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The Failures Of Desktop Linux 882

Posted by timothy
from the fails-to-play-well-with-bully dept.
PDAJames writes "Maybe Linux isn't quite ready for the desktop after all. After an earlier, very positive evaluation of SuSE Linux Desktop, ZDNet UK has carried out a more in-depth review, running the system in a production environment for two weeks, and found it wanting. A key problem area was interacting with the corporate Windows network. When will this stuff finally be ironed out?"
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The Failures Of Desktop Linux

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  • by mu_wtfo (224511) * on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:28PM (#6554680) Homepage
    Well, the obvious solution is to get rid of all the Windows machines on the network. Presto, problem solved!

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:33PM (#6554724)
      Explain to your boss that your apps aren't 100 percent interoperable between customer machines. Who cares if it saves money if you've managed to frustrate everyone at your company.

      A perfect example is a sales and marketing type company with IT setting the standards. When your sales people have to spend more time re-learning the system and less time selling who's going to look stupid? Definitely not the sales team.

    • Get rid of all the Linux boxes and the Windows machines still won't play well with each other.
    • Honestly, I don't see this as a joke. Linux, or any OS, should be evaluated by how well it does on its own merits. Complaining that it doesn't work well with Windows is like ... oh, say, evaluating an early automobile and complaining that there's no place to hitch up a horse. The question should be "Is the new technology inherently superior enough to what we've got now to justify changing?", not, "How well does the new technology mimic what we've got now?" And if the answer to the first question is "Ye
      • by Ruds (86067) on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:47PM (#6554839) Homepage
        Apples and oranges. Linux doesn't revolutionize the desktop, as automobiles revolutionized transportation. Linux's big selling point is that it's cheaper than Windows. If it can't interoperate or be used without more training or something of this nature, then the price advantage disappears.

        Besides, the automobile took some time before it caught on everywhere--horses were still used for some purposes in WWI, and I'm sure the army wasn't the only one.

        Matt
        • by NortWind (575520) on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:28PM (#6555169)
          Linux's big selling point is that it's cheaper than Windows.

          That't not the big advantage for me. The big advantage is that I don't have to *accept* the XP EULA [microsoft.com]. I want to own my computer, not just use it to house software that somebody else is letting me use for a while, under terms that they can choose to change at anytime. I won't tolerate that.

        • In fact, I can remember milk, bread, groceries etc, being delivered by horse and cart when I was a small child in the 1950's in Adelaide. My grandmother used to race out into the street with a shovel to pick up the horseshit for her roses.

          Aah ... nostalgia!

      • by dspyder (563303) on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:52PM (#6554866)
        Complaining that it doesn't work well with Windows is like ... oh, say, evaluating an early automobile and complaining that there's no place to hitch up a horse

        Actually a better comparison would be evaluating a car and saying it doesn't fit on the existing roads. That is a legitimate complaint when you have years and dollars tied up into your existing highway infrastructure. New technology won't be adapted unless there's no significant barrier.

        Nobody is going to design a new road just to be able to run Linux... especially not in the beginning stages.

        --D
        • Actually a better comparison would be evaluating a car and saying it doesn't fit on the existing roads.

          A Microsoft road would only fit Microsoft vehicles. If we draw the compairison to other M$ bloaty things, such as a browser that has a 1G footprint or a text document that consumes 50kB to say "Hello World", a microsoft car would be powered by three horses in a squirl cage, have 6 steel wheels that only fit on M$ patented rails, gets 2 miles to the gallon. Yes it would consume M$ gasoline as well as M$

          • by Kurin (629086) on Monday July 28, 2003 @11:39PM (#6556272)
            Oh, for crying out loud. It's not THAT bad. Yes, the open source and Gnu/Linux communities have better intentions than a giant corporation, but that doesn't mean Windows is really all that bad.

            I will admit, during the Windows9X days, using Microsoft products was a joke. But I can honestly say Windows XP is a good operating system. What more do you want it to do? It does everything I want it to. The only times it crashed were when I didn't have the right drivers installed for my hardware (old versions). I can get the same thing to happen in Linux (or any OS) if I screw up the drivers. The OS detects USB devices immediately after they're plugged in. It doesn't hog all my resources (maybe if you have a 300mhz CPU, 64mb of RAM and a 2gb hard drive, it doesn't work too well... but if you have a 300mhz CPU, 64mb of RAM and a 2gb hard drive, you shouldn't be complaining that you can't run the latest software on your 6+ year old machine) and I have no problems installing anything.

            Microsoft supplies users with an after-distribution set of utilities called XP PowerToys, including a special calculator, web cam stuff, more system configuration (TweakUI), alt-tab replacement, "Open command window here" (like Ctrl-T in KDE). They make the OS easily more usable.

            Bootvis.exe makes Windows boot faster. A lot faster, in my case. The only thing that sucks is that you have to reboot when you install some things. That was one of the nice things about Linux, being able to restart the X server instead of having to reboot. Sometimes in Linux you didn't have to reboot at all. Kernel patching amazes me.

            I think the only thing that would make you zealots like Microsoft Windows was if you replace Microsoft with "Not Microsoft" and Windows with "Linux".

            Windows XP
            Pros:
            You can actually play games(when they come out).
            Cons:
            Costs money, you have to activate it, which is a pain in the ass

            Linux
            Pros:
            Free
            Whatever that other guy said, secure, versatile, yeah, yeah
            Cons:
            Can't play games (right away).

            All in all, I rest my case on the following: I can go to the store on the release date of any game and pick it up, bring it home, and find myself playing it within 10 minutes.

