| DistroWatch Weekly
1 • Skype alternatives (by butsti on 2013-09-16 10:02:25 GMT from United States) |
2 • Skype alternatives (by Fence Post on 2013-09-16 10:32:19 GMT from Australia)
I am an idiot because I have never been able to understand how to get Ekiga to work. Certainly not as easy as Skype. Perhaps if Ekiga used less technical jargon fools like me could use it.
3 • Jitsi (by rich52 on 2013-09-16 10:35:49 GMT from United States)
Jitsi is another Skype alternative and supports Linux, Windows and Mac I believe. I got this 'tip' from the 'Linux Action Show' a very good video show on the Internet.
4 • Ubuntu Server (by Bam on 2013-09-16 10:55:18 GMT from United States)
Jesse thanks for a great review on an easy to read,in-depth book.
5 • skype 64 bit (by Joe on 2013-09-16 11:14:26 GMT from Mexico)
It is there a truly 64 bit Skype for Linux¿ or only there multiarch skype applications for Linux distros¿
6 • Skype/Manjaro (by Smellyman on 2013-09-16 11:30:36 GMT from Hong Kong)
WebRTC is well on the way to making skype and the like less and less needed. There are already a lot of good WebRTC projects. Very promising future.
Also, I run half machines on Arch and half on Manjaro. Hard for me to say which I like better. That being said I think Manjaro is doing a fantastic job and gets better with each release.
7 • Compelling reason to fix what isn't broken? (by brad on 2013-09-16 11:46:02 GMT from United States)
Anyone have a compelling reason to go from a working arch (via the fork of Antergos) install to a manjaro (does their hardware detection make it worth switching, instead of having lots of driver packages installed?)
8 • FreeBSD (by hadrons123 on 2013-09-16 12:27:34 GMT from India)
I have been trying every version of FreeBSD and I am yet to get full hardware support for Lenovo Y580. alx driver support has been not there for the last 18 months. I tried PCBSD 9.2 RC 2 and it looks slick but functionality-wise it has the same hardware support issues as FreeBSD.
9 • Ubuntu server (by Pearson on 2013-09-16 12:30:47 GMT from United States)
This looks like a good book. I wonder if there are other books as well written, for non-Ubuntu distros? I'm thinking Debian (this book *may* be applicable, but I'd be leery of Ubuntu "enhancements"), CentOS (likely a Red Hat book?), or Slackware.
10 • Ubuntu Server book (by DavidEF on 2013-09-16 14:11:34 GMT from United States)
I've been wanting to dabble in server stuff for a while. I thought about just a file server, but then my daughter's laptop is getting older by the minute, so I've also thought about setting hers up as a thin client, and our much newer, more powerful, 4-core desktop tower as a combination workstation/server. I also thought about a media streaming server. I don't really know, but this book would probably help me to figure it out. I might try to pick up a copy.
Funny of the day - the Mint Box 2 and the Raspberry Pi both being referred to as "mini-computer" while a standard ATX desktop tower is technically a "micro-computer" itself. I don't even know if real "mini-computers" are still around these days. Anybody know?
11 • RPi/PC-BSD (by Dave Postles on 2013-09-16 14:29:22 GMT from United Kingdom)
1 RPi as 'mini computer' - first time I've heard that; isn't single-board computer (and has a better acronym) more appropriate?
2 PC-BSD: I have no real hardware issues, but I dislike the difficulty of mounting usb drives and also the app cafe works inconsistently (I suppose that's a feedback matter for PC-BSD rather than this forum, really).
12 • Ramone Linux (by Dave Postles on 2013-09-16 14:30:29 GMT from United Kingdom)
Any comments about it? I'm intrigued.
13 • Debian number 2 (by rop75 on 2013-09-16 14:34:03 GMT from Spain)
One year ago Debian was 6th on the Distrowatch ranking, today I see that my favourite distro is number two... Great!
14 • Re #1, #2, #3, Skype alternatives (by Vuktoa on 2013-09-16 14:34:20 GMT from United States)
It is nice that there are alternatives. I tried all of the mentioned ones and used them at some point in the past. Problem is that people I would like to communicate with don't have them and are not subscribed to their SIP servers. Yes, you can use different servers, but you have to be techie to know how to configure them and how to route calls. Many of them don't work/exist on mobile phones and other devices/OSs (yes you can make them work, but again, you have to be techie). You can use dedicated SIP boxes (like I do), but again you have to be techie to configure them and maintain them.
I would even argue that application like Viber on Android has better chances of taking off (because of the community, easy way to install/find friends from existing contacts, works with cell phones), than any other computer only (and one OS) alternative that requires configuring to eventually make it work.
Mentioned open source alternatives suffer from the "patent" issues as well. Better protocols (like G.729) are patented, so they can not behave better than their closed source counterparts.
On the other hand, closed source applications, suffer from the privacy issues, unwanted network utilization, and sometime lack or have slow adoption of new features.
