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OS X Is No Longer On My Main System, But I Already Have Regrets

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  • Originally posted by russofris View Post
    This is an interesting perspective, and deserves some thought before responding. My initial reaction is that the work done from 6.04 through 10.04 was nice, but almost entirely unnecessary when compared to the work that needed to be accomplished on the presentation layer. In 2010, when they finally figured out that they needed to focus on the UI, they went the entirely wrong direction.

    I believe Apple is a great example of how the underlying technology (display server, drivers, etc) can be sub-par as long as the UI is air tight.

    Can someone that is not totally offended by the Unity Desktop chime in here? I would be nice to hear your opinion, despite how tagically wrong we think it is.
    Actually, I don't mind the Unity user interface. I only wrote "Shuttleworth went crazy and Ubuntu development went haywire" because I think the way they rolled out Unity was terrible. My big problem with Unity in Ubuntu is that it wasn't ready when they released it. By 11.10 it ran rock solid on my machine. 10.10 and 11.04 were so crash-happy that I couldn't use it, even though I liked the layout.

    To be fair to Ubuntu, they have to put a lot of resources into hardware support and the software installer. Apple doesn't have to worry about that, they have much more control over hardware.

    ... and you're probably right that user interface was the problem with Ubuntu up until Unity, too. The GNOME 2 desktop they used until then was functional and not totally awful to view but even nicely tweaked it can't match a well done KDE, GNOME 3, Cinnamon, etc... for visual style. Maybe Ubuntu really was our best chance and they threw it all away.

    But blaming Ubuntu for the failure of Linux on the desktop is ultimately as pointless as screaming at Microsoft for ruining Windows with Windows 8. In both cases it's a product from a company that the consumer can't control. At least with Ubuntu people have forked parts of it in an attempt to make something better. You don't have that option with Windows unless you want to completely reverse engineer their operating system and build your own from scratch (good luck, ReactOS team, you've picked quite a dragon to slay).

    I hope to contribute to Fedora or Debian eventually, but for now I'm too busy with other stuff - work, taking care of the kids, and wasting time on internet forums.

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    • Originally posted by doom_Oo7 View Post
      I will get bashed, but I really enjoy Unity, Gnome 3 and Windows 8's modern ui.
      I am both a programmer and a user; it would not come to my mind to use anything other than i3 while coding or doing serious stuff on my computer, but for everything else, I put my computer in tablet mode (it's a transformer book). Obviously i3 doesn't work fine here, and you need big buttons to do stuff, but it's been about 6 / 7 months and I couldn't return to browsing websites or reading PDFs / ebooks in a keyboard + mouse only mode (it's a pain on my non-touch desktop).

      I would also gladly use Plasma Active if it did work :'(
      I use a free-spin scroll wheel (available on logitech high-end mouses) and I will never change back (or I will, but only reluctantly).
      It's really nice for browsing/reading.

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      • Originally posted by doom_Oo7 View Post
        Yes, that's already what I have planned, I had too much trouble with updates (even if it's once a year), using debian testing, so I guess it must be about the same for ubuntu...

        A few weeks ago, I put it on my girlfriend's computer, and some days ago she told me she had the shutdown not working.
        So I check and find that updates were not done for a while. So I fire up apt-get dist-upgrade, reboot and... TADAA gdm wouldn't even show up.
        I had to dpkg-reconfigure xorg manually in order to get X back.

        I plan to put Zorin OS for my parents, since they are quite leery of everything not windowsy, and perform an update manually for every major version change only, while checking before that some apps they use don't get broken.
        I've always had Zorin OS get completely broken after a simple system upgrade -- so I kept my family running official Ubuntu flavours -- always the latest bleeding edge version. I've actually never had a problem with them breaking over the last year, even with four distro upgrades (currently 14.04 beta).

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        • Originally posted by Michael_S View Post
          I recently had a colossal .xlsx file I had to modify for work. Google Sheets couldn't open it due to the size. LibreOffice, Calligra Sheets, and Gnumeric could open the file but each would lose some of the contents when I tried to save it. So I'm stuck booting into Windows to work on that file too.
          Was this LibreOffice 4.2? It had significant enhancements for handling Microsoft formats. But to be honest, not even MS Office opens their own formats that well between different versions.

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          • Originally posted by doom_Oo7 View Post
            Yes, that's already what I have planned, I had too much trouble with updates (even if it's once a year), using debian testing, so I guess it must be about the same for ubuntu...

            A few weeks ago, I put it on my girlfriend's computer, and some days ago she told me she had the shutdown not working.
            So I check and find that updates were not done for a while. So I fire up apt-get dist-upgrade, reboot and... TADAA gdm wouldn't even show up.
            I had to dpkg-reconfigure xorg manually in order to get X back.

            I plan to put Zorin OS for my parents, since they are quite leery of everything not windowsy, and perform an update manually for every major version change only, while checking before that some apps they use don't get broken.
            This is why fedora is making reliable and easy rollbacks a priority for the desktop. It's something that all distros should be working on. in addition there is the problem of in place updates (I'm not sure how dist-upgrade works but I'd assume it downloads everything and reboots you to a safe initrd to provide a safe upgrade environment but given your problems with X I suspect it used some shortcuts).

