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Ubuntu Is Hyper-Active At OSCON 379

ruphus13 writes "Ubuntu and Canonical have been very active at OSCON this year. They showcased a new distro, announced improvements to their code-hosting platform, and made Mark Shuttleworth available for a couple of talks and panel sessions. Quoting: 'Ubuntu Netbook Remix, a complete distribution designed to run on Atom-based Netbook PCs. The main difference that sets it apart from its big brother Hardy Heron is the Ubuntu Mobile Edition (UME) Launcher, a user interface created specifically for use on the teensy screens and keyboards of today's popular ultra-portable computers.' Canonical also announced Version 2.0 of Launchpad, their code-hosting platform. Enhancements include 'a planned API that'll allow third-party applications to authenticate, query and modify data in the massive Launchpad database, without a user needing to manually access the system via a browser.' Mark Shuttleworth went on to state that Linux's market share will grow when it has better eye-candy than Apple's."
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Ubuntu Is Hyper-Active At OSCON

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  • Re:If its shiny (Score:4, Interesting)

    by E IS mC(Square) ( 721736 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @05:49PM (#24311557) Journal
    Shiny, and fast, and cheap, and useful.

    Ubuntu (and many other popular distros) have been trying to get there. Last missing part was "Shiny" - Compiz and other similar eye-candies may get them there.
  • Re:Yawn (Score:5, Interesting)

    by QuantumRiff ( 120817 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @05:50PM (#24311561)

    As much as I love ubuntu, I have to agree with you. The 8.04 just wasn't "done" when it was released. Although I didn't have any driver problems, Pulseaudio has caused nothing but headaches for people, and their including a beta release of a browser (firefox 3) in a LTS OS is a strange thing. I've read the arguments for and against that one, but still, if they kept it in beta a few weeks till firefox 3 was released, they could have fixed lots of other issues as well. Its opensource, its not like there are huge marketing campains with millions spent on advertising that would be wasted by delaying the release..

  • by HalAtWork ( 926717 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @06:06PM (#24311751)
    What I like about Ubuntu is that as a whole, the community takes the biggest problem with a given platform from an end user standpoint, and then provides an open solution that sticks to the common design rules of the software it compliments. The software doesn't stick out, is modular, sticks to standards (or provides a defacto method that tries to emulate already existing standards), and it seems like it could be drop-in software that would work in any distribution.

    It's kind of the antithesis of YaST, for example, which seems like you couldn't separate one part from the other, and it also seems like if you use any other tool to mess with the files YaST has touched, then YaST will either have a problem or ignore it and pretend it never existed. (I'm not sure if this has changed, the last time I used SuSE was version 9)

    As a user of Ubuntu, it gives me security by making me feel like if the distribution ever became anything users didn't want, they could easily take these parts and fork. Also as a user, it makes me feel like they are trying to develop software that works for the end user primarily and not as a advantage that only this distribution can have to attract users and keep them. One reason why I use OSS is because I don't feel like my data is tied to anything, and I can always use it. Ubuntu makes me feel that way about the software as well. It really is closely rooted to Debian in that way and really I feel it ties Debian together with some sealant in the cracks and some polish as well. Good job everyone and thanks!
  • by clampolo ( 1159617 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @06:11PM (#24311805)

    I'm wondering what percentage of Linux users are developers vs people that know nothing about programming. As a programmer I have absolutely no need for any more eye-candy. At most I'll have firefox, an interpreter/compiler, a shell, and a couple editor windows up.

    For all the talk about how cool OSX is, I have NEVER heard of a hardcore embedded guy ever using Apple.

  • Re:Marketing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @06:20PM (#24311875)

    They want Apple computers because of marketing and hype. They are becoming trendy status symbols. (Put the flame-throwers away, I'm not commenting on quality here). Linux doesn't have a marketing department.

    [No flames from me.] They want Macs because of the marketing and hype combined with geeks like me who say "If you've got the money and you don't want any problems, you should get a Mac." That's quite the combination.

    Ubuntu has a marketing department. Ubuntu is also very good. But you still cannot just toss the disk at anyone not willing to put up with a bit of adventure. You've got to do hand-holding through set-up. And the semi-annual system upgrades are not without pucker-factor yet. Apple isn't Nirvana but it's a much easier answer when people ask what they should get.

    The only announcement I'd like to hear from Ubuntu right now is that they're taking on the challenge of matching what Madriva does well. You CAN just toss that disk in and spend no time with config, and it's got that great Mandriva Control Center. Hats off to Mandriva for proving what can be done right now today. Ubuntu really has to match that to live up to their own mandate. That done, I think U is the distro I'd put most people on. No more "get a Mac."

