Linked by Eugenia Loli on Tue 9th Nov 2004 20:49 UTC
Linux "Desktop Linux is almost soup. We only have a few items left on the short list. Will we do it? If history is an indicator, the answer is yes." Read this article at LXer. Read more for a short list of my personal needs before I could say "yes, I can switch to Linux or FreeBSD full time".
Order by: Score:
I couldn't agree more!
by JoeBlowHard on Tue 9th Nov 2004 21:14 UTC

Especially with Wi-Fi. My Wi-Fi card works okay on a Thinkpad with Linux but not Compaq or Toshiba and a lot of cards simply aren't supported.

I'll look at the new FreeBSD next...



ahem, old info?
by Alexandre on Tue 9th Nov 2004 21:16 UTC

> 5. A good home video editor. Kino is closer than others, but still not there yet, plus it's easily crashable.

Have you ever heard about Cinelerra or MainActor?

> Trying to do some basic image editing with Gimp is a nightmare.

Wake up then, 2.2 is knock-knock-knocking at your front door. I find GIMP's GUI far more usable that the one from Photoshop CS. I use them both on daily basis.

But yes -- "your mileage may vary" ;)

Not bad
by Anonymous on Tue 9th Nov 2004 21:17 UTC

Nothing too revolutionary, but a pretty good article overall.
In reply to a couple of items from your list:

6) Yes! It's bloody awful... no doubt there's some method of keeping the floating windows on top of the picture (but not on top of _everything_) but I haven't found it yet. Hence when enormous 4000-pixel-square image is maximised, I can't see any of my tools...

7) I actually found bluetooth easier under Linux; quite a different situation to yours though. All I wanted to do was push a few files at my phone; in Windows this precipitated Explorer crashes and all sorts of badness.
The synchronisation software didn't work at all, and of course in true Windows fashion I'm not allowed to configure anything for it so that's a lost cause. It won't work under Linux either, but at least SonyEricsson never got my hopes up that it would.

9) Often this comes down to the BIOS; my laptop's got a subtly buggy table, but some are much worse. Basically the Linux ACPI implementation seems to be much stricter than the Windows one - I can't help but feel that while standards compliance is a good thing, it'd be nice if it just worked...
Suspend to RAM seems to be a total disaster too, which is a bit nasty.

10) Yep. No argument here. My desktop does things properly, having a proper Sound Blaster; my laptop has an Intel chipset and it's one sound at a time. Which isn't the worst of it; the worst bit is XMMS refusing to play because something is "blocking" the sound card.

v ndis
by brain on Tue 9th Nov 2004 21:18 UTC
RE: ahem, old info?
by Eugenia on Tue 9th Nov 2004 21:20 UTC

>Have you ever heard about Cinelerra or MainActor?

Yes, I have. Cinelerra looks like a$$ (I don't want to use it, it's a crime against aesthetics), and MainActor's Linux version is buggy (it crashes on load here because of my X fonts, I have filed a bug report months ago).

>Wake up then, 2.2 is knock-knock-knocking at your front door.

Sorry, but it's more of the same. They simply added more previews for the plugins. I was more talking about how you actually use the app. For example, writing some text on a new gimp document it's overkill. And I have to use layers, even if I don't really need to. It's things like that where PSP shines over usability. It's just simpler.

Please, don't take me for an idiot, I FOLLOW the Unix software scene more closely than you think.

v RE: ndis
by Eugenia on Tue 9th Nov 2004 21:21 UTC
to eugenia...
by hobgoblin on Tue 9th Nov 2004 21:24 UTC

1. i dont understnad why you drop a fully working ftp client on the basis of it looking ugly...

2. cant comment on quicktime but from what i understand, mplayer is able to handle windows media. it can even integrate with firrefox if you use the right plugin or extention.

3. this is in many ways the holy grail of third party im clients. cant help you there...

4. sorry, cant help there as i dont know much about that kinda stuff. but didnt mozilla ship with a palm sync? or was that only on windows?

5. sorry, dont know about that...

6. i dont have a problem with the gimp interface. atleast not the one on 2.x. yes your familiar with psp or photoshop but that does not mean that they have the ultimate interface.

7. sorry, never messed mutch with that...

8. if you stick to packages made for your distro you avoid most if not all of this...

9. well i think the big bad wolf here is 2-headed. i cant recall reading about a X version that can handle sleep cleanly yet, and there is a lot of buggy acpi implementations out there that is solved in windows by the hw makers own drivers.

10. i could swear that alsa have this. that was supposed to be one of the advances over the old OSD system...

RE: Not bad
by Eugenia on Tue 9th Nov 2004 21:25 UTC

> Which isn't the worst of it; the worst bit is XMMS refusing to play because something is "blocking" the sound card.

Email me personally, and I can guide you how to create the Dmix plugin and make XMMS, Mplayer, and all ESD and Gstreamer apps to work together. This dmix plugin should fix about 60% of all sound apps on Unix through its mixer, but don't expect ALL of them to work. However, I can help out with the most used apps, so please email me and I will guide you.

also
by Metic on Tue 9th Nov 2004 21:25 UTC

11. Better CD-RW/DWD burning software (yep, K3b is quite good though)

12. Better scanner support and software

However, personally I already use Linux practically exclusively for all desktop work at home. But I know well that many people couldn't do the same yet.

But at companies and organizations with enough IT support staff, Linux is already quite a viable choice for work desktops. The recent news about the many decisions to switch to Linux from all over the world prove that.

RE: to eugenia...
by Eugenia on Tue 9th Nov 2004 21:28 UTC

>1. i dont understnad why you drop a fully working ftp client on the basis of it looking ugly...

I do not like KDE apps. They all look too busy and ugly. I only use K3B or KOffice sometimes, and that's it.

>mplayer is able to handle windows media

No, it's very poor. And Mplayer plugin would crash on the Apple's Star Wars II trailers.

>8. if you stick to packages made for your distro you avoid most if not all of this...

There are apps that I want to try that neither Slackware or Arch Linux include. For these apps, I need to compile them myself.

>10. i could swear that alsa have this. that was supposed to be one of the advances over the old OSD system...

Alsa only provides the dmix plugin. But this only works with about 60% of all the sound apps available (and ONLY after you configure them to use the new mixer). The rest, will either crash or tell you that the sound card is blocked.

You know what, Eugenia
by Max Brand on Tue 9th Nov 2004 21:41 UTC

I've seen you do quite a few articles criticizing various alternative OSes, but I don't think I've ever seen you say a single unkind word about Windows. It seems like if we're talking about Linux, you're comparing it to BeOS. If we're talking about BeOS, you're comparing it to OS X. You're not happy with FreeBSD's progress, and you seem to pretty much think most other hobby and alternative OSes are a joke. So what I want to know is, do you think all OSes except for Windows and OS X are crap, or do simply see no flaws whatsoever in these two?

wi-fi
by AdamW on Tue 9th Nov 2004 21:42 UTC

If the card is actually *supported* (which is the tricky part, admittedly, especially with 802.11g stuff), Mandrake at least and I believe SuSE and probably some other distros can configure all the necessary stuff for basic connect-to-an-access-point work through their standard network connection programs (including encryption). Getting most 802.11g cards to work is an exercise in frustration, unfortunately, but it's getting a little better. I really hope the BSD guys' campaign to open up the firmware works out.

ACPI I agree on too, but again the hardware manufacturers could do so much more to help. The acpi4linux team has a lot of very, very good coders who work on the thing constantly. I find it hard to believe that it wouldn't work fine by now in all cases if some hardware wasn't fairly fundamentally broken.

answers.
by Best on Tue 9th Nov 2004 21:44 UTC

2. Outside the illicit codec packs for xine/mplayer there really aren't any options except apple/microsoft deciding to support linux. Things like Sorensen are patented, no corporate distro will touch support with a 10 foot pole.

6. Use the best tool for the job. If you're not dealing with photos and are doing something involving text, simple graphics, etc. Use Inkscape instead, its proved far more mature than Sodipodi for me, and has replaced a good part of the gimp's functionality, I just wish that it had an interface more like the gimp's. I don't know how many times I've clicked on a tool in one window, used it, and then clicked on another document window to use it.

There is a need though for a simple photo editor for common simple uses. A easy one click way to remove red eye, combine multiple images into a panorama, etc. I have a feeling that the reason this hasn't happened is that these features are patented. There are apps that can do one or the other of these features, but they exist under the radar, and aren't going to be included in commercial distros because of the patent issue.

9. This is a hardware issue, and needs as much work from the Linux ACPI maintainers as it does from the hardware manufacturers.

10. I agree completely. I keep a SB Live around simply because of this issue. I really hope we see this before the 2.8.x kernel.

Codecs
by BBob on Tue 9th Nov 2004 21:45 UTC

> and please don't suggest the windows-codecs package
> for use with VLC/Xine/Mplayer and their browser
> plugins as these hardly work with what's out there

Dammit, I'm going to suggest it anyway. Since MPlayer 0.9 the wincodec package has played everything I have ever thrown at it. QT, Win media, streaming Real files, tons of movie trailers (Incredibles, Matrix revolutions, SW III etc). Can't remember a single hiccup (though there probably have been some).

The Dmix thing, on the other hand, is right on the money. I hate playing the "guess which process holds the sound card" game.

oh, and
by AdamW on Tue 9th Nov 2004 21:46 UTC

I can add one more annoyance to the sound problems. For some inexplicable reason, my nifty 5.1 channel sound card only outputs 5.1 sound properly if I output via ALSA's OSS emulation. I have a test file which simply has each channel identify itself in turn. If I play it with mplayer -channels 6 xxxx.wav , it's perfect. If I use mplayer -ao:alsa -channels 6 xxxx.wav, all the channels are completely screwed. So I can't use dmix, cos I can't point it at a proper ALSA output and get 5.1 output. sigh. I submitted this to ALSA but it doesn't happen to them so they don't think it's valid. d'oh.

RE: You know what, Eugenia
by Eugenia on Tue 9th Nov 2004 21:46 UTC

That's because my Windows XP or 2k3 *work*. Except this one time, which I actually did write about it:
http://www.osnews.com/story.php?news_id=8032
ALL the other times (and ever since that incident), WinXP has NEVER let me down. All its MS apps and third party apps for it that I use, they ALL work more than fine.

And if you ask "why don't you stay on windows then", it's because of two reasons: 1. I am a geek, I also like unix, so Linux is among my interests. 2. I run osnews, it's my "job" to try out and evaluate everything. #2 is consequence of #1.

windows media
by rephorm on Tue 9th Nov 2004 21:57 UTC

I agree quicktime support could be much better (but, this is really more of a patent issue, isn't it?) As for window's media, I find myself using mplayer on my powerbook to play .wmv files that Microsoft's own Windows Media Player (for mac) can't play. Codec problems exist on all platforms (even on windows, where the 'connect to the internet to try to find the necessary codec' dialog has never once worked for me...)

Anyway, I think these are issues that exist on most operating systems at the moment, which is why so many sites have several different versions of every single video they put up. (At least one for windows and one for mac users.) If linux had as large commercial support/general user base, there would probably be a version specifically guaranteed to work on linux boxes...

re: RE: You know what, Eugenia
by Anonymous on Tue 9th Nov 2004 21:57 UTC

"ALL the other times (and ever since that incident), WinXP has NEVER let me down. All its MS apps and third party apps for it that I use, they ALL work more than fine."

I'd love to say it does it behaves this way in the hands of an expert every single time. Ahh, to hell with it I just did..
Amazing how little there is to complain about when you know what you're doing.

RE: Gimp
by Anonymous on Tue 9th Nov 2004 21:59 UTC

I agree with those who are saying the Gimp interface has greatly improved in the 2.x version, but I do also think it needs more work.

I think they would do well to imitate existing commercial apps more closely: Photoshop, PSP, even fireworks. For one thing, the way the menu system is on the pallet, attached to the individual file, and it's the right-click context menu when you click on the image-- well, it's just a little silly.

Plus, there aren't simple things, like having selections snap to the edges of the picture when you're moving them. I don't know. It's not that it's ugly, it just seems harder to get it to do what you want.

For those who say "You're just not used to it..." well, I can go between PSP, Photoshop, and Fireworks without a problem, so why am I so unused to gimp? And I'm just doing editing for web pages.

Sometimes, if the way your program works is different without being substantially better, you may was well drop it for the sake of being conventional. Being annoying to professional graphic artists and web-developers is a problem. Gimp doesn't even look/work like other gnome/kde applications. The lack of coninuity alone should be enough reason to change its interface.

you want the real problem with linux?
by AlienSoldier on Tue 9th Nov 2004 21:59 UTC

the real problem is that it was a catchup project. it was made to be a unix on PC, free of charge.

Now that no more unix is around they are catching up from windows and Mac. Think windows is better, not at all as they copy apple, be and linux also. This is what bring the post C64 era of BORING!!! computer.

What if ftp is not good, the WHOLE internet TCP stuff is broken. Linux community should try to push free internet by doing a new protocol. Ho crap it's true, nobody do hardware now so they could not do custom modem. That is because company stoped to sell easy to get electronic part at finguer scale. So we get a generation of mechanics lost because they can't fix car and the one that could help them with electronics can't because it's too much integrated now ;)

You see, we are in a dead end with computers. Those that don't want to see it are in serious denial. Just read stuff from computer history since early 1920 and up and you will see that current "advance" are more a building of fortification to trap ourself in an evolutive dead end.

you can't see quicktime or windows file? Just stop using them! Every body hate to resort to many media player that don't offer anything different from each other. Support open system, and when you create one include content protection option so that nobody would complain it lack stuff other system have.

Bring back the OS on a floppy, the 1 wire protocol... stuff like that. Sure sometime cool stuff is made, but most of the time it's to fix a problem that should not even be there in the first place. All those created-by-and-for-computers problem act like noise that screw the "mother of inventivity is creativity" moto. So we got LOT of bright individual having trouble to identify the real problems.

FTP GUI being one as it should never have been an app but an extention of the file system, itself a problem because we should never have transposed the file methaphore in the first place.

Everybody curse flat screwdriver, yet we always buy them in screwdriver kit. Because we have them they make stuff screw with flat head... in the end we all get screw.

I would like
by Anonymous on Tue 9th Nov 2004 22:00 UTC

Security updates seperate from general updates that could be d/led over a modem for multiple archs. Also a user gui for this process so mom/poop could login as root and run the updater.

Windows works
by Lorenzo on Tue 9th Nov 2004 22:01 UTC

That's the truth, be it sad or good, windows XP/XP-Pro they do just work "out of the box".
Install the driver given you by the vendor of the machine (or preinstalled), and voilà, a wifi is automatically detected, acpi works perfectly, soundcard has never been "blocked" (I learned this could happen working with Linux...), and, last but not least, printing is quick, easy, and standard of all the applications, not the nightmarish list of "todos" of the typical linux environment.

Mind you, I used Linux for 8 years, but I give to Cesar what Cesar deserves: for sheer usability of the machines features, for "mindless" operations throughout, there's no comparison at all...
I can close the lid of my laptop now, go to sleep, and reopen it and everything working in a second; I had to twitch even the kernel sources to get that from Linux, and never reliably...

I think it's time to stop being geek-minded and be honest: Linux needs a lot to become a viable desktop platform for the masses; the sooner developers realize this, the better.
Otherwise, desktop linux will be only for programmers, curious (and affected by a light form of sadism) people, and people who use its incredible tools and power for something very specific, like simulations, where a Desktop environment is probably useless anyway.
Eugenia is right: why do I have to find a solution to watch Star Wars trailer when it*s obviously supposed to just click&work? is it the computer who has to relieve me of some work, or vice versa?

Lorenzo

errata
by AlienSoldier on Tue 9th Nov 2004 22:03 UTC

"mother of inventivity is necessity"

Computer = automation
by ricardo on Tue 9th Nov 2004 22:05 UTC

Point... Click... Ready!

@lorenzo:
by AdamW on Tue 9th Nov 2004 22:15 UTC

yup. sometimes windows works, and sometimes linux doesn't.

but then, sometimes it's the other way around. I'm glad all your laptop's hardware works in XP. That's great. With my laptop, half of the hardware has no drivers for XP, or even for Windows 2000. The only two OSes where everything on it works are Windows 98 and Linux. (Well, I guess the BSDs might work too, though I don't know if they support the webcam. I haven't tried them.)

I'll let you guess which one I choose.

Yes, so it's an old system. But it still works, and more than well enough to do everything I want to. Why should I buy a new one just to run a vaguely securable and supported operating system?

