| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 366, 9 August 2010
Welcome to this year's 32nd issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Our themes for this week are Debian and communication. A freeze has been declared on the Debian Squeeze repo and we should soon see a new Stable release from the beloved GNU/Linux distribution. In honour of the upcoming release we will look at a new project which is trying to spread Debian to the world, talk about sidux and explore whether Dell is still selling machines with Ubuntu pre-installed. In our Question & Answer section we will ponder what the world might be like without Debian. In this issue we will also talk about the importance of communication in the open source community and we share some announcements with you about projects which are making an effort to exchange more information with their users. We will also look at a new project related to OpenSolaris, which has risen out of Oracle's unwillingness to communicate with the open source community. Happy reading!
Join us at irc.freenode.net #distrowatch
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Customer Service and Open Source Software
It is my opinion that customer service plays a large roll in attracting and keeping customers . Of course there are a lot of factors consumers will be looking at when deciding on products. Price is usually a factor, location (if applicable), brand recognition and referrals will all play a role. But to me, and many other people, the communication we have with our fellow humans makes a huge difference. It makes sense, really, we're social animals and so how we interact with others is important. This is true in most walks of life, including open source.
In a way, I think the open source community is a bit of a paradox. Here we have a huge, loosely knit group of people who, for the most part, want to share their resources and help each other. Yet this community has historically been populated by people who are more introverted  and less likely to be social face-to-face. In the physical world this usually isn't a problem. The IT people can hide out in the back rooms, or the broom-closet offices or a cubical while HR, PR, sales staff and receptionists provide the face of an organization. But the open source world works a little differently, a little more transparently, and part of that transparency is clients and end-users usually have direct contact with developers and package maintainers. When the developer has good people skills, this can be a great experience. The client gets quick results, realistic expectations and firm technical information. However, when the developer isn't comfortable dealing with the public, we get results like these:
I think angry package managers and unhelpful programmers have almost become a cliché in the open source community and almost everyone who files regular bug reports or feature requests has encountered some hostility from the software's developer. With some projects the apathy so obvious that I sometimes consider saving the maintainer the effort and marking my own bug report "WONTFIX". Perhaps that's a bit facetious, but it does raise the question, in my mind, why bother setting up a bug reporting database if the developers are going to spend more time arguing with the users than fixing problems?
Some people may look at the situation and claim if people don't like the developers' attitudes then it's best to find a different program, or even a different operating system. Open source is about choice and options so if you don't like the service provided, you shouldn't complain. It's free after all. Which is true, a lot of the software in the open source community is free and a lot of distributions are offered free of charge. But some aren't. Some distributions charge for their products, some come with support contracts and a large number of distros accept donations. Let's not forget too that some free distributions are tied to companies which sell other products. For instance, if a person has a good experience with Fedora, they may purchase from Red Hat. The same applies to openSUSE or Mandriva. Many distributions, and open source projects in general, do stand to gain by increasing their user base and making their end-users happy. Yet communicating with users in a friendly manner (while becoming easier technologically) seems to be a low priority with a lot of projects.
We all weigh our choices differently; I think it's important to have a good rapport with the organization which provides my operating system. I don't mean developers should bend over backwards to fulfil every feature request, it's not possible to make everyone happy all of the time. Rather I am suggesting distributions should make sure bug reports are responded to in a timely manner, that the package maintainers conduct themselves in a civil manner, that an effort is made to keep mailing list content polite . Developers may not think of themselves as being in the customer service business, but every time they respond to a bug report or an e-mail or respond to a user on a forum, they become the virtual face of their project. With our ability to communicate instantly with others around the world coders no longer have the privilege to simply be the people behind the scenes, hidden by a wall of customer service agents. Open source developers, whether they like it or not, now are the customer service agents. Their reactions, their words, are now made immediately public. For little hobby distros, this isn't such a concern, but bigger projects stand to gain or lose a lot of funding based on their customer service record. A quick estimate shows the average donation to Linux Mint (and there are often over one hundred donations per month) is about $25 . That's pretty good incentive to make users feel at home.
I am of the opinion larger open source projects (and companies) should make an effort to recruit developers who have good people skills and, at the same time, discourage their developers who lack people skills from representing the project publicly. The end-user doesn't always have to be right, but they should always conclude an interaction with the feeling they were treated with respect. One of the best ways for the open source community to spread is by referral, word-of-mouth, and we're more likely to get positive reviews by being polite to our customers. This is an aspect of business which is taken for granted in face-to-face practises, but it's something which has yet to properly catch on in many corners of the open source world. In the bazaar of FOSS, we are all ambassadors and I feel it is important that we embrace transparency and, at the same time, realise some responsibility must go with it. Much in the same way people should choose their words carefully when granted free speech, we should make an effort to keep our communications in the community civil. Open source lives in a glass house and the world is watching.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
New hope for OpenSolaris, Custom FreeBSD, new PC-BSD blog and Dell's stance on selling Ubuntu
Since Oracle took over Sun there has been talk about whether the OpenSolaris project will survive. In the past six months there have been several calls to fork OpenSolaris to keep it alive, with or without Oracle's help. One group is looking into that possibility. They have set up the Illumos project website and held a web conference on August 3. A recording of the hour long conference is available from the
* * * * *
FreeBSD Custom Releases project provides the BSD community with free, up-to-date spins of FreeBSD. They also offer, as the name suggests, custom spins containing packages which some users find helpful to have on the install media. Their latest offering is a
set of 32- and
64-bit Xfce spins. Manolis Kiagias of the project states, "As you may know, the official [FreeBSD] DVD only provides ready packages for Gnome and KDE (and also windowmaker and
afterstep) but is missing Xfce packages - a very nice alternative for
lightweight desktops. The custom DVD also provides up-to date packages for well known
productivity apps, like OpenOffice, abiword/gnumeric, gimp, inkscape and
others. Installation is done in the standard FreeBSD way of sysinstall,
but the package selection is the custom one."
* * * * *
Communication between developers and users is very important. In an effort to make sure ideas flow freely between the coders and the community PC-BSD's Directory of Community Development, Dru Lavigne, has set up a blog where she plans to talk about the FreeBSD-based project and collect feedback from the readers.
* * * * *
Though a relatively small project, DragonFly brings a lot of new and different concepts to the BSD community. The project's HAMMER file system, mail agent and thread scheduler being some of the key attractions in this project. In an effort to better showcase what the project offers, they have set up a feature page with highlights from DragonFly BSD.
* * * * *
There have been rumours floating around that Dell is dropping their Ubuntu product line. In fact, the OEM is expanding its Ubuntu line of options in some areas, while removing Ubuntu machines from its United Kingdom website. Dell's stance appears to be a confused one, but you can untangle some of the mystery in the latest Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter.
* * * * *
There are a number of on-line stores which will send you burned copies of your favourite distribution. Recently, a new provider has stepped onto the scene. They are the Debian CD project, a non-profit organization which will send you nice-looking Debian CDs. Any additional money made above and beyond the cost of burning and shipping the discs goes to the Debian project.
In other Debian news, fans of the project will be happy to know that Debian "Squeeze" is now
frozen. This means no more features will be added to the soon-to-be stable repository. This release will not only include the regular GNU/Linux branch, but will also supply a GNU environment on top of the FreeBSD kernel. As usual, no official release date has been set for Squeeze, but we're on the final stretch.
* * * * *
The sidux project appears to be going through a tumultuous time. According to the distribution's website, there "are ongoing problems between the developers and sidux e.V. (the German foundation) that need to be settled before we can move on." At the moment, a meeting is scheduled for August 14 to iron out these problems and the developers say they will post updates after the meeting.
* * * * *
Fans of the Puppy distribution and people who like netbooks are in for a treat. There is a spin-off from Puppy, called
Puppeee Linux The small distro is targeting low-resource machines and aims to be both fast and easy to use. The 1.0 release includes application clean up, 3g modem updates, some bug fixes and new themes. Worth a look if you want to teach your low-resource computer new tricks.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Playing a game of What-If
From-the-basement-up asks: What happens to Ubuntu if Debian folds?
A lot of the ground work for a good many distributions is done by the Debian project. I think, to date, there are over one hundred distros which can trace their roots back to Debian. With all of these projects, including Ubuntu, using Debian as a base it makes sense to ask ourselves what would happen should the Debian project fold. However, it is very unlikely that Debian will disappear.
Debian is one of the oldest surviving Linux distributions and it has been stable for a long time. The Debian developers do not rely on a single sponsor in the same way Fedora, Ubuntu and openSUSE do, their funding comes from a wide range of sources. Likewise, the Debian developers themselves are not centralized. There are hundreds of Debian contributors spread out over the world and it's very unlikely anything could cause the majority of them to stop working. What it all boils down to is Debian is very likely to have a long life.
But let's play pretend for a moment and assume the Debian team suddenly decided to dissolve the project without warning. What would happen to Knoppix, Ubuntu and the rest? My best guess is that we would see a lot of developers and a few companies/sponsors step forward to make a fork of Debian's core infrastructure. There are probably enough users and developers who use Debian (or a Debian-based project) to put together a team who would re-create the main Debian repositories. I think we'd see a smaller, more focused Debian clone. With, probably, just three or four repos which would focus on GNU/Linux without the spin-offs such as GNU/Hurd or Debian/kFreeBSD. In short, I think we would see a concentrated effort to recreate Debian as a common base from which other projects could pull. For a while there would be a vacuum and some small forks, but in the end I think we'd see one large project created which would try to follow in Debian's foot steps.
There's some precedent for this. When the Fedora Core project was created and their policies prevented the distribution from shipping certain packages, we saw several community-created repositories spring up to offer additional software. Over the years the repositories started working together more and now we have the excellent unofficial Fedora repository of RPMFusion. I think a similar process would take place in the wake of the Debian project, should it disappear.
|Released Last Week
Jo Harris just announced the availability of Karoshi 7.0, now an Ubuntu-based server operating system designed for schools providing a simple graphical interface for easy installation and network maintenance: "What's New? Built on Ubuntu 10.04 LTS; 64bit and 32bit available; choice of server and domain names; wide range of modules available - Email, E-learning, website, proxy, home access, web filtering, printing, and much more; administration of the servers via web management; mobile phone web management; the system expanded with new servers with home areas auto copied; network monitoring with Email / text message alerts." The
release announcement is here.
MeeGo for IVI 1.0
MeeGo is an open-source Linux project which brings together Moblin headed up by Intel, and Maemo by Nokia, into a single open-source activity targeting netbooks and other mobile devices. MeeGo for IVI (In-Vehicle Infotainment) Version 1.0 was just announced: "We are pleased to present this 1.0 release of MeeGo for IVI. As part of this release, we are including a sample IVI home screen and taskbar, using the included Qt framework, and designed with Automotive Center Console HMI requirements in mind. We have also included some automotive specific middleware components and a few sample applications, including sample navigation program (Navit) and a sample dialer application (BT-HFP Dialer) which uses Bluetooth and a paired phone..." The rest of
the announcement is here.
