Home > Linspire > Michael Robertson of Lindows Responds at Slashdot Michael Robertson of Lindows Responds at Slashdot Eugenia Loli 2003-05-05 Linspire 26 Comments At the Slashdot Q&A, Michael Robertson of Lindows.com responds to a variety of questions regarding Linux and Lindows. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 26 Comments 2003-05-05 6:43 pm Could be the fastest response to a /. Q&A ever. 2003-05-05 6:57 pm Despite the flood of l33t /.’ers who are still flaming Linux, I’m actually really excited to check out LindowsOS 4.0. You can bet I want to support a company that is furthering true Linux on the desktop, even if I don’t agree with every decision they’ve made (run as root). 2003-05-05 7:03 pm When is Lindows 4.0 coming out ? I would be surprised if they dont call it Lindows NT 4.0. LOL, just kidding. Overall I think he responded to the questions intelligently and stayed on topic. Good interview for Micheal Robertson. 2003-05-05 7:41 pm Excellent interview, he addressed the questions in a reasonable and fair manner. 2003-05-05 7:45 pm I personally don´t care that much about the root issue, because I think it can somehow be fixed anyway and it means that you can get a Debian installation really hassle-free. However, the price they charge for using Click-N-Run is too expensive. Although one can use apt-get + Synaptic as a good replacement for CNR, that alone don´t justify the purchase of this Linux distro at such prices. Knoppix which is also Debian based, when installed in the harddrive, can do it for free. However, people like us aren´t Lindows.com´s target audience. They want people who can barely turn on their computers and don´t mind in paying for hand-holding. And Michael Robertson do have a point when he says that Linux must come preinstalled in brand-name PCs to spread its adoption. This way, hardware manufacturers and software companies will start to give Linux the attention it deserves, releasing drivers and softwares. In this regard, I think they´re doing quite well and if that what it takes to bring Linux to the desktop, I wish success to them. Cheers, DeadFish Man 2003-05-05 9:01 pm Very intelligent answers to great questions. I’ve gained a lot of respect Michael Robertson. 2003-05-05 9:06 pm Linux must come pre-installed, definitely. Microsoft is a menace, definitely. I’m still not interested in Linux tho. I do agree with his thoughts on MS and Xbox and Untrustworthy computing taking away control of users under the banner of ‘security’ though. And for those reasons I want as many alternatives to flourish as possible. The stranglehold on OEMs MS has is the first thing that needs to go for true competition to thrive. 2003-05-05 9:08 pm So Lindows 4 is on the way? I was wondering what happened — we used to get a new Lindows version every 2 weeks, and then they stopped coming all of a sudden! Well, I hope there will be major improvements in 4.0 Hey Lindows folks, how about doing an evaluation CD so people can try out the product first? 2003-05-05 9:09 pm When is Lindows 4.0 coming out? They are shooting for mid-summer 2003. So far the beta’s are looking real nice! Kreek Lindows Insider 2003-05-05 9:32 pm Actually, if you don’t want/need FULL CNR features, you can get the distro for as little as $49.00 for download or $59.00 for a retail package ( sent via snail mail ). So, not so expensive after all…. http://www.lindows.com/lindows_storefront.php?own=no 2003-05-05 10:29 pm While I was never (?) a LindowsOS or Robertson basher, from reading this I have discovered newfound respect for Robertson and Lindows.com. 2003-05-05 10:40 pm He suggests that by supporting WINE, essentially he would be supporting Microsoft. This is not true, WINE is supposed to support many more applications, not just Microsoft ones. For example I use WINE to run Photoshop and nothing else. People need WINE because they don’t want to relearn an application, or have ncompatible formats, its not always because Linux offerings do not have all the features they need. WINE is still very important and I am impresed by WineX 3 and the Codeweavers line of products. Also everyone should check out Michael’s Minutes its really got some of the best commentary I’ve read, not only on Lindows, but about the software industry, music industry, stories, etc. Almost every issue gives you something to really think about and they are written very well by Michael himself. Here’s the entire archive: http://www.lindows.com/lindows_michaelsminutes_archives.php and here is the latest one: http://www.lindows.com/lindows_michaelsminutes.php its about music and the most probable MS and Apples plans for music. 