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Topic # 113534 19-Jan-2013 17:28 Send private message

I figured it was time to see whether it's the "year of Linux on the desktop" yet. In a word: No.


I started with Ubuntu since it seems to be one of the most popular out there. Booted from the 12.10 DVD, stepped through the installer, picked defaults for most things. It installs, reboots... and doesn't boot up. Acts like there's no bootloader on the hard drive.


A friend suggested Debian. It installed and booted! First task: Get some music in there. I opened up the default Rhythmbox player and imported an album. The first track *almost* played successfully, until two seconds from the end. It then put itself on Pause and wouldn't resume (and I couldn't play any other tracks either). When I quit and restarted Rhythmbox all the music had disappeared.

I mentioned this to my friend and he asked why I'm not using Amarok. Me: "Because Rhythmbox was the default". Regardless, I opened Software Centre, searched for Amarok, and installed it. I never did figure out whether it works or not, because despite claiming that the installation was successful it didn't add an icon to the Applications menu. With no idea how to start the thing, I have no clue whether it's actually able to successfully play music.

I also installed Banshee which successfully got an icon! I imported some music, hit Play, and it played. Then it stopped after track 1. Hmm. I can't find anything set on "one track only". What about track 2? It played all the way through, then started playing track 1 again. I decided to skip ahead a few. Track 5 led onto track 6, then back to 1. I never did figure out what crazy logic it was using.


By this point I probably should've given up but for some reason I also tried OpenSuse. Naturally after my experience with music on Debian the first thing I did was try to get music going in OpenSuse. I browsed to my other computer, dragged a music folder to the Desktop... and it failed to copy with the error "is a directory". I ended up having to zip up the music directory and unzip it at the other end.

I then imported the files into the default Banshee player. "You need to install a codec to play this content, do you want to install now?" I clicked Yes and it sat there for a minute or so with a progress bar then failed with "packages already installed". Needless to say, the music files (AAC format) still didn't play.


I gave up at this point and wrote a rant :)

Am I missing something totally obvious? I can't believe that it "should" be this bad so am I doing something wrong?


PS. I've heard good things about Mint but didn't even get as far as downloading it; the very first question is "Mate" or "Cinnamon" with no obvious guidance around why you'd want one or the other.


(Edited 5:36: Forgot the question at the end!)

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  Reply # 747449 19-Jan-2013 17:35 One person supports this post Send private message

Firstly, let me say I've been using Linux since version 2.0.29, I hand compiled KDE 0.4 by myself (it was ~6 tarballs then) and I've seen Linux come a long, long way.

And I still, sadly, totally agree with you.  The problem is that there's so many distributions, all based off the Linux kernel, and all which do things a bit differently.  There's no standard, well there are 50 different ones, which means there's none.

I've used Ubuntu on a few laptops, it works well.  But there's always little issues and gotchas, which you've obviously encountered.

I'll always be a huge Linux fan, but only on a server.  There you sort of have to know what you're doing with the CLI, so it's no easier to use, but it works well.

To answer your question: Linux the kernel works well.  Linux as a desktop system that "just works"?  Not yet.

Note: You'll now get lots of people below defending Linux and saying "You should have tried this, should have tried that" or most helpful of all "It works for me"



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  Reply # 747451 19-Jan-2013 17:38 Send private message

muppet: And I still, sadly, totally agree with you.  The problem is that there's so many distributions, all based off the Linux kernel, and all which do things a bit differently.  There's no standard, well there are 50 different ones, which means there's none.

That makes me feel a lot better; I was worried that I was missing something blatantly obvious and would soon have to post an apology with my tail between my legs.

The thing that scares me the most is that if I can't get something as simple as music playback working, then imagine trying to use it as a primary OS.

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  Reply # 747494 19-Jan-2013 19:19 Send private message

i've found openbsd suprisingly works very smooth and consistent.

although when i tried using sound on it first, i had to port spdif code from netbsd for my sound card.  worked fine after that :)

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  Reply # 747520 19-Jan-2013 20:19 Send private message

Behodar: I figured it was time to see whether it's the "year of Linux on the desktop" yet. In a word: No.


Funny you should post this!

I installed Ubuntu 12.10 a little earlier today as a dual boot option on one of my machines. I haven't really had time to play with anything yet and may not get time to do so tomorrow either - then next week I'm out of town all week...but I'll keep an eye on this thread and see what pops up.

My first impression with it was clean but graphically quite basic. It kept popping up an annpying message telling me I was disconnected from the network and I couldn't fix that in the limited time I had.

