I received an interesting email the other day that I wanted to share with you:
Here’s another tip-of-the-cap for Linux Mint, as compared to my Ubuntu distro.
I went to Yahoo! to check one of my mailboxes, and there was an interesting video being shown on the opening Yahoo! page. Well, after adding several ‘flash’ components to my Ubuntu distro, I still couldn’t show the video, and Yahoo! complained that several things needed to be upgraded, etc. before it would even offer to play. I switched over to my Linux Mint box, went to Yahoo! and the video played. My point? Linux Mint just worked, when, after several minutes of futzing, etc., Ubuntu still didn’t.
As much as I like Linux, I still can’t recommend it to my click-and-run Windoz friends. It still requires more hands-on than does the current incarnations of Windoz. So, I have to steer them to Macs. And even when I’m in Linux, I’ve grown tired of the constant amount of config file hunting and editing, and ‘figuring out,’ forum reading and Google surfing that I have to do to get something to run. It reminds me of the period between Win 3.1 and Win95. Joe Blow just won’t dig that hard to find the answer or to figure it out. And beyond a certain point, I’m beginning to think that the casual user shouldn’t have to. If if doesn’t ‘just work’ what good is it to Joe Blow. Something as mainstream as accessing Yahoo! Videos should have been anticipated out of the box, shouldn’t it?
Incidentally, this isn’t a request for tech assist on the ‘problem,’ just an unsolicited opinion from the field, both on the lack of basic assumptions on the part of Ubuntu, and a compliment to Linux Mint. Again, thanks for telling us about it. I’m enjoying getting comfortable with it..
I hope this note finds you well, safe, and happy.
Well, I am thrilled that Linux Mint saved the day. And would agree that Ubuntu is still rough around the edges in the sense of simply giving the casual PC user a disc and telling them to “go for it.” But for anyone who has ever edited a registry, built a computer or chased down a virus, Ubuntu is really not that difficult.
Installing Flash has never been an issue for me when using Automatix. Trying to do this an alternative way would likely prove tedious. So I can only conclude that people that have issues with Ubuntu are experiencing these problems based on not knowing where to locate reliable information. This is understandable and I feel their pain, I really do.
The learning curve is definitely similar to that of someone learning a brand new operating system. To believe differently, is frankly a bit naive. But in the defense of new users, I would be first to admit that information explaining how to accomplish tasks are scattered, half-written and even the official documentation project for Ubuntu assumes constant use of an apt-get type mentality from a console/shell.
No matter what, I would say that “limited” editing of a .conf file is acceptable to toggle on and off features in a given application; such as 0 for no and 1 for yes. Much as editing my registry so that my Start Menu reads “Stop,” is fun to do. But editing a .conf file must never be needed to make the OS work, this is stupid for a newbie distribution.
As I have stated in the past, I am working with a developer to create a utility called the “xorg configurator.” It will offer the following:
- Easy to use GUI, HIG Compliant.
- Show the Driver, Manufacturer on ‘Display Information’ tab.
- Show the monitor configurations on ‘Monitor’, this includes setting up dual-monitor.
- Show the display adapter configurations in a tab named ‘Adapter’.
- Show color profile in ‘Color Profile’ tab.
- Dual monitors can be setup using ‘Monitor’ tab, and by clicking add a monitor will enable other options in Adapter and Monitor tab.
- Driver specific options can be configured in Adapter tab,
- OpenGL, Composite (Beryl) options configurable in Adapter tab.
- Safe mode option in Adapter tab
- Display resolution(s) is in Monitor tab (this includes improved wide screen support)
- Update video driver in Adapter tab
As things stand now, we have entered this concept into the Google Summer of Code program and feel good about being accepted. Unfortunately, my developer had a hardware crash recently and is now re-working his PC to get things back up and running. We expect this to be taken care of by the end of the coming week. Then we will return to work on the project.
Once we complete that project, we are exploring other ideas which include a cleaned up version of the GNOME Network manager /w/support for RaLink Wi-Fi cards and WPA built-in. And after this, improved LAN/networking tools for logical file and printer sharing as Edgy and Dapper are awful in this regard.
It should be said however, that latter depends largely on what was done with the final release of Feisty. I doubt this has been addressed, but we’ll see…
And finally, I am also working with two companies to release their once non-Linux applications, into the Linux realm. One of them is considering open source, most likely with the MIT License.
But even with all this, there is still an issue within the world of documentation. I have studied every Ubuntu book known to man. The only one worth the money I paid for it was Ubuntu Hacks, the rest were over-written and way more than you want to fool with. The only resource that really impressed me was free and can be found here.
As for Linux Mint, I am still recommending it, but only as an alternative to those who are simply not able to make Ubuntu work for them.
Oh, as for the “backing-up” article that I have been promising, it’s coming. Part of what is taking so long is that I want to cover all three major platforms – Windows XP/Vista, OS X and Linux (Ubuntu in my case). With each, I will be showing you how to save a nice skeleton of your system, so when disaster strikes, you are only left updating copies of your documents and pictures from yet, a more frequent back-up. The time saved on all three platforms will be impressive, believe me.
[tags]Linux Mint, Ubuntu, Linux, distro[/tags]