Home > Linux > The Linux Desktop Needs To Be EasierThe Linux Desktop Needs To Be Easier Guest post by Kevin Adams 2002-12-12 Linux 64 Comments“Installing a new program, or the OS itself, proves cumbersome for some users. Creating a home network or developing individualized settings can be confusing or frustrating.” Read the full story at osOpinion.com. 64 Comments 2002-12-12 11:50 pm “The Linux Desktop Needs To Be Easier”Duh….. 2002-12-13 12:02 am Why would anybody in their right mind be opposed to a unified package manager that works across all distros? Doesn’t it make sense for distros to put their collective heads together and come up with one package manager that contains the best characteristics of all of them?IMHO, you download ONE installer and that should be good across ANY LSB certified distro, not just Debian, Slackware, Redhat, etc.With all these advantages, why does Linux have a tiny 2 percent share of the desktop market, with Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) commanding a mammoth 93 percent share?That’s easy, for the same reason people use VCRs instead of Betamaxes. One is superior, but the other is the ‘standard’ 2002-12-13 12:05 am My thoughts exactly. 2002-12-13 12:13 am Gee this topic has never ever been seen before. 2002-12-13 12:18 am I don’t get how will all these Linux distros solve the installation of new programs nightmare. I mean, look at LindowsOS and XandrOS and Lycoris. They’ve come up with their own solutions but it is not native to “Linux”. I mean, look at Windows, automatic installations is built deep into the operating system. It is the way the OS works because it’s got consistance! What I think we need is, a brand new Linux based OS but totally different. It will only use the Linux kernel but the actual architecture of the OS and the way things are handled in the OS will be totally different. I think the problem with Linux distros is in the way the operating systems are designed. The OS itself was not designed to be able to have GUI auto-install just like in Windows. I really think we need a brand new OS that will use the Linux kernel but work totally different. It’s architecture, the way files are handled etc should be more like the one found in Windows and OS/2. 2002-12-13 12:30 am Gee this topic has never ever been seen before.Do I detect a little bit of sarcasm in your voice? 2002-12-13 12:45 am Why would anybody in their right mind be opposed to a unified package manager (or GUI, or File system layout, or init package, or …)that works across all distros? Because then RedHat / SuSE / Mandrake / UL / Gentoo / Debian / Slackware / Lindows / Lycoris/ * would R00L and become The Man and centralize everything and crush the Freedom Of Linux. and..and..and…they’d want MONEY! The bastages! 2002-12-13 12:47 am “OH MY GOD THIS IS BRAND NEW INFORMATION !!!” – Phoebe Buffay 2002-12-13 12:58 am First let may say: I HATE M$, I hate WindowsXX/2K, i try to use Linux wherever I can, but ….>But either way, it’s a widespread attitude: The Linux >desktop just ain’t easy to use.FULL ACK!! Neither KDE nor Gnome nor any other window manager/desktop suite ist ready for the desktop. Period!!!OK, there are many useful programs. But what if they’re not supported by your distribution?? Let’ go the WinXX way:– Dowload the installation file– double click it– wait ’till it’s installed– use itNow the Linux way:1 try to get a RPM file for your distribution2 nothing availble3 try to get the sources4 download the sources5 RTFM6 RTFM again, because you didn’t understand a word7 try to compile it8 oops, library xyz is missing9 search library RPM xyz for your distribution10 oops, nothing found11 download the source12 compile it13 hey, it’s working!!!!14 compile the source for prog xyz15 whew, compilation finished succesfully, let’s start it16 Huh? Segmentation fault! What the f*** is this17 Throwing the PC out of the window (No, just kidding )18 Giving up, using another prog that does (almost) the same19 Realizing that you wasted 45 minutes20 Opening a bottle of a good red wine to forget about that sh**Ok, sometimes it’s fun building your own system, but now it’s really boring and frustrating>Clearly, Linux has the potential to devour the desktop marketFULL ACK, but ONLY if KDE/Gnome developers finally share their development an melt both projects to one easy to use, easy to install, full featured desktop that even a newbie is able to configure/install/use>Part of this disparity stems from Microsoft’s marketing >muscle. It’s hard to beat an effort with that many ad >dollars behind it.Oh, come on! It’s easy to blame it to Microsoft and their dollars. But they’ve done a lot of effort do keep the user desktop (mostly) simple. (Granted, there are of course some flaws, but mostly WindowsXX is usable for normal people). I never rebooted WindowsXX more often than every other distribtion.>With all these advantages, why does Linux have a tiny 2 >percent share of the desktop marketBecause there are 98% left, who don’t have any (or at least little) knowledge about PC’s and their OSes They just want to USE their PC, not RTFM/compiling/configuring. That’s why Linux will never gain more than 3-4 % market share.Switching back to windows (until OpenBeOS is ready)kabelmuckel 2002-12-13 1:07 am for 2 years I have been reading “Linux on da desktop” articles with numerous, and largely redundant, advice for improvement. Still, it is as complicated as it was 2 years ago…this is annoying, someone has to stop 2002-12-13 1:08 am >> It’s architecture, the way files are handled etc should be >> more like the one found in windows and OS/2.NO hell no! More like DOS and OS/2, not windows and OS/2. Or more especially more like DOS. windows’ main config file is binary(the registry). DOS is completely text file configured, and OS/2’s config.sys is text only. The desktop.ini in OS/2 is binary, I believe.Imagine instead of freaking config scripts you could have a DOS style config.sys/autoexec.bat thingie with blahsomethingorother.bin –option –other-option in your config file to bring up the network(or whatever other config duty needed), instead of a 7 page shell script. IMO it would make Linux easier to deal with for non-programmers.But whatever MAJOR simplification Linux may be able to (d)evolve into, KEEP THE CONFIG FILES TEXT ONLY !!! PERIOD. I just had a thought: DR-DOS or FreeDOS with FAT32 support (or even ext2fs/Reiser maybe, heh), and Linux-style tcp/ip, port Samba, and come up with a directx emulator, that would be super cool! But please DO NOT port XFree or anything like to this super-DOS. This thing will be a much easier desktop than Linux in its current form will ever be…. 