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Getting the concept not the reality.

Community Veteran
Posts: 1,116
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Registered: 28-08-2007

Getting the concept not the reality.

I am a fan of Ubuntu or at least the idea of it but there's something I'm just not getting, Installing software!
Really speaking I have used mainly the applications that come with Ubuntu without problems but when it comes to installing for instance my printer (as predicted it not listed in the ubuntu software list) the whole idea just goes crazy.
Surely if Linux are trying to offer up an alternative to windows then the installation of software has to change. Every person I have introduced to Ubuntu mainly friends who have moody copies of XP who would like to get clean all give up on installing software.
Is there a Linux app that will take any file you have downloaded & do the work for you? I sort of know my way round a pc but having to use code just to install some app is asking a bit too much of the average user.
I'm not throwing the baby out with the bath water here but surely Linux has two sorts of customers, ones that know a lot about computers and ones that don't but want a legal version of something to run on their systems, the latter here being totally put off by the using of code or even just the file system.
What do you think? as an average PC user would you migrate over without understanding where everything is now on your hard drive or having to type in codes that you don't understand.
55 REPLIES
N/A

Re: Getting the concept not the reality.

As a lady of 'mature' years I can concur with your comments. I too use Ubuntu and like the idea of open-source (plus the added security).
Apart from doing CLAIT and IBT2 all I have learned about computers is self-taught and I have struggled with Linux immensely. It took me at least 3 months to find a proper solution to a wireless incompatibility problem!  Folk on here have given me a lot of help but I can see by their replies and dialogue that I will never ever be as knowledgeable as they are. It reinforces my feeling that Linux is really for the clever people and geeks that can deal with it (sorry chaps - don't berate me for it please).
Have stuck with it because I really wanted to be able to say that I can 'work it' so to speak.
As for installing programmes, if it isn't in the repository I really struggle. I had a problem with Java and Firefox a few weeks ago. Read up and it has been recorded by others. Tried to get back to the earlier version of FF - no chance. Followed the instructions about using Terminal but it didn't work. I spent a fair few hours on it but ended up forgetting it and using Chrome. In Windows it would have been sorted in a jiffy - in fact it mightn't have occurred. This tarball thing is a mystery to me I have to say. I guess that it is like most things, you need to practise and practise again.
So yes, installing things (for the average user) can be problematic - you need a bit of time and a lot of patience!  Huh
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,116
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Registered: 28-08-2007

Re: Getting the concept not the reality.

I thoroughly agree with you which I wish I never  Sad  If any Linux system managed to bring out something that was same as windows install click click go then they would be onto something which I'm sure by the level of expertise involved would be pretty simple. Compounding the problem is the OS itself giving false information or very unclear info. I'm trying to install a printer simple you would have thought.
I often get errors that it tells me to type in to the console only to get another error telling me to type something else and so on this seems to be a never ending change of errors telling me to try something else which in turn returns more errors. If Linux want to make an impact on the average user the they need to adapt it to the average user, I'm trying to get a printer to print I haven't time to trawl through post after post of people saying try this it might work.
usr/: sudo apt/ file name .:\\\ install. make or words to that effect  Grin what does any of that mean anyway
now if the code was folder/file name/install this then that would be talking my language.
How insecure or less of an OS would it be to call a c drive a c drive or to have self exctracting/installing apps in Linux anyway?
Sorry for getting grumped up about it  Smiley but after spending a life time trying to get a sound card to work still not! and spending 3 hrs today trying to get a printer working I think me and Linux are ready for parting company. Five people who I installed this for all computer literate have gave up on it and today I can see why.
Surely this isn't the way forward for any company promoting its product to have so many people get rid of it and all for the same reason without addressing it or has Linux gone from being something for everyone to just for people with two much time on their hands.
I know Windows has its faults but it is user friendly.
VileReynard
Seasoned Pro
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Registered: 01-09-2007

Re: Getting the concept not the reality.

