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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
 http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/11/bu...nted=1&_r=1&em


It appears the mainstream media is becoming more aware of the good stuff happening in Linux land.


However, I think the writer is way off base re: usability or the software needs of most PC users as impediments to adoption. The article mentions the ubiquitous "grandmother-readiness" as the litmus for "ready for the desktop"- we've gone over that issue ad nauseum here. Ubuntu is more than "ready for grandmothers", your Mom, niece and J6P.


The biggest impediment is not usability, or big application gaps- the article doesn't mention Wine for filling a few gaps average people may have that aren't met with Linux native apps, or the Web based Turbotax and other tax prep sites that work fine on Linux.


The impediment isn't multimedia any longer- all meaningful audio and video codecs are covered, with Flash improving and API's like VDPAU and XvBA coming along nicely.


The impediment isn't games for the hard core gamerz types- the Xbox360's, PS3's and Wii's of the world are filling that need, plus the announcement of Steam for Linux and other MMO games for Linux (native or Wine) address those issues.


The single biggest impediment is simply breaking the pre-install lock that MS (illegally) has. It should be law that every PC must be sold with a blank hard drive, with the customer choosing which OS, with all costs revealed, at time of purchase, or even after the purchase- i.e. you buy a blank machine for the lowest price and install whatever OS later. The OEM pre-install monopoly has to be addressed, which wasn't even mentioned in the article.


This includes every PC at the Staples, Best Buy's and Walmarts of the world.


That's how it was in the early 1990's and before.
 

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Wow. I didn't even recognize Shuttleworth in that photo. He sure looks different with short hair and a scruffy beard.


Anyway, he's been saying a bunch of other stuff lately that the article didn't mention which have me concerned about Ubuntu's future.


I'm hesitating about mentioning them, since I can't recall the sources.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac The Knife /forum/post/15525761


Wow. I didn't even recognize Shuttleworth in that photo. He sure looks different with short hair and a scruffy beard.


Anyway, he's been saying a bunch of other stuff lately that the article didn't mention which have me concerned about Ubuntu's future.


I'm hesitating about mentioning them, since I can't recall the sources.

Do you mean Ubuntu's direction/philosophy/strategy or it's survival/viability?


If you can recall a few words or phrases, then a Google search with "Shuttleworth $PHRASE" might turn up a source...
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rgb /forum/post/15525246


However, I think the writer is way off base re: usability or the software needs of most PC users as impediments to adoption. The article mentions the ubiquitous "grandmother-readiness" as the litmus for "ready for the desktop"- we've gone over that issue ad nauseum here. Ubuntu is more than "ready for grandmothers", your Mom, niece and J6P.


The biggest impediment is not usability (snip)

Gotta disagree with you here.


2 new computers in the family this winter..


a) mac Mini to replace my mother's aging iMac... total conversion/set-up time.. 2 hours.

b) PC for me with Ubuntu.. total time.. well over 100 hours and counting...


Linux may run well on wisely-chosen hardware, but until it runs on just about everything that is modern and being sold as new (ie. everything that MS supports), it doesn't pass the sniff test and certainly isn't ready for grandmother or mom.


While bundling the OS is egregious.. the only way I think you can sell Ubuntu now is bundled.. ie. so that someone has actually verified all the HW in that config box works. Having to install audio, video, wireless drivers is not acceptable (I had to for my machine, and its NOT bleeding edge hardware.. its all stuff that is 1 year old)... especially when its not a matter of browse to company website, download, and a simple install (imagine good ol' grandmother installing an nvidia driver by hand)... (I'll spare you the details of my wireless driver)


Its not clear to me that the needed drivers (alsa 18a, nvidia 177.82+, etc) will ever(?) make it in to the Intrepid repos (if I understand their philosophy correctly)..


The OS will sell itself.. but not until its really reached the point that it can drop in and replace Windows or Mac OS X and really work out of the box without significant/massive time investment at the command line (and 5x that time spent in Google trying to figure out what you have to do)


I'm not here trying to praise either of the other OSes (I never thought I'd have a nice thing to say about MS), but am trying to present an honest picture of my 1st-time experience with Ubuntu as an end-user.. and as someone that is generally out on the (good) tail of the bell curve for technology items, if its giving me fits, then its going to be out of reach for many folks (esp those that don't have someone else config it for them.. get it set up right, and yes, day-to-day usability is probably there.. web, email, etc)
 

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I think opinions on its readiness will vary all over the place. My personal opinion is "it depends." On your background, your willingness to do things "differently" than MS windows, your hardware, whether or not it is preinstalled. One thing I'm sure of is that it is ready for more people than are using it. I think installation is still a problem for many people (again, dependent on hardware), but in trying to compare apples to apples -- I think many people are ready to use a preinstalled system from somewhere like system76, If we are just talking use after the system is properly installed (installation varies greately for everyone, including windows if you are installing the OS). In my personal experience, It takes me more time to get windows installed properly than Linux. But I'm sure that's a factor of the hardware, and everybody will be different here, so I think my personal experience is just a small sample size that means little for others
. Too many factors.
 