2002-12-13 1:10 am Very nice troll, really.I especially liked the install-it-in-20-steps 2002-12-13 1:13 am Oh man I agree with everything you said 100%… well, OK, at least not about rebooting windows as often as any Linux distro or whatever. Maybe you use nt/2000/xp, which as I have said befo’, can attribute anything good about it stability and speed wise to the fact that it is a fork of OS/2 code.I ESPCIALLY love the way you distill the Linux software download/install experience. Right on.BTW…. all capitalization omitted is mostly a sign of intentional disrespect 2002-12-13 1:16 am 1) The top-level design decisions are made by programmers, with all that entails. The reasons why a person is able to enjoy programming usually have alot todo with certain neurological impediments. Those same neurological impediments make a person unable to design software well from a human-useability standpoint.2) The programmers have uber-fast computers & design the UI without consideration for anything less. My computer is only 2 years old and Linux/X-Windows/KDE runs like a dog on it. The old justifications are wearing thin.3) Linux was never made with the desktop in mind. It’s a deeply complicated hacker’s workhorse Unix. It’s hard to make a hammer out of butter 2002-12-13 1:17 am Yeah, and they take Lindows, of all distros, to offer “access” to a software library, and provide ease of package install. As if.Maybe what all of us should do, is hire a few programmers for a few weeks, (by all of us sending in 5 bucks) to make a GNOME/KDE unified architecture.As if that would work in the linux world either.Linux is still being designed FOR THE PROGRAMMER, NOT THE USER.Wait till kernel 2.6 2002-12-13 1:22 am Dear O Dear>>>>>>First let may say: I HATE M$, I hate WindowsXX/2K, i try to use Linux wherever I can, but ….>But either way, it’s a widespread attitude: The Linux >desktop just ain’t easy to use.FULL ACK!! Neither KDE nor Gnome nor any other window manager/desktop suite ist ready for the desktop. Period!!!OK, there are many useful programs. But what if they’re not supported by your distribution?? Let’ go the WinXX way:– Dowload the installation file– double click it– wait ’till it’s installed– use it<<<<<<<For non-complex software – ever hear of dll hell – pray windows will reboot(Oh I forget access and hatten whatever font WTF)>>>>>>>Now the Linux way:1 try to get a RPM file for your distribution2 nothing availble3 try to get the sources4 download the sources5 RTFM6 RTFM again, because you didn’t understand a word7 try to compile it8 oops, library xyz is missing9 search library RPM xyz for your distribution10 oops, nothing found11 download the source12 compile it13 hey, it’s working!!!!14 compile the source for prog xyz15 whew, compilation finished succesfully, let’s start it16 Huh? Segmentation fault! What the f*** is this17 Throwing the PC out of the window (No, just kidding )18 Giving up, using another prog that does (almost) the same19 Realizing that you wasted 45 minutes20 Opening a bottle of a good red wine to forget about that sh**<<<<<<<What a load of crap, for 90% plus of programs you head to thier web-site, get RPM’s your distro, read min requirements (can you spell service pack), do rpm -Uvh *rpmIf RPM’s aren’t listed, normally means you run a non-mainstream distro (Ie: not RH, Mandrake, SUSE,Debian) so it is your problem.>>>>>>>>Ok, sometimes it’s fun building your own system, but now it’s really boring and frustrating>Clearly, Linux has the potential to devour the desktop marketFULL ACK, but ONLY if KDE/Gnome developers finally share their development an melt both projects to one easy to use, easy to install, full featured desktop that even a newbie is able to configure/install/use>Part of this disparity stems from Microsoft’s marketing >muscle. It’s hard to beat an effort with that many ad >dollars behind it.Oh, come on! It’s easy to blame it to Microsoft and their dollars. But they’ve done a lot of effort do keep the user desktop (mostly) simple. (Granted, there are of course some flaws, but mostly WindowsXX is usable for normal people). I never rebooted WindowsXX more often than every other distribtion.>With all these advantages, why does Linux have a tiny 2 >percent share of the desktop marketBecause there are 98% left, who don’t have any (or at least little) knowledge about PC’s and their OSes They just want to USE their PC, not RTFM/compiling/configuring. That’s why Linux will never gain more than 3-4 % market share.Switching back to windows (until OpenBeOS is ready)kabelmuckel<<<<<<<<<And yes I run a pure Linux desktop, and compile my own software, because I CAN. The point is that I dont actually need to, just love bleeding edge gnome. 2002-12-13 1:23 am >Very nice troll, really.No trolling intended!I really appreciate the work of GNU/OS/Linux. A I said I really hate M$ an their OSes>I especially liked the install-it-in-20-steps Since today my favourite is step 20. Makes me forget about the whole mess, at least after 2 bottles)kabelmuckel 2002-12-13 1:31 am 1) The top-level design decisions are made by programmers, with all that entails. The reasons why a person is able to enjoy programming usually have alot todo with certain neurological impediments. Those same neurological impediments make a person unable to design software well from a human-useability standpoint.Not even a good troll2) The programmers have uber-fast computers & design the UI without consideration for anything less. My computer is only 2 years old and Linux/X-Windows/KDE runs like a dog on it. The old justifications are wearing thin.I get really tired of this comment – I run an amd k6/2 450 128 and g2 flies (I find it quicker than ghz+ win machines I have to use at work)3) Linux was never made with the desktop in mind. It’s a deeply complicated hacker’s workhorse Unix. It’s hard to make a hammer out of butter AS I said not even a good troll 2002-12-13 1:32 am i agree with the betamax comment. it looks like a lot of you need to get out of the red hat world and into the linux world. there are a lot more to linux than rpm’s.as far as package management goes, debian handles dependancies a lot more easily. i know. i’ve tried both. upgrades are cake with dpkg/apt-get.but really the ‘linux way’ is source code not package management, so something like gentoo is more consistent with the freedom. from what i’ve heard, emerge works great. i’d try it, but downloading all the sources is a lot of bandwidth for dialup.also, being ‘easy’ was never a design goal of linux. it’s developed by tinkerers mostly in their spare time. the whole thing is going to allow you to get down to the nitty-gritty whenever you want to. windows tries to prevent you from touching anything you shouldn’t. that’s a little too much command and control for linux. 2002-12-13 1:38 am Ask anyone what’s the hardest part of the Linux install… its XFree86.If you are running a new laptop, it REALLY sucks. The ATI graphic card drivers limit you to the default panel size. The frame buffer functionality always needs tweaking, you really don’t have Open GL, 3d Hardware acceleration.Yeah sure its easy if you have a desktop, but you are really screwed if you have a nice expensive notebook. 