Can't we all just get a distro?

Its no secret that open source is a viable alternative to pay for systems such as Vista and OSX; but why has it taken until now for laptop manufactures to start shipping Linux as an option?

Many people like things that are free, no one will complain if you hand them something at no cost to try out unless that's an OS (operating system). Linux has been essentially free from its inception but has failed to take a strong stance in the current market place. One could contribute that to lack of ease when using the OS or the fact that many major players do not support the open source world. What's the cause? The reason? The explanation?

It's pretty simple actually; with hundreds of distributions out there the choice is endless (including Neowin's very own distribution). Consumers as a whole like choices but they don't like a whole lot of choices. Before you repent and say that the more choices the better, it's not quite true. There is a popular business idea that says that there is a rule of three for any market place. It is the essential idea that for good competition you need three strong competitors. This can be seen in many forms; Consoles: Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft, Cell phone services: Verizon, Sprint, ATT (Tmobile is quite small in comparison) Domestic car makers GM, Ford, Chrysler. When you look at the operating system landscape there is MS, Apple and Linux but the problem is that Linux isn't defined, it's literally hundreds of choices.

To make Linux a viable alternative to the masses, by masses I mean your parents can use it with ease; some simple but powerful things need to happen. 1. A big name needs to be attached to a distribution. Apple and Microsoft are household names, Ubuntu is not. A name such as Google backing an open source operating system would propel it immediately into the lime light. 2. Ease of use is a major issue. My mother does not want to compile her own sources and thinks a kernel is only good for making popcorn. A simplified install (much like .exe) is needed as a standard for the Linux world. 3. Driver support. A solid backing by all vendors is the next great push in Linux industry. Not only driver availability but instillation is another issue as well.

So what can we do? You can start but trying small installations such as Open Office as a free alternative to MS Office. You don't have to stop there either a simple switch to Google Chrome will also aid in your movement to open source. These are both small steps to a long journey of going completely open source but the best part of it is that it's free.

A massive amount of distro's and a sometimes complex installation process is hampering the massive adoption rate for Linux. If a big name backer will start its own distro or will back an existing one the adoption rate will increase. We can help the cause by supporting open source, the fight is long and will be bloody but it can be won....after all, it won't cost you one penny.

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Doesn't have to become just one distro or anything like that. What the heck, it's free. Try and try until you find something that "works" for you.

There's one or two comments about making it so the command line is not needed as often (more point and click) and I can definitely go along with that. Even after a couple years of using Zenwalk and Blag exclusively, I still can't stand the CLI!!

I have to admit, I'm pretty much back to using Windows exclusively, but Linux is one bad mofo and will be around, whether main stream or not, and I will continue to watch the progress of it.

As much as I'd like to see "one Linux" and "one package manager"' it will just never happen.

Linux and distro development is, by it's very nature, fragmented, and one developer's ideas of the perfect distro will be different to another's. So there can never be a perfect all-encompassing version of "Linux".

Which is a pity, because if Linux is to become more mainstream and competitive, then it needs to be consolidated and unified.

But I suggest to you that the very fact that it isn't all those things is what makes Linux so appealing to us; that it can be whatever we want it to be.

I really hope Linux NEVER becomes what most people seem to want Linux to be.

You want some bloated POS OS that "just works" keep using Windows, it's meant for people with little to no knowledge in Computers, if you want an OS that doesn't do it all from a "pretty" window, try OSX or Linux, they are meant for people that actually know how to use the equipment they just bought.

z0phi3l said,
I really hope Linux NEVER becomes what most people seem to want Linux to be.

You want some bloated POS OS that "just works" keep using Windows, it's meant for people with little to no knowledge in Computers, if you want an OS that doesn't do it all from a "pretty" window, try OSX or Linux, they are meant for people that actually know how to use the equipment they just bought.


Way to **** off the majority of members here. The very claim that OSX is an OS for people that know how to use the equipment they just bought is enough to invalidate your nonsense. Apple loves to whore OSX out as the OS that "just works" and is easy to use. Please take your hate elsewhere!

I have tried to Jump into linux since the early 90s, and I can manage to find my ways into OSes, but Linux feels so primitive, I used to remember you had to run a code to open the dvd tray, what was up with that?? Ubuntu feels a lot better but it still needs a ton of work to become a real competitor.

The first time I tried OSX, I found mostly everything and even with the relatively low number of choices it has, it's miles in usability from Linux and even Windows.

Linux doesn't need a big name to be successful, it needs a simpler interface or maybe one of those "hide pro features" button like many software has.

Yes, there are tons of distros out there, Ubuntu stands out the most. But if someone was to try something else instead and months down the road find that it's become abandoned, it's not good at all. I think there's quite a few Linux distros out there that rarely get maintained at all, and can be quite a put off in the decision to migrate over to Linux. I'm still rather hesitant to try Linux too.

Try one of mainstream ones then. Those are, in my opinion, the best choices for a first time user. Allot of support from the community is available when using one of those distributions, shouldn't be a problem in finding help when needed.

I'd like to see linux available on all retail machines. This should technically bring the price of Windows licenses down and the actual pc on sale.

That will never happen as most users are closed minded and will opt for Windows even though the Linux option will do the same job and would not cause worry about viruses and stuff like that.

