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OK all you XP diehards...

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commodorejohn

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So Android doesn't count? :)
No, it doesn't, because A. mePhone/fondleslab users have been conditioned to never poke at the workings in such a way that would screw up the fragile balance of a million discrete, interoperating components that makes Linux a nightmare for normal desktop users, and B. Google is the one exception (although even they're only a partial one) to the rule about Linux usability reformers completely failing to understand usability.
 

Eudimorphodon

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screw up the fragile balance of a million discrete, interoperating components that makes Linux a nightmare for normal desktop users

And Windows *doesn't* have a million discrete, interoperating components leaving the user just one bad install away from being completely screwed?

Linux usability reformers completely failing to understand usability.

"Usability" here defined as "Behaves exactly like whatever version of Windows has the most people clinging to it like Linus van Pelt's security blanket". In which case, yes, they just don't get it.
 

Ole Juul

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I must say that I've screwed up Linux installs and had them work just fine with a number of components misconfigured. BSD is even more stable. You can hack at that with an axe and it still won't die. As an amateur, I really appreciate (sometimes need) that kind of robustness.

One thing that gets forgotten in this discussion though, is that if you are talking about "average users" then it is incorrect to compare a self install with one that is tailored for some specific hardware and pre-installed professionally. For a better comparison I think one should compare a Windows install with a commercial (not home made) Linux install. I have no trouble seeing that MS-Windows can be a pretty slick experience. That's why you pay for it. No? Buy a computer with Linux on it and then come back here and tell us it didn't work.

I would also like to point out that although Linux as a standalone OS is usually free, one can pay for support. Anybody can cut/paste (I think) but I can also type commands (in both upper and lower case) and I have not had any trouble finding free first class professional help with my *nix adventures. I think willingness plays a big part in this.

At the risk of sounding a little offensive, I would like to mention one more thing. If someone would claim to have much computer smarts, is it not a little disingenuous to then also claim to not be able to get a Linux box set up? I personally couldn't code my way out of a wet paper bag if my life depended on it, but I can still get Linux to work.
 

vwestlife

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To the average user, Linux's biggest hurdle is the mere fact that you have to install it, since virtually no computers are available with it preinstalled, and nobody wants to go through the time, disruption, and possible frustration of installing an operating system anymore. Case in point (and getting back to the topic at hand): Microsoft's "Am I running XP?" web site doesn't offer to sell you a copy of Windows 7 or 8 -- instead, it points you to retailers who will gladly sell you a new computer with Windows 7 or 8 preinstalled.

The only operating system upgrade that has been a major success recently is Mac OS X Mavericks, and that's mostly because they're giving it away for free, and offer it a seamless one-click upgrade, just like upgrading an iPhone to a new version of iOS.
 

Chuck(G)

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At the risk of sounding a little offensive, I would like to mention one more thing. If someone would claim to have much computer smarts, is it not a little disingenuous to then also claim to not be able to get a Linux box set up? I personally couldn't code my way out of a wet paper bag if my life depended on it, but I can still get Linux to work.

There are quite a number of "live" Linux distros that can be placed on CD/DVD/USB flash and run "live" for a user to get the "feel" of the distro, and if the user likes, install a working copy. It really isn't very awful.
 

MikeS

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At the risk of sounding a little offensive, I would like to mention one more thing. If someone would claim to have much computer smarts, is it not a little disingenuous to then also claim to not be able to get a Linux box set up?
What I find offensively disingenuous is your definition of computer smarts as being able to install Linux. I've had trouble installing Linux despite my 50+ fairly successful years of computer experience, programming, designing, building, selling and supporting computer systems (including UNIX boxes); fortunately my clients' criteria for 'computer smarts' are a little broader than yours.

I personally couldn't code my way out of a wet paper bag if my life depended on it, but I can still get Linux to work.
How long did the very first install take? Did you have to ask for help? Did you install a printer/scanner/modem/special video card/email/browser,etc., in other words a real-world system?

