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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 Nursie ( 632944 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:12PM (#27832279)

    I like it much better.

    On windows I can't set up my own dns forwarding proxy with a few simple commands, or add a powerful compiler or set of scripting language interpreters and libraries with equal ease.

    Ubuntu is great for me. I don't give a crap about running windows apps.

    Time to eat your own ass.

  • by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:35PM (#27832715) Journal
    need to work together and get companies to port. All they need is a few to move over. The rest will come. Intuit's Quicken, quick books, and taxpro are BIG ONES. Autocad should have moved over eons ago. And OpenOffice should be ROCK SOLID on Mac just like the others.

    The question ppl should be asking is WHY is Apple gaining desktop? because they PUSH to get the apps that are needed. Just like Safari. Jobs hit all the banks and got after them to make it work with safari. And Safari is now up and coming. If the Linux world would learn from that, and push a few of the top companies to port their app to Linux, then we would see massive surge in it. As it is, Shuttleworth has realized that having Linux INSTALLED at time of purchase is big.
  • by CannonballHead ( 842625 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:39PM (#27832815)

    I've never bearded a dragon, that sounds difficult. What if the dragon hasn't gone through puberty yet? :-o

    Joking aside, I disagree. Linux needs to be good (and easy, if you want the same market share and same market demographic) at the SAME THINGS, but not necessarily the SAME PROGRAMS. There's a vast difference.

    Now, being able to go between the two - including file formats - is important. But I don't need to run, say, MS Office on Linux. I do use OpenOffice 3 and it works well (except for Impress, last time I tried using it). And going between MS and isn't a problem, for the most part.

    Firefox, chatting (I even used Pidgin on Windows), etc.

    Where I see Ubuntu (8.10 and just upgraded to 9.04) right now is multimedia. Video playback isn't all that great, Flash video full screen is jerky (not related to sound) ... (I know, video drivers [ATI], but you're not going to convince the average person that Linux IS better, it's ATI that's the problem...). Sound can sometimes get tied up between applications. PulseAudio is not very standard yet and doesn't work with all apps. Songbird is an OK itunes replacement but it's not as good. Amarok 2 doesn't play well with Gnome/ALSA/Pulse as far as it running and other sound-enabled apps running.

    I think the Linux community needs to focus more on being able to do the basic stuff easily and well, and forget trying to run Quake 3 or Far Cry or Half-Life 2 [or whatever] with a higher FPS than native in Windows.

    (and by the way, lest anyone think I'm just an Ubuntu guy and not a Linux guy, I used opensuse and only recently switched to ubuntu [after trying a variety of other ones, including Mint, Mandriva, etc) at home, and redhat/SLES[/hpux/solaris/aix] at work)

  • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:41PM (#27832847) Homepage Journal
    "What do you use for a decent console app?!"

    Well, I use Cygwin...or more precisely CygwinX [] ...basically cygwin, with xwindows thrown in. I fire up cygwin. Start X from that...and open up a bunch of xterm windows. Works pretty well...

  • by Twyst3d ( 1359973 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:51PM (#27833001)

    To me the difference between purchasing Windows and choosing to go open source can be compared to the difference between getting a Dell desktop or going to Newegg and making your own.

    Sure you can save a lot of money at newegg and make a powerful machine. You need to assemble it yourself (which for myself was much fun). Service wise its only adequate. I had a DVD burner break down, it was still under warranty I consulted my return policy, did what I had to do and had a new DVD burner back in my machine in a week.

    But with Dell. You pay much more for a really good rig. You dont have to assemble it (and while assembly is fun - it can be a hassle). Service wise, as someone who works in the industry - Dell is fantastic. With the right warranty they will send a local technician straight to your office to repair anything. Peace of mind can be bought. You can have a warranty so good you can toss your insanely expensive laptop out a window for kicks and have it replaced shortly.

