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I would really love to see an open desktop operating system, like +Ubuntu have a lot more market share. We need a better balance there.
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Waldir Pimenta's profile photoStuart Langridge's profile photoMikael Plate's profile photoAndrew Craucamp's profile photo
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Some vendors have tried a few years ago to sell PC with GNU/Linux, but maybe Linux wasn't really ready then. They should maybe try again.
 
Yes, maybe. It seems like at least Ubuntu has gotten very far now and is perhaps ready for that.
 
+Nikhil Krishna Nope, had no idea, but that's great! My mother had an old laptop with Ubuntu for years too, and I have never had to give her as little support as I did then.
 
I agree. (Well, obviously I would.) So, people reading this post: are you using Ubuntu already? If you're not, can you talk about what's in your way? If you haven't tried Ubuntu for a while (or ever), you may find http://www.ubuntu.com/tour interesting to get a sense of what Ubuntu can do for you.
 
+Stuart Langridge Well, I've been using Ubuntu at home (a destktop and an rather old netbook) for years. Everything is fine, as well as for my wife and kids, not techies at all. One of the rare glitches is that it's not so easy to put a shortcut for an app where we want to see it (either the desktop, the Unity "dock" or a menu elsewhere).
 
+Nikhil Krishna Well, Linus is right in regards to peripheral equipment, but also like he says, with more and more things moving to the web and having less dependencies, this will also be less of a problem in the future.
 
IMHO I guess the problem on Linux are mainly two:
# Hardware vendors who don't release drivers' source code and don't support Linux binaries as they do always with Windows and often with Mac
# Games. Yes, part of the digital entertainment platform a PC should be. Again, AAA videogame vendors fault. (Some of them started to address this: http://www.theverge.com/2012/4/25/2973484/valve-is-developing-steam-for-linux-says-michael-larabel-of-phoronix and http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2012/05/ea-games-arrive-in-the-ubuntu-software-center/
 
+Stuart Langridge haha, nice point, thanks $deity that Apple don't have many AAA games... they would, not only surpassed Windows, but took over the world ;-)
 
+Stuart Langridge So, I hesitated whether to discuss it here or not…
But, for the sake of openness, here goes:

My main operating system is Mac OS X and I run Ubuntu through a virtual machine (for testing, playing etc). What I do like about Mac OS X, and iOS as an extension, of that, is that they offer a consistent user experience with a good design.

No, I don't share their values about being closed in, proprietary formats etc, but I think they have succeeded quite well with the combination of nice hardware and a good user experience. And, I can use a terminal to hack the things I want.

My experiences with Ubuntu - and this might have changed over time - is that there were a few annoyances:

- Remembering window position. I know there have been endless discussions about remembering a window's position and dimensions when it's being closed and that it's up to each application, but I really don't agree with that. I believe, in the name of the consistency, that the OS should handle that.
- Previously, for upgrading Firefox for the entire operating system you either had to wait for Ubuntu including it or doing some trickery. This should of course be as easy as possible for any web browser (as far as I know, though, this is ok now?).
- There's always this thing of running into a weird problem where the only option is to fix it through a terminal. I'm generally good with that, if I get instructions, but it doesn't work for "normal" users.
- Connecting computers with Ubuntu to projectors, for presentation, often seems to trigger some weird behavior and problems (mostly what I see happen to others). As a speaker, naturally this is something that frightens me.
- I could never find a good client for social media, like Twitter. Suggestions welcome!

On the plus side, I do like the Ubuntu Software Centre, Ubuntu One and moves like that. I definitely like the values.

Do you have a suggestion for a good laptop to run Ubuntu that matches MacBook Air, when it comes to size, speed (SSD), design and price?

(I'm sure I forgot lots of things, but let's keep the discussion going!)
 
I installed Ubuntu 11 on my ThinkPad T520 through Wubi and had issues with it locking up, my upgrade to 12.04 screwed up thanks largely to messing about on it while it was upgrading (I think). Installed 12.04 as a separate install and that is working much better. My advice would be to not use Wubi (the in windows install).

Some good and bad points follow.

Ubuntu detects my extra monitor fine and everything works really snappily. It's fast, stable and I haven't pimped out my system - just 4GB RAM for example. Also boots fast.

