back to article Ubuntu man Shuttleworth dissects Hardy Heron's arrival

On Thursday, the Ubuntu 8.04 magic happens. The operating system - called Hardy Heron at playgrounds around Silicon Valley - goes up for download in its various forms, most notably Server and Desktop. Like most open source jobs, these Ubuntu OS releases are protracted affairs. Canonical, the corporate body behind Ubuntu, has …


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  1. Colin Wilson

    Wubi works great :-)

    I've already got the release candidate installed, and it works well compared to the previous beta (which would hang trying to import user details from a Windows user name that contained spaces)

    It runs very nicely, took me moments to install flash to allow the streaming media from the BBC website etc.

    The only possible complaint I could level at it at the moment would be support for wine - which isn't a fault in ubuntu itself, it's that wine doesn't like installing to an NTFS filesystem.

    If only Valve would get around to releasing a linux version of Steam and Half Life, I could ditch Windows permanently.

    To anyone interested in trying linux, I can heartily recommend a wubi install - it doesn't knacker your existing install, and will let you play on your hardware "properly" instead of emulated in a virtual machine. To uninstall it, just uninstall as you would any regular Windows application.

  2. Martin Owens

    I hear

    There are some really great things in the Active Directory configuration. Some of my friends have been playing with the RC on their networks.

  3. Antoinette Lacroix
    Paris Hilton

    Wubi ?

    Good work, very impressive - but where's the point ? Why would $USER install "almost-Windows" on real Windows ? The "Open Source" argument is irrelevant - Almost nobody pays for Windows, and $CASUALUSER has no use for source. It's not enough to be better, you have to be different ! So different, that some time in the future, everyone only shakes heads, when remembering how Microsoft did things. Copying the competition won't do the trick. Looks like there won't be much difference after "Lousy Lizard" is out.

    Ubuntu - the sound of the word alone makes me wanna throw up.

    [Insert BSD icon here]

    Paris, coz she wouldn't give a fsck, either.

  4. Matty B


    ...remember when Debian, Red Hat and SuSE were "the" distributions?

    Now it seems no matter where I look, this blasted Ubuntu is popping up.

    And as a SuSE and Gentoo user, it pains me. I hate Ubuntu.

    Ok so it may be easier for Windows users to migrate (compared to something like Gentoo), but do we really want more Windows users beyond thier depth in a distribution which is like the "Gumby" version of a Linux distribution?

    "Ubuntu" the African word for "I can't use a real Linux distribution".

    Seems more and more true every day with Windows-loving script kiddies claiming they can use Linux, just because they have a Ubuntu installation somewhere on a partition they never boot.

    And for the record, GNOME really sucks. The whole "brown" Ubuntu thing really sucks. KDE for the win. (and before you say it, fanboys, I'm very aware you can swap if you want. But last time I checked, you didn't get the option when installing.)

  5. Robert Hill

    @ Antoinette Lacroix

    Ubuntu is much more than "almost-Windows", and I say that as someone who started using and writing app code for Windows in oh, 1990 or so.

    The body of community software in Linux that is available for Ubuntu is very impressive - not always the most polished, but usually very capable and in some cases exceeding any Windows equivalent. This is particularly true of academic, scientific, and other niche applications. But it also applies to common office apps - OpenOffice is a great alternative to MS Office for nearly any user (yeah, I know it runs on Windows too...).

    Moreover, Linux actually has a MUCH better 64-bit environment - a lot less code knashing and compatiblity layers. There are parts of XP and even Vista that contain code to maintain compatibility with old 16-bit Windows 3.1 applications...very grungy, and very creaky, and very slow.

    And we won't even get INTO the DRM stuff in Vista - there are so many "tumblers" and critical timing detectors running in the background in Vista to maintain DRM in all audio and video channels that the performance even on good hardware takes a HUGE hit. I happen to be a supporter of DRM, I happen to believe in the enforcement of copywrite to ensure that we will have a good source of music and movies that are well-produced and not amatuer crapola. However, the MS way of ensuring it wreaks havok under the covers of the OS, results in massive performance hits, and is almost unstable in some instances.

    Lastly, Compwiz gives so much of the swooshy Aero type interface for Ubuntu - but doesn't need a next-generation video card to power it. It runs just fine on my 7600GT, even with all effects, transparencies, and rotating cubes enabled. WHY can't MS get Aero to do that on older cards???? I can see needing a 3D card to play excellent 3D games, but just to run the desktop?

    So yes Virginia, er Antoinette, Ubuntu really DOES have some large advances on Windows, rather than merely being a copy of it. And that is why when 8.02 is out I will delete my dual-boot partitions and install a Linux-only environment with VM Ware to keep XP running in it's own little box for when I absolutely need it (Eve-online and Photoshop for home, and Visio and MS Project for work).

    You can not give anything you like, but you are in luck - ignorance is cheap. Just like Paris...

  6. Don Mitchell

    Almost Windows

    Antoinette has a point. Is open source going to give us something new, or is it just going to be a marketing buzzword backed up by reverse engineering the competion.

    When NT came out in 1989, it was light years ahead of UNIX. It was built ouf of modular dynamic libraries, it had a device driver interface (UNIX drivers were subroutines installed by recompiling the kernel), it had kernel threads, events, critical sections and many other concurrency control primitives, asynchronous I/O, a journaling file system with B-tree directory structures, completion ports...and that is just the kernel. The user interface libraries (user.dll and gdi.dll) had vast functionality almost entirely absent from UNIX with its naive x-windows system.

    The list is pretty much the sequence of features added to Linux over the last 10 or 12 years. Folks talk about the "swooshy" and aero-like effects, which is pretty much a Potemkin village if you don't have real extensible GUI functionality like OLE Automation. Applications like MS Word are a platform in themselves because of OLE. I just installed a natural language translation routine on my system, and up it came with new controls for IE and Word, thanks to the set of interfaces Microsoft designed a dozen years ago or more.

