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Shuttleworth Says Ubuntu Can't Just Be Windows 710

Posted by timothy
from the bsod-screensaver-must-suffice dept.
ruphus13 writes "When Mark Shuttleworth was asked what role WINE will play in Ubuntu's success, he said that Ubuntu cannot simply be a better platform to run Windows apps. From the post, according to Shuttleworth, '[Windows and Linux] both play an important role but fundamentally, the free software ecosystem needs to thrive on its own rules. it is *different* to the proprietary software universe. We need to make a success of our own platform on our own terms. if Linux is just another way to run Windows apps, we can't win. OS/2 tried that ...' The post goes on to say, 'Linux simply isn't Windows (nor is Windows Linux) and to expect fundamentally different approaches (and I'm not just thinking closed versus open) to look, feel, and operate the same way is senseless.'"
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Shuttleworth Says Ubuntu Can't Just Be Windows

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  • Well, not quite... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @11:08AM (#27832185) Journal
    OS/2 tried to be a $500 way of running Windows applications while Windows was a $100 way of running Windows applications. It didn't matter that OS/2 was better, it wasn't (in the minds of most consumers) $400 better, especially when it needed $400 more RAM as well.
  • by cayenne8 (626475) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @11:10AM (#27832241) Homepage Journal
    No, Linux isn't windows, BUT,if it were very easy to run windows apps in Linux (for common Joe user with Joe user level hardware), I think it would be a boon to Linux.

    With me...there are some windows applications I have to use (Quickbooks pro for my company I contract through), and on jobsites often there are tools they have that are only windows based.

    I find when I have to use those windows boxes on site, I often really, really miss having my unix tools (sed, awk, etc...) around. If I could have my linux install, and have the hard core tools to use, and be able to also run windows apps when I needed to, I'd be happy to go.

    That need, obviously isn't one Joe User needs, but, maybe it would work the other way around with JU. He has his windows apps, and over time, discovers the neat tools and functionality that Linux offers. Frankly, as long as he has his apps he needs from windows, he doesn't care what the OS is.

  • by Ed Avis (5917) <ed@membled.com> on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @11:11AM (#27832255) Homepage

    So this news story is fluff spun out of two lines of IRC chat?

  • by Tackhead (54550) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @11:11AM (#27832265)

    OS/2 tried to be a $500 way of running Windows applications while Windows was a $100 way of running Windows applications. It didn't matter that OS/2 was better, it wasn't (in the minds of most consumers) $400 better, especially when it needed $400 more RAM as well.

    Of course, Vista and 7 tried to be a $500 way of running Windows apps, while XP was a $100 way of running Windows apps. And compared to XP, Vista also needed $400 worth of hardware.

    Depressing proof that it's all in the marketing.

  • In other words... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <`Satanicpuppy' `at' `gmail.com'> on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @11:13AM (#27832301) Journal

    We're not going to try and base our business model on WINE.

    Much better to have native apps.

  • by Kell Bengal (711123) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @11:18AM (#27832387)
    I agree with the parent entirely, but I'd go one further. I would say that if Ubuntu (and Linux distros at large) are to thrive and gain greater market share they need to beat Windows at its own game by running Windows apps out of the box.

    Wine is getting there, but it's not there yet. Emulation might work, but then it needs to be seamless. Until Ubuntu can beard the dragon in its own lair, it will be fighting the overwhelming advantage of incumbent software Windows has rather than making it work for it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @11:19AM (#27832417)

    I did so.

    I've now converted my webserver over to Ubuntu.

    It runs more smoothly and interacting with the services and settings are easier with the console and a secure SSH session.

    I also find I'm enjoying the package manager as I do not have to go manually download and install every application I want and worry about the mess Window's Add / Remove program will leave behind.

  • I think he's wrong (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kazade84 (1078337) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @11:20AM (#27832447)

    I normally agree with Shuttleworth, but I don't think he's right here. He's right in the long-term, Ubuntu shouldn't just be another platform for running Windows apps, because ideally long-term all apps will be written cross-platform to hit both markets.

