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  1. Stuart Halliday

    It's Still Linux

    It's still Linux no matter what they call it up front.

    i.e. badly documented.

    I tried the two CDs, the fancy graphical one and the vanilla basic install one as the first CD tried to power off my PC when starting the install!

    I was left trying to use a 800x600 desktop out of a 22" widescreen 1680x1050 screen.

    Their online documents were out of date and virtually useless.

    So I asked on their forums.

    Getting told to apply complex patches and edit screen configurations files (that didn't work) isn't my idea of an advertised simple to use OS.

    Seemingly Ubuntu doesn't support cheapo modern ATI Radeon 7000 cards and wide-screen monitors.


    Unbuntu is not yet suitable for domestic users.

  2. Joseph Bryant

    fire sale

    So these books you're flogging at 40% off go all the way up the Feisty Fawn, the "latest release" - is it a coincidence that the next release comes out this month, and these books will go out of date?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well spotted

    Yes it is still Linux!

    Ubuntu does support wide screen without any problems. I recently installed Ubuntu on my 22inch widescreen over and old Nvidia card and it all just works. Did you install the drivers for your ATI card?

    For anyone interested in trying it out visit where there is and easy to use wiki. I simply followed the insturctions for installing Automatix and adding all the 3rd party software was then as easy as ticking the boxes next things I wanted and clicking apply.

    Ubuntu is indeed fine for everyday use on the desktop assuming your hardware is supported. If the LiveCD will boot and run then it should work fine. Just because you were not able to use it, it doesn't mean other people won't get on better with it!

  4. Brutus

    Yup, it's still linux

    and for some reason, ATI still isn't doing a good job of supporting it.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I had the same problem with a 1440x900 display; after a bit of Googling I found a couple of different solutions, most of which involved editing Xorg.conf, a text file. It still didn't work, but at least I felt a bit better for having tried. An even more complete novice than myself would have been baffled, and if he had edited Xorg.conf incorrectly he would have had to reinstall Ubuntu. Perhaps the same is true with Windows XP's registry, but then again Windows XP detects widescreen monitors by default. Widescreen support seems to be a blind spot with Ubuntu. I imagine that Linux fans feel a bit uncomfortable using a graphical interface, and this is their revenge on the normal people who bullied them at school.

    This was after installing a Speedtouch ADSL modem. I could only manage this because I had a second computer already connected to the internet in order to download the instructions.

    But the again, I am ignoring all the hardware that Ubuntu detected and ran without problem, so perhaps I'm being unfair.

  6. JamesH

    Don't pick out Ubuntu

    All Linux is the same!! Certainly not ready to compete with Window for most users although Ubuntu is much better than some of the other distros


  7. Ian McNee

    Re: It's Still Linux

    If you had bothered to read any of the Linux forums regarding graphics you would have very quickly found out that support under Linux for ATI graphics hardware was virtually non-existant because ATI would not release Linux drivers. That's not the fault of anyone in the Linux/open source community. It seems that ATI may have recently done an about face on this seeing that their disregard for Linux was more their loss rather than that of the Linux community. We shall see.

    But counter to your poorly researched little diatribe: show me the Windows installation media that will have all but the most bleeding edge hardware (desktop or laptop) working from one fresh install. Can't be done without hacking your media for specific hardware with WinPE or BartPE. Ubuntu does that from one CD and also includes a full set of office, net, multimedia and other apps as well.

  8. Peter Freeman


    You are obviously a windows user - used to all the complex patches poor documentation.

    are you a geek or not?

  9. Martin Owens

    Soon, Meh

    It's still Gnu/Linux actually Stuart no matter what _you_ call it.

    As for your fendangled ATI Radeon card, having person experience trying to work with graphics cards with respect to finding monitor information I can tell you 3 interesting things: 1) ATI doesn't document very well how to use DDC/I2C on all it's cards 2) Some of the cards just don't work, 3) Even when you get data, most monitors lie about what their specs are for some reason.

    I'm looking forward to Hardy and I'll be waiting with bated breath for the ATI open source drivers because they _will_ make a lot of these problems go away. You know all the problem Ubuntu always has is when it's forced to use closed systems, drivers, plugins etc; The reality is that ubuntu is ready, the market on the other hand is still sleeping in 1995.

  10. Ian Rowe

    Re: It's Still Linux

    Poorly documented? I hope you're not comparing it to Windows in this regard.. the security through obscurity platform.