    As long as there are people in the world who cant handle the extra hassle of servicing open source - there will be a market for Windows. But given the direction the world economy is taking that could change fairly soon (in my lifetime anyways). Right now whoever provides the best service wins. And in an environment like Open Source. Its hard (not impossible) to guarantee top notch service. Sad but true.

  • Re:Freedom. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Enderandrew ( 866215 ) <enderandrew AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:52PM (#27833027) Homepage Journal

    I don't get your point. Yes, DRM is bad. Ubuntu doesn't ship with it. It allows users the choice to install proprietary codecs if they decide to.

    Enabling choice is freedom. Restricting people and telling them they can't do what they want to is just as bad as DRM and all these draconian zealots insisting we have to be 100% through a series of restrictions.

    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.

    Stop saying that GPL equals freedom. The GPL is good, but it does not mean freedom.

  • by BrokenHalo ( 565198 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:56PM (#27833085)
    The cost is beside the point.

    I am a long-time Linux (and much more recently OS X) user, and if I am presented with a piece of software that requires Windows to run it, I usually prefer to just do without.

    Fortunately in my discipline (biotech) developers are beginning to realise there are alternatives - for instance, Geneious [] is a stupendously fine example. It's definitely not free, but it is available on multiple platforms, which is a big step away from where we were a couple of years ago.

    Compare this with Endnote [] which is rapidly losing ground to Zotero [] because the developers refuse to cooperate with the *nix world.
  • by Will.Woodhull ( 1038600 ) <> on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:57PM (#27833125) Homepage Journal

    Look at the history.

    If IBM had gotten its shit together and gotten OS/2 out the door in the early 1990s as originally intended, Windows would have been known only as the GUI interface. Windows would have been to OS/2 as Gnome is to Ubuntu: a pretty front end to a powerful and secure operating system.

    But OS/2 was crippled by infighting among the divisions of IBM, and was tilting at windmills in its pursuit of true multitasking on the Intel 80286 microprocessor. (One of the best quotes ever from Bill Gates was when he described the 286 as being "brain dead"). While IBM got itself all tangled up trying to do something never done before-- true pre-emptive multitasking on a microchip with all the appropriate security that would need-- Microsoft took advantage of an escape clause in its contract to develop Windows for IBM, and tied this GUI front-end on top of DOS, which could not do multitasking and had no security model at all. Micorsoft also jumped over the 286 and developed for the 80386 microprocessor (then backfilled to provide some limited capabilities on the 80286). Thus Win3.0 came on the scene, complete with "cooperative multitasking"-- which meant no true multitasking at all.

    If OS/2 had been released even as late as 1992, Microsoft would have been unable to compete with its technical superiority. We would have OS/2 and not Windows. A lot of things would have happened very differently... the delay in OS/2 was a significant historical cusp.

  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:00PM (#27833163) Journal

    >>>"if Linux is just another way to run Windows apps, we can't win. OS/2 tried that ..."

    If Linux tries to be proprietary, you can't win that way either. Atari ST and Commodore Amiga tried that approach, and they went bankrupt. People want and need to be able to run the same stuff they run at work, or in school, or wherever. If they cannot move their files back-and-forth, then they won't be choosing your proprietary OS - they'll be choosing Windows.

  • by qw0ntum ( 831414 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:04PM (#27833249) Journal

    I completely agree. Synaptic and the whole "Add/Remove Software..." (I think that's what Ubuntu calls it) thing are fundamentally different ways of obtaining software than what people are used to with Windows or Mac. I told someone today that I had only paid for one (non-game) piece of software in my life, and they thought I meant I was a huge pirate or something. "Download" has become synonymous with "illegal" for most people and telling folks they can just download whatever software they want for free is going to require some serious de-indoctrination.

    When that lightbulb goes off in someone's head that they can download any of the software in that big list for free, legally, and easily, and then that it (generally) just works... it's a beautiful thing. That's when I think people start to realize how awesome OSS can be.

