Windows

10 Linux features Windows should have by default

The Linux and Windows camps may be polarized, but Jack Wallen believes each OS could be improved by borrowing from the other. This week, he looks at how certain Linux features could benefit Windows.

The Linux and Windows camps may be polarized, but Jack Wallen believes each OS could be improved by borrowing from the other. This week, he looks at how certain Linux features could benefit Windows.


The battle between Linux and Windows will most likely rage on for years to come. I can foresee that even when all things migrate to the cloud, users in both camps will still be screaming the virtues of their favorite operating system. And, of course, I will be one of those campers (and I can bet you know just which camp I'll be in). But being in that camp does not preclude me from seeing the benefits and strengths of the Windows operating system.

In my next two 10 Things articles, I am going to take pieces of each operating system and place them in the other. In this first article, I am going to share 10 features from the Linux operating system that should be in the Windows operating system. In the next article, I will go the other way.

Now you should know, features will encompass literal features as well as systems and even philosophies. I don't want to leave anything out of the picture. In the end, my hope is that theoretically, at least, we'll have a much more ideal operating system. Of course, you can (and will) be the judge of that. Let's get going and start adding Linux features to Windows.

Note: This article is also available as a PDF download.

1: Compiz

No matter how clean Aero gets, I am not a fan of the flat, single-workspace desktop of Windows 7. Yes, it has come a long way, but it's not nearly the modern desktop that Compiz offers. Of course, many would argue that Compiz is nothing more than eye candy. I, on the other hand, would argue that many of the features Compiz offers are just as much about usability as they are eye candy. Having a 3D desktop that offers you quick access (via key combinations) to multiple workspaces is handy. Window switchers can't be beaten for ease of use. And the eye candy is just a bonus. Having Compiz on top of Windows would certainly take the experience to a level few Windows users have experienced.

2: Multi-user

Yes I know you can have multiple accounts on a Windows 7 box, but that doesn't make it truly multi-user. Can you log on more than one user at a time in Windows 7? Not by default. To have concurrent user sessions for Windows 7, you have to download a third-party tool. In Linux, you can do this by default. This is a feature that should be enabled by default in Windows 7, too.

3: Log files

Windows operating systems have plenty of tools that enable the administrator to read log files. But for system, administration, and security issues, the administrator must fire up the tools to see those log files. But Linux places all system log files in /var/log and allows the user (with the right permissions) to read these log files from a simple text editor. And the Linux log files are flexible in many ways. For instance, if I want to follow a system log, I can open that log in a terminal window with the tail -f command and watch as events occur.

4: Centralized application installation

The new paradigm for Linux is a centralized location for installation. The Ubuntu Software Center is turning out to be the culmination of much of this work. From one source, you can search from hundreds of thousands of applications and install any one you need. And with upcoming releases of the Ubuntu Software Center (version 3 to be exact), commercial software will be available.

5: Cron

I am a big fan of Cron. Cron jobs enable you to easily automate tasks. Yes, you can add third-party software on a Windows operating system to help automate tasks, but none will have the flexibility of the cron job. Cron allows you to schedule as many tasks as you like, at any time you like, from a simple command-line tool (or a GUI tool, if you so desire). And cron is available system wide -- for both administrative tasks and standard user tasks. Having an automated system built in would certainly be handy.

6: Regular release cycle

This is one of those areas where Microsoft could learn a serious lesson from the Linux camp. Most Linux distributions release their updated distributions on a regular basis. And even better, they stick to these schedules to the best of their ability. Take Ubuntu, for example. For each release there is a .04 and a .10 version. The .04 version is released on the fourth month of the year. The .10 version is released on the 10th month of the year. This happens like clockwork. So Ubuntu 10.04 will release April 2010 and Ubuntu 10.10 will release October 2010. Granted sometimes those releases don't start populating the mirrors until the last second of that month, but they are as regular as they can be.

