I have been using the latest Firefox beta and I’ll have to admit I usually miss my Chrome experience while using it. Well that has become less apparent. I think the Firefox developers really stepped up their game, and just might slow down the avalanche of users switching to Chrome.
The only thing that I have become addicted to in Chrome is searching from the address bar, rather then a dedicated search box as Firefox still uses. I understand the search bar in Chrome is a deep rooted, purposeful design that isn’t as simple as a few function additions. But there are some I’m sure that still appreciate the classic way of doing search (from a dedicated search box).
Firefox on Windows 7 is what I’m referring to. I’ve always had less then optimal performance with Firefox on Linux but hopefully that will change.
The new Firefox, besides the new tab design, is very snappy and loads pages noticably faster. Which was another reason Chrome became my browser of choice.
Not that I have searched the net over to find this story but it seems to be a non-event in the Linux world. Well at the very least under reported by any stretch.
I think its time to start weeding the garden of bad info concerning “is Linux ready to dominate the desktop market”. Until someone makes and funds a distro in the right manner it will never be a reality in the way the public is expecting. Most Linux users especially Ubuntu users, of which I am one. I will say I’m not sold out to Ubuntu anymore then any other distro that you hear is the one that “just works”. Obviously Linux as a kernel is far beyond ready as a technology to dominate the market. Linux as a technology gets blamed for every wireless driver that stops working, every laptop display that will not allow you to brighten the back-light. Whoever compiles the distro makes the choice to put bits out in the public that are at the very least unpredictable. Then you see all the articles, and blog posts rolling about how Linux hosed their laptop or their Windows partition etc etc. As valiant an effort Ubuntu is and will be I still think until someone has a purpose to sink their teeth and money behind building a stable desktop environment with free software it will remain two steps forward and three back. Don’t get me wrong things have improved greatly but when three releases ago all your drivers were perfectly fine and now you upgrade or even do a clean install and blam, “what happen to my wireless, why dont my dimmer switch work for my laptop etc etc”. That is not Linux failing, it is the process failing of the distribution. I know Mark Shuttleworth has done great things for the reputation of Linux as an alternative desktop to Windows but some of his crusades he has gone on has to me been a a shot from left field. The worst part of the regressions that most users suffer through is that they are scripts that have been setup to suddenly blacklist your driver and off you go to the races finding out why your laptop is suddenly not Linux friendly. The kernel community has a part in this mess but no where near the blame they get. Ubuntu is a commercial product now, whether you use semantics to say it is totally free blah blah blah. No company or business will use an operating system without support. Someone has to be responsible for breakages and guess what Canonical is looking for a way to make Ubuntu profitable but not by selling it directly but selling you the service you can not do without, if your business depends on your computers working as expected. The way things are setup Red Hat is closest to what works for free software but Mark chose to condemn them as just another proprietary OS. I completely disagree. Red Hat understands that the bits their customers are using and paying service contracts on do not have to line up with every new kernel release etc. Fedora is there contributing heavily to the bottom line of free software while Red Hat’s business grade distro is kept stable by the team that understands what customers expect. That to me has been shown to be the business model that will move us forward. It’s not about a race to the newest and brightest untested kernel if your trying to satisfy “Joe Microsoft”. I know there are alpha releases and they beg for bugs but people are starting to see that as going through the motions for nothing. Developers are overwhelmed or just plain bad people persons (i know, its bad English). There are bugs open for years that were never bugs to start with. If you want to release something as your distro, then don’t blame, the new kernel, the newest gcc etc. You released it. It is a tremendous responsibility I’m sure to get this right but until we acknowledge what the problem is it will never be “The Year of The Linux Desktop”. Linux gets accused of not being ready to run a desktop yet is running super computers, ISP servers by the thousands, Google to name a few. Just stop the blame game. Even Ubuntu’s long term support release is plagued by the same system that is still broken. I don’t mind most of the time to make fixes but when you turn your computer on and want to get work done you don’t feel like playing joe hacker. Get this right and we’ll see Linux shine in the desktop market.
