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Linux Needs Critics 1127

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the that-which-does-not-kill-us dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Keir Thomas berates the fact that the world of Linux almost entirely lacks critics. In fact, he says, Linux people tend to see genuine critical evaluation as a bad thing. FTA: 'The problem with this anti-criticism approach is that it's damning Linux to an eternity of navel gazing. Nothing can ever get any better. The best hope we have are the instances where a few bright sparks, with their heads screwed on the right way, get together and make something cool (as happened with, say, Firefox back in the day). But that's rare and can't be relied upon.'"
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Linux Needs Critics

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  • Nonsense (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Erich (151) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:08AM (#27429623) Homepage Journal
    Linux has plenty of critics. Developers are critical of their own code. Just look through the lkml or read the code, there are plenty of places where there is constructive criticism about how something is done.
  • They are in there (Score:5, Insightful)

    by suso (153703) * on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:08AM (#27429631) Homepage Journal

    The critics in open source world are the young ones that get a big head one day and call your project stupid because it uses language X instead of their favorite language. Then they fork the code, write their own crappy software, get some distribution to decide to use it and then the original project gets dumped one day.

  • Agreed. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <`moc.liamg' `ta' `yppupcinataS'> on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:09AM (#27429657) Journal

    I have to admit, the fanbois are making me homicidal.

    I LOVE Linux. I love plain old Unix. I love the command line, and the cryptic commands, and man pages, and lynx and apt/yum. I like X windows and MC. I love building from source. The whole environment is clean, somehow. It's got a sort of serenity for me that I don't see very often in my job.

    And yet...It's just a tool. It's a good tool. It's my favorite tool. But it's just a tool. There is room for improvement, and, like any tool, there are places where it's not useful.

    The thing that drives me nuts is the pure unthinking zealotry. I got started on old proprietary unix, and while linux has more zest and more wild features, there are things that were worthwhile in the old systems. But if you say that, then you get slapped down as a heretic.

    Everything benefits from criticism, so in that sense, he's right, but really Linux has plenty of critics. Install linux for someone who is used to something else, and you'll get plenty of criticisms. What I think Linux needs is the same thing I think Mac needs and Windows needs: the people on the inside need to start listening to people who aren't already sold on their product. We have just as many fanbois as the Mac and Windows people, and we've got some of that persecution complex that makes the fanbois extra loathesome.

    Just calm down, take a breath, go use something different for a while. Get some perspective. The real zealots make it harder for me to sell *nix solutions to the phbs because they're coming to expect a bias.

  • Re:shut up (Score:3, Insightful)

    by suso (153703) * on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:10AM (#27429669) Homepage Journal

    Don't you know, everything is free noadays. Or it should be. If I can't get services, software and media for free or via illegal methods, then you are dumb. *sarc*

  • Yes it does...BUT: (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Smidge207 (1278042) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:11AM (#27429675) Journal

    If we were to criticize Linux, we would also have to criticize other OS vendors. I've been using Linux operating systems for other reasons than regular users do, due to my professional work. At work I have plenty of UNIX-es, so it's natural I have a Linux boxes at home. However I will never take Ubuntu as the first choice.

    I have used Windows XP for many years too, but that's history. Of course, I may complain about Linux glitches, but look around. Look at all the software that's produced on any OS, Windows, Macs, etc. Have you not noticed that the software evolution is heading in the wrong direction? Is it only Linux that is responsible? After all, Linux is just an operating software, where as all the other software is an add-on you use.

    What do you want to criticize, the operating system, or the software that comes with it?

    If you would like to criticize Linuxes, you would have to first install at least 10 distros and compare them. Ubuntu for me is again not the choice. Look around, how many choices you have with Linuxes and how many with other operating systems?

    My choice is Sabayon-Gentoo. One good reason â" it's easy to install and has ALL the software I need. Price is not the issue, the fact that I can have an installation for free is not the main reason I use Linuxes.

    Sander85 is right and I agree with him. You would like to criticize, but you have not mentioned how much time you spent communicating problems and helping programmers solve them.

    On the other hand, try and contact Microsoft saying their OS system lacks this or that, that we are threatened everyday with viruses, malware, etc, that we have to purchase tons of additional software to get the full functionality Windows doesn't have out of the box?

    So far Linux distributions have evolved enormously in a way you could have hardly imagined a year ago. It makes competition tougher.

    =Smidge=

  • by BackwardHatClub (763903) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:12AM (#27429707)
    As a non Linux guy, I've been interested in installing Linux several times but the community has turned me off. If you go on a forum or something similar and suggest a feature you're often told that you're doing it wrong. That's probably true, but it's poor attitude for growing a client base. Me: I'd like mirrors on my car to assist in backing up. Linux community: The best way to back up is to turn around and look out your rear window. While technically correct, how many people back up using their mirrors?
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <[moc.liamg] [ta] [nhojovadle]> on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:12AM (#27429711) Journal

    Linux Needs Critics

    Oh how true that is. I myself love to criticize things (I'm reading Slashdot, after all). But why don't I constructively criticize Linux?

    I think a lot of has to do with what every argument or analysis starts with: base assumptions. So let's start with comparing Linux to the leading commercial operating systems and the most important thing to consumers--price. And the guy mentions this in his blog. But we can't get to questions like "Is feature X really worth Y dollars to me?" Because Linux does not cost money to install. It's like dividing by zero. It makes criticism of a missing component difficult because it doesn't cost me anything! How can I criticize it?! You will see people like Steve Ballmer have to dig and dig into imaginary costs of retraining, supporting and maintaining Linux to give it a "hidden cost" so that Windows can even begin to contend with Linux in price (you'll notice these concerns were suspiciously left out of advertisements when discussing the switch from XP to Vista).

    Another important aspect of operating systems (at least to me) is security. And, being a pedantic ass, I cannot even comment on the security of the Microsoft operating system because I have no idea what they are doing. I can get the Linux source code pretty quickly if I felt the need to understand why it is that the userspace/kernelspace concept has failed (although, I have never done this, the option is there). So, again, we enter this point where I can't even get to criticizing Linux for susceptibility to a botnet or trojan because it doesn't practice security through obfuscation like leading operating systems.

    On top of this, as a Linux user (and as evidenced above) my priorities and performance parameters are all out of whack and completely divorced from the mainstream (or so my perception goes). If they weren't, I would be using Windows primarily at home.

    So I think that unless more free open source operating systems arise to compete with Linux, criticism will remain low. And you've got the cult barrier to break down where people have lived with the burden of paying out their ass for software so how can you criticize something after suffering for so long under the blah blah blah religious spiel blah blah blah.

  • by gravesb (967413) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:13AM (#27429725) Homepage
    There are critics out there for Linux. But how many of them offer quality criticism, instead of complaining? And there are developers out there who are willing to listen to quality criticism, but how many of the few critics out there comment on any specific piece of software that goes into a complete Linux system? Both sides could do more- critics could write white papers with suggested corrections. Developers could take the "Linux sux" as an indication that they need a top down audit of their project. But both of those solutions are asking too much of either side. There should be better practices on both sides. And of course, this all ignores the good work on both sides that are being done, where there is constructive criticism and receptive developers. You can always use more of both, so there is never enough of either.
  • by erroneus (253617) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:15AM (#27429751) Homepage

    There is plenty of disagreement about every aspect of Linux. The kernel, the GUI, the apps, everything. And if you examined Linux, or a distro you aren't familiar with, you would probably find something you didn't like about it and you are quite free to criticise it.

    Linux has no deficiency of people who criticise and no deficiency of people who listen and act on it.

    Windows has no deficiency of people who criticise and a seemingly complete deficiency of people who listen and act on it.

    MacOSX has worse than deficiency of people who criticise as they have people who actively criticise the critics and even attempt to silence them. MacOSX has a deficiency of people who listen and act on it. ...just to put it out the way I see it.

  • by NeoSkandranon (515696) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:16AM (#27429763)

    More developers that can handle being criticized.

  • by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:16AM (#27429773)
    Yes, it's free. Nobody *has* to listen to you and that's the problem in a nutshell. Nobody gives a rat's patoot about the fact that the wondrous Ubuntu can't see my USB drives and half of my other devices. Since this will never be fixed and I don't have time or inclination to dick with solving the problem, it's back to Windows. Sorry guys. That's reality. It either works like a toaster or it's crap. No OS does this now. Windows comes closer. The Mac OS is closest to true toasterhood yet, but too expensive.
  • Re:Nonsense (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Clipless (1432977) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:17AM (#27429787)

    Has the author of TFA looked at any linux websites or even /.? Linux has a wonderful bug list, most Linux forums are full of complaints and problems that need to be solved and our own /. community that has its fair share articles, and subsequent comments, registering the complaints and comparisons of various aspects of linux and its distributions.

  • Re:shut up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:20AM (#27429831)

    it's free, why are you complaining?

    This should be the OSS equivalent of Godwins Law. As soon as you trot out the "it's free, why are you complaining?" argument - you lose!

  • by MrMr (219533) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:21AM (#27429845)
    Exactly my experience as well; whenever I go to a forum about something I admittedly know fuck all to present my list of chores for the regulars I get that same poor attitude.
    And I suggest you use PDC.
  • o... k... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by noundi (1044080) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:21AM (#27429853)

    "...Linux people tend to see genuine critical evaluation as a bad thing."

    Ok first of all, are we talking about users or developers? Because if we're talking about developers I doubt he's ever read one of Torvalds gentle mails about piece of code he doesn't like. And if we're talking about users I would like to have him sit down with my mother when I first installed Ubuntu on her PC. Do that and then come tell me there's no critisism towards Linux.

