Linux

10 things that drive me crazy about current operating systems

It's no secret that today's operating systems have their share of problems. Jack Wallen describes the issues that frustrate him the most (and he doesn't spare Linux).

Everyone who has read my articles knows I champion a certain open source operating system. Does that mean I think it (Linux) is perfect? Not at all. In fact, at this point in my career I have issues with just about every operating system available. So in the spirit of fairness, I thought I would unleash on all of them and list my issues with every OS I'm currently using. These issues don't deal with third-party software -- just the operating system. That way, we're playing as fair as possible.

Note: This article is also available as a PDF download.

1: Windows and its obfuscation

One of the things I really hate about Windows is the fact that it hides everything. You have a problem with something going on? Where do you look? If you are running a Server flavor of Windows, you could look in various notification alerts. But outside of that, bad things happen and Windows simply doesn't want to let you know why. Yes, Windows 7 has the Action Center, but what good is that really? Why can't Windows also offer standard text-based log files so the user can just load up a text reader and scroll through everything that has happened. Linux/UNIX can do this. OS X can do this. Why not Windows? I don't want my operating system to hide everything from me. I want to know what is going on, what has happened, and why something isn't working.

2: OS X and its lack of flexibility

I used to think Windows was an inflexible operating system. But nothing really compares to the inflexibility of OS X. Now I understand that this was by design. After all, breaking something that won't bend in the first place is a challenge. And OS X is a challenge to break. But assuming that every OS X user is on the same level is a mistake. Apple should enable those who want to make the OS do what THEY want and not what Steve Jobs wants. An operating system should work with you, not against you. And as user-friendly as OS X is, it tends to work against the user.

3: Linux and its lack of standards

There is a reason the Linux Standards Base was created: To standardize many (if not most) of the aspects of the Linux operating system. But so far, the LSB has failed. This, of course, is not a failure on the part of the LSB as much as it is the developers of the distribution itself. And this inability to reach any collective conclusion on standards is hurting the Linux operating system. Linux needs standards so that software developers can more easily create software that will work cross-distribution. Believe it or not, this is really important to the continuing growth of Linux.

4: Growing system requirements

This one has had me dumbfounded for a long time. It seems like the hardware/software relationship is such a parasitic exchange. You create faster hardware, and we'll demand it be used. You create more demanding software, and we'll create the hardware to push it. It's a "you scratch my back I'll scratch yours and everyone wins" situation. And everyone does win -- except for the consumer. Yes, hardware is cheaper now. But for small businesses struggling to survive, having to dish out for new hardware every time a new release of the OS arrives is insane. Even Linux is starting to suffer from bloat requiring the users to have beefier hardware.

5: The ancient desktop metaphor

I have to say that this is going to change when GNOME 3 reaches its first official release. But overall, the current desktop metaphor, which has been around since the early days, is played out. Think about it in terms of mobile devices. Smart phone design is becoming very agile. The change in the "desktop" has been incredible over the last couple of years alone. Look at iOS and/or Android 2.0. The strides they have made in evolving the smart phone desktop is wondrous. The PC desktop? Not so much. It's time for a change -- a major change. Maybe GNOME 3 will lead the way for such a change.

6: Security

This one has to be pointed directly at Windows. I realize that a good portion of the security issues Windows suffers from involves third-party software. But because this is such a well-known issue, Microsoft should do something like pull an Apple and make sure all third-party developers follow stringent rules as well as require an approval process before software is allowed to be sold for the Windows operating systems. Why? Because virus, malware, spyware, and security issues are rampant on the Windows platform. Any chance Microsoft has to bolster the security of its flagship property would be seen as a major leap forward.

7: Drivers

I have a rather strange take on this one. I believe that every distributor of every operating system needs to come together to create some sort of consortium and strong-arm hardware manufacturers to get them to simply open up their specs. This would take so much of the guesswork out of developers' hands. We all know that hardware manufacturers make zero profit from drivers. So why do they keep their drivers so close to the vest? Are they afraid another manufacturer will steal their secrets? That is laughable. Instead, the OS developers just let the hardware manufacturers do as they please. How much longer is this going to continue before something (or someone) snaps?

8: Updates

I don't want to get up on my usual soapbox, but I have to say that the majority of Linux distributions handle updates far better than any other operating system. But they're not perfect. In fact, I recently encountered an update for Ubuntu that broke a previously working piece of hardware. But Linux is far less guilty of updates causing issues. The standard Windows update model has caused plenty of headaches, rollbacks, data loss, and cash flow interruption. And Apple updates? Have you ever updated your iPhone OS? How much of a nightmare can that be? Although the Linux update model isn't perfect, it's at least a solid enough middle ground, which all other OSes can learn from.

