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Shuttleworth Says Ubuntu Can't Just Be Windows 710

ruphus13 writes "When Mark Shuttleworth was asked what role WINE will play in Ubuntu's success, he said that Ubuntu cannot simply be a better platform to run Windows apps. From the post, according to Shuttleworth, '[Windows and Linux] both play an important role but fundamentally, the free software ecosystem needs to thrive on its own rules. it is *different* to the proprietary software universe. We need to make a success of our own platform on our own terms. if Linux is just another way to run Windows apps, we can't win. OS/2 tried that ...' The post goes on to say, 'Linux simply isn't Windows (nor is Windows Linux) and to expect fundamentally different approaches (and I'm not just thinking closed versus open) to look, feel, and operate the same way is senseless.'"
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Shuttleworth Says Ubuntu Can't Just Be Windows

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  • by LurkingOnSlashdot ( 1378465 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:15PM (#27832345)

    I recently switched to Ubuntu (from running other versions of Linux on my main home computer since 2000) and I have to say it is quite nice. I use WIndows at work because that's what we're told to run. I honestly don't understand why people like you exist that find Linux to be so absolutely terrible. At home I have a laser printer, scanner, webcam, gps, sony ebook reader, digital camera, digital video camera and wireless. All these things work on my Linux boxes and I have no problems with them. I am very productive with Linux.

  • by gnick ( 1211984 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:17PM (#27832361) Homepage

    I find when I have to use those windows boxes on site, I often really, really miss having my unix tools (sed, awk, etc...) around.

    1) Install Cygwin [].
    2) Add the Cygwin bin directory to your path.
    3) Enjoy - The Command Prompt just got a helluva lot more useful.

    Wasted 3 mod points that I'd contributed before posting, but felt the need to share the joy of Cygwin. Makes Windows damned near tolerable for people that have to have it.

  • by RiotingPacifist ( 1228016 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:20PM (#27832433)


    (12:24:03 PM) jcastro: jcastro: QUESTION: Do you see Wine (and Windows-compatibilty in general) or native Linux ports as the more important ingredient in the success of Ubuntu, or do they each play an important role?
    (12:24:18 PM) sabdfl: they both play an important role
    (12:24:30 PM) sabdfl: but fundamentally, the free software ecosystem needs to thrive on its own rules
    (12:24:41 PM) sabdfl: it is *different* to the proprietary software universe
    (12:24:54 PM) sabdfl: we need to make a success of our own platform on our own terms
    (12:25:08 PM) sabdfl: if Linux is just another way to run Windows apps, we can't win
    (12:25:13 PM) sabdfl: OS/2 tried that

  • by snl2587 ( 1177409 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:26PM (#27832547)

    Keep in mind that the 8.10 release is not designed for broad use and that most users (even now that 9.04 has been released) should still be using 8.04, the last stable LTS release.

  • by DrYak ( 748999 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:32PM (#27832633) Homepage

    And to have a nice, beautiful terminal window, instead of running bash in the default WinXP's terminal window, install RXVT [] (available in Cygwin's installer) and run bash in it.

    Support fast mouse cut'n'paste, nice window resizing, acceptable scroll back buffer, etc.

    If you're forced to endure windows, Cygwin's bash+rxvt help soothing part of the pain.

  • by Bourbonium ( 454366 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:34PM (#27832691)

    I remember only paying $75 for my first version of OS/2 Warp 3.0. Then, a few years later, I was willing to pay up to $119 to upgrade to OS/2 Warp 4.0 to avoid having to use Windows on my home PC the way I was forced to use it at work. I can't remember any of my OS/2 colleagues paying any more than that. Where did you get those pricing figures?

  • by bcrowell ( 177657 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:37PM (#27832765) Homepage

    I've gotten several people in my family started with Ubuntu, and one weird thing I've observed is that none of them ever seem to spontaneously figure out how to install applications -- they don't even seem to realize that the open-source apps are out there, or that it might be desirable to install them.

    Okay, maybe this is a good thing, because maybe it just means that a default Ubuntu does a very good job of including enough apps that the average user can do everything they need to do. Or maybe it just means that most people, unlike me, don't enjoy playing with software.

    But it really does make me wonder whether the Linux community could be doing a better job of selling itself based on the availability of a huge number of free, high-quality applications. Apt-cache stats says that I have 25,000 packages installed on my desktop machine at home, all of them free. If even 1% of those cost $10 each, we'd be talking about a massive investment in order to build up a similar software library using proprietary software.

    Now it might seem obvious to linux geeks that you should say, "I want to do x, therefore I search on freshmeat for an app that does x, and then I install it." But most people don't even think that way about computer software. They're in the habit of buying it in a store, or on amazon, and they expect it to cost money. Synaptic doesn't exactly advertise itself very well, either. Users seem to putter around for years in Gnome without ever noticing that there's a utility built into the menus that would allow them to download a ton of free software.

