Ubuntu, Linux, and why does it have to be so hard?

OK, so I’ve committed to running Ubuntu and trying to make it work.  But why is it so hard to do?  No wonder Linux isn’t winning desktops at a rapid rate.  And don’t get me wrong – I like Ubuntu – but I can’t see most people spending their morning the way I spend mine.

I want TV on my Ubuntu desktop. I have a Hauppage TV 250 PVR card.  It is an extremely popular card.

First, I had to download the correct header files for my version of the Linux Kernel (danger – compiling source is eminent!).

Then I had to instal something called IPTV, or something.  I had to compile that – and get the appropriate firmware (which required a separate acknowledgment of a license – I agreed to something, not sure what).

Then I had to move all the firmware to the right places.  probe the capture card.  download codecs.  And I am not even at the point yet that I can think of downloading MythTV so I can use my tuner.  I need to sign up with another company to get TV listings.

FInally I can download and install MythTV, get it configured and guess what?  I get a blank black screen – no video.  No errors (no mouse cursor for MythTV either, which is annoying).

I’m still plugging away here – but I can’t really spend a day doing nothing but getting my TV working.  These are real end-user issues that Linux has to address if they expect it to become anything near mainstream.  People just don’t have time for this – even if they have the skills.

Truth is, this would have taken me 15 minutes and one reboot in either XP or Vista.

No flaming, please – just my opinion on this one aspect of my Ubuntu experience.  Overall I am enjoying the OS – but I still can’t use my TV tuner on it.



  1. OH – and I would argue that MS does NOT have the support of the hardware community – MS DEMANDS it.

    There is a difference 🙂


  2. I know – WHQL is a powerful force for MS. I am working on a post now that discusses this – and how the Linux community must respond to continue to grow market share, and create a user experience that is at least almost as good as the MS experience. It’s rare that you plug something a year old into a MS OS and it isn’t reconized. Drivers are available — qualified, pre-compiled and functional drivers.

    Users won’t care if the Linux community can’t get support from hardware manufacturers – but they WILL care if they can’t get drivers that work. That are pre-compiled, tested, and functional.

    Can the Linux community do this? Maybe – if they work together – if they build something like the WIndows Hardware Quality Labs. But that is EXTREMELY expensive, and time consuming. And difficult to do if you are giving the OS away.

    But more later…


  3. Microsoft has support of the hardware companies.