My thoughts on multimedia
by Jamin Gray on Tue 9th Nov 2004 22:19 UTC

This is a huge problem for Linux and open source right now. And there is no easy solution. While it's possible to play just about anything using mplayer or Totem and the right windows codecs, this isn't legal for many of us as it involves using unlicensed technology that is not free software. But what is the alternative when someone sends you a link to a quicktime or windows media video? I'm not going to just miss out or give some lame excuse about how I can't play it because it would involve using proprietary software. So I go download the plugins and make it work with mplayer or Totem. Combine that with mplayerplug-in and there has never been a video someone has thrown at me that I haven't been able to play on Linux.

But the problem still exists. Obviously we need to advocate the use of free codecs. Ogg Vorbis/Theora rock. But, the other formats aren't going to go away. Aside from some company like a Novell or a Real licensing the codecs for use with GStreamer, I'm not sure what the solution is.

I think the market will eventually solve the problem, while we continue to advocate free software, free codecs, and improve the "workarounds". Continue to improve Desktop Linux and the number of users will continue to grow at an alarming rate. At some point you reach a critical mass where people distributing content really really really want to make sure their content is viewable by that mass. And they'll find a way to do just that.

And go Ogg!

@BBob
by Cosmo on Tue 9th Nov 2004 22:23 UTC

> The Dmix thing, on the other hand, is right on the money. I hate playing the "guess which
> process holds the sound card" game.

To ease your pain a little bit: lsof /dev/dsp

hmmm
by Esper on Tue 9th Nov 2004 22:27 UTC

1) gFTP has always worked fine for me and has a great interface. If you say its buggy, I will believe you though. Command line ftp clients always work.

2) Mplayer and totem/xine have always worked for me. I never watch quicktime trialers though.

3) Video chat in Aim was only recently introduced, and it sucks. Gnomemeeting is much better for video chat. Gaim is better than any windows im client, expecting it to support three different video protocols seems a bit picky.

4) I thought gnome pilot was good for palms, but I don't have one so I will take your word for it.

5) I will take your word for it

6) Im guessing Xpaint and Kpaint are too simple and the Gimp to advanced. Seems a bit picky for free apps.

7) Linux works fine with wifi, even my windows using friend was able to get ndis wrapper to work with his wifi. And most home users do not need an easy way to create a bridge with wifi. It is a nice feature in windows xp, but you can't measure everything by windows xp.

8) Use debian, but in general you are right.

9) ACPI works fine on any desktop I have tried, but on laptops it can be a problem.

10) Defintly a problem, thats why I have a SB live.

@Eugenia
by Cosmo on Tue 9th Nov 2004 22:27 UTC

I find it amazing that you -- as the maintainer of this site -- are not totally fed up with ``missing features in desktop linux''-articles.

RE: hmmm
by Eugenia on Tue 9th Nov 2004 22:30 UTC

>7) Linux works fine with wifi, even my windows using friend was able to get ndis wrapper to work with his wifi.

My wifi works too. What I said that I need is "sharing internet". Most people only have one computer, so that ain't a problem. But I have 14. ;)

DVD Burning...
by Jacques Mony on Tue 9th Nov 2004 22:30 UTC

Well, the only thing that prevents me from moving all my computers is DVD burning software. Nero, PowerProducer, Easy Media Creator, etc. They rock. No, I won't run them in wine!

RE: DVD Burning...
by Eugenia on Tue 9th Nov 2004 22:32 UTC

hmm, I thought K3B could do most of the DVD burning stuff? (except of course some good DVD video creation with menus)

a couple apps
by Mike on Tue 9th Nov 2004 22:32 UTC

Eugenia..

1) i know you're not a fan of KDE apps.. but you might wanna look at Kasablanca (an FTP client)... it's still in development, but I've found early versions to be both stable and relatively uncluttered interface-wise..... It reminds me of oldschool versions of CuteFTP... simple, but quite functional.

2) I use GNOME desktop, but I've found Kaffiene (w/ Xine back-end) integrates pretty nicely... especially when using FireFox in place of Epiphany.. I've had no troubles viewing online footage... Movie previews from quicktime, etc...

I agree with everything else you said.

=)~

on the article
by AdamW on Tue 9th Nov 2004 22:33 UTC

Having read the article, the only thing I can say is that if what we need for Linux to succeed in business is binary driver loaders, peer-to-peer networking and some kind of Unified Library Standard (hint to author - recompiling for different distributions does *not* involve changing the source itself in any way, and in any case your vendor does it for you), I hope to God no distro I use ever goes after the business desktop...

RE: Windows works
by Anton Klotz on Tue 9th Nov 2004 22:37 UTC

Hello,

maybe I'm just stupid, but did you ever did that in WinXP:

1. Try to copy one harddrive to another one and make that one bootable
2. If you have a Wi-Fi network and want to share one directory with passwort protection, is there an easy way of doing it?
3. The first time I've started Outlook on my companies computer, it crashed, WinXP crashed as well, now everytime I want to start Outlook it complains something about missing mail account and refuses to start.
4. USB stick which works perfectly with Win2000 and Mac refuses to work with WinXP

The consequences are that the only thing I do with my WinXP computer is to print out Microsoft Office documents and browse some IntraNet applications, which do not work with Mozilla. I love my MacOSX box at home and my Sun box at work.

Just my 0.02 pence,

Anton

@eugenia:
by AdamW on Tue 9th Nov 2004 22:38 UTC

Please tell me you have a router. ;)

biggest issue
by testbed on Tue 9th Nov 2004 22:39 UTC

the biggest issue is see here is really the sound card complaint which is right on the money.

something like 74% of the sound cards is mass or semi-mass circulation do not support hardware mixing in linux, and dmix is a cludge. how about a standard software mixer build into the alsa system, which only deactivates when their is a hardware mixer available.

reasonably legit points on everything else.

writer is correct about asthetics! if a program looks like crap and is hard to use because of a busy appearance without merrit, then their is a problem. the Gimp is getting better and better, and i think that it is just a few minor or maybee 1 major version from being incredible(Gimp3.0!!) photoshop is quite a bit easier to use until you really learn where everything is in gimp. photoshop also just looks better, more polished, but again, just a matter of time.

RE: @eugenia:
by Eugenia on Tue 9th Nov 2004 22:41 UTC

>Please tell me you have a router. ;)

I do. A LinkSys one. I used to route all that through a FreeBSD box, running on an AMD K6 400 Mhz, 64 MB RAM, 1.7 GB drive. Then, the linksys router came along (with wi-fi support along with plain ethernet) and so DHCP ruled the house since then.
However, there's not an easy way to do this for Bluetooth devices too (it's doable using a linux/bsd as a server and a bluetooth Class 1 dongle, but it's lots of cli work) ;)

@eugenia:
by AdamW on Tue 9th Nov 2004 22:48 UTC

ah, I see now - well, that sounds like quite an ambitious thing to work on, I think maybe the other points should take priority ;)

@Eugenia
by somebody on Tue 9th Nov 2004 22:48 UTC

1. gftp is reliable enough, never had problems, but I still more and more often use nautilus, but I guess you have your own reasons

2. As soon as you pay for these codecs for developers to get IP rights to distribute them. Those cannot be included in any distribution or free software, because THEY AREN'T FREE

6. Simpler interface??? You mean like Photoshop. No thanks, some of us have more than 1&1/2 monitor. Personally, I've got 3 on every box. And interface like you wish would screw 70% of my productivity. You can still buy Pixel32 (but I don't recomend that. Version I tried crashed a lot and after I bought it I never received serial)

7. As for bluetooth, it was way more simple than on Windows (v525). As for wireless, ok kernel module and netapplet. Again easier to use than on Windows. As for sharing, well this is a firewall setting and I don't think it should be available in user mode.

8. Most of the times when API breaks, there's a really good reason behind it. Most of developers understand these facts. Other should use yum, apt, emerge or anything else but compiling

Question: How do you dispose software for being ughly (cinelerra)??? Is software less functional then??? My best guess is that Office 2003, Quark,... is complately unfunctional if I take your thinking (they all look but ughly).

Aesthetics
by Thom Holwerda on Tue 9th Nov 2004 22:54 UTC

I see many people here dissing Eugenia over the fact that she finds aesthetics important-- I just wish to say that I agree with her. Aesthetics certainly do influence the satisfaction one has with an application. And no, I'm not pulling this from the air; I study psychology (brag brag ;) ), and stuff like this is also a major part of that study (talking to people on a couch represents 10% or so ;) ).

It's the same with windows (the real ones): people will work harder in offices with windows, than in offices with less or no windows.

RE: @Eugenia
by Eugenia on Tue 9th Nov 2004 22:55 UTC

> Those cannot be included in any distribution or free software, because THEY AREN'T FREE

Who said ANYTHING about "included in distros"? I just said that they DON'T WORK as expected with all the videos out there.

>As for bluetooth, it was way more simple than on Windows

Huh???

>As for sharing, well this is a firewall setting and I don't think it should be available in user mode.

You obviously don't have a clue what you are talking about.

>Most of the times when API breaks, there's a really good reason behind it.

I disagree. The user should be among everyone else. Keeping compatibility is a good "business" decision. Yes, there should be some few times where things would break, but if it happens all that often, then something is really wrong with the whole thing.

>How do you dispose software for being ughly (cinelerra)??? Is software less functional then???

Yes, I can't STAND looking at it. It doesn't function to me as it should do if it looks the way it is.

RE: @Eugenia
by Eugenia on Tue 9th Nov 2004 22:59 UTC

s/among/above "everyone else".

ugly
by Esper on Tue 9th Nov 2004 23:00 UTC

I agree with eugenia on the ugly thing...Its why I cannot use KDE or windows.

@Thom
by somebody on Tue 9th Nov 2004 23:01 UTC

Aesthetics and usability are two completely unrelated subjects. (No need for psychology here). But satisfaction mostly comes with work being done. Eye candy loses its charm after 1 hour or so, after that everything just as normal as anything else.

btw. Eye candy is mostly a major stopper for functionality, it is mostly CPU burner and nothing else. Try one thing for instance. Take OSX, set dock icons to enlarge on mouse over and start top. Whenever you move mouse over dock CPU gets 95% of usage. All bottom runing applications slow down.

Agree on surrounding environment though.

Hm
by ralph on Tue 9th Nov 2004 23:02 UTC

I agree with a lot of the points, what I don't agree with is (for the lack of a better word) the attitute.

So you are complaining that a good graphical ftp client is missing, though it isn't missing at all you just don't want to use kde apps. (Btw. konqueror should also handle these things just fine) Not very convincing. Now if you want to complain about the lack of a good graphical ftp client for gnome, you might have a point. (Though gftp always worked for me the few times I used it).

About the codecs. All I can say is that mplayer and the mplayerplug-in work for me. They really do and I even was able to watch the Star Wars trailer without any crashes. (Considering how much I disliked the new star wars episodes a crash wouldn't have been to bad anyway:).
And using konqueror with either kmplayer or kaffeine as plugins is really a joy.
You shouldn't take your personal experience as the only messure here.

To sum it up, you are right on a lot of points, but your refusal to even look at kde seriously doesn't imho give you the needed perspective to comment on the state of the linux desktop (at least it doesn't help) and taking your own personal experiences (I had a problem, therefore linux is not ready) isn't very convincing either. You write that you never had a problem with Windows XP. Fine for you, but I always had trouble with my Windows installs. Bad luck, my fault, who knows, but me saying that Windows is unuseable because of my troubles would be silly, wouldn't it?

RE: Hm
by Eugenia on Tue 9th Nov 2004 23:07 UTC

> though it isn't missing at all you just don't want to use kde apps.

No, I use the ones that I need to use (as I said, K3B and KOffice). But, KBear is just... unbearable. I mean, look at it! Plus, it hasn't been updated over a year, I don't even think it compiles cleanly with the new compilers/KDE/Qt.

As for the mplayer plugin, I have the latest version and either:
1. The Quicktime trailers at apple.com will work, but without sound (Totem can play them with sound btw)
2. In some older trailers, like SW II, mplayer plugin would crash. Maybe it ain't so for you, but that's how it is for me.
3. I can't play most new video clips from windowsmedia.com while launch.yahoo.com doesn't let me play them either!

As you can see, my experience has been less than great with these two specific points.

@Eugenia
by somebody on Tue 9th Nov 2004 23:11 UTC

I just said that they DON'T WORK as expected with all the videos out there

How could they if you haven't paid IP rights for developers:) If not, then you should bug M$ for WMP and Apple for QtP (Linux versions)

You obviously don't have a clue what you are talking about

You said (share internet connection with other wi-fi or bluetooth devices). Believe me, I know about it.

Whenever we discussed anything, it was always the same thing. You work on common kitchen environment (that's what I call small networks, I believe you said Mac, PC and now Clie (if I count that one too)), while I work on real production environment (12 computers at home is the smallest network).

Yes, I can't STAND looking at it. It doesn't function to me as it should do if it looks the way it is.

Just currious, how do you stand reading your own page then???

mplayer/mepis
by Anonymous on Tue 9th Nov 2004 23:15 UTC

Eugenia, the only luck I've ever had with mplayer is with SimplyMepis 2004.4 (yes Quicktime.com/trailers have sound, yes to all your other complaints, yes it will work in Opera if you install libmotif3). And I would use that distro if I didn't like Xandros so much...I wonder if there's a way to copy the package over or something.

All the other mplayer packages I've used otherwise fail on one of those 3 points.

@Alien Soldier
by KadyMae on Tue 9th Nov 2004 23:17 UTC

you can't see quicktime or windows file? Just stop using them!>>

What other widely used streaming video formats are there? Real Player? Okay, but that's proprietary, too.

Where I work, I need to take a series of tutorials. The tutiorials are all in flash with supplemental real media or windows media files.

These formats are used because they are supported by the most widely used desktops and browsers. They are the standards.

So, what else is there? What browsers support it? And does the program I use to create it run on Windows or either flavor of Mac OS? Is it stable? Does it have customer support?

ftp clients
by Esper on Tue 9th Nov 2004 23:19 UTC

On this page are several linux ftp clients, graphical and otherwise. Linux has plenty of ftp clients.

http://www.usinglinux.org/ftp/

> How could they if you haven't paid IP rights for developers:) If not, then you should bug M$ for WMP and Apple for QtP (Linux versions)

You have completely lost the plot. I don't care if MS/Apple are going to port their apps or we have to use mplayer codecs forever. What I am after is a SOLUTION that works. Be it one way or another. I don't mind which solution, just a solution. Remember, the article is about what I need before I can switch to Unix, it's not about mplayer in particular, it's about "whatever works for me, it's good enough".

> how do you stand reading your own page then???

Why are you still here then? Troll.

And use a correct header instead of "@eugenia".

Dear Eugenia
by sLiCeR on Tue 9th Nov 2004 23:20 UTC

° Gimp 2.X is fine here (Interface has its own phylosophy, its not so bad)

° GFTP is working great here (much faster then FlashFXP for ex.)

° Mplayer plays EVERYTHING here, even .bin-files without repacking/mounting (i hated using ISObuster all the time)

° Scanning with XSANE is a charm! (my Scanner blocked Win totally while scanning -- EPP, no DMA -- on Linux it takes 100% CPU also but i can keep doing anything...)

... many more i wouldn't agree with you. But, I dislike the QT-GUI also ;)

RE: somebody
by Thom Holwerda on Tue 9th Nov 2004 23:21 UTC

Aesthetics and usability are two completely unrelated subjects.

That is simply not true. I'm not saying that improved aesthetics will undoubtedly improve useability-- but to say that they are two unrelated things is just... Ignorant.

RE: Hm
by ralph on Tue 9th Nov 2004 23:22 UTC

Why don't you give konqueror a try for ftp?

About mplayer. It really works for me and I never had any problem whatsoever viewing the trailers at apple.com and I do that quite often.

You could also try the kaffeine plugin for mozilla. I think it simply opens kaffeine, so you won't get to see the movie embedded iirc, but I'm using konqueror with kaffeine (in this case it really acts as a plugin) and it really works like a charm.

@ somebody
by KadyMae on Tue 9th Nov 2004 23:23 UTC

Aesthetics and usability are two completely unrelated subjects.>

Never never say that to an industrial psychologist. ;)

@AlienSoldier
by Luke McCarthy on Tue 9th Nov 2004 23:33 UTC

the real problem is that it was a catchup project. it was made to be a unix on PC, free of charge.

Topical quote: "We are nauseated by the despicable sloth that, ever since the 1970's, has let our programmers survive only through an incessant reprogramming of the glories of the past."

