Why Windows Still Beats Linux

by Preston Gralla

My previous weblog about my first look at Linux ignited a firestorm of sorts from Linux fans, who complained I wasn't giving the operating system its due, claiming that Linux was clearly superior to Windows.



So I thought I'd write a follow-up, further explaining why I think Windows will continue to be the dominant OS for the desktop, and Linux won't make a dent into Microsoft's desktop market share.



First, consider the entire universe of computer users. Most don't want to have to be bothered with installing a new operating system and all the problems that causes. They already have an operating system on their PCs - Windows - and they'd have to have an extremely compelling reason to go through the pain of installing a new one.



Linux, as I previously outlined, doesn't give them that compelling reason. The applications written for Linux don't give them that compelling reason, either. And most people wouldn't even be able to install a new operating system, even if they did want to switch.



The ready availability of applications makes Windows superior as well. Go into your local computer store, or visit an online retailer. How much software do you see being sold for Windows? How much for Linux? An operating system is only as good as the software that runs on top of it. There's so little easily available software (the key here is "easily") for Linux that it doesn't measure up to Windows.



As for downloadable software, with Windows, when you download a piece of software, installation is generally straightforward. With Linux, you might be stuck with having to compile the code. Very few computer users are willing to do that.



The upshot? For the desktop, Windows is here to stay. Severs are another matter, and there are certainly compelling reasons for using Linux there. But on the desktop, Windows will continue to rule, warts and all.



Where do you stand on the Linux versus Windows war? Let me know.


109 Comments

brianiac
2004-07-27 19:49:39
Some thoughts
Assuming that Windows is the installed OS does give it an advantage. There are end-user systems, however, shipping with Linux as the installed OS. Indeed, the lower licensing cost make these machines more affordable.


Sure, Linux software still has some measure of maturing to do. Finding software for Linux often does not require even driving to the store. Utilities like Synaptic can make installing new software as easy as a click.


Modern distributions come with enough software that they require far fewer purchases than an expensive Windows system, anyway.


I also notice that your reasoning appears circular: Windows is more popular than Linux because of software availability [because Windows is more popular than Linux].

linuxactivist
2004-07-27 20:19:46
Ignoring the tautology
Have you even tried installing Linux. It isn't any more difficult than installing Windows and in come cases I would say it is FAR easier (try SuSE Linux sometime).


As far as finding and installing applications, most distributions come with more than you'll ever need (have you ever tried SuSE) and if they don't there are things called package managers (rpm, apt) that have done away with having to compile programs for the average user.


You probably don't realize it, but every argument you have made against Linux has been made time and again... for the past 6 years. All the while, numbers show Linux growing in server space as well as desktop space.


Also realize that in the time that it takes Microsoft to release its next version (3 to 5 years), Linux Distros will release between 12 and 20 updated versions. The release early, release often scheme has contributed greatly to Linux's upswing in capabilities as well as POPULARITY.


When is Longhorn due... now? 4th quarter 2006 (unless pushed back again)? Whenever, let's compare then.


RickW
2004-07-27 20:24:30
Bunk. Period.
That writeup is so poor that I don't even know where to start. Sheesh, don't guess I'll waste my time.....



jwenting
2004-07-28 01:04:47
well written
Excellent points. And as usual the Linux zealots make them even better by their ivory tower attitude as displayed by their responses.


Have you even tried installing Linux. It isn't any more difficult than installing Windows and in come cases I would say it is FAR easier (try SuSE Linux sometime).


He has tried and so have I.
From personal experience I can tell that Linux installation while seemingly easy for some distributions is a complete pain if you want more than the bare minimum or defaults offered.
I gave up trying to get Linux working on one of my computers (it was an older one, its hardware should have been supported after 4 years for example) after half a year of trying to get things to work for 4-5 hours a day.
Installation of Windows 2000 including all configuration took about an hour, would have been faster except for the slow CD drive. No pain at all.


As far as finding and installing applications, most distributions come with more than you'll ever need (have you ever tried SuSE) and if they don't there are things called package managers (rpm, apt) that have done away with having to compile programs for the average user.


More than you'll ever need if you're a Linux programmer maybe.
Who needs 500 text editors, 100 cron schedulers, 10 broken spreadsheets that can only read their own custom formats, 5 C compilers and 200 obscure programming languages?


Also realize that in the time that it takes Microsoft to release its next version (3 to 5 years), Linux Distros will release between 12 and 20 updated versions. The release early, release often scheme has contributed greatly to Linux's upswing in capabilities as well as POPULARITY.


Yes, and that's another major weakness. If you had any sense at all you'd see that most users don't WANT to upgrade their OS to a new version (which with most Linux versions means wiping the harddisk and installing from scratch, sorry but we have too much fun writing the new version to worry about something as mundane as an upgrade option) every 2-3 months and then spend the interval to the next version trying to get it to work properly.


All the typical Linux zealot arguments basically boil down to "Linux is better than Windows because it is different and harder to use".


I'd never recommend an OS where the user has to spend several hours a day tweaking config files to get applications to work before they can use them to people who are a) not computer savvy and/or b) have something better to do with their time like getting their jobs done.

agc
2004-07-28 02:46:15
My humble opinion, sir.
Dear sir,


I've read with interest your little article. I respect your opinions, take it for sure. But, with all my respect, I wish to emphasize some points:


1. How much GNU/Linux software can I find in my local store? The odds are in Windows favor by a factor of 1000 or more, :-). Why? It's a complex question and it deserves a complex answer. But, even with that handicap, I can download in my Debian GNU/Linux more than 14,000 software packages with a simple apt-get install command. And without need to drive to my nearest propietary software store! So when you write about the superior availability of software for Windows I most be compeled to doubt it, sir.


2. With respect to the easy way to install Windows software, I agree. My question is: Is this easy way the better way? You can download an endless list of Windows software from the net: Gator-like freeware,...., etc., etc. many of them, garbage, full of spyware and other malware.


I disagree with your statement: "Windows will continue to rule". I think that GNU/linux systems are here to stay, even more: They are the future! Of course, that's my personal opinion.


Personaly, I don't care what OS people want to use. I think that what matters is that people must have the freedom of choice. I'm an active GNU/Linux "evangelist", but not a fanatic, :) If people wants to use Mac OS X, Windows XP, FreeBSD, GNU/Linux, etc.,..., Fantastic!


Let people the freedom to choose what software they want to use, but let them choices!


I don't look this as a contest. It's just about freedom. Just that.


Yours very truly, your Mexican friend and reader of some of your excelent books,


Andrés González Cantú
agc@member.fsf.org
Use free software.


PaPa
2004-07-28 02:48:18
Easy?
Had you tried to install Windows 2000? 4 floppies to boot, while any Linux distro are able to boot from CD since 1996 (at least). Text mode installation, and more than 1 hour to get a plain system without any program, office suite or anythig else.


It's easy to install if it comes installed with your new computer, and also cheaper than Linux if it's an illegal copy.


