How to Choose a Canine Companion, or Finding the Right Distro

The author of a new book for Linux users explains how and why he chose to use the Linspire distribution.

by Peter van der Linden

Do you have any pets? A few years ago, I decided there was a void in my life that could be filled only by a dog. I had whole rooms full of wooden furniture that was not yet chewed and, being single, I hardly ever woke up at 5am because a furry creature stuck its cold wet nose in my ear. A dog definitely would fill both these aching voids.

But what kind of dog? Dogs come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. How do you choose among them? There's only one way for software enthusiasts to tackle a question such as these: create a weighted multi-variate spreadsheet of conditions and values!

So I got an encyclopedia of dogs and--I'm not making this up--wrote down a list of all the qualities I wanted in a dog: good around kids, intelligent, easily trained, happy living indoors, moderate exercise needs, non-allergenic fur, medium size, calm disposition and so on.

Then I went through the dog encyclopedia, making a list of breeds that closely matched the criteria. At this point, half the people reading these words are thinking "of course, how else could you do it?", while the other half are thinking "this guy has cabbage for brains." That may be true, but it turns out that the perfect dog for me is a Dalmatian, and we're on our third one with no complaints. Well, apart from the "5am cold nose in ear" thing.

The point of this anecdote is, when you're writing a book to help Windows users get started with Linux, you shouldn't confuse people by trying to cover all possible variations of Linux. You should pick one example distribution by following a process similar to my "dog choosing" process.

The fact that we have multiple distributions at all is an accident of history. Early on, Linus licensed his work under the GPL, which meant that anyone could copy and distribute it. He also limited his efforts to creating only a kernel, the most central part of the operating system, to control and run the applications. To get something actually usable, however, you had to combine the kernel with user-level commands, libraries, installers, applications and so on. Most of this non-kernel software already had been created by the GNU organization led by Richard Stallman. The resulting combination of kernel and supporting software is what we today call a "distro", short for distribution. About ten times as much GNU code as Linux kernel code is contained in any given distro. To give credit where it's due, what we call "Linux" rightfully should be called GNU/Linux.

A handful of "master" distros set different overall directions and standards. Slackware, Red Hat and Debian are among the master distros, with the latter two in particular spawning scores of sub-distros. The Web site distrowatch.org tracks more than 300 active distros, so there are many choices in the Linux world.

For Peter van der Linden's Guide to Linux, I wanted a distro that was customized exclusively for desktop users. So, out went Red Hat and other server distros. The distro had to be suitable for home as well as office desktop use and play essentially all of the media content (music, DVDs and so on) that Windows does. Two major distros, Fedora and SUSE, do not ship with the ability to play MP3s files, due to license concerns about the patents that encumber them. Goodbye to them.

Many excellent distros focus exclusively on the desktop user: Knoppix, Mepis, Xandros, Ubuntu, among others. The chosen distro has to be up-to-date with the current revision of the Linux kernel and the KDE desktop library. Of the two mainstream desktops for Linux, KDE and GNOME, KDE is the more widely used. The up-to-date criteria is not overwhelming; these releases all leapfrog one another over the course of several months. But sayonara to Xandros.

Much more important is that the distro has some formal means of professional support for individuals, not just customer forums. Thus, out go Ubuntu, Fedora and Knoppix. I also thought the distro should be based on Debian Linux, because Debian is arguably the best overall distro and certainly one of the most established. Debian emphasizes the best of the open-source culture and mature software discipline. Debian also uses the best packaging technology available for any operating system, supporting on-line distribution of applications and software updates. Other distros have on-line software distribution, such as Red Hat's RPM format, but Debian packages set the gold standard for completeness.

Several distros still are in the running at this point, all of them very good, but the Linspire distro stands head and shoulders above the others. Linspire is a commercial sub-distribution of Debian Linux. It doesn't rely on hobby or volunteer effort; the Linspire company has over 100 employees dedicated to the company mission. And Linspire's mission is clear and simple: to produce the world's easiest-to-use Linux desktop.

Linspire and the Linux Community

Linspire works hard to welcome Windows users to the Linux experience. For example, as in Windows, CDs appear as a Linspire desktop icon simply by inserting them. In some other distros, users need to run a command to make the CD contents accessible.

Some hard-bitten Linux old-timers disparage changes that make Linux easier for non-technical people; as in any club, there's a few elitists. A few even resent the commercial nature of Linspire, building on GNU-licensed software acquired for free. The majority of Linux supporters, however, recognize that Linspire represents the best shot Linux has of restoring competition to the computer industry and bringing Linux quality to ordinary users. Elitists sneering at commercial desktop distros need to ask themselves how else Linux will take business away from Microsoft. Of the top dozen distros available, the majority are distributed commercially.

Linspire is the Linux leader in pre-installed machines. That's an important enabler for mainstream use. For many, their first experiences of Linux is a frustrating struggle to install on balky hardware. If you don't enjoy that kind of thing, you should get Linux the same way you got Windows--preinstalled on a new PC. And that means a distro that actively seeks that business.

Linspire, the company, is a model citizen in the Linux world. Linspire funded several key Linux projects, such as Reiser 4 filesystem debugging and the NVu Web editor. The company also made important improvements to the Mozilla browser. Linspire created and gave to the community the Lphoto and Lmusic open-source applications that now are bundled with other distros. Linspire does a great job of investing in the Linux community in a way that some other bigger and richer Linux companies conspicuously have not yet.

There are three more Linspire advantages:

  • Right out of the box, Linspire supports more media filetypes than any other distro. If you browse a Web page with Flash content, it plays perfectly. Linspire supports all the non-encrypted Windows Media Audio formats and is the only distro that has licensed the source code from Microsoft to achieve this. This was one of the settlement terms that Linspire exacted from Microsoft to settle Microsoft's ill-advised trademark infringement lawsuit against Linspire, then called Lindows.
  • The Linspire customer forums are the best and most active Linux forums that you'll find anywhere on the Web. The forums are a terrific source of support and encouragement for new users. The president and the CEO of Lispire post to the forums regularly. You certainly don't see that with other distros. The forums are reached from the support tab on www.linspire.com, and you should check them for yourself.
  • Linspire provides "one click installation" of Linux applications, downloaded and installed automatically from a Linspire server. Microsoft has promised this kind of feature for the Vista release after XP; Linspire Linux has it working for users today under the name Click-N-Run (CNR). Some other distros offer something similar, but the Linspire implementation is the biggest.

Linspire Linux tries to avoid unnecessary differences from Microsoft Windows, so you should find Linspire quite familiar. All these factors together make Linspire the best distro for Windows users who want to try Linux. Now, if only I could do something about the "5am cold nose in ear", I'd have the perfect desktop distro and the perfect dog.

About the Author

Peter van der Linden lives in Silicon Valley, California, and is the author of Peter van der Linden's Guide to Linux available on-line and in bookstores everywhere.