Majority of netbooks offer linux and windows but that being said the closed mindness of most people they will opt for Windows.

Like you've said, you can get OpenOffice 3.0 from other locations (just like you would install it on Windows). Up-to-date would be bleeding edge, as soon as the package comes out (instable)? You can get your package manager to install those versions of the software, Ubuntu by default (as well as other distros) choose to release a stable version for the general public, it's then up to the user do decide if he wants to have bleeding edge on his system.

More easy to download/install new software on Windows? That's a joke right? You have to search for the software, go trough numerous steps to choose the program that better fits the task, download it, install it, (...). Don't you find a package manager, that can do all of that for you, a better solution? Honestly?

Icons? You mean on the desktop? No, it's not a bad package, or the lack of standards. It's up to the user to decide what icons should go (if any) on the desktop. Imagine what it would be if every single application installed an icon on the desktop? Maybe you are just used to how the things are done in a Windows world.

When the application is available in the package manager, it's nice and easy. When it's not (and please, OpenOffice 3.0 is not bleeding edge, it not in Beta anymore, like so many other apps not in PkgMgr), downloading and installing is harder on Linux than Windows.

When I said Icons, I mean (Windows Start Menu), KDE Menu or Gnome Menu. Not on the desktop (the again, some Windows apps give you the choice to have Icons on the desktop or/and quick launch).

Take for instance Ubuntu: there are .deb packages of OpenOffice 3.0 available. You just double click it (if you want to install it that way). Works like any .exe file.

Sure you get the application icons on the "Start menu". You can create a shortcut to your desktop too. You can have the icon on the panel or "quick launch" too. It's even possible to browse the installed applications using the file browser. What distro/Desktop environment have you recently used?

It's a matter of choice, it's done like that in the OSS world.

TruckWEB said,
When the application is available in the package manager, it's nice and easy. When it's not (and please, OpenOffice 3.0 is not bleeding edge, it not in Beta anymore, like so many other apps not in PkgMgr), downloading and installing is harder on Linux than Windows.

Step 1: Go to their download page.
Step 2: Select Download, and they will send the .deb if using Ubuntu (I presume RPM if Fedora)
Step 3: You will be prompted if you want to install, if so, enter your password.
Step 4: There is no step 4. You have installed OO.o 3

This concept has been around for 30 years, and when non commercial *nix variants came of age this was again re-addressed and sadly will probably never happen.

This is at the heart of why *nix 'when it was the best OS model', could not get more widely adopted, as the fragmented nature it 'creates' even without open source made too many fractured and unsupported forks.

If it wasn't for the popularity of Linux, the 'limited' standards that exist in the *nix world today would not exist, and they are still so fragile.

By nature the definition of UNIX or *nixes creates an OS model that is borderline standardless beyond the basic I/O and basic device interface concepts.

Another problem is that as well as Linux has done, its 'core' development has not kept up with technology in a reliable way, and as we are approaching even greater jumps in technology, Linux does not have the architecture to address many of the new technologies we will see in the next couple of years, let alone the next 5 years.

Take for example the locking system messes from the last kernel updates and how it divided the Linux community even further, and because of the nature of the microkernel design of Linux, these are not easy things to change because they are so embedded in everything the OS kernel is doing.

On the other end of the spectrum you have BSD and OS X and the only thing keeping it alive is the bandaid work Apple is putting into the kernel to make the kernel less monolithic and let drivers have more of a microkernel type of relationship with the kernel. However, there is a point when this fails with future technology changes, and even the dual NVidia GPU designs that require a reboot of the GUI and dual resident drivers on OS X to even use show the age and how static the BSD/MACH model is with the Apple driver framework strapped on it.

The OSS community needs to step back and do a serious restart and not start with a *nix and not start with classic kernel models that were dated even in 1990.

There is a reason that even though MS owned XENIX their development team designed NT to NOT be a *nix based OS, as Cutler and his team described in detail during the NT creation period. If they would have based NT on *nix concepts or existing kernel concepts of the time they knew the OS would be too limited in what it could do with future technologies.

Kernel: NT for example has a kernel with abstraction like the BSD API interface does, but keeps even lower API layers that it is not monolithic nor even limited to either end of the kernel design spectrum. This is how with Vista they could add WDDM and keep XPDM so easily, as this would be a nightmare to do on Linux or BSD.

OS Model: NT for example has full object based device I/O system with low level security and token locks, so that the NT model is very robust in that everything is 'known' and not generic I/O or textual based I/O like the *nix model that has a generic everything is the same I/O device model.

- And these are just small examples of why MS's Team didn't go with *nix.


I know it is surprising for people to hear, but *nix is not an ideal model and is very sloppy in the areas that do make it extensible.

I would urge the OSS world to get behind a more advanced model and do their own type of 'NEW OS' project that can put in the best technologies at the kernel level and create a superior OS model as well, that has standards and extensibility that can compete in the upcoming years.

This is the only way MS is ever going to be slowed down, as MS right now has a good OS architecture because of the NT Team, and their research is continually looking at new OS models, with many of them being added back to NT (as you will see with MinWin and Windows 7 lighter multi-CPU support), and they can do this because NT is vastly more extensible than any *nix OS technology. MS is also ready to explore replacing NT and going Virtual and jumping ahead even further.

