Ubuntu 9.10 brings karma to the market

Ubuntu 9.10 brings karma to the market

Summary: Ubuntu is a great operating system that almost nobody uses. That tells us much about the balance between technology and marketing

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Ubuntu 9.10 is the best desktop Linux yet. The eleventh Ubuntu in 10 years, it reflects the value in the evolutionary path chosen by Canonical under Mark Shuttleworth: regular, incremental upgrades, each focusing on different aspects of the OS experience.

There have been plenty of mistakes along the way, but the result is superb — usable, flexible, reliable and secure. It pays attention to real computer users doing real quotidian work — a rarity in IT in general and in OS design in particular. It is also unbeatable on price. Yet despite a decade of solid improvement and, of late, near-universal approval from the cognoscenti, it has a desktop market penetration in the low single digits. There is no technical reason for this, and so Ubuntu 9.10's technical advances will do nothing to help.

In the enterprise, the barriers to take-up for Ubuntu on the desktop are like standing stones, the legacy of the ancients. Most business IT is based on infrastructure policy decisions made decades ago, loved by the priesthood and highly resistant to change. Ubuntu may be a better class of stone, but it will take a move to the cloud to really move things on.

The consumer world is more interesting. Ubuntu gives retailers the chance to sell hardware with higher margins and more control. Logical economics suggests this would lead over time to a considerable presence. Instead, it is entirely absent. Whatever is keeping Ubuntu out of the retail channel is not technical, economic or practical, and not the result of an untrammelled free market.

It is instructive to compare the desktop with the mobile market. In the absence of any one actor maintaining a monopoly level of control over a channel, open source is flourishing alongside multiple proprietary options. There are many other factors that differentiate mobile and desktop, but none as striking — and as mobile, desktop and cloud converge, none that will get more important.

So while Ubuntu can be seen as a failure on the figures alone, it is succeeding in important ways. As an indicator of how badly broken the desktop OS market is, it is as vital as a canary in a coal mine. As a source of innovation, of community involvement and as a focal point in keeping Linux relevant to real people, it is unmatched.

Oh, and did we mention? It's also a very fine operating system.

Topic: Operating Systems

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16 comments
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  • Linux useless for home PC

    Until there is 'click & load' ordinary people wont us it.
    M$ has it right, if you want to upgrade or install a new program it's just one click.
    You almost need a degree in computing to do such a trivial thing in Linux due to it's disparate versions.
    What's needed is user friendly one click programs for Ubuntu & forget all the myriad of other Linux.
    Unix failed for the same reason & of course
    siarad-c7511
  • Give it time, my friend!

    Just as Rome was not built in a day, Ubuntu needs time. It has some very formidable rivals.

    Its a tough fight and time will tell who is the winner. In the meantime the users have benefited so much from this competition.

    Good luck Ubuntu, my favorite OS.
    IndianArt
  • I don't know what planet you're on mate

    but it's certainly not the same one as me.

    Ubunto - favours gnome, leading edge video effects
    Mandriva - favours kde, leading edge video effects
    PClinuxOS - favours kde, more discerning users
    Zenwalk - very lightweight aimed at older or low spec machines
    Linux Mint - favours gnome, lightweight, user driven design
    64studio - principally aimed at musicians

    All of these are dead easy to install and update. They are all slightly different, because; surprise, surprise, people are different and want different things, not a one-size-fits-all unstable bloated monster.

    In my experience, the people who can't install what they want in a modern Linux distro are the same ones who buy their computer from PCworld and never update or install anything - including antivirus software
    Tezzer-5cae2
  • Absolutely Correct, Tezzer

    Not only are are significant differences, and advantages to the various Linux distributions, but Microsoft themselves provide the best possible example of why "reducing" to a single distribution would be an extremely bad idea.

    What on earth is this about "one click install"? I think Tezzer hit the nail squarely on the head with "on what planet"? I can install any one of ten popular Linux distributions, from scratch, in well under an hour, and most of them in less than half an hour, including updates and whatever additional programs I want/need. I defy anyone to install Windows, from scratch, in less than half a day, and more typically a full day or more.

    jw
    j.a.watson@...
  • You can't be serious. Sorry but your comment is very inaccurate.