7: Root user

Let's face it -- by default, the average user can do too much in Windows. So much so, it becomes simple for someone to write a nasty little virus that can be spread simply by opening up an attachment in an email. With the way Linux is set up, this doesn't occur. For damage to be done to a system, generally speaking the root password must be known. For example, if a user clicked on an attachment from an email, and that attachment demanded the root (or sudoers) password, that would be a quick indication that the attachment was malicious. Windows should separate the administrative user and the standard user by default. The first thing Windows users should have to do, upon starting up their new computer for the first time, is create an administrative password and a user password.

8: Pricing

Okay, I'm not going to say Windows should be free. What I am going to say is that it should have one version and one price (with a nod to bulk pricing). Why do I say this? Simple. Which version should you buy? Do you need Premium or Ultimate? Which sounds better? Is "premium" better than "ultimate"? Here's an idea -- just have one version for the desktop and one for the server. It works for Linux. Less confusion and frustration for the consumer, less advertising waste for Microsoft. And all those features that cause the most expensive version of Windows 7 to be thus -- the average user wouldn't know how to use them anyway.

9: Installed applications

I know that Microsoft doesn't include any useful applications (minus a browser) by default for a reason -- to make money. But when I install Linux for the average user, I'm done. I don't have to install an office suite, an email client, or audio/visual tools. Outside of installing financial applications and the odd power-user tool (which is all handled in a single, centralized location -- see #4), there's nothing more to do once the OS installation is done. Microsoft could at least include Word.

10: Hardware detection

Before anyone gets bent out of shape, this is not what you're thinking. Let me set this up for you. What happens when you install a Windows operating system and something doesn't work? Say, for example, video. You thought for sure the OS would support your video card, but when the installation is complete you're stuck with good old 800x600 resolution. So you go to the device manager to see if you can find out what the card is, and you get nothing. How are you supposed to find out what drivers to download when Windows gives you no information? Oh sure, you can open up the case and check out the chipset. Or you might get lucky and find that device driver CD lying around. But what if you can't? Or what if that video is on board?

If you were using Linux you could at least issue the dmesg command and get some information right away. And if dmesg didn't help out, you could always fire up the Hardware Drivers tool, which will might discover a proprietary driver you could use. In Windows, if you don't know the card, you're going to have fun finding the drivers. Although Windows hardware support is better, Linux hardware detection is better.

Your take

Those are 10 features I would like to see make the jump from Linux to Windows. Do you agree? Is there a feature listed you think might hinder the Windows operating system? Is there a Linux feature not listed that you would like to see jump the fence? If so, let us know. Next time: 10 Windows features I'd like to see in Linux. No, really.


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About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

150 comments
jasonmichaelrobertson
jasonmichaelrobertson

1. No opportunity to monetise anything keeps the best Software houses and the cutting edge of technology away. It popped up on Apple now Android is copying Linux is always behind always dragging the chain 2. Antitrust law suits prevent a lot of default free software being packaged with windows thanks to the EU 3. Security nightmares and impossible to support no sane admin would let two people login with the same account who really did what how do you support something like that gaping hole in my book 4. Anything else mentioned is already there. 5. Development tools and platform experience on Windows is what has made it huge and continues to do so its like comparing a mini with a Mac Truck. Developers head for Windows or Mac (monetised again better tools) 6. Why is Linux still in the game Google and Facebook which are about smart business ideas and leverageing free software. A smart business idea will work the same on windows and the development time will be quicker and easier 7. In the english speaking world better trained and more developers for Windows are more easily available which keeps the dev cost lower when you factor in this with the support costs Linux is not cheaper. Unless you are a Bank or have a huge IT team Final comment Linux has been banging its drum for decades nothing has changed except the success of some good business ideas that would have been achievable on the Windows platform at a lower cost due to the dev time saving provided by better tools. Or that work on scale few SME's will ever have. Don't start me on the cloud the last bastion of linux draw a head and some feet its a sheep and its for sheep, you do the math

jdprior
jdprior

The author isn't as a familiar with Windows as needed to make these recommendations. Most of what was used to justify the recommendations just isn't true, or is a personal preference. Example - multiple users / fast user switching; cron / scheduled tasks; installed applications - 'no useful applications included' yeah ok.

jfreedle2
jfreedle2

Well you have not used Windows 7 very much, you can have multiple users running at the same time by default. I do not see the need for multi-workspaces, but others might see the need for it. Log files as text files, completely useless from an administrative point of view. Lets face it, Linux by design is a junk operating environment and should seriously be discontinued.

