The BBC takes on Linux

Ubuntu

A few days ago, a BBC journalist was on air saying that Ubuntu was "a whole sort of little community of enthusiasts building operating systems for absolutely nothing." Since then, as you can imagine, he's had some angry emails from Linux users, so Canonical sent him over a laptop with Karmic Koala Netbook Remix installed.

The result, sadly, isn't great for Linux, but there's a lot we can learn from the results of the test.

The bad news:

  • Linux took 40 seconds to boot. Yes, that's faster than the 55 seconds Windows 7 took to boot (and on a faster laptop, too), but, still, 40 seconds is pathetic.
  • The background was "offensively brown" - something people have been telling Canonical for years.
  • The writer "struggled to see other machines and devices on my network."
  • Audacity was "more complex to get hold of"
  • He gave up trying to use Spotify, because it required Wine.
  • It wasn't immediately apparent that clicking on the Ubuntu logo took him back to the desktop.
  • A Canonical advisor had to come over and install a few extra things for him, including Flash, but still he "struggled to work out how I would organise photos, music and video."
  • Ubuntu "would not make my computing life any simpler and more pleasurable than it is now."

He brings up some really important points. And part of our problem is that many users will say, "he's wrong; he's a newbie; it doesn't matter what he thinks." But we'd like to respectfully disagree: if the mainstream press are trying Linux and simply can't get along with it, then we've got a serious problem.

UNR itself is pretty esay to use, but it should come as no surprise that he didn't find it immediately obvious that clicking on the Ubuntu logo takes you back to the desktop. If you've ever used UNR, you'll know that Ubuntu logo is pretty small and gets lost when other apps are running. Given the market this distro is being aimed at - users who get Linux with a new netbook, and are almost certainly new to UNR - surely Canonical really needs some sort of start up "Welcome to UNR" wizard to point out a few things to help get people going?

Again, given the target market, why doesn't UNR bundle all sorts of extra codecs and plug-ins as standard? We don't know of any reason why Ubuntu couldn't have pre-installed Flash on this netbook. Adobe's licensing certainly allows it, and the free equivalent of Flash - Gnash - just isn't up to the job yet. The BBC journalist - Rory Cellan-Jones - is an experienced computer user who, as his job, tries all sorts of interesting new hardware and software all the time. Far from being a computer first-timer, he's actually not far off being a power user.

As for Audacity being hard to get hold of, this doesn't seem too surprising. Yes, we know and love Synaptic, but it must be a terrifying experience for folks who just want to install some software. Sadly, Ubuntu is taking a huge step backwards in Karmic with Software Centre, so we really don't see this getting any better in the near future.

However, there is one thing we strongly disagree with: we don't think it's difficult to organise photos, music and videos with Linux. First, please remember that Windows 7 drops several key programs from Windows, including Mail, Messenger, Movie Maker and Photo Gallery. These are some pretty fundamental tools that don't come installed as standard: you need to download and install Windows Live Essentials to get them, which is several hundred megabytes.

Out of the box, Ubuntu Netbook Remix comes with F-Spot for organising photos, Brasero for writing DVDs, Rhythmbox for playing music, Empathy for internet chat, and more. You get all this out of the box. No special internet downloads required. No hoops to jump through. And yet these are apparently harder than the Windows equivalents? Perhaps so, but, we'd argue, only because they are different - any Windows user has spent years figuring out how to get Windows just how they like it, so no matter what Linux does (short of cloning Windows byte-by-byte) it will be different and thus "harder."

Keep in mind, folks, that MS actually puts adverts into Windows Live Messenger, but even with that kind of clutter we're still apparently falling behind in usability. What do you think? Are these apps genuinely hard to use, or is there just a learning curve? Are packages still too hard to install? Should common plugins be installed as standard when we're targeting Linux newbies? Send in your thoughts below.

Read the BBC article here

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Your comments

poor journalism, poor test run

A quick trial-run like the BBC reporter did is worthless. What if he had never seen a Mac or a Windows PC before and gave it same test? He would be just as confused and lost. It's bad journalism and a worthless article.

You *d*ots, that's because

You *d*ots, that's because he was given UBUNTU.

