Linux

Linux and Open Source: Best of 2010

A look back at the Linux and Open Source blog in 2010 includes some of the topics that kicked off the hottest discussions of the year. Here are the top five posts.

In 2010 we saw the usual upgrades to popular distributions and applications, big steps forward for Ubuntu, and all sorts of tips and how-tos from our writers. Below are some of the top posts of the year, based on a combination of discussions, views, and votes.

#1 A Linux experiment gone horribly...perfect!

Jack Wallen rolled some dice and installed Ubuntu 10.04 on a machine for someone who was used to Windows Vista. How do you think this little experiment went? Read the original post.

#2 How to set up an OpenVPN server

Vincent Danen shows you how to set up OpenVPN and takes you through some of the tricky configuration steps to get you up and running quickly. Read the original post.

#3 Throwing down the gauntlet: Prove that Linux is not user-friendly

Jack Wallen tosses down the gauntlet in a challenge to ask readers to give legitimate reasons why Linux can or can not make it. It stirred up one of the more passionate discussions. Read the original post.

#4 Windows or Linux: Which is easier to fix?

Jack Wallen intentionally breaks both Linux and Windows to see which one is easier to fix. What was the unexpected conclusion? Read the original post.

#5 A Linux for everyone (and everything)!

Jack Wallen was hit with an idea that could turn the Linux (and Windows) world on its ear. It's all about a Linux operating system that could do absolutely everything you needed to do. Read on and judge for yourself if this idea could work. Read the original post.

About

Selena has been at TechRepublic since 2002. She is currently a Senior Editor with a background in technical writing, editing, and research. She edits Data Center, Linux and Open Source, Apple in the Enterprise, The Enterprise Cloud, Web Designer, and...

11 comments
kevaburg
kevaburg

I have been tasked with creating an Enterprise monitoring solution for our 120 Oracle databases. So I naturally chose Windows as our platform so it could seemlessly integrate with our current Microsoft-based network. The problem is that we needed multiple patches from Oracle Support (not cheap by the way) to accomplish it. So I looked around. I first thought of using Solaris, a platform that for Oracle is supposed to be perfect. Bear in mind now that I have only ever used Microsoft networks. I was shocked to discover I had to create the folder structure, a special user to run the software, two special groups that this user would belong to and then I had to chnage the permissions on these newly created folders so that the newly created user could get to the installer. That I thought was more than irritating. So I moved onto Unbreakable Linux. To my mind, also unusable. I know that a great deal of Oracle Administrators use Linux-based OSs for the software, but come on, why does it have to be so damn difficult? With Windows all I need to do is click setup. The folder structure is created as part of the setup routine and normally (according to the appropriate permissions and rights) most users can install software. Don't get me wrong, the fact I couldn't install 10g or 11g as root I don't find bad. If a Windows Administrator account couldn't install software then I think there would be a great deal less security stress. No, what I do find bad is that so much pre-work has to be done where I don't believe it should be necessary. This leaves the possibility wide-open that an installation might go wrong several times before everything fits together as it should. I still believe Linux is our solution and I will battle on, but battle is the right word here. Maybe Linux is user-friendly for the end-user but for administrators it adds an extra layer of complexity that does not need to be there. Perhaps my view of things here is not what it should be but my experience now, and that is over 15 years now, is that Windows-based computing is dominant because it simply works. I don't care what others say. I work on a 15,000 user network spread across an area the size of England. We have had NO security threats get through our DMZ to the internal network (although there have been attemtps) and we have had no crashes as the result of OS failure, only the result of hardware failure. Linux can say exactly the same as far as stability and security are concerned, maybe to a point perhaps even more so. Speed is also something Linux has against Windows. But logical installations and ease of use is something that will win a lot administrators over. I believe Linux has a place in the natural order of things. From a business perspective, it is not on the desktop or even in a single subnet. Rather it belongs in the DMZ where security is most likely to be a problem where an external attack is concerned. It belongs there in the form of a firewall appliance, web server or VPN server. Solid, secure and fast it is. Simple, it most certainly is not.

dgs010243
dgs010243

Very good intervention. Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year ! Froehliche Weihnachten und ein Glueckliches Neues Jahr ! Dan Gh Somnea

michael.moore
michael.moore

In order to get my dad to convert to Linux I need to find a way to get AOL to work on Linux. I tried WINE but I it worked somewhat. Though my dad seems to find ways to cause issues with Windows. Maybe he just likes me working on his machine. I would think I could alleviate most of his issues if I could just get him to use Ubuntu. But he and my mother are so dependent on AOL. They have broadband access and I told them that there was no need to have AOL. Their response was they don't want a new email address. Not sure what they are paying, but I am assuming they are paying more than 10 dollars a month, which would equate to more than 120 dollars a year for basically email. I will keep trying to sway my parents to gmail, yahoo mail, etc. but until they switch if ever. Does anyone been able to use AOL (Broadband) on Ubuntu or any flavor for that matter.

kevaburg
kevaburg

Frohe Weinachten und ein gute rutsch ins Neu Jahr! But it doesn't matter how it is said, I hope everyone has a great time over the festive season!

jkiernan
jkiernan

I'm not understanding the dependency. They can still use the AOL address via broadband on any machine without the AOL client, be it Windows, OS X, or any Linux variant. Some solutions for you: 1. They can access their mail through the web interface: http://mail.aol.com 2. AOL email can be accessed via IMAP or POP through most email clients like Evolution or Thunderbird. They might like Zimbra Desktop. To see server parameters, sign into the web interface, click "Settings" on the top right and then "IMAP and POP" in the left column. This only has to be done once. Also, check this out: http://about.aol.com/faq/openmailaccess 3. Establish GMail accounts for them and use the fetch process to retrieve AOL mail into GMail. See: http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=21288 For instant messaging, check out Empathy or Pidgin.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

If your parents are happy with AOL on Windows, why bother with the conversion process? Are they having trouble with Windows? Is this battle really worth fighting?

michael.moore
michael.moore

Thanks for the reply and the suggestions. I will show the web interface to my father to see if he likes it. I don't know how much they depend on the UI or not for searching or anything else that it does.

tr
tr

I imagine the intent is to use the proprietary UI that AOL provides in their Windows-only software. Rather than using a browser and multiple programs, the user wants the exact same experience that is already known. If we talk about functionality, just about any platform can provide the same functions, but the user experience is different. That's where the kicker is. If we don't consider our users, or if they are unable to do what they need to do, then we add NO value. We can provide the best solutions in the world, but they are worthless if nobody uses them.

michael.moore
michael.moore

Gaining my personal time back again, without having to support my dad and fix things he has broken some how. Anytime it breaks he thinks I can fix it in no time. Though it takes the time to diagnose the issue, then google for possible solutions, then see if the solutions fix his problem(s).

tr
tr

I do not tend to blindly support one platform over another. I have my favorites, but try to find the best platform for the situation. Having said that, I am always amazed at how many people will assume that the person asking a question has not completed the basic analysis. I've been guilty of this too. Why can't we start by answering the question??? Once we answer the question posed, we can offer our experience and expertise to suggest alternative approaches. Sometimes, for any number of reasons including cost, time, and user confidence, the best solution is to do nothing and accept the current situation. Sometimes, someone just wants to try something different and poses a question to help him or her get started with a proof of concept. Ok, I'll get off my soapbox now. Now I can go back to dealing with the ID-10-T and PEBKAC errors.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"I am always amazed at how many people will assume that the person asking a question has not completed the basic analysis." I am often amazed at how the person asking a question will reveal during the discussion that he has not completed the basic analysis. I'm not saying that's true in michael.moore's case.