back to article Desktop Linux: That dog will mount

The Linux desktop reminds us of a dog humping a table leg. It's both fun and disturbing to watch, but ultimately there's very little payoff from the exercise. Linux advocates, however, refuse to quit hoping that the leg humping will evolve into something spectacular. So we find yet another desktop panel discussion taking place …


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  1. James


    "Guy Lunardi, senior product manager at SuSE, confessed that Novell goes into companies and fingers the Linux guinea pigs one-by-one."

    See ... that's why I object to Lenovo's SuSE choice ... too invasive.

  2. MattCasters


    You managed to write the most confusing and FUD-filled article on the Linux desktop I've seen in months. And you insulted the grandmothers at the same time.

    Keep up the good work!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Grandma CAN use Lionux

    I can't understand where this mantra that Linux is not easy enough to use is coming from. I have several "grandmas" using it and they love it. They no longer deal with all the malware and other problems that they suffered with under Windows. Windows has a host of inconsistent features in its GUI, it is just that those saying this are used to them. Watch a "newbie" to computers with Windows, and you will see what I mean, or better yet watch an experienced user trying to use Vista.

    Linux gives a much more consistent experience. My wife who hates computers uses Windows at work and Linux at home, an if you asked her the difference, she would probably only tell you that the home system giver a lot less problems.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Desktop choice a strength of GNU/Linux OSs

    The author of this article does not show much knowledge about GNU/Linux based operating systems as there are several misconceptions.

    Firstly, GNU/Linux doesn't have 'a' desktop. Ubuntu doesn't have a single desktop either. Users can choose from XFCE, KDE or GNOME to mention but a few. Of course you can also elect not to have a desktop at all and use unrivalled GNU command line utilities. Odd that Microsoft are now going to introduce some kind of command line shell after all these years of gluing one desktop inseparably to their operating system. Where is the choice in that?

    Installation of Windows and all the drivers is a total pig. Ubuntu installation is an utter doddle.

    Sometimes I do have to use Microsoft's desktop at my place of work. I always miss the polished little use-ability features of XFCE, my favourite. XFCE offers roll-up windows, desktop switching a vast array of plugins for dictionary, weather, etc.

    GNU/Linux does a far superior job of hardware drivers. If I buy a printer or camera or whatever I can dump the driver CDs. No fighting with a multitude of different developers inconsistent ideas of how software should be installed. No additional crapware at all. End of story.

    Most modern distributions of GNU/Linux offer a wonderfully unified software installation mechanism with excellent dependency control and of course none of that crap about 20 digit CD-keys or whatever.

    Having used both Windows and GNU/Linux, I must say that in my opinion GNU/Linux is the winner from the use-ability point of view and for just getting the job done with less hassle all round.

    Finally, you failed to mention anything to do with Freedom. GNU/Linux embodies personal freedoms in contrast to the digital restrictions peddled by proprietary operating systems such as Microsoft Windows.

    Although Ubuntu in all its guises is an eminently use-able operating system, the most important issue in the modern computing world has little to do with use-ability, something to do with 'Open' and a hell of a lot to do with Freedom.

    Do you value Freedom? Apparently not.

  5. vincent himpe

    linux 'desktops' aplenty

    but where are the friggin applications ?

    i still can not go into a store and purchase some software for it !

    and of all the open stuff out there none of it works properly. most if it doesn't even install without you haveing to tinker with scripts , recompile libraries , twiddle with the kernel ( breaking other poieces of software ).

    from a pure USER perspective ( someone who doenst know how the operating system works internally and is not a programmer, but simply wants to use an application to be productive ) linux is horrible.

    distributions of a program often only run on a certain 'strain'. this will only run on red hat version so and so with patch so and so. and this will only run on suse version so and so. that is a nightmare.

    and what applications am i looking for you say ; well. lets start with some simple things. software that can compete with Adobe Photoshop perhaps ? Adobe Premiere perhaps ? Adobe After Effects perhaps ? how about some software to do schematic, mixed mode simulation, fpga coding, and pcb layout like what Altium Designer can do ? how about software comparable to Nero to make some home movies , slap some menus on it , print a nice cd jacket cover ...? how about a good Basic compiler/debugger ( comparable to visual basic 6.0 ) .

    yes there is the Gimp and some GnuCad and some video editing software but they don't even come close to what the big windows based software can do !

    And the real high end software is solaris or bust !

    you know what i am getting at. All that seems to be happening in the linux world is endless discussion about what is better. debian versus sus versus mandrake. kde versus gnome. vi against emacs .. the blue colorsceme aginast the green colorsceme and who has the most coolest lights inside his case...

    i grew up when dos was version 2.1 and have done it all. wrote device drivers, TSR's. i even played with linux when it fit on two 720k floppies ( version 0.89 ...) the very first attempts were beeing made to let x-windows run on it then ...

    but now i'm 15 years older and have evolved to a pure 'user'. i dont want to deal with all that stuff anymore.

    plug in the pc. flip the power switch , wait a few minutes and do things WITH it , not 'TO' it ... use the computer to solve problems versus solving the problems with the computer ...

    when the linux community is going to realise that people want applications then they stand a fighting chance. as long as they keep tinkering with the guts it will always remain a back closet operation . perfect to run servers (if you have a PFY handy ) and the like but it will never be used on the desktop.

    and dont get me wrong. i dont like microsoft either. but there is for now still no alternative. there is Macos .but there its the same story : you want applications ? then install windows on your overprices white box ...

  6. Andrew


    First you piss off the Apple fanboys and now you have pissed off the great unwashed!, er, the Linux community!

    By the way, I can't get that rather disturbing mental image out my head :/

  7. CD Baric

    Reading Ashlee Vance...

    Reading Ashlee Vance writing about about animal sex makes me really wonder What The Hell is going on down there in San Francisco! Some sort of Farma Sutra kind of thing? Ashlee really has to get a boyfriend.

    As for Linux on the desktop; already there, doing in now and have done so for some time now.