  • by PeterChenoweth ( 603694 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:04PM (#27833261)

    And with Windows it's Right-click on 'My Network Places' -> Properties. Then pick the connection ->Properties. Pick the Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) option ->Properties. All mouse-driven, all GUI, all easy. Adjust away.

    That's the difference. With Ubuntu|Linux, you've got to *know* how to get to the Terminal, then you've got to type stuff, then you've got to edit config files. Then restart things. Then something else breaks, which requires not the usual 'Add/Remove' program function to fix it, but a trip into 'sudo aptitude blah-blah-blah'. Then maybe that works, maybe it doesn't. Of course, it's trivially easy to find umpteen tutorials on *how* to do this stuff. Linux-lovers get excited over that. And that's totally cool. And I'll buy the argument that it is "better" to actually learn how your O/S works. But casual users, mainstream users, money-spending users, no way. They just want it to work.

    I have three notebooks; one running Vista, one running Ubuntu 9.04, and a Macbook. I use them interchangeably, depending on what I'm doing. Ubuntu 9.04 is the best release of Ubuntu yet, but it's still kludgy compared to Vista or Mac. And when things break in Ubuntu (like when my WiFi simply stopped working after a recommended update & reboot) it required quite a bit of troubleshooting and 'tinkering' to get it working again. After a half-hour, I was back in business. But it required a half-hour of work to fix. Enjoyable fun for the computer nerd. But not for Grandma. People want apps that are easily installed, easily removed, and consistent in their method of installation.

    And until some Linux distro figures that out (Ubuntu 9.04 is *damn* close) they'll never capture enough market share to hit critical mass. Based on the improvements I've witnessed from Ubuntu through today's 9.04, they may be there by Ubuntu 10 or 11. Here's to hoping. :-)

  • Linux - here forever (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:05PM (#27833275)

    Especially in the current financial climate, I'm surprised no one has mentioned this little fact about the fundamental difference between Linux and Windows: Windows is entirely dependent on Microsoft.

    Linux will never go extinct as long as the source code exists and someone is around capable of maintaining that source code.

    If Microsoft were to cease operations (chapter 7, god forbid), Windows would have no foundation to continue. The source is closed, so even if there were people willing to work on it in their spare time, they would not have access to the source.

    Before you mod me as a troll, just remember all the companies that were "too big to fail" 10 years ago that aren't here today.

    Linux strength is that it is a community, not a corporation, that keeps it alive and running.

    Not many people will read this post, but remember all the good operating systems tied to companies that were destroyed from mergers/acquisitions: I will always remember Tandem NonStop. It was my personal favorite, I hate you for destroying them Carly. /Personally, I run FreeBSD, I've always favored Unix over Linux.

  • by Colonel Korn ( 1258968 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:11PM (#27833371)

    "Even reasonably non-technical dumbasses could do such a thing in windows."

    No they can't.

    But this does not solve your problem. How have you tried to do it? Perhaps we can help.

    Every single person in my dorm in college in 1998 was able to figure this out on their first day with no help from the school. They were all using Windows or Mac OS Whatever Was out Then. I can't comment on the difficulty of setting up a static IP in Ubuntu, but in windows and MacOS, even 10.5 years ago it was trivial for even first time computer owners.

  • by itsdapead ( 734413 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:13PM (#27833393)

    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

    Not weird: they're used to Windows, which doesn't have a "go get free software" button - and if they have found the "Add/Remove programs button" in Windows, that is almost exclusively used to remove software, so the natural assumption is that the similarly-named button in Ubuntu does the same.

    Perhaps that tool should be re-styled, and re-named, along the lines of an "App Store" with a bit of hoopla - user reviews, featured products etc. and kept restricted to end-user friendly, GUI-driven application software. They've already gone partly down this road with the two "levels" of package management (three if you count the CLI tools) - its really the hoopla that's missing.

    And do call it an App Store (or something similar if that's too (tm) Apple). Let 'em find out that stuff is free after they've seen something they like.

