| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 403, 2 May 2011
Welcome to this year's 18th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Ubuntu 11.04 made its appearance as scheduled last week and all the talk on many Linux forums is about upgrade experiences and the new Unity desktop. As always, opinions vary widely, but those willing to spend some time on learning the ins and outs of this desktop will be rewarded with a smooth and consistent experience that will likely make them more productive than using one of the more traditional desktop layouts. See the news section below for a link to an excellent guide to Unity. Also in the news, Lubuntu gets closer to becoming an "official" Ubuntu project, Mageia produces the first live CD images for beta testing, and Linux Journal interviews Ronald Ropp, the creator of the lightweight and energy-efficient wattOS. This week's feature story is for gamers, as Jesse Smith reviews Frozenbyte's Trine, while the Questions and Answers section talks about strategies for making the right choices when it comes to Linux distributions and software. Finally, we are pleased to announce that the recipient of the April 2011 DistroWatch.com donation is the Calibre project. Happy reading!
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|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Gaming with Trine|
The game Trine, by Frozenbyte, has been out for a while now. It was first released in July 2009 for Windows and later became available for the PlayStation Network. In late 2010 Frozenbyte ported their game to OS X and turned Trine over to Alternative Games for porting to Linux.
What is Trine? Technically speaking, Trine is a 2-D (2.5-D if we want to be picky) side-scrolling platform game featuring physics puzzles. It has an action/adventure component and a multi-player option. Granted, that doesn't tell us much; the same description can be applied to thousands of games, many of them featuring Italian plumbers. So let's put aside the technical aspect for a moment. The story behind Trine is that three characters (a knight, a wizard and a thief) have all touched a magic item which has bound them together, effectively, in one body. At any given time just one of the characters can physically manifest themselves, while the other two disappear. The three characters aren't thrilled about being locked together and they set out to try to find a cure.
The world in which the three characters live is full of platforms, physics puzzles and angry, sword-wielding skeletons. The player's job is to guide the characters (or character, since only one is visible at any given time) through each of the levels. Each character has their own strengths and weaknesses, giving the player three different approaches to solving the game's puzzles.
Installing the game is straightforward. Launching the installer prompts us to supply a location for the game files. The required data is copied over and we're given the option of creating application menu short-cuts. When the game launches, we're shown a quick series of intro videos (which can be skipped) and dropped at a menu. The menu is pretty standard. We're able to start a new game, load an existing game and change the difficulty setting. There's also an options menu which allows for a good deal of customization. We can adjust the brightness of the display and the various aspects of audio (voices, effects and music). The game additionally allows for several different levels of graphics, handy for people who have lower- or higher-end video cards.
Trine - crossing moving platforms with the knight
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The game begins by walking the player through a tutorial for each character. Basically we're guided through a few rooms with no enemies and some simple puzzles which are specifically tailored to that character's strengths. The knight carries a sword and shield, making him adept at close combat and smashing through things. However, his heavy equipment makes him a poor choice for jumping and swimming. The wizard is able to summon objects into existence, such as boxes and planks. He's also able to magically levitate small items. On the other hand, the wizard has no weapons or means of defence, making him vulnerable to enemies. The thief comes armed with a bow & arrows, making her suited to long-range combat. She also carries a grappling hook, enabling her to climb to high places. Once the tutorials are completed we can quickly switch between the three characters as often as we like.
As mentioned previously, having three characters in one body gives the player a selection of different ways to approach obstacles. As an example, let's say there is a river in the player's path. The knight might find objects to throw in the water and use them as stepping stones. The thief might find a nearby tree branch to attach her grapple hook to and swing across. The wizard can create a plank to place over the water and walk across. In Trine, as with Perl, "there's more than one way to do it" and this may be my favourite aspect of the game. At first I occasionally felt as if I might be cheating. There are levels beautifully laid out with physics puzzles and hidden areas and I found myself walking through, using the wizard to stack boxes in front of any barrier so I could hop over it. However, as time went on and the levels became more challenging, the real strengths of each character came more into play and the different approaches meant not only were there different ways to solve puzzles, but the game also lent itself to different styles of play.
For example, I like to slowly enter an area, look around, figure out the safest way through a region and carefully move puzzle pieces into place. Completing an entire level might take me ten minutes. I've seen videos of other players who like to charge right into the thick of things who complete the same levels in just over a minute. Trine makes itself appealing in this way to both puzzle solvers and to action/adventure gamers. The boss fights, which show up about every other level, follow this same philosophy. Brave souls can rush in, attacking these monsters head on if they choose, but it's also possible to go through most of the game never fighting a boss creature on equal terms, instead using objects, alcoves and ledges to either get around them or destroy them while maintaining a safe distance. I've found other games often pay lip service to "there is more than one way to do this" style of gaming, but they usually end up forcing the player to fight the Big Bad Boss at the end. Trine follows through nicely on the concept of doing it your own way. It's also a fairly forgiving game, providing (to start with) three levels of difficultly. The Easy setting really does make Trine a walk in the park and the Hard setting is quite challenging. The creators also added regular checkpoints throughout the levels so a player who gets stuck, or who is overwhelmed by foes, can teleport back to the last checkpoint.
In regards to graphics, the game is, in a word, beautiful. These aren't high-res, photo-realistic graphics, but the colours and detail in the level designs -- the special touches -- are quite striking. The levels vary quite a bit in appearance, taking us through an abandoned village, a dungeon, a dragon graveyard, a forge and a mine. Each level is well designed and attractive without being distracting. Trine also deserves special mention for being one of the few games I prefer to play with the sound turned on. Almost all of the games I've played in the past have been muted after ten minutes due to their short, looped music, their high-pitched sound effects and repetitive voices. This game is one of the few I've experienced where the music is not only pleasant, but enhances the mood of the environment. Further, the voice acting is sparse and doesn't repeat itself. Sound effects can also be helpful as some enemies can be heard before they are seen, giving the player an early warning. Arrows fired off screen make different noises depending on whether the missile hits a foe, a stone wall or a tree, helping the thief to map out her environment.
The controls for Trine are straight forward and, I found, intuitive. Basic character movement is handled by the W,A,S & D keys. Casting spells and using weapons is handled via the mouse. Being right handed, I found this layout natural. The only time the controls and I disagreed was when using the wizard to summon objects. Creating objects is done by drawing an outline of the desired object on the screen with the mouse. Drawing a square creates a box, a line makes a plank and a triangle makes a floating platform. Perhaps it's just me, but sometimes it seemed the game was intentionally mistaking my triangles for squares or my boxes for random hand waving. The game does not feature network play, but it does allow for multiple local players. I haven't had a chance to test this feature yet, but the video demo makes it look like a solid experience.
Trine - swinging over obstacles with the thief
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It is a game developer's curse that the closer a game comes to perfection, the more its little quirks and flaws stand out. While I didn't encounter anything I would specifically call a bug, there were some aspects to the game which caused me problems. The most noticeable, perhaps, is that when a character steps on a button or pulls a lever to open a door, the character freezes and the camera moves away to show the door being opened. This in itself is useful, but while the player is paralysed the enemies are not. A few times I found myself activating something and then standing helpless while foes chopped at my immobile avatar. The inventory and character screen puzzled me for a while. On this screen we see each of our characters, any items they have picked up and their skills. We can assign points to their skills and trade items between the characters. Early on, I found myself wondering "How do I use an item? How do I select this skill that isn't highlighted yet?"
Eventually I realized through trial and error that the items do not need to be equipped, they're automatically used by whichever character is holding the item. Unmarked skills are ones which become available automatically later in the game, we simply have to wait until we reach that point. One final thing that irked me, largely because I thought I had out-smarted the level designers, came in the form of bottomless pits. Like most platform games made in the past thirty years, Trine has some bottomless pit traps. Not many, but they're there. I thought I would be clever and use the thief's grappling hook to slowly lower myself down some holes to see if they were bottomless or just long drops to hidden locations containing treasure. I quickly discovered that lowering one's character down a bottomless pit causes the character to suddenly die upon reaching an invisible marker. (Level Designer: 1, Jesse: 0)
Trine - creating helpful objects with the wizard
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* * * * *
While playing with Trine I had a chance to exchange e-mails with Frozenbyte VP Joel Kinnunen.
DW: First, I wonder if you could comment on how much Trine cost to make? I've read rumours on the forum that its budget was in the range of one million dollars.
Well, it's no rumour - Trine cost roughly one million USD to create, give or take a bit. We have a postmortem on Gamasutra
that details it a bit more.
DW: Could you comment on how many requests you received to make a Linux port?
JK: Roughly a dozen or so, and from all over the world. The Shadowgrounds games got a similar amount of requests as well (in a longer timespan though). Overall interest in Linux gaming seems to be on the rise.
DW: Is it possible that we'll see the source code for Trine released after sales have dropped off?
JK: It's possible, but not in the near future.
DW: I understand that Trine 2 is due out sometime in 2011, could you give us a specific date and let us know what improvements we'll see over the original?
JK: Trine 2 is scheduled for a Q2 2011 release. It will be launched on Windows, Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, followed closely by a Mac release. We hope that Linux won't be too far off either. Trine 2 features not only offline co-op like in the original, but also online co-op, a completely new story, absolutely stunning graphics, and plenty of new gameplay features and improvements. For example, the Wizard's levitated objects will retain their kinetic energy, so they can be hurled towards enemies, making the Wizard a lot more adept at combat, and the Thief gets a new time slow ability which will be very useful in certain puzzles. The game is built on a brand new game engine which allows us to do plenty of cool stuff on the technical side, and also lets our artists bring to life some of the most detailed and beautiful worlds ever seen in games.
DW: Thank you, Mr Kinnunen.
* * * * *
Some of you may have read this far and wondered why I'm talking about commercial, closed-source software. Doesn't that practice fly in the face of free and open source philosophies? Perhaps, for some people, it does. However, I have two reasons for encouraging people to try Trine. The first reason is that smart companies don't change their business models overnight. They test the waters, see what happens and ease into new practices. A few months ago Trine was available as closed source, commercial software on closed platforms. Now it's a closed source, commercial product on an open platform. It's a small step, but it's in the right direction. If we spurn their initial offering then the developers will see Linux as an unprofitable market and go back to what has worked for them in the past.
My second reason ties in with the first and that is: the developers have shown a willingness to listen to feedback. When Trine was first released and made available on disc, it was for closed source platforms and the physical copies which could be purchased required the disc to be in the machine to run. Later, the developers responded to customer requests and released a patch so that the disc was no longer required. Early fans of the game complained about the last level having a time limit where other levels did not and a patch was released to address that complaint. Still later, we're also seeing a willingness to expand to other, open, platforms. Frozenbyte is a company that listens and I think that's worth supporting. Further, proceeds from the sale of Frozenbyte's bundle on Humble Bundle are divided between Frozenbyte, the EFF and the Child's Play charity. We, the players, get to decide how much to pay for the game and what percentage each organization gets.
In conclusion, I think Trine is a great game. It's flexible in that a person can spend just ten minutes bashing undead foes or get lost in an hour of solving puzzles or pass the time exploring. The controls are intuitive and the difficultly curve is gradual. The levels are varied and well laid out and I've encountered no serious problems with the game play. In short, Trine is a lot of fun.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
OMG! Ubuntu! publishes Unity guide, Lubuntu nears "official" status, Mageia releases first live CDs, interview with wattOS' Ronald Ropp
The new Ubuntu's biggest desktop "feature" (some call it a "bug" thought) is undoubtedly the controversial Unity desktop. Whatever your view of this working environment, one thing is for sure - it's a very new and different way of working on a computer while accessing the preferred applications, files and utilities. As such, it requires some learning. OMG! Ubuntu! has put together an excellent guide to Unity, explaining all the major characteristics of this unique desktop: "Unity is now the default desktop experience in Ubuntu 11.04, so all users will get to experience this radical change from the traditional GNOME desktop from Ubuntu versions past. Ubuntu still uses GNOME, however, and most of what you see on the screen is still GNOME technology. Unity is just a shell running on top of the regular desktop. Founded in 2010 by Mark Shuttleworth and Canonical, The Unity Project has gone on to deliver a consistent user experience for desktop and netbook users alike. Unity and its technologies such as application indicators, system indicators, and Notify OSD, have worked hard to solve common problems in the free software desktop whilst optimizing the experience for touch, consistency, and collaboration." After doing some reading on the subject even sceptics might find that Unity isn't too bad, after all...
Ubuntu 11.04 - the Unity desktop
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* * * * *
As far as lightweight Ubuntu variants go, Lubuntu, which features the LXDE desktop, seems to be among the most popular at the moment. Ever since the project's inception over a year ago, the developers have been beating on Canonical's door, trying to gain "official" status, along the lines of Kubuntu or Xubuntu. But it is only now that the developers' hard work is getting some "recognition from Canonical's highest echelons": "The next goals of the project are clear. Apart from constantly improving the distribution, the Lubuntu project aims to become an official flavour of Ubuntu. Recent comments by Mark Shuttleworth thanking the Lubuntu team add excitement in the community that this goal will be achieved in the near future. 'Thanks for the great work and progress of Lubuntu in the past two years. The fact that you are now 100% in the archive, and using PPAs and other tools effectively, makes it possible for us to consider recognising Lubuntu as an official part of the project. From my perspective, I see no problem in providing Lubuntu with the means to book sessions at UDS, and for us to call attention to Lubuntu in the project release notes. Our goal with Ubuntu is to ensure that the archive contains the full richness of free software. LXDE is definitely part of that, and with the other desktop environments making greater demands on PC resources, LXDE has a continued role to play.' (Mark Shuttleworth, April 26, 2011)."
* * * * *
The inaugural version of Mageia, a Mandriva fork created last year by many former developers and contributors to the popular French distribution, is edging closer the big release day (scheduled for 17 May). Up until last week those willing to test the distribution were limited to installing the it from a traditional installation DVD, rather than the commonly used and more user-friendly live medium. This changed last week when Mageia announced the availability of live CDs (i586 architecture only), with either KDE or GNOME, and supporting English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish languages: "It took more time than expected but here they are: live CD ISO images for Mageia 1 beta 2. You will find, for now, 2 ISO images; one each for KDE and GNOME. They include a limited set of supported languages (due to size constraints). The plan is to provide more ISO images, with each image including a specific set of supported languages." Quick download links: mageia-livecd-1-beta2-KDE4-int-cdrom-i586.iso (700MB, MD5)), mageia-livecd-1-beta2-GNOME-int-cdrom-i586.iso (700MB, MD5).