Split_Infinity
Split_Infinity

You know, after all these years this article has made me finally want to install Linux on a system of mine. I'm getting a new computer soon and will install it on this one and check it out.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Being able to have more than one account logged in and in use at the same time is a specialty function which one has to purchase Terminal Server for. This is somewhat of a contrast to being able to have multiple users logged in and active at the same time as a standard function from the lowest license version. My current example would be a tech task where one has to work on the machine directly. With a true multi-user environment, I just log in through remote shell, make the change and move on. The user on the system continues to work along without notice of me rather than the usual "take five, I gotta fix something" desk visit. Windows does provide remote desktop and pseudo-mutli-user support but, a remote desktop into the machine is going to lock out the user "system locked by administrator" while I go through making whatever changes are needed. It really is a world of difference even if purely due to implementation in Windows userland. Cron and scheduled tasks are pretty much the same thing though. In terms of "no useful programs installed", I agree that there is much one can do with a stock Windows install. If MS included more they'd get eaten alive for it but then, they'd likely make those extra bits as "optional" as IE and the over-engineered media player. That one is sadly a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" issue.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"Linux by design is a junk operating environment and should seriously be discontinued." We'd be interested in hearing what Linux distributions you've tried, and under what circumstances (home, workplace, server, etc.) you tried them. I'm sure you formed your opinion based on hands-on experience, right?

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

Windows to do what Linux had done for years?

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

The machine won't boot into a GUI with specific log viewer application and you (for whatever reason) don't have a seporate logging server. .. so, how do you get in and read the logs? With text, I mount the drive and use whatever text viewer I have handy including cat or more. asci file format for what is a purely text base data set makes far more sense especially for information that may need to be accessed for support needs.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

With liveCDs you can boot a number of different distributions to find one that matches your preferences and hardware closest. I'd only add that distributions (Ubuntu, Mandriva, Debian) be recognized as separate products. Each distribution has it's advantages and limitations. Sadly, the car analogy fits very well.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Had to laugh, while it was installing my video drivers (which failed) the progress window was named "Untitled Window". This is surprisingly common. Serious lack of polish in Nix distros it seems.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Has a flaw, what if you don't know which log file. All the Nix systems I have used so far have been pretty fragile, lots of things could fail and without knowing which, how do you find the log file? Search for the word "error" maybe? Bah really, I just hate the fact in Windows you can't even view the event logs as a limited user. WHY NOT???

Slayer_
Slayer_

A flawed download can ruin it, and to find out if its ruined, you got to sacrifice a CD. CD's are cheap but not convenient. I don't like having to keep burning more and more of them. More Distro's should have built in Emulators. Since I am usually looking to see if I like the look and feel of the distro, before I worry about driver compatibility.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Try OpenSuse maybe. Some seem to like Novell's offering and they've the best chance for integrating with the Windows systems at home. I would expect a higher focus on polish also.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

With a few exceptions, all properly designed programs should create a log file or directory under /var/log. With a *nix based system, I reach for trusty Grep. With a Windows based system, I reach for any similar command line text search or mount the drive and use my own GUI file find on the directory tree. (Windows hypothetically using an asci based log directory.) Back to current state. I think you'd be better to tail -f /var/log/messages for the standard output from what your running. This would give you the error or at minimum, what is having the issue. The program likely either dumps to syslog or to it's own separate log file. You could also use a log parsing app providing a similar GUI view to Windows events. Though not shown by default, the amount of information one can get about the running system can easily become overwhelming. I do agree with limited access to the logs. They provide intimate system details. By tapping a systems logs, an attacker gains complete visibility; is the attack remaining undetected, what software is configured how and are there any logged errors that can be exploited. A program should provide relevant error feedback to the current user but that can be done without opening up the log directory tree.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I've not ever delt with the company directly; just two geek purchases from EBay. Getting shagged around by the sales rep would turn me off quick too though. Lenovo would be my second choice but still not based on dealing with the company directly or considering warranties. (what glitches I've had so far have been due to the Thinkvantage crapware included)

