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Ubuntu Turns 7 244

Posted by timothy
from the lots-of-work-and-much-success dept.
sfcrazy writes "Ubuntu, the world's most popular GNU/Linux based operating system is celebrating its 7th year today. Ubuntu was first released on 20 October 2004. In these 7 years Ubuntu has changed the GNU/Linux desktop segment by making it more useful for ordinary user." Besides the work that Ubuntu has done to popularize and polish the Linux desktop, and to present a humane entry point for non-guru users, it's provided a base for many other distributions (like Mint and Puppy) and helped make people realize just how powerful is the Debian infrastructure that Ubuntu itself launched from.
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Ubuntu Turns 7

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  • by yog (19073) * on Thursday October 20, 2011 @09:53AM (#37773684) Homepage Journal

    I used to love Ubuntu; a few years ago, I threw it on a Dell laptop and it just worked (albeit with a bit of tweaking to get wifi connected). I was impressed by its ability to locate printers on the network. Now I have it on both a desktop and a couple of laptops. I also have it in VirtualBox on my XP work laptop and it works great there as well.

    However, in recent versions they are pitching this Unity desktop thing which I despise. It may be great, it may be awesome, it may be the next big thing. But it's not for me. I'm an old Windows/X/KDE guy and I don't want to deal with icons down the side. So I'm stuck on an old revision and am starting to look around for another distro, possibly OpenSuse which I use at work and enjoy very much.

    Now they are forcing Unity on us in the latest revision; there's no option to go back to the classic desktop (please correct me if I'm wrong but that's what Slashdot said a few days ago).

    I will agree that Canonical has done a great job popularizing this Windows alternative and making it so easy to install and use. I wish them well. I just wish they'd stop limiting people's choices. Linux is about choices. Guess I'll have to look into some of these Ubuntu offshoots like Linux Mint.

    • Now they are forcing Unity on us in the latest revision; there's no option to go back to the classic desktop (please correct me if I'm wrong but that's what Slashdot said a few days ago).

      You can install GNOME 2 after you log in for the first time. Or you can install KDE.

      • by cshark (673578)

        Yeah, but the changes to xorg screw up anything else you try to work with. I don't know about KDE, but xorg has this weird shattering screen thing that happens when you install gnome on it. I'm looking for a new home os. Seriously considering Debian BSD with Gnome.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 20, 2011 @09:59AM (#37773804)

      I've read a lot of forums, not just computer related ones but other things where someone starts a "Linux" thread.

      I'd say the opinions run about 90% against unity, and 10% for. Trouble is, they made it the DEFAULT, rather than an option, and since in the mind of most non-hardcore people, Ubuntu *is* Linux, they are turning people off from using Linux. Sure, gurus know they can install KDE or XFCE or another environment, but people new to linux don't know that. They grab the thing they have heard of, a default version of Ubuntu, try it, encounter Unity, and think, "Wow, Linux really sucks", and go back to Windows.

      It's doing irreparable harm to the image of Linux, and they *won't listen* to the massive outpouring of user feedback against it. It isn't that it shouldn't exist - it's fine, just not as the default environment for the distro! Because of that choice, it has been a disaster for the image of desktop Linux.

      • It'd be interesting to know who those 90% and 10% are. I.e. are the 90% mostly people who have been using Ubuntu before - and therefore have something to compare to - and the 10% mostly newcomers? I'm curious because, as I stated in a previous post, I personally like Unity, which is my first experience with Linux.
      • Coincidentally 90% is approximately the proportion of the general public that think desktop GUIs ought to look like Windows...

        • by Darinbob (1142669)

          What wrong with looking like KDE or a traditional X Windows system? The choice in the universe is not limited to looking like Windows versus looking like a tablet.

          And to be honest here, the first screenshots I saw of Unity sort of reminded me a bit of Windows 8...

          • What wrong with looking like KDE

            KDE was a copy of the Windows UI from the start. Here's a picture from v1.x. Circa 1996. The colour scheme, the embossed look, the task-bar (moved from bottom to top of screen), the start menu, the window furniture, the per window menus, the isometric icon style etc. etc. All straight out of Windows 95.

            http://www.kde.org/screenshots/images/large/matthiase1.jpg [kde.org]

      • by laffer1 (701823)

        I think people need to stop pushing Linux distros as Linux. If we all start calling them by their given project name, it will avoid this confusion. We want end users to compare Fedora to Ubuntu to Suse to Debian, not one size fits all. Yeah they use the same kernel and some of the same software, but it's not even the same versions between current distros. It will just make things easier to deal with.

