'serarch' for everything

        How can Canonical have copied Windows when Canonical got there first?

      5. dvanzo

        Re: The fixation with 'serarch' for everything

        If you don't have problems adding ppas, you can try with: http://www.webupd8.org/2014/03/classicmenu-indicator-09-released-with.html

    2. MrWibble

      Re: Three questions

      a: yes

      b: yes

      c: Nope.

      what do I win?

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: Three questions

        My thanks, Mr Wibble.

      2. southpacificpom
        Headmaster

        Re: Three questions

        "what do I win?"

        Nothing, but two out of three isn't bad.

        The answer to (c) is, yes if you install the classic-menu-indicator ppa.

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Martijn Otto

    I have switched all my home computers to Debian Wheezy since the start of this privacy madness and it's been nothing short of a great relief. Some things hadn't been working properly since years (like mplayer & vdpau, one release mplayer would suddenly fail to suspend the screensaver, the next release would see ugly flashes in the screen when running an overlay for the OSD, etc...).

    After installing Debian all these problems vanished like snow. At work we run Ubuntu, which in the last release still has so many bugs. Adding all the privacy issues means it's just not good enough and I see no reason to use it unless I have to.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    New PC

    Hhhmm.

    I'm literally awaiting arrival of the components for my new (Haswell) PC.

    Now I'm torn whether to go with 14.04 or 12.04.4. The latter will have the rough edges sanded off to a greater degree if my previous practise of waiting for point releases holds true. That, and I don't have to wait for 3rd parties to catch up with little glitches (Spotify, I'm gawping at you, with your fuzzy notification bar icon under 14.04, etc).

    12.0.4.4 has an improved hardware enablement stack, but it obviously won't be as up-to-date as the one in 14.04.

    Which way would you lot lean?

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: New PC

      >>"Which way would you lot lean?"

      To the latest. I kind of enjoy seeing the flurry of updates and fixes come flooding down the wire in the heady first few weeks of a release. It's satisfying in some weird way. :)

      Plus if you wait until 14.10 your OS will be, what, not the latest version for nearly half a year? I don't think I can stand not being on the latest version of anything for more than a couple of months. Though that may be my OCD speaking. ;)

      1. keithpeter
        Coat

        Re: New PC

        @ h4rm0ny

        "To the latest. I kind of enjoy seeing the flurry of updates and fixes come flooding down the wire in the heady first few weeks of a release. It's satisfying in some weird way. :)"

        Manjaro Linux. Rolling distro, basically Arch with a profanity delay and an actual installer as opposed to a boot disc and commands to chroot. Meeelions of updates....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: New PC

      Which way would you lot lean?

      Debian Wheezy

    3. stsr505089

      Re: New PC

      I'd go with the latest. 12.04 is showings its age a bit with support for the latest hardware. On the face of it there isn't a huge difference between the 2 when you're using the OS.

  6. Alan Bourke

    "Less so for organisations running Ubuntu on lots of PCs and moving to 14.04"

    Is there no centralised way to push a change to the default privacy settings a la Group Policy in Windows?

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: "Less so for organisations running Ubuntu on lots of PCs and moving to 14.04"

      Group policy is one of the strongest advantages for Windows on the desktop. It is something that Linux distributions have not so far replicated (although I'm fairly certain that there have been attempts that have not gained enough traction to become generally accepted). Providing a configuration method like the registry that can be abstracted into a remote directory at the system level was a very clever move by Microsoft, although not their idea (LDAP, Kerberos and DNS were around before Active Directory became common).

      But it always used to be that any changes you wanted to roll out system-wide on a UNIX-like system could be scripted and rolled out through some privileged remote execution method, something that UNIX-like operating systems excelled at (Kerberos came from UNIX-like systems). Coupled with the ability to completely segregate ordinary users from privileged users, this meant that you could roll out and configure UNIX-like desktop systems, and keep the configuration locked down and secure (at least from idle tampering). I have been doing this for 25 years or so, with UNIX and UNIX-like operating systems.

      Nowadays, with so much of the Linux desktop and the associated infrastructure using things like XML configuration files, it is no longer an easy job to set some of these options. I've always had significant difficulty, and as a result a lot of scorn for XML configuration files. I know, it is possible to deploy parsers that can interpret and change these files from scripts, but it strikes me that this is very difficult if you do not have the schema for the options in the file.

      I'm old-school, so can probably be laughed at by the younger generations, but I have tried to write my own parsers in shell and awk (still my tools of choice, because I absolutely know that they will be there on all but the most restricted UNIX-like system), and I just can't seem to do it. I know I'm not as sharp as I used to be, but it appears a non-trivial problem, even though XML is a well-defined language.

      Coming across a new tool or desktop component, and not knowing or being able to find the available options, which may be missing from the XML file if the defaults apply, means that it is a hopeless task without much research. And all too often these oh-so-clever new tools, which work great, have not been documented in enough detail to enable you to script such changes. Sometimes, a tool comes with a CLI application to manipulate the settings, but you have to know what it is, and how to drive it. And the next tool along might have a completely different configuration tool. It's a nightmare.

      Forgive me from ranting, but in this respect, I think that all Linux distributions have lost their way, and this is probably the flip-side of one of it's strength, choice.

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: "Less so for organisations running Ubuntu on lots of PCs and moving to 14.04"

        >>I'm old-school, so can probably be laughed at by the younger generations, but I have tried to write my own parsers in shell and awk (still my tools of choice, because I absolutely know that they will be there on all but the most restricted UNIX-like system), and I just can't seem to do it. I know I'm not as sharp as I used to be, but it appears a non-trivial problem, even though XML is a well-defined language.

        It's not you, don't worry. Guido Van Rossum said that making human beings write XML is sadistic; and if he thinks that then it shows what a PITA it really is. I also started writing something to edit some XML once, two hours later realized what a hassle that was and cobbled together a PHP script to use SimpleXML. One of my clients uses Puppet as Vic mentions. They're always having problems with it, though.

        Btw, @Vic, I can see you're reading this forum and posting. I replied to your somewhat insulting calling me out on the article about Windows vs. GNU/Linux security models here: http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/containing/2166427 . Fairly thoroughly answers your post, I feel.

        1. Paul Crawford Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Btw, @Vic

          Nothing like a good cross-forum argument!

          Arguing security on ACLs versus permission bit-masks is so last decade...

        2. Vic

          Re: "Less so for organisations running Ubuntu on lots of PCs and moving to 14.04"

          I replied to your somewhat insulting calling me out on the article about Windows vs. GNU/Linux security models here

          I saw it.

          Fairly thoroughly answers your post, I feel.

          No, it doesn't. I could have written an even longer rebuttal, but as I see you've been a bit handy with the downvote button, I just couldn't be bothered. So I'm just going to leave things as they are; I'm really not that keen to argue with you.

          Vic.

          1. h4rm0ny

            Re: "Less so for organisations running Ubuntu on lots of PCs and moving to 14.04"

            >>"No, it doesn't. I could have written an even longer rebuttal, but as I see you've been a bit handy with the downvote button, I just couldn't be bothered"

            You basically called me a liar. I responded more than proving that I was familiar with what I was talking about and supporting my case. I also asked for an apology.

            I don't know what you're referencing with "handy with the downvote button" but looking at your posts on that thread you've got more than one downvote so if I am one of them (I downvoted a few of your posts which were wrong or insulting, others I did not), then obviously other people also considered them wrong or insulting, too. I don't see voting one way or another as a requirement before you deign to reply.

            Regardless, I backed up what I said and if you don't have the graciousness to concede that, that's more your problem than mine.

            1. Vic

              Re: "Less so for organisations running Ubuntu on lots of PCs and moving to 14.04"

              > You basically called me a liar.

