Ubuntu: The AOL of Linux?

July 27, 2006

More and more, it seems like a person can not have a discussion about Linux on the desktop without talking about Ubuntu. I compare different versions of a distro and someone wonders, “What about Ubuntu?” Someone wants to write about the history of Linux and people start suggesting the release of Ubuntu as some sort of major milestone. Just like I can’t pick up a PC magazine without reading about Windows, I can’t talk about Linux without mentioning Ubuntu. Just like a person could not have a web address without an AOL keyword in the 1990’s, one cannot have a Linux application without having a version for Ubuntu. See a trend?

Ubuntu sits at the number one spot on Distrowatch because of…what? Is it because it is the best distribution in existence? I don’t hear anyone saying that and it would be silly to say that unless a person tries several. Is it because it is the easiest to use? No, I have already posted to that issue twice. Is it because Ubuntu is the latest? No, because new distributions come out every day.

So what is behind this big Ubuntu hype? For one thing, it is the only distro offering to send out bundles of CDs absolutely free. I can order 5, 10 or more of these things and as long as I’m willing to wait 6 weeks for it to arrive from France, I’m okay. In this way, it does begin to look a bit like AOL, who still sends out free CDs. Once you get the CD, what exactly do you get? Well, you get some lovely programs that can be found on other distros. You also get a lovely multimedia presentation including a video featuring Nelson Mandela. No tutorials and not much of a help file, though. You do get access to a large repository of applications, which appears to be the biggest bonus that they have going. That looks a lot like AOL, since they also boasted huge repositories of free games for downloading in their early days. And for Mac users like me, that was no small selling point.

AOL marketed itself as the internet, and for millions of people it really was the only internet they had ever known for YEARS. Nevermind that is was high cost, and there were better ISPs out there and that it was difficult getting help from a live person when needed. One of the biggest complaints about Ubuntu is the lack of useful help available on its forums. I have read some posts but I don’t feel I’ve spent enough time with anyone’s help forums to make a fair comparison.

I’ve spent enough time with Ubuntu to feel comfortable in saying that it is neither the best Linux distro nor the easiest Linux distro. It is merely the most hyped. Fans of other versions of Linux can learn a thing or two from folks marketing Ubuntu because it really has been cleverly promoted within the community. A recognizable icon, a clever motto (An OS for human beings) that also happens to be short and easy to remember. A snazzy and cool spokeperson in the form of Nelson Mandela, and making the thing extemely painless to acquire in the form of free postage. Not that free downloads are that difficult. Who would have ever thought that the color brown would suddenly become so cool?

I’ve tried to like Ubuntu. I wanted to like it. I really wanted to understand what all the fuss was about. Maybe someone can educate me (in newbie-speak) and explain what is so great about this distro. What is being done with it that is so different and better than what anyone else is doing? Besides generating the hype?

Is the hype bad? I don’t know. My fear is that people new to Linux will first get exposed to Ubuntu (which is not the easiest of distros) and that will be their first and last point of contact before going back to Windows. Like me, people who are generally savvy with computers will feel so foolish for even trying this thing that everyone in the community feels is the best thing since sliced bread and not knowing why it isn’t working. So in this way, Ubuntu departs from AOL which made the internet easy and accessible to newbies by the busload. They came, they stayed and then went on to better Internet options. If the same happens with Linux, it might be a good thing in the long run if they stay around long enough for an enjoyable experience.




  1. Man, I can’t stand AOL, so the fact that you’ve compared my current favorite linux distro to it makes me feel pretty sick. Let me at least give you one person’s perspective (I’m sure you’ll get more) as to why I’ve grown to like it over the past couple of months.

    First of all I have found it to be the easiest, but I think “easiest” needs some clarification. My version of easy meant that it played well with my Windows XP Pro install right from the jump. I had been a devout Fedora Core user since FC2, but always had to keep a separate pc around since trying to dual boot with it was impossible for me. Finally, after a FC5 install where I hosed a complete hard drive’s worth of data, I went looking for something else. Enter Ubuntu, an installer that immediately found my Win XP system, partitioned my hard drive for dual boot and loaded 6.06 Dapper all without a sweat. After that success I was interested in learning more, and from the forums I found EasyUbuntu which helped me setup all of my other apps for multimedia, etc. I was up and going in no time. Plus, it came to me, as you said, in the form of one (I should emphasize one cd as opposed to FC’s 5 nowadays) free cd. To me, this was easy, convenient linux.