    However, in the short term, I firmly believe that Wine is the only way to massively increase Ubuntu's market share. It's the appications that people care about, like iTunes, Photoshop or Autocad. If Wine can run your Windows apps, what do you have to lose by migrating? If Ubuntu doesn't run Windows apps, then whole crowds of people just can't dump Windows for it.

  • by RiotingPacifist (1228016) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @11:27AM (#27832559)

    If you read what he said:
    "they both play an important role
      but fundamentally, the free software ecosystem needs to thrive on its own rules
      it is *different* to the proprietary software universe

      we need to make a success of our own platform on our own terms
      if Linux is just another way to run Windows apps, we can't win
      OS/2 tried that"
    much better to have open source apps! Proprietary apps running natively on Linux affect the free software ecosystem in the same way that proprietary apps on wine. Proprietary apps may get more users over, but if they hurt the development of free alternatives then its a bad thing.

  • by mlingojones (919531) * on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @11:33AM (#27832655) Homepage

    Of course, Vista and 7 tried to be a $500 way of running Windows apps, while XP was a $100 way of running Windows apps.

    And that's why XP is still vastly more popular than Vista.

  • by jd2112 (1535857) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @11:35AM (#27832701)
    For running apps in a corporate enviroment. Many current business apps (think more along the lines of ERP/CRM/indrusry specific apps rather than Word/Ecxel) aren't supported by their vendor when running under virtulization with a full version of Windows (e.g. Citrix or VMware) so it is very unlikely that they would be supported under WINE. While it is possible that the apps may run fine under WINE most companies would be unwilling to risk running their mission critical applications (I.e. The apps they make money from) in a completely unsupported environment like WINE.
  • Bravo (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HangingChad (677530) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @11:37AM (#27832763) Homepage

    Ubuntu cannot simply be a better platform to run Windows apps.

    Exactly right. Morphing Linux into a Windows software platform would be a major mistake. You'd still be locking users into one way of doing things. I'm sitting here looking at our developers, all working on Linux. One uses pico, one a text editor another uses Eclipse. We all work differently, even different distros, and all manage to get our work done.

    In a Windows shop we were all using the same OS, the same development environment and the same tools. Everything was regimented into MSFT's way of doing things and limited by the latitude they decide you get. Their tools, their rules, their training, their way. And it seemed we were always dancing on their string over something. Licensing, product activation, version compatibility issues, so we'd get paid to rewrite working applications for new frameworks, security patches that break things, the upgrade treadmill. Hours of undocumented time pouring through knowledge base articles. It was a constant waterfall of nit-picky little things that we would have to bend our schedule, manage our time to accommodate. The bonus was you always looked stressed out and busy and it was job security. Without regular maintenance, apps would stop working. You have no idea how much time you spend digging sand in a MSFT environment until you move off it.

    I think it's nice that Wine exists for those odd times you need to run a Windows app. But that should never be the OS focus. And in the bigger picture of proprietary v free, as long as MSFT dictates your application environment, you're still dancing on their string.

  • Freedom. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bannerman (60282) <bannerman@rocketmail.com> on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @11:38AM (#27832791)

    Ubuntu won't "just be windows" because it is free (NOT as in beer). The more I use my 360 and PS3 to try to play media from my PC the more I understand how bad the protected DRM-everything model is for consumers. That's the future of Windows, guys. People are not going to put up with their hardware refusing to do what should easily be able to do as long as there is an alternative that will do everything else too. Convenience is king, and DRM is becoming increasingly restrictive and annoying.

  • by cptnapalm (120276) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @11:39AM (#27832817)

    One thing that has routinely annoyed me is when some of the Gnome devs do stuff and their reasoning consists of nothing more than "that is what Windows does". COM, the awfulness of gconf (*actually* modeled on the Windows registry), and so on.

    Big problem is that if your aim is to catch up, then, by definition, you can never lead.

