I think linux might have "broken through" with ubuntu

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I think linux might have "broken through" with ubuntu

Post by jaredfogle » Thu Feb 19, 2009 6:20 pm

Really.

For years I've seen people in the FLOSS world claiming "This will be the year of linux on the desktop."

Well, now I'm actually starting to see my friends installing ubuntu. And running it. Non-geeks, too (I'm probably the only of my friends who knows what "ls" does in unix). Every coffee shop with public computers I've seen in the last year runs it, too.

What do you guys think? Have you been seeing more mainstream adoption of FLOSS, specifically ubuntu?
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Re: I think linux might have "broken through" with ubuntu

Post by Ex-Cyber » Thu Feb 19, 2009 6:53 pm

Still depends on your hardware, but Ubuntu has certainly done a lot to polish the overall experience.

I can't say I've personally seen greater mainstream adoption of FLOSS, but on a not-mainstream-but-maybe-not-FLOSS-geeks note, it seems like I've seen a lot of people praising and otherwise discussing R lately, even though the project is over 10 years old.
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Re: I think linux might have "broken through" with ubuntu

Post by Nico0020 » Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:58 pm

I love ubuntu. I am a dork, but not a hardcore geek or anything.....well except with dreamcast.

anyways. I dont know how to compile my own stuff, how to code or anything dramatic. Linux "just works" for me. Like today, I finally networked my printer. All I had to do was "search for printer", I gave it the IP address of the computer it was connected to and it did the rest for me. I don't think "the year of the linux desktop" is here yet, but it is coming soon. Ubuntu just really REALLY needs a new theme to attract the modern pc user. Most people I know that try ubuntu live CD just say "why is it so ugly", but want it due to all the cool compiz stuff. I'd say in maybe 5 years ubuntu will make linux much less of a joke OS for the average PC user.
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Re: I think linux might have "broken through" with ubuntu

Post by MulletMan13 » Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:20 pm

I've had a few sour experiences with linux. Installing certain video cards can be a complete bitch-- even with ATI tools. Frustrating things get super frustrating in Linux, whereas in Windows you can typically guess/find the problem. In Linux you get something that is gibberish (to the average user) and there is very little to get out of it.

I appreciate Linux for what it is, but I've never had the need to install it over OSX or XP.
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Re: I think linux might have "broken through" with ubuntu

Post by jaredfogle » Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:47 pm

MulletMan13 wrote:I appreciate Linux for what it is, but I've never had the need to install it over OSX or XP.

I think a lot of the frustration the average user has with Windows is that, when something goes wrong or it is time for routine maintainence, it doesn't really make sense what needs to be done. Every digital camera they buy, every printer they set up adds a new startup item that clogs everything up. It just isn't very intuitive.

I'm really not trying to make this into a OS-war thread. That's a really silly thing to discuss.

My point is still that I'm beginning to see it in use among friends and at public terminals. That most definitely was not happening three years ago at all.


I'm about to install a virtual machine on my MacBook via/ parallels and try ubuntu out myself. Is it true that with Apple's Boot Camp I can partition the HD without losing my data? Does it often go wrong while it partitions and ruin my life?
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Re: I think linux might have "broken through" with ubuntu

Post by Specially Cork » Fri Feb 20, 2009 8:22 am

I enjoyed using Ubuntu for the most part, but every installation I've had has always thrown up far more problems than Windows ever has, and the solutions have been far from "intuitive". I'd say I know my way around a computer better than 90% of "regular users" out there, but even I cringe everytime I get told to "open a terminal...".

If Linux wants to really move into the casual desktop market, then the community is going to have to move in that direction too. Even with Ubuntu, there is still more focus on educating people about linux, rather than developing linux to suit what those users already know. It doesn't matter if I can do these things through the GUI, the genral community doesn't want people doing things that way. Yes, opening a terminal is usually the best way to get things done, and watering things down isn't a good thing - but if it's too uncomfortable to offer that, then don't bother chasing that audience.
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Re: I think linux might have "broken through" with ubuntu

Post by Ex-Cyber » Fri Feb 20, 2009 8:58 am

Although Linux users tend to be biased toward the command line, it isn't just a Linux thing; it pretty regularly happens with Windows too (e.g. with this or this, each of which otherwise involves navigating several layers of version/edition/configuration/hardware-dependent GUI stuff).
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Re: I think linux might have "broken through" with ubuntu

Post by jaredfogle » Fri Feb 20, 2009 10:32 am

Command line definitely isn't a linux-only thing. I learned unix CLI from Mac OS.

Sometimes it's just faster or easier for what you need to do. Or the only way. I understand why it can be intimidating, though.


I played with ubuntu a little bit last night. It's nice. My installation is pretty ugly (all defaults). Comes with Firefox, email, bittorrent, Open Office. Just about everything your average user needs, I think.

I wonder if things like external hard drives are plug-and-play at all?
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Re: I think linux might have "broken through" with ubuntu

Post by MulletMan13 » Fri Feb 20, 2009 10:39 am

jaredfogle wrote:
MulletMan13 wrote: I'm about to install a virtual machine on my MacBook via/ parallels and try ubuntu out myself. Is it true that with Apple's Boot Camp I can partition the HD without losing my data? Does it often go wrong while it partitions and ruin my life?
Sure can. It's a great tool for that sortof stuff.
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Re: I think linux might have "broken through" with ubuntu

Post by Code-Red » Sat Feb 21, 2009 3:53 am

In my opinion Linux & its distros are still ages away from seeing adoption by mainstream computer users. Most people you are speaking of were probably turned onto it by friends, and happen to be at least a little computer savvy.

