Monday, February 01, 2010

Despite the iPad it's still Linux Monday

Despite the iPad it's still Linux Monday

No, I haven't bought an iPad yet; still clunking along in Linux.

Trivia: the Lene Lovich classic "New Toy" was written by Thomas (Science!) Dolby.

A new toy, but nothing too demanding: Jason McC. Smith writes at Seattlepi (remember last year when the print Post-Intelligencer died?) thinks the iPad is just enough computer for a lot of folks:
Nearly everything we geeks love and adore about a general-purpose computer is a pain point for the average consumer.

Average consumers don't care about multitasking if it means they get lost in the UI. They don't care about browsable flexible file systems with redundancy, journaling and distributed storage if it means they can't find their data. They not only don't care about these things, they dread them.

Windows and the Mac are, really, just two variants of the same theme: a geek machine. Consumers recognize they don't need a pro-level machine, so they buy something cheap – but it's just a badly hobbled pro machine, not a consumer machine. It's like recognizing you don't need an SUV, but your cheapest option is an SUV body with a 1.2-liter, 4-cylinder engine. Kind of stupid.

I guess average user isn't looking for help compiling a kernel, but here's some anyway.

  • Steven Vaughn-Nichols (his name keeps popping up) reviews the leading desktop distributions and the winner is... several, depending on your wants and needs. Which is really what it's all about.

  • Early test versions of the next Ubuntu ("Lucid Lynx") promise a 15 second boot time. Which would be nice; frankly I've been disappointed in the boot time on 9.10 and left my older machines running 9,04.

  • Dj Walker-Morgan looks at Google Android smart phones and asks: when is it worth saying it's Linux?
    The one word brand is a useful tool for consumers; when an average consumer sees the word "Windows", they know that the operating system will run programs written for Windows. When they see "MacOS" they similarly know it will run programs for Mac. When it comes to "Linux", things are different. Most of you reading this will, of course, know that what the general public have running on their desktop systems is, in fact, a combination of a windows manager and various applications, such as OpenOffice, GIMP, Firefox or Thunderbird, with a system kernel and that Linux refers to the kernel of the operating system, a distinction that is lost on consumers. But the new generation of devices lauded as "being Linux" aren't like that.

  • On the down side, Melee Island (great name) tries to install a program and sees too many confusing choices.
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