            That is one thing I cannot say for Linux. (And I'd like to say that I love Linux, I use it for a server for all my game images, installers for both OSs, and I'm trying to master using Debian at the moment.)
      • by mrscott (548097) on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:03PM (#6554950)
        An infrastructure is not ripped out and replaced in a day -- or even two. I doubt that we'll see Linux being used for wholesale replacements of corporate desktops in the near future. Until that day does come, Linux needs to play nice with the current prevailing technology. Environments are not necessarily rated as reliable or not reliable based on the individual components but on how well it works overall.

        You mention that you expect a number of these kinds of responses. This is because people who manage these kinds of environments understand that Windows is here to stay for the meantime. We have a lot of critical applications that only run under Windows for which there is no open source alternative, for example.

        I can't comment on how hard it was to convert from teh horse and buggy to the automobile since I have no firsthand knowledge of the event and it's problems and wouldn't presume to have such.
        • by Dalcius (587481)
          "An infrastructure is not ripped out and replaced in a day -- or even two. I doubt that we'll see Linux being used for wholesale replacements of corporate desktops in the near future. Until that day does come, Linux needs to play nice with the current prevailing technology."

          Desktops:
          For certain desktop aspects? Yes. Linux needs to play nicely, users aren't going to compromise.

          That said, I think it's very fair to argue that with the same corporate setup (IT guys doing all software administration for 90%
      • by truesaer (135079) on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:08PM (#6554998) Homepage
        I now expect to get inundated with responses telling me that I don't understand the real world, that companies have too much invested in their Windows infrastructure to just switch everything over to Linux on a whim, etc. To which I say: bullshit. Lots of people had a great deal invested in the horse-and-carriage infrastructure. Changing over to automobiles required throwing away a lot of existing technology. But the overall benefit was well worth it.


        This may be the dumbest thing I've ever read on Slashdot. I use PCs, SUNs, and Macs on a daily basis and all three have advantages and disadvantages. To say that SUSE is so amazingly superior to windows, the operating system that 95% of the computing public chooses to use, is ludicrous. Linux has a lot of great advantages, but all types of machines on a network should be able to play together.


        Case in point is my university's network. We have SUNs, HPs, Linux boxes, Windows machines, and Macs all on the same network. They all rely on machines running various OSes for file servers, etc. It all has to play nicely together.


        You think its bullshit that systems should be interoperable? Well guess what, thats why Linux will be a second class OS for years to come. It isn't the top dog now, and unless it is pleasant to switch to it isn't ever going to happen.

        • by bigbadwlf (304883) on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:30PM (#6555183)
          To say that SUSE is so amazingly superior to windows, the operating system that 95% of the computing public chooses to use, is ludicrous.

          Hold it right there, pal.
          To say that 95% of the computing public chooses to use Windows is ludicrous.
          Fact is the vast majority of Windows users did not choose it, it was simply preinstalled.

          Furthermore, the fact that most people use Windows does not make Windows superior, nor does it preclude another product from being superior to Windows.
          • by bigman2003 (671309) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @01:09AM (#6556743) Homepage
            Most of that 95% didn't buy the computer because of what it is- but what it does. Most of the people bought it because it runs Windows, which runs the software they want to use.

            I don't think OEMs put Windows on computers because it is free, or cheap, or anything like that. They put it on computers because Windows is the REASON that people buy the computers.

          • Fact is the vast majority of Windows users did not choose it, it was simply preinstalled.

            I was not aware of Apple preinstalling Windows on new Macintoshes.

            No, consumers choose computers not for their hardware but for their software capabilities. One of the expected pieces of software is Windows. Your argument attempts to elude the inevitable.

            Furthermore, the fact that most people use Windows does not make Windows superior, nor does it preclude another product from being superior to Windows.

            The most
            • The most popular product is ALWAYS the superior product

              Wow, that would make Windows98 superior to WindowsXP.

              If everybody would think like you, we would still live in the stone age.... Nobody would ever try anything new because they would think the old way of doing it would be "superior"...

        • You think its bullshit that systems should be interoperable? Well guess what, thats why Linux will be a second class OS for years to come. It isn't the top dog now, and unless it is pleasant to switch to it isn't ever going to happen.

          embrace & extend != interoperability
          don't blame unix, it's MS that's not POSIXly correct.

      • by Kjella (173770) on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:14PM (#6555052) Homepage
        Did you know, that the early automobiles in London's cobbled streets, they were restricted to a speed of 4 MPH and were required to be preceded by a man carrying a red warning flag? All to not would not disrupt the horses and buggies on the road. That's not just an urban legend, and I'm sure you can see what that did to automobile performance.

        How Linux and Linux software and formats interacts with for example Windows is not just a question of infrastructure and sunk cost. It's also about what you can do with Linux in a (desktop) world where 90%+ is Windows. A company can choose that they want to run a car and not a horse-and-buggy. But they can't make everybody else do the same, and if they have to proverbially run around with a red flag at 4MPH (lack of applications, incompatibilities, format lock-ins, suppliers or customers using Windows), what is then the advantage?

        Kjella
        • Well, my point was that, despite these early obstacles -- obstacles largely created by politics and resistance to change, not by technical limitations -- automobiles eventually did replace the horse and buggy. Imagine how much longer it would have taken for automobiles to take over if the manufacturers had concentrated on, say, designing better red warning flags (IMO the rough equivalent of trying to make Linux interoperate well with Windows) instead of improving performance and reliability. Eventually, d
      • by gilesjuk (604902) <giles,jones&zen,co,uk> on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:26PM (#6555152)
        This is why Microsoft needs to be forced to open up its protocols. The DOJ settlement partly does this, but I think you need to pay money to see the code?

