Discussion:
What is the best distro for my business manager?
(too old to reply)
John J. Boyer
2012-11-23 19:39:42 UTC
Permalink
I'm getting sick of dealing with Windows. My business manager is
agreeable to a switch, using OpenOffice. What is the best Linux distro
for someone who does mostly wordprocessing, online shopping, email and
accounting?

Thanks,
John
--
John J. Boyer; President, Chief Software Developer
Abilitiessoft, Inc.
http://www.abilitiessoft.com
Madison, Wisconsin USA
Developing software for people with disabilities
Jude DaShiell
2012-11-23 19:52:11 UTC
Permalink
Your business manager of course will want the choice of all top shelf
accounting packages in Linux. That narrows the choice down to either
debian or ubuntu or sonar or vinux. All others are debian variants. The
reason I recommend those for this work is the fact Debian and variants
have the largest package selections available anywhere in Linux.


---------------------------------------------------------------------------
jude <***@shellworld.net> Adobe fiend for failing to Flash
Tim Chase
2012-11-23 20:08:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by John J. Boyer
I'm getting sick of dealing with Windows. My business manager is
agreeable to a switch, using OpenOffice. What is the best Linux distro
for someone who does mostly wordprocessing, online shopping, email and
accounting?
For the basics, I don't think it really makes much of a difference.
For servers, I tend to recommend Debian or CentOS for their
stability. However, for more cutting-edge packages, I'd go with
something kept more up to date. I'd start by recommending a
Debian-based derivative such as Ubuntu, PCLinuxOS, or Mint, since I
find those easiest to maintain (though Fedora-based distros have
also become pretty easy to keep up-to-date--they were just annoying
when I started out with Red Hat about a decade ago).

Most of the distros should have about the same selection of packages
available, so you can do:

- Word Processing/spreadsheets with OpenOffice.org, LibreOffice, or
AbiWord/Gnumeric

- Online shopping: any browser will do, but Firefox, Chrome and
Chromium are all readily available

- Email: I'm a long-time user of Thunderbird, but KMail, Evolution
(if you need an Exchange back-end), Sylpheed, Pine/Alpine, or mutt
all have their fans

- Accounting: There's KMyMoney, GnuCash, MoneyDance, and a variety
of other packages, as well as on-line options.

-tim
Jude DaShiell
2012-11-23 20:29:36 UTC
Permalink
Seamonkey combines firefox with the functions found in Thunderbird too. On
Post by Tim Chase
Post by John J. Boyer
I'm getting sick of dealing with Windows. My business manager is
agreeable to a switch, using OpenOffice. What is the best Linux distro
for someone who does mostly wordprocessing, online shopping, email and
accounting?
For the basics, I don't think it really makes much of a difference.
For servers, I tend to recommend Debian or CentOS for their
stability. However, for more cutting-edge packages, I'd go with
something kept more up to date. I'd start by recommending a
Debian-based derivative such as Ubuntu, PCLinuxOS, or Mint, since I
find those easiest to maintain (though Fedora-based distros have
also become pretty easy to keep up-to-date--they were just annoying
when I started out with Red Hat about a decade ago).
Most of the distros should have about the same selection of packages
- Word Processing/spreadsheets with OpenOffice.org, LibreOffice, or
AbiWord/Gnumeric
- Online shopping: any browser will do, but Firefox, Chrome and
Chromium are all readily available
- Email: I'm a long-time user of Thunderbird, but KMail, Evolution
(if you need an Exchange back-end), Sylpheed, Pine/Alpine, or mutt
all have their fans
- Accounting: There's KMyMoney, GnuCash, MoneyDance, and a variety
of other packages, as well as on-line options.
-tim
_______________________________________________
Blinux-list mailing list
https://www.redhat.com/mailman/listinfo/blinux-list
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
jude <***@shellworld.net>
Adobe fiend for failing to Flash
marbux
2012-11-23 21:25:08 UTC
Permalink
On Fri, Nov 23, 2012 at 11:39 AM, John J. Boyer
Post by John J. Boyer
I'm getting sick of dealing with Windows. My business manager is
agreeable to a switch, using OpenOffice. What is the best Linux distro
for someone who does mostly wordprocessing, online shopping, email and
accounting?
As others have said, if you just want to run a particular set of apps,
it doesn't matter all that much which distro. But if you're wanting to
experiment with a lot of different software, I'd recommend Linux Mint
with the Mate desktop. Mint has its own package repositories plus all
of the Ubuntu repositories as well. (Mint is a derivative of Unbuntu,
which itself is derived from Debian.)

Ubuntu itself is kind of nuts these days, with major changes on the
desktop to make Ubuntu run on both desktops and mobile devices. It's
GUI is a profound departure from the Linuces you may have seen before.
Of course one advantage of almost all (all?) distros is that you can
test drive them without installing them using a live CD or DVD.

On the software types you mentioned, the accounting packages are where
you'd want to really look before you leap. Compared to the Windows
platform, there are a lot fewer packages to choose from, particularly
for full-blown accounting apps. Some short reviews here.
<http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/10things/top-10-linux-financial-tools/372>.
Wikipedia also has a Linux Accounting Software category.
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Linux_accounting_software>.

On word processors, if you're looking for a full-blown app, I'd
recommend LibreOffice Writer. LibreOffice is a fork of OpenOffice.org.
OOo itself is fairly far behind LibreOffice in features and quality.
It's a former Sun Microsystems product. Sun was acquired by Oracle,
which almost immediately dropped support for OOo. Eventually, IBM
maneuvered Oracle into donating the code base to the Apache Foundation
so that it could be licensed under the Apache License, which doesn't
require the downstream developers to contribute back their own
enhancements.

LibreOffice, on the other hand, is still licensed under LGPL v. 3,
which does require downstream developers to contribute their
enhancements and derivatives back to to the community. Net effect:
LibreOffice can include patches from OOo but not vice versa. There
were no new releases of OOo for a couple of years, although a release
was made only a few weeks ago. But as I said earlier, OOo is way
behind LibreOffice in features and quality. Notably, LibreOffice has
read/write support for Microsoft's Office XML formats while OOo at
least was import-only. (I haven't checked the new OOo release on that
score, but having survived working on the OpenDocument Formats
technical committee, I know that IBM is totally hostile to OOXML write
support. So I suspect that situation remains the same.

LibreOffice/OpenOffice aren't hard to transition to if you are coming
from MS Word. If you're coming from WordPerfect, LO/OOo will make you
puke. LO/OOo, like MS Office, are very rigid in terms of usability. If
you're doing complex documents, you'll encounter barriers all over the
place and will definitely take a huge productivity hit compared to
WordPerfect Office. (I'd love to see LO/OOo disappear from the face of
the Earth so it wouldn't suck up all the developer support for office
productivity software on Linux. Then maybe we could see a new word
processor arise that's a synthesis of the best of all that has come
before it and built for the future rather than being trapped in the
early 1990s.

If your word processing needs don't include complex documents, there
are other Linux word processors you might try.

For spreadsheet software tied to the desktop, there's the spreadsheet
component of LO/OOo and Gnumeric, which is also pretty powerful.
<http://projects.gnome.org/gnumeric/>. LO/OOo and Gnumeric are
available on both Linux and Windows, so you could begin the transition
before switching to Linux.

MS Office will run on Linux under CrossOver office.
<http://www.codeweavers.com/>. That's likely your best shot if you are
dependent on MS Office add-on programs, want to smooth the learning
curve, or both.

Another path to ease the transition is to beef up your RAM and run
Linux in a virtual machine as a guest on a Windows system. (Windows is
too resource hungry to do it the other way around, in my experience.)
I run my main work box that way, using Oracle's Virtual Box software.
<https://www.virtualbox.org/>. (The Oracle version has better system
integration than the FOSS version.)

With shared directory structures and a shared clipboard, you can have
both running concurrently and switch back and forth as you please. And
it allows you to make the transition one program at a time instead of
all at once, to keep productivity up during the transition. Switching
everything at once will cause a huge productivity hit because of the
learning curve. Of course once you have made the transition, you may
want to back up all your data and eliminate Windows with a clean
install of Linux.

Hope this helps,

Paul
Christopher Chaltain
2012-11-23 21:51:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by marbux
On Fri, Nov 23, 2012 at 11:39 AM, John J. Boyer
Post by John J. Boyer
I'm getting sick of dealing with Windows. My business manager is
agreeable to a switch, using OpenOffice. What is the best Linux distro
for someone who does mostly wordprocessing, online shopping, email and
accounting?
Ubuntu itself is kind of nuts these days, with major changes on the
desktop to make Ubuntu run on both desktops and mobile devices. It's
GUI is a profound departure from the Linuces you may have seen before.
I wouldn't agree with this. Ubuntu switched to Unity three releases ago,
so I wouldn't say Ubuntu is nuts these days or has major changes on the
desktop. Debian is also undergoing a similar change in it's desktop with
Gnome Shell, so all of the distributions and even other OS's are looking
at making their decade old interfaces more mobile friendly.

I'd actually recommend Ubuntu in this case. With Canonical behind it,
Ubuntu supports a lot of OEM's and is even preinstalled by most of the
top PC manufacturers, so the transition from Windows to Ubuntu should be
pretty straightforward. You can also purchase support from Canonical for
Ubuntu through it's Ubuntu Advantage program.
--
Christopher (CJ)
chaltain at Gmail
marbux
2012-11-24 00:15:07 UTC
Permalink
On Fri, Nov 23, 2012 at 1:51 PM, Christopher Chaltain
Post by Christopher Chaltain
I wouldn't agree with this. Ubuntu switched to Unity three releases ago,
so I wouldn't say Ubuntu is nuts these days or has major changes on the
desktop. Debian is also undergoing a similar change in it's desktop with
Gnome Shell, so all of the distributions and even other OS's are looking
at making their decade old interfaces more mobile friendly.
I'd actually recommend Ubuntu in this case. With Canonical behind it,
Ubuntu supports a lot of OEM's and is even preinstalled by most of the
top PC manufacturers, so the transition from Windows to Ubuntu should be
pretty straightforward. You can also purchase support from Canonical for
Ubuntu through it's Ubuntu Advantage program.
To each his own, but I am thoroughly disillusioned with the Canonical
organization. I used to run Kubuntu (KDE desktop on Ubuntu) but then
KDE 4 came along. Suddenly, I'm expected to take a major productivity
hit to learn how to do things again all for the sake of eye candy and
gadgetry. I switched to Ubuntu. Then along came Ubuntu with the GTK 3
desktop and another big productivity hit inflicted by the eye candy
and gadgetry crowd. Again, I had to cut my billing rates because I
could not ethically charge my clients for my shop's loss in
productivity while we tackled the learning curve again.

Twice burned by Canonical to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars,
I (along with thousands of others) moved to Mint because of that
organization's public commitment to maintaining the GTK 2 user
experience. But the floodgates of Ubuntu users to Mint really opened
up when Canonical's Unity desktop landed on Ubuntu. Suddenly, settings
are reshuffled again, moved all over the GUI because Canonical's
decision-makers are far more concerned with their own desires than
their users' productivity.

Mint has seen its user base grow by leaps and bounds because the Mint
team -- unlike Canonical -- understands that for users of production
machines, continuity in the user experience matters greatly, that
change in that experience must be incremental rather than
overwhelming. That is not to say that nothing changes on Mint; it is
only to say that the Mint team strives mightily to keep the major
changes under the hood and only changes the user experience when it is
clearly to the users' advantage.