I know they are offering it as an option on most pre-built PC's now, but it just still is not user friendly enough. It's not very attractive either...
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Re: I think linux might have "broken through" with ubuntu

Post by AWESOM-O » Sat Feb 21, 2009 8:34 am

Brown. Brown. Brown. Orange. Brown. Orange. Orange. Brown.

It's not the 70's.
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Re: I think linux might have "broken through" with ubuntu

Post by Stormwatch » Sun Feb 22, 2009 12:50 am

I like the brown style. It's quite ellegant, distinctive, and easy on the eyes.
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Re: I think linux might have "broken through" with ubuntu

Post by AWESOM-O » Sun Feb 22, 2009 2:53 pm

Ex-Cyber wrote:Still depends on your hardware, but Ubuntu has certainly done a lot to polish the overall experience.
You can polish a turd, but it's still a turd.
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Re: I think linux might have "broken through" with ubuntu

Post by Maturion » Sun Feb 22, 2009 3:26 pm

Ubuntu is nothing like a parasyte. Don't support it. Use SUSE, Fedora or Gentoo...
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Re: I think linux might have "broken through" with ubuntu

Post by Specially Cork » Mon Feb 23, 2009 11:56 am

Maturion wrote:Ubuntu is nothing like a parasyte. Don't support it. Use SUSE, Fedora or Gentoo...
...and then there's the distro wars, which is never going to help the Linux cause. Lots of choices with few clear differences and crazy names and brands that have nothing in common with the "Linux" name. A single, unified brand would be far easier to market to the mass computing public. Somebody wanting to know what Linux is will type it into Google and end up at www.linux.org - hardly a great place to start convincing somebody why they shouldn't be using Windows.

This problem runs far deeper than PR though. It affects support and compatability too.
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Re: I think linux might have "broken through" with ubuntu

Post by Stormwatch » Mon Feb 23, 2009 12:38 pm

True, it is confusing. But consider that different distros have different purposes. Something like Ubuntu for a new regular PC, a lighter distro like Puppy for some older machine, another for embedded devices, another for supercomputers and clusters, etc.
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Re: I think linux might have "broken through" with ubuntu

Post by Ex-Cyber » Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:43 pm

What's funny is that there are probably about as many Windows editions as there are viable/popular Linux distros. Counting only current versions of the various editions, and neglecting the various architecture and with/without Hyper-V variations, we now have:

Vista Home Basic
Vista Home Premium
Vista Business
Vista Ultimate
Vista Enterprise
XP Embedded
XP Embedded for Point of Service
Fundamentals for Legacy PCs
Server 2008 Standard
Server 2008 Datacenter
Server 2008 Enterprise
Web Server 2008
HPC Server 2008

Realistically, there are also still a lot of boxes out there running XP Home/Pro and 2000 Pro.
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Re: I think linux might have "broken through" with ubuntu

Post by Specially Cork » Mon Feb 23, 2009 9:20 pm

Ex-Cyber wrote:What's funny is that there are probably about as many Windows editions as there are viable/popular Linux distros. Counting only current versions of the various editions, and neglecting the various architecture and with/without Hyper-V variations, we now have:

Vista Home Basic
Vista Home Premium
Vista Business
Vista Ultimate
Vista Enterprise
XP Embedded
XP Embedded for Point of Service
Fundamentals for Legacy PCs
Server 2008 Standard
Server 2008 Datacenter
Server 2008 Enterprise
Web Server 2008
HPC Server 2008

Realistically, there are also still a lot of boxes out there running XP Home/Pro and 2000 Pro.
But they're all unified under the Microsoft Windows brand. It sounds petty, but in the world of marketing it really makes a huge difference.
True, it is confusing. But consider that different distros have different purposes. Something like Ubuntu for a new regular PC, a lighter distro like Puppy for some older machine, another for embedded devices, another for supercomputers and clusters, etc.
Lots of distros share purposes though. Maturion just said we shouldn't use Ubuntu. Not because it doesn't serve our purpose, but because it is his personal belief that there are better distros out there. This is where (for a new user looking to get into Linux) the confusion begins.
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Re: I think linux might have "broken through" with ubuntu

Post by Quzar » Tue Feb 24, 2009 12:13 am

What I've always been surprised at (but still not really) is how many CS students here who support the free nature of linux use Ubuntu and argue about the need for free (libre) software, only require software they use to be free (gratis).
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Re: I think linux might have "broken through" with ubuntu

Post by Ex-Cyber » Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:17 am

BoneyCork wrote:But they're all unified under the Microsoft Windows brand. It sounds petty, but in the world of marketing it really makes a huge difference.
Yes, but as you said,
BoneyCork wrote:This problem runs far deeper than PR though. It affects support and compatability too.
Although Microsoft and ISVs go to a lot of trouble to maintain the illusion that Windows = Windows, it's not hard to run into situations where it breaks down. This is especially true if you e.g. run one of the "Server" family as a workstation (which is surprisingly popular).
Quzar wrote:What I've always been surprised at (but still not really) is how many CS students here who support the free nature of linux use Ubuntu and argue about the need for free (libre) software, only require software they use to be free (gratis).
What I've always been surprised at is how much cruft there is in some of that libre code, although GNU seems to be worse than most (my favorite example being true/false). I think the GNU project may have lost its way when it started trying to support every unixlike under the sun as a host. I more or less support RMS's philosophical positions on software, but I'm really not convinced that the GNU code is all that great on the merits.
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