10 things to fix to make Mint what what we need it to be

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10 things to fix to make Mint what what we need it to be

Postby Oceanwatcher on Wed Oct 29, 2008 10:11 am

I really would like Linux to spread to everyone. I help people installing it, I recommend it and I write about it. For all this, Mint is my distribution of choice.

The big benchmark for me and most other people is Windows XP. I would love to see Mint be better than XP in all areas. And as we all can agree on, in some areas Mint is already better. But there are still things that need improvement. So I would like to suggest some things that need improvement. As you folks add things in posts, I will edit this list.

If you know about any projects that has been started to fix any of the things listed here, please let us know. The internet is a big place, and it is impossible to keep track of all things going on in this field. For now, the items on the list is in no particular order:

1. Windows networking - This should work straight out of the box. A nice GUI to enter the Windows networking name of your PC and change workgroup. Default workgroup should be "Workgroup" as it is in Windows XP. A good model for this function is OSX. Connect a new Mac to a Windows network and the Windows PC's just pop up.

2. Audio. This need to be simplified and again - just work out of the box. I would like to seeeverything else than ALSA ripped out. Maybe running PulseAudio on top of it. But that is it. No backward compatibility. And all applications need to be able to play at the same time. If any application clearly states they will not support ALSA of PulseAudio, it is time to get them out of Mint.

3. Monitor configuration - this is another one that just should work. With a nice GUI. One, two, three - any number you want, any kind you want.

4. An application that can fully replace MSN. Pidgin is nice, but they have clearly stated that audio and video is no priority. Even my mom use MSN and she loves to communicate with her grandchildren through MSN with cam and audio.

5. Make nice GUI's for all tasks. There should not be any reason to use a GUI for any normal tasks. Sure, powerusers can always use it to do things their way, do it faster or tweak some more options. But for anything but the most obscure things, there should be a GUI. And as time passes you will discover new things that need a GUI. So add it to the list and include it in next release.

6. Select multiple languages during installation. I am a Norwegian living in Brazil and my day to day communication is mostly in English. So I would prefer three languages (English, Norwegian, Portuguese) installed from the beginning. But I can only choose one. The rest gets deleted! And when I go into the administration to add other languages, I have to download them instead of just getting them from the CD..

7. One common addressbook. This is something I also miss in Windows. I would like to see the addressbook gone from all other applications. It has to be able to import from all the standard applications like Outlook, Outlook Express, Thunderbird etc. It must sync with handheld devices. And it should sync with a variety of online services. My biggest favourites here are Plaxo and LinkedIn. They save me a TON of work updating my addressbook!

8. One common window manager. At the moment, there are an unknown number of Linux distros. And some of these even have several version based on different window managers. This is way too much and is a solid contributer to the barrier Linux has towards normal Joe Average users (or should I say Joe the plummer? :-) ) Simplify, simplify, simplify. I am running the standard Mint versjon 5, but I see some applications that clearly are better on KDE. But I really do not like to have all the office application from KDE. I want as few duplicate functions as possible. As I will be using OpenOffice, there is no need for anything that is covered in that package.

9. A list of applications that you can choose at installation that will be downloaded. I am thinking about applications that a user most likely want to install anyway - Skype being one of them.

So what are you missing in Mint? Try to be as practical as possible. Think about specific users - is you mom using a computer? What would your boss miss if he should use Mint?
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Re: 10 things to fix to make Mint what what we need it to be

Postby FedoraRefugee on Wed Oct 29, 2008 11:11 am

1. YES!!! Networking has always been such a PITA for any OS. I dont know how to simplify this though, there are just so many variables. Maybe a "samba button" that just does the most simple, default setup?

2. Coming from Fedora I can honestly say that Pulseaudio is a must for some people but should not be default. Just give us a working alsa setup that works for everyone, then if a user wants pulseaudio they can install it.

3. Is this a problem in Mint? Distros like Fedora that do not allow for proprietary drivers I can understand why this is a problem, but with my nVidia card Mint just picked it up and prompted me to select for it. I dont believe it could get any easier. You need to remember that there are a lot of FOSS zealots who do not want to run proprietary drivers or codecs.

4. Agreed. along with many other apps that just do not have a legitimate Linux counterpart. This is par for the course though and with a wider Linux userbase these apps would be created.

5. Also agreed. I dont think this is so much a problem anymore though. What cant you do in Mint with a GUI? I am a strong CLI user but I have installed and tweaked a few Mint desktops now without ever touching a terminal.

6. I wonder how widespread this problem actually is though? How many people are actually effected by this? Not to take away from it, there are many bi/multi-lingual people who could use this. But enough to justify making it a default vs. the ability to easily add other languages yourself?