  • Re:Nonsense (Score:3, Insightful)

    by joelmax (1445613) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:22AM (#27429863) Journal

    Yes, they are critical of their own code, but that isn't the same thing. Everybody will see their own creation through some form of rose coloured glasses. For a critic to truely be good and viable, they need to not only understand what and how it is working, but what and how it is broken, not from the first person, but from a third person perspective. That 3rd person perspective helps give validity to arguments and is more likely to point out things that developers don't catch. There is such thing as being too close to the code so to speak.

    Now, I am not saying that coders are not the best critics, but in a lot of cases, this does not give credibility to the app itself for a business looking at a product.

  • Re:Nonsense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheWanderingHermit (513872) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:24AM (#27429883)

    Developers may be critical of their own code, but they see it from their view, not from the view of the users. I've seen many cases where bug reports were "written off" or were closed and the developers' responses were either, "We're not going to implement that because it's too much work," (even when the bug or issue or request has a lot of votes) or some other excuse that indicates they're trying to just write it off, but don't see how important it is to others.

    It's the case that those inside looking out are talking about how great they are, but often they refuse to listen to those outside looking in. It's the same issue with Windows. Linuxers wonder how people can think Windows is so good, but it's because people in that world ignore external criticism. Linux and FOSS developers are they same way, they just pretend they aren't: They listen to the criticisms that match their views and ignore or write off those they don't want to hear.

  • by Culture20 (968837) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:25AM (#27429905)
    FOSS / Linux needs more developers who don't ignore critics. Critics (yes, even legitimate ones) abound.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:26AM (#27429923)

    This is a c/p from the comments section of TFA:

    richlion says:
    Thu Apr 02 04:51:40 PDT 2009

    If we were to criticize Linux, we would also have to criticize other OS vendors. Iâ(TM)ve been using Linux operating systems for other reasons than regular users do, due to my professional work. At work I have plenty of UNIX-es, so itâ(TM)s natural I have a Linux boxes at home. However I will never take Ubuntu as the first choice.

    I have used Windows XP for many years too, but thatâ(TM)s history. Of course, I may complain about Linux glitches, but look around. Look at all the software thatâ(TM)s produced on any OS, Windows, Macs, etc. Have you not noticed that the software evolution is heading in the wrong direction? Is it only Linux that is responsible? After all, Linux is just an operating software, where as all the other software is an add-on you use.

    What do you want to criticize, the operating system, or the software that comes with it?

    If you would like to criticize Linuxes, you would have to first install at least 10 distros and compare them. Ubuntu for me is again not the choice. Look around, how many choices you have with Linuxes and how many with other operating systems?

    My choice is Sabayon-Gentoo. One good reason â" itâ(TM)s easy to install and has ALL the software I need. Price is not the issue, the fact that I can have an installation for free is not the main reason I use Linuxes.

    Sander85 is right and I agree with him. You would like to criticize, but you have not mentioned how much time you spent communicating problems and helping programmers solve them.

    On the other hand, try and contact Microsoft saying their OS system lacks âoethis or thatâ, that we are threatened everyday with viruses, malware, etc, that we have to purchase tons of additional software to get the full functionality Windows doesnâ(TM)t have out of the box?

    So far Linux distributions have evolved enormously in a way you could have hardly imagined a year ago. It makes competition tougher.

    Regards,

    Richard

    So, are you Rich Lion or just ripping him off?

  • by RobBebop (947356) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:27AM (#27429937) Homepage Journal

    What about BugTracker websites or discussion forums that expose software warts to the general public? Doesn't posting to these count as criticizing? Sure, the mass media doesn't track these issues because they are generally not very exciting, but I'd think the unexciting bug reports are more a symptom that these software projects are either not extensively used (which I know is false for FireFox, Ubuntu, OpenOffice, and Apache) or that they're stable "done" products. Responding to the accusaction that "things can never get better", I'd agree. The products I just named are damned good. Let them stagnate. I like the way current versions work.

    And if you'd like criticism... I'll give you some. Linux has piss-poor support for high-definition video editing software. The last time I investigated this was 6 months ago and no suitable tools were available that could run on my 3 year old laptop. Now, I know this might be symptomatic of my lack of processing power... but the same computer loaded with Windows was able to run a video editing product from Ulead to do high definition video editing in 2006, so I'd hope that sometime soon this capability becomes available for Linux.

    Thank you.

  • Re:Nonsense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheWanderingHermit (513872) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:29AM (#27429969)

    That assumes that you either know the language the kernel or a program is written in, AND have the time to investigate and make the change. Often even professional coders don't have the time to make all the changes to FOSS programs they'd like.

    I know it sounds like a good argument for FOSS, but in reality, only a small, and I mean very small, percentage of users, actually have the resources to make changes in a FOSS program.

    That's like saying, "This is great for 3% of all users out there so EVERYONE should use it because of that." It totally ignores the needs of 97% of all users.

    No wonder there's a problem with criticism for Linux and FOSS: those involved are too busy being right and making statements that make sense to themselves to take time to listen to what most users can actually use or would need.

  • April Fools? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RyanFenton (230700) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:30AM (#27429987)

    Has this dude visited any community involving Linux users... ever?

    The standard general Linux criticisms:

    1. Driver support. Usually from a lack of manufacturer support.
    2. No central focus on meeting business needs (tech support). This complaint is changing with such a large amount of development occurring with programmers employed by business communities for open source development.
    3. Have to give up favorite Windows programs (apps & games). This improves over time, but yes, it is a different environment, again with a different historical focus.

    Plus lots more, like programmer IDEs, look & feel issues, etc., etc. Criticisms, constructive or otherwise are everywhere Linux is discussed, including countless published sources.

    I've certainly encountered folks with an unconstructive beef against Linux who make complaints that it gets unfair praise for being mediocre, merely catching up to Microsoft. With those folks, yes, complaints are sometimes muted because the target of their ire is usually changing so often that their rants are stale before they speak them - so they can become embarrassed by being contradicted in the heat of a discussion too often. But even then, such complaints are still extremely commonplace in both print and online.

    I really don't understand where this dude is coming from.

    Ryan Fenton

  • by Chibi Merrow (226057) <mrmerrowNO@SPAMmonkeyinfinity.net> on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:33AM (#27430015) Homepage Journal

    Well none of that is (completely) true. It's (mostly) just your perception.

    Personally I think the GP was spot on based on plenty of my prior experiences...

    "Why can't I make an icon on my desktop like I have for the last thirteen years?"

    "Desktops are not places for icons! You are a BAD person for wanting to clutter up your workspace with them! Can't you see how much BETTER this new way is? WHY DON'T YOU APPRECIATE OUR WORK TO FREE YOU FROM THE DESKTOP PARADIGM!?!?!?!?!"

    That pretty much sums up my experiences with constructive criticism and OSS projects...

  • No, Linux needs... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anita Coney (648748) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:33AM (#27430019) Homepage

    ...adherents and users who will accept and will act upon constructive criticism. Generally, any constructive criticism of Linux is answered in three ways:

    1. "We're not here to help newbs figure out how Linux works, do the research and solve the problem yourself."

    2. "There is no problem, that's the way it's supposed to work, Linux is not (Windows, OSX,....)

    3. "Yes there is a problem, but Linux is open source so fix it yourself."

    To prove my point, I will be modded down.

  • Re:Nonsense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SerpentMage (13390) <ChristianHGross.yahoo@ca> on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:35AM (#27430049)

    The problem with Linux is that yes there are critics... BUT the Linux community dismisses them as twits who don't understand or appreciate Linux...

    If the Linux community were to take end users seriously and start solving their problems then maybe Linux would move on...

    Here is a simple question, why on earth when I have multiple applications that need the sound card have problems sharing the sound card? Who on freaken earth thought that one out...

  • by DigitalSorceress (156609) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:35AM (#27430055)

    MacOSX has worse than deficiency of people who criticise as they have people who actively criticise the critics and even attempt to silence them. MacOSX has a deficiency of people who listen and act on it. ...just to put it out the way I see it.

    Indeed. It's called "Steventology", and it's just annoying.

    Every OS / environment has its good and bad sides. Often the definition of good/bad is VERY personal.

    For instance:

    I don't mind using Windows as a user desktop environment... Though there are plenty of things wrong with it (especially Vista), I kind of LIKE the GUI itself.

    As a server environment, I LOVE Linux, Solaris, and BSD, but I almost never touch the GUI, preferring a command shell. Just never found a WDM for *nix that I liked enough to want to use as my every-day interface to my computer. (though for server management, that really minimalist one we used to have on some SunOS4 boxes way way back wasn't horrid)

    MAC pre-OsX days was just horrible. I HATED supporting them, but honestly, they're not too bad now that they're based on the BSD kernel. However, I HATE HATE HATE the MAC GUI.

    What ultimately determines my choices is interoperability and available software. I'd be able to adjust to *nix as a primary os at work, but for home, I've got too much investment in software that runs on Windows (SoundForge, Vegas, Acid, Lightroom, bunches of games, etc...) (yes, Lightroom runs on mac, but as I mentioned I hate the Mac UI), and I refuse to try and wrangle them to work through an emulator.

    So, *nix is really great for some things, and not so great for others. That's my own personal opinion, and I can see how folks could be on one far end or another (love / hate it), and that's ok. In the end, the (computer) world is a better place for having so many choices.

  • Linux Hater (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ed Avis (5917) <ed@membled.com> on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:36AM (#27430071) Homepage

    The article is quite right; there is too much groupthink and myopia. The Linux Hater's blog [blogspot.com] is a must-read as an antidote to all that, and he or she has some useful points to make. The articles on Linux Weekly News still have a Linux-centric viewpoint, naturally, but usually aren't afraid to point out shortcomings (especially when quoting the latest Linus flaming on the kernel list).

