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July 22, 2004 2:27 AM   Subscribe

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Linux on the Desktop [flash].
posted by reklaw (39 comments total)
Lindows ehm, Linspire is nice, and though it is a linux kernel under there it does do away with a lot of the things that make "GNU/Linux" or unix powerful. Still, as an alternative to windows, yay.

As for the video, that has to be the worst resemblence to Morrison ever (Assuming it was supposed to be light my fire, my sound is off; Given the lyrics I saw on screen, this is highly likely though).

One has to wonder if they're actually allowed to use microsoft trademarks (the microsoft and windows logos) like that. Not to mention whether they've actually got permission to use the song.
posted by fvw at 2:43 AM on July 22, 2004

That is the most excruciatingly embarrassing thing I've ever been unfortunate enough to witness the first fifteen seconds of.
posted by ed\26h at 3:08 AM on July 22, 2004

It goes on for ages... and it only gets worse.
posted by reklaw at 3:10 AM on July 22, 2004

I think if they paid to license the song, they wouldn't have let someone's 14-year-old cousin do the flash.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:11 AM on July 22, 2004

And no one has made the requisite 'ad-filter' joke yet?
posted by tiamat at 3:27 AM on July 22, 2004

I'm checking out SUSE Linux in the next couple of weeks, after years of not having the two weeks required to get Red Hat to recognize my mouse.
posted by tranquileye at 3:57 AM on July 22, 2004

This I shall award a tin cann filled with pea soup.

And no trophies.
posted by Space Coyote at 4:03 AM on July 22, 2004

The credits at the end claim it's a "parody" of Light My Fire, so I bet they think they can use the music without licensing.
posted by D.C. at 4:11 AM on July 22, 2004

Are you people nuts? That was hilarious. There is no way they have the right to use the song under parody, I doubt that they will get to keep using the name Lindows and there is no way they have the right to use the various Microsoft trademarks, but so what? I thought it was great. If there were more *nix distributions marketed like that, Microsoft might actually have to be concerned that they have some competition.
posted by dg at 4:32 AM on July 22, 2004

The music, perhaps (though the US courts are generally not that lenient in parody fair use for commercial goals). Trademarks have no fair use provision however, and microsoft has already shown they're willing to get nasy legally with Linspire.

dg: They already settled the case, that's why they're called linspire now.
posted by fvw at 4:43 AM on July 22, 2004

dg, no one's suggesting that a Linux distribution simple enough for everyone is a bad idea. In fact, I think that everyone (with the exception of a few inexplicable "purists") thinks its a great idea.

Remember when you were in junior high and kids would denounce things as "gay"? Not as in "homosexual," but "so lame that it's painful, I feel somehow embarassed for having seen it, and it's really funny". Well, that animation is wicked gay.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:01 AM on July 22, 2004

Made me laugh. And I've been waiting for ages for desktopn Linux that doesn't require a PhD in computer science or command line typing to use. Let's hope this is it.
posted by Pericles at 5:13 AM on July 22, 2004

Well, to each his own, I suppose - if nothing else, this will get tongues wagging about Linspire, which is half the battle in marketing. There is always the possibility, of course, that they have deliberately used trademarks without permission to generate additional publicity.

For myself, I have been wanting to have a serious look at Linux for some time and this, combined with tranquileye's link above, has prompted me into action and has me currently downloading SUSE Linux to have a look. If Linspire had a free-download option, they would have me and, if I like Linux enough, they may yet get some money from me. I am wide open to being convinced that the horror stories of poor hardware support and complex administration are a myth and this is the major sticking point for Linux achieving critical mass in the marketplace, I suspect. Anything that helps to overcome that perception and, by doing so, provides competition for Microsoft, has to be a good thing for OS consumers of all flavours.
posted by dg at 5:31 AM on July 22, 2004

dg: Are you people nuts? That was hilarious.

Yeh, in a squirmy, "who do these people think they're selling to" kind of way. Kind of like when 80 year olds dress up like punks and keep asking their great-grandkids if they're "hip".

On prev: Pericles, I agree; but I fear this shows they have no idea who their real market is. When you sell in Walmart, you don't pitch souce-code access or focus obsessively on Bill G & krew.
posted by lodurr at 5:32 AM on July 22, 2004

for those that want linux on the deskop, I hope UNIX instead will do: just go get a mac, they are so far ahead of all these guys, and even then there's still a ways to go.

I love the typos in the screenshots; the MS Powerpoint clip art used unironically in an anti-MS ad, "Integrated Google Search" as one of a few OS bullet point features, the absolute ripoffs of iTunes (lSongs !!) and iPhoto...
posted by neustile at 5:49 AM on July 22, 2004

Pericles, it's only a start. The problem with simplified distros like Lycoris and Linspire is that they're very restrictive compared to the large ones. I don't mean that they're just stripped-down-- that's a positive.

