LifeHacker and Ubuntu: A Response

Recently LifeHacker had an article talking about five things they would like to see in Ubuntu. The article is very supportive of Ubuntu, and we appreciate that LifeHacker folks, and I wanted to follow up with a few notes about each of the five areas they focused on, particularly with relation to the recently released Alpha 5 development snapshot of the up-and-coming Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala.

An App Store better than Apple’s

Work really started in earnest in this cycle on this feature in the form of the Ubuntu Software Store. Our design team worked hard to build simple, usable, extensible design and documented it here. Work then started on the development of the application by the always excellent Michael Vogt. While still under heavy development, right now it looks like this:

The focus of this tool pretty much matches what LifeHacker are craving, and the spec outlines the design and thinking that has gone into it. Karmic will ship a first cut of the Ubuntu Software Store, but it will be simple. You can expect further refinements in the Karmic+1 release.

The article also mentioned apt url ( support), which Ubuntu has supported since Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon. This makes it simple to provide links to Ubuntu software right from a web page and we encourage more folks to use it. :-)

Integrate dual-booting and virtualization

Boot experience has been a solid focus on the Karmic cycle, and you can read the specification here. The primary focus in this cycle has been reducing boot time and prettifying the boot experience and some incredible work has gone into this area.

This cycle won’t include a graphical OS selector, but this is specced and planned for the Karmic+1 release.

As for the comments on virtualization in the article, it is simple to install VirtualBox and other virtualization options on Ubuntu, but currently it is not much more integrated into the desktop or installer.

A wave of right-brain rethinking

As part of the efforts in going into the Ayatana Project, you can expect to see some really compelling user-focused design and development work landing in Ubuntu. We have already seen improvements such as the new messaging indicator, notification system, fast user switching features, better printing integration and easier installation of codecs, and Karmic is slated to ship further improvements to the messaging menu, particularly around micro-blogging. Karmic is also featuring the first-round of improvements in our 100 paper cuts scheme which is seeking to fix lots of little nit-noid annoyances in the desktop, and this has been really successful so far.

The future holds some exciting prospects as the Ayatana team helps really focus Ubuntu on a user-focused, productive and information centric environment. Remember you can be a part of the Ayatana project, go and join up here.

I think LifeHacker are going to impressed with the further developments in Ubuntu over the next few releases. Canonical has invested heavily in putting together a comprehensive design team and I am working closely with them to ensure they are in-turn engaging well with the community. All of this is shaping up to deliver solid interface improvements for our users.

Awesome cloud-based backup

Alpha 5 is shipping Ubuntu One by default which makes file sharing and synchronization simple between computers. Ubuntu One is going to offer a great platform for applications to sync with it and you can expect more new and exciting development around Ubuntu One over the next six months or so.

Speaking of the cloud, a key focus on Ubuntu is also ensuring we can work effectively with EC2 and we now release EC2 AMIs as part of our release programme (such as our current development release of 9.10 Alpha 5. Alpha 5 includes alpha images for the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC) and Amazon’s EC2. You can try out the latest Karmic server alpha instantly on EC2 using a preconfigured AMI, or download an image and put it into your own cloud with UEC. For information on using Ubuntu UEC on Amazon EC2, see the EC2 Starter’s Guide.

Good video editing software

While we currently don’t ship a video editor out of the box, we have some compelling options on the horizon. These include:

  • PiTiVi – this is a GNOME based application, focused on simplicity and using the same infrastructure we ship in Ubuntu (Python, GStreamer, GNOME). It is shaping up nicely, has a dedicated team on it at Collabora Multimedia and is kicking out regular releases.
  • kdenlive – this is a powerful KDE based application that is more feature complete than PiTiVi. Development on this is also fast and furious.

As we see these applications mature, they will be easier to consider for official inclusion in Ubuntu.

  • Angel

    Great Response, I really enjoyed reading this!

  • Jono Bacon (jonobacon) ‘s status on Thursday, 10-Sep-09 22:20:33 UTC –
  • df

    Hey Jono, I’m wondering to what extent these UI enhancements etc are Ubuntu specific and how much are you guys contributing upstream?

