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Why I won't advocate Linux to my familly and friends for now

Posted 01-03-2007 at 05:48 AM by dukeinlondon

What happened yesterday night was just an illustration of why Linux is still a bad idea for the general public that actually expect to do more with their computers than the average internet café user.

We were watching a Divx movie yesterday using Kaffeine when playback suddenly stopped….. and wouldn’t restart. My flatmate suggested that we try to use VLC as it is what he uses on his XP machine and that it just skips errors. This is the story of how it went badly wrong.

So I started smart package manager and tried to install VLC.

First attempt failed miserably because package lists were out of date and the version that I tried to install was not on the repositories anymore. So I start updating the repositories catalog's which took ages because a couple of very slow ftp servers.

Once it’s done, I give it another try expecting a quick and easy install. I was wrong.
On the second attempt, smart finishes downloading the Vlc package and then hangs…. And error dialog says that it is attempting to retrieve a public key from an MIT server that appears to be unreachable….. and the install fails.

My friends then candidly asks whether we could not just download the package from videolan’s website. So we go there and I kind of hope that there is a self contained rpm that I could install with kpackage or from the command line. No such luck, the site instructs me to add a new repo to my already long list… So I gave up.

We tried Xine and it quickly appeared that the Divx didn’t have an index so we couldn’t just jump to the point where Kaffeine stopped but somehow, Xine managed to rebuild the index (that appeared to be missing from the file) and we could watch the movie to it’s end, well almost. The file definitely had problems.

After that, when my friend had gone to bed, I added the repository listed on Videolan’s site, and installed VLC, just to find that it would just not play Divx in its default configuration. And that’s for a package that works out of the box for XP and OSX. So the third attempt failed as well….

I’ve used various Linux distros since 1999 from Mandrake to Debian proper, a bit of Ubuntu and now openSuse 10.1 and whilst I am a Linux user through and through, this kind of episodes just illustrates how bad things can get on the package install front. And that’s for a piece of software that’s packaged for pretty much 99.99% of the computer population on earth….

Linux vendors need to agree on a standard way to package things that are not core apps, so that people like Videolan, Google, Adobe, NVidia and others can offer a single package for most Linux users….
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  1. Old Comment
    Wow rereading this almost 2 years later and there has been NO progress whatsoever.....
    Posted 12-29-2008 at 09:48 AM by dukeinlondon dukeinlondon is offline
 

  



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