| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 373, 27 September 2010
Welcome to this year's 39th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! The demise of OpenSolaris, following the project's acquisition by Oracle, has brought both anger and action from its developer community. As a result, OpenIndiana, a community fork of OpenSolaris, was born. The first development release hit the download mirrors early last week and Jesse Smith was quick to take it for a spin. How does it fare compared to desktop Linux or BSD? Read on to find out. In the news section, Fedora continues its march towards the next stable version with a public beta release, Ubuntu's "Maverick" version brings new questions about the suitability of 6-month release cycles, Mandriva reassures its user community that it will continue developing a free distribution, and PCLinuxOS and its founder get exposure in a mainstream tech publication. Also in this issue, a question and answer section that responds to those users who feel frustrated with the current state of desktop Linux. Happy reading!
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|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Solaris holds a special place in my heart. It was my first taste of UNIX, back in my school days, and I probably wouldn't have become involved with the Linux community if I hadn't been searching for a free version of "this UNIX thing" so I could practise my shell scripting at home. I was thrilled when Sun announced they were releasing OpenSolaris for the community to play with, even if it was several years too late to help me with my homework. And I was very disappointed when Oracle executed OpenSolaris earlier this year. Fortunately for Solaris fans the OpenIndiana project is picking up where Sun left off. I had been itching to try a new version of OpenSolaris since February (when the last release was scheduled) and so I quickly grabbed the newly launched OpenIndiana, development build 147.
Installation and hardware support
Before diving into the contents of the DVD, first let me say that the project's web site is very much a work in progress. Many pages haven't been posted yet and the site is mostly an introduction to the project and a download page. No doubt these will be filled in later, but for now the web site is mostly bare. What we can learn in those few pages is that OpenIndiana is working with the Illumos project to make a binary compatible fork of OpenSolaris. Or what used to be OpenSolaris. Maintaining binary compatibility will allow people to freely test their systems and software with OpenIndiana prior to trying an official Solaris product.
The installation CD is an 870 MB download, which I burned to a DVD. The DVD kicks off with a GRUB (legacy) boot menu which allows the user to boot into the live environment, boot using the vesa driver or boot into a text console. The menu additionally has options for running a screen reader or magnifier. After an option has been selected, the system asks for the user's keyboard layout and preferred language. We then get a quick shot of a login screen followed by another prompt asking for our preferred language. We finally arrive at a beautiful blue-themed GNOME 2.30 desktop. The application menu, quick-launch bar and clock are at the top of the screen and the task switcher is placed at the bottom. On the desktop we find icons for the Device Driver Utility, a partition editor, the installer and Firefox. I feel the Device Driver program deserves a special mention.
When we first boot into the OpenIndiana desktop the system will check the status of our hardware drivers and, if there are any problems, will display a discreet warning in the corner of the screen. Opening the Device Driver Utility will show a nice itemized list of the hardware on our system with appropriate icons. Devices for which the operating system does not have corresponding drivers will be highlighted in a reddish-pink colour. Should we have, or know the location of, an appropriate driver package we can give its location in this window and OpenIndiana will install it. This process is so convenient, straightforward and user-friendly I think it should be a standard feature in all FOSS operating systems. It completely removes the guess work and testing phases of discovering whether the OS will run on a machine.
For instance, on my desktop machine, the utility found a (largely unused) modem for which it didn't have a driver. Everything else on the desktop (2.5 GHz CPU, 2 GB of RAM, NVIDIA video card) worked. My HP laptop (dual-core 2 GHz CPU, 3 GB of RAM, Intel video card) was also handled well. However, the utility let me know that my Intel wireless card wasn't supported. Most other things such as resolution, sound and networking worked without any trouble. My touchpad handled taps as clicks, but wouldn't scroll under the default settings -- a reverse from the normal order of things. The user has the option of using the utility to submit their hardware profile, similar to the way Fedora's Smolt does on Linux machines. I sent a profile for my desktop machine and found it interesting that the utility says the hardware information was sent to Sun. This seems out of date at best and I wonder who ended up with a list of my hardware.
Next up is the system installer. The first thing the user is asked to do is handle partitions. Compared to other graphical installers (and a few text-based installers) the OpenIndiana partitioner is a bit sparse and I found it easier to divide up the disk using GParted prior to running the installer. Next the user is asked for their time zone and preferred language. (This was the third time I'd selected my language preference since booting.) The following screen creates a user account, which we are told will have administrator privileges. The installer then copies over the required files and we reboot.
OpenIndiana dev-146 - administration tools
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First impressions and software applications
OpenIndiana does not boot quickly. The first time I started the system post-install, the system took about five minutes to reach the login screen. Later start-up times were improved, but still dragged compared to most Linux distros. After logging in, I found the installed system was much the same as the live DVD environment, though without desktop icons. A little poking around showed the system (once up and running) wasn't so much slow as heavy. Running on a physical machine with 2 GB of RAM, OpenIndiana did fairly well; however, trying to cram the OS into a virtual machine with 1 GB of memory caused a noticeable drop in responsiveness. I think a good deal of the overhead comes from the ZFS file system which is nicely integrated into the system. OpenIndiana has some slick GUI tools for dealing with ZFS and the file browser has a built-in "time slider" that allows quick access to file system snapshots. When using OpenSolaris last year I had stability issues with the snapshots feature, but I encountered no problems this time around.
The application menu is light for an operating system which comes on a DVD. Included are Firefox (3.6.8), Thunderbird, Pidgin, Rhythmbox, Totem for playing videos, GParted and Java. We also find the usual collection of applications, including a text editor, file archiver, CD ripper, disc burner, a document viewer and accessibility programs. Not to be found on the system are popular media codecs and Flash. Instead, when the user tries to open a media file, a codec helper pops up and offers to help the user purchase the required codec. The prices strike me as being a bit high and, for most regions of the world, unnecessary.
There were a few surprises regarding what was not available on the menu. OpenIndiana is a branch of OpenSolaris, which was managed by Sun Microsystems. I expected the OS would be used as a platform to show off other (former) Sun technologies. For instance there was no OpenOffice.org to be found on the menu, nor in the package manager. Java was pre-installed, but not the associated developer tools. Likewise, I didn't find a copy of VirtualBox. In fact when running in VirtualBox, OpenIndiana doesn't integrate with the host operating system the way some modern Linux distros do. I think it's a shame that more work hasn't been done to incorporate these projects into the platform. I think Sun, and Oracle, lost an opportunity there to show what they could achieve.
OpenIndiana dev-146 - searching for packages
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That's not to say there aren't some good tools which come with OpenIndiana. There are applications with nice interfaces for handling core files, services, the firewall, users and packages. For the most part, these tools are about what a user could expect to find on a Linux or desktop BSD system. I like their layout and I found them intuitive to use. The package manager especially mimics Synaptic both in appearance and behaviour. At the moment the project's repository is a bit light with just over 2,000 packages available. Hopefully that will grow as OpenIndiana matures. One item that stood out was the ZFS snapshot manager. It provides a nice interface for setting up what is included in a snapshot and when snapshots take place.
System administration and security
The thorn in my side as far as OpenIndiana was concerned was in relation to security, specifically root-level access. The system installer mentions that the user account created at install time will have root access. This does not appear to be the case as any admin-type action I tried to preform was met with a request for the root user's password. The first time I saw this and my password was rejected I realized no password had been set for root during the setup process. I created a root password and went back to change settings. At which point I found the root password was rejected as my user did not have permission to elevate my privileges to the root level. Next I went into the user account manager and changed my user's roles to include elevating my access to root-user level. And I realized I had just performed these account changes with my regular user account!
Going down through the menu of administration tools I found that about half would let me use them and change settings with the root password and the other half would deny me access saying my user account was not permitted to act as root, even with the root password. I'm sure there is some role I can change somewhere to make my account be able to effectively su in all cases, but it is a pain to have this kind of inconsistency. Why would security be configured in such a way that by default I can easily manage system packages and accounts, but not be able to change settings for core file dumps and system services? Speaking of services, as one might expect from an operating system which has its ancestry in servers, the OS runs secure shell and Sendmail by default. Under the default settings root is unable to remotely login to a shell.
OpenIndiana dev-146 - managing system processes
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Perhaps it's not fair to make a judgement call so early given that this is OpenIndiana's first release and they're just getting started, but this initial offering felt more like an early beta than a final release. The system is stable and there are some good features in place. I liked the installer and the Device Driver Utility is a great point in the operating system's favour. Hardware support was a little better this time around than it was a year ago on OpenSolaris. But the heavy nature of the operating system combined with the fickle privilege escalation and small package repository makes OpenIndiana an unappealing choice right now for a desktop system. Hopefully these matters will get ironed out as the project matures.
There is one other thing I feel should be addressed. OpenIndiana seems to be lacking a focus. It has its roots in server technology, but it has become memory hungry, runs a desktop and uses a graphical installer. On the other hand it lacks the range of applications and drivers one might expect in a desktop system. Some people have told me it's more of a testing ground for people migrating, testing and developing across platforms, but if that's the case where are the great development tools and virtualization software?
The wonderful tools which were previously attracting people to OpenSolaris (ZFS, DTrace) have been ported to other operating systems. OpenIndiana doesn't showcase Sun/Oracle technology; all it really does is give people an open source version of Solaris. And, if you're into tweaking operating systems or you're considering a migration to Oracle solutions, then I suppose that's all OpenIndiana needs to be. As a former fan of Solaris, I was hoping to find something which stood out, something the operating system could hang its hat on, and I didn't find that. OpenIndiana isn't a bad system by any means, but I haven't found a reason, besides curiosity, to run it either.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
Fedora prepares for beta release, Mandriva reasserts its continuity, Ubuntu and 6-month release cycles, PCLinuxOS - past and present
Along with the final release of GNOME 2.32, this week will also see the delivery the last public development builds of Fedora 14 (beta) and Ubuntu 10.10 (release candidate) - the two most popular GNOME-centric distributions. For Ubuntu, this will be a near-final build, with just a minimum number of release-critical bug fixes expected to take place between now and the final release on October 10th. For Fedora, things are progressing in a slightly more leisurely manner as the project's next stable version is not expected until early in November. That said, the list of accepted features in Fedora 14 is now nearly completed. Some of the more interesting upgrades include Perl 5.12 and Python 2.7, while the KDE desktop has been brought up to version 4.5 and the NetBeans development environment is at version 6.9. Overall, it doesn't look like the new Fedora release is brimming with many cutting-edge features, but maybe that's a good thing - a little slowdown in the ever-evolving world of a Linux distro's development can't be a bad thing. Besides, it's entirely possible that many Red Hat developers are currently focusing their attention on the upcoming release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, but as soon as that's out of the way, expect Fedora development to pick up strongly once again.
Fedora 14 beta comes with new artwork and desktop theme.
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Ubuntu's development cycle will culminate in two weeks when the project's "Maverick Meerkat" release is scheduled to hit the download mirrors around the world. Although this fast development rhythm has been the distribution's feature for several years, there are those, like ITWire's Sam Varghese, who question the reasoning behind such frequent release plans: "Over the last week, I've been playing around with the beta of the forthcoming Ubuntu release - 'Maverick Meerkat' or version 10.10 - which is scheduled to be officially unveiled on October 10. And I have just one question to ask: why is it being released at all? What major changes are present to justify an upgrade? If all that the new version has to show is incremental changes in version numbers of major applications, why is there the need for so much hoo-haa? Is Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, guilty of becoming a prisoner of its own hype, and unable to revert to some kind of commonsensical schedule that would reflect the correct state of affairs?" The author answers his own question: "We don't need the staged releases, we don't need to be given the impression that a great deal is happening when someone is basically running on the same spot. GNU/Linux has never resorted to hype to propagate itself - good software that does what it promises to do, never goes out of style. A yearly release is something that I could live with."
* * * * *
Mandriva is fighting back. Following a series of bad publicity reports about the state of the company's finances, employee lay-offs, and a new fork founded by well-known former Mandriva developers (Mageia), the company has published an announcement on its official blog. The article, written by current CEO Arnaud Laprévote, insists that Mandriva (the company) is alive and well and that Mandriva Linux (the distribution) is certainly not about to be discontinued: "The next version of the Mandriva community distribution will be available in the first quarter of 2011. The community version of the Mandriva distribution is the one on which the Powerpack distribution, the Corporate Desktop distribution and the Mandriva Enterprise Server distribution are based upon. From a desktop point of view, Mandriva intends to be the best KDE distribution in the world: easy-to-use, stable, rich-featured and with excellent localization. Even if the community distribution will be KDE-focused, we will encourage the community to build GNOME, LXDE, Xfce, E17, etc. editions as value options. The infrastructure to help the community to do that will be put in place." In related news, Per Øyvind (one of the developers still in Mandriva's services) writes that rumours about Mandriva's demise have been greatly exaggerated, while an official press release, published by Vanessa Wall, provides minutes from Mandriva's annual general meeting which took place on September 17th, 2010.
* * * * *
Those Mandriva users who are still perturbed by the continued uncertainty surrounding their favourite distribution might consider another option (besides Mageia) - PCLinuxOS. Although the project hasn't been making many headlines recently, the developers continue to work quietly on the distribution. ITPro's Richard Hillesley reports in PCLinuxOS - Rolling on a river: "The inspiration behind PCLinuxOS, also known as PCLOS, is Bill Reynolds, who is known to fans of PCLinuxOS as Texstar. PCLinuxOS began as an offshoot of Mandrake/Mandriva, to which Texstar had been a long time contributor of third-party packages. The objective was to build a fast, reliable distribution of Linux, that was both a Live distribution on the model of Knoppix and a fully installable and flexible Linux desktop, driven by Reynolds' passion to make the perfect software package. 'I love to package,' he explained. 'It is like a puzzle where all the pieces have to fit together or the code doesn't work. That is my favourite part of doing PCLOS.'" The 4-page article investigates the history of PCLinuxOS before concluding that "PCLinuxOS exists unapologetically to satisfy the demands of its own community, but in doing so reaches a much larger audience. As Reynolds sees it: 'We're just enjoying Linux technology and sharing it with friends who might like it too. We hope you have enjoyed the ride as well.'"
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Frustrated-with-the-state-of-Linux asks: What are Linux distros doing right? I'm saying, nothing is ever solved, nothing moves to a usable state (I fear accessing my NTFS drives, who knows if Samba, FUSE, etc. are actually in working order). There is no information centralized that is actually relevant, only information that is out of date. (I've learnt to never ask anything on a forum, even after "googling", but to re-install instead.) Are there actual "eyes on the code"? Or just a cycle of buggy alphas and orphaned packages? Who's putting out these 101 distros and what kind of back-ends are they building into them to steal data or track users? Linux seems worse and worse the more I learn about... Any thoughts on these points?
DistroWatch answers: Before I get into the point-by-point questions, I want to address the over-all sense of disappointment in this e-mail. When people are first introduced to Linux it's easy to have high expectations. A lot of people in the GNU/Linux community are all too happy to declare the virtues of their favourite operating system while ignoring flaws. As a result, I think a lot of people enter into the Linux community with the thoughts that Linux systems don't have to protect against malware, that the systems are 100% reliable, that open source is a large, friendly commune full of people perfecting each other's code and helping everyone. The unfortunate truth is that there is no perfect operating system, no perfect development model and all communities are made up of individuals. And, for that matter, all operating system environments are made up of individual components.
The reason I bring this up is that the questions presented here sound to me like they're painting the entire GNU/Linux community with the same brush. I think that's not an entirely fair way of looking at things. There are millions of Linux users in the world and, as with any large group, one shouldn't judge the herd by the actions of a segment. For every handful of projects that never become stable there are some which mature and become rock-solid and useful. For all the poorly maintained manual pages, there are a few which are kept current. Certainly there are projects where little or no code review is done, but some projects take code quality and security seriously. And this is generally true across operating systems. Spend enough time observing any large OS community and you'll find a mix of precious gems and mediocre mud.
The overall tone of the questions indicates to me that there is a concern with quality and stability. So I would recommend examining some of the Linux distros which focus on those areas. Debian GNU/Linux, CentOS and Slackware Linux come to mind as platforms which have been around for a long time and have well-deserved reputations for quality. You might also consider looking at the BSDs, which tend to focus on security and stability rather than pushing new features. There may be more of a learning curve with BSDs, but they're solid systems.
On to the individual questions. What are Linux distros doing right? The big name distros are creating solid, polished operating systems that many people can use on their main computer system on a day-to-day basis. Sure there are dozens of small projects that appear and disappear with the seasons, but there are some really great distributions available. There's a good list of quality systems here on DistroWatch. Technologies such as Samba, FUSE and NTFS drivers have been stable for years now. I use them almost on a daily basis and have, for quite some time, without any problems. However, as with any storage technology on any operating system it's a good idea to keep regular backups.
Forums really aren't all that different from everyday life. I find that people often respond in the same way they're approached. So be nice when asking questions on forums. It doesn't always work, on forums as with physical interactions, some people will be rude. Ignore them and focus on the people who do have the desire to help. Also, are there eyes on the code? Most of the core projects have occasional review. The smaller, lesser-known projects often do not. There's no hard and fast rule about peer review. The key difference between open and closed source is that people have the option to examine open source code. Whether that option is used varies with the project.
