Linked by David Adams on Fri 27th Jun 2008 04:46 UTC, submitted by Rahul
Talk, Rumors, X Versus Y Erik Huggers, a Microsoft guy at the BBC, takes a look at Fedora 9 as his first Linux desktop and finds it surprisingly good. "I am glad that I got a chance to test drive Fedora and as a result have come to believe in the potential of Linux as a mainstream operating system. As Ashley said in this post last year, the BBC does a lot of work with open standards already - but in the future we plan to do more. We want to make iPlayer work on all operating systems including open source ones like Fedora and I am confident we'll make good progress on this before the end of the year."
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potential...
by stabbyjones on Fri 27th Jun 2008 05:27 UTC
stabbyjones
Member since:
2008-04-15

At least linux is being given more of a chance but;

"...and as a result have come to believe in the potential of linux as a mainstream operating system."

First off, what counts as a mainstream OS?

Second, i'm so sick of hearing "potential to be great..." "year of the linux desktop" etc etc etc.

People use linux as a desktop OS, i know more people who are using it and then sticking with it.

it's not that there is unlocked potential yet to be found in linux. It's just people who can't be bothered to use anything other than what they bought their pc with.

More marketing and OEM's are the only thing linux needs.

Edited 2008-06-27 05:31 UTC

Reply Score: 6

RE: potential...
by kaiwai on Fri 27th Jun 2008 05:54 UTC in reply to "potential..."
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

It reminds me of a Linux advocate who asked the same thing of Windows - is Windows ready for the desktop; it was a tongue 'n cheek at the time, but it did raise a serious question; what is 'ready for the desktop'.

For me, 'ready for the desktop' seems to encroach on the same field as the definition of a 'real man' and 'real Scotsman'. If we were going to hold up every operating system to the lofty goals of 'ready for the desktop' - I don't think there would be a single one that could even come close to it.

Reply Score: 7

RE[2]: potential...
by gilboa on Fri 27th Jun 2008 22:28 UTC in reply to "RE: potential..."
gilboa Member since:
2005-07-06

It reminds me of a Linux advocate who asked the same thing of Windows - is Windows ready for the desktop; it was a tongue 'n cheek at the time, but it did raise a serious question; what is 'ready for the desktop'.

For me, 'ready for the desktop' seems to encroach on the same field as the definition of a 'real man' and 'real Scotsman'. If we were going to hold up every operating system to the lofty goals of 'ready for the desktop' - I don't think there would be a single one that could even come close to it.


Given the fact that I just spent 5 hours trying to get XP on a 1 year old Dell Laptop and around 5 hours more to get some basic functionality on top of it (AVG/ZoneAlarm/7-Zip/Acrobat Reader/VIM/Visual studio/OpenOffice/Firefox/Wireshark/ObjectDesktop/etc) the "is Windows ready for the desktop" question isn't even funny.
Though in Microsoft's defence, I never use the manufacturer supplied CD as I rather use -new[er]- drivers and reduce the bloat. On the other hand, XP/SP2 failed to detect the [long breath]: Ethernet, WIFI, Video, Audio, Smartcard reader, Modem and PC-card slot...

By comparison, getting CentOS 5.2/x86_64 on this machine was more or less point and click.
Put CD, boot, select applications, goto sleep.
Fedora 9 will be added next.

Granted, XP is older than Fedora and CentOS, but never the less, given the fact that I'm tired of hearing the "Linux is hard to install" argument and the Joe-six-pack example thrown against Linux, I challenge them (?) to let their Joe-six-pack neighbour install XP on his brand new machine, -without- using the manufacturer supplied CD. (Yep, this should be fun to watch...)

- Gilboa

Edited 2008-06-27 22:30 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: potential...
by kaiwai on Fri 27th Jun 2008 23:30 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: potential..."
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

It reminds me of a Linux advocate who asked the same thing of Windows - is Windows ready for the desktop; it was a tongue 'n cheek at the time, but it did raise a serious question; what is 'ready for the desktop'.

For me, 'ready for the desktop' seems to encroach on the same field as the definition of a 'real man' and 'real Scotsman'. If we were going to hold up every operating system to the lofty goals of 'ready for the desktop' - I don't think there would be a single one that could even come close to it.


Given the fact that I just spent 5 hours trying to get XP on a 1 year old Dell Laptop and around 5 hours more to get some basic functionality on top of it (AVG/ZoneAlarm/7-Zip/Acrobat Reader/VIM/Visual studio/OpenOffice/Firefox/Wireshark/ObjectDesktop/etc) the "is Windows ready for the desktop" question isn't even funny.
Though in Microsoft's defence, I never use the manufacturer supplied CD as I rather use -new[er]- drivers and reduce the bloat. On the other hand, XP/SP2 failed to detect the [long breath]: Ethernet, WIFI, Video, Audio, Smartcard reader, Modem and PC-card slot...


