Linux Format forums Forum Index Linux Format forums
Help, discussion, magazine feedback and more
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

The battle for hearts and minds ... Is it worth it?
Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Linux Format forums Forum Index -> Discussion
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
LoL
LXF regular


Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 3:42 pm
Posts: 409

PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 3:37 pm    Post subject: The battle for hearts and minds ... Is it worth it? Reply with quote

Right ...

I'm not exactly a linux newbie (was playing around with from Slackware 1.0 to RedHat 7.2) ... but I'm not exactly an expert either (gave up on it to focus on maintaining my more employable MS skillset)

I've recently come back to it though, via K/Ubuntu, and have been somewhat disappointed by what I see going on in the linux world today

OK, I know ... I know ... there are a million and one distros out there and linux is all about freedom of choice ... and if I don't like the way one distro works then I can always choose a different one

But ... actually ... I can't

You see, everyone and their dog seems to be focussing on the Windows user - So they're making the migration as easy as possible, by providing the familiar taskbar and startmenu

Now, in and of itself, this doesn't seem to be of much importance - I can always install a different WM/DE, right?

Well, I think it is of utmost importance - It shows what the linux community is focussing on ... luring Windows users away from MS and over to linux


"No bad thing", is what (I imagine) most readers of this forum will say - And, fair enough, perhaps?

No!

Linux is supposed to be about alternatives and freedoms - Don't like a distro? Choose one you do like ... Don't like a WM/DE? Choose one you do ... Don't like paying stupid amounts of money for software? Download a free alternative

So, why should everyone be lured away from Windows? Why can't they be allowed to use it as and when it is useful to do so and use any other OS of their choice when that is useful

It seems to me that this attempt to migrate people away from an (albeit Microsoft) alternative to "the one true way" of linux is counter to the whole ethos of linux itself!


And, as a result, I believe, it is squeezing the mindset of the linux developers into the Microsoft way of doing things and stifling true innovation


Take the kitchen sink approach of Ubuntu and any other number of distros I've looked at in the last few months

Fine, I realise that your average end/home user isn't gonna want to wade through the long and tedious process of an old style installation, selecting packages and dependancies and would be better served by the kitchen sink approach

But what about those of us who do want to? Those of us who don't want to have to uninstall all the stuff we don't want after an unnecessarily long install process

I tried the alt install of K/Ubuntu and was not able to select which packages to install - It was all or nothing

I have no choice in the matter - And if I wanted that, I'd install Vista and have done with it!

Ease of use should not equate to lack of choice - By all means let the novice/uninterested select an easy option, but don't take away my option to take the more complex route in the process ... Give us both options


A second point

The, seemingly, slavish (more or less) adherence to the Unix FSH

OK, once upon a time, I've no doubt that the idea of introducing more people to Unix seemed like a good idea - It's just a better OS than Windows (or at least it was at the time)

But why?

Fine, introduce people to the important aspects of the Unix way of doing things (proper multitasking, real security, genuine stability, etc, etc, etc),

But why do it by imposing a structure that, frankly, even Microsoft have improved upon?

The Unix FSH is arcane and obfuscatory and there was no actual need for linux to go down that path, just because it was 'a unix clone'

And now we have the whole push to standardise the FSH

Why, for Heaven's sake!?

It isn't necessary - Even Microsoft and other companies cope with non-standard installs by checking %system% and so on

All it takes is for the package managers to be standardised, so that they look in one standard location for the necessary file paths ... That and an opening up of the FSH, so that users can, if they wish, choose where the different elements of the system go and configure it to their needs, rather than those of some cabal of the great and the influential - That one standardisation is all it takes to provide stability of installation and freedom of choice ... Not a standard FSH

By all means, a standard default FSH is a good thing - Again those who don't want to trouble themselves with it can just install and get on with stuff ...

And I know nobody can 'force' me to use linux a particular way - I can use LFS, ROCK, T2, develop my own OS, whatever

But then (at least) half my packages won't install properly and I'll have to faff around unnecessarily to make them work, when all I wanted to do was install them and get on with stuff ... But my way, not someone else's


What the real point of this little essay is all about is that I am concerned that the real potential of linux to be a genuinely open, easy to use, alternative is not actually being realised - As everyone seems to be trying to provide a nice, cosy, familiar way of doing things, the real opportunity to come up with a better way of doing things seems to be being squandered

What's so great about taskbars, startmenus, docks, wharfs, panels, palettes and so forth?

They aren't actually a way to improve productivity, but a hindrance

I have to keep mousing around to access to all the stuff I need when it really isn't appropriate to do so

Why, for instance, when I'm using a word processor ... in which, for the most part, my attention is gonna be focussed on the lower half of the screen ... are the menus I need to manipulate the content at the top of the window? ... It makes no sense!