If you're worried about who is making the hundreds of minor Linux distributions floating around the net, don't use them. Pick a well-known operating system with a good reputation. Developers can put anything they want into their products, so do a little research before you download. Again, the DistroWatch's Top Ten page is a good place to start.
|Released Last Week
Andrew Gillis has announced the release of VortexBox 1.5, a Fedora-based Linux distribution that can turn an unused computer into an easy-to-use music server or jukebox: "We are pleased to announce the release of VortexBox 1.5. As always our goal it to make VortexBox work with any media player. The recent release of iTunes 10 does not work with the old VortexBox DAAP server. We took this opportunity to replace the DAAP server in VortexBox with a better one. The new DAAP server not only works with iTuens 10 but it can server FLAC files to iTunes by encoding them as WAV files inline. This reduces the need to keep a mirror of your music files in MP3 format. We also updated the latest Squeezebox server and added a control panel to control the services on VortexBox. Thanks to everybody who helped with features and bug fixes for this release." Here is the brief release announcement.
VectorLinux 6.0 "SOHO Deluxe"
Robert Lange has announced the release of VectorLinux 6.0 "SOHO DELUXE", a commercial edition with KDE 4.5.0 as the default desktop, out-of-the-box multimedia support, and extra application on the second CD: "The VectorLinux development team is proud to announce the release of VectorLinux 6.0 SOHO Deluxe. This release is based on the KDE 4.5.0 Plasma desktop and latest Xfce as a secondary desktop. Updates from the public release include Digikam 1.4.0, GIMP 2.6.10, K3b 2.0, Scribus, OpenOffice.org, Amarok 2.3.1, KMyMoney, GnuCash and additional games and system updates. Kernel version is 22.214.171.124 which adds new wireless network possibilities. There have been speed and stability improvements. The GUI installer has seen further refinements and is the default installer." Read the rest of the release announcement for more information.
Barry Kauler has announced the release of Quirky 1.3, a small desktop distribution similar to Puppy Linux, but built with a different toolset: "Quirky 1.3 released. This is built from the 'forked' Woof that I have been discussing recently, and is an opportunity to evaluate the changes in Puppy files and streamlined searching in the 'init' script. A small amount of package upgrading since 1.2, but mostly this release is a test bed for the advances in Woof. In particular, 1.3 is built with the 'simplified file names'. Apart from simplified names, there is also an id-string appended to the files, plus streamlining of the search-code in the 'init' script. 'Rerwin' has also made many advances in analog and 3G modem detection, configuration and usage, that are in Woof. Build 1.3 is for us to thoroughly test these new ideas." See the release announcement and release notes for further details.
ArchBang Linux 2010.09
Willensky Aristide has announced the release of ArchBang Linux 2010.09, a variant of Arch Linux featuring Openbox as the default window manager and a selection of lightweight applications: "ArchBang Linux 2010.09 'RELOADED' is out. It's entitled 'RELOADED' because we went back to our original combination (ArchBang = Arch Linux + Openbox). The 64-bit edition is the only one available at this time but by the end of the week the 32-bit edition should be available as well. Changes: no more LXDE; removed xdg-menu for dmenu (dynamic menu); Thunar is back and PCMan File Manager is out; new theme; just VLC for your media needs (removed Exaile and GNOME MPlayer); added GIMP; Xfburn instead of Graveman; Gnumeric added; Evince instead of Xpdf; places pipe-menu; Linux kernel version 126.96.36.199." Visit the project's home page to read the release announcement.
Chakra GNU/Linux 0.2.2
ArchBang Linux 2010.09 - an interesting variant of Arch Linux with Openbox
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Phil Miller has announced the release of Chakra GNU/Linux 0.2.2, an Arch-based distribution and live CD featuring the KDE desktop: "We did it! Now with our new page layout and CCR open for public we also have 0.2.2 ready - our second point release of 'Jaz'. This time tribe got a rework to fix bugs we found during last week. We improved CInstall to handle packages and bundles better. Packer will build packages from our community repository now. Your all welcome to add your packages there - we might add them to our binary repositories. Some users reported some issues with VLC and MPlayer. Those are gone now. NVIDIA and ATI drivers got updated and hardware-detection-scripts will find them properly now." Read the rest of the release announcement for more details.
Clonezilla Live 1.2.6-24
Steven Shiau has announced the availability of a new stable release of Clonezilla Live, a free Debian-based live CD designed for disk cloning tasks: "Stable Clonezilla Live 1.2.6-24 has been released. This release includes major enhancements, changes and bug fixes: the underlying GNU/Linux operating system was upgraded, it is based on the Debian 'Sid' repository as of 2010-09-21; new file system support, Btrfs, was added in this release - it has been tested successfully with Ubuntu 10.10 beta and openSUSE 11.3 restoration; Russian language was added; program makeboot.sh was improved to allow running with full path; option '--force' was added for grub-install (grub2); the Linux kernel was updated to 2.6.32-23; Partclone was updated to 0.2.15; gPXE was updated to 1.0.1...." Read the full release announcement for a complete list of changes.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to waiting list
- Upstream OS. Upstream OS is a full-featured, openSUSE-based distribution with no-branding. Its primary feature is the ability to clone it and to build a custom distribution with the tools provided.
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DistroWatch database summary
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 4 October 2010.
Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar
|Linux Foundation Training
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • Re what is Linux doing right? (by Semi-Frustrated user/abuser on 2010-09-27 09:45:12 GMT from Canada) |
Re. What is Linux doing right:
I use a PC for three things - Multimedia, accessing the internet, and archiving documentation. Accessing the internet has been problem free. The thing one would expect difficulty with, multimedia, generally works really well. Some of the specialist multimedia distros have even been just the ticket to interest my windoze friends. But the single most important app - archiving data - THAT has been the nightmare. You first have to get the material to be archived INTO the computer. Ideally that means a quality flatbed scanner and NOT one of those all-in-one printer-scanner jobs. Just about the ONLY flatbed scanners stocked locally are Canon and HP - no epsons at all, not even by special order. HP apparently does make scanners supported in linux by sane backends, but not the ones available retail. I won't even begin to touch on the hassles with Canon. So, does ANYONE have any suggestions, maybe for a "professional grade" scanner that is available retail in the current market? I USED to see names like Kodak and Ricoh scanners from office equipment suppliers, but nothing the last few years.
This is really the last thing keeping me from using only Linux and enjoying my total independence from "control" (no windoze, no authentication, no eulas and shrink wrap agreements, etc. It is THIS freedom from tyranny of control that Linux gets right. And no, that is not meant as an anti-American comment (although maybe a sling at excessive capitalism in such things as the DMCA.....)
2 • Ubuntu and OpenIndiana. (by Pera on 2010-09-27 09:53:36 GMT from Serbia)
I don't know what is the advantage of a six-month cycle,but disadvantages are numerous.
For me Solaris,and systems based on it are just past.
3 • Short but sweet. (by RobertD on 2010-09-27 10:04:16 GMT from United States)
I too am perplexed by the direction Linux is headed in. It almost seems like Linux is trying to play catchup with Windows or Apple. I hear a lot about market penetration as if that number means something. IMO, reaching the masses or converting Windows users is a waste time unless of course you want them to buy something.
Canonical and other Linux giants say they will always bee free. If this is so, and I believe it is. Why is it so damn important how many people use it? I say lets encourage the developers to continue to be innovative and think outside of the box. We as users should do our part and bug test/report and encourage the developers of our "favorite" distro.
I for one left Windows because I wanted to be free to make changes and not be told what an os should look or act like.
RobertD - Slackware will free your Linux
4 • help and support (by anonymous on 2010-09-27 10:09:45 GMT from Moldova)
speaking about forums:
some distribution have great wikis(like gentoo)
some have irc channels with people who sometimes help
in linux mint the help channel is integrated in xchat - so if you have questions you can get answers there.
5 • RE 3: in my opinion it isn't (by KimTjik on 2010-09-27 11:17:16 GMT from Sweden)
As a OS, a tool at home or work, reaching the "masses" (I dislike the expression but will because of coherency continue to use it through this post) has no particular purpose, hence I agree with you. What differentiates Linux/BSD from other systems, their qualities, is the reason for why many of us prefer Linux/BSD, not peer pressure. It's also true that the average user of Linux/BSD has a higher level of computing skills than the average user of the "masses", which encourages and secures future development. Reaching, converting the masses is for some players a business module, and hence numbers become important. It's clear that Canonical eventually wants to develop a business based on services; a higher number of potential customers naturally means better business prospects.
Personally I find open formats, documents or other media, to be of greater importance than a total switch of OS. I choose what fits my computing and mindset best, but if others don't want to or simply don't bother to even find out that there are alternatives, then it's their choice.
6 • @ Jesse (by Anonymous on 2010-09-27 11:33:27 GMT from United States)
Most of the core projects have occasional review. The smaller, lesser-known projects often do not. There's no hard and fast rule about peer review. The key difference between open and closed source is that people have the option to examine open source code.
Is that why a flaw that would give a local user root, that has existed since 2.6.0, was fixed at 188.8.131.52? Or another local root exploit that was supposedly fixed in 2007 was just properly fixed?
Can we admit that the "eyes on the code" line is something said to people to make the community look better than what it actually is on security?
7 • OpenSolaris/OpenIndiana (by Tom on 2010-09-27 11:49:01 GMT from United Kingdom)
I have just edited the Wikipedia page about OpenSolaris so that the first line on the page points people to the OpenIndiana project. I also added a 'final' paragraph in the History part of OpenSolaris which i copy&pasted from the OpenIndiana page. Please re-edit my edits if you have a better understanding of what happened. I admit to being slightly clueless but felt that something had to be done there.
Also i worry quite a lot about the future of OpenOffice. At the moment i am getting quite a few individuals to try it out on a LiveCd of Ubuntu or on Windows systems. While Abiword might be better for most circumstances (and is smaller & lighter weight & faster) OpenOffice has felt a lot more professional and polished so it's often a better one to introduce people to alternatives imo.
Anyway, it would be good to know if someone has copied the source-code so that the community can fork it ;)
Good luck and regards from
8 • Six month release (by DavidEF on 2010-09-27 11:55:19 GMT from United States)
For me and my hardware, almost every Ubuntu release for the past few years has brought major changes. Some have been bad (PulseAudio), but most have been good. If your hardware has always worked well in Ubuntu (or still doesn't work well), and applications have generally worked (or not) the same way from release to release, then there is no reason for you to upgrade. Some people have been very happy sticking to the LTS releases. It is easy to do. Update manager can be configured to only offer upgrades from LTS to LTS.
Meerkat finally brings support for my internal microphone in alsa. (I installed OSSv4 once, just to see that it works great with all my sound hardware, but doesn't integrate well into the Ubuntu system.) Other improvements in hardware support for my HP/Compaq laptop have been present in all along the way. I remember having to struggle with ndiswrapper to try to get my wireless working. Now, it works flawlessly. Also, I have benefitted from the improvement in some of the applications.
In the end, only you know what you want/need in a distro, and you should make the decision to upgrade, or not, based upon your needs. For me, Ubuntu seems to improve my experience every six months, so I look forward to new releases for my laptop. The desktop at home, my wife uses more than I do, and it only gets an upgrade every second or third time (every one year to one and a half years). My parents-in-law let me know in no uncertain terms that they're tired of me upgrading their computer, so I'll possibly stick to LTS for them from now on, since 10.04 LTS is what they have now.
9 • Scanner and review (by Jesse on 2010-09-27 12:15:14 GMT from Canada)
If you're really looking for a pro-level scanner you can get machines that will scan multiple documents and then e-mail (or provide FTP access to) the document. Then it doesn't matter if Linux has the proper driver because everything is done on the machine and served up via open format/protocol. The costs are higher, but if you are crunching a lot of documents and they're high quality, it's the way to go.
Peer review and "eyes on the code" is something that happens. It's not just hype. I actually work on a project that gets reviewed about once a year by university students and they sometimes find little bugs or potential problems. I used to work on a project that was used as a calibrating start-point for a vulnerability scanner. That's one of the benefits of open source, other people can help look for bugs and report them. It doesn't happen with all projects, but a lot of problems are uncovered via the source. It doesn't make the code perfect, just helps it along.
10 • ...Frequent Release Plans... (by smartjak on 2010-09-27 12:22:19 GMT from United States)
I couldn't agree with ITWire's Sam Varghese more. I'm a Debian user. Have been since the Etch 'Testing' days. Chasing the 6 months release cycle is getting to be too much for me. Up grading one's distro every two to three years is perfect in IHO. The stability and long term support of Debian are the primary reasons I'm sticking with Debian as my main OS.
I do use Ubuntu on my laptop. But I installed 10.04 (LST) on it. I won't have to mess with it for the next 3 years. And recently I installed LMDE on a spare machine to play with. But my main go to distro will always remain Debian for its long term support.
I'll leave the constant 6 mo. upgrades to the newbies.
11 • ... release cycle ... what do you expect? (by meanpt on 2010-09-27 12:36:15 GMT from Portugal)
... Ubuntu SP10.04, Ubuntu SP10.10 ... and so on? ,,, does anyone have a better and sounding idea of what is convenient for both the developer (mainly marketing) and the user base? ... if not, let it roll ...
12 • Ubuntu's release schedule (by Paraquat on 2010-09-27 12:51:48 GMT from Taiwan)
I'm supportive of making two releases per year, as long as Ubuntu's developers can work at this pace. True, there might not be a big advantage in a frequent release schedule for somebody who already has the system installed, since you can update packages continuously with the Update-Manager. However, it really is an advantage if you're doing a new install.
And thanks to live CDs, a new release gives you an opportunity to see if it's going to work well on your hardware. This is not a small issue - a friend of mine recently asked me to install Ubuntu on his netbook, but thanks to the live CD (which I put on a USB stick), I found that his wireless was not supported. So I suggested waiting, and sure enough, 10.10-beta does work with his wireless. Had I installed the current stable version 10.4, I wouldn't have had any way to update his machine, short of finding somebody with a hardwire ADSL connection for him to plug into.
Considering what all of us pay for Linux (ie nothing), we ought to be grateful that there are developers who are willing to continually update the system. Just amazes me that they continue, given all the trivial complaints they have to listen to.
13 • no1 scanner (by mandog on 2010-09-27 13:05:15 GMT from United Kingdom)
Hp do their own drivers for Linux try the main site and they work excellent canon/epson do top quality flatbed scanners that work with Linux. I use a canon flatbed scanner and to be honest it works better with more control and features with the Xsane interface on Linux than the Canon software program in Win7.
14 • 6-months release cycle (by koroshiya.itchy on 2010-09-27 13:08:12 GMT from Belgium)
As a Debian user and former Ubuntu user, in principle, I think that the Ubuntu strategy of having a 6-month release cycle in combination with a 3-years LTS release is not bad per se. In fact, it is quite clever in my opinion. The problem maybe arises from being more strict concerning release's schedule than concerning quality control.
A severe bug is eventually reported at alpha stage (by severe I mean data corruption and the like) and the bug is never fixed and it makes its way to the final release. This kind of things are happening too often with Ubuntu. Maybe because they affect few people and the release schedule is more important? I do not know. But these things do not happen with other distros. Of course, not with Debian, but in fact I have never heard of something like that in Fedora (despite it is really cutting edge and also has a 6-month release cycle) or OpenSuse. That is why I cannot take Ubuntu and derivatives seriously. The distro is too buggy and the risk is too high. Well, I am speaking of the 64-bit version, maybe the 32-bit flavour is more polished.
If you what something really professional and reliable, Debian, OpenSuse, Slackware, FreeBSD, CentOS, or other RHEL derivatives such as Scientific Linux are the way to go. In my humble opinion, Ubuntu is giving GNU/Linux a bad reputation: Buggier than Windows (or nearly)...
15 • Frequent release cycles (by Leo on 2010-09-27 13:37:07 GMT from United States)
I think frequent release cycles are convenient for desktop users. Why? Folks may add new hardware to their desktop, and that newer hardware may need a newer kernel, or a newer graphics (xorg/mesa/gallium) stack, etc.
In practice, you can just upgrade all your packages, which makes modern distros feel more like a rolling release software than anything else.
The only downside though is that things may go wrong on an upgrade. It doesn't happen all that often, but it happens. There is an open launchpad bug for grub being written to the wrong partition when you have multiple disks. That is nasty!
But this is not an argument for less release. It is an argument for better testing
16 • release cycles (by Andy Axnot on 2010-09-27 14:45:24 GMT from United States)
Chakra seems to have an interesting model:
And I've always been surprised that there isn't more interest in GoboLinux, with its unorthodox program file system that facilitates having different versions of software installed and accessible.
17 • Longer release cycles IF... (by Jeff Dickey on 2010-09-27 15:21:25 GMT from Singapore)
...the distro in question stays current with upstream software. I have vivid, recent memories of testing a couple of well-known then-new releases only to find that important software was a few point releases out of date (in one case, a 2-version, 18-month out-of-date major package). I understand the difficulties involved in getting several battalions of cats herded and marching in the same direction. But as someone who's lived and breathed configuration management for too large a chunk of the last thirty years, we should be able to do MUCH better.
What's more important to me than a fixed release cycle, in other words, is (closely) up-to-date update servers, well enough distributed that they're reliable. For a couple of years, Sidux was my main distro, but I finally couldn't deal with only a single, slow server for updates and distro downloads. They're by no means the only offender.
Infrastructure costs money; I understand that. But I also look around and see a large number of sites (commercial, educational, and government) that donate space and bandwidth to several distros... with varying degrees of currency.
It doesn't matter how wonderful your whole system is, if nobody can download it... or if it has "custom" versions of packages based on obsolete releases that BECAME obsolete because they had a bunch of CVEs that got fixed.
We can do better. We have to do better. Linux, Unix and the GNU software stack are great success stories... as commercial systems (think Android, MeeGo, Mac OS X, etc.). Part of that is resources. A HUGE part of it is motivation; if your company's reputation and fortunes rest on getting it right, others will if you don't. (Just ask the Windows Mobile phone people... if you can still find any at this late date.)
