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

Kubuntu Netbook Edition

@ Pykler

He's a MAC user not Windows.

@Ram

I understand what you are saying. I am a computer scientist in and a programmer. I plan on writing a lot more Linux software. I understand all the layers and distinctions history and culture.

However, she is not, and as an average consumer she doesn't care about those distinctions. For her, it is all one package, it stands and falls together.

I think that FOSS provides the best model for security, performance, and reliability.At the same time, when it comes to usability, design, and feature selection, it requires a more top down model, as in games. You can probably develop the best game engine ever using an open source model, but the content that goes around it to make a complete game requires designers, musicians, artists, writers, etc.

I think we need to encourage free (speech) software that is payed for and downloaded and installed through an integrated app store.

Mac doesn't want any other Unix like system competing with it, but if they offered their ilife software suit for linux, I think people would buy it. We are seriously lacking a movie editor, and the other programs are frankly better than ours.

We need to find some compromise between the two.

Why Linux is difficult for Windows users

I observed this when my partner and her mother tried using one of my laptops with Ubuntu freshly installed. Their biggest complaint was they couldn't understand the file system layout and didn't know where their programs and documents were meant to be copied to. I'm used to the FHS traffic accident but new users will be in for a rude surprise. If Linux wants to be acceptable to 'normal' people it needs to drop the FHS immediately and clean up the directory structure more inline with Windows and Mac. The FHS may have made some sense to the time-sharing Unix of 1978 but for Ubuntu desktop of 2010 it is a silly confusing time-wasting disaster. Also the names of standard utilities and command-line options need to be seriously un-geeked.

My dearest Tuxradar, I see

My dearest Tuxradar,

I see that you are trying to not simply dismiss all of his criticisms (and I would agree that Ubuntu is far from perfect), but the fact he couldn't even work out how to load up an iTunes equivalent which operates in exactly the same way as iTunes, or do the same with the iPhoto/Piscasa app makes me incredibly suspicious of this article. Just how much time and effort did he put into learning the OS before he dissed it?

Directory structure

@Carl
"...drop the FHS immediately and clean up the directory structure more inline with Windows and Mac..."

I've never used a Mac or the BSD it was based on, so can't comment on its directory structure, but if we're talking about the same Windows then think I must have missed something. How could _any_ directory structure be both 'cleaned up' and 'more inline with Windows'? Isn't that like asking for an oven to be warmed up to make it more like the freezer?

Not pleasing people

@ Andy,

I agree with most of what you said. I also think there could be a market for an "App Store" but at the end of the day you can't please all the people all the time.

Different people have different ways of doing things.

For instance - I got home from work last night to find my 12 year old, coping photos from a new camera to ~/pictures, then transfering a selection to her phone. I asked her how she did it. She canceled the popup box* (you get when plugin a usb device) went to the Desktop and just open the icon for the Camera, then open the Piture folder from the Places menu. Then opened the Phone by the icon and copied from Pictures to the Phone.

*From the closed popup box she could have chosen F-Spot, but like most does known that's the Photo App.

Not so hard, so how come the beeb reporter struggled for someone who claims to be a techi?

@Ram The real problem is third party support

Children are a blessing, in a way, because they don't start out with any biases. Unfortunately companies start targeting them very young. I think a study was done on children 5 years old that showed a lot more of them knew Ronald McDonald than the current president.

My finacee likes the app that came with her phone. Telling her she can't use it and suggesting another way of doing the same thing is always going to feel like a downgrade to her. It's a lot like the terminal.

Power users know the, well, power of the command line. Some things are just easier, faster, and more robust on the command line. However, most users see that as a downgrade. They see the GUI as a more advanced way to do things, so asking them to use the command line, which may be the more sensible makes them think less of the system.

There is a threshold we have to cross. There is a large user base that just wont use anything but their preferred third party apps. It doesn't help any that many of the open source ones are not as good either. For every FireFox and OOo there is a thousand crappy programs.

Hopefully the next generation will grow up without this bias and learn to appreciate the best options available, not just the most popular.

Small correction

I don't' know why I keep typing phone instead of camera. We both use razors so there isn't exactly any software with that. lol

directory structure

isn't the directory structure on linux set up that way because it was originally used for servers and was designed for multiple users to be able to use it without everyone seeing your folders and documents?

