I can think of much better reasons why Gnome is a pile of cack, than its API.
But then KDE isn't much better these days.. I find myself using Trinity. :(
Linux kernel big daddy Linus Torvalds and fellow developer Alan Cox have lashed out at claims that the culture surrounding the operating system's core prevented it from conquering the consumer PC market. The pair also slapped down folks working on the GNOME user interface - a popular package among desktop Linux users - and …
I've gone even further and ditched anything that professes to be a "Desktop Environment." XFCE and Enlightenment was looked at and dismissed for carrying the same disease. My session now consists of Openbox, Tint2 and Cairo-dock. What did it for me was bloody Akonadi crapping itself every five minutes and the huge swathe of shit I had to recompile every time KDE developers so much as moved their mouses. Yeah, yeah, cclient, delete ~/.local/akonadi (or something), do you want a refund, blah blah blah, not good enough. Losing the flagship e-mail client on every point release was not good publicity. Stop this nonsense forthwith!
On that note, a huge thank you to the developers of Sylpheed and Claws for producing a decent client that works without some awful, flaky RDBMS/SQL backend.
Me too. Or at least, openbox with cairo-dock. I've tried tint2, but can't think of a use for it additional to those two.
The thing is, I realised that a "desktop environment" DOESN'T ACTUALLY DO ANYTHING. If you're running KDE or Gnome or XFCE, you'll have exactly the same apps running and interacting in exactly the same way as on my system.
Plus, for some time, I've felt that Gnome developers in particular have lost the plot. Like storing all configuration information in a single binary file. Fine until it gets broken, just like the Windows registry. Or implementing volume management -- a "desktop environment" has no business messing with devices and volumes. Oh, and GTK3 apps won't even "theme" themselves unless there's YET ANOTHER daemon process running to tell them to.
SG: I've tried tint2, but can't think of a use for it additional to those two.
OpenDesktop compliant notification area is one of the reasons I use it and, even then, it's in autohide mode. I use Pidgin a lot and having it iconify to the notification area saves desktop space. I could use Openbox's dock, but it's a bit ugly and doesn't play well with Twinview, which I need to allow me to have gschem and a datasheet in front of me at the same time without having to wear out Alt and Tab. It also gives you a twinview screen specific taskbar which C-D doesn't. Also indispensable is Tilda, having got very used to Yakuake on the F10 key when using KDE.
SG: Plus, for some time, I've felt that Gnome developers in particular have lost the plot. Like storing all configuration information in a single binary file. Fine until it gets broken, just like the Windows registry.
Those who will not learn from Windows are doomed to repeat its mistakes. The other problem I've found with all DEs is dependency on a particular ABI, annoying when you use a kernel and userland other than GNU/Linux as I do, which you touched upon with volume management. Solid in KDE takes this one step further into the realms of madness.
The UI should provide just enough to get work done, manage windows, interface with the underlying OS and then stay the hell out of the way. DEs are increasingly forgetting this prime directive.
It's worth knowing that KDE3.5 is still available for OpenSuSE thru 12.1, and supported by same.
I don't know if KDE 3.5 had API instability that you describe: I never coded GUIs using KDE. However 3.5 is at least functional and it predates all the semantic desktop crap infecting KDE4.x.
I really have no idea what the problem is here.
I have been using Linux since 2001. It works. Fedora runs just fine on my Japanese Panasonic notebook, Gnome is a pleasure to use, and I have never got any problem installing or using the programs I want. And I'm no kernel Guru – I just run the GUI package manager and click "install", couldn't bother less with what goes behind the scenes. Compare this to my (2005-2008) experience with Mac OS X and Fink / Mac ports of Linux apps, where I could count myself lucky if things were just half-broken.
It all makes me wonder what is De Icaza really so butthurt about...
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To be fair, the default Gnome 3 environment
is just shi isn't quite right – but fortunately there is a comprehensive extension library that allows the UI to be thoroughly customized to get back all those small touches we've come to like.
As for the codecs, it's true you have to jump some hops to get them on Fedora (though not on Ubuntu – it can more-or-less automatically install them, too), but overall I liked the distro enough to not turn it down on this.
Then...there is also the possibility that Linux has never made it big for desktop use, simply because the majority of computers users just really don't care about it.
As early as 2002 I read an article that claimed Linux would never get big on the desktop. The author argued that, just as Microsoft never tried to get mainframe admins to switch to Windows, but rather took advantage of a paradigm shift (from dumb terminals to desktop workstations) to rise to prominence, so would Linux dominate the next platform, whatever it turned out to be.
The "next platform" turned out to be a mix of technologies: handsets and tablets on the user-facing side, cloud-y servers on the backend, and the web sitting somewhere in between. And to a degree, Linux does thrive on it, though the dreams of unquestioned dominance have obviously been exaggerated.
So perhaps arguing "who lost the desktop" is missing the point, and we should rather be asking "how to win the mobile client"?
Then...there is also the possibility that Linux has never made it big for desktop use, simply because the majority of computers users just really don't care about it.
... which is not an indictment of Linux, of course ... most of those users have never heard of it, either.
Indeed, there is no reason why the average end user should care about the OS he uses. He probably bought a PC to surf the web, to use EMail, maybe to play a few games ... he probably uses the bundled OS because it's the one that was bundled. It's the path of least resistence (and also probably the only OS that runs his games). He might develop an interest in Linux if he heard that he might have saved the cost of a few beers by running that instead of buying Windows, but he'll lose interest when he hears that it can't run $GAME (or should that be %GAME%?).
I use Linux most of the time -- Gnome on this desktop and KDE on my laptop (for historical reasons) -- and (a licensed copy of) Windows in a VM when I have to. That setup works for me ... but I don't expect every user to have the same requirements or interests as I have. Linux is certainly ready for the desktop, but most desktops are already running something else.
Beer, because this sort of discussion is better held down the pub.
linux doesnt work for the average user because
the learning curve is too steep, Too much expertise required, Hardware incompatibility, doesnt JUST WORK right out of the box on any sytem you can name. Expertise from one flavor does not transfer over to another... What works in one version does not work in another, 9 or 10 (ive lost count) different install methods. (none of which are compatible) Lack of Corporate use. No cross platform uniformity. The list goes on and on.
For home use it is to much of a bother for anything other than hobbyist use. it offers choice and freedom to punters who cant decide chicken, pork, fish or steak for dinner let alone something intricate like how they want thier computer desktop to look.
Modded down firstly for an unsupported personal attack on Linus Torvalds. Secondly for using as a basis for that attack a comparison to someone who has almost certainly contributed a lot more to the Free Software movement than you ever have or ever will (all those lovely GNU tools Stallman had a hand in and all the promotion work he has done and his instrumental role in the origins of GPL). And finally for the presumed spur to your comment being this article about Linus criticizing Migel De Icaza when the latter has in many ways been a problem in the Free Software movement. For example, Miguel started Mono which is a .NET implementation for Linux and, the more popular it becomes, the more Linux is inherently placed on a backfoot by those who control the standard - Microsoft. Miguel also endorsed MS' OOXML document format. Ironically, I'm actually fine with OOXML on Windows, but I have doubts that it should be promoted as a standard in the Linux world, as Miguel has done. Particularly as at the time, it wasn't the actual implementable standard of OOXML that exists today, but the buggy unimplementable one that was initially rushed through ISO.
That you call Linus a "tool" for arguing with Miguel, that you catch someone who (even if you don't like him) has done way more for Free Software than you probably ever will and that you provide no support for your personal attack at all... yep - downvote for you.
"Great argument. It's going to make the Reg forums a bit empty when only people of similar stature can comment on a story."
Commenting is fine. But personal attacks from the peanut gallery are something else. If a person says 2+2 = 4. then they're right whoever they are. That's called a supported argument. But if someone launches personal attacks and juvenile name calling against two people who have done orders of magnitude more for the community than they ever have, then it's right to ask them who they think they are to be doing so, because they certainly didn't provide any supportive reasons for the abuse. When I criticises Miguel, I at least provided solid reasoning behind it and I certainly limited my critique to his particular actions, rather than making personal attacks and name calling.
"If a person says 2+2 = 4. then they're right whoever they are."
To be very picky and whizz off at a tangent: Without further qualification, your argument holds true only if we, the readers, make certain assumptions about your statement. For example '11' can be divisible by 2, it all depends on the qualification attached to a statement. So, 2 + 2 does not always have to equate to 4, but, it might do :)
Sorry, couldn't resist :)
What comment on the story?
The reference made was to someone who attacked one of the subjects of the story.
There was no comment referring to the story itself. No references to statements people made, no explanation of what torvalds said in relation to the story to back up the opinion. Not even an "OMG your grammar suxxor" which would at least be expressing an opinion about the story itself.
it was more of an off-topic rant than a comment on the story.
"all those lovely GNU tools Stallman had a hand in and all the promotion work he has done and his instrumental role in the origins of GPL"
Linus is a good guy, but Stallman really seems to go out of his way to be disliked by everyone even in the open source community. His views are extreme and as a person he doesn't come across as someone I'd really want to hang out with. Yes , he's done a LOT of good work for open source , but personally I'd prefer it if he'd stay in the basement writing good code rather then being a spokesperson for the OOS community since IMO he does more harm than good.
"Yes , he's done a LOT of good work for open source "
Nope, as far as most things are considered he IS free software, RMS is averse to open source as you would know if you have ever read any of his articles.
Yes, he is dogmatic, intolerant and can seem a bit obsessed but especially in the early days that's exactly what was needed and is needed today to help see off the chancers and free loaders who just want to take something and put a proprietary label on it and hopefully make lots of money. SCO being a very stark example.
The work that RMS has done gives you, me and everyone else an alternative to the offerings of Microsoft and Apple. That's really something to be thankful for.
"The work that RMS has done gives you, me and everyone else an alternative to the offerings of Microsoft and Apple. That's really something to be thankful for."
Well actually not really - its the work Linus has done. Left to RMS we'd have a load of tools and nothing of interest to run them on unless Plan 9 actually ever saw the light of day (yeah, right!). Linus was the catalyst , not RMS.
Plan 9 has been out for years- you're thinking of the GNU Hurd.
