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[P]
Why Would A Home User Want To Use Linux?

By Carnage4Life in Technology
Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 04:18:15 PM EST
Tags: Help! (Ask Kuro5hin) (all tags)
Help! (Ask Kuro5hin)

Over a year ago I installed Linux (SuSe 6.2) and used it for a few months with no problems. It was stable and had great developer support (command line tools and Emacs). A few months later I got a DSL hooked up and was informed by Bellsouth that they did not support Linux and in fact was not even given a CD with the Windows binary. As sad as I was to see my Linux partition go, I needed high speed access to the computers on campus and thus uninstalled Linux. :(


Shortly thereafter I missed my Linux tools so much that I decided to see how I could recreate that environment in Windows. Between the GNU , Cygnus and Microimages websites I obtained Emacs, bash, perl, tar, grep, gzip, ls, gcc, gdb, make, less, diff, touch and a host of other tools as well as an X server. I soon realized that I had the best of both worlds with all my beloved development tools and a superior web browser and Office suite when I needed to browse the web, create presentations, create documents, etc. Also the fact that I didn't have to keep on top of as many security issues and buffer overflow exploits also made me feel more relaxed. Yes, Windows has security problems too but they are not as widespread or devastating as *nix security holes, just ask SANS.

Recently I found out that Bellsouth has changed their policy and now gives away a Linux application with source for use with their DSL modem. Also at the same time a friend of mine told me he could get me a dicount on Win2K due to the fact that he works at MSFT. So on the one hand I could go back to using Linux and give up a lot of the consumer applications and games I have since installed in the past year or I can upgrade to a more stable version of Windows and keep all my developer tools as well as my games and applications.

I have thought about this for a week and cannot come up with a single reason why I should reinstall Linux. This amazes me because I like Open Source software and am a developer yet I cannot come up with a convincing argument to use Linux. So now my questions are twofold.

a.) Why would I want to reinstall Linux?

b.) If a developer who is familiar with *nix and programming sees no use for Linux vs. other consumer operating systems, why should the typical home user who simply browses the web, sends email, listens to MP3s and types documents want to use Linux?

I have heard a lot of rhetoric espousing the virtues of Linux as a consumer desktop OS and now I'd like to see how well these arguments stand up in an age of MacOS X and Windows 2000/Me both of which are huge improvements over their previous versions.

PS: This article is rather Linux-centric and I apologize for this. I originally submitted it to slashdot but they've sat on it for over 36 hours without a yay or nay, and since I like responding to comments to my articles I'd rather it was posted on the weekend than during the week, so I've submitted it here as well.

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Poll
What do you feel would be the best consumer OS in a year or two?
o A version BeOS 11%
o A version of Linux 31%
o A version of Windows 22%
o A version BSD 5%
o The Amiga 4%
o A Version of MacOS 25%

Votes: 134
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Slashdot
o GNU
o Cygnus
o Microimage s
o SANS
o Also by Carnage4Life


Display: Sort:
Why Would A Home User Want To Use Linux? | 109 comments (106 topical, 3 editorial, 0 hidden)
Linux for the "dumb" (4.08 / 12) (#3)
by djabji on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 12:36:23 PM EST

My parents have a p-166 that they use for internet, email, and word processing. They rely on me to make their computer decisions and maintain their computer.

Originally they were using windows but they got virus infested, so I used this excuse to migrate them over to SuSE linux. I got them set up KDE, Netscape and Star Office to present as much of a Windows-esque environment as possible. They were able to use this set up fine for email and internet, but whenever my Mom wanted to use word processing, I would get a frantic "Help" call (she is the type of person who learns 'Office' instead of word processing). Netscape would crash quite often, as it is prone to do. Also, every few weeks, I would get a call from them saying that there was a power outage or they didnt properly shut down, and now linux has halted at boot up. Fsck would notice some discrepencies and need root intervention to fix. So I would have to ship over there to perform the repairs. Needless to say, this pissed both me and them off.

So I moved them over to NT4. I installed Office, IE, Outlook Express for them. Since I did this (about a year ago) I have not had a single tech support call from them.

Perhaps, if I tried again, I could create an environment in Linux or BSD that my computer-stupid parents could use that is stable, easy to use, and would never need my intervention. But their computer does exactly what they need it to do - so why fix it?

I would also like it if my Dad could make my car so that I dont have to keep bringing it back to him for repairs.

I think that for the common person who doesnt want to learn about computers, I would recomend a pre-configured installation of W2K or NT. For a person who wants to learn about Unix, I would recomend using a free unix. For someone who already knows Unix and Windows, I recomend the path of least resistance. If it is easier to create a usable environment in Unix, then use that. If it is easier for you to create a usable environment in Windows, then use that.

Personally I use Windows at home to get access to games and strange hardware and because I dont miss anything that linux offered for desktop use. I use OpenBSD at work and for my firewall.



I don't think they would want to (4.30 / 13) (#4)
by katravax on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 12:39:10 PM EST

As computer enthusiasts, hobbyists, administrators, programmers, it's very easy for us to get accustomed to thinking that "users" think like we do, and that they should quit whining and learn to use the computer. There is no reason they should do so, and there is no reason they should have to get any closer to the inner workings of the thing other than to use the tools they wish to use. The computer, to them, should not be something that makes them feel stupid or requires them to learn how the software thinks things should be done. As an appliance, software should conform completely to how the user wants to do his job.

This being said, Linux, in spite of its incredibly clever way of doing some things, forces the user to understand what is happening under the hood moreso than many other OSes. As computer guys, we understand heirarchical file systems, memory allocation, document management, and the like. The user should not have to know any of this. Whether Windows make it as easy and reliable as it should be is an entirely different argument, but the fact is Linux is and always has been a hobbyist and professional OS, and does not simplify operations the user wishes to accomplish. At least I can say in this respect for Windows is that it provides a consistent user interface and excellent accesibility options across its applications unless the programmer stupidly chooses to override those features (skins, non-obvious manipulatives, locked color schemes, etc).

I am also a fan of Unix OSes, though I am a Win32 programmer by profession. I also use Cygwin and enjoy the highly useful nature of the GNU utilities it provides under Windows. I also keep a FreeBSD boot handy for when I just have to get away from Windows for a while, and somtimes I feel like VMWare is my best friend. But my wife, who is a very intelligent woman, still doesn't entirely understand the difference between files in RAM, on disk, the nature of the file system, and why a program would ask stupid questions like "Are you sure you wish to exit?" and "Save changes to the file?". To ask her to use a shell that puts her even closer to the system would be hurting her productivity and forcing her to learn things that have absolutely nothing to do with getting her work done.

The average user absolutely doesn't care about these system operations, and should not have to. At its current state, Linux does not offer the appliance-level ease of use that our users deserve. I agree that Gnome is very pretty and provides a reasonable consistency, but Linux applications developers aren't making things any easier for the user either. So by using Linux, in addition to having to master more of the system than they should have to, users would have to give up applications with the features they enjoy and that (currently) provide maximum document compatibility and application interoperability. What's in it for the average user? Nothing. They shouldn't ever have to know that much about how their tools operate.

Imagine a car required the average driver to understand internal combustion engines, electrical systems, fuel systems, suspension, and general mechanics just to drive to the store. It would be ridiculous and not make people better drivers or make the road any safer, or help anyone get one more iota of work done. Thus, why should we expect them to understand computers to this level of detail? We shouldn't. This is why, in my opinion, Linux has no value for the average user.



There are alot of reasons........ (3.00 / 15) (#5)
by Ramenite on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 12:39:30 PM EST

1) Security. As more and more people shop, and communicate online, security is a major concern. Linux is inhernently more secure then Windows. Don't have to worry about some IE backdoor to read all my cookies. Don't have to worry about some rouge VBS doing to crash my system. A more secure OS and browser(Mozilla) means that myself, and any linux user and shop and communicate online in confidence. SSH communication though licq even makes instant messaging secure.

2) Useability. OK, getting it set up this way is a bear, something I'll concede. But once set up correctly, linux can be the most user-friendly user expierence there is. A well set up X setup with either KDE or GNOME is worlds above the Windows interface. A home user that want s to e-mail, browse, chat, and everything else has all the programs they need within linux. Coming soon is even an official AOL client.

3)Free. Here's the kicker. All this stuff is free. Free as in speach. Free and in beer. This means the home user won't be fixed into the Mircosoft upgrade path, and have to pay for things like regular bug fixes(WIn95, 98, Me) And this makes bug fixes get to the home user faster. Not by them looking at code, but by the fact that many others who know what do do with it can look at them. When someone fixes a bug, or adds a feature into an open program everyone benefits.

I could go on, but this is getting long as it is. Linux isn't the end all to end all however. Getting it to the nirvana of useabilty, and getting support are two major shortcomings. As these things iron out, and more companies support linux as a pre-instaled OS, and programs companies support linux versions of their software, this will improve.

Linux Myths (2.55 / 9) (#11)
by Carnage4Life on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 01:40:33 PM EST

1.) Security. As more and more people shop, and communicate online, security is a major concern. Linux is inhernently more secure then Windows. Don't have to worry about some IE backdoor to read all my cookies. Don't have to worry about some rouge VBS doing to crash my system. A more secure OS and browser(Mozilla) means that myself, and any linux user and shop and communicate online in confidence. SSH communication though licq even makes instant messaging secure.

This is FUD. Linux is not more inherently secure than Windows, *BSD yes, Linux no. The major security issues in Windows are Outlook (disable preview pane, be careful with attachments) and Internet Explorer (disable Javascript). On the other hand due to the use of insecure C libraries (str* functions, *scanf functions, etc) most of the services that are enabled by default in a typical Linux install are insecure (especially RedHat the primary consumer Linux OS in the U.S.). Take a quick look at security sites like Attrition.org, CERT, SANS, rootshell, SecurityFocus, etc and check the results. Defacements of Linux sites has been rising at a steady rate and now there are more defacements of Linux sites than NT sites. CERT regularly has more Linux and Unix security advisories than for Windows. The SANS (System Administration, Networking, and Security) Institute top ten list of security holes has more entries for *nix than Windows. A quick search of the terms "linux" and "windows" on Rootshell's seearch engine come up with 84 downloadable exploits for Linux versus 39 for Windows.

2) Useability. OK, getting it set up this way is a bear, something I'll concede. But once set up correctly, linux can be the most user-friendly user expierence there is. A well set up X setup with either KDE or GNOME is worlds above the Windows interface. A home user that want s to e-mail, browse, chat, and everything else has all the programs they need within linux. Coming soon is even an official AOL client.

As a TA for a class where sophomore CS students are immersed in Linux for the first time, I can state almost unequivocably that Linux is much less intuitive than it's counterparts (Windows, MacOS, BeOS) and a bitch to set up. Even though much more people use Windows than Linux, there are a lot more help requests for Linux than Windows on help newsgroups. I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

3)Free. Here's the kicker. All this stuff is free. Free as in speach. Free and in beer. This means the home user won't be fixed into the Mircosoft upgrade path, and have to pay for things like regular bug fixes(WIn95, 98, Me) And this makes bug fixes get to the home user faster. Not by them looking at code, but by the fact that many others who know what do do with it can look at them. When someone fixes a bug, or adds a feature into an open program everyone benefits

As the saying goes Linux is only free, if your time is worthless. In my experience, the time and effort required to get certain tasks done under Linux (e.g. setting up DSL) is disproportionate to the amount of cash saved by using a free beer alternative. As for Linux being free as in speech, so what? All the tools I use are also free as in speech and are available on multiple platforms besides Linux. MacOS X is going to have free speech portions as well. I have met many Linux users but have never met any who actually hack kernel code (which is all Linux is) except those that had to do it for class. Being free as in speech is barely a reason for software developers to install Linux and is irrelevant to a non-software developer's decision as to which OS to use.



[ Parent ]
Check your figures... (3.33 / 6) (#47)
by tzanger on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 07:47:24 PM EST

This is FUD. Linux is not more inherently secure than Windows, *BSD yes, Linux no.

I disagree with your statement and your explanation behind it.

First, *BSD isn't more secure than Linux, I believe it's OpenBSD which is the only BSD which has gone through an entire audit. I may be wrong here but I am over 95% certain on this point.

Secondly, the rootshell exploits are out of proportion because most of the time all you can do with a Windows host is crash it. There isn't nearly the same incentive for a hacker to go through all the intracasies of a Windows system just to pull up another 80x25 blue screen. Linux (any Unix really), on the other hand, has a lot more to offer when you compromise a daemon. For a fair test, you should compare the number of exploits for Linux and the number of viruses (macro et al) for Windows. I believe the numbers will be more accurate then.

As far as the defacement statistics and such, a quick look to what is running out there as far as websites go will show a disporportionate amount of Linux (and Unix in general) websites as opposed to IIS sites. Of course you'll find more defacements! A second datapoint has to do with the nature of the people running the sites: they're lazy. They hear about this Linux thing and throw it up and don't bother securing it. The various distributions don't help much either, leaving too many services running, insecure services, etc. NT is better in this regard but the new distros are getting better too.

Even though much more people use Windows than Linux, there are a lot more help requests for Linux than Windows on help newsgroups. I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

My conclusion? they're asking those around them or have had experience in Windows before. Linux is still relatively new to the masses and the Linux guru of the block (floor) isn't there in many places. And if s/he is, there's a good chance that s/he's a poseur. Unfortunately this exists in all realms, not just the Linux one.

As the saying goes Linux is only free, if your time is worthless. In my experience, the time and effort required to get certain tasks done under Linux (e.g. setting up DSL) is disproportionate to the amount of cash saved by using a free beer alternative.

I've heard this argument over and over. Linux only takes longer until you're as adept at it as you are with whatever you're switching from. As far as setting up DSL I have it done in under 2 minutes because I know how to do it. If I knew how to do it in Windows I'd be just as fast there.