Yes, ubuntu is easy to use if you wanted to learn how to use Linux voluntarily, but is totally alien to someone who is "forced" to try Linux.

Give him Linux Mint and that will be easier for him to accept.

Better still, install Mint with KDE BEFORE he sees Windows 7 and he will says that windows 7 actually copies Linux.

So for all you Linux fanatics out there, you've all missed the point.

Giving Ubuntu to someone who is not voluntarily wanting to try Linux is as good as installing openbsd and shaft it to him to use - for those who have not tried openbsd and don't know what I'm talking about ..... that's the point :D

Interesting Article

<<UNR itself is pretty esay>>

okay so i know it's early (and i know my typings not perfect) but you've made a typo:-)

Personally I think most people are stuck in the way of using Windows and don't come to Linux with an open mind. Yes its different, accept that, move on and its not difficult to use. Okay so stuff is in different places. But on Ubuntu Applications is where you're going to find your programs etc its a damn site easier to use then xp/vista/7 in that regard.

Linux is just more logically thought out.

<<I would first need to get hold of something called Wine which allows you to run Windows apps. Too much bother...>>

Sorry that clicking takes so much of his precious time.

<<, I struggled to work out how I would organise photos, music and video with this system.>>

They go in the appropriately named folders.

Choice of distro

<<You *d*ots, that's because he was given UBUNTU.>>

No not given, offered. He didn't have to take it. Yes Linux Mint is easier to sue out of the box, but if he couldn't be bothered to install wine then he should stick with windows.

<<Give him Linux Mint and that will be easier for him to accept.>>
But you're still forcing him to use it.

Karmic is going in the RIGHT direction with the Software Center!

"Sadly, Ubuntu is taking a huge step backwards in Karmic with Software Centre"

Are you kidding me? The App Center is beyond user friendly - it's idiot proof! I fail to see how hard it is to look at a screen shot and detailed description of a program and then decide on whether or not you should install it. It's way better than the traditional Add/Remove and feels more grand and all-encompassing just from its design.

Ubuntu is getting easier every release, and by 10.04, purists will be whining about it being "bloated" and too "dumbed down". Undoubtably, Tux Radar will be on that side of the fence as well when the time comes.

Ubuntu is not trouble free

Ubuntu is not trouble free like junky Windows are not...

When i recommend Ubuntu to someone i say every new thing must have learning to do.

There are still some reporters out there that use very old systems and they are freelance only in some countries.

Linux can be more than welcome to reporters to and why the hell not!

In the minority

I fear I might be in the minority here. You see, I see no great benefit in evangelising Linux, and feel no great wish to convert Windows/Mac users. I fear there would be many disadvantages to increasing popularity, such as increased attention by malware authors etc.
Also, its part of the human condition that, in general, we dont vote politicians IN, we vote them OUT, or, in context, people will only switch to Linux when Windows fails them, not for any other reason. I use Linux exclusively, but Vista is what caused me to switch, not someone saying Linux is great.
In fact, throughout history, evangelists have been pretty much vilified.............

one thing missing

UNR is pretty good but if you are using a 3g dongle there is no software installed to alert you of your downloads and uploads, most 3g contracts are capped, doh!

boo

Interesting isnt it. The simple truth is we live in a 2 minute noodle society (NOthing against the noodle- I am a true noodle enthusiast) It kind of reminds me of the guy who takes a new electric guitar back to the shop he brought it from because "It didnt sound right". Technology is like a musical instrument. It takes time, patience and a huge amount of screwups to get to a reasonable level of accuracy. Yes, the guy is a womble (Again, nothing against wombles)but so is most of the people that sit at computers, they dont want to understand the hidden intricate nature of electricity, they just want to turn a freakin light on. I can relate to that.

Why I like you!

You know Tuxradar guys why I like you? Because you are one the few Linux users who can see it without being in love with it. This article has a very important message.

I totally agree with this sentence: "if the mainstream press are trying Linux and simply can't get along with it, then we've got a serious problem."
We have serious problems.
Free software is somehow idealistic. Software must be available and be easy to use! Freedom is at third level of importance I think.

