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Must try

by pg122 In reply to package managment

I'll have to agree with Phil. I've used many "flavors" and thought YAST2 on SuSE was the best. Untill recently I downloaded and burned the "Sarge" network boot CD from Debian. I just don't see how it could get any easier. It was a total breeze, even on an old 450Mhz box with 128MB RAM it flew. Installed as a workstation and have two choices of desktops (Gnome and KDE 3.2). Detected all the hardware, including sound and runs flawless. apt-get install <package_name_here> is just incredible. :)
Just my two cents.

-Patrick

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We're mostly talking home user here?

by smchris In reply to Why can't Linux come up w ...

My wife and I have been running linux desktops and a DSL web server for over two years now on our home network (with a little legacy help from Win4lin). I honestly couldn't tell you how many months it has been since she's exercised her option to dual-boot to native NT. Perhaps time to free up some gigabytes - :) But it is important to be clear on some distinctions:

I. Business environment:

A. All things being equal (and they very well may be), installation and maintenance are not an issue because you hire staff to maintain the equipment your run. It's a "duh".

B. Feasibility as a user environment:

1. Trivially obvious if it is a custom terminal program. I have read, correct or not, that there are still millions of OS/2 machines serving ATMs and checkouts around the world. So, of course, linux is ready to sit on millions of business counters.

2. But, that's not what people usually mean. Can the typical secretary or receptionist figure out how to use Mozilla instead of IE, Evolution instead of Outlook, OpenOffice instead of Office? I think they can. For routine work, the icons are there: cut/copy/paste, open/save/print, etc. It honestly isn't rocket science. Did people bring this up six years ago? "How do we DARE move from WordPerfect to Office? The retraining will be an agonizing hit on the bottom line!" Oh, please.

As I see it, the problem in business will occur in deciding how much of a dual environment you are willing to accommodate to support old data formats and reports that rely upon proprietary processes like Excel macros. To that extent, something like Win4lin server or CrossOver Office could be very desirable for at least one hardware cycle.

II. Home users

A. Paradoxically, I would be willing to bet that a Mandrake or RedHat could actually be easier to install than XP (if one needed to install XP). One's mileage will vary -- probably highly dependent upon whether the hardware compatibility list was checked beforehand for _either_ OS. [And, sadly, depending upon whether a person needs dialup since most modems are Winmodems.]

B. The problems the home user are most likely to encounter are:

1. Linux is different from Windows. I can only believe the answer to that problem has to be, "well, yeah. Sorry." I don't know that it is _necessarily_ true that linux is more difficult to maintain and tinker with than Windows, but it is undeniable that former home Windows users will have to acquire a different set of knowledge if they are going to maintain their linux setup.

2. But, to get around to the issue of adding post-install complex apps -- yes, I can think of at least three apps I have installed that depend upon up to literally a dozen other apps. And their web pages may or may not even link to the home pages of those underlying programs. Poster children for one of the most troublesome aspects of the linux model in general. What if an underlying program breaks a program higher up in the chain?

Yes, it can be a problem if program creators don't communicate with each other, don't feel responsible for the interoperation of their programs or don't make it clear and simple for the user to install a full set of the programs. Happily, I am not convinced this is the norm. I'm not even convinced it is unique to linux. A unique aspect of linux is that each program is on its own web page open to the public for observation. So, to an extent, this problem is an issue grounded in perception. With a proprietary program, unless a released patch breaks another part of a program (and that happens), we just don't get to _see_ the programming of department A mess up the programming of department B. With linux, we often have a front-row seat to the creation process, and it isn't always pretty.

You might say that line of thinking is flippant and there really is a problem. But isn't that why there are distributions? Doesn't the problem of finding and installing a dozen .tars, .rpms, .debs , or whatever most often occur when you say, "No, I don't want the version of this program available from the company servers for my distribution. I want _this_ MONTH'S version!" The "problem" can arise from an embarrassment of riches with access to a new version of this or that program on your desktop literally weekly instead of waiting a couple years for a proprietary company to bundle a new OS for you. Take a deep breath and think about it. This should be the worst of a person's problems in life.

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Ease of installation

by Tatsnice In reply to Why can't Linux come up w ...

I have been trying out linux in various ways.
So far.. Mandrake linux, which I have dedicated my main
system too, is currently the easiest one I have found to
install.
There is basically little user input, unless of course (of
which you have an option) select advanced or individual
package selection.