    @siarad - could you explain your background in using desktop Linux? Why is it that you make such a baseless, unqualified comment?

    Have you even tried GNU/Linux within the last two years?

    Click & Load? Are you referring to the installation of the OS, or software, or both? Because in either case, installing Linux, and software is mostly very easy. For example, to install Ubuntu - this is a mere 5/6 step "click-through" process, and it can even be installed inside Windows. As for installing software, it's as easy as clicking Applications>Ubuntu Software Center>double click an application from a finely categorized list (e.g., Games), then click install. And with getdeb.net, it's a single click on the applications that you like to install them.

    A degree in computing to use Linux? I'm here to tell ya, it's so much easier than that. In fact I've seen some nasty problems while installing software in Windows that has been more difficult than a degree in computing could fix.

    As for different versions of Linux - this is diversity - it's a good thing! No one said you had to use all the versions at once for yourself. Pick one you like, and stick with it... That's the point.

    You should really checkout the facts before you post something so negative about such a great achievement in computer science.

    Shannon VanWagner
    humans enabled
    humans-enabled.com
  • Reply to several on Linux

    I'm sorry but I don't think I mentioned installing the OS but I guess programs may be taken that way, to clear that up, OS installation isn't a problem.
    Also I didn't mean have one version of Linux, sorry it does read that way, this was a discussion of Ubuntu & why I linked it solely to click & load
    However why do people complain to me when they click on .deb .rpm .tar etc the program doesn't install & yet you seem to say it does.
    I refer you to [URL=http://linux.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi=1/XJ/Ya&zTi=1&sdn=linux&cdn=compute&tm=407&gps=82_206_1003_710&f=00&tt=14&bt=0&bts=0&zu=http%3A//www.w3.org/Amaya/]No Windows program is so difficult[/URL]
    Seems I can't embed URL, suggestions welcome
    You see home users just want to use their PC not get finger-tied trying to load applications.
    Complete downloads like 'Free Ubuntu multimedia studio version' are great but little extras people are used to adding by click & load in Windows just don't work & then there's the printer drivers...
    typical example:
    Re: LEXMARK X4550 looking for driver
    [quote]Posted by: edjhome (IP Logged)
    Date: October 11, 2009 06:24AM

    don't buy s lexmsrk printer?

    - well i already had the printer snd since people kept telling me that linux was better than cheese i thought i'd enter the new millenium and buy a linux notebook for my daughter - could have bought a windows one for same price and set it up in 5mins to print from wherever in house doing homework

    it's taken me 5 hrs to find there isn't a solution - other than maybe running a windows vbox - now if i wasn't so annoyed at the waste of time i'd find that funny{/quote]

    See! a new convert, who saved nothing so no-one can say 'you get what you pay for', badly let down
    siarad-c7511
  • Thanks for adding more detail - it helps get problems solved.

    @siarad - Thanks for adding some more detail. This is how Linux works, one person takes the time to explain a problem, then others (perhaps many others) help.

    I fully agree with ranting about a problem, so long as the problem is detailed so that others can avoid such pitfalls, and more importantly - so that the problems can be fixed for everyone.

    As for your Lexmark printer, have you tried installing the Lexmark printer for Debian-based operating systems?
    http://support.lexmark.com/index?page=downloadFile&actp=CONTENT&productCode=&id=DR15629&segment=DOWNLOAD&userlocale=EN_US&locale=en

    As for installing .deb files in a Debian based Linux(e.g., Ubuntu) - you should be able to simply download it, then double-click and the gdebi graphical application for installing .deb files will launch and let you easily install the file. If you have the .rpm based Linux, then there is a different download. See this page for details:
    http://support.lexmark.com/index?page=answers&startover=y&locale=en&userlocale=EN_US&productCode=&segment=DOWNLOAD&question=linux#1

    If you are using Ubuntu, the gdebi graphical tool for installing .deb files should already be present. Please, what is your computer make/model, and operating system?

