So my laptop was crapping out. The wifi wasn’t working. It was getting absurdly slow. I tried running Vista’s recovery and it ran into some sort of infinite loop during the process. I have SATA hard drives so I needed a floppy to load XP. Obviously, I don’t have a floppy drive and I didn’t really want to buy a USB floppy.
So I downloaded and installed Ubuntu 10.10 and I must say, Linux has come a long way. I’ve been using it for a couple days now and it works great. Everything was loaded perfectly and quickly. The wifi works great. It boots fast. And I love the dorky aesthetic stuff like wobbly windows and the cube desktop. It runs way, way better than it ever did with Vista and all the crapware Sony had bogged it down with.
Anyone else use Ubuntu or other Linux distros? Anyone know a workaround for Netflix? I can run Hulu, Youtube, and other sites but not Netflix Watch Instantly and since I watch most of my TV on Netflix this really sucks.
(This could be an open-source-open-thread actually…)
Yep. Been using Ubuntu for the last few years.
@Fr33d0m: I tried it a few years ago and the wifi issues were too much to make it our main system (the wife is not as pc savvy as me and she has no desire to be). But now…works like a bloody charm.
Netflix runs on Silverlight, so I’m sure a workaround is not exactly going to be easy. But I run a Mac, so …
As a Mac user, this all just seems silly.
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
I have 10.04 on my desktop and I’m about to install 10.10 on a netbook.
I am also contemplating buying http://www.amazon.com/Asus-T101MT-EU17-BK-10-1-Inch-Convertible-Netbook/dp/B003D1DZBY/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1286507362&sr=1-1 because with some work you can make the entire system work with Ubuntu. Why spend $500 on an iPad when I can get Linux plus a keyboard.
Netflix uses Sliverlight and Moonlight doesn’t support PlayReady DRM (Microsoft won’t license it) so your only options are to run XP in a virtual machine or if you are really ambitious in Wine.
Just for you
@Belafon (formerly anonevent):
Because you’d be getting Linux plus a keyboard? ;)
I’ve run debian or an offshoot (like ubuntu) since the ’04 campaign. Before that I’d been redhat at work and slack at home.
I’m sure somebody’s going to come along and complain that some oddball piece of hardware their great uncle twice removed made in his garage doesn’t have a device driver, therefore linux is completely unusable for anybody, anywhere ever. My personal experience is that I’ve had no trouble with it in years, and when I have had trouble I’ve fixed it with help from the interwebs or by talking to the person who wrote the program.
pretty sure netflix needs version 2+ of silverlight and ubuntu only has a version 1 emulator.
I use two pieces of open-source software, Firefox and Audacity. I don’t know how I would live without either.
That’s said, I am also perfectly happy living in the walled garden of the iPhone and iPad.
Different environments, different rules.
I would be interested in seeing a liberal/conservative/libertarian breakdown of OS usage. That would be worth the $$ instead of endless repetitions of horserace polling.
I don’t know how it would shake out, and honestly, I don’t care (to each his own, if it makes you happy, etc.), but it would be a worthwhile endeavor – for science!
The Grand Panjandrum
Not bad for a Balloon Juice thread that it took all the way to comment #4 to fire up the Mac v. PC wars.
Barb (formerly gex)
@arguingwithsignposts: The only strong correlation I can thing of is Jitterbug = GOP.
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
@arguingwithsignposts: OK, so I opened myself up for that. But Linux has gotten very stable over the years, and it is kind of fun using software that people are writing because they enjoy it.
That. The proceeds from the sale of my netbook helped pay for my iPad. If you’re going to be doing heavy-duty keyboarding on an iPad (not likely given the current suckitude of Pages), spend an extra $50 and get the totally fabulous Apple bluetooth keyboard.
@The Grand Panjandrum:
True, but it’s on now.
The Netflix issue is a real pain. I’ve read in various forums they will eventually support Linux—well, they have been saying that for a little while, so who knows exactly when. Calling them and asking/complaining about it would support the cause (i.e., if enough people call asking for it, it’ll probably speed it up).
I got around the issue by using my PS3, which shares my TV with my Ubuntu desktop. But that solution obviously doesn’t help you out on your laptop…
i don’t think netflix will have linux support any time soon because silverlight is a microsoft product. if you go to synaptic package manger under the system menu and install virtualbox, you can pop in your vista cd and install a mini-vista within ubuntu. works surprisingly well and avoids the problem of having to boot into windows just to watch a movie.
i switched to ubuntu last year and it’s been awesome. welcome!
When this thread devolves into the inevitable Mac v PC flame war, mistermix is going to be plenty pissed at you for stealing his FP troll bait.
No kidding. I remember installing Red Hat back in ’01 or ’02, and a few weeks ago I installed Ubuntu on a tower we threw together. It really has come a very long way. We were flabbergasted that the wifi worked the first time. I’m still a Mac user for my everyday stuff, but I’m very impressed with Ubuntu.
@me: My beret is raspberry, but otherwise yeah, that’s got it.
