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Old 12-20-2008, 02:08 PM   #1
lumix
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The year of the Linux Desktop (you too Ubuntu) is still a long way off.


I'm not attacking, but rather trying to offer a real world feedback. Kindly keep any flames to oneself. I'm wide open, however, to feedback, updates, and polite why-nots.

The year of the Linux Desktop is a ways off, I think. This morning my wife wanted to do a very simple thing: go to soma.fm and play the Christmas Lounge (I highly recommend it for humbugs and stepford children alike). But this was not to be. "Why," she asked reasonably, "can't I get this .pls to play on VLC?" I don't know, thought I, wondering a) how we both graduated respectable universities and b) what it is exactly that I have learned during the past three years of trying in vane to grasp the philosophy of linux, and of it's popular desktop environments.

Very little it seems, and a pity at that. Because when friends, family...oh, and clients...ask me why they should switch to Linux I still have to say that unless it's for servers and very simple desktop applications (i.e. solely as a means to rdp into a server with an environment that doesn't require a compsci degree and, well, I don't what else), then don't bother.

But let's get back to christmas music for a moment: when clicking on the 128k link, a browser is brought to a new page where a .pls is downloaded or executed. Fine. But what if we want VLC to execute it? Browsing and pointing to VLC.desktop doesn't do the trick--which it should. After all there's no reason that a VLC link should only execute when d-clicked. At least I can't think of one--and I'm the user. So fine, I'll just tell Firefox which application to use. But wait, how do I do that? I get no help from Firefox or Ubuntu, that much I know.

Wouldn't it be great if either the OS or the application gave me a list of applications? Heck, they don't even have to be filtered down to just the relevant ones. Don't get me wrong, I'm very happy to dispense with a registry...a bit fascist in my view. But then what instead? In the DOS days you organized folders yourself, so you should know where your executable was. When the Windows occupation began, Big Brother gave us "wizards" and "dialogs" that walked us through it. In a worst-case scenario, you knew you could invest a small amount of time digging around ONE progra~1 folder and probably not break anything. A bit oversimplified for me, as I imagine it is for the average Linux user, but gnome seems to be just as philosophically lost at the other end of the spectrum. For starters, it imposes a VERY confusing and complicated directory structure on us--or at least strongly suggests one--after all, you try maintaining an installation where you've gone your own route on file locations. Not for the meek. On top of that, I never have the faintest idea where my applications are being installed. That stinks. It seems to me that the added power and lost ease of use are, to date, not commensurate with one another. Way to much of the other, for a reasonable amount of the one.

Three years of Gnome and nearly two-decades of IT later I still don't know, well, at least the right way to tell Firefox where and how to open a file. I know the Firefox menus and I know mime-types, but what I don't know is where my stuff is or what's going break if I make the slightest move in error.

I'm not exaggerating, either. The other day (knowledgeable users should get a laugh out of this before the sentence is through) I decided I didn't like the totem-movie-player any more, and only wanted VLC. Can you guess what happens when you start removing totem stuff? No more Gnome. I've seen other threads (several in fact) where the same has happened. Synaptic-for-dummies, you say? Nay. There is no totem-movie-player nor just "movie player" there. And I didn't know that xine was geek for movie-player. Who would?

Look, if today's happy Linux (and Gnome, KDE, etc) users want linux to remain under the domain of experienced users only, well, there are some problems with that. Naturally, 1) how's one to get the experience? 2) this is not at all the purported goal of distributions like Ubuntu. If, on the other hand, it is supposed the sublime product of the evolution of computing (as it should be) then it needs to be USABLE. I have tried Ubuntu on a great many people, where all they were required to do was use it--not install it, nor configure it, nor even add applications to it--just use it. Time and again they look at me with those "I really do want to understand" eyes. And I can't swallow the whole preference-and-background argument. Sure, it's difficult going from one OS to the other, but it shouldn't be that difficult. On any day, I'd rather walk up to a a Mac (and I hate Mac's even more than Windows...stupid commercials) and try to change the default .pls response in a browser. Yeah, I know it's Linux underneath, but it's hardly the same as your standard issue Distro.