My current version is 9.1 and previous versions as early as
7.1 have shown much improvement.

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It doesn't have to be hard

by LinuxClass In reply to Why can't Linux come up w ...

The main problem you are talking about is often refered to as dependancy ****. Where you install (or try to install) something only to find out you need to download and install other libraries first... only to find out you need to download install yet other libraries... only to find out you can't find one of the dependancies for your particular distribution.

You might want to look at other options for installing software on Linux. I've heard apt-get works well and that it tracks down and installs most dependant packages. Another option is installing from source. The commands:
./configure
make
make install

Are not all that hard to type. Of course maintaining such a source-installed system can be a real PITA! Or look at Gentoo. Typing:
emerge package name
will download, compile, and install everything needed to run the program probably 99% of the time.

If you are talking more about desktop and "typical" end users... then how about Lindows. Browse a (quite large) list of available software and click the "install" button. Click-n-Run downloads and installs everything needed for that program (usually) without any additional input on your part.

There are quite a few options for "easy" installs out there if you know where to look. It's just a shame that the biggest Linux distro didn't do a better job of app installs. It taints everybody's perception.

Personally I think one of Linux's strengths is that all needed packages are NOT combined into each application install. This provides three big benefits, IMHO. First downloads are a lot smaller since every single app doesn't have to include duplicate libraries. Second in helps reduce cruft since only libraries which are needed have to be installed (vs. installing ALL libs just in case one is needed.) Third, it avoids the type of ".DLL ****" common in Windows where one app replaces a .dll with an incompatible version and breaks something else completely. And finally, Linux/UNIX programmers are used to the fact that they can not depend on a specific version of a library to be available... this means they rarely use undocumented or uncommon library routines in their apps... meaning upgrading your libraries rarely breaks the installed apps.

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FreeBSD handles dependencies transparently

by Brad Morrison In reply to Why can't Linux come up w ...

I've been setting up Linux systems for four years, now, and boy, do I feel your pain. You nailed it. I seem to remember two or three RPM sites that list the dependent packages, , so at least you know what you're getting into. These sites also had links to the dependent packages.

It's still a pain when, for example, you want Ethereal, which can require up to 14 dependent packages, some of them newer versions than what you have.

FreeBSD has a revolutionary way to install packages with deps: the /usr/ports tree. It's mind-blowing. First, you freshen the ports tree via cvsup, connecting to one of dozens of CVS servers. This gets you all of the source code for the whole tree, any subtree, or just specific packages. The entire packages aren't downloaded, just skeletal files to go and get the source when you decide you need it. You cd to /usr/ports/CATEGORY/PACKAGE-NAME and "make install". That's it. The Makefiles figure out what you need and just go get it if you don't already have it. Oh, you need an older version of any given package for compatibility? Edit the Makefile and make install. This is where FreeBSD's CVS setup really shines, because not every server will have older versions--CVS happily keeps checking servers for you.

It's quite refreshing.

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New to Linux

by sarahdee In reply to Why can't Linux come up w ...

I'm glad that I'm not the only one who is a Linux novis. I was wondering if anyone knew of any instructional materials that are devoted to the Linux command line. I am used to the DOS command line and to me the Linux command line is like a foriegn language.

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Book

by LordInfidel In reply to New to Linux

A book that I reference is "Linux in a Nutshell" from O'reilly.

It is strictly a reference manual, so it won't necessarily teach you what the commands do. So you kind of have to know what you are looking for.

Also if you know what command you are looking for the --help operator is useful or use man <cmd>.

A nifty little site is http://www.linuxcommand.org/

When your coming from windows, the shell may be overwhelming. But just remember that almost basically everything can be done from the command line that can be done the gui, (except graphics of course).

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more commands

by derekdpike In reply to Book

I am also a new user to linux. I reviewed the link to the commands that you had posted. I wondered if anyone knew a link of more commands than that. I am pretty familiar with most the commands that were located on the posted website. I was wondering where to find more commands.

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Linux in a nutshell

by LordInfidel In reply to more commands

is probably your best bet then...

it is a little book jam packed with a ton of commands.

Another cool "little" (literally thin) book is
Linux Server Hacks from O'reilly.

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LUGs

by apotheon In reply to more commands

I recommend joining a mailing list for a LUG (Linux User Group) in your area. LUGs are incredibly rich resources in terms of getting information on how to make the most of your Linux system.

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