7. I will give you this also. I hate to see choice equationed out of Linux by one size fits all apps, but I have nothing against a better ability to sync between all apps.

8.Emphatically disagree! Never! Not on your life! What DE do YOU suggest? KDE? Gnome? See the can of worms? I HATE Gnome and KDE both!!! I am a dedicated Xfce user and would go to BSD or something else before I would be forced into one of the bloat brother's DE's. How about those that prefer light WM's such as Fluxbox? No this would be a very ill-advised move, as if it could ever happen anyway. Linux is about CHOICE, not about trying to drag people away from Windblows. You cannot force Linux on people, if they want to use it they will.

9. Fedora and debian have this. Along with their 3.whatever GB DVD. Debian has a 3 DVD install system? What is the point, the packages on the iso are soon outdate you have to update anyway. No, the way to go is a light iso and then using the package manager to install what you need. You want a list? Open Synaptic!

I want to also explain another mode of thought to any interested. I understand I am using the wrong distro, I understand Ubuntu's stated goal of turning Windows users into Linux users, and I also once had this evangelical mentality. No more though. After 4 years as a Fedora Forum regular I have come to the conclusion that Linux is NOT for everyone and that most people are actually better off using Windows! Look, Linux is great. It does not get any easier or better than Mint currently is. In fact, though Mint is still Linux, and is still great for power users like me, it has reached the point where new folks are never forced to learn how to use a terminal. They never learn to manually mount a device, edit a config file, boot into init 3, or utilize any of the wonderful things that makes Linux; Linux. Okay, most Windows users dont know diddly about their OS either. I also use Vista, I think that, despite a few flaws, it is also a great OS, and I know how to use it inside and out also. Some of us like this stuff, most just want a functional computer. I understand all this. But I am adamant that Linux is not for people who do not want to learn. Catering to these people in order to grab a handful of users from MS is actually a disservice to Linux in general. We are turning this OS into something it was not designed for. Listen, Linux will NEVER rule the world. Its time is almost up, it will eventually be buried as will Windows. We are in the infancy of the computer age, Windows has not been around that long in the big scheme of things. Heck, I still play on my TRS-80 model 3. There is much better stuff just around the corner. What difference does it make if the masses are using Windows or Mac or linux or something else? What difference does it really make to you what OS I use? What is gained by more people using Linux? Does Linux make more money? Do you get a kickback? Do you really think Linux will ever see enough market share to gain serious vendor notice? Just use the OS because YOU like it. There is nothing wrong with turning people on to Linux, I still do. I will gladly give days of my time to help someone accept and use this OS. As long as they WANT TO MAKE THE EFFORT! This is the key. Build it and they will come. If they dont come then why should YOU worry about it?

Anyway, just my 2 cents. I realize I am a voice in the wilderness in this forum, that is cool. I just wanted to explain another view with my little rant. Dont change your goals, it has made Mint into the most user friendly distro around, and is the best distro for a user that just wants things to work right out of the box with no thought or effort. This is not a bad thing. Easier is always better, just not at the expense of function...or choice.
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Re: 10 things to fix to make Mint what what we need it to be

Postby MALsPa on Wed Oct 29, 2008 11:35 am

FedoraRefugee wrote:Linux is NOT for everyone... Easier is always better, just not at the expense of function...or choice.


+1 on your rant!
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Re: 10 things to fix to make Mint what what we need it to be

Postby garda on Wed Oct 29, 2008 12:11 pm

I vote for point number:
5. Many people whom I've helped with troubleshooting/fixing some problems in Linux Mint would simply sigh and ask, "Do you know of a practical way to do this?" whenever I tell them to open the Terminal and type in some mumbo jumbos. Yes, knowledge is power, and everybody has to learn something he/she wants to become proficient with. Unfortunately, not everybody has the time to do it. GUI makes up for simplicity to typical users or, to keep this thread consistent, Average Joes. :)

And my own oppinion:
1. Hardware compatibility and management. This one is obvious enough, I suppose. But even troubleshooting hardware compatibility issues would have been much easier had there been some GUI's to keep the Terminal out of sight. I'm aware of the fact that most hardware manufacturers don't test their products for compliance with Linux, thus they are mostly to be blamed for this. So again, at least provide as many GUI's as possible to make it easier for beginners to fix the issues themselves.

2. Power management. Ouch, this one has been a sour spot in Linux Mint (also in Ubuntu). Many laptop users complain about getting far shorter battery life under Mint (also Ubuntu) than under Windows. Hibernate and suspend are two major power management features needed by laptop users, and either or both of them doesn't work right out of the box on most laptops. A number of workarounds are scattered across the Internet, but none of them are convenient to follow (for beginners) and some don't fix anything. My friend's laptop (a Lenovo) loses power completely if put into hibernation in just slightly over an hour. On several others, I encountered higher operating temperature and erratic disk activity.

