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Linux, Unix, and *nix like Operating Systems Forum

This 35 message thread spans 2 pages: 35 ( [1] 2 > >     
My week running Linux (Summary)
mack




msg:4099332
 6:30 am on Mar 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

I have always liked the idea of using Linux as my main desktop operating system and in the past I have made several attempts to switch over. My previous experiences of Linux have always resulted in me moving back to Windows.

My first taste of Linux was Suse 8.0 and don't get me wrong it worked, but it never felt comfortable. Windows gives the user a comfort zone. They install it and it just works. Back then Linux was very “fiddly”. It would work flawlessly if you where an experienced Linux user and knew your way around the system using shell, but as a desktop machine it fell way short of the high bar that had been set by Windows. There where all sorts of issues that general wouldn't effect a Windows user. Simple things like getting the screen to display correctly on the monitor, or configure your sound output were very tricky under Linux. The biggest problems where simply non events under the “user friendly” Windows OS.

I set myself with a the challenge of using nothing but Linux for a week to see if modern versions of the Linux operating system really are mature and stable enough for an average user. I choose to use Ubuntu because I had heard and read good things about it.

Getting and installing Linux
In the past I have purchased the physical cd's and documentation in store, much like you would do with Windows. On this occasion I downloaded the operating system. My previous Linux distros Suse 8.0 and Suse 9.0 where each 6 cd's. The Ubuntu download is 650 megs. With much easier access to broadband a download like this really isn't an issue. Ubuntu do however offer the option if receiving the OS on cd.

Once you have downloaded the ISO image you then need to test and install. By testing I mean running the OS as a “live” OS as opposed to installing it. This not only gives you the opportunity to have a look at the system, it also enables you to determine if it will run on your hardware. The two main options for this are to create a live CD or run the system from a flash drive. Most cd/dvd burning tools will have the option to create a bootable cd or dvd from an ISO image. There are detailed instructions on how to do this that can be found on the Ubuntu downloads section.

Another option is to create a bootable flash drive. Not all computers will support this, although most modern systems will. You will need to edit your bios to enable booting from flash drive. My desktop machine bios recognized the USB device as a hard disk. I was able to achieve booting by setting hard disk priority to the flash device. My laptop on the other hand saw it as a USB ZIP drive. It will depend on your system specifics exactly how you will enable USB booting.

Installing
DO NOT INSTALL ANYTHING ON YOUR SYSTEM UNLESS YOU ARE PREPARED TO LOOSE EVERYTHING ON YOUR HARD DISK INCLUDING YOUR CURRENT OPERATING SYSTEM!

Because I intended to install Linux directly only my computer I took the precaution of removing my current hard disk, and putting it somewhere safe. I also made multiple backups of my files before removing the disk. You cant be to safe when it comes to backups!

When you are in live mode there is an option at boot up to “Install on hard disk” This will really install Linux on your hard disk, you have been warned.

The entire install took about 15 minutes and required no reboots. As soon as the system ran one thing became so very apparent. Linux is a very different beast. Everything just works. My screen aspect is spot on, I can hear sound. As a Windows user these are things we all take for granted, but for me, it was a pleasant surprise from my previous excursions into the Linux world. With suse 8.0 I spend almost a day getting my screen set up right using sax2, it was great to know I wouldn't need to do that again.

The default desktop/windows manager that comes installed with Ubuntu is Gnome. My personal preference has always been KDE so I installed the KDE desktop through the Ubuntu Software Center. If I remember rightly the entire install process was four clicks.

By installing the KDE desktop package what I now have is the best of both worlds. When my system boots and I am typing in my password I also get another option. I can access the system using Gnome or KDE. From a user interface point of view this is like having two operating systems, but under the hoot they are both running on the same system, and access the very safe file system.

It doesn't matter if I access the OS using Gnome or KDE, I have access to the same programs and applications as well as the same files and file structure. For example I am composing this post using Open Office under KDE. If I saved it in my “Documents” folder and logged out then logged in using gnome, I could open OO and browse to the same file and carry on writing.

It gives you a bit of verity. Both KDE and Gnome are very customizable and you can set up either or both to have the look and feel you want. I have been using both, and each is set up very differently. I tend to use KDE for work and Gnome for fun, but both can be used in a productive or entertaining way.