I'm not sure I have the correct NVidia graphics drivers but it doesn't seem to be a problem. (I'm not running games and WebGL works just fine). However the Web Audio API in Chrome does exhibit glitches - I'm not sure if that is Chrome or Ubuntu - ie lack of correct drivers.

Also it may sound stupid but since I use my OS all day it's important to me, certain aspects of the user interface could do with some love.

- The file manager is not as nice as OSX's - I think it's the folder icons mostly (especially in list view).

- Display window content windows while resizing is off by default, and it is not obvious how to turn it on. It's useful to have this when testing websites. Once activated you can see why they turned it off.

- The app launcher feels basic, oh and why can't I have it on the right hand side?

Software-wise I don't miss much:

- Gimp is getting better - certainly usable for what I want to do.

- SublimeText works just fine

- No decent Twitter clients but I'm happily using the web site now

On the whole though I'm very glad I made the switch from OSX, there's a bit of a learning curve, sure, but I feel more in control for what I have learned and it's nice to use Open Source software :)
 
Well I use a Mac as well - I have a Macbook as my work laptop. In addition to the points +Robert Nyman makes, I also like the battery life that I can get from it. Again, I use the terminal most of the time, but for the times I am not on a terminal I like the consistent interface.

I have an Ubuntu desktop at home, that I use sort of as my media server and file backup. I also use it a lot as my Virtual Box server for testing IE on windows. I liked the 10.10 version - it was pretty stable and worked for me so well that I skipped the entire 11.0 version of Ubuntu. I recently downloaded the 12.04 version and am playing with the Unity and Gnome Shell interfaces.

The biggest thing I like about Ubuntu over Windows, Mac and even other linux distros is the software center and apt-get. The apt-get package manager is awesome and there is a package available for every version of almost any software library that supports Linux.
 
+Robert Nyman that's a really interesting list! I'll try and offer some thoughts below. My primary one, though, is this: check out the machine you're going to run Ubuntu on before you make the big shift over. My laptop, for example, is stone cold perfect with projectors -- never had a single problem. Not all machines are like that; some are better supported than others. It's similar to how you can make one of those "Hackintoshes" if you want -- install OS X on some random Dell machine -- but if the projector didn't work in that environment no-one would blame OS X. Ubuntu is similar; http://www.ubuntu.com/certification/ lists actually Certified hardware, and if you want something not on that list (the list tends to lag behind the leading edge of laptop releases) then talk to other people who own one about whether it works, rather than just booting Ubuntu and then saying "it doesn't work" afterwards :)

Right, on to your list!

Remembering window positions: yeah. I'd like this, too. Ubuntu used to do it, but not very well, and so it was removed. I've asked (http://askubuntu.com/questions/140657/remembering-window-positions-in-ubuntu-12-04) whether there's a way to do this in modern Ubuntu.

Firefox upgrades: not a problem. You can even get totally brand new releases, or even nightly builds, from a "PPA" -- the term for a custom Ubuntu repository for particular bits of software. So you can be as up-to-date as you want.

Fixing stuff in the terminal: anything that requires you to drop to the terminal to fix something is a bug. However (and this is the important point): not everyone in the Ubuntu community agrees with me on that point. So what you get if you ask questions, sometimes, is a bunch of "here's how to fix it in the terminal", but that does not mean that that's the best or only way to fix something -- it's a question of the quality of your assistant, not the quality of Ubuntu itself. Touchy subject, this one, as you can imagine. :)

Presentations: see above. If you've got well-supported hardware it's just perfect.

Decent twitter client (and to +Mark Boas too): I, personally, like Polly, which is only available in a PPA currently rather than in Ubuntu Software Centre.

Good laptop to run Ubuntu: a good question. I like my Lenovo Ideapad U300s, but I wouldn't recommend it to other Ubuntu users, because there were some hardware support problems -- they're now fixed, but I'm not sure if the fixes are part of a released Ubuntu 12.04 yet. The Thinkpad X1 gets a lot of love from people I know (I personally don't like the look of Thinkpads, though). Dell's Project Sputnik (http://www.theverge.com/2012/5/7/3006266/dell-project-sputnik-ubuntu-xps-13-developers), announced at the Ubuntu Developer Summit by +Mario Limonciello and others, sounds very promising indeed. :)

+Mark Boas I'm not sure what "the launcher feels basic" means...
 