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

Even when I was in charge of purchasing for my company's mobile needs a couple of years ago, I just couldn't justify the price. Not when I could get a "full coverage, any accident" warranty on dell latitudes or semi rugged atg's for less than half the price of a Panasonic. A security contractor friend of mine was in the same boat. They replaced his latitude screen under warranty, no questions asked even though it fell victim to two stray ak-47 rounds. Ok, well that and my panasonic rep pissed me off when I started wanting custom hardware configurations to my liking. Really? I'm considering buying several of your company's top of the line $3000+ laptops and you're not going to give me what a want with a smile on your face? Get the hell out of my office... :)

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I used to live close enough to work at the end of Uni to roll on down to the office by skateboard. The trip to work can be a lot of fun when you get to play with the concrete. There was the one day I got hungup on a curb and got thrown; notebook smacked and slide across the sidewalk (I just smacked). Previous to that I had a CF25 which I introduced to friends by starting defrag then tossing it spinning from about waste height onto the floor. I usually jumped on it a few times to looks of horror. The CF27 didn't recieve this undue stress though. If only I could afford the current generation. "rugged" spoiled me after the first time I was outside and didn't have to run through a door shielding my computer from rain.

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

My company was kind enough to let me keep it when I voluntarily left. At the time, it was a sweet deal. Then the motherboard went south and at the time, they were too expensive for me to justify replacement. I was a younger IT specialist then, unmarried and had money to spare. Rather than sell it for parts and make a little extra cash, I though using it for ballistics testing would be more fun. Sadly, I lost the pics. Somehow I didn't lose the pics of an acer that a friend donated for the same purpose. Neither fared well, but the acer was closer to a paper target. :) That cf27 was tough. I forgot about placing my first company issue cf27 on top of my company vehicle and left a parking lot once. Slid across 6 lanes of traffic undamaged, except for a bit of road rash.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I've been keeping an old CF27 notebook in my drawer waiting until my little one is old enough to start mucking with it. A MIL rated notebook should do ok under rough child use.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

simply said there are places you can order CDs. Hell, I know people who still don't have any CD burners, and some don't have DVD burners, and some people don't know how to use Nero or similar software. There can many reasons why you don't want to download and burn and ISO, so simply get a free CD or a cheap CD of the software you want. Heck, you may not have the Internet at home, but can go on-line and order it at the local library or an Internet cafe.

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

That sound dampening was a key feature for me. I knew I?d leave it on 24/7, and I also knew that my processor fan would be huge (big old zalman thingie) and that 8800 at the time would be sorta loud compared to regular gfx cards. Now the thing runs whisper quiet with all the case fans on low and the system is cool even when wide open. Ok, that and I am a sucker for a machined finish. I really liked the machined metal look it has. I get that same annoying dust buildup. I think that led to the failure of one my dvd drives after only 1 ? years. That is my only gripe with that case. I constantly remove the panel to clean out the insides once a month or so. Probably good practice anyway, but the dust buildup seems massive. Given the air that all the fans move inside, I?m sure I?d have similar issues with any case that had an equal number of fans. Those vents on the front around the door will build up a constant layer of dust on the black plastic. I don?t want to hack into the case either, but we sometimes sacrifice junk like this for the amusement of our kids. The most annoying and disgusting buildup was tie between my dad?s pc back when he smoked inside and more recently, my ex girlfriend versus my mouse. The woman insisted on checking her email while getting ready in the morning. She did this prior to washing her hands and post make up application. That ever so tiny drop of makeup accumulated on my mouse wheel little by little until it stopped rolling altogether. After I disassembled it, it took me awhile to figure out just what the hell that disgusting crud was. Ha, I was even questioning my own hygiene upon seeing it. :)

