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Ubuntu Continues to Grab Market Share 427

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-blame-someone dept.
slasher writes "MadPenguin.org discusses the future of Ubuntu and confirms Ubuntu's growing market share in the Linux market. Author Matt Hartley writes, "Now, for the biggest question: do high numbers mean that Ubuntu is the best distribution out there? Some will argue that this is an impossible point to make, as each person has different needs from their distribution. But for the sake of this article, we will be considering the average user, not the Slackware crowd, who is obviously much more comfortable within a command line environment than mainstream users."
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Ubuntu Continues to Grab Market Share

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @11:13AM (#19825513)
    But, two days ago you said this was pointless [slashdot.org].

    I'm so confused, I don't even know what to believe anymore!
    • by gardyloo (512791)
      It's very doubtful that was flamebait. The Coward parent was simply pointing out some internal inconsistencies, as everyone is wont to do on Slashdot. Kudos to the parent poster, I say.
  • My experience (Score:5, Interesting)

    by aldousd666 (640240) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @11:15AM (#19825535) Journal
    I've had a much easier time getting my boss to look at it because when I install it, it just works... Also it's very nice play with dual boot for the skittish XP users is a good thing. They have it very well packaged, though that may be all it actually is, it's very nearly a deal closer with skeptics who hate command lines, but still should be learning linux for cost reasons. I have it on my host, and personally, I like it very much. (A quick vmware-server install allows for all of the windows one will ever need.)
    • I've had a much easier time getting my boss to look at it because when I install it, it just works..

      All the distributions are like that these days, despite Bill Gate's best efforts.

      What you noticed though raises the more important issue. It's not if Ubuntu is gaining share from other distributions, it's if Ubuntu is gaining users from non free software. Once the user goes free they lose their M$ bad habits and blinders and then can move to other distributions without problems.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by aldousd666 (640240)
        You are right, there a bunch of working Live CD-like distros out that are just as nice in the respect of installation and hardware compatibility. That aside, I think part of the reason that ubuntu gets some of the credit even though many other distros also offer installation 'a la live CD' is that they have a really decent marketing campaign, and they got the bright idea to ship out CD's free of charge. That's a bold move. While I don't have marketing research or anything to back it up, it's a good idea,
  • I just can't wait (Score:2, Insightful)

    by danbert8 (1024253)
    The next release will be interesting to see. Being a LTS version, I can see it spreading rather quickly and staying there for quite a while. It definitely has had a lot of upgrades since the last LTS flavor.

    I think the main reason Ubuntu is doing so well is that it has a consistent and relatively quick release cycle, so it always has the latest drivers/software/utilities and more importantly, it has great package management build on Debian. That was always what I disliked about Debian, that it to
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by wolf08 (1008623)
      Unless I'm horribly mistaken, I'm pretty sure that Gutsy Gibbon is NOT a LTS release.

      from https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-devel-ann ounce/2007-April/000276.html [ubuntu.com]

      "Gutsy will not be an LTS (Long Term Support) release, but it will nonetheless see a lot of server work and be useful for fast-moving server deployments. "
    • Re:I just can't wait (Score:5, Informative)

      by kebes (861706) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @12:48PM (#19826891) Journal

      The next release will be interesting to see. Being a LTS version...
      Small correction: The next release will be 7.10 (Gusty Gibbon, October 2007). However the next "Long Term Support" (LTS) release, according to this page [ubuntu.com], will be "Feisty+2", or the release after Gusty. This release will probably be in April 2008.

      I agree with everything you said, however. I use the LTS edition for servers that need to be stable, and use the latest version for desktops. The Long Term Support is long enough that you can be confident with it (and easily upgrade to the next LTS when it comes along). Upgrading Ubuntu (e.g. from Edgy to Feisty) has always been painless in my experience. (Yes, YMMV.)

      I'm very pleased with the speed (and predictability) of the Ubuntu release schedule, and with the quality of what gets put out.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Blue Stone (582566)
        >"The next release will be 7.10 (Gusty Gibbon, October 2007)"

        I forget - is it supposed to be Gusty or Gutsy Gibbon?

        Maybe he starts out as Gutsy, but after the 'release', he's Gusty?

    • by Braino420 (896819)

      The next release will be interesting to see. Being a LTS version, I can see it spreading rather quickly and staying there for quite a while. It definitely has had a lot of upgrades since the last LTS flavor.

      This is incorrect. Shuttleworth says here [ubuntu.com] that it will not be a LTS release. I remember him saying somewhere that it will probably be gutsy+1.