Please, $DEITY, let us get it together... and remember where we put it so that we can ship it. On time.
18 • Adding my frustrations (by Codger76028 on 2010-09-27 16:19:18 GMT from United States)
OK, since you took the time to answer some of another's frustrations, I'll take a chance and add two of mine. I've run a Linux box, more one than off, for the last seven or eight years. I like Gnome, primarily because it doesn't look or act like Windows. In that time I've experimented with Debian and its derivatives, with occasional forays into openSUSE, Fedora, Mandriva, and PCLinuxOS. I have yet to install a Gnome desktop Linux that would talk over my home network with my wife's Window's box. I do billing and such for her home based business. The inability to open up a shared folder on her computer and place a file in it almost drives me nuts. This is aggravated by the fact that most (but not all) KDE desktops will recognize my network and open up the desired folder without problem. Finding ways to do this in Gnome has not proven easy. Hours of searching documentation and forums occasionally provides that man, but usually doesn't, work. So I bounce between desktops and distros trying to find something I can live with.
Number 2. I admit that for the most part I have stuck to Debian and its children. I probably would stick to Debian but for one thing: I believe in all the freedom language used by Linux devotees. If it is my computer and I have the right to want the things I want on it, why am I told that no I can't have my favorite browser (Firefox) and my favorite email client (Thunderbird) because of some argument I neither understand nor care about? It's like going to WalMart and being told that no I can't have my name brand peanut butter, but I have to take this no-name generic clone that is in their opinion just as good, but probably came from that salmonella prone plant in Podunk City, Pocatella.
OK, rant is over.
19 • Release cycles (by fernbap on 2010-09-27 16:30:53 GMT from Portugal)
There is a reason behind frequent release cycles, and that reason is making things happen. Frequent fixed release cycles mean deadlines, and any developer knows the importance of deadlines in order to make things happen.
If you have no deadlines, you will focus on what you like. Developers like innovation, love to try new ideas or technologies, and fixing an already working but buggy software is much less interesting.
if you have a deadline, then you will have to focus on making what you already have work.
Communities are not companies, the developers don't have company policies to follow, they don't have to work on what the company is focused on, they can follow their own ideas. That's why deadlines are important.
As much as i like Debian, its lack of fixed deadlines is a way of keeping developers indefinitly testing new technologies until a deadline is introduced at some point. When the deadline is introduced, and only then, the developers will focus in polishing what they already have in order to make it ready for release.
20 • 6 month release cycle (by exploder on 2010-09-27 16:38:35 GMT from United States)
I have to disagree with the article on Ubuntu 10.10. Maverick might not seem like a major upgrade but it has far fewer bugs and regressions than the last three releases in my opinion. I see welcome fixes and refinements throughout the entire system.
Graphics card support is looking much better, the disk check works with Plymouth, the Software Center is looking very good, the consistency of the artwork is very good and little things are fixed all over the place.
The 10.10 release displays higher quality than I have seen for some time and is a welcome release. Anyone that knows me knows that I would be the first to speak up if I thought Maverick was not of good quality and I will never be accused of being a Ubuntu fanboy. Maverick is looking to be a very good release for Ubuntu and credit should be given to the Development Team for a job well done.
21 • @18 (by Anonymous on 2010-09-27 16:46:04 GMT from United States)
You can install firefox and thunderbird if you want. There are multiple threads on the Debian forum explaining the process. It's just not in the repos. Iceweasel works just fine, I can't tell a difference between it and it's branded sibling. I'd wager if you slapped a firefox icon on it, you couldn't either. Maybe you're not ready to use Debian yet. Ubuntu or Mint may be a better fit for you.
22 • Re: what is Linux doing right? (by Oko on 2010-09-27 16:53:00 GMT from United States)
@#1 I have no idea on what planet you live on but Epson flat bad scanners are best supported scanners by sane-backends. They work far better on my OpenBSD machine than on any Windows machine I have seen. It is true though that relatively recently Epson corporation has started a disturbing trend of releasing Linux only binary blob drivers
for its newest cheap models (there is a small binary blob plug-in which is Linux specific). On another hand as pointed out earlier most more expensive scanners are operating system agnostic by having hardware capacity to scan directly into Flash drive, USB storage, or being network ready.
There are many things that Linux does wrong even very wrong. One of them is trying to be good for everything and everybody instead on focusing on certain problems. A recently found escalating privileges bug in Linux kernel is an example of even more serious quality control problem. However complains of lazy "desktop" users about Linux desktop usability is definitely not a problem.
Excellent review of OpenIndiana! I usually find DWW reviews useless but this one was an exception.
23 • Linux rights and wrongs (by dojero on 2010-09-27 16:55:38 GMT from Italy)
I think the question was disingenuous; that is, I don't believe that the person asking the questions believed that a positive answer was possible.
There are many Linux distros that are reliable and stable and produce extraordinarily positive user experiences for the people who have installed them on their computers. There are also distros that cater to smaller groups of people with very particular needs (multimedia editing, for example, or diagnostic tools). And there are some distros that are terribly unreliable. If you run into one of those, then try a different one.
The same is true of Forums: some work well and others don't. It's true that on every forum you run the risk of encountering a rude person; I don't see that as a significant problem. But some forums are simply more helpful and responsive than others. I suspect that's directly related to the number of expert users of the distro. For example, you're likely to find lots of help on Ubuntu's forum. Less help will be forthcoming on the Linux Mint site. I think that's because Linux Mint appeals to less expert users and so they just don't know the answers or how to get them.
Broad brushes are indeed dangerous. I congratulate Jesse on another well worded, diplomatic, and carefully thought out response.
24 • PCLOS (by 1linuxfreak on 2010-09-27 17:04:33 GMT from United States)
Had I not been told to leave the forum because of asking where KDE 4.x was at and that PCLOS might think of moving over to it , I would be promoting PCLOS .
But when someone tells you to leave because you are forward thinking and want something new that is not the Distro for me .
Have used Linux for 12+ years and several Distros , but never PCLOS again !
They can quietly disappear and it would be alright by me .
A little girl telling me "This is our house !" , well I was at that house for a couple of years before you showed up , even helped with trouble shooting a problem once .
Treat people that way , and the little girl will not have a house for long , because people will quit stopping by !
Just a apology is all that was needed .
25 • @21 (by ewproc on 2010-09-27 17:08:25 GMT from United States)
What an uppity answer that was. "Maybe you're not ready to use Debian yet." Jeez, stop drinking whatever kool aid you are and realize that Debian is not inherently "the next step" up from Ubuntu, or Mint or whatever. Ubuntu or Mint may be a better fit, but not for the reasons you seem to be implying.
I wish that all linux users could understand that linux distributions are like trying on shirts. Maybe you like different styles, t-shirts, sweaters, polos etc. and you like to change it up a bit(distrohopper). Or maybe you prefer one style of shirt (in the fall I'm very biased towards the thermal henley myself). Maybe you have a dress code @ work and have to all wear the same shirt(Red Hat), but you still may geek it out @ home and wear whatever shirt you prefer(insert linux distro here). One shirt is not the next step in some progression toward the ultimate shirt. Much the same is true of linux distributions.
In the end, they are all just tools to accomplish goals. Nothing more. Also, in the future please do not hide under the guise of Anonymous. We are all pretty much anonymous here anyways without appearing fearful of direct feedback. Well there is my rant #21.
26 • sorry if that hurts your feelings, ewproc (by Anonymous on 2010-09-27 17:17:45 GMT from United States)
I think my suggestion to use Ubuntu or Mint was right on. I could have linked an lmgtfy answer very easily to both issues. I've been driving a car for a long time, that doesn't mean I am qualified to sit in the cockpit of an F1 machine.
My rant would be this:
Stop expecting spoonfeeding when you run an "advanced" distro! If you don't want to research a solution and learn, go to something that requires minimal user interaction.
Just being direct and honest about it.
27 • RE:25 (by ewproc on 2010-09-27 17:19:32 GMT from United States)
Maybe my weekend was a bit short, or maybe I didn't get enough sleep, but for whatever reason, that post was really irritating to me. I'm usually a quiet observer rather than the person on a soap box...Like one person's reasons not to choose a particular distribution were not good enough and somehow indicated something "lacking" from the person choosing....
28 • My $0.02 on a couple of things I read today. (by Sitwon on 2010-09-27 17:27:04 GMT from United States)
@18: Hitting this first since it's on top of the stack.
1. I have used stock Ubuntu (Gnome) to access Windows shares on everything from Windows 95 up to Windows Server 2008 quite easily without jumping through hoops. I'm not sure what is happening in your case, but it's likely a minor configuration issue or maybe just PEBKAC.
2. That's an entirely unfair characterization of both the Debian community and private-labeled grocery products. I've never worked for WalMart, but I used to work for Trader Joe's and I have inside knowledge of Giant Food. There is a lot of misconception about how private-labeling works. Unlike with electronics where you find some shady Chinese factory to make you a look-a-like product, private labeled food products are produce, packaged and labeled in the same factory as the brand names.
Let's say Coke builds a bottling plant in your city. Their plant can produce 10,000 bottles a day, but they only sell 8,000 bottles a day. The plant is only operating at 80% efficiency, the other 20% is completely lost. Along comes a grocery store (such as Walmart or Trader Joe's) and they offer to buy up the excess production from the plant. This is a win-win. Coke gladly sells the extra 2,000 bottles at a discounted price because the alternative is zero. Meanwhile, the grocery store is paying next to nothing for it so they greater room for mark-up while still offering substantial savings to their customers. For the same exact product. Made in the same exact plant. By the same exact people. With the same exact ingredients.
Debian did something comparable. They're taking the same exact source code that was used to build Firefox/Thunderbird and replacing the brand-name label with their own label. In every way other than the name it's exactly the same thing product.
@Q&A: Code reviews happen for closed-source code as well. I've written closed-source code that was subjected to peer-reviews and/or security audits. In my experience it's far more common in the commercial world than in the FOSS world.
@6: Code reviews aren't all they're cracked up to be. Even a professional code review isn't guaranteed to find every issue (in my experience, they rarely find bugs I didn't already know about). It's only because of the openness of the kernel and it's relatively high profile that the bug you are referring to was even discovered and reported so broadly on (and patched so quickly). In the commercial world, bugs like that can go decades without being discovered, and once they're discovered they can go years without being reported, and then even when it has been reported the vendor will often try to keep it quite (to save face with customers/investors) and take their sweet time developing a patch (because there is no pressure on them if developers/investors don't know about it).
So yes, I do prefer open-source development even though it is at least equally vulnerable to bugs and vulnerabilities.
@Ubuntu's release cycle: With so many asynchronous projects that are feeding into it, a lot can change in six months. It's important to have regular releases just to stay on top of all the latest developments. Even if the user doesn't see any changes, there could be big things changing under the covers (like the audio back-end, or a configuration management overhaul). And even when it's nothing but a bunch of version bumping, it still has practical value. I install Ubuntu on new systems all the time and installing a 3-year-old release and then doing updates to get up to current it woefully inefficient. Furthermore, the work done to upgrade those packages and prepare the release wasn't wasted because it will all feed into the next cycle of development.
What I have observed in software projects is that keeping regular release cycles is often more productive and more effective than "release when it's ready". There is perpetually one more thing to do to finish a project mean it just drags on and on until there's no more option for delay. With regular releases you train developers to keep the code releasable and stay focused on the bigger picture. It's also enormously important for your relationship with the customer. They need to see progress on a regular basis, even if it's minor progress, or they can quickly become frustrated (and begin looking for other solutions). Finally, with Ubuntu it's also about marketing. A lot of new users don't understand about rolling updates. If they see an Ubuntu release that's 5 months old and a Fedora release that's 2 months old they will assume that Fedora is 3 months newer and has the more cutting-edge versions of everything. Further more, each Ubuntu release generates a ton of hype which itself generates a ton of brand new users and returning users.
29 • Maybe too direct (27) (by Anonymous on 2010-09-27 17:32:15 GMT from United States)
I misplaced my kid gloves... It is annoying when people complain they can't do x, when the answers are readily available. If not, there is great support out there, also.
Nothing is lacking in the person except the experience level. That comes with time. The time can be shorter if they don't use a distro with training wheels, but they have to be willing to really focus and do the necessary homework. The new user who dove into Slackware and chained himself to the cli for a month is a great (albeit extreme) example. Somewhere between spoonfeeding and masochism lies a good balance.
30 • Slackware (by ewproc on 2010-09-27 17:48:50 GMT from United States)
I went the slackware route very early on and loved the experience. Don't know about a masochist, but it was definitely eye opening. I thought at that time that Slackware was the way. Over time, I've used many different distributions and I appreciate Slackware for its simplicity and speed, but it's not my distribution of choice.
And by kid gloves, if you meant that you forgot how to write without sounding condescending, I would agree. Maybe something to work on. That's your call. But, much like the condescending response annoyed me, the complaint annoyed you, so I get it.
31 • PCLinuxOS (by exploder on 2010-09-27 18:07:18 GMT from United States)
Nice write up on PCLinuxOS! I am a long time fan of Texstar's work. PCLinuxOS has very high quality standards and in the event there is an issue, it is very quickly resolved. As far as the comments about the forum, these guys will go to most any length to help you fix a problem as long as your willing to do some work yourself.
PCLinuxOS is designed to meet the needs of it's community, that's a good thing by the way. It took both the community and Texstar to make PCLinuxOS the success it is and it is one of the best rolling releases out there. PCLinuxOS is very focused on hardware support and uses a common sense approach you just don't see everyday.
Honestly, I am surprised other distributions have not followed Texstar's approach in building a rolling release but then again, that's what sets it apart from the crowd.
32 • @24 glad you're gone linuxfreak1 (by CS on 2010-09-27 18:12:27 GMT from United States)
Calling everyone on a forum names because they knew KDE 4.0 wasn't ready for prime time won't make you many friends especially when they were happy with stable KDE 3.5.10. We are glad you are gone and hope you never come back. Please try to develop some social skills if you wish to interact with a community of friendly users.
33 • Document Archival (by Rick Maines on 2010-09-27 18:51:58 GMT from United States)
I do some work with document management. I have found that most of the Canon scanners and all-in-one units work just fine with SANE. I personally like the HP's, though. The HPLIP toolbox helps to support these units like nothing else. As far as commercial support, I know the Fujitsu's and Kodak's, and even older ones from Bell & Howell, are support, to a very large extent. Hope that helps.
34 • Maverick (by Tom Cruz on 2010-09-27 19:15:29 GMT from Colombia)
I'm going for the Maverick when it gets to RC. Why? New open source Radeon drivers are supposed to handle power management a lot better, and I'm sick of the AMD Catalyst binary. If, for whatever reason it turns out to be worst than Lucid, then I'll be back in a moment.
My point is, even if the distro as a whole is not a huge step, there can be small improvements on particular applications that are worth the upgrade.
Even more, it's not like you HAVE to upgrade, if you are happy with whatever version you have then more power to you.
I really don't understand the hate against Ubuntu or whatever distro. If anything, I'm grateful to upstream developers, debian packagers, and Canonical, for giving me good stuff and freeing me from M$.
35 • you have to want it (by Tidux on 2010-09-27 19:33:02 GMT from United States)
There's an underlying assumption about getting your hands dirty with a hard-mode distro as a way of learning Linux: motivation. I spent as much time as I did messing with Arch, Slackware, and Gentoo because I really wanted to, and I enjoyed learning about it. If you have no desire to learn, and just want to complain to other people when things go wrong, don't bother. There's no OS/distro community that won't think you're a jerk, but if the shoe fits...
36 • Attention Sitwon (#28) (by Codger76028 on 2010-09-27 19:45:49 GMT from United States)
For what it's worth, I'm using Ubuntu as well – currently 10.4, but 9.10 before that. Like I said I am still looking for a way to access shared folders on my wife's machine. Something I read suggested that the problem may be that I gave my home network a name when I set it up years ago, instead of going with the default. At any rate, all I have gotten “out of the box” with either is a long delay and then an error message: “Unable to mount location. Failed to retrieve share list from server.”
I have no idea what PEBKAC means. I assume it is something along the line of my having my head where the sun doesn't shine. Physically impossible, but mentally, it could be true. I can do most anything I really want to do in Linux, except this. Consequently it really miffs me. Especially since it crosses distro lines.
I concede that you knowledge of the grocery business is greater than mine. My analogy came from the fact that when peanut butter was recalled because of salmonella not long ago, the local WalMart had this big hole where their peanut butter used to be. All that they carried was recalled. However, brand name peanut butter could still be bought at all the other chain groceries. That suggests to me that my tendency to trust brand names over no-name clones might have some validity.
37 • Linux for the majority? (by Henning on 2010-09-27 20:06:29 GMT from Denmark)
Like some people here have been saying :"What do I care, if the number of Linux user increase, as long as I am happy with the distro I am using."
And I see what they mean. Currently I am using Ubuntu 10.04, which will not earn me a lot of respect on these pages :-), but what do I care? It works for me....
However, there is one thing that, IMO, makes it important that the different Linux distributions gain a lot more users, the thing is :Monopoly.
Currently Microsoft is close to having the monopoly on Operating systems, and Google on the search engine.
Considering that a still greater part of peoples lives are taking place on computers and on the internet, monopolies in these areas are dangerous. People get a great part of their news from the internet, they put a bigger and bigger part of their social lives on the net.
So those who control the computers and the internet will gain still more control over people, over their opinions and their lives.
