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Ubuntu Linux - It Just Works... well, except for that.... and that... and..

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Ubuntu Linux - It Just Works... well, except for that.... and that... and..

dcolbert Contributor
I mean, it is free, right?

Seriously... I've called Ubuntu on this before around here, and I always get the response,

"Well, you have to..."

Listen... that isn't "It JUST works". That is, "It WILL work, if YOU tweak with it".

XP "Just Works". OS X actually "Just Works".

Ubuntu is Linux, and Linux doesn't "Just Work".

Interestingly enough, again, this is a laptop where Ubuntu isn't Just Working. It is actually a Netbook, a Eee PC 701 - and it is an install that is "customized" for the Eee PC 701. I'll give it some props - it found and configured everything, although I had to mess around with wireless a bit (that didn't JUST work, but the difficulty in making it Just Work was comparable to the kind of difficulty one might encounter with a Win32 install, so we'll call it close enough).

What didn't Just Work was Network Browsing of a Win32 workgroup through the default Gimp Network Browsing app. The error I get and the symptoms I am seeing are well documented - there are various bug tickets opened AND closed with no solution on the Ubuntu bug forums. One of the forum moderators actually reopened a bug report with the comment, "This is a very large obstacle to "Just Working" for many users, and needs to be resolved", but then someone else subsequently closed it again, with no solution. "If we ignore the issue, maybe it will just go away".

Now, using SMBw2k browser (I think that is it), a KDE app, I can make it work suitable for my needs - and so I'm going to leave Ubuntu on this machine. But there are a score of other trivial annoyances as well. The Codecs for Mp4 video are from the "Bad" codec set - and so to watch an iPod movie I have to deal with all kinds of nasty video artifacts.

Best of all, is Ubuntu bloat. I could get a full install with no pre-install modifications of XP onto the SSD at just over 2gb. Ubuntu is pushing 3.4gb for a full install. That leaves me around 600mb free.

If all other things were equal, and Win XP were FREE, it would be a no brainer - there would be NO reason to use Linux. It is more difficult to set up and support, there is more opportunity in my experience, for modifcations and changes to introduce new unwanted behavior into the system.

I'm not sure what changed, but I've been having a much more difficult time getting Adobe Flash to work with Ubuntu lately. This is one of those things that should Just Work. Linux is already at a disadvantage against Win32 for feature rich web browsing. Having Flash be difficult or impossible to install just makes Linux that much less useful to the typical user.

This is the link I used to install:
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=611422

It is amazing that you actually have to do so much post-install cleanup to get it working properly on an Eee PC.

I hear that Ubuntu "Just Works", but I haven't yet had a machine yet where install went without a hitch and everything worked as satisfactory as it would have with an XP install. Not just one machine, but a half a dozen of them, from old Celeron 333mhz to modern core duo desktop machines.
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    .Martin.

    .

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    OnTheRopes

    Looks like a pretty decent rant. Nothing more, nothing less. Brought up some good points too, if you ask me.

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    jdclyde

    for people that don't know what spam is?

    might be about time, i guess..... ;\

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    santeewelding

    In the person of one Tammy, human intervention will prevail.

    I read it closely and recognized like issues of my own. I did not notice the "has been reported" until I delved into the responses.

    Martin: Was this youthful, *** hole exuberance?

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    .Martin.

    but I really hate Spam, to any extent.

    I'm (sorta) using Ubuntu right now, and sure it is not perfect (I still need to find a display driver so I can use the whole screen).

    but if he had not had included the this is were I downloaded it from, and the link, I would have been fine.

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    OnTheRopes

    People put download links in discussions, blogs and questions all the time. He's not trying to sell you anything or promote his own website. I've even seen some shameless self promotion that I don't consider spam. Can't point out an example at the moment but maybe you just ought to ease off of that spam button a tad. Just because you don't like something doesn't make it spam.<br><br>
    Of course, feel free to do whatever you want. I'm not the boss of you.

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    Brian Doe

    Post moved. Somehow ended up in the wrong place. me and my fat fingers!

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    CharlieSpencer

    I don't think it even qualifies as a rant. dcolbert has been around a while and posts on a variety of topics. Just because a post includes a link to an outside site doesn't make it spam. Spam doesn't include a negative review of the product.

    The PTBs should let this post remain.

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    OnTheRopes

    It's the first time I've made a mistake since the last time.

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    dcolbert Contributor

    I'd never deny being guilty of having a tendency to rant...

    FWIW, I quit smoking every night when I go to bed, and start again every morning when I wake up. I've spent more than half my life as a non-smoker, from this perspective.

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    Tig2

    I claim partial success that way!

    Good rant though. You made some good points with good supporting information. I love a good rant!

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    Michael Jay

    This gentleman;
    http://techrepublic.com.com/5213-6257-0.html?id=2727770&redirectTo=%2f1320-22-20.html

    Once posted the following;

    Please report the following:
    1. Messages about buying products and services that are not relevant to the topic or to IT professionals
    2. Nonsensical strings of text "slkdjfksdjf"
    3. Messages that are obscene or racially-insensitive or contain links to content that is obscene or racially-insensitive
    4. Messages that allow you to access pirated software or other pirated content

    Please do NOT report the following:
    1. Messages suggesting a product or service that actually meets the needs of the original poster. For example, if someone is asking for the best AV app, it is not spam for someone to post a link to an anti-virus product, even if it is their own product.
    2. Messages that you just don't like. We're not going to take sides in arguments, so please don't report something as spam when you just don't agree.

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    boxfiddler Moderator

    with this grinch nonsense. Even if it were spam, you'd only get two points.

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    dcolbert Contributor

    He has successfully derailed the original post, which he clearly marked as spam because of an ideological difference, not for any valid reason.

    But, that alone probably reinforces his tactics in his own mind. Better to ignore his decision to report my post as spam, and instead focus on what an idiot n00b MS-Fanboy I am. :)

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    Nah

    Tig2

    There are people watching this thread. I may call you an "idiot n00b MS-Fanboy." I have known you for awhile and you still refuse to toss your MS systems for the one true platform- CP/M! But I consider your other qualities and love you for them. I feel I can allow you to have an opinion... even if JD thinks it's wrong.


    Seriously- people will drive past the spam marker and into the discussion. It's a good one in light of the growing popularity of the ASUS box. To be honest, I had been thinking about getting one but that bug report thing you mentioned is giving me a rationale to reconsider.

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    Dumphrey

    test models I have seen seemed very poorly built. Is this due to them being floor models with no guts? I guess I could start a new thread on this.

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    dcolbert Contributor

    Heh. I missed this branch of the thread.

    Dude, I'm going to tear out my Atom processor and put in a Z80 instead so I can go back to the true glory that is CP/M on the hardware it was inteded to run upon! Bring on the BDOS errors!

    Anyhow, all of the netbooks get a bad rap for quality of build. With their diminutive size, they feel VERY toylike. The EEE PC is probably one of the worst on initial impression. Yet, once you get used to it, the construction feels pretty solid. I've heard the Lenovo called cheap too, and I don't really get that. Of the two, the fact that the Eee PC is non mechanical (no mechanical hard drive) makes me think it is probably the more solid of the two.

    I think it is really subjective, the opinion on the build quality of a product. This probably would be a good thread to discuss somewhere else. I really like both of the ones I have, and they seem...

    Here. I bought my daughter a low end core duo Acer notebook 15.4" machine about a year ago. It seems far cheaper to me - for example, there is a lot of flex in the lid/screen area. My Lenovo ThinkPad and HP DV8000 notebooks seem far higher quality.

    My Lenovo feels a lot higher quality than the Acer overall. The Eee PC seems a little better quality, but not greatly... but that is just "quality of material" and "fit and finish".

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    j-mart

    Most of the time would rather go to a bit more effot and install Debian. You can always see how it's going to work for a particular set of hardware or task by seeing how it will work by running live off CD. No one is forcing anyone to use it if they don't like it. You can at any time purchase your OS from Microsoft any time you want.

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    jkameleon

    ... and it just worked. It made a pretty good impression on me. I know a couple of people who use Ubuntu for their small bussinesses (office, backoffice, web page), and they can't praise it enough.

    I'm not using it, though, due to lack of fancy development tools like Visual Studio 2005/2008

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    Jaqui

    you used Ubuntu.

    PCLinuxOS is actually far better at hardware detection and configuration than Ubuntu.
    Wireless, it will not configure if there is a wired connection though. going into the DrakX control center and adding the wireless is a click, click, click ... done procedure.
    [ windows is harder than PCLinuxOS for this. ]

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    dcolbert Contributor

    Ok...

    In order:

    Spam... I didn't realize that was what .martin had done to the post. Probably just as well...

    The reason I posted the link was so that the inevitable pro-Linux responders would be able to see my source for the install and be able to comment, well informed, on the reasons for my issues. I'm not interested in having a one sided, fanboy argument AGAINST Linux - if there are legitimate issues (Well, you are using Ubuntu 7, you should really be using 8, which addresses those issues), then I'm open to discussing them. I mean, I'd point it out if we had a Linux discussing which was comparing Ubuntu to Windows ME, after all.

    With that said, PCLinuxOS - haven't tried this distro. The *problem* is that Ubuntu has the most industry buzz and market mind-share. Win32 guys who are going to decide to give *nix a try are MOST likely going to go with Ubuntu. And I'm having DISMAL luck on the "It Just Works" philosophy across a variety of machines. I cut my teeth on Debian Sarge and Potato, so I can see the tremendous progress that has been made. But unless a person likes to do a LOT of reading and tinkering, or has a friend who is a Linux guru, the average Win32 convert is going to go screaming back to Win32 in short order after fighting with Ubuntu "Just Working".

    For my purposes, I really just want something that is easy to install that I don't have to dink around with a bunch for my Netbook. I was using my Developers license to run a Dev XP on it, under the justification I was using it for developmental work related duties. But I stopped using it for that reason, so using the MSDN license seemed unethical. Linux was the obvious choice (being that the Xandros distro left me flat). Now, I did consider Debian, but obviously the EEE PC with 4gb of SSD presents some special circumstances. Rather than reinvent the wheel for myself (something that might be beyond my *nix skills, in this case, honestly), I figured I'd find something packaged more directly for the situation I face. The linked page I provided seems to fit the bill perfectly.

    And honestly, for FREE, I'm going to do my best to make it work for me. But that is exactly the point "making it work for me" is *not* the same as It Just Works. If I had a spare license for XP, it would be a much easier route to just install that, have it really Just Work, and be done with it.

    But I'll look into PCLinuxOS. We've discussed this before, and my concern there is that ALL Linux distros are a series of compromise. I played with Xandros - and if I *just* wanted to surf the web and send e-mail (kind of the intended sweet spot of a Netbook), Xandros would probably be fine. But I want to do some media, too... and Xandros starts to fall apart there - in particular it looked like it was going to be a lot of effort to find a codec package and get it installed. On the other hand, I *knew* that the .deb package management of Ubuntu was great... it made it SUPER easy to install the crummy, horrible Codecs that are available in the Ubuntu distro. :)

    In much the same way, I wonder what will be the deal-breaker in PCLinuxOS. Difficult Package Management? Spotty hardware support? Lack of high quality codecs? Inability to easily install components to enable a rich web browsing experience? Broken SAMBA/CIFS?

    For a Netbook - I'd like to see an OS that does the following:

    * Supports wireless with no headaches.
    * Supports built in Ethernet
    * Recognizes the Audio
    * Recognizes and works with Media Readers and USB (and devices).
    * Recognizes and supports the video card with full features (desktop eye candy).
    * Has a nice e-mail client that works with web based e-mail and Exchange.
    * Integrates well with Win32 networks (with an emphasis on Workgroup integration over Domain integration)
    * Supports a web client that works with the largest variety of rich-content websites possible.
    * Supports the most popular and widely distributed media formats (Mp3, WMA, Mp4) for audio and video with applications that provide the same kind of features and functions that competitive products for other platforms offer.
    * Delivers all of this, hassle free, without requiring a high level of expertise or interaction "under the hood" with the OS in order to achieve these goals.

    I think this is a reasonable "bare minimum" to expect from an OS that positions itself to compete with either OS X or Win32. And in particular, *especially* one that has picked "It Just Works" as a motto. As far as I can tell, the other Linux distros aren't making this particular claim. They may claim to be superior to either OS X or Win32 for any NUMBER of reasons - but not THIS particular reason.

    Again, Ubuntu does a remarkable job and has made significant progress toward achieving the list I outline above. But it isn't there yet, and it misses the mark on some significant points that are likely to be deal breakers for the average Win32 user converting to *nix.

    And I know that one of the arguments is that some of these things (SAMBA, Firefox and 3rd party plugins) are outside of the direct control of the Ubuntu (or any other *nix distro) developers direct control. That is one of the unique problems and challenges for *nix. You've got an independent team designing things like Samba, that are critical to the foundation of *nix, and they design it in a generic manner that then gets picked up by any number of different distros and varients. I understand the reason, but that doesn't make it any *better* that it breaks, over and over again.

    The thing I get from Linux in general, after years of playing with it, on and off again - is that it is like a tinkerer's OS. The guys working on it tinker, and the guys who use it tinker. I've made the analogy to a mechanic's car before. If you enjoy WORKING on the car as much or more than you enjoy actually DRIVING it, Linux is a great solution. If you just want a daily driver (which is what the MAJORITY of people want), then it isn't so great.

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    boxfiddler Moderator

    I'd be interested to hear your thoughts in relation to 'It just works'.

    I read with interest your opening post. I've been fiddling with Ubuntu on a desktop for awhile now, and Mint on a laptop. While they haven't been a nightmare, and I'm relatively satisfied with them, they don't 'just work' 'out of the box'.

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    dcolbert Contributor

    I've been doing some research, and I like the LOOK of PCLinuxOS... but I've got a few concerns.

    One, it is based on KDE. My experience, KDE is the far more Win32 like Windows Manager of those that are popular today - and PCLinuxOS leverages that effectively - but, KDE apps are far worse in general than Gimp apps in *stability*. The most recently I've experienced this is with Kubuntu versus Ubuntu. I don't like GIMP as far as asthetics, and I really don't think it is laid out very well, either... but the stability of GIMP apps really trumps KDE's prettier interface. Gimp, under Ubuntu, has improved considerably too. It used to look horrible and be difficult to use. Now it looks passably decent (outside of Ubuntu's crap-brown default color schemes) and is laid out a lot more logically.

    The second is that I can only find reviews on the Mini-Me light distro - and having to manually set up networks and apps after a super light base install doesn't sound like what I had in mind. My goal is LESS time spent doing this and more time being productive.

    But I just started digging into it. If I do give it a shot, I'll let you know.

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    craftamics

    dcolber:

    Ubuntu uses the Gnome desktop manager. Gimp [or GIMP, as it is usually listed] is the Gnu Image Manipulation Program, meant to be the Open Source answer to Adobe Photoshop.

    So, I think you meant to be comparing KDE to Gnome, not Gimp.

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    dcolbert Contributor

    And someone else caught me IRL doing that today and corrected me.

    I did, indeed mean Gnome, and not GIMP.

