Why is Ubuntu Linux so popular?

Also in today’s open source roundup: Does Adobe hate Linux? And DistroWatch reviews Super Grub2 Disk

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Why is Ubuntu Linux so popular?

Ubuntu Linux has been around for a long time, and over the years it has proven to one of the most popular Linux distributions ever. But what has made it so popular?

A redditor recently asked that question in the Linux subreddit and got some interesting answers.

Quardah started the thread with this post:

Honest question: Why is Ubuntu popular?

I am strongly wondering why is Ubuntu this popular. I don't feel like it addresses any "role" for a distro. All the other "big" distros are really specific into their specialization…

I am having a hard time why Ubuntu has become popular. I personally view it as a distro popularized by a private industry? Is it popular because it managed to build a community or because it's easy to work with?

More at Reddit

His fellow redditors responded with their thoughts about Ubuntu’s enduring popularity:

Tireseas: “Because it actively sought out the casual user market and did actual advertising to raise awareness.”

Parceira: “Because it combines the fantastic Debian .deb package format with a good desktop environment. And it was first to market.

On the server side, RHEL/CentOS are difficult to work with. You regularly end up trawling around sites like rpmfind, compared to the enormous catalogue of software available in Debian/Ubuntu/Mint/etc (that can be easily browsed and quickly installed using Aptitude). The .rpm package format is actually technically superior to .deb, however in practice packaging is inconsistent. Compare this to Debian where the steps required to get a package into the official repositories are rigorous. The end result of this is that in Debian/Ubuntu you don't get the sort of "dll hell" that can occur with .rpm's.

On the desktop side, Ubuntu has the already mentioned great .deb format, combined with a very well integrated DE. When this came out being able to "just install" a DE was amazing, compared to the agony (for newbies and old hands alike) of getting X to work. Fedora (desktop) has the same .rpm problems as RHEL/CentOS.

Other distros like Arch/Slack/Gentoo are interesting and great for learning (if you've got the time). SUSE is burdened with it's .rpm heritage. It tried to leverage into the market via Novell (makers of Netware), but it was too little/too late.

(My experience: I've been administering Linux servers since 2001. Before that I was on DOS 6.1 through NT 3.51, 4, 2000. And way before that I was on Apple II's, TRS80's then the original Macs)”

Guy_fawkes: “I actually don't like the Ubuntu desktop environment very much. It was the first distro I tried when I got into linux, so it was nice the DE came pre-installed, but Unity always did a terrible job of managing full screen windows, along with hogging RAM.

I'm using xfce in Debian now and I'm much happier.”

Sendmetohell: “Red Hat and SUSE both did advertising as well.”

Tireseas: “Both were paid products in a time when the Linux desktop was much more technical. And both were still more focused on business. Never underestimate the word of mouth power of the Ubuntu free cd initiative.”

Bufsabre666: “In the mid 00's the release of Ubuntu was a revolution. They put a lot of work into making everyday things easier. Especially things you need everyday. Google "Nvidia drivers linux" and set the date range somewhere in the mid aughties and you will see about 40 ways to install drivers in various distros with vastly different results all around. Ubuntu put a lot of work into that.

They also linked themselves to the 6 month release cycle around Gnome 2.x releases making them the defacto distro of the most popular DE of the time.

If you're coming to Linux now you might notice all the great choices availble, but things were vastly different once upon a time. Ubuntu earned it's fame and still caries it to this day.”

Hopfield: “Because it just f…ing works. ”

MichaelTunnell: “Canonical recognized the potential of Linux in a way that no one else did for it to be important for it to be user-friendly. Canonical has continued marketing to non-Linux users since its inception in various ways to get the name out where as most companies/distros in the ecosystem do practically nothing.”

BlueGoliath: “Ubuntu offers lots of GUI convenience applications that other distros don't like "Additional Drivers" and take a "meh, you do you" approach to proprietary software usage when some other distros(Debian) shove libre software down your throat.

Since Ubuntu is more convenient in those regards it has more users.