On the other hand, Canonical has a stunning record of pursuing change
for the sake of change, for the sake of eye candy and gadgetry, and
very obviously does not care a whit about continuity in the user
experience and productivity. They see present users as interchangeable
with new users. They have no commitment to user productivity.

So from my view it's largely about how you want to spend your time;
you can choose between exploring a seemingly never-ending flood of
changes in Canonical's desktops or you can use Mint, Puppy, or one of
the other distributions with stable desktops and just get your work
done without worry that your desktop will radically change.

To me, computers are tools, not playgrounds. Every minute spent
chasing down where a control moved to and learning how its operation
differs subtracts from what's important to me, fulfilling the needs of
my clients. And Canonical has amply proved that its managers do not
share that concern.

One of the major advantages of free (as in freedom and beer) software
and the release early/release often approach is that there is no need
to put a new coat of lipstick on the old pig to facilitate the sales
pitch that she's all new, different, and so much fun that users can't
live without it, so fork over your money. Change in the free software
user experience can be incremental. The Mint team has proved that,
despite the best efforts of Canonical, the KDE team, and the Gnome
team to thwart productivity.

YMMV.

Best regards,

Paul
John J. Boyer
2012-11-24 02:03:37 UTC
Permalink
Thanks for all your replies. It seems to me that the best choice would
be Mint with the Mate desktop, running in virtualbox under windows. I
have to keep Windows for testing the software I am developing. We will
probably make the machine dual-boot eventually.

It looks like the most recent version of Mint is 14. Will I be able to
use Orca with it? How hard is it to set up? I don't want to spend a lot
of time on setup. My priorities are software development. I am the lead
developer on BrailleBlaster, liblouisutdml and liblouis.

My business manager needs a Linux productivity tool. Today when he came
in Windows was frozen. He had to use the power button to turn the
machine off and then back on.

I will use Mint with a Braille Note mPower. Will Orca work in a virtual
machine? We must both be able to see what is on the screen.

Thanks,
John
Post by marbux
On Fri, Nov 23, 2012 at 1:51 PM, Christopher Chaltain
Post by Christopher Chaltain
I wouldn't agree with this. Ubuntu switched to Unity three releases ago,
so I wouldn't say Ubuntu is nuts these days or has major changes on the
desktop. Debian is also undergoing a similar change in it's desktop with
Gnome Shell, so all of the distributions and even other OS's are looking
at making their decade old interfaces more mobile friendly.
I'd actually recommend Ubuntu in this case. With Canonical behind it,
Ubuntu supports a lot of OEM's and is even preinstalled by most of the
top PC manufacturers, so the transition from Windows to Ubuntu should be
pretty straightforward. You can also purchase support from Canonical for
Ubuntu through it's Ubuntu Advantage program.
To each his own, but I am thoroughly disillusioned with the Canonical
organization. I used to run Kubuntu (KDE desktop on Ubuntu) but then
KDE 4 came along. Suddenly, I'm expected to take a major productivity
hit to learn how to do things again all for the sake of eye candy and
gadgetry. I switched to Ubuntu. Then along came Ubuntu with the GTK 3
desktop and another big productivity hit inflicted by the eye candy
and gadgetry crowd. Again, I had to cut my billing rates because I
could not ethically charge my clients for my shop's loss in
productivity while we tackled the learning curve again.
Twice burned by Canonical to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars,
I (along with thousands of others) moved to Mint because of that
organization's public commitment to maintaining the GTK 2 user
experience. But the floodgates of Ubuntu users to Mint really opened
up when Canonical's Unity desktop landed on Ubuntu. Suddenly, settings
are reshuffled again, moved all over the GUI because Canonical's
decision-makers are far more concerned with their own desires than
their users' productivity.
Mint has seen its user base grow by leaps and bounds because the Mint
team -- unlike Canonical -- understands that for users of production
machines, continuity in the user experience matters greatly, that
change in that experience must be incremental rather than
overwhelming. That is not to say that nothing changes on Mint; it is
only to say that the Mint team strives mightily to keep the major
changes under the hood and only changes the user experience when it is
clearly to the users' advantage.
On the other hand, Canonical has a stunning record of pursuing change
for the sake of change, for the sake of eye candy and gadgetry, and
very obviously does not care a whit about continuity in the user
experience and productivity. They see present users as interchangeable
with new users. They have no commitment to user productivity.
So from my view it's largely about how you want to spend your time;
you can choose between exploring a seemingly never-ending flood of
changes in Canonical's desktops or you can use Mint, Puppy, or one of
the other distributions with stable desktops and just get your work
done without worry that your desktop will radically change.
To me, computers are tools, not playgrounds. Every minute spent
chasing down where a control moved to and learning how its operation
differs subtracts from what's important to me, fulfilling the needs of
my clients. And Canonical has amply proved that its managers do not
share that concern.
One of the major advantages of free (as in freedom and beer) software
and the release early/release often approach is that there is no need
to put a new coat of lipstick on the old pig to facilitate the sales
pitch that she's all new, different, and so much fun that users can't
live without it, so fork over your money. Change in the free software
user experience can be incremental. The Mint team has proved that,
despite the best efforts of Canonical, the KDE team, and the Gnome
team to thwart productivity.
YMMV.
Best regards,
Paul
_______________________________________________
Blinux-list mailing list
https://www.redhat.com/mailman/listinfo/blinux-list
--
John J. Boyer; President, Chief Software Developer
Abilitiessoft, Inc.
http://www.abilitiessoft.com
Madison, Wisconsin USA
Developing software for people with disabilities
Tim Chase
2012-11-24 02:48:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by John J. Boyer
It looks like the most recent version of Mint is 14. Will I be able to
use Orca with it? How hard is it to set up?
I don't run Mint, so I can't tell you how easy/hard it would be to
get Orca up and running with it. I suspect that the basics are
easy, but that deep accessibility integration might not have been
performed like in vinux.
Post by John J. Boyer
My business manager needs a Linux productivity tool.
What sort of "productivity tool"? Time keeping? Project
management? Issue tracking? Any of a thousand other things?

-tim
Kyle
2012-11-24 03:49:27 UTC
Permalink
From what I understand, Mint has removed the entire accessibility stack
in favor of its own desktop implementation called Cinnamon. According to
those who have tried making Orca work, the only solution was to
basically revert it back to its Ubuntu roots, making it much easier to
run Orca even on Ubuntu 12.10 than on Linux Mint. I am also hearing that
Mate, which is supposed to be a fork of GNOME 2.32, has made some
radical changes that cause Orca to no longer work with it. For an
older/lighter desktop environment that doesn't appear to change its look
and feel as much as the major choices, Orca can better run on LXDE and
even XFCE than on Mate or Cinnamon.
~Kyle
http://kyle.tk/
Kyle
2012-11-24 03:42:49 UTC
Permalink
Please don't try running Linux in a virtual machine under Windows,
unless you are only using it for experimentation with different Linux
distributions before making a final switch. It would be much better for
productivity and stability to run an older version of windows, say xp,
inside a virtual machine under Linux, for the rare occasions when you
feel you need to use a Windows application.

Rationale: Windows can easily become quite unstable, especially when
installing new software or hardware, and if Windows crashes, your
virtual machine will suffer an unclean shutdown and may not boot, in
which case, you could mess up both your Windows installation and your
Linux virtual machine. Yes, this is a worst-case scenario but it can and
does happen. Also, if Windows becomes infected with a virus, it will
destroy your Linux virtual machine configuration files and hard disk
images, just as easily as any other files on your Windows system, so you
will effectively lose two computers at once. On the other hand, if you
run Windows inside a virtual machine under Linux and Windows crashes or
becomes infected with a virus, only your Windows virtual machine is
lost, and you will still have full access to everything that Linux has
to offer. Worst case is that you will need to delete the Windows virtual
machine and reinstall Windows, but then you have only effectively lost
one computer rather than two at once.

I will agree that VirtualBox is one of the best applications for running
virtual machines, and it's the one I use every day to test distros and
even experiment on a virtual copy of the distro I normally use. However,
in order to run two or more operating systems simultaneously on a single
machine, you need a solid foundation, and Linux is the most solid
foundation available to date, with the possible exception of *BSD, but
*BSD doesn't support as broad a range of PC hardware as Linux from what
I've read. Of course I'd love to be corrected if I'm wrong on this point.

As for which Linux distribution to choose, my best advice is to do some
experimentation and find the one you like the best. I am a major
supporter of Arch Linux, which works very well once you get it
installed. You have all the same choices of major desktop environments
and applications you have with Ubuntu or its derivatives, and you can
also gain access to the user repository, which is a searchable database
for many more packages that aren't in the official repositories for one
reason or another. In addition, you will get the newest versions of most
applications almost as soon as they are released, rather than having to
wait for a 6-month or longer release cycle. The developers also do their
best to minimize any breakage that can occur as the system is kept
up-to-date. On the other hand, I am thinking that an LTS (long-term
support) Ubuntu release such as 12.04 is better for increased
productivity that is guaranteed to be stable and supported for 5 years,
both commercially and by the community. Ubuntu 12.04 is certainly one of
the best available distros for out-of-the-box hardware support with
little fus and long-term stability. There is also something to be said
for the ability to purchase commercial support for your primary OS if
you feel you need it. Of course, there is also something to be said for
the freedom to choose not to purchase commercial support or a
restrictive license, even when using the OS in a corporate environment,
which is the major case for nearly any distribution of Linux with no
Windows at all, if you feel you can take the plunge.

Hopefully some of this information will help you make the best decision
for your needs.
~Kyle
http://kyle.tk/
marbux
2012-11-24 05:04:54 UTC
Permalink
Please don't try running Linux in a virtual machine under Windows, unless
you are only using it for experimentation with different Linux distributions
before making a final switch. It would be much better for productivity and
stability to run an older version of windows, say xp, inside a virtual
machine under Linux, for the rare occasions when you feel you need to use a
Windows application.
Rationale: Windows can easily become quite unstable, especially when
installing new software or hardware, and if Windows crashes, your virtual
machine will suffer an unclean shutdown and may not boot, in which case, you
could mess up both your Windows installation and your Linux virtual machine.
I agree with your rationale, but for one fact: WinXP runs like cold
molasses in Virtual Box, even with 3 GB of fast RAM devoted
exclusively to it on a fast quad-core CPU. Linux on the other hand
runs very fast on VB even with limited RAM. I've sometimes wondered if
Microsoft added code to make it run slow on a virtual machine ("VM").
But in any event, as wrong-headed as it might seem to use the least
stable OS as the host, there's not a lot of choice here if you make
any substantial use of Windows.

(I'm stuck in that situation because I assist in development of a
cross-platform app that has virtually all of its development builds
compiled for Win32.)

But that isn't entirely bad news. VM's can be exported from VB which
makes it very easy to do a new Linux system backup after installing
any new software. And the exported VMs can be imported into VB and
several other VM programs. So the time to get back up running again
after reinstalling Windows and Virtual Box should be very short.

Windows is also much more stable if you don't use it as a playground
to experiment with lots of programs and do all of your web browsing
and downloading on the Linux side Firewalling MSIE from being used
as a web browser also helps a lot as does a good antivirus program.
But it can take many years of use to acquire the skills, knowledge,
and utilities to keep it stable. Of course, it's much easier to keep a
Linux system stable.