    The latest and greatest Linux kernels are providing greater power, stability and utility on 64bit and multi-core/multiprocessor systems than anything Microsoft has to offer - at least everywhere with the possible exception of San Franciso - maybe it's the water.

    Nice try Ashlee - but your dog won't hunt. ;)

    CD 'Bar' Baric

  8. Jeremy Akers

    Lots of baseless attacks

    I find it hard to believe that the Reg would allow such crap on it's site. Anyone can write better than this. And anyone can make baseless claims. Look what happens when you replace all references of "Linux desktop" with "Ashlee Vance's writing"... it reads the same and is probably more factually accurate!


    Ashlee Vance's writing reminds us of a dog humping a table leg. It's both fun and disturbing to watch, but ultimately there's very little payoff from the exercise.

    Ashlee Vance's fans, however, refuse to quit hoping that the leg humping will evolve into something spectacular. So we find yet another amatuer writing panel discussion taking place at this year's WritersWorld conference in San Francisco.

    Dell and Ubuntu have taken strides toward blunting the Ashlee Vance criticism dished out by skeptics. The companies have an arrangement to pre-load Ashlee's articles on select notebooks and PCs. Lenovo this week responded in kind, saying it will plant similiar articles on ThinkPads in the fourth quarter.

    Canonical's work strikes us as the major thing to have altered the Ashlee Vance scene in the last couple of years. The company's efforts around making Ashlee vance's writing more factually accurate have succeeded. More importantly, perhaps, Canonical has revitalized the entire Ashlee Vance question with its own enthusiasm and that generated by loyal followers.

    0f course, as you all know, the core of the big business Ashlee Vance push remains centered around corporate use, as opposed to satiating rabid developers.

    "The enterprise Ashlee Vance writer has arrived," said John Cherry of the Ashlee Vance Foundation, during today's panel. "Certainly, this year we have seen some major advances in the offerings.

    "We are seeing huge deals starting to come across the radar screen. We expected them in Asia, India and those areas. We have seen them in the US and Europe as well."

    Cherry added that the education, Asian government, thin client, call center and embedded markets are "hot, hot, hot." Apparently, Ashlee Vance's writing is poised to take over the world.

    "Probably the biggest and largest emerging market is in the mobile space and embedded," Cherry said, covering all the available bases. "We will see a lot of announcements over the next six months that will bear that out."

    Such enthusiasm aside, shifting to Ashlee Vance's writing remains a very pragmatic experience even for committed corporate users. Guy Lunardi, senior product manager at SuSE, confessed that Novell goes into companies and fingers the Ashlee Vance guinea pigs one-by-one. "The first exercise we go through is segmenting the users to figure out which (ones) will be most appropriate to use Ashlee Vance's writing."

    Oddly, Lunardi maintained that Ashlee Vance's limitations are "mostly just perceptions" at this point, so why does Novell bother with the show exercise of outing the damned?

    Away from corporations, Ashlee Vance still proves far too troublesome for grandma. It suffers from limited driver, multimedia and power management support. The Ashlee Vance fanclub is, as always, beavering away on these issues and may well write something worth reading by 2020.

    Canonical's Chris Kenyon, a director of business development, was meant to convince out of such pessimism during the panel but was a no-show.

    All hail the humping writer. And be sure to check out Fluendo. ®

  9. Antoinette Lacroix


    He wants a . . . Basic compiler.

  10. jim boneshphere

    utter tripe

    nonsense and hogwash. Find technical people to write technical articles. Let the amateurs concentrate on tabloid trash.

  11. Name


    I am not a programmer. Yet I've used Linux, on the desktop, for the last 10 years. My (now) 16-year-old daughter has used it for the last five. The vast majority of Mr. Vance's complaints (the ones that are not outright laughable) are, by and large, out of the hands of the "Linux community." Mr. Vance, you want drivers? Ask the hardware manufacturers where they are. Or ask them to simply supply APIs so that others can write them. Closed and proprietary is that the fault of Linux users?

    Multimedia support. Hmmm. My Linux boxes do all DRM-less multimedia just fine. Sure, maybe that's because I had to pay extra for a distro that covers those licenses (or maybe it's because I just downloaded the DLLs off-shore...I'm not sayin'). Still, we're back to proprietary codecs, encumbered by out-of-control patent laws. Again, how is that the fault of Linux users?

    Finally, power management support. Okay, I'll give you that one. But you know, my desktop boxes don't give a hoot about that. I don't see it as being a deal-breaker.

    All in all, this article seems to be mostly non-technical FUD, from a non-technical writer. I hate to use the "S" word...but is it getting a bit shilly in here?

  12. Daniel

    So long, and thanks for all the fish...

    I've been reading The Register for a long time, although I never bothered to create an account before today. However I have, in the past, enjoyed the style of writing which blended, more or less successfully, some wit with news. For a jaded sys admin some sarcasm served along with the news works wonders after a long day and arouses an occasional chuckle.

    But then something started to change. I only noticed it in the past year, some might have spotted it earlier. News headlines became more sparse and incomprehensible, the actual news content of each article more thin, and the wit turned into tasteless and often juvenile rants.

    Case in point is this "article". It has absolutely no worthwhile news content. None. Instead we're treated to dogs humping table legs. This is something I would expect from a MySpace page.

    I've just removed The Register from my aggregator, which is the same as saying I won't be reading it anymore. I still greatly enjoy Simon Travaglia's BOFH, but the overall tone and content of the site has deteriorated too much for me to justify spending time sorting through articles such as this one to find something interesting.

    To everyone that still writes worthwhile content for the site I wish you all the best.

  13. Martin Owens

    Ashlee, Ashlee, Ashlee

    Did you decide to take your revenge brain out of the wrong jar this morning? still got that hang up about people calling you a woman? damn it man this is a tech + wit + interesting_stuff scene not techless + rant + not_very_interesting.

    I've seen you get flamed before for writing absolute drivel, perhaps your just the lamb to the Microsoft/Register shill slaughter, I don't care. This isn't the first time you've been called out writing ridiculous content that has more sting than wit.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Man obsessed with table humping dogs...

