LINUX BLOG SAFARI

Can the Karmic Koala Take on Win 7?

Well the Karmic Koala finally climbed down from its eucalyptus tree last week, and the general result was feverish excitement across the Linux blogs.

Well nigh upon 700 comments had been made on Slashdot within 24 or so hours, on top of some 1,400 Diggs and 300 comments over on Digg.com.

“New version of Ubuntu to play with! Yeah!!” wrote untcodegeek on Digg, for example.

Similarly: “This makes me happy. Ubuntu FTW!” agreed DiggerLater.

And, inevitably: “This truly will be the year of the linux desktop!” chimed in dirtyhipster.

What to Do Next

Reviews of the new release seem highly favorable, on the whole, as does the download process via release mirrors and torrents.

Got yours already? Then check out blogger Danny Piccirillo’s suggestions for what to do next.

New to Linux? Might want to look through some of these nifty cheat sheets as well…

Linux Myths Debunked

Though the Koala was released Thursday, the anticipation has been building for weeks, as one might expect.

ZDNet UK blogger J.A. Watson, for example, was inspired to post a preemptive look not long ago at many of the FUD-inspiring myths that one still hears about Linux — and then, of course, to debunk them.

Go, J.A.! Those 450 or so Diggs are well-deserved!

‘What Does Win 7 Have That Linux Doesn’t?’

Then there was eWeek’s slide show, provocatively entitled, “What Does Windows 7 Have That Linux Doesn’t?”

Thanks to alert Slashdot blogger hairyfeet for calling Linux Girl’s attention to this one! She had almost forgotten that Redmond had just released something too …

The short version: “eWeek Labs identified 10 features new in Windows 7 and put them head-to-head with popular Linux distros to see how the platforms compete.”

The result? “Labs Analysts Jason Brooks and Andrew Garcia found that Version 7 makes big strides on the Windows front with its new features, but that Linux is competitive by most counts.”

Ha! Nice to see it confirmed yet again.

Bottom line: Amid all the Win 7 hoopla, the Koala seems to be doing well. Linux Girl took to the streets of the blogosphere for more impressions of the new release.

‘Looking Very Good’

“I downloaded my ‘alternate’ CD for Karmic Koala today by bittorrent to speed the process, lighten the load on the servers and to share the wealth,” blogger Robert Pogson told LinuxInsider last Thursday.

“It took a little over an hour, and I shared for several hours,” Pogson added. “That made my day.”

The Koala’s list of features “is looking very good,” he opined. In fact, “it is amazing that people are even interested in ‘7,’ with published times for upgrades from Vista up to 20 hours.

“What’s with that? Would you trust your IT to a company that cannot do a proper upgrade leaving the users’ files in place?” he exclaimed. “There goes another myth, that GNU /Linux is harder to install. Chuckle …”

‘It Must Be Mainstream’

As for other myths about Linux, recent moves by government and others to embrace open source are making it increasingly clear that “FLOSS is reliable, affordable and performs well,” Pogson asserted.

In short, “OEMs may still be willing to take a share of license fee markup for that other OS,” but Microsoft “keeps having to give them a bigger cut, judging by the recent quarterly report,” he added. “For GNU/Linux to make that big a dent in revenue, it must be mainstream.”

Indeed, now that “we’re roughly down to feature parity with Microsoft Windows,” the next step is to “match Apple for consistency,” Montreal consultant and Slashdot blogger Gerhard Mack suggested.

“It’s time we had the application equivalent of the kernel janitors project, where new programmers could go through the mounds of Linux software and make sure it’s all running the latest APIs,” he told LinuxInsider.

‘The Same Problems Remain’

For all the glowing reviews and general excitement, however, not everyone is convinced Linux is ready for the mainstream.

“Even though Ubuntu seems to get slicker and more polished with every release, the same problems still remain,” hairyfeet told LinuxInsider.”As I walk through my local Wal-Mart, what do I see on ALL the devices? Everywhere I see variations of the Windows 7 logo on the device boxes, which of course means I can take these devices and the CD will take care of the rest,” he explained. “In other words, it will ‘just work.'”