It's quite possible that if Linux had never existed, more developers might have spent time on the Hurd instead. So one could *possibly* make the case that Hurd was a victim of Linux's success and that if the latter had never existed, Hurd *might* have come further by now.
Whether it would still have come anywhere near as far as Linux, or represented the breakthrough of free software as Linux did is more open to question (ironically, given that it was Stallman who started the Free Software movement!)
"Plan 9 has been out for years- you're thinking of the GNU Hurd."
Yep , I stand corrected. My point still stands though.
"if Linux had never existed, more developers might have spent time on the Hurd instead"
Maybe, but I doubt it. If linux had never existed I suspect the *BSDs would be the benificiary, not vapourware like Hurd which doesn't seem to interest many people anyway and in that case GNU would have even less influence since the BSDs tend to roll their own tools.
Somewhere in a parallel universe FreeBSD rules the open source roost. :o)
"Somewhere in a parallel universe FreeBSD rules the open source roost. :o)"
It Would at my place - Provided FreeBSD could get power management to work properly. Linux (Debian "squeeze") just *barely* manage well enough to stop my Lenovo X11s from melting, FreeBSD .... hot, hot hot hot.
FreeBSD is, IMO, much more advanced on the "server side" than Linux is (and it has a working MSP430 compiler, which i need). User side ... Not so much.
I was about to say, Plan 9 was research done at AT&T Bell Labs and then Lucent after AT&T spun Bell Labs off, Lucent's pretty far from GNU philosophically. If AT&T would have still had the telecommunications monopoly and all of their capital from before the breakup until the late 1990's maybe it would have truly gone somewhere but it probably wouldn't have been open source.
GNU/Hurd as they insist on calling it just sucks. I honestly think that if the RMS/FSF/GNU alphabet soup really cared about being disruptive towards Linux, they would have tried a little harder or would currently be trying harder, instead the Linux Kernel was/is there, the work was done for them, and it worked for them. Why cause disruption as long as your Gods and Masters dictate the philosophy of the Status Quo, right?
If you're narrow minded enough to only care about Linus or RMS as far as being community leaders goes then Stallman's obviously a real dick (If you ever want a laugh read his email message about the requirements for his speaking engagements in the voice of Jim Parsons portraying Dr. Sheldon Cooper for instance), and he has to be to fill his role. He's a Full-time unrelenting zealot. He's like a Free Software St. John the Baptist, world+dog thinks he's batshit crazy, I mean come on, The man don't even use a web browser nor open any doors with RFID keyed locks. But he has his followers and some of them actually care about everything he espouses.
Linus Torvalds is an Engineer. Do you guys actually know software engineers? The big thinkers? They're hard people to work for if they're any good. Linus is good at what he does obviously, so you draw your own conclusions. Ive never met the man, only read what he has to say, and he comes across as a "take no shit" engineer that doesn't like a bunch of unnecessary garbage. And if I was a Software Engineer with a minimalist philosophy Id be pretty pissed at Gnome after Gnome 3 came out and switch to Xfce myself. I wouldnt engage in a pissing contest with the development staff working on Gnome publicly, but you'd better bet your ass Id do it privately if I was that upset, which I wouldn't be. Thats the only real mistake here.
I use KDE, I was pretty angry with KDE 4 as were a bunch of other people but I got used to it, I actually like it even though I don't use alot of the new stuff. But It does what I want, and I can switch to whatever else I want. Its really not that hard to change a desktop environment, at least not on Fedora.
"The kernel is a key bit but it doesn't make the rest of the OS irrelevant." The vast majority of the OS isn't GNU tools. Just X11 alone is a far greater contribution to the "OS" in this day and age. Plus, the Free Software movement didn't start with RMS, it was part and parcel to the independent thinking of the early computer groups, such as the Homebrew Computer Club. There was plenty of "Free Software" for CP/M. What wasn't free was MADE FREE by all of the early pirates for machines like the Apple ][. So, GNU didn't INVENT the movement, not by a long shot, and it's offputting to listen to the claims made that it all originated from GNU. Even Stallman had to stand on the shoulders of giants. The GPL is a good thing. But please don't wreck the gift debt by making demands that the gift be acknowledged again and again and again. That just makes one seem to be a nag and that is a "Wrong Thing".
> but Stallman really seems to go out of his way to be disliked by everyone even in the open source community
I do not think that you understand. RMS has always been anti-open source (Bruce Perens definition) as being an attempt to weaken Free Software (FSI/Richard Stallman definition).
Linus claims to be pragmatic in such matters. He uses software policies, methods and the GPL2 licence because he believes them to be best suited to producing the best practical (i.e. do-able) kernel.
I believe here has been, and continues to be a need for both GNU/Richard Stallman an Linux/Linus.
The bulk of the linux kernel is concerned with hardware drivers. These all have FSI compliant licences and are maintained by the kernel developers. The intra-kernel bindings can and do change. It should be of no consequence outside the kernel team. What the proprietary world (and/including Miguel) have clamoured for is the ability to insert closed source driver code into the kernel without the need to keep up with changes (improvements) made (at a hectic pace) by the kernel developers. Linus and friends regard the introduction of closed source as "tainting" the kernel. As they make supporting the users impossible or very difficult "binary blobs" are resisted.
Quote: "The bulk of the linux kernel is concerned with hardware drivers. These all have FSI compliant licences and are maintained by the kernel developers. The intra-kernel bindings can and do change. It should be of no consequence outside the kernel team. What the proprietary world (and/including Miguel) have clamoured for is the ability to insert closed source driver code into the kernel without the need to keep up with changes (improvements) made (at a hectic pace) by the kernel developers. Linus and friends regard the introduction of closed source as "tainting" the kernel. As they make supporting the users impossible or very difficult "binary blobs" are resisted."
An excellent, succinct summary.
I am so going to steal that (something tells me that you won't mind).
If you promote free software and live a poor man life with a CV a lot of Redmond/ Cupertino/ Armonk guys can only dream about, you have to be a little bit "extreme".
Do you think "free software" is just software? They want the information to be free. If you think he has extreme views, you haven't seen anything yet.
Although I upvoted you because I agree; personal attacks should be left out of a good discussion, I do want to raise the awareness that personal attacks are also something used by Torvalds himself sometimes.
Lets take his criticism over the interface: "And I can get panel settings and enable auto-hide so that I don't need to look at that butt-ugly thing that has clearly been designed by some goth teenager that thinks that black is cool.". Or the simple fact that Mr. Torvalds considers the whole interface an 'unholy mess' "I have yet to meet anybody who likes the unholy mess that is gnome-3.".
Or what about: "If you think your users are idiots, only idiots will use it.".
I think some of that goes pretty border line too here and there. I mean; I can see why someone doesn't like Gnome, but to start attacking the whole interface and its developers merely because you don't like it seems a bit far fetched to me as well.
For example; I dislike Windows 8, I hate its new touch interface, but you won't see me state something that its developers or designers are idiots or dumb teenagers or such. What I /would/ state is that I think they were so obsessed with touch they forgot all about the desktop. But that's something completely different.
As for myself I don't care either way since my desktop sits on Windows 7. Even so; I can see why someone would be ubercritical towards Torvalds after having read all that.
Speaking of which; why do most people speak of Torvalds posts as "public Google+ posts" while you can't even read them without a Google+ account? Doesn't look very public to me.
They say things today, they get flames by these "funny people" and years later, people say "oh they were right but did you hear (whatever weird unrelated thing) rms did in conference?"
Check the feedback rms got when he warned about Mono. Damn thing caused serious harm to core/ community of Debian via a stupid note taking application.
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"Sorry - did I dare espouse a personal opinion out of line with Linux orthodoxy."
No, it wasn't that. The problem was that you couldn't be bothered to explain why you think LT is "a tool" so your post came across as lazy and really only an attempt to get a cheap laugh. Furthermore, trying to dismiss your critics as being dogmatic just makes you look like a tool - ironically enough.
> GNU we would not have open source.
Sorry but much code was open source e.g. Unix (both the original Bell Labs and the BSD derived versions) . Note open in the general (v. the OSI) sense, but not Free. It was the existence of the irritating minority that led to the GNU project, and the later proliferation of closed source (e.g. Microsoft, including Xenix) that has made Free software so valuable..
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I do not see it as a problem that Linux has made it to roughly 1% of the desktop. One percent of all desktops is still a huge number of machines, and apparently many people are happy with it. Transit vans are are a minute proportion of all cars sold, but that does not mean the Transit van is not considered a roaring success. The same could be said about Porsches and Ferraris. Seen like this there is no need to blame anyone.
It does of course pay to see if you can do better. In my book that means: Do not break APIs! If you need to change something, do it in the form of new functionality, but do not change old system calls, unless you are absolutely certain that there is no legacy code that needs it out there (not much chance of that, is there?). That at least is what we try to teach our students.
Linux is very good at certain things, for certain people. These people are neither superior or inferior to others, they just need, or like to use a different toolbox. End of story as far as I am concerned.
A 1% market share of the desktop is abject failure! That's the point -- it is only used by a few geeks, mostly programmers themselves, and mostly for developing server applications. Ubuntu's pathetic efforts notwithstanding, Linux is not a competitor for Windows or MacOS.
That's largely because Linus doesn't really care about desktop market share. Linux is primarily a server OS, and a pretty good one. It's also a pretty good embedded OS. Those are places where being consumer-friendly doesn't matter as much as being reliable and stable. Desktop machines have many more odd peripherals, like video and sound, which change often and are hard to support.
GNOME missed the boat on both counts. It doesn't offer a compelling user experience to actual users ("lusers" to the recreational programmer crowd that dominates Linux), and it doesn't do all that much for programmers. Ubuntu's adventures follow the same trajectory, whether or not its is using GNOME; it is programmers talking down to lusers. Windows (XP and 7) and MacOS take users seriously, for all their flaws, though I have to say Windows 8 seems to have forgotten them. And since MacOS is limited to designer hardware, the lack of a viable Linux desktop for real users is again a missed opportunity.
These idiots whine about inconsistency and confusion and churn and completely ignore this kind of thing when it happens in Windows. Windows game development is the essence of churn and this is where you're going to get your most severe problems.
Who cares about the init system really? Miguel is just on crack when it comes to that sort of thing.
