Ubuntu Gets Gutsy, But Is Linux Ready?

The Canonical-backed Ubuntu open-source community chalked up another milestone today with the release of version 7.10 of its flagship Linux operating system with a swag of user-friendly updates, but its real test will be how well it is adopted by non-technical consumers.

Ubuntu 7.10, or "Gutsy Gibbon", upholds the regular six-month release cycle for the operating system; however, it is differentiated by the inclusion of new software designed to make it easier to use and hence more appealing to most computer users. Gutsy ships with the new GNOME 2.20 desktop environment, the Compiz Fusion 3D desktop effects software, Tracker for desktop search, fast user switching, dynamic screen configuration and a new graphical display configuration tool, automatic printer installation software, and NTFS-3g to enable reads and writes to Windows partitions.

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+1 for a Windows Switcher, xvid working - check (less lag than under Windows XP/Vista), samba shares working - check, using ubuntu wine package - check.

On the downside - dont bother trying to get Windows Live Messenger working under wine it won't.
Kapote keeps crashing under KDE 3.5.8

The upside - loving the office 2007 format support under OpenOffice :D

(Now if I can just convince the missus to purge WinXP off this laptop)


Loxx said,
+1 for a Windows Switcher, xvid working - check (less lag than under Windows XP/Vista), samba shares working - check, using ubuntu wine package - check.

On the downside - dont bother trying to get Windows Live Messenger working under wine it won't.
Kapote keeps crashing under KDE 3.5.8

The upside - loving the office 2007 format support under OpenOffice :D

(Now if I can just convince the missus to purge WinXP off this laptop)

No use Emesene instead!

yea sure, nice new ubuntu etc.
also ATI fail again, no working drivers for ati HD series cards, thank you ATI/AMD

Well I've had 6.06 installed for a while and never really used it because my wireless adapter wasn't compatible. I have since changed my network setup so decided to upgrade and I can't say that I feel that Linux is ready for the main stream yet. I think the OS itself works quite nice, but there was a number of big issues that I came accross which would have been possibly a nightmare for casual users.

1stly to upgrade I had to go from 6.06 -> 7.04 -> 7.10. To me thats just a waste of time and it should have just allowed me to go straight to 7.10. Also the update to 7.04 took about 5 attempts to actually detect there was an upgrade to my 6.06 distro. I dno.

Second and perhaps one of the biggest issues was apon updating to 7.04 Grub was updated and overwrote the default menu.lst file meaning Windows no longer featured in the Grub startup list. Sure, easy to fix from Ubuntu but something like this should not happen. I think this in particullar was a bit of a suprise as it's not something I'd expect to happen.

Apon getting to 7.10 I couldnt get the thing to run at my native res of 1920x1200. Tried a few monitor brands but ultimatly whenever I selected 1920 x 1200 it produced some weird stretched image more akin to 1920 x 2400 or something weird....had a huge vertical scroll.

ANyway by now I'd decided I'd just do a fresh install so went to do that and was greeted with a black screen of gloom when trying to start up the installer. Apparently theres an issue with Ubuntu and some recognition of the drivers (ati) which causes the initial Splash to have issues for some. Its the same issue I had when installing 6.06 actually but still it effects me. Anyway got around that one eventually by disabling the "spash" arguement before doing the install (that was more a guess, I couldnt quickly find any answer that stated this and several other ones didn't work). WHen I installed 6.06 initially I got around it by doing a text based install, or "safe" or whatever.

Lastly I opted to import my windows settings and twice it just sat there and I had to cancel the install. After that I gave up and opted not to (and the option disapeared to import too actually so I'm unsure why it was there 2 attempts but not the later)

So yeah...it's now working fine but.

SO my oppinion after all this is basically the same. It's a good solid OS and I'm very impressed with the startup and all that, but it really needs work around the fringes. Thing's like the installation to me are just nowhere as smooth as they should be for an OS that is to be considered useable by Joe Bloe. Maybe I'm one of the unlucky few. But yeah, once working it's great and things like auto update for all your programs is a really nifty feature. Also the actual update from one distro to the next was very seamless. I really appreciate the fact Ubuntu didn't give me a list of 1000 packages and ask me which one's I wanted to install durring the process like some past distros have.

Ohh and my only other issue is my X-Fi doesnt work. Theres some beta drivers for the x64 version but when I try to install them it pops up an error saying only the 64bit version is compatible despite that being what I have. I know thats creatives fault...but I still think ultimatly its something that upsets the overall "linux" useability.


