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Chinese Pirates Launch Ubuntu That Looks Like XP 580

An anonymous reader writes "Ylmf, famous for pirating Windows XP, have just released a version of Ubuntu that looks just like Windows XP. Really, really similar. Apparently because Microsoft were cracking down on the actual Windows XP pirating — though I think they will still suffer for ripping off the GUI exactly." Of course, if that's the sort of look you like for your desktop, you need not risk any download cooties or language barriers; a reader in the Ubuntu Forums suggests this instructional video for giving Gnome the XP treatment.
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Chinese Pirates Launch Ubuntu That Looks Like XP

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28, 2009 @02:36AM (#30568736)

    The Year of the Linux on the Desktop?

  • Re:why? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kamikazearun ( 1282408 ) on Monday December 28, 2009 @02:39AM (#30568746)
    From what I can see, it doesn't just look like a windows machine, (unlike most windows themes for ubuntu) the GUI behaves like windows too. This would mean people who were earlier using Windows would be a bit more comfortable using ylmf's ubuntu rather than the regular one.
  • Open source windows (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mrcaseyj ( 902945 ) on Monday December 28, 2009 @02:41AM (#30568760)

    When Microsoft was convicted of monopoly abuse, the judge should have forced Microsoft to release the source code of XP under the BSD license and thereby restore true competition to the operating system market.

  • just a damn minute (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28, 2009 @02:52AM (#30568818)
    didn't Microsoft spend a whole decade defending themselves against Apple for engaging in exactly the same sort of conduct in displayed in TFA? If they sued Ylmf's developer over this, the irony would generate enough magnetism to launch another SGR 1806-20.
  • Graphics (Score:5, Interesting)

    by xant ( 99438 ) on Monday December 28, 2009 @02:55AM (#30568828) Homepage

    I don't read Chinese, and I'm not about to download that--but is the point supposed to be that pirating windows is illegal and repainting Ubuntu is not?

    Here's the thing: based on the screenshots, it's virtually certain that they used the copyrighted graphics that come with Windows to make this. Depending on how thorough they are, they may have used a fair amount of copyrighted text, as well.

    As such, they are still "pirates". Why not just keep pirating Windows? What does this accomplish for them, exactly?

  • Re:why? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wmac ( 1107843 ) on Monday December 28, 2009 @03:17AM (#30568894) Homepage
    Can you tell me why people pay $$$ to buy windows? Are they crazy?

    Obviously it is better in a considerable amount of things. Otherwise no one would pay for it.

    And you need to know 90% of the people (or more) do not think the way you do.
  • by Interoperable ( 1651953 ) on Monday December 28, 2009 @03:23AM (#30568908)
    once people discover how well it works compared to their usual Windows experience.
  • Re:why? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Arancaytar ( 966377 ) <> on Monday December 28, 2009 @03:35AM (#30568956) Homepage

    Simply put, yes. They are a victim of the marketing department at Microsoft, which (look back for the article last week) has admitted to paying "independent" shills and stacking discussion panels to endorse their inferior product.

    It is marketed better and more ruthlessly - that's why anyone pays for it.

  • Re:Graphics (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28, 2009 @03:46AM (#30569002)

    Well, for starters, they end up with a more secure and stable product.

    This is not a troll. Windows may be secure (for some values of secure, and after investing a lot in malware scanners), but pirated Windows is notoriously crappy. Even MS acknowledges that (exaggerates it even - it's a good story for scaring your customers straight).

  • Re:why? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cyberthanasis12 ( 926691 ) on Monday December 28, 2009 @04:30AM (#30569178)

    Why would I want a perfectly good Linux machine to look like a Windows machine?

    The geek factor, obviously.
    Besides, you can use it to make fun. Just imagine a new student, or a secretary, trying to comprehend what is wrong, when they try (against the policy of the institute) to install their favorite game/chat/other distraction.

  • by Mystery00 ( 1100379 ) on Monday December 28, 2009 @04:34AM (#30569198)
    Blender's GUI is great, it has a learning curve because it's a complicated program, like most 3D applications and takes a while to get used to. But there is absolutely nothing terribly wrong with its GUI, in fact it is faster and more efficient than the Max or XSI's.

