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Old 12-16-2010, 02:39 PM   #16
Redwoodguy
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Some nice humorous replies there. Yes, I have had Macs for years. They aren't fundamentally much different than Windows or Linux. They still assume the user wants to "play with the computer" instead of using the computer for its utility. Every 3 months at a minimum, there will be "updates" to either the OS or the applications. In short order - usually 2 years or less - these two entities will change so much they no longer work right with the hardware base, and the user is right back to performing a variety of these expert functions to maintain a working system. What is at fault is the underlying premise about the personal computer. A "general computer" must be, by definition programmable. But an "appliance" is by general nature fixed in function to some degree. Again, I use the TV as an example. Suppose you had to fuss with the TV every month to continue watching TV programs? It would be silly. What I, and many other people, want from a computer is that appliance-like behavior. I want the content on the web, and the content of email. I don't want a "web viewing set of tools" to play around with. Any more than I want a "mechanical see through V8 engine" to sit and play with. I want a car to take me to the destination.

Today's computers haven't much advanced beyond erector sets. I thought - when I first read enticements about Ubuntu - that it might bring the PC closer to the appliance I was looking for. So, it isn't that. That's ok, I'm not crushed, just a little disappointed. (And, I do understand why guys enjoying playing with the computers and writing code, and messing around. Nothing wrong with that, it's just not what I want to do with a little netbook.)

My last example: I have a Kindle. I've had it 2 years or more and never have I had to do anything other than turn the switch on and find, buy and read books. It's a book reading appliance, and it works well. I would guess that the internal SW is being updated from time to time, but it doesn't involve me at all. If I had to establish root users and passwords, and know how to write BASH commands to use a Kindle, I would have tossed it in the garbage. The material available in "books" is immensely valuable - that is what I want, not the fun of playing with the reader.

So, I totally understand your POV. Maybe you can attempt to see mine?
 
Old 12-16-2010, 03:00 PM   #17
TobiSGD
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I can understand your POV, but it just is not compatible to the way it works with computers. Your kindle for example, is run by one company. Therefore there can be such things like unattended updates, because they have the total control about the OS and the services.
This is not possible with a computer.
It would be possible only, if you use an OS, that is closed to any change made by the user. So you would have to use the applications your computer manufacturer has chosen for you, even if there are alternatives that may be more functional, or just fit better to your needs. And to make it safe (you know that there is no software without bugs?), you can only surf over the services offered to you by your manufacturer.
But what if your manufacturer closes his doors? If a TV channel closes, you can use your TV with other channels, but with computer-appliance thing you had to buy a new.

No one wants this, I want to have the choice, which browser suits better to me, which word-processor is installed to my system, if any, and which videoplayer I am using. I don't want to use prescribed applications.

Or to give you an example, look at the iPad as something that is near to an appliance: No USB, because you have to write drivers for all types of USB-devices, no WLAN, because Apple don't want to support thousands of users to get their wireless working, applications only installable from Apples Marketplace.
I would prefer to type in my password, if it is necessary.
 
Old 12-16-2010, 03:01 PM   #18
frieza
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your point of view is interesting, however even with Linux you don't have to know bash to browse the web or run the upater (if you are using a distribution such as Ubuntu for instance), however you do get prompted to enter your password

there is a rather large difference however between a kindle and a pc

a kindle is a highly specialized piece of hardware with a stripped down specialized operating system (more akin to a pda such as a palm pilot, or a smart phone), this simplicity comes at the expense of flexibility and diversity of application

a pc on the other hand is designed to be a general use multi tool that can do anything from writing documents to browsing the web to playing music/video to hosting the web pages everyone browses to computing theoretical physics equations and so on. This flexibility and diversity of function comes at the expense of simplicity.

it's all a balance between a simple, dumbed down, interface that one can 'just use' and one that can be used for lots of things.

patience is a virtue, i myself started out with linux only knowing 2 or 3 commands, had to re-install linux more times then i can count in learning it, just dont give up, sooner or later these small annoyances will become transparent and like breathing you wont really notice it.

p.s.
compared to windows' method of downloading and running an executable for every package that has to be installed/updated, ubuntu's software/update center that downloads, installs, and updates everything in one shot from central repositories is actually much simpler in the end, and unless you are using some exotic piece of hardware that requires a proprietary driver, drivers come down all in one shot as well.

Last edited by frieza; 12-16-2010 at 03:10 PM.
 
Old 12-16-2010, 03:29 PM   #19
snowpine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redwoodguy View Post
What I, and many other people, want from a computer is that appliance-like behavior. I want the content on the web, and the content of email. I don't want a "web viewing set of tools" to play around with. Any more than I want a "mechanical see through V8 engine" to sit and play with. I want a car to take me to the destination.
Can you walk us through the many complicated steps it takes for you to surf the web and check email using Ubuntu? Maybe we can suggest a simpler way, since you seem frustrated by these simple tasks.