Why do I even need dedicated menus at all?

Why can't I have a single application window in which I manipulate any and all types of data with a context sensitive mouse menu? - If I'm working on text, I right-click and up pops a menu with submenus containing all the options I'm gonna need to manipulate text ... right where I click ... If I'm working on graphics, I don't wanna have to keep mousing around to open different menus, click on different palettes, move palettes out of the way ... (again ... [sigh]) ... I wanna right click on the object and select my tools right there, where I'm working

Why can't I have access to all my applications, files, running applications, services, processes, everything under my mouse, no matter where or when I click?

If you want to see something that almost achieves this, check out LaunchOnFly for Windows ... If only it had a genuine link to everything rather than the user having to create their own shortcuts ... (If only, in fact, it were Stardock's ObjectBar, but with LaunchOnFly's anywhere/anytime/not just on the desktop feature) ... then for everyday use I'd be laughing

But why not make it do more?

Why not do as I've suggested and make it the one and only tool I'll ever need to do everything on my system?

Then I wouldn't need multiple applications or multiple windows

My desktop would be, quite literally, a tabula rasa on which I gather the elements of whatever it is I'm working on and work on them in situ, using the same approach for everything - Then, when I install new features, they are simply added to my menu and I don't have to learn a whole new look, feel and way of doing things in someone else's application ... I know where to find the new features ... (in the same place everything always is) and can get on with things

Sun's Star Office had something of this ethic around version five, as I remember, on Windows - It integrated into the Active Desktop ... (poorly, I'll admit, but that was more the fault of the AD than Star Office, IMO) ... and became the one stop shop for accessing the FS and working on files ... The user highlighted a file on the desktop, got a preview, opened the file in the same window and was presented with everything necessatry to get working on it ... There was no selecting the appropriate application first and then opening the file ... none of the looking for a different application (Explorer) in order to find other files .... everything was done within one window that was the desktop ... and different files were opened in different tabs

No, it's not exactly what I've suggested with the single window/desktop and the mouse menus ... but it was a step in the right direction - It was a step towards a more functional and more transparent way of working, that freed the user from the application/data paradigm and allowed data-centric working methods

Add in what I've suggested with regard to the mouse menu tools

Add in virtual folders, so that the user is freed from the tyranny of the FSH and can get on with manipulating their data rather than struggling with the OS ... So that they are encouraged to categorise, rather than locate, information ... So that they are encouraged to actually think about their data rather than call everything 'photo1.jpg' and lose track of where they put it

That's what linux could be doing for us - Encouraging a smarter way to work



Yes, yes, I know - Why don't I build my own distro, using E?

Well, I've been looking into it ... And I might just do that - Bit of LFS, bit of ROCK, bit of T2, bit of Gentoo, bit of E and away I go


But that's not what this little rant was about

I'm not saying it's impossible

What I am asking is why the opportunity provided by linux hasn't been capitalised upon , but rather seems to have been wasted in a mad dash to 'win the ratings war' of the competing OSes ...

(And, let's face it, there are now only 2.5 OSes ... Windows and linux - I don't consider OS/X a truly free-standing OS, since it's actually a modified BSD with an Apple paradigm glossed over the top ... but I'm prepared to give a half-point for hanging in there)

... As it is, what I see is an increasingly slavish adherence to out-dated, out-moded and, frankly, inappropriate paradigms ... both for the purposes of systems administration and working with the objects that the systems administer

It just isn't good enough

It isn't an alternative, but more of the same ... just 'free'

And that, to my mind, seems to be the big failing of linux (thus far, at least) and the reason why it won't win the 'war' for hearts and minds in the end

It isn't an alternative - As a naive Windows user, why should I change? ... It looks the same, it works the same, it's 'free', but I don't care ... I've already got all that ... (I can get any number of pirate copies of Windows for free ... I can get any amount of pirated software for free) ...

... But I'd have to learn a really confusing FSH and I'm just not gonna ... There just sin't enough about it to excite me and make me want to give it a try ... But there is enough about it to scare me off

Something needs to be done about this if linux is ever to be a serious contender ... And a standardised FSH, based on the antediluvian Unix model and a Windows startmenu/taskbar lookalike interface isn't gonna cut it, IMO


Anyway ... [/rant] ;-D

Hope this provokes some serious discussion about the potential, and future, of linux ... Because I, for one, would like to see some genuine innovation, not just more of the same in a different colour
_________________
Oontz <-- Click Here
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
nelz
Site admin


Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2005 12:52 pm
Posts: 8456
Location: Warrington, UK

PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 5:39 pm    Post subject: Re: The battle for hearts and minds ... Is it worth it? Reply with quote

LoL wrote:
Take the kitchen sink approach of Ubuntu and any other number of distros I've looked at in the last few months

Fine, I realise that your average end/home user isn't gonna want to wade through the long and tedious process of an old style installation, selecting packages and dependancies and would be better served by the kitchen sink approach

But what about those of us who do want to? Those of us who don't want to have to uninstall all the stuff we don't want after an unnecessarily long install process.