The problem I had with Lycoris when I looked at it was that the users that they're targeting are totally dependent on Lycoris for additional programs-- they have a proprietary download system for all of their additional programs from their own website. It's highly unlikely that someone using Lycoris is going to be able to compile a program from, say, sourceforge and I've never seen an rpm package designed for Lycoris or Linspire. The trial of Lycoris doesn't even tell you what your default root password is anyway, so you can't do anything to the system. I hope that they'll give you one if you buy it, but I'm not going to give them money if I can't find out exactly what I can do with it. So most people would be stuck installing what Lycoris tells them they can have, often at additional cost.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:50 AM on July 22, 2004

for those that want linux on the deskop, I hope UNIX instead will do: just go get a mac

Linspire is suggesting that Microsoft is ripping you off. If Microsoft is merely cheating you, Apple is stealing your morning paper, pawning your TV and looking at ways to sell your children.

Seriously, one of the major themes that you missed was about cost.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:58 AM on July 22, 2004

Mayor Curley, I did notice that Linspire seem to be aspiring to the "all things to all people" camp, with their own bundled software suites and, to some extent, this is a weakness in the whole *nix environment - it is possible for organisations to relatively easily put together a bundle of OS and apps and sell it for much less cost than producing a from-scratch system. While this is, in itself a potentially good thing, it seems to allow the power to be used for evil by crippling the system so that buyers are locked into that organisation's choice of applications.

I certainly was not aware of the limitations that could be placed on a Linux system which you mentioned and I am sure that I would not be the only one, given that things like root access are not even in the dictionary for almost all Windows users.

As for telling people to "get a Mac", well, good luck with that, neustile. If only for cost reasons, PC's will continue to be the dominant hardware for a long, long time to come.
posted by dg at 6:07 AM on July 22, 2004

really, the best way for getting your feet wet with linux nowadays are the CD-bootable distros like knoppix or mandrake move (among others). I would highly recommend these live cd distros over the desktop oriented ones for beginners, they take away the commitment and some of the frustration of a new linux install.
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 6:17 AM on July 22, 2004

i got through the instrumental break and couldn't stand it anymore ... these guys are definitely NOT the doors ... they couldn't swing if you dropped them from a rope
posted by pyramid termite at 6:18 AM on July 22, 2004

Cd-bootable distros... I have a copy of MandrakeMove that I carry with me everywhere. It's been tres handy in getting data off old NT systems when all I have is a flash drive. Wonderful things. MandrakeMove even supports my 20GB Archos external drive that's smaller than a 3.5" floppy.

When I think back to the fact that my first 40MB drive weighed a couple of pounds...
posted by lodurr at 6:27 AM on July 22, 2004

I've so monopolized this thread, but what the hell...

dg, the best example I can use is when I tried to install Mozilla Firebird (it was a while ago) on Lycoris. With a normal distro, it's as simple as unpacking the compressed file into a directory and starting the program-- the program doesn't modify anything that is root protected, so individual users can put the prgram in their own space and use it.

Lycoris, however, prevents the user from running any application that isn't installed in the root directory. If I had a root password, I might have been able to put Firebird in a place where all users could access it. But I might have found additional roadblocks to encourage me to download it from them and install it. But since I didn't have root access and I didn't pay to get access to their downloads, I'll never know.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:32 AM on July 22, 2004

The last evolution of Red Hat Fedora was as close to simple for the masses as I have seen yet. Install was fast and required little input on my part.
I think getting a linux desktop has gotten quite easy recently. Using it productively still escapes mainstream computing though. The apps need to get some air time. People need to be aware of the alternatives to MS apps that they can run on a linux system.

As for the ad. It was not to my taste at all. Very cheezy.
posted by a3matrix at 7:03 AM on July 22, 2004

Mepis, built on Debian, is a live cd that you can install the distro from (while still running your session of the cd, no less). 2.6 kernel and all the newest apps. A friend of mine and I have a guy in his 60s running Mepis and he loves it.

I personally think Suse would be a better choice (it's what i run on my laptop, mostly for wardriving), but getting windows people to do a net install from floppy isn't my idea of fun. (Though I hear they have a personal edition ISO now)
posted by angry modem at 7:05 AM on July 22, 2004

Remember when you were in junior high and kids would denounce things as "gay"? Not as in "homosexual," but "so lame that it's painful, I feel somehow embarassed for having seen it, and it's really funny". Well, that animation is wicked gay.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:01 AM PST on July 22

Pretty gay for a straight guy.
posted by dash_slot- at 7:07 AM on July 22, 2004

I just said "Loading..." for a really long time, then stuck at 99%.

