back to article Elementary OS 6 Odin released on a 'pay what you want' basis

Elementary has released version 6 of its Ubuntu-based operating system, named Odin, on a "pay what you want" model. It seems that every other day another Linux distro comes along, claiming to be an easy to use alternative to commercial offerings, and likewise Elementary is billed as a "thoughtful, capable and ethical …

  1. karlkarl Silver badge

    "Another option is to open a terminal and "type sudo apt install libreoffice", which did the trick. Still, this does seem a lot to ask of novice users."

    I get the sentiment but if a user really is that novice, they will probably be using Windows anyway (or possibly just a consumer tablet).

    Watching Linux distributions try to appeal to the lowest common denominator of user just seems like a bit of a wasted opportunity.

    Besides, is typing that command really more difficult than navigating to the LibreOffice website and downloading / running a setup.exe? Personally I also find licensing / activating Microsoft Office much more difficult. DRM cracks solve this somewhat but that is also a little beyond what a novice wants to be doing.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      On the other hand, a really simplified OS has strong appeal for beginners. I don't see why they couldn't just provide a curated list of recommended applications to be installed such as Libre Office.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Because they may prefer to be fence sitters in situations where stuff gets forked. Like Open Office into Libre Office or Audacity into...whatever.

        There's some bullshit in the open source world that just isn't worth wading into.

    2. wolfetone Silver badge

      "I get the sentiment but if a user really is that novice, they will probably be using Windows anyway (or possibly just a consumer tablet)."

      Everyone who goes to Linux is a novice. If you've grown up with Windows or a Mac, you're not used to or even aware of using the terminal to install things.

      So if we, as the community, want to keep helping new people to pick up Linux - we need to remember this. Not everyone is born with a wanton lust and knowledge of the all mighty terminal.

      1. WolfFan Silver badge

        Bullshit. Some of us use the Terminal on Macs to install lots of stuff. It is, after all, a UNIX box, and there are lots of UNIX command line tools out there.

        1. Stuart Castle Silver badge

          Re "

          Bullshit. Some of us use the Terminal on Macs to install lots of stuff. It is, after all, a UNIX box, and there are lots of UNIX command line tools out there."

          I think you are missing the point. I don't think the original author meant all macOS users, just the less technical ones. The less technical users often aren't even *aware* of the terminal, let alone use it regularly. Show them a command line and they are likely to get a little confused. You or I might understand that we need to type "sudo apt install libre-office" or "brew install libre-office" (note: I haven't checked if libre office is available from either apt or brew), but the average user won't. They need guidance. One good way to do that is an app store, whether it's from Apple, Google, Microsoft or any of the Linux app stores. That said, my experience of Linux app stores is Ubuntu's Software Center, which is essentially a barely functional GUI running apt commands.

          If Linux is to compete in the consumer world (and to some extent the non technical parts of the business world), it needs to be easy to use. It needs to be easy to install software on, and basic use (including installing software) should not involve any command line work, although that should be an option. This is how both macOS and Windows work. For basic use, you don't generally need the command line on either.

          I'm going to spin up an Elementary OS 6 VM later, as I am curious to see if this distro attains that goal.

      2. katrinab Silver badge
        Flame

        Anything even remotely complicated in Windows requires verbose Powershell incantations to achieve, when in unix/linux you would usually edit a text file.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          ... prior to systemD and similar entanglements you would usually edit a text file.

          These days, the more I use Linux the more I appreciate BSD.

          1. katrinab Silver badge
            Paris Hilton

            I don't use Linux much these days, mostly FreeBSD.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Nah.

        Nobody 100 years ago, knew how to programme the clock on a microwave.

        26 years ago nobody knew what a start button was.

        People can learn incredibly quickly...but for some reason at some point in the last 20 years it became ok to use the phrase "I'm not good wiv computers".

    3. NoneSuch Silver badge
      Coat

      Given that Windows is moving to Powershell commands in a big way for most of their maintenance and configuration, criticizing Linux for terminal commands is pretty hypocritical.

      If a user can't use a terminal, give them a Mac.

      There, offended everyone equally with one post. My job is done, I'll get my coat.

      1. Pirate Dave Silver badge
        Pirate

        "Given that Windows is moving to Powershell commands in a big way for most of their maintenance and configuration..."

        Yeah, somebody at Microsloth needs to have a light-bulb moment and realize that what Windows 11 really needs is a graphical interface app to manage all of the Powershell commands that a user might need for day-to-day use. Then another bright-star can devise new Powershell commands to manage that GUI app. And, wow, then they can create another GUI app to manage the Powershell commands that manage the GUI app that manages day-to-day Powershell commands. They should call it ouroboros.

