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Operating Systems Software Linux

Living Free With Linux, Round 2 936

bsk_cw writes "About a month ago, in Living free with Linux: 2 weeks without Windows, Preston Gralla wrote about what life was like for a long-time Windows user trying to live with Linux. His main problems came when he tried to install or update software. Loads of people responded with advice — so he went back and tried again. Here's what he learned, and what did and didn't work for him."
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Living Free With Linux, Round 2

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  • by Ninnle Labs, LLC ( 1486095 ) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @12:54PM (#27136715)

    It will probably be the case this guy doesn't WANT to change from Photoshop to Gimp, from IE to FireFox, from AIM to Pidgin, to run Wine for WoW.

    No need to do so, just use CrossOver Linux and CrossOver Games.

  • Re:Lol (Score:3, Informative)

    by Saffaya ( 702234 ) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @01:09PM (#27136909)

    I think the article author meant the complexity involved IF a problem arises when using apt-get install.
    A beginner user wouldn't know how to troubleshoot it.

  • Re:Lol (Score:3, Informative)

    by ducomputergeek ( 595742 ) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @01:17PM (#27137045)

    However, for most people, they are used to popping in a disc or double clicking an icon that says "install". That's it. Believe me, the fact that one drags and drops most applications on a Mac boggles people minds. That's why I think we've seen more applications come with installers on OSX even if all the installer does is just copy the .app to the application directory.

    Now there are GUI front ends to APT or Ports (if you're a BSD user like myself), and dare I say I find the command line easier for such tasks. One of the reasons I favored BSD over Linux back in the day was the fact I could go /usr/ports/whatever make install clean and then go grab a cup a coffee or watch TV while it fetched the needed packages and dependancies, compiled and it worked.

  • Re:Lol (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @01:17PM (#27137049)

    Huh? /etc/apt/sources.list is configured during the installation routine in Debian, and all Debian descendants. A user doesn't need look at it at all unless he needs something way outside of normal usage, and by then that user normally has enough computer experience to be able to edit a text file.

    There are so many help forums on the net that it's almost impossible to miss them if you have even average research skills.

  • Re:Lol (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @01:17PM (#27137051)

    blah@blah:~$ apt-get search test
    E: Invalid operation search

  • by reashlin ( 1370169 ) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @01:30PM (#27137291)
    "I recommend updating only software that you recognize."

    No No No NO! Update everything. People didn't spend time updating software for you to ignore them. They updated it often because it needs securing.
  • by Shining Celebi ( 853093 ) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @01:42PM (#27137493) Homepage

    The App Store model, cheezy as it may be, works precisely because it's easy to find, easy to run, and easy to find & install applications. Linux doesn't have it yet. Having to spend hours Googling for what apps depend on what other apps, and how to install each of them in their own peculiar way, is largely what keeps Linux sidelined for now.

    I am pretty sure that all modern Linux distributions come with a full-blown GUI frontend for their package management system that handles all of that for you. Here's how I install Application X on Ubuntu -- I go to Add/Remove Programs, scroll through the categories or search for Application X, select it, and click "install." Done. The problems you're talking about don't exist anymore.

  • Re:Lol (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ninnle Labs, LLC ( 1486095 ) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @01:53PM (#27137691)
    There already is an easy to use UI for apt that's been around for years. It's called Synaptic.
  • Re:I did RTFA... (Score:2, Informative)

    by PitaBred ( 632671 ) <slashdot AT pitabred DOT dyndns DOT org> on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @02:30PM (#27138395) Homepage
    There's a great article that I point people to every time we discuss Linux and windows: []

    The point is that Linux is NOT Windows, and people going to Linux with the wrong expectations is the single largest problem that exists with migrating users.
  • Re:Lol (Score:3, Informative)

    by ais523 ( 1172701 ) <ais523(524\)(525)x)> on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @02:50PM (#27138683)
    Ubuntu (in particular, I don't know about whether other Linux distributions do this) also has an even easier to use cut-down version of Synaptic called Applications | Add/Remove... No good for installing most command-line applications, but people who are scared of apt probably don't want those anyway (and can use Synaptic if they do).
  • Re:Lol (Score:5, Informative)

    by Nursie ( 632944 ) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @03:05PM (#27138969)

    1. Download software you want to install.
          2. Drag said software to a main "Applications" folder marked with a big fat distinctive icon.
          3. Enjoy.

    or the linux way:
    1. Find the software you want to install
    2. apt-get (or GUI) install it
    3. enjoy

    Why put up with repositories, RPM files, dependency hell, etc..