        Samba is good but with each new Windows release they insert more proverbial spanners.
      • Honestly, I don't see this as a joke. Linux, or any OS, should be evaluated by how well it does on its own merits. Complaining that it doesn't work well with Windows is like

        There's no reason to blame Linux for it's inability to operate with Windows. Clearly MS has a profit motive for not making their products work with Linux, blame them.

    • by General Fault (689426) on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:42PM (#6554797)
      I love Linux! That said, I have always found the mentioned problem to be a major stumbling block. I admit that I am not a huge Linux guru, but I am a software engineer, and can figure out what I need most of the time. Still, it is never "seamless" to connect my Linux boxes to a windows network. Your solution of "getting rid of all of the Windows machines" is not very practical (and I suspect that you know it, but were being humorous). I have 1 Linux box at work on a huge (500+) machine network dominated by Windows. This is normal. Many companies that develop for Windows have employees that like Linux and try to get it shoved in the company structure once in a while. This is a big problem when I need to devote significant resources to getting the Linux box all set up. I can plug a Windows machine into a windows network and without hardly any effort, that machine is happily communicating with the rest of the network. To get a Linux box on that same network, I need to install SAMBA, configure the .conf file, run some command line utils to join the domain, configure PAM, get the init files working.... it goes on! I know that the real solution (and the beauty of Open Source) is for me to "use the force, read write some source". And for me and the rest of the community, the problem is fixed! The trouble is as always finding time to commit to such a large project.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:46PM (#6555295)
        I don't see what the problem is.

        My Mandrake laptop plugs in quite well. This box has run with Wins configurations, DHCP, and Netware with no problems. It's run on private sector and government networks. Anyone who's ever plugged in to a government network knows how quirky they can be. Yet still no problems

        In fact, I can't think of the last time my TCPIP stack got corrupted in Linux (or any major problems for that matter). Although, it happened to me in XP last week. It sounds to me that the people writing the article didn't have the tools needed to make a fair comparison. This is not the fault of Linux. Rather, the fault of the editors at C|Net for letting this stinker through.
        • by Pieroxy (222434) on Monday July 28, 2003 @09:13PM (#6555488) Homepage
          Another difference:

          With windows you don't need the "right tools". They're part of the system

          With linux, you need them, and if they , at C|Net didn't have them, it probably means they are not that obvious to identify and/or find for the average end user.
          • by Dalcius (587481) <chrism3413+slash ... m minus caffeine> on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @02:22AM (#6557002)
            "With linux, you need them, and if they , at C|Net didn't have them, it probably means they are not that obvious to identify and/or find for the average end user."

            What end-users at a typical company these days know how to manage a Windows network connection?

            Your analogy doesn't add up.

            And who the hell looks for Linux apps at C|Net anyway?!? I have a hunch this might be your problem -- maybe a little ill informed but making an opinion anyway?

            In addition, claiming that the "right tools" aren't "part of the system" (differentiate between a tool and the OS) in Linux is ridiculous. Windows has a number of services and tools built in, but nothing so specific that you'd have to hunt for a Linux equivilent in any modern distro.

            For example, a typical Red Hat installation (or anything else, really) has enough software (already installed and configured) to log onto a Windows network and happily share files and print. This isn't opinion up for debate, this is plain fact. I've been doing this since I got into Linux, actually, about three years ago.

            Just to help the logic-impaired, don't go flaming about "Ooh it's so hard to get SAMBA working." For one, these days, it's as easy as doing it on Windows. For two, again, what end-users do you know in a corporate environment that manage their network connection?

            Sorry for the rambling.
    • Doesn't play well with Linux boxes.
  • by 26199 (577806) * on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:29PM (#6554690) Homepage

    The review is pretty positive, really. They admitted they were testing the most difficult situation -- non-technical people using Linux in a Windows environment -- and were impressed on many counts.

    The fact is it's probably never going to be possible to switch operating systems without some minor glitches... switching will always cost money and time, so there's got to be a good reason to do so...

    • by TheIzzy (615852) on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:53PM (#6554879)
      The only thing I found wrong with the article was that they assumed non-technical people would be system admins. Even in a Windows only environment, it's generally pretty tech-savy people acting as the admins. Sure, they're tech-savy in a windows sort of way, but they're not the average grandma trying to figure out wheere the power button is. The users would never see most of the problems they pointed out (except the mozilla cut n' paste), which is the real catch in any OS transition.
    • by Chordonblue (585047) on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:20PM (#6555110) Journal
      Until you try to hook things up to an MS domain. That's where it always falls apart.

      People forget, but there was a time when there were other word processors besides Word. In fact, many of them had bizarre and confusing interfaces (Wordperfect for DOS, anyone?) When people had to do the inevitable switch to something new, they may have been befuddled for a while, but eventually, they got the hang of it.

      I really don't think the issue is user acceptance near as much as ADMINISTRATOR acceptance. To get that, you're going to have to play nice with the existing infrastructure (after all, it was there first).

      People can adjust to OpenOffice - we've done it here. But to replace our domain system with Linux would be near impossible. Forget the investments we'd be throwing out the door - think about all the other things like mapped shares, home directories, etc. It would be a massive undertaking to recreate all of that for very little reward.

      I know MS plays their little games of half-assed interoperablility ("Windows 2000 is now based on LDAP and Kerberos! Well... Except for these little changes...") But if Linux is going to want to compete it's going to have to try harder.

      Xandros has done this, but it's closed source. Kinda defeats the purpose, no?

      • Until you try to hook things up to an MS domain. That's where it always falls apart.

        Well, you may have to manually create the computer account if you are using Windows 2000 and not SAMBA... But Samba 3 is pretty good on all counts.