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

That was one of the selling features for me having a rather hot running machine at the time. I love the nice heavy metal/plastic/metal panels and wouldn't dare take the sawsall to mine. I'm using the lower drive block also now having had to run my power cable in the previously mentioned U shape to hit the GPU socket. This makes some ugly wiring having to enter the main compartment then back down into the drive block or go through the lower section fan. That's probably my only complaint actually. The placement of the whole to run power from the supply to the rest of the machine sucks. My Hauppauge board is in the lowest pci slot pinching the excess wire loops against the bottom of the main compartment. (Floppy plugs can suck to get at also) Oh, also the front of the case. I'd like to see that seal it self off or at least have the 5 1/2 slots sealed off. With the airflow front to back like that, I get some nasty dust buildup on the floppy, cd reader and other front pannel openings above the two air intakes. I think I'm going to use some weather sealing foam tape or a hollowed out foam block to section off the upper front section. I figure I can stick to the inside of the door so it closes out the airflow around the various media readers leaving the lower air intakes open. I've not yet seen a newer chassis I feel compelled to upgrade too. It fits under my ikea desk by a few inches so airflow is good. I have taken to putting it on a hand towel big enough to cover the base; slides out from under the desk nicely on the wood floor.

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

But I use the hdd bays in the lower chamber. I absolutely love the case, other than the fact that it is so massive It doesn't fit in my computer desk. Well it does, but then the top fan port is blocked. It is actually too nice looking not to display on top of your desk anyway. My kids found a DIY case window kit and they want me to install it. I'm not too keen on messing up those gorgeous side panels, but it would be a neat project to do with my kids.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

There could be an opportunity for easily bendable adapters. heck, mold a little plastic into a 90 degree bit for between them. It really should be so complicated to wire a GPU into an Antec P180 though.

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

If you take a look, pretty much all of the 8800 cards look alike with that power connector in an awkward position. It interferes with most micro atx hard drive cages. Unless you have a full to mid tower, it will interfere with hdd cages. The newer 9600 and 2xx cards are the same way. ATI's are, too...so it appears to be the new standard.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

With a 'Live' flash drive, configuration changes you make will 'stick', unlike a CD / DVD.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Damn shame I couldnt get the 64bit version to become bootable, but the 32bit version working good. So I am on the gaming machine. Using Mint All drivers found perfect. Installed properly, using 4gb USB drive with persistant storage on. Currently using FF to type this in Mint while listening to music. Took awhile to figure out how to change resolution, but now with that done, its running really good. Gonna see if this media linux distro can play my downloaded movies on my bigscreen. I already noticed it detected my TV attached. This is a pretty nice system so far. needs some nicer themes but all in all, not bad. I like the quick solution of a USB. Good temporary OS that is way faster than VM. (Goes and browses naughty websites) I had forgotten how bad default firefox actually is, no text on icons, stupid bookmark bar, no way to put tabs on bottom of screen, stupid google search bar, no proper status bar information. FF has such an inflexible interface. Can't install Orca so maybe Opera if I ever wanted to do intense browsing. Oh SNAP! Doesn't detect my USB HDD. Go figure. Thats where all my pirated media is ;) Edit_ Unplugged it and plugged it back in, now it works. Mint plays SPC files, that's impressive.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

The easiest way is to get USB ready "liveCD" images. Some distributions are starting to provide them more obviously. Normally: download the USB image unzip USB image (in an empty temp directory) copy the resulting directories to the USB make the USB bootable (should be directions included) You might also try simply writing an ISO out to a USB and see if it takes or not. I've not tried this so I can't confirm if the CD's ISO will have a critically different format than a general binary copy of a platter. A USB external disk reader would also be a handy thing to have though you'd need more than "I'd like to look at distros" to justify it's purchase.

Slayer_
Slayer_

How do you do that though?

