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Samba's Jeremy Allison On Linux's Future 193

TRNick writes "Jeremy Allison talks Ubuntu, why he loves Gnome, and the trials and tribulations of open source development in a wide-ranging interview on TechRadar."
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Samba's Jeremy Allison On Linux's Future

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  • by quintesse ( 654840 ) on Monday December 15, 2008 @10:25AM (#26119511)

    the different File Open/Save dialogue boxes grate on me

    Which is exactly one of the reasons why I prefer KDE. I don't know how you can stand the Gnome requesters! They seem horrible to me.

    But at the same time it grates that some applications only exist in their Gnome version, Firefox for example.

    Although most of the time I just look for a KDE version of the application (like using Kopete instead of Pidgin, although it is not as feature rich it at least integrates perfectly with KDE)

  • by edsousa ( 1201831 ) on Monday December 15, 2008 @10:33AM (#26119583) Journal
    However, it will be the compatibility with M$ software that will push Linux mainstream.
    I wouldn't be allowed to install Linux on my laptop if didn't work with the corporate network. I would be fired if I didn't open the Microsoft Word documents.
    I'm glad that Linux can talk Microsoftish, so I can use Linux at my will.
  • by Spacelem ( 189863 ) on Monday December 15, 2008 @10:33AM (#26119585)

    The usual arguments against GNOME are that it hides too much configuration, and that it is too slow compared to KDE. However, I find that GNOME usually has things configured correctly first time, and most of the options I do need are merely cosmetic (mouse focus etc), and these can be set in the preferences. Yes it hides things, but it makes the correct default options so most people probably never really need to find them. I've never found GNOME to be particularly slow, except for loading applications which probably does take too long, but once they're up they're fast enough. It's usually pretty easy to figure something out, and things usually work first time (e.g. CD burning, CUPS, HAL and D-BUS).

    The only things I find that let GNOME down are its slow loading applications, Nautilus, and Totem (which I have to wrestle with to do what I want). Fortunately I have the command line and mplayer which taker care of most of these things.

    KDE on the other hand, I find clunky, it's difficult to find where change the settings (which rarely default to the way I'd want them), and there are a host of little things which put me off, and I think GTK looks much better than QT. I can't put my finger on what exactly they are, but KDE always drives me back to GNOME after a few days' use. Really, the only thing I like about KDE is its wallpaper settings, which are not enough to make me switch, and Kile, which I can run quite happily under GNOME.

  • by AndGodSed ( 968378 ) on Monday December 15, 2008 @10:46AM (#26119719) Homepage Journal


    Microsoft compatibility is a misleading term as well. It is "Linux Compatibility With Microsoft Products."

    Microsoft is not compatible with anything else but rather new microsoft products by design.

    Linux, by design, is compatible with almost anything that it needs to interact with on a network. While this causes there to be proprietary code in your distro in some cases, it opens the door to actually using Linux.

    The thing is, even if you are able to convert your whole company to Linux, companies do not operate in isolation, and hence the rep with his Linux empowered laptop will eventually have to go and do a presentation at a Windows shop, and hence compatibility will enable you to make the move to Linux with confidence.

  • by MikeBabcock ( 65886 ) <> on Monday December 15, 2008 @10:52AM (#26119805) Homepage Journal

    I use kopete instead of pidgin for the features, and I'm a Gnome user.

    I also use Amarok, for its features.

    I use Gnome as a desktop environment but I'm quite open to using Qt/KDE apps where they are superior -- I feel no need to be a desktop bigot :)

  • I call nonsense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Excelcia ( 906188 ) <> on Monday December 15, 2008 @10:59AM (#26119851) Homepage Journal

    Samba is a transition tool that allows businesses to move away from Microsoft. It's the leverage that a company's IT professionals (who are, more often than not, Linux-friendly) can use to transition away from Microsoft tools. When a company's Microsoft boxes are all talking to shares on Linux servers anyway, and saving scads of money doing it, it's more compelling to say let's begin to transition other things away from Microsoft.

    Linux isn't going to displace Microsoft by ignoring it. Linux will displace Microsoft by offering reasonable alternatives at a more reasonable price, and by making the transition as easy as possible. To that end,
    Samba is one of the best things that has ever happened to Linux.

  • Re:I call nonsense (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JasterBobaMereel ( 1102861 ) on Monday December 15, 2008 @11:24AM (#26120103)

    Using Samba to let Linux clients and Web Clients to talk to Linux Servers - Oh and the odd legacy MS server or client .... is a good thing too ...

  • by Abcd1234 ( 188840 ) on Monday December 15, 2008 @11:32AM (#26120203) Homepage

    You call it "simple", I will call it "simpler". Yes, it is easier than apt-get, but it is still by no means user friendly.

    How could it *possibly* be simpler? You literally select the category (say, "Sound and Video"), and then find something you like. I honestly can't conceive of a more user-friendly interface. Hell, it's *better* that the Firefox add-ons selector as it's a simple picklist ordered by category, as opposed to an interface where you have to know what to search for in order to find what you're looking for.

  • by WiglyWorm ( 1139035 ) on Monday December 15, 2008 @11:52AM (#26120401) Homepage
    Well, sometimes "simple" does not equate in to user-friendliness. The fact that it is a "simple pick list" is the issue. You're confronted with a list of applications, some well named, some not. Sorted by type... and not much else. If I look for a firefox add-on, to continue the comparison, I can sort by type or keyword, and get a brief description of the application click it for a detailed explanation as well as reviews and comments...

