Linux Advantages and Disadvantages: Part 3

This third article in the Linux advantages and disadvantages series addresses differences again--but in a very different way. This isn't about software differences but what you should do to take advantage of what the Linux community has to offer.

If you are a newcomer to Linux you are unlikely to see how this all works or feel you are both invited and expected to participate. But, the truth is that input from newcomers is exactly what is needed. After using UNIX-like systems for 25 years and Linux for half of that, I am not the person to decide what software is needed to satisfy the needs of the newcomer.

I am going to use the need for an accounting application as the example. This need has been brought up in comments to previous articles in this series. With millions of people using Quicken and QuickBooks and there being no Linux port, it's a real need.

One approach is to purchase emulator software that allows you to run the Windows version on your Linux system. You may see this as your best option because you want to run exactly what you are used to. The downside is that you are adding a level of complexity to the whole situation but, again, it may be right for you.

I want to talk about the other approach--asking for what you want. If you are used to mass-marketed software, the closest you ever got to asking for what you want was to ask the clerk in a computer store which shrink-wrapped box was worth considering. This transaction is likely more representative of what was on the store shelf and the profit motive of the store than addressing your specific needs. In other words, you went looking for something to address your needs and settled for the best match.

This is not unique to software. You have the same experience if you go to a car dealer. You are offered what they have with potential modifications limited to whether you want the standard radio or an upgrade to a CD player. But, here is the big difference, with Linux you can voice your opinion and it is likely someone is listening.

In previous article comments, someone suggested the GNU Cash program. It certainly is an alternative but doing a search today I found Kmymoney2. The project is not new but it looks like it stagnated for a while. Then, there was a burst of development energy last month. You can find details of the project at http://kmymoney2.sourceforge.net.

While the first part of the links (User Resources) don't look scary, clicking in the developer section can quickly lead you into a very difference place. This is all about learning about how to deal with this community so I want to ask you to go to the edge but clicking on the SourceForge.net Project Page.

This is a busy page. Don't be intimidated. If you look down in the Tracker section you will see some things that make sense. Feature Requests, for example. Also, Mailing Lists will make sense. What you see here is what is typical for Open Source development projects. If you look at the feature requests, for example, you will see some non-technical requests where people are asking for things they would like to see added to the program.

Asking for a feature is one way you can participate. While Kmymoney2 doesn't handle all possible financial transactions today, asking for and explaining why the request makes sense is a way to help development move forward.

Is there more you can do? Of course. One is to donate money and there is a place for that. Beyond that, a big thing lacking in this project is documentation. If you know how to write and can talk about the practical side of doing financial things, you might want to volunteer to help on the documentation. It would be a good chance to get very familiar with the program as well as contribute back to the community.

My whole point here is that you don't have to accept that you can't do something on your Linux system that you can do on a different system. You can actually participate, use your expertise and decrease the number of items on the "can't do it" list. Participation in these projects can go far beyond the project itself. Just increased interest in a program such as this might be the force that convinces commercial vendors to make their product available for Linux. Clearly, another consideration of the word open is an open market where commercial products can compete alongside open development.

fyl - Mon, 2005-06-20 07:36.
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Documentation by new Linux users

I wanted to thank you for putting forth the (seemingly obvious) idea that non-programmers who are relatively new to Linux can contribute in the area of documentation. It's an amazingly brilliant, simple idea. I've been threatening to use Linux for years, but always get beaten down by the overwhelming complexity of it.

Sure, I've had a redhat box or a freebsd box, but it was truely the (much feared) exception and the comfortable rule. With several Linux distros becoming more friendly (Fedora Core, MEPIS, Mandriva, etc.), I am slowly expanding my Linux familiarity. But I'm not a codemonkey. I don't want to be one.

I *can* write. And I understand how to use software. Furthermore, I understand how to explain software usage to others, in practical non-technical terms.

Your bit spoke directly to me. Thank you.

An - ymous (not verified) - Thu, 2006-01-05 19:19.

Linux Needs

In my opinion, by far the greatest need to move Linux into more of a desktop mainstream world is printer drivers. Several types of office software already exists, which is good, but until printer drivers are readily available the office software doen't do a lot of good. Likewise for accounting packages. Until the utilitarian drivers are available, Linux will remain in the purview of the back-office and hobbyists.