WinXP is easily the most stable Windows version I've used. I've been
frequently using a new machine that came in with Windows 7 during the
last 6 months or so. I'm not impressed. We're planning on switching
that machine to WinXP with a Linux Mint guest fairly soon. And we
won't be buying any machines that have the UEFI secure boot hardwired
to Win8 or 9.

On the other hand, I am thinking
that an LTS (long-term support) Ubuntu release such as 12.04 is better for
increased productivity that is guaranteed to be stable and supported for 5
years, both commercially and by the community.
My experience with Ubuntu LTS releases was that support wasn't very
good for backporting packages. Fairly quickly, I was faced with the
choice of upgrading or missing out on bug fixes and updates in
packages I used. That situation may have changed though.

Best regards,

Paul
Kyle
2012-11-24 05:30:38 UTC
Permalink
I ran Windows XP on both VMWare and VirtualBox on a Linux host with only
1GB ram and a dual-core processor. I can't say that I experienced a
significant slowdown of Windows on that box. Yes, it was a bit slower
than the host Linux OS, but that is to be expected, considering I was
only able to reserve 256MB of ram for XP. It surprisingly wasn't
anywhere near painfully slow however, and I even played some games on
the Windows side without any difficulty. I can't say what is causing
your problem, as I no longer run Windows on anything these days, with
the exception of a very old, very slow dual-boot box, and then, only for
printing on a Windows-only printer that I'm desperate to part with in
favor of a printer that runs either on Linux or over a network. I'm
guessing your problem has something to do with the way Windows handles
more than two processor cores, but again, I can't be sure.
~Kyle
http://kyle.tk/
marbux
2012-11-24 05:51:43 UTC
Permalink
Thanks for that feedback, Kyle. But I had that problem on three
different machines, including an older 32-bit machine with Virtual Box
and on two of them with VMWare Player. So I think that tends toward
ruling out the multicore processor in this machine.

It's conceivable that I never got some setting right. I'll have to
look into that because I'd prefer to run Windows atop Linux but for
that problem.

Best regards,

Paul
Tim Chase
2012-11-24 13:49:32 UTC
Permalink
one fact: WinXP runs like cold molasses in Virtual Box, even with
3 GB of fast RAM devoted exclusively to it on a fast quad-core
CPU.
Is your CPU and Linux configuration set up to take advantage of
virtualization? There's a CPU flag for both AMD and Intel that
indicates that the CPU supports virtualization, making it leaps and
bounds faster. You can check with

egrep '(vmx|svm)' /proc/cpuinfo

If it returns a result, your CPU supports it. Mine doesn't,
unfortunately, so running virtual images is dog slow.

Also, I believe there's a kernel build that adds extra support for
virtual machines (on my Debian box, there are
"linux-image-{openvz,zen,vserver}" kernels) that give hooks to
virtual machines to speed them up.
Dual-boot is a maddening configuration because of a permutation of
Murphy's Law: What you want to do next seemingly always requires
rebooting the system to access the other OS.
Oh, so true and elegantly expressed. I tried dual-boot for about a
month and was infuriated by the Murphy's Law aspect of it, so I just
backed up my data and went pure Linux.

-tim
John J. Boyer
2012-11-24 14:35:58 UTC
Permalink
This thread has been more productive than most I've seen.

My present Linux system is CentOS 5.8 OpenOffice or LibreOffice doesn't
seem to be in the repository. If I could install one of them and also
get Orca working my business manager could log in with a diffferent
username and I could continue to use the machine. Would upgrading to
CentOS 6.3 provide LibreOffice?

Thanks,
John
Post by Tim Chase
one fact: WinXP runs like cold molasses in Virtual Box, even with
3 GB of fast RAM devoted exclusively to it on a fast quad-core
CPU.
Is your CPU and Linux configuration set up to take advantage of
virtualization? There's a CPU flag for both AMD and Intel that
indicates that the CPU supports virtualization, making it leaps and
bounds faster. You can check with
egrep '(vmx|svm)' /proc/cpuinfo
If it returns a result, your CPU supports it. Mine doesn't,
unfortunately, so running virtual images is dog slow.
Also, I believe there's a kernel build that adds extra support for
virtual machines (on my Debian box, there are
"linux-image-{openvz,zen,vserver}" kernels) that give hooks to
virtual machines to speed them up.
Dual-boot is a maddening configuration because of a permutation of
Murphy's Law: What you want to do next seemingly always requires
rebooting the system to access the other OS.
Oh, so true and elegantly expressed. I tried dual-boot for about a
month and was infuriated by the Murphy's Law aspect of it, so I just
backed up my data and went pure Linux.
-tim
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John J. Boyer; President, Chief Software Developer
Abilitiessoft, Inc.
http://www.abilitiessoft.com
Madison, Wisconsin USA
Developing software for people with disabilities
Jude DaShiell
2012-11-24 19:43:03 UTC
Permalink
Nothing wrong with downloading libreoffice from the home page so long as
there's a linux binary available given your work requirements. The 3.6.2
version is inaccessible which is why nautilus linux replaced it with an
accessible version so find the accessible version in a linux binary form
Post by John J. Boyer
This thread has been more productive than most I've seen.
My present Linux system is CentOS 5.8 OpenOffice or LibreOffice doesn't
seem to be in the repository. If I could install one of them and also
get Orca working my business manager could log in with a diffferent
username and I could continue to use the machine. Would upgrading to
CentOS 6.3 provide LibreOffice?
Thanks,
John
Post by Tim Chase
one fact: WinXP runs like cold molasses in Virtual Box, even with
3 GB of fast RAM devoted exclusively to it on a fast quad-core
CPU.
Is your CPU and Linux configuration set up to take advantage of
virtualization? There's a CPU flag for both AMD and Intel that
indicates that the CPU supports virtualization, making it leaps and
bounds faster. You can check with
egrep '(vmx|svm)' /proc/cpuinfo
If it returns a result, your CPU supports it. Mine doesn't,
unfortunately, so running virtual images is dog slow.
Also, I believe there's a kernel build that adds extra support for
virtual machines (on my Debian box, there are
"linux-image-{openvz,zen,vserver}" kernels) that give hooks to
virtual machines to speed them up.
Dual-boot is a maddening configuration because of a permutation of
Murphy's Law: What you want to do next seemingly always requires
rebooting the system to access the other OS.
Oh, so true and elegantly expressed. I tried dual-boot for about a
month and was infuriated by the Murphy's Law aspect of it, so I just
backed up my data and went pure Linux.
-tim
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---------------------------------------------------------------------------
jude <***@shellworld.net>
Adobe fiend for failing to Flash
marbux
2012-11-24 05:12:05 UTC
Permalink
On Fri, Nov 23, 2012 at 6:03 PM, John J. Boyer
Post by John J. Boyer
It looks like the most recent version of Mint is 14. Will I be able to
use Orca with it? How hard is it to set up? I don't want to spend a lot
of time on setup. My priorities are software development. I am the lead
developer on BrailleBlaster, liblouisutdml and liblouis.
I will use Mint with a Braille Note mPower. Will Orca work in a virtual
machine? We must both be able to see what is on the screen.
I'm sorry that I don't know how well Mint does accessibility other
than magnification. I'm low vision but not yet blind.

Best regards,

Paul
John J. Boyer
2012-11-24 08:28:00 UTC
Permalink
A very interesting discussion. Everyone recommends a virtual machine.
What is the problem with dual-boot? That would be the most stable
configuration.

One of the people in the liblouis community installed ArchLinux, but he
had trouble because he needed to do compilation and it didn't come with
any development tools. They all had to be installed.

Thanks,
John
Post by marbux
On Fri, Nov 23, 2012 at 6:03 PM, John J. Boyer
Post by John J. Boyer
It looks like the most recent version of Mint is 14. Will I be able to
use Orca with it? How hard is it to set up? I don't want to spend a lot
of time on setup. My priorities are software development. I am the lead
developer on BrailleBlaster, liblouisutdml and liblouis.
I will use Mint with a Braille Note mPower. Will Orca work in a virtual
machine? We must both be able to see what is on the screen.
I'm sorry that I don't know how well Mint does accessibility other
than magnification. I'm low vision but not yet blind.
Best regards,
Paul
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Abilitiessoft, Inc.
http://www.abilitiessoft.com
Madison, Wisconsin USA
Developing software for people with disabilities
marbux
2012-11-24 09:22:10 UTC
Permalink
On Sat, Nov 24, 2012 at 12:28 AM, John J. Boyer
Post by John J. Boyer
A very interesting discussion. Everyone recommends a virtual machine.
What is the problem with dual-boot? That would be the most stable
configuration.
Dual-boot is a maddening configuration because of a permutation of
Murphy's Law: What you want to do next seemingly always requires
rebooting the system to access the other OS. So with an inspiration
for something to do on the other system, you sit there and wait, over
and over again.

The huge advantage of VMs is that there is no need to reboot; you have
instant access to both systems with a keyboard shortcut and can do
things like sharing the clipboard, devices, etc., because of
"pass-through" code. E.g., if I'm in Windows and see some content I
want to use on Linux I can just clip it in Windows, hit a shortcut,
and paste it to an app on Mint. And vice versa. Or I can save it to a
shared partition and open the file on the other system. Shared disk
drives, shared printers, shared USB devices, on and on, all just a
keyboard shortcut away. You can even have each system performing tasks
concurrently and VM software is not limited to running a single VM at
once.

VM's aren't inherently unstable but they can't be any more stable than
the host operating system. Windows instability has been the focus of
our discussion, not the stability of VMs themselves.

The major vulnerability of VMs, in my view, is that they require a
virtual hard drive, which in reality exists as one huge file on the
host machine. If the host operating system is prone to corrupting
files, the VM is in danger. Hence our discussion of which OS should be
running on bare metal and which should be running on the VM.

Best regards,

Paul
John J. Boyer
2012-11-24 10:23:37 UTC
Permalink
Thanks. How about using Cygwin for the transition? I have that already
and use it a lot.