I personally find it a lot easier to use as i know where everything is. Especially compared to vista/7 where there appears to be several folders each with the same name. linux folders appear to be easier (to me anyway).

/home/me/(music documents etc) whereas i don't even know what the folder structure looks like on windows (other than a mess) and re-organising all the folders would surely mess up a few applications wouldn't it?

<<Not so hard, so how come the beeb reporter struggled for someone who claims to be a techi?>>
because he's used windows more then he has linux. I don't think it's necessarily hard in itself, only different. I think it becomes hard when people refuse to open things and look around and explore. it's not like you can screw linux up that badly if your not root, and you can always reinstall it, which is not ideal but looking in your home folder won't kill linux.

Shaving or Mice?

@ Andy

Razors - lol

Another area that could be improved is Firefox. My better half normally complains about her facebook games not loading.

Which I thought was just 64 bit n flash not playing together. Turns out to be Firefox, after installing Slackware from the last cover disk. Firefox show thes same faults, and was with 32 bit.

Seamonkey was also loaded in Slack so I gave that a try, low and behold all the issues I could put down to flash worked.

Installed Seamonkey on my Ubuntu desktop and that fixed the issues - so installed it on my Netbook which is running Mint7 for it to fix the same issues there.

Hey, we live and hopefully learn.

@ Ram

<<He confesses to be a Mac user. To which I think giving him a laptop with UNR as the default desktop was wrong. The classic desktop would have been better>>

I've not looked at UNR so can't say about that. What do you mean by classic desktop? its not a phrase i've heard before. :-)

UNR or Classic Desktop

@ menthol

UNR is a large icon based GUI, phone like I suppose - Classic Desktop is how the stand gnome Desktop is referred to in UNR.

UNR or Classic Desktop

Cheers.
<<He confesses to be a Mac user. To which I think giving him a laptop with UNR as the default desktop was wrong. The classic desktop would have been better.>>

I agree then, it probably is the wrong choice for a mac user and it probably is easier to use the gnome desktop than the UNR GUI. However i guess that it also comes down to the user as well as to which they would prefer. Which kinda leaves UNR in a tricky position in regards to people using a mac/expecting a mac like UI and using UNR on a netbook. While some may like the UNR GUI some may prefer the classi GUI.

@Ram interesting about sea monkey

I always thought it was the Linux flash plug-in that was causing it to act up. Sometimes when I watch long videos on google video it will just cut out to a gray screen in the middle and I'll have to refresh and seek my last location. I'm using the official Adobe plug-in so I just thought it was half baked.

I'll have to give SeaMonkey a try tonight. Thanks for the tip.

its not only linux problem but non WIN os in general

My parrents bought new Mac and got rid of old pc. They were always tempted by the look of Mac's. And switchig to OSX was as painfull for them as for someone who never work on linux.
I was forced to install Virtualbox on mac and run xp to give them acces to few programs or services that arent available on mac. My point is, people who have problems with pcs ie lack of knowledge, how this all works and so on will always have problems witch swicthing to new environemnt no matter if its linux osx or something else.

Love Linux, *** but ***...

...I have had so many experiences with Linux *almost* working that I am starting to be more sympathetic to the moronic Windows crowd.
Case in point: just out of curiosity, I tried to make my Inspiron 1525 internal modem to work with Ubuntu. Oh, boy, what a nightmare! Even using the modem driver and complementary support to alsa from Dell's site itself I still ended up with no modem and... no sound. That's ridiculous. If a piece of OEM hardware is there it should simply work.
And that is just the most recent fight I had with Linux. I am not giving up on Linux, and will avoid Microsoft crap for as long as I can, but, frankly, Linux does *not* help us much in trying to convince people to switch...

That's not Linux....

...is fault

@Polly.

I doubt that Dell would have supplied a 1525 with Linux and the modem working.

It's the Hareware suppliers fault for not doing enough.

Ops

<< I doubt that Dell would have supplied a 1525 with Linux and the modem working. >>

I doubt that Dell would have supplied a 1525 with Linux and the modem NOT working.