  • by snoyberg ( 787126 ) <`snoyberg' `at' `'> on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @06:21PM (#24311879) Homepage

    I dunno, I always found installing programs with apt-get easier than on my wife's Mac. Why is it easier to find the program, drag it to applications, and then drag that link to the menu than just install it with synaptic?

  • Re:Yawn (Score:2, Interesting)

    by uglyduckling ( 103926 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @06:26PM (#24311941) Homepage
    Same here. I've been using Linux (Debian then Mandrake then Ubuntu) as my main desktop for eight years. I installed 8.04 and *everything* broke. That was enough incentive to switch to OS X - I was struggling without Photoshop and Dreamweaver anyway and the task of getting Ubuntu working again compared to splashing out now I actually have a salary - it just wasn't worth it.
  • Re:Not eye candy. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by friendofthenite ( 1226310 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @06:28PM (#24311965)
    That's probably be true for most Slashdot readers. But a lot of regular consumers are won over by slick visuals -- just look at the number of people willing to take a performance hit for the sake of displaying Aero Glass on Vista. Also, Apple's draw isn't only due to smart marketing and a good UI; people marvel at their products in the stores, and new Apple users are always proud to show off how impressive their new device looks (both the hardware and software.) Eye candy is important to a lot of people whether you like it or not.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @06:32PM (#24312021)

    If Shuttleworth wants anyone to take him seriously he needs to be able to:

    * Demonstrate a Ubunut machine running side by side

    * No idiotic package management

    * Apps can be installed by simply dragging them anywhere in the file system

    * Apps can be just dragged to the trash when no longer needed

    * A bundle type system for application resources

    * Perform the most common actions Apple's target demographic performs everyday: checking/writing Mail, webbrowsing with flash, etc., importing photos

    * Same level of fonts and font selection

    * Same level of UI widget layout spacing across every single item of every single application demoed

    * Remove every single thing in Ubunut that has absolutely nothing to do with photos, mail, webbrowsing, movies

    * Come up with an equally compelling and easy to say/remember/talk about names for a drop in replacement for iPhoto, iMovie etc

    * One to one feature completeness with iPhoto,iMovie etc with every single operation taking as many or less steps to accomplish

    * Not a single instance or case of having to edit X config or other types of files no matter what the hell goes wrong with the system

    * No freezing or other UI glitches when apps are busy computing like Linux apps do now

    * Progress bars, tray/dock type notifications

    * X never ever crashes to a command line

    * Cut, copy, past work for every single application. Support every single type of media that the apps support

    * A feature complete and comparable version of OS X's font dialog

    That's about five to ten years worth of work right there. Get busy Shuttleworth. It costs huge amounts of money to get people to put that effort into engineering, design, and quality control.


  • by mtjo ( 1080513 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @06:52PM (#24312243)
    At least, not in the markets where linux is competing against it. It's ease of use, and the "it-just-works" factor. This was my experience trying out the live cd of Kbuntu 8.04. Everything worked. Audio, wireless, etc. The KDE 4 UI definately has the wow factor going on, at least for me. I am not an everyday user of Linux, but one of my test boxes has PCLinuxOS installed. I chose it because it worked pretty much out of the box and had a nice UI. Kbuntu 8.04 blows it away. I don't go for the eye candy as I didn't upgrade to XP until I couldn't run IE7 and upgraded from 2000, but I am rather infatuated with the KDE 4 look.
  • A Friend of mine recently tried Ubuntu Hardy. He wasn't too fond of Vista, and couldn't get his hands on a copy of XP. He's quite familiar with computers, but I would not describe him as technically minded. Expecting a short and brutal install process followed by a hasty retreat back to Windows, I was frankly blown away by what followed.

    Firstly, he installed it, via the Windows installer, without undue hassle and was initially very impressed. He ended up having problems with wireless network card drivers, but before then he discovered the compiz window/eye-candy manager and the whole cube desktop thing, as well as dual monitor and window tiling features. He even ended up compiling an add on for compiz from source, and this someone who to my knowledge has never even written a Hello World program (though he has edited game ini files and the like).

    He has seen Macs, and though he's impressed, the price is off putting. Anyway he is now using Vista, and has found its visual effects fairly pleasing. But, he still wants to go back to Ubuntu, due in no small part to the compiz cube, which he considers superior. In fact, even his girlfriend actually prefers Ubuntu. This last remark, while somewhat sexist, is in this particular case a justified testament to the wide appeal of Hardy.