John
Post by marbux
On Sat, Nov 24, 2012 at 12:28 AM, John J. Boyer
Post by John J. Boyer
A very interesting discussion. Everyone recommends a virtual machine.
What is the problem with dual-boot? That would be the most stable
configuration.
Dual-boot is a maddening configuration because of a permutation of
Murphy's Law: What you want to do next seemingly always requires
rebooting the system to access the other OS. So with an inspiration
for something to do on the other system, you sit there and wait, over
and over again.
The huge advantage of VMs is that there is no need to reboot; you have
instant access to both systems with a keyboard shortcut and can do
things like sharing the clipboard, devices, etc., because of
"pass-through" code. E.g., if I'm in Windows and see some content I
want to use on Linux I can just clip it in Windows, hit a shortcut,
and paste it to an app on Mint. And vice versa. Or I can save it to a
shared partition and open the file on the other system. Shared disk
drives, shared printers, shared USB devices, on and on, all just a
keyboard shortcut away. You can even have each system performing tasks
concurrently and VM software is not limited to running a single VM at
once.
VM's aren't inherently unstable but they can't be any more stable than
the host operating system. Windows instability has been the focus of
our discussion, not the stability of VMs themselves.
The major vulnerability of VMs, in my view, is that they require a
virtual hard drive, which in reality exists as one huge file on the
host machine. If the host operating system is prone to corrupting
files, the VM is in danger. Hence our discussion of which OS should be
running on bare metal and which should be running on the VM.
Best regards,
Paul
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--
John J. Boyer; President, Chief Software Developer
Abilitiessoft, Inc.
http://www.abilitiessoft.com
Madison, Wisconsin USA
Developing software for people with disabilities
Kyle
2012-11-24 11:42:00 UTC
Permalink
Sygwin, from what I understand, gives you a minimal Unix-like
environment using Windows. For some small applications, it can be good
to have, but it's definitely no replacement for a Linux system.
Basically, Cygwin only provides some useful Unix tools and I believe a
GNU toolchain that can compile some applications, but it isn't a fully
functional Unix-like operating system. It's a bit like using Wine to run
Windows applications on Linux. It's great for some things, and it could
help ease the transition in the beginning, but it's a small step on the
road, rather than where you'll want to be at the end of the journey.
~Kyle
http://kyle.tk/
Kyle
2012-11-24 11:35:13 UTC
Permalink
All the development tools for Arch Linux are in a group called base-devel.
pacman -S base-devel
or
pacstrap /mnt base base-devel ...
during installation will pull in all the development tools automatically.

As for whether or not to run a virtual machine as opposed to
dual-booting, it's ultimately up to you, but running Windows as a guest
on Linux whenever you feel the need to still run a few Windows
applications will give you an experience similar to running two
computers at once, with the added benefit that you can even copy from
one and paste into the other. If you have a powerful enough box, you can
run 2 or even 3 virtual machines at once, but in this case, 1 should be
all you need. I'm not sure how it works on Windows, but running
VirtualBox on Linux doesn't appear to distabilize the host Linux OS in
any way. Just be sure that your processor supports hardware
virtualization (most now do), and that it is activated, both in
VirtualBox and in your bios. This will give you noticeable speed
improvements. Ultimately, however, the goal is to be able to remove
Windows completely from your system, which is much easier if you have a
virtual machine than if you run a dual-boot system and need to
repartition your disk once you no longer need Windows.
~Kyle
http://kyle.tk/
Christopher Chaltain
2012-11-24 14:35:11 UTC
Permalink
I've run Linux as a guest machine under Windows as the host OS and
Windows as the guest OS under Linux as the host OS. On Windows, I've
used both VMware Player and VirtualPC, where on Linux I've used VMware
Player exclusively. I haven't had the problems others have experienced.
Namely, I don't find Windows to be too unstable to run as a host OS.
Granted I use common sense and practice safe computing. I also don't
find Windows to run as a dog as a guest OS under Linux. I do make sure I
have the resources Windows wants to be happy though.

Right now, I run Linux as the host OS almost exclusively, but this is
because I spend most of my time in Linux and just go to Windows for the
occasional task. My advice is to pick your host OS based on what
environment you'll be spending most of your time in.

I also have all of my systems set up to dual boot between Linux and
Windows, and this is a perfectly fine way to go if you don't want to
occasionally run both a Linux application and a Windows application side
by side. I don't think I've booted Windows on my current laptop so since
this first weekend I got it almost two years ago. Running Windows in a
VM meets all of my Windows running needs.
Post by Kyle
All the development tools for Arch Linux are in a group called base-devel.
pacman -S base-devel
or
pacstrap /mnt base base-devel ...
during installation will pull in all the development tools automatically.
As for whether or not to run a virtual machine as opposed to
dual-booting, it's ultimately up to you, but running Windows as a guest
on Linux whenever you feel the need to still run a few Windows
applications will give you an experience similar to running two
computers at once, with the added benefit that you can even copy from
one and paste into the other. If you have a powerful enough box, you can
run 2 or even 3 virtual machines at once, but in this case, 1 should be
all you need. I'm not sure how it works on Windows, but running
VirtualBox on Linux doesn't appear to distabilize the host Linux OS in
any way. Just be sure that your processor supports hardware
virtualization (most now do), and that it is activated, both in
VirtualBox and in your bios. This will give you noticeable speed
improvements. Ultimately, however, the goal is to be able to remove
Windows completely from your system, which is much easier if you have a
virtual machine than if you run a dual-boot system and need to
repartition your disk once you no longer need Windows.
~Kyle
http://kyle.tk/
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marbux
2012-11-25 09:03:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by Kyle
Just be sure that your processor supports hardware
virtualization (most now do), and that it is activated, both in VirtualBox
and in your bios. This will give you noticeable speed improvements.
Thanks for that information. I was not aware of it. I checked and
unfortunately none of the systems in our shop support
hardware-assisted virtualization. I'll add that to our criteria for
new system acquisitions.

Best regards,

Paul
Christopher Chaltain
2012-11-24 15:04:52 UTC
Permalink
I agree it's all about choice, which is good.

I don't think Ubuntu switched to Unity just to change something for no
reason though. MS, Gnome and Ubuntu all realize that the personal
computing world is changing and mobile devices are more and more
important. I can't believe three organizations would all be changing
there interface for no reason. You may not agree with the reasons, and
you may not see a benefit in running the same interface on your cell
phone, your tablet and your PC, but not agreeing with someone's
justification doesn't mean that the change was made for no reason. I
know for my part, I would have felt more productive when I got my iPhone
if I hadn't had to learn a whole new interface. I also don't think we're
going to get to a converged interface by making incremental changes.

I also hear this a lot, that Unity and Windows 8, are dumbed down and
full of eye candy and gadgets. Frequently, I hear this label applied
with no details or justification what so ever. Again, it seems to be a
label people toss out when they don't like something. I guess I don't
see a problem with an interface looking nice, and I can see where the
right kind of gadgets would be great productivity tools.

I don't see how you were burned by Canonical twice. I see the switch to
Unity as only happening once. I also think your characterization of
Canonical is pretty one sided. Canonical does care about productivity
and doesn't change things just for the sake of change. Canonical has run
quite a few human factor studies on Unity and incorporated that feedback
into their design. True, people who don't want to change are going to
see this as a betrayal, but if Linux is going to compete with Windows
and Android, and if it's going to become a viable OS across all personal
computing platforms, it's going to have to move beyond the 90's.
Post by marbux
On Fri, Nov 23, 2012 at 1:51 PM, Christopher Chaltain
Post by Christopher Chaltain
I wouldn't agree with this. Ubuntu switched to Unity three releases ago,
so I wouldn't say Ubuntu is nuts these days or has major changes on the
desktop. Debian is also undergoing a similar change in it's desktop with
Gnome Shell, so all of the distributions and even other OS's are looking
at making their decade old interfaces more mobile friendly.
I'd actually recommend Ubuntu in this case. With Canonical behind it,
Ubuntu supports a lot of OEM's and is even preinstalled by most of the
top PC manufacturers, so the transition from Windows to Ubuntu should be
pretty straightforward. You can also purchase support from Canonical for
Ubuntu through it's Ubuntu Advantage program.
To each his own, but I am thoroughly disillusioned with the Canonical
organization. I used to run Kubuntu (KDE desktop on Ubuntu) but then
KDE 4 came along. Suddenly, I'm expected to take a major productivity
hit to learn how to do things again all for the sake of eye candy and
gadgetry. I switched to Ubuntu. Then along came Ubuntu with the GTK 3
desktop and another big productivity hit inflicted by the eye candy
and gadgetry crowd. Again, I had to cut my billing rates because I
could not ethically charge my clients for my shop's loss in
productivity while we tackled the learning curve again.
Twice burned by Canonical to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars,
I (along with thousands of others) moved to Mint because of that
organization's public commitment to maintaining the GTK 2 user
experience. But the floodgates of Ubuntu users to Mint really opened
up when Canonical's Unity desktop landed on Ubuntu. Suddenly, settings
are reshuffled again, moved all over the GUI because Canonical's
decision-makers are far more concerned with their own desires than
their users' productivity.
Mint has seen its user base grow by leaps and bounds because the Mint
team -- unlike Canonical -- understands that for users of production
machines, continuity in the user experience matters greatly, that
change in that experience must be incremental rather than
overwhelming. That is not to say that nothing changes on Mint; it is
only to say that the Mint team strives mightily to keep the major
changes under the hood and only changes the user experience when it is
clearly to the users' advantage.
On the other hand, Canonical has a stunning record of pursuing change
for the sake of change, for the sake of eye candy and gadgetry, and
very obviously does not care a whit about continuity in the user
experience and productivity. They see present users as interchangeable
with new users. They have no commitment to user productivity.
So from my view it's largely about how you want to spend your time;
you can choose between exploring a seemingly never-ending flood of
changes in Canonical's desktops or you can use Mint, Puppy, or one of
the other distributions with stable desktops and just get your work
done without worry that your desktop will radically change.
To me, computers are tools, not playgrounds. Every minute spent
chasing down where a control moved to and learning how its operation
differs subtracts from what's important to me, fulfilling the needs of
my clients. And Canonical has amply proved that its managers do not
share that concern.
One of the major advantages of free (as in freedom and beer) software
and the release early/release often approach is that there is no need
to put a new coat of lipstick on the old pig to facilitate the sales
pitch that she's all new, different, and so much fun that users can't
live without it, so fork over your money. Change in the free software
user experience can be incremental. The Mint team has proved that,
despite the best efforts of Canonical, the KDE team, and the Gnome
team to thwart productivity.
YMMV.
Best regards,
Paul
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marbux
2012-11-25 04:41:13 UTC
Permalink
On Sat, Nov 24, 2012 at 7:04 AM, Christopher Chaltain
Post by Christopher Chaltain
I don't think Ubuntu switched to Unity just to change something for no
reason though. MS, Gnome and Ubuntu all realize that the personal
computing world is changing and mobile devices are more and more
important. I can't believe three organizations would all be changing
there interface for no reason. You may not agree with the reasons, and
you may not see a benefit in running the same interface on your cell
phone, your tablet and your PC, but not agreeing with someone's
justification doesn't mean that the change was made for no reason. I
know for my part, I would have felt more productive when I got my iPhone
if I hadn't had to learn a whole new interface. I also don't think we're
going to get to a converged interface by making incremental changes.
I agree that there are reasons for the Unity interface beyond eye
candy and gadgetry, but not so for the Kubuntu switch to KDE 4 and the
Ubuntu switch to Gnome 3. The switches to KDE 4 and Gnome 3 were far
too radical changes in the user experience. And most of the radical
change was due to eye candy and gadgetry, change for the sake of
change. In both cases, it would have been made far easier had their
been a one-click change to a KDE 3.5-style desktop or a Gnome 2-style
desktop, as Mint has done with the Mate desktop. But it wasn't until
KDE 4.4 as I recall that KDE finally got around to making it easy to
return to something like the KDE 3.5 desktop. Until then, it took a
huge amount of tweaking to slim down the eye candy and gadgetry that
had shipped with Plasma.