Well after a few months I couldn’t take the muffled feel of the Macbook compared to my trusty old Ubuntu. I was dual-booting fairly early in the experience anyway but it just didn’t seem worth the extra dough to own the glamorous, what some make call trendy Mac. I went back initially to my two year old Sony which has been very trust worthy I might say for dual booting Linux and Windows (Windows since the streaming video still seems to need work on the Linux side of the fence). I watch alot of tech videos online if for nothing but to keep up with what is going on on the landscape of our world. That has lead me to Microsoft sights that require Silverlight, and no offence to Miguel but the Moonlight plugin sometimes doesn’t just install has hoped, not to mention you can tell they are chasing a technology around like a dog chases his tail and that it is not something I feel like getting behind since it’s future (Mono etc.) is still to me a bit shaky.
I did not like MacOSX plain and simple and the hardware is not any better then the new Samsung I just paid a quarter of the price tag as the Macbook. Mac used to have the supposed advantage because they “made” the hardware and the OS so things were much grander since they were made for each other NOT. Not to mention Apple showed the inability to keep up with Intel so the insides of the Mac are no longer any different, and as I see it better then the competition they for so long have made fun of. Good bye Mac OSX, good bye. Now I still haven’t answered the question of why Linux developers and open-source developers were parading their Macbooks at Gnome, and Lnux conferences (others as well of course). No things don’t “just work”, any better then using Cygwin on Windows “just works” for someone looking for the workflow and open smorgasbord that has become Linux’s hallmark. Please developers use what you are building in the way that will make our position stronger. The world sees this as someone who works for General Motors building the best cars GM has to offer, then leaves the plant to drive home in the comfort of his Japanese made automobile. Show the confidence in Linux and the available hardware for it, that you’re preaching by building it. If you do it for a hobby or do it for the money you make please stop making us all look like we are “talking out both sides of our neck” . As always just my two sense and I do not want to argue but good dialogue I look forward to.
I finally took the plunge and purchased a Macbook last week. My first impression was a bit shaky and still is, but getting stronger. I was impressed with the solid hardware. The keyboard is more comfortable for me then even my Thinkpad was. I miss the work-flow that I have become accustomed to over the last year or so on Linux. The directory structure throws me at times I don’t like all the files that are hidden and the Unixy folder structure as well. To make dotfiles unhidden is a task that even would throw a seasoned Unix person. I mean why not be able to open a config file or go to a properties menu on the Finder application? No it is a command that doesn’t lend it self to a person familiar with Unix. This command let’s me view my files in the Finder application:”defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles YES”. How intuitive is that? After seeing the complaints in some Ubuntu forums from ex-Windows users complaining about “apt-get install” or the like, I can’t believe you don’t hear more in the blogosphere about stuff like this. I believe there are apps to install that makes this more accessible but to me this is something that should be very close to a context menu or at least the preferences for the Finder application. I can’t believe there is no native way to leave a window on top as with Linux. Like Windows you have to install a third party app for this. Why the folder names and symlinks were needed to mimic what I see as a classic Unix file structure is beyond me. Is it really that much of an aesthetically pleasing change that someone would see the Mac as less beautiful. I don’t know.
I do appreciate the multimedia being very good though. I know I miss some proprietary goodness when using Linux in this regard. The Mac is definitely a solidly designed system. I’m just trying to figure out how so many Linux lovers can switch to something that can at times seem far from the uninhibited experience we have come to love from Linux. Maybe I’ll get use to it, maybe I won’t and I’ll just make this my Linux laptop. It certainly is an expensive laptop, if indeed it comes to that. For what this is worth I could have purchased two PC laptops with the same Intel processor with the same amount of RAM I received with this. I’m not giving up on the Mac awesomeness yet!
Give me your thoughts my Linux partners out there. Especially the ones developing for the Linux platform while using a Mac. Why is it worth going for something seemingly trying to hide the Unix awesomeness when you can have Unix in it’s full glory and full openness in Linux.
I know there are people developing Ruby and Rails on Linux and probably a good number. I am a newbie to programming and while learning Ruby and Rails, besides being what I’m interested in, has become a good way for me to build real usable applications and not get bogged down in “hello world” land forever. Can anyone out there relate?
Anyway since I started using Linux about a year and a half ago I always hoped to eventually become a very active commiter to an opensource project(s). I just haven’t been able to get myself to a comfortable level to be helpful in the programming side of things and at times I get somewhat discouraged. Rails and Ruby has brought wind to my sails!
