Podcast Season 2 Episode 18


Title: Asbestos Gloves

In this episode: Both Mandriva and OpenOffice.org have been forked, while Microsoft sues Motorola for bits of Android. Try the results of our text adventure challenge and hear your own comments in our Open Ballot.

What's in the show:

  • News:
      Mandriva has been forked by its community into a new distribution no one can pronounce, called Mageia. OpenOffice.org has also been forked, this time by The Document Foundation, into a new suite the foundation is calling LibreOffice. Meanwhile, Microsoft sues Motorola for Android's ability to sync calendars, email and contacts, and Google creates a new image format it calls 'WebP'.
  • You Dare Us:
      The results of our build-a-text-adventure-game challenge:
    • Mike:
    • Graham:
    • Paul:
    • Kevin:
      • Download 'Torvalds is dead' (thanks Kevin!).
  • Discovery of the week:
    • Mike:
      • Amuse your friends and family by sending them URLs through ZombieURL.com.
      • The usage of British English in Ubuntu's 10.10 trashcan is still rubbish.
    • Graham:
    • Paul:
      • Journey to Alpha Centauri In Realtime takes 300 years to complete.
      • The riff from Xenon 2's Bomb The Bass Megablast was taken from John Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13.
      • The Amiga 600 cost more to make than the Amiga 500.
    • Andrew:
      • The racing lines in F-Zero don't work in real-life go-karting.
  • In the Hot Seat:
    • Graham Morrison dabbles with the wheel of misfortune.
  • Open Ballot: Is Graham Morrison wrong?

  • Special offer: subscribe to Linux Format magazine and save up to 40%
  • Presenters: Andrew Gregory, Paul Hudson, Graham Morrison and Mike Saunders.

    Subscribe to the TuxRadar Podcast. Choose between Ogg Vorbis and MP3.

    Music by Brad Sucks.

    You should follow us on Identi.ca or Twitter

    Your comments

    did I just listen to that for an hour and 15 minutes?

    I find you guys very entertaining. Great podcast.

    Also I'm throwing in a negative comment about your rant about negative comments, I found your negativity to be overly negative and I'm on the whole against it.

    positive negative

    another fine podcast, gents.

    in general, i find your criticism informed and constructive. all part of the conversation that is a vital part of the continued evolution and improvement of linux.

    keep up the splendid work!

    Saying what needs to be said...

    It was because of the Podcast our family got our subscription, and because of your teams hard work that the computer enthusiasts in our family now both have Linux machines for business and for fun.

    I for one would be gutted if the podcast, magazine or tuxradar site were stopped so please try to ignore the asinine comments and once more, keep up the good work.

    OK, I own my inner fanboi

    Well done Paul. Glad you put it on the record, were forthright with your experience, and explained the larger view that is often missed. As you will know, you are preaching to he who need not be converted here. It just seems obvious you guys are pouring heaps into this, into promoting Linux, into the various strands of the culture. You deserve recognition for that, and appreciation, where possible, monetary renumeration, at least an attempt at considered, respectful speech, even amidst criticism or differing opinion. More power to you.

    I think I just discovered that commas are awesome.

    Yeah, new podcast

    How dare you to let us wait a week longer?
    Thanks, for a fine Podcast again :)


    It does scream...


    Than you, thank you, thank you! I absolutely love the podcast. I've downloaded and listened to every single episode and they're all awsome!

    Once again: thank you!

    I'm desperately trying to make up for the fact that I've never commented or thanked you properly for the awesomeness that is the TuxRadar podcast before. Can you tell? ;)

    Graham's right!

    I agree with Garaham, it's annoying when you're trying to resolve an issue and have to go through several potential fixes where they start with "If you're using distribution X then ...". A grown-up conversation surrounding this issue is long overdue, many have tried but have to many times been dragged down by trolls and flamers.

    For me we should have a standard distro where the browser is available the same way, email works the same way, connecting to your WiFi network should be the same regardless. If you want to change the standard setup then that's your choice and good for you if you do but there should not be 101 different ways of doing the same basic things such as installing software.

