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jeremy 05-02-2005 02:09 PM

Interview with Mandriva (ex Mandrake) Linux Founder Gael Duval
 
Editors Note: As LQ interviewed Gael in 2003, a couple of the intro type questions were skipped. See the other interview for those questions.

LQ) It's been about a year since the company exited 'redressement judiciaire' and things seem to be going quite well now. To what do you credit the turnaround? What lessons have you learned along the way?

GD) We started to clean things out in 2001 because we felt that the situation started to become dangerous. But when you take actions to save money and make more business, it takes time, and actions can only be taken progressively.

For instance, starting from 2001 we continuously reduced expenses and developed new income sources such as Club and Store which are now our main sources of revenues. But we reached the break-even point only in spring 2003, approximately at the same date as the beginning of the chapter-11 like period.

LQ) With the merger of Conectiva and Mandrakesoft now complete and the new company named Mandriva, in what direction will the company be headed? Have you run into any integration problems with the two companies having such a disparate geographic focus? Has the difference in primary language been a barrier?

GD) Of course, several issues have to be addressed such as the language barrier, but this one is not a showstopper since most of us are already used to speaking English in the IT industry!

Regarding the geographic focuses, Conectiva will boost our research & development forces, but on the business side, they will start to concentrate on what they know: selling Linux & Open-Source solutions to the Brazilian government and local corporates. Progressively we will introduce additional Mandriva services such as the Club to former Conectiva users.

LQ) What has the response to the new name been like? What others names were being considered?

GD) Of course, many different names have been considered. Each of them had its qualities and problems. A key issue was the availability of the related trademarks & Internet domain names. Also we wanted a name that would remind both Mandrake & Conectiva, and which would sound simple and efficient. As a result, "Mandriva" was chosen.

There was a controversial discussion about how English speakers would pronounce "Mandriva", but definitely, "Mandriva" has its own sound as well: it's "Man-dree-vah" (or "Man-dree-vuh").
http://images.mandriva.com/img/sound/mandriva.mp3

LQ) Are there any plans to make a larger push into the US market, or will the focus stay on Europe and South America? There has been a recent Linux push into the "emerging" markets (China, India, etc.) - is this a direction the company is looking into?

GD) Mandriva traditionally had a large userbase in the US, since we mostly started there with MacMillan/Pearson in 1999!

We currently have a partnership with O'Reilly who is distributing versions of Mandriva Linux bundled with books in many US stores.

We also have a new program for SMBs in the USA.

The US market is definitely a market we will address more and more, although for retail, it's clear that electronic distribution is gaining more and more momentum, with the development of broadband Internet access.

LQ) There have been rumors that some Linux distributors, including Novell, may follow what Red Hat has done and have an Enterprise release and a "Community" release. Is this direction something that has been considered by Mandriva?

GD) No. Mandriva Linux will still be distributed as both a download edition and commercial offers, with full official support for updates (bugfixes, security).

LQ) Conectiva had a lot to do with the porting of apt to RPM-based distros, while Mandrake has historically used urpmi. What tool is planned for future Mandriva releases?

GD) It's likely that we will have a package-management tool which is going to combine the best features of URPMI & the best from Smart, for RPM packages.

LQ) A couple years back, Mandriva (then Mandrakelinux) went from being KDE-centric to being much more neutral between GNOME and KDE. What prompted this change? Looking back, is it a change that you're glad was made?

GD) It was in year 2000 actually :) Yes we're very glad to have made this change because GNOME & KDE are both very popular desktop environments, so it was natural to provide both to our users.

LQ) Any update on the Linux Core Consortium? Have Red Hat or Novell made a final decision on whether to join?

GD) There is nothing new on the LCC front, we are working on it though. I don't think that RH or Novell would consider joining before they see first results of the implementation.

LQ) Limited Edition 2005 is being considered a "transitional version" for the company. How is that transition going? How has customer and community response to the new roadmap been?

GD) The transition is going well, and the Limited Edition 2005 is actually very appreciated by users. And the number of available packages for LE2005 is becoming impressing: more than 10,000! I feel that it's going to be a reference version of Mandriva Linux for a long time actually! (besides the fact that it's the first with the new name...)

LQ) I've seen you say recently that Linux was ready for the business desktop, but not for the home desktop. What's still lacking and when do you think we'll be ready?

GD) OK, I can try to explain my point of view: "is Linux ready for the home desktop?" The question is ambiguous actually!

Literally, the question itself means: "is the Linux system (technically) capable of handling home applications and work?". Obviously, the answer is yes! Linux is a very advanced OS, it's easy to install, it supports most of existing hardwares, it provides very neat desktop environments etc. Everybody can easily switch from Windows to Linux, it's not like switching from Windows to a mainframe system for instance, or to DOS...

Now, I also have my own interpretation of the question "is Linux ready for the home desktop?" ... For me it means: "Can Windows users massively adopt Linux instead of Windows (and stop using Windows)?". Obviously, the answer is no!

People who claim that Linux is 100% ready to replace Windows just don't know what they are talking about, or are just liars :) I've been converting people to Linux for years, and even now, I wouldn't recommend it to everybody for a simple reason: not enough common commercial applications or FOSS equivalents are available yet.

Let's take a simple example: do you think a graphics designer could use Linux exclusively for common design work? I don't think so. Take the example of most popular icons in Linux, most of them have been designed under... Adobe Illustrator! It's possible to find similar examples in several areas, and there is also the games issue.

As a result, I think that Linux is ready to replace Windows if you have a "basic" desktop use of it, for instance for Office/Internet and Multimedia.