2003-05-05 10:56 pm After reading the article, I have a great deal of respect for this man and I think I would recommend his product to others. I wonder why he says that “Click-N-Run” is easier to use than Windows XP? Is it really true? I wish them all the best. Note: both wvdial (in SuSE) and pppd in Slackware must be run as root to connect to the internet. Windows runs a type of “root” at all times. I think this guy is onto something. 2003-05-05 11:08 pm But Alex, you can still run wine, that is not prevented. You can install codeweavers just like you can on any other distribution, it’s simply not in click-n-run because codeweavers has not decided to sell via their mechanism (yet). Lindows isn’t quite something I’d use, but I’m keeping tabs on it because I think that there’s quite a few people who would like to use linux but simply dont have the patience to do so. 2003-05-05 11:20 pm Sure, Lindows is not perfect and they have made mistakes. But anybody trying to make computers easier to use is headed in the right direction and deserves credit. Windows is too hard to use (for ordinary people). As far as a drag on the economy, MS’s excessive profits are nothing compared to the lost billions (maybe trillions) in wasted productivity caused by windows. It’s a shoddy product that should go, but it has a lock due to the compatibility issue. Maybe won day we’ll break free and I bet the added productivity would give the world economy a big boost. 2003-05-05 11:56 pm Take a Microsoft Windows XP or Mac OS X machine out of the box and use it and it operates in a similar manner to LindowsOS – the first person to touch it can do whatever they want. This is certainly not true of OS X. OS X provides a central API for obtaining administrator privileges through the GUI when necessary. This functions essentially the same as sudo: a user is “trusted”, and when they need administrator privileges they essentially invoke sudo which asks for their password. If the password matches a subshell is invoked in which the user has administrative privileges. Windows (2K/XP) will do the same if you attempt to install software as a user without the privileges to do so. It will ask for a username/password to install the software with. Linux has no such facility. KDE and Gnome provide it, but this only works for KDE or Gnome applications. If you are attempting to deploy a “Linux” application and need this facility you are simply out of luck. With OS X you can guarantee that facility is present on every OS X system in existance, whereas with Linux you can choose to support the facility through KDE, Gnome, both, or code your own. The lack of centralized GUI utilities for basic functionality is one of Linux’s biggest weaknesses, and the reason that Lindows resorted to running everything as root. Of course, in the case of Lindows this still isn’t an excuse. Click-n-run could ask for a password every time it is run, and invoke itself as root (or a sub-component of itself) Michael Robertson’s argument for running at root is: These are personal computers where the owner needs to be able to set the clock, change the wallpaper, configure a printer, install a flash drive, or load a new piece of software without bumping into nuances of computer science. Obviously “change the wallpaper” is a laughable example, but the others do require, for the most part, administrator privileges. As for “change the clock” this could easily be done with an suid program. For the others, I suggest OS X’s approach, ask for the user’s password before carrying out their request. Michael Robertson’s argument for running everything as root is as follows: Historically, multi-user systems made sense when hardware was expensive because not everyone could afford a computer and you could leverage the cost of expensive machines by creating multiple users and doing time sharing. But times have changed and computers are now ultra- affordable with PCs starting at $200. So his argument is that these systems have no need for multiple accounts, and therefore they should root for everything. Well, this totally neglects the destructive power a user can have as root. This seems to be a step backwards from the generalized trend, which sees root as being far too powerful and attempting to fix this problem with modern facilities like ACLs. At any rate, this is definitely one area where Robertson’s argument was not convincing, and it’s a problem I certainly hope they fix in later releases. 