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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

By Michael Reed on June 27, 2008 (9:00:00 PM)

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With Ubuntu, Canonical has had notable success in convincing people to switch from other platforms, but potential Ubuntu users are still running into trouble in several areas. Having spent some time on Canonical's forums, I've identified 10 points that seem to be common sticking points for new users -- that is, problems that have the potential to prevent a new user from adopting Ubuntu in the long term. These problems span the entire Ubuntu experience, but they all have two things in common: they are all serious enough to evoke the dreaded "I tried Linux but it didn't work" excuse, and they are all solvable.

Screen setup

Ubuntu is still bad at properly detecting and setting up the display. Once it's gone wrong, there isn't much you can do from the GUI setup tool -- it either lies about your screen settings or offers inappropriate screen modes. Anyone for 640x480@52Hz on a 19-inch CRT?

This is probably the most frequently reported complaint on the beginner forum. Other operating systems can set up the screen, so why can't Linux?

From the user perspective, the solution involves some research and the editing of the xorg.conf config file. This is bad, because if the user makes a single mistake -- presuming the typical user is resourceful enough to make it this far -- it's all too easy to render the whole Ubuntu setup unusable.

This problem is so widely acknowledged as a weakness of Ubuntu that I was surprised that Ubuntu 8.04 was still getting it wrong. Ubuntu should use its leadership muscle to create a robust, reliable solution from scratch or champion an existing project.

Boot management

I'm against the idea of making things unnecessarily flashy, but GRUB is both feature-poor and complicated to configure.

Smart Boot Manager is a boot manager that has more run-time configuration features than GRUB without being frivolous. Other boot managers, such as GAG, offer an attractive GUI interface. Both of these GRUB alternatives that I mentioned are GPL projects.

Having the boot manager overwritten by a Windows upgrade is another common complaint. A feature to reinstate the boot manager from the install disk menu would help people who can no longer boot Ubuntu.

Mounting

It's a shame that Ubuntu doesn't come with a GUI tool to configure the boot-time mounting of new partitions. Most advice on this issue revolves around editing /etc/fstab. A common complaint is that the partition can be seen but the permissions are wrong. There are a few other gotchas that can come up when a user is trying to make the system recognise a new partition.

Such a utility could be added to the live CD, as mounting a partition from the command line is difficult for non-experts.

Installation

I have a pet niggle with the Ubuntu installer: it's not very forgiving of network errors, often hanging at about 92%. I suspect that Ubuntu pings a test server, and if it receives a reply, assumes that the machine is connected to the Internet. The snag is that there is a class of networking problems that only affect DNS resolution.

The workaround for this problem is simple: disconnect from the network before beginning the install.

Ideally, the Ubuntu installer would pop up a warning when its attempt to connect to the server has failed, then finish the install. I'd settle for an error box stating that the install couldn't complete, accompanied with advice about how to proceed. Even a note saying, "If the installer stops at 92%, try installing without the network connected" would be better than an installer that stops dead with no explanation.

Sound configuration

Sound under Linux is a bit of a mess. There are a lot of different systems, and a lot of overlapping functionality. This needn't matter if the system sets itself up properly, but sound setup on Linux is hardly what I would call robust. As a result, when things go wrong, users have to hit the forums and the config files.

Some users report that sound is working but that only one program can use it at once. In extreme situations, this may lead to people switching off system alert sounds so that application sound works. Sometimes people can't get sound working in Web videos in Firefox. The common fixes for that problem can leave them with a system in which sound works only in Firefox.

Canonical is trying to solve the Linux sound problem by standardising on ALSA with Pulse Audio. This combination has the potential to be a killer system in the long run, but at the moment a lot of people can't get their sound up and running.

Networking: IPv6 support

Version 4 of the Internet Protocol (the layer that connects software to the Internet) is in the process of being superseded by version 6. By default, Ubuntu supports the new version, but many Internet service providers have not switched over yet. When IPv6 support has not been implemented properly by an ISP or by a broadband router, an Ubuntu user can experience slow access or even a total lack of access to the Internet.

From reading the forums it seems that Ubuntu may have defaulted to IPv6 support too early. IPv4 support can be re-enabled, but it involves editing configuration files. If Canonical has decided to be ahead of the curve, it should make it easier for people to switch back to IPv4.

I wonder how many people have given up on Ubuntu because Web browsing seemed slow? I suspect that some people are left thinking that Ubuntu doesn't support their network hardware, but in fact they were running afoul of incompatibilities with the new IP standard.

A simple check-box configuration for switching between IPv4/6 would save a lot of headaches for users who have run into problems.

Power and hibernation

Power management is vital for laptop users, and hibernating a desktop computer can be a cool approach to startup and shutdown.

Canonical should intensify its efforts in this area, because for most users, a laptop that doesn't sleep properly is a broken laptop. Ubuntu features a hardware testing and reporting application, but it didn't even prompt me for details about my experiences with power management.

Email migration

One of the most common things that new users want to do is migrate their email from their Windows setup. If they were lucky enough to be using a client such as Thunderbird on Windows, they can migrate their email with a combination research and some complicated file copying, all within an unfamiliar interface. Transferring email from the most popular Windows email client, Outlook Express, is even more complicated.

This process could be made more approachable with some prominent documentation, or even an email migration tool. I regard this as a fix rather than an enhancement as it refers to such a common and vital activity.

Documentation

How about providing some documentation to help get new users started, covering topics such as "Internet and networking problems" and "Getting the screen set up"? The Ubuntu team could produce a list, like this one, describing some of the most common problems that users are likely to encounter and make some simple suggestions.

Building from source

Ubuntu's package management implementation constitutes a significant enticement for the potential switcher in its own right. However, building packages from source is unavoidable when a desired package isn't in the repositories or the version in the repositories is out of date.

The build instructions in most source packages put the package manager out of sync with the actual packages that are installed. Why doesn't Canonical standardise on one of the GUI build tools in tandem with Checkinstall? Checkinstall installs the compiled application but works with the package manager to keep it in sync with the real state of the system.

By addressing these 10 points, Canonical can improve the Ubuntu experience for new users, and retain more of them who might otherwise become frustrated by problems with relatively simple fixes.

Michael Reed writes about technology, retro computing, geek culture, and gender. He's a also a musician, bicyclist, and comedy writer.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 164.73.36.229] on June 27, 2008 09:29 PM
Interesting, and i mostly agree. I would put suspending and hibernating first and foremost, followed by sound (a problem i don't have), and adding the robustness of the support for flash in websites. To keep it at 10 i'd remove the documentation point... Any of these problems should be solveable without resorting to any doc, they should be trivial (like the mount app example: it there's a easy to use app that just works, nobody will look for documentation). Another point i don't agree is compiling... It IS important, but Ubuntu won't "win the desktop" making easy to compile random junk from repositories. I think is much critical reaching stability in what we have NOW. Like it's pretty silly that the gnome's panel drawer is unusable, and been like that since desktop effects are default, or the abovementioned flash hell that kills browsers randomly while watching youtube, or sound glitches.
In other works, i think Ubuntu should push towards robustness of the desktop.

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Re: Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 82.234.124.11] on June 28, 2008 01:55 AM
i totally agree with you. power management should be number one, then the sound problem which i currently dont have, but knowing people who ive installed ubuntu on their systems, i can tell you, its a hassle to change some code just to get the sound running. oh yeah, browsing is third, because the average computer user is going to spend half of their time if not more on a website, and if this website requires some kind of flash media for example like some NEWS websites and it doesnt work, the user feels incapable of using the internet. documentation is useful, but not so important, the windows to ubuntu migration tools are also not priority, if everything works i think most people would consider starting a new fresh beginning with ubuntu. gnome panel drawer doesnt work!! i dont think so. it is working as far as i know. i have a Dell pc which cant restart nor hibernate. it can only shutdown. i have to say, it makes me feel like an incapable user, which i dont like to feel. that needs to change!! what is a notebook user gonna do when the computer cant hibernate. the data will be lost when the laptop reaches its battery limit. simply said. ubuntu is not always compatible with notebooks. that with the package manager and keeping it sync is quite important i have to say, ubuntu has to be able to run on more computer fluently before the last touches of perfection are added. i dont really have problems installing and removing software although it could be easier. i still enjoy the big variety of software available. oh well, we can only wait.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 79.77.162.13] on June 27, 2008 09:34 PM
Just a couple of things I don't agree with:
Mounting - There is a tool in the repo's the NTFS Configuration Tool http://www.ntfs-3g.org. I think it would be a better idea to ask during install (when it asks if you want to import accounts may be a good time) if you have NTFS partitions that you want to auto mount and set the system up to do so. However it's not particularly difficult to find the windows partitions under the Places menu and click on them.

Documentation - You obviously didn't find the Help and Support item under the System menu.

Building from source - No way can I believe that the average windows user is ever going to want to try and build a package from source, let alone worry about the package manager being out of sync, so I don't think this would be a deal breaker for anyone intending to move over to Ubuntu.

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Re: Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 63.118.233.100] on June 30, 2008 02:14 PM
The ntfs-3g tools do not work for everyone properly including myself and I have tried them on 3 different systems.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 83.86.84.108] on June 27, 2008 10:08 PM
I would like to add Firefox totem plug-in to the list of things that will annoy new users, even experienced ones. There are 3 critical limitations with totem Firefox plugin:

1. Viewing streaming video is bad since it doesn't handle buffering so well. (e.g. try watching a 480p/720p/1080p video on www.apple.com/trailers with a 1 mbit/s connection).

2. You can't scrub through the clip once it's already playing.

3. You can't replay the video once it's done playing.

To reproduce the above check with www.apple.com/trailers

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Re: Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 200.88.184.221] on June 30, 2008 06:45 PM
install the mozilla-mplayer get it in synaptic

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 80.48.123.77] on June 27, 2008 10:18 PM
I just can't believe what I just read. You must be kidding. Ubuntu installation takes up to half an hour. It's very easy, sets up everything automatically. There are no graphics problems, sound problems, boot problems. Power management and hibernation work well. Haven't tried IPv6. E-mail migration also works nice, detects Windows and the used e-mail client (either outlook of thunderbird).
As for the documentation I agree, not much help really.
And lastly building from source... Dude, either install a source Linux distro (like Gentoo) and don't use the binary distributions if you want to build from source or install the necessary *-dev packages before attempting to build something yourself. Honestly: I never had any problems when compiling something under Ubuntu...

