Is Ubuntu really the best 'Public Face of Linux'?

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Tell me I'm an idiot here.

I've had my doubts too.
8
42%
I'm so on the fence that it's engaging with my butt-crack.
0
No votes
Ubuntu's perfect for the job.
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Total votes : 19

Is Ubuntu really the best 'Public Face of Linux'?

Postby Deke » Sun Sep 09, 2007 1:02 pm

I almost hate myself for writing this because I'm totally in support of the philosophy behind Ubuntu, but is it really the distribution that newbies, mostly coming in hot from Windows, should be using?

I have a number of issues with Ubuntu as an operating system, but most of them come down to Gnome, which was formerly my front end of choice, but has seemingly gone out of its way to make itself newbie unfriendly of late. I've given up on it. Half the stuff I use is either missing now or so well hidden that I can't find it. Now I'm a former user, so how is it going to look to someone who's just come over from MS's offering?

To me it's simple. KDE looks more like Windows, and as I already know, is far more intuitive to former Windows users than Gnome. The people behind Kubuntu should pull their fingers out and get it working properly so that we can push it onto our doubting mates. At the moment I'm in the position of telling enquirers "Well, you might want to try Mandriva, or you might want to wait until something better comes along..."

You can start screaming at me now. You won't change my mind. :mrgreen:
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RE: Is Ubuntu really the best

Postby wyliecoyoteuk » Sun Sep 09, 2007 1:39 pm

After using both interfaces for a while now, my initial disgust with Gnome has become a grudging admiration.

Yes, KDE is the most comfortable for Windows users, but I think that Gnome is better for someone who has never used a computer before.

Over the years, starting with no GUI computers like the Commodore Pet and the Spectrum, I have used several GUI systems, starting with Workbench 2 on the Amiga. OS7 on the Mac, and Windows 3.11 on the PC, up to and including Vista, OSX, Gnome, Xfce, and KDE.

I think that on the whole Windows 2000 was my favourite version of Windows, (the constant fiddling with the Windows GUI is becoming annoying), and KDE is my favourite desktop on Linux, but I can use Gnome, and for real newbies, it is easier and more logical than KDE.
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RE: Is Ubuntu really the best

Postby davecs » Sun Sep 09, 2007 1:59 pm

I can tell you that over at the PCLinuxOS forums we get loads of people who almost gave up trying the switch to Linux because Ubuntu didn't do it for them.

Ubuntu is an excellent distribution, but I would say that distros like PCLinuxOS and Mepis are far more suited to the first time Linux user. This is precisely because they are designed to win converts from Windows.

Whenever I try a desktop other than KDE, I always find that there is something I want to change. That's not necessarily insurmountable, but I have to say that it would normally be too much for a Linux newbie.
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RE: Is Ubuntu really the best

Postby 1slipperyfish » Sun Sep 09, 2007 2:32 pm

i think i have made my views on both gnome and ubuntu clear by now, i'm just sick of hearing about it, i bet uncle bill wished vista was getting as much coverage :D
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Postby Dark » Sun Sep 09, 2007 2:58 pm

I think Ubuntu does a great job of winning people from Windows. GNOME is simple and with a little configuring can look just like Windows. Having used KDE, I find it hard to find the spot to change the settings, I like how KDE is more customizable then GNOME but I still prefer GNOME any day over KDE (KDE 4 might change that though....)
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Postby benhellyer » Mon Sep 10, 2007 4:13 pm

im not sure why but the fact that really every app begins with "K" in KDE annoys me, if PC linux was updated as often as ubuntu then I think it would be a close race
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Postby wyliecoyoteuk » Mon Sep 10, 2007 4:43 pm

im not sure why but the fact that really every app begins with "K" in KDE annoys me, if PC linux was updated as often as ubuntu then I think it would be a close race


And the predominance of "G"s in Gnome doesn't?

Galeon, Gnumeric, Gphoto etc.

What are you some sort of Konsonant snob ? :-)
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Postby Rhakios » Mon Sep 10, 2007 6:48 pm

Looks like one of the greatest assets that Ubuntu has is an ability to get their supporters out when necessary. How else can you explain the very one-sided voting in this poll on the Lenovo Blogs.
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Postby davecs » Mon Sep 10, 2007 7:47 pm

Rhakios, we've now got a policy at PCLinuxOS where we actually delete threads that encourage voting for us in polls. If one such thread survives a week before a mod notices it, we get slagged off!

Benhellyer, there are a number of packages about to appear in PCLinuxOS currently in testing, but as we aim to be a meta-distro, we have to make them all upgrade at once. Expect the "explosion" soon, which will remove Beryl and have a fully working and stable Compiz-Fusion.