        Wasn't Microsoft's big promise with Windows (back in the 90's, anyhow) that the user wouldn't have to fiddle with command line stuff anymore? Everything would exist in this wondrous, graphical world of buttons and checkboxes where no one would have to remember command syntax anymore. I guess that didn't pan out long-term...

        1. AMBxx Silver badge

          Someone at Microsoft thought, "Linux is better than Windows", "Linux is harder to use than Windows", "Let's make Windows harder to use"

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I think the modern way is to wrap an API around Power shell and then wrap a JavaScript GUI around the API.

          Preferably using some sort of high level abstracted JavaScript framework.

          Saves time for waxing your moustache and taking pictures of cups of coffee to post to your whimsical blog.

          1. Pirate Dave Silver badge
            Pirate

            Thanks AC, that gave me a chuckle.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @karlkarl

      He is right. Anyone who has set up O365 with Powershell knows the XML nightmare that awaits.

      From direct experience, even MS tech support does not know how to set up proper PS / XML installs for MS Office.

      Linux, by comparison, is a dream to install (and uninstall) software and typically without a reboot. Not to mention the lack of telemetry and content upload to the mothership that Windows wants to monetize.

      The only reason I still have Windows at home is gaming. Everything else is done on Mint.

      1. Trigonoceps occipitalis Silver badge

        Re: @karlkarl

        I use mint. I need to root a Samsung Tab. I cannot find a Linux application so may have to reinstall Windows. Anyone help me stay true to the penguin?

    5. katrinab Silver badge
      Meh

      If I was to walk someone through installing an office suite, then frankly getting them to copy/paste some text into the terminal would be much easier than explaining the Windows installer process.

      An App store would be even easier still, and most distros have that, with LibreOffice available in it.

    6. Binraider Silver badge

      I strongly disagree. One of the biggest blockers to Linux uptake is "my programs don't work", and anything that gets in the way of finding a suitable alternative is a blocker to new users, if not experienced ones.

      Apt is a very potent tool, but the raft of bad package managers is a problem. Ubuntu is probably the best of a bad bunch when it comes to finding stuff, but not immune. Do I want VLC or VLC (Flatpak)?

      Ongoing elitism of the nature of "you should know what you want before searching for it" is counterproductive.

      Yes, I know I can compile from source but mere mortals need help to find what they need.

      1. Kimo

        This. New users expect at a minimum to have a web browser, email, and an office suite when they first boot (or a shortcut to install office software at the least).

        1. NetBlackOps

          And the presence of a shortcut gives me a clue what I should go look for on the WWW.

        2. Beeblebrox

          New users expect at a minimum to have a web browser, email, and an office suite when they first boot

          Wimps.

          When I was a young 'un, we had to install from floppies (5.25", not any of the new fangled 3.5") ....

          no, wait, I mean mag tape, or was it punched cards?

          Stone tablets, hewn from the mountain, that's it, I remember now.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        One of the biggest blockers to Linux uptake is "my programs don't work",

        From many Windows users, especially in corporate or education environments, that's the same cry heard when a Windows upgrade happens too. For the majority of users, the computer, the OS and their apps are just tools to help them do their job and they neither want nor like their tools to change from under them, often without warning.

        Can you imagine that happening in the world of physical tools? Your power drill button moves every other month? The handle gets remoulded to suit left handers, the drill bits all become coloured to show their uses, eg wood, masonry etc and next week the colour codes change? Now translate all that to all the tools and machinery used on a house building project for a whole estate where all the employees have to keep re-learning how to do their jobs.

    7. vincent himpe

      Hey, you were a novice once too.. It is this "look i am using linux so i am elite' attitude that makes people stay far away from it. Mac has its fanboi's but linux has stark raving mad fanboi's. One kind thinks they are elite cause they are artsy and wear black turtlenecks, the other cause they know how to type a command at a prompt.

      When presented a new unfamiliar system you have to learn things, and you will have questions. Being belittled when asking a question is enough to turn you off. That is the problem with a lot of the linux community. This "Go away noob, this is a forum for elite users." attitude.

      You ain't elite until you designed your own pcb, hand soldered it, and wrote your own bios. Like Bunnie did. Or can troubleshoot and restore a machine down to component level using oscilloscopes and logic analyser like curiousmarc. Or revive the apollo computer and rebuild it's software from half readable tapes, listings on paper and rope memory modules, and then fly the lunar lander simulator running the actual computer like mike.

      Anything below that and you are just a user like anyone else.

      and no, arduino's and rPi's don't count.

      1. Lil Endian Silver badge
        Joke

        You ain't elite until you designed your own pcb, hand soldered it...

        Sorry Vincent, that sounds like a hardware thang.

        1. vincent himpe

          Real men know every flipflop in their processor and can tell you exactly what ram chip is broken if given the memory address. They can look at a pci transaction dump on a logic analyser and tell you what program initiated it. Based on the shape of signal on the line they can tell you the drive strenght of the i/o buffer and the impedance of the trace on the board.