    I'd like to see a REAL operating come into being that was novel and modern and original. That's what disappoints me about Linux, it is warmed over last-1970s technology. The other thing that disappoints me is the dishonestly of the whole discourse on software. It's poluted the field I work in, with people who barely know anything about software pouring disinformation about Windows and Linux into ever commentary they can find that has no editorial control.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    @Matty B

    I started using Linux when Mandrake was version 6. Text based installer, windows95 like look to KDE. In a very short time Linux has advanced a great deal. But, to say that Ubuntu is African for 'I can't use a real Linux distribution' is a tad stupid. It is a real ditribution. In fact, it was the only distribution that worked out of the box on my laptop. Sound, wireless, graphics, card reader, everything I needed just plain worked. Not even the installed windows could handle the complexities of connecting to a wireless router using wpa2. If being a 'real distribution' means spending hours on getting things to work then you can shove that dist up yer butt! I have work to do.

    On my desktop system windows required the installation of countless drivers and an equally countless number of reboots just to get to a usable state. With Ubuntu there was only one reboot and I was a bit shocked when sound came out the speakers and the desktop displayed at the maximum resolution the monitor can handle. This was something that made me finally ditch windows, who wants that crap when a Ubuntu install CD makes everything work out of the box?

    Looking forward to trying 8.04!

  8. Anonymous Coward

    SuSE and Gentoo

    Matty B, what a wimp!!! Any *REAL* Linux user worth their salt doesn't use *ANYBODY'S* distribution.

    I download all the source and build it all myself from scratch - takes me ages to get everything working, but hey, as a sad, lonely, fat, smelly geek - what else have i got to do with my life!!!

    Ubuntu - African for "Linux for normal people"


  9. James
    Paris Hilton

    Get out, now!

    To those like Matty B, I'm asking you to get out of the I.T. if you work in the industry. If not, please don't bother to get a job in I.T.

    As I.T. profesionals, our job is to solve problems. And for the most part this involves making sure that the end user has access to afforable, reliable and EASY TO USE solutions and software. This is our job, not making the most elite piece of software that you need a comp sci. degree to use.

    In short, our job should be as problem solvers, not problem creators!

    The I.T. industry doesn't need or want people who think in this way, so if you think an OS must invlove you editing 15 different config files just to rename your drive label, please, leave now. We don't need or want people like you.

    Paris, because she probably gets the point of an operating system more than some of the idiots I see posting here.

  10. Alex Cooper

    @ Matty B

    "And for the record, GNOME really sucks. The whole "brown" Ubuntu thing really sucks. KDE for the win. (and before you say it, fanboys, I'm very aware you can swap if you want. But last time I checked, you didn't get the option when installing.)"

    Ubuntu = Gnome

    Kubuntu = KDE

    It's quite clearly stated on the front page of the Ubuntu website, Ubuntu Editions on the right hand side if you're having difficulty seeing it. It's not hard, don't like one Ubuntu version because it has Gnome? Download the other instead. Keeps everything to a single CD not a big bloated DVD full of stuff you might not need like some distros and if you want something that's not preinstalled, the very simple package manager will download just those items you're interested in quickly.

  11. John Sanders

    In response to Don Mitchell

    While you´re right on certain aspects of your post, I dare challenge you to come with new paradigms for every bit and part of that new and modern OS you said we need so much.

    Yes it is "almost" impossible, would be like inventing a new revolutionary languaje just for the sake of it.

    What we need is not windows or Linux, we need open and properly documented OS standards.

    Booting the hardware and presenting the user with an interface to interact with the computer is a commodity nowadays. One does not change commodity parts like bolts and screws just for the sake of innovation. Look at MacOS X using BSD as its core.

    On a sane modular and well documented OS if you happen to invent something revolutionary you will be able to code it, and based on merit get it on the main OS.

    Oh, I wish Windows was more like FOSS...

  12. Dangerous Dave

    I may.....

    even give this one a go on my home machine, but seeing as it's a DIY PC rather than a branded model i'm not overly confident of it working. I've been running it on an old Dell Optiplex at work pretty faultlessly for 6 months or so now

    What are my chances on my home PC?

    Asus mobo with VIA KT600 chipset, NVidia 7600GS PCI-E, Abit PCI-E Wi-Fi card (thats the bit that worries me, a total deal breaker. i've tried cards and usb's from linksys etc but they struggle in my house...bah)

  13. J-Wick
    Thumb Up

    @Don Mitchell

    "pouring disinformation about Windows and Linux into ever(y) commentary they can find that has no editorial control"

    Oh, the irony.

    Started playing around with Linux because I don't want be forced into Vista when my aging laptop finally dies. Had a similar experience to the AC whose machine booted with max video resolution & sound immediately after the install. Still having problems (WPA not set up), but it took me ages to set up in Windows, too.

    It's not perfect, but it's very impressive. Next machine will be a from system76 with Ubuntu pre-installed.

  14. Tom

    @Don Mitchell

    While I have to agree that NT was a lot easier to install that Linux/Unix at the time most of the functionality you outlined was available in linux's here and there.

    Most of Windows 'benefits' have been for the ignorant. I've been in computing for 33 years now and most of the last 20 years has been wasted on 'making things easy for the user' rather than using a computer 'properly'.

    While linux doesnt solve the problem of people thinking they're computer experts because they can drag and drop things or embed one document in another and produce some bug ridden websites it does make it a lot cheaper for the users and its open standards means that those who have got an idea of how to extensibly manage a companies data (rather than bury it in documents) at least have a chance of organising it sometime.

    It wont be long now before 'management' start to realise that having the ability to format a document to a sub pixel level is neither productive nor competitive, just very costly.

  15. John Wards

    I can't use a real Linux distribution

    I realised last night that I've been a Linux user for just over 10 years that time I have used every distro going...even paid for Coral Linux and worked with Xandros for a time.....

    I'm not a fan boy I just like using Linux. I have used Ubuntu for 2/3 years now and I don't give a monkeys if its not a "real distribution".