  • by Jestrzcap ( 46989 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:39PM (#27832813)

    Mintty is what I currently use. []

    If you must have tabs console works pretty well too []

  • by aristotle-dude ( 626586 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:44PM (#27832901)

    Vista cost me $100 the week it came out - legally at that. You're either doing it wrong or you're being disingenuous for the sake of argument.

    That was for a retail license? If you are not actually a system builder, ie. someone who assembles and and sells said hardware to customers, then you in a legal gray area. MSFT produces retail version of the full version and upgrades for purpose. It is not for fun.

  • by Rycross ( 836649 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:48PM (#27832953)
    You can get Vista for $100 at newegg. []
  • by Rycross ( 836649 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:53PM (#27833059)

    Vista Home Basic Retail is around $180 [], and the system builder copies go for $100 []. I believe that you are covered under the system builder license as long as you build the PC yourself. At the very least, the few times I've built a PC I've used the system builder versions (before I had MSDN).

    Regardless of the legality of system builder licenses, the cost of Vista is nowhere near $400, and it was dishonest of the original poster who stated this to suggest otherwise.

  • by Colonel Korn ( 1258968 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:06PM (#27833285)

    I never paid anywhere near $500 for OS/2.

    I could be misremembering -- it's been so long -- but $99 for upgrades is what I recall. Once I paid full price for a standard edition because for some fool reason I didn't want to wait a month for the upgrade, but I'm pretty sure even that wasn't anywhere near $500

    I got OS/2 Warp 3.0 for about $60-80 soon after it came out. I also got a full legal Vista Home Premium for $109. The GP was just making up numbers.

  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:15PM (#27833427) Journal

    Yeah but how many *brand new* XP machines did you buy that ran like crap? I suspect the answer is "none" because Microsoft's recommendations to hardware manufacturers were realistic (128 meg recommended). Now compare that to Vista:

    My brother bought himself a brand-new Vista machine, with 512 meg of RAM, and it's as slow as a snail through molasses. Microsoft gave the hardware manufacturers bad advice when they said 512 meg was enough space.

  • by vjoel ( 945280 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:17PM (#27833461)

    What do you use for a decent console app?! []

    and while were at it: []

  • by Reapman ( 740286 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:17PM (#27833463)

    Home Basic? Correct me if I'm wrong but that's the version that's Vista without the "Vista"? Most people I know when they talk about Vista never even include the Basic version. $400 MIGHT be what Ultimate goes for, but also isn't what most people think of when they think Vista. I think the amount for Home Premium or Business is closer to $250 which might be more accurate. Far less then $400 but also far more then $100.

    I think $250 for full retail of an OS is a bit much, but that's just me.

  • by SCHecklerX ( 229973 ) <> on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:18PM (#27833479) Homepage

    You don't even have to go that far. Just install the free unix tools for windows. I carry these around on a usb thumbdrive. I even set up a custom zsh environment that allows me to write she-bang scripts, including activestate perl (also running from the usb drive). []

  • by Sophira ( 1364317 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:22PM (#27833531)

    I use PuTTYcyg [], which lets you use Cygwin with PuTTY's own terminal.

    To me, this is by far the best way; PuTTY does pretty much everything I want, and is *miles* better than cmd.exe.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:28PM (#27833609)

    Isn't the hardware cost argument getting weaker and weaker as the hardware gets cheaper.

    I think we flew by the specs of Vista when 4GB of RAM came out for $25.
    $140 MB + CPU combo
    $60 1TB HD
    $35 latest DX9/10 PCI-Express(they are dirt cheap now)

    Not everyone wants to run their 5 year old machine that has 4 inches of dust in it, becomes a heater in the summer and high electricity bills.

    Only thing depressing is how the Linux Desktop community missed the biggest opportunity to take Windows users after what people cal the 'Vista fiasco' that was supposed to bankrupt the company according to all the +5 Insightfuls the last 3+ years.

  • Re:Bravo (Score:4, Informative)

    by yoshi_mon ( 172895 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:48PM (#27833937)

    I think most devs would tend to agree that having uniformity is a good thing indeed. It's why the Linux kernel is popular and nobody really cares about Hurd. Linux is good, people know it, and so for the vast majority of people it's the way to fun FOSS.

    However there is nothing wrong with some flexibility. Is it a bad thing that we have both Gnome and KDE? I'd further argue that the MS platform is, as the GP said, filled with a ton of little issues that can make working with it not as much as a 'finite learning curve' as you think. Digging to see why some API call is not working correctly because MS wants to obscure it for whatever reason is no fun.

  • by compro01 ( 777531 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:55PM (#27834093)

    You may look at andLinux []. A real Linux distro (specifically, Ubuntu) running inside Windows, by way of Cooperative Linux. It seemed dead for awhile, though it seems to have come back to life.