Is that the joke?
posted by Capn at 7:26 AM on July 22, 2004

Deeply weird. Disturbing. Jim Morrison channeling Scott McNealy...
posted by 327.ca at 7:29 AM on July 22, 2004

Is it Friday already?
posted by chicobangs at 7:51 AM on July 22, 2004

Pretty silly... I've made the switch over to Mandrake at home and I've gotta say -- I love it. My only complaint is that they appear to be a little too "pure" when it comes to the kookiness of liscensing, while SuSE appears to be a bit more practical.

As far as the commercial goes, it's better than Stallman's Free Software Song. I guess.
posted by ph00dz at 8:14 AM on July 22, 2004

dg - if you install suse and like it, you probably want to stay with it. suse is a good, reliable, well supported distro. it's much more likely to be around in the future, and to work in general, than lindows/linspire.
posted by andrew cooke at 8:21 AM on July 22, 2004

I'm checking out SUSE Linux in the next couple of weeks, after years of not having the two weeks required to get Red Hat to recognize my mouse.
posted by tranquileye at 12:57 PM CET on July 22

posted by the fire you left me at 8:48 AM on July 22, 2004

So, is it possible yet on Linux to have:
1. A working mouse,
2. A working WiFi card, and
3. Screen resolution better than an Atari 2600
... all at the same time?

I spent the better part of a week last year trying to get Linux going on my laptop and only 2 of the above 3 "features" could be made available in any given installation attempt. I think I reinstalled about a dozen times that week before finally giving up.
posted by badstone at 10:05 AM on July 22, 2004

I run SuSe a lot, and have all three of those things. True, the mouse took some work (bios changes and obscure command-line switches galore!) on my last machine, but it runs fine on the new one...

Now my only problem is the frikkin' modem, one of those proprietary WinModems that Linux hates so much...
posted by kaibutsu at 11:34 AM on July 22, 2004

AFAICS, WiFi is the rub. The last time I checked, there were a lot of cards supported -- but they haven't commodified like 10/100 cards have, so you pretty much have to have support for your adapter.

I've been fiddling with Linux for ... umm, lemme think ... three years, and in that time have probably done six system installs (don't ask), and the only time I ended up with any of that stuff not working was the one time I used Red Hat. With SuSE and Mandrake, all my hardware worked. Except the WiFi card. And that's a piece of crap, anyway, so I'm not losing much sleep.

The problem with end-user Linux remains that there are few people willing to do the last-half-mile crap that you will need to do to make a desktop OS that's acceptable to modern users. That's why so many folks were so excited about the Novell-SuSE deal. They figure Novell will spend the bread.

As for Fedora -- that's just a way for RedHat to get the hackers off their back so they can concentrate on the market for tightly controlled corporate desktops without being distracted by folks who see Linux and [F]OSS as a religious crusade. It will most likely thrive as an incubator for bleeding edge innovation, and will probably sill be the annointed Kewl Distro, but it will remain more difficult to configure and use than either SuSE or Mandrake.
posted by lodurr at 1:15 PM on July 22, 2004

I kept thinking that this is the sort of mindset that has kept the Open Source movement down for a long time, the "Free Freak Factor". I doubt the majority of users are about jihad against the evil tyranny of Big Corporate software -- they might be against it, but not so much to weather the numerous application issues that running an alternate OS entails.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 1:38 PM on July 22, 2004

Zombie Jim Morrison has found out about this and will sue them, after he eats their brains.
posted by nyxxxx at 3:01 PM on July 22, 2004

OK yeah, so that's what I thought - Linux is still for people who compute for computing's sake, not people who compute as a means to get other things done. Damn shame.
posted by badstone at 3:36 PM on July 22, 2004

Well, badstone, I don't know if that is really true, but it is certainly the perception in the real world of business - Linux is something that only uber-geeks use, so we better stick with Windows because we can't afford to train all our current staff up on a completely new system and then have to re-train every single new staff member on it as well, because nobody we hire will be able to use it. Add the problems with various specialised software that is not and will never be able to run on it and you have a huge entry barrier.

Overcoming the "geeks-only" cachet will go a long way towards that, but it is only the first stage of many.
posted by dg at 3:55 PM on July 22, 2004

badstone, you're looking at comments by a bunch of picky folks (among whom I willingly count myself) -- expressions of dissatisfaction aside, Lycoris or Linspire would probably be fine for a basic user; SuSE or Mandrake would be fine for a user at a slightly higher level of sophistication.

It's getting close, but the progress toward really seamless usability is maddeningly slow. Lycoris & Linspire configure things in ways that make them easy to use, but which don't let you really use some of Linux's more powerful features. That's not necessarily bad; it's just that most of us don't like that as a solution. For myself, I don't like having the feeling that a better compromise was possible.
posted by lodurr at 11:32 AM on July 23, 2004

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