Therefore COMPETITION is important, so no company can have complete control
38 • Linux problems and stuff... (by davemc on 2010-09-27 21:07:20 GMT from United States)
What is Linux doing right?.. Depends on what it is you want it to do. If you want to run the most bleeding edge hardware out there, then Linux most likely will be doing it wrong due to no driver support yet. Other than that, Linux does it ALL right!
Maverick is shaping up to be Canonical's most polished release ever. It wont have too many new bells and whistles, but it definitely polishes all the rough spots and shines up the good points of Lucid even more. As usual, they are building on the previous release and adding more to it, which is what point releases like Maverick are supposed to do as per the Ubuntu websites description of them. Not sure what the problem is with Canonical doing exactly what they said they were going to do, unless Vargheuse didn't even bother to read any background information about them before he did his inaccurate article reaching misleading conclusions, as is usually the case with him, I find. I do hope that some day he does his research BEFORE writing an article. However, he is just fishing for page hits so it is not unexpected, and writing anything negative about Ubuntu is a sure bet to prop up that PHR, isn't it?
Debian stable is even easier to use than Ubuntu. Not sure where all this snootiness is coming from.
39 • "advanced" distros (by simon on 2010-09-27 21:15:33 GMT from New Zealand)
@25 "One shirt is not the next step in some progression toward the ultimate shirt".
Amen. There is no beginner-to-advanced hierarchy of distros. After more than ten years working with most of the major distributions listed on Distrowatch, I can assure you that there are plenty of incompetent morons running Slackware, Gentoo, Debian, Arch and so on, and plenty of competent experts running Ubuntu, PCLinuxOS, Mint, Mepis, etc. The "advanced" distros are more intimidating to ex-Windows newbies because they require some reading of documentation and following of instructions...but even years ago when a Gentoo install could take several days of typing shell commands and watching things compile, a total beginner could do this if s/he simply followed the instructions carefully and patiently. All major distros DOCUMENT their installation procedures and so the shirt analogy is a good one: it's like the difference between doing up buttons or just tossing on a t-shirt. The "advanced" skills of doing up buttons or reading installation documents are almost completely irrelevant to what's done once the shirt is on, and at that point the guy in the shirt and tie is just as likely to be an idiot (or an expert) as the one in the t-shirt. If anything, the idiot in the shirt and tie is more dangerous if he thinks he's "progressed beyond Ubuntu" by using Debian. If people are under the illusion that distro choice reflects competence, far better they recognize themselves as beginners who still have lots to learn.
40 • numbers are important (by illiterate on 2010-09-27 21:42:08 GMT from United States)
I'm an example of what simon says by being a very happy user of a so called "advanced" distribution like arch despite being very computer and linux illiterate. Documentation, system transparency, and forum support make my computing life much easier than "user friendly" distributions I had used before. I think reaching the masses is very important. Without numbers linux does not receive the support it needs from hardware and software vendors in order to provide users with a painless and trouble free computing experience. The success of ubuntu and its 6 month release cycle is one of the best things for us linux users. An I have high hopes on the impact of android and meego.
41 • @39 By that logic... (by Anonymous on 2010-09-27 21:43:51 GMT from United States)
Someone who takes the time to do an LFS build isn't going to learn more than someone who does an Ubuntu automatic install. Please.
Even regurgitating the commands from the manual will familiarize them with core concepts, especially how to build from source.
Yep, there are competent users and idiots in every community. I wouldn't call anyone who is willing to rtfm and follow directions an idiot user, though.
42 • The stalled state of Linux (by Some Guy on 2010-09-27 22:55:35 GMT from Canada)
How can you expect Linux to evolve when the "Main" Distro reinvent the wheel every 6 months? Scratch that. How can it evolve when *everyone* is reinventing the wheel ever 6 months? I've been a "distro hopper" for a couple of years and frankly, I gave up. I wish developers could be like ants. Doing their thing while working together toward a common goal. There is no such thing. Instead of tweaking the code of, say, Amarok (or anything else really, they all look like crap), a developers will start his own multimedia "distro" with bits and pieces of everyone else because, well, why not? Developers have egos too, you know.
Yes, I know some distros go the extra mile. Arch is the first one to come to mind. There are others. This is not the rule. So please, spare me the "Well! Distro X is fantastic!". I know a couples are. This is not my point.
The concept is flawed. It does not work. That's why even Apple is eating Linux for breakfast: They have a vision. A *goal*. They are going *somewhere*. This cannot be said of Linux at all.
Things need to change. Stop reinstalling everything. Easy (for Linux anyways) upgrade over the old system should be mandatory. They should be some sort of consortium, or whatever, established to make *rules*. Distros that would (voluntarily, of course) abide by these rules would get a "seal of Linux quality" or something that they could flaunt around. I know something has been tried on this front ans apparently fell apart. Which then begs the question "Why bother at all?, then?"
We need something,*anything* really, that remotely looks like we are in control here. Because right now, all I see is thousands of monkeys behind thousands of keyboards all going in different directions. Nothing will happen. The "Year of Linux", or whatever is left of it, will never happen. It doesn't even stand a ghost of a chance.
So there's that.
Also, this site looks practically exactly the same as it was when I started frequenting it ages ago.The site itself is getting old as %$#?, for chris' sakes. I swear I'm tired of looking at this yellow brown/orange blob. I guess that's why that,instead of coming around here many times a day, I'm now lucky if I remember it's Monday's "Distrowatch weekly". You're getting stalled as the state of Linux.You should teach by example and do something about that.
And that is all.
43 • @42 (by fernbap on 2010-09-27 23:15:46 GMT from Portugal)
Wow! I don't even know where to start!
Perhaps i should start by saying that i think your understanding of what Linux is is very small.
"How can you expect Linux to evolve when the "Main" Distro reinvent the wheel every 6 months?"
Reinvent the wheel? What do you mean by that? Are you aware that there is a thing called "development" and the tendency is to go further and further towards a better system?
"That's why even Apple is eating Linux for breakfast"
That's what i call a religious opinion. An opinion based on no proof at all, induced by faith. Do you have any proof of what you are claiming?
"They have a vision. A *goal*. They are going *somewhere*. This cannot be said of Linux at all."
Really? So noone has a *goal* in Linux? What about Red Hat? What about Cannonical? What about Debian? (etc, etc, etc)
"Because right now, all I see is thousands of monkeys behind thousands of keyboards all going in different directions. Nothing will happen"
Ĩ'm starting to believe that what you need is better glasses.
44 • RE: Ubuntu release every 6 months (by snp on 2010-09-27 23:41:23 GMT from United States)
I hang out at ubuntuforums a lot (though I haven't used Ubuntu much since 7.10) and many Ubuntu users DEMAND the latest applications, vociferously complaining about being "forced" to use applications that are 5 MONTHS OLD, OMG!!!
Slowing down Ubuntu releases to 12 months or whatever would kill the distro.
45 • re: Ubuntu Releases (by KrazyPenguin on 2010-09-28 00:09:29 GMT from Canada)
I DISAGREE WITH THE POST.
The 6 Month cycle has been a GREAT success over the last several years, with each release drawing more users.
To actually say that this version of Ubuntu is "being released at all?" is really a disgrace to all the Ubuntu users/ devs/ and testers that put in a lot of time and effort.
The actual article is a waste of time to read, but seemed to draw attention by DW for whateverreasons???!!!!
I'm not upgrading my LTS version, but that's not because the new version is bad.
The new version has a new installer, updated packages, better speed, and always under-the-hood-stuff.
When you compare versions , they look similar, but it is the under-the-hood stuff, like pluggin something in and IT WORKS, that makes it really great.
46 • Linux problems and Stuff (by Anonymous on 2010-09-28 00:18:09 GMT from United States)
This is a not just a Linux problem it affects Windows too.
But I will keep this conversation 100% linux but part of the problem is drivers that were maintained or supported by windows no longer supported by windows. The windows 9X driver that was pulled by MS, etc.
It is drivers, drivers that is the bane of linux.
I research anything I buy and make sure that it works with Linux, that information is getting more and more buried. More things worked in the 2.4 kernel and no longer work in 2.6. Other things worked in the old open driver and do not work in the new closed driver. Other things work locally but not over the windows network. Other things work but parts of it are not supported and have to be disabled from the windows user for them to work over the network for Linux. Video drivers that work and not work because the package manager keeps pushing the broken driver back.
Some of my weirder issues lately are a network printer that doesn't work because of a built in card reader and a laser printer that the new cups won't let it have a generic PCL5 driver and demands that I use a driver that model number is within 100 of.
I have web cams that only work at half the resolution because they won't interlace like the used to and need more light.
I have video cards that will only work with the OEM driver but insist on using the generic chipset driver that is newer. The bad part about these is they can switch without notice if something else changes like the default font point. I also have card readers that can't be plugged in until the PC boots (GRUB hangs) but work fine when they are plugged in after it is on. These are empty with no cards in them.
47 • Dial-Up Users Need Support Too! (by anonymous on 2010-09-28 00:33:09 GMT from United States)
One distribution feature that is seldom mentioned (but kudos to Jesse Smith, above) is easy compatibility with dial-up modems. That's a shame, since a surprisingly large percentage of PC users rely on dial-up modems and some of them, like me, become Linux users.
Puppy Linux 4.3.1 appears to me to be the champ in this regard, being compatible with most modems including my Lucent and Conexant Winmodems with no software additions needed. The same can't be said for Puppy 5, however. Slackware 13.0 also gets great marks, needing just a driver to make my Conexant modem work perfectly. Would it have worked without an additional driver if the modem was controller-based, like the well-known USRobotics USB modem?
And what about other popular distributions, including those mentioned in the fine, above-referenced \"Top Ten Page\" article? I have tried and failed with Ubuntu 9, Mandriva 2010 and ZenWalk, but have other, more capable users succeeded? What about the latest PCLinuxOS, PC-BSD, DesktopBSD, Linux Mint 9, Debian, and the others? Has anyone had success with these?
I'd be delighted to see posted comments from those who know the answers. And, I'd be delighted if those publishing new and revised distributions would mention dial-up compatibility, and include it in those distributions if possible.
48 • DWW (by Landor on 2010-09-28 00:38:32 GMT from Canada)
I have to say that I agree with Jesse on the theme/background of OpenIndiana, very pleasant. I also have to agree on the Device Driver Utility, something that would make testing a LiveCD's configuration of your hardware a lot easier within Linux since you're already at the desktop. Maybe we'll see some distribution(s) adopt this eventually.
I commented a while ago about the wallpaper for Fedora 14 on Mo Duffy's blog. I find the latest version of it a lot better than some of the first ones I looked at and tried on my netbook. I still find it a bad choice though. From a usability standpoint it doesn't work well, at least in my opinion. I find that the aperture pulls my eyes towards it and away from the rest of the desktop, making it the focus. I had hoped they would have changed it out. As always, backgrounds are usually, and easily changed. It's a shame though to say that. I will say it is a nice image that the person created, I personally just don't find it suitable for the desktop.
Keep your stick on the ice...
49 • Modems (by Jesse on 2010-09-28 01:19:01 GMT from Canada)
I know a lot of people still using dial-up and, often times, Linux isn't up to handling their modems. At least not out of the box. For those people I suggest buying an external hardware modem. Hardware modems are beautifully inexpensive and, in my experience, work really well across Linux distros. As long as you have a program like Kppp to do the dialing, the experience is pretty point-n-click.
50 • Ubuntu Cycle (by Colin on 2010-09-28 01:26:31 GMT from Australia)
Ubuntu comes out with a new release every 6 months. It is not incumbent on every user to avail themselves of that release. My current strategy with upgrading Ubuntu is to upgrade to the LTS about 5 months after its initial release and not upgrade for 2 years.
That way I'm not too far behind and get some stability. If I need something newer I can always load it on a VM and use it from there.
Not so hard people...
51 • OpenIndiana is a development, not distribution, release (by Ralph on 2010-09-28 02:14:35 GMT from Canada)
In his review of OpenIndiana Jesse Smith wrote: "Perhaps it's not fair to make a judgement call so early given that this is OpenIndiana's first release and they're just getting started, but this initial offering felt more like an early beta than a final release." It probably felt this way because it *is* a beta release. The word "development" is even in the downloadable iso. Another release is supposedly coming out on Oct.3. But the the final "distribution" release -- called "Foreverware" -- is scheduled for Q1, 2011.
52 • Modems on Linux (by Antonio on 2010-09-28 02:31:35 GMT from United States)
There are many modems that work with linux. Thanks to the efforts of many folks that work in this area. There are a few that have no support, but check with LinModems Resource Page and you will find the information that you need. Many linux distros work well with most winmodems, ie., Fedora, Ubuntu, OpenSuse, Slackware and one vistor mentioned Puppy and they are indeed correct :) What mgiht be missing on some occasions is kernel-devel/kernel-source packages to build the modules against the running kernels. But if that is available, most are a compilation away :)
53 • Root Account on OpenIndiana (by Ralph on 2010-09-28 02:44:43 GMT from Canada)
When installing OpenIndiana I had a slightly different experience with establishing the root account than did Jesse Smith. After installation I had temporarily forgotten I had not created the root account so, as a reflex action, I just typed "su" and then the terminal told me that my root password had expired and told me to type in a new one. I did this and managed to get a root account working this way.
54 • @53 oi-dev147 root (by Anonymous on 2010-09-28 02:50:34 GMT from United States)
Same thing here.
Jesse did get a lot of it right.
1- She's a beauty.
2- She's fat.
3- Takes forever to boot, almost seems like it's locked-up.
At idle, it was gobbling up ~850MB of RAM!
Maybe it was my connection, but the repo was ridiculously slow.
55 • Modems & Solaris. (by jake on 2010-09-28 03:34:56 GMT from United States)
I still use a Telebit Trailblazer to connect to my machine-room in Sonoma from my property in rural Mendocino County about 20% of the time. Typically, I can manage 9,600 BPS (with peaks to 19.2 (rarely)), but I'm often closer to 2,400 (9,600 tonight! Woo-hoo!) ... Aging cable plants & cracked, dusty wires combined with rain or fog make for a really bad signal/noise ratio. And up here, I'm barely 200 miles by road from Silicon Valley! Distros that can't handle modems are probably a no-go for a good portion of the world.
Solaris is, to my mind, no longer an option for corporate work. I'll keep an eye on the forks for awhile, but unless SoLari's "official" version cooperates with the open versions for a couple years, I'll stick with the BSDs in corporate server environments from here on out. Life's to short to deal with fickle corporate politics ... That's why I run Slackware desktops & BSD servers in the first place!
 I'm my own ISP when I'm on the road ... Makes life easier.
 No, the "slower" connect speed doesn't affect my "Internet experience" in any noticeable way ... I mean, *I* can't read much faster than 9,600 BPS, can you?
 Whatever that is ...
56 • RHEL 6 (by Pumpino on 2010-09-28 04:13:32 GMT from Australia)
Ladislav made mention of the upcoming release of RHEL 6. Does anyone have specific info about when we're likely to see it? Will there be another public beta, or are we only a matter of weeks away from seeing the final product?
57 • Release cycles (by Pumpino on 2010-09-28 04:17:41 GMT from Australia)
The six month release cycles of Fedora and Ubuntu are perfect for me. I have my reinstallation technique so refined that I'm up and running after a fresh installation after only a couple of hours each for my desktop machines. A couple of hours every six months is not time consuming. Also, Fedora supports releases for 13 months and Ubuntu for 18 months (for a normal release), so if you don't want to upgrade you don't have to. For those that do, you can. It's perfect!
58 • RE: 56 RHEL 6 (by ladislav on 2010-09-28 04:32:45 GMT from Taiwan)
No, there won't be another public development release of RHEL 6. As for the release date, that's anybody's guess. For what it's worth, I don't think we are too far away from it - it took Red Hat about four months to get from the second beta of RHEL 5 (which wasn't publicly available) to RHEL 5 final, so if they have a similar development plan with RHEL 6, we could see the final release as soon as late October or early November. Still, it's just a guess, so don't base your deployment strategy on it ;-)
59 • open indianna - elevated privelleges (by Lance Wilson on 2010-09-28 04:54:10 GMT from Australia)
If you use any of the opensolaris variants the way to get elevated privelleges is to use the pfexec command not the su or sudo commands. On previous versions it would give you a warning about using these commands. So for any root level command you need to run just add pfexec before the command and if you have the correct roles it should just work.
60 • follow-up on scanners in linux (by Semi-Frustrated user/abuser on 2010-09-28 05:37:26 GMT from Canada)
#9-Jesse: Re pro-level scanners - Had not thought of that approach. Sounds like a workable solution. Have you had experience with any specific models you could recommend? Thanks
#13-Mandog: What specific Canon scanner have you got working under Linux. I have a 4200F which sane support shows as completely unsupported. Virtually every Canon model carried in local retail stock is shown as "unsupported". How did you do it? (Or were you lucky enough to find a previously supported but now out of production model?)
#22-Oko: What I ORIGINALLY tried to purchase before buying the Canon was a supported Epson Perfection scanner, but no local retailer stocked the brand, and nobody was even willing to order it. Some retailers complained about problems with other Epson products (eg - difficulty with printer heads clogging up) and refuse to touch any of their products
#33-Rick Maines: From what I see checking the sane support site, all the supported Canon scanners seem to be older models that are no longer available retail, and usually models using scsi or parallel port. Most of the current usb models seem to be unsupported and undocumented. As for Fujitsu and Kodak, I was told to check out some large office equipment suppliers in Toronto. I guess small corner store computer shops in regional towns only carry cheaper "commodity" or "mass retail" items. And as for Bell and Howell - are they still alive? Come to think of it, how old are you that you even remember them? (grin - no insult intended....)
