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Debian Linux

Ubuntu 9.04 Is As Slick As Win7, Mac OS X 871

An anonymous reader writes in with an opinion piece from ZDNet Australia. "Here's what the official press release won't tell you about Ubuntu 9.04, which formally hit the streets yesterday: its designers have polished the hell out of its user interface since the last release in October. Just like Microsoft has taken the blowtorch to Vista to produce the lightning-quick Windows 7, which so far runs well even on older hardware, Ubuntu has picked up its own game."
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Ubuntu 9.04 Is As Slick As Win7, Mac OS X

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  • screenshots? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by themacks ( 1197889 ) <markmccarthy@gatech . e du> on Friday April 24, 2009 @10:24AM (#27701503) Homepage

    its designers have polished the hell out of its user interface

    and the link is to an article without a single screenshot....

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 24, 2009 @10:38AM (#27701691)

    "... simultaneously launching and using multiple applications, listening to music and more while using my spare CPU cycles in the background to encode high-definition video with Mencoder ..."

    How many of those things would your computer do at the same time 20 years ago? We expect a lot more now than we did then.

  • by Tubal-Cain ( 1289912 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @10:39AM (#27701707) Journal

    Is that just the result of crappy programming, or is there more to it?

    Feature creep?

  • by Willeh ( 768540 ) <rwillem@xs4all.nl> on Friday April 24, 2009 @10:40AM (#27701719)

    everything simply being where it should be in the user interface.

    I think this sentence describes exactly my problem with this kind of "reporting". Not all users are created equal.

  • by mpapet ( 761907 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @10:40AM (#27701723) Homepage

    These comparisons don't help Linux.

    The phenomena of giving someone a third choice often drives them to choose from the first two is well known.

    They should have used a summary with the new features in this version instead of more comparisons that don't matter.

    I'll take the kernel with *no* Digital Restrictions Management.

  • I love Ubuntu... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by greenguy ( 162630 ) <estebandido&gmail,com> on Friday April 24, 2009 @10:41AM (#27701747) Homepage Journal

    I have it on both my laptops, and even installed it on a virtual machine on my work Mac.

    BUT... I won't be recommending it to friends and family until they get the damn sound working immediately upon installation. If people can't use Flash and watch Youtube on it, it might as well be green letters on a black background.

  • Screenshots (Score:5, Insightful)

    by molarmass192 ( 608071 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @10:42AM (#27701755) Homepage Journal
    from Lifehacker [lifehacker.com]

    As for being as slick as OS X, well, spoken like somebody who obviously doesn't own a Mac. It's nice, but there's no way it's even in the same neighborhood that the ballpark for OS X is in. I'm gonna light a small fire here, but I wish a super talented artist would redesign the widget set for Gnome, it's very very dated as it stands now. KDE is far better looking but even it is getting long in the tooth.
  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @10:47AM (#27701831) Homepage

    10 years ago I expected my machine to simulaneously...

            Rip/transcode CDs.
            Play mp3s
            Browse the web with bloated browser.
            Manipulate documents with bloaded office suite.

    The only thing that's reall changed in the last 10 years
    is that the tools have changed in appearance. Some are
    more snazzy, and some are less snazzy but more automated.
    However the basics are pretty much the same as well as
    the expected level of concurrency.

    I expect the computationally interesting stuff to run
    for as long as it needs to without crashing and without
    negatively impacting the "end user experience".

    Unix had that part covered 10 years ago.

    "using spare cycles for something useful" is what Unix does.

  • by worip ( 1463581 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @10:48AM (#27701837)
    I've downgraded a few laptops and desktops now to XP, and most of the sound hardware does not work right after install: you actually have to download a few drivers. Might not be the same as installing a brand new OS, I'm just saying that no OS is perfect in its driver support, especially when it comes to laptops.
  • doesn't own a Mac (Score:5, Insightful)

    by viralMeme ( 1461143 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @10:51AM (#27701877)
    "As for being as slick as OS X, well, spoken like somebody who obviously doesn't own a Mac"

    "I am starting to prefer using my Ubuntu "Jaunty Jackalope" desktop over the similarly slick Windows 7 beta (which I am currently running full-time on one desktop) and Mac OS X Leopard operating systems, which I also use regularly" [cnet.com]
  • Re:screenshots? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 24, 2009 @10:52AM (#27701891)
    and at the same time it have almost no support for touchscreens (yes they work, no you can't do anything useful, as you have not a writing tool) and multitouch is not working at all, while audio support is a total mess
  • Re:Screenshots (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @10:59AM (#27701997)

    It's nice, but there's no way it's even in the same neighborhood that the ballpark for OS X is in. I'm gonna light a small fire here, but I wish a super talented artist would redesign the widget set for Gnome...