    Also, great show guys as always, I've been listening to the show since episode 1 and reading the magazine since very early on and I'm still here and looking forward to each new show and each new issue.


    A whole podcast about cereals and not a single mention of Muesli, the healthy and tasty alternative for all the true freedom lovers?

    And all this negativity about porridge - yes, it hasn't evolved much since cutting a banana into it was introduced, but it nonetheless has a community behind it that does not deserve the flame.

    It might be more popular, but you guys claim to talk about cereals as a whole, so you have to cater for the community as a whole.

    Frosties and Coco Pops may be cereals, but not all cereals are Frosties and Coco Pops! It is so obvious that you guys are paid by Kellog's.

    Seriously: Great podcast - thanks for all your effort and for making my walk to work extremely entertaining every fortnight!

    hasn't evolved much?

    @Tobi I have to disagree today I made some Oatcake sugary biscuit things. Oats, coconut, raisins, sugar and honey and some ginger and about half a cows worth of butter. Then whacked it in the oven.
    It was pretty evolved.
    That's taking cereal to some whole other level beyond even rice that turns milk brown.
    @ least it was cooked.

    Now all I need to do is convince it to grow up a bit and not find amusement from sticking itself to the bottom of my cake tray.

    So how do you propose to fix the problem?

    The same package format and management software? That solves almost nothing since the problem is (at least in some cases, though not all) with the package itself, so you just end up with package_for_debian.deb package_for_redhat.deb.

    Having stuff named consistently in menus between distros? Not a really good idea, when a newbie starts sure he might just want a "picture viewer" or "picture editor" or "music player", but a slightly more experienced user will want shotwell or f-spot or gimp or audacious or amarok, so a distro targeting at least slightly experienced users should use different naming since that makes more sense for their target audience. A slight digression: it's no different on windows, you get a crappy picture viewer by default which is different in xp, vista, 7, or whatever, and you can also install tons of alternatives some are free, some require $, some are free with limitations. some are free for 30 days, and they all have different features interfaces etc. And some will cause problems if you don't have the right version of .net or the newest drivers, or a patch/fix, in such cases windows can often be much harder to deal with than linux. And somehow a 70year old grandfather of my friend knows picassa and uses it and doesn't find it confusing, why? Because someone installed it for him, and showed it to him (same goes for windows office and everything else)! Very few people discover stuff on their own in windows, they are simply introduced to it, also they were forced to use it a long time ago, whereas with linux people very often have to discover stuff on their own since they don't have someone who will do that for them. I would classify that as the number one reason why gnu/linux can't easily penetrate the market, windows has simply way too much inertia and way too deep penetration, also people are too used to crap and think that's the only way it can be, they tend to not like any changes, and the more enthusiastically you try to convince them that gnu/linux is better the less willing to try they are (at least in my personal experience).

    Less confusing naming of applications? And how is picassa not confusing? I would be guessing it has more to do with image creation, than photo management from that name.

    Having things named the same and versioned consistently in all the different repos? Sounds to me like the most reasonable progress that might even be possible to do, then again distros probably divide certain things differently for a reason (ease of maintenance vs granularity of installation), also distributions patch stuff which means lots of distro specific postfixes, and again certain libraries configured and compiled with different options are not the same thing even if the version is the same. I guess it would still be better to say "install libsdl" than saying "libsdl1.2debian-all if you're on debian and libsdl if you're on gentoo", though most basic applications are probably consistent eitherway, and you won't be telling someone to install libsdl, mono, qt, allegro, you'll say install f-spot, shotwell, gimp etc.

    And seriously you think you get many tech support calls? Just try to imagine what goes on in the windows world, I've heard quite a few storiees from my friend (kaspersky's tech support) like "help I've just seen the head of a trojan horse, what should I do", of the more serious problems there are thousands of issues with configurations, misinterpretation of options or messages, explaining what a tab is, or how to uninstall an application (and again it's different between xp, vista, win7!), how to get to the control panel (can also be different if the start menu is configured differently), sometimes people just don't get stuff and no amount of miraculous programming or designing will change that.