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

If his BIOS doesn't support boot from USB then he's hosed. Otherwise, writing the liveCd image to a usb is a great idea. You'll need a larger USB for liveDVD of course.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I don't mind the power socket being near the upper back of the board. I just want them to point up from the motherboard or up from the GPU board not towards the front of the case where hard drives are in the way. Either that or I need to hack a 90 degree adapter for between the cable and the board (I hate folding power cables that close to an end). I feel your rebuild pain. I had to decline a power supply replacement for a friend of the family. Lacking a workbench and needing to pull most of the stuff out of the mid chassis would have been an all day job. It being just before Christmas, they couldn't wait.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I'd rather sacrifice a CD or DVD to a flawed download than a hard drive, especially on an upgrade or dual-boot configuration. Why not use a flash drive instead of a CD?

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

I had similar issues (EVGA 8800) with a 2nd build I just did for my kids in a microATX desktop. Just no room for anything. Making all of the wiring neat so they could see the "cool" insides through the clear panels was a nightmare. Sorry to go off topic...but it was an aggravating build over my weekend.

Slayer_
Slayer_

It is what was recommended, to put both on the board to not suffer the PCI bottleneck

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I probably would have gone with at last one HDD and one disk reader on the motherboard then use the expansion board for the extra hardware. Reorganizing my case sucks though so I wouldn't suggest anyone else do a rebuild on a whim. It could be interesting to look into though if you have a model number to lookup. It may be known issues with a 10$ scsi board. Mostly unrelated; I feel your grief over long GPU boards. My 8800 is long but then Asus sticks the power connectors on facing out backwards. I had to move my HDD block to the lower section (all kinds of fun for SATA cables) and run the power cable in and back out of the empty HDD block space to hit the damn power socket.

Slayer_
Slayer_

that I use as an expansion card. Works near flawlessly. MSVM doesn't like it either, but virtual box and vmplayer work fine. Everything else has no issue with it. Basically my HDD's are hooked up to the board on the lone IDE plug, and the CD's are hooked up to the RAID controller. I know it's an odd setup, but when building this system, it was cheaper to spend 10 dollars on a raid card then it was to replace my HDD's and CD drives with Sata equivalents. Biggest hurtle was actually finding IDE cables long enough to go around the video card. The 9600 is a very long card.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

The first thing I did with VMs was grab all my OS installs and set one up for each. I'm not finding much need for w95 or w98 but I have them here and dormant. Dos can be fun too (still need to find a VMware NIC driver and TCP/IP stack for it though). One specialty machine I setup was a minimal VM with 100 meg empty hard drive. It's dedicated to previewing liveCD with the drive only present for the boot process to detect it. Very handy and no more complex than running EMU. With your specific system, do you have some wonky brand of SCSI board or something slotted on that motherboard? I don't think I've had any distro take issue with finding and using my disk readers and hdd. Opening up your case to swap in IDE instead of SCSI or SATA would keep me from bothering with any liveCD outside of a VM too. I've had grief with specialty components but not a core component like storage in any distro I can remember. The most flakey board being a Radeon GPU some years back before AMD took over.

Slayer_
Slayer_

In Drive 1, it just sits at black cursor, nothing happens. In Drive 2, it pops up saying the usually Linux stuff, then says CD Rom not found, trying to wing it. Failed. Useless.... like all LiveCD's it seems for my system, only way to install them would be to pull apart my system and remove the HDD's and CD drives, sit them on the side, remove the expansion cards, and plug the CD1 and HDD1 directly into the IDE plug. Do I need a better reason why I prefer emulators to liveCD's?