Gary (not verified) - Sat, 2005-09-17 08:59.

Printer Drivers

Spot on - The only issue I have with using Linux as a desktop are printer drivers. I use an Epson RX420 which is supported (using the RX300 driver), but the output is not upto the standard I would like. This is espacially true with photo printing and I find I have to resort back to XP (I'm a dual booter), which is disappointing. This printer is an all in one type, getting the scanner working correctly took hours and the cartridge utils frequently crash.

Stefan (not verified) - Tue, 2006-01-31 05:33.

Is Linux ready for prime time?

I have been experimenting with Linux for about a year. As far as I am concerned, Linux shows some promise, but it is not yet close to matching the functionality and ease of use of Windows (or Macintosh).

I got my first computer in 1985, a Commodore 64, my next PC was a Tandy running DOS, and after that it has been some version of an intel PC running every version of Windows from 3.1 to XP. I have had Macs on my desk at work.

I consider myself a 'power user', I like to experiment with all types of software, mostly playing, exploring the different things I can do with a computer 'just for fun'. At home, I have a 3 PC network, I share, move and copy files, internet and printing, I am currently playing with CAD, digital photograpy, and midi music creation. For work , the applications I require are covered by typical office suites and SPSS.

I am a user, I have absolutely no interest in operating systems. As far as I am concerned an OS should not be seen or heard, it's only function should be to let me use an application. The only OS's I used that did that were Commodore's TOS and Microsoft's DOS. You issued a run command, and the application ran, no fuss no muss. If it didn't work, it was because there was something wrong with the application or the hardware.

Starting with the first Apple Macintosh, the operating system became more important than the applications. What is that all about? (just one of the many reasons "marketers" are going to be the first to be lined up against the wall and....) We spend our days decorating our desktops, adjusting icons, managing files, emptyting caches, setting 'wallpaper' passwords, and 'maintainence'. How did this happen? The reason I bought my first computer was because I needed a word processor, I was not interested in owning a computer. I needed to be able to edit documents in some other way than completely retyping them. When I got my C64 I found out that besides being a pretty good word processor for its day, I could do all this other neat stuff, play games, make drawings, play with sounds etc. I was hooked, but it was about what I could do WITH the computer, not what I could do FOR the computer.

Despite my non interest in the prosaics of computer operations, I did have to learn OS mechanics. In order to do the stuff I really wanted to do, I have had to learn way more about Windows, Macintosh, LANs & WANs, and lately Linux than I have ever wanted to know, resenting every second I had to spend tracking down some obscure bit of OS arcana when all I really wanted to do was write an essay, zap aliens, play a virtual pipe organ, or download pictures from my digital camera.

While Linux may be OK for some people, for me, Linux is getting to be Excedrin headache 9.23 10^28. So far I have tried SUse 8.2, SUSE 9.3, MEPIS 3.2.1 Ubuntu, Knoppix Live and Linspire Live. I have tried them on a variety of PIII or better machines, all of which work just fine using Windows 98SE or Windows XP.

Here is what what works well and what doesn't.

Most Linux internet applications are as good or better than anything available for Windows.

Configuring internet connections is just the way it should be, a breeze.

Open Office is a viable substitute for MS office. The ability to create pdf format documents out of the box is a real bonus, (as is the price :-).

Gimp is great, just as good or better as anything else available for my purposes.

Qcad is an excellent 2d cad program .

Linux is easily able to read and write files and media created in Windows and other OSes .

That was the good news.

Here is the stuff that is driving me crazy.

Take the LAN (please), I am unable to figure out how to get full read and write access between my Linux and Windows PCs. When my printer is hooked up to the Linux box parallel port, I can't find it with my windows PCs. I have been unable to set my printer up with network card (HP laserjet4 with jetdirect card).

Linux printing setup sucks. No version recognized my HP Laserjet 4, if Linux can't recognize an HP Laserjet 4, what can it recognize?. OK so it is easy to manually select printers, but why bother with the auto detect option at all if it won't find what is probably the most common printer there is. I got so fed up I removed Ubuntu after trying for two hours to change the default paper size settings from A2 to letter and not succeeding, despite having made the change in about three different configuration menus. Same thing happened in SUSE (both versions), but after way too much time I was finally able to change the default printer paper size.