    Now, before I get attacked by an FC user, I should say that I still go to http://www.fedoraforum.org which I think is the best linux forum and check out the latest and greatest FC talk since I may give it a try again sometime, but for my needs Ubuntu has in fact been the easiest, no hassle linux to use. And I probably haven’t had the most difficult questions on the forum, but I’ve found them to helpful as well.


    • I am using xp I need to know where to download a com program and how to get it into ubuntu unix my other isp verizon isp doesn’t support unix but i can use verizon if theres a driver for my verizon broadband air card only i can”t find out i dont think until i get online unless i can download a unix driver with xp and get into unix too

  2. Hum… I wonder why Linspire did not raise such a hype? Must be because it’s not free. But I guess it can’t get easier than that. Of course you still need a broadband connection to download the best stuff.

  3. One of the things that makes Ubuntu, which I currently use, stand out is the user support base. Granted, even now when I have really serious technical questions, I turn to the Gentoo forums. But if you’re looking for an easy how-to, there’s more user-friendly documentation on the Ubuntu site and forums than you can find just about anywhere.

    After a couple years on Mandrake, then Gentoo, I tried out Ubuntu. The install just worked on my hardware, a shock after my struggles with Mandrake and Gentoo. And I actually found all the answers to my questions on the Ubuntu forums, whether how to install the right drivers for my legacy nVidia card or user recommendations on the best text editor for a slower system.

    Because they are touting it as “easy” for the newbie, much of the instruction is step-by-step, not assuming great amounts of technical knowledge. Therefore, for those diving into Linux for the first time (an experience I remember as very intimidating), it’s extremely appealing.

    Perhaps most of the ease of use is imagined. Maybe it’s just a hyped image, but if it helps people take that first dive into the open-source world, is that such a bad thing? If a user *thinks* it’s easier, they’ll actually find it such…even if it’s all in their head.

  4. Why use ubuntu when you can get Mepis. The it uses debian and ubuntu respetories and its way more user frendly.And it has a root acount , typing sudu -s every two seconds gets very annoying.Mepis also has much better multimedia support.Ubuntu also seemed to have a lot more bugs , I tryed copying my music to ubuntu some got in the music folder , some got into the desktop and some of it just dissapered! Im happy i switched and the reason i tryed ubuntu first is becouse of all the hype.

    ps. That brown theme is extremly ugly

    • Might I suggest you make use of the spell checker(s) included with almost all distros of linux, or at least available, such as ispell and aspell. I’m a Slackware guy myself, if you really want to LEARN linux and aren’t afraid to roll up your sleeves and get your hands a little dirty, it’s the only way to fly !

      Then use any desktop you want, or none at all, there’s a lot of amazing things in the CLI world ! ! !

  5. I agree with you all the way, Steve, except I didn’t have a problem with the brown theme. If you think really hard, you might find that it’s appropriate!LOL!

    Now I’m feeling bad about those disks I gave away.


  6. Yeah Ubuntu is definitely not the easiest distro out there (Linspire/PCLinuxOS much?) and I would never recommend it to someone like my mom for instance. I think it’s an easy distro for those who want to “learn” about Linux since is starts out nice and easy (copy paste commands and youll be set in no time) but allows you to “geek out” if you want to (at which point you might find it suitable switch to Gentoo). In short, it’s more of an “intermediate newbie” distro.

    For those who just want to turn their computer on and be set to go right out of the box, I would probably recommend PcLinuxOS/MEPIS/Linspire, though personally, Linspire has always struck me as more of the “AOL distro” than Ubuntu…(I don’t know if it’s the extremely cheesey/sleazey looking marketing and tutorial videos or charging $20-50 a year for what is basically synaptic with pretty pictures and then “suggesting” unecessary add-ons like a virus scanner subscription).

    But hey, no bashing Linspire here…as they do give back to the OSS world (like funding Gaim and many others)

    Anyway…is Ubuntu overhyped? Hell yeah. But it still doesn’t mean it can be a nifty distro and the one that works for me (along with PCLinuxOS and MEPIS and you get the point…)

    Take Care


  7. I agree that PCLinuxOS looked to be a better beginner distro, looking a lot more like XP than any other distro I tried. Whichever distro becomes the most popular, I would hope thart it would make Linux more accessible to more people. Ubuntu does not do this so handily as it does require more fiddling.