    I'm not BASHING Linux, keep in mind. I would like to see it catch on, I'm just giving my advice. Sorry I can't program, or I'd build it. As it is, I'll give my opinion.
  • by skeeto ( 1138903 ) on Monday December 15, 2008 @12:02PM (#26120491)

    Gnome used to be my favorite window manager, until I realized that the focus model is totally wrong, and there is no way to fix it. It lies in this principle,

    No window should ever steal focus ... ever. Don't even do it if the computer will blow up, or the world will end, if I fail to respond.

    If you are trying to maximize your computing efficiency, focus stealing is your worst enemy. It's entire purpose is to slow you down.

    Focus stealing breaks flow and can also be a security issue. Let's say you are typing away in a text editor and some other application decides it needs you to make a decision in the form of a pop-up window. Just as you are hitting enter in your text editor, the window pops-up, grabs your return keystroke and accepts it as your answer, doing whatever the default action is. Or the case where you are typing a password and a dialog steals focus and you type part of your password out in plain sight into the dialog.

    A lot of this can be blamed on Windows for having a really shitty focus model, which everyone else tries to emulate in order to appeal to mouse-driven Windows users, I guess. I have noticed that Vista has a slightly improved focus over XP, but still very wrong. This focus model is the same attitude that gets you the Windows update manager that bugs you every 10 minutes by stealing focus, or worse, automatically rebooting while you aren't even at the machine (this is simply unforgivable).

    Unfortunately, if you switch to a reasonable focus model, you will break poorly designed applications that are used to the broken focus models (OpenOffice, Matlab, any IDE, to name a few). These are applications that use a lot of pop-ups that don't "disable" the main window, which is when it is ok. For example, save dialogs are just fine for pop-ups: you can't have the main window in focus, so the change in focus to the dialog is natural and doesn't have a negative effect (it's not actually focus stealing).

    However, pop-up text-searching is always absolutely wrong, for reasons beyond focus stealing too*. You will find that removing focus stealing will (correctly) not give these search boxes focus, which really breaks things for these applications. (Firefox wins here, maintaining its fairly good usability, with the integrated, incremental search bar.)

    KDE does actually have a setting that can strictly stop focus stealing, in the form of a sliding bar. This works most of the time, but it's not perfect. New windows do in fact steal focus for a few milliseconds. This is enough to occasionally steal a keystroke, but I can live with it for now.

    At work, I only get to choose between Gnome and KDE, so some other window manager out there may get this 100% right and I haven't explored it. At home I use IceWM, which also has a broken, unfixable focus model. However, the software I use at home is better behaved, making it less of an issue.

    * Side rant here. For seasoned Emacs users, the incremental search function is frequently used for navigation [] (see item 4). If I need to move the point by more than a few characters or words, I start a text search (C-s, C-r) and type some text at the point I want to go. I do this all the time without even thinking about it. This doesn't work in a pop-up text search, even ignoring the fact that the aren't incremental either. When you bring it up, usually ctrl+f, there is always a delay to the window coming up. If I start typing my search right away, as I am used to in Emacs, it will go into my document rather than the search box. I find this incredibly annoying. I shouldn't be waiting for the computer like that.

  • by somenickname ( 1270442 ) on Monday December 15, 2008 @12:07PM (#26120553)

    I agree. Jeremy Allison seems like a nice enough guy and his contributions are surely appreciated but, there was very little content to this interview. I'm not sure why this particular interview is worth putting on the front page other than getting people riled up into a Gnome vs. KDE war.

  • Emacs (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kwabbles ( 259554 ) on Monday December 15, 2008 @01:11PM (#26121195)

    Since you mentioned it, I think Emacs is my favorite desktop manager. It's also my favorite CAD program.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 15, 2008 @03:36PM (#26123173)

    While I may agree with some of the sentiment about things only being "good enough" but interoperability is what helps people transition their networks to Linux. For example if someone wants to import a Linux workstation into a Windows environment, it will do fuckall if they cannot access useful shares on the SMB shares. Sure you can say "Just move everything over to NFS" but that takes time, money, and effort. Transitions can happen but people need things in the mean time and I think SMB is doing a phenomenal job bridging the gap between Windows and Linux. Also lets say for example, just hypothetically that maybe an office doesn't want to move over to 100% Linux. You know "best tool for the job" etc and so on, so while you may have animosity towards Microsoft, it is the a top player in office environments and when you're fighting a uphill battle, you try to be as compatible as possible, make the transition smooth, and give users less of a reason to use the other guy's product if your product does the same thing and also inter operates with the competition, people will be more inclined to use it.

  • by Yiliar ( 603536 ) on Monday December 15, 2008 @07:38PM (#26126541)

    However, it will be the compatibility with M$ software that will push Linux mainstream.

    It was MS Word incompatibility that caused it to become the de facto standard when MS convinced PC manufacturers to pre-load Windows. There were many UNIX based and proprietary OS based word and document processing, and plublishing tools that were (only a few still exist) far superior to Word.

    Prior to those days, MS used to rant about compatibility until it became a power buzzword.

    It is a sad truth that the world of IT and computing in general would be better off tomorrow if MS disappeared from the face of the earth.

    The dearth of computing platforms is already frightening. No one should be pushing future business towards the existing 'standards' of MS compatibility.

    Linus is oft quoted as saying that he has no wish to make Linux compete with MS.

    He is wise.

    He is not alone. Thankfully, there are companies like Apache, and projects like perl and php, that defy the corporate doctrine of market share, in favor of innovation and common sense.

No extensible language will be universal. -- T. Cheatham