    Of course, if you're setting up a system, you can leave a big friendly shortcut on the desktop...

  • Actually (Score:4, Interesting)

    by StreetStealth ( 980200 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:13PM (#27833411) Journal

    If the Linux world would learn from that, and push a few of the top companies to port their app to Linux, then we would see massive surge in it.

    There is a proper time to push WINE compatibility with Ubuntu -- after a few major industry players, as you describe, put out an Ubuntu version of their software.

    The key is to get a user's most important apps running natively, so that there's an incentive to switch. Then you add the compatibility layer for their other miscellaneous apps to take away the disincentive to switch.

  • by Anna Merikin ( 529843 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:21PM (#27833521) Journal

    We casual computer users will use the applications we find unless they don't do what we want.

    I never wanted to learn computer science, I wanted to use a word processor instead of a typewriter back in 1990 when I got my first PC. I used WordPerfect-5.1, had to learn DOS memory management to get WP to run in (faster) expanded memory mode. Note I said "had to" not "wanted to." I even wrote macros to make editing docs more rational than WP's infamous interface.

    When Windows 95 came out, DOS was obviously deprecated, and I got on the upgrade treadmill, installing WP-6.0a for WIndows. Alas, my macros wouldn't work. Also I hated Windows' registry. I could still run WP-5.1 under DOS, but W95 kept crashing under it.

    I tried Linux in 1997. Got SuSE 5.0 installed and it was ugly. Tried again in 1998 when WP ported version 8 to Linux. My distro was Caldera 1.3; I liked KDE, which seemed more advanced than W95 to me, and ran WP-5.1 under DOSemu. I moved to Red Hat 6.0, which I used for six years, learning to update and upgrade with RPM and by compiling. By then, I needed a newsgroup client; Pan was just coming into existence, and I volunteered to build RPMs for that project while using NX under Wine as Pan was still unstable as all hell.

    Now I use an Ubuntu variant and run WP-5,1 under QEMU. Pan is now useful, so I quit using FA; VLC, Dragon Player, Gnome viewer and Digikam have replaced Irfanview under WINE for me. Ytree has replaced Xtree Gold. Sylpheed mail replaced Forte Free Agent under Wine.

    I found Linux programs I needed on the internet, gradually, over time, the same way I found Windows apps.

    As I said, I never *wanted* to learn CS. But I have, I have.

    And doubtless many other unwilling CS hobbyists will do the same, find Adept or Synaptic and explore it, or find mention of an app on the internet and try to install it.

    Shuttleworth is quite right, but after almost twenty years, I have NOT replaced WP-5.1 with emacs or the like; I most profoundly do NOT want to learn another macro language. WP-5.1 serves me very, very well still, thanks to Freedos [] Ultimate Ubuntu and QEMU.

  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:29PM (#27833637) Journal

    >>>IBM was tilting at windmills in its pursuit of true multitasking on the Intel 80286 microprocessor.
    >>>(One of the best quotes ever from Bill Gates was when he described the 286 as being "brain dead").

    Why is that? The much-older 1979 Motorola 68000 was capable of doing preemptive multitasking, so why couldn't the 286 perform multitasking too? I don't see why the task would be impossible. Although if your story is accurate, developing for the 286 does seem a waste considering the i386 was already on the market (1985).

  • by BrokenHalo ( 565198 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:38PM (#27833761)
    Yes, I do. A major gripe of academics and students has been that there was no good bibliographic software available for Linux, and that Endnote does not interact with OpenOffice, while many major scientific journals are happy with submissions made in OpenOffice formats.

    Zotero fills that gap on both counts, and works perfectly well with OpenOffice. I'm not interested in starting a flamewar here, since any mention of OOo on /. typically sparks a deluge of posts to the effect that it is worthless by comparison to MSOffice, but the simple truth is that the open-source option is more than adequate for just about any purpose if one is prepared to take the trouble to learn how to use it.
  • by DiegoBravo ( 324012 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:40PM (#27833799) Journal

    Actually, how many people did buy XP or Vista as a software box?

