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Old 09-12-2009, 06:28 PM   #1
lleb
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sad state of Linux default desktop installations


I have been using an old P4 box as a testing platform as of late with the following criteria on the tests:

1.Fully updated and patched system with all security updates.
2.Full office suite installed and updated.
3.FireFox 3.5 browser installed with adblock+, NoScript, and all-in-one gestures add-ons installed and updated.
4.Thunderbird installed and configured to connect to my e-mail server.
5.DVD playback.

If the system can do DVD playback, odds are good it will also succeed at MP3 playback. Yes this is a very simple and basic set of tests and is in NO MEANS A COMPLETE test. I started this as a timed test to compare Windows 7 v Linux installs knowing that most Linux distributions by default will attempt to update during install in some way.

The hardware used is as follows:

P4 2.4G CPU with HyperThreading and 1024MB RAM PC2100 and 60GB IDE HDD 7200rpm with a Nvidia 5200 AGP video card and onboard sound and Network Interface Card.

So nothing fancy or supper crazy that any OS should not be able to handle the hardware from a driver point of view.

While Windows 7 did take roughly 2.5 hours to complete all of the above tasks it did so with only 1 major hickup and that was getting the NIC configured on a static IP. Microsoft for what ever reason has chosen to bury the network settings so deep that it took me a good 10-15min to find and I'm no dummy when it comes to Windows and basic networking.

This Linux distributions that I tested ALL FAILED for one reason or an other. This is very sad. Now before you fly off the handle and start to blast me hear me out. I ran this set of tests from the point of view of someone just skilled enough to follow basic instructions on the screen during a GUI installation of the OS and not much more.

Oh, one more side note about Windows 7, the "update windows" button is no longer to be found. If you do not know the URL, or do not have windows configured to automatically download and install all updates you are FUBAR, this too IMHO is a major FAIL.

Debian Failed with FireFox + add-ons. As the Debian project has chosen to NOT use the standard FF they are behind thus none of the add-ons listed for this test work with the OLDER version of Icewhateverthehelltheycallitnow. Debian hands down other then the failure of bother FireFox and Thunderbird (same reason as FF) beat all of the other Linux distributions in all areas of ease, speed of install, and things just working OOTB (out of the box) so to speak.

Fedora 11 Failed due to FireFox (again not using the standard FF, thus out of date and no add-ons working) and no codecs for DVD or MP3 playback. YES I UNDERSTAND why, but my wife would not, nor would 99% of the world of computer USERS out there. Note USERS, not power users or someone with the skills to find the repositories, add them to yum, and get things working properly.
Sabayon Linux 4.2 Failed as their network configuration failed to work for any user other then root. This is a problem that distro has had since at least v2 and they still have not addressed it properly. Really a shame as Sabayon is mega bleeding edge.

OpenSuSe 11.1
Failed again with to old of a version of FireFox and zero codecs for DVD or MP3 playback. Not to mention this desktop was unusable on my hardware. Everything took between 10sec - 1.5min to open, moving the mouse was a major chore to the point it stuttered and skipped across the screen. Was not smooth by any stretch of the imagination. Horrid performance. Yast was so pathetically slow it just did not respond even after 5min of taking up resources according to top.

Ubuntu 9.2 Failed for again old FF, no codec for DVD/MP3 playback, and their GUI update that replaces apt is broke and does not function properly. Even when attempting to update multiple times via apt-get update, and via their GUI, the system just wold not update.

Linux Mint 7
Failed due to network configuration refusing to go outside of my LAN. The DVD playback was flawless. Also a failure IMHO is NO root, sudo only much like the Ubuntu line.

Sadly those are several of the top Linux distros out there and they all failed for the new/basic user who would like/want to make the switch from Windows to Linux.

This is not to say that with some work that Linux could not pass all of these tests and even still under the 2.5 hours it took Windows 7 to get to the point it did. My point is that with just barely above user level skills Linux fails and fails horridly. To the point that someone new to Linux would just give up and spend the 2-4hours getting their shinny new Windows 7 or their old and trusted winXP (6-10hours work there) up and running and give Linux the finger.