And at least with KDE, the destruction of the 3.5 experience was
deliberate. I recall a gushing essay by the Plasma lead developer
about their goals of redesigning the desktop from the ground up so it
would break the mold of the traditional desktop experience and be far
more beautiful. Not a single mention of the productivity hit that
would be thereby inflicted on users. It was purely a case of the KDE
community allowing the eye candy and gadgetry crowd to assert
leadership when such creatures in reality need to be confined to a
cage of restrictions that places maintenance of user productivity as
an immutable law.
Post by Christopher Chaltain
I also hear this a lot, that Unity and Windows 8, are dumbed down and
full of eye candy and gadgets. Frequently, I hear this label applied
with no details or justification what so ever. Again, it seems to be a
label people toss out when they don't like something. I guess I don't
see a problem with an interface looking nice, and I can see where the
right kind of gadgets would be great productivity tools.
I can't speak to Windows 8 because it will never be installed on any
system I own due to its UEFI bootlock and the app store atrocities it
is inflicting on developers. Windows 8 is a radical change in
Microsoft's business model and restraints imposed on users and
developers, driven by Apple's approach that has proved to be such a
financial success for Apple (not for app developers). I wouldn't
describe them as "dumbed down.

But Unity I can speak to. I wouldn't describe it as "dumbed down"
because settings can still be changed or apps to replace features can
still be downloaded. Rather I would describe it as needlessly complex
because the methods to access settings were needlessly broken and the
default apps and utilities are so woefully inadequate for a productive
desktop.

Example: the file manager defaults to display of large icons (as does
Mint) but the settings to change to a default list view are no longer
in a Preferences option on the file manager menu bar. They are
elsewhere in the system and must be tracked down. The menu bar now
includes only the minimize, restore, and full screen options plus the
name of the current directory. All controls that were formerly on the
menu bar are now hidden outside the window that is affected by the
controls or available only by downloading and install a real file
manager. This is idiocy, change only for the sake of change that
breaks the continuity of the user experience and thus trashes
productivity while the user hunts down how to change the setting or
searches for and installs a file manager that can do the job.

And why a default large icon view if the goal is to use it on
small-screen mobile devices too? Large icons burn up scarce screen
real estate and are horrible to work with when a directory contains a
large number of files. A list view with larger type size would be far
more appropriate on mobile devices. (In my opinion, large icons in a
file manager are a major PITA even with a large screen.)

I could of course download and install a full-featured file manager.
But that doesn't cure the problem that the default installation is
geared for people with scant understanding of computing. This kind of
mayhem on productivity echoes throughout the Unity desktop. E.g.,
where is the familiar task bar and menu? It's dropped in favor of a
radically different "dashboard" approach that imposes its own steep
learning curve and is wholly unsuitable for a system with many apps.
Again, a task bar can be downloaded and installed and the dashboard
disabled, but we're talking again about time being subtracted from the
work the user wants to do with the computer.

And the time spent on restoring something resembling the previous user
experience all comes out of time better spent on the tasks the user
wants to use the computer to fulfill.

As with Ubuntu with the Gnome 3 desktop, it's far easier and faster to
switch to the Mint Mate desktop instead where continuity in the user
experience matters to the desktop developers.
Post by Christopher Chaltain
I don't see how you were burned by Canonical twice. I see the switch to
Unity as only happening once. I wasn't burned by Unity because I had already switched to Mint. I was burned by Canonical when Kubuntu switched to KDE 4 long before KDE 4 was ready for prime time and again when Ubuntu switched from Gnome 2 to Gnome 3 long before Gnome 3 was ready for productive use. That's when I departed for Mint, whose development team had publicly committed to maintaining and extending the Gnome 2 experience.
I also think your characterization of
Post by Christopher Chaltain
Canonical is pretty one sided. Canonical does care about productivity
and doesn't change things just for the sake of change.
It doesn't care enough. As I said, its radical changes to Kubuntu and
Ubuntu cost me tens of thousands of dollars in the productivity of my
shop and I was ethically required to cut billing rates as a result. At
the same time, the radical changes offered precisely zero increased
productivity.

Canonical has run
Post by Christopher Chaltain
quite a few human factor studies on Unity and incorporated that feedback
into their design. True, people who don't want to change are going to
see this as a betrayal, but if Linux is going to compete with Windows
and Android, and if it's going to become a viable OS across all personal
computing platforms, it's going to have to move beyond the 90's.
Which is why so many hundreds of thousands of Ubuntu users switched to
Mint both after the introduction of Gnome3 and after introduction of
Unity, yes? :-)

I am not against change that boosts productivity or expands
capabilities. E.g., when technology originally developed for the
newspaper industry was redone as a successor to the electro-mechanical
typewriter (word processors), the productivity gains from being able
to edit work already keyboarded without rekeyboarding the entire
document and to automatically process footnotes made the learning
curve imposed by word processors well worthwhile, so I was an early
adapter in the CP/M days and kept only one typewriter for addressing
envelopes until word processors and printers were able to handle that
task too.

And in my experience, all IT innovations that succeed build upon what
has already been done and offer increased productivity or new
capabilities that offer a competitive advantage to their users. They
don't succeed by scrapping what users have already learned to do
without any corresponding quid pro quo.

True, there can be some future advantages in using the same OS and
desktop on all devices. But Ubuntu Unity isn't going to be it. The
Ubuntu web site guesstimates that there are 20 million Ubuntu users
(not just Unity users). Compare that with nearly 900 million Android
Linux devices that have been activated as of February 29 of this year
and a projected 1.5 billion some time next year.
<http://www.asymco.com/2012/02/29/when-will-android-reach-one-billion-users/>.
So there hasn't exactly been a stampede to the Unity desktop on mobile
devices. In fact, Unity severely slowed the Ubuntu adoption rate.

My best guess based on available evidence is that the majority unified
Linux/Desktop will be based on Android (and its Ash window manager,
which runs atop the Aura hardware-accelerated graphics engine), with
Apple and Microsoft's walled gardens in the minority. But Android
isn't completely ready for the desktop yet, although Google is working
toward convergence with its Chromium desktop OS (both use a lot of
the same code, including the same Linux).

Put another way, I strongly suspect that the convergence of devices
and the Linux desktop will come from the world of mobile devices, not
from the world of traditional Linux desktops, with Android being by
far the major contender, which, in my opinion, is why both Apple and
Microsoft are trying desperately to acquire a share of the Android
revenue stream via patent infringement lawsuits filed against Android
implementers.

Given that this is my opinion on the likely convergence of a single
Linux desktop for multiple types of devices, I see no net gain in
hitching my shop to Unity, only loss of productivity. I'll worry about
convergence when the market establishes one or more winners in that
particular arena and consolidates.

So I don't at least in my view qualify as one of the "people who don't
want to change [and therefore] see this as a betrayal." It's just that
in my business, the revenue stream comes from the billable hour; time
is money and as a businessman I can't invest in change that does not
result in a net gain in productivity and/or capabilities, that brings
only a hit on productivity. And that is precisely all that Canonical
delivered with its radical switches to KDE 4, Gnome 3, and Unity.

I might feel differently had Canonical produced forks rather than
switches and continued support for KDE 3.5 or Gnome 2 until they had
minimized the impact of migrating on user productivity, as Mint is
doing with its Mate and Cinnamon desktops. But Canonical ceased
package development support for the prior desktops instead and
presented radical change as the only option.

A computing hobbyist who doesn't value his or her time might feel
differently; after all, learning is a lot of fun. But in general, only
applied learning can produce income. There are very few jobs out there
where you get paid for self-indulgence.

But if you're in the universe of people whose main concern is work
product and deadlines rather than hobbyist experimentation with
software, radical change is only justified for a solid net gain in
productivity or capabilities. Canonical's managers have zero respect
for that user requirement.