    Now, Vista is by no way a failure (albeit technically can be just trash) because it actually got shipped inside millions of brand new computers.

    And in top of that, Microsoft is in a position of getting more revenue from its "failure": those people with the "ruinous Vista" will buy (again) their "solution" named 7.

    So, from the M$ POV, Vista is a total commercial success, and that's what really matters for them, despite all the complains from angry slashdotters.

  • Re:In other words... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cyber-vandal ( 148830 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:48PM (#27833945) Homepage

    In an ideal world however we live in a world where there are millions of Win32-only apps and the cost of rewriting them is prohibitive. People are not going to leave Windows if their software doesn't work, and that doesn't mean things like Office and Photoshop, it means much more obscure stuff.

  • by IntlHarvester ( 11985 ) * on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:54PM (#27834069) Journal

    It was. However the GP is correct that IBM tried to protect their server market by neutering OS/2 through tying it to the 286. They also made the API gratuitously incompatible with Windows for some reason.

    Nevertheless, if OS/2 had been a popular and successful operating system, Microsoft probably would have killed Windows after the 2.x line.

  • by melikamp ( 631205 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @02:16PM (#27834521) Homepage Journal

    Hmm I dunno. Games are great for generating interest in young people, especially interest in programming, but I seriously doubt that the presence of high-profile games will be a deciding factor in any office or workplace.

    Also, if you want to make your own game and you do not care about making bajillions of dollars, you are much better off with GNU/Linux anyway. There you have the entire development toolchain free, documented, community-supported. You are as free to hack out something quick and dirty as you are to develop a truly cross-platform game.

  • by Stevecrox ( 962208 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @02:18PM (#27834569) Journal
    Out of curiosity did the machine have an onboard graphics card? When Vista was launched I noticed alot of hardware manufacturers selling machines (laptops in particular) with 512MB of ram and 128MB Intel on board graphics cards. That in effect meant the machines had 384MB of ram.

    When XP was launched on board graphics cards were 16MB at most (more often 4MB). When the manufactures did that they were selling machines which had 92% of the recommended ram. When Manufactures sold Vista machines they were selling them with 60% of the minimum required ram. In modern terms its the equivilent of running XP on 48MB's of ram. Possible but makes the system seem like a bloated piece of rubbish.

    I honestly think most of Vista's perception problems were caused by manufacturer's being stingy on their hardware and lazy in writing their drivers.
  • Re:Bravo (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Actually, I do RTFA ( 1058596 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @02:43PM (#27835055)

    Is it a bad thing that we have both Gnome and KDE?


    Freedom is great. However, freedom requires choices. Choices impede adoption. Imagine there was one Linux distro. Well, now to convince people to try it out, they have to partition their drive and set up a dual-boot. Icky, but a well-written setup program can accomidate this. So, let's say you can make a Windows installer that re-partitions the drive, and installs Linux, sets up the dual-boot properly. Now, you can convince people to download and try Linux.

    Now, every choice you make means I have to try to research what I want, and every bit of extra time you ask for me to make a choice between two things, I have three options. A, B or screw it.

    I don't mind reparitioning and installing a new OS... I did that so I could dualboot 2000 and XP. But I really don't want to have to make tons of little choices. I don't give a shit, but my pride doesn't let me choose arbitarily. Give me one thing that works. I don't want to tinker with the OS.

    So, KDE + Gnome slows adoption by quite a bit, which means that fewer people write apps, which has a chilling effect, etc.

    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.

    Sure. And as a developer I have to do dig through a heap of inaccurate documentation. I hate it. But my customers (for the reasons I outlined above and many others) use Windows. I create software to make money, so I create software for Windows.

    And yes, we try to abstract out the OS, so that we can port it later. But it's never been worth our while to actually do so.