Anyway, I think that we are getting closer and closer to the "ignition point". It's certainly only a matter of a few software publishers who will start to release their applications to Linux, and for instance the recent release of Acrobat Reader 7.0 by Adobe is an excellent sign of hope.

The best we can do to make this adoption go faster is to grow the Linux userbase so it becomes a market that traditional software can't ignore anymore.

LQ) What is your take on the fact that Munich selected a "non-commercial" distro (Debian) for their high profile Linux rollout?

GD) It's certainly an excellent idea that they selected Linux! Using Linux X, Y or Z is certainly not very important though. I just wish them they found motivated volunteers in the Debian community to help them :)

LQ) Thanks again for taking the time to do this interview. Any final comments?

GD) Thanks to you!

jeremy 05-02-2005 02:16 PM

If you have any follow up questions, please post them here and I will forward them. I'd like to thank Gael for taking time out of his busy schedule to chat with LQ (again).

--jeremy

simeandrews 05-02-2005 02:32 PM

Good job, very interesting!

guppetto 05-02-2005 06:01 PM

Design
 
Follow up question.

When is Mandriva going to get serious about the Artistic appeal of the Distribution. Sure, Mandriva is easy enough for a small child to use, but that doesn't mean it has to look like a childs desktop. Scary looking animals with stars in their eyes, washed out blue backgrounds; come on, when is Mandriva going to get some of those Connectiva graphic artist to give the distro a fresh modern look. Sure beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I've yet to hear anyone describe the LE as remotely artistically appealling. When is Mandriva going to Follow Redhat's lead and design it's own set of Icons, a professional looking set of desktop backgrounds, and a new window decoration to match both. How about Mandriva just adopt some of the Modern looking Open source icon sets Like Minimum, or H30 and build around those. I know that artist Like Sascha Hohne (http://www.rad-e8.com) and Milosz Wlazlo (http://www.miloszwl.com/index.html) would be more than happy to give the Mandriva desktop the type of attention it needs to be taken seriously for both its value and artistic appeal. It's time to put a new look on the desktop along with the new name.

mipia 05-02-2005 08:11 PM

you do realize that you can do all of this yourself. You dont need to sit in a forum and wait to get invited to do somthing like creating new eye-candy regardless of distro or variant of unix.
If it involves waiting for someone else to fix your problem, even if I do agree that mandrake makes for one fugly visual effect, you have nothing to complain about. Don't like it? Change it.

guppetto 05-03-2005 12:59 AM

Zealots Unite
 
Now this is what I love about forums. Now I know you have no clue who I am, but let me say that I've ported or created over 5 different Icon sets for Linux alone in the past year, that can readily be found on Kde-look.org, so while your comments are welcomed, they have zero merit. I've been a Mandrake user since version 7 and the one thing every Mandrake/Mandriva version has in common is a subpar look to the desktop. Mandriva/Mandrake has been the most popular Home based Linux desktop for the past 2 years and while the distro has improved by leaps and bounds, the look has slowly deteriorated to what is currently called 2005 LE. The Lilo Boot screens, kdm login background, and Desktop Backgrounds are absoultly horrible.

I spend more time changing my desktop than I spend using it.

In fact, before I make any modifications to a fresh install, I absoultely have to rid my PC of all the default Mandrake graphics, Icons, and window decorations. I used Redhat for a brief period when I couldn't get Mandrake to work with my new nforce Nvidia motherboard and while I prefer Mandrake over Redhat, I was absolutely blown away by how professional the desktop looked out of the box. With every Mandrake release, I'm absolutely blown away with how little time they spend on making the desktop look remotely professional. I didn't even feel the need to change anything other than the windec in Redhat, because it looked like a modern OS. I'm not a big fan of Blue curve, but at least it's got polished look to it. I have a hard time recommending the download version of Mandrake to friends, becuase when they do a little research to determine what Madriva is, they always come back and snicker about how it looks. There is a reason Apple poured millions of research dollars into all that OS X eyecandy. Beautiful astetics improve a users perception of the product. LE 2005 may work well, but it's got to be the most astetically disapointing release Mandrake/ Mandriva has ever released into the wild.

XavierP 05-03-2005 01:13 AM

Re: Zealots Unite?
 
Quote:

Originally posted by guppetto
Now this is what I love about forums. Now I know you have no clue who I am, but let me say that I've ported or created over 5 different Icon sets for Linux alone in the past year, that can readily be found on Kde-look.org, so while your comments are welcomed, they have zero merit.
This is what I love about forums - we're all expected to know this based on the information you provided in your last post. Your comments have zero merit. Unfortunately, none of us have the time to track down every poster on Google and so no one could have been expected to know this.

So, either explain yourself more fully in your posts or lay off posting comments such as this.

dexter11 05-03-2005 09:54 AM

guppetto is right. Mandriva's default look is ugly. They should change it. A proffessional Linux distro should look proffessional. We can change our wallpaper/icons etc. but only they can change the default look. Since only club members allowed to write to their official forum, this is the right place to express his opinion about the look.

Follow up question:
The official www.mandrivalinux.com website is a mess. Any plans to change it? At least the structure.

No central place for the blogs. Mandriva emplyoees don't write to forums etc. are there any plans to act more open?

Andre Moraes 05-09-2005 01:21 PM

Hi all,

I've done and posted a Portuguese translation of Duval's interview on my website: http://www.linuxdailylog.com/2005/05...ndador-da.html .

Please feel free to make suggestions or corrections that you want.

Best Regards,

AndrƩ Moraes

jeremy 05-09-2005 03:51 PM

Thanks Andre.

