The BBC takes on Ubuntu Linux

A few days ago, a BBC journalist was on air saying that Ubuntu was "a whole sort of little community of enthusiasts building operating systems for absolutely nothing." Since then, as you can imagine, he's had some angry emails from Linux users, so Canonical sent him over a laptop with Karmic Koala Netbook Remix installed.

The result, sadly, isn't great for Linux, but there's a lot we can learn from the results of the test.

The bad news:

  • Linux took 40 seconds to boot. Yes, that's faster than the 55 seconds Windows 7 took to boot (and on a faster laptop, too), but, still, 40 seconds is pathetic.
  • The background was "offensively brown" -- something people have been telling Canonical for years.
  • The writer "struggled to see other machines and devices on my network."
  • Audacity was "more complex to get hold of"
  • He gave up trying to use Spotify, because it required Wine.
  • It wasn't immediately apparent that clicking on the Ubuntu logo took him back to the desktop.
  • A Canonical advisor had to come over and install a few extra things for him, including Flash, but still he "struggled to work out how I would organise photos, music and video."
  • Ubuntu "would not make my computing life any simpler and more pleasurable than it is now."

He brings up some really important points. And part of our problem is that many users will say, "he's wrong; he's a newbie; it doesn't matter what he thinks." But we'd like to respectfully disagree: if the mainstream press are trying Linux and simply can't get along with it, then we've got a serious problem.

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32 Responses

  1. Yaro Kasear says:

    These mistakes are purely Ubuntu mistakes, NOT Linux mistakes. Almost all of them have to do with GNOME and Ubuntu’s frankly frightening shortfallings. If someone sent him a laptop with a fully configured Arch Desktop running KDE he wouldn’t have had any of those problems.

    I definitely don’t want Linux to behave in any way like Windows on purpose. If Windows users want to whine that Linux doesn’t bend over backwards for them, let them use Windows, Linux is too good for them.

    Honestly, Linux is more than flexible enough to fit everyone to a tee if they simply take the time to set it up.

  2. John says:

    The Windows way of installing software is so easy a script can do it.

    In fact scripts do it so well an entire industry had to be created just to prevent maliciously written scripts from spreading from one Windows box to another.

    I hate the hassle of downloading tar.gz files. (Which I’ve only done a 3 or 4 times over the past 10 years on Linux.) But it’s better than worrying about whether some malware somehow slipped past my antivirus program and is currently reporting my bank and credit card information to a crime syndicate in Russia.
    But the alternative is to

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