        I really don't think the issue is user acceptance near as much as ADMINISTRATOR acceptance. To get that, you're going to have to play nice with the existing infrastructure (after all, it was there first).


        To some extent I agree regarding interop. Note there are many ways of doing interop. For example, you can buy Services for UNIX 3.0 from Microsoft for about $100 and put it on your domain controller and walah-- you now have a NIS gateway to your ActiveDirectory infrastructure.... Not that this is the best solution but it does work.

        However, I think that if you offer compelling benefits to the admin (LDAB-backend for gconf will be one of these, IMO), it will gain acceptance on its own merits.

        But interop is only necessary to the extent that it helps to defray costs of migration, and spread those over a period of time. It is not the end-all-and-be-all but just a means to that end.
  • Other boxen (Score:4, Interesting)

    by inertia@yahoo.com (156602) * on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:30PM (#6554694) Homepage Journal
    So, does it work well with OS X better than Windows on the network? I should hope so. It's kinda funny. If there's zero Windows boxen on the network, the OS X and Linux users would probably still have to use Samba. Bummer.
    • Re:Other boxen (Score:5, Informative)

      by Scorpion265 (650012) on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:33PM (#6554721)
      Actualy, Linux supports Appletalk, and OS X supports NFS. There really isn't a need for samba in a non windows environment. I also believe there will be support for Rendevous in *nix soon too.
      • Re:Other boxen (Score:4, Interesting)

        by curtlewis (662976) on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:42PM (#6554794)
        Apple doesnt' even really use AppleTalk anymore. It uses AFP over TPC, which is the AppleTalk Filing Protocol over TCP.

        There is minimal support for this on *nix, but good luck getting it configured and working well.

        *nix really needs some kind of GUI client for AFP/TCP much like the Go To Server window in OS X. That is, something that scans the LAN for servers as well as allows direct IP entry of the server if you know it.

        NFS sure is convenient but it's a security nightmare and no sysadmin worth his pay will let you set up and use NFS on a network.

        I'm no Windows fan, but let's face it, getting rid of the Windows boxes/network is not an acceptable solution to the majority of the world. Windows is there, running, and working well enough for them to not seriously consider migration at this point or they WOULD be migrating.

        So any OS needs to work WITH Windows. Of course, to play fair, Windows should work will WITH others, too. The general demeanor is that SMB networking isn't proprietary. It is, very much so. The only OS that uses it natively is Windows and the only reason someone would want to use it is to work WITH Windows boxes. SMB as a general networking technology sucks. With absolutely no physical changes what is shown in Network Neighborhood varies at the whim of the OS and ... Bill Gates? The box is there, the box is gone? It's online and can be reached by \\servername, but not in the neighborhood? What's up with that?

        What we REALLY need is a platform agnostic networking solution that works well, is fast, is reliable and works the same everywhere.
  • by Billly Gates (198444) on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:31PM (#6554700) Journal
    The problem with things like browsing is that MS changes Active directory and the smb protocal quite frequently.

    Novell is certainly not dead and has greatly fallen to the fud of NT. NDS and Novell provide the best NOS administration environment period! No lpdad is not an answer because its just a protocal and not a solution.

    I use to be a fan of Caldera now SCO because of the promissed Novell integration.

    Now lets wait for the next release of netware which is rumoured to have a linux kernel.

    Relying on active directory is writing MFC programs and expect to port them to Unix.


    • Novell is certainly not dead and has greatly fallen to the fud of NT. NDS and Novell provide the best NOS administration environment period!

      What Technicolor (TM) world are you living in?

      My experience with Novell is 600 user environment at a large government organization.

      I started collecting notes on the UI flaws that drive me nuts. Flaws in everything from GroupWise taking up half my screen to empty space in the Compose window (and if you change your UI preferences you stop getting e-mail because the re

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:32PM (#6554712)
    How does it work the other way round? Is it really a case of Linux not interoperating with Windows networks because of the way Windows is designed, or would it be just as hard to get a single Windows box onto a Linux network?

    What I'm saying is: surely the single, lesser box on a network is always at a disadvantage, Macs on Windows, Windows on Macs, Linux on Macs, etc. etc...

    Opinions?
    • by xixax (44677) on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:08PM (#6554995)
      Reviewers found that green made an inferior purple, and that until green was purple, purple would be the superior purple.

      We had similar problems integrating Windows 3.11 PCs onto our Sun and Mac network[1]. They were completely crap at NFS and Appletalk. WindowsPCs will never be ready for the work environment until they can properly handle those two protocols.

      Xix.
      [1] Killed via CEO edict
  • Sounds like..... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nagatzhul (158676) on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:33PM (#6554719)
    It sounds like someone was trying to set up SAMBA without reading the documentation or they were lazy in matching the networks. Having used SAMBA in a mixed SUN and Microsoft environment, it was considered a godsend from both the Windows admins and the UN*X/SUN admins.
    • by spectecjr (31235) on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:26PM (#6555156) Homepage
      It sounds like someone was trying to set up SAMBA without reading the documentation or they were lazy in matching the networks. Having used SAMBA in a mixed SUN and Microsoft environment, it was considered a godsend from both the Windows admins and the UN*X/SUN admins.

      Why on earth should they read the documentation? It's not like you need to read the docs on the Mac or Windows to do exactly the same thing...
      • by einhverfr (238914)
        Why on earth should they read the documentation? It's not like you need to read the docs on the Mac or Windows to do exactly the same thing...

        Simple-- because they are paid to know the software. The comment was related to *admins* not *end-users.* Yes, this applied to Windows admins too.

