Features Ubuntu is Lacking

7 07 2007

In my last post I mentioned why I chose Ubuntu over Windows. I stand by my comments, however I would like to shed some light where Ubuntu and Linux need a little work:

1. Not All Hardware is Supported

Though this is not Ubuntu’s fault, there are still hardware that does not work. This is due to the fact that some manufacturers don’t write drivers for Linux. I personally have not had any hardware problems myself, I am running a Dell 700m laptop with many different accessories such as a Western Digital external hard-drive. a Motorola bluetooth dongle, and headset which all work under Linux hassle free. Some home printers do not have drivers for Linux which can make printing a chore. There are ways to get around this, but the general user just wants everything to work out of the box.

I have good news however. Linux is gaining marketshare and with Dell selling Ubuntu amongst its retail channels will give Ubuntu more recognition which will result in manufacturers supporting the community with Linux drivers. There is also a community effort to reverse engineer drivers for new hardware which will help as well. Intel provides open-source drivers for all of their hardware making Lintel (Linux + Intel) a viable solution.

2. Lack of Professional Software

Photoshop is the industry standard graphics editing solution. Currently it is only available for Windows and OS X – leaving Ubuntu in the dust for the professional artist. Yes there are ways to get Photoshop running with Wine, or use Gimpshop (somewhat of a Photoshop clone) but again the average user does not want to have to mess with this. As I’ve stated before, with Linux popularity on the rise we may soon see more commercial development. Google and IBM are some of the biggest contributors to open-source.

3. Where Are The Games?

Linux gets no love from game developers. Microsoft has developers using Direct X which of course is proprietary to Windows. Linux is able to do almost anything you want it to do, given you perform some hacks and tweaks here and there. I’ve seen popular games like World of Warcraft run in a Linux environment – but the common motif here is concern for the average user.

4. Breakfast

Ubuntu can’t make your eggs sunny side up in the morning, but neither can any other operating system. Expecting a system to do anything and everything is a dream come true, but not always practical. Though this is no excuse for Ubuntu to sit back and relax. On a positive note, it is able to perform many tasks to make everyday life easier. If Ubuntu can jump through these hurdles – ladies and gentlemen we have a damn near perfect operating system.

*Notice how the features Ubuntu/Linux lacks are not really features in the software itself – it is the lack of 3rd party support from other manufacturers and vendors.


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17 responses

7 07 2007
Berges

True…. thats one of the main reasons why most users have to rely dual boot systems such that we cant completely give up Windows and have to cling to it…. I agree its not the fault of Linux but just that third party’s do not develop software for Linux one reason might be no revenue or if there is a revenue option the revenue is much less than wht they cud get from Windows and Mac

7 07 2007
Steven Richardson

I have been playing around with Ubuntu on an old machine and have had difficulty getting a Linksys wireless NIC to work (it still doesn’t). It has a common chipset, and wireless has been out for awhile, so why hasn’t someone coded a driver for it by now and included it in the kernel? If Linux is going to be successful in the consumer world, an Ubuntu laptop has to work in an Internet cafe.

7 07 2007
syalam

Steven – wireless has caused people many problems in the past but this is not a kernel related issue, again it is related to the lack of manufacturer drivers and in your case Linksys not supporting Linux. I do have a solution for you however. Install Automatix2 and download the NDIS Wrapper which are proprietary drivers for many different wireless cards. This should solve your woes. Use one of my previous posts as a reference if you are lost:

https://sheehantu.wordpress.com/2007/06/23/10-things-to-do-after-you-install-ubuntu/

Hope this helps!

7 07 2007
vijay03

The second point will become even more important than the first in the future, since Ubuntu is starting to get noticed. Dell selling Ubuntu laptops will fuel drivers for a wide range of hardware, i think. But the software problem still has to be addressed. There is simply no equivalent of Dreamweaver, Photoshop and Office 2007 in Ubuntu – not even passable imitators. Worse, you cant even open the latest Office 2007 documents in Open Office! The community has to keep on its toes if its equal or surpass microsoft`s products. Since Ubuntu has a great community, i hope to see this happening in the near future!

7 07 2007
dedmin

These are not Ubuntu’s problems. Is that so hard to understand? If You can’t speak my language I don’t blame You are mute.

7 07 2007
Berges

I used (k)ubuntu and even i had a problem wit WiFi, i cant get the ubuntu to realize my VAIO laptop has WiFi. Linux is making new strides but not at the same speed at which Windows is going ahead. Look likes the Linux community is getting complacent i hope more manafacturers realize that there are linux users who also need thier software i.e Adobe and others… I am sure the guys bak at Linux will make Linux much better…. but not soon enough

8 07 2007
syalam

dedmin – if you read the post more carefully you will realize that I do mention these are not Ubuntu’s problems but are problems that AFFECT Ubuntu.

Berges – The only reason Windows has better driver support is simply because they have more market share. Manufacturers are going to put out drivers for the most popular OS because they get a better return on investment, to them its just business.

8 07 2007
George L Smyth

Just today I gave up on Ubuntu. I really gave it my all. The problem was that I needed to install Java to deal with a particular web page I use. I had numerous conversations with many people in the Ubuntu forums who did their best to help me do this, but to no avail.