  • Eugenia

    Jono, as you probably know by now, my main thing is video these days (rather than OSNews and OSes that it was in the past).

    I have gone long and hard trying to move to Linux for my video needs, but after a lot of research and waiting for years, I now know that this day will never come. Neither PiTiVi, or KDEnLive, or Cinelerra, Kino, Blender, or other editing solutions (I have tried 4-5 more, pretty much everything you can imagine while trying to convince myself that there’s probably something good out there), compare with a package like iMovie — let alone a more powerful editor like Sony Vegas, or FCP, or Premiere.

    The problem with the Linux editors is that they are super-crashy. In all these years of testing all these apps, I never had a video editor not crash within a few minutes of working with it (only Kino proved to be semi-resilient).

    Then, there’s the other problem: Linux editors are actually slower than any of the Win/Mac editors I mentioned above. Trying to edit HDV footage on a faster PC than my Win/Vegas PC was impossible without a lot of frame rate dropping (while it flies on my Vegas’ slower PC, without any special hardware acceleration).

    As a developer myself (used to be one before I became a tech reviewer a decade ago), I know very well that creating a video editor that WORKS, and it’s actually useful, is a task more difficult than creating something like Firefox. To me, after all this years, video editing feels like the final frontier for the OSS community.

    So far, all attempts are failures in my book. And the reason for that, is because a PROPER video editor constitutes of so many things (kernel optimizations, caching, media framework optimized for video that doesn’t suck, a large number of decoders and encoders that don’t crash, proper architecture etc), that it’s almost impossible to achieve in any meaningful way in the traditional Joe-Hacker-in-his-bedroom open source style. Even Cinelerra and Blender, which do have companies behind them, don’t fair better.

    IMO, it has to be a company behind such a project that directs all what it needs to be done and it’s serious about its goals. If they need a kernel patch, they should get it. And if they need big changes in the media frame work, they should get them accepted fast. And if they need a big ffmpeg patch, we need the ffmpeg guys to accept it — fast. In other words, a video editor is a large project, and it puts the “OSS way of doing things” into stress test.

    BTW, my KDEnLive review. I also have the latest PiTiVi and OpenShot installed too, but they don’t fair any better.

  • Tom

    I agree with your assessment of the status quo, but I don’t think the future is as bleak as you make it out to be.

    There was a time when Linux no decent Office Suite or Web browser or music player. OK, more people need these apps than a video editor, but I run KDEnlive and I now have a setup that works for my very modest needs.

    Linux may not be THE platform for professional videographers for a very very long time, but I think KDEnLive will be as good as WindowsMovie maker. Qt matures and gets more features very fast as does KDE (it gets faster more features, less resources)

    It will do for simple tasks and I also think once a few clear winners from the many different projects emerge the development will accelerate. There will always be fragmentation, but Gnome and KDE and distros will start to pick favorites soon.

  • neuro

    Jono, great, measured answers on all questions, except on Ubuntu One: it needs cross-platform support to succeed, even just WebDAV (which I know is in the works, and I’m a bit surprised you didn’t mention it). The whole point of the cloud is anytime, anywhere, and the more interfaces, the better.

  • NoOne

    Don’t we currently have “an app store” in Synaptic/add-remove/Adept/etc?

    Or is the fact that it’s not a web page make it less useful?

    Instead of “we need an app store” (which is a solution to an unknown problem), can we instead focus on what the actual problem is? What is it? Usability? visibility? 2.0 buzzwords? How can we, instead of writing something from scratch, improve what we already have?

  • Nicholas Sanders (linuxfiend) ‘s status on Friday, 11-Sep-09 00:10:29 UTC –
  • Will Wolf (throughnothing) ‘s status on Friday, 11-Sep-09 00:32:54 UTC –

    […] a few seconds ago from iDent iPhone App […]

  • Jaco

    How about a usable PulseAudio that doesn’t require you to be a rocket-scientists in order to understand or use it?

  • Eugenia

    >Don’t we currently have “an app store” in Synaptic/add-remove/Adept/etc?

    You already found the actual problem the editor was complaining about in your sentence, without realizing it. Re-read your sentence. 😉

  • NoOne

    Eugenia, Add/Remove already has those capabilities. It shows a “watered down” selection, complete with descriptions and popularity.

