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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RE[6]: Comment by ven-
by Wrawrat on Mon 24th Aug 2009 18:57 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by ven-"
Wrawrat
Member since:
2005-06-30

Another strawman. The only people who raise it as an issue are the anti-Linux crowd, most of whom haven't spent more than 30 mins using a Linux distribution because if they did they would realize that it isn't a problem.

Your argument is a strawman, as you assume that only unknowledgeable people would be in favour of decentralized packages while everyone else would agree with you.
Using Debian Stable as the basis for your argument about old software versions is laughable. It's not an operating system that focuses on having new software. It's focused on having stable software. It isn't something a new Linux user is going to be using as a desktop OS. It's just another bad argument.

Red herring. It was merely an example. Now that you mention it, Ubuntu is not based on Debian Stable, Debian Testing is still packaging that archaic version while Debian Unstable/Ubuntu Karmic got a mix of recent (3.4) and archaic (CDT at 3.1) versions.
Like what? What are these magical missing programs on what linux distro? I find it very telling that these arguments are always generic without anyone specifying what package is missing.

Up-to-date packages for Eclipse on Ubuntu. Many console emulators on Ubuntu and Fedora. Hotkey utilities for my previous laptop on most distributions. Hundreds of small libre programs or libraries you can find on the Internet (either on Freshmeat or SF). Needless to say, most proprietary software are not in repositories, even if there is no libre alternative. I could go on.

Now, you won't have to go beyond repositories if you merely use your PC for mundane tasks. Obviously, some people have different needs. To be honest, not all software deserve to be in a centralised repository... yet, they do exist.
If there is something I don't miss about proprietary operating systems it's the awful security nightmare of decentralized package installation.

There is no doubt that updating these systems is quite a chore. That said, a centralized system is not necessarily more secure, as it could become a central point of failure.

Edited 2009-08-24 18:59 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[7]: Comment by ven-
by Soulbender on Mon 24th Aug 2009 19:10 in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by ven-"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Your argument is a strawman, as you assume that only unknowledgeable people would be in favour of decentralized packages while everyone else would agree with you.


I don't see why this is so hard to understand. If you use Linux the way to install software is (mostly) by package repositories and if you use Windows it's by standalone packages. Which is better is largely about what you're used to and how ready you are to accept change (no matter if you switch from Windows to Linux, or the other way).
If you don't like either way you should obviously use the system that does things the way you like it.
I dont know which is more sad; that this discussion exists or that I wasted time on it.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[8]: Comment by ven-
by Wrawrat on Mon 24th Aug 2009 19:37 in reply to "RE[7]: Comment by ven-"
Wrawrat Member since:
2005-06-30

I am not debating on which way is the best, as it would be completely futile for the very reasons you have mentioned...

To clear things up, my point is: repositories are great, but it would be nice to have a completary system for installing foreign packages, as you won't find everything in those repositories. I am well aware that you can download and install DEB or RPM packages you found on the Internet, but these packages are usually tied to specific distributions.

That's all, really.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[7]: Comment by ven-
by abraxas on Mon 24th Aug 2009 19:24 in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by ven-"
abraxas Member since:
2005-07-07

Your argument is a strawman, as you assume that only unknowledgeable people would be in favour of decentralized packages while everyone else would agree with you.


Are you listening to yourself? You argument is that because you claim it is bad then it must be bad. That's not very convincing. Your argument is even less convincing when you start putting words in my mouth. I never said only un-knowledgeable people disagree with me.

Red herring. It was merely an example. Now that you mention it, Ubuntu is not based on Debian Stable, Debian Testing is still packaging that archaic version while Debian Unstable/Ubuntu Karmic got a mix of recent (3.4) and archaic (CDT at 3.1) versions.


Admitting that you can get the latest version of Eclipse on Debian doesn't support your argument in any way. It does quite the opposite.

Up-to-date packages for Eclipse on Ubuntu. Many console emulators on Ubuntu and Fedora. Hotkey utilities for my previous laptop on most distributions. Hundreds of small libre programs or libraries you can find on the Internet (either on Freshmeat or SF). Needless to say, most proprietary software are not in repositories, even if there is no libre alternative. I could go on.


You could go on? Then please do because the only specific package you mention is Eclipse and no average user is going to be using Eclipse for anything nevermind the fact that the latest Eclipse is available for Ubuntu.

Now, you won't have to go beyond repositories if you merely use your PC for mundane tasks.


So are you changing your mind now or what? You're starting to agree with me.

There is no doubt that updating these systems is quite a chore.


It's not just a chore. It's a disaster. There is no central reporting tool to tell you when a new security release is available and little to no package verification when you do actually download an update.

Edited 2009-08-24 19:29 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[8]: Comment by ven-
by Wrawrat on Mon 24th Aug 2009 20:18 in reply to "RE[7]: Comment by ven-"
Wrawrat Member since:
2005-06-30

Are you listening to yourself? You argument is that because you claim it is bad then it must be bad. That's not very convincing.

Where did I claim that it is bad? Looks like you don't even bother to read.

Admitting that you can get the latest version of Eclipse on Debian doesn't support your argument in any way. It does quite the opposite.

Except that Debian doesn't have the latest version...

You could go on? Then please do because the only specific package you mention is Eclipse and no average user is going to be using Eclipse for anything nevermind the fact that the latest Eclipse is available for Ubuntu.

Does it matter that the average user won't use Eclipse? Repositories are for everyone, from the clueless noob to the developer.

Anyway, I won't bother to list packges you don't know as it would be futile, just like discussing about Eclipse. By the way, the latest version is 3.5/CDT 6.0, while Karmic/Unstable got 3.4/CDT 3.1... Fortunately, you can run the IDE from the tarball found on Eclipse's website.

So are you changing your mind now or what? You're starting to agree with me.


Actually, I never claimed that repositories were a bad idea. They are quite great.

However, you seem to claim that everything you will ever need is in a repository... From my experience, this is not the case, hence why I'd like to see a system for installing packages outside repositories in a distribution-neutral way.

To what I remember, there is Autopackage but it never really caught on...

Reply Parent Score: 2