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Weblog:   Open Source vs. Mac vs. Windows
Subject:   support...
Date:   2004-02-10 03:44:48
From:   sequitur
Response to: support...

To be fair to Linux fans, I don't believe I've ever heard a distro to be touted as "easy to use," or at least "easier to use that MacOS or Windows."


Mandrake and some other distros like Xandros and Lindows would like to assert that. In reality there are variables that could make it more or less true. If you had to learn the computer without knowing either and you had needs the installed software would fulfill I think you might be surprised that it would be very close. If you really know a piece of software it could be lousy but you would prefer it for a period of time even if you suspected the other was better.


I've been working in IT since '99, and have gone the "Windows has crashed on me for the last time!" frustrations and tried to go to Linux...only to have it crash more often than Windows did. And that was on a basic, "let Red Hat take over the disk and do it for me" type of setup!


Gee whiz. What crashed? Your GNOME desktop? I switched from OS/2 to Red Hat in 1999 and was mortified by the desktop crashing. Then I switched from GNOME to KDE (in fairness GNOME has gotten better since then) which was much better and showed promise. Then tried other distros and it got good. I use Gentoo now which is all from source, however I liked Mandrake a little better than SUSE. Note that the CEO of Red Hat said recently Linux was not ready for the desktop and they have since dropped their desktop distribution in favor of a community developed project... Translation... Red Hat said they came to the desktop at version 8.0 and left it after 9.0. They never really cared for the desktop and were the worst solution for the desktop.


Also, they tend to claim Linux will run really well on old hardware...which I guess is true if you're not going to run a GUI. Most of my attempts to run KDE or Gnome have been...issue-prone, at best, when the same hardware will run Win98 or Win2k just fine.


Come on... win98 and W2K don't have anywhere near the same hardware requirements. KDE 2 used a little more resources than KDE 1. You needed 64 MB of RAM. (Processor is secondary for speed until 644-128 MB) KDE 3 was faster using less resources as was 3.1. 3.2 is noted for being so fast that it is supposed to be faster than lightweight desktops like XFCE. I've seen people say they were happy with it on 500 MHz systems even with low RAM. You can run win98 with 64 MB fin but try W2K without 256 MB.


Note also that speed will be affected by how your kernel is configured (everything under the sun makes anything slow), processor optimizations (Red Hat is actually compiled for 386 believe it or not), running processes and daemons, compiler version (gcc 3x is faster than 2x) and a variety of other factors. Gentoo rus several times faster than my previous distribution because it's tweeked for speed. Try doing that with W2k. (When IBM licensed windows for OS/2 their initial version ran 10% faster than MS' because they used a Lattice compiler which was more efficient than the garbage MS was producting.)


Oh well. I like the author's attitude about where Open Source should "fit in" in "corporate environments." I wish more people would see the benefits of a best-of-both-worlds kind of blending..


There's nothing "best" about a company that refuses to ship their software with macros turned off by default and request user confirmation on executing certain actions, or any actions generated by software that has just been downloaded. On Linux it would have it's executable bit unset and the current directory would not be on the path so the user would have to want to execute it. Not so in Windows land, and this brings us tons o' spam to harvest email addresses and choke mail servers. Gates has an answer he says. Who wants to bet it's a proprietary system that requires their software, locks out everybody else and exposes your private information to them like Passport?


There are some companies you just can't live with because they just can't stop their criminal abuses.