That approach is limited to Ubuntu and its derivatives. The vast majority of distros allow you to customise the list of software to be installed.

The Ubuntu method is fast and simple, the likes of SUSE and Fedora take longer but allow you to select (for some reason, Mandriva's package installation is just as fast as Ubuntu's despite allowing package selection). So, you have the choice, there is no point in complaining about one of the choices not being suitable when so many more suitable choices exist.
_________________
"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." (Albert Einstein)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Dutch_Master
LXF regular


Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 2:49 am
Posts: 2431

PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 6:34 pm    Post subject: RE: Re: The battle for hearts and minds ... Is it worth it? Reply with quote

Before you can tell people about the vast choice in distro's, DE's, WM's and such, you'll first need to tell them that their choice is not limited to XP or Vista... And not only tell them, but show them as well: lead by example!

Anyway, the future of Linux isn't going to be determined here and now. It's the market that will decide what direction Linux will take, as that's the most profitable part. Don't forget that the likes of Novell, Red Hat and Canonical depend on a serious revenue-stream from paying customers: i.e. the businesses deploying Linux and/or other Open Source solutions in their corporate environment. Those customers want stability and consolidation of their business model, not experimental fancy 3D tricks and other bling-bling used to lure over disgruntled Win-users...

So, if you want innovation, why not start a new project of your own?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
LoL
LXF regular


Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 3:42 pm
Posts: 409

PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 6:45 pm    Post subject: Re: The battle for hearts and minds ... Is it worth it? Reply with quote

nelz wrote:
That approach is limited to Ubuntu and its derivatives. [...] So, you have the choice, there is no point in complaining about one of the choices not being suitable when so many more suitable choices exist.


A fair enough observation

Except for one thing: How many recent derivatives are there of anything other than Ubuntu?

How many of them are serious contenders?

Seems to me that more and more distros are based on Ubuntu than any other distro ... At least that's where all the recent activity I have noticed has been - And, of late, I've looked at Arch, Gentoo, Trustix, ZenWalk, OpenGEU, OpenSuse, Mandriva, LFS, Knoppix, Studio64, OzOs, Ebuntu, eLive, JeOS, ROX ... So, it's not like I haven't been looking around and am not aware of the alternatives

But, I think you are narrowing your focus down to one small area of my post that was only really by way of illustration

If I'd said that it seemed that linux was going down the Windows route because (virtually) all the distros have a taskbar/startmenu combo, you'd have ... quite rightly ... pointed out that a WM/DE does not a distro make

But my point was/is not that there are no alternatives ... and I feel that I made it clear that I am aware that there are ... but that there is no innovation in the large

E, FluxBox (or any of the other *boxes), ROX, AfterStep, et al are all very much in the minority when it comes to desktops and ... rightly or wrongly ... most, if not all, users have no interest in the underlying nature of their OS ... What they think of, when talking about an OS, is the WM/DE

And, frankly, I think that's equally as important a factor when it comes to OS design as the underlying structure - How we go about working on our data is determined by the access structures we use to manipulate them ... How we actually think about information, our computers and what we can do with them is determined by those access structures - Our thought paradigms are created within that context

But I am digressing from the focus of your reply


The fact that it is 'only' Ubuntu and it's derivatives that take the kitchen sink approach ... And I would contend that (right now, at least) the largest linux growth area consists of Ubuntu and it's derivatives ... is not the point

That the most populist linux distro ever is now, to all intents and purposes, seemingly destined to be a Windows clone in all but it's underlying architecture ... that it is going to to encourage a Windows mindset, if you will ... is something I find quite alarming

Moreover, what is to say that other distros will not also take this appraoch in the (possibly near) future? - If ever there were a contendor that might actually prove to have made some kind of mark on the public's awareness of the existence of linux then I would contend that that distro was Ubuntu

If other distros are to compete not only with Windows, but now also one of their own kind, then they too are gonna have to look at what it is about Ubuntu that has made it quite so successful ... And I'd be prepared to suggest, quite strongly, that the kitchen sink approach has played no small part in that

Naive users neither know nor care about uninstalling unnecessary features ... When they want it to do something Ubuntu (more or less) just does it OOB, with very little input from their end .... What do they know or care about how much stuff is installed that they don't actually use, never mind need?

