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Ubuntu (Linux); my first experience of...

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Robin, Feb 27, 2007.

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  1. Robin

    Robin Guest good.

    I bought a minimum "barebones ASUS mobo" with AMD64 plus one DVDdrive
    graphics card and did this:-

    That hardware cost just under £500, that would probably equate to half
    the price in the States i.e. $500. The timecost was half a day - from
    scratch, including downloading the .iso image (6.10) and burning the

    The desktop is similar to XP except that it is snappier and simpler
    and Firefox is the default browser.

    The downside is that it connecting my Binatone ADSL 500 modem is
    "...possibly difficult - USB types generally are..."

    I ignorantly assumed "the command line" was some ancient throwback
    thingy but it is actually brilliant because you can automate
    everything with scripts i.e. a hassle to make it work but after that
    it's a one-touch as opposed to Windows where it is always a hassle to
    e.g. select all the .cpp and .h files by hand and not the .bak files
    before copying.

    To get a get-feel for maintance and dependencies see:-

    If I crash it tomorrow, no worries, I can insert my .iso disk and re-
    install the whole lot from scratch in under an hour, maybe thirty
    minutes (I have no other software installed on it so far) And this is
    the real reason for changing to an open source operating system:
    reliability - the mutli-platform software I am involved with has
    exposed two bugs that otherwise do not show on the main development

    In fact the app I use most on my PC is Firefox. My favourites for
    sheer ergonomic brilliance are Cdex and MD5summer. All of these are
    free-spirited. I had to abandon Nero6 for the free InfraRecorder
    because only the latter would sucessfully make the bootable
    Ubuntu .iso CDrom.

    I thought that the future would be the Mac but now I am not so sure,
    even Linux stands a chance. No way is it going to be Vista.

  2. Dell is selling Inspiron 1501 notebook here now 1 more day for 499 Euro.
    Comes with MS windows XP, but you can wipe that and install Linux.

    Feel almost tempted....
  3. Paul Burke

    Paul Burke Guest

    I've had just a little experience lately of Linux, though I've known
    about it for a long time. While it is obviously very capable, it has a
    few huge hurdles before it can compete with Windows or OSX for the
    ordinary user.

    - you (and I) have a DSL connection. You need it with Linux, because
    there's no such thing as an install package for a program. You have to
    get the "right" one, and usually need several additional dependencies
    installed as well as the desired application. The only way to get them
    easily is a good fast internet connection, which makes Linux a
    first-world only luxury: you wouldn't want to risk being in the African
    bush, say, and find that all your teaching materials or survey software
    need a 40Mb dependency download. This is related to the second point:

    - library anarchy. There used to be a syndrome called "DLL hell" in
    Windows, but I've installed many programs over the last 5 years without
    a problem. This is probably related to a fairly conservative application
    area, no cutting- edge games etc, but is also because the application
    distributor can be reasonbably confident of a consistent base of
    compatible DLLs already installed, leaving only a few extras to be
    included with the install disk. But with Linux, not only is the library
    base protean, but each version of any given library seems to be subtly
    incompatible with all others, both forwards and backwards. The number of
    possible libraries to be included on the disk would require a DVD even
    for a "hello world" install. A source code install would probably work
    better, but most commercial outfits won't want to give their secrets away.

    - the utter supercilious unhelpfulness of much of the Linux community.
    The most common response to a problem is "RTFM" or "why do you want to
    do that?" Many of the advocates appear to be people who have learned to
    run an OS install, do a few basic system admin functions, and run
    whatever comnes packaged with the disk. They then spend the rest of
    their careers comparing the diferent distributions and desktops. just
    read the magazines.

    Having said that, I've now got a reasonably well- functioning
    development setup. I'm not going to distribute my programs, they will
    just go out ready installed in equipment, so I don't have to worry much
    about that side of it. and I save £60 per system.

    Paul Burke
  4. I cannot question your personal experiences, but a few comments from a
    13 year long Linux user.

    If you bought something like a Suse or Redhat distro, it comes
    on one or more DVDs, and should have most libraries.
    There is some truth in that, Linux is always a bit at the front ;-)
    I personally have said goodbye to the huge packages, I use grml from, completely modified by me of course.
    Notice it says it 'is for geeks'.