              I didn't. I said you don't know as much as you think you do. That you take such exception to this is indicative in itself...

              > I also asked for an apology.

              Which you're not going to get. You claimed a status you do not deserve, and I told you exactly that.

              > Regardless, I backed up what I said

              You didn't. You backed up as much as you seem to know about the situation. That you omitted Linux's support for exactly the same set of ACLs as you deem superior - and which have been supported in Linux for a very long time, and make integration with AD so effective, allowing it to be controlled with exactly the same Windows utilities that many people like - would tend to indicate that you don't know as much as you think you know. Which is what I said.

              > if you don't have the graciousness to concede that

              Of course I'm not going to concede that. Your knowledge is lackiing. I pointed that out, and now you've got the hump. I'm not sufficiently interested to argue with you, but you don't seem to want to let it drop. I would much rather hear no more about it.

              Vic.

              1. h4rm0ny
                Megaphone

                Re: "Less so for organisations running Ubuntu on lots of PCs and moving to 14.04"

                >> You basically called me a liar.

                >I didn't. I said you don't know as much as you think you do. That you take such exception to this is indicative in itself...

                I said I was familiar with both GNU/Linux and Windows, you replied saying I was not, short as that. That's calling me a liar. And no, it's not indicative of anything. Someone who knows a lot about something is perfectly entitled to take exception to being told they aren't familiar with it. Indicative of nothing.

                >>> "I also asked for an apology.

                >>"Which you're not going to get. You claimed a status you do not deserve, and I told you exactly that"

                All I said was that I was familiar with security models under both GNU/Linux and Windows and you said that wasn't true (without ever having met me so far as I'm aware).

                Here is my response: Link.

                Those are my own words, no cut and paste you wont find any of it dragged from anywhere else. Does that sound like someone unfamiliar with the security models of the two OS's?

                You've read my response. You know damn well that you were wrong. An apology and a retraction is in order.

                >>Regardless, I backed up what I said

                >>"You didn't. You backed up as much as you seem to know about the situation. That you omitted Linux's support for exactly the same set of ACLs as you deem superior "

                I explicitly went into ACLs on GNU/Linux and also covered to a sufficient degree why they are NOT "exactly the same". Now we move from you setting yourself up as judge on other people to you betraying flaws in your own understanding. If you say that ACLs on GNU/Linux are "exactly the same" as on Windows, then you don't know what you're talking about.

                >>"Of course I'm not going to concede that. Your knowledge is lackiing. I pointed that out, and now you've got the hump. I'm not sufficiently interested to argue with you, but you don't seem to want to let it drop. I would much rather hear no more about it."

                If you don't like replies like this then don't write insulting posts that declare what OS's someone you've never met is or is not familiar with. I've got "the hump", have I? Well yes, being insulted does make me angry. That's kind of why you insult someone - to upset them. Silly for you to complain afterwards.

                You wrote a very patronizing and ad hominem post. I wrote a very factual reply. Now you're falling back on argument by assertion and doing your best to provide reasons why you'd "rather hear no more about it". Well, of course not. I provided facts, you provide statements such as "your knowledge is lacking".

                I don't pretend to know everything, but anyone reading this can click on my reply to you above and see for themselves that your attempts to dismiss what I say by pretending superior knowledge don't really wash.

                Now, if you've had enough, then by all means don't reply. But don't be stunned if your doing so perpetuates this conversation that you you're supposedly "not sufficiently interested in".

      2. Hans 1 Silver badge

        Re: "Less so for organisations running Ubuntu on lots of PCs and moving to 14.04"

        To You and the other who asked ... we have said it time and time again ... puppet handles Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, Solaris, AIX, Android ... you name it, go look through the modules.

        @Scott Gilbertson

        Of course you can disable this privacy invasion setting on 1000 systems very trivially, even on Linux - without touching the image or a mouse, for that matter.

        A business that has Windows and is rolling out Linux will have something like puppet, obviously. Seriously, you can even do that with antique tech like NFS as well ... so please, stop spreading this non-sense. Unix had centralized configuration management before Windows had TCP/IP ....

        1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          @ Hans 1 re: Puppet

          Puppet does indeed look interesting, but it is not like AD because it is layered on top of Linux, rather than being a part of the Linux infrastructure in the way that AD is integrated into Windows.

          MS chose to use a registry for many or all of the important Windows and application settings, and then plugged AD into this to allow any program which used the registry to instead get the settings from AD. It's elegant and well thought out, something that I don't say about Microsoft very often.

          Puppet relies on discrete 'modules' to perform specific functions. This means that every time you need to control a new application, it will probably be necessary to obtain or write a new module. This is very flexible, but ultimately more technically involved.

          I am not currently running an environment that requires this degree of control (the problems in supercomputers with no system disks is not a problem that needs this type of solution), but I would certainly look at Puppet if I were in control of an environment that needed that level of control.

    2. Vic

      Re: "Less so for organisations running Ubuntu on lots of PCs and moving to 14.04"

      Is there no centralised way to push a change to the default privacy settings a la Group Policy in Windows?

      There are a number of ways to do this. My preference would be to use puppet, but it's far from the only solution.

      Vic.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Less so for organisations running Ubuntu on lots of PCs and moving to 14.04"

        Ansible has a lower learning curve than Puppet, so is worth checking out.

        An ansible playbook can declare things like "package X must be installed", "config file Y must contain a line which looks like this" etc.

        Normally you'd run ansible on a central machine which connects (using ssh) to the machines being managed; but you can turn it around so that it pulls its config from a repo and runs directly on the managed machine, which is more puppet-style.

    3. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: "Less so for organisations running Ubuntu on lots of PCs and moving to 14.04"

      Use a tool like Puppet. A centralised server (suitably called the Puppet Master) runs a bunch of checks on each worker and can push updates and new scripts from a central location.

  7. jake Silver badge

    whatever.

    I'll stick with Slackware on my desktops. Slack has worked (for me!) without hiccups for a couple decades. Can't ask for more than that out of an operating system.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: whatever.

      alright, that's two "whatever"s so far.

      Who pissed in your cornflakes?

      1. jake Silver badge

        @AC, whatever. (was: Re: whatever.)

        No actual comantardery on my commentardery?

        Whatever. You are a part of the problem.

        This site needs more signal, less noise.

        1. Tom 38 Silver badge
          WTF?

          Re: @AC, whatever. (was: whatever.)

          This site needs more signal, less noise.

          Which do you think you add to?

          1. Phil_Evans

            Re: @AC, whatever. (was: whatever.)

            Girls, girls! Stop.

            It's always *so* amusing watching 2 egos in these threads. It's a discussion forum with an open agenda (it's about Linux, huh?). I'm not sure what the signal or noise anecdotes really signify, but you make up now and be nice. And at the end of the day it's about Ubuntu, which I believe cites the meaning to be (of a few): "humanity towards others". Be nice.

            1. h4rm0ny

              Re: @AC, whatever. (was: whatever.)

              >>"it's about Ubuntu, which I believe cites the meaning to be (of a few): "humanity towards others". Be nice."

              Actually, 'ubuntu' is word in several dialects in Southern Africa and roughly translates as "compiling is too hard for me".

        2. h4rm0ny

          Re: @AC, whatever. (was: whatever.)

          The thing is, however lovely Slackware is, Ubuntu is far more friendly to those people who are not tech-focused. If GNU/Linux is ever to claim a substantial share of the Desktop and laptop markets, it needs this. Ubuntu is, like it or not as a technical person, GNU/Linux's best hope of casual user success.

          1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

            Re: @AC, whatever. (was: whatever.) @h4rm0ny

            I used to feel this. When Unity appeared to be the 'way forward', I lost that feeling as Canonical appeared so dogmatic about it, but although I've tried, I cannot find another distribution that ticks all the boxes..