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            • Originally posted by russofris View Post
              This is an interesting perspective, and deserves some thought before responding. My initial reaction is that the work done from 6.04 through 10.04 was nice, but almost entirely unnecessary when compared to the work that needed to be accomplished on the presentation layer. In 2010, when they finally figured out that they needed to focus on the UI, they went the entirely wrong direction.

              I believe Apple is a great example of how the underlying technology (display server, drivers, etc) can be sub-par as long as the UI is air tight.

              Can someone that is not totally offended by the Unity Desktop chime in here? I would be nice to hear your opinion, despite how tagically wrong we think it is.
              You think the osx scaffolding is weak? That's not how I see things but I could be convinced otherwise. They seem to have done an excellent job with virtually all aspects of development. We still need something like iokit in Linux.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by russofris View Post
                This is hard to explain, and even if I do, a number of people won't understand.

                Many of us don't want to 'configure' our desktop. We want to make videos of our kid's soccer games and send the highlights to their grandparents. We don't want to choose a distribution, we want to book reservations at a campsite. The people who want to tinker will always exist, and it's good that they do, because it fosters innovation and evolution. Unfortunately, tinkerers often do not understand that non-tinkerers exist and have their own non tinkering agenda.
                How can you not want to do at least a preliminary configuration to the tool that you want to use?! Computers are complicated machines, they are not something like a hammer (hell, even hammers come in a variety of sizes and shapes). You're doing it wrong.

                Linux based operating systems have the potential to become the dominant Desktop/PC/Workstation OS, but every time someone puts money behind it, they blow it. All it would take is a beautiful pre-configured UI, and stringent UI guidelines for application developers. Every time it appears we're about to get this, we end up with a re-incarnation of the Office95 toolbar or a UI designed for a 4-8" personal-device forced onto our 27" screens.
                The companies have NIH syndromes or are scared of lawsuits if they use something made by the community. Most often they have both, that's why they struggle to do something "their own" and ruin it. Remember the first gen netbooks, when m$ forbid the OEMs to install winxp on them? Many came with a GNU system preinstalled - but it was mostly with very exotic distros (Linpus Linux Lite anybody? c'mon, its great, it only doesn't have X! No? How about an ancient version of Xandros with a so old kernel that it didn't have the drivers for the used hardware and only a root user set up?), and even if they used something good (MSI installed SUSE, the commercial SLED version) they completely blew the install&configuration (MSI Wind had /home on the same small partition as root, which had ~100 MB of free space, and the rest of the disk was a new partition mounted in /mnt that the default user didn't have write permissions!) - clearly showing that they left the install to be done by some morons that never even used GNU in their lives. It just looked as if somebody paid them to give GNU/Linux a bad name.
                Last edited by Cyber Killer; 03-14-2014, 01:28 AM.

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                • Improving Power Consumption

                  You can make some pretty decent improvements to your battery life by using powertop. It added roughly an hour of battery life for me.
                  See: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/powertop

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Cyber Killer View Post
                    How can you not want to do at least a preliminary configuration to the tool that you want to use?! Computers are complicated machines, they are not something like a hammer (hell, even hammers come in a variety of sizes and shapes). You're doing it wrong.
                    Saying "You're doing it wrong" about what people prefer is incredibly stupid.
                    "Oh you prefer red than blue? Red is a warmer color, so you're wrong."

                    Using a tailored desktop makes you gain time while you use it, but lose time to configure it.
                    If you change machines and OS regularly, it might not be worth the effort. Especially when using an OS that is well configured out of the box will make you gain the same time while losing none.
                    And sophistication of the tool is not an excuse, I don't fine tune a car's injection and suspension when I buy one. I adjust the seat and the mirror in 10 seconds (and without googling or checking the user manual), and I expect the rest to work seamlessly.

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                    • Originally posted by erendorn View Post
                      And sophistication of the tool is not an excuse, I don't fine tune a car's injection and suspension when I buy one. I adjust the seat and the mirror in 10 seconds (and without googling or checking the user manual), and I expect the rest to work seamlessly.
                      But you do so after a multiple week drivers license training, where you get taught the theory and later practice under a tutors eye. After a similar amount of computer science training you'd adjust your desktop workstation to your liking in similar "10 seconds" without checking any manuals & "just do your work".

                      It's the same story - people expect something to work like they want, without any training, any knowledge or knowledge about totally different software. They just need to learn.

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                      • Most of the "typical users" I know would rather not have a computer than have to worry about configuring something (or even having to listen to an explanation of how they would do it). The comments by russofris and others are right on the money.

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                        • Originally posted by Cyber Killer View Post
                          But you do so after a multiple week drivers license training, where you get taught the theory and later practice under a tutors eye. After a similar amount of computer science training you'd adjust your desktop workstation to your liking in similar "10 seconds" without checking any manuals & "just do your work".