I laugh when I hear cries about Linux being tough for (presumably commercial) software vendors when I see serious Unix vendors dealing with even wider variations between different Unixen.
Linux (as a distro, not the kernel) has certainly gone down the MS route of "we know better" with their users. GNOME versions have been laughable and things like Ubuntu's Unity might as well just come with one big red button that says "Press this if you don't know what you're doing" and zero functionality otherwise. I've actually avoided installing Ubuntu just for the same reasons. I *do* know what I'm doing and removing functionality or claiming that a "new way" is somehow better has to be backed up by a LOT of evidence and STILL might not be the best way of working for me.
The kernel, overall, gets this. I can still deploy just about any kernel I like on just about any relatively modern distro I like, and it's very much plug-and-play. I'm sure there are people with MCA/ISA devices that are upset about the removal of that API but, on anything vaguely modern, it "just works" and always has.
It's ironic (and a little backwards) that I now deploy Slackware with a 3.something kernel for my desktops, and Ubuntu LTS for my servers, purely because that maintains the control I want over the things I want. I don't want to faff with installing and resolving dependencies on a server and I don't want to spend HOURS turning off new GUI "paradigms" to get to a basic desktop where I can work.
GNOME always, to me, was second-place because of their so-called "perfection". Their interface was never as clean, as smart, as small, as quick or even as logical as other choices. But it's not just GNOME. Breaking people's systems and changing the way they work attracts derision for a reason - it COSTS to change the way you work. Even if the other way is 0.1% more productive (which it has NEVER been, mostly the opposite), the cost of retraining even yourself might never pay off and lead to mistakes and critical timing going out of the window ("Right, we have 100 desktops, secure them before next week" and, boy, are you in trouble if it takes ten times as long to find the options - if they even exist at all - to do that).
GNOME isn't alone. Even down to command-line utilities like the cdrecord package that decided that everyone should use only SCSI bus numbering to access their SATA DVD-RW caught flak. And rightly so.
It's a lesson that MS will soon learn. Don't annoy the user. Every freedom you take from the user, including the freedom to turn your junk off and configure it how they like, leads to dumber and dumber users (and thus attracts only those dumber users). This is why MS think they have to enforce turning off Autorun for me, 10 years after I did it for myself on every machine I've ever owned.
Linux doesn't want dumb users, particularly. Sure, if they can manage, they are welcome. But every dumbing down leads to more users doing dumb things and less people willing to help fix them or prevent them or work on the coding side of the project at all.
Dear Software-on-my-computer, You do not need to shield me from my computer when I'm running as a normal user. The underlying OS does that. You just need to work. And do what I tell you. And if I tell you to do something, do it (maybe with confirmation if I'm being incredibly dangerous). Not letting me turn off start screens, menus, notifications, sidebars, touch gestures, change hotkeys (can we use Windows-key yet to bring up the "start menu" in some desktop environments?), or even just telling me that you "know better" is a prime way to get me to move onto something else.
I don't care that you have to move software interfaces twenty times (that suggests you design badly, and also that you have no idea how to isolate changes at that level from what the user sees). My desktop is my desktop and I expect it to remain the same over periods of DECADES. It's as rude to change the way I work on my desktop as it is to come into my office and rearrange all my furniture and paperwork. And just as disruptive. Doing it once a year is NOT helping anyone.
"It's a lesson that MS will soon learn" - really, you mean Microsoft, who've been in business for nearly 40 years? If I could get away with not learning lessons for 40 years and still earn billions, I think I could live with myself.
"Linux doesn't want dumb users" - firstly, I don't know who this Linux is. I suspect you're projecting a little. Secondly, this is why Apple and MS and even Google own the desktop and mobile space.
"My desktop is my desktop..." - you know, even dumb users can cope with some fresh ideas now and then. Change for changes' sake is of course ridiculous, but hey.
Would you expect a garage mechanic to understand the chemistry and manufacturing processes needed to produce the spanner, or would you expect him to make his own spanner? No you bloody wouldn't want him to spend that time, buy the needed equipment and charge you for it just to fix your f****g car. Linux is a TOOL for most people - like the spanner for the mechanic. I have far more important and pressing problems (the ones that I get paid for solving, that my customers want sorting) than to have to rewrite chunks of the operating system, the gui or for that matter to go digging around in tons of undocumented code trying to find out what 'experts' might 'know' but won't tell me because I'm not a 'linux expert' so am below contempt....
Your "spanner" paradigm is correct, but your misreading of the intention of the rest of the post shows that you have little understanding of the problems that MS have created for themselves.
Microsoft are in a bind - they have an operating system that still has a partially undocumented and very broken kernel. They keep putting new shiny bits on top, but it's the same old mess beneath. They are now faced with the proliferation of a "new" user interface (touch screens and tablets), and they rewrote their shiny bits to allow for this. Unfortunately, the underlying brokenware is beyond repair, and they will still try to ship a massively bloated, slow, buggy operating system for use on small devices (in terms of their memory capacity).
I was at Microsoft when they first saw QNX - a small, proprietary Unix-alike including a destop, tools and a browser all on a single floppy disk. It really scared them. That was 15 years ago. MS still haven't seen any way of killing off the bloat, ditching the useless, deprecated parts that are just "traditionally" included, and they still haven't realised that it's a Unix world - they still believe that Windows servers has a place....
The "new" MS "Metro" interface is just a bad case of "me too". It's truly horrible to use - particularly with a mouse and keyboard - and should be the beginning of the end of their desktop dominance.
OSX isn't much better - and the litigious, proprietary nature of Apple means that few will want to provide software for them - that's now an entirely blind alley.
iOS has been effectively killed by Google - Android has much more functionality, is entirely open and is an example of the way forward. Incidentally, it's instructive to run Android on Apple hardware (it shows up the hardware deficiencies of the platform) and run iOS on a Samsung device (it's really poor compared to a fully functional Android environment).
Gnome has always been a work in progress, and has never seemed in any way "complete". The "Unity" spin is pretty nasty, and other versions that various distros have tried have all sorts of additional problems.
KDE is bloated, slow and buggy. They really need to get themselves sorted out. A radical, ground up pruning and rebuilding is necessary. It might be "the one" but it certainly isn't right yet.
So... there's nothing that works properly at the moment. The two "big beasts" (MS and Apple) don't have viable products for the foreseeable future, so it's up to us Open Source types to extract the digit and make something to completely replace the old rubbish-ware..... Come on Chrome - it's time!
MS is learning, win 95 users can do tons on their PC, DOS was still there and clever people could use it to do stuff in the background, while dumb users can trundle along with windows and double clicks.
XP, now has admin rights and you need to be an admin to do things because dumb users could do too much in win 95 and 98. DOS is reduced to a shell like "thing" with some commands missing and some functionality gone. Compatibility mode is introduced and the legacy of support and bloat is well and truly up and running. Control Panel has gone from useful icons to classifications but you can still go back to the useful ones instead of 'dumb' pictures.
Vista, now users are too stupid to not infect and break their machines the UAC is introduced, which tells users if they are about to make a stupid decision. In a reallllllllyyy annoying way of upto 3 pop ups. DOS is not even DOS and an extra 'pretty' layer is now in place so you have one extra layer of pop ups to get passed before you can actually find that network driver or check your network settings.
Win 7, most functionality is gone from users, buried under upto 9 layers of hidden windows and renaming so you can't find it even it you work in IT. Conflicting and often changed registry settings bury thingss under fluff so you can't actually find anything as a user. (probably for good reason) Now the control panel can't be changed back and you have to really want to search for anything remotely useful, a nice search facilty relies on you knowing the name and even then it isn't great. This isn't functional change, this is change for changes sake as when you dig through it all, the same screens exist that you had in XP.
Windows 8, ever more layers because the "not-metro" has now added a gay layer of buttons on top of the very well layered and hidden win 7 (not really 6.1 vista upgrade - honest)
MS are learning and their dominance will change, My family don't use windows, we are linux and android people because technology now isn't suited to a bloat ridden nightmare. Most friends are now Apple or Android users and MS is a third place, also ran for the home desktop. That and MS have bought their dominace, like the eeePC with linux on an SSD, so MS paid to have the HDD instead and linux drive up leaving only MS?
Linux has a 'do it and it runs, or you sudo it and it runs as admin', in four years that is all it has ever done. The terminal hasn't changed and neither have the screens (until ubunti cocked it all up with unity)
After working in IT for 12 years I have plenty of dumb users that we lock down to limited functionality for one simple reason, they are dumb users. If they were loose on linux, geeezzzzz I am scared of the results. But on a locked down XP and Win7 we can keep them safe from themselves. (Well one still unplugged network cables then logged call to say network no longer worked, one rebooted the monitor instead of her desktop etc etc)
At least I now know the name of the moron who runs Gnome.
"Windows 8, ever more layers because the "not-metro" has now added a gay layer of buttons on top of the very well layered and hidden win 7 (not really 6.1 vista upgrade - honest)"
I am going to be charitable and assume by "gay layer of buttons" you mean cheerful and colourful. So yes, yest they are. On any other interpretation of your post, you're an idiot, though.
"If they were loose on linux, geeezzzzz I am scared of the results. But on a locked down XP and Win7 we can keep them safe from themselves."
Isn't that the point - you can manage Windows centrally, and quite easily lock down all sorts of functionality. It's also easy to use. You don't have masses of desktop PC's running Linux in a work environment because it would be a configuration and training nightmare!
Yet I have 4 supposedly supported DVT-T tuners here and over the years (all the way back to having just 2 tuners 5+ years ago) I've not found a distro+kernel combo that supports all of them simultaneously, rarely found one that actually works for more than of the tuners.
Every update just shuffles the pack. Open source drivers stop compiling when they change the video API, closed source blobs just break, drivers compile install and load but just don't work or in 1 case the driver maintainer gets so pissed with the endless changes and intransigent attitudes that he quits and no-one takes his place. OEM maintainers generally try once or twice then give up chasing the runaway driver model.
Step even slightly off the common path and Linux hardware support goes MIA and a lot of it is due to the shitty attitude the (equally shitty) GNOME devs point out.
wrong, linux does want dumb users, computers shouldn't be for the elite who can figure stuff out, it should be for everybody, clever and dumb alike.
also, if I have to do insanely complex commands in order to get a sound card working, but can't do it, thats not me being dumb, thats the system not doing it's job.