I want Adobe Acrobat Pro and Flex Builder on my Ubuntu and Adobe simply ignores us! I think because we are a really small community among desktop users and this must change! But I don't know with comments like "Stick to your windows!" were are we leading!

Mint

They should have sent him a machine with Mint installed. So easy even a complete computer novice / technophob' can use it with little or no instruction as I have witnessed!

Someone who has only used

Someone who has only used linux and has never used windows before, if such a person could be found, needs to try to switch to windows and see what they think of that switch.

agree with DaveS

You're not completely in the minority. I'm an exclusive linux user, also brought to the point via Vista. I was using it on servers before but not desktops.

As for the ease of use of linux, in some ways (particularly dealing with different monitors!) Linux has a way to go, but it is getting better and better with every release. Speaking of... 4 more days!

Usability could use a facelift

I'll admit, most of the "life" apps for managing photos, music, and videos have horrible user interfaces. It doesn't matter that Windows doesn't offer anything better because there is a wide selection on Windows, even if it costs money or it installs malware.

For example, my fiancee was happy with the app that came with her camera, all she had to do was plug it in and the pictures would download and she could easily arrange them. Since I switched her to Linux, the program doesn't run under wine and she hates f-spot, and so do I. It works but the user interface is garbage.

Most user programs on Linux suffer from the same problems. Big buttons, amateur looking design art, confusing menu selections, lack of automation, and goofy proportions for layouts.

I actually have plans to do a photo manager using QT's webkit module for the display and adding in shutterfly API support. I probably wont have time to work on it until next summer, but I feel like I need to rewrite all those programs just to make them usable. GTKPOD has one of the worse interfaces I've ever seen

Seriously, the user interface on most staple linux apps is pure garbage.

The way forward.

People do not want to know how to make things happen on their PC's they just expect them to do it. There are issues of software like Spotify not being available for Linux where we can do nothing about that (although I think one of the Qt dev's might be in the process of sorting Spotify!).

However, I think there is a lot that could be done to improve usability and documentation to ease a new user to the fold even if that is only a short help topic on sorting your files (Music, photos and videos). We take it for granted that users know how to do these things and that is unfair.

I do agree with the above comment that had the reporter never touched a computer before what the results would be. Like it or not Windows has defined the computer UI to most people. We need to identify ways to guide people who are at least willing to try Linux.

Audacity hard to get hold of?

"As for Audacity being hard to get hold of, this doesn't seem too surprising. Yes, we know and love Synaptic, but it must be a terrifying experience for folks who just want to install some software."

So, what do you propose? Ubuntu should dump Synaptic and APT, and have everybody scour the internet for .deb files, just like they have to do to get installers for Windows and Mac?

I don't see what's "terrifying" abou it. Confusing, yes, if you're not used to it. But once somebody's shown you how it all works - which should take all of two minutes - you'll immediately see how much better having a proper package management system is.

The point about start-up wizards is a valid one. And I think that an explanation of Synaptic should be part of that.

angle of approach

It doesn't really matter, what distro you try out. If you expect to find another Windows, then you will be disappointed by any Linux.
If you have driven VW for the past 20 years, you will have to adjust to your new Alfa. Switches are in a different place, instead of the indicators coming on, it will be the windscreen wipers.
If you want to change, be prepared to do it. You can't judge an operating system by how easy it is, to run windows software on it.

Also in the minority

just like "DaveS" i also don't see the point of talking about linux religiously. i've been using linux for about a decade now & i like it. but why waste time convincing someone that linux is better than windows?

A demo should have been given beforehand.

Let's admit that Windows has been in use so long that people know how to use it, and that Ubuntu needs demos to show how it works. It's easier than Windows in my oppinion, but not when you're not given any guidelines. A few seconds of instructions can go a long way.

whats in a name?

at least with windows you do get "Mail, Messenger, Movie Maker and Photo Gallery" even if you have to download it.
I mean what the hell is "Brasero" and "F-Spot".
4 ease of use and navigability may I suggest just renaming a few things with a more generic understandable titles.
some of the things in Linux just sound harder to use than in Windows and especially in Mac.
Mac's have it sorted Iphoto this and Itunes that. it all sounds so easy to find and use.