#47 re Conexant modems: When I last checked their site, it turned out that that is a renamed/rebranded Rockwell chipset. There is a binary blob style driver, but did not succeed in finding a source-based file to download and compile.
#55-Jake: Right on about Slackware on desktops and BSD for servers. I wonder what hardware most people are running OpenSolaris on. Everything I ever tried it on ran slow enough for me to go through a complete winter's hibernation before it awakened enough to do anything.
Everyone: Thanks for your help and comments. I realize the scanner thing is a little "off-topic" for this site, but it did fall into the hardware aspect of the "what is Linux doing right/wrong" this week, so really, thanks for your patience on that.
61 • Re: open indianna - elevated privelleges (by Ralph on 2010-09-28 05:40:39 GMT from Canada)
@59 - the pfexec command does not work in OpenIndiana -- I'm pretty sure this has been reported as a bug....
62 • Love the 6 month release schedule (by Dan on 2010-09-28 05:44:07 GMT from United States)
The article was a hack job, but no surprise. As has been stated, the 6 month release schedule provides deadlines, which force the developers to actually work on code and get it right. And even if the programs only move up .1 or .2 in release numbers, oftentimes, these little jumps provide big benefits to those with newer computers.
63 • pfexec v. su @ openindiana (by polycarp on 2010-09-28 05:47:06 GMT from United States)
Thanks for the input, but what you have shared has actually become a little dated. While completely accurate concerning b134, a bug report and discussion @ openindiana (~b146+) has revealed the quiet intention in the community to favour sudo over pfexec. pfexec'ing as of b147 will not elevate your privelege sufficiently to accomplish several administrative tasks, but su will take care of all of it.
Is this a good thing? meh
64 • Re: pfexec v. su @ openindiana (by Ralph on 2010-09-28 06:26:09 GMT from Canada)
@63 - Yes, the sudo command already seems to be working in OpenIndiana -- I was able to initiate a mirror scrub using it....
65 • RE: RHEL 6 (by Pumpino on 2010-09-28 06:30:11 GMT from Australia)
Thanks for the info, Ladislav. Fedora 14 is scheduled for release on 2nd November. Maybe they'll synchronize the releases (I don't see why they would, but it's a nice though).
We might see CentOS 6 by early December. That would be a nice Xmas present...Santa hasn't been for three years.
66 • ubuntu's development cycle (by Mike on 2010-09-28 08:36:07 GMT from United Kingdom)
I for one am quite happy with ubuntu's development cycle - I consider the single act of booting the system faster to be enough justification for a release and, of course, there will be others such as btfs.
Well done ubuntu.
67 • #19 (by Leroy on 2010-09-28 10:22:02 GMT from Serbia)
"Frequent fixed release cycles mean deadlines, and any developer knows the importance of deadlines in order to make things happen."
I'll assume you mean, in order to make good things happen. Produce good software.
It would be great if that's how it played out in reality, but it very often doesn't. In reality, they are far more likely to ship with serious bugs attempting to meet fanciful deadlines at any cost. The last Ubuntu I tried running (and the last ever) was 10.4, which made a huge memory leak bug happen for me, involving notify-osd and a popular media player. Reading their bug tracker reports on the subject that went a while back, I deduced that they knowingly let it slip with the new release. It's done all the time, but this approach is still all wrong on so many levels.
Fedora's on the same six-month bandwagon, although not so ridiculously tied to one date, but it's still disappointing. But of course, RHEL is not.
And therein lies the rub. Only serious operating systems can ever hope to compete with the monstrous monopoly currently choking the desktop market. And new versions of serious operating systems should be released when they're ready, not a day sooner.
68 • Ubuntu Ultimate Edition (by Picks Place on 2010-09-28 11:14:15 GMT from United States)
Looking for when 2.8 might come out-
Would be sweet to see whats new.
69 • Scanners (by Jesse on 2010-09-28 11:54:52 GMT from Canada)
>> "Re pro-level scanners - Had not thought of that approach. Sounds like a workable solution. Have you had experience with any specific models you could recommend? Thanks"
I've used a handful. Not sure if I'd go so far as to recommend one over another. To be honest it's pre-coffee here and they're all blurring together. The last model I remember using and getting solid results from was a Konica Minolta C650. It's an all-in-one colour scanner, fax machine, and printer. Might be a bit expensive if you're just looking for a scanner, but it does e-mail scans and, I think, it will provide either Samba or FTP access to scanned documents. The nice thing about buying or leasing at a pro level is the support company will general let you test a machine before you commit. So you might be able to get two competing machines and see which one better suits your needs. Best of luck.
70 • Variety is the spice of life (by Julian Kelsall-Joel on 2010-09-28 11:56:20 GMT from United Kingdom)
I have to say I get excited by the new releases. It is great to see that changes that have been made. As has been said previously it is easy to try a live CD and if it doesn't work for you (whether it be style, lack of support for your wireless card, etc) than pick another distro or release.
I have tried out many different distros, at the moment I am using Meego, but I always come back to Ubuntu.
What I love about Linux is the wide variety of distros compared to one MS OS that fits all. Why always have Vanilla ice cream when there are many flavours out there to try?
71 • Once again, on the subject of 6-month releases (by DavidEF on 2010-09-28 11:56:25 GMT from United States)
I believe in the "Release early, release often" way of doing things. From what I've seen, the "Release when it's ready" idea is too ideal. There will ALWAYS be bugs! The earlier and more often the code is released, the more people will use it, the more quickly bugs will be discovered.
Also, I'm going to have to agree with those who say that deadlines actually spur the developers on toward making the code release ready. And short deadlines could motivate them to keep it that way.
Besides all this, the 6-month releases of Ubuntu are not meant to be bug-free, just as with Fedora. If you like to stay more on the safe side, that is what the LTS are for. And the LTS versions do get regularly released service packs, so you don't have to install the three-year-old version and update all the way up.
I personally prefer the more cutting edge releases, often upgrading my laptop to either the last alpha or first beta that is released, then just updating every day while development continues. But then, my laptop is not a production machine. And I like to break things anyway! Fun-Fun!
72 • re 42 (by none on 2010-09-28 12:12:50 GMT from United States)
I agree completely with everything you said. Let's ignore the installers and hardware detection for a second. You know what? If I'm running Slack, or Ubuntu, or Gentoo, and I'm just USING the system, say a KDE install, run Firefox, Openoffice, Gimp, can I tell the difference? NO. Virtually every system I've used is identical if you install the same software and have it fully configured. Is there a problem having more than one major distribution? No. Is there room for SOME hobby distros, sure. Does a typical user (say a Windows user, for example, who in my experience half the time doesn't bother to run their antivirus or ignores the security alerts in the corner) "care" about how their software works, if it adheres to Software Guidelines etc., no. They just want a system that works with little fuss. Imagine the progress that would be made if everyone could just FOCUS their efforts and get along. So often there is a fight among management of a distro, a blowup, storming off and then "we'll show you, we'll make our own distro". I'm sorry but when there are hundreds of projects, and aside from a few that are truly innovative, most amount to having only different software installed and a different theme or background, something that can be changed in five minutes, I just see no sense in it, and an average person will be overwhelmed by it. The other problem is that people are blind to this, and will no doubt fire back with nonsense. Such is life.
73 • One Distro to rule them all!.. and things (by davemc on 2010-09-28 14:14:11 GMT from United States)
I actually agree with #72. To encourage this, I think that the FSF and other major Linux foundations should "sponsor" a distro and encourage everyone to use/develop on it exclusively, including paid support and staff. There will always be respins and spinoff's, and that should never be discouraged because they sometimes breed innovation rarely, but a concentration of effort does need to happen sometime soon as there is far far too much fragmentation in the Linux community for it ever to amount to anything beyond that which the major Corporations are sponsoring, eg. Red Hat, Canonical, Oracle, etc..
Its one thing to sit around and cry about the state of our community such as it is, but we are all only encouraging it by our Distro hopping ways. Pick one of the major ones and stick with it, help sponsor it, and donate generously to it. This is how Linux will break the mainstream. Since currently only a very small minority at present are interested in advancing the Desktop market share such as Ubuntu and have that as their stated goal and have the user base and Corporate backing, I think they have the best shot at getting Linux to the masses, so, much as Ubuntu does piss me off from time to time with reckless updates/upgrades, I think it wise to support their efforts.
74 • @73 "One Distro" (by Anonymous on 2010-09-28 14:39:40 GMT from United States)
Oracle is no friend to free software.
Canonical is more than willing to ship proprietary blobs and is even complicit in the installation process. Is that good for free software? Why would you support that while claiming to support free software? They're attracting new users, BUT they are teaching all of them that it's ok to use proprietary drivers and such. This is far from ideal.
The FSF has a list of compliant distros on their site, which they recommend.
75 • "One Distro" (by M1k on 2010-09-28 14:57:04 GMT from Italy)
"One Distro" could be THE NAME!
Free,clean,no proprietary stuff..
It's just a dream?
76 • Tying the critical threads together (by bwd on 2010-09-28 15:13:17 GMT from United States)
Some comments on general themes:
1. From what I've been able to gather, there are simply different visions about OS progress. Conformity can be productive, but can also stifle potentially beneficial (if radically different) approaches. I see no problem with letting "a thousand flowers bloom". It's a sign of a healthy research community. It doesn't mean the Linux community is wayward and lost--it means we're onto something(s).
2. This criticism that ego runs the developmental show strikes me as nonsense. There are legions of patient developers whose guiding principles are to 'make things work better'. Sometimes this means cooperation, sometimes it means blazing your own trail. It is great to be able to have the kind of openness to have creative options available. If someone's ego-trip produces something someone thinks is useful, whats the harm?
3. The complaint that there's too much flotsam floating around in the kiddie pool doesn't make much sense to me. If the concern is that there are a bunch of useless and orphaned packages, don't install them. If they come bundled with your distro and you don't like it, either let someone know about it, or jump to a distro that gives you more control (like Arch, Slack, Gentoo, BSDs, etc).
What is Linux doing right? I want to say, as a community, virtually everything that matters. We are a community that shares the value of freedom and 'openness', transparency and cooperation, where the profit motive is largely and successfully divorced from development and production motives. It is an experiment that has largely, and thus far gone wildly right.
77 • @76 (by fernbap on 2010-09-28 15:26:58 GMT from Portugal)
"If they come bundled with your distro and you don't like it, either let someone know about it, or jump to a distro that gives you more control (like Arch, Slack, Gentoo, BSDs, etc)."
Gives you more control? How is that? Are you trying to say that using a distro that forces you to go the hard way is better than using a distro that allows you to go the easy way, although the hard way is always available? How is that "more control"? The hard way is always available in any linux distro.
The "One Distro" concept is just absurd. That would only make the FSF the new MS, which is exactly what we DON'T want. That would just kill any concurrent project.
78 • @77 (by bwd on 2010-09-28 15:47:37 GMT from United States)
"Gives you more control? How is that? Are you trying to say that using a distro that forces you to go the hard way is better than using a distro that allows you to go the easy way, although the hard way is always available? How is that "more control"? The hard way is always available in any linux distro."
I'm not sure what you mean by "the hard way". I don't really want to open the 'easy=similar to osx/windows' can of worms, but what is easy or hard is in large part a matter of familiarity and intuitiveness--which are mostly personal and idiosyncratic issues.
I'm an Arch user, and personally I find the install and daily maintenance of my system a breath of fresh air--everything just makes sense. When things don't automatically work, I can come to understand why, and I can fix them--and that is very satisfying to me. I understand others are different than I am, but I guess my point was just that--our community allows us each to be who we are instead of forcing anyone to accept a situation that is less than ideal.
That said, I agree with you that the FSF 'seal of approval' idea is probably a step in the 'wrong' (read: less-facilitating) direction.
79 • @78 (by fernbap on 2010-09-28 16:08:00 GMT from Portugal)
"I'm not sure what you mean by "the hard way". I don't really want to open the 'easy=similar to osx/windows' can of worms, but what is easy or hard is in large part a matter of familiarity and intuitiveness--which are mostly personal and idiosyncratic issues."
Familiarity - if you want to drive away users from windows, what are they familiar with?
Intuitiveness - I can't think of anything more intuitive than a well designed GUI.
It comes to what you are already familiar with. Sure, if you are a windows power user, you will want to learn how to be a linux power user as well. But power users are a very small minority.
I know, many people here feel uncomfortable with the idea of linux being invaded by the windows hordes. Everyone is afraid of change, including those used to a certain universe dimension, and being afraid of that universe expanding. That fear is understandable, but ultimately has no reason to exist. There will always be dumb users and power users, in any universe.
Wanting to keep linux "dumb user free" is just, in my view, wanting to keep the status quo for no reason else than to just keep it as is. It also sounds a little racist, doesn't it?
80 • I concur with David (by Tony on 2010-09-28 16:25:53 GMT from United States)
Regarding David's post" Six month release (by DavidEF on 2010-09-27 11:55:19 GMT from United States)
As users, we should all know what we want and make the appropriate decision. David capture my exact scenario in my Linux life. It's great to have so many choices with Linux.
81 • FSF and stuff (by davemc on 2010-09-28 17:40:36 GMT from United States)
#74. I know Oracle is horrible. The point is that major Corp's are the big boys that throw the developmental money around to make stuff happen on a time line and with a structured purpose. The FSF could do the same thing as them by sponsoring a fully free Distro and paying a staff to develop/maintain it just as Canonical does if they truly wished to further Free Software on the Desktop. Its one thing to hop around screaming "Free Software man!" and foo fooey on ubuntu because they allow proprietary binary blobs and then not contribute a dime to anything, which is what they do from where I sit. Developers got bills to pay and mouths to feed. Money talks, BS walks, or so the saying goes.
Fedora/Red Hat have publicly stated they have no desire to target the Desktop market. Novell is a sinking ship and are searching for buyers. We have all seen the drama surrounding Mandriva. Drama surrounding Sidux/aptosid. What's left of the Desktop oriented Distro's with steam behind them?... Ubuntu, Mint (not really a distro by its own merits), PCLos, MEPIS, and Debian Stable. Thats about it. Sabayon=Gentoo=Not real user friendly. Slackware=not user friendly in any way whatsoever. Archlinux=Intermediate to advanced and they could care less about the Desktop market. Surely the FSF or the Linux Foundation can pick one from among the top 5 on the list I mentioned and truly sponsor it and take a more active approach to guiding what goes in to it backed up by their bank account (presumably Debain).
82 • What's Wrong With Linux? (by Glenn on 2010-09-28 18:03:18 GMT from United States)
Jesse, Kudos on an excellent and honest reply to what ails the individual (and sometimes Linux OS) in question. People are indeed flawed so to expect absolute perfection... what... Windows?? Mac?? Nada.
I have used some three dozen Linuxes for nearly 30 years, am not a techie in the common definition of that term, and most 'nixes have not only proved stable and for the most part bug-free but useful in my daily work and play.
It's about choice and variety as well- and I find no OS like Linux offers these!
What's wrong with Linux? Very little when compared to the alternatives imho. -Glenn
83 • #82 (by Jon Thomsen on 2010-09-28 18:50:17 GMT from United States)
You are approximately 10 years ahead of Torvalds' creation.
84 • VlC offline installer (by VlC on 2010-09-28 18:59:04 GMT from India)
if anyone want VLC 64 bit offline installer then they can found it here
85 • #81 - Some misinformation here (by Caityn Martin on 2010-09-28 19:21:36 GMT from United States)
@davemc: Red Hat have stated publicly that the consumer desktop is not their target market. The corporate/business desktop is another matter entirely, and they do market to those customers quite seriously. Red Hat has a significant desktop development team in Massachusetts and they contribute upstream to the GNOME project regularly.
While I consulted for Red Hat I saw just why the desktop is most definitely important to them. They have some rather large enterprise clients who use RHEL in the server room and the workstation edition on their desktops. These are not small deployments. When I worked on site at some of these customers I got an earful about just how important desktop issues were to them and this definitely got passed on. I certainly wasn't the only consultant passing on such messages and many of the issues were works in progress by Red Hat engineers. They can and DO take the desktop very seriously and this is reflected in Fedora releases as well.
The FSF will not stand behind any of the five distros you mentioned. In fact, they stand in opposition to all of them as not "free" by their definition of the word. In order to be free and have the FSF seal of approval a distro must strip out all proprietary code, including drivers in the kernel. Doing so reduces hardware compatibility considerably in turn making the distros less usable to ordinary users who want their systems to just work. I don't think you or I would seriously recommend the distros that the FSF does push, such as gNewSense or Ututo. Here is their full list of approved distros: http://www.gnu.org/distros/free-distros.html
Also, if you read the GNU GPL, under which the kernel and most elements of any Linux distro are licensed, you will find that it basically slams the door on any limitations on choice. FOSS, by nature, allows for diversity, and that is enforced in the license. In other words, there will never be a rallying around any one distro or a group of distros. IMNSHO, that's fine. Let the market and the user community decide.
86 • @34 by Tom Cruz (by Tom Horn on 2010-09-28 19:58:02 GMT from United States)
"..if you are happy with whatever version you have then more power to you. I really don't understand the hate against Ubuntu or whatever distro. If anything, I'm grateful to upstream developers, debian packagers, and Canonical, for giving me good stuff and freeing me from M$."
87 • More on "Linux Frustrations" (by 0.99pl12 on 2010-09-28 20:04:57 GMT from United States)
I understand the feelings that "Frustrated-with-the-state-of-Linux" brings out. Having worked with Linux since you had to download pieces using gopher and ftp from funet.fi, I see projects start and fail, start and sit idle, or sit and move forward with version numbers that start with "0.", implying that they are still in "BETA" or worse status. How many of these "prerelease" projects are still floating around, their authors safe in the knowing that if anything goes wrong, they're protected from responsibility because the project was not listed as a released version? How many other projects have simply been abandoned because the author became disenchanted or realized that they were in over their heads? How many other projects have been pushed out in a half-finished state as if they were finished?