    I think it is because I keep seeing GIMP getting so much press as a viable Photoshop alternative lately that I got Gimp stuck in my head.

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    Neon Samurai

    I prefer to stick with 2008.1 for now rather than the newer 2009.0 though. Will PCLinuxOS not allow you to do a minimal install and add GNOME (GNOME and GIMP are the apps, GTK is what they are based on)? I've not looked at PCLinuxOS myself yet either so I don't know how flexable it is. I know I can do a Mandriva custom install in a half hour including 20 minutes form DVD to first boot and ten more minutes letting urpmi install all the extras and updates after a minimal install. That's just from using for so long that it's dead simple to work with for me now perhaps though.

    Anyhow, if you do grab a few different liveCD or the Mandriva eeePC install let us know how it goes.

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    dcolbert Contributor

    Is that I'm inclined to believe that they're likely to only enhance my frustration. I'm a Debian guy, so Ubuntu should be a fairly comfortable extension of that. When I get into another Distro, I can get by, but it usually means even MORE research, reference, and "under the hood" tinkering.

    So, in that sense - my goal was to have a smooth install that didn't require a lot of fine tuning. An "It Just Works" install.

    And that is my biggest COMPLAINT. Is that I've yet to have an "It Just Works" install of Linux, period.

    Once I popped the hood and got the tool-belt out, I now have Ubuntu humming along pretty nice on the eee PC (short of a few minor complaints, e.g., WPA2). Actually, Ubuntu is operating better on the eee PC than any other previous install I've attempted (Well, it might run pretty good on my Lenovo T61, but it dual boots and is my work PC, so I use it mostly in Win32 and I'm not sure if there are a lot of annoyances on the Ubuntu side).

    And, true to the words of the Ubuntu acolytes, I've learned a lot more about Ubuntu in this process - my guess is that I'll be better able to quickly fix issues I encounter on future Ubuntu installs based on the key learning here.

    But I said this elsewhere...

    Ubuntu "It Just Works" Fail. :)

    The thing is, going to another distro that I've never dealt with before, I can't imagine it would "Just Work" better, and I think it would be more difficult for me to find, figure out and implement the fixes on a distro I am unfamiliar with.

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    Neon Samurai

    I started with Red Hat and went to Mandrake -> Mandriva so urpmi is very familiar. While I often take a look at various new distrubtion liveCD, digging into Debian like I do with Mandriva has been a recent thing for me. The conversion has not been hard so far though. the biggest stumble for me was installing KDE then figuring out that I had apt-get in xorg behind it. I have a few other things I'm learning to do the Debian way but it's not been a show stopper.

    Granted, learning a different distro can be adding to your frustration but between Mandriva's approach to user friendly and the eeePC specific version, it's the one I'd recommend.

    If your rig is working and you can get through the install steps in under an hour though, your already all set.

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    dcolbert Contributor

    I'll admit, I never got all the way to checking into any non-Debian/Ubuntu based distros, although I planned on it. I burnt all my time trying the various Deb-distros and working through hardware challenges.

    The real shame is that the Eee-PC specific Ubuntu distros all had significant problems. If any should be expected to "Just Work", it should have been those. Ultimately, I ended up with 8.10 with a nice script to clean things up and unlock "broken" functions.

    But on 7.0.4 and 8.10, I can get either of them humming in under an hour on an EeePC now (and get them humming on a Lenovo S10 in even less time. Ubuntu 8.10 really JUST works on this particular machine).

    8.10, also resolves some of the outstanding operational issues... e.g., the codecs for MP4 video don't have the weird green artifacts, from what I've seen so far.

    So ultimately, Ubuntu will be a very useful and practical OS for me on my netbooks, and I'll probably just stick with it. The problem is that it DID take me a long time to get to that point - and THAT is going to prevent Ubuntu from achieving a goal of being a desktop OS alternative for the MASSES. That is my real point of debate here. I've come to the conclusion, Linux is not, and probably will not be a desktop OS alternative for the mass audience, and it probably shouldn't be. It serves the role it serves well enough, and there is a lot of compromise involved in it becoming "that other thing". In that sense, I think I can be a content Linux user without feeling a need to witness or promote Linux, especially to those who probably shouldn't be using it. If anything, selling someone on Linux who SHOULDN'T be using it is only going to hurt the reputation of Linux.

    With the Lenovo becoming my workhorse netbook, the Eee PC will become my testing PC for playing with interesting distros or other "lab" type environments. To that end, I'll probably blow off the Ubuntu on it now and play around with some of the other OSes in the future. I'd like to play around with Xandros with advanced desktop on, and with PCLinuxOS for Eee PC - and maybe some others. I'd really like to spend the time to get a working Hackintosh running on it at some time - just for the "Mac Air for under $300" value. :)

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    Tony Hopkinson

    Tht picked up my wireless no problem. Had to pick the host and do the security, but other than that it was OK.

    If did have problems for some reason with the install picking up the existing XP. Wouldn't mount the NTFS device.
    Might have been because of other distros I'd tried or Lilo to Grub....

    Also having fun with samba to my vista box, which I keep picking at from time to time.

    All distros are indeed compromises, Ubuntu is not a compromise I favour. I literally refuse to try it. If I wanted something 'so like windows I wouldn't notice', I'd use windows, saves messing about.

    Linux is a tinkerer's OS, Ubuntu is not a tinkerers distro though. I want to tinker, so no Ubuntu.

    Your argument founders on one key point, the users Ubuntu aims at do not do installs, no more than they do windows, which can be just as much of a compromise and a pain as Ubuntu, though perhaps in other areas.

    After all running a mixed Vista and XP environment is vastly unamusing in places, no reason why throwing any linux distro into the mix is going to make things easier.

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    dcolbert Contributor

    "All distros are indeed compromises, Ubuntu is not a compromise I favour. I literally refuse to try it. If I wanted something 'so like windows I wouldn't notice', I'd use windows, saves messing about."

    Well, then this conversation probably doesn't have any value for you - because I'm approaching this from the perspective of people who are interested in a very Win32 like environment without the Win32 licensing or cost issues. No disrespect intended. Your conclusion is probably right, though. If you want a Win32 environment, Linux probably isn't the right choice. It has already been done, it is called Windows. :)

    "Linux is a tinkerer's OS, Ubuntu is not a tinkerers distro though. I want to tinker, so no Ubuntu."

    Funny, because when I was into Debian, it was *the* tinkerer's distro. I can't imagine that Ubuntu isn't. I mean, back in the day I used to have to always go into the Xfree.conf file and edit the PS3 mouse switch and the supported video resolutions and monitor type, had to install and configure TrueType fonts (or FreeType or...) recompile the kernal for your PCI wireless, audio, and countless other small things... Being that Ubuntu is Debian under the hood, I can't see how it COULDN'T support this kind of tinkering under the hood if you were so inclined.

    "Your argument founders on one key point, the users Ubuntu aims at do not do installs, no more than they do windows, which can be just as much of a compromise and a pain as Ubuntu, though perhaps in other areas."

    Not sure I understand this. Could you elaborate? They do not do installs? The OS, or Apps? I've got a feeling that you have a particular concept of what "doing an install" is that doesn't mesh with the commonly accepted vision of "doing an install" in the industry.

    I also don't feel that Win32 makes me accept compromises (other than PAYING for something that I would rather be free, and paying MORE for it than I think it should actually cost). As far as delivering what I want to do and doing it reliably and well, Win32 excels.

    "After all running a mixed Vista and XP environment is vastly unamusing in places, no reason why throwing any linux distro into the mix is going to make things easier."

    Back around Potato and Sarge, Samba connectivity was excellent with a Win32 environment. Then XP, especially Home, and W2k AD really broke the NT4 LanMan model - and you're right, it broke it between NT4 and XP/W2k machines as much as with *nix machines running SAMBA. Since then, it has been on again/off again for reliability and ease of configuration, but worse for Linux and FreeBSD than for anything else, including, for example, OS X.

    I don't have these SAMBA/CIFS integration issues with OS X. Why?

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    Tony Hopkinson

    market, well in my opinion anyway. The people it's designed for are looking for someone like me or thee to have set it up for them.

    How can windows not be a compromise?. Even if they designed and set it up for you, they can't have done it for me as well can they?


    My samba issues have all been with Vista, XP it works fine......

    Who broke what is an open question to me. I've been in the keep up with MS's changes game software wise for a long time, and it's a right PIA.

    But again, if you were 'selling' a distro to take the place of windows in a basic home user setting, why would samba be a concern?

    Can't even be that important for me, seeing as I haven't bothered to get it working yet.

    Perhaps you are still judging Ubuntu against a more (or perhaps less ) specialised need for that which it was designed.

    If you went into a retail outfit (given you could find one), and bought one already set up your impression of it's effectiveness in that market might change. Pre-installed from retailers is a huge advantage for MS.

    I don't think people like us are a good test for this sort of thing, you need to buy compliant hardware for the distro, set up and then give it to Aunty Em, see what she makes of it.

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    dcolbert Contributor

    Regarding compromise, it is in the nature of the compromise. I suppose that the compromise in Win32 is that it is not highly customizable at the Kernel level. Again, I'll use the daily-driver grocery getter. The thing is, that compromise, the Grocery Getter, is "no effective compromise" for the vast majority of the people who want a car. In the same way, Win32 Grocery Getter design is "no compromise" for the vast majority of people who want an OS. It does all the basics that they want on a very competent level with very little hassle. Trojans and Malware aside. (Given that trojans and malware are probably the most common disruption of satisfaction with Win32).

    Well, who broke what isn't really that important. Ultimately, Linux interfacing with Win32 networks on Win32's terms is what is important. If Microsoft "breaks" it (which they do), but your Win32 machines and OS X machines still all talk to each other, but Linux won't talk anymore, Linux *looks* responsible.

    Look at SAMBA speed right now, on FreeBSD 6.x in particular, I don't know about FreeBSD 7, but also to a lesser extent with Linux. This is absolutely a SAMBA issue - because Win32 to Win32 is relatively fine Win32 to OS X and back is relatively fine (with OS X being SUPER efficient), but just about anything to Linux or FreeBSD via SAMBA/CIFS having a horrible hit. A quick search of the online forums or google will illustrate this. Ultimately, it doesn't matter who has broken what, the fact that Linux and SAMBA have trouble playing well with Win32 only hurts Linux. (Issues become very noticable on gb networks and Intel Pro Set NICs seem to go a long way to compensating for the issue).

    Most homes have a workgroup network set up sharing a common broadband connection, these days. And most home users have shared printers and shared storage on the network. Most networks you're going to encounter are going to be Win32 based. So SAMBA should absolutely be a concern for a "Win alternative contender".

    I'm judging Ubuntu as a contender for Easy to Install and Use Desktop OS alternative for home and small office. It seems to me that this is what it is marketed towards. Maybe I'm wrong.

    Xandros and the other Netbook OSes are designed to be these OEM pre-installed solutions. They're not working (See my other thread, 5 reasons why Linux is failing - re: 4:1 return ratios for Linux based netbooks versus WinXP netbooks). Linux has huge inherent disadvantages as a desktop alternative aimed at consumers.

    While Win32 certainly has a HCL that Microsoft Support will use against you if you have problems, the truth is that the majority of NON HCL hardware works fine with Win32. With Ubuntu, when they say "this is non compliant and may not work, or won't work well, or won't have certain features", they *mean* it... and a LOT of *common* hardware is non Ubuntu HCL. It isn't as bad as trying to build a custom PC to be a Hackintosh, but it is still pretty severe.

    Either way, Aunty Em has been getting OEM installed Linux Desktop OS netbooks, and she has been returning 4 of them for every 1 XP netbook that gets returned. So, I feel like we already have the numbers. As a matter of fact, the unsuitability of Xandros is what drove me to install Ubuntu on this Eee PC in the first place.

    I mean, just an alternative perspective on the points you bring up. This is certainly a "two-sided coin" kind of discussion.

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    j-mart

    The "just works" comes down to wether or not your particular hardware has been intergrated into your particular choice of Linux distro. some manufacture's provide required info, some good driver's, some nothing. If the industry all followed well defined standards it may make intergration of new hardware much simpler

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    dcolbert Contributor

    Especially at the Win32 server level, the HCL starts to get more important...

    But the breadth of support for non HCL hardware in Win32 environments is something that Linux just seems hard pressed to compete with, in my experience. The closest that gap ever got was when Vista was first released and had poor hardware support, and even then, I bet Vista hardware support was still broader than the "best" Linux distros.

    If the industry all followed well defined standards, we would all own Macs. It is how well you handle non-standards. :)

    At least... well...

    OS X has a built in advantage (outside of the Hackintosh world. Oddly enough, though, you start using OS X like "any old OS" and it starts having more problems than EITHER Linux or Win32) in that the hardware and OS integration is tight and controlled with an iron fist.

    Linux tries to compete on an open architecture platform - and Win32 just has a giant lead there, and years of experience dealing with the difficulities introduced by such a model.

    Again, it may not be the FAULT of Linux, but it is what Linux has to compete with and against, in either case.

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    Neon Samurai

    "the breadth of support for non HCL hardware in Win32 environments is something that Linux just seems hard pressed to compete with"

    This is a measure of how much hardware works with the OS not how well the newest hardware works with the OS though. In terms of how much hardware each supports, Windows pales in comparison. A quick look at the supported hardware in the kernel can confirm that for you.

    Each platform does somethings better than the other. Windows gets the newest hardware by virtue of the vendor providing drivers for it themselves. Linux gets the longer list of hardware though. How many processor architectures does Windows (kernel plus drivers) run on vs Linux (kernel alone)? Will the NT kernel still boot on a 286, it's not hard to setup a Linux kernel and minimal user space on hardware that old.

    How is Vista doing for supporting older hardware? What was the last bit of hardware that Linux dropped support for? It's just not as simple as all that to measure really.

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    dcolbert Contributor

    Man, when we start talking, "I can run the latest Linux on a PC 5150 or a NEC V10" (go ahead, google it or head over to Wikipedia and search... :) )

    Or that Linux supports ST, Mac 68k, Sparc and Amiga... (do they still, probably some variant does)...

    I mean... I'm all yawns. This isn't *relevant*, especially in the terms of this discussion. I start thinking about under-employed, highly intelligent, dumpster diving and Goodwill prowling uber-nerds with a Sailor Moon fetish whenever the conversation goes this way.

    I mean, I can ALWAYS pull out DOS 5 and Win 3.11 for a 286 if we really want to go 20 years back in the development cycle. And you're certainly not going to be running Ubuntu or Kubuntu with Compiz on the 286. You're probably not even going to be running XWindows with a uber lite windows manager. You're going to be running a CLI and maybe Lynx. This retort is a non-starter, Neon.

    I mean, just talking along these lines made me have a memory of riding my BMW down to Shakey's Pizza to play Zaxxon in the arcade. Seriously - a *vivid* memory. How relevant IS that? (Wow... that was some sort of Freudian slip. I meant "riding my BMX down to Shakey's". Talk about being subconciously honest with yourself).

