Linux Desktop!!!!!

February 15, 2011 at 12:48 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

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.

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Rails3 on Ubuntu! (Can Linux be a first class citizen?)

August 14, 2010 at 9:29 am (Apple, Free Software, Linux, Mac, Microsoft, Open Web, Opensource, Programming, Ruby, Ruby on Rails, Technology, Ubuntu) (, , , , , , )

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

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Quick Ubuntu rant!

May 6, 2010 at 12:42 am (Linux, Opensource, Technology) (, , , )

I continually switch between Ubuntu and Fedora and have been meaning to mention the irritating notification popup behaviour in Ubuntu, When you get connected to your wireless network etc. and the sleek black MACish notification box popups up the behaivour that I always expect is that when I click on the popup, the popup should go away. Well for several releases now that is the default behaviour. Besides being a nuisance to me it is much more “polished” to have the popups behave like Fedora has since at least F10. I remember a conflict between Mark Shuttleworth and a user on his blog argueing about the new notifcation system’s default behaviour but I can not say for sure if this was mentioned, I seem to recall that but I haven’t confirmed it. It seems lately that Ubuntu’s new design-level focus could be more about usability and less about trying to clone the MAC. There seems to be some harsh reaction to user’s complaints about the direction of Ubuntu. I would think the nitch they are looking to fill those types of issues would be readily accepted by the Ubuntu designers and Markm himself.

Say what you will about Fedora’s bleeding edge they do still find a way to innovate and still be mindful of little things like the notification system behaviour being intuitive. I myself do not like to click a notification box only to have it blink and fade at will. It just seems buggy!

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