    Some other points I heard:
    Duplicated effort? Not really as people tend to write new stuff exactly because they want something else which doesn't fit the other applications agenda, sure there is overlap but you can't combine them all into one since you end up with a configuration panel with a 100 options (something which you often claim is wrong and "not what most people want"). Needless new apps or forks? Sure people start them but there is absolutely nothing you can do about that.

    As a finishing note as I said you already have the single distro for newbies that you want, it's ubuntu or at least it appears to be the most popular choice. What if it doesn't have what you want, or it isn't exactly as you want? Well you just have to pretend that there doesn't exist anything else since that is more or less what you'd get if there was no other mainstream distros (which seems to be what you're asking for?). As for someone being confused by so many distributions and chosing gentoo/arch/debian as their first try and concluding that it's confusing and unusable? Well that's life, it's not perfect, you can't save everyones soul, just tell them they should install ubuntu and it'll be easier, and you'll be able to help them more. The fact that choice exists means that there will be people who miss-choose, or people who are confused by it (sometimes because they got unnecessarily interested in something), and there is nothing that can be done about that other than limiting or hiding (really well or people will stumble upon it) the choice, both of which are seriously wrong in many cases.

    Ohh and by the way

    About people complaining (including me), that in general means (I think) they care about what you do, and consider it important enough to share their opinion with you. The fact we are still listening (along with complaining) proves that what you're doing is in general appreciated;) The larger number of negative than positive email is a normal and consistent occurrence from what I've heard, as people often will not tell you when you're doing something they consider right (what for, you're already doing it after all). Also whenever you do something you get hate mail, you try to take that into account you do something different and you again get hate mail again (only from the other people), again from what I've heard (I listen to quite a few podcasts) it's almost always like that. So please don't consider any of my responses, as "you're doing everything wrong, and should immediately stop and drop dead", I enjoy the podcast quite a bit and am thankful that you're doing it, even if the wording of complaints is a bit too strong;p

    Many Thanks!

    Paul - I was also depressed after reading the first few comments from the last podcast - in a way I am glad that you addressed this; clearly the majority of listeners enjoy and appreciate the podcast, and we can all now move on! (And those that don't can also move on).

    I don't agree with everything you guys say, and I _do_ think you're overly negative about Meego - but that's alright - I can deal with it!

    Regarding the choice versus no-choice issue - I don't really know enough about Linux to understand, but the way I see it is that those starting on linux should just give Ubuntu a go. If they want more choice, then they can install anything else they like!

    But more importantly - can I view the Amiga-appreciation room? And will there be a tuxradar podcast meet-up sometime?

    Porridge Line

    Sorry but I always get Andrew and Graham mixed up. Was it Andrew that had the awesome porridge fanboy joke?

    And I have to say that I agree with Graham, I do think there is too much choice for most people, personally I quite like finding the most obscure bit of software and using it, but that's just me. :)

    Some initial steps

    Standardizing package formats and package managers as well as the placement of config files and the directories into which software is installed would be a great step forward.

    It might also be nice if distros collaborated more on documentation. I was reading up on a few things this week and I ended up on the wikis for Fluxbox, Gentoo, Ubuntu, Debian, and openSuse; one centralized wiki, with general details and then specific instructions for individual distros (which could be made a bit more standardized!) would be a handy thing indeed.

    More PulseAudio bashing please!!

    Guys there really wasn't enough PulseAudio bashing on this episode... more please! In case people think im joking, im really not. PulseAudio is a major headache for me and has been since I upgraded from Ubuntu 8.10 to 10.04.

    On the subject of the inform interactive stories I was in fact working on one of my own for ye guys. I completely agree with what ye said about it. I thought hey this is really easy... just like english but no its not. I end up trying something and wiping it clean because it doesn't work.