Now that no more unix is around they are catching up from windows and Mac. Think windows is better, not at all as they copy apple, be and linux also. This is what bring the post C64 era of BORING!!! computer.

I agree. Modern computers are boring once you disconnect them from the Internet (which is not so boring).

What if ftp is not good, the WHOLE internet TCP stuff is broken. Linux community should try to push free internet by doing a new protocol. Ho crap it's true, nobody do hardware now so they could not do custom modem. That is because company stoped to sell easy to get electronic part at finguer scale. So we get a generation of mechanics lost because they can't fix car and the one that could help them with electronics can't because it's too much integrated now ;)

I am a first year doing CS. I am reminded of a recent lecture hearing the praises of TCP/IP sung. I'm pretty neutral with my opinion to this but I certainly have ideas in my head of new modernised network protocols. But moving TCP/IP will be like moving a mountain ;-) <Protocol X> over IP is an option.

I wish I could make my own hardware. The barrier to entry is too high. But even if we stick to 70s/80s level hardware, where does anyone start? There's a deep knowledge gap.

You see, we are in a dead end with computers. Those that don't want to see it are in serious denial. Just read stuff from computer history since early 1920 and up and you will see that current "advance" are more a building of fortification to trap ourself in an evolutive dead end.

I often get that feeling.

you can't see quicktime or windows file? Just stop using them! Every body hate to resort to many media player that don't offer anything different from each other. Support open system, and when you create one include content protection option so that nobody would complain it lack stuff other system have.

And how long until this happens, if ever? If we really want to view that Quicktime movie then we need Windows or OS X or the dodgy codec pack. Dirac looks promising but I'm not holding my breath.

Bring back the OS on a floppy, the 1 wire protocol... stuff like that. Sure sometime cool stuff is made, but most of the time it's to fix a problem that should not even be there in the first place. All those created-by-and-for-computers problem act like noise that screw the "mother of inventivity is creativity" moto. So we got LOT of bright individual having trouble to identify the real problems.

How hard is it to get an OS on a floppy? It amazes me that people can write so much code that they can fill a floppy. Many programmers try to be too general and indirect (running on 10+ architectures from microcontroller to supercomputer... pointless). There are too many standards to catch up with so that you can talk to the rest of the world, before you even get started designing new stuff (check out http://www.cs.bell-labs.com/who/rob/utah2000.pdf for more thoughts on this). The myriad of different hardware devices, that are very poorly documented and over-complicated, is another horrible barrier.

I've never heard of the "1-wire protocol" (except when I've seen it in 'make menuconfig'). Will Google for that later.

FTP GUI being one as it should never have been an app but an extention of the file system, itself a problem because we should never have transposed the file methaphore in the first place.

Too true...

Everybody curse flat screwdriver, yet we always buy them in screwdriver kit. Because we have them they make stuff screw with flat head... in the end we all get screw.

Vicious cycle, isn't it?

About MPlayer
by KadyMae on Tue 9th Nov 2004 23:34 UTC

I run MPlayer on my computer at home.

I downloaded it back when Mordorsoft's WMP for OS X was so far behind, it wouldn't play new WMP files at all.

I got about 80% good results. The other 20 percent of the time I got picture but no sound, or sound and glitchy picture.

I was reasonably impressed, but still frustrated. But, finally, MS has an WMP player that works with the current codec, and I'm back to playback that works 100% of the time.

But, were I somebody who needed reliable WMP playback to do my job ... I'd have reservations about going MPlayer only.

KBear is an FTP client?
by Lumbergh on Tue 9th Nov 2004 23:35 UTC

Bahaha...it's more busy than KDevelop....which has a right to be "busy".

@eugenia
by Luke McCarthy on Tue 9th Nov 2004 23:40 UTC

And use a correct header instead of "@eugenia".

And give up years of grand OS News tradition? ;-)

@Thom
by somebody on Tue 9th Nov 2004 23:41 UTC

That is simply not true. I'm not saying that improved aesthetics will undoubtedly improve useability-- but to say that they are two unrelated things is just... Ignorant.

Nope, what aesthetics improves is not usability (if software is aesthetic that doesn't mean that this software takes the right path for work to be done in the most efficient way). But on the other hand it improves first impression (yeah, the screenshot mania) and partialy learning curve (for example, if software art was made by artist who knew what icon would best represent some feature).

Re: KBear is an FTP client?
by Luke McCarthy on Tue 9th Nov 2004 23:43 UTC

KBear is shockingly disgraceful. I normally use the built-in KIO thing in Konqueror.

KDevelop....which has a right to be "busy".

Hardly! It's only a glorified editor/compiler invoker. Not rocket science.

Video stuff and Wine
by tanstaafl on Tue 9th Nov 2004 23:45 UTC

I apologize if this has already been answered, but I'm running out the door and don't have time to read all the replies.

The CodeWeavers CrossOver Plugin will let you install Windows Media Player and Apple Quicktime. I've not used it in a long time, but I suppose they keep track of the latest versions.

My machine is too slow to really use the software (original Athlon 600, speedy 5 years ago), but I suspect Eugenia has some beefy hardware that can handle it.

Yes, it is for-pay software, but if access to the codecs is your issue, this is the only legitimate way. I use mplayer, personally, but I can understand if you don't like the codec packs for it.

Usability/aesthetics sub-discussion
by Luke McCarthy on Tue 9th Nov 2004 23:46 UTC

Maybe: a usable program must have good aesthetics, but a program with good aesthetics isn't necessarily usable.

More Professional Design
by enloop on Tue 9th Nov 2004 23:49 UTC

Gnome and KDE are working and looking better, but they aren't working and looking good enough. XFCE is OK, but just about every other window manager looks like it was designed by, well, an engineer.


Quicktime with sound in Totem?
by [:] on Tue 9th Nov 2004 23:56 UTC

How, please?

@Luke McCarthy
by somebody on Tue 9th Nov 2004 23:57 UTC

Maybe: a usable program must have good aesthetics, but a program with good aesthetics isn't necessarily usable.

Nice way to put it ;) But, here's best example: Quark4 is completely different. Usable and butt ughly. Some DTP people are prepared to kill you if you say something bad about Q4
Maya, Illustrator, Blender,... no fancy interface and very usable. Personally, most visualy pleasing interface was MacOS9 with its simple consistancy almost everywhere (repeat after me: there's no Fetch, there's no Fetch, there...)

My take
by Lumbergh on Wed 10th Nov 2004 00:01 UTC

...for Gnome.

(1) Not really your average "desktop" user issue, but a decent IDE. I love vim as much as the next Unix-head, but at the end of the day, it's just a text editor. Anjuta doesn't cut it...development is stalled, even though I hear there is some kind of 2.0 "in the works"

(2) Get Gpdf working properly. I read a lot of technical documents and even though Xpfd does work, it doesn't really fit in with the rest of the desktop and it's interface way too spartan.

(3) Get wxWidget library packages updated using gtk+ 2.x. There are a lot of utilities that use wxWidgets and just look like ass with the default gtk+1.2 build. Ubuntu seems to be pretty bleeding-edge and it still ships with wxWidgets built with gtk+1.2

Two and three are minimal issues. One is a much bigger issue.

some comments
by hobgoblin on Wed 10th Nov 2004 00:06 UTC

hmm, slack or arch, eugenia, your makeing this way to difficult for yourself ;)

as for kadymae's statement about windows media and quicktime being standards. there are two types of standards, real standards and de-facto standars. the last one is what those two codecs are and in my view de-facto standards are a pain in the ass as they enable lock-in...

@Luke McCarthy
by Lumbergh on Wed 10th Nov 2004 00:06 UTC

Hardly! It's only a glorified editor/compiler invoker. Not rocket science.

99.999% of all software is hardly rocket science, but KDevelop is more than a glorified editor/compiler invoker. It's got its own C/C++ parser as well as other parsers to do real-time code-completion(and maybe refactoring stuff in the future).

It's a lot more non-trivial to do a proper language-agnostic IDE with a decent plugin system than to do a freaking ftp client.

Why revisit this?
by Anonymous on Wed 10th Nov 2004 00:07 UTC

Seems like with every cycle of distro releases we need to revisit the Linux desktop arguements. Is Fedora Core 3 really THAT much better than core 2 that we must again re-evaluate the entire state of Linux desktop again. I downloaded it and still need to install it, but my uess is no. We still have a very very long way to go.

WIndows Working? Not on my laptop!
by Anonymous on Wed 10th Nov 2004 00:08 UTC

So i bought a used VAIO PCG-GR270P, it didn't include the Windows Restore discs, so I decided to run linux on it. I threw gentoo on, it works...just as I expected it to.

I throw Windows 2000 on it and it doesn't work. The video drivers do not recognize the card (ati radeon mobile), ATI's drivers don't recognize the card, my sound card doesn't work (ac97 based soundcard), my ethernet doesn't work (eepro100)...

So basically, windows sucks on this laptop. Sony sucks for not allowing drivers to be downloaded from their website for this unit, and Linux looks like it's the real winner of them all. Sorry, but windows 2k, XP and 2k3 are the losers here, they just don't work.

@eugenia
by i_code_too_much on Wed 10th Nov 2004 00:08 UTC

FTP:

Some have said it but I'll say it again. Konqueror is great for ftp. In fact, all kde apps can save/retrieve files anywhere by using the ftp:// protocol or by sftp:// protocol which is safer. Konqueror makes it look like you're accessing any local directory on your computer.

Given two computers on a network, it's so easy to use sftp:// to transfer files between them provided you have a user account on each.
But you don't use kde and to fire up konqueror in gnome takes too long beacause it loads all those kdelibs.

Multimedia:

I'm using suse 9.1 enhanced with apt, so I have
w32codec, and libxine1 from pacman. I don't have any problems with wma,wmv or quicktime. Kaffeine and Totem are good video plalyers when they use the libxine. However they are still not as stable as xine-ui. Now RealPlayer10 finally works for Linux. I wish RealOne would be ported to Linux though. I need the RealOne in order to subscribe to video services such as the one offered by uefa.com or cnn.com.

ACPI: Right on. They've been working on this for a long time and it doesn't still doesn't work for my laptop. In fact, my laptop has been blacklisted. I really believe the hardware vendors need to be involved with this or it will never work out of the box for any laptop.


I am quite happy...
by Anonymous Penguin on Wed 10th Nov 2004 00:08 UTC

I am actually quite satisfied with the status of the linux desktop.
Only, sometimes some apps work with one distro and don't with another.
My solution? I dual boot between Debian and SuSe: no broken windows here, LOL.
Only one issue is annoying me at the moment: my Nvidia Geforce4 Ti 4200 doesn't work quite right with the latest Nvidia drivers: no full screen games. I posted in the Nvidia forum but I didn't get much help.

FTP Features
by Richi on Wed 10th Nov 2004 00:10 UTC

Which features of FTP do you need?

RE: FTP Features
by Eugenia on Wed 10th Nov 2004 00:11 UTC

Basic things, that all ftp clients have. I just need it to be 100% RELIABLE and not look like a$$.

Re:
by Sérgio Machado on Wed 10th Nov 2004 00:13 UTC

In this order:

1. gFTP bugy ? damm what user you are ? Never had problems with gFTP

2. Windows Media Player doesn't respect protocols, like their other products. I use mplayer never had problems, gxine works as well, and their are other cool clones.

3. gNOME messenger have suport for video card's. If you are linux user why don't you use gnome messneger ? I use gnomeicu and amsn, and they work fine for me.

4. I have ac97, works fine here ...

5. I am not cineastic

6. Gimp is cool

7. Well here you have a lot of reason. Wireless support for amd64 is a mess.

8. Use gentoo ;) emerge -uDav ;) solve your problem

9. My acpi laptop is working great. ATI is a mess. Problem is from ati support drivers.

10. I have a palm bot not teste can't comment.

I have gentoo in a amd64 3000+ laptop, ati radeon 9700 mobile.

Ati glx not support yet, it's a problem of ATI support team.

Wireless i have compiled rt2500 driver sucessfully, but for 64b it's very buggy.

This are the 2 big problems for amd64 with 64b compile.


In my 32b desktop i have sucessfully reach my objectivs and not report any problem

Features
by [:] on Wed 10th Nov 2004 00:15 UTC

Honestly, I'd imagine most people don't use many if any of the features Eugenia requested.

"1. A *reliable* graphical FTP client. gFTP is buggy (I almost buggered up some osnews ftp files once while trying upload using drag-n-drop), Nautilus/vfs doesn't cut it, and KBear looks really ugly and uneeded busy (and hasn't been updated for over a year)."

Nautilus FTP should be enough for most people, although gFTP has been fine for my (limited, admittedly) usage. Plus, most people are never going to use FTP anyway.

"2. Windows Media & QuickTime. Sorry, but I need my regular dosage of movie trailers. Real Player works on Linux, but I need QT and WMV/WMA too (and please don't suggest the windows-codecs package for use with VLC/Xine/Mplayer and their browser plugins as these hardly work with what's out there)."

Windows Media/Quicktime is a big one, but to be honest, the only way I can see it being solved is through the proliferation of Theora and Vorbis.

"3. Audio & Video support for AIM/iChat, Y! & MSN in Gaim or Kopete (I need a multi-protocol app to handle these). I have three webcams here, I gotta use them. Gaim-vv is still alpha quality, and it isn't really part of Gaim's official line."

Audio/Video support for IM clients is currently a fringe need at best, although this may change in the future. Plus, work is already being done with GAIM-vv, which does plan to merge back with GAIM when ready. Rome wasn't built in a day.

"4. Alsa..."

The ALSA thing is a bit of an issue, by the sound (no pun intended) of it. However, I doubt many users will ever even notice or care.

"5. A good home video editor. Kino is closer than others, but still not there yet, plus it's easily crashable."

Home videos is another fringe pursuit. But once again, work is being done.

"6. A simpler interface for Gimp. Something like PaintShopPro's. Trying to do some basic image editing with Gimp is a nightmare. PSP's and Photoshop Element's interfaces are much more intuitive for simple stuff, Gimp's is simply not."

GIMP interface issues are really subjective, and I doubt many people will use it anyway, it's a specialised tool. For basic photo editing (red-eye reduction, cropping), such functions should be implemented in apps like F-Spot and the KDE equivalent.

"8. Library developers should not break their APIs too often. There's nothing more nerve wrecking than trying to satisfy deps by compiling them, and realize that your app doesn't compile because it needs this or other specific version of a library/header. Yuk."

Agreed - but it's all about sacrifices, progress versus compatibility. Users shouldn't need to compile their own apps anyway, and if they're using a half-decent distro, they don't.

"9. Better and more reliable ACPI support. Currently my ATi-based laptop does not awake with any distro I tried (and recent kernels with supposedly "fixed" acpi)."

Can't comment, although it seems fine in my experience.

"10. Better PalmOS and PocketPC synchronization software that work with the latest models and software (I got a new Clie). Something like "The Missing Sync" available for Mac."

Once again fringe. Too comment you'd have to be a little more specific as to what is wrong with the existing tools.

So most of those are either unfixable or being worked on.

RE: Re:
by Eugenia on Wed 10th Nov 2004 00:16 UTC

>Use gentoo ;) emerge -uDav ;) solve your problem

I hate gentoo. I tried it.

>Problem is from ati support drivers.

I do not use ATi's drivers. I use Xorg's.

> I have ac97, works fine here ...

So what? There are many ac97 models.

>gNOME messenger have suport for video card's.

Huh?

Footnote
by [:] on Wed 10th Nov 2004 00:17 UTC

That "Too" should naturally read "To", and in conclusion, the free desktop meets the needs of the majority of users.

RE: Features
by Eugenia on Wed 10th Nov 2004 00:17 UTC

> The ALSA thing is a bit of an issue, by the sound (no pun intended) of it. However, I doubt many users will ever even notice or care.

Trust me, it's a huge problem

Re: i_code_too_much (IP: ---.dyn.columbia.edu)
by ralph on Wed 10th Nov 2004 00:21 UTC

Just a short note about kde apps taking a long time to start outside of kde.

I always hated this problem but now I finally found the solution. Simply run kdeinit when starting up your DE/WM of choice (for example my gnome-session starts kdeinit) and the problem is solved.

Linux is...
by lol on Wed 10th Nov 2004 00:24 UTC

A amateur technological testbed.

It will *NEVER* be ready for the desktop, like Windows. NEVER. I wish people would realise this, the quicker everyone uses OSX or Windows.

The better.

Oops..
by lol on Wed 10th Nov 2004 00:26 UTC

Make 'like windows' 'unlike Windows' in the above post.