    • by danbert8 (1024253)
      I guess I was wrong. I thought it would be. I could have sworn every 3rd release was an LTS version. Oh well, I still can't wait, LTS or not.
  • My Opinion (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CastrTroy (595695) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @11:18AM (#19825569) Homepage
    Personally, I've been using Mandriva/Mandrake for about 5 years, and I don't see anything that Ubuntu has that Mandrake didn't have 3 years ago. I'm not sure why Ubuntu is catching all this attention. Maybe I'm missing something really big, but I seriously don't see what makes Ubuntu so much better than Mandriva, or most other desktop oriented distros. I actually prefer Mandriva, because I find that the Admin tools are much better.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by xhrit (915936)
      >Maybe I'm missing something really big, but I seriously don't see what makes Ubuntu so much better than Mandriva, or most other desktop oriented distros.

      Big money advertising.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by McDutchie (151611)

      I'm not sure why Ubuntu is catching all this attention.

      Simple: Ubuntu has a charismatic millionaire behind it. That's really all there is to it. Marketing is everything.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by toleraen (831634)
        You misspelled billionaire.
      • Re:My Opinion (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Oldsmobile (930596) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @12:02PM (#19826227) Journal

        Simple: Ubuntu has a charismatic millionaire behind it. That's really all there is to it. Marketing is everything.
        No, you are simply wrong. I've been an off-and-on linux user for a few years now, but I've always gone back to XP due to never coming to grips with using the command line and hating it when you have get something to work it's a pain in the ass to get working.

        Also installing programs was always so easy with XP and a pain with most linux distros.

        Now with Ubuntu, I've for the VERY FIRST TIME ran into a distro that is in many respects better than XP! I'm astounded by how much better the usability is.

        Not only that, but it's the first distro that's totally agreeable to the "don't click that, computer will explode" -crowd.
        • Re:My Opinion (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ancientt (569920) <ancientt@yahoo.com> on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @01:46PM (#19827717) Homepage Journal

          I'm posting this from a Mandriva install that shares a drive with a Gentoo install and used to be where I had an OpenBSD install. The other disk has CentOS on it and probably will have OpenSUSE shortly. I try new distros and new releases of old distros on a regular basis. I'll probably try Ubuntu again in a couple months.

          Mandrake tried to do what Ubuntu does, but it tried to do it years and years before Ubuntu existed. It did a decent job of starting on the path toward a newbie friendly desktop Linux distribution. Unfortunately, it has had times where the entire system was unstable, where the hardware either didn't work as expected or didn't work at all. I don't recommend Mandriva because I don't trust it to stay as stable as it appears to be in it's current incarnation and also because I know that people have an easier time finding other users with similar questions and issues if they use Ubuntu.

          I think that Ubuntu sits where it does in terms of popularity because it came on the scene at the right time with the right goal, make it easy and got the interest because it was new and shiny. It isn't at the top because it is necessarily better in terms of software or functionality, but it is the best in terms of community for the new Linux user right now and that is what sets it apart.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by sabernet (751826)
          I find the community and support are excellent as well. Linux support I found had lots of issues with the "Pfff, you don't know how to do THAT?? Well I ain't telling you, that's stupid. You must know every delimiter possible for use on that command line tool. ID10T!" crowd.

          On the Ubuntu site, such posts are far fewer and are oft removed/discouraged/beat down upon by the others in the forum.

          Also, the free disks, the philosophy behind it, the actual inclusion of 'evil' closed source drivers(though still
      • by garcia (6573) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @12:09PM (#19826319) Homepage
        Simple: Ubuntu has a charismatic millionaire behind it. That's really all there is to it. Marketing is everything

        Uhh, no, it has to do with being called "Feisty Fawn". I mean, what's hotter than Bambi being naughty? ;-) (BTW, I've been a Debian user for 6 years and don't understand the hype either).
      • Re:My Opinion (Score:5, Insightful)

        by greg_barton (5551) * <greg_barton@NOSpaM.yahoo.com> on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @12:17PM (#19826469) Homepage Journal

        That's really all there is to it. Marketing is everything.

        That's a load of horse hockey.

        I started out using Mandrake, back in '98 or so. I wanted a distro that "just worked" and it was fine in that respect...until it wasn't. Once I was comfortable enough with linux I used Gentoo for a few years. Then it started crashing and burning, even on the "stable" configuration. After that, Ubuntu was the choice for a distro that "just worked," and it's served that purpose for me for the last few years. Marketing had nothing to do with my decision to use Ubuntu. Zippo. It has value on it's technical merits alone. Just because it's publicized and wrapped in a pretty package does not mean it's value is decreased. Marketing and technical merit are not mutually exclusive.
      • Re:My Opinion (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @12:51PM (#19826937) Homepage Journal

        Simple: Ubuntu has a charismatic millionaire behind it.

        Umm, no. For a lot of us, Ubuntu has Debian behind it. It's like the pretty, desktop-oriented version of Debian for people who want relatively recent software without running "unstable". Should Ubuntu cease to exist today, I'll point my sources.list to debian.org and crossgrade back to the parent system.

        I like Gentoo and Slackware and FreeBSD and OpenBSD, but Ubuntu is what I use when I want a Debian system with a little bit of polish. It really hit the sweet spot for a lot of people.

