Linked by David Adams on Mon 24th Aug 2009 09:21 UTC
Linux A reader asks: Why is Linux still not as user friendly as the two other main OSes with all the people developing for Linux? Is it because it is mainly developed by geeks? My initial feeling when reading this question was that it was kind of a throwaway, kind of a slam in disguise as a genuine question. But the more I thought about it, the more intrigued I felt. There truly are a large amount of resources being dedicated to the development of Linux and its operating system halo (DEs, drivers, apps, etc). Some of these resources are from large companies (IBM, Red Hat, Novell). Why isn't Linux more user-friendly? Is this an inherent limitation with open source software?
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postdiction
Member since:
2009-07-08

"Windows has one


No, it doesn't.
Maybe it seems to make some sense when you get used to it, but that's not the same as being "logical".

Okay, I agree logical was not the right term to use but, no file system is logical. However, windows and os x's files system is a lot easier understand.
'


It is simple guys:
System files
Program files
User data files


/boot
/
/home/user

Okay in this scheme where are my programs installed /bin, /sbin/ /usr/bin /usr/sbin? Why are some things mounted under /mnt and others under /media?

There you go.


not bin, sbin, opt, boot, usr, mnt, media, etc....


Because, say, %windows%\system32\drivers\etc\hosts makes so much more sense.

Most of the programs install the executables under program files so yes it does make more sense.


installing a program in linux is a guessing game as to where the files actually went.


Yeah, it sucks that you have to untar your packages and place every file manually... oh wait.
If you feel so inclined, launch gdebi and you'll get a list of all included files along with their path.
"

Please, installing a program in Windows=double click icon, Mac=Double click icon, Ubuntu, if it is synaptic great, very easy to do just search for the file. However, if it isn't in there like skype, or chrome beta, or numerous other programs, then it is a crap shoot were it can be as easy as editing an apt source file or as complicated as a never ending loop of dependencies.

Reply Parent Score: 2

ichi Member since:
2007-03-06


Okay in this scheme where are my programs installed /bin, /sbin/ /usr/bin /usr/sbin?


Your programs are installed in /.
If you need details about where did every file go exactly, ask the package manager.

If by "your programs" you mean the executables for user programs your have installed (vlc, firefox, etc...) they are in /usr/bin.


Why are some things mounted under /mnt and others under /media?


What's exactly being mounted in /mnt?
Your automount daemon will use /media, /mnt is there to provide a place for your manual test mounting of filesystems.


Most of the programs install the executables under program files so yes it does make more sense.


Most programs install most files under program files? OK, I can feel the consistency right there.

Please, installing a program in Windows=double click icon, Mac=Double click icon, Ubuntu, if it is synaptic great, very easy to do just search for the file. However, if it isn't in there like skype, or chrome beta, or numerous other programs, then it is a crap shoot were it can be as easy as editing an apt source file or as complicated as a never ending loop of dependencies.


Installing a program on linux = single click icon. There, win ;)

I've installed both skype and chrome beta through synaptic, but anyway... downloading dependencies is not any worse than finding out you need some runtime libraries on windows.
This might strike you as odd but I've done more dependency hunting on windows than on linux, and there was no getdeb to save the day.

Reply Parent Score: 2

postdiction Member since:
2009-07-08

"
Okay in this scheme where are my programs installed /bin, /sbin/ /usr/bin /usr/sbin?


Your programs are installed in /.
If you need details about where did every file go exactly, ask the package manager.

I agree if a program is in apt, great every thing is super easy however, when a program needs to be installed out side of the repositories, then that becomes a problem.

If by "your programs" you mean the executables for user programs your have installed (vlc, firefox, etc...) they are in /usr/bin.


Why are some things mounted under /mnt and others under /media?


What's exactly being mounted in /mnt?
Your automount daemon will use /media, /mnt is there to provide a place for your manual test mounting of filesystems.
My shared ntfs partition is mounted under /mnt while usb drives go under /media????



Most of the programs install the executables under program files so yes it does make more sense.


Most programs install most files under program files? OK, I can feel the consistency right there.