2002-12-13 1:38 am I write VB and SQL code for a living. Windows programs are easy to install only because the developer includes an installation program, in most cases written using InstallShield. The install program checks for DLL dependencies, installs any missing DLL’s, installs the program and adds it to your start menu. Please note that none of this is built in to windows.That said, that applications for Linux are hard to install (if you don’t get them from your Linux distro) is not the fault of Linux, but the application developer. Some apps (Mozilla, for example) are dead simple to install. The app developer needs to either provide an install program or a disclaimer saying that the user is essentially on their own. (I really should save this response so I don’t have to type it in again next time this topic comes up!) 2002-12-13 1:49 am I wasn’t trolling. What I said about neurological imediments is true… I’ve only ever a couple of times come across a programmer who I thought wasn’t on the autistic spectrum in at least some small way. Programming is utterly dominated by autistics. Don’t think I’m being nasty, because I’m on the autistic spectrum myself and am not ignorant about it.Maybe you’ve custom compiled / tweaked for your system? Every Linux setup I’ve ever tried has been dog slow compared with Windows on the same system. Custom compiling and tweaking isn’t an option for the average joe out there.Linux is a hacker’s workhorse. Was Rpm made with grandma in mind? X-Windows? The directory structure? Bash? Kwm even? Virtually none of the system was. It’s a hacker’s technological toy, albeit a mighty good one at that. 2002-12-13 1:50 am # apt-get install most-any-app-you-will-ever-need 2002-12-13 1:52 am >Oh man I agree with everything you said 100%… well, OK, >at least not about rebooting windows as often as any Linux >distro or whatever. Maybe you use nt/2000/xp, which as I >have saidyes 2K (at work). But it makes no difference to my workstation at home (gentoo)>I ESPCIALLY love the way you distill the Linux software >download/install experience. Right on.Thanks!My favourite is step20 😉BTW…. all capitalization omitted is mostly a sign of intentional disrespect I never intended to “disrespect” someone/something. Please keeep in mind that english is not my mother tonguekabelmuckel 2002-12-13 1:58 am Windows software:Download program.Run install program.Wait till program is installed.Use application.Redhat 8:Download rpm.Doubleclick rpm.Give root password.Wait till program is installed.Use application.The problem is not the install itself. It is the dependencies and the fact that linux developers put little pieces in little packages scattered all over the place.Solution that ain’t going to happen. Ship distros with apt. and adjust the instructions.Open Synaptic.Scroll down list and choose application to install.Click install button.Wait on rpm to be downloaded and installed.Use application. 2002-12-13 2:07 am >> BTW…. all capitalization omitted is mostly a sign of>> intentional disrespect >>I never intended to “disrespect” someone/something. Please>keeep in mind that english is not my mother tongueDude, I meant for MY posts. Actually, all posts I was not making fun of you. I never capitalize anything having to do with microsoft. See? 2002-12-13 2:17 am >Dude, I meant for MY posts. Actually, all posts I was not >making fun of you. I never capitalize anything having to do >with microsoft. See? Hey, don’t bother, I simply missunderstood you!I already had the two bottles of wine (no, just kidding ;-))It’s damn late in Germany (3.15 am). So don’t bother about itkabelmuckel 2002-12-13 2:23 am These people defenately don’t know what they are talking about.Redhar is easy to install even for a newbie. Programs are also easy to install if you read the F manual pages that are shown at first boot.Lindows is fairly new on the market so I do not see this as a true linux distribution to compare. It is aimed to be in between windows and linux, and to make windows programs work on linux is possible, but a pain in most cases.If you stick with the standard linux programs it is a breeze.If you look at another newer linux distro like Gentoo, with it’s emerge system for installing programs, it is easy.Installation is kinda painfull, but when you have something running, how simple is it to type emerge mozilla if you want mozilla. even if you have only text mode, it will download and install everything needed to get it in full graphics on your screen.(takes a while, but that is the main point of this distro, since it is your personal config)Debian has the Apt get en BSD has a similair system for easy install.If people write about linux in general, they have to look at the wider range of distro’s instead of just one.This “review” is in my opinion defenately bull. 2002-12-13 2:25 am I write VB and SQL code for a living. Windows programs are easy to install only because the developer includes an installation programLarry, I write programs in Borland C++ Builder. Perhaps you misunderstood me. What my point was, is that “Click+Install” is like a rule in Windows. Almost all developers include an installation program BUT this is mostly because third party “Setup Creators” already exist on the market. If these programs such as “InstallShield” or “InnoSetup” did not exist, it would be very hard to write your own installation program that checks for DLLs, messes with the registry etc. 2002-12-13 2:26 am What never ceases to amaze me is that the same people who criticize the Macintosh for it’s “simple interface” or “simple approach” (and liken the system to that of a toy) are also standing on street corners complaining that Linux is too difficult for them — it’s not friendly enough.When one installs Windows on their x86 box — they expect a certain feel to emanate from their screen — they expect it to look like Windows, feel like Windows and function like Windows. Likewise, when someone buys a Mac… they expect a certain vibe from their system. It should work and feel like a Mac. However, when a Linux user installs Linux — they expect to have the absolute control and freedom to create the desktop environment that they truly desire (and given the time & inclination, they will).Linux, by nature is a chameleon of an operating system — it will function in the manner you wish it to. Want a bright cheerful GUI w/ lots of *pings* and *flashes*? Install KDE or Gnome w/ an appropriate window manager. Want a sleek interface w/ low resource consumption? Install WindowMaker or Blackbox. Want to be an ubergeek? Screw the GUI… runlevel 3 baby. It’s up to you — the user. However, the cost of that kind of flexibility is a higher learning curve.That’s the beauty of Linux — the ability for an individual user to create and customize their operating system to suit their needs — not the other way around. As soon as major distro’s begin to compromise the flexibility of the release to satisfy less savvy users, that’s when the downward spiral begins. (Hell, it’s already started — pick a prepackaged release and someone’s already stamped their vision of how Linux should “look” on the package. KDE (or gnome) becomes the standard — installing (potentially) unnecessary items on valuable hard drive space (forcing users to either retrograde their systems (post-installation) or to spend extra-time on the front-end configuring their needs, instead of installing what they need, when they need it)). Meanwhile, let a distro excercise too much control over the look & feel of a system — and you’ll begin to drive developers away. Don’t believe me? How do you think Linux got it’s start in the first place?