    Makes no sense, you would not go there unprepared, same problem with MS soft,
    no jungle shop.
    You would install and test your soft before you mounted the crocodile.

    That is simply not true.
    It is true that nobody knows everything about many millions lines of source,
    and zillions of applications.
    Anyways I very rarely ask something, maybe you need to read the right groups,
    get a good book on Unix, use google when you are not playing with elephants.

    Exactly, there are thousands of pages of documentation, do you want somebody
    else do read them for you? And do the googling?
    If you use open source GPL stuff, then you STILL will have to make the sources publicly
    One final remark, when I started with Linux -0.98 or so, I had to write many of the apps
    I needed myself.
    Even this newsreader.

    Unlike some big players like Suse-Balmer and Rathead, *I* have never suggested that Linux
    should be a MS clone type of desktop.
    *I* have suggested that people learn Unix, about its structure and filesystem, etc..

    Like driving a car, you need training.
    Those who buy into the MS clone type of desktop thingy will only know how to mouse,
    and perhaps write a simple script.

    Linux is in my view a very powerful OS, but that power is only available if you know how to
    use it.
    It has an enormous learning curve, that _never_ ends, as millions of programmers keep
    enhancing it day in day out.

    But my view is: If you take from the open source community then:
    1) you have no rights, you only use my work.
    2) Would it not be nice if you, in turn, also contributed something,
    that would be nicer then being a complainer.
    So if you see something you think can be done better, or more suited to what *your* view
    of the world is, THEN WRITE IT.
    And make it available.
    That is how it grows.
  5. Joel Kolstad

    Joel Kolstad Guest

    (Good first impressions of Ubuntu Linux...)

    "The desktop is similar to XP except that it is snappier and simpler
    and Firefox is the default browser."

    For me, under Mandriva 2007, the desktop is actually a little slower than XP.
    However, it is "snappy enough."

    "I ignorantly assumed "the command line" was some ancient throwback
    thingy but it is actually brilliant because you can automate
    everything with scripts i.e. a hassle to make it work but after that
    it's a one-touch as opposed to Windows where it is always a hassle to
    e.g. select all the .cpp and .h files by hand and not the .bak files
    before copying."

    Umm... plenty of PC users routinely use the command line in Windows (pretty
    much any domain-based Windows network will have *lots* of command line scripts
    that run). Microsoft has been slowly improving it over time, although "hard
    core" users often use 3rd party shells such as JP Software's Take Command or
    4NT. Plenty of people also use the same *NIX shells you're now using --
    CShell, TCShell, etc.

    "To get a get-feel for maintance and dependencies see:-"

    It's definitely a lot more effort than the standard "double-click on
    setup.exe" that the Windows world has.

    "If I crash it tomorrow, no worries, I can insert my .iso disk and re-
    install the whole lot from scratch in under an hour, maybe thirty
    minutes (I have no other software installed on it so far)"

    You can do that with Windows too... one big difference in Linux is that
    programs tend to litter your home directory with their "dot configuration"
    files in a myriad of arbitrary formats -- rather than using centralized,
    standardized registry that Windows advocates -- which means that you often
    retain most of your program settings if you re-install Linux, whereas with
    Windows usually you don't. (That being said, very few people ever *have* to
    re-install Windows *or* Linux these days, unless they simply don't know much
    about PCs yet.)

    "I thought that the future would be the Mac but now I am not so sure,
    even Linux stands a chance. No way is it going to be Vista."

    Yeah, I don't blame you. Linux is quite usable these days, and while it
    clearly lags the Mac OS and Vista in some features and support, it's arguably
    just as easy to use -- and in many way more powerful -- than, say, Windows
    2000 or any pre-OS X Mac OSes.