Side note about Linux Mint 7, it was the fastest to install off of the CD, but most, if not all of the other distros installed off of DVDs thus being nearly 5x larger in data then Linux Mint 7. Mint took roughly 15min to fully install and 16min to be at first login screen. That is blazing fast with this old hardware. Sadly due to its horrid implimentation of the network settings tool it fails as I was unable to test any of the online functions for this test, and to be blunt if the OS can not get online, no user (average) will want to waist their time with it.

just for those who will ask and be defensive about that last statement, yes i configured the IP static, 192.168.2.XXX, 255.255.255.0, 192.168.2.1, 192.168.2.1 (gateway and dns server both point to my IPCop) this is how I configured every system for the test. Mint and Sabayon failed to connect properly.

So a fast list of things that, IMHO, the average user would want and need from Linux:

1. either ask during install how to configure the network, or make it real easy and obvious how to do so once the system is installed and running in the GUI. (note ONLY Debian did this during the install and thus was also the only OS to fully update and patch during installation, Great work Debian) Also note that as of Window 7, MS has learned and if I had DHCP installed in my LAN Windows 7 too would of updated DURING the installation, thus reducing the risk of infection before patching can happen on a live system. Good work MS there.

2. Either have the codecs installed, or make them easy to find and install for MP3 and DVD playback. Yes I understand the license issues involved, but a simple dialog box with the license and a notice as to why they are NOT installed as part of the default OS would suffice. This way the end user can make the choice as to what to do about those codecs and the laws in their areas. This also acts to, all be it not very good, educate the world on the issues with those codecs and that there are better choices out there.

3. If a Linux distro is NOT going to use the most popular FOSS web browser out there, they should at least either keep up pace with it, OR offer a fast and easy way to install it. Something comparable with double click, or download, run now.

Again this is NOT to say that Linux is not capable of passing all 5 parts to the test, but not from the point of view from someone brand new to Linux without pulling lots of hair out of their head and more frustration then it might be worth to be free of Microsoft. This is a shame and a real surprise. Linux has taken several steps BACKWARDS over the past 2 or 3 years. A few years ago a Debian install fresh out of the box would of passed 100%, before they got in their pissing match with Mozilla. Same thing to a lesser extent for Ubuntu. Fedora/RH has failed due to codec since at least RH9. SuSe has been hit or miss since at least v9 and Sabayon if you can get the networking to function properly it is awesome to use. I can not speak much for Mint as this is my first time playing with it.

One last note, OSx (Apple) passed also 100% OOTB for 10.4, 10.5, and 10.6. Hands down OSx .4, .5, .6 are still far better then Windows 7, but 7 is far better and faster then anything I have seen with the horror that is Vista. Both OSx and Windows 7, just from the point of view of these tight restrictions of this test, beat anything Linux has OOTB.

Again 2 or 3 years ago that would not of been the case. Linux has taken several steps backwards not forwards. Linux needs to pull its collective head out of its ass and get over trade marks, it needs to fix its broken installation options, it needs to make the network settings much simpler like they were before. If Linux could do those simple things, Windows could take an other hit to its market share like it did with Vista. I just read on one of the slashdot articles the other day that only about 20% of the computers in the world are running Vista. Think about that. Its been out how long and Vista has either been dumped from the base OEM install for XP, or replaced with something else. That may of been business computers not all users, sorry I do not have the link handy or I would post it in the e-mail.

This all said, I still prefer FOSS over MS any day of the week.
 