Slayer_
Slayer_

Having been through most ways outside of multi-motherboard chassis for running two OS at the same time, I can't imagine living without VMs now. Vive La Emulation! Agreed, how the heck did we survive so long without it? I no longer need a bunch of junker systems. My big gaming machine, that runs a minimal install, can run VM's with bloated installs for specialty apps. I have Nix VM's for specialty stuff. I got a program that, to maintain compatibility, needs to be compiled with old OS DLL's, so I have a windows 95 VM. I used to require keeping my old 95 system alive. I have another for Win 98 and for 2000. It's how I learned that the "Transparentblit" command works on all OS's but causes a catastrophic memory leak on any Win9x (non NT) system. One is my web server backup VM, it is currently copying all the files from the real server to itself, then I shut it back down. The other is a WinXP that always has uTorrent running and I tend to use it for any tools requiring specialty programs like .Net2 or something. I also use it for my more dangerous web surfing or testing of programs. It would be extremely handy to just have built in emulators on the LiveCD's so I can quickly fire up the system and see if it has what I want WITHOUT burning a disc or installing the system to a VM to check. That's how I looked at Mint and Mandriva. I quickly learned that Mandriva has a great menu structure, but lacks good naming standards. Then I ran Mint and my god, everything is named properly kthere kisn't kany kstupid knames BUT aside from a control panel window, lots of windows didn't have close buttons on the programs (can't remember what folder viewing windows had) which made it aggravating. Also, every Window was an oddly different size. To close some windows, required me to increase my resolution. I still have that VM though so that I can play with it more when I am in the mood. I have been downloading a lot of holiday movies lately and I don't like to mix VM providers (As the manual said not to do in VirtualBox) and my torrent downloader VM is in MSVM. So I haven't touched that Mint VM in months. Interestingly, the only liveCD that seems to work properly is still that old Knoppix CD from 2003. Even my new Mandriva and Ubuntu CD's fail to load up because of how my hardware is set up. To actually install them, I would have to move all my IDE cables around again (Like I had to for XP). Ick. Hmmm come to think of it, maybe I will try burning that Mint CD, I never did run it as liveCD on my gaming machine. Be interesting to see how well it works. Maybe I'll try the 64 bit version. Never ran a 64bit OS on this machine. Neon, is it possible.... I have about 50 gigs of free space on my C drive, can I split that off to maybe make a 30 gig partition, and install Mint to that, BUT leave my XP bootable and put the bootrecords for nix on a flashdrive so when the flashdrive is inserted it boots to Linux? Or can I do it to a CD or something? hey I just checked and there is a FF MD5 checker, works good too. Solves that problem, much easier than having to open command prompts and download programs to do it. Hey Mint just finished, and did MD5 and it failed. That Addon just saved me 75 cents. 6 Failed downloads so far :(, though all 6 failures show the same MD5, all from different mirrors. All show the same wrong MD5. This is one of the many reasons I hate LiveCD's. I'll be out of bandwidth soon. Have to wait till next month to try again. Or it's more likely the website has the wrong MD5 on it.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

The website looks dated but they've been shipping disks for as long as I can remember. Not a free service but very reasonably priced.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Sinister demonstrates a lack of knowledge about the platform rather than a lack of willingness to keep looking at it; this is a very important distinction to make. Your concern over disliking liveCD would be better served by discussing how to obtain verified disks or verify one's own downloaded image rather than demonstrating the negative stereotype the rest of us Distro regulars get slapped with. In terms of hardware support and system performance, emulation sucks rocks. Your right, a liveCD verifies that the distro defaults work with your hardware (or what bits you'll need to read about) and provides a usable system without touching the hard drive install. If one's goal is to see the desktop more than in screenshots and see how the defaults apps work (or what apps you'll need to add after) than emulation is perfect; you can check the system out under your current host OS. My aproach would be a VM app since an ISO can be mounted and run or installed and explored. EMU just can't compare for response times. As I said before though, for the amount of extra code needed, emulation like Damn Small Linux's EMU loader would be a fantastic addition to the liveCD trend. Hardware support is another and long ongoing discussion. I never had a problem with a proper modem but that jumperless trash they started hocking near the end of the BBS scene. Get a proper modem board with jumpers (3F8, IRQ2 perhaps?) or, ideally, an external with com port cable and you should be golden. Printers and webcams; we can blame the hardware manufacturer's for that primarily but what we really need is a way to show them that providing drivers or the minimum information to write drivers is worth there time. (sadly, they can't read anything deeper than a market share pie chart when deciding platform support most of the time.) Back to the grief thing though. How does preferring emulation over bootable disk make one elitist? What is a "staid desktop" you stay with while feeling lesser than the rest of us mortals? I don't think emulation was suggested as a permanent way to run the OS if that's what your getting at. Actually, emulation really becomes usefull away from the basic user needs. I'm on Debian/amd64 but with emulation running Maemo/ARM I can compile Maemo native debs or write my own code then install it on my Maemo hardware devices when ready. If emulation is expanded to include virtualization (evolved emulation) then it becomes indispensable on little desktops and notebooks as much as on beastly servers. I know I can't live without it and am watching a few projects that would bring virtualization to my palmtop device. (one project now has Maemo and WinMo running concurrently on an N810) Having been through most ways outside of multi-motherboard chassis for running two OS at the same time, I can't imagine living without VMs now. Vive La Emulation!