  • Re:Nonsense (Score:1, Insightful)

    by SerpentMage (13390) <ChristianHGross.yahoo@ca> on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:37AM (#27430083)

    In a post a bit higher I essentially said this. Linux is a great hacker OS, but an end user is just left hanging.

    I know many folks who are shifting for their desktop needs to OSX because they are tired of the "crap" that they need to deal with.

    On the server side it is a completely different issue. But for getting things done, like development, reading email, writing documents, scanning documents, VOIP, Linux sucks!

    And on OSX well it just WORKS...

  • by Zombie Ryushu (803103) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:38AM (#27430087)

    I critisize Linux all the time, and I try and criticize it for very good reasons.

    Let me give you an example.

    The most wide spread Groupware Suite that is freely availible in the Linux world to challenge Exchange that I can see is eGroupware. eGroupware is an excellent suite in my opinion. Now. Linux has three dedicated Groupware Clients. Kontact, which is part of KDE-PIM. Evolution, which is part of Gnome, and Thunderbird.

    Now. To do anything with eGroupware other than E-mail you need XML-RPC.

    Kontact has XML-RPC Support, but it has a nasty bug where if it becomes De-Synchronized, it will respawn the same events on the Calendar over and over.

    Evolution has no XML-RPC support. You can rig up GroupDAV

    Mozilla Sunbird has no XML-RPC Support.

    What does it say about Linux's productivity-ware when two of the three Groupware clients produced by Linux developers cannot communicate with its intended native Groupware servers?

  • Re:Nonsense (Score:1, Insightful)

    by mozzis (231162) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:38AM (#27430089) Homepage
    This is so ridiculous as to be beyond laughable. Developers *can* be critical of their own code, but no serious software company depends on developer testing as the end-all (or even the most significant art) of their Q&A process. There is just no objectivity.
  • by lewp (95638) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:41AM (#27430137) Journal

    Linux just doesn't love critics who won't roll up their sleeves and fix things.

    Ideas are cheap.

  • by dazedNconfuzed (154242) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:41AM (#27430139)

    There are some things that simply won't be corrected out of love of the subject. Heck, some of those things won't even be found (and reported).

    What a successful software company does that can ONLY be done by PAYING people is persuade people to analyze & create requirements, code, test, and fix ALL of the system. Yeah, the OSS community does most of it pretty well, but they simply won't do it as pervasively or as rigorously as needed unless motivated to, which usually comes in the form of being PAID (to wit: be able to eat).

    This is why corporations pay managers: people who are responsible for figuring out what all actually needs to be done, paying other people to get it done, and confirming that it actually has been done. Managers are paid critics who are on the hook for following thru on their criticism. Much of the success of Linux comes precisely from companies like Ubuntu, Red Hat, IBM, Mozilla, and others who actually do pay people to get those annoying unpopular little things right.

    In contrast, we end up with the situation that keeps driving me away from Linux: stuff that I need to work just doesn't, and nobody has sufficient motivation to announce the problem, and nobody has sufficient motivation to fix the problem even if known. So instead, I go to someplace like Apple & friends, who - being PAID - are fanatical about making every little thing right (ok, they make mistakes too, but are more motivated to find & fix the little things).

    Hence the ultimate failing of "free software": like it or not, money motivates people to do necessary but unpopular jobs, including finding & fixing software flaws.

  • by Per Abrahamsen (1397) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:42AM (#27430145) Homepage

    I presume the poster doesn't read the kernel list, or other development lists. There is no lack of constructive and informed (or otherwise) critique.

    If he talks about the user experience, critique is more complicated because Linux is not that well defined when leaving the kernel. There is usually always a patch or package or distribution that does it in another way, which you will tend to be told if you just address your critique vaguely to "Linux".

    It makes much more sense to critique a specific distribution, which is what is responsible for the user experience, but again, there is not really a lack of distribution specific critique either, partly due to the competition between distributions.

  • by Ukab the Great (87152) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:43AM (#27430159)

    Mac fanbois are like the audience at the Apollo. FLOSS fanbois are like parents at a kindergarten play.

  • Re:Agreed. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xest (935314) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:44AM (#27430173)

    It's not just Linux though, it's just the fanboy attitude in general.

    The fanboy mindset is an odd one. You defend something you love or attack something you hate no matter how little you owe the company or creators, in fact, if you paid for it, they fucking owe you and if they did a shit job then yes they should hear about it. If as an example scenario Nintendo mess something up in a Wii update then people should have every right to complain about it and voice their frustration at the problem - fanboys telling them to stop whining or shut up achieves what? It lets the company get away easier with not fixing a problem. Surely pressuring companies into fixing problems is in everyones interests even if it doesn't effect you personally right now it might in future!

    I know OSS is a different beast, people do it off their own backs in their spare time, but as the saying goes, if a jobs worth doing it's worth doing right. What's the point developing an application and releasing it along with the source code for everyone to use if no one wants to use it because you wont listen to their criticisms?

    The problem is this, people take criticism as a personal attack even if it's just a product they purchased that someone is complaining about. Similarly people write code are often defensive in the face of criticism.

    But you have to step back and look at why you're doing it, if you are just developing something for yourself and release it as a courtesy but without a care of what other people think then yeah, no problem just ignore the criticism and put a note up along with the downloads saying "Not interested in feedback". If you are developing it with the aim of user adoption then you have to accept criticism, sure not all is valid but sometimes we see projects where nearly the entire userbase is up in arms and are still ignored! If half the userbase is up in arms and half are defensive of a change then make it an option but convince people to move over to the change by making it worthwhile and phase it out. Don't just ignore half your fanbase and cut a popular feature out outright!!

    Linux does need it's critics, everyone producing something needs their critics in fact. They're valuable for continued improvement and sure sometimes they come up with idiotic ideas but other times it's you, the developer that doesn't understand what your user actually wants and the sooner all developers accept this the better. I know full well I can write good code, I know full well I can design applications, but what I can't ever possibly claim to know is what my users want because I am not them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:45AM (#27430191)

    Mostly from uneducated haters, but there's no lack of it.

    this is exactly the problem right here -- its not that there aren't critics, its that all criticism immediately gets funneled into "you are clearly too stupid to understand my superior operating system" bin.

  • by ausekilis (1513635) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:47AM (#27430207)

    As said elsewhere, there are plenty of critics. There are two things really lacking:

    • Valid criticisms. Not "It's not Windows, there's no little blue 'e' icon, where's my internet?"
    • All those valid criticisms need to find their way to those people that can/will actually do something about it. My friend telling me they don't like "yum"'s behavior in whatever case doesn't do the greater community any good, since I'm not an active contributor to Linux (heresy!)
  • Re:Nonsense (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Weeksauce (1410753) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:47AM (#27430215)

    Linux needs more NON-GEEK critics. We all know techies are going to be critical of the software; however, if they really want the "Year of Linux" they need to listen to more people like my computer illiterate mother to be critical. Trying to explain to the average whose been using Windows their entire life that, "the command prompt is just so much easier" typically results in an awkward, blank stare...

  • Re:Nonsense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <`moc.liamg' `ta' `yppupcinataS'> on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:48AM (#27430227) Journal

    And yet no.

    I change things occasionally. This instantly creates what I'll call a "dead fork".

    You send the code back, maybe it gets incorporated into the project, but maybe not. If not, then your custom addition is a perpetual pain in the ass, because you'll have to add it back in every time you update the software.

    God help you if you move on, because all the people trying to support your stuff will have more trouble with those changed apps than anything else you leave.

  • You keep using that word [answers.com]. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  • by HerculesMO (693085) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:48AM (#27430237)

    The problem is that most critics are dismissed summarily as people who don't understand *nix properly. This is where the "snob" syndrome comes into play.

    I took a RHEL class a while back, and the teacher (who was FROM Red Hat) spent ample amounts of time talking about BSOD and other stupid things, most of which I looked at him and just wondered, why didn't he check XYZ, because that would have solved his issue. No, instead, he went off on a rant about how useless Windows was.

    It's no wonder that Linux fans can't take criticism, when a lot of their nature is built up to bash other OSes. Mac gets a pass because it has a bash terminal, but in reality no real security (see: Pwn2Own), and Windows is the giant on the hill that gets bashed regularly. Occasionally I'll see a Slashdotter here mention that IIS is a pretty decent product or something slightly complimentary, only to be modded down as flamebait.

    And Linux has critics? Please. The critics TFA is talking about is more about code, it's about 'the whole package'. And while *nix on the server side is something I'd readily deploy for database backends, for web farms, for much more -- there's no way in hell I'd deploy it on an enterprise desktop because it's simply not ready to be used or administered.

    But I'll expect my bad mod rating shortly, arguing that *nix fans have lots of critics, and that I'm simply one more of the "uneducated" ones.

  • Re:Nonsense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Decameron81 (628548) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:49AM (#27430259)

    Being critical of your own code doesn't mean you're open to criticism. And IMO the article is right on the spot.

    If I were to say Linux sucks because it doesn't have X or Y, most Linux users/developers would just reply that I should code it myself or shut up.

    On the other hand most of the same people would consider it acceptable to criticize Windows in the same manner just because it's closed source.

    Some of us just want to use them as tools, and not extend them every time something's missing. The tired and old reply of "code it yourself" just goes on further to spread the notion that the tool you're trying to use may soon become a source of more work for you, instead of a solution.

  • Poppycock (Score:4, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:49AM (#27430271) Homepage Journal

    There's tons of critics of Linux. They are writing tons of articles critical of Linux. If you take a look at who they are, they are mostly columnists who for one reason or another have a vested interest in writing articles favorable to Windows or Mac OS. Unsurprisingly enough, most of the critics of Windows or Mac OS are, if not Linux users, then users of the other of these three operating systems (get it? Kind of convoluted, sorry.) And you will see tons of criticism of Linux and various Linux distributions right here on Slashdot (check my posting history, heh.)

