Animosity Unfounded

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes” Marcel Proust


NOTE: This post is in responses of criticisms that have arrived after the posting of an Ubuntu review by a new Linux user in our “Reviews” section.

I figured that I’d have to do something like this. Too many it seems look upon this experiment as “Just another Review” without truly figuring out what it is about. They say things like “just open a shell and do this” or “use synaptic/kpackage and install this” or “use the update client” or “how can you compare this to windows” without any understanding the scope and goals at all. They speak their mind without first understanding what it is that they are speaking on. To me, this is ignorance and looking at things in the same old way instead of with new eyes. However, this isn’t the only problem that is evident.

There are so many out there that empathize so much with a Linux distro that they feel someone is personally attacking them when their distro is trounced in a review…but also because Linux seems to have taken on a social stigma that makes it self defeating. That is, if you are inside of the ‘movement’ and decide to constructively criticize an issue in Linux…you are completely sold out by the movement you were so set on defending or helping. You are sold without a single consideration. Look at RMS…he’s been sold out as a lunatic by half of the world despite being the most clear and unwavering voice on his subject. But this lil rant isn’t about RMS…it’s about what happened when my wife reviewed, and trounced Ubuntu…because it didn’t suit her needs as a new Linux user. Things need to be said…because it is obvious that no one is getting it…and by IT I mean the whole point to the experiment and all of the reviews.

By some of the responses, it is obvious that some haven’t read all of the reviews nor the original intent of this experiment. If you haven’t, before you comment further…go back and read each and every entry under the section “Reviews” because ignorance has no place in this discussion. In order to appreciate what we were trying to accomplish, do you research. Do not speak with authority on that which you do not know.

Secondly, do not bring the GPL, freedom of speech, or anything else GNU/licensing/copyright into this experiment….it never had a place before in any other review (before ubuntu) and please do not have the audacity to bring it into the foray now. It also has no place in this experiment. This is not an experiment that has been done to debate the nuances of Free Software, the OSI, the GPL, or other such nonsense.

I say nonsense because this review is about Desktop environments of Linux. It would be asinine to not discuss how they compare to windows because windows is the de facto standard. Trying to discuss the Linux Desktop without comparing it to windows will not happen no matter how hard we want to pretend it won’t.

We can’t say Linux is better than Windows when it suits us (when we’re bragging or showing off to our friends) and then pull that card when it comes to a review. That is bias and bias has no place in this review. Mrs.D had an overwhelming task ahead of her and she trudged on and stayed fresh as she could. Did she do a good job? I believe she did.

We need to shake the mindset of the old developer who develops linux for his friends and users and start to develop Linux for EVERYONE. New users are a place that Linux has never been strong in…but as we see with this experiment, times are changing.

If one Linux distro includes mp3 support…then all can. No excuses. It doesn’t even matter for licensing. Do you think PCLinuxOS isn’t sold overseas? SimplyMEPIS? Look again. Tout your licenses all you want…but they mean squat to the end user. The end user just wants something that works. They don’t want to get into the whole debate of free vs. proprietary…they want things just to work. We need to make it work for them. We need to stop squabbling because someone trounced your favorite distro and grow up.

Also, If you all actually read this experiment from front to back like a few readers have done, you’re realize that this was done entirely as to what a new user would think of each distro of Linux. No software installs…just default distros…just like that software loaded Dell or HP you get from the store. This doesn’t mean that [Insert_your_distro_here] is a bad distro of Linux. It means that it doesn’t cater to what one Windows user crossing over preferred. If you don’t like it, don’t read it. This experiment was done for people who WANT to read it…the rest of you can simply pass on, nothing to see here.

All in all, I find it very discouraging that as many people commented what they did on the Ubuntu review. I anticipated most of it because I knew there were so many people on the Ubuntu bandwagon…I knew the comments that were made would be made…However, I am deeply discouraged at the lack of attention to detail that most of the people who gave comments actually have. They obviously didn’t read the goal of the experiment…nor the criteria…nor anything at all that had to do with the experiment. It’s like NOT watching a movie and then criticizing it because you caught the last ten minutes and they didn’t agree with you. Instead, you might try watching the entire movie (or reading the entire review) because most of the time the beginning parts set up the end. Pretend it’s a book and read it from beginning to end instead of skipping to the last chapter and then saying the book sucks.