>Ok, sometimes it’s fun building your own system, but now it’s really boring and frustrating.Then don’t do it. I don’t mean to sound harsh — but if you want to relinquish control of your desktop to an outside influence… relinquish that control to someone who wants it; stick with MS, kid — they’ll be glad to force their vision down your throat.I started using computers back in the 80’s (I was 13 and it was an Apple ][e) — and I loved it. Hell, it pulled me away from football (never looked back ). But something happened when I got my first Mac… it just wasn’t fun anymore — it was all about someone elses vision of computer use , not mine. 17 years (and a succesfully sold web development/consulting business) later, I’ve got a PIII collecting dust, a G4 that I occasionally load OSX on (for the odd layout job) and a Powerbook G3 that runs YDLinux exclusively — and I feel like I’m 13 again… using a computer to experiment & play w/ — and learn on.Look, in short — Linux has a proven place for development purposes, network administration and server use. Everything after that is cake — tasty, yummy cake. Don’t taint the cake w/ store bought, processed saccharin. Let me make it the way I want it. I promise, in the end, it’ll be better for us all. 2002-12-13 2:29 am Linux will never be ready for the average consumer desktop until 2 major issues are solved:-1)Installation of new hardware AFTER the install2)Installation of softwareInstallation of hardware the Windows way:-Install the drivers on the supplied CD that come with your new hardware-use your new device.Installation of hardware the Linux way:-If your device is supported by the kernel or modules-load the kernel module with the correct options,maybe remake device nodes,maybe mount a file system to access the device.Your device may work,may have limited functionality.If your device isnt supported by the kernel-maybe download, compile and install a new kernel. Maybe download and compile a kernel module for the device which is probably in beta and buggy and not fully finished.Maybe your device isnt supported at all.Anyone see the problem here for ordinary consumers?Installation of software is just as bad. In the 8 years ive been using Windows ive had DLL problems twice.In the 3 years ive been using Linux ive had dependency problems pretty much everytime ive tried to install new software on Linux (esp with RPMS). Like when it says i need a certain file installed and the damn file is already installed.Seems to me that in a vain attempt to avoid DLL hell they have created something much worse.And as for the Linux zealots whingeing about upgrading Windows all the time and installing service packs-i installed Windows 2000 3 years ago on my machine-i installed service pack 3 last week. 2 years from now i will still be using Windows 2000. When service packs come out i install them and get on with life. How many times in 3 years would i have to have upgraded my Linux distribution to be able to use the latest hardware? I think i would of gone thro 6 distributions of Linux by now.The Linux zealots are so blinded by thier hatred of Microsoft that they cant acknowledge these flaws in Linux and stupidly flame anyone that tries to point them out.This is what is keeping Linux off consumer desktopsIts plain and simple people 2002-12-13 2:39 am Personally I didn’t really care one way or the other about Microsoft Business practices. But with their DRM push and some of the things I have heard about Palladium has really given me cause to consider an alternative to MS Windows/MS Office. For Linux to become that alternative for me and others I think there are a few things that need to change. The first thing is, I’m not a programmer and I don’t think it makes me stupid to ask for an operating system and programs that I will NEVER have to worry about compiling. Another thing would be to see some stabilization in the programs out there, I don’t think I should have to pay money for programs that contain Alpha or Beta software, I would rather have dependable code than cutting edge code I cannot trust. And finally I think there needs to be a change in attitudes when it comes to helping people new to Linux, nobody should ever be told to RTFM, Those 4 letters alone demonstrate a level of arrogance and intimidation that turn many people away from Linux. Linux has come a long way and I hope it continues to progress. There are a lot of non-programmers that are not computer illiterate and open to other Operating System possibilities but present attitudes hold us back from making the big leap. 2002-12-13 3:04 am have all dependancies in the package, when the package is launched, the package manager checks the dependencies and sees what is installed on the system, it then installs the dependencies that are needed and installs the program….bam…it is installed. what would help this is for the .RPM to be a self extracting compressed file…call it a .cRPM for “compressed RPM”.why couldn’t they do that? 2002-12-13 3:07 am make the hardware manufacturers make Kernel modules for the hardware, and install scypts to install the module and set up the system to modprobe the module at boot time.this is dependant on the hardware companies however…like, I do not see why Nvidia does not just ship the frogen drivers for Linux on the driver CD….does it actualy cost that much? 2002-12-13 3:09 am Linux drivers are superior in that you know you just put chipset xyz card of type (sound/NIC/whatever). So you load module blahchipsetname. If the card is “generic” enough, it just works. The module can be unloaded if needed. You can even load a different module if the one doesn’t work. In DOS, you add a line to the config.sys or autoexec.bat, with i/o port, irq options, etc… and it just works. Same with OS/2.In winblowz, you have to dance around what plug and pray gives you as far as irqs and such, like if card x stops working, you have to remove it from device manager, then turn the machine off, and then take the damned card out, reboot windows without the card, then shutdown, reload the card, and then reload the drivers, and hope everything goes right. You can’t edit the config.sys or whatever and FORCE it to be the way you know it should be. And yes I beleive jumpers were better than plug and pray. Maybe not for Dad and other novices, but definitely for me.And like mentioned in my prev. posts, the main reason windows has this driver problem is due to the fact that the evil registry is binary… ppl that know how it should be can’t go in in DOS and plain text edit… I remember editing Win3’s text files to bring it back to life very often.In win32, this type of repair is just not possible. 2002-12-13 3:12 am …dynamic link library hell. Linux has it, winblows has it. Even OS/2 might have a tiny bit of it. multiple versions of the same library/dll/so file is always bad. At least in Linux multiple versions can be maintained, but this is not a newbie-doable thing. 2002-12-13 3:14 am I find alot of the articles being linked to be OS News are of very low quality (They just say “make it better”).I do like the articles being written by OSNews, or contributing editors. The difference: they don’t just outline the problem, they actually get around to telling us how to fix it. I would say most developers for linux know it’s sometimes hard to install software, so they don’t need to be told over and over again.What is good is when they’re told how to fix it. Just recently we saw the idea of autopackage, an absolutely fantastic idea.Please, developers know what’s wrong, what they need to know is the best way to fix it. So stop writing articles which tell us whats wrong, write articles which tell us how to fix it. 2002-12-13 3:38 am Read my point earlier about apt. The dependency thing is not as big an issue as people keep screaming about if you just use apt. This is all free software by the way. With freeware and shareware for Windows you run into dll hell a lot more often. When I install commercial software for linux like oracle or the late Loki I have not had any dependency issues. If you stick with known apt sources and Redhat you eliminate the whole dependency hell thing.If you