It’s Not a Bug, It’s a Feature… No, It Really Is. Microsoft vs. Linux

Make an HTML form with a text field and two submit buttons. Load Firefox and IE, bring the text field into view, and press the enter key.

When you have a form with one or more buttons, hitting enter under Firefox will POST the value of the 1st form button. On the other hand, with IE, unless a specific button was selected, no button values will POST.

At this point, I know a lot of people would start claiming that Microsoft is sloppy, IE is brain dead, Firefox is so much better, and more similar tripe… But think about it, how should the browser know which button is “first”? Should it be the 1st one in the HTML code? Should the “tabindex” value affect the situation? Could something be manipulating the button visibility or placement under CSS or JavaScript? Can the true human-interpreted layout even be determined by code?

And what about the question of whether the ‘enter’ key signifies “submit form”, or “submit form and the 1st button value”?

Windows has been deployed on hundreds of millions of systems, if not more. The user-base is very diverse: with different cultures, languages, and processes. If you want to cater to that user-base, you cannot make assumptions. IE is absolutely correct in not POSTing the value of an unselected form button on an ‘enter’ key press.

And this does not even touch on the fact that when you have 100s of millions of users, you also absolutely have to consider backward compatibility. Who knows how this used to work in the past, or what assumptions coders have made.

As is turns out, this really is a feature after all. And chances are, the rest of what the Linux fan-base complains about with Microsoft falls exactly along these lines. I’m all for GNU/Linux, just not mindless accusations and false claims.

submit.php

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01//EN"
	"http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/strict.dtd">
<html>
<head>
<title>It's not a bug, it's a feature!</title>
</head>
<body>
<form action="submit.php" method="post" name="form" id="form">

<p><?php
if (isset($_POST['action'])) {
	if (isset($_POST['submit_1'])) echo $_POST['submit_1'] . '<br/>';
	if (isset($_POST['submit_2'])) echo $_POST['submit_2'] . '<br/>';
}
?></p>

<div>
	<input type="text" name="text" id="text" tabindex="1" value="" /><br/>

	<input type="submit" name="submit_1" id="submit_1" tabindex="2" value="Button 1 Clicked" />
	<input type="submit" name="submit_2" id="submit_2" tabindex="3" value="Button 2 Clicked" />

	<input type="hidden" name="action" value="submitted" />
</div>
</form>
</body>
</html>

Smartest Linux Move Ever? And Why Ubuntu will Fail

Linspire, Microsoft in Linux-related deal

Linspire Inc. has announced an agreement to license voice-enabled instant messaging, Windows Media 10 CODECs, and TrueType font technologies from Microsoft for its Linux distribution.

Shuttleworth Denies Ubuntu-Microsoft Deal

The head of Ubuntu says his company isn’t interested in forming a deal with Microsoft along the lines of those recently reached by Linspire, Xandros, and Novell.

I’ve always said that for Linux to have a chance on the desktop it must be turned into Windows. I know how that might sound to most, but that statement is completely true for one reason: people like what they know, familiarity is comfortable.

So what reason is there to switch away from Windows, something known and used, to Linux, a complete unknown?… Because it’s free and Microsoft is an evil monopoly!?… I think we have to do better than that. We have to give the people what they “want”, and not what we think they “need”, all while making the transition completely seamless.

The average desktop user just wants to power on, browse the internet, visit a few social sites, send email, do some IM, watch videos, and nothing more. And this task needs to function and look exactly like it does on Windows.

Yes, I know you can track down Codecs and TrueType fonts, and install them, but this is beyond what 95% of the desktop market is willing to do. It has to be already provided and look exactly like it does on Windows. If this task takes a single click, it’s already one click too many.

Every year since 2000 it was the year Linux was going to displace Windows. And every year it has failed miserably on the desktop. Linux is by the developer, for the developer. It works best server-side. The desktop/UI is horrible and always makes you do things differently, for no reason at all but “to be different.” And its type of “difference” is not the cool type, it’s downright scary.

Why learn from Microsoft’s mistakes and success, taking what works, when you can spend time and effort re-inventing the wheel. And until this gets fixed, Linux will alway turn away the desktop market.

Another huge problem I see is with providing the user with too many choices… You give someone multiple distributions, all with their own ways of doing things, with multiple applications that have the same function, with too many different options and ways of performing tasks, and the user becomes confused and disoriented. He begins to distrust the product. Time is waisted.

The majority of the desktop user-base want their hand held and told that everything is okay. And Linux slaps them right across the face. Very little is standardized or uniform. This type of “choice”, in this context, is not a strength, but rather a weakness.

While this move *is* the smartest move ever, it never the less is too little and too late — or to put it more correctly: completely and utterly pointless. Why you might ask? Because it’s not free, you pay $60 for Linspire. I can get Windows cheaper than that, even for free, and have no problems doing more with it as a Desktop.

Drupal, is it the Right CMS for You?

There are two CMS provided under the Web-Developer Server Suite: Drupal and Joomla. But which do you use? This is the question that has been asked on our forums since the inclusion of a CMS webapp group into the Suite.

My usual response goes along the lines of “Joomla is easier to use; Drupal is more powerful.”