The MeeGo desktop
(full image size: 251KiB, resolution: 550x413 pixels)
Parted Magic 5.2
Patrick Verner announced the immediate availability of Parted Magic 5.2, a live utility distribution designed for hard disk partitioning and data rescue tasks: "Parted Magic 5.2 updates GParted to 0.6.2, fixes some bugs, and improves international language support. The new GParted re-enables MiB partition alignment option and fixes the problem with logical partition move overwriting the EBR. A mess of bugs have been fixed with the help of Dick Burggraaff (burdi01), Jason Vasquez, and most of all, users willing to take the time to report them and help us test. Asian language support has been greatly improved with the addition of SCIM and GCIN. GCIN is automatically started when Taiwanese is selected at the boot menu and SCIM is automatically started when Japanese or Chinese is selected at the boot menu." The rest of the announcement is on the
project's home page.
After six release candidates, Rafael Bonifaz announced the availability of Elastix 2.0, a CentOS-based Linux distribution that integrates the best tools available for Asterisk-based Private Branch Exchanges (PBX) into a single, easy-to-use interface: "Elastix 2.0 includes many suggestions received from our users as well as many new ideas around Unified Communications. The ability to extend new functionalities through add-ons will allow Elastix to adapt to the requirements of broad scenarios, while at the same time enabling the integration with third party applications. There are lots of new functionalities included in this release. We will highlight the most relevant in this article: renovated dashboard, add-ons, Elastix operator panel, Elastix conference room, mail module improvements, web-based faxing, DHCP module improvements, automatic backups, and agenda module improvements." The release announcement has more information.
Muayyad Al-Sadi has announced the availability of Ojuba 4, a Fedora-based distribution from Jordan optimised for Arabic speakers: "With God's blessing we are pleased to announce the final release of Ojuba Linux 4. This is the first release to have 64-bit support besides the 32-bit one, which we also offer for legacy PCs. Each got a LiveCD version within 700 MB and an installation media with packages within 4 GB. This release includes a pre-release version of Thawab the Arabic Islamic library (http://thawab.ojuba.org) and Ojuba-personal-lock (a GUI for folder encryption) and many more applications and enhancements. For more information please check Ojuba 4 release notes in Arabic." The release announcement can be found
The Ojuba Desktop
(full image size: 362KB, resolution: 900x675 pixels)
eBox Platform is an Ubuntu-based Linux server for small business. While its 2.0 release will be delayed, a development update was unleashed soon after its 1.5 release: "You can now download a new installer CD for the eBox Platform 1.5 series. Please note that eBox Platform 1.5-1 is a development version based on Ubuntu 10.04 and it will become eBox Platform 2.0 (next stable release) after a stabilization period. As to the improvements, the most relevant changes on this new 1.5-1 installer are focused on improving the performance. We believe that this is an important change and we would be glad to have your feedback to check that everything is right. In addition, the 1.5-1 installer includes new versions of the following modules: Users, DHCP, Backup, Groupware, Firewall, IDS, Monitor, NTP, Software Management, HTTP Proxy and Webserver." The rest of
the announcement can be read here.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
DistroWatch database summary|
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 16 August 2010.
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
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|Reader Comments - Jump to last comment
1 • debian forever (by deeler on 2010-08-09 12:40:20 GMT from Belgium) |
Although debian will never die (probably), I think they should be getting a lot more credit and media coverage as they are the base for many more popular distros
2 • Debian "Squeeze" (by Jordan Clarke on 2010-08-09 12:43:43 GMT from Australia)
I would expect that Debian will take their time with stabilising this release, probably releasing sometime in November/December. Anything earlier would seem a bit too rushed, but next year would be pushing it a bit... in any case, three cheers for Debian! :D
3 • Looking forward to Debian GNU/kFreeBSD (by koroshiya.itchy on 2010-08-09 13:02:27 GMT from Belgium)
As a fan of Debian, I am really looking forward to the Debian GNU/kFreeBSD port. I have already tried the development version and it looks very promising. Lack of drivers is my only concern at this stage.
Regressions in the Linux kernel are a continuous source of frustration and it is always good to have alternatives.
4 • Customer Service/Fedora Bugzilla (by RS on 2010-08-09 13:09:26 GMT from United States)
Do you see Rahul Sundaram running back and forth trying to solve the problem that isn't his?
I think he should be interviewed here, he's one of the most visible RH ppl on various websites, official and un. (And he always being attacked by ppl supposed to be helping others on forums.)
ps- really loving all this BSD stuff as of recent
5 • Customer service and open source software (by Stuart on 2010-08-09 13:10:21 GMT from United Kingdom)
An interesting article by Jesse. I don't agree that all of the linked bug reports illustrate developers who can't deal with people. The comment from Ulrich Drepper was unnecessarily rude; the others I felt more illustrated a strong difference of opinion.
I do have a lot of sympathy for the Open Source hacker - people are generally quicker to criticize than lend a hand.
6 • Customer Service and Open Source Software (by arnold on 2010-08-09 13:13:08 GMT from United States)
The reputation of IT is of geeks with no social skills. This reputation is not only earned, but seems to be invading the general population of young people who depend on texting as opposed to social skills requiring a face to face discourse. It's a shame, but we see and read about it daily.
7 • Pointless article (by David Trotter on 2010-08-09 13:33:59 GMT from United Kingdom)
I think that the small article on Debian "dissolving" is a silly and pointless article. Next week are you going to do what happens to Ubuntu if PC's disappear?
8 • Debian folding? (by Omari on 2010-08-09 13:46:11 GMT from United States)
I started laughing. Debian has outlived a bunch of its derivatives and is one of the oldest distributions around. It's much more likely that Ubuntu will fold than Debian! Try: Q: "What happens to Debian if Ubuntu folds?" A: "Debian will continue, just as it did when all the other derivatives folded!"
9 • sidux (by Glenn Condrey on 2010-08-09 13:50:00 GMT from United States)
Big surprise there is problems within the sidux community.
I LIKE their distro, but i was having problems getting parts of it to run kosher on my machine. When they asked me to paste the problem I was having...rude b@stards kicked me out of the irc room for not following 'their' protocol for pasting stuff in the irc channel.
Not everyone is well versed in how they paste stuff in a sidux irc channel, they need to get over themselves.
It just screams rude behaviour.
10 • OpenSolaris (by EarthBoundMisfit on 2010-08-09 13:52:53 GMT from United States)
I would urge the users of OpenSolaris to take charge and fork if they must,
I am a ex-Xandros user, and its been several years now since Xandros has released 4.0 or even 4.5.
If you don't take charge now, prepare to find a new distro to use...
11 • Follow Up (by Robert on 2010-08-09 14:17:26 GMT from United States)
Thank you everyone that made recommendations as to what distro I should consider as my first fore into the world of Linux.
I took a commenter’s advice and borrowed one of my friends many Linux cd's. (Is it normal for a Linux user to have more than 50 cd’s lying around with Linux on them?)
I chose Slackware based on the research I did over the weekend. It looks like a distro that I can grow into and really learn the underpinnings of how a GNU/ and Linux kernel actually work. I am prepared to spend a lot of time in the terminal to get the multimedia experience that I have grown used to while using Windows. I really look forward to completing the install this evening and hope to back online sometime tomorrow and will let everyone know what I think
12 • Next week's question! (by Sam on 2010-08-09 14:20:51 GMT from United States)
Next week on Distrowatch Weekly: What happens to Linux if Microsoft buys the Linux kernel?
Stay tuned the following week for: What would happen to Ubuntu if Steve Ballmer sent a Windows-powered cyborg back through time to kill Linus Torvalds' mother?
13 • Various bits (by Jesse on 2010-08-09 14:35:48 GMT from Canada)
>> An interesting article by Jesse. I don't agree that all of the linked bug reports illustrate developers who can't deal with people. The comment from Ulrich Drepper was unnecessarily rude; the others I felt more illustrated a strong difference of opinion.
To an extent, I agree with this. Not all of the examples show developers being rude or agressive toward other people, but I do think they demonstrate a disconnect or at least a lack of empathy. Linus' "I'm not calling _you_ stupid, I'm calling your code stupid" while technically correct isn't exactly going to make anyone feel better about the whole thing. Or responding to "This breaks the UNIX security model" with "I don't care about UNIX" probably wasn't a well thought out choice.
We all have bad days, sure, but when it becomes a pattern I think projects should examine what that's doing to their image.
As some people have pointed out, the question about Debian was a bit far fetched, but it is a question I get a lot. People unfamiliar with Debian's history apparently wonder about this. Should you have a question, feel free to drop me a line.
14 • Customer Service and Open Source Software (by James Jones on 2010-08-09 15:56:37 GMT from United States)
You forgot https://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=316654
15 • Linux supported Mobile handset info (by Linux supported Mobile Handset on 2010-08-09 16:08:53 GMT from India)
लिनक्स supported मोबाइल फ़ोन : Cellguru
In this blog I am going to discuss mobile phones that support Linux operating System.Today most of the people surf internet using their mobile phones using windows operating system but all these devices are not supported by Linux. so in this blog I am going to tell about those handset that is ready for Internet on Linux environment.
Read More at
16 • Customer service and open source software (by Mike on 2010-08-09 16:17:34 GMT from United States)
I enjoyed reading the article and to hear someone actually sees this in a similar light as I do. I have contemplated leaving Linux behind a number of times due to this issue. Most distributions promote on their websites to help out any way you can and usually promote filing bug reports as one of the ways to do this. When a "WONTFIX" with a terse reply basically meaning "the user is stupid" comes back it makes it feel like I just shouldn't ever bother. One thing I find worse than someone saying that they aren't open for user input (e.g. Microsoft, Apple) is someone saying that they are and then actually not being at all.
17 • bugstomer (by Leroy on 2010-08-09 16:20:28 GMT from Serbia)
Frankly, a. if you don't pay for something, you don't get customer support. You get support (Google being the universal helpdesk that springs to mind), but not customer support and all it's supposed to bring with it. And b., I see bugtrackers, mailing lists, etc, as work in progress for a project, rather than its "customer", or any other support. When people have their sleeves rolled up working, they will forget about etiquette frequently. So before criticizing the attitude of others, let's adjust our own ;)
Anyway, how can one even begin to document bugtracker rudeness and acrimony without linking to the Ubuntu "buttons and bows" episode? There the owner (?) of the distro himself wound up insulting and flaming people who disagreed with him. One does hope those who opt to pay for Ubuntu server support or whatever it's called end up with smiling faces and soothing tones. And chances are they would. Because customer support and bugtrackers are not the same thing, see.
Next, would forks disappear if Debian disappeared? Forks would disappear. It would take a lot of people, time and money to sustain them without Debian. Forks would go down the toilet where some of them would finally take up their rightful place.
As for the squeeze freeze, my congratulations to the Debian people, and I'm looking forward to a great stable release. Along with the kernel project and Red Hat, Debian is one of the cornerstones of Linux as a whole. It's important for all of us.
"Stay tuned the following week for: What would happen to Ubuntu if Steve Ballmer sent a Windows-powered cyborg back through time to kill Linus Torvalds' mother?"
I was rather hoping to stay tuned for DW's happy-birthday-to-Debian, but, that would do, too. If they opt for that story, I'll just stay in the skynets, lollings aways as the windows-powered cyborg reboots in an endless loop...
18 • @4: customer service (by Rahul Sundaram on 2010-08-09 16:26:30 GMT from India)
I have an interest in documenting issues and finding ways to resolve user issues in Fedora. Can't say it is not my problem. I volunteered to do it and hence it is my problem IMO.