I Tend to Disagree

It took me years to learn to use Windows. (I was self taught, no books, tutorials, nothing) I just had a look at Linux to see what the fuss was about and after a week I switched. It is all down to the learning curve. No Windows user should expect to use any other operating system and be immediately proficient. Not even power users. I am no power user, no guru and not even a proper enthusiast, but the only time I feel like I am using a real OS is when I am using Ubuntu.

I don't wish to stop people from thinking whatever they want. But I do wish people would start recognizing the difference between an opinion and the facts. I detest every minute that I am forced to continue using Windows. In my opinion, it is not good enough to be compared with Linux. I am confident that any computer user who spends as much time on Linux as they do on Windows will come to find the Linux experience infinitely more rewarding.

My point

@ Ram:

I half-agree with you that it is not Linux's fault. However, my main point is the difficulty in getting things to work. Whatever the reason behind it, it is a fact with which we are confronted with much more frequently than we'd expect from a solid system.
My Inspiron came with Winblows installed. A Ubuntu machine would take weeks to arrive if I ordered it directly from Dell (irritating, isn't it?). So I purged Winblows out of it and installed Ubuntu 8.04 straight from Canonical's site. Now, I'd expect that everything *said* to be Ubuntu-compatible would work - and the hsfmodem/alsa thing from Dell's *were* said to work. Talk about frustration, anger and the feeling that I should have stayed with Winblows in the first place...
I was able to get over that particular episode, just like I was able to get over several, several past episodes. There are other reasons that compel me to stay with Linux. But Linux can be a pain in the ass. And that is not good when you are trying to convince people to switch...

(I'd be willing to discuss solutions to this kind of problems in some other thread. For now, let me just say that the solution does involve, in part, confronting Corporate America - not an easy thing to do.)

Linux learning and help

I started learning Linux earlier this year after owning many Windows and one Mac computers. If I had only known one person who was familiar with Ubuntu it would have made a huge difference but I didn't. So I had to dig the info out of library books (the ones at the bookstore were outrageous!). It turned out to be worth the effort but if anyone wants there to be more users a couple page cheat sheet they could get inexpensively would be a great idea.

I am a newbie

I completely agree that the drivers and Codecs should be bundled in with the OS. A LOT of newbies are going to reject it when they see that they have to go through installing all that stuff-without even knowing where to look.

That intro wizard is a GREAT idea. Maybe someone could add: "Press control+alt+..." to display the wizard again. And then the intro wizard says how to disable the shortcut to save RAM or whatever for people that think "I have this useless shortcut. I wonder how much computer power it takes for the detection to keep going?" Hahaha.

And I'm pretty sure I have more patience than most newbies:

I constantly was googling to get the Linux partition to be remotely useful. It took me a MONTH! If the codecs and drivers were installed it would have cut it down to a few days. I mean, as a newbie-noob you don't know what anything is called. Let's just say it's hell. And this includes printer drivers. I got our Brother MFC-665CW working after countless hours of searching and trying for wireless printing. Well, if my printer had been on your list, or it auto-selected like on the Mac (We have a Mac, 2 Windows, and a Linux OS in this house) then my experience would be good. In fact, if all the stuff except the multimedia were done, I really don't care, not only would I have been happier then I would have been IMPRESSED rather than burned out. If that printer didn't work after another week of trying I would have given up.

My point is, if only people who LIKE solving these HORRIBLE puzzles and people who have at LEAST as much patience as me ACTUALLY GET a functional Ubuntu on their system, then how do you expect normal people to get in? These are their first experiences with the OS itself, and after finnaly getting it to install AND figuring it out on LiveCD it's a HUGE dissapointment.

The only reason I use it now is cause it loads and runs faster than windows. But the internet kinda sucks you know; and not everyone knows about wine...only Linux people know about wine. I had to install it to use the internet with the WINDOWS version of Firefox just because flash wasn't working right. Encourage Adobe to keep up the good work on Linux versions for crying out loud. The Mac ones are up to date...

+I just can't use open office because of ms office 2007 incompatibilities.

What I think is that promoting Ubuntu will be more effective, if these changes are made.

And yes. Synaptic is more scary than the command line, or editing grub's configuration file. Replace it fast. I'm always scared that I will screw something up when I'm using it, I have NO idea what it can install.