3. Boot time. Shave it off, please. This aspect is very crucial. Don't expect people to wait for a minute (sometimes even more) before they can actually use their computers. And it is also somewhat related to point no. 2 above. Less boot time means less power gets wasted everytime a user starts his/her computer. Some folks who don't have luck with hibernate and suspend seem pretty happy with Mint as long as they can get to the login screen in 20 seconds or less. I want to echo here what Intel developers said: Don't settle to make the boot faster, make the boot fast. (See Booting Linux in Five Seconds)

4. Personal Information Management (PIM) softwares. Users need to have their appointments, to-do lists and notes in one place. Many of them also need some type of phone synchronization so that they can conveniently transfer those datas from their computers onto their phones and vice versa. I personally spent hours to find and test various softwares for this purpose. I think Wammu, Gammu, Gnome Phone Manager and OpenSync are among the most competent softwares I've come across with for phone synchronization thus far, but have yet found a way to sync the PIM datas with anything.

Those are all I can think of right now. Perhaps I'll get back to this post and add something that's not here yet.
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Re: 10 things to fix to make Mint what what we need it to be

Postby qbicdesign on Wed Oct 29, 2008 12:48 pm

looks like we're on the same wavelength....

My interest is a little more in the corporate desktop, but my needs are actually very much in line with those you have proposed.
  1. I agree, and ideally i'd like to see an option to join a Windows domain right away. Opensuse 10.2 has it, why can't Mint follow the same model?
  2. audio has not been a big problem for me in linux since about 5yrs ago - ALSA has always worked fine
  3. Some older hardware and some monitors give me out of range problems with Mint, usually during boot, but once booted all is ok. In my experience, with other distros tho, playing with monitor configs can be a nightmare. e.g. the monitor test works fine, so you save settings and on next boot you get black screen or kicked back to console. That's never happened to me with Mint, and i'd like to keep it that way.
  4. AMsn is closest to windows messenger in look/feel, and webcams are also supported and its available thru synaptic. (http://www.amsn-project.net/) IMO Skype should also be in default install. This too has audio and video
  5. I'm with Oceanwatcher on this one. The only way i could get a domain join to work was using CLI. Likewise-Open's own GUI didn't work for me.
  6. yes, yes , yes!! - Pretty much anyone in a non-english speaking nation (myself included) needs to be able to switch languages easily, and configuring that should be a breeze (like it is in windows xp install)
  7. Well, kinda - i agree in principal, but in a corporate environment you will likely be using Evolution with exchange plugin, and the address book in that case needs to come from the exchange server. But apart from that i see no reason to have more than 1.
  8. from my understanding the KDE and fluxbox versions of Mint are not developed by Mint's core team, but rather by the Mint community and i think the Mint team have made that clear - if you look at the download page you'll see it divided clearly into 2 sections Main Editions and Community Editions. I do understand what Fedorarefugee means about Linux being about choice, but i'm with Oceanwatcher in the sense that the Mint flavour needs to stay clearly focussed on one purpose - weening Windows users off Windows and onto Mint. Note that I say Mint not Linux (they'll discover Mint is Linux over time), Linux has failed at this purpose for the last 15yrs, purely IMO due to lack of focus. Mint has provided a great opportunity to refocus. Of course other DE's can be developed for Mint, but that should remain a community thing, and not something that the core team should waste time/focus/energy on, or in another 15yrs the world will still be suffering from MS (get the pun?).
  9. Historically this has lead to problems - Linux used to be like that, where you could choose apps during install, but the downside of that is that Linux apps in general have their own names, and therefore to the Windows user it can be very puzzling. If there is an apps list, it should contain only app names which are cross platform (e.g Skype, Filezilla, Openoffice, Firefox), or the app selection should be done on a question/answer basis - e.g Do you need an FTP prgram? Do you want to be able to work with Microsoft Office files? Do you want to talk to friends who use Windows Messenger?
my additional wishlist:
  1. Everyone's keyboard has a windows key - why can't Mint use it for the things Windows users are familiar with? This how-to is a good start: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/MappingWindowsKey - lets have these settings by default!
  2. Should be able to scan for Wifi access points, and connect to them with a simple click, and enter password (just like you can in XP) and without having to unlock your networking GUI first!!!
  3. add a program to desktop by right clicking on the icon in main menu.

