Monday, May 21, 2007

Flood of pointless linux articles

Is it just me or the online linux press is beginning to get flooded by an endless torrent of pointless articles that usually aren't longer than one or two pages and are obviously written by biased people who most of the time don't even know that much about the subject at hand ? Why do people in the open source community have to be so passionate and leave that passion of theirs to cloud their judgment and ultimately lead them to posting articles or blog entries that provide no meaningful information and are clearly not objective nor accurate ?

A characteristic example is the "I hate Ubuntu because of *insert random fact-interpretation* , PCLinuxOS can do everything ubuntu does and much better.

I followed the advice of these authors and played with the 2007TR4 livecd.While it is clearly a very newbie frindly and polished distro , PcLinuxOS just didn't do it for me for the following reasons:
  • My laptop media buttons didn't work,even though they did under ubuntu
  • The internal mic didn't work (ok that didn't work under ubuntu either!)
  • I had to log out and in again for the changes to take effect
  • Some times those changes didn't take effect at all !
  • I couldn't install gaim without enabling extra repositories (no problem for me but if i hadn't used synaptic before...)
  • The versions i found in the repos were a bit older than the ones in the ubuntu repos

Yes picasa and google earth were available for download without enabling their google repositories but is it worth it ? It does have a centralized configuration center but how does that make it bettter than ubuntu ?Is clicking yes twice and typing your password so horribly complicated so that all the codecs have to be installed by default even though there are legal issues ?

Dont get me wrong i am not an ubuntu fanboy trying to defend my favourite distro (even though i am an ubuntu user) , that is not at all my point here.My point is that just because you have reasons to dislike Ubuntu or canonical and perhaps reasons to like PCLinuxOS doesnt justify unsubstantiated rants about how much ubuntu sucks and PCLinuxOS rules.Some things work for some hardware and some people and some things work for others.Granted , ubuntu is not at all perfect but neither is PCLinuxOS or any other distribution for that matter.Arent we missing the bigger picture here by focusing on minor unimportant details and flaming over them ?

Instead of these articles i would prefer to see something like a point by point comparison of these two distros.Is indeed PCLinuxOS's hardware detection better ? Not from my experience but people seem to be claiming that all the time! Why dont we put these beliefs to the test ? Why cant we make a sober assessment of the facts and draw our conclusions without all this emotion getting in our way ?

I d like to stress that Ubuntu vs PCLinuxOS is but an example.This trend applies to other issues like: is linux ready for the desktop ? Is Ubuntu a viable alternative to vista ? and various articles about kde 4 and its "sorry state" (even though the developers made it quite clear that that alpha1 is nothing like the final version and all this time has been spent in developing the API's and these final months will be spent in developing the real frontends and applications...At least wait until some beta version or something before you start dissing the developers!)

Well that was my little rant about pointless articles.Maybe i too exaggerated at some points but i feel the people who are writing these articles are waisting my time and achieve nothing but polarizing the community and diverting its attention from real issues that need be addressed.

What do you think ?


Anonymous said...

I think you are right about that thing with pclos , its really nice and polished but i cant really see what the hype is all about.I tried it too but all the questions at the beggining and all those submenus in the kde menu and the control center made it more complicated than it needs to be.It didnt feel very profssional and i just dont see what the fuss is all about

Anonymous said...

You've failed miserably to hide the fact that you are an Ubuntu fanboy!

I loaded the latest Ubuntu and guess what, while importing pictures into F-spot It detected some issue with the pictures and for each of them (I have over 5000 pictures) I had to press 'Skip' individually. At least digikam gives me an 'Auto-Skip' option. Is that what you consider user-friendly that Ubuntu/GNOME have to offer? I know this is more to do with GNOME/F-spot than with Ubuntu but ubuntu touts f-spot as its default the-best-out-there photo manager, doesn't it?

That one thing put me off so much that I risked corruption to my pictures and used xkill to get out of the F-spot mess. You can bet then that I promply rebooted and got rid of the Ubuntu partition as well.

Kostas said...

This is exactly the behavior i dont understand.Anyone who has something negative to say about PCLinuxOS is an ubuntu fanboy.I am sorry but i find this slightly immature.F-spot is probably included because its a gtk app and as you mayhave noticed ubuntu comes with gtk apps only and kubuntu with qt apps (almost exclusively).It sucks and i never use it.I havent used digikam either , i use picasa.But all this has very little to do with how user friendly or polished ubuntu is.They made a choice that compromised the effectiveness of the os for consistency's sake.But in your case it could have easily been the other way around.You are right this is more GNOME/Fspot rather than ubuntu or anything else.I am sorry about your problem and i hope none of your pictures were corrupted but blaming the distro and formatting the partition is not the easiest solution.Installing digikam would have been much faster.The linux experience can never be perfect but cant we try being a little more objective ? You saw what kind of problems i faced with PCLinuxOS (which i never had to face with ubuntu) but you dont see me bashing it and ranting about how crappy it is because its not.Its a pretty good distro but its not good enough to justify reactions like yours.

Anonymous said...

everyone to his own. I use PCLOS and SAM and I used to use ubuntu. I'm not a fanboy or a distro basher. I'm also aware of problems with pclos. However, as an ardent reader of blogs and reviews I'm seeing exactly the same thing happening now as happened with Hoary. Are you forgetting all the one page reviews of Ubuntu? Any up and coming distro gets the same treatment from the bloggers. Mint, Mepis, Ubuntu and Pclos. It is the flavour of the moment.
What I don't like is some of the hysterical comments from ubuntu fanboys, especially on distrowatch. allegations of rigging, nitpicking and even on the buntu forums we see blatent distro bashing. Heck we all use Linux. It isn't a competition. why can't everyone just enjoy their distro of choice and lay off all the others. At least if you are going to compare distros, compare Kubuntu and Pclos or two gnome distros. there are differences.

Kostas said...

Really ? I havent seen any significant ubuntu fanboy activity.Can you post some links to the forums and discussions you are referring to ?

Anonymous said...

great read. I would love to follow you on twitter. By the way, did you guys hear that some chinese hacker had busted twitter yesterday again.