On my computer, I simply log in, click the orange fox Firefox icon at the top of the screen, then click the white envelope Evolution icon. (If I so desired, I could add Firefox and Evolution to the list of startup applications, or even use the suspend feature to avoid the hassle of logging in each morning.)

In short, I don't understand your argument that Ubuntu fails as an internet "appliance." You just click the Firefox icon and start surfing, what could be easier? How is it more difficult than surfing the web in Windows or Mac?
 
Old 12-16-2010, 03:29 PM   #20
Redwoodguy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TobiSGD View Post
I can understand your POV, but it just is not compatible to the way it works with computers. Your kindle for example, is run by one company. Therefore there can be such things like unattended updates, because they have the total control about the OS and the services.
This is not possible with a computer.
Ahh, but of course the Kindle IS a computer, albeit not a general computer.
 
Old 12-16-2010, 03:33 PM   #21
TobiSGD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redwoodguy View Post
Ahh, but of course the Kindle IS a computer, albeit not a general computer.
You are right, I should have written general purpose computer, but I think you did understand what I meant with that.
 
Old 12-16-2010, 03:39 PM   #22
Redwoodguy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowpine View Post
Can you walk us through the many complicated steps it takes for you to surf the web and check email using Ubuntu?
Yes, I am happy to walk you through that.

1. My Ubuntu software update went off on it's own advising of updates.
2. I chose to update to the latest 10.04, because if you don't follow the OS updates, eventually you have a useless unsupported machine.
3. I entered my password and did the simple update to 10.04.
4. The very next time I tried to read my email on a wireless net (Starbucks) the machine would not connect. It was now BROKEN by the software update.
5. After long searches online for what could be wrong, I was told somewhere that I had to fish out a Broadlan(sp) wireless driver and get it loaded in place of the one the SW used. This involved a long sequence of terminal commands, many failed attempts, and then finally success.
6. Then, I could once again, "surf the web" and check email. Well, until the next update, I suppose.

Now, that is the absolutely factual, no nonsense sequence which happened just a couple weeks ago. Yes, the steps between 4 and 6 WERE complicated. I had to search out solutions, try them until one worked, and so on. Who wants to waste time like this? Well, I presume a lot of people do- because they are entertained buy it. But, I don't.
 
Old 12-16-2010, 03:43 PM   #23
TobiSGD
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But this happened because you have chosen a distro with a release cycle of only six months. If you had chosen a distribution with longer support, like Debian or Slackware, this would have been no problem at all.
 
Old 12-16-2010, 04:21 PM   #24
snowpine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redwoodguy View Post
Yes, I am happy to walk you through that.

1. My Ubuntu software update went off on it's own advising of updates.
2. I chose to update to the latest 10.04, because if you don't follow the OS updates, eventually you have a useless unsupported machine.
3. I entered my password and did the simple update to 10.04.
4. The very next time I tried to read my email on a wireless net (Starbucks) the machine would not connect. It was now BROKEN by the software update.
5. After long searches online for what could be wrong, I was told somewhere that I had to fish out a Broadlan(sp) wireless driver and get it loaded in place of the one the SW used. This involved a long sequence of terminal commands, many failed attempts, and then finally success.
6. Then, I could once again, "surf the web" and check email. Well, until the next update, I suppose.

Now, that is the absolutely factual, no nonsense sequence which happened just a couple weeks ago. Yes, the steps between 4 and 6 WERE complicated. I had to search out solutions, try them until one worked, and so on. Who wants to waste time like this? Well, I presume a lot of people do- because they are entertained buy it. But, I don't.
I guess I misunderstood. I thought you were complaining about the everyday reality of using Ubuntu, not install/upgrade problems (this is the first you've really mentioned it). I can understand how that can be frustrating (been there myself).

Sorry to hear you had trouble with Ubuntu updates. A lot of folks do, which is why I always advise a fresh install rather than a release upgrade.

The good news is that Ubuntu 10.04 is a "long term support" release and will be supported through April 2013. Now that you have everything set up the way you like, there's no more need to "tinker"
with the system, and therefore "having to constantly enter my password to perform administrative tasks" should be a moot point.

I'll also point out that most people purchase a computer with an operating system pre-installed (whether it be Windows, Mac or Linux). It is not a task that a beginner should realistically be expected to do with no research or preparation. To continue your "appliance" analogy, of course a dishwasher or gas range or furnace should be easy to use on a day-to-day basis, however we do not say that these appliances "fail" because they require an expert builder to install.
 
Old 12-17-2010, 09:40 AM   #25
Redwoodguy
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Not to belabor the point, but what I described is pretty much the cycle typical with all PCs. And so, that level of hassle eventually is part of the daily routine.

I think a great OS for PCs would be one that allows you to put the P into PC. A dialog on day 1 would allow the user to set security levels, set his interest in fiddling with the decor, set his interest in coding, decide which apps he going to use, and then make itself into a Kindle-like, reliable appliance, based on serving the user, not the user serving it.