Web Editor - Sun, 2005-10-16 22:02.
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Geeks Don't Get It (Yet)

I've had a blissful day today on the net. I've spent the better part of it reading articles about the pros and cons of using Linspire as a distro. Usuallly negative comments come from Geeks (and I'm a Geek) who have taken the time and become accustomed to the idosyncracies of Linux. I am new to Linux and had chosen RedHat as my first distro because I had read it had 50% of the Linux market and when I would visit bookstores it had the most books written about it.

Well, well. As someone who is not afraid of change or experimentation, and having a strong desire to ditch Microsoft, the experience of getting it to work with my computer was frustrating and I was turned off not a few times. But like I said I'm a Geek and I had at it until I was comfortable with moving around the GUI and eventually the CLI.

I wished I had had Linspire on my first attempt with Linux. No distro is "The" distro as personal work style dictates which you ultimately choose. But to someone completely new to Linux, Linspire is simply perfect. Mind you, I've only read the reviews but if the job is to get people interested in Linux (we are talking about the Common User here, guys) it will not happen with anything less than such a distro.

All I've heard from the reviews, time and again, is that it simply "works". Or works "simply".What could POSSIBLY be wrong with this? I'll tell you: fear. Geeks have created a world for themselves around Linux and to know someone can enjoy the benefits of Linux security and power, not to mention the cost savings without having to slave over the CLI, well, offends them. Linux was their way of fighting back for all of the wrongs done to them in school and on the playground: "Look who's awkward now!", I can hear them saying to a friend, as they watch a non-geek try to "build sourcecode". It's sad, but why do things have to be hard to be enjoyed? Besides, two wrongs don't make a right and this is short-sightedness for Linus and I'll tell you why.

Marketing 101

When you are marketing a product to someone you have to think about how THEY think of the product, not what YOU would LIKE them to think.
And marketing software should be easy because you have the experience of Windows and Mac OSX to draw on. In essence, what do these two companies teach us about how the Common User views computers and how has Linspire used this knowledge?

Windows teaches:Be everywhere. Key:bottome line.
Apple teaches:Be easy. Key: design.
Linux MUST teach:Be everywhere and easy. Key: focus.

For Microsoft to get into the game, did Gates (a geek) reinvent the wheel? No. He "simply" took the desktop and shifted the icons to the left and put it everywhere. Linspire has done the same by creating an interface similar to Windows. It's simply smart marketing. And I believe it's Mac's ease of use and obvious creative design that keeps it in the game.

I feel that Linspire has done a good job of blending these two principles, with the majority of the reviews saying all hardware was "just recognized", that the idea of Click N Run for one-click installing of software (great name, too) was great and placing their product in stores such as Walmart. Sure it builds a brand for Linspire but also extends the reach of Linux. I only wish we Geeks would get behind them and promote a single Linux distro as entry-level. Not as the ONLY distro--but as the only ENTRY-LEVEL distro. THE ONLY THING LINUX LACKS IS A MARKETING FOCUS. All other distros will still exist, will be free and used by Geeks, the "Master-level" users. How's that?

With Linspire, Geeks could becom the world's heroes. If we got behind it as our only entry-level distro and a good number of the public took to it, who do you think they would call for support? Right--you! All of your effort and time spent learning Linux will put you front and center on the world stage of Computer Tech Support. Think of all of the jobs waiting, all of the support companies that can be started... Who would do the interviews on talk shows, like Oprah? You! MTV would have a Linux/music spot called "Rosegarden", hosted by, you guessed it, you. Who else?

Look, there is simply nothing negative about Linspire as a disto. If you don't like it, don't use it. But to get someone else to CONVERT to Linux, it represents a great opportunity. To get the Common User, guys, you need a marketing focus, a laser to burn into the Public Mind--Linspire is your best tool yet. Sure, entry-level people end up paying for it, with all of the slick packaging and what not but it doesn't mean YOU will--you're too savvy for that. After all, you're a Geek.

Grep! (not verified) - Sun, 2005-11-20 19:14.

Geeks Don't Get It (Yet)

I've had a blissful day today on the net. I've spent the better part of it reading articles about the pros and cons of using Linspire as a distro. Usuallly negative comments come from Geeks (and I'm a Geek) who have taken the time and become accustomed to the idosyncracies of Linux. I am new to Linux and had chosen RedHat as my first distro because I had read it had 50% of the Linux market and when I would visit bookstores it had the most books written about it.

Well, well. As someone who is not afraid of change or experimentation, and having a strong desire to ditch Microsoft, the experience of getting it to work with my computer was frustrating and I was turned off not a few times. But like I said I'm a Geek and I had at it until I was comfortable with moving around the GUI and eventually the CLI.

I wished I had had Linspire on my first attempt with Linux. No distro is "The" distro as personal work style dictates which you ultimately choose. But to someone completely new to Linux, Linspire is simply perfect. Mind you, I've only read the reviews but if the job is to get people interested in Linux (we are talking about the Common User here, guys) it will not happen with anything less than such a distro.

All I've heard from the reviews, time and again, is that it simply "works". Or works "simply".What could POSSIBLY be wrong with this? I'll tell you: fear. Geeks have created a world for themselves around Linux and to know someone can enjoy the benefits of Linux security and power, not to mention the cost savings without having to slave over the CLI, well, offends them. Linux was their way of fighting back for all of the wrongs done to them in school and on the playground: "Look who's awkward now!", I can hear them saying to a friend, as they watch a non-geek try to "build sourcecode". It's sad, but why do things have to be hard to be enjoyed? Besides, two wrongs do make a righ and this isshort-sightedness for Linux and I'll tell you why.

Marketing 101

When you are marketing a product to someone you have to think about how THEY think of the product, not what YOU would LIKE them to think.
And marketing software should be easy because you have the experience of Windows and Mac OSX to draw on. In essence, what do these two Companies teach us about how the Common User views computers and how has Linspire used this knowledge?

Windows teaches:Be everywhere.
Apple teaches:be Be easy.
Both should teach:Be focused.

For Microsoft to get into the game, did Gates (a geek) reinvent the wheel? No. He "simply" took the desktop and shifted the icons to the left and put it everywhere. Linspire has done the same by creating an interface similar to Windows. It's simply a smart marketing. And I believe it's Mac's ease of use and obvious creative design that keeps it in the game.

I feel that Linspire has done a good job of blending these two principles, with the majority of the reviews saying all hardware was "just recognized", that the idea of Click N Run for one-click installing of software (great name, too) was great and placing their product in stores such as Walmart. Sure it builds a brand for Linspire but also extends the reach of Linux. I only wish we Geeks would get behind them and promote a single Linux distro as entry-level. Not as the ONLY distro--but as the only ENTRY-LEVEL distro. THE ONLY THING LINUX LACKS IS A MARKETING FOCUS. All other distros will still exist, will be free and used by Geeks, the "Master-level" users. How's that?

With Linspire, Geeks could becom the world'S heroes. If we got behind it as our only entry-level distro and a good number of the public takes to it, who do you think they would call for support? Right--you! All of your effort and time spent learning Linux will put you front and center on the world stage of Computer Tech Support. Think of all of the jobs waiting, all of the support companies that can be started... Who would do the interviews on Oprah? You! MTV would have a Linux/music spot called "Rosegarden", hosted by, you guessed it, you. Who else?