Regarding Fedorarefugee's 2 cents:
Its ok if you've run out of steam, just say so. Others like me and Oceanwatcher however, see unfulfilled potential in Linux and as long as that's the case we will be committed to seeing that potential.
One main thing that your 2 cents doesn't cover is the ridiculous amount of fees paid in licensing to MS. For the small company corporate environment this is crippling, and when Linux offers the chance to wave hello again to all that wasted money, then its a very big deal. To the home user, i partly see your point , though it seems extremely defeatist. If Linux offers choice (and it does) then it can offer that choice to anyone. Right now most people have no choice, they're tied to MS and they hate that fact but no-one can yet offer them a viable alternative. Mint i believe can be, and I'll keep you all posted here on how I'm starting to use it in corporate workplace, which is where i believe the key is. 7hrs a day in the office using Linux, and soon enough people will want it at home too.
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Re: 10 things to fix to make Mint what what we need it to be

Postby msuggs on Wed Oct 29, 2008 3:58 pm

Oceanwatcher wrote:1. Connect a new Mac to a Windows network and the Windows PC's just pop up.

Strange. I go to the Main Menu-->Network and there all my Windows shares are. I have the option of logging in with a different username if my Linux account differs from the windows one (XP can't do that). What more is needed?
Oceanwatcher wrote:2. Audio. This need to be simplified and again - just work out of the box.

Agreed, Pulse Audio shows promise and hopefully the bugs will be ironed out soon
Oceanwatcher wrote:3. Monitor configuration.

Preferences-->Screen Resolution. Some may have to use EnvyNG to get their cards working nicely but even Windows won't do that out of the box. Actually EnvyNG is much simpler than a clunky drivers CD that may come with your XP system or new video card.
Oceanwatcher wrote:4. An application that can fully replace MSN.

Have you tried aMSN?
Oceanwatcher wrote:5. Make nice GUI's for all tasks.

A great task for you would be to make a list a all the things you can do via GUI compared to those you can't. I think you'd find the list fairly unbalanced in favour of the GUI these days. This is one area that Ubuntu and Mint have really pushed forward in recent years.
Oceanwatcher wrote:6. Select multiple languages during installation.
.
I don't have a lot of experience with this one. How long does it take to add a language back in after install?
Oceanwatcher wrote:7. One common addressbook.

OK, this would be a nice feature but considering the nature of choice and variety of apps it may be unachievable in the short term.
Oceanwatcher wrote:8. One common window manager.

Linux is about choice. I can't say much more than that. If I just want to cripple myself with one window manager and one desktop environment I'd probably use Windows.
Oceanwatcher wrote:9. A list of applications that you can choose at installation that will be downloaded.

The Software Portal or Synaptic. It doesn't get much easier. Perhaps what you're after is a GUI app called ATTYMOW (All the things you miss on Windows)
Oceanwatcher wrote:So what are you missing in Mint?

Nothing. Neither do my wife, kids and mother. Mint does everything we need and then some. One of the nicest things is just how un-windows I can make it :)
Last edited by msuggs on Wed Oct 29, 2008 9:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 10 things to fix to make Mint what what we need it to be

Postby FedoraRefugee on Wed Oct 29, 2008 4:28 pm

qbicdesign wrote:[*]from my understanding the KDE and fluxbox versions of Mint are not developed by Mint's core team, but rather by the Mint community and i think the Mint team have made that clear - if you look at the download page you'll see it divided clearly into 2 sections Main Editions and Community Editions. I do understand what Fedorarefugee means about Linux being about choice, but i'm with Oceanwatcher in the sense that the Mint flavour needs to stay clearly focussed on one purpose - weening Windows users off Windows and onto Mint. Note that I say Mint not Linux (they'll discover Mint is Linux over time), Linux has failed at this purpose for the last 15yrs, purely IMO due to lack of focus. Mint has provided a great opportunity to refocus. Of course other DE's can be developed for Mint, but that should remain a community thing, and not something that the core team should waste time/focus/energy on, or in another 15yrs the world will still be suffering from MS (get the pun?).[/*]


I can go along with this. Fedora also is a very gnome-centric distro. I do not mind this just as long as my favorite DE/WM can still be installed. BTW, you can use any DE or WM in any distro. I have read where some of this forum's gurus do NOT suggest doing this and I can understand why because of the special Mint tools. But anyone with average Linux ability can get anything to work in Mint so this is not a problem at all as long as the alternatives exist. I would just hate to see a Linux world where everything is Gnome though.


Regarding Fedorarefugee's 2 cents:
Its ok if you've run out of steam, just say so. Others like me and Oceanwatcher however, see unfulfilled potential in Linux and as long as that's the case we will be committed to seeing that potential.
One main thing that your 2 cents doesn't cover is the ridiculous amount of fees paid in licensing to MS. For the small company corporate environment this is crippling, and when Linux offers the chance to wave hello again to all that wasted money, then its a very big deal. To the home user, i partly see your point , though it seems extremely defeatist. If Linux offers choice (and it does) then it can offer that choice to anyone. Right now most people have no choice, they're tied to MS and they hate that fact but no-one can yet offer them a viable alternative. Mint i believe can be, and I'll keep you all posted here on how I'm starting to use it in corporate workplace, which is where i believe the key is. 7hrs a day in the office using Linux, and soon enough people will want it at home too.