I used to use Ubuntu, which has worked very well on all machines I've used it on. After Ubuntu switched UI to Unity, I switched to Mint (which is based on Ubuntu). Mac users may find Unity familiar. For example the Alt+Tab switching works the same (annoying) application centric way as it does on a Mac.
 
Hey everybody,
This look interesting, so let me take part in it.

I have used OSX for an year, I miss it since then. But, I need a work machine, so I got a laptot wit Ubuntu installed on it.

Before 12.04 I had lots of problems with it, especially withy Unity. Many of these have gone away with the latest LTS which made me so happy :) i even considerred the idea of not getting a mac anymore.

Most of the problems have gone, like:
- touchpad precision problems
- user interface bad design (like window title and the bar on the top of the screen were both visible whe window is maximised)
- wireless connectivity problems (I never shut it down, always put the pc to sleep, and I always had to disconnect, to be able to connect to a wireless network)

On the other hand, there are still little problems:
- if I mute the sound, it should stay like that untill I change it. Now if I logout, or restart, at login the sound is up again. A reboot at two in the morning is not so pleasant, when working from bed :)
- In the file browser navigation is really uncomfortable on the top-right: all back buttons, in all software, are placed on the top left, I keep looking for itt all the time.
- horizontal scroll is a bit buggy - it triggers right click with touchpad

And, there is one more thing here: is it necesarry to mimic OSX in most of the things? I know OSX is good, but isn't there a better way?
 
I blogged about my disappointment with (specifically) Ubuntu yesteryear: http://www.manuel-strehl.de/var/ranting_about_linux_on_desktop

In a nutshell: Ubuntu forks away from good code to do its own stuff and then doesn't fix the extremely bad bugs as quick as it must. This is my criticism of Unity, basically that they ride on a NIH wave and produce therefore an inferior product.

Second, the issues I had with Ubuntu are not on some extraordinary new, old or arcane hardware. They occurred on:
a) a three year old HP business notebook,
b) a Dell Latitude, where the Canonical website told me it's ok to buy, and
c) one of those rare machines, that Dell sold with Ubuntu preinstalled. As a matter of fact, that's the worst when it comes to upgrades.

When I install Windows or Mac OSX I never experience, e.g., that the "log off" button disappears due to some graphics glitch. Or that I can't start applications, because the Unity finder crashed under the hood. Or that the whole sound system doesn't work, because someone forgot to copy some .ogg files around. Those essential parts all occurred to me in the last 4 years using Ubuntu.

That's what's wrong with Linux on the Desktop: The stable distros (like Debian Squeeze) are out of date in a way, that you can't use them productively (that is, with Gimp, Inkscape, Firefox, LibreOffice, which ordinary people use). The more current distros like Arch, Mandriva and partly Fedora, are not for the faint of heart, and especially not for non.-tech-savvy people. And the one that claimed being "Linux for Human Beings" doesn't get its basic UI stable.

The small silver stripe on the horizon is Linux Mint and Cinnamon for me. I'm using it at work (Debian Edition), and so far makes a good impression and seems not to sacrifice UI stability for fancy new eye candy.

Final Note: Actually, I was quite interested in testing Unity, as I was in testing Gnome 3. I'm open to new things there, but what I see as first priority ever of any UI is stability.
 
Thanks for all the great comments and discussion!

+Sanat Gersappa,

Glad that it's working well for you!

+David Strencsev,

Thanks for the tip. Generally, though, I prefer a separate application for Twitter. In regards to notifications: I know, and hope they will come soon in Firefox. :-)

Some ultrabooks seem nice, but the MacBook Air is REALLY nice so it has to be a very good contender.

+Mark Boas,

Thanks for sharing all your experiences!

+Nikhil Krishna,

Right, battery life is a factor too. And apt-get rocks, simple as that. Sure, you can use brew in mac OS X now, but it's not the same thing.

+Stuart Langridge,

Thanks for taking the time!
When it comes to machines, X1 seems to be the one most people use and like. But as you say, it's not like the look of it got a lot of love from a design point of view. :-)

Too bad about window position - thanks for asking the question and i hope you get some good suggestions!