I really thought people who used Linux were more detail oriented than this. I know that I don’t do anything in Linux without reading the man page and at least 2 tutorials on it. I sure hope that those commenting are of the minority opinion. I want to personally thank those of you that have stuck with us and read the entire experiment process from beginning to end. You truly are an asset to Linux. You read the fine print and ensure you are informed of everything going on. That’s admirable and evidently very rare.

I’m currently working on a synopsis piece for all the reviews with the criteria also…I recommend that you all read it and pay attention to the goal of the experiment and how as we went along we changed our focus on a few things…mainly, the idea to include Ubuntu (read request). Otherwise, I didn’t consider it even new user friendly enough to include it at all (due to it’s text only install). READ first. Then speak your mind. Otherwise, you come off being just plain ignorant…

This content is published under the Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

  • helios

    Shoulder to shoulder bro…well said and crosshair accurate. Surgically written.

    helios

  • James

    Keep up the reviews! You’re doing great!

  • slayerboy

    I think this blog is awesome for people who currently use windows and are sick of the nonsense. I’m one of those Linux users who has switched off and on between Linux and Windows for the past 2 years. I’ve tried Debian, Ubuntu, Mepis, Red Hat/Fedora Core, Mandrake, Turbo Linux, Suse, PCLinuxOS, and failed miserably at setting up a Gentoo install because there’s entirely TOO much involved in it for a simple Linux installation.

    Debian is amazing for a server install. Red Hat is more popular and pretty much started the whole “Linux Invasion”. Mandrake took the Red Hat success and made it easier. PCLinuxOS took that a step farther and made sure everything worked they way it was supposed to, compared to Windows.

    I think you guys are doing a great job!

    As a side note, I am currently on PCLinuxOS, and I have to agree with all the reviews on this site. For all the hype, Ubuntu did not live up to my standards (which everyone has different standards). PCLinuxOS just works.

    I look forward to more reviews, and I plan on letting as many people who are frustrated with Windows know that they now have a place to go to find out which distro of Linux is the most “newbie” friendly for them.

    Thanks guys!

  • Olivier Tousavelo

    Mr Devnet, your post is excellent and the whole experiment is very interesting. You deserve my thank for setting it up and convincing Mrs Devnet. Mrs Devnet also deserve my thank for her time.
    If she just wanted to use Linux, you would have setup a dream system for her, with all bells and whistles. I see the experiment as a showcase for the following scenario: A regular computer user who is enthusiast about “free as in free speech” has read a review that positions Linux as ready for the desktop. He acts and installs a free (as in free beer) Linux distribution on his home PC. How positive will the experience be.
    Let me come back on some things which have been emphasized by other posters about review, Windows OS and bias.
    I have been a Linux newbie from fall 2004 on (although I’m improving…). Mrs devnet reports are really close to what I experienced and don’t seem biased to me. BTW: My willingness to learn and improve was adversely impacted after I had to recompile freetype in order to have decent font display (that part is done now, thanks).
    The “prior exposure to Windows” thing is a joke. Although I hope that over 100.000.000 brasilians will soon get their first computer with only Linux installed, this type of user is a bit unusual. Of course, most PC owners have the Windows way of working in mind. Nevertheless, they are happy with just any replacement that works, just like Mrs devnet reports being happy with K3B. Mrs Devnet is not looking for Windows Media Player. She just wants something that lets her play her MP3 files. Is that a strange expectation?
    Regarding the “legal” aspect, as one poster suggested, the idea seems to be that the distributor doesn’t want to take any risk. Instead, the user has to decide for himself how legal/compliant he wants to be. This is wrapped in a funny “some country which I won’t list” statement. If it’s illegal for distro X to provide me MP3 playback functionality, it’s probably illegal for me to get it. I probably don’t want to follow that route. If it’s legal in some countries, just let me know which (and hopefully ask me the country during instal and provide all that’s legal).
    Regarding reviews and reviewers generally, I actually think that most Linux reviewers are too enthusiast. They fail to mention the challenges ahead. Of course, the Linux “community” doesn’t owe anything to regular Windows home users (not even MP3 playback). But I feel that those who let false expectations grow, are to blame. That’s not just a matter of fooled stupid Windows users that will lose too many hours/days/weeks. It’s also a matter of image for Linux. Nowadays, Linux has a “cool” image. If overenthusiast reviewers bring many home users towards “Linux” as it is now, I’m afraid that loads of deceived users will eventually adversely impact the image of Linux.