  • Eugenia

    Yes, but that app doesn’t show everything. What’s needed is not the FOUR visual ways of installing .deb packages that exists right now on Ubuntu, but ONE way. A single way that does everything well.

    For example, it always annoys me when I try to install two or more deb files by double clicking, and it’s loading that app to install it, and this app does not use the Ubuntu “password remembering” technique, and so it asks me for the password EACH time within a few seconds!

    There should be only one app that deals with all that. Not four, that each one has its own crazy ways of doing things.

  • Charles

    I will probably be flogged by the Linux faithful for this comment but here it goes. First, good response to their requests. I don’t necessarily agree with what they want but if those features are added I certainly will not complain. Now my gripe with Ubuntu (and Linux in general). Things must be done to make it easier for users to use! By users I do not mean lifelong Linux geeks. I mean mom and pop windoze users. I am fairly adept at Windoze out of necessity and history. I ran into a relatively simple problem using Ubuntu (eeebuntu actually) last week. I needed to install an app that was not in the repository (free42). There were simple instructions on how to do it on the webpage. Download the tarball was easy enough. Now copy the file to a specific directory…..bzzzzt….wrong! I needed root priv for that. I could not remember the name of the file manager (nautilus) or how to start it with root priv. Instead of getting an error that you do not have permission to perform the task, why not have the error and then OFFER AN OPTION TO EVOKE ROOT PRIV?! Come on people. As long as Linux requires (not allows but requires) the use of cryptic terminal commands it will NEVER gain the kind of usage it deserves.

    There, I said it. Now shoot me.

    BTW, I still open a dos box occasionally in windoze but it is because I want to, not because I have to.

  • NoOne

    So you’re saying that creating another app is going to delete the previous four?

    If you have problems with applications, lets solve those problems. Reinventing the wheel isn’t the way to go about it.

    Also, add/remove shows a subset because it’s designed to, but could easily be made to show everything (you’d just need to configure it to do that, and add in the additional descriptions/etc)

  • Kevin Purdy


    Thanks for your thoughtful reply to my little blue sky word experiment. I am gladdened as a user, and writer, to see things moving on all these fronts.

    I would agree with the commenters, though, that for Ubuntu One to succeed, it needs “Any system, any time” availability. I get that now through Dropbox, but they’re in a competitive field, and one open to innovation.

    As for right-brain design and an accessible app store, I’m eager to see what emerges in 9.10. Cheers!

  • Neil

    from what i understood, the “app store” problem is usability. and to some extent the lack of web 2.0 buzzwords.

    some thoughts: 1. instead of 11 vague categories, allow a multitude of different specific “tags” to be applied to programs. these “tags” could be sub-items under the 11 categories. example: under “graphics” you should be able to sort out “image viewers”, “image editors”, or “library management” programs.

    1. it’d be nice to have some simple toggle switches to narrow the tons of choices. example: “show only gnome (or kde) apps”, “show only popularity >3”, “show only programs supported by canonical”. this data is all already in the database.

    2. suggestions a la amazon. “you may like these apps based off the fact that you use x, y, and z”

    3. a “most popular” or “recommended” section of programs. to give people an easy condensed place to start. the options are overwhelming; make it simpler for people to know whats the cream of the crop. firefox does this well with its addons.

    4. as a convenience for users getting familiar with things, make an easy transition point between add/remove and synaptic so that people aren’t flummoxed when they can’t find what they were told to install. how? simple: with each search, have a simple button to port the search term to Synaptic. It could say, “Not finding what you were looking for? Try this same search in Synaptic for more thorough results”

    5. Along those lines, offer me some alternate spelling possibilities if I search for something that isn’t in the add/remove database. Google does this beautifully.

    6. A lot of the program descriptions already take care of this, but it would be great to ensure that search terms for mainstream closed-sourced products brought up the best available similar options. For example, “itunes” turns up only a couple media library/player programs. what about banshee, amarok, songbird, or exaile?