      • Mo than money (Score:3, Insightful)

        by poptones (653660)
        I used to run mandrake. It was my distro of coice before ubuntu, and when ubuntu 5.10 or whatever it was hit I gladly left mandrake in the dust. RPM packages are a pain in the ass, and mandrake had this habit of "upgrading" disk encryption tools from release to release that ended up leaving me having to completely redo my encrypted partitions.

        But what really did it was the support tools. I tried mandrake, suse, redhat and fedora and ubuntu had the easiest to use support tools. Mandrake's support forums abso
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Bovarchist (782773)
      I have to agree with you. I installed Ubuntu 5.x and 6.x on my home system and never could get everything to work, even after a bit of tweaking. I installed Mandriva and everything worked immediately. What annoyed me most about Ubuntu was that the help files and man pages weren't included with the ISO and were only available online. I know space is precious in a single ISO, but they could at least include *something*.
    • Re:My Opinion (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Wylfing (144940) <brian AT wylfing DOT net> on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @11:58AM (#19826167) Homepage Journal

      I'm foregoing modding you (it would have been +1 Insightful) in order to reply.

      I used to be a Mandrake "subscriber." I paid my yearly dollars, because Mandrake was really the best distro out there that I had tried. Even when Fedora came around, I gave that a whirl and it wasn't up to the Mandrake level in my opinion.

      It is true that Mandrake pioneered most of the user-friendliness that Ubuntu now capitalizes upon. However, in my time with Mandrake there was always something that didn't work right. It changed from release to release, but it was always something. Like they had 98% of everything nailed down, but that one thing just bugged me to death, because it would be something like, oh, printing. I frequently built custom kernels under Mandrake in order to get things to work, and even then there were often a few things that were broken beyond my ability to repair. Now when Ubuntu came around, I installed on a test machine (I do this often with new releases of distros I'm not using just to see how they fare). I was so happy -- there was nothing that didn't work, straight out of the box. No fiddling, no custom kernels. They had closed that last 2% of functionality. It was almost zero configuration for printing and wireless networking, two things that historically have been a problem.

      So yes, Mandrake was (and is) a leader in making an easy-to-use desktop distribution. But Ubuntu blew the doors off with its "it just works" quality. That's why people love it, and that's why it's on all my desktops to this day.

      • Re:My Opinion (Score:4, Interesting)

        by CastrTroy (595695) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @12:13PM (#19826407) Homepage
        Maybe I just have different hardware or software needs, but for me, there is no 2% of stuff that doesn't work on Mandriva. For me, personally, it has always just worked. And considering only 2% isn't working, it's probably not that uncommon for people to not experience any problems with Mandriva. Also, Ubuntu might also have 2% of stuff not working, and you just haven't run into it. Like I said, the administration tools from Mandriva are much better, and maybe that's the "2%" of stuff that I don't like from Ubuntu. Also, saying that Ubuntu blew the doors off of Mandriva by filling in the last 2% is a little bit of an exaggeration. At most it is a minor improvemnt, and if you were already a happy Mandriva user, I don't think it would be worth switching over to Ubuntu.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Stinking Pig (45860)
        Ditto -- I let my Mandrake subscription lapse two years ago for the same reason. I switched to SuSE at the time, but I've been disappointed by it as well; everything's great 98% of the time, but then YaST2 will get confused and wipe out something critical (like your kernel, or your smb.conf). Debian or Ubuntu will probably go on my replacement servers when these SuSE systems die off.

        Unfortunately, it won't be going on any laptops, because it still sucks. I recently gave Feisty Fawn a try on a T40, T43, and
    • by AvitarX (172628)
      Price.

      I stopped using Mandriva (was still Mandrake maybe) when I couldn't get the AMD64 build with my bargain basement club membership (in their defense they said it was worthless and not to get it).

      I was building a new computer and buying OEM XP for $70.00, I realized I payed well over $100.00 for Mandrake, was still paying, and after many months still didn't have the version that ran native. XP was going to last me years, and Mandrake was another 60.00 every year (5.00/month).

      I then pirated the full vers
    • by Knuckles (8964)
      I don't see anything that Ubuntu has that Mandrake didn't have 3 years ago

      Automatic installation of restricted codecs. Easy installation and removal of as well as information about proprietary drivers. Very smooth handling of removable media (not Ubuntu-specific but a Gnome feature). Easy setup of 3D eyecandy for supported cards. Great attention to little details. A pretty polished Gnome (not meant as flamebait, but KDE does overwhelm casual users).
    • I used to use Mandriva, but things would often blow up (I liked to toy around with stuff a lot, such as XGL) and only be fixable with a reinstall. Ditto for OpenSuse. Ever since I've gone to Ubuntu however, I've actually been pleased with what I have and actually have gone through my computers and placing ubuntu feisty over windows or the current flavor or linux it had before it. I now have two 100% ubuntu work computers, one 100% ubunu personal computer, and only one computer left with windows for gamin
    • by Teun (17872)
      I've never used Mandriva, I started out with an early Red Hat till the second Fedora release.
      Because I could not always get the answers I needed with Fedora and after playing with a (Debian based) Knoppix install I went with Kubuntu.