Better battery life with linux
by a320 on Wed 10th Nov 2004 00:29 UTC

Battery life with linux laptops stink.

With Windows XP, my HP nc4000 can get 3.5-4hrs on a single charge.

In comparison, Linux on the HP nc4000 gets about 1.5 to 2 hrs.

Why the big diff?

@lumbergh:
by AdamW on Wed 10th Nov 2004 00:34 UTC

Mandrake ships with wx 2.x and wx-using apps (Audacity, etc) built against it. Prepared to like it yet? ;)

KDevelop etc.
by Luke McCarthy on Wed 10th Nov 2004 00:34 UTC

99.999% of all software is hardly rocket science, but KDevelop is more than a glorified editor/compiler invoker. It's got its own C/C++ parser as well as other parsers to do real-time code-completion(and maybe refactoring stuff in the future).

It's a lot more non-trivial to do a proper language-agnostic IDE with a decent plugin system than to do a freaking ftp client.


Why on Earth does it have a C++ parser in it? If the GNU guys had written GCC as a set of libraries rather than a bunch of command-line programs, KDevelop could have asked a GCC library to make it a nice syntax tree.

I don't see the value of code completion, but I won't argue if people like it. I suppose it would be useful if you have to deal with frameworks with lots of long names to remember.

[:]
by AdamW on Wed 10th Nov 2004 00:39 UTC

"Audio/Video support for IM clients is currently a fringe need at best,"

Haha. No, it's not. Do you live under a rock? Audio / video over IM is *hugely* popular. Thousands of people use it, and some of them even have clothes on.

I Remember Spring `98
by jgb_jgb on Wed 10th Nov 2004 00:42 UTC

I remember my p200 mmx with 32 mB sdram and internal graphic card with win98. i had redhat 6(maybe6,1) just to play with.
My tv card worked without hickups when channelbrowsing.

I watched a divx movie i downloaded from internet to my 3,2 gB disk and it played. also my vcd´s

now i sit on Athlon 2500 with 512 mB,fx5600 256mem and sometimes my computer slows and even crashes when playing video. it dualboots XP & Mandrake CE 10.1.

My compro card works in both xp & Mandrake but channel browsing isnt faster och smoother.

something is wrong with the hardware manufacturers or the software developers.

hello from stockholm/sweden



Response to Eugenia
by sindre on Wed 10th Nov 2004 00:42 UTC

1. A *reliable* graphical FTP client.
Every single KDE app inherently supports ftp and a heap of other network protocols transparantly. That's all I need at least.

2. Windows Media & QuickTime.
mplayer-plugin and kaffeine-plugin works for me on everything I've tried it with, maybe I've just been lucky.

4. Alsa needs to fix their architecture and/or drivers to automatically include a software mixer if the hardware doesn't have one.
I agree, although I don't think you're completely right regarding dmix. Dmix supposedly works on every application supporting alsa. In other words it also works through arts, gstreamer, esd, jack etc. The only apps that doesn't work are apps using the old OSS api (some may work through the aoss wrapper still). The default device is used on every alsa-aware app unless something is very broken with that app. Dmix isn't that great anyway though, since sound that's not on dmix' selected frequency often sounds bad and makes things slower.

9. Better and more reliable ACPI support.
You probably already know, but this is generally hardware producers' fault, since they compile their ACPI-data with Microsoft's broken ACPI-compiler which doesn't follow the ACPI-standard correctly.


"I do not like KDE apps. They all look too busy and ugly."
I disagree somewhat. I think KDE can be quite clean and look nice.
Screenshot: http://home.tussa.com/iaamaas/screenshots/skjermbilde16.png

RE: Features
by RRR on Wed 10th Nov 2004 00:42 UTC

All your 'fringe' areas (home video, audio, syncing to phones/pdas/ipods) are the exact areas that Apple is betting will be the future of personal computing.

@lol:
by AdamW on Wed 10th Nov 2004 00:46 UTC

That's funny, Linux has been running on all my desktops for three years. I'm not a hacker. I just read webpages, play games, write emails. You know. Desktop stuff.

[:] - further to my above post, as Eugenia says, the sound issue IS a huge problem. For instance - play an MP3 in xmms or something. Now run your webbrowser and go to a site with a movie trailer, or a flash game, or something like that. You won't get any audio from it. Trust me, normal users do this kind of thing ALL THE TIME. Same with the Palm sync issue - so far as American professional users go, it's a big issue. They've all got Palms. If you don't believe me, go to the nearest office building and stand in the lobby for a few hours.

@a320: you probably don't have CPU frequency scaling turned on in Linux.

RE: Response to Eugenia
by Eugenia on Wed 10th Nov 2004 00:48 UTC

> Dmix supposedly works on every application supporting alsa. In other words it also works through arts, gstreamer, esd, jack etc. The only apps that doesn't work are apps using the old OSS api (some may work through the aoss wrapper still).

Yes, these apps work through dmix, and only after yuo configure them to do so (which I find terrible experience for the user to do alsa scripting just to get mixing). Please note that Arts is not really working well with dmix (I had huge problems with some kde apps). But there are also many-many other apps that use alsa directly. These apps, including Ogle, ReZound, VLC etc etc, can't be configured and so they just don't play sounds if another app is using the current sound device.

And the aoss wrapper doesn't always work. It works with Real Player indeed, but not with all oss apps. E.g. Hydrogen doesn't work.

In other words, I have in my menus a number of apps that just don't work properly.

My point is that Alsa should have had an *automatic/transaprent* solution for the sound cards without hardware mixing. Mixing should have been taken care from the framework and be transparent to all alsa/oss-emulated apps.

@luke
by Anonymous on Wed 10th Nov 2004 00:49 UTC

"Why on Earth does it have a C++ parser in it? If the GNU guys had written GCC as a set of libraries rather than a bunch of command-line programs, KDevelop could have asked a GCC library to make it a nice syntax tree. "

this shows that you dont understand the gcc or kdevelop architecture. simply put you cannot do this with any compiler

the value of code completion is HUGE

***
by ddd on Wed 10th Nov 2004 00:52 UTC

1)ftp client as it said before : KASABLANCA http://kasablanca.berlios.de/screenshots.html
2)totaly disagree in this situation windows is just a mess , in last few months only one file xine couldn't play.
3)agreed
4)no problem here.
5)never needed one.
6)never used gimp.
7)wifi work perfectly well but on windows still failing (waiting for support answers).
8)agreed
9)again hardware manfactures problems it's just matter of time things get better.
10)i also want a new one.

some points correct some points are gnome problems and not desktop linux problems , but never the less nothing is a stopper. other os (and windows too) has there share of problems too.

RE: AdamW
by Eugenia on Wed 10th Nov 2004 00:53 UTC

> For instance - play an MP3 in xmms or something. Now run your webbrowser and go to a site with a movie trailer, or a flash game, or something like that. You won't get any audio from it.

Exactly!!! In fact, just now you reminded me, that the www.macromedia.com page would NOT FULLY LOAD here a few weeks ago, if XMMS was playing a song (because of Flash that couldn't access the sound device currently used by xmms)!!!!! This is terrible desktop usability, and this is why the mixing thing should be fixed ASAP by the alsa project, in a really transparent way.

My responses
by grammar bolshevik on Wed 10th Nov 2004 00:55 UTC

1. Konqueror.

2. The mplayer codecs have always worked perfectly for me; in combination with mplayerplug-in it's perfect.

If somehow that's not good enough, Quicktime works great in Wine. I watch videos in Quicktime/Crossover daily.

3. Using IM for video/audio chatting is stupid; a dedicated program does a much better job. There are plenty of such dedicated programs, many compatible with Windows.

4. I've never had a problem with this - there are userspace solutions like arts.

6. So use Kolourpaint.

RE: My responses
by Eugenia on Wed 10th Nov 2004 00:57 UTC

>4. I've never had a problem with this - there are userspace solutions like arts.

You are missing the point and you don't understand the problem. The mixer I am talking about is from a lower level. The Arts mixer will only work for arts apps. If I load xmms, or real player, these would still not work.

>1. Konqueror.

I hate konqueror more than anything in this world. It's lets-do-it-all.

RE:@lol by AdamW
by grammar bolshevik on Wed 10th Nov 2004 00:58 UTC

"For instance - play an MP3 in xmms or something. Now run your webbrowser and go to a site with a movie trailer, or a flash game, or something like that. You won't get any audio from it. Trust me, normal users do this kind of thing ALL THE TIME. "

Uh, I do this all the time, it works great. Using XMMS, konqueror with flash, mplayer with movies, xawtv, all at the same time, get all the sound.

WTF?

Architecture--
by Luke McCarthy on Wed 10th Nov 2004 01:00 UTC

this shows that you dont understand the gcc or kdevelop architecture. simply put you cannot do this with any compiler

Of course you can't. It's monolithic and over-complicated. The view of what a compiler is or does is steeped in tradition. It's seen as realm of black magic. Nobody thinks about the problem deep enough to break it into smaller problems.

Are you saying it is impossible to write a library to take text source and return a syntax tree which KDevelop and such can use for whatever it uses it for? (What does it use it for, anyway?) OK, it may be very hard to do this uniformly with C++, but that's another story.

the value of code completion is HUGE

How so? Endulge me.

RE:@lol by AdamW
by Eugenia on Wed 10th Nov 2004 01:03 UTC

>WTF?

You simply use a sound card that has hardware mixing. Stop being so abrupt, you don't seem to understand the problem.

We are talking about the soundcards with no hardware mixing. And no, we can't get new sound cards, the problem is mostly with laptops.

Re: Oops (by lol)
by Anonymous Penguin on Wed 10th Nov 2004 01:04 UTC

Freudian slip, perhaps? (LOL)

RE:My Responses
by grammar bolshevik on Wed 10th Nov 2004 01:05 UTC

"You are missing the point and you don't understand the problem. The mixer I am talking about is from a lower level. The Arts mixer will only work for arts apps. If I load xmms, or real player, these would still not work."

You can wrap any app, including xmms or realplayer, with artswrapper and they will automatically work with arts. This is how the applications are automatically launched from the kde menu or quicklaunch buttons so a user need never worry about it.

"I hate konqueror more than anything in this world. It's lets-do-it-all."

You misunderstand konqueror. It follows the unix philosophy of small programs doing one thing well. All konqueror is is a graphical terminal, in which various other programs can be piped: whether khtml, the file browser, kword, kwrite -- any kpart, essentially.

Thus, rather than monolithic programs like Gnome generates, kde programs don't duplicate code, and one app handles everything regarding one task, so that any improvements made go everywhere automatically -- all the benefits of the small-program-one-task paradigm.

So konqueror is the opposite of monolithic behemoths that say "lets-do-it-all": essentially it does absolutely NOTHING.

Anyway, since ftp is a kioslave, it's not that konqueror is KDE's ftp client, so much as ftp is transparently accessible throughout all kde apps. You can open, edit, and save files directly from an ftp server in any kde app, whether kedit or Quanta or Kolourpaint or what have you. The whole desktop is an ftp client, as it were. The same for SSH and samba and the rest.

@Luke
by Lumbergh on Wed 10th Nov 2004 01:08 UTC

Why on Earth does it have a C++ parser in it? If the GNU guys had written GCC as a set of libraries rather than a bunch of command-line programs, KDevelop could have asked a GCC library to make it a nice syntax tree.


Get a clue. It's not KDE's fault that Stallman is an asshat and explicitly insisted that the parsers not be ripped out into a proper library.

The value of code completion is huge because it's 2004 and API are huge. Would you rather be searching through freaking webpages or books or have a nice little popup along with an associated documentation popup.

The value of a full-blown parser gets even more interesting when you look at the nifty things that IDEs like Eclipse and IDEA can do...like refactoring (very tricky for C++ though).

Clue got
by Luke McCarthy on Wed 10th Nov 2004 01:18 UTC

The value of code completion is huge because it's 2004 and API are huge.

I agreed with that on my original post.

@lumberg
by Anonymous on Wed 10th Nov 2004 01:20 UTC

"
Get a clue. It's not KDE's fault that Stallman is an asshat and explicitly insisted that the parsers not be ripped out into a proper library.
"

stallman does not have a say over technical stuff on gcc. this explicitly agreed upon during the egcs merge. stop blaming people for what you dont know and name a single compiler which has a parser as a seperate library?

some (sinful) thoughts
by haha on Wed 10th Nov 2004 01:25 UTC

Well, I guess that we won't see "reliable" ftp-client (and I mean pretty modern app, not a cli thing) or anything else until developers start to make money from their apps - it's obvious - if you want to sell your app, it should be competitive and "free" apps, well you get what you pay for ;)
Why they're free? Because no one would pay for it.

v Desktop Linux: The Final Hurdles; Editorial Follows
by LostSon on Wed 10th Nov 2004 02:05 UTC
GCC parser
by Seo Sanghyeon on Wed 10th Nov 2004 02:06 UTC

GCCXML is a step in the right direction. Pyste uses GCCXML to autogenerate Python wrapper for C++ projects, and it works well. Perhaps KDevelop can use it too, when it got more mature.

It's true that GCC team doesn't want to decouple frontend and backend for political reason, but decoupling frontend and backend is indeed a hard problem in itself without politics.

RE: some (sinful) thoughts
by clausi on Wed 10th Nov 2004 02:10 UTC

Why they're free? Because no one would pay for it.

That's too harsh. I've seen lots of shareware on Windows that are equally bad when it comes to usability, and user orientation. The other way around, there's FreeSoftware that rocks.

In general, developers have other needs than simple users. They develop for themselves, and that's all, probably.

Paying for development according to user wishes would probably improve the situation. But beware: This doesn't imply developers need to sell a software package / application.

re:gcc parser
by Anonymous on Wed 10th Nov 2004 02:11 UTC

"GCCXML is a step in the right direction. Pyste uses GCCXML to autogenerate Python wrapper for C++ projects, and it works well. Perhaps KDevelop can use it too, when it got more mature.
"

this is a huge hit on performance and I dont think it will really work in a mature way

v Windoze Xp not ready for desktop
by Anonymous on Wed 10th Nov 2004 02:13 UTC
@grammar:
by AdamW on Wed 10th Nov 2004 04:23 UTC

then you've either got a sound card that does hardware mixing, or an arts / esd setup that *actually works* (in which case, you're probably lucky enough you should enter the lottery :>)

@grammar:
by AdamW on Wed 10th Nov 2004 04:27 UTC

ah, I see you know about arts - well, my problem with arts and esd (and I expect Eugenia's too) is that on a very basic level they're FLIPPING BROKEN. They just don't *work* half the time, and they're horribly ugly solutions in any case. I agree entirely with Eugenia; it needs to be engineered into ALSA transparently. It's the only sane solution.

someone finally mentions the need for a device manager

FONTS?
by bmgz on Wed 10th Nov 2004 06:04 UTC

I always found one of the most troublesome areas of the linux desktop was getting those darn fonts to look "right". I still have endless problems with ugly fonts popping up here and their, whether I enable antialiasing, disable it, enable BYTECODE_INTERPRETOR.. whatever...

@bmgz
by Lumbergh on Wed 10th Nov 2004 07:31 UTC

Is the bytecode-interpreter the same thing as auto-hint in /etc/fonts/local.conf? Because once I turned that on I really couldn't complain about fonts on linux looking like shit anymore.

Windows doesn't "just work".
by Anonymous on Wed 10th Nov 2004 07:36 UTC

In fact, for starters, it doesn't work at *all*.

I just sold off one of my machines to a friend because I am about to move, therefore, I made a clean install of W2K, but this applies for XP as well, more or less:

So I install W2K, easy.

1) Sp4
2) Chipset driver (does mom + pop know about that at all?!)
3) IE6 redistributable to save time D/Ling
4) Install network driver for Realtek via USB stick, ouch
5) Install Firewall !!! before...:

6) Getting online for remaing patches
7) Install DX9c from redist. package
8) install graphics driver
9) Install Sun Java
10) Install Macromedia Flash
11) Install Firefox
12) Install FTP Client
13) Install burning app - be always sure to get the latest Nero first - more D/Ling
14) Install Antivirus
15) Install printer driver
16) Install Scanner

Now it's defrag time, then Image-creation time. Did I mention 520.000 mandatory reboots inbetween? This takes 2.5 hours. And I am not even finished.

Why do people still claim Windows just works whereas for Linux, they have to go download drivers for world+dog bla-bla...? The opposite is true.

I am using W2K myself most of the time, but I have several Linux installations as well. You don't have to do much of the above for a SuSE, except for the online update.