With a world of VM concepts that can layer on top of a new OS model, this would be the perfect time for the OSS world to invest in something really grand and stop building on the past or putting bandaids on ideas that were good in the 70s/80s.

Seriously, we know how to make better kernels, how to make layered OSes that are more extensible and faster, why are we still clinging to *nix and older *nix kernel designs?

**UNIX fans also have to stop being complacent with moving to OS X and getting what Apple will give them as the 'brand UNIX'. Not only will the technology limits still hurt, but Apple will continue to lock in and control the OS and user base in ways that make Microsoft look like the OSS movement in contrast. Letting Apple become the modern UNIX is not acceptable either.

thenetavenger said,
This concept has been around for 30 years, and when non commercial *nix variants came of age this was again re-addressed and sadly will probably never happen.

This is at the heart of why *nix 'when it was the best OS model', could not get more widely adopted, as the fragmented nature it 'creates' even without open source made too many fractured and unsupported forks.

If it wasn't for the popularity of Linux, the 'limited' standards that exist in the *nix world today would not exist, and they are still so fragile.

By nature the definition of UNIX or *nixes creates an OS model that is borderline standardless beyond the basic I/O and basic device interface concepts.

Another problem is that as well as Linux has done, its 'core' development has not kept up with technology in a reliable way, and as we are approaching even greater jumps in technology, Linux does not have the architecture to address many of the new technologies we will see in the next couple of years, let alone the next 5 years.

Take for example the locking system messes from the last kernel updates and how it divided the Linux community even further, and because of the nature of the microkernel design of Linux, these are not easy things to change because they are so embedded in everything the OS kernel is doing.

On the other end of the spectrum you have BSD and OS X and the only thing keeping it alive is the bandaid work Apple is putting into the kernel to make the kernel less monolithic and let drivers have more of a microkernel type of relationship with the kernel. However, there is a point when this fails with future technology changes, and even the dual NVidia GPU designs that require a reboot of the GUI and dual resident drivers on OS X to even use show the age and how static the BSD/MACH model is with the Apple driver framework strapped on it.

The OSS community needs to step back and do a serious restart and not start with a *nix and not start with classic kernel models that were dated even in 1990.

There is a reason that even though MS owned XENIX their development team designed NT to NOT be a *nix based OS, as Cutler and his team described in detail during the NT creation period. If they would have based NT on *nix concepts or existing kernel concepts of the time they knew the OS would be too limited in what it could do with future technologies.

Kernel: NT for example has a kernel with abstraction like the BSD API interface does, but keeps even lower API layers that it is not monolithic nor even limited to either end of the kernel design spectrum. This is how with Vista they could add WDDM and keep XPDM so easily, as this would be a nightmare to do on Linux or BSD.

OS Model: NT for example has full object based device I/O system with low level security and token locks, so that the NT model is very robust in that everything is 'known' and not generic I/O or textual based I/O like the *nix model that has a generic everything is the same I/O device model.

- And these are just small examples of why MS's Team didn't go with *nix.


I know it is surprising for people to hear, but *nix is not an ideal model and is very sloppy in the areas that do make it extensible.

I would urge the OSS world to get behind a more advanced model and do their own type of 'NEW OS' project that can put in the best technologies at the kernel level and create a superior OS model as well, that has standards and extensibility that can compete in the upcoming years.

This is the only way MS is ever going to be slowed down, as MS right now has a good OS architecture because of the NT Team, and their research is continually looking at new OS models, with many of them being added back to NT (as you will see with MinWin and Windows 7 lighter multi-CPU support), and they can do this because NT is vastly more extensible than any *nix OS technology. MS is also ready to explore replacing NT and going Virtual and jumping ahead even further.

With a world of VM concepts that can layer on top of a new OS model, this would be the perfect time for the OSS world to invest in something really grand and stop building on the past or putting bandaids on ideas that were good in the 70s/80s.

Seriously, we know how to make better kernels, how to make layered OSes that are more extensible and faster, why are we still clinging to *nix and older *nix kernel designs?

**UNIX fans also have to stop being complacent with moving to OS X and getting what Apple will give them as the 'brand UNIX'. Not only will the technology limits still hurt, but Apple will continue to lock in and control the OS and user base in ways that make Microsoft look like the OSS movement in contrast. Letting Apple become the modern UNIX is not acceptable either.



Actually, fans of a real UNIX don't have to settle for Apple (or even pay any money), as there is a true (and free) real UNIX out there (oddly enough, it looks similar to, and supports most of the same hardware as, Ubuntu). It's called OpenSolaris (http://www.opensolaris.org) and it's based on the same core as the unsullied industrial-strength operating system known as Sun Solaris. Ubuntu has *one* advantage over OpenSolaris; it can be installed from within Windows. Otherwise, OpenSolaris is almost literally little different (or actually, no different) from Ubuntu from a user POV.

1. Both have a default GNOME desktop (with KDE and Xfce options).
2. Both have a rather pain-free installer if being installed into an empty partition.
3. Both support a truckload of display/network/printers/scanners (Solaris, and OpenSolaris, actually has *better* printer support than Ubuntu, which says a lot about Solaris' printer support, as Ubuntu is no slouch).

