What It’s Like To Be An Ubuntu User In The Linux world

I really wish tech blogs would stop promoting Ubuntu. How about Debian proper or any other distro that hasn’t bastardized and broken so much of Debian.



If you ever write anything positive about Ubuntu or even mention using Ubuntu this is the type of reply you are likely to get. I have used quite a few distros out there but I stuck with Ubuntu because I like the fact that it is frequently updated and its trying to do something different from every mom and pop distros out there. Not only on Desktop environment, even in server environment Ubuntu is my default choice now. Mention that to any sys-admin and they are likely to wince at your choice.

It shouldn’t be like this. Ubuntu single-handedly did more to make Linux a popular (relatively speaking) choice in desktop environment than any Linux Distro in the history of its existence.

Ubuntu is popular because its easy to use, alot of effort are made to make it look good (whether you actually like how it looks is subjective), extremely newbie friendly both the community and the distro; you can’t say the same about most other Linux distribution out there. So whats with all the hate?

Most importantly, why should Linux community worry or fight over what Linux distribution you use as long as you are using a Linux distribution that you like and enjoy? Isn’t that the whole point of having a choice that open source community so proudly points out as one of the highlight of open source software?





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  • http://twitter.com/kanliot karl anliot

    i’ve been harsh on ubuntu, but ubuntu is years ahead of the other disto’s in terms of support options for users

  • Ynot_82

    The reception that Ubuntu currently gets from some users (whether you think it’s right, wrong or indifferent) is fairly normal for a distro that’s focusing on new users and ease-of-use.
    I came into Linux in the late ’90s via Corel Linux (like Ubuntu, it was Debian-based and heavily focused toward new users), and that was the same.
    I’m not entirely sure how the psychology of the thing works, but certainly it’s not unusual for such distros to get a disproportionate amount of flak.

    Most of the time, it’s just people running their mouths off.
    I think distros that cater to new users have a tough time, as they’re often stuck between the rock of “pandering to their users”, and the hard place of “maintaining the Linux ideals”.
    It’s a petri dish for all forms of disagreement and hostility to cultivate and multiply.

    Lets face it, new users want the thing to be just like Windows, whereas mature Linux users know that that’s a bad idea.
    What’s a new-user-focused distro to do?
    About the only thing they can do is have a thick-skin, take on-board any constructive criticisms, ignore the non-constructive, plough on with what they’re hoping to achieve, and hope they don’t fuck things up.

    But equally there are always some genuine concerns floating around.

    Corel spent a lot of time doing “usability” changes to their distro.
    These changes (as far as I was concerned, as a new user) were great.
    For example, they created a windows migration tool for dual booters that scanned your windows install and pulled across various settings into Corel Linux (everything from Internet Explorer bookmarks to the picture you had as a desktop background.)
    The various changes they made however, meant that Corel Linux used specially crafted packages
    Packages from upstream Debian wouldn’t work.
    This caused a lot of friction.

    Equally, there are changes that Ubuntu has made to it’s system that cause similar friction.

    • http://slashgeek.net/ Slashgeek

      I never used corel, but my first introduction with Linux SUSE it was also very beginner friendly and I remember if I wanted to get any help with SUSE on general Linux forum there was a lot of hostility towards it.

  • http://twitter.com/mescyn Mescyn

    I think ubuntu has users from all sorts of experience levels. I know I personally started with sls linux a long time ago (there weren’t many options at the time). I like ubuntu well enough, although I’m not attached to any distribution all that much.

  • Legend of the Mauve Dragon

    “Ubuntu single-handedly did more to make Linux a popular (relatively speaking) choice in desktop environment than any Linux Distro in the history of its existence”

    This is why. Obtuse Good, Popular Bad. At least that’s how it seems sometimes.

  • Guest

    As someone who has looked into using Linux a few times over the years, I find Ubuntu the most user friendly. That’s the goal of Ubuntu, user friendliness. Non-technically minded user friendliness. There is no other distro of Linux that provides the level of user friendliness that Ubuntu does. But until I can double click an icon to install a newer version of video drivers that I downloaded, and the phrase “recompile the kernal” are gone Ubuntu and other distros will never see a large user base.

    • http://twitter.com/subhadip_g Subhadip Ghosh

      That’s the whole point, isn’t it? The driver you downloaded from insecure sources over the Internet can contain malware. So downloading and installing from the repo is much safer IMHO. Like from the Additional drivers app.

    • J.R. Freeman

      I would respectfully suggest this user try Linux Mint. Ubuntu made strides, but it’s not the one I felt my mom could use with relative ease.

      (yes, I know that Linux Mint came out of Ubuntu)

  • Lolwut

    I like Xubuntu better.

  • J.R. Freeman

    I feel like Ubuntu is kind of like Google in a sense. It’s done quite a bit for Linux adoption & use – even for compatibility demand. Always with it’s own agenda of course.

    I started on Ubuntu. I’m on Ubuntu again (Studio/XFCE).

    I know Ubuntu take a lot of heat for a lot of things. One arguement that resonates with me is uncertain lack of commitment to upstream fed back into the community, that kind of thing. But I don’t hate Ubuntu.

    I have gotten annoyed in the past with Ubuntu if I get a .deb file from somewhere, only to find it only works with Ubuntu (while I was on LMDE).

    But Ubuntu’s ambition, whatever the motives does urge others on, even if it’s in response to compete & correct something they didn’t like. So in that instance, Ubuntu’s still good for Linux, even as a heel is good for pro-wrestling. ;p

  • Phil Constable

    “A lot” is two words.

  • 01iv3r twisted

    >extremely newbie friendly

    This is the problem right here – for two reasons:

    1. The easier a tool is for new users to learn, the more difficult it is for experienced and knowledgable users to do real work with.

    B. Some of us have been doing this geek thing since before GUIs, before the web, before computers were accessable to those of average intellect. It is kind of perturbing to have dedicated a lifetime of learning to something only to have it trivialized by “user-friendliness”.

    Thirdly. I think people just like to talk trash.

  • Daniel Skyref

    Debian is better – much more performance, big community, many help, tutorials. I can’t work on Ubuntu – it is too slow. If you like ubuntu try linux Mint – much faster – and ready to use, with also non open source programs, and I don’t see, in what way is less user-friendly? You use Ubuntu, because it is popular? You can have all what is in Ubuntu also on debian (with install some non gpl programs) or on Mint and with both have higer performance than Ubuntu. These distros are easy to learn. In Mint you can use only windows, if you want. So why users thing, that only user-friendly is Ubuntu, when there are better distros? Tell me what you can’t do in Mandriva or Mint so easy or easier what you do in Ubuntu? Nothing. You can try too Fedora or OpenSuse, but for me better is debian based distros – i love use apt-get vs searching of dependencies on Fedora, Mandriva etc. SUSE is alone, it not have so much community, programs, ready builds. So in my opinion for home/desktop best is Mint (you have even installed java, flash with this distro, java for egzample is not included in Ubuntu, you have most want you need on 1 dvd, what you want more you can easy install. Most applications have .deb packages, which is enought double-click to install. I don’t have problem to install programs what I want, which was dedicated/ compiled to debian), for server debian (without X, only text console) – you can install many things, that help doing much things: mc, synaptic, wirtualmin, webmin (these 2 for web server with apache, mysql, php, dns server, mail server) and many others.

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