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[P]
Linux for everyone?

By btlzu2 in Op-Ed
Sat Sep 30, 2000 at 11:52:30 PM EST
Tags: Software (all tags)
Software

Yes, Microsoft has evil ways. Yes, Linux is an awesome OS. Yes, Microsoft products have more than their share of glitches and design flaws. But do you know what? Maybe Microsoft products have their place.


Let me start with a story from last November. I had just bought a nifty new 600 MHz Gateway performance PC. I was gung-ho to allocate 4GB of that bad-boy's 20 GB hard drive to Linux so I could play around with Linux firewall and IP masquerading features...

...so, what distribution should I appropriate for this task? Since I enjoy reading Slashdot so much, I guess I'll follow the Slashdot "Favorite Linux Distribution" poll's winner to Linux success on my new machine, of course, ignorantly unaware that the poll was--ahem--"weighted" by some yahoo with a perl script. While waiting for my brand new copy of Linux to ship, I decided to share my cable modem bandwidth with my wife and my dad (a couple apartments over) by setting up ICS on Windows 98 SE which shipped with my Gateway. In 2 hours (most of which was consumed by cabling issues), 3 PC's had cable modem access to the Internet. It was that simple.

A few days later, Linux arrived. Yessssss. I'll be a cool Linux geek now! Let's boot off the CD-ROM and get this installed. 1 minute passes..."YaST cannot recognize your hard drive". As it turned out, the most recent Linux kernels did not support my new Ultra 66 HD controller. SuSE support said: "This may be because you have a system with an ATA66/UltraDMA66-EIDE-controller. SuSE Linux 6.2 cannot be installed on such systems." Thanks for nothing.

Luckily, I rounded up an older Pentium and installed SuSE on it. So, after plodding through un-inuitive installation menus with German words scattered here and there for a little extra confusion, 2 hours later I have a standalone Linux box with a lovely #> prompt blinking at me. Now the fun begins. Remember the 2 hours setting up Windows to perform Internet connection sharing? Multiply anything you do in Windows by 6 when you want to do it in Linux. After sorting through DHCP, Masquerading, and Firewall How-tos and various web sites, I finally got Linux to share that Internet connection.

Granted, by then I had more control of security and various IP services on my Linux server, but who, besides people like me, cares?

Now, call me a masochist, but I rather enjoy spending my Sunday off getting Linux to work. It's fun. It's powerful. It's education. However, would I want to have my Mom or Dad, or even worse, my Grandma put through a configuration (or use) of Linux when I have quick, easy, and fairly stable (for their purposes) Windows 98 to offer them?

Linux is not, and may never be, for everyone. Microsoft, after that disgusting travesty, Windows 3.x, created an intuitive, easy-to-learn OS, Windows 95. It's not "souped up", it's not ultra-configurable, but you know what? It's functional and gets work done for millions of people.

Linux Bigots

Sometimes it appears that we computer-folk lose touch with reality. For example, Linux bigots would say (and have said to me): "If people can't understand how computers work, they shouldn't use them." Isn't that a great attitude? Imagine if Tesla or Edison said, you have to learn the principles of electricity before turning on a light bulb? Ludicrous.

Conclusion

Are there folks out here who actually believe that Linux could rule the desktop as is, but only evil Microsoft stands in the way? Or, do some people agree that Linux kicks butt, but isn't for everyone? I use Linux more than Windows lately, but isn't Windows fine for the average John Doe?

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Poll
Linux for everyone?
o Yes, Windows is an OS made to be avoided by all. 9%
o No, good for some, not so good for others. 51%
o Linux? 0%
o I use Macs and they should be used by all. 2%
o BeOS is the way, the truth, and the light. 3%
o Real men use DOS. 3%
o I'm a lumberjack and I'm ok. 29%

Votes: 189
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Slashdot
o Yahoo
o Slashdot [2]
o SuSE
o Also by btlzu2


Display: Sort:
Linux for everyone? | 98 comments (82 topical, 16 editorial, 0 hidden)
Let me post a me too! (3.88 / 9) (#1)
by nuntius on Fri Sep 29, 2000 at 11:43:29 PM EST

You're absolutely right about Linux not being for everyone.

First though, I must say that my favorite distro is still SuSE--once you understand Linux, you'll find its a pretty good and customizable package.

On to other issues though, my box dual-boots all the time.
C/C++? HTML/ftp? Boot up Linux, baby.
Java, Word, Excel? Time to retreat to windoze.

Software is all about using the right tool for the job, and zealots often loose sight of that simple fact.

Things may change, but until KWord becomes a polished product or Helix code is easy to install, I'm only recommending Linux to my geek friends.

Cheers from a Mozilla nightly in Windoze!

geek computers vs. mass market net devices (4.16 / 12) (#4)
by mattdm on Sat Sep 30, 2000 at 12:10:41 AM EST

My guess is that only ten percent of the people out there actually want a computer. Most people want to be able to write documents, send e-mail, browse the web, listen to mp3s, and play games. They're not really interested in having a computer per se -- they just want to be able to do stuff. While a general-purpose computer is well-suited for these tasks, it comes with a large overhead. In order to make these users happier, they really want to be isolated as much as possible from what's really going on. This promise is what sells iMacs.

For this ninty percent, computers need to be less configurable (in the inside -- the GUI can still be nicely skinnable). They need to have well-designed simple GUIs. They need to have simple error messages comparable to a car's "check engine" light. There need to be no routine maintenance tasks. And so on. Perhaps functionality would even be split out, so many of the different tasks are done by completely different components. Maybe they would be able to plug together to share resources -- one's web-browsing/e-mail machine could use the same keyboard and monitor as one's word-processor machine.

But the other ten percent of us (me and probably everyone reading this) would hate such a setup. Maybe some of us would have some of the above devices around our houses, but others of us would be utterly disgusted. The thing is, we like computers. The open-endedness is fun and powerful. Having a command-line is more user-friendly once you've bother to climb the learning curve. We want to edit config files. We want to fuss with things. We want to overclock, to run benchmark tests on every bit of hardware. When we get a free barcode scanning device from Radio Shack, instead of using the software that came with it, we figure out how it works so we can scan in our CD collections to post to our amazingly geeky and utterly pointless web sites.

None of this comes from some snobbish geek pride -- it's simply an honest look at the world. I've heard counter arguments before, pointing out the failure of internet appliances and other dedicated devices. The thing is, that was before, when a larger percentage of computer users were computer geeks. Now, with the Internet, there's suddenly a huge crowd of people who weren't in the picture before.

Personally, I hope Microsoft targets the first group of users more and more. The Xbox is a good start. I don't really mind Microsoft when they're not getting in my way.

Linux is a beautiful OS for the other ten percent (and many of us are equally likely to run an even geekier system). The thing is, it's ALSO a great OS for the ninty percent -- but they don't need to know that.



Linux has come a long way. (1.25 / 4) (#6)
by MKalus on Sat Sep 30, 2000 at 12:21:16 AM EST

Linux has come a long way (especially SuSE with YAST2) and the installation and even the networking isn't all that hard anymore. But yes, you NEED a bit of a know how, you need to know certain basics before you can use them. Is this bad? I don't think so, we expect people to learn how to drive a car, and know the traffic rules, why shouldn't this apply for computer users as well? I worked tech support for some time and even though I never worked in car support, I doubt that any mechanic ever got yelled at because the car broke down and the "friend of a friend who knows a lot about cars couldn't fix it either, and because of that it must be the fault of the car." Is Linux for everybody? No, but the question should be (even if it sounds asshole like): Do we WANT everybody to use Linux? This has nothing to do with coming off as "something better", but with teh IQ some people seem to show when it comes to computers I am more then happy if they stay as far away from it as possible (that goes for windows as well). I don't think Linux has to change that much, but rather the attitute people have towards computers (I admit the ad guys with "it's all so easy" gave us a lot of grieve as well). Michael
-- Michael
Linux has come a long way. (3.00 / 6) (#7)
by MKalus on Sat Sep 30, 2000 at 12:21:46 AM EST

Sorry, wrong button, wrong menu choice.... I need sleep or more coffe....
----

Linux has come a long way (especially SuSE with YAST2) and the installation and even the networking isn't all that hard anymore.

But yes, you NEED a bit of a know how, you need to know certain basics before you can use them.

Is this bad? I don't think so, we expect people to learn how to drive a car, and know the traffic rules, why shouldn't this apply for computer users as well?

I worked tech support for some time and even though I never worked in car support, I doubt that any mechanic ever got yelled at because the car broke down and the "friend of a friend who knows a lot about cars couldn't fix it either, and because of that it must be the fault of the car."

Is Linux for everybody? No, but the question should be (even if it sounds asshole like): Do we WANT everybody to use Linux? This has nothing to do with coming off as "something better", but with teh IQ some people seem to show when it comes to computers I am more then happy if they stay as far away from it as possible (that goes for windows as well).

I don't think Linux has to change that much, but rather the attitute people have towards computers (I admit the ad guys with "it's all so easy" gave us a lot of grieve as well).

Michael
-- Michael
Re: Linux has come a long way. (4.00 / 2) (#13)
by madams on Sat Sep 30, 2000 at 02:24:58 AM EST

we expect people to learn how to drive a car, and know the traffic rules, why shouldn't this apply for computer users as well?

One of the more interesting points of the otherwise bland _The Social Life of Information_ was that technology will only gain wide adoption with socialization. Most people can drive, for instance, because the automobile is a social and socially accepted technology. The same goes for certain computer applications: most people have no problem learning to use email or instant messaging because these are socially relevent technologies. Linux networking does not enjoy this status.