19 • Windows Cyborg (by albinard on 2010-08-09 16:59:42 GMT from United States)
@12: "Stay tuned the following week for: What would happen to Ubuntu if Steve Ballmer sent a Windows-powered cyborg back through time to kill Linus Torvalds' mother?"
Clearly, it would misidentify the target and do away with Ballmer's mother instead.
20 • RE:Debian (by Eddie Wilson on 2010-08-09 17:07:25 GMT from United States)
@8 Q: "What happens to Debian if Ubuntu folds?" Correct A: "Most people will change to something besides a Debian based distro like Fedora, openSUSE, Mandriva, Arch, Slackware, and the list goes on. Debian is by no means the only game in town. Debian would not fold but it would be changed. More people have had more exposure to Debian now then ever because of Ubuntu. If that was to all of a sudden stop I believe the newest users, especially younger users, will either go to another big name distro like openSUSE or maybe even one of the better known smaller distros like PCLinuxOS or maybe even back to MS Windows. I don't believe they would switch to Debian. Personally I would either switch to Fedora or Mandriva for a Linux distro and probably use FreeBSD as my main system. To me it wouldn't be worth it to try to use Debian. I know others feel different and that just dandy but these are just my personal feelings and as such only pertain to me.
@12, The cyborg would not have the proper virus protection, would contract a virus and would self terminate for no apparent reason. He could be rebooted in safe mode but a terminator cyborg running in safe mode is more or less useless. (no drivers for the weapons systems)
21 • Customer Service (by Ron on 2010-08-09 17:43:54 GMT from United States)
First, did someone say Debian has died? The developers have disbanded and dissolved Debian? Noooooo. LOL. Now you realize this will make it to Google. Someone searching Debian will see this, read only part of it and there goes the Internet rumors, ;-) lol
Ok, back to the subject. I think may developers need to do what they do best and just shut up. Their strengths are in other areas, possibly many areas, however sometimes communication is not one of them. Don't get me wrong. I love developers and what they do, especially the ones that give freely of their time and do not get paid at all.
I also think two other things need to be done and fast. I personally stopped going to a distro's forums. For three reasons.
1) after I recommended a certain distro to somebody and tell them to check out that distro's forum, many come back and tell me how rude, unorganized the forums area. Remember these are complete newbies who want a change but are really lost. I help them when I am available but I am encouraging them to look it up and ask themselves at the appropriate places. Now, rather then just saying that the opensource community is a very helpful and friendly place I have to let them know there are some people that are just as*e*, ignore them some places are clueless stay away from them.
2) Some proprietary individuals from certain companies have infiltrated some forums. These days it is evil to say you hate MS Windows without getting jumped and attacked by a group of them and some sheep who just follow what they think is the popular thing to do. Forums really need to keep up on this. I don't even bother with forums anymore, to much of a hassle.
3)Some moderators at forums can be the most frustrating people around and there is no sense in saying anything. They are mods, they will always win.
So while I agree that SOME developers should just sit back and be quiet I also see issues in other places as well.
22 • Support and stuff (by davemc on 2010-08-09 17:45:02 GMT from United States)
#19 - more likely it would just BSOD and self destruct after attempting to contact Microsoft Customer Support and finding itself unable to understand the Indian guy that he finally got through to.
Whats all this about Customer Support? People pay $$$ for that. In Open Source it is not needed. Google for your answer and follow directions given or figure out how to fix it yourself. Just how it is, and we like it like that. Of course there is no need to be snooty on Forums or Dev Mailing Lists or Bug Trackers, but its clear to me that on most of those links you posted, an effort was made to explain why things were the way they were to all the whiners and they would not listen or refused to, and instead just got angry at the messenger/Dev. The case about Chrome was indeed the most entertaining in that regard, because the Devs were obviously implementing a function by direction from above and had no leeway, yet people just kept crying away like it would make any difference whatever... It wont, and IMO, alot of those guys should have already known that - fooey on them.
The same is true of Red Hat/Fedora, Ubuntu/Canonical (see UI changes), Archlinux, OpenSuSE, etc. etc.. If any Open Source project decides to change things or implement some new feature, they can and no amount of crying will change it. As far as "market share" and such, well, Ubuntu is still #1 despite all huge amounts of whining that went on about the new UI changes. Chrome still is a clear leader in the browser share (that one I will never understand because it is not truly free and open source), and Red Hat has been making record breaking profits despite all the community schisms of the past. So, this dog wont hunt!
The article should have been a study into how the Open Source community treats/exploits/harasses Developers as the examples you linked clearly prove.
23 • Customer Service (A correction) (by Ron on 2010-08-09 17:46:00 GMT from United States)
"I also think some other things need to be done and fast. I personally stopped going to a distro's forums for three reasons. "
24 • @ 12: windows cyborg (by haha on 2010-08-09 17:56:04 GMT from United States)
That's the funniest thing I've seen all day. I wonder if they can reboot/troubleshoot it across time, since it probably will crash before gets through the portal.
25 • @11 (by Ron on 2010-08-09 17:58:32 GMT from United States)
I am not sure about others but I am one of those who have many, many, many cd's/dvd/s laying around with Linux on them as well. Every year I have my digital spring cleaning, mainly to make room for the newest releases.
26 • Review Ideas (by Sly on 2010-08-09 18:09:13 GMT from United States)
Jessie, how about a review of the functionality of the latest Linux utility releases such as System Rescue or Parted Magic.
Just a thought.....
27 • Big Boys Gone (by Landor on 2010-08-09 18:33:25 GMT from Canada)
Since we're discussing one gone, why not all the Big Distributions?
If the Linux landscape changed overnight and I found myself running a dead-end flavour of Linux because not only my current choice, but every other major choice closed up shop, I'd switch to a source based distribution as soon as I could get it built. If Gentoo was still around it could be that, but it could just as easily be something else. I'd even consider just building it from the ground up myself as then I wasn't bound by any specific distribution. In a case like that where errors and bug-fixes would require a lot of effort, I'd just make sure I barred the doors really well and set a specific interval for updates and such since they're done manually.
Most people wouldn't even consider the above,. But I figure in a case where they're all dropping like flies and you want the freedom to still use Linux then that would be the best scenario. Freedom doesn't come for free (meaning 0 effort)
Keep your stick on the ice...
28 • RE:27, That's one way to go about it. (by Eddie Wilson on 2010-08-09 18:54:18 GMT from United States)
Well true that's what we would have to do to still use a free Linux system. Maybe we should think about the good old BSD systems. Let's Go! I'm ready to compile.
29 • @27 @29 (by Ron on 2010-08-09 18:57:36 GMT from United States)
Just one word.... Haiku
30 • Re:10 • OpenSolaris (by BSDUser on 2010-08-09 19:02:58 GMT from United States)
It is a fork for OpenSolaris.
31 • Posting (by Jesse on 2010-08-10 12:31:48 GMT from Canada)
Sorry, posting temporarily stopped working last night. We should be back in business now.
32 • #26 (by Anonymous on 2010-08-10 12:46:08 GMT from Canada)
Yes, I also would like that.
33 • My contribution to the "Developers who 'know' the best way to do things" list (by Me, too on 2010-08-10 14:09:29 GMT from United States)
34 • Nomination (by Amateur Astronomer on 2010-08-10 14:13:46 GMT from New Zealand)
I would like to nominate Stellarium (http://stellarium.org/) as a possible recipient for your monthly donation.
35 • "..Dell's stance on selling Ubuntu" / and other things (by Mark Carter on 2010-08-10 14:15:59 GMT from United States)
Don't know about others, but I thought the headline reading "...Dell's stance on selling Ubuntu" was unfortunate at best. The article itself was OK as far as it went, but the headline -- for those who read only headlines -- is the sort of thing that might easily lead those who don't read to spreading rumors and unfounded claims.
36 • Nomination (by Sepps Rache on 2010-08-10 14:51:39 GMT from Germany)
I would like to nominate GRAMPS (http://www.gramps-project.org) as a possible recipient for your monthly donation.
37 • Worse nightmare than Debian closing (by RollMeAway on 2010-08-10 15:02:30 GMT from United States)
Jury says Novell owns Unix copyright
Novell for Sale:
Now suppose ms buys Novell. The price would be peanuts for ms, after decades of overcharging and making many billionaires,
Of course ms would pursue the path SCO tried, and sue every Linux company in the world.
That would put debian and (list goes here) out of business for years, if not forever.
Ms could always put up the money and use another company as a front to do the same thing. Much like the rumors that ms supplied money to SCO.
Guess we all should become more familiar with the BSDs?
38 • Donation suggestions (by Jesse on 2010-08-10 15:03:25 GMT from Canada)
For the people who have make donation nominations, please hold on to those for a few more weeks. Ladislav handles the donations and he is currently taking a vacation. He will resume listening to suggestions and making donations when he gets back in the office.
39 • @37, Nightmare Scenario (by Fred Nelson on 2010-08-10 15:44:51 GMT from United States)
Except that Linux has no actual UNIX code in it. So copyright-wise, Linux is in the same boat as the BSD's. Finding the Novell owned the copyright may have taken the wind out of the sails of the SCO lawsuits, but they would have been futile anyway. If it's patents that are the problem, then Linux may be vulnerable, but again, so would the BSD's, but even worse as the BSD's actually have direct UNIX lineage.
So if that doomsday scenario plays out (which I very highly doubt; anti-trust concerns would come into play if nothing else, and you can't hide behind a proxy forever), then you might want to brush up on your Windows skills instead...
40 • Debian "Squeeze" now frozen? (by Anonymous on 2010-08-10 16:19:12 GMT from Italy)
So which installer are they going to use? I suppose the old one, considering that the new one is still in Alpha stage.
41 • Doomsday (by fernbap on 2010-08-10 18:35:31 GMT from Portugal)
This issue is just academic.
You can't make open source software disappear.
If one organization goes belly up, someone else will take the project from where it ended and carry on. (there are already talks about both Mandriva and OpenSolaris, in the case lack of corporate support).
Debian is probably invulnerable at this moment, due to its community nature and the huge number of people involved. Even if Debian disappeared, distros like Ubuntu would in a short time base itself on something else.
Yes, money is important, but lack of money will just make evolution slower.
As to the Linux kernel, it would be a huge blow, no doubt, but there are already alternatives, besides someone else taking the project and keeping it alive.
You just can't stop Open Source.
42 • Slackware (by Robert on 2010-08-10 18:37:46 GMT from United States)
Well, I did it!
I now have my first Linux Box up and running. You may remember that I choose Slackware as my first distro of choice. The text based installer was a bit of a throw back in time, but I was able to navigate my way through it quite easily. IMO, it’s a bit archaic in today’s GUI based world but it does work very well and is quite flexible.
I did run into some problems getting my Intel 3945abg wireless card up and running. Not that it doesn’t work very well, but figuring out that I needed to edit /etc/fstab before I could access the dvd drive in order to install wicd was a challenge to say the least.
I am impressed by the various window managers available to me but have settled on XFCE. KDE4 is available and rather pretty to look at but I prefer the no nonsense desktop that xfce provides. Fluxbox seems a bit daunting to try at this time but I may venture that way after some long nights of reading MAN pages.
Bringing the system up to date was rather easy by way of editing the slackpkg/mirrors file and issuing slackpkg update, upgrade-all. Finding extra packages has been a bit of a challenge but I have been told the slackbuilds provides quality packages. I will research this more over the weekend.