Mageia 1 beta 2 - the last chance to test and report bugs
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* * * * *
Finally, a link to an interview with the lead developer of a lightweight Ubuntu-based distribution called wattOS, Ronald Ropp. How did wattOS come about? "I grew frustrated with Windows 95 and the constant upgrade cycle, money required, memory, bloat, viruses, etc. I was taking old Dell Optiplex desktop machines and installing VectorLinux on them to make a fast, secure, simple platform for people to use. I would get a lot of 10 of them from a local recycler, install Vector Linux on them and sell them on eBay or simply give them to people." And what is the ethos behind wattOS? "From the beginning, my intent for wattOS (which I first released in July 2008) was to create a simple, fast desktop that can leverage the large Debian/Ubuntu knowledge base and repositories. I've tried to keep it somewhat minimal, while being as functional as possible for the average user. I don't want them to have to do a ton of command line work just to do the basics such as web, email, music, video, print, photos, word processing, chat, etc. I've also created (or included) some basic tools to help minimize power use. Additionally, there are a ton of systems sitting unused, in closets, being scrapped, etc that are perfectly functional, and people who do not have a lot of money would be thrilled to have them."
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Choosing the right distribution and software
Facing-an-array-of-choices says: My opinion is that Linux has two problems for newbies. The plethora of solid options to choose from for SOHO users that are easy to install and work well out of the box can be confusing. The other is determining what packages are needed to do what they want, often they will be unfamiliar with many of the options.
DistroWatch answers: The huge selection of options can be overwhelming to newcomers. I recall when I first went looking for a copy of Linux it was a bit of a shock to discover just how many flavours there were. The choice of which one to try wasn't made any easier by the vague descriptions on the various About pages. Sometimes it feels like every new project has a description along the lines of "GNU/Noodle is a Linux operating system based on FooBar and using 100% GPLed software." (Not a helpful statement for people who aren't yet sure what GNU, GPL or FooBar are.) Fortunately members of the free and open source software community have realized that a large selection can be scary and these days doing a Google search for "choose a linux distribution" provides links to good articles on selecting a newbie-friendly project. I especially like the Linux Distribution Chooser tool, which helps people find the right distro based on their comfort level and preferences.
The individual software packages can be a bit more tricky. Searching Google for appropriate matches can be a frustrating trial-and-error experience and browsing sites like Linux.com will often turn up articles on obscure applications very few people use in the real world. I find the best way to find good applications is to ask people on your distribution's forum. The novice-friendly distros usually have forums where people unfamiliar with Linux can ask such questions and get suggestions from people who have recently made the switch themselves. Often times I find novice users have a better grasp on what will work for other newcomers than more experienced users.
Finding popular graphic manipulation software
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Some package managers, such as the one that comes with Linux Mint, will help you by showing software in categories and display software in a specific category with user ratings. This makes it fairly easy to find out what items have worked for other people.
|Released Last Week
Bayanihan Linux 5.4
Tracy Melissa Decena has announced the release of Bayanihan Linux 5.4, a new revision of the desktop-oriented distribution based on Debian's old stable branch, featuring the legacy KDE 3.5 desktop: "Bayanihan Linux 5 Revision 4 is now available for download. The newest 'Kalumbata' revision now features LibreOffice by The Document Foundation, an open-source office productivity suite derived from OpenOffice.org. However, OpenOffice.org 3.3, the latest version, is still bundled in the installer. Also packed in the new ISO image is the latest release of Bayanihan Linux's default web browser, Mozilla Firefox 4. Tons of security updates are also added. For old Bayanihan Linux users, software updates can be downloaded via Synaptic." See the release announcement which includes upgrade instructions for existing users.
DragonFly BSD 2.10.1
Matthew Dillon has announced the release of DragonFly BSD 2.10.1, a BSD operating system originally forked from FreeBSD 4 series: "The DragonFly BSD 2.10.1 release is now available. This release sports significant compatibility and performance improvements and many new features. Big-ticket items: this release supports a much larger variety of hardware and multiprocessor systems than previous releases, thanks to updates of ACPI and APIC and ACPI interrupt routing support; Hammer volumes can now deduplicate volumes overnight in a batch process and during live operation; Packet Filter (pf) was updated to a version based upon OpenBSD 4.4; DragonFly now uses GCC 4.4 as the default system compiler, and is the first BSD to take that step; significant performance gains over previous releases...." Read the release notes for detailed information about the changes and features in this version.
Slackware Linux 13.37
Slackware Linux 13.37, a new version of the world's oldest surviving Linux-based operating system, has been released: "It's true! Slackware 13.37 has been released. Nearly a year in the making, you will appreciate the performance and stability that can only come with careful and rigorous testing. Slackware 13.37 uses the 18.104.22.168 Linux kernel and also ships with 22.214.171.124 kernels for those who want to run the latest. The long-awaited Firefox 4.0 web browser is included, the X Window System has been upgraded (and includes the open source nouveau driver for NVIDIA cards). The venerable Slackware installer has been improved as well, with support for installing to btrfs, a one-package-per-line display mode option, and an easy to set-up PXE install server that runs right off the DVD!" For full details please read the release announcement.
Slackware Linux 13.37 includes KDE 4.5.5 as the default desktop.
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Chakra GNU/Linux 2011.04
Phil Miller has announced the release of Chakra GNU/Linux 2011/04, an Arch-based distribution featuring the latest KDE desktop: "The Chakra development team is proud to announce the release of Chakra GNU/Linux 2011.04, code-named 'Aida'. Two month have passed since Chakra 2011.02. Now it is time for Aida to impress. We added kernel 126.96.36.199 and lots of package updates. KDE got updated to 4.6.2 with our patches added, such as our hardware detection, including the latest drivers. Manuel Tortosa managed to remove all GTK+ dependencies from LibreOffice, so you can use it from our DVD edition on your KDE desktop without GTK+ installed. Also we added AppSet as our front-end for Pacman. For all our GTK+ fans we have added some popular GTK+ applications as bundles." Read the rest of the release announcement for more details.
Chakra GNU/Linux 2011.04 - a KDE-centric distribution based on Arch Linux
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Ubuntu 11.04, a new version of the popular Linux distribution for desktops and servers, has been released: "The Ubuntu team is pleased to announce Ubuntu 11.04, code-named 'Natty Narwhal'. 11.04 continues Ubuntu's proud tradition of integrating the latest and greatest open source technologies into a high-quality, easy-to-use Linux distribution. For PC users, Ubuntu 11.04 supports laptops, desktops and netbooks with a unified look and feel based on a new desktop shell called 'Unity'. This version supersedes Ubuntu Netbook Edition for all PC netbooks. Developer reference images are provided for select Texas Instruments (TI) ARM platforms, specifically the 'PandaBoard' and 'BeagleBoard'. Ubuntu Server 11.04 has made it easier to provision servers, and reduce power consumption." See the release announcement and release notes for more information.
Kubuntu 11.04, a useful Ubuntu variant featuring the latest KDE desktop, is ready: "The Kubuntu team is proud to announce the release of 11.04 - codename 'Natty Narwhal': the latest version of our popular Linux distribution, based on Ubuntu and KDE's Plasma and Applications 4.6. With the combination of its Ubuntu backbone, the amazing KDE Software Compilation, and a few unique extras, 11.04 aims to provide the best fusion of stability, beauty, and up-to-date software. Whether working, browsing the web, playing your music, composing an email or connecting with your friends on social networks, Kubuntu brings you a powerful, innovative and attractive platform for all your desktop needs!" See the release announcement and release notes for additional details.
Edubuntu 11.04, the educational flavour of Ubuntu, has been released: "The Edubuntu development team is really proud and happy to announce that Edubuntu 11.04 has now been released. This version builds on the excellent 10.10 release, making the installation process even more flexible and improves the desktop not only by updating it but also by updating the look & feel and choosing the best available software for each use case. Here are the major changes and choices we made for this 11.04 release: Edubuntu 11.04 ships with a classic Ubuntu desktop by default; it's now possible to do fine-grained package selection so you can install only what you need; ships with Arkose installed by default...." Here is the complete release announcement.
Edubuntu 11.04 - an operating system for better education
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Mythbuntu 11.04, a new version of the Ubuntu-based distribution focusing on easy set up of a standalone MythTV system, is out today: "Mythbuntu 11.04 has been released. It is very important to note that this release is only compatible with MythTV 0.24 systems. Previous Mythbuntu releases can be upgraded to a compatible version with the builds located here. For a more detailed explanation, see here. Changes from Mythbuntu 10.10: MythTV 0.24; Mythbuntu-bare scheduling now available for backups; Android and iOS devices can now be used as remote controls; underlying Ubuntu updates; recent snapshot of the MythTV 0.24 release is included; preview of the upcoming MythNetvision plugin; Mythbuntu theme fixes." Read the rest of the release announcement for more information and known issues.
Ubuntu Studio 11.04
Scott Lavender has announced the release of Ubuntu Studio 11.04, a specialist Ubuntu variant featuring a large collection of packages for multimedia tasks: "The Ubuntu Studio team is very excited over its ninth release: 11.04 'Natty Narwhal', available as a 1.5 GB DVD ISO image. Numerous improvements have been implemented for this release, but here are some of the more notable ones. The task selections during installation have been updated; the audio tasks have been parsed into two groups: generation and recording. The 'generation' task selection is focused more on synthesizers and sequencers and the 'recording' task focuses on recording live musician performances. Currently, Ubuntu Studio is shipping the -generic kernel; we are working with the Ubuntu kernel team to get a -lowlatency kernel into the archives." Here are the full release notes.
Absolute Linux 13.2.2
Paul Sherman has announced the release of Absolute Linux 13.2.2, a lightweight, Slackware-based desktop distribution featuring the IceWM window manager: "Absolute Linux 13.2.2 released. Use of HAL has been dropped for newer ConsoleKit and udisks, as well as LXDE's newer version of PCManFM. Code changes for the Absolute customizations in libfm and PCManFM are included in /usr/doc for each package. Devmon replaces halevt to handle DVD and audio CDs. You'll notice edits to .initrc, .bashrc .bash_logout as well as the start-up file for IceWM reflecting the changes." Other major changes include switch to LibreOffice as the optional office suite, upgrade to IceWM 1.3.7, and synchronisation of packages with Slackware's current tree. See the brief release announcement and the detailed changelog for further information.
Absolute Linux 13.2.2 - an updated build of the lightweight Slackware derivative
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ZevenOS 1.9.9 "Neptune"
Leszek Lesner has announced the release of ZevenOS 1.9.9 "Neptune" edition, a Debian-based Linux distribution featuring the KDE 4.6.2 desktop: "The ZevenOS Neptune team is pleased to announce the release of ZevenOS 'Neptune' 1.9.9. This release comes with a couple of changes and new features. We updated the Linux kernel to version 188.8.131.52 which comes with neat little features, like better hardware support for wireless network cards and the famous cgroups patch which brings more speed under heavy load. The underlying Debian 'Squeeze' system was upgraded to Debian 'Testing' which will provide newer applications through the life cycle of Neptune 1.9.9. KDE SC 4.6.2 makes it début with lots of updates and the typical Neptune look & feel and a new default font, the Ubuntu Font. For the sake of consistency we replaced Synaptic and Software Center with their KDE/Qt-based counterparts - Muon and KPackageKit." The release announcement contains more information and a screenshot.
Mario Behling has announced the release of Lubuntu 11.04, an unofficial Ubuntu variant that showcases the lightweight, but full-featured LXDE desktop: "Julien Lavergne has released Lubuntu 11.04. Features: based on the lightweight LXDE desktop environment; PCManFM 0.9.8, a fast and lightweight file manager using GIO/GVFS; LXDE, a lightweight GTK+ display manager; Chromium, the open-source version of Google Chrome; based on Ubuntu 11.04. Improvements since Lubuntu 10.10: new automatic way to build the ISO images; switch from Aqualung to Audacious for the music player; switch from Xarchiver to File Roller for the archives; switch from Cheese to GTK+ UVC Viewer for using webcams; new added applications - gucharmap, LXKeymap, documentation; Lubuntu is now HAL free; new theme." Read the full release announcement for a full list of improvements.
Lubuntu 11.04 - a lighter "buntu" with LXDE as the preferred desktop
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Xubuntu 11.04, an official Ubuntu flavour featuring the Xfce desktop, has been released: "Xubuntu 11.04, code-named the 'Natty Narwhal', is the latest and greatest version of Xubuntu." What's new? "Xubuntu wallpaper has been updated for this release. The wallpaper is designed to integrate well with the new graybird theme. The installation slideshow has been updated, and really displays the best of Xubuntu. The Elementary Xubuntu icon theme has been updated. Xubuntu is using the Droid font by default, since it is a lightweight, good visibility font. The newly released Xfce 4.8 is included. The menus in Xfce 4.8 are now editable with any menu editor that meets the freedesktop.org standards." See the release announcement and release notes for a list of major changes.
Ubuntu Rescue Remix 11.04
Andrew Zajac has announced the release of Ubuntu Rescue Remix 11.04, an Ubuntu-based live medium which provides the data recovery specialist with a command-line interface environment equipped useful free and open-source data recovery and forensics tools: "Version 11.04 'Natty Narwhal' of the very best libre open-source data recovery software toolkit based on Ubuntu is out. This version features and up-to-date infrastructure and several new packages, including Dump, a backup and restore solution as well as ClamAV, the best in libre anti-virus software. Ubuntu-Rescue-Remix features a full command-line environment with the newsest versions of the most powerful libre open-source data recovery software including GNU ddrescue, Photorec, The Sleuth Kit and Gnu-fdisk." Here is the brief release announcement.
Superb Mini Server 1.6.0
A new version of Superb Mini Server (SMS), a Slackware-based distribution for servers, was announced earlier today: "Superb Mini Server version 1.6.0 released. SMS 1.6.0 is based on Slackware Linux 13.37 and ships with Linux kernel 184.108.40.206 to honor our compatibility with the new Slackware release; the 220.127.116.11 kernels are available for anyone wishing to run a newer kernel. SMS 1.6.0 brings new optional features in the extra CD, such as DLNA support either with fuppes or mediatomb and computational clustering. SMS installer now offers Btrfs support and GPT partitioning, and also a PXE server for network installations right off the install CD, but don't activate the PXE Boot Server if you are not going to use it. New packages in this release are btrfs-progs, lrzip, gDisk for GPT partitions scheme...." Read the rest of the release announcement for further details.
Tiny Core Linux 3.6
Robert Shingledecker has announced the release of Tiny Core Linux 3.6, a new version of the world's smallest desktop Linux distribution: "Team Tiny Core is pleased to announce the release of Tiny Core Linux 3.6. Change log: new tc-install.sh replaces usbinstall - added frugal install to partition with formatting options; New tc-install FLTK GUI front end to tc-install.sh callable from cpanel; new tcemirror.sh to present select list of both local and remote mirrors; new mydata= boot code to support alternate name for backup; updated squashfs modules with latest patches; updated fluff to 0.95, fixes reported segmentation faults and better handling of large files; updated mousetool to support left-handed 2-button serial mouse; updated flrun - added input search capability; updated cpanel change to tc-install for HD/USB Install...." Continue reading the changelog if you want to learn about all the detailed technical changes in this version.