However, Solaris/OpenSolaris is a lot more tolerant of newbie-isms than any Linux distribution (including Ubuntu) largely due to those industrial-strength ZFS underpinnings (ZFS is the default filesystem of Solaris/OpenSolaris); even better, in most cases, you can run OpenSolaris *without a swap partition*. (Surprisingly, no Linux distribution will let you *not* configure a swap partition, though, if you have a gigabyte or more of RAM, a swap partition is about as necessary as a third foot.)

PGHammer said,
Actually, fans of a real UNIX don't have to settle for Apple (or even pay any money), as there is a true (and free) real UNIX out there (oddly enough, it looks similar to, and supports most of the same hardware as, Ubuntu). It's called OpenSolaris (http://www.opensolaris.org) and it's based on the same core as the unsullied industrial-strength operating system known as Sun Solaris. Ubuntu has *one* advantage over OpenSolaris; it can be installed from within Windows. Otherwise, OpenSolaris is almost literally little different (or actually, no different) from Ubuntu from a user POV.

1. Both have a default GNOME desktop (with KDE and Xfce options).
2. Both have a rather pain-free installer if being installed into an empty partition.
3. Both support a truckload of display/network/printers/scanners (Solaris, and OpenSolaris, actually has *better* printer support than Ubuntu, which says a lot about Solaris' printer support, as Ubuntu is no slouch).

However, Solaris/OpenSolaris is a lot more tolerant of newbie-isms than any Linux distribution (including Ubuntu) largely due to those industrial-strength ZFS underpinnings (ZFS is the default filesystem of Solaris/OpenSolaris); even better, in most cases, you can run OpenSolaris *without a swap partition*. (Surprisingly, no Linux distribution will let you *not* configure a swap partition, though, if you have a gigabyte or more of RAM, a swap partition is about as necessary as a third foot.)


It is good to keep this information out there, as there are several good 'standardized' UNIX variants other than Linux or moving to OS X.

Even running the UNIX subsystem on NT is a good option for hard core UNIX users, as you get the driver support of Windows and have a fluid and separate full UNIX subsystem that is independant of the Win32/64 subsystem (due to NT's layed subsystem architecture).

The bad part, is that a lot of UNIX people are moving to Apple, as they can take their applications and work with them and have someone to call and yell at when OS X goes goofy. There is also the strong push from Apple to make OS X the official UNIX, and that is just going to make things worse for alternative variants down the road.

If UNIX is important, as PGHammer states, there are better choices than moving to OS X, and more powerful UNIX choices than OS X, so if you are hard core UNIX only don't fall for the Apple trap, as you are locking yourself into the most closed and restrictive OS available.


Again I still will restate my main point. UNIX has too many legacy concepts that make it UNIX, and to evolve, the OSS world should consider their own mass project to create a new OS technology and leave UNIX as a subsystem or VM on the new OS technology.

The main kernel concepts used in UNIX are very dated and the basic model that makes an OS UNIX is also very dated in comparison to the technology we have today.

Instead of trying to support or bandaid old concepts, the OSS world could really break free and take the best ideas of our time and create an OS architecture designed for the future. This is what Microsoft did with NT, and it has served them well, and has the potential to take them many more years in the future without a massive OS reconstruction project.

Like I mention above, even the concepts learned in the small managed OS kernel project from MS research (Some were mistakenly calling it the wrong MinWin) is already being applied to NT in Windows 7 for managing SMP better at levels that are pulling off 256 CPU designs with the same overhead that a 8 or 16 CPU system normally takes.

UNIX with the current kernel technologies used in Linux, OS X and even Solaris cannot keep up with NT when it comes to extensibility, and it is kind of crazy that the OSS world is trying to make very aged kernel designs try to keep up when they keep having to 'fix' inherent design flaws in the kernel or UNIX models just to stay current, let alone look to the future.

MS has the resources to keep even the most ambitious OSS project running, let alone if the OSS world continues to try to work from the UNIX mindset as the ONLY or MAIN OS technology.

If you are looking at future hardware and technology, the major UNIX players are heading for a wall. Just an example is the heart of OS X, the MACH kernel with a BSD API interface.

Apple has done well to reduce the inherent monolithic problems of this design, but they are glorified bandaids with a modified driver model in order to use the architecture NEXT was designed on a LONG time ago. It is not the 'newest', 'smartest', or even one of the 'better' kernel architecture designs. The only thing BSD and MACH have going is their age and maintained stability that comes from the OpenBSD project that is no longer benefiting Apple OS X.

The core of OS X is already costing Apple in terms of both performance and adaptability. And as this becomes more of a fight for Apple, the less time they can spend doing 'new' things with the OS beyond adding in cute UI features or Apple applications, which is what they have done for several releases now.

In contrast, there is a reason NT wasn't designed on a true MACH kernel, and there is also a reason the author of MACH still works for Microsoft and not Apple, as he helped to make the NT kernel better than traditional MACH and knows the MACH limitations better than most in moving forward. (Truly email the guy or lookup interviews, he is shocked Apple has been able to take the MACH kernel as far as they have.)