Look, there is simply nothing negative about Linspire as a disto. If you don't like it, don't use it. But to get someone else to CONVERT to Linux, which is where Linux is right now, to get the Common User, guys, you need a marketing focus, a laser to burn into the Public Mind--Linspire is your best tool yet. Sure entry-level people end up paying for it, with all of the slick packaging and what not but it doesn't mean YOU will--your too savvy for that. ya Geek.

Grep! (not verified) - Sun, 2005-11-20 18:56.

Geeks Don't Get It (Yet)

I've had a blissful day today on the net. I've spent the better part of it reading articles about the pros and cons of using Linspire as a distro. Usuallly negative comments come from Geeks (and I'm a Geek) who have taken the time and become accustomed to the idosyncracies of Linux. I am new to Linux and had chosen RedHat as my first distro because I had read it had 50% of the Linux market and when I would visit bookstores it had the most books written about it.

Well, well. As someone who is not afraid of change or experimentation, and having a strong desire to ditch Microsoft, the experience of getting it to work with my computer was frustrating and I was turned off not a few times. But like I said I'm a Geek and I had at it until I was comfortable with moving around the GUI and eventually the CLI.

I wished I had had Linspire on my first attempt with Linux. No distro is "The" distro as personal work style dictates which you ultimately choose. But to someone completely new to Linux, Linspire is simply perfect. Mind you, I've only read the reviews but if the job is to get people interested in Linux (we are talking about the Common User here, guys) it will not happen with anything less than such a distro.

All I've heard from the reviews, time and again, is that it simply "works". Or works "simply".What could POSSIBLY be wrong with this? I'll tell you: fear. Geeks have created a world for themselves around Linux and to know someone can enjoy the benefits of Linux security and power not to mention the cost savings without having to slave over the CLI, well, offends them. Linux was their way of fighting back for all of the wrongs done to them in school and on the playground: "Look who's awkward now!", I can hear them saying to a friend, as they watch a non-geek try to "build sourcecode". It's sad, but why do things have to be hard to be enjoyed? This is short-sightedness for Linux and I'll tell you why.

Marketing 101

When you are marketing a product to someone you have to think about how THEY think of the product, not what YOU would LIKE them to think.
And marketing software should be easy because you have the experience of Windows and Mac OSX to draw on. In essence, what do these two Companies teach us about how the Common User views computers and how has Linspire used this knowledge?

Windows teaches:Be everywhere.
Apple teaches:be Be easy.
Both should teach:Be focused.

For Microsoft to get into the game, did Gates (a geek) reinvent the wheel? No. He "simply" took the desktop and shifted the icons to the left and put it everywhere. Linspire has done the same by creating an interface similar to Windows. It's simply a smart marketing. And I believe it's Mac's ease of use and obvious creative design that keeps it in the game.

I feel that Linspire has done a good job of blending these two principles, with the majority of the reviews saying all hardware was "just recognized", that the idea of Click N Run for installing software (great name, too) was great and placing their product in stores such as Walmart. Sure it builds a brand for Linspire but also extends the reach of Linux. I only wish we Geeks would get behind them and promote a single Linux distro as entry-level. Not as the ONLY distro--but as the only ENTRY-LEVEL DISTRO. THE ONLY THING LINUX LACKS IS A FOCUS. All other distros will still exist, will be free and used by Geeks, the "Master-level" users. How's that?

With Linspire, Geeks COULD BECOME the world'S HEROES. If a good number of the public takes to it, who do you think they would call for support? Right--you! All of your effort and time spent learning Linux will put you front and center on the world stage of Computer Tech Support. Think of all of the jobs waiting, all of the support companies that can be started... Who would do the interviews on Charlie Rose and Oprah? You! MTV would have a Linux and music spot called Rosegarden, hosted by, you guessed it, you. Who else?

Look, there is simply nothing negative about Linspire as a disto. Don't like it, don't use it. But to get someone to CONVERT to Linux, which is where Linux is right now, to get the Common User, guys, you need a marketing focus a laser to burn into the Public Mind--Linspire is your best tool yet. Sure entry-level people end up paying for it but it doesn't mean YOU will--your too savvy for that. Long live the Geeks!

And you do wan't Linux excepted, don't you?

An - ymous (not verified) - Sun, 2005-11-20 18:36.

Suse Linux

Suse Linux "does" play MP3s out of the box. However it will not play DVDs.

...Two major distros, Fedora and SUSE, do not ship with the ability to play MP3s files, due to license concerns about the patents that encumber them. Goodbye to them.

Bordo50 (not verified) - Thu, 2005-10-27 10:11.

Fedora Core

Fedora will play mp3s if you install kdemultimedia-extras using yum.
More information on using other players for mp3 support in fedora can be found at http://www.fedorafaq.org/#mp3

Agentofthedevil (not verified) - Wed, 2005-12-21 11:25.

I agree with you

SuSE does play mp3s. It is true that mp3 playback was disabled in SuSE 9.3 which can be fixed by installing a patch available at the Novel webpage.
The new version SUSE 10 plays mp3s without requiring any patch.

Shibu Thankappan (not verified) - Fri, 2005-11-11 09:31.

Why Linspire?

Ok, Linspire may be VERY easy, but to do the Click-N-Run functions you have to pay 50 bucks a year! I have tried Linspire (in a store) and I have Ubuntu on a computer in my basement- Ubuntu is pretty much just as easy to use, even for me, who is just switching to Linux. The only thing the people at Ubuntu should do is include a couple web plugins (e.g. Flash, Adove Reader, etc...), and maybe TRY for a Graphical installer (it would seem more comforting to people switching).

Mav Block (not verified) - Wed, 2005-10-26 20:17.

Linspire is right tool for the correct audience

INTRO

I'm a Long time Open Source developer, who has been in the scene for some 15 year. Some countless lines have passed from my hands in form of coding, designing, suggesting, commenting, participating in many, many newsgroups and mailing lists (less in Web forums, which aren't for us "old timers"). I've also experimented with dozen of different Linux distributions and finally settled with Debian (reasons are obvious; compared to gentoo or other similar do-it-all LFS a-like systems). Numerous programming languages are my breakfast and network layouts, firewalls and system configurations and setting up servers are part of my daily routines.

Yet, my profession is not at computer business. Still I can understand and see the need for Lindows.

MISCONSEPTIONS AND LACK OF UNDERSTANDING

There seems to be two kind of resistance to give Lindows (or Xandros) the credit they are entitled to:

- Proprietary software.

The people who had been in Linux before Lindows, are upset that there are companies that challenge the status quo. "Where is the Free Software ideology?", Stallman's apprentices quickly hail. "There is a free, liberating movement, that everybody should join - so don't JOIN Lindows wagon. Oppose it. Every code should be released under GPL." Commercial companies develop *proprietary* (ah, that RMS's pet term) software, so ideology is brought to the table like a red flag.