            I though that Mint might be a possibility, but it feels too parasitic to be regarded as a distribution in it's own right. This is true of all of the Ubuntu derived distributions. They rely on Canonical being there to exist. Sure, they can fork the entire source and repository trees, but most of them are shoe-string operations that would not have the resource if they could not leech off of Canonical. I worked with Mint Debian, but the installation process and associated huge initial update (it's a rolling release, and the available installation media available is so old now that the update process downloads more than the original size of the installation) means that it is not suitable as a consumer distribution.

            The same can be said about any of the Red Hat derived distributions. Indeed, I seem to remember a story about two years ago about Centos nearly winding themselves up because one of the critical maintainers dropped off of the radar.

            Fedora is too fast moving, and RHEL has too many barriers put up by Red Hat for either to be considered to be consumer releases.

            OpenSUSE appears to be a little media unfriendly, although does tick the box for support.

            Slackware and Debian, being a long-established distributions are not going away and are totally usable, if a bit of a hair-shirt experience (especially Slackware), but are generally considered as too slow-moving and staid for a modern desktop distribution.

            So I come back around to Ubuntu. Currently, rather than using Unity, I'm using a combination of Gnome Classic and Xfce (depending on the size of the system) on LTS releases for my own use, and do not have a current recommendation for people who ask me what they should use. I've listened to and welcome that Canonical have at least listened to at least some of the criticisms, and will evaluate 14.04 on my primary laptop with and without Unity sometime in the next few weeks.

            Who knows, it may win me back. I'll try to keep an open mind.

            1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
              Happy

              Re: @AC, whatever. (was: whatever.) @h4rm0ny

              ".....Fedora is too fast moving, and RHEL has too many barriers put up by Red Hat for either to be considered to be consumer releases....." TBH, even the Red Hat boys will describe Fedora as a 'bleeding edge' distro for power users rather than beginners. IIRC, it is effectively the free beta tool for Red Hat. CentOS, on the other hand, is based on stable Red Hat releases so - whilst not as newbie-friendly as Ubuntu - is at least stable and predictable.

              1. Morten Bjoernsvik

                Re: @AC, whatever. (was: whatever.) @h4rm0ny

                "..CentOS, on the other hand, is based on stable Red Hat releases so - whilst not as newbie-friendly as Ubuntu - is at least stable and predictable."

                Centos Great. but _NEVER_ use Oracle Linux. Big money corporations exploiting opensource.

                This only makes Redhat add more features as close source making it out of reach for CentOS.

            2. AceRimmer

              Re: @AC, whatever. (was: whatever.) @h4rm0ny

              "I though that Mint might be a possibility, but it feels too parasitic to be regarded as a distribution in it's own right. This is true of all of the Ubuntu derived distributions."

              Correct me if I'm wrong (not uncommon) but if Ubuntu is itself based on Debian then surely Ubuntu is a parasite too.

              If you don't like Mint because its based on Ubuntu then try LMDE - derived straight from Debian

              1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

                Re: @AC, whatever. (was: whatever.) @AceRimmer

                You have a point about Ubuntu being parasitic, but I believe that there may be more people committed to maintaining the Ubuntu repositories than there are the Debian ones. I think that it is a two-way thing, and Canonical pass any changes they make back into the Debian tree, so it is not as parasitic as it first appears. I'm not sure the same can be said of Mint.

                I do mention LMDE (which I called Mint Debian) in my post. Check back at it to see why I have difficulty recommending it.

            3. John Miles

              Re: but it feels too parasitic to be regarded as a distribution in it's own right.

              Maybe, but how do you let Canonical know what you feel is going wrong with their distributions. By picking up one of the forked distributions you like, if enough people follow same then that distribution stands chance at gaining enough resources to become a true distribution.

            4. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @AC, whatever. (was: whatever.) @ Peter Gathercole

              OpenSUSE appears to be a little media unfriendly

              Not really, they just don't ship certain codecs with it due to legal reasons. It's easily solved with the one click install.

              http://opensuse-guide.org/codecs.php

            5. Morten Bjoernsvik

              Re: @AC, whatever. (was: whatever.) @h4rm0ny

              >OpenSUSE appears to be a little media unfriendly, although does tick the box for support.

              In order to remain true opensource the base distro do not contain any closed source files:

              http://opensuse-guide.org/codecs.php

              It puzzles me why this can't be a checkbox - aka 'Add non free,open multimedia codecs' in the base installer. It is easy once You know how, but first time users do not have this knowledge and once the mp3 does not play and the mp4 does not play, they reject opensuse for something else.

    2. I Am Spartacus

      @Jake (was Re: whatever.)

      @Jake,

      Well, your comment was helpful Err, NOT.

      This is a thread on the new version of Ubuntu, what if offers, what it takes away, and how good is the new UI.

      It is NOT a command to start using Ubuntu 14.04. Or even Ubuntu at all. It is not an attack on MS. It is simply an article on what is in 14.04.

  8. frank ly Silver badge

    Menus in windows

    I think you may have the wrong picture for 'menus in windows'. That picture shows what every PC and OS I've used/owned has done for many years. I may have misunderstood .....?

    1. Vic

      Re: Menus in windows

      That picture shows what every PC and OS I've used/owned has done for many years. I may have misunderstood .....?

      You've not misunderstood - just not used a recent version of Ubuntu, apparently.

      Things like menus at the top of windows were removed. Now they're back. This is a change for the better - but one which, arguably, should never have been necessary.

      It's the same with the live-resizing thing that the article picks out - *all* of my machines do that, and have always done so. So do yours, I suspect. It is only news because Ubuntu broke that in a previous version :-(

      Vic.

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: Menus in windows @Vic and frank ly

        There is a difference. Look at a normal Gnome or KDE system. Look where the maximise and minimise buttons are compared to the normal set of File, Edit etc.

        They are on different bars.

        What this release of Unity does is to put all of these on the same bar. So on the left, going from left-to-right, you've got the Unity Close, Minimise, Maximise buttons, and then on the same bar, you have File, Edit, View etc.

        I'm sort of interested in how it does this. Normally, the menu bar is totally the responsibility of the application, and the window decorations are an encapsulating window or windows that enclose the whole application window, and also provides the resize bars around the window (that is one of the reason why you have a window border, to enable you to 'grab' the resize handles which are managed by the window manager). This is achieved using a parent/child relationship between all of the windows that allow a window closer to the root window to either grab and process events, or pass them into the application.

        By combining the two bars, Unity appears to alter or even break the normal X11 way of doing things. I presume it is using the shape extension to try to dictate to the application a non-rectangular window. I am wondering whether there will be any unpleasant clashes between some old-style X11 applications and Unity somewhere down the line.

        1. frank ly Silver badge

          @Peter Gathercole Re: Menus in windows @Vic and frank ly

          Ahhhh, yes I see. I prefer to have the name of the application (and its other info) on the top bar. That way I know what the heck it is.

          1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

            Re: @Peter Gathercole Menus in windows @Vic and frank ly

            Hmm. I'd not even considered that the window title has gone.

            That may be a bit of a deal-breaker for me when I have multiple terminal/xterms on local and remote systems. Like you, I use the title to differentiate the windows from each other.

            I still think that the biggest difference between those who can work with Unity and those who can't is whether they use multiple windows visible on the screen at the same time. Multiple overlapping windows - it's a struggle to use Unity. Single window or maximised whole screen application, it really does not matter too much. Actually, thinking about it, those who use whole-screen windows probably do not notice the difference with the placement of the window control buttons. It's always at the top-left of the window whether it is attached to the window, or at the top of the screen as far as they are concerned.

