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Linux's iPod Generation Gap 533

An anonymous submittor says "Today's young generation can use Linux on the desktop provided it works with their iPod. Linux on the desktop still hasn't reached that stage and has to be compatible with multimedia applications like iTunes and iPod if it has to beat Microsoft's Windows dominance on the desktop. Open source gurus at LinuxWorld discuss solutions to make Linux more consumer-friendly."
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Linux's iPod Generation Gap

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  • by cagle_.25 ( 715952 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @05:55PM (#15930508) Journal
    ...with the article summary, which implies that Linux is going to have to "be compatible" with technology X in order to appeal to the masses. In point of fact, if Linux adopts that strategy it will *never* appeal to the masses, because it will always be catching up.

    The only way to have significant appeal is to offer something that the masses want, that Windows can't. Hint: rock-solid security is not something the masses *want*. Yet.
  • by mr_shifty ( 202071 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @05:55PM (#15930509) Homepage
    Ditto here. I plug my Archos Gmini into my laptop, which is running Slackware, and I drag and drop music onto it, no problem.

    No goofy drivers, no 3rd party software, no arcane commands. It just works.

    Apple puts out a proprietary, defective-by-design consumer electronics product and won't port the required software to platforms other than Mac OS or Windows and it's somehow a Linux shortcoming?


    I'm confused.
  • iPod != iTunes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by peter_gzowski ( 465076 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @05:57PM (#15930529) Homepage
    Well, what do you want? Do you want to be able to throw your music on your iPod? You can do through a number of applications, although I find Amarok's new versions (>= 1.4.1) are the most seamless way to do that. I use my 4th generation 40GB iPod exclusively through Linux, and have had minor issues (had trouble getting rid of that "Do Not Disconnect" message in Mandriva/PCLinuxOS, that's about it), but no show-stoppers. As far as iTunes, I haven't tried to pull down music from the music store. I'm assuming it's not possible right now.

    I find the summary deceiving. To pose the question, "does Linux work with my iPod?" and then answer "no, it hasn't reached that stage yet" is not giving a true picture. If someone asked me that question, I would say "yes, mostly" and then get them to clarify what they wanted to do.
  • by DrDitto ( 962751 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @05:59PM (#15930542)
    Why is this modded as a "Troll"? Post makes complete sense to me. I'm back to Windows XP after using Linux on the desktop for several years...heck, I first installed Linux in 1994. And yes, part of the reason is that I don't care anymore and just want to use things like my iPod without trouble.
  • Ipod? That's easy! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by common middle name ( 657525 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @05:59PM (#15930543)
    Pretty much every media player for Linux supports the ipod. Amarok, Rhythmbox, Banshee, etc, etc. Not to mention gtkpod! AFAIK every mainstream distro compiles the proper support into the kernel for usb or firewire support as well as VFAT/HFS file system support. The ipod should be pretty much plug and play on any modern Linux distro.

    At the very least the title of the article is misleading BS.
  • by coaxial ( 28297 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @06:09PM (#15930623) Homepage
    Apple puts out a proprietary, defective-by-design consumer electronics product and won't port the required software to platforms other than Mac OS or Windows and it's somehow a Linux shortcoming?

    It is when that's the mp3 player people want to use.

    Users come first. It's just that simple.
  • DRM (Score:4, Insightful)

    by linguae ( 763922 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @06:10PM (#15930638)

    Remember that Apple's iTunes music is encoded with its DRM. So you cannot legally play iTunes-encoded music on the iPod.

    Linux will remain behind of commercial OSes in the realm of media, not because it is Linux, but becuase of DRM.

  • by kfg ( 145172 ) * on Thursday August 17, 2006 @06:14PM (#15930668)
    . . .[Linux] will always be catching up.

    Ironically, this is because Windows and OSX are plots to take over the world; whereas Linux is just an operating system.

  • by arose ( 644256 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @06:15PM (#15930685)
    It's been years, and there is still no msi-get.
  • by dysfunct ( 940221 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @06:18PM (#15930715)
    > Linux is *not* user friendly

    It actually is. It's just picky who it calls its friend, which in my opinion is a good thing.

