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Old 10-16-2008, 07:57 PM   #1
gamelord12
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The things keeping me from completely enjoying Linux...


I use Ubuntu, and most of my experience is positive:
1) Even with all the graphical bells and whistles on, I get almost 3 and a half hours of battery life on my laptop, which is about 25 minutes longer than it ran on Ubuntu 7.10 before I upgraded. That's amazing!
2) Anything innovative that Microsoft or Apple can claim to do with their software, GNOME's got it for me already (for the most part), or it's available through some other package.
3) It uses hardly any RAM. I got 2 GB and I feel like I wasted money because my usage never goes over 500 MB, even when I'm trying to be excessive.
4) It's free! Mostly by that I mean that it's free as in no money (and I'm pretty cheap, so every little bit is awesome), but while I'm not quite a good enough programmer to contribute to these projects yet, I love that I can expect these programs to improve rapidly because so many people contribute to them simultaneously.

Now here's what's stopping me from enjoying Linux to the fullest of my ability:
1) My wi-fi WEP key for my router won't save, and I have NO IDEA why. I'm also going to bundle into this issue that when I turn my hardware wi-fi switch from off to on, I don't know how to reset it. In Windows, you just look at your wireless devices, right-click, and hit disable and then enable. Done. It's not that easy in Linux because it doesn't seem to detect it after the system is already booted up. Due to a lousy memory (my brain, not my computer's RAM), I prefer to memorize as few commands as possible. I'd rather have an intuitive GUI than a command that does all my work in one fell swoop.
2) How do I reboot my computer into a recovery mode? I don't mean the GRUB recovery where it lets you repair the "essential" packages; I mean something like Windows System Restore. How do I do that? As long as my home folder is in tact, I don't care what else gets reverted during a restore. If I mess with something stupidly, I want to be able to undo it and learn from my mistakes.
3) I know there are great programs that do the same thing as Macintosh's Time Machine or Windows' shadow copies and SuperFetch, but I don't know what these programs are called. These are the kinds of programs that people love, yet they don't actively search for them if their OS is lacking them. Through Digg, I know these features exist, but I have no idea if they're in my repositories or even what they're called. Why doesn't Ubuntu come with these types of programs? If they're afraid of bloat, well...that's what Xubuntu's for. These kinds of things should be included, as well as a video and/or sound editor and maybe the Compiz configuration manager, which is strangely tucked away in repositories for the user to not be dazzled by graphical effects on the initial installation.
4) I want more applets for my panels, and I want to have the option of a Vista-esque widget sidebar. The Red Hat "notification area" applet constantly freaks out on me, yet the network manager applet doesn't give the wi-fi connection functionality that I get from the notification area, so I can't abandon one for the other. Is there a place where I can download more applets? Also, I love widgets and gadgets from OS-X and Vista, but I hate the Dashboard-style of displaying them because it obscures your whole screen. I know there are screenlets, but other than putting them right on your desktop, the only option is the dashboard style. Can I get a sidebar style?
5) Just a small complaint, but can I make my folder icons display previews of the first few items inside, like Vista does? Preferably without littering my folders with preview thumbnail files (it could calculate the previews on the fly, perhaps?).

If anyone can help make my Linux experience more pleasant by accomplishing as much of the above material as possible, you'll be my hero.
 
Old 10-16-2008, 09:01 PM   #2
watcher69b
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solution to 3 or 4 of you problems:

dump Ubuntu and use something well known like Fedora,CentOS or RedHat
 
Old 10-16-2008, 09:06 PM   #3
Quakeboy02
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Quote:
Originally Posted by watcher69b View Post
solution to 3 or 4 of you problems:

dump Ubuntu and use something well known like Fedora,CentOS or RedHat
Ubuntu isn't well known? Wow!
 
Old 10-16-2008, 09:08 PM   #4
pinniped
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Quote:
Originally Posted by watcher69b View Post
solution to 3 or 4 of you problems:

dump Ubuntu and use something well known like Fedora,CentOS or RedHat
So which 3 or 4 of those problems would be fixed by dumping Ubuntu and how? Don't spout such crap without taking the time to explain things.
 
