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Ubuntu Linux 12.04: Microsoft’s Worst Nightmare?

Well there’s a new kid in town here in the Linux blogosphere, and it’s already caused quite a stir.

It’s one of the Ubuntu clan, as its nickname makes clear, but that’s as far as the foolin’ goes. With five years of support and a scaly, tough hide, this one’s here to stay. With time on its side and its eye on the prize, it may just blaze a new trail.

Can freedom take hold in a world that’s been dominated for so long? That’s the new hope among the Pangolin-watching throngs.

‘Canonical Has Succeeded’

“Literally every review of Precise I’ve read has been positive, and that’s in spite of the fact that it’s still got Unity in it,” began Google + blogger Linux Rants down at the Linux blogosphere’s seedy Broken Windows Lounge.

“I’ve always been kind of a one-off in that I’ve always kind of liked Unity, but it sounds like Precise has brought a lot of people around to that way of thinking,” Linux Rants added. “In fact, the reviews have been significantly more positive for Precise than they’ve been for Windows 8.

“Having tried them both, Windows 8 feels like a Frankenstein’s monster of an OS compared to the fluid beauty of Precise,” he opined. “It’s obvious that Microsoft’s intent is to make Windows applicable across form factors, but Canonical has succeeded with Precise in a way Microsoft only dreamed about with Windows 8.”

‘What’s the Logic?’

Similarly, “having tried the latest Windows 8 consumer preview, I’m confident that any version of Ubuntu released in the last five years will have absolutely no problem beating it,” agreed Barbara Hudson, a blogger on Slashdot who goes by “Tom” on the site.

Of course, “after the success of Windows 7, this is Microsoft snatching defeat from the jaws of victory,” Hudson added. “What’s the logic? Did Steve Ballmer secretly invest a fortune in Apple stock or something? Off his meds? Run out of chairs?”

In any case, “one thing is for sure: Windows 8 will cause more disunity in the Windows camp than Unity ever did in the Ubuntu camp — and we know how Windows users have a lot lower pain threshold when it comes to change,” she said. “If Ubuntu can capitalize on Microsoft’s latest and greatest mistake, more power to them.”

‘A Weird GUI’

In fact, “I doubt ‘8’ is a challenge for most GNU/Linux operating systems,” blogger Robert Pogson suggested.

“An operating system is supposed to be software that allows a person to use his PC,” Pogson explained. “Too often that other OS is used to prevent a person using his/her PC without spending a lot of extra money and effort.”

Not only that, but “on top of the baggage that M$ carries, ‘8’ has issues with a weird GUI,” he pointed out. “I doubt any user of that other OS familiar with windowed processes would be uncomfortable using GNU/Linux.”

‘I Recommend Debian’

Both Windows 8 and Ubuntu actually have GUI issues, Pogson opined.

“I recommend Debian GNU/Linux — it’s the right way to do IT,” he concluded.

Indeed, “Windows 8’s new touch interface leaves a lot of room for competition to step in, but why waste this opportunity with Unity?” wondered consultant and Slashdot blogger Gerhard Mack.

‘Amused and Glad’

“I’m glad to see a new release of Ubuntu,” Hyperlogos blogger Martin Espinoza offered.

At the same time, “I’m both amused and glad to see a configuration utility for the Unity dock, when Shuttleworth swore up and down it didn’t need one, as it didn’t exist in previous releases,” Espinoza said.

“This seems to me to closely follow the Apple model of telling you that only idiots would buy a certain class of hardware right up until they begin producing it themselves, at which point they tell you that you must be some kind of genius because you want to buy what they’re selling,” he added.

‘Their Crown Was Taken by Mint’

Slashdot blogger hairyfeet questioned Ubuntu’s relevance.

“Seriously, after Unity and their fumbles and arrogance I just don’t see Ubuntu being relevant anymore,” hairyfeet opined. “Their crown was taken by Mint.”

After testing out the new Ubuntu, meanwhile, “I see nothing that I care for that I couldn’t get in a dozen other distros,” he concluded. “While it might work nice on a touchscreen like Win 8, I’ll give it a pass.”

‘A Good Release’

Not everyone saw it that way, however.

“All-in-all, a good release, but it really is not a game changer,” offered Roberto Lim, a lawyer and blogger on Mobile Raptor.

“I do not see the Windows crowd flocking to Ubuntu because of Windows 8,” Lim added. “Those who don’t like Windows 8 will simply stick with Windows 7.

“If Windows 8 is unpopular, Microsoft will probably simply offer a free downgrade to Windows 7,” he suggested. “I do not see other Linux users flocking to Ubuntu because of HUD.”

‘Too Much Freedom’

Still, “a better Linux operating system is not needed to challenge Windows — Linux has been good enough for many years now,” Lim opined. “It’s really about the app ecosystem and driver support.”

Linux is “terribly fragmented,” he said.

“It does not look like there is going to be one dominant Linux consumer platform at this point in time,” Lim concluded. “Third parties are not going to support a minority operating system with more versions than you can count.

“Different developers agreeing to a single package management system for all Linux distributions would be a step in the right direction,” he added. “Sometimes too much freedom is not a good thing.”