  8. […] The bottom line is that Roos, Bray and the earlier review by ourtweaks.com, is that each and every one of these folks used Ubuntu (or tried to) failed and went back to their old OS’s thinking that they had given Linux a fair try.  They’ve been there, done that.  Bray actually did give the fairest of all the reviews, giving high as well as low points.  Plus, the Mac OS is pretty solid and it should be for the price you pay for it.  Roos and Ourtweaks went back to Windows in apparent frustration.  But reading the comments on Scoble’s blog, as well as those on the Roos blog you would think Ubuntu = Linux.  That is the mistake I’ve seen coming down the pike and I don’t see it has helpful.  It is coming to pass exactly as I said it would.  New folks are going to buy the Ubuntu hype, try it, get frustrated, and bugger off of Linux and back to Windows for good.  […]

  9. I tried Ubuntu and I don’t see what sets it apart from other Linux distributions. I personally use DreamLinux since it not only has a nice Mac feel in its interface but has a unique ability in the mkdistro (Make Linux Distribution) application that makes it easy to create your own Linux Distribution that suites your needs. I suggest downloading the ISO for it and trying it out since it is bootable straight form the CD, and is far more stable than PCLOS.

  10. I too have used Ubuntu for 2 weeks now and I’ve been on the Ubuntu forums every single day because I can’t seem to get things going. Especially intalling then running programs. My printer and scanner do not work (must be Linux).

    I agree with the hype. But I also see that they are trying their very best to do good which creates the hype.

    It’s a good hype but Ubuntu is definitely over-rated.

  11. I used Ubuntu as my first Linux Hard Drive Installation.
    III had wanted to switch because Ubuntu uses a communist
    to promote it. (Nelson Mandela). I think it runs great
    and detects my hardware well. I was also displeased
    by the ignorance of one of the forum administrators
    and his politics. I left for Fedora Core 6 and like it better.
    I also don’t see the same weirdness on the Fedora forums.

  12. The main problem I have with Ubuntu is the fact that it uses Gnome.
    No, it’s not the fact that “Ubuntu” sounds like it was carved in wood by the Yanamomo tribe, it’s the gnomes and trolls that hype it.
    What’s the point of two floating menu bars (up and down) when you can have only one – extremely well organised? Word!

    I really don’t get why everyone screams OOBOONTOO OBOONTOO!!!! when Kubuntu is RIGHT THERE, NEXT TO IT!
    KDE > Gnome
    A superior “start menu” (in openSUSE 10.2 KDE totally thrashes Gnome with the addition of the uber “SUSE Menu”) and user experience (the apps are all there, in the menu – sorted by categories as simple as possible), what more could you want?

    Well, you COULD want YaST2 from SUSE 🙂
    openSUSE could use a smaller package (1 CD instead of a DVD), not-having-to-add-online-installation-sources-yourself and it should be Beryl-ready.
    That’s about it.

    Otherwise, openSUSE > Kubuntu, but they both do away really good with Ubuntu anyway.

    For all the Ubuntu zombies out there, try Kubuntu 😉

  13. […] with the meat and potatoes as to why it’s starting to be looked at negatively, but the few articles I did find, still don’t win me over. I’ve tried a other distributions, Red Hat, Fedora, […]

  14. […] Hilton of Linux? January 11, 2007 Posted by Dick in Ubuntu, Linux, Puppy Linux. trackback The AOL- Ubuntu connection is one of the most popular posts I’ve ever written, by virtue of Ubuntu being so […]

  15. Any distro that forces wannabe pim “Evolution” upon you can’t call itself “An OS for human beings”. Even after unistalling Evolution it leaves tracks everywhere. Same goes for OpenOffice. How windozy is that?

    OO & Evo are likely to turn MS users away in droves.

    Also, why, when you select your input language and keyboard map are you still subject to a at least a dozen bloaty, disk absorbing, foreign font sets on the off chance your pc also doubles as an international web-kiosk for passing Outer-Mongolians?

    OS that fit on one disk are the way to go but imagine how much more practical software you could fit on disks if OO and Evo were given the elbow and font installation was a bit more dynamic?

    Another thing that boils my pi55 is the number of updates ubuntu has after install — I recently had a go of Dapper 6.06.1, you know, the respin with 300+ updates? It had only been out for a while when I got it but sure enough after installation the number of updates required was extraordinary. How buggy can a distro be? Don’t they test before releasing?