    The documentation is definitely quite poor for beginners. I thought downloading example stories would be a good idea but they are so complicated I couldn't make sense of them.

    Now my story has been added to the ever growing pile of unfinished projects! :D

    Thank you!

    Having just listened to this last podcast, let me thank you for all the hard work all the LXF team do to create the magazine, podcast & website. I thoroughly enjoy all the materials - over the years they have provided me with lots of information, learning & entertainment. Thank you again.

    Why are new users better then the "old ones".

    First point: If you want to try something new, you should inform yourself beforehand. Yeah, there are a LOT of Distributions out there, but who should get to choose who's allowed to make a Distro and who not? Are Red Hat, Novell and Mandriva forbidden to make one and should close down so everybody can use Ubuntu?

    Many Distributions do things very differently. Take openSuse and Ubuntu for example. Both are good choices for beginners(and I really don't care about the idiocy of people who after years still haven't realized that Yast2 is opensource, the questionable contracts of Novell wit MS don't affect the Distro in any way(those people also tend to defend the questionable Ubuntu One instead) and that it can be a good choice as a configuration tool, even if it is a bit slow).
    When I was a beginner, I tried both and didn't like Ubuntu much, which might also have something to do with tthe fact that it didn't work correctly with my system ;). openSuse on the other hand worked like a charm, even though I made some mistakes, in the end everything worked out.

    The RPM vs. .deb: Does it matter? One of the most important features of Linux-Distributions is the fact that you have Distro-specific repositorys available who (with a few exceptions) have more or less anything you need. There is no need to go on any website and Downloads Debs or RPM's, if you use a Distribution that often enough updates it's repos(like Fedora for example). So as soon as that concept is in peoples heads, they simply won't have to "bother" with that problem. Perhaps we need better tutotirals in the Distributions itself. But I'm absolutly against any kind of unification.

    I also don't get your problems with the commandline. It's not like as soon as you start the system it jumps in your face, mostly it's actually already kind off hidden. And even if not, who should care. If someone doesn't keep using Linux, trust me, the commandline won't be the issue. Why make things complicated for experienced users? Why should I have to bother to get my system usable in the way I want it, just to please some newbies who probably won't stick to it for long anyway.

    I like to try out new things. And I'm pretty sure most other people who want to try out a new OS might have an interest in new stuffs so they will inform themselves. I don't like applications other people like and the other way around, for whatever reasons. So why should I have more work just to make it easier for beginners?

    I helped other people in Forums and IRC-Channel. I have experienced my own share of problems. Linux isn't perfect. it can't be, because we aren't all the same. We have different views on how things should be(I for example think that any inclusion of .net aka mono is a horribly bad idea, while Miguel de Icaza would certainly disagree with me there ;) ), that's how humanity works. So no, Linux doesn't have to go this way and yes, perhaps we will have to accept that growth on the Desktop will be slow. Saying that it isn't growing at all is simply wrong, seeing as there is a growing Linux-Support from manufacturers. A few years ago, here in germany, it was next to impossible to get a machine with preinstalled Linux(and even then mostly Xandros where to this day I haven't found a person who likes it, so I can probably bash it without anyone caring :D), while today there are at least a good handful. It will go slowly and no, we won't beat Windows in the next few years.

    As long as gaming under Linux means work or horrible graphics and a small collection of games, this isn't exactly appealing.
    As long as people simply accept that they'll use whatever the manufacturer pu on the harddrive, those people won't come to Linux, even if it could read your mind and transform to the best OS ever for you.
    As long as people keep flaming each other instead of having a normal discussion, this will put people off.

    So, 'nugh said, supper is almost ready :D

    People need to chill

    Simply put The pod-cast is great and this is content we are getting for FREE thanks to the graciousness of the hosts and Linux Format...does Ubuntu get mentioned a lot? sure but thats because as far as desktop users go they have most of the "newbie" market. Whenever I say Linux to a non user they usually say "like Ubuntu?" so I think thats a fair thing.
    Now as far as the asbestos britches you've had to don because of the 'too many choices" comment..I believe your SPOT ON as far as business goes!
    Don't worry guys you got the love on this side of the pond.