See, this is where I have to differ from you. I agree with everything you say about MS, this is beside the point. Linux has been offered, free of charge, and perfectly usable for many years now. I would say that within the last three it has become simple enough for anyone with a sixth grade intelligence and the willingness to learn. The only thing keeping people from Linux and stuck under Microsoft's thumb is themselves. I do not want to say this with cockiness or arrogance but I have been through the "Linux stages" that all users go through. I have manned a forum for 4 years, a forum for a much more technical distro, and I have seen the people coming through looking to be spoonfed and trolling for any excuse to bash linux. Hey, I broke away from Windows XP for more than 3 years in which I used Fedora solely to run my home business, publish my advertising, edit graphics, spreadsheets, and all the rest with no problems at all. I reluctantly went back to Vista due to formatting problems between OO.o and Office 2007 as I am going for a graduate level degree, and the fact that I managed to purchase Vista Ultimate through my school for $14!!! I am glad I did, but the reason I mention this is that trying to install Vista Ultimate instead of the Vista Home Premium that came with my HP laptop was more of a nightmare than most Linux distros i have installed in the last 3 years. The Windows install is not easy or trouble free. Finding a working wireless driver was a major undertaking and I had many kinks to work through. Ease of use has a direct correlation to knowledge. Linux is MUCH easier to use than Windows for someone starting with 0 knowledge and if anyone would like to argue this point then please open a thread and I would be glad to support this in many ways! I do not mean to be defeatist about Linux, I prefer this OS over anything else. I am simply trying to put things in perspective. You cannot dictate what YOU think is best for everyone else. The fact that Linux is not more popular is due to the fact that most people simply do not care and use Windows because that is what came on their computer, that is what all their software runs on, they can easily get the computer fixed when Windows borks itself, and that is what their boss runs. There are probably a ton more reasons. I have switched many people to Linux through the years. My whole family, from my mid-seventy year old mom and dad to my sister to my wife and our five kids runs Linux. My relatives all run it. Every last one of them accomplishes everything they need to do on a personal level with this OS. It is NOT hard, it is NOT deficient, it is NOT "almost" ready. It has been ready for years. The only thing keeping people from using it is laziness and the lack of motivation to learn something new. I said it before and I will keep on saying it; Linux is NOT for most people. Can they learn it? Would they be happier using it? Would the world be a groovier place? Yep. But trying to force them to see this is the ultimate folly.
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Re: 10 things to fix to make Mint what what we need it to be

Postby qbicdesign on Thu Oct 30, 2008 3:43 am

You cannot dictate what YOU think is best for everyone else

Why not? MS entire marketing strategy is based on that... and they seem to have done pretty well out of it
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Re: 10 things to fix to make Mint what what we need it to be

Postby qbicdesign on Thu Oct 30, 2008 3:51 am

omns wrote:
Oceanwatcher wrote:1. Connect a new Mac to a Windows network and the Windows PC's just pop up.

Strange. I go to the Main Menu-->Network and there all my Windows shares are. I have the option of logging in with a different username if my Linux account differs from the windows one (XP can't do that). What more is needed?

a bug in latest version of nautilus means that you can see the conmputers, but cannot view any of the actual shared folders.
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Re: 10 things to fix to make Mint what what we need it to be

Postby msuggs on Thu Oct 30, 2008 6:56 am

qbicdesign wrote:a bug in latest version of nautilus means that you can see the conmputers, but cannot view any of the actual shared folders.

OK, I'll concede that one. I'd forgotten that I'd had to work around this one in Elyssa. Still, once fixed it was just a matter of bookmarking the share and all was well. Hopefully this will be rectified in Mint 6.
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Re: 10 things to fix to make Mint what what we need it to be

Postby FedoraRefugee on Thu Oct 30, 2008 8:34 am

qbicdesign wrote:
You cannot dictate what YOU think is best for everyone else

Why not? MS entire marketing strategy is based on that... and they seem to have done pretty well out of it


I see! So, in essence, you just want a free Windows? :wink:
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Re: 10 things to fix to make Mint what what we need it to be

Postby qbicdesign on Thu Oct 30, 2008 10:07 am

finally someone understands,...
:P
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Re: 10 things to fix to make Mint what what we need it to be

Postby Oceanwatcher on Thu Oct 30, 2008 12:46 pm

First of all - when I say simplify, I do not mean remove it from existence. Just take it away as a default. Hide it. Whatever, just don't let it be something a new user has to consider. Too much in the beginning makes it too difficult to get started.