Absolutely nothing

What they do care about is when they want to do something and they can't because not all the dependancies are satisfied ... They don't even know what a dependancy is, never mind how to resolve one

And, so, I would not be at all surprised if, in a few years, virtually every distro took the kitchen sink approach - When it comes to desktop success, all that really matters is OOB ease of use ... Get that right and you've got the market ... Get it wrong and you're not even a footnote to an abandoned Wikipedia entry

And all those developers out there ... All the little companies and their employees ... They need their distro to be successful ... So, they'll compete

And so we'll end up with just another Windows clone, because the linux community ... not just some individual who had the illusion of freedom of choice and tried to exercise it by approaching things in a different way ...
chose not to genuinely compete, by offering a real alternative, but to try and snatch away Microsoft's market

And where's the freedom of choice in that? - I don't want a choice of five hundred different burger outlets ... I want Mexican, Indian, Chinese, Thai, Italian, French, Mongolian, whatever restaurants ... And I want burger outlets

Don't try and compete in someone else's market ... Create a new market and encourage everyone to shop for an entirely different kind of product in the first place - In other words, don't invent Blu-Ray to compete with HD-DVD ... Invent Second Life and give me a whole new experience that will never be satisfied by what can be supplied to me in either of the other formats


So ... Although I concede your point that I needn't choose an Ubuntu based distro, never mind Ubuntu itself, I would contend that you have chosen to focus on one, fairly trivial, element of my argument at the expense of responding to the point I was really making

And maybe that's my fault ... Maybe I wasn't clear enough about what I was trying to say and simply muddied the waters by introducing that element in the first place

But I do think that element to be as indicative of a trend ... given the sheer number of Ubuntu based distros out there ... especially given that Ubuntu is, itself, an upstart in first place ... a real newcomer in linux history ... towards a Windowsification of linux as the taskbar/startmenu combo is ... and, thus, worth discussing, even if it is limited ... so far ... to Ubuntu based distros - My point being that a lot of the freedom of choice that is supposedly a significant part of what makes linux so great is rapidly becoming illusory ... Not through any failing of linux itself, but due to a lack of vision within the linux community
_________________
Oontz <-- Click Here
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
LoL
LXF regular


Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 3:42 pm
Posts: 409

PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 7:11 pm    Post subject: Re: RE: Re: The battle for hearts and minds ... Is it worth Reply with quote

Dutch_Master wrote:
Anyway, the future of Linux isn't going to be determined here and now. It's the market that will decide what direction Linux will take, as that's the most profitable part. Don't forget that the likes of Novell, Red Hat and Canonical depend on a serious revenue-stream from paying customers: i.e. the businesses deploying Linux and/or other Open Source solutions in their corporate environment. Those customers want stability and consolidation of their business model, not experimental fancy 3D tricks and other bling-bling used to lure over disgruntled Win-users...


Sadly, I fear you are right ... But it just smacks, to me, of commercialisation of the net itself - And I'm an old school dreamer, who hoped that the ethos of linux might resist commercialisation in a way that the net did not


Dutch_Master wrote:
So, if you want innovation, why not start a new project of your own?


Well ... two points ... Okay, maybe three Smile

1) I did say that I've been looking into LFS/T2/ROCK/etc and that I may well go down that route in the end

2) My real point was not about freedom of choice in the sense of no-one can force me into, or stop me from, making any choice I like when it comes to linux ... But that, ultimately, a choice of 500 different companies' burger outlets is not actually any choice at all, when what I really want is pizza

3) I think http://www.osnews.com/story/8162 sums it up really - Although it concerns developing a whole new OS from scratch, I feel it can be equally as well applied to distros

The number of different distros out there is now, I feel, overwhelming and as likely to put people off linux as to attract them ... Too MUCH choice can be detrimental to the decision making process, resulting in no choice being made at all ... never mind in favour of 'my' distro

I'm having difficulty in deciding which distro I'd base an LFS project on ... and I've got a pretty good idea of what I'm looking for - I may not be a linux expert, but I am a Windows expert (for my sins) ... I have used linux in the past, and went resonably in depth into it ... I did use Unix for my Comp.Sci. studies at university for five years ... Used VAX/VMS prior to that ... started out programming on a ZX81 twenty-seven years ago ... So, I've got a pretty good understanding of not only what I'm looking for, but, more importantly, why I'm looking for it and how it should work

And if I'm having difficulty deciding what to do about it all ... where to start ... what chance is there of 'my' little distro getting any of the resources required to even start, never mind actually get noticed by anyone

And, besides, I'm sick of IT now ... Have been for years ... I'm focussing on DJing, music production, art and so on these days - I'm into being on the stage, not building it, so to speak, and just don't have the motivation to try and achieve that all by myself
_________________
Oontz <-- Click Here
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
wyliecoyoteuk
LXF regular


Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2005 11:41 pm
Posts: 3444
Location: Birmingham, UK

PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 7:44 pm    Post subject: RE: Re: The battle for hearts and minds ... Is it worth it? Reply with quote

On the one hand, you complain about lack of diversity, then you complain about lack of commonality.