I have a Mac Mini for the home machine. Now Linux on the laptop. Have a gaming rig that pretty much lives in storage which I built and which runs XP. I think the Mac/PC/Linux wars are silly. They’re all good for different things. It’s like the Hammer/Shovel/Screwdriver wars of yesteryear. Totally pointless. Too many have died.
Ubuntu is awesome. For the moment, you’re hosed on Netflix, but you could always just install XP and dual boot. Very easy to set up a dual boot XP system on an Ubuntu system. Why on earth were you running a piece of shite like Vista? XP, I could understand, Ubuntu, that makes sense…but Vista?
People whine and whimper “But Vista came with my laptop.” A used XP Pro unopened OEM factory disc costs $100. (Cue the ignorant kooks rushing forward to falsely claim “XP isn’t sold anymore!” Sure it is. You can buy XP OEM discs everywhere, from ebay to all kinds of reseller sites. Just google “OEM XP INSTALL DISC.”) You’re not going to get your state-of-the-art laptop to work right because you don’t want to spend an extra $100? And Ubuntu costs nothing.
Looking at the “reasoning” people give when they try to explain why they run Vista, it’s amazing the human race ever stopped walking on all fours.
Barb (formerly gex)
I’m going to have to check out Ubuntu now. I’m a multiplatform tech person and find the platform wars tiresome. A whole lot of what I like is obviously good and what you like is obviously bad. I guess people are just like that.
But I do love my iPad something fierce. A blojillian times better than a netbook and 90% of my personal “computing time” is just as easily handled on it as a full laptop. Then with LogMeIn, my iPad lets me use my XP, Vista, and OS X machines.
Goddamn, I love living in the future.
@E.D. Kain; You are correct, some wifi cards and video cards are not as well supported, but if you do your research, and don’t mind a little command line, you can make these work. Better yet, If your in a position to buy a new system, make sure the hardware is supported in both Windows and Linux to give you maximum capabilities.
I’m certainly not saying Ubuntu is perfect–or that it beats Windows hands down. I have a slight advantage over the non technical so to me the problems are a minor inconvenience until I have them fixed. What I will say is that for those who don’t mind doing some research or occasionally learning some new computer tricks, you just can’t beat the price.
I don’t want to short-sell the research here. There is an unbelievable amount of choice in Linux. Said another way, their is an unbelievable amount of research you need to do to know enough about Linux to make an informed decision. Ubuntu has done a good job of configuring a distribution of Linux that is easy to use out of the box. There are several variants of Ubuntu available to fit many different customers. But most tend to think they can just download an ISO, write a CD, and become a Linux user without even thinking of their hardware. You should think of it like you thought of upgrading to Vista. Not that you necessarily need the higher power and increased memory, but that you should inventory your hardware and see if it is compatible.
Davis X. Machina
I remember compiling the last pre-1.0.0 kernel — 0.99pl6-26 I think it was — a distro from Texas A&M…. it came on a shoebox of serially numbered floppies
Just a couple months ago, I ended up with a surplus Dell PC to clean out and get working. Reformatted and decided to install Ubuntu for kicks. I can’t get over how easy it turned out to be. Almost everything worked outright. The only problems I had were that mp3 support had to be installed separately for some reason, and Flash/youtube support seemed to be broken until I dug around for plugins that would work. Both these things were pretty minor, and not much more than the tuning I had to do with the iMac I did a year ago. Aside from Netflix, Ubuntu seems to work quite well out of the box indeed, even for someone with no command line experience. Seems pretty stable so far.
This has been an issue for Mac users for a long time as well. I remember sending off e-mails to a variety of sites/software companies asking for support for Mac. Good luck with getting them to listen to you circa 2000. Now, they’re at least somewhat more willing to port something.
If I were using a PC, I’d probably be trying to figure out how to use a Linux distro as well.
And despite the FYWP sentiment around here, WordPress is another open-source software I highly support.
The Grand Panjandrum
@Davis X. Machina:
Light the corners of my mind.
have they made it easier to attach to network drives ?
every time i boot up my linux machine to do any kind of work on it, i try getting a network share mounted but always end up FTPing stuff to my ISP and then back down – just to get files to the other side of the room.
using CentOS 5 (because i have to build binaries for it).
I’m going to be an outlier here… I migrated from OS/2 to ubuntu about three or four years ago. @E.D. Kain: if you think setting up wifi under ubuntu was hard, you should try it in warp sometime. Actually, it wasn’t really that hard in either platform; I had both of them working within hours. Nowadays of course, ubuntu slays OS/2 for that. I can tell you I wouldn’t hesitate to consider warp as a platform for a hobby web server though, and I work extensively in apache on solaris at work.
edkain, I can’t help you with netflix, as I don’t have it here. If you go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuyPJFhVTxQ you’ll find a tutorial. I’ve not watched the whole thing yet, but basically it suggests creating a windows vm in virtuabox, and installing netflix in that. Netflix is using microsoft silverlight to stream its video, apparently (which is kind of a prick move, imho) so there’s no native unix implementation available.