Not only that, but “everything had Windows Vista and Windows XP stickers as well, so I can take ANY machine built in the last decade, walk into any retail store, and shop with confidence,” he added.

‘It Is Just Too Hard’

“To me, more than anything else, THAT is what is holding Ubuntu back,” hairyfeet asserted. “Linux has pretty much gotten all the geeks that actually want to use it, so there really isn’t anywhere to go but to ‘average’ users and ‘power’ users.”

Linux has “nothing to offer” power users, he said, “because they almost never get a bug.”

For “the average Joe,” on the other hand, “Linux security could really help,” he suggested.

For such users, however, “it is just too hard — too much reading forums and spending time in Bash; in short, you REALLY need to know what you are doing to make it ‘just work,'” he explained. “Those people,” meanwhile, “have already joined the team.”

Risks vs. Comfort

Of course, if Windows malware attacks continue on their current trajectory — we’re talking about an OS that’s no longer considered safe for online banking, after all! — all those “average Joes” may soon have powerful motivation to learn something new, Linux Girl would hasten to point out.

Not only that, but for many, it’s not going to seem new for much longer, given the increasing rate at which people are being exposed to Linux on their phones, their netbooks and in their jobs.

In short, Windows may be the more comfortable option for many, right now. But the risks will soon outweigh the comfort, and suddenly the learning curve won’t seem so steep after all.

6 Comments

  • I have 6, 7, and 8 year old boys that use Ubuntu with no problems. They all love the games. My 6 year old opened the text editor so he could practice spelling, all on his own. My 8 year old figured out how to change the desktop backgrounds and even change the file browser to icon view and even increase the view size of the rows. My autistic 7 year old runs it just fine as well.

    My non-computer savvy wife uses it for her business with no problems.

    As for me, I found that it ran my all-in-one printer and usb wifi just fine. It was incredibly easy to network with my other PCs in just a couple steps… much easier than in XP or even Windows 7. Heck, 7 still has problems finding my linux machines without having to manually type its hostname. XP is even better than that.

    Another plus… no license key required! I was in another city when my HDD crashed. I had an Ubuntu CD and a Win7 CD (but left the product at home). As I desperately needed my PC for business, I loaded Ubuntu. Perfect!

  • And you are just either your bigotry or lack of knowledge. FYI power users are usually gamers-are you saying that a gamer would actually be happy on Linux? Doing what, playing Tux Racer?

    How many computers have you sold? One? I’ve been in retail PC since the days of Win3.x lady, so i know of which I speak. As for what you would need CLI for? Lets see-wireless don’t work, my all in one don’t work, my graphics card is acting flaky, and that is just my experience with 9.04, and can you guess what EVERY SINGLE ANSWER I got on the forums was? "Open up Bash and type".

    WRONG, You have LOST sir, good day! We are talking about Joe Normal and Sally average, people who actually get scared at the thought of opening control panel. You honestly think "open up bash and type" is gonna work for these people? What, are you high?

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again-OSX just works, I can walk into an Apple store or even Walmart, look for the Apple logo and I’m good to go. Windows just works, as again look for the logo and I’m golden. Will this printer work in Ubuntu? Can you tell me EXACTLY which devices on sale at Best Buy will work, and which are paperweights? You can’t answer that question lady. You can’t, I can’t, and the poor minimum wage earner by the counter sure as shooting can’t. Until I can give a Linux system to my customers and have ZERO problems with them shopping, like I do now with Windows and MAcs, then I’m afraid your "free as in freedom" is "free as in worthless" as far as me and most other retailers are concerned. NO SALE.

    • Sorry if I attacked you in my post, I just heard your name over and over and didn’t know a way to actually speak directly with you.

      Gamers can play many games. Many first person shooters, World of Warcraft and many others. Power users already do their research with the best devices, why not with Linux too?