  6. Joel Kolstad

    Joel Kolstad Guest

    I think his point is that, for Linux to become (massively) successful, the
    average Linux hacker (and I mean that in the good way -- someone who's
    intimiately familiar with Linux) needs to treat the new user as he would his
    grandmother asking for help with a computer: Yes, steering them to a good
    on-line or printed resource is good, but simply answering the question garners
    a lot more goodwill than just telling them to get lost. In the Windows and
    Mac world there are many people whose entire jobs are answering "dumb"
    questions from users, and if you're looking at taking a good-sized company
    from, e.g., Windows to Linux, there are always many OS-illiterate employees
    that the company has commited to "supporting" since they're (supposedly :) )
    good as whatever the core aspect of their job is.
    Guess where people learn to use Windows? In school and at their employers.
    This emphasizes parts of what I said before -- when someone chooses to try out
    Linux after having used Windows or the Mac OS, they're generally going it
    alone, and the last thing Linux advocates should be doing to those Linux noobs
    is just telling them to get lost and RTFM. (But again, there's nothing wrong
    with *politely* answering a question and pointing them to the appropriate
    resource to read for more details...)
    What you view as "powerful" many would view as "unstable." :) Corporations
    don't *want* to hear that "millions of programmers keep 'enhancing' Linux
    everday" *unless* you add on, "...while retraining core compatibility with all
    the legacy data and applications that you've spent millions of dollars
    creating." Microsoft has become quite good at this, BTW. I've previously
    mentioned how, where my mother works, they run Windows XP on multi-GHz Dell
    PCs along with... WordPerfect 4.2 for DOS! Every single work day of the year.
    All day long. Aieee....

  7. karoshi

    karoshi Guest

    It does not have to - the "ordinary user" is fine with Windows. Keeps the
    trouble reports down too!.
    There is - several, in fact:

    In Ubuntu it's apt-get or (aptitude for the slackers). That is why install &
    uninstall *works* - because the OS provides the tool to do it with and not some
    random romanian d00d.

    If some African cannot cope - pah! Too bad their government nicked the money
    they could have used for the infrastructure, eh??
    That is indeed what on of the thigs the packaging tools are for: versioning -
    and you CAN have many versions of the same libs sitting next to each other
    because they are named differently.
    So you go get Gentoo Linux then; that is a 100% source based system. The portage
    package managing system is very good I.M.O, one can slice out crap like Gnome
    support and Qt with one central configuration option f.ex.

    Be warned though: OpenOffice is something like 300MB source +many libs so it
    should take your Athlon a few hours to grind all that code.
    Your problem != My problem.
  8. I am going to answer this -as i read it- (because it is so long), so,
    definitions of 'successful'... Linux IS and always was successful for me.
    I had DRDOS 6 and win 3.1 at that time, and programming for it was problematic,
    DOS memory limit, expensive compile, I used djgpp (free) for DOS, win 3.1
    sucked but was fun.
    Linux gave me the gcc compiler, no memory limits, good multitasking right then
    and there, X windows system, networked, all for free.
    A winner, clear choice, now I could write what I wanted.
    'Massively' successful it was as thousands like me immediately moved to it.
    But if your idea of 'massively' includes the secretary, the one that when asked to make
    a copy of a floppy disk put it in the xerox, then NO Linux was at least at that time,
    not aimed at that.

    You are possibly confusing this with the bloat GUIs like KDE and Gnome that actually
    try to imitate MS desktops, and those are brought to - and sold to the masses
    by the like of Suse-Balmer and Rathead, that is NOT Linux, that runs on top of Linux.
    'Linux' is a simple multitasking kernel (well not so simple anymore really).
    It still has, and will always have, that command line interface MS killed to kill Digital
    research's DRDOS, that was a better MSDOS.
    Linux needs no GUI, not that what _you_ think the masses want.
    So if S-B and RH sell 'Linux', no they sell their bloat on top of it, make a quick buck,
    then sell out to MS it seems.
    Rathead has been responsible in the past for many incompatibilities in libc for example,
    all 'customer binding', and Suse is good at the same too.
    The Linux programmer (me in this case) does not give a shit about what anybody wants,
    *I* write programs that do what *I* need, and you can use these, improve these,
    learn from these, or delete these, I do not give a f*ck.
    This is _ N O T _ a commercial 'must sell' policy.
    It is all created (most of it anyways) by individual users / programmers for _THEIR_
    You have no right, you have no right to say 'you should', you have to right to ask
    for a feature, but neither I nor nobody else is required to implement it for you.

    To say RTFM is the same as saying to the aspirant driver: take driving lessons.
    But you want me to pay for your taxi.