"wrong, linux does want dumb users, computers shouldn't be for the elite who can figure stuff out, it should be for everybody, clever and dumb alike."
The nice thing about Linux is that it can be for everyone because "Linux" is the kernel. Unlike Windows you can bolt on Gnome to the top of it, or KDE, or just pootle along with the command line like I do. That gives it a freedom that Windows doesn't have. It's a limitation too as fragmentation can slow development and confuse some people, but on the whole, it's a big asset. Also, very few users are "dumb", they've just prioritized learning different stuff.
"also, if I have to do insanely complex commands in order to get a sound card working, but can't do it, thats not me being dumb, thats the system not doing it's job."
It's not just the sound card but other hardware as well. My biggest problem switching to Linux was getting my printer to work as there is apparently no Linux equivalent driver for a Canon Wireless MX350 printer. I finally found an Ubuntu PPA that carried the driver for it, which limited me to Ubuntu based Linux distros. Coming from a Windows background, I found KDE too konfusing (intentional typo) so I opted for Gnome. I couldn't stand the Unity crap of Ubuntu itself, so went with Linux Mint. Now my big issue, getting back to the replied to topic, is getting the sound to work properly. I have an onboard 5.1 surround sound system with the speakers to go with it. Now granted, actual 5.1 audio does come through properly, but for an mp3 file that is in stereo, Linux's idea of surround sound leaves a lot to be desired. In Linux, they take the sound from the left and right front speaker, and reproduce the same sound in the other 3 speakers (and pretty much ignore the woofer) and call it surround sound. In Windows, playing the same mp3 file, vocals come out the center speaker, bass comes from the woofer and it sounds like a mixture of instruments coming from the other speakers, just like you were sitting on a stage listening to the band. I have been trying for about a month now to get some simblance of that Windows sound in Linux with no luck.
In other words, you had a non Postscript-Compatible (1st mistake) win-printer (2nd mistake). The manufacturer (Canon) neither provided a standards-conforming interface (generally PostScript or HP's printer language interface protocol), nor cared to supply drivers for non-MS systems, nor cared to make the relevant specifications available to the well-established crew of Linux devs formed to deal with this sort of situation, that would happily do it for Canon (even, I believe, under NDA).
Your blaming Linux -- but the problem is Canon.
When I bought the printer, I wasn't even considering switching to Linux at that point. I needed a printer, this one fit what I wanted it to do, so I bought it and it worked. I don't know anything about postscript compatibility, It works. As for it being a Win-Printer, none of the printers I looked at in the store said they were Linux compatable, not even the HP ones which I later found out there are Linux drivers for. My ATI video card doesn't say it's Linux compatable, yet we know that works with Linux, so why should I expect my printer to be any different? As for it being Canons fault it doesn't work with Linux, someone wrote and made drivers available via a PPA in Ubuntu, so obviously they worked. Which begs the question, why didn't the "well-established crew of Linux devs formed to deal with this sort of situation" take this solution and make it available across Linux?
You're blaming Canon, but the problem is Linux.
".....Nobody in the Linux world is interested in .NET." Am I in the "Linux World"? I'm a Linux user (personal desktop, personal server and professional server user) and any interoperability between Windows and Linux is a good thing as far as I'm concerned, so I just must be outside your "Linux World" then, right?
What I think you meant to say was "Nobody in my little band of Linux fanatics, who would rather cut off our beards and burn our sandals rather than interoperate with The Great Satan of Redmond in any way, is interested in .NET." Please don't assume just because you personally don't have a reason to use a Microsoft technology that no-one else would want to.
BTW, now I'm old I use Gnome because I'm lazy. When I was a happy ickle Penguinista I used to beat my chest about my masochistic experiences in ubertuning KDE. Most new users to Linux I meet tell me they like Gnome BECAUSE it is easy for ex-Windows users to use. As regards Linus vs Miguel - discussion, even at max volume, is better than imposed silence, and these types of spats are EXACTLY what FOSS needs.
> Nobody in the Linux world is interested in .NET.
But what is .NET? After > 15 years, do we finally know? I always assumed it was a marketing term underneath which unsurprisingly grew "Microsoft's attempt to derail Java as a hardware neutral software platform" (to quote Andrew Orlowski).
Oh the modern world. There are two platforms. One is held by Microsoft, the other by Oracle. We then get told to uninstall the one by Oracle because "ZOMG JAVA IS THE SUXXOR!!11". How did it come to this?
Nobody in the Linux world is interested in .NET.
Oh, how I wish that were true.
Still, now that Windows 8 is bringing us the interface formerly known as Metro and Microsoft are asking us to rewrite all our applications in C++/CX to drive it I think it's clear that very soon nobody in the Windows world will be interested in .NET, which is at least a start!
Paris, because she could run a multi-million dollar software company better than Ballmer ... but then most of us could, even my cat.
It's not culture around a kernel.
I used to work with KDE until it went crap. I changed to Gnome, which went crap too. That's just my taste (want CDE back;-). There are other things though. About every user (or luser) can install a Linux distribution without a problem. Internet will work and so will the office suite. But when the user wants to watch some youtube flicks it might get frustrated. Put in a film on DVD: frustration again. Don't even think about playing games...
Linux works for me. But for the average consumer?
I am not so sure about the average user comments.
A lot of people seem to be saying that Windows 8 will be the death of desktop computing, especially for games and media. YouTube works fine on Linux, well the distributions I have used anyway.
These days we have Linux everywhere, in our cameras, in our phones, our tellies and STB's etc. It is a gloriously flexible platform. When it comes to games, its a bit light at the moment, but with people like Valve aiming to put Steam on Linux, things can only get astronomically better.
I think the idea of "Linux works for me, but not for the average consumer" doesnt really ring true these days anymore. Most people are clued in enough to understand what Linux is and use it. I think the question these days is "Linux works, but what can I do with it?". Until that question is answered, I guess the Linux user base will be smaller than the Windows user base.
"A lot of people seem to be saying that Windows 8 will be the death of desktop computing, especially for games and media." I would not be surprised is this highly-gimmicky UI-formerly-known-as-Metro turns out to be highly popular with casual computer users - the ones who like to download emoticons, change their desktop background pictures regularly, and play browser games exclusively. And that is a *huge* mass of users. And if it works well on tablets, then the sky is the limit. I have no interest in it, and used to think that it would be an unmitigated disaster for Microsoft, but after taking another look at how some typical computer users (family members) use their computers, I have had to rethink my opinion.
"YouTube works fine on Linux, well the distributions I have used anyway." Well I guess it works for everyone.
"These days we have Linux everywhere, in our cameras, in our phones, our tellies and STB's etc. It is a gloriously flexible platform. " It's yet to flex sufficiently much to be a good fit on the desktop, though. That your television runs on Linux has *no bearing* on its suitability for a typical computer-user's desktop. None. None whatsoever. It's that simple.
"When it comes to games, its a bit light at the moment, but with people like Valve aiming to put Steam on Linux, things can only get astronomically better." You know, I am at a bit of loss here. That "Steam" runs or will run on Linux - or on some selected distros - poses a question that I can't answer: Will Steam allow DirectX games to run on Linux?" Because if it doesn't, than you will realize that "Steam" is one thing and "Steam games" are a very different matter indeed. And in that case, expect the number of Steam games that run on Linux to be very small. (And this does not even touch the matter of graphics card drivers for Linux: how well are Steam games going to run with the drivers currently available for Linux.)
"'I think the idea of "Linux works for me, but not for the average consumer' doesnt really ring true these days anymore. Most people are clued in enough to understand what Linux is and use it." I could not disagree with this more.
"I think the question these days is 'Linux works, but what can I do with it?'". Here's a better question: "Here's what I want to do and note please that 'what I want to do' means 'I want to do what all my friends do and I want to do it *with* them'; can Linux do it?" and the answer is, "I use Windows at work so I already have some familiarity with it, and since my friends use Windows they can show me how they do whatever it is that they do so that I can do it too and we can all do it together because that's the reason I even have friends." And that is about as good as an answer can be.
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There's no doubt that Linux is a great platform and has a considerable share in many applications. But "what can I do with it?" is not the question because that was already given: consumer PC market. Here a customer wants to buy a PC, quite often with pre-installed OS, and, as Turtle pointed out already, do whatever he/she did before and what his/her friends and colleagues are doing. Chances are that friends are using Windows or even Mac and quite soon our poor user will be facing a conflict between his expectations and the compatibility abilities of Linux.
No. You are not likely to look at your friends with their Macs and start to get jealous. If anything, those Mac users will likely have the same exact problems as you do.
A Mac is nothing to lord over Linux. It doesn't matter how overhyped and trendy it is. It still has the same "but it's not the monopoly platform" problems that Linux does.
Short of games, if you aren't brand fixated to the exclusion of what you actually want to do then none of the platforms are at much of a disadvantage to the others. Although Macs have an NIH and group think problem.
I'm using Xubuntu, after Unity got right on my Tits. I tried Gnome3, but that wound me up as it actually slowed up my work flow too. KDE got irritating too, for being a bit of a resource hog, and I never went back to it. So, XFCE for me, for now.
This is the thing though. At least with Linux there is choice. Yes, there will be flame wars between different desktops, but I pick whats right for me at the time. With Linux I can do that. I'm not being forced into Notro, or Apples decisions. I can slap any desktop I pretty much like on my machine. I will try anything, if it makes my life easier. I use Mythbuntu on my tellybox. I like it, but gave UbuntuTV a shot, and that went right away because of the amount of png thumbnail images it shoved into my video library.
We have choices on Linux, which is great. We don't need flame wars. If you like something and it makes your life easier, use it. If you don't like it, sack it off and leave it. I'm seeing the same thing in UK politics as 'Conservatives' don't like the new 'Dave-Desktop' and are switching to UKIP.
Choice is great.
I agree with you, up until the point you talk about politics and then I begin to shudder.
Unfortunately choices between things that are ultimately crap are sometimes less appealing than not having a choice at all and having something that works.