Usability
Part of the experiment was to see if I it could be used by an average user. I personalty class myself as being a lot more savvy that what would be considered an average user so I evaluated everything with an open mind. I tried to figure out how easy the system was to use. For a windows user the KDE desktop version would be a much easier migration. Ubuntu provide two versions. The standard Ubuntu install comes with Gnome. You can also download Kubuntu (KDE as standard, no Gnome) Kubuntu is the version I think would provide the smoothest transaction from for a Windows user.

KDE has a similar interface to what you would be used to in a Windows OS environment. There is a “K” icon at the bottom left, this is effectively your start button and this provides access to your programs.

I think the task bar may present some issues, by default it is not locked and it would be very easy to move things around and break the layout. This is by design to allow the user to make changes, but to an inexperienced user a little knowledge could be dangerous.

I also found out by accident you can hide items on your desktop. Of you lock your desktop widgets and save a file to the desktop it wont appear, it will however be in your desktop (folder view). Even when you unlock the desktop thee items wont appear. Items will only show on the desktop if you unlock the desktop widgets then save a file/folder to desktop.

I also found myself being inflicted with “Obsessive Compulsive Disorder” trying to line up my desktop icons. Under Windows your icons are on a grid, not so under KDE.. I keep noticing something out of line, unlocking the widgets then moving something a pixel to the side. :)

You will notice a lot of complaints in this post, but do you also notice something about them? They are all hardly worth speaking about. On the severity scale all these issues rank 1/10. To be honest there aren't any major issues to talk about. Things just worked.

Multimedia
The achilles heel of Linux had always been multimedia support, or lack thereof . Thankfully I am glad to report this is also a lot less stressful than it used to be. There are packages within the “Ubuntu software center” called “restricted extras”. There is a package for KDE and one for Gnome. Once you install these you will have support for flash, MP3 and most common media formats.

DVD still poses some problems. I think average Joe user might struggle here. It involved entering a line of text into the console, but is very well documented on the Ubuntu website. I think most users would get it, but some may struggle.

The solution for such users would be a commercial distribution where the proprietary software is all pre-installed and configured.

Summary
Linux has come a long way in the past decade, and I now think the majority of the system is user friendly and could be seen as a viable alternative to Windows. For techies like me its the Geek factor that makes me like Linux, but for Joe user what incentive is there. It involves learning a whole new way of doing things.

I think for now the Average user has a real choice, but for the foreseeable future I think that choice will be Windows.

Thanks for joining me on the journey :)

Related post...
Day by day, A week without Windows
[webmasterworld.com...]

Mack.

 

graeme_p




msg:4100157
 7:12 am on Mar 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Thanks for a great thread.

I think for now the Average user has a real choice, but for the foreseeable future I think that choice will be Windows.


I think Linux is actually a better operating system for the average user (at least in home/small office environments).

The people I have switched to Linux are not geeks:

1) My wife
2) My father
3) My daughter's pre-school principal
4) An accountant who used to work for me

A friend of mine who, also no IT geek, is using Linux at home thanks to his brother.

My six year old daughter has only ever used Linux.

I have successfully used Linux in a small office of finance people (and this was a few years back when things were less smooth).

I think geeks tend to overestimate the difficulties average users have with Linux: their requirements are much lower than ours, so they run into fewer problems. How many of the issues you had would affect them?

On the other hand there are things on Windows that the average user struggles with. How many know how to keep their anti-virus up to date. Not many, judging by the number of warnings screens I see when friend's Windows PCs start up. Even more of people download and install apps containing malware (a rarity with Linux) - and installing from a repo is easier as well as safer.

The solution for such users would be a commercial distribution where the proprietary software is all pre-installed and configured


Even then, a non-geek should get a geek to install for them, or buy a PC with Linux pre-installed.

For a windows user the KDE desktop version would be a much easier migration.


A good reason not to use Ubuntu, where KDE does not get resources. Mandriva or SuSe are better (although Ubuntu has one advantage, the Debian repos are the biggest so even obscure apps are in there).

henry0




msg:4100224
 10:42 am on Mar 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

I use Ubuntu with default gnome
Very happy with it, it was installed on a XP pro laptop and I did it let it setup my dual boot, worked fine from the get go.
I think that for the non geek it is as easy to use as Wins, why: most users asides watching video, doing a few images small works, email and web search/lurk around do not use their machine for anything else (do not look in our pro environment, just watch average people using their machine (mostly 40 years +)

BTW, Quanta editor works great for our script edit/write

A little annoying thing: NO way (for me) to regulate sound power, it's either none or all the way through!)