As I said I know there are Rails developers using Linux or more specifically Ubuntu. I also notice that at the very least the Mac is the primary platform being used by Rails and probably Ruby developers and I will admit I probably would do the same if I could afford it but that’s another story. I would like to find like minded people out there who are passionate to make Ubuntu a first class platform in the Rails community. To the point that when new developers or even wanna be developers come along that may be testing opensource or Linux they find that Ruby/Rails is Linux friendly to the point that the tutorials or blogs don’t have to always end with “I’m using Mac but there is probably some help on the web for Linux users”.
Let’s make a landing point for Ubuntu Rails developers and work together to keep packaging, tutorials, and overall community attention fresh and focused on making Ubuntu second to none when it comes to being used with other open source projects. I’ve said it myself before I know that the Mac has answered to alot of users concerns on the Linux desktop or can I say has become the best of both worlds for developers who want the Unix tools they would have with Linux but coupled it with a pleasing stable graphical desktop experience. Heck even Linux/Gnome developers are using Macs to develop free software. Now I don’t want this to be misunderstood as a Apple hater story it is far from that. I just believe that as an opensource platform what better scenario would there be to be able to develop in a first class setting, the software you know and love, and is also open source software. I know in a perfect world being able to use an open desktop with other open source software has got to be better for open source at large then open source software on a proprietary operating system.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you catch the vision. Let’s make Ubuntu the best answer to the Unix that so many are using the Mac for.(not to ignore some of the visual design things that I believe the Ubuntu community is working on as well.) Let’s keep open up and down the stack from the programming languages to the browsers to the desktop OS itself. We can do it with the same charisma that the Ruby community uses to make programmers happy using Ruby. Let’s make Ubuntu and Ruby/Rails the number one answer to the developers looking for the best answer to the questions they have. There are quite a few .Net and Windows developers all over the net talking about trying to get Ruby and Rails working on Windows let’s give them a reason why they don’t need to.
Thanks for listening
I’ve been following the awesome Rails 3 tutorial by Michael Hartl at http://railstutorial.org/book. I highly recommend anyone wanting to learn Ruby or Rails (even some other languages thrown in as well) to go to this site and you will learn from a thoroughly professional free online gem of a book. I also recommend anyone who can, to purchase the PDF or hardcover that is being offered to show the appreciation for all the hard work put in to this by the author.
Anyway as I was working through Chapter 3 when setting up the initial gem file for bundler to install all the project’s dependencies I kept getting a screen full of errors. After reading the errors I noticed that the gem install was failing while installing the nokogiri package. After Googling as we all do I noticed on the Nokogiri web site that Ubuntu/Debian required two packages to install the nokogiri package. I was hesitant to install them through the normal apt-get packaging tool because I didn’t want the Ruby Version Manager setup to not be able to find the dependencies since the rubies I use through RVM are installed in my /home/me/.rvm directory. Well after installing the two dendencies the classic Debian/Ubuntu way I was pleasantly surprised that all was well and my gem installs were able to finish without a hitch allowing me to continue with the awesome tutorial.
The two packages needed on Ubuntu/Debian can be installed as follows:
sudo apt-get install libxslt-dev libxml2-dev
*the Nokogiri site has details for a fix without running the RVM setup, be careful not to follow as is on the site if you are using the tutorial as directed on the rails tutorial web site.
And as a reminder make sure RVM is setup as Michael instructs in the tutorial.
Just a few words of caution, when following the instructions for the setup at the beginning of the Rails tutorial be very careful to follow them word for word and with this dependency exception on Linux, everything else works as expected.
Update: As the Ruby Inside blog points out maybe Microsoft thinks they need to revert back to their old ideas
Lately as I’ve been learning Ruby I’ve noticed some frustrating hurdles that are becoming all too familiar.
Now I know Microsoft has taken steps to embrace the “other” world of web programmers but as I’ll show, I believe the wrong steps.
As the Ruby and Python web frameworks grew and also the community that insisted on developing web applications in a way that kept them in control of the HTML,CSS etc. Microsoft noticed and responded with the ASP.Net MVC releases. Their also were Windows programmers working on Iron Ruby, Iron Python etc.
This strategy while seemingly plugging the whole in the boat in my opinion is only delaying the inevitable shift developers are making to the “dark side”. Whether Microsoft or anyone else wants to admit it the threat from Mac OS X, Linux, Ruby, Python etc has much more in common then is admitted from the Microsoft camp.