On the other hand though no choice at all could be considered a parallel for the political situation in North Korea and having several crap choices would be akin to the UK, I know I'd prefer to be born in the UK, at least then I have the choice to leave...
Ah the illusion of control, makes everyone feel good.
I'm not entirely sure choice is a good thing on an operating system. When a non-technical user installs a new operating system, they don't want to be asked anything more than language, time zone and network passwords. If they are asked which desktop environment they want to install, they aren't going to have a clue which one to pick and that's when you start getting support calls.
I'm using openSUSE, but with one specific. I always make sure that I download KDE 3 whenever I change version. While I usually do have a go at their latest offiering, I realised long ago that the mess that KDE 4 became was a project and, no matter what its supporters say, it is the Vista of the KDE world at present and needs a lot of work still before it reaches the sort of usability that I get from KDE 3. The day they close the repository will probably be the day I go and download Trinity.
But that's one of the main points. I can do things like that. It's a big reason behind my scepticism about Windows 8 and TIFKAM. As for GNOME, this is an argument that seems to have been rumbling ever since GNOME 2 was replaced, and would seem to be the same as the argument of bleeding edge versus stable system.
I tend to view bleeding edge systems, whatever their origin, with a measure of distrust, much as I would say that you never use a release candidate or a beta to host a live system. If GNOME is to drop and alter things to breakage levels just because they feel a need to reach a point called "perfection" somewhere in the future, how can I trust them? So I'm the one with a netbook running openSUSE 11.4 and KDE 3.5.10 in my pocket. Well, perhaps not my pocket, but you get my meaning.
As for being mean... ;_;
I think there are many reasons Linux is not going mainstream on the desktop. Fragmentation between the different distributions will not help (although this is one of the strengths of Linux, oddly enough). Then there is the fact none of the distributions are well marketed. Infighting in the community, at all levels, doesn't help, especially when many newcomers you might attract are used to professional support centres and "genius" bars where they can ask stupid questions without fear of getting shouted at.
The biggest thing as far as I can see though, is that for Linux to get anywhere on the desktop, users have to care about the OS they run and be willing to go through the install/set up and the learning curve required to change it,. Most users don't care, and why should they? They just want the computer to work and they got Windows or OSX preinstalled.
Whatever anyone thinks of Ubuntu and Unity, I think Ubuntu has the best chance at becoming mainstream, especially with things like Ubuntu for Android and Ubuntu TV, if they can get them off the ground.. With the developer support they seem to be getting at the moment and all the games appearing in the software centre, Ubuntu is actually looking quite healthy to me at the moment.
I don't think the attitude or philosophy of either the Gnome team on the kernel developers matters, as long as they stop fighting and put out usable software that is taken on packaged by the distributions. I think people are going to care more about their distributions and, as much as I hate the word, it's "brand" than what Torvalds or the Gnome team have to say.
I've used Linux since the days of Slackware and when I mention something related to a bad UI I'll usually get a defensive response along the lines of:
a) People should know how to do stuff through the shell
b) It's easy to get it working, just apply patch X and recompile the kernel
c) I use all those 1001 settings in the KDE control panel EVERY DAY and how dare you suggest some of them should be hidden
d) Yeah but Windows isn't perfect ergo criticism-about-Linux is somehow invalid
e) Go read the manual
Basically there is a core of people for whom no criticism of Linux will be brooked regardless of how valid it may be and it has hurt the platform. It's like talking to a motor mechanic about how a gearbox keeps sticking and being told well yeah obviously you have stripped the thing down and greased it yourself, making the assumption everyone is a motor mechanic and wants a car just to take it to bits and fix it.
The issue is compounded because a lot of the user interface decisions have traditionally been made by engineers with an engineer's mindset - utilitarian, lashed together, unforgiving UIs are commonplace in Linux. Very little effort goes into making the UI task-centric, forgiving, and simple. Simple doesn't even have to mean dumbed down - an administration console can be simple if stuff is arranged in a particular and anticipates the user's needs. Power users can always work around a simple UI. Novices or the disinclined can't work around a broken UI.
Fortunately some projects have tried a lot harder than others to add usability to Linux. Ubuntu and GNOME in particular have made huge strides to tame the UI. It's still a bit patchy but it's within spitting distance of commercial dists. Linux users should also remind themselves over and over again that OS X is built on top of BSD. If OS X can tame Unix then there is little excuse if Linux cannot.
> a) People should know how to do stuff through the shell
Nonsense. Being a Unix user doesn't mean being a masochist. It means being lazy.
If I ever even touch the shell it is to be lazy.
Something is faster or more automated than the drudge work of doing some visual thing n+ times.
Beyond that, the "burden of the shell" is gravely overrated/
I'm a non techie (used books dealer) who has been happily using Linux for over a decade.
I have never been told RTFM. Not even on those occasions when I've admitted to not having read and not having time to read the F'n manual right now -- please help.
Of course, I've never jumped into a kernel-devs chat to bitch about my problems getting the xscreensaver configured -precisely- the way I want it, threatened to dump this Linux POS for Windows again if I didn't get treated with the servile respect due to a "paying customer" or the instant response merited by the vast sums I had spent on this Linux CD I'd downloaded from the net, or freaked out when asked to open a terminal window and copy-paste a diagnostic command so that there would be some starting-point in assisting me.
And friends/roommates have never had any trouble borrowing my computer to check their email, consult a web-page, or the like (a couple of them have wondered why I wasn't running this Linux I kept telling them about).
"Linux is too hard for regular folk" hasn't been a reasonable line since about 2002.
I thought Gnome was environment for xFree86 on un*x systems? It seems to run fine on BSD and I see bits of it running in projects on Mac OS. So, what's all the fuss about? Linux is and always a kernel. Want anything else and you have to do a lot more integration and tight-coupling of the components yourself just like Google has done with Android (and what Next did with BSD) and which is why they have been successful.
" a WiReD piece on how Apple's Mac OS X killed Linux on the desktop"
Herein lies the problem: Linux (or any other OS) doesn't "die" because something else is more popular. It ceases to be used or useful if there are insufficient numbers of useful applications that run it.
That said, Linux is a special case in as much because there seems to be a unending supply of people who want to use/tinker/experiment with it in lots of different ways. They are able to do that because of concepts such as open source.
Perhaps if there was less ego-driven self-justifying going on, then people would free themselves to get on with whatever it is that they want/need to get on with: cranking out code, making things, making products (gasp) to (quiver) sell or give away. Everyone would be calmer, happier and more productive.
There would be much less noise in the channel from all the hyperbole about "newest", "best", "success", "failure" because there would be less carrion for tiresome, scandal-mongering loud hailer journalists to feed on (and they'd have to find something more productive to do instead).
All jumper-pulling over Gnome/KDE/Metro/Emacs/vim/Linux/Windows/Android/iOS/C++/Java/Python/Perl/Ruby/XML/JSON - it's all just a displacement activity. The point is being missed on a grand scale.
Re:"Herein lies the problem: Linux (or any other OS) doesn't "die" because something else is more popular. It ceases to be used or useful if there are insufficient numbers of useful applications that run it."
From a commercial point of view, any operating system that reaches that point is effectively dead in that market.
Admittedly, that doesn't stop that OS flourishing in other markets. Linux does seem to do be heavily used server side, or in markets that require computers will little computing power or minimal electrical power usage (such as TV Set Top Boxes). And, of course, there is the enthusiast market.
"commercial point of view" is nonsense. The platform continues to grow and thrive independent of this.
That is the whole point of Free Software to begin with. Everything is independent of a "commercial point of view". You don't have to worry about Atari and Commodore failing or Netscape having it's air supply cut off. Free Software exists outside and despite of the market.
It's like MS-DOS and Windows but without the bling.
Actually it's just loads of people doing different things that are interesting or useful to themselves, without any grand plan unifying their efforts. A lot of them think that Linux is just fine as it is, because it already does what they want (or lets them hack it into doing what they want). Linux on the desktop isn't a product designed by marketing and managed by bean counters, it's a load of stuff that happens to come together to fulfill all your needs, or none of them.
"It's a lesson that MS will soon learn. Don't annoy the user. Every freedom you take from the user, including the freedom to turn your junk off and configure it how they like, leads to dumber and dumber users (and thus attracts only those dumber users). "
"Dear Software-on-my-computer, ... You just need to work. And do what I tell you. And if I tell you to do something, do it (maybe with confirmation if I'm being incredibly dangerous). Not letting me turn off start screens, menus, notifications, sidebars, touch gestures, change hotkeys ... or even just telling me that you "know better" is a prime way to get me to move onto something else."
Some lessons here for Apple as well I think!
I've got my coat & I'm going now ;-)
"Dear computer, I want to go and browse the internet now...."
I don't want to know, I don't need to care how it is done, I don't want to know whether it is software or hardware, I don't want to know about the source code, I don't want to know about the protocols.....
Of course if I want to know these things it is nice to be able to find out and tinker. Its like me and my cars, yes I enjoy tinkering with cars so I know how the damned thing works and how to fix it. BUT my wife just wants to get in and drive.
The problem with linux is that it expects me to not only manage to use a spanner to fix the car but to understand the chemistry of the metals, be able to forge and mill the spanner, be able to polish and size it correctly, temper it, know I have to do all these things, then know about the chemistry of petrol, how to refine it, how to find the oil...... ..... .....
Microsoft, Apple and others have worked out that 99.999999% of people want to use their computer as a tool to achieve the ends they want, so that is what they give them. for the very odd out there this might make it more of a struggle to configure it exactly how you want.
And the 99.999999% are not thick, stupid, ignorant users, they are people that have more important and interesting things in their little lives than tinkering about in a forge....
Your post is outdated nonsense. It's FUD from another century.
You don't need to forge your own tools to use it. You can chose your own level of involvement. That can be as little as possible or as much as possible. This nonsense that you have to be a coder in order to use it is just assinine. It really wasn't even true in the 90s. Never mind now.
It just gets repeated over and over again by idiots.
"And the 99.999999% are not thick, stupid, ignorant users, they are people that have more important and interesting things in their little lives than tinkering about in a forge...."