There are other areas in which Windows is more expensive than Linux in terms of time. Try reformatting a large block of text. With WIndows you'll have Word and the "advanced" search and replace is a joke. With LInux you have grep and you can pipe that through cut and so on... There are clear advantages to the CLI in some areas, just as there are clear advantages to a GUI in others. This whole "Linux is only free if your time is worthless" is bullshit and it is propagated by those who don't remember that at one point they were new to what they're experts at now. If you've got the time to learn how to use Linux it turns out to be a lot freer than Windows. The time spent learning something is ammortized over how long you use it. Remember that.

I'm not a raving Linux advocate. I don't think it's a very good desktop OS at the present. As a server operating system it takes names and kicks ass. I wouldn't put Linux on my mom's computer only because there aren't viable alternatives to some of the software she uses and the manner in which she uses her computer doesn't warrant a server OS. Maybe one day when she wants to try something new I'll throw it on but right now she's happy with what she's got.



[ Parent ]
Linux is a kernel NOT the entire distro (2.00 / 3) (#54)
by Carnage4Life on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 09:08:26 PM EST

There are other areas in which Windows is more expensive than Linux in terms of time. Try reformatting a large block of text. With WIndows you'll have Word and the "advanced" search and replace is a joke. With LInux you have grep and you can pipe that through cut and so on... There are clear advantages to the CLI in some areas, just as there are clear advantages to a GUI in others. This whole "Linux is only free if your time is worthless" is bullshit and it is propagated by those who don't remember that at one point they were new to what they're experts at now. If you've got the time to learn how to use Linux it turns out to be a lot freer than Windows. The time spent learning something is ammortized over how long you use it. Remember that.

Comments like yours make me wonder if anyone bothers to read the article before posting. I have clearly stated that I run Cygwin and thus can use most of the command line and scripting functionality available in Linux. In fact I have written quite a few Perl scripts that make development and documentation easier for myself. With ActivePerl I can obtain modules that give me total access to the Windows OS and the Registry if I was so inclined.

The questions that my article sought answers for were whether there was any reason, besides the typical Unix fare which have been mostly ported to Windows, to reinstall Linux. From what I've seen from a majority of the posts, yours included the answer is NO.

PS: Once I move out and setup a home network with my new roomate I'll probably need to evaluate the decision from that standpoint.



[ Parent ]
I did! (3.00 / 1) (#56)
by tzanger on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 09:57:14 PM EST

Comments like yours make me wonder if anyone bothers to read the article before posting.

I did read the article and I did make a mental note that the author used Cygwin. I wasn't replying to your article, I was replying to your post. (my explanation: I didn't notice that you were the author of the article until now) I too have used / do use cygwin. MKS also makes a nice toolset. The thing I dislike about Cygwin is the second or so pause as that large DLL loads. ls takes longer to run than dir, ferinstance. I suppose if that DLL were locked into memory they'd be similar.

I do believe that the rest of my reply to your reply is accurate, however.



[ Parent ]
Dammit.. (2.50 / 2) (#57)
by tzanger on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 10:01:19 PM EST

I needed to finish that off.

The questions that my article sought answers for were whether there was any reason, besides the typical Unix fare which have been mostly ported to Windows, to reinstall Linux. From what I've seen from a majority of the posts, yours included the answer is NO.

Personally I'd love to see a Windows compatibility layer for Linux. Something like VMWare or ... ... (what the hell's the name of that package that is practically what I'm talking about?) -- whatever it's called. Win4Lin or some such thing. I like the stability of Linux and the grace at which it handles heavy loads. Win95/98/ME will bog down the current process when something in the background grabs all the CPU. I haven't seen that happen in Linux and it feels nice. NT is an option, only most games don't work well under it and it's more expensive to boot. Cygwin is a nice option but doesn't give me the raw power I seek.



[ Parent ]
WINE? (3.00 / 1) (#74)
by Dacta on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 01:09:51 AM EST

what the hell's the name of that package that is practically what I'm talking about?

Do you mean WINE?



[ Parent ]
WINE (2.66 / 3) (#82)
by tzanger on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 09:27:01 AM EST

Do you mean WINE?

Actually I was excluding WINE because to date, it does not emulate half of the stuff I need. I need compatibility with most of the Win32 APIs and then some, not the Win16 and a few Win32 APIs. I applaud their efforts but I need things like really good access to the parallel port and most of the Win98/IE5 widget set. If I were a decent programmer I'd pitch into it with the WINE developers with a will, but I'm a hardware geek who writes firmware and that's about as far into software as I get. That's pretty much the reason I don't say much about WINE, all I can do is whine and that's not fair to them. :-)

This was what I was referring to. It emulates windows instead of an entire machine, but still seems to keep me within a subwindow of my main X window. It's about as close as I've got right now though, because WINE can't do the last mile of the Win32 API. It's not their fault; They have to emulate all the undocumented modes of operation and even if I use the original Windows DLLs they don't seem to talk to the base system in a documented way. I'll download the latest WINE snapshot and give it another whirl but I'm not holding my breath.



[ Parent ]
Windows Myths (4.00 / 2) (#83)
by paranoidfish on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 09:39:53 AM EST

Even though much more people use Windows than Linux, there are a lot more help requests for Linux than Windows on help newsgroups. I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

Windows is preinstalled on many computers, with all the hardware configured. Linux isn't. Stick a new computer user in front of a computer with a recently formated hard disk and they would have as much trouble with Windows as Redhat.

The Windows manuals direct you towards a phone number for technical support. Most linux distros direct you to the help newsgroups.

Both these reasons explain the behaviour you describe, without forming a conclusion over which OS is better.

0.02k



[ Parent ]
IE is not the only one (2.50 / 4) (#19)
by DeadBaby on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 04:10:12 PM EST

How quickly you forget brown orifice for netscape. (including Linux versions)
"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
[ Parent ]
Reasons to install "that other OS" (3.26 / 15) (#6)
by Iron_SpermWhale on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 12:50:48 PM EST

First off, I'd like to start off with a comment to the people voting on this story and plead that this be taken as a challenge, not flamebait. Besides, I would hate to have all my work writing this be lost!

1. Hard drives are cheap. It only takes between 1 and 3 gigs to install a very usuable copy of Linux, *BSD, Hurd(best with 1gig), or any of the other Free OS's. If you are wondering what the advantages of an OS would be, install it, and use it when it fits. It only takes between 30 sec and a minute to reboot. Just start it happening when you have to take a piss. (Use boot disks for uninterrupted bathroom usage.)

2. There is a myriad of applications that DON'T work with windows, or atleast don't work well. Look through freshmeat and tell many how many of those have been tested under Cygwin.

3. I Love Virtual Terminals. I Love Multiple Desktops.

4. Scripting and automation of tasks has always been more natural to me under *nix. Scripting and automation are a large part of programming large projects (automated test suites, funky build tools, etc)

5. I like being able to shove weird drivers into my kernel without rebooting. It is a bad example, but my favorite character device is /dev/cw, which outputs morse code on the speaker and serial wires. Yes, you can do this under windows, but how easy is it for your mail to be piped out through it?

6. Security holes only effect you if you are running that service. Yes, this is true with windows too. But it is hard to over-stress the importance of limiting the amount of services you run. I can't remember any time in which a whole in the kernel (I seem to remember only 1 or 2) can be exploited without a corresponding service.

7. Not only is linux stable(so is NT to an extent, but NOT 9* nor ME), but the developers are publicly accessible to whine to when it is not. And if you whine in the right manner(a good bug report) you might even get mad props(whatever those are).

8. A second, third and fourth OS provide that much more room to test the cross-platform compatibility of your programs. And who knows, maybe with VMWare, or Bochs86 , you can even get some automation of the testing.


Ok, that was a really long answer for part A. For part B, I'll let someone else try to answer that. In short, I think that it really depends on what that home user wants to do. If they want a continuous terminal for email and web and mp3's, almost any operating system on the planet will do. Linux fits here just fine, especially if someone helps them install it. Gamers will want win*(they liked DOS way after everyone else did). But as games come to linux(XShipwars, all those dinky gnome games that are as addictive as MineSweeper, etc), we will see games use alternative platforms as well.

Oh well, more to say, but getting tired of writing, and have the sinking feeling this will be lost.

Iron_SpermWhale out.




Yes, but you are not hitting the target... (2.75 / 4) (#28)
by darthaya on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 05:03:14 PM EST

The target is "home user". I dont see why home user needs scripting and automation of tasks, and all the weird applications that you get from freshmeat. Besides, you can all kinds of Windows tools of tucows too, and there is windows scripting too, though a little awkward. :)

[ Parent ]
Hitting only half the target (3.00 / 2) (#35)
by Iron_SpermWhale on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 05:51:40 PM EST

He had two questions- one about him, and one about home users. I choose to answer the first.
A good scripting enviroment is VERY useful to me both for programming and for data analysis(my job). Scripting is also useful for setting up systems that maintain themselves. (For example, if one of the other posters had given the '-a' option to fsck on his parent's computer, it would probably have needed much less attention.)
Now as for home users, it is all a matter of definition. Do you define home user as a person who could live without a computer easier than they can live with one, or closer towards the physicists that I work with.
There is a broad range of user capabilities, and different os's will fit different segments of that range.

[ Parent ]
Linux or Windows? (3.18 / 11) (#7)
by Elendale on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 01:06:18 PM EST

Why not install both? If you have limited hard drive space then you may want to choose between them, but if money is what you are worried about don't forget: Linux is free (beer and speech) so even if you buy Windows you can still get Linux. I might get flamed for this, but if you want only one on your drive you may want Windows2k. So far I have been very pleased with it (except for the fact I had to go out and buy another ram chip to run it, it was upgrade time anyway though) and even when it starts to do the lame things windows does (GPF, BSOD) it rarely fries the whole system like 95/98 did. Still, other than games and an office suite it has no real advantage over Linux. You may ask yourself 'What? What about Internet Exploiter?' but I left it out for a reason: even in Windows I now use a latest Mozilla build. It almost always has an equivalent (sometimes similar) ability to everything IE has plus its free. My real complaint about WinME is the EULA. Some of the stuff in there is just sickening, such as the line that says 'you may not directly or indirectly connect your computer with Windows to more than 10 other computers' or words of approximately the same effect. Yes, that means everyone using the internet is in violation of the EULA. Yes that means even if you have Linux connected to the internet you are violating the EULA. I want to see M$ try to get that one upheld in court, I really do!

-Elendale (Just my two US, after-tax cents)
---

When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.


reason to use linux (1.88 / 9) (#8)
by boxed on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 01:11:30 PM EST

/dev

Seriously, what more motivation do you need? Devices in unix systems provide a simple and logical interface to almost all services. Sending a mail in linux is as easy as opening up /dev/sendmail and writing in a well documented format. In Windows you have to use the increadibly obfuscated MAPI system. If you don't think this sounds bad look into MAPI closer. Furthermore it's nice to have other devices like /dev/rand or /dev/zero and of course our all time favourite: /dev/null. There are a few other nice stuff in linux too, among the most prominant is a unified command prompt system. Try doing a grep or more on the output of javac (JDK 1.x) for example.

/dev/sendmail? (1.25 / 4) (#12)
by tzanger on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 02:05:38 PM EST

What are you smoking? Or is this some inside joke?



[ Parent ]
nice (1.00 / 3) (#22)
by DeadBaby on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 04:36:05 PM EST

Yea because there isn't such thing as mail.exe.

If it gets you off that much, just make your little batch file called sendmail.
"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
[ Parent ]
It all depends on your specific demands (2.75 / 8) (#9)
by djkimmel on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 01:17:21 PM EST

I use FreeBSD on one machine and Windows 98 on another. I do this so that I can get the best of both worlds.

My Windows machine has a bunch of Windows-specific hardware, like the DVD decoder card (hey, it was cheaper than a set top player and TV), video capture card, etc. This machine is primarily used for games - I still haven't gotten around to installing any "productivity" software.

My FreeBSD machine has fairly generic hardware that seems to work good with FreeBSD. This machine is my primary "productivity" machine. I mainly use it for email, usenet, irc, posting to K5, and some programming tasks. I have a decent Java development environment set up, PHP4+PostgreSQL+MySQL for web programming, Gimp for graphics manipulation, etc. So far, this environment could easily be replicated on windows, if I wanted to jump through the hoops. One thing I like about my setup is that I can access it from just about anywhere, I couldn't do this with Windows. And no, the telnet server in Win2K doesn't count.

If you don't need this level of remote access and don't mind going through the extra steps to get everything set up just so, by all means stick with Windows. If you do need this level of remote access, consider Linux or another Unix-like system.

-- Dave
-- Dave
Use the best tool for your situation (4.41 / 12) (#10)
by Sheetrock on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 01:37:00 PM EST

In this case, it sounds like you are pretty happy with the Windows option (and I've heard Win2K is fantastic from friends who are Windows enthusiasts), so if it provides an environment to you that is the most conducive to development I say run with it.

I do have a couple of other comments on your story, however. Regardless of what I say below I still believe firmly in the 'if it works for you, run it' theory.

Computer security is contigent on a number of factors. If you understand your operating system, take steps to avoid leaving any major holes open in its security, and work to keep current on the issues (I use BUGTRAQ and the other SecurityFocus mailing lists as well as Usenet postings) you stand a pretty good chance at heading off the script kiddies regardless of which popular operating system you choose to run.

For example, as a home user with Linux you would probably learn and operate the included firewalling software, disable any services you don't intend to use (RPC!), and refuse to offer access to your system to anyone. With Windows, you would probably pick up a good firewalling package (ZoneAlarm? BlackICE? I haven't used either...), disable file sharing (particularly under Windows 9x/ME unless you've applied the patch against mounting password-protected shares without knowing the password), and avoid Outlook like the plague :). The point I'm trying to make is that your determination of overall security should be made on how easily/cheaply you can harden your machine against security flaws, not necessarily how many flaws are inherent in the operating system and its applications (this is my argument against getting into the Windows vs. Linux flaw-by-flaw comparisons that inevitably end up in flamewars). On a side note, a Linksys router might work as an effective firewall to either OS (Linksys's site wasn't responding, but I found a writeup in Ars Technica on it that has more information).