I imagine that in the long run it’ll run as a plugin in the browser via wine.
The tutorial is pretty good, it goes through the important performance considerations and takes you end to end.
SMB? It works pretty well.
The Hammer people deserved to die. Bunch o’ dull-wits with all the subtlety of blunt trauma.
Screwdrivers all the way!
I don’t have any issues with the Shovel people, as long as they’re just using it to move dirt and not whack you over the head with it.
When I saw the title of this post I immediately thought of “About Schmidt”:
Don’t know jack about open-source software, though…
That’s so 2002. Since then, things have changed.
@JGabriel: You all look like nails to me.
@cleek: you can mount network drives pretty easily, i think. i play the music from one machine on the other and i’m no linux expert. just installed samba, then shared folders, connecting either via windows sharing or ssh.
Along these lines (kinda), anyone wanna suggest a good browser for Blackberry? Opera always worked great for me, but the latest update is slow as hell and crashes my entire phone from time to time, requiring a hard reboot. I hate the freaking thing, and I’d say I do 40% of my daily browsing on my phone, and this really isn’t working for me.
Barb (formerly gex)
@cleek: Is there a Dropbox option? Much nicer than FTP.
Others (not me), might say that explains your posting style.
(Sorry, couldn’t resist the softball setup.)
Yes indeedy. Or in other words: if you find yourself in a hole, use your screwdriver.
Barb (formerly gex)
@polyorchnid octopunch: Netflix had little choice. The content providers have been resistant to letting them stream with out approved DRM. Although choosing Silverlight is definitely a dick move.
Anybody played with moonlight, the open source silverlight?
@barb: yes dropbox works great on Ubuntu (and Linux in general).
@barb: yes dropbox works great on Ubuntu (and Linux in general).
@Barb (formerly gex): Yes there is: http://www.dropbox.com/downloading?os=lnx
But there is also Ubuntu One: https://one.ubuntu.com/
NetFlix is not likely to be fixed any time soon; Microsoft pays them well to use Silverlight. It’s vaguely possible that one might be able run Netflix on Moonlight over Mono, but, as teh Googley hasn’t funded a project to speed it up or improve its compliance with the spec, it’s unlikely to work. The most likely way for that to change would be for Mr. Softie to buy Adobe; then, MSFT would no longer have an interest in destroying Flash.
Huh. I just spent sixteen hours getting a video card on a vaio to work on 10.10.
Still better than living with Windows.
And for my money, the best linux laptop I’ve found is my macbook.
@me: Yes, that was my thought too.
Sorry, totally off topic and all that, but I’m really getting tired of Michael Jordan (again). He’s in this new video game, and has recently said he could score 100 in today’s game. I am so fucking tired of hearing about how he’s the greatest of all time. He’s not. He’s one of the all time greats, but greatest? He did not dominate like Russell or Wilt or Kareem, he did not have the all around games of Bird and Magic and Oscar Robinson… what he did have was the undivided attention of ESPN. I do not like the world according to ESPN.
Leaving aside the platform skirmishes (me: OSX for work & personal, Windows for work as much as I try to avoid it, iOS for pleasure and hopefully for work eventually, PS3/iPad for netflix) the real question here is:
Why is ANYONE whatsoever still using Vista?
Either upgrade to Windows 7 (more or less what Vista was supposed to be), downgrade to XP, or move to Linux/OSX.
No one deserves having to use Vista.
Virtualization software will allow your Linux box to run an old distribution of Windows you might have lying around) or another Linux in a sandbox. I use it to run Windows XP SP3, because it’s not clogged up with Vista bullshit.
Best of all, you can run it while keeping Ubuntu running… you don’t have to power down and reboot.
The leading product is VMware, but it’s pricey. Why not try out a free download from a competing product, Virtual Box, which is now supported by Oracle?
They have a virtual client that has been tuned to run on Ubuntu 10.10:
If it doesn’t work, you haven’t spent any money… it’s a free download.
@John B.: i tried 10.10 but it’s still too beta-ish for my hardware to work. (went back to 10.04.) for some reason i find the hiccups in getting ubuntu to work are much less annoying than when windows would crash when i looked at it wrong.
Ubuntu works as well or better than any Win distribution.
Sure, you’ll run in to the occasional issue like you’ve run in to with Netflix, but you’ll not run in to the myriad of issues you will with Win.
Ubuntu is a low cost high value solution for any user, and ideal for netbook type usage.
Hasn’t it been going to be Linux’s “Year of the Desktop” for about 15 years running?
that said, who on earth would voluntarily use Vista? It’s the next version of Microsoft Bob/WindowsMe.
Windows 7 on the other hand is pretty damn good.
Sholdn’t this be a bigger story? Reminiscent of Hilary C ’08 campaign money mismanagement…
Sharron Angle’s Employment Program
For casual users, an issue like Netflix is a pretty big issue.
i used Vista for three years and never had a single problem with it. not one.
i have utterly no idea what the Vista hate is all about.