With Firefox I rather meant that i could always install any version of Firefox I wanted, through PPAs or similar, but that the main one in Ubuntu, for default web browser etc defaulted for the one that got shipped with Ubuntu. But maybe that problem is gone now, haven't tried in a long time.

Excellent point about the terminal, what's a bug and the de facto way people answer questions. I'll keep that in mind!

Martin,

Yes, many people that liked Ubuntu before seem to be, well, reluctant about Unity.

+Eduárd Moldovan,

Thanks for sharing the problems you have had, the ones that have gone away and the ones you still experience. And I agree about mimicking OS X, and we se the same thing with Android and iOS. When you try to copy an experience from something else, but don't do it exactly the same way, it becomes an annoyance to people - there's nothing worse than when things almost work, but not quite.

+Mladen Jablanović,

Good to hear!
And yes, I'm also certain that hardware is one of the biggest hurdles to get right.

+Manuel Strehl,

Thanks for sharing!
Conclusively, what gets you down is UI stability, and perhaps lack of consistency.
 
I've been using Linux on the desktop since '98 or so. Mostly redhat/fedora. Currently on a new dell xps15. The only windows is a VM for testing IE.

Every time I'm put in front of a windows machine I feel boxed in. My experience with windows is always instability, slowness, and the frustration of having to find a point-and-clicky thing since its command line is useless.

There's some hardware I know to avoid such as things like broadcom wireless and certain video cards, etc. Other than that hardware support has gotten much better than it was 5 or 10 years ago.

You could install linux on a raspberry pi, a phone, a laptop, a desktop, a supercomputer cluster, a toaster, almost any CPU architecture. I think the hardware support is pretty good :)
 
+Luis Montes It has gotten A LOT better, definitely! But it just that there can still be these small glitches in support, which can be pretty annoying. :-)
 
+Robert Nyman agreed.

So I'd break the three platforms down without naming names :)

1. Open, but with some small annoyances.
2. Closed, but all around pretty solid.
3. Closed, and with major annoyances, but for some reason popular.

Number 2 isn't a bad compromise. And the better Firefox and Chrome get the less it matters.
 
I forgot one thing: so far, I could not perform a stable Ubuntu distro upgrade. I always got a broken ui/system, or whatever. This is something that should change - no everyday user would start hacking the system in the shell.
This might be caused by big upgrades, maybe smaller package updates should be performed more often.
 
+David Strencsev I thinks it´s not so much more the games then the apps like Photoshop. People who have to use specific apps are lost in Linux
 
Oh, indeed. Adobe not creating its software suite for Linux is a big problem, I very much aggree on that.
 
+Eduárd Moldovan True, also had problems with upgrades recently that required the terminal to fix it
+Jose Santos LibreOffice does cover a good ground there, but I would definitely miss some Adobe products like Photoshop.
 
Gimp 2.8 finally has the single window mode which makes it good enough for most tasks. The only other adobe product that might be useful to me is illustrator, but I've been getting along with Inkscape ok for that.
 
+Luis Montes I disagree Gimp is still far away from the capabilities of Photoshop, however Inkscape is great tool. Bringing at lest Photoshop to Linux would be a game changer
 
+Jose Santos yeah, but we were talking about everyday users, right? I'm not saying that pro graphics designers need to use it over photoshop.
 
+Luis Montes Honestly I´m not shore about that to I user Photoshop a lot to make Website and Apps mock-ups and wen I use Gimp it´s... so much more work to do simple stuff. I think Gimp has great technology it´s just not there jet with the usability. If I had some of the tools of Photoshop in Gimp I would only use Gimp
 
+Andreas Strid Yeah, I've seen that. However, given the track record and my experience at least, I believe Lenovo (former IBM) computers to be more reliable/of higher quality. Your mileage may vary, of course.
 
I have used two Lenovos with Ubuntu and Mint, and they have worked very well. I love the hardware. The keyboard is excellent, and after using it for a while I learned to love the little joystick thing instead of the touchpad.
 
+Martin Vilcans Good to hear! However, don't most Lenovos use a touchpad now instead of a joystick?