Old 09-12-2009, 09:44 PM   #2
bsdunix
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Oh, one more side note about Windows 7, the "update windows" button is no longer to be found. If you do not know the URL, or do not have windows configured to automatically download and install all updates you are FUBAR, this too IMHO is a major FAIL.
Not that I'm promoting Windows 7, but I wanted to provide correct information for those searching the LQ archives:

Windows Update - Enable / Disable Automatic Updates in Windows 7 - Guide
http://www.techtalkz.com/windows-7/5...s-7-guide.html
 
Old 09-19-2009, 06:39 PM   #3
lleb
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ahh so like many other things that used to be simple 1 or 2 clicks with windows 7 they are now burried way deeper into the the hidden (read that not easy to find without a guide) directories/paths. again the Windows update used to be in the start menu, now i see thanks to bsdunix link it is 5 steeps deep into a place the average user will have no business navigating to.

bloody MS
 
Old 09-19-2009, 08:36 PM   #4
Erik_FL
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My biggest complaint about Windows 7 is the price to upgrade a Windows XP, or worse yet (in my case) Windows Vista system. It's outright highway robbery.

I found both Vista and Windows 7 to be less customizable and less user friendly than Windows XP. Sadly I don't have much choice if I want to run a 64-bit version of Windows. The 64-bit version of XP is just not very well supported by software and drivers.

Meanwhile the Linux user interface has continued to improve with some minor setbacks. GNOME and XFCE are both very solid and KDE 4 adds some great new features with a need for further refinement. I still prefer KDE 4.2 to Windows 7.

There are a few Windows applications that I'm stuck using. I have to use Visual Studio 6 for work, though I now do that in a virtual machine running Windows XP. The graphics handling of the virtual machine software doesn't work as well on Linux as Windows so I still use Vista as the host OS. There are also a few Windows applications that I like and use with no equivalent in Linux. Those are Quicken, Eudora E-Mail, and Algorithmix Sound Laundry (audio de-noising software).

If the virtual machine software I use for Linux improves a little bit more I may finally make the switch. I can run my few Windows applications inside a virtual machine. Technically it violates the Microsoft EULA to do that even though I've bought the copy of Windows XP that I'm using.

I don't think ease of installation is really the issue between Windows and Linux. How many people actually install Windows? Either Windows or Linux could come pre-installed and configured on a new computer. Unfortunately Linux is not often an option when purchasing a new computer. It is the fact that Windows is pre-installed that makes it so prevalent. People literally don't have to think about it (and Microsoft likes it that way). On netbooks people are beginning to think about it because it is quite visible in the bottom line cost.

If I consider all the problems I've had installing and using software on Windows I have to wonder how much better Windows is than Linux. With Windows things appear easier but often completely screw up Windows if they install wrong. In Linux I may be unsuccessful at installing something but it seems to kill Linux less often.

All uneducated users have the same issues with Windows or Linux. They often don't back up their files or the operating system, and they don't keep or create the discs they need in case of a problem. Whether it's Windows or Linux I think that people turn to more computer literate friends or family members when they have a problem.

Although a comparison of installing Windows versus Linux on a computer is interesting it doesn't answer the question in general. I've seen computers that have absolutely horrid Windows support and are no problem to use with Linux. Upgrading Windows is becoming an issue and I've found that Linux supports older hardware better than Windows 7 or Windows Vista when it comes to sound cards and graphics adapters.

Linux also doesn't tend to suddenly decide that your license is not "Activated" if you upgrade some hardware or install an update. Windows has done that to me a few times and caused down time as a result.

The Windows versus Linux decision may be more about which kind of problems you want to deal with rather than which one has more problems. The applications that you want to run will also be important since some applications are not available for Linux.

I'm doubtful that the number of people Microsoft expects will upgrade to Windows 7. I think that it will be some Vista users who upgrade and then mostly Windows 7 will be sold with new computers. Part of the reason is the cost of Windows 7 and the cost of newer hardware that has drivers for Windows 7. People don't usually think about upgrading their OS unless they have a problem or there is a "must have" feature. Without any "killer app" for Windows 7 there is not a big incentive to upgrade. Apple solved that problem by making upgrade prices relatively affordable and adding some obvious improvements that justify the modest price. Microsoft is charging a rather high price without any tangible benefits (except some performance increase for Vista users).