    > [...] or the installer will dump core.

    I prefer this to a message box which kindly informs me that "Error -178" has happened without further details. I also once tried to get an iPod working on Windows on a friend's computer. I have very extensive Windows troubleshooting experience but after 6 hours of troubleshooting still could not figure out the problem. A reinstall mysteriously helped. Long story short, when things fail my operating system allows me to deeply trouble shoot every aspect of it. When the shit hits the fan I want to be able to open the fan to remove the mess.
  • Bread and games (Score:2, Insightful)

    by steincastle ( 995168 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @06:32PM (#15930814)
    Bring me games to Linux and Vista will go away. Unless you do that I am buying Vista and MSFT.
  • Not just ipods (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Colin Smith ( 2679 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @06:38PM (#15930848)
    BTW, don't they just plug in and appear as a drive? Anyway...

    It's all the peripherals. Your ipod, palm, nokia, cameras etc syncing with the calendar, todo, email, files etc. The problem isn't actually with Linux, it's with closed proprietary protocols. Saying the problem is with Linux is naive, the problem is with standardisation and with peripheral manufacturers writing software which works on several platforms. Its really an economic problem rather than a technical one.

  • by techno-vampire ( 666512 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @06:40PM (#15930866) Homepage
    Until then, I guess we'll keep seeing "XXXX app is what linux needs to be on the desktop" articles...

    Even more to the point, as long as there's even one app running on MS or Mac that isn't on Linux, the naysayers and fanbois will claim that Linux isn't ready for the desktop because of that one app. No matter how good Linux is, how much better its stability and security, how many apps there are for it, as long as the fanbois can point to one thing that isn't duplicated to their satisfaction, they'll continue to claim it's not ready yet.

    Linux is ready for the desktop, right now. It's ready for Aunt Minnie because Aunt Minnie isn't going to be installing her own software on Linux anymore than she is on Windows. What it isn't ready for is the MS/Mac zealots, but then, it never will be because they have no desire to change, nor to admit there even is a viable alternative to their favorite OS.

  • I don't think anyone is really asking for support for M4P (those would be the encrypted, DRMed files purchased from the iTunes Media Store) files on Linux. Everyone realizes, I think, that there's no way to do DRM with open-source software, and frankly I think this is a Good Thing.

    However, people use iTunes and iPods for a lot more than DRMed music. There is this tendency here on Slashdot to assume that everyone who uses iTunes or owns an iPod has purchased lots of music for it from the iTMS. This is not true, and in fact is provably wrong. The vast majority of music on most people's portable devices and in their music libraries, comes from ripped CDs (or from peer to peer).

    Linux would be doing well if it could just come up with a library management program that was as good as iTunes is, and it would be doing better than iTunes if it made it as easy to download music OFF of the iPod as it is to put it on. (That is, to do the magical and frightening-to-media-companies "reverse syncronization.")

    iTunes had a large userbase long before the Music Store existed: it gained popularity (back when it was a Mac-only program) because it has a good interface for managing a lot of songs and playlists. I have yet to see (although if someone wants to point one out I'd be interested) a Linux application that is the equal of it. All the Linux programs seem to assume that the OS' file browser is the best way to manage music, and that small single-purpose tools should be used to do syncronization or updating.

    I remember what managing a large MP3 collection was like before nice library management programs were developed to automatically sort files into folders by Artist/Album, and it sucked. The file browser--even a good general-purpose browser (like Konqueror)--is not the tool for this job.

    While this is very true to the "UNIX way," it's not what people want. People want big, monolithic, do-everything applications. They want something that's a media player, a library manager, a file uploader, an ID3 tag editor, and a portable-device-syncronization manager. If you could build a BitTorrent client and P2P browser into that at the same time, that would be great, too.

    iTunes isn't good because of the Music Store, it's good despite it. There is a huge, gaping hole that the Linux community could fill if people desired to, for a program that's BETTER than iTunes: one that works seamlessly with the iPod but also works with other music stores (non-DRMed ones:, eMusic, etc., plus free sources), and doesn't shy away from features because it would piss off music companies (sharing/streaming of music, true bidirectional syncronization).

