Linked by David Adams on Fri 18th Jun 2010 19:17 UTC
Linux Linux Magazine has a profile of Daniel Fore and the Elementary project. Elementary is a Linux distro that's committed to a clean and simple user experience, but it's more than a distro - it's actually a multi-pronged effort to make improvements to the user experience for a whole ecosystem of components, including icons, a GTK theme, Midori improvements, Nautilus, and even Firefox. The work that elementary is doing isn't limited to their own distro, and some of their work is available in current, and perhaps future, Ubuntu releases. The results are really striking, and I think it's probably the handsomest Linux UI I've ever seen.
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tupp
Member since:
2006-11-12

Yes it's true that Linux is easier to use than it's ever been before. But the very simple reason it's not ready for mass consumption is that it more or less *requires* the CLI and/or editing config files by hand in order to get anything done that's remotely advanced.

Huh? There are numerous Linux distros in which one never needs to see a terminal, unlike the remedies required for OSX problems: http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13727_7-20007737-263.html
I'm guessing that the average Mac chimp is going to have trouble with these terminal commands.


Another large-ish factor ... App versions are months behind the newest releases,...

Huh? Try Arch, Sidux and Gentoo (just to name a few).


... and installing new versions of anything risks breaking something else.

Perhaps you are confusing Linux with OSX. Here are just a few choice Apple upgrading problems that have popped up in the last two days:

Safari completely unresponsive after update: http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=2466613&tstart=0
Photos lost upgrading library to Ap3: http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=2465322&tstart=15
Latest SL update seems to screwed up Aperture: http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=2464161&tstart=30
Problems after upgrade to 4.03 creating events from address book: http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=2465245&tstart=15
Can't Install Quicktime [upgrading hasn't worked since April 11, 2010]: http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa;jsessionid=84756CA46355044...
Mac OS X: Issues with OS X10.6.4 [since upgrading]: http://forums.cnet.com/5208-6126_102-0.html?threadID=398175&tag=for...

Those posts came from a quick scan of the forums of only a few Apple programs. These threads barely scratch the surface of Apple upgrading problems.

I thought everything with Apple "just works!"

Please go to the forums of any major Linux distro and find this many upgrading problems existing in such a short span of time.


Plus for the few applications that do offer direct-install binaries, you risk not being able to uninstall those apps easily, since the package manager either gets confused or ignores them completely.

Of course, Windows and OSX programs are always fully uninstalled when commanded. /s

Furthermore, it is always amazing when someone tries to characterize Linux in a certain way. There are hundreds of different distros, many of which do unique and incredible things. For instance, how does the above notion on problems with Linux independent package uninstall apply to distros such as Gobolinux, where each package and library sits in its own directory?

Another thing, it is rarely necessary to install a more recent, independent binary that is not in the repos, especially with Arch, Sidux, Gentoo, etc. Such distros keep packages fairly recent, and they certainly update the packages more often than most OSX and Windows programs.


...But still, the CLI is by far the biggest reason why Linux has not "gone mainstream".

Not sure on what such a notion is based.

My 84 year old mother installed Mepis by herself, and she doesn't know how to use the CLI, and she has never had to use the CLI.

Edited 2010-06-19 07:37 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

m1cro Member since:
2006-12-22

So pointing out problems in OS X somehow makes Linux better? Yeah... right.

Reply Parent Score: 2

jtfolden Member since:
2005-08-12

Not only that, but for him to compare reported problems and have them mean something OS X and Linux would need to have the exact same number of users on the Desktop - and they certainly don't. lol

Reply Parent Score: 0

tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

Uh, there seems to be some confusion as to which OSs have the package updating problems.

The OP suggested that Linux has the upgrade problems, but, obviously, the OP mistook OSX for Linux.

So, again, which OS is it that is "not ready for mass consumption?"

