Ubuntu: What They're Doing Right and Wrong Page 2: Page 2

The Linux distribution does a great job with peripheral detection, community, easy backup, the Software Center and more.
Posted February 4, 2013

Matt Hartley

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Areas Needing Improvement

Now that we've covered the areas where Ubuntu is doing well, let's look at the areas that need improvement. This is an important step  so we can make sure future Ubuntu releases get better with each revision. As you read this, understand that I'm not trying to be overly harsh; rather I'm merely pointing out key areas that desperately need to be taken more seriously.

Parental Controls

To date, Ubuntu's solution for parental controls is almost offensive. The official page lists applications way beyond the skill set of most Ubuntu users, then it's followed up with a known-to-be-abandoned application called Web Content Control. What absolutely blows my mind, however, is the recommendation that users can rely on Gnome Nanny as a solution. This also is software that isn't effectively being supported. Additionally, uninstalling it can have adverse effects on your ability to connect to websites.

The only application listed under Parental Controls that actually works is a non-Ubuntu specific service called OpenDNS web-based parental controls. It's not exactly easy for non-geeks to setup, but it will work well for someone familiar with setting up a new DNS entry on your specific machine.

A Migration Wizard

While various Live Ubuntu solutions allow Windows users to test out Ubuntu without the commitment, they still don't address a key issue: Windows users who are ready to make the leap to Ubuntu need a proper migration wizard. For anyone out there thinking such a thing isn't likely to be possible, think again—it used to exist for another Linux distribution back in 2006.

Add in the fact that proprietary programs are now welcomed in the Ubuntu Software Center, and one has to wonder why an ancient and now-dead distribution like Linspire was able to make migration easy, but Ubuntu still requires a DIY approach? For a power-user such as myself, it's not a big deal. However, for casual users looking to make the switch to Ubuntu, a good migration tool is a must-have, in my opinion.

Final Thoughts

In this article, we've examined the areas where Ubuntu does well by its users, as well as the areas where I believe Ubuntu could do better. By taking a tough-love approach, it is my hope that some of the needed additions will be taken seriously.

I realize that some folks will suggest that proper parental controls aren't needed or perhaps that migration tools are a waste of time. My reply to those individuals would go something like this: These tools may be meaningless to you. However, other operating systems are already offering this functionality, and if Ubuntu wants to compete effectively, it means addressing these basic shortcomings.

Obviously, I don't expect the Ubuntu team to create these tools magically—that would be counter-productive. Instead, perhaps they could reach out to existing software vendors and find out if they might be willing to help address this issue.

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Tags: open source, Linux, software, Ubuntu, malware, Wi-Fi, backup, USB, peripherals, community

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