    ...should be taken with a huge grain of salt. Proves any social misfit can render 'profound' conclusions about the Linux desktop.

  15. Patrick Ernst


    /Quote Away from corporations, desktop Linux still proves far too troublesome for grandma. It suffers from limited driver, multimedia and power management support. The Linux community is, as always, beavering away on these issues and may well make something Windows comparable by 2020. /endQuote

    This is just so foolish. Drivers: I can install any linux distro and have a good chance of having working drivers for most hardware. Some hardware doesn't, just like it doesn't under windows (ntm). Do you need driver disks or CDs Ashley for windows? Betcha. The vendors often will not provide drivers for legacy hardware for a new version of windows.

    Multimedia: There are codecs for just about any multimedia format out there. Not all may be legally used in the US but so what - 5% of the world's population.

    Power management: Can't say its bothered me too much. As long as my monitor switches off and disks power down that's okay.

    2020 for something comparable to windows. Get off the drugs lad. Security? Usability? Functionality? Configurability? In what area must Linux improve to become "comparable" to windows? Well before 2020, companies will be developing/porting their desktop apps to Linux. It will make economic sense for them to do so.

    Granny is not capable of managing a windows environment. It is to insecure and prone to being owned. She can't install software or install new hardware. She can't reinstall her operating system. When will windows be granny-ready?

  16. Alan Donaly


    Ashlee what the fuck is this dishonest shit your spouting, I have been using a Linux desktop for years no problem and it will keep grammas PC nice and clean of malware and it's just as easy to set up and no she won't understand it but so what she doesn't understand Vista either.Look if all you can do is think of dry humping dogs you are badly in need of detox.

    I know some man in a nice car (with redmond tags) spotted you an eightball don't go down this road there is no future in it.

  17. J

    Good one...

    ...a Basic compiler, that was not funny!

    I believe El Reg publishes these "articles" just to guarantee a minimum quota of hits, or something. Or, it could be bait for potential FoTWs, of which I haven't seen many as of lately. Haven't worked thus far, mate.

    Anyway, to add to the anecdotes, I myself switched to Linux in 2001 because of, ironically, an application. A genomic sequence assembler, to be more specific. You know the problem: you have a bunch of genes to assemble. But serious work can't be done on Windows, it's just not to be trusted. So them scientists write them pesky software in portable languages, using portable libraries and standards, and rely on the unparalleled power of the command line. So, in the x86 world, no choice for me but to run Linux if I wanted to have nice assemblies -- and therefore my PhD. You know, it's not that easy to come across a friendly Solaris machine in a parasitology department in Brazil, even mine being the largest and richest one there, I believe.

    So I downloaded, of all things, a version of Debian. Oh my, kids have it easy switching OS nowadays... I'm a biologist, was even more clueless at the time computer-wise, but I bit the bullet and got that damn thing to work, by Jove. But it was kinda painful and lots of things were broken (and I couldn't find out how to fix them), so there came Red Hat (7.2, I think), and I never had to look back to Windows. Actually, after you get used to real, powerful computing from a command line, it's painful to use Windows. Nowadays I'm a happy user of SuSE-family distros at home and work, but I'm tempted to get my next home computer from Dell and therefore might go back to Debian's territory Ubuntu-style. Let's see how that goes. But have to put KDE there first, cos' that's my cup of tea -- Gnome's stupidification of the interface irritates me greatly. But hey, it's all about choice.

    Don't you love happy endings?


  18. Brian Miller

    Britain could face cirrhosis epidemic, docs warn - AP news

    But the effects are already being seen on El Reg.

    Come on, what does Fluendo and that article have to do with each other? The article seems to be mocking Linux for the desktop, specifically Ubuntu. Fluendo is a company offering a multimedia server. And the connection is...?

    As for bringing Unix (or equivalent) to the average desktop, Apple seems to have succeeded very nicely. While I've never been attracted by Apple, it seems to have made a very nice niche for itself as a very easy to use OS.

    There are distros that copy Red Hat Enterprise, with CentOS and White Box being two. These are kept up to date with RH, and are free.

    I can't personally see myself purchasing a $250/yr customer support contract from Canonical, through. Sun Solaris 10 support is cheaper than that, and its a great OS (and professionally tested!).

    I do hope somebody puts down the pint glass and takes a look at Ashlee's articles. They lack a bit of substance.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward



    all of you flaming Ashlee about apparently pointlessly writing about this topic when you all believe Linux is ready for the desktop - if you actually read the article, it's about a panel at LinuxWorld - i.e. these things (with the exception of one or two sentences which he may have asserted) were said *there*.

    I won't be removing The Register from my RSS aggregator - if you get so worked up over three lines in one article, you probably want to see someone (a doctor, perhaps?) about it...

  20. Peter


    "It suffers from limited driver, multimedia and power management support. The Linux community is, as always, beavering away on these issues and may well make something Windows comparable by 2020."

    Really? I can push more fps from my graphics card under linux than with a similar card under windows, the sound support is fantastic, power management/CPU scaling is all good.

    Why on earth would we be aiming to be 'windows comparable'?

  21. Steven Hewittt


    Um, I thought "Linux is on the deskop" 5 years ago?

    Piece agreements to keep the OSS community from screaming at vendors is the best "Linux on the desktop" has done in the 5 years people have been screaming it's ready for desktop use.

    Yeah, my Grandma could use it. If I could be bothered to travel every week when she wanted to do something more than use basic word processing features and browse the web. Installing a software package? Adding a new graphics card or 'going wireless'.

    Can't see Grandma having to recompile the kernel when her new wi-fi card doesn't have drivers for Linux.

    And do me a favor for 'consistant gui'. You naff up the resolution or similar on your graphics card and see how far Grandma can go with just a terminal planted infront of her expecting a .conf to be edited before KDE can be started again.

    Got another 5 - 10 years before it really breaks out - at least.