      I find the biggest attraction of *ubuntu lies in the very helpful user base.
      Of course all the effort Ubuntu has and is putting in hardware support and ease of install is a big bonus too.
    • I don't see anything that Ubuntu has that Mandrake didn't have 3 years ago. I'm not sure why Ubuntu is catching all this attention. Maybe I'm missing something really big, but I seriously don't see what makes Ubuntu so much better


      7 words: Naked people on your desktop by default.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by i8myh8 (859764)
      Here's what Ubuntu has -- this coming from a Linux Geek who doesn't use Ubuntu:

      It works. No monkeying around, no driver hunt or configuration issues, it works. I can pop Ubuntu in my Acer Aspire 5670 laptop and it loads the wireless, loads the ATI Video drivers, EVERYTHING and it gives me no grief. Fedora, Mandrive, Suse, etc.. all give you grief when you're installing the OS. Fedora 6 is the next best thing but getting the wireless to work is painful, and while *I* can accomplish it, I've spent a great
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ubuwalker31 (1009137)
      You're kidding right? Could you plug in a camera or scanner or a printer into a base install Mandrake 3 years ago and have them automatically detected? Did most video cards work right out of the box with non-prop drivers? Could you network with windows computers network shared drives out of the box?

      Plus, Mandrake didn't have a shit brown theme 3 years ago...
    • by metamatic (202216) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @02:24PM (#19828253) Homepage Journal
      You won't like the answer, but it's in TFA.

      It's more that Mandriva has something Ubuntu doesn't, something that drives people away. RPM-based distributions are not popular with users. That's because in spite of band-aids like Yum, the user experience for RPM still sucks.

      Lots of people have been saying so for years, but the denial in the RPM camp is amazing.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jedidiah (1196)
      I was using Mandrake 5 years ago. I stopped using it when I finally got tired of RPM and wanted something comparable to apt-get. I tried retrofitting Mandrake. The frustration associated with that caused me to try Debian once again and then never look back.

      apt-get and the repositories to go with it has always been the Debian "killer app".
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BRSloth (578824) *
      I guess there is one simple answer, and it comes with five letters: GNOME. Ok, you can kick me now, but listen this: what every single distribution was doing 3 years ago with KDE? They were trying really hard to mimic Windows. Users would look at it, see "Oh, it looks like Windows" but, when using it, it would not behave like Windows. Inside their heads, they would say "This Windows sucks".

      Now Ubuntu chose GNOME as default desktop interface (but you can have Kubuntu and KDE, if you want to). When users look
  • by the_humeister (922869) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @11:20AM (#19825613)
    That's the question posed. Well, we only have to look at the market penetration of Windows to know that question is rather meaningless. Ubuntu is a good distribution. "Best distribution" is a bit presumptuous as people who would be interested in a Linux distribution have different needs.
  • by Yath (6378) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @11:21AM (#19825627) Journal
    From the article:

    RPM based distros are solid, but unfortunately, they lack hand-holding for beginners.
    Will someone explain to me why, as a power user, I am expected to enjoy doing a lot of make-work whenever I install an OS?

    This just in: it's an Ubuntu future.
    AN Ubuntu future? You get a D+. This article contains nothing useful.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Necreia (954727)
      "an Ubuntu" is proper, unless the u is pronounced as a y in a word like "you".

      http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/esl/esliart .html [purdue.edu]

    • by Aladrin (926209) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @11:44AM (#19825963)
      Yes, 'an'.

      http://www.ubuntu.com/aboutus/faq [ubuntu.com]

      How do you pronounce Ubuntu?
      Ubuntu, an African word from Zulu and Xhosa, is pronounced "oo-BOON-too".


      Before a vowel sound, you use 'an' instead of 'a'.

      Anyhow, doesn't matter cuz Kubuntu is better. ;)

      I used Debian (long ago) and then more recently Slackware. When Kubuntu Dapper came out, I switched to that and never looked back. It had everything that Slackware did, but the ease of 'apt-get install x' for almost all the software I wanted. Slackware worked well and all, but any time I wanted to install something, I was expected to configure and make it, or download a slackware package from some third-party site that had stuff that worked about 2/3 of the time. (My definition of not-working includes compiles that leave out options that are pretty necessary as well as just plain broken.)