XMMS won't play my MP3s in SUSE 9.3, but it will in MEPIS (????)

Midi sound does not work in any version I tried, even though my sound cards are supposedly supported by ALSA and the drivers appear to be loaded. The ALSA sound module does not show any midi devices no matter which version of Linux I try. Midi out to my synth works with turtle beach USB midi cables but not with M Audio USB 1X1 midi connector. (All of this stuff works just fine with Windows BTW).

Bit Torrent has the dreaded NAT error unless I use it logged in as root.

No 3D support for my Radeon video card.

It seems that every time I set out to do something other than surf the net, I end up fiddling with the OS instead.

The level of help or documentation available is either way too basic (I already know how to turn on my PC thanks!) or way over my head.

The Linux 'support' community has among its membership some of the rudest nitwits that ever walked the earth.

I haven't given up on Linux yet, but if I had to choose only one OS today, it would not be Linux.

So why am I using Linux at all? While it sounds like I like Windows best, truth is I have no use for microsoft as a company. Once I paid good money for Windows 95, which was a giant steaming pile of you know what. Ditto for for early releases of MS Office. As a result of my past experiences with their flawed crap I will not buy anything from MS ever again unless there is no other alternative (I can hold a grudge for a long time). I figure they still owe me about a year's worth of my time trying get their stuff to work.

I also think it is important to break the current OS monopoly and I am rooting for open source. The free sharing of information is the best way and fastest way to advance technology and knowledge.

In conclusion, as far as I am concerned, todays desktop Linux is OK for someone who only wants to use the basic applications, email, browser, wordprocessing, graphics, and simple games like solitaire.

It would also appear to be a viable choice for high end operational stuff like servers etc, but I wouldn't know, as like I said, I am a user of computer applications, not a computer operator.

I am looking forward to the day when I can cleanse microsoft from all my computers, but that day is still a long way off.

everiman (not verified) - M - , 2005-08-15 13:38.

RE: is Linux ready for prime time?

Dear ready for prime time, I had to chuckle at some of your comments concerning getting Linux to work on your computer. It sounds the same on my end and also for many I have both worked with and heard from. My computer experience is much like yours (I also started computer life with a commodore 64).

We have finally moved from Windows as our base operating system to Xandros Linux (version 3 business) and I guess what really helped us more than anything was a new way of thinking about software in general. We finally realized that no one operating system or software title can be all and do all for every task. Where Linux is weak in the software titles Windows is strong and vise-versa.

We use Xandros for burning CDs (K3B) browsing with Opera, scanning with either VueScan or Kooka etc. We use Win4Lin and windows 98SE for the other 20% of software that Linux doesn't have. With that Windows 98 icon on the desktop we think of Windows as just another piece of software we start when we need to use something Linux doesn't have. With Linux as our secure base we have eliminated virus, cookies and spy ware problems and cut our software purchases in half.

I don't think we would consider going back to Windows because for the past two years our personal and business computers have worked so flawlessly that the fear of getting slammed on the internet have disappeared. We found we can backup our computers easy by putting two hardrives in our computers and using partition commander 9 (purchased back while using Windows) to backup one to the other. However, we found that there is little reason to do it now except for the head crash problem.

I also found some of the rude folks you talk about. I had the unfortunate luck to talk to Ugenia over at OS News before she left. She almost made me go to Mac because she was so rude. But I'm glad I didn't let one bad apple steer me wrong. Good luck in your quest, and if you decide to look at Win4Lin purchase the free download of the home edition to try out.

penguin7009

penguin7009 (not verified) - Wed, 2005-09-07 20:20.

install

I think on of the biggest things linux needs is easer ways to intall programs. Just to make it more usable. for instance right now I am struggling with getting Java to run. I have been using linux on and off now for about 4 or five years started with Red Hat 6.2 so when ever that came out. The biggest reson I would stop using it was becouse I couldnt get something to work right.

An - ymous (not verified) - Sun, 2005-07-24 09:37.