    Why? Because artists made it, and they know how they want to use their own program for their own work more than you do.

    Blender is getting customisation support only to make it more accessible to people that are too stupid or too lazy or don't have enough time to go from their favourite application to Blender, it's also a bit of a side effect of the updated core which is now a lot more organised.

    Label this under obligatory Blender defending.
  • Re:Graphics (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Zemran ( 3101 ) on Monday December 28, 2009 @04:48AM (#30569234) Homepage Journal

    copyrighted graphics ???
    copyrighted text ???

    Sorry Dorothy but this ain't Kansas. IANACL (I am not a Chinese Lawyer) but I doubt that the broken US concept of copyright will go far in another country, especially one like China. Plagiarism is seen as a compliment there so M$ would get laughed at if they complained about it. To say that someone is copying your product is one thing but to say that someone has made their product look like your product is another.

  • Already been done (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mister_playboy ( 1474163 ) on Monday December 28, 2009 @05:15AM (#30569296)

    Think of it as the linux version of the Mojave experiment.

    People were told KDE4 was Windows 7 []

  • Re:why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Gordonjcp ( 186804 ) on Monday December 28, 2009 @05:44AM (#30569356) Homepage

    This would mean people who were earlier using Windows would be a bit more comfortable using ylmf's ubuntu rather than the regular one.

    I don't see why it would make a difference. If you drive a Volkswagen and then go and drive a Toyota, the indicator and wiper switches are the opposite way round on the steering column, and the instrument panel looks different. If you're really lucky, reverse gear is in a different place on the gate, too. You don't get people whining about how they need to make the Toyota look exactly like a Volkswagen before they can drive it - they just accidentally wash the windows instead of indicating a few times for the first hour behind the wheel. Then they get used to it.

    Having never used Windows before it took me about two hours to get my head round XP, mostly due to having to learn how to solve complicated GUI puzzles to find setting that I'd normally use the command line for (like "Start -> Control Panel -> Network -> Connection -> TCP/IP -> Advanced -> set IP address" rather than "ifconfig eth0:0" to alias an ethernet port - the exact path through the GUI may be wrong). If you can't learn to live with the differences you probably have some underlying psychological condition that needs addressed.

  • by Arker ( 91948 ) on Monday December 28, 2009 @05:47AM (#30569370) Homepage

    You are almost right, partly. :)

    For a painful example of this problem, make a wireless network connection with a Linux EeePC. All the GUI gives you is success or failure. Errors are hidden in a text window with incredibly confusing blither from about six programs used to set up the connection, several of which produce error messages in normal operation.

    I have an EeePC and I know *precisely* what you are talking about. I agree it is bad, but I disagree with your solution entirely. This problem is amenable to a much simpler solution, there is no need for any drastic architectural changes. The basic architecture here is sound, there is no reason why the GUI-box should not just report success or failure and leave the actual diagnostic output to another box that the user only has cause to invoke if there is a problem. The real problem here is that errors are reported even when nothing is wrong. The best I can see this is due quite simply to the fact that no one is willing to pay one or two employees (they dont have to be highly skilled, just computer literate enough to track down scripts and edit them) to finish the job when they make a distribution. In this case, there are error on the EeePC that are normal all over the place, not just in this one box, but bloody everywhere. They are caused by using generic scripts, designed to work on an extraordinarily broad range of different installations, with no customisation. It is a relatively tiny amount of work to go through these scripts, figure out which lines are actually unneeded and inappropriate on *this* distribution, and remove them. Simple as that.

    Now, when I fire up a newly installed white-box, I see a lot of similar spurious error messages scroll by. This is to be expected - I am using a general purpose distribution and it makes sense for the default scripts to have this result and to expect the person installing it to go ahead and take a few minutes to customise the scripts and get rid of the spurious commands, either by deletion or simply commenting them out. The only complaint I have in that setting is that it does, on occasion, seem unreasonably difficult to track down the scripts in question, as if the builders of the distro never even thought of anyone wanting to clean the thing up post-install. This attitude, or my perception of it, grates the nerves, it is just shoddy engineering. Error messages should NOT be normal, and an OS installation cannot be said to be complete until they are all cleaned up. When the user sees an error message they should be able to have confidence it is a real error. Instead they learn that it is 'normal' to have spurious error messages all over the place, they learn to ignore them, and then when there is a real error message that does need attention - it is ignored too.