2003-05-06 12:22 am Which version of KDE will be shipping with Lindows 4? Anybody know?? 2003-05-06 12:27 am i will use linux mandrake an free bsd it was a 400mhz processor i only hav pentium II 266 mhz slot 1 intel 256 ram 3.92 gig hard drive ibm pc 2003-05-06 12:40 am I meant why the commercial WINE was not shipped with lindows, the reason for it. Also if its coming out during summer maybe it could come wiht 2.6, THAT WOULD ROCK!!!! IF IT WERE THE FIRST WITH 2.6 I MIGHT JUST BUY IT! =) 2003-05-06 1:38 am Although I still disagree with some of Lindows.com’s practices (especially choosing a name that resembles ‘Windows’ so much, and charging a relatively high price for the distro), I do believe that the Linux community will benefit from Lindows. It’s a good distro for people to learn the basics of Linux. I wish the company the best of luck. 2003-05-06 8:02 am I have tried Lindow 3.something, I think the latest. It really was the fastest install of ANY linux distro I have tried so far, and believe me I have alot under my belt. It also set-up nvidia drivers correctly, which is a good thing. However $99 a year for click and run is WAY too much. The argument is lost that Lindows is somehow better then windows in the gouge you later department. This should be part of the product, considering the sources are free for the most part. A better system would be a click and run that could grab the binaries from wherever, connect to Lindows.com and identify where to put it when built, build it, install it. They would have WAY lower traffic and the result is the same, so the fees could be lower. I do admit that lindows configuration is top notch from what I could tell, USB devices recognized, Samba running and connecting to my file server without effort, vid card, sound, etc, worked. I even used apt-get and installed programs on it. But after about a half an hour, I was done with Lindows. 2003-05-06 8:26 am Lindows is still a per seat distribution, with a non-free installer to block the whole concept of Free software (as free-speech). Honestly, I don’t see any other thing in Lindows than “Marketing for dummies”. If they were dominant on the market, they would just be another Microsoft. 2003-05-06 12:41 pm I applaud Lindows for trying to get choice onto the open market to the masses through Wal-Mart and other discounters. I do have to address the issue that people seem to have over the Click N Run program. I’ve seen some people talk about apt-get and other methods of getting applications but how is that easy? That’s the point of CnR, it installs so you don’t have to try and get it yourself without trying to find the right dependencies or trying to compile compile. Lindows is trying to be easy for new users and CnR is a great way to do this. I see CnR as a service, not just a library of free files being sold to the public. Yes it’s $99 a year. That’s $8.25 a month for easy installation to a buttload of software. Time is precious to some people and to be able to download many commercial-quality products for $8 beans a month is pretty sweet. And it’s only going to get better. I don’t use Lindows, but I am for choice. Lindows may not be the harbinger of freedom, but at least its trying to take a niche geek but great product out to everyone else. It shows that there really is a life without Bill. 2003-05-06 1:16 pm thne it should be on a monthly subscription level, rather than the $99/yr. once i install lindows on my computer, i hope to have everything i need to have installed in a week. for the other 11 months i would probably download less than 10 programs sporatically…. spreading the $99/yr over 12 months is a bad viewpoint. it’s $99. and i will see it as $99, not $8.25 a month. as for the comment about apt-get, yes apt-get is easy to use, and it does check for dependencies… but from the article, they say that CnR is superior to apt-get… i wonder if it is from user experience… as for me, i will not shell out almost $300 for lindows (with 2 yr click n run)… i would rather buy xandros and try out their killer file manager… but i’m waiting for v.2.0, expected to be released end of 2003. that sux… =( 2003-05-06 1:49 pm Aris-T : I’ve seen some people talk about apt-get and other methods of getting applications but how is that easy? It is REALLY easy, you have also urpmi with Mandrake. You can see here : http://trylinuxsd.com/dvd/ or http://www.zebulon.org.uk/urpmi_en.html and you can install DVD stuff in 5 minutes after installing Mandrake, either using the console or the GUI for people who do not want to type 2 words in a console (urpmi xine-dvdnav). And this is free (as free-beer AND free-speech). 2003-05-07 2:11 am I’ve been on Lindows email list since the begining. If Mr. Robertson had preached to a slightly higher level users experience, I’d have purchased Lindows instead of Lycoris. Lycoris can’t seem to find the CD drive it was installed from. Email tech support can’t seem to figure it out either.