Also, your switch from Ubuntu to Mint, is that solely based on the introduction of Unity?
 
+Robert Nyman Not instead of. In addition to. All Lenovos have a joystick AFAIK. My old X31s doesn't have a touchpad, and that may be true for newer laptops in the X series as well.

Yes, I switched to Mint just because of Unity. And because I read that it had become more popular than Ubuntu (which it probably is not).
 
To further clarify: Lenovo Thinkpads have the trackpoint joystick. My U300s (the thin light one, which weighs a little less than the MBA) doesn't.
 
+Stuart Langridge Right, thanks. But those ones need extra tweaking to make them work, so perhaps not the recommended choice?
 
yeah. I am not sure whether the tweaks that were required made it into Ubuntu 12.04 or whether they'll be in 12.04.1, so I'm currently not recommending my laptop (as sad as I am to feel like that).
 
It also seems like there are new models due to be released soon, so that could be a blessing/new problem. :-)
 
indeed yes! These new ones are "Ivy Bridge" rather than "Sandy Bridge", which is Even Better. The Dell people I spoke to are confident in Project Sputnik, which is good; I'd probably be looking at that if I didn't have mine :)
 
Interesting topic BTW. It's important to keep in mind that "PC" isn't a brand. Mac is a brand, but so is Thinkpad.
 
Personally, though, I have more trust in Lenovo computers than Dell. And given Dells history with Linux, I'm not sure they'd be the first ones I trust.
 
+Martin Vilcans Definitely, hence Apple making it much easier for them when the operating system is tied to a certain hardware.
 
That's exactly my point about buying Ubuntu on a machine designed for it, rather than trying to put it on a machine you bought for something else and then being disappointed, I think :)
 
Can't believe this! Saying that it's good to tie a OS to a specific hardware, would be the same as saying it's good that web page can only be viewed in IE (or Chrome, or Safari or whatever). Definitely NOT good.
IMHO it looks like hardware vendors need much more standarisation (kinda W3C) in their interfaces.
 
+David Strencsev I agree. I would very much like hardware manufacturers to fully document all their hardware, and for them to test with Ubuntu before releasing. This is increasingly happening, but it's still nowhere near being standard practice. Until that time comes, people try Ubuntu on hardware that does not support it and then blame Ubuntu for that; I'd like that to not happen, and there are limits to how much I can propose that people have a broken experience but console themselves with the thought that it'll be better for someone else a year from now. That's what I've done with my laptop, sure, because I want people to have beautiful machines with Ubuntu on them, but I'm not a normal person. Normal people should buy machines designed to work with Ubuntu and have a lovely time; people like me should buy untested hardware and fix the bugs in it :)
 
+David Strencsev Well, no one is saying it's good. But, for Apple, it is. It gives them control and makes their job much easier.
 
Still no good! I don't care about Apple, I care about us consumers. Of course it is easier and much more profitable for them (less scope, less work, same more money), but we have to be worried about the amount of control they have and how this affects competition on both hardware and software makers (mind GPL'd software on Mac App Store). There's no consumer choice, there's only Apple choice, they decide rule for you.
 
I think we are starting to mix two things here: bussiness with user needs. They are not the same, in Apple's case, or in any other case. I think it would be a lot more practical to try helping Ubuntu with constructive advice, then convince Apple that they are doing something wrong (from our point of view).
How about trying to get up a usability/ux plan for that open desktop Robert (and actually myself and many, many others) dream of?
 
They're not the same, but they have great influence on each other and the results. But I do agree: best to give feedback about Ubuntu and advice, as I think we've been doing pretty good in this thread.

+Stuart Langridge Do you have more information/insight on the design and experience process for Ubuntu?
 
I do. Design for Ubuntu is primarily led by Canonical's design team, who cover all aspects, but there's also community input -- the https://lists.launchpad.net/unity-design/maillist.html unity-design mailing list, although it's quite quiet at the moment and generally populated by people who want Unity to be different, rather than those who want to help improve it. design.canonical.com has some details about the Canonical design team.
In terms of improving applications in Ubuntu rather than Ubuntu itself... almost any detailed feedback is useful to the creators of those applications. For years there's been "gimp is rubbish compared to photoshop", which I'm quite prepared to believe (I'm not a graphics person), but then the question becomes "OK, what needs to be improved in gimp to make it do what you want" and the response is silence :) So, a good place to start would be to have a list of reasons stopping a given person from moving to Ubuntu, and then look at how each of those reasons could be resolved. We've spent some time here talking about hardware; what else is there?
 