download the latest greatest thing not even supported in apt and they get updated pretty damn quick and have to go out and download one other rpm to get to work that is what you pay to be on the latest bleeding edge. Once again, I have installed freeware ssh console packages for Windows and had to download not just one but two programs because one was the console and the other was the ssh plugin. The install thing is a red herring if and when the distros get smacked by a clue by four and include apt and synaptic.It is a pain only in the sense that the common user would not know to install apt and synaptic. I agree that things should be easier and they can be because they are for me right now.The hardware issue is totally legitimate. Hardware support is getting better every day. The Umax 3400 USB scanner I got free for my computer is know supported by the plustek scanner for example.Still, the linux companies as whole have to put up the united front and persuade companies to port drivers over or release specs so the companies can provide the drivers. It is an issue. Serious one. 2002-12-13 4:26 am well, a nicer more window-y way of installing web applications is to create a new package…call it(since the LSB uses RPM) cRPM for Compressed RPM. in that package, all .so files required for the program are included. the package manager then expands the package, checks for the correct .so files on the system if they do not exist, then the one included in the cRPM is used then the program works.this is how windows does it, BUT the programers do not have to build any install scripts, the Package manager deals with it all. this is trivial for the programmer to do and becasue it is a compressed archive it takes up little room. 2002-12-13 4:40 am Read my point earlier about apt. The dependency thing is not as big an issue as people keep screaming about if you just use apt.Question is, how well does apt work outside of Debian? Can I install Debian apt packages in Redhat, or do I have to go and hunt down a Redhat-specific apt package?As for the whole package thing, what happens if you need to install an app that has no ‘package’ for your distro? You better home configure/make/make install works or else you’re up shit creek without a paddle. 2002-12-13 4:42 am “With all these advantages, why does Linux have a tiny 2 percent share of the desktop market, with Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) Latest News about Microsoft commanding a mammoth 93 percent share?”I predict that all authors of pieces (opinion or otherwise) will have as much success predicting desktop numbers as others did server numbers. Let the fun commence. 2002-12-13 5:04 am 1. You make very good points.2. You do not read other people’s posts to understand their point because I already said:The install thing is a red herring if and when the distros get smacked by a clue by four and include apt and synaptic.These are the two packages needed. apt is great but synaptic gives you a nice complete gui interface.3. If you want an application in any os that does not have a package built for it what do you do? You compile it. If my boss wants Apache with some odd option or another compiled in for a project for NT then I go and compile that bastard by hand. It is why the guys on the Apache project went to such trouble to make sure the thing would compile easily with Visual Studio and such. It is what you do with source code. You compile it.I think that people should not supply source code that people can compile by hand. Because having the ability to actually go out on the bleeding edge and compile some app or another someone coded in a blind druken rage only gives windows users the chance to say that they could not get the gtk-all-frontal-pr0n collection program running when they tried on linux because they had to compile it by hand. That must mean that linux is just a geek-toy-0S loved only by elitist snob jerks.What the heck are you people compiling? Jeez when Gnome 2.0 came out I got on this kick that I got to have the bleeding edge kick and I started compiling a bunch of stuff by hand.I am out of that club. Mozillla with the three hour compiles and such was the program that broke the camels back.Matt Hall (Nyquist) or the freshrpms folks they do it and I just go into Synaptic all GUI like and click the app I want and then click install.Yes, hardware support need to improve on linux like someone said before.Sure if the sheer number of lib packages and sheer number of dependencies were decreased this would be good. However, the whole dependency hell, installing software is hell stuff is old school three year a go arguements.If you do not want dependency hell get your rpms from redhat and apt sources from freshrpms.If you get freeware/shareware programs from eight different sources for your windows machine you will quickly find that one program needs another program that needs something else. It happens and it is not all linux. I had just such problem with an ssh console program needed two seperate programs — one for the ssh plugin and the other for the console.Sure if you get rpms from eight different places you get dependency trouble.At least rpm warns me if its missing something. Windows just installs the ssh terminal program and does not tell me I needed the damn terminal program itself. 2002-12-13 5:44 am The majority of consumers don’t own more than one PC or network the two together. Those who do, make up a small percentage, hence, I see no reason why 90% of the time should be spent making features easier for those who only represent %5 of the over all user base.What the user wants to be able to do is flick on their computer, write a letter or two, surf the net and maybe play the odd game of solitaire.As for those stupid idiots who say, “why don’t they have a setup.exe”, yeah, sure, then the user finds after installing it, they get a weird message complaining about a library missing. Same shit, different error message. Same situation when joe bloggs downloads some weird and obscure VB shareware application and finds that they don’t have a certin dll.As for those who complain about Linux being hard when installing new hardware. Again, the majority DON’T INSTALL HARDWARE THEMSELVES. Got the message, so called “user experts”, joe average pays for the component, and then pays $NZ60 for someone to install and configure it for them. Assuming that the installer isn’t a complete and clueless moron, the user won’t even go near any of the low level parts of the OS.What the OS needs is applications and drivers. Applications being the most important. As for “uniformity”, I say screw the HI from KDE or GNOME, lets just adopt the Apple one and make life easier. It saves millions, and you’re using time tested research, plus, there is a large pool of developers already used to using it. 2002-12-13 5:59 am It’s well knowned. Thank you for remembering that to us ;-))) 2002-12-13 6:09 am “Jeez when Gnome 2.0 came out I got on this kick that I got to have the bleeding edge kick … ”Why is it that when the final (stable) version of something in Linux comes out, it is considered ‘bleeding edge’? Hell, I say if it’s final/stable, it should be good to go, right? IMHO, if it says ‘final’ or ‘stable’ on the package, there’s got to be a better way to do things than to have to sit and wait a month or two for my distro of choice to make a nice package for me to install. Good will be the day when you can just go download and install something the day it comes out.