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Weblog:   Open Source vs. Mac vs. Windows
Subject:   support...
Date:   2004-02-10 03:12:30
From:   sequitur
Response to: support...

I'm sorry, but this really looks like utter BS to me.


What sets companies aside from the Linux "community" is support.


I have an open source project (Quanta Plus) with a mailing list. On it are developers and over 200 users who typically respond to user questions in a matter of minutes. Developer answers are rarely more than a few hours away and if a problem is not readily resolved it becomes a priority to fix. Please tell me a commercially supported project with an average of 10 bugs or less open at any given time where you can talk directly with the developer and get a response besides "reboot and reinstall" from a telephone in less than 10 minutes. What are you smoking?


I've been working on computers since before the microprocessor and I watched the rise of MS. They reject the "goto" statement in code but that is all their manuals are. This is to get you to buy books from MS Press. But when you call them what do you get? Wait, run around, condescending treatment. Everything from the little nagging wizards to the obfuscated install procedures is all designed to insult your intelligence and make you feel stupid.


When asking for advice on getting something to work at all (let alone properly), the typical answer will be something along the lines of "RTFM, noob", in other words "don't waste our time and go play elsewhere".


We have probably well over a million users of our software. We also have a very good and through manual for our program which answers most questions. Since you didn't pay me for it can you explain to me how I can answer questions for several thousand new users this week who are too lazy to take step one and read the docs? Kiss the project goodbye, as well as my having time to put a roof over my head. Some developers may lack a little tact but I should point out that there is nothing wrong with being a n00b. Only someone with ego problems intent on leading a boring life considers ever being noticed as a neophyte at something again to be an insult. I'd rather be a green growing new sprout than a petrified stuffed shirt.


I spent 5 months (from september last year to january this year inclusive) attempting to get my laptop set up with Linux.


I'm guessing you didn't do much reading before either. I've installed Linux on dozens of PCs from 1999 on and had very few problems. Nothing really out of the ordinary that wasn't resolved in a day or two. I know a lot of people who've put it on laptops too. However there are some very non standard systems out there. For some time newer ATI video boards just weren't supported and a friend of mine was unable to get it to run, but fortunately ATI has taken a turn for the more enlightened and now they are much better supported. This is pretty standard, though some companies insist on using one off weird hardware that is not supported they are fewer and fewer.


You can't blame an operating system kernel (which is what Linux is) or volunteer developers for not supporting what companies refuse to make available to them.


I've been working professionally in IT since 1997 (and as a hobbyist and student since the late 1980s), and I can't get a simple machine (no ultramodern hardware, it's 4-5 years old) working despite knowing my way around the only source of information available: the internet (and that with a second machine running Windows to access that information, remember one of the problems I had was with networking...).


I'm going to recommend that if you see any news items talking about the relative levels of software expertise between *nix and Windows admins that you just pass it by. Pay it no attention. It's got to be as difficult to believe as you and I talking about the same software. There is a reason that all those yellow "for dummies" books sold so well... Using MS software seems to somehow gum up your cognitive processes.


My guess is that your IT postion must be supporting people having problems with windows continuously breaking. My up times generally run between kernel upgrades and have exceeded a year. I don't get windows viruses. I only use the command line when I feel like it because I have KDE and webmin. I also don't make a point of saying bad things about others because I lacked the common sense to do a little bit of up from compatibility research. Something is supported or it isn't. Considering you can download and burn Knoppix on a CD, load it in your system and boot and see exactly where your support level is and try out Linux without touching your hard drive it's a real head scratcher how someone would torment themselves for five months without their notebook. At least it gives you something to rant about. Make sure not to rant to anyone with a cluestick handy though.


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  1. support...
    2004-02-10 21:08:07  techcynic [View]

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