Windows isn't click click install.
It's Google, click, click, download, "do I trust this website", where did it get downloaded to, double-click, read the EULA, select some wizarding options etc...
In Ubuntu, it is strongly advised that you install from the repositories - since you will be accessing an encrypted site (and you will get updates etc automatically)
Just click on System -> Administration -> Synaptic package manager
search for your application and click install.
Done!
Alternatively, if you insist on compiling everything from source code, you will need to enter some cryptic commands.
If Windows allowed you to do this, it would be at least as hard.
Don't try to run before you can walk. Cheesy
If you have a package that needs to be compiled - ask - there may be an easier way.

Waldo
Grafter
Posts: 473
Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: Getting the concept not the reality.

Quote from: AverageWhiteBloke
I am a fan of Ubuntu or at least the idea of it but there's something I'm just not getting, Installing software!

I'm a fan of Debian. When it comes to installing software, Debian's Advanced Package Tool (apt) is the bees knees, the dogs dangly bits, & the greatest thing since sliced bread all rolled into one!  Grin

# apt-cache policy gimp
gimp:
  Installed: (none)
  Candidate: 2.6.8-2ubuntu1
  Version table:
    2.6.8-2ubuntu1 0
        500 http://gb.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ lucid/main Packages
# apt-get install gimp
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree     
Reading state information... Done
Suggested packages:
  libgimp-perl gimp-data-extras
The following NEW packages will be installed
  gimp
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 485 not upgraded.
Need to get 4,411kB of archives.
After this operation, 12.8MB of additional disk space will be used.
Get: 1 http://gb.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ lucid/main gimp 2.6.8-2ubuntu1 [4,411kB]
Fetched 4,411kB in 39s (112kB/s)                                             
Selecting previously deselected package gimp.
(Reading database ... 175030 files and directories currently installed.)
Unpacking gimp (from .../gimp_2.6.8-2ubuntu1_i386.deb) ...
Processing triggers for python-gmenu ...
Rebuilding /usr/share/applications/desktop.en_GB.utf8.cache...
Processing triggers for desktop-file-utils ...
Processing triggers for man-db ...
Processing triggers for python-support ...
Setting up gimp (2.6.8-2ubuntu1) ...

Downloads and installs all in one.
If you prefer a pointy clicky gooey try Synaptic.
Quote
Every person I have introduced to Ubuntu mainly friends who have moody copies of XP who would like to get clean all give up on installing software.

I'm an Orthodox TightArse; probably explains why I've persevered with open source. Grin
Quote
Is there a Linux app that will take any file you have downloaded & do the work for you? I sort of know my way round a pc but having to use code just to install some app is asking a bit too much of the average user.

If the downloaded file is a Debian package (,deb) it can be installed using GDebi; if you're resorting to compiling source code you'll most likely have to do the familiar
configure, make, checkinstall (though I'm wondering if by code you mean commands).
Quote
What do you think? as an average PC user would you migrate over without understanding where everything is now on your hard drive or having to type in codes that you don't understand.

I had a dual-boot system (OS/2 Warp and various Linux distros before settling on Debian); can't remember how long the dual-boot lasted - seems a long time ago now  Undecided
Waldo
Grafter
Posts: 473
Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: Getting the concept not the reality.

Quote from: AverageWhiteBloke
I often get errors that it tells me to type in to the console only to get another error telling me to type something else and so on this seems to be a never ending change of errors telling me to try something else which in turn returns more errors.

That does sound rather like a series of failures due to unmet dependencies when running a configure script; often the dependencies can be met from the distro repos.
Quote
If Linux want to make an impact on the average user the they need to adapt it to the average user, I'm trying to get a printer to print I haven't time to trawl through post after post of people saying try this it might work.

Accept that when it comes to peripheral devices you can expect said devices to come with Windows drivers. Accept also that some manufacturers don't give a toss if their products don't work with Linux/*BSD/OpenSolaris and will cite lack of demand for their unwillingness to co-operate in developing open source drivers. It's a bit of a Catch-22 in that respect.
Perhaps the easiest solution is to buy hardware you know will work with the minimum of fuss with Linux.
Quote
now if the code was folder/file name/install this then that would be talking my language.
How insecure or less of an OS would it be to call a c drive a c drive or to have self exctracting/installing apps in Linux anyway?