            I use multiple overlapping windows, so you can see my preference.

            1. Pookietoo

              Re: That may be a bit of a deal-breaker for me

              "Menu in window title bar" is not the default setting.

              1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

                Re: That may be a bit of a deal-breaker for me @Pookietoo

                You've not followed what I've said. The default setting of a global menu bar is absolutely a deal breaker. I've tried using it both in Unity and in OSX, and I don't care how much people quote Fitt's Law to me, I find it more difficult to move to the top left of the screen every time I want to do something with a window, especially if I am using an incremental pointing device like a track point or trackpad.

                Putting the window controls back on each window is what I want to do, but what Canonical have provided is a half-way house that may be enough, but may not.

                I will have to try it before I can decide.

          2. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: @Peter Gathercole Menus in windows @Vic and frank ly

            >I prefer to have the name of the application (and its other info) on the top bar.

            The title bar is becoming very busy and cluttered, particularly when running a remote session with all it's controls also occupying it.

            Whilst it is nice to see people worry about vertical space, I note that very few make any real attempt to either utilise (or enable the user to utilise) the horizontal space of the modern notebook/desktop display.

    2. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: Menus in windows

      Linux desktops (or rather popular widget sets) have traditionally put the menus inside the frames of the app similar to Windows. So when Ubuntu in its wisdom forcibly and put them in a global menu bar (presumably by subverting how the GTK / QT menu widgets worked), it caused rather a lot of consternation, especially with no easy way to modify that behaviour.

      Global menus are great on a very space constrained desktop like a netbook where combining horizontal strips for menus and title bars saves a lot of space.

      They're not so great the larger the desktop becomes. Space is no longer at a premium and people are more likely to run apps side by side with each other. Then having to move a mouse onto one app to activate it and then move the mouse up to the top of the screen and then click down is just a pain in the arse.

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: Menus in windows @DrXym

        I don't actually agree that the Linux desktop normally puts any menus inside the application window frame. The menu bar (the one that often starts with "File") is part of the application window. The Title bar is not.

        The title bar, which normally contains the close, minimise and maximise buttons and a title of the window, is outside of the application window, as are any resize handles (which are normally the 'border' that surrounds a window). They sit in an encapsulating window which is inserted in the window hierarchy and surrounds and is it is the 'parent' of the application window. This is normally larger than the application window itself, and is owned by the window manager. The window manager acts on any events that occur in the encapsulating window, not the application. If the action is something like a resize, minimise or maximise operation, the window manager will then instruct the application, through the X11 protocol, to perform the action. In a re-size operation, the window manager will resize the encapsulating window, and then tell the application to resize it's own window accordingly and redraw the contents.

        This is the trick that allows the window manager to run on a separate system to both the X11 server and the application itself, and is a fundamental feature of X11 that too many people overlook.

        Unity appears to be fiddling with the window handling behaviour, possibly by telling the application to use a non-rectangular window, and I worry that this may not work well with some older X11 applications.

        1. DrXym Silver badge

          Re: Menus in windows @DrXym

          "I don't actually agree that the Linux desktop normally puts any menus inside the application window frame."

          Of course it does. The frame area is rendered by the server / window manager and the bit inside is rendered by the client, including the menu. Part of the work in preparation of Wayland is about adding client side rendering of the window decorations, into QT and Gtk and fixing up their coordinate systems as a result.

          Windows is no different really. It has a frame (the non client area) and the menu is part of the client area. But Windows at least sees fit to provide common controls for stuff like windows, buttons etc. rather than expecting a widget API to come along to provide them. Although increasingly many apps are using their own widgets, just painted with the standard theme engine.

          1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

            Re: Menus in windows @DrXym

            What you call the frame area, which I believe corresponds to what I called the menu bar is rendered by whatever toolkit you are using from inside the application (and, critically, the application's process space). The application can totally control what appears on that bar, although it will normally use standardised toolkit routines to do it.

            This does not make it the Window Manager that is providing that menu bar. The Window Manager controls the encapsulating frame, and all of the widgets that it used to do this are outside of the application's process space (but do note, however, they may not be in the Window Managers process space - it could defer these to other processes under the way X11 is structured).

            Do not confuse the Window Manager with the widget runtime shared object/library. They are not the same thing.

            I see what you are getting at, however. The toolkit routines that create the menu bar are normally in shared objects/libraries that are dynamically bound in to the executable at run time. By providing a compatible but different set of routines at runtime, I can see that compliant programs could have their behaviour changed by the system, so that it would indeed be possible for the runtime to intercept and alter some of the expected behaviour.

            But note that I said compliant programs. What about those that do not use the Gtk and QT runtimes to manage their menu bar. What if they do, but have statically linked the routines available at compile time. What if they are so old that they use the Xtk or Andrew Toolkit, or Motif, or CDE. Or, heaven forbid, coded all of the menu bars themselves!

            If the modification is done at the runtime-call level (and this could be the bit I was unable to see when I wrote my earlier posts), it would be necessary for Canonical to patch each and every dynamically bound widget toolkit, and they would totally fail to manage statically bound binaries.

            Regarding your comments on Wayland, remember that Canonical is not implementing Wayland. Their alternative to X11 is Mir, but this is not in current releases of Ubuntu. We are not talking about Wayland.

            If, however, Wayland is making it the responsibility of the application to draw all window decorations, then I can see problems ahead when applications hang or crash. Having things like the "Close" button handled by another process, to allow mis-behaving process to be closed, is such a good idea that I wonder about the sanity of the Wayland developers in throwing this away. I have often wondered whether their drive to eliminate the overheads of X11 will end up throwing the baby out with the bath water. X11 may be old, but the concepts it introduced were mostly very sound, with the possible exception of the poor security model.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Privacy.

    Due to the privacy blunder I'm now a happy opensuse user. Might have a look at Ubuntu, once amazon becomes opt-in, but I won't trust Ubuntu completely again.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Which flavor folks?

    Small flavour to ask. I have a free laptop, actually the hard drive which had Vista is dead, hence its now free.

    Can anyone offer a URL to a free easy Linux dist that'll boot off a USB key, and act as a good learning template?

    I'm determined in 2014 to get off my lazy ass and start learning another OS and not be chained to MS for another 20 years.... Mucho Gracias!....

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: Which flavor folks?

      Some flavour of Ubuntu is undoubtedly the easiest, but you'll learn some bad habits and not become as familiar with the underlying way everything works as you would with something more traditional. I would personally recommend Debian as it is package based (i.e. you don't have to compile everything), stable and you can put on a desktop environment of your choice. It's what I use for my work environment and it is one of my two favourite distros. You could also consider Kubuntu or Xubuntu which are Ubuntu derivatives that don't use Unity. The latter is particularly simple and light to run so would better suit a USB stick install.

      If you want something a little more fun and which will get you closer to the metal in interesting ways, then I strongly recommend Gentoo. On this distro, you'll be compiling your own software but it has an interesting way of streamlining it and it is perhaps the best distro for learning who GNU/Linux works without running into a Learning Cliff.

      So I personally recommend Debian, or Gentoo if you fancy something weird and really fun and where you can get right into its intestines.

      I should also mention CentOS. A lot of enterprise environments are RedHat / CentOS based, so if you're interested in this professionally, you might want to consider looking at CentOS as you're more likely to run into it in the world of work. But I wouldn't go this route personally. I find Debian-based systems easier to work with and learn. Also not sure about installing and running this from a USB stick. Probably can, but I don't know how easy it would be and it's not common. The others you definitely can.

      I hope that helps.

      1. h4rm0ny
        FAIL

        Re: Which flavor folks?