While the above statement is completely true, it does no justice differentiating the provided choices in a real way. Especially if you require something a little more custom in nature.

How Drupal Will Save The World really drives it home. Though I’m not referring to the article itself, but rather the comment section.

Simply put: Drupal is more powerful, but the learning curve is quite steep considering that good documentation is almost non-existent. I’m sure in the future this will be corrected, but for the time being, you better know your PHP and have a good head on your shoulders if you want to get into the more advanced capabilities of this CMS.

For anyone starting out with Drupal I recommend getting a copy of Pro Drupal Development as the first step.

And for anyone that just wants something simple, consider CMS Made Simple.

HowTo: Change VMWare Player Guest OS Display Resolution

Here is one useful bit for anyone running, or thinking of running, a local test/development environment under VMWare Player version 2.0 with a guest OS Linux install.

I’ll assume you have installed VMWare Player and a VMWare Appliance similar to CentOS v5. After which, by default, the resolution will be limited to modes “800×600″ and “640×480″.

Here is how you fix that problem…

Step 1: Install X and GNOME, if not already present.
yum groupinstall "X Window System" "GNOME Desktop Environment"
[Note: to install KDE, substitute the “GNOME…” string with “KDE (K Desktop Environment)”]

Step 2: Edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf

You should already have…

Section "Device"
Identifier "Videocard0"
Driver "vmware"
EndSection

Add the following “monitor” section…

Section "Monitor"
Identifier "Monitor0"
HorizSync 1.0 - 10000.0
VertRefresh 1.0 - 10000.0
EndSection

Modify the existing “Screen” section…
Note to replace the following “1600×1200″ string with the highest resolution your monitor can handle.

Section "Screen"
Identifier "Screen0"
Device "Videocard0"
Monitor "Monitor0"
DefaultDepth 24
SubSection "Display"
Viewport 0 0
Depth 24
Modes "1600x1200" "800x600" "640x480"
EndSubSection
EndSection

Step 3: Start X
startx

Ubuntu’s Endgame, Adding Insult to Injury

It’s time for all the fans that rallied behind the idea of Dell providing Ubuntu, or any other Linux distribution, to follow through and purchase a system

Scratch that, they have all disappeared!

Some choice quotes from the same exact fanbase-type “users” that posted to Dell’s IdeaStorm:

“I don’t know how I feel about the “for advanced users and tech enthusiasts” bit. Seems like it undermines my stance on what Linux is about. Dell will not be getting my business until they change.”

“Ubuntu is great, but until it can play all Windows games at near the same performance, I don’t believe it will ever be “better” for my uses.”

“I would definitely pay $50 for a Windows license and a better video card in the Dimension, even more!”

“I’m disappointed that they only offer shitty models and options.”

“I’ve NEVER liked or bought any DELL products, and NEVER will. Why would I want to save 40 bucks on something I would never buy…”

“I love Linux, Ubuntu, and the open-source/GPL movement, but I like to put my systems together personally.”

“If Ubuntu was anything BUT a technical nightmare to configure, what would be the reason to buy one of these? Yes, it installs really easily. Getting it to WORK is next to impossible.”

“You get a computer with an OS you can ***download for free*** pre-installed. Wow!”

“I’m not really interested in buying a PC with an OS, as much as buying a PC with no OS installed.”

How the tides have turned! Not that I, or anyone else, should be surprised. This was to be expected. After all, our fanboys are our biggest hindrance… They talk the talk, but never walk the walk.

Something to consider: once you price the exact same XPS 410 [Vista Home Premium] and 410n [Ubuntu] system, take into account that Dell is offering free shipping on the Vista system, while the Ubuntu system will cost $30 to ship — you are saving only $10!

[I’ve taken the comments from digg and slashdot, and have slightly edited them for better readability]

Ubuntu’s Death Rattle

Having just posted my thoughts on the Dell/Linux sham, it hit me… This must be the sound of Ubuntu’s death rattle.

Having failed to turn a profit year after year, Canonical/Ubuntu has put all of its remaining energy into this deal: from the website re-design with the focus on Dell, to the recent video/talk marketing efforts made by Mr. Shuttleworth.

I _would_ say that all the eggs have been placed into the same basket, but if you look at the past, you quickly realize the rest of the eggs have already been broken and this is a last effort attempt to save a sinking ship.

Since the beginning, Canonical/Ubuntu has been burning millions per year, without seeing any returns — even with a userbase of 2-6 million, and a deployment on 4-16 million systems. And this Dell move is supposed to turn things around?…

Do the numbers:

Dell’s expected sales are at 20,000 systems per year. Who and how many are going to shell out $65 for 30-days worth of support? Zero. Maybe, at best, less than 1%. Same logic applies to the more expensive, yearly, support contracts.

This Dell deal is a joke that’s going sell a handful of systems and net Canonical a few more contracts, relatively worth pennies. Pushing Linux on the average Joe [who is just going to ship the system back] will also backfire. I mean, who else is going to buy these systems? The fanboys that started this mess in the first place? Don’t make me laugh!

And for Ubuntu, after Dell, where is there to go from here but down?

It almost sounds as if this deal was set up to fail from the beginning. If Microsoft is behind this move, they have done a good job of pulling the strings. It’s a sad day today.