Years ago I installed RedHat 9, what a great distro, OK more on the geek side, but I miss it, too bad the only one on the market and presently available is the great RedHat pro server release for quite some fee!

drhowarddrfine




msg:4100226
 10:57 am on Mar 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

The only reason my wife and sons run Windows are: 1) Son is big-time gamer and 2) wife runs our accounting using QuickBooks which is Windows only. Personally, I have not used Windows in 3-4 years and use FreeBSD and Linux. Don't miss Windows at all.

Most people forget that *nix is a professional operating system while Windows is geared toward amateurs. That's why amateurs do not like *nix cause Windows is geared toward them for ease of use but this ease of use limits flexibility. I've always compared the two as what a construction worker would go to work in. He can take the family van but, when he needs real work done, he takes a truck.

incrediBILL




msg:4100254
 11:45 am on Mar 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Most people forget that *nix is a professional operating system while Windows is geared toward amateurs.


That's a pretty radical statement, one I radically disagree with.

There are more programming and productivity tools available for Windows because it's geared toward computing professionals, not the other way around.

I use both Windows and Linux and the only reason I use Linux is it's hands down CHEAPER to build a bunch of servers that Windows. Those servers happen to run my applications faster but it's not so much faster thar Windows couldn't perform close to the same job.

Really, I switched to Linux mostly out of cost cutting because the entire LAMP environment is free opposed to purchasing Window, SQL SERVER, etc. and Apache as a web server hands down smears IIS all over the map IMO.

Doesn't make Windows less professional, I can install Apache on Windows, may do.

However, why waste the money on Windows?

Anyway, great post Mack and hope more people give Linux a try.

Ubuntu, Firefox, Thunderbird, and Open Office will give most people everything they need to get online and be productive, and internet appliance if you will, and save them $$$ in the process.

wheel




msg:4100256
 11:53 am on Mar 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Most people forget that *nix is a professional operating system while Windows is geared toward amateurs.

Also disagree. Windows works as windows does, in professional environments and has for decades.

As for linux for amateurs, part of the point of this thread would seem to be to highlight that linux is a great OS for amateurs. My wife, mother, and sister all use it now. No issues, no support, no questions. It used to be a geek's OS but no longer - it's a great OS for the technically inert amongst us.

graeme_p




msg:4100265
 12:00 pm on Mar 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Most people forget that *nix is a professional operating system while Windows is geared toward amateurs. That's why amateurs do not like *nix cause Windows is geared toward them for ease of use but this ease of use limits flexibility.

*nix is very diverse. Your statement is true for:
  • Solaris, AIX, and other server oriented Unix variants
  • Most of the BSDs apart from the two mentioned below
  • Linux distros such as Gentoo, Slackware, etc.


It is not true for:
  • MacOS (which has a good claim to be more of a real Unix than Linux)
  • Linux distros such as Ubuntu, Mandriva, Mepis etc.
  • Possibly other things such as PC-BSD and Nexenta: I do not really know because I have not used them.

drhowarddrfine




msg:4100296
 12:35 pm on Mar 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Professional coders must have professional tools to code for Windows but that does not make Windows a professional operating system any more than using professional tools to create programs for Wii or the XBox makes them professional operating systems. Windows is designed to be used for the every day person. *nix is not though there are efforts to put wrappers around the core to make it so.

graeme_p has a good point about MacOS so it can be done but, still, *nix is not designed with the amateur in mind while Windows has the amateur, non-technical person, as its primary thought. Just as Unix can be used in an amateur setting, so can Windows be used in a professional setting but that's not their goals. This is why I like to use the analogy of the family van vs the truck.

btw, OSX is certified Unix.

lammert




msg:4100304
 12:52 pm on Mar 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

One of the differences between "professional" and "amateur" operating systems is the support you get and especially the amount of support which you can receive after the product has been superseded by a new version. For professional installations, this support life cycle should be at least as long as the expected life cycle of the hardware because in professional setups you often can't upgrade a running system without effect on continuity.