    Excellent marketing has brought Ubuntu to the table, there’s absolutely no doubt about that. There are a number of one man distros about that wipe the floor with Ubuntu in every way, that’s proof enough that Ubuntu is hype in its purest form.

  16. […] if I needed to say it again, one more […]

  17. Ubuntu is not that different from any other distro that I have ever tried. They are all sort of cool in their own way, but I have never given up my XP installation, because when I am done goofing off and messing around –when I need to get real work done, Ubuntu seems to not provide me with the tools that I need. And why install something like wine to run Windows apps at a snail’s pace, when I could just run Windows?

    Do not misunderstand what is taking place here. The truth is, that the whole movement of open-source has ideological ties behind it. It’s not truly a matter whether or not the software actually works better than proprietary software. It’s the thought that counts. My thought is, that this is crap. I just want to use whatever works best for the work that I need to get done.

    The bottom-line is that Linux can make a wonderful and secure server. But as far as desktops are concerned, it’s a matter of the limitations that you are willing to accept. As far as I’m concerned, XP is far better for the average desktop user for more reasons that the obvious.

  18. Um…Brent? You know, there *is* medication available to help with your split personalities! Or is this a simple case of the old colostomy bag backing up?!?

    Ubuntu is a piss-poor distro, at least when performance is compared to hype. Oh, it’ll work with enough trouble and hassle. But there are better distros out there and Ubuntu fan-boys who equate Ubuntu with Linux need to stop passing off their distortions on to everyone else. You ain’t doing the movement any favors by passing off shit and pretending it’s a chocolate brownie. That’s exactly what Microsoft has done the last two decades with Windows!

    Ubuntu is a slut, but at least she has the virtue of being a cheap slut.


  19. brent… wine is simply an implementation of windows API over a linux framework. In many instances it actually does a better job, causing some applications to run faster on linux than they do in windows.

    I also disagree with Lloyd about open office. If you want to be serious in an IT world, you are going to have to succumb to the MS product formats. You will need to have spreadsheets compatible with Excel, and word documents compatible with Word, etc. Open Office does this – “windowsy” or not, it is a Linux friendly alternative that allows you access to development techniques that will be used in the professional world. To not use it is only detrimental to yourself – as no one will take you seriously in a business presentation if you start shownig them a document you wrote using vi.

    Ubunutu is a great distribution. Is it the cats meow? No. It has its bugs, and perhaps jumps too quickly to a release, leaving you to choose between the latest and greatest, and a stable distro. However, its perfect for someone like me, who uses UNIX in a business environment, but has a wife/spouse that has only ever used Windows, and doesn’t need that steep of a learning curve just to do a few simple tasks. I have access to a command line interface – though I admit the lack of root login is annoying at times – that allows me to implement the full power of Linux, while having a friendly GUI that is compatible with my better half. And you can easily install Kubuntu along side, and choose which one to boot into, if you prefer KDE.

    Ubuntu is a fine distribution, that should not be compared to AOL. Its going to bring a lot more traffic to the Linux community than Fedora Core or Red Hat will ever dream.

  20. Ok, Ubuntu may not be the “greatest” but it certainly did more for me than Fedora, Red Hat, and every other release that I have found. Ubuntu is my first experience using Linux and I enjoy every second of it. There’s not as much of a learning curve for it in my opinion because the layout is so similar to a hybrid between Mac and Windows. It’s seriously dumbed down, which is something I thoroughly enjoy. Had I used any other build of Linux, I would not touch Linux again… in fact to this day if you told me to switch to another build I will refuse. Though other builds of Linux may be superior, I have found Ubuntu to be the most user friendly for any beginning Linux user.

  21. […] algumas informações a respeito do lançamento do Ubuntu Studio/Feisty no site oficial da distribuição linux mais hype da atualidade, me deparei com duas belíssimas novidades. Primeiro, um site totalmente reformulado, muito mais […]

  22. Ubuntu was good enough for me to switch most of my PC use to it. XP is now only for games, thats the one thing I haven´t been able to do from Ubuntu.

    My Linux experience goes back to the 23 floopy Slackware installs. I´ve played around with Redhat, SUSE, Knoppix and a few others. With everyone I hit compatibility walls that were unacceptable.

    When I installed Ubuntu on my laptop, every driver worked right after install. That blew me away. After 3 PCs the only hardware problem is no graphics acceleration on one (I´ve seen plenty of pre-installed XP boxes which couldn´t install the drivers from the recovery disk).