15 • @13 (by jaws222 on 2013-09-16 14:48:51 GMT from United States)
I can see why. I use several different Debian editions (Crunchbang, Parsix, SalineOS,SolusOS) and they are rock-solid. I rearely have issues. They just work!
16 • "Solid die-cast iron"? (by AnklefaceWroughtlandmire on 2013-09-16 14:51:25 GMT from Ecuador)
The mention here on the Mint Box being made of "solid die-cast iron" would seem to be a mistake. ;-) Their website says: "MintBox 2 is passively cooled by its die cast aluminium case".
17 • #13 Debian 4th 12 months ago! (by zykoda on 2013-09-16 15:02:23 GMT from United Kingdom)
Last 12 months
1 Mint 3593>
2 Mageia 1947<
3 Ubuntu 1923=
4 Debian 1663>
5 Fedora 1469=
18 • Ubuntu Server (by Steve Lange on 2013-09-16 15:09:13 GMT from United States)
I have a very simple Home-based "SOHO" LAN. About two years ago, I set up a server on some convenient hardware--a 2003-vintage machine. I chose Ubuntu Server i386 version 10.04, which I upgraded to Server i386 version 12.04-LTS a while ago. While there have been some exceptions to this, I have generally found this installation to be highly serviceable and enjoyable as well as "thrifty". I have also rather easily become comfortable with the bash command line. High Marks, Ubuntu Team, Mark Shuttleworth and Canonical Software! The book reviewed by Jesse Smith sounds very interesting.
19 • Ubuntu server book (by LinuxMan on 2013-09-16 15:27:23 GMT from United States)
Nice review. It's made me want to pick up one of these books and put servers everywhere. Thanks again.
On the page hit ranking, well that's more for techies than anyone else. Debian is a fantastic base to build a distro on. I guess that you could even consider Debian a distro in its own right but I could never recommend it to anyone except as a server. It's not the best option for a desktop os. All the wonderful distros that have been built on Debian are better suited for that purpose. It's true that most of the Linux ecosystem could not exist without Debian so it's importance cannot be debated in the field and in the classroom.
20 • Ubuntu server book (by octathlon on 2013-09-16 15:57:53 GMT from United States)
Thanks for that book review. I will look into getting it. I imagine most of it will apply well for Debian too. I would be interested to find something like this for a BSD. I've played with setting up a home file server for backups a couple of times but wound up deciding it was easier to just plug in an external drive each time. If I found some other good uses for it though, it would be worth the effort to run one.
21 • @9 - book for Debian, etc. (by Ralph on 2013-09-16 17:38:58 GMT from Canada)
I'm recalling this from a year ago, so take it with a grain of salt, but there was a book on Debian available for pre-order at Amazon, slated to come out in early 2013 I believe -- I assumed this was to be concomitant with the release of Debian 7, Wheezy. I'm pretty sure the book I have in mind was supposed to be the second edition of Martin Krafft's *Debian System*. But now I see the book is no longer listed, though Krafft's first (2005) edition is. I'm not sure what happened. The Linux "Bible" series is generally pretty good, but they haven't done a Debian edition since Sarge (3.1). On the other hand "Bible" versions are available for *both* Red Hat and CentOS. Christopher Negus I believe has been the driving force behind these latter and seems to me a pretty good writer.
22 • @12 • Ramone Linux (by Dr.Saleem Khan on 2013-09-16 18:06:51 GMT from Pakistan)
Works well as desired , I am just having a small issue with yum but I sure it will be ok after the suggestions from Ramone Linux developer. So you need to try it and see how it works for you.
23 • @9, @21 - The Debian Administrator's Handbook (by Al on 2013-09-16 18:12:27 GMT from Canada)
Pretty good book.
24 • VoIP, Skype (by Al on 2013-09-16 18:24:43 GMT from Canada)
I've used VoIP extensively at home for several years and my experience has been that you should be prepared to set up your non-techie contacts if they are willing to give it a go. I tried it, spent too much time explainging things, debugging things and finally just accepted that for most people, a Skype account is ideal.
Setting up apps like Skype and Google's Gmail chat are extremely easy and about as complicated as most folk can take. Setting up a VoIP account with a service provider, then configuring a client are much too complicated for most, and learning that SIP addresses look like email addresses...well that's just over the top! Skype and Gmail chat are optimized to work very well without doing a thing to your firewall and QoS. I've found VoIP to be very sensitive to poor QoS (jitter, latency), and bad firewall setup can result in one-way audio, phones not ringing, etc.!
That said, I use Linphone because of it's very simple interface and low resource usage. Also works on most platforms/smartphones.
25 • Skype (by bam on 2013-09-16 18:47:37 GMT from United States)
At home I have options for video conferencing,ect.
On the road with my Android, Skype is the only way to go, right now.
Most people, self proclaimed,or hobbyist techie are excluded, use Skype.
Skype was in wide use before being brought by MS.