Support lifecycles of some current OS systems:
  • Windows 7: until 14 Jan 2020
  • Windows server 2008: until 10 Jul 2018
  • Windows XP: until 8 Apr 2014
  • Solaris 10: 5 years after last shipping date (>2015)
  • Ubuntu 10.14 LTS (long time support): halfway 2015
  • Redhat Enterprise Linux 5: until 31 Mar 2014

Long life cycle support is less important in the situation which Mack has tested, a desktop/laptop installation for an individual user. As long as there is some decent amount of time between the moment a new version is released and the previous is outphased, there is for the general desktop installation not a real problem. For a desktop/laptop situation it is much more important that all hardware is recognized than that it is labeled as "professional" or "amateur" . On that level it now seems that Windows and Ubuntu perform almost equally according to Macks experiences.

sparky333




msg:4100333
 1:43 pm on Mar 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm a new member and just read Mack's post and I felt compelled to respond.

I am a software engineer (retired) who started using computers in 1967. GE timesharing
systems. Started programming in BASIC and Fortran. Was a process control engineer
for Honeywell for 18 years. I didn't start using PCs until 1997. Since I was a Unix user
during the 70's, Linux command line was very easy.

I played with Mandrake and Red Hat on desktops in 1998-99, but was not satisfied with the
x-windows managers. Then I found Ubuntu 4.10 in 2004 and have been using it ever since.
I run Ubuntu 8.10 on my Linux Certified laptop. Thank You Mark Shuttleworth!

Here are some of my Ubuntu pros and cons:
Pros:
1. It's easy to try out before commiting. Enter WUBI at wubi-installer.org.

2. Linux is a safe OS. Ubuntu's imbeded ClamAv is all you need to stop viruses and hackers.

3. Saves TONS of time by not having to run Anti-virus and anti-spyware software regularly.
And, very little tuning is required. (You know, those pesky little programs that get
put into the 5 registry startup hives that eat up your memory in Windoze?)

4. Whether you use KDE or Gnome (with KDE apps), it's easy to configure the desktop.

5. Synaptic and Add/Remove Applications make it very easy to add applications.

6. Ubuntu comes with Firefox and Open Office already loaded. You have to load Thunderbird.

7. Backups are a cinch. Let's say your home directory is ray. All you have to do is tar
/home/ray to ray.tar.gz and copy it to your USB drive. You have just backed up everything
you need...desktop, documents, and personal settings (in the .(dot) files).

8. The Ubuntu Forum at ubuntuforums.org is a wealth of info everytime you have a problem.

9. Ubuntu will run on 512 meg of memory just fine. Vista and System 7, not so much.
I run a laptop with 1gb memory and a 40gb HD just fine. Course I do have a terrabyte
USB external drive for all my backups. And more than a few USB sticks.

10. Between Rhythm Box and Totem Movie player I have no trouble with music or videos.

11. Eveything is a file. Every change in the environment happens instantly. No need to
reboot constantly.

12. Install/Ugprade CDs are free from https://shipit.ubuntu.com

13. When you want to buy a new PC or laptop, you are not FORCED to use the latest
Windoze OS. Ever wonder why you can't request Linux when you buy from a store
or the manufacturer's website? This alone should drive more people to Linux. Order
a laptop on the internet (like linuxcertified.com) pre-loaded with Ubuntu.


Cons:
1. Upgrading to the next version of Ubuntu can be tricky if your PC or laptop is older. There
seems to always be a driver or application issue that needs resolved.

2. Some default processes are not always needed (ex: Evolution) and you must take care in
uninstalling them. Some app may be dependent on them

...still thinking...


Notes:
I've written a free WUBI User Manual for those wanting to switch. (tsparks.com/wubi.pdf)

As IncrediBILL said in his post of Mar 18th,
"Ubuntu, Firefox, Thunderbird, and Open Office will give most people everything they need to get online and be productive..."

lammert




msg:4100341
 1:51 pm on Mar 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hi Sparky333,

Thanks for your insights and welcome on board!

mack




msg:4100358
 2:21 pm on Mar 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Sparky333 welcome to WebmasterWorld and thank you for a great first post. Hope you will stick about, we're a friendly bunch really :)

One question I have for you, You mentioned your experience with *nix systems and finding the console easy. Do you think users who stick to the desktop are at a disadvantage? I can use console, but I only go there if I really need to.

Mack.

J_RaD




msg:4100364
 2:33 pm on Mar 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

linux has come a longgg way, but still much of my day to day software doesn't come in the linux flavor and the ones I do find that have a linux version really suck.