  22. Patrick Ernst

    Re: Flamers

    I think you ought to go re-read it. Most of that tripe was Ashely's opinion with a few sentences quoted from the panel. He's getting flamed because he's BBQ meat. Remind's me of the cow in Restaurant at the End of The Universe. "I'll just nip out the back and shoot myself. Don't worry, I'll be humane". Probably badly paraphrased - perhaps not unlike Ashely's work.

  23. Timothy Slade



  24. Pete

    I call FUD

    Used to be a journalist would research a topic before submitting an article on it, and editors would laugh this sort of trash out of publication. Seems not to be the case these days.

    If I was to spend the time un-FUDing this article, the rebuff would end up longer than the original. A right, real shoddy piece of journalism.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's just Ashlee again

    Don't try and put up for this this is either

    the poorest written and the most insulting

    article I have read this year or it's just

    Ashlee not checking with real journalists

    first oh well I was mad stupid Ashlee

    would you please read your stories

    first before submitting them.

  26. Michael

    Applications etc.

    Vincent Himpe goes on in a tirade about

    > where are the friggin applications ?

    Well, I remember having to compile from source and searching in vain for software. Now, I just go to the add/remove software tool in ubuntu and download it. I admit that on occasion I resort to the command line for more obscure pieces of software but it is massively improved over a few years ago. The only issue I still have is that OOo isn't exactly MS word compatible and I have to switch to it instead.

    >i still can not go into a store and purchase some software for it !

    No? But you can download just about everything for free..

    >how about some software to do schematic, mixed mode simulation, fpga coding, and pcb layout like what Altium Designer can do ?

    Ah, now your are taking the piss. Ever heard of Orcad? Major schematic entry tool. Can be purchased with a linux version and license. ModelSim, for FPGA/ASIC simulation and design, I happen to know most of the people working for Mentor Graphics in Livingston use only the Linux version.

    PCB and FPGA design software was originally targeted at UNIX systems as they offered the power to run massive hardware simulations. These have been ported to Linux. I've had them working in Fedora, Red Hat and Ubuntu with absolutely no problem. So perhaps your problem is that you choose to work with software that doesn't have a Linux version?

    My only issues other than the MS word OpenOffice compatibility is hardware driver support is not available for a lot of hardware until it has been superseded by better performing devices and you have to fight to get games to work. Solve these three problems and I'd have to say MS is in trouble.

  27. Mark W

    @ vincent himpe

    Intrigued by your two quotes;

    "and what applications am i looking for you say ; well. lets start with some simple things. software that can compete with Adobe Photoshop perhaps ? Adobe Premiere perhaps ? Adobe After Effects perhaps ? how about some software to do schematic, mixed mode simulation, fpga coding, and pcb layout like what Altium Designer can do ? how about software comparable to Nero to make some home movies , slap some menus on it , print a nice cd jacket cover ...? how about a good Basic compiler/debugger ( comparable to visual basic 6.0 )"


    "and dont get me wrong. i dont like microsoft either. but there is for now still no alternative. there is Macos .but there its the same story : you want applications ? then install windows on your overprices white box"

    Not all Apples are white boxes any more. The new ones they announced last night are silver and black. :o)

    However, apart from the niche software such as FPGA coding and electronics stuff (which I agree only works on Windows, but probably because 90% of the installed base of machines in the world work on it), every other software package you mention has a similar or even better Mac equivalent, sometimes without any extra cost than buying the machine.

    Video Editing / DVD Mastering / Photo Management and Manipulation are all taken care of by iLife (which the register hasn't yet noticed has iterated to iLife08 last night), and if you outgrow the basic packages, you can upgrade to things like Final Cut Suite, Aperture, Logic and so-on. Plus you can buy most of the Adobe products for a Mac too (albeit not at PC World, but it is all available online).

    And if you're so inclined, you can run Parallels and load XP and away you go. In fact, I have a Macbook which runs Mac OSx, XP, Debian and Ubuntu. And all at the same time if I wanted to (albeit very slowly!). I did that because it gave me greater choice over the apps I can run. On a normal PC I can run Linux and Windows. On a Mac I can run Linux, Windows and MacOS.

    Linux works excellently as a backbone OS for the internet, and I for one would like more Webservers to be Linux/Apache instead of the hole-ridden IIS. It also is a great desktop, and I do like Gnome as I grew up on X-Windows on a Sun box. However, you are very limited at the moment as Vincent says in what you can actually do. Once more of the bigger software houses release Linux versions of their software, we'll definitely see an uptake. However, there are things like OpenOffice, Firefox and Thunderbird, so you can do the basic tasks we all use a machine for.

    The Mac takes that building block (as MacOS is Linux / NeXTStep derived after all) and builds a more complex wrapper onto it, but it does most of what most people want day to day - just look at what the general populous wants to do and a Mac fits that glove quite neatly.

    If it's a Windows specific business app then you're stuck with Windows. Doesn't make sense for them to develop for a niche OS.

  28. Chris Hedley Silver badge

    What a load of old bollocks

    As much as I agree that the Linux desktop still has quite a way to go, this article was shite. Please take a moment to think to yourself "is this a good read or just some bollocks?" when faced with the temptation to publish anything else of this quality.

  29. Clovis

    Linux on the desktop, when exactly?

    So, I've given up trying to run Windows at home, life is too short to deal with all the problems. OS X works rather well, but is eye-wateringly expensive overall, and doesn't have all the applications I would like. And it's not perfect, by any measure.

    I thought I'd try Linux. A few weekends ago I loaded a leading distribution onto a laptop I have knocking about, to see if it works. It actually looks quite nice. An hour to set up, and about 19 hours to prove to my own satisfaction that it wasn't going to connect wirelessly to my home network. Apparently that sort of 'advanced functionality' is still in the future. If I had got it working, my impression was that there isn't much software, but lack of internet connectivity is a show stopper so not worth checking. I should have been suspicious reading all the forums where the linux fanboys bleat that linux is "99% working". Like that isn't "100% broken"...

    Conclusion: grit teeth, keep sending Apple sackloads of money.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "The Linux community is, as always, beavering away on these issues and may well make something Windows comparable by 2020"

    To misquote Timothy Leary..