    This is an interesting quote because it illustrates how much many users consider "eye candy" to be a critical component of "usability". If only the widget icons were more up-to-date with current styles, Gnome would be more usable?

  • Re:Screenshots (Score:5, Insightful)

    by je ne sais quoi ( 987177 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @11:01AM (#27702025)
    As a daily mac user, I can say that the author does point out some of the well-known gripes about leopard: 1) the stacks feature of the dock is just weird, and somewhat impractical to use with a folder with a larger number of items (although it has gotten better with one of the updates). 2) Spaces is not well implemented. A standard pager would have been a better choice, so you can see what windows are where. 3) Perhaps the biggest issue, a lot of people suspect (and this is supported by benchmarks) that Leopard is streamlined for intel macs, anybody with a G4 or G5 PPC can run it, but it doesn't run well. This is the first point release of OS X that hasn't been faster than its predecessors and that should say something. I nearly installed it myself on my dual G5, but after looking at the benchmarks, decided that 10.4 ran just fine, and I have a real pager [berlios.de] already.

    As for Ubuntu, the real thing keeping me back from using it is the gnome interface. There are basically two problems I have with it, the first is right what you point out, to be blunt, I find gnome and to a lesser extent, gtk, to be ugly. I really don't like it. It works, but QT is much nicer looking. That said, my other major problem with gnome is the minimalist design paradigm. Whenever I use gnome apps, I often find myself getting irritated at the lack of options. It wouldn't kill them to have a few more clicky things on their preferences windows. For the record: I use e17 as my desktop manager and run a mix of gtk, qt and kde 3.5 apps (won't use kde 4 because they nuked the konqueror, which is my favorite file manager of all time).
  • Never mind aqua, brushed metal, grey slates and black HUDs don't look the same either ...

  • Terrible Article (Score:5, Insightful)

    by foo fighter ( 151863 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @11:07AM (#27702087) Homepage

    From the summary I expected at least a snapshot gallery, maybe even video and benchmarks since it was a CNET address, of this latest release.

    But this article is complete shit. It's a crappy fanboy blog post with no numbers, no pictures, and just breathless "it works for me, and I'm emotionally committed to this platform, so it's the best thing ever" anecdotes.

    Here's a counter-anecdote to the OS X Leopard (10.5) bashing: I'm running 10.5.6 on my 12" PowerBook G4 and it is great. The machine only runs at 1.33GHz with 768MB RAM. The only time it feels slow is when more than one Flash animation tries to run at once (Fuck you, Adobe). Otherwise I can have more than a dozen apps open, a video podcast playing in iTunes in the corner, promiscuous network monitors saturating the resources, and the only time I wish I had a newer machine is when I'm stuck with audio-only chats with my wife while on the road because this box doesn't have the built-in iSight and I don't want to pack an external one.

    Stacks have been great since the 10.5.2 update (which came out in Feb 2008, BTW) added several options to how they work. I use them all the time. Folders that have lots of files and subfolders are set to display as a menu very similar to Windows's classic Start Menu. Folders that have few items, like certain subfolders that hold a category of applications or my Downloads folder, display in a grid for quick access. Stacks are awesome, and they are the reason I have stopped hating the Dock and wishing I could turn it off.

    Spaces was updated in 10.5.3 (which came out in May 2008) and addressed many of the criticisms the initial feature faced when 10.5 launched several months earlier. I admit it isn't as good as some virtual desktops in Nixland. But it is very, very solid and waaay better than anything available for Windows.

    To avoid "your just an OS X fanboy! Nyaah!" flames, let me say that I do love OS X. But I am also running the last LTS of Ubuntu at home and find it a very nice environment. At work I actually prefer OpenBSD, but Windows is currently on my main workstation at the office following some pointy-haired unpleasantness (OpenBSD is still usually the active window, running in a VM; Its main mailing list is also a source of entertainment all day long). I admin several servers running CentOS. I also have to touch Windows Server frequently, which is more often than not a pleasant experience.