Linus has provided a rich platform combined with the GNU platform tools, but its openness is actually a blessing and a curse. It is both good and bad that anyone with an application idea can create and release code. Not everyone should undertake the creation of their brainchild. This is also an example of why there is still a commercial market for software even after 17+ years of OSS efforts. While I'm not claiming that commercial efforts are without their problems, at least the parties responsible take responsibility for their work. Until OSS authors are willing to
take responsibility for the projects and take the time to properly vet their work against test environments and Q/A processes, Linux will continue to live under the stigma of an unfinished and buggy platform.
And before you flame me, think about this: When was the last time you installed a Linux system without requiring any manual tweeks or package updates? Me? I'm a geek and I expect my systems to require my "magic touch". My father in law? He just wants it to work.
88 • Newcomers who set themselves up for failure (by Caitlyn Martin on 2010-09-28 20:12:10 GMT from United States)
While I appreciate the thoughtful responses Jesse made in response to the frustrated newcomer question I can't help feeling that this person set themselves up for failure. For example: "I've learnt to never ask anything on a forum, even after "googling", but to re-install instead.)" This is so very wrong. Linux depends on the community support model. There is almost no problem that requires reinstallation. Almost any problem can be fixed, although sometimes it does require booting up in single user mode and using the command line if the OS is really hosed.
Two and a half years ago I wrote a piece quoting Linus Torvalds who famously compared changing operating systems with "performing brain surgery on yourself." (See: http://www.oreillynet.com/linux/blog/2007/02/performing_brain_surgery_on_yo.html ) Running Linux requires a completely different way of thinking than running Windows. The person who wrote in frustration is trying to apply a Windows mindset to Linux and that will never work. You have to use the community support to succeed as a newcomer and you have to use Linux solutions, not the Windows answer of a reinstall. Otherwise you will never get anywhere or learn what you need to know.
The majority of Linux distribution forums are good sources of support. Yes, there are a couple I could name that are horrendous but they are the outliers, not the typical forum. In addition, any large group is going to have a few nitwits who are rude or unhelpful. In a large community like those around Ubuntu, Fedora and Mandriva, for example, they are vastly outnumbered by helpful people. You have to ignore the few idiots and take the help offered freely by those who give their valuable time to do all they can to give newcomers a successful experience migrating to Linux.
The frustrated newcomer also mentions "Googling" solutions and getting frustrated. I can understand that one very well. The better, major distributions as well as a number of smaller projects have excellent documentation for their OS. Someone, in the comments mentioned a lack of centralized documentation which is correct, since Linux is decentralized. It isn't monolithic like Windows. However, Ubuntu, Fedora, Mandriva and many others do have excellent docs for their distributions. Have you read those or were you looking for a quick answer? I suspect the latter. Read the docs from your distro and things will become much clearer.
The tools for accessing Windows (NTFS, CIFS and FAT32) partitions are stable and have been for something more than a decade. They are used by large enterprises (Fortune 500 companies, government, large institutions) on a constant basis. If they aren't working for you then something is wrong with your configuration, not Linux. It is more than a bit arrogant for a newcomer to assume the code is wrong and they are right. Approaching what is undoubtedly a significant learning curve works a lot better with just a touch of humility. Huge clue: I've used Linux for 15 years, 12 of those years working professionally as a systems administrator or consultant, and I am still learning Linux.
The majority of heavily used applications are not a series of betas. Everything from OpenOffice.org to DeVeDe (DVD authoring software) to GIMP are mature, stable programs. Sure, there is new development going on much as their is with applications for Windows and MacOS. The difference in Linux is that you, as a user, do have access to the development process. For some that is an advantage. For you, as a new user, simply stick with stable code from your chosen distribution's repository and you will be just fine most if not all of the time.
101 distros? Stick with the large, mainstream popular desktop distros and you are down to a handful as numerous comments have made clear. Pick one and stick with it. The number of distros suddenly isn't an issue.
If the more you learn about Linux the worse it seems to you then there are two possibilities: either you are looking for answers in the wrong places, which I've already covered, or Linux may just not be for you. There is a significant learning curve as Linus Torvalds pointed out. Most of us believe the time and effort is worth it. If you don't then feel free to run something else. To me the reliability, stability and security offered by Linux and the perpetual problems I see when I have to support Windows: mainly malware (viruses, trojans, worms, etc...) of all sorts and the usual funkiness and instability which consumes the days of Windows systems administrators, makes it an easy choice for me. That did not mean it was easy to learn at first, though.
89 • NTFS and Linux #88 (by 0.99pl12 on 2010-09-28 21:00:08 GMT from United States)
@Caitlyn Martin stated: "The tools for accessing Windows (NTFS, CIFS and FAT32) partitions are stable and have been for something more than a decade."
If this is so, then why do we STILL have to explicitly enable NTFS write ability in a kernel build - even in the latest 2.6.35 updates? Isn't it time to make Y the default instead of N?
As to the comment about learning not to ask questions in a forum, this is sort of the "whupped dog" syndrome. Once you've been called a noob and insulted enough for asking why or how on the forums by the self-styled l33t Linux users, you learn to stop asking. You hit a dog often enough and he'll stop coming near you (or worse, go on the attack).
And your closing statement is a perfect example of why we (yes, I lump myself into the group) seem to be elitest to many new comers - basically, you're telling them "if you don't like it, go away, but remember that Linux is better than the other options."
90 • Noob vs. Newcomer (by Anonymous on 2010-09-28 21:14:17 GMT from United States)
Expecting to be spoonfed and asking a question are two different things. It's the noob who demonstrates his unwillingness to read documentation who is likely to be "whupped" on a community forum. The newcomer who shows some effort is usually not berated. I view it as natural selection.
91 • HA- Make That 20 Years!! (by Glenn on 2010-09-28 21:34:59 GMT from United States)
Jon, right you are! I meant to say 20 years with Linux... NOT 30!!! Thanks. Hey- maybe I should write more in the forums to help clear up confusion... not. :) -Glenn
92 • @90 presumptions (by meanpt on 2010-09-28 21:36:55 GMT from Portugal)
Why do you assume there is a credible documentation? For instance, if Ubuntu's documentation were 5 years old would you rely on it? And why do you assume the documentation is written in a understandable language for a newbie user to Linux? If Linux distros would like to be more used, they must target users, not geeks or pseudo geeks.
93 • Noobs vs Newcomers, cont... (by Anonymous on 2010-09-28 21:44:46 GMT from United States)
I wouldn't use Ubuntu, so the question is irrelevant.
We all know the user who goes straight to the forum, stomping their feet and demanding someone fix this or that, while never even giving enough detail for anyone to actually help them if they wanted to. Then they get pissed when someone shows pity and asks a clarifying question. That user is a NOOB!
Someone who goes to the forum and says, "I have googled, review the manpage and done a forum search and can't find the information needed to fix . Could someone point me in the right direction, please?" That user is a NEWCOMER!
It's pretty easy to tell the difference.
94 • Responses (by Caitlyn Martin on 2010-09-28 21:47:46 GMT from United States)
#92: None of the distros I named (Ubuntu, Fedora, Mandriva) have severely dated documentation. Most better distros are pretty well up to date. Ubuntu and Mandriva definitely have documentation designed for beginners. They do target ordinary users.
#89: Again, I find that the exception rather than the rule in most forums. I have yet to see anything other than real attempts at being helpful in the Pardus or SalixOS forums. It was very rare to see anything else in the VectorLinux forum and that would generally elicit criticism of someone who was less than helpful. Even in the very large Ubuntu and Fedora forums that is the exception, not the rule. Then again, there are dimwits everywhere. If you can't deal with the occasional idiot in a forum how do you manage in real life?
As to NTFS in a kernel build: first, most typical home users don't build their own kernels, so for someone like the frustrated newcomer I was responding to this is a non-issue. Not every business or every user needs support for a non-*nix OS filesystem turned on. It is far more common for *nix to be the fileserver (or else a SAN or NAS solution) than for Windows to act as one, at least in enterprise environments. I dare say N is the more common choice, hence the default.
#87: The vast majority of OSS projects are done by responsible developers if they are to survive. The really good ones end up in the stable of OSS companies (Red Hat, Novell, etc...) or in a foundation with corporate support, insuring the developers a steady income but also insuring a level of quality control. If you stick with the major software projects that are widely used and widely included in distributions what you describe is mostly a non-issue.
95 • Ubuntu vs. PCLinusOS (by azurehi on 2010-09-28 23:11:05 GMT from United States)
My system is: 1.80 gigahertz AMD Athlon 64
1024 Megabytes Installed Memory
Hitachi 160gb [Hard drive]
NVIDIA GeForce4 MX 4000
I used and preferred Ubuntu(s) (also Mint) until I started having difficulty, beginning with 9.10, even installing because my mouse cursor would not be visible until after installation AND installation of the Nvidia 96 driver. I have have not been able to install any of the 10.10 releases (after initial installation, I could not get past low graphics) but will try when the final is out next month.
With PCLOS the nvidia driver is already installed. as are all of the important multimedia codes. Right from the beginning PCLOS works without problems and I don't have to think about going through the Unknown that Ubuntu requires. I believe my graphics card is old and not powerful but with PCLOS I Do get Compiz effects if I wish.
96 • OpenOffice.org name change (by Brandon Sniadajewski on 2010-09-28 23:20:14 GMT from United States)
I have just read that OpenOffice.org has become LibreOffice (for now) and declared independence from Oracle. Has any distro picked up on it yet?
97 • @87 (by jake on 2010-09-28 23:43:56 GMT from United States)
Let me counter question you, 0.99pl12 ... When was the last time you set up a commercial OS, any OS on any hardware, that didn't require tweaks & updates & updated hardware drivers?
My pre-teen (nearly 12) Niece begged a spare computer from me so she wouldn't have to share with her younger brothers and sisters. Installing Windows XP on it (her choice, she wanted to do it for herself) drove her to tears, as she kept getting infected while waiting on updates from Microsoft. (I was a phone call away, not looking over her shoulder.) I gave her a Mint disk, and she hasn't looked back. She is the primary reason that instead of Apple gear, I now recommend Mint for folks wanting new systems (I have 'em install it on their old gear BEFORE shelling out money for new hardware "try it, it won't cost you anything" ... so far, 20 converts without me having to walk them thru' it).
I know where my money is, at least over the long term. Big companies come and go (see Enron for a particularly egregious example), and even distros come and go, but FOSS itself, by it's very nature, is here to stay.
98 • OpenOffice and Libre Office (by Caitlyn Martin on 2010-09-29 00:21:15 GMT from United States)
#96: It's not a name change, it's a fork. OpenOffice.org will continue with Oracle and a lot of the developers are Oracle employees. Ubuntu has already said they will pick it up, as has Red Hat/Fedora.
99 • @98 (by Brandon Sniadajewski on 2010-09-29 00:53:00 GMT from United States)
Thanks for the answer and clarification. I hope to see it in the repos soon.
100 • OpenSolaris & OpenOffice (by Tom on 2010-09-29 02:13:04 GMT from United Kingdom)
Thanks to whoever edited the wikipedia OpenSolaris page
I had put the bit about continuing as OpenIndiana in the opening paragraph because most people seldom read beyond the first few lines. i thought it was important to show that continuation can happen with OpenSource projects even if there is some attempt to subvert the project into proprietary-land because this is often a criticism/fear expressed by people that hesitate to move into OpenSource due to the lack of protection and security they feel they get from corporate software. However i think moving the statement to the end of the 2nd paragraph gave an opportunity to present the information better and more accurately. So, thanks for presenting it better :)
I don't know why i continue to follow ZdNet when all the articles seem to be so badly written or poorly researched but his one was a relief
and post 96, 98 & 99 were good to see. Fantastic to hear that OpenOffice is already being rescued :)
As for arguments to restrict us to only use 1 distro i still think it is a ridiculous argument. Part of the MicroSquish problem seems to be that they only develop 1 product which then is not quite suitable for any machine and tends to force people into hardware upgrades. A variety of products competing against each other allows each to find a niche market while still benefiting from developments in the competing products. 'Allowing' people to develop and experiment into different areas leads to some great innovations and drives the whole market forwards. If we tried to restrict it down to 1 distro then there is a danger that we get stuck in a rut just arguing with each other about petty details instead of using the differences to test which ideas work better or are more widely leapt on by the rest of us. "Diversity breeds serendipity" should be our war-cry (or something)
101 • Corporate 'vs' OpenSource (by Tom on 2010-09-29 02:22:16 GMT from United Kingdom)
Of course 'corporate' does not always mean 'proprietary' just as 'Freeware' is not always 'OpenSource'.
People's perceptions are often very very strange. It seems to me that modern western culture seems to understand greed and seems to trust that greed will lead us to a happy place. Market forces and competition are usually seen as good except in IT
102 • @100 (by Brandon Sniadajewski on 2010-09-29 02:44:40 GMT from United States)
I first read of it on Slashdot, and Iooked at all the tech sites (ZDNet, ComputerWorld) with it as the top story on each site. I was starting to wonder about OO.o after the Oracle/Sun merger and OpenSolaris' demise. It is definitely good to see the suite continue, and hopefullt with the patches from go-oo it'll become even more of a drop-in replacement for Microsoft's suite (which Ido like also BTW).
103 • linux (by free on 2010-09-29 03:03:04 GMT from United States)
Yea, if you approach linux with the mindset of a windows user, you will end up being disappointed that stuff isn't done for you but by you. You will probably be more upset that there is no "easy solution" to some problems.
Learning linux isn't easy, but I've found it is worth it. In the 2 years since I've started using linux, I find more of its principles and solution mindset can be applied to any OS (especially windows) with better results. If you go into a windows forum, half the time the answer is re-install your OS, even if the problem is as simple as unable to install software. (Or, as one person I know wanted to do, re-install just to restore the admin password, which I fixed with a livecd)
I'm glad i came to linux. Otherwise, I'd still be a mindless drone following the will of the MS hive.
104 • font (by Josh on 2010-09-29 03:22:52 GMT from United States)
Is it just me, or since comment 89 has everything been italicised?
On a better note, great DDW. I never really have used solaris but it is nice to see they have some good points. I think I'll try it to get a feel for it.
As for the Q&A, if you give up that easy, you will never learn the joys of using a linux system over that of windows. I've found linux to be much more to my liking with less hassle and fighting the OS than windows. I support windows, and the ease at which users can unintentionally harm their system and not know it is sad. In linux, at least you'll have some conscious effort involved as far as I know.
105 • Windows migrators (by Tom on 2010-09-29 03:29:49 GMT from United Kingdom)
Of course the most likely cause of computer problems is solved by a "waggle the wires" approach, then try reboot.
Back when i used to use Windows the normal answer to everything was to reboot and that still seems to help quite often although more finesse is available in linux, for example stopping and restarting networking with a command such as
sudo networking restart
but rebooting restarts all the services so it covers a wider range of things.
Then in Windows a defrag and clear the caches and all and reboot seems to fix most remaining problems. In linux it can still be good to celar the caches and stuff. Ubuntu's "Computer Janitor" makes this easy otherwise it's as bad as Windows to try to clear cruft.
Then in Windows uninstalling 1 program, emptying the bin and clearing caches and all (again) and then rebooting and then re-installing and then updating usually fixed most remaining stuff but it would be such a faff that it would be worth exploring other options first. In linux uninstalling and reinstalling doesn't even need a reboot and of course you don't need to update because whenever you install you get the latest version fully updated anyway.
In Windows reinstalling the OS is such a major pain that it is definitely worth avoiding except that it makes such a huge difference if you have the patience for installing all those programs again and patience for the upgrades and reboots.
Once you install linux the first time (nowadays) it is so surprisingly easy that it is often easier to approach even a trivial problem by just reinstalling the whole OS. Since it is soo fast and easy and is such good practice for helping friends and colleagues get into linux i think there is no harm in encouraging noobs to take this approach. Later they can have more fun rolling up their sleeves and trouble-shooting but why bother when a reinstall is so easy in comparison to a reinstall of Windows?
106 • impress/powerpoint projector (by Tom on 2010-09-29 03:40:47 GMT from United Kingdom)
grrr sorry for the multiple posts!! i keep getting distracted but only wanted to ask this 1 question.
Does anyone know how to find a projector for about £300 that is compatible with impress presentations? Any good hardware lists or anything? Any particular distro that is especially good for this?
Apols and regards from Tom :)
PS goodnight all
107 • Just comment (by Tryandono on 2010-09-29 03:52:22 GMT from Indonesia)
I'm happy to hear OpenIndiana Project. Rest in peace OpenSolaris (killed by evil Oracle).
Oracle seems very evil, monstrous and greedy lately similar to old brother Microsoft....:-(
BTW, I have feeling that maybe someday desktop distro will be unified. The differentiation only in which kernel we want to use, could be linux, bsd or even solaris. LOL.
108 • noobs vs. newcomers (by Henning on 2010-09-29 05:38:18 GMT from Denmark)
Looking over my shoulder, I can see myself acting like a "noob", the first times I visited a Linux forum. Why? I was absolutely fed up with Windows and wanted to pick up this "Linux Thing", but I had NO idea what I was getting myself into.
Luckily, the people at the danish Ununtu Forum, are patient and forgiving people.
They explained to me how I am supposed to use their forum, without any insults....