All in all I have enjoyed the last couple of days and look forward to learning more about the world of GNU/Linux
43 • RE:42, You've started out right. (by Eddie Wilson on 2010-08-10 18:59:37 GMT from United States)
Robert you choose a good distro to learn about the outside and more importantly the insides of Linux. I'm looking forward to hearing how you get along with that great Slackware system.
44 • @Robert, #42 (by Barnabyh on 2010-08-10 21:06:24 GMT from United Kingdom)
Congratulations on choosing a clean system Robert. You shouldn't have to edit fstab any more on a modern Slackware to mount a drive. Did you make yourself member of the 'plugdev' group? Automounting should work like on any other modern Linux distro.
45 • Linux-on-USB (by Jan on 2010-08-10 21:14:38 GMT from Netherlands)
I have been playing with Linux installed on an USB-stick.
Thre are a few tools for that: Unetbootin, Fedora-Live-USB, Mandriva-seed, Pendrive's USB-installer and LiLi.
A few enable the possibility of persistent. Of which I got the idea that the installed Linux-on-USB could be upgraded (most Live-CD's have older versions of the browser or Office, a.o. because of security-risks). So not using the Live-USB as an alternative for a Live-CD/DVD for installing to the HDD, however using the USB-stick as the OS.
However after several try-outs and one remark in a forum discussion which I found at Googling, I have to conclude that when the kernel is upgraded, the USB is made unusable.
Can anyone confirm this, or give the right information to achieve an up-to-date Linux-on-USB (so fully updatable).
If my conclusion is right, then Linux-on-USB is nothing more than a convienent replacement of the Live-CD/DVD (far less risk of write-error at making the CD/DVD).
Except then for distro's which are upgraded frequently, like PMagic, RIP, etcetera (which contain mostly a recent browser, however no Office).
Anyone with interesting additional information?
46 • RE: 18 - 29/30 (by Landor on 2010-08-10 21:27:40 GMT from Canada)
"I have an interest in documenting issues and finding ways to resolve user issues in Fedora"
I'm curious, is that just an interest regarding Fedora only, or a course of study or personal interest overall? I find areas of study like this interesting, is why I ask.
Regarding Fedora and an issue. One problem with Fedora really bothers me, something I can't understand the reasoning behind. There were a lot of known issues with Fedora 12 when it was released (not uncommon for any distribution), but one in particular I find insane not to fix and redistribute new install ISOs to the mirrors. It was the update issue with PackageKit. It was of course known and I personally find this a critical issue. There is a command line fix of course, that sets things right, for people just dropping in for Fedora the first time, or those not used to the command line (very little Linux knowledge), this is critical as I said for a "desktop" environment. Why wouldn't Fedora reseed the mirrors with an updated ISO for something as critical?
Just to let you know as well, I'm currently running Fedora 12 as my main system on my netbook. So, I'm not trying to bash Fedora, just a honest gripe/question.
I really like BSD, and most likely would go to OpenBSD if totally switching was the only alternative. Haiku could benefit from a lot more use/support too of course. Personally, I'm old school, the whole "in for a penny, in for a pound" thing. I'd pretty well stick with Linux until that was no longer possible. That's for the desktop anyway.
Keep your stick on the ice...
47 • Slackware (by Robert on 2010-08-10 22:04:11 GMT from United States)
@ Eddie & Barnabyh,
Thanks for the endorsement of Slackware and of my decision.
@Barnabyh, The default install leaves /dev/cdrom commented out like below.
# /dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom
In order to mount the dvd I had to remove the comment (#) instruction then issue the command mount /dev/cdrom then cd /mnt/cdrom in order to access the cd.
Note: I did not include myself as part of the plugdev group but will now do so. Thanks for the info.
48 • @46 (by Ron on 2010-08-10 22:07:59 GMT from United States)
Yeah, I wish Haiku had more user.
I really can't see Linux dieing at all anyways or BSD for that matter. I am keeping my eye on Haiku and now Illumos. I love choise and it would be nice if all four where on more equal ground with Mac's and Windows, though really BSD should be way ahead of Linux if Apple showed some respect for its roots. But my opinion on that is another topic for another time.
49 • Nr. 45 - linux on usb (by gnomic on 2010-08-11 01:10:53 GMT from New Zealand)
It's a bit hard to know from your description what is up here, but I see no particular reason why linux on usb should not be upgraded. However if for example the boot process expects to see a certain kernel (let's say 2.6.30 for example) but in fact sees a different version, the results may well not be good. This is not a help forum for specific issues - the avenue of first resort would be the forums of whatever distro or distros you are trying out. Distributions vary quite widely in the ease of installation on USB sticks and handle the persistence issue in differing ways. Some use the FAT filesystem commonly found on USB sticks, others reformat the device. It's a while since I've dabbled with this so haven't a current preferred system in mind, but Puppy Linux is reasonably simple with respect to the install at least I believe. I think MEPIS also has a good USB installer. Once installed Linux on USB should be much like Linux on a hard disk.
50 • RE: 45/49 - 48 (by Landor on 2010-08-11 02:16:56 GMT from Canada)
I think the problem here is you're dealing with a live iso (there's the difference gnomic). Depending on what you actually want to use, why not just use your USB-stick as a normal install for one distribution, or even two or three if you want? What I mean by this, is go through the installer and actually install it to the USB-stick as you would any other Linux Distribution. You then (if you had a large stick) install more if you chose. This depends on two things of course though. First that you have a USB-stick large enough (4GB for one system, depending), and second, that you don't need the actual "live" aspect of the distribution and are only using it on one machine. In this case, albeit it slow for writes and such, you'll be able to fully update the system when, and as required.
I hope this helps you.
As Fred at 39 said, if patents come into play, Linux could be vulnerable. It's been said you can't get rid of open source software, Linux will always be here, etc. If history has taught us anything, its taught us that nothing lasts forever. Even the face of our planet changes drastically. For any of use to believe that Linux will always be here, that's very short sited, and also, limiting as well.
But to just go a bit further on Fred's comment about patents. What would quite a few of Red Hat's major customers (and share holders) be thinking if all of a sudden Linux got slammed with a "major" patent suit? I know what I'd be thinking, time for an alternative. Bye Red Hat, we'll see you Linux survives this. So, in my opinion, even a major patent suit just in court against Linux (the kernel) would ruin it, or very well could. It would definitely damage Red Hat badly, in my opinion anyway.
One thing I wanted to mention, since we're talking about customer service, forums, developers, etc, there's one person that at times in my opinion does critical damage to this community with his rude behaviour, Linux Torvalds. I don't think it's appropriate for someone in his very visible position to go on some of the rants he does towards others, or about things. It really casts this community in a bad light, and gives other people justification for similar displays of rudeness, as they're the herd and just follow suit.
Keep your stick on the ice..
51 • @46, PackageKit (by Scott on 2010-08-11 03:31:05 GMT from United States)
Which PackageKit issue are you referring to? The one that any user can upgrade any signed package without authorization? The developer considers that a feature and has closed the bug. It actually would have made it into RH had someone not caught it.
52 • absolute linux contact details (by gnomic on 2010-08-11 04:46:01 GMT from New Zealand)
Anybody got contact details for the Absolute Linux guy? That's Mr Paul Sherman I believe. Had an email address for him associated with forums registration, but it seems to have died. Can't see any contact details on the site.
53 • RE: 42 (by jake on 2010-08-11 05:16:47 GMT from United States)
Not sure I'd recommend bone-stock Slackware as a first experience with Linux for a computer novice ... but it sounds to me like you have enough computer background to make it into a positive learning experience without any hand-holding.
I generally run KDE on Slack, although in a drastically cut-down varietal. It's really a pretty good window manager, once you cut all the useless eye candy out of it. Why KDE? Because I like the ease of customization ... makes it easy for me to build Slack desktops when converting Windows users.
For the record, as a 35+ year un*x user, Slackware is the closest thing to what I consider UNIX[tm] of any of the Linux distros. The proverbial "they" say that if you learn any given distro, you learn that distro ... but if you learn Slackware, you learn all distros (I could say the same of most of the BSDs).
Enjoy, and welcome to the fray ... I quite look forward to your further commentary :-)
54 • @52 absolute linux (by RollMeAway on 2010-08-11 05:32:39 GMT from United States)
Sorry I cannot help with the contact, but
I just have to ask, do you actually USE absolute?
I ask after coincidently, spending about 3 hours this evening in udder frustration, trying to make a week old installation of absolute USABLE.
So many things are broken, I wouldn't even know where to start.
I have another installation (different computer) from January and it is a basket case too, even after enabling a slack repo on it.
I ask again, do you actually USE absolute?
55 • RE: 54 (by Landor on 2010-08-11 06:04:13 GMT from Canada)
I should have been more clear, especially for Rahul.
When Fedora 12 shipped you couldn't update the system "graphically". You'd go through the update process and somewhere it would error out. It's in the list of known bugs/problems.
I encountered that when I took it for a test drive on its release. Then a few months later I decided to give it another shot on my netbook (and I'm glad I did), but it slipped my mind about the whole issue of the error. I had deleted the ISO as well by that time and downloaded a fresh ISO. Low and behold, I went through the install, and the same issue came up. Updates from the notifier on the panel (doing it graphically) was broken. So I had to do the update manually. No big deal of course, for someone who has done it before. But I was more than annoyed by the fact that they left it broken. I think updating your system (and taking new users/the uninitiated into account is a big issue and a new ISO should have been built. That's just shoddy practice in my opinion. Not professional at all. So, didn't make the look very good.
Keep your stick on the ice...
56 • #54 like really actually use absolute? (by gnomic on 2010-08-11 06:29:38 GMT from New Zealand)
Hum, I guess the answer to that is no. I did have an install a couple of years back which I was using on a hard drive attached to a laptop via a USB/IDE adapter. Had to build some delay into the boot process to allow the system to recognise USB, otherwise at that point it seemed to run acceptably for some editing and web browsing. Maybe that was version 13.0.something. Earlier this year I tried another install on a Duron 900 desktop which fell into my hands. It refused to install, the kernel was too huge or not huge enough, something obscure. Salix spat the dummy on the same box with a similar error. Must have been a Slackware thing. Never got around to finding out what that was about. The box had 1.5G of RAM but iirc it was complaining about not enough RAM, so go figure.
Of late I was going to try again with the most recent iso, which I downloaded only to find that less than a week later there was a new iso to fix some errors before I got around to attempting the install. That seems to be not uncommon in Absolute land. It is a solo effort afaict so I expect it's not surprising. I note the forums seem pretty quiet. There's no live CD, but the man known as AegisX did make a live version which may still be around at multidistro.com. I am probably going to make an attempt to install the iso I have as I thought it might be useful on the Duron as a standalone machine for some writing and such. Besides I need to nail that pesky install problem if it's still present.
In general I like Slackware-based live CDs but maybe Salix or Zenwalk are where it's at currently. I guess someone is using Absolute, if only its developer.
57 • Slackware Continued (by Robert on 2010-08-11 10:58:59 GMT from United States)
So, I spent the better part of this morning tweaking my Slackware setup. As you know Slackware does not come with a lot of the creature comforts pre-installed. I had to manually add the flash plugin to my firefox/plugins directory. I also had compile from source the libraries to handle proprietary codecs (this process can trully make a newbie feel like a geek). What's more impressive than watching a bunch of code flash by inside a termial?