If you did all of the above, then yes, Windows will work very good. But I am trying to educate people for years know and there doesn't seem to be much of a learning curve - I keep getting the save questions over and over. How do these people mess up their systems? Never happens to me. Windows does many things - though "just working" is not one of them for sure.

@jarrodc:
by AdamW on Wed 10th Nov 2004 07:40 UTC

That part didn't make any sense to me. The concept of 'downloading modules' on Linux just doesn't apply - if it's not in the kernel your distro gave you, you probably can't download it anywhere. If the distro knows the hardware in your system and knows what the appropriate module is, it's probably already loaded it! Why do you need a device manager to tell you?

Mandrake already has harddrake2, which lists the hardware you have and can pop up little configuration applets for anything you might conceivably want to change (like ALSA instead of OSS). That's all Linux really needs.

Unbe*uckinglievable.
by dpi on Wed 10th Nov 2004 07:40 UTC

[whining]The FTP client doesn't look nice[/whining]

Now thats very important. Top priority. Nautilus and Konqueror handle FTP just fine just like Explorer does. Searching on Freshmeat gives 75 FTP clients. There has gotta be one over there which is 'visually appealing'.

Here, see for yourself
http://freshmeat.net/search/?q=client&trove_cat_id=89§ion=trove...
Freshmeat is by no means complete these days so also check e.g. Sourceforge.

`KFTPGrabber is a graphical FTP client for KDE. Its features include TLS support, FXP transfers, OTP passwords, ZeroConf support, and more'
http://freshmeat.net/projects/kftpgrabber/
http://images.freshmeat.net/screenshots/49074.png
I don't see whats wrong with that...

Theres not a reasonable demand anyway
1) The admins don't use it to admin their servers (FTP server with SAN). Geeks are fine with e.g. NcFTP.
2) The casual users are fine with a Explorer-like integrated FTP client or clicking on a casual download link from WWW. User never needs a full blown FTP client for that.
3) Whats left? Warez kiddies? Who cares for them...

RE: Unbe*uckinglievable.
by Eugenia on Wed 10th Nov 2004 07:49 UTC

How about this? It doesn't compile;

In file included from kftphowlthread.cpp:10:
kftphowlthread.h:18:18: howl.h: No such file or directory
In file included from kftphowlthread.cpp:10:
kftphowlthread.h:75: error: `sw_discovery' does not name a type
kftphowlthread.h:76: error: `sw_result' does not name a type
kftphowlthread.h:77: error: `sw_discovery_browse_id' does not name a type
kftphowlthread.h:78: error: `sw_salt' does not name a type
kftphowlthread.h:83: error: `sw_result' does not name a type
kftphowlthread.h:93: error: `sw_result' does not name a type
kftphowlthread.cpp: In member function `virtual void KFTPHowlThread::run()':
kftphowlthread.cpp:28: error: `m_howlResult' undeclared (first use this function)
kftphowlthread.cpp:28: error: (Each undeclared identifier is reported only once for each function it appears in.)
kftphowlthread.cpp:28: error: `m_howlDiscovery' undeclared (first use this function)
kftphowlthread.cpp:28: error: `sw_discovery_init' undeclared (first use this function)
kftphowlthread.cpp:28: error: `SW_OKAY' undeclared (first use this function)
kftphowlthread.cpp:35: error: `m_howlSalt' undeclared (first use this function)
kftphowlthread.cpp:35: error: `sw_discovery_salt' undeclared (first use this function)
kftphowlthread.cpp:41: error: `howlBrowser' undeclared (first use this function)
kftphowlthread.cpp:41: error: `m_howlId' undeclared (first use this function)
kftphowlthread.cpp:41: error: `sw_discovery_browse' undeclared (first use this function)
kftphowlthread.cpp:51: error: `sw_ulong' undeclared (first use this function)
kftphowlthread.cpp:51: error: expected `;' before "msecs"
kftphowlthread.cpp:52: error: `msecs' undeclared (first use this function)
kftphowlthread.cpp:52: error: `sw_salt_step' undeclared (first use this function)
kftphowlthread.cpp: At global scope:
kftphowlthread.cpp:64: error: `sw_result' does not name a type
kftphowlthread.cpp:107: error: `sw_result' does not name a type
make[4]: *** [kftphowlthread.o] Error 1
make[4]: Leaving directory `/home/eugenia/Desktop/Downloads/kftpgrabber-0.5.0-beta1/src/misc/howl '
make[3]: *** [all-recursive] Error 1
make[3]: Leaving directory `/home/eugenia/Desktop/Downloads/kftpgrabber-0.5.0-beta1/src/misc'
make[2]: *** [all-recursive] Error 1
make[2]: Leaving directory `/home/eugenia/Desktop/Downloads/kftpgrabber-0.5.0-beta1/src'
make[1]: *** [all-recursive] Error 1
make[1]: Leaving directory `/home/eugenia/Desktop/Downloads/kftpgrabber-0.5.0-beta1'
make: *** [all] Error 2

Please note that I DO have Howl on my /usr/include/howl/

Aesthetics
by Thom Holwerda on Wed 10th Nov 2004 07:58 UTC

Aesthetics certainly do improve useability. People simply prefer good looking stuff: if they have a program that looks nice, and one program that looks bad, but they both do the same task, then most people will certainly go for the better looking one. That program may not be truly better on useability; but the aesthetics do attract more users so for those people, it's more useable than the "ugly" program.

And other than that, useability and aesthetics are completely subjective issues. For example, I find BeOS' standard decor to be beautiful; most others will disagree with me. What does that mean for BeOS useability? Does that mean that people who like that decor do not find it any more useable?

FTP client
by p0rnflake on Wed 10th Nov 2004 08:04 UTC

It's beyond me why noone has been able to write a full featured FTP client for linux... I need FlashFXP functionality ;) Gotta try wine I guess..

@ Eugenia
by dpi on Wed 10th Nov 2004 08:12 UTC

Please note that I DO have Howl on my /usr/include/howl

Yet it is unable to find the header.

kftphowlthread.h:18:18: howl.h: No such file or directory

How about specifying /usr/include/howl?

RE: Unbe*uckinglievable.
by Eugenia on Wed 10th Nov 2004 08:19 UTC

I edited the header file that includes howl.h. The problem is that the howl package itself (latest stable version) is badly put together. Howl.h asks for salt/salt.h instead of howl/salt/salt.h and so it can't find it's own files. No worries though, I fixed that.

KFTGrabber dies later during compilation on when it can't compile a plugin anyway (nothing to do with howl). ;)

@Eugenia
by Alexandre on Wed 10th Nov 2004 08:27 UTC

"Sorry, but it's more of the same. They simply added more previews for the plugins. ... Please, don't take me for an idiot, I FOLLOW the Unix software scene more closely than you think."

I'm not taking you for idiot, but you are definitely missing lots of new things in The GIMP. If you haven't noticed all of usability improvements, you must be using The GIMP from time to time only. I see no other reason.

Linux distributors don't have what it takes...
by Steviant on Wed 10th Nov 2004 08:36 UTC

I know it's mean, but I have to say that most Linux distributors are lazy. The Dmix thing mentioned earlier is a prime example. Lets break it down.

- Some sound hardware can handle more than one sound at
once.

- Some hardware can't.

- It is probably possible to detect this capability, it
is definitely possible to compile a list of chipsets on
which hardware mixing is supported.

- Dmix allows most hardware to handle more than one sound
at once.

Armed with these facts, even a weak minded individual such as myself is capable of deducing that it's already possible to use Dmix in circumstances where the hardware doesn't support mixing.

Why then, are distributors not already doing this? Other operating systems have supported software mixing for a very long time. I get the impression that they are waiting for the authors of the sound drivers to add the capability as another message suggested.

They won't be hurrying, because there's already a solution to the problem, and the distributors as a general rule don't have the resources to get it done themselves, those distributors that do, for the most part aren't concentrating on multimedia.

So why aren't the distributors, armed with at least as much knowledge about the situation as I have working on a solution. One that's probably as simple to implement as writing a shell script?

No Linux distributor I know of is building to a specification, where they say "our operating system will support x and y, and if we can't pick it up for free then we'll make it ourselves", it's more like they're saying "what can we bundle with our OS, so we can add another bullet-point to our list of features?"

I don't know if this is a symptom of competing in a market where it's hard to distinguish yourself from the competition or if most (if not all) Linux distributors just don't have what it takes.

@steviant:
by AdamW on Wed 10th Nov 2004 08:39 UTC

Most distributions still use arts or esd instead, as these work more universally when they work at all. As Eugenia says, some applications talk to ALSA directly and don't let you control which ALSA device they are outputting to, so you just can't make them work with dmix. Mandrake, for instance, runs all sound-producing applications that don't talk to esd or arts natively through a wrapper script called soundwrapper, which pipes them to either arts or esd depending on which is running. It's not like the distros don't try, it's just that there's no truly satisfactory solution available.

@AdamW
by Alexandre on Wed 10th Nov 2004 08:58 UTC

Guess what, Linspire is planning to use JACK low latency sound server on top of aRts. So all supported apps will mix their sound nicely.

The DMix Issue
by Edward on Wed 10th Nov 2004 10:39 UTC

I swore I wasn't going to get involved with these types of arguments, and on most of these sorts of issues, I really can't be bothered...

Except for the sound one.

Now, both my workstation, and my laptop have hardware mixing soundcards, so everything 'just works'. It doesn't just work for my parents. It doesn't 'just work' for other people at work with AC'97 cards. It doesn't 'just work' for people who want to play mp3s with xmms while they play Quake3 on their onboard sound cards.

The solution to the problem (DMix) is sitting right in front of us. Make it auto-detect. Hell, if the drivers advertised the maximum number of channels supported in hardware, I could have 32 channels of hardware mixed goodness, and infinite channels of software mixed goodness when everything gangs up on my soundcard. If I have the misfortune to use a computer that doesn't mix it for me in hardware, I'd like the stupid thing to automagically* turn on software mixing.


--

Also, I keep noticing people saying 'well it works for me' or 'I don't see the problem so 'obviously' it's not really a problem.'

You do not represent the user base. Nobody does.

However, as a demographic - a large porition of people have soundcards that don't hardware mix, and don't know how to make them hardware mix, and will appreciate the benefits.
And, *more to the point, the people who actually care about the performance loss from software mixing on non-hardware-mix sound cards will know enough to turn it off manually.


--

You should never do anything the computer can do better than you.

RE: @bmgz
by kitty73 on Wed 10th Nov 2004 10:41 UTC

Is the bytecode-interpreter the same thing as auto-hint in /etc/fonts/local.conf? Because once I turned that on I really couldn't complain about fonts on linux looking like shit anymore.


Sort of. The bytecode interpreter generates hinting, but the bytecode coming with some truetype fonts is encumbered by patent issues. So the auto-hinting code was created to generate hinting for any font not relying on its bytecode. In theory I suppose that the bytecode-generated hinting should be better, as in exactly as the authors of the font wanted it, but usually the autohinting does a pretty good job.
For details, have a look at
freetype.sourceforge.net/patents.html

Usually I ignore stuff like this, but this time I just had to reply.

In my experience mplayer is one of the best if not THE best video player out there.
I have yet to find a video I was not able to play using mplayer. And as far as trailers are concerned, I can play them all using the mplayer plugin for firefox. I just finished watching the star wars trailer and all of the incredibles trailers. WMV is no problem either.

Perhaps you should research first if you are experiencing problems with a certain program and ask other users on their experiences, before posting an article where you define a personal experience as global fact.

P.S.
Take a look at these ftp clients and see if they take your fancy:
ftpcube
nvemftp

eugenia
by Anonymous on Wed 10th Nov 2004 12:00 UTC

Eugenia, you are a troll.

"Please, don't take me for an idiot, I FOLLOW the Unix software scene more closely than you think."

Then please don't take all of the incredibly clever open source developers for idiots. Case in point:

"I couldn't help myself and emailed the Alsa guys about it."

I'm sure they'll love that. Some clueless person coming along and demanding that they do things her way. Because, you see, they are idiots and have never thought about this before. In fact, the subject has never even come up, and they'll be glad you pointed it out to them. It's not as though this subject has been discussed at length by people who know what they're talking about and who have come to a conclusion.

Anyway, to continue this site's tradition of generalised, unjustified statements, I'll say this: Eugenia, you "just don't cut it"

Still, Windows works...
by Lorenzo on Wed 10th Nov 2004 12:29 UTC

Ok, as always people here are divided in 2 sections:
the ones who sacrifice control over ease
the ones who sacrifice ease over control.

Problem is: a computer, IMHO, should make things easier, relief you of some work, and, today, allow you to watch the contents of the net fast and clean.
Windows does this; simple, easy, quick.
Linux needs "solutions", like proprietary codecs, improvised composition of softwares and so on...
Again, I used Linux as a Desktop for 8 years, and am thouroghly dissatisfied with it; I read peopel say "video is nmot important in IM", or "a/v editing is not needed".
Well, you may spend your time tweaking and vi-editing, but millions of people do *love* to *easily* edit their filmed children/girlfriend/family/holiday, they love seamless integration between Graphic apps and printing system, and loads and loads of people *love* and *need* to *see* the person they are IMing with; I don't know if you all leave near the people you love, buyt if you don't, then it's simply great to be able to see someone you miss.

I don't want to turn on my computer, but I want to resume-from-ram, quick, easy, webbrowse, edit movies, do graphics, and have great on-the-screen rendering (jut compare font rendering in MacOSX or Win with the one of Linux...).
Like me, millions of people out there; we all love easy cd burning for music,easy tv-watching and easy webchatting, not because we are stupid, but because we have better things to do in our time than fiddle with the unfriendly environment of a computer.
Now, if I was a sysadm, or a network adm, I'd go for Linux, or maybe Solaris or who knows what.
But at home, Win and MacOS can't be beaten; ever heard about *real* games, for instance? or *easy* and immediate vcr-like functions (not using mplayer from a command line).

Linux is far superior in terms of flessibility, and that's about it.
To play, to do serious graphics, or amateurish or serious editing *without* wasting weeks in configuring and learning how to cope with all teh things that are missing, you just go with one of the commercial platforms.

That's the happy or sad reality.
I've loved and tried to spread Linux for years, now it's time to say to my friends: get what best suit your needs.
After all, we buy the tools we need for a job right? Or do we go buying a hummer to tighten a screw and then tweak and fiddle with teh hammer until it can do that, and then go around saying "look, my hammer is better than yoru screwdriver, 'cause I can make it match all screws".

I think this is not so wise.

RE: Lorenzo
by Thom Holwerda on Wed 10th Nov 2004 12:40 UTC

Well, never thought I'd be supporting Desktoplinux, but this statement is just completely false:

(jut compare font rendering in MacOSX or Win with the one of Linux...).

Font rendering in, say, Ubuntu (my distro of choice these days) is no less than in Windows or Mac. My guess is you haven't even taken a look at them to compare them.

dmix ALSA device
by sindre on Wed 10th Nov 2004 14:27 UTC

You don't ever have to specify this if you've set up dmix correctly, unless an app have somehow brokenly hardcoded the wrong output device.

Mplayer's poor?
by wazoox on Wed 10th Nov 2004 14:31 UTC

>>mplayer is able to handle windows media
>
>No, it's very poor. And Mplayer plugin would crash on the >Apple's Star Wars II trailers.

Well, I'm currently viewing the Star wars III Trailer in quicktime 6 format, within Firefox, using Mplayer an Mplayer plugin. It works fine. Try again...

@Lorenzo
by Joe on Wed 10th Nov 2004 14:32 UTC

"time the developers realized this"

And what makes you think that the huge group of VOLUNTEERS doesn't realize this?

Why not pitch in and do something about it?

my take
by Julian on Wed 10th Nov 2004 14:49 UTC

1.) This is important. Nautilus/Gnome-vfs fucked up my pictures because it uploaded them in ASCII mode - how braindead.

2.) All formats work for me with win32codecs. Of course, this is a semi-legal or illegal (depending on where you live) solution, but it works. It's up to the vendors to improve the situation.
The browser plugins do suck however. I never managed to make mplayerplug-in play anything, and i could never find the xine plugin.

4.) Never had any problems myself. Sound Blaster Live!, Alsa modules, alsa-oss. I also installed various Linuxes on computers with on-board chipsets, and I onlx had to set up dmix additionally. But I see that many people are having problems with ALSA. Maybe it's just Gentoo being too user-friendly to give the "real linux experience".

5.) Wait, wait, wait... It can only be a few more years. Donate to Kino development.