--jeremy

Maxei 05-11-2005 09:33 AM

I think guppetto is right in all points. I am also a Mandrake user since version 8.0. Duval and his coworkers have done a wonderful job, as I have witnessed the improvement of Mandrake Linux from release to new release. But NOT all is PINK. esthetics is not a strong point in Mandriva. I also spend a lot of time changing the defaults of the desktop, such as themes, colors, icons, etc. because they were probably chosen by consensus (its a guess), and so it looks rather ugly. When I see the MacOS X desktop, I am amazed at the beauty. Its artistic.
Being said that, Duval said something that deserves further analysis. He believes that Linux is ready for the busines desktop bot not ready for the home desktop. Well, I use it for my desktop at home and do 99% of everything I want (What is that <1% left?: for ex., I have to use DVDShrink in Win98 to backup my DVDs; I have used ldvd, but it is not yet as good as DVDShrink). That is not really a big handicap. But I believe that a Linux busines desktop will have more limitations, because the best professional software (commercial) are not yet available for Linux. Yes. That is the principal reason for saying Linux may not be 100% ready. But if you can do what you want with the available applications, then it is 100% ready for your desktop. Ahhhh, what a small detail, yet so big that makes people hesitate in switching from Windows MS to Linux. More explanations like this should be discussed. Of course, the other point is, how much of your time you are ready to invest to learn Linux. After 4.5 years or so, I am still learning how to use Linux. My sporadic and slow learning is moved only when I have to find a solution to a problem. And so, far, I dont say it has been easy. Nope. But I really decided not to give up (many times I was about to!). In part is my pride to learn something new that is pushing me. Hopefully, Linux is evolving into an even easier to use OS and newcomers will not face difficult situations. We"ll see.

mugendai 05-15-2005 03:48 PM

Re: Interview with Mandriva (ex Mandrake) Linux Founder Gael Duval
 
Quote:

Originally posted by jeremy
Linux is a very advanced OS, it's easy to install, it supports most of existing hardwares, it provides very neat desktop environments etc. Everybody can easily switch from Windows to Linux,
Ookay, see I have to disagree with this. I really really want Linux to be ready for the home desktop, or more importantly, mine. So it's important to me to point out that this statement here is atleast partially(an important part) false.

Specifically the "it's easy to install" part. This part is of course dependant on distribution, and even in easiest of distros, isn't neccisarily true.
Installing a system, isn't mearly getting the console up and running, it's getting the system from no OS.. to a working OS that handles all of the hardware. And can infact include all the way to the point when it has all of the software up and running that the user needs/wants.

This proccess can be a complete PAIN in the arse. Especially compared to other OSes such as Windows, and even OSX. And the problem lies in hardware support. Not so much in lack of support, as it is, in ease of support. Sure I got my wireless running properly on my laptop, but it took me days to get going, and I had to scour the web and modify scripts that are in a language I don't know, to achieve this. This is not "easy".

And I have yet to get the video properly configured on it.. ATI.. I do not own a subscribition to the club, so didn't get the included ATI driver.. but that should be a moot point, I should be able to install a video driver without scouring the web for what so far seems to be non existant documentation.

To me, Linux's biggest problem when it comes to desktop support, is that of Hardware Drivers. So far as I can tell, Linux lacks a well developed standardized API for supporting many pieces of hardware. What needs to be done, is the guys who know what they are talking about(unlike me) need to sit down, at a forum, and start working out a set of standards for driver development and support under Linux, that will make it possible for a company like NVidia or ATI, to with some ease write a piece of software that can be downloaded by the user, run, and then will install its own self, and supply any configuration needed, via GUI!
None of this is neccisary if Linux is to remain the sole domain of experienced developers, who are the kind of people who don't need to pay any money to figure out what they need. But if you want a community of home users, who are willing to pay some money for the software to be easy enough that even they can install a graphics driver, then a standardised driver architecture like i described is needed.

Cause frankly, if I am ATI, NVidia, Creative Labs, HP, Cannon, etc.. etc.. if I'm a big company, do I want to say my product supports a system where I have to either take the stance, "we don't provide drivers for this OS, you must use third party drivers developed by people who don't have the true specs, and therefore can not provide you support" or "We have gone through hours and hours of tedium to try to write a driver for this OS, and we have, but you have to figure out how to get it working on your system, because we can't afford a highly trained tech to deal with every different system there is out there, and write scripts and figure out how on earth to make the driver work for your system. blah blah etc..."

Companies just are not willing to pay for customer service for this, because drivers are so non standardised under Linux.. it's cludge.

It can be fixed, I know the Linux scene can work out standards to make it feasable for hardware manufacturers to write a piece of software to supprot the hardware, that my mom can install.
If my mum needed to update the video driver on her windows box, I would be able to easily talk her thought it, "yea click that link, save to your desktop, double click that icon, keep hitting next, hit finish" done!
But my lord, if I tried that on Linux, "yea click that link, save to your desktop, ookay now read through the documentation, mmhmm do you have xfree86 or X.Org?, which Kernal are you running? Ookay open a console, and su then your password, now ls to your desktop, ookay sh some-really-annoyingly-long-driver-name-12-5-2005-3-45-6789, now we need to edit a conf file so open up your XF86Conf or -4 file by running.. etc..." And then, it prolly wouldn't work right the first time, cause SOMEONE would have skrewed something up somewhere, or some hardware or software would be the wrong stuff.