Everything completed without fail. Now mind you I spent 2 1/2 hours this morning reading man pages and Googling before I started.
I am starting to form an opinion about the negative publicity Linux gets from the MS world. And that is: if you don't like to read, Linux may not be for you.
So, so far I have flash support, codec support and the ability to play DVD's. I am almost up to par with my ex-Windows box.
I have a few more things I want to accomplish before I can trully say that I have no need for Windows.
58 • Slackware and things (by davemc on 2010-08-11 14:11:13 GMT from United States)
#57 - Your kind of doing things backwards from a modern Linux newby's perspective. Most - probably 90% or greater - go with a much easier, more newby friendly distro to start off with and ease their way in (Ubuntu, Fedora, PCLos, Mandriva, MEPIS, Knoppix, Mint, Sabayon). After they have gotten past the few issues that invariably crop up post install, working with the command line a bit, and feeling their way around all the myriad of wonderful FOSS apps within their stable system, then move on to a more intermediate or advanced level distro (such as Slackware or Archlinux) to continue their journey down the Linux path on a better footing. While there is nothing wrong with how your doing it, its certainly much more "scary", and the lack of Linux fundamentals knowledge turn it into a serious project. For example, the things your currently struggling with, are all preconfigured out of the box in all of the above mentioned "newby" oriented distro's, and you dont usually have to even think about things like that. Codecs come preinstalled in Mint and PCLos, and in Ubuntu and Fedora they are so easy to install that barely any thought at all needs to go into it. Updates and upgrades in Ubuntu are all automated and work flawlessly (for most), and distros like PCLos, Archlinux, and Gentoo are "rolling release", so no upgrades will ever be required - just updates. However, Linux = Linux, so in that regard, all Linux Distro's are the same, but vary on configurations, scripts, and options. You can/will learn the fundamentals of Linux just as well on any of them, eventually.
59 • @50 Actually... (by Ron on 2010-08-11 14:41:09 GMT from United States)
I think what is more likely to happen in the future is that we will get a different type of computer, more advanced then the types we have now. That will change the OS part of it as well as the software part.
I think it would be a mistake for MS to file patent's like that. There is a growing number of Governments that are using it because it is more stable, more secure BUT mainly because it is cheaper. If all of a sudden they have to start paying out all this money, they are not going to be happy with the one (s) that caused that too happen. Or they will ignore it all together which may leave Linux intact in those countries.
Anything is possible.
60 • Slackware Continued (by Robert on 2010-08-11 14:50:37 GMT from United States)
Thank you for the input and insight into the benefits the other OS's offer.
In all due respect, I think it is the modern Linux user that may have things backwards. Granted I have only been using Linux for 3 days so my opinion may hold little weight but I think it is paramount that one learns anything and everything from the ground up to avoid complacency.
If I were to install one of the distro's you suggested why would I have the need to dig any deeper? Slackware has forced my out of necessity to learn at a much quicker pace thus shortening the learning curve, IMO.
I am not saying that one day I will not venture to install one of the distro’s you mentioned but for now I want to gain a deeper understanding of how the Linux kernel and the various software that sits on top if works.
Maybe I am a glutton for punishment or maybe I enjoy learning. The verdict is still out.
61 • @56 (by Barnabyh on 2010-08-11 15:42:18 GMT from United Kingdom)
Pretty much exactly what I've just been doing on a 1000Mhz Duron (900 normal speed + oc). It installed fine but some shortcuts do not seem to work that were working in Virtualbox. What you are talking about with the kernel could be lilo throwing a tantrum that the kernel is too big because it's using the huge-smp. It may be better with the generic one and an initrd.
I only got that problem when trying to boot it directly, when I went to chainloading it from another install all was well.
62 • Slackware Continued (by fernbap on 2010-08-11 15:48:53 GMT from Portugal)
I commend you for taking the hard and correct route to Linux. That will be good for you, but not that good for anyone that asks you for help. You will be able to help other people, like yourself, that want to learn the Slackware way.
However, in a world where most people are desktop users, if you are not familiar with the gui utilities for managing your desktop, you will not be able to help the "normal" guy.
I'm sure you recall how you became a windows power user. I bet you didn't take that approach, instead you started fiddling with the very poor and unfriendly desktop utilities and gradually learned the insides of windows.
The reason why i said this is that you are at risk of, instead of broadening your knowledge on Linux, you may become a slackware expert... and that's all. Linux is much more than that.
If a friend of yours, which uses Ubuntu, or whatever, asks you for help on his desktop specific problem, you won't be able to transmit to him the knowledge he needs.
What you also need is dektop experience. Not to mention the different package managers, window managers, desktop specific utilities, etc.
I would advise you to, after you feel comfortable with your current slackware system, to begin distrohopping and have a couple of additional partitions on your hard disk for trying them.
I agree XFCE is a good choice (i prefer LXDE), but it is not the most used desktop by far. The 2 "giants" are KDE and Gnome. You should try them both (perhaps in your "distrohopping partitions").
63 • RE:60, No Glutton for Punishment (by Eddie Wilson on 2010-08-11 15:49:47 GMT from United States)
Robert you are not a glutton for punishment. If you were you would be trying "Linux From Scratch". It's the ultimate learning tool for a Linux operating system. davemc has a point when he talks about a new user needing to start off with something more friendly. For most people that would be the way to start with Linux. That's not true in all cases of course. You are more of the exception than the rule. As long as you enjoy yourself all is right with the world.
64 • From one end or the other (by Jesse on 2010-08-11 16:16:16 GMT from Canada)
I think which Linux distro people should start with depends on what they want to get out of it. Rob seems determined to learn Linux from the ground up, so Slackware makes a reasonable choice. Someone who just wanted their computer to work and wasn't interested in learning what makes their computer tick is probably better off with the more novice-friendly distros.
Personally I started with a trimmed down version of Slack, and it was a great (if sometimes frustrating) learning experience because I wanted to learn how UNIX worked.
Good luck, Robert!
65 • Distro paths (by davemc on 2010-08-11 17:57:00 GMT from United States)
Robert - "If I were to install one of the distro's you suggested why would I have the need to dig any deeper?"
This is the age old question. I will assume that since your posting here that Linux is much more to you than just another OS. For people like us, Linux is a journey that never ends. So, I would say that you already answered that question yourself. You will dig deeper into Linux regardless the Distro your using because you want to know. You will distro hop for the same reason. Had you started with Ubuntu the underlying quest to know would still be there, but learning from within such a robust foundation such as that provides much more food for thought. Slackware has many limitations and boundaries that just dont exist for most Debian or Red Hat based distro's because of their well established foundations - repositories, package management, and ease of use. In short, its much easier to learn and explore from within those environments than from within Slackware's somewhat limited infrastructure.
66 • Slackware Continued (by Robert on 2010-08-11 18:30:48 GMT from United States)
Duly noted. I think you are accurate in assuming that I would still want to look under the hood.
Are you the same Jesse that contributes content to this site? If so, thanks. I have now read the last 10 weeks of DWW and found it quite enjoyable.
What is this "Linux from Scratch" you speak of? Obviously I am going to Google it the moment I press "Submit comment".
I am also intrigued by the FreeBSD information that has been commented on the last couple of weeks. Are there many people on this site that run FreeBSD?
Thank you everyone for your comments, thoughts and advice thus far.
67 • @ Jake (by Robert on 2010-08-11 18:38:16 GMT from United States)
I would like to learn more about cutting down KDE. What documentation can you point me to. Are you still a Slackware user and if so what sites would you recommend that I visit.
I have completed most of the online Slackbook but it is outdated and based mostly on the 2.4 kernel. It looks like a new book is being worked on and should be out in several months. According to the Slackbook website anyway. I have found a lot of useful inforamtion in regards to setting up users and permissions.
68 • That guy (by Jesse on 2010-08-11 19:26:07 GMT from Canada)
Are you the same Jesse that contributes content to this site? If so, thanks. I have now read the last 10 weeks of DWW and found it quite enjoyable.
Yes, I'm that guy. Glad you've been enjoying DWW. Drop me a line some time and we can compare Learning Linux scars :)
69 • Absolute Linux (by Barnabyh on 2010-08-11 19:39:28 GMT from United Kingdom)
Incidentally today Absolute Linux was mentioned here, I've been working on a review for the last 10 days on and off.
If you're interested come and have a read at this simple design blog http://all-things-linux.blogspot.com/2010/08/linux-light-absolute-linux-131.html where it's more about the content than the frame (I'm not good at graphic design) and tell me what you think about Absolute, even if it's just "that's what I thought too".
70 • RE: 59 - Distributions for New Users - Barnaby (by Landor on 2010-08-11 20:36:56 GMT from Canada)
While computers probably will change in some form, I'm sure there will be the die-hards running the old boxes, just like the guys that still run OS/2. I'll most likely be one of them. While I like mobility, it's a bit of a contradiction for me. I like the old style of systems more.
My friend that posts here from time to time, CC, wanted to get rid of Windows on her netbook and asked what she should try. If it hadn't been a netbook I would have automatically told her something along the lines of Gentoo or another source based distribution. I'm serious too. There may be a learning curve, but let's use Gentoo as an example. I've stated many times, anyone could install Gentoo from the manual with basically 0 technical knowledge. I think Slackware is the same really. Then there's the benefits as everyone here has stated of knowing/in control of the system you're running, not the other way around. It all comes down to what Eddie and davemc stated, it's about what the person wants to know, or is willing to learn. The rest comes easy after that choice. To a degree..lol So I don't really believe there's any one size fits all distribution for new users. I think it's better to assess the person's wants, and their needs, then go from there.
She's been ready for a change for a while too. We've been discussing it, though her plate is full at the moment. She's been using Gnome and wants to give KDE4 a try. Isn't it funny how that usually goes though. Most that come to the community that opt in on one system branch out after the initial learning curve.
Barnaby, I've been looking at your blog periodically for a bit now and wanted to say I've enjoyed your writing over there. Keep it up, I agree with Jake's previous comment about it.
Keep your stick on the ice...
71 • Hi Landor (by Barnabyh on 2010-08-11 20:54:14 GMT from United Kingdom)
Great, thanks very much. I've really come to like writing this as a hobby, and it's good to know others enjoy reading it.
Re. distributions for new users on a netbook, I know you won't agree with me here, but I think PCLOS Openbox is pretty good. It comes with the tint2 panel which you can customize all in a text file to give it some cool rounded edges and transparency. And you have the Control Center. This would be for the people who don't want to learn more than absolutely necessary.
72 • Re: 67 & Re: 70 (by jake on 2010-08-12 08:09:47 GMT from United States)
Robert ... I really wish I could point you at specific KDE-centric sites where you could catch sight of cites describing how to customize KDE. Unfortunately, I kinda picked up on that information over the years, and don't know if it's available in one place. It should be. I'll poke around a little, if I find anything I'll get back to you. If I don't, maybe that's where I'll make my public FOSS mark. Stay tuned, but carry on without me ;-)
Landor ... Might want to provide a link ... I'm not going to paddle my own GNU.
73 • @9 it's normal, sad but true. (by yaess! on 2010-08-12 09:47:36 GMT from Germany)
sidux will most probably relaunch under a new name next week. (If you wonder, why there is no new kernel , they needed the time to prepare for the relaunch...it's been said, the new release is ready to go.)