My experiences are a bit diff

My experiences are a bit different. But I too am a PCLinuxOS user, so that might explain something. With RH and Mandrake I had to struggle with installing a lot of programs manually, and even the urpmi package mgmt program (of MDK) gave me hard time every now and then.

With PCLinuxOS, all I ever do is select the program of my choice from the synaptic package mgmt program, mark it for installation, and snap - it's installed! It just couln't get any easier, it's 100 x easier than in w*****s.

So far all the programs I need, have been found from the PCLinuxOS SW repository, and 99% of them are installed by default already. And I've noticed the PCLinuxOS maintainer is willing to contribute new packages to the repository, when someone requests something that's not already there.

The point is, maybe you should just use some better OS, than the current one. You guess what I would recommend... ;)

FinMan (not verified) - Tue, 2005-09-13 08:44.

Installing software

Having been using Linux a couple of years now, I have to say that I do not think that installation is all that difficult, but that some programs and some distros make things harder than they need to be.

Java is a case in point, however, the distro I use now, PCLinuxOS, has it integrated on the live-CD so once installed it is already there. Before that I used Gentoo, which can be complex, but its portage system downloaded and installed Java perfectly. So it can be done!

For many distros, the first problem is "What happens when the program you want is not in the repositories?" That can depend on a lot of things. For example, the new Adobe Reader 7.0 can be downloaded as an rpm. It is reasonably self contained so should make very few demands on a modern system in terms of dependencies. On PCLinuxOS, I download the rpm, navigate to it using Konqueror, and double-click on the rpm. This runs KPackage which I use to install the program. The only awkward bit was that I had to sort out the menus for myself, by running Menudrake, so that I could actually run the program. But it's not that hard.

Another way of installing things is typified by the NVidia 3D graphics drivers. You have to install the "kernel source" code first. In PCLOS, with a broadband connection, it isn't that hard, though it's huge if you rely on dial-up! It's just done through synaptic, as usual. Once that is done, the instructions provided by NVidia can easily be followed, it's just a case of not being intimidated by the command line and by editing a file (/etc/X11/xorg.xonf).

The worst case scenario is the ./configure > make > make install routine. Even that gets easier the more you do it.

But for most people if you check your distro's repositories through Synaptic, apt-get, RPM, urpmi, yum, portage or whatever program it uses, if it is there, the installation will "just work" and dependencies will be handled correctly. As you gain experience, you can try the more complicated stuff.

davecs (not verified) - Tue, 2005-08-02 06:35.

Everyone goes .NET

During the last 20 years, Linux was "only" a server-side OS - therefore nobody needed graphical installers. Since the beginning of this millenium, the amount of malware and viruses attacking Windows-PCs dramatically increased - that's a main reason why pepole think about using Linux as Dektop OS (at least - that's why I started using it). So the Linux-Desktop is still in its very early childhood whereas the Windows-Desktop is already in teen-age (OK, on the server-side, things are the other way round)...
Linux (and its available tools and packages) just needs one or two more years to react on this new development and to implement the well-known (and -hated) Windows-ease-of-use (Installations, Clipboard-Handling, ...). The .NET-platform will be a great step forward in this approach (I really dislike Java because of its "amazing speed" and some other reasons...) - .NET-based programs can be run under MS.NET or MONO.NET (and others) - that way even programs that use the Windows.Forms-namespace can be used on multiple platforms. (btw: MONO has its own graphical installation wizard that makes it really easy to install - on ANY platform)
The (very near) future of application-development and PC-OS'es will lead us to a point where the type of OS (or machine) doesn't matter anymore - you just use your OS of choice and use your programs of choice and they will work together. That is what the idea of .NET is aimed at and that is what we all will get (and love) in a few years ... so don't waste your time worrying about Windows - use Linux instead: the earlier you start, the faster you learn!!!

RYX (not verified) - Tue, 2005-09-13 08:35.

Input from a new user

Standard installation of programs is what is needed. Try to install something and it breaks something else. Untill there is a standard across the board way to install apps, Linux will remain a novelty to the masses. the 90-95% of the market that does not use Linux wants nothing to do with "dependency hell".

An - ymous (not verified) - Thu, 2005-07-14 22:03.

Cross Linux installation of applications is definitely needed.