        I used to to phone-based tech support, and I had a senior network admin call for support. Their PDC had been acting strangely, so they reformatted it and wondered where thier user accounts went.... After 15 minutes (
        • by spectecjr (31235)
          Face it, if you want an admin who doesn't read the docs, why don't you pay that person just above, say, minimum wage? No, an admin is paid to read the documentation and know his or her stuff. Otherwise, it is just a disaster waiting to happen.

          Which gently misses the point.

          Both the Mac and Windows can do exactly what they were trying to do without anyone having to read the manuals, or do anything special.

          From the article:

          The only major roadblock we came up against was transferring files to or from the

      • Re:Sounds like..... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by TheVoice900 (467327) <kamil@@@kamilkisiel...net> on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:57PM (#6555376) Homepage
        Why should they read the documentation? So they know what the hell they are doing, obviously. I'd be impressed if you could show me anyone who with little or no prior experience, and without reading the documentation, was able to set up a decent reliable Windows network.
  • Linux readiness (Score:3, Insightful)

    by $calar (590356) on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:33PM (#6554720) Journal
    Every day I say "when this comes out, Linux will be ready" and then that thing comes out and I find something else to do just that same thing with. The problem is that if we say that coming to the latest advancements of proprietary OSes is all we need, as we have been there many times, then they (proprietary companies) come out with something else. I say Linux will be ready for the desktop when it can outpace the development of its competition. With as many people working on Linux as there is, I think that this shows good promise. I have seen so much in the two years I have used Linux, it is amazing that we have come this far in only two years. In the short term, I think that Linux 2.6 is very important and if you want to know why, then just read some of the articles on 2.6 and that will explain a lot. I think that the freedesktop.org standards need to be fully implemented and now the the linux standard base seems to have eliminated a lot of the RPM incompatibilities, we are on the road to easy software use and installation.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:33PM (#6554722)
    (Christ, I'm going to get flamed for this)
    I just got my hands on a copy of LindowsOS 4.0 (Thanks eMule) and installed it on my laptop.
    Wow.
    Coupled with apt (I ain't paying for Click-n-run), it is one hell of an OS.
    I mean, a Debian install that just *works*.
  • by borgdows (599861) on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:35PM (#6554734)
    Episode 1 [slashdot.org] : Microsoft is a failure
    Episode 2 : Linux is a failure <-- YOU ARE HERE
    Episode 3 : SCO is THE failure (soon on /.)
  • by IchBinEinPenguin (589252) on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:35PM (#6554737)
    When the target stops moving.

    Which will be roughly about the same time Bovines achieve lunar orbit.
  • by 73939133 (676561) on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:36PM (#6554741)
    and found it wanting. A key problem area was interacting with the corporate Windows network.

    Well, actually the real problem is that Windows server software is wanting: it fails to conform to standard protocols and formats. If Windows server software was built from the ground up around IMAP, XML, HTML, HTTP, WebDAV, and other such protocols, then Linux desktops and Mac desktops would work well with it. While Windows currently nominally supports many of those protocols and formats, they are second class compared to Microsoft's proprietary protocols.

    What's the solution? Get rid of the Windows servers. That also lowers licensing, administrative, and maintenance costs. And Windows clients can talk fairly well to Linux servers running open source software.
    • Yes, let's just do that. Let's throw out everything we've invested in MS. Get a grip man! I work in a small school. Even if I could afford to throw it all out, I have to think about what I'd use to replace things like Blackbaud (school admin software - non-profits), MS ISA with Surfcontrol, or how to roll out public use Linux boxen with home directories.

      Also, I have to reorganize rights to folders upon folders of information and services. What a nightmare. I'm only one guy here, and just keeping it all RUN
  • Not exactly fair (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GigsVT (208848) on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:39PM (#6554767) Journal
    Try sticking a Windows box in a totally Linux environment, and see how that goes.

    No NFS support, broken kerberos support, no NIS support that I know of, no ssh client or server, no X server so no remote apps. Sure, some of these things can be purchased and installed, but most of the windows versions subpar when compared with the real thing.

    This study is like putting Michael Jordan on a special olympics basketball team, and then wondering why it didn't make the NBA finals.
  • by JayBlalock (635935) on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:39PM (#6554771)
    I've been watching Linux for ages, and about once a year or two, I'll get a copy of a distro and give it a shot. This year I actually tried two, which are supposed to be the more user-friendly ones: RedHat and SuSE. While for the first time I managed to quickly set up a Linux desktop environment which did everything I needed, I still found it a bear to work with. RedHat didn't like my soundcard, the forums weren't much help. It took me two weeks to get SuSE to accept nVidia's drivers (because ONE character in ONE source code was off), and then after a week, it decided to stop using the drivers again. Never got Quicktime and most other video formats working. Opera for Linux isn't as good, and I've never cared for Moz. After a couple months of fighting with it, I finally gave up and went back to Windows. It's CLOSE to being desktop-ready, but barely a day went by that I didn't discover something I couldn't automatically do in Linux, and would require a day's tinkering to get working. And this was, as I said, after trying to different distros. Maybe next year... (braces for flames telling him he's stupid and evil)
    • by ctid (449118) on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:45PM (#6554818) Homepage
      This isn't a very meaningful comparison, because you're focusing on installation problems. Try to imagine a world where Linux is installed before you get your PC. That's more like the world of the business desktop where Linux is heading.