26 • BSD (by MZ on 2013-09-16 19:21:12 GMT from United States)
I've had some of the same hardware issues that others have mentioned with desktop versions of BSD, so I don't think it'll be a major competitor to Linux in the distro hopping world too soon, but in certain places it doesn't really need to 'catch up' either. As a firewall pfSense & BSD are great. They just sit there & work, while allowing you to add additional components as necessary. From what I've heard about FreeBSD fundraising, they've found a strong & growing niche market & are getting more support every year. I wish the BSD folks luck, & hope they keep growing.
27 • @13 • Debian number 2 (by Anonymous Coward on 2013-09-16 19:30:17 GMT from United States)
I would attribute that to multiple factors.
* Ubuntu - most of the time when a product is built on the foundation of another product, it comes with some sort of improvement or additional value. But in this case, Ubuntu just took a good product (Debian) and made it worse. Desktop (unity), spyware (Amazon lenses or whatever that is), and bad video performance for some people. I don't currently use it and haven't for a while, but everything I read these days about Ubuntu is negative.
* Systemd - Debian doesn't force you to use it. At least not yet....
And of course flexibility. With Debian you can make it into damn near anything - a modern desktop, a stable server, or something in between.
28 • Linphone? Skype? how about "Mumble" (by JJ on 2013-09-16 21:40:49 GMT from United States)
VoIP SIP client, encrypted.
You can optionally install the companion "murmur" server component. This enables P2P VoIP (without the need to login to a remote server and join a channel)
mumble package is available in debian repos & versions compiled for Windows and for Mac and for iOS
As for "teaching nontechie users to set it up", instructions are: 1) dl from sourceforge, 2) run the installer, 3) Launch the mumble app and fill in "server IP" + choose a username + password (optional, per the server admin)" and boom, you're connected.
29 • @13 & @27. (by Joe on 2013-09-17 03:55:22 GMT from Mexico)
good said.. Debian aught figure in DW ranking in first place always. Ubuntu is a debian maked prity but less efective, and Mint improve something at ubuntu.
30 • Debian vs Ubuntu (by MZ on 2013-09-17 05:39:57 GMT from United States)
Debian is awesome, and I've been using it in a backup desktop PC for a while now, but it's not necessarily perfect. I wouldn't use Ubuntu proper for anything at this point, but the base system does provide two good things: 1) more up to date software, and 2) a longer term support period on LTS versions. These are potentially big advantages for PC users and LTS server users, and there is no fiddling with switching to testing repos or anything like that for desktop users wanting newer software. Many other distros owe a lot to Debian, but there are reasons to use them instead.
31 • viop (by greg on 2013-09-17 07:22:40 GMT from Slovenia)
problem with alternative voip is not only configuration/ease of use and user adoption. the problem is also the price of phone calls. skype is really the chepaest for my need and coutrnies i call to.
i mean - if you don't need phone calls there are plenty of messangers available that will do video chat.
32 • Ubuntu vs Debian? (by LinuxMan on 2013-09-17 12:31:15 GMT from United States)
Wow, talk about nonsense. Ubuntu has made Debian worst? Where in the world did that come from? I didn't know there was a competition going on now. The Amazon lens? Easy to remove if it scares you. Online search is easy to disable too. Don't whine that it needs to be opt in instead of opt out. Those are things people already know before they even do an install so it's very silly complaining after the fact. Unity? Some people can't handle a modern desktop. There's no shame in that. There are many retro type desktops to fulfill your desires. I like KDE myself even tho it's not retro. Where do people get off saying that they are forced to use something? Nobody is forced to use a distro they don't like but I guarantee you that they will have a lot of bad things to say about a distro that they don't use. Doesn't make any sense does it. Ubuntu isn't made for people like Anonymous Coward. It's made for people who don't have the expertise or time to build a system using Debian, Arch, Gentoo, and so on. Why does there have to be a competition of any kind. I'm just happy to be able to have some choices. I know that it's human nature to compete but can't we all just get along. It takes a lot less energy.
33 • Truth in Advertising (by Somewhat Reticent on 2013-09-17 15:19:03 GMT from United States)
Isn't Ubuntu 12.04 LTS only up for 5 years from 2012.04?
We're well past 2013.04; how is it so many derivatives still advertise a full 5 years of support? Will they extend support beyond Canonical's?
34 • @32/ yes spyware is bad (by MZ on 2013-09-17 16:26:26 GMT from United States)
We all realize that any true nerd knows about the lens & how to turn it off; however, newbies who don't do quite enough research and those who aren't technically minded and don't have things fully explained to them are getting screwed. Your arguments would be fine if every consumer was fully informed, but there isn't such a thing as a fully informed consumer in reality. I have lots of unanswered questions about the ethics of every company I buy from. For instance is there any guarantee that when I buy my clothes online from a U.S. manufacturer that they never egg someone into working unpaid overtime like the do at the iPad sweatshop in China? In reality there is little or no total assurance & I have to take some stuff on faith. Of course if a company you had some trust in betrays that trust, you should speak up and inform other potentially unaware consumers/users. I think calling people out on their BS whenever appropriate is the right thing to do; however, I'll admit that it can, unfortunately, be done in an inarticulate manor at times.
