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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 1st December, 2008, 06:29 PM
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Fixing Linux: What's Broken And What To Do About It

Written by Daniel
Monday, 01 December 2008
The open-source operating system still has major problems that need immediate attention. Our expert recommends configuration, versioning, and GUI enhancements, to name a few.

By Serdar Yegulalp
InformationWeek
December 1, 2008 04:00 AM

Despite the fact that it's been around since 1991, Linux remains a work in progress. It's not perfect, nor does anyone pretend it is. The places where it needs the most immediate improvement are also a matter of debate: what's crucially important to some is only marginally important to others. [Front page...]
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Old 1st December, 2008, 07:12 PM
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It has come along way though.
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Old 1st December, 2008, 08:02 PM
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I found it of interest. Was surprised no mention was made of Video card drivers...this could stand to improvement as well...

I realize that my usage of Fedora is quite limited in terms of what I need a OS to do... But as of this moment in time, Fedora does all I need of her and then some...":O}

As Gizmo mentioned,...wine could be broader in the games it can supports...

Others thoughts on Linux progress?
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Old 2nd December, 2008, 04:44 AM
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Not only video card drivers, but all drivers for all hardware.

Their list looked interesting, but there are possibly more pressing issues than someof them - and that just may be personal preferences talking.

Commercial backups - how about some more commercial software instead.
As much as I like wine, or cedega, how about some pressure for more native linux games.

I personally have emailed several companies asking for linux support, and if they would look to it in the future. So far none have replied, but I will still keep asking. I think if enough people ask, it will happen.
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Old 2nd December, 2008, 07:08 PM
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Acronis! Acronis is commercial backup ware that works a treat backing up my Fedora installs. Without Acronis I would be lost! When you don't understand to much about what your doing Acronis gives one the freedom to take chances and learn without having to freaking start over when one goes to far!

They have a free trail ware, but I'm not sure if the free ware covers Linux...?
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Old 2nd December, 2008, 10:41 PM
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The commercial backups they are talking about are taking the data from your computer, and backing it up to a remote hardened server.

There are companies in which you can pay for this, and they backup your data over the internet.
Small Business Online Server Backup and Recovery Service
I'm not sure how big this is though.
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Old 3rd December, 2008, 07:21 PM
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My bad! LOL
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Old 3rd December, 2008, 08:26 PM
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Hey I knew it existed, but didn't even look to see what it really was till the article. Initially I thought the same as you, and there are several apps doing that, Acronis being IMO about the best out their for consumers.
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Old 4th December, 2008, 12:00 AM
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I felt like this article was pretty good, it hit on a lot of my issues with Linux Development as a whole.

The driver issues (including video drivers) have a lot to do with the constantly changing kernel interfaces and differing package management systems. I've had to develop drivers for custom hardware and with every new kernel I had to make changes, and in extreme cases rewrite sections of code. The Kernel changes and distribution differences make it such a pita to develop Linux drivers, that companies have to expend far more resources than should be necessary.

When you complain about video drivers, remember that in Windows developers write for a kernel that changes every 3-5 years. Linux driver developers have to deal with a kernel that is constantly changing, and new point releases come out almost every month. Instead of expending energy to fix issues, they spend time just making sure their driver works with every kernel and distro.

Package management and the KDE/GNOME split also hurt 3rd Party Software development. KDE/GNOME developers need to agree on a common backend implementation for GUIs, allowing better integration between QT and GTK+ applications.

At the very least the Debian/Ubuntu and RedHat people need to agree on a common filesystem layout for configuration files and a better way for rpms and deb packages to play together.

I do wish there were more games for Linux, but considering Linux's tiny marketshare, I doubt Linux ports are financially appealing. I do think that companies should work with Wine developers to make running their windows games easier.
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Old 4th December, 2008, 08:43 PM
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I liked your post funnyperson....how likely do you see the improvements to desktop that you've outlined coming about?
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Old 4th December, 2008, 09:41 PM
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Well QT and GTK+ seem to be playing better together, at least superficially. Projects like this: QGtkStyle makes KDE apps fit in with GNOME are steps in the right direction.

The freedesktop.org project seemed promising when it was introduced, but it doesn't seem like its going anywhere. Any fundemental unification of the underlying QT/GTK frameworks is doubtful, and would have to come from the Xorg side imho.

RedHAT won't change their package management and file system layout since there is too much monetary investment in it, and the "non-enterprise" Linux vendors (Debian, Gentoo, etc.) have too much idealogical investment. The only hope is some sort of virtualization of package management or a unified package translator that actually works well. The other hope is that a single vendor becomes dominant, forcing software developers to at least have 100% support for that (this is why I root for Ubuntu).
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Old 5th December, 2008, 03:07 PM
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To be honest, does it matter what the file system layout is? Instead, perhaps a standardized API to hide file system differences would make more sense?

As far as virtualization of package management - isn't that what PackageKit is trying to do?
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Old 6th December, 2008, 01:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Áedán View Post
To be honest, does it matter what the file system layout is? Instead, perhaps a standardized API to hide file system differences would make more sense?

As far as virtualization of package management - isn't that what PackageKit is trying to do?
I agree that a standardized package api to hide file system differences would make a lot of sense. I was seeing this as a virtualization issue where some sort of distro-specific translation layer provides a standardized filesystem view to the package manager. Of course the same thing could be achieved more elegantly by creating a standard api to notify a package manager of the intricacies of the distro's filesystem and configuration details.

I wasn't aware of the packagekit project. It seems very promising but from what I understand, they are focused more on the interface side. They are adressing the problem of every distro having their own package management interface rather than the problem of every distro having their own incompatible packages. This is still an important problem to solve and I hope that they are picked up as the default package management interface by a big distro or two(Debian/Ubuntu, RedHat/Fedora, or SUSE).
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Old 6th December, 2008, 07:11 AM
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I rather like Gentoo's Portage package manager; I gather there have been efforts to port it to other environments. The USE flags provide a really nice way to tailor the system, and the dependency management seems to work really well, also (much better than what I've experienced with RPM, although the newer YUM seems to address many of the RPM deficiencies).

Debian's APT seems to work pretty nicely as well.

But yeah, a standardized packaging method that could be implemented across all of the various package managers and doesn't completely suck really needs to be created.

Unfortunately, that also requires a standardized way of describing package capabilities so that a package properly identify whether its dependencies exist on a given system or not.

Just consider what happens if you need to have your program send e-mail: you can program to the SendMail spec, and have a pretty fair idea that your application will be able to send e-mail on most systems, but how do you specify the dependency? Some systems will have SendMail installed, but others will have PostFix, while still others might have sSMTP or Femail. ALL of these packages implement the basic SendMail functionality, but the package manager has to be smart enough that the package can specify a dependency for a 'SendMail compatible interface' WITHOUT having to specify "I can use SendMail, PostFix, sSMTP, or Femail".
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