          Real greybeards can lay out the board using nothing but tape , a knife and a transparent foil , and they will etch and drill their board in their garage.

          My first 'computer' was a self-etched single sided pcb eurocard in rack (10cmx16cm standardized boards that have a din41612 connector with 64 pins and fit in 19 inch racks. ) contraption based on a Motorola 6802 and had a whopping 512 bytes of ram. The 'bios' was initially 1k and could scan a 20 key hex keyboard and drive a 7 segment display with 8 characters. Programs were entered by typing in hexadecimal values into memory locations and then pressing the run button. I had an i/o card with 16 inputs and 8 outputs.

          Later on i added a uart card with another 4k rom and 4k ram and i had an integer basic system that could hook up to a terminal .

          1. Lil Endian Silver badge

            I reused old PCBs before moving to veroboard. I didn't make the components, the soldering iron, the solder or the air that it was necessary to get the heat a-going.

            Did you forge the 6802 yourself? Any wafers? The other components? The knife, was it flint, knapped by yourself?

            No? Hmmm. I guess neither of us qualify as 1337 as at some point we rely on the product of others, unlike "real men".

            Edit: Real greybeards can lay out the board using nothing but tape , a knife and a transparent foil , and they will etch and drill their board in their garage. I'd love to see that at 5nm :D

          2. Pirate Dave Silver badge
            Pirate

            Your post puts me in mind of the butterfly XKCD, but I shall refrain from posting is, as real programmers already have it bookmarked.

    8. I am David Jones
      Facepalm

      You say it’s easy

      Typing a command into terminal is as easy as pie….if you know what to type.

      My first foray into the world of Linux/Ubuntu (about 10yrs ago I think) had me trying to install OpenOffice the Windows way, ie downloading the installer from the website. Guess what, double-clicking the installer file doesn’t work and trying to install the program from the file (.deb?) took me, a competent Windows user but a Linux novice, into a world of pain (I’ll spare you the details).

      Of course, I was doing it all wrong but everything i had read about Ubuntu was that it had made great strides in usability and for basic computing tasks a Windows user would have no problem. A bit of a rude awakening for me!

      1. katrinab Silver badge
        Gimp

        Re: You say it’s easy

        Have an icon labled "App Store" on the desktop, and put things like LibreOffice on the front page (shop window?). Not the Windows way of doing things, but people would get it based on their experience with mobiles.

  2. MarkET

    How many versions of Linux can you fork?

    sudo format-all-distros-forever

  3. Lon24 Silver badge

    Too Easy?

    "Users of elementary OS never need Terminal to complete basic tasks,"

    Except the reviewer confused by how to install LibreOffice how to use terminal? I'm not sure what what their selling proposition - it so easy you don't need terminal that it floored a knowledgeable user?

    1. quxinot

      Re: Too Easy?

      Easy is not the same as intuitive, possibly.

      Dunno, I'd rather face a small learning curve with installing software. Put the effort into making the installer work seamlessly and not back the user into a corner, because once it's up and running, they should be hopefully enjoying their new toy and learning how to use it.

      1. katrinab Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: Too Easy?

        I think FreeBSD is very easy to install. Takes me a few minutes from bare metal to fully functioning system.

        But you do definitely need to know what you are doing.

    2. Ilgaz

      Re: Too Easy?

      Actually Libreoffice has a nice Flatpak.

  4. cookieMonster
    Thumb Up

    The more distros the better

    Irrespective of my/your preference there will always be others who have a different view of the world. This is another option for people to choose from, and choice is a good thing to have.

    Sooner or later the successful ones will last and improve, while the others will fade, but at least people have a choice of what suits “them”, and that is a good thing, IMHO.

  5. keithpeter Silver badge
    Windows

    Fat iso

    "Another option is to open a terminal and "type sudo apt install libreoffice", which did the trick. Still, this does seem a lot to ask of novice users."

    As this is a 'pay what you want' distro (which I can understand - I support the Slackware Patreon after all) I am wondering why there isn't a 'de luxe' or 'rich experience' option with a range of standard productivity apps installed available as an alternative iso. The team behind the distribution could then decide how that range was installed, e.g. Ubuntu repo versions or flatpacks.

    PS: I still install OpenOffice from the RPMs or debs. Reasons.

  6. FatGerman

    Oooh goody!

    More choice! Another unit of confusion to throw into the mix. Another bloody thing I've got to read up on and decide for or against while I make up my mind about something I couldn't really give a shit about.

    There's a reason people use Mac and Windows, and it's that *they're not bloody interested in choosing*. Because they've got, you know, lives. Meanwhile Linux fragments into more and more People's Fronts of Judaea and nobody, but nobody, cares.

    1. keithpeter Silver badge

      Re: Oooh goody!