The weak point of Linux is that it's made for technicians for technicians. My girlfriend is a standart user, and was unable to install 'Gaim', since I think it's easy to install. That's our mistake: easy for me but, what about the others?

farmmh
2004-07-28 03:12:50
well written
"Installation of Windows 2000 including all configuration took about an hour, would have been faster except for the slow CD drive. No pain at all"


I have really doubt about your Windows experience. Either someone else sets up system for you or you have experienced only installing in one type of machine.


Your arguments are so poor that I feel sorry for you.


cybervegan
2004-07-28 03:17:17
The compelling reasons *are* there
It's just that if you're already blinded by the FUD, then you can't see them.


Some drivers prefer automatic to manual transmission; some people prefer home-brew to bud; yet others prefer security to internet worms; a lot of us value freedom over serfdom.


Why is it, do you think, that real professionals choose professional tools? Is it brand? Is it cost? Is it efficiency or durability?


Often the "professional's choice" is not the mainstream "popular brand" - it may besome little-known (but otherwise legendary) name that you can't buy in "DIY" stores.


Often professional tools require a bit more skill to use or are a bit harder to use, but they offer something over-and-above the run of the mill "domestic" brands.


Savvy DIY-ers will often search a bit harder for the "right" tool, and be rewarded with superior results. Just because you don't recognise the name, doesn't mean a tool is inferior.


It's the same with operating systems. You can choose to be locked-in to the software-upgrade cycle, and deal with the worms, or you can choose freedom. The choice is yours - just don't moan about all the malware that's loose on the internet, or the cost of the latest version of your software, or that your vendor no longer supports your core application.


There will always be (at least) two "operating system" camps. Linux is the only viable competitor to Windows, and as such is the only thing driving it forward: without Linux, MS would have nothing to fight against, and thus no motivation to improve.


Just watch as Windows gets left behind. MS cannot plug the holes, and the news is out. People are slowly realising that things don't have to be this way.


I use Linux because I like it and its principles, and it lets ne get done what I need to do without loss of freedom. I use windows because it pays my wage - my time is mostly spent patching and worming servers and workstations, and educating users about how not to get infected.


The biggest point you always miss is that we just want a choice - we don't really care which choice you make, as long as we still have the right to choose. Freedom or servitude. Your call.


cybervegan

DrGeek
2004-07-28 03:22:21
Planet earth calling a Mr. Preston Gralla... hello... hello?
In your last Earth bound transmission, you said: "and they'd have to have an extremely compelling reason to go through the pain of installing a new one."


Now a phenomenon on our planet is that hardware rapidly becomes 'obsolete' as bigger, faster, sexier machines not only become available, but do so 'cheaply'. Earthlings are 'compelled' to buy these new beasties for many different reasons. We earthlings don't worry about also getting a brand new OS with these new systems, especially if it is smaller, faster, sexier, easier, friendlier and free-er than our olde annoying M$ OS.


You also said, "And most people wouldn't even be able to install a new operating system, even if they did want to switch."


Check this out and see how everyone on planet earth (including our beloved 'Mother' super-species) can install Linux will cooking dinner.


You said: "There's so little easily available software (the key here is "easily") for Linux"


A Google search on "linux software" just gave me over 10,000,000 hits!


You said: "With Linux, you might be stuck with having to compile the code."


The last time I 'had' (sometimes I 'want') to do this was years ago in a distant past.


The upshot? Please, do come visit our humble planet before you beam out your next pretentious transmissions about it.

vladvasiliu
2004-07-28 03:24:05
well written
Well, in some points, yo're right. The average user wouldn't be interested in changing the os he's running at the moment. Let's suppose we're studying Bob. Now Bob, he's just like anyone else. He goes to his local mall, and buys himself a computer. He's not a computer savvy, and the only thing he'll do with it is surfing the web, print his school work, and so on. Now, why would he need something else, as long as windows gives him all he needs? The answer is simple. In the begining, Bob doesn't know a lot about computers. So he's kinda afraid of things that are uncommon for him. Suppose the manufacturer of his computer offers killer support for windows. He's got everything he needs. Now suppose Bob gets better. He starts to understant the way computers work, and he wants to try something new, such as alternatives to the software he was using in the begining. Then, he'll want to try other stuff, such as setting up a home network (when Mary, his wife, will get her own computer). And after a year, when he installed tons of software (bought at the local computer store, because you can find lots of it there, as you said) he realizes that he won't need all that stuff. But, event after removing all this software, his windows still needs 5 minutes to but (on his flashy 3 GHz Pentium 4, or whatever you want). Now he doesn't like this, and he'll see Jack, his friend, that knows a bit more about computers than he does. Now, this is where I wanted to come. Bob needs to reinstall his windows in order to make in work again. Now, do you think that Bob will be comfortable doing this? No, he won't be. I know people that wouldn't do this. They are afraid of it. They never experienced it. On the other hand, we have the average linux user, the guy running suse, or fedora, or mandrake, or whatever user-friendly distro. When he's tired of he's softwar, he can use the package tools provided with the distro, and clean up his system without having to reinstall. I know there are ways to clean a windows system withoout reinstalling, but don't tell that the average windows user will go cleaning up his registry.


Now, another point was upgrading. Yes, having a new version might be a pain in the ass for large enterprises, but they won't be using the distros mentioned above. Your idea of upgrading comes from the windows world, where updates ar free, of course, but not upgrades. if you buy the current windows version (let's say 1.0, to simplify). A few years later, ms will send out 2.0. Now, if you want to get 2.0, you need to pay. If you want to upgrade from Distro Linux 1.0 to Distro Linux 2.0, you don't need to pay. And you don't need to update everything in the same time neither. New linux ditro releases come out when a significant number of changes have been done. But those changes don't come out all in the same time. So if you update you're system regularly (and oftet, you've got nothing to do, the distro's tool does it all alone), when the new version comes out, you've got everything inside it. So, no need to download cd images, burn them and then reinstall them while whiping your disk. Your vision upon updating a system is a windows' user's one, as i stated it, and it comes from a money driven world. You shoud reconsider this.


Now, the so called "linux zealots" have their "ivory tower attitude" because of the windows users that suround them, that wouldn't let them live with their os. Have you ever seen several "linux zealots" together? They have fun just like anyone else. I would even say they have much more fun. The linux world is an open world. Everyone is accepted. All you need, is a computer. even an old one will do (i run linux on a 100 MHz 486).


I should also mention the flexibility of linux compared to windows. The possibility of compiling the source code on your machine gives you ability to fine tune the software, so that it will take advantage of all the processor's features. How can windows xp take advantage of the 64 bit processing power of the amd64 family of processors, if it can (hardly, of course) run on a 400 MHz PII?


Now, all this said, what makes windows superior to linux? Software availability? What kind of software are you talking about, duh?
- video Editing, they've got much better tools for doing that on macs, which is unix
- computer animations? they've got killer tools on sgi's Irix, which unix, too
- powerful server applications? we've got several of them in the unix world: hp's UX, IBM's AIX, Sun's Solaris, etc.
- games, well, maybe this is the only point where windows beats the others, but it's not a long time supremacy, because more and more games are being ported to linux.
So what is it that makes windows so cool compared to other operating systems? Where does this supremacy come from? The ability of doing all kinds of stuff, and none of it good? (i think of a 2h video i was trying to compress on a windows xp pro, ahtlon64 based box, when it hung 10 minutes before the end) I admit, i don't know any other os that would do that. Come on folks, let's pay hundreds of dollars to microsoft, so we can get pissed of with our computers.