    As for using Lexmark with Linux, yes - this has been a problem in the past because Lexmark was not willing to work with the Open Source community, better to choose HP. HP is among the best in support for Linux in my experience. But now, Lexmark has the driver files available for LInux, and so this should work. But also, I will email them and let them know that your Linux should work with their printer - won't you do the same?

    All of this does not make Linux a bad operating system, it's just that other companies have not always been friendly to Linux. This is changing very rapidly however.

    As for windows, I have seen programs(windows updates even) that have a very shoddy install/removal process, that totally destroy a pristine Windows installation, yes - to the point where I've had to completely reinstall the operating system to fix the problem... Frankly, these are headaches of any operating system.

    But the thing with Linux is, that overall, not only are you supporting a good cause by using it, you are provided with more FREE software, and less hassle for "licensing & upgrade procedures" than you will ever experience with Windows (or even Mac OSX).

    The printers that I am using with Ubuntu Linux are:
    Epson C60
    Brother MFC-8600

    Linux is the "cheese", and there are people that can help with any issues you have... starting with me. Please feel free to email me via my blog at humans-enabled.com

    Shannon VanWagner
    humans-enabled.com
  • Thanks for adding more detail.. This helps

    @siarad - Thanks for adding some more detail. This is how Linux works, one person takes the time to explain a problem, then others (perhaps many others) help.

    I fully agree with ranting about a problem, so long as the problem is detailed so that others can avoid such pitfalls, and more importantly - so that the problems can be fixed for everyone.

    As for your Lexmark printer, have you tried installing the Lexmark printer for Debian-based operating systems?
    http://support.lexmark.com/index?page=downloadFile&actp=CONTENT&productCode=&id=DR15629&segment=DOWNLOAD&userlocale=EN_US&locale=en

    As for installing .deb files in a Debian based Linux(e.g., Ubuntu) - you should be able to simply download it, then double-click and the gdebi graphical application for installing .deb files will launch and let you easily install the file. If you have the .rpm based Linux, then there is a different download. See this page for details:
    http://support.lexmark.com/index?page=answers&startover=y&locale=en&userlocale=EN_US&productCode=&segment=DOWNLOAD&question=linux#1

    If you are using Ubuntu, the gdebi graphical tool for installing .deb files should already be present. Please, what is your computer make/model, and operating system?

    As for using Lexmark with Linux, yes - this has been a problem in the past because Lexmark was not willing to work with the Open Source community, better to choose HP. HP is among the best in support for Linux in my experience. But now, Lexmark has the driver files available for LInux, and so this should work. But also, I will email them and let them know that your Linux should work with their printer - won't you do the same?

    All of this does not make Linux a bad operating system, it's just that other companies have not always been friendly to Linux. This is changing very rapidly however.

    As for windows, I have seen programs(windows updates even) that have a very shoddy install/removal process, that totally destroy a pristine Windows installation, yes - to the point where I've had to completely reinstall the operating system to fix the problem... Frankly, these are headaches of any operating system.

    But the thing with Linux is, that overall, not only are you supporting a good cause by using it, you are provided with more FREE software, and less hassle for "licensing & upgrade procedures" than you will ever experience with Windows (or even Mac OSX).

    The printers that I am using with Ubuntu Linux are:
    Epson C60
    Brother MFC-8600

    Linux is the "cheese", and there are people that can help with any issues you have... starting with me. Please feel free to email me via my blog at humans-enabled.com

    Shannon VanWagner
    humans-enabled.com
  • Thanks for adding detail... This helps

    @siarad - Thanks for adding some more detail. This is how Linux works, one person takes the time to explain a problem, then others (perhaps many others) help.

    I fully agree with ranting about a problem, so long as the problem is detailed so that others can avoid such pitfalls, and more importantly - so that the problems can be fixed for everyone.

    As for your Lexmark printer, have you tried installing the Lexmark printer for Debian-based operating systems?
    [URL]=http://support.lexmark.com/index?page=downloadFile&actp=CONTENT&productCode=&id=DR15629&segment=DOWNLOAD&userlocale=EN_US&locale=en[/URL]

    As for installing .deb files in a Debian based Linux(e.g., Ubuntu) - you should be able to simply download it, then double-click and the gdebi graphical application for installing .deb files will launch and let you easily install the file. If you have the .rpm based Linux, then there is a different download. See this page for details:
    [URL]http://support.lexmark.com/index?page=answers&startover=y&locale=en&userlocale=EN_US&productCode=&segment=DOWNLOAD&question=linux#1[/URL]

    If you are using Ubuntu, the gdebi graphical tool for installing .deb files should already be present. Please, what is your computer make/model, and operating system?