“As for those who complain about Linux being hard when installing new hardware. Again, the majority DON’T INSTALL HARDWARE THEMSELVES. ”I don’t agree with you there. Though this may be true for stuff that you have to open the case for, I think when it comes to USB and the like, most people will have a crack at it themselves. Or at least in Windows, where installing hardware of this type (under ideal situations) is simply plugging in the device and inserting the CD when it asks for it. 2002-12-13 6:28 am Most windows users don’t have a fucking clue what they are doing. If networking wasn’t set up for them they’d be as lost as they would be on *nix.The Linux desktop is easy to use. But your not talking about the desktop system your talking about internals….Sort your shit out. 2002-12-13 6:31 am 1. download and extract the software tarball2. ./configure3. make && make intsallmaybe people should just get a grip…! 2002-12-13 7:27 am Reality Check: Read the Windows Newsgroups.Windows users have plenty of problems. Install. Using.You name it. How do I save a file? Alt+tab shows you what. Xp won’t play with the programs I just installed last year.People are used to Winders more than it is easy to use.Make no mistake Windows users are on Usenet pulling their hair out enought to start a whole chain of Ye Olde Wig Factory & Rug Shoppe Franchise.Linux? Easy. Use Debian or Debian based distros.Debian package system is the best in Linux.Rpms have been a pain in the arse, but are becoming more deb like so are now much better..4 Ways to ride the Debian Pony.Pony Express: Knoppix . Download the iso,burn to cd,and run your Debian based distro right without having toinstall. Can it be any easier?Full Saddle,( fer yer riding pleasure):Were not in Winders anymore ,Toto.Really, how can you tell. ( but hey that is a goodthing for the newbie)Consensus is forming that this is the best of the uber-newbie distro. yep,Xandros is da bomb and of course it is Debian based. Xandros Costs 100clams tho. Too much for moi, but toi?Hudson Bay Blanket: Libranet. -the ez friendly Debian Distro.Gives you enough “cushioning” to be comfortable, but you can still feel the full power of the Debian Animal underneath.Not the one app per category of Xandros, but not the whole damn store either. They pack a lot onto just twocds. Adminmenu makes compiling,sound,printing,networkingeasy. If you have a problem they have excellent supportand user community. Icewm is the default windowmanagerwhich is perfect for older boxes will seem familiar toWindows refugee. Cost just 55.00 ( which is aprox whatXandros should charge). Less if you are upgrading from previous version. want to try before you buy. you can download an iso of their previous version 2.0 for free.If you do have problem their tech support and user community are excellent.Bareback” Debian itself: free as in beer. free as in speech. free as in never having to pay for a distro again. Feel free to donate or buy official cds tho.Difficulty of insallation is way overblown. A Windows power user ( not your average Windows userwho doesn’t even know how to alt-tab) should be able to install or being a Windows Power user isn’t worth adamn.& Mandrake and Suse are pretty darn good too.I like Gentoo ,but anyone who recommends it for a newbieshould be shot ( full of Tequila and ridden out of town)Next round of Distro releases will even be better.Gotta love it.-May we all live to dance on Microsoft’s Grave. -Traditonal Linux toast- 2002-12-13 7:42 am NO! REALLY?Why dont we stop making 494909943634 articles about “linux is not ready for prime time” and insted: do somthing about it? 2002-12-13 8:07 am And if you’re lucky enough to have a geeky friend, he or she can get underneath the hood and modify your software, customizing it for your needs (try doing that with Microsoft). True enough. But how many are really open to that idea. How many go to their mechanic shops and modify their cars. These are for the curios or those who really need something different. Me? I’m in the curios. I don’t mind using a out-of-the-box Linux distro, but the fun part comes when you start customizing it.But I’m a geek. A lot of people aren’t geeks.Perhaps the biggest advantage of the Linux desktop is that many Linux packages are fully equipped with not only an OS, but also a full suite of programs.I would say that’s a disadvantage. I remember the first time I use Linux (Mandrake 7.1), it had everything. And I was so disorientated. A lot of distributions are not realizing this. Red Hat last time installed a lot of redundant overlaping apps by default, now by default they install one window manager, desktop, text editor, terminal emulator, browser, email client and office suite.For example, the Lindows 3.0 release bundles the core OS with access to a library of free software.Your “free” is more than a hundred bucks. Okay, just say you got Windows. Wanna office suite? Download OOo or buy SO6 ($75) or buy Hancom Office (price?). Other stuff (which populate CNR) could possibly be found on Download.com.With all these advantages, why does Linux have a tiny 2 percent share of the desktop market, with Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) commanding a mammoth 93 percent share? Actually, 2 reasons1) People don’t move fast. There isn’t a decree saying everyone must move to Linux by this time next year. Migration is happening at a slow pace2) The market share data is inaccurate. How would one know how many downloads and copies of that download made to a CD-R and how many machines installing them exist? In fact, that number wasn’t 2%, earlier IDC decided it was close to 4% and at the last minute it was less than 2%However, it is also undeniable that Linux is not easy to use for the average desktop user.When Windows started being used by average users, was it easy? Not a chance. In fact, Windows 95 was probably their first time towards becoming easy to use.So if ease of use isn’t the main problem, what is? Software, software, software. Many people need certain kinds of software. My father depends on Word, Excel, Visio and a custom office app, for example. My aunt, for another example, depends on some custom accounting app, Word, Lotus Notes and Excel. My lawyer uncle heavily depends on WordPerfect. My church friend heavily depends on AutoCAD.And what about those who don’t depend on Windows-only apps, or can easily move to another app? They don’t have any need to move. Windows users you guys always speak of, meaning surfing the Web, emailing, maybe some MP3s, balancing their bank accounts, typing some letters; have no absolute reason why they should switch to Linux.None at all. It is not like they can’t afford Windows, because they already own a license, or they can’t use Windows.Besides, if ease of use is such a problem, all you are saying is something we all know. But like any typical osOpinion article, you didn’t even try to suggest a different approach. Instead your research is getting quotes from analyst.What do you suggest we do to fix the problem? Any UI suggestions? None? Typical. It’s like saying S. Africa have a AIDS issue and not suggesting anything to help the condition. Instead, you are just rehashing the same old story. 