    Slavish OS fanboyism and an inability to admit to the faults as well as the strengths of an OS is a symptom of a weak mind.

  • Re:screenshots? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by foo fighter ( 151863 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @11:09AM (#27702099) Homepage

    Yeah, then how about a screencast? It is 2009 you know, you're allowed to put video on your web page. This **is** CNET, you'd think they have the resources to make that work.

  • by Vorpix ( 60341 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @11:09AM (#27702103)

    i do agree that Ubuntu 9.04 looks slick. i installed a few of my favorite fonts (Futura, Droid) and adjusted the theme. (it's really simple... anybody who complains about the default really needs to learn how to click System -> Preferences -> Appearance and choose one of the alternatives, including *gasp* blue/gray themes! That's right, THEY'RE INCLUDED! YOUR MAIN GRIPE AGAINST UBUNTU IS SOLVED! :-P ) I must say though, those Gnome folks have really improved the font situation in Linux over the years, to the point where fonts look just as nice in Linux as they do on a Mac, IMHO.

    but what isn't slick is support for some webcams (mine "works" but in an unusable state), media codecs that must be installed separately and then don't always work (in my personal experience, even VLC has run poorly)... which may be caused by still inferior (to Windows') video card drivers (even when using 1st party drivers from ATI/nVidia). The sad truth is that a hacked together osx86 install gives better media performance and capabilities than a legit Ubuntu install.

    I would love for a release of Ubuntu to focus primarily on multimedia and drivers. this is where Ubuntu must concentrate in order to convince users to switch from Windows (if that is in fact a goal). i understand the licensing issues that prevent some codecs from being included. but is there really a need for my Dell's onboard sound card to be listed as a Pulseaudio device AND an ALSA device AND an OSS device? Why not unify this? I plugged in a webcam which had it's own mic, and suddenly i have a dozen possible devices to choose from as an input device in every application that can use a mic. how about just two?

    medibuntu repositories should be available by default. people DO want codecs and 3rd party software like Skype, despite what people like RMS might think. they don't need to be installed by default, but at least have the capability there by default. (Totem does go out and search for codecs now at least, which is a good thing.)

    in my experience, it's still not there as a desktop OS yet, but Ubuntu is progressing. with each release, we get closer.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @11:14AM (#27702147) Journal
    On the other hand, the price point at which we "have that covered" has absolutely plummeted during those years.

    Huge amounts of "exciting new" PC tech is arguably just a rediscovery of stuff that was being done on big iron ages back. The difference, and it isn't a small one, is that the new stuff is crazy cheap.
  • by bcrowell ( 177657 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @11:14AM (#27702149) Homepage

    To most people the GUI is synonymous with the OS, but they're two separate things. By far the bulk of the review seems to be talking about how he likes this version of Gnome better. Well, that's fine, but Ubuntu isn't the same thing as Gnome. I run Ubuntu, but I don't use Gnome.

    He also seems favorably impressed with the performance of the GUI, but again this mixes together a lot of stuff in a pretty uninformative way. He's got a particular nvidia card. I don't have that card, so his perception of "windows moving around without jerkiness" probably means nothing to me, even if I were to use Gnome.

    Want Adobe Flash or other proprietary software like multimedia codecs on Ubuntu? Just search for them in the one location, under their own names. No downloading anything from any Web sites. No package management or dependencies. No apt-get. Point and click.

    This part baffles me. "No package management or dependencies." Since when have you ever had to worry about package management or dependencies on an ubuntu machine? Dependencies are taken care of automatically by apt. "No apt-get. Point and click." Huh? For years and years now, you've been able to install packages on a debian/ubuntu box by clicking around on a gui, if that's what floats your boat. (Personally I prefer to use apt from the console, since, e.g., it lets me install fifty apps at once just by cutting and pasting a string of package names.) Why is he using apt-get in contradistinction to point and click, as if it was a new thing to be able to access apt via a gui?

  • Re:screenshots? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @11:15AM (#27702165) Homepage

    you mean like how Windows XP and Vista has almost no support for touchscreens as well?

    I had to go digging for the drivers and apps for my tablet for XP and vista. they did not magicanny install and work without effort.

  • Re:Screenshots (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 24, 2009 @11:17AM (#27702195)

    As for being as slick as OS X, well, spoken like somebody who obviously doesn't own a Mac.