    "Operating Systems who seek to be equal with Windows lack ambition".

    This article is a definite candidate fro Troll of the week.

    What's up with the Reg these days?

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Was this article ...

    ... article written as a bet? What a pile of crap.

    As usual though, this kind of rubbish has totally polarised the comments between the Linux-Can-Do-Anything-Better-Than-Windows and the Linux-Is-Crap-Because-It-Was-Hard To-Use-10-Years-Ago camps. Perfect tabloid journalism.

    The truth I imagine is somewhere in between, though in my opinion, veering more towards the former.

  32. Jonathan Battle

    Digressing a little to mobile linux

    um, ...

    where can I actually buy a linux moby-phone?

    you know, one of these things which continuously over the last 18 months have been hooplahed as about to GA next month?

    Oh, PS. Why do I want one, you ask? Because I'm a terminal masochist, seeking a replacement for the POS Moto A780 I paid 400 odd quid for a couple years ago, and which disrupted my life into a kafka-esque parody ever since

  33. Tom Peach

    RE: Lots of baseless attacks

    Reg should really replace the original "article" with Jeremy Akers work of genius above

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward



    "Really? I can push more fps from my graphics card under linux than with a similar card under windows, the sound support is fantastic, power management/CPU scaling is all good.


    Shame that the FPS is an academic argument, still no decent games for it.

    I dont want Free CIV. give me CIV IV on Linus and then it would be a contender!

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    why does the comments every articale on Linus Vs Windows vs OSX vs xyz end up in "my dad is bigger than your dad" or "my John Doe is Bigger than yours" competition?

    Most people quote, when I use windows at work its terrible because x,y & z, to be honest with you your proabably right! Thats isnt because the product is bad per se , its becuase your sys admins nad policy makes have decided they will disable this that or the other! Its like trying to drive a sports car on US interstates verses the German Autobahns! you cant blame the car for the limitations you put on the operator or their environment.

    Also, why oh why all this whingign about, malware, viruese etc on windows, well stick your firewall up and put some antivirus on the box and your fine, ok there may be some theoretical risk that something could expolit to bizare loop hole in application X, but really? - you do know that upon leaving your resience there is a risk that someone will shoot your or a plane will fall on your head! - and according to most safety organisations most accidents happen in the home.... so where do you all spend your days?

    The only people i know who get their machines ransacked or "pawned" ( i belive the vernacular is) is those visit sites of a "dubious" or "Adult" nature, or frequent usenet/pnp sites and down load illicit or bootleg copies of x,y,z or w4r3z disks of ebay or computer marts.

    also, unticking the "install" partner software is usually a good bet for the smooth running (i.e search bars, assitants, voucher hunters etc)

    most machine i use in corporations are dreadfull most of the protection inhibits the real work, as the safe guards are implemented my muppets, the windows machines i have used at home for years since 95 have firewall, virus protection have gerneally been fine! in fact i have lost more data to hardware crashes (rememebr those bad IBM deskstars of a few years back) than any rouge or malcious data, not have i had my personality cloned or my bank or cards ransacked! - but have had my 2 differnct cars broken into and recently a 3rd flooded).

    I have tired to use linux from the early dayss or red-hat, through knoppix, to Unbuntu... and yes in some whays its not worse than windows configuration was 20 years ago - remember having to set the IRG for your Soundcards etc, or the Amiga OS (have having similar problems of matching software to kernals, so othe esoteric arguments) - and i dare say if i had only used linux (or unix) for 20 years and kept my fingers in the Developer skill set it would be the best OS ever, but i dont, didnt and its not!

    In the same whay I could go out and by an old-timer classic car and have to spend half my weekend, oiling, watering and reseting it it would be a cool thing, but i dont, I have to go honme and use my car to get to work and go to the store and a 101 activities over it lifetime, i down have time to lay under the car in overals and grease,

    so if people cant be bothered to look at and assess articals objectively and in light of their own prederilictions or predujices why dont you go of and solely look at "linux world site" (/£//../chw/load$/web) ) or "" and be done with it, lets face it this site is supposed to cover a broad range of issues which generally it does do.

    its like in the UK, the leftist parties complain the the BBC reports a right wing bias amd the right wing complain the BBC has a left wing bias, the centrist and green parties complain they are ignored by the BBC........

  36. Dam

    Oi, elreg

    Please - burn - this - news - author

    Nothing too harsh, 2nd degree burns will do.

    Loved the linux FUD really...

    It takes an equally technical user to run a "secure" windows than to run a "working" linux, see?

    Malware? virii? WINDOWS LOL VISTA?

  37. Richard Kay

    but grandpa does use it

    Their only support choice from Dell whom he trusted to supply new hardware was Vista. Vista didn't work and Ubuntu did. And I don't have to travel there every week to provide support. I do have to explain things occasionally over the phone, talking it through using an Ubuntu VM simulation of his system running under Kubuntu which I prefer, or by directly running the application on his machine displayed on my desktop using ssh X forwarding.

    As Ubuntu is much closer to the Windows 98 interface grandpa is familiar with than any current Microsoft products, and as I can reliably support Ubuntu over grandpa's broadband, this arrangement works much better for him and me than if he were stuck with Windows. And he has dropped his subscription for Symantec antivirus.

  38. Phil Bennett


    "GNU/Linux does a far superior job of hardware drivers"

    "I can install any linux distro and have a good chance of having working drivers for most hardware."

    All I can say is that you are very lucky - I've had a go at installing two distros recently, both of which failed due to poor driver support (Fedora and Ubuntu). My RAID card doesn't function with any kernel higher than 2.4 (cheers, Hitachi!), and installation of the ATI drivers is hardly as userfriendly as Windows.

    "Do you need driver disks or CDs Ashley for windows?"

    Occasionally, yes. And when I do, I pick up the driver disk and 5 mins of pointing and clicking and a reboot later, the hardware Just Works. If the hardware is sufficiently new or just something Linux doesn't recognise, getting it working is a nightmare.