      Having said that, my Suse 8.2 distro recognizes everything in my box, and I've got more software than I know what to do with. There always seems to be an alternative if I can't get what I want. I've recently had to do a lot of work in Windows, and day after day I find it a major struggle. This is because I've been using Linux at home since 1996 and I don't do very much in Windows. Believe me, Linux on the desktop is more a matter of your current experience. If you're not used to Windows' particular way of doing things, you wouldn't find Linux difficult. But you might if you were required to install it for yourself.
      • If you're not used to Windows' particular way of doing things, you wouldn't find Linux difficult. Ah, yes, of course. The fact that I've been working on Intel machines since 1984, knew DOS inside and out, kept from using Windows as long as possible, and was finally forced to switch in '95, all prevented me from understanding Linux. It all makes sense now. Come on, now. I'm not talking lack of intelligence or technical ability. If I wanted to spend a month digging through all the specs and documentat
        • by Population (687281) on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:21PM (#6555117)
          The problems you encountered (sound card, nVidia) are 100% installation issues.

          They have nothing to do with Linux being ready for the desktop. I can install brand new hardware in an XP box and Windows will not know how to handle it. That is, until I install the drivers from the manufacturer. But that doesn't mean XP isn't ready for the desktop, does it?

          If you had purchased a computer with Linux pre-installed, you would not have had those problems. If you had only purchased components with good Linux support, you would not have had those problems.

          Those driver issues will only be solved when Linux has 50%+ of the desktop market. That's plain economics. The vidoe card manufacturers don't all support Linux to the same degree.

          And claiming something should work with Linux because it is "from the most popular manufacturer out there" shows your lack of understanding. It doesn't matter how popular a manufacturer is. It matters how well that manufacturer works with the Linux community.
    • by GigsVT (208848) on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:01PM (#6554941) Journal
      I didn't discover something I couldn't automatically do in Linux, and would require a day's tinkering to get working.

      Barely a day goes by that I don't do something in Linux that is impossible (or very much more difficult) to do in Windows. Especially automatic things. An example: I want to check every hour to see if a website has changed. No problem, three lines of shell script in a cron job.

      Yes, getting hardware set up can be tough sometimes, especially if you have brand new hardware. Sometimes the community hasn't had time to write a driver, or in the case of video cards, the manufacturer has stonewalled requests for specifications.

      Getting closed source apps working on Linux can be difficult too, since there isn't much you can do to debug or fix them.

      Note that most of your complaints were with closed source software, quicktime, nvidia drivers, Opera. The reason you didn't get much help with those is because there's little the community can do to support such apps.

      A sidenote though, mplayer RPMs from freshrpms.net, and a quick grab of the hacked up DLLs from mplayer's site and you are set with most video formats. You can blame that one on software patents, since distros would be all over mplayer and the codecs, making it as automatic as possible, if it wouldn't open them up to huge legal liabilities.

      Anyway, I guess my point is, a lot of your troubles came from issues that Slashdotters are often railing against, software patents, and proprietary software.

      It's not all ideological, as you have found out, we do have practical reasons for our views. IP laws are harming Free Software development in real, tangible ways.
    • Never got Quicktime and most other video formats working.

      That's strange, especially if you tried Linux this year. Xine and mplayer are very good media players and do support every codec you will ever need. Once they're installed (there's the Win32 codec DLL pack) you never have to worry about codecs again.

      Surprisingly, Windows usually gives you some headaches when dealing with obscure codecs. You have to find codec packs with flaky installers where if you flag every option, one codec inevitably breaks an

  • by Usquebaugh (230216) on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:43PM (#6554803)
    companies that is.

    You have this wonderful multi user OS and you use it on a single PC, arghhh.

    Centralised computing is where most companies should be at, cheap disposable terminals on the desktop and a beast of a server under lock and key.

    Linux will rule the enterprise desktop when companies grasp the mainfram had the right network architecture. Until then they're just wasting money.
    • These days, with the right admin tools, p2p essentially combines the mainframe with the client.

      Keep one head server with a listing of all configs and some tools to pipe everything out to distributed clients.

      The inane thing is that everything I just mentioned is friggin painless on *NIX. You can do it in a Windows GUI, but certainly not as effortlessly.

      Automation rules.
  • by ACK!! (10229) on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:45PM (#6554817) Journal
    Not sure why the poster got so bunged up over two interoperability criticisms.

    The yahoo messenger thing and the outdated version of gaim is a bit of pain in the ass for a newbie but not a sysadmin. Good points all the way around on that one.

    The LAN integration thing was interesting. I always end of with minor annoying bits of trouble with Windows networks until I load up LinNeighborhood and set the permissions on smbmnt and smbumount correctly for that app to work. We do this on the developer's desktops. We have tried all the KDE and gnome browsing tools and all that stuff. No go. Only LinNeighborhood really fit the bill.

    Ok, what Windows browsing tools do you use?

    I am using the samba browsing tool with Nautilus on Ximian Desktop2 as a try-out but I am already feeling the itch to get LinNeighborhood back.

    What about you?

  • by Montreal Geek (620791) <marc@@@uberbox...org> on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:45PM (#6554822) Homepage Journal
    Regardless of the relative merit of the various OSes from Microsoft, it's about time that reviewers stop equating "ready for desktop use" with "works like Windows".

    Just imagine the result if, say, movies were judged on how close they are to the common denominator!

    - Well, Gene, Schindler's List was tought provoking and great storytelling. Thumbs down.

    - I agree, it's not worth seeing unless they edit it to add at least a gratuitous sex scenes that doesn't advance the plot. A few random car chases wouldn't have hurt either. Two thumbs down.

    Feh!

    If the only "problems" left with a Linux distribution are that "it doesn't do X like Windows" or "it doesn't interoperate with X of Windows" then it may be time to take a long, hard look at Windows.

    -- MG

  • by larry bagina (561269) on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:49PM (#6554854) Journal
    Well, Mr PDAJames, maybe you could start by telling use what you've done to help iron it out.

    What good is Open Source if you do is wait for others to fix things?