35 • Agree. (by LinuxMan on 2013-09-17 17:25:04 GMT from United States)
Yes I do agree that maybe newbies may not have enough information on the subject to make an informed decision. With that being said I've found most newbies don't mind the lens. A lot of them use it quite a bit. I mostly use KDE but on one of my laptops I have Ubuntu 13.04 installed but I have the online search disabled and the lens removed. My daughter who is a school teacher, loves Amazon. She loves the online search, and the Amazon lens. She has no fear like I do. I do feel that Canonical and Ubuntu are giving the general public what they want. More social integration. Maybe not what we want. More privacy. I have found a few that really liked Unity but wanted the online stuff disabled. Not many tho. To each their own. That's why it's so great that we have so many choices. This is only my opinion and as such means nothing. :)
36 • Internal inconsistencies in 32 (by dbrion on 2013-09-17 17:40:16 GMT from France)
" The Amazon lens? Easy to remove if it scares you. Online search is easy to disable too. Don't whine that it needs to be opt in instead of opt out. "
is not internally consistent with:
" Ubuntu isn't made for people like Anonymous Coward. It's made for people who don't have the expertise or time to build a system using Debian,"
(else, people/beginners would have the expertise to opt out Amazon lenses....)
What is funny is that a preinstalled Debian can be used by very computer-illiterate people (and, as long as there will be a confusion between
a) ease of use (having packages bug free is part of it)
b) ease of install (either the full GNUlinux or applications), no usable system can be hoped (that is not that bad) and a great intellectual crookery is going on.
37 • Okay?? (by LinuxMan on 2013-09-17 18:27:52 GMT from United States)
I believe that it is internally consistent. Maybe I could have expressed myself somewhat different. Anonymous Coward is intelligent and not a newbie. He seems the type who would build a system the way he wants it and not affected by any kind of FUD, real or imagined. Furthermore as much as it's been talked about it's very hard for me to believe that anyone who is using or wants to use Ubuntu doesn't know about the online search. You are mistaking if you believe that I think it should be opt out only. Anything like that should be opt in but that is a moot point. It is what it is and I stand by my opinion in comment 35. And it's my opinion that the danger is minimal. Seems that this discussion has gotten out of hand and I'm sorry for that.
38 • Debian / Ubuntu (by Anonymous Coward on 2013-09-18 00:40:22 GMT from United States)
It's not necessarily a competition.... but it is a choice. And maybe more people are considering Debian now than before. If that's true, I was listing some possible reasons. All conjecture though, as to whether or not Debian's popularity is growing and if it is, there may be as many reasons as there are users.
Some like Unity, and then many don't. Same with systemd. A lot of people who come to Linux are attracted by its traditionally no-nonsense reputation - none of the marketing gimmicks, inefficient flamboyance, and a one-size-fits-all approach. It seems that a new crop of hotshot developers backed by Redhat and Canonical have opted for a more heavy-handed approach. And that's fine, but some people will resist it - myself included.
Not to mention being treated as an unsuspecting revenue source at the expense of privacy. I'm not going to rant about that much, except to say it's certainly not limited to Ubuntu. I also don't subscribe to any google services and only search with google when all else fails, almost always for something work-related.
We're all getting screwed and hoodwinked to varying degrees by various entities, but I'll always fight it. And in the spirit of Constitution Day and in tribute to one of my heros - GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH! :)
39 • @35 - Do People Really LIke That Built-in Adware? (by Serge on 2013-09-18 02:15:12 GMT from United States)
LinuxMan, you and I must associate with some extremely different social circles, because I don't know of a single person who likes the integrated Amazon search. Most of the people I know using Ubuntu figured out how to turn it off themselves, but some had to ask for help. I felt embarrassed on a personal level, because I had been recommending Ubuntu as a newbie OS for years up to that.
Unfortunately, there is nothing else in the Linux ecosystem that I think is as newbie-friendly as Ubuntu. I've tried Linux Mint, Mageia, etc. They're fine for what Linux / Unix veterans like to call novices, which in the real world are considered intermediate-level users. True novices are the kind of computer people that can't figure out how to disable the Amazon search. And for those kind of people, I feel that Ubuntu is the only distribution I have tried that provides an adequate solution. However, I can't in good faith recommend spyware / adware. The end result is that I have stopped recommending Linux and have instead been advising people to stick with whatever they already use. Does that help explain some of the frustration people have with Canonical right now? (There are other reasons as well, but those are beyond the scope of this conversation.)
40 • @39 Anything else (by ange on 2013-09-18 07:11:44 GMT from Hungary)
Then recommend elementary os, it's just works, extremely well, it's newbie-friendly.
41 • ads (by greg on 2013-09-18 11:39:54 GMT from Slovenia)
displaying add in search results is not something new. it's been arround for quite some time. displayign adds on desktop searches is new. but if they are relevant and provide the user with something - then i guess some might agree with them.
