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"Actually, having a workaround by definition lessens the severity, as if someone wants to still run Skype, they can."

I don't think everyone is on the same page about Ubuntu being a consumer distro and not a hacker's only distro... I have definitely noticed a decrease in the stability of Ubuntu releases over the years and it's attitudes like this that seem to be in part responsible for it.


Oh I kept reading, this is better:

"Rainer, a better solution for international calls is to stop using Skype (which is closed source, and frequently has problems with its Linux client) and change to a service that supports standard protocols (SIP etc.), e.g. using Ekiga"

Yes, the client should change their software and infrastructure to better suit your product...

This makes it pretty much impossible for me to "sell" Ubuntu to any of my friends who aren't programmers AND tinkerers (many of my programers are too busy being productive to be interested in dicking around with making things work anymore, and increasingly I hold this view).

> many of my programers are too busy being productive to be interested in dicking around with making things work anymore, and increasingly I hold this view

This. I switched to OS X from Ubuntu about a few months ago simply because of this reason. I was too tired of tinkering and configuring endless .conf files, adjusting my GNOME/Xfce panel layouts for optimum productivity, and changing my display manager because all of them sucked.

In my final days with Linux I was running Ubuntu Minimal with twm -- I went completely old-school. Fewer things at the core, fewer things to go wrong.

I caved and bought a MacBook Air. While I miss the endless configurability of Linux, I find that most of the time I spend trying to configure OS X is only spent to make things more suitable for my workflow -- changing the number of desktops I have, changing the applications in my dock, or adjusting Exposé to show all app windows.

I never have to configure something because it breaks or isn't compatible with something else. I could have gone the FreeBSD way, but then, well, you know. OS X just works. As a Ruby and Java developer I find it perfect. I probably will try the 13.04 release on the Mac (I tried the beta and liked it), and I'll see how it goes.

It looks like a solid release, so I'd really like to keep it (but I probably won't because I'm cheap and only have the 120gig SSD).

Except for a few driver issues, (Nvidia and Optimus, doh!), I haven't had a issue with Ubuntu or Mint. Any other issues with configuration, I would have also had with Windows or OS X since they were application or server specific.

But I don't spend days tweaking the UI, I have a baseline of UI expectations that's not too difficult to meet. (But Windows 8 doesn't meet it... 'nother story for 'nother day...)

I've had tons of issues. Especially around power management, multi-monitor support etc. When I "Hibernate" I also need to roll a d10 to know if it'll actually come back up. This is anecdotal but on same hardware there are no issues under Windows and everything works as expected. Eclipse seems less stable and slower under Ubuntu which is probably related to the Java run time. Firefox also less stable. Webcam sometimes doesn't work. Audio suddenly stops playing until you touch the volume. Couldn't get WebEx working under Ubuntu (tried lots of suggested workarounds). The kind of stuff that just works in other OSes.

On what hardware?

I have the same issues on an Asus laptop. It was well supported on 12.04 LTS but the 12.10 is obviously a big failure. Not to speak about the system that slow down by itself, some swap mess I don't have time to fix, and the overall growing instability of the system tools. Memcheck segfault, then the report tool activate itself, inspect, segfault, launch again... I also upgraded a pc of a friend from an good old athlon xp to a new shiny i3, and guess what the official, libre, graphic driver is just unable to run correctly, apparently because of a bad switch in an internal opcode.

Something is wrong here. The massive shift of devs from linux to OSX should warn some people somewhere about the overall quality of their stuff. A quality that we have been proud for decades.

Dell laptop here (Core i7 + the dreaded Optimus)...

Have you checked out this? http://bumblebee-project.org/

my Canon Printer wont work properly in UBUNTU.

My printer, scanner, graphics tablet, and sound card won't work in windows (the printer manufacturer explicitly refuses to support 64-bit, the graphics tablet bluescreens win7 when plugged in, the others just do nothing). All work flawlessly out of the box on Ubuntu. Hooray for anecdotal evidence \o/

You don't like Ubuntu dictating a desktop environment to you. So you fiddle with other things for a long time, at your own option. Then you pay Apple to dictate a desktop environment to you. Hmm...

He explicitly said he misses the configurability, so I wouldn't blame him for that.

As a Mac user that runs triple boot, the "just works" mentality in OS X is present only as long as you don't step out of the typical use case scenarios. It's great to say be a writer on OS X; there are very good tools and apps to write in a minimal, esthetic environment (WriteRoom and others). On the other hand, as a "hacker", I've always had trouble in OS X -- from Page Up/Page Down not registering properly in Terminal, to full NTFS and EXT4 support (FUSE used to work, but I think it was not maintained) to getting vim, gcc and other tools of the trade working on OS X (yes, there are ports-like systems on OS X, but hardly ones that I'd say "just work").

On the other hand, in pure Linux world, brightness controls, backlighting controls, volume controls and multiple sound card support were all rather tricky when I tried using Gentoo on the same Mac for a time. Some of those I solved, but some I just gave up and was content that it kinda-but-not-completely works.