--
Mark Adams
"But pay no attention to anonymous charges, for they are a bad precedent and are not worthy of our age." - Trajan's reply to Pliny the Younger, 112 A.D.
[ Parent ]

Re: Linux has come a long way. (3.00 / 1) (#31)
by MKalus on Sat Sep 30, 2000 at 07:54:52 PM EST

>>Linux networking does not enjoy this status.<<

Networking in general isn't part of this. But I think with technologies like Bluetooth etc. it HAS to happen as it will become more and more an important part about computing.

And if you look closely. The Networking is not the only problem. There are SEVERAL problems when it comes to computers where people just expect it to work and if not it's the tech support persons fault.


-- Michael
[ Parent ]
Exactly what I said in a previous discussion (2.00 / 8) (#9)
by maketo on Sat Sep 30, 2000 at 12:27:49 AM EST

Hmmm....someone bashed me for saying the same thing in a previous discussion (what would happen if MS came up with their own Linux). I had the same argument since while I am studying CS I also worked at a computer help desk at the university and saw a lot of people get very frustrated with their machines...But the anal morons that spend 64 hours a day infront of their machines and speak machine language think that the world revolves around them and that everyone else should do the same and _not_ have a life....

Voted it down since it is a neverending topic...
agents, bugs, nanites....see the connection?
Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) (2.33 / 6) (#11)
by mattc on Sat Sep 30, 2000 at 01:15:18 AM EST

ICS only works with other Windows machines.. so if you have Linux or Mac machines behind the ICS machine they won't be able to access the internet.

A good shareware replacement for ICS is Winroute Lite (avoid Wingate, it's a bloated piece of junk). Winroute will let machines running any OS talk to the internet without having any special proxy client software installed (it uses network address translation, just like Linux and BSD). However, the shareware fees for winroute are a bit too expensive IMO.

Of course, if you have the patience required to configure it, I'd reccommend setting up a Linux machine to perform NAT.

Uhm, wrong (4.00 / 1) (#38)
by jmcneill on Sun Oct 01, 2000 at 12:51:49 AM EST

Internet Connection Sharing works just fine with NetBSD or Linux as a client. I had it setup for a bit while I was working out some problems with one of my servers.
``Of course it runs NetBSD.''
[ Parent ]
Re: Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) (none / 0) (#78)
by darthaya on Mon Oct 02, 2000 at 12:06:32 AM EST

This is one of those posts by one of the brainless linux zealots. I figured you haven't actually tried to configure a Winroute ever in your life that you made such a blatant comment. It took me less than 5 minutes to configure the thing and get it running.

[ Parent ]
Ooohh... i so wanted to vote it down... (3.20 / 5) (#12)
by TheLocust on Sat Sep 30, 2000 at 02:01:30 AM EST

but, the fact that the author suggest duality in the OS arena is great. Linux is Linux. Microsoft can have their OS, but since Linux isn't a business, it can't be bought out or taken over. It will be around none the less. My mom isn't going to run Linux, and I don't want to spend hours on the phone. So, keep on plugging and chugging to make it easier, sure, but lay off Microsoft. As one guy at the other site mentioned, "while we debate this, Microsoft is coding, coding, coding". Our day will come.
.......o- thelocust -o.........
ignorant people speak of people
average people speak of events
great people speak of ideas

Re: Ooohh... i so wanted to vote it down... (none / 0) (#32)
by zartan on Sat Sep 30, 2000 at 08:11:03 PM EST

... My mom isn't going to run Linux, and I don't want to spend hours on the phone. ...

Funny you should mention that. My mom does run Linux and I set things up that way because I don't want to spend hours on the phone. I installed and configured the box, so she can run everything she wants from KDE.

As to the other point, remote adminstration via SSH is your friend.
--
[ Parent ]

Linux is for everyone (3.33 / 6) (#16)
by Nickus on Sat Sep 30, 2000 at 04:31:16 AM EST

A few years ago I would have said that Linux is not for everyone. But lately when I have had the pleasure to work with Helix Gnome and the upcoming KDE2 I have changed my mind. Especially KDE2, I have never worked with a better user environment. The problem is the Linux community. Part of it isn't very newbie-friendly. And I must say that even I (yes, I have a flaw.. but just one ;-)) sometimes becomes irritated when you for the fifth have to explain the same thing. The community is a good place when you know atleast the basics but before it can be a bit hostile. When it comes to new hardware it is always the same problem. When I bought my BP6 a year ago it was hard to find an OS that could install directly to the UDMA66 controller. Only a beta version of w2k with some beta driver could do the trick. I could install Linux using the UDMA33 controller and then patch my kernel and move the disk. But new hardware is always a problem.

Due to budget cuts, light at end of tunnel will be out. --Unknown
a few views (4.00 / 10) (#17)
by tokage on Sat Sep 30, 2000 at 05:01:58 AM EST

I've always used whatever did the job the best. People who get caught up in true OS wars(not just friendly ribbing from bsd vs linux guys) amaze me, there is -no- OS which is going to do everything you need in the best possible way. I think you have to weigh what you want your system to do, and decide what to run from there. If you want a stable system which is powerful and configurable, you can run linux or a bsd(although i mostly only use bsd in server environments). If all you're gonna do is surf, read email and play the occasional game, then windoze is suitable, especially for people who have no desire to learn about the internals of OS's.

There are a few quirky things about linux which annoy me. One of the main ones is the browser dept sucks(except lynx:P). Mozilla yes has a nice rendering engine but is buggy/bloated, netscape has an icky rendering engine and doesnt follow standards(and is buggy and bloated). There's other variants, opera etc, but I've been pretty underwhelmed. With everything going on the web, quick, clean browsers which integrate into the desktop well are essential in gaining some of the masses. I am pretty excited about galeon though, http://galeon.sourceforge.net, it goes back to the unix philosophy of many small tools with a narrower focus to do the entire job, instead of bloated nasty programs which hardly interact with each other anyway.

Win2k has some advantages over linux, especially in server end smp stuff. It's been fairly stable, but I don't trust it, as I don't trust anything I don't have the source code to. I'm tired of sugar coating everything about microsoft though, what I think is this: They are a -bad- company with -bad- business practices(regardless if everyone else does/would do it). They have stifled normal healthy competition which creates better products. This is all obvious, tired stuff.

Anyway, I think linux has a ways to go before it's ready for widespread mass consumption. It's for people who like control of their environment and aren't afraid of getting their hands dirty. If I'm going to be using something frequently though, I want to know how it all works, and be able to customize everything, which you can't easily do in windows. (sorry this turned into a book, i'm at work and bored)

I always play / Russian roulette in my head / It's 17 black, or 29 red

Re: a few views (none / 0) (#48)
by Maxxy on Sun Oct 01, 2000 at 06:55:07 AM EST

>They are a -bad- company with -bad- business practices Sorry, but I'm sick of blaming Microsoft for bad business practices. Good business practice is the one which makes money, and bad business practice is the one which doesn't. And M$ is way ahead of competition in making money, therefore they business practice is way better then others. You may like it or not, but it's truth (imho:)

[ Parent ]
I believe (none / 0) (#49)
by pwhysall on Sun Oct 01, 2000 at 07:17:02 AM EST

that the US DOJ has some views on that...
--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown
[ Parent ]
Re: a few views (4.00 / 1) (#73)
by Colonol_Panic on Sun Oct 01, 2000 at 10:22:19 PM EST

Sorry, but I'm sick of blaming Microsoft for bad business practices. Good business practice is the one which makes money, and bad business practice is the one which doesn't

This is a very distrurbing statement. What you are saying is that money is all that matters and that companies should have no moral responsibility to society. Take Phillip Morris as a rather obvious examle: they market a product that kills. They intentially increased the number of toxins in cigarettes to give them better flavor, and they increased the nicotine content to make them more addictive. The result is that they also made their product even more deadly. I'm not saying that you should have no right to decide what to put in your own body, but PM deliberately withheld these rather important facts from the public--which undoubtedly would have hurt their sales at least a little bit and so keeping these facts hidden were in their best interests. Is that wrong? I believe that it is.

Microsoft is a much milder case. They don't kill people, they kill companies. They have become powerful enough that they have some sort of monopoly power. I don't believe that they are a true monopoly, but close enough that they have more power to influence the market than any competitor that you can name. Simply having a monopoly is not wrong--but using it to crush competition unfairly and to artificially increase the acceptance of their own products in other markets is. Microsoft is an unethical business because of this.

They also loudly proclaim that they are "innovators," which implies that they invent the new technology in their products. They don't. Microsoft is the in business of taking ideas from other people--either by buying them or simply copying them--and using their dominance to destroy the originator of the idea. All the while this is hapenning, their PR department is faithfully parroting the company party line of innovation which is nothing more than an outright lie. Microsoft is an immoral business because of this.

Microsoft's business practices are based on unethical and immoral behaviors, and while they are very good for making money they are still wrong.

(sorry for ranting your ear off; praising Microsoft triggers an almost Pavlovian reaction in us Linux geeks :)
Here's my DeCSS mirror. Where's Yours?
[ Parent ]

Re: a few views (none / 0) (#54)
by krogoth on Sun Oct 01, 2000 at 10:53:32 AM EST

The reason linux isn't ready for windows users is that all the software is written by someone who needs it. Most of these people are programmers. You might be able to teach a "windows newbie" how to find applications in the gnome menu, but they will have a lot to learn before they can do what they knew in windows. We need a desktop environment/window manager that works like windows before we can get the windows users (and a very simple installer). I would say that the user could choose to have the desktop environment slowly change to something more linux-like and teach them how to use it (sort of like tip of the day), but don't forget that microsoft spends a lot on UI research.

