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Thread: Debian? CLI? What for?

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    Wink Debian? CLI? What for?

    Hello people. Although I'm multiple booting Ubuntu, Debian Lenny, Arch and Windows on this PC, I've been using Debian Lenny exclusively for the last 2 weeks (without shutting down the PC, or rebooting, or exiting my current gnome session). Some minutes ago I happened to check my uptime and I realized something curious and funny: since my last login to my current gnome session (which was 2 weeks ago, as I said before), the only thing I have used the terminal for, is to check my uptime (see attached picture below. The terminal you see there is Guake, a terminal emulator for Gnome similar to KDE's yakuake).

    This made me think about the most common and terrible myth about Linux in general (and in particular, about Debian): the belief that it's hard to use, and you have to use the CLI for everything. Don't misunderstand me here; I know the power and usefulness of the CLI for everything, specially for administrative tasks. I use linux almost exclusively at home, but I enjoy messing with the terminal, knowing and using new commands, knowing how the whole system works, etc (sometimes, when I have to, I compile/install some software from source, I've even compiled the kernel sometimes and I've installed drivers, etc.). What I'm trying to say here is: once a Linux install is finished, all the necessary programs and plugins installed and everything is properly set up, any regular user should perfectly be able to use it for anything he/she might need (like browsing the net, write documents, copy a file from some place to another, use a USB flash drive, etc.). Even my 58 years old mother, who is dual booting Linux and Windows, feels so comfortable with Ubuntu, that she uses it like in 90% of the times (or maybe even more than that) and just boots Windows when a project requires her to use some program named Visio I'm not sure what is for (I think it's used to create diagrams, or something like that). By the way, she is able to reboot her PC, wait for the grub menu and switch to windows (or linux) by herself (without any help from some geek or something).

    And to stress the point a little bit more and finish my idea: the above goes for Windows all the same (and, I'm almost sure, for OSX, although I have never used it). I mean, a regular, average user doesn't install and set up Windows on his/her PC. Sure, there are some things that are probably easier on Windows, like auto-installing browser plugins (and auto-installing viruses, etc.), installing some software by double clicking (something that you can do on Ubuntu, if you have the admin password). But, there will always be the need of some geek, sysadmin, IT guy, whatever you want to call him/her, to set up an OS (any OS) for a productive environment in which a regular user can do his/her daily work (and to take care of an eventual breakage).

    I guess all of the above has been said before in another ways probably one million of times, but these were the reflections and thoughts that came to my mind a while ago, when I saw my terminal. I just wanted to share them . And, if this has been discussed here before, and a mod prefers to move this thread to "Recurring Discussions", he/she is welcome to do so (although I'd prefer this would stay here, on the "Community Cafe", but it's up to you ).

    Greetings.
    Last edited by odiseo77; June 28th, 2011 at 05:11 AM.

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    Re: Debian? CLI? What for?

    Quote Originally Posted by odiseo77 View Post
    But, there will always be the need of some geek, sysadmin, IT guy, whatever you want to call him/her, to set up an OS (any OS) for a productive environment in which a regular user can do his/her daily work (and to take care of an eventual breakage).
    I don't think that's true or desired. And I blame all the little Napoleons in the Land of OSS, which is more of a resume building exercise than a coherent movement. Everyone seems to splinter into camps over personality conflicts, language barriers (both natural and computer), conflicting visions, and the desire to put more on their resume than 'team player'. Projects pop up like weeds and fork like trees. The Bazaar is simply too bizarre. Having thousands of packages in the repositories is not a sign of strength but rather a sign of weakness.

    A team of leaders at Canonical needs to step up to the plate and start defining a more coherent vision for the future of Ubuntu (and not Kubuntu, Edubuntu, or Ubuntu-of-the-Month for that matter) and push this vision to the upstream projects. Is the system toolkit GTK (Gnome) or Qt (KDE) or both? (IMO, it's ugly and wasteful having both on one system.) Is the Window manager Compiz or Metacity? Is window decoration handled by the toolkit, the window manager, or some helper program such as Emerald? Does the desktop manager draw the background for each workspace, or does it get treated as a window layer like the widget layer? If so, should there be a desktop layer or should this be absorbed into the widget layer (e.g. file stacker applets in place of /home/user/Desktop)? Are applets to be provided by Gnome Panel, Screenlets, gDesklets, Avant Window Navigator, or some combination? (like the GTK/Qt question, IMO, a combination is wasteful, ugly, and confusing) Is the language of choice for applets Python/Vala or Mono? Will Java and Flash be handled by proprietary or open source systems? If open source, what can be done to increase compatibility and performance?