                          It's the same story - people expect something to work like they want, without any training, any knowledge or knowledge about totally different software. They just need to learn.
                          My driver license training was quite short on the "customizing your car" part (except, well, the seat and the mirrors)
                          I consider myself much more trained in computers than in cars, and yet I still appreciate good defaults / out of the box behavior in any OS.
                          As a matter of fact, my Cinamon, Win 7 and and Gnome desktops at home are not customized, and my work desktop is only slightly so (some pinned programs, some Favorites, task bar on the side of the screen and done).

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                          • Originally posted by liam View Post
                            This is why fedora is making reliable and easy rollbacks a priority for the desktop. It's something that all distros should be working on. in addition there is the problem of in place updates (I'm not sure how dist-upgrade works but I'd assume it downloads everything and reboots you to a safe initrd to provide a safe upgrade environment but given your problems with X I suspect it used some shortcuts).
                            It's not just about having easier rollbacks; higher-level support is important.

                            Back in my schooling days (during the Vista period) I was working as a temp in my campus's IT support dept to earn a little extra pocket money and the department had a problem with a Windows update that, for some reason, affected only staff and students using notebooks from a certain OEM (which shall remain anonymous) that had the school's software installed; other notebook makes and brands were not affected.

                            The dept wrote to OEM for help since it only affected their machines, but the OEM claimed that it was a Windows issue and they were unable to assist. So we had no choice but to ask Microsoft. In 4 days Microsoft sent down a specially written patch that solved the problem.

                            There was also another incident where an OEM loaded a bad Windows image into its notebooks for sale at the campus which results in the school's software failing to install correctly, and in the rare instances where it did successfully install, crashes frequently; this was not observed on other OEMs' notebooks. As usual, this OEM claimed that it was not its fault, so the school had to ask Microsoft for help. Within a week Microsoft sent the IT dept a specially written patch to fix the faulty image so that the school's software can be loaded into the OEM's notebooks.

                            You don't get this kind of special treatment with Linux; everything goes to the bugzilla where you have to wait for the developers to successfully recreate the issue so that it can be pushed with a general update package for all users. Which is not acceptable for an enterprise environment.

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                            • Originally posted by Sonadow View Post
                              It's not just about having easier rollbacks; higher-level support is important.

                              Back in my schooling days (during the Vista period) I was working as a temp in my campus's IT support dept to earn a little extra pocket money and the department had a problem with a Windows update that, for some reason, affected only staff and students using notebooks from a certain OEM (which shall remain anonymous) that had the school's software installed; other notebook makes and brands were not affected.

                              The dept wrote to OEM for help since it only affected their machines, but the OEM claimed that it was a Windows issue and they were unable to assist. So we had no choice but to ask Microsoft. In 4 days Microsoft sent down a specially written patch that solved the problem.

                              There was also another incident where an OEM loaded a bad Windows image into its notebooks for sale at the campus which results in the school's software failing to install correctly, and in the rare instances where it did successfully install, crashes frequently; this was not observed on other OEMs' notebooks. As usual, this OEM claimed that it was not its fault, so the school had to ask Microsoft for help. Within a week Microsoft sent the IT dept a specially written patch to fix the faulty image so that the school's software can be loaded into the OEM's notebooks.

                              You don't get this kind of special treatment with Linux; everything goes to the bugzilla where you have to wait for the developers to successfully recreate the issue so that it can be pushed with a general update package for all users. Which is not acceptable for an enterprise environment.
                              That's not really a fair comparison, though. Microsoft makes its products available to educational institutions cheaply or completely without cost, and in that environment you get better support from Microsoft than you could expect from an open source vendor.

                              But most medium size companies are paying Microsoft on the order of $50 per employee per year in software licenses, or more. If the same business used Ubuntu and paid Canonical a $50,000 annual support contract, Canonical engineers would fix their problems every bit as quickly as Microsoft engineers. Likewise if the company used Red Hat, or SUSE, or even Debian and one of the companies that support Debian, they would enjoy the same benefits.

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                              • Originally posted by erendorn View Post
                                My driver license training was quite short on the "customizing your car" part (except, well, the seat and the mirrors)
                                I consider myself much more trained in computers than in cars, and yet I still appreciate good defaults / out of the box behavior in any OS.
                                As a matter of fact, my Cinamon, Win 7 and and Gnome desktops at home are not customized, and my work desktop is only slightly so (some pinned programs, some Favorites, task bar on the side of the screen and done).
                                As a practical matter, most of the people coming to Linux have used Mac OS X and especially Microsoft Windows XP, Vista, or 7 before. So I think it's only sensible for Linux desktop environments to closely mimic OS X or Windows 7 by default.

                                Users dislike change. As I think I said earlier, the people angriest about the changes in Microsoft Windows 8 were the Microsoft fans. So you want to help adoption of Linux? Give yourself the biggest possible target audience and make your default desktop look like a prettier version of Windows 7. That's exactly what Cinnamon and RazorQt do, and I wouldn't be surprised if they become the two most popular Linux desktop environments in the next five years.

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