Theo de Raadt has announced the release of OpenBSD 4.9, a BSD-based operating system specialising in high-security solutions through thorough code review. What's new? "OpenBSD amd64 and i386 - enabled NTFS by default (read-only) on GENERIC kernels; enabled the vmt driver by default for VMware tools support as a guest; SMP kernels can now boot on machines with up to 64 cores; maximum allocation size for i386 bumped to 2 GB; handle >16 disks when searching for kernel boot device; added support for AES-NI instructions found in recent Intel processors; further improvements in suspend and resume; processes are now switched to TSS per CPU on the amd64 platform, resulting in removal of the old limit of 4,000 processes. Improved hardware support, including: new vte driver for RDC R6040 10/100 Ethernet devices...." Visit the OpenBSD 4.9 release page to read a detailed, technical overview of the product.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
April 2011 DistroWatch.com donation: Calibre|
We are happy to announce that the recipient of the April 2011 DistroWatch.com donation is the Calibre project, a free and open-source e-book reader. It receives US$300.00 in cash.
Developed by Kovid Goyal since 2006, Calibre has an interesting history: "Calibre started life on 31 October, 2006, soon after the release of the SONY PRS-500, the first e-ink based reader to be sold commercially in the US. At the time, I was a graduate student, with a lot of time on my hands. The PRS-500 did not work at all with Linux, my operating system of choice, so I decided to reverse engineer the USB protocol that it used, to get it working on Linux. This was accomplished with the help of the fine folks over at mobileread.com and calibre was born, albeit named libprs500. At the time there were no satisfactory tools to convert content into the LRF format, used by the SONY reader, so I decided to implement a converter to convert the most popular e-book formats to LRF. This converter proved to be wildly popular and far better than the (mostly non-existent) offerings from SONY."
For more information about the project please see Calibre's history page. A long, categorised list of features is available here.
Launched in 2004, this monthly donations programme is a DistroWatch initiative to support free and open-source software projects and operating systems with cash contributions. Readers are welcome to nominate their favourite project for future donations. Those readers who wish to contribute towards these donations, please use our advertising page to make a payment (PayPal and credit cards are accepted). Here is the list of the projects that have received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the programme (figures in US dollars):
Since the launch of the Donations Program in March 2004, DistroWatch has donated a total of US$27,780 to various open-source software projects.
- 2004: GnuCash ($250), Quanta Plus ($200), PCLinuxOS ($300), The GIMP ($300), Vidalinux ($200), Fluxbox ($200), K3b ($350), Arch Linux ($300), Kile KDE LaTeX Editor ($100) and UNICEF - Tsunami Relief Operation ($340)
- 2005: Vim ($250), AbiWord ($220), BitTorrent ($300), NDISwrapper ($250), Audacity ($250), Debian GNU/Linux ($420), GNOME ($425), Enlightenment ($250), MPlayer ($400), Amarok ($300), KANOTIX ($250) and Cacti ($375)
- 2006: Gambas ($250), Krusader ($250), FreeBSD Foundation ($450), GParted ($360), Doxygen ($260), LilyPond ($250), Lua ($250), Gentoo Linux ($500), Blender ($500), Puppy Linux ($350), Inkscape ($350), Cape Linux Users Group ($130), Mandriva Linux ($405, a Powerpack competition), Digikam ($408) and Sabayon Linux ($450)
- 2007: GQview ($250), Kaffeine ($250), sidux ($350), CentOS ($400), LyX ($350), VectorLinux ($350), KTorrent ($400), FreeNAS ($350), lighttpd ($400), Damn Small Linux ($350), NimbleX ($450), MEPIS Linux ($300), Zenwalk Linux ($300)
- 2008: VLC ($350), Frugalware Linux ($340), cURL ($300), GSPCA ($400), FileZilla ($400), MythDora ($500), Linux Mint ($400), Parsix GNU/Linux ($300), Miro ($300), GoblinX ($250), Dillo ($150), LXDE ($250)
- 2009: Openbox ($250), Wolvix GNU/Linux ($200), smxi ($200), Python ($300), SliTaz GNU/Linux ($200), LiVES ($300), Osmo ($300), LMMS ($250), KompoZer ($360), OpenSSH ($350), Parted Magic ($350) and Krita ($285)
- 2010: Qimo 4 Kids ($250), Squid ($250), Libre Graphics Meeting ($300), Bacula ($250), FileZilla ($300), GCompris ($352), Xiph.org ($250), Clonezilla ($250), Debian Multimedia ($280), Geany ($300), Mageia ($470), gtkpod ($300)
- 2011: CGSecurity ($300), OpenShot ($300), Imagination ($250), Calibre ($300)
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
- Icefeast Linux. Icefeast Linux is an Ubuntu-based distribution. Some of the features include Windows "Autorun" icon, album art, running windows software using Wine, playing Windows games using PlayOnLinux, XBMC Media Center, the Alien package converter, and Miro Internet TV.
- Remix_OS. Remix_OS is a fast, lightweight, Debian-based distribution that can run live from a DVD or a USB stick or can be installed onto a hard disk or a USB Flash drive. It includes all media codecs needed for a good multimedia experience and a selection of the best applications for daily needs, including audio, video and image editors, an office suite, network applications, Sun Java, and an easy-to-use backup tool.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 9 May 2011.
Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar
|Linux Foundation Training
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • Ubuntu's Unity and Gnome 3 (by Fed on 2011-05-02 06:13:23 GMT from United States) |
Unity has 2 panels, one on top and one on the side. It is less user friendly than other new DE, Gnome 3, which could be found in Fedora and also in OpenSuse.
Gnome 3 also has sort of two panels, but one is always in hiding, and it is pretty easy to get to it, all one has to do is go to the top left and corner with your cursor - one mouce movement. In Unity one can't do that, even though OMG Ubuntu tires to teach how to use Unity, there would be lot of resistence. And also the compettition from Gnome 3.
Ubuntu has a problem of seeing all kind of fonts, especially the exotix ones, but Fedora, even in beta can see these fonts. I am using both Gnome 3 and Unity. I had the same amount time on both, but Gnome 3 wins. I'd try to install Gnome 3 in Ubuntu 11.04.
2 • Linux games (by megadriver on 2011-05-02 07:10:30 GMT from Spain)
Yay, a Linux game review!
I don't know if this is a first for DW or not, but I definitively approve of this!
3 • Lubuntu (by AliasMarlowe on 2011-05-02 09:16:25 GMT from United States)
All hail Lubuntu! Our ancient laptop (1.7GHz Pentium M, 1GB RAM, 1920x1200 display) was struggling with a full Gnome Ubuntu, but has been slightly quicker for most things since we switched it to Lubuntu's LXDE. Memory usage even with several applications running (Thunderbird, Gimp, Inkscape, Pidgin, Opera with numerous tabs) is typically about 500MB instead of 800MB, leaving more for cache. The swap partition has probably not been used since the switch, while it was sometimes needed with Gnome.
Alas, the slow old disk still limits load times for applications; maybe it's time to replace it. Much cheaper than finding a replacement laptop with 1200 vertical pixels. [begin rant] How come laptops with 1920x1200 cost double those with 1920x1080 pixels? There's almost none to be found now with more than 1080 vertical pixels. [end rant]
4 • Xubuntu will be next (by Magnus on 2011-05-02 09:17:13 GMT from Norway)
Been using Ubuntu for the past year, but right now I am thinking Xubuntu will be the best option for me. From the screenshots it looks very polished now, and I really dislike what Gnome 3 and Unity is trying to do.
5 • Unity and GNOME 3 (by Marc on 2011-05-02 09:45:09 GMT from Germany)
Yeah, I can only encourage Ubuntu users to try a different distribution, like Fedora or openSUSE with GNOME 3. You'll find live-CDs at www.gnome3.org.
I have honestly, honestly tried to like Unity. I have used Ubuntu on my netbook for quite some time and switched to the betas of 11.04 about one month ago. My trouble wasn't stability, but usability. Unity just felt AWKWARD. It is a dock; yes. But it is just not as user-friendly as Mac OS X's dock or even the Win7 'superbar'.
GNOME 3 is much better, but it won't run gnome-shell on my netbook because there's no hardware-accelerated 3D driver for its VIA chrome chipset. But even the fallback-mode of GNOME 3 is much, much better than Ubuntu's Unity. And it's darn fast.
6 • Gnome3 (by NIck on 2011-05-02 10:15:09 GMT from United Kingdom)
I really dislike Gnome 3! I hope that all distributions will keep Gnome classic, so we have the choice! As far as i can say about KDE. I do like KDE, but every time I've tried it, its been buggy and glitchy!
7 • Cheesed-off with Ubuntu (by Richmond Mathewson on 2011-05-02 10:30:55 GMT from Bulgaria)
Upgrading to Ubuntu 11.04 hosed my GNOME system and I had to default to XFCE; later did a reinstall from an Ubuntu disk, but the thing interferes all over the place. If I want a system that gets in my way I will run out and buy Windows 7 (or better yet, "6-and-a-half", i.e. Vista).
This will drive me away from Ubuntu just as soon as I find a spot of free time; moving towards the 'Mother-Ship'; Debian.
8 • Trine (by sml on 2011-05-02 10:43:36 GMT from Germany)
The game description remembered me on The Lost Vikings by Blizzard.
9 • re: 7 • Cheesed-off with Ubuntu (by michael King on 2011-05-02 10:44:58 GMT from United Kingdom)
I also upgraded to 11.04 like yourself, tried unity for a few days but couldn't work with it, Ubuntu Classic which is gnome 2.32.1 in the login menu works just fine though.
I hope Ubuntu keeps the choices open on this one in future releases.
10 • Gaming (by Jesse on 2011-05-02 10:59:47 GMT from Canada)
>> "Yay, a Linux game review!
I don't know if this is a first for DW or not, but I definitively approve of this!"
Thanks. I really enjoy the gaming experience on Linux and wanted to share this with people. This isn't my first Linux game review, but I think it's the first to appear in DWW. I'm hoping that if we encourage developers we'll see an increased interest in the Linux market.
11 • Gnome 3 and Unity (by silent on 2011-05-02 11:07:16 GMT from France)
Last week I tried both Gnome 3 and Unity. No real problems, only one desktop crash in Unity at the beginning. Unity is really simple, easy to customize, though I had the impression that one could create something similar in a couple of hours blending Gnome, Compiz and either Docky, AWN or Cairo dock. Gnome 3 was stable, but even with the "tweak tool" customization is rather limited; fortunately there are some custome themes and a preview of "themeselector" already available. I managed to restore almost completely my Gnome 2 desktop with the fallback interface. On the other hand, both Gnome 3 (Archlinux) and Unity (Ubuntu) looked a bit untidy with different scrollbar styles say in Nautilus and Firefox, and that is not something like an aesthetic, modern, integrated desktop environment.
12 • Gnome3 and Unity (by richard on 2011-05-02 11:44:47 GMT from United States)
IMHO both Gnome 3 and Unity have a long way to go in development. After trying both and finding them less than perfect I opted out to use Opensuse and KDE then once again opted out for Fedora 14 KDE which has more software. I figure I'll wait for about a year until both Gnome 3 and Unity have a chance to fix problems and add features. Until then KDE looks and works pretty good .
13 • RE: Linux Gaming. (by Eddie on 2011-05-02 12:04:38 GMT from United States)
Great game review. I bought the Frozenbyte bundle and started playing Trine this weekend. It's the kind of game that really gets your brain to working. I miss the side-scrolling type games and this was a welcomed break from the 3-D shoot everything games out now. This is my second bundle and I'm looking forward to the next one. Also I'm looking forward to more game reviews. Thanks Jessie.
As far as all the Unity talk, (this goes for Gnome3 also), none of it is really relevant at this time. The same things were said when KDE 4.0 came out. People said this was the end of KDE, that they had ruined a good thing, and so on, and on, and on. I don't know why people won't admit that. Now everyone talks about how beautiful KDE 4.6 is and how they will have to move to KDE instead of Unity or Gnome3. I'm really amazed that people believe or feel that they have to jump right into these new technologies. First let them mature and then "learn how to use them". If a person must jump then try the new Kubuntu with KDE 4.6, or another KDE distro, it's very polished and very stable. I'm still using the classic Gnome2, heavily modified, and I will continue to until I feel a need to move on up. At this time I really see nothing to be upset about and the evolution of the Linux desktop will continue. (no matter if I like it or not)
14 • Trine update (by Jesse on 2011-05-02 12:36:43 GMT from Canada)
Hi all. A quick footnote to the Trine review. The Humble Bundle deal ended recently, making it harder to come by a Linux copy of the game. However, Joel Kinnunen (of Frozenbyte) e-mailed to say they will be offering Trine through other channels in the near future. They're a bit swamped with sales/support e-mails right now, but will be making the game available again soon.
15 • Gnome3, Unity, etc. (by Joe on 2011-05-02 12:55:50 GMT from United States)
There is a lot of talk/rants going on about Gnome 3 and Unity. Between the two, I think I favor Gnome 3, but that doesn't mean I actually prefer Gnome 3. Maybe after it matures a little bit.
For the time being, Xubuntu, with XFCE 4.8 is my choice of the *buntus, at least for desktop and laptop use. Kubuntu with the netbook interface seems to do very well on the eee PCs I support.
My point to all of this is that instead of dumping the Ubuntu family of distributions and jumping ship to something else, there is enough offering in the Ubuntu line for just about anyone.
Want the latest interfaces? Choose Ubuntu. (for Gnome 3, do a command line install, add the ppa for Gnome 3 and install it).
Want a traditional interface? Choose Xubuntu.
Want a lot of bling? Choose Kubuntu.
Low end, low power machine? Choose Lubuntu.
While there is a lot of frustration regarding Canonical and their *buntus. They do offer a broad range of choices (and yes, other distros do, too).
Unity and Gnome 3 are not the end of the world. They are just new. They are also in a state of flux as they mature. Only time will tell if they mature into what users want. And, if they don't there are a number of other desktop environments to fill the gap.
16 • Trine (by Archdevil on 2011-05-02 13:19:51 GMT from Netherlands)
Very professional to have your game promoted on one of the leading Linux websites in the world and then not mention the linux version on the website........
17 • To all ppl wanting gnome2 to stay (by mr downer on 2011-05-02 13:20:11 GMT from United States)
gnome2 is already incompatible with the latest libpng, unless you're planning on patching the hell out of it, having a seperate repo, and figuring out a massive collection conflicting files with gnome3. This isn't going to happen. So patch up or put up.
18 • to all ppl wanting gnome2 to stay (by tdockery97 on 2011-05-02 13:27:38 GMT from United States)
@17 mr downer: I really hope you're wrong, and that Debian will continue Gnome 2.x through the Squeeze cycle. If/when they force update to Gnome 3, that will be when I must leave Debian.
19 • Unity (by alms66 on 2011-05-02 13:57:38 GMT from United States)
I saw GNOME 3 and Unity in development and thought that they were trying to make the biggest, most in-your-face, ugly and useless desktop interfaces ever. So I tried GNOME 3 and yep, I was right. I tried Unity, and instantly fell in love with it. I'm officially a Unity convert now. Great job!
20 • And the best keeps getting better (by Rudolf Steiner on 2011-05-02 14:10:31 GMT from United States)
OpenBSD’s 4.9 release it better than ever. Suspend works perfect and I can now access my NTFS external hard drives by default.