  • by scribblej ( 195445 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @02:49PM (#27835201)

    Have you ever tried calling Microsoft Tech Support?

    Don't lie. I used to work for them. I know the idea of getting any kind of /useful/ support out of them is a /joke/. You can yak about support all day long, but it's lies. In windows, the problems fall into two categories:

    1) Problems you can diagnose and repair yourself.
    2) Problems that will go unsolved until Microsoft decides to patch it.

    That it, that's all there is. That leaves absolutely no reason or room for support. Either you don't need it because you can solve the problem yourself, or you do need it but it can't /do/ anything to help.

  • by mangu ( 126918 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @03:01PM (#27835427)

    what's the "and more" part it does perfectly now?

    Aside from running Photoshop and Quicken, it does everything a computer should do, perfectly. I run work and entertainment applications. Play movies, browse the web, play music, invert matrixes, find eigenvalues, do fourier transforms, administer databases, etc.

    And what I don't need to do: no need to run virus scan, no need to defrag disks, no need to buy memory upgrades, no need to buy software, no need to run regedit, etc.

    What windows can do but is much easier in Linux: run a web server, run a mail server, run a file server, run *any* server.

    No hassle, no regedit, no googling forum after forum looking for answers, no downloading drivers, no reformatting, no reinstalling. The "and more" that Linux does perfectly now is what a computer should do, it runs year after year without any intervention. I have a Linux server running without *any* input at all since 1992. It does its simple task exactly as it was meant to.

    On the desktop side, the "and more" means I can configure my desktop and icons in the way I prefer without any problem, I just select whatever I want without having to worry about "security". The system is secure because it was designed that way, I don't need to buy or download anything. I can configure the way the desktop works. I can select between several different desktop managers. High performance (KDE), easy to configure (Gnome), low hardware requirements (IceWM), you name it.

    And, if something doesn't work the way it should, I have no need to reformat and reinstall, download newer drivers, repeat, ad infinitum. With Linux there's always one more resource, google the problem and you'll find a forum somewhere with the answer, even if it means you'll have to recompile something. It's better to recompile than to fall back to reformat and reinstall...

  • by RKThoadan ( 89437 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @03:02PM (#27835445)

    Vista Ultimate (OEM) is $176 at newegg. If you're building a new PC or upgrading an old one you're almost guaranteed to be able to get a combo with your motherboard, CPU or Hard Drive with at least $50 off, and possibly up to $70, which generally makes it cheaper than every version of Vista except Home Basic. They don't generally have any combos on the other versions of Vista either.

    If you're worried about the (OEM) issue, read the disclaimer:

    Use of this OEM System Builder Channel software is subject to the terms of the Microsoft OEM System Builder License. This software is intended for pre-installation on a new personal computer for resale. This OEM System Builder Channel software requires the assembler to provide end user support for the Windows software and cannot be transferred to another computer once it is installed. To acquire Windows software with support provided by Microsoft please see our full package "Retail" product offerings.

    Oh no! We lose MS support! How horrible! You can even check the full Microsoft OEM System Builder License yourself at []

    IANAL, but it appears that as long as I "assemble" the system and support it myself everything is legal.

  • by Phrogman ( 80473 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @03:24PM (#27835843) Homepage

    I have to admit having used MS Windows in various guises, Linux in various flavours and Mac OS/X currently, OS/X is *everything* I want in an OS. I don't ever expect to leave Mac systems while this OS is as good as it is. I adapted to it more or less intuitively and enjoy the experience immensely mostly because it doesn't get in my way the way Windows (BSOD or something just failing unexpectedly and requiring hours to debug or a complete reinstall etc) or Linux (works wonderfully until something changes, then it takes hours to figure out what and fix it, or doesn't recognize some hardware at all and nothing I can do will change that).