    Apple's software is hobbled by the company's relationship with the media companies and the necessity of flogging their own music store, not strengthened by it. It means that they have to produce crippled software, which doesn't do everything that it could otherwise. The FOSS community could run circles around iTunes; heck, they could make the closest thing that Linux has to a 'killer app' for home users. Going on about DRM is just a red herring; only a very few people can afford to buy large quantities of music from iTMS anyway, the great majority wouldn't be stopped by that from moving to a clearly superior piece of software, if one existed. To my knowledge, it does not. And that's why iTunes reigns supreme.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17, 2006 @06:47PM (#15930901)
    The important concept to bear in mind when discussing software issues with Linux apologists is the "Linux Fault Threshold". Clever use of this concept helps you to avoid losing your temper with someone who might actually be able to render practical help, while ensuring that you give the correct dose of venom (60cc of scorpion juice, administered per anem with a rusty syringe) to the vast crowd of mindless apologists who just want you to use their pet operating system because it makes them feel good and gives them something to boast about on Slashdot. I provide this as a service to all the blind, alcoholic, incontinent grandmothers out there who appear to be installing Linux without any trouble if the Slashdot comments on any article remotely related to user interface design are to be believed.

    The Linux Fault Threshold is the point in any conversation about Linux at which your interlocutor stops talking about how your problem might be solved under Linux and starts talking about how it isn't Linux's fault that your problem cannot be solved under Linux. Half the time, the LFT is reached because there is genuinely no solution (or no solution has been developed yet), while half the time, the LFT is reached because your apologist has floundered way out of his depth in offering to help you and is bullshitting far beyond his actual knowledge base. In either case, a conversation which has reached the LFT has precisely zero chance of ever generating useful advice for you; it is safe at this point to start calling the person offering the advice a fucking moron, and basically take it from there. Here's an example taken from IRC logs to help you understand the concept.

    <jsm> Why won't my fucking Linux computer print?
    <linuxbabe> what printer r u using?
    <jsm> I don't know. It's a Hewlett Packard desktop inkjet number
    <linuxbabe> hewlett r lamers. they dont open source drivers [LFT closely approached!]
    <linuxbabe> but we reverse engineered them lol. check the web. or ask hewlett for linux suuport??[but avoided, he's still talking about the problem]
    <jsm> Thanks. I already did that. But I can't install the drivers on my fucking computer. I've got a floppy disk from HP, but my floppy drive is a USB drive and Linux doesn't have fucking USB support.
    <linuxbabe> linux DOES have USB support!!!!!!
    <jsm> yeh for fucking infrared mice, and for about a thousand makes of webcam it does. Get real here. For my fucking floppy disk drive, I am telling you through bitter experience it does not. Even if someone has written the drivers in the last week
    <jsm> which I sincerely doubt, how the hell am I going to install them given that my floppy drive doesnt work?????
    <jsm> this ought to be in the kernel. what good is a fucking operating system that doesnt operate?
    <linuxbabe> Imacs dont have floppy drives at all [useless point, but not LFT. All apologists make pointless jabs at other OSs]
    <linuxbabe> so you ought to be greateful that Linux does. drivers like that shouldn't be bundled in the kernel
    <linuxbabe> makes it into fucking M$ bloatware. bleh
    <linuxbabe> download drivers from the web!!!! apt-get is your friend
    <jsm> So everyone keeps telling me. Unfortunately the fucking modem doesn't work under Linux either, and since the Linux installation destroyed Windows, that leaves me kind of fucked.
    <linuxbabe> Linux doesnt destroy windows
    <jsm>mandrake installer does. It "resized" my Windows partition and now the fucker won't work
    <linuxbabe> you shuold have defragmented. windows scatters data all over your hard drive so the installer cant just find a clean chunk to install into. it isn't linux fault [distinct signs of LFT being approached]
    <linuxbabe> that windoze disk management blows
    <jsm> so why doesn't my fucking modem work?
    <linuxbabe> what computer hav u got
  • by cmbondi ( 974579 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @06:51PM (#15930925)
    After beta testing Windows Vista I realized it was time to get off the sinking ship so I tried various flavors of Linux including Ubuntu which was actually the most usable linux distro I have ever played with. But I still don't consider linux a serious option for desktop users who don't want to spend a bunch of time tinkering with their systems. I've been an IT professional for over 8 years and I am not unfamiliar with unix/linux and I still found linux to be a frustrating experience, I could get it to work but it was an unecessary pain in the ass. For me I've switch to the Mac as a compromise for now. Linux is GREAT on the server side but it still has a long way to go on the desktop but the opportunity is now especially given what a piece of shit Vista is. However I think in the end it will likely be Apple that will be come out on top.....
  • Why appeal? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MagicAlex84 ( 991508 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @06:56PM (#15930952)
    Why does Linux have to appeal to anyone but the people who use it? I thought that was the whole point. If you don't feel like paying for software then you've either got to write it yourself or wait for someone to give it to you (or steal it, but that's another topic). And this is exactly what the Linux community has done; as many people here have pointed out you can use an iPod in Linux (to say nothing of using Linux on an iPod). So the majority of people find using Linux to be too difficult? So what? They can just pay for a simpler OS that does work for them. It's like paying someone to clean your house, wash your car, make you food, or any number of services, and if you're someone who's not willing to pay for those services then you either have to do them yourself, or find someone who will do it voluntarily (or to enslave).
  • by Almahtar ( 991773 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @07:02PM (#15931000) Journal
    I can't stand iTunes. Nobody I know uses it, and most of them have iPods. I would use Amarok whether or not I had an iPod (I don't, actually), but I know *nobody* that uses iTunes for any reason other than to work with their iPod. Amarok has strengths iTunes never will have, and that makes you, sir, very wrong.