    In short, I remain shocked, bewildered and pleasantly bemused by this state of affairs. Desktop Linux is here right now. No actually, it's over here []. It is not an exaggeration to state that Aunt Tillie can use and actually enjoy Ubuntu Hardy, as though as it might be for us to accept it.

    I personally thought that with Microsoft's Vista difficulties, Apple and OSX would be in the ascendant. Right now however, I foresee the migration of a sizeable fraction of home desktop users to Ubuntu in the short term. You would be surprised just how fast Ubuntu can spread once people see those wobbling windows and desktop cubes.

    Remember how you though that Bittorrent would be too complicated from the average desktop user? Yeah.

  • Re:Marketing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @07:10PM (#24312419) Homepage

    People draw comparisons to Firefox and its adoption, but Firefox grew when it adopted a marketing campaign. People seem to forget that.

    Linux doesn't, but Ubuntu does. But it's also important that Apple also delivers, even if you subtract some for obvious hype and willingness to overlook Apple tend to deliver products that work well. I've seen several that could give Apple a run for the money on style, but then they tend to fail on other points. And the far more useful, yet ugly products. Honestly, there's not that many running in the "fashionable yet usable" category.

    Think for example of clothes - you can get very stylish clothes but they're often awkward to wear, horrible to wash and neither robust nor very practical. Or you can have clothes that are very practical, comfortable, durable, easy to wash and utterly unstylish. Want to look classy 365 days a year? There's not actually that many you'd want to wear. What I'm saying it that you better be good to be fashionable, for a durable product at least.

    I don't think Linux is good enough to be fashionable just yet. Yes, it's a good workhorse but a workhorse is no show horse. The most important thing Linux could do right now is to let Macs have their day to break the MS dominance and get as many cross-platform (Win/Mac/Linux) standards in place as at all possible. Oh yeah and RMS/hippies moving to servers/techies aren't exactly a great start for a fashion statement.

    If I wanted to try a fashion image, I'd try the "choice" image. Show different people, one working in a terminal, one working in KDE, one working in Gnome, working in different applications etc. which all say "I use Linux" and then go "What do you want Linux to be for you?". Would have an ounce of truth yet the implied lie that Linux can be everything you want it to be, sounds like a good commercial to me.

  • by ZarathustraDK ( 1291688 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @07:27PM (#24312559)
    It's not eye-candy, it's not usability.

    It's people thinking they get the best by picking the product that costs more money.

    I've experienced a couple of linux-'converts' before, they all basically say the same thing when living with Ubuntu for a couple of days: "What?! You get all this?! For FREE?!?!"

    There's just this popular misconception (well, it probably makes sense anywhere else than software) that you have to 'pay to play'. You want a Mac, you pay bigtime. You want Vista, you pay. You want a TV, you pay. You want a hotel-room, you pay. You want a gum-drop, you pay. YOU DON'T GET ANYTHING FOR FREE! And if you do, something MUST be fishy.
  • by cuby ( 832037 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @07:29PM (#24312591)
    I use ubuntu daily in at least 3 different computers since 6.10.
    7.10 was very solid, this one... Is not.
    Just look at this massive thread at ubuntuforuns: []

    I'll not list all the bugs that I've found because I'm tired of it... And yes, there are people that don't have or didn't notice them (yet).
    I'm not abandoning this distro because I like its philosophy. I'm willing to continue my little contribution, but with releases like this, it seems more like a UbuVista or BugBuntu and no eye candy will hide it.
  • Re:Yawn (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @07:46PM (#24312743)

    Maybe you should go to talk to HP about that? For some reason Ubuntu support isn't at all as high as Windows support on their priority list.

  • Re:If its shiny (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Belial6 ( 794905 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @07:50PM (#24312793)
    I would have to completely disagree. Right after my son's 2nd birthday, I was in one of these kinds of discussions, and decided to do a little experiment. So, I formatted my son's hard drive, gave him an Ubuntu 5.10 (Breezy Badger) disk, and told him to go install his computer. He did it with no problems. Now if a two year old who cannot read yet can install the OS, I think that it is unfair to say that it is not properly ready for the masses.

    As an aside, I followed up with having him try to install WindowsXP. He was unsuccessful. I attribute this to the fact that WindowsXP required reading to get through the install.
  • Re:Marketing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Enderandrew ( 866215 ) <.enderandrew. .at.> on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @08:53PM (#24313285) Homepage Journal

    I could contend a number of distros hold advantages over Ubuntu, but I don't see the need to start a flame-war.

    However, I saw a Google-trends breakdown recently (I think it was on that showed searches for Ubuntu constantly rise, where as searches for Linux are on the decline. Those two points almost meet in the middle.