Ubuntu seems to be tested enough on Macs, so those things work on my laptop now without having to configure too much. It may not be the perfect "just works" experience, and I have seen a lot of things going the wrong way on Ubuntu, but currently it's a good mix of being easy to maintain and being easy to start doing actual work with.

I didn't leave the Linux world because I didn't like Ubuntu dictating a desktop environment to me. I left because OS X suits my needs better than any Linux distribution (except perhaps OpenSUSE) could.

Logical fallacy. You've built a strawman, based your argument off it, and then contradicted yourself.

No they didn't. Where?

It's strange because the overwhelming consensus so far has been that the latter releases have been much more tested and stable than any before, with the sole exception of LTS releases. Still, it's always been good advice to hold off on upgrading until a release has been out for a month or so, and for most users staying with the LTS release is probably good enough anyway.

There's a huge QA process for Ubuntu now -- packages have to go through a large swath of automated tests, and the alpha/beta versions are kept working on a daily basis. It was only 2 years ago or so that most Ubuntu developers didn't even expect the unstable release to be usable until the feature freeze milestone had well passed.

>many of my programers are too busy being productive to be interested in dicking around with making things work anymore, and increasingly I hold this view

This is a sign of maturity. Time is our one true finite resource, and we need to prioritize what we do with it.

I once bought a laptop which ran Windows 7. The Wifi did not work due to their drivers being broken.

The correct move then is to return it.

No. The correct move was to install Ubuntu, which had the correct drivers. Point being that all software has issues. More so if the software is as complicated as an OS with two releases per year.

You bought a product and it did not work as advertised. The recommended path would have been to have it serviced or return it to the distributor. You could also attempt to install the correct working drivers, as this most likely would not void your warranty. However, changing the entire OS is a very big not-recommended move on a recently purchased laptop that's having such a simple problem.

Why post something like this? I don't get it. He stated what he did to fix the problem and it apparently worked.

So his recommendation is proven to work and yours is....?

It's smothering the candle with a firehose. It's a very destructive solution for which avenues have been paved before-hand to solve such problems. Did it work? Yes. To fix one small problem (malfunctioning WiFi) he rendered himself incapable of doing other things (use Microsoft compatible software, and, no, I'm not including WINE).

In the end, if his purpose was to install Ubuntu, then good for him. However, I wouldn't give it as general advice out of voiding their warranty alone.

You missed the point by two blocks. Which is that OS have bugs. In my case, i was going to instalk ubuntu either way. I was making a counter argument against a comment above. Still, installing another OS does not void the warranty where i reside.

Guys, Skype is owned by Microsoft, and the Linux version hasn't been touched in like 2 years. I'm frankly not surprised it's b0rked.

So... yes, the user should use software that isn't deprecating support for their platform.

They are releasing steady updates for it. 4.1 came out Nov 2012. That's hardly 2 years. That's after the last Ubuntu release. And it's fully supported for the platform. What are you talking about?

Well that's news to me. The last I looked was before November, I guess, and before that it still had the same old crufty UI from like 5 years ago. The userbase had been pretty up-in-arms about it for a while too: http://community.skype.com/t5/Linux/Vote-here-for-linux-skyp...

Edit: also, they're still sitting on version 5, which introduced group video calling. It's a pretty sad situation overall.

Much as I can't stand to say something nice about Microsoft, the Skype updates at least on Ubuntu 12.04 have worked fine.

Ubuntu has no control over the Skype project. They aren't obligated to support every third-party product when it is impossible to do this.

I don't think this is the problem with recent Ubuntu releases.

Ubuntu has no control over the Skype project. They aren't obligated to support every third-party product when it is impossible to do this.

That's an interesting attitude.

Backwards compatibility is a generally regarded as a feature. If you read Raymond Chen's blog about the length's Microsoft went to in order to support old software on new versions of Windows you'll see how important some operating system vendors regard it.

Linux generally seems to have an interesting attitude to backwards compatibility. "It works on old hardware" is something that used to be regarded as a huge benefit of Linux.

These days - especially for Ubuntu - it doesn't seem to be regarded as a feature at all. Additionally Ubuntu seems to introduce breaking API changes in every release. I find that to be quite a surprising route to take for an OS that is trying to build desktop share.

I'd be quite interested to hear why people think they do this. Is backwards compatibility just not seen as important at all or is there a bigger strategy here?

Actually, they should try.

They are not obligated, but it is in their best interests to build a reputation of not breaking things.

I do think that Linux lacks a reputation of not breaking existing programs as much as it lacked a reputation of ease of use before Ubuntu.

Now, ease of use, and not breaking things? I bet that kind of reputation is worth millions of dollars.

Even Linus agrees about it, when it comes to the kernel breaking userland programs. The kernel developers have no control over userland programs. Nonetheless, the kernel developers try very hard not to break userland programs.

To be fair, I have definitely noted a decrease in stability of OSX releases of the last few years too.

At least they're consistent in not liking Microsoft.

Ubuntu bug #1, for reference https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+bug/1

"Yes, the client should change their software and infrastructure to better suit your product..."

The person you quoted isn't even a developer as far as I can tell.

So, a "hacker's distro" should have bugs in it? No thanks, I'll take functional software.

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