For me, installing and downloading these extra's have never really been a great chore; they're a fact of life, and I've never considered the need to rage against the system. About the only thing, in terms of hardware support I am disappointed in is the multi-megabyte driver downloads.

Take the WPN311 wireless card I have from Netgear, the driver is around 15MB, and even then, its been out for over a year and no 108mbps is available for this card. To add insult to injury, the driver itself has an obnoxious application which hijacks wireless configuration and is impossible to disable at start up.

Then there is the drivers from printer companies; my last printer alone said, "required 300mb free space" - for a printer driver?

All this makes for a very unpleasant experience - if your hardware isn't supported on Linux, it'll be supported on Windows but with a penalty of bloated drivers that are unreliable. For every good side there is to an operating system, there is going to be a laundry list of flaws with it.

The search for the perfect operating system is an on going quest (with most settling for the one that 'sucks the least') - but not to dampen ones spirits, but I don't think there will ever be a perfect operating system because we live in an imperfect world with too many variables that can disrupt and 'harmony' that might temporarily exist.

Edited 2008-06-27 23:34 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: potential...
by gilboa on Fri 27th Jun 2008 23:43 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: potential..."
gilboa Member since:
2005-07-06

All this makes for a very unpleasant experience - if your hardware isn't supported on Linux, it'll be supported on Windows but with a penalty of bloated drivers that are unreliable. For every good side there is to an operating system, there is going to be a laundry list of flaws with it.


I should have added that I'm buying Linux compatible hardware only. (From laptops to 16C servers...)
Never the less, out of the box, a modern Linux distribution does support far more hardware than XP and Windows 2K3. (I don't have enough experience with Vista and 2K8 to comment on them)

The search for the perfect operating system is an on going quest (with most settling for the one that 'sucks the least') - but not to dampen ones spirits, but I don't think there will ever be a perfect operating system because we live in an imperfect world with too many variables that can disrupt and 'harmony' that might temporarily exist.


True.
Linux is far from being perfect.
... It just fit -my- needs better. (Let alone being far less annoying. I swear, another reboot and I would thrown [my employer's] laptop out of the window!)

- Gilboa

Edited 2008-06-27 23:45 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: potential...
by leech on Sat 28th Jun 2008 08:32 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: potential..."
leech Member since:
2006-01-10

I hear ya on the reboot thing. I recently upgraded my computer to a quad core from an AMD64 4000. I installed Windows XP x64 (which is an incredibly dumb name, since it's actually based on 2003 and x64 to a computer illiterate would be less than an x86).

The Asus motherboard P5Q came with a CD and had an option to automatically install all drivers. I thought that was a great idea, instead of having to click on each and then click next a billion times.

Oh what a pain that was, I kid you not, it rebooted about 6 times and only installed 4 drivers!

Yet one of the selling points of XP was "Doesn't have to reboot as often."

As I've always told people, there are only two reasons to reboot Linux, kernel updates and hardware failure.

Reply Score: 2

Updating still a pain
by Johann Chua on Fri 27th Jun 2008 06:11 UTC
Johann Chua
Member since:
2005-07-22

Decided to try out Fedora 9 before I had my laptop's hard drive replaced. Installed from the live CD.

Good:

Sound worked out of the box, without having to manually un-mute the front or surround channels. Seems a lot snappier than Ubuntu 8.04.

Bad:

Updating is still a drag. Takes seemingly forever, and I keep getting missing dependencies (some C libs, I think) when I try installing non-free codecs after adding the Livna and FreshRPM repositories. Guess I'm supposed to buy the Fluendo codec pack. No credit card, though.

Might as well try Debian proper and experience trouble-free rolling system upgrades.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Updating still a pain
by shotsman on Fri 27th Jun 2008 07:03 UTC in reply to "Updating still a pain"
shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

Comparing Fedora & Debian Distros is much like the Tortoise and the Hare or Classical & Rock Music
Debian is the Tortoise/Classical
Fedora is the Hare/rock