      I’m sorry you had such bad luck with devices. I had the opposite with every device I tried it on. My wireless card worked fine, graphics was so easy on Ubuntu. Few clicks and I was ready to go. I admit that graphics cards can be annoying, that’s why I suggest NVidia cards, then you don’t have to worry. I know a few brands of Printers fail, but for the most part printers work just fine.

      Wireless and Graphics Card? You’re comparing Linux to OS’s that are preinstalled. Linux would not have any issues you faced with those if it was preinstalled, like you can get from a few vendors. Printers are the only thing that doesn’t fit in this, but I’ve yet to have a printer fail on me.

      OSX works because they make their own hardware. Windows gets away with it because vendors offer drivers. Linux for the most part gets along just fine with most hardware now.

      And as I’ve told so many others. CLI is the easiest way to explain a process to someone. When using words its easier to tell the person to type a few text commands then to try to picture a GUI and hope the person clicks the right thing you say. So the fact they told you to go into CLI means nothing. It doesn’t mean there’s no GUI solution, but that CLI is the best way to explain it.

      And I don’t like the high comment. Please be civil.

      Btw its nice meeting you. Nice to finally be able to talk with you.

      -Jessica-

  • I’ve always offered my clients the choice of changing from M$ OS’s to GNU linux – now what was already polished is polished even further. Side-by-side installations – comparisons of times and troubles, comparison of what is offered in the intial "brown bag" installation – Koala has won. Just in this week (since release of KK) I’ve converted two of my clients – two TROUBLED clients that constantly have issues with viruses/spyware/malware – and with little effort and teaching, they’ve latched onto linux with minimal effort.
    Installation time was (as usual) phenomenal, and adding software necessary along with customising the interface was done heaps faster than the actual basic installation time for Windows 7. The client was impressed.
    All in all, just in comparing the two OS’s side by side, "more bang for the buck" is what it all boils down to in the end – and for the client to be up and running and productive WITHIN AN HOUR is quite a good thing.
    I’m just personally impressed overall – Koala is nicely done and graphically nice – I could, COULD whinge about more eye candy once the installation was completed, but it’s all about customising to one’s own taste, isn’t it?
    I’m happy, and I’ve made several of my customers happy – and looking to make even more happy. Thanks, Ubuntu. Lookin good!

  • As always, hairyfeet acts as the typical troll. Sometimes he says some good things but mainly he just shows how much he desires to attack Linux.

    Nothing to offer power uses? Are you kidding me? Linux gives you more control of your system and lets you design it anyway you want. My Arch box can do circles around any Windows box, including hacked "lite" versions.

    Commandline? I only use it when I want to. You’re creating a circular reference. You’ve stated before that you can do all the basics with Ubuntu without commandline (At least I seem to remember that, I may be thinking of someone else). Yet you go on and claim that a basic user has to spend time on forums and bash. Name one task a basic computer user would need to use commandline for. And its basic users.

    -Jessica-

  • "For such users, however, ‘it is just too hard — too much reading forums and spending time in Bash; in short, you REALLY need to know what you are doing to make it just work,’ he explained."

    Almost any modern desktop Linux distro will "just work" without ever having to open a command console. If Ubuntu 9.10 poses problems, wait a few months and get Mint 8. Mint is based on Ubuntu with a slight time lag between corresponding releases. Mint is even slicker than Ubuntu, includes more restricted drivers, and provides well-nigh bullet-proof "out of the box" functionality. Other excellent distros for Windows migration include PCLinuxOS (with the most Windows-like look and feel) and Mepis.

    Whoever said this either hasn’t used any recent Linux releases or is trying to install it on some really bizarrely obscure hardware. I spend a considerable AM ount of time helping Windows users migrate to Linux and I won’t consider recommending any distro which isn’t comparable to Windows in point and click simplicity. Between Ubuntu, Mint, Mepis, PCLinuxOS, and Puppy, I haven’t found any Windows refugees that can’t be successfully migrated.

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