My reasons for going Linux as a home user are different from your reasons for going Windows. I don't really want to get on a rant why I avoid Windows when I can, so I'll just say that the biggest reason is that I resent where their licensing agreements are heading. There are quite a few reasons why I prefer Linux, such as access to thousands of packages of software and source code, the wonderful support available online, and simple aesthetics (I like the UNIX methodology, broken as it may be sometimes). However, I'd definitely have a hard time recommending it to a 'green' home user when an alternative exists that is easier to install and operate, or to you if you're happy with what you've got.

I don't know how you can possibly deal with not having the Alt-# jump screens, though.

Easy to do (2.33 / 3) (#24)
by DeadBaby on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 04:46:10 PM EST

I don't know how you can possibly deal with not having the Alt-# jump screens, though.

It's funny how very little each side understands the other side.. of each side... uh... too many Jr. Bush speeches... sorry..

Anyway, this is very easy to do under windows. Just create a few shortcuts to cmd.exe. Set it up to run in full screen and set the keyboard shortcut to whatever you'd like. You can also get software for virtual desktops, if that's what you mean.

It's really easy to have the best of both worlds under Windows 2000.
"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
[ Parent ]
Why just one? (3.36 / 11) (#13)
by Fyndalf on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 02:29:18 PM EST

You *uninstalled* Linux so you could use Bell? You need to decide between Linux *or* Win 2k?

Why?

Why not just run them all on the same box and use whichever one you find you want to use for whatever you want to use it for? I do this. It works quite nicely.

Or did you not realise it was possible to run more than one operating system on the same computer. (I mean, it's entirely possible to not know that, I don't mean to be condescending.) If that's the case, well, I'm please to inform you that you have the option of "both".

Hard Drive Space (3.00 / 4) (#37)
by Carnage4Life on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 06:02:54 PM EST

You *uninstalled* Linux so you could use Bell? You need to decide between Linux *or* Win 2k?

Why?

Then: I needed my primary OS for development machine which had a fast net connection. My machine only had an 8GB hard drive and it couldn't support the kind of applications I run (Oracle, DB2, etc) on two harddrives without giving me little free space. Also when I got DSL hooked up, there was almost no information available online about setting it up from Linux and I wasted several hours trying to figure it out before giving up. Once I gave up, I no longer needed my Linux partition because all the stuff I primarily did worked fine on Windows.

Now: Still don't have enough space for both.



[ Parent ]
For those that don't pirate... (3.44 / 9) (#14)
by MmmmJoel on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 02:38:22 PM EST

From shop.microsoft.com:

Windows 2000 Professional: $319
Office 2000 Standard: $499
etc, etc, etc: $$$$

From the Internet:

Any Linux version: $0
Star Office: $0
etc, etc, etc: $0

Need I remind you ... (3.42 / 7) (#15)
by Bad Mojo on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 02:47:10 PM EST

"Linux is only free if your time has no value." - JWZ

The sentiment fits well with the article here.



-Bad Mojo
"The purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure pure reasoning, and inhibit clarity. With a little practice, writing can be an intimidating and impenetrable fog!"
B. Watterson's Calvin - "Calvin & Hobbes"

[ Parent ]

big deal (2.00 / 5) (#42)
by mikpos on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 06:28:11 PM EST

Along the same thread, Windows only costs under several thousand dollars if your time has no value. The argument that doing something under Linux takes more time than doing something analogous under Windows is flamebait at best. Windows does some things far better than Linux (just as Linux can do things far better than Windows), but in my experience, mundane tasks (such as checking e-mail and browsing kuro5hin) can generally be done far more quickly under Linux simply because you have a wider array of applications to choose from (and thus you can choose an interface that you get along with better).

[ Parent ]
He has a very good point. (2.83 / 6) (#44)
by Carnage4Life on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 06:51:36 PM EST

Along the same thread, Windows only costs under several thousand dollars if your time has no value. The argument that doing something under Linux takes more time than doing something analogous under Windows is flamebait at best.

Actually your post is more inaccurate flamebait than his. The primary reason I uninstalled Linux in the first place is because I had better things to do with my time than waste hors tracking down scant information on the web or poring through man pages to get DSL working on my machine. This is a clear case of my time being worth more than the 0-dollar cost of Linux

Windows does some things far better than Linux (just as Linux can do things far better than Windows), but in my experience, mundane tasks (such as checking e-mail and browsing kuro5hin) can generally be done far more quickly under Linux simply because you have a wider array of applications to choose from (and thus you can choose an interface that you get along with better).

Most of the things Linux does better than Windows are either developer-centric or server-centric and not consumer related. Your examples are simply bogus, browsing the Web takes slightly faster for me in Windows than Linux because IE is faster than Netscape. I haven't tried Mozilla on Linux so I can't comment ton whether that is the case as well. Reading email is only faster on Linux as long as you don't receive attachments or HTML in your email, in which case a mail reader like Outlook, Eudora, etc is overkill and pine works fine.



[ Parent ]
too narrow a view (3.50 / 4) (#46)
by mikpos on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 07:21:05 PM EST

Actually your post is more inaccurate flamebait than his.

Thank you.

The primary reason I uninstalled Linux in the first place is because I had better things to do with my time than waste hors tracking down scant information on the web or poring through man pages to get DSL working on my machine. This is a clear case of my time being worth more than the 0-dollar cost of Linux

Yes, it is. From an end-users point-of-view, Linux would either be more expensive or not clearly cheaper than Windows (generally speaking). For this example, let's say your leisure time is worth $20/hour or somewhere thereabouts. Assuming you've got Windows pre-installed, the initial cost of Windows is probably about $200 (if it's not pre-installed, it could be anywhere from $200 to $400). Linux, on the other hand, will cost anywhere from $20 (if you're already very experienced) to $1000 or so (not counting lost productivity, but if you really need to be doing work on it that badly, you probably either still have Windows installed or aren't installing Linux in the first place).

However, once the initial learning curve is taken care of, things should be able to be done more easily depending on the tasks at hand. For simple e-mail writing and reading, avoiding interface clutter such as mice and windows could save you as much as five seconds an e-mail (which could amount to anywhere from $5 to $200 per year in terms of saved time). You can extrapolate this to all your all your other tasks (such as web browsing) for more savings. Not substantial savings, true, especially considering some of the points where you'll lose time, but for many people it's enough of a net-savings to get them to use it.

This is all assuming that you're like me and don't get along too well with Windows-like GUIs. If you like Windows (and it seems that you do), then you'll probably be wasting your time with Linux: unless you hold freedom in very regard, I'd say there's no use at all in you using Linux.

Most of the things Linux does better than Windows are either developer-centric or server-centric and not consumer related. Your examples are simply bogus, browsing the Web takes slightly faster for me in Windows than Linux because IE is faster than Netscape. I haven't tried Mozilla on Linux so I can't comment ton whether that is the case as well. Reading email is only faster on Linux as long as you don't receive attachments or HTML in your email, in which case a mail reader like Outlook, Eudora, etc is overkill and pine works fine.

I never recommended the use of Netscape or Mozilla. IE is generally considered to be superior in every way to both of them (and I agree). You seem to be arguing for your case specifically, whereas I'm arguing the general case. It sounds like you're very happy with Windows and are only looking for Linux to be a "better Windows than Windows" (hint: it'll never happen). I think there are some end-users out there, though, that are looking for something different than Windows. In these cases, Linux could offer substantial savings.

Also, if there are some applications that you would really like (3D modellers and tax calculators are common cases) that don't have acceptable equivalents under Linux, then again: you're wasting your time even thinking about using Linux.

[ Parent ]

RE: too narrow a view (2.33 / 3) (#53)
by Carnage4Life on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 08:55:07 PM EST

This is all assuming that you're like me and don't get along too well with Windows-like GUIs. If you like Windows (and it seems that you do), then you'll probably be wasting your time with Linux: unless you hold freedom in very regard, I'd say there's no use at all in you using Linux.

You state that you speak about the general case, only to state the above (that you don't like GUIs). IMHO, this has already disqualified you from speaking about the general case because most people (both IT professionals and non-IT people) prefer a GUI to the command line.

I frankly do not prefer Linux to Windows or vice versa since they are mainly tools that enable me to run the programs that I actually do care about (yaaaay Emacs!!!). I merely posted this article to see if I may have overlooked anything in my appraisal of reasons to install Linux and it seems I didn't although this suggestion is a rather good one which I think I'll take into consideration.



[ Parent ]
You need to remind me (3.00 / 2) (#81)
by Paul_F on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 08:48:48 AM EST

Just what exactly are you wasting your time with using Linux? Me, I go up to my system, turn my moniter on, and simply use it for whatever. I never run scandisk, defrag, scan for viruses, play with my registry, reboot on a BSOD, reinstall the whole OS when it somehow drops dead (that was always my favorite).

The only way I do seem to waste some time with Linux is dispelling FUD about it from time to time, when I feel like it that is. And

"Linux is only free if your time has no value." - JWZ

The sentiment fits well with the article here.

is about as ambiguous as they come. Run Windows, that's fine by me. But please don't just throw out obscure comments about Linux with no specific examples. C'mon give me a real target to shoot down :)

Billy's pockets aren't deep enough to pay me to run Windows personally. Oh, and imagine this, I'm even using DSL with Bellatlantic with you guessed it, Linux! So you may imagine how credible the original poster is with me. And no, I'm not using any special kind of software from Bellatlantic, their line with me is I'm still officially unsupported (but I still like to rub their noses in the fact that my system is more stable than theirs). It's a non-issue really. If Windows, or any OS blows wind up your skirt, use it. Maybe arguing these non-argruments because I run Linux is a waste of my valuable time? Probably.

Three power outages this summer what can I say?
uptime
8:49am up 88 days, 9:27, 2 users, load average: 0.00, 0.00, 0.00

[ Parent ]

Heh ... (none / 0) (#110)
by Bad Mojo on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 10:34:59 AM EST

As expected, you missed the point entirely. While babbling on against an imaginary windows loving foe, you forgot to take a moment and think about what kind of constructive point I was making.

In short, nothing is totally free. It takes time and effort to run a well oiled, well protected Linux machine. To argue against that point is to be ignorant.


-Bad Mojo
"The purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure pure reasoning, and inhibit clarity. With a little practice, writing can be an intimidating and impenetrable fog!"
B. Watterson's Calvin - "Calvin & Hobbes"

[ Parent ]
9months+Distribution-cycles. (3.60 / 10) (#17)
by Parity on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 03:19:59 PM EST

My answer is that a home user wouldn't - yet.

About 3 months ago, someone asked me when Linux would be ready for ordinary people, and I told them a year (for stuff to be ready)/maybe two (for distributions to catch up to stuff being ready). I'd that schedule is still holding. Here's my little list of things-users-want:

1. Desktop Environment?
KDE-2 is stabalizing, not quite ready.
2. Office Software?
Corel's office products are mature.
The opensource staroffice is stablizing.
The opensource koffice is stabalizing.
3. A -Stable- Web Browser!
Mozilla is -finally- maturing (highly usable beta now.)
4. Windows compatability.
For those gotta-have windows apps, WINE is stabalizing. (They still call it alpha; I'd call it beta; when they call it beta in 6-9 months, I'll call it ready. ;))
If WINE isn't ready and you need Windows -now-, vmware is ready.
5.Not being put at -more- risk by running Linux.
Newer distributions are starting to come secure out of the box (ie, they don't run a bunch of exposed services!)
6. Getting started without a Guru.
Installers are maturing, and starting to get mixed reviews instead of universally negative reviews. This should only improve.
7. Multimedia!
ALSA is maturing.
DRI/X4 is maturing.
We already have zillions of apps to play every kind of multimedia file.
8. Users don't know it, but they want it...
Kernel 2.4 - more performance, more support for hardware, ReiserFS built-in.

So, within 9 months, I expect high-quality desktop linux with a stable web-browser, desktop environment, office software, and multimedia support... give up to another year for the distributions to roll these great things in.
Once we're there (and I think it's reasonable to expect all of these technologies to be mature in 9 months), well, what user wouldn't want a machine that -can- stay up for hundreds of days without reboot, browse the web without crashing the OS or any other applications, etc, etc? What I mean is, the cons of Linux are swiftly vanishing, and the pros are only getting stronger. (I still wouldn't put Linux on my parent's desktop, at least not for 9 more months... but we're getting there!) One more point for consideration: With the advent of MacOS X the only OS out there that -isn't- Unix-like is Windows... Right now, MS -is- bigger than the rest of the world put together, yes, but the ability to 'just recompile' (if code is written portably) and run may make a difference in who writes apps for what...
Now, if you want to stay with Windows just because Bell is obnoxious (note - many tech-savvy users have Linux working on DSL even when the DSL people 'don't support' Linux.), well, that's your business. I assume you had good reasons for not using regular modem, cable modem, or a different dsl provider.
As a last note, at work I use a Cygwin/Emacs/etc. setup on my NT box. I am -still- relieved to come home to my Linux box; I'm just happier there, with all my accumulated little custom configurations over the years, not to mention that all my apps use the same filesystem convention... (Whereas under Win, sometimes I need //c/path, sometimes /path, sometimes c:\path )... But maybe you have your little things that you love about Windows.

Not MS's fault (2.00 / 3) (#23)
by DeadBaby on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 04:41:45 PM EST

The file system issue is becuase the cygwin tools go out of their way to break the MS style file system.

When MS Office comes out and you need a /c: to use it everyone is going to bitch at them.. selectively ignoreing that cygwin does the exact same thing in reverse.
"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
[ Parent ]
Yes, well... (4.00 / 1) (#55)
by Parity on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 09:38:24 PM EST

It's partly MS's fault, in that they went and used the '\' character for a directory separator; that was just stupid... '\' was already widely known as the 'escape' character already at that point in programming languages and shells, but their command interpreter had to be gratuitously different. This legacy has been a pain from beginning to end.

I'm not overly thrilled with Cygwin's file-system remapping, and in fact, don't use it... I use the basic
//c/winnt style ; you might say this is -still- Cygwin
breaking MS-compatibility, but... they had a choice,
break bash compatability (which would break all shellscripts) or break MS compatability. So it's not really Cygwin's fault, at that level. (By break bash, I mean, '\' and ':' have special meaning to bash.)