However, i'm an open guy, and I'm looking forward to head some real good points, from a "windows zealot", so that i won't be subjective.

neranjana
2004-07-28 03:32:26
We already do migrate every couple of years.
I moved from Windows 9x to Win2k and again from Win2k to WinXP. Everytime I had to find drivers for my scanner, digital camera, CD writer because the new OS couldn't use the old software. When I moved from Win2k to WinXP I had to buy Roxio CD creator because I got old Adaptec CD creator with my CD writer and it didn't work with WinXP. But with Mandrake linux, all my scanners, CD writer, digigal camera simply work. My Norton anti virus software is constantly nagging me to pay $40 with Windows but I don't need any anti virus software with Linux. I got a complete office suite with my Linux distro for free where I would have to pay some $100.. to get the new version of MS Office. I would have to spend 1 hour to istall WinXP alone (without any other software) but only spend 30 minutes to istall Mandrake 10 with all the 250+ software I use. I had some hardware problem with my machine which made it suddenly reboot. I had Win2k and Mandrake Linux dual boot system and I Win2k got currupted just after 3 times the machine rebooted. But my Mandrake installation didn't get currupted even after 10 reboots. It would not get currupted even after 100 reboots becuase it has a Journaled file system. So no loss. I've been using my notebook with WinXP preinstalled for 3 months and now it takes 10 minutes to start before I could do any work. It used to take only 20 seconds. My mandrake linux box took 1 minute to boot 1 year ago and still take the same time. So my point is if it is the hassle then Linux is better. If it is the trouble installing the OS, we install Windows at least once a year due to virus activities, file system curruption, peformance issues due to bloated Windows registry or simply because we buy a new machine about every 2 years anyway. The only problem that I find is that I cannot find computers preinstalled with Linux especially notebooks.
UHF
2004-07-28 03:44:34
Absolutely
I agree with everything you've said so far. I tried Linux and couldn't see any reason to change to it. It failed to recognise my Winmodem and Audigy soundcard. It still seems to be an enthusiasts OS, people who like commandlines because they're 'powerful'. There's still more and better software for Windows and I want to use my existing software anyway.


Linux will have it's day, one day.

bsm2
2004-07-28 04:20:25
windows vs linux
yes windows has more programs for now.
Linux is gaining ground everyday.
More program will be comming and it is cost that will kill windows. Spending $200.00 for basic office program is nuts when you can use open office for free!!!!!!!


if you only need to do basic office tasks and e-mail LINUX can not be beat for the price.


anyone can test it for free with what's called a linux live cd, it will load linux into your ram and you can test drive it yourself.

fastluck
2004-07-28 05:53:39
You're right
You're right that Linux is not going to take desktop market share from Microsoft anytime soon. Those who say it's "easy," or that you "haven't tried [insert distribution here]" are victims of their own wishful thinking or have never used Windows.


I've installed most of the more popular distributions. Debian, Lycoris, RedHat, Fedora, Slackware, Gentoo, and several others. Each of them had their own strengths, each had one problem or another that I had to chase down and spend a lot of time on in order to get everything running well.


I'm a software developer by trade, on Windows. I'm not a Linux expert, but I'm not scared of the command-line either. And I normally use a Linux desktop and RDesktop to log into my Windows machine. It's not worth the trouble to me, except that I want to learn Linux.


If I just wanted to use a computer for whatever, and didn't want to learn the intricacies of the OS, I wouldn't be able to use Linux because Linux requires you to know the intricacies of the operating system if you want to use it effectively. That's a fact. If you don't have an expert to administer your desktop, sooner or later you're going to hit a brick wall.


I think it's irresponsible to say otherwise. If a Windows person tries to make the switch and is unsuccessful, it's not likely to ever happen again. And most Windows users are users, not developers. I am pro-Linux. I would like to see Microsoft get the competition on the desktop, and it might happen some day, especially with the huge increase in company sponsorship lately on the desktop. But it's not likely to be soon.


John

TryingLinux
2004-07-28 06:18:58
Windows better than Linux
I am in the process of trying my hand at Linux. I have been doing it over the past two months and even managed to build my own kernel. I am playing with a number of distros including Centos 3.1, RH, Suse 8 and Knoppix. So I think I am entitled to give some comment on the subject. So here are some comments in support of the original contention: Why Windows is better than Linux.


There is no doubt that Linux is more difficult to install than Linux - I am still battling to get X working on one of my old PC's that worked just fine with 95, 98 and 2000.
Ever tried to install a NVidia driver? Not only do you have to worry about different installation procedures for different distro's but even different versions of the same distro will have different installation procedures. And on top of that you are forced to do in with X disabled and then need to use something like vi to edit config files. Compare that with Windows.


KDE is not nearly as stable or functional as Windows. I once pulled a USB card without unmounting it properly - guess what? The system hung up on me and I could not even get into a shell with c-a-f1. It required the one finger salute and a reinstall because the file system was corrupt thereafter.


Konquerer regularly aborts and closes down.


Mozilla becomes irratic if you delete the history files.


The performance out of the box on a software such as partiview is 10 times or more worse than XP. It turns out in my case that RH did not recognise the video driver correctly. Suse did recognise it but did not enable 3d - that requires the commercial driver of nvidia. You saw my earlier comment on trying to get nvidia installed. It simply worked on XP.


Have you ever compared the documentation on Linux with Windows? The quality of the HowTos is pathetic and very dated. Further, the documentation of a distro is often out of sync with the actual software.


I can go on with this sad story but enough for now. I am going to continue for a while with Linux. But the experience to date makes me look very sceptical at anyone that claims Linux is better than Windows.


As a last word: I don't think for any moment Windows is perfect - when I talk to Microsoft, they think I am anti Windows. They may even confuse me for a Linux supporter.


samalex
2004-07-28 06:36:05
OS's vs OS's -- continuing debate just different contenders
I've been working with computers since before even Microsoft was a household word, and it seems the whole OS 1 vs OS 2 debate has always been part of the industry... whether it be CP/M vs MS-DOS, MS-DOS vs Windows (I know, not real OS), Windows vs OS/2, Windows vs Novell, Windows/MS-DOS vs Mac, and now Windows vs Linux. It's a neverending battle to be king of the mountain, but in almost every instance Microsoft has triumphed.


Personally I don't care much for Windows, but I do believe Microsoft has the industry by the proverbial balls. Is it the best OS out there? For some people yes and for many no. I for one use Mac and Linux 100% at home, but I use Windows at work. I do web programming on Linux, I service Windows, Mac, and Linux boxes on the side for people and businesses, plus I setup networks on Windows and Linux. Bottom line is Windows keeps the computer food chain alive.