As far as I;m concerned, Ubuntu simply needs to have a way of installing something not in the repository so that a beginner is able to do it. Once that becomes possible, I’ll give things another go.

8 07 2007
syalam

George – don’t lose hope just yet! Java IS in the universe. Maybe I will be able to help you out here if you give me some specific details. I have plenty of Java experience since I’ve spent the last 4 yrs of college pretty much developing, debugging and administering java apps as a computer science student.

You mentioned Ubuntu needs a way of installing something not in the repositories. All applications that are in the universe can also be downloaded individually as a package. Ubuntu is a Debain based distro so you will be installed *.deb files – which is the equivalent of a *.exe – except packages have the ability to auto-update themselves and integrate into your system a lot better.

8 07 2007
Senthil

Syalam. I was really impressed with your blog that I asked a friend of mine who studies Computer science to help me install ubuntu into my laptop though he suggested that I try Red Hat or Fedora. Anyway, I have decided to give Linux a try. Before that, what i want to tell you is –

1) I have never used an OS other than windows before
2) I have no idea how ubuntu works
3) I do not have linux drivers for my laptop
4) If ubuntu doesnt work for me, i can install windows xp again. That isnt a issue.

So should i go ahead and try ubuntu or wait till i gather some information about Ubuntu?

8 07 2007
syalam

Senthil – thanks for the kind comments! Your friend may have suggested Red Hat or Fedora because they are the “industry standard” Linux distrobutions, meaning they are used in business and are backed by corporations who are willing to support it. Fedora and Red Hat are both excellent distro’s as I’ve had experience using them in my computer science department. I’ll address your questions bullet by bullet.

1. Since you grew up on Windows, like me – Ubuntu will come very easy to you. Ubuntu was developed with the newbie in mind, and is very user friendly. We come from a point and click world, Ubuntu lets you do that…and if you want to get your hands dirty you can also explore the guts of Linux through the terminal.

2. Ubuntu is just an operating system, it works like Windows except it runs faster and doesn’t crash as often.

3. You don’t need to worry about Linux drivers. When you install Ubuntu Feisty Fawn (7.04) it comes with a Restricted Drivers Manager which basically installs any missing drivers, proprietary or not.

4. You can dual-boot Ubuntu and Windows. This means they will both run out of their own partitions, so if you decide to uninstall Ubuntu, just re-merge your partition back with Windows and you won’t have to re-install anything.

If you really want to take Ubuntu for a test spin, just pop in the LiveCD and play with it yourself. You don’t need to install anything, the entire OS will run off of your CD-ROM drive, I know you will not be disappointed =D.

PS. Check out some of the cool stuff my friends are doing with Ubuntu and Windows running side by side:

http://mazimi.wordpress.com/2007/07/04/run-windows-apps-from-your-existing-windows-partition-in-linux/

Pretty amazing if you ask me.

9 07 2007
tomsat

I don’t see why any of you needs Linux? You sound like ordinary windows customers complaining here and there. What about community? How can you help improve Linux? What about Linux philosophy? You see it as just one more gadget on the shelf. All the companies are trying to use Linux for bussines and thus killing its nature.

9 07 2007
syalam

tomsat – we are just Linux users who want the best of both worlds. We want our computing experience to be rich and effortless, isn’t this what all OS’s strive to achieve?

I may have to disagree with your comment about business’ using Linux thus killing its nature. The enterprise community has been using Linux for over a decade. Server farms run Linux because it is efficient and it is stable. 80% of the web runs what is called the LAMP stack (Linux + Apache + mySQL + PHP/Perl).

9 07 2007
Dmitriy Kropivnitskiy

Interesting. I will not agree with the first statement though. I have had more problems making hardware work on windows then on linux. The difference generally is that you can ancounter a situation when there is NO DRIVER for linux for a particular (generally rather obscure) device and that is that. With windows you generally have a driver, but no guarantee that it works. My M-AUDIO USB MediaStation doesn’t have a linux driver (it is not UDB audion compliant) and Windows driver doesn’t work. The hardware is not supported by the manufacturer anymore so I am screwed in both cases.

9 07 2007
Vivin

Cedega, Wine, and Crossover (I think the $$$ version of Wine?) to some extent allow you to play Windows games. I also think there is a DX9 or DX10 emulator. However, since it’s basically emulation, performance suffers.

9 07 2007
El Cerrajero

As long as you can run software like Photoshop with Wine-like software, where’s the problem?

I don’t know what you mean by ‘average user’ but if you’re refering to ‘dummy user’ or ‘lazy user’, there are tools like Automatix or Wine-Doors to click&smooth the way.

P.S. You’d better don’t hotlink that baby-tux image, because is a selfish practice and violates Webweaver’s Terms of Use.

9 07 2007
syalam

El Cerrajero – WINE is a great product and for those of us who go the extra-mile know we can get things done in Linux. You’re right about tools for lazy users which will smooth the way but the point is people don’t want to do that. People want things to just work. Not that I’m bashing Ubuntu as it is my OS of choice it is still relatively new. I am just highlighting some features that could be “in the box” making it even easier for those who are lazy =D.

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