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I just finished installing eeebuntu on my daughters Asus eeepc 900 and it was up and running perfectly (wireless and suspend included) in less than one hour - including download. No way I could install windows on that machine in less time than that. I've installed Intrepid on two other machines and it installed perfectly including wireless on one of those. I installed 8.04.1 on my main server that is running myth, mail (including anti-spam, greylisting, etc), web services, openssh, etc. and it was up and running in less than two hours. I did not download any additional drivers - everything I needed was in the repository.

Two weeks ago I upgraded my son's gaming machine (windows XP) and it was a two day job getting windows and all the drivers, SERVICE PACKS, 70 something updates, etc. plus rebooting it 20+ times and other assorted crap installed and working correctly. I cursed it the whole time! I had forgot how horrible it was to set up windows!

If you pick quality hardware that's not bleeding edge, most linux distros seem to install pretty easily, IMHO. What is even nicer is older hardware still works as well with new distros.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rgb /forum/post/15525807


Do you mean Ubuntu's direction/philosophy/strategy or it's survival/viability?


...

Both. I guess I'll go ahead and mention them with the caveat that I might be mischaracterizing what he said since I didn't RTFAs, I just saw the posts at slashdot.


The first one regarded survival and the quote I saw said something to the effect that Canonical has never been in the balck and Shuttleworth was getting tired of the red ink and was going to pull the plug in a year or two.


IIRC, that statement was prior to the deal with IBM being announced and prior definately prior to the announcement that HP will be delivering mini-notebooks with their own flavor of Ubuntu. So perhaps the financial situation has turned around. Which might explain the coverage in that article


The second quote had to do with moving Ubuntu to be more "cloud computing" centric. Personally, I can't undestand why anyone would want to run net-apps rather than just running them on the machine that actually sitting in front of you. You still need a computer to access the net, so what's the point?


The third had to do with Shuttleworth suggesting a bunch of very radical changes to the notification mechanism which were too radical for my tastes. If they would just stop stealing focus, I'd be perfectly happy with the current notification system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by zim2dive /forum/post/15531217


Gotta disagree with you here.


2 new computers in the family this winter..


a) mac Mini to replace my mother's aging iMac... total conversion/set-up time.. 2 hours.

b) PC for me with Ubuntu.. total time.. well over 100 hours and counting...


Linux may run well on wisely-chosen hardware, but until it runs on just about everything that is modern and being sold as new (ie. everything that MS supports), it doesn't pass the sniff test and certainly isn't ready for grandmother or mom.


I disagree with your disagreement



a) All Macs are pre-installs. You need to compare to a Linux preinstall from Dell, HP, system76, me (
) etc, with features you want/ask for out of the box when you order the machine. A valid comparison would be the Hackintosh install/setup process. Could you or $GRANDMOTHER install OSX on your Acer box or $RANDOM_HARDWARE?


b) MichaelZ summarizes the issues with Windows self installs. You had issues with your Linux self-install, which could be remedied with selection of different components, add in cards/USB device replacements for components that didn't work. I don't believe Linux needs to support *all* hardware Windows supports day-and-date. Does OSX support all Windows compatible hardware?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac The Knife /forum/post/15534597


Both. I guess I'll go ahead and mention them with the caveat that I might be mischaracterizing what he said since I didn't RTFAs, I just saw the posts at slashdot.

I read neither, but that won't keep me from commenting!


Quote:
The first one regarded survival and the quote I saw said something to the effect that Canonical has never been in the balck and Shuttleworth was getting tired of the red ink and was going to pull the plug in a year or two.

The demise of Canonical, were it to occur, wouldn't necessarily mean the demise of Ubuntu. It is GPL'd, after all. If I were Novell and Canoncal were to go under, I'd fork Ubuntu, rebadge it, and start distributing it in place of SuSE. As far as I can tell, Ubuntu has a much bigger "share-of-mind" than SuSE (aka Novell Linux).


You'd have to expect at least one community-based group would pick up the slack as well.