I'm reminded of Shutter downloading Thunderbird 3 from Mozilla, unpacking it and being confused at the absence of an .EXE file to install it.
You've been using Windows for some time - you've adapted to how it does things; you've developed a Windows mind-set.
For as long as you expect Linux to behave like Windows you'll continue to be frustrated by it. GNU/Linux was conceived as an open source 'clone' of UNIX.
UNIX predates Microsoft Windows; Linux does things the UNIX way (and .deb files are, to all intents and purposes, self-extracting/installing apps).
Free your mind. The Matrix has you.  Cool
Quote
Sorry for getting grumped up about it  Smiley

Enjoy the UNIX-Haters Handbook (3.5MB PDF)  Grin
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,607
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Registered: 16-02-2009

Re: Getting the concept not the reality.

{rant} Well I would start by complaining to the PRINTER MANUFACTURER. They control the ability to print on their printers. They supply M$ and Mac versions why not Linux versions?
Alternately you could look at turbo print for Linux, it provides some additional drivers but it isn't free (about E30). {/rant}
Linux is not really supported by big business (with the exception of Intel & HP who provide drivers), it is supported by ordinary people. If we don't have the same printer as you how can we provide you with a driver (even if we knew how to code it).
As to installing s/w that doesn't come in the repo's (via synaptic/apt) or via a deb file, then yes you have to get down and dirty, sorry it is because you have a CHOICE you can use Ubuntu/Mint/Debian (apt) or Febora/Red Hat/Mandrake (yum). Because you could be running an older system or the latest bleeding edge version, the easiest (for them, not you) is to supply the code and you compile it yourself. Yes it can be a PAIN to find all the bits required, but you can also look for a compiled package, but then you are into the M$ way of doing it, do I TRUST the provider of this file, because when you run the installer you give it root access, where as with the source you can browse it and see if there are any nastiness there (If you understand it of course, but then would you call out something in a language you didn't know because someone told you to?)
It is swings and roundabouts. We have the security and the means of controlling it, and also the means of handing out out house keys if we feel like it.
A  good site for pre-compiled debs is getdeb.net
N/A

Re: Getting the concept not the reality.

I agree about informing the printer manufacturer about the short-comings of their equipment. If more people did this then the manufacturers might sit up and take notice.
I did exactly  this when I wrote to Fujitsu about the incompatibility of their wireless card. They said that they had taken on board my comments - don't know if they will do anything about it..
Happily, I found the solution myself by the time they wrote back but I did make the effort to inform them of the solution and they did respond so good on 'em.
I would imagine that lots of people wouldn't have the time or inclination to do this though.
My own Epson DX3850 all-in-one was a joy to load on Ubuntu and Mint - just plugged it in and everything worked.
For me, if what I want is in the repository then it's great - no better system. It is when problems occur that it gets me annoyed as it is such a faff to sort them.
I recall using Jaunty and wanting to upgrade to FF 3.6 so had to download something or the other then go to Psychocats to copy and paste commands into Terminal. It worked fine but took me hours to find the solution.
Only thing is, AWB is to keep at it (if you are motivated and have the time/patience to do so) and view it as a huge learning curve.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 16-02-2009

Re: Getting the concept not the reality.

Quote from: poppy
I recall using Jaunty and wanting to upgrade to FF 3.6

Why did you want 3.6 or just because it was the latest? (I have just updated to 3.5.9  Cheesy this week via the repo's)
Community Veteran
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Re: Getting the concept not the reality.