Anyway, I don't really want to get into a blame-game here;
my primary point is Windows is not Unix, and no amount of 'Unix-like' tools makes it Unix. MS went out of its way to break Posix compliance, this standard, that standard, the other standard; if you like MS interfaces and MS shells and MS apps, then fine, be happy in Windows, good for you, but the kludges to give Unix-like functionality to Windows are very kludgy and partial. (And it -is- MS's choice that Windows is not more Unix-like; whether it was the right or the wrong decision is debatable, but it was their decision).

Parity None




[ Parent ]
re:9months+Distribution-cycles (3.00 / 2) (#58)
by Colonol_Panic on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 10:01:21 PM EST

I pretty much agree with your statements, and happen to use Linux for 99.9% of everything I do. But I have to take issue with this statement:

We already have zillions of apps to play every kind of multimedia file.

This jumps out at me since I have recently been trying to find ways of playing different media formats. While mp3 and mpeg are supported satisfactorily, and realmedia is passible (although the client sucks), you are pretty much out of luck for playing Asfs, avis, and Quicktime movies. There are supposedly programs that can play the first two, but Lamp is a pain (no configure script, and it won't compile on my machine) Xmovie is so slow it isn't worth trying without a dual Athlon system and xanim is basically worthless. Don't get me started on the DiVX;-) codec. I havn't even seen it in action yet. I can't wait for some type of unified multimedia project that will support these different formats once and for all! So far, video support has been kinda third-rate on Linux.


Here's my DeCSS mirror. Where's Yours?
[ Parent ]

Xanim... (3.66 / 3) (#59)
by Parity on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 10:20:07 PM EST

Xanim will play practically every multimedia file, though it tends to drop frames if you're on a slow machine; it cannot deal with every possible Quicktime Codec but it does some. I believe that apple refuses to divulge quicktime specs and reverse engineering is in progress. I don't know why you think it's 'worthless' ...

Anyway, we have mpeg, mp3, realmedia, ogg vorbis, etc,
and I believe that with improvements in the underlying systems performance of the apps will improve.

Personally, I've never had a problem playing an avi with xanim, an mpeg with mpeg_play, an mp3 with mpg123, a realmedia with realplayer; OTOH, I've only once gotten a quicktime to run... however, hopefully with the advent of the Unix-like OS X, apple will release a Quicktime player for Linux.

Hm. Anyway. Okay, so maybe apps need to be worked on too; I'm sure someone is playing with the new multimedia capabilities coming with X4 and ALSA, but I'll have to look for concrete info.

Parity None

[ Parent ]
RE:Xanim... (3.00 / 1) (#65)
by Colonol_Panic on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 11:42:56 PM EST

Well, I downloaded a recent version of Xanim and tried it out. I stand corrected. The last time I used xanim was a little while ago; shame on me for not expecting it to progress :-/

Lesse... Xmms is an awesome for playing mp3s, ogg and mpeg. Mpeg_play does not seek, does not fullscreen and only supports video, not audio. The Xmms smpeg plugin does all of these things rather well, and I have not seen another method that is better. Xanim is rather good for Cinepack Quicktime movies (which, sadly, are deprecated in favor of the proprietary Sorensen codec) and AVIs. Still no luck with ASFs--I know there is at least one program that supposedly supports it but I have never got it to compile despite having the dependancies. Still no native DiVX support.

What annoys me more than anything else is that I have to use a separate program for every codec I want to play. A unified media player would be really nice.
Here's my DeCSS mirror. Where's Yours?
[ Parent ]

>Xanim... (2.50 / 2) (#71)
by Todd Stewart on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 12:31:47 AM EST

"I believe that apple refuses to divulge quicktime specs "

Please don't spread lies. QuickTime is a completely open spec. It has been from the very beginning. I was hoping comments like this would be left behind when I stopped reading Slashdot.

"the advent of the Unix-like OS X, apple will release a Quicktime player for Linux"

MacOS X is in no way a Unix-like os. OS X has a BSD layer in it, that's it. Quicktime in MacOS X is written to Quartz, not X. It was a tremendous amount of work for Apple to bring QuickTime to Windows. I doubt there is any chance of Apple spending the resources to do the same for Linux.



[ Parent ]
Okay. (4.00 / 1) (#88)
by Parity on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 12:22:43 PM EST

"I believe that apple refuses to divulge quicktime specs "

Please don't spread lies. QuickTime is a completely open spec. It has been from the very beginning. I was hoping comments like this would be left behind when I stopped reading Slashdot.


Please don't accuse me of spreading lies. I thought I made it clear that I don't do much with QuickTime, and 'I believe' is not a statement of fact, but a statement of possibility. Anyway, as the parallel reply to yours showed, xanim does in fact support QuickTime rather well, but there's some problem with the 'Sorensen Codec' which I've heard of before and thought was part of QuickTime, but if your reply is accurate, then apparently not. (If it isn't clear yet... the only multimedia format I do much with is MPEG-1... and without sound at that... (raytracing and watching others' raytraces from irtc.org). I make no claim to be a QuickTime expert, and I stand corrected in my -error-, but object to the characterization of myself as -lying-.

Parity NOne

[ Parent ]
Re:Okay (4.00 / 1) (#91)
by Todd Stewart on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 02:40:32 PM EST

Linux users have been spreading this lie for a long time on Slashdot, and I assume elsewhere. If you don't know that much about QuickTime, why make statements which you don't know their veracity? If it was an honest mistake, then I apologize.

QuickTime is a media layer + codecs. Anyone on any platform can write a QuickTime player for the format. The fact that someone uses a certain codec(Sorenson) does not make QuickTime itself any less open.

If Linux coders could come up with a free codec available for all platforms that beat Sorenson, everyone would use it. But that hasn't happened. Nor do I think it will happen any time soon.

Apple, MS, and Real are in a fierce competition for the Internet media market. They will use the best possible codec they can make/license/develop. If a codec doesn't run under Linux, it isn't going to be a concern to them.





[ Parent ]
*sigh* (3.00 / 1) (#97)
by Parity on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 09:30:38 PM EST

Because I did know that xanim supported some flavors of QuickTime but not others and knew legal issues were involved in why some (Sorensen codec, apparently) were not supported. This seemed to be more than the poster I was replying to knew. Anyway, I'll be more careful about the distinction between QuickTime format and Sorensen codec in the future.

Parity None

[ Parent ]
I just like the open standards (2.83 / 6) (#18)
by jesterzog on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 03:52:23 PM EST

I've been mostly using Windows but dual booting for at least a year now. (Three years if I ignore the 12 month period that I didn't have linux installed.) I've been trying to convert myself to using linux all of this time, and it's only now starting to get easier and more bearable since I have more standard hardware and the user friendliness has gotten better. The only thing I really have to work out now is sendmail, and then it's mostly about moving all the windows-stored information to things readable by linux stuff. :)

I think the original reason was just general trendyness. The fact that a lot of friends started using it while I was in school had a lot to do with it. Now though I'll try to choose open source everything (as long as it's usable and it works reasonably okay). It's not always the best tool for the job directly, but part of my personal criteria is now about whether it's going to give some corporation propriety control over what and how I do things. Being open source is one of the most reliable ways to make sure something's standardised (OS included) so that other apps aren't prevented from working with it.

But then I'm not an average day-to-day user. Microsoft still makes it dead easy for people who don't want to know what or how they're doing something to slot in a CD and do it. It's really up to you and what you think is important. If Windows doesn't bother you, use it.


jesterzog Fight the light


No, you don't have to. (1.75 / 8) (#20)
by darthaya on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 04:12:19 PM EST

There is nothing Windows can do for a home user that linux does better, and if you are not too dumb not to organize, you can have a pretty stable(though still need occasionally reboot) and highly entertaining windows box. But I vote -1 for the topic. This is a flame bait. Linux zealots will not be reconciled into "Linux and windows can co-exist!"

It's so true... (2.71 / 21) (#21)
by DeadBaby on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 04:27:52 PM EST

I believed the Linux lie.

Everyone I knew, whose opinions on technology I respected thought Linux was great. I've tried it many times. It's not great. It's terrible. If anyone thinks Linux is a desktop OS they're kidding themselves. Windows 95a offers a more cohesive desktop OS. (By a massive margin)

Linux is a decent enough little server OS, most situations I'd rather use OpenBSD since post-install clean up is easier. Anyway, the issue is over the desktop OS...

Everyone who uses Linux as a desktop OS will admit to you it is "hard to learn" That's the issue. You donít' LEARN Linux. You learn to waste time.

It's just a joke. The people who use Linux as a desktop OS fall into three groups:

a)   ELITE hax0r who wants his desktop to look "kewl"
b)   A user who's "desktop" applications are vi, gcc and basic internet stuff.
c)   The user who is full of "OPEN SOUCE FREEDOM DUDE!" Who wants so desperately something to believe in they resort to fanaticism over software licenses. Here's a little lesson, want to make the world a better place? Go get a second job and send your pay check to starving kids in East Timor.

That's it. You can't tell me one desktop task that is actually easier to use under Linux. Windows 2000 + GNU win32 tools is by far the best desktop OS out there.

Yea, this is a borderline troll but I just get so sick of everyone pulling this elitism with Linux. It's just pathetic. There is more LINUX FUD out there than there is MS FUD I think sometimes.

"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
Heh. (3.75 / 8) (#29)
by harb on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 05:18:30 PM EST

You're ignoring the simple fact that people might just like the feel of X or even console. Being derogatory while categorizing people is dangerous.

I don't use Linux for my workstation anymore. But that's because it doesn't yet offer the tools I use the most. However, when I was in Full Linux Zealot mode, I still didn't scream at people for "being stupid and running Windoze."

Have some damn respect for someone's decision, dude. :)

harb.

bda.
[ Parent ]

re: counter agruments. (3.18 / 11) (#30)
by hangdog on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 05:24:00 PM EST

> I believed the Linux lie.
Which "Linux lie" was that? Almost every review of Linux I've every read over the last few years has always stated one way or another that "Linux isn't ready for the desktop yet".

> I've tried it many times. It's not great.
Tried it many times? WTF does that mean? Tried to boot into it? Tried to surf the web with it? Tried to get a piece of hardware to work with it?

> It's terrible.
Terrible? What specificially do you feel is terrible about it? I'll assume you meant the desktop environment. Gnome or KDE? Configuration o or just plain using those enviroments? Didn't like the "Look and Feel"? Was it the lack of commerical $50 waste-of-my-time games? What specifically?

> If anyone thinks Linux is a desktop OS they're kidding themselves.
The joke must be on me then. I use Netscape under Linux and love surfing the web in my environment. Yes, Netscape crashes under Linux, but it also crashes under Win98 also. Linux has proven to be more robust for me. No I don't play games. Yes I have dual-boot so my wife can use Quicken. Kinda makes me think I have the best of both worlds. I NEVER say, "boy, I wish x application worked under Linux" 'cause most of the time I can find a Linux (Free) app that accomplishes the same thing. What does piss me off are websites that are written to a specific browser or that use plug-ins that are available only on MS platforms....but then I just take my business elsewhere.

> Windows 95a offers a more cohesive desktop OS. (By a massive margin)
Windows 9x + Office suites may make for a "more cohesive desktop os", but Windows 9x with just the base install provides a pathetic offering of software. Downloading the GNU tools and other apps will provide you with a compreshensive environment, but so will a Linux install from any available distribution. So what do you mean by "cohesive desktop OS"? Tight intergration of apps like Outlook to the OS?

> Everyone who uses Linux as a desktop OS will admit to you it is "hard to learn" That's the issue. You don?t' LEARN Linux. You learn to waste time.

Eh? I suppose if your used to running Windows around your desktop there would be a learning curve stepping over to Linux, but first time users of any OS wouldn't find either much more difficult to use with some base training. Take a Linux user and put them in front of a Windows 9x machine, and there would be frustration also. That is probably what turned you off.

I've always been of the opinion that learning something new should never be considered a waste of time.




[ Parent ]
Nice rant but... (3.45 / 11) (#31)
by tom0 on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 05:28:10 PM EST

Linux is a great desktop for me. I understand that it might not be great for you and many others, but your religion-flavored whinge is just as bad as the "Linux elitism" you're ripping on.

Look, everyone wants something different. People tend to pick thier favorite and think it's the best. This happens with everything, not just OSes. You didn't like the same OS as your buddies who recommended it, and then you paint all users of that OS as falling into your 3 little groups...

Do you like Caffiene-Free Diet Coke? Are all the people who drink it:
a) anorexic
b) pretentious and concerned only about looks
c) lard-asses who are kidding themselves that eating a bag of chips accompanied with a diet beverage is really going to help them lose weight

Preposterous.

[ Parent ]

Oy vey (3.27 / 11) (#32)
by Inoshiro on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 05:29:22 PM EST

"I believed the Linux lie. " Not a good intro :(

"It's just a joke. The people who use Linux as a desktop OS fall into three groups: " .. now that's personal. I use Linux over Windows on my desktop. Why? Well, the things I used in Windows (excepting UltraEdit32) were better replaced in Linux.. ssh + gnome terminal is better than SecureCRT. Netscape being just as crappy as Netscape (even crashing and losing my first shot at this comment, but it'd been open since yesterday..).. XMMS using less CPU time than the Windows versions (leaving more for XF, Dnetc, etc).. All this, while still being able to run a local copy of Scoop on my workstation for testing. It's very nice.

Yes, the initial install can be daunting. And yes, you have to spend some time to get it just right. But once it's there, your efforts pay off. I use Slackware. A quick toss in of a couple of shell scripts I keep around, default run level of 4, and tweaks to a few cfg files .. boom, most of what I want. Now add IceWM, mp3s, my home directory, and baste :-) Yes, it's not for everyone, but that doesn't mean we're all 31337 d00ds, E them junkies, or salt of the earth Unix dogs from the 1980s. I still have my Win32 binaries around for movies (Linux movie apps are kinda craptacular), games (wine == too slow), and nothing else I can think of.. :-/.. still, it's only a few hundre mb without IE (thank you, ROM)..