    Ubuntu is becoming ubiquitous for Linux. People have heard of Ubuntu, and word of mouth is extremely popular. Because it is the most popular distro, that continues to spread. People who don't know much about Linux are likely to immediately gravitate to the one distro they have heard of.

    Ubuntu landed deals with companies like Dell, and Mark Shuttleworth has made a huge name for himself. I can't even tell you who is in charge of Mandriva.

    For Mandriva to have the same sway, they'd have to sell commercial support (not sure if they do other than their club, which seems to be a turn-off to me), land major deals, and market themselves heavily the way Ubuntu does.

  • Better eyecandy? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hotfireball ( 948064 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @09:12PM (#24313445)

    Disclaimer: I risk to be called a fanboy and marked as a troll...

    Mark Shuttleworth went on to state that Linux's market share will grow when it has better eye-candy than Apple's."

    That's plain BS, because nobody really need any eye candy at the first place. Integration, unification and standards -- this is what Linux is absolutely missing on its desktop. Apple beats Linux at desktop because of excellent integration of all software, clean standard interface for every software (X11-based stuff are aliens though).

    If Linux will continue KDE/Gnome war, they will stay as outsiders on desktop market forever, I think.

  • Re:Yawn (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Locutus ( 9039 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @09:44PM (#24313703)

    but if you ordered a CD from them, what will you get? Is it the original or updated image?

    Nice to know they are updating the images for the LTS products.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @10:07PM (#24313903)

    The way it works in the latest releases of Ubuntu is really easy even for the least technically minded.
    At the bottom of the applications menu you have an entry saying "add / remove" which brings you to Gnome-app-install, a simple front end to apt listing only GUI programs, without all the libraries and CLI apps that would only confuse a person who doesn't want to dig deeper into the system. The programs are divided into the same categories were you will find them in the applications menu once installed (internet, office etc.), there is a search box in the the top right corner were you would expect it to be, offering progressive search results as you type, each application is given a star rating showing its popularity and a short description is displayed for the selected application (I think the one provided by the package).
    It has a very clean look, providing only the needed informations, in order not to be intimidating to new users.
    I don't think I have ever used it for something else then showing people new to Ubuntu how to install new programs, I'm used to aptitude and synaptic, but I think this is a great way to bring the advantages of a great system like apt to mainstream users.

    The just wanting to play movies or listening to music problem is solved quite nicely too: when you open a audio or video file that can't be played with the available codecs, you are presented with a dialog asking if you would like to install the codecs needed to play the file, responding yes will start the download and installation of the codecs, and then start the player.

    No doubt there are still problems with inconsistencies in the user interface and hardware compatibility problems compared to Windows,being the platform targeted by vendors, or Apple, as they must support only the hardware they choose to put into the devices they sell and are targeted more broadly by peripheral makers, but the situation is always getting better.

    As for the bling, one of the things holding back my urge to buy a mac, apart from the Palladium inspired closed attitude they are displaying with the Iphone, it has to be unlocked, jailbroken and sim unlocked before you can use it as you wish, even after having paid the full price, is my gorgeous rotating cube! It took me hours of work to figure out how to get it working on my old ATI card and is now doing its duty in providing me with one of the most relaxing toys I have ever had on a pc.
    Plus it would trouble me seeing the windows stay stiff while I drag them around after having experienced the beauty of the wobbly windows :)

  • by alex4u2nv ( 869827 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @10:37PM (#24314115) Homepage

    Or even so, with various distros of Windows. But atleast you have a choice to choose. The difference that remains between the Microsoft Windows Family (distros) and Linux Distros is that, with Linux the support will be shared among distros. Windows It will not.

    As for Apple/Macs, you don't have that freedom to choose your hardware, thats why people are mislead to think, "it works." Blue pill is comfortable.

    The Red Pill is full of adventure, and risk.

  • by Eli Gottlieb ( 917758 ) <`eligottlieb' `at' `'> on Thursday July 24, 2008 @12:22AM (#24314717) Homepage Journal

    "If not better"!? I'm running my Linux partition right now as opposed to my OS X partition to play Portal, and I have to tell you, once I've configured this thing for a more Mac-like UI (What!? I *like* Cairo-Dock!) it looks much better than the Mac and has better usability. I honestly just keep the OS X partition around for multimedia features (when you need to rip to an iPod, watch DVDs legally or play several bits of audio at once, OSX works best), and might quite gladly migrate to Gentoo Linux with a much larger HDD partition when KDE 4.1 comes out (if Portato updates by then).