        Wow. I assume that's one of fans reflexively down-voting my attempt to be help someone. Well, to the downvoters, consider that you're protesting against someone trying to help another choose a GNU/Linux distro that is right for them, and then think about what that says about you.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Which flavor folks?

          Possible source of downvote: the OP asked for a bootable USB distro that is easy to learn and you pointed him/her to Debian/Gentoo?

          1. h4rm0ny

            Re: Which flavor folks?

            "Possible source of downvote: the OP asked for a bootable USB distro that is easy to learn and you pointed him/her to Debian/Gentoo?"

            Well I said Gentoo if they had technical background and wanted something "interesting" that would show them a lot of the low-level stuff. For someone who is interested in GNU/Linux for purpose of learning as the OP said, I actually think Gentoo is an excellent system. And I did begin my post by saying that some flavour of Ubuntu would undoubtedly be easiest. But as they're on a technical forum and expressed interest in knowing how it all works, I actually do favour Debian over Ubuntu. The latter increasingly wraps everything up in thick layers of GUI and you don't get as much of an understanding from it than you do Debian. IMO, anyway.

            I may be coloured in my views by the fact I've used Debian for about a decade so I don't notice the rough edges as much anymore. But anyway, I did explain my reasoning for each option and it was a sincere attempt to help.

            1. dogged

              Re: Which flavor folks?

              > I actually do favour Debian over Ubuntu

              Given that umbongo is mostly debian anyway all you really get is UI tweaking, ie Unity.

              And please stop recommending Mint, it has a whole bunch of proprietary crap bundled in and is forever tainted by Eadon's evangelism.

            2. DrXym Silver badge

              Re: Which flavor folks?

              "Well I said Gentoo if they had technical background and wanted something "interesting" that would show them a lot of the low-level stuff."

              Some people also like to build kit cars but most use a car to drive somewhere and do something unrelated to the car itself. I see Gentoo / Arch as the kit car of the operating system world. Great if you like pulling things apart, or chasing real or imagined performance gains, but not so good if you use a computer for something else.

              Most people use a computer do other stuff - browse the web, write a document, manage their accounts, write a program, play games, watch porn, administer their network or whatever. They expect the OS to do what it's there for - to facilitate these activities with some semblance of consistency, user friendliness and usability, not constantly throw brickbats at their head.

              Unfortunately the Linux scene has always had an extremely self-destructive streak. I've read some hilariously defensive replies when I've commented on usability issues in dists. Usability is seen by some as a Bad Thing. Desktops like Unity and GNOME are openly scoffed by some as "dumbing down". While I think Ubuntu hasn't gotten everything (particularly its not-invented-here syndrome), I would still recommend it to someone who wants something that just works.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Which flavor folks?

              No doubt it was a sincere attempt. However, I think your views are a bit colored by your prolonged exposure to Linux/Debian. Gentoo/Debian are too intimidating for a Linux novice.

              If you are a Windows power user who is used to fiddle with registry settings, compiling from source, regularly write your own cmd/PowerShell scripts, drop to the command line from time to time and don't fear browsing Event Log records, maybe you can end up conquering Gentoo or Debian. In that sense, your advice is perfectly good.

              I was (am?) a Windows developer intimately familiar with the innards of the OS when I started my switch to Linux 10 years ago, and at first Fedora or Debian were impossible to install for me. Started with Mandrake, graduated to Ubuntu and today I'm comfortable with any Debian/RH variant you throw at me. I consider myself quite adept at quickly learning new things, and while I'm sure that there are people better than I at adapting at new things, they are not around me, so I tend to consider the average user level below my skill set.

              Granted, installing Linux is no longer as difficult as it was, but then again, Windows does not have to be installed since 98, so in that regard the average end user skill level has been lowered proportionally.

              That's why I feel the majority of users will abandon Gentoo/Debian before even managing to make all their hardware functional. So if you're a step below the skill level of h4rmony, try some bootable USB version of Ubuntu, Mint or OpenSUSE. Once you feel comfortable with that, people like h4rmony will surely help you master the intrincacies of the OS.

      2. Steve Graham

        Re: Which flavor folks?

        Well, I've been using Debian for about 15 years, and installed it probably 50 times or more...

        ...and more often than not, I've had to manually fix something that the install messed up, major or minor, including cases where the new OS wouldn't boot.

        Most recently, about a month ago, I totally failed to get the Debian installer to accept the partitioning I wanted, and I had to go back and boot off a Knoppix CD and set it up before trying to install Debian again. (Note that this was probably me not understanding the options the installer was offering me, but if I didn't get it, I doubt the novice would.)

        For myself, I'm pretty happy to keep using Debian, but I don't think I'd recommend it to someone with no Linux or Unix experience. (I wouldn't recommend Ubuntu to anyone.)

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: Which flavor folks?

          >>"For myself, I'm pretty happy to keep using Debian, but I don't think I'd recommend it to someone with no Linux or Unix experience. (I wouldn't recommend Ubuntu to anyone.)"

          I'm curious to know which distro you would recommend, then? (no sarcasm - genuine question).

      3. oh_cfc

        Re: Which flavor folks?

        Much as I love Gentoo - it would be painfully slow to compile everything on a USB key (especially if it's an older one)

    2. NB

      Re: Which flavor folks?

      Do you know your way around a Linux system? Are you comfortable with CLI based installation procedures? Then try Arch linux. It takes a bit longer to set it up but once that's out of the way it's a power users dream machine.

    3. Spasticus Autisticus

      Re: Which flavor folks?

      Linux Mint - the Cinnamon desktop should run well on an ex Vista machine, or use MATE or Xfce otherwise.

      I'm setting up several old XP system to dual boot Mint. Once networking in XP is turned off and updates, anti-virus, etc. are removed from XP it runs quite quickly. So anything that my customers struggle to do in Mint they cn do a quick reboot in to XP and do what they want there - as long as doesn't require Internet access.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Alert

        Re: Sparticus Re: Which flavor folks?

        ".....So anything that my customers struggle to do in Mint they cn do a quick reboot in to XP and do what they want there - as long as doesn't require Internet access." I can't recommend dual-boot with WinXP as I already hear rumors of black hats looking for attack vectors in such scenarios. TBH, if you need Windows that much, buy an OEM Windows 7 license off eBay instead.

        1. I Am Spartacus
          Coat

          Re: Sparticus Which flavor folks?

          [different Spartacus]

          Whilst I shudder at the XP suggestion, he DID say "with Internet turned off". That normally stops most attack vectors.

        2. Spasticus Autisticus
          Mushroom

          Re: Sparticus Which flavor folks?

          'Matt Bryant

          I can't recommend dual-boot with WinXP as I already hear rumors of black hats looking for attack vectors in such scenarios.'

          Is Windows that sh*t that even if you disable networking it could still be attacked - really!

          1. Steven Raith

            Re: Sparticus Which flavor folks?

            "Is Windows that sh*t that even if you disable networking it could still be attacked - really!"

            That's highly dependant on how you plan to get new media to the machine to work with, and how much you trust the USB drive you're importing it from, really....

    4. frank ly Silver badge

      @AC Re: Which flavor folks?

      My suggestion: Buy a 32GB PATA SSD (I assume your old laptop uses a 2.5" PATA/IDE drive), you can get a Kingspec drive on e-bay from a chinese supplier for about £40. I did that for my 8-year old Acer Travelmate and installed Mint 13 LTS - works very nicely thank you. A Linux distribution with a big set of installed software will easily fit into 8GB leaving room for lots of personal data or multi-boot installations. Because it's PATA, there is a 100Mb/s limit to the possible data rate from the drive, but it's silent and robust. (If your laptop has a SATA drive, just buy a small SATA SSD.)