You get out of Linux what you put into it, just like you get out of windows what you put into it. I just happen to have the skills to put myself into Linux better, since I LIKE to program in C, do work directly with Unix, etc :-)



--
[ イノシロ ]
[ Parent ]
Counterpoint (4.22 / 9) (#34)
by El Volio on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 05:45:36 PM EST

Everyone I knew, whose opinions on technology I respected thought Linux was great. I've tried it many times. It's not great. It's terrible. If anyone thinks Linux is a desktop OS they're kidding themselves. Windows 95a offers a more cohesive desktop OS. (By a massive margin)
I guess that depends on what you want out of a desktop. Personally, although I'm comfortable in Windows, I'm more comfortable in a Unix desktop (not just Linux). Part of the issue is customizability; it's far easier to get the desktop environment just the way I like it in a Unix environment as compared to Windows. I'm not knocking Windows for that; if your goal is absolute consistency, across applications and users, with a few customizations like theming, then Windows is great. Not for me, though.
Linux is a decent enough little server OS, most situations I'd rather use OpenBSD since post-install clean up is easier. Anyway, the issue is over the desktop OS...
I actually thought this was kind of amusing. I use both of those in production capacities. Unfortunately, since OpenBSD doesn't yet support SMP, that's the one relegated to being a "decent enough little server OS". Mid-range servers for me typically run Linux or Solaris. High mid-range servers and the big servers at my workplace run Solaris or IRIX. As you mentioned, the issue at hand is the desktop OS, but isn't it interesting that Linux is the OS that's mentioned in both classifications?
It's just a joke. The people who use Linux as a desktop OS fall into three groups
You forgot some: The user who wants total control over every aspect of his desktop. The user who's just more comfortable in a Unix environment.

BTW, I might point out that there's lots of ways to make the world a better place. And making high-quality software available to people who normally might not be able to afford it is one of them. There's a reason that GNOME is becoming the standard in Mexican schools, and it's not because of open-source zealotry, nor because all the students are only using vi, gcc, and basic Internet tools, and certainly not because the decision-makes are 1337 h4x0rs.

That said...

Yea, this is a borderline troll but I just get so sick of everyone pulling this elitism with Linux. It's just pathetic. There is more LINUX FUD out there than there is MS FUD I think sometimes.
No doubt. Look, if Windows is what you like and it fills your needs, use it! If Linux is, use that! I dual-boot, spending most of my time in Linux, but GNUcash isn't anywhere close to MS Money, and most of my gaming is done in Windows. Use the tool that fits the job at hand. My response to both Windows and Linux zealots is, "When all you have is a hammer..."

[ Parent ]
What's a Consumer? (2.16 / 6) (#25)
by ihatemilk on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 04:55:39 PM EST

I don't really care. I have the setup I like. If Windows plus the GNU tools works for you, just enjoy.

I will say, however, that I got a DSL line so that I could update my system exceedingly often.

Brent

DSL Hookup (3.72 / 11) (#26)
by Suanrw on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 04:56:25 PM EST

Switching to windows 'cause your xDSL service doesn't support your os, suggests that you should not be using that os unless you can support it yourself. It certainly doesn't mean that the xDSL service won't work with that os.

Your DSL service has hired or trained techs to support the bulk of their customer base. It is not worth it for them to provide support for every os the customer might have. My DSL service comes from Telus. They had two options when I got hooked up; they install or you install. Their tech hooks up the telephone filter and the DSL modem in either case. I dropped the NIC into my machine, and did the configuration myself.

Your DSL modem has a 10baseT jack, and probably comes with a cable to connect to your NIC. Once that physical connection is established, the rest is all software. It probably doesn't matter what NIC you use. The vendor might supply one, but any compatible one should work. If they try to give you an internal DSL modem, tell them your slots are full - anything to force them to provide an external modem and a NIC. Don't take a chance on a WinModem type card.

Any os with a modern TCP/IP stack will have the configuration options you need. I have used 2 linux distributions, BeOS, Plan9, and Win98se. You're plugging into a big network - they get to tell you what your IP address will be. Either you paid for a static address or you have to use DHCP to request a dynamic one. Set your configuration accordingly, reboot if necessary. Check the basics first, ping (by ip address) the modem, their gateway, their DHCP and DNS servers. Ping a site by name. Before the tech leaves, power off your machine AND the modem. Make sure everything powers up correctly and those tests still work. The rest is up to you.

There are plenty of web sites which will walk you through the setup for different os's, and explain in detail what is going on at every step.

If you want be an application user, stick with Windows or other systems that hide all the gory details from you. The price you pay is loss of knowledge about and control over your own system.

If you want to be a computer user, don't forget that that includes some sys admin responsibility. You need to know something about how your system works, because you have the freedom to change that in myriad ways.

Telus isn't every xDSL service... (4.00 / 3) (#75)
by Miniluv on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 02:45:15 AM EST

Telus is pretty darn nice to their customers. Having experienced the "average canadian ISP" and compared to "the average US ISP" the canadians are a bunch nicer.

Here's the reality of DSL setup in my region without windows. It varies WIDELY from provider to provider. Why? Because they use wildly different ways of giving you your IP address. I have a static IP address, which I must initially obtain through DHCP..no other way to do it. I could not use ANYTHING but the exact OS's they listed to get that initial setup, after that I was fine. I had to use a throwaway install of NT4 to get the modem configured, then I could attach my FreeBSD firewall/nat machine to get the rest of the LAN online.

Other ISP's offer linux support, some even offer "UNIX" support...which often doesn't mean linux. My cable modem company threatened to cancel my service if I hooked a linux machine to the box and they found out.

I can completely understand switching OS's based on an ISP imposed threat if you're not that attached to your OS compared to your need for that high speed access.
"Its like someone opened my mouth and stuck a fistful of herbs in it." - Tamio Kageyama, Iron Chef 'Battle Eggplant'
[ Parent ]

My reasons for using Linux (2.40 / 10) (#33)
by TheLaser on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 05:36:16 PM EST

>Why would I want to reinstall Linux?

Well, here are the reasons I use Linux:

  • Because Linux is free.
    (ok, ok, that's probably not an issue for you, but some people care)
  • Because Linux has a tendancy to crash less.
    Well, at least in my experience.
  • Because Linux is Free.
    I went through and actually read Microsoft's EULA, and decided that paying MS for the opportunity to sell them my soul to use their OS wasn't for me. I'm not a Free Software zealot (yet). I don't find anything fundamentally wrong with non-free software, but the licencing on most of it is just insane and unacceptable.


.. (3.00 / 1) (#78)
by ameoba on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 04:14:47 AM EST

You forget to mention on important thing: The Unix Programming environment is more than just a few tools. The tools can exist anywhere, but the real advantage of using a Unix system is programming it to do something NEW.<br>
<br>
Sure, adding the GNU toolset and a decent shell to a Windows box will give you oodles more flexibility in how to use your tools, but you still can't <tt>cat `find -name *.c -or -name *.h -or -name *.S` /usr/src/linux >/dev/dsp</tt>. =)<br>
<br>
For the average user, many of the advantages of a Unix system are insignificant, but the original poster, by virtue of knowing how to program is automatically less average than 95% of people. Depending of what he codes, the true power of Unix may or may not be apparent to him. The Unix System, from day one, was designed for users to write programs in, not to be a vehicle for world domination...<br>
<br>
<br>
What ever happened to Space War, anyways?

[ Parent ]
X Is Crap (2.18 / 11) (#36)
by Delirium on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 06:02:51 PM EST

I think the main reason for this is simply that X is complete and utter crap. It is the worst desktop system I have ever used - even the Macintosh Finder of 1984 was far superior. It won't even start up unless you first set a bunch of things about your video card and monitor by running the (relatively recently created) XF86Setup (which I didn't even know about until asking someone - apparently you need to read manuals to even get the damn thing to start, let alone do anything useful...meanwhile Windows will boot up to a standard 640x480 screen with no problems and let you customize from there). Want to drag and drop between applications? Too bad. Want to copy and paste a simple image? Too bad. Want to change some settings from within X? Too bad - exit, edit the .Xdefaults in vi, and restart. Even Windows doesn't require me to restart to confirm changes this many times, although Linux users often criticize it for this (I can change resolutions, color depth, etc. in Windows without ever rebooting - not in X).

For a more complete rant about why X sucks, see the classic The X Windows Disaster.

X does indeed suck (4.40 / 5) (#38)
by pwhysall on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 06:09:48 PM EST

It's just that every other method of remote display access sucks more.

Remember that neither the Mac nor Windows can do what X does (throw a display across a network).

Third party products don't count; that includes the slow-motion train crash that is Terminal Server.
--
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 ]

Neutrino? (3.00 / 1) (#48)
by tzanger on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 08:05:04 PM EST

Remember that neither the Mac nor Windows can do what X does (throw a display across a network).

True, but QNX's Neutrino server can. Very very well.

When do we get a Neutrino server for Linux? :-)



[ Parent ]
Local Display (2.00 / 1) (#68)
by Delirium on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 12:17:16 AM EST

Of course this doesn't help when what I want is some good local display access.

[ Parent ]
X or XF86? (3.33 / 3) (#40)
by mikpos on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 06:18:24 PM EST

Pretty well everything you mentioned was ridiculing XFree86, not X. Try running X on Sparc Solaris and see if you still have the same complaints.

[ Parent ]
X on Solaris (3.00 / 1) (#69)
by Delirium on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 12:17:56 AM EST

The "X Windows Disaster" link I posted was written by somebody using X on Solaris circa 1994.

[ Parent ]
other complaints (3.50 / 4) (#41)
by mikpos on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 06:24:23 PM EST

About your only valid complaint about X (that dragging and dropping is seldomly supported and you can't copy and paste images), you might want to look at toolkits/desktops (such as XFce or Gnome) which slide on top of X, and should give you a bit more functionality.

The main problem seems to by trying to say that Windows (or MacOS) and X are analogous, which is not really true. X basically does two things: draws graphics and handles mouse and keyboard events. The fact that it doesn't do good interfacing (such as having a decent clipboard) or play sounds or have a screensaver API is really a result of the Unix attitude, which is to have something do one thing and do it well. If you want sound, you can use OSS or ALSA or EsD; if you want distributed components, you can use CORBA or OpenStep's NSDistributedObject (e.g. with GNUstep) or whatever KDE is using this week. Your problem seems to be arrising from you thinking X is an operating system (like Windows and MacOS are), which it is not.

[ Parent ]

Interfacing is Necessary (2.00 / 2) (#70)
by Delirium on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 12:19:41 AM EST

X basically does two things: draws graphics and handles mouse and keyboard events. The fact that it doesn't do good interfacing (such as having a decent clipboard) or play sounds or have a screensaver API is really a result of the Unix attitude, which is to have something do one thing and do it well.

This doesn't really change the fact that Linux with X makes for a bad desktop OS. Whether it was designed that way or ended up that way accidentally isn't really relevant. The fact that it doesn't do good interfacing gets in the way of getting things done, which is why I no longer have a UNIX partition.

[ Parent ]

add more than just x then (4.00 / 2) (#72)
by mikpos on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 12:55:27 AM EST

Linux+X may make a bad desktop OS, but how about Linux+X+Gnome or Linux+X+KDE or Linux+X+XFce?

[ Parent ]
re: interfacing is necessary (3.00 / 2) (#99)
by s e a n on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 10:52:43 PM EST

What did you expect? Unix platforms were never really designed to have GUI. If you really want a GUI and don't mind spending $ on it, go with Windows. It is more mature than KDE / GNOME right now. It's all about choosing the right tool for the job.

The fact that it doesn't do good interfacing gets in the way of getting things done

Well, that depends on what you need to do I guess. Some tasks are better done using the command line interface. For example: I stopped using a GUI to encode CDs into mp3 format a couple of years ago. Why? because a GUI is overkill for such a simple task. You can create one little script to automate the entire process so that in the future you simply execute the script and come back an hour later when the ripping & encoding is done. The script takes care of all ripping and encoding automatically. Oh, and I spent $0.00 on the software. I'd say this is better than windows crippleware

As for the 'drag and drop' & 'cut and paste' features you seem to require, here's an idea:
man mv

[ Parent ]

Lies, Lies, Lies (2.75 / 4) (#43)
by drinkybear on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 06:34:26 PM EST

First of all, you do not have to exit X to make changes to config files. You do not need to reboot Linux to activate changes to your X environment. You simply need to restart your X server, which take about 5 to 10 seconds. It take windows way longer than that to activate any changes. X is a thousands times more configurable than windows. Basically, all the things you mentioned can be done quite easily if you take the time to learn how. Tell you what. I'll buy you "linux for dummies" and "X-windows for dummies" books if you give me your address.

[ Parent ]
>Lies, Lies, Lies (1.00 / 2) (#50)
by Todd Stewart on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 08:25:51 PM EST

It doesn't matter whether you have to reboot the computer or the server. Both are effectively a reboot.

Just like the false distinction Linux users try to make between a crash and a XServer crash. For the end user they are effectively the same thing.





[ Parent ]
RE: Lies, Lies, Lies (3.00 / 3) (#60)
by Colonol_Panic on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 10:27:16 PM EST

Are you kidding me? I can restart X in about 5 seconds. You're machine would just be finished POSTing after 5 seconds. Plus, any other processes running on your box remain running uninterupted.

While an OS crash and an X crash wouldn't be that different to and end user (depending on the user), if you are running something like gdm it will restart automatically. These things are not inherent faults in Linux/UNIX; they are simply (or rather, arguably) design flaws which can be fixed. And the more people that bitch about them, the faster they go away :)
Here's my DeCSS mirror. Where's Yours?
[ Parent ]

Re: Lies, Lies, Lies (2.00 / 1) (#64)
by scheme on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 11:19:50 PM EST

While an OS crash and an X crash wouldn't be that different to and end user (depending on the user), if you are running something like gdm it will restart automatically.