    For all intents and purposes, if we crawl all the way back to NT4, a 386 will run it, and that is as effective as installing a latest/greatest Linux on a 386. A 386 is about the farthest back I would consider a PC "modern" (assuming a 32 bit machine, at that... no 386SX). I mean, I've got a nice Windows smart phone, but even your basic FREE phone from Verizon has more computational power than a 386.

    Sorry to rant on this, but this one is just a fallacy - especially in the context of "Linux winning a bigger share of the Desktop OS market by being more friendly, i.e., It Just Works".

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    Jaqui

    Yup, Ubuntu has the buzz, and I have actually laughed when people ask me to help with Ubuntu systems, put PCLOS livecd in and their "problems" went away.

    For my own use, none of the prebuilt distros meets my needs, they are all bloated to heck.


    * Supports wireless with no headaches.

    a lot of this is there, with those chipsets that don't have bins for the kernel. the ones that do you have to get and install the bins in /lib/firmware.

    * Supports built in Ethernet
    a gimme, I have yet to find built in wired network card not supported with any distro I've looked at.

    * Recognizes the Audio
    driver conflict with this one, multiple driver options for sound cards make it hard to support sound properly. Though most distros do default to the best driver for any particular card.

    * Recognizes and works with Media Readers and USB (and devices).
    work at the very least as mass storage devices

    * Recognizes and supports the video card with full features (desktop eye candy).

    yup, PCLOS installs the bloatware eye candy stuff by default.

    * Has a nice e-mail client that works with web based e-mail and Exchange.

    Thunderbird.

    * Integrates well with Win32 networks (with an emphasis on Workgroup integration over Domain integration)

    trick: install samba server, configured for standalone use and add yourself to samba users. do not have samba server start at boot unless you want to share a folder on the system.

    * Supports a web client that works with the largest variety of rich-content websites possible.

    the bloated firefox fits that bill.

    * Supports the most popular and widely distributed media formats (Mp3, WMA, Mp4) for audio and video with applications that provide the same kind of features and functions that competitive products for other platforms offer.

    yup, PCLOS does that.

    * Delivers all of this, hassle free, without requiring a high level of expertise or interaction "under the hood" with the OS in order to achieve these goals.

    Yeah, Mandriva's DrakX tools give you a windows-like control panel that makes it possible to reach this.

    While PCLinusOS is based on Mandriva, they put Synaptic in for the package manager, so it's the more familiar apt-get system .. with rpms.


    look for the mini me iso for pclos, it's the smallest footprint system, may actually fit on the netbook.

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    Tig2

    Quote from dcolbert:

    The *problem* is that Ubuntu has the most industry buzz and market mind-share. Win32 guys who are going to decide to give *nix a try are MOST likely going to go with Ubuntu. And I'm having DISMAL luck on the "It Just Works" philosophy across a variety of machines. I cut my teeth on Debian Sarge and Potato, so I can see the tremendous progress that has been made. But unless a person likes to do a LOT of reading and tinkering, or has a friend who is a Linux guru, the average Win32 convert is going to go screaming back to Win32 in short order after fighting with Ubuntu "Just Working".

    End quote.

    The statement that I really think is important is about Win32 guys and the tolerance for pain in working with an unfamiliar OS. if there is even a remote dream that Linux will see wider adoption, we have to move to close the rift between the hard core MS users and the hard core Linux users. I know a bunch of support guys that are using both and teaching themselves new stuff. I think that it is important to hear them out when they say that such and such is more support than I care to do or I can't get satisfactory information when I go to the various boards.

    Open source proponents need to quit hearing "Long Live Microsoft" every time a support guy with long years supporting an MS network says he is frustrated and struggling with Linux. The fact that he's trying says everything.

    The future of computing is likely to be more OS agnostic. I think there is a good chance that we will see more Linux in the corporate environment- cost being a key factor if this recession goes as some think. Better to learn now and be ready for anything.


    Edit- extra word

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    dcolbert Contributor

    Exactly.

    Seriously. My entire point. You nailed it.

    "RTFM Noob" doesn't cut it. Listen to them and close the gap and make it better. The Linux community *has*, in all honesty, but you've got a ways to go still.

    But yeah, that is absolutely my point here.

    I want to use Linux, I keep trying to use Linux, and I make an extra effort that most of my peers would NEVER try - and *I* end up frustrated and often go with Win32 instead.

    If that doesn't change, *nix is always going to be a fringe player.

    Which may be fine, actually. But, I'd certainly like to see it go the other way, and actually make a significant impact on the market.

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    Tig2

    You made a point in another post that spoke to why. Companies need to save money. Near as I can tell, nothing is off the table, every possibility will be considered. If the company is paying a yearly fee to MS for the OS and they can deploy a solution enterprise wide or even mostly enterprise wide that costs less, they will look at that really hard.

    This is a place where the Open Source folks need to wake up a bit. Yes, there is a corporate Red Hat out there that is significantly less to license. The license, I believe, pays for support.

    The hinge point will always be Total Cost of Ownership. If I have to hire additional support staff because calls take so much longer to resolve that my end user's productivity is harmed, then I have to consider how expensive "free" is.

    Closing the gap is really the issue.

    Good on you for being proactive with Linux. I think it will pay off for you.

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    Slayer_

    I think it is more likely that Linux popularity in business will fall on it's face competely because users will be too concerned with job security and other problems, to be able to learn a new opperating system. And any change that big costs a lot of money, not to mention any windows software that is almost guranteed not to work on Linux.

    However, homeuser usage may spike because people don't want to dish out money to MS for the OS. Also when Windows 7 is released and flops out and anouys people, there will be yet another spike.

    Basically I see business use flatlining, and home uses going up in the future. (linux will always be the prefered choice for web servers, so no worries there)

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    Neon Samurai

    It works towards it's project goals and is evolving quickly but there are other distributions that have been at it longer and do a better job of it. Ubuntu is just another example of the power of marketing.

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    Dumphrey

    while not perfect, at least people may try it, and maybe try another distro until they find their favorite. But most dedicated win users will probably not want to make the switch if they have to learn/re-learn too much.

    I think Linux needs to do a lot of work on standardizing on a package type and management system other then compile from code if it really wants to saturate the win32 market. As well as standardizing where files are located (example apache root dir across all distros).
    But, overall, as smooth as Linux has become, it has a long way to go to reach the plug and play of win. (There are exceptions to all rules, so no flames here plz). Worth considering, is the learning curve on Linux can also lead to a more informed and educated computer user, and hopefully, a safer user on the internet, no matter what platform they use, through a general computing skill bleed-over and security awareness. (major improvements in SELinux usability would be a huge plus as well...)

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    Neon Samurai

    Connonical has also done a lot so far outside of advertising like the media codec deal.

    But saturating the win32 market is not the goal of all platforms based on Linux either. The distributions that do persue that goal will keep evolving while other distributions will fit there own goals and user needs.

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    Dumphrey

    And you are right about each OS needing to play to its strength and evolve in their own direction (SPARC, PPC, Alpha, what have you). But some saturation is needed to get Linux into the mainstream of acceptance. Like it or not, the win32 desktop (<rant>it SHOULD be win64 by now, </rant>) is the dominate force. I would like to go to a computer shop and be asked "Win, Lin, or Mac on that sir?"
    Overall, having more users aware of viable alternatives is not really a bad thing. As long as those users are not being sold a Win Clone... but are aware that its a different OS and what that entails.

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    dcolbert Contributor

    I think the problem that I sumbled onto while I was trying different distros is the lack of centralized organization in the *nix/tux community.

    By that I mean, Microsoft has a strong organizational structure, so does Apple, saying, "THIS is the direction we are headed in", and that is more or less reflected throughout these organizations. The strength in this is that everyone is working toward a common direction and goal.

    The Linux community is anarchy. A good project may wither on the vine simply because the guy heading it had a kid or is going through a divorce. Another project in competition may not be as good, but may become dominant just because it has more support behind it, for whatever random reason. Finding a trustworthy opinion on which way to go is also a crapshoot - You may get horrible advice from a well-meaning idiot who SOUNDS credible, or you may just not google across the GREAT advice and assistance from a true guru.

    THAT model will never work for a general consumption OS. It may have a lot of subtle advantages - but being easily applicable to a general audience of home/small office desktop users isn't one of them. And if I were a vendor or builder, the support headaches associated with that would ALWAYS make me shy away from offering Linux. I might offer BARE systems that you can install whatever you WANT (unsupported), on - but even then, from a small retail perspective, there are a ton of headaches with that. e.g., "My Wireless doesn't work, and I want a hardware warranty repair on my machine" - turns out that you end up having a tech spend hours to determine that the consumer's version of Linux doesn't support the wireless chipset he bought. Who is responsible for that? What does it matter if at the end you have a dissatisfied customer bad-mouthing your sales and service because they picked the wrong machine and put the wrong OS on it?

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    Neon Samurai

    A good project that attracts developers will grow and evolve until a project better at those functions succeeds it. The Linux kernel could be dropped if something better came along fitting into that function (maybe HURD will get a billion dollar grant with no strings attached).

    OpenOffice seems to be loosing steam so we'll see if a fork of OOo or another suite entirely replaces it.

    The anarchy across the entire community is probably not much worse than the anarchy across the entire win32 or Apple community. Those later two have there own central authorities that keep the os development on track but each is only concerned with a single OS or group of OS versions. In the same way, Red Hat and the other distribution developers keep there own OS on it's own track. The fact that development goals differ from distribution to distribution is not an issue since each is a separate entity. As for the individual distro goals. Debian Stable speaks for itself. Ubuntu continued to evolve towards an unscary different for regular users though installing by hand is always going to present issues that a preinstalled OS won't. Mandriva's EEE version would be interesting to try after Xandros and PCLinuxOS though in the case of PCL your getting .deb back end with mandriva's draketools on top.

    Overselling is definately a risk though. Just as many people have been sold 2000k gaming rigs and a 500$ OS for checking there email, I'm sure more than a few EEE consumers have been rushed to the checkout before finding out if they need a notebook with embedded OS or platform for a specific application or game. Bumping sales figures by pushing units out the door without considering the consumer needs helps no one.

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    dcolbert Contributor

    As it relates to Linux, anyhow, is development cycle is too erratic and slow - no capital incentive. A labor of love is often neglected, labor for wage is tied to quality of life.

    MythTV would be a great example. I've been an avid BeyondTV Win32 proponent after months of trying to wait for MythTV to mature, years ago. It didn't develop fast enough and I needed something stable, reliable, and intuitive THEN. I've heard great things about MythTV now, and I know BeyondTV faltered at one point. Difference is, BeyondTV corrected *quickly* because sales were tied to perception of quality. MythTV has a casual, laid back development cycle. That doesn't work for me for my application of a PVR/DVR.

    Open Office has *never* seemed to have much promise to me. When I first played with it, it was, frankly, horrible. Hopping from distro-site to distro-site in South America, from month to month. Sun never really seemed interested in actually growing it, once they had acquired it.

    The problems that plague Ubuntu right now or recently - including ATI graphics issues, wireless issues, broken Flash plug-ins... they are all issues that would get top priority in the Win32 or OS X world, but they kind of languish on Linux. At least, that has been my perception. Apple releases a broken iTunes, and the buzz gets loud, and it is fixed QUICKLY.

    The Samba/CIFS issue with FreeBSD on gb Nics has been public knowledge for months and months, and I haven't seen a lot of incentive displayed to correct it.

    It is just different. If all three evolve, Linux evolves like a shark or turtle.

    :)

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    Neon Samurai

    self motivation can be powerful than wage slavery.

    I?m sure it?s not true in all cases but I?d put my money on the self motivated developers who choose to work on projects of interest over the one?s assigned a project and a deadline to reach a pay cheque. I?d much rather a project I happen to get paid for versus an assignment motivated only by the pay; I?ve tried both. Even if the developers are passionate about the project, they still have a deadline, limited time and limited resources on a wage gig. The projects that interest bug money get attention from paid resources also; the kernel being a good example still.

    It does mean that projects less interesting to developers get left out like MythTV. I?d like to see more development in the area of tv tuners and apps myself. In the case of BeyondTV, users would be out of luck had they not self corrected. Us Longbow2 game lovers are in that very position, the original developer is long gone though the game is far from dead. With a custom built rig or some hacks, one can get the game running but there is still interest. Heck, if I could afford to by the source and release it that?s probably the one program I?d choose.

    OpenOffice seems to be having a number of problems recently. The majority seem Sun induced by holding development back and alienating any developers that do take interest in the project. Jack has an article about it out in the last few days.

    The SSH issue got a lot of attention from Debian developers once discovered but it has a lot more important for the platform than CIFS support. That would be my guess anyhow. Microsoft would be all over a CIFS issue like the Vista one that potentially ate files in transfer but they?re still tip-toeing around security design issues. Linux supported USB and Bluetooth standards faster, MS and Apple support other hardware bits faster. In some areas it balances out. In some areas it still out of whack (GPU support, ATI specs are finaly open but the module is playing catchup. I still need ndsiwrapper for my Linksys wrt54G pcmcia but the tinkpad NIC is supported natively.)

    I?d really like to see what the three OS could do with published interface specs. Apple supports it?s hardware plus the BSD list. Microsoft get?s bleeding edge drivers from vendors for gaming hardware. Linux supports the hardware it knows about and reverse-engineer?s support for hostile hardware as best it can. What if all three gained equal access to the info to write drivers?

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    twindragon99

    I started out running the G on Ubuntu but then I installed X on an old IBM think pad for my wife who is practically illiterate when it comes to computers and she loves it, I had no issues with flash and all drivers including the third party no name wireless card was auto installed for me, the only thing i did after the install was to install media codecs as you mentioned as well.

    At the end of it all you are right to say that "just works" really doesn't fit as there is still no perfect install, but I still run into XP setups on "supported hardware" that force me to download up to 20 different drivers before I can use it. so XP it seems doesn't "just work" either though I guess Bill never made that claim :)

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    dcolbert Contributor

    Actually, an EEE specific Xubuntu, I believe. And it did install well, but no wireless. The PC701 wireless seems to be one of the more challenging wireless NICs for Ubuntu (although Wireless in general seems to be a bit of a challenge for Ubuntu across the board - much like ATI chipset GPUs are a monkey-wrench for Ubuntu).

    I'm not a fan of the Xfce Windows Manager. Actually, it LOOKED pretty nice on the eee PC as a Win32 look alike interface.

    There was some major "dealbreaker" for me beyond the wireless and the Xfce interface, though - I just can't remember what it was.

    I installed 5 or 6 different distros about a dozen times total in the last 5 days during Christmas vacation. So I can't remember all the details of those candidates that didn't make the grade. :)

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    The_Fixer

    I am a Windows admin and I have used Windows almost exclusively in a business environment and I had always had the believe that *nix desktops would not catch on. I had played around with multiple distributions but I cannot say that I have ever really achieved any real level of comfort. Well, like most every other business, we are feeling the pinch of the economic downturn and my department has begun to look for alternatives to save some money. We have already implemented a VM solution on the server side. I have read some reviews on this site regarding the Ubuntu distro and I decided to give it a try. I have to say that I have been impressed. Now granted, I am running this on older hardware (Dell D505 laptop) but I had no issues with hardware detection and configuration even with the network browser and wireless. It was easy to configure and setup even for a self admitted Linux novice like me.