    Ah, you do not even get an answer from MS support, even if you try, if you can reach them,
    and then they tell you to re-install.
    And they get payed.

    Linux is _not_ for dummies.

    Yes, I have used WP, and it was a joke, and I was technical author at that time.
    It all depends, if you want to make layouts for a magazine with pictures,
    or write C code, or just do correspondence, you may need different tools.
    All these tools are there for Linux.
    I write this with joe as text editor.
    Best one yet, Wordstar like feeling.
    But I also write C, and html, asm, etc with 'joe'.
    And it is not a graphical editor, it works on the command line too.

    Take some time to learn Unix, if you are technical (this is s.e.d after all),
    for example I am now in the middle of figuring out this:
    it needs fftw and brutefir.. and does something with room correction for sound.
    or sound correction for rooms....
    Do you think I master this in 5 minutes?
    Do you think I am going to ask in a newsgroup for help on this?
    That way it would take years.
    Do you think the office girl can do this?

    See, _Linux_ or at least the applications available for Unix (there are many Unices)
    for such a vast field, scientific, that involves so many fields of expertise, and
    all that good stuff freely available as open source, at _LEAST_ take the time to
    learn, else keep buying broken feature limited MS crap without source.
    For ever their slave, your PC finally taken away from you and made a black box
    where every little thing has a big DRM lock on it, and nothing is changed,
    nothing evolves, everything ever takes more resources... the darkness of Redmond falling
    on the world.
    THAT system must have caused more irritation with its crashes and blue screens to more people
    then anything else in the world.
    And it made one man rich beyond belief, and everybody looks up to that person,
    and guess what, he has no more clue about life's secrets..Money cannot buy that...then most
    other people.
    Now there is an interesting subject, before we learn all this, we should learn about ourselves,
    about how our neural net works, what real truth is, do meditation.
    One big EMP may come if Whitehouse ape starts nuking ..and no more computers...
    And we will still have to know how to be happy.
  9. Joel Kolstad

    Joel Kolstad Guest

    Hi Jan,

    I don't think that's true in general. There are plenty of Linux supporters
    who *very much want* to get people to switch from Microsoft and the Mac OS to
    Linux. Some of them feel MS and Apple are evil, others just figure there is a
    greater good to be had by getting everyone onto an "open" standard. Most
    people are probably somewhere inbetween...
    Many people would *like* to be Linux programmers *and support their families
    by doing it.* That's possible today, certainly, but for everyone who can
    support a family by doing "something Linux-related," there are probably 100 if
    not 1000 people who support a family doing "something Windows-related." So,
    again -- there are plenty of people (myself included) who would like Linux to
    gain in popularity/usability by Joe Average, and to foster that one shouldn't
    alienate all the would-be converts.
    Actually I was referring to the ubiquitous "IT guys" found in all large
    companies today. I'm willing to wager a fair amount that even if you look at
    a "technology" company such as HP, a lot of the issues their IT guys deal with
    on a daily basis are just "stupid user" questions.
    Then it's never going to gain a significant user base, which is unfortunate
    for *everyone*, Linux super-hackers included.
    There's plenty of crapware in the *NIX world, just as there is in the Windows
    world. In fact, there might even be more so, simply because of the emphasis
    on the "viral" nature of open-source *NIX software.

    I have a book on Macs that -- in all serious -- claims that having only a few
    choices for any particular type of software on the Mac is actually "a good
    thing" relative to the PC world where you can find tons of programs all trying
    to do the same thing with varying degrees of success: The author claims
    that -- supposedly -- the reason there are only a few offerings is that the
    ones out there tend to be done "quite well" and therefore it's an advantage to
    consumers that they don't have to wade through a dozen different programs
    before finding one they like. I don't completely agree with him, but I would
    say he has a bit of a point: Having a dozen different text editors included
    with a standard OS install (the typical Linux scenario) is *not* always
    serving the end-user's best interests.
    Those are good points, although I'm sure you're well aware that you seldom
    hear people telling you to "just use your old beat-up 386 to run Linux --
    it'll be fine!" anymore. Those looking to run those "bloatware" desktops, as
    you call them, such as KDE and Gnome are running an OS that has grown just as
    fast in resource utilization as what the folks in Redmond and Cupertino have
    come up with.