If you want slow and considered updates then by all means go with Debian or an Enterprise Distro ( CentOS, Ununtu LTS etc)
If you want to 'rock & Roll' then go with Fedora. It makes no bones abouts its aim to be at the cutting edge of distros.
Back to fedora and your problems with codecs.
I don't think you shouldn't try to use both Livna & FreshRpms at the same time. You can use an option in yum to temporarily disable one of the repositories. Personally, I only ever use Livna. It has all the codecs etc I need.
The speed of update (using yum) has improved considerable over the recent releases. In fact, getting the list of which packages to update is now pretty speedy. Then there is the download. Well you would get that limitation with Debian/SUSE/Mandriva etc so that should be a constant. Perhaps you would like to expand with a little more detail of what exactly you are unhappy with? Remember that as Fedora is a cutting edge distro the rate of package updates is going to be higher than that for a distro like Debian. Do you only use Linux to perform updates? Updating should be a very small part of your use and it can be run in the background can't it? So whats the problem?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Updating still a pain
by kaiwai on Fri 27th Jun 2008 07:52 UTC in reply to "Updating still a pain"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

What you're experiencing is ultimately the deciding factor as to whether one should go for a community based distribution or whether one is willing to pay for a commercial one such as Turbo Linux which includes all the CODECs and a DVD Player out of the box.

Are you willing to pay the extra money for the convenience of knowing every works out of the box or would you sooner have something for free with the inconvenience of having to do the searching yourself. That is ultimately what you have to decide as a user - whether the time saved equals the money spent.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Updating still a pain
by Johann Chua on Fri 27th Jun 2008 10:11 UTC in reply to "RE: Updating still a pain"
Johann Chua Member since:
2005-07-22

In my experience, adding third-party repos to Ubuntu has been less painful than with Fedora. Back in the FC 2 or 3 days it seemed to be recommended that you do a complete install to avoid missing dependencies when you try installing stuff from added repos.

I'll give F9 another chance (using the install DVD) when I have a fresh HDD to play with. The fact that I didn't have to futz around with config files to get horizontal touchpad scrolling to work was nice.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by netpython
by netpython on Fri 27th Jun 2008 08:33 UTC
netpython
Member since:
2005-07-06

"The one thing I was surprised about was the performance, or lack thereof. I would have expected the operating system to squeeze everything out of the dual processor laptop. Perhaps the issue would be addressed by new updates which were available, but I could not get it to install properly."

I wonder with what specific OS the author is comparing running Fedora 9.

I have a HP6820s core2duo 2GHz 3GB RAM laptop running Fedora 9. I honestly have nothing to complain, wireless and ethernet work out of the box so to speak. Compared to Vista which i had installed for a couple of hours after the laptop was delivered Fedora is lightning fast. Any linux distro i had installed is, you got to love those dual cores :-)

Reply Score: 4

Comment by moleskine
by moleskine on Fri 27th Jun 2008 12:33 UTC
moleskine
Member since:
2005-11-05

NAME: Erik Huggers
JOB: Group Controller, Future Media & Technology

Over the last two decades, I have used every flavour of Windows and Mac OS, but 'til now had never used a Linux desktop.

To my surprise, I found the experience pretty good.


Oh well, this is the BBC after all. The real question the article poses is how come folks in senior positions in the BBC's "Future Media & Technology" group - of all places - have "never used a Linux desktop". The last person from the BBC to pronounce on Linux, Ashley Highfield, made a complete ass of himself. Perhaps we now know why. I'm rather hoping that Mark Shuttleworth or some other ambassador might go in and give them a presentation. From the sound of this article, they really really need it.

Reply Score: 6

RE: Comment by moleskine
by raver31 on Fri 27th Jun 2008 18:04 UTC in reply to "Comment by moleskine"
raver31 Member since:
2005-07-06

The BBC's Technology page has a very Linux based bias. They are always publishing pro-Linux and anti-Microsoft stories.....

YET..

Their main IT television programme, Click, never mentions Linux, has never done a feature, and the Click webiste says over and over, that no-one uses Linux, apart from a few servers.

How can one company's outlook on a topic be so diverse ?

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by moleskine
by unclefester on Sat 28th Jun 2008 06:21 UTC in reply to "Comment by moleskine"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

I just reads Ashley Highfield's Linux blog. He is a total clown. Someone that profoundly ignorant shouldn't be in charge of anything let along 1,400 IT staff.

Reply Score: 2

careful mixing repos
by TechGeek on Fri 27th Jun 2008 13:17 UTC
TechGeek
Member since:
2006-01-14

Be very careful mixing repos. The downside of free packages is that people package them differently. I have had problems in the past using Livna and other repos together. I suggest you pick one. RPMforge is also a good site to go to. All the repos they list work together to prevent problems. I personally only use freshrpms. Anytime I need something they dont have, I go out and just get that package. Or compile my own from an SRPM so my system works correctly.