Here is the scenario you need to consider: No Linux experts around. I know that myself, my family even my mother could work on Linux as long as I am around to fix things. But with no"experts" around, it immediately becomes difficult. Why invent the wheel all over again? Give people something that is familiar, with most choices done at install, only one more thing during install - a small list of programs that people most likely will install anyway - so the can checkmark it and it will be downloaded and installed without having to open a new program, search for it and then install. I don't like the software portal too much. I do not like that it opens a browser. I want the programs to be presented in the application itself. Myself, I use the package manager.

Monitor configuration - I have an (admittedly not very new, but perfectly well working under Windows XP) Matrox G550. It is dual head, and I use two monitors. Every day when I start my computer, I have to log in, then log out and log in again to get both monitors to work. And to get both monitors up at all, I had to search forums and then use commandline to invoke a hidden setup app to let the system know there are two monitors. NOT userfriendly. Maybe this is working well with nVidia and ATI, but I will let other decide on that. Anyone running two or three monitors here?

Maybe this is a good project for anyone that can spend a Saturday on some research: Burn a stack of installation CD's. Make sure there is a good internetline available. Have an installation party. BUT - do not offer any help. And take notes as it progresses. What do people do wrong? What stop them in the process? Also - they can not ask each other for help. The goal is to create a "Home alone" environment to see what can be done to make things easier. I just gave some friends a CD and they are going to install it at home on their own. I will let you know what happened.

One window manager - I am not saying that all but one should be removed from existence. But if I want to run a program, it should not matter what window manager I run it under. It should not require that I install half or whole of another window manager. One program, work on all. As it is now, if I want to run KDE apps under Gnome, I have to install a lot of extra stuff. Actually, there should not be anything called KDE or Gnome apps. It should be just apps. Then we have REAL freedom. Talk about making choices for people...

Someone talked about a free Windows - yes. If it was that easy, it would not be a problem at all to get people to switch. We just have to admit that even if Linux is usable, it still do not have the killer reasons to make people switch from Windows. In general, it is easier to get my hardware to run under Windows. I have to install some drivers - but they are available!

One more thing that I just remembered where Linux is at the start while both Windows and Mac has years of workign experience - color management. It is coming, but slowly.
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Re: 10 things to fix to make Mint what what we need it to be

Postby qbicdesign on Thu Oct 30, 2008 1:45 pm

Good idea about the testing.
I actually am about to install Mint on my home desktop PC, which has dual monitors + TV. GFX is Nvidia FX5600 with DVI, VGA and Spdif (connected to my TV) outs lets see if i have the same config problems as you.
I'll try to take notes on what doesn't happen as it should, and with any configuration problems.
Generally speaking, my hardware is all older than 3yrs, but some of it is a little unusual, so it should be an interesting test.
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Re: 10 things to fix to make Mint what what we need it to be

Postby garda on Thu Oct 30, 2008 2:25 pm

OceanWatcher wrote:Maybe this is working well with nVidia and ATI, but I will let other decide on that. Anyone running two or three monitors here?

I have to reboot my computer (sometimes several times) to get dual-monitor with a nVidia card working in Mint. :lol:
Still haven't found out any effective workaround to fix this issue. So I still can't ditch Windows and PhotoShop just yet. :(
OceanWatcher wrote:BUT - do not offer any help. And take notes as it progresses. What do people do wrong? What stop them in the process? Also - they can not ask each other for help. The goal is to create a "Home alone" environment to see what can be done to make things easier. I just gave some friends a CD and they are going to install it at home on their own. I will let you know what happened.

I've conducted this type of research ahead of you then, although I didn't gather them in one place. Rather, I let them install Mint at their own homes. The result was not satisfactory. They simply would wipe out their Linux installation as they encountered problems without anyone to get help from. Most of them just didn't want to bother, which is understandable. I mean, they were non-geeks and very spoiled by Windows or Mac. However, a very few of them who encountered good out-of-the-box experience (i.e. those who had everything work right after the first boot) still keep it, although they don't use it intensively. I limited my research solely on Linux Mint, by the way.
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Re: 10 things to fix to make Mint what what we need it to be

Postby Oceanwatcher on Thu Oct 30, 2008 3:49 pm

This is exactly the kind of information I am after. And congratulations on doing this :-)

Doing this and taking notes on what did not work could greatly improve things. This is one thing non-programmers like me can do. I am very familiar with trainng people on computer systems and I see what works and don't work.

I want Mint to be a tool for inclusion, not exclusion. For me it is absolutely a goal to get Mint past the level of Winows XP in all areas. This do not mean it has to BE it, but merely cover the same functionality and ease of use/setup.