    Don't get discouraged

    I have been a loyal Linux user for several years now after getting burned out with Windows and its headaches. I never liked Windows. However, being an IT professional, I have a different perspective. I love the command line and the configuration possibilities and the stablity.
    If you want to make Linux mainstream, you need a distro thats entirely geared to new users and becomes the one stop shop. It it incredibly easy to use, fast and give you something Windows doesn't have in terms of ease-of-use and configurability. Ubuntu is as close as it gets along with Linux Mint. I use Ubuntu myself as Ubuntu is still linux and can easily be configured from the command line to what I want it to do.
    I would also recommend a web site that says "you want linux, use this, do this and all is well. Perhaps you guys could do it yourself. You have a lot of influence and I think it is possible.
    Finally, Linux has a steep learning curve in many areas. It's not easy but the rewards are immense. Windows can have a very steep learning curve as well -- ever tried to learn the registry in and out. NOT easy. It's all perspective. Love your show.

    The 6 Ps...

    Having listened to the podcast and gained an understanding of what Graham was trying to say, I still think he’s wrong. Sure all the different tools for network configuration, for example, make it hard to fix problems for new users but this is due to a lack of planning on their part!

    If we take a hypothetical Windows user who, for whatever reason, wants to give Linux a shot then the worst thing they can do is jump in with both feet and then end up hopelessly confused because they don’t know where to go for the best and relevant advice. This is where I think the problem lies. If a user is serious about migrating to Linux, then they need to lay the foundations with a plan! Having maybe familiarised themselves with some cross platform Open Source apps, they need to choose a distro they’ll be comfortable with and then make sure they’re comfortable with it’s support arrangements and available documentation. If more new users were encouraged to take these pretty simple steps then I think a much higher percentage would stay with Linux.

    Anyway, also from having listened to the podcast, I’d like to say I think you guys do a great job. I reckon you should consider doing a migration/Linux adoption guide!

    these things happen...

    Okay, the blunt truth is that after listening to episode 17, I wanted my money back. If I had paid money. Which I didn't.

    It felt like it was thrown together just to get something out there before taking time off. You would have had an equal number of people screaming bloody murder if you had said something like, "taking some time off, no podcast until next month - bye."

    The important thing is that you're back *now.* Rested, fit, ready to roll.

    Over the past year, I've installed Linux on over ten machines in my apartment complex. Most of the people I know here can't afford MS Office, Norton Anti-virus, etc. Word gets around, and after a long day at work, there will be a knock on the door, and one of my neighbors will be asking for help - Windows has a virus.

    I grab my external hard-drive and a Linux LiveCD. Boot, back-up, install, and copy the files over. I know all about answering the questions you get on the phone all the time. The difference is that, usually, someone hands me a beer when the job is done.

    Thanks for the podcast, thanks for the magazine, thanks for all the little things that you end up doing throughout the day that we never see the results of...

    Every once in a while, an issue, a podcast, whatever, just isn't received in the spirit that it's given. These things happen.

    But know that across the Atlantic, in Texas, in a bar, someone is lifting a glass.

    [... and to hell with the bastards who say you don't do enough!]

    Graham has a point but he is wrong

    First, thanks guys for all the hard work. It's really appreciated. It's okay for people to criticize at times...it helps us to improve. So, don't just take it that serious.

    After reading Grahams article and listening to the podcast, I still feel Graham is wrong. Why do I say so? In my house here in Nigeria, I have about 4 laptops and all are running Ubuntu. My younger ones come around and they all use my computers without asking questions. And the few times they have asked me questions, it is to ask where is word and I just tell them to use Openoffice Writer.