And no, I'm not an Ubuntu evangelist, I prefer Gentoo, to be honest. Gives you more control, but with a little tweaking you can archive the same results on Ubuntu. :)

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Re: Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 156.108.0.70] on June 27, 2008 10:27 PM
You didn't have any of those problems, but this is a top ten distilled from the forums and message boards. People are having these problems, or they'd not be posting about them.

And I am an Ubuntu evangelist, just a realistic one. We've got a helluva distro here, and I'd love it if, in the next release they focused on making what's there work right more often, which it appears they are intending to do.

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Re: Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 213.130.123.226] on June 28, 2008 08:50 AM
You are talking from your point of view and your experience. This article however is well-researched and outlines the problems faced by a lot of new Ubuntu users . If you check out the forums , these are the problems actually being faced by a lot of users.

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Re: Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 193.179.65.254] on June 30, 2008 03:54 PM
You've obviously never run into a problem trying to install Ubuntu on a system with a 19" widescreen LCD. The display detection is basically broken, and if you're lucky, you'll end up booting to 640x480. But just as easily you can get to a point where the display won't work at all, 'cause Ubuntu tries to use an incompatible mode, despite what you told it to. And then the only way to fix it is to ssh in from another machine and manually hack xorg.conf.

And let's not even get into hibernate. I've tried to make it work on three separate installs, and it simply DOES NOT WORK on most systems.

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Re(1): Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 192.168.118.40] on July 02, 2008 12:05 AM
Worst of all, when it gets the display wrong and uses 640x480 safe mode the "Next" button for the installer is OFF THE SCREEN.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 70.95.186.152] on June 27, 2008 10:29 PM
I seriously question the priority of your 10 sticking points.

I assume (hate that word, don't you?) that it is in order by installation to griping...

BUT! there are really only 2 problems, and you don't have them high enough!!

!) Documentation. Period, almost. I have been in computers since slide rules were in use, by everyone! Before the Bomar Brain. Back in the Stone Age, when punch paper tape, punch cards and flipping switches were input methods. I understand most of computer theory, several computer languages, know how to tweak windows, to actually make it kind work, sort of...

I gave a serious attempt to using linux years ago. It really was not ready for prime time.

A few months ago, I had my last Window blow up, and swore I would use Linux.

I installed Ubuntu, Feisty.

I have 'Linux for Idiots', "Ubuntu Linux' and several great links to sites, I manage to find that have some really cool tweaks, tools and suggestons.

But, by and large, Linux needs some serious documentation writers.
1 !!! Writers that do NOT think in Linux.
2 !!! Writers that do NOT 'ASSUME' you know all that they know - most of which they forgot to put into their instructions.
3 !!! Writers that do NOT use overly technical idiomatic expressions of industry standard obtuseness..

Just a basic example. I have yet to find a complete and easily understandable set of instructions for installing.
Note: I said complete... understandable. The terms are not mutual exclusions when writing instructions. I have found a few (the ones using Synaptic or Add Remove, are often incomplete in that basic set up is ok, but necessary goodies are not easily identified.

But, when you get to installing .tar files, or .bin, something is clearly not clear. After many frustrating months, I have gotten all the file types to install, in one form or another (except .tar with any hope of regularity). But, I feel, Ubuntu is not for the faint of heart.

I even spent some time with CNR. It has its points, but, its restrictions often include software I want, that they don't have, that is otherwise only available in .tar.gz format. My chances are better at getting a date with Racquel Welsh...


The basic Ubuintu set up has some crappy 5* games. Kubuntu has a much better Sodoku, but, not simple to find (as is the better Texas Hold'em... Neither having the max stars, though the Sodoku clearly is better than the Ubuntu version.

Much about identifying hardware was resolved, but if you have a sound card on a system with on chip sound, you will go crazy going from one to the other, as the system has its monthly cycle.

There is seemingly crappy support for Camera card hardware, and no quickly findable instructions for getting non-disk devices found, if not discovered. (And once found, they are apt to disappear.

The problem still goes back to crappy documentation. I am neither the only one, nor the last one, to run into this documentation miasma. Until it is cleared up, Linux and Ubuntu (Kubuntu, etc) will have ongoing non-acceptance.

2) Hardware problems, as noted, but, it still is a documentationi problem. I also understand the driver problems with the industry and Linux (don't you wish you had half the money Microsoft spends on keeping it that way??). But, finding the resources to use your resources is not simple.

PS: I know how to use search engines, and how to find things, thank you. But, Having to dig through White and Black hat sites in hopes of finding what is needed, poses unnecessary risks, sometime, of being identified as a target of opportunity... thank you...

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Re: Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 128.36.117.70] on July 08, 2008 09:51 PM
Lack of documentation is one of the main reasons I stopped using linux and switched to FreeBSD. The difference is remarkable.

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Re: Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 208.74.247.253] on October 29, 2008 01:10 PM
I have tried Linux several times. First in the mid 90's, then again in the the early 2000's, and again in 2008. I fully agree that there is no understandable documentation for a new user. So, I went to some of the Linux discussion groups and newsgroups. I found many people who responded as if I was a total idiot, and many were quite rude. The few who really did attempt to help me, continued to use terms that left me more confused. With all the distros of Linux, how come none of them can make an install CD that just installs the entire operating system without user intervention. MS Windows has been doing this for years, where the user only has to enter their timezone, and are given the opportunity to select the items installed or not. Once installed, Windows is pretty much ready to use. I dont much care for Windows, particularly the direction that it is heading. I'd like an alternative. But aside from buying a Macintosh, my PC computers are locked into Microsoft. Linux is often referred to as the alternative to Windows, but it's simply not for the average home or small business computer user. I keep asking why? Dedicated Linux users claim their OS is the best, yet none of them ever make a Distro that is usable for the average guy. Once again, much of the problem is the documentation, but it also seems that the installation process could be made to be automatic, if the Linux developers really wanted to promote their OS. I often get the feeling that Linux users and developers dont want the avarage guy to use Linux. They are like an exclusive country club, where only the elite are allowed. I'd like to get rid of MS software, but I know it's not going to be Linux, at least not anytime soon. I have no intention of trying Linux again.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 89.243.250.150] on June 27, 2008 11:00 PM
I have my screen working ok since ubuntu 6.04 but why on hardy 8.04 the screen is not correct? Is it a mistake of ubuntu or xorg?

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 82.143.241.183] on June 27, 2008 11:15 PM
You say:

"I've identified 10 points that seem to be common sticking points for new users"

Great! Now, first sentence in the "Installation" point says:

"I have a pet niggle with the Ubuntu installer"

So, just to get things straight. What you did was to identify 10 points about where Ubuntu fails for a lot of people, and then you ignored your research and wrote about the problems you happen to face? Interesting...

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 79.129.225.11] on June 27, 2008 11:16 PM
Well, I didn't have any of these problems with Hardy (except for hibernation, which I really don't care much about), but I had two complaints not included in the list:

1) Somebody in the Ubuntu developing team had the "brilliant" idea of changing the name of libglib1.2 to libglib1.2ldbl. As a result, it is impossible to install a number of programs and drivers that depended on it.

2) I found it impossible to get clear and crisp fonts in Ubuntu, something quite easily accomplished in openSUSE 11, for example.

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Re: Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 213.180.179.66] on June 30, 2008 09:27 AM
To fix your first problem, just create a symlink to the file.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 89.8.39.50] on June 28, 2008 12:34 AM
Basicly , there are only a few things I dont like with Ubuntu:
1: Its my opinion that bugfixing needs higher priority
2: The Kernel could be closer to vanilla
3: More changes to be administered upstream
4: Need for consolidation

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 190.200.223.128] on June 28, 2008 01:53 AM
I AM AN ADVANCED UBUNTU USER AND THIS IS RIGHT NOT ONLY FOR NEW BEGINERS, ITS RIGHT FOR EVERYBODY

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Re: Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.45.236.21] on June 28, 2008 02:12 AM
Caps fail, much?

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 190.200.223.128] on June 28, 2008 01:55 AM
Please.... Please....
Send a copy of this article to Canonical.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 58.179.108.165] on June 28, 2008 03:10 AM
The grub one kinda stupid. Reason grub does have good config tools. Just Ubuntu does not ship with them.

The two boot other boot managers pointed to fail on particular hardware combination. There are more than 1 reason why grub or lilo is chosen they integrate into kernel updates and numbers of filesystem supported.

Grub sad to say in background has more features than SBM. Most importantly filesystem support. Grub 2 is far more powerful than current Grub legacy distros are shipping with. Grub 2 interface is completely change able by plugins.

Sound configuration Its a myth that there are lots of different audio systems in Linux. Please refer to http://www.linuxfoundation.org/en/Audio_Stack Now out of that List. Alsa OSS FFADO are you driver layours and FFADO is for firewire. Alsa and OSS are two different sources of drivers both provide emulation of each other.

Sound Servers Pulseaudio and Jack is about all that is going to be left alive. Important issue you don't need a sound server at all to run sound on Linux. So Pulseaudio should always be a optional part.

Ubuntu has enabled Pulseaudio way way too soon in there distro and caused some major problems. So far we have been recommending that Ubuntu users uninstall Pulseaudio and setup alsa as per http://alsa-project.org Ubuntu stoped dmix from being activated for some cards that has made removing troublesum Pulseaudio harder.

Helix and Gstreammer are the two codec engines. So really its no where near as complex as people try to make out.

Email migration users see it as a issue. I will be simple here if you foolish enough to be using outlook express a closed source program and expect any kind of friendly migration to another platform you are fooling your self. With updates MS can change the storage format of that program. Migration issues really need to be taken up with the program involved. Cross platform form of backups is needing. Distros cannot fix these evils simplely.

