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    Linux Becoming Windows?


    There is an interesting story over at Slashdot (and I'm sure elsewhere) about a new package installation process on Fedora - and one can assume that if it doesn't get shot down, it will find it's way into Red Hat's commercial product.

    http://linux.slashdot.org/article.pl.../11/18/2039229

    Essentially, it allows non-root, even without sudo, to install packages signed by some authority (Red Hat?). One comment:
    Certainly there can't be a problem here, says the Fedora team. According to the release notes [fedoraproject.org], there are 15,000 packages which can be installed by these unprivileged users. That's a lot of fscking code -- surely some of it is poorly written. Consider this scenario: Package X suffers a critical {local, remote} root vulnerability. If the vulnerability isn't public, any local user (and maybe remote ones too!) has root. If the vulnerability is public, there is often a long window between downstream fixes and Fedora fixes. In either case, this is a security issue. The Fedora team really should have put this in the release notes and reconsider this implementation in the first place.
    This all began (in my opinion) when Linux fans decided it would be good to destroy Microsoft and replace Windows with Linux on every computer. But then all the idiots said it could never happen because Linux is too hard to use (a lie). So Linux developers (no competent Linux admin would think this is a good idea) decided to make Linux more like Windows. The first big step in this direction was KDE4 (or perhaps Gnome?).

    If you're a longtime Red Hat user and you decide to give up on Red Hat perhaps you should go to Debian. I installed it a couple of months ago and (unless I missed something) Gnome and KDE4 aren't even options. Also, apt-get is quite marvelous.

    Comments on this post

    • jzd agrees
    Last edited by Arty Ziff; November 20th, 2009 at 02:37 AM.
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    KDE4 IS available for Debian, but as an "unsupported" package. You have to change your sources.list to include the experimental branch. I don't know where you got your copy of Debian, but the easy installer includes Gnome by default if you select the Desktop environment. That being said, I totally agree that Debian is awesome. For beginners, I still recommend Ubuntu, which is Debian-based.

    On the other hand, there have been a lot of attempts to make Linux more like Windows, with varying degrees of success. However, they should certainly not sacrifice the inherent security of Linux just to make it easier to install a possibly treacherous app. At the very least, they could include the security dialog ala XP/2003/Vista/2008/7, which asks if you're sure you want to run the application (installer), at which point acceptance could invoke sudo.

    Comments on this post

    • kk5st agrees : except that kde is available in "Lenny"
    • Arty Ziff agrees : Ah... I didn't use the "easy" installer.
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    Looks like they are reversing the decision now:

    http://linux.slashdot.org/story/09/1...ened?art_pos=3

    Comments on this post

    • kk5st agrees : Redhat/Fedora announce sz so too
    • Arty Ziff agrees
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    Originally Posted by jzd
    Looks like they are reversing the decision now:

    http://linux.slashdot.org/story/09/1...ened?art_pos=3
    Yes, that's good. It was really a BAD idea. Nice for developers, but not for deployment...

    From a slightly more authoritative source:

    https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedo.../msg01445.html

    It's more detailed, and actually a fairly easy read for non-technical wonks like me.

    Developers might think this is a grand idea: "what's the problem"? Because they want a million packages with a zillion libraries and such, the whole kitchen sink and more. But for an admin it would be a nightmare.
    Last edited by Arty Ziff; November 20th, 2009 at 02:39 PM.
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    That's why developers make bad admins and admins make bad developers.

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    • Arty Ziff agrees : Yes. And I am both a bad developer and bad admin!
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    Linux is too hard to use.

    I tried downloading and installing Gentoo once. It took me less time to invent networking and the web browser than it did to try and get that darn OS to work.

    Ubuntu isn't terrible, though it seems like they ripped the UI off of Mac OS9 (which in turn ripped the UI off of Windows 95).

    And what's this I hear about Google coming out with an OS, where the only thing it does is connect to the internet? Doesn't anyone remember Audrey ?

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    • ctardi disagrees
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    • Jyncka disagrees
    • drgroove agrees : Hard to argue with your pristine logic and sense of wit, Mr. Gates.
    • kk5st agrees : lmao :D
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    • JimmyGosling disagrees : pristine logic INDEED!
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    To me it feels almost the other way around sometimes. For example, back when windows xp first came I used to dual boot between windows and linux. I had a nice third-party sound card that worked perfectly in windows, but the linux driver had an bug where every once in a while it would start stuttering repeatedly, go on for about 30 seconds, and then I wouldn't have sound any more. When I upgraded from Windows 98 to Windows XP, the Windows XP driver had a bug with the exact same symptoms. Not only that, but the vendor posted new driver updates that fixed the bug for both Windows and Linux at the same time.