42 • Adware (by LinuxMan on 2013-09-18 12:13:32 GMT from United States)
As far as the Amazon search goes, first off I consider it adware but not spyware for the simple reason that it's known about. Next let's just say that a few like it, some don't, but most don't care which is sad. A lot of the younger people I know are crazy about social networking and social circles, and social this and that. It does not give me a warm and fuzzy feeling. Social media makes me nervous. Even my wife is hooked. When I am online I don't want to feel or be part of one big happy family. Sometimes at work I need to do research at different web sites and I don't really like seeing things that I have searched for 6 months ago popping up in ads today. That really is scary but some people thinks it cool. Anonymous Coward is correct when he states, "We're all getting screwed and hoodwinked to varying degrees by various entities" and I do think that is true. This is where choice plays in. No matter how frustrated we get we, for the time being, still have this choice.
43 • @39 PCLinuxOS (by amoeba on 2013-09-18 14:10:44 GMT from United States)
Have you tried the newest PCLinuxOS MATE? It is very user-freindly for the novice real-world persons (most of the users tend toward the older side of the spectrum, last I heard the average age was 55).
Love the features it provides and it runs quite well on the low-end hardware I have (currently running on 1.7 GHz single core Pentium Mobile, 1.5GB RAM Fujitsu Lifebook i rescued from trash).
44 • @43 (by jaws222 on 2013-09-18 15:27:22 GMT from United States)
Yes, PCLinuxOS is not bad once you figure out the Samba Server. I'm running the latest version right now on one of my partitions and like it very much.
45 • @39 (by jaws222 on 2013-09-18 15:32:30 GMT from United States)
I agree with you regarding the Amazon search. Personally I hate it. I googled how to disable it and it took me 5 minutes.
As far as Ubuntu vs Debian, sure Ubuntu is more user-friendly and imo a good way to lure people to the Linux world. I found out about Ubuntu because I got sick of Windows. Eventually, I discovered Linux MInt and further down the road after learning more about Linux, command line etc. I discovered Debian (which is my preferred OS) and am now learning about Arch. To each his own.
46 • @42 (by Serge on 2013-09-18 16:28:14 GMT from United States)
Before the NSA leaks, I never used the word "spyware" when describing the Amazon search lens, based on Canonical's explanation that only Canonical sees that user data and that only Canonical is responsible for fetching the ads from Amazon. The NSA stuff has made me paranoid. I also found Mark Shuttleworth's response to be arrogant and flippant when he said that critical users were being unreasonable for not trusting Canonical with their search queries when they already trust Canonical with root access to their system. Maybe I am going a bit overboard, I don't know. Nonetheless, adware isn't something that I approve of even when I trust that there's no spying involved. I know adware is common in Windows systems, but that doesn't make it alright.
As for the social media stuff, I'm of the generation that was exposed to Internet-based social interaction during high school and college. We didn't have Facebook, but we did have online forums and instant messaging clients. So I learned to enjoy being constantly connected to people electronically. However, I have struggled and been watching friends with rising careers struggle dearly to keep their professional lives quarantined from their personal lives. The idea of "if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear" is ridiculous. We all have something to hide. Whether or not we choose to hide it, and who we hide it from and who we share it with, is a matter of personal choice. And I see a world where that choice is becoming harder and harder to make due to the ubiquity of electronic social interaction. So while I don't think my unease is born of the same reasons as yours, overall I have to say that I too am uneasy with this stuff.
47 • @43 (by MZ on 2013-09-19 07:21:02 GMT from United States)
Having used PCLOS KDE as my main OS for a couple years now, I can say that it is a great system; however, there are just enough issues with it to make is closer to an intermediate user system than a top pick for the total newbie. The package manger alone is probably just enough to drop it out of contention. Synaptic is very solid, but the Mint software center is way more user friendly. Given the periodic blank desktop issue I have with Cinnamon, I'd have to give my vote for most newbie friendly setup to Mint Mate, but I don't know why others wouldn't do the same.
48 • @46 Canonical has root (by DavidEF on 2013-09-19 12:48:35 GMT from United States)
I had heard about the statement Mark Shuttleworth made about having root access, but it wasn't until just now, reading your post, that I understood its direct connection to search. I just realised that if they have root, then they already have all your search queries available if they were going to exploit you. In fact, they have every keystroke you ever make. By trusting them with root, you are trusting them with anything and everything you do on the computer. If you can trust them with all that, why should search queries be a problem? I don't think it's arrogant to point out that they have root. It's more like a big DUH-HUH with a side order of light banter, just for fun. I probably would have reacted in much the same way, if my daughter got mad that I have access to her bedroom. Sure, she has a right to a reasonable amount of privacy, but it would be ridiculous for her to insist that her bedroom is exclusively hers, because I have the whole house! She has to walk through my house to get to her room. I have root!
49 • @48 (by Serge on 2013-09-19 14:18:41 GMT from United States)
I don't agree that Mark Shuttleworth's response was appropriate. With family, presumably everyone loves each other, presumably everyone knows that everyone loves each other, presumably everyone is already watching out for each others' best interests (although certainly kids don't always realize this :), and anyway the whole thing is moot because your daughter is stuck with you regardless.