If you haven't has not tried out openBSD you should. The fairly new installer takes all the pain out of partitioning and slicing up the hard drive. And, having a guru like Damien Bergamini packaging wireless firmware makes mobility a snap.
21 • Lubuntu (by Barnabyh on 2011-05-02 14:20:17 GMT from United Kingdom)
...may be the lightest of the stable if you want to stay with the buntus, but Salix with LXDE added like here http://all-things-linux.blogspot.com/2011/05/installing-lxde-on-slackware-salix-1337.html is only using 55MB right after login. Not bad.
Happy new week -
22 • RE:18, Must leave Debian? (by Eddie on 2011-05-02 14:42:04 GMT from United States)
Why? I can't really see why a WM would make a person leave Debian. Do you think others will be offering Gnome2.whatever when it's outlived its usefulness? Debian won't drop Gnome2 until necessary and when they say install Gnome3 by default then you will know that it's stable. As I stated before there is no need to worry about that now. Gnome2 will still be around for some time and no one will force you to upgrade.
23 • Ubuntu 11.04 (by Luis Garcia on 2011-05-02 15:01:40 GMT from Colombia)
I'm keeping Ubuntu 11.04, I like ffox 4 and updated ATI opensource drivers.
I hated Unity, so I just logged on Ubuntu Classic. Done! Now, if Ubuntu 11.10 deprecates Gnome 2, I'll probably go with XFCE.
I fail to understand all the fuss about Canonical using Unity. You don't like it? Don't use it!
24 • Debian and GNOME 2 (by Stan on 2011-05-02 15:03:37 GMT from United States)
Debian is a fixed-point release. It is a nearly certainy that Squeeze will never be updated to GNOME 3. Just as neither will Ubuntu 10.04 or Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, or even more upgrade-friendly Fedora 14 for that matter. Fixed-point releases simply don't do that. As for libpng, that won't be updated either during Squeeze's lifetime, except security patches.
Wheezy, on the other hand, will certainly GNOME 3 sometime; they're already talking about the best way to go about it on the mailing list. As well as a newer KDE, but I wouldn't be surprised if even Sid didn't get updated until KDE 4.7. ;) (Though at least 4.6 is in Experimental now, so there is hope.)
25 • Mageia release date (by DShelbyD on 2011-05-02 15:21:57 GMT from United States)
In the "Miscellaneous News" section Mageia is said to be released on May 17. That, of course, is the RC release, with the Final release set for June 1.
26 • 10k desktops swithed to ubuntu (by Leo on 2011-05-02 15:28:52 GMT from United States)
I think this really belongs in the DWW news section. Fantastic news!
(I've been trying to post this, and it keeps bouncing, this is really strange)
27 • Just try XFCE (by Gustavo on 2011-05-02 15:40:31 GMT from Brazil)
28 • Gave Unity and Gnome 3 a good run, but they're not for me.. (by Mark Pace on 2011-05-02 15:43:56 GMT from United States)
As a long time Gnome 2 user with Linux Mint, and with Mint 2011.05 still awaiting release, I thought I'd take the opportunity to load Ubuntu 11.04 Unity on a spare SATA hard drive just to see what all the fuss was about. Downloading the .iso was fast, taking less than 12 minutes the first day it was available. Did the full install with upgrades and all, then settled in to 'experience' Unity for myself.
Worked as diligently as I could to get a handle on the ins and outs of making Unity seem even semi-usable for two straight 8 to 10 hour days. Haven't put in that sort of time trying to figure out how to make a desktop environment work the way I wanted it to in a long time, all to no avail. Just too many things that were completely counter intuitive from my point of view, so I pulled the plug and installed Fedora with Gnome 3 to give it a go instead.
Wish I could say that my short time with Fedora and Gnome 3 was more productive but I really can't. While I did like certain things about Gnome 3 that were sadly lacking in Unity, Fedora itself seemed oddly incomplete in far too many areas. Overall the experience after years of working with and enjoying the incredible access and user control that Gnome 2 provides, both Gnome 3 and Unity seemed to me like dumbed down kiddie toy versions of what a working desktop really should be.
Having spent some time with Mepis years back prior to migrating to Mint, I thought 'what the hay' and downloaded Mepis 11R3 which I installed in place of Fedora on my test disk. Haven't really had any use for KDE since 3.5.10 was turned out to pasture in favor of 4.x, but there wasn't any good reason not to give Mepis another go having bombed out with Unity and Gnome 3, and I have to admit that I'm glad I did. Mepis turned out to be everything that Ubuntu and Fedora weren't, and I will happily keep it installed until such time as Clem and the Mint Team are ready to release the new Mint 2011.05.
29 • Upgrading Ubuntu (by Player1 on 2011-05-02 15:51:58 GMT from Brazil)
I have upgraded my Ubuntu 10.10 to 11.04 and faced several problems regarding grub, gdm and the nvidia drivers. Even though I have fixed (almost) everything, I was really disappointed... Especially after searching the interwebs for solutions and having to read stuff like "you should do a clean install". Well, what is the purpose of upgrading if it doesn't work?
Anyway, Unity is not nearly as bad as everyone says. Sure, it will take some time to get used to, but I think it's a welcome change.
30 • Don't like Unity or Gnome3? Don't dump Ubuntu. Use LTS (by pfyearwood on 2011-05-02 17:26:57 GMT from United States)
I added Natty to my Lucid running as a dual boot on a secondary P4 machine. I am trying out the Unity system. It seems to be a refreshing change to Ubuntu. I did have to hunt for the Appearance options. But, that is something I only use once. The Apps I most use are on the desktop ready for me. I do like that Classic Gnome is available. But, if I want to use Classic, I'll just boot Lucid.
It just seems strange to me that for years, users have complained about how boring the Ubuntu desktop was. First the Brown then the Purple. Now, they complain that the Unity desktop is ugly and threaten to jump ship. I have one suggestion.
Lucid, 10.04 TLS is still on the servers. It has the old Gnome that people claim to love. Plus, it has the advantage of being supported after Natty vanishes into the land of "I wish they and not changed Ubuntu 12.10. I love the way Natty looked and worked."
Users say they want advancement in the Linux community. Just as long as it does not happen to their dream distro.
Keep your sense of humor.
31 • Natty (by fernbap on 2011-05-02 17:53:05 GMT from Portugal)
This is the first Ubuntu live CD that fails to boot in my PC. Oddly enough, i had no issue with any other distro, many of them (including Ubuntu) booting into a 3D accelerated desktop.
My hardware is not that old, an AMD Athlon 64 3200, 2 GB RAM, ati fanless 4XXX series card.
Under Virtualbox, it correctly falls back to gnome. All i get from the live CD is a boot screen, i hear the start sound, and i am stuck with a black screen and a moving mouse.
Since my hardware is not that "foreigh", this is sloppy. I was willing to give Unity the benefit of the doubt, but can't even do that.
All other versions work flawlessly: Kubuntu (i hate KDE 4), Xubuntu (very polished XFCE desktop), Lubuntu (my favorite).
I begin to agree that Ubuntu policy is "release when not ready".
Looking forward for next Mint release, which i am sure will work, although i don't believe it will move me away from LMDE.
32 • Games on DWW? (by Max on 2011-05-02 18:00:47 GMT from Italy)
Games are fine, but please don't turn Distrowatch into Distro-Game-watch ;-)
33 • Games on DWW! (by megadriver on 2011-05-02 18:16:51 GMT from Spain)
I dunno. It surely beats yet another review of yet another Ubuntu reskin!
34 • Lubuntu (by Mike on 2011-05-02 18:35:49 GMT from Denmark)
Netbook (Atom + 1½ gb ram) + Lubuntu 11.04 = Pleasant surprise.
35 • Unity and Gnome 3 (by That Dude on 2011-05-02 18:39:23 GMT from United States)
My very small issue: They are both tolerable on 20 inch screens and smaller, but I have a 30 inch screen. In my opinion both unity and gnome3 do not look or scale well for larger screens. Plus I have grown to love having 5 or 6 apps open on the same screen at the same time. Or comparing stuff with 2 or 3 browser windows on the same screen.
I'm a user that likes to move stuff around and change all stock configs. Change wallpaper, font, icons plus move bar items around stuff like that. So not being able to tweak the desktop was a bummer for me. I'm sure that will change after first update, so not a deal breaker. Gnome 3 was a tad more interesting to play around with than unity. Unity felt like a touch pad OS to me. Might be perfect for a 7 inch tablet. Both changes are just ok. Not really bad but not really good either.
36 • Unity and Trine (by FitzLT on 2011-05-02 18:50:44 GMT from United States)
I was one of the skeptics against the Unity desktop. I installed the first Beta...and NEVER went back. In two hours, I was doing everything I did with Gnome 2--only I had more fun doing it. I have to admit, this[Unity] is like a big toy to me. Very intuitive.
I played Trine first on the PS3. Great game. I will buy it once it comes out for Ubuntu.
37 • RE:36, Trine on Ubuntu (by Eddie on 2011-05-02 19:11:31 GMT from United States)
I just bought the Linux port from FrostByte via the Humble Bunble and it plays great on Ubuntu. All of the games from both the Humble Bundles I've bought works well under Ubuntu. It's out there but you may have to look hard for it since the Humble Bundle deal is over for now.
38 • Re Comment 3 Monitor Resolution (by John Kilgour on 2011-05-02 21:02:47 GMT from United Kingdom)
The current monitors with a 16 : 9 pixel ratio use the same display as flat screen TVs and benefit from economies of scale. Anything with more than 1080 vertical pixels becomes a "one off special" with corresponding costs.
39 • Slackware (by Scott C on 2011-05-02 21:24:47 GMT from United States)
As always excellent, solid release. Installs easily and everything works as intended. Thanks Pat V.
40 • Fresh Install and Upgraded two Dell Mini 9 from 10.10 to 11.04 (by Tony on 2011-05-02 21:57:27 GMT from United States)
I did a fresh install on my first Dell Mini 9 (took 2.5 hours), and ran the upgrade from the Update GUI on the second Dell Mini 9 and it took about 3 hours to complete the upgrade. Everything worked great, Wifi, sound, video, camera, Firefox Bookmarks migrated over, all data in tact, and I've had no problems with the upgrade. This was the smoothest upgrade I've ever had. I'm really starting to like Unity the more I use it. I've been using Ubuntu since 8.04, and I've noticed that my children are open to all the new 11.04 changes. I think most of us adults just hate change, and have a hard dealing with it. We have the following hardware: 2 desktops, first one Ubuntu 8.04, the second Ubuntu 10.04, 2 Dell mini 9 both now on 11.04, and two other Dell Inspiron Laptops in 10.04. I really like 10.04 because it's what I am very comfortable with, but I can see how well the kids have easily adapted to 11.04. I think this 11.04 is a great release!!! This is my experience. Hope you guys are enjoying as much as I am.
41 • Calibre deserves. (by Brazilian on 2011-05-02 22:15:38 GMT from Brazil)
I'm excited with the choice of Calibre for the donation!
42 • re: software-choices for beginners (by JB on 2011-05-02 22:42:32 GMT from United States)
http://alternativeto.net/ (various programs, with links to alternative software. want a good one, pick one that a lot of other people "like")
(linux-compatible software, alternatives to popular Windows/Mac programs)
(open source software, alternatives to popular closed source/proprietary software)
43 • Fuduntu (by Roy H Huddleston on 2011-05-02 23:30:00 GMT from United States)
I had high hopes for Fuduntu. I really loved the idea. It loaded like Fedora 14 and updated like Fedora 14 and had some of the great stuff I like about Ubuntu. But it would just hang up because I did not find it to be Nvidia friendly. Ubuntu 10.10 gives you the option to use the proprietary driver for my GeForce 9500. I did not like the Unity desktop so after downloading the upgrade to 11.04 I burnt the Fuduntu DVD disk. I liked the idea of the four teardrops that turned into four balloons with different colors. It once loaded okay but every time after that it would hang up with just four balloons. I hope they get the bugs out of Fuduntu. First I ever heard of pygnome. I take that is a mixture of Python and Gnome. It sure can freeze up a computer.
44 • Unity - (by Jinian on 2011-05-03 00:03:22 GMT from United Kingdom)
Having used Ubuntu with Gnome "On & Off" for years, i find (as do many others) that Unity just doesn't work for me. So, as i'm sure many others seem to be doing, it's over to Xubuntu (64 bit) for me, complete with XFCE 4.8..... Absolutely wonderful!! To sum up, "Unity Sucks Big Time".... what a shame.
45 • Unity (by Pumpino on 2011-05-03 00:14:41 GMT from Australia)
"those willing to spend some time on learning the ins and outs of this desktop will be rewarded with a smooth and consistent experience that will likely make them more productive than using one of the more traditional desktop layouts."
Well, it's obvious you like it, Ladislav, but using the words "smooth", "consistent" and "more productive" sounds like you're describing KDE or XFCE, not Unity or Gnome 3. It seems like you might be in the minority when it comes to liking it. :)http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1742979
46 • RE 45 Unity (by ladislav on 2011-05-03 00:40:49 GMT from Taiwan)
Well, it's obvious you like it, Ladislav
It is? Because the truth is that I tried it once and was completely put off. I am typing this on my HP Mini which is still running Lucid (and I am not planning to upgrade it while it's supported) and my laptops with Ubuntu is staying on Maverick. I might upgrade it, but I am also considering a switch to either one of the lighter buntus or a KDE distro (Mageia is looking pretty good).
But thanks for the comment. It looks like I've succeeded in staying objective despite my strong personal views :-)
47 • RE 46 Unity (by Pumpino on 2011-05-03 01:08:02 GMT from Australia)
OK, so I got that wrong, but if Unity isn't for you, how did you come to the conclusion that users would have a "smooth and consistent experience that will likely make them more productive"?
48 • Unity... (by James on 2011-05-03 01:51:34 GMT from United States)
Ok, so I tried Unity and just can't get used to it. I usually use xubuntu, but wanted to see what the fuss was about. I can't see how they would make such a drastic change. New Linux users will probably find it odd too.
Unity is so productive? How? Big, goofy candy-land icons? Click the circle, type what I want, click again, then it hides your other programs. Why would I want to type to find a program. What If I don't remember what it's called or how to spell it? I might like these programs ... but hovering over it tells me nothing about it.
Try this, get a song playing in banshee, open a browser and pause the music. I need to hit super -w and look at 20 windows, pick it then click pause. How many firefox windows do I have open?
49 • Gnome3 helped me go back to KDE (by GoinEasy9 on 2011-05-03 03:39:47 GMT from United States)
I left KDE when they released KDE 4.0. I was using KDE from the time I started using Linux, so, trying to find an alternative was hard (hard as in, I liked KDE3, I really didn't want to abandon it), but, I found Gnome 2 to be functional and modifiable, at least for what I needed it to do, so, it fit my needs. After a month testing Gnome3, I knew it wasn't going to work for me, so, I installed Fedora 15 with KDE 4.6.2. I've been using Fedora now since F11, and didn't really want to leave the distro. Well, after looking at it on and off for the last 2 years, I feel as though I came home again.
