[Not Usable] Reasons why Ubuntu Fails

Not Usable is one of the latest blogs in the Usability country. I found this entry about Ubuntu (Linux for human beings) to be really interesting.

  1. Commandline: Ubuntu fails the moment I am required to use the command line. Lets face it, it is a Windows world and even most power users of XP hardly use the commandline. Commandline belongs to the 80’s. I should not be expected to type pieces of code into a terminal to get the OS to do what I want it to do.
  2. Multimedia: As of now, Ubuntu is not capable of playing back most of your multimedia without downloading a whole lot of additional packages. The reason for this is that some of these formats are proprietory. So, from a “free” software point of view, that is perfectly acceptable. However, Joe Average does not care about
    licensing, philosophical discussions etc. He wants his mp3’s to play and he wants to watch his DVD’s and he doesn’t want to go through a lot of trouble to get it to do that.
  3. Flash: Right now playing back flash is a hassle. It is just not satisfactory.
  4. Distro confusion: There are too many distro’s available and most people don’t even have an idea what a distro is. This is not Ubuntu’s fault, but more the way things evolved. It makes it very difficult for people to make a decision I have opted to not make that decision at all for quite some time just because I simply didn’t know what to choose.
  5. Wireless: I want my wireless network card to work, out of the box. I don’t want to muck around with all sort of configuration files and things I don’t really understand. Example: How to install WUSB54G for Dapper Drake.
  6. Installation and removal of software: After a couple of months of using Ubuntu I am still not entirely sure how exactly software gets installed. Using Synaptic is by far the easiest way I have ever installed anything but what if what I want isn’t available through Synaptic? Same goes for removing something. Just way
    too much hassle. Example: Blog entry about removing Amarok. Mark Shuttleworth is apperently also not blind to some of the faults as his post Consistent Packaging suggests.
  7. Dual Monitor Support: Just like getting your wireless card to work, this is just too much hassle. Example: How to Dual Monitor.

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  1. #1 by Harshad Joshi on November 8, 2006 - 12:38 pm

    Command line is a classical tool tracing back to the origins of computing. It feels utterly cramped when there is no command line. Windows lacks a powerful shell and CLI.

    Ubuntu rocks. Its awesome. Long live the software.

  2. #2 by udayms on November 8, 2006 - 12:44 pm

    Here’s an interesting converstation I had with a friend of mine. ;)

    Uday:
    http://udayms.wordpress.com/2006/11/08/not-usable-reasons-why-ubuntu-fails/

    Nived:
    oh..no!!!!

    Uday: :)

    Nived:
    so….tats y u asked for ubuntu?

    Uday: :D actually i got a cd from them

    Nived:
    ok..
    ahh…i see a section for comment…

    Nived:
    “after a couple of months of using ubuntu….”. ..
    since when?

    Uday:
    read the blog fully….i have not been using it

    Nived:
    u have written it…..

    Uday:
    nope… i have not written it read the 1st line

    Nived:
    ahh….some dumb guy musta used it..

    Uday:
    that guy is not a dumb guy…. that guy is one of the respected gurus of usability

    Nived:
    hmm….then obviously he got used to windows /. mac..

    Uday:
    the point is – he is a USER

    Nived:
    yea… he is a USER…but..

    Uday:
    but what? as a USER, he is frustrated. Thats the key probs with linux. Its not for USERS. its never meant to be for USERS. Its for geeks from geeks. You cannot call something targeted at a singular digit percent of the entire population to be a product. Its just another lame attempt to reach out to common man.

    Nived:
    wats the point in having nice glossy and useable interface…when it doesn’t work properly…and u know wat….ubuntu beat Mac..
    in terms of no. of users..he is a USER…but its his point of view..

    Uday:
    thats just because of the hype… wait and watch … the users will soon start quitting

    Nived:
    haha… thats wat u think

    Uday:
    its a typical trend I have noticed everytime a new release of linux has turned up

    Nived:
    naah..

    Uday: :D

    Nived:
    his expections must be different..u haven’t tried it …did u?

    Uday:
    No, I havent used it…. but I saw the screenshots……See…. if you really want to get the mass to use stuff, they have to be made simple. checkout the success of ipod…. mp3 players have been out there for a long time… but, when ipod was launched, it took over the market by the storm… how? simplicity and elegance of ipod. even the most non technical user can use it to hear songs. thats the advantage. so, today, windows – no matter how buggy it is, is still way more user friendly than mac or linux…. the vista release has given a lot of importance to usability

    Nived:
    yea….people will jump when they see shiny stuff.. or things that look attractive..

    Uday:
    nope.. people will USE and be LOYAL to stuff that THEY find USABLE.

    Nived:
    the case of windows..

    Uday:
    thats what is lacking in most linux dists.

    Nived:
    but once they find out.. that they cannot get it to do..wat its supposed to do..

    Uday:
    i thought ubuntu was different. looks like i am wrong

    Nived:
    frustration will build up..
    and they will dump it the sooner the bought it

    Uday:
    see…. a common man doesnt require to run 32 processors with hyperthreading apps… he needs to connect to the internet out of the box, he needs to play music out of the box, he needs to type out letters and get it printed…. none of these happen in linux…. if you can show me ONE non technical user (who is not a geek) who switched over from windows to linux, i can agree completely with you without any arguements

    Nived:
    yea… thats wat i’m saying..even common stuffs need to work…doesn’t it?example…. my winamp crashed..don’t know wat the reason..

    Uday:
    common stuff do work….! u urself know that. right now u r sitting on a windows machine typing this out

    Nived:
    probably virus..

    Uday:
    if winamp crashed, its neednt necessarily be because of the OS.

    Nived:
    yea…fine..but..wats worse is that i can’t even uninstall it..

    Uday:
    but, if u were on linux, i doubt whether u will be online now talking with me on this chat….

    Nived:
    haha..its there ..

    Uday:
    see again.. if u r not able to uninstall it, it could be because the installation of winamp is corrupted, how can u blame that on windows?

    Nived:
    huh???

    Uday: :D

    Nived:
    its OS …thats incharge..

    Uday:
    hey thats as good as saying that if u fall down, he floor should lift u up, because the floor is in charge…hey.. anyway… time out….. lets wait and see… mark my words…. if linux should really get popular, they have to do a LOT to make it user friendly…. once they do that, maybe I will also start using linux someday.

    Nived:
    ahha…. u are escaping..we will continue the battle later

    Uday:
    not escaping… just that u r a loyal linux fan and i believe that any product for common people should be usable – it doesnt mean windows or mac, it means it should be usable. thats all. so, we are not even on the same page! ;)

    Nived:
    hehe..so… howz work and all?

    Uday:
    :D… works fine… my screens are still colorful and full of life

  3. #3 by Raffles Institution 2G RZL on December 22, 2006 - 9:01 am

    Ubuntu is usable la. its just that most people think tt linux are for pros. And as a windows power user myself, I use the comandline nearly everyday and do registry hacks. Command line is easy to use and convenient.Ubuntu rocks.Long live Mark!

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