I can't imagine Shuttleworth being all that surprised that Ubuntu loses money. Profitability has never been very common with Linux distributions other than RedHat. Why should Ubuntu be any different? Until mainstream PC manufacturers start selling Ubuntu PCs right next to identically-configured Windows PCs with an appropriate price differential (at least US$50-100), no desktop-oriented distribution is going to be profitable.

Quote:
The second quote had to do with moving Ubuntu to be more "cloud computing" centric. Personally, I can't undestand why anyone would want to run net-apps rather than just running them on the machine that actually sitting in front of you.

That's just the current buzzword in IT circles these days; people like Shuttleworth need to throw terms like that around to sound relevant to coroprate IT execs. Like you, I think "cloud computing" is way over-hyped, especially in business settings. I'd never let my clients switch to a model where their data resides on someone else servers to be examined however that someone might choose.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rgb /forum/post/15534859


I disagree with your disagreement



a) All Macs are pre-installs. You need to compare to a Linux preinstall from Dell, HP, system76, etc, with features you want/ask for out of the box when you order the machine. A valid comparison would be the Hackintosh install/setup process. Could you install OSX on your Acer box?


b) MichaelZ summarizes the issues with Windows self installs. You had issues with your Linux self-install, which could be remedied with selection of different components, add in cards/USB device replacements for components that didn't work. I don't believe Linux needs to support *all* hardware Windows supports day-and-date. Does OSX support all Windows compatible hardware?

You can dislike the reality of my experience if you'd like, but you don't really get to disagree with it ... its a real end-user experience as a 1st-time Ubuntu installer... its a legitimate data point in how well (or not) Ubuntu does as a generally-installable OS.


We can agree that I got unlucky with my HW selection. Given the issues with Intel IGPs with Intrepid tho, it seems like there is a very non-trivial (and too high, IMO) chance of getting "unlucky".


Grandma can't be expected to search AVS forums before buying her PC and certainly won't know how to install a wireless driver from a tarball.


Everything in my box is roughly a year old (the 8200 was a CES 2008 announcement).. so I don't think bleeding edge is legitimate argmument. I'm not even expecting close to "day and date"... This box started shipping late Spring? from Acer.. so its been 8+ months... Intrepid was released end of Oct, so yeah, I think Ubuntu could've pulled more in, OR made more available via the repos in the 2 months since then.


as for the effort vs. hacktosh, LOL, I think with a different HW selection, that might have actually been LESS effort



Re: the Windows self-installs, they might me tediously long, with 20 reboots, but after 2 days he seems to have a functioning box... I'm 1 month later with no definite resolution in sight. I'd happily trade the time investment, just tell me where to sign up
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac The Knife /forum/post/15534597


The second quote had to do with moving Ubuntu to be more "cloud computing" centric. Personally, I can't undestand why anyone would want to run net-apps rather than just running them on the machine that actually sitting in front of you. You still need a computer to access the net, so what's the point?
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeijiSensei /forum/post/15535306


That's just the current buzzword in IT circles these days; people like Shuttleworth need to throw terms like that around to sound relevant to coroprate IT execs. Like you, I think "cloud computing" is way over-hyped, especially in business settings. I'd never let my clients switch to a model where their data resides on someone else servers to be examined however that someone might choose.

OK, I have to let you guys in on the secret here.


First of all, the term "cloud computing" is indeed M$ hype for the more traditional concept of ASP (Application Service Provider) which has not only been around since the late 90's, but is also an obvious throwback to the original mainframe model (circa 50's-60's) which UNIX was designed around. It's no wonder that we're falling back to this model now that hardware and bandwidth advancements have made it feasible for a full GUI to be served up to the client at such a low cost.


Secondly, to address the security issue -- what security issue? I could easily place all of the client's data on an encrypted filesystem to which even the HNIC Systems Architect wouldn't even have access without written consent and request from the client, all of which would be meticulously logged. Add to that a central location for *ALL* of the company's data which can be accessed by authorized personnel from anywhere and an off-site backup system which is secure and infallible, and you're starting to get the picture.


Lastly, I'll only briefly comment on hardware, because this is the real sweet spot, and I could write encyclopedias about it. Basically, once you have a system capable of displaying a remote desktop, then YOU WILL NEVER HAVE TO UPGRADE IT AGAIN!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by zim2dive /forum/post/15535638



Grandma can't be expected to search AVS forums before buying her PC and certainly won't know how to install a wireless driver from a tarball.