Another problem is hardware support. I installed mandrake linux last month, but i haven't used it since then, because my soundcard isn't supported and i can't figure out how to set up my DSL connection.
--
"If you've never removed your pants and climbed into a tree to swear drunkenly at stuck-up rich kids, I highly recommend it."
:wq
[ Parent ]
Linux is hardly for everyone (3.16 / 6) (#18)
by skim123 on Sat Sep 30, 2000 at 05:31:17 AM EST

Like you said, to accomplish most anything under Linux you have to work twice (or six times, as you put) as long than you do with Windows. But you know what? When you get something like that working with Linux, you feel a great sense of accomplishment, at least I do.

That being said, it is clear that Linux isn't for everyone, just for geeks who like to solve problems; for those who enjoy computers because they are puzzles. Those who want computers to challenge them, not to just do exactly as they say.

Linux is getting easier to use, but it is still years away from the ease of use that Windows offers today...

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


Re: Linux is hardly for everyone (none / 0) (#36)
by Luke Scharf on Sun Oct 01, 2000 at 12:42:36 AM EST

Like you said, to accomplish most anything under Linux you have to work twice (or six times, as you put) as long than you do with Windows. But you know what? When you get something like that working with Linux, you feel a great sense of accomplishment, at least I do.

As a Linux bigot, I would like to add that once you learn how to do it on Linux and understand what you're doing, you can do it two to six times faster on Linux than is possible on Windows.

Normal sysadmin tasks like adding users take minutes when I have to walk over to the server, Ctrl+alt+delete | username | password | enter | wait 30 seconds for login | Start | administrative tools | User Manager for Domains | Add user. Keep in mind that each step takes eye-hand coordination.

On Linux, it's 45 seconds -- while I'm sitting on my ass wherever I happen to be, I just "ssh myserver; userconf ; cd /var/yp ; make ; exit". Don't even get me started about configuring hardware... :-)



[ Parent ]
I've recently installed Linux (3.66 / 6) (#19)
by spiralx on Sat Sep 30, 2000 at 06:29:21 AM EST

We moved about a couple of months ago and I finally pieced together by extremely battered P133. I also got a copy of Mandrake 7.1 off of a magazine and thought it was finally time to give it a shot. I had tried before, but that was a while ago and I fully appreciate the bizarre contortions it can take to install Linux.

Anyway, I was mightly impressed with both the ease and initial setup that Mandrake installed with. For someone with no previous Linux experiance, it's given me enough to get started with without needed to know too much about how it all works underneath. Compared to last time, it's so much better for someone who has never used Linux before.

I've finally gotten rid of that Win95 partition I had, and know have a pure Linux box which works for me. But the point is that the installation procedure was not hugely demanding, the only really tricky bits for a novice would be determining partitions and selecting the hardware they've got.

But still, Windows is fine for Joe Sixpack and family to read their email, browse the web and maybe type a few letters. Which is why Windows remains so popular amongst the non-technical crowd. And whilst people in the Linux community are now finally realising this, there has been a very elitest attitude amongst some people in times past.

Linux domination on the desktop? It's getting to the point where it's possible, but I see it being a few years yet until it's really ready to compete. And with new systems like .Whistler on the way, the focus on intuitive, clean design with a minimum of confusion needs to be maintained.


You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey

Hardware Compatibility Lists.... (3.00 / 4) (#20)
by Matrix on Sat Sep 30, 2000 at 06:58:26 AM EST

See the title. Linux currently is not for everyone, because there's still a lot of hardware it doesn't support. This is for a variety of reasons (proprietary hardware, can't work on drivers until hardware is released, etc, etc). But it means you have to be very careful hardware-wise right now. When I built this machine, I was very careful to use components that had open drivers available (Matrix graphics card, for example).

Also, Debian Potato can recognize a UDMA66 controller. If you're doing a floppy/FTP install, you have to download a slightly different set of disk images, but it can handle it.


Matrix
"...Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions. It's the only way to make progress."
- Lord Vetinari, pg 312 of the Truth, a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett

Re: Hardware Compatibility Lists.... (none / 0) (#28)
by btlzu2 on Sat Sep 30, 2000 at 04:10:52 PM EST

Most recent releases (that I'm aware of) Redhat/Suse/Slackware support the UDMA66 controller nowadays, but last November none did because it wasn't supported in the kernel.

OS/2 had the same problem BTW, and look where it's at. I loved OS/2, but you had to buy the right hardware and be picky, whereas, Windows comes running on everything with support for virtually anything. Unfortunately, the Evil Empire's filthy ways are the reason for that. Quite a paradox if you ask me. In a way, MS has delivered what the customers need and want, but at what cost?

I have subsequently installed Linux on the very machine it failed on last year due to those great kernel gods!
"This machine will not communicate the thoughts and the strain I am under." --Radiohead/Street Spirit (Fade Out)
[ Parent ]
Linux for... (2.76 / 13) (#22)
by techt on Sat Sep 30, 2000 at 07:35:26 AM EST

(With apologies to Matt Groening)

User: "Linux for everyone!"
Crowd: "BOOOOO!"
User: "Linux for no one!"
Crowd: "BOOOOO!"
User: "Hmmm. Linux for some, but not for others!"
Crowd: "HORAY!"


--
Proud member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation!
Are You? http://www.eff.org/support/joineff.html
For me, it comes down to... (3.33 / 3) (#24)
by Luke Scharf on Sat Sep 30, 2000 at 10:43:50 AM EST

If I'm expected to support the machine, I'm quite biased towards Linux (or some other Unix) -- I can fine-tune the configuration to the person's needs, I can do most things without physically visiting the machine, and (in the case of Win95 or stock NT4) I don't have to worry about the user accidentally messing up the machine.

However, if I'm going to do a fire-and-forget installation, I usually choose Windows -- it's a lot easier for "normal people" to find help when Bad Things happen.

----------------------

P.S.I've managed to build a Windows NT4 configuration where the files are reasonably well protected. It's just a pain in the @$$ every time I install a new application, becuase many of them expect to be able to write to c:\winnt or whatever. Is Win2k any better this way? We've been putting our efforts into the Linux setup for the last while...



I have an Ultra66 (3.00 / 1) (#30)
by julian on Sat Sep 30, 2000 at 04:20:36 PM EST

First off, I don't like SuSE. The german words scattered throughout aren't exactly native to all Linux distros.

Anyway, I took out my Ultra66 card, installed Linux, and then put it in. Everything's fine except that I have to boot with a floppy because the Ultra66 automatically makes the hard drive hde instead of hda. Oh well.

Linux is certainly not for everyone. I believe that there are three groups of users: Mac users, anti-Mac users, and CLI users. No, the names don't necessarily have to do with Macs, that's just the names that stuck. Mac users are those who need windows or MacOS... anti-Mac users are the power users who don't want to do everything CLI, but don't want to be limited by Windows/MacOS. I think many of the latest Linux users fit in this category. And then there are CLI users, which have been with Linux/Unix/FreeBSD for quite some time. They love the true power of the command line and use GUIs for a few things...
-- Julian (x-virge)
Re: I have an Ultra66 (3.50 / 2) (#33)
by reverb on Sat Sep 30, 2000 at 09:17:18 PM EST

for 2.2 kernels, put into /etc/lilo.conf

append="pci=reverse"

and for 2.4, replace 'pci' with 'ide'

There you go, hde is now hda.

reverb
With the exception of five, my email address doesn't have numbers.
[ Parent ]

Re: I have an Ultra66 (2.00 / 1) (#57)
by julian on Sun Oct 01, 2000 at 12:37:42 PM EST

Thanks. :)
-- Julian (x-virge)
[ Parent ]
Linux enthusiasts are like gearheads... (3.00 / 2) (#35)
by Bloodwine on Sun Oct 01, 2000 at 12:41:20 AM EST

The one thing I love about Linux is that all the power is there before me... all I have to do is tinker to my heart's content. Just as a gearhead spends his afternoon getting his timing belt aligned perfectly, I spend an afternoon tooling with ipchains to tweak my firewall. The learning process is the fun part. I take pride in getting something to work and have it work efficiently. I do hate to have that demeaned by click-and-drag 'admins' of the linux future. "You edited those files by hand? You're stupid. I used a better way... I used KNetAdmin Pro 2000! It only took me 5 minutes!" "Cool, so are you using DHCP or did you specify static IP's for your LAN?" "DHCP? what's that?"

This is the beauty of Linux (although lately I find myself becoming more of a BSD-head). You have so many choices and so many ways to implement each choice.

Mainstream attention has it's pro's and con's. One of the pro's is obviously better hardware support (or broader, rather). One of the con's is the competitive atmosphere. People seem wrapped up in Windows idealogy. Only one of each type of software can survive: IE or Netscape, MSN or AOL/ICQ, Word or Wordperfect, GNOME or KDE, GTK or QT.

Luckily I do not think the choices will dissappear. Sure, Caldera ships with an installer that can be used by 8 year olds (and leaves little room for install-time customization or so I am told). Red Hat is hellbent on becoming the M$ of the Linux world (RedHat Network? WTF?). Of course, we still have SuSE (YaST1, not YaST2), Debian, and Slackware. And that is all fine and good. Some distros will become Windows-clones and other distros will stay aimed at hackers who tingle at the thought of compiling their own kernels and playing with their tarballs.

Of course, I do foresee a major fork (atleast one) in the distros. Some will probably end up with some sort of registry to replace .conf files (lord knows only why) and have a package deployment/installation system similar to Window's Add/Remove (not RPM, but something far worse). Other distros will stick to tarballs and .conf files.

And even if Linux-land goes to hell, there is always BSD (ever since i've been administrating FreeBSD boxen at work I am thinking of using it to replace my SuSE install at home).