    I still run Quickbooks and Visual Studio, I just do it through Qemu. It´s almost as fast, and even SP2 installed (I´ve seen plenty of pre-installed XP boxes that can´t claim as much).

    Ubuntu´s starter guide lays out almost everything new users would want (and some they wouldn´t like a complete LAMP server). If I had a problem I Googled ¨ubuntu my-problem¨ and almost always found a clear and easy to follow how-to listed.

    For the first time I have a Linux install I can do serious work with. With an installed base of 1 in 4 Linux boxes, and a regular update cycle, I have confidence they´ll be around for awhile. Is there better? Maybe, but this is good enough for me.


  23. For those of you complaining about the lack of a root account, just go to a terminal and type sudo passwd. After inputing your current password, you will be prompted to enter a new password (for the root account). Once you’ve done this, you can login with username root and the password you just chose. They leave this out by default because they don’t want new users to decide sudo is too much work and take the insecure step of running as root all the time.

  24. Man you dont half whine about getting something for free. get a life boy.

  25. I’ve tried quite a few different flavors of Linux. For now, our downstairs PC has the new Ubuntu Feisty 7.04, but my own personal PC has openSUSE 10.2. There seems to be a lot of support for Ubuntu online, but they seem scattered. For most problems and tutorials on Suse, you just go to Firefox. The home page, by default, is their wiki page, with just about everything you would need to know.

    One thing I should note: openSUSE by default comes with some bulky programs. For the new user, you should run Yast2, go to software management, and do a search for “kpackage” in the description. This will help your rpm files get installed within seconds. Not to mention, the structure of Suse’s KDE Menu is extremely effective in finding what you want.

    Ubuntu, on the other hand, comes with the 3D desktop effects, not matter what card you have, thanks to their MESA drivers. They may not be perfect, but they work until you get the proprietary ones. With SUSE, you have to go through finding a certain repository or file, get a whole bunch of updates, and THEN you have your 3D cube and such…

  26. I’ve never fully understood why Ubuntu has been #1 for so long on DistroWatch. It seems like, even with Linux, people still tend to go for whatever is the most heavily marketed. I’ve tried Ubuntu and never really cared for it.

    My main gripes are I’ve never cared for GNOME, as it goes WAY too far in trying to simplify things — give me KDE any day! Speaking of, their KDE version, Kubuntu, felt like little more than a hack job, although I must say that their XFCE version, Xubuntu, is pretty good, and it’s something I could live with if my PC weren’t powerful enough for KDE.

    Anyways, I’d have to chalk up Ubuntu’s popularity to marketing and free CD shipments to anywhere in the world. But other than that, when it comes to being the easiest distro to use, I beg to differ with that statement.

    In my experience with Linux distros, PCLinuxOS is the distro of choice that I’d recommend to a Linux newbie. I’d have to say that PCLOS is THE distro that I would have to say “just works”. In fact, PCLinuxOS is very quickly closing in on the #1 spot on DistroWatch, and with very good reason. Oh, and it also uses KDE for its desktop, too, which helped win me over to PCLOS.

    Overall, comparing Ubuntu with AOL wouldn’t be too far from the truth. But hey, by using Linux, be it Ubuntu or something else, and not using that other operating system, at least you’re not leaving yourself wide open to viruses and spyware and the like.

  27. For me the most important advantage of Ubuntu (my clear favourite) over other distributions that claim to be easy by copying Windows, is that Ubuntu DOES NOT look like XP.

    How easy is windows anyway? A completely unlogical and messy file organisation (e.g. it looks like “my documents” folder is on the desktop, and the “desktop” folder pretends not to be a folder – if you go back and back in the folder structure you land on the desktop instead of on the harddrive C.

    Also to go to “start” to end the system is sad, etc, etc, etc.) How easy on the other hand is Ubuntu, which thankfully uses gnome in its standard install, with a super-simple organisation along “applications”, “places”, “systems” (perfect!)and a philosophy to keep the desktop EMPTY. And of course NO REGISTRATION for anything. All of this is a major advantage of Ubuntu.

    Another one is its philosophy: Linux for human beings, and of course the word “Ubuntu” as the idea of sharing things freely. This is a great motto. For example, other than expensive windows, this operating system can make a difference in poor countries in the developing world! This is certainly one reason why N. Mandela supports it. A linux with a political message and a real change-the-world goal. This will be the key to success!