    I will give the PCLinuxOS a try as well as per Jaqui's recommendation.

    We have begun to look at a possible desktop replacement for our programmers and providing them with a virtual Windows desktop so that they can continue to use .NET for their programming.

    I hope to have a pilot program in place by the second quarter of 2009.

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    Jaqui

    is criminal you know.

    actually, openSuse and Mandriva both include Mono, the open source version of .net.

    you can write your bloatware even in Linux with Mono.
    [ just don't expect me to use it, the .net framework is grounds to ignore any app. ]

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    Slayer_

    I won't even touch an application that requires .net to be installed, I keep that junk off my computer. .net is just another bloated layer for micrsoft programs to be coded on and it prevents apps from being run on different OS's, even different Windows OS's.

    We actually have clients running Windows 95, so no .net for them, we code in VB6 for them.

    Also for many of my projects, I needed an EXE to run to actually install .net, I chose VB6 for this again as its requirements come built into XP. It's kind of like the perfect solution, use VB6 for all your windows programming needs and ditch .net, yes its not object oriented, but you can code in an object oriented way if you actually want to, VB6 just doesn't enforce it on you. Also form quirks are pretty irritating (like if you check if a form is loaded, the check itself will actually load the form).

    Actually for anything non visual, we use VBS :).

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    iposner

    So you're running Win95 and coding in VB6 in 2008? This is the posting of a dinosaur - the surprising thing is that (from reading your profile) you're quite inexperienced, but jaded already. Not a good trait in our business.

    Firstly, .NET is not "bloat" - it offers a range of functionality and deployment options that could only be dreamed of in VB, so you're not comparing apples-with-apples. And since .NET is broken down into many DLLs, you don't have to load the whole CLR in order to run an app (as if...)

    Secondly, if you actually had some serious real-world .NET experience, you'd find that the strong typing combined with the rich CLR API would slash your development time and associated costs. And these savings alone would pay for you to upgrade quite a few workstations to Vista-grade machines.

    Since you only graduated in 2007, I'll give you some extremely useful advice -- go get a job with a company that has budget to use today's technology, not that of yesteryear. Otherwise you'll be stuck in Win95 world for longer than you might imagine.

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    jck

    i wish i lived up there. i'd love to pick your brain on weekends.

    i am gonna get openSUSE and try that, since I have been MS oriented for 15 years.

    I am moving into Java/JS/XML tho, so I am seeing the light! Now all I gotta do is learn a Linux-based GUI well enough to write code for Linux lol

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    dcolbert Contributor

    I explored this as well, and found too many issues where Ubuntu was a non-starter.

    It was close, far better than it has been in the past - but there were JUST enough deal-breakers that popped up that we killed the project early.

    I'd love to have the OPTION of an open license alternative that met all my corporate needs. But it isn't there, yet.

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    Brian Doe

    "We have begun to look at a possible desktop replacement for our programmers and providing them with a virtual Windows desktop so that they can continue to use .NET for their programming."

    Please forgive my ignorance; I am still relatively new to the programming scene (currently taking a Java course in college); but, why .NET? Why not a cross-platform solution like Java or Mono? Are there any particular advantages to .NET that a more open language doesn't have?

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    linuxcanuck

    I have installed Ubuntu many times on desktops and my eeePC. Every version of Ubuntu from 7.04 to 8.10 has installed flawlessly. On my eeePC 900 the wireless just works. So does the camera.

    In Ubuntu, I have never had to hunt for a driver. When I install Ubuntu, I am done in 20 minutes. When I install XP, it takes an hour and then I have to spend hours shovelling in CDs and driver disks.

    Do people have problems with Ubuntu or any other distribution? Sure. They do in XP and Vista, too. As for the Mac, it is a closed system. Proprietary everything. When you control all of the variables, then it would be surprising if things did not work.

    It is a continuum. On one end you have free (as in liberty) software and open architecture and on the other extreme you have DRM and closed everything (Apple). Microsoft is somewhere in between, but things work better only because of their cozy relationship with OEMs. It all depends on what you want in an operating system.

    In my experience, Ubuntu is no better and no worse than most up-to-date operating systems. If you are trying to get old equipment to work then you will have problems in any OS. You need the original disks in Windows or you have to hunt for drivers and good luck if it is hard to find. Linux may or not support it if it is old. The Mac OS certainly won't install on anything but Apple equipment (legally anyway) in the first place so it is therefore likely that peripherals will work if it came with an Apple computer. If it is really new then you will need the latest driver disk for Vista or you may be out of luck. In Linux you may have to wait till the next kernel is released. C'est la vie.

    BTW, have you heard of the class action lawsuit against Microsoft for its Vista capable programme?

    You are comparing apples to oranges.

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    dcolbert Contributor

    I admit the "Apple Advantage" elsewhere in this thread.

    The EEE PC 701 isn't exactly ancient. Do your F keys work - disabling WiFi? Did you always have the MadWIFI drivers or did you use the ndiswrapper for the WiFi at some point? These little issues, that I *know* about them and *have* to know about them to get things working as they should, are a bother - a bother that you don't have to concern yourself with in Win32.

    I think this is where there is a disconnect though - your perspective is probably based in (possibly large) part on ideology and philosophy. Mine isn't. Mine is based on efficiency and peak effectiveness. When people start talking about "Free as in Liberty" software, there is an implied set of ideals, of morals and ethics that defines all the other choices that an individual makes from that core belief system.

    Most people don't give an eff about that. They just want their powerpoint slides to work.

    Now, the way I see it, The Win32 people never made this a war over "who is best and who will steal market share from who". That all came from the Linux side of the argument. Win32 was never concerned about stealing market share from Linux, making inroads into Linux dominated segments of the industry. You've never seen an article, "Will Win32 upset the Linux dominance of the Desktop" or "When do you plan on migrating from Linux to Win32".

    So if I'm comparing apples to oranges, I'm only following a well established tradition started by Linux advocates.

    Which I've mentioned before - the Linux advocates seem perfectly content to argue how Linux is superior to Win32, from the earliest days...

    But when you start making comparissons back that find Linux unfavorably positioned, they OFTEN trot out this "You can't compare them, they're different".

    Well... which is it? I'm puzzled. Can you compare them, or can't you? If you can't, I expect the Linux community to immediately STOP comparing itself to Win32. Apples and Oranges, after all.

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    Neon Samurai

    It's kind of hard not be get defensive with Balmer denouncing FOSS as a cancer or the enevitable fanboys that break in to Linux discussions to proclaim how wonderful there personal choice is. Same goes the other way too, Windows discussions enevitably get crashed by zealotry that only want to hear themselves repeat there prefered choice over and over. Lest we forget Cult of Mac.. they turn up too.

    The X vs Y has been going on forever though. Before Microsoft was a twinkle in the Gates dormroom, it was CP/M vs something else. vi vs Emacs. Windows vs Apple.. there is always something.

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    jimmy-jam

    I tried Ubuntu once, I found that as long as you just want to load it up and use it as is it works ok. Any customization I attempted was an exercise in extreme frustration.

    Red Hat is a little less user friendly to the non-techie user but it works so much better.

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    andrewchristiandc

    You definitely have a point about Ubuntu. Sometimes it requires quite a lot of configuration to get features to work and I agree with what you're saying, in principle.

    But in practice try building a custom server out of an XP installation and then try building one out of an ubuntu installation.

    Then tell me which one just works?

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    nathan

    I've used Xp and I've used several Linux distros. They all have issues. But I find Ubuntu or Mint to be the easiest to use and keep running.

    Yes the OP is correct that it doesn't work "Out of the Box." I've yet to find anything that does. My last Xp install took 6 hours with updates, antimalware software, patches, applications, etc.

    Ubuntu has it's issues but the once the installation bumps are past I find Ubuntu more stable, faster, and less hassle to use then Xp or any other flavor of Windows.

    I like not having to reboot after every small configuration change. I like not to have to worry with virus issues. I like not have my computer slow down for no reason other then registry bloat. The famed WinRot and all Windows workstations seem doomed to get. I like that my duel boot Vista/Mint laptop boots faster in Mint then Vista and has most of the same functions and even desktop gadgets.

    Ubuntu is not perfect but it is for the most part better then Windows.

    Got Troll?
    (Edit: Note this all applies to the OP of this topic. Not the guy I replied to. I thought this was at root of the thread.

    Ha ha I made a root joke in a Linux thread. I kill me.)

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    ---TK---

    I'm not really going to argue with any of them, they are legit reasons... But I am a Ubuntu and PCLOS fan, I find that tweaking it just right is all part of the fun... I get bored with installing, and everything works off the bat... I enjoy a good challenge, lol but that might be why I am going gray at such an early age. Every now and then linux makes me want to rip my hair out, and scream.... but I find that its worth it in the long run...

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    The Scummy One

    made me want to rip my hair out and scream.

    My XP hdd started making noise, so I piced up a new drive. Started cloning it (few problems with earlier versions of ghost).

    2 hours later I went by to check status, and found that it had 9 hours remaining :0
    after the nin hours it hung on 1 sec remaining -- all friggin night. tonight I am going to use a live distro and dd it so that I can use my friggin system some time this week.
    funny thing -- after trying to ghost it, the hdd seems to have stopped making noise, and seems to be fine. however, I think I have lost all the confidence in ghost now -- and am moving it all over to linux. Symantec products just keep getting worse and worse in my opinion (well, same with Roxio, becoming too much a hassle to bother with)

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    ---TK---

    One second remaining... thats a total kick in the junk! I still use Ghost 8, it has yet to fail me. knock on wood... lol over the weekend I used it 5 times on my system. I really would have been angry if that happened!

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    The Scummy One

    it keeps Windows running instead of rebooting it to gain exclusive access. this morning about 22 hours into the clone, it was working on the mft entries.

    The last ver. I used was '03 -- it rebooted the system to clone the drives, and could be run from cd. in Ghost 10, it will not clone the drives from cd boot, it will nly get to backup points (non boot drive). WTF is that? I can access the second or non boot drives in a number of ways with or without the OS to gather data.

    Nope, I lost all respect for Symantec

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    ---TK---

    http://www.runtime.org/driveimage-xml.htm

    I have had a few friends say it works really good, and I have scene a few people on here talk about it... plus its free :)....

    I gave up on Symantec back in 2003... I purchased their "Package (AV/firewall)" bla bla bla. lol the second day I tried to uninstall it, and it wouldn't... I tried all their "fixes" that didn't work, researched the **** out of it... I ended up blowing it all away... I was totally heated about it...

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    The Scummy One

    from Linux. The best points about it as well, it is a bit by bit clone, therefore it can cross partitions to clone the entire drive, not just a partition. However, it can be used to copy by partition as well.

    About the only things I use from Symantec (except at work) anymore was the ghost (used for backup of my data drive) and Partition Magic (havent needed it in a while at home).

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    ---TK---

    .

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    Neon Samurai

    I liked DD back when using it to create boot disks but the simplicity of dropping a CD to an ISO file with it really sold me. Fantastic tool. I'm tempted to look for a win32 compile of it.

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    The Scummy One

    I wonder now, if that can be used to create an image file from a full HDD?
    how would the extraction work from dd?

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    yes

    Neon Samurai

    That's my guess anyhow. I needed to iso a distro install cd and was completely stunned at the simplicity after years of needing some third party app under Windows.

    I now ISO flashdrives that are showing signs of dying. I can then dig through the ISO with recovery tools or a loopback mount.

    I don't see why you couldn't dd a hard drive over to a .img or .iso

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    Dumphrey

    only because at the time it came with a ghost 2003 cd as well... my previous cd had a scrath in it that made it unreliable. I tried ghost 10 for about 2 days before realizing it was just a dressed up version of NTbackup (with bare metal restore admittedly).

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    The Scummy One

    and I always got errors since I installed it that there was not enough resources to complete the api.
    Even after telling it to remove old files (keep 4 versions) and having it on a 250GB HDD to backup 50 GB. I just dealt with the error, it seemed to backup. However this was the first restore attempt, and I was hardly impressed. I first tried booting to the restore disk, after a 5 min. load time, no operational mouse, I found that there was no option to clone a disk, only recover data FROM one of the backup points.
    I thought, WTF is this and pulled out the book only to find out it was true.
    nothing about the SW was thrilling at all, just an expensive POS of a utility that once was good.

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    Dumphrey

    do we preside over the grave of a giant, laid to rest by corporate morons.

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    Neon Samurai

    It's been on my todo list to look at for a while but I finally had a valid need to do so. It's a rather nice tool to keep around; the disk is already in my bag beside system recovery and various other liveCDs.

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    Dumphrey

    How do you find its copy speeds? Its been a while since I tried a new version, the one I have is over a year old now I think.

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    Neon Samurai

    I'm doing drive image to ssh mount so that slows the speed down. If I do a machine drive upgrade in the near future, I may be able to test the drive to drive speed.

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    Dumphrey

    part of the speed issue I was having was sending the image across a usb connection. But, slow or not, it did the job when several other products crapped out (including my venerable ghost 2003). It was able to do a bit lvl copy of a 2.5 ide disk with many bad sectors and noticeable, audible clicking (another reason for slow speed). I really didn't have lots of time to keep trying stuff out. After transferring the image to a new HD, I needed to do a repair install of the OS, and 90% of the data was recoverable and usable. If I had started with it, I probably would have been able to save all the data.

    I have run a disk to disk copy on a single machine, and while slower then ghost, it was acceptable. But ghost skips copying blank space, and im pretty sure clonezilla copies the blank space too.

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    Neon Samurai

    I could guess it brings over all the blank spaces if it's just doing a binary copy. I noticed that it makes use of dd so that would do it.

    runs of a liveCD and can place itself in ram freeing up the disk writer.. I'll take slow for that.

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    CharlieSpencer

    in both cases the hard drive failed soon after. I attributed the slow speed more to the impending drive failure than to Ghost. As you noted, the drive was making noises before you started.

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    The Scummy One

    however, after cancelling the operation the system was fine. The noise was there until I removed the cover to verify which drive it was. After another reboot, the noise stopped.
    Never BSOD'd or anything, used it for a while last nigh, verifying directories and everything.

    I think it had to do with trying to clone the boot (Win) drive with Win still running.

    oh, and the long time that it was planning to take is likely due to the HDD size (250GB partition). I would think that an average of 10GB/hr it would take more than the original 9 hours to complete (noted completion time by ghost). Right now it is going on 7 hours, but dd does not give a progress bar. I will check it tomorrow sometime.

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    The Scummy One

    it wasnt the disk :)
    dd worked flawlessly, it finished up sometime between last night at 5:pm and this morning at 8AM.
    So, if it finished right before I got in this morning, it only took 22 hours.
    Personally, I think it finished much sooner than that, likely it was done within a couple of hours of leaving last night.

    XP and Vista can read the drive fine, now I just got to put it in my system and boot tonight.
    If I am on TR tonight, then it worked :)
    of course, I have no doubts about that anyway -- things just seem to work when using linux :^0

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    G4L

    dcolbert Contributor

    I recently used Ghost 4 Linux to make an image of the eee PC. During my distro tests, I accidently fubared Grub at one point, and was able to easily reinstall using the G4L image I had made.