2002-12-13 8:12 am The wizards you see in most apps is a average executable made by InstallVISE, who thought up this great idea of making it easier for programs to be installed. It ISN’T burried deep inside Windows. Unless of course you mean by it using Win32. The only thing integrated into Windows is the registry, used by VISE. And that is the most major reason why people have registry hells.Then later on Microsoft decided it needed something really consistent and into Windows. Their solution is as burried deep inside Windows as RPM inside Red Hat Linux.The only modern OS I know that have a good easy to use installing system is Mac OS X, which every app is in a .app file. Installing it is as easy as moving it out of the CD or unpackaging a package from the Net. The capablity is burried deep inside Mac OS X’s software, and removing it is as easy as removing Quartz or Cocoa. 2002-12-13 8:52 am One thing for sure:- those reading and posting messages on this topic are the 2% and the rest (98%) never knew the existance of this topic.Q: so how Linux can reach the 98%?? 2002-12-13 9:47 am I’m sorry, I tried hard to resist but failed…I mean, who are those “truly techie-geeky kind of fellows” who fail to connect to the internet? Nobody serious will deny that the Linux desktop still has a long way to go, my personal “cleaning woman” for instance is fonts.Anyway, I recently installed Debian Woody on my girlfriend’s machine. She’s doing foreign-language typesetting under Windows for a living, her Linux skills were limited to double-click game icons (Kohan, HoMM3 etc.) on the Gnome desktop when she asked me how to set up an internet connection. I asked her to set it up herself.She then clicked on the foot in the lower left, found and clicked on “Network” followed by “Set up DSL connection”. Guess what, she clicked on it, entered user name & password, confirmed and … oops, was connected to the internet.Now, how difficult is that? 2002-12-13 10:14 am Guess what, she clicked on it, entered user name & password, confirmed and … oops, was connected to the internet.The problem with that, is that it is just as easy to setup a DSL connection on Windows. Even easier actually (imo). The first time windows comes up, it asks you if you want to setup an internet connection. I hope you aren’t arguing that Linux is easier to use.. I agree that it is getting more usable (the example you pointed out was interesting), but there is still a lot of work to be done to make it to easy to use. I also think that easy to use does not necessarily have to equal less control, as many people claim loudly everytime this issue is brought up. 2002-12-13 12:32 pm There’s much confusion between what is the fault of Linux and what is the fault of the application vendor. For example to 28 steps to install on Linux. I’ve used programs in Windows that are just as hard – its because the vendor hasn’t bothered to do a proper job. Download something like Star/Openoffice and it has the same install wizard/frontend it does on Windows. Just click through the options and it install nice and easy for you – just like Windows. Download something highly technical like Sendmail and you’re right – you’ve got the 99 steps to Linux install hell.Useability wise Linux is ready for the desktop (check out the latest distros Redhat 8, Mandrake 9 etc). They’re piece of p to use. If it was so hard why are the Movie industry (such as DB2) moving all they’re client apps across to Linux?Let’s get things straight, the problems described aren’t to do with Linux – The OS or Gnome or KDE. They’re to do with the apps. Linux ISN’T ready becasue of the lack of supporting apps that go with it. Once vendors get to grips with Linux then easy installing apps will become the norm. The same happened when Win95 came out. There were programs that where pigs to install and there were those that weren’t. No Windows apps are easy to install because the apps that weren’t have evolved or died. 2002-12-13 1:06 pm Hi Pat,The problem with that, is that it is just as easy to setup a DSL connection on Windows. Even easier actually (imo).That’s not a problem I hope you aren’t arguing that Linux is easier to use..Generally spoken, it certainly is not. For my personal use: yes, it is.What I got somewhat upset about mereley is “…truly techie-geeky kind of fellow… No matter what he did –…–he could not get the system to connect to the Internet.”Cheers,RuedigerPS Hope I got the tags right… 2002-12-13 3:32 pm You can’t have it both ways…either it’s a powerful operating system, built on the premise that it will be used by power users and customized until it’s unrecognizable from anyone else’s installation…OR it’s an easy-to-use, let-the-OS-do-everything, my-Grandma-can-use-it system.If you want to argue that it’s better than Windows because it’s hugely more customizable…GREAT! You win! There is no question that any Linux distro is more customizable, more flexible, and more powerful in that sense than any flavor of Windows, ever.If you want to argue that Windows is better because it’s easier to use, has better app support from vendors, has a familiar interface that non-power-users are comfortable with, and which offers a relatively easy install for most stable apps…GREAT! You win! 98% of the desktop market belongs to Windows not only because MS is a freakin’ monster, but because most companies and individuals are USING it. They use it because it’s familiar, doesn’t require (or permit) re-compilation of the kernel, doens’t require the end user to know ANYTHING technical about the inner workings of the OS or the computer.But, these are two seperate issues, aren’t they? It seems to me that the people who sneer at Windows do so because they believe that it’s a toy of an operating system, while the people who ignore Linux as a desktop operating system do so because it requires more time and effort than they are willing to spend to learn it.If Linux is ever to get more than 2% of the desktop, it’s going to have to become more toy-like. If you don’t want that, then stop woe-is-me-ing about Linux not being a desktop powerhouse. 2002-12-13 4:18 pm Problem is, it’s much harder to provide a properly self-installing application on Linux – at least if you want to follow the LSB.On Windows, you can just put your application into a self-extracting executable, for example using WinZip (and I’m sure there are other tools which can do the same). It will extract the application into a single directory. For 99% of applications this should be enough.Now there is a self-extracting archive tool for Linux, check out http://cvs.icculus.org/horde/chora/cvs.php/makeself?rt=loki_setup (there may be others, this is the one I’m aware of). But can you just distribute your application in such a self-extracting .tar.gz.sh or .tar.bz2.sh?You can’t, because to be fully compliant, binaries have to go into /usr/bin (or maybe /usr/local/bin?), data files into /usr/share/whatever and so on.This directory structure is definitely a horrible mess.Common opinion seems to be that the primary purpose of a package management system is to resolve dependencies. This fails to acknowledge just how bad the situation is.The most basic operations involved in managing software on a computer are installing, updating and uninstalling. The sad truth is that it is impossible to perform those absolutely basic operations on Linux without the help of a package management system. Sure, installation would be easy, just tar xzf something. But how would you ever remove the software again? It’s impossible.The solution is actually pretty obvious, even though it needs a bit of additional infrastructure (and GNU Stow actually provides part of that infrastructure). Just put every application in its own directory. 