  • Re:Nonsense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BrokenHalo (565198) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:52AM (#27430311)
    Now, I am not saying that coders are not the best critics...

    Just as well. I can't think of anyone else even remotely qualified to critically evaluate the Linux kernel.

    OK, so I'm being a bit pedantic, but not very. The author of TFA says he is not a programmer, and I believe him. That means he is a user of applications, which he doesn't take the trouble to name, other than to make indirect reference to Ubuntu and Firefox. His gripe with Ubuntu seems to be that the latest release doesn't have enough shiny things in it, and who knows what he's done to his Firefox installation.

    He does, however, have a point when he says that "The danger with all open source projects is that the developers become too dominant, and spend all their effort making the software 'just so'--conforming to an ideological principle only they appreciate".

    I'm sure all of us (if we're honest) can think of pet peeves with some of the open-source developers' more capriciously craniorectal idiocies in just about any non-trivial project. This has nothing to do with Linux, and is a failing equally shared with closed-source software.
  • Re:Nonsense (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ami Ganguli (921) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:52AM (#27430321) Homepage

    Er, no, I really have no problem with criticism of Linux. The article is strange because he thinks there's a currently a lack of criticism, whereas I see tons of it everywhere.

    Somehow the author seems to have missed the copious blog posts, mailing list messages, software reviews, and competitor astroturf all criticising Linux.

  • Free is no excuse (Score:5, Insightful)

    by neapolitan (1100101) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:53AM (#27430335)

    Yes, I totally agree. Linux has many, many critics, from users, "prousers / powerusers", developers, and other corporations e.g. M$ (although agreed, these are more often just attacks.)

    Where I thought his article was very insightful, however, was the typical response "Linux is free..." where I agree with his analysis. This, however, reflects on us, the Linux community. I cringe when I see somebody say, "It is free, what do you expect?" or "you have no right to complain." Users have every right to (nonabusively and in a civil fashion) criticize software.

    If Debian (stable) suddenly stopped working, my organization would lose thousands of person-hours of lost productivity. In many ways, doing somebody a half-favor is often worse than doing them nothing at all:

    Imagine if I volunteered to repair your garage, but then did a half-assed job and quit halfway through. It would cost you MORE in the end to clean up and switch to another provider. Would it be then ok to say "I did that for FREE, how can you complain?"

    Obviously this is a continuum, and many of the criticisms are unfounded or just whining. But, as a whole, if we want Linux to continue to succeed we, as developers and users alike, should listen and respond constructively ourselves to any (also constructive) criticism that is provided by the community.

  • Re:Nonsense (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SalaSSin (1414849) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:54AM (#27430357) Homepage Journal
    That's true, it has critics.

    Lots of them.

    But none of them are Joe Average who just wants to put his music on his mp3 player, or wants to buy a new printer, plug in the wire, and print...

    In terms of idiotproof, linux only passes the security test, not the usability one...
  • Re:Nonsense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Half-pint HAL (718102) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:55AM (#27430365)

    Indeed. What a strange article.

    You say that as though you've read it.

    I would even go so far as to say that Linux (and the Free Software ecosystem that surrounds it) has a lot more critics than closed software - or at least more effective critics.

    Large software companies pay PR departments to generate positive coverage. Most Open Source projects have no PR effort behind them at all. So criticism of the software is less likely to be drowned out by astroturf.

    RTFA -- he doesn't mean criticism == slagging off, he means criticism as is "critical evaluation". What Linux has is a lot of slaggers and very few critical evaluators. All the deconstruction of design decisions are carried out by the dev guys -- there is no detached observer.

    HAL.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:56AM (#27430387)

    The problem is that it drowns out in the torrent of FUD coming from Microsofts, its apologists, astroturfers and partners. Its like shouting next to a freight train.

    Nah, it actually drowns in a sea of "Works for me!" replies from fanbois.

  • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:58AM (#27430431)

    And that is precisely why Linux doesn't get much penetration outside of techies. I'm not saying it's wrong, but that's why Linux is NOT on the desktop.

    So if the goal is Linux on the desktop then that attitude has got to change.

  • Telling (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ceoyoyo (59147) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:59AM (#27430453)

    I like how the first tag on this story is "flamebait."

  • by mangu (126918) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @11:04AM (#27430529)

    That's like saying, "This is great for 3% of all users out there so EVERYONE should use it because of that." It totally ignores the needs of 97% of all users.

    You are ignoring the fact that 100% of the users benefit from improvements made by the few that have the time and resources to get involved with the code.

  • Actually given the assumption that there is a non zero probability of fresh content, as any discussion grows long enough the probability of anything being mentioned approaches 1.

    This includes random noise; such as this post.

  • by Moryath (553296) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @11:07AM (#27430583)

    Being serious for a moment, a large part of the problem with Linux - at least in the "getting more people to adopt it" sense (chicken and egg) - is the fact that Linux developers/proponents tend to be unable to understand that while something is "not their fault", it is still their problem.

    For example: I have a DVR box that I put together a few years back. It uses an ATi All-In-Wonder capture board. A "clean rebuild" of the box, including all the recording software and OS (it uses WinXP), takes ~3 hours.

    I am consistently told by Linux-using friends that I should "absolutely be using Linux instead", that all Linux software is inherently superior, etc. Yet when trying to install any of the various Linux/MythTV flavors, I've consistently found all sorts of problems. The ATi Remote Wonder doesn't work well for most of them. The recording software either doesn't work at all, or is "spotty at best." Video playback quality is lower.

    When I've asked about this on Linux help boards, the response is always the same (and I'm sure I'll get a bunch of raving loons attacking me here for saying so as well): "well it's your fault for having an ATi board you should go spend $$$$$$ on a hauppauge and a nvidia board and buy this and buy that because that's what my box uses and anyways the ati drivers suck because ati sucks."

    Now, I recognize that ATi hasn't been as "forthcoming" with driver source / documentation as some other companies. This is where the Linux folks can say it's "not my fault." The reality, though, is that it is a barrier to entry, and therefore it is their problem.

    The other problem is that the Linux world lacks consistency. The same command structure, driver package, installation routine often has to be "tweaked" to work - if it works at all - on any given random distribution or even between versions of the same distribution.

    Now of course, merely by saying something like this in the open, it's a good chance I'll be branded a Linux heretic. Maybe even a slew of nasty downmods will come my way. After all, criticisms like these are part of the whole "not in front of the goyim" mentality of Linux users whenever there are non-Linux users about.

  • Re:Nonsense (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @11:08AM (#27430591) Homepage

    There is a BIG difference between criticism and spreading fear and propaganda.

    If a clued in person can't take the "criticism" in it's raw form, plug it into the relevant bug tracker and have that be meaningful then it's not really "criticism".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02, 2009 @11:10AM (#27430617)

    Ideas are cheap.

    And misdirected development effort is an expensive waste.

  • Linux isn't ready (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Archangel Michael (180766) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @11:11AM (#27430637) Journal

    Fact is Linux isn't ready. Period. STILL.

    Before I go much further, let me just say that Linux has come a long way and is getting very close. But it has been this way for years.

    The problems that exist are still fundamental, and aren't being addressed. I'm a normal computer professional, and I know a thing to two from my nearly 30 years of computing.

    My story summary, DRIVER PROBLEMS:

    I was building a big RAID box using a nice SATA Controller and a bunch of gig SATA drives. I got Ubuntu fully installed and then the fun began. I got the open source drivers from the Company and went to compile them for the kernel. The compiler errored out because Ubuntu is using a different build system than the script was expecting.

    No problem, I know enough to edit the script and get the driver to compile and build right. Except the driver only sort of works. The whole system crashed for no reason (sitting idle) several times, but not kernel crash, just Gnome crash. Telnet still worked, and I could shutdown -r the server and it would reboot. Without the driver loaded, the system was rock solid, with the driver it was flakey as hell. Again, not a kernel issue, just Gnome crashing.

    After several days of futzing with the setup, I grabbed a Windows Server disk and loaded it, installed the drivers and it hasn't had a hiccup once.

    I REALLY wanted Linux to work, and I really tried everything I knew how to do to get it to work. And yes, it might be a "driver" problem. But the average user isn't going to say it is a driver problem, they are going to say it is a Linux problem. It is a Linux problem when stuff that is supposed to work, doesn't.

    Now the driver in question had installers for Debian, Redhat, SuSE and FreeBSD, but not for Ubuntu. Shouldn't Linux be Linux? Three different flavors of Linux, and each requires its own installer? And why did I have to edit a install script to build the module at all?

    Again, this isn't a bash against Linux itself, as I use it all the time for all sorts of things. But I run into issues all the time where stuff just doesn't work right, or at all, or I have to spend three days futzing trying to get it to work.

    I tend to return to Mac and Windows to actually get stuff done, because I don't have to fight the system to work right.

    These types of problems have come along way from the early days of Linux. But they still are there. And blaming the Driver manufacturer for the problems isn't good enough. It isn't the driver's fault that they have to make three or more versions to cover all the distributions out there.

    It still needs a lot of work, and often in the same areas that needed work 5 years ago.

  • Re:Nonsense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BrokenHalo (565198) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @11:14AM (#27430675)
    One of the most annoying things I have found in Bugzilla is that "WON'T FIX" tag. Regardless of whether or not the actual issue affects myself, anyone who has taken the time and trouble to post input on a project deserves a more apposite response than "stick your criticism where the sun don't shine". It certainly does nothing to foster the kind of goodwill necessary to inspire the hapless user to ever bother again.
  • Bullshit. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by yoshi_mon (172895) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @11:16AM (#27430745)

    In a word, bullshit.