    My results weren't so good with an XP image I made using G4L for my Lenovo. Ended up having to restore that image using the bundled XP 1-Touch restore.

    G4L has a funky interface with confusing and inconsistent terminology, and it doesn't seem to make a single raw image... it breaks the image up into chunks and it seems like it is a file image of the complete drive contents (so you need to partition and format your destination appropriately prior to a restore). But, for an open source alternative, it is worth a look.

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    The Scummy One

    the base OS and built in apps worked fine, but other apps didnt?
    Ok, the wireless wasnt as easy as it could have been (my PCLOS box worked fine with wireless on several HP notebooks).

    The point about the networking is valid though. Many people trying to move from Windows would have a small home network already. I think the installation should ask if the system will connect to a Windows network, and then go from there. However, in my experiences, Linux does 'just work' until you need to config something or add cr@p from another source (3rd party) -- then it is touch and go (like Win).
    Flash was a pain to get setup on my last XP box, it worked fine for a while then suddenly I had to upgrade. After the upgrade I couldnt get it working at all in either FF or IE. Had similar exp. in Vista as well.

    So, from your rantings, I would have to say that 3rd party apps dont 'just work' as easily as Windows. And I would have to agree. There are some things that I gave up on trying to do.
    However, is it worth $400 + to more easily deal with your mp4's?

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    .Martin.

    .

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    OnTheRopes

    Looks like a pretty decent rant. Nothing more, nothing less. Brought up some good points too, if you ask me.

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    jdclyde

    for people that don't know what spam is?

    might be about time, i guess..... ;\

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    santeewelding

    In the person of one Tammy, human intervention will prevail.

    I read it closely and recognized like issues of my own. I did not notice the "has been reported" until I delved into the responses.

    Martin: Was this youthful, *** hole exuberance?

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    .Martin.

    but I really hate Spam, to any extent.

    I'm (sorta) using Ubuntu right now, and sure it is not perfect (I still need to find a display driver so I can use the whole screen).

    but if he had not had included the this is were I downloaded it from, and the link, I would have been fine.

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    OnTheRopes

    People put download links in discussions, blogs and questions all the time. He's not trying to sell you anything or promote his own website. I've even seen some shameless self promotion that I don't consider spam. Can't point out an example at the moment but maybe you just ought to ease off of that spam button a tad. Just because you don't like something doesn't make it spam.<br><br>
    Of course, feel free to do whatever you want. I'm not the boss of you.

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    Brian Doe

    Post moved. Somehow ended up in the wrong place. me and my fat fingers!

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    CharlieSpencer

    I don't think it even qualifies as a rant. dcolbert has been around a while and posts on a variety of topics. Just because a post includes a link to an outside site doesn't make it spam. Spam doesn't include a negative review of the product.

    The PTBs should let this post remain.

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    OnTheRopes

    It's the first time I've made a mistake since the last time.

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    dcolbert Contributor

    I'd never deny being guilty of having a tendency to rant...

    FWIW, I quit smoking every night when I go to bed, and start again every morning when I wake up. I've spent more than half my life as a non-smoker, from this perspective.

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    Tig2

    I claim partial success that way!

    Good rant though. You made some good points with good supporting information. I love a good rant!

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    Michael Jay

    This gentleman;
    http://techrepublic.com.com/5213-6257-0.html?id=2727770&redirectTo=%2f1320-22-20.html

    Once posted the following;

    Please report the following:
    1. Messages about buying products and services that are not relevant to the topic or to IT professionals
    2. Nonsensical strings of text "slkdjfksdjf"
    3. Messages that are obscene or racially-insensitive or contain links to content that is obscene or racially-insensitive
    4. Messages that allow you to access pirated software or other pirated content

    Please do NOT report the following:
    1. Messages suggesting a product or service that actually meets the needs of the original poster. For example, if someone is asking for the best AV app, it is not spam for someone to post a link to an anti-virus product, even if it is their own product.
    2. Messages that you just don't like. We're not going to take sides in arguments, so please don't report something as spam when you just don't agree.

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    boxfiddler Moderator

    with this grinch nonsense. Even if it were spam, you'd only get two points.

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    dcolbert Contributor

    He has successfully derailed the original post, which he clearly marked as spam because of an ideological difference, not for any valid reason.

    But, that alone probably reinforces his tactics in his own mind. Better to ignore his decision to report my post as spam, and instead focus on what an idiot n00b MS-Fanboy I am. :)

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    Nah

    Tig2

    There are people watching this thread. I may call you an "idiot n00b MS-Fanboy." I have known you for awhile and you still refuse to toss your MS systems for the one true platform- CP/M! But I consider your other qualities and love you for them. I feel I can allow you to have an opinion... even if JD thinks it's wrong.


    Seriously- people will drive past the spam marker and into the discussion. It's a good one in light of the growing popularity of the ASUS box. To be honest, I had been thinking about getting one but that bug report thing you mentioned is giving me a rationale to reconsider.

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    Dumphrey

    test models I have seen seemed very poorly built. Is this due to them being floor models with no guts? I guess I could start a new thread on this.

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    dcolbert Contributor

    Heh. I missed this branch of the thread.

    Dude, I'm going to tear out my Atom processor and put in a Z80 instead so I can go back to the true glory that is CP/M on the hardware it was inteded to run upon! Bring on the BDOS errors!

    Anyhow, all of the netbooks get a bad rap for quality of build. With their diminutive size, they feel VERY toylike. The EEE PC is probably one of the worst on initial impression. Yet, once you get used to it, the construction feels pretty solid. I've heard the Lenovo called cheap too, and I don't really get that. Of the two, the fact that the Eee PC is non mechanical (no mechanical hard drive) makes me think it is probably the more solid of the two.

    I think it is really subjective, the opinion on the build quality of a product. This probably would be a good thread to discuss somewhere else. I really like both of the ones I have, and they seem...

    Here. I bought my daughter a low end core duo Acer notebook 15.4" machine about a year ago. It seems far cheaper to me - for example, there is a lot of flex in the lid/screen area. My Lenovo ThinkPad and HP DV8000 notebooks seem far higher quality.

    My Lenovo feels a lot higher quality than the Acer overall. The Eee PC seems a little better quality, but not greatly... but that is just "quality of material" and "fit and finish".

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    j-mart

    Most of the time would rather go to a bit more effot and install Debian. You can always see how it's going to work for a particular set of hardware or task by seeing how it will work by running live off CD. No one is forcing anyone to use it if they don't like it. You can at any time purchase your OS from Microsoft any time you want.

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    jkameleon

    ... and it just worked. It made a pretty good impression on me. I know a couple of people who use Ubuntu for their small bussinesses (office, backoffice, web page), and they can't praise it enough.

    I'm not using it, though, due to lack of fancy development tools like Visual Studio 2005/2008

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    Jaqui

    you used Ubuntu.

    PCLinuxOS is actually far better at hardware detection and configuration than Ubuntu.
    Wireless, it will not configure if there is a wired connection though. going into the DrakX control center and adding the wireless is a click, click, click ... done procedure.
    [ windows is harder than PCLinuxOS for this. ]

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    dcolbert Contributor

    Ok...

    In order:

    Spam... I didn't realize that was what .martin had done to the post. Probably just as well...

    The reason I posted the link was so that the inevitable pro-Linux responders would be able to see my source for the install and be able to comment, well informed, on the reasons for my issues. I'm not interested in having a one sided, fanboy argument AGAINST Linux - if there are legitimate issues (Well, you are using Ubuntu 7, you should really be using 8, which addresses those issues), then I'm open to discussing them. I mean, I'd point it out if we had a Linux discussing which was comparing Ubuntu to Windows ME, after all.

    With that said, PCLinuxOS - haven't tried this distro. The *problem* is that Ubuntu has the most industry buzz and market mind-share. Win32 guys who are going to decide to give *nix a try are MOST likely going to go with Ubuntu. And I'm having DISMAL luck on the "It Just Works" philosophy across a variety of machines. I cut my teeth on Debian Sarge and Potato, so I can see the tremendous progress that has been made. But unless a person likes to do a LOT of reading and tinkering, or has a friend who is a Linux guru, the average Win32 convert is going to go screaming back to Win32 in short order after fighting with Ubuntu "Just Working".

    For my purposes, I really just want something that is easy to install that I don't have to dink around with a bunch for my Netbook. I was using my Developers license to run a Dev XP on it, under the justification I was using it for developmental work related duties. But I stopped using it for that reason, so using the MSDN license seemed unethical. Linux was the obvious choice (being that the Xandros distro left me flat). Now, I did consider Debian, but obviously the EEE PC with 4gb of SSD presents some special circumstances. Rather than reinvent the wheel for myself (something that might be beyond my *nix skills, in this case, honestly), I figured I'd find something packaged more directly for the situation I face. The linked page I provided seems to fit the bill perfectly.

    And honestly, for FREE, I'm going to do my best to make it work for me. But that is exactly the point "making it work for me" is *not* the same as It Just Works. If I had a spare license for XP, it would be a much easier route to just install that, have it really Just Work, and be done with it.

    But I'll look into PCLinuxOS. We've discussed this before, and my concern there is that ALL Linux distros are a series of compromise. I played with Xandros - and if I *just* wanted to surf the web and send e-mail (kind of the intended sweet spot of a Netbook), Xandros would probably be fine. But I want to do some media, too... and Xandros starts to fall apart there - in particular it looked like it was going to be a lot of effort to find a codec package and get it installed. On the other hand, I *knew* that the .deb package management of Ubuntu was great... it made it SUPER easy to install the crummy, horrible Codecs that are available in the Ubuntu distro. :)

    In much the same way, I wonder what will be the deal-breaker in PCLinuxOS. Difficult Package Management? Spotty hardware support? Lack of high quality codecs? Inability to easily install components to enable a rich web browsing experience? Broken SAMBA/CIFS?

    For a Netbook - I'd like to see an OS that does the following:

    * Supports wireless with no headaches.
    * Supports built in Ethernet
    * Recognizes the Audio
    * Recognizes and works with Media Readers and USB (and devices).
    * Recognizes and supports the video card with full features (desktop eye candy).
    * Has a nice e-mail client that works with web based e-mail and Exchange.
    * Integrates well with Win32 networks (with an emphasis on Workgroup integration over Domain integration)
    * Supports a web client that works with the largest variety of rich-content websites possible.
    * Supports the most popular and widely distributed media formats (Mp3, WMA, Mp4) for audio and video with applications that provide the same kind of features and functions that competitive products for other platforms offer.
    * Delivers all of this, hassle free, without requiring a high level of expertise or interaction "under the hood" with the OS in order to achieve these goals.

    I think this is a reasonable "bare minimum" to expect from an OS that positions itself to compete with either OS X or Win32. And in particular, *especially* one that has picked "It Just Works" as a motto. As far as I can tell, the other Linux distros aren't making this particular claim. They may claim to be superior to either OS X or Win32 for any NUMBER of reasons - but not THIS particular reason.

    Again, Ubuntu does a remarkable job and has made significant progress toward achieving the list I outline above. But it isn't there yet, and it misses the mark on some significant points that are likely to be deal breakers for the average Win32 user converting to *nix.

    And I know that one of the arguments is that some of these things (SAMBA, Firefox and 3rd party plugins) are outside of the direct control of the Ubuntu (or any other *nix distro) developers direct control. That is one of the unique problems and challenges for *nix. You've got an independent team designing things like Samba, that are critical to the foundation of *nix, and they design it in a generic manner that then gets picked up by any number of different distros and varients. I understand the reason, but that doesn't make it any *better* that it breaks, over and over again.

    The thing I get from Linux in general, after years of playing with it, on and off again - is that it is like a tinkerer's OS. The guys working on it tinker, and the guys who use it tinker. I've made the analogy to a mechanic's car before. If you enjoy WORKING on the car as much or more than you enjoy actually DRIVING it, Linux is a great solution. If you just want a daily driver (which is what the MAJORITY of people want), then it isn't so great.

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    boxfiddler Moderator

    I'd be interested to hear your thoughts in relation to 'It just works'.

    I read with interest your opening post. I've been fiddling with Ubuntu on a desktop for awhile now, and Mint on a laptop. While they haven't been a nightmare, and I'm relatively satisfied with them, they don't 'just work' 'out of the box'.

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    dcolbert Contributor

    I've been doing some research, and I like the LOOK of PCLinuxOS... but I've got a few concerns.

    One, it is based on KDE. My experience, KDE is the far more Win32 like Windows Manager of those that are popular today - and PCLinuxOS leverages that effectively - but, KDE apps are far worse in general than Gimp apps in *stability*. The most recently I've experienced this is with Kubuntu versus Ubuntu. I don't like GIMP as far as asthetics, and I really don't think it is laid out very well, either... but the stability of GIMP apps really trumps KDE's prettier interface. Gimp, under Ubuntu, has improved considerably too. It used to look horrible and be difficult to use. Now it looks passably decent (outside of Ubuntu's crap-brown default color schemes) and is laid out a lot more logically.

    The second is that I can only find reviews on the Mini-Me light distro - and having to manually set up networks and apps after a super light base install doesn't sound like what I had in mind. My goal is LESS time spent doing this and more time being productive.

    But I just started digging into it. If I do give it a shot, I'll let you know.

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    craftamics

    dcolber:

    Ubuntu uses the Gnome desktop manager. Gimp [or GIMP, as it is usually listed] is the Gnu Image Manipulation Program, meant to be the Open Source answer to Adobe Photoshop.

    So, I think you meant to be comparing KDE to Gnome, not Gimp.

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    dcolbert Contributor

    And someone else caught me IRL doing that today and corrected me.

    I did, indeed mean Gnome, and not GIMP.

    I think it is because I keep seeing GIMP getting so much press as a viable Photoshop alternative lately that I got Gimp stuck in my head.

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    Neon Samurai

    I prefer to stick with 2008.1 for now rather than the newer 2009.0 though. Will PCLinuxOS not allow you to do a minimal install and add GNOME (GNOME and GIMP are the apps, GTK is what they are based on)? I've not looked at PCLinuxOS myself yet either so I don't know how flexable it is. I know I can do a Mandriva custom install in a half hour including 20 minutes form DVD to first boot and ten more minutes letting urpmi install all the extras and updates after a minimal install. That's just from using for so long that it's dead simple to work with for me now perhaps though.

    Anyhow, if you do grab a few different liveCD or the Mandriva eeePC install let us know how it goes.

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    dcolbert Contributor

    Is that I'm inclined to believe that they're likely to only enhance my frustration. I'm a Debian guy, so Ubuntu should be a fairly comfortable extension of that. When I get into another Distro, I can get by, but it usually means even MORE research, reference, and "under the hood" tinkering.

    So, in that sense - my goal was to have a smooth install that didn't require a lot of fine tuning. An "It Just Works" install.

    And that is my biggest COMPLAINT. Is that I've yet to have an "It Just Works" install of Linux, period.