      With an older and less powerful laptop, LXDE would be less sluggish than MATE (as I found) but there are other Linux distributiions and even lighter-weight DE possibilities out there.

      With Linux, you can keep copies of any installed image on an external hard drive (use a Gparted live CD or similar to make partition copies) then you can recover from the inevitable foul-ups as you experiment. A Boot Repair Disk live CD is also a good thing to get and use. Good luck - have fun.

    5. PNGuinn

      Re: Which flavor folks?

      How old's the lapdog? I've tried Mint 15 / XFCE (Umbongo derived) on my daughter's EEE901 (Came with Umbongo / unity - neither of us could stand it.) Went for XFCE because it is relatively lightweight. Put a shedload of apps on it. Very usable, surprisingly fast. Everything including a 3g dongle working out of the box. Problem is daughter and I found it just a little unstable. She wants Debian like wot dad has. I'll try it shortly. It'll give me a chance to get the partition alignment sorted out for SSDs. (2 in the EEE.) I wanted to try XFCE prior to installing Debian 7 on my main box - Running Debian Squeeze with Gnome 2 at the mo and don't like the looks of Gnome 3. XFCE looks quite nice - I think I can tweak it to bits and live with it.

      Try a couple of live DVDs and see what you think. At the other end of the scale - try one (or several) of the Puppies. I'm using a version of Fatdog (64 bit take on Puppy) on a usb stick as a live distro running in RAM with no hard disks mounted. Visit site, buy, pay, print receipts as required, reboot. All gone. Fairly minimalist, easy to configure and very fast. I think it uses Joe's Window Manager.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    hardware requirements

    I'm running Ubuntu 12.04.4 on a fairly powerful quad-core PC from about 2010, but the lack of responsiveness in the GUI was gradually driving me mad ... until I discovered I can log on in "2D" mode. It's like stepping out of a marsh onto a properly surfaced road. So if anyone is having problems on old hardware I'd recommend trying "2D" before abandoning Ubuntu altogether.

    1. Pookietoo

      Re: hardware requirements

      I've just installed 14.04 on an old Core 2 Duo with onboard graphics, and the desktop definitely seems more responsive than 12.04. I found the Unity Dash a bit cumbersome in 12.04, but it's really snappy now.

  12. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    No need for a new PC, still some hand-holding for newbies required.

    Installed 14.04 on three systems by USB image over the Easter weekend as part of the Great XP Migration for friends and family (note, none of these should were willing to brave Linux such as Fedora, so Ubuntu must be doing something right). The least powerful system was an ancient Dell with a 2GHz P4 and 1GB of RAM, and Ubuntu still flies on it, the owner says much faster than XP. Old Windows files can be saved to CD and then simply copied back into folders on the Ubuntu partition with no problem, and the stock Ubuntu image not only included drivers for just about everything in all three systems in the USB image but it was also quick and simple to go find a drivers for the few missing items (an ancient Canon printer and a first generation Logitech webcam!).

    The bad news? Hidden apps. 14.04 comes with a shedload of apps you have to search for, which is really annoying for users used to the program menu in XP. One classic example of this is Thunderbird email, which is not included in the icons in the Task Bar by default, which surely should be a default choice? Two of my 'customers' admit they will never do anything other than browse, email and a bit of word-processing, so for them the 14.04 default install would be perfect with the Thunderbird icon in the Task Bar.

    The Amazon issue is a bit overblown as there are install options for turning off all reporting and feedback and limiting the searches. Much more annoying were the hidden maximize-minimize-close buttons on the corners of maximized windows, and the hidden menus. Final user's grumble was about how the menu for shutdown is hidden away under a tiny cog icon in the top right, which my ex-XP users found truly counter-intuitive.

    So, a mark of 8-out-of-10 for Ubuntu, but it would be very easy to make that a 9.5 with a program menu.

    1. Pookietoo

      Re: No need for a new PC, still some hand-holding for newbies required.

      As someone pointed out already, ClassicMenu Indicator restores the program menu. It's trivial to add buttons to the Unity launcher anyway.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No need for a new PC, still some hand-holding for newbies required.

      WTH is this talk about "hidden apps" in Unity? The Dash has an app tab that shows all installed apps as a grid of icons. In a same way your phone does it.

  13. Len Goddard

    I loathed the original unity release - top of screen menus are a disaster if you use to focus-follows-mouse and generally the whole thing had the look and feel of an OS designed for a 5-year old using a laptop or tablet.

    The new Unity is a major improvement. focus-follows-mouse (sloppy) and click-to-raise are well supported (even if it can be a bit difficult to find them first time through) and work well with the menu-in-title bar. Personally I'd prefer the option for a fixed title bar but I can get used to this. Dual monitor support works out of the box and it is easy to disable the task bar on the second monitor. Also you can now shrink the task bar icons to a sensible size. However, I still cannot get the close button to the right-hand corner of the window. My understanding is that the window decorations were moved to the left to avoid interfering with the top bar notification area, but since I am not using global menu this is irrelevant. I've been using windowed OSs since before windows 3 and 20 plus years of muscle memory take a lot of retraining. More importantly, I still have to use windoze for some things and I really would like consistency.

    1. Damon Lynch

      I regularly use both Ubuntu and Windows. After a little practice the placement of the window controls becomes second nature. I never think about it.

      I've been using desktop linux since 2001 and overall I think Unity is enjoyable. I prefer it to Gnome 2 and KDE. It has some rough edges, but every complex program or system I've ever used does.

    2. Jim 59

      the look and feel of an OS designed for a 5-year old using a laptop or tablet.

      Surprising how many distros are still following the "make-my-pc-look-like-a-giant-iphone" design model, even though release after release shows the folly of it, including the recent Windows 8 / Metro debacle.

      ... the Mir graphics stack which Canonical is hoping will one day support both its desktop and mobile offerings.

      Stop it Canonical. Stop it.

  14. yossarianuk

    Kubuntu is an actual desktop however

    I tried the new Ubuntu - its the best version of Unity yet (minus the Amazon spyware)

    However it still stinks to do any work with - I tried fotr a few hours - then installed Kubuntu 14.04 which is by far the best release yet.

    It is an actual real desktop, one that isn't designed for touchscreen and you can actually do some work in.

    1. James Hughes 1

      Re: Kubuntu is an actual desktop however

      I've been doing 'real work' with Unity since it came out.

      I really don't understand why people say it's not possible to do this 'real work' stuff. Happy to be enlightened.

      1. Gonzo_the_Geek

        Re: Kubuntu is an actual desktop however

        I agree with you James, I've been using it to get work done with perfectly well for the last number of years. I flit between Unity and xmonad, but as I tend to use a keyboard more than a mouse if I can get away with it, I've not really had any issues.

        I installed 14.04 over the weekend and am very happy with it, apart from the Citrix Receiver still insisting on opening my Xen Desktop full screen, regardless of whether I select full screen or windowed. Think that's more a Citrix Issue though, installing it was also fun......

  15. damian fell

    Unity convert

    I hated the Unity interface, that is until last Decemeber when I picked up an ASUS touchscreen laptop, and since then I've found it so much easier to use, that it's almost instinctive now.

    Granted if I was just using a mouse and keyboard I think it would drive me nuts, but horses for courses, with a touchscreen the Unity paradigm seems to work (or at least better than MS's metro tiles do for me!).

    1. Vociferous

      Re: Unity convert

      > I hated the Unity interface, that is until last Decemeber when I picked up an ASUS touchscreen laptop

      Yeah, it's a touch-first interface just like TIFKAM. And that, not the search security blunder, is why Ubuntu is no longer king of the hill.

  16. garden-snail
    Stop

    Menus in Title Bars

    Tried it. Hated it.