We use Suse desktops at work, mainly because otherwise we would have to retrain our staff.
A lot of businesses are putting off Vista office 2007, and server 2008, because they don't want to retrain staff who are still learning XP and 2003.
We use a Redhat server (no gui) for our database server, because our IBM database package insists on it.
We use Smoothwall ES for our firewall, because we think it is excellent.
We use DSL for our FTP server in the DMZ, because it is efficient, secure, and we can reinstall it in less than 20 minutes if is compromised, or the aging hardware it runs on dies.

So.... the mainstream distros will always ape Windows because that is what most people know, and they will tend to be the most popular for the same reason.
But people will still use what they like and need.

We use Win2k on a VM for a couple of legacy apps that won't run on anything newer.
We use Server 2003 and XP, and Mac for applications that we need to support our business and our customers, (and also so that we can keep up with them for field support for the equipment we sell.)

The Unix FSH isn't really a problem, simply a convenience, but different distros use it differently.
Windows solves things by bunging everything in 2 or 3 directories, preferably on one large partition, unless you want apps to break.
Just try putting User documents and settings on a different partition and see how many apps fail, install incorrectly, or require you to edit every damn file location setting in 20 menus, and don't even mention offline folders on a 2003 domain.....

My personal favourite distro is Damn Small Linux, which is very unlike Windows, and has a clean, friendly interface.
(and will run on a pII 400Mhz without a problem).

Linux and BSD are becoming ubiquitous in the embedded arena, but the desktop distros have little option but to make the windows-linux transfer as easy as possible for the masses.
I have users at work who can't log in if their username isn't showing on the login screen, (because they can't remember their own name!) and I spend enough time in the field to know that I am not alone. Heaven help you if you want to retrain them.! I have just spent 2 weeks moving our Telesales section to a new version of their CRM package, and I have a lot less hair than when I started.Smile
_________________
The sig between the asterisks is so cool that only REALLY COOL people can even see it!

*************** ************
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Rhakios
Moderator


Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2005 12:18 am
Posts: 7627
Location: Midlands, UK

PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 8:41 pm    Post subject: RE: Re: The battle for hearts and minds ... Is it worth it? Reply with quote

If you don't like the Unix Filesystem you could always give GoboLinux a try - and there are several more open source OSes around to have a look at, such as Syllable (which appears in the magazine from time to time) and Haiku, if you're looking for something Be-ish.
_________________
Bye, Rhakios
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
LoL
LXF regular


Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 3:42 pm
Posts: 409

PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wyliecoyoteuk wrote:
On the one hand, you complain about lack of diversity, then you complain about lack of commonality.


If that is your impression then I was obviously not as clear in making my point as I thought I was ... and, for that, I apologise

(But then my little rant would've been a 10 volume encyclopedic treatise, had I gone into detail)

It's not that I am complaining about either, but more that they seem, to my way of thinking, to have been poorly applied - Diversity in areas that could do with a bit of commonality ... Lack of diversity in areas where it is needed

Don't forget that my real issue here is to do with direction, opportunity and innovation - What linux could have been rather than what it has become ... and why

I don't see the need for yet another Windows - Isn't the whole point of linux that we don't want, never mind need, another Windows?

(And, no, I'm not going to be impressed by reference to it originally having been Torvalds' personal project, nor of the issue of free vs propriortary ... linux is no longer just the kernel, nor is it the origin of the GPL)

If all that were required were a stable, Unix-like OS then BSD was already there

If all that were required were a stable server platform then BSD fit that bill quite nicely too - In fact we could have simply carried on with Solaris or even V

If user familiarity is an issue, then get BSD/Solaris as a server and give the users Windows clients


What's the point of reinventing the wheel?

We already had wheels - Windows

We already had pneumatic tyres - MacOS

We already had a wheel factory that could turn out wheels, tyres and caterpillar tracks, if required - Unix


What linux could have been was the equivalent of Concorde, when everyone else was flying a Sopwith Camel - An opportunity to innovate and outstrip everything else around

But what seems to have happened is that people are trying to improve things by sticking more wings onto a design that just isn't ever gonna be up to the job of flying 500 people at a time to anywhere, never mind from London to New York in 90 minutes

Diversity is great ... but remember that natural selection doesn't favour diversity for diversity's sake - Evolution and Natural Selection are two different processes and whilst that which evolves too far out of line with its environment becomes extinct, that which does not evolve at all becomes just as extinct ... What is required for advancement is that an entity evolve usefully

To use yet another allegory to sum up

If I appear to be, as you say, complaining about a lack of both diversity and commonality at the same time then consider this:

I want to be able to walk into any one of 500 hundred different restaurants and know that I will have a common experience in all of them - There will be staff ... There will be food ... There will be tables, chairs, restrooms, a menu with the prices clearly labelled, drinks ... and everything we all expect from the experience ...