    Once I popped the hood and got the tool-belt out, I now have Ubuntu humming along pretty nice on the eee PC (short of a few minor complaints, e.g., WPA2). Actually, Ubuntu is operating better on the eee PC than any other previous install I've attempted (Well, it might run pretty good on my Lenovo T61, but it dual boots and is my work PC, so I use it mostly in Win32 and I'm not sure if there are a lot of annoyances on the Ubuntu side).

    And, true to the words of the Ubuntu acolytes, I've learned a lot more about Ubuntu in this process - my guess is that I'll be better able to quickly fix issues I encounter on future Ubuntu installs based on the key learning here.

    But I said this elsewhere...

    Ubuntu "It Just Works" Fail. :)

    The thing is, going to another distro that I've never dealt with before, I can't imagine it would "Just Work" better, and I think it would be more difficult for me to find, figure out and implement the fixes on a distro I am unfamiliar with.

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    Neon Samurai

    I started with Red Hat and went to Mandrake -> Mandriva so urpmi is very familiar. While I often take a look at various new distrubtion liveCD, digging into Debian like I do with Mandriva has been a recent thing for me. The conversion has not been hard so far though. the biggest stumble for me was installing KDE then figuring out that I had apt-get in xorg behind it. I have a few other things I'm learning to do the Debian way but it's not been a show stopper.

    Granted, learning a different distro can be adding to your frustration but between Mandriva's approach to user friendly and the eeePC specific version, it's the one I'd recommend.

    If your rig is working and you can get through the install steps in under an hour though, your already all set.

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    dcolbert Contributor

    I'll admit, I never got all the way to checking into any non-Debian/Ubuntu based distros, although I planned on it. I burnt all my time trying the various Deb-distros and working through hardware challenges.

    The real shame is that the Eee-PC specific Ubuntu distros all had significant problems. If any should be expected to "Just Work", it should have been those. Ultimately, I ended up with 8.10 with a nice script to clean things up and unlock "broken" functions.

    But on 7.0.4 and 8.10, I can get either of them humming in under an hour on an EeePC now (and get them humming on a Lenovo S10 in even less time. Ubuntu 8.10 really JUST works on this particular machine).

    8.10, also resolves some of the outstanding operational issues... e.g., the codecs for MP4 video don't have the weird green artifacts, from what I've seen so far.

    So ultimately, Ubuntu will be a very useful and practical OS for me on my netbooks, and I'll probably just stick with it. The problem is that it DID take me a long time to get to that point - and THAT is going to prevent Ubuntu from achieving a goal of being a desktop OS alternative for the MASSES. That is my real point of debate here. I've come to the conclusion, Linux is not, and probably will not be a desktop OS alternative for the mass audience, and it probably shouldn't be. It serves the role it serves well enough, and there is a lot of compromise involved in it becoming "that other thing". In that sense, I think I can be a content Linux user without feeling a need to witness or promote Linux, especially to those who probably shouldn't be using it. If anything, selling someone on Linux who SHOULDN'T be using it is only going to hurt the reputation of Linux.

    With the Lenovo becoming my workhorse netbook, the Eee PC will become my testing PC for playing with interesting distros or other "lab" type environments. To that end, I'll probably blow off the Ubuntu on it now and play around with some of the other OSes in the future. I'd like to play around with Xandros with advanced desktop on, and with PCLinuxOS for Eee PC - and maybe some others. I'd really like to spend the time to get a working Hackintosh running on it at some time - just for the "Mac Air for under $300" value. :)

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    Tony Hopkinson

    Tht picked up my wireless no problem. Had to pick the host and do the security, but other than that it was OK.

    If did have problems for some reason with the install picking up the existing XP. Wouldn't mount the NTFS device.
    Might have been because of other distros I'd tried or Lilo to Grub....

    Also having fun with samba to my vista box, which I keep picking at from time to time.

    All distros are indeed compromises, Ubuntu is not a compromise I favour. I literally refuse to try it. If I wanted something 'so like windows I wouldn't notice', I'd use windows, saves messing about.

    Linux is a tinkerer's OS, Ubuntu is not a tinkerers distro though. I want to tinker, so no Ubuntu.

    Your argument founders on one key point, the users Ubuntu aims at do not do installs, no more than they do windows, which can be just as much of a compromise and a pain as Ubuntu, though perhaps in other areas.

    After all running a mixed Vista and XP environment is vastly unamusing in places, no reason why throwing any linux distro into the mix is going to make things easier.

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    dcolbert Contributor

    "All distros are indeed compromises, Ubuntu is not a compromise I favour. I literally refuse to try it. If I wanted something 'so like windows I wouldn't notice', I'd use windows, saves messing about."

    Well, then this conversation probably doesn't have any value for you - because I'm approaching this from the perspective of people who are interested in a very Win32 like environment without the Win32 licensing or cost issues. No disrespect intended. Your conclusion is probably right, though. If you want a Win32 environment, Linux probably isn't the right choice. It has already been done, it is called Windows. :)

    "Linux is a tinkerer's OS, Ubuntu is not a tinkerers distro though. I want to tinker, so no Ubuntu."

    Funny, because when I was into Debian, it was *the* tinkerer's distro. I can't imagine that Ubuntu isn't. I mean, back in the day I used to have to always go into the Xfree.conf file and edit the PS3 mouse switch and the supported video resolutions and monitor type, had to install and configure TrueType fonts (or FreeType or...) recompile the kernal for your PCI wireless, audio, and countless other small things... Being that Ubuntu is Debian under the hood, I can't see how it COULDN'T support this kind of tinkering under the hood if you were so inclined.

    "Your argument founders on one key point, the users Ubuntu aims at do not do installs, no more than they do windows, which can be just as much of a compromise and a pain as Ubuntu, though perhaps in other areas."

    Not sure I understand this. Could you elaborate? They do not do installs? The OS, or Apps? I've got a feeling that you have a particular concept of what "doing an install" is that doesn't mesh with the commonly accepted vision of "doing an install" in the industry.

    I also don't feel that Win32 makes me accept compromises (other than PAYING for something that I would rather be free, and paying MORE for it than I think it should actually cost). As far as delivering what I want to do and doing it reliably and well, Win32 excels.

    "After all running a mixed Vista and XP environment is vastly unamusing in places, no reason why throwing any linux distro into the mix is going to make things easier."

    Back around Potato and Sarge, Samba connectivity was excellent with a Win32 environment. Then XP, especially Home, and W2k AD really broke the NT4 LanMan model - and you're right, it broke it between NT4 and XP/W2k machines as much as with *nix machines running SAMBA. Since then, it has been on again/off again for reliability and ease of configuration, but worse for Linux and FreeBSD than for anything else, including, for example, OS X.

    I don't have these SAMBA/CIFS integration issues with OS X. Why?

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    Tony Hopkinson

    market, well in my opinion anyway. The people it's designed for are looking for someone like me or thee to have set it up for them.

    How can windows not be a compromise?. Even if they designed and set it up for you, they can't have done it for me as well can they?


    My samba issues have all been with Vista, XP it works fine......

    Who broke what is an open question to me. I've been in the keep up with MS's changes game software wise for a long time, and it's a right PIA.

    But again, if you were 'selling' a distro to take the place of windows in a basic home user setting, why would samba be a concern?

    Can't even be that important for me, seeing as I haven't bothered to get it working yet.

    Perhaps you are still judging Ubuntu against a more (or perhaps less ) specialised need for that which it was designed.

    If you went into a retail outfit (given you could find one), and bought one already set up your impression of it's effectiveness in that market might change. Pre-installed from retailers is a huge advantage for MS.

    I don't think people like us are a good test for this sort of thing, you need to buy compliant hardware for the distro, set up and then give it to Aunty Em, see what she makes of it.

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    dcolbert Contributor

    Regarding compromise, it is in the nature of the compromise. I suppose that the compromise in Win32 is that it is not highly customizable at the Kernel level. Again, I'll use the daily-driver grocery getter. The thing is, that compromise, the Grocery Getter, is "no effective compromise" for the vast majority of the people who want a car. In the same way, Win32 Grocery Getter design is "no compromise" for the vast majority of people who want an OS. It does all the basics that they want on a very competent level with very little hassle. Trojans and Malware aside. (Given that trojans and malware are probably the most common disruption of satisfaction with Win32).

    Well, who broke what isn't really that important. Ultimately, Linux interfacing with Win32 networks on Win32's terms is what is important. If Microsoft "breaks" it (which they do), but your Win32 machines and OS X machines still all talk to each other, but Linux won't talk anymore, Linux *looks* responsible.

    Look at SAMBA speed right now, on FreeBSD 6.x in particular, I don't know about FreeBSD 7, but also to a lesser extent with Linux. This is absolutely a SAMBA issue - because Win32 to Win32 is relatively fine Win32 to OS X and back is relatively fine (with OS X being SUPER efficient), but just about anything to Linux or FreeBSD via SAMBA/CIFS having a horrible hit. A quick search of the online forums or google will illustrate this. Ultimately, it doesn't matter who has broken what, the fact that Linux and SAMBA have trouble playing well with Win32 only hurts Linux. (Issues become very noticable on gb networks and Intel Pro Set NICs seem to go a long way to compensating for the issue).

    Most homes have a workgroup network set up sharing a common broadband connection, these days. And most home users have shared printers and shared storage on the network. Most networks you're going to encounter are going to be Win32 based. So SAMBA should absolutely be a concern for a "Win alternative contender".

    I'm judging Ubuntu as a contender for Easy to Install and Use Desktop OS alternative for home and small office. It seems to me that this is what it is marketed towards. Maybe I'm wrong.

    Xandros and the other Netbook OSes are designed to be these OEM pre-installed solutions. They're not working (See my other thread, 5 reasons why Linux is failing - re: 4:1 return ratios for Linux based netbooks versus WinXP netbooks). Linux has huge inherent disadvantages as a desktop alternative aimed at consumers.

    While Win32 certainly has a HCL that Microsoft Support will use against you if you have problems, the truth is that the majority of NON HCL hardware works fine with Win32. With Ubuntu, when they say "this is non compliant and may not work, or won't work well, or won't have certain features", they *mean* it... and a LOT of *common* hardware is non Ubuntu HCL. It isn't as bad as trying to build a custom PC to be a Hackintosh, but it is still pretty severe.

    Either way, Aunty Em has been getting OEM installed Linux Desktop OS netbooks, and she has been returning 4 of them for every 1 XP netbook that gets returned. So, I feel like we already have the numbers. As a matter of fact, the unsuitability of Xandros is what drove me to install Ubuntu on this Eee PC in the first place.

    I mean, just an alternative perspective on the points you bring up. This is certainly a "two-sided coin" kind of discussion.

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    j-mart

    The "just works" comes down to wether or not your particular hardware has been intergrated into your particular choice of Linux distro. some manufacture's provide required info, some good driver's, some nothing. If the industry all followed well defined standards it may make intergration of new hardware much simpler

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    dcolbert Contributor

    Especially at the Win32 server level, the HCL starts to get more important...

    But the breadth of support for non HCL hardware in Win32 environments is something that Linux just seems hard pressed to compete with, in my experience. The closest that gap ever got was when Vista was first released and had poor hardware support, and even then, I bet Vista hardware support was still broader than the "best" Linux distros.

    If the industry all followed well defined standards, we would all own Macs. It is how well you handle non-standards. :)

    At least... well...

    OS X has a built in advantage (outside of the Hackintosh world. Oddly enough, though, you start using OS X like "any old OS" and it starts having more problems than EITHER Linux or Win32) in that the hardware and OS integration is tight and controlled with an iron fist.

    Linux tries to compete on an open architecture platform - and Win32 just has a giant lead there, and years of experience dealing with the difficulities introduced by such a model.

    Again, it may not be the FAULT of Linux, but it is what Linux has to compete with and against, in either case.

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    Neon Samurai

    "the breadth of support for non HCL hardware in Win32 environments is something that Linux just seems hard pressed to compete with"

    This is a measure of how much hardware works with the OS not how well the newest hardware works with the OS though. In terms of how much hardware each supports, Windows pales in comparison. A quick look at the supported hardware in the kernel can confirm that for you.

    Each platform does somethings better than the other. Windows gets the newest hardware by virtue of the vendor providing drivers for it themselves. Linux gets the longer list of hardware though. How many processor architectures does Windows (kernel plus drivers) run on vs Linux (kernel alone)? Will the NT kernel still boot on a 286, it's not hard to setup a Linux kernel and minimal user space on hardware that old.

    How is Vista doing for supporting older hardware? What was the last bit of hardware that Linux dropped support for? It's just not as simple as all that to measure really.

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    dcolbert Contributor

    Man, when we start talking, "I can run the latest Linux on a PC 5150 or a NEC V10" (go ahead, google it or head over to Wikipedia and search... :) )

    Or that Linux supports ST, Mac 68k, Sparc and Amiga... (do they still, probably some variant does)...

    I mean... I'm all yawns. This isn't *relevant*, especially in the terms of this discussion. I start thinking about under-employed, highly intelligent, dumpster diving and Goodwill prowling uber-nerds with a Sailor Moon fetish whenever the conversation goes this way.

    I mean, I can ALWAYS pull out DOS 5 and Win 3.11 for a 286 if we really want to go 20 years back in the development cycle. And you're certainly not going to be running Ubuntu or Kubuntu with Compiz on the 286. You're probably not even going to be running XWindows with a uber lite windows manager. You're going to be running a CLI and maybe Lynx. This retort is a non-starter, Neon.

    I mean, just talking along these lines made me have a memory of riding my BMW down to Shakey's Pizza to play Zaxxon in the arcade. Seriously - a *vivid* memory. How relevant IS that? (Wow... that was some sort of Freudian slip. I meant "riding my BMX down to Shakey's". Talk about being subconciously honest with yourself).

    For all intents and purposes, if we crawl all the way back to NT4, a 386 will run it, and that is as effective as installing a latest/greatest Linux on a 386. A 386 is about the farthest back I would consider a PC "modern" (assuming a 32 bit machine, at that... no 386SX). I mean, I've got a nice Windows smart phone, but even your basic FREE phone from Verizon has more computational power than a 386.

    Sorry to rant on this, but this one is just a fallacy - especially in the context of "Linux winning a bigger share of the Desktop OS market by being more friendly, i.e., It Just Works".

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    Jaqui

    Yup, Ubuntu has the buzz, and I have actually laughed when people ask me to help with Ubuntu systems, put PCLOS livecd in and their "problems" went away.

    For my own use, none of the prebuilt distros meets my needs, they are all bloated to heck.


    * Supports wireless with no headaches.

    a lot of this is there, with those chipsets that don't have bins for the kernel. the ones that do you have to get and install the bins in /lib/firmware.

    * Supports built in Ethernet
    a gimme, I have yet to find built in wired network card not supported with any distro I've looked at.

    * Recognizes the Audio
    driver conflict with this one, multiple driver options for sound cards make it hard to support sound properly. Though most distros do default to the best driver for any particular card.

    * Recognizes and works with Media Readers and USB (and devices).
    work at the very least as mass storage devices

    * Recognizes and supports the video card with full features (desktop eye candy).

    yup, PCLOS installs the bloatware eye candy stuff by default.

    * Has a nice e-mail client that works with web based e-mail and Exchange.

    Thunderbird.