    Best wishes to the inspiring Devnet couple.

    Edited by Admin at authors request

  • optical

    True words! And thanks for this whole experiment – it is very interesting and something which is needed to be done. Can’t change the fact that there will be allways people who don’t read or understand what they are reading though.

  • rpm

    Thanks for your work Mr and Mrs Devnet.

    I ll try to do the same with my wife and I will take seriously into consideration PcLinuxOS for her thanx to your reviews.

    Nevermind the bollocks !

    Greetings from italy :)

    PS: I would tell too that I’m an ubuntu fan and that is my preferred linux distro.
    But yes, I agree completely with Mr/Mrs Devnet viewpoint and I’m sure my wife agrees too.

    thx

  • Yo

    You’ve got to be a complete retard. The reason why Ubuntu can’t ship mp3 out of the box is because they could be breaking the law. Now, some people don’t have any scruples about that I see, but some of us do care. We do care about open standards, the GPL, we try to work out open javavms, and audioformats. You could turn the whole argument around: It’s not ubuntus fault that you are an idiot that uses the .mp3 extension for your audiofiles.
    And guess what, when you make the switch to GNU/Linux, the GPL and the term ‘free software’ will become a major factor, it’s what the whole community is based on. What didn’t Ubuntu give you? You got a free office suite, you got a free operating system, a free browser, IM-client, torrentclient, and lots of other stuff. To give a distribution a 4, because it obeys the law and licensing restrictions is quite simply idiocy. We want GNU/Linux to reach the desktop, but we won’t get there by breaking the law, this gives Microsoft and Apple ammunition against GNU/Linux and Free Software.
    So please, have a nice cup of stfu, and convert your mp3s to ogg, then any distro can play it out of the box.

  • helios

    Retard? Idiot? My friend, this is not My blog, nor is it really any of my business, but I have just made it so. these people are doing a good thing. If you disagree with what is said, either say it in a civil manner or just go away. Now…I, I said I, not anyone connected with this website…I am telling you to apologize to these people for your rude behavior. Absolute wonders can be done with an IP address in the right hands. I am a network administrator and “I” AM the right hands. You will apologize to the site owner and the readers of this blog for your insufferable rudeness and complete lack of social skills. You don’t have much time my friend.

    Helios

  • davecs

    I think using emotive words like retard and idiot make *you* look like … er … a … nah, not my style, mate.

    I’ll tell you why I want mp3 support on my Linux box:

    1 – I have 2 domestic DVD players and a portable CD player which also play MP3 CDs. They do NOT play .ogg files.

    2 – I have a solid state personal stereo also. That plays mp3s, only. It does not play ogg files.

    Now if I were to load up a CD with a load of ogg files and try to play them in my personal CD player, I *would* be a retard, wouldn’t I?

    What Mr and Mrs Devnet have achieved here is to demonstrate that it is possible for someone who knows nothing about linux-based Operating Systems to find one that is right for a newbie who is used to Windows.

    So, Mrs Devnet, welcome to the “non-elite” but “secure, virus-free and firewalled” world of Linux!

  • http://linux-blog.org/index.php?/archives/209-YALB-A-Look-Back-after-Three-Years.html Yet Another Linux Blog

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