Probably Windows 7 will dominate new desktop computers but Linux may actually gain ground on netbook computers. Microsoft is gambling on most people paying a lot of extra money for Windows on a netbook and I don't think it's going to happen.

Microsoft needs to come up with some useful new Windows features that make people willing to shell out the money. Otherwise they will have to continue to hide the cost of Windows by bundling it with computers. That only works when the computer is expensive enough to hide the Windows cost.

We may also see a divergence of Windows PCs versus Linux PCs. PC hardware is becoming less standardized and companies are choosing which versions (or distros) of Windows or Linux they support. If brand new computers are sold with Linux the hardware may be different than what is sold with Windows. There will always be some hardware that runs both equally as well, but I think the overlap is going to be smaller as old standards are abandoned. In addition to causing problems for Linux, changing PC hardware will be a problem for Microsoft with selling Windows upgrades. The upgrade market is likely to shrink further as companies shorten their legacy product support time frame.

If you take the same money spent for purchasing Windows and spend it on support for a particular Linux distro does that make Linux equal to Windows in terms of installation friendliness? To be fair one has to consider that some amount of money spent on Windows goes toward making it easier to install. Although Linux can be "free" there are some benefits to spending a little bit of money on support or to purchase some Linux software that isn't free. The strength of Linux is that people are free to make those choices and are not forced to pay for all or nothing.
 
Old 09-20-2009, 06:22 PM   #5
DavidMcCann
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A simple licence statement about codecs would not solve the problem of DVDs, etc. The problem lies in the USA, with its software patents and ridiculous Millennium Copyright Act. No Linux distro based over there is going to risk being sued, let alone pounced on by the FBI! Mint can include all codecs, being based in Ireland, but when a magazine recently included a Mint CD, they had to get the codecs removed because it circulated in the US!

As far a ease of use goes, I never cease to be amazed that people who took hours to learn to drive a car expect to use a computer without giving it any thought. The amount of time wasted in offices, as revealed by surveys, either helping other people with their computers or waiting for help shows just how wrong they are.
 
Old 09-21-2009, 02:02 AM   #6
rob.rice
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMcCann View Post
A simple licence statement about codecs would not solve the problem of DVDs, etc. The problem lies in the USA, with its software patents and ridiculous Millennium Copyright Act. No Linux distro based over there is going to risk being sued, let alone pounced on by the FBI! Mint can include all codecs, being based in Ireland, but when a magazine recently included a Mint CD, they had to get the codecs removed because it circulated in the US!

As far a ease of use goes, I never cease to be amazed that people who took hours to learn to drive a car expect to use a computer without giving it any thought. The amount of time wasted in offices, as revealed by surveys, either helping other people with their computers or waiting for help shows just how wrong they are.
people are for the most part are to lazy to learn and end up fumbling around for hours instead of picking up a book for a few minuets
besides it's becoming hip to be stooped so hip that a total idiot got elected not once but twice
 
Old 09-21-2009, 02:48 AM   #7
Crito
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Use the latest Mandriva Powerpack if you want a ton of non-free stuff bundled with your distro.
 
Old 09-21-2009, 10:11 AM   #8
Erik_FL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMcCann View Post
A simple licence statement about codecs would not solve the problem of DVDs, etc. The problem lies in the USA, with its software patents and ridiculous Millennium Copyright Act. No Linux distro based over there is going to risk being sued, let alone pounced on by the FBI! Mint can include all codecs, being based in Ireland, but when a magazine recently included a Mint CD, they had to get the codecs removed because it circulated in the US!

As far a ease of use goes, I never cease to be amazed that people who took hours to learn to drive a car expect to use a computer without giving it any thought. The amount of time wasted in offices, as revealed by surveys, either helping other people with their computers or waiting for help shows just how wrong they are.
I concur. The combination of corporate greed and mind numbing advertising propaganda has brought the US to a sad place. Perhaps we should change our name to the United Corporations of America.
 
