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Ulteo Shows Linux-Windows Crossover Potential 70

Posted by timothy
from the these-handcuffs-are-delicious dept.
An anonymous reader writes "With Wubi and now the Ulteo Virtual Desktop, we're starting to see examples of the potential 'cross-over' appeal of Linux to Windows users. Ulteo gets a nice look from Channelweb, which writes, 'Considering that this is not even a version 1 beta, we have high hopes for Ulteo Virtual Desktop. It allows Linux novices to dip their toes into the water without any fear, and lets Linux pros use their favorite applications when they are forced to be in a Windows environment.' This also seems to play into comments by Mark Shuttleworth, who has said the Ubuntu community may want to think about how it can start appealing to Windows users."
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Ulteo Shows Linux-Windows Crossover Potential

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  • by Foofoobar (318279) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @11:56AM (#23587347)
    If you put a stable platform on an unstable one, people who are unfamiliar will not realize that the new one is not the problem.

    If you put a secure platform on one that is generally more insecure, people will still think it may have gotten a virus through it because they don't understand.

    The only thing you are doing is getting people introduced to common applications like Open Office, Firefox and other more commonly used OO applications and there are far better ways to do this than with something that a common consumer will probably never use; if you want them to start using Open Office and Firefox, burn a bunch of Disks and nice labels and start a campaign on 'back to school' periods when everyone is shopping for their kids and college students and stand outside that Mac Store or the BestBuy handing out OpenOffice and Firefox CD's.
    • by hansraj (458504) * on Thursday May 29, 2008 @12:00PM (#23587399)
      While I agree with your comments that this is far from the ideal way of using linux, I disagree with your assessment that it serves little to no purpose. Once a windows user gets used to the KDE task bar, and then eventually with the whole lot of programs that come with it, it would be easier for them to totally abandon Windows. Of course not everyone will switch boats but a good enough chunk should :)

      World domination, naturally, is the next step.
    • if you want them to start using Open Office and Firefox, burn a bunch of Disks and nice labels and start a campaign on 'back to school' periods when everyone is shopping for their kids and college students and stand outside that Mac Store or the BestBuy handing out OpenOffice and Firefox CD's.

      Outstanding idea!

      But if you really want to help open-source projects, do this with CD's purchased from Mozilla and OpenOffice.org. That way, the products get the public awareness, and the developers of the products get the funding they need to continue developing them.

      • by Krigl (1025293)
        "Hello, may I interest you in the gospel and source code of our Lord, the Penguin Almighty and Linus Torvalds his only son?"

        Linking Linux with Jehova's Witnesses in the minds of non-geek crowd doesn't seem as a way to go. After all, this has been already tested on the geek crowd.
        Also this has been here before, the guy called it Linux social experiment (I'd link his article but the domain has expired, so here's [uloz.to] a "mirror"), read it, it's really enlightening.
        If you want to get all "must get Linux to the
      • TheOpenCD ?
    • I know it isn't the norm to compliment Windows, but Windows has been solid since 2k (minus Vista). And by solid, the only blue screen I've seen is a driver behaving badly. The only lockups I've seen is almost always trying to read an unreadable disk (hard drive bad sector, huge scratch in a DVD). It isn't the 90's anymore. Windows is no longer synonymous with the 9x line. The digs and pokes at it crashing and locking up just don't stick anymore.
      • by Foofoobar (318279) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @12:37PM (#23587953)
        I use Windows too and agree it has been MORE solid but I also use Mac and Debian Linux as well and in comparison, side-by-side... it's buggy, unstable, virus ridden and hackable. Sure props are due in them coming a long way in improving but they have a fundamentally flawed underlying design and need to fix that, the file system and several other core problems before they can stabilize the entire system.

        Speaking as someone who uses all three platforms, there's a reason why Mac and Linux people make these complaints when talking about Windows. It's because it's fairly true.
      • by argent (18001) <peter@slashdot.2 ... com minus physic> on Thursday May 29, 2008 @12:40PM (#23588021) Homepage Journal
        I know it isn't the norm to compliment Windows, but Windows has been solid since 2k (minus Vista).

        Well, I spent 20 years as a network administrator, and while the NT-derived Windows has been pretty solid, it's never reached the point where I can say the only time I've had to reboot is to upgrade software, nor have I been able to treat the Windows desktops I've supported as cavalierly as UNIX. And, too, the deep security issues in Win32 haven't been seriously addressed yet.