  10. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    On Tue, 27 Feb 2007 06:01:54 -0800, Robin wrote:
    [big snip about Linux success]
    I don't understand why Bill Gates hasn't discovered Linux yet -
    He could download the kernel for free, put his codemonkeys to
    porting the eye candy, and sell "Microsoft Linux" for an arbitrary
    amount of money. (I think the penguin is copyrighted, but he could
    still use those stupid flying window things.)

    I think the GPL even lets you sell proprietary drivers along with
    the open source stuff - the only part that you have to release on
    the GPL is stuff that's already GPL'd.

    The other day, in Fry's ad, I saw a basic system with "Linspire"
    already installed; I looked up Linspire and it's a Linux kernel
    that they've written the wrappers for and sell it for about $50.00,
    which is cool. Heck, I even paid $40.00 for Slackware once! ;-)

  11. maybe a dead penuin logo?

  12. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    My question is always, "Read _WHICH_ Fucking Manual?" It's like going
    to the Library of Congress with a keyword, and I have to find the right
    book that has that chapter.

    But usually, I've found that if you ask nicely, they'll at least give
    you a link to something that's in the category you're looking for.

    And everything has a "man page", which is the instruction manual for
    the program, but they were written by whatever Phd wrote the app, so
    a lot of them are pretty much incomprehensible. :)

    Other than that, I'm really happy with it - my next task, when I finally
    get the Doze install on my dual-boot system fixed and get caught up on my
    work (I've just been dicking around with a W2K software problem for about
    three days), I'm going to learn how to install and operate Wine, so
    hopefully I won't have to boot Win at all. :)

  13. JeffM

    JeffM Guest

    Before the dust-up with The Borg, it was called Lindows.
    The default security is Windoze-user-friendly (i.e. a bad joke).
    Wally World has been selling them for some time
    (online-only still, I think).
    Their payware repository is going to make a lot of $$
    from people used to the ease of installing Windoze apps.
    (It isn't restricted to Linspire users.)
  14. 11 years since I installed Debian (same package management as Ubuntu),
    and although I've upgraded the hardware three times, I've never done
    a clean re-install and I've *never* had the problem you describe, though
    a couple of the major upgrades were a bit more difficult than others. It
    doesn't do to leave the system without running a dist-upgrade for more
    than a few months. So AFAICS this comment is basically sh1t with regard
    to Ubuntu, which is *better* than Debian. Other distros have probs tho'.
  15. default

    default Guest

    I wasn't impressed with Linspire. Downloaded it when they had their
    distro for free Never could get my monitor to work or the monitor on
    my wife's box. Ubuntu and Knopix worked like a champ right out of the
    gate. I would favor Knopix over Ubuntu - but Ubuntu is picking up a
    lot of support and will pass Knopix IMHO.

    Still using widows ME because I couldn't find a way to get the damn
    scanner working with Linux. No geek myself but some geek like

    There's no necessity to have a broadband connection these days. Most
    of the distros can be run as "Live" CDs and there's a few dozen
    companies on the net that will sell the CD's for very nominal prices -
    $3-$8 ranges. Easy enough to get a handful of them and fool around.
    The Live CDs already have most of what you need to get connected along
    with a good office suite and music software. games etc..

    Billy has discovered Linux and he's doing his best to fight it. If
    the peripheral makers would include Linux drivers there'd be no
    contest - unless you buy into Billy's over-hyped under-developed
    vision of the M$ future.
  16. I dunno, these days kids come from school, hack a DVD, write a game, make a video,
    all that at < 12.
    Do not under-estimate the human race.
    "Viral?', nothing viral about it.
    Viral is closed source, secretly sending your private details back to MS, having
    secret ports open for 'marketing reasons' allowing trojans and worms, DRM software
    that installs rootkits (Sony), what not.
    Open source allows you to check, and modify, and usually a choice.

    It should be a sign on the wall that I have a system on line 24/7 running Linux with:
    A web server, a mail server, a name server, telnet, X, ftpserver etc...
    and not ONCE (1x) has there been a virus, worm, or any other evil thing, that made it
    into my system.
    Many years.
    And _WHO_ is that company that releases a security update every few weeks?