Those things are missing from our relationship with our software vendors. We choose who to trust with access to our system based on certain criteria. Some of the many things we might look at are: proven track record, our perception of that vendor's roadmap and future direction, and our perception of that vendor's values (of course a vendor can wax poetic about their values and principles till they are blue in the face, but in the end we still have to decide if we believe what they are saying or not).
Users of Ubuntu expressed concern over the direction that Canonical was taking Ubuntu. The way I see it is, it is as if people said, "Look, we really like Ubuntu, but this is scaring us. What can you tell us to set our minds at ease?" Mark Shuttleworth replied by, essentially, calling them silly. Now, it's not like Shuttleworth and Canonical's leadership completely refused to acknowledge their users' concerns. They did address the most serious concerns, that Ubuntu was being used to spy for Amazon, by explaining that Amazon does not have direct access to Ubuntu users' search queries. But then it's like they wrote off the other concerns as not significant enough. That's fair. It is impossible for a designer to cater to everyone's whims. But the "you already trust us with root" comment was completely unnecessary, and diminished my estimate of how much Mark Shuttleworth cares for his users' concerns and opinions. It's just that little extra "rubbing it in" that bothers me.
That's when I decided I didn't really want to trust root to Canonical again, and that's when I stopped recommending it to others as well. More recently, however, I find myself debating with my friends, most of whom are Ubuntu users, against Ubuntu and trying to get them to switch. For the longest time I simply didn't say anything. If anyone asked me, I would say, "I don't like that they put adware into their product and I don't want to use it or recommend it anymore, but people are free to make their own choices otherwise." More recently, however, I've grown upset over their decision to create Mir. I don't feel that Mir offers any compelling technical or ideological advantages over Wayland. Developers will have to either spend extra time writing programs for Mir and Wayland or they will have to choose which one they will support. Mir is forcing people to take sides. That is bad for the community, and from a technical and ideological perspective completely unnecessary. That's why I find myself explicitly taking sides rather than just being neutral about the whole thing.
50 • @49 (by mcellius on 2013-09-19 17:59:54 GMT from United States)
I was with you, Serge, on the privacy stuff regarding Ubuntu. I agree that Mark Shuttleworth's comments were inappropriate, although I attribute it to a poor choice of words more than any sort of "rubbing it in." I think he means well and does care about Ubuntu's users a great deal, but occasionally, like the rest of us, he doesn't adequately consider the real effect that his words will have. On the other hand, choosing to take such a remark as "rubbing it in" is also "rubbing it in," as if saying, "I know he didn't mean it that way, but I'm gonna try to make him pay for it, anyway." I think you probably know he wasn't meaning to "rub it in;" if not, then Mark probably needs to address public relations a bit better (and, if he does, some will hate him for that, too).
But I do very much disagree with what you say about Mir. If you feel the project was unnecessary, it's obvious that Canonical does not. They're investing resources into it and have explained several times why they think it's necessary. Obviously, you and everyone else has the right to disagree, but its their money so they get to use it as they think best.
However, the comment that it is divisive to the Linux community, or even to the Ubuntu community, seems wrong-headed. What about the divisiveness of having so many distros (it's in the hundreds!)? What about the divisiveness of having Kingsoft Office come out with a new program when we already have LibreOffice (and even Star Office)? This is Linux, and one of its great benefits is that we have choices, sometimes many of them. Someone sees a need and tries to fill it. Mir will either succeed or it will fail, but it's nice to see someone willing to address needs as they see them and then come up with the money to try to make their project succeed. In five or ten years, maybe everyone will be using Mir, or maybe just Ubuntu will be using it, or maybe nobody, but there's nothing wrong with them getting a fair shot at improving things. And if, as is part of the plan, it fixes problems and makes things run better on smartphones and tablets, hey, I'll cheer them on!
51 • It's all about Mir. (by LinuxMan on 2013-09-19 18:47:12 GMT from United States)
Cardinal Richelieu once wrote: If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.
A lot of this goes on these days. It seems that no one can please everyone. So what's a person to do. Canonical does say that it needs Mir. I agree with them. People say that it will make it so hard on the developers. Well now we have Wayland and X. Won't that make it hard? I remember having to edit the xorg config file all the time. To get the proper screen resolution, to get the mouse to work properly, to get other things to work. Did this make it hard for developers? Maybe it made it hard for the end user. It'll be great to see X gone. It served its purpose well. Things are nowhere near as bad as they use to be 5 or 10 years ago, but it seems that more people complain now more then ever. Strange isn't it. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
52 • re 51 (by corneliu on 2013-09-19 21:18:59 GMT from Canada)
OK, let's assume Ubuntu is honest and the evil Linux community wants to hang Ubuntu without valid reason. Let's also assume that xorg is old and bad. My questions are:
Why can't Ubuntu join the modern Wayland effort and contribute to it instead of reinventing the wheel and wasting developer resources into creating a redundant X server? Why fragment the X server and make it even more difficult for the software developers and the hardware makers to support Linux? Is Wayland really so bad for Ubuntu that they can't use it? What makes Ubuntu so special that requires a different X server while Wayland suits everybody else in the Linux community?