I would agree whole heartedly with the person presenting this idea. A cross Linux, uniform user experience for the installation of end user applications would go a long way to pulling Linux forward. As an applications programmer I can tell you a simple plan: ship with a Java runtime environment configured on every Linux system and you will have won 95% of the battle. When an end user can download a single java jar file that is a complete application package and installer in one (graphical, of course) the Linux community will have scored a huge victory.
My main strategy in creating applications is to be pragmatic, try to reduce the total cost of ownership, and try to increase my speed to market. Because Linux is excellent and inexpensive, and because Java removes the cost (to the Java developer) of compilers and porting, I think there is a very natural match there.
Fedora Core 4 is shipping with Java and I think that is the begining of a wave that will have a very good effect on the availability of applications and the interest that application developers show in the platform.

Mark (not verified) - Wed, 2005-08-17 20:19.

Dependency hell

I too suffered from so-called dependency hell using MandrakeLinux (now Mandriva). I then switched to Ubuntu a couple months ago and have not had a SINGLE case of dependency problems since, no matter what programs I've tried to install. All of them have installed and worked flawlessly. Debian's apt-get and it's GUI front-end, Synaptic, "just work" to paraphrase a well known slogan, and they work beautifully! Highly recommended!

CM

Charles (not verified) - Wed, 2005-07-27 20:02.

Dependency Hell

Dependency Hell can happen because (1) you tried to install a program not in your distro's repositories, (2) you tried to install it by downloading it individually instead of via its update software or (3) your distro's repositories are broken.

I had this with Mandrake 9.0 years ago for reason (2) because the update software was broken. Since then it has never happened to me, PCLinuxOS my latest distro has solid repositories, and if something isn't there Texstar can usually be sweet-talked into building it!

davecs (not verified) - Tue, 2005-08-02 06:39.

Re: Standard installation

Standard installation is needed, but not I single O.S I'm familiar with has been able to achieve it in a foolproof way (i.e. DLL hell).

In Linux you can get close today if you use APT or YUM repositories for your distribution. I've been using APT for Fedora Core (from FC1 to FC3 that I have now) and most of my installations are "apt-get install name-of-the-program" and I do a periodic upgrade by issuing "apt-get update" and "apt-get upgrade" every week or so.

If you are more the point-and-click type of user you have tools as synaptic.

Pablo (not verified) - Fri, 2005-07-15 05:23.

I would definitely agree with

I would definitely agree with you, I used Debian on all my systems and it uses apt/dpkg which are extremely fast and generally reliable.

The only time I've had problems are when say something in one repository is updated but possibly not entierly (This happens when you start dealing with unstable and experimental repos, it never happened when I was using testing.) but a little work and some THOUGHT /*one thing people are apparently scared of*/

Another thing the program alien helps you to change between rpm, deb, tar.(gz/bz2). Which can be a great tool or poblimatic depending on how low-level the package is. If it's say a pre-built RPM kernel patch for an FC3 out-of-the-box kernel then I would do some research and work before I attemtped to run alien on it to make it a deb to install.

Take care all.

epimortum (not verified) - Tue, 2005-09-13 07:34.

Gaming Needs

The only real reason I have never moved over to linux is becuase of games. I am currently using vmware to play with live iso's and try linux out with gnome and kde. I love linux and being a programmer if I can make it the way I want it to look and work this is the O/S for me. But games (or someone need to help me) are my main problem, Unreal 2004 and farcry are the only that I am aware of, and thats what counts.

I need games like hl2 bf2 unreal need for speed 2, to all work and work with the windows network for the non linux players (which im sure it would)

Again this is the only thing stopping me, updating drivers and things scare me, but again I have never been shown.

*2 cents.
Any pointer and somewhere where ppl will help me out quick would be a god send.

Cheers

THOM

Thom H (not verified) - Fri, 2005-06-24 08:17.

re: games on Linux

Check this out!

http://www.linspire.com/lindows_products_details.php?package_name=point2play

:)

All of Valve's games can be played with this program. :) See you in Day of Defeat!

LinspireMan (not verified) - Sun, 2005-06-26 07:15.

Gaming Needs

please can you get in contact with me @ thomas.humphries@sparex.co.uk

Thank you, I need all the help I can get.