This includes Linus, you know. He's not interested in tinkering with desktops nor having one dictate how he goes about pursuing the "more important and interesting things in [his] little [life]." I believe he has made his position exceedingly plain. Last I heard he was running Linux Mint Debian XFCE. Me, too, but not because it's what Linus uses--I use it because of why Linus uses it; i.e., he and I agree on how to choose and have very similar priotities.
"Of course if I want to know these things it is nice to be able to find out and tinker. Its like me and my cars, yes I enjoy tinkering with cars so I know how the damned thing works and how to fix it. BUT my wife just wants to get in and drive.
And the 99.999999% are not thick, stupid, ignorant users, they are people that have more important and interesting things in their little lives than tinkering about in a forge ..."
Except that the car equivalent of what most people do with computers would be trying to unlock the door with a bar of chocolate, repeatedly, while eating the key.
I disagree... slightly
Most people use thier computer as a toy, not a tool, personal email, (that chain mail from aunt Gladys in particular) games, Facebook, myspace, whatever the @#$% are all are entertainment NOT functional. A TOOL is an Office Suite used for work purposes. A Toy is an office suite used to make a LolCats poster. The 99.999 percent of users are THICK Couldnt be arsed to wipe the spittle off thier chin playing with toys at home. The Home PC is the culmination of 100 years of evolution of personal entertainment. From Radio and telephone and board games to movies to TV to PC and console games to Cell phones and answering machines. All of which got wrapped up in a neat little package and Coupled with the military developed Darpanet giving us the internet.
The OS is getting more and more `dumbed down` and for savvy users it's taking more time to turn off all the safeties and configure a new install to your own preference. What is really needed is a question on install that asks "Do you know what you are doing?" and then dispenses with all the nagging questions.
The problem is of course, that most users will just click yes without actually reading the question, so what we need is another question to check you really meant to click yes. The problem is of course, that most users.....
"Do you know what you are doing?"
Does that option not exist in the form of a choice of distribution/desktop environment? Even better, if you leave it down to choice of distro/desktop, you aren't getting people blindly clicking yes.
However, I disagree that things are getting dumbed down. I'm using Ubuntu with Unity at the moment and, while there are less configuration options than there have been in the past (it narks me that I can't choose a different window manager or move the launcher - I don't want to change the window manager or move the launcher from the left but it's the principle), you can still get at any part of the system you like and do anything with it - command line, config files - and there is absolutely no effort to stop you.
Or alternatively, to foresee the blind clicks on 'Yes' simply ask the question "Would you like to be guided through the installation process? Y/N". Therefore no need for supplementary questions.
As a 'savvy user' it's highly bloody frustrating having to reconfigure vanilla, dumbed-down installations. But I console myself (pun intended) with the thought that I can manage such a task.
For any desktop OS to succeed in a big way it must spoon-feed the masses. Historically, knowledge has always been a barrier to entry for the majority of desktop users, especially where Linux and BSD are concerned . That said, PC-BSD is doing a grand job in lowering barriers. Kudos to them I say!
The problem is of course, that most users will just click yes without actually reading the question, so what we need is another question to check you really meant to click yes. The problem is of course, that most users.....
The answer is to generate an informative message and at the end, something like "To confirm that you have read and understand the above, please type the first letter of the fourth word on the sixth line, followed by the fifth letter of the second word on the seventh line" (ideally, with random nths).
That will at least jog the user out of auto-click mode. The rest is down to whether he's got a brain to engage. If he's just a slightly higher-level automaton than the computer, there's nothing can be done about it. (Ignorance is curable. Stupidity is terminal).
The thing that summed up Linux best for me was the comment...
When faced with "this does not work", the community response was usually "you are doing it wrong".
While there are individuals out there who are helpful the most common responses are 'you need to learn', 'if it doesn't hurt and take you months to learn it is no good', 'you are stupid', 'of course its that'.... even down to 'why the fuck should I waste time commenting it....'
Unix could be a pleasure to work with, instead it is such a pain I would rather grate my testicles with a cheese grater.
Tell me about it. Ok so, I know this isnt a typical user issue, but I've just been struggling with installing Bugzilla (never mind why, I just have). Jesus H F'ing. Just getting Perl to a point where it would install was a task in itself. 'Ah yes, my padawan. You appear not to have compiled the right version of the library in the right way, on the right day with the wind in the right direction.' Ok, so I found the answers eventually (1 1/2 days, countless attempts and I think I wore out google), but the point is the same. Making life this difficult will put people off, and its true on a number of levels for Linux.
I dont expect it to be easy, but having a dozen different ways to do the same thing, only one of which may work for you is never going to make it easy to win people over. I still think the world is a better place with Linux.
For Debian (Ubuntu should be similar):
# apt-get install bugzilla
=> gives an error saying there is no bugzilla, but that bugzilla3 replaces it.
# apt-get install bugzilla3
=> would install it, along with necessary prerequisites, including many Perl modules. Whether it sets up Bugzilla I don't know and don't plan to find out. It seems reasonable that the installer-administrator might need to do some local post-installation configuration, though.
Experience with Centos or Red Hat might differ; I found a clearly stated recipe from three years ago suggesting some possible difficulty at that time. Google returned that in about 0.23 seconds. More recent pages suggest it is straightforward, but a bit more involved than for Debian. The Wiki/FAQ at the Bugzilla site are seriously backlevel for Debian and possibly others.
> # apt-get install bugzilla
Like I said: YOU choose your level of involvement with Project Mayhem.
You can use the App Store approach or you can build from source. It's entirely up to you. Admittedly, this leaves the whole thing vulnerable to criticism by idiots that will find the hard way to do something even in MacOS.
Ah yes, why didnt I try that. Believe me it's a right ballache. I could have just used the TurnKey installation, but its out of date. I guess the advantage is that all things are possible with Linux. Windows would just stop you dead in your tracks. There was a saying that I heard many years ago - 'life's too short for Linux'. I may not agree, but I understand the sentiment.
Anyway, it was convoluted enough for me to actually want to write it up to save some other poor sap the same level of frustration. i.e. I will be contributing and not having to write any code.
".....the most common responses are 'you need to learn'...." That is ironic as most people don't actually learn anything other than how to Google for a fix, they still don't understand the actual tech/code behind the problem. One of the most popular Linux "gurus" I know is popular becuase he shows newbies where to look for answers, but he admits he actually couldn't code to save his life.
"....Unix could be a pleasure to work with...." Well, even commercial UNIX has had issues with documentation in the past, even when customers have been paying oodles of cash for support.
In a strange way, this whole spat shows what Linux has achieved - it's certainly popular (note: I didn't say "most popular" or "more popular than ...") and there are sufficient numbers of people involved such that some/many of them are not as "brilliant, clever or funny" as some of the ringleaders. People in the former category are doing dumb things and justifying them based on valid (but mis-applied) precedents (engineering excellence, purity of design, ...).
First, who is to define "failure"? Seems to me that Linux has already won everywhere BUT in the desktop. Exactly how is that a failure?
The Gnome people are in denial, yes. So are the Canonical people with their Unity interface, the Microsoft people with their formerly-called-Metro interface and just about everybody else.
What I see here is some frustration because they Linux desktop has not taken over Windows, in spite of Windows allowing that to happen in the past once -Vista- and likely now in the present after 8 launches.
It is worth noting how Linux has won in other environments: not exactly because someone poured millions of marketing dollars in selling "Linux" but by selling phones, routers, smart TVs or whatever. And it should not be. OSX is not gaining traction because big TV ads saying that is based on FreeBSD or anything. Android is winning because phone price and application ecosystem are better than the walled garden alternative.
The only exception is on the server, where word of mouth has been much more important than marketing. But except in that space, which is a minority value in comparison with the others, if one wants to "win" the desktop it has to do it with a product. Windows holds a monopoly in the desktop and laptop markets where it comes pre-installed and bundled in the price, and the market momentum is so huge that it would take a corresponding big push in the opposite direction to change.
But that push has to happen with a product, not with an operating system. So if you want Linux to win the desktop, forget about the individual parts and start to think about a product that can do it.
Somehow I think that the Google laptop is the only, and best product currently in that position.
But please, please, forget about the KDE vs. Gnome vs. whatever, because that is not going to help anyone win the desktop. Or... well, don't forget about them and debate endlessly. But don't think for a second that the choice of DE is a key to win the desktop.
& it rules the lower end (phone & increasingly tablet). Gnome's biggest problem is not MS not the kernel ppl but Android as there is a desktop done right.
You can tell this simply by the amount of fear Android generates in both MS & apple.
You can tell the fear MS have wrt tablets vs "the desktop" just by looking at windows 8.
The 1990'es are gone & the desktop (& PC) are 90'es ideas.
De Icaza stated that within the GNOME project there was too much focus on bits, bytes, engineering excellence and technical purity that meant the platform was a constantly moving and evolving target - software interfaces would be broken and tweaked across versions, which is a nightmare scenario for third-party developers who want their apps to run on as many systems as possible rather than one particular build of GNOME.
So the problems are indeed inherent to the Gnome approach, then?
So many questions...
- Doesn't Gnome focus far much on aesthetics [because they are things that Just Don't Work - that's not focus in engineering excellence, no sir!]
- Sounds like there is a problem with centralizing decision making. Too many prima donnas pulling in all directions? Time to hire an Apple Disciplinator.
- If Gnome wants binary compatibility, why doesn't Gnome provide it? Don't tell me it's because Linus disses it.
- Who are those third-party developers who want binary compatibility?
- Why would the third-party developers want link to the Gnome library?
- Wouldn't the third-party developers use Java and an SWT interface instead, possibly supplemented with a thin JNI layer to the system, "outsourcing" the mutant morphing UI thing to Oracle?
...is because it's a disjointed pile of mish-mashed shit. The only thing Linux is good for is someone else taking a bunch of the code and making someone useful out of it, like Android. Oh and servers, embedded systems, blah, blah, but no-one cares about that.
"it's a disjointed pile of mish-mashed shit"
Strange then that I can read your wise words at all as OpenSuse is on all 6 of my computers and gives me a stable productive environment to support my many interests. There isn't one single thing I want to do that I can't do. Updates are automatic and easy, I don't have one piece of hardware that isn't supported - webcams, scanner, 2 printers, USB/serial converters, video acceleration, 3G dongle, wifi. A little bit of research before buying and sticking with a reliable distro has worked well for me.