9: Beta testing

Microsoft finally realized that the Linux testing process is actually a pretty good model to follow. So much so that it released the beta of Windows 7 into the wild and allowed the general public to kick the tires. Then of course, the general public had to purchase and reinstall the full version when it arrived. Why couldn't the general public -- those who helped beta-test the software-- get a discount for their trouble as well as NOT HAVE TO REINSTALL? Wouldn't that have been nice? And just why hasn't Apple followed suit? I am not about to purchase an operating system not knowing whether it has been fully tested in the court of public opinion. For the last 12 years, I have been getting my OS for free. So if I am going to PAY for that OS, it better work well out of the box.

10: Marketing

Listen to me Linux (and listen well). If you are EVER going to take it up a notch, you are going to have to figure out a way to market yourself. Yes, word of mouth has done wonders for you to this point. But word of mouth can take you only so far. To get beyond what seems to be a stalling point, someone (hello Canonical!!) is going to have to step up and run some ads. And I'm not talking ads here on TechRepublic, or CCN.com, or CPU magazine. I'm talking TV ads. The only way you are ever going to be able to grab that market share crown from the reigning king is to get in front of those not already singing in the choir. It's not about software. We all know your operating system is solid. It's about PR, marketing, the campaign that makes everyone aware of your existence.

Other issues?

So that's what really gets me going about operating systems. Not one of them is exempt. We've all experienced our personal hells with an OS now and then. What really irks you about an operating system?

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

233 comments
pjboyles
pjboyles

# 1. Configuration items that can not be managed from the command line. There is absolutely positively NO EXCUSE! # 1.a. Configuration settings that cannot be managed remotely. It is an enterprise class OS, right? # 2. Not documenting configuration options. There should not be any configuration settings undocumented. Ever. # 2.a. Documentation so sparse that even the original programmer can't decipher 6 months later. Make it human readable. # 3. Changing management applets and management applet locations between versions. # 4. A close second is removing functionality from a management applet and placing it in a separate applet without linking to that second applet from the first. How can I get any continuity in my help desk solutions? # 4.a. Removing functionality from a management applet. # 4.b. Changing how a management applet works. # 5. Installation packages that cannot be silently installed, fail to give a progress bar, fail to allow "No Cancel" option, does not expose settings for a transform to configure and does not have a silent uninstall. # 5.a. Software packages that do not fully document their installation requirements and processes. If they have a dependency, list it! # 5.b. JITs (just in time installers) must die, or at the very least expose themselves to a customization transform so that they can be managed. Enterprise ready they are not! Reflections on your top 10: #5 - I love my "ancient desktop." If I could get the vendors to quit messing it up, I would be very happy. Vendors can keep adding desktop themes, but please give me a basic theme that does not clutter things or place distracting backgrounds. Let ME be the manager of my desktop. Oh and I want to be able to deploy my own custom theme and settings. #6 - Making an application approval authority is a very bad idea. Microsoft lost when they could not follow their own best practices and drove developers to the hodge podge of today. And most exploits are still Microsoft products (IE anyone). #7 - Drivers for Windows are a special #$%^ that Microsoft created itself. Initially making drivers for Windows was such an arcane art that very few people could really do a good job. That Microsoft continues to change driver requirements from version to version shows a lack of foresight. Making drivers live for multiple versions remove a planned obsolescence issue for consumers. It might even help, dare I say, adoption of the next release. # 8 - Updates should never break anything. But then again poor programming can break anything. This also goes back to #6 and software. An example, the original concept of a DLL is that all entry points where static (once made, never changed). If someone needed other functionality, they created a new DLL or worked with the DLL owner to add in the new functionality without changing the existing functionality. That this didn't even last until the ink was dry on the paper is sad and a cause of many issues (that never should have been) in Windows.