Everything in my box is rough

I don't know any Grandma's who could install any operating system, unless they work in an IT dept.
Even then it would be dicey. The geek squad at best buy keep pretty busy here!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mythmaster /forum/post/15540027


Lastly, I'll only briefly comment on hardware, because this is the real sweet spot, and I could write encyclopedias about it. Basically, once you have a system capable of displaying a remote desktop, then YOU WILL NEVER HAVE TO UPGRADE IT AGAIN!

Don't we have bandwidth issues here tho? Same goes for that AMD GPU-farm that was news a few days ago... ok, so they can play game XYZ at 2 billion fps... can they really stream those graphics to us over the existing broadband?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mythmaster /forum/post/15540027


Secondly, to address the security issue -- what security issue? I could easily place all of the client's data on an encrypted filesystem to which even the HNIC Systems Architect wouldn't even have access without written consent and request from the client, all of which would be meticulously logged.

I'm not talking about remote access to data on servers you own and control that might be located off-site. I'm talking about services like Google Docs which are being touted as the ideal solution for small businesses. In the world of IT buzzwords that's more what people have in mind when they talk about "cloud computing" these days. Who has control over your data then?


I've been using computers since the days of Hollerith cards, so I'm pretty familiar with the concepts of remote access and shared resources. Many of us "oldsters" have been amused at the revival of shared-server models after three decades of putting intelligence in the hands of the end-user.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by zim2dive /forum/post/15540812


Don't we have bandwidth issues here tho? Same goes for that AMD GPU-farm that was news a few days ago... ok, so they can play game XYZ at 2 billion fps... can they really stream those graphics to us over the existing broadband?

No and yes.



The trick is in the compression. NX, for example, was designed to work over a dialup connection.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeijiSensei /forum/post/15541208


I'm not talking about remote access to data on servers you own and control that might be located off-site. I'm talking about services like Google Docs which are being touted as the ideal solution for small businesses. In the world of IT buzzwords that's more what people have in mind when they talk about "cloud computing" these days. Who has control over your data then?


I've been using computers since the days of Hollerith cards, so I'm pretty familiar with the concepts of remote access and shared resources. Many of us "oldsters" have been amused at the revival of shared-server models after three decades of putting intelligence in the hands of the end-user.

I'm not either, I'm talking about an ASP that can't access client data without the password from the client (business client).


I laughed and shrugged off the concept, too, when I first heard of it some 10 years ago -- control of data being the main reason. But when I realized that I could get past that and really started looking at the associated benefits to the end user, I was sold, and I've been developing a business plan ever since then, just waiting for the right time to spring it into action. So, I'm pleased that M$ is drawing attention to this, but I'm not worried about competing with them because I have some tricks up my sleeve that they won't be able to touch.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeijiSensei /forum/post/15535306


I read neither, but that won't keep me from commenting!





The demise of Canonical, were it to occur, wouldn't necessarily mean the demise of Ubuntu. It is GPL'd, after all. If I were Novell and Canoncal were to go under, I'd fork Ubuntu, rebadge it, and start distributing it in place of SuSE. As far as I can tell, Ubuntu has a much bigger "share-of-mind" than SuSE (aka Novell Linux).


You'd have to expect at least one community-based group would pick up the slack as well.

.


Actually I should have elaborated more on that point. It's not the code base that I'm worried about, after all, 99.99% of the code base is just Debian anyway.


It's really all the other things Canonical provides such as, IMHO, the best repository of any of the distros (most features, easiest to search, and my most used feature, easiest to browse). Although I was recently in the Debian repo and it's now looking very similar to Ubuntu's. I haven't looked into it fully so I'm not sure if it has all the features as Ubuntu's.


Then there are the forums, which seem to have more activity then the other distros.


I'm sure someone would rebadge Ubuntu if Shuttleworth let Canonical go under, but I'd be really surprized if it was Novell. Novell has been fully on board the LSB train and LSB distros are required to support RPMs. So for Novell to switch to a DEB distro would be a hell of a big step since they would essentially be abandoning the LSB.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SeijiSensei /forum/post/15535306


I can't imagine Shuttleworth being all that surprised that Ubuntu loses money. Profitability has never been very common with Linux distributions other than RedHat. Why should Ubuntu be any different? .

I'm sure he expected it to lose money to start with, but it sounds like his patience is running out and he's ready to move on to other things.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelZ /forum/post/15532433


Two weeks ago I upgraded my son's gaming machine (windows XP) and it was a two day job getting windows and all the drivers, SERVICE PACKS, 70 something updates, etc. plus rebooting it 20+ times and other assorted crap installed and working correctly. I cursed it the whole time! I had forgot how horrible it was to set up windows!