    A small group needs to take charge of this mess so that operating system developers can start working on quality instead of spreading themselves so thin that the inadequacy is transparently obvious. Projects need to be merged, dropped, and refactored. If the project leaders don't want to play ball, they can take their software elsewhere. It's a big world; others will play.

    The Linux community in general needs to rally more tightly around this central vision. Ubuntu has 30% of desktop Linux and climbing; it's the clear winner. The Debian distros should merge into Ubuntu Desktop -- providing a clear alternative to MS Windows. (Note: it should never be called "Ubuntu Linux" or "Ubuntu GNU/Linux", and definitely never "Ubuntu Linux, building upon Debian GNU/Linux" -- that's a confusing heap of adjectives dictated by Napoleons.)

    On the enterprise side of the equation Red Hat needs to abandon Fedora and jump on the Ubuntu bandwagon as partner with Canonical. Together they can develop a coherent experience from desktop to server that will more than rival Windows 7.0/Server 2011.

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    Re: Debian? CLI? What for?

    Quote Originally Posted by eryksun
    On the enterprise side of the equation Red Hat needs to abandon Fedora and jump on the Ubuntu bandwagon as partner with Canonical. Together they can develop a coherent experience from desktop to server that will more than rival Windows 7.0/Server 2011.
    Why would Red Hat want to partner with Canonical when their distro is the defacto Linux for the enterprise? Last I heard, Red Hat was actually making a lot of money from their server products and Canonical was barely getting by. I also don't see why they should abandon Fedora. Fedora provides them with a testing ground for technologies that may end up in RHEL. This is valuable for Red Hat because they will have an idea of what works or does not work before implementing it in RHEL. This testing and experimentation is one of the reasons why RHEL releases are very stable and trusted in the enterprise. Debian is quite similar because they test things extensively in Debian Unstable and Testing before a Stable release.

    A lot of the things in your other post just won't happen and I don't see the point of them. You can't force centralisation and cooperation on projects you do not control.

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    Re: Debian? CLI? What for?

    Quote Originally Posted by odiseo77 View Post
    But, there will always be the need of some geek, sysadmin, IT guy, whatever you want to call him/her, to set up an OS (any OS) for a productive environment in which a regular user can do his/her daily work (and to take care of an eventual breakage).
    Quote Originally Posted by eryksun View Post
    I don't think that's true or desired. And I blame all the little Napoleons in the Land of OSS, which is more of a resume building exercise than a coherent movement. Everyone seems to splinter into camps over personality conflicts, language barriers (both natural and computer), conflicting visions, and the desire to put more on their resume than 'team player'. Projects pop up like weeds and fork like trees. The Bazaar is simply too bizarre. Having thousands of packages in the repositories is not a sign of strength but rather a sign of weakness.
    Well, first, I don't see any relation between what I said in my quote above (which you quoted as well, but I felt it was necessary to quote here), and what you said, except, maybe, that you called "little Napoleons" the people I was talking about in this quote; that is, the people who works with computers, specially sysadmins, or the guys who take care about the user's needs (as I understad, if I'm not lost here, or misunderstanding you). I don't see how they're "little Napoleons" or something like that, so *I guess* you're talking about the "elitist gurus who feel they have the only and absolute truth", or something of the sort. *If* this is the case, then I have an idea about this type of people as well, although I don't generally bother to pay too much attention to them.