Unix is what--50 years old? It was designed when a computer was a precious resource of an institution. That's not a description of today's PC. Anyway, nothing is coming along yet to act how I would like to. I am just chattering here. Thanks for the useful answers guys!
 
Old 12-17-2010, 10:06 AM   #26
djsmiley2k
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Wait a moment, doesn't your kindle access the web? Why are you using a PC, its not like you'd use a toaster to make a cake.... a PC is way over powered for that kind of usage so use something more suitable - a kindle or tablet PC designed for JUST viewing the web...
 
Old 12-17-2010, 10:27 AM   #27
Redwoodguy
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djs--
My Kindle (version 1) has no working web browser, and therefore no email. No, the netbook I bought is PERFECT hardware. Screen, keyboard, hard drive - all perfect tool for me. Sadly, I can't find the perfect OS for it. I am amused when I look at iPAD. It's half the right tool. If only it had the other half!

What's in question here are the HW/SW designer's assumptions about users. Yes, some people DO want to fuss over what color the drop shadow is on the buttons. Some users DP want to play endlessly with the colors of the borders of a window. But, when I bring home a new Toyota, I don't sit in the driveway and repaint the radio buttons, try moving the speedometer to a new location, or apply vinyl stickies all over my dashboard. And neither does anyone I know or work with. But, we aren't 14 years old.

I've owned maybe 20 computers. 98% of the junk, crap and controls on all those computers means nothing to me. I have asked many friends about this too. They feel as I do. So, I know I am not the ONLY one. Frivolous nonsense makes PCs breakable.

I own a Swiss Army Knife. I love it. BUT...I would not use it to carve the Thanksgiving turkey.
 
Old 12-17-2010, 10:56 AM   #28
djsmiley2k
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I know what you need...


Sugar Laptop - The one pc per child idea. I wonder if anyone here knows if the O/S is any good/would do what our friend here wants? Also there is joliOS, a OS based on "cloud" apps, so nothing is stored on your hardware (and so nothing can go wrong?) or even maybe googleOS but I've not tried that out yet either.

I can understand what your asking for, and I think its "close" but not quite close enough. Personally to get what you want, I'd take a gentoo install and add a browser. Having installed gentoo I know how the underlying system works, but am not required to look at it. Strange really... but have you ever met a mechanic with a broken down car?
 
Old 12-17-2010, 11:01 AM   #29
lazlow
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1st your comparison to an appliance is flawed. Can a malfunciton refrigerator cause problems for anybody outside the house? If your computer (assuming it is hooked to the internet) can. This is why updates are required on a PC (not just Linux, windows, or Mac).

2nd your comparison to a kindle is also flawed. All your information(kindel 1) runs through one source. IF you were willing to get ALL the stuff you want to look at from ONE source, what you are asking for might be possible.

3rd your assumptions about what the SW designers are assuming is flawed. IF a significant number (probably the majority) did not want to be able to customize then the SW designers would not have it that way. Trust me from a support perspective life would be much easier if people could not customize their systems. IBM tried this when they first introduced the PC(hardware). This is why so many companies have the base system locked down(one way or another) to prevent users from customizing their system(greatly reduces support headache). Then there is the point of where do you draw the line. Do you lock down the font size? Some people need larger print than others. This list goes on endlessly.
 
Old 12-17-2010, 11:07 AM   #30
TobiSGD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redwoodguy View Post
I think a great OS for PCs would be one that allows you to put the P into PC. A dialog on day 1 would allow the user to set security levels, set his interest in fiddling with the decor, set his interest in coding, decide which apps he going to use, and then make itself into a Kindle-like, reliable appliance, based on serving the user, not the user serving it.
Yeah, and the you go to your neighbour, look at his PC and find out that his webbrowser would fit more to you, but how to change on your appliance, you have already chosen? And his videoplayer seems looking good, too.

How do you think a user can reliably choose the apps he will use in the future, if he
1. isn't trying different ones? You wouldn't only make a testdrive in one car before buying, I think?
2. the app that would fit him best is in development still, and comes out a month after he make his choice? With you model, he wouldn't never know.

Besides that, you can do that (more or less) already, go with a standard install of Slackware or Debian and you don't ever have to fiddle with them again, if you setup automatic updates (OK, I don't know if this is possible in Slackware, but in Debian it is no problem).

And I don't think that the standard user is really like you and your friends. I also know a lot of people (only very few of them using Linux) with computers, and although they don't have the "expert" knowledge, they have absolutely no problem to install the software they like, and sometimes try new (for them) things, like Skype or something, although they use their computers as appliances most of the time, to hear music, watch videos and surf the net.
And none of them is bothered if there is an update they have to agree with.

But maybe they have just adapted to how a all purpose computer works, like you have adapted to put fuel in your car if you want it to work.

Last edited by TobiSGD; 12-17-2010 at 11:10 AM.
 
  


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