    7. ok, that’s all i’ve got. hope it’s constructive and specific enough. i’ve loved ubuntu for a few years and i’m really looking forward to it becoming stable and simple enough for mass usage. keep up the great work, and keep fighting the papercuts (especially the previously mentioned pulseaudio – even a geek like me has lots of trouble with that…)

  • jono

    Thanks for your comment, Eugenia. Your comment generates two thoughts in my mind.

    1) You mention that current efforts are crashy and unreliable. Is this something you would be interested in helping to fix. As an example, I know the PiTiVi team are crying out for volunteers and it could be hugely valuable for you to contribute your prior developer expertise to develop some test plans, automated unit tests and build awareness around this using your journalistic experience. It strikes me that your very skillset is ideally suited to solving the problems you cite.

    2) I don’t think the future is as bleak as you think it is. Using PiTiVi as an example, it is build on the GStreamer framework and it and GStreamer are both funded by a company, Collabora Multimedia. GStreamer and Gnonlin provide a rock solid framework in which to develop video editing solutions with scrubbing, tricks-mode, pluggable codecs, HD support and more. Whats more, device support is better than ever, access to devices via DeviceKit is better and more and more people are deploying open video and CC licenses. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and we need your expertise and passion, Eugenia. Don’t give up now. :-)



  • László Torma (toros) ‘s status on Friday, 11-Sep-09 09:52:03 UTC –
  • Peco

    Hi Eugenia. IMHO, instead of Pitivi, currently the natural option should be OpenShot.

    Yes, by the moment can not be compared to iMovie but soon it will be. Now, it’s enough robust to edit your home videos.

    Hope this helps Peco

  • Alper Yilmaz

    I second that.. Right now sound is problem. My old laptop, everything was okay until I upgraded to 9.04, after that sound control is not what it should be. In my new laptop, there’s no sound at all. I spent hours and I got some sound from sub-woofer only. Since I’m not rocket scientist, I am still not sure if sound will ever work in this laptop..

  • ArchiMark

    Good article on LifeHacker and appreciate your response,Jono….

    While I enjoy getting in touch with my ‘inner geek’ when I use Linux here and there (mostly Debian and dabbled with Ubuntu), I mostly use OSX and Windows due to specific apps I want to use…and as one of the geniuses in HP’s R&D lab advised me way back in the late 80’s, “It’s the apps that are key to getting what you want out of computers, not the OS…So, first look for the apps that do what you want the way you want to work with them, then find out what OS they run on, and then use that OS…”

    For example, I’m currently using The Hit List on my Mac and FusionDesk on my Windows machine….Other apps I’ve considered using include OmniFocus and Things.

    What if any equivalent quality apps are there like these for Linux???

    And I want apps that run on my computer not on the web!

    Thanks for any input…


  • emonweb

    Thanks All, Specially Lifehacker for the initiative and Jono for Responses. Learn lot of new things from you.

  • AmblestonDack

    Eugenia is spot on with her observation. Why do we need 4 ways to install .debs? One GUI, and one command line based, thats it. I know Microsoft is a bad word, but they have Windows Installer, and Apple is even easier, just drop the app in the Apps folder. I know its going off topic a bit, but IMHO what the Linux community needs is one way of installing apps that is across all distributions, regardless if it is .deb, tar.gz, rpm or whatever. Imagine how much better it would be for the end user if he was confronted with a GUI for installing an app on Ubuntu and then the same GUI was used in Fedora, Mandriva, etc, etc this would go along way to the end user experience whatever distro he or she chose.

  • mpt

    Neil, thanks for your suggestions. Great minds think alike, and all except one of them is already on the Ubuntu Software Store roadmap on the Ubuntu wiki. Specifically:

    • We’re asking for help in coming up with subcategories for applications. We’ll use existing debtags, and/or user-submitted suggestions, to populate these subcategories.

    • “Most popular” and “Recommended for you” are both in the specification but not implemented yet.

    • There is a database of keywords, including Windows/Mac equivalents and common misspellings, for use in searches. That database is not populated yet, but we’ll accept suggestions via Launchpad.

    The one idea we’re not considering is to send people to Synaptic, because in version 2.0 the Store will handle non-application packages itself.

  • Izkata

    So, when are Suspend and Hibernate going to fully work?