      2 versions later, I can't imagine using another OS as my primary OS. There are drawbacks, like proprietary drivers for the major video cards, and lacking the fancy interface of certain fruit-oriented OS's, but I'm more efficient on Kubuntu than any other OS I've used.
      • by Medgur (172679)
        Power of Slackware but the ease of Debian? You want Arch Linux. i686, slackware-based, slick package management, gentoo-style external ports for at-will rebuilding, massive user-supplied package set, solid.
    • Will someone explain to me why, as a power user, I am expected to enjoy doing a lot of make-work whenever I install an OS?

      I don't believe he is saying that a power user enjoys it, but it is expected that when the hand holding doesn't work you, as a power user, can work your way through it yourself. A beginner will be incapable of working their way through an install or maintenance when the hand holding fails.

      I.E. I recently installed Ubuntu on a system with 4 SATA drives and 2 PATA drives setup with multipl

  • Average user? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by siwelwerd (869956) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @11:24AM (#19825663)
    What does average user even mean? For the average Windows user, I'd say Ubuntu would be the best for them without hesitation. For the average Linux user, the question becomes trickier. I don't know that there is a well-defined "average Linux user".
  • This is kind of confusing to me that the excluded the 'Slackware crowd's preferences. If there exist Linux distros that the 'Slackware crowd' prefers (not rhetorical - I really am not aware of Linux user preferences), then isn't there scope for improving the user interface of these distros to make them more accessible to the common user and trump Ubuntu? Why hasn't this been done? Did Ubuntu make a rapid rise to the top and leave others behind? If so, they'll catch up I'm sure. Since the Linux developers co
    • by Otter Escaping North (945051) <otter DOT escapi ... AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @11:39AM (#19825887) Journal

      This is kind of confusing to me that the excluded the 'Slackware crowd's preferences. If there exist Linux distros that the 'Slackware crowd' prefers (not rhetorical - I really am not aware of Linux user preferences), then isn't there scope for improving the user interface of these distros to make them more accessible to the common user and trump Ubuntu?

      Being an Ubuntu user who is also part of the "Slackware crowd" (you insensitive clod!), I think there's also a danger in running too far with the notion that a particular distro suits a particular number of users. I am but one user with multiple tasks to perform; I don't have requirements - my tasks do. I use Slackware on my servers, because I have evaluated it to be the best tool for the jobs I need the platform to do. I use Ubuntu on my desktop workstations because I think it is the best tool for those jobs.

      I understand the need for simplification when doing an article like this, and maybe that's why the author just wanted to start by moving pains-in-the-ass like me off the table and stick with ye-average-joes who have perhaps one PC that they use. It drastically limits the complexity of the issue; but it inexorably limits the relevance of the article at the same time.

      • Ahhh... I completely ignored the fact that there might be a Linux user who is not a fanboi. I have used Linux on a few separate occasions (most of the time not even knowing/caring about the flavor), but to me again, it really there was no noticeable difference in the flavors for really basic tasks as long as you're using Gnome/KDE or something. The other stuff, I had to figure out, so I cannot really comment on ease of use since it could have been due to my ignorance. FC6 is probably the only Linux disto I
  • Maybe... (Score:3, Informative)

    by jeevesbond (1066726) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @11:27AM (#19825725) Homepage

    Maybe I'm missing something about this article, but it's very short, makes no real points and doesn't back up its claims. How can we ever know which distro is the most used? Distrowatch? Their methods [distrowatch.com] are hardly reliable!

    Sadly it seems this article has been written to get people arguing on social networking sites instead of bringing anything new to the table. Yes, I know: I must be new here. :)

  • by An Ominous Coward (13324) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @11:28AM (#19825733)
    For this particular situation, yes, Ubuntu's popularity does mean it is the best distro. Ubuntu is the first Linux that's had "mass market" appeal, bringing in people from outside the *NIX world, due to its easy of install and use, but also for being "hot" at the right time: when Microsoft is trying to shove a slow, bloated, DRM-filled downgrade called Vista on its users.

    So even if Ubuntu isn't ideal for all Linux users, it has the opportunity to greatly increase the Linux user population, bringing more and wider-ranged development to the OS, which will benefit us all regardless of our distro of choice.
  • by bogaboga (793279) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @11:29AM (#19825753)

    [...]do high numbers mean that Ubuntu is the best distribution out there?[...]

    No doubt, the (*)Ubuntus are great distros. One thing continues to baffle my mind in the general Linux world:

    Why won't the fonts look beautiful by default?

    Why, after all these years Linux has existed, do we have to seek help from Microsoft with its fonts in order to have a desktop that is a pleasure to look at?

    Why is it that there is still debate as to whether wizzard like setps would be good for the desktop or the server? On this point, a wizzard like setup routine to handle an application like the Apache web server would make things easier for a lot of folks.

    What makes me mad is that those who have the skills do do the needful, still refuse to see what seems to be obvious. Time will tell.

    • by asuffield (111848)

      Why, after all these years Linux has existed, do we have to seek help from Microsoft with its fonts in order to have a desktop that is a pleasure to look at?