Old 09-21-2009, 11:24 AM   #9
schneidz
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i dont get the point ot this thread. of course youre gonna get simple issues from trying to install your own os...
i wish you also incuded a cots install of windows vista in your compare.
edit: i see you included windows 7 in your compare and noted a simple bug.

a lot of the people complained 2 years ago about how vista sux because it failed to recognize their graphics card or something. now most people have bought oem computers with vista pre-installed so you dont hear as many complaints about vista (hp isnt gonna sell you a computer that doesnt work...).
if you want to get a 100% compatible linux computer without any set-up effort i think you can now buy linux pre-installed from hp. it mite be a little more expensive but you wont have to spend time fixing quirks.

Last edited by schneidz; 09-21-2009 at 11:26 AM.
 
Old 09-21-2009, 11:34 AM   #10
schneidz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMcCann View Post
A simple licence statement about codecs would not solve the problem of DVDs, etc. The problem lies in the USA, with its software patents and ridiculous Millennium Copyright Act. No Linux distro based over there is going to risk being sued, let alone pounced on by the FBI! Mint can include all codecs, being based in Ireland, but when a magazine recently included a Mint CD, they had to get the codecs removed because it circulated in the US!

As far a ease of use goes, I never cease to be amazed that people who took hours to learn to drive a car expect to use a computer without giving it any thought. The amount of time wasted in offices, as revealed by surveys, either helping other people with their computers or waiting for help shows just how wrong they are.
i think they meant adding a pop-up that says 'the reason why we don't install an mp3 codec by default is because it is against the law in some countries...'
i think that makes sense because i hear that complaint sometimes... which is kinda stupid because its like saying windows sux because there is no xvid installed. (ms/ apple cant install divx/xvid by default also because they would be violating copyright).
edit: i think the latest versions of windows and mac have a version of flash player installed by default.

Last edited by schneidz; 09-21-2009 at 11:48 AM.
 
Old 09-21-2009, 04:14 PM   #11
Dogs
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Why does everyone want to get the technologically mindless people into a new OS, and onto the internet ASAP?

That's a terrible idea. Can't we have some things that need to be worked on for a good long time before any progress is ever made, or are we all in such a big hurry to watch TV on the internet that it's not worth the effort?

You can blame my new attitude on Slackware =)

I really enjoy what Linux has done to my head. It feels so much more useful now.
There's a lot to be said about 2 gigs of manuals =)
 
Old 09-21-2009, 06:26 PM   #12
firehazard
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Thumbs up Here here!

It’s and old gripe of mine. Attempting to get the Linux world out of the state of mind that users need be more adept rather then programming and scripting more intuitive. The main argument is that users are lazy. But given the work load gone into these scripts I have to wonder about who is actually being lazy.

I write scripts for a living in my world and understand the workload involved. I also am sympathetic to those who do the work for free on there own time getting annoyed by static from communities being critical of there work. Though it’s to be expected when it’s placed out for all to see.

My motto is a bit old school. We should work hard so other need not have to. But there is Sooooo much to do in the world of IT in general. It’s all held together with duck tape and chicken wire as far as I’m concerned. To the ignorant I say it’s like eating a sausage, it’s better that you don’t know what’s in it, trust me. Just enjoy it.

Microsoft’s strangle hold on the world would be so bad if they simply didn’t get so damn greedy (All questionable ethics aside). Not to mention there Lipstick on a pig mentality to release there buggy products to meet market demand usually onset by themselves in failed product concepts like Millennium and yes Vista. I guess we are the test group for MS. Personally, I feel they should charge little to nothing upgrading to Windows 7 from Vista given the number of people I myself help to get back to XP due to serious un-reconcilable issues and compatibility problems. But that is another topic altogether.

I think the problem is simply “what’s the incentive?”. To play devils advocate for a moment, why should the community’s make it better? What’s in it for then other then another line in the portfolio or a firm pat on the back? I believe in giving something for effort rendered. If it’s easy who is going to pay someone for support? They would be working themselves out of a job in there minds perhaps.