  28. At first blush, comparing Ubuntu to AOL seems like an insult. However, AOL was a big part of bringing the internet to the masses. For whatever reasons, Ubuntu has helped bring an uptick in Linux users, and I think that’s neat.

    Besides, I like the name. Humanity towards others.

  29. I can’t really say that Ubuntu is better than any other version of Linux, I can only speak of my own experience. I installed it on a Dell Vostro notebook, hoping to have an interesting winter project. The winter project turned out to last just a few days, because it was so easy to install and use. I like that fact that for most users, it does everything better than MS Windows. I regret that the Wine emulator is a little weak, but I believe it will get better over time. What I like the most though is how it has helped my wife to use and enjoy her computer. See doesn’t yell at it anymore because of the time it takes to boot or load automatic updates. It simply works. It installs easily and can coexist well with MS Windows on a different partition, although I prefer an MS free zone. I love the way it works will all kinds of files and drive formats and I love the fact that my data cannot be accessed by MS Widows users and remains pretty secure even if my hard drive is removed from my computer. I know that Linux can do much more that I use it for. I can wait to learn all of that in the future. For now I’m happy that I don’t have to install MS Vista and I’m happy that my dual core processor actual gets used.

    I guess an operating system that operates like AOL isn’t all that bad.

  30. Yeah, but Ubuntu does not equal Linux, and yet that’s pretty much the connection new Linux users are making. This is the the exact same crowd that equated the internet with AOL. So while in some ways it was good that AOL brought people to the net by the boatload, those cruise ships were populated by some pretty ignorant people. That’s why it sounds kind of insulting to be associated with AOL nowadays!

    Truth is, Windows has more in common with AOL than Ubuntu, but in the Linux world, Ubuntu sure plays the part well.


  31. While i know there is a lot of good distros out there I personally use Ubuntu because it offers a good compromise between usable features and stability. Can you offer a distro that has all that? I’ll try it

  32. Ubuntu is important milestone simply because its based on debian which was important yet it developed faaarr too slow and didn’t have a public image (their webpage sux for example). Include the fact that it didn’t have prebuilt desktop environments (if I want to change software around during the install without a desktop to use then give me a fugging command line and let me go to work). Not to mention debian has no simple mobile version for netbooks small screens. Then you add in the fact ubuntu started developing support for the blind and having recovery mode in grub saying “omg your X server is broke let me magically set it to default?”. Now seeing as there are 4 elements to linux distros “corporate” (rpm based, highly proprietary and $$$), DIY (do it yourself), DIC (Do It Compiler), gnu pwnz (deb packages) it just so happens that the prophecy rings true that ubuntu would rise up and be the ultimate linux. However DIY linux distros such as gentoo and archlinux are still closely competing and provide much insight towards the documentation side of things for those with an intense linux fetish.

  33. um… archlinux > gentoo..
    lol aanyway

  34. I can’t see what all your problems are about. I read a computer magazine the other week, singing the praises of Ubuntu (Hype ?) So off I trot to the download for the ISO, burn it to CD and install it. Unfortunately with 35 years experience in the computer industry the last thing I read was the install instructions ! Only one operating system. After reinstalling Windows XP and then upgrading to Vista AND then reading the install instructions Ubuntu loaded fine – Duel boot, instant internet connection and all peripherals detected. Whilst I’m still getting used to its slight differences, it only uses 35% of my RAM (only 500Kb I know its not enough) but Vista take 85% and runs slower.

    So give it a try

  35. In my opinion, Ubuntu is by no means the easiest, best, or most versatile Linux distro, it is just the most hyped. As an avid Linux user, I cannot stand Ubuntu. Very little user support and a bad user interface, in my opinion, do give Linux a bad name among average users, who typically hear about this thing called Linux, think it might be neat, and go and get Ubuntu. They then run the Live CD, are confused by the UI, cannot figure out how to do anything, decide Linux is no good, and go back to Windoze. There are far easier, full featured, and better Linux distributions out there, that simply do not have so much hype surrounding them.

  36. I’m a Linux newbie. Just installed mine few days ago. I installed the OracleLinux4 edition on the Sun Virtualbox. Oralcelinux4 seems nice, everything works great, all the drivers and others, internet speed is also fast compared to OpenSolaris which is running on the other end (with a sound problem). I don’t really know much about Linux but everybody has kind of been singing about it, my friend is also running it so I decided to first try other editions. So far Oracle edition works for me. I’d like to hear your comments on this edition.