      Basically because the people who are responsible for the current 'popular' font libraries are determined to emulate Windows. We don't need to do things this way, but they've made it very difficult to do things any other way.
    • by florin (2243) *

      Why, after all these years Linux has existed, do we have to seek help from Microsoft with its fonts in order to have a desktop that is a pleasure to look at?
      We don't. These days, we can just use Red Hat's Liberation [redhat.com] font family instead.
    • by Khaed (544779)
      Why won't the fonts look beautiful by default?

      I have Ubuntu (Feisty Fawn) and XP installed on the same computer. The fonts look better on my 17" LCD in Ubuntu, by default, than they do in Windows. I'm not entirely sure why this is, as I've even compared the same fonts, taken screenshots. I've tried tweaking the way fonts look in Windows but can't. They just look like crap there.

      So, really, maybe it's perspective/taste, or you've not seen Linux fonts lately. Before I delved into Linux again last year, t
    • by jZnat (793348) *

      Why won't the fonts look beautiful by default?
      Why, after all these years Linux has existed, do we have to seek help from Microsoft with its fonts in order to have a desktop that is a pleasure to look at?

      I'm going to assume here that you prefer to look at aliased Arial and Verdana rather than a modern anti-aliased font family such as DejaVu/Bitsream Vera? That's personal opinion, and any Mac user, graphic artist, or people with good eyesight would prefer to have anti-aliased font families, and in the case of graphic artists, especially ones that aren't a cheap ripoff of Helvetica that don't look good on paper nor displays.

      Besides, if you want to have your Microsoft fonts, you go to "Add/Remove Programs",

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Coryoth (254751)

      Why won't the fonts look beautiful by default?

      Because good fonts are expensive. If you want beautiful fonts then I suggest you head on over to Adobe, or Monotype or ITC and buy some. For sans-serif Cronos Pro [adobe.com], Gill Sans [monotypefonts.com] and Optima [adobe.com] are all excellent. For serif fonts there's always the classics like Caslon [adobe.com], Garamond [itcfonts.com], or New Baskerville [itcfonts.com]. Of course some of those cost a fair amount of money for the complete font set, but you'll end up with far more beautiful fonts than Windows fonts give you. If you're not actually willing to pay for nice typefaces then yo

  • by Tackhead (54550) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @11:29AM (#19825757)
    It is now official. MadPenguin.org has confirmed: Ubuntu is not dying.

    One more encouraging sign hit the already triumphant Ubuntu community when MadPenguin confirmed that Ubuntu market share has risen yet again, now up to to some number that would actually make this parody much easier to write had been cited in the fucking article.

    Coming with a hotlink to a recent MadPenguin.org article which plainly states that Microsoft Does't Care About Destroying Linux, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. It's simply a matter of numbers, despite it being a sore spot with Fedora and SuSe users who've failed to get over it.

    You don't need to be the Amazing Kreskin to predict Ubuntu's future. The hand writing is on the wall: Ubuntu has won the hearts of common users. In fact there won't be any future at all without Ubuntu because Ubuntu is not dying. Things are looking very good for Ubuntu. As many of us are already aware, Ubuntu continues to gain market share. Take a cold, hard look around.

    Debian is the most endangered of them all, had a much slower development cycle than many of us would amit. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time Fedora communicy relations issues only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: Ubuntu is not dying.

    Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

    If there were any in TFA, I'd have talked about the number of users Ubuntu has, made a few wisecracks about Theo and FreeBSD, and compared the number of Ubuntu vs FreeBSD articles on Slashdot, divided by the number of modpoints used. So let's just skip that bit and call it as done. Throw me a frickin' bone here, I haven't even had my morning coffee yet.

    All major surveys show that Ubuntu has steadily risen in market share. Ubuntu is very healthy and its long term survival prospects are very good. If Ubuntu is to triumph at all it will be over Vista itself. Ubuntu continues to grow. Nothing short of a disaster could kill it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, Ubuntu is alive.

  • Did I miss something, or was this hardly a review? Seems more like a few questions posed, a couple paragraphs of off-the-cuff analysis, and voila - it's an article. More has been written in the /. comments already than what was contained in TFA.
  • If its number of downloads, do they take into account the number of people who download it and don't use it because they find it lacking?

    I've experienced Ubuntu, the last version was a little slow on my machine, and the software manager broke it once. The current version is mostly faster except with task switching, where it is still noticably slow. The software manager, thus far, has only managed to break itself when it crashed (getting some wireless connection related packages). I'm sure I'll get help from
    • The last three computers I bought came with Windows. None of these computers have Windows on them now.

      Installing Linux is usually the first thing I do to a computer.

      So while I've bought Windows a few times, I have not kept it.

      How does Microsoft measure its user base? I see sales numbers fron Forrester and IDC, but couldn't MS publish actual numbers. You have to register Windows don't you? (I guess that doesn't count the cracked pirated versions).