    Yes, the manufacturers of the hardware are to blame. Does having someone to blame make the pain go away? No. Go convince the manufacturers to support your toy, or stop whining about Windows driver installation.

  39. Jim Fenner

    Calling all grannies

    Let's settle this by the Reg designing, publicising and conducting a poll.

    Only grannies who use Linux to be eligible to vote and one vote per IP address.

    No end date, just a continual display of counts.

    As few or many questions as you like, incisive or dumb I don't care.

    What I want to see is the total number of Linux-using Grannies on the earth/in the universe.

    Get it on Ashlee! As a visual "hook" someone might contribute a picture of Linux Dog doing what he/it does best.



    where on a quiet night you can hear the sounds of Linux boosters installing the latest distro to see if that works any better than the other 300 distros they have tried

  40. Daniel Voyce

    OS is better - Apps need to be sorted

    I am sitting here with one Ubuntu Laptop and one XP laptop - I would love to just move to linux and be done with windows.

    The problem is the core tools I used for my job are Dreamweaver, photoshop and Illustrator, then for the server admin I use SSH, NFS and Rsync.

    Sure there are alternatives for each on each system but none that offer the ease and simplicity of each of the others. I have tried the dreamweaver clones and they all suck in comparison. I have tried to use GIMP but it farts around the desktop like an old skoda in comparison to my nice shiny CS3 - likewise on windows, tortoise SVN is great - but what takes me like 10 clicks to do in windows can be done in 2 words on linux.

    Once the adobe creation suite, Cubase / Fruitloops and a decent MSN messenger client runs natively on Linux then im going to have to stick to 2 PC's

  41. Jamie Carpenter


    I have been reading therigister for ages now, and only just signed up for an accont as I feel I have to make a few points!

    I must admit MS do annoy me. So wilth all good intentions I decided to make the major switch to Linux. Now to all those who like to say 'Everything works fine'.. I haven't used one distro that does what I want it to! Ubuntu... can't log in as root to install some software packages that require root. Fedora.. seems ok, but I tried to use it as a very basic operating system, opened an internet radio station, and it tried to install Adobe flash player from Adobe's site. It failed miserably. That was a new install. SuSE.. Most packages I try to install just don't work. Errors always appear when installing. Once again this is a new install.

    So how come when I use Windows programs just install and work? Thats what I expect, and thats what home users and corperate users expect.

    Now I know you are all thinking 'Newbie' or whatever quirky words you use, but I have been in I.T. for 15 years, and I manage a 1000+ user network. Do I have the time to be faffing around with install scripts? No.. Do I have the time to be trying to get even basic web sites to work? No! When I buy a car, although I am the equivelent of a mechanic, I don't expect to rebuild the engine everytime I want to replace my tyres or change the wipers.

    So until Linux can do these extremely basic tasks as well as Windows, I don't think it will ever be mainstream. Don't get me wrong, I would would like to see it out there, but there is no way joe ordinary could use it. I have tested random people on my own computer using Ubuntu, and although they could figure out how to open Firefox, OpenOffice etc, the file system was totally baffling to them.

    In short, you shouldn't need to know how to program, or understand the deep dwellings of an OS just to use it for something productive.

    If someone can tell me where I am going wrong please do, I don't need for everyone to be telling me what an Idiot/newbie/ms lover I am. I am just saying it how I see it! So I think the reporter has made some interesting points.

  42. Ben DAMET

    Linux as a professional OS

    I have been working on linux machines for 6 years now, and have been using linux at home since 9. I tried quie a bit of distros, from one click like corel linux or some gateway specific things, to 'leet' slackware (in the days). I settled for debian finally.

    I had the opportnity to work with some researcher who built a full nework deployed flavour of linux, which is in my opinion what all SysAdmins should have around, as hardware failure is not an issue anymore, you swap the machine it is back to normal after a 30 seconds network boot. (an it works fine for servers too).

    I do happen to do some quite advanced Hardware design related research on FPGA and ASICs, and last time I touched a Windows machine was when I had to use the now happily buried Altera "Clickodrome" -- as we say on theother side of the channel for an app where you have to change mouse halway trough the startup-- Max2 + to do some CPLD fitting on a device from the 80s(UVerasable, 32 memory points Altera MAX CPLD device MAX5032 possibly, I could be mistaken).

    I ve hapilly used Linux for all Xilinx related applications with absolutely no problem, and the nearly native ability to use Makefiles and comandline tools for everything, only firing the GUI on very rare occasions to be able to visualize the schematics of circuits infered form the input descriptions. I could have probably done that invoking the right application from commandline but just could not be asked to look in the poor documentation of comandline utilities. ive used mentor tools on Linux and Solaris and some analog simulation tools on some older sus server (SonOS 5 possibly, would not bet anything on that)

    Let's be honest, I kept a windows box until past month, when the bloody thing died. It was solely for gaming. As I was not realy gaming anymore, it has not been replaced.

    For media, what VLC does not read -whithout external codecs - is not worth watching. Plus VLC nicely streams everything to my media box and allow a remote control interface from it. Really, it is really really priceless (lke in free beer) :)

    For media editing, I think you have some quite good mastering apps under linux, even though it might be for some other UNIX flavor. As these things are pure serland, they should not be to hard to port.

    Anyway, without being a troll, I think anyone praising Microsoft Visual Studio 6 should be forbidden to touch a keyboard. icc agains gcc is an issue, gcc against msvcc6 is a joke.

    And I am saying that not hating microsoft, some of their guys in Cambridge, and probably in other labs, are doing wordeful work. F# for example is now my favorite functionnal programming language -- with haskell -- and has repalced OCaml in many cases. I think C# is not that bad, evn though I do not have expericence with it.

    On the matter of driver, the kernel comitee offered to write any driver for a hardware anufacturer who would provide enough hardware info to do so; I do not think microsoft or Apple is close to that.

    The article is crap -- there is no reason to deny that -- but what is more a matter of concern is the obvious motives behind that or the terrible incompetence of the reporter, both far off of what used to be the register standards.