It was mentioned that a lot of bugs are showstoppers for Mint. This is what I mean when I say that would like to see a feature freeze until those things have been fixed. Get the "boring" stuff done, then go on with new features. And yes, I know it is not possible - it is just a dream!

I found some info on my problem with the monitors, but I thought it was just related to Matrox. Seems like there is a bug and we have to wait until April next year to get it fixed. At least!
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Re: 10 things to fix to make Mint what what we need it to be

Postby msuggs on Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:02 pm

Oceanwatcher wrote:It was mentioned that a lot of bugs are showstoppers for Mint. This is what I mean when I say that would like to see a feature freeze until those things have been fixed.


For problems like getting Network shares to show properly the answer doesn't lie with Mint but the gnome project. Perhaps your energies would be better spent targeting these bugs and problems in the various projects that Mint pulls together into an OS and seeking a resolution there.
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Re: 10 things to fix to make Mint what what we need it to be

Postby FedoraRefugee on Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:51 pm

Oceanwatcher,

I have been reading your posts in this thread and the networking thread. I disagree with your outlook but admire your passion. I just think it is misplaced. But I want to suggest something to you. I mean this in all seriousness, you can do this, this idea I am about to tell you is EXACTY what Linux and FOSS is about. It is the same as Clem did, and texstar. And really any other "minor" distro you can think of. Klaus Knopper is probably among the best known and most talented individuals with a "different" vision for Linux.

Create your OWN distro oceanwatcher. Use Mint as a base, just remove all the trademarked stuff. This is what open source is about. You can turn Mint into exactly what YOU want with very little knowledge or effort. Create an ISO, a website, and if it is good you will get a following and it will grow.

There are many people in the Linux world who can help you do this. Instead of insisting that everyone else "fix" Linux to your liking, you need to fix it yourself. Start small. Ubuntu has a tool to respin custom live ISO's, not sure what it is called. Fedora has a better tool called Revisor. Maybe you can compile Revisor for Mint, I dont know what the deps are. Anyway, it is not difficult these days to create your own "spin" of a distro with the apps you want installed. Learn this then move further. Create a theme, bring in the best from other distros. Why not try Xfce instead of Gnome? This might cure many problems you are currently experiencing, and Xfce is a very straightforward, simplified DE. e17 is even better. Have you looked at other "easy" distros such as Gos, PClOS, puppy? Maybe play with the LFS project for a while, see what goes into a Linux distro. Go ahead and install Gentoo from stage 3. It is relatively easy, you just have to carefully follow the online manual. You will quickly learn what you need to know and you will also gain a better idea of what Linux actually is and why it attracts the kind of people it does. You will learn that the terminal and the command line is nothing to fear but is, in fact a powerful tool that opens many more possibilities.

Oceanwatcher, my friend, I could write for hours on this. You see, I have a passion for Linux also. It is just a different passion than yours. Go back and re-read my posts. My friend Linux will NEVER rule the world. It will NEVER overthrow Microsoft. It simply cannot. Do not waste your time on that foolishness. Instead, put your energies into building Linux into what YOU envision it should be. Enjoy your time using it. Keep learning, because this is why most of us use it. Windows is boring, with Linux you learn new things every day. Some people will embrace Linux for what it is, most will not. But anyone that tries to come up with a "one size fits all" solution like you are suggesting will soon find out that very few people are interested. A good case in point is the fact that we have KDE, Xfce and Fluxbox community editions of this distro. I wonder when the e17 version will come out? I may be interested in working on that myself, e17 rocks! Why not try it for yourself?
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Re: 10 things to fix to make Mint what what we need it to be

Postby Oceanwatcher on Thu Oct 30, 2008 5:40 pm

Thank you for constructive input. But I am not out to create yet another distro. This is one of the things that makes Linux a problem for a lot of people. Instead of having a small number to choose from, there is an endless number of distros.

What I am trying to do is identify the areas that are showstoppers for Mint to work in a mixed environment and for beginners. I am not a programmer, will never be and do not want to spend time putting together my own distro. I can modify Mint, and will actually do it to get a home server that work as I want. I think it would be better use of time for me to contribute in the areas where I have knowledge. And that is to bridge the gap between non-techies and technology.

I am fortunate enough to have grown up in a country that is on the forefront in many tech areas. But I am now living in the mountains in Brazil and most people here do not have money to pay for Windows. So they use pirate stuff. And get a ton of viruses and trojans on their computers (if they have one). Also, their hardware is usually too old to consider Vista. And this is where Mint comes in.

They already know Windows XP. And for me there are two reasons to get them on Mint. Security and cost. But both of these advantages will be ignored if things are not working as expected. And it is impossible to do anything with those expectations. Those have been created by Microsoft. Instead of trying to fight that, maybe it is easier to fix the showstoppers and then show them they do not need Windows to do what they want?