    Anywhere I have a choice, I don't use Windows because I do not like it. I never used Photoshop or Visio or Office (I don't like word processors either). I did play a lot of games, but my dislike of Windows was great enough that I just forked over cash for a game console and I don't touch PC games anymore. So, for me, there were no insurmountable boundaries for dumping it; I recognize that there are apps which other people find essential and for which there are no acceptable alternatives in FOSS. Sucks, but again, unless something SUPERIOR appears, we'll always be in catch up mode, because somebody else is the defining example.

    So it can't just be "just as easy" or even "a good bit easier". It pretty much needs to be a game changer.

  • by Sockatume (732728) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @11:42AM (#27832859)
    Actually it's all in the bundling. OEMs will put in whatever version of Windows you give them, it's not like it costs them $500.
  • by ImYourVirus (1443523) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @11:47AM (#27832945)

    Of course, Vista and 7 tried to be a $500 way of running Windows apps, while XP was a $100 way of running Windows apps.

    And that's why XP is still vastly more popular than Vista.

    Or maybe because it isn't bloatware?

  • by RiotingPacifist (1228016) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @11:53AM (#27833041)

    If your going to be using windows apps anyway, what do you have to gain by migrating?

  • by doug (926) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @11:53AM (#27833047)

    Keep in mind that the 8.10 release is not designed for broad use and that most users (even now that 9.04 has been released) should still be using 8.04, the last stable LTS release.

    Untrue.

    While there is no long term support (LTS) for anything since 8.04, but for those of us who don't need it, that isn't a concern. There is 18 months of support for every Ubuntu release. That is plenty long enough for most uses.

    If I were designing a process that required multi-year support and maintenance, then I'd certainly think about LTS, but that isn't the world I work in.

  • by RiotingPacifist (1228016) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @11:56AM (#27833103)

    multiple desktops
    customization
    multiple taskbars
    fancy 3d effects / low resource uses

  • Re:Bravo (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:03PM (#27833227)

    Morphing Linux into a Windows software platform would be a major mistake. You'd still be locking users into one way of doing things. I'm sitting here looking at our developers, all working on Linux. One uses pico, one a text editor another uses Eclipse. We all work differently, even different distros, and all manage to get our work done.

    Lokcing users into one way of doing things is a Good Thing(tm). With Windows or OS X, there's a finite learning curve. With Linux, skills are far less portable. In Windows, you can customize it quite a bit, drop in a different shell or what-have-you. But no one does it because an inferior, but uniform, UI is better (I have to use at least 5 computer on any given day, so I would have to customize all of them. But then other people also use 3 of them.)

  • by langelgjm (860756) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:05PM (#27833271) Journal

    Do you really think Endnote is losing out to Zotero because Zotero is available for Linux (Endnote exists for OS X, too)? I doubt that's the reason. I'd say it's because Zotero is free!

  • by geobeck (924637) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:07PM (#27833303) Homepage

    Or maybe because it isn't bloatware?

    It's an insightful commentary on the vast bloatiness of Vista that XP can be considered not to be bloatware in comparison.

    I can remember testing computers that were marginal on 2000, which became unusable with XP, even after cutting out all the unnecessary crap I could. And these computers ran quite well on NT 4.0. (The testing was part of an attempt to convince management that no, we couldn't continue to use our 8 year old computers.)

  • by bogaboga (793279) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:10PM (#27833345)

    ...Linux simply isn't Windows (nor is Windows Linux) and to expect fundamentally different approaches (and I'm not just thinking closed versus open) to look, feel, and operate the same way is senseless....

    There are things Windows does better than Linux especially software installation.

    I know apt and yum resolve dependencies well to a large extent but in some cases, there are version conflicts and lots of chaos in the Linux domain. This does not help at all.

    In my opinion, software for Linux should be developed for a particular kernel period. So that one can say, This software will work with this kernel and users should expect it to work.