For starters as I’ve said in other blog posts, a great deal of the Mac OS X shift by Windows developers and to be fair even Linux developers has more to do with the tools then it does to do with the pretty beach ball spinny thing ( ie. the pretty things). The Linux shift has more to do with instability at times on the Linux platform but that may be worked out if Ubuntu stays focused on the important things.
Not only do I believe Windows could slow the shift by their current developers but they could also possibly gain some of them back. Rather then try to force everything through the .Net filter they need to do the obvious. Give them what they are looking for.
1.How about a native Bash or Zsh environment. Environment being the key word. There are some applications running natively but far from a complete environment. An even so much of this has to be scraped together from evry corner of the web.
Developers now hanging on by a thread to the Windows platform have to jump through all kinds of hoops to use Windows. There is the Cygwin setup that breaks every time Windows upgrades. Although I must say the Cygwin developers have done a good job keeping things in order. I know Microsoft hates to admit it but .Net and C# isn’t for everyone. Stop thinking everyone wants a .Net implementation of every tool or language there is.
2.Embrace what the developers want to use rather then what Microsoft thinks they should use.
This doesn’t mean Microsoft is giving up on what they see as the future of programming. There are plenty of developers that still use those tools and will continue to stay the .Net path.
3.Embrace the commandline, the classic commandline. There are many developers and sysadmins who have tried to wrap their heads around Poweshell. The object oriented shell isn’t what some want to use. Again there are some who think that way but there are also those who wonder what the hell was Microsoft thinking. When the sysadmins and developers were begging for a better commandline story on Windows I’ll be willing to bet Powershell isn’t what they were thinking. The problem with Microsoft and these technologies is that they spend so much money and time on these technologies before the users get to see them that is more or less stuck with where they’ve gone.
If none of this strikes a note with Microsoft people then maybe we need to just admit that there are droves of developers who just need to keep switching.
There are developers that are holding on by a thread, believing that they can possibly stay on Windows but that thread is getting thin. Try setting up a native Django, or Rails development environment on Windows and see how long before your installing Cygwin, creating symlinks and such to make their environment “feel” native.
I would venture to say with all the free and opensource software that already exists having this happen would be more of pulling these tools together then remaking everything from scratch.
This would give Microsoft a much better story in their competition with Google and web applications in general. How much better off would they be covering much broader of a base of developers then they currently do. Who knows Microsoft could even innovate in this space and shock everyone. I know the resources are there but the will is at this time.
How would they like to see all the old school hackers that even work for Microsoft to stop buying Macs and using Macs to program for Microsoft. When the .Net Emacs project starting getting leaked to the world I truly believed that someone at least got part of the problem. But developers don’t want .Net everything. Microsoft could embrace what developers want even more then Apple and in my opinion shift the tide
P.S. Maybe you’ll listen, maybe you won’t, but at least I tried to articulate a few things that would make Windows seem like a platform I could even think of continuing to use.
As always just my two cents.
Update: I wanted to mention that I have thoroughly overstated the situation as far as Rails apps seemingly being used more by “real sites”. I noticed a Django developer doing some awesome work on some Discovery websites and a few others. I guess it’s just me hoping that it was Python and not me. Well I guess it is me. I ‘ll keep leaning on my noob status until I can hopefully no longer use that crutch. Thanks to Derek the Python/Django guy who made me take a second look.
It amazes me that the most english-like programming language in the world was built by someone who is not a native english speaker. Maybe the simplicity comes from his inability at the time to be overly verbose, using only statements and such that best communicated an idea to someone with a very basic english vocabulary. I think since Matz has become pretty fluent in the english language though.
One other thing I would like to note. I remember a talk that DHH the creator of Rails gave along with Adrian Holavity, one of the Django creators. DHH ekpt saying that he felt some of the architectural decisions behind Django were better suited to we sites where in his mind Rails ‘ architecure was better suited to web apps. At the time I took as a somewhat snide remark, thinking listen to this saying that Django was for building simple web pages and Rails was for building “real” web apps. Well if you take a look on the web now I think the statement rings true, there seems to be many more complicated, detailed Rails apps compared to Django’s hundreds of sites that seem rather simplistic in the app side of the functionality. Just an observation. What do you think?
This is to me what Ubuntu or a Linux desktop should look like. Notice the love given to the upstreams, Gnome on the wallpaper, the penguin for the start menu etc. I really liked the older OpenSuse I believe it was 10.2 if I’m not mistaken. It came with the Tux icon for the My “Computer” icon.