Better help needed

I agree with the comment stating "A few seconds of instructions can go a long way." It would be great for new users if after ubuntu is installed you can take a tour like you can in Windows.

One problem for new linux users is that they will try and do things the same way as they would on osx or windows. I know most linux distros have wikis and help systems but they do assume prior knowledge.

I also agree with the comment about program titles, I know some mainstream progs have non descript names, Dreamweaver and Fireworks for example a photo album prog and a music playing prog should have names that almost describe what the program does.

It's not a million years ago

It's not a million years ago that the BBC was getting flack for saying they'd only had 600 Linux users visit their site. Whether we like it or not, the Beeb is a large corporation with a natural affinity for other large corporations, and given that background I thought the linked article was surprisingly well-balanced.

I've tried Ubuntu a few times and always came to the same conclusion as the author: it "would not make my computing life any simpler and more pleasurable than it is now." Nothing against Canonical, I just prefer the way Mandriva handles things.

Not trolling but...

I think the problem was the software selection.
If we give him KDE 4, with plasma, kwin, and Amarok, he will say: "wow! Win7 is a copy indeed and I can't live without Amarok now" :-)

It's a free software

Hey!

this is free software... really free, no charge AND you can do what you want...

For Windows you've to pay 100euro/dollars/pound before the first BOOT!

the missing features are easyly installable.... You've only to put some will.

Then try to build a new application on Windows 7, yuo've to spend other money for many compilers... while with ubuntu you've gcc ...

Bye

I sympathise with Rory

I've used Linux since I came across Red Hat 5.1 in 1998, almost exclusively. I like to try as many different Distro's as I can and I find that not everything is easy to get working straight away. I would say that it takes a while to really get to grips with something new, no doubt there will be plenty of things in Windows 7 that will have even hardened Windows users complaining!
I've used Dos, Windows 3, 96, 98, XP and Vista but overall I find that I much prefer to use Linux in its various flavours.

Encourageing comments

Yes the article by Rory is pretty dismissive, but it is encouraging to see how many comments there are of the type, "I have now been using Ubuntu for 5 months, and now hardly ever go back to windows..."

How Rory Cellan-Jones can claim to be a technology correspondent when he obviously has such a limited knowledge of this technology is alarming. I know there are lots of very switched on people at the BBC running the infrastructure and doing research, that could have done a much better job that this.

If he would me more eager to

If he would me more eager to use Linux. He should have done some reseach how to install Adobe and use specific programs.
Since all of beginners can find How-to's all over the NET , it might be usefull to point him out those web pages.

Unfortunately what straightforward to me is not that to others.
(Maybe Windows makes them think complicated and thats why they just cannot understand that using a OS can be simple. )
I have not used Windows over 10 years and I never missed it.

"The BBC journalist - Rory

"The BBC journalist - Rory Cellan-Jones - is an experienced computer user who, as his job, tries all sorts of interesting new hardware and software all the time. Far from being a computer first-timer, he's actually not far off being a power user."

An experience user could install a program easy, why he just could not do it by himself?

Using Synaptic or the new Softwer Center cannot be harder then searching through several websides to find some program and then find out of that it is free , shareware or cost you money.

I dont thing Linux harder to use then any Windows. The only thing is that it can be confusing because it look different at first. And for that point people afraid to touch it.

I'm confused!

Why is it a bad thing that it booted faster than Windows 7.? Any what's the big deal about boot times anyway? I've never been that fussed about it myself.

And complaining that it's too brown - come one, change the theme!

Sounds like he just tried to find things wrong with it rather than taking it seriously.

What?

"Yes, we know and love Synaptic, but it must be a terrifying experience for folks who just want to install some software. "

How?
In what possible world is it "terrifying" to have at your disposal the ability to install software with a few clicks of the mouse?
Suppose you want to install audacity: you launch synaptic, put in your password, click search, type in "audacity" hit enter and then a second later you click the box next to the audacity package select "mark for installation" and hit enter when prompted to mark the other dependencies. Now all you have to do is click Apply and Robert's your mothers brother.
I admit its a bit harder and more involved than opening a terminal and typing "sudo apt-get install audacity" followed by your password and Y, but it isn't scary.