For windows I can buy right off the shelf Drop x processor into Y motherboard if they work together, Drop L ram providing it matches the specs of the board somewhat Pick 4 random PCI E cards for my peripherals (if they are not built onboard) Grab a any video card I want put em together with a standards compliant sufficiently powerfull Powersupply and it works without any real research. and they all WORK off the top.
Crazy, I've done the exact same thing several times and then slapped Linux Mint onto the hard drive and handed it over to people who aren't very computer literate. As yet the only thing that has made one of the call on me for technical assistance was getting a canon printer to play nice but that took all of 5 minutes to sort out and I don't have much linux expertise. Basically from my experience you are talking bollocks.
Funny -- it's been useful to me for over a decade (that's how long Linux has been my primary -- usually only -- OS) I'm not even a techie.
It's been useful as a desktop for various large enterprises (including Fortune 500 companies), major cities, small municipalities, national police forces, the US military (especially units that have been burned one time too many by malware or unreliable software), programmers and developers. (Memo to self: check when Ernie Ball kicked Windows to the curb). And in recent personal experience, also by small businesses, law firms, financial consultancies. teenagers, sawmill workers, and other non-techie types like myself.
Actually, now that I think of it, I seem to recall that not too long ago Google finally reached the point of declaring Windows unsuitable for regular desktop use, and migrated its Windows desktops to Linux.
It's good to see that The Gnome project are finally starting to see the drawbacks to their reinvent the wheel as often as possible approach, but it's sad that they can't man up and take the blame for themselves, instead of blaming others.
While I'm sure the insanity that passes for the Linux kernel development process obviously did affect them, they could have stepped back and said "No, this is stupid". but they didn't.
Gnome and KDE are a bit like Microsoft and Android.
They often copy Apple and when they try to do anything different that's not copying Apple it tends to be a bit bonkers.
What is fundamentally wrong is the whole Unix desktop architecture. X Windows is always going to be slower and I imagine few people really gives a toss about display redirection. Maybe if you're using thin clients, but then who is? not many people given the huge lack of Linux/Unix desktops.
Why would anyone want a choice of 15 bad ropey desktop environments instead of one? it's like the education minister saying parents can choose their schools, obviously they will have a choice of good and bad. When all you really want is for every school to be good.
Make one decent desktop and make it configurable so you can have a minimal environment if you like.
Nobody uses it?
I do. I could use the command-line but sometimes I like to use my openSUSE server to build distro images and yast is the tool of choice, even if I'm on my iMac editing a document in Word. Want to rip a movie off a DVD image? Thanks k3b, but I'm not going to sit in the garage while you work. ssh - X will do nicely.
Ever heard of ltsp? Fantastic bit of software.
The real reason linux on the desktop hasn't taken off is no MS Office suite (corporate) and few high-end games (at home). When it comes down to it, the license costs just don't matter that much - they are dwarfed by management costs. Even more difficult deal with is fear - I could go floss, but what if I need something later which needs windows?
Personally I think rdp is a bit primitive, but that might just be me.
"If you don't like it don't fscking use it"
LT is not complaining because he wants to use GNOME and he can't/won't because it's rubbish. He's complaining about the spurious blame hose turned on by the GNOMEs. It's all in the article - you just need to "fscking" read it .
So Linus doesn't like their mindset or criticism. So what? Change can only be accomplished from within. But there's absolutely nothing wrong with the OP's suggestion that he (Linus) 'roll his sleeves up' and get's 'stuck in', irrespective of how he may have put his argument/comment i.e. put your money where your mouth is and all that is how I see the OP's comment.
I think the OP's point was, rather than wash your dirty linen in public, initiate change from within. Which I believe is a valid point of criticism.
Egocentric blame games are best left for the kids to play with. The Linus/Gnome spat is a bit, well, childish.
Exactly. The Gnomes are blaming the dysfunctional culture of the LKML for their own dysfunctional development process. That is stupid and they should be looking a little closer to home. They are quite capable of being dysfunctional by themselves.
If any 3rd party is too blame, it is Redhat, who have a vested interest in keeping support costs as high as possible.
Years ago, the guy who "owns" the kernel wrote how stupid and alienating it is to write every freaking detail to boot screen while system (kernel) boots and it should stay silent as much as possible (unless error happens) instead of generating information overload.
Did everyone listen? No. I am sure even a $20 M exotic mainframe that may never reboot in its entire life displays less messages in boot.
I love Open Source discussion about what is right and wrong with Linux because the people who post are as entrenched as Microsoft and Apple fans. It usually comes down to you're wrong because you disagree with my world view.
I thought the whole idea behind Open Source was that you did what worked for you because you have freedom and since there were so many options you could just switch. If this is the case I don't understand why there is all this fighting.
If you don't want Mono, don't install it. If you don't want Gnome, don't install it. If you want to use Vi over Emacs then go for it...
No need to defend your right-ness
My main problem is "helpful" types that make clueless "suggestions" based on bad information and faulty assumptions. There's a lot of mythology to go around. There's some about Linux and there are equal amounts for Windows and MacOS.
I really wonder if the ones infatuated with Macs have actually used them.
Stealing ideas is great. That's how progress in general work. However, you have to understand what you are copying in the context you find it and how it relates to where you want to transplant it to.
Generally I used to use Debian on everything - and then ended up with Ubuntu on my laptops because it was pre-installed on a Dell laptop I bought.
Gnome up to version 2 was great - simple, clean, fast etc.
Then came Unity - to weird for me - so, I thought, back to Gnome which had changed to Gnome 3 - which was now as weird as Unity. So, via Xubuntu I've switched (like Linus and Debian 7) to XFCE - and it's brilliant; simple, clean, fast etc.
Now don't get me wrong - I know a few devs who are perfectly happy with Unity - so it can't be that bad. But, we want to refurbish PC's/Laptops for ordinary users - and I'm sure that Xubuntu/XFCE will be far more easily understood by the average user.
Changing the backends alienates programmers. Changing the UI is a fast way of alienating users.
As someone who has to support several hundred linux desktops, I'm on the sharp end of user pain - and I fully sympathise with them. they shouldn't have to relearn everything they know because Migel and his friends decree they must (this is the same reason most users are still ruinning XP - by choice)
I've installed Mint/Cinnamon for personal use, but I can't do that in a corporate environment, so we're sitting on old UI versions now, until someone sees sense and sorts the bloody mess out.
(FWIW, we use KDE at work, but the changes between versions are just as disruptive as GNOME's ones.)
Honestly now. Many of the comments here have said it, but here's a recap from one "trailing edge" RHEL desktop user (we use RHEL in the data center, so I've taken to eating my own dog food):
1. Microsoft FUD and anti-competitive backroom dealing with OEM and VARs ("if we can't own the netbook market we'd rather see it die"). If DOJ and other regulators were doing their jobs this would be less of a barrier than it is right now. But then these same regulators allowed Oracle to take over Java, MySQL and a raft of other competing Sun technology with barely a whimper...
2. Fragmentation all the way up and down the stack: 3 different audio subsystems, for example. Really? This goes to a missing piece in the Linux community process, I think. After almost 20 years kernel development has finally matured to the point that dead wood is getting flushed out at that level, but userspace continues to be in chaos. My advice is everyone minus the loudmouths goes to an undisclosed location and sets out a community roadmap for the next 5 years to turn that chaos into some kind of order.
3. Stop trying to sell people on a UI obviously designed for a 4 inch cellphone display on our laptops and desktops. Gnome 3 was, and is, a disaster. Hubris is a word often misused as synonymous with arrogance or pride alone. In fact it really means arrogance or pride combined with malice -- which as a user seems an apt word to use regarding Gnome 3. As much as this has been a boon to formerly barely competing alternatives like XFCE (which I'm partial to -- hey, I'm a server guy! -- but would never expect to catch on with most users), it has been a nightmare for real users.
4. Bad documentation. "Bad" as in incomplete or unintelligible. Sure, not all engineers have done advanced study in the liberal arts, including grammar and composition, but then there are a growing number of people with advanced degrees in liberal arts who have transformed themselves into pretty good engineers. The latter probably need to step up to the plate and volunteer to develop quality documentation for the many projects that desperately need it. I include myself in that group and am going to follow my own advice on this point.
5. The RTFM attitude. It's mean, it's selfish, it's antithetical to what the open source community should be at its very best. Ironically copping an attitude with newbies is proof that someone just doesn't get it. Those "in the know" shouldn't put up with that kind of attitude and should be calling out those who practice it. I've seen too many responses to questions where the first line is a subtle (or not so subtle) put down of the person asking for help. This especially from people whose communication skills wouldn't even get them in the door at most Fortune 200's.
Your "fragmentation" complaint (which I agree with BTW) is actually just a prime example of the NIH syndrome that affects Linux.
Sound on UNIX started out with OSS - Open Sound System. This worked, and continues to work on most UNIX variants, and is the basic level of sound support that almost every piece of UNIX software has.
However, this did not suit some Linux users, so they set out to solve some of the issues that OSS had. However, one of those issues was that they guy behind OSS had taken his codebase closed source, and started selling newer drivers for cash.
In order to ensure that didn't happen any more, their new project ALSA - Advanced Linux Sound Architecture was started, which added a new sound interface, just for Linux this time. Their new system supported cool things like virtual channels and hardware mixing, but co-existed with OSS. One program would use ALSA, another may use OSS emulation via ALSA, and there was a wonderful way of producing sink/source graphs linking different audio components just using an obscure text file.
However, this wasn't enough. One of the problems with ALSA was that it didn't provide a simple way to play audio on one box, but have the speakers connected to another box, using a network transport. Or perhaps it was that you couldn't mux in a skype call into a DTS soundtrack over SPDIF. Or perhaps it was that everyone was fed up with low latency audio.
Regardless, the next solution dreamt up by completely different people was moving the whole shebang to user space. Yes, we are now in the realms of PulseAudio. PulseAudio is a sound server and client - you too can shove your desktop audio down a SSH tunnel. The benefit of this system is a detach between physical sound card and application producing sound, so you can funnel that sound data around as you like. A virtual pulse audio device can emulate ALSA, and also OSS. So you can now play through an emulated virtual OSS device that plays through your ALSA sound graph.