This is why the OSS world needs to relook at what they are doing, and see Apple as a bad model of trying to suck what they could out of existing technology because their engineers used it on NEXT.

It is also time they look 'again' at Microsoft and see why they can keep strapping on and modifying the NT architecture so easily because it falls outside traditional kernel and OS models. And why this is good for Microsoft and a bigger advantage than most OSS people either understand or give MS credit for, leaving themselves blindsided.

The OSS world can do this, they can build a better more extensible OS technology, especially with the technical and OS theory we have today, knowing they can start from scratch, get behind it, and also know they can VM the past OSes/APIs on it and keep moving forward.

#2. It's called a package manager, it has thousands of application to choose from. You just browse, click and hey the application is now installed with no need to compile anything.

#3.Installation can be done by the above mentioned package manager.

Last time I checked, Ubuntu 8.10 came with OpenOffice 2.4 and the latest release 3.0 was not listed in the package manager... So it's not THE solution as those software list are not always up-to-date. Or sometime you have to deal with the list of servers to look for those packages, it's a mess.

And I find it's much easier on Windows to download/install new software. More steps are needed with Linux. And when you do get the software to install, where are the icons? It happened to me, allot. Bad package? No standard? I don't know.

Hardware support of Linux is the biggest issue. My 2-year old USB scanner isn't supported by SANE, and, by the comments, isn't likely to be supported in the future. I have a Palm Pilot, which works with Gnome Pilot, jPilot, etc., but I am a regular user of Documents to Go & Sheet to Go and there aren't any Linux-compatible equivalents. Palm Desktop & Documents to Go isn't compatible with WINE. So I'm left dual booting between Linux and Windows XP. Although I use OpenOffice, GIMP, Firefox, etc. all the time, I probably only use Linux 10% of the time because of the hardware issues.

Andrewk8 said,
Hardware support of Linux is the biggest issue. My 2-year old USB scanner isn't supported by SANE, and, by the comments, isn't likely to be supported in the future.
...

That type of anecdotal evidence goes both ways. I was a Windows user, in the 9x days, and I had a Canon IX-4015 scanner. I upgraded to XP, but my scanner was not supported, so had to leave it on my other Me box (see, WinMe was good for something :P). Yet, when I installed Red Hat Linux, it didn't require any special downloads, drivers or configuration like it did on Windows. It just worked.

I read an interesting piece in another article, can't remember the site. The Linux OS itself is pretty polished, looking at 8.10, everything is quite neat with understandable icons etc..

I think the thing that lets linux down is the applications. Now this may seem a bit strange because there are millions of applications. This i think is the problem. For example there is not really a definitive mp3 a la itunes / WMP player in linux. There are plenty of MP3 players but each do something the other can't. For some application projects it seems that it would make more sense for the developers to work on one project. Sometimes i think there is too much forking going on.

Firefox is an example of a linux application done right, it's clearly laid out, feature rich and reeks professional application.

I think once some more applications hit the polished stage linux will be in a better position to really make an impact on the desktop market.

Good article!

Linux will never become popular as a desktop OS. Hardware support isn't as good. Some things take forever to configure. Not user friendly. Can't really play games. Most of the software looks like crap.

Keep Linux to servers where it's actually useful...

Xilo said,
Linux will never become popular as a desktop OS. Hardware support isn't as good. Some things take forever to configure. Not user friendly. Can't really play games. Most of the software looks like crap.

Keep Linux to servers where it's actually useful...



Is that why ubuntu requires me to install only the proprietary ATI driver where as in Windows I have to install my mobo, usb sound card, mouse,wireless nic, and ATI drivers? They all aren't located in one place either I actually have to know what I'm doing to find them and then install them.

Xilo said,
Linux will never become popular as a desktop OS. Hardware support isn't as good. Some things take forever to configure. Not user friendly. Can't really play games. Most of the software looks like crap.

Keep Linux to servers where it's actually useful...


Ignorance doesn't help learning either dude, no offense.

hybridr6 said,


Is that why ubuntu requires me to install only the proprietary ATI driver where as in Windows I have to install my mobo, usb sound card, mouse,wireless nic, and ATI drivers? They all aren't located in one place either I actually have to know what I'm doing to find them and then install them.


Yep, Windows allows you install/uninstall drivers for your hardware at will which is the opposite of Linux, where most people are stuck with whatever driver is included on the disc whether it works or not.

VRam said,
Yep, Windows allows you install/uninstall drivers for your hardware at will which is the opposite of Linux, where most people are stuck with whatever driver is included on the disc whether it works or not.

You do not know what you are talking about. I can select different ethernet NIC drivers (why would I, since the working one is selected), or video drivers (there are a few working options there, nv or nvidia, for example are the OSS and the vendor drivers).

What you said shows a complete lack of knowledge. Try an sudo insmod clue, please.

markjensen said,
You do not know what you are talking about. I can select different ethernet NIC drivers (why would I, since the working one is selected), or video drivers (there are a few working options there, nv or nvidia, for example are the OSS and the vendor drivers).

