What is the best distro for my business manager?

John J. Boyer john.boyer at abilitiessoft.com
Sat Nov 24 02:03:37 UTC 2012

Thanks for all your replies. It seems to me that the best choice would 
be Mint with the Mate desktop, running in virtualbox under windows. I 
have to keep Windows for testing the software I am developing. We will 
probably make the machine dual-boot eventually. 

It looks like the most recent version of Mint is 14. Will I be able to 
use Orca with it? How hard is it to set up? I don't want to spend a lot 
of time on setup. My priorities are software development. I am the lead 
developer on BrailleBlaster, liblouisutdml and liblouis.

My business manager needs a Linux productivity tool. Today when he came 
in Windows was frozen. He had to use the power button to turn the 
machine off and then back on.

I will use Mint with a Braille Note mPower. Will Orca work in a virtual 
machine? We must both be able to see what is on the screen.


On Fri, Nov 23, 2012 at 04:15:07PM -0800, marbux wrote:
> On Fri, Nov 23, 2012 at 1:51 PM, Christopher Chaltain
> <chaltain at gmail.com> wrote:
> > I wouldn't agree with this. Ubuntu switched to Unity three releases ago,
> > so I wouldn't say Ubuntu is nuts these days or has major changes on the
> > desktop. Debian is also undergoing a similar change in it's desktop with
> > Gnome Shell, so all of the distributions and even other OS's are looking
> > at making their decade old interfaces more mobile friendly.
> >
> > I'd actually recommend Ubuntu in this case. With Canonical behind it,
> > Ubuntu supports a lot of OEM's and is even preinstalled by most of the
> > top PC manufacturers, so the transition from Windows to Ubuntu should be
> > pretty straightforward. You can also purchase support from Canonical for
> > Ubuntu through it's Ubuntu Advantage program.
> To each his own, but I am thoroughly disillusioned with the Canonical
> organization. I used to run Kubuntu (KDE desktop on Ubuntu) but then
> KDE 4 came along. Suddenly, I'm expected to take a major productivity
> hit to learn how to do things again all for the sake of eye candy and
> gadgetry. I switched to Ubuntu. Then along came Ubuntu with the GTK 3
> desktop and another big productivity hit inflicted by the eye candy
> and gadgetry crowd.  Again, I had to cut my billing rates because I
> could not ethically charge my clients for my shop's loss in
> productivity while we tackled the learning curve again.
> Twice burned by Canonical to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars,
> I (along with thousands of others) moved to Mint because of that
> organization's public commitment to maintaining the GTK 2 user
> experience. But the floodgates of Ubuntu users to Mint really opened
> up when Canonical's Unity desktop landed on Ubuntu. Suddenly, settings
> are reshuffled again, moved all over the GUI because Canonical's
> decision-makers are far more concerned with their own desires than
> their users' productivity.
> Mint has seen its user base grow by leaps and bounds because the Mint
> team -- unlike Canonical -- understands that for users of production
> machines, continuity in the user experience matters greatly, that
> change in that experience must be incremental rather than
> overwhelming.  That is not to say that nothing changes on Mint; it is
> only to say that the Mint team strives mightily to keep the major
> changes under the hood and only changes the user experience when it is
> clearly to the users' advantage.
> On the other hand, Canonical has a stunning record of pursuing change
> for the sake of change, for the sake of eye candy and gadgetry, and
> very obviously does not care a whit about continuity in the user
> experience and productivity. They see present users as interchangeable
> with new users. They have no commitment to user productivity.
> So from my view it's largely about how you want to spend your time;
> you can choose between exploring a seemingly never-ending flood of
> changes in Canonical's desktops or you can use Mint, Puppy, or one of
> the other distributions with stable desktops and just get your work
> done without worry that your desktop will radically change.
> To me, computers are tools, not playgrounds. Every minute spent
> chasing down where a control moved to and learning how its operation
> differs subtracts from what's important to me, fulfilling the needs of
> my clients. And Canonical has amply proved that its managers do not
> share that  concern.
> One of the major advantages of free (as in freedom and beer) software
> and the release early/release often approach is that there is no need
> to put a new coat of lipstick on the old pig to facilitate the sales
> pitch that she's all new, different, and so much fun that users can't
> live without it, so fork over your money. Change in the free software
> user experience can be incremental. The Mint team has proved that,
> despite the best efforts of Canonical, the KDE team, and the Gnome
> team to thwart productivity.
> Best regards,
> Paul
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John J. Boyer; President, Chief Software Developer
Abilitiessoft, Inc.
Madison, Wisconsin USA
Developing software for people with disabilities

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