        In my new job attempting to remove Outlook and downgrade it to something that wasn't infested with the Vista cult broke my computer so badly I had to get it reimaged. Not only shouldn't this be rocket science, but I'm metaphorically a rocket scientist and it's still too hard.

        I've seen this at home, too: my daughter's Windows 2000 desktop had to be reinstalled every six months because she broke something. She's gone about 3 years on her Mac mini without incident.
        • Either you've been unlucky, or I've been exceptionally lucky, because I can honestly say the only time I reboot my (Windows) machine is for a) Windows updates, b) driver installs, or c) software installation/uninstallation (occasionally). This has been true for years, in my personal use... across two different machines with three different hardware loadouts.
          • by argent (18001)
            I've been the network admin for 150-400 software developers, 10-20 secretaries, and a couple of dozne each sales, marketing, executive, and general administrative bods, and maybe a couple hundred consultants, contractors, and customers. Oh, and a teenaged girl.

            Bigger sample size, perhaps?

            The biggest problems aren't the software developers, by the way, they're the secretaries and other non-technical types, followed by the consultants and contractors. The former are great at doing things that nobody would ima
            • And I've done desktop support for 200ish clueless university faculty for about 3-4 years, and for 600 equally clueless call center employees for the past couple of years. My sample size is limited to myself, because I know that I can be counted on not to do stupid things. As you correctly recognize, clueless users will wreck anything you let them touch. I've seen clueless faculty wreck OS X just as badly as they've wrecked Windows. The mark of a good/bad OS is how it performs when someone knowledgeable is u
              • by argent (18001)
                As you correctly recognize, clueless users will wreck anything you let them touch.

                I have yet to have a clueless user wreck a Mac (and, yes, I've done Mac support) or a UNIX box (Xenix 286, System V, SunOS 4, Solaris, Tru64, etc) just messing around as a normal user (even on OS 9, and that doesn't HAVE abnormal users). I've cleaned up some really amazing messes caused by someone who's stepped over the line into root-land.

                The easiest way to put a Windows box into a state where it's an inch from blowing its fo
      • Why should a huge scratch in a DVD cause your entire system to lock up?

        Why should a bad sector cause your entire system to lock up?

        I could see giving you a, "Bad disk error. Abort, Retry, Fail?" type message. But locking up the entire system is something that should not happen in a properly modularized operating system. There's such a thing as try {} catch() {} after all.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          It shouldn't. I agree. But I couldn't say Windows never locked up... I listed the only things that I knew to do so.

          Prioritizing IO context is pretty tricky stuff. Even linux has recently had drama with the scheduler being replaced and augmented to no end.

          Also, try/catch is to catch something that is throw()'n. A hardware exception requires SEH, which is expensive.
          • Thanks for enlightening; I'm a business software developer and not an OS developer. Sometime I need to go back and get my full degree...
        • by plague3106 (71849)
          Why should a huge scratch in a DVD cause your entire system to lock up?

          Why should a bad sector cause your entire system to lock up?


          I don't know, but this problem appeared for me on Linux as well. Not as much, but that's because most of the discs giving me issues were games that wouldn't run under Linux anyway.
          • Wasn't saying Linux was any better at it :)

            You'd think hardware designers would build some sort of fault tolerance into the firmware (I'm sure they do already, but it still obviously breaks from time to time. And I don't even want to think about how difficult it is to build firmware..)
        • Why should a bad sector cause your entire system to lock up? [...] There's such a thing as try {} catch() {} after all.
          What should go in the catch(IOException e) block of your kernel's page file code?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by clang_jangle (975789)

        Windows is no longer synonymous with the 9x line. The digs and pokes at it crashing and locking up just don't stick anymore.

        O Rly? Last week I finally got my best friend switched over from XP to xubuntu. What made her switch after 11+ years of using Windows? Stability issues. XP was acting up for her on a semi-daily basis -- blue screens, freezes, crashes. She believes MS has "downgraded" XP via updates on purpose because they want to force Vista down everyone's throats, and I'm sure she's right. Until

        • by Dog-Cow (21281)
          You are wrong. It appears most slashdotters have a rabid and unreasoning hatred of all things Microsoft. MS could replace the NT kernel with Linux or BSD and the same people here would still complain that it was unstable.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by clang_jangle (975789)

            You are wrong. It appears most slashdotters have a rabid and unreasoning hatred of all things Microsoft.


            It is you who is in error. Some may be rabid, but "unreasoning"? We got no end of reasons. Functionality/lack thereof, economics, politics...

            Ever heard the expresson "where there is smoke there is fire"?

        • No, you're just exceptionally unlucky (or rather, your friend is). Windows XP is almost rock-solid (from a stability standpoint)... this has been the general consensus for years.

          Also, the other poster had every right to call you rabid and unreasoning, considering you said:

          She believes MS has "downgraded" XP via updates on purpose because they want to force Vista down everyone's throats, and I'm sure she's right.

          There is no evidence whatsoever of this, other than paranoia and MS-hate. Furthermore, even if they WERE trying to do that, they're doing a piss-poor job, because as far as I'm aware, the vast majority of XP machines are working just fi

          • Windows XP is almost rock-solid (from a stability standpoint)... this has been the general consensus for years.

            Erm, hardly. I have plenty of experience with XP, Linux, BSD, and OS X. The general consensus among geeks is that XP is a turd compared to the others. Furthermore, this is not at all a new thing. But I suppose those who've only ever used Windows wouldn't really know better. All they really know is that XP beats 98.

            Also, the other poster had every right to call you rabid and unreasoning

            Sor

            • Sorry, you lose. I said what my friend told me, and I said I thought she was probably right. Since when is it "rabid" or "unreasoning" to expect MS to use evil means to push their products? It's SOP for them, has been from the very beginning. That is why MS has a monopoly. It certainly isn't due to the merits of Windows.
              Making such a judgement with no evidence to support it (and no, past behavior is NOT evidence) is quite unreasonable.
              • Making such a judgement

                "Judgement"? I merely expressed my opinion.

                past behavior is NOT evidence

                Yes, it is. At least it is among thinking people. And just recently MS was exposed for tampering with the ISO and they are still in violation of multiple anti-trust laws in Europe as well as the US. Whole books could be written about the criminal behavior of MS. But I guess by your reasoning it would be okay if your daughter started dating a convicted rapist, because you don't believe that past behavior

                • An indicator an entirely different thing. An indicator is not evidence. If I said, "I'm suspicious that this guy might rape my daughter", that's one thing. If I flat-out state, as a fact, "This guy is raping my daughter", that's not allowed unless I have actual evidence to back it up.

                  You're missing a key distinction here.

                  • That's just weasel speak. But hey it's okay, maybe win7 will finally give you something to crow about. Stranger things have happened.
                    • No it isn't, it's the exact fucking opposite of weasel speak: using precisely defined terms to ensure clear communication. But hey, it's okay, maybe one day you'll grow beyond setting up strawmen and knocking them down.
                    • Contextually challenged, aintcha? :)
      • Let me present an anecdote: Installing a sound card driver update from Windows Update has rendered my Windows install unbootable.

        If I ever get around to fixing this install, it will only happen through using the installation media. No dropping into a root shell and repairing the file, though I can do this through NTFS-3g. But, to no avail! There is no documentation to begin to explain what might have gone wrong; and worse, no community to support it. Forget even trying to call up the support drones to a
        • You didn't really dispute what I said. Your issue is a driver issue. Maybe a bad driver. Maybe the way that windows update installed it. Either way, you can't blame windows itself for your issue. You can blame the shitty product that updated your Windows install, or you can blame the OEM that wrote the driver.

          And to just finish this out, everyone who has replied to my original post, saying I am wrong... they are in the same boat as you... driver issues (or for one guy, bad hardware).
          • Although I would tend to judge an OS by its overall experience, I do understand your point that Microsoft's poor support of Windows doesn't make Windows bad. Don't forget that this problem came about from my use of Microsoft tools. It is Microsoft's fault for releasing this buggy driver.

            However, my example of bad hardware was just to give an example of how brittle Windows is, and why documentation and community are important. The fact that a driver precipitated a problem is not so big. It is the ensuing
            • The bad thing isn't about Windows itself, it's just about its USERS, i'm a Linux addict since 17 years ago, and continued using windows beside, what i have experienced is that while i formatted and reinstalled linux whenever i wanted to try a new distribution, i had to format and reinstall windows once a month, sometimes twice, because of the garbage it creates during its day use, but it seldom crashes, it is almost as stable as linux, if i manage to do a fresh install once a month. Windows is bad only bec
        • by Dog-Cow (21281)
          You must have gone through extraordinary measures to disable both of Windows' recovery mechanisms. Seems silly to complain in that case.
          • So, your post prompted me to try a little harder. I actually can boot up through "Last known-good configuration" so it's not nearly as dire as I had suggested. But, the system is in an inconsistent state (is the new driver installed? it mustn't, since the computer starts; but, it doesn't appear in Windows Update anymore). On the other hand, I guess I should be happy not to have the option to shoot myself in the foot again.

            Anyway, that's good enough for me, since I just wanted the volume to be unmarked as
      • No, Vista is solid too. It's far better than anyone gives it credit for, really. And I say this from first-hand experience.
    • by PuckSR (1073464)
      Are you insane?
      You have the free time to stand outside of a store and handout CDs?
      Hey, I love linux, firefox, and openoffice...but I also love for people to think that I am sane and rational.

      All standing outside a Mac Store or Best Buy will accomplish is to have the police called because some crazy idiot is handing out suspected pornography.

      Hey, some people may be dumb enough to click on the attachment in an email from a person that they do not know, but wouldn't it be far stupider to take a burned CD from
    • Yea, I see no good reason for this. It's trying to be Linux, but warns you against installing what you want or need for fear of breaking it and wants you to just use the set of applications that they have picked. Many of them are already available compiled to run directly under Windows, so there's not much point in monkeying around with an extra Linux layer and the restrictions of this "special distro" just to run a preselected set of applications. If there is really a reason to support Xp and (ugh) Vista,
    • by debatem1 (1087307)

      if you want them to start using Open Office and Firefox, burn a bunch of Disks and nice labels and start a campaign on 'back to school' periods when everyone is shopping for their kids and college students

      As part of my business, we do this at the local college during orientation. Seems popular, but we've run into the problem of figuring out how many people actually use the software, and of course the fact that costs begin to spiral when you start talking about professionally made CDs. Any suggestions would be welcome.

      • by Foofoobar (318279)
        Work with the Mozilla foundation (for Firefox), Sun (for Open Office) and the actually vendors. Often they will supply CD's if you tell them about the event and your group. Also try to work with a group, announce it on a website, publicize the event so it is well received and publicized so the foundations and organizations realize you are motivated and plan on following through. They are more likely to support you with materials so you don't have to do all the work yourself.

        Also, contact local groups via
  • cygwin (Score:1, Insightful)

    by aXi (6533)
    running open source apps on windows, just port and compile with cygwin or equivalent. Why all these pseudo solutions exist is a riddle to me.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by grub (11606)
      Because this is a relatively painless way for "mom & pop" to try Linux. There's no way my dad could "just port and compile with cygwin".
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MBGMorden (803437)
      I kinda concur (though it looks like you incurred the wrath of the moderators there).

      Linux as an OS is not at all hard to use. Most people who don't figure it out probably aren't doing any better on their current Windows system. The apps are where people run into issues. If someone is already using Firefox on Windows, then that's one less thing to get used to if they "convert". It helps if you can do this a little at a time.

      If you'd look at my desktop (a Windows machine) at work I've got it setup with F
      • I'm the "Go-To Guy" for computer support as far as friends, family, & some of my coworkers are concerned.
        In the last few years, I've convinced many of them to start using Firefox, Thunderbird, OOo, Gimp, and others, instead of their Microsoft counterparts.
        In the past few months, I've set up many of them with dual-boot systems so they could give Ubuntu a try.
        Putting all their now-familiar-with applications as prominent icons on their desktop, I've had only two complaints in the entire time.
        One was "Why d
    • by Thelasko (1196535)
      I tried cygwin on my old laptop once. The program was massive. I didn't even have any programs installed on it and it took up at least a gig. My machine only had a 20 gig HD. I ended up removing it because running Linux software on Windows wasn't worth that much space at the time.
  • Been done (Score:3, Informative)

    by Nazlfrag (1035012) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @12:38PM (#23587981) Journal
    It's always handy to have a DSL install on your USB stick. Linux on windows has been done, it's just much more preferable to use wine on linux and never look back.
  • The linux-on-windows solutions (cygwin was the first, now the more user-friendly ones) present an interesting dilemma. Most windows users I know hate the windows interface. If given an easy way to try gnome/KDE, they may just like it so much that they'd decide to ditch Windows altogether and move all the way to Linux. These installers allow them to reassure themselves that everything they need to do in Windows can be easily done in Linux as well.

    However, my feeling is that these people are outnumbered by the people who will not give up Windows. They will not give up Windows because it runs their games, or because it runs their proprietary applications, or simply because complex Microsoft Office files still look wrong in OpenOffice. These people, I think, are in the majority. Even if they like GNOME/KDE, they will still stick with Windows to get the best of both worlds. This is especially true if they can run GNOME/KDE within Windows without rebooting.

    That is both good news and bad news. Many free software applications will get a boost out of this, but the Linux kernel unfortunately will not.
  • by radarsat1 (786772) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @12:59PM (#23588341) Homepage
    While I think this is sorta cool, I find their choice of applications a little odd. Here's the list from their web page:

    • Firefox (Flash & Java): runs on Windows
    • OpenOffice.org: runs on Windows
    • KPdf: Probably will run on Windows when KDE4 is out?
    • Kopete: Same as above?
    • Skype: Runs on Windows
    • Thunderbird + Enigmail: runs on Windows
    • Gimp and Digikam: Gimp runs on Windows
    • Inkscape: runs on Windows
    • Scribus: runs on Windows


    So.. granted, I personally think many of these applications run better and more naturally on Linux, but still it's kind of funny to see this list. (Not sure what will happen with the KDE applications.)

    If they wanted to show off Linux applications that don't have Windows ports they might have chosen maybe "KOffice", or "Gnumeric", or "Evolution". I dunno.
    • If they wanted to show off Linux applications that don't have Windows ports they might have chosen maybe "KOffice", or "Gnumeric", or "Evolution". I dunno.
      What about FontForge without having to install tens or hundreds of megabytes of Cygwin cruft?
  • When I first read about Ulteo, I thought it sounded great. And the few "reviews" I could find were all glowing. When I installed on on my XPMCE/SP2 system at home, it did something to my network configuration that made the physical network adapter disappear, so I had no networking what-so-ever in Windows. I cannot comment on Ulteo because it never would start up. Luckily, the uninstall even fixed whatever it had broken, because networking was back as soon as Ulteo was gone.

    Personally, I'll be waiting u

    • by nickos (91443)
      I had the same networking issue (with andLinux, another coLinux "distro") and am not sure I will be able to fix it given the level of paranoia of my company's IT department.

      I wonder if one way of fixing this issue would be to use DirectFB [directfb.org] instead of Xming (an X server)...
  • by josath (460165) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @01:27PM (#23588819) Homepage
    I've been using andLinux for a while now, it's great for running linux apps under windows. Essentially it's a patched linux kernel that actually runs at the same time as the windows kernel, with a small manager which gives time to both windows and linux. Since it's not virtualized, performance is great. Display is done by running Xming, a win32 X11 server in rootless mode, which then connects over the virtual network to the linux host.

    colinux itself is very user-unfriendly, but andLinux has a nice simple installer and launcher that lets you launch linux apps as if they were native windows ones. It's based off of an Ubuntu distro, so you can use apt-get and run pretty much any linux app. A few things don't work that well such as fast paced games, playing videos with mplayer etc, due to running over X11 over sockets with zero acceleration. But any standard desktop app should work fine.

    From their site, Ulteo is also based on colinux, and it appears they go even further than andLinux in making it very userfriendly. But with userfriendlyness often comes with a lack of control, so if you are a linux power-user I'd highly recommend andLinux. It's great to be able to pull up a Konsole instead of having to use the lame windows command prompt (or the sucky cygwin stuff). The only thing that's really missing is being able to launch windows apps from a linux script, but that doesn't come up too often.
  • by PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @03:33PM (#23590737) Journal
    Year Of The Linux Desktop ... Again!
  • I've actually been hoping things like this come along for quite some time. For me, it all started with Samba, Synergy, VNC, NX, Cygwin and Wine. Some Thinstall was thrown in for application portability, but it wasn't until I saw VMware Fusion that I began to get really excited. I'm not a Mac user, so while I definitely liked it, it didn't do me much good.

    After discovering VirtualBox's seamless mode and the new cross-platform Unity feature of the latest VMware Workstation Beta (Putting Windows apps into L

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