    This guy is just...well hell he says it himself:

    What I am is a journalist and author. In other words, I'm an end-user. I'm a very good end user, as it happens. I might even be called a professional end-user. I wouldn't be able to write my books otherwise.

    As I was reading his rant...er artical the scene from Mel Brooks 'History of the World Part I' came into my head of the 'birth of the critic.' This guy just wants to validate his own right to rant on something. Without having to get his hands too dirty mind you.

    The world of Linux needs critics. Even more so nowadays as Linux slowly seeps into all kinds of industries (the Linux revolution is finally happening, but in slow motion). New people are coming into contact with Linux. Most of them will have high expectations--the same expectations they have of commercial software. If things ain't right, they're gonna say so. Linux people are going to have to get a thick skin. They have to learn to deal with criticism, and--even more important--they're going to have to use it to their advantage.

    Slowly? Golly I guess someone better run and tell Google that they better get cracking. Just to name one rather large example of how behind the curve this guy is.

    FOSS has plenty of critics. What this ass want's to do is make sure that the nitche of having just enough knowledge to sell his books will survive as FOSS takes a bigger hold.

    -1 Troll for TFA.

  • by alexborges (313924) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @11:19AM (#27430805)

    Well Boo-Hoo

    Sorry: if the HW manufacturer is not interested in having their stuff work with linux, how can you expect us linux users to spend money on them and thus achieve better support for them?

    It makes more sense for us to use the competing brand.

    The devels are not wrong, they are right on the spot and that is what they SHOULD tell you: if you want to use Linux, use LINUX.

    Do not attempt to use something built for something else and ONLY something else, and blame us for not making it work for you! That is plain unreasonable.

  • by Roger_Wilco (138600) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @11:21AM (#27430835) Homepage

    What do I care if Linux works for you?

    I run Linux for me; it works for me. I may encourage you to run it too, but it's not my problem if it doesn't work out. Remember the bit about "no warranty"?

    Now, if you're paying for a working system or support, that's a different story. If you get a Linux shop to build you a PVR, they'd better give you a working machine. But demanding that volunteers fix your problem is insane.

    The only one responsible for making your computer work is you.

  • by lymond01 (314120) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @11:23AM (#27430877)

    Dude. Just get the nVidia board.

    Kidding. Your point is valid -- use the best tool for the job. If you've got an ATI card that works well with Windows but not with Linux, and both OSes provide most of the features you want, then use Windows (assuming the cost of Windows is below the cost of that nVidia card).

    Linux remains a server OS. It's coming around very slowly to the desktop and I've no doubt it will get there -- it's doing quite well on the netbooks where people don't want to install everything in their closet: they just want a functional, email-checking, web-surfing laptop and for that almost any OS will do.

    Except MacOS X. That only runs on the shiniest of hardware.

  • by Kentaree (1078787) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @11:25AM (#27430915) Homepage
    I think what he was saying is that he uses Windows XP cos it works, and people are constantly telling him to switch to linux even though it's obviously not viable with his setup. Open-source users are going to have to learn to adopt a live and let live mentality, linux is not the holy grail, it works brilliant in some cases, and not at all in others, same with any other bit of software.
  • by PJ1216 (1063738) * on Thursday April 02, 2009 @11:25AM (#27430919)
    You missed the point. You make a statement "its not their problem" but then the argument you use is about assigning blame. Like the guy said, its *not* the developer's fault but it *IS* their problem. The problem is that a lot of people have all this hardware that won't work with Linux and won't just spend money that they probably don't have just so they can use Linux. Why switch to something that only works with x% of the hardware out there when you can use something that works with (x+y)% of the hardware, where "y" is usually a significantly sized number. So its their problem insofar as they have to figure out a way to pass this hurdle, otherwise you'll never reach critical mass in terms of people adopting Linux.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02, 2009 @11:27AM (#27430963)

    Most of the points about "external" criticism so far ignore the fact that there is not one common use-case nor external viewpoint. A big difference between OSS code and commercial products is that there is not a single funded owner/developer working from a commercial market strategy.

    So there simply does not exist a target user community (as identified in the market strategy) from which a proper survey or critical basis can be extracted. People make (often) false assumptions that they personally are the target audience for OSS code, when in fact they may not be.

    The lack of simple 1:1 correspondences between OSS markets and consumer markets is what causes much of the friction. Until you learn the vocabulary and expectations of both worlds, it is hard to imagine why "criticism" is ignored.

    In the OSS world, you really do need to find an advocate who is aligned with your interests if you expect things to improve for your use case. Such an advocate can be your own developers funded to work on OSS, or a commercial re-seller working on an OSS-based release you can use and support. Sometimes you can be lucky and find an existing advocate proceeding without your economic support, in which case you may beable to ride along for free. But nobody is particularly concerned with the critiques coming from a parasitic user base.

  • by PJ1216 (1063738) * on Thursday April 02, 2009 @11:30AM (#27431021)
    Well don't get mad at individuals when they say, I'm not going to use Linux BECAUSE IT DOESN'T WORK. People aren't going to switch to a free OS when it requires them to replace their hardware that costs a significant amount of money. Linux may be free, but chances are, any new users already made the investment in hardware beforehand. Don't get upset when people complain that Linux has issues when, in fact, it DOES. If hardware doesn't work with Linux, it's not Linux's fault, but it IS a problem for them. Just because something isn't someone's fault doesn't mean they shouldn't try to solve it, especially when its a huge obstacle to their success. Thats elitism and lazy all bunched together. You're expecting people who are used to OSes where all this hardware works and then you're trying to explain to them that this superior OS is so great but oh yea, you're gonna have so many headaches if you use it with that machine.

    Don't you realize that the problems introduced by incompatible hardware like this makes Linux have MORE PROBLEMS for that particular user THAN WINDOWS? Why would someone switch to an OS that has more problems than their current OS?
  • Re:Bullshit. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @11:34AM (#27431081) Journal

    So, because he is an end-user, you know the target audience of all those Linux Install Days, and not a programmer and not much of a geek, he has no right to criticize Linux and his implying that Linux needs criticism and that the Linux community needs to listen to that criticism is a rant.

    And, because you label it a rant, you don't have to pay attention to his criticism.

    You do understand you are proving his point, right?

  • by dreemernj (859414) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @11:36AM (#27431127) Homepage Journal
    Your use of "fault" suggests you don't understand what Moryath said. And your example seems to support Moryath's conclusion very well.

    If a manufacturer makes a MOBO that doesn't support a type of HDD that PC World is selling, it isn't the manufacturer's fault, but it is their problem. At least, it is their problem if they want more people to buy their MOBOs. If you support a fraction of the hardware out there, you get a fraction of the customers. That fraction consists of people that bought pieces specifically to work with your product and people that just happen to have pieces that work with your product.

    Its not about fault. Its about figuring out a goal. If your goal is to get more desktop users to run Linux on their DVR, then available hardware thats incompatible with your software becomes your problem. It becomes a challenge you have to overcome to reach your goal.

    As far as linux spreading on the desktop, I couldn't guess at how many developers actually have a goal of making an OS for the average desktop user. I've spoken with a few that set goals of making the platform stable, or fast, or capable of doing a specific task they are interested in. All of that is fine and, I believe, necessary. But if there are people that actually want linux to gain market share on the desktop, they will have to face the problems of achieving that goal, even if its not their fault the problems exist.
  • by wcrowe (94389) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @11:38AM (#27431171)

    I disagree with the premise that Linux lacks critics. What may be lacking is a certain degree of understanding on the part of Linux fans when people who don't "get" Linux have a problem with it.

    I am reminded of Linus Torvald's answer to the question, "What if Linux never catches on?" He just shrugged his shoulders and said, "I'll just keep working on it."

    It doesn't matter if anyone likes it. It doesn't matter if Linux is "damned to an eternity of navel-gazing". The people who want to work on it will keep working on it, and the people who want to use it will keep using it. Like any other perfectly innocuous activity (bird watching, knitting, woodcarving) its relative popularity is unimportant.

  • by tnk1 (899206) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @11:39AM (#27431189)

    But what you are saying is exactly what his point is, if I have it right.

    You don't care if Linux works right for someone else. However, if Linux proponents want people to adopt their OS of choice, they have to deal with the fact that they have to do more than provide their part of the bargain. They have to go the extra mile to make it work for *the other person*.

    Is it fair? No. But fairness doesn't matter in the slightest. It's not really fair that Microsoft has to support legacy junk too, but they do in their own crappy way.

    People want their stupid video card or whatever to simply work. It doesn't have to work perfectly, but it does need to actually be installable and functional with no more than a reasonable effort. We need to face the fact that Microsoft, for all their piles of fail, has set the bar for compatibility that Linux needs to follow if the goal is to increase share of general purpose PCs out there, especially desktop workstations.

  • by whoever57 (658626) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @11:41AM (#27431241) Journal

    Now, I recognize that ATi hasn't been as "forthcoming" with driver source / documentation as some other companies. This is where the Linux folks can say it's "not my fault." The reality, though, is that it is a barrier to entry, and therefore it is their problem.

    Sometimes it is not clear where the problem lies and hence it is not clear how a problem should be solved

    An example: try using Kino to control and download video off a camcorder using Firewire under Ubuntu. There is at least one closed bug about this, yet the problem remains. The Ubuntu team set the raw1394 device to have 600 permissions, so only root can use it (or maybe it is 644, so only root can write to it) because anything else is a security risk. Kino uses the raw1394 device. Where does the problem lie? Is it in Kino for using raw1394? Is it in the kernel for not providing a more suitable 1394 interface that can be used by Kino yet be secure if non-root users can write to it? Or is it in the Ubuntu team for the permissions of /dev/raw1394?

