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