    I never shutdown. I don’t care about boot times – and if you check the Lifehacker comments, so do an enormous amount of others. None of us care about boot time.

  • anonymous

    One thing I’ve been struggling with for, for several months is trying to figure out if either my CD/DVD drive is broken, or there is some open bug that’s causing my system to not detect/play an audio CD. I’ve since found out after much searching that there is an outstanding bug relating to this, but what I wondered is: Why isn’t there a simple utility that can give a works/doesn’t work status indicator to the user. I’m not talking about gritty details of the low-level interfaces for thousands of products; rather a choice of some subset of tests that lets me put in a blank/not-blank disk, push a button, and see if ‘yes, your SW is up to date, but your HW isn’t responding’.

  • Namke von Federlein

    Disclosure : I now have 3 Ubuntu computers (2 notebooks and a dual-boot desktop). I’m also a software guy.

    @Eugenia – I agree. One GUI app for all install/update/remove is essential. I am a big, big fan of ‘at a glance’.

    @Charles – no command prompt needs – I agree. Like you, I keep finding that there is always ‘something or other’ that takes me to the command line.

    @Jono – I was playing with a Mac using the iLife apps over the last few weeks. Awesome. Decent video editing software is important (more below).

    My personal requests:

    1) The drivers and installation issue. I would like Canonical to offer a standard ‘off-the-shelf’ notebook computer (perhaps through Dell) that keeps drivers in line with other updating. I’m not talking Windows-style (which is horrible). I’m talking Mac-style. Everything just works together. The key point : it should be branded ‘Ubuntu-certified hardware’. Even one notebook model would be enough (for instance, in Canada Dell was not offering a notebook pre-loaded with Ubuntu the last time I looked). I can’t recommend Ubuntu ‘in general’ unless I know that the hardware drivers will never be an issue for a specific box.

    2) Even simple things like a secure file remove command have to be wired into Nautilus. Which brings me to my next request – the secure remove tools srm sfill and sswap. At least srm (or similar) should be in the Nautilus menu by default (yes, I am aware of the journaling issue). This is the fastest and easiest way to keep a bit of security in case a notebook gets stolen.

    3) IMHO : If you want to out-class Windows you need one thing more than anything else. Lots of short videos that show each little feature. I’m like most people – I don’t want to poke around in the documentation. A short video can do more than a thousand words. So – if you want people to make lots of videos then it is probably a good idea to make a wonderful video editing software and a place to put the videos (a YouTube channel and link to it on the Desktop?)

    Where am I at now? Right now, I am hoping that the next LTS will be compatible with my gear but I have my eyes on a Mac. iLife is awesome.

    One thing is certain – I would never buy Windows voluntarily again. My little tech issues with Ubuntu are nothing compared to all the hassles I’ve had with Windows over the years.

    Windows is doomed? Cell phones from the bottom; Macs from the top and Ubuntu for business (server -> notebook -> netbook)?

    I guess my conclusion is this : as the price for loaded Macs starts to slip into the $1000 zone ($30 per month over 3 years) – it’s the Mac you have to out-class?

    Thanks Ubuntu! I get great value from your software.

  • Dave

    The problem with the app store to most people is, for starters, the need to copy and paste URLs into the software sources.

    Additionally, lifehacker made a great point about how most users would rather click next 20 times than type one terminal command.

    The terminal is intimidaitng. It’s very intimidating, in fact, to most new users. It was to me when I got started with Ubuntu and was a big part of the reason I stayed away from it for 4 years once I first tried it.

    Most people are just going to say fuck it and go back to apple or microsoft.

  • Roy Schestowitz (schestowitz) ‘s status on Friday, 11-Sep-09 22:01:51 UTC –
  • Roy Schestowitz (schestowitz) ‘s status on Friday, 11-Sep-09 22:05:27 UTC –
  • TylerJames

    I’d hate to sound like a broken record, or some snarky troll, but most of what you guys are complaining about are the very steps that are being taken to solve those problems. Yes, there should be a simple, single, easy to use solution to package management. Tar balls, debs, all that…. those are the steps being taken. It used to be that you had to compile it all from source. then one type of packaging, then another, then a better… they’re working their way there. Debs are far easier then any other, and soon things will work together seemlessly. Give it a bit of time, maybe help find bugs, but know, linux is getting there.

