[ubuntu-uk] Norm's complaint

Mac Ammonius.Grammaticus at googlemail.com
Thu Aug 7 13:35:38 BST 2008

norman wrote:
> Here we go again... I will not bore you with the many difficulties I have
> encountered, please just accept that, because I like the ideas behind
> Ubuntu, I am prepared to try to find ways around them. If I depended on
> the use of the computer for my living I probably would not be so
> patient.

Norman >>> I really sympathise with you about this, and I have had 
similar irritations and exasperations (mostly with wifi and printers). 
I guess, after a while, I've tended to think, "Well, the person who 
writes and maintains this software is probably doing it for free, in 
between earning his or her living, seeing to the kids, maintaining the 
house, and all the other stuff we all struggle with.

Then I remember how good the GNU/Linux system in general, Ubuntu in 
particular, and most of the FOSS apps I run are:  stunningly good, and 
basically stable and reliable, despite the occasional infuriatingly 
stupid issue of the sort you describe.

But things are no better elsewhere.  I hardly use Windows at home now, 
and haven't done for a couple of years, and I'm forgetting what 
installing software on, and maintaining, that OS were like.  But I was 
reminded yesterday at work (an MS-only firm), when I discovered that a 
Windows security update had broken a workflow management application 
that I use regularly.  When I contacted the commercial supplier, they 
basically said I could uninstall the Windows security update (not an 
option to pursue with my security-conscious employer!), or buy an 
expensive upgrade to their software.  No forum to get help from.  No 
chance of filing a bug report and maybe getting it fixed.  No chance of 
someone else with a similar issue (but more skill than me) posting a fix 
that I could use.

That software breaks is annoying.  But software breaks on all operating 
systems.  At least here there's some chance of help from the community. 
  I couldn't see me ever giving that up to go back to a monopolist 
vendor if I could possibly avoid it, especially to rely on them for 
making my living.  (And I notice that the most frequent reason given on 
this list for using Win or OSX - apart from, like me, "that's what my 
employer says I have to use!" - is merely that there's no equivalent 
FOSS software for some very specific and critical job;  never because 
"they're just more reliable for real work".)

So Ubuntu may give you grief sometimes;  but don't forget what the 
alternatives are really like!


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