    As for using Lexmark with Linux, yes - this has been a problem in the past because Lexmark was not willing to work with the Open Source community, better to choose HP. HP is among the best in support for Linux in my experience. But now, Lexmark has the driver files available for LInux, and so this should work. But also, I will email them and let them know that your Linux should work with their printer - won't you do the same?

    All of this does not make Linux a bad operating system, it's just that other companies have not always been friendly to Linux. This is changing very rapidly however.

    As for windows, I have seen programs(windows updates even) that have a very shoddy install/removal process, that totally destroy a pristine Windows installation, yes - to the point where I've had to completely reinstall the operating system to fix the problem... Frankly, these are headaches of any operating system.

    But the thing with Linux is, that overall, not only are you supporting a good cause by using it, you are provided with more FREE software, and less hassle for "licensing & upgrade procedures" than you will ever experience with Windows (or even Mac OSX).

    The printers that I am using with Ubuntu Linux are:
    Epson C60
    Brother MFC-8600

    Linux is the "cheese", and there are people that can help with any issues you have... starting with me. Please feel free to email me via my blog at humans-enabled(dot)com

    Shannon VanWagner
    humans-enabled.com
  • Thanks for adding detail.. This helps!

    @siarad - Thanks for adding some more detail. This is how Linux works, one person takes the time to explain a problem, then others (perhaps many others) help.

    I fully agree with ranting about a problem, so long as the problem is detailed so that others can avoid such pitfalls, and more importantly - so that the problems can be fixed for everyone.

    As for your Lexmark printer, have you tried installing the Lexmark printer for Debian-based operating systems?
    [URL]support(dot)lexmark(dot)com/index?page=downloadFile&actp=CONTENT&productCode=&id=DR15629&segment=DOWNLOAD&userlocale=EN_US&locale=en[/URL]

    As for installing .deb files in a Debian based Linux(e.g., Ubuntu) - you should be able to simply download it, then double-click and the gdebi graphical application for installing .deb files will launch and let you easily install the file. If you have the .rpm based Linux, then there is a different download. See this page for details:
    [URL]support(dot)lexmark(dot)com/index?page=answers&startover=y&locale=en&userlocale=EN_US&productCode=&segment=DOWNLOAD&question=linux#1[/URL]

    If you are using Ubuntu, the gdebi graphical tool for installing .deb files should already be present. Please, what is your computer make/model, and operating system?

    As for using Lexmark with Linux, yes - this has been a problem in the past because Lexmark was not willing to work with the Open Source community, better to choose HP. HP is among the best in support for Linux in my experience. But now, Lexmark has the driver files available for LInux, and so this should work. But also, I will email them and let them know that your Linux should work with their printer - won't you do the same?

    All of this does not make Linux a bad operating system, it's just that other companies have not always been friendly to Linux. This is changing very rapidly however.

    As for windows, I have seen programs(windows updates even) that have a very shoddy install/removal process, that totally destroy a pristine Windows installation, yes - to the point where I've had to completely reinstall the operating system to fix the problem... Frankly, these are headaches of any operating system.

    But the thing with Linux is, that overall, not only are you supporting a good cause by using it, you are provided with more FREE software, and less hassle for "licensing & upgrade procedures" than you will ever experience with Windows (or even Mac OSX).