Katherine Noyes has been writing from behind Linux Girl's cape since late 2007, but she knows how to be a reporter in real life, too. She's particularly interested in space, science, open source software and geeky things in general. You can also find her on Twitter and Google+.

11 Comments

  • Even though we do know that GNU/Linux is superior to Windows (any version), Microsoft has been playing games under the radar to ensure it keeps its grip on the monopoly it cares about so much. For example, all of the patent bullying where Microsoft is collecting royalties from anybody using non-Microsoft products. This, I’m afraid, will allow Microsoft to keep its monopoly alive. Unless the people stop using their software, which I AM hoping will happen, is probably the only way to chip away at the evil empire.

  • "I’m both AM used and glad to see a configuration utility for the Unity dock, when Shuttleworth swore up and down it didn’t need one, as it didn’t exist in previous releases," Espinoza said.

    Shuttleworth never said that. What he did say at the beginning was that the Launcher had to be on the left because of the BFB (which has since changed since the BFB moved into the Launcher) and that it will take time to add all the usual configuration options.

    Linux is "terribly fragmented," he said.

    "It does not look like there is going to be one dominant Linux consumer platform at this point in time," Lim concluded. "Third parties are not going to support a minority operating system with more versions than you can count."

    Actually, it looks like Ubuntu will be dominant, and as far as 3rd parties are concerned it’s not multiple versions of Linux, it’s just Ubuntu and maybe a handful of other popular operating systems like Fedora, OpenSUSE, Debian, and Mandriva. Each is an OS in its own right. You could just as well say there is fragmentation on the PC because you have both Windows and OSX, and notice that many don’t bother to support OSX, or don’t bother to support Windows, only one or the other.

  • Ubuntu Linux 12.04 managed only to turn linux users away from Ubuntu distro, towards other distros… Microsoft has nothing to win or lose depending on what Shuttleworth messes up in his toy distro.

        • Oh so only a masochist is allowed to speak? does that come with a free bullwhip?

          Because I struggled for over 3 years to keep Linux running on my laptop, and I try just about every new distro at least one and i just have to say…your driver model is garbage! I’m sorry, no way to sugar coat it for you, your driver model is dooky. Sure more things work OOTB but ya know what? They do NOT STAY WORKING. I can take any distro you want from 3 years ago and slap it on some boxes, which FYI is not even a third of the average Windows support cycle, upgrade it to current and you know what I’ll have? A bunch of broken boxes!

          So don’t give us the excuses, we don’t want to hear them. frankly we don’t care WHY your model is broken, only that it is busted. You want to compete? FIX IT. But don’t give us excuses, don’t say you’re "ready for the desktop" when I can’t even upgrade 3 year old machines to current without your driver model puking and dying hard. the masses will NOT do forum hunts, will NOT "Google for fixes" which is assuming the driver that puked didn’t throw them into single user or break the net, and they sure as heck aren’t gonna "tweak" said fixes because your driver model is so picky that something written for hardware A, rev B, firmware C don’t work on hardware A, rev B, firmware G, so don’t even bother if that is all you got.

          My prediction? Win 8 will be Vista part II and Linux will gain NO SHARE because the devs and too many apologist to steal a line from Full metal Jacket believe that inside every Suzy the checkout girl is a Bash programmer just waiting to come out. Either give us 10 years of support or fix your broken messed up pile of junk driver model, but until one or the other is done frankly Linux will continue to go nowhere. Oh and before pogson releases his nutty? We are NOT talking about servers, thin clients, or what you run on your toaster,mmmkay? DESKTOPS is the subject, do try to stay on topic.

          • @hairyfeet: buddy, I too run GNU/Linus on 4 (four) laptops (including a macbook pro 2007), 2 desktops and a server… since 2006. what are _you_ talking about? frustrated? use your brain and the internet to solve your issues…

          • Riiiight, so all us retailers should tell our customers when their new units get hosed in an update "Google noob LOL!" and people wonder why NO retailers touch your product? Asus? quit. Best Buy? quit. walmart? Their quitting actually killed the company that was offering the desktops and laptops.

            You can pretend all you want but it doesn’t make straw into gold, or your driver model anything but dooky. I have XP machines in the field 8+ years with NO drivers failures, Win 7 machines in the field since Oct 09 with again NO driver failures, yet you can’t even take a 3 year old version and upgrade to current without puking and dying? And you expect the user to have to play forum hunts because YOUR DRIVERS ARE BROKEN and still whine you aren’t getting any share?

            Look in the mirror friend, its the apologists like you and the lazy devs that use CLI as a crutch and don’t bother with even the most basic QA that are to blame with Linux being a total non starter on the desktop. Frankly when XP goes EOL I will throw any XP machines in the garbage rather than sell them with Linux on them, your driver model being so broken actually makes that the better option.

  • Not sure how many Linux articles I have read about Linux being a Microsoft killer? Really? I actually think too being too open is as bad as being too closed. Do I like everything Microsoft does? No. But at least since Windows 7 came out Microsoft has been making sure it works well. I cannot say that for Linux.

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