    It is widely known and accepted that ATI's support for Linux is lacking.. It seems that the most common complaint about Linux is the hardware support and that is because many hardware manufacturers believe that as long as their hardware works with Microsoft's latest OS then it is ready to put on the shelves. It is not that Ubuntu is not yet suitable for 'domestic' users but that you have to buy your hardware from companies that don't believe that Microsoft are the only people in the world who make operating systems for home computers. Why should the open source community have to reverse engineer every piece of hardware on the shelves when Microsoft get the support handed to them on a silver platter? Take a look at Microsoft's main (and probably only) rivals in the home computing market.. Apple. They sell their operating system with hardware to match for a reason.

    The problem is not that Ubuntu or any other Linux distribution is not ready it is that the rest of the community will not accept it as being ready and will not support it. Where would Microsoft be if the hardware manufacturers decided to stop writing drivers for windows?

  11. De Zeurkous

    RE: It's Still Linux

    #include <stddisclaimer.h>

    ``Unbuntu is not yet suitable for domestic users.''

    It isn't. It'll never be. Heck, it's not suitable for 'us techies' either. Try a real UNIX, like the Berkely Software Distribution ->,, (and a few minor variants I can't be bothered to list here) :)

  12. Cameron Colley

    RE: It's Still Linux

    Strange -- because I had pretty much that same problem with Windows XP a while back, but Kubuntu was fine...

    Oh, and I think you'll find it's ATI who don't support Linux. Lazy or overly-secretive manufacturers are the cause of almost all Linux hardware problems and many software ones too.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't suggest that everyone would immediately wipe Windows and install Linux, but to suggest that because you found it hard to install on your hardware does not mean that everyone else will find it hard to install on their hardware.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Next Release

    I'm a casual ubuntu user - i.e. my main latop is XP but run the 'buntu on other stuff, including laptops that I've solved on ebay after getting it installed all working..wifi.screen ad all..

    Stuarts is right- This is the most ballaching stupid thing they still need to fix in even though I am pretty happy with the command line, sudo and vi, I still find it stupid having to manually config X just to fix the frigging resolution..

    It's on the list of things to be fixed in the next realease - whatver thats called...if they do it properly then I do think it would be fit for your grannie..

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    a step in the right direction

    Ubuntu is the first linux distro that i have installed on my laptop that has just worked i even managed to get the wi-fi card working without much fuss inc WPA. I have very little Linux experience but i've got to grips with Ubuntu pretty quickly It's not as easy as windows but it is getting there.

  15. Gareth Harmer

    In contrast...

    Ubuntu is the first distribution of Linux that I 've tried since University and it's been straightforward and simple to set up. The graphical installation took me through setting it up on an Intel Core 2 Duo with SATA and an NVidia 7900, all straight from the disk and smooth as silk. I could even try out the operating system from the CD while the installation was taking place.

    I'm not saying it's perfect - I had to tweak some settings to use my widescreen monitor and had to do a fair bit of work to get some applications working correctly on WINE, but on the whole the experience has been a good one. Compared to other OS installations I've done, this one's been much easier.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: It's Still Linux

    "Unbuntu is not yet suitable for domestic users."

    Quite true. How ever, I am a bit of a nerdy fellow yet have never used Linux in my life. Liked gaming far too much to bother. When ET:QW was announced to have a Linux version, I thought I might as well install Ubuntu to do a comparison of it against Vista and XP. (Which I did, XP is the clear winner by 16% extra FPS and 20% better stability) So I boot up on that fancy bootable CD and go through all the live CD stuff. Decide to install, so I locate the install thingo and go through the parition screen and all that.

    This, I imagine, is where your bog standard "I'VE LOST THE WEBSITE BAR IN INTERNET EXPLORER!" person would likely get stuck. I had a little head scratch when going through it, but got there in the end. The main problem at the end of it is when It came time to install the latest Nvidia drivers. I spent an age trawling across the web trying to find instructions on how to install the Nvidia drivers (they weren't .run format) and none of the "solutions" on the intrawebs worked...So I ditched it and went back to XP. I'll get round to it some time though.

    You have to admit though, Ubuntu is the closest Linux has really ever been to something suitable for domestic users.

  17. system

    RE: It's Still Linux

    It all depends on what the domestic user wants to do.

    Personally, I haven't touched X11 in years, prefering windows for GUI (funnily enough, it just works, someone shoot me for saying this). I do however run linux for developement without the X. It can also make for a good media/streaming server, or HTPC.

    BTW, I use centos for all my linux boxes. Debian used to be my choice but updates are just too slow, and unstable branches are named for good reason.

  18. tim

    Stuart Halliday...

    Its darwinian - the linux community doesn't need idiots like you!

    jog on

  19. Morely Dotes

    Not a credible criticism, Stuart

    I have installed Ubuntu 6 and 7 on numerous systems, including several with ATI Radeon graphics (ranging from the Mobility 9000 in a laptop to the 9800XT in a desktop). I've never had any issues that could not be resolved quickly using (in order of precedence) the online documentation, the official forums, or Googling for the specific issue I had.