    The printers that I am using with Ubuntu Linux are:
    Epson C60
    Brother MFC-8600

    Linux is the "cheese", and there are people that can help with any issues you have... starting with me. Please feel free to email me via my blog at humans-enabled(dot)com

    Shannon VanWagner
    humans-enabled.com
  • Reply

    Ah I'm pointing out other's problems, I just Yahooed to find the Lexmark problem as an example of a simple thing killing a convert. I do have one which was why I chose it, so thanks for the help, I have to use Epson.
    It was to show a reason Linux is no good for home PC, as that person was spreading the word to stay away & it seems rightly so, having been lead astray by enthusiasts as shown in the various above replies.
    I started in computers when they were largely analogue & the first digital was at Southampton Uni. more than 50 years ago, forgotten the name it had a clock on the front & used switches input & binary lights output so had no OS, anyone know it's name.
    I've long forgotten the number of different OS I've used, need two hands to count on & remember printers had no drivers being controlled by embedding escape 27 codes in documents.
    The first Linux I had came on a single floppy disc!
    You are of course right some apps are click & load but it's not the norm for hundreds of others.
    My suggestion was, since enthusiasts for Ubuntu are clearly around, me too, that capable people collect apps & convert them to click & load.
    Further why do writers not put headers in the programs capable of either informing a loader or just doing the right thing for the OS in use, this use of generic programming & an esoteric assortment of symbols is so out of date.
    I designed a sound card for the fruit machine industry & put a header in the ROM stating the start & stop addresses, mono, stereo, surround, speed etc of the tunes anyone could read so why not Linux apps.
    siarad-c7511
  • Reporting Other's Problems?

    Ok, let's make sure that I understand this. You're running a Yahoo search for random Linux problems, and then reporting them here as a basis for a comment titled "Linux Useless for home PC"? Seriously?

    Well, gee... I have connected a Lexmark E320 laser printer, and an HP H470 inkjet, and PLENTY of other printers, to a variety of Linux distributions, and never had to do anything, search for a driver, set up a configuration file or anything else. On the other hand, I have connected any number of printers to any number of Windows systems over the years, and either never managed to get them to work, or had to go searching for a driver CD, or a driver download, and I can guarantee you that there was a lot more the ONE click involved in all of that. My current favorites, though, are the printers that USED to work, up to and including Windows XP, but are no longer supported by Vista or Win7, at the whim of either Microsoft or the printer manufacturer.

    The moral of this part of the story is, there are zillions of different printers in the world. Your chances of getting any particular printer to work on any particular computer are variable - sometimes they will work with NO clicks. Sometimes with one. Sometimes with many. But if it doesn't work the first try, your chances of eventually getting it to work are significantly better if you're using a Linux system than a Windows system.

    As for your "proof" from someone who bought a Linux system and then was unhappy because a printer didn't work... read the bit above about printer (or any other peripheral, for that matter) support on Vista (or any other Windows version, for that matter). Your "friend" (well, the person you find via Yahoo search) could just as easily have bought a Windows system and had the same problem. Does that make Windows "Useless for home PC"? Well, yes, actually it does but that is not the only reason...

    jw
    j.a.watson@...
  • 8 family members over 70 using Mandriva Linux with KDE4.3

    This is the same FUD that keeps the myth alive.
    You are either lying on purpose or havent used a Linux desktop in the past 5 years.

    I tried the first Ubuntu and the Linux desktop wasnt ready 5 years ago and companies were only starting to come around drivers support. Wifi was hit and miss.

    THen 3 years ago I was given PCLinuxOS and everything just worked out of the box. I, a lifelong geek since the DOS days, was now a Linux user.

    The changes in the various Linux desktops (variety is a good thing because w. lighweight desktops like XCFE means I can run Linux on my old P3;s) the past 2-3 years improvements have been staggering and device support is now amazing.

    Last year, my dad was reading a lot about Shuttieworth and asked to try Ubuntu. He did and hated it. I then realized that Ubuntu's Gnome desktop was too Mac centric for a Windows user. E
    nter Kubuntu, same OS, different desktop since it uses KDE which is more familiar looking to Windows users, same font look and feel..
    So my dad who is in his 70's became a Linux user.

    Since then, we got mom a laptop (Mandriva Linux w. KDE4.3) and she never touched a computer before and throw in my inlaws and some uncles and aunts, I have no 8 relatives over 70 yrs running Linux.
    My mother in law and two aunts as well as my mom never touched a computer before this year.
    The KDE desktop allows me to customize things very, very big (mom's desktop is basically 3 inch icons of Firefox, Gmail, Skype and Kopete/IM) and makes it very user friendly.