    It's better than having menus fixed at the top of the screen, but it's only a small improvement. The problem is that you can't see the menus until you hover over the bar, so you need to move your cursor into the position where you want to click before the thing you want to click on is even visible! It's also a PitA if, like me, you click on title bars to raise and focus windows. Try that now and you're accidentally opening menus left, right and centre.

    My personal preference would be putting the menu bars back underneath the title bars, and saving vertical space by removing the now unnecessary top bar.

    Bonus comment: I know this isn't new to 14.04, but does anyone else find it impossible to use Nautilus since they removed Compact View? I don't know what they were smoking when they made that decision. Previously, when I had a nice big directory open in compact view I could see the entire listing on the screen in neat little columns. Now about two thirds of my screen resolution is wasted, and if I want to see my files I have to scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll.... Infuriating!

    1. Steve Graham

      Re: Menus in Title Bars

      Ah. I had been thinking (based on the picture on the article) that it was a good idea, given the empty space in my title bars. But hiding the menu headers until you wave the mouse pointer over them doesn't seem like something I'd be happy with.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Veredict: skip

    With some perspective, I see that Ubuntu and Gnome teams started to "rethink the desktop" (Unity/Gnome 3) a couple of years ago, something that was not well received by their audience. Now I see them putting a lot of work into getting back Gnome 2 features. This is good, and shows that they listen to their audience, or perhaps that they finally are seeing that their user bases are not following them and flocking to other distros or desktop environments.

    Maybe the end result, after a few more years, is a desktop that is equally usable by touch or mouse. And equally productive for power users and end users. Which as of today, it is neither. In the meantime, I'll stick to KDE under OpenSuse. It feels like Ubuntu did back in the 8.xx - 10.yy days: complete, up to date, robust and works on anything I've thrown at it. It's not perfect, but way better for my needs than the alternatives.

    This is not meant to be derogative for those using Unity/Gnome 3: if you like these, go ahead and use them. They are just not right for my use case. This is one of the reasons why using Linux is great: it is about you being able to choose.

    1. Vic

      Re: Veredict: skip

      Maybe the end result, after a few more years, is a desktop that is equally usable by touch or mouse

      The problem is that that is almost certainly an unobtainable goal: features that make mouse use easy make touch use hard, and vice-versa.

      This is the problem that Windows 8 faces. Gnome had it easy, having the ability to do either by creating different desktops - but instead, they've made exactly the same mistake as Microsoft has made. Talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

      Vic.

      1. Vociferous

        Re: Veredict: skip

        > that is almost certainly an unobtainable goal: features that make mouse use easy make touch use hard, and vice-versa

        Yep. Ubuntu, and Microsoft, are trying to design a screwdriver which is equally good at hammering nails as it is at sawing through planks. In their defense, they know this, and do it anyway because they think that the traditional computer is dying, and that the future is cellphones and slabs, and ONLY cellphones and slabs.

        1. Steven Raith

          Re: Veredict: skip

          "Yep. Ubuntu, and Microsoft, are trying to design a screwdriver which is equally good at hammering nails as it is at sawing through planks. In their defense, they know this, and do it anyway because they think that the traditional computer is dying, and that the future is cellphones and slabs, and ONLY cellphones and slabs."

          To be fair, for the average consumer, I can see cellphones and slabs, possibly occasionally hooked up to a monitor and keyboard/mouse for knocking out a document or three, being the way things go.

          Which is why the whole Mir thing (a desktop backend that can scale from phones to 30" desktops) is being put out there - to allow a common codebase on the different devices, with an adaptive UI that can change on the fly from 'phone in my pocket with finger friendly controls' to 'desktop computer UI with more mouse and keyboard oriented controls'. Yes, applications will have to be written to support it, but as I understand it that's damned hard to do in X natively - hence Mir being done from the ground up, and partially way Wayland was set aside, too - not flexible for what Canonical felt they needed.

          Will Canonical get it right where Microsoft have got it oh so very, very wrong? I Dunno.

          They're going about it in what seems to be a pretty sensible way, though, all things considered.

          1. BitDr

            Re: Veredict: skip

            This;

            "allow a common codebase on the different devices, with an adaptive UI that can change on the fly from 'phone in my pocket with finger friendly controls' to 'desktop computer UI with more mouse and keyboard oriented controls'. "

            is a noble goal, and one which I find myself in happy agreement with, however requiring the computing device to connect to the Internet in order to supply SAAS or OSAAS is utterly distasteful eg. you can then be held hostage by those who have taken over the Internet pipes.

            So, a UI that works well as a touch UI, and doesn't change too much when it becomes keyboard centric, and a computing device that can use multiple displays as it sees fit (provided it is authorised on them). Hmmm.. Just as an aside, I recently started using a Blue Tooth mouse on my XOOM when I am at the office (already had a keyboard), and was surprised at how good it all worked. Just had to remember not to double click on an icon to start an app. But Mouse wheel scrolls through the different "desktops", or through the apps when viewing them. Everything works as expected.

  18. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
    WTF?

    new borderless application windows?

    Oh joy, now I can have my application create invisible windows that overlay the real windows and capture all keyboard and mouse input, and you won't be able to see that they're there. Spywares'R'Us.

    1. Phil_Evans

      Re: new borderless application windows?

      If your coding is up to scratch then you'll make sure those 'getfocus' events allow for this :-)

    2. wdmot

      Re: new borderless application windows?

      I'm not so concerned about spyware trying to take advantage of that; I just personally very much dislike application windows not having borders -- they're ugly IMO and hard to tell where one window ends and another begins. It's an additional thing I hate about MS Office 2013, Visual Studio 2013, and applications like them.

      I'd also be interested to hear how well focus-follows-mouse works in Unity. I've read some posts here by others concerned about it, but haven't seen anything that tells how well it actually works (other than Len's "sloppy"). I work with multiple overlapping windows, so focus-follows-mouse that works well is a must-have for me. Maybe I'll just have to try it out myself, a download and install probably doesn't take too long even on my 8 year old laptop ;-)

      That's my take on it; but of course it's personal preference. I'm glad that we have different options available, both for underlying distro and for windowing system/desktop environment.

      1. Steven Raith
        Happy

        Re: new borderless application windows?

        "I just personally very much dislike application windows not having borders -- they're ugly IMO and hard to tell where one window ends and another begins"

        I can't help with the ugly (I don't mind it) but there is drop shadowing, if that helps?

  19. itsallcrap

    I've tried Lubuntu 14.04

    ... and I approve.

    I don't like the default desktop (Unity), but if you are going to use it, make sure you run the script at:

    https://fixubuntu.com/

    ... immediately after installation.

    1. Spiracle

      Re: I've tried Lubuntu 14.04

      Or you could open the Security and Privacy box and flip the 'Include online Search Results' switch to off.

  20. James 47

    GLib-GObject-CRITICAL **: /build/buildd/glib2.0-2.32.4/./gobject/gtype.c:2722: You forgot to call g_type_init() at /usr/lib/perl/5.18/DynaLoader.pm line 207.

    GLib-CRITICAL **: g_once_init_leave: assertion `result != 0' failed at /usr/lib/perl/5.18/DynaLoader.pm line 207.

    F**king sweet! Mid install

  21. Steve Evans

    Virtual box...

    Now if only I could get it to run under VBox at >VGA resolution... Grrrrr!

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: Virtual box...

      >>"Now if only I could get it to run under VBox at >VGA resolution... Grrrrr!"

      I have Xubuntu running under VBox and scaling to a 24" monitor. So definitely possible. ;)

      Obviously you've installed Guest Add-ons?

  22. agricola
    Boffin

    of COURSE, don't mention Mark Shuttleworth's INCLUSION OF SPYWARE !!!