SO yeah...IMHO my personal belief is that it's a solid OS, probably useable by most users but it could still do some work to be as effortless as Windows (I know people will laugh and say WIndows isn't effortless. Well just my experience here guys ok ). I don't think it's fitting for your grandma, but I guess anyone with a bit of technical ability should be fine. I also appreciate most of my issues were probably just bad luck in terms of my hardware config. My displays displaying now fine so perhaps I could have fixed that by playing around more (although really I don't think its something I should have to have spent more than 5 mins trying to do).

But yeah, I'll probably leave it in dual boot with XP on that pc. I don't have much use for the OS atm, but I like having it there just incase I have an itching to use a *nix.

I'm a big fan of Ubuntu, however, i recently gave it up and moved to Sabayon. "Why?" You may ask? because its the only distro i've found so far that runs out-of-box, including wireless drivers, including those nasty Broadcom chips. Now that i've found something to replace XP, i keep Sabayon as my main OS and run XP on VirtualBox. (only beacuse i have to for school, i haven't found any MS Office '07, etc, for Linux)

You know, there's always lots of people who post to say that they switched to Linux already and that it does everything they need it to, and that they wiped Windows off their hard drive, or that people who want to use it just need to learn more about their computer. Well, that's a bunch of baloney. I have a fair amount of computer experience, but this certainly has not been my experience. Linux distros are fun to play with, and you can do productive work, but your installation is always only certain to be operational until the next time you upgrade something, anything, or you need to use some modern peripheral. It's always a hold your breath and bite your nails situation. And the problem is that when there is a problem, it's usually not very easy to solve, and nobody in the Linux community will solve it for you.

Look, it's a hobby OS, and it's free. So you put it on your computer, dual boot, and play with it all you want. But it's certainly not a reliable production OS, and it probably never will be, only because commercial software and hardware progresses too fast for Linux to keep up. That doesn't mean I don't appreciate the efforts of all those who contribute to its development.

Perhaps Linux boosters might mention to potential switchers that they will always be using older versions of most open source software that already works great and is easily upgradable on Windows, for example. It's not all advantages. There are some significant disadvantages too.

I think Linux is ready for the desktop, but not as a full replacement of Windows or OSX. Computers have gotten too complicated for humans to keep up. But if you are satisfied with a minimal computer that is already obsolete, then you can probably have a computer built that will run Linux well, without any hitches - until somebody upgrades Linux, that is. Then, you never know.

I do like Ubuntu though. I think it's the best free distro, and I like the social philosophy behind it. It's a fun distro to have on a dual-boot system, but I still need to have Windows on there. For one thing, I also like Windows. I really love the now-free Visual Studio Express Editions for hobby programming.

As much as I love it I think it is not yet ready.

I'm a software developer with years of experience (being poking computers and programming since the early days of the COCO2 and the C64) and I still need to rely on dozens of Google searches for information on how to do some of the most basic stuff.

I have Ubuntu on a ZD8000 and it runs flawlessly but in order to get it to run flawlessly I always need to get down and dirty to the console to manually edit huge config files, re-compile the kernel, manually install drivers, use Windows drivers to support even the most basic piece of hardware and manually tweak some of the most fundamental things.

Just because of these minor issues I think that Ubuntu (well, Linux in general) is not yet ready for the masses.
My mom and my two kids are using it on their computers -- they are all quite happy with it and there's virtually nothing that a Windows/MacOS user can do that they can't, but... I was the one that installed it and configured it for them. They would have been unable to do it on their own.

Anyway... once you get passed that, Ubuntu is an amazing OS and the way it feels is second to none. If it weren't for the lack of a proper/adequate substitutes of three of the Windows apps that I use on a hourly basis, I would have already switched permanently to it and dumped my Windows' partition on both my laptop and my Desktop.

But, the good thing is that it's getting there and I'm quite confident to predict that, in about 3 years, it will be par to par with any other OS in both the workstation and server flavors.

I'm quite confident to predict that, in about 3 years, it will be par to par with any other OS in both the workstation and server flavors.

Not really because in those same 3 years, Windows will have got somethings better and same for Mac OSX.

Most of the Linux Distro are getting better. But they are mostly playing catch-up.

xfx said,
As much as I love it I think it is not yet ready.

I'm a software developer with years of experience (being poking computers and programming since the early days of the COCO2 and the C64) and I still need to rely on dozens of Google searches for information on how to do some of the most basic stuff.

I have Ubuntu on a ZD8000 and it runs flawlessly but in order to get it to run flawlessly I always need to get down and dirty to the console to manually edit huge config files, re-compile the kernel, manually install drivers, use Windows drivers to support even the most basic piece of hardware and manually tweak some of the most fundamental things.