The thing is, that average Joe doesn't care. He wan't product for his needs. Lindows is it - all packaged nicely and it works, it delivers, it doesn't even require you to "download && compile && install". Huh!

- disgust of charges.

"You're supposed to get ALL free, why don't you just doenload and compile all yourself. Why to should PAY for it?". This argument can be heard over and over from people that have the experience, have the capabilities to will and learn and have the time to spend on it.

Wrong. Average Joe doesn't have time time. He doesn't care to spend that time to learn. This is same as changing your tires for winter (try Canada, or other countries where you simply cannot do without winter tires). People pay for the car, they pay for the services to get car fixed. Even as simple as changing tyres with a wrench is "simply too much" for average Joe. He pays people to do that for him.

Linspire hears these people and provides service Click-n-run. Great. Just what the audience wants. Those who master the art of wrench know the alternative; Joe may not be interested.

SUMMARY

Hard tech savvy Linux crowd needs to understand, that they are looking at the situation from a limited perspective which isn't the same world where average Joe lives. The article was in this regard right on target: Lindows is real fine product, excellent for any Mom, Dad and computer illiterate. It's more secure that Windows and it doesn't come to end od its life like does: Windows 95, 98, and now 2000 us being phased out of support. Simply upgrade in regular intervals and you have years to come.

In market, the buyers are though to be segmented. This is true for Linux too.

1. Average Joe: try Lindown, you'll love it!
2. after 2-3 years: Did you like it? Wan't more challenge? Ok, try Mepis, Ubuntu ..
3. After 5 years: Oh, you were hooked! ok, try "Debian proper", Slackware, Gentoo ...

The time will differef from people to people and many are not interested to go beyond 1. "If if works, why change?", we're all lazy to accomodate on changes in our lives.

The idea is the get people to come to Linux. We don't need propaganda and "Free software" agenda or ideology for it. Some may get interested in those aspects, some may even become developers and coders, but MOST never will and never care further.

People usually believe what other people tell them. "My car broke and garage XXX fixed it. It was cheap and great work", person tells to his friends. After a while whole neighborhood knows about it. Positive experiences accumulate easily and word is spread.

Ubuntu is not not right choice for person who have never seen or used computer before - or who doesn't intent to "go under the hood" ever. Due to it's philopsophical agenda against proprietary software, it wouldn't do things average Joe expects (read the other posts: DVD, codecs, real audio ...). Suggest it to people who doesn't have the capabilities to solve problems from web forums and get his hands dirty and he WILL let whole naighborhood to know that Ubuntu is simply crap and "piece of s**it". He'll go back to Windows and never ties Linux again.

Sounds familiar?

Promote right tool for the correct audience. For average joe, that is Lindows or Xandros at the moment. This will do more, more good for promoting Linux than we'll imagine,

Open sSource Developer (not verified) - Wed, 2005-11-30 10:47.

I also think it wont play DVD's out of the box

I also think ubuntu wont play dvd's, wma and all those proprietary but popular formats that users usually expect to have.

50 bucks a year is really not that much specially since for your average internet you aree paying 30 - 50 bucks a MONTH.

If you get your mom a computer but you will not be able to assist her, I will rather get hr a click n run account for a year than explaining apt-get and the command line.

This is more like risk management... which is more prone to generate doubts, click-n-run or apt-get.

JZA (not verified) - Sat, 2005-11-05 18:14.

Linspire is definitely not the best Linux distro

Linspire is the worst distro I ever tried. Believing in the reviews published all around the world I downloaded Linspire 5-0 last Sep. I was dissappointed to see many KDE apps missing. Amarok is the best media player avialable for Linux platform.For installing a standard kde app i have to be CNR member

They just tweaked KDE in such a way that it looks good. Their nothing other than the eyecandy envt it provides. Linspire is the only distro which carries an antivirus and antispyware apps because it demands..........

If you ever tried SUSE you would understand the easyness of installing and upgrading the system using YAST. And also it does not need stuff like your CNR membership to keep the system up to date
What do mean by saying Linspire is easy to use. What is the difficulty there in using SuSE or Mandriva. All use standard KDE apps. Yeah its true that Linspire has renamed a few of these to look familiar

Throw your Linspire away, they are blacksheeps in the open source community

Shibu Thankappan (not verified) - Fri, 2005-11-11 09:52.

linspire forums

Well.. so I went to the great Linspire forums as the author suggested. What I saw there were alot of people with alot of problems and questions. So much for the out-of-the-box experience you pay for. What exactly DO you pay for? For having the same problems as in any other distro? For having to go to support forums?

I thought you pay for two things: individual customer support and out-of-the-box operation. But when I read stuff like "how do I get WPA with ipw2200?" I am forced to believe Linspire is wasted money when you can get distros like Ubuntu for free (shipped to your house!). They have great support forums, too (in multiple languages) and they too (!!!) provide commercial individual customer support if you want/need it. I have witnessed several computer beginners and windows2linux-switchers getting along very good with ubuntu without even needing support. So I really question your argumentation on why you chose Linspire.

An - ymous (not verified) - M - , 2005-10-24 17:24.

What problems did YOU had?

My question comes, which problems did YOU had. Also how much does windows support cost on CompUSA or BestBuy, last time I check it was about 40 dls just to hear you out.

And seriously, do you think you got highly trainned people there? I seriously doubt they can afford to have a computer scientist on payroll on every retail outlet.

So will you pay 50 bucks to get someone to fix a spyware problem on windows, or will you spend 50 bucks on getting click-n-run and forgetting about spywares?

Unfortunately this is more like a mac, if you had OSX for regular PC, guess what????

You will have the same if not worst problems, simply because is really incredibly hard to get all the manufacturers of computer to support OSX over intel straight out of the box.

Same issue comes with linspire... the best bet is to get a linspire PC OR get a Linux-approved PC, at least some QA went for the hardware problems over there.

JZA (not verified) - Sat, 2005-11-05 18:19.

On Support and Out-of-box experience

I have been using Linspire on my internet PC (paranoid security freak who will not connect Windows to internet) since the fall of 2002.

1) Twice, I have had "inconveniences" with the CNR warehouse, and e-mailed tech support. Twice they have come back with work-arounds that helped solve my problem within 1 business day.

2) I have installed every version of Linspire since 3.0 on my home built PC's and everything has always worked with my hardware.

IMAO, Linspire is easier than Windows, Linspire support is real (no Indian script readers). It is easier to run Linspire as a non root user than Windows and still be admin when you need it (don't even log off, learn sudo and su), and we paranoid security freaks have scripts which disable unnecessary services and lock down the pre-installed firewall in seconds, with no reboot required.

Dare to compare with an open mind,

BrianS

An - ymous (not verified) - Sat, 2005-11-05 12:33.

Linspire forums

That's why these forums are there in the first place. But do you realize that the people who uses the forums are only a few % of the total Linspire users? More than 95% heva no problems at all, with there Linspire distro... it works out of the box for allmost all users. And did you ever look the windows forums? There are far more problems out there than in any Linux forum....