TechHead

I have been trying to turn to Linux for years - unfortunately, I earn my living by solving Windows OS problems, so will always need to know how these systems work. However, most of the forums I have ever read all appear to miss the major points in the Linux / Windows wars:
1. (Almost!) Every PC sold in the UK has MS software PRE - INSTALLED.
2. Almost every UK business runs on MS software - on the DESKTOP.
3. Windows software development has a very large budget.
4. Windows desktop worldwide 'footprint' is simply huge.
5. There is no open standard for document exchange. (Ok, don’t shoot me down just yet...)

These are gross UNDER statements and as such make competition very difficult. As a result, any time I try to change I run into major issues:
1. I have never been able to run all my existing hardware on a Linux platform - almost always a driver issue. If I start using Linux for any period of time I always find I have to revert to a Windows machine to get something done. This isn't because of any failing on the part of Linux - just because development energy is always aimed at the largest user base first. (Point 4. above)
2. If I was to ditch all my hardware and start from scratch - I would still find it difficult to impossible to replace all my hardware and apps with Linux versions.
However, I find most of the mainstream Linux distros so well thought out - in use and operation that I'm still looking to move. Microsoft has a long way to go before it catches up with the Mac and Linux ethos of doing things for people. Microsoft always tries to get you to do things their way - which is often counter intuitive and downright frustrating.

If I only needed all the ‘normal’ computer uses - email, surf, write, listen to music etc. I would have switched permanently to say, Ubuntu years ago.
But before we have any real choice in operating system two things have to happen:
1. When we walk into the computer shop, NONE of the PCs come with anything pre-installed. (And keyboards don’t come with a Mac or Windows button either!)
2. We have to have open document standards, so we can exchange docs between different platforms seamlessly and that everyone supports – including Microsoft.
At this point we would have an even playing field and competition could really take off. While all, ok, the vast majority, of desktops come with Windows pre installed and no real open standards exist, changing to and using Linux is still going to be an uphill struggle.

I still love Linux though and eagerly await the day parity comes to the OS!

What was expected to happen?

I think anyone who has used Linux for a while, wouldn't have had these issues, because yes, as you point out, if the user is used to Windows, he knows what to look for, it was interesting to see a Windows user this wek, stumble actually trying to do what you suggested (Photos etc) on Windows 7, the usual stuff wasn't there.. what did they click on ?? Help?? Back to XP...

What Ubuntu could do, as you suggest, is a startup wizard (with an option to turn it off for the rest of us during the installer) where the system after first boot, checks for an internet connection, and then kicks off, with a Flash installer, codec installer, etc etc.

Ah, i hear you say, how can we do this? Some codecs are not installable in some countries.. Well i seem to remember you choosing the country/timezone during install, its not that hard to link the two..

As for the theme, again, KDE handles this VERY well with its direct links to kde-look.org webpage to pull down new themes, icons, emoicons etc, add the same to gnome, and off you go, the gnome-art plugin already does this to a point.

Anyway, its what 10.04 hould all be about, usability and themes.. change the look, and feel.. we have had too many under the hood builds..

Use Linux Equivalents!

The better way of getting existing Windows and MAC OS X users to try linux, is to give them a distro to try that replicates, clones or is similar to their existing operating system enviroment.

For Example:

Windows: KDE Distro such as Kubuntu, Mandriva, SUSE, Fedora, Linux Mint. GNOME edition of Linux Mint would be suitable as well.

MAC OS X: GNOME Distro such as Ubuntu, Mandriva, SUSE, Fedora, Linux Mint. Installation of a Dock such as Avant, Cairo, WBar, etc.. or a distro with a Dock by default may be useful.

With Common Configurations like these, there would be a lot more linux users by now. people should not assume Ubuntu is the only distro to show off to new linux users and testers.

Winsows rules? OK....

The correspondent's short but difficult experience with Ubuntu mirrors my own, and a lot of other people's, judging from some of the comments here.

Let's face it. Windows - by fair means and foul- now runs 95%+ of all known household computers. So Linux has to offer a viable alternative. And in techie, geeky ways it does. But in slick, polished, 'easy-for-slobs' ways, it doesn't.

