mok0's world

Free and completely Ubuntu (2)

Posted in Ubuntu by mok0 on February 12, 2011

The other day, I reported here that Tuesday evening (Feb. 8.), the popular tech-review program on danish public television channel DR2 “So Ein Ding…” dedicated an entire episode to Ubuntu.

A commenter asked for a translation, so here it is, including the program host, Nicolaj Sonne’s evocative sound effects.


Today we jump in, and go all-in with Open Source. I have purchased a compltely new Low-budget computer, nuked Windows, and installed the free OS Ubuntu. In other words, I don’t need to spend one more Krone on this computer!

Welcome to this episode of “So ein Ding”!

1:35 As always, we are playing with open cards, and this part will be a bit different “Ding” than usual. The thing is, a computer OS is a seriously complicated thing. Imagine you arrive in a new city. It will not take long before you can find your way around, but it will take a few years before you know every sneaky little watering-hole from Christianshavn to Frederiksberg. And to stay within that picture, there are three different cities in the land of Operating Systems: Windows, Mac OS and Linux.

My first PC was a 486DX. About 15 years ago, I installed Windows on it, and I have used that ever since. Not on an “ultra-user” level, buuuut… I have re-installed one driver or another now and then.

1:42 Then about five years ago, I was forced to re-school in another OS, namely Mac OS. I got a new boss, who told me, “hey, here in the firm, we use computers with apples on, period.”

About two weeks ago, I started using Ubuntu. I have used Ubuntu before, and other  Linux versions in the same family as Ubuntu, but it was rather sporadic.

So you can rightfully say, I am a completely green Ubuntologue, and it it these experiences we are going to talk about today.

2:17 So now, Ladies and Gentlemen, we present the danish sneak-preview on “This is how you install an operating system”.  Perhaps it will get your cold-sweat running down your back and your eyes are flickering, when words like: “boot”,  “partition”, “NTFS”, “ext4”, and so on, fly through the air. But hang on, because if you do that, you will be free-wheeling software-wise in the all foreseeable future.

You go to, press “download” and then you  fetch a file called “an image”, burn it to a CD or put it on a USB-stick.

And already now, it is obvious to see that they want customers in the shop, because there is a super, super easy step-by-step guide. Just follow that!

Well,  I did not need the pre-installed Windows version, so ummphh, it got the knife.

Regarding the installation, it was around 15 minutes, click, click, click, a cup of coffee, and then, everything worked. All key-combos, turn the backlighting up and down, Wi-Fi on/off, sound, and things like that. Everything apparently worked, it was fantastic!

THEN the system proposed an update, and, from old habit, YES! I want that update. It took around 10 minutes, and then I came back to this: a computer, where neither mouse nor keyboard works!

No reaction what-so-ever. Then I thought, perhaps, if I attach an external USB mouse and USB keyboard. That worked, then I could google a bit around, and I discovered, I was not the only one losing contact with the mouse and keyboard.

Well, that was a bit of a burn-out. The thing is, I had fetched — as usual, from habit — the newest 10.10 version of Ubuntu. Then I tried with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS — Long Term Support — you can read about it on Ubuntu’s home-page, it makes sense. I installed that, and that worked perfectly, updates and everything. Except ONE small thing, and that was: I had sound though the phone-jack, but not through the speakers!

IF your speakers don’t work but your phone-jack does, then you “just” need to open a terminal window, and write “sudo apt-get repository blah blah blah”.

You need to be good at googling, and you need to have a bit of courage. It is not rocket science but it is not something I would want to explain to my mother over the phone, aaaand: my mother is a programmer. Well, a programmer from the days when the IBM  1287 was the latest & greatest, and programs was something you wrote by hand, and then sent out to be punched by “punch-ladies” who would… punch your programs

The free OS Ubuntu is a part of  the Linux family which is open source software. Ubuntu means, loosely translated:  “I am who I am because of who we all are.” What a bunch of hippie smoke! 😉

But it is not all psycodelic, there is a meaning to the madness, Ubuntu is one of the more well-known open-source software projects, and in brief, “open source” means that the “recipe”, the source, is freely available. This is NOT true for Mac Os and Windows. There, the engine room is shut and locked!

Even though Ubuntu is entirely free, it is presumably neither security-wise or economically completely out in the woods, because e.g. the French parliament, the French police, and the Swedish police all use Ubuntu.

Ubuntu is, as mentioned, a part of the Linux family. “Linux what-creature?”. Well, you meet Linux really often! Six out of ten times you write, there is a Linux server in the other end.