Picard (not verified) - Tue, 2005-11-01 08:00.

Not free as in free beer is not a good choice

I disagree wholeheartedly that Linspire is a good choice for the home user windows convert. With open source coming on strong in the windows world, if one has to pay as much for linux as they do for windows and still have to deal with the various linux quirks, they might as well stick with windows. I don't mind the pay and commercial version models some distros have adopted but a pay only model absolutely throws out and distro for home use in my mind. And from what I can see it doesn't seem like hw detection, and the installer are any better than, for instance, that of Mandriva, or a number of other free distros.

Especially since hw detection/support isn't as good in linux as it is in windows, I don't advocate paying for a distro for personal use. Well, I do advocate buying your first distro just for the manuals... something about holding a book in the hand that appeals to me. But I wouldn't ever condone supporting a company t using the 'pay only' model of distrubiting linux. Especially for the personal user. Unless you are paying for customer quality support.

When it comes to commercial use, I feel there is something to paying for support and SLAs, etc.

But I'm a fair guy. I'm going to set up an experiment in which I have a newbie install them both. I'll take it easy on linspire and have them install it AFTER installing another distro. Keep a log, etc.

But for now, this looks too much like what I fear most will happen as linux grows... companies will remove the 'free beer' freedom. I still see a court somewhere ruling on something that makes free beer linux illegal.

We already have 'never ending' copyrights in the USA. Thanks for that!

jasorn (not verified) - Sat, 2005-10-22 08:43.

Perfect Dog

"So I got an encyclopedia of dogs and--I'm not making this up--wrote down a list of all the qualities I wanted in a dog: good around kids, intelligent, easily trained, happy living indoors, moderate exercise needs, non-allergenic fur, medium size, calm disposition and so on."

A Dalmatian neither has "moderate exercise needs" nor is of "medium size". I fear you chose the wrong dog.

I can't comment about Linspire, never used it (Ubuntu would be my choice). But my experience with dogs (including Dalmatians) is great. Perhaps you based your research on the wrong dog encyclopedia. There are good ones and bad ones.

/carsten.

Carsten (not verified) - Wed, 2005-10-19 04:38.

Right on the money (except for maybe the dog!)

I have a couple of truly tech-savvy, geek buddies who are Windows stalwarts. One now uses Linspire and the other is thinking about it. I've highly recommended Linspire to them and for all the reasons Peter states.

Personally, I use Ubuntu (Kubuntu). But I've been in the Linux world for awhile now (back when Linspire was still Lindows and I liked it then!) and Kubuntu just seems to fit best for me.

Thanks for the great review and promotion of Linux Peter!

PS. I have a Golden Retriever ... don't know much about Dalmations. :-)

Footer (not verified) - Wed, 2005-10-19 06:08.

Dalmatians

There must be something wrong in your methods. Dalmatians are not good around kids, not easily trained, ...

Maybe you have made same kind of mistakes with Linux distros?

An - ymous (not verified) - Wed, 2005-10-19 04:35.

Right to choose-part 2

My reply to the post has elicited some sharp responses.
In my opinion, the title of the post was fundamentally wrong- How to choose a distro because for a newbie this would be totally confusing. Had the post read- "The benefits of using Linspire"- perhaps I may not have even commented upon in the first case.

Suse remains a top notch distro. In case some readers didnt know about it, it is free for the evaluation version- one pays only for the printed manuals and telephone support. At least that happens in India. Moreover, Suse has become free from the latest version 10. I believe, bulk of their earnings come from the Enterprise segment. Still, Suse is best for the newbie for desktops. It installs itself like a charm and ships with enough packages so that one doesnt have the hassle of downloading the rpms. Ditto for Ubuntu- the excellent debian based distro. Fact is that they are ploughing back the developments in the community. Linspire fails to do so. Needless to say, Ubuntu is shipping its product FREE of cost to ANYONE, ANYWHERE in the world.

Arguably, they have this CNR thingy made easy for those users who are new to Linux. The question is, to whom Linux is targetting at? A simple dumb moron who "hits at the blue button" to access Internet? He wouldnt have the initiative to shift to Linux in the fist case. Before "accusing me", define the clientiele first.

The problem is that Mr Peter, without looking at the pros and cons of the various distros dismisses them in few sentences. Then he goes on to extol the virtues of Linspire. To add salt to the wounds, he dismisses the Open Source movement as "elitists". Why so? The GNU/Linux explicitly states that any modification made to the software should be ploughed back for other users. For example, I came across "Phone Gaim"- Gaim is an Open Source application; Phone Gaim, only for Linspire users, is a "closed application" without any benefit to users of other distros.

What attracted to me Linux apart from the relative ease of use and security? It was the ideology of greater common good- Free as in free beer! As of today, I have no idea as to what motivates so many programmers to make software for free, distribute it and make the source code available. Don't dismiss the proponents as "elitists".

Arguably, as I mentioned before, if this is a "promotion" for Linspire, who have funded something for "noble causes",well it read like a press release from a self indulgent CEO. Tux Magazine could well desist from these stunts including likes of Mr Peter-in the spirit of objective reporting, competitive interests should be declared. Has Linspire paid anything for this post? I would definitely like to know.

Finally, to an extent I d agree that Linux need not be a "techological accomplishment". Well, I am a practising doctor and no where related to computers. Yet, over the past 10 months I have been with linux. I know not about the terminal screen and I dont need to know. Ergo,one does has to make SOME effort to unlearn Windows and learn Linux. It maybe duanting to know about the file structure or new names of KDE- but hey- one has to invest some time to learn a new skill.

Abhitux (not verified) - Tue, 2005-10-18 00:10.

Good for a doctor. Very

Good for a doctor. Very good. But I don't think Peter got paid for the post. It was his analysis - he's entitled to his views. But Doctor saheb, I liked and agree with you tht Mr. Peter forgets the fact that Linux has a very different category of users in its base. The techno-enthusiasts and people who care for two seconds about public movements (like Open source). And I found your observation about the "button-clicking moron" to be very pertinant in this argument, though many would saccuse of being very direct - but then what's wrong with that? Ground realities are far different from what many may percieve. I am an engineering student in Information Technology. Even the morons (40%-70% of total population of IT grads from University of Mumbai) whom I have seen coming into IT engineering don't care whether the machine they are using runs Windows or Linux. Many don't know that there exists anything beyond Windows - that too only because of the abrasive propaganda hammering one gets while using Windows. They could have been using Timbaktu OS for all thats on their moronic agenda. If this is the state of the 'technical' (I highly doubt these guys are technical for 2 figs) people, why expect the 'average' (read moron) user to care about all this? The moment you try to explain anyone about the importance of open source or anything for that matter they stare blankly at you and classify you as a wierdo - Why does this fellow care? See? So as Doctor saheb mentioned, among the non-technicals / non-geeks, the witty ones (like the doctor himself) who do understand the importance of such moments (such as open source) and their significance as revolutionising factors at the global level will make the effort to find out more and switch over to open source software. As for the geeks and technos, their counterparts will know why they are motivated to turn to Linux.