    I have installed Ubuntu for people who are normal computer users and the only thing I do is to configure Openoffice default "save as" to ".doc" and just tell them to use that to write their documents. Most of them already know that Firefox is used for browsing. They don't ever come back to ask me to install windows. 100% of the time, they are happy.

    They don't even know what Gnome or KDE is. They just use their computer as it is. These users are your typical 80%+ MS Windows users. They have never heard of Gnome or KDE.

    Most people that will use any flavour of Gnu Linux, will almost always have somebody to help them out.

    Is Gnu Linux really growing? If I use my own personal experience here, I think it is growing. Few years ago, if you go to the shops here where pirated software are sold, you wouldn't see any Gnu Linux distribution but now, you see them hawking Ubuntu, SUSE and Red Hat. Also, Most of my friends that are normal computer users have removed Windows from their system and installed Ubuntu instead.

    The greatest challenge facing Gnu Linux adoption is not the different package managers nor distributions but I rather think it has to do with the marketing strength of MS and the OEMs. How much money does Canonical or Novell spends on marketing Gnu Linux? A lot of people here don't even what it is! The people I helped moved, moved because of Virus issues and needless crashing of their machines.

    There is no OS that is perfect and so no Gnu Linux distribution is perfect. They will always be issues. Windows has its issues as well. Windows forum is full of people have similar issues as Gnu Linux users.

    If Canonical can have OEMs to preinstall Ubuntu and market it very well, the adoption will increase and continue to increase. Most distribution are as usable as MS Windows.

    Thanks again guys


    The thing with Linux marketing is that it's low budget but huge! It includes Linux Format magazine, this podcast and all us advocates amongst similar others. All of whom also have to provide realistic advice and support unlike MS or Apple marketing! Information, advice and support is where Linux could knock the competition into the middle of LAST week!


    I used to get Graham and Andrew mixed up too, so I demanded that Graham speak in a falsetto. Apparently he has refused, so maybe he should wear a hat that says "Graham" on it?

    Job well done!

    I am not much for praising people, but I want the LXF team to know that they are just awesome. The Mag, Podcast, Website are clearly put together with insight, enthusiasm and a lot of TLC. Please keep up the good work. This is from someone who started out with the '94 Yggdrasil cdrom release and switched to Linux full time in the summer of 95. I have seen (and even subscribed to some) many of the computer mags come and go, and can say that you folks have found a good mix of material from your reviews to the technical articles and everything in between. Your podcasts are a bright spot every time I listen to them. And after 16 years in the linux fold, there is always something I need to write down to try out the next time I am at my keyboard.

    As for new users to the Linux desktop, I believe every major distro should have a stripped down newbie desktop with just a minimum of applications accessible that just work. It really doesn't matter which window manager, package manager, etc. is used as long as they are called the same thing across distros and function the same in the GUI. We are hackers and should be able to cover up the beautiful choices lurking beneath a bland exterior for the masses.

    You are great

    I love the podcast and only commented once before (positively). It regularly makes me laugh out loud as I drive to work. I also like the mag and have been subscribed for years and years.

    I would like more people to use Linux, but if the price of that is to change what I like about it then maybe I would prefer it the way it is. You can't have innovation without change and disruption.

    I did wonder if developers felt the same about your criticism as you feel about criticism on the comments here. Will you criticise me for criticising you for criticising the criticism of your criticism. If you do I will criticise you for it.

    Anyway keep it up!

    Keep it up.

    I just wanted to echo the majority of comments here that state what a great job you all are doing there at LXF Towers. I too have gone back and listened to every podcast, enjoying just about all of them. The mixture of humor and frank discussion of the pros and cons of assorted open source projects and applications is always entertaining. And your accents make me miss England and remind me of our trip to Bath.
    For my birthday this year, I asked my mother-in-law to buy me a subscription to LXF magazine, which she did. I am eagerly awaiting my first issue, hoping it will be the November 'Desktop Toolkit' issue. Anyway, keep up the good work, both with the podcast and the magazine.

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