This is a very illustrative video, worth spending a few minutes on if you are new to this topic like I am.
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It might get in the way of computer geeks like you, but won't get the way of most regular computer users.
In 12.04, there is a clever mechanism that prevents the launcher from being exposed accidentally. In order to expose the launcher, you have to move the mouse cursor to the left edge, and then sort of press against the edge a bit more. This prevents a single mouse motion, such as the one you do to reach the browser back button from activating the launcher.
I've been using it for a while now (on beta releases) and it works really well. With older versions, the launcher behavior was quite annoying, Now it's a real pleasure to use.
Well son, my first install was SLS on a 486 (from a bunch of 3.5" floppies) and it ran a pre-1.0 kernel. My first Debian install was also pre-1.0. I kept upgrading a Debian system for longer than 10 years, moving it from computer to computer and from hard disk to hard disk as technology advanced (and money allowed) without ever reinstalling it. I finally ditched it in favor of Ubuntu, and don't regret it at all. I don't want to fiddle with the computer anymore, I want to use it and that's what Ubuntu allows me to do. And, for the record, Unity is not perfect, but isn't an abomination either as many people here want to believe, and I'm currently happily using it on two machines, one netbook and one regular desktop.
Now, please draw your own conclusions from this as well...
Does the "average" user who picks up a washing machine expect it to be capable of more than what it does out of the box? Does the "average" user who picks up a frying pan expect it to be capable of more than what it does out of the box? Does the "average" user who picks up a screwdriver expect it to be capable of more than what it does out of the box?
The answer is a big "no". Now, people here will tell me that computers are way more flexible than washing machines, frying pans and screwdrivers. For a motivated tinkerer with proper mechanical and/or electrical abilities, though, washing machines, frying pans and screwdrivers may appear as full of interesting alternative uses as computers appear to us. So this is not the point, either.
Most people aren't looking for flexibility, and they'll happily will trade it for ease of use and convenience as soon as they can.
...and because apt-get install gimp isn't too great a hurdle for anyone who does need it.
or opening the "Ubuntu Software Center", typing GIMP in the search box, and pressing the "Install" button, just in case you don't feel so comfortable with command line.
You're right! If Venezuela were to attack Columbia, Columbia would wipe the floor with Venezuela, that's for sure! On the other hand, if they were to attack Colombia things may turn out to be different.
Still, as a Colombian (that is, from Bogotá, not from Washington) I think this is a very unlikely event. Chávez barks very often about deploying his shiny new war toys against Colombia, but reality is that nobody knows how long he'd be able to keep his war gear running, given the current sad state of Venezuela's finances. But probably the main reason why a war wouldn't make any sense is that Colombia and Venezuela share their history and culture to a large extent. We have really no reason to atack each other, and Chávez's delusions of grandeur aren't going to change this.
People like you, who obviously seem to have fun at dealing with things such as ALSA, nVidia drivers, Ratpoison, FreeBSD, upstart, fstab, disk mounting, and GRUB won't probably like Ubuntu. People who don't want to deal with such things, will probably like Ubuntu, because it does a decent job of hiding the technical details from them in such a way that they can actually use the system. So, what you seem to perceive as a lack of transparency in the system design, is deliberate and seen by many as a feature instead of as a defect.
It isn't simply a matter of people being superficially drawn to a "nice shiny Gnome". It's actually that they want to use their computer without having to understand the gory technical details of the software installed in it.
If a dictator is a miserable failure, thats OK too, since its all open source it just works.
This doesn't sound like my actual experience with Debian (yes, back in the days, I used to be a Debian maintainer). Doing anything that requires several packages to be modified in a consistent fashion was always very hard, because a single maintainer who didn't like the idea or who simply wasn't responsive enough was able to stop the whole effort on its tracks. As a government model, Debian looks a lot more like a feudal system, with a myriad of lords who are absolute rulers in their tiny feuds, and who only owe some symbolic allegiance to a distant, and often not very powerful king. Making any significant changes in such a country is of course very difficult, and even traveling there could become a real problem.
I once wanted to help Debian become a serious desktop distribution, but for the reasons I mentioned above, this proved to be an exercise in frustration. I ended up becoming inactive as a maintainer and finally moved to Ubuntu as soon as it became available. I haven't looked back ever since.
Of course you aren't ever allowed to say any thing wrong about Ubuntu or Canonical after all the times they have virtually claimed to have invented Linux from scratch.
Global variables, lack of namespaces and block scopes are nuances that can be worked around with proper coding practices and a good understanding of the language.
Great post! If you'd replace "its" by "it's", it'd be perfect...