    Spoken like someone that hasn't used linux in 5 years or more.

    Sacrilegious as it may be of me to say this Windows install packages are often less complicated to use than Linux RPM packages can be.

    When was the last time anyone using a recent distro and recent software touched an rpm? I played with an rpm recently because I Wanted to install a piece of software that hadn't been updated in a decade.

    What Linux needs, and this has been pointed out by more people than me, is a simple well thought out installation mechanism that is used by all Linux distributions.

    Why? The whole point of FOSS is that there isn't one "true" path. And which clueless home users are going to be installing software across multiple distributions anyway? In all liklihood they'll have Ubuntu, Fedora or one other distro and to them that will be linux. Or even "the computer".

    For GUI apps, which is what most of your "clueless and lazy" consumers are installing anyway, it is hard to beat the OS X concept of a drag-and-drop application-bundle for ease of use.

    It's already been beaten. Start up your software installer GUI, select a piece of software, click install. I believe in Apple terms that would be an "App Store" except they're all free.

    Seriously, get your knowledge up to date.

  • by mhall119 ( 1035984 ) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @03:34PM (#27139439) Homepage Journal

    Try getting your AAC files to play. It's easy if you know *exactly what* to type to get apt-get to install the codecs. But, even if you have the right repositories set up, you can be an old unix hand like me and still not know which packages you need to get the job done.

    I haven't tested it with AAC, but I seem to recall that when I tried to play an MP3 on a clean install of Ubuntu, it told me exactly what package I needed, and even downloaded and installed it for me.

    Now, the reason you need to do this is that nobody's willing to stick their necks out and vouch for the legality of doing that.

    I seem to remember that being covered before Ubuntu installed the codec. I also heard that they were going to let you buy licenses to codec from within Ubuntu.

  • Yeah, I don't get it.

    In Windows, you want to install something? First you have to search the web for it, come up with dozens of results that may or may not be what you want. Of the ones that will do what you want, half of them are crippleware with only half the features, or come bundled with spyware, or is some kind of trial-only nonsense, or you have to pay for it.

    Once you find something that fits your needs, you download a completely untrusted executable from god-knows-where, and run it. Windows is all too happy to let even the most simple program install things in half a dozen different folders it has no business touching or creating. Then it'll clutter up your setup -- create new start menu folders that have nothing to do with anything (Start > Programs > Manufactuer > Developer > Program Name > Run program.exe ? WTF IS THAT?), a quicklaunch icon, a desktop shortcut, and helpfully installs yet another systray party favor to start on boot and hog memory for no reason.

    When all is said and done you have the program but unless you're really on top of things, your computer slows down under the weight of all the extraneous garbage and malware that comes from doing things this way. Which is why salespeople are always whining about how slow their 2ghz dual core setups are.

    Oh yeah, and each program will insist on having its own little update system, so pretty soon you've got forty seven different applications all bitching that they want to update individually.

    Woo! That's easy and convenient!

    Let's look at the complicated Linux way using Synaptic and Gnome. First, click "Add Programs". Type in a keyword or two to search the repository. Results come back with names and descriptions. Put a checkbox next to the one you want, click "install", and a few seconds later it's on your system, in a sane folder under "Applications", and didn't leave any horsebull behind afterwards. Full featured, no registration, no nagging. For free.

    Oh, and it'll update from a central update panel, along with everything else. One click to update everything at once.

    Man, that's so hard. Only a true IT God could ever master this process!
  • Re:One size fits all (Score:2, Informative)

    by Dionysus ( 12737 ) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @05:58AM (#27147823) Homepage

    The list could go on. Amarok/rhythmbox/banshee/etc aren't really as good as iTunes

    That's funny, since I have a friend who just moved from Linux to MacOSX and one thing he miss is Amarok

  • Re:One size fits all (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @11:02AM (#27150589)

    as to the dvd stuff: not the fault of linux, but fault of CSS and DMCA

    about the "promted for password to connect to network": that's because network-manager sucks. use wicd instead (see [] it's more featureful, doesn't nag you for a password, and more stable.

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.