9.) This is going to become very difficult without hardware manufacturers adhering to ACPI standards. They all have bugs in their BIOSes.
Since this problem is practically non-existent on Windows, I guess Microsoft is spending a lot of money on QA, and that they are more willing to implement something incorrectly just to get it working, rather than blaming the hardware manufacturers, whereas Linux developers are interested in keeping everything clean and correct (similar to the well-known dual boot "bug", which was in Windows and not in the Linux kernel or GRUB).

v Another quality post about Linux
by brockers on Wed 10th Nov 2004 15:25 UTC

#1 - kill the console

average user shouldn't even have to know what a console is, let alone 'make' stuff. There should be an option to do everything with the GUI, thats part of choice as well, using only the GUI.

#2 - Package management

A single packaging system through all the distros is required, 95% of users will not touch Linux before a proper packaging system is implemented. This means, windows style two click installers. No consoles, no bullshit.

Everything else will come by itself after these two things are done. However this will never happen.

@ Eugenia
by dpi on Wed 10th Nov 2004 16:02 UTC

"KFTGrabber dies later during compilation on when it can't compile a plugin anyway (nothing to do with howl). ;) "

What error, what plugin, etc...
Tried a binary? How about one of the other 74 clients?

Great, positive criticism
by tc on Wed 10th Nov 2004 16:33 UTC

most of these things should improve.

Note how, since changes by Linspire and Cyberlink, DVD playing has vanished from Eugenia's why-on-earth-doesn't-this-work list!

@Vlad
by Best on Wed 10th Nov 2004 16:46 UTC

#1 is being worked on. Already quite a few tasks that used to require dropping to a terminal can be done through X. Some things, like X configuration, updating of video drivers, etc have been discussed on the X.org list in the last few days. Right now my mother can use linux without ever seeing a console. While not as far along as MacOS X on this matter, Linux is getting there.

#2 Unless you devise some way to keep anybody who doesn't agree with you from making a distro, this will never happen.

Windows style double click installs are already reality with some distros. ROX uses Zero Install style techniques (drag and drop to install), although the software available is extremely limited. To install something universally you do still need the root password even with all those, I don't think thats likely to change in the future, although per user install should be possible. UIs for Portage, Apt, etc, all either already exist or are being worked on. There's also autopackage which is still on the horizon.

How about a dc client
by Spoiala Cristian on Wed 10th Nov 2004 17:15 UTC

A decent DC application in linux is very welcomed.

Valknut is not yet there. plus is made with qt

Excelent article
by Tony on Wed 10th Nov 2004 17:24 UTC

It is an excelent analogy of the Linux Desktop situation, however there are a few things about drivers that I would like to point out. There are already 2 relevant companies that offer Enterprise Desktop Linux, and a free Linux distribution that is offering a product with very long release cycle: Debian. Debian is harder to install and use, but it might be worth it to save money. I don't wanna go there right now.
In regards to drivers. Linux will always be alittle bit behind as far as drivers are concerned, as long as hardware companies refuse to release good native Linux drivers. I don't care if they keep them closed source, it's their right. While Red Hat might not include them, in case a massive number of HW companies will release native drivers, because they stick to the GPL, and Free software licensing, I know for sure that Novell (and SUSE for that matter) will. And it makes allot of sence. The downside of closed source drivers would be that in case they are broke or make the system unstable, there is no easy way to fix things, except to wait for the vendor to release a new driver. In the meantime, kernel developers have to waste a big chunk of their time writing OSS drivers, which I think sux. HW manufacturers wont spend their time on Linux drivers unless Linux Desktop will capture a large market share, I would say that it needs at least 25%. To do that, Linux commercial Linux distributions (for the desktop), need to release quality products and maybe follow some of the guidelines in this article.
Commercial software companies need to release products for Linux, and for that matter they would need a unified SDK that would work on a universal basis for all distributions.
Just my 2 cents.

Bikeshedding
by Russell Jackson on Wed 10th Nov 2004 17:30 UTC

Now hasn't this turned into a nice argument on how to build the best bikeshed.

video and Yahoo
by Anonymous on Wed 10th Nov 2004 18:34 UTC

If I recall, AYTTM allows webcam viewing and broadcasting.

http://ayttm.sourceforge.net

No audio yet, though.

@lorenzo:
by AdamW on Wed 10th Nov 2004 18:39 UTC

"(jut compare font rendering in MacOSX or Win with the one of Linux...)"

OK, I will. In Linux, it's much better than Windows, and equally as good as OS X. How's that?

RTFA
by Anonymous on Wed 10th Nov 2004 18:55 UTC

Eugenia, did you even read the article that you linked to before you editorialized? You are doing exactly what the investment bank did. "Helping us out" by creating a random new crucial requirements list every six months. Half the items on your list are just wacky from the corporate desktop user standpoint. What corporation is going to reject linux because gFTP is ugly? Because packages are hard to install in Arch Linux? Direct photoshop support may be necessary for some but where's the big corporate outcry for more Gimp useability?

I'm glad you test out various OS things and appreciate that you send bug reports where applicable. However this editorial was just out of place and not helpful.

Michael

@lorenzo:
by AdamW on Wed 10th Nov 2004 19:01 UTC

"I don't want to turn on my computer, but I want to resume-from-ram, quick, easy, webbrowse, edit movies, do graphics, and have great on-the-screen rendering (jut compare font rendering in MacOSX or Win with the one of Linux...).
Like me, millions of people out there; we all love easy cd burning for music,easy tv-watching and easy webchatting, not because we are stupid, but because we have better things to do in our time than fiddle with the unfriendly environment of a computer.
Now, if I was a sysadm, or a network adm, I'd go for Linux, or maybe Solaris or who knows what.
But at home, Win and MacOS can't be beaten; ever heard about *real* games, for instance? or *easy* and immediate vcr-like functions (not using mplayer from a command line)."

BTW, though I think a lot of Eugenia's grievances are legitimate, I think this is overstating the case. I'm not a sys admin or a network admin. I can't write a line of code. (Except in Commodore 64 BASIC...) But the PC in my living room runs Linux, and I use it to play movies, rip and burn audio CDs, sync with my audio player, browse the web, use IM and read my email. The only thing I *had* to do in the console to make this work was install the Nvidia drivers, which is a pretty idiot-proof process and well documented by nvidia. I also added plf sources for urpmi and installed non-free codecs and dvd libs, which you *can* do from a GUI but most people don't. That's really not a lot of work to do.

@julian:
by AdamW on Wed 10th Nov 2004 19:14 UTC

"Since this problem is practically non-existent on Windows, I guess Microsoft is spending a lot of money on QA, and that they are more willing to implement something incorrectly just to get it working, rather than blaming the hardware manufacturers, whereas Linux developers are interested in keeping everything clean and correct."

Nope. The Linux developers try just as hard to make incorrect implementations work; it's just a harder job. Laptop manufacturers install Windows on their machines. So they make sure their ACPI implementations work with Windows; if necessary, they write specific drivers and either preinstall them or supply them to Microsoft for inclusion in Windows. Do you think they CC: the acpi4linux guys? Heck, no. They're working blind. It's hardly the same job.

"WinXP has NEVER let me down. All its MS apps and third party apps for it that I use, they ALL work more than fine."

So not only have you never ever had any malware, never had XP kick you out of an app ("we're sorry but windows needs to"), never had Windows crash nor any problem with Windows of any kind....would you honestly say that all these things are the user's fault? That securing the systems and making sure it's stable are not Microsoft's responsiblity but that of the user and Third Party software companies? Would you say that if a great many Linux users find that it works "just fine" for them, they are wrong, deluded, lying, confused?

You say you're a geek, you like Unix, but you've had little but criticism for BSD ("Freebsd is a disappointment") and Linux (you think patching the kernel is a sin..."Slackware rules, Mandrake sucks, Fedora sucks", etc.). You say it's your job to evaluate because you run OSnews, but isn't evaluating about being subjective, neutral, un-opinionated? If you're going to run a site called OSnews instead of called "WhyWindowsisbetterthanLinux.com", shouldn't you be un-biased?

What was it, just last year that you told us to all go out and buy Macs, and but your main machines is still a Windows box, isn't is?

Some people in this thread just want to lash out at you, but I'm trying to ask reasonable questins and get some real answers because some of this just doesn't make sense.

RE: my take
by Anonymous on Wed 10th Nov 2004 19:17 UTC

the uploading in ascii mode bug in gnome-vfs is fixed in 2.8.3 thankfully.

@Eugenia and others
by Chris on Wed 10th Nov 2004 19:20 UTC

The sound system in Ubuntu HoaryHedgehog will be using polypaudio:

http://www.ubuntulinux.org/wiki/DesktopSeedProposals

http://0pointer.de/lennart/projects/polypaudio/FAQ.htm

this will be a solution to the AC97 problem

What's amazing is that this information is available but nobody found out. Maybe you should start paying attention to what's really going on at the scene instead of complaining all the time ?

IMHO the Ubuntu developers are very open to ALL desktop linux problems compared to other distros. They are making a solution rather than just putting 1.000 packages on a CD.

Also, why did so many comment on Eugenia's problems ?

The article is much more interesting. The small office / Home Office area is more important than finding a good ftp client.

Also, I think that Eugenia will always have a list of "linux problems" to be fixed. Linux will never be there for some people.

Nice article...
by benn on Wed 10th Nov 2004 19:43 UTC

Nice read, Eugenia, though I find myself disagreeing on some points.

Mostly, I agree though.

2. I use Arch (like you do, sometimes. ;) ) and using the Arch mplayer setup, I have much more success playing vids than I ever did in Windows. And no, I'm not an idiot. Mainly highly compressed divx or xvids often came with problems in windows. Browser integration isn't somthing I'm in to for my movies, though, so...I can agree. .movs work great for me, though, as do wmvs. Maybe I'm just lucky with the files I try to view?

4. This sounds like a good idea. I've had issues in the past where mplayer's volume adjustments are reflected in xmms...annoying!

6. I actually have grown to like the GIMP. But I do agree that the processes to get things done could be a bit more streamlined. The GIMP is one of my favoritep pieces of software, though.

9. I agree. I mean, there are ways to continue technological advancements without breaking your API. Especially if you've planned well. As far as I'm concerned, this should (almost) NEVER happen!

What do they really want?
by jimmt on Wed 10th Nov 2004 20:25 UTC

I emailed this to a few friends of mine with the following comments. I believe my comments could also be made here.


After reading this article I got the feeling the firms he was dealing with should just work with what they want and that is Windows. I agree with majority of his points; but a firm has to ask themselves why move? Is it money motivated? Training? Security?

I am a big Linux fan, but I think people are unreadily looking for Linux to replace what they have but don’t have an idea on why they want to replace it. Linux is “free”, but do you sacrifice usability for price?

Linux works great for me as a user; Laptop is strictly Suse 9.1 and nothing else and I use it daily, but is it a complete windows replacement for Corporate users? At this time I do not think so, however here is how I would deploy Linux. I would use the IBM Workspace on Demand approach. I would use it to make TFTBoot clients for manufacturing devices: no hard drive complete network boot. I would also use it as a more secure ICA platform for those who need “Microsoft” products. To me that would be the best means of deploying it while keeping TCO down and Microsoft compatibility. Also, corporations need to petition IBM to port Notes over to Linux. This would give them a viable competitor to Exchange. For that matter, Lotus should port over their whole Smart Suite office suite to. I find it “Office Like” and 10x better than Star Office/Open Office.

Also, why is Apple never considered a viable replacement to those wanting to get off Microsoft Windows? They have Microsoft office, network browsing, and majority of the stuff that these firms are looking for and recently been awarded the most secure operating system on store shelves due to its BSD roots.

Jim

re: FTP client (by pornflake)
by anyweb on Wed 10th Nov 2004 21:06 UTC

hey, i feel your pain.

I have installed Flashfxp via wine in both Fedora Core 1 and 2 (havn't tried it in 3 yet)

It works well, a bit buggy regarding fonts but I can live with that. Why do I use flashfxp instead of gftp ? imiplict ssl is a nice option, and one of many that I just cannot see in gftp.

flashfxp screenshot here

http://www.linux-noob.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=1069

cheers

anyweb

At Last - a Bit of Realism, But Not Here
by David on Wed 10th Nov 2004 21:35 UTC

This is like a breath of fresh air and a large dose of menthol rolled into one compared to the utter vitriol we've had on this subject.

3.Interoperability with Exchange 5.5 and Exchange 2000.
8. Compatible Windows Media player Codecs.


I think we know that's not completely possible, so what you do when you have the ear of these companies is do what Microsoft does and tell them that their choices are wrong - but subtly. They quickly come round. There is an art to doing it, especially when you are the smaller player.

There's an opportunity there believe it or not..... If you can't get WMP to Linux (and why would you want to?) give people something else ;) .

This is a market segment that Microsoft serves effectively and which helped that company as it moved into prominence in the late 1980's and early 1990's. Any system seeking to gain market share needs to address the basic requirements of the Small Office / Home Office demographic.

Very true. I don't know where the hell this enterprise market is. It must be on a Ximian whiteboard somewhere.....

The Linux printing system works poorly and requires seasoned system administrators to set it up and maintain it. It does not work with all applications.

True. There are good front-ends, but getting a PPD file and driver that supports everything that Windows does is still a problem even for supported HP printers. You need to be able to install printers easily. Ironically, this could be made even easier for Linux the way CUPS is designed and it should be noted that printing (especially networked) is just not completely trouble free in Windows, but the feature support is there.

Broader WiFi card support needs to be introduced to Linux. WiFi card support for the large and important group of laptop users hardly exists.

True, but that has to work natively. Refusals by companies to open firmware doesn't bode well, so reward the companies that do. If you create a situation where people have to be favourable it's amazing how they come round.

If the major Linux desktop companies plan to succeed in their endeavors, they will have to learn to work together or die.

I think I've mentioned this before as well.....

The Window will close in the not too distant future on the Linux desktop – no pun intended. The Linux desktop could fail if companies continue to pilot programs and conclude that it's less trouble to buy Microsoft. Everyone loses in that scenario.

Extremely true. I've said this before as well.

We will know, because the next major releases of the Linux desktop should hit at the end of the first quarter of 2005. In the mean time, some Linux desktops should sell between now and then. But who will buy them?

2005 will be make or break - real thinking will have to occur next year or it will never happen. Companies selling desktop Linux will have to learn to satisfy real requirements. Making a clone of .Net that will never be on a par with what Microsoft has and dreaming up the next toolkit and programming technology does not qualify, as much as some idiots who post here and elsewhere like to think that it is.

Linux desktop companies will have to build on technology that works now, and is good enough and at the very least has the potential to be better (or is better) than what people already have. This totally procludes certainly Mono and probably GTK as well. The only development tools that cut it are Java on the server application side and Qt on the client side. People are going to absolutely whinge about that, but how often can you say "We're getting better", "Next generation Avalon Tookit 1.0 released" or "Next Generation Avalon Toolkit 1.1 released with work starting on 2.0" without having seen the depth necessary to create what everyone else is creating?

Not everything will be 100% free for everything because that isn't always practical as we have seen. Why on Earth do people think that companies like Novell, Suse and Red Hat exist in the Linux world? Because development still needs to be funded. As long as the GPL can be respected and people can make sensible business models out of it then there is a way forward. If it's free it will be done, and if it can't be done for free it will be done otherwise.

Some casual responses
by David on Wed 10th Nov 2004 21:52 UTC

This is terrible desktop usability, and this is why the mixing thing should be fixed ASAP by the alsa project, in a really transparent way.

Agreed. This is much better handled at a low level.

How about this? It doesn't compile;

You're missing the point here. In the context of this article who's going to compile? How many would even know what FTP is other than you can open it in Internet Explorer or Konqueror or Nautilus or Firefox when you need to, which is essntially what matters? IE isn't a great FTP client, but people just use it. I'm afraid you're a minority here, even amongst power users as people simply just click on an FTP link.

For example, writing some text on a new gimp document it's overkill. And I have to use layers, even if I don't really need to. It's things like that where PSP shines over usability. It's just simpler.

For many things the GIMP is a nightmare. The attitude of the developers isn't all that great either. Also, would you even get away with putting an application called the GIMP into some companies? Sounds ridiculous as we are used to it, but it won't to someone who has only heard desktop Linux.

For example, writing some text on a new gimp document it's overkill. And I have to use layers, even if I don't really need to. It's things like that where PSP shines over usability. It's just simpler.

Is that better done by free software a a bundled commercial bit of software on top of free software? That's the bitter pill to swallow.

ALL the other times (and ever since that incident), WinXP has NEVER let me down. All its MS apps and third party apps for it that I use, they ALL work more than fine.