Reply Score: 3

try the alternative installer
by buff on Fri 27th Jun 2008 21:41 UTC
buff
Member since:
2005-11-12

Might as well try Debian proper and experience trouble-free rolling system upgrades.

I'm both a Fedora 9 user and Ubuntu 8.04 on my eeepc. I ran into problems with the default installer running on my older Athlon box. I used the alternative installer and it worked great. I don't see any noticeable difference in speed between the distros. I ended up removing a lot of Ubuntu installed applications. I miss the ability with Fedora's Anaconda installer of being able to select which packages I want to install. Interestingly, pulseaudio works better on Ubuntu than on Fedora 9. I don't know why but the default configuration works better. On my Fedora 9 system the audio is scratchy when the volume drops down to zero and back up again. Also the Flash 9 plugin crashes less on Ubuntu than on my Fedora 9 box. I am at a loss to explain why. The smoother experience on Ubuntu has made me curious to try it more. I was suprised the Ubuntu alternative installer doesn't allow me to prevent the installation of certain packages. It was not a big inconvenience since I opened Synaptic and selected Evolution, etc. and clicked apply and removed the cruft.

Edited 2008-06-27 21:45 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: try the alternative installer
by Johann Chua on Sat 28th Jun 2008 10:12 UTC in reply to "try the alternative installer"
Johann Chua Member since:
2005-07-22

Yeah, for some reason Flash seems buggier on Fedora. I installed the RPM from Adobe, seemed to be fine, except there's no sound. Might have to do with some Pulse Audio setting.

Maybe the next time I buy computer with Linux I'll actually use the pre-installed distro. Probably the Acer Aspire One once it's available locally.

Reply Score: 2

unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

I think Fedora tends to be a little too bleeding edge to the extent of being quite buggy. On Fedora 8 I had no sound at all.

Reply Score: 1

Rahul Member since:
2005-07-06

You have to install libflashsupport first for sound as detailed in the release notes

Reply Score: 2

how do you define usable?
by unclefester on Sat 28th Jun 2008 10:11 UTC
unclefester
Member since:
2007-01-13

My early computer experiences included:

1. A C64 with tape drive.
2. A PDP-11.
3. A HP3000 mainframe with teletype terminals only.
4. DOS on some Sharp box with a single 360k floppy and a monochrome 80x25 monitor.

I managed to use all of them. Ubuntu 8.04 or even Fedora 9 is somewhat easier to use than any of the above.

Reply Score: 1

RE: how do you define usable?
by renhoek on Sat 28th Jun 2008 11:17 UTC in reply to "how do you define usable?"
renhoek Member since:
2007-04-29

the os running on those machines had tight hardware restrictions, so comparing it is not fair.

you can define usable as how fast you can get the job done. we mostly ignore the user in the usability aspect, but that is simply not possible.

in my view the usability of linux is a lot better than windows since i don't have to search the internet for software but can use the build in package manager. this is the biggest advantage that linux has over windows and should be emphasized a lot more.

Reply Score: 1

RE: how do you define usable?
by unclefester on Sat 28th Jun 2008 12:01 UTC in reply to "how do you define usable?"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

That should be a Sanyo MBC 500 not a Sharp.

HARDWARE
CPU 8088 (3.6 MHz) All RAM no wait
ROM 8 kB (IPL/CG)
RAM 128 kB (standard)-256 kB (max) includes 16 kB V-RAM
V-RAM 48 kB (includes 16 kB of main RAM)
Display RGB color monitor mode
(Color monitor CRT 70)

SANYO BASIC Supplied on a system diskette
Applications WordStar, SpellStar, InfoStar, EasyWriter
Operating System MS-DOS 2.11

Reply Score: 1

inadvertently freed from Windows
by buff on Sat 28th Jun 2008 14:47 UTC
buff
Member since:
2005-11-12

This is kind of funny. I was upgrading my home Athlon box to Ubuntu 8.04 and I forgot that I had XP on one partition. I ended up blowing away the partition and all my Windows applications. The odd part is it didn't affect me at all yet. I write in OpenOffice 2.4 and access Gmail via Firefox 3. I just forward all my email to gmail and let it filter it. No one at work has noticed I have been sending my home files via Linux to work. Clearly Linux as a desktop has come of age since I barely noticed I was working without it. The only downside is that if Google's servers go down I will be in trouble.

Reply Score: 2

netpython Member since:
2005-07-06

I'm really glad Google has a lot of them :-)

Reply Score: 2

unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

About 3 years years back a friend needed to use my Kubuntu PC. After about 10 minutes of web browsing and emailing he said: "This isn't windows is it?". Her then continued working.

Reply Score: 1