What you said shows a complete lack of knowledge. Try an sudo insmod clue, please. :)

You're basing your argument that the NIC will work outofbox correctly for everyone. Are the options to switch between NIC drivers made apparant to the end user or are they buried deep within some obscure CLI? Yea, the NIC driver might be working, but it could also have a bug that causes it not to renew its IP from DHCP or it might suffer from random disconnects...All of these things which an updated driver could solve. These updated drivers aren't usually made available until the next distro release, which in fact means you're stuck with the current set unless you start compiling from source. You will never get mainstream users to accept that as an acceptable solution. I also know about the nv/nvidia driver thing. nv doesn't have 3D accelleration and nvidia does. While these are easy enough to switch in Ubuntu, you run into the same possibility of bugs in the repo provided Nvidia driver. All software has bugs and to expect users to sit around and wait for a whole new distro release to get an updated driver is nonsense.

You know, I don't think I've ever been rude to you, so lets not act like a dick, shall we?

It is not about me saying that a NIC will work out of the box correctly for everyone. Where did I say that? Where did I even imply it???

My post was clearly and directly a response to your very incorrect assertion that you can change drivers in Windows, but it was the opposite in Linux, where you are stuck with whatever is on the disk, whether it works or not.

markjensen said,
It is not about me saying that a NIC will work out of the box correctly for everyone. Where did I say that? Where did I even imply it???

My post was clearly and directly a response to your very incorrect assertion that you can change drivers in Windows, but it was the opposite in Linux, where you are stuck with whatever is on the disk, whether it works or not.


Well you made the comment about your NIC just worked, so why change it. What I'm saying is what if it didn't work for someone else and they needed a newly released driver that wasn't included in the default install and its not in the repos? How would the normal user change drivers? The only option I'm aware of is DL'ing the source, compiling and then probably some CLI work to install it. Way too much trouble for the average PC user.

insmod - insert module
modprobe - intelligent probe and insert module

Either will work to insert a required module (say, ethernet or sound card). Trust me, it can be done, despite your claim that one was "stuck" whether a module worked or not.

markjensen said,
insmod - insert module
modprobe - intelligent probe and insert module

Either will work to insert a required module (say, ethernet or sound card). Trust me, it can be done, despite your claim that one was "stuck" whether a module worked or not.

Perhaps I was misunderstood. When I said you're stuck, I meant the average user would be stuck. I didn't mean experienced user like you would be. My apologies.

I think Ubuntu is doing a great job pulling itself from the other distros and it usually ends up being the one chosen by OEM when they try to use Linux for their hardware (netbooks,laptops desktops, etc)

Give me a Linux distro with good hardware support (new job for many vendors), that can play all my games without relying on emulation (Wine, CodeWeaver, ...) with good 3D drivers for my ATI/nVidia card.

And it would be nice to have Photoshop CS4 (native), AutoCad (native), ..... Where is the nice version of iLife for Linux? You know, software with good integration between them, usefull stuff.

I can live with OpenOffice instead of MS Office. But Gimp is not Photoshop....

See that is your problem right there you mentioned games, as far as games go its way behind but so it is on OS X. Funny how OS X is FreeBSD with a GUI and the games would have to support OpenGL.

The issue with Photoshop would be it would only run in 32 bit mode as good as their products are, they are years behind in getting 64 bit support and they are slowly adding more products for Linux Adobe AIR...


More games are coming out for OS X. More than Linux anyway.

The issue with Photoshop is that their is NO Photoshop for Linux. That's it. It's not a question of 32bit or 64bit, it's simply not available. Same goes for a bunch or software that we can find/use on Windows or OS X.

TruckWEB said,
More games are coming out for OS X. More than Linux anyway.

The issue with Photoshop is that their is NO Photoshop for Linux. That's it. It's not a question of 32bit or 64bit, it's simply not available. Same goes for a bunch or software that we can find/use on Windows or OS X.

I think it comes down to something like underlying issue is linux is free. adobe's CS costs about $500+ someone who opts for a free operating system is obviously not looking to get the most expensive software for it. Someone buying windows/apple obviously has money to spend $1,000 on software for the purpose of that software.

So Linux is for poor people? I was under the impression that Linux was "free" as in beer and as freedom.

Not sure your logic about the price will stay on the road....

Digix said,
... Someone buying windows/apple obviously has money to spend $1,000 on software for the purpose of that software.

Alternatively, someone who buys a PC, and saves money by not buying Windows and Office could afford Adobe CS, if offered for sale.

(Damnit, how do I quote the original poster?)
Wine is not an emulator. And that's not just its acronym.
Wine is a complete (well, not complete, but it aims to be ) reimplementation of the Windows API. That means it can be just as fast as running things on Windows itself.

Anyways, I'm fine, playing Oblivion on Linux. It doesn't work perfectly, but good enough for me

TruckWEB said,
More games are coming out for OS X. More than Linux anyway.

The issue with Photoshop is that their is NO Photoshop for Linux. That's it. It's not a question of 32bit or 64bit, it's simply not available. Same goes for a bunch or software that we can find/use on Windows or OS X.