Think of it... you have hardware vendors that make money off Windows as it gets more and more boated with every new release, smaller mom and pop shops make money fixing all the fubars in Windows (myself included), software vendors sell the heck out of Windows software, and charities and schools get hand-me-down computers when people and businesses upgrade to the latest and greatest (use that term loosely) version of Windows and require a newer system. If we had stable computers that worked all the time and didn't require costly updates every 18 months, the industry would definately fall apart.


So Windows does keep the computer world flowing no matter how much we hate it. It keeps food on the table for myself along with most of my friends. Do we like it? No.. but it's here to stay.


Comments welcome...


Sam Alexander
samalex@gmail.com

Lar
2004-07-28 07:22:03
Linux vs. Windows
Your article makes some very good points. People need a compelling reason to switch from their OS and from their apps. Your argument is basically that people won't do it when they can walk into a store and buy, buy, buy for Windows. You forget something, however. What people buy in stores is in support of the PC aftermarket and doesn't drive the industry as a whole.


What people use their PC's for at work is what drives how they setup and use PC's at home. Users basically mimick their workplaces at home. There are very strong and compelling reasons why the workplace may change to an OS other than windows. This is where your argument should be centered. What people buy in a secondary or aftermarket is basically irrelevant because the primary market of work/home can and may change everything. Now you need to make a strong argument that the workplace will not switch from Windows. Good luck, given the multitude of security problems and ineptness from Redmond. Open source is thriving for a reason. I don't claim it's the end-all, be-all for the industry, but open source inroads are being made on large scales for large reasons. Examine those closer. This entire issue is much more complex than most of us (including myself) are aware because the dynamics are global and incredibly diverse.

MichaelBJohnson
2004-07-28 07:28:46
Easy?
Just a technical note:


Windows 2000 definitely can boot/install from CD. If I recall correctly, so did Windows NT 4.0 - but that may have been because we had the Enterprise version.


I'm certifiable: MCSE, MCSD, MCDBA, but I support Linux just like cybervegan, because of one thing: freedom.


Microsoft's Media Player license (can't remember the version) had language that provided a clause where Microsoft would be authorized to corrupt/encrypt/disable my MP3s. I don't have very many (I've paid for what I have), but that's NOT the point. I won't negotiate someone trying to take my data hostage - I'll look hard elsewhere. Win2K SP4 has similar language and so does XP.


Hence Linux.

desert_fox
2004-07-28 07:33:55
Win vs. Linux
I do consider myself a power user... did CP/M once, do Windows, Mac, Unix... heck, even the kitchen sink!
I have to say I have only really tried one Linux distro, Sun's Java Desktop System (comes with SuSE's Linux plus a bunch of other stuff) and it did not strike me as particularly difficult to install or to use. Everything seemed to work fine from the set-go.
Must admit that I'm not using Linux right now, I needed a Windows machine for some purpose and reformatted the test machine I had used for JDS, but I expect to free another machine soon and start dabbling with linux again.
What strikes me most in this conversation is that what users need is really a basic email client, and a decent office suite, not a lot of bells and whistles or advanced 3d graphics, for those users I think Linux (at least in the pre-packaged "sanitized" form I have tried) is really come of age.
It's another story for users needing more advanced capabilities, the kind of users that are constantly downloading software or have to use the latest driver for their super-3d card... those users will do better to wait, or to get more involved into what really happens into their machines.
I still do not foresee a massive migration on the desktop to Linux, but I see the momentum growing.
Myself I'm going to keep on trying Linux, and maybe use it for a couple of things here at work... chores that do not require the capabilities of one of my Unix servers and that are better kept off Windows for security purposes.
MichaelBJohnson
2004-07-28 07:51:33
well written
Change is difficult - users don't want to have to radically change their operating system. They like things as they are even if another way would be better. Would you like someone else re-arranging your furniture while you were out and you came back to a dark house and stumbled over whatever? No-one wants to have to relearn, through away all the experience they've honed over the years and go back to the beginning. I strongly doubt the average user will ever do this without external motivation.


However, I've just recently cleaned up two Windows boxes that were infected with worms/Netsky virus. I had to put firewall software on in an attempt to harden the target and make re-infection less likely/delayed. This is an excellent external motivation to move to Linux, but it's not my reason.


With Free and Open Source software, one has the freedom to make a difference. One can hire someone to make enhancements/more features to Freedom Software, not so with proprietary closed source. One can better troubleshoot problems, as opposed to being told by a vendor that it is a known issue but it will not be addressed.


When Linux gains sufficient market share, you WILL be able to go down to the store and buy Linux software. From what I see, that isn't too far into the future.


Installation configurations are getting better for Linux all the time. NVidia drivers are now provided with some Distros, such as Linspire Lindows. "CrossOver office" is now where you can truely run MS Office '97 or MS Office 2000 on your Linux box!


"Open Office", a different product, (see http://OpenOffice.org) is mature enough that it does a really solid job of opening all those MS Excel spreadsheets and MS Office Word documents and MS Office PowerPoint presentations, or SAVING BACK to that format (See menu "File.Save As"). Take a look at the Windows version of Open Office - you'll be impressed! While there is some functionality that I haven't yet found in Open Office (like the Outline view in Microsoft Word), Open Office can really get my work done - in a solid operating system like Linux OR in Microsoft Windows.


For those users that don't like/don't know "vi" or "emacs", there are many many alternatives like "jed" that works in a Windows User predictable fashion.


Just some thoughts...


Michael B. Johnson, Microsoft Certified System Engineer (MCSE).

MichaelBJohnson
2004-07-28 07:58:26
well written
Well, that has not been my general experience and I haven't spent that long recently, but to say that it cannot happen is unfair. Suppose he was working with some obscure older hardware that had an IRQ conflict with another older device? Suppose when he went to the Windows Update site to get the most recent patches that his machine was hacked at that very moment and he had to spend time cleaning it out. Suppose he had a crash when installing a driver - oh, I forgot, that never happens now right? (I hope you didn't miss my sarcasm here.)


Rather than condemn the guy, why don't you ask him which part of the install gave so much trouble? Maybe he was installing on a slow/old machine? It could take an hour...


Linux installs are generally faster than Windows installs, now, in my experience, unless you are using an image.


Michael B. Johnson, MCSE, MCSD, MCDBA

Roger-Marcel
2004-07-28 08:28:00
Windows better than Linux
Are you sure of being using the same LiNuX everybody uses ?

You compiled your kernel, congratulations !! But it seems you didn't make it well cause of all your problems... Even a baby could have a more stable kernel than you.

NVidia drivers are really good for linux but maybe it is too much asking you to write 1 line in a config file (which is written in the documentation file).
MichaelBJohnson
2004-07-28 08:36:47
Windows better than Linux
I doubt that Linux is more difficult to install than Windows. You say there is no doubt, but reasonable minds can disagree.


NVidia drivers do come with a few distros, now. If you tried Red Hat or Debian, that would explain your statement. Try buying the commercial version of SuSE or Linspire Lindows. If my memory serves me correctly, both those come with NVidia drivers.