... I want commonality

What I don't want is to find that all 500 'restaurants' are merely variations of McDonalds ...

... I want diversity


We have this balance of commonality and diversity in the real world ... it is not at all uncommon ... nor are people considered to be unreasonably contradictory in expecting, never mind, demanding it

Yes, I want commonality - I want to be able to find a suitable OS to run on my hardware, whatever that hardware may be

Yes, I want diversity - I want to be able to find alternatives to the Windows way of doing things

Yes I want commonality - I want to be able to take any piece of linux software and install it on my system without having to spend hours working out where things need moving to in order to make it work

Yes, I want diversity - I want to be able to work in a way that suits me and the tasks I have to perform, not someone else's ... And, by that, I don't mean I want different wallpaper or 3D FX


wyliecoyoteuk wrote:
We use Suse desktops at work, mainly because otherwise we would have to retrain our staff.
A lot of businesses are putting off Vista office 2007, and server 2008, because they don't want to retrain staff who are still learning XP and 2003


Ah ... the delights of PEBCAK - If only we didn't need people at all, then I could finally configure my systems and let them get on with things without all these damn lusers screwing things up Wink


wyliecoyoteuk wrote:
So.... the mainstream distros will always ape Windows because that is what most people know, and they will tend to be the most popular for the same reason.
But people will still use what they like and need.


Yes and my point, right from the start, was that they could've been given the opportunity to like working a different way ... And, who knows, maybe have started people questioning whether the Windows way really was the best way for them

As long as linux is trying to compete with Windows at its own game then it will never be more than an also ran


wyliecoyoteuk wrote:
The Unix FSH isn't really a problem, simply a convenience, but different distros use it differently.


A convenience for whom, exactly? - Certainly not your average desktop user


wyliecoyoteuk wrote:
Windows solves things by bunging everything in 2 or 3 directories, preferably on one large partition, unless you want apps to break.
Just try putting User documents and settings on a different partition and see how many apps fail, install incorrectly, or require you to edit every damn file location setting in 20 menus


Before XP, I'd have agreed - Just look at how many hard coded references there to the location of shell folders in the 9.x registry [shudder]

After XP? ... Well, I haven't had a My Documents folder on the same drive, never mind partition, since XP ...

In fact, whenever I install XP anywhere, I shift the temporary folder(s), pagefile and Documents and Settings hierarchy onto a second drive (effectively a combination TMP/VAR drive, because the data is volatile) ...

I then shift the My Documents folders from there to a third drive, so that only actively, rather than passively, user generated data is stored there, thus allowing a reasonable degree of defragmentation, since the data tends to remain static once it has been finalised (unlike email folders, for instance)

If there is a fourth drive available then I shift the Program Files folder there, thus maintaining a degree of seperation between the system and rogue applications

And I haven't had one application fail to work properly as a result ... not ever ... Nor have I had to edit any menus beyond occasionally having to move a few shortcuts around the start menu because I can't always control which group they are added to during the installation ... And my start menus are always custom configured in a way that is much more logical than the MS defaults

I admit that there is only so far I can take this process when it comes to Windows ... And that's why I'm ultimately dissatisfied with Windows

But I don't seem to have had anywhere near the amount of trouble you are suggesting in that regard and, in fact, have reached the stage where I just have a set of default fs hierarchies ready to copy over any install I do ... which one I use being dependant upon how many drives are being used on any given system


wyliecoyoteuk wrote:
and don't even mention offline folders on a 2003 domain.....


OK ... I won't Wink


wyliecoyoteuk wrote:
I have users at work who can't log in if their username isn't showing on the login screen, (because they can't remember their own name!) and I spend enough time in the field to know that I am not alone. Heaven help you if you want to retrain them.! I have just spent 2 weeks moving our Telesales section to a new version of their CRM package, and I have a lot less hair than when I started.Smile


I can promise you that I know exactly what you are talking about, having filled just about every job role there is to do in IT, short of Director of the department/company - Goldfish have a longer attention span than your average luser!
_________________
Oontz <-- Click Here
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
LoL
LXF regular


Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 3:42 pm
Posts: 409

PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 9:24 pm    Post subject: Re: RE: Re: The battle for hearts and minds ... Is it worth Reply with quote

Rhakios wrote:
If you don't like the Unix Filesystem you could always give GoboLinux a try - and there are several more open source OSes around to have a look at, such as Syllable (which appears in the magazine from time to time) and Haiku, if you're looking for something Be-ish.