Now, Gnome3 may be useful sometime in the future, when desktops are no longer the main way we do business, but, I don't need a mobile interface, with large icons (Love James line about Big, goofy candy-land icons) and a setup that makes me move the mouse from one side of the screen to the other, just to access things that were all condensed in a small area in Gnome2. I want all my icons and tasks displayed on one screen, so I can see what I'm doing, especially when a mouseover allows me to see a task and switch to it with a single click. KDE allows me to do that, and now that it has matured, it functions better than the old KDE3.
I dislike the attitude of the Gnome devs, who have decided that I don't need distractions like panels, icon launchers, tasks and virtual windows on my main screen. I also don't like the fact that they have locked it down so you can't modify it. If it works for you, that's great, Linux is about choice, so, all power to you. It doesn't work for me, so, back to KDE. I just hope the visionaries keep their hands off it for a while. I'm tired of having to spend time redoing my home/business network (and retraining the people who use it) every couple of years, just to maintain an easy workflow.
And yes, I know if I wanted things to stay static/stable I could use distros like CentOS or Scientific Linux, but, I like to have the most recent versions of apps, and, their repos don't offer that (unless I want to separately customize each one of the workstations). I'm not looking for stable, I'm looking for continuity. It seems the DE devs didn't ask their visionaries to consider that.
Ok, I've ranted enough, and it's possible/probable that it only makes sense to me, but, I felt this same way after the release of KDE 4.0, and I had to tell how I feel.
50 • unity (by JB on 2011-05-03 03:54:24 GMT from United States)
@48 - I thought unity was all right. I use a netbook and the Unity interface saved screen space relative gnome 2.3x, and I like saving screen space. I thought the big icons were just fine - don't mind 'em on OSX and I don't mind 'em on Ubuntu. User interface wise, I got used to it and thought it was fine, but not as easy for multitasking as Ubuntu 10.10. It was a lot slower than Ubuntu 10.10, so I switched to Lubuntu 11.04 hoping for an improvement. Easy to use and very fast. Why do I like Lubuntu? It does a lot to get the OS out of the spotlight and just make it easy to get on with using your applications.
51 • RE 46 Gnome3 helped me go back to KDE (by Pumpino on 2011-05-03 06:33:24 GMT from Australia)
Your story about leaving KDE when it reached v4 is identical to mine. I too have recently moved back to KDE after trying 4.6. I'm now happily running KDE in both Fedora and Kubuntu.
I suppose the big difference between the KDE tale and the current Gnome tale is that the KDE developers released v4.0 with the advice that it's not ready for prime time. Personally, I disagreed with them released what was called 4.0 and expecting the community to view it as not being ready for production use. Still, they kept to their promise of refining KDE until it is where it is today.
However, Gnome developers are far more arrogent. They advise users that this is the way they shall use their computers and if they don't like it, too bad, as it's not going to change. That's the big difference between Gnome and KDE, and why I'll be sticking with KDE.
52 • RE 51 (by Pumpino on 2011-05-03 06:35:42 GMT from Australia)
Sorry, the subject line of my post above should refer to 49, not 46. :)
53 • Intel Graphics on sienna 300 laptop (by Colin on 2011-05-03 08:41:40 GMT from United Kingdom)
LInux so desperatly needs an intel graphics driver that installs as easily as nvidia and ati!!!
54 • Unity? I like it a lot :) (by meanpt on 2011-05-03 09:41:58 GMT from Portugal)
So, together with Ladislav, it makes two of us. Sure, the role of dash and spaces still have to be improved, but they are there to do what we want. After using unity either in the 2d and 3d flavours, I feel pretty old when looking at the old gnome and pretty lost when using kde. Maby the simplicity is turning down the geekers of the desktop customization. Hmm ... , good luck guys. There is a new world outhere.
55 • Re:53 (Intel Graphics on sienna 300 laptop) (by Leo on 2011-05-03 12:31:20 GMT from United States)
Actually, Intel supports Linux graphics the right way, with open source graphics, which means great out of the box support. Nothing to install. There have been, though, a couple unfortunate exceptions of chipsets where Intel partners enforced some silly patent which in turn prevented Intel from giving proper open source support. Poulso is one such case.
56 • Good Video Review of the Unity Desktop.. (by Mark Pace on 2011-05-03 14:56:10 GMT from United States)
Those who haven't personally installed Ubuntu's Unity desktop might enjoy this rather well done video review..
57 • @49, 51 KDE and All That (by Stan on 2011-05-03 15:05:39 GMT from United States)
Similar here, except when KDE 4.0 began to be foisted on the distros, I went to XFCE instead of GNOME. I still like XFCE, but I've always been more of a KDE person, so I switched back as soon as I found KDE reasonable again, which for me was KDE 4.3. Not only was 4.3 pretty stable (as was 4.2 according to some people), but they finally got rid of the ugly black theme, and made it a sensible gray instead.
Although I doubt I'd ever switch to GNOME (except to occasionally try it out to see how its progress is going), I will definitely be interested to see how long they keep their ugly black toolbar and humongous theme, and if they ever get sensible too.
58 • Gnome 3 & Ubuntu's Unity (by Fed on 2011-05-03 15:40:08 GMT from United States)
We all knew that Gnome 3 and Unity would come as everything is evolving, so we have to accept changes or move away from Gnome or Ubuntu's Unity. But one must use it for sometime without emotions and check.
Both are just a 'cover' on top of gnome anyway, so one must see whether they work for one. There was enough time to test.
The old gnome 2 is sort of a copy of Windoz, but with two panels. It was not that elegant, but if one use a dock, things look better. But still everything was like windoz.
The new gnome 3 is quite good. I only have to use a simple movement with the mouse to get anywhere, not like other DEs, one doesn't have to open so many fall-down windows to find whatever one wants.
I like Ubuntu, but today it is Fedora 15 beta, which gave me most of what I wanted and Gnome 3. I use an Acer laptop, and I find that Gnome 3 to be better than both Gnome 2 and Unity. Idon't like KDE for the German like "k" word everywhere!
59 • Change can be hard... (by RRC on 2011-05-03 16:21:40 GMT from United States)
...but I have heard that it can be good for the quality of life.
Well frankly it is sad to read all the negative comments. Don't people remember all the *wasted* cries over Ubuntu moving the expand, close and minimum buttons from the right to the left side? That's what all this present grumbling is.
Really, I don't have to report on every distro that failed to thrill me. Nor do I imagine that my experience with a distro can prove anything bad about it, but if it works well for me that is proof that it is possible that it may work well for another(s). A bad experience with a distro for me may only be an example of my failure in some way, so with the vast supply of Linux candidates available my best course is to keep trucking, not announcing the end of the world.
Hey my first experiences with Linux was that I couldn't even get it to boot. That was not something I told the world about, and it turned out to be unimportant because both I and Linux changed.
I'm just saying...but I believe in freedom of speech so with my two cents (pure gold) and your two cents (? :) ) the days go by.
60 • intel (by DerFuzzy on 2011-05-03 16:24:50 GMT from United States)
"Actually, Intel supports Linux graphics the right way, with open source graphics, which means great out of the box support. Nothing to install."
And tons of buggy support... Atom D525 dual with NM10 and maxed 4GB RAM... on KMint, all updates and certain effects will cause the system to freeze for several seconds. Disabling Previews of Tasks, Hints and show desktop when you move to the top left corner, i915 driver.
No such problems with the same effects on my nVidia AMD based system using the OEM drivers 270.41. via XSWAT.
Not impressed at all with intel and the graphics support, or lack thereof.
I wouldn't use this board if it wasn't being evaluated for a niche project, which thankfully doesn't need X, but I would like it to have the X option for those who may want configure things that way v. CLI.
This is why I prefer AMD and nVidia, and I can nothing has improved else where.
61 • Natty revisited, Unity (by fernbap on 2011-05-03 17:53:45 GMT from Portugal)
After Natty failing to boot on my machine, i tried Natty 64 and, oddly enough, it booted.
Wanting to give Unity the benefit of the doubt, installed it on one of my partitions.
About Unity: If i wanted a gnome desktop with a dock on the left, it would be very easy for me to do so. And i would retain all gnome functionality.
I don't consider a dumbed down version of anything to be any progress. Enough said.
No, i don't think it will ever grow on me.
62 • Unity (by Henning on 2011-05-03 18:22:17 GMT from Denmark)
We have a 9 year old girl in my family. She's running Windows 7 Starter on her netbook (Atom N270). And she's tired of it because it is so slow. She has seen me running Linux on my netbook (Also Atom N270), and now she wants Linux on her netbook too, because it is much faster. So I have been showing her different versions of Linux(different flavours of Linux Mint, Ubuntu and Lubuntu). And guess what she chose...Ubuntu 11.04 with Unity. She says it is because it is "fast, easy to use and it looks cool."
Everyone is free to conclude what they want ........
63 • re 62 (by Henning on 2011-05-03 18:30:08 GMT from Denmark)
"Everyone is free to conclude what they want"
What I meant was something like:
Everyone is free to draw the conclusions that they want
64 • @ 16 (by Anonymous on 2011-05-03 18:55:10 GMT from United States)
What's unprofessional about it? Trine was released on Linux as part of the Humble Indie Bundle as a self published venture wherein they were swamped due to the same issues that numerous people, from iD Software's John Carmack to anonymous, have continually pointed out.
Maybe if those graphic, input, sound, API and ABI mismatch issues would get fixed, companies willing to port their games could focus on publishing instead of fixing problems that sane platforms do not have.
65 • Moving target (by Jesse on 2011-05-03 20:06:31 GMT from Canada)
>> "Maybe if those graphic, input, sound, API and ABI mismatch issues would get fixed, companies willing to port their games could focus on publishing instead of fixing problems that sane platforms do not have."
I tend to agree with this. I've worked on a few gaming projects for Linux systems and Linux is a moving target. Not only is there a lack of stability with ever-changing drivers (and quality of drivers) but it's discouraging how often distros will patch underlying libraries, making them incompatible. The hoops one has to jump through to get a game working on multiple distributions (and keep it working), are numerous, even when the game is open source and can therefore be compiled with flags specific to each distro.
66 • @61 - Natty revisited, Unity (by fernbap) (by Mark Pace on 2011-05-03 20:12:49 GMT from United States)
"About Unity: If i wanted a gnome desktop with a dock on the left, it would be very easy for me to do so. And i would retain all gnome functionality. I don't consider a dumbed down version of anything to be any progress..."
That about sums up my own impressions of Unity at this stage of the game FB. With all we had to work with in Gnome 2, and the endless variety of desktop configurations we generated with it, why would anyone want to use something that takes all that away and leaves us with what is essentially a kiddie toy environment suited more for hand held and small screen displays than for serious production work?
I used to think M$ was world champion when it come to epic fails such as Bob, ME and Vista to name just three. However it seems that shooting yourself in the foot is something Linux Big Boys are becoming ever more adept at. Should time prove those of us who really don't like the direction Unity and Gnome 3 are headed wrong, then we may all have to eat crow. But as of right now I seriously don't understand the thinking that has gone into producing these two new heavily dumbed down Tinker Toy DE's. Maybe they'll get it right given enough time, money and effort, but at the moment with what they've put in front of us to begin with I admit I'm more than a little skeptical.
67 • xubuntu 11.04 stability problem? (by gnomic on 2011-05-03 23:56:05 GMT from New Zealand)
Have been running the xubuntu 11.04 i386 cd in live sessions. Twice now after leaving the live session running overnight on returning to the machine next day I have found it crashed, displaying call trace info onscreen. 'Unable to handle kernel paging request' is near the start of the info displayed on screen, process kworker seemed to be in the frame. The info appeared to be the same on both occasions.
The machine in question is a Dell D610 laptop with a Pentium M and ATI Mobility Radeon X300. It runs a wide range of other distros without any problems like this, and seemed to have no problems with the Ubuntu 11.04 Unity CD.
Any one seen anything similar, or aware of any known bugs with this release of xubuntu?
68 • choosing the right distro (by Petr Topiarz on 2011-05-04 08:11:06 GMT from Czech Republic)
I am sorry, I have tested the recommended distro chooser more times, however, in most cases it seems to offer you Oracle or RedHat products. For example it offered me Suse with Gnome as the best choice and then listed Ubuntu as too demanding for my PC. Have you ever compared demands of Suse to Ubuntu? I would say it is the same, or even reverse - Suse has YAST + rpm, which eats more memory. Well I had to laugh. Who is paying for this?
69 • @62 (by megadriver on 2011-05-04 08:14:16 GMT from Spain)
My own conclusion is that children like toys :)
70 • RE:Tinker Toys? Kiddy distros? Dumbed down? (by Eddie on 2011-05-04 13:33:57 GMT from United States)
Who do you people think you are? You puff your chest out and say "I'm too smart for this kind of computing experience," or "a dumbed down version is not progress". Why do you have so much trouble with something if it's so "dumbed down"? Who determined you to be the spokesman to define what is progress. If you want a distro for as you say "serious production work" then maybe you should use what you think is fit and not bitch about something you don't seem to know anything about. Distros or distros made by the "Linux Big Boys" should be made for the general public and not for closed minded people. There are enough little special purpose distros made for "serious production work". Sorry for the rant but I just hate people bitching just to hear themselves bitch and don't really have anything much to say. FYI I use Gnome2 and will continue to do so.
71 • @69 (by Henning on 2011-05-04 13:58:23 GMT from Denmark)
By the way....today she changed her mind. Now she wants Lubuntu "Because it's even faster". Girls......
72 • @70 (by fernbap on 2011-05-04 14:10:35 GMT from Portugal)
"Why do you have so much trouble with something if it's so "dumbed down"?"
Example: on gnome or KDE, you need one mouse click to change the current workspace. On unity you need 2; try moving a file from one folder to another by dragging and dropping it.
Yes, dumbed down. Which results in lower productivity and even less user friendliness.
So, as you see, it's not about "You puff your chest out and say "I'm too smart for this kind of computing experience,"
It's about actually using your computer.
73 • @70 (by Mark Pace on 2011-05-04 14:46:40 GMT from United States)
Who do you people think you are? You puff your chest out and say "I'm too smart for this kind of computing experience," or "a dumbed down version is not progress". Why do you have so much trouble with something if it's so "dumbed down"?
Sorry we made you uncomfortable as we discussed our impressions of Unity and Gnome 3 Eddie. Let me see if I can answer some of your questions.
You asked why we have a problem with 'dumbed down' desktop environments? Essentially you've answered your own question if you think about it. When people cut their Linux computing teeth on a desktop like GNOME 2, learning to comprehend and use the huge range of tools it offers and becoming adept at configuring their desktops in the manner they most enjoy, contemplating a move to something like the new Unity desktop or to GNOME 3 Gnome Shell is rather like asking an accomplished swimmer to climb out of the pool and put on a flotation device because he or she can no longer be trusted in the water. Not a perfect analogy by any means, but you get my drift..