The revolution is open source.... (1.80 / 5) (#40)
by mr on Sun Oct 01, 2000 at 01:13:10 AM EST

and the 150+ different versions of linux all doing things slightly differently from each other has been chosen as the poster child.

So other things like BSD, databases, routing, and user interface issues have all gotten a back seat.

Given your situation, oh original poster, perhaps you would have been happier with BSD. But, with the blinding hype surrounding Linux, you seem to be unaware of BSD.

Re: The revolution is open source.... (none / 0) (#51)
by btlzu2 on Sun Oct 01, 2000 at 09:17:06 AM EST

Oops, should have put it in my poll at least. Actually my shell account at my ISP is exclusively BSD and I know it's a great OS, but there's just so much more available, as far as expertise and support, IMO, for Linux than BSD. Besides, I tried 3 times to FTP BSD a year ago and gave up due to failures. Will try again sometime when I get a spare box! (Sorry about forgetting BSD!!!)
"This machine will not communicate the thoughts and the strain I am under." --Radiohead/Street Spirit (Fade Out)
[ Parent ]
Linux is harder to install but doesn't rot (3.50 / 2) (#41)
by pavlos on Sun Oct 01, 2000 at 01:41:10 AM EST

If the thing you want to install happens to have a Debian package, installation is perfect and painless. You just type "apt-get install foo", or even "apt-get install foo; killall wvdial" and go to bed. No reboots, no compiles, no editing.

If there is no package, and especially if you are installing hardware, it is true that you have to do much more work than you would have to on Windows. However, once you have succeeded, the thing you installed will continue to function flawlessly for many years.

I haven't seen a Windows installation that can do that yet. You install Win95, install some games, argh! everything goes a bit broken. Three months later, time to reinstall. Install Win95SE, install games, BANG! reinstall. Try NT, goes a bit further, oh, my registry is broken. Reinstall. Win98. Appears to work. Install that CD burner. Barf! Reinstall...

So yes, each time you reinstall Win98 it takes less time, but you tend to do it all again every 6 months.

Linux, not for everyone. (3.00 / 1) (#42)
by rawg on Sun Oct 01, 2000 at 01:57:25 AM EST

Linux is not for everyone, this is true. I always hear people say, "could your mom/dad use Linux?" I say, "Can your mom/dad use Windows?" I know my mom and dad can almost use Windows. I know a bunch of other people that can not use Windows. My boss can't use Windows. There is no way these people will be able to use Linux at all.

I like that the masses can't use Linux. I like that Linux is "hard" to use, because its easy for me to use. I like the fact that I can get my work done easier than the masses. With Linux I can get my job done is less time with less problems. I like watching my friends reboot and reinstall over and over. I have not rebooted my computer in months. I have not re-installed my OS in over a year. (Debian) One thing that I have noticed is that they want to learn Linux, but they won't. Thats fine with me.

My point is, I like being "smarter" then them, because most of them time I am not.

Windows == Linux (2.00 / 1) (#43)
by espresso_now on Sun Oct 01, 2000 at 01:57:37 AM EST

Both, are a pain if you've never installed it before. Both have people running to _other_ people when somethings wrong.
-- This will get attached to your comments. Sigs are typically used for quotations or links.
I think I know what went wrong... (3.00 / 1) (#44)
by RadiantMatrix on Sun Oct 01, 2000 at 02:24:17 AM EST

Well, the reason for your experience is multi-faceted:
  • No research done. Slashdot's poll says "if you use this for anything important you're insane." Probably you should have looked at various distributions and compared for your needs. You would have found that SuSE was written in Germany, and has a few translation problems, for starters. You also would find that there are distros that ship for special purposes -- even firewall distros.
  • Old version SuSE 6.2 is OLD - 6.4 has been out for a while. If these are recent problems, that's why!
  • Wrong expectation Windows is designed for everyone - and made for the lowest common denominator. Linux has a sharp learning curve. If you want to do something under Linux, you will have to relearn how to think about OSen, especially if you're only familiar with MS products. I think you expected Linux to just "work out of the box" which isn't feasable - Linux is designed to do it all, so you have to configure it to be the way you want.
  • Short sighted As above, Linux has a curve - but once you learn, I find that maintaining things is easier. I don't know about you, but I think many would rather spend time up front to save it later.
All of that said, I agree that Windows has its place - it is straightforward for everyday use, and that's great for "Joe User". Linux is catching up, though. Besides, I may agree with your conclusion, just not your arguments!
--
I'm not going out with a "meh". I plan to live, dammit. [ZorbaTHut]

Re: I think I know what went wrong... (none / 0) (#52)
by btlzu2 on Sun Oct 01, 2000 at 09:32:37 AM EST

With the "No Research done", I had actually used Redhat, Slackware, and about 2 different *nixes before, almost on a whim, trying SuSe. I had also viewed other sites' reviews on SuSe and found nothing but praise, but, insanely, the Slashdot poll cinched it (stupid, yes, but it was like an omen). I also purposely didn't want a "firewall" distro because I wanted to see how to piece everything together on my own.

Last November, SuSe 6.2 was the most recent version. I now use 6.4. I really like SuSe now, definitely better than RedHat, but I can't pinpoint why. I do like their FTP package installation, which I'm not sure if RedHat has. I think you have to d/l the RPM, then install it with RedHat.

I'm not advocating, at all, that Linux should not be used, or saying that I don't like Linux, or that it should work out of the box. Windows didn't do NAT out of the box either. My point was that if I have to take 6-8 hours as a self-proclaimed geek to get NAT working in Linux compared to 2 in Windows, what the heck are some people thinking when they say "Linux is ready to take over the desktop"? What are they thinking about the average user?

Thanks for the discussion!
"This machine will not communicate the thoughts and the strain I am under." --Radiohead/Street Spirit (Fade Out)
[ Parent ]
Re: I think I know what went wrong... (none / 0) (#62)
by RadiantMatrix on Sun Oct 01, 2000 at 02:52:24 PM EST

Ah, I see. Well, from your article you seemed to be only knocking the one example -- probably you should have told us that you tried others! :)

Anyhow, as far as Linux on the desktop - JUST for desktop use, I think it is ready. My g/f installed Mandrake with no help from me, and got it working. Then I helped to 'tune' it and do a few of the more advanced things she wanted. Thus far, I have seen about the same level of difficulty with new users trying to install Windows. Once Linux comes pre-installed on systems, I think users will find that the experience is just as simple as Windows.
--
I'm not going out with a "meh". I plan to live, dammit. [ZorbaTHut]

[ Parent ]

The difference between an OS and software (4.00 / 4) (#45)
by Pimp Ninja on Sun Oct 01, 2000 at 02:34:00 AM EST

Not to repeat something that has undoubtedly been beaten to death before, but who here really uses an "operating system"? The real life purpose of an OS is NOT to browse websites, compose texts, code apps, or any of that stuff - an OS is a framework upon which the applications that do these things are built. That being said, when it comes to useability, all the OS needs to be held *individually* resposible for is the stability of its code and support for the hardware upon which it runs. Alright, installation is also an issue as well.

Anything else, from the volume of software available to the quality thereof, is the province of the developers. If the apps suck, don't blame the OS, blame the developers.


-----

If we demand from them without offering in return, what are we but better-
dressed muggers holding up the creative at the point of a metaphorical gun?


Re: The difference between an OS and software (none / 0) (#89)
by Rand Race on Mon Oct 02, 2000 at 11:10:05 AM EST

What about filesystems and their means of manipulating files? Memory architechture? Process control?

For example, I use BeOS as my primary desktop OS and have a small Win98 partition for those Win only types of things. On the same box (single proc, no unfair advantage for Be's great SMP), in Be I can play an MP3, watch an MPG, download a file from the net, and be manipulating files at the same time without a hitch in any of those actions. I believe we know what Windows would do under the same load; skip on the MP3 playback, stop the MPG, and throtle down the download while the files copy over... slowly. This is not an app problem or a hardware problem, this is an OS problem.


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

Linux for Everyone: a little case study. (none / 0) (#46)
by Paul Dunne on Sun Oct 01, 2000 at 04:31:46 AM EST

Sabine has had DLD, a rather old Germanised version of RedHat 6.0 (I think), sitting on her machine in uneasy truce with Win98 (just resized one whole-disk partition with fips and hey! presto! there were two) for over a year now. She has used it -- but only as a games platform (oh, the irony). Her prime reason for not moving? Well, applications of course. As we know, it's not that Linux doesn't have applications per se, but it doesn't have the applications she knows and wants to keep using: Excel, Word and Outlook. As far as I can see, I could probably find acceptable replacements for Word (StarOffice?) and Outlook (exmh), but if there's a Linux spreadsheet that has all the features of Excel, I'd love to know about it. sc is good enough for me, but Sabine is a bit of spreadsheet power user.

Other random thoughts from this Linux novice: KDE looks like shit, and works like a poor imitation of Windows; Linux xskat is great, as is xtetris; X's colours aren't as nice as Windows' (?!); Linux printer support rules (she now prints to a good old HP III through my box, but I had no trouble getting her HP DJ690C working perfectly).
http://dunne.home.dhs.org/

Random points (4.00 / 11) (#47)
by pwhysall on Sun Oct 01, 2000 at 05:11:50 AM EST

Microsoft, after that disgusting travesty, Windows 3.x, created an intuitive, easy-to-learn OS, Windows 95. It's not "souped up", it's not ultra-configurable, but you know what? It's functional and gets work done for millions of people.

Windows 3.0 was a mess. 3.1 wasn't much better, but 3.11 (Windows For Workgroups) was and is a functional operating system. If you actually investigate the interface from an HCI point of view the Windows 3 interface is actually BETTER than the Windows 95 one, because it is MORE intuitive and MORE consistent. Inconsistency is what kills usability.