@ Hairy Biker.
You have "probably" explained something there.......... but I don`t know what.....
and that is the problem with me, and many others who would very much like to use an alternative to Windows.... You talk about "turbo print for Linux," "but it isn't free (about E30)" and there is no guarantee it will have the driver for your particular printer.....!..... so you need to find "another" APP (code word for software) that will do the job... which takes time and effort.... then you say "......repo's (via synaptic/apt) or via a deb file"........ more secret language from the linux code book..... and later......."......look for a compiled package,....."  what does that mean? more secret language..... and no instructions on how or where to look...... and even more "off putting" to potential users.......".......with the source you can browse it and see if there are any nastiness there (If you understand it of course," Yes..... IF YOU UNDERSTAND IT.... but why should you have to do that? why would you need the knowledge to do that? if you download some "dodgy" software from the net, you don`t "browse it" before installing it.... you just do it..... and if it works fine.... you are not worried..... if it doesn`t you may have to uninstall it and do a sweep with your antivirus or whatever.... but we (mostly) who want to use linux are quite capable of recoginising these problems and get on with them...........  and then go on about security of Linux...... ending with..... " ......also the means of handing out out house keys if we feel like it."...... how is that supposed to convince me that Linux is a "User Friendly"  OS ?
Most of us "ordinary folk" who have a general grasp of how to install software, and the risks (as you put it succinctly) of downloading it from the internet...... (errm where do you get your software from?  where?  oh you downloaded it from the internet !) not much different from Windows software then.....
Whilst I acknowledge that your response (from which I quote) was a "general" comment on printers and drivers.... it does tend to show the problem us "ordinary folk" have when asking for help and advice.... the "knowledgeable few"... do try to help, but they speak a different language, which is almost unintelligible, coupled with "silly names" for the APPS.... I can`t think of any particular ones, but they generally bear no resemblance to what they are supposed to do.... it seems that the people that write the code/software try to think of the most "obscure" name or reference. for the title.... e.g. if I were to (be clever enough to) write some code for a Wireless driver.... I would call it  " wireless driver for xxxxx card." or similar.... and not  " Foxhole".... and list it under communications drivers....
If you see what I mean.....

N/A

Re: Getting the concept not the reality.

Yes, I do see what you mean Shutter and your comments are very pertinent. At the basic level, and if everything works, Linux (particularly the Debian distros of Ubuntu and Mint) are great - nothing easier than downloading from the repository. Anything else requires a degree in computing or the patience of a saint!
@ Hairy Biker: Upgrading as soon as possible is probably a Windows hangover since they are always telling us to obtain the latest updates to increase our security.
Maybe with Linux you need a different mind set?
Community Veteran
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Re: Getting the concept not the reality.

Quote from: shutter
no guarantee it will have the driver for your particular printer.....!.....

Well there is a web site for you to check and the trial is free  Grin I don't know what printer the OP has  Undecided  Wink
Quote from: shutter
so you need to find "another" APP (code word for software)
APP Has been is use for as long as I have used computers, about 30 years  Cheesy
Quote from: shutter
then you say "......repo's (via synaptic/apt) or via a deb file"........ more secret language from the linux code book
Well repo's are Repositories of software (just shorthand) All the Linux distro's (Short for Distributions  Wink) have them, deb files I did mention later, are the DEBian standard for packaged files.
Quote from: shutter
......look for a compiled package,....."  what does that mean? more secret language.....
Compiled package, to compile meaning to make into one part in this case, a deb package.
Quote from: shutter
and no instructions on how or where to look......
Well as with all software Google is there, along with Yahoo, etc. AND I did mention a deb site at the end  Roll eyes
Quote from: shutter
Yes..... IF YOU UNDERSTAND IT.... but why should you have to do that?

You don't have to, but it is there if you WANT to, and want to contribute.
Quote from: shutter
it doesn`t you may have to uninstall it and do a sweep with your antivirus

Well The number of "Usefull" apps that I have installed under M$ and Not been able to remove without using a Live CD to REMOVE THE VIRUS that the AV didn't detect or delete number in the hundreds.
Quote from: shutter
Linux is a "User Friendly"  OS ?

Where did I say that?  Shocked  Grin It depends on what you want to do, if you install, say Linux Mint 8, OOB (Out Of the Box) it will normally play DVD's,mp3's, let you surf the net, do email, edit pictures, edit Office documents (word processor/spreadsheet, presentations) without having to install anything else (All full versions no trail ware). Compare that to a fresh install of XP or Vista (I don't know W7 so haven't included it). I say normally as you may need a special driver for a wireless card, most are detected but some aren't.
Quote from: shutter
 oh you downloaded it from the internet !) not much different from Windows software then.....