    The bottom line for this is that Kino can't be used for a critical task by anyone except a skilled Unix user who is prepared to either use chmod or change the UDEV rules.

  • by someSnarkyBastard (1521235) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @11:42AM (#27431255)
    Case in point: ZOMG PoNiES!!!!111!eleventy-one! In Soviet Russia, 1 approaches you! Imagine a Beowulf cluster of these! But does it run on Linux? I, for one, welcome our Random Noise Overlords.
  • Re:Nonsense (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DJRumpy (1345787) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @11:45AM (#27431307)
    I always wondered why they don't use PayPal donation type setups on the major release websites. You know the type. "Contribute if you enjoy the softare, blah blah blah".
  • by Moryath (553296) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @11:50AM (#27431439)

    *SIGH.*

    There are three possible reactions to finding out that a piece of hardware doesn't work with an OS (that you are trying to convince other people to use):

    #1 - Write the drivers yourself (doable if you're a code-monkey, not doable for the majority of people, even the majority of Linux users).
    #2 - Convince the company that made the product to write the drivers.
    #3 - Run around screaming about how much the company "sucks", and what an "idiot" anyone who bought the hardware (using another OS where the support is present) is for buying hardware that isn't supported under an OS they probably had no intention of running.

    Most Linux guys tend to go with #3. Unfortunately, the reality is that #3 not only does nothing to help get new users into your platform, but actually causes them to turn away from it on the basis that "those guys are fucking nuts."

  • by Skal Tura (595728) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @11:52AM (#27431463) Homepage

    It's very simple psychology, "linux geeks" sits in their ivory towers, thinking they are all knowing, and anyone saying anything else is a arrogant, stupid script kiddie (no matter of their experience, age nor merits).

    They simply DO NOT realize how wrong they are, because they cannot see beyond their own ego.

    Being rather highly skilled, i found it frustrating with some non-mainstream software supposed to be enterprise quality: Documentation at the very best lacking, expectation to read all of it and memorize all of it, and when asking questions you are faced with arrogance, egoistic replies such as "You are just too stupid to understand it", too stupid to understand that Gimp does not have any visible cue for drawing a line, but the way is buried into the 1000page manual? (One real life example from years back)

    More technical it gets, more aggressive behaviour you will meet.

    This lead me to ultimately abandon the whole community as a bunch of egoistic maniacs, who are too blind from their ego to even realize their own mistakes.

    I read lately an article which described in terms of psychology 4-types of a coder, i've found many OSS community "gurus" are on the first ladder, the "copy paste guys, who think they know all there is to it, and even refuses to hear otherwise", that group describes these people the best.

    One common denominator is that unless you already know everything they know (read knowledge) you must be an idiot. And the only way to know it all is to be one of the developers, and adopting the very same bad practices.

    I'm not saying all OSS is like that or all people affiliated with OSS, just that MOST are like that.

    If you need support, and actual answers, stick with commercial (OSS or proprietary), especially if you need HA (High Availability) solutions.

    What i'm saying will be confirmed with the flood of flamebaits & trolling following this as a reply.

    Want proof? Just try to ask some rather simplistic, non-documented feature/tidbit in IRC for projects like: Exim, Qmail, Asterix(Not the worst by far), Linux kernel, Bind or others with similarly requiring skill & knowledge level. The same can aswell be seen on some more mainstream projects such as Gimp.

    On the flipside of the coin, if you get accepted to the community, or get to communicate with more professional people (who do it for professional reasons, not personal) you can actually expect good answers and conversations, but they are golden nuggets. If you get accepted to the community, don't dare to speak aloud your out-of-the-box ideas, or trying to drive innovation, they are highly unacceptable by the same Ivory Tower Demigods. In their world you are basicly attacking them socially and claiming they are dumber than you are, and will in turn deny all merit in your ideas and call you dumb script kiddie. (Oh, Why, Why, Why is it such a TABU to make user friendly software? Oh, Why, Why, Why is it such a TABU to automate simple configuration in more complex software? Or provide readable error messages)

    One example lately i had was when talking about C# when developing around an OSS solution, i disliked C#s tendency to seek excuses for crashes, and the immensive need for try catch calls, especially on errors which are not that fatal it was nauseating to develop 75% fail-safes on the nature of the language, and 25% actual business logic! I got attacked strongly against as being incapable of proper code, while the issue was the stupidity of spending most of the time making these try catch clauses, and functions for parsing through a whole object tree to see if that FINAL variable / object exists. Why isn't it sufficient to just check the last one directly, WITHOUT a crash? Why do i have to parse through the whole tree from down to up to see it's existence? Did i check it directly, or not, in any scenario the result is 100% the same: It either exists, or does not exist.

    Because of insisting that language design should be the exact opposite: Seeking reasons to continue instead of crashing UNLESS specifically told to crash if an error is met, i were many things, none of them were positive.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02, 2009 @11:56AM (#27431543)

    Good critique comes from having one place to complain and to have your complaints read, where you can build a reputation as a critic. Instead, there are a million gripers on thousands of boards.

    Linux enthusiasts like the freedom of something they can customize and like being different. But you can't be a good critic of every customization. So you can't build a reputation as having thoughtful comments and putting in hard work. So what is the point of putting in hard work? Thus, no one puts any work into the critique.

    Shut down all the other forums, move everything to linux.org, implement a rating/karma system (that is better than Slashdot's), and start asking for critiques about specifics. Insightful comments are waiting to be written, collated, rated, read, and ultimately implemented. But there is no leadership.

  • by oliderid (710055) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @11:57AM (#27431553) Journal

    Well being a programmer myself and using Linux as my main desktop, this is "also" my problem. I'm an end-user as well.

    The last irritating things I have found: I just installed opensuse 11, running KDE 4. Well I love it and I don't understand all the fuss around it. Anyway I had to zip several files. I had to send them by email to a client....So simple is it? I openned this new dolhpin. I selected them, right click,actions and then the list appeared:

    • Archive & Encrypt folder
    • Start a slideshow
    • Decrypt & verify all files in folder
    • Archive sign & Encrypt folder
    • Archive & Encrypt folder
    • Open terminal here

    What kind of paranoid menu is this ? I've got 4 encryption features out of six. I simply need a very simple "compress..." or "Archive" like KDE 3.X to make a simple "zip file" or a tar.gz, I will attach it to my email and that's it. I couldn't find it, so I openned terminal and I typed the proper command line...

    See how stupid it is?

    Sometimes you feel like what Linux lacks the most is simply "common sense". Sure I will customise that annoying/stupid action submenu when I will have the required time to document myself...But It is truly annoying, even if you are a developer. Some guy out there was so proud of his encryption scheme that he puts 4 commands.

    Not all problems are driver related, user-friendliness is also a "big" problem.

  • by houstonbofh (602064) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @11:57AM (#27431555)

    Being serious for a moment, a large part of the problem with Linux - at least in the "getting more people to adopt it" sense (chicken and egg) - is the fact that Linux developers/proponents tend to be unable to understand that while something is "not their fault", it is still their problem.

    For example: I have a DVR box that I put together a few years back. It uses an ATi All-In-Wonder capture board. A "clean rebuild" of the box, including all the recording software and OS (it uses WinXP), takes ~3 hours.

    I am consistently told by Linux-using friends that I should "absolutely be using Linux instead", that all Linux software is inherently superior, etc. Yet when trying to install any of the various Linux/MythTV flavors, I've consistently found all sorts of problems. The ATi Remote Wonder doesn't work well for most of them. The recording software either doesn't work at all, or is "spotty at best." Video playback quality is lower.

    When I've asked about this on Linux help boards, the response is always the same (and I'm sure I'll get a bunch of raving loons attacking me here for saying so as well): "well it's your fault for having an ATi board you should go spend $$$$$$ on a hauppauge and a nvidia board and buy this and buy that because that's what my box uses and anyways the ati drivers suck because ati sucks."

    Now, I recognize that ATi hasn't been as "forthcoming" with driver source / documentation as some other companies. This is where the Linux folks can say it's "not my fault." The reality, though, is that it is a barrier to entry, and therefore it is their problem.

    The other problem is that the Linux world lacks consistency. The same command structure, driver package, installation routine often has to be "tweaked" to work - if it works at all - on any given random distribution or even between versions of the same distribution.

    Now of course, merely by saying something like this in the open, it's a good chance I'll be branded a Linux heretic. Maybe even a slew of nasty downmods will come my way. After all, criticisms like these are part of the whole "not in front of the goyim" mentality of Linux users whenever there are non-Linux users about.

    I had similar problems with a Pinnacle PCTV card and Win XP. Pinnacle said I had to buy $$ a new driver. This is a hardware vendor problem, and no OS can fix it. Expecting one to is your problem. The solution, as people keep telling you, is to buy better supported hardware. Funny enough, the Pinnacle card is better supported in Linux.

  • by massysett (910130) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @12:01PM (#27431617) Homepage

    The reality, though, is that it is a barrier to entry, and therefore it is their problem.

    Nope. The people who work on MythTV do it for free, on their own time. They do it because they get pleasure out of it, and because it works for them.

    Most free software exists either because someone is making money off of it (e.g. Red Hat, IBM) or because someone gets pleasure out of developing it (e.g. MythTV.)

    What I do not understand is freeloaders who complain that things do not work and, moreover, complain that nobody will take their "criticism." Somebody gave this software to you. For free. Feel free to offer your criticism. Maybe the developers will fix it, because maybe they are just nice people. Or, maybe the developers want to see more people using their software. On the other hand, maybe the developers don't see it as worthwhile to fix your problem. They gave you the software--now you are claiming it is their problem?