jennyn
jennyn

it was designed to help users who had never seen a computer before, or were moving from DOS. Frankly these days, most users don't understand the metaphore - they don't look at their screen and see their desktop, so i generally have to explain it to them anyway. It doesn't behave anything like my actual desktop either, where I can scribble notes on things, shuffle piles around at will, and leave stuff open and readily visible for weeks on end. I still have to explain to users (by asking them for a piece of paper and a pen and drawing them a picture of a filing cabinet with drawers on it) that files and folders are differnt things, and explain to them that they are meant to look like filing cabinet folders (which are actually also called 'files' in the paper world). Given I've been having to do this same thing across many businesses across continents since 1986, I think it's about time we learned IT ISN"T WORKING ANY MORE!!!!!! It is time for the major OS's to go totally back to the drawing board on these metaphores and user test what would actually be instantly understood! Unfortunately Windows has added "Library's" which, (much as I kind of like the ability to lump things together more flexibly) obfuscates things even more vis-a-vis what's where, why and how. AND THEN THERE IS SAVE and SAVE AS... sometimes i call myself the save-as consultant. I'm meant to be doing high end system support, and I'm STILL showing people how to work out where they are saving a file to. Couldn't we just have a SAVE-AS WIZARD?? step 1 - give it a name [NEXT] step 2 - decide where to put it [NEXT] step 3 - decide what format to save it in [NEXT] step 4 - [DONE] Then there is the idea of programs vs folders - many users think they have saved their document 'IN' Word, or 'IN' Excel - using 'IN' as a place or location, rather than what we mean by it... shorthand for 'IN THE FORMAT OF' It plays like this; I say - "where did you save the file", they say "In Word". I say "Did you put it in a specific folder?" they say "[place blank look here]" Before you ask if i'm teaching vagrants computer skills - NO... I'm talking actual administration staff in actual businesses.

AllenT_z
AllenT_z

I have been using WIN since 3.1 (or was it 3.11?). Windows was originally created as an interface to allow users easy access to their systems without having to learn the intricacies of DOS, but with Vista and even more so with 7 they have totally lost sight of this concept. Now, its "How can I move this or that around to make it harder to find?" or "What new name can we give to various things to make them harder to use?". They carried this trend even farther with Office 2007 with its chamber-of-horrors interface--a total disaster compared to what had been a very good product, thus driving more and more users to Open Office and such. I'm afraid that even a sorely needed change in top management won't be enough to get MS back on track.

AllenT_z
AllenT_z

I have been using WIN since 3.1 (or was it 3.11). Windows was originally created as an interface to allow users easy access to their systems without having to learn the intricacies of DOS, but with Vista and even more so with 7 they have totally lost sight of this concept. Now, its "How can I move this or that around to make it harder to find?" or "What new name can we give to various things to make them harder to use?". They carried this trend even farther with Office 2007--a total disaster compared to what had been a very good product, thus driving more and more users to Open Office and such. I'm afraid that even a sorely needed change in top management won't be enough to get MS back on track.

dhamilt01
dhamilt01

Microsoft! It has become IBM, the giant it slayed in 1984.

mjstelly
mjstelly

Jack, I know you meant well, but really. To what audience does this list target? I've been dealing with mainstream OS issues since MS-DOS and this is what I've learned. The more things change, the more they stay the same. It's called SSDD (same sh*t, different day). ___ OS does ___ when I try to ___. Just fill in the blanks. The leading vendors, calcified within their balance sheets, have little incentive to do anything but pay lip service to their critics. And even if they did want to address age-old problems, they're no longer nimble enough to effect dramatic change while keeping their shareholders happy. They are trapped by their owners' profit expectations. Revolution, not evolution, is required to affect the necessary changes. Linux should have been that standard bearer but failed and is now assimilated into the "collective". What do I think? I think that the desktop paradigm is passe'. The real agents of change live in the mobile application space. Within the next decade, if not sooner, ubiquitous wi-fi, ambient power regeneration, and inexpensive devices will obviate the need for any kind of stationary, or quasi-mobile, computing station. In other words, we will all carry, wear, implant or ingest our computing devices. We're heading toward computer hardware prostheses, not in Borg fashion, that's just creepy. One day, we will all be assimilated. You know the rest.

Jayton
Jayton

Not sure what you were smoking when you wrote this, but half of it is incorrect. Re-read your post. Please do. I have spotted a number of errors. Not pointing them out as that'd be no fun.

HITL
HITL

the security do to the boom of social networking sites I believe... I am not biased against them, but now every being on the planet is running a muck, having fun, while increasing the holes and hijacks that are increasingly alarming in stats..