  • by t0qer (230538) on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:53PM (#6554873) Homepage Journal
    I don't think you've ever had to support a corporate network in your life. When you get out of school and into the real world, you're going to find that end users and their superiors make most of the software/hardware purchase decisions based on their needs, and not the "bottom line"

    My favorite example to cite is a sales department that uses Palm Pilots.

    When you purchase a palm, it comes with software, written to interopolate with your outlook. All your contacts, notes, calendars are synchronized perfectly with outlook just by installing the software, connecting the palm cradle to the PC and putting your palm in the cradle.

    Linux on the other hand has about 8 groupware solutions out there, so the first question would be what to pick? Then you have to figure what you need so the linux PC can see the palm pilot. Then you have to either push the installations out, or roll your own distro that has all of the components you need to use your palm perfectly with the linux box.

    It's a lot more trouble than it's worth when you can just send the palm pilot retail box to the end user and he/she can install it themselves.

  • by theflea (585612) on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:58PM (#6554917)
    Organizations that went from all windows 95/98 straight to windows 2k had the same type of issues with things not working quite right, and users not understanding the changes.

    That's why you keep rolling up new ghost images that have the latest patches, tweaks, and workarounds needed to get your desktops working properly in a complicated enterprise environment.

    As for the Samba problems, most can be ironed out by reading the documentation and checking newsgroups. There are irritating things about linux, but samba isn't one of them.

  • by mhesseltine (541806) on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:00PM (#6554938) Homepage Journal

    Ok, there's plenty of posts that say "just get rid of Windows" as a solution to the interoperability problem. However, if I'm generous and give Apple and Linux each 10% of the desktop market, that still leaves 80% to MS. You don't throw out a product with 80% of the market just because you can't get your minority system to work correctly with it.

    When will Linux take over? When it interoperates with everything, so that people can get used to using it. Then, you can slowly migrate systems as needed, instead of going all out with one system, then having to re-train all your workers, and iron out all the bugs at once.

  • by Chordonblue (585047) on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:05PM (#6554973) Journal
    For YEARS. Corporations and even schools like mine aren't going to be throwing away our Windows domains anytime soon.

    A lot of Linuxheads point to Samba as some sort of Holy Grail. The problem that Samba doesn't yet solve is basic Windows Domain login support. You can't get share drives, rights, or home directories using this service. It merely creates localized Windows shares or lets you connect to them on an individualized basis.

    The key for Linux to be accepted in these environments has more to do with network interoperability with MS, than app support. It sounds like an evil prospect, but you know something? I LIKE being able to organize my users on the network with ease. I like remote profiles. I like giving them things like shares and home directories in an organized way.

    To my knowledge the only distro that addresses this is Xandros. The big problem here is that their Windows Domain support is closed source - to me, that kind of defeats the whole idea of using Linux in the first place.

    When I first explored Linux options in 1999 I was shocked at the lack of this extremely important feature and continue to be. Let's hope the Samba project or something similar (and open source) will fill this in.

  • by QuasiEvil (74356) on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:09PM (#6555002)
    First - I'm as much of a Linux fan as the next guy. However, after spending the better part of the day today in frustration with my new Linux desktop at work, I feel the need to vent.

    My main bitches about Linux (not the kernel, the whole system - RMS's part, Linus's part, all the commonly-installed stuff...) as a desktop OS (and 99% of them are about X):

    - X sucks hard in terms of responsiveness. Click a OS-level button (such as, say, the close button on a window) in Windows, that sucker responds. It may still be doing stuff in the background, but from the user's point of view, it's snappy and responsive. I'm running on a 2.4GHz P4 with a 10k RPM SCSI disk and 512Mbytes of memory for god's sake, there shouldn't be signficant UI lag! Win2k was about as snappy and responsive as you could get. I realize this is because MS built the GDI into the kernel, but come on, we're supposed to be better. As a modern business desktop user, I (typically) don't give a rat's ass about running applications on that server in the closet and having them display on my desktop. I want responsiveness...

    - Bizarre-ass fonts. I realize this is mostly a configuration issue, but I've never found a distro that provided a decent font setup. Again, gotta hand it to MS, but Windows has a good, no-frills set of fonts that universally look good without taking up too much space. Those who configure X seem to have an unholy fascination with huge widgets and huge text.

    - At least semi-standardized look and feel. Windows apps these days all sort of look and feel alike, but X apps are all over the road. This is the result of freedom, and that's not bad in and of itself. However, if we could agree on common places to put certain things, it would really help the user experience.

    - And as a side bitch, why does GIMP not have an image browsing plugin? I know, I know, because nobody's contributed one yet. I'd help, but I'm an embedded guy - you really don't want me writing desktop software.

    Okay, flame retardant suit on... Sorry, but those are my core complaints about trying to be a simple Linux desktop user today.
  • Another problem (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:13PM (#6555050)
    Computer: Libungif.so.012b conflicts with Libungif.so.013a, Unable to install software.

    User: What? All I wanted was this cute screen saver with the Linux Mascot.

    Linux is fast, Linux is stable, but Linux is far from user friendly.

    Do you think any Windows user will understand that the have to use the "Make" command just to install a KDE theme? They just want to double click the installer and run the damn thing. And some of them don't even do that.
  • by wasabii (693236) on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:19PM (#6555097)
    What the poster wants is a pipe dream. Linux is not Windows, and it has it's own set of rules and design guidelines. A Unix network is a totally different beast from a NTLM/Active Directory network. THe protocols used are standard, and do not come in a package.

    What teams such have Samba have done is pretty amazing by all accounts. They have gone from NOTHING, to a product which can enable a Linux server to server a Windows network without loosing many abilities.