In my experience, PulseAudio monopolises your sound card, decreases audio clarity and introduces a lot latency into the system. PulseAudio is now a core part of most desktop distributions, and you must explicitly take off and nuke from orbit to be sure the crap is no longer used.
I don't actually use Linux, I use FreeBSD. On FreeBSD (like the rest of UNIX), ALSA was ignored, and we simply fixed the problems with OSS. I get vchans and hardware mixers with FreeBSD's OSS, and once PulseAudio was killed, I have a simple to use audio interface that is fully documented in man pages.
Linux's problem is that it isn't an OS, it's a kernel, with distributors all making their own decisions about which pieces of software to use. As such, un-related components simply get added over and over again, each time with a slightly different API, solving different issues and presenting different problems.
Every N years someone outside of the existing projects tries to fix those problems, but they fix it with a new solution, rather than fixing the original one. This is particularly prevalent outside of the kernel, which itself is kept in control quite well by Torvalds. It doesn't happen in other projects, eg in FreeBSD the whole OS is managed by the community, which would not stand for multiple competing solutions all being present.
This was just one example using the sound sub-system. You can make identical claims using many other sub systems, eg wifi is/was (I've not looked for a while) a mishmash of binary blob drivers, and various other standalone drivers, where as on BSD each driver builds on common 802.11 layers - so much so that some drivers are in effect quite trivial. Or Xorg, where in the space of about a year dbus, policykit, consolekit and hald all hovered between optional, recommended and mandatory, jumping back and forward as the relevant projects decided where we should be (I think currently policykit is mandatory; dbus and hald are recommended and consolekit is deprecated).
No-one will ever read this sentence, but I also think that you are too down on the RTFM attitude. It exists for a reason, one of the joys of UNIX is that almost everything is documented, where as in Windows all you can find is idiot documentation ("To start a slideshow, click the button that says Start slideshow"). We know it is in the manual because that is where we read it, and RTFM is simply letting you know that you have the information at your fingertips.
If you do actually RTFM and are still confused, any request will/should show you read the manual, and instantly a crowd of people will come help you. 3 of them will probably argue incessantly about what the manual should have said, but still…
You aint seen nothin' yet. There are OSS, ALSA, ESD, aRtsd, JACK, NAS, PulseAudio and even one modern low latency JACK replacement which name I've forgotten
I know, but I was at work and had already spent 10 minutes typing a eulogy to linux sound systems. ESD and aRtsd are dead now though, surely?
Point 1: wasn't the OSS an "intellectual property" licensing issue? Can't blame Linux for that.
Point 2: I'm a non-techie. My first distro was Debian (on the old garage-sale beater I was using to "learn Linux" on, my practical choices were Debian or Slackware, otherwise I would have started with something heavier -- probably Mandrake, maybe RedHat or Suse). But I never, ever got told to RTFM. Not even when I admitted up front I hadn't -- for whatever reason (time pressure, just tired) -- gotten around to trying that yet.
No, OSS was BSD licensed. The main guy writing OSS drivers - drivers that fitted into the OSS system - started selling newer drivers for profit. This didn't make any of the earlier work not be BSD licensed.
The people who eventually wrote ALSA did not like this one bit, so they made sure that their project was GPL tainted so that one of them could not also do the same. There was no reason why they could not have continued to develop OSS, but releasing newer bits under GPL; they preferred to reimplement from scratch, which I don't think has any bearing on the license.
I am not a person who is Gnu purist or Linux fanatic considering the machine I installed Debian to: a powerbook g4
For the same reason I went with Debian (just to get rid of unsupported system), I selected "GUI" in initial install and you can't imagine my anger when I saw the degree of Mono infection in Debian, just for that stupid note taking application. You know what I did? Removed entire gnome.
Gnome's issue is not desktop, it is this disgusting, arrogant gang infecting their community and even gtk itself.
After all, some video card makers, for example, don't want to distribute the source of their device drivers.
We may not like this, but not cooperating means that Linux users have a limited selection of peripherals; they have to ask "will this work with Linux" - whereas if an x86 peripheral didn't work with Windows, you wouldn't see it for sale anywhere where you were likely to shop.
The Macintosh takes the control needed to get a situation where everything "just works" too far. Linux taking a different approach than Windows does give people more distinct choices, but it seems to me that here it's choosing to differ from Windows in a way that leads in the direction of conceding the desktop to Windows. That should not be where Linux wants to go.
"The Macintosh takes the control needed to get a situation where everything "just works" too far"
Do you really think so?
Apple have been lax in the last few OSX updates, resulting in things like printing to CUPS servers breaking in myriad irritating ways(*) and various software no longer working.
Apple users are confused, angry and blaming everyone except apple for this, because in the past everything HAS "just worked". It's making life in IT hell as we try to play catchup in situations where everything works except OSX Lion (Lion has been the worst for backwards compatibility, but the last 3 versions have introduced major bugs)
(*) Such as "double sided printing no longer works" or "N-up printing no longer works"
It looked like Linux was about to make it big in the netbook market where the first couple of iterations were actually pretty reasonable (albeit a tad "closed"). Then Microsoft came along and foisted dirt cheap Windows XP and feckin' spinning disks on us (really, SDs rocked, and that was before Apple realised SDs rocked).
However, I think one thing is clear: If you're going to produce the perfect all singing, all dancing desktop, you have to look after the application developers and give them some stability. Can the alpha geek mentality of Linux and its disparate desktops ever accomodate that?
Anon because I've probably just offended the Geek Taliban.
I thought "What is all the fuss about - this Gnome desktop on Linux MInt 10 is classic - it's got the eye candy of a Mac with the functionality/familiarity of windoze?
And then they go and change it! I thought this is madness, then read all the reviews on slashdot and everywhere else - nope - not just me - change for change's sake.
Now thing's have caught up a bit with Cinnamon, but I probably use FatDog 64 more than that these days.
But big fan of XFCE/LXDE on the Debian side too...
What were they thinking? Did they go insane? Were they trying to capture and consolidate another market (mobile)...
Now Microsoft up to the same tricks.... It really seemed like we were moving forward for a bit there post XP/Gnome 2....
Actually, in this case the economic models really are stupid. Whatever you say about the badness of their software, you have to admit that Microsoft's economic models work. Ditto Apple, though my main beef with them is that they are fundamentally against freedom in the form of meaningful and unconstrained choice.
I think Ubuntu is probably the best example of a high-potential failure driven by the big charity model. That can work okay as long as two conditions are met: (1) Big pockets don't become empty. (2) Decision maker with the big pants doesn't make bad choices. I'm not sure about Condition (1), but Ubuntu has clearly fallen apart on Condition (2) since its early peak some years ago. (Yes, I'm still using Ubuntu on four machines, but it is way down from what it used to be, and one of those machines is actually running an obsolete version that is superior in a number of ways to later versions for its current purposes.)
SourceForge is another leading model of failure. Lots of great ideas there, but almost none of them carried to completion. Of the few that do reach usability, almost all of them fail on sustainability or viability. SourceForge is a graveyard where interesting ideas go to die.
A new and more promising alternative is the open pooling of Kickstarter and OpenGoGo. The biggest problem there is project management and assessment. It isn't enough that a lot of people like an idea. The proposed implementation has to be reasonable and possible. Look at Disaspora to see what kind of catastrophe can follow when the flood of uncontrolled money creates an explosion in what was originally a pretty plausible idea.
My suggestion would be something like a charity brokerage, where the people running the brokerage would hold the money and get a percentage in exchange for managerial support. There are a LOT of questions that need to be addressed, but here are a few samples:
(1) Exactly what do you want to do?
(2) What resources will you need?
(3) How will you test it?
(4) How will you decide if you have succeeded?
(5) Is this the end, or are you designing for extensions?
Anyone, for one version you can search for "reverse auction charity shares". That version includes a kind of viral marketing feature...
From the moment Miguel de Icaza gained notoriety for his work on Gnome desktop , he has made some very strange (with some contradictory) statements about Linux, Microsoft's "wonderful" and superior Dot.Net and C# language that goes completely against the reality, and intent and advantageous model of Free/Open Source Software (FOSS).
I attributed these to his youth and lack of experience in the real world of business and/or technology politics. Unfortunately all his efforts directed towards compatibility with Microsoft's technologies and the company's benevolence and acceptance of him have failed, and he may be a bit dillusioned at this point.
I sincerely hope he can eventually understand and see a way forward, as it would be sad to witness innovative minds like his go permanently astray.
I can certainly agree that the developers of KDE and GNOME appear to be screwing the end users over. My own view is that it is all about support of bleeding edge users against the support of the user that wants stability and familiarity and it appears that, for whatever reason, the people behind the two projects couldn't give a fetid dingo's kidney about the latter. It's all about "what's the latest thing" and "what can we change". A few months ago, for example, I was talking to somebody that just happens to be a journo in one of the Linux rags and we found ourselves agreeing on one particular point.
If it works, then why change it?
Admittedly we were discussing the vaguaries of System V init versus Upstart (and systemd but not directly) but the point is still the same. I'm not really much of a GNOME user but I've followed much of what has happened since the demise of GNOME 2 so the only thing that surprises me about LT's outburst is that it didn't come sooner. KDE, in my opinion, deserve no better given my experiences with KDE 4 in its many guises since they sprung it on us so long ago, and I still find myself reaching for KDE 3.5.10 whenever I reainstall (and yes, that includes my recent installation of openSUSE 12.2 which hit the public last week to what appears to be a thunderous silence here!)
Why? Because it works. It does what I want it to do and doesn't spend so much time and effort trying to dazzle me with stuff that I don't really have any use for. I've criticised Microsoft as much for the same thing, especially with Windows 8's "Not Metro anymore nonono" GUI, and the two Linux heavyweight GUIs risk the same thing here.
Right now, if the KDE 3 repo went offline, I'd be reaching for a Trinity update, possibly even going over to xfce before I'd ever go to KDE 4 or GNOME 3. It's up to them to show us users that they don't suck, get their respective houses in order and produce something that we can use rather than show off to the bleeding edge users who probably couldn't give a toss either, then LEAVE IT ALONE.
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