FYI I use Gnome2 and will continue to do so.
We have a great deal in common Eddie with our love for Gnome 2, and I'm thankful for that! With Linux Mint 2011.05 soon to be released, the 'Ubuntu Done Right' distro that won't be saddled with Unity but offer Gnome 2 instead, along with all the out of the box tweaks and customizations that make Mint the absolute winner it is, those who think like we do are going to be well served for a long time to come!
Do I think that honest albeit negative impressions of Unity and Gnome 3, put forward by long time Gnome 2 users like ourselves, will have any effect on the ultimate adoption of Unity or Gnome 3? ..Absolutely not! Younger computer users (which are after all the target audience of these new desktop paradigms) will take to them like ducks to water, which is only to be expected.
After all we live in an increasingly 'push button' world in which reading and comprehending what's in front of us is less and less a skill set that's nurtured and catered to, while big bright push buttons with cute pictures on them take over everywhere. With the 'dumbing down' of society a similar 'dumbing down' of the social computing interface was inevitable, and we see it taking place right before our eyes with Unity and Gnome 3.
74 • @ #72 and 73 (by RRC on 2011-05-04 16:03:58 GMT from United States)
It's easy to move files from one folder to another in Unity. Use one's brain to solve the problem.
As far as your negative comments.
1) Is it really true that you have mastered Unity so that you can make such comments?
2)Is it fair to judge a new DE based against one that has had years of development?
3)What good are your negative comments? You don't like something yes, but so what? You aren't helping anyone are you?
4) Yet you could help and get what you want. Put your money where your mouth is and give money and time to developers so they can keep Gnome 2 trucking on down the road.
5) Be patient. Buying food in a grocery store is a dumbed down way of farming or hunting. Maybe it will never catch on.
6) You are using "dumbed down" incorrectly. A DE cannot be a dumbed down product. It is judged by whether it does what it's users want it to or whether it does not do so? If it does then it's perfect as perfect as it can be in this give and take world.. If it doesn't then they will find a way to get it done by making changes or move on to another DE that does what they want if such a DE is available.
Properly used, dumbed down means a social denial by power brokers to the masses not something a DE can do. DEs don't force themselves on anybody and their creators offer them not impose them.
75 • @74 (by fernbap on 2011-05-04 17:00:07 GMT from Portugal)
wow, your comments are incredibly similar to those of the Vista apologists when it came out.
And, as with Vista, none of your comments will fix it.
76 • Debian (by Coffee on 2011-05-04 17:07:46 GMT from France)
Can someone please show me where I can find the MD5 sum of Debian's network install image "Small CD for i386" that I have downloaded from here ...
...? For the past 20 or so minutes I've been looking around and couldn't find anything. The Debian pages are such a trove of information but alas, such a jungle! Even ever more sophisticated web searches with a dozen or so search engines didn't return anything concrete. Really, what is the world coming to? :-)
77 • Unity review (@ 56) (by fox on 2011-05-04 17:12:45 GMT from Canada)
Thanks for posting that link, Mark. This was a very well done review, and the reviewer made some thoughtful comments about ways to improve it. I have been using Unity on my netbook since Maverick came out, but the review showed me some features I didn't know about. I continue to like this interface on a netbook (and Gnome 3 doesn't look bad either), but like some other users stated, it takes away some important customization options that would not have me liking it on a larger display. I find Bodhi Linux works very well on larger displays, and it is both fast and easy to customize. It also works well on netbooks and I now alternative between it and UNE 10.10. I will probably replace 10.10 with 11.04, but I am somewhat concerned with the comments of a recent Phoronix review that suggested that the kernel that comes with it (2.6.38) uses a lot more energy than the kernel that comes with Maverick (2.6.35). Anyone out there have any further insights on this energy issue?
78 • Debian checksums (by Jesse on 2011-05-04 17:22:02 GMT from Canada)
@76: "Can someone please show me where I can find the MD5 sum of Debian's network install image "Small CD for i386" that I have downloaded from here ..."
I think the list of checksums you're looking for is this one:
Those are for the 6.0.1 release.
79 • @ #75 (by RRC on 2011-05-04 18:14:02 GMT from United States)
You said wow and then said nothing relevant.
I take it that you are an expert and master of Unity and Gnome 3? I take it you do know how to move files in Unity from folder to folder. I take it that you don't wish to put your money into Linux but will just continue to make needless and useless comments which will help no one? I take it that you don't get how you are using 'dumbed down" is a incorrect way?
Oh wow, your response is incredibly similar to snide comments made by millions every day; empty of substance or relevance.
Exactly how is your opinion about a DE that you don't want to use and no one is forcing you to use helping anyone in this world?
80 • Re 78: Debian checksums (by Coffee on 2011-05-04 18:38:17 GMT from France)
Great, thanks very much, Jesse, ... exactly what I was looking for! But I wonder why there seem to be no links to such an important page? I much prefer when download pages pair ISO links with the corresponding MD5 links like e.g. Zenwalk does here ...
... not that I want to advocate Zenwalk here but I they certainly do their download pages much better than some of the big distros and probably many of the not so big ones.
81 • @43 - Roy H Huddleston (by Fewt on 2011-05-04 22:09:57 GMT from United States)
Hi Roy, didn't see anything come by about any bugs like that, I'm a little surprised that it didn't get reported. Were you fully up to date? We have a community support forum for weird issues like that.
If you still have the issue, let us know and we'll try to help. :)
You shouldn't have any issues using akmod-nvidia from rpmfusion with Fuduntu (don't use kmod-nvidia though), there is a tutorial in the Forum as well. - http://www.fuduntu.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=14
82 • Kernelcheck (by theburningchrome on 2011-05-04 22:55:40 GMT from United States)
With all the talk about building a custom kernel I was surprised that no one mentioned Kernelcheck. It`s in Ubuntu Software Center and with just a couple of clicks it builds and installs the very latest custom kernel with all needed drivers, codenamed "Candela" for you. I`m running 18.104.22.168 now and my Ultimate Edition 2.9 flies.
83 • @74 by RRC (by Mark Pace on 2011-05-04 23:09:28 GMT from United States)
6) You are using "dumbed down" incorrectly. A DE cannot be a dumbed down product..
In point of fact "dumbing down" is a term used to describe a perceived trend to undermine among other things the very idea of a given standard or set of standards. In Gnome 2 we have a well attested standard measure by which Gnome users at large will rightly judge the usefulness or lack thereof of when confronted with a proposed replacement for that standard in the form of Unity or Gnome 3.
A standard desktop paradigm like Gnome 2 is something that most certainly can be and now has been "dumbed down." When that which proposes to take its place is judged from the standpoint of how it measures up against that long lived standard, and is seen by many to fall short in critical areas, then saying that the standard has been "dumbed down" to accommodate the new desktop paradigm is clearly called for.
Many who've spent time with the new Unity and Gnome 3 Gnome Shell DE's have come away with the distinct impression that both of these efforts to reorient the way the desktop works have left users with far less actual control over their desktop experience than what is available to them in Gnome 2. Saying as much is simply stating fact. That expressing such candid observations is troubling to some is unfortunate. However not expressing them wouldn't make them any the less.
84 • antiX-M11 (by Rudolf Steiner on 2011-05-05 00:12:48 GMT from United States)
Another solid release by anticapitalista.
85 • dumbed down (by dive.ed on 2011-05-05 00:29:05 GMT from United States)
Perhaps instead of "dumbed down" we should say "locked down". The criticism seems to stem from the inability to tweak the desktops in the same manner as Gnome 2 making them less useful.
My problem with both Gnome 3 and Unity is my inability to create custom application launchers and add them to the dock. I have 16 partitions on my primary computer used to test Operating Systems. I use grub2 as my menu system and frequently need to edit my "40_custom" file. A single click on a custom icon in my panel opens the file for editing. Another click updates grub2. A third is used to start and stop conky.
In Unity I have been able to create the launchers. I just can't figure out how to add them to the dock. Logging into the Gnome Classic desktop works but there is a bug that causes you to lose the ability to resize open windows and removes the title bar. You have to log into the Classic without effects to get a normal window.
I'm new to the Linux world only starting with Ubuntu 8.04. Learned how to get it to do what I want and despite trying many other distros, I stuck with it thru 10.10 because it worked for me. 11.04 doesn't. I'll see if they fix it, but if not I will be moving on. That ability is the best part of the Linux world, and my testing has found many other fine choices.
86 • @85 • dumbed down (by dive.ed) (by Mark Pace on 2011-05-05 01:16:27 GMT from United States)
Perhaps instead of "dumbed down" we should say "locked down". The criticism seems to stem from the inability to tweak the desktops in the same manner as Gnome 2 making them less useful.
Whatever we decide to call it, whether "dumbed down" or "locked down" or something else altogether, what you point out as the inability to tweak and configure our desktops in the manner that Gnome 2 affords is the core problem.
Both Unity and Gnome 3 Gnome Shell are considerably "less useful" when it comes to setting up our desktops the way we want them compared to what Gnome 2 offers us, and that's the real issue. Whatever label we put on the problem doesn't change it in the least.
87 • Why 3D? (by RollMeAway on 2011-05-05 02:29:57 GMT from United States)
Anyone know why an active 3D video card is required for these less functional desktops?
88 • @83 (by RRC on 2011-05-05 05:36:31 GMT from United States)
You are to be commended for making rational assertions. There is however a lack of specific info. What exactly is needed to be done that is important which Gnome 3 or Unity prevents people from doing? I mean productively in terms of things that people do for entertainment or work in business. I don't mean silly stuff like where the clock is etc,
I know that not long ago on Distrowatch, people were complaining that Gnome 3 dropped the ability to minimize windows. In fact that function is present.
I only have peoples word that vast powers were present in Gnome two that 3 lacks.I seem to recall that the exact same claims were made about KDE 4.
I have heard for years that the Terminal and command line was the most powerful and efficient tool. Are all DEs just as if bicycle training wheels? But actually a conspiracy to dumb down people because the training wheels do come off,but the DEs lead to not leaning the command line for almost all people?
Dumbing down education is my first exposure to the concept. There it was a serious issue and an important issue unlike DEs and this is because there is force in the form of education laws and school is mandatory. So its elements are real and serious.
The second is media to the lowest common denominator, Important because it's a case of money talks and media is the power to control mass mind.
DEs are trivial in comparison, and to suggest that devs are conspiring to make people stupid is silly. They are simply trying to find the best way to give them tools to do what they want to. It's neutral in that respect but we also have to face the fact there are a lot of non shining intellects in our world. Thats not the devs fault. Remember, media and education can lead people down the road to mental slavery by the powerful. DEs can do nothing in that regard.There is no conspiracy by devs to make DEs that only allow people to junk food their mind, But if devs had such a plan and people fell for it, it would be the peoples sin. Whereas media and education is real sin of the powerful.
Finally even if the attack on Gnome 3 and Unity had validity it comes across a mean spirited thing like telling ugly people that they are ugly. Might be true but what's the purpose?
Like Landor attacking 'kiddy distros'. A waste of time and hurtful without helping anyone.
89 • some minutes with gnome3 (by samuel on 2011-05-05 08:01:56 GMT from Italy)
I have checked gnome3 on a fedora live media for some minutes. Since i haven't read any manual on how to go about it the first reaction was to treat it as any other desktop that I have known. Wanted to set mobile broadband connection, right clicked the network manager icon to get 'edit connections'. Nothing. Left click gave the usual staff but clicking on mobile broadband didn't give me the wizard, only 'on off' option. Down below there was network settings. Clicked that one. I was in another unfamiliar window. I concluded I need a manual for gnome3 and have to google for one. Decided to switch off the netbook. Sicerely I only saw suspend. Had to switch off pressing the button. Gnome3 might be good but such a radical difference from Gnome2 makes it hard to appreciate. Though we should all be ready to learn new ways of doing things, some familiarity is good, and change should be gradual. Gnome people should have done like google people do on their home page. Tha basic layout remains same and simple. I will definetely learn how to use Gnome3 Debian gets there. For now I continue enjoying the comfort of the good familiar gnome2
90 • #87 those 3D video cards why oh why? (by gnomic on 2011-05-05 10:29:00 GMT from New Zealand)
"Anyone know why an active 3D video card is required for these less functional desktops?"
Can't claim to know either the immediate reason in terms of what Gnome 3 for example does under the hood that requires a fairly recent video card, or what the rationale for making a desktop require such hardware is. Perhaps one has to surmise that technically it is somewhat akin to Compiz in requiring video cards which support a minimum level of accelerated rendering. Compositing could be a key word.
A quick web hunt comes up with the following. Hope this helps :-) Looks like we need to get with the programme, or use a lesser desktop/window manager with more modest hardware needs. Maybe it all has to do with trying to compete with another operating system which enjoys a dominant market share and close relationships with hardware manufacturers; or maybe the ubernerds just want more eye candy.
"What led to the decision to make 3D acceleration a requirement for GNOME Shell?
It is our primary focus to build a modern operating environment, platform, and user experience. It doesn't make sense to target the hardware of the past. GNOME Shell uses relatively primitive 3D capabilities that have been available from essentially all computing devices made in the last 4 or 5 years. This includes most desktop and laptop computers, mobile devices, phones, tablets, and netbooks.
* We can't take advantage of the capabilities of graphics acceleration in the user interface design unless we can count on it - otherwise the graphics acceleration is at best tack-on eye candy.
* Developing two separate code paths for accelerated and non-accelerated graphics is also a large increase in development resources.
* Virtually all machines produced currently, or in the last 5 years have sufficiently powerful graphics to meet our needs. In some cases, free software drivers that can access this hardware don't exist are or still in an early stage. But we can't offer someone with shiny new hardware a desktop that looks like they have a 10 year old machine."
91 • #90 3DS (Stereo 3D) (by zykoda on 2011-05-05 13:20:42 GMT from United Kingdom)
Programmed Digitalised Obsolescence (PDO). At the time of introduction, LCD was a step backwards in display technology as far as frame rate was concerned. No 3DS would work on the early models. But I fail to see the relevance on 3D on 2d screens and what 3DS I have seen recently has been available a long time. Having to wear glasses is a killer app. When the holographic display becomes widely available 3DS will be in its element. But beware the nauseas victims who may require special active "head rolling" to stir the semi-circulars.
92 • My Unity experience (by Leo on 2011-05-05 13:24:52 GMT from United States)
I tried Unity from USB on a netbook where I run regular Kubuntu. In comparison, it seemed more cluttered, because the bar on the left wouldn't have enough room for all the stuff it had. The other two annoying things were that minimized apps were not easy to reopen (now I know how), and I couldn't go to a single Settings menu like I would in Kubuntu or on my Android phone.
Other than that, it is a fantastic idea to move to a more workflow oriented, appliance type environment. But I think it will take a release or two to get that right. Kudos to Canonical for breaking free from the interfaces from the nineties.
Incidentally: KDE4 was supposed to be more like Unity, if anyone remembers the early prototypes of KDE4.