Most of the issues are the normal complaints about non complete configuration tools.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 202.65.83.23] on June 28, 2008 03:52 AM
Actually, I've found ?ubuntu quite okay. I prefer Kubuntu the most & like Xubutu too.
However Mepis has a good Grub installer ( & reinstall) as well as X-windows.
It is a pain when you lose Ubuntu by installing M$ after it crashes & so you lose Grub
Mepis is a winnner here with its grub re-install.

P.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 78.32.53.65] on June 28, 2008 04:12 AM
Most of these points have already been solved by PCLinuxOS, although there is still room for improvement. Good hardware detection, obvious offline access to a range of detailed documentation, effective sound detection and management, better (and more attractive) boot management with easy reinstallation of the bootloader from liveCD (all GUI based), more reliable installation...

If it wasn't for the extra advertising Ubuntu gets from its release scheduling PCLinuxOS would still be the world's most popular distro, and its really not hard to see why.

Ubuntu has a lot to offer, but it also has a lot to learn (from other distros).

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Re: Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 213.180.179.66] on June 30, 2008 10:28 AM
The problem with PCLinuxOS is: it has a stupid name.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 69.227.136.151] on June 28, 2008 04:33 AM
Screen setup- They should drop the lower resolution.. I think 800 x 600 should work for anybody these days..The other issues with configuring have to do with proprietary vs open source drivers (at least for me). once I install the nvidia driver, everything is peachy.

Boot Management- Grub is fine.. those problems you mention with configuration are rare, and if you are running into them, then you are doing something at a level where you can handle configuring. I would write to those dudes at Microsoft about overwriting grub.. but it is fixable as I am sure you have found out.

Mounting- I don't see the problem here.. the permissions are set up they way they are to keep the less knowledgeable from screwing up.. and again when you get to the level where you need to do this, it's not that complicated. It's like saying everyone should just be a Windows "power user" without having to learn or read anything.

Installation - network connection Has always worked for me.. can't comment on that.. but starting the installation from a boot CD wouldn't your connection already be disconnected ?

Sound Configuration- No problems here.. I did many long ago in the early days of Linux.. course may have to do with various hardware.. my last 3 computers have all had onboard sound.. and actually the last sound problem I had, was to try and get an old DOS game (Duke Nukem3d) to work. Was successful too.. but that is perhaps the opposite problem of people with add on sound cards.

Networking: IPv6 support- Once again, not my experience.. but if it's a problem for some people then they should fix it.

Power and hibernation- Not a laptop guy.. but definitely fix it. I actually as a desktop user had some issues that were across many distros with the Power-Now function causing random freezes.. and Ubuntu was like one of the few that didn't.. perhaps that's why the laptops functions were not working.. maybe it needed fixing to not screw up desktop users.. (Don't know just posing a theory)

Email Migration - Seems to work from Linux to Linux, but sure it should be made to work with Windows if it's not.

Documentation- There is some there.. no it's not enough.. and now that you bring it up.. let me ask you that if when you run into a problem where the documentation is "not so great" that you write up some documentation and submit it !! Some of the best documentation I have found, is in user forums. I would also point out that Windows documentation sucks too.. but unlike open source you can not write up documentation and submit it to be included in the next release.

Building from source- Here we again come to the point, that when you are at the level where you need to do this, you are at the level where you know that there are certain problems to address. It is now so extremely rare to find a program that needs to be compiled from source that is not in a repository.. and then if you look in say the "experimental" repo you might find it solving all these problems you talk about. Here is the quote of the day.. "Complicated things, are complicated" .. if you want an uncomplicated user experience, then don't do anything that is to complicated for you.












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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 71.240.183.122] on June 28, 2008 04:35 AM
Network manager. Doesn't manage Sprint/Verizon wireless well. Doesn't detect dial-up connections. VPN support was broken until recently, requiring 'sudo route add ...' stuff. A serious annoyance.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 216.99.55.70] on June 28, 2008 05:17 AM
I must say that I have experienced almost ALL OF THE 10 points mentioned! I love ubuntu, but it made me pull my hair a few time over graphics card (my latest problems with my mythtv box in my living room), sound issues on my new computer, boot management etc.

For me, at this point in history and techno age, Ubuntu should be able to recognise the screen resolution your working at and give you a plug and play experience rather than having to spend time changing parameter in a .conf file. I think that this article points out that the basics need to be convered for an everyday user. The basics these days are video screen res, sound, adding new hard drives easyer, internet connection, browsing, music & video playback(including web stuff).

Cover the basics an people will be flocking over Linux operating systems rather than find themselves flocking to forums to trouble shoot.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 71.202.120.163] on June 28, 2008 06:20 AM
I think this is an excellent overview of the situation. And very timely for me -- I switched over to Ubuntu in late May, and had a pretty easy time of it. My initial install went easily and quickly, and I was able to get help on a couple of small config details from the Ubuntu forums in a matter of hours every time.

That said, two updates in three days earlier this week led first to my network breaking, and then to my screen resolution stumbling down to 640x480. When the latter problem persisted despite my resetting it several times in the system setup, I surprised myself by reaching for my XP install disc and taking a giant step backwards. (I also found the email migration problems to be significant back in May).

All that said, I was in the position of already having purchased a licensed copy of XP (back in January when the pc was new). And despite my (admittedly minor) problems with Ubuntu, I'll probably go back to Linux when it's time to finally leave XP. For now, the delights of a more configurable system, eschewing Redmond, being virus-care free and having built-in access to things like terminal are taking a back seat to easier gaming, the old-shoe familiarity of Windows, and not having to maintain a crappy old second pc so that I can keep using Dreamweaver and Citrix seamlessly for work.

Anyway, I know my experience is atypical, but I wanted to give some background on why I found this article to be well-informed, well-intentioned and well-considered. YMMV.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.251.89.217] on June 28, 2008 06:55 AM
"Ubuntu's package management implementation constitutes a significant enticement for the potential switcher in its own right. However, building packages from source is unavoidable when a desired package isn't in the repositories or the version in the repositories is out of date."

I have no idea what this means. Compiling is not unique to gnu/linux, and calling it unavoidable seems like you are listening to too many trolls.

Implicit in this argument though is a real problem. apt breaks from time to time. I have installed Ubuntu on maybe 10 different systems, and never had any of the above 10 problems. Not saying they don't exist. Only that I cannot comment on them with experience, except for the compiling one.

However, from time to time, apt breaks things. Unmet dependencies, network errors, or other reasons causes some problem where the system is broken. Usually I can fix it, but it is not always easy. Just tried to install vlc on one computer, and it broke things. Can't install anything else, or even remove it easily. Apt should NEVER break. ever.

My mother uses Ubuntu, and has no problems with any of the booting, resolution, etc. But if apt ever breaks (so far so good), it is going to be trouble. A broken app can be reinstalled. A broken package manager hoses the system.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: RandyNose on June 28, 2008 06:56 AM
I think this article is spot on. Most of the problems are going to be show stoppers, even for people that aren't computer/Linux newbies. Ubuntu should be easy for a noob, and powerful for the experienced computer user. These problems need to be addressed, and in what order, I think that it matters little, but Sound Issues, and Screen Issues will kill the joy of the Linux experience, no matter the experience level of the user. - It will be a hard sell to try to turn someone on to Linux if they can't see or hear or boot their machine. On the up side, with the less then two years that I've been using Ubuntu, it's improved, and in great strides compared to those other two OS's. -

- What I'm curious about, is what are the programs that people remove and replace on Ubuntu? Do most people remove totem and replace it with Mplayer? or VLC? What about the plethora of music players? There sure seems to be a bunch of duplication in that department. What has the best Podcast Support? Video Support? Or both? And works solid? So while things aren't perfect, nor will they ever be, addressing at least one or two problems cuts the list from 10 to 8. :)
- Anyhow, I just wanted to put my 2 cents in and say, Good Article.
Thanks, Randy

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This is what Canonical does

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 71.131.212.144] on June 28, 2008 07:18 AM
"Ubuntu has enabled Pulseaudio way way too soon in there distro and caused some major problems."

They always do this with every release - release something that isn't ready for prime time, then fail to QA it.

I can't recommend (x)buntu for new users simply because they do this. They want to be cutting edge at the same time as new user friendly - and you can't do that. At least, not without a LOT of QA.

All in the all, the article is pretty correct. Most Linux distros have these problems. Some have more of one sort than another, but they all have similar issues. Having tried Mandriva and Kubuntu, I've ended up with openSUSE 10.3 (eventually to be 11.0) which has everything and does pretty much everything with much less reliance on the command line and much fewer bugs than either of the other two distros I've tried.

But even they have one or two stupid things, eg, a software installer that insists on refreshing all the repositories every time you run it even if you only want to install something you KNOW is there and you just ran the repository refresh an hour ago to install something else! Can you say "brain dead"?

Nobody in this industry ever "asks the next question": what if? What if the user decides to do this - or that?

Just a comment on music players. I'm utterly uninterested in multiple, complicated playlists. I run Kaffeine directly from the interface. I open my directory of music, click on what I want to play at any given moment, listen to it, cut it from the playlist, and play something else. Every single music player I've seen is pathetically difficult to learn to use. I installed Banshee 1.0 last week. Big tout that it was finally 1.0!

Guess what? Locked up on me three times in the first ten minutes. Ridiculous. Gone now.

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Network Manager vs Ubuntu acceptance

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 78.144.102.230] on June 28, 2008 10:39 AM
A few good points in there, certainly. The best suggestion mentioned was the lack of a GRUB GUI config/restore tool that can be run off the install disc. I am surprised that this still hasn't rectified as its a common problem and one of the the few probs requiring the newb-dreaded 'open a terminal...' solution.

What really surprised me about this article and the following comments is that no-one (OK, one person did) has mentioned the real, #1 reason that ubuntu is failing to win massive numbers of converts and that is

NETWORK MANAGER IS USELESS JUNK!!