  • by RiotingPacifist (1228016) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:12PM (#27833383)

    No i expect a normal person to use the GUI such as network manager or just google it. However my solution is a pretty good guide that will work 99% of the time across every release of most distros and is quicker than using a GUI.

    Try giving somebody instructions for setting up a static IP on windows, that will work on windows XP/vista/7. For configuration GUIs can suck my balls, i'll take a text file with a nice header over a fancy GUI, especially as you only configure something once!

  • by SCHecklerX (229973) <thecaptain@captaincodo.net> on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:12PM (#27833385) Homepage

    No, Linux isn't windows, BUT,if it were very easy to run windows apps in Linux (for common Joe user with Joe user level hardware), I think it would be a boon to Linux.

    Wrong. That's exactly what Shuttleworth is saying. If linux can run windows programs, then traditional windows programmers have no reason to try to develop natively for the platform. This is one thing that ended up killing OS/2. But Linux, luckily, cannot be killed in this way thanks to the community of open source developers around it. OS/2 didn't have that advantage, so died when nobody wrote native apps for it. Not to discredit the WINE developers for the work they have done, but native apps are the better approach here.

    Shuttleworth has it right. We don't want to be another way to run windows programs. We need to be our own environment, and not ape things just for the sake of doing it the same, tired, broken way. I am happy to see that many of the wonderful things from OS/2's WPS are slowly making their way into the linux environments. There's still a way to go, but it's already better in many ways than the windows UI 'experience'.

  • by fm6 (162816) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:19PM (#27833497) Homepage Journal

    I don't think cost had that much to do with OS/2's failure. Note that at one point IBM was basically giving away OS/2 to people who bought PCs from them, with machines that dual booted OS/2 and Windows. And towards the end, you could buy OS/2 for a lot less than $500! Anyway, the retail cost of a shrinkwrap copy of an OS doesn't have much to do with its adoption, because most people adopt an OS by buying a machine with it pre-installed.

    One day I read that even IBM sales pushed Windows and ignored OS/2. That's when I knew OS/2 had no future.

    Nobody's going to adopt your OS just because it implements Windows APIs. That's a positive, but it's not enough by itself. The easiest way to get Windows application support will always be to run Windows. If you want to persuade people to switch, you have to give them a lot of incentives beyond that.

    In other words, I agree with Shuttleworth: any Windows alternative needs its own user/developer ecosystem. That's what killed OS/2. Yes, costing a lot more hurt, but if there had been advantages, people might have ponied up.

    And I'm still not seeing a real self-sustaining ecosystem for desktop Linux. Server Linux, sure. But Desktop Linux seems to be sustained more by the enthusiasm of its advocates than any real growth in its user base or application developer community. And no, desktop Ubuntu is not an exception: it's being subsidized out of the half-billion dollars Shuttleworth got when he sold Thawte. Presumably the guy thinks he can create this ecosystem before his money runs out. But it's not obvious how.

  • by mangu (126918) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:20PM (#27833505)

    OS/2 tried to be a $500 way of running Windows applications while Windows was a $100 way of running Windows applications

    If Ubuntu were a $0 way of running windows applications it would take over the world.

    Ubuntu shouldn't be *just* windows, it should be windows and more. The problem is that the "and more" part Ubuntu already does perfectly but the "just windows" part is still not complete.

    If wine could run every relevant windows applications, people could forget the applications and concentrate on what the system itself does.

    Linux is so much better, so much more powerful, easier to use, secure, and stable than windows it's a shame so many people are turned off Linux because their work requires exactly this or that application.

  • by Kell Bengal (711123) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:26PM (#27833577)
    To answer your question, prepubescent dragons are not bearded but rather wedgied - although only the uncool ones.

    I think the clearcut question here is whether or not program substitution works; that is, can FOSS program X beat proprietary program Y. In some cases that's a resounding YES. In some cases, that seems to be a very likely no.