It's just the Mom test

It's just the Mom test again

I can (and have) sat my mom down in front of a Mac, and it works for her. I can't say the same for Ubuntu - although I can get her using it, I need to spend a couple of hours kicking it into a shape she can use.

I'm not sure about Mint as mentioned above, I tried it a couple of times, and although some things were definitely a lot better than Ubuntu (and I am not just referring to the colour scheme), other things still need a lot of usability work.

I'm in two minds about package management. There's no doubt that apt is the way to go, and synaptic is excellent. But only for the advanced users. I can see what they're trying to do with the new front-end, but it behaves like a recalcitrant child - refusing to do stuff you want it to, without reason and when pressed just tries to hide behind it's big brother. It's the right idea, but it needs to be even less "package" oriented, and more "what do you want to do", along with having more human explanations of why it's referring you to Synaptic

Still, Ubuntu is getting there, and it's derivatives more so. Dump the brown, tweak the default Gnome settings, and improve the "install" front end and do something about the installers, and we've got it.

TUX RADAR PUBLISHED A DECEIPTFUL ARTICLE

Well, after reading the actual article, I can see that the actual Journalist in question turned out to have some pretty positive impressions for Ubuntu - but Tux Radar took it and spun it into a "controversial" negative review of Ubuntu, just for the sake of garnering commentary and interest from passionate Linux users.. That's pretty dirty of you guys to do. I'm disappointed.

We are afraid

People are just afraid of what is different. To have a MS computer running effectively you MUST spend about 1000euros/pounds/dollars worth of software from Microsoft to your anti-virus with other apps in between. On the other hand you need 0euros/pounds/dollars to run a Linux computer.
I mean who wouldn't want that?
It requires more click to install a program in Windows than in Linux.

LINUX MINT

Lol you should of sent him LINUX MINT all I can say also. and i aggree with another. this guy is a talker not a thinker. so like most them they dont have a high comprehension unless you sitdown and show them the obvious.

so no a bbc tester is um not very good food for thought. you can only make a operating system so much idiot proof before you send the idiot to someone to teach him in 10 mins the very small basics. yes 10 minutes all takes to teach a person programmed for windows to learn linux. but its needed.

I have personally switched over 897 people to linux mint in last 2 years and not one has left mainly because i sit down with majority of them 10 minutes and explained very simple basics. rest use logic and figure it out without help.

Don't ruin Ubuntu pls

Ubuntu is for those who have more understanding of computers and demand more from an operating system which clearly a crap called Windows cant give them. If you don't know how to work with it then they created Windows for you! Leave us alone and don't ruin what we have. You are going to make it look like Windows because of these people. Be careful about that.

After using Windows for

After using Windows for years (started with 98 and now using 7 RC missing Vista) I installedd the 64 bit version of Jaunty Jackalope and then spent around two hours trying to install Flash and get my onboard sound card working.

I did search the net for instructions and asked for help on twitter, I got various results and couldn't get any of them to work. I tried the terminal commands on one website and ended up more confused then when I started, Synaptic is good but having to enter passwords then search, select the program to install and hit enter a few times is very long winded compared to getting Windows Live Essentials for eaxmple where all I have to do is click download then click open it does the rest for me.

The main problem I had was finding a simple guide and answers to some of the questions I had like "What do I do with deb files?" and "Why do I have to use the terminal to install something?".

I guess what I'm saying is if Linux is going to get used more it needs to help the new users more and in a way a simple but informative tour would help so would something to talk and show and possibly walk you through your first program installation would have helped me a great deal, Windows users are not lazy or stupid they just don't get why you have to go to such lengths to install something on Linux then can be done with a few clicks on Windows. I have to say that after trying for two hours I gave up and re-installed Windows 7 RC and will continue to use Windows until I find a distro that is easier to use.

"Someone who has only used"

"Someone who has only used linux and has never used windows before, if such a person could be found, needs to try to switch to windows and see what they think of that switch."

That's me. Really. I'm old, and only took up computing 4 years ago. Never used anything but linux. I was in the local library the other day. Tried to use their Windows computer (search catalogue,etc).