6:40 And now, the Ubuntu-sun rises! [shows the Ubuntu install ID like a rising sun] I now have a computer, completely without pre-installed Windows, where everything works!

Here, right in the middle of the graphical user interface, you will relatively quickly feel at home. Things are organized a bit in-between Windows and MacOSX But, with respect to the tightness of things, where applications are found, files, folder-structure and so on, it is probably more like Mac OSX.

But, what about compatibility? Well, those days, where computers could not speak to each other… it’s no longer like that. You can easily create a file on a Ubuntu computer, put that file on a USB-stick, put that into a Mac, burn a CD, and then read that CD on a Windows machine. It is not a problem. So yes, you can easily send a mail to your grandma, with holidays pictures, music and video. Even if your grandma uses Ubuntu, everything will work just fine.

There IS lots of software, that only works for e.g. Windows or Mac OS, and if you save a fike in that kind of software, then you cannot open it in Ubuntu… at least it is not certain that you can.

8:00  Tjjj , tjjj, tjj, tjj [plays around with the UI] …  In spite of fancy animations, there are some things I don’t think are so polished in Ubuntu as they are under Windows and Mac OS, and an example is navigating between programs with keystrokes while you are grabbing something with the mouse. If we look at an example here:  Here in my Mail program. I say; I want to make a mail, wwwyycchh, and then we write a mail, write-write-write. Then I realize, I would like to attach a photo to that mail. Then I use my key-strokes to get to my pictures. Then we look at it… here is a funny picture, we want to attach that. Then, aaannnchh, you can grab it with the mouse. On a Windows computer, on a Mac, I would be able to — while I’ve grabbed this image — to use key-combos to get back to the mail program… I can’t do that here! And it’s really irritating!

Over here,  on my typewriter, it doesn’t run Windows, it runs Mac OS, I can search files in a neat way. If I want to find all the photos I have taken with a Nokia N73 phone (jpeg because it is pictures)… in no time, all the photos I have taken with that phone, they are here! That is very smart, because this information is not something associated with the file-name, it is something inside the file itself that I can search. I can’t do that in Ubuntu, there isn’t that kind of meta-meta-meta search. That is something I miss enormously!

One of the things that make Ubuntu somewhat special is that it has a built-in appstore, a bit like you know it from the mobile-phone world: small programs you can fetch. It is called “Ubuntu Software Center” and it is loaded with software! Right now there are 32648 different items, that all are 100% verified and totally OK programs.

Then you can of course browse around after categories, but now, I would like to fetch a program that can make DVDs, that is DVD graphics and so on…. that’s called

DVD authoring. Let’s see [browses the appstore] … wwyyyccchh, “DVD-ripper”.. “trans”… bmm, bmm… “auto”… eetchhh… “Author DVDs and  slideshow” … Then I can click here, select “More Info”, then you can read a bit about what the program can do… it looks good… “Install”… and its free. Then it asks me for my password…. mmmwrrcchh

And that’s every time I want to alter something on the machine, then it asks for my password, which I created during the installation. Now it starts installing…. dddlidstchh

In the meantime, we can take a look, over here, on “Installed Software”, that is also shown in one place, and here I can see all the software that’s installed on the computer. And if I feel like… wwyyycchhh… pull the plug on one of them, I just click on “Remove”. No nonense.

And now, my DVD program should be installed: dlllyytchh boing! And, now, get started makeing DVDs!

But, take it easy, you are not forced to only “purchase” in Ubuntu’s Software Center. You can use everything you can find on the net. Of course, it must generally be made for Ubuntu… and note I say “generally”, because the thing is, I’ve fetched this little thing here, it’s called “Wine”. And then you can see here… Wine means “Wine Is Not an Emulator”… and then you can install Windows programs… wwyyyytccchhh. Now I’ve fetched “Picasa” in the Windows version, and it now runs  under Ubuntu. It is not certain that exactly your favourite program runs under this “Wine”, but then perhaps you can find another favourite program that does.

With Ubuntu I can use my netbank. But its €&&#%#% no thanks to NemId [danish net id organization], who absolutely offers NO support to Linux. Definitely! (Well. I’ll keep an eye on you!)

Then I can of course burn CDs DVD, i can import photos from my digital camera, I can write mails, I can create documents — it’s not called “Word”, it’s called “OpenOffice” — but I can by and large do everything I usually do. And naturally, all the things I do on the net, I can do here.  Even this fellow, a 3G modem, no problems. I put it in the USB port, Yes”, “Yes” and “Yes Sir” and then I was on the net in… 1.5 minute.

Perhaps I have been damned lucky with Ubuntu… perhaps not.