    People are a bunch of crybabies. They expect people to give them things, for free, and then they expect them to fix them for free too! Well, grow up. So your ATI card does not work. You have several choices: use Windows MCE, since that works; fix MythTV yourself; pay someone to fix MythTV for you; or buy an NVidia or Intel card. It's just fine if you go use Windows! It's no problem for the Myth developer if you go use Windows! Use what works for you.

    And, to the people who say "this attitude needs to change before there will be Linux on the desktop": so what. So developers who are doing something for free are supposed to start listening to crybabies who are mad because developers won't do exactly what the crybaby wants, for free? Ridiculous. Crybabies need to grow up. If they want software drawn up to their specifications, they will need to pay for it. Pay a Linux developer, or pay a Linux company (e.g. Red Hat) who will help you fix things, or go pay Apple for the proprietary software they have worked so hard to tweak. But stop whining that people will not do exactly what you want them to do, for free.

    Oh, and if my message is an example of what is wrong with the "Linux community," then good. I don't really care about "getting Linux on the desktop," and users should go use Windows or Mac if those platforms are working for them.

  • Re:Nonsense (Score:3, Insightful)

    by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @12:08PM (#27431729)

    I see criticisms get modded up and/or discussed constantly on this very site. I also see cluelessness trying to be passed as insight and the hurt, martyr reaction when it is rejected. And I see trolls who either think they're Jonathan Swift or are merely anti-social misfits - in both cases attempting to stoke their own egos.

    The article is correct in so far as it points out the difference between complaints and criticism. And it describes how valuable valid criticism is. That would be well applied here as many "critics" are simply complainers.

    I would agree that Linux gets a fair amount of fanbois unwilling to hear anything negative about their OS choice. And that's dangerous. But they're the static noise that exists in all technology. They're just as easy to tune out as the trolls.

  • The Difference (Score:3, Insightful)

    by drooling-dog (189103) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @12:10PM (#27431779)

    Linuxers wonder how people can think Windows is so good

    My experience with Windows users is that they don't necessarily think Windows is "so good". Rather, they use it because (a) it's what they know, (b) it came with the computer they bought, (c) it's what their friends use, or (d) all of the above.

    My GF uses Windows and will continue doing so despite all of the grief she has to put up with from malware, crapware, nagware, viruses, etc. She comes over to my place, uses my Linux machine, and absolutely loves it, but gets irritable and defensive if I suggest that she could install it on her own machine, too. Dell gave her Windows with her computer, and maybe running Linux would break it or cause it to explode... or something.

  • Re:Nonsense (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dreemernj (859414) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @12:11PM (#27431797) Homepage Journal

    You can either hack it yourself, or (gasp!) pay others to do it, or take what is given to you for free and be grateful.

    The option of offering constructive criticism should be there as well, but, with the understanding that if a developer is not working towards linux gaining a larger share of the desktop market, there's no reason for them to listen to constructive criticism. They should either hack it to do what they want, or wait for someone to pay them to develop.

    If the developer is interested in linux being adopted by average end users more often, then the constructive criticism needs to be accepted and dealt with. Not meaning do everything everybody says, but at least accept it as constructive criticism and look at ways of overcoming the problem that the criticism highlights.

    I think a lot of the people that say "Linux should do XYZ to make it more popular!" don't realize that not everyone is working towards the same goal. If average end-user adoption is not a goal, then the opinions of average end-users don't really matter and the (hack|pay|be grateful) options make sense.

  • it IS ready for the desktop. Either in a managed environment with a guru at the top, for those who know what they're doing, and for locked down spoon fed distros.

    I realise this is beside the point, but that's the exact same situation with Windows. In any given corporate environment, for example, there are a handful of people who know what they're doing, and then the slavering masses who know nothing and are constantly screwing things up until someone decides to lock down the desktops.

    Considering how quickly the average user can completely obliterate a Windows box without even trying, it amazes me that anyone can say Windows is "desktop-ready" while something like Ubuntu isn't.

    Half the problem in this particular area isn't the choice of OS -- it's that users aren't ready for the desktop.
  • by DamnStupidElf (649844) <Fingolfin@linuxmail.org> on Thursday April 02, 2009 @12:14PM (#27431861)

    The basic problem is that most Linux advocates are not themselves developers. They have to support the developers through bug reports, free hardware, bugging manufacturers for documentation, etc.

  • by Moryath (553296) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @12:20PM (#27431959)

    Wow. Thank you for proving my point so well with your vitriolic, hate-spewing post.

    The stated goal - at least from a large portion of the linux community - is to see as many people using Linux as possible. Even as "volunteers" and "freeloaders", it is to Linux's advantage to try to reach this goal. The more market share that Linux has, the more support that they should see from software and hardware developers in the form of things like more open sourcing of drivers, better relationships with vendors (perhaps convincing companies to ship computers with Linux rather than Windows for example), and in terms of companies being willing to produce Linux-centric versions of their game (or in the case of MMO's, their game client). In other words, if Linux gets to a critical mass, then problems like "hey, Video Board X doesn't work in Distro Y Funkey Monkey" will be much easier to address.

    Functionally, however, this is a "chicken and the egg" issue. At its current market share, and given the way many so-called "linux advocates" behave towards companies that don't do exactly what they want at the drop of a hat, I can understand why there are companies out there not handing out their design documents and driver source code. Linux zealots have burned a lot of bridges, made a lot of enemies, and generally made asses of themselves at just the wrong time during many points in Linux's history.

    Again: whether this is what you, personally, have done may have bearing on whether it is "your fault." The fact remains that whose "fault" it is, in terms of support and in terms of making Linux friendly enough to get that coveted "critical mass" of market share where the various companies all start having to play along or else risk losing sales, is completely irrelevant.

    Linux, IF you want it to reach that "critical mass" market share point, needs to reach a certain bar of compatibility. This doesn't mean that it needs to be compatible with everything known to mankind, but it DOES mean that you need to support, say, the major product lines of the "big three" video board market share holders (NVidia, ATi, Intel), the "big three" styles of audio card (built-in AC'97, Realtek, Creative), and so on. And these need to work without users having to go hunt down some obscure repository, post to 5 messageboard forums, and then follow instructions written like "well obviously you have to bleep fraggle this and sudo command toggle bashznz that and then it'll work, what kind of a lame n00b are you if you don't understand that."

  • Volunteering (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Thaelon (250687) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @12:21PM (#27431983)

    I'd happily volunteer my services.

    I'm blunt, hypercritical and am allergic to excuses, stupidity, bullshit, and responsibility cop-outs.

    I'll even give a couple for free:

    If I have to tinker with it to make it work, it's crap and needs improvement.

    If I have to edit a text file instead of using a configuration GUI, it's crap and needs improvement.

    And yes, I use Linux at work, but Windows XP at home because game support is crap (see #1 above).

  • by b4dc0d3r (1268512) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @12:40PM (#27432311)

    Linux doesn't have its Roger Ebert, that's the problem. Someone who brings up issues, and someone to whom people actually listen. someone who makes consistently good points, enough that the "won't fix" bugs turn into "Roger Ebert ripped us a new one and he has a point, so let's at least try" bugs.

    There are many people who are critical, but no one is a true critic, trusted and proven and consistent. Linus makes good points, but many app teams dismiss him as the low-level guy. Stallman can be polarizing and principled, instead of pragmatic. Many others have their areas of concern, but stay out of other more wide-ranging issues. that ends up being a sci-fi critic, a drama critic, a cinematography critic, an indy film critic, but still no Roger Ebert.

    Ebert is of course not always right, and doesn't know everything about everything, but there are lots of people who will at least consider his opinion where they would dismiss the average joker.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02, 2009 @12:43PM (#27432375)

    I hope you don't expect anyone to use Linux then.

    Because those two points are not very compatible: wanting others to use it but not caring whether it works for them.

  • by Risen888 (306092) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @12:48PM (#27432481)

    Like the guy said, its *not* the developer's fault but it *IS* their problem.

    No it's not. That kind of absurd expectation (that every piece of hardware in the world will work flawlessly, despite the apathy and even animosity of manufacturers) is put on no one else, because it's ridiculous.

    Look, it's like this. You buy a doodad, let's say a TV card, from LittleGuyPCI Inc. Try to stick it in your Windows box, it doesn't work. "Goddamn LittleGuy!" Try to stick it in your Mac, it doesn't work. "Goddamn LittleGuy!" Try to stick it in your Linux box, it doesn't work. "Goddamn Linux!"

    Do you see a disconnect there anywhere?

  • At least, it is their problem if they want more people to buy their MOBOs.

    This is precisely where the disconnect is, and why you can't talk about issues that a set of users have as being a problem that belongs to a developer of a set of software that the user wants to use.

    Because FOSS developers don't have a profit motive, things that you would typically consider to be a problem for a company who wants to ship lots of units aren't a problem for a FOSS developer. A failure to understand the motives of the developers who are actually doing the work is just going to annoy the developers and the people who think that the developers should solve the user's problems.

    This very thread is a classic example of this misunderstanding, as it's seeking to figure out whose problem it is, or who is at fault, so they can be browbeaten into submission. What should be done instead is to identify the problem, and figure out how you can get people who can solve the problem to want to solve the problem. Sometimes that often means recognizing that the person who can solve the problem is yourself, and getting yourself to solve it by learning about the problem is the way to solve the problem. In cases when it isn't, making it as easy, as fun, and as painless as possible for the FOSS developers who can is what you want to do.

    After all, if a FOSS developer isn't having fun solving your problem, why should they bother with it?