        Besides, let's say we finally get that year of Linux on the desktop everyone dreams of. It won't be Linux

        • I think people need to stop pushing Linux distros as Linux. If we all start calling them by their given project name, it will avoid this confusion. We want end users to compare Fedora to Ubuntu to Suse to Debian

          Are there more applications made for Fedora than applications made for Ubuntu? We call them all "GNU/Linux" (or "desktop Linux" if you happen to be an anti-fan of Richard Stallman) because they all run applications designed for the stack of X11, GNU, and Linux, and they all run device drivers designed for Linux, X.Org, CUPS, and SANE.

          If distros marketed themselves distinctly, it would help.

          If all GNU/Linux distributions marketed themselves as distinct platforms, then they'd need four times the allegorical shelf space, both for themselves and for non-free applicat

          • by laffer1 (701823)

            They should do this. How many times has a company put out a binary for "Linux" that is only an rpm or deb file? Yeah there's ways to convert some of these, but it's confusing to end users. A linux binary doesn't always run everywhere. it's a sad truth.

            At best one could put related distros together.. ubuntu/debian * , fedora/redhat/centos *, ...

            The second you try to go off the beaten path, you get into dependency hell.

            Linux fans put up with this crap, but regular users don't like it. As for the

            • by tepples (727027)

              a pure GNU stack wouldn't have the problem you mentioned because there wouldn't be non-free software available for it

              In a world where all software is free software, who pays those who develop video games, video rental playback software, and tax software?

              If you think this is unfair, realize that it's the position all the BSD systems are in now. A freebsd 9 binary doesn't run on NetBSD, etc.

              And how many non-free desktop applications are ported to *BSD?

      • by westlake (615356)

        I've read a lot of forums, not just computer related ones but other things where someone starts a "Linux" thread.
        I'd say the opinions run about 90% against unity, and 10% for.

        The thing is, Canonical may not give a damn about posters to the "Linux" forums.

        What it has is maybe 1/3 of Linux users. Which is still nothing but a ripple in a vey big pond.

        The traditional community oriented Linux desktop distribution is not attracting converts from OSX or Windows. It threatens to be eclipsed in global market share by the walled garden of the iOS mobile device. That has implications for developer support. Retail support. The politcal effectiveness of the EFF and others.

        'Doesn't Make a Jot of Difference'

        Finally, for Barbara Hudson, a blogger on Slashdot who goes by "Tom" on the site, Ubuntu has bigger problems to worry about than just Unity.

        Namely, Unity aside, "this latest Ubuntu doesn't make a jot of difference to the world because it doesn't add to the list of programs that Windows or OSX users can now use in Linux," Hudson told Linux Girl.

        In fact, "this same mis-directed effort is also why the year of the Linux desktop won't happen," Hudson asserted. "None of the distros, including Ubuntu, are trying to meet the No. 1 demand of the majority of users: to run their existing programs."

        'You're Not Growing the User Base'

        Most users have at least one application that doesn't have a decent equivalent under Linux, "either open or proprietary," she explained. "Until that changes, 'fixing' the user interface or adding a music store will remain as useful as adding more cowbell. You're not growing the user base, just competing for more scraps from a tiny, stagnant market.

        "Free software? For more than 99 percent of the world, Ubuntu is just another word for, 'I can't run your program,'" Hudson added. "The latest Ubuntu doesn't fix that, and neither will the next one, nor the one after it."

        So, "until this fundamental weakness is addressed, you won't be able to sell most users on Ubuntu," she predicted. "Heck, you already pretty much can't even give it away to them for free.

        "It's a shame that the future of linux in the consumer space is to toil away in obscurity, with products like Android getting all the credit," Hudson concluded. "It's also telling that when Novell took the first small steps to correcting this, they were roundly pilloried by the community."

        Ubuntu 11.10 [linuxinsider.com]

    • by Dyinobal (1427207)
      ya I used the unity desktop and I didn't like it much. I ended up using Lubuntu for my laptop because a lot of the newer stuff in these latest few releases was really slowing it down for no good reason. About the only reason I use it these days I the debian packaging system, with out all the debian silliness.
      • by X0563511 (793323)

        Please define "debian silliness"

        • by dzelenka (630044)

          The Debian silliness is the cold adherence to free software. A Debian desktop needs a lot of tweeking before stuff "just works" (like Flash). Debian also lags behind other distributions because they prioritize stability over cutting edge features. ( ... unless you use the Test version.)

          I understand and accept that I have to do those tweeks, but I think I'm the exception.

          On the server side, I really appreciate the stodgy Debian way. Solid uptime rocks!

          • by X0563511 (793323)

            Make sure you enable "contrib" and "non-free" - the expert installer asks you, the other I think assumes "no" and doesn't enable them.