    My days of screwing around installing hardware and some version of windows or linux are over. I now want my OS to install, work right the first time and then get the fuck out of the way while I use *other* programs to achieve something. I don't need anything much from my OS other than reliability, I will get the tools I need. However OS/X has tools to handle most of the things I would want to do and so I don't have to bother. Most Linux installations I have checked out in the past had a Win-95 style Start button and menu, most of which was broken links. Now I know Ubuntu fixed that and I really like Ubuntu but its still not on a par with OS/X.

    Its not that I am transformed into some kind of Apple fanboi, its that I have now tried out their hardware and OS and recognize quality when I see it. When I want to play games I use bootcamp and a copy of Windows XP - but I no longer do anything serious on the Windows side. It honestly feels like a "toy" operating system.

    To speak to the actual subject, I think Linux developers need to look more to OS/X for something to emulate instead of Windows. If a user is likely to consider switching to Linux because they are sick of problems with Windows, they will only do so if they can continue to use the software that in many cases they feel they *must* use to continue to operate their business or in their professional career. Many times there is an OS/X version of the same software, can the Linux folks not try to emulate that instead of just settling for emulating Windows?

  • by thaig ( 415462 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @03:32PM (#27836021) Homepage

    ... after all, MSDOS had huge popularity and it was totally useless compared the the Atari ST or MacOS or whatever - much less friendly and much harder to use.

    That "wise" man is just another one of the people who don't know but have a much expressed and not very insightful opinion.

    I think that people get their software from the "king of the hill" and the that being the "king of the hill" makes everything much easier for an OS. It's just self reinforcing because everyone pays respect to the king e.g. manufacturers of hardware and software make their products work on windows.

    If you want linux to go your way then pay for it to happen or do some work.

  • by centuren ( 106470 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @04:19PM (#27836851) Homepage Journal

    If Ubuntu were a $0 way of running windows applications it would take over the world.

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

    Isn't this really the question at hand? *Should* Ubuntu be Windows and more? Or should it stand more on it's own, wooing developers by it's own appeal? Sure, OSX has Parallels, VMWare, etc, but almost all the Mac users get by without running Windows applications (obviously there are some exceptions, but they're rare among those I know). Either there's an OSX version of the software, a better or adequate alternative, or it's not needed.

    I have a Macbook for my laptop, and when I'm using my desktop, I've found the only applications that I want to be able to use under Linux and can't are actually OSX exclusive ones. Mac's following over the years has resulted in some really polished and useful programs.

    Why isn't that the case with Linux? User share is an obvious thing to blame, but I don't think it should stop there. I think there's also the question of what the user base is willing to pay for, i.e. cost / benefit of developing an application. There's a market among OSX users for buying more polished programs. Transmit [] does quite well, even though there are zero-cost [] alternatives that do everything the user actually needs.

    I've run into a lot of these examples over the past few years I've been exposed to the world of Apple. Aside from Codeweaver products, I don't know if I've ever come across non-free, non-specialised applications developed for Linux that compete against zero-cost programs. Where are the paid apps such as TextMate, Pathfinder [], Xslimmer [], and Things [] to name a few.

    A downside to having such a wide ranging selection of good free software is that it does decrease the appeal of developing programs for Linux that I might find frivolous, but perhaps the new wave of Ubuntu / Netbook readers might not. There is definitely a group of users out there who don't mind spending $10 or more on a polished replacement of something that would give them the same basic functionality for free.

    Is Linux (or specifically Ubuntu), not-suited for that? Is that something we even want, with free(beer) being so closely tied to open source? I don't think it necessarily plays a big role in the grand scheme of Ubuntu, but I do think that small software companies that make quality products could speed up Ubuntu's progress by filling in areas where the free solution is immature or missing, a scenario dependent on whether they can make money.

  • rant mode on (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @04:55PM (#27837471) Homepage Journal

    Pure insanity. I mean, really. I demand that an operating system cost 50 bucks, or less. I demand that my software is mostly included with the operating system. Those special things that I need should be available for ten bucks or less. I mean, I don't even spend a thousand dollars on HARDWARE (build my own) so why should I spend hundreds and thousands on OS + SOFTWARE??