Reply Parent Score: 2

silix Member since:
2006-03-01

Of course, Windows and OSX programs are always fully uninstalled when commanded. /s

pointing at other OS's flaws doesnt solve yours
Windows and OSX are not perfect, of course, but those two OS's are the ones the majority of users actually use despite minor annoyances like this, because they have all the applications already (users want to use applications, not the OS itself) while linux has got OpenOffice and some other horizontal applications (though there's web browsers aplenty) but when it comes to specialized professional grade vertical applications, there's very few to none of them available ( and even in those cases, for specific - sometimes outdated, versions of specific distributions )
other Os's can live with this minor annoyance because they have at least one barrier to entry less than, say, linux

Furthermore, it is always amazing when someone tries to characterize Linux in a certain way. There are hundreds of different distros, many of which do unique and incredible things.

this is the crux of the problem
the vast majority of people would rather settle with something that *works*, has as many features that they need, as possible, and possibly stable API's (so that third party developers can give them the *applications* they need), than be willing to choose among hundreds of different distros (incompatible with each other) just to get one unique or incredible feature but sacrificing on fundamental requirements such as overall functionality and stability

also, development wise, consolidating a platform in a certain application field, and adapting it to operate in other fields are not mutually exclusive things (in fact, they're orthogonal aspects)
and certainly it shouldn't need different distributions to refine feature richness and suitability in the same application field (namely, the desktop), since such refinement may well happen upstream and all distributions benefit from it equally - but this would make all desktop distributions (mutually compatible) clones of each other, diminishing any competitive advantage one may have against the others, so it's not in the distributions' interest to make that happen (although it would be in the users' interest)

For instance, how does the above notion on problems with Linux independent package uninstall apply to distros such as Gobolinux, where each package and library sits in its own directory?

GoboLinux does away with package management and dependency hell - but it's known for suffering from "symlink hell" otoh
simplifying the directory structure and putting some common sense in it (third party applications each in its own directory isn't "the windows way", it's just logical) is all fine and dandy, but it clashes with a plethora of unix userland sw developed with unix paths in mind (or, often times, hardcoded)

My 84 year old mother installed Mepis by herself, and she doesn't know how to use the CLI, and she has never had to use the CLI.

... so when you'll give her a new webcam for christmas, she'll be able to install it herself with just a few mouse clicks (setup-> next->next->finish), or she'll rather have to open the cli and type some obscure commands (or worse yet, wait for you to come and setup it for her) ?

Reply Parent Score: 4

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

... so when you'll give her a new webcam for christmas, she'll be able to install it herself with just a few mouse clicks (setup-> next->next->finish), or she'll rather have to open the cli and type some obscure commands (or worse yet, wait for you to come and setup it for her) ?

Like on OSX, it'll most likely either work out of the box or not work at all. Actually, V4L drivers are not that bad, just like wi-fi. Not every PC hardware will work, but there is a large amount of hardware which is known to work, just like say Sound blaster 16-compatible cards are known to work on Win9x and usb pen drives are known to work on OSX. He'd probably choose among those when buying a webcam, and everything will be fine.

Edited 2010-06-19 17:16 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

pointing at other OS's flaws doesnt solve yours

First of all, I have already addressed the alleged Linux package upgrade issue elsewhere in this thread. I am not going to repeat myself just because someone doesn't bother to read.

Secondly, the OP stated that Linux is "not ready for mass consumption," which presumes that some other OS is ready for mass consumption. I was merely highlighting the flaw in this reasoning.

OSX and Windows are in many ways less "ready for mass consumption" than Linux.


Windows and OSX are not perfect, of course, but those two OS's are the ones the majority of users actually use despite minor annoyances like this, because they have all the applications already(users want to use applications, not the OS itself) while linux has got OpenOffice and some other horizontal applications (though there's web browsers aplenty) but when it comes to specialized professional grade vertical applications, there's very few to none of them available ( and even in those cases, for specific - sometimes outdated, versions of specific distributions )

Congratulations for posting the second longest run-on in OSNews history!

Windows and OSX are far from perfect, and neither is any better than Linux.

The majority of use Windows, because that is the OS to which they are exposed, not because Windows has applications that Linux doesn't. The same assertion applies to OSX, although I would argue that it is possible that there are more Linux desktops in the world compared to OSX desktops.

Furthermore, I dispute that Windows and OSX have a pool of professional "vertical" applications that Linux/open-source doesn't offer. Certainly, Windows, OSX and Linux "out-do" each other on an individual program basis, but one OS does not dominate over another in terms of which has the best professional-quality applications. If you doubt this claim, perhaps you would care to list the Windows/OSX apps which have no better in Linux/open-source.


this is the crux of the problem

No. The crux of the problem is lack of marketing and anti-Linux FUD, which is surprisingly parroted by posters on this forum who should know better.


the vast majority of people would rather settle with something that *works*, has as many features that they need, as possible, and possibly stable API's (so that third party developers can give them the *applications* they need), than be willing to choose among hundreds of different distros (incompatible with each other) just to get one unique or incredible feature but sacrificing on fundamental requirements such as overall functionality and stability

Wow. That's the third longest run-on in OSNews history!