Since it has more users, when developers develop software for Linux(game or just general software) they always develop for Ubuntu first.

Since Ubuntu has more software that is more or less guaranteed to work, more users use Ubuntu.

And the cycle continues…”

Tweakers: “High level of out-of-the-box functionality combined with low maintenance on the user's part makes it a great choice for people who just want to use their computers instead of f…in' around with the OS all the time.”

More at Reddit

Does Adobe hate Linux?

Many users have long hoped that Adobe would someday release its graphic suite for Linux. Alas, Adobe still has not done so and there’s no indication that it will ever happen.

Adobe’s lack of support for Linux has one writer at Freedom Penguin wondering if the company actually hates Linux.

Jacob Roecker reports for Freedom Penguin:

What’s missing is a graphics suite and there’s really no excuse for not having one. Yes, we have graphics applications, but there are advantages to having a suite, not just a one-off application that can do something in 12 steps when its competitor can do it in three. The industry leader in this market is Adobe, whose Creative Cloud suite is leaps and bounds away from its competitors in terms of market share.

From what I can see, Adobe’s not going to be bullied into porting their software. If bullying and requests worked then the numerous forum requests for Photoshop on Linux would have made their mark years ago. They haven’t been the catalyst people had hoped for, but we do have a potential catalyst in the community, Mark Shuttleworth.

I think it’s time for Mark to try another round on indiegogo, and this time being the attention back on the desktop. Run a campaign for funding to buy the first license for Photoshop on Ubuntu. Call Adobe and ask for the price tag and let us help you pay for it. Once they’ve got one customer, they’ll be able to have more. It’ll shift the burden of production costs from Adobe to the market and prove at the same time that there’s market demand to justify that shift. This campaign needs a face, and there’s no one better than Mark.

More at Freedom Penguin

DistroWatch reviews Super Grub2 Disk

If you’re a distrohopper and have had problems with your boot loader, Super Grub2 Disk might be just what the doctor ordered. DistroWatch has a full review of Super Grub2 Disk.

Jesse Smith reports for DistroWatch:

Super Grub2 Disk is not a Linux distribution and, in fact, I do not think it entirely qualifies as an operating system. Yet, I believe Super Grub2 Disk (SGD) is one of the more useful projects I have encountered recently, especially for distro-hoppers such as myself. Almost everyone who tries out new operating systems, especially people who switch distributions a lot, has eventually run into a situation where installing a new operating system causes problems with their boot loader. Perhaps the new distribution does not properly detect the old one, excluding it from the boot menu, perhaps a new operating system takes over the system with its own boot loader, maybe we accidentally wipe out the directory where our boot loader was installed. Whatever the cause, installing a new operating system can leave many people in a situation where their system no longer boots properly.

SGD offers a solution for people who have (usually by accident) caused their boot loader to stop working or to no longer recognize their operating system. SGD basically acts like a portable copy of the GRUB boot loader which we can copy to a CD or USB thumb drive. When we encounter a system where the boot loader is not working, we can boot from the SGD media and ask it to detect all the operating systems on our computer. SGD scans our hard drive and presents us with a list of operating systems it has found and can boot. Then we can simply select the operating system we want to load. The operating system boots, just as it normally would, and we can then get work done or go about repairing the damage to our system.

I am impressed with SGD and what it can do. The disc turns what is usually a complex recovery process (especially if the recovery is done over a phone) into essentially putting the disc in the computer, pressing Enter twice and then running the two GRUB commands I listed above. I had no need to check which partition was my root, no need to mount any partitions or use chroot. I was quite happy with the recovery process SGD provides. The SGD project offers a number of options for looking up information or working with LVM or RAID installations, but for most people we can put the disc in and just press Enter to bring up a list of distributions we can boot into. The project's website states SGD is able to boot not only Linux distributions, but also FreeBSD, Windows and macOS in case we are working in a more varied environment.

More at DistroWatch

Check out this video to see how you can use Super Grub2 Disk:

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