Not2Nutz
Not2Nutz

Yeah, I know I will probably draw flames on this comment. But Oracle seems to be about to kill it off, so that should be proof enough that it is worthwhile taking a look at. It seems that some of the best parts of Linux are being ported over. And it includes virtualization so supposedly you can finally run your chosen desktop seperated from the underlying hardware. And it's FREE. I am choosing it because of #7 above. I need to run my scanner which has drivers only for XP. But I still use Vista and Win7 for apps like Photoshop and a variety of video tools, etc. And of course, I am curious about the allure of the Mac OS X. OpenSolaris is my choice and I'm sticking to it.

myepals
myepals

Damned good article. All of the points are big gripes for me. Number 2 most of all. I traded an IPhone back because it did not feel like it belonged to me. It was as if it was a high lease with an intrusive land lord. Nice hardware, but as costly as it is I would like to have some part of ownership. I think points 3,4, and 7 are due some sameness in bad policies that exists out in the corporate world. I wish I could express what they may be.

dave
dave

The thing I'm wishing for is built-in file system versioning. VMS had this in 1980. With our huge hard drives today why can't we get it in Windows? With versioning, each time you edit and save a file a new version is created while the old one is retained. VMS' implementation provided detailed control over how many versions of each file to keep. You could also control the number of versions by directory. And there was a purge command with which you could manually get rid of any desired number of old versions. Another option would be the ability to specify a size limit.

g01d4
g01d4

For many applications it seems like I often have an incompatible version of some library and either have to find it on the internet or rebuild everything from source. Windows seems to have passed beyond their dll hell.

JHASKINS75
JHASKINS75

Jay,your reporting is awesome. Your points of view about all available OS systems are correct, from the manufacturers to Hardware and software developers. I have been an ardent user of Windows sense OS 95 to my current Windows 7 RC build 7100. [ I still use the RC, as I can't afford the $319.00 asking price for the RTM retail ultimate version, and My RC is still fully functional, except for the 2 hour shutdown code. ] I am actually running 3 OS on one single drive, and they are, Windows 7, Kubuntu 10.4 and a virtual Vista Home basic, and I am impressed with Linux as a open source system, cause it makes you learn computing as you must on occasions enter commands to get the things you want, but the down side is the many distributions, such as "deb or tar bz2, etc. There needs to be a universal files download and with this, besides Linux basic OS being FREE, would greatly advance their appeal to the general community. Keep up the great investigative reporting. Great article.

tbostwick
tbostwick

My points are this: 1> Hardware dev 1st - then software (incl. OS) Until this method of development for hardware consider the software (OS) it will run on FIRST -then Linux, Windows, OS X will always have these issues 2> OpenSource IS NOT the culprit here. For the most part Windows is the problem as it's the predominant OS on the planet. They "set" the bar and hope the customer will jump through hoops as well as suffer the inadequacy of their DEV teams. This lack of attention is what has inspired and fueled the open source movement - and backward engineering software and creating their OWN sets of drivers (Linux, KDE, etc) 3> Windows OS IS getting better - as Win7 is more stable and "friendly" than any other OS - but is still HUGE and comes in TOO MANY FLAVORS. This is something that Mac and their OS X have done well - and as to the "customizing" of OS X - any respondees are wrong that it 'Can't be customized'. If you're knowledgeable of Unix, POSIX and such code - then using and customizing Mac OS X is not that far of a stretch (and it is customizable)... OS X works, is fast, and doesn't "Need" to confuse the user with garbage error reports, endless blue-screens, and works almost flawlessly running OS X and Windows on the same box - light years ahead of Win 7 even (IMHO). This article doesn't indicate that variety and choices are "good" and doesn't specifically mention what the "average user" is trying to accomplish, which typically is: Email, create and archive docs (pics, music, files), and browse the internet. Given this note on the average user -my nod goes to Mac and the OS X - (until Windows allows Mac OS X to be installed alongside a Win 7 install -effortlessly) IMHO

gvtooker
gvtooker

11: Change for Change's sake. Ever notice how every couple of years there is a "new and improved" version of an OS, and all the pressure to upgrade? Ever wonder why despite Vista and Win 7 that XP is still the dominant OS in the workplace? The fact is that people need what works and gets the job done, not what looks pretty and stresses older hardware that much more. One of the inevitable problems of an OS upgrade is that often older programs will no longer work on the new setup. This not only creates a lot of additional hassle, but can also get quite expensive if other programs need to be updated to follow suite. Which leads me to... 12: Backwards compatibility Remember OS9 to OSX? Or practically every Windows release since Win95? LOL! Extending the point I made above, it certainly would be nice if the producers offered true backwards compatibility with their new releases so that I'm not forced to throw away older apps, games, etc. that I might be perfectly happy with otherwise. In fact one of my clients is being forced to go through and rewrite a program for calculating industrial dust emissions simply because it refuses to run on the newer software, and for a relatively small operation, this can get to be an expensive proposition!