    That said, I think maybe I should clarify the general idea I was trying to express in my first post (in case it's not clear enough). My main point was related to the interaction between the OS (in this case, Linux, which, according to some myth, or FUD, etc. is supposed to be hard), and the user. I pretty much said that although a general, average user doesn't install and setup an OS (Linux, in this case), once everything is setup and working, any regular user (that is, someone who uses the computer for work, or browsing the net, listening music etc., but is not particularly interested in how the OS works -nor he/she has to), any regular user, I repeat, should, or could, easily work with Linux, with the same ease he/she uses the "supper-ubber easy Windows" (of course, at the beginning this person could feel the need to get used, or accustomed to another OS, but that's another point).

    So, pretty much, I was talking about Linux and it's usability in a desktop environment for the every day work (and I think it's not necessary here to enter in details like how much ground Linux currently has in the market, although, the above could be an indicator that *maybe* Linux could be used in the desktop in the same way as Windows, etc., but I can't predict the future as to know if it will ever happen, or when). Now, with all respect, I think the rest of your post was way too far from the general idea of my first post. And in case this might be of interest or pertinent here (I think it isn't, but maybe I should say it, to explain my point of view about this issue), I'm far from being a professional sysadmin. My profession is completely unrelated with Linux or computers, but I'm passionately interested in Linux and learning all I can about it (maybe it's a sort of hobby for me). So, this might explain my point of view about this issue, since I'm between a regular user and a sysadmin (rather, an amateur sysadmin).

    Well, after all this seems to be becoming a recurring discussion, so, to the mods: feel free to move this thread where you think it's convenient

    Regards.
    Last edited by odiseo77; July 3rd, 2008 at 04:49 PM.

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    Re: Debian? CLI? What for?

    Quote Originally Posted by ibutho View Post
    Why would Red Hat want to partner with Canonical when their distro is the defacto Linux for the enterprise? Last I heard, Red Hat was actually making a lot of money from their server products and Canonical was barely getting by.
    I thought I stated my reason. A big reason that Windows is dominant (*) is because both end users and businesses can depend on a consistent interface and tools across the product spectrum, from a cheap basic desktop to an enterprise server. If there are bugs and security issues, at least they're reliable and consistent, and you know that most of your competitors have to deal with the same problems. In the Linux world, you simply don't get anything like that. The spectrum of tools and interfaces, and associated bugs and security issues, is splintered in countless directions.

    (*) 60% of units shipped in the 2008 server market are predicted to be Windows, and in terms of money spent in the server market, Windows will account for 37% of the total, while Linux will grab 16%.

    Quote Originally Posted by ibutho View Post
    I also don't see why they should abandon Fedora. Fedora provides them with a testing ground for technologies that may end up in RHEL.... Debian is quite similar because they test things extensively in Debian Unstable and Testing before a Stable release.
    But having them use Fedora splinters development in the Linux community. There's so much parallel development that systems never get out of the 'good enough for geeks only' phase. Polishing a system to handle the thousands of use-case scenarios that makes it good enough for average users, who know nothing about how computers actually work and don't have the time or inclination to learn, is a monumental task. Getting something working is only 10% of the job. Getting it working easily, intuitively (for end users), consistently with the rest of the system, reliably and securely are the tough jobs. Also, if Debian is considered the testing ground for Ubuntu, I really think it should be controlled by Canonical. Otherwise you get the current mess. It's more like several, very different, operating systems, all smashed into a single distro/repository.


    Quote Originally Posted by ibutho View Post
    A lot of the things in your other post just won't happen and I don't see the point of them. You can't force centralisation and cooperation on projects you do not control.
    Yes you can, and should, if you have dominant market share. Its your responsibility to end users to do everything in your power to provide a coherent OS, and not just some hacked together sampling of countless half-baked tools.

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    Re: Debian? CLI? What for?

    Quote Originally Posted by eryksun View Post
    Having thousands of packages in the repositories is not a sign of strength but rather a sign of weakness.
    Give me a break. You're acting like there isn't millions of software out there for Windows. Most Linux distributions just like to make them readily available for you. How the hell is that a weakness? You're just annoyed that you don't know what everything is yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by eryksun View Post
    The Linux community in general needs to rally more tightly around this central vision. Ubuntu has 30% of desktop Linux and climbing; it's the clear winner. The Debian distros should merge into Ubuntu Desktop -- providing a clear alternative to MS Windows. (Note: it should never be called "Ubuntu Linux" or "Ubuntu GNU/Linux", and definitely never "Ubuntu Linux, building upon Debian GNU/Linux" -- that's a confusing heap of adjectives dictated by Napoleons.)