Great, thanks!

For me, when we talk about software, it's:

- UI stability (as covered above by a few people)
- Ensuring that "all" problems can be solved from a UI and not just a terminal
- For most "normal" users I believe lack of Microsoft Office is one thing. Do you know how well the compatibility is with LibreOffice, feature comparison and such?
- The Photoshop thing. Hard to be more detailed here, but I believe many professionals - designers and developers - depend on Photoshop. And each probably on a different feature, so it's hard to pinpoint for Gimp what to do . Is there any talks with Adobe about a port?
- A decent official Twitter client
- And, you know the remembering windows position thing :-)

Those were just off the top of my head, but it's a start.
 
In adition to Robert's list I would mention the sound setting thing: if sound is set to mute, it should stay that way until user changes that, a restart should not change that in any way. And, it should stay mute on the login screen too.
 
+Eduárd Moldovan If the sound settings are saved on a per user basis, then "And, it should stay mute on the login screen" can be tricky...
+David Strencsev "They state that free OS users wouldn't pay for software". I use exclusively Linux at home and have already paid for valuable software. Furthermore I suppose that Adobe's products are often for professionals, and if the the software is good and they need it, they pay for it, regardless the OS they use (sometimes, users even don't know wich OS is running on their PC !).
 
+David Strencsev Thanks for the input on MS Office and LibreOffice.

Regarding Adobe and paying users, I believe +Benoit BAILLEUX is right: if it's good and what they need, especially professionally, they will pay for it.
 
Counterpoint to the MS Office comments above: I've seen very, very few problems these days with opening MS documents. Also, lots of people use Google Docs these days. :)

There is a larger thing, here, though. Take the above example about muting. I can see how that's really quite annoying. However; those of you on a Mac were presumably Windows users at some point (those of you who have been Mac users since 1984 can ignore this). If the Mac didn't mute stuff properly, would you honestly have stayed with Windows? I am worried that providing a list of little niggles is missing the forest for the trees (and I know I asked for said list, above). Ubuntu is not the Mac, and it's not Windows; the Mac is not Windows. Some stuff is worse, some stuff is better, some stuff is different. It seems like (and this is going to sound offensive, which it isn't really meant to be) that lists saying "I can't move the launcher to the right" are excuses, not reasons...
 
+Robert Nyman a few answers to your points :)
Does "UI stability" mean "the UI crashes a lot and I don't like that" or "the UI changes a lot and I don't like that"?
I'd be interested to hear what in particular you are missing from Photoshop; I'm sure every designer and graphic artist has their own list, so they'll need solving one at a time. There have been discussions with Adobe about a port, of course, ad they blow hot and cold about it. It seems to be blowing cold right now, but Adobe themselves are a bit lost as to what they're for in the New World Order :)
Not sure what "official" twitter client means -- one made by Twitter themselves?
 
Without going into definitions of what's excuses and what's reasons :-) I think what people say is that there are minor things that disturb them a lot, and if it can be fixed/changed easily, it should be. Like, pick the low hanging fruit sort of approach…

With Office users I'm sure it's fine for most home users, but it would be interesting to go to major organizations who live their lives in MS Office to see what they miss.

Some clarification on my vague list:

UI: I've never had any real crashes, for me it's been more of that feeling of lack of consistency, i.e. more graphical glitches, disappearing elements, things rendered on top of each other etc. They don't matter that much, but the bigger thing is that the feeling they convey to the user leads to a lack of trust, which in itself becomes an issue.

Photoshop: I haven't really worked with Gimp so honestly, I can't say what I'm missing or not. If I were to use Ubuntu full-time, 6 month down the line I could have some qualitative feedback.

Twitter client: Yes, made by Twitter themselves and as easy to use and install as on, for instance, Mac OS X.
 