You pulled a USB card out of a PC while it was still running? Windows can corrupt itself when doing that kind of thing too, you know. I doubt your average user is going to open his PC and pull cards out while leaving the OS running. That really is asking for trouble and does not reflect badly on the OS. You could well have arced and caused an electrical short/surge that caused your CPU/hard drive to do bad things. Always turn your computer off before putting hardware into the computer or taking hardware out. EVEN (or should I say especially?) IN WINDOWS!


Re. Documentation, if you cared to BUY a copy of SuSE rather than use the free download, you would receive a full set of books along with the media. You bought Windows, right...? But WINDOWS DOES NOT COME WITH hardly any printed documentation!!!!


I don't believe you have tried very hard to be intellectually honest in the comparison, nor are you comparing apples to apples - a paid for Windows license with a paid for SuSE or Red Hat support contract.


Michael B. Johnson, MCSE, MCSD, MCDBA

xeroply
2004-07-28 09:09:24
I agree
Yes, for the desktop, Windows is here to stay. For now.


Linux, much as I support the general concept behind it, has a ways to go before it will be a "compelling" option for average computer users.


As an example, my recent experience installing SuSE 9.1 went something like this:


-Download boot CD image and burn. (Easy)
-Boot target machine with CD. (Easy)
-Installer immediately says "Auto installation not found, dropping you into manual mode" (Uh-oh)
-Navigate text-based menus entirely with arrow keys (bit of a challenge when used to the mouse)
-Type FTP server's IP address, get a message that networking is not available. (Crap)
-Back up, find kernel driver loading menu. (Ok)
-Guess what NIC is installed in the machine. (Lucky I support these machines as an IT pro.)
-Finally connect to FTP site over company T3 line and begin install. (Whew)
-Four hours later, reboot and begin detecting hardware. (Yawn)
-Wonder why monitor only has basic VGA mode available. (Fix that later)
-Cannot connect to the network at all, discover that default install apparently did not include a DHCP client (Smack head)
-Cannot get one off the internet since I have no network connectivity. (Grrr)
-Start over at step 2 and remember to customize the packages this time so dhcpcd is included. (More fun than poking myself in the eye with a sharp stick)


Yes, I most likely did something wrong here, but that's the whole point: I'm an experienced computer user, and it was WAY too easy to screw up the install.


And if you say, "Oh, you should have bought the packaged CD version in the store," I say, "I thought the biggest hyped advantage to Linux was that it's free?"

fernandoluis
2004-07-28 09:16:52
Lotus123 and the IBM/Wintel PC
A long, long time ago, there was a huge variety of (P)ersonal (C)omputers and Microsoft had as a top concern in their software platform to be multi-platform (does someone remember Multiplan?).
Lotus 1-2-3 produced a revolution when they released their IBM-only spreadsheet. Non tech people (consultants, etc) bought not "an IBM PC" or even less remotely a "MS/Intel PC" but a "PC to run Lotus".
I agree with the author. While there isn't a "killer app" like the original Lotus 1-2-3 that ONLY runs in Linux, there won't be a mass migration. Corporate/Government offices, maybe, to reduce costs and improve securiy.
robsmith
2004-07-28 09:35:10
more windoze fud
Preston Gralla, a well-known technology expert ???



Hmmmm, never heard of this clown myself and I really wonder what compelled him to write a hit piece on GNU/Linux; a nice little cheque from Microsoft maybe? Or is he a member in good standing with AdTI? I wouldn't be at all surprised as poorly researched and executed as this blurb is but what can you expect from a guy who writes Windows books for children.


But he is basically correct: If you don't like to read documentation, if you don't like learning new things about computers and operating systems, if having to, maybe, troubleshoot sound on your system doesn't appeal to you, if you are willing to accept someone else's idea of how your OS looks and works then, by all means, stick with Windows. The rest of you, follow me ----->>> www.debian.org


Anonym
2004-07-28 09:43:40
Superficial reasoning
Your reasoning appears reasonable on the surface, but is very shallow, and ignores some very important facts on the ground. The uptake of Linux on the desktop will not take place by home computer users, for the reasons which you had described; but that is not the only place where desktop PCs are in use. It will initially happen (and is happening) in the corporate environment. Munich City Council or IBM etc., are only the beginning of that move. In a few more years time it will spread rapidly to many other corporate and government users. That will make millions of such users sufficiently familiar with Linux on the desktop to feel comfortable with using it at home. The problem of the lack of software support will be solved when the user base increases, because more companies will want their software to work on Linux when more and more people will be using it. This process will probably take four or five years, by which time Linux itself will have progressed a lot further; and the other problems you mentioned, such as ease of use, ease of installation, and ease of software installation etc., will have become a thing of the past.


In some countries, such as China, Russia, Vietnam, Brazil etc., the process will also be government driven. So I am willing to bet that in ten years from now there will be more Linux desktops around the world (including corporate users) than Windows ones! Do you want to bet?


Anonym

vainst1k
2004-07-28 09:45:49
Precisely correct
As a DBA, I'm willing to go through an involved installation procedure: all the way from fdisk to re-linking the kernel with changed semaphore parameters. And I don't care what the desktop looks like, command-line all the way.


As a consumer at home, I demand wide product selection, one-click installation (two if downloading shareware), and being the first priority of consumer-oriented hardware/software developers worldwide. Windows is plenty fine here.


Preston is right!

dclane
2004-07-28 09:51:09
Linux Advanced Tactical Resource
I will agree to a point. You must look the roll that the OS plays in an overall goal of your organization. The people that gravitate towards Linux and open source in general are techie and architecture IT professionals. Linux and open source is flexible and programmers can go under the hood and make the product more suitable to the driving operational needs. Yet with Microsoft and windows products in general you are not allowed to go under the hood and tweak and adjust stuff to fit your needs.


Like in the Air Force there are your transport aircraft that meet a broad scope of needs. But there are your unstable fighters that we are in awe of at air shows and it is clear what that can do and achieve after a good air show. Believe me after an air show many, many people wish that they could fly one of those hot jets, just once. Windows is that big air frame that meets a lot of needs. Linux is evolving at a strong pace.


One of the problems of porting applications to the Linux Desk top is Visual Studio and the Microsoft Foundation Classes (MFC). Microsoft encapsulated lots of Windows functionality in the MFC library for Visual Studio. This brought down the cost of development over UNIX and Mainframe development. Microsoft was also competing with Borland?s Turbo C and history shows that Microsoft won. The core of most desktop software is in windows and it could be an arduou$ task to port deck older top applications to Linux. So, yes, Windows is ahead in market share.


But we know that Microsoft has looked over their shoulder a few times in the past two years. What they saw was people, like me, using Linux and other open source products to meet their needs.

dclane
2004-07-28 10:28:09
Windows the Path of Least Resistance
With Linux I can take an Intel PI, II, or III and put it to work it is already paid for. With Linux, Open Source, and know how I can $ave my firm money. To do that is not easy but it is easier that it was two years ago and it will be much easier in two years. The few venders that develop software for both Windows and Linux say that their software ? runs better ? in Linux. Gold is not found on the beaten path. Find out how weather.com found gold. [Click to Find Gold]


I say give it a few years. In the mean time try SuSE 9.1 the desktop is great and the installation is not difficult. You can order a pc with preinstalled software from IBM, HP, and DELL.