All I'm saying is, to get the home user scene, installing hardware needs to be easy as windows if not easier. And to achieve that, to truely achieve that, making a driver, and driver installer needs to be something that a company can do with some ease, and without bending over backwards to support. It's doable, it may mean making som signifigant changes to X, and other pieces of software, but its completly doable. The word "recompile" should just not exist when it comes to a home user doing ANYTHING. And until Linux can do this, it's always going to sit behind Windows and OSX in atleast one major respect, Gaming, cause until GOOD driver support exists for video cards, companies just aren't going to want to write software for Linux, too many driver problems.

I've said too much, I sooo shut up now...

floppywhopper 05-16-2005 12:46 AM

I would like to thank the people at formerly Mandrake and now Mandriva, I have been using Mandrake since version 9.0 and enjoyed its ease of installation especially as I still dual-boot with Windows 98 SE.

There is one gripe however
When I install Mandrake ( haven't yet tried Mandriva ) I am left without any web-support for Java virtual machine, flash and some other web apps needing plugins. Is this going to be addressed in future versions. It would be nice to just install Mandrake / Mandriva and go onto the net without first the hassle of installing plugins and praying they work.

Admittedly I've always used the download versions of Mandrake but with the plugins being free anyway is there a plan to have already incorporated the plugins into the distro so that Firefox and Mozilla etc just work "out of the box".

floppy

mugendai 05-16-2005 01:09 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by floppywhopper
I am left without any web-support for Java virtual machine, flash and some other web apps needing plugins
The PowerPack says that it includes amongst other things, both Java and Flash. Seing as though these are amazingly complicated expensive commercial products(wait a min, is that true? I seem to remember those being free and easy to get stuff.. *shrug*) they have to have it in a commercial edition. Well.. I figure they will keep it in there for a while... its their way of blackmailing users into paying some money(not that they don't deserve some money)

The main features of the power pack are the NVidia and ATI graphics drivers, and Flash, and Java. The graphics driver is a gimmie when it comes to blackmail.. I mean really, you HAVE to have a working graphics driver to use a computer.. thats essential stuff.. you just can't get away without it. And Flash and Java are essential pieces of the web today, and again, hard to use the web without it. Kinda like giving you a car, but without critical compents of the engine, ones that are difficult enough to get and install into the engine, that they figure you are willing to pay the low fee to get them to install it for you.

I'm still let down by Linux unless you can't tell. The OS scene just hasn't made it what it could be yet, and I dunno anymore if business is helping it, or hendering it. But it seems like progress has been slow, for the amount of funding going into it. I'm left with the impression most of the time is spent trying to get new hardware working, and helping people get the software running right. Things that could be fixed with what my previous post mentioned.

(me = shutup)

pepik 05-16-2005 05:32 AM

Aren't you confusing the definitions of free?

These drivers/ add-ins etc. may be a free download, but they are not open source. So if they are included in the "download" version, the download version is no longer open source. That's against the GPL.

Also, a follow up question: what is the outlook for preinstalled Mandriva systems? It seems they had some HP notebooks with Madriva dual booting offered through the Mandriva website, but the store says this is being discontinued.

Was this a test run? Could it be offered again? Any chance it will be tried outside of France? Because here is the UK there is a grand total of one distributor of pre-installed Linux (Digital Networks UK), and they only do desktops.

mugendai 05-16-2005 07:00 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by pepik
So if they are included in the "download" version, the download version is no longer open source. That's against the GPL.
I dun think thats quite right. You can include non GPLed software in a package that includes GPLed software.
Infact, I'm pretty sure GPLed software can contain close source libraries as part of the compilation proccess, so long as any code that was at any point under the GPL remains available as source code.

I think there is a requirement that any package released under the GPL, must have source code avail that can be compiled without the use of any commercial libraries, but that closed source, freeware libraries are fine.

Dun quote me on this.. I haven't brushed up on my GPL in a while.. heh.

Though this does beg the question, is any part of the downloadable Mandriva distro, not under the GPL. If so, then it is not a GPL distro/package anyway.

Anyway, with the previous posts, I think all I've been getting at.. is.. that its a sad state when the distro can't even come with all the stuff neccisary to make it go, and getting that stuff(graphics drivers, etc) working envolves some very complex work(especially when you talk about new users trying it)
I mean that would be one thing if you were trying to do something spectacular, but.. installing a driver for your video card? That just should NOT be anywhere the trouble it is.

Lee Barker 05-16-2005 07:07 AM

Mandriva vs. Redhat
 
I am debating which version of Linux to put on my new PC. I have been using Redhat 8.0 but recently picked up a copy of Linux Forum which has the Mandriva 2005 Limited Edition.

PC World are selling the latest Novel offering for a heafty price (for me anyway). Which version is best? And why can I get a magazine version for £6 as opposed to £200 plus? Seems odd to me.

Cheers.

jeremy 05-16-2005 09:01 AM

I haven't installed a new version of Windows in quite some time - does it now come preinstalled with Flash and Java?

--jeremy

Lee Barker 05-16-2005 02:45 PM

mandriva
 
I have installed Mandriva. It looks pretty good graphically.

However....... they appear to have forgotten to add the shutdown option. How on earth do I shut my machine down? I did power off manually, but then got the "unclean shutdown" message upon restarting.

Let's be honest, they've forgotten to add the shutdown option. What a bunch of walleys!!!!!

Maxei 05-16-2005 02:57 PM

Quote:

But my lord, if I tried that on Linux, "yea click that link, save to your desktop, ookay now read through the documentation, mmhmm do you have xfree86 or X.Org?, which Kernal are you running? Ookay open a console, and su then your password, now ls to your desktop, ookay sh some-really-annoyingly-long-driver-name-12-5-2005-3-45-6789, now we need to edit a conf file so open up your XF86Conf or -4 file by running.. etc..."
Please , dont exagerate. You are bulling Linux in this aspect. That kind of problem is when you are trying to install something not yet available with your distro CD. For example, With Mandrake 10.1 Community, the DVD contains hundreds of RPM packages. Actually, most of the useful and most popular software is bundled as RPM packages that are even easier to install than programs in Windows MS. In Mandrake, just click open the Install packages application, select the one you want and click install. That's it. No need to do anything like the stuff you described.