    On the enterprise side of the equation Red Hat needs to abandon Fedora and jump on the Ubuntu bandwagon as partner with Canonical. Together they can develop a coherent experience from desktop to server that will more than rival Windows 7.0/Server 2011.
    No, they shouldn't do that. First of all, Linux is about choice. Second of all, distros have different goals and ideas of how things should be done, meaning there would be a lot of in fighting if they were to merge. Third, I don't see why Linux should have to try and gain market share over windows. I certainly don't care if it does. As long as it continues to improve and keeps working for me, that's all I care about, and if more people want to come and use it, then that's great.

    If you hate the amount of distros existing, either deal with it or use Windows or Mac.
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    Re: Debian? CLI? What for?

    Quote Originally Posted by eryksun View Post
    But having them use Fedora splinters development in the Linux community. There's so much parallel development that systems never get out of the 'good enough for geeks only' phase.
    This is pure speculation. "Parallel development" has nothing to do with the usability of a particular project. Combining the teams working on Amarok and Exaile, for instance, wouldn't make either one inherently better.

    The number of unfounded assumptions that your assertion relies upon make it essentially null.

    Polishing a system to handle the thousands of use-case scenarios that makes it good enough for average users, who know nothing about how computers actually work and don't have the time or inclination to learn, is a monumental task.
    True. No one has ever accomplished this. The successful OSes have gotten around this by getting their product preinstalled on retail computers.

    Also, if Debian is considered the testing ground for Ubuntu, I really think it should be controlled by Canonical. Otherwise you get the current mess. It's more like several, very different, operating systems, all smashed into a single distro/repository
    If this happened, the vast majority of Debian users and developers would abandon it entirely. I think you should, perhaps, make an effort to understand how the F/LOSS ecosystem works before making proposals that so radically contradict its spirit and intentions.
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    Re: Debian? CLI? What for?

    Quote Originally Posted by eryksun View Post
    I don't think that's true or desired. And I blame all the little Napoleons in the Land of OSS, which is more of a resume building exercise than a coherent movement. Everyone seems to splinter into camps over personality conflicts, language barriers (both natural and computer), conflicting visions, and the desire to put more on their resume than 'team player'. Projects pop up like weeds and fork like trees. The Bazaar is simply too bizarre. Having thousands of packages in the repositories is not a sign of strength but rather a sign of weakness.

    A team of leaders at Canonical needs to step up to the plate and start defining a more coherent vision for the future of Ubuntu (and not Kubuntu, Edubuntu, or Ubuntu-of-the-Month for that matter) and push this vision to the upstream projects. Is the system toolkit GTK (Gnome) or Qt (KDE) or both? (IMO, it's ugly and wasteful having both on one system.) Is the Window manager Compiz or Metacity? Is window decoration handled by the toolkit, the window manager, or some helper program such as Emerald? Does the desktop manager draw the background for each workspace, or does it get treated as a window layer like the widget layer? If so, should there be a desktop layer or should this be absorbed into the widget layer (e.g. file stacker applets in place of /home/user/Desktop)? Are applets to be provided by Gnome Panel, Screenlets, gDesklets, Avant Window Navigator, or some combination? (like the GTK/Qt question, IMO, a combination is wasteful, ugly, and confusing) Is the language of choice for applets Python/Vala or Mono? Will Java and Flash be handled by proprietary or open source systems? If open source, what can be done to increase compatibility and performance?

    A small group needs to take charge of this mess so that operating system developers can start working on quality instead of spreading themselves so thin that the inadequacy is transparently obvious. Projects need to be merged, dropped, and refactored. If the project leaders don't want to play ball, they can take their software elsewhere. It's a big world; others will play.

