Bashing Microsoft is Like Kicking a Puppy?

Rob Williams

Staff member
It's not too often that a headline manages to give me a minor case of whiplash, but one that compares Microsoft-bashing to kicking a puppy... well, that's right up there as one of the best. According to Linux Foundation chief Jim Zemlin, that's not just a sensationalist headline, but it's how he feels about the Linux ecosystem, and he makes a couple of good points to back up his feelings.


Read the rest of our post and then discuss it here!


Basket Chassis
Staff member
Having little to no experience with Linux other than using SLAX as a bootable OS to diagnose hard drive failures, I'd say the biggest problem is the setup. There's too much to do for the average user. Windows is far from perfect but it's install and go for the most part.

There needs to be a cookie cutter distro where everything is ready to go to the point that Windows is.

Rob Williams

Staff member
I couldn't disagree more that the setup needs to be made easier. Ubuntu is just as easy, if not easier, than the Windows installer, and other distros I've installed in recent memory ask additional questions because it's nice to.

I have installed Ubuntu 10.x numerous times, so I know the installer quite well. It's simple... choose which drive or partition to install to, type in your username and password, then the time-zone, and that's it. Best of all, aside from the partitioner, it asks you the other questions it needs to while it installs. That means you can fill in your info, then come back ten minutes later and the install will be good to roll.

openSUSE is a good example of a distro that asks too many questions though (I am not sure if 11.4 changed anything or not), but it could be argued that it's a good thing. After all, Windows doesn't give you the option of what to install and what not to install. openSUSE does, so it lets you fine-tune your install as much is needed.

I'd recommend giving the latest Ubuntu an install to a spare drive, then come back and say if it's too complicated to install or not.

If by setup you meant setup after the distro is installed, I am not quite sure what else a distro could do. While installing Ubuntu, it will ask you if you want to install media support, which means that right at the desktop, music, movies and even Flash will work. That also goes for the graphics, audio, mic, webcam, et cetera. Past that, installing apps couldn't be much easier, since it usually just requires loading up the app center where you can type in an app name and then download it without even opening up a Web browser.

If you need any proof of this, you need to drop by and I will show you the latest Ubuntu installer and setup process in person ;-)

This post took me longer to write than it takes for Ubuntu to install :p

This does give me an idea for an article though... comparing the different Linux installers!


Techgage Staff
Staff member
I gave the latest Ubunutu 10.10 a try. It didn't play media "out of the box", but it efficiently put up a package manager with the needed packages for download. It also told me what programs were needed for file types it couldn't natively open. That's a far cry from when I last tried to do anything with Linux other than basic HPC work.

I should note that I used VMware Player, so I never received any sort of installation prompts that Rob mentions. I had to download a fair number of packages to get up and running for things like flash and music support, but it's really no different than installing programs on Windows. If anything it's a more streamlined by comparison.

Had a very Windows-esque problem though... After the initial first boot I logged in to the desktop, yet only the desktop background itself was there. The taskbar and menu bars were both MIA, and not knowing how to resuscitate them like with Windows I had to resort to hard rebooting the VM before they appeared properly. I never did get it to detect my network devices either, although that quite possibly was an issue with my VM network configuration.

That said, I think the stigma of it being overly complex for the non-tech savvy is not going to go away anytime soon. The tech savvy will quickly figure it has, but they aren't the ones that have that particular problem with Linux to begin with. There's also the issue of the layperson figuring out which distro to go with... although Ubuntu has become a very well known distro there are more choices now than ever before. Even Unbuntu itself comes in three major distros that I know about.

Lastly, documentation is still as bad as ever. Just because the kernel (or the distro) supports some functionality doesn't actually mean it's activated or working. This issue has been around for well over a year now, but nobody has a clear cut answer even with the 10.10 release. Link
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