    It works, it works out of the box. With 3D...with dual monitors...with wifi...with any usb thing I have to hand.

    Fsck me I can even print!

    "I can't use a real Linux distribution".....I've got better things to do with my time....

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Question : How do they make their money?

    Don't get me wrong, I think Ubuntu/Kubuntu is great but how do these guys make any money from it?

    Ergo, how can businesses trust a long-term support commitment from a Linux vendor that doesn't have a clear business model?

    Or is Shuttleworth's altruism driving an open-ended commitment to fund Canonical from his own fortune? If so, good for him (and I mean that sincerely) but it still doesn't make sense to me.

  17. Chewy

    @Don Mitchell

    You mention that NT4 was way beyond UNIX when it came out, but why aren't you mentioning what Microsoft have done for the next 12 years (perhaps you aren't a developer any more)? Now correct me if I am wrong but weren't there 6 service packs for NT4 which suggests things weren't as rosey as you make out.

    There are some great things Microsoft have done in their time such as the .Net framework but Windows has become a "big ball of mud" where fixes are slapped onto fixes.

    You also talk about the Linux community reverse engineering Microsoft technology, but didn't Microsoft also expand upon ideas from Apple and other earlier OS's. Where do you think the inspiration for NTFS came from if it wasn't UNIX?

  18. Marcus Coles

    So let me get this right.

    One takes a snapshot of Debian in rolling development, has the ubunti gnomes screw with it to make it incompatible and then wants everyone to coordinate with it.

    Yeah right!


  19. wobbly1
    Paris Hilton

    Why install Ubuntu alongside windows?

    After the content of the rival Zealot's posts have been discarded, the answer maybe simple. Installing ANYTHING new can lead trouble. and without having ot get hands dirty with virtualistation or BIOS editing, a person wanting to find if Ubuntu A) can cope with their hardware ( a friend with a 3 year old cube has huge trouble with graphics under Ubuntu GG) and B) suits them.

    The familiarity of Ubutnu has allowed me to install it on gash laptops and pass them on to people where the op sys (usually win '98) is too clunky and insecure to be left on them. By getting people ot use Open office and Fireowrks on windows first, migration is a snip.

    Support inquiries from those using Ubuntu have tended to be application specific.

    for some people it's not suitable. Where they "must" have a windows program and Wine whines at it.

    I have Ubuntu HH Beta ( with regular updates) on one desktop here, and windows and embedded Linux in the others, If the Ubuntu box can't reach the network i check the router, any other machine i check the machine itself. The Ubuntu box is entirely untroublesome. Many can and should be replaced by file compitable open source programs. (I've stopped paying a tithe to Adobe switching from actionscript to python for app writing).

    Paris, because despite programming and using computers since '66 ( a Gross mechanical adding machine) the fierce inter-faith battles that go on between the followers of the one true Bill and the manic hordes of Linus Bluetooth the Viking., leaves me feel like a hand wringing vapid halfwit on the side lines...

  20. John Latham

    Wubi confusion?

    Article says:

    "[Wubi] lets you run Windows on an Ubuntu machine"

    Wubi home page says:

    "Wubi is a Ubuntu installer for Windows users that will bring you into the Linux world with a single click. Wubi allows you to install and uninstall Ubuntu as any other application."

    So you have it the wrong way around, I think.

  21. Magnus Egilsson

    @Don Mitchell

    You sound a bit to me like a polcom preacher from the old U.S.S.R. Sure, the theory is beautiful, the possibilites cover the earth and then some. Eventually we all benefit immensly but that is usually in the unforseen future. M$ has always been in my view a bit like the old U.S.S.R. Alot of force on a theory but having it work without a major headache in the practical world is difficult to say the least.

    Perhaps this is the price M$ pays for wanting to swallow the world, it tends to get stuck sideways in the throat and nothing of really good quality gets coughed up.

    I find Linux first and foremost practical to run. The servers stay up, most of patching can be done online without rebooting, it is fairly transparent and there is a world of info out there on the subject if needed. Security issues can be dealt with in a reasonable manner most of the time without creating 1000 new ones. I dont really care if Linux its leftovers from someones condom, it works and thats what Im interested in.

    If there is another os out there that really delivers Im all fingers to try out. Maybe it makes my servers run with more efficiency and I get more bang pr. buck.

    Does it really matter what we run as long as it does its job without behaving like a intensive care patient?

  22. Rich Silver badge

    How to confuse the public

    "So far, Ubuntu comes with Alsa as its main audio system but also needs to support OSS (Open Sound System) because there are plenty of proprietary apps that still use it. It also includes EDS - the sound system developed by Gnome"

    Anybody else spot the age-old problem here? It's not just Ubuntu of course - it's a Linux thing. As a user, I don't WANT three different ways of getting audio out of the damn thing. I just want one. And once it's been chosen (as I thought OSS had been!), it would be nice if they could bloody-well stick to it!

  23. Matty B

    Oh deary me...

    ...I may have started a flame war. C'mon guys, I was just winding you up.

    Gee you Fanboys really take it personally...

  24. Andus McCoatover

    @ Dangerous Dave


    Just try it as a 'live CD'. That'll tell you (given time ;-) what works and what doesn't.

  25. Peter Gold badge

    @ Dangerous Dave

    Simple answer: DON'T install just yet, just use the boot disk. It'll be much slower, but it gives you a good shot at trying what works. If you're *very* unlucky you'll get issues on screen size, set it manually on bootup and try again.

    Once you have established if it works you can go ahead. In the case of an existing Windows setup I'd recommend running a defrag first so that the existing Windows "I want it all" partition can be resized. You will end up with a dual booting system.

    Good luck!.

  26. Sean Ellis


    'Why would $USER install "almost-Windows" on real Windows ?'

    To try it out? Because they are fed up paying for virus and malware software? Because their Windows system gradually accumulates cruft, it's time for a reinstall, and what's all this buzz about Linux? To see if it would work for Gran who only uses email and a few websites? To evaluate it for work? Because they like the idea of 'free'?