    More to the point - spoken like somebody whose obsession with pretty bitmaps leads him to think that a screen shot can capture everything there is to know about an interface.

    Apple designs a usable interface first, then adds an unimportant layer of "pretty" on top of it. KDE devs do the "pretty" part well enough, but they think it's all-important - and thus, they fail spectacularly when it comes to usability. When Mac users don't like the result, the KDE devs don't have a clue why not - "but, but, but - what's wrong, KDE is just as pretty!"

  • by klubar ( 591384 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @11:17AM (#27702199) Homepage

    PRoducing a highly polished UI, with consistent colors, shading and graphics is hard and takse time and talent. Most of the people with these skill don't want to work for free (as in free software) and would rather earn a living for their talent (or time).

    It also requires a degree of central coordination and control--most lacking in free software. Even MS Windows (where some may consider the interface not as polished as the Mac) sweats a lot of the details--does it work in 8 bit color mode? does it scale to low res screens? black & white? is there a high contrast version for visually impaired? And then there are all the internationalization issues...

    Writing polished software, with a highly integrated interface has never been free software's strength. Too many programmers who aren't designers, too many "but I really like orange and green and pink" windows.

    Firefox probably comes closest (or meets) the requirements for "Joe or Jane User". But most of the stuff just doesn't have the polish of really high quality commercial software. (Compare, Gimp with Photoshop, OO with MS Office).

    FOSS is great for infrastructure stuff--apache, MySQL, etc., but it's been 5 years away from the desktop for the last 20 years...

  • Re:screenshots? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by FireFury03 ( 653718 ) <slashdot@nexusu[ ]rg ['k.o' in gap]> on Friday April 24, 2009 @11:20AM (#27702255) Homepage

    and at the same time it have almost no support for touchscreens (yes they work, no you can't do anything useful, as you have not a writing tool)

    Why do you need a touchscreen? Unless you're building a public information kiosk (which isn't likely to need an onscreen keyboard anyway) or installing on a tablet PC, touchscreens aren't a lot of use. Yeah, so Microsoft's marketting arm are making a big deal about how well Windows 7 supports touch screen, but anyone who has used one knows it isn't really a feasible input method for a desktop unless you feel like your arms cramping up after half an hour of use.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 24, 2009 @11:20AM (#27702261)

    10 years ago I expected my machine to simulaneously...

            Rip/transcode CDs.

            Play mp3s

            Browse the web with bloated browser.

            Manipulate documents with bloaded office suite.

    And yet, in Firefox 3 running on Ubuntu Jaunty, I cannot scroll down this page without pauses because some other website is loading in a background tab...

  • by Phizzle ( 1109923 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @11:23AM (#27702297) Homepage
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 24, 2009 @11:34AM (#27702461)

    There is stuff though in Ubuntu, and other Linux distros though that is simply inexcusable.

    Like positioning text inside a text field.

    For who knows what reason something as trivial as that Linux still can't get right. The text is too big, the font is a manifestly retarded choice, the text is not centered and aligned to the box properly.

    Just a few seconds of looking at the OS X desktop and Ubuntu side by side makes this glaringly obvious.

    Ubuntu has the money to do so, has the complete source code, and even has a perfect example of how to do it right. And yet version after version is riddled with the same stupid UI problems that could be fixed today.

  • Re:screenshots? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 24, 2009 @11:35AM (#27702481)

    Who gives a shit why he needs a touchscreen? This is just excuse-making. Maybe he IS working on a kiosk. Maybe he's working on a POS cash-register app, or the next generation of surface-based interfaces. Maybe he just prefers touchscreens.

    Honestly, I get sick of this attitude from developers when someone suggests a useful feature - "why would you need that?" That's why Linux will always by a system "by programmers, for programmers."

  • Re:screenshots? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HermMunster ( 972336 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @11:36AM (#27702485)

    Windows 7 has some support for touch screens. But That's pretty limited. And, it isn't like we all have touch screens. Sort of like "virtually no one" has touch screens on their computers.

    That's like complaining it doesn't have photoshop when the vast majority of those complaining that there's no photoshop have pirated it to begin with, as the program is $700.00.

    You shouldn't really complain about something you don't have just to make someone else look bad.

    It's like the kid in the high school that tries to make some other kid look bad because his dad doesn't have a porche, all the while, neither does his dad.