Another possibility: the foundation behind them will quit supporting sidux, because the devs have proven that they can't handle humans over and over again. they don't care for users, the community (the sidux community used to be great in the old times), the leadership just cares for the technical side of things...
The guys with good manners already left the project and the forum.
Don't expect the folks at sidux to be more polite in the future. they cannot, nor do they want to...
what's happening with sidux atm is a shame.
yaess! - yet another ex- sidux supporter.
74 • Slackware Geek (by Robert on 2010-08-12 11:09:36 GMT from United States)
@Jake, thanks anyway.
I know many of you already know this but keep in mind Linux is new to me. What am I talking about----Links, a text based browser. I have totaly gone geek, nerd or whatever we're called nowadays.
I discovered it last night and I must say I love it. **I don't need no stinking pictures**, lol. It is trully an efficient way browsing for text (information). I just may be able to operate completely from a terminal. I will be spending this evening reading up on how to listen to my mp3 collection from the terminal. Any advice??
Is this normal behavior for a newbie? I seem to be going backward as davemc put it. But man is this fun!!
75 • Terminal ops (by davemc on 2010-08-12 13:53:03 GMT from United States)
Its more than possible to go completely GUI free in almost any OS. The text based browsers your referring to (there are a few) are typically used as a fallback for when things go really wrong and all you have is command line to work with, and its certainly handy to have when your doing a more advanced Distro install to help you figure things out until you can get the GUI's up and running. Server based installs typically don't have X Windows or use GUI's to stay light on resource waste and those tools come in handy for that as well.
There are guides a plenty on the net that get into trimming down various WM's, but in almost every case they involve just removing unused processes (bluetooth daemons, etc.) from the startup script, cleaning up the system with tools like Janitor, and trimming out resource heavy apps in favor of their lighter alternatives, such as using Konqueror or Rekonq instead of Firefox (epiphany instead of FF in GNOME), for example. This is the primary advantage of using Distros like Slackware, Archlinux, and Gentoo that basically build a system from the ground up where you control exactly what goes into your system, bootup/runlevel script building, etc.. You basically build your system exactly to fit your needs instead of a "one size fits all" type of install. To build a system properly to take advantage of these benefits though requires some experience and know-how. In your case I would recommend taking your experiences so far in hand and reinstall from scratch again when you feel you have learned enough to build your system the way you want it to be. Each successive reinstall will yield a leaner, meaner OS that will have lightning fast response times and run light on resources, even with stock KDE4, because you learn alot each time you do it.
76 • Ubuntu bug reports (by Steve on 2010-08-12 14:55:20 GMT from Canada)
I'm running the latest Ubuntu alpha release, and whenever a program crashes, it tells me to report the bug to the developers. I would be happy to do so if bug management was done like Microsoft does it, completely anonymously, you simply hit submit and it sends the information. However, Ubuntu has decided that I have to go to a website and start making accounts and put all my information in just to submit a bug. Come on. I'm doing you a favor, you shouldn't be forcing me to jump through hoops in order to do it. I'm not sure if anyone can suggest a reason for this foolish idea, but unless a good explanation is given, I'm never running this operating system again. Unbelievable, the nerve of some people.
77 • Robert: life in ONLY terminals (by RollMeAway on 2010-08-12 15:31:04 GMT from United States)
Do a web search for
It is a live CD with extensive (exclusive) use of the terminal (s).
Sounds like this may be a boon to your linux education.
INX is an Ubuntu-based Live CD Linux distribution. INX is a "Live CD" distribution of GNU/Linux, derived from Ubuntu 8.04.1 LTS, but using "ubuntu-minimal" and "ubuntu-standard" as a base. It is console only, without any graphical "X" programs.INX is intended as a "tutorial" and introduction to the Bash command line, but is a fully capable, portable GNU/Linux system in its own right....
78 • RE:76 Why Tell Us.....Steve (by Eddie Wilson on 2010-08-12 15:52:35 GMT from United States)
What is it you have a problem with? Nobody is forcing you to do anything. If you want to file a bug report to help with a project then it shouldn't be asking too much for you make an account. If that would keep you from ever using this operating system then you wouldn't have used it anyway. I do believe that you are the first person I've ever heard whine about that. I would suggest that you go back to helping Microsoft. They need your input more than Ubuntu does.
79 • Two Things (by No*Tor*ik on 2010-08-12 16:11:17 GMT from United States)
#70 C'mon really...Gentoo for newbies? LOL. I wonder how many unsuspecting people you have driven away from Linux with outlandish recommendations like this. At least mention Mint, Puppy, Ubuntu, or PCLOS.
General Comment: On another subject, PCLOS Zen Mini is good for resource limited machines. I just spent a couple of days installing different distros on such a machine and the winner on this particular machine is Zen Mini.
80 • @76 (by Ron on 2010-08-12 17:07:25 GMT from United States)
The difference here is that Ubuntu ASKS you for this information, so you are aware of it. Microsoft just takes it WITHOUT asking, so you never know.
Personally I would rather have the respect and be asked then have it stolen from me whether I like it or not.
The nerve of Ubuntu for asking while Microsoft steals it?! lol
81 • Slackware Geek (by fernbap on 2010-08-12 17:32:08 GMT from Portugal)
"I discovered it last night and I must say I love it. **I don't need no stinking pictures**, lol."
It is as i feared LOL! Don't worry, you will bet past it.
Anyway, i think you're better than that. The reason the GEM environments were created was because they are actually easier and faster to use, which directly influences your productivity.
Of course, i don't know wether you want your computer to actually do anything....
Computers are more than just toys you use to amuse yourself. Most people expect their computers to be useful.
Anyway, whatever turns you on is good :D
82 • Console music player (by fernbap on 2010-08-12 17:37:30 GMT from Portugal)
Anyway, for a console music player try moc.
83 • Ubuntu bug report (by adnana on 2010-08-12 17:48:18 GMT from India)
I don't know about Ubuntu. I have been using Debian. I use a console based program called 'reportbug' . It's very easy to report bugs with this. It suits to all kinds users (novice, expert...), its interactive., no need of giving any information of your's. Ubuntu also might have 'reportbug' . search.
84 • Computers (by Robert on 2010-08-12 19:37:12 GMT from United States)
@fernbap, My day job consist of sitting at a pc entering data 10-12 hours a day. Now multiply this by 220 days per year (the number of days I work) and then multiply that by 18 years (number of years I have been using windows/DOS). You would think after all that time I would know windows inside and out, and I do.
But I know more abou the Linux Os in 4 1/2 days then I do about Windows. Is it fun, is it a toy, does it amuse me? Hell yes!
I am productive all day long so the last thing I want to be on *my time* is productive.
On another note- thanks for the tip about moc. I will check it out this evening.
85 • @84 (by Patrick on 2010-08-12 19:46:18 GMT from United States)
Since you're having fun with the command line right now, I thought I'd mention the program "GNU screen". I only recently figured out how to use it myself, and it is quite fantastic. It allows for very smooth multitasking within the command line environment. It also will prevent your running programs from terminating if you lose your terminal connection (when logging in remotely) and allows you to reconnect to your session as you left it!
I'm sure I haven't even scratched the surface of what it can do, it is quite impressive. :-)
86 • Terminals (by jake on 2010-08-12 19:58:25 GMT from United States)
I send a login prompt to a serial port on this laptop's docking station, which in turn has a dumb terminal hanging off it. Comes in handy. In fact, I do most of my typing on it. Dumb terminals can usually be had for the price of picking them up. If you have the option, ALWAYS choose an IBM model M keyboard. Best keyboard ever made if you are a touch typist.
If you REALLY want to learn how to use your system, create a login with vi as your shell and teach yourself how to get around that way. Can be an eye opener.
Ignore the folks who insist that getting an OS that "just works" is the only way to fly; what they are effectively implying is that learning to muck about with the system is a waste of time. They are users, not admins ... not that there is anything wrong with that.
Agree with tearing down your system at some point to reinstall everything the way YOU want it. Maybe several times. But before you do, store all the little bits & bobs that you've downloaded to customize your Slack installation on removable media, just to save time & bandwidth later. While you are at it, try compiling your kernel for the first time, just to try it. You'll probably screw it up the first time or three, but you are planning on rebuilding from scratch anyway, so you might as well, right? :-)
87 • @85 (by fernbap on 2010-08-12 20:19:21 GMT from Portugal)
Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to downplay your interest in learning the insides of Linux, which is a good thing.
However, you *should* also learn the insides of X, not to mention the insides of your desktop of choice, you should learn about graphics card drivers and how to install them.
If you're into multimedia, you *should* learn the insides of ffmpeg, for instance, a complete command line suite for handling multimedia files.
As a side note, you could try FreeDos, and even install it on one of your partitions. Nice to have it around and revive some old apps (and some awesome dos games as well).
88 • Slackware (by Robert on 2010-08-12 20:56:28 GMT from United States)
Point well taken. I don't want to come off arrogant, and maybe my enthusiasm and desire to go back to basics has blinded me. But I have been using a GUI for so long that the lack of a user interface is appealing to me. Plus it easier on these old eyes.
I am going to spend the next week re-installing Slackware many times. I am going to attempt a custom install as a way to learn what's needed and what's not needed for a successful installation.
My goal is not to have the smallest footprint available because I could use something like Tiny Core if I wanted to do that. (*Just think 10 days ago I had never heard of Tiny Core or the other 99 distro listed on distrowatch*).
My goal is to truly understand how the different packages interact to form a cohesive whole. I want to understand dependencies both direct and indirect.
Maybe one day I will be a true slacker
89 • Robert: inx again! (by RollMeAway on 2010-08-12 21:15:06 GMT from United States)
Here is the homepage for inx:
Don't let the fact it isn't based upon slack bother you, nor the fact it is dated.
This is all about learning the command line:
Tutorials for bash, screen, ssh, editors, etc.
Life from the terminal.
You can watch videos, listen to music(even web radio), browse the web, email, etc.
all without a gui.
Browse their homepage, see the screenshots to understand what this is.
Once you've learned the tools, then apply them in your slack.
90 • inx (by Robert on 2010-08-12 21:26:31 GMT from United States)
Sorry I meant to comment on your suggestion. I will give it a look.
I noticed you use form of camel notation to spell your identity. Are you a programmer?
@Jake, Now that's what I'm talking about. Thanks!!
91 • @90 (by RollMeAway on 2010-08-12 21:49:31 GMT from United States)
Yes, I am a programmer, but, don't tell anyone! (ha!)
and I was listening to a Bog Seger song when I needed to come up with a name.
92 • RE: 70 - 71 (by Landor on 2010-08-12 23:32:16 GMT from Canada)
No need for thanks. I would have said something here sooner, but I didn't want to dispresepct you and let the cat out of the bag when it was your call to let people know about your blog, not mine. I should have said something there I guess.
I actually think tint2 is coming along very nicely as an alternative panel. :) For ease of use, you're right in a sense, I can't see openbox and such as a great alternative for a netbook. In my opinion they're meant to be portable and simply used. I think a full-fledged DE weighs in far better in that respect than any other lighter WM alternative. That's just a perception though.
I'll touch on PCLOS and some other similar "all-in-one" distributions now, to clarify a "part" of my stance on them at least. Maybe it will help some people understand some small part of my reasoning for comments against them.