    * Integrates well with Win32 networks (with an emphasis on Workgroup integration over Domain integration)

    trick: install samba server, configured for standalone use and add yourself to samba users. do not have samba server start at boot unless you want to share a folder on the system.

    * Supports a web client that works with the largest variety of rich-content websites possible.

    the bloated firefox fits that bill.

    * Supports the most popular and widely distributed media formats (Mp3, WMA, Mp4) for audio and video with applications that provide the same kind of features and functions that competitive products for other platforms offer.

    yup, PCLOS does that.

    * Delivers all of this, hassle free, without requiring a high level of expertise or interaction "under the hood" with the OS in order to achieve these goals.

    Yeah, Mandriva's DrakX tools give you a windows-like control panel that makes it possible to reach this.

    While PCLinusOS is based on Mandriva, they put Synaptic in for the package manager, so it's the more familiar apt-get system .. with rpms.


    look for the mini me iso for pclos, it's the smallest footprint system, may actually fit on the netbook.

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    Tig2

    Quote from dcolbert:

    The *problem* is that Ubuntu has the most industry buzz and market mind-share. Win32 guys who are going to decide to give *nix a try are MOST likely going to go with Ubuntu. And I'm having DISMAL luck on the "It Just Works" philosophy across a variety of machines. I cut my teeth on Debian Sarge and Potato, so I can see the tremendous progress that has been made. But unless a person likes to do a LOT of reading and tinkering, or has a friend who is a Linux guru, the average Win32 convert is going to go screaming back to Win32 in short order after fighting with Ubuntu "Just Working".

    End quote.

    The statement that I really think is important is about Win32 guys and the tolerance for pain in working with an unfamiliar OS. if there is even a remote dream that Linux will see wider adoption, we have to move to close the rift between the hard core MS users and the hard core Linux users. I know a bunch of support guys that are using both and teaching themselves new stuff. I think that it is important to hear them out when they say that such and such is more support than I care to do or I can't get satisfactory information when I go to the various boards.

    Open source proponents need to quit hearing "Long Live Microsoft" every time a support guy with long years supporting an MS network says he is frustrated and struggling with Linux. The fact that he's trying says everything.

    The future of computing is likely to be more OS agnostic. I think there is a good chance that we will see more Linux in the corporate environment- cost being a key factor if this recession goes as some think. Better to learn now and be ready for anything.


    Edit- extra word

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    dcolbert Contributor

    Exactly.

    Seriously. My entire point. You nailed it.

    "RTFM Noob" doesn't cut it. Listen to them and close the gap and make it better. The Linux community *has*, in all honesty, but you've got a ways to go still.

    But yeah, that is absolutely my point here.

    I want to use Linux, I keep trying to use Linux, and I make an extra effort that most of my peers would NEVER try - and *I* end up frustrated and often go with Win32 instead.

    If that doesn't change, *nix is always going to be a fringe player.

    Which may be fine, actually. But, I'd certainly like to see it go the other way, and actually make a significant impact on the market.

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    Tig2

    You made a point in another post that spoke to why. Companies need to save money. Near as I can tell, nothing is off the table, every possibility will be considered. If the company is paying a yearly fee to MS for the OS and they can deploy a solution enterprise wide or even mostly enterprise wide that costs less, they will look at that really hard.

    This is a place where the Open Source folks need to wake up a bit. Yes, there is a corporate Red Hat out there that is significantly less to license. The license, I believe, pays for support.

    The hinge point will always be Total Cost of Ownership. If I have to hire additional support staff because calls take so much longer to resolve that my end user's productivity is harmed, then I have to consider how expensive "free" is.

    Closing the gap is really the issue.

    Good on you for being proactive with Linux. I think it will pay off for you.

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    Slayer_

    I think it is more likely that Linux popularity in business will fall on it's face competely because users will be too concerned with job security and other problems, to be able to learn a new opperating system. And any change that big costs a lot of money, not to mention any windows software that is almost guranteed not to work on Linux.

    However, homeuser usage may spike because people don't want to dish out money to MS for the OS. Also when Windows 7 is released and flops out and anouys people, there will be yet another spike.

    Basically I see business use flatlining, and home uses going up in the future. (linux will always be the prefered choice for web servers, so no worries there)

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    Neon Samurai

    It works towards it's project goals and is evolving quickly but there are other distributions that have been at it longer and do a better job of it. Ubuntu is just another example of the power of marketing.

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    Dumphrey

    while not perfect, at least people may try it, and maybe try another distro until they find their favorite. But most dedicated win users will probably not want to make the switch if they have to learn/re-learn too much.

    I think Linux needs to do a lot of work on standardizing on a package type and management system other then compile from code if it really wants to saturate the win32 market. As well as standardizing where files are located (example apache root dir across all distros).
    But, overall, as smooth as Linux has become, it has a long way to go to reach the plug and play of win. (There are exceptions to all rules, so no flames here plz). Worth considering, is the learning curve on Linux can also lead to a more informed and educated computer user, and hopefully, a safer user on the internet, no matter what platform they use, through a general computing skill bleed-over and security awareness. (major improvements in SELinux usability would be a huge plus as well...)

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    Neon Samurai

    Connonical has also done a lot so far outside of advertising like the media codec deal.

    But saturating the win32 market is not the goal of all platforms based on Linux either. The distributions that do persue that goal will keep evolving while other distributions will fit there own goals and user needs.

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    Dumphrey

    And you are right about each OS needing to play to its strength and evolve in their own direction (SPARC, PPC, Alpha, what have you). But some saturation is needed to get Linux into the mainstream of acceptance. Like it or not, the win32 desktop (<rant>it SHOULD be win64 by now, </rant>) is the dominate force. I would like to go to a computer shop and be asked "Win, Lin, or Mac on that sir?"
    Overall, having more users aware of viable alternatives is not really a bad thing. As long as those users are not being sold a Win Clone... but are aware that its a different OS and what that entails.

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    dcolbert Contributor

    I think the problem that I sumbled onto while I was trying different distros is the lack of centralized organization in the *nix/tux community.

    By that I mean, Microsoft has a strong organizational structure, so does Apple, saying, "THIS is the direction we are headed in", and that is more or less reflected throughout these organizations. The strength in this is that everyone is working toward a common direction and goal.

    The Linux community is anarchy. A good project may wither on the vine simply because the guy heading it had a kid or is going through a divorce. Another project in competition may not be as good, but may become dominant just because it has more support behind it, for whatever random reason. Finding a trustworthy opinion on which way to go is also a crapshoot - You may get horrible advice from a well-meaning idiot who SOUNDS credible, or you may just not google across the GREAT advice and assistance from a true guru.

    THAT model will never work for a general consumption OS. It may have a lot of subtle advantages - but being easily applicable to a general audience of home/small office desktop users isn't one of them. And if I were a vendor or builder, the support headaches associated with that would ALWAYS make me shy away from offering Linux. I might offer BARE systems that you can install whatever you WANT (unsupported), on - but even then, from a small retail perspective, there are a ton of headaches with that. e.g., "My Wireless doesn't work, and I want a hardware warranty repair on my machine" - turns out that you end up having a tech spend hours to determine that the consumer's version of Linux doesn't support the wireless chipset he bought. Who is responsible for that? What does it matter if at the end you have a dissatisfied customer bad-mouthing your sales and service because they picked the wrong machine and put the wrong OS on it?

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    Neon Samurai

    A good project that attracts developers will grow and evolve until a project better at those functions succeeds it. The Linux kernel could be dropped if something better came along fitting into that function (maybe HURD will get a billion dollar grant with no strings attached).

    OpenOffice seems to be loosing steam so we'll see if a fork of OOo or another suite entirely replaces it.

    The anarchy across the entire community is probably not much worse than the anarchy across the entire win32 or Apple community. Those later two have there own central authorities that keep the os development on track but each is only concerned with a single OS or group of OS versions. In the same way, Red Hat and the other distribution developers keep there own OS on it's own track. The fact that development goals differ from distribution to distribution is not an issue since each is a separate entity. As for the individual distro goals. Debian Stable speaks for itself. Ubuntu continued to evolve towards an unscary different for regular users though installing by hand is always going to present issues that a preinstalled OS won't. Mandriva's EEE version would be interesting to try after Xandros and PCLinuxOS though in the case of PCL your getting .deb back end with mandriva's draketools on top.

    Overselling is definately a risk though. Just as many people have been sold 2000k gaming rigs and a 500$ OS for checking there email, I'm sure more than a few EEE consumers have been rushed to the checkout before finding out if they need a notebook with embedded OS or platform for a specific application or game. Bumping sales figures by pushing units out the door without considering the consumer needs helps no one.

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    dcolbert Contributor

    As it relates to Linux, anyhow, is development cycle is too erratic and slow - no capital incentive. A labor of love is often neglected, labor for wage is tied to quality of life.

    MythTV would be a great example. I've been an avid BeyondTV Win32 proponent after months of trying to wait for MythTV to mature, years ago. It didn't develop fast enough and I needed something stable, reliable, and intuitive THEN. I've heard great things about MythTV now, and I know BeyondTV faltered at one point. Difference is, BeyondTV corrected *quickly* because sales were tied to perception of quality. MythTV has a casual, laid back development cycle. That doesn't work for me for my application of a PVR/DVR.

    Open Office has *never* seemed to have much promise to me. When I first played with it, it was, frankly, horrible. Hopping from distro-site to distro-site in South America, from month to month. Sun never really seemed interested in actually growing it, once they had acquired it.

    The problems that plague Ubuntu right now or recently - including ATI graphics issues, wireless issues, broken Flash plug-ins... they are all issues that would get top priority in the Win32 or OS X world, but they kind of languish on Linux. At least, that has been my perception. Apple releases a broken iTunes, and the buzz gets loud, and it is fixed QUICKLY.

    The Samba/CIFS issue with FreeBSD on gb Nics has been public knowledge for months and months, and I haven't seen a lot of incentive displayed to correct it.

    It is just different. If all three evolve, Linux evolves like a shark or turtle.

    :)

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    Neon Samurai

    self motivation can be powerful than wage slavery.

    I?m sure it?s not true in all cases but I?d put my money on the self motivated developers who choose to work on projects of interest over the one?s assigned a project and a deadline to reach a pay cheque. I?d much rather a project I happen to get paid for versus an assignment motivated only by the pay; I?ve tried both. Even if the developers are passionate about the project, they still have a deadline, limited time and limited resources on a wage gig. The projects that interest bug money get attention from paid resources also; the kernel being a good example still.

    It does mean that projects less interesting to developers get left out like MythTV. I?d like to see more development in the area of tv tuners and apps myself. In the case of BeyondTV, users would be out of luck had they not self corrected. Us Longbow2 game lovers are in that very position, the original developer is long gone though the game is far from dead. With a custom built rig or some hacks, one can get the game running but there is still interest. Heck, if I could afford to by the source and release it that?s probably the one program I?d choose.

    OpenOffice seems to be having a number of problems recently. The majority seem Sun induced by holding development back and alienating any developers that do take interest in the project. Jack has an article about it out in the last few days.

    The SSH issue got a lot of attention from Debian developers once discovered but it has a lot more important for the platform than CIFS support. That would be my guess anyhow. Microsoft would be all over a CIFS issue like the Vista one that potentially ate files in transfer but they?re still tip-toeing around security design issues. Linux supported USB and Bluetooth standards faster, MS and Apple support other hardware bits faster. In some areas it balances out. In some areas it still out of whack (GPU support, ATI specs are finaly open but the module is playing catchup. I still need ndsiwrapper for my Linksys wrt54G pcmcia but the tinkpad NIC is supported natively.)

    I?d really like to see what the three OS could do with published interface specs. Apple supports it?s hardware plus the BSD list. Microsoft get?s bleeding edge drivers from vendors for gaming hardware. Linux supports the hardware it knows about and reverse-engineer?s support for hostile hardware as best it can. What if all three gained equal access to the info to write drivers?

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    twindragon99

    I started out running the G on Ubuntu but then I installed X on an old IBM think pad for my wife who is practically illiterate when it comes to computers and she loves it, I had no issues with flash and all drivers including the third party no name wireless card was auto installed for me, the only thing i did after the install was to install media codecs as you mentioned as well.

    At the end of it all you are right to say that "just works" really doesn't fit as there is still no perfect install, but I still run into XP setups on "supported hardware" that force me to download up to 20 different drivers before I can use it. so XP it seems doesn't "just work" either though I guess Bill never made that claim :)

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    dcolbert Contributor

    Actually, an EEE specific Xubuntu, I believe. And it did install well, but no wireless. The PC701 wireless seems to be one of the more challenging wireless NICs for Ubuntu (although Wireless in general seems to be a bit of a challenge for Ubuntu across the board - much like ATI chipset GPUs are a monkey-wrench for Ubuntu).

    I'm not a fan of the Xfce Windows Manager. Actually, it LOOKED pretty nice on the eee PC as a Win32 look alike interface.

    There was some major "dealbreaker" for me beyond the wireless and the Xfce interface, though - I just can't remember what it was.

    I installed 5 or 6 different distros about a dozen times total in the last 5 days during Christmas vacation. So I can't remember all the details of those candidates that didn't make the grade. :)

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    The_Fixer

    I am a Windows admin and I have used Windows almost exclusively in a business environment and I had always had the believe that *nix desktops would not catch on. I had played around with multiple distributions but I cannot say that I have ever really achieved any real level of comfort. Well, like most every other business, we are feeling the pinch of the economic downturn and my department has begun to look for alternatives to save some money. We have already implemented a VM solution on the server side. I have read some reviews on this site regarding the Ubuntu distro and I decided to give it a try. I have to say that I have been impressed. Now granted, I am running this on older hardware (Dell D505 laptop) but I had no issues with hardware detection and configuration even with the network browser and wireless. It was easy to configure and setup even for a self admitted Linux novice like me.

    I will give the PCLinuxOS a try as well as per Jaqui's recommendation.

    We have begun to look at a possible desktop replacement for our programmers and providing them with a virtual Windows desktop so that they can continue to use .NET for their programming.

    I hope to have a pilot program in place by the second quarter of 2009.

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    Jaqui

    is criminal you know.

    actually, openSuse and Mandriva both include Mono, the open source version of .net.

    you can write your bloatware even in Linux with Mono.
    [ just don't expect me to use it, the .net framework is grounds to ignore any app. ]

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    Slayer_

    I won't even touch an application that requires .net to be installed, I keep that junk off my computer. .net is just another bloated layer for micrsoft programs to be coded on and it prevents apps from being run on different OS's, even different Windows OS's.

    We actually have clients running Windows 95, so no .net for them, we code in VB6 for them.

    Also for many of my projects, I needed an EXE to run to actually install .net, I chose VB6 for this again as its requirements come built into XP. It's kind of like the perfect solution, use VB6 for all your windows programming needs and ditch .net, yes its not object oriented, but you can code in an object oriented way if you actually want to, VB6 just doesn't enforce it on you. Also form quirks are pretty irritating (like if you check if a form is loaded, the check itself will actually load the form).

    Actually for anything non visual, we use VBS :).