Thus I am today a happy Linux user, and not a frustrated ex...
Perhaps, when a "noob", visits a forum for the first time, a moderator could great them with something like:
"Welcome to our forum. It works in a certain way.
First you are required to read the manual, the wiki, the FAQ etc.
If that doesn't solve your problem, then you are welcome to come back and ask questions.And you should also know, that everyone here are volunteers, working on their free time".
Then perhaps a "noob" could be turned into a newcomer.
But of course, if you would rather see them walk away and tell everyone that Linux is crap, just bash them..........
109 • 93 • Noobs vs Newcomers, cont; 94 • Responses (by Caitlyn Martin (by meanpt on 2010-09-29 10:30:28 GMT from Portugal)
You didn't answer to my question. and I didn't ask you whether you use or consider Ubuntu relevant for you. Do you mind to answer to the question, once you mentioned users - I stress newbies users - go to forums without reading the documentation? Would you rely on 5 year old documentation? Just Yes or No?
Caitlyn, the exception you refer do confirm the opposite statistical sample on the documentation status. From my sample, the established fat boys are those who do the best but the problem is, they are fat and you can count them on a hand's fingers. When in need of a lighter and faster distro, specially when you are using older hardware, distro forums tend to ignore or mistreat the new users who need them either for older machines or for applications requiring the full resources of their machines.
At this stage it would be more appropriate to put a set of fake newbie questions to the different distros and rate their answers publicly.
110 • Re: 106, Tom (by Stuart on 2010-09-29 11:50:39 GMT from United Kingdom)
Would you be using the project with a laptop or computer? If so, the projector doesn't have to be compatible with anything, as long as your graphics card is working correctly under Linux you'd simply plug the VGA or DVI cable from your computer to the projector and it'd work. The only consideration would be that your graphics card can output a resolution the projector is compatible with.
If you were wanting to somehow load the Impress files directly onto the projector without a computer connected (via an SD Card or USB Memory Stick), I doubt any projectors could do that.
111 • @103, 105 (by Brandon Sniadajewski on 2010-09-29 12:01:14 GMT from United States)
I have easily found solutions to Windows problems by searching in Google for them. A fewe times I ran into people saying "re-install" but in others it was more of "just delete x and y registry entry and you're good to go.
@105 These days even reinstalling Windows is not as difficult as it was before. The only thing was it rebooted about 4 times on install, and that was an upgrade from Vista to 7. Keeping up with updates isn't bad, and you can delay rebooting for up to 4 hours for certain updates.
112 • @109 (by Anonymous on 2010-09-29 14:21:57 GMT from United States)
Outside of generic cli reference material, no... It would be a bad idea to count on 5 year old documentation being 100% accurate. The reason I didn't bother to respond the first time, aside from my perception that you asked a disingenuous question, is because I have yet to run across any documentation in a major distro that is not relatively current. So I don't buy the argument that there is insufficient reference material available to a newcomer. I understand they may not know what to ask, and that's fine. In that case they should ask and include as many specifics as they can to expedite a solution. I'm not saying, "Feed them to the wolves." My sole issue lies with the noobs who fail to acknowledge that the volunteers offering support are not required to fix their issues for them. If, from their question, it is obvious they are refusing to make an effort and demand to be spoonfed there are a few options. 1- Ignore them. 2- Call them out on it and direct them to the documentation they need. 3- Go ahead and spoonfeed them, even though they will learn nothing from the experience.
Everyone of us was a newcomer at one point, but not all of us were noobs.
113 • OpenIndiana and Linux (by mechanic on 2010-09-29 14:23:54 GMT from United Kingdom)
I have moved onto OpenIndiana from a mix of Open and FreeBSDs and one or two Linux distros - the BSDs were hard to get running on my machines (FreeBSD apparently doesn't like dual core processors and OpenBSD practically discourages the use of Xorg so the support forums aren't much help) and Debian just looks tired after these years. OpenIndiana seems very stable and easy to set up - the root account issue is sorted out easily, there is advice on the wiki - and even Flash installs quickly and painlessly. The repositories are poor by Debian standards, true, hopefully this will improve over time.
I really can't see why NTFS is such a problem with various OSs, ntfs-3g works well and should be the default driver. Plugging a USB disk with NTFS files is still too much of an issue!
The reason why Linux is derided is partly because of the waste of such divided effort, and partly because MS_Windows solves so many problems easily, whereas Linux makes such a meal of it.
114 • #109, #112, #113 responses (by Caitlyn Martin on 2010-09-29 17:18:43 GMT from United States)
@meanpt: My experience in dealing with (and reviewing) lots of distros is that most do NOT "ignore or mistreat the new users". Sorry, I just don't see it. Yes, there is one lightweight distro that has an absolutely horrible forum. I know which one you mean. It is the exception, not the rule.
I also agree with #112: I don't see a lot of outdated documentation from the major distros.
#113: If you read my previous posts and Jesse's as well you would know that NTFS is NOT a problem in Linux and hasn't been for at least a decade. I don't see Linux "derided" except by Microsoft and Apple fanbois.
I certainly see Windows solving lots problems that Linux does not. Linux isn't compatible with the 99.4% of malware that targets Windows. Linux doesn't slow down systems nearly as well as Windows does with it's poor performance. Linux is positively awful at generating revenue for proprietary software companies. It also doesn't help the businesses that make money from fixing all the problems (malware again, disk fragmentation, etc...) that are inherent in Windows and not in Linux. Yep, Windows solves those problems very well while Linux makes a meal of them.
I love the smell of fresh astroturf in the morning. Don't you?
115 • Shameless self-promotion (by Caitlyn Martin on 2010-09-29 17:20:43 GMT from United States)
Since we're discussing just how wonderful Windows is some of you might be interested in my latest piece for O'Reilly Broadcast: http://broadcast.oreilly.com/2010/09/loss-leaders-and-linux.html
116 • Noobs, QC & answers (by Tom on 2010-09-29 18:52:53 GMT from United Kingdom)
I find the best 1st responses to questions in forums give a link into documentation and ask for clarification. If the 1st responder has time they might briefly explain how the clarification might help
eg, as a response (guess the type of question) "Do you know if you are using Ubuntu 10.04 (this years model) or 9.10 or earlier? Grub2 was introduced this year so follow the first link for 10.04 but for previous version follow the 2nd link to grub1 (legacy) documentation ..."
Of course the initial question may be too vague to be able to give an accurate answer but making a wild guess and giving a link into documentation at least gives the person something to work with and may help them understand what clarification they need to give. If the documentation is searchable (almost always is nowadays) and you gave them a completely wrong link they might still find the answer from that. Getting into the right documentation is better than dealing with google results leading to perhaps deliberately misleading stuff.
Some of the worst answers i have seen lately are not rude but just ask for clarification without explain how to acquire that info and refusing to give any clue of where good documentation might be. This is really bad when the clarification is clearly just people "being nosy" where the extra info wont help solve the problem.
Another bad-practice i have seen is asking for output without explaining how much output or what type of output is likely or how to post it into the forum or how the info will be used, or whether there is likely to be anything worth keeping confidential in it. Not that all those things have to be covered every-time but it is polite to keep the person informed about stuff that might be relevant or help them understand the trouble-shooting process you might be using.
With very very few exceptions i found that most people who have made the effort to ask a question in a forum are willing to try things out when they are treated with respect. Sometimes people asking are confused, afraid and baffled by the radically different ways we have and guiding them gently through the process almost invariably gets good results. Very rarely people stuck in the middle might need re-motivating or offered an easy way out or reminded that the people answering are almost all volunteers. I think only a couple of times i needed to give the equivalent of a splash of cold water to shock the person into trying things out but it's not good to do that more 1 in 6months imo. Generally treating people with respect as though they are adults seems to be the most effective way of resolving the problem with them.
117 • 110 powerpoint/impress projectors (by Tom on 2010-09-29 18:56:14 GMT from United Kingdom)
@ 110 Stuart
Thanks :) I was under the impression that is was a lot more complicated than that as there seemed to be quite a few questions about it a few years back in the Ubuntu forums
Many thanks and regards from Tom :))
118 • @116 (by Henning on 2010-09-29 20:48:35 GMT from Denmark)
Man, I was glad to read that :-)
Couldn't agree more.
I think, to increase the number of Linux users, forum-members, Linux advocates etc. need skills in Linux AND in human beings
119 • forums (by Josh on 2010-09-29 23:48:16 GMT from United States)
@116: I agree with what you say as well Tom. Though, there are some users who need to be fed along the way. But, treating people with respect and explaining why you need something done does go a long way. Though, from my experiences at work, there are always some users who will resist helping to fix their own problem. Though, they are the exception. Most people, if treated with respect and understanding of what they are going through, will be easier to deal with. Maybe the forums need rules for those who respond to questions, especially from new users.
120 • RE: Forums and Support (by Landor on 2010-09-30 00:00:26 GMT from Canada)
I find points in this conversation lacking in one extremely large point.
What most people helping others in forums would find most discouraging in my personal opinion only, is that almost every good forum has a guideline for seeking out help on the forum, and how to post. The majority of the time it is ignored as often as a user searching out an answer to their problems on their own is.
It all comes down to the fact that the majority of people want instant on, or a microwaved answer. It's exactly what our society lives and breathes, instant service for whatever it is they choose.
Now, I'm not being negative about that, I'm pointing out a fact of how things are. We shouldn't be mistreating others who are seeking out information, not by any means. What we should be doing is teaching them proper forum etiquette, by referring these people to the FAQ or Guideline, respectively.
I personally won't hold a grudge against any forum member who would not give someone the time of day that doesn't make any simple attempt at providing adequate information pertaining to their query, or understanding the proper way to investigate the issue(s) at hand first. I do however find berating an individual for lacking in such specifics nothing but rude and uncalled for.
As I said, though, the discussion of forums is a fairly moot point since most have the information available about posting, and in some cases, explain in such FAQs or Guidelines how to investigate the issue first.
Keep your stick on the ice...
121 • RE: 120, an addtion (by Landor on 2010-09-30 00:05:10 GMT from Canada)
I should have also pointed out that most of these FAQs or Guidelines are presented at the very top of the forums listing, and clearly stated as something similar to "read this first for new posters".
Things don't get much clearer than that in my opinion.
Keep your stick on the ice...
122 • @120 (by Brandon Sniadajewski on 2010-09-30 02:57:52 GMT from United States)
In your second to last paragraph, who do you find berating, the forum member or the person asking the quastion?
123 • About PCLinuxOS (by uncleV on 2010-09-30 07:33:46 GMT from Bulgaria)
Written there about PCLinuxOS:
"Although the project hasn't been making many headlines recently, the developers continue to work quietly on the distribution..."
And what headlines do you want ?
This distro simply works, this is the headline! :D
124 • forums again (by Tom on 2010-09-30 09:01:44 GMT from United Kingdom)
@ 118 & 119
Thanks, i was unsure about making that post so i am glad ppl liked it
Yes people faced with an unfamiliar environment (the new forum) often don't want to wade through loads of documentation before asking a question.
In my experience the best 1st response to deal with that is to throw in a fairly random answer, kept very short & with a link into documentation, to whatever you guess might be the technical problem. Obviously the 1st response is also going to need to ask for clarification but the important job of a 1st response is to give them a nudge that might help them.
Later on in the thread, 2nd or 3rd responses seem to be the better time to start slapping their wrist a bit by giving them a link to forum ettiquette & guidelines for posts but it is usually possible to do that as 1 adult to another rather than "telling them off" or treating them like children (even if they are)
I think demanding forum answerers always behave impecably and only answer if they have good people-skills is a non-starter. Some of the best and most knowledgeable people are also the worst in dealing with people. However, we need their answers to solve the technical issue. In such cases it is good if 2nd or 3rd responses appear from other people to deal with the human angle, perhaps re-explaining in less geeky terms or adding to whatever the 1st response missed.
We are not alone and don't need to be perfect as individuals but together we can work as a good team which should help noobs see that advantage we have/offer in linux-land.
125 • @ 124 (by sirkat77 on 2010-09-30 12:33:04 GMT from United States)
The Peppermint forum is a perfect example of that. Check us out!
126 • RE: 122-124 (by Landor on 2010-10-01 00:02:10 GMT from Canada)
I didn't actually find anyone that berates anyone. I meant that if someone on a forum is berating/belittling someone then I find that totally uncalled for and quite rude.
You made a comment that I find an error that actually defends my position on this. I'm going to end up slipping into rant mode over this, and it's not directed at you, just my honest opinion.
You stated that they don't want to wade through documentation, thus just post their question. I personally find that unacceptable, as much as anyone else would who is offering them free support. That goes back to the whole premise that they are actually unwilling to truly solve their own problems. Should we jump up, pat them on the back, and by your opinion, afterwards tell them how to approach a forum? I personally don't think so, because their actions have been validated by the first responses. You spoke of children, this is actually along the lines of child rearing. If a child is yelling and screaming that they want a cookie right now, no decent parent would give them (or shouldn't) a cookie, then a few minutes later say, "you shouldn't yell like that for a cookie, Daddy/Mommy would have given you one if you asked nicely". That is the wrong way to teach people. Justifying their actions, then telling them they were wrong. They learned immediately that they were not wrong, as per the receipt of their request(s).
Also though, and this is where the rant comes in. Who says we really need to change anything? I hear this a lot in regard to our community. We always need to change for this mythical flood of new users pouring through the door, so to speak. Most of the time we hear people saying we need "this person, or, that person" to do this and that. Why is it always someone else that needs to do something? But more to the point, why does anyone have to do anything? It seems Linux has ran pretty well near perfect in my opinion, and many others.
It's no different than the people claiming we needed Mark Shuttleworth, or the like. Did we? Really? I personally don't think so. I think our community has been the better for his arrival, Canonical/Ubuntu, but to say we "needed" a billionaire? I don't believe so. We need each individual, but that's outside of my point. Linux has thrived in every area that other companies neglected, or didn't prepare for. Linux dominates many markets and continues to do so, and growing in many other markets. Its done all this without major billionaire advertising and such. It's also had Linux on the desktop from OEMs long before Ubuntu made the deal with Dell. HP and Lenovo (the latter I believe, if I recall correctly) comes to mind with their Enterprise offerings for either SLED or RHEL.
I think we need to stop pandering to online hyperbole from writers and just do what Linux has done for close to 20 years, keep active, instead of feeding such articles by spreading their erroneous views amongst the community. I also think that if anyone feels that Linux needs something, before they say it needs this or that, they should ask themselves one thing, are they willing to provide it, and if not, how accurate is their opinion of what it needs then?
Keep your stick on the ice...
127 • re 126 (by Anonymous on 2010-10-01 00:23:00 GMT from United States)
Landor said, "You stated that they don't want to wade through documentation, thus just post their question. I personally find that unacceptable, as much as anyone else would who is offering them free support. That goes back to the whole premise that they are actually unwilling to truly solve their own problems. Should we jump up, pat them on the back, and by your opinion, afterwards tell them how to approach a forum? I personally don't think so, because their actions have been validated by the first responses. You spoke of children, this is actually along the lines of child rearing. If a child is yelling and screaming that they want a cookie right now, no decent parent would give them (or shouldn't) a cookie, then a few minutes later say, "you shouldn't yell like that for a cookie, Daddy/Mommy would have given you one if you asked nicely". That is the wrong way to teach people. Justifying their actions, then telling them they were wrong. They learned immediately that they were not wrong, as per the receipt of their request(s)."
I'd go a step further and say that those who refuse to research before asking their questions, particularly their refusal to read the manpage, are acting in a selfish manner. They are no more important than anyone else, yet they feel they are exempt from reviewing the same information the "responders" likely read to provide an answer. This is spoonfeeding and I refuse to do it. The new user is not gaining anything useful from it, either.
128 • Re: 126 & 127 (by jake on 2010-10-01 01:44:52 GMT from United States)
In child rearing & animal training it is referred to as "not rewarding bad behavior". Likewise, and on the other hand, berating kids & animals is contraindicated. More flies with honey & all that.
On the gripping hand, when supposed grown adults can't be arsed to read the file named "READ_ME_BEFORE_ASKING_QUESTIONS" (or whatever) ... Well, there is a reason that technical support circles use intentional hyperbole (AKA "hospital humor") to blow off steam. It can be a fine line, and it's easy to cross ... Especially amongst the younger set.
Disturbing to the uninitiated? Absolutely. But it's not going to go away any time soon ... at least not in unmoderated fora. Best way to handle it? "It's only ASCII, ignore the kids and they'll stop harassing you."
Or, in the vernacular, "If you feed the trolls, you get to keep them."
129 • Snoracle (by Feet on 2010-10-01 10:47:02 GMT from United States)
I noticed recently that amongst the expansive list of operating systems on here, Solaris is hidden. What with the Snoracle Siege, You might need to change a few links at the bottom of the page to fit Oracle's (the accursed name hurts to say) domain funk. And the way it's looking right now, switching its status to "dormant" wouldn't hurt either :D This echoes 'Great Bambino' so much :D
130 • Linux/Windows @Caitlyn (by mechanic on 2010-10-01 11:26:43 GMT from United Kingdom)
Caitlyn, you are wrong when you say that Linux solved the problems of handling NTFS filesystems at least ten years ago, in Debian we still have to load the ntfs-3g driver and make some links to tell the system it's the default. The problems are most acute with external USB disks plugged into the USB. Please don't exaggerate to make a point, whatever it was!
As for your claim that MS-Windows has many problems that Linux doesn't, that's drivel. The trouble with most distros is that the software writers (I hesitate to call them Engineers) have most interest in new stuff and not enough in solving bugs, hence we have a lot of bugs rolled over from one release to the next (see Fewt blog for details). Windows at least has a proper release process.