    Now, it could have a been a problem with the hardware itself, but it's still odd that the drivers for both systems bumped into it in exactly the same way. This is of course at a lower level than the desktop experience, but it's still interesting. It shows that over time all the operating systems eventually encounter and solve the same problems, and eventually the best solutions (or at least the most expedient) tend to rise to the top.
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    What kind of desktop footprint does Fedora have? Just wondering if the impact of this will be as dramatic as you suggest.

    For all the talk I've heard over the last decade++ of Linux overtaking Windows on the desktop, Linux has made little to no gains. I'd love to see otherwise, but Linux suffers from one serious issue that it's consumer competition - MS/Windows and Apple/Mac - don't suffer from.

    That is: Balkanization.

    The sheer volume of Linux distributions prevents the average consumer from knowing which distribution is the "right" one for their needs, and works to discourage software developers/companies and hardware manufacturers from committing to a specific distro, with the fear that the distro they've just poured thousands or millions into developing their products for will be supplanted by yet another distribution.

    In the crusade to drive consumer adoption of Linux, Windows is not Linux' biggest enemy: Linux is Linux' biggest enemy.

    The best chance Linux has for consumer adoption is either Ubuntu (which is so simple, even I can install it), or Google's recently announced ChromeOS, which pushes most if not all application usage onto the internet (thereby eliminating the "chicken and egg" scenario of software companies committing to a specific distribution), and is in turn based on Ubuntu.
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    In my (uneducated) opinion, the "average" Linux distro is *not* for the "average" PC user. The only one that comes close to addressing "average" user needs is Ubuntu.

    Having said that, I have not found Red Hat to be any harder to install than Windows. But there are the standard user issues of applcation installation and dependencies. Now, with Yum and apt-get, it's a *lot* easier than it used to be...
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    Every six to 12 months I install the latest linux desktop and see how it goes. It's made some amazing progress of late, but still my experience for the last three or four cycles in a row generally goes like this:
    • The system works great after install, except for a few gotchas that I have use some google-fu to solve, or maybe can't solve at all. The usual culprits are flash, dvd playback, or printer drivers. These are things the "average" user would not be able to fix. One or two of the gotcha might be important enough to be show-stoppers. In fairness, a fress Windows install would often run into similar problems, but Windows generally comes pre-installed and all those issues were addressed ahead of time.
    • The system works great for a while, and will continue to do so as long you stick exclusively to the "stable" branch for your distribution. The problem is that if you really want a desktop that has feature parity with windows or osx you have to dip into the "unstable" branch for a few things. This generally works at first, but then it's only a matter of time before some automatic system update breaks something and you lose your nice gui desktop completely, with no easy way to get it back. The system still boots, but XWindows is mia. That's generally the point where I give up on it. I could and do mess with it for a while to see if I can fix it, but it generally requires more tinkering than I have time for. You could also argue that I should be testing system patches, but that's not right. If you want a desktop for an "average" user, automated system patches need to just work, and they need to not break anything.

    Of those two items, it's the second that really bothers me. You can buy a system with linux pre-installed if you really want to, and anyone installing an operating system from scratch should know to expect some issues. So I don't really care about that as much. It's expected. Even WINE is getting pretty good these days, and so application compatibility isn't much of an issue. But a broken system update process is really unacceptable. Get some better testing for the system patches, or an easy and ubiquitous command-line system restore tool and it could really start to be a contender.
    Last edited by f'lar; December 2nd, 2009 at 10:31 AM.
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    People whine about Windows having versions for Dummy, Retard, Taxpayer, Wannabe, Geek, and Pro Phylactic. Linux has been beyond that for years.
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    Why does the Chrome spell checker accept Microsoft but not Google? Something suspect about that. I was actually writing a relevant post, which included those two words, then I deleted it by mistake, so, yeah I'm out.
    Originally Posted by Arty Ziff
    So Linux developers (no competent Linux admin would think this is a good idea) decided to make Linux more like Windows.
    Linux Admins love Linux. Linux Developers love people to use their releases.
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