Best regards,

Paul
Jude DaShiell
2012-11-25 16:46:47 UTC
Permalink
Pure art and computer programming mix to everybody's cost at the end of
the day. This is the same thing that happened to html back in 1995 and it
is how and why the web is so often inaccessible these days. How you
protect accessibility usability and productivity with coding is to write
things that first prevent adverse stuff from ever getting on the screen
and then extract the useful stuff the adverse blocked pieces and convert
the useful stuff into data/information that can be written to the screen
in the desired interface. Little if any of that has happened with the
exception of edbrowse which has a subset of javascript used and has
several of the really artsy effects disabled so nothing happens when
edbrowse encounters them on the web. Standards are only bandaids because
so many of them exist and selective enforcement allows for many to be in
Post by marbux
On Sat, Nov 24, 2012 at 7:04 AM, Christopher Chaltain
Post by Christopher Chaltain
I don't think Ubuntu switched to Unity just to change something for no
reason though. MS, Gnome and Ubuntu all realize that the personal
computing world is changing and mobile devices are more and more
important. I can't believe three organizations would all be changing
there interface for no reason. You may not agree with the reasons, and
you may not see a benefit in running the same interface on your cell
phone, your tablet and your PC, but not agreeing with someone's
justification doesn't mean that the change was made for no reason. I
know for my part, I would have felt more productive when I got my iPhone
if I hadn't had to learn a whole new interface. I also don't think we're
going to get to a converged interface by making incremental changes.
I agree that there are reasons for the Unity interface beyond eye
candy and gadgetry, but not so for the Kubuntu switch to KDE 4 and the
Ubuntu switch to Gnome 3. The switches to KDE 4 and Gnome 3 were far
too radical changes in the user experience. And most of the radical
change was due to eye candy and gadgetry, change for the sake of
change. In both cases, it would have been made far easier had their
been a one-click change to a KDE 3.5-style desktop or a Gnome 2-style
desktop, as Mint has done with the Mate desktop. But it wasn't until
KDE 4.4 as I recall that KDE finally got around to making it easy to
return to something like the KDE 3.5 desktop. Until then, it took a
huge amount of tweaking to slim down the eye candy and gadgetry that
had shipped with Plasma.
And at least with KDE, the destruction of the 3.5 experience was
deliberate. I recall a gushing essay by the Plasma lead developer
about their goals of redesigning the desktop from the ground up so it
would break the mold of the traditional desktop experience and be far
more beautiful. Not a single mention of the productivity hit that
would be thereby inflicted on users. It was purely a case of the KDE
community allowing the eye candy and gadgetry crowd to assert
leadership when such creatures in reality need to be confined to a
cage of restrictions that places maintenance of user productivity as
an immutable law.
Post by Christopher Chaltain
I also hear this a lot, that Unity and Windows 8, are dumbed down and
full of eye candy and gadgets. Frequently, I hear this label applied
with no details or justification what so ever. Again, it seems to be a
label people toss out when they don't like something. I guess I don't
see a problem with an interface looking nice, and I can see where the
right kind of gadgets would be great productivity tools.
I can't speak to Windows 8 because it will never be installed on any
system I own due to its UEFI bootlock and the app store atrocities it
is inflicting on developers. Windows 8 is a radical change in
Microsoft's business model and restraints imposed on users and
developers, driven by Apple's approach that has proved to be such a
financial success for Apple (not for app developers). I wouldn't
describe them as "dumbed down.
But Unity I can speak to. I wouldn't describe it as "dumbed down"
because settings can still be changed or apps to replace features can
still be downloaded. Rather I would describe it as needlessly complex
because the methods to access settings were needlessly broken and the
default apps and utilities are so woefully inadequate for a productive
desktop.
Example: the file manager defaults to display of large icons (as does
Mint) but the settings to change to a default list view are no longer
in a Preferences option on the file manager menu bar. They are
elsewhere in the system and must be tracked down. The menu bar now
includes only the minimize, restore, and full screen options plus the
name of the current directory. All controls that were formerly on the
menu bar are now hidden outside the window that is affected by the
controls or available only by downloading and install a real file
manager. This is idiocy, change only for the sake of change that
breaks the continuity of the user experience and thus trashes
productivity while the user hunts down how to change the setting or
searches for and installs a file manager that can do the job.
And why a default large icon view if the goal is to use it on
small-screen mobile devices too? Large icons burn up scarce screen
real estate and are horrible to work with when a directory contains a
large number of files. A list view with larger type size would be far
more appropriate on mobile devices. (In my opinion, large icons in a
file manager are a major PITA even with a large screen.)
I could of course download and install a full-featured file manager.
But that doesn't cure the problem that the default installation is
geared for people with scant understanding of computing. This kind of
mayhem on productivity echoes throughout the Unity desktop. E.g.,
where is the familiar task bar and menu? It's dropped in favor of a
radically different "dashboard" approach that imposes its own steep
learning curve and is wholly unsuitable for a system with many apps.
Again, a task bar can be downloaded and installed and the dashboard
disabled, but we're talking again about time being subtracted from the
work the user wants to do with the computer.
And the time spent on restoring something resembling the previous user
experience all comes out of time better spent on the tasks the user
wants to use the computer to fulfill.
As with Ubuntu with the Gnome 3 desktop, it's far easier and faster to
switch to the Mint Mate desktop instead where continuity in the user
experience matters to the desktop developers.
Post by Christopher Chaltain
I don't see how you were burned by Canonical twice. I see the switch to
Unity as only happening once. I wasn't burned by Unity because I had already switched to Mint. I was burned by Canonical when Kubuntu switched to KDE 4 long before KDE 4 was ready for prime time and again when Ubuntu switched from Gnome 2 to Gnome 3 long before Gnome 3 was ready for productive use. That's when I departed for Mint, whose development team had publicly committed to maintaining and extending the Gnome 2 experience.
I also think your characterization of
Post by Christopher Chaltain
Canonical is pretty one sided. Canonical does care about productivity
and doesn't change things just for the sake of change.
It doesn't care enough. As I said, its radical changes to Kubuntu and
Ubuntu cost me tens of thousands of dollars in the productivity of my
shop and I was ethically required to cut billing rates as a result. At
the same time, the radical changes offered precisely zero increased
productivity.
Canonical has run
Post by Christopher Chaltain
quite a few human factor studies on Unity and incorporated that feedback
into their design. True, people who don't want to change are going to
see this as a betrayal, but if Linux is going to compete with Windows
and Android, and if it's going to become a viable OS across all personal
computing platforms, it's going to have to move beyond the 90's.
Which is why so many hundreds of thousands of Ubuntu users switched to
Mint both after the introduction of Gnome3 and after introduction of
Unity, yes? :-)
I am not against change that boosts productivity or expands
capabilities. E.g., when technology originally developed for the
newspaper industry was redone as a successor to the electro-mechanical
typewriter (word processors), the productivity gains from being able
to edit work already keyboarded without rekeyboarding the entire
document and to automatically process footnotes made the learning
curve imposed by word processors well worthwhile, so I was an early
adapter in the CP/M days and kept only one typewriter for addressing
envelopes until word processors and printers were able to handle that
task too.
And in my experience, all IT innovations that succeed build upon what
has already been done and offer increased productivity or new
capabilities that offer a competitive advantage to their users. They
don't succeed by scrapping what users have already learned to do
without any corresponding quid pro quo.
True, there can be some future advantages in using the same OS and
desktop on all devices. But Ubuntu Unity isn't going to be it. The
Ubuntu web site guesstimates that there are 20 million Ubuntu users
(not just Unity users). Compare that with nearly 900 million Android
Linux devices that have been activated as of February 29 of this year
and a projected 1.5 billion some time next year.
<http://www.asymco.com/2012/02/29/when-will-android-reach-one-billion-users/>.
So there hasn't exactly been a stampede to the Unity desktop on mobile
devices. In fact, Unity severely slowed the Ubuntu adoption rate.
My best guess based on available evidence is that the majority unified
Linux/Desktop will be based on Android (and its Ash window manager,
which runs atop the Aura hardware-accelerated graphics engine), with
Apple and Microsoft's walled gardens in the minority. But Android
isn't completely ready for the desktop yet, although Google is working
toward convergence with its Chromium desktop OS (both use a lot of
the same code, including the same Linux).
Put another way, I strongly suspect that the convergence of devices
and the Linux desktop will come from the world of mobile devices, not
from the world of traditional Linux desktops, with Android being by
far the major contender, which, in my opinion, is why both Apple and
Microsoft are trying desperately to acquire a share of the Android
revenue stream via patent infringement lawsuits filed against Android
implementers.
Given that this is my opinion on the likely convergence of a single
Linux desktop for multiple types of devices, I see no net gain in
hitching my shop to Unity, only loss of productivity. I'll worry about
convergence when the market establishes one or more winners in that
particular arena and consolidates.
So I don't at least in my view qualify as one of the "people who don't
want to change [and therefore] see this as a betrayal." It's just that
in my business, the revenue stream comes from the billable hour; time
is money and as a businessman I can't invest in change that does not
result in a net gain in productivity and/or capabilities, that brings
only a hit on productivity. And that is precisely all that Canonical
delivered with its radical switches to KDE 4, Gnome 3, and Unity.
I might feel differently had Canonical produced forks rather than
switches and continued support for KDE 3.5 or Gnome 2 until they had
minimized the impact of migrating on user productivity, as Mint is
doing with its Mate and Cinnamon desktops. But Canonical ceased
package development support for the prior desktops instead and
presented radical change as the only option.
A computing hobbyist who doesn't value his or her time might feel
differently; after all, learning is a lot of fun. But in general, only
applied learning can produce income. There are very few jobs out there
where you get paid for self-indulgence.
But if you're in the universe of people whose main concern is work
product and deadlines rather than hobbyist experimentation with
software, radical change is only justified for a solid net gain in
productivity or capabilities. Canonical's managers have zero respect
for that user requirement.
Best regards,
Paul
_______________________________________________
Blinux-list mailing list
https://www.redhat.com/mailman/listinfo/blinux-list
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
jude <***@shellworld.net>
Adobe fiend for failing to Flash
Christopher Chaltain
2012-11-25 19:51:36 UTC
Permalink
Thanks for the well written and thought out response. I don't agree with
everything you said, but I respect your opinion.

For example, this is mostly a nit, but I'm not sure Canonical had much
if anything to do with KDE development. I don't think Canonical has
anything to do with KDE and is pretty hands off with respect to Kubuntu
and the various Ubuntu flavors in general.

You have a good point about the lead Android has in mobile devices. I've
heard though that the Android team isn't particularly interested in
moving into the desktop/laptop space, and Canonical is more motivated to
move into the mobile space than Android is in moving into the laptop space.

I also don't think that all innovation that matters is incremental. I
think there are plenty of examples of successful innovation that has
been more revolutionary than evolutionary. The GUI interface and the use
of the mouse is one example. The touch screen interface is another. In
the area of accessibility, what Apple came up with for VoiceOver access
to IOS was not incremental.

I agree there are few companies that allow employees to engage in self
indulgence, but most successful companies do encourage their employees
to learn and branch out and develop their own skills. Google, Intel,
Canonical are just a few examples.