But this age-old topic just follows the same old pattern; suggestions that Linux should become more user-friendly if it expects to gain much more share will inevitably result in ignoring any actual how or why and instead degenerate into denial, argument, irrelevant posts about why Windows is even worse and the obligatory personal insults. Nothing wrong with Linux, it's the ignorant users who need to educate themselves.

How about getting back to XP's EOL...
 
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SpidersWeb

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One concern I had was printers. I got a $99 Laser a few years ago.

Windows 7 - plug it in, auto downlodas driver and installs, 30 seconds later I'm printing
Linux - nothing happens, go on web and find the Linux driver, oh it's not the right type of binary package, ok extract the tar.gz file and get the source, compile the source, oh it's not compatible with my version of gcc (and it goes on from there).

I know that isn't a fault with Linux. But having so many distros, different package managers etc makes it quite hard for manufacturers to cover all bases without resorting to 'compile from source'.

I also tend to find apps that work on XP (2002) work fine on Windows 7 for the most part. But with Linux you seem to need either the binary for your distro + version, or source code made from around the same time period as your distro.

One thing I'm curious about (I've never tried it) but if I'm using Ubuntu with GUI, then a new version of the OS comes out, can I do an upgrade or does it reinstall my system?
Kind of like how Mac OS X can turn in to Mavericks and everything is just how you left it.
 

Chuck(G)

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It depends on the version of Ubuntu that you've got currently installed. There are basically two distribution channels--the "long term support" (LTS) one which guarantees 5 years of support and what I'd call the "bleeding edge" (BE) channel, which includes all intermediate versions. I'd recommend LTS for most people.

The current LTS version is 14.04, so you should be able to go from the last LTS (12.04) to this one with little more than downloading and finger-twiddling while the upgrade installs. No reinstalls of the OS--if you shut down your system with the browser still on a page, you probably will end up with a restart with the same page up on the browser. It's pretty seamless.

If you have an older version than the last LTS, you may have to update to the last LTS version and then to the current one. But in no case does your system come to be unusable. The machine that I'm typing on started with a version 10.something and is currently running 14.04. I never had to reload the OS.

As far as printing, fer gosh sakes, hang onto the software CD that came with the printer, no matter what you're running as an OS! On the system here I have three networked laser printers and was able to use the install CD to find the PPD files for CUPS (a printing package distributed with Linux that Apple also uses).
 

Eudimorphodon

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How about getting back to XP's EOL...

Yes, please.

This argument has been so completely beaten to death it's nothing but a conversational black hole. (I only replied to it, accompanied by a loud *sigh*, after seeing at least the last three pages of this topic had been completely hijacked by it.) Butch Windows users are *never* going to be happy with Linux because it's "different" and "hard" (Not that Windows isn't hard but that's what makes butch Windows users butch, right?), Mac users are never going to like it because it's "insufficiently perfect", and Linux/BSD users are just going to roll their eyes and make sock-puppet motions with their hand mouthing "whaaa whaa whaa!" when they hear whoever's talking the loudest whining *again* about the horrible unsolvable problem so-and-so had with RedHat back in 1999 that totally proved that *nix would never be "ready for the desktop" forever. It's pretty much the definition of pointless.

All I'll do at this point is mention that coincidentally I decided to install Debian on an old (well, relatively, 2003 vintage) notebook yesterday and the process was the definition of brainless:

1: Download and "dd" a live CD image onto a USB key
2: Stick it in the ol' Dell, hold the F12 key, select "USB", and pick "graphical install" from the boot menu.
3: Answer about six questions.
4: Wait 20 minutes.
5: Reboot.

Then after running a single script by pasting a line into a console and answering a few more questions I had a working portable A2Server box that doubles as a surprisingly usable laptop. All in all the process probably took less time than going to the store and picking out a Windows 8 laptop would have and, based on my experience with Windows 8, I'm *personally* far less inclined to pitch my Debian Dell out the window.