    If you can't get a resolution in the forums, the odds are excellent that you have failed to correctly describe the problem. I get this all the time (I have to support Windows users who, when I ask them to read the error message to me, reply, "Oh, I clicked it off. It said there was an error or something.").

    I've never seen *any* OS attempt to shutdown a PC during installation when the PC didn't have an underlying hardware problem.

    Less than 30 seconds work on Google finds that the ATI Radeon 7000 can be made to work thusly:

    "The driver chosen by the installation was radeon. I changed this to "ati" in /etc/X11/xorg.conf and now it works."

    Of course, the real question is, "Why didn't you try the LIVE CD first to make sure your system can support a modern OS, before you installed it on the hard drive?"

  20. Arnold Lieberman


    Agreed with above, my experience of ubuntu is that I couldn't get the graphics above 800x600, 56Hz using several common-or-garden graphics cards circa 1998. And it ran like a dog on the P3 850 that I was playing around with, to the point where I had to crack out an Athlon 1GHz to get it useable.

    Xubuntu on a Thinkpad 600 wasn't much more of a success.

    I'm no Mac/Windoze fanboi, but I've had much more positive experiences with installing XP on said ancient kit (thanks, nLite) than the flavours of Linux that I've dabbled with. I'm sure with a bit more time to trawl the forums (fora?) I'd get it sussed, but life's too short.

  21. Peter Simpson

    It's not Ubuntu, it's an ATI problem

    ATI considers the driver details for their cards proprietary, so unless you're Microsoft, they don't tell you enough to write a driver for them. It makes it kind of difficult for you or me to write any driver code for an ATI card without that information.

    When choosing to try Linux, you should remember that it was written, in large part, *without* the assistance of the hardware manufacturers, who focus their support efforts on Windows (only). Since Linux is free, there's no wads of cash to throw at the hardware vendors to get their attention. Look at Linux from that perspective, and it's quite an accomplishment.

    However, the reward for using Linux, is that you regain control of your computer. No more stealth updates, no more anti-virus programs, no more mandatory DRM. If you're happy with Windows, by all means continue to use it. For me, the effort to install and configure Linux is more than compensated for by the stability and freedom it provides.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: It's Still Linux

    > Seemingly Ubuntu doesn't support cheapo modern ATI Radeon 7000 cards and wide-screen monitors.

    That's mostly down to ATi/AMD not bothering to provide an even half-way decent driver for aeons, whereas cheapo modern Nvidia cards are pretty good, as are exceedingly cheap Intel ones (which are properly open-sourced, and as such don't make Richard Stallman cry in his big old beard).

    You clearly didn't tell the operative at PC World that you were thinking of using Linux on your PC when you bought it. Or maybe you did. Either way, your warranty is void.

    FWIW I tossed the 7.04 DVD into my PC, let it do its business, and it all just worked. Better than Vista managed on an identical machine in the office. I was pleasantly surprised that the Ubuntu machine picked up the card and TFT correctly whereas Vista had me rummaging around in a monochrome desktop - it was like a "Hi-Res" Amiga Workbench from 1989. (And yes, that was the highlight of my Vista usage.)

  23. Kevin Reilly

    Re it's still linux

    "Unbuntu is not yet suitable for domestic users."

    My main computer is a Mac Mini but my laptop is a second hand Thinkpad X.30 running Ubuntu. It does everything I want, Wifi etc at about a tenth of the cost of a Macbook pro.or a quarter of the price of the white Macbook. No Windoze needed at all. I think it's bloody marvelous, & i'm not a major geek at all either. honest!

  24. John

    Re: It's still Linux

    Sounds like you had a bad experience which is unfortunate, plenty of other people have the install go silky smooth, like myself. It took 9 minutes to install on my PC and when it rebooted I was greeted with 100% working mouse, keyboard, sound, network, USB etc the ubiquitous Open Office suite fully installed ready, and thats happened on the 4 other desktops I popped it on and two laptops.

    As for it not being ready for 'domestic' users, in actual fact I think that is who it is readiest for, people who just want to browse, email, play some video clips, store their digital photo's etc, the bog standard simple chores for a PC. That is certainly the case where my relatives have been concerned. I have less work keeping there computers working than when they a had windows, they find the layout of gnome much simpler and easier to use in turn.

    I'm not going to cover the ATi issue, but given that AMD have now (I hear) started proper driver development for Linux and opened up the specifications so others can write 3rd party drivers it is sure to change soon. Its a ATI/Linux problem, not restricted to Ubuntu.