    ...because this is TYPICAL MARK SHUTTLEWORTH.

    A dumb-ass decision, POSSIBLY UNETHICAL, is made, the justification for which goes something like

    "...this is NOT a democracy, I made the decision; it's good for you; GET OVER IT!"

    And then what follows is a series of prevarication, circumlocution, out-and-out lying, and cover-up. Oh, and grandstanding, diversionary tactics to take the public's mind off the whatever-it-is.

    BUT, MAINLY, SIMPLY NEVER MENTIONING THE WHATEVER-IT-IS EVER AGAIN, and doing whatever is necessary to ensure that it never appears in the press again.

    1. xerocred

      Re: of COURSE, don't mention Mark Shuttleworth's INCLUSION OF SPYWARE !!!

      I really wonder what they hope to learn from my desktop searches:

      k.... keypass

      v.... vmware

      m... cpu monitor/mysql

      t... termunal

      Its not like I type "I'm looking for a book/holiday/thing called 'expensive holidays' and am willing to spend 10k on it"

  23. PJD

    How about a server review?

    This desktop edition stuff is all very well, but I doubt I'm the only one here who migrated to mint on the desktop but still uses ubuntu on the server..

    1. Vociferous

      Re: How about a server review?

      Only way to roll.

  24. Luiz Abdala
    Windows

    What the hell?

    I just gave away to charity a Pentium 4 Northwood box, with everything in it, including 2x 160GB HDDs in stripped raid plugged in an ASUS motherboard that I lost all the drivers, including the raid ones. I was not searching for them, because, as I said, I was about to dump the machine.

    But I was not giving away my Windows XP license, expired as it was. Cue Ubuntu.

    I had, 3 FREAKING DAYS AGO, searched for the last Ubuntu version to get it burned to a CD. It was 12.04 LTS or something. And I had to get the 32-bit version, after downloading the wrong 64-bit one (d'oh!).

    It didn't just find the raid array, but politely asked to be installed on said array, formatting it as needed. The little bugger just asked my time zone and keyboard layout, and off it went, formatted, installed, and remembered me to take the CD off the tray before rebooting. As it rebooted, it was running the vintage CRT monitor at 1600x1200, a resolution that I never thought possible on that particular screen, at 60Hz, just to complete the miracle. Windows never listed that resolution, as even remotely possible. Just as the raid drivers, it found the sound and network card, that were equally iffy to install in Windows.

    As a Windows user, I was dumbfounded. The installation was faster and more plug-n-play than any Windows ever on that machine, and I'm pretty sure it was running faster than ever. I just felt sorry I had to dump the machine before playing with it myself. The poor kids that receive that machine will have the chance to learn something.

    But on the Ubuntu site, no 14.x LTS in sight. I guess I missed the debut just for a couple days, huh?

  25. st4yr4d

    THIS LOOKS NICE BUT I HAVE REVERTED TO UBUNTU MANY TIMES AND ALWAYS FIND MYSELF SELLING MY SOUL BACK TO MICROSOFT AGAIN SOON AFTER... HOWEVER... if ubuntu could come up with such a feature that will invert highlighted text from capital to lower case for when I'm at work and i type a paragraph of text in capitals (see above^) without realising, i would jump across and never look back >>

    1. Vociferous

      Surely any half-decent text editor will do this for you? E.g. Textpad and Notepad+ can both do it.

      1. Vic

        Surely any half-decent text editor will do this for you? E.g. Textpad and Notepad+ can both do it.

        vi certainly can...

        Vic.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "That said, this is open source software and nothing is ever perfect."

    Unlike proprietary software... ?

  27. Vociferous

    So is it still "search for everything"?

    If so, Ubuntu is still not for me.

  28. LawAbidingCitizen

    So much hate for Unity Search?

    I can't believe the emphasis people are putting on the search functionality. Yeah, okay, we all get it, some folks miss the hierarchical organizations of programs (where you have to remember which category an application is in and then navigate to it - hopefully no more than 2 layers deep).

    Just to make it clear, you don't have to "...search for everything..."!! When you install something from the software repo, you'll see the icon float over to the Unity Launcher (OSX style!). From there, you can right-click it to keep it on the launcher. So all the applications you use most of the time are very easily accessible (in my humble opinion, it's much easier than diving into a hierarchical organization of programs/icons). I have all my favorite apps on the Unity Launcher (terminal, momentics IDE, Eclipse, MySQL Workbench, VirtualBox etc etc etc). There's the odd application I rarely use which I do occasionally search for, like CCSM (Compiz Config Settings Manager), but it's only once in a blue moon I have to perform such a search.

    I think most of your folks crying because you claim you have to "...search for everything..." don't really use Ubuntu 14.04, you just want to vent your anger and frustrations.

    Haters gonna keep on hatin'.

    1. Vociferous

      Re: So much hate for Unity Search?

      > I think most of your folks crying because you claim you have to "...search for everything..." don't really use Ubuntu 14.04

      That's right. I ditched Ubuntu because it went "search for everything", and use Mint. There is zero chance I'll even test Ubuntu as long as it's "Search for everything", it is a deal-killer.

  29. HippyFreetard

    Looks Good.

    I wasn't a fan of Unity when I was first looking for a desktop Linux. The others all seemed to be a bit saner - LXDE, Xfce, Gnome. Coming from a Windows background and all ;)

    Nowadays I'm a Mint fan, but I have found Ubuntu to be great for my little netbook. The Mac-style menu bar rocks my 1024x600 screen, and I've never felt the need to plug in a mouse. I just wish it would remember that I like my save dialogues maximised (otherwise I can't see the button) but it only takes a tap on the trackpad to do that.

    I haven't installed this yet (I usually wait a few months for the initial bugs to be ironed out) but I'm hoping it'll be a bit faster than 12.04

  30. ecofeco Silver badge

    My love for Ubuntu just got fuxrd

    14 did not install properly. Had to restart several times just to get the ISO to boot to demo. Install failed multiple times.

    Then it fuxrd grub. Now won't boot at all to either 14 or Win. In the middle of an all day repair marathon. So far, all instruction have not worked. Still trying.

    WARNING: Grub corruption seems to be a major problem with this version. Multiple questions for the same issue across many help boards.

    I am NOT a happy camper.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: My love for Ubuntu just got fuxrd

      Fixed. Now able to boot back into Win. Ubuntu can stand in the cold for a while. A LONG while.

      When I first installed Ubuntu (9 I think) it was easy as pie to install a dual boot. Now? WTF? Yeah, maybe it was bad image or bad media. (no wait, I tried both DVD and USB and only the USB worked. Downloaded the ISO 3 times)

      Yet another step backwards by the IT world.

      Here's the fix:

      You can use the Bootrec.exe tool in the Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE) to troubleshoot and repair the following items in Windows Vista or Windows 7:

      To run the Bootrec.exe tool, you must start Windows RE. To do this, follow these steps:

      Put the Windows Vista or Windows 7 installation disc in the disc drive, and then start the computer.

      Press a key when you are prompted.

      Select a language, a time, a currency, a keyboard or an input method, and then click Next.

      Click Repair your computer.

      Click the operating system that you want to repair, and then click Next.

      In the System Recovery Options dialog box, click Command Prompt.

      Type "Bootrec /fixmbr" and then press ENTER

  31. HKmk23

    Nice......But

    Slick, but no Visio or equivalent and it would not read Word files...... I assume that all the other Windows programmes (Owl, Cumulus, Evernote, etc) simply will not run either. The guy's responsible for Ubuntu have obviously worked very hard on this, but until and unless they make it more "windows" (Microsoft programmes) friendly/compatible I just cannot see it being a windows replacement (which would be nice). I'll just keep on waiting and hoping....

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