Old 10-16-2008, 09:15 PM   #5
Quakeboy02
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gamelord12 View Post
1) My wi-fi WEP key for my router won't save, and I have NO IDEA why.
If you're using gdm, have you tried saving your session before you log out/power off? There's also a way to have it auto save your session. I'm using Debian, from whence Ubuntu springs, and in Debian it's System->Preferences->Sessions. Don't know what it is on your screen.

There's also the possibility of setting it up in your /etc/network/interfaces file. You'd be much happier with the protections offered by using WPA-PSK, though, and it's easy to setup.

Quote:
2) How do I reboot my computer into a recovery mode? I don't mean the GRUB recovery where it lets you repair the "essential" packages; I mean something like Windows System Restore. How do I do that? As long as my home folder is in tact, I don't care what else gets reverted during a restore. If I mess with something stupidly, I want to be able to undo it and learn from my mistakes.
There is a single-user mode and a normal mode for Linux. If you want something else, you're going to have to find it and install it. Linux doesn't hold your hand with the gentle gloves that Microsoft provides. OTOH, it gives you much more direct power to make it do what you want, rather than what some faceless tech in Chennai, India wants.

Quote:
3) I know there are great programs that do the same thing as Macintosh's Time Machine or Windows' shadow copies and SuperFetch, but I don't know what these programs are called. These are the kinds of programs that people love, yet they don't actively search for them if their OS is lacking them.
No idea what these are. If I'm going to do anything critical to my machine, I make backups first. Disk space is cheap.

Quote:
4) I want more applets for my panels, and I want to have the option of a Vista-esque widget sidebar.
What exactly do you want, and how much effort have you expended looking for it? Have you spent any quality time with the synaptic package manager?
 
Old 10-16-2008, 10:43 PM   #6
Mr. C.
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I think we now know what the B.S, stands for in the signature: B.S. in Computer Science.

Re:
1) WiFi management in Linux in general is not quite ready. It gets better each year, with each release of the various tools, but it has been a challenge. The Network Manager needs an exorcism - it has a mind of its own, and is the target of countless problem reports and complaints on Ubuntu's forums It is trying to solve some complex problems, and has to coordinate many disparate and sundry mechanisms.

2) Unix/Linux was never designed with the idea of automatically maintaining local backup copies of previous revisions or installations of software and configuration files. This was considered to belong to the realm of good backup strategies. Philosophically, a well implemented, good backup strategy is more easily understood, and therefore more likely to succeed in actually performing a restore. And *nix systems are generally simpler in terms of their configuration files (data lives in files on the file system), and do not belong to a global database (registry) that must be coordinated with file system contents and file revisions. All the complicated and fragile System Restore functionality in Windows fails miserably when the disk fails. Since you need a backup in that case, why not simplify and use one mechanism for all? There are plenty of backup apps and strategies from disk duplication via utilities such as dd, to full and incremental dumps, cpio or tar archives, or more comprehensive pieces of software such as bacula. There is no one size fits all.

3) Given what I wrote in (2) above, part of this issue is the same as (2). FYI: Windows' shadow copy is a technology that allows In Use files to be backed up without need for the application to close the file first. This is important for software that uses exclusive access databases, such as Outlook, Exchange, etc. Different strategies are necessary in *nix systems as the file system semantics are different.

Other portions of your issue (3) are a bit too general ("these types of programs") and wandering. Why doesn't Windows come with a built-in, industrial strength mail or web server, or photo and video editors, or powerful compilers and command shells, and ... Again, one size does not fit all.

4) and (5) - no data here, but one comment. If you want Vista, get and use Vista! ;-)

Last edited by Mr. C.; 10-16-2008 at 10:45 PM.
 
Old 10-19-2008, 02:08 PM   #7
gamelord12
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1) I guess I'll just wait and see if 8.10 (and thus the new GNOME) fixes my problems with that wi-fi problem.
2) There's no program that can take a "snapshot" of what programs are installed or what configurations I have for system-critical services? That way I could just revert quickly if something gets messed up and I don't know what I did in particular that did it.
3) Time Machine and shadow copies are both methods of finding older versions of files when you make changes that you realize you didn't want to make, or maybe the file got corrupted or something. Time Machine uses a separate partition for back-ups to be made every so often and shadow copies just saves a file of the changes that were made to a file, rather than copying the whole file itself. A program like that would be nice. SuperFetch utilizes your available RAM to preload pieces of programs you're likely to use (based on usage patterns and the time of day, etc.) so that they load faster. I read something about a program like this on Digg, but I don't remember what it's called.
4) Isn't there anywhere to download more GNOME panel applets? How about a program that mimics the Vista sidebar?
5) Again, no program that does this? I do have Vista on my desktop, but I have Ubuntu on my laptop, and I'd like to have everything exactly the way I like it.
 