I don't think it will ever catch windows.

maximillianos




msg:4100437
 4:14 pm on Mar 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

I don't think it will ever catch windows.


I personally think it is the other way around. Windows has the market share, but they have a long way to go to catch Unix/Linux in regards to functionality, stability and safety.

mack




msg:4100478
 4:55 pm on Mar 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think the lack of market share is at least part of the reason for Linux's security. If the tables where turned I wouldn't like to see the sheer number of hackers/exploiters hitting Linux that currently target Windows.

Just think if Linux had became the dominant OS player we might be talking about how secure Windows is.

At the same time the EU might be getting tore into KDE for bundling Konqueror :)

@graeme_P


A good reason not to use Ubuntu, where KDE does not get resources.


The Kubuntu Distribution is now an official part of Ubuntu. They run the same base OS, but have developers who configure the KDE side of things.

Mack

sparky333




msg:4100588
 6:57 pm on Mar 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Mack:
I am in a terminal session almost as much as the desktop.
There are some things you can only do in terminal...file work, taring, etc. But, then, the desktop is also important. I think the amount of time at the command line is directly proportional to your age... :-)

J_RaD:
There are several Windoze emulators for Linux. Tried WINE, Tesseract, or CrossOver? There are a lot of apps that run under CrossOver.

As far as market share goes...remember the daze when M$ had the biggest server market share? Look what happened. Now it's time to grab the desktop share, eh?

-sparky

incrediBILL




msg:4100602
 7:11 pm on Mar 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think the lack of market share is at least part of the reason for Linux's security.


That's already being put to the test with DVRs as most of them run Linux, such as Tivo, Motorola (Comcast uses), so the sheer number of consumer grade set top boxes running Linux connected securely (so far) to the internet ranges easily in the tens of millions, possibly hundreds of millions.

Drop a copy of Firefox or Chrome in one of those DVRs which can use a wireless USB keyboard and everyone has an internet appliance at their fingertips.

However, I think Andoid, not Ubuntu, will ultimately be the largest multi-purpose consumer distro of Linux on the planet in the least amount of time with Google forging the way. It's already in phones, laptops, pads and netbooks so coming to a desktop PC wouldn't be a
stretch.

Looks like Android is coming to DVRs so my speculation above was short lived:
[webmasterworld.com...]

The Geeks will dispute this but those devices aren't aimed at Geeks, they're aimed at the consumer masses that just want to get online and don't care about Windows, Mac or Linux, just the Internet.

I'm just going to sit back and enjoy the show and see how it all plays out. ;)

Hoople




msg:4100645
 8:10 pm on Mar 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Running Windows XP in a virtual machine mode on Linux is possible. I do that on my Ubuntu desktop. Allows me to run IE6 testing that otherwise I'd need another machine for.

Windows 7 pro users can download the vm image of Windows XP SP3 for free to run. Otherwise the 180 day time bombed images of Windows XP SP3 are freely down-loadable. The only downside to the latter is having to reinstall the windoz app every time.

J_RaD




msg:4100662
 8:48 pm on Mar 18, 2010 (gmt 0)


There are several Windoze emulators for Linux. Tried WINE, Tesseract, or CrossOver? There are a lot of apps that run under CrossOver.

none of the programs ever ran correctly in WINE.. never tried the others though.


As far as market share goes...remember the daze when M$ had the biggest server market share? Look what happened. Now it's time to grab the desktop share, eh?

you mean WEBSERVER right?
according to netcraft IIS has never had more share then apache and they are still the top 2 going along there bumpy ride thru time.
I've always used MS servers for anything you can think of and they always run great.


they have a long way to go to catch Unix/Linux in regards to functionality, stability and safety.

I have never had any issues with any of the above on my desktops or servers, if it wasn't for the midnight reboots to apply patches I would have uptime in the years.

tangor




msg:4100669
 8:55 pm on Mar 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Mack... thanks for this last week of observations. I have started my own project in that regard with a spare box getting a bit long in the tooth for Windows and upcoming Windows/Apps. Your experience and clear reporting finally got me off the dime.

mack




msg:4100673
 9:06 pm on Mar 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Ahhh nice one tangor. I think you will be pretty happy with Linux. My week is now close on two weeks. It gets quite addictive.

I cant quite put my finger on why, but my work is better when I do it on Linux, it just seams to work better for me..

On my Windows system I was a real fan of wysiwyg, I had forgotten how good it feels to hand code from start to finish. I also feel a lot more in control.