    The obvious examples that spring to my mind are things like specific engineering applications which do not have a linux port. Admittedly, that number is shrinking, and I look forward to the day when my 'productivity' machine can be a linux box, but for now there is no easy choice for me.

    For many people, 3D games are the killer app and I, for one, am sick of listening to my linux-using friends bitch and moan about how tedious it is to boot into Windows just to play them. Arguably, they should quit being whiny bitches, but also they shouldn't -have- to reboot just to run a specific program.

    I agree that doing most basic stuff well is a clear first step. However, until Linux can leverage the wealth of software working for Windows, it's always going to be a distant second.

    Likewise, lest anyone think me a Windows fanboi, I run all my robots and software dev systems on Debian, but I'm stuck using Windows for CAD, circuit design and certain embedded systems programming. Appropriately, I use either my linux dev box or my windows box to surf and read mail from - ironically, using exactly the same prorgams.

  • by melikamp (631205) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:26PM (#27833579) Homepage Journal

    IMHO, Wine is not "getting there" at all. If the Windows API specs were open, it would be a different matter. As it stands, the specs are closed, and Microsoft is as willing as usual to spoil any attempts to make things compatible. Would it not be easier to rewrite core apps from scratch? Office, Photoshop, Exchange. What else do you guys need? No one really cares about games. If Windows remains the primary game platform, no big loss. We have plenty of other proprietary game platforms, and it seems to be the natural way. Can we finally have a productivity platform running free software, though?

    We already have OpenOffice, which is comparable to MS Office in both feature set and performance. While it may be wise at the time for most people to delay the transition, those who say that MS Office is better for anything are insane. Today, those who build a solution from scratch and are not tied to DOC format will automatically choose OO. Here we won already.

    Gimp is not Photoshop, but it would be a Photoshop Jr. if only we added more color depth. That seems to be easier to do than to make Wine work.

    Please correct me if I am wrong, but Exchange server is a database with a web interface. Don't we have all the components already? Compared to the Wine project goals, it would be almost trivial to throw some stuff together to make a feature-equivalent app.

    I greatly respect the effort that went into Wine, but it seems like we could do better by simply filling the few remaining gaps in the desktop application world. Wine offers quickly diminishing returns because MS will never publish (let alone free) the code and will never stop intentionally breaking compatibility. Aside from very simple cases, Wine will never be used for OS transition, as that would require 100% compatibility, which is impossible to achieve.

  • by Billly Gates (198444) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:27PM (#27833593) Journal

    I had quite the opposite experience.

    I have given up on Linux for the desktop completely.

    It never just works. I have been waiting since 1999 and even switched to FreeBSD for a couple of years. I spent hours twinking the FreeBSD ports or Gentoo portage and it almost works or some bugs happen like an issue of bleeding high volume without hte volume control and a kill -9 will kill only the gui part of the application and my speakers get blown out because the sound system is still blasting, etc.

    Anyway Ubuntu sort of worked on my laptop. Then all of the sudden during an apt-get upgrade my hardware became unsupported.

    To this day Ubuntu will not run on any non intel AMD chipset. They refuse to provide drivers and the instructions to enable them require a cvs to madwifi which I could do if I had internet access in the first place which I lost. I do not know if Ubuntu is trying to take a stance on principles of supporting proprietary drivers but as a user I do not care. All I know is it used to work and now I have Ethernet, 3d video, or wifi.

    And please do not give me the lecture that I should have checked my hardware. I am on a strict budget in this economy and do not have time to check every component in every chipset to find a laptop under $750 to see how stable the Linux drivers are. The intel ones had crappy video or were too expensive.

    I had nothing but problems and I use MS Office which is a superior to openoffice. My computers just work with Windows with zero hassles.

    Linux is great in the computer room where it does not have to pretend to be the operating system for everyone like Windows tries to be. Windows is now stable for desktop usage and comes with the computer anyway. Unless your a php or Unix developer why switch? Only servers need six sigma %99.97 uptime or better and Windows server 2008 is getting close to this.