    The only functionality that you listed that Amarok is missing is buying music - a pretty nonvital and trivial to implement feature. I'd be ready to wake you up when it's implemented, but I think you enjoy your nap more than reality. Sweet dreams.
  • by Kennon ( 683628 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @07:08PM (#15931032) Homepage
    Well you can wake me up when iTunes displays song lyrics on the fly, pulls up Wikipedia entries on the artist, sorts music in a sane manner, does not phone home on your music collection for an "enhanced" buying experience, is fully skinable so you can get rid of that 1900 Ford mentality of "They can have it look however they want as long as it is this shitty minimalist skin", and supports ALL the music file formats i want to use like .ogg

    And I wouldn't brag about iTunes music store as a feature considering they don't even really sell YOU a song...With their permission you are granted the right to listen to their music on a limited number of computers.

    Oh and did I mention that it's memory footprint is about 1/4 of iTunes?

    Oh and did I mention that it KICKS the llamas ass?
  • If this is really a deal-breaker for that many people (and I really don't think that it would be, if the alternative to iTunes was that clearly superior), then it seems like the easiest solution would be to put a feature in the Linux software that would act as an analog audio recorder.

    Simply connect a patch cable from your Windows PC or Mac running iTunes to your Linux box (or you could do it all in software by running iTunes in a Virtual Machine), fire up your "Purchased Music" playlist, and the Linux machine could record it all to a DRM-free format, and maybe even break it into individual files (using Auto Gain Control). There are probably even ways that you could use the XML file which iTunes happily exports for you in order to input the metadata for the new un-DRMed files.

    Or you could just instruct people to burn their purchased music out to a CD-RW, and import it from that. Again, you could use the iTunes Library to get metadata for the songs, so from a user's perspective it would be basically seamless.

    Sure, there would be quality loss, but for people who find 128kbit MP3s acceptable, I doubt it would be noticeable.

    And of course there's always the "nuclear option," which is to develop a lossless de-DRMer for iTMS-purchased files. If it was made as a plugin and distributed only on non-US servers, it wouldn't contaminate the rest of the suite legally, and that would pretty much take care of it. Naturally you'd have to commit to an ongoing cat-and-mouse game with Apple, since assumedly they'd change the file format at every opportunity, but they're limited by needing to be compatible with iPods.