BitHammer
BitHammer

If serious marketing goes into Linux, somebody has to pay for that. Companies making their living on Open Source software have serious constraints to begin with. How do you make a living by giving your product away? That's challenging. If you start trying to market Linux to the Average Joe, you'll wind up spending your entire budget on marketing. Then product quality suffers, and quite frankly, Linux is not quite brain-dead simple enough yet for the Average Joe (although it's definitely getting closer.) If you blow the budget on marketing, and then have to improve usability really fast with no budget, you will have to start charging for the product. And once the compromises begin, they will not end. Next thing you know, Linux vendors are playing the same games that Bill and Steve are, and we, the happy Linux users, have lost our wonderful product. It would devolve into the same kind of mercenary, screw-all-but-the-bottom-line corporate crap that we see everywhere else. I want something better.

Vandy-SJ
Vandy-SJ

Well done Jack. Whether it was in your morning coffee, or you've been brewing over this topic for a while, I like your take on this. 'Real world' comments posted here. Thanks for breaking up the iPhone4, 'tablet vs. netbook' monotony of late.

t91
t91

AutoCAD. One of best Software available! With BG plus. Modify the menu, and add in your own Code. I can modify it in so many ways, to MY advantage. And: It almost NEVER burps! Windows; Why do I need all the Bloat I will never use, loaded up just to use Windows! What about the European Version? It must work? Ted Harris Scottsdale, AZ

Slayer_
Slayer_

File permissions, both do it stupidly, Win7 adds strange new users, Linux for some reason always carries the file permissions with the file, rather than give them the permissions of the parent folder. (I know this is changable) I notice under both systems, even if you have 3 HDD's, only 1 can be active at a time, it grids the others to a hault. If you do NTFS compression, it grinds all of Windows to a hault, even though it only shows 5% CPU usage and minimal HDD access. Why do we use DirectX..... It's the worst choice in technologies no matter how you look at it. My Only guess is to support those Intel integrated users that want to play those crappy korean MMORPG's. Linux and libraries, why does every program require a 100 or so different support files and packages, this is supposed to be the object oriented, reusable code generation, do none of these programs use the same language/code/functions? .Net... seriously....? 10k files to run that one 200kb EXE file.... Would it not make more sense to build into the EXE the required functions and therefore make a stand alone EXE that does not need 4 gigs in support files?

Zahra B.
Zahra B.

I've had to install/reinstall various flavours of Windows recently and commented to my fellow geek (whichever one was in the room at the moment) that Hardware has become faster, but installing an OS takes just as long as it did in 1992 (about 60-90 minutes). In fact, if you count the additional software (anti-virus, Adobe reader, various IM services, Office suite, etc. My personal list is close to or over 20 items long, I think.), it may very well take longer to do the initial setup on a computer than it did almost 20 years ago.

dwgoldfarb
dwgoldfarb

I agree with most of the points...a couple of comments: Item 1. Every modern OS needs to have a list of every possible daemon/service/background process that runs and what it is supposed to do. If a third party app adds a service/daemon, it would need to update the list in plain language so my grandmother can understand it. I have spent countless hours trying to figure out whether a particular process/service is needed or not. I don't want/need all those "check for update" daemons starting up, but figuring out which ones to turn off, is a pain. Linux is a little better, but not much. 2. A modern OS should have a package manager that can keep track of every file it installs. If a file is under /usr/bin or under %WINDOWS% then I can find out which package put it there, and when. 3. Every program should be runnable without elevated privilege...there would be exceptions of course, and virus authors would probably find a way to convince users that their piece of malware needs that privilege, but my kid's game shouldn't need admin privilege. Unfortunately I find (via my kids), that too many programs won't run unless they are at admin level. 4) While I subscribe to the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" philosophy, change is sometimes good. But please make it gradual, and allow me to revert to the old method incases of drastic change (eg ribbon). Eventually I will come around if the change merits it, but let me do it in my own time.