Windows 95 had to cross the Rubicon in terms of going from 16-bit to 32-bit support. The end result is some very, very clever code (I'm particularly thinking about the 32->16 bit thunking layer) and some astoundingly dumb ideas (the registry, shortcuts, VFAT, the Start menu). As someone who works tech support and sys admin, I can safely say that Windows 95 boxen generate more work than NT boxen - they break in a large number of random ways and are very hard to fix. Roll on Windows 2000.

For example, Linux bigots would say (and have said to me): "If people can't understand how computers work, they shouldn't use them." Isn't that a great attitude? Imagine if Tesla or Edison said, you have to learn the principles of electricity before turning on a light bulb? Ludicrous.

A computer is not a light bulb, nor is it a toaster, a washing machine nor a TV set. It is quite easily the most complex device most people own. It's certainly more complex than your car, both in terms of technology and the knowledge required to operate it. The public has been brainwashed into thinking that using a computer MUST be easy AT ALL COSTS.

Stop. Think. No-one objects to taking their driving test, and actually learning to drive a car, right? But they expect to be able to use a general purpose computer for anything they want without any training or prior knowledge?

Given that premise, I think every OS vendor on the planet has a major hill to climb, with a 50KG bag of stones on their back (because it's not only got to be EASIER, it's got to be FASTER and BETTER).

The bottom line is that people are lazy. People are too lazy to press F1 or type their question into Clippy's box; yet these people would probably read the instructions for their food processor or their power saw if they didn't work. I have no sympathy for people who are too lazy to even TRY to read the instructions.
--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown

(OT) Re: Random points (2.00 / 1) (#56)
by kkeller on Sun Oct 01, 2000 at 12:05:00 PM EST

No-one objects to taking their driving test, and actually learning to drive a car, right?

In California we do! :-)

[ Parent ]

Re: Random points (2.00 / 1) (#60)
by scheme on Sun Oct 01, 2000 at 02:04:37 PM EST

A computer is not a light bulb, nor is it a toaster, a washing machine nor a TV set. It is quite easily the most complex device most people own. It's certainly more complex than your car, both in terms of technology and the knowledge required to operate it.

Actually I think that some cars are just as complex as computers especially the newer sports cars. A lot of them, continually monitor and adjust fuel mixtures to get optimal performance, check the performance and status of various sensors and systems, and a lot of other things. Plus it's all done in a fault tolerant way.

Even if a computers do require more knowledge, the emphasis should be on making them easier to use. As analogy planes and spacecraft both are just as complex or more so than computers but don't require that the pilots know the details of how the control surfaces are moved in response to the yoke or stick. Likewise, computer users shouldn't be forced to know how dynamic libraries work or how X handles displays in order to type a document. Just like for planes, software should focus on presenting a clean easily understood interface so that the user can concentrate on what they're doing rather than how things are done.


"Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT'S relativity." --Albert Einstein


[ Parent ]
Re: Random points (5.00 / 1) (#84)
by Quirk on Mon Oct 02, 2000 at 04:50:14 AM EST

I'd like to recommend a fascinating little essay that was written by Neal Stephenson entitled In The Beginning Was The Command Line, in which he discussed (among other things) the trade-off of usability against power in OSes including Linux.

Oh, and I rather suspect that Einstein quote is apochryphal...

Quirk

[ Parent ]

Re: Random points (none / 0) (#96)
by chinhdo on Mon Oct 02, 2000 at 10:23:28 PM EST

I think computer software can and will be made more and more user friendly. I am not a fan of people who call tech support for every little thing without trying to even read the full-color 10-page how-to guide... generally however, most people don't want to have to spend an hour reading a manual for anything. Most errors that novice users encounter can be avoided by smarter software design and more usability testing. Think about the user-friendliness of the average computer error message. Most of the time I think it's the programmers who should be blamed instead not the users (By the way I am a programmer).

Software makers should keep trying to make their programs easier to use instead of blaming people for being too lazy to read the manuals.

[ Parent ]
Learning to Do Stuff is the key. (4.50 / 4) (#50)
by WWWWolf on Sun Oct 01, 2000 at 07:31:35 AM EST

One thing I've noticed is that people (aka. the "big masses") don't like to learn. I see that as a disturbing trait; In computer world, the Law of the Jungle says "Learn, or suffer from your laziness".

But show the people a bit more what this wonderful magic box called Computer can do; I guess they'll be much more eager to learn. People just love it when they can make themselves more productive - and that's achieved by knowing how to program. Maybe market like this: "Word VBA course: Oppressed by vile capitalists? Is the work pain? Learn how to make your daily paperwork easier by knowing how to program! Apply now, and become a high-income slacker in a few weeks!" =)

I think there needs to be a major attitude change. For example, if it's possible the basic education should include computer courses. Computer literacy to everyone, I say.

And by "computer literacy" I don't mean "How to boot the machine and start Word / MSIE / OutlookExpress". Sure, word processing is important for those who need it, and the Internet use is definitely kewl. What I ask for is something, um, broader: Some programming, some trickier applications, some administrative tasks.

And if possible, the education should not focus on just Windows, maybe Macs and BeOS too, or even some *NIX variant (even if it's just Pine to read mail). People would see that even if it's a different OS, it is still entirely possible to use.

Once you've seen one system, you've seen 'em all.

Now, The Masses may be thinking "Linux is tricky; I don't bother because this already works." But with courses like that, people would think "Linux is tricky; but then again, I made it through the administration thing and that was pretty tricky too. Maybe I'll survive."

Just a few observations...


-- Weyfour WWWWolf, a lupine technomancer from the cold north...


Re: Learning to Do Stuff is the key. (2.00 / 2) (#65)
by PrettyBoyTim on Sun Oct 01, 2000 at 06:46:10 PM EST

Most people don't want to learn Linux because there seems no good reason to do so, and I quite agree with them. If they can do the same thing on a computer in a different OS, why bother with one that which makes most things a lot harder?

That's fine if you happen to enjoy spending all your time tinkering on a computer, but a lot of people would rather be doing something else.

[ Parent ]
Re: Learning to Do Stuff is the key. (1.00 / 1) (#88)
by WWWWolf on Mon Oct 02, 2000 at 08:53:43 AM EST

That's fine if you happen to enjoy spending all your time tinkering on a computer, but a lot of people would rather be doing something else.

...they say, and use the same less productive ways as they used before. Well, their choice, their loss. I'm not complaining. Impatience with computers is not good if you're not a Perl programmer.

My advice to those who are about to quit and get back to Old Stuff: "Relax, it will all become clear in time." =)

-- Weyfour WWWWolf, a lupine technomancer from the cold north...


[ Parent ]
Re: Learning to Do Stuff is the key. (3.50 / 2) (#68)
by freezeup on Sun Oct 01, 2000 at 09:13:53 PM EST

Maybe market like this: "Word VBA course: Oppressed by vile capitalists? Is the work pain? Learn how to make your daily paperwork easier by knowing how to program! Apply now, and become a high-income slacker in a few weeks!" =)

People shouldn't have to learn how to program in order to do paperwork. This is a sign of misapplication of technology to task.

One thing I've noticed is that people (aka. the "big masses") don't like to learn.

Or maybe they can't learn. As you get older, it becomes harder to learn new things. That's why your parents can't program their VCR.

I used to work with the "big masses", at a non-geek temp-slave job in a fairly standard office. Most people there had laminated certificates announcing their accomplishments in training courses for "Intermediate Word" or "Advanced Access". These same people would create lists of figures in Excel and then work out the totals by adding them up with a calculator. It wasn't even the calculator in Windows, it was an honest-to-goodness real-life calculator (it probably had someone's name stuck on the back of it - these office types get a bit territorial over that kind of thing...).

I could explain, demonstrate, inform as much as I liked. It never sank in. They kept on doing things the way they knew how to do them, even though this made a mockery of these 'powerful' pieces of software the mgmt had invested in to help them work smarter, and not harder. (I, on the other hand, knocked up a few macros and then spent the rest of my days emailing my girlfriend, surfing the web, and teaching myself HTML, PHP, JavaScript and Perl).

I could probably put 3-5 of them out of a job by automating the stupid, mindless, tedious, routine work that they do with Perl, but they were nice people, and that would be bad...

I see that as a disturbing trait; In computer world, the Law of the Jungle says "Learn, or suffer from your laziness".

The Law of the Jungle == evolutionary imperative

Technology routes around evolution - that's why the folks with glasses are working highly-paid computer jobs instead of being eaten by predators while their 20/20-sighted brethren make their escape...

j

Just Another Perl Slacker...



[ Parent ]
Re: Learning to Do Stuff is the key. (3.00 / 1) (#87)
by WWWWolf on Mon Oct 02, 2000 at 08:45:38 AM EST

People shouldn't have to learn how to program in order to do paperwork. This is a sign of misapplication of technology to task.

No, I meant that it'd make them more productive, never said it'd be a requirement... and knowing how to program isn't a requirement for using Linux, either, but it helps =)

To the other stuff:

If someone really is, ahem, computer-challenged enough to make pointless things like you mentioned, I don't think it's worthwhile to "teach old dogs new tricks". If you can't learn stuff, don't, but always at least try... =)

- W4, who expects he'll be still using Linux when he's 80. =)

-- Weyfour WWWWolf, a lupine technomancer from the cold north...


[ Parent ]
Re: Learning to Do Stuff is the key. (3.00 / 2) (#75)
by GandalfGreyhame on Sun Oct 01, 2000 at 10:49:03 PM EST

You forget though, that alot of people, as in, most of our parents, dont' view computers as a hobby, or something fun. They view computers as a tool, and they want something that works when you turn it on, does what you need it to do with a minimal of fuss, and then sits dark in the corner until you need it again. So, why should they change when [Windows/Mac/whatever] does the job just fine?