    Do not get me wrong I think its a great operating system. But I have noticed hardware compatibility has gone down rather than up in recent years due to wifi and users switching from standard desktops to proprietary laptops.

    This is what Linux truly needs. Alot of anti Microsoft users are switching to Macs which ends up hurting Linux on anything but servers.

  • by vux984 (928602) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:35PM (#27833729)

    I think $250 for full retail of an OS is a bit much, but that's just me.

    Its all relative.

    It does a hell of a lot more than most software. And its a hell of a lot more complicated than most software too. File systems, threading, memory management, security, networking, printing, hardware abstraction...

    Yet people drop more than that amount for 'Apple remote desktop' which is SSH, VNC, SCP, and a few tricks. Or check out the price of Acrobat 9, Simply Accounting Premium (with Reports!!!111), or Filemaker Pro 10...

    Suddenly retail OSes seems cheap.

    It just goes to prove that 'Price' and 'how much it can do / how complicated that stuff is' are completely unrelated.

  • by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:41PM (#27833835) Homepage

    I thought the business model for Canonical was enterprise desktop Linux? I mean, they have to grow up and become a profitable firm at some point right, even Shuttleworth will run out of money one day. But if their marketing for Ubuntu is "it's good because it DOESN'T run your existing line-of-business applications" I don't think they're going to get far. Canonical is a toy company, still, and always has been.

  • by Chabil Ha' (875116) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:41PM (#27833837)

    If Wine can run your Windows apps, what do you have to lose by migrating?

    Support.

    Company X: Hi I'm having problems with your software.
    Tech support: Sorry to hear that, to start off, can I have the software version and the version of Windows you're using.
    Company X: Sure. I'm running v3.4.5 and I'm running it on WINE.
    Tech support: Our product wasn't designed to work while the user is intoxicated.
    Company X: No, I meant I'm running it on Ubuntu under WINE.
    Tech support: Do experience this problem when running on Windows?
    Company X:No.
    Tech support: I'm sorry, but our software is only officially supported to run on _________.

  • by MBaldelli (808494) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:44PM (#27833871) Homepage

    Try giving somebody instructions for setting up a static IP on windows, that will work on windows XP/vista/7. For configuration GUIs can suck my balls, i'll take a text file with a nice header over a fancy GUI, especially as you only configure something once!

    That's the problem, I do this all the time, and it's by far easier walking people calling in through a GUI interface than having them have to drop to a terminal and typing/editing commands. Not everyone in the world lives at the command prompt; most of them get intimidated when asked to pull one up. I'm not about to tout the superiority of Linux when the first and only thing that they want is to get their computers configured and online

    Further, I can't drive to Orange County, CA (from Rhode Island) at 3 in the morning when I'm tech supporting a short between the keyboard and the seat. It needs to be done quickly so that Mister Short can get it plugged in, and online so that he can get to bed at some point; and I can move on to the next person that's complaining about something else not working on the network.

    So you can tout "...Configuration GUIs can suck my balls..." all you want. But just remember, the people that know how to troubleshoot are in the minority; and those that are there need to drag the rest of humanity along until they're ready to learn/re-learn a foreign OS.

  • by Rockoon (1252108) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:46PM (#27833903)

    So it can't just be "just as easy" or even "a good bit easier". It pretty much needs to be a game changer.

    That is exactly right.

    Going on with some of your other points...

    Even if cutting edge game developers wanted to dev for Linux, they couldnt. A good standards API just isnt there, and graphics drivers are quite frankly pathetic. Linux has no shot to offer a better gaming machine than Windows today, and there is also no sign that that will change any time soon. Yeah I know that there are some modern games running on Linux, and yes in some cases they run 'better', but many people have serious unsolvable issues with rigs that for all intents and purposes shouldn't have issues.

    As far as office suites go.. an office suite as a 'collection of office programs' is very far behind the times. Microsoft Office really is better than everybody else and the amount of focused effort which would be required to rival Office will never materialize from a rag-tag group of loosely collaborating programmers. Sun gave it a good try with Open Office, but Good is less than Great, and very far away from Game Changing.