NaturalRP
NaturalRP

I've tried using Linux on my laptop, but I can't get my wireless to work. Maybe it's the flavor - there are only 100 or so to choose from. Maybe it's the driver - good luck getting one. Maybe it's the settings - good luck getting any technical advice - the forums are full of the blind leading the blind. Linux seems to the the OS of the future - and always will be.

russoisraeli
russoisraeli

so inflexible about OS X. Besides being a stable, user friendly OS, with nice eye candy, it has a bash terminal with BSD utilities (I prayed in vain for an ssh client in Windows, but all they did so far, was to hide telnet by default). Software install/delete is mega easy, and unlike linux that mixes software with the core OS distribution, it keeps the software away from the OS - BSD style. Want extra software? MacPorts! Updating from Tiger to Leopard was extremely easy, and there were 0 problems after the upgrade. My wife had a Mac since 2006. The only thing I could do for her was to install some updates, new software, and teach her how to kill a hanging process. If there's a perfect Desktop OS, it is the OS X. Jack, the problem with this article is that it's way too abstract. Why don't you write a series of articles with specific pro's and con's of every popular OS?

Joe-Swanson
Joe-Swanson

I don't understand why the OS thinks I want some other app to pop up while I am in the middle of doing something with a different app. Why?!?

n_egii
n_egii

This is a very one dimensional view of the Windows security problems. You are complaining about the inflexibility of the MAC, and at the same time urging Microsoft for censorship and policing which will result exactly in kind of lack of flexibility. You are saying that OS should work with user. Then how it suppose to work with user if the OS vendor decides what you can and cannot intall on its OS? In my opinion, unlike Apple, Microsoft is going in right direction (but it doesn't mean that Microsoft is doing great job on this path) allowing users and software developers to self-police. Instead of letting some bully (with Steve Jobs' face) in front of your door decide who can enter your house and who cannot, we should be given proper means of securing the house. It is same with the OS. OS vendors should facilitate the users to make the correct choice, but not tell them what to do.

derek
derek

very good article...

mickeypf
mickeypf

there is the rub for Linux. Who will pay for the marketing when the revenue will be precisely nothing ? Marketing is not just advertising. Its having a product you can deliver and which the audience believes you will stand behind. If Linux ever takes over the world it will be by default - MS and Apple will have both collapsed.

speculatrix
speculatrix

the reason why drivers are closed source is because many hardware vendors differentiate products purely through drivers - read up on the nvidia quadro products where you can run a hacked driver to enable features on a regular card which you'd normally only get on the more expensive professional card. similarly Creative Labs did that with sound cards, and a guy who posted hacked drivers received a lot of hassle from them. manufacturers also force people to upgrade unnecessarily to the latest products by not releasing drivers - the same creative labs saga I think was for win7 drivers.

sonicsteve
sonicsteve

I say this because its true. There is far too much pride, which causes an us against them mentality in distributions. Microsoft and Mac wouldn't be where they are today without standards, sure they are closed standards but they exist. If the Linux world would stop creating new distro's and collaborate with each other. If the new distro actually fulfills a purpose great otherwise work together. A good example in my mind is Mint. There is nothing that Mint offers other than a shortcut to multimedia. Truth is that Mint even breaks laws in the US and other countries. A distro like that can never gain useful traction.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Non-text config files was my last week with a remote user and some computer gymnastics boarding on a hack. What could have been a fifteen minute *nix fix was instead an hours long series of hoops to eventually get to fixing the original issue. As for "enterprise class OS".. changing settings across multiple machines is a "value add".. if you'll just give us a cheque, we'll happilly sell you the next full Server OS version which includes our new MS-LDAP version. (honestly, I hear the new AD is pretty comprehensive.. still not text based.. but comprehensive) Undocumented options suck.. especially when it limits the developers that code the lovely goodness I get to play with. I love that Debian considers a missing or badly documenting man page as a software bug. 3. I'm an OS geek that likes exploring new platforms. I just ask that changes between versions have a more rational justification than "to convince consumers to upgrade". Win7's firewall settings really show how sad WinXP SP3's firewall management was. Arbitrary changes of utilities and management methods suck though. 5. knocked Chrome Browser clear off my systems. At the time, it had a dirty uninstall (thought that can improve) and it installs to the user local profile with user privileged. Skype's only saving grace was the clean uninstall across the entire system though it can also be installed without admin privileged; that's just so very wrong and especially in an enterprise OS.

mugipw
mugipw

Thank you for your information. I will try to get OpenSolaris and try it. I wonder if I can run it in a SD card or flashdisk.

robert
robert

Damn good operating system, that. Benefits: File versioning built in Competent resource management You can define and enforce quotas on _every_ resource Cluster capability Ability to support multiple (thousands) of users on a single node One of the best operating systems you never heard about. Many of the niggles mentioned in this article simply do not appear on VMS, and it has been like that since at least the 1980's.

tbostwick
tbostwick

and don't forget the main driver of all forces in this world - MARKETING> Selling the product that doesn't work, doesn't do, is only a minor annoyance as long as the SALE occurs. This is true of any product new or coming onto the market - if you're going to make something, it doesn't matter if it works, it just matters if it can be sold to some schmo down the road. Of course, because of this collective beating over the head, we as a consumer have more choices, and are "dumbed-down" and "over-burdened" with the task of doing our own research before buying - which most people DO NOT DO!!! until they find out that their kids meal toy from McDonald's was being made in an illegal factory in China that hires 10-year old kids and uses paint that it typically lining the insides of jet engines, that you cannot 'See', 'feel' or 'visit'.. which then goes into the "who do you trust issue", a topic for a different post.