One of the issues I have with "any" all in one distribution is the legal, and what I consider, moral issues. But, more than that, the total lack of respect for laws, and/or, other companies. Let's use flash as an example. It's my understanding (someone correct me if I'm wrong) that flash is licensed in such a way that it can't be distributed with an operating system, or bundled in some kind of package, without a prior agreement with Adobe. Now, a lot of people will say, "Hey, that goes against our freedoms, and we just want it installed", that's a nice view of theirs. What about Adobe's freedoms and rights? How many of these people would scream at the top of their lungs if the GPL was violated in some way? But here we have a contradiction within our community where what's good for the goose isn't good for the gander. I don't think as a community we should be disrespecting other companie's licenses, or their patents (however wrong we may feel they are) when we ourselves want our licenses, freedoms, and rights respected. We end up looking like third-rate children who have no respect for anything. If I owned Adobe (and a number of distributions are lucky I don't) I would pursue every infraction from even the smallest distribution. Not just sending them a letter either. Dealing with them legally, in court, until the point was clear, "respect our license". I honestly think they should too. Here's another point on that topic. I've read recently that the biggest issue the Linux Foundation is dealing with right now is Licensing Compliance. Isn't that odd, while some distributions don't comply with other licenses. I could touch on the whole mp3 aspect too, which although only applies to certain geographical areas, it's still an issue, but goes without saying.
Looking at the overall picture, that's my biggest gripe with them, disrespect of licenses, patents, or other companies. Want to be aknowledged and bring change? Act accordingly. It's really that simple.
I know you didn't mean to bring all that out, but I figured it was time to do a bit more explaining. Maybe open a few eyes in the process. :)
Jake, if you mean providing a link for where I said I agree with your previous comment, I'm not going looking either..lol :) A month or so ago you basicaly said that he had a gift for writing and he should do something with it, you also asked if he ever thought about doing just that. That's the comment I was agreeing with, I feel he has a gift for it as well.
93 • Robert (by Landor on 2010-08-13 01:26:55 GMT from Canada)
If you want to read more about doing a ton of stuff on the command line and with a lot of how-to's (there are desktop related posts as well), you can't go wrong reading this blog:
Keep your stick on the ice...
94 • #92 (by No*Tor*ik on 2010-08-13 02:27:08 GMT from United States)
95 • console music player (by Antonio on 2010-08-13 02:50:46 GMT from United States)
Don't forget about mplayer :)
It can play many, many files too :) It is also on Slackware by itself, but you can compile it too, if you like :)
96 • Latest nonsense (by Caitlyn Martin on 2010-08-13 03:41:31 GMT from United States)
"The internet is supposed to be FREE for everyone."
Nonsense! Since when? The Internet (originally ARPAnet) was a military project that got opened to the public. Nothing about it is free. Companies charge for bandwidth and access. Hosting companies charge for websites. There is certainly nothing that restricts proprietary software in any way, shape or form.
I'd really, really, really love to see some sort of link or documentation to support your idea.
97 • @94 (by jake on 2010-08-13 04:08:28 GMT from United States)
98 • @96 (by jake on 2010-08-13 04:27:13 GMT from United States)
"The Internet (originally ARPAnet)"
Nope. Originally DARPA.
"was a military project that got opened to the public."
Common misconception. The military MILnet (later known as the .mil side of things) came about long after what we now call "The Internet" was up and running.
Yes, the roots were funded by DARPA, but there was no military oversight ... the schools involved pretty much went it on their own. Yes, a lot of the money came from the .gov, but the Profs & grad students were pretty much given their heads. It was a research network, designed to research networking, nothing more and nothing less. Even the proverbial "designed to outlive nuclear war" is a myth.
It was the end result of this university research that became the NSFnet, which was eventually opened to the public ... and yes, Al Gore *DID* promote the legislation that opened NSFnet to public and corporate use.
99 • flash and adobe (by forlin on 2010-08-13 04:47:32 GMT from Portugal)
I understand that there is a difference between the right to use and the right to distribute. While browsing the net, when I find some flash content, I'm suggested to follow a link to the Adobe site, where I'm offered to download the required software for free.
It may be stupid but those distributions who offer flash, after installation should link the user to the Adobe site, just to make them happy. This, providing Adobe agree in advance with this procedure.
The reasoning is that it's a pain to install flash in Linux, directly from the Adobe site. It's much more easy to install from the various distributions.
I understand it's a violation of law to distribute flash and other content, as some distros are doing. But I also understand that some organizations are prepared to preform the most stupid things to get a few $$$ more. I'v seen some news aggregators where I need to click 3 or 4 times inside their site, before I can rich the original source of the news.
100 • Some of the last few posts (by J. Thomsen on 2010-08-13 05:17:27 GMT from United States)
101 • @100 (by jake on 2010-08-13 05:45:00 GMT from United States)
102 • RE: 101 (by Landor on 2010-08-13 05:52:19 GMT from Canada)
You gotta love when they roll in and do a hit and run like that. It just makes me smile. Then of course I move on to reading something useful that someone posted. :)
BTW, have you ever went to that blog I posted the link for? That guy's amazing the stuff he tinkers with and enjoys. It blows my mind sometimes what he's doing. Makes me want to go back technology wise a couple decades pick up an old P90 or something and go Rambo with it. :)
Keep your stick on the ice...
103 • @Landor and Flash (by Texstar on 2010-08-13 05:53:02 GMT from United States)
It is not a violation of law if you request a license from Adobe. I have one right here in front of me. Java JRE is also ok to include in your OS. Nvidia drivers are can be shipped as well as ATi fglrx drivers. mp3 playback is ok in a non-commercial environment.
104 • RE: 103 (by Landor on 2010-08-13 07:05:07 GMT from Canada)
That's pretty well what I stated, a prior agreement (license) with Adobe. I didn't speak of NVIDIA or ATI because that's an outside issue that has to deal with "if" a distribution is violating the GPL by including the driver(s) (which I agree with the side that believes it is, no surprise there eh).
Non-commercial use is subjective and has its limits as well, one of them is a 100k limit, if I recall. There's also the definition of "developer". Another area that's a problem is the fact that if you ship the fluendo gstreamer plugin with a GPL'd player you're breaking the GPL of that player. The same goes for shipping a GPL'd plugin with the gstreamer plugin, regardless of the player being GPL'd or not, the plugin is and the GPL has been broken.
I guess as I said, it call comes down to respect and such. Do licenses matter, does the GPL matter. If someone doesn't really care about all of this, then why use Linux as base to create an operating system?
Keep your stick on the ice...
105 • GPL and other licenses. (by Texstar on 2010-08-13 08:16:50 GMT from United States)
The fluendo gstreamer plugin is not shipped with PCLOS or included in the repository. Most distributions contain a large collection of software components. Most of these components are released under an Open Source license agreement. Some software products may be bound by some or all of the following licenses.
* Adobe Acrobat Reader Software License
* ATI FGLRX Driver License
* Intel IPW Firmware License
* Intel IPW3945 Daemon License
* Macromedia End User Licenses
* NVIDIA Driver License
* Skype End User License
* Sun Java 5.0 Licenses
So yes licenses do matter as well as well as being in compliance with the GPL. There are some purists who for whatever reasons only want non proprietary software and there are those who want a fully functional OS. There are distributions available to meet both.
106 • Fluendo gst licenses (by Anonymous on 2010-08-13 08:41:29 GMT from United States)
gst-fluendo-ismd-0.10.14 - released under GPL
gst-fluendo-gdlsink-0.10.12 - released under GPL
gst-fluendo-mp3-0.10.14 - released under MIT license
gst-fluendo-mpegdemux-0.10.23 - released under Mozilla Public License
107 • Debian Live Studio (by Deblover on 2010-08-13 08:58:08 GMT from United States)
Is there anyone who could help this guy out with some hosting? Seems like an interesting product. where one can create their own customized Debian Live CD.
108 • Multimedia (again) (by Barnabyh on 2010-08-13 08:58:37 GMT from United Kingdom)
Flash has become a de facto standard, and in some way that's good. My favourite news website used to offer only windows media format, and much longer ago also real, until a few years ago for streaming or downloading the news programs. Performance in both was terrible and they're just as corporate. For a few years now Adobe flash has become the default.
Which would you rather be forced to use? I'ld rather have a free format of course, but in the absence of that Flash has made it more accessible and cross-platform, even if only looking at the practical aspect there were always problems with streaming .wmv, at least most of the time.
I think flash is actually really easy to install. Download it, untar it or whatever, become root for system wide installation, put it into your plugin folder or just your $home plugin folder.
Here's waiting for the free world, where all websites offer their content in .ogg format.
109 • Flash distribution and fluendo (by gapan on 2010-08-13 09:27:35 GMT from Greece)
I often find that people are confusing licencing with patents and legality.
Flash is a closed source, proprietary product, that is *legal* to distribute. Adobe has even made changes to their licence to encourage distribution by 3rd parties. You don't need to request a special licence by adobe to distribute flash. I'm not going to copy the entire flash licence here, but anyone interested feel free to read section 2.2.
Fluendo decoders are actually released under open source licences compatible with the GPL (as #106 already pointed out). Which means that nobody is breaking the GPL if they distribute them. But since they decode patented formats, they are actually illegal to distribute in *some* countries. Other decoders for the same patented formats are just as illegal in any case, libmad, decoders in gst-plugins-ugly, mplayer/vlc built with mp3 playback support etc. Nothing special about the fluendo decoders other than you can actually buy a licence and render them legal, even in those countries that have software patent laws.
110 • Flash distribution and fluendo (by Anonymous on 2010-08-13 10:32:19 GMT from United States)
111 • #105 (by Smith on 2010-08-13 12:17:25 GMT from Germany)
So if I use PCLOS I won't be able to watch a DVD?
112 • 111 • #105 DVD (by Anonymous on 2010-08-13 12:20:37 GMT from United States)
You would have to install libdvdcss2.
113 • @110 (by jake on 2010-08-13 13:07:32 GMT from United States)
Common misconception. It's illegal whether you get caught or not, if your local jurisdiction deems it's illegal. The only question is, what is the punishment if you get caught ... and is that punishment worth the risk?
The answer changes radically if you are an individual or a multi-billion dollar multi-national corporation.
Me, personally, I'm trying to figure out how to release the custom variation of Slackware 12.2 (currently a pseudo-cross with 13.[0|1]) that my techno-phobe Mom & techno-cant Great Aunt have been happily using for a couple years and about 18 months, respectively ... but I'm based in the USA, and unfortunately the legal climate around such things isn't exactly on the side of the little guy.
Despite the fact that anyone, anywhere in the world, could put together the same exact package in a couple hours. The logic eludes me ... but that's bigbidness.
 To be fair, anywhere with good Internet access. You North Koreans might have issues. Coming soon to a nanny-state near you ... if you allow it!
114 • legal status of MP3 (by Anonymous on 2010-08-13 13:16:27 GMT from United States)
Thomson, Fraunhofer, Audio MPEG,Texas MP3 Technologies, and Alcatel-Lucent all claim legal control of relevant MP3 patents related to decoders. The legal status of MP3 remains unclear. MP3 decoding may be patent free in the US by December 2012.
115 • #96 (by No*Tor*ik on 2010-08-13 16:23:25 GMT from United States)
"I'd really, really, really love to see some sort of link or documentation to support your idea."
