Anyone use Ubuntu?

Discussion in 'Computer Science & Culture' started by skaught, Apr 19, 2009.

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  1. skaught The field its covered in blood Valued Senior Member

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    I'm considering switching to Ubuntu OS. http://www.ubuntu.com/

    Anybody else use it or have experience with it? A friend of mine highly recommends it. I was wondering what y'all have to say about it.
     
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  3. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    I dual-boot Ubuntu with Windows XP. There are certain applications I use on both that are not available on the other.

    I like the philosophy of Ubuntu, and I think that under the hood Linux is a neater operating system than Windows. However, in terms of useability, Windows is still ahead at the moment. You have to be willing to tweak things at a low level to use Ubuntu really effectively, that's if you want to do anything even a little out of the ordinary. And third-party drivers and so on can be hard to get or unavailable for Linux.

    A lot of Linux applications are now being ported to Windows anyway (e.g. the Gimp, OpenOffice).

    The main advantage of Linux, I guess, is that you don't have to pay for it. In a few years, it may well overtake Windows as the most useable PC operating system, but it's not there yet.
     
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  5. soulstar Registered Senior Member

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    I use openSUSE- one reason I prefer it over Ubuntu is because of the neater desktop, otherwise there's no much difference. I'd encourage you to shift to Linux- once you go linux, you'll never go back.
     
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  7. Enterprise-D I'm back! Warp 8 Mr. Worf! Registered Senior Member

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    While I do not discourage anyone from trying Linux, I can guarantee with a measure of certainty that you will realise why Windows currently owns the lion's share of the desktop OS market.

    For most people, it is simply not worth the hassle to use Linux and fiddle "under the hood" for 3 days to get a TV card to work, whereas they work within 20 minutes on Windows.
     
  8. stateofmind seeker of lies Valued Senior Member

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    I think the main reason why Windows and Mac have the majority of followers is because of games. If most computer games were also released for Linux/Ubuntu, the tide would start to shift in its favor.
     
  9. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Linux can play computer games, and expert gamer and system hot-rodder actually prefers linux because of higher performance especially with vista memory hogging problems.

    I use Ubuntu on my laptop, I like it but yes there are a few problems, most annoying is the constant updates and yet some updates actually make your system unstable and then a week later its fix but a new problem appears, maybe it because I modded the operating system too much, like I boot KDM functionality while still using gnome, run Beryl without a video card, etc, I plan this summer to spend a few weeks porting it all over to a fresh copy of ubuntu (I've gotten use to gnome, so I'm not saying gnome is better than KDM) and this time x64 so it can see all my ram.
     
  10. Enterprise-D I'm back! Warp 8 Mr. Worf! Registered Senior Member

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    Nope, sorry...the main reason why Windows has the majority of followers is because it simply works out of the box. No tweaking necessary.

    Users generally do not wish to learn how to repair the engine, they just wish to DRIVE.

    (PS MacOS has nowhere near the number of game titles as are written for Windows)
     
  11. w1z4rd Cry the beloved country Valued Senior Member

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    I duel-boot XP and Ubuntu (proudly South African)... XP for gaming, Ubuntu for everything else.

    Enterprise-D.. Ubuntu works better "out the box" than any Microsoft product. It has more hardware support than any Microsoft product. Where it has problems is with 3rd party applications written for the MS Operating system.

    Theres no "tweaking" required. Put CD in "click install" and it will work. Unless you have some freaky weird Russian hardware thats not supported yet (but the last 100 installations I did for clients all worked "right out the box".).

    Installing programs is even easier than with Windows. Its just different.. which is why it might come across difficult to a windows astro turfer.

    Its easier for people to learn Linux from scratch than it is for them to learn Windows.
     
  12. Enterprise-D I'm back! Warp 8 Mr. Worf! Registered Senior Member

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    Ubuntu, or any Linux products does not work out of the box. It generally requires drivers (mainly for those custom built PCs), and requires users to be familiar beyond a point where designers have the right to expect them to be.

    Try changing your IP address in Ubuntu to a static address. Compare the time it takes you to do it in Windows XP. Or Vista.

    Linux is only easier for people who have already learned it. Windows is intuitive, the learning curve for it is hardly as steep as that for Linux. Indeed it is even fair to say Windows does not require the user to learn anything to use it whereas Linux always requires some sort of "tinkering"
     
  13. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Ubuntu usually works "right out of the box" too, rather its when you want to install 3rd party software outside of the application downloarder or synaptic library that you need to pull up terminals commands and read endless help forums. This problem could be solve if more software developers created pre-compiled and compatible programs for linux.

    Windows did not work "out of the box" on my desktop, it needed the drivers for the raid controller, mind you ubuntu also needed said driver.

    I would not say linux always requires tinkering, just usually, and at a rate that has been dropping considerable over the years perhaps you remember the horrors of trying to get sound to work with Red Hat say a few years ago, I do, ubuntu is a god send compared to that.
     