    Linux may not be ready for all desktops, but it certainly is ready for some. The best thing to do is try it, if you find it meets your requirments then stick with it and if it doesn't stick with Windows, there is no right or wrong when it comes to your choice of OS, its *your* choice, just make an educated and informed decision.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: "Seemingly Ubuntu doesn't support cheapo modern ATI Radeon 7000 cards"

    Not really correct, ATi doesn't support linux releasing a buggy and incomplete linux driver. Linux developers have tried their hardest to support ATi cards but ATi just won't cooperate. The NVidia drivers for Linux are another story and they work very well. Linux support widescreen resolutions without any hassles - seems like you got some bad advice there.

    I seriously doubt that anyone's first time installing Windows from scratch was any easier than installing Ubuntu. It was just so long ago that you can't remember or more likely you've never had to install Windows from scratch because it came pre-installed.

    Linux has improved a thousand fold over the last three or four years. Even in the six months between releases of distributions massive changes take place. I won't dare to claim that linux is now equal to Vista in terms of polish, but ease of use and features easily match XP. All this for free, without paying hundreds of pounds for the privilege. If you've never given linux a go I suggest grabbing a copy of the latest version of Ubuntu (Gutsy Gibbon) when it is released in a couple of weeks. You've got _nothing_ to lose and if you are open minded and have the patience to try something new then your reward will be freedom from Windows forever.

    P.S. No I don't use Ubuntu myself, preferring another distro but Ubuntu would be the recommended distro for newcomers.

  26. Andrew

    Oh for Fuck's Sake!

    Would you rather that Ubuntu damaged your monitor or video card trying to run at an unsuitable refresh rate or resolution? 800x600 is a sane (if annoying) default used if the setup can't detect the monitor properly. And what is so difficult about running "sudo xorgconfig"?

  27. Chris

    Ubuntu and Graphics card woes

    It's actually ATI that doesn't support linux. If you had nvidia cards it would work pretty well flawlessly. How do I know this? Cause I have a damn ati graphics card and I spent -hours- trying to get it set up and working in various linux flavours. It's the same old story, vendors won't support OSes that have no user base, and users won't use those OSes (in any quantity) until there is vendor support. I eventually decided to go back to windows, and run Ubuntu in a virtual machine. But damn do I miss Beryl.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I want it to be as good..........

    and easy to configure (for new users and old) as Windows, when that happens I'll start punting it to my customers, untill then, Must try harder!

    I do run a machine using "umbongo"(Ubuntu) I'm happy with it, but my customers would be coming back asking too many questions!

  29. asdf

    runs fine on my laptop in 1400x900

    Hmm sounds like user error to me (the dreaded id10t error). Or perhaps milking off the Redmond teet makes ones linux suddenly not work correctly and gives the desire to tell the world.

  30. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    RE: It's still Linux = good point

    OK, I am a bit of a hypocrite here, as outside of work my use of Linux has dropped off sharply. Whilst I'm sure Ubuntu is actually very good I don't feel any drive to try it myself. In fact, other than a single system with White Glove Linux all my domestic non-Windows systems have been given to other homes or simply been recycled. Whilst ten years ago I would have felt the urge to grab Ubuntu and challenge my way through drivers and recompiles, now I just do most of my home computing on Windoze XP. I know that if I need a Linux system then White Glove does what I need and is a painless single CD install, and if I want a "real" Linux system I can always load up the latest SuSE or Fedora and be about 99% sure of no issues, so why should I try Ubuntu?

    Is this apathy endemic in the userspace? Amongst my friends and colleagues it seems to be. I think just getting people to try Ubuntu is the biggest challenge the Ubuntu team face.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Unbuntu is not yet suitable for domestic users"

    Thankfully no distro is completely suitable for the type of domestic user who doesn't want to have to think or learn anything new.

    If you just want everything to work straight away so that you can operate your computer in a zombie like state then i hear Ubuntu is better than most (never used it myself) but 'Linux' in general has never and hopefully never will be about that.

    The reason that 'Linux' is so great is if you like what you see then fine, get on with it and enjoy the experience. If you don't then that's also fine, either make changes yourself so that you do like it and it does what you want or don't (for whatever reason) and use something else. It makes no difference. No one will be upset if you continue to use Windows or a Mac.

    There seems to be a misconception that the 'Linux' community wants everyone to see the light and use the operating system. That may be true amongst a small section (usually quite new users themselves), the sort that are constantly harping on about how bad Microsoft are, but generally i doubt anyone really cares. Especially if it means losing what makes 'Linux' what it is.

  32. Karim Bourouba

    I am a windows fan boy

    Yes, I am.

    However, when I have to use linux, I choose this one as it is just so damn easy to get things done compared to others.

    There is a wealth of (friendly) support out there etc and is rather easy to install.