Please, installing a program in Windows=double click icon, Mac=Double click icon, Ubuntu, if it is synaptic great, very easy to do just search for the file. However, if it isn't in there like skype, or chrome beta, or numerous other programs, then it is a crap shoot were it can be as easy as editing an apt source file or as complicated as a never ending loop of dependencies.


did you have to edit synaptic repository files? I bet you did. I windows I click download, wait for it to appear on my desktop then double click and I am good to go. Not so in ubuntu or any other distro

Installing a program on linux = single click icon. There, win ;)

No, its not, even if the program is in the repository, open synaptic, search for program, install(but, that actually is very easy and not the argument i am making, it is for the programs not in apt.

I've installed both skype and chrome beta through synaptic, but anyway... downloading dependencies is not any worse than finding out you need some runtime libraries on windows.
This might strike you as odd but I've done more dependency hunting on windows than on linux, and there was no getdeb to save the day.
"

I do find it it odd what programs require you to look for dependencies? I use windows and linux everyday and outside of a download of .net, I rarely have to go find any files. Jut download and double click

Reply Parent Score: 1

sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

Most of the programs install the executables under program files so yes it does make more sense.


Is that all you wanted?

Under Linux your executables are installed under /usr/

In some rare cases they may be under /opt/, but I am personally against this and as far as I can see it is not used much any more. (Just like on windows you rarely see C:\APPNAME\ any more).

If you want to be specific, 99% of executables are installed in /usr/bin/. In some cases it's /usr/local/bin/, as in FreeBSD for example, but this is mostly a per distribution differentiation.

Your problem is probably that you don't like seeing ten different directories in /, or maybe you don't like your files being in /usr/*/package/ instead of /programfiles/package/. Please understand that this is your problem, not a design flaw.

Would it make you happier if I moved /tmp/ to under /var/ and put /boot/ /dev/ /proc/ /sys/ /lib/ /bin/ and /sbin/ under /linux/? And renamed /usr/ to /programfiles/ and /etc/ to /settings/ and /home/ to /users/? Would it? Because now we're talking semantics not function.

How about this. If you can convince Microsoft to stop using slashes going the wrong direction and also to stop using 'drive letters', instead placing things in lettered directories in / (e.g. /c/windows/), then I will consider changing the way Linux lays things out just to make you more comfortable, too. Do we have a deal?

Edited 2009-08-24 17:35 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02


Please, installing a program in Windows=double click icon, Mac=Double click icon, Ubuntu, if it is synaptic great, very easy to do just search for the file. However, if it isn't in there like skype, or chrome beta, or numerous other programs, then it is a crap shoot were it can be as easy as editing an apt source file or as complicated as a never ending loop of dependencies.


Let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time I was in ##linux on Freenode and a guy came in complaining about Linux being hard and not being able to install some little app he wanted. We went back and forth on the issue a few times and it came out (eventually) that he had done this:
* Gone to download.com and couldn't find the app.
* Used google to locate the app's web site.
* Gone to the web site for the app, downloaded the Windows exe. Saved it, double clicked.
* Gone back to the web site, downloaded the source tarball. Saved it. Double clicked. Didn't know what to do with what he saw, didn't finish extracting.
* Gone to google and found some generic build instructions. Could not figure out where to type them.
* Went to IRC and asked about unpacking tarballs. Eventually we got him in a terminal and unpacked the tarball.
* Still on IRC, asked what next. We found he didn't have GCC or a build environment.
* Asked him if he'd tried his package manager. My what?
* Sir, what distribution are you using? GNOME? No. Distribution. Debian? Okay. What application did you want?
* Type this: apt-get install whateveritwas

At this point he went from "Linux sucks balls, why would anyone ever try this junk" to "You have got to be kidding me. It's really installed now? Computers can do that? That's amazing." Followed by "What else can I install this way?" and some comments which lead me to believe that he was grinning like a madman.

This same fellow came back the next day wanting some software not in his distros repo. I remembered him, which saved time. This time it took only a few minutes to tell him about .deb files and what to do with them. After one Just Worked he left and I never heard from him again.

What was the point of this story? I don't remember.

You know, now that I think about it any good handler for .deb files (for when you double click them in your file manager) should really run them through apt for a depends check and come back with a "foobar.deb requires additional software to be installed." dialog offering buttons for "Install everything" and "Details..." giving a list of exactly what will be installed and "Cancel install". That would fix 99% of depends issues.

The other fix would be a little repo stub file which basically says "Download package foo from repo bar." and a handler app which figures out whether you have that repo and, if you don't offers (in simple language with a one button accept) to add it and attempt the installation. This would be the most ideal solution for purely third parties.

What was I talking about? I don't recall.

Reply Parent Score: 2