There is one more advantage for me with Mint. I can have multiple languages installed. My Portuguese is not too good yet, and on computers I really prefer English so when I need to fix somethng, can switch. I would like to see English installed no matter what language that is chosen at installation time. But as mentioned in this thread, I would like to choose more. The problem here is the speed of the internet. We belong to the group called "the other 3 billion". At home, my speed down on a good day is 200kb and up 64kb. But in the afternoon and evening it can drop due to heavy traffic on the main line in to the village...

I understand your point, but I do not think it is the way to go for me. Better contribute to something that already exist than add to the confusion. And I do not think it is yelling or complaining. We all live in a world where choices has to be made. And if someone present a good argument for a case, then it should be considered. The things I have on my list might not get fixed right now, but I think many of them are important enough to be fixed sometime in the future. And as the list get shorter, the number of users will grow.

Sometimes I sense that the superuser do not like the idea of getting too many users in. It kinda "lowers" the status of Linux as a poweruser OS. But fighting this is a bit like trying to stop the rain. There are enough users that would like to see Mint and other distros spread to "everyone" that it will succeedeventually. Of course, we can always discuss how you define success :-)
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Re: 10 things to fix to make Mint what what we need it to be

Postby FedoraRefugee on Thu Oct 30, 2008 6:13 pm

Oceanwatcher wrote:I understand your point, but I do not think it is the way to go for me. Better contribute to something that already exist than add to the confusion. And I do not think it is yelling or complaining. We all live in a world where choices has to be made. And if someone present a good argument for a case, then it should be considered. The things I have on my list might not get fixed right now, but I think many of them are important enough to be fixed sometime in the future. And as the list get shorter, the number of users will grow.

Sometimes I sense that the superuser do not like the idea of getting too many users in. It kinda "lowers" the status of Linux as a poweruser OS. But fighting this is a bit like trying to stop the rain. There are enough users that would like to see Mint and other distros spread to "everyone" that it will succeedeventually. Of course, we can always discuss how you define success :-)


But all you are doing here is spinning your wheels. Oh some of the things you mention are actually areas that do need improvment, but many of the things you suggest will simply never happen.

Your second paragraph illuminates exactly the misconception that many hold about serious Linux users who have been using this distro for a few years or more. The simple truth is we just outgrew the stage you are now in. I can link you to posts that I made in 2002, 2003 that sound much like yours today. The typical, "things Linux needs to do to attract the masses" and "is Linux ready yet" type threads. It took me a few years to figure out it was MY stupidity that was the problem, not Linux. Do I care how many users "come in?" Why would I care about this? There are just as many idiots using Linux today as there was 15 years ago! There are just as many more people using Windows who will always look on Linux users as geeks. I dont give a rat's you know what what anyone else thinks about me! I just use the OS I love for everything except what I need to use Vista for because it IS a Windows world. But your quote, "fighting this is a bit like stopping the rain..." This is comical at the least! Who is fighting? Who am I trying to stop? I gave you advice on the only way you will accomplish what you want. Linux has had 16 years now, the last five, at least, in which anyone with half a brain can use it, to spread to "everyone." And dont get me wrong, it is growing. In fact, I have argued in the Fedora Forum that instead of the oft quoted 2-5% I wouldnt be surprised if the worldwide figure for Linux desktops wasnt in the double digits! There are OVER 3 million Fedora 9 users alone! Ubuntu is WAY more popular, though numbers are hard to guess due to the nature of Linux; free downloads. How do I define success? I think what Linux has already done is well beyond what could be called "success." From one man's science fair project to desktop, enterprise, server and embedded. In 16 years! But I would not hold my breath on Linux unseating Microsoft. You sound like i am fighting you, trying to hold you back from conquering the world. Buddy, I bet six months from now you are back using Windows and I will be quietly plugging along using the Linux distro of my choice day in and day out. I have seen your type come and go over the years. Really, I wish you luck. I hope you make an impact in Brazil. Linux is growing in many regions of the world. It is getting easier to use every day, distro release by distro release. I have nothing against this. But Microsoft is also evolving and growing. Mac has its hand in the game too. The difference is Linux is under a FOSS model and while this has many advantages it also limits this OS from ever seriously competing.

Ah well...Like you I am just spinning my wheels here myself. I would be curious to talk with you in a year or so provided you stay with Linux that long. I would enjoy seeing how your preceptions have changed. I will simply wish you luck in your quest for now and will be reading your posts with interest. I still cannot understand how you think you are helping or changing anything by your suggestions, but I do understand and appreciate the need to express your opinions. That is why I hang out in forums myself.
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