  • by IBBoard ( 1128019 ) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @03:54AM (#24315663) Homepage

    I guess this is going no-where, since it's an AC comment, but:

    * Demonstrate a Ubunut machine running side by side

    Easy enough, although comparatively expensive to bring the Mac in.

    * No idiotic package management

    What's idiotic about installing an app and having it install everything you need for you?

    * Apps can be installed by simply dragging them anywhere in the file system

    Depending on how they're distributed, you can do that anyway (with one minor extra step of "extract from archive"). That's how I installed Firefox, Thunderbird and Eclipse (amongst others) on my machine. If someone really wanted to then they could potentially get around that and bundle it as a .bin file.

    At the end of the day it seems like a bad idea, though, because a) it lets you install arbitrary junk that could be dangerous and b) you either have dependency issues that you have to resolve yourself or you end up bundling all of the dependencies in every individual package (which as well as making downloads much larger than necessary means potential licensing issues and potential out of date frameworks)

    * Apps can be just dragged to the trash when no longer needed

    See above.

    * A bundle type system for application resources


    * Perform the most common actions Apple's target demographic performs everyday: checking/writing Mail, webbrowsing with flash, etc., importing photos

    That'd be Thunderbird/KMail/Evolution, Firefox/Konqueror/Opera, F-Spot/DigiKam, amongst others then. Flash is a touch more awkward (unless your distro bundles SWF-dec), but then a Windows machine doesn't exactly have a smooth ride with it pre-installed either, and I don't think Mac does.

    * Same level of fonts and font selection

    Linux supports TTF, so as long as you pay the license then you're fine there.

    * Same level of UI widget layout spacing across every single item of every single application demoed

    If you're using the same toolkits, you should get that. Failing that it's the application developer's fault, just the same as it was Apple's fault for (at one time) having the possibility of about four different UI themes at once on different windows.

    * Remove every single thing in Ubunut that has absolutely nothing to do with photos, mail, webbrowsing, movies

    That'd be a re-spin. Perfectly possible, but no-one has yet bothered to do it. Try doing that, and making a media spin (like Studio 64) and a gaming spin and an educational spin and numerous religious spins and the rest with Mac.

    * Come up with an equally compelling and easy to say/remember/talk about names for a drop in replacement for iPhoto, iMovie etc

    That's just marketing. "F-Spot" for photo management isn't exactly hard, and neither is Totem for video or Exaile/Banshee for music. They're not the same "generic with a single character prefix", but that's because open source projects don't want to try to trademark a concept that covers all of the alternatives.

    Besides, most Gnome distros now label your menu items by purpose (e.g. "Web Browser" or "Email Client" or "Messaging Client" instead).

    * One to one feature completeness with iPhoto,iMovie etc with every single operation taking as many or less steps to accomplish

    What about additional features that they don't have? The core functionality is probably already there (how many things can you do in a photo manager? F-Spot already manages, tags, shows a timeline, and does basic editing) and any extra ones probably don't have much demand. Software doesn't have to be feature-for-feature matching to compete.

    * Not a single instance or case of having to edit X config or other types of files no matter what the hell goes wrong with the system

    Bullet-proof X is designed to solve "X fails and shows command line" and "config doesn't work so X won't start" by auto-configuring and falling back to generic defaults.

    * No freezing or other UI glitches when apps are busy computing like Linux apps do now

  • Re:Marketing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by smilindog2000 ( 907665 ) <> on Thursday July 24, 2008 @04:47AM (#24315901) Homepage

    Ubuntu is not Apple. Thankfully.

    Agreed. And, it never will be. Mark Shuttleworth is way off base this time. Apple specializes in what's possible when a single company controls every aspect of your computer, from hardware design to the GUI. Linux specializes in what's possible when hackers around the world make cool stuff. I'm waaaay in the Linux camp, but Ubuntu will never replace Apple.

    All that really matters is that Linux is awesome and getting better every day. We, the few Linux hackers, have it really good. Why should we care that Joe Sixpack will continue to watch his porn and play his video games on Windows until the end of time?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 24, 2008 @06:52AM (#24316337)

    Apple provides Applications that do one thing: the thing that Apple thinks is best.

    Sure, there's a ton of fanboys here that love Apple because it's Unix and not Microsoft, but the vast majority of Mac users know didly-squat about computers. What they do know is Apple's way of doing things.

    Linux has all the capabilities in the world, including compiling most everything yourself or only using completely free applications - but for the far majority of users, there's no need to do this.

    They want something that's easy and intuitive to use, and something that doesn't require technical knowledge.

    BTW, I'm writing this from a computer running Vista. Never had a problem....

May all your PUSHes be POPped.