Library_Guy
2004-07-28 10:33:56
No _real_ arguments in this article
Arguments like "windows is ALREADY installed on most computers" and "linux software isn't found in a software SHOP" are really lame... that way a corporate monopoly will always win...


This guy clearly had some kind of payment of gun stuck to his head, and clearly he hasn't tried any new versions of Fedora and Mandrake. I use windows at work and linux at home and consider myself objective on this matter.


Linux: Free
Windows: $$$


Where's that in your story, mr. "Tech Expert"?

bairdcarr
2004-07-28 10:36:23
I agree
I can understand your difficulties, but why did you just download the boot image when you could have downloaded the whole thing and saved yourself that mess?



If it's just because you've never done this before, SUSE 9.1 is now available as a full system install iso image.



But there are tons of other Linux distros available that are super easy to install, and make it very easy to install additional software.



In my opinion, most major Linux distros are much better than Windows, and I have become spoiled by the amount of software available to me. More than I could ever have imagined. And it has cost me nothing.



The author shouldn't be looking at store shelves for Linux software. Buying a box with software seems old-fashioned to me now.



For instance, I was recently a little bummed about the lack of GPS mapping software for Linux, especially after watching friends using Delorme on Windows.



After a brief search, I found a program for Linux called GPSDrive. Since I use a Debian based system (hard drive install of Knoppix), I opened up a command line and typed in three words: "apt-get install gpsdrive" Amazingly enough, my computer downloaded everything it needed and installed that program, which I use frequently.



I rarely compile programs for linux, and nowdays with all the main distros using similar package management (with gui interfaces) systems, noone should have to.



Linux is VERY easy to use, VERY easy to install, VERY easy to add software. I cannot tolerate the thought of using Windows and all the hassle you have to put up with in the process.
kewms
2004-07-28 11:09:58
Any users out there?
Show of hands, please? How many of the Linux proponents in this thread are actually doing work (with Linux or otherwise) other than software development or IT?


I know Linux is more flexible, more powerful, and just plain better than Windows. But you know what? I don't care. The reason why I don't care is that my clients don't pay me to futz with operating systems. They pay me to get work done. None of the pro-Linux arguments I've seen have anything to do with the ability of average (i.e. non-software professional) users to get work done NOW.

kholdstare
2004-07-28 11:52:25
Linux
Take a look on shelf software. What do you see? Propaganda from the corporate slave master.
I use linux to be free, to get away from all the suits and dollar signs. It feels good to be able to work in an environment where i don't have to constantly look over my shoulder to see if the piracy cops are coming. Open source is the way to go.
auburn
2004-07-28 12:38:12
Plain Vanilla Mind Blowiningly Absurd
I really enjoy most O'reilly writings, scratch that, up till this one, I probably enjoyed every single one I've read.
Unfortunately, This short article is one of the most worst judgements I've seen this year.
I am late for a gig, so I'll have to elaborate later, to put it simply, this type of article is so biased sounding it should be on foxnews.com. Not that Linux should be on 100% of computers, but look at these compelling reasons to switch.
1. No viruses ever found on Linux systems.
2. No Defragmenting Ever!
3. No unexplained errors.
4. Quanta plus beats the hell out of Dreamweaver or Golive.
5. Incredibly high security levels!
6. Mldonkey supports several p2p networks at once! Beats the Hell out of using, slsk, kazzalite, DC++, etc on a windows pc.
7. Open Office, Koffice both superior to windows office.
8. Cost Savings! Brazil Government, French Government already switching for this reason.
9. Community of super smart people to assist you on the web!
10. No Spyware,Adware, all that annoying crap.
11. Boy, does Evolution beat the living daylights out of some virus harboring app called outlook!


Look forward to responses, plus maybe a more objective and Open comment by someone in O'Reilly...


Brendan


http://www.againsttcpa.com

Mr.Senile
2004-07-28 13:06:23
well written
Well Written,


I regret that your linux experience was so harrowing, however, I have to ask myself a very simple question. With all the various help services online, all the network of people who are expert at linux, and all the openness and power of the backing of linux, why did you not use any of these sources when trying to install linux?


If you had a similiar problem with windows, you'd call them right? Or would you just 'spend 4 or 5 hours a day working with the computer' and get frustrated?


If the resources are there, but you refuse to use them, who's at fault?


I've installed slackware linux on a pentium mmx 223 laptop with 64M memory. Installed, had DHCP networking, KDE, with full graphic support on my measly 2M video card, and within an hour, had a fully working, and _useable_ laptop. This was with Slackware 9.1.


For giggles, I tried to install windows 2000 on it. After failing to recognize the pcmcia devices, I had to download the drivers, on a seperate computer then install it. I repeated this for the video driver. I repeated this for sound driver. I repeated this for many things, that windows 2000 could not do 'off the CD'. So, the the exact reverse was for me. Does that mean it's that way for everyone? Of course not, but it does mean that I won't give a blanket statement saying 'windows sucks' nor will I give a blanket statement that 'linux rules'. The fact was ,for me, linux _did_ rule. But that, was for me.


I also only need one C compiler. GCC, which is the defacto standard, works fine for me. Text editors, I use VI. Others can use whatever they want. That's the beauty of choice. Cron schedules? I just use crond. It's again, the defacto standard. Spreadsheets? I use OpenOffice. It doesn't do everything that Windows Office does, but that's fine. I don't use everything Windows Office does either. And I prefer a 120M install over a 1.2G install anytime.


If you don't want the '200 obscure programming languages' don't install them. Pretty simple. But that's right, with windows installing, you don't have a choice but to install everything. Silly me.


And you don't _want_ to install or upgrade your OS to another version? Then I suggest moving away from windows. Their support contract ends after a few years on any major OS, and ususally the next OS won't even run in your existing hardware.


I'll stick with Linux. Why? Because it will still run on my 386/20 if I so wanted, and support is, has been, and never will be an issue. All you have to do is ask, and people will help. Have you tried that?


Maybe they're called linux zealots because you prefer to label them instead of just talkin to them like any normal human being. I'd call that biggoted. What would you call it?


vmalep
2004-07-28 13:11:26
There other aspects to consider too
Windows vs Linux is one of the most common debate in computer's community. And the question is so complicate that there is no definitive answer (depending of your criterias). And it is certainly not after a 2 week test that one can give a valid opinion. As mooted in another comment, Preston doesn't seem to have tried the "apt-get" command yet...


However, regarding Preston's article, I would like to add this: regarding the use of Linux on the desktops, it doesn't suffice to consider the end user point of view and in my opinion, Linux is very likely to appear on the desktop via:
- companies and public administrations that have other criteria than you and me (price, administration features, customization, etc.);
- computers companies in emerging countries (like Brazil) where the end user is not yet blinded by Microsoft's concept.

