Problems after using UBUNTU for about 13 Days...

Karsten Fischer kfischer at
Tue Sep 28 17:27:41 UTC 2004

Am 28.09.2004 um 15:38 schrieb Benjamin Edwards:

> Not sure wether a 'usibility' study is really possible using a beta 
> release of a distribution that is months old against a very mature 
> release. What you say is in fact fairly encoraging.

You are right, of course. But I did hope to pinpoint some of the points 
which I regard as show-stoppers for any user not familiar with Linux 
and it way of getting things done the linux-way.

> Although due to standardisation it is a lot easier to get a 
> distribution working on Mac I suspect since the number of mac users is 
> smaller, the platform more expensive and the fact that it already has 
> a mature *nix initialy most of the activity will be on x86.
Granted. Though I think the whole idea should be: as usable as 
possible, regardless of the hardware. This is, of course, much easier 
said than done :)
But Ubuntu is - in my humble opinion - the distribution which might 
achieve this goal, hopefully. It's definitely a bright outlook.

> What I would be interested to know is wether there is anything about 
> ubuntu you prefer to OS X.
In fact, I do enjoy using Ubuntu very much. It's feel is quite unique. 
It has the speed (of the GUI) of OS9 mixed with the versatility and 
stability of Unix. It's potential is quite amazing. I can easily 
imagine myself deleting the rest of OS X - not yet, but somewhere in 
the future. The GUI is pretty easy to understand, lean, nothing to 
worry about. I even like the Application-Menu a lot, it gives you all 
your needed apps in one place. The difference between desktop-settings 
and system-settings seems to be very strange. Most surprising: all the 
stuff you have at hand, by having one (1) CD installed. Thats just 
great. With the software included in the very first beta-release 
anybody which survived installation (scnr :) could do all the common 
daily work. Well, that is: apart from developers, but thats not my 
concern :)

I do look forward to the more recent releases. I guess most of my 
hardware-related issues will be solved someday, so there is one major 
point which remains: documentation.
I myself am willing to write down a white-paper for a 
documentation-project which - hopefully - will help  creating a 
Ubuntu-specific documentation (open for others as well) for the system 
and its main features. I seriously think that the lack of user-specific 
documentation (read: understandable documentation, means: If you never 
had any idea that there might be something like 'mount' and you read 
the man-page by accident you might guess what I am referring to. It's a 
proper, even excellent, explanation but a technical one) is a key 
feature for the success of any OS.

> It would be cool it you could put some of this stuff into bugzilla.
As soon as I get home from holidays and I can use my modem for faxing 
only, I will.
> regards,
> Ben
> >>> Karsten Fischer <kfischer at> 09/28/04 02:23pm >>>
> Caveats in UBUNTU (or, more precise, UBUNU & Gnome & Debian)
> First off all, UBUNTU seems pretty stable and easy to use. Compliments
>  to the developers.
> Still, comparing the Desktop-Usability of UBUNTU with the only other
>  Desktop-Unix (OS X)available, Ubuntu stays at the second place.
>  Granted, UBUNTU runs on three different platforms: the x86-Family,
>  AMD64 and PowerPC (up to G5); whereas OS X runs only on the PowerPC.
>  Nevertheless, it is after all possible to produce a Unix-based System,
>  which is easy to use, needs barely knowledge of computers to set it up
>  or to maintain it. With this example in mind, Ubuntu should strive to
>  reach a similar goal.
> The current problems seem to be mostly GNOME-related, with only a few –
>  but extremly annoying – bugs in the underlying system. I tried to sort
>  them into the following categories: Platform-specific,
>  Desktop-Specific, OS-Specific.
> Now, let the list begin:
> Platform: PowerPC (iBook G3, summer 2003, 800 Mhz G3, 640 MB RAM)
> OS-Specific: While running on Battery-Power, Ubuntu seems to drain the
>  battery almost twice as fast as OS X; CPU is running at 400 Mhz – as 
> it
>  would in OS X, but this doesn't seem to have any dramatic influence on
>  battery-usage. Way to go there...
> OS-Specific: the modem is neither detected nor is any software
>  installed (using the Desktop-install) for the use of it. Very
>  interesting, since nearly any Mac produced in the last three to four
>  years seems to have a modem. Internet via Modem as well as Fax should
>  be installed as default I think.
> Desktop-Specific: My Digital camera (a no-name brand which identifies
>  itself as USB-Mass storage) seems to be detected, I even get a dialog
>  which states that there seem to be pictures on it and if I would like
>  to copy them to the computer – great. Unfortunately, in the next 
> window
>  I am asked to select my camera, since there seems to be no camera
>  connected to my computer. Regardless which camera I choose, I couldn't
>  import any pictures of it.
> Desktop-Specific: The Keyboard doesn't work as anticipated. After a
>  long, long time of fiddling with it I came up with a work-around: 
> every
>  time I log in, I open a terminal and issue the following command
>  'xmodmap -e *keycode 64=Mode_switch“', after which I can use the
>  Option-Key to generate things like the '@'-smybol using the
>  Apple-default Option-l. This seems to be a minor bug, but pretty
>  annoying – and is probably fixed in the latest builds. By the way: it
>  seems that the default buttons for closing a window (which seems to be
>  – in most cases – the same as closing the application) is something
>  strange and should set to the default Command-W and Command-Q
> Platform: any
> Desktop-Specific: Documentation. This is a simple topic: there is
>  almost none of it. When I pressed the Help-Button, loacted 
> conveniently
>  in the Menubar (called 'Panel' here, which may be more appropriate
>  since every app seems to have its own Menu sticking at the top of 
> their
>  window) I get an awful lot of documentation, but in fact hardly
>  anything usable. Especially since I selected German as my default
>  language – but the Help System is always English. What I expected – 
> and
>  probably most users of Ubuntu – would be an introduction to the OS,
>  perhaps a chapter *Differences to Windows & OS X“, several guides like
>  *How to connect to the Internet, Printing, Faxing & Scanning, How to
>  set up your local Network“ and so on. And I would prefer a native
>  Helpsystem.
> Unsure: I greatly appreciate OpenOffice, but there seems no way to get
>  Spellchecking to work.
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