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    iposner

    So you're running Win95 and coding in VB6 in 2008? This is the posting of a dinosaur - the surprising thing is that (from reading your profile) you're quite inexperienced, but jaded already. Not a good trait in our business.

    Firstly, .NET is not "bloat" - it offers a range of functionality and deployment options that could only be dreamed of in VB, so you're not comparing apples-with-apples. And since .NET is broken down into many DLLs, you don't have to load the whole CLR in order to run an app (as if...)

    Secondly, if you actually had some serious real-world .NET experience, you'd find that the strong typing combined with the rich CLR API would slash your development time and associated costs. And these savings alone would pay for you to upgrade quite a few workstations to Vista-grade machines.

    Since you only graduated in 2007, I'll give you some extremely useful advice -- go get a job with a company that has budget to use today's technology, not that of yesteryear. Otherwise you'll be stuck in Win95 world for longer than you might imagine.

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    jck

    i wish i lived up there. i'd love to pick your brain on weekends.

    i am gonna get openSUSE and try that, since I have been MS oriented for 15 years.

    I am moving into Java/JS/XML tho, so I am seeing the light! Now all I gotta do is learn a Linux-based GUI well enough to write code for Linux lol

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    dcolbert Contributor

    I explored this as well, and found too many issues where Ubuntu was a non-starter.

    It was close, far better than it has been in the past - but there were JUST enough deal-breakers that popped up that we killed the project early.

    I'd love to have the OPTION of an open license alternative that met all my corporate needs. But it isn't there, yet.

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    Brian Doe

    "We have begun to look at a possible desktop replacement for our programmers and providing them with a virtual Windows desktop so that they can continue to use .NET for their programming."

    Please forgive my ignorance; I am still relatively new to the programming scene (currently taking a Java course in college); but, why .NET? Why not a cross-platform solution like Java or Mono? Are there any particular advantages to .NET that a more open language doesn't have?

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    linuxcanuck

    I have installed Ubuntu many times on desktops and my eeePC. Every version of Ubuntu from 7.04 to 8.10 has installed flawlessly. On my eeePC 900 the wireless just works. So does the camera.

    In Ubuntu, I have never had to hunt for a driver. When I install Ubuntu, I am done in 20 minutes. When I install XP, it takes an hour and then I have to spend hours shovelling in CDs and driver disks.

    Do people have problems with Ubuntu or any other distribution? Sure. They do in XP and Vista, too. As for the Mac, it is a closed system. Proprietary everything. When you control all of the variables, then it would be surprising if things did not work.

    It is a continuum. On one end you have free (as in liberty) software and open architecture and on the other extreme you have DRM and closed everything (Apple). Microsoft is somewhere in between, but things work better only because of their cozy relationship with OEMs. It all depends on what you want in an operating system.

    In my experience, Ubuntu is no better and no worse than most up-to-date operating systems. If you are trying to get old equipment to work then you will have problems in any OS. You need the original disks in Windows or you have to hunt for drivers and good luck if it is hard to find. Linux may or not support it if it is old. The Mac OS certainly won't install on anything but Apple equipment (legally anyway) in the first place so it is therefore likely that peripherals will work if it came with an Apple computer. If it is really new then you will need the latest driver disk for Vista or you may be out of luck. In Linux you may have to wait till the next kernel is released. C'est la vie.

    BTW, have you heard of the class action lawsuit against Microsoft for its Vista capable programme?

    You are comparing apples to oranges.

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    dcolbert Contributor

    I admit the "Apple Advantage" elsewhere in this thread.

    The EEE PC 701 isn't exactly ancient. Do your F keys work - disabling WiFi? Did you always have the MadWIFI drivers or did you use the ndiswrapper for the WiFi at some point? These little issues, that I *know* about them and *have* to know about them to get things working as they should, are a bother - a bother that you don't have to concern yourself with in Win32.

    I think this is where there is a disconnect though - your perspective is probably based in (possibly large) part on ideology and philosophy. Mine isn't. Mine is based on efficiency and peak effectiveness. When people start talking about "Free as in Liberty" software, there is an implied set of ideals, of morals and ethics that defines all the other choices that an individual makes from that core belief system.

    Most people don't give an eff about that. They just want their powerpoint slides to work.

    Now, the way I see it, The Win32 people never made this a war over "who is best and who will steal market share from who". That all came from the Linux side of the argument. Win32 was never concerned about stealing market share from Linux, making inroads into Linux dominated segments of the industry. You've never seen an article, "Will Win32 upset the Linux dominance of the Desktop" or "When do you plan on migrating from Linux to Win32".

    So if I'm comparing apples to oranges, I'm only following a well established tradition started by Linux advocates.

    Which I've mentioned before - the Linux advocates seem perfectly content to argue how Linux is superior to Win32, from the earliest days...

    But when you start making comparissons back that find Linux unfavorably positioned, they OFTEN trot out this "You can't compare them, they're different".

    Well... which is it? I'm puzzled. Can you compare them, or can't you? If you can't, I expect the Linux community to immediately STOP comparing itself to Win32. Apples and Oranges, after all.

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    Neon Samurai

    It's kind of hard not be get defensive with Balmer denouncing FOSS as a cancer or the enevitable fanboys that break in to Linux discussions to proclaim how wonderful there personal choice is. Same goes the other way too, Windows discussions enevitably get crashed by zealotry that only want to hear themselves repeat there prefered choice over and over. Lest we forget Cult of Mac.. they turn up too.

    The X vs Y has been going on forever though. Before Microsoft was a twinkle in the Gates dormroom, it was CP/M vs something else. vi vs Emacs. Windows vs Apple.. there is always something.

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    jimmy-jam

    I tried Ubuntu once, I found that as long as you just want to load it up and use it as is it works ok. Any customization I attempted was an exercise in extreme frustration.

    Red Hat is a little less user friendly to the non-techie user but it works so much better.

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    andrewchristiandc

    You definitely have a point about Ubuntu. Sometimes it requires quite a lot of configuration to get features to work and I agree with what you're saying, in principle.

    But in practice try building a custom server out of an XP installation and then try building one out of an ubuntu installation.

    Then tell me which one just works?

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    nathan

    I've used Xp and I've used several Linux distros. They all have issues. But I find Ubuntu or Mint to be the easiest to use and keep running.

    Yes the OP is correct that it doesn't work "Out of the Box." I've yet to find anything that does. My last Xp install took 6 hours with updates, antimalware software, patches, applications, etc.

    Ubuntu has it's issues but the once the installation bumps are past I find Ubuntu more stable, faster, and less hassle to use then Xp or any other flavor of Windows.

    I like not having to reboot after every small configuration change. I like not to have to worry with virus issues. I like not have my computer slow down for no reason other then registry bloat. The famed WinRot and all Windows workstations seem doomed to get. I like that my duel boot Vista/Mint laptop boots faster in Mint then Vista and has most of the same functions and even desktop gadgets.

    Ubuntu is not perfect but it is for the most part better then Windows.

    Got Troll?
    (Edit: Note this all applies to the OP of this topic. Not the guy I replied to. I thought this was at root of the thread.

    Ha ha I made a root joke in a Linux thread. I kill me.)

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    ---TK---

    I'm not really going to argue with any of them, they are legit reasons... But I am a Ubuntu and PCLOS fan, I find that tweaking it just right is all part of the fun... I get bored with installing, and everything works off the bat... I enjoy a good challenge, lol but that might be why I am going gray at such an early age. Every now and then linux makes me want to rip my hair out, and scream.... but I find that its worth it in the long run...

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    The Scummy One

    made me want to rip my hair out and scream.

    My XP hdd started making noise, so I piced up a new drive. Started cloning it (few problems with earlier versions of ghost).

    2 hours later I went by to check status, and found that it had 9 hours remaining :0
    after the nin hours it hung on 1 sec remaining -- all friggin night. tonight I am going to use a live distro and dd it so that I can use my friggin system some time this week.
    funny thing -- after trying to ghost it, the hdd seems to have stopped making noise, and seems to be fine. however, I think I have lost all the confidence in ghost now -- and am moving it all over to linux. Symantec products just keep getting worse and worse in my opinion (well, same with Roxio, becoming too much a hassle to bother with)

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    ---TK---

    One second remaining... thats a total kick in the junk! I still use Ghost 8, it has yet to fail me. knock on wood... lol over the weekend I used it 5 times on my system. I really would have been angry if that happened!

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    The Scummy One

    it keeps Windows running instead of rebooting it to gain exclusive access. this morning about 22 hours into the clone, it was working on the mft entries.

    The last ver. I used was '03 -- it rebooted the system to clone the drives, and could be run from cd. in Ghost 10, it will not clone the drives from cd boot, it will nly get to backup points (non boot drive). WTF is that? I can access the second or non boot drives in a number of ways with or without the OS to gather data.

    Nope, I lost all respect for Symantec

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    ---TK---

    http://www.runtime.org/driveimage-xml.htm

    I have had a few friends say it works really good, and I have scene a few people on here talk about it... plus its free :)....

    I gave up on Symantec back in 2003... I purchased their "Package (AV/firewall)" bla bla bla. lol the second day I tried to uninstall it, and it wouldn't... I tried all their "fixes" that didn't work, researched the **** out of it... I ended up blowing it all away... I was totally heated about it...

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    The Scummy One

    from Linux. The best points about it as well, it is a bit by bit clone, therefore it can cross partitions to clone the entire drive, not just a partition. However, it can be used to copy by partition as well.

    About the only things I use from Symantec (except at work) anymore was the ghost (used for backup of my data drive) and Partition Magic (havent needed it in a while at home).

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    ---TK---

    .

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    Neon Samurai

    I liked DD back when using it to create boot disks but the simplicity of dropping a CD to an ISO file with it really sold me. Fantastic tool. I'm tempted to look for a win32 compile of it.

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    The Scummy One

    I wonder now, if that can be used to create an image file from a full HDD?
    how would the extraction work from dd?

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    yes

    Neon Samurai

    That's my guess anyhow. I needed to iso a distro install cd and was completely stunned at the simplicity after years of needing some third party app under Windows.

    I now ISO flashdrives that are showing signs of dying. I can then dig through the ISO with recovery tools or a loopback mount.

    I don't see why you couldn't dd a hard drive over to a .img or .iso

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    Dumphrey

    only because at the time it came with a ghost 2003 cd as well... my previous cd had a scrath in it that made it unreliable. I tried ghost 10 for about 2 days before realizing it was just a dressed up version of NTbackup (with bare metal restore admittedly).

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    The Scummy One

    and I always got errors since I installed it that there was not enough resources to complete the api.
    Even after telling it to remove old files (keep 4 versions) and having it on a 250GB HDD to backup 50 GB. I just dealt with the error, it seemed to backup. However this was the first restore attempt, and I was hardly impressed. I first tried booting to the restore disk, after a 5 min. load time, no operational mouse, I found that there was no option to clone a disk, only recover data FROM one of the backup points.
    I thought, WTF is this and pulled out the book only to find out it was true.
    nothing about the SW was thrilling at all, just an expensive POS of a utility that once was good.

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    Dumphrey

    do we preside over the grave of a giant, laid to rest by corporate morons.

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    Neon Samurai

    It's been on my todo list to look at for a while but I finally had a valid need to do so. It's a rather nice tool to keep around; the disk is already in my bag beside system recovery and various other liveCDs.

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    Dumphrey

    How do you find its copy speeds? Its been a while since I tried a new version, the one I have is over a year old now I think.

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    Neon Samurai

    I'm doing drive image to ssh mount so that slows the speed down. If I do a machine drive upgrade in the near future, I may be able to test the drive to drive speed.

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    Dumphrey

    part of the speed issue I was having was sending the image across a usb connection. But, slow or not, it did the job when several other products crapped out (including my venerable ghost 2003). It was able to do a bit lvl copy of a 2.5 ide disk with many bad sectors and noticeable, audible clicking (another reason for slow speed). I really didn't have lots of time to keep trying stuff out. After transferring the image to a new HD, I needed to do a repair install of the OS, and 90% of the data was recoverable and usable. If I had started with it, I probably would have been able to save all the data.

    I have run a disk to disk copy on a single machine, and while slower then ghost, it was acceptable. But ghost skips copying blank space, and im pretty sure clonezilla copies the blank space too.

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    Neon Samurai

    I could guess it brings over all the blank spaces if it's just doing a binary copy. I noticed that it makes use of dd so that would do it.

    runs of a liveCD and can place itself in ram freeing up the disk writer.. I'll take slow for that.

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    CharlieSpencer

    in both cases the hard drive failed soon after. I attributed the slow speed more to the impending drive failure than to Ghost. As you noted, the drive was making noises before you started.

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    The Scummy One

    however, after cancelling the operation the system was fine. The noise was there until I removed the cover to verify which drive it was. After another reboot, the noise stopped.
    Never BSOD'd or anything, used it for a while last nigh, verifying directories and everything.

    I think it had to do with trying to clone the boot (Win) drive with Win still running.

    oh, and the long time that it was planning to take is likely due to the HDD size (250GB partition). I would think that an average of 10GB/hr it would take more than the original 9 hours to complete (noted completion time by ghost). Right now it is going on 7 hours, but dd does not give a progress bar. I will check it tomorrow sometime.

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    The Scummy One

    it wasnt the disk :)
    dd worked flawlessly, it finished up sometime between last night at 5:pm and this morning at 8AM.
    So, if it finished right before I got in this morning, it only took 22 hours.
    Personally, I think it finished much sooner than that, likely it was done within a couple of hours of leaving last night.

    XP and Vista can read the drive fine, now I just got to put it in my system and boot tonight.
    If I am on TR tonight, then it worked :)
    of course, I have no doubts about that anyway -- things just seem to work when using linux :^0

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    G4L

    dcolbert Contributor

    I recently used Ghost 4 Linux to make an image of the eee PC. During my distro tests, I accidently fubared Grub at one point, and was able to easily reinstall using the G4L image I had made.

    My results weren't so good with an XP image I made using G4L for my Lenovo. Ended up having to restore that image using the bundled XP 1-Touch restore.

    G4L has a funky interface with confusing and inconsistent terminology, and it doesn't seem to make a single raw image... it breaks the image up into chunks and it seems like it is a file image of the complete drive contents (so you need to partition and format your destination appropriately prior to a restore). But, for an open source alternative, it is worth a look.

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    The Scummy One

    the base OS and built in apps worked fine, but other apps didnt?
    Ok, the wireless wasnt as easy as it could have been (my PCLOS box worked fine with wireless on several HP notebooks).

    The point about the networking is valid though. Many people trying to move from Windows would have a small home network already. I think the installation should ask if the system will connect to a Windows network, and then go from there. However, in my experiences, Linux does 'just work' until you need to config something or add cr@p from another source (3rd party) -- then it is touch and go (like Win).
    Flash was a pain to get setup on my last XP box, it worked fine for a while then suddenly I had to upgrade. After the upgrade I couldnt get it working at all in either FF or IE. Had similar exp. in Vista as well.

    So, from your rantings, I would have to say that 3rd party apps dont 'just work' as easily as Windows. And I would have to agree. There are some things that I gave up on trying to do.
    However, is it worth $400 + to more easily deal with your mp4's?