Just because of these minor issues I think that Ubuntu (well, Linux in general) is not yet ready for the masses.
My mom and my two kids are using it on their computers -- they are all quite happy with it and there's virtually nothing that a Windows/MacOS user can do that they can't, but... I was the one that installed it and configured it for them. They would have been unable to do it on their own.

I agree. There's many things that I like about Ubuntu but I don't want to really use it until I can do all the basic stuff without first googling for 3 pages of command line switches and config file settings. It also doesn't help that many programs I need don't run on Linux (at least not without Wine) and the driver support for lots of hardware is lacking. Now, these are not really the operating system's fault but they do make the OS less appealing.

TruckWEB said,

Not really because in those same 3 years, Windows will have got somethings better and same for Mac OSX.

Most of the Linux Distro are getting better. But they are mostly playing catch-up.

development is much faster with Linux distro's,
fast enuff to catch up within 3 years probably not but it is possible over a longer time

I just don't like Ubuntu. It just feels too bare, like looking at a piece of blank paper. Mandriva and some others just feel better to me.

ready ? linux had been ready since red hat was on version 5.0. Just a matter of users choice. More programs exists for linux to achieve the same functionality & productivity (if not higher).

linux had been ready since red hat was on version 5.0
My first Linux was Red Hat 5.1; I still have the boot floppy here. However, it wasn't ready for me at that point. It took to 7.3 when I tried it and liked it. I kept it, and by the time Red Hat 9 came out, I removed Windows and finally became a 100% Linux guy.

So, no, there is no single "ready" point. We all have our own individual requirements.

non-technical people do not format their computers and install an operating system, They call up "Austin Factory" or go to a store and buy a pc from "Big Box".

Linux is only offered by "Austin Factory" and only if you ask for it.

Ubuntu is a good distro, I used to use it for a while. However, recent versions of it (haven't tried this one though) don't work on my computer, it crashes and is very unstable...I guess it doesn't like my hardware setup so much :P

Ubuntu is so fricken awsome. However, the only thing stopping me from fully adopting it is the FHS. They need to consider a Gobo Linux directory structure http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gobolinux. This would allow for a unified, no more package management, and extremely simple installation and removal of programs in all Linux distros similar to windows and mac. This would also allow developers to create a single Linux program release instead of half a dozen. I have had a fair few brakages with synaptic and lots of troubles finding sources so that i can update to the latest and greatest. Ubuntu can really brake the mold of the other 1000 or so distros out there by doing somthing unique and much needed.

Windows does not have ~90% of the market because windows is badly though out. Even apple has had to hide the chaos of a 1960 based server operating system design that is Unix in OSX.

Just reading that article this sounds awesome! But in order to be usable across all sorts of systems the distro and its software needs to adhere to the (wierd) UNIX standard.

There are several ways to get around this one. One, do like Mac OS X does, and simply hide the unix directory structure from view. Alternatively, you could craft the filesystem such that it's stored on another partition, or even in a /System/ folder. The third was my original choice, because things remain findable, when you do want to go poking.

then just hardlink some /Users/ -> /System/home/
or better yet,
or better yet /System/home/ -> /Users/

Implement a system so that if the file/program is not found where it's supposed to be on the "new" filesystem, it tries to find it in the "old" one.

I mean, with all the great stuff coming out of the Ubuntu team(s) lately, it shouldn't be too hard, right?

I also think there needs to be a type of graphical installer implemented, slightly different than repositories, that allows a program to deploy a binary version of itself, or compile when necessary, and hide the whole deal under a nice GUI. The main difference is that with this installer, the necessary prerequisite libraries would already be included. Similar to Windows' MSI installer, or Apple's PKG installer. While it may not be the best solution for program installation, it's much more comfortable for the end-user.

K3vlar, so your saying perhaps keep the old structure and create a new structure so that legacy programs can still run but newer apps can be packaged for the new directory structure. That sounds like a really good idea. As time gos on the older structure would eventually be phased out leaving a new clean FHS. I have heard that programs specifically designed for the gobo structure run much quicker than they do using the original unix FHS. Can you imagine linux getting even faster.

I don't like the OSX way of doing it i think it just promotes having a dirty core under some pretty effects. Windows/dos has a much better folder structure and in vista this got better by adopting perhaps some of unix /home structure. I say why not combine the best of both worlds. Can you imagine if you could just go to a web site and download a linux program installer that works for all distros. I could say download KDE 4 beta and give it a test spin and then just install KDE 4 final over that. That would be amazing and trust me apple and MS would start to feel the pinch.