  37. Can someone just answer this question, can AOL run on Ubuntu through wine?

  38. After my first taste of Linux, I was hooked! I began trying tons of distros only to find Ubuntu was THE BEST for me. People that try Ubuntu and go back to Windows, can’t get rid of the “Windows state of mind”. Linux IS NOT Windows and people have to realize that there is a learning curve. When I first tried Windows, it was hard! Same with Linux.

  39. Different strokes for different folks. There’s a gajillion Linux distros out there because there’s a gajillion people out there all with different tastes/needs/wants/desires. I don’t think any single distro is the best or should be considered the best. I’ve tried Ubuntu. It’s alright, however in the here and now, my personal favorite is Mint Linux, however this is an Ubuntu variant, so I guess I really do like Ubuntu. I’ve tried PCLinux OS, I’ve tried Debian, of which I like Knoppix the best. I like all of the different flavors. Oh, and since I’m on my soapbox, I like AOL, I’ve always liked AOL. Since they’ve dropped the ball and bombed, they *REALLY* need to reinvent themselves as the most complete and feature packed web browser available-. There are sooo many things you can do and services available on an AOL
    browser that aren’t on any other browser. Windows on the other hand, is assinine with all the stupid various versions. There needs to be a single edition, and ix nay the multiple crippled editions. So, that’s my 2 cents on Linux/Ubuntu, AOL and (cough) WinDoze.

  40. I can answer this easily. In less than a few clicks, I can get Ubuntu to play an MP3. I’ve not attempted this with Debian Lenny; but I can say Fedora is not that easy to make work and neither are any of it’s derivatives that I’ve experienced.

    Windows people expect some things to “just work,” like MP3 and AVI files playing out of the box. Windows can do it, why can’t Linux? We take codecs for granted. Ubuntu makes access and accepting the licenses of codecs quite simple and straight forward.

    At the end of the day the average netizen just wants to get their youtube on. Ubuntu lets you do it in fewer clicks than Windows does “right out of the box” with a fresh install. Even Mac OS takes second here, because of the click count involved.

    Switched many Red Hat users over to Ubuntu, simply because of how streamlined the repos and sources are to getting enjoyment out of the computer without a lot of fuss. I love the command line, my mother does not. She shouldn’t need to see it, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be there for me. Ubuntu I think is the best of all worlds; if not lending itself a little too Apple these days with radical changes to the core UI every 6 months.

  41. I see not one person has mentioned slackware. That’s a real shame as it’s a very ‘pure ‘ distro in the unix sense. Give a man Ubuntu, and he’ll learn Ubuntu, Give him Slackware and he’ll learn linux.

  42. Hello, I’m a mainframe systems guy surviving in a micro world. Been looking linux since 1994. Every couple of years I’d download a popular version to try to see if Linux could exist in a competitive environment. Wasn’t ready.

    UBUNTU and LINUX IS READY FOR THE BIG TIME. I’ve developed a software system that creates big-time computer apps that will change computing when it “hits the streets.” The software is modeled under Windows but Wine runs my system better than Windows! (I have written a minimalist java version of my runtime with the intention of putting the entire system in Java, but with Linux I can go with the already done MS code under Wine, puurfect).

    I’m putting all my eggs in Linux now. The various versions of Linux, like Puppy, provide a way to scale my software to fit almost any computer solution and most ANY system. Moreover, I can deliver a complete, self-contained, portable system with Linux as the implementation platform.

    Of course there are tweaks that will improve Ubuntu (I’ve found that when Ubuntu is left alone but up for a long time (say, sleep), the screen begins to tweak such that you may not be able to gracefully exit). Also, if the system is shut down abnormally, say power outage, the system may have to be reinstalled. Boot problems??

    You Linux guys ramp it up! Linux is ready to roll. Any of you guys want a piece of my coming action then google VMRADS or TCB VMRADS. I haven’t touched the site for about a year and a half but the information you will find should educate you on TCB.

    Oh! What my system does is allow complex, business and personal custom computer solutions to be developed without programming or even a scripting language! The only tools needed are Notepad! Of course there are some small helper apps that come with. For example, a SQL database driven columnar report generator and a standalone report processor.

    PS google sites sucks but it is all I can afford. Google looks like they will become a bigger control freak than microsoft. I recently received an add BY SNAIL MAIL from google that contained information about me that could only have been obtained by analyzing my mail and sites. Beware!


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