Shekhar (not verified) - Wed, 2005-10-19 09:45.

Clearing Up Some Points - part 2

I'll be brief...

Linspire does, in fact, do a lot of "ploughing back the developments in the community." They give both financial and development assistance to many of the products that you use every day, and most people aren't even aware of it. Mozilla, Kopete, Gaim, KDE-look.org... the list goes on. See this page for more details.

Your other point about PhoneGaim is incorrect, too. PhoneGaim is, in fact, publicly available and isnot "only for Linspire users" and it is not a "closed application" at all. Anybody can download the source code for free from here, and any other distribution that would like to ship with PhoneGaim can do so. It's a GPL'd app. Same goes for Lsongs and Lphoto, which many people also assume are closed-source and Linspire-only. They're GPL'd as well.

As a matter of fact, the only "closed-source" application that Linspire produces, as far as I know, is the Click-N-Run application itself. Other than that, I'm pretty sure everything they do is wide open.

Again, I can respect your opinion of the article and its title (I, too, think the title was a bit misleading), but please don't badmouth Linspire unless you have valid facts to back up what you're saying.

It's amazing how many people are simply misinformed! Seriously, it's almost like there's a FUD campaign against Linspire or something. Very strange...

Ben (not verified) - Tue, 2005-10-18 10:51.

I agree, Linspire makes Linux easy for my mom

I purchased a Linspire computer made by Systemax from TigerDirect.com for my mother. I have been VERY impressed. It was under $300, yet it did everything she needed to do, and quite securely I might add, as Linspire DOES in fact make it VERY easy to NOT run as root. During the install, I simply used the option to set up users. Done.

My favorite part is Linspire comes with everything pre-installed and ready to run, right out of the box, without installing a lot of plug ins, etc. mp3, java, flash, quick time, real, even windows media is supported. (Each of these links played without a hitch: http://linspire.com/filetypes Try that with other distros.) You can even add legal and licensed DVD playback for under $10 with one click, using their click and run service.

Granted Linspire takes the thrill of building the Linux puzzle away, but that's not what my mother wanted a computer for.

Art

Art Mallmeyer (not verified) - M - , 2005-10-17 16:46.

From an a fellow Linspire user/supporter to Peter

Excellent read!
Only thing that you left out is that Mepis too is as good as Linspire.
It too has great media support and Waren tries to keep things simple for users.
I use both Linspire,Mepis,and XP exclusively.
Also a mass supporter and friend of Micheal Robertson. He really likes my fan blog.
Anyway,I resent when the so-called elitist bring up things about Linspire.
Ben,you made a good point.
CNR isn't free because housed in the repositories are titles that are non-free.
And you paying not for the software but updates,ISO updates,and more. It's a bargin still!
I only buy CNR when I discover that killer app on CNB(Click N Buy).
I use Synaptic for much else or KLIK.
But CNB has things that no other distro has. Windows software that was ported,Cedega,ect.
I don't mind paying.
I've bought nearly $50 worth of great items.
Still,I have small issues with Linspire at times.
The XPish kicker and icons which do not change if you download new ones.
I love to theme things.
And Linspire kinda nicks that feauture for me.
I love to dress KDE up in Mac OSX's skin or use Plastik.
At times use XFCE or IceWm.
Also,I'd love a speacial XFCE version that mimicks OSX.
Same features but new feel.
I'm always dualbooting Linspire and Mepis. I think both could learn from the other as they are very similar.
For now,my "perfect dog" is pretty much Mepis.
It does tricks,it keeps up with me,it's friendly.
But Linspire has a home here too. It doesn't do all the same tricks,or keeps me on my toes persay,but I still love it!

www.bloging4linspire.com the Xanga Linspire blog!

Trinette Rani (not verified) - M - , 2005-10-17 15:46.

Right to choose

Mr Peter, I am glad that you started off with the analogy of choosing a right breed
for the dog. However, you cannot extrapolate the same thing to Linux at all.

I d appreciate your opinion- though this was an unbashed promotion of Linspire.
True, I cannot but agree with Stallman that its something downright commercial
enterprise that has spoilt its name. The biggest problem with Linspire is, that its
run as root distro- arguably biggest compromise on the security.

Eye candy can be good enough- how can they charge for the "CNR" repositiories?
As for the rpm based distros, you just bid Suse goodbye for no fault of its own! Suse remremains one of the best distor around- now that its for free. By the way, you can easily download the multimedia packages, the first time you load up and boot up the
distro via Yast update.

Not an elitist myself- my Suse plays everything right out of the box- any damned
Windows proprietary codecs....one has to search online and install.

Ubuntu remains strongly focussed on the desktop. In case you didnt know, you could
Purchase the customer service for a price. In the spirit of freedom, the customer forums are as good as paid support. Type in any damned query and you would have your answer.

Ultimately, Linux isnt as moronish as Windows. Tux Magazine shouldnt have allowed this post for Linspire. Thats going against their own preety standards.

Abhitux (not verified) - M - , 2005-10-17 05:17.

Dogs and Linux

Don't know Abhitux but a dog is a dog and Linux is Linux, no matter what distro.
So here Peter seems on the right track to me.

What you call "an unbashed promotion of Linspire" can with a bit of observational skills be seen as a "personal opinion" as well. I, for one, stick to that.
Not just because I am also a enthousiast Linspire user but more out of common sense.
Peter merely explained in detail how he came to and what was needed available to him in order to write his book in a way that it really would be of great help. He was very successful doing so. Linspire could have been any other capable distro here. That the last isn't the case tells that probably Linspire IS the best choice for newbe's on Linspire/ex windozers. At least in Peter's eyes and he seems by far not alone at this opion.
The "root story", well ........ just have a look for your self and see how un correct this is.
There's no problem at all running Linspire as a user. For the ease of it, running as root is no more then a "preferred option" (which I, for one, like very much and which has never brought me in any trouble so far).
The question: "how can they charge for the "CNR" repositories" is a bit surprising to me for it speaks for it self. There's no charge for any "free" program there. There's only a fair charge for "the service". This service makes it possible for anyone, savvy or not, to install a load of programs with one or a very few clicks only. No need to know anything Linux so far. A absolute great service at a great price!
I happen to run also SuSE since 7.3 and the argument: "one has to search online and install" is unexplainable to the average Windows user. (Believe me on this). Anything beyond downloading a .exe and double clicking it is "alien" in their eyes. CNR beats even THIS convenience hands down.
As for Ubuntu (I don't use it but tried it and like it actually, that is to say Kubuntu): "Type in any damned query and you would have your answer". This goes very sure for the Linspire forums as well with i.e. , luckely for us Linspire users, Peter around to be of help where he can.
The Linspire forums/community got to be one of the best, just as the distro itself.
Still, some want something else, a other good thing of Linux (or GNU/Linux): CHOICE.
But preferring a other distro is imho not a reason to black-mouth others or even the positivists of other distro's like Peter. Peter is positive about Linspire and he is so with given reasons. That should be respectful enough to entitle him to tell his side of the story without being accused of "posting for Linspire" while merely giving is expert opinion.
Have a lot of fun!
Willem.