SgtPappy
SgtPappy

A Windows XP Virtual Machine would solve that problem.

LedLincoln
LedLincoln

I had to do some fiddling to get wireless working on my Dell D600 with Ubuntu Hardy a couple of years ago, but it's seamless now with Ubuntu 10 (Karmic).

roxroe
roxroe

I have tried to run linux on several laptops - which I used for test machines - but never could find a wireless driver that worked. Otherwise it was ok. Never got the religion I guess. The driver would say it was installed and working but try to use it and it cannot find the device?! It runs fine on a desktop but most of the computers are laptops. Tried several flavors - just ran out of time to mess with it. I run all these OS - and you know - I don't care whose it is - it is like my car - I want it to start and get me where I am going. I am not so much on the name and the brand.

LedLincoln
LedLincoln

I'm not commenting on the main point of your post, not having any significant experience with OSX, but there's no need to resort to prayer for an ssh client in Windows. Just use Putty. You don't even need to install it; just run it from the .exe.

mfcoder-hh
mfcoder-hh

Stealing focus is one of those things that seems to becoming more prevalent. If it's really urgent then steal focus and lock out other apps; if you are just telling me about how you are progressing, then stay where you are in the stack! I think only (and I'm going back a bit here) RISC-OS (for those who remember it) enabled windows to be 'active' and 'updated' without upsetting the stack of windows

DomerD
DomerD

I agree. Loss of focus is annoying ... and can even be disastrous if you end up typing 'Enter' in a window that just opened. It would not be that hard for the OS to detect that i am typing away in an app, and to not steal my focus while i am actively typing. Doesn't it realize that i am the most important person in its universe?

cmelliott
cmelliott

This post says what I wanted to say. It is true, if Windows starts locking everything down and comes up with a lot of rules than it will become inflexible. The reason I like Windows is because of all the freedom of software (and hardware) we have. MACs have a VERY limited selection and on top of that there is no tinkering. (This goes in disagreement with your Drivers statement too). I like that I can custom build a Windows system and find any software I want. The security issues seem to come from Acrobat Reader, Flash, Java, etc. Those are the people who need to work on pluggin' the holes. The other issue with people getting malware is a lack of wisdom on the user's part. They don't keep their machine updated, and they let their Antivirus subscriptions lapse or they use less-than-able antivirus programs. Apple doesn't have as many problems at this point BECAUSE they aren't used as widely so an attacker has too small of a target. There are proof of concept viruses and bugs for Apple just no reason to really deploy them.

stewagd
stewagd

Novell tried to get into marketing and got slapped down, jacked around, belittled and black-listed by the "community" it was trying to promote. Every time I hear "hard-core" (read Debian/Canonical, RHEL/Fedora) followers talk about Novell/SuSE being "the devil" it reminds me WHY Linux has such a small following: anti-capitalism. Yes, Linux is growing. Yes, there are more successful commercial models out there and the userland tools are always getting better. However, the prejudices against big commercial vendors are also large and hurt the effort. Run ads on TV? Canonical would be excommunicated by the community before the spot aired.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

WindowsXP; that's a distribution. Windows7; also a distribution. Both are very interoperable with each other but they are distributions. They both compete against each other in addition to competition with other non-Microsoft distributions. WindowsXP, Windows7 and osX are all distributions on the same supply chain level as Debian, Ubuntu or Mandriva distributions. The distribution is the competitive product not the kernel it happens to make use of.