Finally, it's just not the case that Canonical managers have zero
interest in work products and deadlines. One example is the Ubuntu gets
released every April and October, and Canonical is pretty adamant about
eating their own dog food. You may not agree with the decision to switch
to Unity, but IMHO it's a big leap to go from that to assuming that
every manager at Canonical cares nothing about productivity, schedules
and deadlines.
Post by marbux
On Sat, Nov 24, 2012 at 7:04 AM, Christopher Chaltain
Post by Christopher Chaltain
I don't think Ubuntu switched to Unity just to change something for no
reason though. MS, Gnome and Ubuntu all realize that the personal
computing world is changing and mobile devices are more and more
important. I can't believe three organizations would all be changing
there interface for no reason. You may not agree with the reasons, and
you may not see a benefit in running the same interface on your cell
phone, your tablet and your PC, but not agreeing with someone's
justification doesn't mean that the change was made for no reason. I
know for my part, I would have felt more productive when I got my iPhone
if I hadn't had to learn a whole new interface. I also don't think we're
going to get to a converged interface by making incremental changes.
I agree that there are reasons for the Unity interface beyond eye
candy and gadgetry, but not so for the Kubuntu switch to KDE 4 and the
Ubuntu switch to Gnome 3. The switches to KDE 4 and Gnome 3 were far
too radical changes in the user experience. And most of the radical
change was due to eye candy and gadgetry, change for the sake of
change. In both cases, it would have been made far easier had their
been a one-click change to a KDE 3.5-style desktop or a Gnome 2-style
desktop, as Mint has done with the Mate desktop. But it wasn't until
KDE 4.4 as I recall that KDE finally got around to making it easy to
return to something like the KDE 3.5 desktop. Until then, it took a
huge amount of tweaking to slim down the eye candy and gadgetry that
had shipped with Plasma.
And at least with KDE, the destruction of the 3.5 experience was
deliberate. I recall a gushing essay by the Plasma lead developer
about their goals of redesigning the desktop from the ground up so it
would break the mold of the traditional desktop experience and be far
more beautiful. Not a single mention of the productivity hit that
would be thereby inflicted on users. It was purely a case of the KDE
community allowing the eye candy and gadgetry crowd to assert
leadership when such creatures in reality need to be confined to a
cage of restrictions that places maintenance of user productivity as
an immutable law.
Post by Christopher Chaltain
I also hear this a lot, that Unity and Windows 8, are dumbed down and
full of eye candy and gadgets. Frequently, I hear this label applied
with no details or justification what so ever. Again, it seems to be a
label people toss out when they don't like something. I guess I don't
see a problem with an interface looking nice, and I can see where the
right kind of gadgets would be great productivity tools.
I can't speak to Windows 8 because it will never be installed on any
system I own due to its UEFI bootlock and the app store atrocities it
is inflicting on developers. Windows 8 is a radical change in
Microsoft's business model and restraints imposed on users and
developers, driven by Apple's approach that has proved to be such a
financial success for Apple (not for app developers). I wouldn't
describe them as "dumbed down.
But Unity I can speak to. I wouldn't describe it as "dumbed down"
because settings can still be changed or apps to replace features can
still be downloaded. Rather I would describe it as needlessly complex
because the methods to access settings were needlessly broken and the
default apps and utilities are so woefully inadequate for a productive
desktop.
Example: the file manager defaults to display of large icons (as does
Mint) but the settings to change to a default list view are no longer
in a Preferences option on the file manager menu bar. They are
elsewhere in the system and must be tracked down. The menu bar now
includes only the minimize, restore, and full screen options plus the
name of the current directory. All controls that were formerly on the
menu bar are now hidden outside the window that is affected by the
controls or available only by downloading and install a real file
manager. This is idiocy, change only for the sake of change that
breaks the continuity of the user experience and thus trashes
productivity while the user hunts down how to change the setting or
searches for and installs a file manager that can do the job.
And why a default large icon view if the goal is to use it on
small-screen mobile devices too? Large icons burn up scarce screen
real estate and are horrible to work with when a directory contains a
large number of files. A list view with larger type size would be far
more appropriate on mobile devices. (In my opinion, large icons in a
file manager are a major PITA even with a large screen.)
I could of course download and install a full-featured file manager.
But that doesn't cure the problem that the default installation is
geared for people with scant understanding of computing. This kind of
mayhem on productivity echoes throughout the Unity desktop. E.g.,
where is the familiar task bar and menu? It's dropped in favor of a
radically different "dashboard" approach that imposes its own steep
learning curve and is wholly unsuitable for a system with many apps.
Again, a task bar can be downloaded and installed and the dashboard
disabled, but we're talking again about time being subtracted from the
work the user wants to do with the computer.
And the time spent on restoring something resembling the previous user
experience all comes out of time better spent on the tasks the user
wants to use the computer to fulfill.
As with Ubuntu with the Gnome 3 desktop, it's far easier and faster to
switch to the Mint Mate desktop instead where continuity in the user
experience matters to the desktop developers.
Post by Christopher Chaltain
I don't see how you were burned by Canonical twice. I see the switch to
Unity as only happening once. I wasn't burned by Unity because I had already switched to Mint. I was burned by Canonical when Kubuntu switched to KDE 4 long before KDE 4 was ready for prime time and again when Ubuntu switched from Gnome 2 to Gnome 3 long before Gnome 3 was ready for productive use. That's when I departed for Mint, whose development team had publicly committed to maintaining and extending the Gnome 2 experience.
I also think your characterization of
Post by Christopher Chaltain
Canonical is pretty one sided. Canonical does care about productivity
and doesn't change things just for the sake of change.
It doesn't care enough. As I said, its radical changes to Kubuntu and
Ubuntu cost me tens of thousands of dollars in the productivity of my
shop and I was ethically required to cut billing rates as a result. At
the same time, the radical changes offered precisely zero increased
productivity.
Canonical has run
Post by Christopher Chaltain
quite a few human factor studies on Unity and incorporated that feedback
into their design. True, people who don't want to change are going to
see this as a betrayal, but if Linux is going to compete with Windows
and Android, and if it's going to become a viable OS across all personal
computing platforms, it's going to have to move beyond the 90's.
Which is why so many hundreds of thousands of Ubuntu users switched to
Mint both after the introduction of Gnome3 and after introduction of
Unity, yes? :-)
I am not against change that boosts productivity or expands
capabilities. E.g., when technology originally developed for the
newspaper industry was redone as a successor to the electro-mechanical
typewriter (word processors), the productivity gains from being able
to edit work already keyboarded without rekeyboarding the entire
document and to automatically process footnotes made the learning
curve imposed by word processors well worthwhile, so I was an early
adapter in the CP/M days and kept only one typewriter for addressing
envelopes until word processors and printers were able to handle that
task too.
And in my experience, all IT innovations that succeed build upon what
has already been done and offer increased productivity or new
capabilities that offer a competitive advantage to their users. They
don't succeed by scrapping what users have already learned to do
without any corresponding quid pro quo.
True, there can be some future advantages in using the same OS and
desktop on all devices. But Ubuntu Unity isn't going to be it. The
Ubuntu web site guesstimates that there are 20 million Ubuntu users
(not just Unity users). Compare that with nearly 900 million Android
Linux devices that have been activated as of February 29 of this year
and a projected 1.5 billion some time next year.
<http://www.asymco.com/2012/02/29/when-will-android-reach-one-billion-users/>.
So there hasn't exactly been a stampede to the Unity desktop on mobile
devices. In fact, Unity severely slowed the Ubuntu adoption rate.
My best guess based on available evidence is that the majority unified
Linux/Desktop will be based on Android (and its Ash window manager,
which runs atop the Aura hardware-accelerated graphics engine), with
Apple and Microsoft's walled gardens in the minority. But Android
isn't completely ready for the desktop yet, although Google is working
toward convergence with its Chromium desktop OS (both use a lot of
the same code, including the same Linux).
Put another way, I strongly suspect that the convergence of devices
and the Linux desktop will come from the world of mobile devices, not
from the world of traditional Linux desktops, with Android being by
far the major contender, which, in my opinion, is why both Apple and
Microsoft are trying desperately to acquire a share of the Android
revenue stream via patent infringement lawsuits filed against Android
implementers.
Given that this is my opinion on the likely convergence of a single
Linux desktop for multiple types of devices, I see no net gain in
hitching my shop to Unity, only loss of productivity. I'll worry about
convergence when the market establishes one or more winners in that
particular arena and consolidates.
So I don't at least in my view qualify as one of the "people who don't
want to change [and therefore] see this as a betrayal." It's just that
in my business, the revenue stream comes from the billable hour; time
is money and as a businessman I can't invest in change that does not
result in a net gain in productivity and/or capabilities, that brings
only a hit on productivity. And that is precisely all that Canonical
delivered with its radical switches to KDE 4, Gnome 3, and Unity.
I might feel differently had Canonical produced forks rather than
switches and continued support for KDE 3.5 or Gnome 2 until they had
minimized the impact of migrating on user productivity, as Mint is
doing with its Mate and Cinnamon desktops. But Canonical ceased
package development support for the prior desktops instead and
presented radical change as the only option.
A computing hobbyist who doesn't value his or her time might feel
differently; after all, learning is a lot of fun. But in general, only
applied learning can produce income. There are very few jobs out there
where you get paid for self-indulgence.
But if you're in the universe of people whose main concern is work
product and deadlines rather than hobbyist experimentation with
software, radical change is only justified for a solid net gain in
productivity or capabilities. Canonical's managers have zero respect
for that user requirement.
Best regards,
Paul
_______________________________________________
Blinux-list mailing list
https://www.redhat.com/mailman/listinfo/blinux-list
--
Christopher (CJ)
chaltain at Gmail
Jason White
2012-11-25 06:03:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by John J. Boyer
I'm getting sick of dealing with Windows. My business manager is
agreeable to a switch, using OpenOffice. What is the best Linux distro
for someone who does mostly wordprocessing, online shopping, email and
accounting?
My suggestion would be to start with a good, well-maintained distribution such
as Debian or Fedora, then install the desktop environment and applications of
your choice. Others have already made suggestions in regard to those.

If you want extra stability, then choose one of the "enterprise"
distributions, or a derivative, or Debian stable or even Ubuntu LTS.

I think it's better to start by choosing a desktop environment and
applications, then a distribution based on its maintenance policy, packaging
system and other features.

I'd personally choose either Debian or Red Hat/Fedora, or maybe OpenSUSE/Suse
(although I haven't had any experience with SUSE in any of its forms). They're
the long-term players who have the most experience and expertise from the
kernel level through to the application level.
Jude DaShiell
2012-11-25 17:13:24 UTC
Permalink
grml under these criteria is another distro to consider. It's a security
hardened version of debian. Basic installation gets a command line
interface and then the installers cn install the other parts needed on top
of the command line interface. Last time I checked grml was still being
Post by Jason White
Post by John J. Boyer
I'm getting sick of dealing with Windows. My business manager is
agreeable to a switch, using OpenOffice. What is the best Linux distro
for someone who does mostly wordprocessing, online shopping, email and
accounting?
My suggestion would be to start with a good, well-maintained distribution such
as Debian or Fedora, then install the desktop environment and applications of
your choice. Others have already made suggestions in regard to those.
If you want extra stability, then choose one of the "enterprise"
distributions, or a derivative, or Debian stable or even Ubuntu LTS.
I think it's better to start by choosing a desktop environment and
applications, then a distribution based on its maintenance policy, packaging
system and other features.
I'd personally choose either Debian or Red Hat/Fedora, or maybe OpenSUSE/Suse
(although I haven't had any experience with SUSE in any of its forms). They're
the long-term players who have the most experience and expertise from the
kernel level through to the application level.
_______________________________________________
Blinux-list mailing list
https://www.redhat.com/mailman/listinfo/blinux-list
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
jude <***@shellworld.net>
Adobe fiend for failing to Flash
John J. Boyer
2012-11-25 19:22:49 UTC
Permalink
When I went to the home page for LibreOffice and then to download and
then to rpm 386/64, ehen to english there was only a pre-release
version. A wikipedia article said it was only 5 days old. There is no
information about accessibility. It looks like LibreOffice needs more
time to ripen.

John
Post by Jude DaShiell
grml under these criteria is another distro to consider. It's a security
hardened version of debian. Basic installation gets a command line
interface and then the installers cn install the other parts needed on top
of the command line interface. Last time I checked grml was still being
Post by Jason White
Post by John J. Boyer
I'm getting sick of dealing with Windows. My business manager is
agreeable to a switch, using OpenOffice. What is the best Linux distro
for someone who does mostly wordprocessing, online shopping, email and
accounting?
My suggestion would be to start with a good, well-maintained distribution such
as Debian or Fedora, then install the desktop environment and applications of
your choice. Others have already made suggestions in regard to those.
If you want extra stability, then choose one of the "enterprise"
distributions, or a derivative, or Debian stable or even Ubuntu LTS.
I think it's better to start by choosing a desktop environment and
applications, then a distribution based on its maintenance policy, packaging
system and other features.
I'd personally choose either Debian or Red Hat/Fedora, or maybe OpenSUSE/Suse
(although I haven't had any experience with SUSE in any of its forms). They're
the long-term players who have the most experience and expertise from the
kernel level through to the application level.
_______________________________________________
Blinux-list mailing list
https://www.redhat.com/mailman/listinfo/blinux-list
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Adobe fiend for failing to Flash
_______________________________________________
Blinux-list mailing list
https://www.redhat.com/mailman/listinfo/blinux-list
--
John J. Boyer; President, Chief Software Developer
Abilitiessoft, Inc.
http://www.abilitiessoft.com
Madison, Wisconsin USA
Developing software for people with disabilities
marbux
2012-11-25 20:09:04 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, Nov 25, 2012 at 11:22 AM, John J. Boyer
Post by John J. Boyer
When I went to the home page for LibreOffice and then to download and
then to rpm 386/64, ehen to english there was only a pre-release
version. A wikipedia article said it was only 5 days old. There is no
information about accessibility. It looks like LibreOffice needs more
time to ripen.
Something is wrong. Would you like some sighted assistance? If so:
[i] what distro are you running; [ii] which version of that distro are
you using; and [iii] do you need 32-bit or 64-bit?

I can quickly install it to a virtual machine then see what 's
happening. Also there are other RPM downloads available that package
the 32-bit and 64-bit builds separately. And if the latest release has
an RPM issue, there is the previous release.

OOo had a top-to-bottom accessibility overhaul long before the
Document Foundation forked it to produce LibreOffice. Moreover, the
major player and contributor of developers in the Document Foundation.
Novell owns SuSE, which has an RPM-based package management system. So
I think it unlikely that the spotlighted download of the RPM packages
is corrupt.