Me too! :)
116 • Might be time to add Freespire to the list of discontinued distributions (by Darth Chaos on 2010-08-13 16:31:42 GMT from United States)
"The final release of Freespire (as of 16 March 2010) was 2.0.8, released on 30 November 2007. This was based on Ubuntu 7.04 which was supported for 18 months and reached end-of-life on 19 October 2008. Freespire therefore receives no security updates from upstream at present. The distribution is considered "Dormant" by distrowatch.com. However, one article claims that Xandros has discontinued Freespire. "
117 • posts 101 and 102 (by John Thomsen on 2010-08-13 17:56:37 GMT from United States)
118 • RE:117, Be nice, you started it, finish it. (by Eddie Wilson on 2010-08-13 19:14:04 GMT from United States)
119 • RE: 105 - 109 - 114 (by Landor on 2010-08-13 20:52:11 GMT from Canada)
I'm going to nitpick here a bit. All those pieces of software you mentioned could be distributed under one license? That's quite a statement. Does that mean you're unsure? All those companies could have the same license?
I don't see how those pieces of software fit with your comment that licenses do matter, as well as compliance with the GPL. It's a standard belief that the kernel developers (including Linus Torvalds himself) feel that the NVIDIA and ATI drivers violate the GPL. Shipping those drivers doesn't really sound like complying with the GPL.
I'll quote Chris Smart here with the last paragraph of his post about the GPL and closed sourced drivers at his Kororaa site:
"I guess in the end, the message from the Linux developers and the GPL license is this: "If you don't like it, don't use Linux. Simple. And if you do use Linux, then you should play by the rules." which I think is fair enough. I would like to emphasize that this is not a weakness of Linux, but a strength. The "grey area" of "derived works" in copyright law is just far too grey and we could argue both sides forever. But in the end if we just ask ourselves "why would we want to use closed source products anyway?" maybe we already knew the answer, we just weren't (and many aren't) prepared to accept it."
Oh, before I forget, what does your distribution ship with that provides mp3 playback, either in the ISO or via the repositories.
Unless I'm mistaken, wasn't it in the news recently that Google came to an agreement with Adobe to allow them to ship flash with the Chrome browser? Doesn't that disqualify what you just said about being free to distribute? I think distribute is similar to the word developer in regard to the fluendo mp3 plugin.
Also, regarding mp3 playback and such, you must have missed what Bill and I stated in posts 103 and 104, respectively. Which makes your statement that using the codecs is illegal. It's been clearly stated here, and by fluendo that a license was purchased to distribute a plugin that allows playback for non-commercial use.
About the GPL. Fluendo themselves clearly state that the inclusion of the plugin will break the GPL of a player or other plugin that is licensed with it. I think I'll take the company that has created and distributed the plugin's word on that issue.
I'd take an easy bet that you won't see the patent lifted until 2017 I believe it is. There's just too many issues surrounding all the "ifs and whats" regarding all the various patents, that apply, or don't apply.
A side note: I'd like to thank Adam Williamson who upon my return to Linux explained some of the mp3 fiasco to me and its relevance to being distributed in Linux, which led me to look into it further. Thank you Adam.
Keep your stick on the ice...
120 • #119 (by gapan on 2010-08-13 22:03:48 GMT from Greece)
It's very obvious that you actually have no idea what you're talking about, yet you keep supporting it with all you've got.
"Unless I'm mistaken, wasn't it in the news recently that Google came to an agreement with Adobe to allow them to ship flash with the Chrome browser?"
"Doesn't that disqualify what you just said about being free to distribute?"
"Also, regarding mp3 playback and such, you must have missed what Bill and I stated in posts 103 and 104, respectively. Which makes your statement that using the codecs is illegal. It's been clearly stated here, and by fluendo that a license was purchased to distribute a plugin that allows playback for non-commercial use."
So what you wrote is correct because you also wrote it again? There is no distinction between non-commercial and commercial usage in the mp3 patent licences. You need to have a licence to legally decode an mp3 file, no matter who you are (in your country at least). Patent holders are reluctant and will probably never sue non-commercial users but they have every right to do it if they like to. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MP3#Licensing_and_patent_issues
"About the GPL. Fluendo themselves clearly state that the inclusion of the plugin will break the GPL of a player or other plugin that is licensed with it. I think I'll take the company that has created and distributed the plugin's word on that issue."
Where do they state that exactly? Can you please point me to it? Because you either just made it up, or you're still confused about patents and licencing and you didn't understand what you were reading. Source code licence has nothing to do with patents. The fluendo mp3 gstreamer plugin is clearly licenced under the MIT licence, which is clearly compatible with the GPL.
121 • RE: 120 (by Landor on 2010-08-13 22:39:54 GMT from Canada)
First off, I would discourage you from using anything on Wikipedia as a legitimate reference.
Here's my reply to your message:
Take a look around.
Keep your stick on the ice...
122 • #121 (by gapan on 2010-08-13 23:00:36 GMT from Greece)
123 • gapan -- post 122 (by J. Thomsen on 2010-08-13 23:17:22 GMT from United States)
124 • RE: 122 (by Landor on 2010-08-13 23:28:27 GMT from Canada)
It made me smile typing it out. :)
You're discussing one thing, the actual MIT license, which is far from the crux of what I've been discussing. The plugin isn't illegal (at least as far as Fluendo, but more importantly, Fraunhofer and Thomson are concerned, since Fluendo paid for the license to distribute the binary in this manner).
Here's the relevant part: "Fluendo has paid the license of Fraunhofer and Thomson to be able to distribute a binary MP3 decoder."
Further down it states: "In contrast, if you live in a country where patents do apply, or if you are a distribution maker working in countries where the patents apply, you need the licensed binary from Fluendo."
The section regarding its incompatibility with the GPL: "if this is the case, please be aware that, even if our binary is made from MIT licensed source code, the resulting binary, combined with our license, is not free software, at least not GPL-compatible. This means that if you ship GStreamer with our binary MP3 plug-in, you need to be sure that you don't ship any GPL-licensed plug-ins that could end up being used together with the MP3 plug-in, as this would be a violation of the GPL. You also need to make sure you don't ship any GPL-licensed players which would use this plug-in."
If you disagree in reply, I'll offer now that we close this instead of repeating the same over and over, and agree to disagree. :)
Keep your stick on the ice...
125 • MP3 (by Anonymous on 2010-08-14 00:17:43 GMT from United States)
O.K. as I read all so far....
Where do libmpg123-0 and libsmpeg0 fit in?
These are in Debian's main repo and do play MP3's out of the box.
I thought Debian would not like patent encumbered things in the main repo's.
126 • If you can't innovate, litigate! (by RollMeAway on 2010-08-14 02:44:17 GMT from United States)
"Oracle filed a patent lawsuit against Google this week, claiming that the Android operating system infringes Oracle patents and copyrights related to Java."
Let's hope oracle doesn't buy novell.
Anyone want to predict the future of OpenOffice?
127 • RE: 126 (by max on 2010-08-14 03:25:40 GMT from Brazil)
Go to osnews.com, they are covering the Oracle story very well... Lots more there....
128 • LXDE without Openbox? (by RollMeAway on 2010-08-14 03:59:48 GMT from United States)
Can anyone suggest a distro that uses LXDE and a different window manager than Openbox?
I have found a couple of wiki and forum howtos,
but would like to see someone elses results.
129 • Flash, license, mp3 and the gpl (by Anonymous on 2010-08-14 04:24:35 GMT from United States)
1. Flash - In the past you had to obtain a license from Adobe to include the flash player in your distribution. Adobe has relaxed restrictions relating to non commercial use of flash.
2. License - Software included in a Linux distribution fall under various license not just the GPL. Common license include but not limited to: Apache, Artistic, BSD, GFDL, GPL, GPL-2, GPL-3, LGPL, LGPL-2.1, LGPL-3 and MPL. Some distributions also include commercial licenses.
3. MP3 - No license is needed for private, non-commercial activities (e.g., home-entertainment, receiving broadcasts and creating a personal music library), not generating revenue or other consideration of any kind or for entities with associated annual gross revenue less than US$ 100 000.00.
4. GPL compliance - You must provide source code along with your binary packages. You cannot include in the same package gpl and non gpl code. As an example you cannot include a prebuilt nvidia driver in your kernel deb or kernel rpm packages.
I'm not a lawyer but I did stay in a holiday in express last night.
130 • RE: 126-127-128 (by Landor on 2010-08-14 05:26:23 GMT from Canada)
Groklaw has a good article on it as well: http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20100813112425821
I like her reporting skills, but also her writing skills as well. Oh, I also like the mention of Richard Stallman. Too many discount the man, some call him a relic or has-been, but he's been at this game a long time, a lot longer than most, so pretty well knows what he's talking about when he opens his mouth when it comes to warnings.
Another great point just about the stuff about Stallman is the reference to Miguel De Icaza's comments on it. I read stuff like that and even though he's doing his Mono thing, it makes me want to never look at Gnome again, sadly.
I worked on switching out Openbox in favour of IceWM. I briefly brought that up over in the AntiX forums and I have to agree with a comment Anticapitalista made to me, there were no real advantages in the switch in the end. I'd even go as far to say that it was at a loss of IceWM's better functionality over LXDE, in the panel and such. If I remember correctly, there is/was a user there that did a fair bit of experimentation in that are with LXDE and other WM's. Maybe you could go over there and get more information, or Anti could let you know here the user's name as I forget now.
Keep your stick on the ice...
131 • Re: 100 (by jake on 2010-08-14 07:02:42 GMT from United States)
I suspect you and I are talk^H^H^Hyping orthogonally to each other, John.
Ladislav, this is yet another reason why threading is a good idea.
132 • @62 (by Mr. Practical on 2010-08-14 07:16:56 GMT from United States)
"What you also need is dektop experience. Not to mention the different package managers, window managers, desktop specific utilities, etc.
I would advise you to, after you feel comfortable with your current slackware system, to begin distrohopping and have a couple of additional partitions on your hard disk for trying them.
I agree XFCE is a good choice (i prefer LXDE), but it is not the most used desktop by far. The 2 "giants" are KDE and Gnome. You should try them both (perhaps in your 'distrohopping partitions')."
Who the hell are you to tell Robert what he "needs" and what he "should" do?" If he has the time and interest to learn about additional programs beyond what he uses, then good for him, but it is certainly not required. Advising someone to begin "distrohopping" and trying KDE and Gnome without any need (other than that to satisfy YOUR desires), and when what he has now works fine, has to rank as one of the least helpful posts ever on Distrowatch.
133 • This is one of the reasons I went back to Windows (by sirkit77 on 2010-08-14 08:54:32 GMT from United States)
134 • 133 (by Anonymous on 2010-08-14 13:43:56 GMT from United States)
Which version of Windows are you running where everything works out of the box? I had to install video card drivers, wireless drivers, flash, codecs, and a few other things after this Windows 7 install. I am just curious as to where I can purchase this everything out of the box version.
135 • @132 (by fernbap on 2010-08-14 14:52:26 GMT from Portugal)
136 • Shutting down commenting for this week (by Jesse on 2010-08-14 19:12:16 GMT from Canada)
I'm taking comment off-line now. It seems we've run out of civil discussion this week.
Number of Comments: 136
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