  • Re:Screenshots (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Just Some Guy ( 3352 ) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Friday April 24, 2009 @11:36AM (#27702501) Homepage Journal

    As for being as slick as OS X, well, spoken like somebody who obviously doesn't own a Mac.

    I'm typing this on my home Mac. It's nice and all, but I look forward to being back on my Kubuntu machine at the office where everything works the way I think it should.

    Personal preference? Certainly! But no more so then claiming that OS X is inherently more polished than Ubuntu.

  • by cabjf ( 710106 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @11:40AM (#27702543)

    To most people the GUI is synonymous with the OS, but they're two separate things.

    This is what is holding Linux back on the desktop though. The public wants a consistent, intuitive, and responsive interface with their computer. The major aim of Canonical is to simplify Linux for the common user. That means working on configuring Gnome (as that is their GUI of choice) to meet those requirements. So a review meant for the public of the latest Ubuntu is going to focus on how it will look and act to a general user. While the bulk of it may be Gnome, the underlying system has to get everything right as well.

  • Re:screenshots? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by x78 ( 1099371 ) <monead@naypalm.su> on Friday April 24, 2009 @11:49AM (#27702681) Homepage

    So basically this isn't actually any kind of real test?
    "oh this feels faster, shiny!"
    What upgrades has ubuntu had to X that may have made it faster? Is it using Xorg 1.6 or something?
    I'd prefer evidence to a random user's sense of responsiveness :S

  • Re:screenshots? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JSBiff ( 87824 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @11:52AM (#27702733) Journal

    Wait, wait. . . did you just make an argument that because some random poster on /. downplayed a request for touchscreen support, that Linux developers don't care about requests for less-popular but potentially useful features? I agree that the GP's response of essentially 'who cares about touchscreen support' is kind of dumb, I fail to see how his post on /. has anything to do with developer attitudes?

  • by Shivetya ( 243324 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @11:53AM (#27702745) Homepage Journal

    Give the nerds that and many more would try it, especially if you promised more fps during raids.

    Yes, I am being serious.

  • by master811 ( 874700 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @11:53AM (#27702749)

    Well considering XP came out several YEARS before these laptops and desktops you downgraded, it's hardly surprising is it?

    You can't really compare installing the latest copy of Ubuntu (which has probably the latest hardware drivers included) with software that is running on hardware 5-6 years newer it was first built to run on.

  • Re:screenshots? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mabinogi ( 74033 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @11:56AM (#27702795) Homepage

    why? It's worked for Apple users for years....

  • by Eunuchswear ( 210685 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @12:07PM (#27702917) Journal

    * Xorg with a resident size of 125MB

    How much of that is your video RAM?

  • by daybot ( 911557 ) * on Friday April 24, 2009 @12:10PM (#27702971)

    The only thing that's reall changed in the last 10 years
    is that the tools have changed in appearance.

    What the average user expects from web browsing is considerably different to what it was 10 years ago. If you showed me Hulu in HD in 1999 I think I'd have passed out - you can do that in a browser? My Mum and Grandfather have both just bought new computers because their old ones couldn't do BBC iPlayer SD in high quality, let alone the new iPlayer HD content.

    The personal computing industry owes a lot to YouTube, Hulu, iPlayer and the like: outside gaming, these are the only mainstream killer apps that actually require 21st century hardware.

  • by Christianfreak ( 100697 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @12:18PM (#27703085) Homepage Journal

    Actually using KVPNC I've had no issues with Cisco VPN connections.

    I find it sad that Exchange support is still considered a "specialized need" :). Personally I wish Mozilla would add it to Thunderbird. T-bird is a much better mail client anyway. (IMHO)

  • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @12:18PM (#27703089) Homepage Journal

    What is holding back Linux on the desktop is Applications.
    No QuickBook.
    No TurboTax.
    No iTunes.
    Lack of games.
    I use Linux everyday at home. I love it but I still have to duel boot into Windows to use iTunes on the iPod Touch.
    FSX only runs on Windows which is to be expected.