    On the EeePC, however, it is not excusable at all. This is a very specialised distribution created *specifically* for this hardware. There is no excuse whatsoever for these scripts not to have been cleaned up so that they produce no error messages on their intended hardware before the image was burned, period.

    Another very annoying feature of that particular Operating System is that it does not support swap partitions. This really boils down to the same problem - the company producing it obviously couldnt be bothered to budget just a handful of hours with someone familiar with linux for this thing! More specifically, it appears that Asus was told by the manufacturer of the SSD used that it should absolutely never be used for virtual memory. This advice could only have come with someone that is familiar with Windows, but not with computers in general and certainly not with linux specifically. SSDs do have a limited number of read/write cycles, you see, and Windows WILL thrash virtual memory whenever given it, without rhyme or reason, it just insists on rewriting it fairly often. Allowing Windows to use an SSD for virtual memory is a very bad idea. But Linux does

  • Re:why? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JackieBrown ( 987087 ) on Monday December 28, 2009 @06:45AM (#30569530)

    Because they were hidden.

    I knew they were on the dell site and it took me a while to find them.

    Clinking on the computer icons took me to windows computers.

  • (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AliasMarlowe ( 1042386 ) on Monday December 28, 2009 @06:56AM (#30569564) Journal
    If you really want an ugly XP look on top of Gnome, then just use the script, as illustrated in this French video: []

    Why do such a perverted thing to Ubuntu? To get it past the thought police at work, perhaps. Of course, they might wonder why your PC looks different on the network, and find out the truth when attempting to apply policies (like pushing updates to antivirus or windows) or other Microsoft domain masochistic practices.
  • why it looks like XP (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28, 2009 @07:10AM (#30569608)

    So a friend who's working on the Incognito LiveCD project have got news from people being beaten and jailed by police in china. And how did they got discovered? Well, they used the LiveCD at a internet café and the owner realized that that's not windows and called the police.
    Having linux looking like windows could be a privacy feature.

  • Re:why? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) * on Monday December 28, 2009 @07:12AM (#30569614) Homepage Journal

    Those who fear the CLI shouldn't even own a freaking computer. Crybabies and whiners. "Oh, I can't do ANYTHING, unless there is a pretty picture for it!!"
    Sit your sorry ass down with the manual for MSDOS 5, 6, or 6.22 and LEARN the basics of computing. Then, pick up another basic - it's called BASIC. From there, you can branch out to some scripting languages.
    Run a machine for 6 months with absolutely NO GUI installed - then you might be competent to talk about how good, how bad, or how inconvenient any part of a computer might be. Including the CLI.
    You probably can't operate a standard shift automobile, or roll a window down unless it is electrically powered.
    Mindless putz.
    How do you avoid putting your bra on backwards?

  • Re:why? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28, 2009 @08:13AM (#30569836)

    I'm with you on that one. I use Ubuntu as my primary OS on both my desktop and laptop with an Academic Version of XP running in a VM for windows specific tasks. What a few people in this thread fail to realize also is that for every person who actually installs Windows XP, there are 10,000 that run it pre-installed with their new PC purchase.

    We (the slashdot crowd) are pretty much used to dealing with OS upgrades, and brand new OS installs while the majority of people don't even grasp the idea of the separation of the OS and the actually physical machine. There are plenty of Windows installs that leave it lacking for essential drivers such as Video and Network that cause the need for a USB flash drive, especially on earlier incarnations of XP. I think Ubuntu does a pretty good job of just working on hardware and provides damn good driver support reflective of todays machines. However I must say that when something doesn't work, there usually isn't a straight forward way to get it to work. Some vendors don't want to play ball with the Linux Kernel, other drivers are just so poor that it isn't worth it, and some have the drivers but for a novice computer user, the idea of kernel modules could be a little bit intimidating to say the least, and that's not even considering the fact that the module would need to be compiled in most cases.