Mack.

tangor




msg:4100678
 9:10 pm on Mar 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

As I always hand code I suspect I won't see much difference in that regard... but I will miss Photoshop 5.5 (which is what I still run all these years later) if I can't get it to work under Linux. All the rest is just editors...

incrediBILL




msg:4100683
 9:18 pm on Mar 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

I've always used MS servers for anything you can think of and they always run great.


Nobody's disputing that whatsoever.

What has been disputed is the efficiency of those servers.

For instance, back in the 90s did a heads up concurrent transaction test of the exact same ecommerce software on Linux and Windows and the Linux machine hands down outperformed the Windows web server.

Another instance, an old client of mine ran a very large and busy ecommerce site on a single Linux machine but had to switch to Windows because of some backend software they wanted to integrate in real-time. Just switching the ecommerce side to Windows required 2 front-end servers to handle the same load.

However, Macks test isn't about OS speed, efficiency or servers.

This thread is about whether Linux could be used by the average consumer, does GUI and the software exist to let the average user get the average tasks done, and the answer is a clear and resounding yes.

but I will miss Photoshop 5.5


I assume you've tried Gimp, not exactly the same but decent.

J_RaD




msg:4100738
 11:12 pm on Mar 18, 2010 (gmt 0)


This thread is about whether Linux could be used by the average consumer, does GUI and the software exist to let the average user get the average tasks done, and the answer is a clear and resounding yes.

Yes but i think it would have to be preinstalled for the consumer (i've found hardware that still isn't supported) and would have to have a good amount of everyday software already installed for them.

I don't see the everyday consumer poping open the console to run a sudo get apt

which seemed to be the fastest way to get anything on a ubuntu computer.


I think from windows to linux would have a higher learning curve then say from mac to windows.

tangor




msg:4100752
 11:35 pm on Mar 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

I assume you've tried Gimp, not exactly the same but decent.


I have, some five years back. Generally okay, unless you need a bit more for print publication, higher resolutions and colors. Not sure how long I will worry about those spec needs since everything is getting so "dumbed down", including the print trade...which is about to pass the same way as the Dodo. (Different topic)

I'm looking to Linux to extend the life of perfectly good hardware running excellent...but is a bit short in hardware specifications for new iterations of Windows and Office.

I'm not looking to migrate from Windows to Linux. I will continue running Windows. I am looking to keep assets in play with improved apps to avoid expense. Developing code and text, email, spreadsheet and database --- functions of doing business --- is "work". I want to do work. I'd like to see what Open Office can do in a Linux install instead of the Win port (which did not impress me all that much). As much as possible I want to compare apples to apples and see if I get apple pie.

dstiles




msg:4100776
 12:38 am on Mar 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

It has been mentioned here and in other threads that linux installation is simple. Agreed: it is for standard apps that appear in Add/Remove. Even some of those in Synaptic. Others in Synaptic require "search and fiddle" to make them work. I've tried, sometimes successfully, to find forums that tell me where I'm going wrong (uninstall this, install that) but I shouldn't have to.

I have just installed, from Synaptic, the packages rar and unrar-free. Installation went fine. When I looked for them they were not in the menu. Ok, they are probably both command line apps, although I've seen rar shown as having a gui.

I can run apps in Terminal - have been for 30 years on various machines - but it's annoying on a modern OS to have to hunt for app names that one only remembers vaguely. Of about 20 apps installed in the past six months I can remember the names of only a few that I use regularly. What's wrong with adding them into a Menu named something like "Terminal Apps" which automatically opens Terminal with, for example, the Help option running? That would be a time-saver and make it easier for newbies as well as forgetful guys like me.

Three or four apps I've installed using Synaptic over the past month or so have failed. The latest GUI was dns-browse. I have yet to find time to discover why it's not working and why it's not shown in the Menu. It appears to be a wish script (wish is apparently installed). I tried clicking on the script, which offered to run in Terminal or as an app: both modes failed (in Terminal, "Command not found"; if I prepend it with "wish" it says "no such file or directory"). That should all be sorted before I get the app. If it needs configuration (eg paths) then that should be dealt with at install time. If it doesn't run in Ubuntu, don't offer it at all.