For me it was difficult, creepy, uncomfortable and infuriating. I gave up. Went home and accessed their system online.

Bought a new laptop recently. Decided to try out the pre-installed vista system. Spent a few hours doing this. It was so alien in its fundamental philosophy and interaction I can not conceive that I could ever run a Windows os.

The whole world is brainwashed. Brave New World. Ha!

Intention

Its all about your intentions. If your only goal is to find cons, you will find them in any OS be it Windows, Mac or Linux.

I had problem using the mac os x when I first used it. But my intention was to know the system, so i learned with great enthusiasm.

24hours wtf

An experienced windows user maybe ? but experienced computer user well thats something else, This was his first look at Ubuntu ? suprising considering he is a technology journalist and come on testing for 24 hours which he obviously didn't test for the whole 24, I bet when he tests windows 7 he gives it more than 24 hours and he is already familiar with Microsoft.

Where's the Energizer Rabbit?

Still gestating.

installing

<<Synaptic is good but having to enter passwords then search, select the program to install and hit enter a few times is very long winded compared to getting Windows Live Essentials for eaxmple where all I have to do is click download then click open it does the rest for me>>

yes, but those few extra clicks and passwords checks is one of the things that makes linux more secure than windows. I prefer the package management approach in linux, if i want to install something open synaptic search for it install it. easy.

Even when i started using linux (first distro was ubuntu 8.04) the package management didn't scare me, seemed to make perfect sense as did the rest of the distro, it's a lot easier to maintain your linux system as everything is all contained in one place not scattered across half a dozen websites like windows.

Real Issues, But Suspicious Timing Following LSE's Dump of M$

If this were another distro I would shrug off most of these issues, but this is Ubuntu, and really shouldn't have any of them at this point in its development, even though they are quite minor in my opinion.

Many of these complaints have been around since Ubuntu's inception. I know I myself been complaining about the default brown/orange color scheme since the first Ubuntu release (yes you can change it, but there isn't the same compelling desire to change the default scheme with the other distros . . . I feel compelled to change it immediately before installing my favourite packages).

Most LCD monitors these days have black borders, which makes it seem even more insane . . . since when do brown shoes go with black tuxes?

I am also disappointed about the 40 sec boot time when significantly reduced boot time was the MAIN focus of this release (all that "koala gestation time" nonsense).

The good news is that I find that things are generally getting better with Ubuntu, and these BBC criticisms are quite minor considering the comparative security and virus issues with windows.

My main concerns as a user are stability and security, while the BBC announcer is out looking for a "pleasurable" computing life . . . and since he didn't play any linux games, I assume this means he gets off on giving his tax-funded salary to Microsoft.

Seeing as how the London Stock Exchange just dumped windows, the timing and placement of this whole "report" smells more than the real life equivalent of a brown ubuntu desktop.

why do I

Gorilla_man offers as an example of common questions "Why do I have to use the terminal to install something?"
This is something I occasionally get asked when I offer help on forums so I shall reproduce my usual response:

You do not have to use the command line to install software.
However you have asked for help, that means there are now two people to consider, you and the person offering help.
I can tell you how to install a package using synaptic it will be quite alot of work on my part taking screen captures, describing what to click on and crossing my fingers that you havent uninstalled synaptic or done something else to your system that will change the default behaviour. For you it will be very easy providing you havent removed synaptic. Lots of work for me, very little work for you.
I can instead tell you how to install the package using apt-get from the command line. It will involve very little work on my part, simply typing a single line of instructions, with no need to worry about how you may have customised your system (if you have removed apt-get from your ubuntu - or other debian system then you have some serious work ahead of you). For you it will be very easy since you can just cut and paste if thats all you want. Very little work for me, very little work for you.

I'm sure you can see why the terminal is the way it's going to play out.

There is a learning curve with anything new.... BUT

My 4 year old can work Ubuntu. He can open his GCompris and run his games. Do his Tux paint, play some cards, play his flash games in Firefox, and reorganize my desktop folder for me. He's never used Windows, and I'm sure he wouldn't know how to do any of that on Windows.

Tux paint would be more complex for him to get hold of, and his favorite card game doubtless wouldn't be neatly located in the Applications->Games menu. I also don't imagine that it would be immediately apparent to him what exactly the start button is for.