To be clear, I wasn't trying to be accusatory, and all the stuff you've said is reasonable to ask for :) Design consistency is the big one, because it requires concerted long-term effort everywhere; I will freely admit that Apple are better than us at that, but then Apple are better than everyone at that. No OS has design consistency except OS X and iOS, because Apple lead strong on that front. Windows and Android are no better, sadly.

The six months thing with Gimp is -- and again, not an accusation -- basically the problem, because it's a chicken-and-egg thing, as you can imagine :)

Software being as easy to use and install as on OS X -- I do believe Ubuntu is better off there already, given that the Mac App Store just copied Software Centre. Ubuntu's had easy-to-install software for years :) Convincing twitter to do an official client... interesting. I don't know if anyone's asked them :)
 
Regarding the Gimp, I guess one reason that people want Photoshop is that it's such a strong brand. I'd guess that half of the Photoshop users are casual users that just use it for cropping, resizing and format conversion. They would get by fine with the functionality in the Gimp (or cheap proprietary software), but since Photoshop is the "standard" and possibly the only image editing software they know, that's what they use.

Regarding the other half, the people who actually need powerful software: I was talking with people at a visual effects studio who had looked into using the Gimp instead of Photoshop, and it was not the features that were lacking. They didn't like the UI. I showed them MyPaint and Krita, which were received much better. Gimp is not the only free paint program in town.

So, what the Gimp lacks is a strong brand and a better UI.
 
+Martin Vilcans Both of those are reasonable points, indeed. The strong brand thing is again a bit chicken-and-egg, not that that's your fault -- it's hard to get a strong brand without users, and it's hard to get users without a strong brand, repeat until false. We're working on it. The UI... the latest version of the software is all in one window, which seemed to be one of the larger complaints about how it worked, so we'll see if that improves things :)
 
Sounds good. Multiple window GUIs are so 1995.
 
+Stuart Langridge,

Oh, no worries - I didn't mean to be defensive either, I did think what I meant wasn't very clear. :-)

Consistency is a massive challenge, and I agree that everyone else is struggling with that: Windows, Android etc.

I understand about Gimp, and I wish I had more to contribute with at this time. :-)

I think software has, overall, been quite easy to install on Ubuntu, so no complaints from me there!

+Martin Vilcans,

Good points, and I look forward to see how Gimp evolves!
 
+Stuart Langridge By the way, is there any open place to report bugs/suggestions for Ubuntu and follow-up? (somewhat lazy question, haven't looked into it properly, but thought it was better going straight to the source :-))
 
+Stuart Langridge I think AskUbuntu was one of the greatest innovations on Ubuntu peer support in recent years. Mailing lists, forums and bug reports, due to their linear (chronological) model, made it very easy to have users needing to sift through lots of irrelevant stuff in order to get the solution to their problem/answer to their question.

What I'd like to see is a similar approach for actual feature requests, where the best answers would rise to the top, and especially, where users could communicate with developers in a more scalable way and others could get a quick summary of the existing discussions without reading through incredibly long threads. Are there any plans for something along these lines? Do you think something like this would be worth a try?
 
What you're describing is Brainstorm, which already exists :-) The top suggestions are collated and reported on by the Ubuntu desktop team, although it was rather overrun with people using it to complain rather than suggest.
http://brainstorm.ubuntu.com/

 
I know brainstorm, and considered mentioning that, but left it out because I actually can't pinpoint exactly what's wrong with it -- but I was never able to use it well.

Maybe it's lack of commitment in my part, but I routinely use bugzilla, trac, jira, google moderator, stackoverflow sites, uservoice, and other similar tools, and while I do notice the difference in usability among them, somehow I couldn't feel like brainstorm was in the same league, ux-wise; so I think it's reasonable to assume that some of the fault is on the brainstorm side.

By the way, I find launchpad's UI a little overcrowded as well, but again, I can't pinpoint exactly what would make it more welcoming, so I'd rather not say anything than complain without providing constructive feedback :)
 
+Waldir Pimenta ya. I'm personally quite happy to accept that Brainstorm didn't take off and Ask Ubuntu did, and there's some magic thing that AU has and Brainstorm doesn't, and were someone to build an "Ubuntu suggestions" site (or poke the existing brainstorm code) to embody the magic thing then it'd be more successful... but I don't know what the magic thing is :)
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