2002-12-13 4:31 pm I switched from Windows because Windows was *constrictive*, it had a rapidly decaying and ignored command line, and increasingly its applications demanded that it knew better about what I wanted than I did. I wanted an OS that crap like Clippy the Demon Cartoon didn’t exist in, or, if it did, was *turned the hell off* by default.I’ve never tried to make the case, personally, that Windows was as hard or harder than Linux to use – in my experience, that hasn’t been the case. Of course, with all of the ease of Windows comes a lot less configurability and a lot more of settling into the way Microsoft wants you to do things.Oh and as for the use of “geek” – you know, to me geeks are people who forward on spam AND TYPE IN ALL CAPITALS AND WRITE LOLOLOLOL AFTER EVERYTHING. And you know what? It’s Windows users who do that, mainly. I’ve always been irritated at the semi-pejorative use of the word geek, and frankly, if I am one, and I probably am by most definitions of the word, I really couldn’t give a crap about dumbing down anything in my world for the Fear-Factor watching, Jennifer Lopez listening masses. I just don’t care. They can use Windows, an easier to use operating system, and they can pay for the experience of doing so, both financially and in all of the other little costs of running Windows. It’s their choice. I’m down on Windows *for me*, but the beauty of a free country is that if someone wants a Fisher Price operating system, hey, rock and roll.I have no objection to distributions like Mandrake that are working to be more accessible to the Windows market. But I would hate to be stuck with a distribution that was as easy and featureless as Windows, without the choice of using something more flexible like Gentoo. (I have also found that the supposedly most complex distributions – Gentoo and Debian, for instance, actually are quite literally easier to maintain via apt-get and emerge, than Windows or Mandrake or even Red Hat, even if they are a little more difficult to install).I think a heck of a lot of time has been wasted on trying to make Linux like Windows. To begin with, Linux *isn’t *THAT* hard. I’ve heard people claim that they’d like to use Linux but “don’t have the time to learn it.” What they’re really saying is, “Friends is on and I’d rather be drooling at that and you’re a geek.”You point, you click, all of this nonsense about Linux not being ready for the desktop has me perplexed; because if all “the average non geek” does is check e-mail (and forward copious amounts of spam), play solitaire, and browse the web, a distribution like Mandrake can already do that just as easily.I installed Linux as a lark; I wanted to set up a small Apache server, and just out of curiosity I installed X. It was so amazingly simple to use, I switched over to it completely. I just don’t get how it’s supposedly so complicated to use or not ready for the desktop. I just don’t. I was a Windows user and I made the move over a year ago, cold turkey.I moved from Windows right to it with pretty much no UNIX experience at all and have spent the last year learning more and more about Linux and automating a lot of tasks I used to do by hand. I’m not an expert; probably just become an intermediate user now, but it hasn’t been brain surgery. I can only assume that people are far lazier than I am, incredibly dumber than I am, or just not interested in computers. Neither of which is necessarily a bad thing but I don’t pretend to understand it. I’m hardly a genius but obviously in some way I must be different than Linux’s many detractors.I guess I can see for a certain kind of user, that Linux isn’t the best option. I guess. I just think a lot of time and noise has centered around this artificial need to make Linux like Windows. I’m sure Budweiser sells a lot more beer than Guinness – maybe Guinness should try to be more like Budweiser?My opinion on this is, if you find Linux too hard (and the 20 step install or whatever was a ridiculous strawman. All I ever type is emerge *packagename* – sorry if you use a crap distro), don’t use it. Just as I don’t use Windows.I have no desire to see Linux be more like Windows. If I want something like Windows I’ll use….Windows. As I did for about a decade.I just don’t get the need to make Linux like Windows. There’s already one OS like Windows – that being Windows, and in my opinion, it kind of sucks – for my purposes anyway. Apparently it works well for a lot of people. Whatever. 2002-12-13 5:20 pm Snow is white!The sky is blue!Grass is green!And finally, Jar Jar Binks is irritating!…sigh…TO Darius. The opposition to a unified package manager mainly comes from the knowledge that standards tend to make concessions. For example, the LSB standard lists RPM, which is a giant pile of crap. (Binary package database, on a UNIX?) Why would all those people using APT/DPKG or Portage want to *downgrade* just to support a standard? Since most packages tend to be in RPM format by default, and those using Debian or other distros are generally skilled enough to use alien to convert packages, the situation really isn’t bad enough to require “fixing.” 2002-12-13 6:36 pm >>1)Installation of new hardware AFTER the install2)Installation of software<<1)apt-get install discoverthis should automatically load modules for most drivers (sound cards, usb support, etc)2)apt-get install *package name* #install programapt-cache search *package your looking for* #search for programapt-build install *package name* #build program from source and install it on your system 2002-12-13 7:41 pm ROFL!!! I sympathize, I totally KNOW what you’re talking about, kabelmuckel. 2002-12-13 7:58 pm Just like the VB developer who had the only really intelligent post about this topic said.Its up to the maker of the software not the Os to make it easy to install. installanywhere (http://www.zerog.com/products_ia.html)is available on the linux platform just like windows (looks like no developer wants to pay for it on linux so there you go). It is amazing that the intelligence of users on this site show no more knowledge on Operating systems than zdnet readers. 2002-12-13 8:58 pm Solution that ain’t going to happen. Ship distros with apt. and adjust the instructions.Open Synaptic.Scroll down list and choose application to install.Click install button.Wait on rpm to be downloaded and installed.Use application.have all dependancies in the package, when the package is launched, the package manager checks the dependencies and sees what is installed on the system, it then installs the dependencies that are needed and installs the program….bam…it is installed. what would help this is for the .RPM to be a self extracting compressed file…call it a .cRPM for “compressed RPM”.why couldn’t they do that?It is already done in Mandrake : their GUI software installer contains packages of the CD and any FTP server (that you can choose). You scroll, double-click on it, then it calculates the dependencies and download all libraries needed and install. Voilà ! Then you can use it.On console, it is urpmi.See this page : http://www.trylinuxsd.com/They show how to use it, for example to install software for decoding DVD in Xine, mplayer and ogle in 5 minutes.