This is another big impediment to Linux adoption- too many good people are still acting as enablers for Windows!?


Yes, I used to do what you described for nieces, nephews, siblings, parents and coworkers, but I stopped about two years ago.


It's quite cathartic to say "I don't use Windows and can't help you" whenever someone tries to hit you up for help or advice on Windows problems.


You *must* let your kids, spouse, parents, coworkers, friends experience the full reality of the poor Windows experience, and not "cover it up" for them by doing all the band-aid and set up work for them, which includes malware protection, etc. If your son *really* wants his games *that bad*, he'll either learn to do what you did for himself, or find an alternative. In too many situations like yours and too many households, Windows XP has been reduced to effectively the fourth major video game console- it's the only real reason most households continue to run it ("most" households, not the minority prosumers/professionals who want/need a specialized Win-only app).


If people see and experience the time, resources, money, and pain needed to make Windows safely work, which you're working hard to hide from them, they will willingly *ask for* and *want* an alternative. This is not "wishful thinking". It has begun to happen with the family members and coworkers I interact with.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rgb /forum/post/15570108


This is another big impediment to Linux adoption- too many good people are still acting as enablers for Windows!?


Yes, I used to do what you described for nieces, nephews, siblings, parents and coworkers, but I stopped about two years ago.


It's quite cathartic to say "I don't use Windows and can't help you" whenever someone tries to hit you up for free work or advice on Windows problems.


You *must* let your kids, spouse, parents, coworkers, friends experience the full reality of the poor Windows experience, and not "cover it up" for them by doing all the band-aid and set up work for them, which includes malware protection, etc. If your son *really* wants his games *that bad*, he'll either learn to do what you did for himself, or find an alternative. Effectively, in too many situations like yours and too many households, Windows XP has been reduced to effectively the fourth major video game console- it's the only real reason most households continue to run it.


If they see and experience the time, resources, money, and pain needed to make Windows safely work, which you're working hard to hide from them, they will willingly *ask for* and *want* an alternative. This is not "wishful thinking". It has begun to happen with the family members and coworkers I interact with.

Yes, but it depends on what your goal is...


If you want to help them find a cheaper/free alternative with just as much pain (per my experience so far).. you can send them to Linux.


If you want to save them the pain, but not any $$, you send them to Apple (the only downside to Apple is the HW selection)


I can say this with some experience, I've now owned all 3 OSes and attempted to use (in varying degree and with varying success) all 3 for HTPC.


again, I'm not here to evangelize the other OSes, but neither do I share your optimism of linux being ready for the masses.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by zim2dive /forum/post/15570293


Yes, but it depends on what your goal is...


If you want to help them find a cheaper/free alternative with just as much pain (per my experience so far).. you can send them to Linux.


If you want to save them the pain, but not any $$, you send them to Apple (the only downside to Apple is the HW selection)


I can say this with some experience, I've now owned all 3 OSes and attempted to use (in varying degree and with varying success) all 3 for HTPC.


again, I'm not here to evangelize the other OSes, but neither do I share your optimism of linux being ready for the masses.

Again, this is mixing up the preinstall/experienced installer/post-setup usability issues.


In MichaelZ's case, MichaelZ could erase his son's hard drive, forcing his son to do the following-


a) Learn to install/setup and pay for all his Windows needs, including all ancillary proprietary software/licenses needed to be bought and installed


b) Try an alternative OS install


c) If he isn't willing to/doesn't have the aptitude for a) or b), he will save up his money/sell his current computer for another computer with the OS/drivers/etc *already installed* and setup for him, be it another Windows box, an Apple computer, or a Dell/HP/System76 linux box.


In the case of MichaelZ son's existing computer or your Acer, before attempting a Linux install, an experienced OS installer would find out the GPU, Ethernet chip model, sound chip model, Northbridge/Southbridge model numbers and related info, plugging each into Google with "linux" and checking for the current compatibility/status. This takes only a few minutes for each device/chip. Then I would select the most compatible distro/kernel and/or start getting replacement components for those not yet supported, or consider selling a prebuilt/OEM PC and putting together the components from those known to work from the search. This is all BEFORE booting the OS CD in the first place.


NO, $GRANDMA won't/can't do this- she wouldn't be expected to. She would buy a pre-install or have an experienced OS installer setup for her, and usability AFTER an OS is installed/configured by an OEM or experienced installer is a SEPARATE ISSUE from the INSTALL/SETUP PROCESS.
 
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