That really doesn't help very much. I think the point Todd was trying to make is if your X server crashes and you end up losing the documents you are working on, how is that really all that much different from the OS crashing and you losing the same documents. Yeah, sure you can get X restarted quicker than a system reboot but that's insignificant compared to the length of time it'll take to re-edit/rewrite the document or work. Also XFree crashes tend to cause the console to go down also, leaving only network servers running which doesn't help if you're at home and don't have another computer around.


"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: Lies, Lies, Lies (3.00 / 1) (#66)
by Colonol_Panic on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 11:49:23 PM EST

Okay, you do have a point there. But while I have had X crash on me before, it was almost always due to me screwing with it. You'd have to have some serious issues going on if X crashes while you're writing a letter or email. It's not that unstable. Windows, on the other hand, has actually done this to me but YMMV.


Here's my DeCSS mirror. Where's Yours?
[ Parent ]

Re: Lies, Lies, Lies (3.00 / 1) (#67)
by Todd Stewart on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 12:15:13 AM EST

Yes, that was what I meant. I wasn't verbose enough.

I used to have things crash my XServer quit a bit when I ran Linux. Obviously they were buggy apps causing the problem, but it was just as frustrating as a crash on my MacOS 9 box. Having X crash was the main reason I went back to using my Mac for my primary machine. I am currently running a Win2k machine and it has only crashed on me once - a Soundblaster driver crash related to a game.

Perhaps I was doing something wrong with my Linux setup, but X gave me the impression of being quite fragile. I am waiting around for a final release of MacOS X, but until then nothing compares in stability to my Win2k box.





[ Parent ]
what the hell? (1.50 / 2) (#77)
by drinkybear on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 03:38:39 AM EST

you went from linux to OS 9? that's the silliest thing i've ever heard. i was forced to use OS 9 a while ago while contracting for a company. OS 9 crashes at least 5 to 10 times a day. and i was using a G4 with 128 ram. it was a sweet machine with a horrible OS. and it wasnt my lack of know-how. i worked in an office full of Macs. everyone working there had an equal number of crashes. X does crash sometimes, but the difference is you can fix the bug crashing it.

[ Parent ]
>what the hell? (1.00 / 1) (#86)
by Todd Stewart on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 11:22:09 AM EST

Please. No OS 9 doesn't crash 5 to 10 times a day. No everyone in the office you worked in didn't have 5 to 10 crashes a day. I've been using Macs since 1987 and have done development on them since that time. You're not going anywhere with that claim.

BTW, how many bugs have you fixed in X or an app that runs under X. Be specific.

MacOS 9 crashes. The Linux XServer crashes.

Win2k doesn't. MacOS X probably won't.



[ Parent ]
RE: >what the hell? (2.00 / 2) (#93)
by UrLord on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 05:27:18 PM EST

"MacOS 9 crashes. The Linux XServer crashes. Win2k doesn't. MacOS X probably won't." I dont know about Mac OS (9 or 10) so I wont comment much on those. So what if the X server dies? There is a console for a reason. The only reason I start X is to use netscape because lynx wont let me get into my hotmail account. If you have a problem with the X server, stop using it! Use the console for your work, its quite stable to say the least.

We can't change society in a day, we have to change ourselves first from the inside out.
[ Parent ]

X Crashiness (3.33 / 3) (#96)
by sigwinch on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 08:16:07 PM EST

MacOS 9 crashes. The Linux XServer crashes.

There is no such thing as "the Linux X Server".  There are a variety of X servers, both from different vendors and for various types of video hardware.  If a particular X server crashes, try another one that is compatible with your hardware.  You can usually get the plain VGA server to run, although the resolution will suck.  Typical X servers usually have options you can tweak, which can sometimes fix problems.  If the free XFree86 servers simply won't work for you, there are several commercial vendors that claim to be high quality (I haven't used them so I can't say).  Linux kernel 2.2 and later also has support for frame buffer devices -- you can use the framebuffer X server and get X running, albeit slowly, on some pretty funky hardware.

As to your claim that the free X servers are garbage, I disagree.  The computer I'm typing this message on is running a bleeding edge version of XFree86 4.0 on very new hardware.  I downloaded the latest source code right out of CVS, compiled it myself, and it has worked almost flawlessly (only two crashes, and those might have been the window manager).  I wouldn't recommend this method to a novice, but at least I had the opportunity.  Under Windows I'd have had to wait without graphics until a big corp decided I was worthy of graphics. 

X reliability comes down to your specific combination of video card, X server, and XF86Config.  If you get crashes, try several permutations of the above -- often something will work.  And unless your hardware is *really* strange, somebody will eventually fix the X server.

As others have said, an X crash is *not* the same as a Windows crash.  Windows crashes tend to wipe out the whole machine, whereas X server or window manager crashes tend to shut apps down safely.  X usually gives apps plenty of chances to save your work in a temporary file.  The real annoyance is getting everything running again and putting the windows where you want them.

And if you have programs that absolutely, positively must not be terminated, Linux gives you some nice options.  The screen(1) program provides a virtual terminal to text-mode applications.  If the real terminal suddenly goes away, the screen(1) server will patiently wait for a client to connect again.  The programs running under the server don't even know that the terminal went away.  screen(1) is most useful for text-mode programs that are a lot of work to set up.  Just don't kill the client and forget about the session -- it will still be waiting days or weeks later for a client.  I know of no equivalent for Windows.

If you have graphical programs that must not be killed despite X server/window manager problems, you could run them using the VNC virtual X server.  Run the VNC client in the real X server, or even on another computer.  If the big, fancy, crash-prone X server dies, the VNC virtual X server will just wait patiently for another VNC client to connect.  You can even have multiple VNC virtual X servers with no problems.  This flexibility is impossible under the Windows one-user-at-a-time paradigm.


--
I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

Re:X Crashiness (1.00 / 1) (#100)
by Todd Stewart on Tue Oct 24, 2000 at 01:23:32 AM EST

First, I never claimed anywhere that "free X servers are garbage." You must have read that from someone else.

Second, it doesn't mater which XServer you are running. When running X on Linux, if X crashes you lose every program you have running under X. I could be wrong, but that is my experience.

It doesn't matter if X crashed from a buggy server version, configuration problem, or act of god. A crash is a crash.

A Mac person will talk about extension conflicts.
A Win95/8 person will talk about service packs.
A Linux person will talk about the things you listed.

A crash is a crash. I could care less if the kernel is still running or some apps saved before X dumped.

The only desktop OS that is rock solid is Win2k. I hate MS and Windows. I can't wait to get a new Mac with OS X when it hits GM. But until then, nothing touches Win2k for stability.



[ Parent ]
hmmm... (1.00 / 1) (#98)
by drinkybear on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 10:31:30 PM EST

so aparently i'm lying. do you want me to swear to god? os 9 crashed every day at least 5 times. every day! os 9 is buggy as hell. that's all i'm saying.

[ Parent ]
.. (2.00 / 2) (#76)
by ameoba on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 02:57:24 AM EST

However, with an X crash, all the apps you're running, with the possible exception of the dodgy one that causes the crash, are give a chance to CLEANLY exit, and save whatever it is you're working on.

A windows crash, on the other hand is seldom as forgiving, and terminates running apps without providing them the opportuninity to save their state.

So, properly written software under X should be more stable than it counterpart under Windows, in the event of these 'equivalent' system crashes.

[ Parent ]
Re: Lies, Lies, Lies (1.50 / 2) (#52)
by Captain Derivative on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 08:51:15 PM EST

Well, true, but you're missing his point. You still need to edit /etc/X11/XF86Config in emacs or vi, shut down X, and restart it. It doesn't matter *how* you edit the file, but you still have to do it manually, and you still have to restart the X server.

His point, however, was that you shouldn't need to do that. Windows lets you change resolutions and color depths in seconds, without restarting anything. To me, it makes sense to be able to change the settings for XFree86 while running it and have the changes take effect immediately.


--
Hey! Why aren't you all dead yet?! Oh, that's right, it's only Tuesday. -- Zorak


[ Parent ]
Re: Lies, Lies, Lies (4.25 / 4) (#61)
by Colonol_Panic on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 10:35:33 PM EST

All I have to do is hit ctrl-alt-+/- and I can cycle through 640x480, 800x600 and 1024x768 resolutions on the fly. If manually editing XF86Config doesn't grab your fancy, just use the xf86config script or XF86Setup for a graphical utility. If you're gonna complain about Linux, it's more productive to pick a real problem.
Here's my DeCSS mirror. Where's Yours?
[ Parent ]
Editing .Xdefaults (3.00 / 1) (#90)
by zakj on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 12:59:04 PM EST

Want to change some settings from within X? Too bad - exit, edit the .Xdefaults in vi, and restart.
While there are valid rants about X, this is not one of them. Read xrdb(1) or just use xrdb ~/.Xdefaults.

[ Parent ]
Run them both, on different computers (4.22 / 9) (#39)
by Broco on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 06:13:36 PM EST

Since you can do everything remotely in Linux (I played Quake over an X terminal once :), you could have a second box that's always on and runs Linux. I have an old 486 I use as a file server, Quake server, firewall etc. It's as easy to use a telnet session to a remote Linux computer as it is to run it locally, so why install it on your main workstation?

This has the advantages that:

  • As a developer, you can port your applications to Linux
  • Linux gives you more control without resorting to C, so you can have things like shell scripts that look for portscans and mail you about it, wakes you up in the morning by loudly playing an MP3, etc.
  • You can easily (and securely, with ssh) do complicated things with your Linux box from a distant computer. If you are at a boring workstation and would like to start coding, you can just grab an ssh client from somewhere and begin immediately hacking your codebase.

It may not be worth it for Joe Sixpack, but if you already know how to use Linux anyway, those advantages certainly seem worthwhile. And there isn't any downside if it's on another computer, other than the extra hardware :).


Klingon function calls do not have "parameters" - they have "arguments" - and they ALWAYS WIN THEM.

What do you use it for? (3.77 / 9) (#45)
by enterfornone on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 06:51:49 PM EST

When I was first in the market for a computer I was told this.

a) Find out what you want to do.
b) Find out what software you need to do it.
c) Buy the computer that will run that software.

I wanted to play games and hack BASIC so I bought a C64.

People these days seem to go backwards, buy the system first, find the software that runs on it and then try to tweak that software to do whatever they want to do with it.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
VNC (3.00 / 1) (#49)
by tzanger on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 08:08:13 PM EST

Since you can do everything remotely in Linux (I played Quake over an X terminal once :), you could have a second box that's always on and runs Linux. I have an old 486 I use as a file server, Quake server, firewall etc. It's as easy to use a telnet session to a remote Linux computer as it is to run it locally, so why install it on your main workstation?

There's even something better: X2VNC. I'm not sure if it can work with Win32 at all or not but with X2VNC you can actually wale* your mouse over and you're on the other machine... Wale it the other way and you're back. Way cool.

* - I know the mammal is spelled whale, but is the action spelled this way?



[ Parent ]
Use multiple boot (2.20 / 5) (#51)
by crossconnects on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 08:50:07 PM EST

I use a triple-boot Win98/NT/Linux sytem on my home machine

An upcoming case example! (4.42 / 14) (#62)
by pi on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 10:41:10 PM EST

The short answer for the OP is: If I have to convince you to use Linux over Win32, then you probably should not use it - period. Use what you are comfortable with and be happy. Don't feel as thought you need to justify your decision, or that we should justify our opinions. Choosing and OS is a matter of taste, and we all know the famous quote. My taste happens to lie with UNIX-like OSes.

But, here is an interesting situation: My sister is currently hard at work completing here PhD in rhetoric and composition. She is not computer savvy, nor is she a computer dolt. When she had frequent lock-ups on her iBook, she went to a bookstore and read up on MacOS (to no avail, I might add). So, after much frustration and losing time she did not have, she called in the warranty (assuming it was a hardware problem) and put together an ad hoc solution with an old Wintel PC. My sister is not happy. She wants to use the fine laptop computer she spent hard earned money on for more than a paperweight. She has approached me asking for a solution, having listened to me blather about how much I enjoy my favorite OSes, Linux and the BSDs. I put some serious thought into her query. Yes, as a computer programmer and student of computer science, I find UNIX a more useful and interesting environment than the usual desktop OSes. And I have been using UNIX for far too long to enjoy anthing else. But what about my sister? She has never known anything save Win32/MacOS. Can I help her get her work done with my favorite environment?

I asked her exactly what kinds of things she wants to do on her machine. It turns out (surprise, surprise) that she mostly using the machine for word processing (and lots of it). Yeah, she hits the web now and again, and telnets (gasp!) to her University's UNIX cluster to check her email, although they are in the process of converting to an IMAP only, no more shell acounts type setup. So, I envision the following as a possible solution for this specific average user.

  • Word Processing: Personally, I have found StarOffice to suck bigtime. I use it exclusively to open MS-type attachments that my Win-based friends send me. I think that someone who spent several hours at a bookstore reading up on her OS (in frustration) would be willing to learn a text editor+Latex. Nedit would probably be a good choice -- I wouldn't wish Vim on her, although I love it :>. Honestly. She understands the concept of a markup language -- I've asked her. Give her a copy of Lamport's Latex manual and she'd be all set. Anyone who has taken the time to really learn Latex/Tex knows how much the system rocks for typesetting. I would like her to have this at her disposal. Let's not forget ispell.
  • Desktop: Her I would go with a clean and simple solution -- Blackbox. She doesn't care about the features that the GNOME and KDE people are tackling. I can show her how to use 'xsetbg' and how to change her menus. It is not any harder than writing a basic web page, which she has done (of own volition).
  • Browsing: Yeah, it crashes. Netscape still is the best thing available (but maybe not for long.)
  • Email: Fuck man. SSH is her best friend.

My sister is not a computer enthusiast and never will be. She's a writer and a literary researcher. Linux was not created for her, but I think I can make it work extremely well -- better than MacOS -- for her needs.