131 • @130: Linux/Windows (by Stuart on 2010-10-01 12:57:43 GMT from United Kingdom)
Having to load ntfs-3g and making links doesn't mean the NTFS problem isn't solved, that's just an issue with your particular distribution.
132 • Re: 130 (by jake on 2010-10-01 13:04:58 GMT from United States)
`Debian` != `Linux` & vice versa ... Do you understand this concept?
You seem to be confused about what makes up a distribution ... a distro is nothing more than a kernel and a tool or tools. Any tool can release a distro. And it would seem that many do. The cognizant user learns to pick the wheat from the chaff. Many of us roll our own. Which has kinda been the point, ever since Bill Joy released 1BSD ...
Please, do expand on your interesting concept that Windows has fewer problems than Linux (to the point of calling the alternative "drivel"). I look forward to your further commentary. But before you start, consider that the idea of Windows having a proper release process is laughable. I mean, c'mon, "patch Tuesday"? Exploit Wednesday, more like ...
133 • Great distrohopper's week (by forlin on 2010-10-01 13:40:47 GMT from Portugal)
So far there's only a few releases this week, but they're top notch. Due to a net connection problem, I had to reinstall Sabayon. After almost 1 GB of updates, I realised I caught the same exact net connection problem that made me reinstall. Today I noticed a brand new release was out. My bad... didn't check their site in advance.
I always have a look at the DWW's "upcoming releases" and It's a pity that so few Distros send their scheduled release information to be included there.
134 • #124 (by CardCarryingLiberal on 2010-10-01 14:41:56 GMT from Russian Federation)
Absolutely spot on!
#125 - Just your comment alone has convinced me to give Peppermint a try.
It seems that there is a school of thought here that parallels throwing a child into a swimming pool to teach him/her to swim. This is silly. This is the old "hardass", tough guy, mentality that has pervaded western culture (and others) for way too long. This is the same thinking that causes parents to feel as if they have a right to spank their children even though it is child abuse and has been proven to lower IQ. I can only presume that these kinds of people were themselves spanked as children hence the intelligence difficulties that perpetuate the cycle. If you resent people asking "newbie" questions on a forum please refrain from responding as you are obviously not the person best suited to answer. When people are treated with respect they tend to respond in kind. Eventually these newbies become adepts and begin answering the very questions they once asked. Ah the circle of life. I believe in "spoon feeding" up to a point. Nothing wrong with it at all.
135 • Re: 30: Linux and NTFS (by wbt on 2010-10-01 14:45:04 GMT from United States)
I use a Parted Magic live CD daily to Grsync an NTFS hard drive partition to a FAT32 USB key. Works automatically every time on both partitions - because the "writers" designed it to do so.
I also use Debian, and understand why the "writers" did not automate NTFS access - they left it up to me as a thinking human being to make that decision. It takes a minute to load drivers and edit fstab.
By the way, what's the process for configuring Windows to access EXT3 partitions?
136 • Windows and ext3 (by Josh on 2010-10-01 15:08:52 GMT from United States)
I've never done this, or at least maybe didn't succeed, but you can try this website out: http://www.fs-driver.org/
137 • Re: 127 (by Anonymous on 2010-10-01 18:30:03 GMT from United States)
Try that with your wife :)
People expect others to read the documentation for them.
My wife has started to say, "Well it has a computer in it, you should already know everything about it." or "I don't want to have to deal with it, that is why I keep you around."
138 • @137 (by Anonymous on 2010-10-01 20:01:28 GMT from United States)
Spouses get free tech support, of course. Working on a contingency is perfectly acceptable. ;-)
139 • @137 (by Anonymous on 2010-10-01 20:10:33 GMT from United States)
Remember, happy wife = happy life. Besides, its keeping you around right lol.
140 • @134 Re: Peppermint Forums (by sirkat77 on 2010-10-02 02:49:50 GMT from United States)
Come on down, my friend and you will be welcomed. I was The Ultimate Linux N00B when I joined, but with their patience and encouragement I can now handle CLI quite nicely, as well as set up partitions on my HDD for a new distro install w/o wiping my data, lol. These may be small potatoes to you guys, but for me I feel quite empowered.
141 • Answers Forum, @126 (by Tom on 2010-10-02 11:06:39 GMT from United Kingdom)
@ 126 i don't feel like you are attacking me at all. I thought we were just discussing this and i found your points interesting.
Am i saying that we need to change? I thought i was saying that even noobs can add something to answers forums and really help people even without knowing technical answers. Helping people solve puzzles & guiding them through our etiquette can be a very fast way to learn.
We do need people with tech skills answering questions but we also need the human angle covered (in noob-friendly distros). Often we manage both but sometimes we offer neither. I think the most important thing about a 1st response is to make it fast & keep it brief. Basically just let the person know their question has been heard by;
1. hopefully give them a quick guess at an answer,
2. hopefully ask them for clarification (and tell them why the further info would help us (which might involve a link into the "How to ask a question" documentation)),
3. hopefully giving them a link into documentation,
If there are gaps then 2nd or 3rd responses, hopefully from other people, might cover those.
This sort of thing does happen a lot but there are still a greater percentage of people getting no response or only 'bad' responses from forums. This is why i say that a quick triage of new questions seems to be a good plan and i think more would be helpful for noob-friendly distros. Do our great threads get recognised and widely reported? Do our mistakes always get forgiven?
I definitely agree that each individual adds something and that is almost invariably a worthwhile addition especially once they have settled in a bit. And i also agree that we don't NEED to change but since a fair percentage of new people add something worthwhile i think we should be trying to attract new people to the noob-friendly distros. Perhaps they could help with bug/questions triage to help them get a better overview. It is important to have noob-friendly distros BUT i think it is also crucial to have distros that have their main focus elsewhere.
Questions seldom get 1st responses quickly in forums. (In a similar way "professional support" keeps people on hold for ages (while charging them).) So the most efficient way to get to an answer is to ask in forum first and then start looking into documentation and doing google searches. Often the google searches give me stupid answers such as Yahoo or Kioskea answers often from Windows shills or know-nothings which may damage the system or give the impression that something easy is impossible. Having found a good answer it is easy to post it back into the newly opened thread and close it giving credit to any good answers that may have been fast enough.
People who are new to proper forums in linux-land and need quick answers are more likely to be impressed with a quick guess, a link into documentation and later on, a link back to "How to ask a question" to help them learn our etiquette. I think assuming that people are bad for ignoring a 12 page discourse on how to ask a question in one particular forum is unhelpful. It is not like a spoilt brat screaming for toffee. If gently admonished later on and lay-out correct etiquette then most people become very apologetic and behave much better in the future. A "zero tolerance policy" just pushes people away and contempt rather than mutual respect becomes increasingly likely from the type of people we most need in linux-land. What is our aim? Do we want more sheep/drones in linux or do we want more people with an open inquisitive mind and a hunger for answers?
142 • OpenIndiana (by Tom on 2010-10-02 11:28:50 GMT from United Kingdom)
At last i have been able to read this excellent review!! Many thanks to Jesse for so speedily getting out to us and resolving a lot of questions we (and others) had about Oracle and 'our' response to them.
I was curious about whether the links to Sun/Oracle products had been hastily removed just to get OpenIndiana out there fast. The hardware report going off to Sun would seem to support that theory but the poor integration of OpenIndiana running in VirtualBox suggests that Sun never addressed the issue. It seems that OpenIndiana is a good 1st response because it was released so fast but lacks coordination at the moment.
The lack of coordination seems to be at a deeper lever, desktop vs server, and it looks as though OpenSolaris was about ready to bud-off (fork) into 2 separate editions such as we have with most distros, or 2 separate distros in the style of RedHat and Fedora.
It will be interesting to see which ways OpenIndiana goes and also interesting to compare that with how Solaris deals with this underlaying issue about desktop vs server.
I'm also looking forwards to seeing how Oracle deals with suddenly losing most of its development teams due to trying to go closed source. Will Oracle be forced to return to OpenSource ways? Will the paid developers be enough to keep developing forwards or will Oracle hire more developers? Will some LibreOffice/OpenIndiana developers get paid for their work at last and be able to carry some of the code/ideas to and fro between the projects. Would outside developers newly hired by Oracle outperform the experienced people that Oracle have lost?
All very intriguing, thanks Jesse
143 • re 142 (by Feet on 2010-10-02 13:39:36 GMT from United States)
Do you know what platforms OpenIndiana runs in? That could be a point for dispute, methinks.
144 • @141 (by Anonymous on 2010-10-02 22:48:24 GMT from United States)
To summarize your recommended steps in troubleshooting:
1- Ask in the forum first- before even making an attempt to fix your problem.
2- Google! Maybe you'll get lucky.
3- Wait for an answer (guess), because you can't find an answer (guess) and you've already given up.
It seems like you expect all the new users to lack any initiative to learn anything at all. Forget the manpage, forget the project's home page, definitely don't look through the forum to see if the question has already been solved. Just ask first.
You also say a "guess" solution is going to impress the new user. How so? Why would you provide an answer when you obviously don't have enough information to be correct in most cases?
Then you want to explain etiquette after the fact? Landor hit this one on the head. Don't bother, you've already trained them to disregard etiquette by giving them what they wanted.
I agree up to a point that a noob-orientred distro may need to be more tolerant of a lack of basic knowledge from it's users. But these users will have a hard time transitioning into assets for said community, because they aren't really learning much from the coddling they are receiving. The ones that do make an effort to learn will likely move on, anyway. So, it may be in such distro's best interests to encourage their base to make as little effort as possible and not focus on helping them become independent from the teet.
One last point. You said ,"I think assuming that people are bad for ignoring a 12 page discourse on how to ask a question in one particular forum is unhelpful."
Which distro's forum has a 12-page instruction guide to how to ask a question? The only post that matters in an unlocked thread is really the OP's. You make it sound like it's some act of self-flogging to review a single post.
145 • addendum to 144 (by Anonymous on 2010-10-03 01:09:06 GMT from United States)
You asked a good question, Tom. "What is our aim? Do we want more sheep/drones in linux or do we want more people with an open inquisitive mind and a hunger for answers?"
Given the way you encourage forums to operate, I'd say you're going to attract a lot of sheep/drones. There is nothing wrong with telling someone to read the manual when the answer is there. Instead of coddling, teach them how to tail or cat their logs. Instead of taking a shot in the dark guess, demand they provide adequate information- firmly but politely. When all else fails, show them how to properly file a bug report- and how to know when it really is a bug and not just operator error. This way you help them develop the skills to become confident in their understanding of Linux.
146 • re linux questions (by hab on 2010-10-03 01:54:57 GMT from Canada)
For my part i think the best thing a new (potential) linux user can do is grab a copy, dead tree or electronic of o'reillys Running Linux by Matt Welsh.
This is probably the single best introduction to Linux that i am aware of. I was fortunate enough to grab a copy when i bought my first Walnut Creek multi distro fifteen years ago this month. I still have it and still resort to it occasionally nowadays. It's good for noob to expert.
My perception of linux early on is that the community, such as it was, seemed to stress self reliance. Terse admonitions to RTFM aside, this i believe is a good thing.
Forums are all well and good but really i have found them to be way less useful than getting in to the dirt and digging and figuring out things for myself. YMMV
147 • Re: 146; other dated but still useful tomes for the neophyte ... (by jake on 2010-10-03 04:55:31 GMT from United States)
The first is "The Coherent Lexicon" by Mark Williams Company. This is long out of print, but often available at used book stores in college towns. Largish (8.5x11 or larger by nearly two inches thick), silver paper-back. The large block-caps "COHERENT" in black down the spine make it easy to spot on the shelves. There was talk of re-writing this for Linux and/or BSD over a decade ago, but I have no idea what happened to the project. The article on Taylor UUCP alone should be required reading for noob & expert alike ... it brings into perspective how easy we have it these days ...
The other is O'Reilly's "UNIX Power Tools", any edition ... It needs to be updated, but just get a copy, again on the used market (the CD is fairly superfluous). Don't ask why, just do it. You'll be glad you did.
I use both as "suggested extra reading material" when I'm teaching ...
148 • QNX (by Paul on 2010-10-03 18:41:25 GMT from United States)
Would you consider including QNX Unix-like OS to your site? Thanks.
149 • 144 answers (by Tom on 2010-10-04 00:14:00 GMT from United Kingdom)
Wow, deliberately misunderstanding me? I thought i made it pretty clear that proper documentation is far far better than a random google search. My summary for a noob trying to get an answer to pretty much any problem is
1. Ask in the relevant forum
2. Start hunting through documentation
3. See if anyone has bothered to answer yet and if so do they need more info? Have they been able to sufficiently narrow your search through documentation?
4. Either mark the thread as Solved (if it is) or return to 2 (or give up)
5. Try out something that looks about right. Go back to 4.
For Answerers my summary is best illustrated by an example
Q. "My computer doesn't start up"
1st response "How far does it get? Is it plugged in? Are you having trouble with the linux boot-loader;
is a better response (imo) than
1st response "RTFM"
1st response "We need more information."
I fail to see how my 1st response "coddles them" or encourages them to be sheep/drones. I also fail to see how either of the 2 guesses is so bad given the ambiguous nature of the question. Obviously a bad guess might be to say "try turning the main speaker volume up".
Questions are often ambiguous. Experts might see a whole plethora of different possibilities but the person asking may not know all the options and probably doesn't want to walk through (or read through) all of the different things that could be causing the problem. So trouble-shooting often helps but users may not be stupid and might only need a gentle nudge.
150 • please delete my 149 (by Tom on 2010-10-04 00:25:38 GMT from United Kingdom)
Sorry, i shouldn't have posted it especially without reviewing it. For some reason i felt under attack and "had" to answer back. Stupid really.
151 • #147 (by Landor on 2010-10-04 01:14:36 GMT from Canada)
Here's a review that was written in 1991 and reposted by the original author. It says quite a bit for such a short review, and talks about the manual as well. I found it quite interesting, also amazing as well that a system for that price would come with such a huge manual. Pretty well unheard of then, and now. :)
It's s shame during my quest(s) for computer knowledge and use of operating systems back then that I missed out on Coherent, somehow.
Keep your stick on the ice...
152 • re#151 Coherent (by hab on 2010-10-04 02:34:29 GMT from Canada)
Hey Landor, how goes it?
Coherent was kinda cool back in the day. Somewhere or other back in '97 or so, i bumped into reference to it in some Linux related reading i was doing and tracked down an installation disk. Here: ftp://ftp.mayn.de/pub/really_old_stuff/coherent/ is a link to a, i believe German uni. archive.
If a person were motivated enough they could prolly build a Coherent system on an old 286. Some ceremonial chemicals or beverage would prolly help as well!
153 • RE: 152 (by Landor on 2010-10-04 03:05:12 GMT from Canada)
Hey Hab, I'm doing great, thank you. How have you been?
Thanks for the link. I might be able to cough up an old 386 and give it a shot one day as time permits. :)
I also went on a bit of a hunt and looking through comp.os.coherent I found a link for a scan of the manual. Here it is if you or anyone else are interested. :)
Keep your stick on the ice...
154 • @151-153 (by Josh on 2010-10-04 03:16:41 GMT from United States)
Thanks Landor and hab. Quite interesting link, especially the one pointing to the coherent files. I went to do some digging on wikipedia to see what I could find, and I found this for coherent 4.2.10 or so it says. I wasn't near old enough for any of this so I have no idea if its useful. Though, I do have an interest in it at least for seeing how things have progressed.
155 • Please note Re: MWS Coherent ... (by jake on 2010-10-04 03:44:32 GMT from United States)
Although I did use MWS Coherent at home for a number of years (between my AT&T 31B, Sun 3/470 "Pegasus", and the release of Slackware 1.0ish), I'm not recommending the actual OS. I'm recommending finding a copy of the (paper) manual. Preferably an example from version 4.2.x, but earlier examples are still useful. It's worth the effort, *IF* you are actually interested in learning how un*x works, as opposed to just using a pre-built system.
156 • re#153 In Coherent (by hab on 2010-10-04 03:52:19 GMT from Canada)
Hi Landor, i am well and probably as irascible as ever. I'm am now of an age where ANY day ABOVE ground is a good day! :-}
Thanks for the link to the Coherent manual, a copy of which has now taken up residence on my hard drive! I've learned to become a documentation pack rat for some odd reason.
If you do an install prepare yourself for a bit of a time warp. Somehow 10-15 years ago seemed like a simpler time. A dube or two would prolly make time seem to go faster (or slower?). :-)
157 • CRUX 2.7 Review Please! (by MikeD on 2010-10-04 05:28:35 GMT from United States)
To the DW team/writers I would love to see a review of the new CRUX release as a feature of an upcoming DW weekly.
158 • @149,150 (by Henning on 2010-10-04 06:05:30 GMT from Denmark)
No need to delete your 149 Tom.
Whether you were being attacked or not, it was a good answer.
It is important to keep a "tone of voice" on a forum which will attract new users.
I agree with some of things jake and landor are saying as well, if I understand them right: that users should show responseability and take charge themselves.
This, to me, however, seems more like a goal that will take some time to reach, and not something you can expect the first time a new user is visiting a forum.
159 • RE: 158 (by Landor on 2010-10-04 06:25:12 GMT from Canada)
That pretty well sums it up.
Here's a quote that comes directly from Linus Torvalds, which is exactly what a few of us have been saying.
"The Linux philosophy is 'Laugh in the face of danger'. Oops. Wrong One. 'Do it yourself'. Yes, that's it." - Linus Torvalds
Keep your stick on the ice...
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