MrPing
2004-07-28 13:24:33
Any users out there?
I am a firmware developer and I use Linux almost exclusively. I find that my productivity has increased greatly since switching to Linux. As we are primarily a Windows shop, I have has to resort to wine to run some of the tools that we have chosen to use for our embedded development and in one case, I have to run the application on Windows on top of Linux using VMWare (I use the application only ocassionally). In all other cases; I find the Linux "alternates" more than good enough and in some cases even better than the Windows offerings. For example; in Word, graphics would always jump around and the using equation editor would often cause Word to crash (most of my documents are rather techincal in nature). None of thes problems with OpenOffice.


For analysing logs from devices, that the bash command line is amazing. Either spend an hour writing specialized C++ code to parse some log file or mucking with importing the feature into Excel, or 20 seconds entering the appropriate combinations of commands on the command line. Sometimes I'll import the output of such a sequence of commands into gnumeric or the OpenOffice spreadsheet, but the initial scrub provided by the command line always makes life easier.


Also, no viruses to worry about (it actually almost fun to watch everyone around me scramble to recover/patch their systems), no crashes, and in the times of power outages, the journaling filesystems generally seem to help prevent data loss.


Don't get me wrong; I had to come up a learning curve to really use these tools effectively. Newbies to Linux would likely find their productivity decrease until they learned how to use the available tools, but IMHO, the sime spent learning was well worth it.

dclane
2004-07-28 13:57:23
Any users out there?
Yes I am a user of SuSE Linux.


go to [Click to Find Gold]


And see how Weather.com saved Bid Dollar$. you will find that Linux makes more Cent$.


Now if you can show a client how they can $ave money maybe you take might be bigger.


You think...

Shenpen
2004-07-28 14:36:34
I understand you, but do not agree
Dear Preston,


I understand you, but can't agree with you.


I tried to switch to Linux two times before. First was SuSE 6.x (don't remember), next one was SuSE 7.3. Both of the time I switched back simply because life was not easy with Linux. I always found I can't play my favourite media with the standard distro stuff, websites looked ugly and some of them I simply can't view, etc. This is why I understand you.


I bought a new, fast box (3Ghz dual etc.) for not a cheap price in March, yelling "I never want to see the hourglass again!" . With Windows XP.


Guess what?


I was watching that bloody hourglass in June. My Windows simply... spoiled. All those viruses, all those spyware, all those trojans, all those memory-resident anti-spyware stuff I downloaded, all those harmful ActiveX web content, all those software installed and then uninstalled without defragmenting, all that stuff made my Windows bloody slow, and instable. After booting, and clicking on the ADSL dial-up icon nothing happened for a full minute. Don't know what the hell happened. I felt unstable, and most of all, UNSAFE. I felt that paranoia that when my box is slow then some bloody trojan or something does something that not only makes it slow, but does something directly malign.


I switched to Linux third time, and stayed there happily. I don't find any problems. I feel safe, I feel confident my system will stay the same forever despite all those crackers and virus-writing folkz out there. I am now not afraid to leave my box online while I sleep, because I don't see crackers and trojans lurking behind my back.


The mistake you made was SuSE and KDE. Forget them. They are slow and buggy. The Debian based Hungarian Linux Distribution called UHU (www.uhulinux.hu) is luckily based on Gnome. It defaults to Galeon for web browsing which is as good, as nice, as problem-less and all that stuff for browsing as MSIE but much SAFER and does not have the stupid Konqueror bugs, it defaults to Evoulution instead of slow KMail etc. Forget SuSE, please. SuSE is not the "real" Linux, it's just a kinda pseudo-Microsoft. Linux is GNU, and GNU is Debian and Gnome. Try them, please, and you will be pleased.

tek
2004-07-28 15:20:13
well written
It amuses me greatly to see people with no experience using windows claiming how this is perfect or that is broken. Its twice as funny to hear it from a windows user who tried linux for two weeks become evangelical about the superiority of windows to linux. Yeah your gonna have a hard time installing AOL in linux, sad but true.


You also going to find it impossible to install a program in windows by using the 3 magic words.
apt-get install "name of program".


sure you don't know about this after only one week or two of using linux, unless you research it but you also don't know about msconfig the first month of using windows.


Support: windows troubleshooters, wow, another oxymoron, after making it through a few screens of suggestions like "check to make sure device is connected correctly" and "check the drivers are installed correctly" your greeted with, sorry we are unable to help you, would you like to try something else?


I have been doing computers for 20 years now, windows is designed for the average idiot. Linux is designed for people who are not idiots.


My mother probably couldn't install Linux, she also can't install windows though so why would we expect her to set it up and get everything right?


Bottom line is this "Linux is improving at such a rate that windows will soon find itself playing catch-up instead of the other way around".


Your piece of hardware not supported by linux?
That is not the fault of linux that is the fault of your hardware manufacturer, let them know they have let you down and your buying something else from now on. Microsoft doesn't build drivers for any hardware other than their own, the only thing they do is take manufacturers money (why do you think hardware is so expensive)to include the driver in the windows installer. Everything that works or doesn't work in linux is because of what Hackers have done and all of their effort and code and the drivers they have made. In theory some day the hardware manufacturers will start doing this support so the end user experience will be painless.


Bottom line though is that getting supported hardware to work in linux is usually much easier than in windows. try losing the drivers disk for a networking device in windows, with linux its already there in the modules built for the kernel when you installed, with windows even if it does see the driver your hardware might not work till you dink with it for a while. several hours later you have a working empty shell. with linux once everything is working you have a complete OS with all the applications you need. And if you setup your system with a /home partition then upgrading or reinstalling does not cause data loss at all.
Have to remind my mom about that i guess.

nrballard
2004-07-28 15:28:49
Quit trolling.
Your arguments are nothing new. People have been whining about the Linux installation process for several years, which makes it seem like they are all using the same outdated version of an obscure distribution. All of the commercial Linux distributions, such as RedHat, SUSE, and Mandrake, all have a graphical installer which is just as user-friendly as the Windows installers, perhaps even more user-friendly at this point. Just put in the CD-ROM, choose your language, screen size, and time zone; and the distro does the work for you.


As for application support, the reason you don't find Linux software on store shelves is because a majority of the available software for Linux is free to download from the internet. seefreshmeat.net


Most Linux programs are available as binary packages which can be installed by simply double-clicking an installation file, or through the use of an installation/update program such as Yast, Up2Date, apt-get, or synaptic. Programs that are only available as source code can be installed by unzipping the source code, navigating into the program's folder and doing this relatively quick and easy procedure:



./configure
make
make install


I know some people are not capable of remembering 3 simple lines of code, and maybe those people are better off using Windows. For those who can handle it, this procedure will allow you to install any Linux program onto your computer.


Reasons to switch? How about better system security, near-invulnerability to viruses, more stable filesystem, and a better selection of programs.


...oh, and did I mention that many versions of Linux are free?

v1x
2004-07-28 15:40:22
Computers are tools, what kind of tool is Windows?
To make sense of these comparisons, one has to recall that computers are tools, and tools are to solve problems. Of course I also have an ample experience with computers, and was exposed to horrors in DOS and primitive Windows, and, before Linux, I could use some Unix systems ocassionally in University, and I have a Mac at job.