I know the proposed solution is not "pretty." But it will work and will most likely never crash for her. My Debian box has been crash-free since pre 2.0 kernels, and I did most of my undergrad programming on it.

I guess the point I am making is this: Alot of people assume that converting from Win/Mac to Linux mean KDE or GNOME (and usually a copy of RedHat). It means learning all about all the software on your box. This isn't necessarily the case. If the convertee has a person like me to set things up and spend a few Xmas vacation days teaching the basics, Linux can be a much better solution. There is no question that the kernel is more stable. And cutting out GNOME+KDE keeps it that way. It all comes down to, as it always does, on how much the person is willing to learn. Learn all you want about Win32, you can't fix what sucks. With the free unices, you *can*. And I not talking about hacking the kernel -- I'm talking about the typical end user taking control of their computing experience. Oh shit.. this is becoming/is a rant.. be warned:

I frequently hear "typical" users speak of their computer crashing. They are not surprised. Often, they are not even mad about it. Why? Most users **expect** this behaviour, and assume it is something intrinsic to computing! This is not the fault of the user - I don't expect them to know any better if computers/comSci are/is not their course of study/career. We all know that this doesn't have to be the case. Computer systems do not have to be shit -- it just happends to be what is most popular.

Wow. I sure lost focus there. I can't wait to see how this works out. I will keep you all posted. This is a good chance to see how GNU/Linux works for a "typical" user who is dependent on computing, but doesn't like that fact.


-- "egad, a base tone denotes a bad age!" - tmbg
She can keep that iBook (2.50 / 2) (#85)
by AgentGray on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 11:10:10 AM EST

How? Install Yellow Dog Linux on it. That is exactly what I've done. Since then my productivity has gone up.

It was a simple install and I was able to partition it and keep the MacOS and its apps on there.

I just can't wait until I get the best of both worlds: MaxOS X.

[ Parent ]

How bout the others... (3.00 / 1) (#94)
by pi on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 06:17:00 PM EST

Actaully, I was thinking about installing Debain PPC. This decision is exclusively based on the fact that I have the most experience with Debian. Has anyone tried both Yellow Dog and Debian's PPC? The installer doesn't really matter that much -- remember I'll be setting things up, not my Linux-newbie sis. I'm looking for superior default configuration and good package management. For instance, I really like Debian's choice of MTA, exim. For a small home network like I have, it is much easier to use than sendmail. And for someone who will just be using fetchmail to grab mail from a POP account, this seems like a good choice.

I also really love dpkg and apt. Yellow Dog's package system is rpm-based (so sayeth their web site). So, I guess I am asking the PPC folks out there: why do you like your chosen PPC distro?

pi
-- "egad, a base tone denotes a bad age!" - tmbg
[ Parent ]
Why I like YDL (none / 0) (#103)
by AgentGray on Tue Oct 24, 2000 at 12:43:38 PM EST

I have not tried Debian PPC.

However, I've tried YDL and Linux PPC 2000

Out of the box (or off the iso's, actually) I found YDL to be easier to install and setup. It also came better configured for whatever machine I put it on (iMac or iBook). The only item I had any (minor) problem with was the sound. Basically, a link was wrong. Simple fix.

Linux PPC was a little harder to configure. I also had a harder time getting the X server to run.

I stuck with YDL. Plus, it has this really AMAZING program called Mac-On-Linux. It runs most Mac programs flawlessly at close to their native speeds.



[ Parent ]
LyX... (3.33 / 3) (#89)
by Parity on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 12:38:34 PM EST

To stray off-topic a bit, you might want to install LyX and let your sister play with that (LyX, not KLyX ... the K-version stopped being updated from the core tree); I find LyX very easy to use, and in fact, have written my last few resumes in it. It very proudly and at some length (if you read the documentation) states that it is -not- a word processor... which brings me around to my point; the lengthy and pendantic rant against the word-processing paradigm in the documentation is amusing and irrelevent to most people, but I can easily see LyX being vastly superior for anyone who wants to write an academic paper. Word Processors really are glorified typewriters, which is fine for a letter to mom and actually more than fine (because of the mailmerge stuff) for most business letters; academic papers, OTOH, want a different approach, and I suspect that LyX is a good choice.

Parity Odd


[ Parent ]
The computer is a tool ... period (3.20 / 5) (#63)
by jann on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 11:15:03 PM EST

lets see, The computer is nothing other than a tool to achive an objective. What is your objective, does your computer assist you an achiving this objective? if it does what is the problem? If your tool would work more efficently running Linux thereby allowing your time to be used more profitably move over to Linux. If it presently does the job don't bother. My home computer is still a 486dx33 running win3.1 ... why is this ... because the only thing I use it for is updating my resume and it does that perfectly. (The last thing I want to do when I get home from work is use the PC) Anyway ... if you really want to run a free unix get FreeBSD ... it leaves Linux gaping in it's wake.

I've been thinking about this (2.60 / 5) (#73)
by titivillus on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 01:05:15 AM EST

for a while, and with some of the shells you can get for Windows (start looking at desktopian.org), Cygwin, Perl, and a Korn shell (which David Korn says isn't 100% Korn, but really, how compliant does it have to be? Anything would be better than a DOS shell), and you have most of what you want out of a Linux system. The two things I can think of is crontab and stability. Oh, that and the ability to install more than once off the same media. That's my 2 cents.

Security FUD (4.11 / 9) (#79)
by itsbruce on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 06:15:19 AM EST

Yes, Windows has security problems too but they are not as widespread or devastating as *nix security holes, just ask SANS.
In fact, following the link you give, I see that Windows actually figures more often than any specific *nix and about even with *nix as a whole.

Comparing Windows with the incredibly diverse world of *nix on this point is fruitless, so I'll stick to a Windows/Linux comparison.

Most Linux distibutions (Debian a notable exception) do install too many services, which the newbie won't know how to switch off. Beyond that, any Linux distro comes with a wider range of powerful tools than any size wallet will get you on Windows. Any user ignorant of the security hazards may expose themselves to risk when trying these out - but I don't think that makes Linux inherently less secure. It's more an argument for more responsible package management (security warnings given on installation, etc).

For the experienced user, OTOH, Linux is significantly easier to secure than any given Windows incarnation. This is because of the high level of choice and control - you can specify exactly what you want installed and specify exactly how you want it to operate. If you don't like inetd or xinetd you can take them out and put in DJB's daemontools etc. On a Linux system you can find out exactly what is running, what it is serving up and how to stop it.

Windows just doesn't let you do that. The dumber 9x versions are too insecure to be worth mentioning and the NT/2k variety are way too monolithic and uninformative (not to mention having extremely stupid default settings).

Security is just one of those areas where an omnipresent point and click interface doesn't make anything any easier - you simply have to know what you are doing.

--

It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.
Widnows and security... (3.75 / 4) (#80)
by Miniluv on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 06:43:51 AM EST

Windows is, service wise, as secureable as linux. In the hands of a competent admin either OS can be screwed down. Windows offers, natively in Win2k and NT4, IPSec and the ability to shut down ports. The only ports that my not properly show being shutdown are the infamous 138 and 139. They won't be accepting packets if done properly though.

"Analysis" of SANS and other databases has shown time and again that *nix and Windows are relatively the same as far as security goes. One must also remember, not every entry in there is a mark against the OS, some of those are in the packages of, or software available for, said OS. Security just isn't this cut and dried use $FAVORITE_OS and life is peachy. Sure, OpenBSD is secure by default, but that doesn't mean you can't open your OpenBSD box up and let me root it remotely. Just like Redhat sucks by default, but that doesn't mean I can't screw it down tighter than a virgin on prom night and you will have to work MIGHTY hard for that remote root exploit.

OS's all suck without competent administration. Just ask Inoshiro what happened before Rusty learned the security game.

BTW, that's not saying Rusty was incompetent, just not terribly security minded at the time.
"Its like someone opened my mouth and stuck a fistful of herbs in it." - Tamio Kageyama, Iron Chef 'Battle Eggplant'
[ Parent ]

Why I use Linux and Windows (4.16 / 6) (#84)
by Anonymous 242 on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 10:55:03 AM EST

I have two computers. One is a loaner desktop computer from the company I'm on site at. One is a laptop I bought for $200 on ebay (486dx50)

I have Windows 95 and Storm Linux running on the desktop, Debian GNU/Linux on the notebook.

I use Windows 95 for three puposes.

  1. Internet Access. I use several free internet services which only run on Windows. It was a sad day when freewwweb died.
  2. Work dial-up. The company I'm on site at has a very rigorous security system complete with a hardware fire wall that only provides a windows client.
  3. My scanner. I have an old, old scanner with a Windows only proprietary interface. (It worked under Win-OS2 back in my Warped past, so it might work with Wine, but I'm too lazy to find out and too cheap to buy another scanner.)

I exclusively use Linux on my laptop for differing reasons.

  1. It came without an OS (part of the reason I got it for $200). Linux is free. Winders ain't.
  2. It came without an cdrom. I installed Debian from five floppies. I don't want to even think about Windows.
  3. Linux has all the tools I need. I use my laptop to dork around with while I take the bus to work.
    • I'm using it to write the great American sci-fi novel. Ispell beats the spell check in any version of Word hands down. Hyphenation and permutations of words are handled much better by ispell.
    • Xemacs is my friend. I shouted with glee when I discovered that I could use xemacs in console mode instead of GNU emacs. I'm a sick, sick puppy in some ways.
    • I like to mess around with PostgreSQL, Perl, C++. These are all free on Linux.
    • Free mindless games abound on Linux. Although good old Xonix was demanding so much of my time I ended up deleting it so I would get some 'work' done.

I use Linux on my desktop for an app I'm writing in C++. I like X better than I like Windows. That's all there is to it. By far the largest reason for this is the xterm (actually rxvt in my case). If I knew of a tool that brought similar command line functionality to Windows, my perception might differ. I do use the cygwin utilities, so its not a case of missing pieces of the toolbox. What I can't stand is the brain-dead dos box. I like to be able to highlight to cut, hit the middle button to paste, resize the window, etc. I also like the feel of Window Maker (on my laptop) and Sawmill (on the desktop) much better than I like the feel of explorer. All the free CORBA orbs on Linux help out too. Eventually my app is going to be CORBA compliant.

I will also admit to a certain philosophical bias I have that makes me more prone to use liberating warez than limiting warez. I've always had a strong leaning toward socialism (provided it is not totalitarian in nature) and the Free software philosophy lines up better with my political and moral ideals than proprietary software (which isn't to say that Free software is socialistic in nature, it only says that some of the same ideals are held by the free software philosophies and by some socialist philosophers).

The bottom line is I am comfortable with Linux so I use it. If anyone is not comfortable with Linux then he or she should not use it.

pppoe (4.00 / 5) (#87)
by khirano on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 12:07:41 PM EST

I use Bellsouth dsl too. It's worth noting that Bellsouth uses the dreaded PPPoE (ppp over ethernet) protocol , which can be an annoyance regardless of your platform. There has been a free pppoe driver for linux for a while (I'm pretty sure this is what's on the new Bellsouth software cd), but in my limited experience pppoe drivers stink regardless of the OS. I bought a Netgear rt314 gateway router. It does the pppoe in firmware and provides 4 switched ethernet ports, so I can have my linux/windows laptop and my housemate's mac on the network at the same time, plus it can act as a (limited) firewall. Highly recommended.

Now that I've got the networking issues resolved, I've almost completely stopped using Windows on my laptop. Why? Because Win98 would crash on me at least once a day. Installing the pppoe driver (before I got the router) made things worse. I tried reinstalling Win98 to see if that would help, but the reinstallation was *painful* and things still don't work. Maybe I should try Win2000 but I'm happy with linux and am too busy right now to deal with a new operating system.

There certainly are some issues with linux for the casual user. Installation can be a hassle (although I had no problems installing Linux Mandrake - it even configured X correctly!). Office applications, games, and stuff like Quicken are not quite there yet, but they're coming along. Myself, I don't use Office type applications, and not having easy access to Baldur's Gate is probably a good thing for my productivity :).



Well.. (3.50 / 4) (#92)
by Rainy on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 03:30:14 PM EST

I don't know why would *you* want linux, but here's my story:

I used to use Windows and play alot of games on it. I also used photoshop, homesite (web authoring program), imageready, played a bit with 3dsmax and so on. About 2 years ago I heard about Linux (well, I heard about it earlier, but this time I actually payed attention). To make long story short, I got slackware through ftp and installed it. I also tried to get RH but it didn't install (probably an ftp transfer error.. I'm on a 28.8 link). Anyway, I chose slack cause it was reputed to be the most 'technical' distro and I thought it'd be cool if I learned it. I was really disappointed, cause docs were scarse and assumed that I already knew quite a bit. As one interesting example, I remember reading some qmail doc that said 'do this and this and then send HUP to the process..' I read through the linux setup guide (by matt welsh) but I didn't remember anything about HUP or how to send it, or what the hell it is. I was also getting pissed off cause many things didn't work together well when compiled and I didn't know enough C to figure out what was wrong. So I switched to Debian.. and it was a bliss to me. All the important, architectural things are in binary packages and when I need something small compiled, it's usually standalone type and doesn't depend on alot of things so I have no problems with that. Dpkg database sometimes gets fucked up and I had to reinstall a couple of times because of that (I couldn't find any docs on how to manually fix it), but to be fair, one time it was because I tried to downgrade from unstable branch to stable, which is probably not something you're supposed to do, and the other time was long time ago so I don't quite remember, but it was probably my mistake also.

So, 2 years later I'm not into graphics anymore so I don't need Photoshop (GIMP is not as good yet, not for a professional user, like I was). I use vim for web development instead of homesite, and find it far superior. I use lynx for most of my web browsing and also find it far superior to either IE or Netscape. I use mutt for mail, exim for mtu, nethack for gaming, slrn for news and I got into programming (C and python mostly). When I do have to use windows (very rarely, I can't remember last time I did, but I still have it installed, my hd is 6.4gig so it all fits nicely), I use most of the unix tools, bash, vim, lynx.. but it's not the same. First of all, WindowMaker is just a far better window manager than Windows, there's workspaces and you can change shortcuts, like set alt-M to minimize windows, and so on. Beside that, msdos window in windows where bash runs is just not good compared to xterm.. you can't paste easily, font looks like crap, it runs slower and less stable, integration with filesystem is not great, and there's no exim port I think, not sure about slrn or mutt. I think windows is a poor substitute for linux users, much like linux being a poor substitute for windows users.