Of course, it depends on the availability of the package. Eventually, with time, those programs will become also available as RPM packages. But Mandrake 10.1 comes with most useful software and I have not found any dependency hell so far.

Maxei

mugendai 05-16-2005 04:18 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Maxei
[B]Please , dont exagerate. You are bulling Linux in this aspect. That kind of problem is when you are trying to install something not yet available with your distro CD.
I'm not exagerating. I don't mean to imply that installation of useful applications is in any way difficult under Linux. By far, Linux distros tend to come prepackaged with what under windows would be several thousands of dollars of software. And the installation proccess for this software is exceedingly simple.

What I'm saying is that when it comes down to it, what does it matter of OpenOffice.org comes preinstalled(gawd I love OOo), if your graphics driver doesn't work? I suppose the base graphics support provided should be enough for office work. But often I end up with all kinds of graphics glitches unless the proper driver is installed, and certainly no 3D support without the proper driver. I was also plagued by issues trying to get wireless working under my laptop(I posted how I got it worked out on the forum elsewhere), and have never gotten my printer(I'm gunna get a new one that Linux supports) working(and I've had it for 3 years now).

It's nice to have super easy to install software, but it becomes a moot point, when getting the hardware up and running involves bending over backwards, especially when its hardware as essentialy as your video card.

Maxei 05-17-2005 03:40 PM

Quote:

what does it matter of OpenOffice.org comes preinstalled(gawd I love OOo), if your graphics driver doesn't work?
So, we are now actually seeing that software installation problems you were talking about has nothing to do with your graphics driver problem. You should be careful not to confuse the people.

Now, concerning graphics card support, I have my Nvidia card installed, and I got installed the drivers from the company. Yes, proprietary software. So there is indeed hardware support for Linux. Yet you are unlucky for choosing to buy hardware tfrom manufacturers who dont support Linux. It is not Linux fault. How many times this has to be repeated! Until recently, would you buy a winmodem knowing that there will never be support in Linux? That is your choice. The hardware manufacturers have done their choice too (e.g. support or ignore Linux).

Remember, there are two kinds of hardware: supported and not supported. If you plan to use Linux, make your choice wisely.:)

bbradley 05-17-2005 04:08 PM

Goodbye Duckie
 
I tried Mandrake 10.0, shrink wrapped box. It was the Windows ME of Linux. You can't return maldesigned software, and the Federal Trade Commission won't get into it.
I threw the thing in the trash. I will never buy another Mandrake product again--so help me Linus Torvalds.
There must be "consequences" or the software vendors will just put out one inexcusably defective distribution after another.

floppywhopper 05-17-2005 05:16 PM

Quote
I haven't installed a new version of Windows in quite some time - does it now come preinstalled with Flash and Java?

I'm not familiar ( thankfully ) with win xp but I still use win 98 se and that does come with Java and flash etc pre-installed albeit rather early versions so that the installer is obliged to update these packages.

And personally speaking I dont have a problem with that as when I install something I just want it to work "out of the box" without having to spend hours tweaking things.And I admit that when I set up a dual boot I'll spend more time setting up windows than mandrake, mostly because everything with mandrake is on 4 CDs ( including tux racer and powermanga LOL ), which suits me fine.

I guess to compare different distros, I recently installed Suse 9.2 from a magazine cover disk ( dvd ) and it had Java and flash set up by default in konqueror and that was brilliant. ( not unfortunately in firefox and mozilla, but thats another story ). The point here is, I have dual booted this machine and the windows install has given me nothing but grief to the point where I'm think - "stuff it, I'll ditch windows and just have suse" - because its only used for the internet and playing super tux ( suse doesnt have as many games as mandrake ). So why cant Mandriva just release their download editions with Java, flash, etc installed so that everything "just works".

Most home users I know simply use their computers for the Internet, homework and a few games, and couldnt give a hoot whether it was windows or ??? like me they just want the thing to work with no hassles, and mandrake like suse and one or two other distro come soooooo close.

Again thanks to Mandriva / Mandrake for a great distro
floppy

Turjan 05-17-2005 08:41 PM

I found the answer to the question "Is Linux ready for the home desktop?" quite interesting, and I agree with the clear "No!" that has been given in the interview.

Just to make it clear where I come from: I'm using Linux because I have to. A minor part of my work is heavily depending on programs that have originally been developed for Unix and that have, nowadays, found their way to a Linux environment. I'm usually happy if the programs run and I don't have to deal with the operating system more than absolutely necessary. I installed three copies of Mandrake Linux 9.2 on three Windows machines for dual boot use, and the installer worked quite neatly. It wasn't perfect, as I had to fiddle with mouse, sound and network problems, but it's not that much to complain about. During operation, the systems are working okay; they have more problems than the Windows setups, but they do their work, and I'm fine with it.

If I just look at a normal home user, who doesn't want to cope with the technical side of his/her computer more than absolutely necessary, the equation looks quite different. I don't think the average user is capable of dealing with the mouse, sound or network problems that I met during the installation process; they expect to press one key, or none at all, and the installation should yield a perfectly working system. Installation of new programs should work without having to think. Of course, the most important point, program X (insert favorite game or whatever) should run on the machine. Realistically, Linux cannot fulfill such expectations.