All I can say is, I'm not alone, and that it just took me exactly 18 seconds to open Firefox in windows and change my default media-player for .pls's to something else. After a full hour of googling and forum searching (something I am sick to death of doing), I still can't listen to my music, on my player. To me (and everyone else who'd love a refreshing change from bloated O/S's and developers who serve accountants, not users) that really says it all.
 
Old 12-20-2008, 02:23 PM   #2
jschiwal
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I think that Gnome has a preferred applications wizard where you can select vlc. If you save a .pls file on the desktop, and then right click, you should be able to select properties and change the preferred application. Since you originally clicked on a link on a webpage, the embedded application setting may be what you want to change. KDE supplies a dialog if the mime type doesn't have a program associated with it.
At work, I couldn't use a USB device provided as a freebee by a distributer. It works fine in Linux. Is any desktop really ready?

Firefox is written more with windows in mind. If you used another browser like konqueror, it may have played for you or popped up a selection of programs to use. Even using firefox, if you had clicked the "Do this from now on" button, you probably wouldn't have had to reenter /usr/bin/xmms the next time.

You can also right click on the link and use that as an argument for xmms, mplayer, xine or amarok.
From the application of your choice you could fine tune the play script (deleting the extra lines) and save it on the desktop. Then you would only need to double click on the playlist icon to instantly start playing music. You had only one or to not difficult steps before that. After that it is easier and quicker than going to the site and selecting the Christmas Lounge.

Code:
[playlist]
NumberOfEntries=1
File1=http://steady.somafm.com:6006
You could have xmms load and start when you log in or add
mpg123 http://steady.somafm.com:6006
to your wife's .bashrc file. Then she can log into Christmas Music!

Last edited by jschiwal; 12-20-2008 at 02:50 PM.
 
Old 12-20-2008, 02:38 PM   #3
Quakeboy02
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Quote:
I'm not attacking, but rather trying to offer a real world feedback. Kindly keep any flames to oneself. I'm wide open, however, to feedback, updates, and polite why-nots.
Any post that starts like this is basically saying "I'm going to say some nasty things, but you're not allowed to respond". From past experience, we know this to be the foreword to a trollish rant. We also know that this is not your forum, so you'll get the feedback you get.
 
Old 12-20-2008, 02:57 PM   #4
lumix
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jschiwal View Post
If you save a .pls file on the desktop, and then right click, you should be able to select properties and change the preferred application.

... Is any desktop really ready?
I was able to successfully set the default player--so far as clicking from the desktop or nautilus browser is concerned--without much trouble. But this doesn't seem to affect what Firefox chooses.

And I suppose you're right, no desktop is, well, ready. I've only bothered to comment here because I do feel that Linux has the greatest potential. In point of fact, I think it will be the inevitable winner over time.
 
Old 12-20-2008, 03:06 PM   #5
lumix
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quakeboy02 View Post
Any post that starts like this is basically saying "I'm going to say some nasty things, but you're not allowed to respond". From past experience, we know this to be the foreword to a trollish rant. We also know that this is not your forum, so you'll get the feedback you get.
Sorry you feel that way. If you read it at face value, I believe it states that I'm offering feedback in good faith and with good intentions. It in fact states that I do welcome responses. The point of this "rant" is to do what few seem to want to do, which is express frustration--the kind that a great many feel. My advice of "don't bother" is exactly what I give clients who ask about Linux as a desktop--not a spiteful remark. And it's an honest response, and if you find that nasty, you may be somewhat over-sensitive.

This was my feedback after much and careful consideration. What my "foreward" says is, if you are going to be combative about it, then perhaps you're not prepared to have an open discussion about how to make Linux more usable. Ever heard the expression about "eternal vigilance"? Nothing gets better without honest, constructive criticism.

