A Random Pattern

August 9, 2006

Dapper Expectations?

Filed under: Apple,Leopard,linux,philosophy,Ubuntu — randomstep @ 12:53 am

Mark Shuttleworth, benevolent sponsor and launcher of Ubuntu, posted an email discussing what went wrong with communication / setting of expectations for what the latest Ubuntu release would deliver. He also points out the very good “problem” of Ubuntu being compared to Windows.

Among other linux-y items, Jorge has this response:

I think that it’s difficult to gauge exactly what users expect. Pre-warty’s users (like me) were usually experienced Linux users who enjoyed being lazy and having things Just Work(tm). By the time Dapper rolled around, if it wasn’t doing your laundry, then it’s game over. I’m sure those of us that advocate Ubuntu regularly run into this all the time …

I think people on the web just get their expectations set too high regardless – some high profile blogger makes a small, unsubstantiated statement with no real concrete communication, and next thing you know the whole blogosphere undergoes a severe case of speaker feedback, until one of the speakers blows.  The next round of feedback starts, since the blogosphere is recursive in nature, and …

Anyways, back to my topic.   Oh, yeah, Ubuntu and Dapper Drake.  Well, I think Mark’s right about “polished” not being a good word to use.  For example I, as a new user to Ubuntu (and Linux), just assumed that of course there was a graphical installer.  It didn’t cross my mind that there wouldn’t be, and I certainly didn’t know it was the first time one had been included!

I’m a fairly technical person, so it’s not an issue for me.  But I’m really interested in seeing (at least one) mainstream challenger to Windows, with significant market share (preferably two or more).   So when I hear that Dapper Drake is “LTS” (Long Term Support) and “polished”, I’m thinking Windows and Mac (and hoping as good or better in all areas).  Some might laugh to see Windows and polished in the same sentence, as I am.  But you have to remember that the world sees computers as Windows.  Linux is better in myriad ways, as is Mac OS X.  And each is good for specific purposes.  But unless Ubuntu has immediate, short-term benefits over Windows, you are going to be hard-pressed to get Windows users to switch.  (I’ve got a screenshot I’ll put up later illustrating how an old-school linux user’s worldview differs from your average citizen, and why it has been hard for linux to take over the desktop market.)

This, by the way, is the reason that the first thing I did on Ubuntu was check out the games, looking for Spider in particular.  That’s because that’s what my mother-in-law does on the computer – plays Spider.  If she can do that as well or better on Ubuntu, fine.  If not, go away.

One last comment, since I brought up Apple and inflated expectations earlier.  I was quite pleased with WWDC, and I suspect anyone who was displeased wasn’t really grounded in this universe before the keynote.  The indications were all over the place from most respectable bloggers on what to expect (linked post is from after the keynote, but reflects my thoughts).  I’m happy, because it sounds like Apple will again deliver things I actually need (eeeaasy backup) and want (spaces).  They seem to be pretty good at doing that.

July 29, 2006

UbunTU! UbunTU! UbunTU!

Filed under: computers,personal,philosophy — randomstep @ 3:19 pm

You can see I’m really excited. That’s because I finally got around to sticking my Ubuntu CD in and trying it out.

Awesome! These guys are really doing something cool for Linux. I’ve been following Linux news for at least a few years, lurking but never actually getting it on one of my computers. Today, I’ve finally broken through the wall thanks to a number of factors, and there are even more things that make it look like I’ll stay happy with Linux.

Contributing factors:

1. Ubuntu will send you a CD with the OS FOR FREE. Really, honest to goodness, FREE.

2. Something called “Live CD” – you don’t have to install it, uninstall Windows, or do anything (other than maybe get a friend to help you boot from CD). Just start your computer with the CD in the drive.

3. I have an old PC that I built (a monster), that hasn’t been run in a year or two. It’s got Win XP Pro, but won’t start up anymore. I don’t know why, it just hangs on the Win XP screen. So I figured, why not? Guess what…Unbuntu started right up!

4. Lots of hype, people, lots of hype. I already get frustrated by Windows daily. The Linux hype convinced me (with a little help from myself) that Linux could save me. It’s probably not completely true, but I’m willing to buy the story. Especially since…

It’s FREE! (Well, minus an hour or so, but then again I’m a geek so that’s how I like to spend my time).

End result – the computer I couldn’t boot up for the last month is now up and running, on the internet, and I’m really excited.

One other nice touch: the Ubuntu guys have taken some criticism here and there for the brown theme when everyone else is doing blue. After about 5 minutes, it suddenly dawned on me that I was so glad not to be staring at another blue screen (no pun intended). The brown is calm, if not peaceful then surely not turbulent. In fact, one might say it is background, where blue is more in your face. Not to mention it’s different. Brilliant move, guys. I didn’t fully appreciate the genius of that little touch until a few minutes ago.

There’s a lot of other cool things, and some weird things (my PC does still have some sort of hardware problem). I’ll get into those in another article, though. Ubuntu lovers, leave me some advice!


July 28, 2006

First post – trying WordPress

Filed under: blogging,philosophy,web technologies — randomstep @ 4:42 pm

First Post! (on WordPress, that is.)

Those of you coming from my other blog on Blogger will recognize the signs after my complaint about Blogger – I’m here to check out WordPress. Still have to get a hosted service and all, but this will at least give me an idea what WP has to offer. From a brief survey earlier, it looks like WP would be better for me than MT (Movable Type – or Typepad), even though I’m not opposed to paying for good software. Anyone who wants to weigh in, please do.

Blog at WordPress.com.