    The best quality of Linux is price. Thats not enough for a species that pays steap markups for name brand clothing.

    In the FOSS world there is a great disconnect between the people who program application and those demanding them. You cannot expect artists, musicians, and writers, to contribute to the tools they want... because they arent good programmers! Even if they contributed it would end up sucking.

    Consider the situation as being comprised of 3 groups: (A) The Programmers, (B) The Artists, and (C) Joe Public.

    Programs like Photoshop were written by (A) for (B), while (C) benefits from (B) influencing the development direction.
    Programs like Gimp were written by (A) for (A), and (B) and (C) are just bystanders who get to partake.

    FOSS is what it is and it can't be what it isn't. Free is good.. but it is not enough.

    The one word that best describes Photoshop in comparison to the alternatives is 'Professional.' The one word that best describes Office in comparison to the alternatives is 'Professional.' It is true that most people don't demand a Professional image editor. It is true that most people don't demand a Professional office suite. It is true that most people don't demand Professional games. But the group that demands a Professional FillInTheBank is very large, and Linux can't please any of them.

  • Reinvent wheel? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dave562 (969951) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:48PM (#27833957) Journal
    What does Shuttleworth mean? Linux can't be a different way to run Windows apps? Those Windows apps are out there because people need those applications. What is the alternative? Is he suggesting to completely reinvent the wheel? Is he suggesting that everything that is on Windows should stay on Windows, and Linux needs to something else entirely? Maybe Linux can be the social networking platform of choice? Maybe I should RTFA, but the entire premise seems stupid. There isn't anything that Linux can do that OSX or Windows can't. The three simply do what they do in different ways, with different quirks, strengths and weaknesses.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:49PM (#27833965)

    "Keep in mind that the 8.10 release is not designed for broad use and that most users (even now that 9.04 has been released) should still be using 8.04, the last stable LTS release."

    The non-LTS releases are still supposed to be stable. They're definitely not "development" or "testing" releases. The only difference between LTS and non-LTS should be how long they'll produce bugfixes for them, not the bugginess of the actual release.

    If you go to the Ubuntu website, they give you the latest release (9.04 in this case), with an option to download 8.04 if you want longer suppport. There's nothing about LTS releases being designed for "broad use".

    This static IP thing looks like a pretty embarrassing bug in what should be a stable release. Making excuses for them doesn't help the situation.

  • by bogaboga (793279) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:02PM (#27834241)

    There are many people who will not agree with you and that explains why the Linux market share numbers are still as low as compared to other platforms.

    What I will do is to quote this [daileymuse.com] very intelligent man:

    Have a read.

    "Until the Linux community comes together under a common vision for Linux it has virtually no chance of competing with Microsoft Windows for a place on the desktop. As long as the Linux community is split between the different Linux distros, and as long as Linux continues to be designed for power users, by power users, it will remain out of reach for the broader desktop user community. The Linux community needs to agree on one flavor of Linux. The Linux community needs to focus on that one single Linux platform, developing not to the needs of the power user but the common user. The Linux community needs to simplify Linux. Until this happens Linux will remain in the shadow of Microsoft Windows. And that's right where Steve Ballmer wants it."

    He goes further:

    "I love Linux. I deploy Linux in the data center all the time. Linux is a very capable, flexible, and reliable platform that can easily run major enterprise systems such as databases and web sites. But it takes someone with a higher degree of technical skill to install, support, and maintain Linux as compared to Microsoft server solutions. You find those skills more readily available in the IT world. Those skills do not exist in the world of the common desktop user."

    And further more:

    "Until the Linux community stops whining about the evils of Microsoft and begins to deliver a Linux-based desktop OS that is as simple and user-friendly as Microsoft Windows there will be no real deployment of Linux on the desktop. For the common desktop user Microsoft Windows is the solution to their needs. Linux may be more secure. Linux may be less prone to fault or failure. But Linux isn't worth a dime if it is too complex to use, and for the vast majority of desktop users that is exactly what it is."