            Flash et all are available through said repositories. They are there - they are just kept out of "main"

            The lag... well, that has it's pros and cons. I personally feel that (since squeeze) the pros far outweigh the cons. Now I have something modern-enough that's pretty damn rock-steady stable. This is certainly a matter of preference though!

      • by ladoga (931420)

        About the only reason I use it these days I the debian packaging system, with out all the debian silliness.

        Just curious. What is this "debian silliness" that you mention?

    • by gfxguy (98788)

      Me, too. Ubuntu got me back to Linux on the desktop. I'm a long time computer programmer and Linux tinkerer, but ultimately I like to log in and work or surf or play games or something, and I felt like I spent too much time tweaking other distributions to get everything to work.

      The first time I tried Ubuntu (around 6.x) it just worked... on both the laptop and desktop, it recognized the video cards, network adapters, sound cards... it's true that later versions actually broke working things, which really

    • "Forcing"? It's just the default, you can change it to whatever you want, as always.

      It's like saying they are forcing Telepathy, but I swear I have Pidgin running here. And Synaptic instead of the Software Center.

      • by rubycodez (864176)
        Nope, the Unity files screw up GNOME and KDE. But, there's a patch [debian.org] that fixes all that. Everything has been good since I applied that patch to my Ubuntu systems at work and home
    • If you would prefer gnome 3 you can install the gnome-shell package or whatever; reportedly it works just fine... I dunno about gnome 2 though, I would expect there is a package for that too.
      • by sqldr (838964)

        reportedly it works just fine

        Not on ATI/AMD it doesn't :-) Fortunately, I upgraded to a chunky great behemoth of an nvidia card last week, so I'm using gnome 3 quite happily. On ATI, it barfs out on login with corrupt graphics whether you use fglrx or the open source driver. I believe the packagers are aware of this.

    • I'd not heard about Unity, but your comment that it wasn't Windows enough for you made me look into it. To me being less like Windows is a big selling point.

      For me it looks really nice. Linux copying OS X for a change rather than copying Windows. For the first time in years, a Linux UI that I actually fancy trying.

      • by Tarlus (1000874)

        I thought the same thing and spent some time with it when 11.04 was released. I'm always interested in taking new UI ideas for a spin but decided that Unity was so stifling, buggy and limited in functionality that I yearned for a Windows UI by the end of it.

        Hello, XFCE.

    • by asv108 (141455)
      Linux is about choices, you have root and are free to customize as you see fit or go to another distro. (there are plenty that support vanilla GNOME and KDE Desktops) The move Ubuntu is making here is smart. Its about ease of use and design.
    • Agree totally.

      I've been using Ubuntu since 5.04, and it's been my only exposure to Linux on the desktop. I have since bought a NAS that runs debian. I only shell into it, so I would never have been comfortable buying it if it wasn't for my desktop experience with Ubuntu.

      Now, I just installed Ubuntu 11.10 on a Acer Aspire Revo 3700 and have it running XBMC. I can't figure out how to run XBMC automatically upon automatic login. So when I reboot the system I need a mouse to start XBMC. (It's otherwise cont

    • I'm running the most recent Ubuntu, but I'm running a combination of E16 (Enlightenment) and Gnome2, a.k.a. e16-gnome. Unity is just the default; you're certainly not forced to use it.

    • by shish (588640)

      It may be great, it may be awesome, it may be the next big thing. But it's not for me.

      So don't use it? Linux noobs were complaining for years about how there were too many desktops to choose from, and they're all still there :-/

    • by kruhft (323362)

      sudo apt-get remove unity
      sudo apt-get install

      Personally, I use stumpwm, but (gasp!) that requires editing your .xinitrc, the horrors!

      • by kruhft (323362)

        Forgot to hit preview, step 2 should have been

        sudo apt-get install < whatever window manager or desktop environment you want >

    • Dude, I'm not accustomed to seeing icons down the side of the screen either, but I got used to that in about a quarter of a second. Here's a news flash: OpenSuse is going to be different from old Ubuntu too. I'm kind of baffled by the idea that you'd give up on the whole operating system based on the position of icons.

      tl;dr: things change. Deal.

    • by mspohr (589790)
      "I wish them well. I just wish they'd stop limiting people's choices. Linux is about choices. "

      So, stop whinging and find another distribution. There are literally hundreds. If you're stuck on a particular UI, then I'm sure you can find a distro with that UI. You do have a choice.