  • by Nyxeh ( 701219 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @12:26PM (#27703209)
    What do you expect if programmers drive the development process? These things simply are not important to them.
  • Re:I'm surprised (Score:3, Insightful)

    by David Gerard ( 12369 ) <slashdot&davidgerard,co,uk> on Friday April 24, 2009 @12:28PM (#27703227) Homepage
    The year of the Linux Desktop was 2008.
  • by Blakey Rat ( 99501 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @12:30PM (#27703265)

    It seems a bit biased to ignore the Vista debacle,

    The "Vista debacle" is only a "debacle" on Slashdot. Everywhere else, it's at best a "minor inconvenience." Please don't fall into the trap of believing that Slashdot represents reality in any way.

  • by Blakey Rat ( 99501 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @12:46PM (#27703479)

    Stupid question received stupid answer: Windows is the benchmark, and the OS which the users probably have now.

    Possibly. But I'd much rather have a Linux community that's more interested in fixing its own problems than constant penis-measuring against their competitors.

    The problem is with Ubuntu, and preventing Ubuntu from being suitable to that particular poster's needs. The problem has *nothing* to do with Windows. In fact, if you fix the problem and Microsoft doesn't, you've just gained a *competitive advantage* over Windows, becoming a better OS instead of simply giving-up when you became "as good as" the other guy.

    The problems are of course exacerbated by Vista.

    Vista has a ton more drivers than XP. It's far more likely to install on a random piece of off-the-shelf hardware and support all the features... so I don't see how that follows.

  • Re:screenshots? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by agrounds ( 227704 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @12:46PM (#27703485)

    Yeah, why doesn't he just post a screenshot of slick animation?

    Because anyone that uses a real desktop to do actual work doesn't give two shits about windows that materialize in from another dimension or menus that fade out like a Dukes of Hazzard scene change?

    I mean... Seriously?

    A desktop environment should specialize only in getting the hell out a users way so they can actually be productive. I find it continually amazing how much time and energy is spent on making 'teh shiny.'

  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @01:08PM (#27703781)

    We are also doing things that are rather unheard of on these old systems.
    So lets compare Windows 95 system with today.

    1. Real-Time Semi-Transparency. Doing stuff back in 95 would have taken at least a second to render.
    2. Anti-Aliasing fonts. Back in the day we knew what text was done in Photoshop and what was rendered on the fly.
    3. Wobbly Windows. (or similar effect) That would take crazy computing power back then
    4. Disk Indexing, We knew how to index back in 95 it just took to long to be useful
    5. Complex interpreted language programs. If it wasn't in binary format then it was too slow.
    6. Multi-tasking. Windows 95 just barely had working multi-tasking. Burning a CD back then was a crap shoot. because chances are your computer would freeze up and mess up your PC.
    7. Security. Back in 95 a Buffer overflow would mean your program would crash, and if you had a password protection you were considered secure. Viruses only infected .exe or .com file.
    8. PCI was the new kid on the block and plug in play was plug and pray.
    9. Configurability. Go work with windows 95 and even compare it with XP you will realize how much stuff you have taken for granted over the years.

    I bet if you take your old 486 and run 95 you will realize how slow it was.

  • Re:screenshots? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bigjeff5 ( 1143585 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @01:11PM (#27703813)

    I know you didn't RTFA, cause nobody does, but that was EXACTLY the point of the article. They didn't mean "slick" as in shiny and pretty and cool effects, they even said so. They said don't bother looking at screenshots, because that's not the kind of "slick" that they meant. They meant "slick" as in responsive, windows pop up quickly, feels quick instead of sluggish.

    They made some comparisons like:
    Vista - oh so not slick
    Mac OSX Tiger - Very slick
    Mac OSX Leopard - Not as slick as Tiger, but slick
    Windows 7 - surprisingly slick
    Ubuntu pre-9.04 - Not slick
    Ubuntu 9.04 - Very slick

    The guy who wrote the article apparently uses Mac OSX, Linux, and Windows 7 on a regular basis, and he was focusing on user-interface improvements. He noted that Leopard, while it added lots of "cool features" over Tiger, the usablility slipped in a few areas. He noted that the MS team got it right for once, and the Windows 7 UI is impressive. He noted that the Ubuntu team dedicated the UI that was formed last September has made some great improvements, and it should finally be competative with the other two brands' user interfaces.

    The theme itself though, sadly, hasn't changed. Fortunately it's a heck of a lot easier to customize the theme in Ubuntu than it is in Windows or OSX. :)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 24, 2009 @01:26PM (#27704021)

    I'd rather use the stuff in "vanilla" form and not make-believe that it was all created by the same team.