    The whole thing (MS) is SICK.
    It (MS Windows) is like having a house with the doors wide open, and locks on the coffee machine,
    the light switches, all inner doors, access cards, fingerprint sensors on the TV.

    It is so much easier to make _one_ lock on the frontdoor and some alarms on the windows,
    But no, the frontdoor must stay unlocked, so they can at regular intervals
    dump 3 postbags full off spam on your doormat.

    Now _that_ is viral :)

    I have used mac... really nice to make frontpages for equipment....
    Do not remember the name of that program.
    But most things Mr Jobs sells are 2x the price of the same in the PC world.

    Having a dozen or more text editors allows one to select what one is most comnfortable
    And sometimes what one cannot do, the other can (I had some copy of some other editor standby to
    work on multiple files and stuff, it simply had more features for that).

    Indeed, the latest Qt 4 I compiled (many month ago) took hours to compile...
    I use xforms GUI library for my own programs, good GUI for technical stuff,

    grml: # ls -l /usr/X11R6/lib/
    -rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 1580536 2006-01-31 14:10 /usr/X11R6/lib/*

    Wow, a whopping 1.6 MB!!!!!
    Has very nice charts and stuff too.
  17. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    I think Billy was just naive. He envisioned a world of fully networked
    computers, where everybody could share their data with everybody else,
    execute programs on other people's machines, all one big happy coexisting
    family of people sharing their data and becoming wiser and better for it -
    apparently, he'd never heard of "bad people".

  18. jasen

    jasen Guest

    I haven't needed one yet. if I was paying by the minute for this dialup
    connection it'd be a consideration though.
    most applications come in multiple parts, but there's an installer that will
    fetch them for you
    Would you go into the bush without taking the software needed with you?
    I mean a set of Debian DVD (or just copt the files onto the hard disc)
    doesn't take up much room and it sure provides a lot of stuff.
    what's a "hello world install", how do yo relate this to knoppix which
    gives a reasonably complete gui desktop, and application suite on a
    single cd?
    And you can't understand that? how come you're posting in S.E.D?
    learning to understand documentation is an important skill if youre wanting
    to administer a system, do you resent that encouragement for some reason?
    do you have a point to make?

  19. Paul Burke

    Paul Burke Guest

    default wrote:
    It's not the Linux distro that's the problem- I got BLAG (Fedora 5
    based), because it's British I say!!, but more because it's only one
    disk to download. That came with a fair suite of applications that would
    satisfy most people. But the crunch comes when you want to install your
    own apps- I wanted Lazarus, the Linux Delphi- like RAD. Lazarus itself
    isn't that big, but I needed the right package for my version of Linux-
    and then it needed to pull in Free Pascal and masses of libraries, all
    of which had to be tailored (more or less) to my version of Linux. It's
    this package and library incompatibility that makes it difficult to
    distribute program install disks to the user in a way that will work
    consistently for all users, and you can know that it has everything
    already in place either on the system as standard, or in the application
    install disk.

    It's very much like finding your newly bought Windows program needs
    ..NET, and it's not on your computer. In these days of CD installs, it's
    likely that it will be available for all relevant windows platforms on
    the install disk, and all is transparently OK.

    Paul Burke
  20. YD

    YD Guest

    Late at night, by candle light, Jan Panteltje
    Ecxellent reasons to wipe the Linux (Gentoo) install that came on my
    wife's desktop. It broke on the first update and won't do any more
    updates nor anything much else. I've spent days looking for a
    solution, all ng replies are guesswork, bug reports never get it
    right, manual installs of suggested fixes only seem to break it worse.

    My geek days are long past, I (and the wife) want something that can
    be made to work the way we need it to work to get something done. All
    she really uses is Openoffice for her college work.

    Wading through obscure, turgid, complex, circular and generally unhelp
    docs is not my idea of productivity. So Linux may be OK when it deigns
    to work but when it breaks you're on a rafter in the middle of the

    I've had Windows break badly and found a solution within hours without
    needing to reinstall the whole kit and kaboodle. If the intent is to
    popularize Linux, a laudable goal, the documentation and maintenance
    issues need to be looked hard at.

    - YD.
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