If you're not connecting DHCP via an ethernet cable then either expect not to get a connection (without editing interfaces, resolve.conf etc.) at all or get very frustrated with having to enter multiple passwords to use protected wifi connections. Good luck if you want to roam from network to network! On top of this nm has one of the most badly designed, confusing interfaces I've ever seen and it only supports a limited amount of the wifi adapters Linux actually supports.

wicd solves all these problems but not only is it not in the default install (which it should be) its still not in the repos either. Most peoples primary use for a computer these days is accessing the internet and so if they can't do that easily, reliably and hassle-free under Linux they will give up and go back to windows quick-sharp. They won't even be able to discover / download wicd as they're unable to get on the net! As a result of this basic computing fact I can only recommend Mandriva to newbs thanks to its excellent net_applet tool, which is every bit as good as, if not better, than wicd. Anyone know of a ubuntu distro that comes with wicd as standard?

Seeing as Ubuntu already comes with ntfs-3g, they should also include ntfs-config on the cd (its very small) to make adding rw support of windows drives a breeze.

Suspend and hibernate work fine on my laptop under Hardy but I do know this is one area that needs work as suspend doesn't work on my dads. However, I really don't think this is such a big issue as easy networking as Ubuntu cold-boots pretty quick these days and there are power and reliability gains from shutting down/ booting normally.

I'd also love to see Ubuntu dump Totem in favour of the infinitely superior vlc, which many windows users are already familiar with. nautilus-image-converter and nautilus-open-terminal should be installed as standard and winff needs to be added to the repos too.

So, as far as I'm concerned, Ubuntu is very nearly at its goal of providing a easy to use desktop OS for free but its not going anywhere until the curse of network-manager is removed.

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Re: Network Manager vs Ubuntu acceptance

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 123.243.78.27] on June 30, 2008 01:00 AM
"NETWORK MANAGER IS USELESS JUNK!!

If you're not connecting DHCP via an ethernet cable then either expect not to get a connection"

And even if you are, expect to not get a connection if the link goes down and comes back up - every time I reset my router I am forced to ifconfig ethX down && ifconfig ethX up manually to get network access back again.

Network Manager is a nice idea, but doesn't do the job.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 89.124.240.184] on June 28, 2008 12:55 PM
This list is ridiculous.
I don't have any problems with any computer with graphics or sound and I have NEVER installed anything from source on any Linux I've ever used. (I started experimenting with Linux with Xandros 2.0 and SuSE 9.1.)

Furthermore, when Linux hits the mainstream it will be as a pre-installation on new PCs. So many of these points will be moot.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 66.169.87.139] on June 28, 2008 01:05 PM
Ditto on the sound. I have gone through hell with getting sound to work properly on numerous well-known sounds cards. Standardizing ALSA would be great, as it's the most roubust, and the OSS system is not 100% free.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 82.181.134.143] on June 28, 2008 01:51 PM
I use Mandriva on my own PC. It offers great application (CLI/GUI) for whole system management, not just OS management or other parts than OS like Xorg.

I think if Canonical would develop or take Mandriva Control Center / OpenSuse yast, it would be a much better choise for new users. I have noticed that when old/young users try Ubuntu LIve or Mandriva GNOME live, Mandriva wins easily in HW detection, problem solving etc. One great feature in installation is you great forum login in same time, so you can just join to forums / IRC to ask help.

I have only one problem what none of distributions solve, hibernation and sleep on laptop. I hope that laptop manufacturers would understand that they need to work with GNU/Linux community to get these work. I think Canonical should move this information from "behind" to their front page.

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Re: Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 63.118.233.100] on June 30, 2008 02:24 PM
They already have a control center. You need to enable it on the menu

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 166.214.232.193] on June 28, 2008 02:39 PM
To transfer settings from Windows Mozilla software to Linux Mozilla software, give the Mozilla "Mozbackup" utility a try.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 208.101.174.204] on June 28, 2008 02:40 PM
Most of this list is dead on.

On most computers, I've never had trouble with the display. Then I installed on a Dell Inspiron laptop. Hoo boy, nothing but trouble with the video. And just when I thought I had it licked, I installed the ATI drivers and it all went to blazes. Long story short, I became very friendly with vi that day.

As for sound (and I've not gone to Ubuntu 8 yet), I still have trouble now and then with ALSA, and often fall back on OSS. I shudder to think about getting the new stuff working.

Finally, IPV6.
Perhaps I missed a setting somewhere, but my router doesn't support it. Plus, I don't like the idea of a computer tunneling past the router in any case (or perhaps I'm thinking about IPV6 on Vista). I know there's a general attitude out there of "Can't we all just get along?" and expose every machine to World + Dog, but I *like* having everything private and behind a NAT. So, the first thing I look to do is disable IPV6 completely on every computer in the house. Call me a Luddite if you will, but until I really need it (or until I have a working equivalent to NAT on an IPV6 router), I'll leave IPV6 turned off.

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Re: Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 76.15.50.180] on June 28, 2008 03:01 PM
I tried a number of different distros on my laptop. I tried Ubuntu but had nothing but problems with sound and video, so I tried Fedora and was mostly happy. However, I still had some issues - no show stoppers, but minor annoyances. Luckily I found Mepis. The Mepis developers goal is to have a distro that just works, and that it does. No video, sound, or other problems - it just works, and well.

My last, major, annoyance with all linux distros is the lack of solution to handle multiple wireless profiles. With my Dell Inspiron running XP, I have numerous wireless profiles setup, and when I move to a different wireless network XP automatically selects the proper profile - this just isn't so with Linux. I've tried a couple of the purported available solutions but they just don't work well, at least on Mepis, and I'm unwilling to switch to a distro other than Mepis, and have to deal with the other annoyances again, just to get this ability.

Personally, from a notebook users standpoint, the lack of coherent, viable wireless profile solution that just works is a major drawback to using Linux on a mobile platform

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Re(1): Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 64.81.85.143] on June 30, 2008 06:44 PM
> My last, major, annoyance with all linux distros is the lack of solution to handle multiple wireless profiles.

LOL (?) dunno what you mean. When I take my ubuntu 8.04 laptop on the road, it connects to different WAPs and uses the stored credentials from past connections - the various WAPs around my house, the boingo in the airports, whatever, and it all just works,

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As a Linux user for a year...

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 172.17.1.9] on June 28, 2008 03:29 PM
...it's just cheesy. I use Fedora, not Ubuntu, because I need to work with DB2. But Fedora won't play system sounds, no matter what I do. I've messed with this for months and months, and nothing works. (Other sounds play fine.) Fedora 9 broke Evince: It crashes almost every time I view a PDF. And if one window crashes, they ALL crash - all open PDFs on all virtual desktops. Cheesy, and stupid. GNOME is the same way - if a file manager window crashes, they ALL crash, on all ten virtual desktops. And when I did the F9 upgrade, the machine would not boot! I had to download a special bootable GRUB fix CD and boot off of it, but I'm a 15+ year UNIX user and it doesn't bother me, but I don't know what the average Wal-Mart Linux customer would do. This is Fedora, not Ubuntu, but I have used Ubuntu a little too - neither is ready for the desktop. And there are ZERO programs that let you make greeting cards! If Linux wants to succeed, this is a MUST. I tried using Scribus from scratch, but come on, can't some program have a usable greeting card template? I've never found anything remotely usable for Inkscape, Scribus, OOo, etc. Until someone lets the average desktop user make a greeting card without starting from scratch and measuring the page etc it's not going to fly. Another really cheesy thing is the two clipboards: some apps use one clipboard, and you can't paste into other apps. Many I have to copy, paste into Emacs, copy again, and paste into the app I want. I know this is an historical accident, but, still, it's cheesy and stupid. I love Linux and am committed to using it, so I wanted to throw these things out as areas for improvement.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Dummy00001 on June 28, 2008 04:17 PM
> A common complaint is that the partition can be seen but the permissions are wrong.

This is probably most annoying problem with Linux. (Mac OS X handles it perfectly).

Formatting external hard drive in native Linux FS results in unwelcome surprise: after connecting your hard drive to somebody's else computer you find that you can *not* access your files because you do not have permissions.

Permissions?? On portable media??? This is just silly.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 85.224.169.217] on June 28, 2008 04:25 PM
The number ONE trouble I think I've seen is *network connection issues*
mostly WiFi but increasingly 3G/UMTS-USB-dongle network connection issues ...

and BTW, one of the problems is that if you haven't got internet access during install of foreign language versions of *Buntu you'll get extra troubles trying to make Ubuntu "speak your language" ...

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 4.254.87.162] on June 28, 2008 04:32 PM
Hi. Just a little of my personal history with Linux. I started out several years ago with Knoppix, then moved to Kanotix. After Kanotix didn't have a full update in more than a year, I switched to Sidux. I have a Kubuntu 8.04 disk sitting here. I have not installed Kubuntu, though I have booted from the CD and checked things out. Kubuntu (and Ubuntu) are missing 2 things that I consider essential. The ability to manage files as Superuser (root), and the ability to open a root terminal. I also don't like the gui package management that they have chosen. Kbuntu may be ok for beginers, and those with only basic needs, but I will not be installing it at this time. Ubuntu has no chance at all of ever being installed here, as I like KDE so much better than Gnome.

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Re: Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 63.118.233.100] on June 30, 2008 02:27 PM
You can do both these things in Kunbuntu. There is a root terminal and you can log in as root.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.217.97.32] on June 28, 2008 05:33 PM
The top 3 things that have made my wireless life with linux complete: (4 diff laptops and a couple of desktops over the past 7-8 years)

1. wpa_supplicant
2. wpa_gui IT may not be colorful or flashy, but it's never failed me
3. update_config=1 line in wpa_supplicant.conf

Personally, I've never had any luck with networkmanager. I've had reliability issues, and flinch every time it's enabled when I try a new distro. I end up hopping around my networks while working, and have found wpa_supplicant & it's gui to work best for me.

For me, having a bunch of *buntus can make sense. But not if they're just for special desktops or other cosmetic reasons. Lapbuntu anyone? I could picture it much easier, if I were coming over from windows now, looking through distros and finding one for my desktop, and one for my laptop. There are needs on one that aren't on the other. The difference to us might not be great, but Joe Schmoe who's used windows but wants to make the linux jump, may find it easier with a more clear cut choice.