There's the most important thing to understand about this issue, imho: you DON'T choose the right tool for the right job. You choose the tool you like best (but choose wisely!), learn it inside and out, and use it for everything, cause using two or more tools is just too much hassle, you'll never know either of them really well. For instance, if I didn't take time to learn lynx, I might've inclined to boot windows to use IE, but that'd be alot of wasted time for reboots! Not to mention that you often leave alot of programs up and running to come back to them later, especially in linux.

Oh yeah, I'm a bit of an idealist, so the system being free is a big plus for me also. But at the same time I'm a practical kind of an idealist: I think that any free system eclipses closed one in the long run, and for my needs linux has already eclipsed windows. But if you like windows better, use that. Just make sure you know both well enough to compare.. Also, you gotta understand that when you use a system, it's a two-way communication. You tell the system what you want to do but at the same time you learn from the system so you change the way you do things and you perhaps even begin doing different things - so when a windows-centric user switches, he's inclined to underrate linux or beos or mac.

Hope this helps!
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day

Alternative to the Windows console? (3.00 / 1) (#95)
by SIGFPE on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 06:29:57 PM EST

You're right that the Windows console sucks. I'm a Windows newbie transferring over to the Dark (well, more like slightly grey) side because of work. I wonder if it can be replaced. Unlike Unices applications don't talk to a separate console process via a protocol like vt100. As far as I can make out the console is a 'subsystem' compiled into your executable. Can someone either confirm or deny this? Either way it ought to be possible to replace the console. Has anyone ever done this? Does anyone have any idea how this could be done?
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]
Apps vs Desktop (3.50 / 2) (#101)
by Quirk on Tue Oct 24, 2000 at 08:49:51 AM EST

Linux gives you a prettier, stabler desktop. It can be upgraded for free without having to pay the Windows tax. And your security comment was way wrong I'm afraid - Windows is *far* less secure than Unix, even NT/2000. You forget that the total number of Unix bugs is more than any one Unix will have; and if you followed the recent controversy over Fred Moody's comments (see the rebuttal at SecurityFocus) you'll know that Bugtraq shows NT to be far less secure than Linux. 2000 is too new an OS to provide meaningful security data, but the MS track record is bad. Also, to add to the mix, as a fervent virtual desktop user the virtual desktop support under Linux is greatly superior to NT's. Plus, even a souped-up Unix-tool enabled Windows command line is IMHO inferior to a good Linux terminal. I am at the moment working on an NT box having installed a virtual desktop pager and the command line tools, so my opinion may have some validity.

So much for the pros of Linux. The cons? Apps. If you need apps unavailable on Linux, then Windows is your only choice. Netscape is horrible compared to Explorer. Linux is pretty equal on the email side though. It lacks MS Office, but only you know whether you're so attached to Office that Corel's suite would be unacceptable. The games issue is more interesting... Windows 2000's well-documented driver issues make it perhaps a worse games platform than other MS OSes, so if that's the major motivation, why would you be running Windows 2000? If Linux were equal on applications, which at present it is not, there could be no conceivable reason to run a Microsoft operating system (the benefits of the better Control Panel are IMHO outweighed by the inability to see the guts of the system as easily when it breaks badly). And I don't know who's been telling you that Windows ME is a 'vast improvement' over previous versions... every review I've read of it even in Windows-favouring publications has panned it. Windows 2000 is a better Windows than NT was, but I think 'vast improvement' is there also an overstatement. However, considering how totally crufty and horrible MacOS was, I'd agree MacOS X fits the bill for a 'vast improvement'. Just my tuppence... Quirk

If it ain't broke, don't fix it (3.00 / 2) (#102)
by Precious Roy on Tue Oct 24, 2000 at 11:43:00 AM EST

Before I go off onto a wild rant and am labeled a lunatic by the community, let me preface my comments with this:

I have been using Windows 95/98 on a daily basis since they were released. I have had only about three or four brushes with Linux, all in trying to install, configure, and operate it with my own PC, none lasting longer than about a week.

Having said that: If you've got Windows on your PC, and it doesn't everything you need it to, don't bother with Linux.

Many of my objections with Linux, and reasons I don't use for anything more than the occasional tinkering every few months, come from installation and configuration, at least as compared to Windows 9x. (For the record, I've installed or attempted to install various releases of Slackware, Red Hat, and Mandrake).

For example:

  • I must repartition my hard drive to do a "real" installation of Linux. (Yes, I'm aware of UMSDOS and the like, but I'm also aware of the limitations inherent in not partitioning.)
  • Setting up network cards/connections is holy hell in Linux. In my most recent brush (Mandrake 7.1) I fought with the thing for THREE DAYS trying to get it to recognize my 3com 905B card, with absolutely no luck whatsoever... and assuming the card initialized properly (which it never did) there was still the matter of configuring the network settings. The same process in Windows (at least now after five years of practice) takes me one hour max.
  • I hate recompiling the kernel. After repartitioning, editing .conf files, and the like, I really don't feel like sitting there for half an hour answering 400+ questions and waiting for my p2-350 to recompile everything.
  • I can't play games. I realize that's not entirely true, and that I can play some games decently. But I regretfully admit games are the main use of my PC now that I'm out of college and no longer have homework, and last time I checked WINE can't run Diablo II.

I'm certainly willing to admit Linux is getting much better with installation/configuration. Mandrake 7.1 seemed fairly painless, at least up front. Did a decent job of getting the sound and video working... had a good installation interface (graphical view of the partitions was nice). I really think that given another 6-12 months, most of my above complaints will be moot.

Until that happens, the only way I'll use Linux is if it's already installed on the computer I'm using.

Answers (none / 0) (#105)
by captaingoodnight on Tue Oct 24, 2000 at 07:36:52 PM EST

1. You'll most likely have to partition a new hard drive no matter what, so unless Win comes installed it's something you'll have to do no matter what OS you're using someday or another.

2. If you read the docs, setting up a network card is actually much quicker in linux than in Windows. At the most, I'll have to reboot ONCE in the event I have to recompile the kernel, which is not common nowadays since most distros come with drivers pre-compiled as modules that you can install. Windows will make you reboot 3 or 4 times to get all the drivers installed and settings finished. You've got big problems if it takes you an hour to install a network card in Windows.

3. "make menuconfig" OR "make xconfig" - get out of the olden days. I haven't done a "make config" since '94.

4. Bah, games. There are plenty of games.

If you can get sound and video working, you can get the rest working. Put your mind to it and read the docs.

[ Parent ]
Responses (none / 0) (#107)
by Precious Roy on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 06:28:54 AM EST

1. It's not a matter of partitioning a new hard drive. The problem is trying to juggle around all the crap I already have on my hard drive to make room for an extended partition with Partition Magic, which I then have to partition again into (IIRC) 3 other partitions.

2. I did read the docs. I read HOWTOs. I read numerous posts on Usenet from people who had the exact same network card. I had a rather extensive 20-page HOWTO printed out and was following it rather closely. I still couldn't get the thing to work.

You've got big problems if it takes you an hour to install a network card in Windows.

Suit yourself, but I'll take being able to set up a network card in an hour, under Windows, doing the entire process from memory, than spending an aggregate 12 hours trying to install same card in Linux trying 3 different sets of instructions with no success. (No, I'm not exaggerating. I really did spend about 12 hours fighting with the thing.)

Put your mind to it and read the docs.

I did put my mind to it. Too much. My girlfriend was getting rather pissed off that I was spending as much time as I was obsessing getting a single network card to work. As for reading the docs, I did. Several of them. Many times. Please don't assume that I'm an idiot.

[ Parent ]

Hum Weird.. (none / 0) (#108)
by Akoma on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 10:50:14 AM EST

That's weird. I have RH 6.2, which is older than Mandrake 7.1 and at install, the graphical one, it recognize my 3Com 905B TX-MN like a charm.

Vanilla install? try pasting this in /etc/conf.modules:
alias eth0 3c59x

for the records. In RedHat the settings are done in netcfg, linuxconf, netconf, scripts, you name it. And he best of all, you don't have to reboot.

Sometimes, I unplug my Linux firewall/router from my cable connection and connect a Windows 98 PC to play quake 3 online and all i have to do is reset the modem, re-plug and everything is back to normal.

But, keep trying. It took you 5 years to set your network in windows inside an hour. It will took you 2 weeks to set your network in Linux in 5 minutes. Which is better?

Regards

A Supernova is as dangerous as a match, it's burns like hell.
[ Parent ]
I believe I tried that. (none / 0) (#109)
by Precious Roy on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 11:26:37 AM EST

If I remember correctly, that was one of the many things I attempted in an effort to get the card working properly. Didn't work (obviously).

I may give it another shot since my hardware/network setup has changed somewhat since this experience (which was around May-June IIRC). I'm mainly holding off until one of the following two happens:

  • Red Hat (hopefully) unborks itself with 7.1, or
  • Mandrake 7.2 gets out of beta.

But, keep trying. It took you 5 years to set your network in windows inside an hour. It will took you 2 weeks to set your network in Linux in 5 minutes. Which is better?

True, I realize it would be pretty cool to get all this stuff working in Linux. I do actually want to dabble in C++ again.

But never underestimate the power of frustration and inertia. :P

[ Parent ]

Define home user (4.50 / 2) (#104)
by itsbruce on Tue Oct 24, 2000 at 12:48:26 PM EST

The title of your story asks a significantly different question from the "Why should I reinstall Linux". For a start, you're not a typical Home User. Typical Home User issues:
  • Installation

    The pains of installing Linux are often cited as a reason why it's inappropriate. But most Home users aquire Windows preinstalled. If they ever had to reinstall it themselves - and this is far more likely to happen to them with Windows than with Linux - then the vast majority of them would be in trouble.

  • Ease of configuration

    That's a gotcha, though distributions like Mandrake and Redmond have made huge progress on this. Gnome and KDE especially are very simple to configure. So not that much of a gotcha. There's been some very inaccurate and/or out-of-date sniping about configuring X.

  • Interface (familiarity/power)

    On the familiarity side - it's not hard to create a Linux desktop/UI that's a clone of the Windows one (a few window managers were expressly created with this in mind).

    On the power side, most good X window managers make the MS GUI eat dust. Flexibility, customisations, range of features - the 9x interface loses on all counts. With X you can mix and match the ingredients to get something that precisely matches your needs.

    Most people who say that the 9x interface is intuitive and easy to use have a) never known anything else, b) don't realise that they have spent as much time learning the Windows way as they have learning computing in general and c) haven't had my painful experience of training several hundred people in the use of it.

  • Applications This is the actual issue. The familiar chicken and egg, since most commercial companies won't port to Linux until they recognise a demand. This could be very short-sighted of them, since the Open Source alternatives are getting better and better.

    This is the area where Linux will succeed or fail as a desktop OS. And the arena where it'll be decided is the office, not the home. Each wave of the domestic PC revolution was work-led. People wanted what they knew from work. If Linux + office applications makes it onto corporate desktops, that'll create the critical mass.

BTW, I don't know where you get the idea that there are more calls for Linux help than Windows help. The bulletin boards of my home ISP are crammed with Windows users, after help most of them scrambling for fixes to applications (or whole systems) which have simply stopped working properly after X months (weeks or even days) of use. Fair enough, a lot of them simply never make it as far as Usenet. Many domestic ISPs don't even make the slightest effort to explain what Usenet is.

I help out on those bulletin boards, sometimes. It's not a pretty sight. People who bought home PCs to play games, write a few letters and surf the net find themselves constantly bogged down in just getting the damned things to work. Some realise this and hate it, others get addicted to the sense of victory over adversity (if they ever fix something) and become PC-Help addicts, endlessly seeking and swapping fixit tips. Either way, I just get more and more convinced that the PC is a failure as a home consumer item. How much of that is Microsoft's fault is debatable (that a fair chunk is down to them is not, I think, in question).

I wouldn't be surprised if Web TV kills the PC (or severely marginalises it) before the desktop wars get a chance to be resolved.

Slightly irrelevant addendum
b.) If a developer who is familiar with *nix and programming sees no use for Linux vs. other consumer operating systems, why should the typical home user who simply browses the web, sends email, listens to MP3s and types documents want to use Linux?
  1. There are, in this forum, plenty of developers who are familiar with *nix and programming who greatly value the use of Linux vs. other consumer OSs.
  2. The likes and dislikes of technical users have little relevance to the needs of typical home users, so the point is moot either way.

--

It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.
Why Windows for a desktop system? (4.00 / 1) (#106)
by Peachfuzz on Tue Oct 24, 2000 at 11:23:47 PM EST

I have used Windows extensively, infact, I'm posting at K5 right now with it, but I don't see why Windows and Linux can't just get along. Yes, Linux has security holes, but boy is it stable! I'm relativley new to linux, but I do know for a fact that linux IS more stable, thus, less chance of losing my information, less chance of having to cold reboot to waste my time in. But if you think about it, why not use windows on top of linux? There are many windows emulators out there, such as wINE, or VMWare that I think work fine and dandy for the normal user who just wants to word process with word or something like that.

Windows, on the other hand, has a larger applicational database. Windows supports most of the programs that people are looking for. Linux doesn't.

What I think should be standard:

*nix as a server platform, for all those power computing problems that you need to solve.

Windows emulated on top of *nix for all those programs you need that linux doesn't exactly support.

I use Linux on a 350mhz, and VMWare runs perfectly. Sure, there is a speed decrease, but it's very subtle. I keep thinking my VMWare is only running 50mhz slower than my linux platform. Try it out! It just might work with your DSL complications.

VMware Website

-Peachfuzz

Why Would A Home User Want To Use Linux? | 109 comments (106 topical, 3 editorial, 0 hidden)
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