    As deal-breaking problems go, that one's pretty minor. If I can think of three possible solutions in five minutes, there are probably many others that haven't even occured to me.
  • by joe 155 ( 937621 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @07:17PM (#15931087) Journal
    you pretty much summed up my feelings on this topic, thanks. I'd mod you up but alas, no mod points. It is the iPod's fault.

    My mp3 player actually works better on Linux than on windows - maybe people should just buy different ones... and I also feel a little like we should just stop worrying about the fact that not a lot of people use linux. I say good. Let windows keep getting all the viruses and the crap DRM and adware (I know linux is technically stronger as well as implemented better but I do think popularity does play a part). If someone comes up to me and says "my system is knacked because of malware/drm etc... I've lost everything" they'll get handed a whole pile of smug.
  • by twitter ( 104583 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @07:19PM (#15931096) Homepage Journal
    iTunes lets one painlessly burn, share, listen to and buy music.

    You are so suckered by the music industry. iTunes gives you DRM garbage without long term credibility. It's a step backward from analog, except for convenience of play. Free media is technically superior and easier to use than non free.

    Burn? Why? CDs are an input and an archive. I save my wavs as gziped tar archives and play them as oggs.

    Amazingly enough, I can buy CDs and listen to my music with Amarok. Reasonable services will sell you FLAC without DRM. Reasonable bands let you trade their concerts without charge. iTunes does not live up to the Amarok + Wikipedia + Lyrics experience, nor is it's database as good. As time goes by, the gap in quality will widen.

    As usual, non free is getting it's ass kicked and people are routing around it. Artist and users are getting a better deal elsewhere. When they fold and leave you without a key to what you purchased, you will understand why the deal was raw to begin with. I've digitized my parents and my grandparents music collections and will be able to give them to my kids. I'm not buying into something that will prevent that. Your player won't last forever, but the music and the culture it represents should.

  • by mbirkis ( 941091 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @07:20PM (#15931098) Journal
    I also see it kind of like the chicken and the egg problem...
    If Linux were more popular among the desktop users, sellers of cool/popular gadgets would be forced to make an effort to support it. So in order to make this problem go away, more people need to use Linux, and Linux needs more support for the stuff to appeal to the masses...
    Not easy is it?
  • by johneee ( 626549 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @07:22PM (#15931112)
    Except what they're talking about here is not another piece of "every bit of hardware in existance", it's the single most popular music player on the market, and probably the most ubiquitous peripheral out there right now.

    It's like the day I tried to install Linux and it wouldn't write to my data disc which was formatted in NTFS. No, it's not Linux's fault, but it made me go, "oh well, it would've been nice, but it's too much bother". A reaction that I promise you is more common than any other.
  • by Brunellus ( 875635 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @07:27PM (#15931147) Homepage

    I have concluded that "Linux isn't ready for the desktop" rants like TFA and "This is the Year of Linux on the Desktop" raves are both equally irrelevant, because they both miss the point.

    If an attractive, usable desktop environment with excellent multimedia capabilities were what it took to make a desktop computing platform dominant, I wouldn't be typing this comment from my Windows box at work. We'd all be using Amigas. The /. Macolytes will argue that we all would have been (and still should be) using Apple Macintoshes of one description or other. Let's review, though: the Amiga is on the dustbin of history. The Mac soldiers along, but for all its "Volkskomputer" propaganda, only a relatively small proportion of relatively affluent Macolytes ever use them.

    What dominated the desktop? What made the Personal Computer a commodity item? Bring yourself to say it: IBM-Compatibles running MS-DOS. They were ugly and primitive. It were single-user/single-task systems. Keeping one running initiated a user or administrator into the secret world of cryptic command lines and oracular error messages (ABORT, RETRY, FAIL?). It certainly wasn't an attractive platform by any standard now applied....and yet it completely trounced all its competitors. Why?

    Because it was extremely attractive to the sort of person we don't like here on /.--procurement types. It was "good enough," they were "smart enough," and, goshdarnit, the IBM-compatibles ran Lotus 1-2-3! Industry kicked off the massive adoption feedback loop, and, flash forward to the present day, we're all in a Microsoft universe.