    To learn and understand something new?

    So the Ubuntu guys have made it very, very easy to just "give it a try". Brilliant, I say. If you don't like it, just uninstall it, no harm done.

    'The "Open Source" argument is irrelevant - Almost nobody pays for Windows,'

    Speak for yourself, matey. Not all of us are ripping off software, even if it is a big corportation and therefore OK*.

    I switched from Windows to Linux for 2 reasons. First. malware. I was fed up with spending most of my time (and processor cycles) defending against malware or trying to figure out which thing was making it run so slow this week.

    Second, my MSDN subscription was up, and I didn't want to run unlicensed software. I have always felt very uncomfortable about this, and had done a self-audit some time before to ensure that I wasn't using anything I didn't have a license to. Now I run Linux, and I *do* have a license, to all the software on my machine.

    Since then, for the most part it's given me less hassle than my Windows machine at work. (I mean - I update some random third party app, and I have to restart the *whole computer*? Sheesh. Welcome to 1977.)

    * IANAL - may not be legally accurate.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    'Most of Windows 'benefits' have been for the ignorant. I've been in computing for 33 years now and most of the last 20 years has been wasted on 'making things easy for the user' rather than using a computer 'properly'.'

    I hear the distinctive cry of an experienced *nix user. The whole 'if you can't learn a command line you shouldn't use a computer' attitude that stinks among a lot of the FOSS community.

    If it hadn't been for those benefits for the ignorant as you put it do you really think there would be a computer in every household? How far behind would chip development be because the sales would not justify the R&D. High end 3d-capable graphics cards - only for those working in special effects for movies and costing thousands as corporate IT would have no need for them. How much would a low end PC cost because sales numbered in the thousands instead of the millions? Would the internet exist? Definitely not in the form you know it today as the only people that would need connectivity would be labs and businesses who would probably only have dedicated lines to the offices they need to.

    Making things easy drove the computer market to what it is today you numpty

  28. Albert

    I Like Ubuntu - if I can just get it to update

    I had Ubuntu 7.04 as my only O/S on my home system since it was released until I click the update button to move to 7.10. Then it all fell apart and I still don't have it right.

    Basically, it installs perfectly - fully working system. Then it tells me there are updates. I accept the updates and it falls over. I expect it is a dependancy issue, but as a 'user' I'v no idea how to solve it.

    While it was working it was great. Ran well on a fairly low spec system (Semperon, 512MB RAM, Integrated Graphics) for web/email/web design/graphics and a small bit of video editing. I even had the funky 3D desktop working with all effects switched on.

    I am definitely going to install 8.04 when it is finalised.

    For the record I moved to Ubuntu for the entertainment (techie side of me) and found it to be a lot easier than expected so intead of expanding my technical skills it's just turned me into a user again.

  29. timo jyrinki

    Ubuntu Studio is a solution for proferssional audio

    The audio stuff is indeed a mess if aiming for more complicated stuff (and also there are some bugs still left, too), but luckily for more professional stuff Ubuntu Studio will now ship for the first time as on official community Ubuntu product for its 8.04 release:

    It's really a working solution for a lot of professional audio purposes, today. Some video stuff is there, too, but not for everything.

  30. Ole Juul

    Free MS-Windows

    Antoinette Lacroix said: " Almost nobody pays for Windows,"

    Thats great news! I think it would be fun to run it on some older machines. I've never tried it because the price always held me back. Please let me know where I can download a copy.

  31. Joseph Haig

    @Various people

    I can use a real Linux distribution (Redhat, CentOS, SUSE, Debian, Mandrake, Gentoo, Linux From Scratch, Knoppix, tomsrtbt and probably several others I have forgotten) and I like Ubuntu. Is there something wrong with me?

  32. James Pickett


    "Shuttleworth, clad in Nike running gear, had jogged into work"

    That does it. I'm sticking with Fedora :-)

    Not for want of trying, though - I've tried installing several versions of Ubuntu over the years, but every time I got the dreaded 'error 17' from Grub on startup.

  33. Jeremy


    There's nothing wrong with having something like Wubi. There's nothing wrong with making a GNU/Linux distribution as accessible as possible to the widest audience possible. These "its not a real distro" comments are simply the blurtings of self important elitist morons who think everybody who doesn't have the time or the inclination to compile Gentoo for their system is a complete idiot. Your community marginalizing short sightedness should drown in the condemnation and mirth that it deserves.

    People like you understand words like "usability" about as much as Microsoft understands "interoperability".

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ubuntu, ubuntu they drink it down with Bungle

    I am not sure if Silicon valley as a whole really use Ubuntu - it is a crossover distro, for windows refugees, and there is a lot of them. In many ways Ubuntu has achieved what Redhat failed to do on the desktop.

    The operating system world, always needs something that is dumbed down and eye candy friendly and on the whole Ubuntu delivers that well.

    I have some misgivings about kubuntu and the synaptic application updater, lock files are all to easily left lying around (I think this affects most of the Ubuntu distros, but of course I wouldn't be caught dead with Ubuntu on any of my machines - I just install it for others).

    I think Arch is probably the best distro for folks if someone else does the management. Ubuntu is a kids and family distro, very much like windows, and it does well there. The ubuntu devs are quite good.

    The Get Out comment above actually applies to the person making the request a bit more than the person it was directed at. You have no business being in IT if you cannot solve problems at base - you can be a user or a user masquerading as IT admin, but you will rely on people who can solve the fundamental problems. It actually is only a couple of files to edit to get dev-by-disklabel support.

    Face it knowing Ubuntu and having it on your resume will not impress IT folks as much as having the other distros there. Being a Ubuntu developer though is probably as hard or harder than being a Debian developer, in fact quite a lot of Ubuntu devs are x Debian devs.

    Ubuntu is there to solve the problem of windows migration, and it does it admirably, but I would not use ubuntu as any type of server or a development workstation - it would just be an act of blatant disregard to security, and performance along with being quite frustrating. And I suspect that quite a lot of Ubuntu devs still run Debian as their main workhorse - because IT developers who solve problems for non IT folk, don't on the whole solve problems for IT people instead they are in competition with other IT pros.

    Ubuntu is an outsourcing operation; you don't need IT people on hand in a small organization that runs Ubuntu which has limited serving needs. The IT people are the Ubuntu support line. But, an organization that employs IT people should be looking for more than Ubuntu, instead they should have people who can deliver a custom environment, optimized for their work flow, and for that scenario Ubuntu does not really deliver.

  35. The BigYin
    Thumb Down

    @Matty B

    You forget one thing - it's all about productivity. I do not give on rats ass what OS the machine in front of me is running; I just want to do my job (I work mostly with Java and XML - any OS would do really).

    Sometimes that means building a new machine/virtual image from scratch (or modifying an existing one). This is pretty easy with Windows, even though some configuration has to be done is the oddest of places. Why? Because it is documented and well documented at that. On Linux (and you're a shining example of it) there is an elitist "Well if you don't know you're too dumb to know and I for one will not help you out, you disgusting worm." Linux documentation is, in one word, shit (assuming it exists).

    I am not a Windows lover (it drives me round the twist at times) but if I need to change something, at least I can find the documentation without some arse-head fanboi being a total dick.

  36. Anonymous Coward

    Still waiting

    Hardy Heron, Dapper Drake?

    I'm still waiting for Rampant Rabbit...

  37. This post has been deleted by its author

  38. NB

    can the real elitist please stand up

    I have to say I get quite annoyed with the "nyah nyah, I'm so hardcore cos I use gentoo and suse!" type crowds.. particularly because RPM is clearly an inferior package management system when compared to synaptic and gentoo is just a dying project these days. I started using GNU/Linux in the mid 90's, the early RedHat days before they went corporate. I later moved to SuSe and then to Mandrake and with all of these distro's I suffered the same problems.

    1) RPM's getting stuck in dependency hell.

    2) Poorly tested applications that were buggy as hell (particularly in SuSe)

    I eventually moved to Slackware for a few years before shifting to Gentoo because I liked the idea of customisation and optimising the system for hardware. About a year ago I bought a new laptop, I specifically got one with all intel hardware because intel is well supported by the linux kernel and I checked the spec to make sure drivers existed for all the hardware.

    The first thing I tried to do was install Gentoo... big mistake. Getting everything to work in Gentoo was one of the biggest nightmares I have ever experienced in all my years of using GNU/Linux. I got sick of it after two days and installed Ubuntu.. lo and behold EVERYTHING worked flawlessly out of the box and I was an instant convert. I finally had a Linux distribution that was stable, transparent and I didn't spend more time maintaining it than I did actually being productive.

    So fine, stay on your high-horse if you think you're too 1337 to use ubuntu but the bottom line is that it works. It works well and I can actually get my work done now.

  39. George Johnson
    Thumb Up

    @Matty B

    Not very sensible comments. I have been using the penguin since I got a copy of 0.99 Ydrigrisil ( I still have the install media and book as a museum piece! ), I love Ubuntu, no matter what I have installed it on, it works, out of the box, with the least amount of tweaking. All I usually do is copy in the restricted wireless firmwares. I actually want to use it as an O/S to write scripts, play with RDBMS technology ( thanks Oracle and Sybase! ) and use the desktop apps without paying M$ their blood money. I do not want to spend hours trying to get some bloody silly kernel add-on to compile, I have done far too much of that crap in the past.

    People like you go "Oh Windows is crap! You people must use something else that actually works!", so as soon as someone actually gets off their arse and makes it more accessible for the average person to have a go, you shoot it down! I see the same crap in the metal music underground scene, as soon as some band signs to a tinpot little label, that's it, banded as "sell outs", no longer worth bothering with.

    I try to encourage people to get on the penguin by showing them how easy the desktop is to use, how it's not much different that what they are used to and that if you want some software to do something, you just get it down the wire from a valid source without having to trawl torrent sites or dodgy crack sites for the Windows demos they want to rip off! No good quoting cost, P2P has all but wiped that argument out, with copies of Autocad 2009 and Vista doing the rounds with thousands of seeders, M$ software is two a penny now. Drive it on the ease of conversion. the hassle free life, no virii, no spyware. "You are in control of what happens to it. No you don't need to pay Symantec or McAfee to sell you a false sense of security, we and OSX have security and it's genuine!".

    One day I want to walk into Games shop and look at the labels on the latest titles and see something like "Required: Windows, Linux ( RH, Ubuntu, Slackware, Kernel 3.x), OSX 11.x", not just Windows and nothing else. I want the big companies to get behind it, feel it's worth it, so far only ID has bothered. How long have we waited now for UT3 client for Linux, because there is only one poor sod who has been tasked with it, it's not commercially viable, so it's simply a side project to the main Windows build, simply 'cos M$ have the saturation.

    We need momentum behind Linux, we need the average person to get behind it, without grass-roots support from Joe Public, the bird is not going to fly! Ubuntu gives us real hope that one day, the penguin will stand proud with other operating systems that JP talks about with his mates down the pub. Please don't keep playing the sad, pathetic geek card, you can be so much bigger than that.

  40. John Ridley

    @Matty B - "The distributions"

    "..remember when Debian, Red Hat and SuSE were "the" distributions? Now it seems no matter where I look, this blasted Ubuntu is popping up."

    Actually, I remember when Slackware was "The distribution" and downloaded it on a dozen floppy disks - it was several years after I started using Linux before these upstart Red Hat, Debian and SuSE things popped up. Upstarts. I tried them all and they're OK, and I'd still be OK with Slackware, but for the desktop, I quite like Ubuntu. I never got comfortable with the others.

  41. Paul Boddie

    Ubuntu's Focus Problems

    I use Kubuntu and I think it's great; having used Red Hat quite a bit, I'd disagree that Ubuntu is for people who can't use "real" distributions. However, the developers' lack of focus on the basics can be irritating.

    First of all, I don't care about having filesystem installs on Windows or having bundled Free Software applications for Windows on the CD. Although the former might be useful for some people, it isn't a selling point for people who either abandoned Windows years ago (or who never installed Windows in the first place) or for people who are actually going to switch. Besides, the live CD gives people the chance to try stuff out, and a decent partitioning program will help set up a dual boot system.

    And here we meet the continual quality problems with Ubuntu: the bootloader installation tends to produce bizarre results and doesn't seem to be tested by the core developers (as far as I can tell, since I keep seeing the same bugs reported ages ago and subsequently closed); the X servers and graphics drivers sometimes get worse and don't recognise hardware that older versions managed to deal with just fine; the whole world of Linux development has apparently "punted" the issue of legacy filesystems and you have to do an "advanced" install to check the right boxes (or face locale installation hell afterwards) in order to avoid ??? in filenames which dared not to be in pure ASCII.

    I've probably mentioned all of this many times in various places, and that's another thing: the Ubuntu people keep adding more and more places for people to report things instead of making the whole process coherent. I'm in a position to package my own software for Ubuntu, but with a constantly changing landscape of teams and initiatives, it's actually easier to go straight to Debian - and that's saying something.

    I could go on about this, but here's the executive summary: focus less on "shiny", just make it work! No-one cares about translucent, rotating desktops if it takes days of expert help to work around regressions in hardware support and the installation code.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    3 sound systems? Not a problem


    Pulseaudio happily allows apps that use ALSA, OSS and EDS to work together and in parallel, that's the whole point of it.

    As time goes on, more applications will abandon the older interfaces, but the users are unlikely to notice unless they have forced the output plugins rather than leaving them as automatic selection.

  43. Colin Guthrie


    I'm not and Ubuntu user (I'm in the Mandriva camp) but I have to stand up for PulseAudio here.

    The guys who talked about how there are several systems etc. etc. clearly doesn't "get" it.

    For one, PulseAudio does not replace ALSA - It does not aim to replace that section of the Linux kernel, it mearly builds on top of it. It can communicate with the hardware via ALSA or OSS, so if your device is not supported by ALSA you can still use OSS with PulseAudio. It's also not just about individual volume control, it's about a whole manner of things: multiple devices (USB speakers, Bluetooth headsets etc.) and remembering which apps want to output on which devices (music player via USB, VoIP via BT headset etc.). It's also network transparent and follows your X11 session. If you ssh to another machine to run an app, if that app ouputs sound, it does so on your local machine! Nice!

    If an app uses only ALSA, pluse provides a plugin to redirect it. If an app uses only OSS pulse provides a DSP hijacker to redirect it.

    The ESD (TFA typoed it to EDS) system is also *reimplemented* in pulse. The original one can die.. it's only in pulse for compatibility reasons - hopefully it can die in time too.

    Pulse also does the mixing (much like ALSA's DMIX system so multiple streams can output simultaneously on single channel hardware. DMIX does the job OK, but pulse offers so much more. Pusle will also do your resampling for you, taking complexity out of the application.

    Pulse is definitely the future of Linux Desktop Audio. It takes all the best bits from Windows and CoreAudio and adds a fair few nice bits of it's own! It's only going to get more popular!

  44. Anonymous Coward

    Free Windows...

    Ole Juul, try bittorrent. There's lots of free windows software packages on there too, like MS Office, Adobe CS, etc...


  45. Sam

    @frank gerlach

    "Amateurs should continue to use Windoze."

    And if that happens, windows will keep it's grasp on the mainstream, and Linux will remain sidelined as far as the desktop market is that what you want?

    "Linux is for those who have to do the Heavy Lifting"

    What an elitist prat....

  46. Bill Gould
    Gates Halo

    Still not up to snuff

    What's that? I still can't install and play games without "emulator" style software, either free or with a monthly sub? So, no. Stay away from my computers.

  47. Robert Hill

    @ Don Mitchell

    You want an OS that is "novel and innovative", and you claim to work in the IT field? Where have you been hiding matey?

    There was BE OS, the most multimedia friendly OS ever designed. There was NEXT STEP, one of the most original OSes ever developed, the decendent of which is now OS X on the Mac. There was Plan 9, designed for networked machines to operate in parallel. There was AmigaOS, possibly the best desktop environment ever designed for the home.

    The list goes on and on...the world has not suffered from a lack of novel and innovative OSes. The sad fact is that the more innovative and novel the OS, the less the public acceptance of it - that even goes back to the days of Windows 1.0, the DOS community screamed bloody murder.

    We, the public, have a terrible history of dissing and rejecting "novel and innovative". The IT community does not want to trust it or pay for it, and user's don't want to learn. The ONLY exception I have seen to that is, ironically, the Macintosh - I remember queues to get onto the Macs in my university busienss school comp lab, even with rows of empty PCs running DOS. Those non-IT majors really flocked to Excel instead of Lotus 1-2-3...

    So how does a new OS come to market? Well, firstly it must have a history that IT can trust, with inbuilt security and application availability. It must be also be VERY low cost - IT budgets aren't getting any larger. And lastly, it must be something that users can accept easily - and that means looking and feeling like what they are familiar to.

    Ironically, Ubuntu happens to fulfill those criteria better than anything else on the market right now. Linux is known secure and industrial strength, and the major IT applications support it - everything from massive database apps to personal productivity desktop applications. In terms of cost, it is mostly support training for the IT staff, and THAT is actually getting cheaper all the time as people grow up learning Linux. And lastly, what many see as copying Windows is Ubuntu actually just providing a nice, warm welcome to those switching.

    That's not a bad strategy, and frankly Shuttleworth is admirable for getting a lot of it right. I CAN do low level work with a traditional Linix distro (used RH/CentOS a lot on servers), but frankly I have no desire to. I want an environment that is graphical and friendly as possible, so that I don't have to work as hard. I like the ability to still call up python and write a script, or even do some C development for some stuff...but day in, day out, I want it graphical.

    And I await HH with baited breath...

  48. steogede
    Paris Hilton

    @Don Mitchell

    >> When NT came out in 1989, it was light years ahead of UNIX.

    If you had a copy of Windows NT in 1989, it is debatable that it was "light years" ahead of UNIX. What I can tell you with absolute certainty is that it was about 4 years ahead of any other copy of Windows NT, which was released in 1993.

    Paris because she has a better understanding of OS history than Don Mitchell

  49. Robert Hill
    Thumb Up

    @ steogede

    ROTFLMAO...wishing I caught that too...

    I was in Redmond for the first time in 1989 for OS/2 corporate developer's conferences, so it was pretty obvious there was no NT, and wouldn't be for a few years until MS abandoned partner IBM and then developed NT on their own using the base of OS/2 technology cross-fertilized with VMS when Cutler joined from DEC. So, yeah, you nailed that one perfectly...

  50. E

    Why not...

    use Slackware? It's simpler.

  51. BatCat

    Harry Hill's OS Burp...

    Windows / Mac / (insert distro of choice) Linux, which is best? Only one way to find out...

    Fight! Fight! Fight!

    Cue portly MS gent in business suit, stylish Mac dude and a bunch of fat, spotty, long-haired geeks having a punch up. :o)

    This is a bit like the US presidency race, while the Democrat candidates are busy fighting each other, the republican ends up winning.

    All very amusing...

  52. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Ashlee constantly attacking Red Hat... why?

    Red Hat/Fedora are more in line with upstream than Ubuntu so stop the bullshit about 'big daddy' distro not helping poor little canonical when they're helping _all_ distros, including Ubuntu.

  53. Anonymous Coward

    I see

    In Hardy, even my password is automagically made Windows compatible now.

    Have a look at the pre installed stuff in /etc/pam.d/ before I get a look at yours...

    Mines the rainbow-coloured one with the LM-Hashes in the pocket.

  54. Adrian Challinor

    Running Ubuntu for over a year - won't move back...

    I have WIndows. I hate it with a passion I reserve for mass murders and child molestors. I have to use it at work. Its horrible. XP? old crap. Vista? New unstable pretty crap. Its all crap.

    And whats more its expensive crap.

    I moved to Ubuntu because once too often a Windows "update" hosed my system. It didnt install, insisted I reboot but wouldn't let me save my work, and then destroyed the partition table. That was it.

    Decisions: Mandrake, RedHat, or Ubuntu? I chose Ubuntu and haven't looked back. I even chose to be an Alpha and then a Beta tester of Hardy Heron. Solid as a rock in Beta.

    Ipod? Yes. Video? Yes. Development? Yes. In fact - easier to say what doesn't run. err. well, actually it isn't because I haven't found anything.

    Print Server ? yes - free.

    File Server ? yes - free

    Web Server ? yes - free

    Firewall ? yes - free

    Do I miss anything? I suppose Visio was good. I miss that ... no I don't - I use crossfire!

    Go Ubuntu!

  55. Ian Johnston Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    @Matty B

    I bet you think all TVs should have horizontal and vertical hold controls ...

    Paris, because horizontal holding is one of her things.

  56. Roy

    To all the Ubuntu haters

    I'll be the first to admit that certain Ubuntu users, perhaps especially the newly converted evangelical Ubuntu users can be annoying. They sound and act like the Mac Cultists, and it's annoying.

    I can also understand why you get pissed off when they perpetuate an image that Linux = Ubuntu.

    I'll even concede the point that there are too many attention whores that fish for diggs on digg or reddit by riding the media wave ubuntu is getting nowadays.

    But it does *not* serve any purpose bashing on ubuntu, or making lame jokes along the line Ubuntu is an african word for [insert inane insult here].

    You are not helping by trash-talking ubuntu because you prefer your own distro, or because you're a die-hard console user.

    Ubuntu is very successful at converting former windows users to GNU/Linux. Canonical has managed to market a Linux distro to the consumer desktop market. They've managed to make a Linux distro "popular", by catering to all the newbies. They are helping the FOSS movement!

    So stop your elitist, self aggrandizing behaviour, and start trying to help the linux community as a whole.

    All this inter distro warfare makes us look like a bunch of idiots.

    Just like trash-talking Windows, no matter how much you dislike it, is not going to recruit users to the wonders of Linux, trash-talking other distros scares people away from making the switch.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Everyone

    To be fair in the UK kids arn't actually taught anyting in IT lessons, infact all they learn are spreadsheets and Word Processing, If they were taught basic & c instead and we only supplied FOSS to schools and banned M$ and MAC from exploiting schools we wouldn't need tou have these arguments Linux/BSD would be dae facto.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Why Ubuntu?

    I've been a user and have done various tech related jobs since the grand ole days of the Timex-Sinclair and Apple )(. At home I use Ubuntu. Why?

    -Bill doesn't need any more of my money

    -Bill's minions don't need to know what I'm doing and when I'm doing it.

    -I don't want to have to re-register my software any time I make a simple hardware change

    -I don't need to clog up my HD with a ton of useless bloat

    -I would rather have an OS built by a COMMUNITY (with all that involves) than built by a COMMITTEE (with all THAT involves)

    I have spent HOURS with Windows machines trying to get the proper drivers to make digital cameras, camcorders, mp3 players, wireless networking and printers to work with Windows. Ubuntu? IT WORKS!

    Spending time running down a version of Linux is ridiculous. What Ubuntu is doing is opening the eyes of many people to the fact that there IS an alternative, that alternative does a lot of things better than MS does and that alternative doesn't require a fairly sizeable cash outlay. Stay in your basement compiling your OS. I'll be USING my computer, thanks anyway.

  59. Dangerous Dave

    where is it then.....

    my leased line is chomping at the bit here :(

  60. Slaine

    nearly windoez

    TBO, IMHO, the only true "nearly windows" operating system environment is distributed by the Micro$haft monopoly. Everything else works more efficiently, more reliably and more consistently.

    UBUNTU 7 that I installed on this here lappytop last week using a partition trick to free up non-NTFS file space before creating a dual boot environment... fan-bloody-tastic... the only problem being drivers for an ati graphics card. (It pays to have geek friends).

    So UBUNTU 8 is out. All I can say is, "I hope thay haven't changed much". As for progress, yes, a "Windows-in-Linux" program, perhaps just an expansion of "wine" to enable windows drivers to be installed as well as windows programmes... and M$ will finally have the oars removed from their luxury touring boat in shitcreek.

  61. Mark

    Re: Wubi ?

    Well the answer to your question is "they don't". But then again, installing Linux isn't installing a windows-a-like. Unless you mean "Lisa-a-like" because Windows is a Lisa clone.

    What you will want to install on windows is to see how much you can run that you want to run in Linux. Especially since so much hardware and a lot of software is now defunct under Vista and XP activation can be turned off at any time, rendering your XP machine redundant, you can find out whether you can move from XP before you're pushed.

    And partly that's why someone mentioned Wine. It isn't an emulator, it implements the system calls that Windows applications ought to be using, so you can use your AutoCad on Linux, rather than have to relearn another program.

    So that's why you'd want to install Linux on your windows machine: to see what you'd lose if anything moving from Windows before you're pushed.

  62. Mark

    Re: Get out, now!

    So James, how do you fix Windows when you're having to use regedit to fix its' registry? At least when, under Linux, you have to go to the config file it's all there in plain text. Windows has "3ef342ba39809ccdc4:...." which means "Visio"..!

    When things go wrong, you need more than a degree to find out what happened under windows.

    The reason why so many windows machines are part of a botnet is because Windows requires constant attention from a trained person to protect it. Linux needs one to set it up (and if your stuff is supported, not even then) and never later.

  63. Mark

    Re: Question : How do they make their money?

    How does the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation make their money?

    Shuttleworth made such a huge packet he won't be able to spend it all. So he, like Bill, is giving it away. Unlike Bill, there's no strings attached (such as "we'll give you money for PCs for your schools as long as they are Windows PCs").

  64. Mark

    Re: Still waiting

    How about Wicked Wilderbeest?

  65. Matt W

    @ Batcat

    Dammit ! I now have coffee on the keyboard.

    I would pay to see that fight.

  66. saxsux


    Ubuntu version numbers aren't as you'd expect - rather than being "real" versions, they're based on the release date. Hardy is 8.04 because it's released in forth month of the 2008, not because it's version 8 of Ubuntu.

    And on the subject of Hardy - I've been using it since the last beta, and it's fab.

    I'm quite peed off that ndiswrapper doesn't work properly any more, though - my laptop's built-in wifi, which has worked perfectly with ndiswrapper since 6.06, is now useless for anything other than an unsecured network.

    Hopefully they'll fix it soon...

  67. Roger Lancefield

    Canonical's revenue and the "commercial" question

    @Anonymous coward asked "How do they make their money"

    This wiki article:

    originally written by Mark Shuttleworth a couple of years back, should give you something to go on. I'm surprised this article isn't referred to more often by journalists and commentators as It addresses not only your question, but also many of those commonly asked about Ubuntu. It provides plenty of detail regarding the distribution's essential non-commercial nature, its organizational setup, its public pledges, motivations, funding arrangements, relationship with Debian, and quite a bit more besides, it's quite long!

    Whether you're a friend or foe of the project, if you're going to publicly comment and engage in conjecture about Ubuntu, you should really read this first.

    For the "commercialism" cynics out there, here's a snippet:

    "Will Ubuntu ever demand licence fees or royalties?

    No. Never. I have no interest in taking Ubuntu to join the proprietary software industry, it's a horrible business that is boring and difficult, and dying out rapidly anyway. My motivation and goal is to find a way to create a global desktop OS that is *free*, in every sense, as well as sustainable and of a quality comparable to anything you could pay for. That's what I'm trying to do, and if we fail, well then I will go and find some other project to pursue rather than get into the proprietary software business. I don't think any of the core Ubuntu developers, or much of the community, would stick around if I went loony and decided to try the latter, anyhow.

    If that isn't enough for you, then you will be happy to know that Canonical has signed public undertakings with government offices to the extent that it will never introduce a "commercial" version of Ubuntu. There will never be a difference between the "commercial" product and the "free" product, as there is with Red Hat (RHEL and Fedora). Ubuntu releases will always be free."

  68. Charles Manning

    Don Mitchell is sitting on his shoulders...

    or else he has its head where it should not be.

    I was one of those that suffered the transition from Unix to NT as a kernel/driver developer.

    Beloved MS pulled some beautiful bait and switch stunts on that one. For example, the provided "POSIX" and STREAMS driver support to ease the transition from Unix to NT. Many people were keen to make the transition because NT was approx a third the cost of a Unix.

    Both the "POSIX" and STREAMS models were there only to lure developers. THey were both broken and inefficient and were dropped once people had converted.

    So why did the switch work? Marketeers were pushing for NT-based systems because they could be cheaper and started selling the idea to cusomers. Engineering gave a token sign off (got POSIX and STREAMS: tick). Trainers got going with pre-training. Everyone on the bus!

    By the time everyone figured the "POSIX" and STREAMS were broken, everyone was committed and had to go native NT. Bait and switch accomplished!

    I worked in computer telephony: voice mail systems etc. The Unix based systems ran well on 16MHz 80386 SXs. To get the same function performing on an NT-based machine required moving to 100MHz 486s! Those savings to be had from NT were gone! Networking and other capabilities were severely diminished.

    But the marketing people had talked of this fine new thing, and the corporate machine had built up momentum and could not back pedal to customers without looking foolish. They'd help customers craft clauses into tenders saying "Must run NT", trained up important customers etc. Pretty impossible to do a U turn from that.

    Many companies in the server-type industry got burnt like this and and will do anything they can to get MS free.

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