    Also, the new version can now make Windows file associations point to andLinux programs.

    Only real caveat for this is it will not currently work on any 64-bit version of Windows.

  • by mydn ( 195771 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:55PM (#27834099)
    Vista Ultimate ran just fine on my Compaq Presario SR1710NX. The whole machine was less than $400 (actually think it was $399 at Fry's). It was already old hardware before Vista came out.
  • by santiagoanders ( 1357681 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @02:24PM (#27834693)

    I believe that you are covered under the system builder license as long as you build the PC yourself.

    That's what almost everyone believes, but it's wrong according to microsoft: []

    These are quotes from the link above:

      "Microsoft retail software licenses are the appropriate licenses for the do-it-yourself market. OEM System Builder software is not intended for this use, unless the PC that is assembled is being resold to another party."

      "Use of OEM System Builder software is subject to the terms of the Microsoft OEM System Builder License: The software is intended for preinstallation on a new personal computer for resale."

      "OEM System Builder Software
    Must be preinstalled on a PC and sold to another unrelated party ...
    Cannot be transferred from the PC on which it is preinstalled ...
    Must be preinstalled onto a new PC using the OPK."

      "If you are distributing the PCs within your organization, you can't grant the end user license terms to yourself."

  • by BlueStraggler ( 765543 ) * on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @02:26PM (#27834729)

    Ubuntu shouldn't be *just* windows, it should be windows and more.

    Wanting a better windows is like wanting a better Ford Escort. A better version of an obsolete piece of crap seems like a good idea to people who are accustomed to the piece of crap, but it's holding back the rest of the world who isn't interested in compatibility with old things done in a retarded way. Desktop Linux has been on a long march sideways since about RedHat 4, with its FVWM-95 Windows theme. (So yes, for some of us, the Year of the Linux Desktop was around 1997. We've moved on.)

    The basic problem is that until the late '90s, Linux had its sights set on high-end Unix workstations, which generally had large, high-resolution monitors, and were used by professionals with a sophisticated understanding of computer systems and multitasking workflows. Early Linux, for all its problems, was catering to the cutting edge of computer science, but at a tiny fraction of the price. By the late 90s, Windows 95/98 had taken over the low-end of the computing world, and Linux changed its focus to low-end PCs used by ignorant consumers with 14" low-resolution monitors that could only reasonably show one window at a time. The Windows GUI paradigm has never outgrown these modest roots, and so this day we still have die-hard Windows users who insist that Start menus, maximise buttons, two-button mice, ctrl-C to copy, monolithic apps, and various other naive UI paradigms are the Right and True way to compute. And Linux desktop designers who believe them.

  • by chthon ( 580889 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @03:19PM (#27835737) Homepage Journal

    The 286 had all the infrastructure needed to do multitasking. However, the segmentation model was still the same 16-bit model with segments of at most 64 kB. I suppose that was the braindead-ness that Gates referred to.

    The 386 built really extended the 286 hardware by adding a segment selection size so that segments of 4Gb could be addressed and then added paging on top of it to provide a good virtual memory system.

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @03:28PM (#27835937) Journal

    What on earth were you doing that was causing it to swap in 8MB? I ran Windows 3.1 for years on a 386SX with 4MB of RAM. It ran Word 2 without much swapping, and only hit the virtual memory hard when I edited large images (a 400dpi scan could quickly fill up 4MB of RAM).

    Maybe you're confusing it with Windows 95, which claimed to only need 4MB, needed 8MB to actually work, and 16MB to run more than one program at a time.

  • Bibtex (Score:5, Informative)

    by zippthorne ( 748122 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @03:34PM (#27836061) Journal

    That's because you shouldn't be using OpenOffice for academic writing. It's ok, but it's painful if you have to say.. typeset equations.

    You should be using LaTeX. If you need a gui, then use LyX, which has, to date, the most efficient and capable equation editor I've seen so far. It's helped, of course, by including a pass-through feature for anything it doesn't understand.

    LyX integrates with a few bibtex managers, or flat text files.

    And of course, the big advantage is that you don't even bother writing the style file. You just use the standard one from the appropriate body (ams, for instance), or get it from the publisher. You use the markup for what it was intended for: telling the software where the sections are, and what bits of text are the titles for those sections, subsections, etc.

  • Re:Freedom. (Score:5, Informative)

    by NereusRen ( 811533 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @03:55PM (#27836453)

    DRM is a series of restrictions that are there to prevent people from stealing (media) intellectual property.
    The GPL is a series of restrictions that are there to prevent people from stealing (source code) intellectual property.

    This is only a superficial similarity emphasized by your borderline-incorrect choice of wording. Any closer examination reveals that DRM and GPL are serving opposite ends using opposite means.