The question is: how do we get Linux into preschools, and primary schools and secondary schools? Once kids are raised on this stuff, they will be comfortable with it. Work on the educational software!

Ubuntu is the best..................

Being a user of Ubuntu for the past five years I am fully satisfied with this version of GNU/Linux.............

Stop whining about installing Ubuntu; Windows comes preinstalled

"After using Windows for years (started with 98 and now using 7 RC missing Vista) I installedd the 64 bit version of Jaunty Jackalope and then spent around two hours trying to install Flash and get my onboard sound card working."

Yes, it's a pain to get hardware working on a system that the manufacturer didn't make for Ubuntu - but to complain about the installation of an OS is somewhat obnoxious - installing an OS is not easy, be it Windows or any other OS. Try to install Windows on a computer that didn't already have it and you'll see what I mean.

Basically what I'm saying is, it's not valid to complain about the install process - Windows comes pre-installed in the first place, and it's unfair to make the comparison of getting a pre-installed OS working vs. one you install yourself. Installing an OS is not easy - just buying a computer with one on it? Now that's pathetically easy.

This article is right on the

This article is right on the button. Instead of focussing on achievement, and what CAN be done - we must just put two products side by side. Let someone just play around with it, and record their reactions.

This is the truth, this is what's real. However easy or difficult it is (to install Audacity, I can press 'ctrl t' and type 'install audacity' - if I spelled it wrong, I get alternatives - choose one and go again. Finished - now tell me, how the hell do I do that in Windows?)

For anyone who used Ubuntu for maybe 6-12 months, they're at the stage where they see many things as being easier than Windows. However, managing photo's isn't really sorted - I use Picasa, that's not Ubuntu - and I don't like Fspot much.

Listen to the BBC Boys, they're arrogant, they all use Windows or pay money to get Mac OSX, and they're not interested in Linux. They're like 99% of the population of the world.

Time to grow up isn't it?

I made some harsh comments but...

I made some harsh comments about the usability of staple Linux programs, but I am a die hard Linux user. The idea of viewing this site on IE running Windows makes me want to vomit.

Linux has the whole package, but we are missing the sex appeal. Some of these things are so small and yet so simple. Things like the 3d desktop cube (which I love), only make it worse, because we can't get the small things right, so it makes it look like we don't have our priorities straight,and indeed we don't.

My fiancee, who is a good guide to listen to for a new user, hates many of the programs for usability issues. She doesn't like the combined contact lists in ALL the messaging clients. She wants the ability to have multiple contact windows. I suggested she run kopte and pidgin at the same time, which she has been doing, but as she says, it feels like cheap safety scissors. She wants the official clients, and she can't get them, and added onto that the ones that are available don't do what she wants. Same issue with F-spot and gtkpod. She wants itunes and the program that came with her camera, and when she can't have it, or a program with what she sees are the same features and usability, she gets angry.

Showing her neat compiz effects just makes her sigh and say, why don't they spend their time making pidgin better instead. It is a hard thing to explain the culture to an outsider, but I have gotten her to read the cathedral and the bazzar.

We did things right by making the OS stable and fast and powerful first and then moving to usability, but now it is time to get some usability and design experts, and start polishing up our user programs. And dare I say it, actually start charging for programs?

Pidgin....

@ Andrew Cole

" I suggested she run kopte and pidgin at the same time, which she has been doing, but as she says, it feels like cheap safety scissors. She wants the official clients, and she can't get them "

Good suggestion - but it's not an issue with the Distro be it Ubuntu or which ever. If native clients are wanted then pursue MS / Yahoo / ICQ for Linux versions if

Pidgin is a damn good client. If it's missing something. Flag what you'd like to see with the developers.

Personally I like one client that connects to all my accounts @ ICQ, G-Talk, Facebook, X-Fire and MSN. Which I then group into relevant Groups "Family", "Clan Mates", " Work Colleagues" etc. It's so simplified.

Work just aswell in Windows.

Kubuntu Netbook Edition

Canonical should have given him Kubuntu Netbook Edition, it would have been much easier for a windows user to get used to.

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