  • TylerJames

    Windows isn’t even close to doomed. They have 96% of the market share, and will continue to do so for some time yet. It’ll stay as mainstay for most businesses because they are known, they are cheap, and they have support. They are business computers with a sprinkle of user friendlyness to them, while mac and linux are both pure user friendly, in two totally different ways. Mac is the super ease of use, linux is difficult to use but offers extreme customization and individualization to each task.

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  • Alfredo

    any program to replace autocad? that is the only program that makes me keep windows on my laptop..

  • Links 11/09/2009: Unbundling Petition in the EU, G:Noblin 3.0 Released | Boycott Novell

    […] LifeHacker and Ubuntu: A Response Recently LifeHacker had an article talking about five things they would like to see in Ubuntu. The article is very supportive of Ubuntu, and we appreciate that LifeHacker folks, and I wanted to follow up with a few notes about each of the five areas they focused on, particularly with relation to the recently released Alpha 5 development snapshot of the up-and-coming Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala. […]

  • Namke von Federlein

    Suggestion – Google on : “Scribd Armstrong Economics – How all systems can collapse overnight”

    It is becoming a common theme. IMHO the Windows arena is set for exactly this type of singularity.

    Google on : “Zero Hedge – Good morning, worker drones: This Week in Mayhem September 09/07/2009”. Interesting comments start at (use Find on the page) #61980

    It takes more than money and market share. Anyway, may all beneficial wishes some true in beneficial ways.

    Some stuff that geeky guys like me enjoy pondering. It’s more about the math than the marketing?

    Just my opinion.

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  • krzystoff

    I think this is a base issue to Linux usability — the LifeHacker article pointed to the fact that it’s confusing for many users to find/choose/install the application they need; compounded by the fact that there is no one-click setup for apps on the web, but a painful routine to install and run the program being discussed in an article/blog/etc.

    it’s heartening to see that these aspects are being worked on, (and may soon reach a Win9X level of usability). however, I think the whole issue of privilege is a core problem: the installer should be able to offer you the option to switch to ADMIN/SU access, input passwords as well as automatically download any required dependent files, and recompile source where necessary. it needs to do this from one or two mouse clicks, and all without dropping to a terminal window.

  • krzystoff

    I’m sure if you look into it carefully, you’ll soon realise there are many applications out there to ‘replace AutoCAD’ — notably, some of them are also Autodesk products, as AutoCAD is an end-of-life product — as flexible as it is, the growing majority of users have, or are, switching to CAM, BIM or modelling packages.

    on Linux, natively, the options are pretty limited — QCAD for CAM, Maya or Blender for modelling, or BricsCAD which is similar to AutoCAD LT.

  • Allan

    @Alfredo: as luck would have it, Jack Wallen @ just posted an article on this.

    Maybe you’ll find something of interest there.


  • Fahad

    Yes a great response liked it!!!

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  • Michael

    It’s great to hear that you will be adding better video editing support. This is something that I think a lot of people will appreciate.

    I have been editing video on Ubuntu for a couple of years now and I think I have tried every possible video editing and authoring program that will run on it. The biggest problem I had in learning how to edit videos was that most of the information that I could find about the subject was written by people who thought it was a good idea spending hours editing transition scenes and writing XML menus. It was like asking for advice for getting your wireless working and being told which switches to use to recompile your kernel. People who edit videos professionally may give you a different opinion on this, but their advice isn’t much use to the typical amateur user.

    When it comes to video editing, you’re not going to satisfy both the typical amateur and the video “pros”. I think I am typical when I say that I don’t have the time or the patience to learn to be a video expert. I’ve had good luck with Avidemux, DeVeDe (and KMediafactory before that) and Brasero (and K3B before that). As for the person above who said that video editors were crashing on Ubuntu, if any of these programs ever crashed on me, I don’t recall it happening. It is certainly possible that they may have done so, but if they did it wasn’t recently enough or frequently enough for me to recall.