    Your bias is showing. How can you praise apple for doing precisely what you slam ubuntu for? Gui Guidelines are for a similar look and feel, to, i don't know, possibly give the illusion that all of the gui designers were cohesive, or at the very least, playing for the same team?

  • by colinnwn ( 677715 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @02:03PM (#27704569)
    With more users, and more software available (both free and commercial) comes more people interested in investing time and money to make the OS run great and become more usable. Right now, from a mainstream (Joe user) point of view, Linux is on the edge of viability. One really bad release from Ubuntu and one blockbuster OS or app release from Microsoft could set Linux on the desktop back years. I'd like Linux's future to be more secure.

    Who says Linux should achieve Microsoft's market share? I'd like Linux to go from the perhaps 1% desktop market share to 10-15%. But Microsoft's 85% market share hasn't been healthy for them as an organization, or for society.
  • by oakgrove ( 845019 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @02:06PM (#27704605)
    Here's my 2 cents as an amateur programmer. I make little utilities for myself all the time to do various things. Like, I coded a python program recently to keep track of my prices on Amazon and adjust them up or down based on the market from time to time. Now this program is relatively simple and does exactly what it is designed to do. It is completely CLI based and since I am intimately familiar with it, I know how not to break it and I don't need or want it to do anything else.

    Now, let's say, I wanted to sell this program. Firstly, I would need to put a pretty interface on it, then I would need to write in all of the error and exception handling required to make sure it didn't crash when the user starts randomly hitting keys on the keyboard. I would need to write in new features that, while I might not necessarily want them, to make the program commercially competitive, have to be there for other users. And on and on. That's how a 300 line script turns into a 10's of thousands of lines bloated nightmare. At least that's how I see it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 24, 2009 @03:03PM (#27705301)

    Let me guess, you learned about "big business" by reading a comic book.

  • by Homburg ( 213427 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @03:48PM (#27705847) Homepage

    The linux community needs to create a standard set of controls and application frameworks.

    The linux community has already created at least two standard sets of controls and application frameworks. Why would we need to create any more?

  • Re:screenshots? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Niris ( 1443675 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @03:53PM (#27705903)
    Just off by a few years and you'd not be able to tell the difference between the economies.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 24, 2009 @04:29PM (#27706265)

    An entire page of bullshit just to get sound working in all your applications. That's the kind of rock solid design I've come to expect from Linux.

  • Re:screenshots? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Beat The Odds ( 1109173 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @04:55PM (#27706599)

    What upgrades has ubuntu had to X that may have made it faster? Is it using Xorg 1.6 or something?

    Yes, it is using Xorg 1.6

  • by Eil ( 82413 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @05:28PM (#27706971) Homepage Journal

    The personal computing industry owes a lot to YouTube, Hulu, iPlayer and the like: outside gaming, these are the only mainstream killer apps that actually require 21st century hardware.

    They could have existed 10 years ago if there were some sort of standard for streaming video in a browser without the collosal overhead of Flash. Or the need to install RealPlayer. Or the prerequisite of running Quicktime. Or Windows Media Player.

    My XBMC box is a 750MHz PIII and it streams high-def fullscreen video over the local network just fine. No technical reason it shouldn't have been able to do it in a browser as well, back when it was fit to be a desktop machine.

  • by mrt_2394871 ( 1174545 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @06:16PM (#27707489)

    The only thing wrong with PulseAudio is the way it is implemented in Ubuntu.[...]

    Er, no.

    Another feature^W bug of PulseAudio is the automagic resampling to $whatever_frequency_it_decides.

    Which is marvellous if you want 44.1kHz system beeps on your VIA-powered mini-ITX lounge jukebox system to blend perfectly with 48kHz audio recorded off a DVB radio stream. Or a DVD.

    So, PulseAudio decides to lock your audio to 44.1 kHz on startup, and then 48kHz audio stutters and skips because the poor (600MHz) processor (which makes a meal of just about everything) really doesn't like realtime re-encoding.

    And the really Homeresque thing about this is that the onboard sound can play 48kHz audio natively. Of course, I'd be only too happy to tell PulseAudio to use 48kHz all the time, but for the ripped CD collection on there too.

    In fact, an ideal solution would be to somehow, magically, on-the-fly, send audio files sampled at frequencies it knows the sound card can handle, directly to the card and not resample them arbitrarily.

    Just like it did in 2007.


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