Last edited by lumix; 12-20-2008 at 03:08 PM.
 
Old 12-20-2008, 03:10 PM   #6
AceofSpades19
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Let me ask you this, how is windows ready for the desktop?
 
Old 12-20-2008, 03:13 PM   #7
jschiwal
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You are noting something you don't like with Firefox and not with the desktop.
 
Old 12-20-2008, 03:26 PM   #8
pixellany
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Let me see, where did I put my Perfect OS?? I can't seem to find it anywhere. Sigh.....

Where I have the choice, I have been using Linux exclusively for many years. That pretty much proves that Linux on the Desktop has arrived (for me)
YMMV
 
Old 12-20-2008, 03:34 PM   #9
brianL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pixellany View Post
Let me see, where did I put my Perfect OS?? I can't seem to find it anywhere. Sigh.....
That Schizophrenic 0.1 must be a good distro, you've been using it for quite some time now.
 
Old 12-20-2008, 04:00 PM   #10
Quakeboy02
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Originally Posted by lumix View Post
The point of this "rant" is to do what few seem to want to do, which is express frustration--the kind that a great many feel.
Few? LOL We see this crap all the time. The problem is that this is SIMPLY THE WRONG FORUM for it. We don't actually develop Linux here. We answer questions. The name of the forum is LinuxQuestions.org, not LinuxDevelopers.org. Ponder that for a few minutes, if you will.

If you have complaints or suggestions, then find the developers and give them your input. Or, BETTER YET, become a developer and be part of the solution, rather than some whiner on the sidelines.

Added:

By the way, your introductory paragraph is a Logical Fallacy known as "Poisoning The Well" (Google is your friend). It is meant to establish that you're right and that anyone who disagrees with you is clearly wrong. You should never start an essay with a logical fallacy if you want to be taken seriously.

Last edited by Quakeboy02; 12-20-2008 at 04:05 PM.
 
Old 12-20-2008, 04:22 PM   #11
pixellany
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brianL View Post
That Schizophrenic 0.1 must be a good distro, you've been using it for quite some time now.
No, actually it drives me crazy.....I've pretty much concluded that I need at least 3 computers:
Main desktop, shared with 2 other users. Distro: who cares..
Laptop: One distro for the occasional real work, and then others as required for tinkering.
Playpen: Something where I can try things without messing up the other two.

To handle all this, we'll be starting the addition to the house any day now.....

(I'm sure OP is really enjoying this.....)
 
Old 12-20-2008, 09:19 PM   #12
stratotak
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Just to see..I went to somafm and clicked the link you spoke of..Im using Kde and Kaffeine player poped open and played the stream..I didnt have to do anything to get it to play..Instead of VLC..maybe try Audacious..its a pretty feature pack player

Last edited by stratotak; 12-20-2008 at 09:20 PM.
 
Old 12-20-2008, 09:28 PM   #13
jay73
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Okay, I went to that site and had no problem whatsoever. Firefox simply popped up a box that let me choose an application (I selected realplayer because that was the default) and the thing played straightaway. I'm sorry, but this looks like another case of user error passed off onto the system.
Edit: yes, you can blame Linux for not setting everything up for the "average" user but there are plenty of "how to install [insert distro here]" sites around that this should not be a problem.

Last edited by jay73; 12-20-2008 at 10:15 PM.
 
Old 12-20-2008, 10:09 PM   #14
lazlow
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The default player that I had selected for pls was not working so I changed the default to vlc. After that, a double click and I have Ho-Ho-Ho. I concur with jay.
 
Old 12-20-2008, 10:52 PM   #15
craigevil
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clicked the 128k links and Amarok started playing the stream no problem.

use what works for you. Personally I haven't touched windows in 5 yrs Linux does everything I need it to.
 
  


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