    For people who use windows as the primary os, this can be used to great affect with vmware.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Problems with laptops

    Well after my corporate laptop rejected my password but I needed internet access (corporate webmail) then I downloaded the current one and gave it a go.

    Very smooth, very quick and very nice. Until I noticed that it was doing 1028x768 on the 1440x768 screen. Stretch-o-rama. Googled and found lots of vi editting and people complaining in forums that it wasn't working. Since I was planning to sneakily use if for DVD watching too (which also doesn't work out of the box - but due to having to find deCSS) I was a bit stuck until I remembered I had an old Windows Xp disk in the bag.

    Stuck it in and.... it failed since it was using an internal SATA disk which isn't supported until you patch it (one of the SP's). Oh - and windows only accepted a driver FLOPPY disk which as I only had the DVD drive with me was useless.

    Eventually got it all going - but both systems are VERY user-unfriendly. Makes jobs for us in IT but they both still have a way to go.

    *anonymous posting necessary until I figure out how to explain to corporate IT support why Ubuntu is on their supplied laptop instead of Windows.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    gotta love the Register...

    they can troll a fanboi flamewar at the same time as trying to flog stuff...

  35. Tony

    ATI support

    Where were you looking for documentation?

    Support for ATI does seem to be a bit lacking - though I understand that is because ATI haven't written workable drivers. Nvidia on the other hand have embraced the Linux market and installing Ubuntu on my 20" widescreen machine posed no issues at all. I'm not a hard-core Linux junkie but I managed with very liitle effort on my part.

    As an aside - last time I rebuilt my games machine (XP), it took me ages to get off 640x480 on my 26" TFT television as XP set it as default and I had to fight tooth an nail to get wireless networking up and running. To me OS issues are just swings and roundabouts - XP has it's advantages ove Mac/Linux and vice-versa.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    it's still ubuntu

    I use slackware I can do anything I want ubuntu makes me want to puke. No offense but why bother with it or desktop sissy's. Go back and play on Vista nothing to see here.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's good, yet it sucks (sort of).

    Would not, and I mean WOULD NOT install on my Dell Inspiron laptop gave up after nearly 7 hours (that's how long it took to get to the first set-up screen. After the first hour it was just for sheer hell of it to see how long it took.

    Installed in about 25 minutes on my desktop. Looks nice, works ok, blah blah blah. Marginally more firendly than Mandriva.

    Had probems with resolution too (with an ATI card, like others above).

    A nice attempt at directing linux at the mainstream, but still has a way to go (but the same can be said of any number of distros).

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ahh... a flamewar

    "And what is so difficult about running "sudo xorgconfig"?"

    This is exactly the attitude (along with any question on a forum or IRC channel yielding, "f*ck off and die windows luser") that ensures that linux will never hit the mainstream.

    What's difficult about "sudo xorgconfig" is that unless you know to do it, figuring out to do it is next to impossible. In a UI which is mostly graphically based, a reasonably experienced person can figure out how to do most anything from context. But when the GUI shell is a slapped-on bit of bodywork with essential control hidden behind the command line, specific knowledge is required.

    That specific knowledge may not be particularly *complicated*, but a large *amount* of it is required. And those who have gradually acquired it over years of experience assume that some kind of blaring idiocy must be present for an experienced windows user to not just somehow divine it from thin air.

    For instance, there's no particular reason a windows user - no matter how intelligent - should be expected to know how command line help facilities work. Or how piping documents through more works. But if you ask a basic question in a linux community, you'll get, "Moron! Read the man pages!" This is pretty much gibberish if you don't ALREADY KNOW the solution to the problem.

    So Linux documentation, generally, requires some previous knowledge of linux to use effectively. When users fail to understand how to use tools they've never seen, they're accused of stupidity and told they're not welcome in the community anyway, so screw off (see posts by asdf, Andrew, and tim).

    Then the linux community cries because the world is so dumb it won't use linux and uses windows instead.

    The problem, unfortunately, is entirely not about the OS itself, or the tech, or the design - which is all most people think about.

    The problem is in the arrogant disregard many linux users have for - well, non-linux-users, which results in their simultaneously scrabbling to invite people to their party and then kicking out anyone who arrives for not being cool enough to already be inside.

  39. Charlie Fisher

    Compaq Laptop

    Ubuntu installed just fine on my Compaq laptop, and everything was detected correctly. Having tried Suse 10, which had no idea, this was a pleasant surprise.

    My Netgear wifi card worked after using Ndiswrapper, also a pleasant surprise.

    DVD playback (a Linux weakness in my experience) was also painless: A screen warns you that it may not be legal to watch DVD's, but it then asks whether you want to install the software and run the DVD. Again, this worked well.