  • by AnotherShep (599837) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @01:36PM (#27433347)
    Yeah, but there's no consensus between the evangelists and the coders. The evangelists will talk for days about how much better a system is and how it's going to be so much easier, but they shy away from any difficulties the user might have. When the user runs to the support forums, the tone changes dramatically. If the open source community in general is viewed as an actual company, their PR department is a bunch of weasels.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02, 2009 @01:38PM (#27433373)

    Perfect example of the mentality.

    Linux is forever locked in the engineer mindset: "look at all the power you have! Isn't it great?" Well, sometimes. Actually, more specifically, no. If things don't Just Work, then it isn't great. Anything less is shoddy engineering, plain and simple. And I say that as a developer. Getting things to the point where they shouldn't have many bugs doesn't mean you're done, it means you can start working on the usability issues that directly affect users.

    I don't want to edit a configuration file.
    I don't want to download the firmware from my wireless card to use with drivers.
    I don't want to choose a sound server.

    All these things should either happen automatically (warning me if it is dangerous) or have some sort of intuitive UI. Requiring users to read the README file is not acceptable. Worse still is expecting users to read through your bug list on SF or whatnot and ascertain that they "shouldn't use such and such feature."

    Many packages just reek of this amateur nonsense where they write all the 'fun' parts of code and then shirk away from doing the boring stuff. In other words, know that users do not suspend judgment just because something's free. And they shouldn't.

  • by cream wobbly (1102689) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @01:39PM (#27433389)

    Given how simple Unix's permissions are, it's amazing how many programs are squirreled away "for security reasons", but without explicitly stating what those reasons are. Usually because there are none, and it falls under the category "FUD".

    Example: dmidecode. Why on earth is a read only bios examining tool a root-only tool? If it can read a bios password, that's fair enough. But isn't it easy to say "if this is root, display the bios password"?

    Same with ethtool. Yes, it has root-only options. So does ping. So do what ping does and provide different functionality depending on who the user is.

    There are others, but I think I've made my point.

  • by dondelelcaro (81997) <don@donarmstrong.com> on Thursday April 02, 2009 @01:42PM (#27433443) Homepage Journal

    The stated goal - at least from a large portion of the linux community - is to see as many people using Linux as possible.

    The FOSS community has no "stated goals", so this certainly can't be one of them. Parts of the community have specific goals, for example the FSF wants Free Software everywhere, Debian wants to make the most technically excellent distribution possible, and I want to solve my problems.

    To a lot of people actually doing the work, market share doesn't matter, and the sooner that you (and people who think that a goal should be market share) understand this, the happier and less frustrated you will be.

    While there's certainly nothing wrong with having a goal of having more market share, but you can't force your goals onto other people.

  • by Moryath (553296) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @02:16PM (#27434027)

    Linux needs constructive insightful critics, not crybabies.

    Sorry. Did I not suck enough ass before I told you how the real world works, rather than fairytale land?

    Windows does not deserve credit for the drivers provided by the hardware manufacturers (HM).

    Whether Windows deserves "credit" for this is meaningless. In much the way I wouldn't buy a car that lacks working air conditioning, I sure as hell am not going to stick with (or try for very long) an OS the does not work on my hardware, no matter how much the evangelists/zealots scream "but it's so much better and so much cooler and so much more awesome than what you're using."

    But wouldn't you find it a little bit aggrevating as a developer to be trying very hard to get something accomplished when you have someone on the sidelines taunting you and blaming you for their problems?

    Funny. I don't "taunt." And I never said I "blame" them for the problems of Linux - I simply said that the problems of Linux need to be addressed in order to meet the stated goals of various portions of the Linux community.

    You aren't really bringing alot to the table, right?

    Doubly funny - I actually contributed quite a bit passing back my configuration files to try to help make good, "out of the box" definitions for the ATi Remote Wonder in Mythbuntu a reality. Know what I got back? "That's nice, we'll look at it later." Since the video board situation never improved and I eventually just gave up.

    It's not our problem, because we don't have your problems, because we made wise buying decisions.

    And this is why the real world, and collective individuals like myself, despite trying to be accommodating when you shit-spewing retard monkeys say that your OS is "better", despite offering up a real critique in good faith about what it'll take to get more than a handful of social rejects using Linux, will eventually turn to shit-spewing retard monkeys like you and say SHUT THE FUCK UP because you weren't even paying attention to what we said before you went off on your standard boilerplate diatribe.

    Oh. Was that "defensive" on my part?

  • by man_of_mr_e (217855) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @02:26PM (#27434151)

    This is a BS argument. Seriously.

    The majority of the apps in a typical Linux repository are not useful to the average person. If Linux ever becomes mainestream, people will not be using primarily open source apps, they'll be buying third party programs just like they do on Windows today. Why? Because commercial applications are more shiny. They are polished, and attention is paid to the small details that open source developers usually ignore.

    As an example, no open source game is of the same quality as the current commercial state of the art. Yes, you might have the occasional commercial developer that releases their 10 year old source code (a la id), and those 10 year old versions are typical the best you can get for Linux (barring Cedega compatibility, but that invalidates your argument).

    The only reason that linux is so "consistent" with app repositories is because it lacks a rich commercial ecosystem.

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @02:27PM (#27434181) Journal

    Look, it's like this. You buy a doodad, let's say a TV card, from LittleGuyPCI Inc. Try to stick it in your Windows box, it doesn't work. "Goddamn LittleGuy!" Try to stick it in your Mac, it doesn't work. "Goddamn LittleGuy!" Try to stick it in your Linux box, it doesn't work. "Goddamn Linux!"

    Do you see a disconnect there anywhere?

    Yes, absolutely. When I stick it into the Windows box, it actually works, so the rest is all meaningless conjecture. ~

    Seriously though, I wouldn't say that the problem is "developer's problem", really - this implies that developers care about adoption, which they often do not. But it is a problem of those who wish Linux to be adopted. It doesn't matter whose fault it really is - but if it hinders adoption rate, and you want that to change, then it is your problem; it's really that simple.

  • by mr_mischief (456295) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @02:49PM (#27434561) Journal

    Part of the issue is that you're talking about two completely different groups of people with two completely different views of computers and you're equating them directly as if they were interchangeable parts.

    The developer doesn't have a problem from the user not using his software due to idiosyncratic hardware unless the developer actually cares that the user uses his software. If the developer makes the software for those who want it and user X doesn't want it, then user X may not be of any concern to the developer.

    Another difference is that many people think of software as "something to use on my computer". That's understandable since the physical computer is what usually gets marketed at them, but it is a totally naive notion. That's not how software people think. To a software person, and properly I might add, the software is what people really want. The computer is the means to run the software.

    It makes no sense to want the computer except for the software it can run. So why not specify the hardware for the software? Sure, that's difficult when you specify high-end specialized IBM, HP, SGI or Sun hardware for your software. Specifying commodity PC hardware that costs a few dollars more shouldn't be an issue if the user really wants the software to work with it.

    In the stated anecdotal example of Windows vs. Linux for this guy's media center, he's using hardware specced to the software already. The hardware is specced to Windows almost exclusively. That's why it works decently there. If he wants his hardware to work with Linux, he needs to buy hardware that works with Linux. It's not as if there's a paucity of affordable hardware that works well enough with it. Most of what works for Linux is also better quality hardware that will offer better service under Windows, too. The manufacturers who make things work under Linux are the kind who think about their customers enough to make it work for more people, after all.

  • by PJ1216 (1063738) * on Thursday April 02, 2009 @03:02PM (#27434781)
    You're making the problem out to be that people aren't switching to Linux because hardware that didn't work in the first place won't work now. People aren't switching because hardware that IS working now WON'T work with Linux. So if you want people to switch, you need to support that hardware. That's the problem. NOW, who benefits the most from answering that problem? The hardware manufacturer? No, or else it'd be done already. The end user? they can'd to anything about it but spend more money. The Linux community? Yes.

    Your situation isn't the problematic one, though it may be an issue itself. The problem that is being presented here, the problem that I'm saying the developers should address (even if its not their fault) is this: Person A has a 3 boxes, Windows, Mac, and some Linux distro. They put the card in the Windows box and it works. They put the card in the Mac box and it works. They put the card in the Linux box and lo and behold, it doesn't work.

    Who's problem is that? The manufacturer is losing very little by not having Linux drivers. The Linux community is losing A LOT because they're trying to increase market share and this is one of the biggest hurdles they have. So, who is this a problem for? The Linux community. It's not their fault, but they suffer. So, they should fix it. I don't understand the purpose of this elitist idea that if its not your fault, you shouldn't have to fix it. Or if you're unjustly blamed, you shouldn't have to fix it. Again, you made the same mistake as another post. We're not placing the blame on Linux, but its causing a problem for Linux. They need to solve it or else they won't succeed. I don't care whose fault it is, its an obstruction to Linux's success so why are people like you avoiding trying to solve it?
  • by Rich0 (548339) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @04:13PM (#27435865) Homepage

    My pet peeve is why should I have to run X11 as root?

    Isn't the whole point of the kernel to handle device abstraction? So, why does X11 talk directly to the hardware? Shouldn't it just open a new virtual console, put it in graphics mode, and go to town with rendering a display? None of those operations need be root - if the kernel actually abstracted the display device.

    Why is it bad to directly access the UARTs on my motherboard to write data to a COM port, but it is fine to directly access video memory/etc? This kind of stuff doesn't belong in userspace!

  • Re:Nonsense (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheWanderingHermit (513872) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @04:33PM (#27436117)

    But notice the time frames you're talking about. And notice that when you're talking about WYSIWYG, how many Linuxers keep telling people how vi and emacs blow away OOo and Abiword.

    The change happens when there are so many people that want the change that they overwhelm those who say, "It's good enough for me, it should be good enough for you and would be if you weren't so stupid about computers."

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