Well there are specialist sites where you get virus free s/w from, like the repo's, compare them to d/lin g from M$ diectly.
Quote from: shutter
coupled with "silly names" for the APPS.

What silly names, like "The Gimp" or Wine? (Wine Is Not an Emulator) Are they really any more different than Safari for a web browser?
Community Veteran
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Registered: 16-02-2009

Re: Getting the concept not the reality.

Quote from: poppy
@ Hairy Biker: Upgrading as soon as possible is probably a Windows hangover since they are always telling us to obtain the latest updates to increase our security.
Maybe with Linux you need a different mind set?

Well that is where the people who maintain the repo's come in, they do the fixes and post them to the repo then you get them as an update, you don't have to do anything IF you use the repository rather than a tar file, or a standalone download. The downside is that it may not be the latest version, if the latest version has something you require then you download the file rather than wait for it to make it to the repo's.
Security fixes are usually pushed out quickly in Linux land, no waiting for Patch Tuesday  Grin You may end up downloading more updates, but they are usually small files rather than 100Mb "service packs". Also since we have a 6 month rolling cycle, you can stay up to date by upgrading every 6 months, or stay with the LTS (Long Term Support) Version that is supported for 3-5 years with security patches.
I also like to keep up to date, but often downgrade again, e.g. Thunderbird 3 I installed it didn't like it and went back to 2, i had them installed side-by-side so I could compare them.
I am not one of the people who say that EVERYBODY should use a Linux distro, but a lot of people should consider it, epically when upgrading your M$ version may mean buying a new PC just to run the OS. Many Linux distro's will run on low spec hardware, you don't need a grafix card with 2GB of ram and a 6Ghz Processor and 10Gb of main ram to run Linux, an old PIII ! GHz with 512Mb and on board graphics is fine. Even with 3D special effects (Do a search on youtube for Compiz demo)
Community Veteran
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Re: Getting the concept not the reality.

As a point of interest. I have Mint 8 Helena as a dual boot with WIndows Vista..... I tried it with the "live cd" and quite liked it.... !... Smiley  but could not get the wireless connection I wanted with the Live CD, so I Installed it "properly".... then came about a week`s frustration, of trying to get the wireless connection to work.... as you say, it probably detects most, but didn`t recognise mine, yet I am on a Dell Inspiron 1500 less than 2 years old....I had to spend hours configuring, unconfiguring, finding and installing the driver , uninstalling, and installing ,etc etc.... all the time I kept thinking..."surely it isn`t meant to be this difficult to get it working."..... You may recall my pleas for assistance, some time back.... !... well, I haven`t even looked at Mint 8 since then.... It will stay on my HDD as a dual boot, "just in case" something happens, and Vista won`t boot up.....
Then, when I want to do something with Mint 8, I shall see how "easy it is"...! ! !   Roll eyes
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,607
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Registered: 16-02-2009

Re: Getting the concept not the reality.

Yes wireless chipsets are one of the bugbears of Linux. Unless the manufacturer supports Linux and releases a driver, it has to be reverse-engineered by people who know what they are doing. I don't often use wireless, all my machines are wired to a gigabit switch  Cheesy So don't have that issue.
I have a Canon IP4200 printer that is "supported" i.e. it prints but if I want to print CD's or photoprinting I use XP in a VM as the Canon supported driver there does support these methods. But that doesn't make me switch back, in fact it annoys me when I use the VM that it is always wanting to reboot to install some new patch that it has downloaded.  Crazy  The fact that normally I can have the VM running in 30 seconds and the printing done and it shutdown shortly after doesn't make it a hardship.
As I mentioned in my first post Turbo Print supports my Canon, would allow me to print CD's and borderless photo's but I don't have the money to spend on it, so continue to use the VM method.
(VM=Virtual Machine - in my case Sun's excellent FREE VirtualBox)