Oh gad, another OS thread. I can safely say that I’ve run and worked on nearly everything from SCO UNIX to BeOS to IBM Warp to DOS to SunOS, to any number of Linux distros dating from the days when you had to compile the buggers.
None of them is “best”. One or another may be best for what you want to do, or it may be the best for your hardware. And that’s about it.
I have used GNU/Linux for going on 12 years. I switched from Slackware to Ubuntu in 2005 mainly out of curiosity, but also because the package manager and update system are quite well thought out.
I also run Windows/XP in a VMware virtual machine mainly for Quickbooks and a few other apps which only run on Windows.
I just upgraded from 10.04 to 10.10 last week and the upgrade went smoothly. Only glitch was getting VMware Workstation working with the new kernel. Fortunately, there is a pretty broad user community which develop the needed build patches for the newer Linux kernels.
James K. Polk, Esq.
Just put 10.4 on my Dell mini 9. It’s really good stuff, and the price is certainly right. $250 for an awesome little machine that does everything I need it to for school. The battery life is even better than it was on Windows 7, because Ubuntu automagically under-clocks the CPU when you aren’t using it.
It’s really speedy too.
Fair enuf. If viewing netfliix vids on ur netbook is a must, and u can’t be bothered to figure out or are incapable of installing the work arounds, buy Win or a Mac.
But I contend more of any user’s time is spent doing other things and, if true, Ubuntu is a very good and much lower cost solution.
I’m certainly not going to sing the praises of Vista, especially since I write this from my Ubuntu 10.04 desktop. But my laptop runs Vista more often than not (I have a dual boot with Ubuntu) mostly for the kids and their games and frankly Vista is just fine for what we do with it. Strip all the crap that comes pre-installed, tune it up and it boots fast, runs fine and surfs the web, which is about all I do with it.
Since I do all my real activity in Ubuntu and use the Vista machine basically to surf and maybe play some music, I have no real problem with Vista.
Heh, and I see Cleek said the same thing basically. I don’t really push the Vista machine to the limit (it’s not that nice a laptop anyway, just a cheap fourth machine for this house) but I really haven’t had any problem with Vista either. And my wife’s decidedly better machine runs Vista and she has had no problems either.
All in all, I’d go with Linux but Vista could be miles worse.
Yeah, me too. I’ve never had an problem with Vista. It’s never crashed on me (and I scour the intertoobs for freeware, which is often wonky). I’ve never had a virus. Nothing. It even does the defrags it needs to behind the scenes. I have thought about upgrading to 7 from time to time, but why bother?
The worst part about having Vista in my experience is that the ASUS PC I bought came with a lot of crapware that I had to remove. But that’s ASUS’ fault, not Microsoft.
I have XP at work and on a netbook, a Macmini hooked up to the TV for torrents, Netflix and Hulu, and an old EEE pc with Ubuntu. They are all good for different reasons. The OS wars have always mystified me. They seem far more tribal than rational.
@cleek: The problem with Vista, I believe, is that when it was first released in 2006, it was preloaded on machines that were too slow and had too little RAM for it creating a very bad perception. When installed on a more recent machine with SP1, Windows 7 looks like a minor improvement.
My brother’s PC laptop, running XP, still had in almost in tears every six months or so; virusi, crashing, one stupid damn thing after another.
And now that the World’s Best Word Processor has been invented, he’s getting an iMac and will be done with all that torment.
(Yes, it’s going to be for Windows RSN. But I’m willing to bet actual money it won’t be as good. Voice of experience.)
I’d love Ubuntu, if the wireless would work, but it doesn’t anymore…
Now I’m back to using Vista and, of course, my Macintosh.
(Which is Ubuntu without the problems.)
I’ve run Ubuntu for years on my servers and laptop. Haven’t installed 10.10 anywhere yet – glad to hear it just keeps getting better.
joe in oklahoma
waiting for chromium OS to run on my new windows 7 machine, which is an improvement over the Tiger osX that died a slow ugly death on me a month ago.
I think you’re conflating your use with “any user.” I do the same sometimes, and I don’t think it’s a good viewpoint. Sure, it’s lower cost, but is it “very good” for the person who wants the computer to work and not get viruses without having to troubleshoot a bunch of driver issues, etc.?
Hence, the iPad.
Ahem…I’ve used a few open-source OSes over the years, but I’m stuck with Windows at home (wife’s eyes glaze over when I talk computing and she’s always used windows).
At least I’ve got my copy of 7 Professional for free through the ACM.
Hooray for you, John Cole. I’ve been using Linux for about 10 years, and wouldn’t have it any other way. I know a lot of folks in here love their Windows & Mac machines, and I don’t want to fight with anyone.
I would say that Linux, and Ubuntu in particular, would be suitable for about 90% of the general population as there isn’t anything you are doing on the proprietary platforms that isn’t available in GNU/Linux (it’s proper name according to some).