    My point is, installing Ubuntu or even XP is a task best left to the moderate to expert computer users while the rest of the world will happily use what is given on a PC. Perhaps if netbook manufacturers didn't throw in every single shitty Linux distribution they could cobble together with duct tape and spit (I am looking at you Acer), people would get a bit more comfortable with the idea of Linux, or a non Windows system that just works.

  • Re:why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ogi_UnixNut ( 916982 ) on Monday December 28, 2009 @08:37AM (#30569944) Homepage

    The problem is not the people, it is how they are educated. For example, they are taught from school onwards that a "PC" has windows on it, with MS office, and that a "Mac" exists that is not a PC, and looks totally different, but does a similar task.

    This is why most people I know will sit in front of a Mac and accept that it is not going to work like windows, and are even more tolerant of kinks, quirks and differences.

    To do a car analogy, it's like someone being taught that a Honda is a "car", and there is this other thing called a "motorbike" that looks different and is used by fewer people. This Honda has a unique interface like no other car (but may be similar to them). If people drive Honda's all their lives, then they get into another car, they will freak out and get confused, because in their mind All cars should work like the Honda. If they were to get on a motorbike, they would realise "yes, I was told, different to cars" and will actually expect the unexpected, they will be aware that it's different and they will engage and try to learn how to operate it.

    I've see this with people. My former gf's mum was like this. My former gf tried to switch her to Ubuntu, but her mum freaked out at the different buttons, the different "look" and the different order of her icons. After a couple of days she flat our refused to use Ubuntu. This same person would then go on to get a Mac, and spend 4 months trying to learn how to use it. The Mac's interface was more alien to her than Ubuntu's, but in her mind Macs were supposed to work differently to PC's, so this was ok and she just needed to learn. To her Ubuntu was still a "PC" and therefore must look and act exactly like Windows unless something is badly wrong.

    My brother was in the same boat, at school they were teaching him this PC=="MS Win & Office" thing, and he would always have trouble when he borrowed my machine. So I went and taught him how to use an OS, Word processing and other office software, in general. NOT Windows, Word and he rest of MS Office. Now he is comfortable using pretty much any OS, in fact he prefers Ubuntu now, only booting windows in a VM for his "e-textbooks", that only work on IE with windows, and he isn't interested in computers (being a humanities student).

  • Re:No (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gbjbaanb ( 229885 ) on Monday December 28, 2009 @11:32AM (#30571472)

    I'll bite... but I know where you're coming from, and its not from the PoV of a linux user. Most of the things you mention are not issues in Linux world.

    Linux's love of the command line
    Well, firstly Microsoft is getting big into command lines now, with Powershell and WMI scripting backends for everything. Most ordinary users won't see this, but then, neither do most Ubuntu users. Naturally, there is more that can be done to improve the GUI for Linux, but this progresses forward daily.

    Kernel compiling
    Nobody compiles a kernel anymore. You get it from your distro, and compile it only if you're really nerdy or need something very very specialist. At least you have that option, in Microsoft's case you'd be stuck.

    Tons of distros
    Possibly true, but generally there are 3: RedHat, Ubuntu and Suse. There are others, but they are almost niche players no-one heard of. I don't think having the 3 main distros is a bad thing, you tend to use Redhat in business environments, Ubuntu for 'ordinary' users and Suse in Europe. I'm happy with that, I'm also happy that Oracle Linux is Redhat - they can rebrand it for their specialist area and no-one's going to lose sleep over that.

    Dependency hell
    Oh now you're joking. See the security updates for visual studio. In conjunction with 'WinSxS hell' suddenly DLL Hell (that was an urban myth as far as I was concerned, I don't think I ever saw it) has been replaced with a new version dependency on the side-by-side packages installed where if you don't have the right version, your app simply doesn't start. We've been hit by this for months now and it refuses to go away. You can't even put the right dlls in the app's path as the compiler references them in the assembly paths explicitly. Its a chuffing nightmare only solved by everyone running with all latest updates (and the VC redistributables are only installed by Microsoft Update, not Windows Update).

    Lastly, we have in Windows 7 a lot of apps that don't run, and quite a few of them don't run in XP mode (which itself breaks VMware by not playing nicely).

    I guess we should all go and buy Macs!

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