  43. Steve Anderson

    Vista vs. Ubuntu

    I had to set up a Vista PC and an Ubuntu developer's box on the same day, at the same desk, at work. Dealing with Vista was horrendous, and jumping through the hoops to get all the peripherals working was a nightmare. Meanwhile, the DVD went into the Linux box, chugged away for a bit, and then... just worked. It picked all the hardware plugged in correctly, with the exception of the wireless card - it took five minutes for me to follow a guide on UbuntuForums to get it set up and running, and I did this whilst I was waiting for Vista to get its act together in its constant do something/reboot/do something else/reboot cycle.

    BTW, Vincent Himpe: if I wanted Nero I'd install Nero Linux. There's free stuff that's better though.

  44. T. Scheisskopf

    Oh Dear. Someone is about to be Hoist on her own Petard of Cleverness

    Ashleeeeee, petal:

    I build systems for just regular folks. Yes, I do build Windows systems for those whom the addiction is too far gone(Think: "The Man with The Golden Arm"), but I also have a good number of intrepid souls for whom I have built Linux Desktop systems. I use Mandriva because, well, I know it, and better the devil you know, right, you clever little minx of letters?

    So guess what? They love it. It works for them. Women, especially, grok it at a ridiculously fast rate. I never hear from them because there are no complex maintenance issues, unlike some OS's we know. One woman worked for a VERY important state agency, telecommuted and created all work product on FOSS software and Linux and not a peep was heard from the PHB's. Or her. The older folks get their email, do their surfing, IM their grandchildren, one even uses a webcam with the little brats and at no time does The Music of The Spheres hit a discordant note. Another woman did all her college course work on it. She graduated. With honors and real monetary achievement awards.

    When I install Linux, everything, except them fershlugganah Broadcom WIFI chips The Broadcom chips take me all of 5 minutes to get working. Try THAT with Vista or XP x64! Hoo. Hah. Errm. I mean this whole "Linux Hardware driver" thing(Oh, and they are called "modules", if you must know) is so hoary and trite.

    Please, m'dear, Clever people are nice. They are fun. But that's clever and FACTUAL people. Desktop Linux is here, it's ready and it works. The only thing that seems to be holding it up is PHB's who feel that they simply must spend huge gouts of company money on seat licenses, consultant fees and selling their first born male into white slavery, and if they don't have to, then the alternative must be crap. For such is the time-honored wisdom of PHB's.

  45. vincent himpe

    alas ..

    for the people who replied on my post :

    In almost every reply i read things along the line of 'just use the command line'.

    I stated clearly in the opening of the post that i was looking at it from a USER perspective ( i too use command line tools and yes i do use solaris too where i work ) and not from a programmer perspective. Command lines are for programmers. period !. A user only clicks on nice shine buttons on the screen.

    Let me play the devils advocate for a second.

    90% of the people out there dont know what a command line is. All they can do is pop in a cd ( that autoplays ) click install next next next agreed next next next finish. clickety click.

    And yes grandma and grandpa are using linux too, but ask yourself this questions: did they install and configure it ? if if they did't . how big are their chances of them succeeding ?

    That's what is still missing in linux. And granted, Ubuntu and a few others are getting really close. ALthough last time i tried running one of those 'no-install' ubuntu on my brand new laptop ( about a month ago ) it barfed all over the place. something with nonstandard resolution.

    As for applications. There is no 'open source' or free' software that comes close to what Premiere can do ( and i have tried cinelerra). Try some serious things like color balancing and correction on HD1080 video and you will see what i mean. Yes, all other applications can all cut and paste and put in a cross fade or two and some eye candy. But if you want more.. Final cut is 'mediocre' at best.

    To make along story short.

    Linux is 'there' yet as an operating system. The operating system works ( and better than windows ) and is great for servers and for people who are knowledgeable. and is you can find applications that can self deploy in general they work resonably ok. But too often you still have to dig through too many config files and tinker around with them.

    Now if only someone would write some 'non command-line' software so that joe-schmoe can use it...

    and for the people commenting on 'Basic'. How hard can it be for all these super smart 'C' gurus to make a compiler for a 'dumb' language like basic...

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There are 10 kinds of computer users...

    ...those who go with the herd, and those who don't. The first bunch will use Windows forever and will never be interested in at least trying something else "because it's difficult" (do they mean "different"?). Never tried and never will use anything else, but the morons "know" it's "difficult". The second group is already using something else (Linux, BSD, Mac). Options have already been made and an idiot from the first group won't grow a brain because several members of the second group explain why it's better to have and use one :-)

    Owners of Microsoft stock are trolls (not humans) blinded by greed; at least in their case there is the potential to make money propagating the anti-Linux FUD. The real idiots are the rumor-spreading cockroaches that have no idea what they are talking about but - with an air of superiority - brag about "Linux is bad because of the lack of Linux drivers" and such...

  47. Paul

    What the crap?

    OK Ashlee, you may want to check the controls on the DeLorean and try again, looks like you had them set for 1997 instead of 2007.

    I've been using Linux as my preferred desktop OS since 2002 and had used it on the desktop in a previous employment since 2000. It took several attempts to get there, I'd given it a whirl as far back as 1998 and at the time I couldn't work out why in the world anyone would want to use it.

    Within 3 or so years of my first try, it had reached a tipping point where it actually *could* do everything I wanted, using all the hardware I currently owned or planned to buy, without any major reliability issues. At which point I sidelined Windows (and nuked it entirely when I realized I hadn't booted into it once in 6 months). Now I use Windows in work and hate every second of it (yesterday XP decided to arbitrarily change my desktop theme back to the default settings; this is better than Linux *how*, exactly?), and wonder why in the world anyone would *choose* to use it for anything besides playing really expensive games.

    The Linux desktop, drivers, applications, and overall quality have only improved since then, to the point where I'm quite confident my tech-unsavvy mother could use it if I did the install for her, or it came pre-installed on the system like Windows does (she couldn't install Windows herself, either).