93 • @88 specific (by dive.ed on 2011-05-05 14:02:17 GMT from United States)
"There is however a lack of specific info. What exactly is needed to be done that is important which Gnome 3 or Unity prevents people from doing?"
I was specific in my post 85. I want to create an icon to run a shell script file, modify a program launcher to pass on an option to a program at launch, or run a program as root.
I have not been able to find a way to do any of the above in Gnome 3. In unity I can create them, but have not been able to find a way to access them quickly. A one click process from the Gnome 2 panel.
This lack of an ability to create or modify application launchers makes Gnome 3 less usable than Gnome 2.
94 • #93 (by zykoda on 2011-05-05 14:26:25 GMT from United Kingdom)
There's always the command line and scripting.
95 • back to gnome3 now connected on mobile-broadband (by samuel on 2011-05-05 16:13:28 GMT from Italy)
after googling for mobile broadband on gnome 3 found that nm-connection-editor brings up the familiar connection wizard. runs well apart from the final window to save settings, it-s taller than my 9 inch netbook screen.
96 • @93 (by RRC on 2011-05-05 17:27:45 GMT from United States)
OK with Gnome 3 installed on 11.04 (Natty):
To open any application that is installed one does a quick cursor flick to upper left corner, reveals search box, type in a few letters, see the app and click it. It is immediately on top of any other app being used. OK with Gnome 3 installed on 11.04 (Natty):
To open any application that is installed one does a quick cursor flick to upper left corner, reveals search box, type in a few letters, see the app and click it. It is immediately on top of any other app being used. Want to see all opened apps at once? Another flick to the upper left corner and they are revealed in small size to pick from at once. or to get another app.
Now that cannot be so hard to do. .
Now that cannot be so hard to do. Really.
97 • @93 (by RRC on 2011-05-05 17:41:40 GMT from United States)
Sorry got the first version of this muddled. Here is the proper item.
OK with Gnome 3 installed on 11.04 (Natty):
To open any application that is installed one does a quick cursor flick to upper
left corner, reveals search box, type in a few letters, see the app and click
it. It is immediately on top of any other app being used.
Want to see all opened apps at once? Another flick to the upper left corner and they are revealed in
small size to pick from at once. or to get another app.
Now that cannot be so hard to do. Really.
98 • @94 & 97 (by dive.ed on 2011-05-05 19:09:07 GMT from United States)
@94, I realise I could use the command line, but I'm not the best typist and it is still a lot slower than setting it up once and using a single click to execute.
@97, I never said I could not figure out how to launch an installed application or that I had a problem with the look or layout of Gnome 3. Could you tell me how to make a copy of the launcher for my spreadsheet program and then modify it to open the spreadsheet I use several times a week, or how to create a launcher to run a shell script, or run a program as root without using the terminal which slows down my work flow. That is what I'm finding hard to do.
99 • RE: 64+65 - 67 (by Landor on 2011-05-05 20:03:24 GMT from Canada)
So let's just get this straight, you want people who are building Free Libre (in some cases) Open Source Software, and/or building operating systems based on such, to make sure it works perfectly for closed source/non-free applications? Before you say no, it could be any project, you spoke of companies, and if their software was already open someone would be porting it, guaranteed. So in light of that, I really think you should take long hard look at your logic.
Could you give us the names of the those gaming projects, and in what way they were so hard to build/develop for a GNU/Linux Kernel Based Operating System please?
I've been taking a bit of a look at Xubuntu, Gnomic, and I'll leave my netbook on tonight with the LiveCD running and let you know what I find. I'm willing as I'm curious too. I've found some little problems with another recent Ubuntu based release.
Keep your stick on the ice...
100 • Games, working games (by Jesse on 2011-05-05 20:34:09 GMT from Canada)
>> "Could you give us the names of the those gaming projects, and in what way they were so hard to build/develop for a GNU/Linux Kernel Based Operating System please?"
Go back are read my original post, I didn't say it was difficult to develop and build games on Linux, I said there's an issue with "a lack of stability with ever-changing drivers (and quality of drivers)" and "it's discouraging how often distros will patch underlying libraries, making them incompatible."
The quality of video and sound drivers and their capabilities is a moving target on Linux. You have to consider if your users are using ATI, NVIDIA or Intel drivers. Then, are they using the open source version or the closed-source drivers. And then which version is sometimes a factor. (I mentioned video regression a few weeks ago regarding kernel 2.6.38).
Then, if you're dealing with a program that's going to use shared libraries (instead of statically linked) some distros will build libraries in a such a way as to remove or disable functionality. I ran into a case recently where someone couldn't get sound working in one of their games and we found out it's because their distro compiled the underlying library without ALSA support (upstream supported ALSA).
Last year I ran into a case where a distro decided to drop support for the underlying libraries a game used, putting the developer in a position where he either had to drop support for that distro or move to a different library. In another case I remember a game stopped working on a distro which was back porting features from the 2.5 kernel series into their 2.4 kernel. Vanilla 2.4 kernels worked fine.
Linux is a dynamic and diverse ecosystem, which is often good, but targeting (and supporting) it are a hassle compared to other, more stable platforms.
101 • Distro Specs (by Albertde on 2011-05-05 20:36:49 GMT from Canada)
After wasting an afternoon using either unetbootin or dd to install various distros from a USB flash drive, I am requesting you to add a row to your distro specs for "Install-ability via USB flash drive". If you do, have some human being try it - don't take whatever nonsense comes from the devs, most of whom couldn't really care less.
My experience is that you cannot trust what the devs of a particular distro tell you. They have a tendency to think that it is a luxury to be able to do this. They say you can use unetbootin but my own bitter testing experience (i.e., actually trying to install a distro from a USB pendrive) is that it cannot be done with arch-based distros while it can with fedora-based and ubuntu-based distros.
In extremis they mumble-buzz use dd but even using the hint of "of=sd?" rather than "of=sd?1" the installation fails. Obviously, the arch devs never tried to do it.
102 • RE: 100 (by Landor on 2011-05-05 20:57:29 GMT from Canada)
I did in fact read what you said.
In #65 You quoted this sentence:
"Maybe if those graphic, input, sound, API and ABI mismatch issues would get fixed, companies willing to port their games could focus on publishing instead of fixing problems that sane platforms do not have."
Then you replied with this:
"I tend to agree with this. I've worked on a few gaming projects for Linux systems and Linux is a moving target. "
First you agreed, although not clearly, that "other operating systems are 'sane', and a GNU/Linux Kernel Based one is not. I'll leave that one alone though.
You 'tend to agree'. That means that with those issues, your opinion stands as developing/building games for this operating system is difficult. Unless of course you're going to now say you don't tend to agree with the author's remarks at post #64.
Still though, you haven't answered my question, what gaming projects do you work on/develop for, and how is it difficult for those specific projects?
Keep your stick on the ice...
103 • @88 (by RRC) (by Mark Pace on 2011-05-05 21:13:43 GMT from United States)
"What exactly is needed to be done that is important which Gnome 3 or Unity prevents people from doing? I mean productively in terms of things that people do for entertainment or work in business. I don't mean silly stuff like where the clock is etc"
What you see as the "silly stuff" Gnome 2 offers others see as the ability to configure one's desktop the way one wants, the way that's most productive given what an individual does with his or her computer(s).
With Gnome 2 the tools available to the user to set up their computer the way that best suits them and the way they work are virtually endless in scope. On the other hand Unity and Gnome 3 are, as was stated earlier, far more "locked down" in their out of the box configuration, providing nowhere near the level of individual customization that Gnome 2 users have grown used to and depend on.
"I only have peoples word that vast powers were present in Gnome two that 3 lacks.."
Since you have no personal experience to draw on in respect to working with the Gnome 2 desktop, then it's easy to see how you might be confused by what long time Gnome 2 users see as critical shortcomings in Unity and Gnome 3.
Gnome 2 users don't fault you in the least for lacking that background experience to draw from RRC, but let me suggest that were you to spend sufficient time with a cutting edge distro running the Gnome 2 desktop that you experienced first hand some of the depth of control it affords the user your view point would without a doubt change dramatically.
At this point by your own admission you have no idea what those of us who run Gnome 2 desktops are talking about when we report how lacking in critical areas we find both Unity and Gnome 3 to be. That's not something we can help you with, but something you will have to discover for yourself. Your complaints regarding what Gnome 2 users who've installed and worked diligently with Unity and Gnome 3 report as perceived shortcomings will continue to ring hollow if you do not avail yourself of the opportunity to experience the "vast powers" of Gnome 2 for yourself. Then and only then will you have what it takes to pursue this line of inquiry from an objective standpoint.
104 • A reason to be proud. (by Landor on 2011-05-05 22:08:34 GMT from Canada)
This is exactly why I use Firefox, or a browser based on it, IceCat preferably, instead of any other browser like Chrome or Opera.
That's just one more aspect of protecting your freedoms.
Keep your stick on the ice...
105 • @104 (by Mark Pace on 2011-05-05 23:10:29 GMT from United States)
I certainly don't disagree with anyone using Firefox, and not only because it run this particular add-on. However in all fairness we should note that this plug-in will soon (a day or two according to MAFFIAAFire.com) be available for the Chrome browser as well. So no reason to switch from Chrome if this is something a user wants to have available.
106 • RE: 105 (by Landor on 2011-05-05 23:22:04 GMT from Canada)
I'd like to see what Google will do. I'm betting Google is in a position where they comply with the Government's request. Although, I can't really see that happening now either, unless they want egg on their face.
My point didn't have anything to do with the add-on, it really was about the fact that Mozilla stood up to the government and protected not only the rights for the add-on, but the end user's rights, as well as the freedoms of the internet. I honestly doubt Google would do that in a first case scenario as was Mozilla's. That's purely opinion though, but one I'd put money on.
Keep your stick on the ice...
107 • A Final Few Thoughts on Unity & Gnome 3.. (by Mark Pace on 2011-05-06 01:18:30 GMT from United States)
What does Unity mean for Ubuntu users who might prefer the traditional Gnome desktop? With Ubuntu having made Unity its default desktop environment, the development team has in effect locked new and a substantial number of returning users into a singular Ubuntu dictated desktop experience. Some will rightly suggest that users can install any desktop they choose. "If they want Gnome instead of Unity they can simply add the PPA repository for it!"
While the Ubuntu team's desire to make Ubuntu more "accessible" has merit, they are assuming that new as well as no small number or returning users even realize other desktop environments are possible. The truth is that most newer users, in particular those transitioning from Windows, have no idea whatsoever that another desktop environment is even an option.
Many feel strongly that Unity is the next logical step for Ubuntu. It's entirely possible that the Unity desktop could be well received, especially by those just beginning with desktop Linux. That's something we'll have to adopt a wait and see attitude about. Personally I think it'll be far less applauded by much of Ubuntu's existing and far more experienced user base. I'm skeptical as to the value long time Gnome 2 users will see in Unity given what's been expressed so far. And the same can be said about the Gnome 3 shell as well.
If the long standing Gnome 2 DE ceases to exist over the next few years then a switch to the Xfce desktop is likely for many. The Gnome 3 vs. Unity dust up has been a tiring distraction leaving many believing that the dumbing down of the Linux desktop by those two projects currently borders on the ridiculous. Those who've spent time with both of them report that Unity feels like an ill conceived experiment gone wrong, and Gnome 3, while marginally better in certain aspects, is in much the same boat. Given enough time Unity could well be seen as useful for netbooks and tablets. But in its current form it's not a good fit for full size desktop work in which heavy interface customization and serious multi-tasking is the order of the day.
Ubuntu's developers have done a great deal of work that's been simply amazing. They've taken the best of Debian, improved on it in many ways, and created a powerful community that's captured the imagination of computer users world wide. While the Unity desktop may have within itself the potential to become a mature alternative to the traditional Gnome shell that long time Ubuntu users are most accustomed to, at this point it's not fully ready for prime time deployment on the production desktop. However that's a decision each individual must make for him or herself, so I'll leave it at that.
In the meantime ever increasing numbers will move on to the new Linux Mint 2011.05 release, the "Ubuntu Done Right" distro with the traditional Gnome desktop, trusting that Clem and the Mint Team will continue to get it right for years to come!
108 • #99 testing testing with xubuntu live (by gnomic on 2011-05-06 04:48:30 GMT from New Zealand)
Be interested to hear what you observe - since the problems with xubuntu in two successive sessions I have had a spin off Debian running for a couple of days on the same laptop and no freeze so far with similar usage. It's called Refracta, basically Debian 6.0.1 with a few tweaks. Still on Xfce 4.6.2 as opposed to the 4.8 in xubuntu 11.04.
109 • after a night with Gnome3 (by samuel on 2011-05-06 06:46:51 GMT from Italy)
I agree with Mark Pace,
Gnome3 might be OK for someone who never knew gnome2. The excitement would be moving from Gnome3 to Gnome2, not the other way round.
110 • Gnome3 (by Rudolf Steiner on 2011-05-06 09:47:34 GMT from United States)
It wasn't long ago that gnome2 was the red headed step child. Evolution and change are often times painful. One day we will be complaining about gnome4. It is these same growing pains that lead to the beloved gnome2 and kde3.5.
Linux can not reamin stagnant and still be inventive. I think we should embrace theses changes and be happy for the continued evolution of linux and all its parts.
111 • @110 (by Simone on 2011-05-06 11:15:35 GMT from Italy)
I completely agree with you. Changes are part of the evolution of things. Who cannot stand changes and prefer to freeze things is going to have hard times, it's always been like this. We live in a world where the only constant is change, that's how it is ...we should be learning something from it ...everything works this way imho. Otherwise it would be extremely predictable and boring as death.
112 • Xubuntu (by Robin on 2011-05-06 12:22:35 GMT from United States)
I had minor issues when testing Xubuntu Natty while it was Beta, but I really like the new and improved Xfce 4.8 desktop, and Xubuntu really has slimmed down! It has none of the "bloat" that people used to complain that made Xubuntu as resource-hungry as it's Gnome sibling. I will recommend it to newbies with modest hardware, but probably not for another month or so when they work out a few of those bugs.
113 • Games and such (by Jesse on 2011-05-06 12:40:11 GMT from Canada)
>> "You 'tend to agree'. That means that with those issues, your opinion stands as developing/building games for this operating system is difficult."
No, that's not what I said. Once again, go back and read my previous posts. The original comment was about porting and publishing games on Linux, not developing and building. Writing code on Linux is as straight forward as it is on other platforms. The difficult part is getting a product to work smoothly and consistently, especially over an increasing time line.
>> "Still though, you haven't answered my question, what gaming projects do you work on/develop for, and how is it difficult for those specific projects?"
I've already answered some of the issues that have been encountered. (Again, read my previous comment.) I'm not going to name specific projects I've worked on or the distros where the problems occurred. For three reasons:
1. Pointing out compatibility issues with specific distros is only going to start flames.
2. If you want to find examples you could look them up on Google in less time than it took you to post your comment.
3. Projects I've worked on have resulted in deals with companies, financial benefit for me, publicity, etc. Since I write a regular column here, directing people to those projects could be considered a conflict of interest.