Even the price point is not such a big dealbreaker as it is usually broadcasted, even in this thread. Those people talking about 'thousands of dollars' that the typical Windows user has to shell out for his software tend to forget that the Mozillas, Openoffices or Gimps of this world are no Linux-only programs. I have already built Windows systems where Windows was the only piece of software that had to be paid for. And the last point only sort of; Windows already came with the machine.

It's only fair when Gael Duval makes this point very clear in his interview: Linux isn't meant for the casual home user. The price politics for Mandriva Linux is set accordingly. A home user who actually needs a comfortable installer has to buy a relatively expensive retail version of the OS or buy a relatively expensive club membership. The download versions are only accessible for computer geeks: an installer that doesn't include graphics drivers excludes the normal home user quite effectively from taking advantage of that free offer. On the other hand, it's a great offer for a small company or a university department (although the latter usually get their Microsoft stuff almost for free).

Don't see these remarks as any kind of atack on Linux or Mandriva. Mandriva is a company, and the people working there have to live on something. I don't see it as a crime if you want to be able to eat as a result of your work ;). I just want to agree with Gael Duval regarding his assessment of the target audience of Linux in the current computer software market.

mugendai 05-18-2005 10:06 AM

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Originally posted by Maxei
[B]So, we are now actually seeing that software installation problems you were talking about has nothing to do with your graphics driver problem. You should be careful not to confuse the people.
What? No!.. The software installation problem I am having is WITH the installation of the software(driver) for my video card. Thats what I'm on about.

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Now, concerning graphics card support, I have my Nvidia card installed, and I got installed the drivers from the company. Yes, proprietary software. So there is indeed hardware support for Linux. Yet you are unlucky for choosing to buy hardware tfrom manufacturers who dont support Linux
I have an NVidia in my Desktop, and ATI in my laptop. Both companies make drivers for the hardware, it's just soo difficult to install, I'm saying it isn't reasonable for the average home user.

And I'm also saying it IS Linux's fault that these companies don't well support, or support at all hardware under Linux. It is far too difficult to do, due to poorly written, or poorly standardized driver support. In windows a graphics driver envolves adding a few dll's, and registering them properly with the OS, and then the OS loads those drivers.
In Linux, it envolves loading a complete new xServ... thats just too much. Instead, the xServ should load libraries to allow appropriate interface with the graphics card. It should be a standardized interface thats easy to write for and support, and allows for easy installation of the driver.

It's not reasonable to expect hardware manufactuers to support a system so difficult to.. well.. support.

The Nintendo64 didn't get a very good number of games written for it, especially not some of the ones that were real popular, this wasn't due to lack of hardware capabilaties, this was due to a poorly written SDK and API. It was too difficult to write for the N64, and so the companies didn't. When you write a system, you have to make it as easily extensible as possible if you want lots of companies to take the time to write for that system, thats all there is to it.

Linux needs a nice unified standardized driver architecture, that is carefully thought out and discussed and done in an open way, and well used throghout all distros, IF they want hardware manufacturers to support Linux.

I'm not saying all this as a "Linux sucks" or something like that, I love Linux, I love the idea behind open source. I just want to see Linux reach it's potential, and the first step in doing that, is to first address it's issues. I'm not saying, don't use Linux because of this stuff, I'm saying, if you know enough about Linux, and or have the power to act on this stuff, then please take what I'm saying into consideration, and please see if you can do something about it. Maybe someday I'll have spent enough time in Linux to understand it well enough to help with its develpment myself, but until then, I can be but a meager critic, and suggester.

Again, I am in no way a Linux expert, and may be wrong in all that I'm saying, I could just be misunderstanding things, but, this is how it seems to me.

JZL240I-U 05-19-2005 03:07 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by Turjan ...I installed three copies of Mandrake Linux 9.2 on three Windows machines for dual boot use, and the installer worked quite neatly. It wasn't perfect, as I had to fiddle with mouse, sound and network problems, but it's not that much to complain about. During operation, the systems are working okay; they have more problems than the Windows setups, but they do their work, and I'm fine with it...
Thus you are comparing apples to pears ;). What do you think you would have to fiddle with, when you wanted to install Windows on a pre-installed Linux machine? :D In comparison you'd go down in flames ;).

So, if you compare, do so on an eqal basis and you'll find, that the systems in real life simply don't start from the same preconditions.

mugendai 05-20-2005 12:43 AM

[QUOTE]Originally posted by JZL240I-U
What do you think you would have to fiddle with, when you wanted to install Windows on a pre-installed Linux machine? :D In comparison you'd go down in flames ;). /QUOTE]

Piffle.. Install windows, on the Linux box, and I bet the mouse works, possibly the network, that's iffy, and same with sound iffy. Install the drivers, and its prolly good to go. And I'll bet there was no skrewing around with config files to get it going in Windows. The hardware is likely well supported, while in Linux, it is likely less supported.

I guess you could say it's comparing Apples to Pears, cause you can't really put Linux and Windows in the same class, in any other since that them both being OSes... But doubtful that there would be any fiddling needed to get the hardware running in windows.

JZL240I-U 05-20-2005 04:42 AM

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Originally posted by mugendai ... Install windows, on the Linux box, and I bet the mouse works, possibly the network, that's iffy, and same with sound iffy.
No, it won't. I have onboard sound and its by no means a forgone conclusion, that I can get a XP-driver for my rather old mainboard.

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Originally posted by mugendai Install the drivers, and its prolly good to go.
IF and only if you have those drivers at hand -- else you google the net and hope for the best.