alfielee
alfielee

Most flawed downloads don't run frommy experience. The fact that you found one or two doesn't make it any different to what I said. Yes, most modern systems do have decent drivers but not all & quite often Linux can have that problem. Unfortunately this is still a common problem with hardware. I got a pain in the butt - I don't like that is fair enough but not particularly valid without specific reasoning in this situation. We're not talking about a pain in the butt are we now. Oh, sorry of course you are. I don't like the colour of Ubuntu's desktop is fair enough but again we're not talking about that either. This is just personal preference as opposed to technical reasoning. Webcams, printers, modems (one of the reasons I don't use them anymore) all seem to cause problems until you find one that doesn't. So use your emulator Mr SinisterSlay, who cares if you do? Some of us lesser mortals are happy living with a staid desktop. I've found emulators to not always function perfectly & perhaps it is because I didn't know exactly what I was doing at the time but perhaps it wasn't perfect software too. Also seems a waste of resources when not running a full-on server. Perhaps I'm just being trite.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

Live CDs of many Linux versions for free or next to nothing, you just need to go to their web sites and order them. The web sites where you download the ISOs usually have links to these free services - not, usually, not all.

Slayer_
Slayer_

I'll quote this so you know what Im talking about A flawed download usually won't run at all. Oh really, here is a screenshot of my last corrupt download. http://trevorsarchives.selfip.net/funpics/images/Nix%20Having%20Problems/MandrivaFailing.JPG The fact that you don't like live CDs doesn't make them useless. Indeed, and I never said such a thing, I just said I don't like them. It shows you, for the most part, how the distro will be when it's installed. It gives a clue as to whether this distro will fulfill your needs or not So does an emulator, without having to burn a disc or even restart your computer. Don't have to set up my drive to boot from CD, don't have to do anything more than double click an EXE file. generally whether it will run on your system & the hardware components will work. This to me is secondary, I run a modern system, it has no trouble with drivers. And my favorite line The "I don't like live CDs" - who cares if you don't? To answer this, I define message board for you A website, or an area of a website, that allows users to post comments related to a specific topic. Running topics are called threads Generally when people talk in forums, especially when replying to a blog, it is to voice our own personal opinions. Because many people don't wish to read other peoples opinions, there is a distinct separation between normal view and print view, the latter, showing all expressed opinions. In reading a message board or a blog, you show that you in fact do care what others think. Therefore, the answer to your question "Who Cares" is you, because you cared enough to read it and even respond to it.

alfielee
alfielee

A flawed download usually won't run at all. The fact that you don't like live CDs doesn't make them useless. It shows you, for the most part, how the distro will be when it's installed. It gives a clue as to whether this distro will fulfill your needs or not & generally whether it will run on your system & the hardware components will work. The "I don't like live CDs" - who cares if you don't?

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

liveCD images should be provided with the md5 hash so you can confirm that what you got wasn't damaged or altered during download. Another option is to run the liveCD ISO under VMware or similar to test them before sacrificing a blank disk. Damn Small Linux is about the only distribution I can think of that provides EMU on the bootable image. This lets one run the distro windowed rather than rebooting the hardware. It would be interesting to see more liveCD include the ability.