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Miguel de Icaza On Usability and Openness 349

doperative points out comments from Miguel de Icaza on the struggle for usability in many software products: "De Icaza uses OpenSUSE as his main desktop (with the GNOME interface, of course), says he likes Linux better than Windows, and says the Linux kernel is also 'superior' to the MacOS kernel. 'Having the source code for the system is fabulous. Being able to extend the system is fabulous,' he says. But he notes that proprietary systems have advantages — such as video and audio systems that rarely break. 'I spent so many years battling with Linux and something new is broken every time,' he says. 'We as an open source community, we don't seem to get our act together when it comes to understanding the needs of end users on the desktop.'"
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Miguel de Icaza On Usability and Openness

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  • More FUD (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 11, 2011 @01:28PM (#35454218)

    Sound and video is broken on open systems because of the RIAA/MPAA and Microsoft with their protected pathways, encryption, patented interconnects and tilt bits.

  • Re:More FUD (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 11, 2011 @01:50PM (#35454542) []

    Vista's content protection requires that devices (hardware and software drivers) set so-called "tilt bits" if they detect anything unusual. For example if there are unusual voltage fluctuations, maybe some jitter on bus signals, a slightly funny return code from a function call, a device register that doesn't contain quite the value that was expected, or anything similar, a tilt bit gets set. Such occurrences aren't too uncommon in a typical computer... Previously this was no problem - the system was designed with a bit of resilience, and things will function as normal. In other words small variances in performance are a normal part of system functioning.

    They cant document these 'tilt bits' (security through obscurity/patent/dmca) which is what causes the problems.

    You cant create reliable open source drivers under this kind of shafting from MS/MPAA/RIAA.

    How long until Intel's remote shutdown features in SandyBridge gets used to stop 'piracy'.

  • Re:More FUD (Score:4, Informative)

    by kimvette ( 919543 ) on Friday March 11, 2011 @02:08PM (#35454758) Homepage Journal

    By "video" he may be referring to 3d accelerated games maybe? To play a Windows game on Linux can take hours of config time, to find out that it a) doesnt work at all or b) has 50% the performance as if you were running Windows.

    Oh hi, I see you are an ATI/AMD video card user trying to use the ATI/AMD drivers. Haven't you heard? Their drivers have been crap from the very beginning.

    Want to be up and running playing games within an hour and a half of starting? Here is what you need:

      * PC utilizing NVIDIA video chipset
      * Ubuntu or OpenSUSE install DVD (either one - if your interest is saving time these are the only two distros worth your time as an end user)
      * Internet connection


      * Install your desired distro (it's stupid easy) - including kernel source packages
      * Install NVIDIA drivers (slightly less easy; you have to shut down X and run one command line to install the drivers
      * Download and install Crossover Games

    Now, you can install many, many Windows games, including Rift

  • Re:More FUD (Score:4, Informative)

    by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Friday March 11, 2011 @03:10PM (#35455614)
    The content owners have asked (and the hardware providers agreed, at least partially because a number of the content owners are hardware makers - Sony) that the hardware not play some things in some ways without "approved" software. And there's an active campaign against "open" because doing things with "open" like putting custom "open" firmware onto a drive to remove region coding is legal but undesired. So if they malign "open" and call people who play region 2 disks in their region 1 drive "pirates" then they can associate them with criminals who fraudulently sell fake software as the real thing. And the RIAA and MPAA are very involved in that campaign against "open" and that campaign, even if not crafted to harm sound and video drivers on the desktop, does have that effect.
  • by LordLimecat ( 1103839 ) on Friday March 11, 2011 @03:11PM (#35455630)

    - if you want a desktop system that stays out of your way, Just Works, and requires little maintenance beyond letting an auto updater do its thing... Windows or OSX are your only real options

    Theres truth to all of what youve said, but youre simplifying things waaay too much. There are times Windows will just refuse to work with a system (ie, shipped with vista, provides no XP drivers, nothing works in XP, and Vista SP2 hasnt shipped yet), and Linux will land you with a beautifully configured and funcitonal system out of the box; there are times, conversely, where nothing you do seems to get Pulse to work with flash, or theres no driver for your wifi card, but Win7 just nails it from the get go.

    Ive stopped using Ubuntu for the most part for a few reasons, but the main one was that I used to do a lot of WoW and used ventrilo for it, and one of the upgrades finally stopped working quite right with wine, and I was just tired of having to make each and every proprietary, windows-only thing I did work right on Linux. It was doable, and fun and instructive for a while, but after a while the excitement fades and you tire of pushing so hard against the reality that you really do need Windows-only apps (Evolution's OWA integration SUCKS compared to real MAPI support from Outlook!).

    But I can fully envision someone who really does need only the web and a few other things and for them Linux Just Works in a way Windows cant-- fully integrated updates, general freedom from the spectre of malware (the reason is irrelevant)

    They'll say, "It's nvidia's fault for not doing X" or "it's your fault because you didn't do Y" or "it's the upstream maintainer's fault because he didn't do Z". Which is, unfortunately, completely missing the point: when you are using a system to get a task done, fault does not matter.

    There is a lot of truth to this, but people forget about these incidents on Windows because theyre considered part of what you have to do-- XP didnt come with passable nVidia drivers worth gaming with, nor did Vista; you had to hunt them down and install them. But when you have to do the same on Linux-- which is basically an identical experience with a single binary that you run and does all the work for you-- all of a sudden its "too much of a burden on the user".

    Its also worth mentioning that comparing a preinstalled OS with preinstalled drivers to one that you install from disk post-factory is apples-to-oranges-- If / when Linux is preinstalled from an image onto HP or Acer laptops, they wont have driver issues-- they wont ship until they are fixed. See for example the instant-boot varieties like Acer's and HPs preboot web-browsing-only Linux distros-- the wireless works flawlessly on those, because the manufacturer took care of it.

    In usability and out-of-box-experience, Windows and Linux (generally) are getting closer and closer; I rather suspect that as that continues, the complaints about Gnome and Ubuntu's changes will be rather more vocal.

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