    Ubuntu is very close to being useable by a newbie, and I wish them luck. It is very different to XP, but it has some very clever touches.

  40. Ian McNee

    Dear David Wiernicki

    If you choose to live in the small-minded cul de sac in which you select only those responses from Linux users that affirm your own prejudices then you will never escape that cul de sac. Alternatively you could choose to join the real world where real people choose an OS to suit the real tasks that they wish to accomplish with a PC.

    I use XP at work for day to day stuff as it is currently required and at home a mix of XP for games, Suse for a firewall/router, XP but soon to be Ubuntu for home office and Ubuntu on my laptop for traveling and photography. Which machine has caused me the least need to engage any IT skills? The laptop with a straight install of Ubuntu 7.04. It works, it's reliable and it's secure. It even auto-rotates photos imported from my camera's memory cards and that's an unmodified bundled application. Even as a Linux proponent I was pleasantly surprised so now I've started installing Ubuntu for people who break a good installation (i.e. well secured and tweaked) of XP within days.

    Now I'll put my nasty Linux person hat on to satisfy your prejudices: stop f*cking whining and look at the way things really are instead of how your pathetic comfort zone would like them to be luser.

  41. BitTwister

    @David Wiernicki

    > What's difficult about "sudo xorgconfig" is that unless you know to do it, figuring out to do it is next to impossible.

    Ah yes, that's right: all Windows users were simply born knowing how to use it. Have you never seen some of the cryptic error messages from Windows? I really can't see the average Joe figuring them out either and still less knowing what to do about them.

    > In a UI which is mostly graphically based, a reasonably experienced person can figure out how to do most anything from context.

    Yes indeed - and that's exactly what KUbuntu provides - along with the other major distributions. They have done for years.

    > But when the GUI shell is a slapped-on bit of bodywork with essential control hidden behind the command line, specific knowledge is required.

    It's not a shell, nor is it "slapped on", and nothing is hidden - the underlying systems have a longer history than Windows but unlike Windows, which re-veneers the 'same old same old' and adds more sets of handcuffs with each release, KDE (and probably Gnome) with each new release shows major goodies added and even slicker enhancements that Gates' crew could even dream about. And typically, for a Windows fanboy, the "command line" (it's not that at all, actually) is seen as some sort of complex threat to users. It's no wonder some GUIs get called 'point-and-drool' interfaces.

    The concepts are really very simple but they're not Windows' concepts. Seems this is the major bitch for many Windows users taking a look. I'd just call it 'lazy' when they only kick a couple of tyres, give up looking for the 'feed me with a jam spoon' button - and then proclaim that 'Linux is not ready for the desktop'. What, they think Windows *is*? Oh dear oh dear...

    There are those who are content to press buttons and don't care/don't notice that there *is* no button for what they'd *like* to do - and then there are those who are a little more interested in what they're doing and making it more productive.

  42. BitTwister

    @Stuart Halliday

    > I was left trying to use a 800x600 desktop out of a 22" widescreen 1680x1050 screen.

    Pfft - it worked perfectly first time with an ancient NVidia card driving my 22" widescreen at 1680x1050 32-bit - I'm using it right now, and required no prodding at all to make it work. It also automatically pulled down the current driver from NVidia. Absolutely everything else was pulled off the installation DVD and worked perfectly first time.

    As others have pointed out, the problem was with ATI support and not Linux - some very simple searches (that's what Google is for, remember?) would have shown you in seconds that ATI are playing silly buggers and providing no drivers *and* no information to allow others to write Linux support (although they seem to have realised this approach is costing them their reputation and money).

  43. Owen

    "sudo xorgconfig" . . . Oh for Fuck's Sake!

    And what is so difficult about running "sudo xorgconfig"?

    Since "sudo xorgconfig" doesn't do anything on Ubuntu 7.04 and and running "which xorgconfig" as root doesn't show an xorgconfig in the path - fairly difficult I would say.


  44. This post has been deleted by its author

  45. Colin


    >> What's difficult about "sudo xorgconfig" is that unless you know to do it, figuring >out to do it is next to impossible.

    >Ah yes, that's right: all Windows users were simply born knowing how to use it.

    Uhm, actually yes. The problem with windows is not knowing how to use it. My MOTHER can use windows. My Dad can even (at a push) install it on a machine. Neither of them would stand a chance on linux.

    What most Linux users (in which I count myself) don't get is that the average non-techie doesn't want to spend time configuring their machine, they expect it to work out of the box. and if it doesn't, then even the most technophobic can handle going to, downloading the driver.exe and running it.

    If the Linux community want to "challenge windows", they are going to have to accept that windows actually does a lot of things right. It's the dominant os for a reason (and it's not just microsofts business practices).