One of the examples I gave in my previous post was for a project I didn't work on, but filed bug reports for. It's the game Ur-quan Masters and can be found at sc2.sourceforge.net. They had the issue with a distro backporting kernel features from 2.5 to 2.4, which would result in the game freezing.
114 • @110 & 111 (by samuel on 2011-05-06 14:03:51 GMT from Italy)
Change yes, but from what to what? It should be to something better. The problem with gnome3 is not the change, it's that gnome2 is better than gnome3.
115 • Subjective (by Rudolf Steiner on 2011-05-06 15:20:45 GMT from United States)
@114 Better in this context is a subjective term. Many may find it better or worse but it is changing/evolving none the less.
I don't personally use any iteration of gnome or kde.
116 • Fighting the Machine (by Vincent on 2011-05-06 15:30:03 GMT from United States)
I have been a Linux/Unix user since the early 90's (technically before that since I was an Amiga guy). I have done my share of distro hopping. However, in the past 3 years all the major veins of Linux have really come far enough, in my opinion, to outpace the MS "machine" forced upon most of the world. Today, most distos are actually easier to install, configure, and use by a normal home desktop user. And, there is no doubt that any flavor of Linux is at least as fast and as stable (usually more so) than Win7. Wine & VM make it a home-run to install & run MS-based apps. Also, the cost effectiveness of Linux (or BSD's) is much better than MS...:)
Obviously, an "-ix" OS is, for the most part, a superior choice today. But, as pointed out in your "Questions & Answers" section, there are simply too many choices for the newbie, or any end-user today. Here is, I think, the problem which is leading to Linux loosing traction as the dominant OS in the world. Because anyone who wishes to do so can develop a distro, it has lead to a flood of overwhelming choices on the market. True, there are some "big" ones out there such as SUSE, Red Hat & Ubuntu which are quite well known. However, with so many distros in circulation today, I could see how many smaller companies and regular home users would have a difficult time understanding any differences or similarities. Only a few distros have commercial backing, and they are typically used for large-scale network deployment, typically on the server end.
I believe we as the Linux/Unix community have a duty to try to codify all these various distros into a much better presentation to the "unwashed" masses. We understand that there are only really a few choices of Linux which most distros are based upon, but THEY might not. I think may may not do enough to promote this key aspect to the world at large. Without simplifying the Linux family tree to the world, Linux may remain mostly in the realm of the "techie". Too many "regular joes" would continue to feel intimidated by all the variants we present today.
117 • Fighting the machine cont. (by Rudolf Steiner on 2011-05-06 16:05:04 GMT from United States)
Your point is well taken. But I think catering or appealing to the masses may come at a price. Linux being relegated to the realm of "techie" may be its saving grace.
Linux fulfills a role in the OS ecosystem. And if it was to go completely mainstream, or commercial, another OS would rise to the surface to take over its current role.
Linux is defined in my opinion by the men and women that develop it. The desire to create/improve unrestricted by or motivated by a single entity.
118 • Re: Fighting the Machine (by tdockery97 on 2011-05-06 16:10:17 GMT from United States)
I think DistroWatch already does an excellent job of identifying the "family" that most distros belong to. Anyone investigating a distro, even superficially, comes upon a statement somewhere regarding which major distro is the basis of that which they are researching. Since all but a handful of active distributions are spins of one of the "major" distros, I don't see the available choices as being overwhelming. It's just a matter of knowing how you want your OS to look, and how much additional software is easily available that will matter to the casual computer user.
While desktop environments may be destined to evolve as time goes on, I think taking off in a completely different direction, such as Gnome 3 and Unity, is entirely counter-productive. It's a wish to try to emulate the latest fads, such as the Android phone systems. One of the reasons that MS has such a huge market share is that they have provided a consistent, familiar desktop environment for many, many years. One who has been away from a computer for years can install Windows 7 and immediately be in a familiar environment. Up to this point, the same has been true of Gnome/KDE/XFCE/LXDE, et al. Gnome 3 and Unity are such a huge departure from Gnome 2.3x that maybe they should be looked at as a new and separate DE entirely, rather than the next step in Gnome's evolution.
Just my $.02
119 • Re: Fighting the Machine (by fernbap on 2011-05-06 17:49:16 GMT from Portugal)
I'm all for change and "boldy go where noone has ever been".
However, i don't consider Unity to be any improvement.
Why? Pick a gnome desktop, add a dock to the left (you have many to chose from).
There you have it, A complete, fully functional DE compatible with both old school and newbie users. Unity doesn't offer nearly as much.
The effort for developing Unity could have been better spent by creating a sophisticated dock. The rest, you can do with standard gnome (which Unity uses as well).
120 • @ #103 (by RRC on 2011-05-07 01:52:05 GMT from United States)
You don't want to waste time. I can be sympathetic to that but no one is stopping you nor trying to stop you from going as fast as you can.
You are wrong about my use of Gnome 2. Has been my favorite for some time,.Years.
Anyway I suggest you keep on using what you like,; no skin off me is it? We'll wait a couple years and take another look (that is if I'm still breathing that is erm, no guarantees).
No, as I Gnome 2 is just fine for me, but Gnome 3 and Unity feel nice too. And work for me but then I'm just not a script person, and a typing course which is not going to happen, would save me far more time than a few measly clicks saved ever would.
Keep your finger in the dike and the hockey puck out,
121 • Calibre (by davemc on 2011-05-07 03:06:35 GMT from United States)
Hi Ladislav. Thank you for the donation to Calibre. It is a fine project. The best I have found yet for the Open Source library/ebook arena. Its constantly evolving with updates to it very frequently.
Unity. About all I can say about that is I am glad I hopped on over to Debian when Squeeze released! I can see the promise in GNOME3 and Unity and I am confident that over time, the usability issues will be smoothed out.
122 • no-wm (by megadriver on 2011-05-07 05:48:03 GMT from Spain)
Hey, let's counterbalance all those fancy, overblown DEs with this:
Quote: "Window managers bind orthogonals (keyboard shortcuts, window manipulation,
window decoration) which should remain separate."
123 • Re: Unity and GNOME 3 (by Branmdon Sniadajewski on 2011-05-07 11:52:18 GMT from United States)
I have tried both, and yes, both need some work, but look good anyway. They will work for touch screens, though I don't have any, but not so much for traditional mouse and keyboard.
The things I would like to see from the Gnome guys is a "fallback" gnome panel but with the mutter effects enabled and a way to configure mutter a la Compiz and KWin.
As for unity, I'd like to see the ability to move the launcher anywhere and to costunize the top "panel".
124 • vector 7 live cd beta (by gnomic on 2011-05-07 13:40:44 GMT from New Zealand)
Just in case anyone who may be interested has missed this, the vector people have released a live CD beta of v7, somewhat unusual in that their live versions have usually been long-delayed afterthoughts compared with the installable releases.
The live RC1 Vector CD is here:
125 • @ #118 (by RRC on 2011-05-07 18:16:47 GMT from United States)
What a silly idea to claim that Microsoft share is due to looking the same all the time! New users are not born knowing any look for windows much less simple things like how to add or delete programs etc.
The reason for it's share was timing and the deserved reputation that it got that it could give the Business and normal users what they wanted. Not perfectly, but things got done and everyone recognized that fact This was much helped by Software that was written by both enthusiasts and money makers to run on windows.
Windows works; that's it's simple secret.
Now Linux works also, but unlike Windows, Linux users kill each other as well as Windows users (figuratively speaking). That fact plus the fact that Linux has not yet developed a reputation as a professional system which can provide a platform for the envy Software items to run on which is mainly games and Professional graphics production means that the 'sexy' factor is absent in the public mind.
Without the sexy factor Linux cannot possibly make headway. Oh and Apple is really racking up that quality big time lately which just goes to prove my point. And I can't even afford their products but if I could I would LOL although I do personally think Linux is sexy :) and I would run Linux on my Apple product for sure.
126 • Shuttleworth's recent comments about Unity.. (by Mark Pace on 2011-05-07 20:08:32 GMT from United States)
Recently Mark Shuttleworth was asked, "Are you satisfied with Unity in the recent Ubuntu version?" His response is rather revealing.
"Yes, although i recognise there are issues, and I would not be satisfied unless we fixed many of them in 11.10.
"In the end, when we reviewed bug lists, stability and experience, Unity was the best option for the average user upgrading or installing. There are LOTS of people for whom it isn't the best, but we had to choose a default position.
"I think we walked that line admirably. I appreciated the open discussion that was had, and it made me more confident in the final position; that decision is best taken by the desktop team, and they were arguing in favour of Unity, and they had my support for that."
The questioner went on to ask, "Have there been any Unity design decisions that you think will be revisited now that users have had a chance to use it and respond?"
"Yes. There's lots to learn, that can only be learned in reasonable time by getting code into a wide deployment. Some decisions I regret and we'll evaluate alternatives, some we'll tweak.
"It's by no means perfect, and it would be egotistical to suggest otherwise. So everything is on the cards. That said, I think the bulk of it has worked out fantastically both at an engineering level (Compiz, Nux) and in the user experience."
Obviously Shuttleworth and Ubuntu do not pretend that Unity as it currently exists is a finished product by any means. This leaves it in much the same arena as early iterations of KDE 4 - more a test bed and jumping off point for where they hope to go in the future, and not a destination they feel they have arrived at.
All of which means that Ubuntu users who continue to participate in refining this far from finished desktop experiment by providing the feedback necessary to improvements, will have years worth of opportunity to do so as they collectively hammer away at making Unity actually live up to the hype that Ubuntu lavishes on it.
Obviously not everyone will be content with involving themselves in a lengthy spell of what will essentially be an ongoing beta testing program - especially when necessary improvements will take at least half a year if not longer to actually show up.
127 • @ #126 (by RRC on 2011-05-07 21:56:12 GMT from United States)
Please. One can read with a bias and you have done so.
There are LOTS??? is not a put down by Shuttleworth in the slightest. 'Lots' would be and is true of any product. If he hadn't of responded with a diplomatic bow to the truth for any product he would have been called arrogant. Too, if one doesn't have lots to learn, one is better off dead IMHO.
If the Unity product (without calling it 'perfect' or even feeling a right to expect perfection from anyone by the way) is, to quote you, "more a test bed and jumping off point" then give me lots of test beds because I will be able to sleep just fine in them and have "lots" of fun. Saints alive please, no way is the Unity 11.04 final release anywhere near as undeveloped as the KDE 4 was.
Still the bottom line is, what is the point of attacking things that you don't have to use?Are you really believing that Unity must be stopped at all costs lest it destroy Linux and freedom? Because that is the only possible logic IMHO for painful attacks on something that has no effect at all on you unless you let it.
128 • Mozilla is your friend (by Lobo Mau on 2011-05-07 22:12:39 GMT from Brazil)
I second you, Landor. Google will never do for us "free netizens" what Mozilla proudly does.
Because Firefox really protects the end user's rights, it's a true winner and thus should be set as the default browser in every Linux/BSD distro out there.
Chrome (a very insecure browser) is shovelware, just like Windows Explorer. Period
129 • Typo (by Lobo Mau on 2011-05-07 22:34:33 GMT from Brazil)
>> ""Chrome (a very insecure browser) is shovelware, just like Windows Explorer. Period""
"...just like Internet Explorer (a.k.a. Internet EXPLODER). Period"
130 • Mozilla vs. Google (by megadriver on 2011-05-08 11:36:58 GMT from Spain)
I'm with Mozilla, too, and also think that Google has become "evil".
I find quite unsettling that 85% of the revenues of the Mozilla Foundation come from Google, though. Would you use a Linux distro 85% financed by Microsoft?
I keep using Firefox as my main browser mostly because of Adblock Plus (and its awesome Element Hiding Helper companion extension) and Vimperator/Pentadactyl. Sure, there are lookalike extensions for other browsers, but IMHO they are still inferior to the "real thing" (specially the Vimperator/Pentadactyl lookalikes, there's no contest here!).
I sincerely hope that the Mozilla Foundation can find alternative means of financing itself in the future, just in case...
131 • Ubuntu's new UI, Unity (by Vic Longo on 2011-05-08 16:24:55 GMT from Canada)
I'll start by saying another great review, this is a great site for Linux enthusiasts/fans and newcomers. I've been a regular for as long as I've been a desktop linux user (about 5 years) and look forward to each weeks newsletter, and often come here for quick reviews on the features of the many linux flavors. Keep up the great work, it's much appreciated.
Now on to Ubuntu's new UI, Unity. As mentioned, I have been running various linux distros on my computers for a few years now, and though I've given many other DEs a fair test I found Gnome has always suited my needs and tastes best. Its always been the one that, for me, best combined the ease of use and configuration with a large set of functionality, but yet remained simple and elegant in style. For a number of weeks now I've been reading a lot about the new Ubuntu and its revised desktop Unity (and almost as much about Gnome's new direction with Gnome3, which I've yet to experience). Some of the reviews have been favorable, others not so much. Comments again, few favorable, many more against the shift in direction.
A few days ago I decided it was time to take Natty for a spin myself and see how I felt about the newest release. I used my HP netbook as a testing bed, and after booting up a live session I'm gonna say I was surprisingly pleased with the over all feel. I agree with many of those against Unity, it is lacking in many of the features that have made gnome so easy to use, configure, and make your own. At the same time I didn't hate the experience. Maybe it was because I started off knowing features I was used to having and things I was used to being able to change weren't going to be there, that I wasn't so greatly disappointed in the lack of features. After playing around in Unity a bit I was quickly able to figure out how things were designed to work and I'll say it grew on me quickly.
Now I'm not trying to sway over the nay-sayers, nor am I trying to say that they are wrong for disliking this new DE and the changes it brings about. We are each entitled to our opinions. What I would like to say is that to those who have yet to try Unity(or Gnome3 for that matter), start with an open mind, and remember who the intended audiences these are being designed for. I found Unity to be refreshing, and well thought out, with out feeling completely foreign. It really does combine the aspects of the old UNR feel with a functional dockbar, much how I would often configure desktops for newly converted users. Now I realize that in its current state Unity isn't going to satisfy a lot of the linux veterans, and for many it may never. But before we all judge it too harshly remember this is just a project in its infancy. Allow the developers time to grow Unity and see where it ends up. Every project goes through growing pains (KDE4 is a prime example). In the mean while there are numerous options to chose from, and gnome2 is still available for a large number of popular distros.
As for myself, I installed 11.04 onto my netbook (replacing LMDE-xfce), because I found Unity did a good job providing all the basic function I needed on this machine, and it was easy to use.
132 • Desktop environments for real PCs (by Guy with a real PC on 2011-05-08 21:04:39 GMT from Germany)
"__ As for myself, I installed 11.04 onto my netbook (replacing LMDE-xfce), because I found Unity did a good job providing all the basic function I needed on this machine, and it was easy to use."
__ Unity is good for craptops, petbooks and toyblet PCs.
__ For real PCs, we have XFCE and LXDE.
__ For kids, we have KDE4.
Number of Comments: 132
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