But linspire you have to pay for, Im looking for free options, not paying, playing for games are bad enough. Im the skint type'o gamer.

Thom H (not verified) - M - , 2005-06-27 06:51.

Gaming Needs

Hello there, I saw your post for linux regarding games.

Honestly I'm a big fan of HL2 DM, and honestly I have windows on my PC strictly for this reason :)

Point2Play (Cedega) created by Transgaming who was formely known as WineX which is based of the free WINE application is your best bet, no need for linspire at all.

It's true that Point2Play (cedega) does run Valve games, but keep in mind Valve wrote their softaware for DirectX so performance will never be the same, however it's going to be pretty close, stick to linux games, or stick with a dual boot like I do, honestly I prefer the dual boot.

Hope this helps!

emorphix (not verified) - M - , 2005-07-18 17:26.

commercial?

you mean commercial things arent opendevelopment? thats strange. linux is commercial.

An - ymous (not verified) - Wed, 2005-06-22 15:54.

Really? It never occured to m

Really? It never occured to me in all these years that GNU/Linux was commercial.
Some Linux distributions are commercial, but Linux itself (t.i. the Linux kernel) is far from it.
Also most GNU applications are free (in all meanings).

Matija ҆uklje (not verified) - Thu, 2005-06-23 03:35.

MoneyDance

I use MoneyDance which is a java application that runs on Linux, UNIX and Windows.
It's lowcost and very complete.

http://www.moneydance.com

Pete Schmitt (not verified) - Wed, 2005-06-22 14:35.

I second that

I too have fretted over the lack of personal accounting software for Linux. It's still an issue. For a while I've been either: keeping my Win98 partition just for Quicken or using Quicken via CodeWeavers on Linux. Neither one is ideal (Quicken via CodeWeavers locks up on me all the time). Then I discovered Moneydance. It's not free but it's cheap. It does virtually everything I did in Quicken. It lets me do all my online transactions with my bank, I can setup repeating transactions, etc. They need to polish the GUI screens but it's very functional. Highly recommended.

J McNelis (not verified) - Wed, 2005-06-29 11:32.

OpenUsability and _Feedback_

Many of you reading with this article, agreeing completely with what fyl has to say, may find the OpenUsability project of interest. Slashdot recently covered OpenUsability's involvement with development efforts in KPDF.

While I've put Wine, CrossOver, and Cedega to good use, I find emulation of Win32 applications increasingly unacceptable. I conjecture that using emulation software should be done only as a last resort, and those responsible for the continuing development of that application should be made well aware of it's unintended usage. In many instances, it is easier for an application developer to ensure that their code uses no unusual Windows system calls that do not interoperate well with Wine than it is for that application developer to compile and ship an entire port of their software. However, it is foolish to expect any majority of users to run an application in emulation when native, free alternatives exist.
Examine the situation with GIMP and Photoshop. It has been reported that Photoshop 7 works flawlessly under CrossOver, and it is not disputable that Photoshop outclasses GIMP in a multitude of criteria. Why, then, do many users who used Photoshop in Windows choose to use GIMP in Linux? There are many explainations. For one, GIMP comes with most Linux distrubutions and is seen as one of many great acheivements of F/OSS. For another, there is the trouble of installing Photoshop through Wine/CrossOver. While I doubt it could be a difficult procedure, many users do not justify that extra step. Furthermore, Wine does not promise complete interoperability with Linux desktop environments. For these and other reasons, many converts have chosen to use GIMP in favor of Photoshop once they have moved from Windows to Linux.
Consequentially, if you cannot find a native application to complete your task and must use emulation, make sure that you inform those responsible for that application aware that you are doing so.
If Quicken was informed that thousands of people were using TurboTax in Wine, it is only logical that they would issue a public statement about TurboTax and it's performance/usability under Linux. They would be faced with two choices. One is to refuse any and all support of Linux and condemn any usage of their software under platforms that it was not intended to be used upon. The result would obviously lead to a large movement away from their software in favor of Linux-friendly applications.
To prevent those applications from being cross-compiled to Windows and posing a threat to TurboTax's only environment, the logical alternative to refusing Linux support would be provide it in the form of a port, web application, or something that would allow users to continue using their product on their platform of choice.
Having seen many high-end, expensive software applications provide support for the Linux platform (ie Nero and Vericad), I believe many software manufacturers will see Linux as an oppurtunity to stand out and impress people, to build customer loyalty and establish a foothold in the market.