  46. alistair millington

    cool ubuntu is getting bigger and better - with some cheap books to boot.

    Ian McNee,

    You couldn't have been a better advertisement for what David was trying to point out. Good job that man for biting the bullet and letting the world know he was right with what he said. With your first sentence no less. Excellent...

    For me you have to look at the market. Vista is after twelve years of MS dominance, multi billion pound backing and they produced ME, even more cash and they produce Vista, released too early, not supported and resource hungry monster that is being pushed above all else. XP took seven years to be stable and now works. All of that with a billion pounds and more behind it. Teams of developers and all the world of suppliers doing the hard work for them. Limited use outside the high end spec PC.

    Linux is written by geeks, fanboys, professors, college students or part time programmers, a few various threads of development and you get after less years in work, nothing like the cash backing and little to no support at the outset from the mainstream developers. You end up with a more stable OS. Able to boot from anything (pen drive if you want).

    An example of the two systems.

    You turn on Vista and assuming it works you go looking for how to share a file because default the UAC (great invention) has disabled it. It took knowledge to find it, that knowledge is because you know sort of what XP did and where it did it. Or help files which lead you round in circles. Now find out how to access and edit the registry, needed to run some code yet? It took advanced knowledge for that. Knowledge taken for granted because you know XP. Have you turned off the UAC yet, tried to get around the annoying messages on login that tell you the UAC is turned off. You can't? You haven't got the knowledge for that, not on forums yet? MS won't tell you how to get rid of it?. Have you found out you can't have over three GB of RAM, you only find out on forums and the dreaded KB files because MS marketing skips that bit. Support for the NVIDIA SLi, not in Vista, despite their payoffs to NVIDIA it was 3 months before the Beta was released and it still doesn't work 100%. The list continues but you can see my point.

    Two things are at play, one persons hard to find knowledge is one persons experiences with previous releases taken for granted.

    And all of the above for Vista can be replaced with Linux. Same kind of things, in the same places trying to sort the same problems. Only one has a billion pound behind it. One doesn't.

    I can't see what the fuss is. Ubuntu and Vista have the same kinds of issues just one is free and has a cute symbol, the other is written by M$ and currently costs a small fortune.

  47. Howard

    Resolution fix

    sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg

  48. Kwac

    The problem with windows is not knowing how to use it.

    "My MOTHER can use windows. My Dad can even (at a push) install it on a machine. Neither of them would stand a chance on linux."


    Mom MIGHT be able to use Windows, but how often do you need to put something right for her?

    Dad might be able to install Windows 'at a push' but when the choice is installing Windows (on a clean drive) to installing Ubuntu (on a clean drive) there's no contest. (no digging through piles of scratched CDs for drivers, for a start).

    THEN when dad's installed the O.S. there's still the office software, antivirus, firewalls, adware.

    Try both on a 76-year-olds 500MHz Dell, then tell me Windows is easier to install than Xubuntu.

    BTW have they fixed XP so you don't have to have both a floppy and a SATA drive?

  49. BitTwister


    > My MOTHER can use windows. My Dad can even (at a push) install it on a machine. Neither of them would stand a chance on linux.

    This would make more sense if only you'd had a look at KUbuntu. I know of several cases where yer average Windows user is now doing perfectly well with the KDE GUI, OpenOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird etc. on various Linux distributions - including KUBuntu; one is over 70, the others are 'mom & pop' -types. Not one of them is remotely technical.

    > the average non-techie doesn't want to spend time configuring their machine, they expect it to work out of the box.

    None of the above spent any time configuring things (unless you include tweaking the required resolution via the GUI), and they all had an installation which worked out of the box. (off the DVD, actually).

    > even the most technophobic can handle going to, downloading the driver.exe and running it.

    As I said in my earlier post, the KUbuntu installer identified the NVidia card *and installed the driver automatically*. No-one had to go anywhere to download anything.

    > If the Linux community want to "challenge windows"

    I don't think "the Linux community" can be arsed - they're probably too busy just getting on with things. Besides, with Microsoft losing the plot more and more they're becoming less & less relevant.

    > have to accept that windows actually does a lot of things right.

    What, you mean like pushing buttons to get lots of stuff done? Well what GUI *doesn't* do that? As for the software, there really isn't much about a spreadsheet, wordprocessor, browser or mail client which could be classified as something which somehow, unlike all the others, Windows just does right.

    What WIndows also does is lock users into using proprietary file formats and protocols for no other reason than greedy commercial interests. Microsoft wasn't found guilty of being a rapacious, predatory monopolist because it happened to be a quiet day at the courthouse.

    > It's the dominant os for a reason (and it's not just microsofts business practices).