Its time for this change. If you look at the ubuntu forums you will see there have been many threads about this very thing and you will see there is also a majority of people in support of such a proposal. Unix users are very stubborn so for this to be the case says something.

I personally think Linux is ready for just about anyone, as long as they are willing to work and learn more about their computer. The problem is that most people are in a comfort zone with XP and Vista and don't really feel the need to learn something new. I mean I've been dual-booting various distributions on my computers for years and I've yet to switch full time because I feel like I haven't learned all the subtleties of Linux. I like to compare it to how some people won't use foobar2000 and insist on using Winamp or WMP because they think foobar takes too much configuring. Windows is easier out of the box but in the long run you feel more accomplished if you get Linux running.

It's ready for the more technically advanced people, just not those who like to play games and prefer not to use the Terminal.

I tried 7.10 and it's a huge improvement, but the 64-bit caused a few unstable issues with Firefox. Probably just me though... I love the fact it uses only a few hundred mb's of memory where-as Vista uses 800MB.

"Is Linux ready?"

For me it was ready enough years ago to wipe Windows off my computer. For others, it may have been "ready" sooner. For others, it isn't "ready" yet. Regardless of your viewpoints, you have to admit that it is "ready" for more people with every passing year.

well said my friend. i've never tried, i really want to. i may install it on an old pc i got around, see how well it fits. i just wonder if it'll work alright, with networks, my router, my externals, so on and so on. alot of usb plugs. and then i have to wonder what i would use for videos and such, im so use to winamp. i dunno, linux<ubuntu> is supposedly faster right? at running? i'm on a 1.6 gigz celeron.

@ markjensen ... i think you sumed that up pretty well ;)

although me personally i dont think linux is ready for the average joe yet... cause it's still to technical when stuff dont work out of the box (i consider myself pretty good with windows in general. but linux, i still can even install a application on it yet) ... for this reason alone it has a long way to go to beat windows and honestly i dont think it ever will (atleast not anytime in the forseeable future)

ThaCrip said,
@ markjensen ... i think you sumed that up pretty well ;)

although me personally i dont think linux is ready for the average joe yet... cause it's still to technical when stuff dont work out of the box (i consider myself pretty good with windows in general. but linux, i still can even install a application on it yet) ... for this reason alone it has a long way to go to beat windows and honestly i dont think it ever will (atleast not anytime in the forseeable future)

I agree. I have 7.04 installed on this computer (triple booter; XP, Ubuntu, and oh ess EX) and I hardly load up Ubuntu. Everything I need, XP gives me. I do like Ubuntu, and think it's the best of the Linux distros. I want Linux to make installing programs easy, just like Windows. I'm sure if I spent more time on Ubuntu, I'd love it even more. I'll never go completely away from the Windows platform because I love my games!

games for linux run under wine are getting better and better all the time , hell UT series runs alot faster under linux than it does in windows , ubuntu and kubuntu are good windows alternatives for those who are looking to get away from MS , this latest release goes to show how far they have come and gives a great glimpse of what the future holds personaly i think ubuntu are doing great and cant wait to see what they do next . my linux distro of choice is fedora 7 , not the easiest of os's to use but ive been using redhat stuff since redhat 6.0 days

There is a port of the new Quake Wars for Linux as well. Your statement is becoming more and more irrelevant.

My wireless works, my screen resolution is correctly detected, I have replacement programs for any Windows program I need, so it works for me :-p

Of course, it depends from person to person. I still dual-boot, simply because I like both Linux and Windows XP.
If you need Windows applications (and you're not a gamer), you might want to install Virtualbox to run your applications.

For the Photoshop users: CS2 works in Wine (CS3 currently doesn't work, but they're working on it ).

for me ubuntu is perfectly fine and i think linux is ready... ive been using windows my whole life and switchin to ubuntu was a little easy except for all those terminal commands that i copy and paste from the internet haha! once everything is installed and set up its a great experience.. also one more thing to note is the necessary to use automatix or some other thign by which you can get codecs for ubuntu. so far so good for me except for some little problems ive been having with intel graphic cards and widescreen (1680x1050) monitors.. (i tried xorg.conf editing and what not but still cant fix it).. there need to be simply more drivers for linux in general.

I've been screwing around with it on a spare computer for a little while now. Not really many updates for me (I intend to use it as a file server), but so far so good. Unfortunately, the repositories seem to be getting slammed at the moment.