To try and keep it brief I will respond to a few issues folks have raised in the first 70 or so comments:
– Netflix: Yes, it’s a bummer that it’s not available for Linux or some Macs. It is available, however thru some game systems. I use the Instant Netflix on our Wii. I know some newer, networkable DVD players can stream netflix, too. That may be a better solution for you.
– fr33d0m’s comment above (#25): Really good advice. There are still some hardware compatibility problems. The world is biased towards MS, and no one will release a PC with hardware that won’t work on Windows, but the same is not true of Linux, and some Hardware manufacturers do nothing to help the Open Source Linux community (like releasing API’s, let alone drivers). I have run into some issues. For instance, I have a Toshiba laptop that dual boots Win7 & Ubuntu, but Ubuntu can’t tell me how much battery power is left. Sigh.
– mp3 & flash (as mentioned in Shecky’s comment – #27: The only reason you need to go look for these (and Ubuntu makes it VERY VERY EASY to find them) is that they require agreeing to a license that is not FREE (as in speech). The out of the box Ubuntu install contains only Free software. The mp3 codecs and Flash software is not free, but you can add them afterwards. Most people do, and like I said it is very easy these days.
I’ll stop there. Linux is awesome. I encourage every one to try it out. It’s Free: as in Speech AND as in Beer. I like it technically as well as politically.
Kain, not Cole.
People who actually enjoy dinking around with operating systems (like me) should love using Linux (of which Ubuntu is the most popular variant, or distribution).
People who just want to get stuff done should give Ubuntu a shot, because its focus is being easy to use, and it’s made great strides since it came out in 2004. (Which is why it’s the most popular Linux distribution.)
And it’s not only free, the license it uses is a sort of political statement all its own. (Which is why non-free drivers for things like wifi can sometimes be problematic, and also why you have to install things like mp3 support separately.) But you don’t have to pay attention to that if you don’t want to.
I was a mac person for years, even got my Dad and wife to switch over and they love it. But then for work, I had to switch to a PC due to non-Mac software needs (math/stats/econ stuff). Recently they’ve come out with Mac versions of many of those products, but I think I’m going to stick with my PC. Honestly, Windows 7 has worked very well for me. I can’t think of one major problem. The top of the line Mac my dad has and the desktop and laptop my wife uses both have more issues and hiccups. That being said, their computers can do some things easier than mine and mine can do some things theirs can’t. They’re just different. The whole platform wars thing is a bit silly. They’re all increasingly well done and it’s really just a matter of preference and needs, not outright superiority.
I have never used Ubuntu itself, but really like Linux Mint – it’s based on Ubuntu and normally releases about a month after Ubuntu does. Currently Linux Mint 9 is a LTS release, just like 10.04.
I just feel that Mint adds a few extras to smooth things out, and has prettier art.
When I did tech, I had Ubuntu, MAC and Win XP. The ubuntu was a print server for 4 MACs. I liked Ubuntu because it was such a relief to work with.
Jen jen, have you considered going back to an older version on Opera mini?
Nice to see that Erik the Red has put up so bi-partisan a thread. My own humble contribution:
I recently bought a new Lenovo T510 with pre-installed Windows 7. Two major problems:
Windows 7 hates wireless downloads. God may know why, but no-one else seems to.
Windows 7 has DirectX 11 locked-in. The result of this is that older games often refuse to play, since they worked with DirectX 9.0, key parts of which seem to have been ignored in the Master Plan.
Intriguingly, Lenovo included the option to roll back Windows 7 to XP, which seems like a pragmatic confession of anticipated trouble.
I am considering starting a malicious rumor that Bill Gates secretly uses Ubuntu on his home computers in the underground lair.
Ubuntu is a good option for some people, but not everyone. I have several applications I use daily that will only run on Windows. And Windows 7 is all kinds of awesome. I have never had any problems with Windows 7 wireless downloads.
Wile E. Quixote
It’s not the best workaround, in fact it’s more like a reacharound, but what about installing a virtualization package like KVM (apt-get install kvm, libvirt, virt-manager), VirtualBox or VMware and running Vista in a virtual machine? If you have a laptop made in the last few years it should support hardware virtualization with the Intel/AMD Vx extension.
The only problems I can see with this is that the virtual machine video drivers might not be up to the task and that depending upon which laptop you have you might be screwed because Sony shipped a batch of laptops that didn’t allow you to go into the BIOS and enable virtualization, even though the CPUs supported it, and then refused to fix the issue, and they wonder why they’re getting their asses kicked by Apple and LG. Hmmmmm.
Lucky you. Plenty of people on the internets do not, alas, share your good fortune. Out of interest, what sort of router do you use?
Linux Mint user here. I’m dual booting 64-bit Mint with XP on my desktop, and it’s great. It’s an outstanding new-user distro because it just works.
@Gozer: PCBSD, Bitches! I’ve got a PCBSD boot disk, and have run it a couple of times. It’s a desktop distro of bsd, branching from FreeBSD. It’s not as user friendly as Linux Mint, but it’s clean and well designed; just shouts “I are serius OS.”