  14. river-wind Valued Senior Member

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    I got Ubuntu up and running on a mac mini a few year ago w/o any tweaking - burn .iso to CD, install, boot, done.

    I am currently running Ubuntu on the OLPC XO-1, and using it for writing and Java development. The non-standard hardware required some software tweaks to get everything working, but even so, it was a single weekend job. Making Windows run on it would have been 1,000x more difficult, and would have required assistance from Microsoft directly (see OLPC's own internal efforts to run Windows on the XO-1).
     
  15. AlphaNumeric Fully ionized Moderator

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    I swapped to Ubuntu about this time last year and can understand what other people are saying about spending the day tweaking setting, running get-apt and messing around with dual monitor settings. Having said that, whenever I sit down infront of a Windows computer now I feel almost helpless in the sense that I don't have the same terminal control on an XP box as I do a Linux one.

    I recently got an Acer netbook which comes with some fast boot version of Fedora. I didn't like it at all, it was pitched at people who want "Click this big icon to load a web browser" functionality and it didn't like me trying to install Tex-Live on it. Reformatted it and put on Ubuntu, much nicer and the 40 seconds it takes to boot is hardly criminal.

    There are more programs for Linux which are coming with a "Just double click me" or "Run this .install" and the program installs itself. Unofrtunately while they are becoming a little more prevalent they are still in the minority. The pro (and enormous con) of Windows is you can just double click and the program installs. Great when its a game or a driver. Bad when its malware or a virus.

    The problem is you'll never get the simplicity of use people want (ie "Don't ask for my password, just install!!") without opening the system up to being infected with something. At least open sourcing allows security patches and anti-botnet things to be developed and implemented quicker.
     
  16. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Sudo for the win.
     
  17. stateofmind seeker of lies Valued Senior Member

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    So how long do you think before Ubuntu is user-friendly enough to overtake Windows and bring them to their knees? I'm starting to get fed up with Windows myself... every time it starts up a notification pops up to try to get me to install "pirate prevention" software - and of course there's no "do not ask me again" option.
     
  18. Enterprise-D I'm back! Warp 8 Mr. Worf! Registered Senior Member

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    At the current rate of acceptance, users' requirements for ease of use and convenience and the lordly attitude of Linux acolytes, I'd say nothing less than 68 years...give or take an hour.

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  19. Enterprise-D I'm back! Warp 8 Mr. Worf! Registered Senior Member

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    Sad. How could you feel helpless sitting in front of an OS designed to be convenient to use?


    One word: Finally.

    Fault of an uninformed user user. Virii and spyware do require user intervention, however their installer files are extremely suspicious, usually appear from nowhere, use obvious vocab in email and are easily detectable by a half decent malware/antivirus scanner.

    I do...I simply know where I get my Windows apps.

    Where did you harvest the assumption that open sourcing allows for faster security patching?
     
  20. przyk squishy Valued Senior Member

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    The reason Windows simply "works out of the box" when it does is that it's better supported by hardware and software vendors. And the reason it's better supported by these vendors is that the majority of their customers are Windows users.

    In other words, Windows has the majority of users (I don't think many would call themselves Windows "followers") is that Windows had the majority of users last year. And it originally got into that position because Microsoft was selected by IBM to develop the operating system for their PC's way back in the 80's (incidentally, at the time IBM was the "evil empire" everyone loved to hate that Microsoft later became). Windows is not dominant due to technological superiority (or even ease of use for that matter, otherwise everyone would use Macs).

    Caveat: I suppose one could argue that Linux is likely always to need more configuring and tweaking simply because it's an inherently more configurable and tweakable OS, and more configurability means someone is going to have to do the configuring (eg. the fact that you can configure and recompile the kernel means that which kernel you use can sometimes be an issue).
    I can relate with AlphaNumeric's sentiment here: whether Windows is convenient to use depends on what you're trying to do with it. If you want to write Word documents, play games, surf the net, or install a webcam then fine, Windows is intended for this kind of use and pretty much all you have to do is click on the right icon and wait for the GUI application to load. But the minute you want to do some tedious systematic task someone didn't write a special-purpose application for, or you want more than one application to cooperate, Windows loses in convenience compared with Unix-based OS's.

    For me personally, the main problem with Windows is that it doesn't come out of the box with a good command line (the old DOS prompt doesn't really cut it) or with good scripting and programming facilities - you have to find them and install them (and even there, that probably means installing Cygwin - a mini Unix environment). Linux, by contrast, pretty much expects to be programmed. Shell scripting and text manipulation tools (such as awk or sed) are standard Unix utilities, and pretty much any Linux system will come with Perl, Python, and Ruby, as well as C and C++ compilers, LaTeX, decent text editors (including vim and emacs), and documentation for individual tools and the C library (the day I want to learn how to do memory-mapped I/O or more about inter-process communication or socket programming, all I have to do is type "info libc"). With the distribution I use (Fedora), a "Workstation install" also throws in IDEs and tools for rapid development of GUIs.