When it comes to many disro’s often I say wow! Great job on the preliminary work. When do you expect to polish it up for the average user? Then nothing. Or in the case of some groups like LinSpire, Xandr, LycorOS?, even Red Hat, etc… Now they want big money. Most price falling just shy of Major players like Mac and MS. But to each there own.

But the game though ever ongoing the once sympathetic minority is growing more rapidly I feel. As for me, I’m behind anyone wanting to make it better and not simply get rich.

Anyways, just my two cents worth. Thank you for the work in testing. It answers for me many minor questions I’ve had.
 
Old 09-25-2009, 07:26 AM   #13
farna
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogs View Post
Why does everyone want to get the technologically mindless people into a new OS, and onto the internet ASAP?

That's a terrible idea. Can't we have some things that need to be worked on for a good long time before any progress is ever made, or are we all in such a big hurry to watch TV on the internet that it's not worth the effort?
Because all of us Linux newbies aren't technologically mindless. I don't want to struggle just getting an OS to do basic things -- and connecting to the Internet is basic nowadays. I should be able to install any OS from scratch and be able to get on the Internet with minimal hassle, and the hassle should be with my ISP, not my OS! If Linux can't do what Windows does, you've got a problem with new users. I came up with DOS and working on a mini-mainframe (Wang), but I'm not going to tolerate a lot of command line work with a MODERN OS. That's not acceptable. I like the capability of manipulating and tweaking from the bottom (kernel) up IF I so desire/have the capabilities. I don't -- since my old Wang assistant admin days and migrating my old USAF unit from the Wang to a WAN/PC/Windows based operation, I've become more an more a "user" and less administrator. But I still understand the intricacies involved. I also understand that there's no real reason the OS can't install and work on most stable hardware.

That said, I don't have a problem with Mint 7 Gloria. It installed on my old Athlon system and an Athlon XP system and connected straight to the Internet via my LAN with no problem whatsoever. I use a Siemens LAN card on the old machine, the built-in LAN adapter on the Athlon XP (Asus A7V400MX motherboard... older system uses a 1stMainboard AZ31).

Not only did it connect to the internet, but it also sees all the computers on my LAN, which is now quite mixed! I have underground Cat 5e run between my shop and house to a 5 port switch (~80'), then to my fathers house (~120') to another 5 port switch. That switch is connected to the local ISP via a proprietary "umbrella" wireless broad band system. Dad runs Windows Vista, My wife and daughter have XP in my house, and I have XP and Mint in my shop office. The XP machines don't always "see" all the other computers on the network, the Mint machines do. The Vista machine was especially hard to get on the LAN.

MS has designed Visat and Win7 from a business administrators viewpoint, NOT a home user. There should be a front end for home users at the least that cuts through all the menu levels just to do simple things. That's all it would take -- a "home" edition with that simple front end/menu addition. They could code something in the enterprise edition or the workstation edition so that the front end wouldn't run in it.
 
Old 09-25-2009, 08:15 PM   #14
schneidz
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^i think my previous post answers the above.
Quote:
Originally Posted by schneidz View Post
i dont get the point ot this thread. of course youre gonna get simple issues from trying to install your own os...
i wish you also incuded a cots install of windows vista in your compare.
edit: i see you included windows 7 in your compare and noted a simple bug.

a lot of the people complained 2 years ago about how vista sux because it failed to recognize their graphics card or something. now most people have bought oem computers with vista pre-installed so you dont hear as many complaints about vista (hp isnt gonna sell you a computer that doesnt work...).
if you want to get a 100% compatible linux computer without any set-up effort i think you can now buy linux pre-installed from hp. it mite be a little more expensive but you wont have to spend time fixing quirks.
 
Old 09-26-2009, 01:23 AM   #15
Mikech
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3 char

Last edited by Mikech; 01-19-2011 at 11:21 AM.
 
  


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