53 • 52 continued (by corneliu on 2013-09-19 21:22:57 GMT from Canada)
And the same questions apply for Unity? Out of zillions of desktop environments, why couldn't Ubuntu pick one of them and contribute to it? What kind of functionality does Unity bring to the table that Gnome or KDE or any other desktop environment could not provide?
54 • @50 (by Serge on 2013-09-19 23:12:46 GMT from United States)
Well, I think you got me. I didn't take the time to phrase my thoughts correctly. What I should have written was that the statement felt like Mark Shuttleworth was patronizing his users. I was hoping for him to express a greater understanding of where the critics were coming from.
Now that I think about it, I may be taking it out of context. It's a one line quote. Canonical and Mark Shuttleworth did write a lot more than just one line in response to the criticism. That one line really stood out, though.
As for Mir: I don't think comparing Mir vs Wayland to distro vs distro is quite the same thing. The distros arise out a perception that certain needs are not being met by existing solutions. The various distros typically attempt to provide some combination of solutions that is unique in some way. Canonical has not expressed what it is that Mir is intended to provide that Wayland will not provide. Mir and Wayland have remarkably similar goals, and take similar approaches to solving the same problems. The most significant difference between the two is that Canonical is free to sell exclusive proprietary licenses to its partners (this is the business model under which MySQL AB operated, and it is how Oracle has been operating with MySQL since their acquisition of MySQL AB via the Sun purchase) while Wayland has decentralized copyright ownership and thus no one entity can sell Wayland proprietary licenses. Wayland is MIT/X11 licensed, so exclusive proprietary licenses are not necessary to make closed source derivatives of Wayland. Vendors are not free to do the same with Mir because Mir is GPL licensed. Canonical's "Contributor's License Agreement" explicitly grants Canonical the right to sell such exclusive licenses to all projects covered by this program, of which Mir is one.
If Canonical's only interest was in a display server that can be used by smatphone manufacturers, who famously desire the ability to close parts of the software stack running on their devices, Wayland would give that ability. What Canonical gains in Mir is a display server that only Canonical can grant proprietary licenses for. It doesn't mean that Canonical plans to "close" Mir. It just means that Canonical will have the ability to sell exclusive licenses to those who want to make proprietary derivatives of Mir.
And yes, it is Canonical's money and they are free to spend it developing whatever projects they want. But Canonical's flagship product, Ubuntu, is built out of almost entirely community parts. The parts written by Canonical (LightDM, Unity, Upstart, etc.) are just a fraction of what is Ubuntu. And I stand by my belief that Canonical's actions the the display server are hurting that same community. It is as if Canonical, in their efforts to monetize their products, has turned to actions that are hurting the very same community that is responsible for all of the parts that Canonical puts together to make Ubuntu.
Wayland was already there and being worked on when Canonical started the Mir project. Canonical, by backing out of Wayland support and starting Mir instead, knowingly created a competitor to Wayland.
As proof that there is a growing divide, just look at all the fighting that is taking place on websites and blogs over Mir and Wayland. In a way that fighting is kinda a self-fulfilling prophecy. Bloggers and outspoken devs said there would be a divide, and now they're making sure that comes true. But also look at Intel's decision to not maintain XMir compatibility in their driver (which presumably will also mean that Intel will not be maintaining straight Mir compatibility, either). Look at AMD's decision to maintain Wayland compatibility. I'm not condoning Intel's actions, but if there was no Mir, there wouldn't be this issue. As for AMD, I think their decision to not support Wayland is more borne out of trying to be wise with where they spend their limited development resources than out of politics as Intel's appears to have been (although, yes, Intel is AMD's competitor and Intel has invested in Wayland development), but at the same time it is rumored that AMD is still developing for Mir, so again, if there was no Mir, there wouldn't be that divide.
TL;DR: There is already damage being caused by the existence of two next-gen display servers; it is not evident what each offers that the other doesn't in technical terms; one of them came first and Mark Shuttleworth publicly committed Canonical to supporting it. That's why I believe that Canonical is responsible for the damage that is being caused by this competition, and the only entity that stands to gain from this is Canonical, and that in revenue, not in technical advantage.
55 • GPL (by Serge on 2013-09-19 23:16:02 GMT from United States)
Oh, I just wish to add one more thing: I'm not anti-GPL. In fact, come to think of it, Mir's "GPLness" is the one silver lining of this whole fiasco. But I don't think Canonical is using the GPL with Mir because Canonical believes in the GPL's ideals. I think Canonical chose the GPL because it allows them to corner the market on Mir proprietary licenses.
56 • Linux (by Jon Wright on 2013-09-20 01:20:30 GMT from Vietnam)
> "Things are nowhere near as bad as they use to be 5 or 10 years ago ..."