    Admittedly, most users will never care about or have the patience to learn to use scripting facilities or the command line, but when you're used to having them readily available, Windows really begins to look like a clumsy toy and you do feel handicapped using it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2009
  21. Enterprise-D I'm back! Warp 8 Mr. Worf! Registered Senior Member

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    Exactly my point.

    Excellent history lesson

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    And herein lies the Sword of Damocles. Why should users be expected to have the knowledge to do this, simply to have a kitchen computer to run a recipe app? Or run a media centre? Why should they have to care?

    Listen, most users have the "microwave mentality". Simply press 4 buttons and the thing warms up the food. They expect a PC to be similarly as responsive. Learning to compile and tweak or even understanding what a "kernel" is beyond their grandfather's title is way too much!

    (fyi for those who didn't get the joke, I know how to spell Colonel lol)

    A tedious systematic task like what?


    Ah, you mean tedious programming tasks...that developers do. Gee, I wonder if there's an OS that only developers can make sense of?

    I can make a similar comparison using a mechanic and a factory auto. Of course you'll expect a mechanic to not only be completely familiar with the factory specs, he'll also know how many options the car can accommodate, which are the best and a rough estimate of the cost. He can probably have a factory Mazda 3 running like an RX8!

    Non-savvy auto owners however usually go by gas consumption, purchase price and (admit it) the physical appearance of the car. To the same mechanic, the factory default car would appear to be little more than a wind up toy...but completely satisfactory to the user (who might actually BE a software developer).

    Similarly, a software developer should not expect the mechanic to USE Linux, simply because Linux is superior for HIS job, while the mechanic is completely satisfied running his off the shelf customer management app on a Vista machine.
     
  22. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    The flaw in your argument Enterprise-D is that if you want to complain about ease of use why are you comparing to windows? Why not the most' easy to use Mentally Asinine Compliment OS, Mac OS? It does not hog ungodly amounts of RAM like Vista, its so simple any retarded child could use it, all of its limited repertoire of closed software and hardware works perfectly (of course), no download x,y,z with virus and spyware for a mac, no sir, and it even comes with a culture of gleeful yuppies whom you can murder and torture in your skyrise apartment while listening to Phil Collins.

    If you have already reached the level of "Gamer" on PC you can handle Ubuntu (probably not SuSe) and would probably bask in joy at the moding and tweeking opportunities it presents. Anything lower would live better with a mac... and a lobotomy.
     
  23. przyk squishy Valued Senior Member

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    The example I had in mind occurred a few months ago when I found my sister manually changing the filenames of several hundred photos stored in a dozen or so directories. If she'd been using Windows I wouldn't have been able to help her, but it took me on the order of 20 minutes to hack up a script that automated the task on her iBook. Most of that time was spent looking up shell syntax (I hadn't used shell in a while), otherwise it would have been a two minute job.

    Another example was about a year ago when, for a sort of internship in the astrophysics department, I had a catalogue of 600 or so stars with known magnetic fields in a plain text file, and an online catalogue of stars with measured stellar spectra available for download. I needed the spectra of all the stars that appeared in both catalogues (ie. had a known magnetic field and a known spectrum), so I wrote a script that looped over all the stars in the magnetic field catalogue, generated the corresponding spectrum filename, and downloaded the file if it existed on the server (this way I even found a spectrum file that existed on the server but for some reason wasn't listed on or linked to on the catalogue page). Later I wrote scripts that generated graphs for five of the stars in eight spectral regions (40 graphs) and printed them.

    There are a gazillion little tasks like this that computers are designed to automate away but for which it's not feasible to invent gazillions of little GUI apps. When you're in such a position in Windows you're basically stuck. On Linux it's feasible because of the greatly superior scripting facilities, the fact that the command line is well integrated into the OS environment, and for a third reason that stems from the design of the OS: Unix is much more modular than Windows and has better support for processes and IPC. This has enabled a culture associated with Unix of creating small tools for specific tasks that can be combined together later by users, as opposed to the Windows approach of more complicated integrated GUI applications, which will never be as flexible. Utilities like wget and lpr don't make much sense under Windows.

    I know most people aren't very technically minded and don't expect most people to go very far beyond simple GUI use (my mother started using Windows XP about five years ago and it was a couple of years before she stopped asking me how to copy/paste text and save Word documents, so I'd expect Linux would probably frustrate her more than Windows), but the nice thing about the Unix-like OS's is that, while you can stay at the point-and-click level of use if you want, the more you learn about the system the more effectively you can work with it and get stuff done. There's a spectrum of computer users and you don't need to be a software developer to start getting a lot out of Linux. I'm certainly neither a professional programmer nor a Linux guru.
     
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