12:30 Very fine and very very free, but with that said, it must be said, before the Ubuntu-sun sets, that compared to the dominating, pre-installed alternative, I can’t really see the great advantage, except perhaps economy and ideology.  And! You don’t need to bother with these… [several dialogue boxes appear “Your TV can break down anytime”]. The final verdict is at the end of the program.

[Ubuntu gets 4/6]


5 Responses

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  1. simbo1905 said, on February 12, 2011 at 09:12

    What a great translation “What a bunch of hippie smoke ;-)” made me laugh out loud. Not that I have watched TV in the UK for the last 15 yrs but we don’t get TV being as funny and frank as this show. What is the name of the TV presenter? The whole “would you try to explain this to your mom over the phone” test is also great.

    “I can’t really see the great advantage, except perhaps economy and ideology.” is fundamentally, unfortunately, true. I run a Dell Mini with Xbuntu because I wanted a netbook and the linux option was a touch cheaper (cheers for your posts which is why I run Xbuntu after an official Dell Mini update killed the factory install) . These days it doesn’t get much use because I have an iPad now and it makes the netbook seem so hot, heavy and short battery life. Also I got a mac mini as it has such a small form factor and stays next to the big monitor.

    When Linspire/Lindows was around and was trying to push out really cheap hardware with a full ‘app store’ for both free and paying apps things almost made sense – had they been sold in the supermarkets for totally rock bottom prices with older hardware specs at a massive discount to new mac or windows machines then linux on the desktop might have taken over the world. As it is now – no chance. It is, unfortunately, for the tech heads and hippie smoke ideologists for the moment. If and only if governments start to roll it out (interesting that France has) will it get a chance. That was compelling due to the thin client model yet these days I have a friend in the uk which is citrixing up the uk government so its looks like linux on the desktop only as wafer then to run a citrix client to run windows apps on the server. Will Linux on the desktop ever have its day?

    • mok0 said, on February 12, 2011 at 09:58

      The TV presenters name is Nicolaj Sonne. His “So ein Ding” is really a great tech-review show. He is generally very insightful, well-balanced, informative and on the side of the consumer. AND he’s funny. I think this review is good to learn from for Ubuntu developers, because his approach is that of an ordinary consumer, not a fanboy in one or the other camp.

      I think Apple’s IOS is amazing when i comes to user-interface, but its closedness worries me a great deal. Imagine one day, where you cannot write a program for your own computer, and distribute it, without the approval of some corporation. Ubuntu has made great strides towards a solid position on the desktop, I think it looks and works great. But it is a serious problem that you cannot purchase a computer pre-installed with Linux, where the vedor seriously supports the OS. Ubuntu (and Linux) is getting an (undeserved) bad reputation for being “techie-only” systems, because you need to install it yourself, which usually means messing around with disk partitions etc. But how many consumers would be able to install Windows, Office programs and so on, if you didn’t receive the computer with everything pre-installed? Probably not many.

      • Anonymous said, on February 13, 2011 at 08:43

        System76 seems to do a great job as an OEM for Ubuntu GNU/Linux. It is not as expensive as the other option ZaReason. If they already shipped to Europe, my next machine would be a Gazelle Professional I think. They really get it right and don’t try to go too much into the cheap direction imo.

  2. mitcoes said, on February 12, 2011 at 09:54

    I think Linux, Ubuntu as their main desktop distro is not used more only because it is not preinstalled. If computers would cost 400 USD more if they have installed MS WOS + MSO and as an alternative Ubuntu for free preinstalled with an LTS, I’m sure the market share would be higher.

    As MS WOS is preinstalled and included in the price – you cannot ask for refund if it is uninstalled on those devices – it has the main market.

    Also users do not think that Ubunt is easier.

    I am about 5 years telling every person that ask me to fix their MS WOS, : Change to Ubuntu, NO VIRUS, NO CRACKS, more than 30.000 free apps, as easy as any MS, it has windows too and even the amazing cube.

    People that do not know anything of computers, then they change and almost all enjoy the experience and tell others.

    As to drive a car you need a licence, it would be a great idea to make an obligatory course for computer buyers, where they must watch a video of how to install an MS WOS, after that programs, buyed or cracked it is anoying for them, main utility programs – they do not know ninite or allmyapps – and drivers, and how to install Ubuntu.

  3. […] Free and completely Ubuntu (2) The other day, I reported here that Tuesday evening (Feb. 8.), the popular tech-review program on danish public television channel DR2 “So Ein Ding…” dedicated an entire episode to Ubuntu. […]

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