Oh, NO! ... Another one that might be ... but just isn't quite ... what I was looking for!

And just when I thought I might throw in the towel and settle for OpenGEU for long enough to figure out how to configure E, before doing an LFS or ROCK/T2 on some other distro and applying E over the top

[sigh]

Wink

But, seriously, thanks for that!

I tooka look at ROX, but wasn't entirely convinced by the DE - A bit clunky for my tastes

If, I'm reading this right, then Gobo won't actually install multiple copies of the same files each and every time ... I'll still have shared libraries in all the usual places, for instance .... but it'll present everything to me through a virtualised hierarchy of symlinks, correct?
_________________
Oontz <-- Click Here
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Rhakios
Moderator


Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2005 12:18 am
Posts: 7627
Location: Midlands, UK

PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 9:38 pm    Post subject: Re: RE: Re: The battle for hearts and minds ... Is it worth Reply with quote

LoL wrote:

If, I'm reading this right, then Gobo won't actually install multiple copies of the same files each and every time ... I'll still have shared libraries in all the usual places, for instance .... but it'll present everything to me through a virtualised hierarchy of symlinks, correct?


From my reading of the "How can this possibly work?" section the shared libraries are symlinks to the actual location in Programs. So there won't be more than one copy. Other programs that need the library can find it from the indices.
Thinking about it still gives me a headache though.
_________________
Bye, Rhakios
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
LoL
LXF regular


Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 3:42 pm
Posts: 409

PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 9:53 pm    Post subject: Re: RE: Re: The battle for hearts and minds ... Is it worth Reply with quote

Rhakios wrote:


From my reading of the "How can this possibly work?" section the shared libraries are symlinks to the actual location in Programs. So there won't be more than one copy. Other programs that need the library can find it from the indices.


Hmmmm ... I'm not sure if we're reading this right

In GoboLinux, each program resides in its own directory, such as /Programs/Xorg/7.2 and /Programs/KDE/3.5.8. Each file category (executables, libraries, headers) can also be accessed through unified symlink views, such as /System/Links/Libraries and /System/Links/Headers. These views match the legacy directories (/bin, /usr/include, /usr/local/share, and so on), achieving total Unix compatibility while keeping program directories completely self-contained.

That looks to me like individual files are replicated and the standard Unix/linux FS is simply represented to software packages via symlinks

But I may be reading it wrong again - I'm gonna have to take a look at their forum and knowledgebase

I hope I'm reading it wrong this time around and that you're right - Otherwise I foresee two pitfalls:

1) A waste of storage space

2) A really nasty case of either:

2.1) subsequent application installs being reliant on the most recent application installs for their depedancies ... in which case I won't be able to UNinstall stuff

2.2) subsequent application installs finding their identical dependancies in different locations to each other ... which really could be a headache!


Rhakios wrote:

Thinking about it still gives me a headache though.


Not unless 2.2 holds - But then I'm used to LISP and PROLOG, so I tend to approach everything recursively in the first place and am used to thinking that way Very Happy
_________________
Oontz <-- Click Here
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
nordle
LXF regular


Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2005 10:56 pm
Posts: 1500

PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 10:20 pm    Post subject: RE: Re: RE: Re: The battle for hearts and minds ... Is it wo Reply with quote

Quote:
What the real point of this little essay is all about is that I am concerned that the real potential of linux to be a genuinely open, easy to use, alternative is not actually being realised.


Is that the point, concern that Linux is genuinely not open/easy to use, or that you don't find it so?

Don't get me wrong, I think most users have specific ideas about what should/should not be happening. But if things go down a road and people complain, something gets done about it if enough people act. But as we continue down this "path" it appears to be heading in the direction that the majority want, otherwise market force would move it elsewhere.

Now, if we decide that market forces are simply wrong, then we have little choice than to either try and influence the people who can change things, or we simply have to do our own thing.
Given the volume of distros, developers and users I'd be very surprised if other people did not follow your point of view. Maybe theres a project out there, or a bunch of people who just need mobolising to make something happen.

Quote:

Why, for instance, when I'm using a word processor ... in which, for the most part, my attention is gonna be focussed on the lower half of the screen ... are the menus I need to manipulate the content at the top of the window? ... It makes no sense!

May I suggest you carry out a VDU assessment, because there is no reason why you should be working contantly on the lower half of a screen.