    So dude, if you need some people to explain computers to you, I know quite a few Linux using seniors now who could teach you from their vast 8-10 months of experience.

    PS: My dad can install games from Kpackagekit with no problems.
    He often checks out the Games section of the multitude of apps, checks which one he wants to install, then presses Apply and voila! To uninstall, you click the check mark and press Apply.
    Hard, huh ?
    zeke123
  • I'm using Linux on my home PC right now

    I do not have a Comp Sci degree, and was unaware I couldn't point and click without one - I've been doing it all along. I can install anything in Mandriva's repository without having to touch the command line. Mandriva is constantly monitoring my installed software against the repositories for available updates, as do Ubuntu, or Red Hat, SuSE and so on.

    And your problem is?
    lordshipmayhem
  • Hats off to you, for trying Linux in the first place

    @siarad,

    My Hat is off to you, for trying(by purchasing it even) GNU/Linux in the first place! This is a brave and remarkable step towards technological freedom.

    From your story, it sounds like you decided on a whim to give Linux a chance without having spent a lot of time researching the issue in the first place. This is very cool.

    Also, it sounds like the Lexmark printer issue has caused enough of a headache for you to have expressed your frustration with the statement of "Linux useless for home PC". IMHO - this is an unfair generalization of entire universe of software based upon a single issue.

    At this juncture, I can only hope that you can see beyond the single printer issue and see that Linux is really so much more than just a single problematic issue. A single problematic issue can be a show stopper in some cases, but I believe that given your situation, and with the Lexmark .deb driver installer that is available on their website, your printer issue can be solved.

    The thing is, Linux doesn't have a salesperson to explain how to get your hands on the benefits of using this spectacular operating system. So what happens is that users make an inaccurate comparison of Linux directly to windows without really knowing that these are two, very different beasts. For instance: expecting that windows software will just automatically work with Linux. While some windows software can work on Linux using wine, most software to be used in Linux will be of the Free/Open Source type, or at least Linux-capable versions of popular software or even "Linux-equivalent" applications. This takes a bit of research to find a "comparable software alternative" on the part of the Linux user.

    "Linux-equivalent" or "Alternative Software" may sound like something you would want to stay away from, but in fact, there are some very slick and powerful applications that are available for Linux, for free. Most importantly - GNU/Linux/FOSS applications do not vendor-lock you into a specific application by using proprietary formats.

    So using GNU/Linux does make you a more tech-savy computer user because it requires that you learn a bit more about the applications that are available and how to best use them. But this is a good thing. Because of the power that a computer system harnesses, particularly when connected to the Internet, it is important that users have good working knowledge of how to use their technology properly. "Dumbing Down" the users makes us all vulnerable - not only to malware, piracy, and cyber-crime, but also to retarding the technological process that is needed for moving society forward in the technological age. GNU/Linux does not discriminate for reasons of profit, rather it is a vehicle for moving everyone forward with Technology. If you contribute something to Linux and F/OSS, it will never die or be taken away. GNU/Linux is the embodiment of computer science - by humans -for humans - to use forever.

    IMHO - Parents that purchase GNU/Linux for their children to use, are providing their children with the tools to make Technology ever more powerful and useful to everyone on the planet.

    So welcome siarad, it's good to have you as a new member of the community of GNU/Linux. Here's to what Technology can do for you!

    Humans enabled - that's what GNU/Linux and Technology are for.

    Warm Regards,

    Shannon VanWagner
    humans-enabled.com
  • 9.10 is easy to use - but printers!!!!!

    I have used Ubuntu (mainly in a Virtual Box or Live Disk) and it is in my view every bit as easy to install and upgrade as the various Windows iterations, in fact initial installation is much quicker and easier.
    Installing applications is generally simple - try clicking on the Ubuntu Download Centre! The only reason that I do not abandon Windows altogether is that while two inkjets are fine, I have a colour laser printer that does not have a Linux driver (I know, I should have checked before buying!). When I next need consumables though.....I will probably just get a new printer.
    fredjcrees@...