But … why?

In my (relatively) short time as a Linux user, I have heard some mighty odd reasons for not adopting a penguin. But Number Three on this list quite possibly takes the cake for me.

All points of rhetoric aside, and all points of style aside, I have a difficult time understanding why — and by that I mean why — it would be necessary for anyone to refresh their desktop “5-6 times” immediately after startup … in any operating system.

Perhaps this is a cultural issue — I have heard of more bizarre rituals applied to technology — or perhaps there is some sort of Windows behavior that I don’t recall that requires right-clicking and refreshing multiple times before getting to work. Or maybe it’s just an icon or screen artifact issue, as discussed here.

But for the life of me, I can’t figure out what makes it necessary in Windows and as a result precludes someone from using Ubuntu. I’ve never lived in India, but I’m also pretty sure I never had to refresh the desktop several times — or for that matter once, usually — when starting Windows.

Please, enlighten me. Otherwise, I think that reason for not using Ubuntu might actually belong in this thread.

P.S.: Just for the record, I went to work and tried it on a dual core Dell laptop running XP. I refreshed the desktop four or five times and guess what? Nothing happened. But who knows? Maybe there’s a difference between the Windows sold in Japan and the Windows sold in India. …

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15 Responses to “But … why?”


  1. 1 chexmix 2009/05/19 at 10:30 PM

    The whole list feels like a joke. But I guess I use my number box for things the author of that article does not …? Hard to say.

  2. 2 Sam Weston 2009/05/19 at 11:23 PM

    I agree that
    9)Silverlight-Moonlight.
    may be a show-stopper for some people, as it’s certainly an irritation for me on occasion. But that’s MS’ fault and is in the process of being rectified if I understand correctly.

    The following are also valid criticisms that may be simple and effective improvements for ubuntu/linux in general to implement:
    1)GRUB Boot Loader does not have an Aesthetic Appeal.
    There are grub themes that look very nice…why not use one or make a ubuntu one?

    2)Login Screen-Users are required to type in their username.
    For systems with a just few users, the click and type password idea is actually quite a good one in my opinion

    8)Right Click-Send To :Options are missing.
    This is definitely something that would be nice to have..

    But yes…there are definitely quite a few really daft suggestions on that list. I don’t understand the need to refresh a desktop… The only time I have done this is when I changed something on my desktop on a pc at my old school, a refresh was necessary to make the change visible.

  3. 3 johnraff 2009/05/20 at 1:50 AM

    Re the Login Screen: on GDM (Ubuntu’s default login manager) you can choose a login window with a “face browser”, letting you click a picture, then type the password. Admittedly this isn’t the default option.

  4. 4 Jarko 2009/05/20 at 2:53 AM

    I can agree with some of the points but grub? why the heck must boot loader look great? OK it could be nice but normally you don’t even see it (of course when dual-booting, you see). I don’t see Windows’ bootloader menu any better http://img390.imageshack.us/img390/4326/ddsecc9.png

  5. 5 Rahul Pisharody 2009/05/20 at 3:05 AM

    I’m from India and let me get one thing straight. Ubuntu is never a failure in India, at least here in Kerala, a district in India.
    Ubuntu is being used by all the Govt. Offices here and it has been so for the past 2 or 3 years. As part of IT@School, an undertaking by the Govt. of Kerala for IT education in schools, children are asked to use GNU/Linux. They familiarize with most of the default applications found in Debian.

    Moreover, the ritual of “Refreshing Desktop” is kind of new to me. I’ve seen some of the users refreshing their desktops, but I didn’t know that it had such a great following.

    But some of the points he mentioned are valid, simply because most of the people all around the world are accustomed to learn things as they see it. For some reason, reading documentation or man pages is taboo.

    People have to understand that GNU/Linux systems unlock the full potential of their computer and its mastery comes through perpetual usage of both the machine and documentation.

    • 6 K.Mandla 2009/05/20 at 3:53 PM

      Thanks Rahul. I was hoping to see some sort of opposite perspective. I still don’t know why it’s necessary, but it’s good to know that something seemingly so tangential isn’t keeping an entire nation from trying Ubuntu.

  6. 7 Adrian 2009/05/20 at 10:44 PM

    I refresh the desktop unknowingly quite a lot on Windows.. It’s this habit i’ve formed when waiting for an app to open or something like that.