By contrast, every time I've had to install Windows from scratch it's been a multi-hour ordeal, often punctuated by having to seek out and "sneakernet" over a driver for something like a network card before *really* getting down to the business of spending hours downloading and installing updates/service packs/re-installing software, etc. If that's what's considered "easy" I'd love to know what "hard" really means. I'd say, to be honest, on average I run into about one irritating problem every time I install or version-upgrade a Linux box; what separates the Linux experience from Windows is that for any Linux problem there's almost *always* a relatively simple solution for curing it already documented somewhere like the Ubuntu user forums, you just need to have the right Google-Fu to find it. While on the flip side, when Windows blows chunks it's pretty much a coin flip between having to do something far *more* arcane or just having to give up and re-install it. Or buy a new computer, of course. I really should thank Microsoft for making it so easy to find "broken" computers for free that need nothing more than re-install to work like new.

But, whatever, different strokes for different folks. If Linux isn't your cup of tea nobody's forcing you to drink it, I just don't understand this obsession some people have with pissing in the other punch bowls.
 
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vwestlife

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But, whatever, different strokes for different folks. If Linux isn't your cup of tea nobody's forcing you to drink it, I just don't understand this obsession some people have with pissing in the other punch bowls.

It would be great if all Linux users shared your view. Unfortunately, many do not. I make YouTube videos about all sorts of computers and electronics, but I rarely make any videos about "modern" PCs (anything newer than a Pentium III) because then the Linux trolls always show up and tell me that no matter what, I should be running Linux. When I tell them my hardware isn't compatible with Linux, they tell me I should get new hardware. When I tell them my applications don't work on Linux, they tell me I should get new applications. When I tell them nobody makes any suitable Linux applications for many of the things I do, they tell me I should use a Windows emulator within Linux.

Their entire belief system is that using free open-source software is more important than using whatever works best -- which certainly doesn't help the general impression within the industry that trying to sell commercial Linux software is pointless because the Linux user community is a bunch of freeloaders who refuse to pay for anything.
 

Chuck(G)

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Their entire belief system is that using free open-source software is more important than using whatever works best -- which certainly doesn't help the general impression within the industry that trying to sell commercial Linux software is pointless because the Linux user community is a bunch of freeloaders who refuse to pay for anything.

Which explains why most web servers are running Linux or BSD (including this one since at least 2007) and not Windows.
 

SpidersWeb

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Which explains why most web servers are running Linux or BSD (including this one since at least 2007) and not Windows.

Yeah because it's certainly the most stable and secure. It's also more flexible.
But I think we were focused on desktop user experience.

Thanks for the info about Ubuntu updates - good to know. With my work lately it's felt like I've been "Locked in" but I'm using a different distro and not as a workstation. CUPS info is handy too - most printers will have Mac OS X support - so I guess that issue is almost non-existant now. Perhaps I've been spending too much time at the # prompt.
 

MikeS

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...I just don't understand this obsession some people have with pissing in the other punch bowls.
Obviously meant ironically, after a lengthy post doing exactly that.

As I said, it just doesn't seem possible to discuss any issues or possible improvements to Linux without it becoming an irrelevant kids-in-a-sandbox defensive argument that Windows is worse; sort of like suggesting that the handling of a Ford Model XYZ could be improved and being met by a torrent of replies that a Chevy model ABC handles even worse.

Interestingly, when you suggest that an aspect of Windows could use improvement, most Windows users will usually agree or at least consider it.

IMO pretty well all OSes could stand a lot of improvement in the areas of intuitive UI, ease of upgrading/repair etc., and in any case it's usually the application software usability, reliability and suitability for purpose that the user is really interested in, not arcane aspects of the OS.
 

Eudimorphodon

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Obviously meant ironically, after a lengthy post doing exactly that.

Said punchbowls were a third-world sewer way before I got here. In any case...

As I said, it just doesn't seem possible to discuss any issues or possible improvements to Linux without it becoming an irrelevant kids-in-a-sandbox defensive argument that Windows is worse;

There's "discussing issues" and there's full-out character assassination. The bulk of my response was aimed at a particular participant in this thread that takes any mention of the word "Linux" as an excuse to launch a lengthy polemic about how Linux is so fatally flawed in every regard that it couldn't possibly fulfill *anyone's* needs or be objectively "better" than Windows in any way whatsoever. I will wholeheartedly agree that "Linux" (as a complete enterprise), any particular distribution thereof, or in fact Open Source software as a whole may not offer the best solution for any given subset of requirements, but I do have a bit of a problem keeping my mouth shut when someone asserts that somehow their personal beefs apply to the entire universe.

sort of like suggesting that the handling of a Ford Model XYZ could be improved and being met by a torrent of replies that a Chevy model ABC handles even worse.

