Low hanging fruit

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Low hanging fruit

Postby frustration_train on Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:59 pm

I am not a beginner. I have been using linux for 10 years, I have installed and used dozens of different distros, I have installed some distros dozens of times, I was the CTO of a startup company where my job was creating custom Linux distros for embedded devices, I am currently a senior level Linux administrator at a large tech company. I mention all of this, not to impress anyone, but to make it clear that I am not afraid of customization or getting my hands dirty fixing problems within a system.

I have built gentoo systems, and more recently highly customized debian based distros, but about two years ago I started using Linux Mint as my main distro. I wanted to be intemently familier with Mint because I wanted to recommend it to my friends and clients. I stayed with Mint because I like the idea of an easy to use distro that is ready to go out of the box.

A few months ago I bought a new laptop and installed Mint on it... and there was a small problem; the audio was not working properly and I had to add my user to the audio group, not too hard. When I wanted to play a dvd on my laptop I had to install the libdvdcss library. Recently I plugged my laptop into an HDMI projector; no image, no sound :-( The screen is recognized the 'HDMI Output' option is available from the sound preferences, yet there is no picture and no sound.

I am sure I can fix this issue, given enough time. But I came to Mint so I wouldn't have to deal with things that should work out of the box. How can I recommend Linux to my family and friends? "It's easy... except you have to add yourself to the audio group". How can I recommend Linux to my clients? "Everything works... except HDMI output and playing DVDs". How can I recommend Linux if Mint, a distro that is aimed at being 'easy', has these ovious problems? I have been advocating the use of Linux for years, but how can I look someone in the eye and say that Linux works just as well as windows when HDMI doesn't, DVD playback doesn't, you have to know the command line, and you have to edit txt config files to get basic functionality?

Pleas, please, please I am begging the Linux community as a whole and the Mint community in particular; get your act together. Really, this is embarrassing.

@michaelbeam
Last edited by xenopeek on Tue Feb 18, 2014 2:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: shouting and swearing removed; moved here as this isn't a support request
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Re: Low hanging fruit

Postby sep332 on Tue Feb 18, 2014 5:33 pm

DVD playback is not a technical limitation, it's a legal one. The DMCA prevents decrypting encrypted DVDs in America, and while the Librarian of Congress has granted a special exemption, the exemption is only good until 2015. After that, if there isn't another extension, old copies of Mint might be illegal in the USA if they included libdvdcss by default. The only way around it would be to pay for a license from the DVD CCA.
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Re: Low hanging fruit

Postby BlackVeils on Wed Feb 19, 2014 6:13 am

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Re: Low hanging fruit

Postby marias on Wed Feb 19, 2014 6:27 am

I have been using linux on the desktop for the last 15 years. Before ubuntu came around there was no distro I could recommend to non-technical users. I tried. It was a disappointment for both sides every single time. (As a teenager I made my mother cry by installing linux on her computer.) When I noticed ubuntu some years ago, it had already a lot of traction and a reputation for being a distro that actually works for regular users. I gave it a try and was instantly excited. The desktop looked neat, which is important because non-tech users measure quality by the looks. If it looks and feels cheap it makes them feel uncomfortable. To my surprise everything worked right out of the box. Well, almost everything (think of wireless drivers). It had great i18n and L10n. It fullfilled the needs and expectations of regular windows users enough to make them switch to linux. Ever since, I installed ubuntu on the machines of many friends and some family members. (My mother is a happy ubuntu user for years now.) Most of them keep using it to this day and are very content with it. Once people get accostumed, they realize this new thing is more reliable and less annoying than windows. I use ubuntu myself too. In the past I used debian and got along just fine, but not having to constantly fiddle around with things because they do work out of the box, saves me a lot of time. And having nice fonts and slick UI is a good thing.

But some time ago Canonical (the company behind ubuntu) started to do awkward stuff: contributor license agreements, aggressive legal practices, unpopular projects like Unity and Mir, pushing for money on their download page (somehow implying that I can decide myself how they distribute this money, which I believe is deliberately misguiding). Ubuntu 13.10 asks to create an online account during installation. By default it has an amazon icon in the sidebar (launcher), and when I start the dash and type in the name of an application to launch, it shows me stuff to buy on amazon. (Not to mention it sends all my local queries to a remote location to do this.) Linux used to be my bastion against spam and commercialism on the desktop computer. With Canonical that's no longer the case. I don't trust Canonical. And I don't like this Shuttleworth guy.

So I switched to Mint Cinnamon. At first glance it seemed very promising, although less polished and obviously less attractive for regular users. I found some annoying quirks in the UI. I started to fiddle around with the system again and got less actual work done. After some weeks I went back to ubuntu. It simply has the most comfortable linux desktop user experience. I felt somewhat defeated when I returned, since I left because of disgust for Canonical, but with Mint I wouldn't have been fully independent of Canonical either. The next time I feel the urge to flee ubuntu I'll go directly back to debian and just accept that the comfortable times are over.