The vast majority of people settle on to what they have been exposed -- it has nothing to do with quality of programs nor availability of advanced features (which most will never use).

There are plenty of applications for Linux, and I can't think of a single, userland Linux program that cannot be ported to all Linux distros that use Xorg.

By the way, what is the point of mentioning that Linux distros are incompatible with each other? Even if such a claim were completely true, what do you have to compare it to in the Windows/OSX world? The Windows/OSX world doesn't have incompatible distros, because they don't have differing distros. Such amazing variety (with some distros possessing unique features) is a strength of Linux that Windows/OSX will never have.

For instance, with Linux, I can quickly and easily boot a fully function OS from a CD, DVD, USB stick, zip drive, SDHC card, etc, and all data that I create can be saved back to the CD, DVD, USB, zip, SDHC etc. I can travel with all of my applications and data on my key chain, and the OS will boot on most computers with the exact same user configuration.

Another example: without knowing about the internal workings of the OS, I can use a GUI that will easily create my own specialty distro, catered to a specific purpose, such as point-of-sale kiosks, graphics/photo editing, Pro Audio/Video editing, etc. Try to do that on Windows/OSX!


also, development wise, consolidating a platform in a certain application field, and adapting it to operate in other fields are not mutually exclusive things (in fact, they're orthogonal aspects) and certainly it shouldn't need different distributions to refine feature richness and suitability in the same application field (namely, the desktop), since such refinement may well happen upstream and all distributions benefit from it equally - but this would make all desktop distributions (mutually compatible) clones of each other, diminishing any competitive advantage one may have against the others, so it's not in the distributions' interest to make that happen (although it would be in the users' interest)

Congratulations! This sentence is THE longest run-on in OSNews history! I am proud to have it as a response to one of my posts!

Certainly, Linux can be as general or as specialized as one prefers.

One problem with proprietary OSs is that is that they can't specialize with any efficiency, because the general OS cruft will still run in the binary blob. So, with Windows and OSX, one still needs full hardware resources for an entire bloated graphical OS, even if one is merely trying to make a garage door opener that is actuated by a cell phone ( http://www.aboutdebian.com/x10.htm ) or if one is trying to build a super computer to do highly advanced fusion reaction calculations, etc.


GoboLinux does away with package management and dependency hell - but it's known for suffering from "symlink hell" otoh

There is no "hell" with the symlinks, unless the hidden existence of symlinks bother you.


simplifying the directory structure and putting some common sense in it (third party applications each in its own directory isn't "the windows way", it's just logical) is all fine and dandy, but it clashes with a plethora of unix userland sw developed with unix paths in mind (or, often times, hardcoded)

The reason for the symlinks is because some of the larger packages are hard-coded with *nix directory structure. It is not a problem that is inherent in the concept. Again, it is all hidden and does not affect performance.


... so when you'll give her a new webcam for christmas, she'll be able to install it herself with just a few mouse clicks (setup-> next->next->finish), or she'll rather have to open the cli and type some obscure commands (or worse yet, wait for you to come and setup it for her) ?

As one of the other posters mentioned, I would choose a webcam that has Linux drivers. Linux cannot be blamed if the manufacturers omit the necessary drivers and don't provide any information on how to make the drivers.

Reply Parent Score: 1

nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26


Huh? There are numerous Linux distros in which one never needs to see a terminal, unlike the remedies required for OSX problems: http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13727_7-20007737-263.html
I'm guessing that the average Mac chimp is going to have trouble with these terminal commands.


Mac chimp? You have to insulting and disingenuous?

Funny the last picture of a Linux developer's conference I saw sure contained a lot of Macbooks.

So why don't you name some of these distros that don't require using a CLI? Ubuntu (Linux for humans) not only requires a CLI at times but in fact dumped some people to the command line after a system update broke working video drivers. The OSX example you provided was just a case of a user being unable to delete files. That user was still able to use the system and get online to find help.