    We will leave that universe NOT because the competition offers a compelling, beautiful, secure product that is compatible with the latest Apple blobject. We will leave it when the same hated procurement types start to calculate that the costs of staying in proprietary software outweigh those of running Free software. Once the argument is framed in those terms, the adoption loop will turn again, and people will be forced to use the platform they use at work, at school, or wherever.

    If Linux is or isn't ready for YOU, that's really your decision. But it's pointless to evaluate desktop Linux's chances of mass adoption assuming that the masses will all flock to a better, more secure, and more usable platform without being compelled to do so by some external force.

  • by Blakey Rat ( 99501 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @07:48PM (#15931269)
    Wow, if you think the iPod's interface is awkward... you're in for a very unpleasant surprise when you start trying out other brands. The reason iPods use a DB to track music is that they can load the entire DB in RAM at once and don't have those horrible gaps most MP3 players do while reading and caching new ID3 tags after you add files.
  • by westlake ( 615356 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @08:09PM (#15931372)
    Linux is consumer friendly, what isn't is DRM. Can I get an iPod w/ DRM? Will "Zune" be available without DRM? The consumer needs to be educated about DRM. All DRM does is rob the consumer of his or her fairuse rights. It allows those the mandate it to steal from the unedcuated consumer over and over.

    The uneducated consumer may decide that rental and subscription services works for him. That a one click download of a Rhapsody playlist is a better use of his time than spending hours trolling BT and the P2P nets,

  • by mr_matticus ( 928346 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @08:16PM (#15931402)
    I like how the DRM argument is the strongest one for "iTunes sucks"--as if there is an alternative in the current market. No mainstream app could get off the ground without DRMed files, period. It's just the way it is, and if you don't like the iTunes Music Store, don't use it. Turn off the ministore and ignore the iTMS link and you're done. No phoning home, nothing forced down your throat.

    Amazingly enough, I can buy CDs and listen to my music with iTunes. I agree the lyrics integration of iTunes could use some work, but I don't think Amarok has it right yet, either. Restoring my iTunes library after a hard drive crash is pretty trivial. Amarok, on the other hand...
  • by ATMD ( 986401 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @08:20PM (#15931416) Journal
    Mine's even easier.

    I just plug it into its dock and Amarok recognises it, mounts it and makes it available for transfers automatically. Then I press "Disconnect" and it unmounts AND ejects it, ready to take cycling.

    And Amarok is actually nice to use. gtkpod is *horrible*.
  • by lowe0 ( 136140 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @08:41PM (#15931529) Homepage
    I've got more important things to do than fuck around with my iPod. I want to plug it in, and have it work. Period. I know how to work on my car, but I don't have time to, even though I enjoy it.

    Don't assume that because someone doesn't want to do something, that they can't do it. People aren't babies just beacuse they don't feel the need to make things unnecessarily difficult as part of some bizarre alpha-male chest-beating ritual.
  • by Cid Highwind ( 9258 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @09:09PM (#15931688) Homepage
    If you [] can't find [] a way [] to sync [] your iPod [] with your Linux machine [] you haven't really [] been looking []!

    When will we get to mod articles "-1, Troll"?
  • by DavidTC ( 10147 ) <slas45dxsvadiv.v ... m ['eve' in gap]> on Thursday August 17, 2006 @09:36PM (#15931806) Homepage

    Where the hell are the mods, and why aren't they bitchslapping the people who post incorrect informatnion like this?

    Linux supports iPods just fine. In fact, modern distros support them out of the box, whereas with PCs you have to install iTunes.

    What isn't available for Linux is iTunes, and, hence, Apple won't sell you any music. If you want that, take it up with Apple.

  • by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @09:49PM (#15931865)
    >Time to wake up. Audio on Linux is just as bad as gaming.


    >No major distro supports mp3s by default.

    Wrong. Mandriva/Mandrake does and always has. If, by "suppport", you mean PLAYING mp3 files. Now CREATING mp3 files is not included. That takes all of about 1 min to download and load the lame rpm from PLF.