"Ease of Installation" was one of the aspects of Linux vs. Windows that was already in play and I relayed my experiences with it. I'll admit I haven't installed completely from scratch any version of Windows later than XP or Server 2003 (if you don't include a really traumatic and irritating recent experience with upgrading Windows 8 to 8.1) but outside of exceptions relating to hardware that simply doesn't have working drivers Linux has for the most part been far easier to install, or at least has involved less drudgery, than any version of Windows I can recall stretching all the way back to *possibly* 3.x, for, I dunno, the better part of the last decade. How is replying to a contention that "X is harder than Y" with "I dunno, at least in my recent experience Y is harder than X" somehow dirty pool?

Interestingly, when you suggest that an aspect of Windows could use improvement, most Windows users will usually agree or at least consider it.

And then there's that weird pool of Windows users that insist that version (insert some version between WfW3.11 and 7) is the best thing ever, couldn't possibly be improved, and hysterically claim that Microsoft has been ruining it ever since...

IMO pretty well all OSes could stand a lot of improvement in the areas of intuitive UI, ease of upgrading/repair etc., and in any case it's usually the application software usability, reliability and suitability for purpose that the user is really interested in, not arcane aspects of the OS.

Yes, and though I apparently failed to make it clear enough that was mostly my point. Every full-featured modern OS is an ugly bag of sausage meat under the skin, and they all suck in their own unique and special ways. What OS we all personally think is "Best" is in no small degree influenced by how much time we've spent with the particular rotting albatross that most often hangs around our neck, causing us to grow accustomed to its unique stench. If you like how your dead bird smells, well, enjoy it, just maybe try to be polite about mine.
 
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Chuck(G)

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Yeah because it's certainly the most stable and secure. It's also more flexible.
But I think we were focused on desktop user experience.

Well if you want stable and secure, try OpenBSD. Extremely conservative attitude and code is pretty tightly controlled. So security-conscious that telnet isn't supplied for it--you have to hack together your own. SSH is used instead. The last time I checked, Virtual Box wasn't supported--something about it being a security risk.
 

Caluser2000

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How about getting back to XP's EOL...
I think the can of worms has already been opened. I'll still be using XP for quite a bit no dought. It works with all my hardware.

I'm quite intriqued how well this Xandros 2 install went. Mounts my USB sticks fine, as well as mounts Windows shares from the get go and certainly better than Fedora Core 3 from around the same time period from general user perspective. In saying that most of my Linux installs have detected all the hardware I've had on those machines. Due to Xandros being no more (in keeping with the thread Xandros 2.0 is EOLed as well), I have found a few usefull Sarge repositories and have settled on XFCE for the time being. Quite a bit snappier on the UI front. Saved the sources.list to a usb stick for possible future installs. I'm sure it'll break if I try hard enough. Didn't take much effort to pull all the installed software into the XFCE menu after a breif web search.

Johnnos(Spidersweb) comments a generally on the mark though recompling 'n such. Kind of reflects my limited experience with it from past installations with regard to adding later software. I am using a web browser that is 6 years younger than when Xandros 2.0 was released which was a seperate *.deb file. It was easy enough to locate and install. I'll work on seeing if I can get something even later just for experience sake and to say 'look at me!!"

Anyway as you were. Carry on toodle pip........................
 
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MikeS

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... If you like how your dead bird smells, well, enjoy it, just maybe try to be polite about mine.
LOL! This from the person writing some of the least polite (IMO) posts in this thread, not to mention misinterpreting and twisting others' words and meaning...

I do enjoy these threads though. They're an entertaining and informative glimpse into the way different folks 'discuss' alternate opinions and perspectives about issues that the majority of people in the 'real world' couldn't care less about; I especially enjoyed the posts defending case-dependency ;-)
 
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