Actually, I'd say that 2008-9 was something of a sweet spot in the evolution of Linux. The future looked bright, many netbook buyers came on board and perhaps people complain because of the sense of anti-climax. Linux CAN be done right - just look at Maemo and Android and - ahem - Debian. A change of focus to mobile devices shouldn't require a wander in the desert for the best part of a decade - Google just rolled their sleeves up and got Android out the door.
57 • Ubuntu and Mir (by Mirix on 2013-09-20 12:40:35 GMT from Belgium)
1.- There were good reasons for Ubuntu being the most popular distro once. And there are good reasons for Ubuntu no longer being the most popular distro.
2.- There are good reasons for Debian's increasing popularity and for distros once based upon Ubuntu changing base to Debian.
3.- In there failed attempt to conquest the mobile market (they were late, they were slow and they were inefficient) Canonical is killing Ubuntu as a desktop distro.
4.- Fragmenting the display server landscape is one of the most stupid things the Linux community could have ever thought of. Hardware developers are not going to produce drivers for more than one DS.
5.- Maybe, Canonical wants to profit from their declining hegemony to force their own DS to the Linux "market" precisely in order to slow their decline.
6.- The fate of Mir will depend mostly on the will of RetHat, OpenSUSE, Debian and Mint to adopt it.
7.- My wild guess is that it will be yet one more of Canonical's failures... Time will tell.
58 • Why? (by LinuxMan on 2013-09-20 12:40:58 GMT from United States)
And you are asking me this why? First of all you are out of line by stating that I said the Linux community is evil, also I never said that x was bad. Talk about being honest! If you are going to make a comment made a true one. Have you ask Canonical these questions? If you had asked maybe you would have the answer. I'm not on the development team or the research team nor do I have any kind of affiliation with Canonical. You can read the same thing as I, or anyone else if you will just do it. As far as why they developed Unity? You ask why didn't they pick one of the other zillions of desktop environments and use it. Why was all these other desktop environments developed in the first place? Was it because people was not satisfied with what was available? Seems that way to me, or everybody would be using the same thing. That is the question asked of every one who develops a new desktop environment. How did the others answer or did you even ask them? I get it. You hate Canonical, Ubuntu, and Unity. Fine, that's your right, but it doesn't make me evil if I don't hate them.
59 • Mir (by Gustavo on 2013-09-20 16:07:30 GMT from Brazil)
Another reason behind Mir is the compatibilty with cell phones and tablets GPU closed source drivers. Wayland can't provide this. Without ARM devices support Ubuntu is doomed.
60 • Ubuntu @ 58 (by Mac on 2013-09-21 00:29:03 GMT from United States)
I like everything you had to said LinuxMan. Some people are never happy and as far as I know every noob here I have put Kubuntu on for them. And if the others don't agree I don't care. This place used to be a place for help now it is I like, I don't like. What a mess.
61 • "perhaps people complain because of the sense of anti-climax" (by Joe on 2013-09-21 21:01:16 GMT from United States)
"perhaps people complain because of the sense of anti-climax"
That's certainly a factor driving my (often grumbling) mindset.
Another is "sensing" that progress has stalled due to:
too much fragmentation (not enough devs in a given project, talent is spread too thin across too many, and incompatible, projects)
too much "making changes just for the sake of change"
(e.g. incremental changes to libgtk3 breaking themes and causing otther regressions)
62 • @ 17 Debian 6th in 2012, Debian 2nd in 2013 (by rop75 on 2013-09-21 21:55:34 GMT from Spain)
@ Zykoda: The way you calculate the position one year ago is wrong. Remember that the ranking shows the average hits per day during a period (so if you refresh it to show the last 12 months, the tanking does not show the position of a distro in the ranking in September of 2012, but how many clicks per day has that distro "got" during the last 12 months, and that includes the last 4 months - Debian popularity has started to grow since the release of Wheezy in May-). If you want to see waht was the Deban position one year ago the most accuate way (and it is not exact either) is to choose the option "year 2012" and you will see that during 2012 Debian was 6th with 700 hits per day less than Ubuntu.
Anyway i don't have anything against Ubuntu nor Canonical. In fact, i think Xubuntu is a fantastic distro
63 • SalentOS 12.04.3 (by Chanath on 2013-09-22 02:44:11 GMT from Sri Lanka)
Nice distro, works like a charm in my old Acer Aspire One 8.9". I mean both distros, Obubox and Razorqt. The razorqt even come with nice eye candy effects, the ones you see in Mint Cinnamon. And, the other Ubuntu+Openbox+Tint2 is quite snappy, Of course, both have some glitches, but they are minimal. Maybe its nice, if we use such distros and help the developer, showing glitches etc.
I remember, when Bodhi came in, it was a one man job, and had lot of criticism. Jeff stayed on with his niche, and became a well known distro in the Linux woorld today. I wish this developer Gabrielle the same and more. Try them, guys.
64 • Skype alternative? (by Somewhat Reticent on 2013-09-23 02:02:50 GMT from United States)
Mumble and Murmur going P2P?
Number of Comments: 64
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