And until it does, it will always be a minority sport.

Windows just runs more programs

Like viruses, adware, and spyware!

It's not about the OS...

...It's about the data.

Most users don't care about the file system, the hardware support, discussions about 40 second boot times etc, they just want their stuff to work without any heavy duty thinking.

If all of my documents are in .doc format and I can't open them correctly under Linux then I'm forced to stick with Word.

If Linux is to win hearts and minds then the apps have to be better than the comparable offerings on other platforms and it should also demonstrate why a free and open approach is better than a closed one; for example, Android is a Linux based OS, why can't I easily stream video from my Ubuntu desktop to my phone...? Why isn't there an Ubuntu One client for my Android phone? Android is an open platform, shouldn't the distros embrace new, open technologies?

Hmm ...

My first impression here was fair enough. Sometimes Ubuntu can be difficult to use and it's been mentioned to Canonical quite a few time to drop the brown and orange.

However when I read the part about photos being difficult to organise I quickly decided to guy was just being obtuse. Especially given it's part of this guys job to test kit like this.

Another big question is why did Canonical send a netbook with netbook remix? The proper desktop version is more mature and more like the sort of UI a Windows user would be used to. And it'll also happily run on a netbook.

<<I would first need to get

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

The normal Windows user will gladly install crapware in order to get their software working, so why is installing Wine once to be able to run Windows apps from that point on such a hassle? It's like installing Java before a Java app, or .NET before a .NET app...

I can only half agree with the reporter's points, and that's because half of the points given are because he isn't used to how it works.

Love My Linux

I love my use of Linux, while it has not been for a very long time, so I am also a newbie. Yet, coming from the world of windows, installing a program from either a CD or the Internet, should take an act of checking dependencies to make it happen. And certainly while I am annoyed by such tutorials that come with windows when it is first installed now which comes after years of using windows, it can be greatly appreciated when you are a newbie and not have to search the many how-to's to find what you need and want to do quickly. Simply, the average Joe that is willing or wanting to make the switch to some that is free-based and not fee-based, needs it to be easier and not so tech laden to make it work. Perhaps, Linux is for the Rocket Scientist and Windows is for everyone else. I would prefer to see people use Linux and not line the pockets of MS and perhaps use the available compilers that are included with every distro to create those great apps that commercially are missing or just missing the mark for those that need them.

I switched because...

...Linux made "my computing life...simpler and more pleasurable than it (was)."
I hated the thought of battling another Microsoft bloatware with malware included and a real lack of control of my computer. It seemed MS was going to decide what I could and could not do on my computer with Vista so switched to Ubuntu 7.04. After a few years of tweaking, I have a computer that is far easier to use than Vista (and I would bet Win7). Now I probably am a bit geeky...I've use: the Tandy TRS-DOS, DOS, OS/2, Win 3, 95, Mandrake 7 and 9, Win 2000, XP and Vista, and all but Windows 2000 have been a real pain to use compared to a modern Linux distro. I've taken up programming again with Python (since it was included with Ubuntu), all the software I would ever need is available EASILY from Synaptic. It takes me, at most 1 hour to set up Linux again, versus the 2 days I need to get Windows and all of the necessary programs installed and the settings created.

Tech reporter? no i think

Tech reporter? no i think this guy is a joke! i Quote 'I installed a few applications - including Skype, and a social networking application called Gwibber. ' yet it was too much trouble to install wine???

Quote 'So would I actively seek to install Ubuntu or any other Linux variant on a machine I already owned?

To be frank, no, because it would not make my computing life any simpler and more pleasurable than it is now.'

so instead of taking a couple of hours to set up a stable linux box to work and look exactly the way you want it to you would rather have a slow bloated win system complete with the BSOD

Mac not Windows

@ Chris...