I'll have a good play when I can and will post my experiences as a Linux uber noob Smile




Vodafone VDSL:

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  Reply # 747524 19-Jan-2013 20:30 Send private message

Dratsab:
Behodar: I figured it was time to see whether it's the "year of Linux on the desktop" yet. In a word: No.


Funny you should post this!

I installed Ubuntu 12.10 a little earlier today as a dual boot option on one of my machines. I haven't really had time to play with anything yet and may not get time to do so tomorrow either - then next week I'm out of town all week...but I'll keep an eye on this thread and see what pops up.

My first impression with it was clean but graphically quite basic. It kept popping up an annpying message telling me I was disconnected from the network and I couldn't fix that in the limited time I had.

I'll have a good play when I can and will post my experiences as a Linux uber noob Smile


my opinion on that network stuff, is apt-get remove networkmanager resolvconf

fix /etc/resolv.conf, and /etc/network/interfaces and just use static config.

it may have said you were disconnected cos you had two network interfaces or something.  anyway, the network stuff is messy.  but maybe more helpful for laptop users.

there are alternatives to that unity thing too.


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  Reply # 747526 19-Jan-2013 20:32 Send private message

Most of the Linux die hards where I work switched to OSX and haven't looked back.

I too tried using Ubuntu as a desktop OS and find myself always turning back to windows.

For servers, yes, for desktops, no way, not yet at least.



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  Reply # 747529 19-Jan-2013 20:38 Send private message

insane: Most of the Linux die hards where I work switched to OSX and haven't looked back.

This is actually my second attempt at Linux. I first tried ten years ago and although I don't recall the specifics, the end result is that I switched to OS X (10.2 at the time). I don't particularly like the way Apple is going now so I'm trying to keep my options open, which is why I've looked into Linux again. Downloading Fedora at the moment; Red Hat 6 was the first distro I tried and I think Red Hat became Fedora at some point.

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  Reply # 747531 19-Jan-2013 20:41 Send private message

insane: Most of the Linux die hards where I work switched to OSX and haven't looked back.

I too tried using Ubuntu as a desktop OS and find myself always turning back to windows.

For servers, yes, for desktops, no way, not yet at least.


it's curious, as it seems that Linux has somehow moved away from geek acceptability as well as mainstream acceptability on desktops.  but people keep talking about linux on desktops, and phones, and so on.

I myself at home went from using DOS -> OS/2 -> Linux -> Windows -> Linux -> OpenBSD -> FreeBSD -> OpenBSD -> Linux -> Windows on desktop.

The first Windows was because on low amounts of RAM Windows worked for web browsing better, and I wasn't doing anything heavy, but it was short lived.  (24mb of ram at the time) 


And although I list both OpenBSD, and Freebsd closely together, I had Linux desktop and FreeBSD server, and Freebsd corrupted my file system, and I moved to OpenBSD on server, and then I was mystified by how much better it worked, when my initial complaint was that it didn't autoconfigure X, or have as many packages as Linux.

Now I'm back to Windows desktop, Linux server.  And I'd say that I dual boot, but I have Linux installed, and I think the video's working properly now, but I don't have my music collection setup on Linux so nicely, and pidgin was randomly crashing.

Actually I was only half-using FreeBSD as a desktop.  I was running remote X applications with it, with my computer acting like a somewhat thin-terminal for noise reasons.

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  Reply # 747533 19-Jan-2013 20:48 Send private message

Just checking that you have run a memtest and your manufacturer's hard drive diagnostics to make sure your primary hardware's good. Also could be worth looking at a hardware compatibility list to see if there are any known gotchas with your gear, e.g. http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/Hardware-HOWTO/. Also, what version of Debian did you install? Sorry to hear of the frustration you encountered, your choices should have been pretty safe for what you were trying to do.

gzt

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  Reply # 747534 19-Jan-2013 20:51 Send private message

Ubuntu have two main releases available. You got the latest. This is understandable as this appears first on their download page. Support life of the latest release is 18 months. After 18 months it will stop getting updates and you will be messaged through the updater to get the latest release or continue without updates.

The other release is always suffixed LTS. At present it is at 12.04. This release is used commercially. LTS = Long Term Support. This means updates will be available for 5 years. There is no problem with updating individual applications during that time or customising more deeply any way you want to.

In the headline release development decisions are sometimes made which have consequences which are reconsidered a bit for the next LTS release. I have no particular knowledge of the issues you raised earlier but I would recommend 12.04 to start with.