    I think the whole video editing area needs a bit of usability love and attention. Probably the biggest problem that I see is the failure to identify a target user group and orienting the features to line up with those users. A program may give you a nice simple button to press, but you have to know what mpeg PS+V (or something like that) video is and which codec that requires before you know whether or not to push the button. The software is there, and the capability is there, what seems to be lacking is a nice simple work flow for the typical users. When it comes to pro video (or audio), I can’t really comment on that.

    As soon as I’m done posting this, I am actually just about to edit some more video. That will consist of picking out the files, cutting out the mistakes, pasting scenes together, fixing the audio, authoring the final video, and burning it to disk. I can do all that on Ubuntu today. I think the user experience could be a lot better though.

  • Stumbly Haiku

    I am looking forward to Grub2. Anything that makes keeping things tidy (especially when adding extra distro’s and other OS’s) will be fine with me.

  • Michael

    Re: Alfredo: The answer to that depends on what sort of CAD you need. I’ve used QCAD for 2D drafting. The biggest problem that an experienced AutoCAD user will have with it is the the menus and commands are completely different. AutoCAD is actually rather crap as far as UI is concerned, but a lot of people are used to it and don’t want to learn anything different.

    The other problem you’ll have is the DWG file format is proprietary and AutoCAD keeps changing it all the time (as I’m sure you are painfully aware of) to force users to upgrade. QCAD works in DXF directly, but you always lose something in translation when you export/import DXF from AutoCAD.

    QCAD is in Ubuntu, you just have to install it from Add/Remove or Synaptic.

  • Sarah

    Great resposne!

    Pretty much the ONLY major problem I have with linux is the fact that every time I want to install something, it seems to require a command line. Windows has a lot of flaws, but command lines are generally something you don’t need to worry about. Yes, there are situations where terminals are the way to go, but I should only have to use one when I want to solve a problem, not just to install software.

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  • Ubuntu Linux » Blog Archive » Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter #159
  • Lawrie Abbott

    I understand the frustration you feel. I see free42 has a package that you know how to install on Windows and it is harder in this instance on Linux. I feel exactly the same way when I need to install an app on windows when I know that all I would have to do on my Linux machine is type “apt-get install xxx”. It is swings and roundabouts. If you prefer the Windows way, you should stick with it. If you feel you might prefer Linux if it wasnt so goddam difficult maybe you should just learn a few things, even dig in and help out. That said; installing the free42 windows version under wine would probably work OK.

  • Creature comforts for Ubuntu |

    […] community manager Jono Bacon has commented on the list and explained a few steps that the project has already taken in that direction. The […]

  • Mackenzie

    See “Add/Remove” in the Applications menu? That lets you add and remove applications…aka install & uninstall them. Just open that and click the checkboxes for the packages you want. Just because helpers tell you “sudo apt-get…” doesn’t mean it’s the only way. It’s just the only way we don’t have to ask “Ubuntu or Kubuntu?” In Kubuntu it’d be Kickoff -> Applications -> System -> Software Management.

  • Zinn

    A few comments on the new App Store mock-up…

    1. The Navigation Pane is horrible and needs to die. It only has two items and leaves a whole lot of space wasted. Not only is it just plain ugly, but screen real estate is becoming increasingly important with the advent of netbooks and mobile devices. Perhaps they could be turned into tabs or buttons across the top.

    2. “Departments”? Maybe “Categories” or nothing at all, since it will be obvious what the buttons do.

    3. Come up with better categories (“departments”, whatever). This has been an issue with Linux in general, but the idea of the Software Store is user friendliness, so it’s a good place to start. What the heck are “Accessories” anyway? Any program could be considered an accessory. Categorize the accessory programs, making new categories if necessary (i.e. Media Creation, for CD/DVD creation software, Math for calculator programs, etc.). So many programs use the Internet, that “Internet” could be any of hundreds of programs. Divide them up by what they do. Instant Messaging, File Sharing, etc. “Other”? Well, inevitably some programs won’t fit into any category, but there should be as few programs in there as possible.

  • ChrisW

    So start a bounty for it at and get LHers to add in their collective power and make it happen! You have the freedom – with freedom comes responsibility — including to make noise for SFD this Saturday 😀 Best wishes

  • ChrisW

    Tried out palimpsest ? It’s by Red Hat / Fedora, and in Karmic.