    The Linux community in general needs to rally more tightly around this central vision. Ubuntu has 30% of desktop Linux and climbing; it's the clear winner. The Debian distros should merge into Ubuntu Desktop -- providing a clear alternative to MS Windows. (Note: it should never be called "Ubuntu Linux" or "Ubuntu GNU/Linux", and definitely never "Ubuntu Linux, building upon Debian GNU/Linux" -- that's a confusing heap of adjectives dictated by Napoleons.)

    On the enterprise side of the equation Red Hat needs to abandon Fedora and jump on the Ubuntu bandwagon as partner with Canonical. Together they can develop a coherent experience from desktop to server that will more than rival Windows 7.0/Server 2011.
    you really have no idea what you are saying, do you? you want canonical to take over control of debian? wtf? go and read about how the system works, kid.

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    Re: Debian? CLI? What for?

    Did you ever think that maybe the reason all of the programs that you're complaining about is in the repos is because we as a community, a people, a person...like to play with our computers, like to find, use and play with different options, have different numbers of computers in our households that need different types of setups...not all work on Hardy 8.04 with Gnome....that said...I learn by using all and different type of the programs in repos...I like the way our OS, our programs and our help is set up!!!
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    Re: Debian? CLI? What for?

    Quote Originally Posted by eryksun View Post
    I don't think that's true or desired. And I blame all the little Napoleons in the Land of OSS, which is more of a resume building exercise than a coherent movement. Everyone seems to splinter into camps over personality conflicts, language barriers (both natural and computer), conflicting visions, and the desire to put more on their resume than 'team player'. Projects pop up like weeds and fork like trees. The Bazaar is simply too bizarre. Having thousands of packages in the repositories is not a sign of strength but rather a sign of weakness.

    A team of leaders at Canonical needs to step up to the plate and start defining a more coherent vision for the future of Ubuntu (and not Kubuntu, Edubuntu, or Ubuntu-of-the-Month for that matter) and push this vision to the upstream projects. Is the system toolkit GTK (Gnome) or Qt (KDE) or both? (IMO, it's ugly and wasteful having both on one system.) Is the Window manager Compiz or Metacity? Is window decoration handled by the toolkit, the window manager, or some helper program such as Emerald? Does the desktop manager draw the background for each workspace, or does it get treated as a window layer like the widget layer? If so, should there be a desktop layer or should this be absorbed into the widget layer (e.g. file stacker applets in place of /home/user/Desktop)? Are applets to be provided by Gnome Panel, Screenlets, gDesklets, Avant Window Navigator, or some combination? (like the GTK/Qt question, IMO, a combination is wasteful, ugly, and confusing) Is the language of choice for applets Python/Vala or Mono? Will Java and Flash be handled by proprietary or open source systems? If open source, what can be done to increase compatibility and performance?

    A small group needs to take charge of this mess so that operating system developers can start working on quality instead of spreading themselves so thin that the inadequacy is transparently obvious. Projects need to be merged, dropped, and refactored. If the project leaders don't want to play ball, they can take their software elsewhere. It's a big world; others will play.

    The Linux community in general needs to rally more tightly around this central vision. Ubuntu has 30% of desktop Linux and climbing; it's the clear winner. The Debian distros should merge into Ubuntu Desktop -- providing a clear alternative to MS Windows. (Note: it should never be called "Ubuntu Linux" or "Ubuntu GNU/Linux", and definitely never "Ubuntu Linux, building upon Debian GNU/Linux" -- that's a confusing heap of adjectives dictated by Napoleons.)

    On the enterprise side of the equation Red Hat needs to abandon Fedora and jump on the Ubuntu bandwagon as partner with Canonical. Together they can develop a coherent experience from desktop to server that will more than rival Windows 7.0/Server 2011.
    Why do you possibly assume that I (a Linux user) care about rivaling Microsoft? Why should I possibly want to use Ubuntu on my desktop? Why should I want a central vision? Why should I want a "clear alternative to MS Windows" (I think that many already exist)? And, perhaps most importantly, why do you think that you can tell me (a member of the Linux community) what to do?

    Sorry if that offended anyone, but I'm really sick of "Why don't we all make one big distro to take on MS" threads. Back to topic

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