parnote
parnote

Standards do not equate with the number of people implementing or creating a distro. It has nothing to do with the number of distros. Linux is about C-H-O-I-C-E. Choice to do it another, better way. Choice to do it YOUR way. And if someone else likes the way you've chosen to set things up, then they may also join you and set their computer up similar to yours, by downloading a distro that accomplishes that task out-of-the-box. What you claim to be "standards" are nothing than a large cattle pen that takes choice away from the end user, where some God on high dictates how everyone should use and interact with their computer and operating system. Under Linux, there are standards, albeit not the type of "standards" you refer to. Linux distributions DO share code, information, and most everything else. Linux is, after all, FOSS (free and open source software), so anyone who wants can download it, improve/enhance it, change it, and re-share those changes with the rest of the community. And under that type of system, Linux gains the improved compatibility with hardware, as well as an open environment to develop software in. And ANYONE can join this endeavor, instead of the software, and indeed the entire operating system itself, being developed in some secretive, back room of some hidden building, behind some locked door. Nope. Linux does it all right out in the open, invites anyone who wishes to participate, and does so while preserving C-H-O-I-C-E for all Linux users to do with as they please.

chl_ja
chl_ja

Yes, a very well-written, well-designed and well-documented operating system. One addition to your list though: process-level accounting(auditing) that did not break the bank. Had thousands of users, yet only had to rotate the accounting logs maybe every 8 months. Turning on auditing on any of x86 OSes that I can think of fills the hard drives in a few days, if not hours.

russoisraeli
russoisraeli

Of course I use it. But the fact that I have to download something so commonly used today on every Windows computer I am on, is really annoying. It's a waste of time. And enabling telnet in Vista/7 for testing TCP ports is even more annoying. Maybe these utilities are not used by the general public, but hey - we're the ones maintaining these systems.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I may be missing something on this one but with X "focus follows mouse", I can focus and interact with a window without bringing it on top of other windows. I also don't get newly opened windows stealing focus while they load (or display a productivity blocking splash window). RISC-OS expanded beyond that? I'm intrigued.

sonicsteve
sonicsteve

The reason that Ubuntu doesn't ship with DVD and codecs is that they break laws in the US. I'm not sure if the US is alone in this problem or not. Mint shipping with the codecs does break copyright laws on the Codecs, or so I've read. Therefore Mint couldn't gain proper traction in a major world market.

sonicsteve
sonicsteve

I understand the choice mentality, but too much choice leads to paralysis. If you want to see this in action try these two; 1. Take your Kid to a toy store and tell him he can have any one toy, but just one. 2. Take a non coffee drinker to a coffee shop that offers a multitude of choices, they won't know where to start. I love Linux, but if Linux never sees things like the sound backend, video backend, file and folder structure, RPM vs DEB standardized it will never succeed. Windows folder structure hasn't changed significantly in over 15yrs. I think Mac is similar in this area. Lastly I'm not sure why you think Deb's don't operate the same as EXE files. They double click and then do everything for you. Exe files double click then give you a multitude of questions to answer. If you ask me DEB files are far simpler. Sometimes I wish Deb files did give me choice where I want the install files to go. Though even with that it's better not to change it.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

My understanding is that AVI is a wrapper format which can contain content under several different formats. You can contain divx content inside an AVI container. You can contain mp4 content inside an AVI container. The use of the container format or encoding used for the contents may be suspect where patents are concerned. We'd need a media format geek to clarify though.

Slayer_
Slayer_

As I recall, AVI was a basic no compression frame by frame video. Great for low performance computers. But died off after MPEG and WMV took over. MPEG had the title for awhile till DivX came along reusing the AVI extension. Bink currently holds the lead on computer and video game HD content. (or so I'm told)

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I'm not really sure if Mint does break any laws let alone which specific codecs or otherwise proprietary code it may contain. We'd have to look at where it's repositories are hosted, what codecs and how they infringe someone's patent or copyright. My guess for starting points though would be MP3, DVD and Microsoft media related codecs. MP3 and DVD have caused media frenzy in the past and I don't see MS freely releasing codecs for it's stuff-inside-AVI file format. It's just not as black and white as the original post makes it sound.

Slayer_
Slayer_

I mean I use GOM on my Windows machine which is supposedly all open and free codecs.. And it plays more video types than any other player I've tried, including VLC which couldn't play the video files from my HD Video camera. Surely Mint has at least that many Codecs available to it.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I believe the problem is a patent issue; the US is trying to impose it's broken view of patents and copyright on the rest of the world currently. But, the affect on the end user is that codecs can't be distributed from US soil. Ubuntu can't be on a server in the US with codecs installed for you to download. Codecs can legally be downloaded from outside US borders; this is the loophole Ubuntu is using - "we can't give you the codecs but you can choose to go download them yourself." We'd need more information to determine if Mint is breaking US law depending on where it'd distributed from and what codecs are being included. I thought one of Canonical's early acts was to bargain an deal for including codecs; maybe just with a paid version though?

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