    The otherway is different. Yes a Linux computer can access Windows networks, and of course, no it won't behave just like Windows. But it does a damned mean job of accessing NFS shares.

    You have to keep in perspective what we fight against. Creating interoperbility with Windows is chasing a moving target. MS will keep adding new things, like differnet encryption in XP, different encryption in Server 2003, and we will keep playing catch up.

    This is a never ending cycle. For Linux to "win" the desktop, we need a clear goal of our own set that has advangates over Windows.

    Yes, we need interoperbility, and we have that. It's not hard to set up a Linux SMB server, move Windows shares to it, and map it out over Samba and NFS, but it isn't plug and play, and probably never will be.

    What it gives us though is a stepping block in order to migrate other boxes. Once Windows is out of the picture (as it is at my company), 100% interoperbility ceases to matter, and it becomes WIndows that needs to interoperate with us.

    My two cents.
  • by cmacb (547347) on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:19PM (#6555101) Homepage Journal
    "Can you use a Linux system successfully in a Windows-dominated environment? That's what SuSE's Linux Desktop is designed to facilitate. We find that you can, although there are plenty of glitches to iron out."

    Thats the article summary. Linux doesn't inter-operate with Windows perfectly just like Windows didn't inter-operate with the TSO editor and job-streams written in IBM's JCL language. So what?

    For Linux to succeed it doesn't have to be perfect, and it certainly doesn't have to inter-operate with Window perfectly. Anyone who EXPECTS it to do that has simply made up their minds to continue using Windows already and is doing the "test" to satisfy the requirement that they do some sort of comparison shopping.

    Nobody in the Open Source movement will be satisfied with Linux being adopted for any other reason than that it is the best choice. It's hard to imagin how it can be both the best choice and 100 percent compatible with Windows at the same time.

    If there were nothing wrong with Windows there would be no Linux in the first place.

    I don't think the article is saying "don't switch" they are just saying "it will involve some work". But we all kinda know that. Small shops or small departments switching will be a lot easier. For now, the most important switchers are individuals. As the number of people using Linux at home grows the argument at the office will get easier. Thats the way it happened with Windows too.
  • So what (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bruha (412869) on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:30PM (#6555181) Homepage Journal
    Linux does not need to revolve around Windows. Windows is not the center of the universe. As long as a host of applications run under Linux that satisfy the requirements of the user then there's nothing to complain about.

    Almost every function with the exception of DirectX /Direct3D can be done in Linux as far as office productivity goes.
  • Wrong problem... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by John Whorfin (19968) on Monday July 28, 2003 @09:43PM (#6555672) Homepage
    No, the problem is Windows doesn't integrate with Linux.

    This isn't Linux's problem, since Open Source projects often adher to open standards while Windows doesn't.

    The solution is to fix Windows... oh wait, we can't.
  • by King_TJ (85913) on Monday July 28, 2003 @10:11PM (#6555816) Journal
    Though I've known this for a long time, it keeps hitting home every weekend as I travel to a small town flea market and sell used systems + offer cheap system repair and troubleshooting.

    Most people out there simply want to buy a computer that runs "all the stuff I run across on the store shelves". I've tried selling perfectly good used PowerMac systems and run into this, just like I run into this if I have Linux pre-loaded on a PC that I put up for sale.

    You find roughly 1 in 100 people who praise the fact that you're using Linux (or a Mac for that matter), and they typically spend the next 5 or 10 minutes chatting with you about the superiority of your choice, etc. Then they walk off without buying. (They've already got plenty of computer stuff at home.)

    To the general public, Linux being "ready for the desktop" simply means it'll easily let them install and run all the "bargain bin" software on CD-ROM they picked up at Costco or WalMart, their copy of Microsoft Office they paid hundreds of dollars for a few years ago, and they really want to buy after they get their new computer.

    This is, ultimately, why Linux won't ultimately be ready for "the desktop" for years and years, if ever. Apple still can't seem to pull off even a consistent 5% market share, and they have hundreds of commercially available software titles!
  • When it will work. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ratfynk (456467) on Monday July 28, 2003 @10:50PM (#6556028) Journal
    'When will this stuff finally be ironed out?'
    When interoperabily with MS tools is no longer a concern. And MS format standards are no longer a moving target. With the lock they have on lobby groups on capitol hill- never.

  • FUD non-review (Score:4, Insightful)

    by konmaskisin (213498) on Monday July 28, 2003 @11:25PM (#6556191) Journal
    Could the reviewer get any more *non-specific*?

    ...
    Samba had difficulty navigating the way permissions were set up on the network, and was unable to authorise us to read or write files on the server, although we were able to browse the network. After much tinkering, it appeared that the solution would be to change the way the network's permissions were set up -- something many companies would find unacceptable.


    Right, wow insightful, like that new happens on Windows networks. After your description I'm sure that bug will get fixed right away. Are you sure it wasn't a problem between screen and chair? Or maybe the network was designed to not let you have access unless ... uhh ... you logged in?? Did you do that? What exactly happened?

    Sheesh. What utter crud. Expect more and expect it often.
  • by /dev/trash (182850) on Monday July 28, 2003 @11:49PM (#6556321) Homepage Journal
    When will this stuff finally be ironed out?



    Microsoft's lack of open standards with stuff it develops?

    • That's informative?

      Like it or not, if you want Linux on the desktop to start making inroads into the workplace, then it must interoperate correctly and completely with Windows, Office, etc. You can whine all you like about a lack of open standards, but that's not going to help.

      You're not going to get a large organisation to change everyone to Linux overnight, so Windows and Linux are going to have to play nice together. That's especially true as pretty-much any business is going to conduct a small trial f

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