The Tech Reporter is a Mac user not Windows.

ubuntu home user

Ubuntu is by far the best OS of choice, I tried the RC of windows 7 and thought wow, this looks like a Linux based 3D desktop and gave it a go, I had the same driver and software problems as I had with windows vista, all is OK in windows XP pro, seems to me windows is going backwards, Ubuntu is way better than win-blows and yes there is plug ins and codecs to be downloaded with Ubuntu, but the same applies to windows, all my day to day computing is now done on Ubuntu and I left gaming for my PS3, there is always something to be downloaded or updated to be able to run a game or 2, Ubuntu has never crashed on me and as for blue screens, you only see them in Linux screen savers, well done Ubuntu, even all my hardware works from the live CD, :)

linux is simple and easy

I have been using ubuntu for about 4 months and i hardly use windows anymore. It made my computing life so easy. It was difficult to figure things at first but after a week or two of googling, i figured it out.

Going closer to windows

I have been a penguin since march 2009 and I rarely had some problems with it. And if so I found a large community that welcomed me warmly and happily helped me out.

That stated I agree with two points of the critic:

- that brownish theme is hideous! Almost EVERYBODY thinks so! (I can of course just speak for myself but to make the point clear)

- EVERYBODY uses Flash and it should absolutely be installed with Ubuntu! We are going to install it anyway!

Ubuntu enthusiest

Ubuntu has only two short comings.
1 Ease of networking,(printer share to windows, file sharing and drive sharing) and network translation for shared wireless broadband Internet connectivity of the local area network. I have been looking for a way to get all this working for 6 months.
2 DVD player.( multi- media)

Take care of this and M.S. is in deep do-do.
The old K.I.S.S.

Average blinkin' Joe

From what I can see of the comments so far is that finally, there seems to be an understanding that the average Joe does want it to be idiot proof. I've been waiting years for something easy to install operate and understand in the Linux world.

the problem I see is the definition of 'idiot proof'. From my perspective of being only an MS user, it means I don't want to have to write anything into a terminal session because it doesn't have any meaning to me. I want the "install" button and it then goes and does everything. Linux users version/perspective of 'idiot proof' is someone who knows what a terminal is and what its for and why.

Linux has come along way in terms of user friendliness but to win over the 'idiots' sitting in the MS world it isn't all that friendly. Why do you think people thought MS was so damned wonderful in the early 90's?? Point and click and its done...done by a complete idiot.

Linux and persons

The problem with Linux distributions, is that there are so intuitive to people as it is at this time windows when a new user, a child, elderly, turn on a computer, “the culture windows” make sense that the controls, bars, menus, icons are familiar to most people. But everything changes when you turn on linux, maybe not ubuntu and other distros can look “more or less windows” for ease of use? When I boot into linux with ubuntu, suffered a lot at first, and I think not being the only ….
I think too many people deserve quality open source software but, versatility, usability and graphical appearance of high standards and leave behind the troll, intellectually linux that does not have to provide those benefits, we are supposedly so powerful and wise not we need the ease of Windows user, but children, old and new if needed … linux for humanity? perhaps we want people not entitled to a free software, easy to use and versatile? if we all need linux to have a system that is as versatile as Windows users to lso, it is so easy to learn and use.
and that when installed as efficient as windows, not to forget that not necessarily all our software is to pay, or free, if not, we also need to promote and require that companies like Adobe to develop payment software for linux, that admittedly a lot of free software does not equate to payments and someone complains of ubuntu is normal and understandable get out of our ivory towers and have more humility until you convince a person with little or no computing experience will not be linux for humanity …

News Flash Eh?

I seem to remember having to learn a lot about Windows years ago. Everything wasn't always easy with that either.

Why couldn't a typical Ubuntu install show a notice about NonFree software like Flash, Java Runtimes, etc. and allow the user to choose right then if they wish to install them. I would guess that most folks want them and also wish to use mp3 format as well as rar / unrar and a few other things.

It might make things a lot easier for those just trying Ubuntu for the first time.

It took me a good year to be comfortable enough with Ubuntu to totally remove windows from my systems. I've found there's nothing I was doing in Windows that I can't now do in Ubuntu at least as easily.

Many of my friends have tried Ubuntu after seeing that I can do everything I need with it but they give up because they don't understand about Non-Free software that's pretty much needed to do the things they're used to.

Some truth here....

I have been using linux (SUSE) for some years. I just bought a Samsung N140 that came pre loaded with W7.

After booting I was browsing, replying to net mail, watching flash clips straight away. I had a choice about photo, music and video viewing and chose to download my fav apps for those tasks.