Old 10-19-2008, 03:15 PM   #8
i92guboj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gamelord12 View Post
1) My wi-fi WEP key for my router won't save, and I have NO IDEA why. I'm also going to bundle into this issue that when I turn my hardware wi-fi switch from off to on, I don't know how to reset it. In Windows, you just look at your wireless devices, right-click, and hit disable and then enable. Done. It's not that easy in Linux because it doesn't seem to detect it after the system is already booted up. Due to a lousy memory (my brain, not my computer's RAM), I prefer to memorize as few commands as possible. I'd rather have an intuitive GUI than a command that does all my work in one fell swoop.
No idea about wifi. I always liked wires more However, I have read today that the incoming 2.6.28 kernel release will have better wifi support. I don't know if it will help in your concrete case though.

Quote:
2) How do I reboot my computer into a recovery mode? I don't mean the GRUB recovery where it lets you repair the "essential" packages; I mean something like Windows System Restore. How do I do that? As long as my home folder is in tact, I don't care what else gets reverted during a restore. If I mess with something stupidly, I want to be able to undo it and learn from my mistakes.
I don't know of any distro that does that by default. What you call restore mode in linux is comparable to the single user mode. You can boot in single user mode via an option in the grub menu on many distros. If there's no such option, you can edit the kernel line at boot time (grub gives you that option), and add a single "1" to the kernel line. That will instruct linux to boot in single user mode (runlevel 1). But you need to know the basics of command line operation at least to be able to do anything there. Such is the price of true power.

Quote:
3) I know there are great programs that do the same thing as Macintosh's Time Machine or Windows' shadow copies and SuperFetch, but I don't know what these programs are called. These are the kinds of programs that people love, yet they don't actively search for them if their OS is lacking them. Through Digg, I know these features exist, but I have no idea if they're in my repositories or even what they're called. Why doesn't Ubuntu come with these types of programs? If they're afraid of bloat, well...that's what Xubuntu's for. These kinds of things should be included, as well as a video and/or sound editor and maybe the Compiz configuration manager, which is strangely tucked away in repositories for the user to not be dazzled by graphical effects on the initial installation.
The kind of user that uses linux usually wants to have more control over the machine and its data. I don't know if there are graphical frontends to easy this, but there are lots of ways to do automatic backups, if that's what you want. Read on cron and tar. That the way linux works: lots of small programs that do one, and only one, thing, and does it well. Then you can combine them to do what you need.

If you want versioning and need some way to keep track of the changes, then you should read about svn, git and mercurial.

Quote:
4) I want more applets for my panels, and I want to have the option of a Vista-esque widget sidebar. The Red Hat "notification area" applet constantly freaks out on me, yet the network manager applet doesn't give the wi-fi connection functionality that I get from the notification area, so I can't abandon one for the other. Is there a place where I can download more applets? Also, I love widgets and gadgets from OS-X and Vista, but I hate the Dashboard-style of displaying them because it obscures your whole screen. I know there are screenlets, but other than putting them right on your desktop, the only option is the dashboard style. Can I get a sidebar style?
I am no expert in eye candy, I don't use it. But it sounds the kind of thing that kde4 with plasma can do. Look into it. You can try a suse kde4 livecd or something to get the taste of it. However I warn you that kde4 is not really ready for the end user. It's still not mature nor stable enough, at least for my tastes. However it has a bright future.

Quote:
5) Just a small complaint, but can I make my folder icons display previews of the first few items inside, like Vista does? Preferably without littering my folders with preview thumbnail files (it could calculate the previews on the fly, perhaps?).
No idea, however it should be easy to implement. Maybe you could ask on the kde mailing list if there're plans to include such functionality in the future if it's not there already. It's just a matter of reading the first tree or four files on the directory (or random ones), resizing them and composing them into an icon. Imagemagick can achieve that and I could write a simple bash script to do so, but I have no idea how to integrate that in a file explorer on an automatic fashion. Integrating it in the file browser source code would be easier and less problematic I guess, and I am fairly sure that qt (the toolkit that serves as a base for kde) has an easy way to do it.