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Originally posted by mugendai And I'll bet there was no skrewing around with config files to get it going in Windows.
This makes it abundantly clear, that you have never done it nor even dealt with it in theory. Windows overwrites the MBR, since it is not flexible enough to work along other OSes from installation on (e.g. SuSE includes automatically any preinstalled OSes in its boot menu, and does so since many years now). Installing Windows second (or later) you have to edit the boot.ini and better know what you do and how to do it to get your erstwhile perfectly working OSes back to life via the Windows boot menu.

Windows needs a primary partition, the older flavours the first primary parition, or else... What do you do if those are not available? Linux doesn't care where it is installed.

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Originally posted by mugendai The hardware is likely well supported, while in Linux, it is likely less supported.
Dunno, what distribution you came to grief with. SuSE or Knoppix detect and support most things and XP is by no means complete in this respect.

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Originally posted by mugendai ... you can't really put Linux and Windows in the same class, in any other since that them both being OSes...
Well, here we agree -- but for different reasons :D.

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Originally posted by mugendai ... But doubtful that there would be any fiddling needed to get the hardware running in windows.
Come off of it, will you? You'll have to install your printer settings, as well as the necessary networking defaults ... there is really not that much difference -- except in the mindset of the user.

mugendai 05-20-2005 05:41 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by JZL240I-U
its by no means a forgone conclusion, that I can get a XP-driver for my rather old mainboard.
If you have an old mobo then XP likely included the driver, if not, you can likely get it, it's not that hard. I have had no problems finding drivers for onboard sound for XP. It's one thing to have problems finding drivers for some ancient card, but I've never had problems finding it for onboard sound.

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and only if you have those drivers at hand -- else you google the net and hope for the best.
I've never failed to find a driver

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you have never done it nor even dealt with it in theory.
Oookay first off I think I made it pretty clear I'm refering to getting the hardware going, not setting up the dual boot.
Secondly, last I checked, since XP, you can install into a pre-existing system, windows or not, and Windows will automatically set up a dual boot, with a "Boot to previous operating system" option. Mind you, I haven't installed windows after Linux, in quite some time, I always install Linux after windows, specifically because I want to use a linux boot loader. But even if I had installed Linux and then Windows and it didnt setup the previous OS option, and I didn't wanna monkey with ini files, I can do that, via Acronis Disk Director Suite(or other software, this is just my preference). No INI monkeying, very easy to setup and install.
Anyway it goes, it's not what I was talking about. And yes it is more trouble to setup Windows on a Linux box, than Linux on a Windows box. But there is an assumption that if you are running Linux, and adding Windows to it, that you know what you are doing enough to deal with these simple situations.

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Dunno, what distribution you came to grief with. SuSE or Knoppix detect and support most things and XP is by no means complete in this respect.
See my spiel on graphics drivers, and wireless hardware, maybe throw some printing in there too. Usually coming from Mandrake(err Mandriva now).. not had much time to fool around with many distros, mostly because of tiny bandwidth. But I'll give you an example from my latest try on my new Laptop. The Wireless was not fun to get working, and took me days to get straight, and I had to use ndiswrapper with the windows driver to make it work, and had to rewrite some scripts to handle things how I wanted. I still haven't gotten the graphics driver working. I can't suspend or hibernate or anything properly. And there doesn't seem to be any good support for the power saving features on my AMD64 proc..
While in Windows.. I installed windows.. installed the graphics driver, installed the wireless driver... configured the wireless driver, installed the included software(downloaded latest versions of course) and had it all running within a couple of hours, instead of failing to get it all up and going after a week, and taking days to get the wireless straight.

It's because lack of support from hardware manufacturers, due to a not at all well written, or possibly non existent driver arcitecture and standard.

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Well, here we agree -- but for different reasons :D.
Again, don't assume I'm dissing Linux, I'm pointing out faults that I want to see corrected, cause I HATE windows, and LOVE the idea behind Linux

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Come off of it, will you? You'll have to install your printer settings, as well as the necessary networking defaults ...
Windows - Wins Hardware support, maybe not preconfigured with the OS, but easily available and installable. Majority will have all hardware working properly within a few hours of OS installation. Looses for being commercial, and corrupt, and evil, and unsecure, and invasive, and controlling, and eXpensive, and etc, and just down right ishy...

Linux - Wins the good heart merit badge, and the preconfigured software game(As in bam, all that office software you need, most the software you want, installed before the hardware is even ready). Looses the hardware support category, and ease of installation game. May result in failure to get all hardware up and running, which can result in making all that pre-configured software useless.

Look all I'm saying is, this hardware support thing CAN be fixed. Develop for the hardware manufacturers intrests, and they will come. Say, for example, a unified arcitecture that would allow development of one driver that would work across all OS, with ease of installation and support. Manufacturers would hopefully adopt use of this, and result in excellent HW support in Linux, resulting in more SW manufacturers being willing to develop things like games for the OS. Basically "If you make it easier for the manufacturers in Linux, than it is in Windows, they will come."

JZL240I-U 05-20-2005 06:35 AM

One thing first: my post #27 in this thread came in reaction to the assertion that Linux is hard because an additional instal on a windows machine complicates life ;). I proceeded to argue that it's just the same vice versa...

Quote:

Originally posted by mugendai ... you can likely get it, it's not that hard. I have had no problems finding drivers ...
Good for you ;) But likely is not 100% sure, that's what I'd like to point out. Now, comparing probabilities of finding things on the net is somewhat pointless in a medium so much shifting and changing :).

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Originally posted by mugendai ... I've never failed to find a driver
See above (I don't have XP, so I never tried).

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Originally posted by mugendai ... I'm refering to getting the hardware going, not setting up the dual boot.
But dual boot is what my erstwhile foreposter complained about and what I wanted to rectify.