Bicol Willem (not verified) - M - , 2005-10-17 09:34.

Clearing Up Some Points

Abhitux:

Just want to clear up a couple of misunderstandings that a lot of people have about Linspire. The #1 misconception is that Linspire "forces" users to run as root, which simply isn't true. At the end of the installation procedure, there's a menu of choices for post-installation tasks, one of which is to configure a user account. I don't run as root on my system, and Linspire works just fine on my laptop running under a normal user account. As a matter of fact, Linspire works better on this laptop than any other distro I've ever used.

Another common source of confusion is the pricing for CNR. People wonder why they should pay for a software installation service, and all I can say is that if you haven't tried it, then you really need to do so in order to fully understand. It's incredibly easy to use, and it provides a simple interface with program descriptions, screenshots, program specifications, user ratings, etc. Honestly, the basic CNR service is only $19.95 per year, which I'm pretty sure just about anybody can afford. For new and inexperienced users, a service like CNR is invaluable -- especially for those who simply want to USE their computers, and who have no interest in learning about the underlying operating system.

I think the point Peter was trying to make about Linspire is that it's the best choice for the user who has little or no Linux experience. Once the OS is installed, the user can get started with it immediately, without any fuss or muss. If a user is coming from Windows, the system operates just as they'd expect, and for a new user buying a new computer, they have the option of getting it with Linspire pre-installed! You can go to Fry's, for instance, and actually see Linspire and play with it on a computer before you purchase it. That's an important step for Linux in general.

I certainly respect your opinion, and I agree that SuSE is a fantastic distribution in its own right, but Linspire definitely has its place in the Linux hierarchy. For new users and new converts from Windows, it's absolutely the best choice. There have been a lot of changes in the distrubution over the past few years, and many of the issues that are brought up as reasons to shun Linspire simply aren't applicable to the current version. It's a great distro -- just ask my 10-year-old son. :)

Hope this post was helpful!

Ben (not verified) - M - , 2005-10-17 08:21.

What do you want from Linux

Hi Abhi,
1. If you look at current Linspire releases, you'll see that the last step in installation gives the user a screen in which non-root accounts are created. This is what most distros do, and Linspire is no different.

2. Does SUSE play Flash content out of the box, like this:
http://www.funnygames.nl/spelletjes/803.html
Because Windows does. And Linspire does.

3. If everyone objected to commercial distros the way you do, you would not have SUSE today. For many years SUSE has been a commercial distro, and today it is owned and sustained by a commercial company, Novell.

The point that I'm making is that, to spread outside the narrow confines of "high tech geeks", Linux needs to grow in certain ways (documentation, testing, fit and finish, usability, marketing, support). Those areas do not fit the open source model. None of them are about software development.

If you want to see Linux expand in use, displace Microsoft on the desktop, and gain widespread use in the non-technical communities, then you should support distros like Linspire that have set themselves that goal.

Peter

Peter van der Linden (not verified) - M - , 2005-10-17 08:00.

SUSE and Flash

With respect to question 2: Does SUSE play Flash content out of the box, like this:
http://www.funnygames.nl/spelletjes/803.html

The answer is yes, at least for 9.3. I'm using a recently rebuilt SuSE 9.3 installation and your site works fine. The standard installation prompts you to accept the Flash player license. Firefox now works with the Flash player so that hurdle is cleared.

Now I will admit that SUSE doesn't play DVDs out of the box but it will play MP3s. It won't RIP MP3s out of the box but that's a patent related issue. Which is also the case with DVDs and the encoding of them. Xine should play unprotected DVDs so if you make your home movies with a direct to DVD camera you should be able to play them back.

I've been a SUSE user for almost 6 years (going back to 6.0) and it has always been the most complete distribution in my mind. I run it on an AMD64 (x86-64) laptop and a 32-bit Duron desktop. That said you should use the distribution that best fits the needs of your book. If Linspire is that distribution then great. All I would ask as a SUSE user and supporter is that you make sure what was true a year ago is still true now.

Jack Ungerleider (not verified) - Wed, 2005-10-26 23:50.

Flash etc. out of the box

Actually Peter, you are wrong. Windows will not play flash content "out of the box" ;-) It IS very easy to install flash on Windows though.

Matt Anders - (not verified) - Fri, 2005-10-21 08:55.

Linspire vs other distos

I found your reasoning for choosing Linspire valid. Personally I use SuSe (64 bit version for my AMD Athlon64 nVidia based motherboard) and I was very impressed by SuSe when it detected and correctly installed such periphials as my Linksys WMP54G wireless card and Epson CX-3200 printer/scanner, which SuSe has done correctly since the 9.3 release. It even downloaded the correct drivers for my sound and 3D cards.

I did try a few other distros such as Fedora (anaconda always crashed right after partitioning the drives) and Debian (didn't configure wireless card). I ignore the KDE vs GNOME debate since most distros give you a choice. Another nice touch to SuSe 9.3 and 10, they detected that I was using a 64-bit CPU and in the case of 9.3 prompted me for the ok to install a 32-bit OS on a 64-bit CPU (as I only had the 32-bit CD version not the complete DVD version).

But I do run a dual boot system and I've yet to get SuSe to play any microsoft propietary files including MPEG video. I did get MP3's to work. But finding all the codecs and installing them never seems to be as simple as the forums make it sound. But I also enjoy the challenge of figuring such things out. Also you point about Browser plugins (like Flash) are valid.

So despite the bashing you've recieved for your article, Linspire sounds like an excellent choice for the average home user that doesn't want the frustration of manually finishing the configuration of their system.

You didn't mention hardware in your choice of Linspire, would it have been different if you were using a 64-bit CPU?

I think the bottom line is that most distos are improving by leaps and bounds and the ease of installation excuse for running windows is quickly vanishing.

Thanks for the insights and intesting posts,

John Bucsek

John Bucsek (not verified) - Tue, 2005-10-18 17:00.

Why Use Linux?

If Linux is going to mimic Microsoft, why on earth would I switch? To thumb my nose at Bill Gates?

I'm thinking of switching to Linux because I want to use an OS that doesn't make me feel like a moron being spoon-fed everything. The technical know-how required is the big attraction. The extra security doesn't bother me as much- my XP computer is fortified like a military base and nobody has felt it worth their while to infiltrate yet.

I'd rather go for a less user freindly distro, so Linspire is out of the running for now.

howlleo (not verified) - M - , 2005-10-17 08:48.

Why use Linux?

Think about what you're saying for a minute. Mastering something difficult is part of the attraction of Linux for you. And that's fine - I like puzzles too.

But there are a great many PC users who simply want to get their work done - email, browsing etc. Do you want to tell them "I'm sorry, you are not worthy of Linux?"