      @RotundTeuton

      Just relax. Pick one or perhaps two * and then customise as needed. Remember upstream (e.g. the actual software that you want to use) is mostly the same. Ignore the rest.

      *(In my case, Slackware and Debian Stable)

    2. Lil Endian Silver badge

      Re: Oooh goody!

      Another bloody thing I've got to read up on and decide for or against while I make up my mind about something I couldn't really give a shit about.

      Well, stop doing things to yourself that you don't give a shit about.

      There's a reason people use Mac and Windows, and it's that *they're not bloody interested in choosing*.

      Herein lies the problem. The most novice of users that also maintain the mindset that these incredibly complex machines should just work for them without learning anything. Yes, that would be nice for them, but the industry is not there yet.

      Car drivers don't all know how to repair/maintain an engine. They learn to drive and leave the oily bits to the mechanics. Job done. Because the vehicle/driver divide is obvious to them, there's no problem. The majority have had tech thrust upon them, and it's here to stay. Quite right they don't want to learn about OSes and file handling. They didn't want to learn about stopping distances either, but law forced them too. With home user computer use, there is no legislation forcing the learning of the subject, it's user's choice. Choose not to learn and remain unknowledgable. Some systems try to hide the technicalities from the user (to "protect" them), but we know that can only go so far at this time.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Oooh goody!

      "There's a reason people use Mac and Windows, and it's that *they're not bloody interested in choosing*."

      Are you saying users of Mac and Windows don't wander randomly and aimlessly around the interwebs looking for programmes to install, hoping they found a "safe" place to download from or that they simply rely entirely on what comes with the OS?

      Is there anyone out there doing "curated installs" for Windows, similar to Linux? eg you can choose a "distro" that auto-installs a full set of productivity stuff, or a "gamers" distro, or a "media and arts" distro like you already can with Linux? I seem to vaguely recall a programme years ago that had a list of stuff you could tick boxes and it would install them all in one go. Not sure if it also could let you know which ones had updates further down the line though, or if you had to run it manually and look for updates.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oooh goody!

      Woah, calm down! As has been pointed out already, Windows has imposed unecessary and confusing changes on users who just want to get stuff done multiple times over the years, because, IMHO, MS haven't the sense to treat any new desktop environments they come up with as new options you can try, or ignore, as you please, in addition to the extant ones!

      As for novice users, about all any of them will get to hear about from any established Linux user with any sense is Ubuntu or Mint, with Suse , Debian and Red hat as less common possibles (and then usually only beause its what the reccomender uses and so if help is asked for , they'll know what they are dealing with) .

      And Linux Mint, I can tell you, is a joy to use, comes with a sensible range of pre-installed software, and a wide range of other software easily accessible through the package manager - which is almost the only thing novice Linux users don't get immediately - but once you've explained the concept of distros having curated software repositories, they're delighted, glad they don't have to trawl the web with their fingers crossed that they don't catch some nasty malware. And after a while, they also start noting that they get fewer problems than they used to with Windows.

      The other thing that SOME don't get is that certain programs were only designed to run on a certain operating system. Some do understand that, though, but in either case, how to run cross-platform apps is definitely something they tend to need some training in. As would the average Windows user wanting to run something that's Linux-specific. But with the tools around nowadays to help with that, even novices can soon get going with running Windows programs on Linux. Even games are much less of an issue than they used to be, due to things like Play On Linux and Steam, plus the rise of games that can be played in browsers.

      I've only ever had one person I introduced to Linux over the years (out of about a dozen) get a bit flummoxed trying to find their way around a Linux desktop - and that was the first one, quite a few years ago, when Linux wasnt anything like as polished as it is today. And whilst they did end up reverting to Windows, it was because there was an obscure piece of Windows software that they felt the couldnt live without that I couldnt get to run via Wine.

      I cant help but feel, from what I've seen others say over the years about the problems some experience introducing newcomers to linux that the problems might just have more to do with the introducers than the novices involved. Sure, I know a fair bit more about IT than the average user; but I know a heck of a lot less than the average commentard hereabouts. My main advantage over some of you is that I've used Linux at home for years, from all the way back when Mandrake Linux was a thing - and I got to grips with Linux by myself, without outside help.

      (shrugs) YMMV, of course!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    elementary OS.........

    Commentards here just don't get it!

    *

    Apple charge a fortune! Apple have "advanced AI" to trawl through your iPhone without asking! Apple decides (in Cupertino) that they will not support the application you bought (for hundreds of dollars) on the next OS upgrade....you have to buy a NEW MACHINE and a NEW LICENSE!

    *

    So......Linux and elementary OS might require users to jump through some pretty low hoops...........

    *

    Some (long time) Apple users I know think that Linux hoops are MUCH LOWER and MUCH CHEAPER than Cupertino hoops!!!!!!

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