I don't think anyone should have a go at Ubuntu, it's good at what it does. However I am not convinced it is a beginner's distro, and I don't think it's as good as its huge lead in the poll that Rhakios linked to would suggest. It's a good Linux among many, but not special.
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Postby Rhakios » Mon Sep 10, 2007 7:55 pm

davecs wrote:Expect the "explosion" soon, which will remove Beryl and have a fully working and stable Compiz-Fusion.


Oo-err, fingers crossed for that one.
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Re: RE: Is Ubuntu really the best

Postby guy » Mon Sep 10, 2007 8:28 pm

wyliecoyoteuk wrote:I can use Gnome, and for real newbies, it is easier and more logical than KDE.


That's the nub of it really: should the public face of Linux be a Windows clone or easy for the computer illiterate?

IMHO Linux needs to show that it is different from Windows, and reaches the parts that other OS-es don't reach.

The other thing is that the public face is about more than the desktop, it's also about presence and stuff - and the first space tourist plus Third World credentials plus talk of deals with Dell all add up to a great place to go.

But I do think it would be cool if the Ubuntu installer offered a choice of "Ubuntu beginner" and "PC Classic" desktops (and the Gnome team stopped taking their Zen Buddhist style guides quite so literally).
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RE: Re: RE: Is Ubuntu really the best

Postby Pingus » Tue Sep 11, 2007 6:55 pm

I think that Gnome is better for newbies and for people who just want easy of use.

I think that KDE is feature overkill for most and not very clean or simple.

I think Ubuntu is the public face of Linux.... after you change the theme.

And finally, I have tried to warm to PCLinux OS 2007 but I just can't. It looks like a cheap, tacky clone of Windows - it just looks horrible.... and I absolutely hate the main menu layout of Kde, it is far too split up - so much that it takes ages to find the app that I need. The only good thing was the performance but I really don't see what other people see in PCLinux OS.
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RE: Re: RE: Is Ubuntu really the best

Postby davecs » Tue Sep 11, 2007 7:44 pm

Ah you can't please 'em all but at least we have a choice. With Vista you just get Vista and the variants are just different levels of bloat.
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RE: Re: RE: Is Ubuntu really the best

Postby flashdangerpants » Tue Sep 11, 2007 10:26 pm

the only thing ubuntu does best is marketing, but that's quite a valuable skill and let's face it, not one that linux has in huge amounts. in every other respect it is perfectly good, but the only reason i can think of to recommend it to new users is automatix.

the only very bad thing with pclinuxOS is the dreariness of the name. in all other respects it is very good, i'd recommend it to newcomers even without a tool like automatix. although i'd probably recommend mint ahead of all others for that demographic, except i'm concerned about the stability, i had it for about a month and it shook itself apart like a clown car :(

in my experience issues with kde and gnome mean nothing to users switching from windows though. what makes them panic is things like mp3 and dvd not working. fwiw my mum is equally incapable of installing/maintaining windows and linux, but she is happily using free at the moment. i flipped a coin and she got KDE, next time she might get gnome but i know she won't care.
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Postby Dark » Wed Sep 12, 2007 1:35 am

Ubuntu does much better then networking, wireless drivers are also a big plus. Theres NO WAY someone who connects via a laptop to a wireless connection has a way of typing "sudo apt-get install ndiswrapper" then downloading the windows drivers.... And most (windows) users would rather use the GUI via network manager to connect to a network. Also you can get KDE with Ubuntu with the form of Kubuntu and XFCE via xbuntu. And how is mp3 and dvd not working a cause for panic? Ubuntu takes care of that super easily via codec buddy, you can even get WMA to work! Ubuntu takes care of the things that people don't like/understand about Linux. Software installation is a piece of cake once people remember that Add/remove software actually does what it says rather then in Windows (remind me how to add software from there in windows.,,,?) its easy. Yes Linux needs a good desktop theme but Windows like themes are whats going to have a huge impact in with Vista, people will have to learn a new OS eventually, either they can pay the $300 for the new, bloated, DRMed-to-the-core Microsoft OS, or they can go online or to dell and get a small, fast, easy-to-use free OS. And in the case of Ubuntu most generic hardware works well out of the box.
As for PClinuxOS I have tried the live-cd that came with a Linux Format not too long ago, and I don't really like it that much compared to Ubuntu, besides me not likening KDE much, it just seemed dull, offering not much over my Ubuntu install. But in the end, you can change the theme to whatever you feel like (Currently mine is gnome organized like Windows there is only one bar on the bottom with everything on it, with Mac-OSX controls, metacity top bar and an icon-set that I like the look of but I can't remember the name of)

So yes, Ubuntu is a good public face, good marketing, good security, great stability and insanely easy to use. I can expect it to overcome Windows eventually more then likley when NT7 comes out too soon.
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