  • ChrisW

    Remember “Nobody got sacked for buying IBM”?

    because they are known, they are cheap, and they have support. They are business computers with a sprinkle of user friendlyness

    The only difference there is that Linux isn’t known enough. And that Crossover or virtualization testing/migration for applications takes longer than for Win7. But let’s not forget Mega$shaft are ‘known’ for a few things, and Win7 is not big amongst them yet. XPirees are none too happy about becoming forced to change and replace things. Many don’t want no damn ribbon screwing with their app menus. So Linux could offer a secure host OS as well as so much more.

    We can certainly make a dent by boosting the start of serious enterprise transitions at this opportunity where people consider costs and look to the future, and given the available human resources ready for training and/or deployment. It’s about telling it as it is, planning realistically in business terms, as communicate options that won’t depend on Windoze Reviseted. The rewards of putting in momentum now are huge, so let’s be loud for the future as this opportunity knocks. There’s Software Freedom Day’09 for a start of course.

  • Church IT – Supporting ministry with IT » Blog Archive » links for 2009-09-15

    […] LifeHacker and Ubuntu: A Response | jonobacon@home (tags: software lifehacker design project linux application opensource store video development ubuntu os) […]

  • dinu

    sounds promising !!

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  • ãÞÇá ãÌåæÏÇÊ ÇÈÏÇÚíÉ ﻷæÈäÊæ – ãÌÊãÚ áíäæßÓ ÇáÚÑÈí

    […] […]

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  • Chris Chinchilla

    I enjoyed your response to, my only thought on this would be the video editing… I’ve tried a lot of OS video editing solutions and they generally quit on me, don’t work, freeze or support so few media file types that they’re still no real use.

    But I also understand that coding a Video editing app is a lot of work!

  • Lifehacker Ubuntu Wishlist almost comes True

    […] for all this information is Jono’s Blog. google_ad_client = "pub-2703385610225771";/* Middle SE USERS Links */google_ad_slot = […]

  • Namke von Federlein

    Hi Jono;

    Just a follow-up thought. How to explain the ‘Ubuntu challenge’? This is my spin on the current economics of computers.

    I can get a new Mac computer for about $ 1.50 per day. (assuming that it will last for 3 years). Or I can get Windows for about $ 1.00 per day. Or I can get Ubuntu for about $0.80 per day.

    My questions as a user are:

    • reliability ? A small software bug or a virus can cost me days of my time or even wipe out a week of work in seconds.

    • Ease of use ? (using the software, getting software, removing software and updating software – most people never touch the hardware).

    • Applications ? iLife is a perfect example of what $ 79 can get you these days.

    • cost ?

    Now, the ‘Ubuntu Challenge’ IMHO is to make the system as reliable and easy to use as a Mac. (Windows is really a ‘non-contestant’ at this point. I don’t know anybody who is planning on buying a Windows computer in any format because ‘they prefer Windows’).

    My cost question as a user is : Am I willing to pay $1.50 – $0.80 = $0.70 cents per day for peace of mind about hardware and software reliability ?

    In some countries, that’s a lot of money (especially if you have a lot of users – like a university, government or business).

    But for most desktop users, that price difference is less than the cost of a coffee per day.

    So, I really think that Ubuntu needs to market at least one notebook version of ‘The Ubuntu Computer’. A computer with Ubuntu installed where the user can have the same ‘peace of mind’ as a Mac user. Buy it, plug it in and it works. And works. And works.

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  • David T.

    Please can we please have the ability to change color depth from the GUI without rebooting for changes to take effect. This has been my wish for a looong time now.

  • Peng’s links for Monday, 21 September « I’m Just an Avatar

    […] LifeHacker has some very nice words for Mac4Lin, and Jono Bacon has written a very well thought out response to LifeHacker’s […]

  • Mehr Feinschliff für Ubuntu « Linux Treff

    […] Community-Manager Jono Bacon hat die Liste aufgegriffen und erläutert ein paar der Schritte, die das Projekt in diese Richtung bereits unternommen hat. Am […]

  • sgtevmckay

    Just caught the article.