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Originally posted by mugendai ... I always install Linux after windows, specifically because I want to use a linux boot loader...
But this is what I wanted to compare, the on-board means to boot an other OS.

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Originally posted by mugendai ... since XP, you can install into a pre-existing system, windows or not, and Windows will automatically set up a dual boot, with a "Boot to previous operating system" option.
Well, I use WinNT which simply doesn't recognize other than µsoft Oses. I don't know about Win2k.

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Originally posted by mugendai ... But even if I had installed Linux and then Windows and it didnt setup the previous OS option, and I didn't wanna monkey with ini files, I can do that, via Acronis Disk Director Suite...
That's not onboard ;). Well, is YAST2 on-board? :D ;) It's at least SuSE...

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Originally posted by mugendai ... And yes it is more trouble to setup Windows on a Linux box, than Linux on a Windows box...
Strike! Exactly! That, and only that was intended in my first post on the subject :D. Sorry if it came round otherwise.

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Originally posted by mugendai ... But there is an assumption that if you are running Linux, and adding Windows to it, that you know what you are doing enough to deal with these simple situations....
Hey, but that's actually a tall assumption and unfair too. If you want to compare the ease of setting up a secondary OS start with the same limitations.

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Originally posted by mugendai ... But I'll give you an example from my latest try on my new Laptop...
Well, those do seem to be on the downside, I give you that. But since I have none, I have no experience with them.

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Originally posted by mugendai ... Say, for example, a unified arcitecture that would allow development of one driver that would work across all OS, with ease of installation and support...
I somehow doubt that this is technically feasible, so programmers to the fore, but it would certainly be nice.

mugendai 05-20-2005 01:06 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by JZL240I-U
I somehow doubt that this is technically feasible, so programmers to the fore, but it would certainly be nice. [/B]
Actually it should be quite feasable. The trick to it would be to have a single set of APIs for developing drivers for varying kinda of hardware. You develop for this API. This API then translates the functionality to a native driver.

An example in Linux would be you would use this (lets call it SODA[Standardized Open Driver Architecture])] as your X-Serv. Then configure the SODA Graphics Driver with a SODA compatible Driver. The Driver written for SODA talks to SODA, and the SODA X-Serv then does the work for X.

Under Windows, it would be similar, you would load the SODA Graphics Driver as you're graphics driver, and then configure SODA to use the same SODA drive you used under X. It could even be setup so that a SODA Driver could look as if it were a straight out windows driver, by having a pre-configured install of the soda driver, and the soda graphics driver.. etc.. blah blah.

I figure under Windows there would be more cases of installing a Driver thats pre-wrapped in SODA, than would be in Linux. Linux would be able to adopt such a technology more natively, while M$ would complain about it, and call it unsecure, and unstable(which is always SOOO funny coming from M$).

Essentialy though, it's a layer similar to OpenGL, or possibly more similar to NDIS Wrapper. Except with SODA the developer would actually compile the Driver for Linux, or OSX, or BSD, or Windows, or others... As apposed to loading a driver written for a different arcitecture, and translating that to the current one. Should work out as a very thin efficient layer. Which would be needed for a hardware interfact.

And I don't mean to use this for only graphics, it could be applied to all facets of hardware, a great example of something that could use it would be scanners, and digital cameras(atleast for ones that need drivers)

Turjan 05-21-2005 12:53 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by JZL240I-U
Thus you are comparing apples to pears ;). What do you think you would have to fiddle with, when you wanted to install Windows on a pre-installed Linux machine? :D In comparison you'd go down in flames ;).

So, if you compare, do so on an eqal basis and you'll find, that the systems in real life simply don't start from the same preconditions.

I think that my comparison was pretty fair. Windows and Linux are not on an equal basis, so there's no point in inventing artificial conditions if we look at the 'real life' home user market. Windows doesn't want you to be installed on a Linux machine and let Linux live. That's a business decision we all know and we all know the reasons for, and we can clamor endlessly about this, but there's no point in doing so in this thread ;).

My example of installing Mandrake Linux 9.2 on several Windows machines had the sole reason to illustrate my practical experience with Linux. Mandrake's feature of grabbing part of the hard disk, re-partition the disk and installing itself next to Windows is amazing and remarkable. Its hardware recognition features were less amazing. Only the last point is important if you want to look at the home user market. And at the point where you leave the wonderful installer of Mandrake Linux behind and have to fiddle things out yourself, the friendliness for the common home user falls miles behind that of Windows.

To be fair, I have to say that I haven't looked at Mandriva 2005 LE yet. If its hardware recognition features have reached the class of Knoppix 3.8.1, I'm impressed. Nevertheless, finding and installing stuff for hardware that is not found during standard installation is a vastly more complex task on Linux machines than on Windows ones. This was the first main point of my post.

The second point was missing entertainment software. A simple fact, but decisive for many home users ;).

The third point was more Mandrake/Mandriva-specific than Linux-specific. This was the aspect that for a technically less inclined home user, Mandriva Linux with a user-friendly installer is even financially uninteresting compared to Windows. This version is addressing groups of people (institutions, companies, a tech-savvy family), whereas the free version (free as in 'no cost') addresses advanced linux users. This leaves general home users out of the equation.

jeremy 05-21-2005 08:56 AM

Please keep this thread on topic (which is the Interview with Mandriva (ex Mandrake) Linux Founder Gael Duval
). If you'd like to discuss another topic, feel free to start a new thread, linking to this one for context.

--jeremy

killerserv 10-07-2010 04:06 PM

Cool nice interview :)


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