    I sit in front of a dual core Opteron, with everything I could possibly need installed, and it cost me a grand total of about $600, including OS, office suite, virtualization, entertainment - the works.

    I refuse to pay Microsoft, Adobe, Apple, the government, or anyone else for any of this. I simply refuse.

    What's more, I think it simply insane that common people DO PAY $200+ for an operating system, 200+ for their office suite, $50 a pop for numerous games, plus more music and movies than I could possibly store on a terabyte drive.

    I simply see no value in any of it.

    Open source enables me to do ANYTHING that the proprietary stuff can do, at little to no cost. (I contribute a little bit now and then to open source, so there is a little cost to me in the long run)

    End rant.

  • by pyrbrand ( 939860 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @05:02PM (#27837603) googling forum after forum looking for answers...


    With Linux there's always one more resource, google the problem and you'll find a forum somewhere with the answer, even if it means you'll have to recompile something. It's better to recompile than to fall back to reformat and reinstall...

    You seem to be contradicting yourself. You also seem to lack perspective - if I'm a Windows user, the likelihood of me needing to fix a problem using regedit is near nil. If I'm a Linux user, the likelihood of me having to edit a conf file, recompile something or find some obscure repository I have no frame of reference for trusting is extremely high, even for basic tasks like getting working video drivers, or say an mp3 or DVD codec. At install time I'll likely have the option of installing (or not) thousands of applications / libraries I don't understand and don't have an easy way of understanding. I would keep going, but it's been a few years since I last was using Linux on a regular basis. I'm sure others could fill me in on what's improved and what's still a PITA.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @09:23PM (#27840651)

    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.

    This kind of kludge is what you call "just fine"?

    Seriously, are you out of your fucking mind?

    It's no wonder workstation vendors went with Moto until RISC took over.

    On a semi-related note, it makes you want to travel back in time and dispose of the complete imbeciles at IBM that made the decision to go x86. Sure, it doesn't matter nowadays so much, but the 80's and 90's really sucked on the Intel side of the house.

  • by gad_zuki! ( 70830 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @10:11PM (#27840981)

    >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.

    Most of these "naive" conventions are from Macintosh or Xerox, not MS. I think its humorous that you think picking a different but arbitrary command for copy or removing the maximize button will somehow usher in a new age of UI. All this stuff is learned. The idea of a natural UI is silly. The only natural interface is the nipple.

    >And Linux desktop designers who believe them.

    The clamoring, overwhelming demand for the Sugar/XO way of doing things never materialized. Ask yourself why. Hint: Microsoft conspiracy theories arent the answer.

  • Re:Bibtex (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mrsteele ( 246533 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @10:28PM (#27841075)

    First of all, what percent of academic writing includes typeset equations? A very small percentage.

    Secondly, if I could get style files for the journals I publish in, I would seriously consider LaTeX. But since I can't, it's certainly not worth my time to learn. I've looked into it three separate times over the past 8 years, but its never been close to user-friendly enough for me.

    And ps: while I don't do it for a career, I have coded many times. I'm not ignorant. I just know what I want to spend my time doing.

  • Re:Bibtex (Score:3, Interesting)

    by daveewart ( 66895 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @04:12AM (#27842979)

    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.

    LaTeX is ideal in two situations:

    • Large, structured documents (such as a thesis or long report);
    • Documents including equations.

    It's worth pointing out that many academic publications fit neither of the above.

    Also remember that most journals/publishers will strip the formatting from your document and re-format/re-typeset it themselves, regardless of the format in which it was submitted. For this reason, most journal submitters are asked to submit minimally-formatted text, with tables/figures provided separately. You can do this equally well in a number of applications (MS Word, OpenOffice Writer, others etc.). I expect even plain text would be OK in this context, since "convert to plain text" might well be the first step the journal takes when they decide to publish your manuscript.

APL hackers do it in the quad.