[olug] Disappointment and a question ...

Timothy Goshinski tgoshinski at gmail.com
Sat Apr 5 03:02:50 UTC 2014

My wife is a non-techie and has no problems using my Kubuntu box.  I prefer
the KDE window manager and it seems there is as much, or as little, voodoo
as you want.  Off a fresh install CD/DVDs mount automatically and offer to
launch a file explorer for you - ditto with any thumb drive I've plugged
into it.  A system tray like icon will let you know if any of your software
needs updating - and when it does a couple of mouse clicks will get it done
for you (personally I shut that off and use apt from the command line, but
I am old and frightened of change).  CUPS recognized my new-ish HP
doc-center and Steam runs games fairly well on my cheap GeForce 9500
graphics card.

If a person is coming from Windows, I definitely think Kubuntu is a fairly
safe choice of distros.

*Anything that is unrelated to elephants is irrelephant.* - Anonymous

On Fri, Apr 4, 2014 at 8:18 PM, unfy <olug at unfy.org> wrote:

> First up, I'm not looking for a flame war.  This is just a legitimate
> question.
> -----------------------
> 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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