That's probably one of the reasons that I love BeOS so much. It works immediately when I turn it on, I can do what I want and I can do it quicker than I can under windows. And when I feel like playing with it, as in, more than just a tool, there's plenty of fun to be had. It makes a pretty darn fun Batmobile too :)

-G

[ Parent ]

Baloney, baloney, baloney (3.00 / 5) (#53)
by yelvington on Sun Oct 01, 2000 at 10:50:50 AM EST

I don't know which is worse: The original posting, or the "Linux is not for everyone, it's only intended for us kewel doodz" elitist nonsense in the followups.

Some oddball distribution, possibly outdated, wouldn't install on your new PC? So what? WinME won't install on mine. Proves nothing one way or the other. If you need USB and UltraDMA66 support, get a Linux distribution that supports it. That's like buying 16-inch tires for 15-inch wheels and then complaining that they don't work.

As for user-friendly, I can drive down to Best Buy and pick up a Linux box that's for everybody, made by Philips or Sony. It plugs into a TV set and a phone line, and it records/plays back video. No Unix administration skills are required. I was at Circuit City the other day. They had a demo unit of AOL TV, which is not yet available but which I believe is yet another Linux-based appliance. You can't get more "for the masses" than AOL.

Linux comes in a lot of flavors. If you pick a flavor you don't like, that says nothing about the others. Try another one.

And for Pete's sake, if you have a cable modem, don't mail-order CDs.

Hear hear (3.80 / 5) (#55)
by Rainy on Sun Oct 01, 2000 at 10:53:38 AM EST

In linux, everything is hard to do the first time. If you figure out how to do that once, you're all set. In windows, it's easy to do it once but you will eventually run into limitations (and, well, there's bloat and instability). Since we only learn once, but use our learned knowledge for a long time (especially in a unix-based system, where basics are the same they were 30 years ago). So you say 'well most people don't care for that extra power and flexibility'. Yeah well, I'll concur with that, BUT consider that computers are bound to play more and more important role in our lives, and if you take some guy, who's 25 or 30 today, even if he's not into computers big time, knowing coding and sophisticated unix-like system will definitely come in handy. The time he spends learning linux is *not* wasted. If you're talking about your 70 year old grandma who just wants to send you emails once in a while, give her a webtv or something.
Also, I want to criticize this whole 'right tool for the job' thing. Duh. That's not the argument, it never is. The real question is - what *is* the right tool? If windows fits the bill today, will it tomorrow? Perhaps it's better to spend a week or a month studying a system that will do better in the long run?
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
Leave linux where it belongs, on the servers (2.66 / 6) (#58)
by electricbarbarella on Sun Oct 01, 2000 at 12:55:53 PM EST

Don't get me wrong, I like linux. I have a lovely little partition on my box with a copy of Mandrake living in moderate harmony with the world. I never, ever use it.

Sure, if i had a happy little bit of broadband in my life, I'd scrap together a little p-pro box (or some such) and use it as a firewall and ftp/httpd/email/half-life type server, with my windows box routed through it to the godless wonders of the internet, but a server is all i'd use it for.

Windows is a great desktop system. It supports massive amounts of hardware, has more software available for it than any other OS today (disclaimer: i have no idea if this is true or not. it just feels right), and is capable of uptimes of two or three days, which is all you need for your gaming/web-surfing/porn-viewing/word-processing machine.

Linux has its place. It's on the server.

-Andy Martin, Home of the Whopper.
Not everything is quantifiable.
Re: Leave linux where it belongs, on the servers (3.00 / 2) (#61)
by Paul Dunne on Sun Oct 01, 2000 at 02:18:04 PM EST

Of course! Jesus, what an idiot I am! I wish I'd had a guy like you to advise me back in 1994. I might never have succumbed to what I now see to be an obvious delusion. By the way, Unix has been on the desktop since the early seventies.

If anyone reading actually wants real information, rather than uninformed opinionating, check my home page, or any other among thousands, for details of using Linux on the (dare I say it?) desktop.
http://dunne.home.dhs.org/
[ Parent ]

Re: Leave linux where it belongs, on the servers (2.50 / 2) (#69)
by electricbarbarella on Sun Oct 01, 2000 at 09:15:10 PM EST

Did i at ANY point say that linux/unix COULDN'T be used on the desktop? no. my point is that it is inferior as a desktop system (unless the only thing you do is wordprocess and email).

example: mp3s. i've tried a number of players for linux, and none of them has the same audio quality as sonique or winamp for windows.

....ahhhhh sweet nyquil

-Andy Martin, Home of the Whopper.
Not everything is quantifiable.
[ Parent ]
Re: Leave linux where it belongs, on the servers (2.00 / 1) (#77)
by Colonol_Panic on Mon Oct 02, 2000 at 12:05:01 AM EST

example: mp3s. i've tried a number of players for linux, and none of them has the same audio quality as sonique or winamp for windows.

As near as I can possibly tell, Xmms is identical in just about every way to Winamp. There are some minor quirks, but sound output is not one of them. Did you ever think that maybe it's a support issue with your sound card? Bad drivers cause even more problems than bad software.
Here's my DeCSS mirror. Where's Yours?
[ Parent ]

Re: Leave linux where it belongs, on the servers (2.00 / 1) (#79)
by electricbarbarella on Mon Oct 02, 2000 at 12:07:05 AM EST

this could be the case. i've got an Ensoniq AudioPCI, which sounds decent enough in windows, and Mandrake CLAIMS to support it. However, be it the drivers or the codec, it still sounds like crap in linux

-Andy Martin, Home of the Whopper.
Not everything is quantifiable.
[ Parent ]
Re: Leave linux where it belongs, on the servers (1.00 / 2) (#82)
by Paul Dunne on Mon Oct 02, 2000 at 02:37:12 AM EST

You are so clueless it's untrue.
http://dunne.home.dhs.org/
[ Parent ]
Re: Leave linux where it belongs, on the servers (none / 0) (#92)
by cypherpunks on Mon Oct 02, 2000 at 03:06:29 PM EST

Ah...that's a useful comment. Go back to /. you troll!

[ Parent ]
Re: Leave linux where it belongs, on the servers (none / 0) (#94)
by Paul Dunne on Mon Oct 02, 2000 at 03:58:34 PM EST

Ah, of course, "cypherpunks", the well-known contributor to kuro5hin, whose many contributions include...er...oh, nothing. You were saying?
http://dunne.home.dhs.org/
[ Parent ]
Re: Leave linux where it belongs, on the servers (4.00 / 1) (#63)
by Farq Q. Fenderson on Sun Oct 01, 2000 at 05:45:59 PM EST

I almost agree, I just wish that more people had your attitude, actually. I prefer Linux as a server OS because that's the kind of OS I want to use. I *don't* want a GUI, I want a CLI. I want something that maybe 5% of the *hardcore* users can stand to use.

All this "windows manager" development is, in my eyes, a waste of time. Seriously, X is about as buggy as your standard Win32 inplementation.

I'm using lynx to make this post, BTW.

Disclaimer: this is pure opinion.

farq will not be coming back
[ Parent ]
Re: Leave linux where it belongs, on the servers (none / 0) (#95)
by Nickus on Mon Oct 02, 2000 at 04:36:56 PM EST

You say you want to use a server OS... doesn't that make it your workstation OS at the same time? And who says that a server can't use a GUI interface. And what is a hardcore user in your definition. Am I hardcore when I just you my shell-prompt to do all my work? Am I hardcore when I use vi? Am I hardcore when I code all my utilities in C (without any manpages).

Ofcourse the CLI is important but the GUI is good for your productivity too. Or do you have 50+ sessions to different computers on your hardcore console?



Due to budget cuts, light at end of tunnel will be out. --Unknown
[ Parent ]
Re: Leave linux where it belongs, on the servers (none / 0) (#98)
by Farq Q. Fenderson on Tue Oct 03, 2000 at 09:06:49 AM EST

What I mean is that I want to use an OS that's targetted to be a server only, and not an end-user OS. The reason is that "dumbed-down" interfaces (most especially poor visual metaphors) are a waste of time. I stopped using windows because it was a waste of my time, and I'll never touch RedHat -- Slackware has become almost intolerable. It's a personal thing.

It's as if any machine that would ever be operated beyond its initial setup has to be dumbed down to the lowest common denominator. It's as if you can't even find a good box to develop on, since everyone assumes you want to use their stupid SDK. I'll take a text editor and a compiler, thanks.

I truely don't care if I'm the only one that feels this way, but it only pisses me off when poeple assume I'm trying to say that they should feel this way.

farq will not be coming back
[ Parent ]
Re: Leave linux where it belongs, on the servers (1.00 / 1) (#72)
by simmons75 on Sun Oct 01, 2000 at 09:32:32 PM EST

Dammit; I'm such a moron. I guess that plopping a Linux-Mandrake 7.1 machine, letting the automated install install standard stuff, then doing a graphical login to get to KDE is just too hard for most people.
poot!
So there.