    DRM is a technical framework that prevents you from doing things that are legal, and often does so in an unfriendly way. If it weren't for the DRM applied to a certain piece of media content you receive, you could do more with it.

    GPL is a legal framework that allows you to do things that are otherwise illegal. If it weren't for GPL applied to a certain piece of software you receive, you could do less with it (due to copyright law). There are certainly copyright licenses which give you greater permissions than the GPL does, but using the GPL is still an act of freedom compared to the default of no license.

  • by salesgeek ( 263995 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @04:41PM (#27837253) Homepage

    Will - The 286 was just fine. The biggest issue was switching from protected mode to 8086 compatible real mode. You had to reset the processor using the keyboard controller, so it slowed things down a bit. The other issue was the use of a segment register instead of a real MMU... As I recall the 286 had a 24 bit bus, which allowed access to 16MB of memory (a 16 bit bus lets you get to 1MB).

    There was a lot to like about the 286. They were cheap, fast (protected mode was 2-2.5x faster than real mode) and were all over the place because of the cheap part.

    In a lot of ways, IBM's bet on using 286 protected mode was that the installed base was a more important market than the new computer market. I think their idea was OS/2 would sell because it would unleash the power of all the 286 clones. Microsoft saw things differently.

  • by not-my-real-name ( 193518 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @05:29PM (#27837987) Homepage

    On the intel Macs, it's either dual boot or VM (such as Parallels).

    On older (PPC) Macs, it was an emulator like VirtualPC. In all cases, a copy of Windows is required.

    Since Apple is interested in selling hardware, this strategy works for them. The situation with Linux is different.

  • by RCL ( 891376 ) <rcl,rs,vvg&gmail,com> on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @06:49PM (#27839265) Homepage
    In parts of the world like Poland (an EU country, by the way) and Russia people still buy desktop computers as independent parts and just pay (usually the seller) for building them. And that's what most people do (situation with laptops is different though).

    180 USD for an OS adds about 40% to cost of an average computer bought here. Considering that in Poland there are a lot of people who make less than 500 USD a month (and in Russia 500 USD/month is above average), you may probably understand, why piracy cannot and will not be eliminated in Eastern Europe in foreseeable future.

    (And no, mass switching to Linux is even less likely than in "civilized world", because Windows is essentially free (as in beer) software here. There are even several Windows distros [], available for download []).
  • by Ash-Fox ( 726320 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @12:29AM (#27841863) Journal

    Until the Linux community comes together under a common vision for Linux it has virtually no chance of competing with Microsoft Windows for a place on the desktop.

    If that really was the case, Microsoft wouldn't be fighting tooth and nail trying to demote Linux's name etc.

    As long as the Linux community is split between the different Linux distros

    Why does the community matter? With Microsoft the community doesn't matter, with Apple, the community doesn't matter. A lot of the contributing developers in Linux would continue developing for Linux without the so called "Linux community"

    But it takes someone with a higher degree of technical skill to install, support, and maintain Linux as compared to Microsoft server solutions.

    I'm a net admin for both Window and Linux systems. In all honesty, there are many times I have found I needed greater technical skills to deal with some Windows issues as I had to reverse engineer closed-source software to discover exactly where a fault was (for example: Microsoft Exchange doesn't like it when disk controllers tell it to wait, and will likely cause database corruption - I discovered this with extensive debugging and reverse engineering). Speaking of which, do you even know how difficult it is to get Microsoft Exchange working properly for more than a hundred users? The amount of work is bloody insane, hell even doing simple things like getting effective spam filtering working is mind bogglingly ludicrous and you want me to believe that?

    I find I can setup most common administrative functions in a company with a copy of SuSE in around 30-60 minutes while on Windows it can take me several hours. This is with knowing the procedures (YasT makes it so simple, Windows doesn't have everything as readily exposed in the GUI in a easy to setup manor - see differences between setting up active directory, webservers, mail, spam filtering, dhcp, update servers, network boot installation, hardware configuration, networking, package management, security and so on).

    Sorry, I am sceptical of your friend's claims.

    Until the Linux community stops whining about the evils of Microsoft

    On this situation it depends. If Microsoft is going out of their way and attempting to stop Linux growth by underhanded tactics - I don't feel that this information shouldn't be publicized and as we all know, they do plenty of it.

    begins to deliver a Linux-based desktop OS that is as simple and user-friendly as Microsoft Windows

    In quite a few cases I have found Linux distributions to be far easier than Microsoft Windows, that said, there is always room for improvement - ease of use in my opinion is not the issue.

    Linux has been around for a decade but its [usage] numbers are still low.

    According to Microsoft they are higher than Apple's [].


    Linux has been growing at an ever increasing rate every year, not decreasing, so they are doing something right.

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.