Date: November 10th, 2006
Article by: Teejay Rosene (Article Contributor)
Edited by: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
Product Website: UBUNTU
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Now I say this not because I want to be offensive, or that I don't like Ubuntu; I am saying this because I actually want to help improve the product, help improve the Ubuntu experience. I'm devoting time and energy to make the Ubuntu product better. Now I don't have programming knowledge. I can't write the programs. What I can do, however, is communicate what an average user experiences when he or she tries Ubuntu, and actually wants to become an Ubuntu user, but is unable to do so because of the program's inability to detect external wireless cards. Nonetheless, I have hope that the more this dilemma is exposed and discussed, the sooner this challenge can be rectified. Overcoming this hurdle is where Ubuntu can prove itself as a great OS.
What is even more important, now more than ever, is the fact that it is the crucial time for Ubuntu to become compatible and ready for the masses.
Windows Genuine Advantage (that sneaky little download that comes with a certain Windows' “Security Update” that is actually more spyware than anything else) has been detrimental to thousands, if not millions, of computer users; this little piece of software has created a world where the customer is guilty (of piracy) until proven innocent, and many times the consumer will actually be left in the dark or locked out of his or her computer. What's even worse is that many times this will
happen without any piracy actually occurring. Like when you have more than one computer in your home running on the same version of Windows. Apparently, even though you purchase a copy of Windows, one just isn't enough. I guess Microsoft didn't make enough money last year. Anyway, this will result in many becoming fed up with Windows and wanting to convert to Ubuntu. However, currently many users will also end up frustrated with the lack of wireless support. This issue is vitally important for Ubuntu to address because if it does not the resulting frustration can do a lot of damage to Ubuntu's image, leaving Ubuntu with damage control issues that will perpetually hound them.
No amount of shiny, happy, smiling people in the photo promotions can combat unhappy and frustrated users and the bad press these frustrated souls can generate. By the way, what is Ubuntu trying to prove with weird unrelated naked marketing shots like this?
A far better solution would be better hardware detection and/or driver installation. Wine already exists to enable native Windows software to run on Linux, so is it really that difficult to have a program that can do the same for Windows drivers? How about just being able to insert the driver disk, or downloading it from the net, and clicking install? The Ubuntu Wiki is really helpful, but the information that is available is not consistent. For example, the wireless card that has been the bane of my existence is a D-Link DWL-G650 and I know I am not alone. There are many articles discussing compatibility issues with this card on the Ubuntu site, the only problem is that there is no consistency. Every article has a completely different way of tackling the issue of installing the driver and/or (or and/and) configuring this card; with all this conflicting information, the average user is left overwhelmed and probably worse off than before visiting the site. Indeed, I always leave the Ubuntu Wiki site with a sense of dread, knowing that I am doomed to have wireless card trouble for as long as I use Ubuntu. Unless, of course, this issue is seriously taken into consideration. Ubuntu has nothing to lose and many users to gain. The reality is that even though Linux pros could get various wireless cards up-and-running, the average Windows user looking for an alternative won't have a clue. It's up to the Linux pros who are part of Ubuntu development to ease the pain for those resigned Windows users and actually make Ubuntu compatible, rather than telling them how to make it compatible.
If you have any further questions about this operating system, please feel free to post them in our friendly forums HERE.
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