    >They crash. A Lot

    I have never had Amarok "crash", but I do tend to use xmms the most.

    >Not only that but they rely almost completely on id3 tags, which sucks if your music collection happens to be anything other than ripped from personal CDs or very good quality rips.

    Um, yes, they rely on id3, just like most "jukebox" programs do. So what you are REALLY complaining about is that your illegally downloaded, illegally distributed mp3 files have bad/poor id3 tags? Boo hoo!
  • Re:Bread and games (Score:3, Insightful)

    by killjoe ( 766577 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @09:54PM (#15931888)
    Why will you buy vista, don't your games work on XP?
  • by BlueStraggler ( 765543 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @11:49PM (#15932247)

    Linux is ready for the desktop, right now. [...] What it isn't ready for is the MS/Mac zealots, but then, it never will be because they have no desire to change, nor to admit there even is a viable alternative to their favorite OS.

    I would say that Linux was ready for the desktop ten years ago, and has become LESS useable since then. I am currently running SuSE 10.1, and while it was slightly easier to install than Slack 2, it's a complete mess as far as user interface goes. The old Unix desktop paradigms have fallen by the wayside, and we are left with a dog's breakfast of Windows conventions slowly strangling the older Unix conventions. Ctrl-C for copy?!? Fucking brilliant. Just killed the the app I was copying from. Should have tried Ctrl-Alt-C in that window. Or not, if it's from an office app that uses it's own clipboard, since you won't actually be copying anything to the clipboard you think you're copying to, and you'll end up pasting some random 5K block of text that you copied from somewhere else an hour before.

    Yup, Linux has been ruined by legions of disgruntled Windows users trying to replace their Microsoft shite with something stable. Thanks to their tireless efforts, we've now got Winux. All the badly designed shite that drives you crazy on Windows, but hey at least now it's stable and secure. Fortunately you can still get yourself back to a somewhat consistent Unixy environment after a couple of days of abolishing the atrocities of KDE, Gnome, Firefox, and assorted other crap, but since all the developer effort is going into making that crap even crappier to appeal to the next wave of disgruntled Windows refugees, I don't hold much hope for real advancement in the Linux UI realm.

    Fortunately Apple stepped up to the plate, and provided a genuinely revolutionary step forward in Unix UIs. A lot of us have quietly walked away from Linux desktops in the last 5 years because of Apple. Linux servers are still the shit, so I'm still a fan, but the Linux desktop is hopelessly lost, and IMO has been since Redhat 4 shipped with fvwm95 as the default window manager.

  • by blueZ3 ( 744446 ) on Friday August 18, 2006 @09:20AM (#15933966) Homepage
    that if you're going to attempt to be a Linux apologist, you should try and actually help the folks who are having problems, rather than insisting that they are the problem. The GP is right, I come across this attitude all the time. Indeed, when I first installed Linux a couple years ago, I did it despite the general community of obnoxious "you are so not the haxor"-geeks, not because of them.

    There are two side to this: the clueless noobs who want Linux to be just like Windows (which means, essentially, self-configuring or trivially configurable) and the self-proclaimed Linux Uber-geeks, who insist that everyone should be able to figure out obscure, undocumented command-line configurations by trial and error. This is a problem both with Linux itself and with many applications written for Linux.

    I really like Linux. I have a Fedora box running at work, a Ubuntu box at home, and another box at home waiting to be converted to some other distro. Nevertheless, the truth is that Linux is not (generally speaking) as easy to use as Windows in terms of either hardware or software configuration. Until we admit that this is a problem for widespread adoption, it's going to continue to be difficult to convince people that Linux is just as good as Windows even though we know that in many ways it is actually even better. One way to make this better (aside from actually coding things to be easier to work with) is to offer support to people who are interested in using Linux.

    New users are turned off when they attempt to dip a toe into the waters of Linux and discover that not only is the water much colder than they are used to, but there are obnoxious children splashing everyone, insisting that the water is warm and it's the new user that's the wrong temp.

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger