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OSCON 2008 Roundup 182

Posted by kdawson
from the where-the-news-was-made dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Infoweek wraps last week's event with Inside The OSCON 2008 Conference, which pulls together interviews with Mark Shuttleworth, Linux Foundation's Jim Zemlin, MySQL's Zach Urlocker and Sam Ramji, who directs Microsoft's Open Source Lab. Best quotes: 'We will make a significant attempt to elevate the Linux desktop to the point where it is as good or better than Apple,' from Shuttleworth; and 'If I would start a business tomorrow I'd do it in the netbook marketplace. I'd build a dead-simple $200 device that targets sports fans, women over forty,' from Zemlin." We discussed Shuttleworth's better-than-Apple proposition while OSCON was going on. Update Jamie noted this OSCON Summary Video that might also be worth your time.
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OSCON 2008 Roundup

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 30, 2008 @01:35AM (#24397337)

    This just is flat out wrong.

    This is like claiming that Apple has such polished desktops and product design because they have really good artists and industrial designers.

    It is the management culture at Apple that makes those things happen and the people doing it are just the tools they use. And the same goes for Core Animation and the rest of OS X's UI and imaging technologies.

    Just take one look at the visual abortion that is KDE 4.1:

    http://www.linux.com/var/uploads/Image/articles/142661.png

    Core Image isn't going to do anything to make that UI nightmare any better. There are fundamental problems that go far beyond the rendering tech used. There is a complete lack of even the most basic UI design concepts that have been developed over the past 20 years. Font rendering and layout problems, colour usage for UI elements, shadowing and light source consistency just to name a few of the most glaring errors.

    A year from now KDE and Gnome will be just a train wreck of UI elements with some more random bling thrown in a continuing futile attempt to 'prove KDE/Gnome is ahead' of Windows and OS X.

    Core Animation would do nothing to help the mess that is KDE/Gnome. It would just add additional pointless bling.

  • by daemonburrito (1026186) on Wednesday July 30, 2008 @01:35AM (#24397343) Journal

    I totally agree with you. I just started hacking around with Cocoa, and I am pretty blown away by how elegant it is.

    Objective C is pretty amazing, too. (I couldn't speculate about whether developing for Cocoa with Java is fun or not).

    It's a total cliche, but it's true: You only get one shot at making a good API. If it has warts that you want to get rid of later, be assured that millions of developers will have written code that depends on those warts.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 30, 2008 @01:38AM (#24397363)

    Yeah it's basically due to the easy modularisation of the apple API due to Cocoa (objective-c). THat makes programming for mac so simple. Linux has an equivalent to this in Gnustep/Etoile with Objective C but it is lacking developer manpower. I am convinced that with a lot of developers backing gnustep/etoile it could easily replicate the mac experience on linux and surpass it.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Wednesday July 30, 2008 @01:49AM (#24397449) Journal
    From your answer I can see you have never used Cocoa. A house-framer with a 12-oz hammer isn't going to have to work twice as hard to get stuff done as one using a 21-oz hammer. The tools a person uses are extremely important. A person who is tired from fighting all the time with the GUI-toolkit is not going to have the energy to be creative about how it looks. The GGP had a better point: it is not enough to just create 'prettiness,' it more importantly has to be functional. And that is where you get the double win with openstep: not only is it easy to make pretty, it is easy to make usable. If you so desire.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 30, 2008 @01:56AM (#24397515)

    About 3 cups vegetable oil
    2 (1 1/4-inch-thick) boneless top loin (New York strip) steaks (about 1 lb each)
    3 1/8 teaspoons spice rub for beef
    1 (1-lb) package frozen french fries
    2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced lengthwise

    Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 450F.

    Heat 1 inch oil in a 4- to 5-quart heavy pot over high heat until it registers 375F on thermometer.

    While oil heats, pat steaks dry, then rub all over with spice rub (and salt if necessary). Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch ovenproof heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sear steaks, turning over once with tongs, until well browned, about 5 minutes total. Transfer skillet to oven and roast 10 minutes for medium-rare.

    Check oil while searing steaks, and when it registers 375F, begin frying french fries in 2 batches (add fries carefully; they may have ice crystals, which could cause spattering), stirring occasionally, until golden and crisp, 4 to 5 minutes per batch. Transfer fries with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain and season with salt and pepper while hot. Return oil to 375F between batches.

    Turn off heat under pot, then add garlic and fry until pale golden, 30 seconds to 1 minute, and transfer with slotted spoon to paper towels. Toss fries with garlic in a large bowl.

    Transfer steak to a cutting board and let stand 5 minutes. Slice steak and serve with fries.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Wednesday July 30, 2008 @02:17AM (#24397637) Journal
    Yeah, I agree, it needs a lot of work. It will happen, let me tell you why. Microsoft is going to be out of the picture (even their stock-holders have no faith in them: check their stock price). So what is left? OSX. Imagine you are Dell, HP, and Lenovo. What are you going to do if you can't push OSX, and Microsoft is dying? You start pushing Linux. Maybe this won't happen, but it isn't an unreasonable scenerio.

    And it can be done. Each one of the problems you have listed can be overcome, and furthermore OSX has showed how to solve a lot of those problems. It's going to be a lot of hard work, but it can be done. And incidentally, I don't even think Interface Builder is that great. It gets the job done, but the latest version annoys me.
  • by speedtux (1307149) on Wednesday July 30, 2008 @04:52AM (#24398441)

    May I interrupt your rant and ask for some facts please? Where are the usability studies showing OS X or Windows to be superior?

    The fact is that Apple has never shown their usability to be better than anybody else's.

    And you have nothing to back up statements "There is a complete lack of even the most basic UI design concepts that have been developed over the past 20 years." Come on, try naming those "basic UI design concepts" that Gnome or KDE supposedly violate.

  • by speedtux (1307149) on Wednesday July 30, 2008 @05:12AM (#24398519)

    If you take a Mac from the Mac store and sit down and use it (i.e. don't install a bunch of garbage on it before you figure out how to use it), well, most people find it pretty intuitive.

    And this is different from Linux how?

    If you plop down an Ubuntu system on someone's desktop, in my experience, they find it "pretty intuitive" as well. Actually, many users prefer the Ubuntu desktop because it's easier to find and launch the apps that they need; nobody has has had any complaints about it.

    or a linux machine (which could look like anything depending on the window manager installed and the programs opened).

    That's a bullshit comparison. You need to compare desktop operating systems, not a kernel and a desktop OS.

    Furthermore, OS X can also "look like anything" if people choose to theme it.

  • by ndogg (158021) <the.rhorn@ g m a i l.com> on Wednesday July 30, 2008 @07:16AM (#24399167) Homepage Journal

    E17 (i.e. Enlightenment) has been promising a lot of this kind of thing for a while now. Of course, the Hurd, and DNF also promise a lot as well...

  • by Builder (103701) on Wednesday July 30, 2008 @08:00AM (#24399489)

    What's X11-like about the Apple windowing system ?

  • by Burz (138833) on Wednesday July 30, 2008 @10:40AM (#24401719) Journal

    I have used and administered Linux systems for a decade now. Whenever I try to setup a "Linux" desktop such as Ubuntu, there is always a long list of problems that would never, ever afflict a Mac or Windows system.

    Here are some of the current problems:

    - NumLock light is opposite the NumLock mode (this on a dead-common 104-key setup). We see a very high degree of spurious breakage of what should otherwise be very solid functionality.

    - Right-click in Firefox 3.x sometimes executes random context item without even displaying the context menu. This bug remained in the 3.0 GA release (and I doubt Mozilla cares all that much, as they are actually not fond of "Linux" as a PC platform).

    - Certain non-GPL drivers keep disappearing whenever a system update happens to include the kernel (an essential design flaw of the Linux kernel, though a workaround should be possible).

    - Video settings keep getting 'reset' after system updates. The user is then often deprived of a workable UI and they are told to edit xorg.conf from a CLI! Bizzarrely, Xorg and the others will supply example GUI apps (like a clock) but won't write a GUI to manage the display. The 'experts' at the Xorg and Xfree projects also have no concept of a usable 'fallback' mode for a desktop display, say switching to XGA res and framebuffer mode when things go wrong. Supposedly this would be "up to the distro" to take care of, but "the distro" doesn't have the comprehensive knowledge to make an integrated fail-safe display configurator (or not a good one).

    - NetworkManager in the Control Panel having a markedly different feature set than the seperate network manager that resides on the "systray"... and that stamp over each others' settings particularly when Wifi is used. This is disgraceful.

    - Poor support for a wide range of devices, large and small, internal and USB: TV tuners, modems, Wifi, etc. Even video cards are still a problem.

    - Audio blockages in inexpensive hardware. Don't rely on calendar alarms, nor softphones, nor audible status indicators because they may turn out to be inaudible - you never know. And ever it shall be through last year's fashionable audio architecture, and probably next year's too.

    - High power consumption on both desktops and notebooks. On desktops, starting many programs will spin-up all of my drives 'just because'. And why a file dialog that pops up with my home directory needs to spin up all of my drives is beyond me. It certainly isn't needed on other desktop OSes. I can't tell you the number of times that changing the display res or doing a system update has remove the power-saving option from xorg.conf. Also, many other examples of low battery life on laptops.

    Other observations:

    - File browsing is very screwed-up. The browsers keep displaying data through differing schemas, often within the same program, and they have differing ways of describing a file path. Even when they stick to a URL format, the 'handler' part can be made-up and non-sensical, conflicting with other parts of the same utility for accessing the same resource. When file dialogs from other apps are brought into the picture, the confusion becomes severe.

    - Drivers: There is no standardization and logo-branding effort to address the devices problem. Are hardware vendors supposed to put a penguin on the box if their product is compatible? They don't really know, and no one at the Linux Foundation or the major distros is going to approach them about this simple but essential practice. There is also no ABI, but I won't "go there".

    - Drivers: The group that is responsible for adding and maintaining most device support isn't interested in providing a simple way to find out whether a particular device is supported. Because, you know, that would be interfacing with end-users... Ick.

    - Apps: Try doing tech support for a "Linux" application. I have done it for a living! There is literally no way to predict what sort of UI you will have to guide them through or which supporti

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