Why bother using free software then?

1. I am a geek, I also like unix, so Linux is among my interests. 2. I run osnews, it's my "job" to try out and evaluate everything. #2 is consequence of #1.

Not looking terribly good, is it?

So very true.
by Oae on Wed 10th Nov 2004 23:00 UTC

I'm just glad to see someone complaining. And I really do mean it.

I'm a longtime windows user, about 6 months ago I tried to switch over to linux. I wanted linux to be there so badly, I tried so hard to make it work, I spent a lot of freetime reading everything I could. But linux just wasn't there, and I honestly don't think it ever will be. I could talk about why it isn't there yet, but other people are doing a good job covering that, so I'll explain why "Linux on the desktop" won't be realized.

The Linux community has a problem. It needs to realize this. Acknowledging the problem is the first step. Most of the people in the linux community refuse to do this. Instead you just sit around and you say things like "well, I like GIMP better than photoshop, so to hell with you". Hey, look, you guys are the ones who say "linux on the desktop! yeah!" and when it doesn't happen, you ask why. And when someone tells you, you lash back out at them.

I do graphic design and web development, and I've tried many times to make the switch to The GIMP. But I can't! it just does not work as well, and if you think it does, then you're in denial. I'd rather pay the money for Photoshop than try and deal with it, and no, it isn't just me, its a lot of people. And theres a lot of other apps that are this way. You want linux to succeed on the desktop, but thats not going to happen if its not something people like to use. The "hey, its free!" line only goes so far.

I'm not saying Linux sucks. The various distros, and packages, and apps that have been created are an amazing accomplishment. Inspite of this its ok to say "Look at what we've done, its wonderful. But..." You have to have the "But..." at the end! If you don't you start to get complacent, you think everything is fine and doesn't need to improve. You become exactly like the IE/Windows using people you complain about so often. "It works well enough for me", you both say that, but thats not a reason to stop.

Seeing the state of the linux desktop hurts me. I so badly want linux to make it as a major desktop player. But I don't think it'll ever happen. The community is too self obsessed and ego tystical.

Before any of you say "well why don't you pitch in!". I have. I donate money to free software projects on sourceforge and elsewhere, I report bugs when I find them, and any code that I write that doesn't belong to my employer I give away for free. I do pitch in, but one person can't do everything, the community needs to reform itself and work towards greater accomplishments.

So, what'd I end up doing in the end? I said to hell with it and bought a Mac. I couldn't be happier.

@Oae
by Alexandre on Wed 10th Nov 2004 23:34 UTC

Oae, I'm afraid that you have mixed up Linux developers community and Linux user community. Look through ypur posting attentively and you will see what I mean.

If I tell someone that GIMP works for me, it only means that it works for me. I don't mean things like "GIMP is better than Phptpshop" or "You just don't know how to use it". I only mean that it fits my needs and I will be glad to have some extra functionality and usability in the future and I will be happy to help developers test/debug/whatever. And many people I know do the same.

There is no problem with community. There is a problem with people who think that open source developers owe them (while they don't). I really hope that you are not one of them.

re: various
by David Pastern on Thu 11th Nov 2004 03:21 UTC

1. kbear seems fine to my eyes. Eugenia, you criticise the KDE environment because it seems "cluttered or busy" to your eyes, that's fine. To others it's fine. I don't hear you complaing about the command line cos "it's not pretty". I personally don't use ftp a great deal, but what's so hard about using the good ole command line ftp utility? Works for me. Oh and Konqueror is quite a good ftp browser I might add. But then, you don't like KDE. It most probably explains OSNEWS favouritism to Gnome users comments that i've seen in the past.

2. mplayer plays fine with the w32codecs package. asf, avi, mpg, mpeg, mov files all play fautlessly. There are some issues with enabling the plugins and integrating them with the web browser in use - but that's not mplayers fault, or the codec developers fault either...that's the browser developers fault. Please apportion the blame to the correct party. Realplayer is also a proprietary software package (unlike mplayer, xine etc). You seem to forget that a lot of people use Linux because they like the GPL and it's morals. And that means not using proprietary software. I saw one of the posts that someone made and they hit the nail right on the head - don't use that codec. Simple. Don't use it if they won't open it up. Apple still refuses to port QuickTime to Linux, a disgraceful act of anti competitiveness that should be thoroughly investigated by the US DOJ. But since the US DOJ is corrupt, it'll never happen.

3. There are a few applications around that support it, not sure on how good they are in all honesty. Not something that tickles my fancy, but I agree, it may be a useful feature for others.

4. I personaly dislike ALSA, and think that OSS was a much better system, but that's my personal preference. Alsa does bring improvements in many vital areas in regards to sound on Linux. But - instead of blaming Alsa for the problems with mixers, please - apportion blame to the appropriate people - the actual hardware developers themselves. They release their specs to Microsoft but not open source. Bitch to them.

5. Can't help you much here, although i've heard good things about kino...

6. Gimp 2 is fine, in fact i've previously criticised the UI for photoshop - it's truly horrid to a new user. GIMP is so much more nicer and uncluttered. It's almost elegant and sexy. Just because PSP and Photoshop use certain interfaces doesn't mean that they're *right*. Photoshop has long been an overpriced, pile of crap, full of nice bugs and a very poor help system for the new user who is trying to learn it. There, I criticised one of the highly liked proprietary software applications, no doubt many will bitch and complain about my words. I'm not a heavy user of GIMP but it works for me, and it works well. version 2 is a huge improvement over earlier versions.

7. Bitch to the hardware manufacturers please. Look at intel - they won't open up at all. Don't blame the kernel developers, blame the hardware companies because it's plainly their fault, and anyone else who argues with that is either stupid or blind to the heart of the real issue, or both.

8. This is an issue, but it's a result of the way Linux implements library files. It results in smaller install package sizes for applications, and speedier actions as a general rule. It has both good and bad points to it, the bad point is issues with dependency hell. I note that you use Slackware and Arch Linux, maybe you should try Debian? The issues with those two distributions not having the packages that you want is really at their doorstep.

9. This is needed. It's currently not very healthy, although slowly improving. The problem is that BIOS manufacturers don't want to really talk to Linux kernel developers or reveal things that would make it a lot easier to implement ACPI on Linux.

10. Can't help you hear, don't use bluetooth or palm devices.

You really are very unfair on OSS - these applications are done by ordinary people, generally for free, generally in their own time and you really sound ungrateful. If these things really annoy you, then either build them and fix them yourself, or pay someone to do it. Period.

I expect this comment to get moderated down, or banned, so be it. Your rant wasn't very fair, or objective and I needed to comment on that.

Dave W Pastern

Eugenia is being unrealistic
by Richard James on Thu 11th Nov 2004 04:44 UTC

She brings up several points but she is not running and refuses to run software that will fix her problems i.e. konq. She probably does not have linux certified hardware either. Also she uses distro's which are not really aimed at the make it easy for me approach, maybe if she used Lindows, Lycoris or Linspire she could complain.

linux desktop lacks
by zerohalo on Thu 11th Nov 2004 06:05 UTC

A comment on the original article: It's nice to see someone addressing some of the serious lacks that Linux has if it is to become a serious contender as a desktop replacement to Windows. While Linux is great for geeks and people who, like me, like challenges. I've used Windows since 3.0 and am bored with it. I also wanted to see if I could truly do my work (yes, I work full-time on a computer from home) using all or mostly free software, and then perhaps switch off Windows for my business.

My experience so far has been mixed--some things work well, other things don't. From a personal user point of view, Linux works pretty well. Some things are easier than Windows, other things are harder, but hey, you learn new things and adapt.

But when it comes to general use for business matters, I agree with the original article that Linux is seriously lacking. Support on a Windows network, though it can work in theory, is unreliable and takes a lot of tweaking. It certainly doesn't work out of the box. Sharing a folder on your computer with others on the network should be as easy in Linux as in Windows--you shouldn't have to edit an smb.conf file or run SWAT. An Active Directory solution for Linux is a must as well.

If a business is considering using Linux for their network of computers, they're not likely to just throw out Windows completely and start using Linux. They might attach a Linux box to the network and see how it plays out first. So if Linux-Windows interoperability is not an easy, relatively hassle-free experience, then most SOHO's won't make the jump.

And I agree with the original author that SOHO is the key market for Linux. The OS that people have to use at work is likely to be the one they'll use at home--because they're used to it. (Of course many will try something else, but I'm speaking of the vast majority of people who are not so computer literate--not the osnews.com crowd). Linux needs to specifically target that market, with the tools to satisfy their needs, if it is to grow.

Some of the points Eugenia mentioned are important, and I agree aestethics is nice - but I disagree that those should be the priority. Win over the businesses, and their employees will use the same system regardless of whether it's "pretty" or not. Lets get the rock-solid usability down first and then pretty it up. Having said that, I do agree with you Eugenia about the need for A/V IM support, better ACPI, and Palm sync (important for business users).

mplayer-plugin
by zerohalo on Thu 11th Nov 2004 06:08 UTC

Oh, and mplayer-plugin works fine for me as far as viewing online Quicktime content/trailers.

(Running Firefox on Ubuntu.)

GNOME vs KDE, Windows vs the Mac (let the flames begin!)
by Anonymous on Thu 11th Nov 2004 11:30 UTC

Not to add more fuel to the fire...but is there ANYBODY else here besides me that much prefers the look of KDE to the look of GNOME? Simple shmimple, KDE just looks much more polished (and not by a Corporate Polishing Squad like GNOME, but by a team that cares more about *individual* people) to me.

Of course, aside from the looks, I hate the whole philosophy of GNOME (sorry Eugenia). Simple != Good IMHO, especially when in the case of GNOME it's simple to the point of simplistic. The world (and the computer!) is complex; hiding the complexity doesn't make it less so, and only makes things much more limiting. It's kind of like the old statement: "When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." If you are stuck in a pared-down GNOME, you can't appreciate the sheer power available in GNU/Linux as can be accessed in KDE (unless you go through gconf, but down that road lies madness...). True I'm a power-user, but it's us power-users that recommend stuff to newbies. ;)

Also, an observation: People that, in non-free operating systems, are pre-disposed to Windows tend to like KDE better, and people that are pre-disposed to Macs (whether or not they own one) tend to like GNOME better. ;) I like and have used Macs in the past, but they have always seemed incredably limiting to me compared to Windows, albeit part of that was application availability that isn't really Apple's fault (well, except that maybe they didn't try to court developers enough). Nevertheless, part of it was the "feel" of the OS itself. I actually liked OS7-9 better than OS X; OS X tries to be too trendy for itself IMO.

@Alexandre
by Oae on Thu 11th Nov 2004 15:51 UTC

I think that both the developer and user community is to blame. There are plenty of users who are logical and have a good head on their shoulders, and you appear to be one of them.

I have no problem with someone who says "The GIMP is fine for me and what I do". Thats fine, and I can accept that. The problem comes when users or developers say "The app is fine, YOU are the problem". I've seen this happen with OSS before, theres a lot of people wanting interface improvements in The GIMP for instance. Maybe not even major things, just smaller options, and some streamlining of commonly done things.

Will I use The GIMP if stuff like that gets implemented? Maybe. I'm not saying the things that I would want are what the developers need to do. I don't believe they owe me anything. All that I'm saying is they should at the very least consider these things if they want "Linux on the desktop" to become a reality. There are plenty of users who will give up, feeling rejected if they're told that features that are important to them are worthless, and that if they want it they'll just have to do it themselves. Again, this doesn't mean the developers have a responsibility to do this stuff, but if they're looking to target the market of photoshop users, you have to consider it.

As an analogy, you can't write a book in english and target it at a country whose primary language is something else, and expect it to become huge. You can't just say "we want you to read our book, but you have to learn our language". If you want the audience, you do have to accomodate at least certain things. Its not your responsibility, and you don't owe it to anyone, but if you don't do it, then understand thats why your market is limited, and thats why you're in the position that you are.

Theres a reason more people are moving over to Mac and OSX. Theres a reason I did it. The developers, even the OSS ones, seem to care. A lot of users are sick of feeling rejected. I gave up on Linux because despite all these goals and claims of usability, you were still expected to go to enormous lengths to get shit working. The devs don't owe me anything, I don't expect them to make those changes, but I and many others won't use Linux unless those kinds of things come about.

I know full well OSS developers owe me nothing. When I donate money to a OSS project I usually do it based on what it has achieved so far. Sometimes if a project looks promising i'll throw in some money, and in those cases, yeah i'd like to see some concern for the users. Hell, I'd help code the features I want, but my abilities are limited, I'm just not very good at C++, C, or Java, which most of the apps are written in one of those. So I do what I can.

I'm not complaining for my sake, I have an OS and a machine I love. OSX is everything I wanted it to be. I'm complaining for the developers, they seem to want something, a larger userbase, but they don't seem to understand how to get it.

Its also important to realize that Complex != Better. Installing things on linux right now is retardedly complicated for most apps that aren't available via your distro. Does this give you more power? Maybe, you can compile things exactly the way you want them. Is it necessary for most users? Absolutely not. When something is too complicated it tends to drive new users away, and I think largely thats what Linux is doing. Its gotten better sure, but it still has a long way to go.

Some people accuse OSX (sorry to bring it up again) of being simple. And yes, in some ways, it is. However it is also quite tailored to the power user. If you need the power it is usually available, and if you just don't feel like messing with it, then you don't have to.

Some developers need to realize that simplicity and power are not mutually exclusive.

@OAE & others
by BBob on Thu 11th Nov 2004 17:38 UTC

> I'd rather pay the money for Photoshop than try
> and dea lwith it, and no, it isn't just me, its a
> lot of people.

Why do people always make this claim: "Linux is not ready for the desktop because I don't like Gimp's UI". Desktop readyness is not about individual programs, it is about foundations. A working video foundation (which X arguably is), a working sound foundation (ALSA has some problems as this thread shows), a stable and usable API for SW development (Gtk, QT etc are already or almost there) and so on. When these pieces are there (and the user base grows a bit), it suddenly makes business sense for Adobe & co to port the programs that so many people are complaining they can't live without to Linux.

Once (or if) this happens free software people can use their programs and other people can buy/warez the stuff they need and everybody lives happily until the next OS paradigm shift (to Hurd or what have you).

RE: GNOME vs KDE, Windows vs the Mac (let the flames begin!)
by Anonymous on Thu 11th Nov 2004 17:57 UTC

(Anonymous who did the first post on this subject here)

I actually agree with the first part of your post. Some parts of Linux are just frustrating, powerful or not. <rant>Constantly-changing ABIs are one of them. I'm a firm believer that the major binary-oriented distros (such as Mandrake, SuSE, Red Hat/Fedora, and Debian) should get together with GCC developers (of which Red Hat employs a lot via Cygnus) and agree on a *stable* ABI and file-system structure (LSB, anyone?) so that developers can compile on one distro and have it run on *all* distros unmodified. If the GCC developers say that impedes progress, tell them it's fine to change the ABI once every few years or so, so long as they announce it well in advance to give package maintainers time to compile a new version, or build in backwards compatability (ala Windows, by far the best with that; it's amazing to be able to run a 1987 program unmodified in Windows XP when you think about it; try *that* with a Mac, not to mention Linux!). Then, any Linux distro which uses the standard libraries and LSB file structure will be able to use a package made for any other distro, and one of the major complaints about Linux will be nullified.</rant> There *is* also a thing as overly **complicated to be sure, but forces tend to be moving to the other extreme (at least if OSNews commenters are any kind of representative to the Linux crowd), at least as far as UI is concerned, which is why I'm a KDE fan, as it's bucking that particular trend. That doesn't mean non-UI parts of Linux aren't in serious need of simplifying.

As for OS X, it may be powerful in some ways, but it *is* oversimplified in others; when you can't do simple things like turn off certain toolbars or sidebars in the Finder (at least in 10.3, which my gf has), something's wrong. Those kinds of choices should be in the hands of the users, not the developers. Oh, and my gf, an ardent Mac fan (and non-techie), thinks that things have gone downhill in OS X. Safari and wireless were super-buggy in 10.2 (but she doesn't like the look of Firefox, so uses Safari instead; go figure), and she doesn't like the look of 10.3 compared with 10.2 (hence the Finder complaint). OS 9, for her, was better, but a lot of apps are no longer available in 9, so she was forced to go X. Would it add *that* much complexity to allow a user to choose between Pinstripe and Brushed Metal on a system-wide basis (she prefers the former)? Or to let users configure the Finder and OS in general to their hearts' content (perhaps even with an "Advanced" prefs tab)? I think not. That's the sort of thing I mean by it being possible to go *too* simple in the interface when the underlying technology isn't.

