Rage blogging ahead.
My dad has just bought a Nexus 7 for himself, making me somewhat jealous but also very angry. Its not that he bought a Nexus 7, or that I set it up for him, in fact its not even the tablet’s fault at all – its his laptop. He bought his laptop (an incredible IBM Thinkpad) secondhand and being a good citizen, and a cheap one, I installed an Ubuntu distro on there – I couldn’t find a Windows XP key for sale at a reasonable price, and its fairly possible Windows 7 was released at this point already but the laptop was best suited to basic and stable not fancy and new; I also thought that perhaps having a completely different OS would put him in on a system he wouldn’t try to play with, only to do the things he needed to. Turns out I was wrong.
When I handed over the laptop, I’d got a decent grasp of how to use Ubuntu with a GUI; I’d had to use the terminal or command line – whatever its called – because tutorials weren’t very GUI orientated in setting up software, but I wouldn’t claim to be comfortable with it. I even helped him over the next couple of years with bits and pieces. Today I have found it completely unusable; I literally can only see Firefox and Banshee shortcuts in a taskbar (panel?), and a folder – luckily – saved to the desktop. No Start-like menu to access everything, no folder in the filesystem to act as a control panel. Nothing.
I needed to get my dad’s music from laptop hard drive to tablet.
So when his new Nexus was attached to the laptop and didn’t mount as a disk drive, I took to the internet which gave me instruction on how to use terminal to install the packages required to connect the Android device. Great! Only, remember me listing all of the options available to me? I wasn’t being facetious. “Try Ctrl+Alt+T” said one site, “try holding Ctrl+Alt to get a search bar” said another; neither of which worked.
During the process of finding how to setup the Nexus as a mountable device in Ubuntu (Nautilus, 2.8.something), and not being able to use command lines, I thought of installing an FTP client and gave up on the idea. The plan was to upload everything to a private location on DQ in one batch, and download it onto the device with EZ Filemanager or something similar. Then I had the idea of using Google Drive.
Drive allows you to upload folders, but only if your browser is HTML5 savvy. The version of Firefox installed on the laptop was not, so I tried to install Chrome using the almost helpful Google directions. The downloaded file opened but presented me with an error saying a dependency failed. So I found the dependency and downloaded it. To discover another dependency failed. So I found that dependency and downloaded it; the error received this time was that it would break a similar-but-not-the-same version of whatever these things are really called – they sound like the dynamic link library corollary for Linux.
So there’s my first real moment of wanting to smash the laptop and strangle Linux advocates everywhere. How is it sensible to distribute software without its dependencies? I wouldn’t try to send a letter with a name and stamp but no address, the letter’s delivery is dependent on the address; so Chrome is sitting in some download folder unable to be installed because it lacks the capacity to be installed properly. .Net programs require packaging with the .Net redistributable package, Java packages contain their included files, this method is backwards.
That forced me into uploading dad’s music to Google Drive, one file at a time. If you know the Drive app on Android, the punchline may already be ruined. I gave up uploading files when I got to his Unknown/Various artist folders in which there were twenty five unique Track 1 files, so I installed the app on his Nexus and looked for how to download the files to the tablet. Short of making the files available offline within the app, its currently not possible to download files from Google drive to android devices.
So here I am ranting.
And thinking thank god for walled gardens.
Wondering why Linux users think its ever going to go mainstream.
Linux, GUI or not, is not for the feint of heart; it is horribly geeky and takes a crazy amount of patience and learning to get to grips with. Computing shouldn’t be like that – it should be immediately accessible, understandable, and usable by people of any skill level. I’m not calling for a dumbing down of computer science, I’m asking that we continue to develop more intuitive systems with non-technical GUIs that people can use without thought and not be a danger to their devices.
The Apple, Android, and Windows 8 eco-systems may be an affront to power users (not Linux level, clearly they’re way beyond all this) for their locked-in ways, but to the average user they are currently the best solution. Perhaps Windows 8 has the right balance of garden on the surface and sandbox hidden from general view? My knowledge of OS X is really out of date, so I can’t pass comment; all I know is that Ubuntu (and therefore all of Linux) is wrong.
So with my evening wasted, I felt it appropriate to waste a little bit more of my time, to vent. Ta da! A review of Bastion will be forthcoming, having completed it for the first time yesterday.