But maybe you think it is ok to expect users to do this for a printer install:

hey I just got my psc 1610 working for both scanning and printing (yay me!)...
first I did

sudo apt-get install hplip gtklp xpp hpijs python-qt3-doc libqt3-mt-mysql hplip-ppds

I don't know if you need all those packages they were all reccomended or suggested and I hate going back and adding things later... then I went to system->administration->printing > printer> add printer and in step 2 I selected psc 1600 from 'HP (HPLIP)' in the manufacturer drop down menu (as opposed to just 'HP' which did make a difference for me ) this got the printing part working.

Then xsane told me it didn't find any scanning devices so I installed a package called libsane-extras from synaptic and tried xsane again and it worked.

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=151981

Reply Parent Score: 2

tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

Mac chimp? You have to insulting and disingenuous?

You're right. I'm sorry. It was very insensitive of me to insult chimps by insinuating that they use Macs.

Here's a chimp deftly using a non-Apple touch screen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5nTVF3uits& Wow! He certainly works a lot faster than those Ipad owners that I see in the coffee houses!

I would also like to acknowledge that you are never insulting and disingenuous on this forum.


Funny the last picture of a Linux developer's conference I saw sure contained a lot of Macbooks.

Not that there is any point to your statement, but would you care to link that photo, or do we just have to take your word for it? If such a picture exists, I'm betting that number of Macbooks is in the minority.


Ubuntu (Linux for humans) not only requires a CLI at times but in fact dumped some people to the command line after a system update broke working video drivers.

Okay. Even if Ubuntu does require a CLI sometimes, it is just one distro out of hundreds! You can't characterize the whole of Linux from the problems of one distribution. Personally, I have never used Ubuntu that much because I think it is rather bloated.

A problem with X will sometimes give you a command line, although some distros go into a GUI control panel. At least one has a way to work through the problem.

I don't know how Windows and OSX respond to such a problem, but I guessing that one has to reboot into "safe" mode with Windows.

Mepis is a very solid, and, unless there is a serious problem, one should never need to use the CLI. Any distro based on Debian stable or based on Slackware (with a GUI installer and GUI control center) should be able to do everything without CLI use. There are probably quite a few others, but one would have to research.


The OSX example you provided was just a case of a user being unable to delete files. That user was still able to use the system and get online to find help.

I provided lots of OSX examples, and the ones that I linked barely even scratched the surface of the zillions contained in the official Apple "discussions" forum. There are tons of problem postings in this forum alone, astronomically more than I have seen on any Linux distro forum.


But maybe you think it is ok to expect users to do this for a printer install:

First of all, you have linked an Ubuntu post from March, 2006. That's very telling on the lack of current Linux problems. Couldn't you find anything more recent? All of my links to Apple problems were from the last two days.

Secondly, these days, almost every distro uses CUPS, which is the same printer set-up that OSX uses. So, if there is a missing driver for Linux, it is not the fault of Linux. Gladly, most printers work with Linux and CUPS.

Please find recent examples from one of the more solid Linux distros.

Edited 2010-06-19 23:01 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

cycoj Member since:
2007-11-04

"
Huh? There are numerous Linux distros in which one never needs to see a terminal, unlike the remedies required for OSX problems: http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13727_7-20007737-263.html" http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13727_7-20007737-263.html" rel="nofollow">http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13727_7-20007737-263.html">http://...
I'm guessing that the average Mac chimp is going to have trouble with these terminal commands.


Mac chimp? You have to insulting and disingenuous?

Funny the last picture of a Linux developer's conference I saw sure contained a lot of Macbooks.

So why don't you name some of these distros that don't require using a CLI? Ubuntu (Linux for humans) not only requires a CLI at times but in fact dumped some people to the command line after a system update broke working video drivers. The OSX example you provided was just a case of a user being unable to delete files. That user was still able to use the system and get online to find help.

But maybe you think it is ok to expect users to do this for a printer install:

hey I just got my psc 1610 working for both scanning and printing (yay me!)...
first I did

sudo apt-get install hplip gtklp xpp hpijs python-qt3-doc libqt3-mt-mysql hplip-ppds

"

Apart from the fact that the link you gave is from 2006, posting CLI instructions on the net is almost always better than telling people to:
go to control panel -> printer settings -> options -> press "look for new printer" ...

That's one of the big advantages of the CLI, you can tell people exactly what to enter into the terminal (actually they can copy and paste it), and they can paste the error message if it didn't work. This is a lot better than all the trouble shooting and instructions I have seen about OS X or Windows. Unfortunately I now see more and more instructions for using the GUI tools to do something in Linux as well.

<snip>

Reply Parent Score: 2