Quote:

Add in virtual folders, so that the user is freed from the tyranny of the FSH and can get on with manipulating their data rather than struggling with the OS ... So that they are encouraged to categorise, rather than locate, information ... So that they are encouraged to actually think about their data rather than call everything 'photo1.jpg' and lose track of where they put it


I don't understand this point. Using tools such as Beagle, you can effectively make the FS a non-issue. But more to the point, why would you be messing around in anywhere other than~/ ?
The Filesystem Strucuture can be annoying, I'm sure it could be tweaked (do we really need sbin and bin), but generally I understand having a structure for system, distro and personal customisations.

Personnally, I'd like to see more interaction between apps. Single app for single purpose, the "Unix Way" is fine, but it would be nice in a desktop environment to be able to hook these things together more effectively.

I use XFCE, nearer to a DE rather than a pure WM, but fluxbox, openbox are all tiny and very stable.

I admit, I'm not bothered by market share (except to the point whereby if its too small then hardware manufacturers don't care, but this is getting better). When a Windows user cries that Linux is too hard, or "it sucks" because of xyz I don't feel the need to do something about it.

Make a product, if its good people will use it, if it starts to deteriate, people will move to something else.

You mentioned several times, you already know the answer, do somehting about it. Get involved, make a product, alter a current one, if momentum builds its because people agree with you and things will change, if it doesn't, they didn't and they won't.
_________________
I think, therefore I compile
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Rhakios
Moderator


Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2005 12:18 am
Posts: 7627
Location: Midlands, UK

PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 10:55 pm    Post subject: RE: Re: RE: Re: The battle for hearts and minds ... Is it wo Reply with quote

On GoboLinux, see this page, wich has the "How can this possibly work?" section, it shows and describes the symlink structure and how it works with the indices. As you can see, libraries and executables in the tradional hierarchy are just symlinks up to the actual files in the Gobo structure.
_________________
Bye, Rhakios
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
wyliecoyoteuk
LXF regular


Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2005 11:41 pm
Posts: 3444
Location: Birmingham, UK

PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LoL wrote:

And I haven't had one application fail to work properly as a result ... not ever ...


Sorry, but I can think of at least 4 mainstream Windows applications that that would break in a multiuser network environment, but even if you are talking single user, unshared apps, there are two popular multimedia packages that were the main reason I returned to a single large C: drive on a second install of XPMCE, because of the sheer hassle involved in putting any of their stuff anywhere else. MythTV is on that PC now..
Quote:

wyliecoyoteuk wrote:
and don't even mention offline folders on a 2003 domain.....


OK ... I won'tSmile
They break quite a few apps that don't like redirection too..
Quote:


I can promise you that I know exactly what you are talking about, having filled just about every job role there is to do in IT, short of Director of the department/company

Actually, my present role is IT director Smile

As for the restaurant allegory, where it falls down is that diversity is fast disappearing there too, the various ethnic diner types becoming clones that sell identical menus (which often bear no relationship to the food of their supposed origins), Not Macdonalds, maybe, but MacChinese, MacBalti, MacPizza, MacPasta, etc.

Linux as a whole is not in competition with Windows, but the distros that offer a very different experience are by their nature, always going to be sidelined, unless there is a singularly important perceived benefit.
The Most common complaint of new Linux users is still that "it doesn't work like Windows." And yet from an office client users point of view, largely it does.
Some time ago, I moved several of my users from XP to Suse 9.1 with KDE and OOo, and the main thing they noticed was the bouncing cursor that replaced the egg timer Smile
We now run 10.3 on several general purpose machines.
_________________
The sig between the asterisks is so cool that only REALLY COOL people can even see it!

*************** ************
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
LoL
LXF regular


Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 3:42 pm
Posts: 409

PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 11:25 pm    Post subject: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: The battle for hearts and minds ... Is i Reply with quote

Rhakios wrote:
On GoboLinux, see this page, wich has the "How can this possibly work?" section, it shows and describes the symlink structure and how it works with the indices. As you can see, libraries and executables in the tradional hierarchy are just symlinks up to the actual files in the Gobo structure.


Yep ... 'S what I thought - Just ascertained this for myself after a long ... and really tiresomely involved [1] ... period with pen and paper, trying out various ways around all the possible recursions

So, I wonder to what extent 2.1 holds - Could be a pain

In all, though, I like the idea and am wondering if I might use Gobo as the basis for a LFS/ROCK/T2 project - Thanks for the tip



[1] But I always try to make things difficult for myself, just to make sure I really have understood - If I can't break it, it must be right Very Happy Very Happy
_________________
Oontz <-- Click Here
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Linux Format forums Forum Index -> Discussion All times are GMT
Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next
Page 1 of 3

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
Linux Format forums topic RSS feed 


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group


Copyright 2011 Future Publishing, all rights reserved.


Web hosting by UKFast