[ Parent ]
Re: Leave linux where it belongs, on the servers (2.00 / 1) (#83)
by Paul Dunne on Mon Oct 02, 2000 at 02:51:13 AM EST

Hey, another victim of Linux! Maybe we should form a support-group! Or better, we could have a web-log dedicated, among other things, to free software, where we could go to discuss... er, wait a minute...
http://dunne.home.dhs.org/
[ Parent ]
...Fine for average John Doe? (1.33 / 6) (#59)
by bottgeek on Sun Oct 01, 2000 at 12:56:35 PM EST

This article has to be one of the most partial I have ever read on this informative site. Being a user of Windows for six years (just changed to 98) I have never suffered any problems. I fail to see where (many of) you Linux users come from saying that Windows is not on the same tier as Linux. Furthermore, what is the writer trying to say "...but isn't windows fine for the average John Doe?" What kind of a question is that? Of course it is fine, no not fine: perfect. Flame me all you want for saying that. The truth is that I have never had problems with Windows. Maybe some users just don't know how to use it.
I like food! Food tastes good!
Eh? (3.00 / 1) (#64)
by sasha on Sun Oct 01, 2000 at 06:22:21 PM EST

Well, I suppose SuSE may be responsible for some of the negative aspects of the story. SuSE certainly isn't the most friendly distribution I know, although many complete Linux newbies make the unfortunate mistake of installing it.

I run Mandrake 6.0 (and always will use it as a base) with upgraded packages from 7.0+, and I never had problems setting up ethernet or IP Masq on any arena, be it using silly GUI tools or banging it out by command line. Most concise RedHat derivatives in general are somewhat less arcane than SuSE. Perhaps the author of the article was just turned off by the experience of trying out SuSE.

Linux certainly isn't for everyone, but it's for a lot more people than it's given credit for. It's very usable if you simply make the right choice as to how to go about it.
--- Signal SIGSIG received. Signature too long.

installing windows vs. linux. (none / 0) (#66)
by AtomZombie on Sun Oct 01, 2000 at 06:52:13 PM EST

i am sure i am being redundant, but has anyone tried installing windows? i suggest attempting to install windows 98, then install yer favourite linux distribution afterward. the difference will feel like you just sharpened all your knives.


atomic.

"why did they have to call it UNIX. that's kind of... ewww." -mom.
Addendum... (4.00 / 1) (#70)
by mindstrm on Sun Oct 01, 2000 at 09:17:48 PM EST

I've given this topic a lot of thought.

Most laypeople will tell me that Linux is harder to install than Windows. Of course, when a non-techie says it's 'easier', they mean easier for them.

It IS easier for them. They don't have bizarre hardware, and don't know or care about details such as hard drive partitioning. They also don't care about being able to install over a network, booting over a network, etc. They simply want 'windows to be installed'.

Now take the techie...
I find it horribly confusing trying to rememeber which versions of windows are going to automatically do what to my MBR without asking. Oh.. and those recovery disks that come with HP workstations and such? The ones that automatically repartition everything? Those are HORRIBLY confusing for me. How do I know what it will do? Us techies like linux because it lets us make our OWN choices at every stage, from a large array of possibilities. Now, of course, most modern distributions also have some kind of 'dummy' fast track install for newbies. ANd these work.. surprise, about as well (a little better even) than windows installs do. Certainly faster. (lastest mandrake has a nice install for newbies).


Now. I can think of several people who were self professed 'computer dummies' through installing linux. Know what they told me afterwards? THat they liked it because they actually LEARNED something about their computer when they installed it. It didn't just say 'okay, done', it asked them a few questions, causing them to look for answers. And that was their first step into learning how to do stuff in linux. Surprising how that 'computer dummy', who still thinks of himself as a dummy, is now whipping up his own bash scripts, adding stuff to his rc files for startup, and even compiled a few things, taking the time to edit some source to change words here and there. Trivial, but *way* beyond what most people would even think they are capable of.



[ Parent ]
Re: Addendum... (none / 0) (#80)
by darthaya on Mon Oct 02, 2000 at 12:19:10 AM EST

Well, most of your comment is right, except one fact. If you have "Bizzare" hardware, it is more likely you wont get it installed on Linux. (bizzare, but not ancient)

[ Parent ]
Most Windows users *don't* install it themselves (2.66 / 3) (#67)
by freezeup on Sun Oct 01, 2000 at 08:26:16 PM EST

Installation, while not the steepest part of the Linux learning curve, is the first obstacle encountered by those on the path to enlightenment. Installers are getting more and more sophisticated (RH 6.2 is v. nice...), but most first-time Linux users are installing alongside a windows partition, and have to deal with the inscrutable interface of Disk Druid (or, god forbid, fdisk).

Installing Windows isn't always a piece of cake, particularly if you have non-PnP hardware, or are setting up networking (and as for dealing with multiple NICS... oy!). This isn't a problem for John Q Average though - he buys his PC with Windows preinstalled. The 'Windows is easy to use' fallacy is generally revealed when JQA tries to install his new USB doohickey and the Magic Setup CD fails to work properly.

When Helix Gnome, KDE2 and Mozilla are really ready for prime time, and a Linux-based PC can provide a reasonable Windows-a-like environment (Gnome w/Redmond95 theme and only 1 virtual desktop, an office suite, Outlook clone, Web Browser and gnapster...), PC manufacturers will start shipping Linux preinstalled on consumer-focused machines. If they can offer a product which is ~90% compatible with Windows file formats and offers the same or better functionality, but doesn't cost them money in software licensing fees, don't you think they will?

Personally, I find myself using Windows because:

  • I'm used to the environment - actions like ctrl-c and ctrl-v for copy and paste are second nature to me.
  • Most of the stuff I do in Linux is from the console, so it can be done just as easily via telnet.
  • As a web developer, ~80% of my target users are using Internet Explorer, so I'd best proof my stuff in that.
  • I can't find a decent text editor for X (something along the lines of TextPad would be nice.)


Several problems here. (2.00 / 3) (#71)
by simmons75 on Sun Oct 01, 2000 at 09:28:06 PM EST

You have several problems with your column; I just hope you haven't unnecessarily turned people away from Linux. :^(

1. You apparently didn't research your hardware. A lot of hardware is, unfortunately, designed to be configed from hardware, and the software is generally Windows-only. A lot of hardware doesn't come with documentation, and when manufacturers provide an API, it generally can only be produced by signing an NDA(Non-Disclosure Agreement.) As you can imagine, it's a bit impossible to base Open Source software on information you obtained by signing an NDA. Gateway (IIRC) is infamous for shipping their own hardware...I'm sure their tech support would be happy to inform you that there are Windows drivers for their hardware. :^) Hardware, unfortunately, is designed for the Windows world and we're just the poor suckers who have to live in a "me-too" world. You can help bring an end to this.

2. This goes back to question 1: you seem to assume that the only way one will ever get Linux onto a home PC is to install it yourself at home. Bad assumption. Many people assumed that DOS wouldn't succumb to Windows (even though they came from the same source, more or less.) Manufacturers are starting to show more interest in shipping Linux on machines. A good thing, IMHO. Most people will simply use what's on their machines; I'd be willing to be that the way Microsoft Office won the office suite wars is because Microsoft gave such great discounts to OEM vendors.

3. You trusted a Slashdot poll? :^)

4. Linux is a kernel; more broadly, Linux is a set of systems based on the Linux kernel (I'll get about 10 flames stating "GNU/Linux, not Linux" but I rather think that it was Linux completing the GNU system, not GNU completing the Linux system, so in *my* posts it will be "Linux.") SuSE doesn't represent the whole of the Linux world. Shame on you for suggesting it does.

5. It's October. You're talking about last November. Shame on you. :^)

/*
However, would I want to have my Mom or Dad, or even worse, my Grandma put through a configuration (or use) of Linux when I have quick, easy, and fairly stable (for their purposes) Windows 98 to offer them?
*/
Shame on you again. I recently did a Linux-Mandrake install about the same time as a from-scratch Win98 install. Linux-Mandrake was a snap. Windows? Sheesh...took an *entire Sunday* just to get something that half-assed worked. Linux-Mandrake was, from plopping in the CD to actually reading Slashdot, a couple of hours.

poot!
So there.

Re: Several problems here. (none / 0) (#90)
by Gyles on Mon Oct 02, 2000 at 12:05:04 PM EST

> However, would I want to have my Mom or Dad, or even worse, my Grandma
> put through a configuration (or use) of Linux when I have
> quick, easy, and fairly stable (for their purposes) Windows 98 to offer them?


I'd have to disagree. My mother-in-law wanted to access the internet. Not much else. I used an inherited 486, 32M RAM. It'll run netscape, X and a light window manager just fine. Suits her, and it works. No funny crashes - so I don't have to support it.

I wouldn't try running '98 on that machine.

[ Parent ]
Maybe I'm missing something here... (none / 0) (#74)
by squeakyweasel on Sun Oct 01, 2000 at 10:46:22 PM EST

I'm a network administrator for my mom's school and do random work on the side for those people who need help but don't want to call one of those professionals that rack up a huge bill. I have installed Windows (3.x, 95, 98, ME, NT 4 Workstation, Server, Terminal Server, 2000 Prof, Server, Advanced Server) tons of times and have also install several linux distrobutions (RedHat, Mandrake, old school Debian, SlackWare, etc) and even FreeBSD where I work. I really don't see why Linux users hammer on Microsoft people. Win9x/ME isn't all that great but I've always been a fan of NT 4.0 and Win2000 as they are quite stable and secure. As far as installing stuff goes, I don't know where freezeup got his idea of where Windows users don't actually install their stuff. What about Debian's apt-get or RPM? As far as linux distrobutions go for sharing internet connections, I recoment Coyote Linux which was coded for that sort of thing. Not to mention, it's got some useful servers (DHCP) to ease up the proccess a bit for new people. Linux is for some people who want a challenge as far as operating systems go. Windows is for people who want a more widely used enviroment that's fairly easy to use. And then there's Mac OS, but we won't get into that. =) Anyway, there's my two cents. --Weasel http://www.squeakyweasel.net

--Weasel

Maybe I'm Missing Something...? (2.00 / 1) (#76)
by squeakyweasel on Sun Oct 01, 2000 at 10:50:33 PM EST

I'm a network administrator for my mom's school and do random work on the side for those people who need help but don't want to call one of those professionals that rack up a huge bill. I have installed Windows (3.x, 95, 98, ME, NT 4 Workstation, Server, Terminal Server, 2000 Prof, Server, Advanced Server) tons of times and have also install several linux distrobutions (RedHat, Mandrake, old school Debian, SlackWare, etc) and even FreeBSD where I work. I really don't see why Linux users hammer on Microsoft people. Win9x/ME isn't all that great but I've always been a fan of NT 4.0 and Win2000 as they are quite stable and secure. As far as installing stuff goes, I don't know where freezeup got his idea of where Windows users don't actually install their stuff. What about Debian's apt-get or RPM?