It is only logical.

destuxor (not verified) - M - , 2005-06-20 22:01.

I am not a developer

... but I am working very hard to understand software development. I don't mean to wine (whine) about the usability of linux, and I really have no ground to stand on when it comes to lodging any complaints. My experience with development consists of creating personal web pages, dabbling in pearl, php, and some java, and a little bit of programming in college many moons ago. Therefore, I don't feel exactly competent about listing my wants for application software or OS usability. The best I can offer is a short list of what I normally do with software and whether linux and the available applications have met my needs.

I have made prior posts about my experience with web development in linux vs Windows and I am happy to say that there have been some very helpful suggestions. I can't say yet whether I am williing to make a complete move over to linux, but I have definately made progress in that direction. I received comments suggesting that when I develop a website, that I should rely strictly on line-by-line coding, and abandon the so-called WYSIWYG editors, as though I am less of a developer by using such applications. I disagree with this. I am visually oriented. I use both the visual and the html code when I develop so I look for an application which can offer both. I have been playing with Quanta and this application has the capability, although it does not update the preview on the fly, I can live with that. It is sufficiently capable that the benefits of using linux outweigh any loss of usability of the application.

Analogkid (not verified) - Wed, 2005-06-22 08:27.

Already tried NVU

I read lots of good things about NVU (http://www.nvu.com/). I never created webpages myself though, so I have no hands on experience. But as I read so many favourable comments about, maybe it might be worth to give it a try.

Ciao,

Sitor

sitor (not verified) - Tue, 2005-09-13 09:34.

Have you tried Open Office?

I'm an applications developer and a firm believer in that each person has an individual style and they need to find the tools that work with that style. Have you tried Open Office? The openOffice.org Writer has a visual interface for creating web pages. I haven't personally used it (most of my web projects involved automation, databases, stuff like that) but I just launched it to take a look and it looks pretty nice.
Price to you: free on any platform. It's the beauty of Java and Linux.
The URL: http://www.openoffice.org/

Mark (not verified) - Wed, 2005-08-17 20:27.

printing

I don't know if this is a widespread problem, but probably my biggest complaint with linux systems i've used is printing and cups. It always gives me the most problems. I have trouble printing images and colour and there seems to be little information on getting things working properly. I suppose it must be difficult with all of the different print drivers out there though.

edward (not verified) - M - , 2005-06-20 16:12.

http://linuxprinting.org/? S

http://linuxprinting.org/? Surely you can find /something/ helpful there ;)

An - ymous (not verified) - M - , 2005-06-20 22:03.

Linux printing is the biggest

Linux printing is the biggest problem with Linux right now. I was able to set up everything else in Debian as a brand new user perfectly...I even compiled my own kernel. But I spent two days trying to print with CUPS to a windows share and gave up. The biggest problem is that CUPS will give you the most generic error messages I've ever seen...and it's next to impossible to figure out what its problem is.

When I looked up the error message, everyone said "This is the classic CUPS error message...it could mean anything." The KDE print interface and the CUPS online interface are both incredibly user friendly...but that doesn't do me any good if you can't get it to work. Without a descriptive error message, you must resort to surfing the internet and trying every possible problem that other people are having and hoping that's your problem too. Is it Samba? Nope. The driver? Nope. Your username? Nope. Sharing? Nope. God only knows.

Printing is one of the most basic computer functions there is. Why is it that I can configure my wireless card in 20 minutes but not my printer in 20 hours?

Sydney (not verified) - Fri, 2005-08-05 12:21.

Linux Printing

I'll almost guarantee that your problem wasn't cups itself, or Samba, or sharing. Dollars to doughnuts, your linux box doesn't know to connect 192.168.1.123 with \\bugbite\printer. Drop the line -
192.168.1.123 bugbite.yourdomain.com bugbite
into your /etc/hosts, and it should suddenly Magically Work.

Hope that helps!

DeacBlue (not verified) - Tue, 2005-09-13 05:37.