Isn't it better to give them a viable alternative to the Microsoft monopoly? Isn't it better to say "here's a Linux distro where you don't have to use the command line if you don't want to, that you can buy preinstalled on hardware, and which plays all your media files right out of the box?" (Actually, not having to use the command line is true for most distros these days. That doesn't stop me from preferring the command line, like most old timers).

The point is there is a very large class of users - 90% of PC users in fact - who will be well served by using Linux. To make that happen, someone needs to remove unnecessary barriers to adoption, and provide professional support that consumers expect. For people for whom a PC is a tool, not a challenge for technical accomplishment, Linspire is worth considering. And technical gurus will be helping Linux overall by recommending desktop distros like Mepis, Ubuntu, and most particularly Linspire to their non-technical friends.

Peter

Peter van der Linden (not verified) - M - , 2005-10-17 09:30.

I use Linspire and i run as

I use Linspire and i run as root.
Therefore I am not really running Linux. Who you trying to kid.

I have no need or want to run everthing from a dos looking Command Line. I want simplicity and ease. I dont want to untar compile amd make install when i want to install a program hell i don't really want to dpkg but the world aint perfect but the closet thing to using my Pc instead of fighting my PC is Linspire
I don't fight viruses malware spyware. I dont fight to get installs working with broken dependencies or out of date libs

I simply run Linspire.

Brynster (not verified) - M - , 2005-10-17 11:00.

Linspire - Hey it works with my wireless card!

Linspire is the first linux Live CD that I have found to work with my Dell D600M wireless card properly. I did have to make some settings for it to be able to connect to my home network but hey... It WORKS! (V5.0.0.59 Live CD)
Now if I can get it to access my Windoze only GDI printer, I can switch all my network over to Linux. And to me it is worth it to be free from Microsoft spying and prying and harrassing the little guys all the time.
TurtleWax

TurtleWax (not verified) - Tue, 2005-10-25 21:52.

Don't run as root!!!

For all the people who might be reading this and thinking it must be ok to run as root, please don't follow this guy's lead and think it's fine to run as root except for those tasks requiring it. Even in the windows world now, there are admin accounts. For the record, you shouldn't be running as admin in xp, either. I realize xp makes it harder not to run in 'super user ' mode, but you should avoid it if possible. The reasons are legion.

jasorn (not verified) - Sat, 2005-10-22 08:59.

The fact that viruses are

The fact that viruses are not much of a bother on Linux systems is because the systematic mandatory distinction of users and processes. The very fact that a distro encourages use as root means that more and more people are going to start thinking that thats the way it is originally meant to be done - not knowing (or caring) for what they are actually doing (like most Windows users). Now imagine that this trend catches on, you'd have the same problems that you have on Windows. The same disgusting AntiVirus softwares and companies making millions from the virus industry. And thats only one of the things that will happen. Million more things will happen this way and Linux not be itself anymore. Make Linux popular at the cost of changing Linux into a useless confusion of conceptually unsound mangle of code that impresses the MBAs running the show? I am out of it.
Someone mentioned $ 19 a year was a good price for support. Ok, maybe. But definately not everyone will pay for support that is otherwise abundantly available on forums - FREE of charge.
Linux is a community effort. It has always been. And commercializing it will change it to becoming something other than Linux - Not Linux. (Maybe Linspire?)
Get yourself Linux - Get Fedora. Or maybe Debian or Slack or Ubuntu...
I use Fedora and am proud of it. It is THE most well-supported Linux flavor and is really bleeding edge. New ideas are put in for you to use and enjoy as they are still being developed. Like for instance my Gnome desktop already showed text and HTML file previews in icons in the Nautilus file manager years before Windows gave its users this facility. Its still grappling with security issues while an average Fedora user gets SE Linux (Security-Enhanced) built in and functioning out of the box. Someday Windows makers will come up with something way defective and give the handout to paying customers as 'security' feature called something fancy.
As far as built-in multimedia is concerned, even Windows doesn't come with all built-in codecs. I use mplayer for my Video needs and guess what? Its a million times superior than anything that any commercial company offers and plays almost anything that you throw at it. All you need to do is get used to downloading, building and using stuff. History has shown us if it gets any easier, its defective.
As far as Linux is concerned, it should be as cutting - edge as Fedora and as benovelent as Ubuntu (the guys there go to the extent of reaching Ubuntu to anyone anywhere on the planet free of charge). I visited Ubuntu website, and what I saw really made me feel good - Picture of kids and people looking up and smiling - and this ain't no corporate stunt). And I am in mo way affiliated with Ubuntu - I don't even use it - I am into Fedora - I worship it - its Linux.
I do not understand why some people feel that ideas can be sacrificed for popularity among fools.

'Make it really simple - but no simpler' - Albert Einstien.

Shekhar (not verified) - Wed, 2005-10-19 11:11.

Hard core PC geek

I'm a hard core PC geek. I'm a .net developer & network admin at a small college. Setup properly, we don't have any hacking/virus/spyware problems. I tried linux again when I heard that Cedega played World of Warcraft. I had to give it a try.

I've tried various distro's over the years ever since I look some courses on SCO Unix in college. I'm not unfamiliar with a command line, or scripting. I'm comfortable with complex instructions.

This go around, I had Ubuntu recommended. It's been my best Linux experience so far. However, I've had several problems, and most of them I would consider unacceptable for something that's intended to replace Windows XP.

Installation: My CD-ROM was primary controller master, my HD primary controller secondary. The installer partitioning completely failed until I reversed them. Sure, it's not a common config, but there's no good reason something as simple as that should break the installer.

Radeon 9500 Pro: Default installation gave me a driver that did 2d just fine, but would not work for 3d accel required stuff. In order to get it working, I spent hours googling the effors I was getting, reading forums, trying to find out why a simple video driver installation was so hard. On windows, I go to the manufacturer, download a file, double click it, and click next a few times, reboot & it works. The reliance on config files for everything, where graphical configs are a rarity is a huge weakness for Linux. I can install your average piece of software on Windows without reading support docs, but simply by adjusting program settings in a GUI.

Shared folders with Windows: I eventually discover I need to setup network users for the correct authentication. Why isn't this in the control panel in Ubuntu? Bad design.

Microsoft doesn't seem to be highly regarded in the nix community, but it WORKS. A stable operating system that's easy to configure, easy to use, easy to install, and supports a MASSIVE body of hardware, that's something to respect.

Good software costs money to develop. I realize there's this "free beer" mentality, but I'd rather pay for beer I enjoy than drink free beer will make me sick.

Adune (not verified) - Wed, 2005-11-09 22:55.

You should read again all

You should read again all licence agreements.

MS is ok if it works?
Well, gestapo also worked well. But i would not work for gestapo for technical or racist superiority... Such reasons are pretty silly.

Users like you are making IT gestapo possible.

We are on GNU/Linux not becouse of technical superiority, but for freedom.
If you miss this ethical point, you miss it all.

An - ymous coward (not verified) - Sat, 2005-11-26 16:02.