I’m commenting from my Ubuntu laptop. I still have the Vista partition, though frankly I don’t know why anymore.
I switched from Debian to Ubuntu b/c I got sick of compiling my own wifi drivers and kernels.
I had a Belkin router for three years. It just died two months ago. No problems with it before then. Now I have a D-Link. No problems with it either.
Wile E. Quixote
But if you’re in three holes does that mean that you need to bring a lot of screwdrivers?
@Wile E. Quixote:
The Chinese have a saying “jiao tu san gu”. “A wise rabbit has three holes”. They don’t, however, mention screw-drivers….
Netflix runs on silverlight. One option is to install Virtualbox and install an XP inside it. It should solve all problems.
Ubuntu is nice. Kubuntu is better. It looks absolutely stunning.
@Barb (formerly gex):
Yes, because it’s soooooooooooooooooooooooooooo hard to get DVDs from Netflix and then pop them in the DVD drive of your computer and rip it to xvid using DVDFabDecrypter.
A few threads back I mentioned that the people who run the world are mongoloid idiots. Here’s more proof.
DRM doesn’t work. DRM has never worked. DRM never will work. The master encryption key for BluRay was just leaked, destroying all encryption on all BluRay discs. Any content provider who thinks DRM can ever work is either drunk or brain damaged or on hard drugs and needs to get fired as CEO and put to work mopping floors in a convenience store.
Odie Hugh Manatee
If anyone wants to run XP and doesn’t have a floppy to F6 at install so it can load textmode drivers for your SATA, get nLite and burn a custom CD that has your motherboard drivers on it! If you are so inclined you can also load your other drivers at the same time and save some setup hassles after your XP install.
I was a SCO XENIX 386 user way back when, migrated to SCO UnixWare and stuck with it up to the end of the 90’s, switched to RedHat and now use Fedora Core. As someone above said, whatever works for you is all you need. Since I like to play with hardware and system expansions/upgrades, I avoid the Walled in the Apple Garden stuff.
I don’t like paint-by-the-numbers computer building… ;)
Gaah. Thanks. How embarrassing: I could have sworn I checked the byline before posting. Thanks for the correction.
Not to pick on you, daveX99, but I don’t believe this. That is, I believe that most of what can be done on proprietary platforms can be done in GNU/Linux, but I think that Linux usability lags behind that of Windows and the Mac. It’s catching up, but there still remain roadblocks, partly because of the distributed and small-scale nature of a lot of open source development (“I don’t have time to talk to end users”), partly because of limited connections to design folks (“What’s so hard about making a GUI look pretty?”), and partly because of the hacker culture (“I write code for myself, not for stupid people”). My made-up quotes are exaggerations, but I’ve heard comparable sentiments.
I dunno if it’ll work but you could try running XP inside of a VM (use VirtualBox or, if you want to get really hardcore, Xen, and run a minimal XP inside of it fo netflix.
Or just stop giving Netflix your money, and tell them why…
Or just get a Mac…after all, they finally got unix in my MacOS and I’ve been happier than a pig in sh*t with it since 2001.
@RSA: So, have you actually tried Linux recently?
Sure; in fact, I think there are a some very promising developments. But whether I personally find Linux usable isn’t really the issue–Ph.D. computer scientists working in the area of human-computer interaction aren’t representative of the general population of computer users.
I keep an eye out for papers people have written about development practices in open source, for the results of usability analysis efforts on specific projects (mostly desktop stuff), and for things the open source community is doing to increase awareness of usability (tutorials and such). Things are improving, and they’re much better than even five years ago, but I think the issues I raised above are still problematic.
Yeah, and there’s also the whole issue of “I’m having a problem with my computer. Can I get my friend/relative/whatever to help me?” Windows and Mac, usually not a problem. Linux, maybe a problem. That’s a legitimate barrier to “casual” users.
@RSA: I look at it this way. Linux is free, both in price, and in its open-source philosophy. In exchange for that freedom, I’m willing to learn how to use it and deal with its quirks. (And the learning curve is definitely smoother than it used to be.)
Remember Windows 3.0 back in 1990? It was a dog, but it caught on like wildfire, like MS-DOS before it, because it was comparatively easy to use and worked on commodity hardware. (Linux didn’t even exist then.) Macs were much better, usability-wise, but so much more expensive.
As far as Linux usability goes, there’s no question that Microsoft and Apple have put lots of money into usability studies, whereas open source, due to its very nature, hasn’t. But whether that’s a roadblock to you has a lot to do with your attitude toward it.
Barb (formerly gex)
@mclaren: I agree wholeheartedly. DRM is what people with no ideas and who believe they don’t need to *compete* in the marketplace come up with. IOW, MBAs.
Originally only Windows supported Netflix with DRM from Windows Media Player. Moving that to Silverlight has increased the platforms, but it still is the same old stinking craphole of DRM.
Wile E. Quixote
Nonsense, DRM is like conservatism. It cannot fail, it can only be failed. Hollywood just needs to clap harder and it will work. Why I hear that they’re working on a new DRM system that’s foolproof. OK, you do have to wear two wetsuits and a dildo to view the content, but that’s a small price to pay to insure that Hollywood has a constant revenue stream coming in so that they can continue to produce classics such as Gigli, Glitter, Showgirls, Catwoman, Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, Freddy Got Fingered, Battlefield Earth, Basic Instinct 2, Salt, Hackers and many, many others. I ask you to ask yourself where we would be as a people if these movies hadn’t been produced and I ask you to consider what will happen to our culture if Hollywood loses the DRM wars and can’t make more like them.
My ’83 John Deere tractor stopped working today, in the middle of autumn-prep disking of the west field. Just waited it out, topped off the diesel, cranked it up and sat through about 10 minutes of sputtering, then finished the field just before sunset.
It reminded me of Windows. I keep cranking that up too, and the beer sits more level on my desk than on my tractor, but I’ll think I’ll keep ’em both.
@Davis X. Machina:
Hey, yeah … I believe I did that with slackware from Texas A&M. Something like 12 floppies if you wanted the optional stuff?
I am happily running Ubuntu on 4 or 5 systems now, Debian on another, and Windows 7 as a dual-boot in there. I’ve got XP on a couple of VM’s as well, for some hopeless legacy software.
I feel so inadequate and stupid for posting this from a Vista machine. Please forgive me. If I’m having problems, I don’t even realize it.
This is a little easier with the forums and general familiarity of nerdy folks, IT folks, etc. with Linux. Which is pretty close to various Unix flavors that many people (anyone who has done much college science has probably used a some Unix for something) have at least a passing familiarity with.
One big problem with Linux support used to be the wide variety of differently versioned pieces running around under the hood. At least with the major releases of Linux distros, there are consistent drivers, compilers, libraries, etc., unless you’ve gone far out of the way and made the changes yourself. Oh, and drivers. And this has come a long way, finally with more vendor cooperation.
Also, the family members, relatives, and so forth, probably never wanted to do tech support. I would get Windows PC questions fairly often even when I had no windows PC, just because I did tech stuff at work.
All that being said, Ubuntu is pretty slick now. It really is miles away from Linux of old.
Not had a problem with that myself, but obviously there are different things one can connect to, many of which I haven’t.
What are you connecting to? Windows hardware or shares, some independent third-party drive, or other? A lot of those cases just need to be set up once (with some degree of fiddlyness) and then work pretty transparently.
As someone said, Dropbox can be a winner for this. Integration with Gnome/Ubuntu is perfect. I also use Ubuntu One (free 2G), Spideroak (free 2G, multiplatform), and jungledisk (not free, but multiplatform). (Ha — all of them running on this here laptop.)
I have also used scp aliases, sshfs, rsync, and other less friendly stuff for remote sync and copy. I don’t currently have my own net storage because of the sync services mentioned above.
As far as I can tell, Windows 7 *is* Vista, just without as much crashing. Oh, and some new color schemes.
Ah, I was going to mention Mint if someone else didn’t. It takes care of the non-open but (for most people) vital pieces that you have to install yourself in Ubuntu (or Debian, e.g.). I don’t use Mint currently myself, but have recommended it to a couple of people (who just really really have to have a system work for video without looking for two extra packages to install).
That said, I have always liked the Ubuntu look (especially like the new purple-y-orange).
I think I remember one of my clean (non-upgrade) 10.10 installs of Ubuntu 10.10 actually suggested getting the correct extras installed. I don’t think I dreamed that.
Also, a throwaway google search found this pretty generic take on post-installs (for anyone who might have been wondering — command line plus pretty pictures) :
Bah. The truly wise run OpenBSD. Clearly, you are not yet on the path of the righteous.
Windows 7 I’ve had at work for a few months. It really is a good system. I like using it better than I like using my Macbook at home, although, I do like my macbook quite a lot. What I need is a windows style mouse for my macbook, rather than the trackpad. And, of course, I’ve never had a problem with my macbook, and I’ve had it, what, 4 years now?
So, I like them both. And I LOVE my iphone4, this thing really is a piece of industrial art. If only At&T didn’t suck.
I had a dual boot windows machine at home, booting into a mandrake linux, 4 years ago. Too annoying for daily use, at that time.
Sure it’s better now.
Wife’s desk top (XP Pro, D-Link wireless card) doesn’t like wireless program down loads either via a D-Link DI-624 M.
Older HP Laptop (XP Home) an equal distance away is just fine. Wireless is a black art.
Windows 7 is shite. It’s just as slow as Vista, just as incompatible with older programs as Vista, nearly as memory-hungry as Vista, almost as hostile to most of your hardware as Vista. If you want to run PhotoShop, prepare to shell out beaucoup bucks for new version if you own Windows 7. If you want to print with that old laser printer, forget it, time to buy a new laserprinter if you own Windows 7. If you want to capture movies with Adobe Premiere, forget it, you need a new version. And on and on it goes. All incompatible, all buggy, all slow, and at least half your hardware won’t work.
Windows 7 = Vista with a fast startup screen. It’s shite. If you want your hardware or software to work, use XP.
In my experience, support for linux is usually easier than Windows or OS X support because it’s typically easier to figure out what’s going wrong. When something blows up in Windows or OS X it’s often something undocumented and you have to figure out some damn kludge. When something blows up in linux it’s usually been well documented and there’s a startup option or a simple procedure for fixing it (example: Ubuntu blackscreen on bootup for older laptops. Use the startup option that doesn’t load compiz).
Windows still has lots of niche programs with no equivalent on linux so it’ll be a long time before linux is ready to replace Windows. Example: if you want to edit movies, cinelarra won’t cut it, it’s a bugfest. If you want to author DVDs on linux, it’s a pain in the ass and buggy. Works much better on Windows or OS X. If you want to do music notation, lilypond is a giant pain in the ass and isn’t actually WYSIWYG. Sibelius or Finale are infinitely better on Windows or the Mac. GIMP is okay but Photoshop still beats it hands down. There’s nothing for linux that does what Adobe InDesign does. There’s no linux equivalent of Quark XPress or Framemaker. And so on.
Well, most of us can’t afford a macjob (which uses a linux/unix shell) & triples your cost for a comparable system. You COULD become computer literate, sucker.
Linux is great, Win7 is very good, Vista sucks. And macs are still for babies, as my adviser put it, so many years ago. lols
I used Ubuntu in a dual boot setup with Vista for year years but I recently replaced it with Fedora. So far I’m finding Fedora even better than Ubuntu 10.04 [the last version I used]. Seems a bit more stable day in and day out. Haven’t used 10.10 yet so I can’t comment on that.
On this one, I have actually found the solution – turn off Homegroup in Windows 7. This was, admittedly, solution ten or so, but at least it works, finally, finally.
With Ubuntu (as in many other Linux distros), the possibility of loading the live version of the operating system fron a CD or flashdrive is a winner. You can check if your hardware is compatible, use it to securely surf the web from practically any other box, and rescue your data from a broken windows… priceless!
Running Linux (Debian) for about 10 years now.
As the earlier poster said, the main problem is lack of certain specialized programs. My fiancee is all-Linux, but my Dad needs Scientific Word (he just can’t learn to type TeX) and my mom needs the excerable SPSS. Apart from those two programs, I could convert them too.
I have to disagree with you, RSA. Usability of Windows programs sucks badly enough that the Linux programs are no worse, and often better. (Mac is another matter, they actually try.) Usability for the “average” user generally relates to calling a more tech-savvy friend or relative to fix things.
Which means, if your techie runs Linux himself, Linux is more usable than Windows. Full stop.
I am, whether I like it or not, the community geek around my social circle & family. These are people who use their kit to surf the net, write letters, watch movies, listen to music…but they are also people who needed speech to text software (Nuance Naturally Speaking), Photoshop and Spotify. One way or another Ubuntu plus wine has worked really well for all of them. They have been open to giving ubuntu a go because the failings of windows are what brought them to me in the first place.
In one instance I did end up installing virtualbox for an XP install…this went really well. One caveat though, the open source version doesn’t have USB connectivity between the host (Ubuntu) and the guest (XP). There is a fairly easy hack around this, but as long as its for personal use only you can download the non-free full version for Ubuntu from the virtualbox site and use that instead.
I am no expert. Just someone who takes a keen interest…but the performance and reliability (and security) that my Ubuntu using friends are enjoying are enough for them to mention it most times we meet.
I think we may be approaching the beginning of a groundswell…
I’ve been running Linux on my machines since the early days of 1995, and Ubuntu us definitely a very user-friendly OS and super easy to install.
As for Netflix, install Virtualbox OSE and install Windows inside the virtual box. You can stretch the virtualbox Windows into full screen and watch Netflix quite nicely that way.
Boxee is going to be shipping their Boxee box sometime in November (hopefully), and with that, not only can you stream ALL your media on your PC to your TV, but it also will stream Netflix like the Roku boxes, etc.
Sure. My comments should all be taken in the context of the idea that Linux is just as usable as Windows or the Mac for 90% of the general population. Let’s be clear what we’re talking about: there’s an ISO standard for usable software, and it’s pretty reasonable, breaking usability down into effectiveness, efficiency, and user satisfaction. All of these (especially the latter two categories) depend on the capabilities, knowledge, habits, preference, and goals of the user.
Tech-savvy users are different from other user populations, and there’s no inconsistency in saying that Linux has high usability for techies but necessarily for others. Bridging this gap poses difficult problems.
Kered (formerly Derek)
The proper response to this post.
@Kered (formerly Derek):
Yes, if you take your cues from stck fgures. And for most people, no, that isn’t the correct response to this post.
This isn’t either: http://www.smbc-comics.com/?db=comics&id=1386#comic