I LIKE linux and it does a lot of what I want "out of the box" but it can be so frustrating at times. :(

BillyS




msg:4100778
 12:46 am on Mar 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

mack -

Thanks for sharing your experience. I'm going to build a new pc over the summer or in the fall. I think I'll give this box a new coat of Kubuntu.

graeme_p




msg:4100862
 7:08 am on Mar 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

The Kubuntu Distribution is now an official part of Ubuntu. They run the same base OS, but have developers who configure the KDE side of things.


Official yes, but not, I think, equal. Gnome is the default, and gets more effort. Mandriva (and SuSE?) is desktop neutral: Gnome and KDE get equal treatment from marketing to development. A particular shortcoming in Kubuntu (unless its changed in the last year) is configuration compared to the Mandriva Control Centre.

I don't see the everyday consumer poping open the console to run a sudo get apt which seemed to be the fastest way to get anything on a ubuntu computer.


Every mainstream Linux distro has a GUI software installer. Yes, the command line is faster, but the GUI is still a lot faster, easier, safer and more convenient than the alternatives Windows gives you (buy software on a CD and then install from that, or search the internet, download and then run the installer).

I think from windows to linux would have a higher learning curve then say from mac to windows.


I disagree. A default installation of KDE or Gnome looks and works far more like Windows than Windows does like MacOS. The only thing you really need to learn is how to use the (GUI) software installer. On the other hand a new Windows user needs to learn about anti-virus and keeping it up to date, the equivalents of Finder, a taskbar that works very differently from its Mac equivalent, etc.

I have just installed, from Synaptic, the packages rar and unrar-free. Installation went fine. When I looked for them they were not in the menu. OK, they are probably both command line apps, although I've seen rar shown as having a gui.


If you have rar and unrar installed, you should be able to uncompress or create rar files from any of Dolphin (and Konq, presumably), Ark, File Roller, X-Archiver, and probably others.

Three or four apps I've installed using Synaptic over the past month or so have failed.


How many apps have you installed? This should be a very rare occurrence. Have you reported the bug? dns-browse is in the "universe" repo (not main) so a support is not official, but stuff like this usually gets fixed.

If it doesn't run in Ubuntu, don't offer it at all.


Ubuntu cannot possibly maintain all the software in all the repos. You seem to be expecting Ubuntu to take more responsibility for stuff in the universe repo than Apple and Google for stuff in the iPhone store or Android marketplace. I cannot compare to Windows because there is no parallel service.

I agree it should work, but its down to package maintainers rather than Ubuntu itself.

On the other hand if it is in the "main" repo, I am pretty sure something that basic would get fixed quickly (my recent experience with reporting bugs in Mandriva has been excellent).

J_RaD




msg:4100952
 12:46 pm on Mar 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

I used to LOVE KDE back in the day, now it drives me nuts! I can't use it.

dstiles




msg:4101301
 9:48 pm on Mar 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

graeme_p - rar/unrar: my comment was, really, that it would be nice it Terminal apps were in a menu to make them easy to find. I was expecting one or the other to be GUI but I can handle the few occassions on the command line.

I have installed perhaps ten apps this year. Most worked fine. I haven't reported bugs because I haven't yet tracked down what's (not) happening. Basically, if it doesn't work out of the box I find something else or go back to Windows - it's quicker. Also, looking at "support" forums for SOME specific tools, there is a tendency to reiterate standard "this'll fix it" solutions without actually reading the real problem. That isn't exclusive to linux, though: Windows is much the same but with more annoyingly duplicated forums.

And, of course, because the failed ones haven't gone into any kind of menu I have no record of what I installed apart from synaptic: my memory really is poor for that kind of thing.

One added to the Menu was usbview. It says it cannot see the /proc/bus/usb/devices file (which does not exist) and suggests compiling usb etc. USB works fine and since the original problem was solved by other means it's no longer urgent and I've just ignored it. My expectation as a programmer would be that the tool would offer to fix its own problems.

The usbutils package, installed at the same time, doesn't show anywhere and my only record of it is in the synaptic manager.

I should make it clear that all the major programs work pretty much out of the box, allowing for setting up the various configs in tool menus etc, and work very well.

My quibbles are with small utilities with which I am trying to improve my working environment: rar because it's very good, I've always used it on windows and now I need to unpack the archives onto linux; dns-browse, gresolver and similar because net-tools lacks dig, which I'm used to on Sam Spade, and linux dig isn't GUI; printer ink level detectors that work on every printer except mine; that sort of thing.

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