Until then I run a script on every fresh ubuntu installation to get rid of Canonical's Stasi features (and some other stuff).
https://gist.github.com/aramiscd/8977188
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Re: Low hanging fruit

Postby viking777 on Wed Feb 19, 2014 7:03 am

https://gist.github.com/aramiscd/8977188

What a terrific find marias (apart from installing gimp, I would comment that one out) 5 stars for finding it and 10 stars to whoever wrote it - that ought to be made a sticky on the Ubuntu forum :lol: .

As Linus Torvalds holds a trademark on the Linux name he ought to force Canonical to call Unity something other than Linux. Linux should never include spyware of any sort however easy it is to remove. Even that excellent script won't persuade me to install Unity again, it's a disgrace to the name of LInux.

You don't have to go back to Debian though, LMDE is a fairly good alternative, and any version of Ubuntu except Unity does not contain this odious betrayal of Linux ideals (yet).
Fujitsu Lifebook AH532. Intel i5 processor, 6Gb ram, Intel HD3000 graphics, Intel Audio/wifi. Realtek RTL8111/8168B Ethernet.Lubuntu 13.10,Ubuntu12.10 (Unity), Mint16 (Cinnamon), Manjaro (Xfce).
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Re: Low hanging fruit

Postby craig10x on Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:39 am

Ubuntu has no spyware...the amazon ads are simply target ads just like you have on mint forum...and they can be turned off in 5 seconds in system settings under "privacy"...like the mint target ads, it's just another means to get some revenue for Canonical to support development of Ubuntu, not for profit purposes...

Mint is very nice (i use to use it myself) but I have checked out and used many linux distros and Ubuntu in it's current state is the most polished, great looking and easy to use linux distro that i have ever found and the ONLY one good enough to compete commercially with Windows and Mac...in fact, in many countries you can buy Ubuntu computers right in the stores...hopefully, eventually that will happen in the U.S. where i live, as well...

As far as Unity, it's very easy to use as it is just a dock (that is no harder to use then a mac's)...and it has alternate desktops if one must have them but a lot of newcomers to linux love unity desktop it seems it is more the seasoned linux user who insist that a desktop environment be the same old thing from years ago... :roll:

Actually, the reason i came to mint originally is because although i loved using ubuntu i did not like it's desktop (despite using it for over a year not like some people who try unity for 15 minutes and quickly decide it isn't for them)...i always felt 2 panels was a space waster and did not care for a "fan out" style apps menu...i then migrated to mint but once unity arrived...i returned to ubuntu...
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Re: Low hanging fruit

Postby dee. on Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:05 pm

craig10x wrote:it's just another means to get some revenue for Canonical to support development of Ubuntu, not for profit purposes


It's a measure for Canonical to make money, but it's not for making money purposes?

Ok...
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Re: Low hanging fruit

Postby craig10x on Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:15 pm

It goes to ubuntu development...not to line Mark Shuttleworth's pockets...same as the target ads on mint goes for development of mint...no difference...
What he is hoping to be the money makers for him is the phone/tablet/computers with ubuntu installed...the distro itself will always be available to any one that wants to download and install it for free (unlike windows and mac) so big difference...
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Re: Low hanging fruit

Postby kurotsugi on Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:46 pm

I am sure I can fix this issue, given enough time. But I came to Mint so I wouldn't have to deal with things that should work out of the box. How can I recommend Linux to my family and friends? "It's easy... except you have to add yourself to the audio group". How can I recommend Linux to my clients? "Everything works... except HDMI output and playing DVDs". How can I recommend Linux if Mint, a distro that is aimed at being 'easy', has these ovious problems? I have been advocating the use of Linux for years, but how can I look someone in the eye and say that Linux works just as well as windows when HDMI doesn't, DVD playback doesn't, you have to know the command line, and you have to edit txt config files to get basic functionality?
I don't know which mint version you've installed but I never had this sound problem when installing mint on any laptop. it might be a small glitch which happened during installation. as for HDMI and DVD problem, I think all linux distro are affected by them. it also might be a hardware specific problem. if you found your HDMI didn't work it doesn't mean that everyone's HDMI died too. personally I found mint is good enough to be recommended to most people I know. it's beautifull and simply work out of the box. it's just there's no such perfect OS. even though we didn't experienced those problems on windows, we'll surely got another problem when using it i.e:
- slow system
- huge resource usage
- high power usage
- not familiar desktop interface
- expensive
- <add more windows problem here>

for me, it's just a matter how well we promote linux to our society.
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Re: Low hanging fruit

Postby MartyMint on Wed Feb 19, 2014 6:35 pm

You'd think someone with as much Linux knowledge as the OP claims would have done their "homework" before purchasing to examine hardware compatibility...
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Re: Low hanging fruit

Postby fraxinus_63 on Thu Feb 20, 2014 5:35 am

I agree with the OP that getting AUDIO working out of the box for as many users as possible should be a very high priority. As a very experienced Linux user, it's the main thing that has caused me problems with Mint. Even working out why my I can't record from my sound card has sometimes taken a lot of work. I love Mint so I never, ever give up - but others would certainly have done so.
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