As far as linux distrobutions go for sharing internet connections, I recoment Coyote Linux which was coded for that sort of thing. Not to mention, it's got some useful servers (DHCP) to ease up the proccess a bit for new people. Linux is for some people who want a challenge as far as operating systems go.

Windows is for people who want a more widely used enviroment that's fairly easy to use. And then there's Mac OS, but we won't get into that. =)

Anyway, there's my two cents.
--Weasel
http://www.squeakyweasel.net

--Weasel

Linux not for everyone, and other platitudes (4.00 / 2) (#81)
by tyler_durden on Mon Oct 02, 2000 at 12:43:09 AM EST

Yes, Linux isn't for everyone. It would be a sad day if Linux had 90%+ market share of the desktop, for the same reason that having Microsoft the monopoly on the desktop isn't good either: they both "suck". Before you flame, let me say that by using the word "suck" I mean that they are created by humans, duh, and have flaws. You see, all operating systems "suck", it's just a matter of which one "sucks" less for you. I use Linux my main desktop OS because I _like_ Linux, I am used to the way things work under Gnome, and used to the way things work under the CLI - hence it "sucks" less for me to use it rather than using Win9x/ME/NT/2K.


But as far as letting my mom and dad use it? Not at least for another few years. I'd have to see a few things come together - Evolution e-mail client, GPL'ed StarOffice suite that works with 99% of Microsoft Office file formats, a decent browser (perhaps Mozilla? or perhaps Galeon?), printer support (and I don't just mean some filters written in Perl, CUPS is going in the right direction I think), TrueType font support (I know, XFree86 4.x supports this, but I want Linux distro vendors to include some FreeType fonts and _enable_ them by default, please correct me if any vendor is doing this right now), and more games for my little brother. The last item isn't mandatory, per se, but for those that by the best hardware, install the latest drivers, etc. this would drive adoption of Linux even faster, IMHO. Of course, even if all of this were to be done in a few years, and I think it can be, I would still only shoot for 10 - 15% of the total overall desktop market - which is still very impressive if it can be obtained.


Those, who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. -Ben Franklin Historical Review of Constitution and Government of Pennsylvania
What's the damn point of your computer? (2.50 / 2) (#85)
by Miniluv on Mon Oct 02, 2000 at 05:46:35 AM EST

Alright, buckle up as this is gonna be a LONG post. There's SO many questions begged by this whole discussion...here's my thoughts.

1)Linux everywhere? Today, defintely not. Someday? Maybe...but I rather hope not, as competition fuels improvement. "The Man" has said linux is not ready for the primetime desktop market yet, and I have to agree...there's a slew of issues needing resolution before Linux is 100% ready for any market.

2)Just for servers? How about not for every server yet...Linux does NOT have the features of an enterprise server yet...things like a journalled file system (JFS port not there yet), a robust scheduler, support for huge files (Coming soon), the list goes on. There's still a place for Solaris, AIX, Tru64/OSF/Digital/Newnamecomingsoon, and all the other established mainstays.

3)Having the "full power" of the OS at your fingertips is well and good, I love tinkering with my kernels as much as the next guy, but it's not a "feature". The things that rebuilding your kernel in linux provides are configurable through settings in the Windows registry, and equivalent tuning functions in other Unix variants, Linux just needs some time to mature before this becomes true here as well.

4)A desktop for "the masses" is SUPPOSED to limit access...Lowest Common Denominator...I do NOT want to have to help my mom after she toasts her boot process because Win98 made it available to her...she doesn't NEED to mess with it, so why provide an interface? If YOU need to reconfigure booting, get an OS that supports it.

It boils down to "Right tool for the job" I wouldn't use a screwdriver to nail something down, and I wouldn't use a hammer to remove a screw. There's nothing WRONG with that. If I want an easy to install GUI with solid hardware support, I'm going to install windows. If I want a highly customizable server environment, I'm gonna install some form of Unix...these are the things they've been intended for.

For what's it worth:

I run 1 FreeBSD 4.0-Stable machine for HTTP/FTP/SMTP/POP3/NAT functionality.

I use a Win2k machine for day to day workstation type functionality, as 2k and NT4 are all I CAN use to take advantage of my SMP setup.

I play with a Redhat 7 machine with Gnome to become intimately familiar with the workings of X windows before I pass judgement on the current state of affairs.

I don't think this poster did the legwork to pick an appropriate distro, I don't think their viewpoint is particularly rational or well supported, but they unintentionally raised a damn good point.

"If God had a beard he'd be a UNIX programmer"
"Its like someone opened my mouth and stuck a fistful of herbs in it." - Tamio Kageyama, Iron Chef 'Battle Eggplant'

Re: What's the damn point of your computer? (5.00 / 1) (#86)
by daani on Mon Oct 02, 2000 at 08:17:35 AM EST

There's still a place for Solaris, AIX, Tru64/OSF/Digital/Newnamecomingsoon, and all the other established mainstays.

I tell you what would be better though, if you could get a GNU/Solaris system out of the box. 'Cos when I use one of the UNIXes the thing which bugs you is the low quality of the utilities, and all the gnu extensions that you always thought was standard (my most hated program is the grep that comes with solaris). They might do some whiz-bang network shit a bit better, but when you come to actually use the things to develop on the biggest thing you miss about linux is the gnu tools and toys.



[ Parent ]

Re: What's the damn point of your computer? (none / 0) (#93)
by Miniluv on Mon Oct 02, 2000 at 03:33:10 PM EST

This I'll most heartily agree with...GNU has put out some excellent utilities and whatnot...excellent even discounting the tottally free nature of them. It's amazing looking at the total number of programs, GPL and not, that require GNU make, autoconf, bison, etc to build. You ever tried installing GNU tools onto a Solaris machine? I spent 4 hours before I gave up and made someone else responsible for the damn box.
"Its like someone opened my mouth and stuck a fistful of herbs in it." - Tamio Kageyama, Iron Chef 'Battle Eggplant'
[ Parent ]
Is Win really that easy? (none / 0) (#91)
by dabadab on Mon Oct 02, 2000 at 01:20:52 PM EST

A random experience: last weekend my neighbour has asked me if I could help him with his new internet connection.
Being a nice guy ;), I decided to help him.
First problem: configuration of Outlook.
This was the first time I have ever seen Outlook - and, to make things worse, this was a Hungarian version (I am Hungarian ;) Of course I tried to use help but it was not too helpful and it took time to understand MS's weird concepts of internet connection.
It took me over an hour to configure the damn thing - not that I did not know what to do, but I am used to fetchmail, exim and the rest, so it was a bewildering experience.
Next problem: getting the modem to work.
It reported no error messages, there was no log to look in - it just simply did not connect. I did not have the slightest idea about what could have gone wrong - but at least I found a term90.exe (yeah, terminal emulator of the Norton Commander) and I could determine that there was no carrier. Uh.
After this, things worked more or less as expected.
It just took nearly two long, frustrating hours.
(I could have done the same thing on Linux about 10 mintues)

ps: MY mom runs linux (+dosemu to access some of her older applications)
--
Real life is overrated.
My windows experience (none / 0) (#97)
by Dacta on Tue Oct 03, 2000 at 03:08:29 AM EST

I like Windows. There... I said it... sue me.

I do hate installing it, though, and I find Linux much easier. Here's my story:

I had a nice dual boot Nt4/Mandrake system. The HD died, so I decided it was time to upgrade Linux.

I wipe the Mandrake parition, and stick in RedHat6.2 CD(the most recent thing I had available). Boots up, installs fine. Detects Modem, CD burner - everthing works. No problems.

I (try to) install NT4. I have a genuine copy of NT, so that's okay... except it won't recognise big hard drives! But wait, you say... isn't the the problem Linux is supposed to have? Perhaps, but it worked okay for me, and my circa-98 CD of NT4 wouldn't.

So I do a web search.. it's fixed in Service Pack 4. Okay... I have SP4/5/6 on magazine CDs... but how can I install that when I can't install the OS in the first place? Turns out there is a patch... so I get that, and that works. I get NT4 installed, then begin work on fixing it up. I (try to) install IE5 - unfortunaltly that requires SP6. So I install SP6, then IE5.5. That goes fine - but then I install Visual Studio. Naturally, that overwrites some SP6 files, so now dial-up networking won't work, and I need to install SP6. Unfortunatly, IE5.5 installed 128bit encyption, and SP6 only came with 56bit, so it won't install over the top. SP6a is out, which corrects that, but I can't download it, because (a)t is 60Meg+ and I've got a 56K modem, and (b)My modem won't connect for longer than 30 seconds anyway.

So I hack the registry to destroy the IE5.5 installation, the install SP6, and then reinstall IE.

Total time? About 2 or 3 days!! Linux took about half an hour - and Linux was the only way I could connect to the web to figure out how to get NT to install, anyway!

And yet I defend MS.... sometime I wonder why I bother!



Linux for everyone? | 98 comments (82 topical, 16 editorial, 0 hidden)
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