This guy had problems doing stuff that with Ubuntu then KK has problems.

Feedback is a gift.

not stupid, lazy!

if you try out another operating system, you can not expect you know everything from the start and that it won´t satisfy you at the first moment. Buuuuuut....he is so stupid to tell it on air. for me as ubuntu user a clear satement for his stupidity. simply stupid! Linux is for free, man! Windows costs around 100 €, if you buy the basic premium version. The laptop costs money, but linux itself is free, better, more stabil and community developed; 4 advantages! what do you say now, dear BBC journalist. i hope you know that mac is not like other distros like ubuntu. it costs money and may have similiar things, but that was it.

Free operating systems are the future. windows may be good for some progis like photoshop and some other usefull things, but again, linux is for free. all the unis are working with linux and they contribute in developing it, maybe it be ubuntu or fedora or opensuse or whatever.

linux reached 1% usage in PCs worlwide in 2009 and this is not just a short phenomenon. Ubuntu is the easiest system to get aquainted with Linux. there are also some ubuntu copies with the same desktop like windows, but for me that is too near to vista and co and really just a help for windows user wanting to change to linux, to a free OS.

Overall, Linux is like Windows, you need to learn new terminal-commands, you need to learn the way of linux and not the way of windows; it is different and if somebody wants to pay, cause he can not get along with linux and instead use windows or mac (again, mac is kind of linux, but not free), so be it and do not be so negative. even hollywood is using linux and is helping developing it by spending money, so the movie productions are cheaper for them. i think you get my point, i could write pages...

cheers

ok, maybe both!

freedom of choice! take Linux Mint. there you have also proprietary plugins like flash preinstalled! of if people gave it to him, tell them! What douches!

Ubuntu is dead simple

Ubuntu just works. Clean simple interfaces are fine.Software is political never forget that.

Ubuntu is crap, Linuxmint is

Ubuntu is crap, Linuxmint is what I would recommend to some one who knew nothing about linux. Personally Sabayon :)

Keyboard King

I have used Ubuntu since it was born. I have also used all the Windows varieties since the beginning of time. I have never used a Mac, nor do I intend to, but that relates to my lifetime vow not to give any of my money to Steve Jobs.

I have just dumped my Ubuntu installation because, after all these years, I can't use it efficiently and without thinking. Every working session turns into a computer research session.

Problems
The "file system" is completely illogical and impossible to remember. I still don't know where my programs are stored.

Finding and installing
I have never succeeded in finding an app with Symantic mainly because I haven't a clue what hides behind the geeky names. Who could guess that F-Spot has some thing to do with photo's?

Having found an application elsewhere (using Windows), I still don't know how to install it. Searching the web for instructions gets me going, so after about ten minutes typing and retyping gobbledegook in a terminal (a good name be the way, after using this device one is nearly "terminal") the thing installs but, now here's the rub, no one knows where it's gone or how to start it! In the mean time I should have been working.

I have dozens of interesting bits of software installed that I can't find. This is why the chap that started all this didn't want to install Wine. Quite right too!

The system needs a complete rethink. Get rid of the file system or at least hide it from the user. Why do I have to see all this pointless file listing when the only thing I need is my data and my applications? No, I do not wish to know that, kindly leave the stage!

Rename all the applications giving them transparent names. Dump all applications with user interfaces like F-Spot or Samba (which latter, apparently, has no user interface whatsoever. One wonders who let such a thing into the operating system).

Bundle all commonly used plug-ins on delivery.

Write a proper interactive "how to"

Stop attacking people using Windows, they get a lot of work done!

Very Important

This review is honest, in the past using Microsoft xp and vista they definatly have the end users at heart. Many many people want Microsoft and this BBC Reporter is correct.

I have been using linux now for 5 years as well as Microsoft and Linux is awesome and better to me although it would be nice to have some of the simple things, like deleting and adding simple off of the menu, getting DVD's to work with ease, and many more.

Remember the end user very important. All this free software and people cant figure out to use it. Encryption is a pain when it comes to linux. Encrypting a folder should be a right click and password. That would be useful.

I totally agree with this review, if you don't think it matters then you really are not aware of affect the media can have. Linux simplified

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