The important thing to remember is: Not matter what your OS, you're eventually going to add something to your computer that's going to change other things and warrant a trip to google. Some problems are more prevolent that others, but this is where documentation becomes vital. With that said, this is another area that is under-rated in linux. It's not complete, it's ever evolving, but I'm satisfied overall with the direction linux documentation is headed.

Anyone up for a stage 1 gentoo install? (my distro of choice btw..along with sidux)

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Ubuntu brainstorm

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 41.225.240.18] on June 28, 2008 05:34 PM
Why don't you post the correponding links to the Ubuntu brainstorm ideas? (brainstorm.ubuntu.com) I'm sure all ten of these have been posted already.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 216.8.149.23] on June 28, 2008 05:37 PM
The Ubuntu forum has a 60+ page post about "lockups" on 8/04.
Ubuntu Testimonials & Experiences
Also another at:
https://bugs.edge.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/linux/+bug/204996/comments/192
Linux kernel 2.6.24-12 lockup

Previous versions of Ubuntu had a maximum of 13 pages re problems with upgrades.
Given that a version runs on one's box perfectly; how can an upgrade to the next version NOT run?

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 81.1.86.188] on June 28, 2008 06:02 PM
"The ability to manage files as Superuser (root), and the ability to open a root terminal."

If you really, really want a root terminal, start a terminal and run "sudo su"

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 196.3.201.24] on June 28, 2008 06:05 PM
I use ubuntu only (still have windows), and I'm rather experienced now. but I have to agree. needs work for new users. I hope intrepid intrigues.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 72.191.98.73] on June 28, 2008 07:24 PM
I would an additional point. Lack of getting correct information on a problem and/or where to get answers. Example: I have used Ubuntu for about a year, from XP. I want it to just run, no tinkering, no fixes or work arounds. 7.10 is about 95% satisfactory. OK, but Hardy! I downloaded and burned a cd. Tried to use Live to look at Hardy, but asked for a user name and password. No matter what is entered, it cycles back to the log in screen. Installed it, same problem. Asked on the forum and got a dozen replies, no specific "do this". Answers like, "try this....", "maybe drivers, look around.....". etc. Had private message from one person having same problem with some ideas, but didn't work. Searched picked up that this problem existed during testing and was being corrected. But no mention of it in any release notes I could find.

This is too long, but if current version runs ok, shouldn't I be able to install new version and it runs ok also? So another sticking point to me is the lack of real help and the release of known problems with no solution or even acknowledgment of it.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 70.92.239.68] on June 28, 2008 07:30 PM
Excellent! Thanks for a great analysis of this distro and its problems. This distro really needs an objective assessment to expose the areas that need improvement. Until then, I think they need to soft-pedal the idea that *buntu is the be-all, end-all *nix install. (I think I'll TM that phrase. It's kinda catchy.)

I've tried installing various *buntu versions on various archs. I think I had maybe one real success on a G3 iMac w/Kubuntu (go figure!!!). But all the Intel and AMD stuff had display problems, net problems, etc just as you've identified from the forums. I've always had more success w/distros like Zenwalk, Vector, and more recently PCLinuxOS. I'll be trying the latest releases of Vector and Zenwalk soon to see what's shaking there, but I have to say PCLinuxOS has been installed and is running fine out of the blocks (not box, it's a sprinting metaphor, analogy, simile, whatever) on several boxes/laptops.

Re another distro for those who like Debian... check out Sidux. Cutting edge Debian with stability. I'm running it on a Dell (no comment) Inspiron 1501 w/Broadcom wireless and ATI and AMD 64x2. Now this is a 'special' piece of hardware and I wouldn't expect any of the easy-install and setup distros to work on it. But the 64-bit *buntu installs did pretty well. The display (again, ATI) was predictably a problem. Also the wireless and that's because Broadcom is not playing nice with the OSS community (hence, the need for ndiswrapper and all that). However, the one *buntu install I expected to have the most agreeable experience with (ie, Kubuntu) ran like it was on i386 arch w/128MB of RAM. After that install disappointment, I discovered Sidux.

To finish up my comment, let me say that I realize it's possible to CLI a way to a solution for most if not all the install problems, but that's not in my quest. I'm looking for a distro that I can begin installing for all my friends and family with predictable results without any need for resorting to the CLI. So far my results suggest that *buntu isn't that distro. It's close, but PCLinuxOS seems to produce more predictable results. YMMV.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 76.254.193.76] on June 28, 2008 08:07 PM
Re: Screen Setup

This has got to be the biggest issue I have run into for newbies. Nothing more frustrating than watching them go through a half-hour installation only to have their hopes dashed when they have a completely trashed video setup on first boot.

And the weird thing is that the "live" boot usually gets it right and comes up with a working X configuration and desktop GUI , while the "install to HD" setup doesn't. Now what's that all about? Is that weird - or is it just cruel?

It would be great if the installer would allow you to select your monitor, screen resolution and vid card from a dropdown list along with an autodetect option. Alternatively, it could use the same configuration as the live CD and then launch a wizard once they're on the desktop to fine tune the video setting. That way it could at least switch back to the "known good" configuration if their changes didn't take.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 76.2.195.210] on June 28, 2008 08:13 PM
I ended up with Ubuntu 7.10 DVD because it was the first distribution, which would recognize my nVidia card, operate my motherboard sound, and allow me to connect with my motherboard ethernet port. I _still_ had problems getting my video to give me more than the VESA 800x600 on a 1280x1024 17" LCD display. I finally had to learn about editing the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file to fix the problem. I also have not been able to use anything other than the ALSA sound; I've just been grateful this worked without a _lot_ of digging. I tried Knoppix, which would not work with sound prior to me installing a nVidia display card to replace the ATI motherboard video. WHY WOULD SOUND NOT WORK BECAUSE OF VIDEO???? Linspire/Freespire, Fedora 8, OpenSUSE 10.3, and other distributions simply freeze during installation with no error messages.

My hardware description is an e-Machines/Gateway T5212 (Intel Pentium D 805 2.66GHz dual processor, 2G RAM, 200G HDD, DVD+/-RW, multiple format memory card reader, ATI Radeon Express 200, RealTek RTL/8139/810X 10/100Mbps ethernet LAN, RealTek HD Audio) with nVidia GEForce 6200 TurboCache PCI-E 256M video card, connected to a D-Link EBR-2310 wired Ethernet Broadband Router, and Embarq 660 series DSL modem. This is a _refurbished_ unit, running a 32 bit processor, which can run unmodified with Windows XP Media Center Edition (installed) or Windows Vista, with everything detected, and no serious problems.

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Re: Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 77.11.77.144] on June 28, 2008 09:29 PM
wow, i am impressed on how fast everybody's been taking part in this forum. all very interesting. Everybody had something to say about improving ubuntu. i think the author of 'ten sticking points for new ubuntu users' should maybe try to modify the list however way he wishes and send it to canonical.
i am an advanced linux user. ive installed linux on 8 desktop-pcs and notebooks. overall the results weren't that bad. so applause to the free source OS. one of the desktop PCs and a notebook had some of the typical problems mentioned by all of you. most of the problems had A solution somewhere.
ubuntu has proven to have a much higher battery time than windows ever had or ever will. unfortunately thats not all. hibernation, restarting, and sometimes a simple shutdown are not possible on all computers. i urge for more attention on power management.
i

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 62.163.79.70] on June 28, 2008 09:25 PM
Great article...i agree completly... Ubuntu(and ubuntu derivate distros) would became THE Operating system with fixes that are mentioned in this article... Thanx...

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 69.59.7.69] on June 28, 2008 10:21 PM
you guys are losers

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These are exactly the reasons why I don't recommend Ubuntu to new Linux users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 122.148.187.219] on June 28, 2008 10:38 PM
I usually recommend Mandriva, Though to be fair, the new PulseAudio in Mandriva 2008.1 is not without it's problems. On the other hand any problems associated with PulseAudio on Mandriva can be overcome from an easy to use GUI tool (in drakConf - Mandriva Linuc Control Centre), by simply disabling PulseAudio.

What I have never encountered on Mandriva, at lease no recently, not since Mandrake 9 - 10, are problems with Video detection. The other problems mentioned seem to be solved, in my experience.

The problem is Ubuntu over promises, and under delivers.

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Hard drive spindown issue?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 66.90.153.142] on June 28, 2008 11:45 PM
Has the hard drive spindown issue been fixed in 8.04?
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=4336702

I have yet to find a definitive answer to this question, so I think maybe it hasn't been. This is a big problem, right?

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No GUI to mount for fstab? doesn't anyone search first?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 196.219.138.54] on June 29, 2008 02:49 AM
Graphical Storage Device Manager
PySDM is a PyGTK Storage Device Manager that allows full customization of hard
disk mount points without manual access to fstab.
It also allows the creation of udev rules for dynamic configuration of storage devices

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 71.63.207.25] on June 29, 2008 03:23 AM
No one has ever had all ten of these problems, and most people have none of these problems.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 97.114.105.177] on June 29, 2008 07:18 AM
I know that I am new at linux. I have tried three distros. Right now, I am using Ubuntu 8.4 and I would like to say that I love it as much as the rest of the people commenting here, but I don't I have had tons of success getting Windows to do what I want, but it has taken me several hours getting something as simple as my digital audio to work. It's onboard, and I can even get drivers from the manufacturer, but I had to go to several websites to see what worked for others before mine worked.

I have four hdd's in my system and while trying to use the install disk, I wiped out my main installation of windows, and eventually had to unplug all but the one drive just to get ubuntu to boot on my machine. I'm still not sure what I did wrong, but I know that if I was installing windows, I wouldn't have lost anything, it is just plain simple with windows.

I am still trying to get my wireless card to work completely. I finally got the drivers installed this evening.

It's not that I don't like linux, honestly, I think it is kind of fun to learn how to use new software and not be just a hater of other software despite the fact that I have never used it, but I agree with the original article as well as a lot of the posts that I read while skimming through them, if Ubuntu, or any linux distro wants to be a mainstream operating system, it needs to continue to improve on it's user friendlyness, documentation, and it's ability to adapt to any hardware configuration imaginable.

I'm not using off-the-wall, state of the art, or older than dirt hardware. It might not be as mainstream as everyone else, but for the most part I would be able to go and purchase any part of my computer from a local computer retailer and I think that an OS should just work with what is out there.

That being said, I have enjoyed setting up my computer with a linux OS, and I think, especially after the effort put in, I will continue to use Ubuntu for a little while, at least while I don't have a working Windows OS to boot into.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 99.229.123.199] on June 29, 2008 06:38 PM
I can't believe that wireless networking support was not number 1 on this list.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 84.202.245.42] on June 29, 2008 07:09 PM
My biggest problem so far is the lack of suspend/resume. It is broken on my nc6320. The bug is reported by me and confirmed by to others, and version.log, dmesg.log and lspci-vvnn.log has been uploaded, but nobody cares. If somebody knows how to get the right people to look at it, here is the bug report: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/linux/+bug/219657

At the moment I use fedora, but I guess might be coming back when somebody fix suspend/resume. Windows XP is no alternative, beeing hopelessy slow out of the box on that laptop, even with 2 GB RAM and Core 2 Duo processor, and even worse documentation. (Even though I guess it's more of HP/Compaq mistake than a Microsoft mistake. I have seen some fast XP installations.)

Also, the current Ubuntu is way too brown-looking on my screen, but that should be easy to fix, as I've seen both Mandriva and Fedora has a fix for it :)

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Thanks for a good article!

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 82.192.250.149] on June 29, 2008 07:35 PM
Good article, useful, should be read by everybody at Canonical.

Some minor comments:
"A simple check-box configuration for switching between IPv4/6". No!! No! NO!!!

The average user has never heard of IPv4 or IPv6 and doesn't know what they mean. Once the network is up, the install process can tell whether the ISP supports IPv6 or not. If IPv6 DNS queries time out after 40 seconds and IPv4 resolves in 4 seconds or less - and that's the normal case for most ISPs today - IPv6 is not supported. It is NOT necessary to ask the user.

As a general rule, an install procedure should never ask the user questions that the procedure can figure out itself. Especially if the probablility of the user understanding the question is close to 0%.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 67.173.12.114] on June 30, 2008 02:25 AM
"With Ubuntu, Canonical has had notable success in convincing people to switch from other platforms"

They are? Where did these "facts" come from? Seriously, cite this or remove it from the article.

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Where the facts came from

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 82.192.250.149] on June 30, 2008 05:46 AM
I don't know exactly where Michael got his facts from but there are several well-known comparisons on the net that support what he wrote:

http://www.google.com/trends?q=fedora%2C+ubuntu%2C+mac+os%2C+suse&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all

http://distrowatch.com/ (page down and look for "Page Hit Ranking" in the right-hand column).

Like any sources of internet statistics, these can be quibbled with for different reasons, but there are more (go and look) and as far as I can tell they all tell more or less the same story.

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Re: Where the facts came from

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 67.173.12.114] on June 30, 2008 07:23 PM
Are you kidding me? Ubuntu users not knowing where to go to get Ubuntu withtout having to search for it first shouldn't be confused with popularity. Distrowatch indicates people are interested in ubuntu, but what were they using before and how many of them switched? If its so well known, where are the facts?

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 213.96.29.138] on June 30, 2008 09:44 AM
Screen setup.
How does Ubuntu fix this? Why is it that some monitors are correctly detected? Is this something along the lines of other hardware? I mean some monitors are plug n play. Is it a lack of driver, or the monitor doing something non-standard or what?
Boot Management
Isn't this an issue because people are dual-booting with Windows? Especially Windows overwriting the bootmanager?
Partitioning.
System -> Preferences -> Partition Editor is on the live cd (it is the program gparted.)
A simple utility for mounting/unmounting would make sense during the install sequence itself, where changes are being made.
Sound
Yep, disabling software mixing is routine for me
ipv4/6
transitional option or tweak if it is widespread would be good.
Power Management
Can't comment. As the feature such as power scaling works like charm. I just turn off my machine when not in use. It boots fast enough that I haven't even tried to suspend.
Email
You can quote me on this, and feel free to point out an exception. Importing data from any Microsoft software into something non-Microsoft is hard. I don't think it will get better without reverse-engineering a solution of some sort.
Documentation
They should fix these problems. People want their system to just work. I agree. It should be intuitive, and help easy to access. Jumping through hoops to make their network work, I'd argue the current free support forums or pay support would be less frustrating overall. Take update manager for instance. When is the last time an Ubuntu user has been required to modify /etc/apt/sources.list to go from one Ubuntu release to the next? (i.e. replace instances of warty with breezy.) Years. Let's just get the issue ironed out, find a new and better way. Current Ubuntu users shouldn't need to know about /etc/apt/sources.list. I'm expecting with newer releases people won't have to care about /etc/X11/xorg.conf. :) Just as those that don't need to unmount their cdrom manually, and can now hit the eject button. Or how about copying files from a CD/DVD were always read-only? Ubuntu has come a long way. Seriously.
Building from source
There are users that just use what's in the repositories and get security updates. Anyone can package new software. There are backports or places like getdeb. Barring the developers themeselves hosting an Ubuntu package. A maintainer could volunteer for that. Example: Wine.
I don't think this is a job for Ubuntu itself.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 59.183.43.74] on June 30, 2008 01:10 PM
Been through lot of these. These guys just dont want to pick up tempo. i'm not drunk. Even an *evil* corp would get those bugs fixed first thing. These Ubuntu guys are different. They wont even market their own product properly.
Well, I for one, don't know the mystical rules of this Desktop Linux game. And nobody wishes to explain either. :-(
So, Knoppix or CentOS it will be, at least for me, for now.

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I just started using Ubuntu a few months ago...

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 85.181.109.132] on June 30, 2008 01:39 PM
... and I totally have to agree.I pretty much ran into all the mentioned problems and I just stuck with Ubuntu as second OS because I want to be able to handle Linux machines. I wouldn't recommend it to any of my friends though. The time it takes to get around all those issues is just intolerable. I know Windows is by far a perfect system - but from my experience it gets the job done - fast!

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.136.9.55] on June 30, 2008 02:22 PM
I had about half of these. Very annoying when
a) other debian based distros get them right, like a livecd xorg / grub repair, network interface management, font installation/setup, and partition mounting at boot
b) the livecd gets it right and the install gets it wrong, like screen and sound configuration
c) simple checking would show the error, like the dev files having broken dependencies

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 209.115.246.74] on June 30, 2008 03:43 PM
I have been using Ubuntu for just over a year at work and at home. I just switched to Suse11 at home because of the sound and video issues. My requirements at work are pretty basic so 1025x768 is fine and I can live without sound (but why can't I get sound?).

At home however my kids watch videos & play games, so I have a some decent speakers and and NVidia 7600GS video card. The sound issues noted are dead on, either no sound, or sound on one application only (log out if you want to listen to Rhythmbox after watching a video). And video just keeps getting worse and worse. I was afraid to do updates because it kept killing my video card (640x480 in a 19' monitor indeed), and getting the drivers to work again is a exercise in patience. It is hard to be a Linux advocate when you are spending countless hours just trying to make it work.

Happily Suse 11 fixed everything out of the box. I was the easiest OS install I have ever done (windows or Linux), and everything just worked.

I like Ubuntu, and I like the inroads that it has made, but I think I will wait a few more releases before I try it again.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 195.124.18.133] on June 30, 2008 04:08 PM
Have seen quite a few of these 10 points pass by, so I wholly agree with your analysis. For me personally, there are two main reasons why I'm still tied to Windows:

Number One - and this is a big one: the auto-update system, designed to make life easy for the layman, has on more than one occasion succeeded to make Ubuntu unaccessible. On one occasion, with Ubuntu 7.10 I never got it running again (not even a fresh install...), had to wait until 8.04 before it worked again. So until I'm certain that my system won't go bust on the day that I need tot deliver that one important report, I'm sticking to Windows for my main OS.

number two: maybe a little more exotic, but to me it's quite essential: I use my PC as a DVD-player. In Windows, when I open a video file - no matter if I use MS MediaPlayer, WinDVD, QuickTime or a Firefox plugin - the video opens in a small window on my PC screen and fullscreen on my tv. Haven't been able to reproduce that in Ubuntu yet.

Oh, and one more annoyance - not a dealbreaker here, but why is the (Linux/Ubuntu?) marketing always so proud about not having to restart your system as often as Windows? Since the release of 8.04, every time I start up Ubuntu there's a new kernel, or an update to Compiz, or some other system update that promptly yells at me that I need to restart... definitely more often than in Windows!

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 68.94.25.28] on June 30, 2008 05:13 PM
I stay i agree with 50% of the topics here. Mostly the screen issues are fixed from what i have herd. The hibernate and sleep is still and issue that i miss from windows and i hope they get it right soon. The sound works flawless on all my systems and every single my friends have too. Mounting is an issue but can be fix easy with fstab. I would say ubuntu still has some fixes but it is working great now.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 213.121.63.125] on June 30, 2008 05:46 PM
While I symapathise with the evangelists, I also know of another thread that talks about not encouraging bad behaviour, of the "answer me or I'm uninstalling Linux" variety.

Nobody ever reads documentation for a start, and Linux/UNIX does have documentation, it's called Man pages. There is also the Linux Documantation Project for those interested in that sort of thing.

Personally I think that the ubuntu forums are great, they encourage people to get involved, to experiment, Linux of any shade or flavour is not something for noobs, it does require you to get your hands dirty, and while it's important that the initial install is smooth, given it's very nature, (a hacker's OS) it's never going to be flawless.

Most of the problems are related to poor drivers, often for cutting edge kit, but this is always going to be the case given that drivers often have to be reverse engineered.

That said, I do feel your pain vis Xorg. Even hardy is a pain. Works fine if you connect up the system using the cable that came with it. Switch to a different longer cable, (so I can hide the box away out of sight) and the display revers to 600x800. I then spend a good few hours swearing at the system and arguing with xorg.conf because the native resolution is 1440x900. Not nearly as tough as having to hack a modeline from scratch to get the Xserver up at all with Gentoo a few years ago, (and also devoid of the "Aha!" moment) but so it goes.

tl;dr Linux, not for noobs or people who don't like getting thier hands dirty. It's not windows, get used to it.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 71.229.45.208] on July 01, 2008 09:33 AM
I have installed many flavours of Linux on many flavours of computer. Sound was an issue a long time ago. Now the major issue is ATI graphics cards, although they seem to be getting better-- If you want a linux box, buy nVidia, it's that simple.

But while you're griping, try installing anything other than Linux on a top-end PC today:

Vista-- don't make me laugh, it has no software and is a nightmare to deal with, it might work when it is finished.

XP-64 has no drivers, a total waste of time. Even if you get the drivers into it for the Ethernet card it still won't support an internal CD player, scanner, printer... (hint:burn your motherboard drivers CD onto a memory stick and load them from there)

That leaves 32bit XP. Well, if you're going to do that why bother with a top end processor, it won't be running at full capacity.

Install 64-bit Ubuntu (I'm sure SUSE and Red hat work as well) and run 32-bit Windows in a virtual machine like I do, it'll run just as fast as the native 32-bit version but you'll suffer on some games.

I suppose you could build a mac PC, that might work, but as I haven't I can't comment about that.

I find Ubuntu a pleasure, oh and it is ironic that the latest version (HH) would only install through XP-64 and not directly. Maybe that should have been listed as a problem.


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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 99.243.135.136] on July 01, 2008 01:59 PM
I agree with the point about Documentation - and with the person who said:

But, by and large, Linux needs some serious documentation writers.
1 !!! Writers that do NOT think in Linux.
2 !!! Writers that do NOT 'ASSUME' you know all that they know - most of which they forgot to put into their instructions.
3 !!! Writers that do NOT use overly technical idiomatic expressions of industry standard obtuseness..

You can contribute to an Ubuntu Linux book being created at the Ubuntu Linux Book Blog at:

http://www.ubuntulinuxbookblog.com

And you can watch free sample Ubuntu Linux videos at:

http://www.iLearnLinux.com/Ubuntu-Linux

I look forward to your comments and contributions,

Clyde Boom, http://www.iLearnLinux.com
The Easy Linux Training Guy ;)


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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 66.28.19.73] on July 01, 2008 04:15 PM
I have to agree with most of this with the following comments:

Networking - I'm surprised you didn't mention wireless, which is a huge deal when it doesn't work. On my Acer laptop I had to download a special madwifi driver specific to the card to get wireless and have to recompile each time the kernel is updated.

Video - The problem here is the leaders, Nvidia and ATI, have special ways to get around Xorg limitations and configuration (especially dual monitor support) and provide their own config tools, none of which are provided by default.

Sound - I think Ubuntu went to PulseAudio too soon. Too many things don't work. On my work laptop, sound works fine but I had to switch from Pulse to ALSA to get sound. On my home laptop the sound controls barely work and I have had numerous problems getting sound in Wine.

Boot Menu - Grub is fine, just make it easy to determine what to boot into and automatically update (correctly) with each new kernel upgrade. On a single-boot system it doesn't even matter.

Power Management - I don't use suspend but I do unplug my laptop and I want the maximum battery life every time.

Documentation could definitely be better, mainly provide an easy way to find FAQs instead of just searching the forum.

Email - years ago I switched to web-based email and I no longer download it to any computer. An ISP-neutral web mail is the way to go because you don't have to give everybody a new email address when you change your ISP. I lost count of how many web sites I depend on have my email address. However, I would really like better email support for MS Exchange because many of us are stuck with it because our company uses it.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 66.92.90.34] on July 01, 2008 04:59 PM
I don't know if anyone has mentioned it, but when the video isn't configured right you don't need to ssh in -- You can just ctrl+alt+f1 to change to a tty, and sudo telinit 3 to stop gdm from respawning, and then do whatever (cli) stuff you need to do.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 84.60.137.126] on July 01, 2008 10:25 PM
This article is absolutely right with its ten sticking points. But you could easily add another ten point. Just to mention one more point: localization, for example.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 85.232.165.251] on July 01, 2008 10:39 PM
11th: OCaml is broken, it would be better not to have it in the depository at all if it does not work, in order not to confuse the people!

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.84.172.249] on July 02, 2008 12:13 AM
To note at the top: I work for Mandriva.

Please stop confusing "Linux", "Canonical" and "Ubuntu".

Examples:

"Other operating systems can set up the screen, so why can't Linux?"

Linux can. Mandriva, SUSE, Fedora and others all do a fine job of this. Your problem is with Ubuntu, not with Linux.

"Canonical is trying to solve the Linux sound problem by standardising on ALSA with Pulse Audio."

Canonical can't really do anything by itself. Canonical does not contribute very much to the development of PulseAudio. Other distributions adopted PulseAudio before Ubuntu did: the first major distro to do so was Fedora, with Fedora 8; the second was Mandriva, with Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring. Fedora probably did the most work on solving issues with PulseAudio's integration with distributions. Mandriva's Frederic Crozat and the Mandriva community volunteer Colin Guthrie also did a lot of work on resolving distribution integration issues that went upstream. Ubuntu / Canonical have, as far as I'm aware, done comparatively little. The lead developer of PulseAudio, who does most work on the project itself, is Lennart Poettering, who is not affiliated with Canonical or Ubuntu.

Aside from that - you also misunderstand IPv4 vs. IPv6. It's not an either-or situation. IPv6 is a replacement for IPv4, not some kind of extension of it, as you seem to think. It's not like there's 'IPv6' support that's backwards-compatible with 'IPv4' but has some bugs. The two are completely different. What's actually happening is that IPv4 and IPv6 support are both available, and your connection is an IPv4 one, but the IPv6 support does cause some issues with IPv4 connections with buggy upstream routers, as you noted. The practical result of the problem and your recommendation for 'fixing' it don't suffer, but the way you wrote that section makes you look a bit silly. :)

Adam Williamson
Mandriva

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 118.172.70.166] on July 02, 2008 06:52 AM
The ten sticking points is a nice start. I'm retired from AT&T and worked in unix from it's beginning. I've prodded several new computer users into installing ubuntu, and helped them get their systems working reasonably well, and have only recently installed it on one of my own systems. In my opinion the problem boils down to a single one and that is finding access to knowledgeable help when trying to solve a problem. A vast amount of documentation exists, and sometimes is conflicting or difficult to understand. Forum help is often quickly acquired, but sometimes the desire to help another does not match the ability to help, and often we have been left high and dry with an even worse problem needing to be resolved. Another place we have tried is the IRC channels, and there also the help often matches that received on the forums, if any can be obtained. Depending on the hardware you have or the software you are trying to use, some individuals have very little difficulty while others have an enormous amount of difficulty. Currently my friends and I all have unresolved problems, and I am treading a thin line trying to keep them from giving up on Ubuntu, especially when they see that I continue to keep a WindowsXP OS on my systems to get around problems that I've been unable to resolve using Ubuntu. None of us are gamers so that eliminates for us what appears to one major complaint over moving to a Linux OS. One thing I would like to see is IRC channels related to specific areas of problems. Often the traffic is enormous and you can spend hours waiting to see if someone might be able to offer help related to your problem.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 216.239.75.116] on July 02, 2008 07:10 AM
I dont use Kubuntu that much (I do run Xubuntu on a 10 year old Thinkpad) but
many friends want that Ubuntu thing they heard of (and 3/4 of my windows converts prefer KDE) so I have installed quite a few of them.
I like it but prefer PCLinuxOS for friends and family.
I know people in our LUG who dont recommend Ubuntu because of a few mounting issues.
Still, I know enough of 'Buntu that I agree with a lot of what you said ( YES on reinstating the boot manager after a Win re-install) but Smart Boot Manager and the appropriately named GAG, do NOT "...offer an attractive GUI interface".
I dare anyone to check out both their screenshots and not hurl.

The PCLinuxOS loader I installed on my folks machine (dad needs his Chessmaster so WinXP still lives on) is very pleasant.
I couldnt find a screenshot but this FluxBox live CD is an exact replica so you can get an idea.
http://pcfluxboxos.wikidot.com/local--files/tinyflux-screenshots/grub-live-CD.jpg


Rob Enderle
Gentoo/PCLInuxOS

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users and for old ones

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 124.179.185.167] on July 02, 2008 08:40 AM
I install Ubuntu on a variety of older hardware, the best being a P4 2.4GHz 512MB, the "worst" being a P3 1GHz 256MB, and apart from setup issues related to cloning drives, and can say it works perfectly no matter what the hardware or peripherals.

Obviously some technical expertise is required to set up the clone targets. Not too hard but could be made easier with some GUI utilities that would also fix a couple of these points,

To avoid a not found video system the clone source drive is set to "vesa". The set up technician goes to a terminal and types "sudo init 1", In Hardy this brings up a reconfigure X Video system instruction window which finds the video card and screen and sets the video accordingly. On Fiesty the reconfigure command is in the first comments of /etc/X11/xorg.conf. The command "head -15 /etc/X11/xorg.conf" will let you know what to type. Reboot (the lazy method) and the video and screen should be setup. The resolution will have to be changed via the GUI -System - Preferences. Obviously a utility that did all this from System - Administration would be preferable.

Making sure that the swap file is active is another cloning problem and relates to the mounting issue. When cloning, cloned UUIDs are incorrect in fstab, so the source is set to use physical drive names. For SCSI drive names on the same type of hardware as the source this works, but for different hardware the name needs to be set to the older hda name.
I have just tried using psydm as suggested in one of the comments, but found that on my more complex set up with several drives/partitions mounted on the tree that the reported mount points were not the same as those reported by the mount command, listed in fstab. or /proc. Obviously a tool that re-recognises drives and their UUIDs and can mount them either as root or the user and write/change the relevant lines to fstab would be great for everyone.

Apart from this I find Ubuntu easier than Windows, OSX, OpenSUSE, Mandriva or Fedora, and the newbies who obtain the machines I clone think the same for at least one of the above.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 83.36.62.124] on July 02, 2008 10:11 AM
OK, people, calm down a bit.

Most of the users (including me) do not have ANY of these problems. Some do. Windows NEVER configured my display correctly either. At the end, everything comes down to hardware. If you have supported hardware (like I do), then Ubuntu is a breeze. And the already included applications are top. I admit I had a hard time changing my habits to use these applications, but at the end it pays out.

The reason Windows may appear to work, it because if a hardware behaves non-standard, it just doesn't cares about it, until you install the driver. Linux is not that forgiving. For example, many people have ACPI problems, because of bugs in their BIOS not implementing it correctly. Windows doesn't care, until you install the driver, but Linux fails. If a hardware advertises a standard it should support it correctly, period.

On a side note, Windows does not boot correctly on everything either. I recently bought a MSI Motherboard and a AMD Phenom processor with it. Guess what? The installation hung at detecting hardware. Surprise. I had to disconnect ALL USB devices to get it boot, and took me 3 hours of googling! Ubuntu didn't have that problem.

The key is that a normal Joe-average would NEVER install a operating system himself. I know at least 20 people, who do not know how to install Windows either, why do you think they'd have more luck with Ubuntu?

If Ubuntu would be pre-installed on the computer you would buy, you 10 points would not exist. But until this happens, Ubuntu will always be difficult to set up, just as Windows is difficult for me. I could rave endless hours about 10 things wrong with Windows, but guess what? I don't do it, instead I do something about it. Ranting doesn't help anyone, not even Microsoft.

Peace.


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Re: Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 209.169.71.39] on July 08, 2008 03:52 AM
Thank you for your opinion, as senseless as it is. I don't give a rat's ass what Windows does or doesn't do. The entire issue here- the one you seem to have missed- is that a LOT of people who have tried or are trying to use Ubuntu ARE having problems. The article to which you respond has listed some of them and a lot of the people who have had these problems would like to see them fixed.

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The number 1 reason why I don't use linux

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.141.156.87] on July 02, 2008 02:35 PM
This one is obvious enough. There is no easy way to run Windows programs. Setting up screen configurations is simple enough but when it comes to good old regular desktop software, linux sucks. I'm sure everyone will argue that Open Office is just as good as Microsoft Office and so on for other similar programs, but really they are not. I have tried using programs that supposedly run Windows programs but for someone who has a hard time setting up screen configurations... good luck. There's also the people who just say dual boot windows and linux or run windows in a virtual machine but if I wanted to do that then whats the point in even having linux? Until there is a time that I can run my favorite programs, I am sticking with the OS they were made for... Windows <3

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Re: The number 1 reason why I don't use linux

Posted by: Joe Barr on July 02, 2008 05:24 PM
If Windows is a better choice for you, then by all means, stain in chains. The monopoly is more than happy to trade you its third rate crap for your cash. Luckily for millions of others, we have found FOSS gives us much more for much less.

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Re: The number 1 reason why I don't use linux

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 70.103.17.130] on July 02, 2008 08:16 PM
So AC, why is Open Office 'Not as Good'? And, "it doesn't work like MS Office" ain't a reason.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 216.134.233.152] on July 02, 2008 07:18 PM
Power management is the biggest problem in my experience followed closely by video problems and wifi problems.

Having used Ubuntu for about 3 years now I find it very annoying that new versions break things that used to work fine.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 71.117.48.11] on July 03, 2008 02:56 AM
yes. I have experienced most of those. The sound and screen are probably my biggest stickers.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 125.212.245.238] on July 03, 2008 06:36 AM
Mounting partitions is one thing, but in the Enterprise it is all about mounting Network Shares. This also needs to be automatic.

But my real sticking point is the extreme difficulty in getting K/Ubuntu to allow me to easily type in multiple languages at the same time without switching my system settings. I need to type emails and documents in both Vietnamese and English. This is the real sticker that keeps me out of Ubuntu.

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Re: Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 85.181.134.135] on July 04, 2008 04:15 PM
if you set up the second keyboard layout you can add a keyboard switching applet to your gnome menu bar. i am using this to switch regularly between english and german keyboard layout.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 69.54.28.182] on July 09, 2008 03:19 AM
1 screen setup is partially bs and also has a good point. drivers by the manufacturer that are subpar either due to "lack of demand" or redmond payoff's != to ubuntu's fault. defaulting to 640x res and having buttons beyond the screen = supid mistake. drivers have always been a big problem for linux and are only slowly getting better. redmond played a huge part in that prevously and the reminants of their entrenchment are still being felt. they lost antitrust lawsuits for a reason and are probably only the tip of that iceberg. Linux's stance on drivers has caused some of the problem as well but with the quality of drivers now being writen its hard to blame the community for lack of trust in the manufacturer's developers. even windows drivers are seeing weard quarks that just should not be. some comments about my wide screen lcd didnt work i find interesting. my 19" wide screen was detected right off and just worked with my nvidia card. it took a fiew min with synaptic to get the restricted drivers going but that is another story.

2 GRUB that i find silly. a gui config is very nice indeed. the lack of a formal repair tool is NOT good. question though how many ppl installed redhat and when asked to stick a floppy in to make a recovery disk did so? how many while installing windows xp did so? better yet how many people that we are talking about ever installed windows at all?(not recovery cd either) Will the average user back up their data (not untill it costs them a job or 2) that is a bit absurd for blaming linux on. this is again windows not following the rules and people not wanting to change. The instructions are fairly simple and would be easy enough for a new user to follow.

3 disk tools are lacking, a gui disk assistant that understands removable media is needed. a better error when you are not root also a must. I had gotten some weard errors becaus i was not root and it was not playing nice with 1 partition from a usb > ide converter.

4 installer the mentioned problem i find very odd. a friend of mine did not have this problem even though he had a bad port on his router. he would get an ip but not be able to surf the net etc. (he was thinking it could not detect the nic) this issue we figured was due to the port after he brought it over and it worked just fine. took it home again and it didnt work till he moved the network cable.

Installer issues not being very friendly to a reinstall and or disk partitioning.

5 this can be a great pain and is often related to drivers lacking due to linux not being popular enough for venders to care. some advanced features i cant comment on.

6 ipv6 just confuses the doodle out of me. out of the box trying to use v6 instead of 4. I did not see this and wish it would work for me out of the box.

7 hibernation comments crack me up. it is a big no go for somany even in the windows world. hibernation is jsut BROKEN. the person who brought it forth in windows incarnation should be pubicly flogged. the whole suspend/hibernation idea for pc's should be rebuilt from the ground up <.> they are wonderful ideas that were never thought through in the first place. windows users get their hand slapped for hibernation offline files and a couple other things. Power management sucks I agree and some of that could be helped along by the manufacturers.

8 is a hoot. I cant tell you how many times I have had windows users come crying due to their outlook pst broke the unmentioned 2gb barrer and they lost all kinds of emails. there are plenty of programs/scripts that will allow you to transfer your email over if you 1 look and are ready to fight redmond's insanity. yes the user has to see the dredded console! that you just have to get over. the pst limits that are never mentioned to users are a far worse problem then trying to migrate the outlook data. most users have no idea what and where their data is stored in the first place let alone how to move it over. they will probably get my documents and the desktop. tobad one note and exchange dont live there what a shame.

9 is the true winner! clear and consise documentation of simple and common tasks is what is needed. I have been using linux since 96 I still come across so many readme's that are about as clear as the japanese manual for most vcr's. I know what im doing and many you just cant follow unless you understand the writer well. making sure that the sensible documentation is included with the install/cd is a must #1.

10 is just goofy from the claim of 10 sticking points. thats no better then saying a new user should be able to create a ms sql database from day 1. doing somthing like that you need to be on irc getting proper help. a bigger issue related is the "dev" packages per "1) Somebody in the Ubuntu developing team had the "brilliant" idea of changing the name of libglib1.2 to libglib1.2ldbl. As a result, it is impossible to install a number of programs and drivers that depended on it." i would bet this user needs to install libglib1.3ldbl-dev in order to get the other programs/drivers to work. so many times I have had source or even a fiew packaged installs need a dev package and not tell you "please get the dev package." being an old timer after the first failure or 2 i figure it to missing header files etc that are only provided by dev packages.

11 network manager. this should take a spot some where because ubuntu's system is not friendly. I havent seen the default wireless manager but would not be suprised if it is behind windows in usability. the fcc mandate that parts be closed source and fiew manufacturers working onlinux drivers have really crippled that area. dlink's 530 card is a good example has the same atheros chip as the 520 but with messed up country coding. it took the madwifi & atheros developers a while to get that mess sorted out. manufacturers are not making it easy to catch up. the default package is probably not the best for getting it to work either.

vpn support broken?! erm depends on whos client you were using and posably the settings on the other side. cisco vpn can be set to make routes do stupid things like disable all local traffic so you now cant use your home printer. thankyou corperate settings.

12 totem/codecs. this is a BIG no go for many. I have found totem a real pain and getting websites to work with flash etc right off is important. I must say I am happy that ubuntu 64 is handeling them just fine once i get it all installed. dvd's took a bit of diging to find the right packages to install. there were about 4 different methods to get it to work for all dvd's it just took me a bit to find the one that worked. xine to the rescue.


other) to the person who said office dont work its a no go. well office is made specifically to NOT be compatible with OOo heck its not even properly compatible with other versions of its self so i dont find that overly encouraging. aslong as its not excell OOo has better file compatibility with all versions of office then any ms version to date. compair apples to apples plz. ms office specifically rewrites excell formulas to something propriatary. I rewrote a formula that was in use from office 2k but broke when going to OOo and saved it. worked fine opened it in ms and it still worked great closed it and did NOT save. opened again in OOo and the formula was change and broken again. cant say that its necessarly OOo's fault there for incompatibility, redmond strikes again.

NTFS falls in to a similer situation. ntfs3g does have issues. they need to fix soon to. wine your favorite game and there is a good chance it will have weard things happen. it does not properly support writing to the ntfs partition. 3g said it was a rare occasion that that write was used. tobad thats about the only one used by games.

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Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 67.235.242.37] on July 12, 2008 02:06 AM
You couldn't just link to a description of exactly how to solve each of the problems after describing them? Now I know what is wrong with my internet in Ubuntu, but still not how to fix it until I search other sites.

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