    These are not my words. He seems to be right. Linux has been around for a decade but its [usage] numbers are still low. Why? Read above.

  • by cptnapalm (120276) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:06PM (#27834313)

    With your Windows example, you demonstrated that it is easy, if you already know how to do it. There isn't anything particularly intuitive about it. Grandma wouldn't be able to do this.

    I'm not trying to flame; it is just that the out of the box intuitiveness of Windows is tremendously overstated.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:06PM (#27834341)

    "Don't take my word for it--download the Ubuntu live CD yourself and try it. If you like it better than Windows I'll eat my own ass."

    Comparing a live CD of any O/S against a full install of any O/S is bound to make the O/S on the live CD look worse by comparison. Come up with a live CD from Microsoft that can outperform any Linux live CD on a diversity of hardware. Does something like that even exist?

  • by Rashkae (59673) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:08PM (#27834365) Homepage

    No, you aren't a dumb ass at all... Ubuntu switched networking configuration to a total mess with the so called network manager, and configuring a static IP with that is infamously error prone. The most common advise is to remove network manager and replace it with either WICD or gnome-network-admin, depending on your needs.

  • by skiman1979 (725635) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:23PM (#27834657)

    Of course, Vista and 7 tried to be a $500 way of running Windows apps, while XP was a $100 way of running Windows apps.

    And that's why XP is still vastly more popular than Vista.

    Or maybe because it isn't bloatware?

    Wasn't XP considered bloatware when it first came out?

  • As I said, I never *wanted* to learn CS. But I have, I have.

    With due respect, you learned IT and not CS - not that the former is anything to sneeze at.

  • Thumbs down (Score:3, Insightful)

    by westlake (615356) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @02:16PM (#27835689)

    Exactly right. Morphing Linux into a Windows software platform would be a major mistake.

    This is the developer speaking.

    Not the user. Not the office manager. Not the kid manning the help desk.

    Users like having one way of doing things.

    It makes their life easier.

    The astonishing thing about The Ribbon in Office 2007 is how quickly and easily this fundamental change in the Office UI took hold.

    That doesn't happen unless you really, really, understand the user and the task.

    The proprietary developer has to do this.

    The FOSS developer can find excuses not to.

    He may not have the skills or the resources. He may not even know where to begin.
     

  • by Nerdposeur (910128) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @02:34PM (#27836065) Journal

    I genuinely don't know the answer to this: what did Mac do to allow people to run Windows programs on their machines? Did they emulate a Windows box? Did they dual-boot? What's the experience like of using programs from both operating systems?

    All I know is that when I heard you could do that, I thought, "hmmm, that takes most of the risk out of switching." And maybe instead of trying to guess how to run things under WINE, it's wiser to use a solution where "in this little Window in Ubuntu, I've got XP itself running and such-and-such program running in it." Ship Linux boxes with that feature installed.

    Yes, Linux needs to compete on its own strengths. But if you want average consumers to switch, they need to perceive that they won't lose anything in the process. "Keep running your Windows programs AND get all this cool stuff for free." Maybe later they'll give up the Windows programs, too.

    (If my implementation ideas sound screwy or naiive, I apologize.)

  • O_o (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @02:56PM (#27836481) Journal

    XP isn't bloatware.

    ...

    Amazing. People really can get used to anything. How an OS that needs a FULL CD when it doesn't actually CONTAIN anything can not be called bloatware I shall never understand. Don't link to linux images, those contain a full suit of software not just simple editor, a basic media player with no codec support.

    I hope your defence is that you are just young.

  • by socceroos (1374367) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @06:30PM (#27839673)

    And if your mac dies, and you replace it, you can't just buy a new Mac without an OS and use your existing one... nope you have to buy the OS again...

    You do understand that the same goes for Windows PC's don't you?

    Ever heard of OEM?

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