    Wrong, quite wrong - and I speak from experience having once worked at a company which intended to sell OS2 Warp along with Windows - until Microsoft threatened to drop the OEM deal. Besides, how many users actually *choose* to use Windows, and how many users just click away because it's what they see when the PC starts for the first time?

    There's a reason why Windows is pre-installed on just about everything except table lamps, and that reason has everything to do with Microsoft's dubious business practices and nothing to do with choice or popularity.

  50. BitTwister

    @Anonymous Vulture

    > The way that you pay for GNU/Linux is the same way that you pay for things like Perl, via the "documentation tax" and the time you have to spend figuring it out.

    So why are the bookshelves in any reasonably-sized bookshop groaning under the weight of books about Windows - isn't paying the Redmond Tax enough?

    > the "free" documentation supplied with the system is incomprehensible and disorganised, so you have to buy extra books.

    Incomprehensible and disorganised to you, evidently - but why buy all those books when you're seated at a browser? The Linux users I know just buy the odd O'Reilly for the deeply technical parts - and that's only because O'Reilly do it so well. But those parts and everything else is still easily available on-line.

    > Thus you end up paying more money for the thing than you would have had to pay for a Microsoft operating system.


  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: It's Still Linux

    That's exactly the point, it's Linux, not Windows - so people who have been using Windows and try Linux may struggle a bit until they get used to it.

    When windows users complain about their first Linux experience they tend to overlook two major things..

    1) How much they have actually learned about using computers without really noticing while using Windows (and fixing it when it craps up).

    2) That they have not really learned much about using computers at all but have learned a lot about using Windows (and fixing it when it craps up).

    Additionally they had probably been using Windows for a while before ever having to install it (if they ever have).

    People who have never used a computer before will likely find both as easy as the other (if pre-installed) or just as impenetrable (if having to install either).

    Windows users moaning about Linux not acting like Windows is like a car driver who buys a motorbike and moans about the lack of a steering wheel and ashtray - they are different things and if you are used to one use of the other takes some learning.

  52. Damian Turner-Steele
    Thumb Up

    Graphics and widescreen

    Why does everyone assume that its only Linux that struggles with widescreens. I have a fairly ordinary 19" widescreen with default settings of 1440 x 900. XP couldn,t detect it using either Nvidia or ATI cards. Both times I had to add the configuration manually using the advanced tools in their respective control panels. Vista was no better with ATI cards, trying and failing to use refresh rates far higher than the screen could cope with. Again manual tweaking was required to get things working correctly.

    Just because we are all largely familar with the Windows way of doing this does not mean that it is easy or that your average home user could do it. That they can't is how I ended up with my widescreen in the first place.

    Ubuntu et al require no more tweaking than anything else. It is usually the users knowledge that requires the tweaking.

  53. This post has been deleted by its author

  54. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Gates Horns

    RE Kwac

    Challenging Mom and Pop to complete clean installs of Ubuntu or any Linux/BSD/whatever to Windoze is not the point - the PC usually comes with Windoze pre-installed thanks to the Micro$haft market advantage. Just like modern car users mostly don't know and really don't care what's going on under the bonnet, they just want to drive, most home PC users just want to surf, email, edit camera pics, email, etc, and they are not only unaware of what's "under the hood", they are mostly scared to look! Do you think VW would sell many Golfs if they gave you the engine separately and you had to put it in yourself?

    A few years ago a friend in the States bought five Lindows boxes (the $150 from Walmart jobs), configured them up to look like Windoze 2000, and had members of staff use them for over a year before they realised they weren't Windoze PCs!!! Ubuntu needs to be on cheap PCs at Walmart, PC World, Comp USA, then it stands a chance. Until then it is a hobby OS.

  55. Chika


    OK, I'll admit it, I don't use umbongo. I use openSuSE 10.2, and I like it fine. However, I do know of more than one user of Ubuntu and they are quite happy with it. And I'm not speaking of raging geeks here.

    I'll admit it, I prefer SuSE because I have a history of using it, but then isn't much of the negative rumour concerning all Linux distros basically due to people with bad experiences of versions from years past? Isn't it all rep, hyped by Windows users and the great unwashed? Give a dog a bad name, maybe?

    However, I agree to an extent with Matt Bryant in that Linux in general needs a better sales front. Goodness knows, being a RISC OS user too, I am familiar with the fate of ventures that don't go for the marketing jugular.

  56. Nick Pettefar

    I've installed Ubuntu three times...

    Each time the graphic resolution was wrong and I had to find the right config file and add the correct resolution by hand.

    Each time I had a terrible time getting the networking correct. Ifconfig does not work and you have to use the GUI.

    The last time, on my son's PC, USB would not and still does not work.

    I will not be installing it again.

    Linux is a hobby, Ubuntu doubly so.

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