While some are pooh-poohing CodeWeavers' CrossOver Pro (the original CrossOverOffice+CrossOverGames), have you ever actually *tried* it? I used the opportunity given by Codeweavers *giving away* CrossOver Pro/Linux for a day to grab the product myself and start putting it through its paces. To be honest, I *hate* Wine (yes; I'd tried it before), and CrossOver Pro is supposed to be Wine on steroids. However, in daily use (installed in Ubuntu 8.10, which itself is installed inside my Vista partition via Wubi), CrossOver Pro actually cuts the ketchup (I installed both Office Professional 2003 with SP1 *and* Office 2007 via CrossOver Pro, along with a casual game that CrossOver Pro *didn't* support; PopCapGames' Bejeweled Twist). Both versions of Office work just fine (try having both versions of Office at your beck in Windows!) and, except for sound issues (likely due to the early-beta nature of Creative's Sound Blaster X-Fi ALSA drivers) in Bejeweled Twist, everything worked as it should (especially Outlook, which is the one reason that Windows has a major foothold for teleworkers, not to mention personal e-mail); in fact, my default association for Word documents (remember, this *is* Ubuntu!) is actually Word 2007. Give CrossOver Pro an honest evaluation; you could find yourself pleasantly surprised (I certainly did).

"It's pretty simple actually; with hundreds of distributions out there the choice is endless"

Ha ha ha, yeah *that's* the reason. Wow, who comes up with this stuff, seriously? The problem isn't that consumers have so many Linux "distros" to choose from it's that most don't know what Linux is or even that it exists. Most think there's only Windows, or there's only Windows and Mac.

And, even if they know about Linux, they want to know who will support it? Who will ensure it works, who provides the drivers, the software, the information they need? Windows has Microsoft and OS X has Apple. But an open source project is only as good as the community that maintains it. Most people don't even know where to start.

That is one problem with Linux but there are 4 main distributions and that's it.

As far as driver concern people had the exact same issue when moving from XP to Vista so that point is moot. Ubuntu, Suse, Fedora and Mandriva are the major players out there and there is a huge following with Ubuntu and support is great.

The problem is really wifi and scanners on Linux. Sure audio is with ALSA driver but mfg don't want to take the time to create drivers for other OSes.

bdsams said,
kind of ironic that they dont know where to start because there are so many choices?

I agree with C_Guy, mostly it isn't the number of choices. It is the (presumed) fact that only 0.7% of desktop clients out there run Linux.

It isn't even on the radar for most people.

Well, it's both really. I wasn't sure what to start with myself when I had to use Linux on one of the machines for a month or two. For many others though, it's as C_Guy said.

Oh, and... I just have to do this whenever necessary: Ubuntu sucks balls. Hardcore.

Dakkaroth said,
Well, it's both really. I wasn't sure what to start with myself when I had to use Linux on one of the machines for a month or two. For many others though, it's as C_Guy said.

Oh, and... I just have to do this whenever necessary: Ubuntu sucks balls. Hardcore.


WTF, I actually agree with C_Guy here.

I'd better mark this date in iCal.

I do believe now with google dipping its toes in major pools like browser market an official *nix operating system from them won't be far away, imo.

In terms of gaming it's generally to the point where most major game production companys are up microsofts bottom and tangled up in DirectX and don't see any point to OpenGL however with them turning more to os x it's quite possible once the market share gain happens the more games will come into play with it.

The issue with this thought is Google wanted to control market share but why now? They could've easily purchased Mozilla or Opera, which would have made a heck of a lot more sense than creating their own. Secondly Opera has Opera Mini so its already on mobile phones and supoorted by other browsers.

I don't know if you ever heard of gOS but people thought it was sponsored by Google as it uses all of google's tools but it wasn't. It would've made sense though.

Digix another somewhat subtle point about you stating about gaming is that the majority of users don't use their computers to game yes its great the DirectX is there but MS created it.

gnuman said,
The issue with this thought is Google wanted to control market share but why now? They could've easily purchased Mozilla or Opera, which would have made a heck of a lot more sense than creating their own. Secondly Opera has Opera Mini so its already on mobile phones and supoorted by other browsers.

I don't know if you ever heard of gOS but people thought it was sponsored by Google as it uses all of google's tools but it wasn't. It would've made sense though.

Digix another somewhat subtle point about you stating about gaming is that the majority of users don't use their computers to game yes its great the DirectX is there but MS created it.

google are a smart company. they enjoy healthy competition but they also support free open source which is the obvious why they didn't just micrahoo their competition in markets. it's better to make something yourself and something to be proud of then just buy or take up other peoples stuff. Same applies ideally if they went to the linux/OS market. If anything would happen they would follow same route as cannonical do. gOS is people who're enthusiastic about googles current offerings but don't have direct affiliation obviously because google would just like with chrome obviously take a simple and own interpretation of it then a sponsoring of just another distro.

In all reality even though chrome is webkit engine based it doesn't mean chrome is another version of safari. they have different focus and their own judgement and vision of what they want from their own browser and i'm sure they'd follow suite with linux.

the editorial logo should have been your clue. Neowin not only posts relevant news that can be cut from other sites but also posts opinion pieces to help generate educated discussion...