**Although complex != complicated; from the Zen of Python:
Simple is better than complex.
Complex is better than complicated.
(by Tim Peters; I really do like Python over Perl, as Python really is more beautiful besides being less complicated IMHO; GNOME is both uglier and IMHO more complicated than KDE, although the latter is debatable and the former is a matter of taste.)
Windows is complex, but not complicated.
KDE is both complex and complicated.
GNOME is extremely complicated (CORBA and Bonobo anyone? Look at the hodgepodge of libraries...), moreso than KDE IMHO, although not complex.
Mac OSX at least strives to be both non-complex and non-complicated, although being a *nix implies some level of complication by itself.

@BBob
by Oae on Thu 11th Nov 2004 18:36 UTC

GIMP is just one example. Theres many other applications. And arguably, I think it is about the applications, and not the foundations. Everytime I try linux I leave it again for the same reason, the apps just aren't there. The theory and the foundations are wonderful, but I can't get the things done that I need to get done with the foundations. I need something there to use.

I think this is another part of the problem, and part of the reason the apps suffer so much. Everyone is so focused on the foundations, that the actual apps and implementations don't get the support they need, and it shows.

I agree that there does have to be people there developing the foundations, improving them, and working on the low level stuff, but you also need a layer of people concerned with translating all of that into something usable and pleasent. Linux won't be ready for the desktop until it has more applications people can stand using, and installing the apps on their machine doesn't require that they cancel their weekend plans.

Re: Thom Holwerda (Aesthetics vs Useability)
by Troels on Thu 11th Nov 2004 18:43 UTC

Aesthetics certainly do improve useability. People simply prefer good looking stuff: if they have a program that looks nice, and one program that looks bad, but they both do the same task, then most people will certainly go for the better looking one. That program may not be truly better on useability; but the aesthetics do attract more users so for those people, it's more useable than the "ugly" program.

Not really. If 2 programs works the same, but one is more pretty, then yes, people will probably go for the one with the best looks, or the cheapest, or the one with the prettiest box, or the one with the coolest name. But this has nothing to do with useability, but more to do with marketing.

There are things that are much more important. Is the icons easily distinguishable? Do they do what people expect them to? Can they easily find the functionality they need? Are things they have to do often too cumbersome? Even something as simple as which button has focus per default in a dialog can have a pretty big influence on a workflow. (And defaults are very important, and i think KDE for instance has a lot of work to do on those, but it is hard as every time you want to remove something from a toolbar people shout up)

Now the program that is ugly *can* be less useable. It could have icons that was hard to tell appart (in kmail, the check mail, reply, and forward icons looks virtually identically), or some part of it might draw too much attention, and hence be distracting. But so could the pretty one. But my point is, if one of them have this problem, then the programs aren't equal.

So looks are important, but to say bad looks == bad useability is wrong, it is just not that simple.

And other than that, useability and aesthetics are completely subjective issues.

To some degree, yes. A lot of it depends on what you are used to, which means inventing new strange interfaces are usually a bad thing, since it will screw up predictibility. But there are certain general rules that you can apply, such as Fitt's law, and its many deritives, and Hick's law, and others. But most importantly, follow a set of common interface design guidelines as closely as possible.

For example, I find BeOS' standard decor to be beautiful; most others will disagree with me.

I find the classic MacOS to be very ugly. And programs i use at work, such as NetVault, BackupExec, all Motif programs, which is basically all solaris programs, are all, in my oppionion, butt ugly. Some of them i have useability problems with, such as in NetVault i can't even sort the data it displays, not even the windows version can do that. I might not be able to sort the lists, but i can filter them, but the filter dialog unfortunately wont fit on my screen. I can't save filters either, so those have to be recreated time and again. Now that actually makes my day harder, while after a few minutes of use, i no longer notice the look.

-
by Morin on Thu 11th Nov 2004 18:45 UTC

> You really are very unfair on OSS - these applications
> are done by ordinary people, generally for free, generally
> in their own time and you really sound ungrateful. If these
> things really annoy you, then either build them and fix
> them yourself, or pay someone to do it. Period.

Open your eyes to the bad world outside:

This, exactly THIS, is what the normal user won't do. They'll not pay anyone to fix it, nor will they learn to code, they'll instead use the product that already works.

I appreciate the work OSS developers do, and I'd be annoyed if others did not appreciate the work I have contributed to OSS projects myself.

But be it fair or not, the flaws are there and users will mostly avoid the flawed product.

> Desktop readyness is not about individual programs,
> it is about foundations.

No it's not about foundations either. It's about the whole thing, that either works or doesn't work. Good foundations are important to developers to get the thing working. Users don't care about foundations.

I will agree that OSX is oversimplified in some areas, but I find those areas to be very few. In OSX, if you girlfriend does not like the sidebar on the finder in 10.3, she can click the white pill shaped button in the upper right corner. all of the toolbars, and the sidebar go away. Some things don't need an advanced configuration dialog, I'm really not sure what other options you'd want to access in a file manager. As for the appearence there has been a lot of debate about the change from 10.2 to 10.3, and while I do much prefer 10.3, I don't think it would hurt for them to allow some theme selection or customization. Although part of the reason I like the mac is that it all looks so good that I don't NEED to mess with it. I don't have to spend time looking for themes, and icons, and messing with color settings, it just looks good. There may also be the issue of the interface guidelines for OSX apps. They're designed with those in mind, switching around themes with different spacing could cause problems.

Now i'm not trying to turn this into an argument for why people should use OSX, I mention this in the context of the convorsation. I think that konqueror for instance has a few too many options. You are able to largely customize everything you want though, which I do like. however sometimes its hard to find what you're looking for.

I do agree with you that customization and advanced menus can be a good thing. It just needs to be organized well. Theres plenty of OSS apps that force you into things too, and won't allow you to customize them. I'd have to load up KDE again and look around for specific examples of the apps that come with it, but I can think of some other ones. While GAIM is not a KDE app, it is a much used OSS app. I tried to customize the message window, to make it more space efficient. I didn't need large borders and a "send" button. But I couldn't turn any of this stuff off. Its been a couple months since I last used it, so if this has changed then ignore this particular complaint.

OSX is by no means the perfect OS. But its the best example i've seen so far, and very often it highlights how you can have something that is very powerful, yet on the surface seems simple. Linux needs to learn some things from this for it to gain a wider audience. Both Linux and OSX have their issues here. The difference is that with Linux we have more power to change it. I've tried to take a stab at some Linux GUI coding, but i'm pretty poor at it. And since I don't know how the rest of the OS and other apps for it will progress, I don't want to spend time coding for an OS where the only apps I'll want to use are my own.

I definately agree with you on the package issue, that needs to be handled.

As for one final point "Windows is complex, but not complicated". I'm not quite sure how you mean this, but I would say that windows is simple in what it allows you to do, but complicated in how it forces you to do it. I'm a very experienced computer user, but theres still stuff in windows I have trouble doing because of how simple I think it should be, compared to how complicated it actually is. Wanna setup a external mic? that is an exercise in pure pain, i know many people who've done it and they all hate this task, and its one example. OSX requires only that you goto system preferences, sound, and then the input tab. select the input device and adjust the volume on the slider.

You can definately make things harder by trying to make them simple, Windows has done this with things like its god awful find dialogs in XP, and Clippy. OSX usually manages to make things much easier on you. Linux just hasn't tried to make things much simpler in the first place, but its still better than windows in many ways because under all that complexity lies a lot of power.

Linux has a chance to become something beyond amazing, an insanely powerful OS that is free and usable, customizable and beautiful. This is why I say all of this, not because I want to "prove" that another OS or piece of software is better, but because I don't want to see Linux miss the chance of our lifetimes.

@Morin
by Oae on Thu 11th Nov 2004 19:23 UTC

Very eloquently put. You've said in a few words what I tried to say in a few paragraphs.

I'm a developer as well, I do web apps, graphics, and occasionally some C++ or other languages where I work. I think its because I'm a developer that I feel that the OSS developers should understand why the users aren't flocking to their apps, and why they won't unless something is done.

The other programmers I work with are awful. Yes they can all code, some are quite good at it and most if not all of them are better than me. Yet I deeply hate the apps they have produced. They're often buggy, ugly, and feature poor usability. I don't even consider myself a programmer really, but I feel some sense of duty and pride in making those apps that I do create appealing to the eye, as easy to use as possible, but still powerful and reliable. I don't do it because I have to, I do it because I feel a sense of wanting to. Sculptors don't produce barely distinguishable forms and say "well, you can tell its a person, it gets the job done, whats the problem", they make pieces of art because they are driven. Its the same with many other crafters, and I think code is crafting too.

Developers aren't being fair to themselves when they say "hey, its just free software, what do you expect". If you're really that bad at what you do, and really care that little about it, why bother? why are you even trying to make something as complex as many of the linux apps are? The fact is I've seen many apps that have all the power of commercial programs, they just lack the polish, the usability. If you don't honestly believe that what you can do is better than what is already out there, that the only reason for your program to exist is because its "free", don't you find that just a little bit pathetic?

Note on the above post by me:
by Oae on Thu 11th Nov 2004 19:25 UTC

I just realized that I didn't make this obvious, the lower part was not directed at Morin. I agreed with what he said and that got me typing. It probably should have been a separate post. So Morin, please don't take those comments and questions as being directed at you.

Sorry if I sounded like I was knocking OS X too much. It really is nice overall, it's just not the panacea a lot of people seem to think (not referring to you of course); ditto with GNOME. Thanks for the tip on how to close the sidebar; it worked for her. She has one more question: How do you keep the Macintosh HD on the desktop from moving away from the upper-right corner? Hers seems to move around a lot.

Agreed about Clippy and the XP Find dialog, but neither is *that* hard to turn off (just a simple pref for the former, and TweakUI for the latter if you don't want to edit the registry yourself, albeit TweakUI needs to be better organized; TweakUI is indispensable to remove some of Windows' frustrations though). Windows has some pains, but they're normally well-enough known pains that Googling will turn up hundreds of links to people that have fixed them. Not that Windows is perfect either by far, but is very usable after minimal tweaking. I haven't run into any hardware problems myself in Windows, everything seems very plug-n-play and works out of the box for me. Then again, all I have are run-of-the-mill USB devices: a USB printer, a USB CD/RW drive, an external USB hard drive, and an external USB floppy drive. There are definately some things that aren't intuitive when working with Windows, and in that, it has stuff to learn from the Mac, but it's not too bad once you learn its quirks. (Linux has many more quirks than Windows at the moment unfortunately IMO; so much so you pretty much have to be a guru to get most distros up and running unless you're really lucky with your hardware.)

I hope the best for Linux too. It needs to take the best from Windows and MacOS (both classic and X) in order to succeed. I just hope it can both appeal more to your "average Joe" user while not losing it's core power-user hobbyist constituency. Perhaps locked-down GNOME at the office, Macified GNOME for the Mac fan and the simplicity-lovers, and KDE for Windows-exiles and power-tweakers is the best bet to satisfy all involved. Now if only Linux could solve a lot of its underlying structural problems (packaging, developers working on 50000 text editors but very few, say, digital-video editing applications, etc) and firm up its hardware support, perhaps the higher-level problems would be simple to solve in comparison.

No, I didn't feel you were knocking OSX, I pretty much agreed with you on what you said. As for the hard drive moving around, this hasn't really happened to me. I'd say have her make sure shes got the latest updates and or check out macrumors.com and osxhints.com to see if there are any threads on the issue. If not, she can ask there and some more knowledgable people can help her I'm sure.

Yeah some of the XP annoyances you can turn off, and often you can find solutions for them just by googling, but there are so many, and combined with the few you can't turn off, I face quite a few every day. Over time it becomes more frustrating and it feels like the OS is fighting me, like it doesn't want me to do what I want to. And I don't mean customization things, just basic stuff. When you first install the OS it tries to give you a tour, hit the wrong close button and it pops up again on next exit. message bubbles start popping up out of the system tray, you click on them to make them go away and they come back later, so you have to find a way to go turn it off. You want to go change a setting you have to wade through dialogs and menus that want to do the stuff for you. I remember not too long ago I wanted to setup my net connection. I'm connected to a network and can get all my info via DHCP, linux and OSX realize this no problem. Windows pops up a dialog and says "so you wanna connect?" and then gives me a list of options, none looked like what i wanted and I had to wade through a bunch of crap just to get the dialog to go away so I could do it myself. It wouldn't let me just say "go away, i'll handle this myself". OSX doesn't do that, excluding certain customization things which are usually cosmetic, if I want access to a setting, its easy to get to. All of this comes down to polish, the settings you'll tend to need are available. More unusual ones are sometimes available in an advanced menu, or through the terminal, and if its not available at all, it usually isn't too bad because its probably cosmetic. Apple may not be very flexible in what you can do with the GUI as a user, but they are when it comes to functionality. Look at applescripting for instance.

I'm not going to try and say windows is totally awful and just doesn't work, I think often people over exagerate out of zealotry. Windows annoys me, I can usually do the things I need to do, but I tend to become annoyed in the process. Over a couple years that annoyed feeling has built up into loathing. Windows still crashes now and then too, more than Linux or OSX tend to. Overall, I just hate the feeling of something actively fighting me like windows does. At least with linux if i can't make something work it doesn't feel like the OS is treating me like i'm an idiot.

I've generally not been a huge fan of GNOME, however I do appreciate what they're trying to do with their human interface guidelines, and I applaud the effort. They've realized there is a problem and are trying to solve it. They may not be getting it right yet, but I'm willing to give them the time because at least they seem to be putting forth the effort.

another 2c worth
by David Pastern on Fri 12th Nov 2004 01:50 UTC

On 2nd thoughts, if the US DOJ had any guts, they'd force Microsoft to port code to the Linux platform (Internet Explorer, Office, Windows Media Player, codecs, msn messenger etc). It would create a level playing field and still garnish sales for Microsoft. What would they have to lose? Well, how many people would buy MS Office for Windows when they can get it for Linux instead, which is a much more reliable and stable system. If you look at it, Office is a LOT more expensive than Windows itself. It's a hook, line and sinker job folks, get them using Windows, then lock them into proprietary office applications.

The easiest way to start the ball rolling is for all government departments to migrate their data to open standards, drop Office, use OpenOffice and use open standards like .swx. You want to deal with the government? Fine, you need to be able to read .swx files. Sorry, your Office apps can only read .doc...oh well you can't do business. It would be a snowball effect and force Microsoft to comply.

But - and i've said this many times in the past (and been moderated down because of it) - the US government is corrupt, and has no intentions of hurting Microsoft for monetary reasons. We have a case of the government not doing the right thing by the people, but instead covering it's wallet.

Dave

RE: another 2c worth
by Morin on Fri 12th Nov 2004 19:38 UTC

Force MS to port apps to linux? Why only MS, why only Linux, why at all? What exactly is the legal basis for this? Why not force Linux devs to port all their apps to Windows either if you insist on fairness? Why not force Linux dev to port the kernel modules? MS to port drivers?

Sorry but this is simply nonsense. If there was a law that enforced portability, there'd be no way to write OS-specific programs. Basically, you'd enforce that only one OS may exist and by that stop any innovation. If there was such a law, Linux would have been illegal from the beginning since all Linux-specific programs aren't portable and thus illegal.

@ zerohalo
by dpi on Sat 13th Nov 2004 05:13 UTC

But when it comes to general use for business matters, I agree with the original article that Linux is seriously lacking. Support on a Windows network, though it can work in theory, is unreliable and takes a lot of tweaking. It certainly doesn't work out of the box. Sharing a folder on your computer with others on the network should be as easy in Linux as in Windows--you shouldn't have to edit an smb.conf file or run SWAT.

1) You don't have to edit smb.conf for that / run SWAT.
2) Why would corporations care for that? Who decides wether files get shared? Mostly, they'd get mailed if one or another needs one. For the rest, sharing is done in a network when it makes sense and guess who has to make sense on the network and servers? ;)

An Active Directory solution for Linux is a must as well.

True, you can't just use 'any' Linux distribution for the complete purpose of AD at this point. SUSE comes with replacements, RedHat will with some bought Netscape components which they'll open source, and theres perhaps more but when you grab the distributions meant for casual users such as Xandros or Lycoris, then no.

RE sound
by jack on Sat 13th Nov 2004 22:24 UTC

Lots of disagreement. But if you examine any forum related to any OS "Sound" problems will be very apparent.
Is this not evidence that "sound" is a problem for Linux?