      I gues the real answer is that all of these methods ar

  • by hirschma (187820) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @11:31AM (#19825787)
    Summary: Ubuntu is the biggest Linux distro because I say so. Discuss.

    How much did they pay slashdot for the traffic being generated?
  • Some will argue that this is an impossible point to make, as each person has different needs from their distribution. But for the sake of this article, we will be considering the average user

    Average user? Average user?? That's exactly the sort of thinking and language that screws up these debates to begin with. You start by ceding the point that distro preference is down to user needs & priorities, and then totally contradict that point by taking the "average" user as a point of reference.

    That isn't a

  • ... though i prefer a kde desktop-- but that's what kubuntu is for. The great thing about linux distros is the shear abundance of options you have. If ubuntu starts sucking someday it isn't terribly hard to switch to a different distro. I've taken the path of SuSE -> Ubuntu/Kubuntu -> Gentoo, but Ubuntu isn't inferior to Gentoo- just a little different. SuSE.. well.. its become what it aimed to become- a bloated enterprise distro.
  • FTA:

    "Then we have Fedora with strong functionality (dual displays, anyone?),"

    Err , dual (and more) displays have been a feature of X windows since at least the early 90s. Not sure when XF86 and Xorg incorporated it but it was long before Fedora came onto the scene. Wtf is this guy on about? You can have dual displays on any linux install so long as your card and drivers support it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ancientt (569920)

      It isn't Xorg/XF86 that are in question, it is the distro tools that configure them for you.

      I have re-written quite a few xorg.conf files to deal with my dual-head display and have not yet come across a distro that handles it well enough to just use a GUI. I haven't tried Ubuntu on this setup but I can tell you that Mandriva, Slax and CentOS5 all do a decent job of setting up a basic config. I have to go in and reconfigure for every one of them but it beats the heck out of rebuilding from scratch for any o

  • I've Switched (Score:3, Interesting)

    by J3M (546439) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @11:36AM (#19825833)
    I've completely switched to Ubuntu at home. For the most part, it has been relatively painless. My wife has had a few printing issues. I had to spend some time getting the wireless to work in our Dell laptop and I had to tweak our ATI card settings in xorg.conf manually to get a good resolution.

    Other than those minor things, it has just worked.

    I use our main PC as a studio PC. It has a M-Audio 1010LT card which worked, but it took me some time to get the recording issues sorted out. JACK has a slight learning curve as did Ardour, but no more so than Adobe Audition did on XP. I've been rather pleased with the free available software for studio use.

    I've even used GIMP a few times to edit some photos. While I had to hunt around a bit looking for the feature I wanted, I haven't run into anything it can't do that I need. Photoshop was always overkill for me anyway.

    My experiment at home to run Ubuntu on our laptop has turned into a complete conversion and I'm not looking back. I talk it up to anyone who'll listen.
    • by Khaed (544779)
      I've switched, too, and:

      I had to tweak our ATI card settings in xorg.conf manually to get a good resolution.

      That is the big show stopper in Ubuntu, to me. That is unacceptable in a distro that wants to be user-friendly. I had no problem doing this, and even expected it as I migrated from Slackware. But a non-techie user can't be expected to do this sort of thing. The wink and nod, "here are the codecs" thing Ubuntu does is acceptable, text-file-configuration-editing is not.
  • People like Ubuntu because they have a perception that it installs easily on the desktop and just works. This is like the perception that Macs are arty, and that Windows runs all old software and comes from a stable company. Whether others did it first, Ubuntu is the first to brand itself with this identity and so is gaining new converts. The question is: how many were already Linux users, and how many have newly-fled from corporate platforms like OS X and Windows?
  • Why is there more than one linux distribution in the first place?

    This is one of the most confusing things to new users. If they want to buy Windows, they go to the store and buy Windows. It isn't available from 17 different companies; only Microsoft sells Windows. There are a few versions (home, professional, etc) but the installation/upgrade user experience is common across all of them.

    Imagine if all of the programmer time and effort that goes towards packaging and installation programs for the vario
    • by tuffy (10202)

      If they want to buy Windows, they go to the store and buy Windows.

      XP Home? XP Professional? Vista Home Basic? Vista Home Premium? Vista Business? Vista Enterprise? Vista Ultimate?

      There's lots of Linux distros for the same reason there's lots of Windows versions - because they are aimed at different users with different needs.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by norminator (784674)
      Maybe you should read through the other comments on this page to see how different people feel about Ubuntu and other distros. Personal preferences are all over the map. There's good and bad things about all distros. Usually a distro is started because existing drivers don't fill a particular need.

      Head over to DistroWatch [distrowatch.com] and read a little about some of the distros, you'll see what the unique purposes of most of them are. Ubuntu is a relatively new distribution, and before that I messed around with R
    • Sure, if we all wanted the same things, the world would be a much more efficient place. Boring, but efficient.