    • by kdemetter (965669)

      You don't *have* to use Unity . You can easily turn it off :
      http://www.virtualhelp.me/linux/324-disable-unity-on-ubuntu-1104 [virtualhelp.me]

    • by sqldr (838964)

      I'm not sure why this comment marked as "insightful" since it's been said a thousand times, argued to death, and had alternatives, workarounds, and ad infinitum added to it every time someone near slashdot gets as far as typing the letters "gn"

    • there was an announcement they will also go with Gnome 3 (aka OSX Wannabe). To me (holding at Intrepid Ibex) about the only Debian-based choice left is Debian itself.
    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      If you are on a laptop try Vector Linux [vectorlinux.com]. I've slapped it on a couple of old Dell laptops and it is quite snappy. You'll have to fiddle with the WiFi of course, but I haven't seen a Linux where you didn't have to fiddle with the WiFi. The nice thing is they have 6 versions, so you can pick one as heavy or as light as you like. Oh and they have KDE classic which is nice.

      But here is what I don't get, the community FINALLY has a Linux that could gain some real share, and could even end up on the majority of com

    • Translations: I got the new and hippest distro out there. Now that I got older I want it to stay the same. Ubuntu is actually trying to make a better product, that will compete for modern times. Not just put a couple of fixes on a 1970's unix workstation layout just so you can do the new stuff.

      Linux is about choice. Ubuntu isn't, Ubuntu is about making it user friendly. The problem with Linux getting mainstream usage was there were too many choices and they didn't always jive together. Some historal e

    • by JanneM (7445)

      Just another single datapoint of course, but I've been using Linux (and Sun OS before it) since the mid-90's. I'm very much a technical user and spend most of my time in a terminal one way or another.

      And I find Unity in 11.10 to be just fine. It does two really, really good things: It gets out of the way when you push windows onto the panel and similar. And it puts the window controls and menu bar onto the top panel. Both give me more space â" vertical space, especially â" for the applications I u

  • I remember getting my free Ubuntu discs in the mail in late 2004 (you could request them on the website). Gave them out to friends.

    Good times!

    • I still have several lying around, beginning with 5.04 (hedgehog? I get the critters confused). I'm sure there are lots of geeks who look down their noses at it, but for this non-geek/para-geek, it was a tremendous learning experience. After just a few months with ubuntu and the shell, I was suddenly understanding some of what the architects and admins were talking about in meetings at work, and they noticed too. And I was eventually making smarter choices (and non-choices) on all the tech consumer shit tha
    • Damn. In 2004 I still thought Mandrake/Mandriva was hot shit. I don't think I used Ubuntu until Breezy or Dapper.
  • ...feel incredibly old?! My first experience with ubuntu was when the girlfriend at the time asked me to install it for her cos she thought it looked cool, sometime back in 2005/2006. Of course, I'm back with Debian now...

  • In 7 years the dev team has put out 11 versions of Ubuntu. I got tired of the rat race. Every kernel broke my video driver, and every major revision broke some other software. I always had problems with compiz, and when I turned it off, I had other problems. I finally gave up when I installed 11 (from scratch) and faced the black screen of death on my first boot, and the solutions I found online didn't work. I tried CentOS but it wasn't compatible with about half the software I wanted to run. It seems like

    • Really.

      For the past two versions of Ubuntu I have had issues with mouse focus and clicks on my desktop. It's due to a bug that was first reported and confirmed in 2006, but nobody has ever given enough of a shit to fix it.

      If I'm stuck with patching and compiling xorg, why am I running Ubuntu? I might as well just run Gentoo. Better yet, I might as well run OSX or Windows, where I know I will never have a problem this stupid.

    • Yes. They can. It's called "LTS"
  • I'm more of a Debian user myself. My laptops have Ubuntu on them, though Unity doesn't live on them. My media center, servers, and personal desktop are still on Debian. I like the idea of moving X into user space but not having an xorg.conf file in X11/ throws me for a spin. I'm probably too accustomed to doing things myself. The changes to init, however, are a real pita. I don't understand why they feel the need to change something so fundamental to Unix users. Not that I want to start a BSD vs Syst

  • As a stable server-class OS, I think Ubuntu is not quite ready for the enterprise. However, as a desktop OS, it blows RedHat and SuSE out of the water. I have been a Xubuntu user for years. I used to switch distros about every 6 months. That ended once I tried Xubuntu. I just keep upgrading.
  • It's pretty fantastic. And I'm holding on to my several-versions-old CD, from just before they messed it all up.

  • Wow, I got married the same day Ubuntu was born. Awesome.
  • I loved Ubuntu, been using it since 6.06, but I dislike Unity a lot. Just switched to Mint and am happy again.
  • Ubuntu is still *mostly* Debian packages, IIUC. In other news... Debian is approx. 18 years old.

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