    Limited driver support? No problems here any time recently, from what I've seen and heard I'd have a harder time getting working drivers for Vista. Even wireless LAN card support, the bane of Linux users everywhere, is getting there (my 54b/g card works straight out of the box with the drivers in Ubuntu). If Grandma just plugs her desktop box into the cable modem, odds are near 100% that it will Just Work and won't be pWn3D LoLZ!!!!1!!one!!! inside 5 minutes either.

    Multimedia? I wouldn't call it limited, though it doesn't help that you have to separately install the relevant packages. Easy enough in Ubuntu, but off-putting to a newbie I'm sure. Then again, now that I have it set up properly, I find multimedia gives me more constant low-order grief in Windows, and Banshee is far better for managing my iPod than iTunes is (oh how I love to hear my wife yell at iTunes for being stupid and slow...)

    Power management? Oh, yes, it used to suck raw eggs, but since upgrading to Ubuntu Feisty, I now have a laptop which will hibernate just fine. It may even have worked before, I just hadn't tried it. By comparison my wife's XP laptop loses the plot after about 3 hibernate/awaken cycles, hardly dependable.

    CPU SpeedStep control has worked since I moved to Ubuntu, ramps the speed down under idle and gives it the bejeezus when the CPU is under load. It really *did* Just Work, without my intervention to make it so.

    Linux is improving all the time, deals like the Dell arrangement, and the recently-announced Lenovo one, can only help improve things yet further. Windows is...well, you got a problem-plagued Vista after a delay that makes even Debian look fleet-footed! Maybe you'll *have* a new version that doesn't suck so badly by 2020...

    @ Jamie Carpenter, re: Ubuntu and root: no, you can't log in as root by default. That's intentional, and exactly the same way OS X does it. You log in as yourself and use "sudo <command>", then enter your normal user password, or else "sudo su -", your password and that gets you a root prompt. Apps which require root privileges when launched from the desktop menus (one of which I believe is a root terminal) will prompt for your user password and then run as root. Installs "just work" in Windows because most people will be running with admin privileges at all times. That's a Really Bad Thing when you're using an OS where stuff can be installed without your consent...

    Also I tend to find that most normal people are baffled by *any* filesystem and will forget where they saved their files whatever the path looks like. I'd argue that "/home/paul/" is a hell of a lot clearer than "c:\Documents and Settings\Paul\My Documents\" any day of the week though.

  48. Steve

    @Flaming fanboy wankers

    Hey, linux jihad.

    Sorry boys, you are all still well off. The 'linux desktop' , by which I mean the entire GUI subsystem(s) that runs on top of GNU/Linux, coupled with the driver issue (whoever said there are drivers for everything is a dick and either a liar or a fool, BTW), coupled with the application install issue mean that linux as a windows replacement is still not viable.

    Like many of you, I have been using Linux for over a decade, and I love it, but it is still a geek toy.

    And yet, I hear your unreconstructed whining ringing in my ears, "Why the f*ck would we want it to be a replacement for windows ?"

    Because MS owns the desktop, that's why. Until you can provide a user (USER, not geek) experience that is comparable in ease of use through the whole spectrum of computing to MS windows, Linux will never own the desktop space.


    If a non geek user has to touch a command line, compile a source file, wrap an NDIS driver, jump through hoops to install a codec to watch media that's widely available (or even installed by default) on other platforms, or to access DRM content (it exists, live with it), then, put simply, Linux is *still* not ready for the desktop as far as most people and businesses are concerned.

    Quit your fucking cheerleading and listen to what you are being told by people who obviously retain a sense of objectivity which you sorely lack.

    Linux, it's an OS, not an ideology, so stop projecting your infantile empowerment fantasies onto the technology, m'kay ?

  49. john frey

    Jeremy Akers article

    "Cherry added that the education, Asian government, thin client, call center and embedded markets are "hot, hot, hot." Apparently, Ashlee Vance's writing is poised to take over the world."

    OH MY GOD!!!! ...runs screaming for the hills.

  50. Pete

    RE: Digressing a little to mobile linux

    Posted By Jonathan Battle: "where can I actually buy a linux moby-phone?"

    That's probably what you want... if you only need to do GSM, for WCDMA (and WIFI) wait for v2, which should be out in the next few months...

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Steve who

    Were not fanboys stevie were sick of lies and your not telling the truth so we hate you no one said there are drivers for everything but most things get supported I have been using a supposedly difficult distribution (only for programmers) for years Slackware and it's not let me down and I can't imagine it being any easier to use. I can't say as much for all the thousands of hours I have spent fixing other peoples Ms based desktops

    12 years ago cli use was common MS-DOS anyone? people who can't type a command here or there are not out of luck there are other ways to get anything done Ubuntu and others have proven that I just don't like Debian that much (sue me) The point is there certainly are really good reasons to migrate at once from all MS products and most of them are selfish reasons but there are one hell of a lot of them and if Ashlee wants to live long he better do some damage control stat.BTW I did a Google That dog will mount 380,000 hits not bad if there is such a thing as a Linux desktop fanboy Ashlee they are out for you for sure.

  52. Mark W

    @ vincent himpe

    Quote; "Final cut is 'mediocre' at best."

    So that's why the BBC are migrating over to using it for most of their editing, and people like the Coen brothers use it to edit their movies?

  53. Jeremy Fisher

    Oh what ignorance

    "The Linux community is, as always, beavering away on these issues and may well make something Windows comparable by 2020."

    What a stupid ignorant comment to make. Linux is not Windows!, Linux is not trying to be Windows!, Desktops running on Linux surpassed anything Windows has to offer years again, and this type of moronic tabloid FUD will not stop Linux based systems from showing users that there is OS that lets you use the system and not spend time and money managing it.

  54. Anthony

    Re: Flamers

    It reminds me of the episode of Never Mind the Buzzcocks where Simon Amstell reads out sentences from Chantelle's "biography and Preston storms off. The truth hurts perhaps?


  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh dear...

    Here we go again - anyone who dares suggest Linux is not perfect is flamed to hell itself and back. Guys, Linux is OK. Period. Not perfect. It has its place, as has Windows.

    People have views different to yours. Its a fact. Get over it.

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