When I have no problems to solve, Windows is extremely appropriate to use, but it is a toy system, even just to play with; try to record a cd, to download a remote file, and to run photoshop, all at the same time: you can't, the system crawls to its knees in the best scenario (I mean, in a good, modern PC; if your computer is a bit old, you're lost).


I bought my computer one year ago, and it came loaded with XP, so I tried the system and certainly it was nice, but not a pleasure: to make the minimal change to the system, implies to restart your computer, and, indeed, my system crashed few times. Then it came the blaster worm...


Since I want my computer to make abstract algebra computations, I couldn't use Windows: all the time the system crawled; so I started to find out and look for Linux with the Microsoft search engine, with what else? And at that moment the system failed (some essential system files were lost, according to the messages on the display), and then my hard drive was melted: "imminent hard drive failure: save your files", or something like that.


My PC provider replaced the hard disk, and then I erased the XP system and installed Linux. I cannot say that I am happy since then, but almost.


Most of us cannot remember what is to switch systems, but it is a nightmare: from DOS to Windows; form Windows To MacOS; form MacOs to Unix, etc. Once one masters basic knowledge, the new system is appealing, but not before.


But after switching several times, one is driven to compare, and Windows limits a lot our choices of system behavior: one has to stand the taste of Mr. Gates of what is what you like, and his choices of what you can and cannot do with your computer, and all the backdoors and security holes that he wants to put in.


If Simpson family cannot and want not to use Linux, so'll be it. But if Homer wants to use the system for something more than a toy, he should consider seriously a switch from Windows.


I guess this point of view is sound: as long as we remember that computers and systems are tools to solve problems, we can make all comparisons of the world, remarking why a system is appropriate for a given person, or problem.

Rich3800
2004-07-28 15:52:27
Same old excuse
The same old excuse for status quo is what they were using during the IBM years where "people didn't get fired for using IBM", meaning that people could get fired for using non-IBM stuff. Now, we are in the Microsoft-Linux transition where people are comfortable for using Microsoft products but the liabilities for using them are getting higher and higher (viruses, etc.), until some time in the future people could effectively BE fired for using Microsoft products and rewarded for using non-Microsoft stuff, whatever that may be.
jrbrtsn
2004-07-28 18:33:51
Hey Preston, pull your head out of your a$$
Click here.


Buy the $278 PC preloaded with LindowsOS. Check out the click & run library of programs that install more easily that Windows programs!


Consider that you are immune to email viruses and then write your article again.

DLawrence
2004-07-28 18:44:37
Plain Vanilla Mind Blowiningly Absurd
I have to take issue with your assertion that OpenOffice is superior to Microsoft's Office. During the several years that I ran my PC on Linux, the lack of a good office suite, and in particular a spreadsheet program, was in my opinion a major weakness in the argument for using Linux. I tried OpenOffice and several others, but they just didn't stand up to MS Office. And none of the office suites that run on Linux had anything comparable to the Visual Basic that comes with MS. I know that VB is a security issue, but I use it strictly to write my own spreadsheet functions, and for me it's an absolutely necessary feature.
I'm not writing this to carry water for Microsoft - on the contrary, I truly believe that Linux is the future and that MS will go the way of DEC and others. But it does no good to ignore problems, or pretend that they've been solved when in fact they haven't.
Cheers,
David
iantaiwan@yahoo.co.uk
2004-07-28 19:06:37
You under estimate the users.
Reading your review was a surprise.
Not because your views of Windows are strong but you based your opinion on a 2 week test.


As an IT Professional with an armful of professional MS and Networking qualifications O can understand your judgement, but you have to give the Open Source community 10/10 for providing the world a very stable OS (you can't deny that), a mountain array of software (DTP, Graphics Manipulation Software, 3D animation, Office software, Database software, Multimedia, Scientific, Programming tools, etc) the list goes on and most very easy to use.
With every software that you buy, you have to sit down and read, practice and then be confident in its usage, the same goes with the Linux software.


Linspire 4.5 is a dream for first time users, the automatic download features for new software is excellent and take away the fear of installation.


Mandrake and Suse have excellent installers.
If you can install MS Win 09/ME/2000/XP then you can certainly install the Linux packagers mentioned and from my experience of 20 years in the IT industry, most people can install a graphic based OS.


The debate is getting tedious, which is better MS or Linux and in most of the cases it comes down to personal taste, requirements or a feeling of disgust against MS or Linux.
If you do place a Windows system against a Linux system with the same hardware i586/686 machines then taking into account 90% of the population just want office, music and the occasional game, then Linux can keep up with Windows without losing a sweat, with the exception of games of course, but even that is changing.


Why would a user want to go to a shop and pick up free software. The shop is there to sell not give away software so stocking Linux software would not be good for business, and anyway, with todays high speed internet access downloading Linux software is fast.


You may point out that Linux will not dent the market share of Desktop Windows, but who really cares, just as long as the individual is happy with what she or he has.


The server market is another story and I think rightly so that Linux is making huge strides in that market, MS has dominated and had gotten lazy, always touting themselves the company of innovation, did they invent or just happen to buy IE from another company, did they invent the desktop music player or did another company come out with the software, and now they want to incorporate a virus and superior search engine into Longhorn, I believe they bought a company so thay they could get their hands on the code.


I am happy to use Linux and as everyday goes by, the testing of Linux becomes less and less and the usage becomes easier and more natural.


You really should do a test for a few months not a few weeks.

KJuergen
2004-07-28 19:25:42
Plain Vanilla Mind Blowiningly Absurd
no VB for Linux? That's good! Try REALBASIC.COM and compile your software for Linux, MAC and Windoze....


Juergen

KJuergen
2004-07-28 19:35:34
Linux Advanced Tactical Resource
I have 4 XPee machines and 2 SuSE Linux (one is server) in my home network and the XPee's will be converted to Linux as soon as the stupid games run under Linux. The family is tired of the patches, the reboots, crashes and viruses and we all use OpenOffice and Mozilla as they are better then their crashy counterparts (ever tried to open a long document under CrashOffice?). Sure there are some websites made with Microsoft software which by purpose uses modified code so it doesn't display under any browser but the latest IE but heck, we just don't have to see them...


Juergen

bolek
2004-07-28 20:36:58
Any users out there?
Yes. I use SuSE 9.1 on my desktop which, by the way, is simply AWESOME. My wife uses SuSE 9.1 (wireless connection). My son (8 years old) uses SuSE 9.1 and my youngest son (6 years old) also uses SuSE 9.1 (shared system with their own accounts by my 8 & 6 year olds).


As you can see, I have quite a few systems at home. On top of it, I run my file server on an old Gateway system (RedHat 8.0) and the only "Windows" machine I have which I hope to get rid of very soon is an old Compaq Presario running on AMD 500MHz chip with WindowsME on it. Don't even start me to tell you how often it crashes.


So to answer your question, yes, I can raise my hand very high and say, I use Linux not only for work but also for day to day tasks.


I have to agree with previous posters that the article was grossly biased against Linux.