Best regards,

Paul
Jude DaShiell
2012-11-25 21:55:31 UTC
Permalink
It'll take me a couple days to download and check out sonar linux and if I
can get it working I'll post the version of libreoffice they're using
after I check out its accessibility.On Sun, 25 Nov 2012, John J. Boyer
Post by John J. Boyer
When I went to the home page for LibreOffice and then to download and
then to rpm 386/64, ehen to english there was only a pre-release
version. A wikipedia article said it was only 5 days old. There is no
information about accessibility. It looks like LibreOffice needs more
time to ripen.
John
Post by Jude DaShiell
grml under these criteria is another distro to consider. It's a security
hardened version of debian. Basic installation gets a command line
interface and then the installers cn install the other parts needed on top
of the command line interface. Last time I checked grml was still being
Post by Jason White
Post by John J. Boyer
I'm getting sick of dealing with Windows. My business manager is
agreeable to a switch, using OpenOffice. What is the best Linux distro
for someone who does mostly wordprocessing, online shopping, email and
accounting?
My suggestion would be to start with a good, well-maintained distribution such
as Debian or Fedora, then install the desktop environment and applications of
your choice. Others have already made suggestions in regard to those.
If you want extra stability, then choose one of the "enterprise"
distributions, or a derivative, or Debian stable or even Ubuntu LTS.
I think it's better to start by choosing a desktop environment and
applications, then a distribution based on its maintenance policy, packaging
system and other features.
I'd personally choose either Debian or Red Hat/Fedora, or maybe OpenSUSE/Suse
(although I haven't had any experience with SUSE in any of its forms). They're
the long-term players who have the most experience and expertise from the
kernel level through to the application level.
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marbux
2012-11-25 22:20:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jude DaShiell
It'll take me a couple days to download and check out sonar linux and if I
can get it working I'll post the version of libreoffice they're using
after I check out its accessibility.On Sun, 25 Nov 2012, John J. Boyer
I updated all packages on Mint this morning and it has LibreOffice
3.4.4 build 402. But that's a debian package. The latest RPM download
from the LibreOffice web site is version 3.6.3. There is an
intervening release available, version 3.5.

John, have you checked to see if LibreOffice is available via your
distro's package repositories?

Best regards,

Paul
marbux
2012-11-25 22:33:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by marbux
I updated all packages on Mint this morning and it has LibreOffice
3.4.4 build 402. Whoops, I was looking at the Windows version I've got installed. Updated LibreOffice on Mint has version 3.5.4.2 build 2.
Sorry for the error. Paul.
John J. Boyer
2012-11-25 23:48:53 UTC
Permalink
Thanks. I'll be lookking for that post.

I am using CentOS 5.8 on both my office Linux machine and on a server in
the cloud. I think it is best to stick with an enterprise distro. I'm
going to get a CD for CentOS 6.3 and then decide how to make the
transsition from Windows on my other office machine. I do have to keep
Windows for testing software.

John
Post by Jude DaShiell
It'll take me a couple days to download and check out sonar linux and if I
can get it working I'll post the version of libreoffice they're using
after I check out its accessibility.On Sun, 25 Nov 2012, John J. Boyer
Post by John J. Boyer
When I went to the home page for LibreOffice and then to download and
then to rpm 386/64, ehen to english there was only a pre-release
version. A wikipedia article said it was only 5 days old. There is no
information about accessibility. It looks like LibreOffice needs more
time to ripen.
John
Post by Jude DaShiell
grml under these criteria is another distro to consider. It's a security
hardened version of debian. Basic installation gets a command line
interface and then the installers cn install the other parts needed on top
of the command line interface. Last time I checked grml was still being
Post by Jason White
Post by John J. Boyer
I'm getting sick of dealing with Windows. My business manager is
agreeable to a switch, using OpenOffice. What is the best Linux distro
for someone who does mostly wordprocessing, online shopping, email and
accounting?
My suggestion would be to start with a good, well-maintained distribution such
as Debian or Fedora, then install the desktop environment and applications of
your choice. Others have already made suggestions in regard to those.
If you want extra stability, then choose one of the "enterprise"
distributions, or a derivative, or Debian stable or even Ubuntu LTS.
I think it's better to start by choosing a desktop environment and
applications, then a distribution based on its maintenance policy, packaging
system and other features.
I'd personally choose either Debian or Red Hat/Fedora, or maybe OpenSUSE/Suse
(although I haven't had any experience with SUSE in any of its forms). They're
the long-term players who have the most experience and expertise from the
kernel level through to the application level.
_______________________________________________
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https://www.redhat.com/mailman/listinfo/blinux-list
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Adobe fiend for failing to Flash
_______________________________________________
Blinux-list mailing list
https://www.redhat.com/mailman/listinfo/blinux-list
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Adobe fiend for failing to Flash
_______________________________________________
Blinux-list mailing list
https://www.redhat.com/mailman/listinfo/blinux-list
--
John J. Boyer; President, Chief Software Developer
Abilitiessoft, Inc.
http://www.abilitiessoft.com
Madison, Wisconsin USA
Developing software for people with disabilities
marbux
2012-11-26 00:41:02 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, Nov 25, 2012 at 3:48 PM, John J. Boyer
Post by John J. Boyer
I am using CentOS 5.8 on both my office Linux machine and on a server in
the cloud. I think it is best to stick with an enterprise distro. I'm
going to get a CD for CentOS 6.3 and then decide how to make the
transsition from Windows on my other office machine. I do have to keep
Windows for testing software.
FWIW, CentOS 6.3 switches from OpenOffice.org and ships with
LibreOffice 3.4.5 according to their announcement so likely no need to
install LibreOffice in that version. <http://centosnow.blogspot.com/>
That makes me suspect that you'd prefer that I test CentOS 5.8.

You didn't say whether you want me to test with the 32-bit or 64-bit
build. I'll go with the 64-bit build on the assumption that you likely
have a fairly new machine.

Best regards,

Paul
John J. Boyer
2012-11-26 01:43:55 UTC
Permalink
Hi Paul,

Yes, I am interested in the 64-bit versions. However, I don't think I'll
do anything with CentOS 5.8. I'll just go with 6.3.

Thanks,
John
Post by marbux
On Sun, Nov 25, 2012 at 3:48 PM, John J. Boyer
Post by John J. Boyer
I am using CentOS 5.8 on both my office Linux machine and on a server in
the cloud. I think it is best to stick with an enterprise distro. I'm
going to get a CD for CentOS 6.3 and then decide how to make the
transsition from Windows on my other office machine. I do have to keep
Windows for testing software.
FWIW, CentOS 6.3 switches from OpenOffice.org and ships with
LibreOffice 3.4.5 according to their announcement so likely no need to
install LibreOffice in that version. <http://centosnow.blogspot.com/>
That makes me suspect that you'd prefer that I test CentOS 5.8.
You didn't say whether you want me to test with the 32-bit or 64-bit
build. I'll go with the 64-bit build on the assumption that you likely
have a fairly new machine.
Best regards,
Paul
_______________________________________________
Blinux-list mailing list
https://www.redhat.com/mailman/listinfo/blinux-list
--
John J. Boyer; President, Chief Software Developer
Abilitiessoft, Inc.
http://www.abilitiessoft.com
Madison, Wisconsin USA
Developing software for people with disabilities
marbux
2012-11-26 02:41:13 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, Nov 25, 2012 at 5:43 PM, John J. Boyer
Post by John J. Boyer
Yes, I am interested in the 64-bit versions. However, I don't think I'll
do anything with CentOS 5.8. I'll just go with 6.3.
Darn. I guessed wrong. Just about through installing v. 5.8. Do you
want me to test 6.3?
marbux
2012-11-26 03:38:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by marbux
On Sun, Nov 25, 2012 at 5:43 PM, John J. Boyer
Darn. I guessed wrong. Just about through installing v. 5.8. Do you
want me to test 6.3?
Will have to wait until tomorrow if you do. The evening's family life beckons.

Best regards,


Paul
John J. Boyer
2012-11-26 07:00:25 UTC
Permalink
Well, I'm wondering if LibreOffice on 6.3 is accessible and whether it
will be difficult to get Orca working on that OS. So it would be nice if
you test those things.

Thanks,
John
Post by marbux
On Sun, Nov 25, 2012 at 5:43 PM, John J. Boyer
Post by John J. Boyer
Yes, I am interested in the 64-bit versions. However, I don't think I'll
do anything with CentOS 5.8. I'll just go with 6.3.
Darn. I guessed wrong. Just about through installing v. 5.8. Do you
want me to test 6.3?
_______________________________________________
Blinux-list mailing list
https://www.redhat.com/mailman/listinfo/blinux-list
--
John J. Boyer; President, Chief Software Developer
Abilitiessoft, Inc.
http://www.abilitiessoft.com
Madison, Wisconsin USA
Developing software for people with disabilities
marbux
2012-11-27 02:11:37 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, Nov 25, 2012 at 11:00 PM, John J. Boyer
Post by John J. Boyer
Well, I'm wondering if LibreOffice on 6.3 is accessible and whether it
will be difficult to get Orca working on that OS. So it would be nice if
you test those things.
I'm not the best person to test Orca. I've never used it and don't
understand Braille. (I'm low vision and so far have got by with
magnification.)

But I don't think it will be a problem for the following reasons:

1. Orca is on the package list for Red Hat Enterprise 6.x.
<http://tinyurl.com/ct6wdej>. CentOS is Red Hat Enterprise with only
the Red Hat trademarks and art changed.

2. Orca was developed under the leadership of the Accessibility
Program Office of Sun Microsystems, Inc. (now Oracle), working from
the concept and prototype developed by a blind Sun programmer named
Mark Mulcahy. Sun had very strong accessibility integration emphasis
in all of its apps, which included OpenOffice.org, from which
LibreOffice was later forked.

3. OpenOffice.org had a few remaining accessiblity warts at the time
that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts proposed to specify
OpenDocument Formats as the only formats to be used in state
government for word processing. Microsoft responded to that proposal
by mobilizing the accessibilty community to oppose the proposal
because of the few remaining accessiblity warts in OpenOffice.org and
the OpenDocument Formats.

That sparked a major effort by the OpenDocument Formats technical
committee (I was a member at the time) and by Sun (under the
leadership of its accessibility executive Peter Korn (a blind
programmer himself) to clear the accessibility warts in both the
OpenDocument formats and in OOo. (This was the reason for the release
of OpenDocument Formats v. 1.1.)

3. The fork of LibreOffice from OpenOffice.org occurred a couple of
years later, when Oracle acquired Sun and almost immediately ended
support for OOo and ODF. IBM had been recycling OOo code in its
programs pursuant to a license it had obtained from Sun Microsystems.
But that was no longer workable because the project was dead and IBM
did not have commit rights to add new code to the source code. OOo
became a dead project for nearly a year, until IBM persuaded Oracle to
deed the source code to the Apache Foundation, where the new project
would license source code under the permissive Apache license rather
than the LGPL. This was important to IBM because all of its relevant
software using ODF was proprietary closed source. To recyle the OOo
code in its products, needed OOo to be licensed under a permissive
license.

4. Meanwhile, LibreOffice development proceeded and added new
features, whose code cannot be used in OpenOffice.org because of
license differences. However, any patches added to OpenOffice.org can
be applied to LibreOffice because of the permissive Apache license.
This situation practically guarantees that LibreOffice will stay out
in front of OpenOffice.org in terms of software quality and featues.

5. Because of such factors and because LibreOffice is licensed under
the LGPL, which requires that all distributed modifications be
contributed back to the community whereas the Apache license allows
modifications to be kept proprietary and secret, most distro
developers have either switched to LibreOffice or are planning to.
LibreOffice is FLOSS, whereas OpenOffice.org no longer is.

6. Since version 2.16, Orca has been part of the Gnome desktop, which
is what is used in the default Red Hat Enterprise and CentOS v. 6.x
installation.

7. So in sort there shouldn't be any accessibility issues with using Orca and
LibreOffice on CentOS 6.3.

Best regards,

Paul

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