[olug] Disappointment and a question ...

Aric aric at omahax.com
Sat Apr 5 03:51:16 UTC 2014

My mother in law purchased a new laptop with Windows 8 and had problems with it and garbaged it up.  I put the Ubuntu with Unity on it and she loves it. 

I primarily use Windows 7 as a desktop OS and Linux for servers.  Linux desktop environments have always been a bit too clunky for me to use as my primary desktop. 

-------- Original message --------
From: unfy <olug at unfy.org> 
Date: 04/04/2014  8:18 PM  (GMT-06:00) 
To: Omaha Linux User Group <olug at olug.org> 
Subject: [olug] Disappointment and a question ... 
First up, I'm not looking for a flame war.  This is just a legitimate 


So, I've been using Linux since about Slackware 3.0 or something like 
that. 1996/1997 or so.

I used linux as my desktop OS for the longest time because I was tired 
of how unstable windows was, etc.  I'd boot into windows to play games 
if necessary - but my day to day life was under linux.  I even used it 
at work with windows in a virtual machine.

I eventually picked up a dell notebook that had XP SP1 on it (2003 ?) 
... and being open to new things, decided to give it a fair shake.  
After a month or so I was generally happy with how stable it was and 
decided to leave linux behind as a desktop OS.  There was generally 
better hardware support under XP ... and it seemed stable.

I've stuck with linux / bsd as a server OS though.

Fast forward to 2014 and a coworker has been fiddling with some 
different linux distro's.  Ubuntu, Zoran (or whatever), and a few others.

I had to walk away shaking my head.


The question:

Is there a linux distro that is actually USEFUL to folks out of the box ?

Something like a working control panel ?

Base / simple configuration of services (with the understanding that 
complex stuff will require editing a config file) ?

Feedback when an application is loading in the background ?

An error message if an application fails to load ?

Non-cryptic cd/dvd burning software ?

Customizing start menu / widget stuff isn't black voodoo ?

Something where I don't have to drop to the console to fix 90% of the 
problems ?

Basically, it seems like looking back over the last 20 years - I've seen 
different distros hit all of these subjects and sometimes complete said 
task - only to change it / drop it a few releases later etc.

Is there a distro that SIMPLY WORKS FOR THE HOME USER ? Doesn't have to 
be the prettiest thing on the planet, but lets you accomplish everything 
ya need to do out of the box ? And isn't a PITA to use ? Is there a 
distro that quits trying to re-invent every aspect of the wheel with 
each release ?

I know what I'm asking is a bit subjective - but seriously - what ever 
happened to "this tool does one thing and does it really well" mentality 
(see most of the command line tools) ?

When subjectively looking at the 4 or so distro's my coworker fired up, 
Windows 3.1, Windows 95, BeOS, OS/2, etc were all more functionally 
complete.  Hell, I still think BeOS rocks :D.

There is ZERO chance I'd use any of them as a desktop OS.  I'd be more 
at home in the 2.0 kernel days and Afterstep / Windowmaker hehehe.

KDE looked like it was trying pretty hard in the early pre-1.0 and 
1.0/2.0 days to get things somewhat there....


Sure, most distro's come with the standard apps like open office or 
whatever it's called these days.  And a couple options of browsers. 
Maybe a few 'explorer' like programs.  A few media consumption programs. 
Some of these applications may or may not work.  Others might offer some 
closed source drivers that may or may not work on your hardware 
depending on the age of your hardware.   (that brings up more fun.  want 
to run older hardware - gotta run an older distro.  but then if you have 
a problem with something, everything/one says you need to upgrade your 
distro... which you cant cause of the older hardware etc).

Is there a distro that has a checklist of "this is what this distro MUST 
do from a functionality stand point", and then it sticks to making that 
happen ?


With the above said, I did make use of Mythbuntu for many years on my 
HTPC box (with two hauppage pvr-150's).  But - that was mostly just 
getting the OS to run mythfrontend and mythbackend  and nothing else.  
Did have to patch alsa by hand all the time for HDMI audio over nforce 
630i chipset (don't think i ever pushed the patch upstream though heh).

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