      And you can catch quite a few subtle bugs by making software work in many different environments.
  • Why I use Ubuntu (Score:5, Insightful)

    by loconet (415875) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @12:37PM (#19826753) Homepage
    I've been using Linux for about 8 years (desktops and servers) and have tried numerous distributions (Redhat, SuSe, Mandrake/Mandriva, Slackware) as a desktop OS. As far as the desktop goes, here are some things off the top of my head that Ubuntu offers me that other distros did not at the time of my experience with them (which may have been several years ago).

    #1: No nonsense software manager. Ubuntu's Add/remove programs system just works. No dependency nightmare, rarely the need for command line, no need to compile/mock around with make files (although I'm comfortable with the process) but if there is the need, the option is there. Don't need to signup to get updates, it just works.
    - All of my hardware works. ATI card, LCD (minimum tweak needed to get native res), ipod, firewire card, cellphone through USB, digi cams, cd/dvd writers, etc, etc.
    - Relative cutting edge and stable software versions, I don't remember the last time I had x/gnome crash on me.
    - Great software selection through their reps.
    - Sane directory structure/menus setup.
    - Excellent community support / forums.
    - Ease of installation (although most distros offered this as well)

    Never been happier with a Linux desktop.
  • Why I chose Ubuntu (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AntonDevious (879535) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @12:38PM (#19826767) Homepage
    I've been in the computer industry for 20+ years. I've pretty much used every flavor of Unix and several different linux distros. Needless to say I'm in the "command line friendly" crowd. I enjoy tinkering with thing and yet I chose Ubuntu. My main job, day today needs solid email, web browsing and office apps world. So as long as I have a good text editor for code, and those apps, I'm happy. Fedora was too much work. I had to think about it as I'm trying to do my job. It was bloated, way too much stuff running, different tools trying to update/install software that didn't work together (update manager - yum - rpm), one could run while the other was running and hose your database, etc. I need to reinstall the OS and after 4 hours and 5 CD's of Fedora I was quite unhappy. So the next time I installed, it was one disk, 30 minutes, minimal bloat and I've never had my software package management fail to work together. With Ubuntu, I don't have to think about the OS and the apps. I can think about my work. And there is still plenty of tinker room with Ubuntu!
  • by bzipitidoo (647217) <bzipitidoo@yahoo.com> on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @12:39PM (#19826787) Journal

    Obviously. And Ubuntu is no exception to that. On old PCs that have less than 256M RAM, you can't use the standard Ubuntu live/install CD. Laptops have always been a little behind desktops, making it even harder to find a suitable distro for an old laptop. If one of the brags of Linux is that old hardware isn't left out in the cold, many of the distros make that untrue by building for Pentium IIs at a minimum. Embedded is even harder-- there are few enough options that you can be pretty much stuck heavily modifying and compiling some sort of Gentoo style distro, or even making up a distro yourself. A 386 with 4M of RAM isn't a usable computer anymore, but it's not because it can't do useful work, it's because software has become so much more demanding. I used to surf the Internet on just such a 386, with Netscape 3 running in X.

    I've been trying distro after distro, trying to find something lightweight and full featured not just because I have old computers, but also because I like fast response times. Slackware derivatives seem most promising, so have tried Zenwalk, Vector, and Slackware itself. Also tried Xubuntu. Next on my list of distros to try is KateOS.

    Someone asked why Mandriva wasn't more popular. In 2 words, nagging and blinders. Mandriva by default points a lot of things to various nag messages, like the default browser homepage. Lot of the help functions launch a browser which, guess what? Loads up another part of the Mandriva web site with both a) nagging, and b) blinders, as in a search function that searches only Mandriva's stuff. Once you get tired of not finding answers there, you forget their help functions, and try your luck with a real search engine, or the Howtos from linux.org, or (gasp) the docs from the homepage of whatever generic app you're trying to use.

  • "Now, for the biggest question: do high numbers mean that Ubuntu is the best distribution out there?

    Uh no! god no! Tag request: flamebait

    I'll purportedly avoid reading any comment to this news item.

  • Can I just take an ubuntu DVD and install it over top of Suse Linux 10? I keep reading that Ubuntu's application installer is a lot easier to work with than Yast/RPM, and I'd like to give it a shot.

    Plus, I have a shareware game that I'm working on, but, once I flop it out on the MS I'm going to open source it and it would be cool to get it into a hip distro.
  • windows "skin" (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mclarenfan (1126827) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @03:33PM (#19829093)
    I think ease-of-use is what made Ubuntu distro with mass-appeal. A friend of mine was using my laptop for a day, and asked me where I got the "skin" for windows from. I know he did not try to install anything, and used it primarily for browsing, but still it speaks volumes of Ubuntu's ease-of-use.

IF I HAD A MINE SHAFT, I don't think I would just abandon it. There's got to be a better way. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.

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