  7. 8 Mike 2009/05/21 at 7:08 AM

    Um… Silverlight? Really?

    • 9 Sam Weston 2009/05/21 at 7:12 AM

      Unfortunately an increasing amount of stuff on the web is based on silverlight rather than flash. Not being able to use those pages that require v2.0 can be irritating.

      An example being ITV’s (a UK tv company) on demand service. There is no alternative (legal) way to get their programming online without a silverlight 2.0 enabled web browser. That might be a deal breaker for some people.

  8. 10 dannybuntu 2009/05/21 at 9:38 AM

    Must be a voodoo thing…

  9. 11 punchagan 2009/05/21 at 1:58 PM

    I think the difference between Windows in Japan and India is – most copies of Windows used in India aren’t ones that are sold! ;)
    I agree with Rahul. I don’t think Ubuntu can be called a ‘failure’ in India. It has a growing following, specially in the student community and is picking up elsewhere too.
    I think, the (non) availability of high speed internet is a bigger reason than any of the reasons in the list.

  10. 12 eksith 2009/05/21 at 4:44 PM

    It’s common practice to label anything a failure if the individual doing the review fails to appreciate that thing.

    This happens with movie critics all the time, so the same thing happening in the software sector is no surprise. If they can’t complain about some legitimate shortfall (of which there are plenty in any platform), they will invent some to poke holes at.

    The bootloader “ugliness” is a classic example. You only see it for a few seconds during startup. Why would it matter since it’s not seen again until you restart? Is Vista’s boot options any prettier?

    Refreshing is irrelevant. Default wallpaper and login sound are pointless arguments as they can be changed. So are the default players which can also be substituted to any number of free ones. I don’t use Windows Media Player that often either and have instead opted for the CCCP package with the free MP Classic.

    The login screen is an obvious security feature that even Vista has followed.

    As for Unmounting… “They are not aware of the Unmount Volume option in the Right Click Menu”. So the right click does have truly useful options instead of the “Send To” lacking. And do people not know about “Drag n’ drop”?

    And as mentioned before, the Silverlight issue isn’t their fault. Besides, Moonlight is already available for Linux. And many modern Flash apps still require you to have the latest player anyway. Which means an additional installation with either option to use their rich UI.

  11. 13 Animesh 2009/05/22 at 8:27 PM

    Generalisation is ‘generally’ not a good thing.
    The guy in the blog made a stupid mistake of thinking that everybody thinks the way he does.
    Please don’t genaralise furher and believe that he represents over 1 billion people, me included.

    It really pains me to see such idiocy but it is a free country and everybody has freedom of speech.

    Just because Ubuntu or any other distro is not a big success does not automatically make it a big failure. Change requires time and it will take time but Linux will get there and be a success.

    I have a very hard time trying to get my friends and colleagues to use Linux. The reason they initially agree is because of the Cube (now Globe or Cylinder) or ‘coz I show them elive. ( Now I can do both simultaneously :) ) But those are, as I put them, short term infatuations, those who do fall in love and have a Linux installation that they do use regularly do so beacuse of the more important things like stability and responsiveness and are willing to learn and unlearn a few things ( stress on the word few).

    And by the way, most computer literate people I come in contact with have at least heard the word “Linux” and know that it is an alternative to Windows.
    I would say that is a start to fixing Ubuntu’s Bug # 1

    • 14 eksith 2009/05/23 at 1:02 AM

      “Just because Ubuntu or any other distro is not a big success does not automatically make it a big failure.”

      Actually, for a Linux distro, Ubuntu is very successful IMO.
      It obviously doesn’t have the same server market penetration as say RedHat/CentOS, but it is certainly gaining ground on the desktop. It’s arguably the most popular distro for end users.

      So that guy’s generalisation is just that. He just doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

  12. 15 colonelcrayon 2009/05/30 at 6:09 AM

    I have just lost whatever faith I ever had in humanity.

    Out of all the potential reasons not to use Linux (incompatible hardware, Windows-only software, etc.) they managed to choose 7 of the worst imaginable for their list. GRUB aesthetics?! It appears for a couple seconds each time you boot up! And how on Earth is refreshing one’s desktop “satisfying”?

    If you choose your operating system based on default login sounds, please pick up your computer and fling it out the window. You might hurt yourself if you keep trying to use it…


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