Also an editorial can be refereed to as an analysis of the current situatiion which is news....havent you ever seen news articles where an "analysist" predicts something...thats nothing more than opinion as well

i use linux all the time, as for most of the stuff you say linux needs distroes like ubuntu already have them to some degree, before i started using linux all the time i pretty much used my system for games only which meant i needed windows there was no choice in the matter i have never been able to get wine to work it wasn't until i went off gaming that i migrated to linux full time if all games especially all the big name stuff worked on linux without tinkering just like in windows there would be a landslide in support for linux not haveing to pay the ms tax

badall said,
i use linux all the time, as for most of the stuff you say linux needs distroes like ubuntu already have them to some degree, before i started using linux all the time i pretty much used my system for games only which meant i needed windows there was no choice in the matter i have never been able to get wine to work it wasn't until i went off gaming that i migrated to linux full time if all games especially all the big name stuff worked on linux without tinkering just like in windows there would be a landslide in support for linux not haveing to pay the ms tax


As good as Ubuntu is (the 8.10 distribution is likely the best yet), even it has some warts (8.10 has a rather nasty issue with Intel gigabit Ethernet due to a kernel bug; the only option is to disable the gigabit and replace it with something else, which is rather frustrating when it's onboard gigabit you are replacing). No; this has not been fixed yet (openSuSE 11.1 had a similar issue and has already patched the bug).

the biggest problem with linux, is that isnt windows. as soon as they figure that the things they re used to are different, they quickly reject it

because time = money. and they are not interested re learning all over again

Just for the record, Firefox on Linux is the same as Firefox on Windows.

Even OpenOffice on Linux is more like Office 2003 on Windows that Office 2007 is.

Pointing, clicking. All the same. Subtract the malware issues (or the "what do I do because ZoneAlarm/McAfee is warning me about this file?" calls), and I think that Linux can be a suitable OS.

Rejecting it because it isn't a Windows clone is a bit shallow.

markjensen said,
Just for the record, Firefox on Linux is the same as Firefox on Windows.

Even OpenOffice on Linux is more like Office 2003 on Windows that Office 2007 is.

Pointing, clicking. All the same. Subtract the malware issues (or the "what do I do because ZoneAlarm/McAfee is warning me about this file?" calls), and I think that Linux can be a suitable OS.

Rejecting it because it isn't a Windows clone is a bit shallow.

at least on my pc @ home, as soon as they see that gnome isnt their classic start button they are lost. they simply wont use my pc even if its a critical matter and the other ones are in use

even when there is a big "APPLICATIONS" sig, they just cant get to the office suite or the inet browser.

some apps maybe be similar, but everything else is different into their minds, because you and me knows its clearly "intuitive". sometimes i think people just cant read when their mind is in reject mode on, even when what they re looking for is right in their nose

for example, last time someone tried to check is mailbox (and failed ofcourse). the very first thing she said was "this is pretty but this is not windows, and i want windows" with sad face and moaning

again, or at least in my house. they just want windows and they re not interested in learning new stuff

Are they still on Windows 95 with Office 95 and AOL dial-up? :P

Seems that people will choose to be selective in what "new" things they will learn.

markjensen said,
Are they still on Windows 95 with Office 95 and AOL dial-up? :P

Seems that people will choose to be selective in what "new" things they will learn.

People will usually stick with whatever they're used to. Unfortunately, they could be used to the most inefficient, counter-productive way of doing things.

markjensen said,
Are they still on Windows 95 with Office 95 and AOL dial-up? :P

Seems that people will choose to be selective in what "new" things they will learn.

yes indeed, there is some things that they (average joe) are willing to learn, features they see a must and dont mind or are forced to use, but for some stupid reason. OS is not in discussion.

btw, no AOL around here : P im from south america

I knew you would be near the top of the list to reply :)....I should have stated that it was for consumer use. I do agree with you that special areas do exist for linux and even in server capacity.


My biggest gripe is that if I told my mom to go research a linux distro for her laptop she would be instantly overwhelmed with the choices and lack of unity. Id love to see a linux distro hit mainstream but even the major PC makers, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Acer, with these splashtop OS's are not unified....


dang it, i ment to hit reply to you markjensen

bdsams said,
... if I told my mom to go research a linux distro for her laptop she would be instantly overwhelmed with the choices and lack of unity.

There would be no way I would turn anyone new to Linux over to Distrowatch. I would suggest they start with Ubuntu, as it is most popular and has a good forum.

Leaving options like Slack and Genoo open to someone new is insane!

You mention a "rule of three" when there are many obvious exceptions. Even the automotive manufacturers have been limited to "domestic" just to get the magic number 3.

As for forcing a "3" of Linux, it seems odd, since there are so many special areas for Linux. Plus it would be like... what is the expression? Oh, yes. It would be like herding cats. :P

Last point I want to make is on your Item #2, where you discuss compiling from source and simplified installs. In my 8 years of using Linux, I have never knowingly compiled anything (maybe I ran an installer that compiled early on in my experiences, but I wouldn't have known it). And I honestly believe the package managers in Linux are far superior to the "Installers" that Microsoft uses - sort of a "Windows update" for the whole system, including all apps you installed.

The story of Linux success is still "chicken and the egg", where you won't see releases of Photoshop, AutoCAD or MS Office for Linux until Linux gets significant consumer marketshare. And it is hard to attract the marketshare if you don't have Photoshop, AutoCAD and MS Office. ;)

Good article, though. I like Neowin's original content!