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  Reply # 747535 19-Jan-2013 20:52 Send private message

My main problems with Linux are:

 * Video card support,  apparently Intel HD works the best currently.  I have ATI Radeon 7850, which seems to be problematic with open source drivers, or vesa driver, and necessitates the closed source driver, which doesn't like Ubuntu Quantal.  I should have stuck with Precise, but I wanted some newer packages for other things.. Apparently a new driver just came out.

* Music playing software.  I've used rhythmbox and mpg123.  Neither of which are as nice to use as foobar2000.

* Playing games: I like to play Starcraft, and sometimes other games.  I really wish Starcraft would have a stable Linux version.  But it's meant to be bad under MacOS X even.

* Gmail/Facebook/etc: I've grown to like pokki, it tells me when I get a new mail on gmail, and new messages on Facebook without getting in the way.  I originally used it to get start button in windows 8.

* clean look: for some reason I find windows tends to be a lot cleaner looking than any of the Linux desktops I end up using.  I seem to get distracted customising things in Linux, and still get frustrated.  With Windows there are less options for customizing, but I end up getting distracted less.

My main advantages with Linux are:
* Tiling window managers, they make some things a lot simpler

* Virtual desktops: I tried one for Windows it was really slow

* Colours: I find that I can have nice dark colour schemes in Linux that aren't gandish.  I find it easier to use darker colours, although this can depend on the monitor.  I hate the kind of flicker that most LCD monitors do with white backgrounds.

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  Reply # 747536 19-Jan-2013 20:53 Send private message

gzt: Ubuntu have two main releases available. You got the latest. This is understandable as this appears first on their download page. Support life of the latest release is 18 months. After 18 months it will stop getting updates and you will be messaged through the updater to get the latest release or continue without updates.

The other release is always suffixed LTS. At present it is at 12.04. This release is used commercially. LTS = Long Term Support. This means updates will be available for 5 years. There is no problem with updating individual applications during that time or customising more deeply any way you want to.

In the headline release development decisions are sometimes made which have consequences which are reconsidered a bit for the next LTS release. I have no particular knowledge of the issues you raised earlier but I would recommend 12.04 to start with.


I'd recommend LTS for Desktops as well at the moment.  I ran into issues with Quantal (12.10) compared to Precise.  For non-important servers even using Raring is fine... (the new to be released, in development version)




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  Reply # 747537 19-Jan-2013 20:55 Send private message

gzt: I have no particular knowledge of the issues you raised earlier but I would recommend 12.04 to start with.

I didn't bother pointing this out before, but 12.04.1 LTS wouldn't boot from the DVD; it just gave a flashing cursor in the top-left. I figured that my hardware was probably just too new, especially since 12.10 worked.

For Debian and OpenSuse I switched to testing in VMware (Fusion 4.1.4) since it's much less of a hassle and lets me test out the UI etc even if the performance isn't 100%.



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  Reply # 747542 19-Jan-2013 21:23 Send private message

Here's a summary of Fedora. More of the same, plus some new issues!

VMware Tools: First time that I haven't had these working. "sudo ./vmware-install.pl" returns "no such file or directory" despite the file staring me in the face (and I used Tab completion so I know that it's not a typo). I even tried entering the full path in case sudo was changing the working directory.

Copying music to Desktop: Like in OpenSuse it apparently can't handle copying a whole directory so I once again had to make a zip. Bonus points to whoever can tell me what the "Desktop" folder in the home directory does, because it certainly doesn't contain desktop icons!

Importing music into Rhythmbox: Well, it's apparently decided to fail straight away rather than show early promise and disappoint later. The "Add Music" option does absolutely nothing.

gzt

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  Reply # 747546 19-Jan-2013 21:36 Send private message

Behodar: I didn't bother pointing this out before, but 12.04.1 LTS wouldn't boot from the DVD; it just gave a flashing cursor in the top-left. I figured that my hardware was probably just too new, especially since 12.10 worked.

I would assume the same. Maybe video hardware related. There is a nice group of suggestions here. Given the audio problems with 12.10 on that hardware I'm wondering if it has the right setup for that chipset in general.

Windows is really good at drivers in comparison. Personally I tend to run Ubuntu on somewhat older hardware so it is usually way ahead of any issues and I don't strike those problems often. Microsoft has hardware manufacturers on a leash for drivers. Linux is not so fortunate but some manufacturers do make more effort than others.

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