About the preloading stuff, well, if you use a given desktop most of the infrastructure is already in ram once you enter your desktop. For example: once you start a kde program, the dcop server and some other kde stuff is loaded. This is share by all the kde programs, which means that in some way, they are preloaded, at least partially. This also greatly improves the usage of your ram. It all depends on the programs you use though.
 
Old 10-19-2008, 06:41 PM   #9
jlinkels
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gamelord12 View Post
I use Ubuntu, and most of my experience is positive:
1) My wi-fi WEP key for my router won't save, and I have NO IDEA why. I'm also going to bundle into this issue that when I turn my hardware wi-fi switch from off to on, I don't know how to reset it. In Windows, you just look at your wireless devices, right-click, and hit disable and then enable. Done. It's not that easy in Linux because it doesn't seem to detect it after the system is already booted up. Due to a lousy memory (my brain, not my computer's RAM), I prefer to memorize as few commands as possible. I'd rather have an intuitive GUI than a command that does all my work in one fell swoop.
Frankly, I don't understand why this is not flawless yet. Mr. C. is right that it gets better every year, but it is not quite finished. On my laptop it is always a surprise what actions to perform when switching from one network to the next. I can't explain this to a user. But mostly you don't have to recompile your kernel like you have to 3 years ago. There is progress.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gamelord12 View Post
2) How do I reboot my computer into a recovery mode? I don't mean the GRUB recovery where it lets you repair the "essential" packages; I mean something like Windows System Restore. How do I do that? As long as my home folder is in tact, I don't care what else gets reverted during a restore. If I mess with something stupidly, I want to be able to undo it and learn from my mistakes.
That is a simple answer: because you don't need that. In the first place Linux is much, much harder to screw up. If you don't purposely trash your synaptic database files it is almost impossible. Even if you machine becomes fully unbootable, you'd be able to boot from a live CD and repair, because you will have access to the full functionality of the system including a huge tooolbox with every conceivable tool to maintain your system. Now try that in Windows. There is some kind of sorry recovery console but I have never been able to do something useful there. (I have done terrible things to many of my desktop systems, I am running 5 or 6 including laptops and my wife's but I have never faced a system in such a state that is was not recoverable.)

But I see what your problem is. Ubuntu might be immense popular, but one of the paradigms is to hide and obfuscate as much of the underlying mechanisms as possible. Ubuntu is made as not to scare off Windows users, that is why you see such a silly bouncing progress bar during boot up instead of screenfuls of useful information. I too have been forced several times to reinstall Ubuntu because it wouldn't boot and it did not offer decent root access. (I know, there is something like sudo, forgot why it didn't work) On the other hand, while Ubuntu covers as much as possible, it does not provide such an idiotic system restore like XP which usually restores to a point where you don't want to be. No, you cannot make Ubuntu a techie friendly distro, because the setup and hiding is that much coherent (and that is a compliment) that you would break the system.

If you ever feel confident enough to switch to another distro (like Debian, the ancestor of Ubuntu, or Fedora) and you have sufficient technical background, you might appreciate that most Linux distro offer much more tools for recovery than you are wishing now.

jlinkels
 
Old 10-19-2008, 09:39 PM   #10
Mr. C.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gamelord12 View Post
3) Time Machine and shadow copies are both methods of finding older versions of files when you make changes that you realize you didn't want to make, or maybe the file got corrupted or something. Time Machine uses a separate partition for back-ups to be made every so often and shadow copies just saves a file of the changes that were made to a file, rather than copying the whole file itself. A program like that would be nice. SuperFetch utilizes your available RAM to preload pieces of programs you're likely to use (based on usage patterns and the time of day, etc.) so that they load faster. I read something about a program like this on Digg, but I don't remember what it's called.
Just as a reiteration on Microsoft's Volume Shadow Copy - it is not a mechanism for finding older versions of files. It is a mechanism that allows applications to make copies without requiring other applications to first close an open file. It is an enabling technology, not a user utility. And frankly, it does not work very well or reliably. See:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/l.../cc785914.aspx
 
Old 10-20-2008, 12:15 AM   #11
farslayer
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#3 Time Machine

http://code.google.com/p/flyback/

https://launchpad.net/timevault
 
  


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